Brainstorming...

Sep. 22nd, 2017 08:11 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
Fay is over for TV night, and I'd quoted something from a story I was reading. It mentioned cheerleaders to which she responded with:

Fay: a goth cheerleader
me: a goth cheer squad
[various comments about school mascot possibilities]
fay: the Raccoon City Revenants
Me: Edgar Allan Poe HS Ravens

We also noted that Gothic Lolita fashions would actually work with cheer stuff because of the short skirts.


Hmmm... maybe twirling parasols instead of pompoms?

The Ganaraajy Arjun (Task Force Singh

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:50 pm
gridlore: Old manual typewriter with a blank sheet of paper inserted. (Writing)
[personal profile] gridlore
Beginning to gear up for the marathon slog that is NaNoWriMo. I'm doing a lot of background work, material that probably won't be in the book, but is essential for building a story in a setting that makes sense. To that end, I'm detailing the government and culture of the state that controls Task Force Singh. The main change is I'm getting away from Star Empires, because what a tired out trope that is!

The Beta Hydri system was settled roughly 300 years before the book's starting date, by way of a huge colonization effort headed by India. The effects of climate change and the ravages of the Warpox epidemic (a weaponized form of smallpox released in the 2060s by an unidentified group) was leading to mass famine. Volunteers from across southern Asia begged to be included in the mission. All told, over 5 million refugees were packed into colony ships and sent out.

The rigorous conditions on the poorly-maintained ships heading to their new home, named Arjuna after a mythical hero from Indian folklore, led to the creation of a strict hierarchy and a strong work ethic. Shelters needed to be dug and fitted out, vast hydroponic farms put into operation, and a million other details worked out. The colony thrived with an isolated oligarchy running things.

Power has concentrated in the hands of the Jagirdar; landed nobles who ruled through sheer economic power. The Jagirdar were the captains of industry and governors of the vast warrens of worker housing. A strong patron-client system grew as the Jagir houses provided for and protected the workers in their territories, while the lower class agreed to support their patrons nearly without question. As the colony grew to exploit both the resources of Beta Hydri and those of nearby stars, conflict among the Jagir houses grew to near warfare. Finally, the leading houses came to an agreement to form a new government based on wealth, a plutocracy with some nods to a representative government.

Today, the Ganaraajy Arjun (Republic of Arjun) controls sixteen star systems besides the home system of Beta Hydri. The government is headed by a Prime Minister. This official wields wide executive and judicial powers but holds his office at the pleasure of the Gomed Hol, the legislative body made up of Jagirdar representatives. Earning one of the 250 seats in the Onyx Hall is simple: you bid for it. Powerful families will place a dozen or more of their clients and relatives in Gomed Hol to further family interests. A seat is held until a challenge is made for it by an interested party.

The people are represented in the Samsad (Parliament), which is based on population. Currently, the Samsad seats 573 voting members and numerous non-voting observers from the colonies. The Samsad is where legislation is proposed and passed, although the Gomed Hol can veto any bill with a simple majority vote. This has led to legislative gridlock and blocked any attempt at reform.

Members of the Samsad are elected from regional councils, which are elected by the people. One of the greatest issues on Arjuna is the growing demand for direct representation and more regional power. The Samsad is considered too remote, with each member speaking for an average of 3 million citizens.
The Prime Minister is charged with appointing officers to the various ministerial posts and running the day to day operations of the state and government. Prime Ministers are usually chosen by the party with the majority in the Samsad, or by coalition vote. Prime Ministers remain in office at the pleasure of the Gomed Hol or until his party falls out of the majority and a new Prime Minister is called for.

There are several unofficial political parties in the Republic and many small factional groups. The major players are:

  • The Expansionists. They support a strong central government and expanding the Republic. Currently, they hold a slim majority in the Samsad with strong support in the Gomed Hol.

  • The Traditionalists. A conservative, religious party dedicated to returning to old Hindu ways and promoting religious unification under one faith. The more radical members want a return to the caste system. They are partners with the Expansionists in the current government.

  • The Unionists. Their main platform is full membership in the Republic and full citizenship for those living on those worlds designated as colonies and ruled by appointed governors.

  • The Democracy Now Party. They demand the dismantling of the current state and full suffrage and free elections under a new constitution. They hold a small number of seats, but are quite vocal and vote as a solid bloc. They tend to support the Unionists, but the latter seems to be embarrassed by the antics of Democracy Now supporters. This faction has been linked to terrorism in the past.

  • The Consolidationists. Bitter foes of the Expansionists, they advocate spending precious Rupees on building infrastructure and improvements in the territories already controlled by the state and improving the lot of the citizenry.

  • The Isolationists. They fight defense spending and expansion tooth and nail. Once the strongest voice in the Samsad, they've lost dozens of seats over the years and are now a distant third after the Expansionists and the Unionists with almost no support in the Onyx Hall. Natural allies of the Consolidation Party, they break on several issues, so a true union seems impossible.


As I said, almost none of this will show up directly in the book, but it will help me build characters and tensions inside the task force. And if I get to a second book, I can see it being a more political novel focusing on the aftermath of the war shaking out in the defeated Ganaraajy Arjun.

(no subject)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:36 pm
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
Since I figured out where I got the socks from, and found a coupon for Target, I decided to go there after sorting through the mail and bills.. getting things cleaned up to start writing out the October bills next week. Trying desperately to remember when my cousin G's birthday is, I think its 2 October.

Going to Target yesterday was about all I could manage, decided to have conveyor belt sushi for dinner, and then got the trash together once I got home.

Its nice outside today, not sure what I want to do yet.

Its also officially Autumn...

On digging of ditches

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:01 am
brooksmoses: (Default)
[personal profile] brooksmoses
There are a couple of young men (from a local plumbing company) in my front yard digging a ditch -- or approximately so; it might be more accurately described as an enlongated hole to access a sewer pipe that needs replacing.

They've been at it for a couple of hours, and have made vastly more progress than I was able to make in quite a few hours of manual digging. Part of this is that they've got a small electric jackhammer, but it's clear that a fair bit of this is simply that they're better at it than I was.

Which just goes to show that "unskilled labor" involves skills too.

"Home away from home"

Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:07 am
rosefox: A bearded man in a yarmulke shouting L'CHAIM! (Judaism)
[personal profile] rosefox
Selichot )

Rosh Hashanah )

It's genuinely disorienting to encounter all these spaces where I don't have to educate anyone or fight to be seen for who I am. Other people have already done that work, and leaders have clearly been receptive to it. (Rabbi Lippman is queer, but I don't assume that cis queer people will be welcoming to or understanding of trans people, especially nonbinary trans people.) I get to just show up and be a human being in human community. What an immense privilege. What a gift. Honestly, that might be the thing that gets me to stick with this—just the pure pleasure of being in a place where I didn't personally have to claw out a space for myself.

Josh met me and Kit in the park and we walked for a while (GMaps Pedometer says I walked 3.2 miles today, most of it pushing a heavy stroller with a heavy toddler; my feet and arms are very tired). I teased him that he should be glad I didn't make him meet the rabbi. But this is my thing, really. Maybe it's my latest three-month hobby. Maybe it'll be more than that. We'll see.

iPods

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:53 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Haven't been around long enough for an adult to reference the technology as something around when they were kids. That's just crazy talk -- 16 years ago, you say?

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 02:09 pm
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
I didnt do much yesterday, I did find three different bags of meds from the VAMC in my hunt for the one bag that had the med I was out of. Ended up sorting and putting bottles away instead of doing much else. Watched it rain and sun through the windows.

Finally figured out where I bought the socks I gave to my Godson, his wife wants her own pair, or he needs his own pair cuz she took his.

Got a couple more things out of the Van, and read some more.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:42 pm
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
There are sunbreaks out there again, I will see how outside is doing and then get back to inside stuff. I need to deep clean out the fridge for sure.

It was nice to hear that the Eagle Creek Fire was close to fifty percent contained, and that the freezing level on the mountain was causing it to snow at Timberline, they have over a foot of snow!

I still would have liked to have that bit of summer between HOT and RAIN though, I hate going from having the AC on to having the furnace on in a day.

My brain has been interrogated.

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:48 am
gridlore: One of the "Madagascar" penguins with a checklist: [x] cute [x] cuddly [x] psychotic (Penguin - Checklist)
[personal profile] gridlore
It has been said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I mostly agree with that, it's another variant of "know yourself" and other such truisms making it clear that you need to be in touch with yourself before you can make it anywhere.

I would like to point out that I did pretty well as a blissfully ignorant soldier and truck driver, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make here. For the last few weeks, starting literally the day after we returned from Burning Man, I have been having my brain stretched by my neuropsychologist.

These evaluations and tests run the board from the kind of surveys that ask you about your feelings to tests of my ability to retain information to my critical thinking abilities and perception. The results, just from where I'm sitting, have been interesting.

Also exhausting. I leave these sessions feeling wrung out. Some of these tests are extremely hard, forcing me to really push my brain to manage them. Thinking can be hard work, especially when you are forcing yourself into areas that don't work so well due to some traumatic incident. Like a stroke.

So what have I learned just from my observations? My ability to retain and recall information is crap. I forget things really fast or lose them entirely in moments. This is even more pronounced when it comes to numbers. I simply cannot hold numbers in my head. This helps me understand why I am so bad with handling money these days. I can't keep the idea that we only have X to spend when I'm looking at an item that costs Y. Trying to keep those two figures is too much for me, so all I see is Y, and forget that X even exists.

This is why I ask Kirsten for permission to spend any money that isn't cash-in-hand. Even a five-dollar download for Civilization VI has to be cleared through her. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, since I think it's good to have one person being the final word on a family's finances, but it can be annoying. I'm a 52-year-old guy who needs permission to buy a book. But we deal with it.

While my ability to retrieve information is shot, I am much more likely to recall information if I'm prompted. We've done several exercises where there were lists of words in pairs. Trying to just remember the words was almost impossible. But when prompted with the first word, I was usually able to give the correct response. Same goes for the long lists of single words. Trying to remember them was a wash, but when asked for them by a category, like "vehicles" or "furniture", I was suddenly able to remember far more of the words than when just asked for the list.

I've also done many tests designed to examine my reasoning. Mostly puzzles and following directions. I'm happy to say those features seem to be working well. But again, when numbers come in I start to flounder. I suspect that my life-long troubles with math have only been made worse by the stroke. Thank Halford for calculators.

Where does this leave me? I'm not sure. I'm waiting for Dr. Dahl to score my last few assessments to see if we need to do a few more to nail down my exact diagnosis or if we are ready to move ahead with a treatment plan for my depression and hair-trigger emotional swings. I'm good with either path. To me, the important thing is moving forward.

But oddly, the most telling thing about my psyche that I've learned about in these past weeks didn't come in a nice office, but at Burning Man. I've volunteered with the Porta Potty Project a few times. It's a team that does education about how to keep the 1,400 blue rooms on the Playa in good shape, goes around to make sure that each john has toilet paper, and locks off the ones that have been vandalized or, um, desecrated beyond usability. This year, I learned that we might become an official part of the team that runs Black Rock City, and I might be able to drive my truck as an official vehicle to do the necessary work at the banks that lie in the deep Playa.

The way the concept of being able to drive in an official capacity again hit me is hard to describe. I spent nearly twenty years in the transportation industry, most of that as a truck driver. Even if it is just driving a couple of guys and boxes of toilet paper around, it will mean being a driver again. It will mean being part of a team. It will mean I have that part of me back if only for one week a year.

Here's hoping it happens.

AU Writing Meme

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:05 pm
pedanther: (Default)
[personal profile] pedanther
(via [personal profile] lost_spook)

Give me a character/pairing and I will write snippets of ten different alternate universes for it. One line, ten lines, a ficlet if you're lucky.

Wild West
Coffee Shop
Shapeshifters
Fantasy/Fairy Tale
. . . In SPACE!!
Apocalypse
Schoolfic
Emergency Services (Police, Firefighters, Paramedics, etc.)
Supernatural
Regency


Offer not valid for characters I've already done, namely Benny Summerfield, Kay Harker and Havelock Vetinari.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:14 am
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
It was a good thing yesterday that I cleaned two of my house gutters out. I did that between the rains, and I got a few more things picked up outside and put away. Cuz, yanno.. rains.

I awoke this morning to rolling thunder, which sounded like it was running a fast track by my house, followed by heavy lashing rains, which came from all directions, and it sounded like they power washed my windows while at it.

I waited until the rains stopped and set out on my New Book Tuesday rounds.

How *not* to design things...

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
The "pup" in the comics below is Florence a Bowman's Wolf (uplifted wolf species). She's as intelligent as a human.

http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff3100/fc03018.htm
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff3100/fc03019.htm
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff3100/fc03020.htm
http://freefall.purrsia.com/default.htm
(after thursday the above will get the wrong strip, try http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff3100/fc03021.htm)

I agree with Chris's dad. Especially given that it's a mobility device *with communications*. Killing the comms when there's a fault in the drive system is an *insanely* stupid decision.

What stupid design decisions have *you* had to deal with?

Using only the Brat Pack

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Cast a 1980s New Teen Titans film....
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
It occurs to me I haven't looked at the Heavy Gear rules in a long time....

Anthology kickstarter recommendation.

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:40 pm
brooksmoses: (Default)
[personal profile] brooksmoses
For those of you who haven't heard of it, David Steffen has been doing an annual collection of short stories, novelettes, and novellas called The Long List Anthology, collecting stories from the Hugo "Long List" -- the stories that were nominated for the Hugo but didn't get quite enough nominations to make it into the small list that goes on the voting ballot.

There are lots of good SF stories being written these days, printed in a wide range of places, and the first two editions of this collection have been full of really good ones.

I mention this now because the Kickstarter for the third edition has just opened. You can get e-books of the first two editions there as well as ebook and print copies of the third edition.

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