Reading, Listening, Watching

Aug. 23rd, 2017 06:22 pm
purplecat: (General:Books)
[personal profile] purplecat
Reading: I finally finished Crime and Punishement which was interesting but very monologuey. I've moved on to Unshapely Things by Marc del Franco, which seems quite good but I have a feeling I've exhausted my patience for wizards in garrets brooding about their tragic pasts.

Listening: I just listened to the first of the David Tennant and Catherine Tate Big Finish audios which I enjoyed more than I expected to - although they paired Donna up with another London temp and I actually, on audio, found them quite hard to tell apart.

Watching: A mixture of Wallander, Killjoys, Yuri on Ice and classic Doctor Who. We're doing quite well for choice of viewing options at the moment.
thewayne: (Default)
[personal profile] thewayne
My car needed an oil change yesterday, and now my transmission is in peril.

It's not like my car has special requirements aside from needing fairly standard synthetic oil, for the most part oil changes are fairly straightforward. And Subaru makes them quite easy on newer models: the oil filter is mounted on the top front of the engine! Once the oil is drained, you can remove the filter with a bare minimum of mess and fuss. It's a very sweet design.

We've been getting our oil changed at a tire shop that also does basic fluids. It's a regional chain that, for the most part, has been reasonable. I've had three problems with them in the past: they sold me a set of tires that were actually high-speed rated and inappropriate for someone who needed snow conditions (different location), they recommended a set of snow tires that when I looked at online recommendations were horrible in the snow (ended up buying fantastic snow tires from a place that gets LOTS of snow, Ruidoso) and they damaged the drain plug on my wife's car by a tech using the wrong wrench, and they replaced that eventually.

No, this time the "technician" messed up and removed the wrong drain plus, removing an unknown amount of fluid from my transmission. He put it back immediately upon seeing that he'd removed the wrong plug, but an unknown amount of liquid had escaped.

Here's the thing: engines have increasingly become sealed units, and the transmission and differential even more so. On my car, there's not even a dip stick to check the level. Get it serviced per specified intervals, and you should be fine. The car has to be connected to a computer for the car computer to tell how much fluid has to be added. The oil change place does not have such a device as they do not have a permanent mechanic.

I know what having no fluid in a transmission does to it. I'd had my '05 all-wheel drive Toyota Matrix for just a few months when I hit a rock going down the mountain to the darkroom to develop some film one day. I immediately put it in to neutral and coasted off the road in to a pullout, but the tranny was already dead. When the shop sales guy told me what happened, the only place that fluid could have come from was the tranny and the differential, both of which are bad to lose fluid from. We got the car on to a lift and he showed me the drain plug, it wasn't immediately obvious which sump it drained. We consulted the owner's manual and it doesn't show which sump it was, but it emphasized that these aren't to be serviced casually.

I call the El Paso Subaru dealership and arrange for me to email a service guy a photo of where the fluid came from. He identifies it as the tranny and says to not drive it, obviously, so the plan is to flatbed tow it to El Paso to the dealership and they'll set things right.

Surprisingly I actually wasn't too pissed off when this happened and I'm pretty level-headed and collected in a crisis. Shit like this is bound to happen occasionally. But I know from experience and 45 days without my Toyota Matrix that a car without transmission fluid means a car without a transmission, so the car was now undrivable until this was resolved. So flatbed my car to the Subaru dealership in El Paso, get me a rental car for two days as my wife was working Tuesday night (so I thought: turned out she was off) and everything should be fine.

But I started getting increasingly pissed off at the sales guy at the tire shop. I told him I'd have to have a rental and that we'd have to arrange a flat bed tow. And the guy just stood there. Didn't offer any assistance. Didn't offer to call higher up the food chain. Finally offered to call Enterprise Rentals, a block away. He calls them and arranges for a car that I'll walk over to pick up. There's still the tow to arrange. I ask him about tow companies, he has no suggestions. And now I'm getting really pissed. He's been totally passive, I've had to initiate everything to get my car taken care of, and I'm about to lose my cool and start shouting, something that I really don't want to do in public.

Finally with his lack of help I tell him that I'm going to walk to get the rental and I'll figure out the tow afterwards. It's now 6pm, I've been there since about a quarter to 3. I walk to Enterprise, there's someone at the counter so I step in to a side office to call my wife and tell her what's going on. She hasn't left for the observatory yet because, as it turns out, she's not working! She can come and get me, so we don't need a rental car. One less hassle. Cancel rental car and go back to dealership.

Mister Passive has spent an action token: he's called his region manager! I get to talk to the region manager and he says that they have the correct computer equipment and other tools to service my car in El Paso, and that this morning they will send up a certified mechanic and will set my car straight. So theoretically, my car should be put straight this afternoon.

But there will be a lingering problem: I don't know how much fluid was lost. I don't know if they'll tell me when I pick it up how much fluid was put back in. They had better! If it was just an ounce or two, if the "technician" was quick enough screwing the plug back in, it shouldn't be a big deal, it shouldn't be a problem. But if it lost a lot of fluid, there may be issues because....

The car was driven.

Some oil change places have a pit where there's a basement that a tech can work underneath your car without your car needing a lift. This place does not have one. So the car had been on a lift to be serviced, and when Mister Passive took me out to discuss the problem, it was not on the lift, it was then driven back on to the lift so we could see underneath. So it was driven twice, albeit very short distances, with a diminished fluid level in the transmission. I told the guy before I left that they need to push my car off the lift and not drive it as they would be open another hour last night as they'd need the lift as their second lift was broken.

So there is the possibility that my transmission is screwed up and may have to be replaced. I really should have stood my ground and have had it taken by flatbed to the dealership in El Paso.

One thing is certain: they're not getting any of my business again. We do over $200 worth of business in oil changes with them a year, which won't make much of a dent in their revenues, but I'm sure wherever we end up that they'll appreciate it.

And I just talked to the tech from El Paso. He added a quart of fluid, which means a lot was lost. Which means potential trouble, which means I get to call the dealership in El Paso again.

There's a reason why they don't have the equipment for filling the tranny here in Alamogordo and they had to bring a mechanic up from El Paso: they can't hire and retain a qualified mechanic up here. Shallow and poor quality labor pool. I think that extends to their oil change pool.

Imprinted Synopsis and Plan

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:41 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Imprinted Cover: DraftThanks to everyone for your feedback and enthusiasm on “Imprinted.” I’m looking at a tentative release date of January 9, 2018. I’m planning to confirm this and start getting preorder links posted over the next month or two.

A lot of you said you’d be happy to pay $2.99 for this 15,000-word novelette. From your comments, it’s a combination of loving the Magic ex Libris stories, and wanting me to get those nice 70% royalties that you don’t get with anything under $2.99. Others thought $2.99 was a little steep.

What I’m thinking about doing is launching the book at $2.99. Then, after it’s been out for a month or two, I’ll drop the price to $1.99. That way folks have a little more choice about what they’re willing to pay.

A few people said they’d prefer a print edition, and I’m looking into that. I wouldn’t expect a lot of sales here, and we’d be talking about a pretty slim volume, but it’s gotten easier to set up print-on-demand, so I should be able to make that option available.

Finally, here’s the synopsis I’ve put together. What do you think?


Jeneta’s magic could give us the stars…or destroy everyone around her.

Seventeen-year-old libriomancer Jeneta Aboderin is a prodigy, determined to move on from the horrors she’s faced and use her power to create a better future. To show the world that magic isn’t a threat to be feared, but a tool of hope. After eight months, she’s ready to present the Venture, a magically-created ship capable of reaching Mars within hours. It will mark a new phase of human exploration and discovery.

But at a crucial moment, her spell is wrested from her control and twisted against her. Whoever sabotaged her magic then begins to strike down those around her. The attacker haunts her thoughts and dreams, reviving Jeneta’s past traumas. And the most powerful magic-users at New Millennium are unable to help.

How do you stop an enemy who strikes from within your own mind?

This 15,000-word novelette is set eight months after the events of Revisionary.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

An interview with Jonty Stewart

Aug. 23rd, 2017 05:12 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Today I've reached the last stop on my blog tour and it's only right to feature Jonty Stewart, blethering on about family and life and cars...

Pop into Joyfully Jay to see what he's up to. Comment to be in with a chance of winning an audio copy of Lessons in Love. In fact, the more you comment the more chances you have of winning -  all the tour stops are listed here. Winner is drawn on Friday 25th.

Because otherwise ARRRRRRG!

Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:06 am
thaccian: teach or pass laws about teaching (Teach button)
[personal profile] thaccian
My kitty overlords, Gizmo and Widget

Gizmo & Widget

Posted at this moment because I need something soothing to look at while working to quell my boiling, roiling rage over everything POTUS.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Why I don't use automated checkout machines -- they cost jobs. Millions of jobs.

Where statues go to retire.

Is America finally ready for the bidet?

The Congressional Black Caucus is talking impeachment.

With all the weirdness, we might need some Help!


There is a lot of coverage of Trump's speech in Phoenix yesterday, ranging from "he's deranged" to "he made it all up" to "he plans to pardon that racist Joe Arpaio" and more. And there were 3000+ peaceful demonstrators outside -- at least, it appears, until police threw pepper bombs into the crowd. I do not have the oomph to chase all of this, but if you go to, you'll find a ton of links. Sorry. I am having vision problems (eta: because the frame of my glasses is bent and one lens is closer than the other, and I have ordered new ones that aren't in yet) and need to take care of my eyes today, ok? Thanks for understanding.
[personal profile] dragonlady7
My first scratch scrap in the embroidery machine is pretty full now. I need to find some colored thread to move on from single-color experiments but I figured I liked the monochrome aesthetic to start with. I’m also ready to move on from the built-in patterns and make my own patterns.

Day 7 Reveals 2017

Aug. 23rd, 2017 07:11 am
klb: (Default)
[personal profile] klb posting in [community profile] pod_together
Head of the Heartbreak Brigade (Marvel Cinematic Universe, DCU (Comics))
written by [ profile] youshallnotfinditso, performed by [ profile] AlannaLioness
Summary: Sometimes it takes falling in love with the wrong people to fall in love with the right ones; or, the not-quite love song of Steve Rogers and Clark Kent.

miles from where anyone can find you (Football RPF)
written by [ profile] neyvenger, performed by [ profile] mm_nani
Summary: Biggest thanks for Nani, for undertaking this project with me and encouraging me through it. Also huge thanks to Mai, for always coming through for me when I feel the worst writer's block, and to Merc, for making this presentable. And greatest thanks to Rach, for doing my research for me and fact checking all the United information. I love you lots.

The Short Way's Short but the Long Way's Pretty (Original Work)
written by [ profile] nimblermortal, performed by [ profile] ICryYouMercy
Summary: Sometimes, when you're too depressed to clean your room but it has to be done anyway, you summon the fairies and they carry you away to Goblin City and send you home with a job offer.

you're still a part of me (My Chemical Romance, Reggie and the Full Effect, Frank Iero and the Patience, frnkiero andthe cellabration)
written by [ profile] akamine_chan, performed by [ profile] dapatty
Summary: Things have been tough for Jamia since Rijl Six. One partner left her, one died on her, and the only things she can count on is her ship and her gun.
Being a professional freelance wealth redistributor is not all that it's cracked up to be.

First Date (Captain America (movies))
written by [ profile] redstaronmyshoulder, performed by [ profile] RsCreighton, [ profile] Night_Inscriber, [ profile] SomethingIncorporeal, [ profile] UstolemyNAME
Summary: For the Pod Together challenge

Those Who Have Dwelt In Darkness (The Silmarillion and other histories of Middle-Earth - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien)
written by [ profile] LadyBrooke, performed by [ profile] the_dragongirl
Summary: Narvi is hesitant to put his trust in others to make their weapons for the Final Battle.
AulÎ sees too many similarities to past events.

Mission Report: Operation Sidestream (Star Wars - All Media Types, Star Wars Original Trilogy)
written by [ profile] hapakitsune, performed by [ profile] bessyboo
Summary: Agents arrived on schedule and successfully took up residence at the resort. On the first day of the mission, the Happy Blasters made contact and negotiations began. On the third day all three agents in addition to the Happy Blasters were focibly escorted from the premises of the resort. Mission was a nominal success.

A Thought of Grief (Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling)
written by [ profile] lirin, performed by [ profile] Kess
Summary: There was a tension in the quietness at Malfoy Manor, after the war was over.
liadtbunny: (DC Script)
[personal profile] liadtbunny
Title: A Wealth of Currants (1741 words) AO3
Author: Liadt
Fandom: Doctor Who, Matthew Shardlake Series – C.J. Sansom.
Rating: General audiences.
Categories: Gen.
Warnings: Cake.
Characters: Matthew Shardlake, Guy Malton, Tenth Doctor.
Additional tags: Cake!fic, crack crossover.
Summary: Matthew and Guy are in a sticky situation, but Ten appreciates a change.
Notes: For the genprompt bingo prompt: artisan/craftsmen.
I will try for Teaspoon but I'm not sure about the sentences or Ten - it's been a while...
beatrice_otter: Han and Leia--Kiss (Han and Leia)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
You guys FAIL SO HARD.  How, how, how, how, HOW has NOBODY recced this fic to me?  This is like, my JAM.  It is what I have been waiting YEARS for.  It is a 200k word (for now) Star Wars time travel AU where Leia goes back in time from the end of TFA to the beginning of ANH.  And changes everything.  It is a WONDERFUL story, an incredibly fresh and novel take on one of my favorite tropes, the characters are so wonderfully written (and you can tell the author has a great grasp on the characters to get them so well in situations that are so different from what they were in the original timeline), THIS FIC IS SO AWESOME AND YOU NEED TO READ IT NOW.

(If you're not fond of WIPs, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger or anything.)

(Also, the summary is in 1st person, but that's because it's dialogue from the first chapter--the story isn't written in 1st person, if that's a dealbreaker for you.)

Of Queens, Knights, and Pawns (199023 words) by chancecraz
Chapters: 15/?
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars Original Trilogy
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Leia Organa, Anakin Skywalker | Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bail Organa, Breha Organa, CT-7567 | Rex, Mon Mothma, Davits Draven
Additional Tags: Time Travel, Time Travel Fix-It, Skywalker Family Feels, Implied/Referenced Torture, Angst
Summary: I went to sleep on the worst day of my life and woke to find myself in the past on the second worst day of my life. As experiences go, I don’t recommend it.


Aug. 23rd, 2017 07:40 am
istia: stained glass galleon (x | stained glass ship)
[personal profile] istia
I've been jazzed about seeing the movie Maudie (2017) ever since I 1st heard the buzz about it. Since its opening, the positive talk about it has made it even more appealing. Last night I got to see it & it was as rewarding as I'd hoped!

The movie's a bio-drama based on the life of Nova Scotian folk artist Maud Lewis, who lived from 1903 - 1970. It stars Brit actor Sally Hawkins as Maud & Ethan Hawke as her husband, Everett Lewis. Sean Bean was originally cast as Everett, but had to withdraw due to other commitments. Ethan Hawke apparently wanted to do the movie because of his love of Atlantic Canada, where he owns a house. Huh!

Maud had crippling arthritis, from a bout of rheumatoid arthritis as a child. She was a tiny, hunched woman who lived her entire life in chronic pain, which worsened as she aged till she could barely hold a paint brush. Even as a young woman, the arthritis was so crippling that she hobbled rather than being able to walk easily. Sally Hawkins, whom I've never seen before, does an outstanding job of conveying Maud's disability as well as her immense joy in nature & life, which she captured in her delightful, colourful art, & her spirited optimism despite a life spent in poverty, pain, & abuse of various kinds.

Spoilers & Images )

Future tech

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:35 am
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
[personal profile] thnidu
That's tech all right! According to Google, the Tech video was last viewed 9 hours, 43 minutes, 54 seconds in the future!

Screenshot from Google for Mashable. Under Tech, it says "-35034 seconds ago".

[personal profile] dragonlady7
ok I (sshhhh) downloaded SewArt on one of the work computers and fucked around with it for a solid hour this morning (shhhh!!!! i got some real work done in a few snatches here and there shhhhh) and have made .pes files out of a bunch of stuff I had saved in my dropbox as Cool Stuff.

Like the Neutral Face emoji, and Oliver Hazard Perry’s “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP” flag which is now an inside joke of my household, and some keen BB-8 lineart that I thought would make a good redwork (single-color outline-style) embroidery. I’m not super super impressed with SewArt, but it’s not bad. You just have to really really really really really get your file clean in Photoshop. I mean, like, I just dropped the neutral face emoji in there thinking like, no way do i have to flatten it, it’s only 2 colors? well SewArt found artifacts to make into separately-colored stitches in the perfectly circular perfectly black eyes, so I went back to Photoshop and just re-filled the circles with black. It’s still not perfect but I think it’ll look fine. 

If you’re really really fluent in Photoshop I think that helps a lot. I don’t think you really want to be using any of the image-editing tools in any of the stitch digitizers.

So, we’ll see. 

I still think I’ll actually buy the sole-available native-Mac program for myself, but why not use Sew Art’s 30 day trial first? 

But, we’ll have to see how well these actually stitch. I need to get into vector art, a lot of things it would just be easier to completely re-draw by myself. 

Why is that hilarious? I don’t know!

(Spoiler alert: they gave up the ship.) (Also for context we say “Don’t give up the ship” just like the guy says “don’t give him the stick!” in that one GI Joe PSA parody from the early days of the interwebs, so it’s kind of turtles all the way down, after a fashion. Memes all the way down. IDK)


Aug. 23rd, 2017 02:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat


When it gets too warm outside, vultures can melt.

Originally posted at


julesjones: (Default)

August 2017

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