jenett: Golden key on dark blue and purple watercolor (seek knowledge find wisdom)
2017-07-18 06:43 am

Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom

I am delighted to announce the launch of my research consulting business, Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: research help on esoteric and eclectic topics.

Need a personal librarian? I can do that. Want help building skills or solving a research problem (or organising a home library?) Check out my services list for more details.

Courses and other materials will be coming shortly.

Feel free to ask me questions, tell your friends, and sign up for my newsletter and check out the blog.

(The newsletter is every other Wednesday, starting with July 19th, 2017, and the blog is every Tuesday and Friday. I am not crossposting these to Dreamwidth, but you can find links and crossposts on Twitter and Tumblr.)
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2017-04-15 08:56 am
Entry tags:

Worldbuilding Exchange story commentary: Pseudonyms Are Expected

Stories are now revealed for the Worldbuilding Exchange 2017, so here is my post talking about what I wrote, a Leverage fic called Pseudonyms Are Expected (You can find my recs over here).

I wanted to make a few more comments about process of writing, so here's that post (which I've also linked to from the comments of the story.)

Should anyone want to write other installments of this list, have fun with it! I did not get to write all the sections I wanted to.

(If there is a background conceit on why these were collected, I think Hardison gave them to Sophie as a present, sometime after the last message.)

Structural notes )
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2017-04-12 08:00 am
Entry tags:

Let's have a salon

Several years ago, I ran a series of weekly salon posts, where I'd post a topic to get us started, people would show up in the comments, and conversation would ensue. Now seems a good time to try them again!

(You should not feel restrained to keep on this topic! Start other topics! Encourage topic drift! That's part of the point. Feel free to ask random questions, there's a chance someone might know about the thing.)

This week's question


What are you learning right now that you're really interested by? (That might be a project for work, for personal stuff, a gaming geekery thing, a book you're reading, a podcast you're listening to, the fact you're learning a lot about Dreamwidth and how it works this week, or anything else.)

What do you like about it? What are you finding more challenging?

Things currently contemplating


I'm currently reading Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, which is well-researched and has a really interesting structure where he's looking at different pieces of it through small slices (individual people, towns, situations) and tracing back to the origins as much as possible. I really like books where the information part is well done, but the structure creates connections between pieces of information in helpful and new ways.

Notes:


* Consider this a conversation in my living room, only with a lot more seating. I reserve the right to redirect, screen, and otherwise moderate stuff, but would vastly prefer not to have to.
* If this works this week, I'll do an updated FAQ and continue.
* 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.
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2017-04-08 12:17 pm
Entry tags:

WorldbuildingExchange

All the happy! My recip really loves the story I wrote, and has squeed over it mightily.

I really really love my gift, Shelve Under: 18.2 Fiction, Adults’ which is 1927 Rivers of London in the Bodleian of someone cataloging a dead wizard's books, and is there anything more perfect?

I'm quite liking the range of things in the exchange in general - I've got a long list of tabs to work through, but there's only 73 works which is a lot more manageable for reading than Yuletide!

(Should mention: the exchange focuses, unsurprisingly from the title, on worldbuilding: people made requests about different things they'd like. Plot is not actually required: in-world meta was a fine thing, for example.)

And why yes, I have been reading fic since I woke up this morning, why do you ask?

Other current recs in alphabetical order by canon )
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2017-01-28 05:02 pm

Dear worldbuilder,

Hi! I'm so excited for this exchange because worldbuilding is one of my favourite things.

Fandoms: Rivers of London, A Year and A Day in Old Theradane, Leverage, Harry Potter - Wizarding World

Much within )
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2016-12-31 08:31 pm

Yuletide reveal

(I had hoped to get recs up before reveals, and well, that didn't happen. There will be recs coming, though.)

I wrote Rise and Fall of Empires, a prequel to events in Scott Lynch's A Year and A Day in Old Theradane (novella available free online.)

It's probably readable without knowing the canon if you know the characters are a crew of thieves in a fantasy setting that includes at least some machinery and which has some interesting magical capabilities (one of them is an automaton). Also that this is a story about a heist Amarelle (the viewpoint character) mentions in a long list of other (presumably) successful heists. On the other hand, the canon is 20K words, and free online, and great, so you could go read it too.

I'm quite pleased with how it came out. While writing it I kept going "Why the eel?!" but it seems to have worked out all right. I'm particularly delighted with several commenters saying I'd gotten the feel of canon right. It's also the longest assignment I've written for Yuletide, at a bit over 5000 words. (Seven Badgers of Troy was a bit longer, but it was both a treat and the structure made more words fairly easy.)

(My thanks, as always, to Elise, who is an excellent beta, and also to Liza, ditto.)

I was hoping to try my hand at at least two treats this year, and one of them is still kicking around in my head.
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2016-11-11 08:05 am

Brownies of Doom

Reference to suicide, memorial )

The other thing people knew is that she made brownies, known as the Brownies of Doom or the Om Nom Nom brownies. If you knew her, and you were having a bad time, sometimes she'd make batches and send them out. She'd contribute them to fundraisers, where they'd go for $40+ for a small batch. They are decadent and glorious, and even I, chocolate lover that I am, can only eat a tiny piece at one time. (They also store well.)

She's had the recipe she used posted online for ages, but it relies on photographs that no longer show up. I've made them several times starting just after she posted the original recipe, and while I don't usually do things exactly how she refined the recipe, the variations are also tasty.

But what I can do is pull the recipe together enough that her brownies, in a sufficiently recognisable form, can continue to exist in the world.

I'm going to write this up with the original steps, quote her comments from the revision, and then add my notes. If you have additional notes that help, please leave them in comments. (I haven't edited her comments, but did have to redo formatting.)

Recipe and instructions )
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2016-11-09 02:50 pm

Long resource essay on self-care in difficult times

I just posted it to my Seeking site (which has better internal navigation), and there is also a version on Tumblr for easy sharing there.

Please feel free to share widely so long as attributions and the links back to the Seeking site are maintained.

(Making this entry public for sharing / comment purposes, but reserve the right to remove comments that aren't helpful and/or close comments at some future point. I'll edit the note here if that happens.)
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2016-10-01 03:05 pm

Dear Yuletide Author

In which I discuss my requests and some other notes for the following fandoms: The Young Visiters (a book by Daisy Ashford), The Librarians (TV show), Constellations (Anthropomorfic), and Tower Prep (TV show)

Thank you for writing for me! )
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-12-31 01:14 pm

Yuletide recs

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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-12-25 07:59 pm

Happy Yuletide!

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.)
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-12-19 10:24 pm

Tam Lin : Revels North production 12/19/15

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 http://tam-lin.org/ 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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-11-12 09:06 am

Alex Mar's Witches of America

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.)

Disclaimers


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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-10-27 07:11 pm

The Epic Alternity Blanket

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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-10-17 05:43 pm

Dear Yuletide Author

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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-09-06 04:24 pm

Contact post re: the Alternity Wiki

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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2015-05-29 08:31 am

Tracking what you're doing

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)
2014-12-31 07:29 pm

My Yuletide stories

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: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
2014-12-28 05:37 pm

Yuletide recs

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)
2014-12-24 08:09 pm

Oh, excellent Yuletide

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.