elf: Silhoette of autumn scene; one glitch sitting on a park bench, another leaping in the air (Glitch - Autumn Day)
[personal profile] elf
This gets interesting, because "reminds me of summertime" often has nothing to do with the contents of the song. I spent a good portion of my preteen and early teen summers in Arkansas, so there are a swarm of country & bluegrass songs that I think of as "summery" because that's when I heard them. But those aren't the only ones I think of as "summertime" songs.

Cotton Jenny | I'm Gonna Hire a Wino | Out of the Frying Pan (And into the Fire) | Delta Dawn | Lady Takes the Cowboy Every Time | Cruel Summer | Stay Young | Good Vibrations | Nobody | Boys of Summer

And one I associate with summer both because of how I first heard it and the contents )Meme list

Quick update

Jun. 24th, 2017 10:50 am
serene: mailbox (Default)
[personal profile] serene
My sister died yesterday, a few minutes after Munchkin The Elder left to pick up his father from the doctor. She died while being given CPR, which strikes me as a violent kind of way to go, but she had been unconscious for hours at the time, so I doubt she felt anything.

Today, James and I will go to the hospital to fetch her belongings. Monday, the social worker will contact me about arrangements for her disposition.

The kids are fine. James and I are fine. My mom is alternately fine and wrecked, which will probably be the way of things for a while.

We lost her a long, long time ago. There's some finality in the past day's events, but not much has changed.

Munchkin the Younger came up yesterday to check in, to tell me that I am her real mother, and to get comfort in talking to someone who understands not having any emotion left for the person we lost all those years ago.

I'm sorry there was no way for us to reach her. I'm sorry her life was sad and hard, and that she caused so much damage in our family.

My sister

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:18 pm
serene: serene (ooh)
[personal profile] serene
If you and I are close, you probably remember first hearing about my sister and being kind of surprised that my feelings for her range from deep apathy (almost all the time) to raging anger/hatred (during any of the crises in my family that she caused or precipitated over the years). Mostly, once the kids I helped raise were 18, she hasn't affected my life in any direct, practical way, but her fingers are in most of the shitty turns my family's lives have taken, for as long as I can remember.

She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.

I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.

Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.

Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.

Cool Stuff Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:18 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

fatalism o' the day

Jun. 23rd, 2017 06:30 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
I am not good at political predictions. And I hope I'm wrong about this. But I don't see how we can keep the ACA.

I mean, this is why Republicans have been swallowing Trump's shit, right? For the Supreme Court seats and the right to pass this enormous tax cut? Isn't this what they sold the republic for? If they don't pass it now, wouldn't that require them to decide to have given it all up for nothing? Wouldn't they be taking a huge personal hit to their own opinion of themselves, not to mention their own taxes, and their own donors, for no other reason than to help millions of people they've never personally met and would probably not like if they did meet? Humans are not super good at doing that kind of thing; the richer the worse, the more powerful the worse, and I just don't really see how I can expect these particular rich old powerful motherfuckers to transcend the limitations of their species at this moment in time.

Friday For What It's Worth

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:13 am
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells
This has been a week of extreme highs and lows. The high points were awesome but the low points are...low.

I've got news I can't share yet so this is kind of a boring post. I need to get back to my book rec posts but Fridays are kind of a bad day for them.

We were supposed to have a hurricane but it turned and is now torturing a different part of the country.

Oh, I did a Reddit r/Fantasy AMA yesterday, and got a great question on Worldbuilding:

Question: One of my favorite things about your books is the incredible detail and authenticity to the cultures and societies you create. I've read City Of Bones and your Raksura books and I am always immediately engaged when the characters travel to a new city. The residents, architecture, customs, languages, and overall presentation feel well rooted and historical. It really adds an incredible flavor to your writing and inspires me to improve my own.

Are you willing to describe the process in which you develop a new city? When you sit down to create a new location, how you start the vision and do you have a system in how you begin to add layers of detail until the city/town/society feels authentic?

Me: Thank you so much!

I use different methods for different types of book. For the Ile-Rien books, where the locations are based more on real-world places, I did a lot of research into cities in similar cultures, climates, environments as my imaginary city. For the Raksura books, I tried to think of a neat setting for a city, then tried to make it as weird and extreme as possible. Like the Turning City, Keres-gedon, which started out as just a camp in the mountains.

Basically it's a process of coming up with an element you want in your city, like canals. You look at cities with canals, like Venice, and maybe Angkor Wat. What are the canals used for? Transportation, a reservoir, entertainment, defense, etc. You think about how the environment and climate of your city is going to affect your canals. Can they freeze over? Are they affected by drought? Sewage? Plant growth? Underwater monster issues? Etc. Why or why not are they affected by these things? Once you make all those decisions, you decide how they affect the inhabitants of the city, their culture, their everyday life. It can be simple or complicated, and ideally, it leads to ideas that can further characterization and plot. And the big thing to remember is that the reader doesn't need to know everything you know about your canal system. They'll be able to infer a lot from the bits and pieces they see as your characters move through the story, and the sense that the city is operating by a logical system is more important than knowing the exact details.

I also don't usually figure out too many of the details of my settings in advance, since I'm going to concentrate mainly on the parts my characters are interacting with. Like most of the city may be sketched in, but the characters are going to need this little train system and this temple hospital, so those bits are going to get more attention and development. Also keep in mind that cities change over time, with new buildings, new roads, and what stays in place and what gets built over or torn down all say things about the people who live there.

It also helps not to set too many boundaries. You never want to tell readers that there's nothing over the mountains, because it's going to make the world feel closed in, like a puddle instead of a huge mysterious ocean. And if you keep writing in this setting, you may eventually need those empty places to put things in.

I hope that helps!


***

Also:

I have a signed copy of The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red in the Authors for Grenfell Tower Auction: https://authorsforgrenfelltower.com/2017/06/23/signed-copy-of-the-murderbot-diaries-all-systems-red-by-martha-wells/

There are tons of other great items up for auction to benefit the tower fire victims. Please check it out or pass it on.
elf: Musical notation from the Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz, with quote "Like a dirigible" (Dirigible)
[personal profile] elf
For this one, I also have a swarm to choose from. Probably not as many as color-songs, though; I like lots of songs with numbers in the chorus but not in the titles. I think I'm going to bypass the entire Schoolhouse Rock set (I like all of them, but especially Zero My Hero, Figure Eight, and Little Twelvetoes) and try to stick to "mainstream" songs, or at least, songs intended to be standalones rather than part of something else. (Mainstream's in quotes because I have some filk here; if you don't know what they are, they'd be hard to track down.)

Christmas at Ground Zero | One Tin Soldier | Two of Us | Threes | Wind's Four Quarters | Five Years | Six Days on the Road | Seven Year Ache | 867-5309 | 9 to 5 | At Seventeen | 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover | '65 Love Affair | 88 Lines about 44 Women | 99 Luftballons ...

Wow, there's a lot of mopey in that list. I should pick something that's a bit more perky.
One bouncy cheerful number song, coming up. )

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Really? Just one? I have a whole rainbow of songs I like with colors in the title: Crimson and Clover | Orange Crush | Big Yellow Taxi | Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine | Crystal Blue Persuasion | Purple People Eater | Lavender's Blue ...and then we get to colors not in the official rainbow set... Bad Bad Leroy Brown | Whiter Shade of Pale | Touch of Grey | Black Hole Sun | Pink Shoe Laces | Sister Golden Hair | Maxwell's Silver Hammer...

Gah. Have to pick just one.

I'm going with pirates. )

30 Day Song Meme

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:29 pm
elf: Musical notation from the Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz, with quote "Like a dirigible" (Dirigible)
[personal profile] elf
Stealing this from [personal profile] kshandra. I decided I should blog more, and telling myself to blog more about Important And Interesting Things isn't working, so I should try one of those "blog every day" things. (I've never done well at them.) This time, I picked something easy and fun instead of something that requires Deep Thought that I usually don't have by the end of my workday.

So: 30 days of songs, which are likely to be YouTube embeds (but maybe not, because I have a great love for a lot of filk that's never made it to YouTube); some are likely to get a lot of commentary, and others are likely to be "here it is, end of the day... um, have a music thing."

SUMMER SOLSTICE JAM PARTY BEGINS NOW.

List of Songs to Post Later )

Artificial Condition Quote

Jun. 21st, 2017 05:28 pm
marthawells: (Default)
[personal profile] marthawells
Trying to get photos to post here still seems really wonky, so here's a link to a tumblr post with a quote from The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition: https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/162086407182/for-book-quote-wednesday-bookqw-on-twitter

This was for Book Quote Wednesday on Twitter.

Fads of youth

Jun. 21st, 2017 09:25 am
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I was thinking last night of fads. In the 70s I had an official "Pet Rock" which I loved. The manual on care and training of Pet Rocks was very amusingly written (at least to my 7 year old mind). Pet Rocks were particularly great at learning to "stay" and "play dead". It came in a little carton full of straw with the manual and I think, a leash.

My dad was a good model for how to gently enjoy human absurdity and I remember him being super entertained by the pet rock and playing along with it super well.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.”

Invisible 3 CoverDawn Xiana Moon is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which comes out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can preorder the collection at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

(It will be available for Nook as well, but we don’t have that link yet.)

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

#

Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon

We have always existed.

In the early days of the internet, back when we were on Prodigy or CompuServe and email addresses were long strings of numbers with a comma in between, I was answering distress calls on derelict starships. America Online (because it wasn’t yet AOL) launched an ad campaign that envisioned an internet with graphics; I dodged Borg at Warp Six. I outsmarted Q when he appeared on my bridge, launched photon torpedoes at Romulans, and flirted with fellow Starfleet officers in Ten Forward. I was thirteen. And like a good overachiever, I wondered if I could list being second-in-command of the CompuServe sim group Fleet 74 on lists of my activities and accomplishments, right next to years of piano lessons, parts in theatre productions, dancing and singing in the community show choir, and the environmental and video game clubs I’d started (and of course led as president).

My father is an aerospace engineer; by the time we moved from Singapore to the US, I was five years old and already lived in a world where discussing wrap drive was normal. My AP Biology teacher was shocked when I mentioned a singularity in class one day, surprised that a high school senior would know the term (which she made me define in front of the class before she was satisfied), but I’d been raised on a steady diet of Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and every science fiction and fantasy novel I could get my hands on—my father handed me Isaac Asimov books in elementary school and I read them, wondering why I didn’t have a robot nanny or automatic food-making gadgets. I am a native speaker of technobabble.

All that to say: I’ve always been a nerd. And proudly so. But growing up I rarely saw people that looked like me onscreen—sure, we had Sulu, but George Takei was closer to my grandparents’ age than mine. Asian characters were few and far between, and girls? Girls didn’t like Vulcans or computers. Girls especially didn’t like dancing and princesses and talking about the space-time continuum all at the same time. Or so I was told.

But I was Asian. And female. And I existed.

I was the girl who hung out at the arcade playing Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, first surprising boys who saw a girl in front of a fighting game, then shocking them when I won. I was the foreigner who walked into first grade in the middle of the school year, a Chinese kid from another country but a native speaker of English. I was the founding member of the high school forensics team who learned quickly that judges gave higher ratings to performances of minority stories by minority students than they did mainstream stories by minority students—so while the handful of black students I competed against performed passages from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, I lent dramatic flair to Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. I often won.

And now? I’m the bellydancer, firespinner, singer-songwriter, and nerd who designs and codes websites. I obsess with sparkles and sequins and makeup and then wrestle with merge conflicts in GitHub. I flirt with audiences and shimmy to Balkan brass bands and then debate backstage whether Daleks or Cylons would win in a fight. I sing 19th century French poetry layered on piano parts in 7/8 time inspired by traditional Chinese folk music, Americana, and jazz. I break stereotypes into tiny pieces and eat them like candy. I exist.

#

Growing up, the few Asians I saw in media invariably fell into tropes: the martial arts master, the submissive woman, the uber-nerd/scientist, the Dragon Lady seductress. None of these matched my personality. While I was able to beg my way into flute and voice lessons—in addition to piano—my father refused to let me study tae kwon do on the grounds that it would be “like handing a kid a loaded gun and telling him not to use it.” People told me I was bossy—my heroes were characters like Princess Leia and Babylon 5’s Delenn, forces of personality who were fully themselves and didn’t need rescuing. I was more Captain Kirk than Yeoman Rand. I was a geek, but I had far more interest in music and dance than I did in math or chemistry; science interested me primarily as story. And I had no idea what it would mean to be seductive—my conservative evangelical church preached “modesty,” and Bible camp banned spaghetti strap tank tops, two-piece swimsuits, and short shorts on the grounds that they would evoke lust in the boys.

I didn’t exist.

I grew up around Americans who discussed race in black and white terms, expressing couched racism with the assumed understanding that I was one of them. Those were the same Americans who complimented my English, told me my face was flat, and pontificated about how eating Chinese food was great except that you were hungry again immediately afterward. After the last election, CNN disseminated a chart of votes with breakdowns by both race and gender: Black men voted this way, black women this way, Hispanic men and women these ways. Asian-Americans didn’t appear on the chart—we were literally “Other.”

As an Asian-American theatre major, so often I was cast as that literal Other: I spent two summers performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in college. The first year, I was one of the fairies. So were most of the black students. The one who wasn’t a fairy was cast as Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons. The second year, we reprised the show; I was cast as Hippolyta. All of the black students were fairies. The Greeks and lovers were uniformly white.

How often do we cast an Asian-American as the protagonist, the superhero whose origin story we follow? How often do we allow an Asian-American to lead a movie as a swashbuckling rogue, the resistance fighter who marries a princess along the way, the rockstar with thousands of screaming fans? Hollywood casts Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Mackenzie Davis as Mindy Park in The Martian—with so few roles available to begin with, we’re often denied even characters who should look like us. We’re over 5% of the US population, but only 1.4% of the lead characters in studio films released in 2014. According to Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, the majority of media features zero named or speaking Asian characters. Zero.

Two years ago I attended a curated acoustic music showcase where every single one of the musicians was a white guy with a bushy beard. Most of them wore plaid. Producers often think of diversity in terms of instrumentation or musical style; I’ve released two albums of original music, toured 10 states, and performed hundreds of shows, but it’s rare to see another folk singer-songwriter of color. While the genre is dominated by white people, Asian-Americans are making this music. And making it well. We exist, but we’re not part of the narrative.

#

Living in a world where people who look like you are functionally non-existent yields odd fruit. As an ambitious elementary school kid, I wrote (what I considered then) a novel. Starring ninjas. Based heavily on the Ninja Gaiden video game. Of course I Mary Sued my way into the story. But I always envisioned my surrogate as white. And male. (Because, we’re told, the appropriate protagonist of an adventure story is white. And male.) Likewise, when I wrote other stories, every character—heroes, villains, NPCs—was white.

Bryan Lee O’Malley of Scott Pilgrim fame talks about how he never realized that he’d whitewashed himself out of his own story until seeing his comic in movie form and realizing that no one looked like him. As I’ve talked with other Asian-Americans, I’ve realized that I wasn’t the only one—many of us did the same thing. Even the excellent Ted Chiang—one of my favorite writers, and the first Asian-American I can recall encountering in science fiction—falls into this. We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.

#

I refuse to be invisible.

Faced with a culture that minimizes the existence of Asian-Americans in the arts, I’ve long created my own projects. In 2012, I founded Raks Geek, joining my love of geekdom and dance to form a nerd-themed bellydance and fire performance company that features a primarily Asian and LGBTQIA cast. While our society pigeonholes Asians as socially-awkward scientists, perpetual foreigners, and weak submissives, I’m determined to show Asians can be creative, tough, and unconventional.

“To dance is a radical act.”*

A body on a stage makes a statement. A female, POC body on a stage makes a statement. When I dance, I’m changing the narrative, the story of what an Asian-American woman is allowed to be. When I dance with Raks Geek, I’m making an audience laugh at the ridiculousness of a Wookiee shimmying, but I’m also bringing a new audience to an insular dance form, teaching them what bellydance looks like at a high level of technical and artistic proficiency, and defying a host of model minority and immigrant stereotypes.

Visibility matters. Few would conceive of an Asian-American bellydancer performing as a Wookiee. Or Mystique. Or the TARDIS. But I do, and I hope to challenge perceptions of who we are and can be every time. We exist, and we have always been here.

We exist.

_____

* “To dance is a radical act because doing so implies that there are forms of knowing that cannot be mediated to us in words, which give words their meaning.” -Kimerer LaMothe

***

Dawn Xiana Moon is a lifelong geek that has worked professionally in almost every area of the arts. She the Founder and Producer/Director of Raks Geek, a nerd-themed bellydance and fire company that’s garnered acclaim from WGN-TV, MSN, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Mail, and UK Channel 4 TV. As a singer-songwriter, Dawn has performed in 10 states and released two solo albums; her latest CD, Spaces Between, fuses elements from traditional Chinese music with jazz and alt folk pop. She performs with Read My Hips tribal bellydance, spins fire with Acrobatica Infiniti circus, works as a UX designer and web developer, and has written for Uncanny Magazine, The Learned Fangirl, and RELEVANT Magazine. Though she loves Chicago, she periodically needs to flee the US; her wanderlust has brought her to 20 countries (and counting!) thus far.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Heat regulation

Jun. 18th, 2017 07:36 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
First super super hot day here. If tomorrow will be like this I need to find the fan in the garage.

I just shaved about a pound of side hair off (it is thick) and have put it in the worm bin. Good compost aeration! And, felt happy I had cleaned and organized the closet weeks ago as I easily found my little box of house dresses.

I'm wearing this amazing reversible soft linen sleeveless dress, with a pocket for my handkerchief, that I got from Flax on skud's recommendation a few years ago (converting me fervently to linen) And my hair has been up in a top of the head ponytail all day (now much more effective with the side hair shaved off.) I think of skud affectionately whenever I wear this amazing dress (maroon on one side and lavender on the other). The pocket handkerchief is daintily printed with violets. I ironed it the other day, as I enjoy doing.

Now you know everything. All my secrets. Dresses, ironing, and the fact that I have that chicken yodeling song stuck in my head.

Experimental notebook transfer

Jun. 18th, 2017 01:40 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
So out of the habit of blogging. The back injection was harder to take this time than usual (I think) Thursday is very fuzzy - I barely remember it after I got home. Dossie brought me to the pain clinic and I do remember them giving me an extra dose of whatever it was into the vein, as I was cussing and had trouble staying still for the needle. The clinic is trying a new thing where they play you music on request during a procedure so I asked for Bach. How do you spell it? Nurse very puzzled. Then the one thing I remember other than Dr. Pham telling the resident, You have no idea what is about to happen here and me laughing and then cussing my head off. In the middle of it as I got calm, exclaiming, "Oh, Brandenburg Concerto number 3" and feeling clever to have any brain cells at all.

I can't actually remember getting in the car or getting home at all but I believe Dossie must have got here and then Milo was here as well so.... ?

Not sure if it is worth it. Some times I feel better immediately but this time I have been in an annoying (semi incapacitating) level of pain at the injection sites from Thursday to Saturday. I had to skip a nice board game birthday party and a punk rock history movie. Very quiet weekend alone. Rosa came over for tea and to pick up some things - I haven't seen her in a while. I am somewhat functional but in small bits and without bending over much. The quiet weekend has meant I am more than caught up on tidying up after myself and other people. When that happens I can make inroads on the accumulated disorder. We need to get rid of some books. Also, I think the anesthetic and sedative and steroids together made me feel strange, brainless, aimless, exhausted.

Today has been better. I went up the hill to Pinhole cafe and went through some bits of 3 different notebooks. I tried to copy any worthwhile bits out of the big black moleskine one from December into the 2 new ones, especially working on the Andromeda and Venus poems. I am fairly happy with the first bit, have lots of the 2nd, some of the 3rd but it is not quite coalesced and something to #4. Nothing on 5 (Maybe?) But the structure is more clear to me. I wrote some new snippets and copied over other parts. Found the notes I took in my lap at the actual dance performance that it's about.

Horrors when I was on my way to Dossie's office Tues. evening and realized there was NO NOTEBOOKS WTF. I got a substandard one in the walgreens (nothing else open) So here is my entry from it before I tear out the pages and pass the unsuitable notebook on. (I am too fussy, but I don't like a yucky feeling cover, or a size too small with binding too tight, as I can't think on paper well without wider space)

>>> Lovely jcab driver named Yosief from Eritrea a poet who used to write for the newspapers. We talked about the route and the pleasure of driving around to random places following where someone else wants to go (better than seeing nothing in a 7-11 as he was at first and no one would talk with him) It is other people's choices. We admired Glen Park Canyon as we drove up the street alongside.

His family's place in Eritrea is very beautiful with trees with fruit of all kinds, grapes, plums, and their neighbor had cows so they would trade for milk. The family thought of expanding the house but it would have meant cutting down some of the fruit trees so they had a big family meeting and decided not to. He feels like trees with fruit almost have a soul. You have to respect them. I added you feel connected to the land when you eat something you know comes right from it that you grew and picked.

He described how Trump is just like the dictator in Eritrea , how they fought for independence but then got a dictator for 26 years no better than before. America is supposed to be for disagreeing and discussing anything you want without hate. He has a picture he cut out from the paper of Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner kissing each other on the cheek and shaking hands which he framed and put on the wall as it is the spirit of America that they completely disagree but can at least act friendly. But now maybe things are going bad and we can't think that we are immune from society falling apart. It can happen here, and the rich and greedy are the same everywhere, they only want power and they don't care what happens otherwise. He has to call up his family and tell them everything about politics, and they try to protect him by telling him it will be OK... because they know he's sensitive.

In case you can't tell this was all completely charming and I told him how I am also a poet and translator and about Carmen's book and said we should email and send poems. I went to write down my email and realized NO NOTEBOOK and not a scrap of paper on me. This never happens! How embarrassing just when I claimed to be a writer! He put his email into my phone but then i accidentally thought i lost it when I closed the email app. But! Found it! Now, he wonders if I will help him translate a poem? I may do this (counting on no misunderstanding about a meetup)

>>>
My plan was to hang out in pt. reyes town and write and work on poems while D. was at her appointment but no notebook. I can likely buy a decent one there in the bookstore.

Middle section of poem cycle as visual play across page with form? In a cleft or split going vertically for the structural supports. Too much? Or better have it underpin every page or some pages running through the whole thing as the supports should be 100% visible. Rodin's anatomical studies for those guys in the village (aldermen?). So, either that or 3rd section would be ramp/cleft/structure and 4th would be naiads.

Thinking of the free play across the page that I admire. The comical woman crossing the atlantic communist poem, Elvira H. Carta de viaje - more free and far-ranging. That space & far-ranging wide freedom has to underpin the entire Descent cycle. Consider also American Air (together with carta de viaje, atlantic, ibarbourou atlantic poems, in its own little book?)

Note, add Florentino book to ebook list for Burn This Press. Nearly forgot it.

>>>
Punchline of this is that a day later I found one of the 3 notebooks at the very bottom of my big backpack. So was able to work after all, with notes.

Happy Fathers' Day

Jun. 18th, 2017 04:02 pm
cyrano: (Still Flying)
[personal profile] cyrano
I still have a non-traditional relationship with my family.

I miss my dad, but no more than I did when he was alive. It'd be nice to talk to him, but we never have a lot to say. He was always supportive, but it's telling that one day when he was bearing his testimony he said that I was 'the son he was the most like and the son he understood the least'. I took home a few of his shirts, largely because the family was insistent that I take *something* as a memento. I'd never seen him wear these shirts--it had been 20 years since I saw my parents on a regular basis--so they aren't things that directly remind me of him. But they're still a little comforting to wear.

In the end, the important thing is that he raised me well, and a lot of who I am today is because of him. Charitable. Considerate. Friendly. Kind. Thoughtful. He didn't make a promise he couldn't keep. He recognized the importance of a good joke, even in a serious situation. He knew it was important to be able to see things from the other side.

And I do miss him.

QoTD

Jun. 15th, 2017 12:24 pm
emceeaich: A close-up of a pair of cats-eye glasses (Default)
[personal profile] emceeaich

Everyday I wake up and I'm thankful that we didn't have to live through a Glee episode of Hamilton. — Nicole Cliffe as related by Mallory Ortberg

Signing at Murder by the Book

Jun. 15th, 2017 10:20 am
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
[personal profile] marthawells
Signing at Murder by the Book


I'm doing a signing with Rachel Caine at Murder By The Book in Houston, TX, on Saturday, July 15, at 4:30, and you can order our books here and get them signed and personalized and shipped to you: http://www.murderbooks.com/event/wells-caine
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
[personal profile] marthawells
Just noticed “The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition” is up for preorder now.

This is the second novella in the The Murderbot Diaries novella series. Ebook and paperback, DRM-Free, available world-wide.

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/artificial-condition-martha-wells/1126552371?ean=9780765397546

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Condition-Murderbot-Diaries-Martha-ebook/dp/B072MZWHMB/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/artificial-condition

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/artificial-condition/id1247589033?mt=11


The follow-up to the hugely popular “All Systems Red”

It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot.”

But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“It turns out that what I wanted wasn’t the story of a young woman coming to terms with her brace or her body … what I wanted was something to love.”

Invisible 3 CoverFran Wilde is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which comes out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can preorder the collection at:

Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords | Google Play

(It will be available for Nook and iBooks as well, but we don’t have those links yet.)

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

I hope you find Wilde’s essay as powerful as I did.

#

At twelve, I perfected the baggy clothes drape. I stood and leaned against walls rather than sitting. Leaning kept the bottom edge of the hard, white fiberglass brace from digging into my thighs and the top edge from pinching under my arms. Either or both would drag my clothes funny and ruin the effect. I was pretty careful, but one pat on the back or a joking poke at my ribs and thunk. Hip to collarbone, my identity was wrapped in a hard shell.

Other braces, before and since, were easier to hide if I wanted to hide them. Foot braces, worn at night, turned my feet in the right direction, and no one was the wiser. Their ugly cousins, the orthopedic shoes, went away by third grade. The current knee and wrist braces and all the bracing tape? Those disappear under sleeves and skirts. And they’re mostly soft, not hard.

But I’ve always identified with that thunk. Part of me has always been a brain rolling around in a cage—both the skin and bones cage that doesn’t behave, and the shells that try to help fix that.

Growing up, this sucked.

Worse, the available books I could identify with sucked too. Deenie? Once was fine, but everyone gave me Deenie as if there was nothing else. And there really wasn’t. I started leaving annotated pages of Deenie secreted around my doctors’ offices in protest.

The year before I was cast for that second brace, I found science fiction.

I realized early that I identified more with the ships I was reading about than their captains. Especially the brain ships. (I’m still incredibly partial to liveships like Farscape’s Moya, Bear & Monette’s The Lavinia Whateley (“Boojum”), and Aliette de Bodard’s mindships.)

It turns out that what I wanted wasn’t the story of a young woman coming to terms with her brace or her body (seriously it’s a fine story, but it didn’t fit me at all—or, rather, it fit me like a brace, constraining and awkward). What I wanted was something to love. I was listening for that familiar thunk on the hull; I just didn’t know it. That recognition that there was a mind inside a cage of muscle, bone, pain, fiberglass, and metal. The acknowledgement that a mind could do things—heroic things! Cool things!—even if the body rebelled.

The first time I read Anne McCaffrey’s short story “The Ship Who Sang,” I read that painful first line—”She was born a thing,” and the ensuing replacement of Helva’s body with something better, a brainship shell—and felt guilty that I had it easy in comparison, while being thrilled that the main character was female. At twelve, I didn’t quite grasp some problematic aspects of the story.* What I knew immediately was that “The Ship Who Sang” delighted me.

That delight stemmed from recognizing a part of myself in the story—a singer, an artist, a perfectionist, a twisted form, triumphant inside a hard, albeit fiberglass, shell.

I fell in love with Helva from the start, and never really let her go. She’s mine. My ship.

She was so much better than freaking Deenie.

Later, another story caught me up in similar ways, though, again, I didn’t realize why until a lot later. William Gibson’s “Winter Market” (Burning Chrome), features Max, a recording engineer, and Lise, a wunderkind artist about to go viral. Lise’s genetic disorder requires her to wear a full-body brace in order to survive, but this is faulty equipment too, so much so that the brace once trapped her starving and unable to move in a pile of garbage. Told from Max’s point of view, “Winter Market” opens with Lise’s escape to immortality: “It was like that the day her agents phoned to tell me she’d merged with the net, crossed over for good.”

In “Winter Market,” Lise creates something astoundingly beautiful and Max sees her for who she is when no one else does. I love the story. I thought I loved it because of what it said about art and dedication and rage; because of the connection between two people; because of how angry Lise was whenever anyone looked at her with anything approaching pity.

Lise is better than Deenie too.

But, as I said above, Lise is already gone by the time “Winter Market” begins, and my love for Gibson’s story has grown more complex and layered.

Lately, I’ve been arguing with Gibson in my head about Lise. (And, to a lesser extent, with McCaffrey about Helva.) Because Lise is a prop for “Winter Market.” She’s gone, and what she’s left behind and what she’s become are not Lise any more, in the narrator’s eyes especially. Because her tech cage failed her, maybe. Because her meat cage failed her too, probably. Because her mind needed to escape all that she was in order to fulfill what she was capable of.

I’m arguing about that now for a lot of reasons. First, because I can’t get out of my cage—none of us can—and second because I do not want to be gone. I want a world that lets me live, and love, and create, and be me, with whatever braces or tech I need. One that doesn’t stand in my way or expect me to disappear in one flaming act of creation. Gibson’s and McCaffrey’s stories helped me understand this, in their own ways.

So when I write characters like Djonn in Cloudbound and Horizon, or Lane in “Happenstance,” a short story coming out this summer in the FutureScapes anthology, I write them uncaged, even as I give them braces and tech to help support them. The cage I’m talking about is the story’s definition of who they are—where Lise is at one point garbage and the hole she leaves in the story, where Helva cannot be at all, unless her parents make her a ship. Djonn and Lane and others aren’t defined by their bodies and limitations; they have the tools to do their jobs and live their lives.

Sometimes people don’t notice my characters have disabilities because these characters are too busy living their lives.

I’m really very fine with that. I’m busy living my life too.

Even when the meatcage goes thunk.

_____
*And has been beautifully explored by readers and academics including Dr. Ria Cheyne, in “She was born a Thing, Disability, The Cyborg, and the Posthuman (Journal of Mondern Literature 36.3)”

***

Fran Wilde is the author of the Andre Norton- and Compton Crook Award-winning, Nebula-nominated novel UPDRAFT (Tor 2015), its sequels, CLOUDBOUND (2016) and HORIZON (2017), and the Nebula- and Hugo-nominated novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” (Tor.com Publishing 2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She writes for publications including The Washington Post, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, iO9.com, and GeekMom.com. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at franwilde.net.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Wonder Woman (Here There Be Spoilers)

Jun. 11th, 2017 06:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

My family and I finally saw Wonder Woman today. (I made sure to do up the beard with the appropriate colors, of course!)

Selfie with yellow and red beard bandsI liked it a lot. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s easily the best of the DC superhero films for me. Not necessarily a high bar to clear, but still…

Was it perfect? Nope. I saw the twists with Ares and the “godkiller” pretty much as soon as they were introduced. Elena Anaya’s Doctor Poison was sadly underutilized. The final battles were a little too CGI.

I still enjoyed it. I loved Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. Lucy Davis was a lot of fun as Etta Candy. Perhaps most importantly, the film gave us a Wonder Woman who had heart. Who loves and protects and smiles and cares and tries to help, and not just in battle. The moment when she tries to comfort Charlie after what appears to be a PTSD-type nightmare, or her unabashed joy in ice cream or seeing a baby for the first time…those moments made Wonder Woman as much as her big fight scenes.

I’ve seen people talking about how they cried during this movie at the sight of a woman taking center stage as a powerful, compassionate, world-saving superhero. I’ve seen criticism of the way the film quickly abandons Paradise Island and surrounds Wonder Woman with an almost entirely-male cast. I’ve seen love for the casting of an Israeli woman, and for a Native character who introduces himself in Blackfoot. I’ve seen pain and frustration at the way black women are portrayed or pushed into the background. (I loved watching Robin Wright kick ass, but why couldn’t the movie have kept Philippus as Diana’s trainer?)

I’ve also seen that amazingly clueless Guardian review, which complains:

Confusingly, Diana later explains that “men are essential for procreation but when it comes to pleasure, unnecessary.”

Anyone else completely unshocked to find that this review was written by a man?

I included the link, but I recommend reading more thoughtful commentary and responses like the following:

It’s hard to hear something you love is problematic. We saw The Princess Bride again last weekend. I love that movie. I think it’s brilliant…but it’s also almost exclusively male, and includes a scene of Westley threatening to strike his so-called love because he doesn’t like something she said. That’s messed-up. I still love it, but not because I delude myself into thinking it’s perfect.

Wonder Woman is extraordinary and powerful for a lot of people. It’s also flawed and frustrating or disappointing for others. This isn’t a contradiction. It’s the nature of art. Sure, certain criticism might be ridiculous — waves at that Guardian reviewer — but I don’t think we do ourselves any favors by pretending our faves are perfect, or by refusing to listen to people who point out genuine problems.

I liked the movie. I liked Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. I think this was a big step forward for DC films…but one step does not a journey make. I hope Hollywood learns and does even better in the future.

I’ll end with Stylist UK’s 25 life-giving photos of little girls dressed as Wonder Woman.

Gal Gadot with Young Fan

Photo from Ryan McGee’s Twitter Feed

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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