TomTomTom by Thomas Snyder

Oct. 25th, 2014 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] grand_master_puzzles_feed

Posted by drsudoku

Note: This puzzle is a contest puzzle. All correctly submitted answers (in the applet below the puzzle) before November 9th will be entered into the contest drawing. Two solvers will each get a Grandmaster Puzzles/Thomas Snyder puzzle book of their choice.

TomTomTom by Thomas Snyder

(view directly for a larger image)


Theme: 200th Puzzle Contest Spectacular

Author/Opus: This is the 200th puzzle from Thomas Snyder, aka Dr. Sudoku.

Rules: To be determined by solver.

Answer String: Enter the final answer as a single string of twelve capital letters.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 20:00, Master = 35:00, Expert = 1:10:00

Note: Follow this link for classic TomTom puzzles. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest TomTom to get started on.

The post TomTomTom by Thomas Snyder appeared first on The Art of Puzzles.

Two movies

Oct. 25th, 2014 10:18 am
[personal profile] yendi
So we saw two movies for our anniversary:

Gone Girl is the perfect anniversary movie for a couple that appreciates the macabre. I can't imagine anyone's not familiar with it at least to some extent by now, but it's about a woman who goes missing on her wedding anniversary. We'd both read the novel, which was better, but the movie's probably as good an adaptation as possible. Rosamund Pike will definitely get an Oscar nom, as will David Fincher for his directing, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for their score, and Gillian Flynn for her screenplay. I'd also imagine that Ben Affleck will get one for his performance, Carrie Coon for supporting actress, and there's an outside chance of Tyler Perry, of all folks, landing a supporting actor nomination. The rest of the cast is superb as well (particularly Missi Pyle, who steals scenes in everything she's in and has done so for years).

If Gone Girl was a perfect anniversary movie, Birdman's pretty much a perfect movie. The movie's full title is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and it's pitched like a meta joke, but it's so much more. Yes, Michael Keaton plays an actor named Riggan Thomson who gave up a big career when he stopped playing a superhero. Yes, Edward Norton plays an incredibly difficult-to-work-for actor. But the movie's not about either of them, at least not directly. It's about the making of a play, about what goes into art, and about the line between fiction and reality. Norton and Keaton will both walk away with nominations, and director/co-screenwriter Alejandro González Iñárritu and his co-writers should get a couple as well. Emma Stone is wonderful as Keaton's post-rehab daughter, and the rest of the cast -- Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Lindsay Duncan and more -- are all perfect in their parts. But it's Keaton and Norton who really drive this movie, with their conflicts as the show moves through previews and Keaton's Riggan hearing the voice of the titular Birdman egging him on. There's a lot going on here, and it's better to go in knowing no more than what I've said. Just a damned-near perfect film.

Grown-up Dilemmas

Oct. 24th, 2014 11:30 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
I decided to curb the cookie-eating in favour of learning how to appreciate wine, but now I'm stuck.

Do I just get a plain tumbler set?

Or these etched stemmed glasses?

Or hang it all, just get some plain glasses and some cool wine charms?

(no subject)

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:24 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
Found it, the curtain call for Takarazuka Revue's "Romeo and Juliet" complete with feathers and Yuzuki Reon (aka Chie) as Romeo.

I have this conundrum in my soul where I want to bone and be Yuzuki Reon; I'm not confused, I just want to occupy both spaces at once because she is so fucking perfect.

- I graded most of today. Big whoop.

Mamá Toni, the matriarch

Oct. 25th, 2014 03:11 am
[syndicated profile] loteria_chicana_feed

Posted by cindylu

Lori, Mamá Toni, me

I heard a car idling outside at 4 am. Who idles at 4 am? I wondered. Was it my dad? No it couldn’t be. It was way too early even for my dad. I didn’t even bother looking at my phone. After a couple of minutes Sean stirred and eventually went to the door. It was my dad.

He was an hour early for his 5 am appointment. Two days before I had arranged for dad to give Sean a ride to the airport. On Tuesday morning Sean learned that his close friend of 12 years, Kevin, passed away suddenly. Sean booked a flight to NY to attend the services. Although I got to know Kevin too, I opted to stay home due to the expense. I enlisted my dad for a ride to the airport to save money on a cab or shuttle.

Sean got dressed and ready. He came back in to the room and said, “Your dad wants to talk to you.”

I walked slowly out to the living room and saw dad in the dark. He gave me a hug.

“Mija, I wanted to tell you. Mamá Toni is now in heaven. It just happened right now. At 3:05.” He drew me in closer. “She went away very peacefully. We were monitoring her.”

Oh. This was the second time in 48 hours I had been informed of a death after just waking up. Kevin was 36, his death was sudden and unexpected. Mamá Toni was 92 and for the past 8 months or so we knew she was quite ill. On Sunday when I saw her last, she stayed in bed all day and woke intermittently to greet the many family visitors who stopped by. We knew her death was imminent and the team of family nurses and caretakers (dad, mom, aunts, uncles and cousins) were working diligently to make sure she was as comfortable as possible.

“I wanted to tell you now, in case you want to come back with me after I take Sean. She’s still there, we haven’t called the nurse and mortuary yet.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll do that.”

I had already planned to take Xavi to spend a day or two at my mom’s while Sean was in New York. There’s more space for him to run around plus I could get a little help when I needed it. And there’s the bonus that he cheers up Papá Chepe and everyone else.

Oh. My heart sank. Papá Chepe.

Dad seemed to read my mind.

“He hasn’t woken up yet. We haven’t told him.”

I told dad we’d get ready and go back to Hacienda Heights with him. I wanted to let Xavi sleep a little longer. Sean hugged me tight and offered to cancel his trip but I told him no, he should go to Kevin’s funeral and see his friends. We would be okay and I wouldn’t be alone. I did ask him to pack up some things for Xavi.

Once dad and Sean left, I couldn’t go back to sleep. I lay with Xavi at my side going through all my Flickr photos tagged “mamatoni.”. There are over 200. Most are from the past 10 years when I first got a digital camera.

Tres generaciones

There are dozens at the January anniversary parties, birthdays, and holidays.

Dad and Mama Toní on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Adrian finally gets a dance with Mamá Toni

And then there are the oddball ones of her riding Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters at Disneyland or Adrian dancing kinda crazy with her. (That one isn’t goofy, but I love their expressions.)

60th anniversary

And there are the heart melting ones of her kissing Papá Chepe or holding a newborn Xavi.

Mamá Toni and newborn Xavi

She adored Xavi.

Mamá Toni, the matriarch

My favorite is the one above, which I titled “matriarch” from Mother’s Day 2006. Her face is fuller, her hair shows no grays (she still insisted on dying), she’s in tan rather than her signature lavender. I love her “let me tell you” expression. And mainly, I like that she’s somewhat smiling. It wasn’t easy to get a photo of Mamá Toni smiling.

When dad returned I got ready. I drove my car and he followed behind. Xavi woke up in the transition from bed to car seat. I sang to him on the way to HH. “You Got A Friend In Me” was tough. I cried for Mamá Toni and Papá Chepe and for Kevin and Sean.

We got home to find several cars and aunts and uncles sitting soberly having coffee and donuts. The door to Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni’s room was closed.

When my aunts opened it, they told me they had just told Papá Chepe. I went in to the room. He was being consoled by my mom and her sisters.

Mamá Toni was in her bed at the other end of the room. I touched her head and gave her a kiss. She felt cool but just looked like she was peacefully sleeping.

Papá Chepe was crying in a low wail. Really, I think the word “llanto” is more fitting. Llanto implies utter heartbreak and loss. And that’s what I imagine he feels after losing his wife and partner of 71+ years.

Someone asked if he wanted to see Mamá Toni, to touch her. He nodded yes and soon their two beds were side by side. Mamá Toni was on Papá Chepe’s left side, the side he can still move freely. He held her hand.

“We are here for you, your family is here and will continue being here,” my mom told Papá Chepe.


Over the rest of the morning more family members arrived. The funeral director and his assistant came a little after 9 to take Mamá Toni. And we paused to say the first of our goodbyes over the next week


Not sure how Adrian feels about Sean, the new brother in law

I’ve been at my parents’ house since Thursday morning. Family members and friends have come to offer condolences and others are busy planning the services for next Wednesday and Thursday.

It’s nice to be around my immediate and extended family at this time if only for the distraction. The house is far from being lonely, but Mamá Toni’s absence is impossible to miss.

Mamá Toni's health has been rapidly declining over the last few months. In August she was still moving around with her walker (which Xavi loved) and watching Xavi play. She hasn't been out of bed in 3 days, but is still greeting family members who come to

I don’t think that feeling will go away anytime soon. Mamá Toni and Papá Chepe have been part of my home since I was 9 years old and they were always part of family gatherings. It’s tough to think of home without Mamá Toni.


I’ve written about both my grandparents many times over the past 13 years of blogging. I know some of you will feel like you know Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni too. Or maybe you met them at some point.

Thank you for those who have prayed for my grandparents in these recent tough times. I deeply appreciate it. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts, especially Papá Chepe.

Unpopular Opinions

Oct. 24th, 2014 05:36 pm
yhlee: (AtS no angel (credit: <user name="helloi)
[personal profile] yhlee
Unpopular Opinions
(or possibly opinions that are actually popular, but no one informed me because I live under a rock, and also this parenthetical statement is too long for its own good)

I've been sick half this week and my concentration is shot, so why not?

1. Story vs. writing. I think there is a useful distinction to be made between story and writing; between the essence of the tale, and the language it is clothed in. I came to this opinion partly because of Joe. Joe is much better at story than I am, in the sense that he comes up with plot mechanisms that I find interesting. (I've mostly seen this in action in an RPG context.) I sort of cobble my stories together. I have a hell of a lot more practice with the language-clothing end of things. (It's as well it's just one of us with this specialty, because this way Joe earns money with physics, and we all eat.)

This is one of the reasons why, although I can tell the difference between good and bad prose (or what I consider good and bad prose, anyway), bad prose doesn't automatically eject me from a story. If a particular piece of fanfic hits my trope kink buttons? I will put up with all sorts of bad prose. If you're writing giant robots and smashy battles and your female characters don't suck? I will put up with your bad prose. Feed me a story I like--hell, not even a story but a bunch of happy trope kink buttons mashed up together--and I'll keep reading.

That being said, when I was reading slush [1], I would, in fact, bounce stories for bad prose. If I'm recommending something to the editor upstairs, I want the story to be good at both.

[1] I am no longer a slush reader, although I miss it and wouldn't mind doing it again someday.

2. I'm still bitter that real-time strategy completely killed turn-based strategy for the PC. But that may just be because I want to play M.A.X. for the rest of my life. And hey, there's Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, even if I expect to cause the planet to die horribly. I've played Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, but not any of the "regular" Civilization games. And even when I played SMAC, I would do it on one of the easier settings. But that's okay because SMC:BE is now on my hard drive, mwahahahaha.

3. I like Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations." It's manipulative! Tear-jerking! Sexist in that old-timey way, with the helplessness of the young girl! God knows, I highly doubt Godwin would have described a boy of equivalent age with such doelike innocence and tear-jerkitude, or possibly even used the word "boy" at all. And yet every time I read that damn story, I get to that one line and I cry.

You don't have to tell me all the things that are terrible about the story! I agree with you! I found this essay by Paul Kincaid on the story and his follow-up essay to be very illuminating. And yet, I like the story, in that way that I frequently like things that are not objectively good.

God knows, I cannot call it an unsuccessful story either. I knew the entire plot of the story, and its title, and its author, at least five years before I was able to track it down, from reading sf literary criticism essays that I scraped out of my high school library. (Yes, there were some.) I can mention the story to Joe and he will know what I am talking about. I bet I could start a flamewar about it. (Please not here, or anyway, not while I'm still kind of sick.) I am personally indifferent to the idea of an sf literary canon because I am too lazy to read things for homework because, sorry, I dreamt last week that I had to write an exam for IBH World Literature and I am so done with taking lit courses anymore. But is it a story that I would expect to find litcrit discussion of, skiffily, somewhere? Sure.

4. While I'm at it, I enjoyed slush reading.

I may just not have done it long enough to become completely jaded and cynical about it, though.

5. It is okay to spend just two hours writing your 1,000-word Yuletide story (plus a few minutes for tweaks). I've done that. As far as I can tell, no one has ever been able to tell the difference between the fast stories and the ones I slave over forever while gnawing my fingernails ragged (or I would, if I still chewed my nails). In fact, this is true of more than fanfic. Stories are weird. Some of them take more effort than others, and I've never ever been convinced that the reader on the other end can reliably tell the difference without external evidence. If only effort were correlated with quality--but it isn't. Not usefully, in my experience.

6. So I didn't actually think Meyer's Twilight was a good book (I read it because a friend sent it to me as a joke, and in fact it's pretty amiable airplane reading, which is what I used it for). I mock the sparklepires. Rather a lot, if you must know. (Not that a Yoon would mock anything, least of all a Yoon.) But it irritates me tremendously when people diss the people who like Twilight and talk about how people buy bad books and how other books deserve to be bestsellers and cry me a river. People read the books they want to read, people enjoy the books they enjoy, I may think Twilight is kind of terrible but I will defend to the death your right to think it is awesome, or to enjoy it despite thinking it's kind of terrible, or anything in between. This applies generally to romance (for me); romance is not my genre, I will mock individual romance novels (and I don't expect to stop), but we all have different tastes and I do not find romance novels inherently more mockworthy than giant robot novels (Battletech tie-ins) or grimdark (Warhammer 40k tie-ins, Paul Kearney's Monarchies of God) or over-the-top mind-bond space opera (Margaret Weis's Star of the Guardians), all of which are things I've read. I am sure this applies generally all over the place. I am long past the point where I care much about literary merit anymore. De gustibus, cheers.

Mastering Fiction Writing

Oct. 24th, 2014 04:50 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
- recent reading
Kit Reed. Mastering Fiction Writing. This is an excellent book, process-oriented and largely aimed toward the beginner. Parts of it I disagree with violently, mainly because Reed is highly character-oriented and I am highly...not; when she talks about the necessity of getting into characters' skins, I am apt to stare blankly at the page and go, I don't do that. Or at least I usually don't; there are characters whose heads I get into, and then there are all the other characters, and I can tell you that the second category is far larger than the first. When I wrote "Ghostweight" I didn't spend a moment in Lisse's skin. Maybe it shows as a kind of heartlessness; I don't know; that's something for the reader to judge.

Nevertheless, this is a very good writing how-to book, very pragmatic. As a curiosity, I note also that Reed's prose is hell and away better than Damon Knight's, but that's something I knew already from reading examples of their short science fiction. Nevertheless, the quality of prose in a writing how-to book is not an absolute indicator of its usefulness, depending on what, indeed, it is you're looking for help with. I would rather have my throat slit than have to read a novel by Larry Brooks if the prose in his novels is anything like the prose in Story Physics and Story Engineering, strident, gallopingly tin-eared, but on the other hand, I have found those books far more helpful than I ever found John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, no matter how much I admire Grendel.

This book packs a lot into what is under 150 pages. Again, it's aimed mostly toward the novice writer, but it's very good. Recommended.

Breakdown of Reed's chapter topics and my assessments of them: Read more... )

Meanwhile, I have played 40 min. of Civilization: Beyond Earth on the easiest setting and am having fun blundering around the map exploring! I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm sure I will die horrible some turns down the line, but this weekend maybe I can have Joe explain the game to me. :D I'm already enraptured! One...more...turn...
[syndicated profile] ilovetypography_feed

Posted by johno

Friday evening, September 19th. We are in Barcelona at the annual ATypI conference. The last session of the day is winding down – Building the perfect what?, an excellent panel discussion moderated by industry veteran and award-winning typeface developer David Berlow. For the past 45 minutes a cross section of type specialists have expounded on the amazing capabilities current font technologies offer: letterer and type designer Martina Flor; type designer, Arabic specialist and legibility researcher Nadine Chahine; Principal Product Manager at Adobe Caleb Belohlavek; Senior Fontography Product Manager at Microsoft Simon Daniels, and Google Fonts’ David Kuettel. I noticed that over the course of the presentation my left knee started shaking, just like it did during Thomas Phinney’s panel Free Fonts: Threat or Menace? in Amsterdam last year. Indeed, the one where I shouted “Bullshit!” at the panelists and took a stand for the type designers. As David Berlow invites questions from the audience, I bite the bullet and ask the question that has been building in my mind during the panel discussion:

OpenType was introduced in 2000. It is now 2014. How is it possible that for the past 14 years type designers and foundries have been developing the most incredible feature-rich OpenType fonts, yet users are still unable to properly access and exploit these fascinating typographic possibilities because the font menus in apps with typesetting capabilities have barely evolved? And how is it possible that Adobe – undoubtedly the market leader in graphic design apps – despite its claims of a seamless integration of the different components in its Creative Suite, does not have a type interface that is consistent throughout its apps? There still is no Glyphs palette in Photoshop, Illustrator still does not support Stylistic Sets, and InDesign users need to dig three levels deep in fold-out menus to find the OpenType features. When will the software developers finally catch up?

Judging by the applause and the cheers, I am not the only one wondering. One of those sharing my concerns is Nadine Chahine. In the heat of the moment during the panel’s Q&A, she comes up with the idea to write an open letter to Adobe and start a Twitter campaign to inform and sensitive the general public. Her proposal is met with unanimous approval from the audience. Afterwards David Berlow grabs me, grinning from ear to ear: “Nobody will ever believe we didn’t plan this!” When Nadine and I finally announce the details of the campaign at the end of the conference on Sunday, the enthusiastic reaction from attendees reflects the level of support the type business has for this initiative. Without really realizing it, we have started something.


The official ATypI 2014 troll in action.
Photo by Henrique Nardi.

So, what exactly is the problem we are trying to solve, and how did we get there? To understand this we have to go back to the late 19th century. Although no one could have guessed back then, the invention of the typewriter would have a dramatic influence on how we set type today. In the cold metal days the interaction with type was straightforward – the typesetter had a visual overview of all the available characters or “sorts” as they were laid out in a compartmentalized open drawer. This all changed in the 1880s with the invention of Ottmar Mergenthaler’s Linotype line caster and Tolbert Lanston’s Monotype keyboard and caster which revolutionized typesetting. The speed of typesetting increased tremendously, partly thanks to a new type of user interface consisting of a keyboard featuring 90 keys and 120 keys respectively. The rapid and widespread adoption of the typewriter in the office environment however made the manufacturers of early personal computers copy its more limited keyboard of a mere 40-odd keys instead. This reduced typesetting to its crudest, most basic form, creating what I like to call the keyhole effect. Most users are unaware of the sophisticated typesetting possibilities of today’s personal computers because they have to interact with fonts through a keyboard offering a minimal subset of the character set. It is as if they are looking at their fonts through a keyhole. The best way to solve this problem is with type menus, yet this is exactly where every single app – not just Adobe’s – is severely lacking.

The inadequate font menus in apps are the result of a textbook chicken-and-egg situation that is perfectly illustrated with two examples.


The “Building The Perfect What?” panel (ATypI, Barcelona). From left to right: Martina Flor, Nadine Chahine, Caleb Belohlavek, Simon Daniels, David Kuettel, and moderator David Berlow.
Photo by Henrique Nardi.

I was told that at TypeCon Seattle back in 2007 an Adobe rep gave a talk as part of a panel. When it was time for questions, a member of the audience asked why the OpenType user interface in Adobe’s CS apps is so convoluted and incomplete, and why is there no uniformity across Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. The Adobe rep’s response was that people just don’t care enough, adding that if there were enough users making the request the functions would be added. Apparently this elicited loud boos from the audience, with some even throwing their programs on stage.

Yet the reason why people don’t appear to care enough about typographic features is that they are unaware of them, exactly because they cannot be properly addressed in the apps as a result of the poor UI – the very existence of the problem means most people don’t realize the problem exists. When we discussed the open letter and petition prior to publishing, Jonathan Hoefler recounted the following personal experience.

Last year, I did a presentation to AIGA/NY, to an audience of editorial art directors, agency creatives, and in-house design teams from cultural institutions. Not only was it a good cross-section of disciplines (print, web, mobile, etc.) but also a good sample of engagements: there were creative directors and brand managers in attendance, along with their design teams who do all of the hands-on work.

During the Q&A, I got an interesting question from someone who uses Gotham, who wondered if we’d ever thought about building a special version of the font that would use just the alternate ‘a’, not all the other forms invoked by the stylistic alternates option. I mentioned that we usually handle this with Stylistic Sets, one of my favorite OpenType features, one that was thoughtfully included in InDesign (though so far, not in Illustrator.) I got a blank look in response. “Just curious,” I said to the assembled, who numbered about five hundred. “Can I see a show of hands, for who here uses stylistic sets?” Not a single hand went up. Not one. “Who here uses InDesign?” All hands.

It makes no sense for the developers at Adobe to wait for requests from end users because these users don’t yet know what’s possible with the technology. In the words of Hoefler “It’s like expecting patients to ask for accelerating the development of substituted phenoxathiin inhibitors containing no nitrogen: what is this? what’s it good for? supporting this comes at the expense of what?” It is the job of people with tight connections to the type world to advocate for these solutions on behalf of type users. Our open letter and petition tackle both problems head on: on the one hand, we are informing and sensitizing the general audience about the state of type UI; on the other hand we are gathering as many signatures as possible so that developers can no longer ignore this issue.


The Character windows and fold out menus in Adobe CS4.

Our open letter is but the first step. Now we need to gather suggestions and gather a team of specialists to conceptualize a universal typographic user interface. Gerry Leonidas summarized it perfectly:

“Prototyping the proposed interface will need to be done in an app-agnostic way, and from a document designer perspective.”

What can you do to help finally fix this situation? Sign the petition (don’t forget to confirm your signature by clicking the link in the confirmation e-mail), then use the hashtag #AdobeTypeUI to join the discussion on Twitter, where key Adobe people like general manager for Adobe Typekit Matthew J. Rechs, lead product designer for Photoshop Tim Riot, and Senior Director, Design Product Management and User Experience at Adobe Michael Ninness have already reached out. And if you have intimate knowledge of OpenType features and brilliant ideas about what an improved type UI should look like, get sketching! Follow Tim Brown’s lead and post your mockups/ideas on Dribbble tagged with the official campaign hashtag, #AdobeTypeUI.

by Yves Peters

Sponsored by Hoefler & Co.

Why A Better OpenType User Interface Matters

Call Me Linkspam

Oct. 24th, 2014 08:41 pm
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

  • It’s Ada Lovelace Day: Get Angry | Garren Means (October 14): “It’s Ada Lovelace Day and we’re supposed to talk about the women in technology who’ve inspired us. The women who inspire me are those who’ve taken the frightening step of lessening their culpability by decreasing their participation. While it’s courageous to remain in tech/on the internet and try to make it a better place, you can’t get around the compromise in doing so.”
  • When Women Stopped Coding | NPR Planet Money (October 21): “These early personal computers weren’t much more than toys. You could play pong or simple shooting games, maybe do some word processing. And these toys were marketed almost entirely to men and boys. This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the next computing revolution.”
  • Online Harassment | PEWResearch Internet Project (October 22): “In broad trends, the data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.”
  • Breaking gender and racial barriers in Netrunner | Gamasutra (October 20): “Netrunner is a lovely and beloved experience for all those reasons, but the game is worth championing for other ideas that go beyond its smart design too. It’s also worth celebrating because Netrunner is one of the most progressive games in terms of gender and minority representation today.”
  • Life and Times of a Tech Feminist Killjoy: The Cuts Leave Scars | Julie Pagano (October 6): “After years of pushing yourself and being stretched too thin, you lose the flexibility you once had to bounce back. You snap more easily. The paper cuts are harder to brush off. You are likely to be punished for this. You will be seen simultaneously as too sensitive and too harsh.”
  • Marvel’s Victoria Alonso wants a female superhero movie, calls for more women in VFX | Variety (October 20th): “You’ve got to get the girls in here, boys. It’s better when it’s 50-50,” she continued. “I have been with you beautiful, handsome, talented, creative men in dark rooms for two decades and I can tell you those rooms are better when there are a few of us in them. So as you take this with you, please remember that it’s OK to allow the ladies in. They’re smart, they’re talented. They bring a balance that you need.”


  • The only thing I have to say about gamer gate | Felicia Day (October 22): “I know it feels good to belong to a group, to feel righteous in belonging to a cause, but causing fear and pushing people away from gaming is not the way to go about doing it. Think through the repercussions of your actions and the people you are aligning yourself with. And think honestly about whether your actions are genuinely going to change gaming life for the better.”
  • Felicia Day’s worst Gamergate fears just came true | The Daily Dot (October 23): “Day wrote of realizing after crossing the street to avoid two gamers she saw in Vancouver that she had allowed Gamergate to enhance her fear of other people within her community. Her post was an attempt to conquer that fear and to urge other women to do the same.But less than an hour after describing her past experiences with stalkers in the post, a commenter showed up to do the one thing she feared would happen.”
  • Why #Gamergate is actually an ed tech issue | Medium (October 20): “It’s not simply the hyper-macho shoot ‘em up games, either. I’ve had girls leave Minecraft because of misogynist threats. Apparently, this isn’t an isolate case. Others have seen the same thing. If we want to talk about integrating games into the classroom, we need to rethink what culture we’re inviting in.”
  • Gamergate goons can scream all they want, but they can’t stop progress | Wired (October 21): “Even more fascinating is how these insecurities have allowed some gamers to consider themselves a downtrodden minority, despite their continued dominance of every meaningful sector of the games industry, from development to publishing to criticism. That demonstrates a strange and seemingly contradictory “overdog” phenomenon: The most powerful members of a culture often perceive an increase in social equality as a form of persecution.”

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You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

"The sweetest milk I had ever tasted"

Oct. 24th, 2014 01:13 pm
rosefox: A cheerful chef made out of ginger. (cooking)
[personal profile] rosefox
I actually don't remember how long it's been since the last time I had dairy products. As a long-established dairy-defier, I frequently give advice to people who are reducing or eliminating dairy, and I figure it makes sense to have that info all in one place.

Allergen note
Almost all of my preferred creamy/buttery dairy substitutes are nut-based. I've done my best to make non-nut suggestions for those with nut allergies, but I'm not really an expert on that front.

Equipment note
If you're going to go fully dairy-free, I highly recommend investing in two kitchen tools: a high-speed blender and a food processor. Mine are made by Vitamix and Cuisinart respectively, and I don't know what I'd do without them. These tools will let you easily make dairy substitutes that are tastier and usually cheaper than the storebought ones. A less essential but still useful third tool is an ice cream maker, which will let you experiment with sorbets and non-dairy ice creams.

Shopping note
When buying packaged prepared foods, look for the word "parve" or "pareve" under a kosher symbol. Keeping kosher requires separating milk from meat; "parve" means that something contains neither milk nor meat and can therefore be eaten with either. This will save you a lot of time checking ingredient labels for sneaky things like whey in sandwich bread, casein in shredded fake cheese, etc. Note that parve things may still contain eggs, honey, and other non-vegan ingredients.

Essential reading
The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook has amazing legume-based recipes for butter, cheese, whipped cream, and other dairy substitutes. Throughout this piece, I'll be referring to NDEC recipes. I've read and used a lot of non-dairy cookbooks, and NDEC is by far the best.

Now, on to the substitutions!

Milk (for drinking, cereal, smoothies, etc.)
This is totally a matter of taste. Try a bunch of different store-bought milks and see what you like. I prefer almond milk for cereal and soy or hazelnut milk for drinking. Hazelnut milk can be used to make amazing Nutella-like hot chocolate! You can also make your own nut milks in a high-speed blender. I use the NDEC recipe for almond milk, which is just almond meal (aka almond flour) and water, and it's intensely almondy and delicious. Coconut milk (the sort intended for drinking, not the sort that comes in a can) is the best non-nut non-soy option, in my opinion, but some people prefer rice milk. I do like making my own horchata, and should really try it again now that I have a Vitamix.

Proportions for almond milk: 3.75 c water to 1 packed cup almond meal/flour or 5 oz. blanched almonds

Proportions for almond cream: 4.5 c water to 1 POUND (one full bag) almond meal or blanched almonds

Butter (spread)
Earth Balance is the standout spreadable butter substitute. There are many varieties, including soy-free. NDEC has a butter recipe but I haven't tried it yet.

Butter (baking)
Melted butter can be replaced 1:1 with canola oil or melted REFINED coconut oil. (Unrefined coconut oil tastes like coconut. Refined tastes like nothing.) For butter sticks, try Earth Balance sticks, but be warned that they are pre-salted; if you use them, you'll probably want to reduce or omit any salt you usually put in your recipes. Fleischmann's unsalted margarine, which is kosher parve, is reportedly very good for baking, but I'm allergic to another ingredient in it so I can't personally vouch for it.

NDEC has an excellent almond cream recipe that substitutes well for heavy cream, including whipping up into schlag. Coconut cream—the thick stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk, not to be confused with pre-sweetened cream of coconut for cocktails—can also be put in coffee or whipped. There does exist canned non-dairy whipped cream, but it's quite hard to find outside of hippie specialty groceries.

Sour cream and buttermilk
The easy way for making ingredients to use in recipes: add 1 Tbsp cider vinegar per cup of cream to make sour cream; add 1 tsp cider vinegar per cup of milk and let stand 5 minutes to make buttermilk. NDEC also has recipes for sour cream and buttermilk that stand well on their own.

Cream cheese
I never liked it, so I couldn't tell you which substitute is best, but NDEC has a recipe and there are a few packaged vegan cream cheese varieties available.

There are many, many soy and coconut yogurts out there. WholeSoy unflavored unsweetened yogurt is the best for cooking, and can be used as a starter if you want to make your own yogurt. I've never been a fan of eating yogurt qua yogurt, but I expect brands etc. are mostly a matter of taste anyway, so try some and see what you like.

Cashew ricotta was one of the first substitute dairy products I ever made, and it was life-changing. Soak raw, unsalted cashews for four hours, pour out the water, put the cashews in your food processor, and drizzle in fresh cold water as you process them until the texture becomes creamy and ricotta-like. Add salt to taste. When I use it for lasagna, I process in fresh basil and nutmeg.

Regal Vegan makes a basil cashew ricotta called Basilicotta that's out of this world. Unfortunately, it goes off very quickly. If you buy it, make sure there's still plenty of time before the expiration date, and use it up as soon as you can.

NDEC has superb recipes for a wide variety of cheeses: some for slicing, some for shredding, some for eating by the fistful. I made NDEC's mozzarella with homemade almond milk and it was incredible; the texture wasn't quite perfect, but it was splendid on pasta and pizza, and yes, it melts! It doesn't get gooey, but next time I might add a bit of xanthan gum to help with that. The cheese melts best in steamy/liquid environments, such as when stirred into a pasta sauce. Under direct heat, it will brown but hold its shape. To get an effect like near-liquid melted mozzarella on pizza or lasagna, I recommend shredding the cheese, melting it in the microwave, and pouring it onto the dish. Then bake until browned and bubbly.

Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese isn't quite as good a cookbook as NDEC, but I do really like her gruyère recipe; it makes killer fondue and croque monsieur. Schinner's recipes frequently call for rejuvelac, which is made by soaking and fermenting grains. It's very easy to mess up rejuvelac and get a jar full of mold. My usual substitute for 1 cup of rejuvelac is 1 capsule (1/8 tsp.) of vegan probiotic powder in 1 cup filtered water. It's not quite as live-culture-y as rejuvelac but it works well enough.

Cheesemaking does take a bit of time and effort; if you're not up for that, try the many packaged shredded cheese substitutes. Lots of people like tapioca-based Daiya cheeses. My personal favorite packaged vegan mozzarella is Follow Your Heart (the shreds, not the block cheese). But homemade cheese is always the best.

As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as non-nut non-soy vegan cheese. If I were to try to make some, I'd probably make my own rice milk and then try it in a cheese recipe, but I don't know how well it would work without the soy/nut protein.

Frozen pizza
My preferred brands are Daiya and Amy's, not least because their pizzas are gluten-free. Udi's pizza crusts are also GF and DF.

Pre-sliced sandwich bread
Stroehmann Dutch Country whole wheat bread is my preferred brand, but any brand that's kosher parve will do.

Milk powder
If a recipe calls for both milk powder and water, replace the water with your preferred non-dairy milk. I haven't tried powdered non-dairy milk but apparently it exists.

Frozen desserts
I recommend exploring homemade sorbets and granitas before you try tackling homemade non-dairy ice cream. Williams-Sonoma has some good recipes. A Vitamix blender can also be used to turn frozen fruit into frozen desserts; there are instructions for this in the manual.

Once you're ready to make your own ice cream, check out the recipes in Mark Foy's Desserts of Vitality. Almost all of them call for lecithin, an emulsifier that's extremely useful for making smooth, creamy ice cream; you can get liquid or granulated lecithin (and many other useful ingredients, especially for cheesemaking) at Modernist Pantry. Those with soy allergies can look for sunflower lecithin.

For store-bought ice cream, Turtle Mountain brands—Soy Delicious, So Delicious, Purely Delicious, etc.—are consistently excellent. In my experience, all coconut-based vegan ice cream tastes basically like coconut, no matter what else it's supposed to taste like. As a rule I prefer nut-based ice creams over soy-based ice creams, but tastes vary a lot. Try things and see what you like.

What did I miss? Is anything unclear? Ask all the questions you like!

Munich Meetup 28 October

Oct. 24th, 2014 06:27 pm
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Organizers Mercy and cookie sent me the details:

We’re meeting up in Munich again! This time we’re back at Cafe Klenze, Tuesday, October 28th at 6pm. The cafe is open until 8pm on Tuesdays.

The address is:
Cafe Klenze, in der Alten Pinakothek, Barer Straße 27

It’s is on Tram line 27, the Schellingstr. stop, or the Pinakotheken stop of Bus line 100 (which runs between Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof).


The café sells cake and small food stuff (soups, salads, quiche, bagels), but are fine with people only ordering drinks.

We have checked with the café, and they say it’s ok if you want to bring your own cake due to food allergies or the like, as long as you order the drinks there.

The green stuffed frog toy will be in attendance to help people identify the group.  :)

According to this website, the cafe is accessible, although the counter is poorly designed for people with wheelchairs:

It has a ramp to the entrance and so does the building. There’s an accessible toilet, too.

You can come and join the meetup spontaneously, or let us know by sending an e-mail to , or by posting in the Germany Thread of the FOCA forums (

See you there!
Mercy and cookie


Three Hours with Velvet Sundown

Oct. 24th, 2014 04:40 pm
[syndicated profile] emilyshort_if_feed

Posted by Emily Short

Last month when I ran my charity auction, the three-hour winner was the team behind Velvet Sundown, an interactive drama that I’d heard about but hadn’t had a chance to check out. Their request was that I spend some time … Continue reading

TomTom by Grant Fikes

Oct. 24th, 2014 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] grand_master_puzzles_feed

Posted by Grant Fikes

TomTom by Grant Fikes


Theme: Windmill

Author/Opus: This is the 143rd puzzle from our contributing puzzlemaster Grant Fikes.

Rules: Standard TomTom rules, using the integers 1-8.

Answer String: Enter the 4th row from left to right followed by the 5th column from top to bottom. Separate the entries with a comma.

Time Standards (highlight to view): Grandmaster = 6:15, Master = 10:00, Expert = 20:00

Note: Follow this link for other classic TomTom. If you are new to this puzzle type, here are our easiest TomTom to get started on.

The post TomTom by Grant Fikes appeared first on The Art of Puzzles.


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