New fic!

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:59 am
kass: "let love be your engine," image of Kaylee and of Serenity (let love be your engine)
[personal profile] kass
I come bearing new fic!

SPOILERS for The Winter Long, the new Toby Daye book by [ profile] seanan_mcguire which just dropped today. (The book is fantastic. Go and read. And then come back and read this.)

For [personal profile] geekturnedvamp. With thanks to [personal profile] kouredios for beta.

They sought the remedy (1303 words) by Kass
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: October Daye Series - Seanan McGuire
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Toby Daye/Tybalt
Characters: Tybalt (Toby Daye), Toby Daye, The Luidaeg (Toby Daye)
Additional Tags: Post-Book, The Winter Long

Putting the summary behind a cut-tag because it's spoilery )

Coming soon to my website. Enjoy!
oursin: a hedgehog lying in the middle of cacti (hedgehog and cactus)
[personal profile] oursin

Today I wore for the first time a pair of shoes that I bought in a sale some while ago (on account of snapping up Ecco shoes in my size and a style I like should I see them in a sale) and which have been sitting at the back of the wardrobe ever since.

The heels have started disintegrating and leaving a trail of black blobs.

Fortunately this is a day when I have my trainers with me and have also uncovered an emergency pair of shoes which I think was probably intended for cases of rainy days and getting soaked to the socks, but will serve this contingency.

I suppose it counts as a first-world problem to have That Many Books that if the ones you are looking for - in this instance, my copies of Antonia Forest, End of Term, Peter's Room and The Thuggery Affair - are not on the shelves with the others, trying to find exactly where they are is a daunting prospect. (I have no idea. As far as I can recall, the last time I had them out was when I did a full reread some years ago, and thus, why are some but not others in their rightful place?)

Am less than thrilled with the latest LJ shiny new things, even if it will let me have my Friends page rather than Feed I DO.NOT.WANT. the layout changes and loss of various things like my personalised link titles, etc.

Morning edition

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:02 am
kass: A glass of iced coffee with milk. (coffee)
[personal profile] kass
Last night Yao and I watched 3 episodes of S5 of Breaking Bad -- we've just finished "Rabid Dog," ep 12 of 16. I had trouble falling asleep afterwards; my mind wouldn't stop racing and neither would my heart, and ultimately I took a benadryl to help me get there. (I suspect some of this had to do with staying up later than usual -- after the second ep I felt my body sliding toward sleep but I stayed up for a third one, and it felt as though I'd missed my window. But some of it was probably just the adrenaline of the show.)

It's a phenomenal show. As soon as we finish it I want to go hunting for good essays about spoilers, sweetie )

Now it is Tuesday morning, the morning after a three-day weekend so I'm feeling already behind the ball somewhat, but that will pass. For now I have an iced coffee, and a baguette with cheddar cheese, and I walked my 25 minutes on the treadmill this morning, so life is good.


Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:59 am
sunflowerinrain: Noodles and Pepper with toy ratty (cuddling cats)
[personal profile] sunflowerinrain
I type to the accompaniment of furious yowling: Pepper is feeling better and wants to go out.

By the evening he'd responded to the injected anti-inflammatory and was able to eat a little supper. We went to bed, him in my apartment while Noodles was out in the living-room/kitchen, with the catflap open[0]. Pepper was still wanting to be a cosseted kitten and slept on my tum, but he was much livelier[1]. He woke about 5am and had a light breakfast, then curled up on a chair. All was going well, with hopes of giving him freedom today, and at last I had my bed back.

Just after 7, I was woken by the dreaded Announcement of Imminent Vomiting.

Since then he's had a little more food and he's certainly feeling well enough to be Loud, but he just tried to jump onto the back of the sofa next to the desk and didn't make it - less than a metre of leap that he'd normally not even notice. There are dogs and cars and a huge angry tomcat out there. No, he has to stay in.

We are running out of cat-litter and the stock of cat-food is getting low.

[0] Complicated business, letting one out while keeping the other in. Also have to keep doors locked because neighbours have been popping in to bring figs (for me, not him) and eggs.

[1] Unlike me, dizzy with lack of sleep.

Kiddie Lit - it's for us all

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:56 am
hunningham: Evil queen with extremely evil grin (Great big grin)
[personal profile] hunningham
[personal profile] soupytwist wrote about Frances Hardinge in a recent book log posting and I was inspired and got Twilight Robbery out of the library.

Now, this book didn’t work for me. I think it was too plotty, too action-driven for me to really enjoy; I tend to prefer the more introspective reading. But I have passed the book on to H. and he is loving it.

H. was reading it on the train t’other day, and another commuter asked him if the book was any good, because they had just got it out of the library for themselves, and then the pair to them had a little talk about Frances Hardinge.

I just love the idea of two middle-aged men in suits having a nice discussion about Frances Hardinge on the train without either of them ever saying “yes, I got this book out of the children’s section in the library”. Not sure why I’m so tickled by this, there we are. Definitely amused.

And I'm going to buy some more Frances Hardinge for H.
andrewducker: (psychodrama)
[personal profile] andrewducker
The post here now has 142 comments (and 4 over on DW).

If you were waiting until it had a bunch of people on it before adding anyone, now's your chance.

(no subject)

Sep. 2nd, 2014 07:55 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kindkit!

(no subject)

Sep. 1st, 2014 11:29 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
It was a very Cat Lady weekend. I showed my landlord and some of my roommates episodes of My Cat From Hell to let them know how not to pet and handle Emily. My landlord then latched on to cat furniture as his new way to procrastinate from plumbing the dishwasher. Which I have mixed feelings about--I like neat cat stuff, but I would like a working dishwasher.

Anyway, now he wants to make a cat castle using a concrete pour tube.

This weekend I also fitted the cat with soft nail caps, which she regarded as THE GREATEST BETRAYAL EVER PERPETRATED ON CATKIND, OH THE FELINITY. After that she was almost mild about and the new feeder maze, where she has to flick her kibble through different levels before it lands in the slow-feeding trough at the bottom. It addresses a few concerns I've had, since she gobbles her food like she'll never eat again and then shows signs of upset stomach half an hour later. This one leaves her with enough Fuck It that she walks away between mouthfuls, and I know for a fact that she left some food in the trough tonight when we went downstairs when usually her bowl is empty within ten minutes of food being poured.

Though tonight she's gone upstairs for once, after ages of always following me from room to room. I figure this is progress--she used to sleep on the shelf near my window, but last night she was up late making noise so I shut her out of my room, which she did not complain about; and tonight she came downstairs with me, then left her shelf after about half an hour and went back up. I may be codependent and go find her.

Tonight I also ended up dispensing cat advice on Tumblr, after ranting about my roommates' cat-insensitive ways.

Something made me think about and miss Bert this weekend, but I forget what.
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
I've been trying to expand my musical horizons lately: break out of my rut, not be that person who only likes the stuff they liked when they were 17. I mean, I will always love me some butt rock, but why stagnate? So I've been trying different things, on the child feeding principle that you have to try things three or four times before you really know if you like them.

It turns out I enjoy opera! Quite a bit! I guess that's not so surprising considering how much I have always loved prog metal. And I have started listening to country, and discovered that there is a lot to like. One thing about country that especially speaks to me these days: there's a lot of country songs about kids and childrearing. Everything from the sentimentality of "There Goes My Life" or "He Didn't Have To Be" to the bitter humor of "One's On The Way".

And I have also been listening to hip-hop, and before anyone brings up the ~misogyny~ of hip-hop let me tell you a little story about Ray LaMontagne. Because Spotify served me up a Ray LaMontagne song on my country radio - Spotify, by the way, is fantastic if you want to listen to new music! - a quiet, beautiful song called "Like Rock and Roll & Radio" that I immediately fell wildly in love with. I must hear more of this, I thought. So I pulled up the album, started from the beginning, and on the first song the singer expresses his intent to beat his ex-girlfriend like he says her father should have. Your sensitive white people folk music, ladies and gentlemen! It turns out that I am completely used to a certain level of misogyny in my music, that I just grimly live with, and staying under that level, well, it's not hard. Plenty of rap music turns out to easily clear that bar.

But because I'm sort of off sausage fests these days anyway, I went looking for female hip hop artists, and that's what I've been listening to lately. And I've learned a couple of things.

I can get into Angel Haze's flow or Rah Digga's energy as much as I like, but I can never, ever, ever sing along with any of their music. And some of that shit is catchy! This is a problem! This is worse than the time I found myself singing "Uncle Fucker" under my breath at work! And it is, to me, a KEEP OUT sign placed all over the music.

For which I do not in any way blame the artists, mind you: considering that the entire history of music in America is the history of black people coming up with musical forms and white people coming up with ways to take them over and make money off of them, if I were a talented black MC, I would spraypaint THIS IS OUR SHIT, EVERYONE ELSE KEEP OUT all over my work in any way possible.

And, again, I'm totally used to spending all my time playing in other people's sandboxes. For example. Prog metal. Completely infested by the kinds of guys who, as Neal Stephenson wrote, sincerely believe that they are way too smart to be sexist. Let's take a moment to revisit Queensryche's classic concept album Operation: Mindcrime, musically a work of genius, lyrically an unintentionally hilarious celebration of manpain which reaches its nadir when the main character finds the dead body of his beloved, his only friend, the ex-hooker nun who's been providing him social services, and tearfully, rhetorically asks who's going to fix his meals now. …Yeah. Well, that was the soundtrack of my adolescence, so I'm totally used to enjoying music that has enormous IT'S NOT FOR YOU signs plastered all over it. It's not a dealbreaker. I'm happy to live with it. But I don't stop noticing it, either.

I know hip-hop deals with as many subjects as any other musical genre, but the playlists I am checking out, they seem to be hitting the high points. And the most popular songs in the genre, by female artists, seem to overwhelmingly be about: 1) being sexy at the club; and 2) triumphing over other bitches. And that's not speaking to me. I'm lucky enough to be at a point in my life where I don't really have any bitches that I need to triumph over. Like, not personally. There are lots of people I wish would just die, but that's more for political reasons. And as far as being sexy at the club, I can't remember the last time I was at a club; and I can remember the last time I was sexy, and it was right around when I got pregnant with Rocket, and that was a pretty long time ago in terms of that sort of thing, and I'm not sure that I'll ever be sexy again. And it turns out that listening to all these songs about triumphing at sexy are making me feel worse about myself, in the way of "don't read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly."

Hey, speaking, of which, I have a question: how do you deal with the end of sexy? If you are a member of the sex class, that is the person in the relationship whose body's power of attraction is meant to create desire not only in your partner but also in yourself ("I have to imagine he is fucking you just so I can climax"): how do you deal with it if your looks, your power of attraction, such as it ever may have been, is gone, but you are in what is meant to be a sexual relationship and you would kind of like it to continue as such? Do me a favor and leave aside completely the question of whether this is relevant to me at this very moment. No, I'm serious. If we're lucky enough to live long, if we're lucky enough to have lovers if we want them, it will become relevant if it's not now. I'm not gonna age like Helen Mirren or whoever, I'm gonna age like an ordinary person without massive amounts of plastic surgery, and that means I'm gonna age more like those mysterious things you eventually unearth with horror in the back of the fridge. So how do you have a sexual relationship when your body contains all the sexual magic of old Gorgonzola? Do you decide that it's the other person's turn to be sexy? Can you both just decide that? Do you keep the lights off forever now? Do you try to create a sexual narrative that doesn't include sexiness? How do you do that? Help me figure it out, y'all, I found a white armpit hair in the shower this morning, I need some damn songs about that.

Look up.

Sep. 2nd, 2014 03:42 am
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Look up.
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
[personal profile] tajasel

Ze Frank - Why Trust Is Worth It
Words by Ze Frank, emphasis my own.
We talk about trust as something you build. As if it's a structure or a thing. But in that building there seems to be something about letting go. And what it affords us is a luxury that allows us to stop thinking, to stop worrying that someone won't catch us if we fall, to stop constantly scanning for inconsistencies, to stop wondering how people act when they're not in our presence. It allows us to relax a part of our minds so that we can focus on what's in front of us.

And that's why it's such a tragedy when it's broken.

A betrayal can make you think about all the other betrayals that are waiting for you, and things that you haven't thought of, and people you rely on. And you can feel yourself tightening up, bracing. And in the worst cases, you might resolve to trust no one.

But, that doesn't really work. Trust is your relationship to the unknown. What you can't control, and you can't control everything. And it's not all or none. It's a slow and steady practice of learning about the capacity of the world. And it's worth it, to keep trying, and it's not easy.


I almost imagine trust as these invisible hands that we stretch out into the world, looking for someone to hold on to, as we walk into the unknown future. […]

So who do you trust, and how can you grow it?

Well, that was a punch in the feels.
"You might resolve trust no one."

Yeah, and someone on the internet says that that doesn't really work, except what if it does? What if that's how some people have to stay safe?

We can't choose who we love, and we can't choose who falls in love with us. People tell me they're different, that they won't smash my heart into pieces like the last person, or the person before that. What if I'm tired of hearing promises, promises held with as little regard as my emotions? What if I don't want to trust anyone with my heart anymore? What if I've grown weary of seeing how people treat each other in this world, and I don't believe that trust offers the payback people say it does?

I just told a friend who's experiencing some similar thoughts that he's not alone, that he has friends who care, and that that's the important thing. That one day maybe he'll be happy with someone, maybe I will be too. That the two of us will probably never find happiness together, but I'm OK with that, as long as we're still friends as long as it feels right for us to be that way.

I said that there's no point in pining for relationships that have gone wrong, that instead we should try to learn from break-ups and bad relationships, and know that we won't always find the answers we're looking for, but unless we stop staring bleakly into the past, berating ourselves for being terrible people and unloveable monsters… unless we stop focusing on past failures, we won't ever find happiness, in ourselves or others.

I told him that he shouldn't beat himself up for loving people who didn't love him back, or for not loving those who loved him. That we can't choose who we love, and we can't choose who'll reciprocate.

I told him that all we can do is to look forwards and be the best people we can be. That if we focus on being as happy as we can within ourselves, then one day, people might come along and tell us they love us, and we might want to love them back. That if love doesn't follow the happiness, then it doesn't matter, because we will be happy in ourselves.

I pointed out that some people die alone, that I probably will, and I may never be OK with that, but I can at least try and be happy with who I am, and what I have, even if it's not everything I'd choose, if I had the choice.

Deep down, I believe everything I said just now, or I wouldn't have said a word of it. But who for?

I know that I'm happier recently than I've been for the best part of this year, and yet, there are these thoughts niggling at the back of my mind. What happens when my body gets old, and I have to slow down? Will there be anyone there to look back on years of adventures with, or will I sit alone, flicking through online photo albums at photos of people who have been and gone? What happens if I never again hear the words "I love you" from someone who I want to repeat them back to, from someone I want to grow old and decrepit with?

I get reminded that other people are worse off than me. I have no doubt about that, and I'm grateful for what I do have. But this world, our society, it isn't set up for people to be alone. We're supposed to trust, to be trusted. To fall in love, to be loved.

I get told that I'm still young, that I've got time, and maybe that's true, but by now, I'm far more used to saying "I love you" and hearing an affirmation that later turns out to be false: maybe they never meant it, maybe they did but realised they were wrong. It doesn't matter, because what it comes down to is that they never loved me, never could, never will.

They love other people, often people I know, but I was not loveable enough for them, I am not loveable enough now, and I may never be loveable enough anytime in the future. The only way I can find out if I can be loved is to trust… but what if that has already hurt me too much? What if I can't? What if trust is too tied up in heartbreak already?

Maybe trust is worth it… for other people.
jesse_the_k: Due South's Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser both rubbing their foreheads (dS F/K headache)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Been a while, but I've been amusing myself, as well as intermittent low bits. Turned my back on Facebook, abandoned Twitter after the SDS conference, spending way too much time on MetaFilter, which is beginning to annoy me in useful ways, as well as doodling away a happy hour on Tumblr posting nothing. Reading actualfax books—paper as well as e—and fanfiction, of course. Here's a sprinkling of things I've stumbled across. Ask me anything (as they say) in the comments and I'll bloviate.

I've worked as a freelance calligrapher, typesetter, and graphic designer. This cartoon beautifully, and painfully, captures the continual teeter-totter between "being true to your own self" and "getting paid"

I've been having more difficulty understanding speech, especially at noisy places like cons (use your mics!) and restaurants. I've also had a strange two-tone mechanical humming in my ears for the past year or so. Okay, time for a hearing test. Mostly painless: put on these headphones, play noise in one ear and words in the other, parrot back the words. But then there was
non-consensual penetration of body cavities )

That was a lesson in how to alienate prospective patients. It makes me wonder what in hell medicos mean when they say, "this will be uncomfortable, but let me know if it hurts"? Is there some level of pain which reliably causes a reflex response in humans, and therefore docs can ignore unreliable information like "Oww! That hurts! Stop that! NO."? I know that enough pain makes me pass right out. Or say if I vomit, does that mean I've crossed the line from "uncomfortable" to "hurts"? How about if I curl up on cool bathroom tiles? Or maybe when I sandbag myself with microwave hotpacks? I'm just working back from the "pain behaviors" I've demonstrated when it's hurt too much for me at home.

Anyway, the exam result is: I have

  • excellent hearing in optimal conditions (cool)

  • difficulty "hearing in noise" (yeah, that's why I was there)

  • tinnitus (Checking just now at HearingLossHelp druglist (PDF), I'm taking three meds known to cause tinnitus in some people. Huh and

  • Hyperacusis

She says wearing 29dB earplugs only makes the hyperacusis worse. (I wear them swimming and when I'm on the bus.) She's making "musician's earplugs" for me which dampen all sound equally across the noise spectrum which should "take the edge off" of the loudness of things.

Labour day holiday

Sep. 1st, 2014 05:29 pm
writerlibrarian: lovely red and pink flowers in field (Default)
[personal profile] writerlibrarian

I tried my hand at corn chowder. It didn't look like it should but it was good to eat. I used 2% milk and that wasn't the best idea. Still, it's good to eat, not creamy but eatable.

The sun played hide and seek for part of the day. I spent it knitting. I am finishing pieces. My new light pumpkin aka squash cowl that can be worn over my head to protect from rain or eventually snow. It's the Aibhlinn pattern from Knitty which is nice to knit. It's especially nice to knit in blended cotton. My cotton is Katia's Mississippi tex.

The pic is not the best
I'm finishing the full wool brioche in shades of red. I have something like 2 to 3 hours to go on it. Picture to come. 

I have a full week coming at work. A few long meetings, one or two press conferences and my 'darling' employee returns from vacation. But... even on vacations she managed to put her foot in her mouth and I couldn't catch her before she did. She's digging herself a hole. "sigh"

Almost done with my rewatch of Spooks season 2 Tom is slowly breaking down. Matthew Macfadyen looks so young there.

I rather like this song

Sep. 1st, 2014 09:51 pm
andrewducker: (Experience)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Discovered via recommendation from Warren Ellis' mailing list Orbital Operations. I am also enjoying his daily meditations at Morning.Computer.

My ten most influential books

Sep. 1st, 2014 08:51 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
I couldn't think of ten books that influenced me, so I was relieved to be the only person left on the internet who hadn't been tagged by their friends to do this meme, but then I got asked on Facebook. I came up with a list but I wanted to talk about them each a little, and that's easier to do here than there.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This book made me want to be an imaginative child. I thought myself nothing like the talkative, tangential Anne Shirley, but I aspired to be.

Then once I remember being in the car, going somewhere with my family, and seeing an old bus out the window as we passed it. "It looks like a tree," I said, pointing it out, "because it's brown on the bottom half and green on the top."

"Only you would think of these things, Holly," my mom said, and I thought my heart would burst with delight and pride. Especially because I hadn't even been trying to be particularly whimsical just then.

Of course only in retrospect do I realize I had, and have, no trouble being the imaginative chatterbox that Anne was.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Basically this one just means "I grew up on a farm." I was fascinated by a world so different, and yet recognizably similar. I mention the first book in the series here not just because it's first but because it was most like my own life, in the Upper Midwest with family all around to visit, before her life became houses built by her dad.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
I didn't realize it at the time, but this book got me started on science fiction. And of course I loved the movie. But this book I read to pieces; I remember falling asleep over it when I was babysitting, sneaking a look at it in my seventh-grade Life Science class when the boys sitting behind me where debating Star Trek vs. Star Wars (a debate which then as now held no interest for me) just seemed to be everywhere with me for a while.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Taught by the legendary Mr. Nordlie, the English teacher everyone either loved or hated. He read this to us, a bit each day in class. He made us put all our pencils and books and everything under the desks, so we wouldn't be distracted while we listened, and I certainly wasn't. He showed us the movie after he'd read it, saying he does a better voice for Lenny than the movie, and he was right. We read another book by Steinbeck in sophomore English, The Pearl, and the two of those left me absolutely enamored with Steinbeck. I read everything of his I could get my hands on after that.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
This is when I thought I started reading science fiction, a few years after I had, so it's important for that. Also this and To Sail Beyond the Sunset (where we find out Lazarus Long's mom is from the same town as my mom!), with a little help from LiveJournal, introduced me to the concept of polyamory, which has proven to be rather essential to my life ever since.

Contact by Carl Sagan
This book revived my childish desire to be an astronomer. It also cemented my conviction (though I'd have never articulated it this way at the time) that the gulf between science and the humanities is an illusion: here is a proper scientist talking proper science but also writing in a beautiful style that really stayed with me (and introduced me to some lovely poems he used as epigrams, particularly "Brotherhood" by Octavio Paz). This also got me thinking a lot about what it was like to be a woman with "male" interests, even though it's written by a man of course.

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
The first Pratchett book I read, on a whim, lent to my best friend by her brother. I can't remember if she read it but I did and adored it. And the idea that the stories we tell have such power would resonate for me many years into the future in ways I couldn't have expected then.

Unfortunately he lent us another Pratchett I couldn't get into at all -- it was an early Rincewind one, and I didn't get enough of the jokes to even understand that they were supposed to be jokes -- so I thought Pratchett was a dud for a few years until I met Andrew, who got me to read Thief of Time, which I loved particularly because by that time I thought it was awfully Discordian, because I'd read...

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
Andrew introduced me to this, of course. It was via a couple of Discordian mailing-list friends of his that we found each other on LJ, perhaps a fitting start for a relationship that's infused with so much chaos and inexplicability. I liked the idea that things might matter as much as it feels like they do sometimes, that humor was a valid way to investigate and evaluate the universe (it's only been a few weeks since I told someone "it's not true unless it makes you laugh, and you don't believe it until it makes you cry", which is not as true as it is clever but it is still something I keep finding useful).

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
I don't even remember how I ended up with the audiobook of this. I remember the book itself had been recommended to me long before by Andrew's uncle. It sounded crazy: who'd want to read a whole book about such a thing? How could there be enough to say? But it's utterly fascinating, especially because the audiobook is read by someone with a good voice for it, who I like listening to. This one book kicked off a trend of me reading non-fiction almost exclusively and of my increasing love for and dependence on audiobooks. It's one I still have on my computer, and which I'll play a bit of, especially if I'm migrainey or stressed or otherwise in need of soothing.

The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross
This too was an early audiobook I acquired (probably from eMusic? Ah, those were the days...) and which is a great marriage of book and reader. It taught me an absolute ton about twentieth-century music, and is another one that I keep going back to because I find it so comforting. I've been playing early chapters to help me sleep lately.

September 1, 1939 -- WH Auden

Sep. 1st, 2014 01:01 pm
batdina: (hope -- lanning)
[personal profile] batdina

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

W.H. Auden

(no subject)

Sep. 1st, 2014 03:52 pm
ghoti: girl with purple pigtails and chin resting on her hands (goth pigtails)
[personal profile] ghoti
So I've been wanting a new car for a while now. There's nothing objectively wrong with my current one, 'cept for some cosmetic issues. (Okay, and a couple few rusty spots.) I've not even driven 85K miles (~137K km) since I got it. It's 10 years old. I bought it new in 2004 and finished paying it off 5 years ago. Why do I want a car payment? I don't.

But ... I'm bored? *shrug*

Single parenting

Sep. 1st, 2014 08:28 pm
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila

[Image of Humuhumu on the London Air Line running from Royal Victoria Docks to North Greenwich. Has nothing to do with the content of the post, just wanted to share.]

The bloke went to a meeting in Switzerland on Sunday and will return late on Friday evening. This leaves me single-parenting Humuhumu for six days.

Both of us have done longer stints than that solo since she was born, and although we now both know some tactics for coping with it, it's still very difficult. I don't think I truly appreciated how tough single parenting is until I had to do it myself, and I'm lucky enough to be able to afford help (e.g. having full-time nursery care, having a cleaner, taking a taxi when I'm too tired/pregnant to walk the mile and a half from the house to the train station).

In terms of tactics, I now know to make at least two large "dishes" (e.g. mac and cheese, chilli, fish pie) at the weekend that I can heat and serve when I get home exhausted during the week so I don't have to cook in the evening. I know to clear the laundry basket at the weekend. I know to fill my rucksack with snacks and water for the toddler and me on the train. I know to download shows onto the tablet on iPlayer, and I have a screen set up so she can choose these or her games. I know to pack my lunch every night, and to bathe before bed so that I don't have to attempt to shower with the toddler wreaking mayhem outside. I know to lay out my clothes so that I can leap into them if she wakes up before my alarm goes off. Each of these things helps save a tiny bit of energy that I can then expend on my day job. But if I had to do them on my own every week and every weekend, I would be so tired I wouldn't be able to see straight. I would have no energy to maintain a community of friends, in meatspace or online.

I find that the little kindnesses shown to me by the people I encounter in passing mean even more to me when I'm single-parenting. I was struggling to calm Humuhumu, who was squirming in her pushchair and crying, "Down! Down!" about 200 metres from the nursery's front door, and a woman passing by bent down and made a funny face at her, saying, "What sort of a face is that?" in a strong Brummy accent. Humuhumu stopped fussing and chuckled, and the woman said, "That's better." I smiled and thanked her and we went our separate ways. It was literally seconds of interaction, but it was so helpful. Then there are the people who offer to help me lift her into or out of the train, or just wiggle their fingers at her when she's looking at them - again, it's just a few seconds, but it lightens the weight of solitary responsibility considerably.

In conclusion, I'm about to make myself a dandelion-and-burdock vanilla ice cream float as a reward for getting through today.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
Lightspeed Magazine, June 2014: Women Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue (This is big enough to count as a book.)

My Real Children by Jo Walton

Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest by Jen Doll

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal (The forth book in the Glamourist Histories)

Steles of the Sky (Eternal Sky #3by Elizabeth Bear (The final book in The Eternal Sky trilogy)

While We Run by Karen Healey

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan

Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

And on my to-read List:
Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith

The Time Roads by Beth Bernobich

Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance by Ada Palmer (who blogs at Ex Urbe)

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Clariel by Garth Nix (Need to do a re-read of other books in the series 1st)

Upgraded ed. Neil Clarke

An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley

Wood Sprites by Wen Spencer (The latest Elfhome book)

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Solaris Rising 3: The New Solaris Book of Science Fiction ed Ian Whates (This has new stories by many authors I enjoy)

Courting Magic by Stephanie Burgis

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories ed. Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios

Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Novella, will upload next time I connect my ereader to the internet.)

One Night in Sixes by Arianne "Tex" Thompson

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica

Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild by Novella Carpenter

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey (On hold at local Library)

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History ed. Rose Fox and Daniel José Older (I have this on my ereader.)

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan (On hold at local Library)

Gender Failure by Ivan E. Coyote, Rae Spoon

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

Drama Queens in the House by Julie Williams ( I have this out form the Library now)

Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (I have yet to read volume 2)

Laura's Wolf by Lia Silver (waiting for this to be available not on Amazon)

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Delicious!by Ruth Reichl

Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho (Three new stories!)

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Honor's Knight by Rachel Bach

Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A.K. Summers

That to-read list is a bit overwhelming. I doubt I will get through it by the end of the year.

So have you read any of these? What did you think? Is there anything here you want to read? Is there anything I should add to the to-read list?

yes good

Sep. 1st, 2014 08:05 pm
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. I woke up surprisingly easily, especially given how late I got to bed, which is always pleasantly astonishing when it manages to happen.

2. Some of the post waiting for me at work was more rocks! I was delighted, and expressed this delight to a colleague in the lift, and everyone else in the lift just looked... baffled. Which to be honest I found a little surprising given where I work, but mostly? Mostly it was amusing, and also I have lots more rocks. Plenty enough to keep me going until the new year!

3. I got heaps of labwork done today, including lots more tidying up than I normally manage, including making some sensible judgment calls

4. As I was leaving, having tidied up, the skies opened, and it was brilliant - I walked down the middle of the almost-entirely-empty pavement on Exhibition Road in the warm rain with my clothes rapidly getting plastered to me, and oh, it was glorious.

5. I finally settled in with Scalzi's new novel Lock In today, and to my surprise I am genuinely enjoying it. (Why surprise? Because much as I like the guy I didn't expect him to do it well, and so far he is. Also, I'm a fifth of the way through and the protag's gender hasn't been mentioned yet, which is pretty much the reading experience I want.)

6. I got home to find warm couscous left on the table for me, because I have the best housemate <333

7. ... and for afters there is leftover strawberry trifle in the fridge, brought me yesterday by [personal profile] sebastienne and my useless ex when they rocked up to feed me lunch, badger me into wearing clothes, and drag me to a film festival & concert (which was pretty great once the first short was over; Did Not Like). But srsly though, a. CN Lester wrote a song for you and then made a music video, and (b) I got to curl up in a big comfy chair and watch an entire hour of people talking mostly in German about queer & trans stuff, and -- that's not something my inherited language does, we're rural Austrian Catholics, I got to listen to people speaking about queers in German, which was a kind of homecoming even though it was the wrong flavour. (By which I mean: the Berlin accent is not the accent of the stories and the prayers and the songs of my childhood, but nonetheless it is German and therefore soothing.)

8. My counsellor got in touch yesterday about arranging a session with an apology for having dropped off the face of the Earth (bereavement), which saved me doing the reaching out and means we are Working On A Date probably sometime next week.

9. An Elementary fic showed up in my head while I was finishing up the washing up at work; specifically, a story that begins "The first time Joan surprised Sherlock..." with reference to some dialogue from (very!) early season 1, though I suspect I am going to have to wait for the beginning of season 3 to make sense of where it's trying to end up.

10. I really am surrounded by fantastic people, and I am so, so glad of all of you <3 (And I am aided in appreciating this by the bit where I seem to be starting to pull back out of the brainwrong I've been in for the past little bit: hurrah discontinuing the anti-histamine!)

Influential books

Sep. 1st, 2014 07:22 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
It's lovely seeing a lot of my friends do this "ten influential books" meme, because I start to notice a lot of overlaps. Everyone seems to have a Terry Pratchett book. A lot have 1984, or Catch-22, or Narnia, or Robert Heinlein...and I'm delightedly surprised to see how often Steinbeck crops up.

I haven't been able to think of a good list for myself, but it'd certainly feature several of those things. No surprise, I suppose. But it's interesting to see the patterns.

Graveyard Dust, by Barbara Hambly

Sep. 1st, 2014 10:51 am
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Benjamin January # 3! This one was way less grim than Fever Season. I realize that's easy to say, so I will give it an independent grimness rating.

Grimness of content: Medium. Racism and other isms, slavery, murder; child abuse is discussed but not shown.

Grimness of tone: Low. The subtitle is "a novel of suspense" and that accurately describes the tone. It's a very atmospheric mystery with some excellent action and really great characters. I loved everyone in this book, except for the villains and racists, obviously. Also, it contains a number of fun tropes, including hurt-comfort, creepy pottery, courtroom drama, spirit possession, and dodging alligators in the bayou. Plus Marie Laveau. The plot is very well-constructed and entertaining. And there's some very funny banter, plus a number of dramatic, alarming, and/or hilarious courtroom scenes.

Benjamin January is a devout Catholic and regularly prays for the soul of his sister Olympe, a voodoo practitioner. When Olympe is railroaded into jail for poisoning a man, mostly due to prejudice against voodoo, Ben gets on the case.

I really enjoyed the portrayal of voodoo. Hambly has an afterword discussing her research (she's a historian) and interviews with current practitioners where she gives a sense of how varied the practice and history is-- as is the case in any religion. From Ben's outsider/insider perspective, it's simultaneously alien and disturbing, familiar and enticing. It was a great way to convey how any religion is sustaining and ordinary for its followers, and exotic and weird to outsiders who don't understand it. Marie Laveau is one of my favorite characters in the series, and she naturally has a big part in this.

For the first time, supernatural forces appear as a (possibly) real force. The vivid scenes of spirit possession can be interpreted as simply the power of belief, but they make more sense if the Loa are objectively real. I liked the delicate balance of deniability at play through the whole book.

Since my favorite thing about this series is the characters, I'll do a check-in. Augustus Mayerling, the sword master who was one of my favorites from the first book, re-appears. Poor Hannibal is so sick with consumption that it was a relief to know while reading that he's still alive ten books later-- he spends most of the book either in bed or helping Ben with various tasks while trying not to pass out. (Someone said he's based on George Alec Effinger? Can you enlarge on that?) Rose makes some satisfying appearances, though I wish she was in the story more. Ben's awful mother Livia is still hilariously, deliciously catty. Olympe and her family have nice big roles-- I really like her, her husband, and her son Gabriel. And Ben has a really satisfying character arc.

Graveyard Dust

[mix] the little red songbook

Sep. 1st, 2014 10:31 am
synecdochic: "america i'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel" (america - queer shoulder to the wheel)
[personal profile] synecdochic
So, the other day I mentioned that Steve Rogers almost certainly knows the Little Red Songbook. (You will never, ever be able to convince me that Steve, whose formation of political consciousness would have happened during the Great Depression, is not at the very least extremely pro-labor, if not an outright socialist.) Then I thought, hrm, a lot of what I know out of the Little Red Songbook is quite possibly more recent: what portion of it would Steve know?

Long story short (you should all know how I roll by now), this has led to a week of researching the shit out of things to date particular songs, then listening carefully to as many versions of them as I could find to find the version that would be closest to the version Steve would've known it as. And the next thing I knew, I had a mix. (There's some fic in there, too, and I was going to write more, but I wanted to post this today instead of waiting.)

If Steve was in a union at any point (and I don't think he was, but depending on what Bucky was doing for a living, Bucky probably would've been), he likely wouldn't have been a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, aka the Wobblies -- the heyday of the IWW was the period from about 1910 to 1924, and what Steve would've thought of as a union would not have precisely been the Wobblies' idea of one. (The difference between industrial unionism and craft unionism is a huge distinction that is waaaay beyond the scope of this entry, but was a major point of contention in labor organizing until at least WWII. Suffice it to say, what you think of when you hear 'union' is almost certainly a craft union.)

Still, even in the post-WWII period when the Wobblies were considered horribly dangerous, seditious and radical, and IWW membership had declined sharply, these songs stuck around and were still sung. (And I think Joe Hill, who wrote a lot of these, would've liked that. As he said, once: "A pamphlet is only read once, but a song is learned by heart and repeated over and over again.")

This is not the entirety of the Little Red Songbook as Steve would have known it; there are about twice as many in the editions from his time that haven't really survived in anything other than lyric form, or that aren't sung or aren't recorded. But everything on this mix is a song Steve and Bucky could have and probably would have known.

And I'm posting this not only to share some of the music Steve would have known, but because today is Labor Day, and because in the US we celebrate a watered-down version of it, Labor Day at the beginning of September instead of International Workers' Day on May 1, and if you brought some of those labor leaders of 1914 forward and showed them the world of 2014, they'd celebrate how far we've come while still being damn upset at how far we still have to go. And because:

When I went to high school -- that's about as far as I got -- reading my U.S. history textbook, well, I got the history of the ruling class. I got the history of the generals and the industrialists and the Presidents who didn't get caught. How about you?

I got the history of the people who owned the wealth of the country, but none of the history of the people who created it. So when I went out to get my first job, I went out armed with someone else's class background. They never gave me any tools to understand, or to begin to control the condition of my labor.

And that was deliberate, wasn't it? They didn't want me to know this. That's why this stuff isn't taught in the history books. We're not supposed to know it, to understand that. No, if I wanted the true history of where I came from, as a member of the working class, I had to go to my elders. Many of them gave their best working years, before pensions or Social Security, gave their whole lives to the mines, to the wheat harvests, to the logging camps, to the railroad. Got nothing for it -- just fetched up on the skids, living on short money, mostly drunk all the time.

But they lived those extraordinary lives that can never be lived again. And in the living of them, they gave me a history that is more profound, more beautiful, more powerful, more passionate, and ultimately more useful, than the best damn history book I ever read.

As I have said so often before, the long memory is the most radical idea in America.
-- Utah Phillips

The long memory is the most radical idea in America. )

Right-click, save as: 18 songs, 47:44 total running time, 87.9MB download.

Magical Words Guest Post: Despair

Sep. 1st, 2014 10:26 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

My final (for now) guest post at Magical Words went up on Friday. This one was about the down times in the writing career.

We don’t talk much about the despair, at least not publicly. I think there’s this belief that authors should project an air of confidence, because if we ever admit our neuroses we’ll drive away all of our fans and readers and then nobody will buy our books, and suddenly we’re back in the Black Cloud of Despair™, and oh God this blog post is going to be the one that destroys my career, isn’t it? Why oh why didn’t I write about rainbow-farting unicorns? Quick – go look at some cats!

But do you want to know a secret? Get a writer somewhere quiet, and most of us will admit to having had some bad times. Pretty much every long-term I’ve talked to has described at least one time they thought their career was over. Even #1 NYT Bestselling Authors get times of feeling like a fraud or a failure…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Code Depositories?

Sep. 1st, 2014 02:39 pm
green_knight: (Confused?)
[personal profile] green_knight
So. I have published my first tutorial and would like to publish the associated code, and I'd love some input from people how I should best go about it - what works best for you?

And if you are about to say 'github' please read behind the cut before you type the words.

GitHub is a git )

Having tested several GitHub clients and finding them all unsatisfactory as hell (I worked my way through the free apps; I will not spend money on others) I'm coming to the conclusion that - like CLIs - GitHub is for other people. I cannot, with my current spoon allocation, deal with it; I have exhausted the tools; I am done. A tool that is capable of giving me anxiety attacks is not a tool I need to handle. How good it is for others is irrelevant; this is about how good it is for me, and right now, it is exceedingly bad for me. Even if I could get it to work, it would be bad for me.

So I would like to know from you as users what works for you - when you do a tutorial, where do you expect the code to be stored, and in what format - and from developers about the solutions you've used. What I like about Github are

- download whole file as .zip
- read individual files online (because sometimes all I need is one method; and having that method call indexed by Google is very, very handy)

June booklog

Sep. 1st, 2014 02:26 pm
wychwood: G'Kar looking naughty (but nice) (B5 - G'Kar naughty)
[personal profile] wychwood
60. Annie’s Coming Out - Rosemary Crossley and Anne McDonald ) This book made me so angry. Some people deserved to face serious consequences for this, but I'm pretty sure most of them died smugly content with themselves after long successful lives. Unlike the children they mistreated.

61. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, 62. Scott Pilgrim vs the World, 63. Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, 64. Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together, 65. Scott Pilgrim vs the Universe, and 66. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - Bryan Lee O'Malley ) Even though Scott is awful, and I'm not entirely comfortable with the ex fights, there's a lot about this series I really love.

67. Captain Marvel: Down - Kelly Sue DeConnick, Christopher Sebela, Dexter Soy, and Filipe Andrade ) Aside from the vile Andrade character art, this was a great sequel; I'm looking forward to the next volume.

68. Eight Chambers of the Heart - Marge Piercy ) It's not terrible, there are some bits that stuck with me, I don't imagine I'll re-read any of it.

69. The Varieties of Religious Experience - William James ) An interesting exploration of religion and the psychological effects it can have on believers, from a 1901 Protestant Christian perspective.

70. The Blue Castle - LM Montgomery ) One of my ultimate comfort re-reads.

71. Absorption - John Meaney ) I've read worse? But it really didn't do much for me.

72. The Hero and the Crown and 73. The Blue Sword - Robin McKinley ) I love these, but I still have some niggling questions. Could they have been even more awesome?

74. Dragonsong and 75. Dragonsinger - Anne McCaffrey ) I can see more weaknesses in these now, but I still love them rather.

76. Archer's Goon - Diana Wynne Jones ) Aside from the treatment of Fifi, though I enjoyed this a lot.

77. The Dark Lord of Derkholm and 78. Year of the Griffin - Diana Wynne Jones ) Entertaining, but also some provocative ideas that I wanted to see more of, under the fun and games.

79. Beechcroft at Rockstone - Charlotte Yonge ) Mostly interesting as one incident in the larger Mohun / Merrifield story.

The next three books were all part of my Campbell reading - I covered them briefly elsewhere.
80. Two Serpents Rise and 81. Three Parts Dead - Max Gladstone ) Cracking plots with more depth to them than I realised until I found myself thinking about them afterwards.

82. A Stranger in Olondria - Sofia Samatar ) Sadly tedious reading - I know it was wildly popular, but, no.

83. Patience & Sarah - Isabel Miller ) More like this, please.

(no subject)

Sep. 1st, 2014 09:16 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
marina: (check this shit out)
[personal profile] marina
I've been meaning to make this post for a long time. I first started thinking about writing it when I saw posts going around on tumblr about bronies and how they'd essentially taken over spaces meant for 5 year old girls by making their porn too visible and present in the mainstream fandom. I saw some people on tumblr wondering how media fandom, AO3 fandom, majority-women fandom could possibly judge these people when surely the things we would be and are writing are the same sort of "uncomfortable", socially unacceptable kinks like rape, bestiality, sexualized torture. Aren't we just kink-shaming these people for doing what we're doing ourselves? Is it more unacceptable because they're mostly straight dudes? Should we really expect them to change their sexual desires when we clearly make no effort to change ours and only encourage and accept each other instead of using this communal fannish space to "reform" our tastes?

I wanted to write this post then, because I felt like people were missing a crucial axis of analysis. It's become increasingly obvious to me that the idea of avoiding kink shaming, something that I greatly support and that fandom has worked hard to internalize, is being misinterpreted and misused when it comes to critiquing content.

No one should ever be shamed for liking something. Our brains have a tendency to fetishize, among other things, things we find threatening. This can be anything from illness to sexual violence to whatever our culture subtly tells us we should be afraid of. It's not that I'm going to write my master's thesis in sociology on the subject of porn (*cough*) but if you look at mainstream porn produced in different countries and cultures you'll notice a familiar theme of fetishizing, among other things, socially weakened groups. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, whoever the dominant group in that area feels is threatening their dominance. This ranges from fantasies of members of the weakened group being subservient to members of said groups being dominant over the members of the IRL privileged group.

You don't have to sit there and consciously think "I'm afraid that if women have financial independence I'll never find a girl who'd want to date me" to subconsciously internalize the message that financially powerful women are somehow threatening to you as a straight dude. You may even choose to sit down and examine your attitude to women and combat the sexism that hangs like pollution in the air you breathe. But subconsciously, you may start to fetishize dominating women anyway.

If we accept the premise that we can't control what we desire (I mean, we can, but partially and imperfectly) and that people shouldn't be shamed for the things they didn't choose to want, we also have to accept that we have a responsibility for how, when and whether we indulge our kinks.

This applies to the fandom I consider myself part of, AO3 fandom, journaling fandom, media fandom, RPF fandom. We have to examine the way in which we write our fic, the way we tag it, the way we archive it, the way we advertise it. I've been proud to be part of a community that often does that, that has long passionate debates, that changes and adjusts, that refuses to buy wholesale into the idea that the way things have always been is how they should remain.

To me, the guiding question should always be - who am I likely to hurt by enjoying my kink in the way I want to enjoy it? Kink shaming is never OK, but calling out people who are indulging in their kinks in hurtful, thoughtless ways is necessary. To me, no one's ability to get their rocks off trumps other people's need to stay safe, physically, psychologically, emotionally.

Recently in hockey RPF someone wrote a series of fics based on racist tropes. They didn't subvert these tropes in either the story or their author's note, and they posted the story anonymously which already indicates to me that they knew they were going to hurt people and were trying to avoid the blowback. The "defense" this person used was that AO3 contains terrible, horrible things like rape and pedophilia and here we are, focusing on a little racism between characters who are "into it" in the story.

This is a prime example, to me, of the difference between kink shaming and calling out someone who's being an faily asshole, in this case by perpetuating systemic oppression. If we agree that you can't control the things you find arousing, you can certainly control the way in which you express and indulge in those things. If your brain's fixated on racist tropes and started finding them a turn-on, you need to ask yourself when, how and whether indulging in this kink can ever be appropriate. In what setting could it possibly not bring harm to people who are affected by the systemic oppression you're fetishizing, either directly or indirectly. Finding a racist trope arousing is not license to perpetuate racism. It is not kink shaming to call people out on this.

This is why we have debates about warnings and labels and posts about how and why non-con is a turn on and when and how it's appropriate to write it and advertize it. This is why we have kink memes and archive-locking and comments sections. I'm not writing this post to tell you that fandom, the community I belong to, is perfect or excellent when it comes to these things. I just want to make it clear that there are mechanisms that we as a community have developed for dealing with content that's very pleasurable for some and very hurtful for others.

Navigating different, conflicting systems of oppression is not a zero-sum game. It's a constant negotiation. Being respectful of people's kinks is important, but it's even more important to consider which forms of systemic violence you're helping to perpetuate by indulging in your sexual desires. There's no easy, uniform answer to this. There's no one way to do kinks that are based on real life violence "right". You have to be mindful, and to listen to the people who are affected by the thing you're fetishizing. Vocabularies change, standards change, atmospheres change, attitudes change.

I just want people to stop feeling like they can't judge the porn someone's writing because "kink shaming is not OK" and that trumps everything else. I agree that kink shaming is never OK. Perpetuating racism and misogyny and other forms of oppression is also never OK, though. We can ask for better from ourselves and from the media we're consuming.

Anyway, I wrote this post even though I feel like this is preaching to the choir - y'all probably already know all of this and it's obvious, etc. I'm just still angry at that racist hockey fic and the way people were clinging to those stupid justifications of "but there's non-con in this archive! surely that's worse!"
oursin: George Beresford photograph of the young Rebecca West in a large hat, overwritten 'Neither a doormat nor a prostitute' (Neither a doormat nor a prostitute)
[personal profile] oursin

Okay, I don't feel quite so much 'Yay!!! Wymmynz B GRATE' about this: A recent article in pointed out that hedge funds run by women make three times as much money as hedge funds run by men, and that companies with female CEOs outperform companies with male CEOs by nearly 50%. (via Because I am thinking that women who even get to be in that position are going to have to be, o, how many times do we think? better than their male cohorts to get to be in it; it is a bit like Top Female Athlete can outrun Sunday Afternoon Male Jogger. As has oft been remarked before, o for the day when a really mediocre woman gets a plum job, it is then, and only then, that we know that the day of equality has dawned. (Wot, me, cynical?)

Dame Julia Slingo: the woman who reads the skies: chief scientist at the Met Office. But do those questions at the end reek of 'journo tries to think of something SCIENCY to ask', or what?

The first and only woman to run a UK restaurant with three Michelin stars, Gordon Ramsay's protege is not yet a household name:

Smyth is seemingly without ego, a rare breed in a profession where chefs are increasingly treated like rock stars and where some attract crowds to their cooking demos in numbers that would be the envy of many a fledgling boy band.
Plus, can you imagine doing the whole TV chef thing and having people go on about whether her toque is stylish, etc, rather than the food?

Today's ODNB Life of the Day, Park, Daphne Margaret Sybil Désirée, Baroness Park of Monmouth (1921–2010), intelligence officer and college head. Though, really, had Chris Mullin ever read any Miss Marple?

Chris Mullin wrote that ‘beneath that Miss Marple exterior was a Rolls-Royce mind and a steely resolve which no doubt served her well in her chosen profession’ (The Guardian, 28 March 2010). ‘I've always looked like a cheerful, fat missionary’, she once told an interviewer. ‘It wouldn't be any use if you went around looking sinister, would it?’ (Daily Telegraph, 24 April 2003).
Just like Miss M under that exterior, no?

My brain, let me show you it.

Sep. 1st, 2014 08:45 am
kass: Twelve and Clara hold hands (hands)
[personal profile] kass
How you can tell I am steeping happily in fannish love: even when I try to write RL things about RL stuff, what I write winds up being about the Doctor if you squint. *grin*

I've acquired the second ep of the new season but haven't watched it yet -- my sweetie does not share my love of recent iterations of the Doctor, and it is no fun watching something I adore with someone who I know is not enjoying it -- I'm saving it for tomorrow night when I will watch with [personal profile] sanj, who has graciously agreed to come share my squee.

Meanwhile I'm gleefully hunting for things to reblog on tumblr, such as a whole post devoted to the Doctor's fingers. One of the many things I love about fandom: people who share my fixation on beautiful competent hands. ♥

Today's a holiday in the States, which means no preschool for Mr. Kid. I've scheduled a mama/kid playdate at our house for later this morning. For now, we're lounging in the living room watching Toy Story 2 for the zillionth time. And I have iced coffee. So life is good.

[ bookmonth ] 2014-08

Sep. 1st, 2014 01:36 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Book list )

Second third of the year completed. Linear extrapolation to year's end
says "151 books" (well, 151.5, but I'm in a truncating mode
today). We'll see how that pans out, in about 4 months.

Not necessarily lots of travel this month, but lots of time in
hotel rooms, what with WorldCon and EuroCon on consecutive
weekends. That seems to be good, for driving the book count up. Also a
relatively re-read-heavy month (one new book completed), this probably
helps driving the pace up.
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Elusive affection: Proposed session for Leeds IMC2015 July 6-9
Organisers: Amy Brown (Université de Genève, [ profile] amisamileandme), Regan Eby (Boston College)
Call for Papers (two speakers sought)
Deadline for abstract submission: 20th September
Send abstracts to: (will be forwarded to Regan Eby from there)

What is affection? Can we reliably locate or describe the features of affection between medieval persons, real or fictional?
Love of God, romantic love, and love between monastic peers or loyal knights: these and other kinds of love are well attested across the range of medieval sources and periods, but historians of friendship recognise the difficulty of bridging the gap between felt affection and the literary tropes of love. Love might be spoken or written of in situations where the parties were unlikely to feel positively toward one another, such as in reconciliations and peace treaties. In other cases, sources might borrow from the scripts of romance, friendship at court, or family in order to characterise a peculiar relationship, such as an opposite-sex friendship. Some forms of affection might be indicated without reference to the vocabulary of love at all.
We invite medievalists from any period or discipline to propose a paper relating to the history of affection, unconventional affectionate bonds, or approaches to situations in which we have insufficient data for firm conclusions concerning the presence or absence of affection in lived experience. The abstract for Amy Brown’s paper (focusing on 14th c english romance) is below, and we would particularly like to complement this paper with evidence from other periods or other literary traditions.

Abstract of paper 'Sir Lancelot in the Friend Zone: strategies for limiting and offering affection in the Stanzaic Morte Arthur' )

Final note, especially since Amy intends to distribute this CFP to swiss colleagues: proposals for papers in English preferred, but we enthusiastically endorse the idea of panelists (esp. early career researchers) unaccustomed to working in English. Amy can volunteer moral support and/or editing assistance if helpful, and we will aim to moderate questions with opportunity for clarifications and translations as needed.

Interesting Links for 01-09-2014

Sep. 1st, 2014 12:00 pm


Sep. 1st, 2014 10:11 am
marina: Spider Jerusalem of Transmet and his mutant cat are outraged (:O!!!)
[personal profile] marina
We must have an update or I'll end up not recording this turbulent, weird, stressful time in my life at all.

So, yesterday my lease officially ended.

stuff that's been happening )

Monday morning

Sep. 1st, 2014 08:56 am
[personal profile] strangecharm
In a moment of Morrissettean irony, I woke up too sick for my doctor's appointment this morning.

The headache I've had off and on for a week has come back, but I'm also feeling generally achy, dizzy, and I think slightly feverish. And of course I'm exhausted, but I did have a poor night's sleep, waking up partly because I was feeling so rough.

I got out of bed to phone and cancel my appointment and get a glass of water, and have gone back to bed feeling very sorry for myself indeed. Which is the last thing I needed more of, really, isn't it.

On Israel & Gaza

Sep. 1st, 2014 07:17 am
[personal profile] swaldman
I didn't write about Israel's invasion & bombing of Gaza while it was happening this time around, and I guess that's for three reasons. Firstly, that I don't consider myself sufficiently knowledgeable on the topic to have truly informed opinions... although that's true of many of those who comment. Secondly, because I have friends of all opinions whose friendships I wish to retain... and thirdly because... well, it didn't seem very different to the last time. From where I was standing in my bubble, the mainstream media response partially reflected that. The first time something happens it's big news, the second time it's "here we go again". And there is a big element of "this looks cyclic".

One thing that isn't often asked is "what is the motivation?". Historically, the people in charge of Israel could be called many things, but "stupid" isn't usually one of them. They know that they can't wipe out an urban guerilla force with tanks and bombs, short of destroying the city. It seems to me - remember, as somebody with little in-depth knowledge of the situation and no tactical or strategic background - that the need for periodic incursions is for political reasons. Probably, and sadly, partly for show in internal politics, but also for the outside world.

Arguably since its founding, and certainly more recently, Israel has decided to appear as a snoozing dragon that wildly over-reacts to provocation - "If you poke us we will DESTROY EVERYTHING". This may or may not have been a good strategy - it probably has a genuine deterrent effect - but it's also a trap. It means that Israel needs to demonstrate how dangerous it is every so often. This doesn't always have to be in Gaza, but... well, Hamas do keep on poking them. Not poking very hard necessarily, but since they set a precedent with Cast Lead, any time that there's a substantial rise in rocket attacks and they don't respond this way, some people will say "Israel's getting soft. International pressure is getting to them" or some such. Having chosen this method of deterrence, they now have a reputation to uphold, and the internal politics are apparently such that doing so by killing thousands of civilians is acceptable.

As I've said before, once the shooting starts each time, the escalation seems almost inevitable - not for military reasons, but for political ones. The opportunity to improve things is in the quiet periods in between. But for that to happen, a lasting peace needs to be in everybody's interests... so perhaps that's when the international pressure is needed - not during military campaigns, but when everything is quiet and policies can change quietly, without loss of face.

(no subject)

Sep. 1st, 2014 05:24 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Re-found a website that keeps track of removals and additions to Netflix UK [ profile] NewOnNetflixUK .

So today I watched 4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days, because I'd been meaning to get around to it for ages. Read more... )

So I liked it and because of its subject matter it's also horrible.

I went to see Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan talk at Waterstones, and there was the last book in the Lynburn trilogy ,which comes out in September, but I got it early because they had it for sale there. I went and grabbed it and the women who'd told me it was available then and there said I could stroke it, but I wanted to read it instead. As well.

SRB and MJ talked and answered questions from the audience and provided anecdotes, some of which may have been connected to some books. Also there was mention of 50 Shades of Grey, Dinosaur Erotica, Wombat/Panda, I Ship It by Not Literally Productions, ( a filk of 'I Love It' by Icona Pop) , a creepy neighbour, and also, Cover Flip... at which point MJ said 'Publishers are not in thrall to Big Sparkle'.

I showed SRB pictures of what Elliot of her 'The Turn of the Story' looks like in my head -- Yirmi Kaplan.

So now I've just finished Unmade, the last book in the Lynburn trilogy, and I want to talk about it and I want to not spoil it yet because it's not widely available yet.

Also: spoilers are bad and evil.

(SRB gave me a spoiler for 'Unmade' at a previous event, and so I was anticipating a certain thing that happened, but it still happened in the book and even though I was sort of prepared it still made me very cry.)


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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