ellestra: (tiger)
The nominees for the 2014 Nebula Awards (presented 2015) have been announced on Friday along with the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and nominees for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Trial by Fire by Charles E. Gannon
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
Coming Home by Jack McDevitt
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress
The Regular by Ken Liu
The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert
Calendrical Regression by Lawrence Schoen
Grand Jeté (The Great Leap) by Rachel Swirsky

Sleep Walking Now and Then by Richard Bowes
The Magician and Laplace’s Demon by Tom Crosshill
A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i by Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado
We Are the Cloud by Sam J. Miller
The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson

Short Story
The Breath of War by Aliette de Bodard
When It Ends, He Catches Her by Eugie Foster
The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye by Matthew Kressel
The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family by Usman T. Malik
A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide by Sarah Pinsker
Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon
“The Fisher Queen,” Alyssa Wong

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Edge of Tomorrow, Screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie and Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth
Guardians of the Galaxy, Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman
Interstellar, Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan
The Lego Movie, Screenplay by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Love Is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King
Dirty Wings by Sarah McCarry
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I see Birdman has been nominated. I've seen arguments on the web with people fighting whether it is or isn't sf. I think it depends on whether you believe he flies on the end or not.

Last day

Dec. 31st, 2014 02:06 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)

I hope this will be good year for everyone and one to realise all your plans. My plan is to finally go home (it's been 2 years since the last time). And even after the big trip through National Parks I still have Yellowstone to see (but that might be 2016).
ellestra: (slingers)
It's the end of the year and it's time to sum up this year in science and that's a much better story than news. Multiple sites have than their pick of th best and most important science and technology stories this year - from weird to futuristic, from space to new element and quark combinations, from new biological organs to synthetic chromosomes and from Nature to Science. And Wired. And New Scientist. And Scientific American.

There are things that only just happened so I didn't get a chance to write about them yet and they didn't land on any list - like the strange fish that lives 8 km deep in the ocean and looks more alien than most science fiction creatures ever will (although it kind of reminds me of Falkor). Scientists learning how to speak monkey. Venus is hell (hot, hot, hot and full of sulphur) but NASA Research Center has plans to put cloud cities on it high in the Venus atmosphere where it's not too bad - apparently living just above hell is doable just as long as you don't fall. And you can name a crater on Mercury.

For me the two most important things that happened in science was - one - all the progress at organ replacement and prosthetic - from new ways to create stem cells and 3D printing organs and growing replacement ones in a vat - like vaginas to creating new, better fitted, cheaper and cooler, prettier 3D printed prosthetics and reconecting nerves in paralysed to advances in cybernetics that allows for mind-controlling the artificial limbs and feeling the objects you touch (bionics is real and cyborgs are no longer sf). Two - all the comet stuff - the Rosetta mission most of all - from the Philae drama to water that's different from the one we know (so comets are not the source of our oceans) - but also the Siding Spring pass of Mars.
ellestra: (winged)
2014 was not a happy year in the world. Climate change lead to another warmest year on record - and weird weather patterns from very warm winter in Europe (and melting Olympics) and record heat waves in Australia (50 oC!) to severe drought in California, South Africa, China and Brazil, extreme floods in Africa, Indian subcontinent and Europe and cold eastern part of North America. Let's hope the food shortages are not going to be too bad.

The anti-vaccine movement has achieved giving us vaccination related deaths when the lack of vaccinations has led to resurgence of almost forgotten diseases. And the Ebola outbreak is still going on in West Africa and people are still dying (even thought it stopped being on the news now that no Westerners are sick). And still even more people die from flu and malaria every year.

And then there was all the things we did to each other. From the nightmare fuel of ISIL and Boko Haram to Vladimir Putin's using Hiler's tactics and excuses for territory grab. The racial tensions in US and Brazilian protests against World Cup corruption (and FIFA washing their hands of slavery and death in Quatar and proving to everyone that they are the pit of corruption and evil). The internets full of misogyny (both stolen pictures and Gamergate). It's sometimes hard to believe all the kinds of evil people will do to others and then explain it as just and necessary and for the greater good even when you see it happening in front of your eyes. Do Boko Haram and ISIL leaders really believe "god" wants them to kill and rape kids? Was the "defending" of ethnic Russian's in Ukraine worth them dying in war torn land and the economic collapse of your country? What kind of denial makes killing unarmed people justified? Or threatening someone with death and rape just because they said/wrote something you didn't agree with? Or ignoring death and suffering just so you don't have to admit you were wrong? I'm not even going to link any of that because it's already too depressing and I haven't even mentioned the random terror attacks, shootings and Bill Cosby.

And, of course, my cat died so I can't even find respite in my personal life.

There were some good stories - especially Malala one of hope and bravery - but this has been a bad year. I hope next one will be better.
ellestra: (river song)
It finally stopped raining and was sunny today. This means it's now quickly getting colder and almost feels like winter (there should be frost in the morning). And it's time for Doctor Who episode while I'm wearing one of my presents. This really starting to feel like Christmas.

I loved Last Christmas. I think it went there on top of my favourite Doctor Who Christmas specials along with A Christmas Carol and The Christmas Invasion (The Time of the Doctor is a bit more special than normal special). I loved everything about Last Christmas from the Inception and The Thing (and of course Alien) borrowings to the classic Moffat obsession with looking and monsters. Everything including Santa Clause worked perfectly in this episode.

I loved Nick Frost's Santa and his banter both with the elves and the Doctor - especially when Santa was using Doctor's own lines against him. Of course the last scene that leaves you wondering whether they are out of the dream or the Santa was real all along was perfect too. Especially after all his jibes about how Doctor is no more believable - alien in a blue police box - and of course call back to the Robin Hood episode (Doctor should now by now not just call people non-existent). So is the Doctor another dream? Of course the Inception doesn't end there - the whole thing with old Clara was also part of it (the callback to last year with helping with the cracker was almost too much - especially after the kick in the feels with Danny). I knew she wouldn't die but I thought that that was true, that this is how Clara leaves, that this was what Jenna was alluding to in all those interviews. They completely got me there (but I knew there were still dreaming because Santa on Clara's roof so at least I got that).

The facehugger crab monsters got Alien callback in the script but everything else from crab legs to polar base and taking over and the paranoia was The Thing. In the movie they didn't know who was real here they didn't even know what is real and nothing is. I loved how it seemed like they are in the (near) future and even that wasn't true. The whole polar expedition is just a fantasy - both a dream - better life than their real ones - and a nightmare - alien horror movies kind. And of course they were typical Moffat monsters - only see you when you see them and think of them - a kind of reverse Silence scenario. There's a reason why it works so well so many times.

I loved that Santa saves the day. Multiple times. Even if he was imaginary.

Even dream Danny is perfect and saves Clara. I'm still so mad that he's dead.

I now consider my theory that Twelve have face recognition disorder confirmed - he couldn't tell if base crew are the same people nor Clara's age - our faces mean nothing to him.

I loved the jokes. I loved the plot. I loved the guest characters - Ashley, Shona, Fiona and Albert (another Troughton on Doctor Who) and of course Santa and comedy elves.

There was a lot of episodes this season that just made me angry and it made it hard to like Twelve as much as I liked the other Doctors but this one was perfect. And Clara and Doctor are perfect and I'm so glad she's staying.

This was not my day. I was a walking disaster today - dropping and spilling and crushing everything I touched. I'm surprised there isn't more damage. Although my laptop might be dead - I'm not sure yet. So at least I had the Christmas special - it went perfectly.


Dec. 24th, 2014 03:34 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
It's been raining for 3 days now. Yesterday evening it was a regular downpour with water streaming down the streets today it's mostly back to drizzle. It's also been getting warmer and it's 16 oC outside now and I just was walking outside in my short sleeves t-shirt. So it looks nothing like Christmas. But in a way it does as who really have seen snow on Christmas? Most of my memories is rain and mud and that's what's outside (only warmer) and that's what my family says they have back home. So I talked to them while they've been eating Christmas Eve supper and they showed me their presents (we open them after the supper is done) - my favourite was when my nephew got a nerf gun and my nice got a bow and they proceeded with shooting everything including each other.

So here is your presents - BBC radio adaptation of Good Omens. The first 3 episodes are already available worldwide and will stay on for next 4 weeks. The final 3 episodes will be out in next 3 days. It is pretty awesome and there's cameo in first episode that you really want to pay attention to.

And in preparation for traditional Doctor Who Christmas episode here's Doctor Puppet Christmas special:

And here's the card with that tiny bit of winter I got last February.

And now I go to celebrate Christmas Eve with friends. Enjoy your Holidays.
ellestra: (aeryn)
I was planning to go and see Hobbit 3 today but between my consumption-like cough and the weather I decided to stay inside. Unfortunately for me when I'm sick like this I the cough and phlegm it dislodges last weeks after the initial infection (in Polish dense phlegm like that can be referred by the world that also means crude oil so my mother used to joke I'm an undiscovered deposit). When I was a kid I was constantly sick like that and usually it was at least a two weeks affair (if I went to American school I would fail to move to next grade on absences alone - luckily for me Polish schools only care about grades and mine were good). So I'm trying to just get to a state that wouldn't make people look at me like I'm plague ridden (I'm no longer contagious I just sound like it).

Weather today was also not cooperating - it actually snowed (all my family and friends in Poland were extremely jealous - it's too warm even for frost there) in the morning for little over half an hour before it turned into rain and the maximum temperature outside reached the hight of 3 degrees Celsius. So I also scraped my shopping plans - the cold may not get one sick but it makes my sinuses hurt more. It's supposed to get warmer (19 oC on Christmas Eve!) and still rainy so, hopefully, it be good both for my asthma and my whatever this is at this stage.

So since I'm not seeing any new movies this weekend here are the films I saw this year but haven't written about because of various breaks in the reporting.

Lucy - I liked the general idea and the visuals were very cool but the whole "we only use 10% of the brain" thing has to die. I was so concentrated on ignoring this I think I missed some of the plot, especially Morgan Freeman part as he kept repeating this nonsense ad nauseum. Seriously, they could've replaced it with the drug making more synapses. Not that it'd give you superpowers but is not as offensively stupid and it would've made more sense in the context - drug explanation would actually work better with it. But I thing Besson just wanted to count up to 100%. It was also hard not to notice it's his movie as he used his favourite trope of woman saviour/special chosen being that has to be protected and guided to her great destiny by lesser men (and defended by them which was especially ridiculous in this case as she has shown being able to just kill them with her mind). As women tropes go it's not bad (there's a reason we love his heroines so much) but it means that the only other female characters are in the film for like 5 minuets total (roommate and I think a flight attendant) and it only passes Bechdel test because of a conversations that barely even a dialogue. Everyone else, gangsters, policemen, scientists are all men. I did however like the multinational feel of the film from Korean gangsters in Taiwan to Americans in Paris. I also loved the lack of love story (or even the reverse of it - the boyfriend was waste of air and she only said professed love to her parents) and how the plot was all about Lucy's doing everything to reach her full potential. She's not there to save or revenge anybody, she just wants to improve herself and see what's at the end of the road, and everything else is just a background noise. The effects were beautiful, Besson always had an eye for incredible visuals, and, once I got over the 10%, the story was very engaging too.

The Guardians of the Galaxy - I loved it as everyone else including the fact that it began and ended with dancing. The only thing that bothered me was that Gamorra should've kicked Peter's ass and didn't need rescuing and generally wasn't badass enough for the most feared assassin and Thanos daughter but it might be just me projecting Aeryn Sun on her. This is unfortunate consequence of all the obvious Farscape similarities. This is why before I saw it I tried to ignore the obvious comparisons to Farscape to try to let it stand on it's own but I had to give up and just accept it basically Farscape the Movie (it was the plan that broke me, that was such a typical Crichton plan). But in all the film is a thing of beauty and I can't believe we still don't have dancing baby Groot.

The Theory of Everything - For a film about a progression of the disease this one have very little medical dram - there are only two doctors - the one who gives the diagnosis and the one who does the intubation but everything else is about the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane. Everyone else is background families, kids, friends. It could've easily been a film about the disease or about the triumph of genius mind over the disease but that also is a background. It's the story of living a life with the disease both for the man affected by it and the the one taking care of him with all the hardship and pain and humiliation that comes with it but also that there are still good parts and there is still fun (the Dalek impersonation slew me). Friend I saw it with said it's great there were all the comedic moments or it would've been too much and I think that that was very important to show it wasn't all tragedy. I loved that they were not condemning that in the end it was too much and they grew apart and divorced as . I loved that they shown both Hawking atheism (and that he stayed atheist all the way through) and his wife faith without condemning either. However, I felt that the film kipped through and glossed over their life. All we got were snapshots of the events that were told from the future when we already know that he lived to be 72 and the bitterness over divorce is long over so everything - from betrayals to indignities - is just a memory and everyone is so understanding. But that's just a minor consequences of making movie about living people you like. A little trivia - Kip Thorn (Penthouse bet guy) is the physics consultant for Interstellar who modelled the blackhole in the movie.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
So I'm sick.

It all started three weeks ago with an itch. My first I thought it was just strands of the hair touching my neck. Then I thought it was an allergic reaction - mostly because I started to also get asthma symptoms and that even with me taking all my drugs. So I went to see a doctor and it turned out I wasn't having asthma exacerbation because something I touched or ate that also caused a rash. My throat was itching because I my asthma was so bad. So I got nebulizer treatment (and it stopped the itching so ) and went on highest dose of all drugs. I was hoping to avoid the worst - oral steroid. But unfortunately it only got worse. I got the first dose of steroid in the injection and that really hurt. I also got a cramp and couldn't sit for a while. Then I spent the next week on the oral steroid. I sincerely have no idea how anyone would take steroids from their own volition. It seems like a complete insanity to me as I always beg not to do it. But I get all the side effects and then some.

I go with it and suffer through all of that because it beats not breathing. The truth is - steroids help with asthma. They make symptoms go away. So when I was back to be able to walk a little faster then slow and run few meters without feeling like my lungs are about to burn inside I stopped taking them.

Of course by then I had the full spectrum of side effects. I got all the usual stuff like hunger attacks when you feel sudden, painful hunger that twists your stomach even when you've just eaten and are completely full. That's a really weird feeling to be full and hungry at the same time. And of course it resulted in weight gain too. There's also trouble with sleeping because of elevated heart rate and also in my case also elevated temperature (which means normal human body temperature as mine is normally lower). And dry mouth. And also the some less known side effects like eye problems - I have trouble with accommodation when I take it for too long. I can't wait for diabetes and/or glaucoma. Why would anyone do it voluntarily escapes me.

One more side effect is suppressing immune system so two days after I got all clear for asthma and stopped taking the corticosteroid I got sick. Like normal, viral infection sick this time. Just in time for the weekend. So now I sit home with fever (37.8 - doesn't happen that often too me) and sore throat and aching ears and something disgusting, almost solid and super sticky coming out of my nose. I was supposed to be finally fine and then this happened. Even the doctor's first reaction to seeing me again was "oh no, not you again". We even exchanged Holiday wishes last week - we didn't expect to see each other again this year.

And I don't even know why it all happened as I usually don't have asthma symptoms this time of year.
ellestra: (winged)
I almost forgot about this so before it's too late here are the winners of The 2014 World Fantasy Awards:

Best Novel
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

Best Novella
Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages

Best Short Fiction
The Prayer of Ninety Cats by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Best Anthology
Dangerous Women by Gardner Dozois & George R.R. Martin

Best Collection
The Ape's Wife and Other Stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Best Artist
Charles Vess

Special Award - Professional
Irene Gallo for Art Direction of Tor.com

Special Award - Professional
William K. Schafer, Subterranean Press

Special Award - Non-Professional
Kate Baker, Neil Clarke, & Sean Wallace, Clarkesworld

And because I'm almost 2 weeks late here's an extra - Ursula Le Guin's acceptance speech for National Book Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of her contribution to "American literary heritage".

You can read about Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) thing on marysue. I was trying to have nice things here.
ellestra: (lightning)
When I last commented on weather - on Thursday (all those leaves are gone now) - it was just getting colder after 20-something day that had people wearing shorts all over the campus. On Friday it was barely 5 and it felt colder and as soon as it got dark (and that's pretty soon now) it got even colder. It was -6oC at night and I had to take all the flowers from balcony inside. Then it started getting warmer again and today it was 20oC again and foggy, rainy in a kind of nice warm autumn way. Now it rapidly getting colder again and it's supposed to drop below freezing soon. Tomorrow's highest temperature 3o with windchill making it feel 5 degrees colder. It will feel below freezing all day. It will drop to -7 at night.

It's going to be colder here than in Warsaw, especially at night, but it's supposed to snow back home (with rain to make it really dangerous and unpleasant instead of pretty) so they are still closer to winter. Of course it already snowed in a US - it snowed in the mountains here in October (the skiing resort opened) and in New Mexico at the end of last week . And this second wave of cold is supposed to repeat it all over again (some more panicky media use the word blizzard, other just promise snow storms). I don't think it's going to snow here (my friend said she saw a snowflake on Friday but that's just hearsay) but my Brazilian co-worker can't wait to see some. For now she marvels at her first ever autumn leaves.

I'm waiting for another hot spell - week from now it's going to be above 20 again. Right now forecast says few 16o nights which means sleeping with open windows again. Although I wish the weather would just decide one way or the other. Right now it's almost like switching between winter and summer clothes on a daily basis.


Nov. 13th, 2014 11:41 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
Last year it ended to fast but this year it's been warm and sunny so far so autumn looks pretty spectacular. The best season here. The temperatures are nice - it's middle of November and only now we are to have a longer period of below 10oC at day and regular below freezing at night. So far it's only been one or two cold nights in the row before getting really warm again. It was even 20-something still yesterday. I don't have the horrible allergies I have in spring. And the colours are spectacular. Just look at this:

ellestra: (sunrise)
A week ago it was still 28oC and it was hard to remember that October was ending. Then came the first cooling and the temperatures dropped to below 20o and then on Halloween night it got even colder and started to rain. In the mountains that rain fell as snow which is apparently shocking at the beginning of November (even if not unheard of) but here it was just cold drizzle. A real November weather in other words. It continued on and off through Saturday and the temperature was barely above 10o. On Sunday it was even colder but sunny again and the lack of clouds meant the night got really cold and the temperature dropped below 0o for the first time this autumn. So this morning, while I'm still not fully switched to winter time and it's easy to wake up at dawn, I went and took some photos of frost.

ellestra: (sunrise)
As always when I can I took some photos of the eclipse. It wasn't much - there was barely a bite before the sun set - but I only travel for total (and annular) eclipses and this one missed the Earth completely. But if you are north and/or west of here I hope you had good weather and nice viewing spot and saw the much bigger bite. I'm already planning to see another total one.

My favourite photos from today - one looks like sun is an engine spewing fumes and the other like it's eating the tree top.
ellestra: (sunrise)
Tomorrow a partial solar eclipse is going to be visible in almost all of the North America and far eastern Russia and northern Japan. If you are in any of those places and it's sunny you can see it too. Eclipse calculator allows you to find a close city to see the times the eclipse is going to be visible where you are and how much of the sun is going to be covered. For me it's going to be below 40% but in northern US and Canada it can be up to 90%. So if you have something to look through (don't use sunglasses or look directly at the Sun!) it can be a pretty cool view. I use multiple layers of large overexposed and developed film but that's because they are easy to find for me. That type of film is used in biology and one can always find ones from botched experiments in the the dark room. Those are perfect. Welding mask filters and, of course, eclipse glasses work well too. I also have my camera filter I used to take pictures of the annular eclipse. Time to use it again.
ellestra: (tiger)
It's Nobel season again and now that we know all the important ones (sorry, I don't feel the same excitement for Literature, Peace or Economy prizes). So here they are:

The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine was awarded for the discovery cells that make up a positioning system in the brain. They are responsible for our ability to create a mental map of the surrounding space and our ability to navigate it. John O'Keefe, from University College London, work on mice allowed him to discovered the first part of the brain's internal positioning system - "place cells" located in the hippocampus that formed a map within the brain. May-Britt and Edvard Moser, from Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, discovered "grid cells" that help the brain to judge distance and navigate.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for invention of efficient blue LEDs which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources. Isamu Akasaki, of Meijo University in Nagoya and Nagoya University, Japan; Hiroshi Amano, of Nagoya University, Japan; and Shuji Nakamura of the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA were able to achieve something that others have been trying to do foe decades. They finally produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s which combined with already existing red and green LEDs allowed for creating efficient white light sources.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded for improving the resolution of optical microscopes. Eric Betzig of Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Stefan W. Hell of Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the German Cancer Research Center; and William E. Moerner of Stanford University developed super-resolved fluorescence microscopy which allows to study tissues at the level of single molecules and allow for creating 3D pictures of those cells with nanometre accuracy.

This also made me realise that I've been slacking and haven't mentioned this year's Ig Nobels which were particurarly strong this year.

Physics Prize went to authors studying how slippery banana peals are.

Neuroscience Prize was awarded for researching why people see Jesus in toasts and the Psychology one went to scientist showing that the psychopaths stay up late.

In the cats and dogs research Public Health Prize was awarded for investigating if living with a cat is a danger to one's mental health and Biology Prize went to those who published that dogs prefer to align their body axis with Earth's north-south geomagnetic field lines when they defecate and urinate.

Art Prize for checking if people, shot in the hand by a powerful laser beam, feel more pain when looking on ugly painting or pretty one and Medicine Prize for treating nosebleeds with packing the nose with strips of cured pork.

Nutrition Prize for the study titled "Characterization of Lactic Acid Bacteria Isolated from Infant Faeces as Potential Probiotic Starter Cultures for Fermented Sausages."

The one that really made me LOL was the Arctic Prize for testing how reindeer react to seeing humans who are disguised as polar bears.

But nothing beats Italian government's National Institute of Statistics that got the Economics Prize for taking the lead in fulfilling the European Union mandate for each country to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling, and all other unlawful financial transactions between willing participants. Guess who didn't accept their award?
ellestra: (sunrise)
The big weather front that caused a lot of storms all over the place arrived here on Friday afternoon. At least they forecasted storms but all really happened was a little bit of rain but the temperature went down pretty rapidly. It's been only 7 oC at night (and below 20 during the day) and it's even got my apartment cool enough today I don't need AC to sleep anymore. It's been pretty nice actually - sunny and nice - great weather for walking and biking. After all it's already October and even here it's starts to feel like autumn at times.

Back home it's already been below 0 at night already so the trees are rapidly changing colours. Here it's just slowly starting. One of our Brazilian students is going home this week and she so excited by even this slight change. She never saw it before and she thinks it's awesome even though they barely have any colour yet. Everything is exotic to someone and North American autumn is especially beautiful. She said she loves it also because the temperatures are just like in her winter which is her favourite season. Unfortunately she's going back to the 3rd summer in row.

To me for now it mostly smells like autumn. Especially now that it's cooler. And I got a giant spiderweb on my balcony. It's at least a metre tall. Very autumny.

Next week we are back to mid twenties so the summer is not ready to give up on us yet. After cool summer this is mostly a pretty warm and autumn so far.


Sep. 1st, 2014 10:31 pm
ellestra: (muppets)
Originally written 2014-07-13
YAY! Germany won the World Cup! Just like I wanted. I would've said that if any other final four team won but I liked Germany to win the longest.

I wanted them to win since 2002 World Cup in Germany. Their team has been fun to watch on every World Cup since then and they were good and getting better. Like one of the commentator said when they made semifinals again - "semifinal or what Germans call home". They were consistently good for years and have the best team on this World Cup and they always seem to have a lot of fun playing together. I was very happy to see them win. And I loved when Klose was coming out of the pitch and the whole stadium gave him standing ovation. He is now the World Cup's top scorer. I only felt bad when they made poor Messi go up and down all these stairs again and again.

Now I'm switching my allegation to the Dutch - now they are that team that almost won so many times that I want them to finally get to hold the Cup.

I waited with reposting this till today. I thought it'd be appropriate to post a Pole being all excited over Germany team (with two Poles on it) winning the World Cup on the anniversary of the WWII starting. Just 75 years later.

Also I need to say that I loved the victory celebrations - the crowds and the team unveiling the Cup - seeing how much joy it brings to the winning nation is really what is all about for me.
ellestra: (sunrise)
Originally written 2014-07-11
On Wednesday Germany destroyed Brazil 7-1. Since then everyone has been talking about how extraordinary this was and compare with other big loses (and for Americans explaining the level of devastation by translating it to the sports they understand). But the overwhelming feelings where first shock and then schadenfreude.

When I watched the Germany pile the goals there was shock - you just don't expect something like this at this stage. It's one thing for Portugal to do it to North Korea in group stage but not in semifinals. Not to Brazil. At one moment I wasn't sure if I watch a repeat or another goal. Brazil defence was just like poles Germans just dribbled around - they were not playing. It was a shock, disbelief but then even the commentators started laughing. After the fourth goal I started to cover my eyes it was so bad. But I still peaked because it was like watching a train wreck. Only without anyone one dying so after you got over the shock you could safely switch to schadenfraude. So really it was like watching a celebrity meltdown live - some careers might've died that day but no one really died so we could all point and laugh.

This means that the whole thing was entertaining but it was not a good match. In fact it was a really horrible one. Which is probably why some Americans have such a problem with soccer. It's not really about the number of goals. Of course they matter too but if the teams are not balanced it just gets sad fast. This is why noone prises Astralia 31-0 American Samoa as the greatest match ever. But in Brazil's case there was certain enjoyment in seeing the might fall. All the photos of Brazilian fans in tears and all the memes. One thing about sport is that we can watch the mighty fall and enjoy their misfortune without feeling bad about ourselves. After all everyone gets second chance the next time around (look at France - they are a real team now).
ellestra: (tiger)
The 2014 Hugo Awards winners were announce today on Worldcon in London. Here are the winners:

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

Equoid by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)

The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com/Tor.com, 09-2013)

The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)

Time by Randall Munroe (xkcd)

Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films;Warner Bros.)

Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

Ellen Datlow

Ginjer Buchanan

Julie Dillon

Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki

A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester

Kameron Hurley

Sarah Webb

award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

Sofia Samatar

I loved Time (I made few posts about it) so I'm happy for xkcd. I'm big fan of Laundry series so Equoid is also a favourite (but it's better to read at least something in the series before reading it) and Charlie Stross story of its creation is fun too. You can read it on tor.com as well as the wonderful The Lady Astronaut of Mars and The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere. I have the Ancillary Justice on my kindle already - I just need to find time to read it. But first - Assail (Malazan always takes precedence). I'm very happy for Gravity but I would've rather had An Adventure in Space and Time or Orphan Black win (I have a feeling that GoT won on shock value here).

If you want to you can rewatch the award ceremony or read the best moment summary.

New Post
ellestra: (tiger)
The finalists of this year's Chesley Awards, celebrating science fiction and fantasy art, have been announced. You can see them all through the tor.com links. My personal favourites which show I have two favourite artist this year - Julie Dillon and Justin Gerard:

I love the whole 3D category and I'm very happy for Otto and Victoria for their Interior Illustrations nomination.

May 2016

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