jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
As usual, recs for things I liked in Yuletide, which feel more than usually incomplete this year, so there may be more in the future.

Fandoms: Fanfic Tropes (Anthropomorfic), Ghostbusters, Hamilton, The Highwayman, InCryptid, Insurance Commercials (no, really), Into the Woods, #LetMeLibrarianThatForYou The Librarians, Libraries Anthropomorfic, Lord Peter Wimsey, Matilda, The Mummy Returns, Rivers of London, "There will come soft rains" (Bradbury story), Sesame Street, This American Life, Twelve Dancing Princesses,

Things I particularly liked reading )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
I have an abundance of gifts in the Yuletide fic exchange this year: two stories in the main collection, and a lovely little Arthuriana snippet thing in Yuletide Madness.

(And both my recipient and the treat recipient I did this year appear to have loved what I did, so yay!)

What I got, all of which I recommend, though longer recs post will be coming in a few days.

Purpose is Library Anthropomorfic about children’s books and libraries, and really gloriously charming.

Interns is about The Librarians getting interns, and is a glorious bit of banter-filled Librarians + Amy + Lucy, and oh so cheerfully delightful. (It will make more sense if you've seen season 2, and it's got a couple of really lovely touches and a character from the current season, but it's entirely readable as long as you know the premise and no substantial plot spoilers.)

At the Start of the Feast is a tiny snippet of Morgan le Fay at Arthur's court for the first time, and has some gloriously priceless commentary on the situation.

(Glorious, apparently my adjective of the day.)
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So, I spent the day driving to Hanover, New Hampshire, to see this year's Revels North production, which this year had the first performance ever of a new telling of the ballad of Tam Lin using a script by Susan Cooper (the author, on whom more in a minute) and Will Rowan and Maureen Buford.

It's described in the program as "Inspired by Susan Cooper's children's book Tam Lin". (Which came out in 1991.)

(Buford is just ending a decade as the Artistic Director of Revels North, and Rowan is the Associate Music Director for the production.)

I found out about the production thanks to A. Acland, who has run the excellent and amazing Tam Lin site at for more than a decade now. She also has a great Tumblr highlighting art, music, retellings, and more, and the site itself is a wealth of detailed information about the ballad. (And I promised her notes, so here they are for everyone.)

(I live just outside of Boston, so driving to New Hampshire was a 4 hour round trip. It was totally worth it here.)

A little housekeeping:
This is a public entry, so I'm not linking to the journals of some people mentioned herein, but if you are happy with me doing that, you know who you are, tell me in comments or email or whatever.

Feel free to share this with others, or quote pieces from it - I'd appreciate a comment saying where you did, because I'm curious, but I'm writing it for general use and discussion.

About the Revels )
About Susan Cooper )
About Tam Lin )
About this specific production )

Footnotes )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
This book, by a woman in her 30s, has been getting rave reviews from various library review publications, but rather lousy ones from the Pagan community and for good reason. The following is my public (aka: please link or share if you find it useful or know people who would) commentary on it.

Alex Mar is known in the Pagan community for having created the American Mystics documentary that came out in 2010, during which she met a number of people in the Pagan community (one of the three people focused on in the documentary was Morpheus Ravenna, who is also substantially present in this book)

I cannot recommend this book for any part of its presumed audience (seekers, people interested in witchcraft, people interested in spiritual memoirs.) The following is an extended summary of why.

(I am hosting this on my Dreamwidth account for a variety of reasons, including that I'm going to be travelling next week, and this is a much easier space for me to moderate while on mobile devices. You can find my more visible Pagan presence at Limen: Thoughts from a Threshold and Seeking. More notes about commenting at the bottom. Both include comment forms if you want to write to me privately.)


I know one person briefly mentioned in this book extremely well (we've been friends for decades and regularly discuss religion, witchcraft, magic, and other related topics). I know a couple of other people even more briefly mentioned slightly. I know other people (not mentioned or described in the book) who were at several of the events described somewhere between slightly and moderately well.

My training also comes from an initiatory religious witchcraft line which takes confidentiality and privacy very seriously (as many initiatory trads do), and my comments are going to talk about the issues of revealing personal details, ritual details, and some other related material without actually spelling it out here, because I take other people's private, personal, and/or emotionally intimate material more seriously than Alex Mar does.

My summary of the book )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
So, if you have been reading my journal for a while, you know that about 2.5 years ago, I started working on a blanket to go along with Alternity. It is now completely done (I finished casting off the last square in the last few minutes of Alternity, and I finished the last bit of applying the taselling late on Wednesday, the 21st, the day before getting on a plane to go to the cast party...)

The complete tour is below: the 'individual squares' section includes spoilers for Alternity, but the first section is just about the construction. You can see the whole blanket on my Ravelry account here (okay, barring the very top row) and you can use the individual square links below to see each square in more detail.

Design and Construction )
Individual squares )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hello! Thank you for writing for me!

Most of my journal is locked, and I know that makes Yuletide a litlte trickier because it's hard to get a sense of me. A good place to start is my Yuletide tag, which has past letters and comments about fic I got, gave, and read. You can generally also assume that things in the past letters still apply to me, but feel free to check via a mod if you've got any questions.

More inside )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
To make it easy for people to contact me about the Alternity wiki, this post has screened comments, to make swapping email addresses and chat info easier for anyone who might be interested in editing the wiki, adding content, etc.
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
So. I have a lovely new job, and I am at the stage of the lovely new job (this is the end of my 4th week) where I am beginning to figure out what I want to do going forward.

In particular, I'm looking for a good way to track ongoing projects. I have a todo list I like (Todoist, which I use for both work and home stuff), and I have a tracking method (inherited from my predecessor) for tracking actual reference requests (an Excel spreadsheet).

But I also have a bunch of other things (right now, the list includes rearranging the office shelves and piles of things, creating some handouts and materials for researchers, shelfreading, reading through the annual reports so I get a sense of what's in them, building a knowledge base document with things like "What are the names of the bells in the bell tower" and "why is this particular sculpture unusual". Lots of stuff that is long term but has segmented bits, in other words)

And I'm trying to figure out the best way to track "Made X handout" or "reviewed Y materials and edited" or whatever, so that later, I can figure out what I did when, or so that if my boss asks what I've been up to, I can summarise quickly.

I'm reasonably open to technology, but my work computer has less memory than it might, and complains with more than about 10 open browser tabs.

So. What do you all do? What have you tried that didn't work for you?

(This is a public post: feel free to invite people to drop in and comment. Same requests as my previous Salon posts, namely assume people have reasons for what they're doing, comments that improve the conversation or ask questions are entirely welcome, if you do not have a DW account, please put a name we can call you in your comment.)
jenett: text-only icon: Virgo Hufflepuff : details managed (details managed)
First, I would love to point out that the two *amazingly* excellent stories I received this year were both written by Fabrisse who *also* was my assigned author in 2013, and produced the equally amazing Foyle's War story I got then (Vignettes) She has a lot of other excellent and varied stuff, you should go read the parts that appeal to you.

All three have a particularly gorgeous understanding of the relevance of history, while being very much about the people living it rather than the big chewy events. I am by nature very much a social historian (when I'm being a historian with my spare brain), someone who is about how events - living through time - changes people, rather than focused on events or larger movements.

And all three of these stories give that in spades, along with an attention to fascinating and meaty details that I love (the discussion of Sam and food and how you get things done, the paragraph about how things fit together and irregularity is beauty, the look at how two men navigate that particular complexity.)

Right. Onto what I wrote. My actual assignment was Collection Development, a Libraries (Anthropomorfic) fic for a fellow librarian, who is forordwraith on DW (though she's in Canada, more on that in a moment or three.)

The treat I managed is for Betony who was my recipient last year, and whose prompts this year included "The Hogwarts- AU Trojan War fic I half-wish existed (bizarrely, I've always fan sorted the Trojans into Hufflepuff, shielding Helen in the spirit of their house and consequently getting on the wrong side a Gryffindor-Slytherin-Ravenclaw alliance.)"

Which promptly became the seeds of Seven Badgers of Troy

Wherein I talk more about both and the writing )
Collection Development )
Seven Badgers of Troy )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
Recs for:

- Books: Anne of Green Gables, Cadfael Chronicles, Chalet School, Lammas Night, Chalion, The Giver, Lord Peter Wimsey, Malory Towers, The Odyssey, Newsflesh, The Princess Bride, Tam Lin.
- Movies: Addams Family, Agora, Galaxy Quest, Ghostbusters.
- Other: Arthurian Mythology, Greek Prose Composition, Lego, Libraries (Anthropomorfic).

I also liked an awful lot of the things in the Chalion, Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery, and Forever fandoms. (And Wimsey and Newsflesh remain reliably solid goodnesses in Yuletide.)

Recs within )
jenett: can't sleep, too much awesome (too much awesome)
I got two really really really amazing gifts. Two!

(Dear amazing authors, if you are reading this, I have had a really lousy fall, and this made many things feel like an improvement in complicated ways I do not have words for. So thank you very very much. These are very different stories in some ways, but they're both about what matters and how to keep doing it, even through the hard and complicated things, and I really really needed that.)

The Beauty of Philosophy is about Hypatia of Alexandria (as per the movie Agora and her earlier education, before that movie starts.) It is really really stunningly excellent, and has whole paragraphs where I went "YES THAT THING THERE." and a thorough understanding of the importance of the quadrivium and how they interact with each other, and what it means to live in a complex world.

I really particularly love Hypatia's interactions with her father, and with her teacher here, where they are fond but also expect a great deal. (This one is also entirely readable with a basic "Hypatia was a 4th century philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and a bunch of other things" knowledge.)

The Early Days is a prelude to Katherine Kurtz's Lammas Night and is the story I didn't know I wanted about how Gray and Prince William got to be like they are, got to have the layers and depths of trust they have by the time of the book. (And the author's note points out that the author went there because of some research, which is even better.)

So, those of you who read my letter and went "EEE, Lammas Night", go forth and enjoy!

I am now in the 'waiting to see how people liked the things I wrote' stage, and as usual, I will post writing comments after reveals.
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
[Edited for some clarity and further ideas October 25th]

So, apparently, the desires of my heart at the moment involve mentoring relationships or extreme competence. Or both. Right, then.

I am currently having a really hard fall. But one of the things I am thinking about a lot is how the people we learn from, learn how to do things with, change us. We hope, for the better. Sometimes that’s about formal education, but a lot of the time, it’s about something more complicated and faceted - and fascinating.

When I went through the Yuletide tag list for ‘things I want to remember are options this year’, it’s these three that jumped out at me. And one of the things that really strikes me is how they’re all about incredibly competent people sharing what they know in interesting ways. Or making choices based on what they know, are committed to, are passionate about.

So. Yeah. Basically, fic that does something with that is the thing I want. People being awesome at knowing their things, people caring about what they do, trusting other people to do it with them. That. :insert waving hands here:

You can feel free to take a look at my previous Yuletide letters and recs for things I’d like, but actually, while most of the details still apply to me, they don’t really apply to my requests this year.

If you got matched with me on any of these fandoms, I'm pretty sure that what you're inclined to write will be awesome.

But in case you’d like some more details, there's more below. Two of these three canons are quite easy to pick up quickly (one is a movie, one is a single volume book. The other one’s more complicated, alas.) I’ve included some general background for people reading because of one request who might also find the others interesting.

Read more... )
jenett: There are not enough capital letters in the English language to let me fully express my feelings on this. (not enough)
... my dear friend [personal profile] elisem reported harassment, and then she wrote up an essay about the process of reporting the harassment. (I have roundup of links from then starting over here)

Unfortunately, there's another essay required. Like the first, it's been posted on multiple blogs, with those people hosting (and moderating) comments. Natalie Luhrs has an excellent roundup of discussion around the 'Net about the events as well.

Elise's essay (same basic content all these places)
* John Scalzi's blog
* Stephanie Zvan's blog
* Natalie Luhr's blog
* Catherine Lundoff's blog at Dreamwidth and LiveJournal
* Mary Robinette Kowal's blog
* Sigrid Ellis's blog

I'm not sure I'm going to manage a thorough links roundup (yay, stuff in my own life) but I'm glad to stick a link to other people's roundups as they appear.
jenett: text-only icon: Virgo Hufflepuff : details managed (details managed)
So. I am in the midst of an epic blanket project. This post has links to specific bits of it, and also links to the two different posts of explanatory commentary (one about double knitting in general, and one about the blanket design process)

Updated Oct 31, 2014 with the squares to date.

The basic explanation
Because one epic project is not enough in my life, I am making a blanket to go along with Alternity. It has 7 squares (well, rectangles) per year, with 7 years, plus a border a square wide around it. (So a 9x9 blanket.)

I am doing it in double knitting so the squares are reversible (except where they aren't, as explained!) with a little additional embroidery/etc. in places.

I do plan to release the patterns for the things I've charted myself, but they'll take a bit of additional work. If there's one you're really interested in, let me know and I can send you the chart.

What is double knitting?
It is a method of knitting two sided fabric, which is generally reversable. Beyond that, it gets a bit more complicated.

I like double knitting because:
- You get a double weight fabric.
- It is in stockinette, but does not roll.
- You can do really nifty reversable designs.
- I actually find it easier to deal with than knitting purl and knit patterns?

My post about double knitting for them as wants geekery about that.

So what are the squares?
You can find the complete list on my Ravelry account (which is [ profile] jenett), but they are also linked below so you can see them in order.

(I have set up the individual projects so you can view them without being a Ravelry member, but I think to see the larger project tag, you need to have an account. If you knit, crochet, or do other fiber arts, I recommend it.)

My post about designing it for people who want that.

I note that the links and squares currently do include spoilers up through Year 3 of Alternity (in the sense of the squares indicating major plot events.) If you think you might want to read and want to avoid spoilers, you probably want to come back to this post after you've caught up at least that far.
Links within the cut )
jenett: text-only icon: Virgo Hufflepuff : details managed (details managed)
In which I discuss the actual design parts for those curious. If you don't want to do an epic blanket, some of the info in here will still be useful for rummaging for designs to use in other places.

Designing the project and other details )
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
Welcome back to the renewed Salon posts.

Topic of the day (As always, feel free to divert to other interesting questions!)
I just started working a different shift at work. (basically I am our evening library person until 11pm this semester: I have a 5.5 hour day, 3 9 hour days, and an 8 hour day.) It's making me think a lot about how we plan days, and fit things into them.

So. What's your day like? Are you a morning person? A night owl? Something in the middle? Naturally a night owl, but you have to get up for a morning job. (That's me, once upon a time! I am a natural night owl, but used to have to be at work at 7:30am at my previous job. Or sometimes 7.)

And within that day, what's your routine? I have never been a breakfast person (and combined with that, my thyroid meds mean I can't eat for 45 minutes after taking them, and eating and *then* going to work is - well, too complicated for a morning.) So I'm currently liking the new schedule, where I get up, take my meds, and then do something for lunch as my first meal. (And also heat soup and put things together to bring to work for dinner, and then have something when I get home.) It seems to be working out so far.

And what's your evening routine? How do you wind down at the end? What things do you enjoy? (Mine often involves the computer and some knitting.)

Current things
As I mentioned in a locked post, I am currently finishing reading all the Phryne Fisher mysteries so I can watch the TV series (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and in the meantime am watching Warehouse 13. I have not had a lot of brain for complicated reading, which is not so good (because I have a lot on my TBR pile)

To go with the watching, I have been knitting the Celestarium shawl, designed by Audry Nicklin, which maps the stars of the northern hemisphere onto a circular shawl. It's involved a bunch of new skills (and I didn't do anything with it for most of November and December) but I'm trying to get it done for something in mid-March. She has one for the southern hemisphere stars, too, and I'm doing four colours of beads for the star magnitudes, which is a little fiddly but very interesting.

A few notes
* FAQ over this way
* Place to leave possible topics (and screened comments in general) over here.
* If you don't have a DW account or want to post anonymously, please include a name we can call you in this particular post. (You can say AnonymousOne or your favourite colour or whatever. Just something to help keep conversations clear.)
* If you've got a question or concern, feel free to PM me or leave a comment on the screened topic post (second point just above.)
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
Here is the post where you can suggest topics for future salons.

I don't promise to use them (because they need to be a topic I'm interested in talking about, and also a topic I've got the energy to encourage on a given week, and that last one, in particular, varies a lot week to week) but I do find it helpful to have an idea what people want to talk about maybe.

Comments screened, so feel free to comment whatever you'd like.

This is also a place where you can drop me a note if there's something in a current salon post you've got a question about, or you wish someone who wasn't you would nudge the conversation a certain direction, or whatever else.
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
I've had a lot of people make "I really enjoyed those" noises at me, and I want to resume! However, my work schedule has changed for the semester, and I'm still settling into the new one.

So, here! Tell me things you like about how they were going! Tell me if there are days that work better for you!

Things I'm committed to:
1) It's going to be a weekday: my weekends vary too much.

2) The initial post will go up when I wake up and wander to the computer, which on my new work schedule is probably somewhere between 9:30am and 10:30am Eastern US Time.

3) There will be some combo of "here, have some awesome thing" (links, book quotes, whatever) and a general question. I am open to suggestions for future questions, but they need to be things I want to talk about/feel I can encourage conversation about, so feel free to suggest but be aware that I may go "Yeah, not for me" or "Yeah, but not right now."

4) It'll continue to be hosted here (rather than say, making it be a community where other people could help host) because I think part of what's making it work is my feeling stewardship of the space and a bunch of amporphous 'what's the right question for this week'. (Brains are weird.)

5) There may be occasional weeks off, though I will generally know in advance. (In particular, I have travel in mid-February and in mid-March that may complicate things.) There may also be weeks in which I forget, in which case, please do remind me I meant to do a salon post (but I've rearranged some of my to-do list stuff that will make it easier for me to remember it's a specific day.)
jenett: the milky way emerging from silhouetted hills (Default)
I wrote Anagnorisis for a wonderful prompt that basically asked for more Penelope and Odysseus.

I've been known to say that I've been an Odysseus fangirl since pretty much I knew there was an Odysseus (which in my case was somewhere before the age of 5), and my parents nearly named me Penelope (until my older siblings pointed out the number of times this would get mispronounced, badly). And I grew up on Greek mythology, including my father retelling Homer through long dogwalks. (Since I just linked this more publically than my usual reading lists, I should note: my father was a specialist in ancient Greek theatre. I come by my geekiness naturally.)

First fandoms, anyway.

So, on the whole, this was fascinating to write, and it was wonderful to do it with a prompt that left me a number of directions I could go. I spent a lot of time chewing on it, wanting to figure out how to get the emotional weight right, and thinking a lot about the question "How *do* you pick up again after a lot of change?" and the question that Alternity [1] always leaves me with, which is "How do decent people deal with horrible circumstances?"

The two combined into a conversation, three months after the reunion, in which Penelope raises certain points to be considered.

I was hoping for a while it was going to grow another half where they went and sorted out some sort of problem together. But the more I poked at it, the more I couldn't get that to gel right, and the more I liked the sparseness and depth and complexity of it just being the conversation. I did a lot of poking at the last couple of paragraphs in particular: the end result is thanks to conversation with the ever-wonderful [ profile] elisem, where I went "OH! THAT THING." and came back with the end result.

Thank you, Betony, for an awesome prompt (and also for the recs to other fic: for everyone else who likes the Odyssey, she linked to some other stories she really liked, and I loved reading them.)

[1] See my bio post for a bit more context, or the game website.
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