The occasion was the Great British Bake Off, which I have got sucked into because of a work sweepstake. There are 24 of us in it, 2 of us drawn for each GBBO contestant yesterday morning. Each week after a contestant goes out, the two unlucky colleagues have to cook something on the week's theme and bring it in for everyone else to taste and fill out a scoresheet for a mini-contest. (All the invention of one of my colleagues who likes to organise this kind of thing.)
Literally everyone signed up has made disclaimers about how they are not very good cooks and not to expect much, although in my case this is completely true. Charles has volunteered to help me, and he is already a better cook than I am, so I won't turn it down!
Anyway, having signed up, I felt I should at least try an episode to see what the fuss is about ... and I can completely see why it's such a popular show. Tony got sucked in too, and I might actually try to make a habit of this. I have Val, so I was getting a bit worried last night, but thankfully I've been spared my cooking ordeal for another week. (On the other hand, it might be nice to get it out of the way early, before expectations have been set too high.)
GBBO was followed by The Chronicles of Nadiya. I had picked up on the wonderfulness of Nadiya Hussein, last year's GBBO winner, through fannish osmosis, and I really enjoyed this show following her from her home in Luton to the village her parents came from in Bangladesh, with a great deal of food and family interactions. I completely see why everyone was enthusing about how lovely Nadiya is. I think the Explaining My Culture To The Presumed-Ignorant Viewer was done with a great deal of grace and straightforwardness. This week of all weeks I really appreciated the segment where two young articulate women (Nadiya and her cousin) talked about the importance to them of wearing hijab.
There is a second part next week after the GBBO. I'm looking forward to it very much, if I can pull off being free to watch them both in time again.
- Hamilton: An American Musical, and my Tor.com piece on it which discusses how it uses history and why scifi fans are into it
- The contemporary and historical romance novels of Courtney Milan
- The Indian comic book company Amar Chitra Katha
- thingwithwings's Captain America fanfic Known Associates
- The BBC historical fiction TV series Indian Summers about 1930s India under British occupation
- Mary Anne Mohanraj's short story "Jump Space" and Ken Liu's short story "Single-Bit Error", both of which appeared in the anthology Thoughtcrime Experiments which my spouse Leonard Richardson & I co-edited & co-published in 2009 (Mohanraj has since written a novel in this same universe, and Liu has in multiple interviews called the publication of "Single-Bit Error" a key turning point for his career; "Single-Bit Error" has since been reprinted)
- The Archive Of Our Own, a repository for fanworks (such as fanfiction)
- Laura Shapiro's critical fanvid "Only A Lad" which critiques the "bad boy woobie" trope
- bironic's Ancillary Justice book trailer
- The upcoming NASA biopic film Hidden Figures
- Benjamin Rosenbaum's blog post about translation of speculative fiction, including several statistics and a link to a directory of translators on the Society of Authors site
- The comic book Ms. Marvel
- Greg Milner's history of audio engineering Perfecting Sound Forever
- Angelica Gorodischer's Kalpa Imperial (translated from Spanish by Ursula K. Le Guin) (I didn't finish this book -- I think it's good but I need to give it another go and finish it)
- Andreas Eschbach's The Carpet Makers (translated from German) (championed by Orson Scott Card)
- Stanislaw Lem's Cyberiad and other works (translated from Polish)
- "Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs" (a short story about gun-toting, motocross-driving dinosaurs from Mars) and Constellation Games (a novel about video games, programming, and first contact with aliens), both by my spouse, Leonard Richardson
- The Member Assistance Fund, financial aid to help people attend WisCon, a feminist science fiction convention that happens in Madison, Wisconsin that happens in late May every year (Memorial Day weekend)
- The Tiptree Award for speculative fiction that explores gender -- recommend works now for the jury to consider, and buy books and T-shirts
- Michael Lopp's line that art is "the documentation of a thousand interesting decisions".
- Hari Kondabolu, an Indian-American stand-up comic whose work I enjoy
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl written by Ryan North, who also makes Dinosaur Comics
- "Cat, Dog, and Badger Each Own A Bookstore. They Are Friends." and "Quill & Scroll" (art in the latter by Brendan Adkins), my two children's book zines about animals who run bookstores
- Dan Slott's run on She-Hulk
- Joss Whedon's run on Runaways
- The Catwoman arc written by Genevieve Valentine
- Ta-Nehisi Coates's work writing Black Panther
- Kelly Sue DeConnick's work writing Bitch Planet (and the fact that she is one of the guests of honor for next year's WisCon)
- Beeminder, a service that helps you stick with habits
- !!Con, a conference about the joy, surprise, and delight of programming, and Katie Bechtold's !!Con talk "Code in Spaaaaaace!!!!!" about the constraints (physical, financial, and more) that affect how we write software for space-bound hardware
- Gordon Korman, Canadian author of books for children & young adults
- Kate Beaton's historical webcomic Hark! A Vagrant
- lionpyh's fanfic short story "Fifty Years in the Virtuous City"
- The Viable Paradise and Clarion writers' workshops for people who want to improve their skills at writing scifi/fantasy (I haven't been to either of these but I hear they are good)
- Changeset Consulting, the company I started that provides short-term project management and maintainership services for free and open source software projects and for companies that depend on them
- My past talks and stand-up comedy (and recordings, notes, and transcripts when available)
- Saravana Bhavan, an Indian restaurant in New York City
- TKTS, a set of kiosks to help you get cheap same-day tickets to live theater in New York City
- Free or cheap sightseeing in NYC: the Roosevelt Island tram and the Staten Island Ferry
- Dale Carnegie's self-help book How To Win Friends and Influence People, which changed my life when I read it in 10th grade
I had a very good time at Worldcon and am recovering now.
Your colleague's mobile phone keeps ringing when they are away from their desk, from the depths of their bag.
You dig the phone out, leave it on the desk, and pointedly turn it off.
You grit your teeth and wish the forcefield preventing you rummaging in someone else's personal bag also blocked sound.
Something else (see comments).
This morning I was feeling sad about having lost touch with all my friends from school. I went to a friend's birthday party when Charles was a baby, and that was literally the last time I saw any of them and I don't even know if I've still got the right email addresses for the very few I managed to keep in touch with after university, and it's been so many years etc etc. So after wallowing in feeling sad and useless for a bit, I thought to myself "you could at least try looking on Facebook, as you're there" ... and after some false starts I did indeed find several of them, and that has made me much happier.
(Also I was doing the thing of looking through a friend's list of facebook friends and saw one of them flagged with "1 mutual friend" and I was a bit surprised because I knew I hadn't added anyone from school yet, how small can this world be! But then I realised it was one of my brother's friends and we all grew up in the same village so it wasn't actually very surprising.)
I'm not expecting some great and grand reunion, especially as I'm about to turn back into a hermit for most of the next year. Just to be in a bit better (any!) contact with my oldest friends, and with what's important in their lives.
- visited York's Chocolate Story
- found a local playground for the children
- found a man blowing enormous bubbles near the Minster
- had lunch in the basement cafe of the Treasurer's House
- found our way to Rowntree Park, and back again via the Millennium Bridge
- took an evening boat tour
- visited the National Railway Museum
- took the bus to Castle Howard and spent a lovely day wandering the grounds
- had a delicious meal at Mason's with an incredibly nice server
- visited all three of the Barley Hall, Richard III Experience & Henry VII Experience, and walked around a large portion of the city walls
I think that was the last time I will ever book all four of us into a single family room for more than one night; we all need more alone time than was possible to achieve, and I'm giving up on all but essential plans for the weekend as a result, plus it gets ever harder to get the children to sleep when we are still awake in the same room. (And they still wake up at least an hour before I want to.) I think either adjoining hotel rooms or holiday cottages / apartments are the way to go, even if it does cost more.
I just became aware that the BBC and Netflix are making a new animated adaptation of Watership Down, to be screened next year. I particularly look forward to John Boyega voicing Bigwig.
[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]
* I am about 3/4 of the way through Neal Stephenson's Seveneves -- I see one work about it on AO3 and I'll probably read that and more after I finish the novel.
* "As Good As New" by Charlie Jane Anders
* Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
* the miniseries Tanner '88
with more ideas to come, for sure.