extrapenguin: The famous Earthrise photograph, cropped (moon)
This week, one of my roomie's friends stayed over. She's only just back from a period of student exchange abroad, and her rent contract begins today. (My roomie has been living out of town for summer, so as to be nearer to her summer job. Just me and Friend.)

Apparently, Roomie and Friend are childhood friends who still keep in touch and call each other semiregularly. Perhaps I moved too often to nourish and keep such friendships, but – in a way I like that I could shed my skin and form anew. I was certainly a bit of an oblivious idiot socially back when I was young.

My current batch of friends, I like enough to be friends with. Stay friends after graduation, perhaps – but with the eventual fragmentation of everyone to their more permanent living situations and then kids, I doubt I'll get to hang on to all of them. Like my previous friendships, these too shall whither. Like my previous friendships, these too have given and shall give me fond memories. Have we no love for transience? The cherry blossoms bloom for a week, and then are gone. No-one denies their beauty and the worth of seeing them.

Don't get me wrong, I do currently want to find a locus of stability and do the whole married-forever thing, but even things only experienced once are still worth experiencing.

I like Friend. As I type this, she slips out of my life forever. I am sad, yes, but I liked talking to her. I'll slot the experiences of enjoying her company with the rest of the people lost from me in time's mists.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
And once again, I spent a week without posting anything, whoops.

Jukebox reveals are just around the corner. Before that, I'll try to read through some more of the Hugos voter packet. This year, I aim to get to do the zines.

The title is from loading up an old project of mine, Poem Line For Title, which just RNGs a poem line to be used as a title. View the page source (Ctrl+U) to see the pool from which it chooses. The random's choice was rather apt, as today at work, we did a "science demo" to some schoolkids (well, teens) involving putting roses into liquid nitrogen, then giving them to the kids when thoroughly frozen, and letting the kids shatter them onto a tray (to minimize clean-up). Chatting with the new co-worker today about the liquid nitrogen and the flowers (scientists: people who never grew up past the age of 5 and see no reason to), I recalled this Tumblr post about Romace Tokens vs the actually romantic. (Romance Tokens: stuff society sees as romantic. Actually Romantic: something that is tailored to the recip's desires.) I do not like flowers. Culture says I should like them, but I don't. They aren't that pretty, and also, they only last for a bit before having to be thrown away. Stuffing a bouquet in liquid nitrogen and then shattering the flowers, one by one, on the other hand is much more appealing. Indeed, I might even call it enthralling. By liberal application of liquid nitrogen (which boils at -196°C, or 77 K, or -320°Fake, whichever you prefer), Appreciation Tokens transform into something I can have fun with. (Liquid nitrogen is fun by itself, too, of course. After the roses ran out, I quickly – quickly! – dunked fingers in and out*, and also got to play with exhaling into the container, which generated a vast cloud of tiny ice crystals like frost, and made the air currents visible.)

Hm, I wouldn't have gotten all that without my prompt generator. I'd have just left it at "I got to play with liquid nitrogen at work – it's still cool!" and not had the red thread of the roses throughout. Perhaps I should try to use it as self-reflection and writing prompt more often.

* The way this works is that my finger is warm enough (c. 37°C) that it evaporates itself a protective envelope of gaseous nitrogen, which is a worse conductor of heat. Done quickly enough, the envelope doesn't dissipate. Don't leave the finger in.
extrapenguin: (honor)
I appear to have actually done it.

The target: a guy who actually respected my opinions and wanted to hear me out (this part is mandatory, I think), probably had Asperger's, and was the son of a person in the anti-gay marriage league (so his opinion was at least partly hereditary).

(I mention the Asperger's because I think that without it, he'd have got the "gays are bad" part that is the unacknowledged backdrop of most anti-gay marriage sentiment. As-is, the papered-on-top excuse objections were his actual objections.)

How I actually did it: in a chat program I, in as noncombative a way as possible, explained my position, and gently informed him that his concerns on gay couples' kids were wrong (research round-up) and also I side-eye the "but the definition of marriage is ~Christian~" position, since no-one complains hugely about or constantly proposes a new term for civil weddings.

Evidence that I did it: he dropped the issue and shortly removed the "marriage = man + woman" page from his likes on FB.

It is a heady feeling, to know that people can change for the better and know that one has caused that oneself. So, uh, there's your daily positivity. I should probably feed myself.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Brain chemistry first: The past few ... months? I've been having trouble motivating myself to get out of bed and do things. I can kick myself and willpower it, but I would like for it to be easier. Also better in the long term to do the things and not just lie in bed and live in my head. I have no idea if this is a depression thing, an Asperger's thing, or a regular person thing. Advice appreciated.
(Note that this is an ExtraPenguin form of doing nothing/failing, which is: succeed in the most important things (academic stuff), having trouble getting some extra stuff done, and feeling wangsty. I want to feel more productive and less bzuh. No need to worry about me ending up beneath a bridge or whatever.)

Time: a thing I need more of. Sleep as well. Now, part of it is that the current period is the busiest this year, and I have a large assignment hanging over me, so some stress.

Also, gender continues to be confusing. On the one hand, a support group would be nice; on the other hand, I don't feel like gazing into my own navel and thinking about such things. On the gripping hand, it's not like I have time. Idk.

So. I'm alive. I'm busy. Hi.

And I've decided to do an art a day. Currently going through PileofSith's AU generator.
Read more... )
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Day 8

In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I do not collapse. I can indulge in self-pity and wallow in it, but at the end of the day, the only solution to whatever problem I have is to soldier on, put one foot in front of the other, and continue. I can do that. I can pick myself up and do whatever it is that must be done. At the end of the day, of all the coping methods for dealing with having to do a thing, the only one that actually works is "just fucking do it already".

I dance. I embody the music. I improvise. I act. (Communicating with people is nothing but an improv play. There are scripts one can start with, but eventually it all goes off the rails. Choose the most useful role available when you start.) I can perform. What is the point of stage fright – if onstage, I know what I'm supposed to do. Unlike the rest of the time. The dancing is but a very public meditation.

I create. Solutions to problems, connections between neurons, stories, art, connections. I desire to become. I am driven. I long, yearn, want. Long for the feeling of things finally locking into place, yearn for making order out of chaos, want nothing but to achieve. Leave others to their small lives – let my name be sung through the ages. Let my creations hallow my names, and be recalled for as long as civilization exists. Give me my immortality.

Perhaps I live only for the applause. What is fic-writing but a performance of a different kind, no? – Well, then so be it. Watch me reach for the stars from the sky, and even if you cannot bring yourself to clap: do not stop me.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
It is the final day of November. Soon, it shall be the final month of the year. And, because I am a special snowflake who's feeling reflective, I am doing a retrospective now dammit.

This year, I have participated in more exchanges than simply Yuletide. I've also modded two: Space Swap (it went reasonably well, considering that the mod team was 3 newbies, but ... lots of room for improvement) and Coronation Ceremony (A+ excellent modding). Comparing the two, it is proven that I can learn from my mistakes. I'll be polling the SpaceSwap community about some potential changes next January.

As last year, I organized the Bujold Fest. Participation was light. (Yes, I'm guilty, too, for I have some fic ideas still on the backburner. Shh.) I came across its Fanlore page, and a) HOLY FUCK I'M MENTIONED ON FANLORE, and b) the Bujold Ficathon used to be an exchange? Hum. I'll have to ask the Vorkosigan community on their opinions re: exchange vs fest.

I've also been reasonably prolific even outside of exchanges, mostly due to #thegoblinemperor. I have internet friends, and thus can be not-lonely without the pain of meatspace social interaction. TGE is a nice fandom with nice comments even for my worldbuilding fic, though currently I seem to be on a fandom-interaction downswing. I kinda fell out of Rivers of London fandom due to not acquiring the comics (and having no desire to acquire them) and thus not being privy to all canon info for speculation of plot things. (Also, it's not second-world, and while Peter is nerdy and curious, there's no OTT loyalty kink in canon.) Vorkosigan seems to be my steady fandom, to which I can return whenever I please. I've also finally gotten somewhat into the pop culture juggernaut that is Star Wars, via the KOTOR games. I hope to be able to write fic for them at some point.

All in all, I have done things but am tired. I still have a few intense weeks before Christmas break, but then I can nap and enjoy Yuletide and maybe finally get enough rest. Oh, and if this flu would go the fuck away please?
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Doing meme 4 from here.

What do you collect?
Knowledge. Like all of us.

I like knowing things; more than that, I like knowing how things work. I like seeing how things fit together. I like knowing the answer to the question why.

I am fascinated by the real. How the world works is a question I want to answer. Not for me the thoughts of programming, computational simulation, bizarre thought experiments. I relish the abstract, but my world is reality. There is no perfection; there are only models with their own areas of use. The cows are not frictionless, nor do they live in a vacuum. They are also far from spherical. Yet, under some circumstances, that is the model that yields the accurate results with the minimum of effort. General relativity is the most accurate, but Newtonian mechanics works fine in most Earth-based cases.

I am a physicist, yet an engineer. I study the reality I interact with, not the reality I wish I would interact with.

The more one knows of a subject, the more interesting that subject becomes. Knowledge opens up new dimensions of appreciation. Instead of seeing a rainbow and going "pretty", I also know that it is formed when light hits a raindrop and reflects, refracts, disperses, and forms the optical illusion in question. I know why one can only bend a steel wire so many times.

Science did not make the world less beautiful. It made the world more beautiful.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
(No bestiality I promise.)

So, I just realized that horse-riding is essentially loyalty kink and BDSM. In, say, jumping, the horse trusts the rider not to ask for the impossible, and the rider trusts the horse not to fail. It's a very D/s activity, too, since the rider has ~500kg of muscle obeying hir every command (whilst being between the rider's legs).

The old military influences are also still there: one must salute before starting a jumping course, for one. The external trappings are also there: crops, spurs, and loads and loads of leather (boots, saddles, pants).

(And now you know where a huge chunk of my id came from, oops.)
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)

What with all the talk about Star Wars going on, I’ve thought a bit about nerd culture and how I (don’t) fit in.

A lot of the staples of mainstream nerdiness are movies/TV shows like Star Wars, or maybe the Star Treks, or maybe even Firefly, plus of course the superhero stuff from Marvel. That’s what inspires talk, that’s what’s seen as “True Nerdiness” by the misguided gatekeepers, that’s what generates critiques and fanworks. It’s also the box I’m sorted in when I say I like science fiction. It’s also a box I’m not interested in at all.

I can tolerate movies and TV, but I don’t like them; loud bangs interspersed with whispered crucial dialogue, often with regurgitated plots from other such stuff, and no options of re-reading or skimming a boring bit. My SF is books. Books stay with me; movies and TV do not touch the organ that so appreciates the exposition.

Where are the people who will chatter about The Quantum Thief? Who will talk about robotic self-determination in Asimov’s Robot saga? Who will groan at the most politically weird parts of the Honor Harrington series with me? Who will grumble about tonal mismatches in the last few Vorkosigan books unprompted?

TL;DR: The Penguin is slightly envious of people who have huge fandoms full of content, and would wish to be able to find Her People more easily. Or at all.

(I also have weird feelings of unease about gendering myself online.)
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
I don't actually qualify for FemmeRemix with anything except my Vorkosigan Saga stories, and even then, of my 7 female-character-in-major-role stories, 4 have the female characters be original characters. I will be posting that long-awaited Cordelia crack, but it's not yet written and wrraaaaaaghhh, so should I just ask the organisers about the OCs?
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
1. I am a metalhead. Eurovision is pop. Not My Thing.
2. Slovenia and Georgia were the best of the (semi?) finalists.
3. More detailed analysis from my tumblr. part one, part two, part three, part four, part five. Part five includes some soothing metal for the non-pop-lovers who may accidentally click on one of the more bland Eurovision examples.

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Like, what am I supposed to do? Does my unique blend of Rivers of London, Vorkosigan Saga and feminism delight whoever's running a "NSFW incest-only adults blog"? I mean, I shouldn't judge, but ???
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
First of all, the horses are actually pretty decently animated! They look like horses, trot like horses, and canter like horses. Sure, they do weird shit when left alone, but at least they look like horses, not camels (oh, Assassin's Creed II, what did you think you were doing?). One quibble: when you get the intro horse (pictured), Horsemaster Dennet says "take that chestnut for starters", whereas the horse is clearly bay. Bad Bioware, gettin horse colors all wrong!
The reason I call the horse "she" is that I have extensively looked at the model and not spotted a dick, thus making the horse a mare (yes geldings have dicks, it's the balls that get chopped off).
Random musings on the horses' colors )
Second, I kind of resent that the party is only 1/3 female. You can travel with 3 party members, and get to choose from 9: 3 of each class (Warrior, Rogue, Mage). There is one female party member in each class. Sure, you have three advisors (Connections, Secrets, Forces) that you can send out on missions and 2 of them are female, but it's kind of a bummer that so few of your party are women.
How I'd Fix This: I'd make Blackwall female! Now, in his current iteration he's one of the Love Interests that's female only (along with Sera), so I'd upgrade Cullen (Forces advisor, limited to female human and elven Inquisitors) to female-only LI, not race-locked. (Then I'd make Solas bi, so instead of him only being available to female elven Inquisitors, he'd be available to all elven Inquisitors [given lore re: elves in Thedas and spoilers, I'd say it's fair that he's only really interested in elves].) (Or perhaps make Solas female?)

Blackwall spoilers )

Though if you're looking for a Fantasy Murder Hobo Simulator RPG, Dragon Age: Inquisition is an amazing example, since women can wear reasonable armor (unless they're Vivienne, in which case they have boob windows) and do loads of badass stuff like the men. I like the whole mage thing, but would warn you away from the archer spec.

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
So, my dear readership of 0.4 people, I have apparently taken on too much on my plate, and I really should focus on things like "university" and some other real-life commitments. I'll probably come back somewhat during summer (the whole "free time" thing).

Have the AU: Cop/Detective WIP in its entirety:

And here's a previous version:


From the  )

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
It was probably not a dark and stormy night when I first searched for Thomas Theisman/Denis LePic fanfic. Weber threw in an offhand mention of how they were just like a canonical het couple, then forgot the mention utterly (as well as the existence of Denis LePic). That's when I first stumbled on this. Now, I had had my brushes-in with fandom before (oh hi, Hetalia) but I'd grown out of it for a few years. A metric fucktonne of googling unearthed thoughts on Theisman/LePic on [personal profile] maat_seshat and[personal profile] philomytha 's journals. Around this time I believe I discovered the AO3 mirror of the first story I'd unearthed, and with it AO3. I commented a few times as Penguin, hanging around mostly on Philomytha and[personal profile] aoifes_isle 's fics. Then I bit the bullet and joined AO3 in early 2013. I wrote a few fics. I hope I've improved from then.

Now, the Honorverse fandom is a small one. It's not particularly active. I did my trawl thrrough the archives. Between Tel's crossover fic and the fact that Philomytha wrote a lot, I read through some Vorkosigan fic, then promptly read the books. I now had a new, larger fandom to muck about in.

Then, school happened. I didn't read or write much in 2014. When I returned, it seemed like the Vorkosigan fandom was a bit less active, and the Honorverse fandom had been reduced to just Aoife. Now, because I'm a Philomytha fanpenguin, I'd subbed to her, and was a tad miffed that she was producing pretty much exclusively Rivers of London content. Then, needing to procrastinate from Uni work, I read some Rivers of London fic and am now reading the third book in the series.

tl;dr: Blame Philomytha.

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
So, the New Year has come to my timezone amidst flashing lights and loud bangs. Apparently, the world will end in Ragnarøkkr on the 22nd of February 2014.

What would Ragnarøkkr be like? The cynical part of my mind supplies that it can't be worse than New Year's Eve, with fireworks whizzing up, going off in a blazing flash of light, generating deafening bangs, and finally fizzling to the ground. The Penguin has a headache from all of this, people!

The local stables stocked up on tranquilizer in the preceding weeks. See, fireworks generate bangs that sound very unnatural, generating panic in horses, and other animals too. (Note: fireworks are worse than gunshots in making horses freak out. Gunshots sound more like thunderclaps, fireworks are weirder and more ambiguous.)

For the following weeks, everyone'll be bumping into fireworks cartriges, which are generally made of plastic, and thus pollute the environment. Some of them will also fall down on other people's houses, causing significant fire damage. Not to mention the fact that some people will always manage to blind themselves, or cause other bodily harm to fall upon those present.

So please, could we ban fireworks from non-experts? Or at the very least, add a hefty tax for all the environmental and physical damage they'll cause. Who else should pay the hospital bill but its causers?

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Sandwiches are the ultimate on-the-go food. One can also modify them at one's will, exchanging cucumber for paprika for cauliflower for lettuce for tomato for whatever catches one's fancy. Thus, no two sandwiches are exactly alike, making the experience of eating one absolutely unique.

Thus, I argue that sandwich-making is an important art to master. To entrust someone with making one's sandwich is the ultimate act of trust; to make someone a sandwich is the best gift one can give. To make misogynist jokes about this gift of trust is to forfeit one's right to humanity.

tl;dr Sandwiches are awesome.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
This is a random ramble. Feel free to steal its title or any plotbunnies it may inspire. No, I'm not always like this. Feel free to comment. I would be delighted if you did.


I write, and read, and dream, and think. I write down my thoughts, then am frustrated when I can't craft the firing of my synapses into a long epic. I try, and all that comes out is a short story that has something wrong with it, something I can't quite put a finger on, let alone correct. I turn to another idea, and can't even manage more that a few wavering sentences. I turn to another, and my jokes come out stale. I remember when I could write humor. Perhaps I should re-read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I wish I had a Guide to tell me all that was stated in canon regarding something. I wish I had a plotbunny generator. I wish I could write.

I am overcome with empathy for Franz Kafka, who asked in his will that all his work be burnt.

Why should anyone listen to me, listen to my words? The hit count on my works keeps going up, and kudos pile in to a work I don't even think is my best. Nobody comments. I shout into the void, and people wave in the distance, but no-one shouts back.

I receive plotbunnies. I write them down and return to them later, having forgotten what made them interesting.

I reach people with words. I shout into the void that surrounds me. Sometimes people answer, and I panic, for I cannot make conversation. All I can do is shape my thoughts into a monologue and release it to the wind. The void swallows them up.

Occasionally people appear from the mist. I blink. I attempt conversation, try and keep them in visual range. They invariably turn and head back, into their own communal blisters of light, where I am not welcome.

I am not one of them. I am different. I speak up and inhabit the space I have. I am different, therefore dangerous.

All my differences are pinned to my foreign father, even what I picked up from my local mother. I cannot see how I look different from the locals, yet they all say my foreignness is written on my face. My obviously nonlocal sister has friends aplenty. I have myself, my fingers, my tongue. Everyone thinks I'm weird. Some assume I could be their manic pixie dream girl. I won't. I couldn't. I want to be heard, not tolerated as a quirky affectation of someone.

Them. They all say that to be accepted, I should change myself. If that is the price of admission, I'll be here in the corner reading my Asimov and my Scalzi and my Niven, watching them gush over something mindless and mass-market, complete with a token romance and a failure on the Bechdel test. I'll be reading what Michio Kaku thinks of the physics of the impossible. They can keep their sparkling vampires and barbarian werewolves and inhabit their kyriarchy.

I don't have a penis. When I get angry about something, it gets dismissed as women being emotional. When I think of myself as better than average in math, people say I'm egostic and should be ashamed of myself. I am one of the best in my class, a score of this nation's best mathematicians. When a guy (worse than me) thinks himself good, everyone agrees.

Injustice is done to me. I see injustice done to others. I shout into the void, hoping that someone will agree, even if it's only on one thing. I want liberty. I want equality. I want to get rid of everyone thinking that brotherhood is superior to sisterhood. I want to be truly equal with everyone. I want to know how to do all this.

Until then, I'll have to merely shout into the void.


extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)

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