a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
20 July 2017 01:34 - an online timeline
solarbird: (tracer)

I've been maintaining an offline official timeline of canon for On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders and all the in-universe stories written seperately and collected in intersections in the web of time, and now that I'm making some headway on Old Soldiers, I thought I'd format and post the thing.

It's pretty big. It includes a fair number of things that happened in Fear of Spiders that did not make it into the manuscript or any following story, and also contains a couple of first-chapter background-info spoilers for the new story. So if you're allergic to that sort of thing, don't read it. If you're not, you might find some new background you might enjoy.

Official timeline of the Fear of Spiders Overwatch AU
[solarbird at Archive of Our Own]
20 July 2017 09:34 - Lovely team!
wildeabandon: Champage bottle and flutes (champagne)
Today is my last day at work before my holiday, and rather unexpectedly my team just came in and gave me an early birthday present (and sang at me). They got me a very goth card, a bread & cakes recipe book, and theatre tokens. Considering that I'm a temp and I've only been here for three months, I'm awfully pleased and surprised that they bothered at all, but especially that they seem to have got the measure of me quite so spot on. Lovely team :)
20 July 2017 01:34 - an online timeline
solarbird: (Default)

I've been maintaining an offline official timeline of canon for On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders and all the in-universe stories written seperately and collected in intersections in the web of time, and now that I'm making some headway on Old Soldiers, I thought I'd format and post the thing.

It's pretty big. It includes a fair number of things that happened in Fear of Spiders that did not make it into the manuscript or any following story, and also contains a couple of first-chapter background-info spoilers for the new story. So if you're allergic to that sort of thing, don't read it. If you're not, you might find some new background you might enjoy.

19 July 2017 23:42
jhameia: ME! (Default)
My phone died overnight, having refused to charge without being babysat, so I decided, once it was charging merrily without my overnight but taking too long for my liking, that I would go to campus and do work without the phone. This turned out to be a very good thing indeed, because I wasn't tempted to watch it all the time. I've also logged out of most social media on my work computer, so that was nice too. Emily Jiang checked in with me around 11.30 for some writing, and that was nice too.

I still can't focus on the screen, it seems, so I switched to handwriting some paragraphs instead. This helped quite a bit. Except for some sentences here and there, I'm starting work on a new section, articulating the concept of minor literature in relation to multicultural steampunk.

I ate at the Getaway, taking laptop and writing book and pencil and eraser with me. Had a couple of slices of a pizza, packed the rest, got back to my office, and coughed up a couple more paragraphs. Then I went home.

Swam 16 laps today. Was gonna stick to 15, but thought I could push on just once more. I'm feeling, as [personal profile] oracne calls it, the Glow of Virtue, which I promptly ruined by eating a sponge cake. I finished my remaining sausages, too. I haven't heard back about the results of my blood test from yesterday, but I assume I'll hear back by the end of the week, and if there's anything big, the doctor will call me (which is what he did last time). But I'm really crossing my fingers that my blood sugar levels have dropped.

I have been very good and did not text anybody today.

I submitted a poem. It's been a while since I wrote a poem I felt good about, so that's nice. It might be a bit too sentimental, IDK, I like its tweeness, but maybe it's too schmoopy? Oh well.

I'm gonna try to make it to campus tomorrow for some more writing by hand, and I think I will leave the phone home again so I don't get anxious around it. Until my mini-USB port replacement comes, I'll use it as little as possible so I don't keep freaking out over recharging it and possibly aggravating the problem even more.
archersangel: (hufflepuff sheep)
via [personal profile] twistedchick

it's free, they even give you supplies necessary to take care of the kitten.

all you have to to is feed them, care for them & clean up after then for a few weeks.

not sure how to take care of a kitten? humane society silicon valley has a 2-hour orientation & will give you the phone number of someone that will answer your questions.

this article has all the info, including links the the HSSV page & calendar with the next scheduled orientation.

if you're not near this place, check with your local shelter, they might have a foster program of some sort.

lilysea: Mischievous (Mischievous)
I think my bookshelves mostly convey the message "you need more shelves" and "apparently will read anything that stays still long enough."

Context
is "is this a case for - the ponceyness police?"




19 July 2017 22:12 - Bah
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Reliable sources report the death of Jordin Kare.
19 July 2017 04:01 - Whump

Posted by Robot Hugs

New comic!

Some things are too much to think about all at once. But some things insist, I guess.

Share

19 July 2017 17:09 - How Hamilton Works
isis: (awesome)
You may know about this already! But I was looking at something else on YouTube and ended up following sidebar links to 10 Reasons 10 Duel Commandments is Amazing by writer/composer Howard Ho, which is part of a whole series he has done (is doing?) on How Hamilton Works. It's over 14 minutes long, but I found it fascinating, with lots of links to interview clips from Alex Lacamoire and LMM, and clips of the songs played over visuals of the way the notes are arranged.
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
My poems "A Death of Hippolytos" and "The Other Lives," published last October in The Cascadia Subduction Zone 6.4, are now free to read online with the rest of their issue. The first was inspired by Jules Dassin's Phaedra (1962) and especially by this afterthought, the second was written for Rose Lemberg after discussing Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). [personal profile] gwynnega has poetry in the same issue.

I had heard absolutely nothing of Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water (2017) until this afternoon, but the trailer makes it look like something I should very definitely see in December. It looks like William Alland and Jack Arnold's Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) retold through Jane Yolen's "The Lady and the Merman," which has haunted me since elementary school when I first read Neptune Rising: Songs and Tales of the Undersea Folk (1982). It looks sea-deep.

Speaking of oceanic things for which I may existentially blame Caitlín R. Kiernan: Delphine Cencig, "Poulpe Fiction."

In fact, I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow.
19 July 2017 15:31 - fountain pen sale
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
The time has come to find new homes for some of the vintage fountain pens in my collection.

These are all great pens, but the truth is I have a fair number of great pens and these are ones that simply aren't making it into my rotation. I'd rather someone else get some enjoyment out of them!

All prices include shipping within the continental USA. Elsewhere, please inquire--I will probably have to charge you shipping at cost. I accept payment via Paypal.

If interested, either leave a comment or email me (yoon at yoonhalee dot com).





From left to right:

1. Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir (a sort of dark swirly marbled green). Lever filler. The great thing about this pen is that it has a #3 adjustable nib. It goes from Fine to Broad on the flexiest setting. The only reason I'm letting this go is that I have a Wahl-Eversharp Doric in black with a #7 adjustable nib, and I honestly don't need two adjustable Dorics.

Please note that the #3 Doric is a petite pen--unless you have very small hands, you will probably want to use this posted.

Price: $225. SOLD

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it!

2. Waterman Lady Patricia that I bought from Mauricio Aguilar of Vintage Fountain Pens. He graded it a superflex, and it's a pleasurable and absolutely reliable writer; I've always had great experiences with the pens I've bought from Mauricio. Lever filler. Again, this is a lovely pen that I simply don't use--in this case because I'm busy using a different pen that I bought from Mauricio, a Waterman 52V (for which Jedao's Patterner 52 was named :p). Like the #3 Doric, this is a petite pen, and probably best used posted unless you have very small hands.

This is a handsome pen with green and brown swirls, and I love looking at it, but I really prefer for all my pens to be working pens that get used. Maybe you can have fun with it!

Price: $410.

3. Conklin Crescent Filler--the crescent filling mechanism is not that different from lever filling and is very simple to use, and really neat if you love geeking out about different filling mechanisms. This is a wet noodle that does hairlines, if you're into flex writing or copperplate; I probably wouldn't recommend it for sketching because of the fineness of the nib, but it would make a great fountain pen for non-sketch-speed line art.

Price: $320.

4. Osmia 34 in gray candy. This is a very flexy nib that goes from Fine to Broad, and unusually, it's in a piston filler. Please note that the material is discolored along about half the barrel (ambering)--this doesn't affect the pen's functionality, although if you care more about aesthetics this is not the pen for you. This nib has an almost painterly feel to it that is very pleasurable for writing.

Price: $240.

5. The last two are a Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, fountain pen and mechanical pencil set. The fountain pen is a lever filler and has a flex nib; I'm not sure what width graphite the pencil takes, although it comes loaded with one. The set is very handsome; please note that the fountain pen has a chip near the lever. This doesn't affect function but may be an aesthetic concern.

Price: $210.

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it! (She decided to get the Wahl-Eversharp Doric instead, so this pen and pencil set is available!)
full_metal_ox: (Default)
[personal profile] owlbrigade1 cites this case in point:

Gotham police are at a loss to explain a sudden rise in animal themed costumed weirdos? Surely the explanation is the same as it is for the long standing animal themed weirdos? It is Gotham, it is what they do. People in animal costumes wreaking havoc is practically a city tradition.

Context, to no one's surprise, involves Harley Quinn.

Posted by Lou Doench

Howdy Readers! The Weekend was busy busy busy so instead we’ll have an extra jam packed Wednesday Reads. Also it is National Hot Dog Day… Mmmmmmmm…

What happens when the Scooby Gangs grows up? Check out Edgar Cantero’s new novel Meddling Kids to find out. 

Here’s a new candidate for World’s Worst Mom.

On the other hand here’s a candidate for World’s Best Mom… To the man who felt it necessary to question my son in the bathroom at IHOP.

Sesame Street has added a new Muppet to their show for Afghan children Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden,) specifically to address the issue of respect for women.

Zeerak, whose name means Smart in Afghanistan’s two official languages, is a four-year-old boy who enjoys studying and learning. He joins his six-year-old sister Zari, whose name means Shimmering, on Afghanistan’s version of the show, Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden).

Both muppets wear traditional Afghan clothing – baggy trousers and a long embroidered shirt known as a shalwar kameez for Zeerak, and colourful native dresses and a cream-coloured hijab for Zari. They join the rest of the show’s multicultural line-up, which includes puppets specially created for local versions of the program in Bangladesh, Egypt and India.

Massood Sanjer, the head of Tolo TV, which broadcasts the program in Afghanistan, said that after the overwhelmingly positive response to Zari from both parents and children, the goal was to create a boy character to emphasise the importance of gender equality and education in a country where the vast majority of girls don’t go to school and the literacy rate for women is among the lowest in the world.

Have you ever wondered what parenting would be like from the perspective of a Lego Dad? Neither have I but someone did and put the result on Instagram. 

David Burr Gerard talks about the book that sparked his love of literature, the children’s classic The Monster at the End of This Book, starring lovable furry old Grover.

When we say that drama is about conflict, we mean, in part, that readers want terrible things to befall the people we read about; if they don’t, we rightly complain that nothing is happening, and only then do we do what Grover has asked us to do, and stop turning the pages. I liked that The Monster at the End of the Book treated me as grown-up enough to let me in on that.

This young artist had the perfect response when school officials asked him to tone down his big project exploring gender and sexuality. He ignored them and had the highest marks in his class!

Congress is trying to write trans people out of civil rights protections! Bad Congress!

Last week Teen Vogue published an awesome guide to anal sex, filling a giant hole in our teens sex education. Digital editor Phillip Picardi then went to twitter to explain how important that kind of information would have been to him as a gay teen in an epic Tweetstorm. 

Finally, Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education and Wicked Witch of the Midwest thinks that too many people have been treated unfairly under Obama Era rules on campus sexual assault. Which people? The men people of course. 

Eli Erlick thinks you should know more about early transitioning for trans youth. So now you can know that.

Featured Image Credit: Bodacious Hot Dogs from The Senate in Cincinnati. Try the Duck Fat Fries…

19 July 2017 12:25 - Chicks Dig Gaming
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
Chicks Dig Gaming, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith? [this appears to be part of the author name, as it's listed with the interrogation point in multiple places], and Lars Pearson is one of the books I picked up at Pandemonium Books & Games in Boston. It's an absolutely delightful collection of essays about gaming by women, ranging the gamut from board games to video games to one anthropologist non-gamer who decided to play Portal to study the phenomenon of gaming and explore her reasons for not being a gamer. :p

A few of the essays didn't speak to me personally, but that's fine--for example, there was one about adventure games through the lens of the Monkey Island games, which I did play, but I didn't imprint on the genre. It's not that it was a bad essay, but rather that it was a type of gaming experience I just wasn't as interested in. And that's fine; for some other reader that could be entirely their thing.

Here's a rundown:

cut for length )

To sum up: highly recommended.
19 July 2017 10:29 - DICE TALES is out in the world!
swan_tower: (Default)

I should have posted this yesterday, but appropriately enough, I was too busy prepping for the game I ran last night. 🙂

Dice Tales: Essays on Roleplaying Games and Storytelling is out now! If you play RPGs and have an interest in them from the narrative side of things — the ways we use them to tell stories, and what GMs and players can do to make them work better in that regard — you may find it of interest. Follow the link to buy it from Book View Cafe, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, or (in a first for me) DriveThruRPG. And if any parts of it wind up working their way into the games you play or run, let me know!

Also, the New Worlds Patreon has headed off into the wilds of rudeness, with two posts on “Gestures of Contempt” and “Insults.” The theme will continue through the end of this month before turning in a new direction for August. Remember that patrons at the $5 level and above can request topics, so if there’s something you’d like to see me discuss, you can make that happen!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

genexmod: (Default)
Assignments are out. Please contact me ASAP if there's an issue with your assignment.

Letters must be updated on or before the 23rd of July.

Assignments are due on the 2nd of September at 23:59 Pago Pago time (-11 UTC). Pinch hits are due on the 5th of September at the same time.

To claim a pinch hit, either leave a comment on this post (comments are screened) or email me at genexmoderator@gmail.com with your AO3 name and the number of the pinch hit you want to claim.


Pinch Hit 1 - Alias (TV), Jason Bourne (2016), Dark Angel, The Vampire Diaries (TV), Wolverine (Movies) )



Pinch Hit 2 - Alien Series, Disney Fairies, Mr. Brooks (2007), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), Yuri!! On Ice (Anime), Crossover Fandom CLAIMED )



Pinch Hit 3 - Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who (2005), DC Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) CLAIMED )



Pinch Hit 4 - Law & Order: SVU, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Crossover Fandom, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, Chicago Justice (TV) )
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
Second doctor's appointment in as many days, coming up. First, links.

1. [personal profile] spatch sent me this handy-dandy list: "Times Doctor Who Was Ruined Forever." The site is snarky and some of their tags are jerkass, but the article itself is gold. "21/03/1981 – The best Doctor ever is replaced by a vet. Doctor Who dies."

2. Following my belated discovery of Jack Buchanan, I am pleased to see that the HFA will be showing Ernst Lubitsch's Monte Carlo (1930) on Friday. I wonder if I have ever actually seen Jeanette MacDonald.

3. I had no idea one of the performers of "The Grass Is Always Greener" was Lauren Bacall (and I think I had forgotten the song came from a musical by Kander and Ebb, although listening to its brassy swing, I don't know who else it could have been). Standing Room Only on WERS used to play it all the time. I like how her voice softens on the repeated line That's wonderful, but her unimpressed What's so wonderful? could pass for Elaine Stritch. This makes me desperately sad that Bacall never recorded "The Ladies Who Lunch."

4. This is a gorgeous photoset, but I would love to see the on-set photos from the shoot. Like, the backstage stuff. People just standing around on snack breaks, being Klimt paintings.

5. This was true last weekend as well, but I was at Readercon and couldn't do anything about it: [personal profile] spatch swapped in for one of the hosts of the PMRP's Murders and Scandals: Poe and Doyle at the last minute, so I'll see him this weekend on one of the nights I'm not seeing Jack Buchanan.
19 July 2017 12:11
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
omg
19 July 2017 10:12
the_rck: (Default)
I wasn't able to use the c-PAP at all last night because every time I put it on, I'd start sneezing in under a minute. The air blowing through made a particular bit of my sinuses itch like crazy. After I post this, I'm going to wash all of the gear and let it air dry. (I've got ten minutes left on the CD I'm listening to, and with Cordelia still in bed, I don't want to turn up the volume enough to be able to hear it in the kitchen).

I've been sneezing a bit, off and on, since I got up this morning. It hasn't been enough to make me worry, but it also hasn't quite gone away. I'm also now feeling sore from the walking I did on Monday. Walking is difficult because my calf muscles are trying to refuse to stretch at all.

I wrote 87 words last night. I'm hoping that this is the breakthrough I need in order to be able to get moving with the story as it's due Saturday. I also spent about ten minutes finding names for the OCs I know I'm going to need for my Captive Audience assignment.

I'd like to go out and do some Ingress this morning because some players from the other side came through and knocked over almost all of the portals in the neighborhood. I managed to reinforce three that are difficult to attack without tramping over uneven ground (these folks were out well after dark and tend not to want to get out of their car(s) at the nature center), but there's one unclaimed portal now that is easy to knock down from the parking lot but can't be captured from there. One only has to venture about two yards onto the grass to reach it, but... Most people don't bother.

I probably won't end up going because I've only got an hour before a friend comes over and because I need to do several household chores first. If Cordelia wakes in time, I want to see if she has dishes lurking in her room. I'm hoping to run the dishwasher soon. There's not a lot of space left. I could fill it with a couple of mugs. I'd just like to give priority to bowls and/or plates if she's got them.

I need to put in a support request at AO3 because there's a comment on one of my fics that never got emailed to me. I've gotten emails for more than a dozen comments left after it was and for one left seven hours before on the same fic. It's been three days, so I don't think it's just delayed. It's not in my junk mail, and I checked Gmail just in case it was getting hung up there (occasionally, that account just won't download for a few hours at a time), but it's definitely not there. It's not utterly lost because it's in my AO3 inbox and on the fic, but... I like to archive comments locally.

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

I did not grow up in a house that did conflict- I joke (but not really) that I wish my parents had fought in front of their children. Because there was never an emphasis on healthy conflict, all conflict equals bad conflict. While I feel that I can talk to my dad about issues, the real problem is my mom.

When my mom calls (every day/every other day), I go through a nerve wracking thought process. If I don’t pick up the phone (because I had a long day, because I don’t want to talk to her or anyone), she’ll become more and more anxious and escalate communication attempts. I find myself yelling to the phone, ““What do you need!?!” as it rings and before picking up. If I do pick up the phone, immediately she’ll ask, “What’re you doing?” in a tone that implies I’m doing something bad. When she calls, it’s rarely about anything time sensitive or an emergency- it’s mostly just to chat.

If she calls when I’m in traffic, and I pick up the phone and say I can’t talk, I’m dealing with driving, her tone is disappointed. However, sometimes driving is the best time to call her, because I can say that I’m home now so I have to go.

For example: I had a very busy day at work. My mom texts me a general “How’s your day going?” type of text. Nothing time sensitive, not an emergency. I see the text and ignore it because I’m in meetings all day and don’t have the brain space to deal with it right then. That evening, I go to a bookclub that my mom and I are a part of. She sees me, and immediately has a wide eyed expression, and exclaims, “Didn’t you see my text? Why didn’t you answer???” Then I have to reassure her that I was busy all day, and besides, I would see her that night.

Recently her most passive aggressive text: She posted in the family text chain, “Any recommendations for a Pandora running station?” at 5:00pm on a Sunday evening. No one responded that night, and the next morning, she posted, “Thanks fam!”

I feel that I’m good about getting back to her- I usually respond to a text within a couple of hours, and never more than 24 hours.

I’ve seen her and my dad every weekend for the past month (which is way too much in my books, but it included some family event things). When I’m at their house with my brother and sister, I find myself constantly making sure that she doesn’t feel neglected or teased. If she feels that we are not bonding as a family as she’d prefer, she lashes out and becomes mopey and angry.

I’d like to not go full nuclear and destroy the relationship, but I’m tired. I’m tired of constantly checking my phone, because if I miss a call I’m going to hear about her anxiety and how much she freaked out. If I miss a text and don’t respond for a couple of hours, I’ll get a “You ok??????” type of text and escalating from there.

What I really need: a way to tell my mom that her constant need for contact and communication is too much. Basically my mom has no chill and low boundaries, plus a heaping dose of mother anxiety. Help me!

My shoulders are going up around my ears reading this! Also, you and about 20 other people have sent me a version of this letter recently so I’m glad for the chance to summarize a method that many people can apply. Here are your steps:

First, recalibrate “normal.” 

In a perfect world, how much you would visit your parents? “Not every g.d. weekend!” sounds like your starting point, but quantify it even more than that. One “family dinner” or weekend activity per month? Choose what works for you and what you can reasonably sustain, and then commit to that and follow through. When you go, strive to enjoy yourself as much as you can. Turn down additional plans or invitations if you wish and when you do, do not give explanations beyond “I can’t make it this weekend, have fun.” Your plans could in fact be “I will be busy reading silently alone in my house with my phone turned off” or “Swiping right” or “Climbing rocks in the middle of nowhere” or “Reorganizing where I keep my collection of antique spyglasses.” Express all of the details of that as “Sorry, I have other plans this weekend, but enjoy yourselves!”

Two important things:

a) Once you say no thanks, follow through on the “no thanks.” You are re-teaching your mom and yourself that “I can’t make it” is not the beginning of a negotiation. Every “Okay, FINE, I’ll stop by for a little” when you already said you didn’t want to restarts the clock on how long this whole recalibration thing will take.

b) Watch/lock down/be aware of your social media postings on a weekend you said you couldn’t make it. If your mom and your siblings monitor your feeds, posting “A day of glorious nothing!” and one of those photos of your feet and the horizon when you said you couldn’t come to this week’s family barbecue will invite discussion and drama. Give your folks less information while you re-negotiate these boundaries.

Second, create a ritual. 

You are already in the same book club. Awesome!

In addition, institute a once-a-week phone call with your mom at roughly the same time and day every week where you catch up for a little bit. Script: “Mom, my schedule’s kind of all over the place right now, I want to make sure I set aside time for you. Can we make a plan to talk for a little while on Sunday mornings?” At the appointed time, call her, chat for 15 minutes or so, ask her lots of questions about her week, make it as pleasant as possible, say your goodbyes and I love yous, and then give yourself permission to disengage until next week’s call.

Throughout the week, redirect all communications to that weekly call. “Got your text – let’s talk about it on Sunday!” “Can’t talk now, but I’ll catch up Sunday!

Why this works:

A) Avoiding her just makes her chase you more. If you want to keep a relationship, do it on your terms.

B) If you consistently follow through, by calling when you say you will, it gives her an anchor to know she won’t lose touch with you. Over time it can help her be less anxious.

C) If you control the schedule and initiate the weekly call, it can remove some of your anxiety. You can start giving yourself permission to disengage the rest of the week because you know when you’ll fully engage.

For people with a contentious relationship with a parent, if you do the weekly (or monthly – the interval doesn’t matter as much as consistency does) phone call (or Skype), make sure you have some down time or something really pleasant to do afterward.

Declare independence from your phone. 

Don’t pick up the phone when she calls. Let it go to voicemail. If you don’t already, pay for one of those services that transcribes your voice mails to text so you can quickly glance at the content. You can always reply “Got your msg, let’s talk about it Sunday! Love you!

If you think it would help to set expectations in advance, you could try saying “Mom, I’m going to be turning my phone off when I’m at work so I can concentrate better during the day. I wanted to let you know so you wouldn’t be worried if I don’t get back to you right away.

Or, “Mom, I have been trying to have less screen time lately and do more reading/exercising/relaxing/meditating in the evenings, so I’m going on a cell phone diet for a little while. Don’t worry, we’ll still talk on Sundays!

Then, actually turn your phone off for some of those chunks of time. As much as you’re training her not to ping you there constantly, there’s an aspect of training yourself to let yourself be untethered.

Also, no more phone when you’re driving! When you’re driving, put your phone in a backpack or purse and put it in the back seat. Or if you’re using it for GPS, mute all notifications. Anything else is actually dangerous!

Prepare for a short-term escalation.

She will not like the new system, at first. She will escalate attempts to contact you. Non-emergency things will become emergencies. “But what if I need to get a hold of you in an emergency and your phone is off?” “Can’t a mother talk to her child?” She will try to slide the times around, or test whether you’re really turning off your phone.

If she’s feeling lonely or anxious (or in an actual emergency )she could call your dad, your siblings, a friend, her priest or minister, a therapist. It doesn’t have to be you, so, HOLD FAST. Stick to what you said you’d do, be active and reliable about the weekly phone calls, commit to and enjoy your planned visits, and leave your phone off or on silent when you need a break. If you are consistent, she will adapt.

Also, that night she asked for Pandora running station recommendations and nobody replied to her? She was passive-aggressively annoyed, but note: your siblings did not respond to her immediately and also THE WORLD DID NOT END.

Prepare for her to deputize others. 

When she can’t raise you, get ready for texts from your siblings. “Hey, text Ma back, she’s texting me looking for you!” They know her, so hopefully they can be allies and y’all can present a united front. I bet they don’t like this behavior either, so, ask how they deal with it.

Prepare to feel guilty and weird. 

HOLD FAST. You love your mom, you’re making an effort to communicate regularly with your mom, you’re not doing anything wrong! This is hard. You’re doing the right thing.

When you do respond to a text barrage, respond *once.*

Your texts from her might look like:

“Hello daughter!”

“Are you coming to the pot luck on Saturday?”

“I saw some fabric you might like for curtains – what are the measurements for your windows again?”

“Hello? Are you there?”

“Your dad asked me to ask you if he should pick up that wine you like for Saturday”

“Hello, should I be worried?”

“Are you hiding from me?”

“You’re probably watching the Thronegames or whatever, sorry to bother you, ha ha”

“Did you see the weather? You’re going to want to wear a sweater if you’re going out today!”

“Okay, text me back, I’m starting to get worried”

“Wow, ignoring your Mom much? Thanks alot LOL”

Your text back at the end of this can be:

Hello lovely mother! Got your texts. Won’t be there Saturday, so don’t worry about wine. Let’s talk about fabric & measurements Sunday – thanks so much for thinking of me. Love you.”

Break the apology cycle and be very boring.

Do not address the “I’m worried” comments, at all. You’re fine, and her worry is not actually your problem. Make all “We used to talk more?” or “Whyyyyy don’t you ever want to talk to your mother anymore” or “It’s just that I worry about you” conversations super-boring for her to have. Keep it short and neutral, like “I’m here now, what did you want to talk about?” or “We’ll talk Sunday!

Don’t apologize for not being tethered to your phone 24-7. You didn’t do anything wrong.

In fact, start keeping track of the number of times you say “I’m sorry!” to her about stuff that isn’t actually wrong or hurtful. When you do call on Sunday (or whatever day you mutually nail down), is the first half of the conversation an Apology Dance? Take note of it for now and over time do what you can to stop feeding it.

By way of example, my job(s) mean fielding an overwhelming amount of email spread across about 7 different accounts & systems. I realized a while back that every single reply I wrote started with a paragraph worth of “Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner.” I decided to stop doing that so much – I replaced “Sorry …” with some version of “Hi, so nice to hear from you” or “Hello, thanks for your email” and skipped directly to answering the question or giving the person the information they wanted in the first place. I don’t know if the recipients like it better but I feel better not doing 20 little shame dances every time I try to climb Email Mountain.

Give it time. 

Give her some time to adjust and give yourself time to adjust.

Eventually things won’t have to be so stilted and locked down and adversarial, we hope. You’ll enjoy your interactions more when you have more control and agency in how you communicate. Think of this as a temporary resetting period – hard, but necessary.

It will most likely get better if you stay consistent. 

I’m descended from people who used to email me to ask if I got their voicemail and leave a voicemail to ask if I got their email. I once had to fax something to my dad’s former office that involved a full three days of communications. “Are you sending it now?” “No, tomorrow, when I’m at work.” “Well I’m checking the machine now and nothing’s here.” “Dude, I know.”

Every call home started with them saying some version of “Wow, we hadn’t heard from you for so long we thought you were dead!” (said in a joking tone, but still) or “It’s about time you called!” and then once I said “Um, phones work both ways and I haven’t heard from you in a while, either!” and interestingly enough, now we don’t do that anymore.

They also, when learning to text message, used to sometimes spell “come” in a horrible way,  like “We’re downstrs r u cumming down?”

IT GETS BETTER. :-p ❤

And if it doesn’t get better, at least you have some boundaries for yourself in how and when you respond.

P.S. I want to push back on the idea that your Mom doesn’t “do” conflict. She does do conflict – by constantly poking you and responding passive-aggressively when you don’t immediately answer or give her the attention/answer she wants – she’s just the only one who is currently allowed express negative emotions or “do” conflict, and you’re expected to quietly eat it and give her what she wants. Setting and enforcing some boundaries here isn’t you creating conflict, it’s you putting guardrails around the conflict that’s already happening.

 

 

 

 

 


james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
It turns out you can connect Calibre directly to Project Gutenberg.

Having downloaded a bunch of public domain books, I then went looking for the proper cover art. Interestingly, although I am convinced I owned mid-1970s editions of both Blackman's Burden and Border, Breed nor Birth, I can find no evidence those editions actually existed.

Another interesting thing. This is the list of science fiction books on PG and this is the list of science fiction works by women on PG.
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey)
Van Heflin's first starring role and the feature debut of director Fred Zinnemann, MGM's Kid Glove Killer is not a lost classic of crime cinema, but it is a fun little procedural of a B-picture with some sharp dialogue and more forensic detail than I've seen in this era until John Sturges' Mystery Street (1950); its technical tickyboxes include ballistic fingerprinting, fiber analysis, spectrography, endlessly labeled slides, and the first-rate chemistry in-joke of mocking up a reaction with dry ice so that the flask looks like it's got something really fancy going on inside it. The film's heroes are a pair of underpaid scientists working for the crime lab of the Chicago-ish city of Chatsburg, which has lately suffered the shocking double loss of both its crusading DA and its sincerely incorruptible mayor, neither of natural causes unless ropes, ponds, and car bombs can be filed under acts of God; despite the necessarily painstaking nature of their work, Heflin's Gordon McKay and Marsha Hunt's Jane Mitchell find themselves expected to deliver miracles on command, conjuring a killer's name out of the stray threads and burnt matches and dog hairs that might as well be so many oracle bones as far as the impatient police, press, and public are concerned. No one outright suggests railroading the small business owner seen loitering around the mayor's house the night before the explosion—furious that the new DA's vaunted crackdown on crime didn't extend to the hoods shaking him and his wife down for protection—but there's a lot of official pressure to connect the dots to Eddie Quillan's hot-headed innocent. In the meantime a sort of love triangle is progressing between the two scientists and one ambitious lawyer, although the viewer can't invest too much in the romantic suspense since our privileged information includes the identity of the murderer. I confess I'm not sure where the kid gloves came into it.

It is rare for me not to like Heflin in a film, even when he's playing kind of a dick, and he makes an engaging proto-nerd here, a slouchy, grouchy smart-ass in a lab coat who has managed to figure out that he's in love with his educated, attractive coworker but not yet that flirting by insult only works for Oscar Levant. (His eventual apology is legitimately adorable.) Hunt as Mitchell is nicely, unequivocally competent and has little time for her colleague's negging even as it's clear from space that she'd reciprocate his interest if he were only a little less schoolyard about it, but her character feels like a conservative compromise when she insists repeatedly—despite sufficient aptitude for chemistry that she has a master's degree in it—that forensics is "no career for a woman." I do appreciate that heteronormativity is defused at least once by McKay conceding wryly that it's "not much of a career for a man, either. No prestige, no glamour, no money. People holler at you when there are no miracles." I suppose it is also sociologically interesting that the script's anxiety about science and gender runs both ways—unless it's to prove that spending nine-tenths of your life behind a microscope doesn't make you less of a man, I have no idea why McKay is apparently incapable of confronting a suspect without a fight scene. He is otherwise not very macho, which I am fine with. He can't throw a dart straight to save his life. If the human heart were located in the right elbow, though, that firing-range target would have totally had it.

The extremely spoilery original trailer suggests that Kid Glove Killer was intended as the start of a series and I'm almost surprised it didn't happen—if Thin Man stand-ins Joel and Garda Sloane could get a trilogy, I don't see why we couldn't have enjoyed more McKay and Mitchell. As it is, the one film is all we've got. It runs 72 minutes and they are worth it all for the scene in which Heflin performs a precise, self-annotated mime of catching, cleaning, preparing, and then jettisoning a trout, all with the serious concentration of the slightly sloshed. He handles plain air so confidently, you can see the glint of the butter knife he's cleaning on the tablecloth and want to hand him one of those modern-day rubber grips for the ketchup bottle with the sticky cap. I have no idea if it was part of the original script or improvised on set or what on earth, but now I want to know where I can find more Van Heflin doing mime. He and Zinnemann would later reteam to superb and less comic effect in Act of Violence (1948). I appear to have seen Hunt as the Broadway-bent eldest of Frank Borzage's Seven Sweethearts (1942), but I don't hold it against her. Ava Gardner cameos as a cute married carhop. I hope to God mineral oil salad dressing is as much a thing of the past as the constant chain-smoking in chemically sensitive laboratory conditions. [edit: WHAT THE HELL IT'S NOT.] This investigation brought to you by my scientific backers at Patreon.
19 July 2017 02:01 - hi!
reesespiecescat: a cat looking down at a book (Default)
Name: Ciarra
Age: 24
Country: US
Subscription/Access Policy: Friend away! I'm always looking for new friends to talk to. As for access, I grant almost everyone that subscribes to me. If I ever lock something it'll be something really personal and might be trigger-y. I will always warn if I do post something of that nature. There's no pressure to grant me access back.

Fannish Interests: Gosh, okay, I like a lot of things. But I also need to catch up on a lot of things. That's my problem.

I watch a lot of tv. Right now I'm watching shadowhunters and deciding if I want to catch up on Teen Wolf or not. My love for Scott McCall is enternal though. 

I really enjoy pokemon,  digimon,  yugioh,  sailor moon, power rangers, tf&f series, harry potter, kingdom hearts, and classic spn. all of those were my fandoms before I ever knew what fandom meant. i am casually into new doctor who but Ten was my first doctor and my favorite era. I'm always there for the companions the most though and I love bill potts so much. i love sherlock holmes adaptations but i gotta say my favorite is elementary. i'm also into low energy video games so pretty much anything nintendo and the sims. I'm a little obsessed with the sims and the fandom it has on youtube. just a little. Superheroes are cool too! I like the mcu and dcu but i haven't watched all of it yet bc reasons. Omg star wars is a big one lately too. and the new Star Trek and hopefully the new series!! as for cartoons steven universe is like the best thing that ever happened to me probably. aaaand books!! gosh do i hope to actually start to read books. The last full thing I read that wasn't fanfiction was the hunger games.

sp in summary i love anything cheesy, ridiculous, and about friendship :D 

I Like To Post About: honestly? cute animals. cats especially. no but i'll post about all the things i care about and I might to do reaction posts to show or movie etc. I hope to at least post fic or a rec or just journaling in general! I'm trying to find my place in dreamwidth after being on tumblr for so long now. 

About Me/Other Info: I'm an ace nonbinary (she/they pronouns) lesbian. I'm autistic, mentally ill, and have chronic pain & illness. I'm infp, capricorn, and a hufflepuff. 

hurt/comfort is my whole life. It's like my one true kink. I love reading it, writing it, having discussions about it, reading meta about, you get it. It's my jam. 

I'll mostly comment on stuff for a while probably. I have a strict rule that is if I see an entry/read a fic/etc I comment on it. <3
rosefox: A Victorian woman glares and says "Fuck's sake, what a cock"; someone out of the frame says "mm". (disapproval)
Archiving some Twitter threads here regarding cons and congoing.

Thread 1: You are not entitled to be a panelist at a convention.  )

=====

Thread 2: Cis People Please Don't Do This. )

Comments are off because I'm on vacation and don't feel like moderating them. Feel free to share the link to this post.
19 July 2017 00:51 - Post-trip
serpentine: (Default)
I have survived my trip to Upstate New York and visiting family up there. I somehow slept a lot and ended up not socializing as much with family as I could've. If I wasn't so tired, I would've gone to dinner last night for example, but I just was too cranky to people properly.

I'm really glad that the wedding was cancelled tbh bcause I'm not sure if I could've done it without spending too much of my social bandwidth (which is a term I've seen around?? But I remember using it before everyone else back in college. Did others come up with it separately or did I legit coin a phrase?? Either is possible.) Anyways, I didn't get as much reading as I would've liked done, but I did get a lot of work on my Tomarry Big Bang done so that's one thing.

The other thing that was neglected was working on my cross-stitch project, but that's okay. I just didn't feel like working on it much and that's okay.

I also did some fun things. That was good. I need to go to bed now or I'd go on in more detail.

Posted by Richa

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Chickpea Tikka Wraps with Quick Coconut Chutney. Coconut Chutney makes everything amazing! Easy Weekday Meal. Vegan Soy-free Nut-free Recipe. Can be gluten-free with gluten-free wraps or tacos.

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Chickpea Tikka Wraps with Quick Coconut Chutney. Coconut Chutney makes everything amazing! Easy Weekday Meal. Vegan Soy-free Nut-free Recipe. Can be gluten-free with gluten-free wraps or tacos. | VeganRicha.com

Summer meals are often are simplified versions of some Indian spreads that can be served in hand held form, like wraps, tacos, burritos, burgers etc. These tikka wraps fall perfectly there. The Veggie Tikka or Kebabs that would usually be skewered and grilled, are all put on one baking sheet to bake to crisp. The medley is then served over warm rotis or tortillas dressed in coconut chutney.

This Coconut chutney is easy and addictive. You will want to put it over tacos, burgers and everything. Use seasonal vegetables of choice. Add some hearty greens to marinate and bake/grill. Serve these in tortillas or make a bowl with a generous drizzle of the coconut dressing. Don’t like coconut, use my Mint Cilantro Chutney instead. Make a huge helping of these tikka veggies as the marinade is super flavorful. Add the baked veggies to any other bowls this Summer.

Continue reading: Cauliflower Sweet Potato Chickpea Tikka Wraps with Coconut Chutney

The post Cauliflower Sweet Potato Chickpea Tikka Wraps with Coconut Chutney appeared first on Vegan Richa.

jhameia: ME! (Default)
So, because I have no brainspace, I completely forgot to take down the address of the ophthalmologist I was supposed to go see, Googled last night, and took a Lyft to the wrong place. I had to take another Lyft, this time to the right place. It was a weird procedure. Lots of flashing lights and hooey eyedrops. On the bright side, the doctor says that my eyes look all right, no problems with the veins whatsoever.

On the not so bright side, my eyes are still dilated and my pee looks weird (because they have to inject dye into your bloodstream so that inspection of the back of the eye is possible). I have a headache as a result.

The eye specialist I went to was near Brockton Arcade so I meandered over to the pet supply store to have a look-see. I sighed at the dog collars, because I miss Puppergeist, and I regret giving him up.

I got home, had a couple of pieces of chicken, then went to campus for another doctor's visit. And I have to say, while I think Dr. Tran is a wonderful doctor otherwise, the first to take my complaints on concentration seriously enough that he suggested ADD as a possible problem (the diabetes was the first thing he felt capable of looking at), he was a bit too enthused about my weight loss for my comfort. OK, yeah, 15 pounds since I started (late April), but I don't know if that's such a huge accomplishment when my concentration is still shot to hell, and I could use all that time spent exercising and worrying about my food on the diss. Then again, the exercising and dieting is a decent way to procrastinate, I guess.

Anyway, I had to make calls and whatnot for a psychiatrist appointment, and the first available time is the end of August. EW! I need to defend by then! So, I'm kind of pissed that it's taken this long for this to even come up.

Tonight I'll be handwriting some of my dissertation, I think, because I just can't stare at the screen so much anymore. I've got a whole paragraph. It feels nice.

I also finished the sugar-free cookies I got last weekend, whoops.
18 July 2017 20:57
the_rck: (Default)
Has anyone here ever had issues with coins not surviving going through the laundry? I assumed, at first, that I was seeing some sort of play money* what with the dimes ending up looking the way they do-- They're smaller in circumference and have the outermost edge about twice as thick as the center in a slightly irregular way that looks like they've been smushed. Quarters come out looking right except that the ridging on the edges is completely gone. I think pennies are going the same way as dimes, and I haven't seen a nickel going through yet.

I'm trying to figure out how this can happen without whatever's doing it completely destroying our clothes or, you know, affecting them somehow. All the clothing seems to be fine.

Our washer and dryer are about twenty years old. We bought them new when we bought the house. The dryer uses natural gas.

*Cordelia says the weird coins are nothing to do with her.
18 July 2017 17:35 - NIF: Eps 5-6, Palace Dynamics
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
Episode 5

This and the next episode was the turning point for me: up until now I enjoyed the episodes, but didn’t feel much engaged. I know it’s different for different people, just as in anything else: one friend was hooked from the first episode at the sight of MC gliding in that flat boat as he played that compelling minor key melody on the flute. Another didn’t get hooked until a certain point in the story a few eps on, and then all of a sudden got hooked so hard that they had to mainline the entire thing until the end. And then promptly rewatch it all.

For me, it was the conviction that I got through this and the next episode, which I think of as a pair, that not only was Mei Changsu as brilliant as promised, but I was going to see proved, bit by bit. That intrigued me. And that intrigue began deepening slowly, until the emotional layers of friendship, loyalty, brotherhood, hidden and obvious—all the conflicting emotional currents—gripped me.
Read more... )
18 July 2017 16:04 - Poetry: "rebuke"
jhameia: ME! (Default)
oh, my heart, you are not okay
you are not okay
lock yourself up again
that was safer
also less disruptive to
other daily operations

oh, stop making promises
that are not yours to make
i know that is what hope is:
crowns out of starlight
and petals dried in summer heat
blown away in the morning wind

you are too hungry to be exposed
one temptation and you are lost
if i do not cage you sooner
you will devour everything
and i do not care
to ingest more poison
18 July 2017 18:07 - Fig and the big window
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Things that do not inspire Fig to go into hunting mode:

A baby rabbit

Things that do inspire Fig to go into hunting mode:

A robin
A 50 kilogram dog
wildeabandon: A London skyline (London)
My church runs a soup kitchen every Tuesday evening to support the homeless and those in food poverty in the area. We're looking for volunteers to oversee the project about once every six weeks. The church is about 5 minutes walk from Finsbury Park station, so easy to get to from anywhere on the Victoria or Piccadilly lines. More details are here if you're at all interested, and if not but you know people who might be then I'd appreciate you pointing them there or here.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a typical “millennial office.” We have beer in the fridge, a frequently used table tennis table and no dress code. Most of the employees are men in their mid-20s, so shorts and a T-shirt is the go-to work look for them. As a woman, I feel like I would look silly if I started wearing dresses and more formal wear to the office even though I want to, since I usually have plans after work. I don't want to look stuffy at work, but I don't want to look like a slob when I'm out with my friends. Is there any in-between? -- No Tees in the Bar, New York City

DEAR NO TEES IN THE BAR: Get creative. You can develop a personal style that stays casual but is more dressed up than the average guy at your office. Look around. There’s bound to be someone who dresses a notch above the norm. You can also choose to dress up on occasion when you have after-work events. If somebody ribs you, tell them you have an event to attend and leave it at that. You can also bring a change of clothes to work and slip into your dress just before you head out. Most important is for you to feel confident in your appearance and clear that you can make personal choices that extend beyond the casual norm.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

“There is a common poor attempt at a joke … that consists purely in stringing together a series of marginalized identities and calling attention to it … as if the mere existence of someone like that would be so absurd it could only be laughable.”

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

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

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.

#

Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities

Growing up in the 90s and early 00s in the south-east of Brazil, all I saw in mainstream media were the same repetitive, harmful and offensive stereotypes about travestis in telenovelas and badly written comedy TV shows, and the effeminate gay men and macho lesbian women token characters whose non-conforming gender expression was grossly caricatured for cheap laughs.

As an openly queer young girl in school, I learned that I could be queer, but not too much, not too visibly. I’ve heard those laughs, and I internalized through bullying and ridicule that I should change how I presented myself to the world—which I did really fast by becoming the stock image of a non-threatening feminine girl, although I never hid my sexuality. My first awkward attempts at a masculine gender expression didn’t have time to blossom. I shoved it down some unreachable recess of my mind and avoided it for 10 years, which (along with compulsive heterosexuality and a binary cisnormative culture) is why it took me so long to understand my bisexuality and figure out my transmasculine non-binary gender identity.

Once I did, I uncovered a gender euphoria I’ve been cultivating ever since.

It took me years to understand the ways in which I inhabit my queer transmasculine genderfluid neuroatypical body, and my most powerful illumination came unexpectedly through the stories of a queer non-binary neuroatypical green witch: Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Wicked: Cover ArtI first met her in the book series The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire, where most aspects about her gender and sexuality were ambiguous or obscured between the lines, and later in fan fiction, where the depths of Elphaba’s intersectional identities (canon or not) could be explored to the fullest by writers that shared those same identities.

Despite being an avid reader of speculative fiction since childhood, it was only after these encounters with trans and non-binary characters in fan fiction during the first half of my twenties that I started researching these topics, that I found out where I belonged. I discovered a thriving community of authors from marginalized groups creating astonishing rebellious versions of every world I’ve ever dreamed of and countless others I couldn’t imagine would be paramount to my process of liberation.

I owe it mostly to the fictional characters and their creators that illuminated me—from early readings like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to the most recent fan fiction stories about a non-binary autistic Elphaba, a genderfluid bisexual Korra (from The Legend of Korra), and an agender transhumanist Root (from Person of Interest). I wish I could’ve met them sooner. Along the way to self-discovery, I had to collect all sorts of missing pieces with jagged edges and weird fractal shapes, and figure out a way to put them together myself. I was lucky to stumble upon the stories that I did and then to be able to find the communities that I needed. That’s why representation is vital. You cannot search for something you don’t even know exists.

There is a common poor attempt at a joke (that I’ve seen in both Anglophone and Brazilian online spaces), often directed at dehumanizing non-binary people and mocking activists working at the multidimensional core of intersections, that consists purely in stringing together a series of marginalized identities and calling attention to it, using the accumulation of these identities as a joke in and of itself, as if the mere existence of someone like that would be so absurd it could only be laughable.

One of the things fantasy author Jim Anotsu and I wanted to acknowledge when we wrote the Manifesto Irradiativo—our call to diversity and representation in Brazilian speculative fiction—is that our lives cannot be reduced to an isolated shelf in a bookstore or a niche market, thus we cannot be constrained to discussing the realities of our identities in those compartmentalized terms. We’re so much more than single-issue stories, than the same old one-dimensional narratives constructed to serve the gaze of the oppressor without making them examine their privileges and dismantle their systems of violence.

Those single-issue stories exist and persist for several reasons concerning the maintenance of racial, economic, and social power, amongst them because there is a fear of “too much” diversity. As if a book about a bipolar asexual bigender Afro-Brazilian person, for example, would scare away or alienate the common reader—who is always presumed to be the neurotypical cis straight white default that can handle only one unit of diversity at a time, served lukewarm, unseasoned. But as Audre Lorde said in a 1982 speech at Harvard University: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

Stories matter. And we shouldn’t have the full extent of our existences cut, segregated, and dimmed in them. We deserve to live as a hyperdimensional mesh of identities when they want to flatten us, to be loud when they want to silence us, to occupy the spaces that have been negated to us, and to be wonderfully written and represented as such.

***

Alliah/Vic is a bisexual non-binary Brazilian writer and visual artist working in the realms of the weird and pop culture. They’re the author of Metanfetaedro and have various short stories published in themed collections and on the web. They’re currently building too many independent projects, working on their first novel, and haunting your internet cables. Find them tweeting at alliahverso and newslettering in Glitch Lung. Or buy them a coffee at ko-fi!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

18 July 2017 12:54
the_rck: (Default)
I keep losing track of what day of the week it is, and, probably because of the story that needs to get done, I have the constant feeling that I'm forgetting something important that I need to get done right this second. I actually don't have anything at all scheduled for the rest of the week, so I'm not actually forgetting an appointment or anything.

We discovered last night at about 9 that we have no bread type stuff usable for Scott's sandwiches. The rye bread was moldy. The burger buns were moldy. The two remaining bagels weren't, but for some reason, Scott didn't want cheese and turkey and chocolate. I suggested cashew butter and jam, but he decided to take meatloaf instead.

The meatloaf isn't exactly right this time. It's edible, but I put in too much teriyaki sauce because I lost control while pouring it in. I had to add a lot of extra oatmeal to balance the wetness, but there wasn't much I could do about the flavor. For some reason that I can't recall now, I also added dill. The combination of dill and teriyaki isn't bad, but it is completely unexpected and so a little disconcerting.

We still have half of the package of ground turkey left, and I should cook that today. I'm just not sure what I want to do with it. Maybe I can scrounge the ingredients to make some sort of soup either in the pressure cooker or in the crock pot? I know how to do it in the crock pot but that would require getting the dratted thing out and finding a place for it to sit and all of that. I think I'll see if there are any decent soup recipes for the pressure cooker.

There's going to be a local to us anomaly for Ingress in late August. I'm in the process of signing up for it, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to do, given how variable my energy levels and such tend to be.

On the bright side, I'm no longer sore from yesterday's excursion. I had trouble walking for most of the evening, but I'm doing about as usual now. Which means I still hurt. I just don't hurt extra from having been stupid.

I currently only have two library books that can't be renewed. One is due this weekend. The other is newly checked out, so I have a couple of days shy of four weeks to finish it.

Today's To Do List )

Posted by Editor

by Jennifer Brozek

As of 1 July 2017, I stepped down from a two year stint as a Director-At-Large for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). My term was up and I chose not to run again (this time) due to life happening around me. I learned so much from the organization and from the other Directors themselves. I also learned a lot from the SFWA membership through the lens of a board member. To make things easy on me, I’ve distilled it all into the 10 Things I Learned While I Was A Director-At-Large for SFWA.

10: It was one of the most rewarding volunteer positions I’ve been in.

I worked with a stellar team of people I wouldn’t have had a chance to work with before I stepped up to the plate. Being a Director-At-Large gave me an inside view on how SFWA works, its goals for the organization, how to help its membership and writers all over the world as well as allowed me to help shepherd some large projects towards fruition. Watching Game Writers be admitted to SFWA was beyond awesome. It was one of my goals from the moment I became a member of SFWA. Watching the Speakers Bureau come online in a working capacity was very fulfilling. Instituting the first board member “office hours” was a thrill. Streamlining the EMF process is still in progress, but I know I’ve done my part. When you work on the Board of Directors, your work changes the organization.

9: It was one of the most difficult volunteer positions I’ve been in.

There are good and bad things that happen when you lead by committee—especially a committee of volunteers. When one committee talks to another committee, things move at a (perceived) glacial pace. It makes it difficult to know when to poke someone (or a committee) for an answer you are waiting on. Make no mistake, SFWA is governed and run by committee. We have a President who focuses our tasks, puts out fires, pokes committees for you, but… you’re still working with a series of committees made up of volunteers with different wants/needs, different communication styles, different time allotments, different backgrounds, and different perspectives. This makes it hard. You can’t push too much. You can’t not push. Everything is a delicate balance between need, time, and availability. The entire time you work on SFWA’s Board of Directors, you try to keep this in mind. Sometimes you fail. Most of the time you succeed. You’re going to remember the failures more.

8: The Board of Directors has their hands full.

There are so many projects and concerns that that Board of Directors handles that every single board member is busy. Really busy. Each one is a point of contact to every single committee SFWA has. There are five main areas that SFWA focuses on: Support, Promotion, Information, Defense, and Advocacy. I’m linking the info graphic that describes each one. For every single bullet point, someone in SFWA has championed that project and a board member has been or is a point of contact. The Board works for SFWA and its members. It also works to promote the welfare of all writers.

7: The Board of Directors frequently has their hands tied.

SFWA is a 501(c)(3) organization. As a nonprofit organization, there are a number of specific rules and restrictions SFWA must follow. As an organization incorporated in California, there are a different set of rules and regulations SFWA must follow. As an organization with a specific set of goals—the promotion and advocacy of authors—the organization itself has created and voted on a third set of rules and restrictions SFWA must follow. All of this means when someone brings up an issue involving everything (but not limited to) money, donations, charity, advocacy, state or federal laws, taxes, theft, slander, or plagiarism… there are so many hoops, rules, restrictions, and laws that must be checked before the Board can act.

Not only that, when it comes to individual conflicts, there is a specific jurisdiction SFWA can work within: Did the incident happen at a SFWA sponsored event/green room/panel? Did the incident happen using SFWA resources? Did a SFWA member use their membership/position in SFWA to incite/abuse/manipulate? Is the complaint specific enough? Does it an individual or a large numbers of authors?

These are the kinds of questions we must ask before we act. More often than not, we need to refer complaints to various internal committees, have private, unofficial conversations with individuals, or make blanket statements that SFWA does not approve of a specific action. Sometimes, there’s nothing the Board can do except lend emotional/moral support.

6: Authors, even your favorite author, are only human.

Everyone has either heard the story, or experienced it themselves: “I used to love reading AuthorX, but then I met them and discovered they are terrible. I can’t read their work anymore.” Sometimes it is hard to discover your idols are human with human wants, needs, foibles, opinions, habits, and flaws. When you work on SFWA’s Board of Directors, you usually see all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Sometimes, you work with an author/editor on a SFWA project and it doesn’t go as smoothly as you like. Sometimes, it appears as if an author once admired has nothing but scorn for the work you are doing and no desire to help out—just kvetch and complain. Sometimes, authors come to the Board at their worst—financial or medical difficulties, personal conflicts that threaten to spiral out of control, issues with editors, agents, or publishers. They don’t have their “public face” on. They are human. They make mistakes. They can be hurt. They put their pants on one leg at a time.

This is one of those learning lessons that really surprised me. I’m not sure why. I just know it did.

5: Discretion is the better part of valor.

With everything I’ve mentioned so far, one of the most valuable things a Director-At-Large (all the board members, really) can do is keep their ears open and their mouths shut. More than just listening, there is a compact with the membership that when an-all-too-human author comes to us with an issue, that issue remains private until it is decided amongst the board and the member themselves that the issue can go public. There are many issues brought to board members that have nothing to do with SFWA, but board members are in perceived positions of power and sometimes, authors just need an authority figure to listen and unofficially advise. They also need to know what they are saying will remain on the down low.

4: Volunteers are the lifeblood of SFWA.

You get out of SFWA what you put into it. SFWA is an organization of the members and for the members. By extension, SFWA works for the betterment of all authors. Volunteers are SFWAs lifeblood. There are only so many things the Board—who are all volunteers—can do at one time. If you see something that’s wrong or lacking in the organization, speak up and step up. The Board loves nothing more than a motivated volunteer. If you don’t know what needs doing, we have a Volunteer Coordinator who would love to put you to work. We have various committees that need people. Need you. You will learn more about SFWA, the industry, and yourself when you volunteer at SFWA. It will help you feel more connected to the membership and the industry as a whole.

3: Patience is a virtue.

As SFWA is a volunteer organization, there is only so much pushing one can do. Even if you are waiting on something from someone else before you can get your project moving/done, you must remember that volunteers have other jobs, other duties, and other deadlines. In all cases—working on projects, listening to incident reports, just checking in on the membership, reading the forums—patience is a virtue. Slow, deep breaths. Be clear and concise in your communication. Give specific timelines, concrete tasks, and manageable goals; even to yourself. Especially to yourself. Know what you need and move at a steady pace.

2: The Board of Directors is made up of good people.

I’ve never worked with such dedicated people before. Every single one of them works hard and wants to do good by the membership. Every single one of them puts in hours of work each week. They seriously discuss every issue, try to consider all angles, and do their best to work within the rules. Though we haven’t always agreed on everything, I’m proud to have worked alongside them. I feel safe and secure knowing that the people making up the Board is there. I didn’t even feel guilty (much) for stepping down. The new people who stepped up are competent and knowledgeable.

1: I will probably run for the Board again—sometime in the future.

While life is at a point where I don’t have time to be on the Board, I am still working on specific projects for them. I will probably run for the Board again in the future. I know (mostly) what to expect and still believe that not only is volunteering for the Board a worthwhile endeavor, it’s one that everyone should try to experience at least once during their time in SFWA.

•••


Jennifer Brozek is an award winning author, editor, and tie-in author. Two of her works, Never Let Me Sleep and The Last Days of Salton Academy have been nominated for the Bram Stoker Awards. She was awarded the Scribe Award for best tie-in Young Adult novel for The Nellus Academy Incident. Grants Pass won an Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication. In-between cuddling her cats, writing, and editing, Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She keeps a tight writing and editing schedule and credits her husband Jeff with being the best sounding board ever. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com.

 

 

18 July 2017 14:52 - #996: “The Palette Wife”

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

An anniversary is coming up, but I am so frustrated with my husband! When I met him, I looked a certain way (i.e. hair length, weight, etc.).

I used to be a fitness instructor and went to the gym in my spare time, all the while juggling multiple jobs and trying to go to school. So, I was always toned out and at a happy place with my weight. I then got a full time job that still requires me to work out, but not as often as I used to.

Anyway, due to the heat, my new job, I wanted a change to my hair. I did not want to change my hair if my husband would not have liked it. So, I asked him and confirmed close to a million times as he kept saying, “Yes. Do it. I can’t wait to see how it will turn out.” and I did. Chopped it all off and it was a drastic change that took me a long time to get used to. In between that time, my husband kept asking me to do different colors and styles of my hair. So I did with no hesitation (okay, maybe sometimes, but I still agreed and went with the flow). He loved every single look I did and the one he had the brightest reaction to was dying my hair back to my original color. Other events in between all of this, he would bring up my previous hair style and how attractive I was with it. The insecurities crept in and crawled under my skin. But he stopped bringing it up when I came home with my original hair color.

Anyway, now, he brought it up again, mentioned how I used to be, how I used to look, the past this, the past that. So now, I feel almost guilty for ever beginning to change my hair style the way I did. Now, it’s going to take months, maybe even years to get it back to how it used to be. So now, the insecurities really dug under my skin and are clawing, scratching hard inside. During me trying to get my look back to how it used to be, I feel like it won’t amount up to what he wants–the original “me” until then and it worries me that when I do get it back, he’s going to keep addressing what I used to look like during this time, or that time, or that he wants me to go back to my current look. If that makes sense Am I over thinking this? Am I wrong for being hurt and feeling the way I do? I have been at a loss for words with talking to him about this situation and whenever I would try, it would be me jumping to conclusions rather than trying to calmly address the situation and find a happy medium for both of us.

Trying to remember my breathing,
The Palette Wife

Dear Palette Wife,

First, some reading: You Don’t Have To Be Pretty.

Next, I think it’s time to say something like this to your husband:

Husband, it was really fun for a while to experiment with my hair and get your input on all of it, but these conversations about ‘going back to how I looked when we first met’ are really stressing me out and hurting my feelings. We’re hopefully going to be married forever, and I’m going to look lots of different ways (as are you, by the way!) over the years, so it’s time to change the way we talk about this. I’m the boss of my hair and how it looks, so, I might cut it, I might grow it out, I might change the color again, who knows? I need to take this back as something I do for myself by myself rather than something we decide together. I’ll let whatever it is be a surprise for you, and the only input I’m looking for from now on is ‘Hey, wow, you look great!'”

The only good answer, and I mean the ONLY good answer when your spouse says something like that to you is some version of “Of course, babe, it’s your head & your body! I always think you look great! I’m sorry if I was stressing you out before.

NO adding “…but I just think you look better with x kind of hair” on the end of that. None. Zero. He could feel that way inside his head, but you don’t say that to someone who just told you that it hurts their feelings.

I would accept this as an alternative answer (no transcript but the lyrics show up on screen):

More than acceptable:

If we’re time-traveling here why not go all the way to Everybody’s Prom, 1991? (Why did people think this was a cool song for 17-year-olds to dance to?) A marginally passing effort:

The first 2/3 of this poem by W.B. Yeats would also suffice:

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;”

Compare that to the poem that men who think that they own their wives’ appearances seem to be writing:

What’s this “old and grey and full of sleep” b.s.?
When you are in your 80s
You’d goddamn better be well-preserved.
Wait, I meant to say “Time does not pass for us, my love”
Or something else romantic. I wrote it down somewhere.

When I say “I miss how you looked when we first met”
I guess I’m just trying to say I miss being that young with you,
and it makes me think about being old. That’s depressing!
Like, yeah, I theoretically want us to grow old together –
– But that doesn’t mean actually growing OLD-old –
Does it?

Wait…does it?

It also gratifies my ego to know that you’ll change your hair, for me.
Don’t you want me to be happy?
Don’t worry, babe, I know I can count on you
To always look terrific, to be the perfect accessory.
I know you’ll always do whatever is necessary
To save my eyes and my boner from the fate of
having to look at some wizened crone.

For now, let’s stick to constant exercise and tone
And running all your hair decisions by me first.
We’ll save the plastic surgery for later, for when we really need it.

Aw, babe, don’t cry, you’ll ruin your makeup!
Stress isn’t good for the skin!
I like you so much and we get along so well,
I really don’t want to replace you with a younger version,
with the next best thing.

It’s okay that you want to feel a certain way in your body, it’s okay that you want your husband to admire how you look, it’s okay to have complex feelings about aging and changing bodies and attraction. It’s okay to renegotiate how you talk about certain topics, okay to say “Hey, you probably don’t mean it this way, but that thing you’re doing is making me feel bad, so, can you not?

Guess what? It’s actually extremely okay to not like someone’s haircut all that much and also to keep that information firmly to yourself, forever. Not every opinion you have needs shared! Amazing, right? (For those of you who watch The Good Place, remember the parable of Chidi and The Red Boots).

Over time, you enforce the boundary with “Hey, we agreed – you’re not my Hair Critic, you are my Hair Cheerleader!” and/or “Hey, let’s agree to be really gentle about how we talk about appearances. I always love your face and your body, and I gotta know that you love mine as-is, that’s the only way this can work.

It’s also okay to invest in some wigs if the idea of “Hey, surprise, look at me in my new secret identity!” turns you both on sometimes. There are ways to be fun and playful about this without making work and anxiety and awkward growing-out-stages of haircuts for you! (This is a suggestion for far in the future when you feel much better about all of this and your husband has shown with time and actions that he respects your autonomy, NOT something to pull out next week like your job is to please him).

It’s 100% not okay for your husband to seek some former version of you literally at the expense of the present-tense woman in front of him today, so, remind him not to.

Above all, fall in love with the person you see in the mirror and don’t let anyone give her any crap. ❤

 

 


swan_tower: (Default)

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael F. Haspil at Denver Comic-Con recently, and he had me at the word “Egyptology.” The hero of his debut novel is a mummy and former pharaoh — how could I not be interested in that! But I’ll let Michael tell you about how it took a different character to bring his mummy’s story to, er, life for him.

***

cover art for GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Michael F. HaspilI wrote the original version of GRAVEYARD SHIFT during NaNoWriMo some time ago. However, I still remember when the story really jumped into gear and, regrettably, that wasn’t truly in the first draft, though at the time I thought it was.

As I began revisions and sorted through the aftermath of a NaNo first draft, certain aspects stood out as being decent. The main character, Alex Menkaure, an immortal pharaoh now working in a special supernatural police unit in modern-day Miami, and his partner, Marcus, a vampire born in ancient Rome, needed minor work. The climactic battle at the end against the villains needed a lot of polish. While the action was solid, I wrote the section in a blur and it showed. Also, there was something missing. While Alex and Marcus are formidable, the villains I’d set up for them to go against were more so, and they needed help.

The help came in the form of Rhuna Gallier, a young but vicious shapeshifter with her own agenda. I’d had an idea for her character while brainstorming another novel, but realized with some minor tweaks, Rhuna and “The Pack” could fit into GRAVEYARD SHIFT’s story and world.

When I wrote the next draft, as I seeded Rhuna’s presence throughout the book, she threatened to take over the entire thing and make it hers. This may sound weird to non-writers, but she didn’t seem to understand this was Alex’s story and she was a supporting character. So I promised her besides the climax she would get a cool action scene. I knew in the scene Rhuna needed to be mostly on her own with minimal support so I could showcase her lethality.

In GRAVEYARD SHIFT’s world, a practice goes by the underground name of S&B. It stands for Sangers, a derogatory name for vampires, and Bleeders, humans who willingly let vampires feed on them to experience the pleasurable sensations that come with it. Participants meet in bloodclubs, which are akin to prohibition-era speakeasies. Many unsavory activities such as human trafficking, blood and drug dealing, and murder, happen near the clubs and they are part of Miami’s criminal underbelly.

In the early draft, I had a criminal vampire who liked to prey on young girls, take one of his victims to the club. It was an unhappy chapter and ended with the vampire killing another victim. In the new draft, Rhuna showed up. That’s when the story jumped to life. Rhuna took the place of the victim and suddenly where I had a naïve girl falling prey to an old vampire’s wiles, now I had Rhuna going in as a Trojan horse and the vampire and his companions never knew what hit them.

I rewrote the sequence, several chapters long, in one sitting. Now, I can’t wait to write Rhuna’s novel. It’s going to be great fun.

***

From the cover copy:

Alex Menkaure, former pharaoh and mummy, and his vampire partner, Marcus, born in ancient Rome, are vice cops in a special Miami police unit. They fight to keep the streets safe from criminal vampires, shape-shifters, bootleg blood-dealers, and anti-vampire vigilantes.

When poisoned artificial blood drives vampires to murder, the city threatens to tear itself apart. Only an unlikely alliance with former opponents can give Alex and Marcus a fighting chance against an ancient vampire conspiracy.

If they succeed, they’ll be pariahs, hunted by everyone. If they fail, the result will be a race-war bloodier than any the world has ever seen.

Michael F. Haspil is a geeky engineer and nerdy artist. The art of storytelling called to him from a young age and he has plied his craft over many years and through diverse media. He has written original stories for as long as he can remember and has dabbled in many genres. However, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror have whispered directly to his soul. An avid gamer, he serves as a panelist on the popular “The Long War” webcasts and podcasts, which specializes in Warhammer 40,000 strategy, tactics, and stories. Graveyard Shift is his first novel. Find him online at michaelhaspil.com or @michaelhaspil.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

18 July 2017 09:00 - Road to Nowhere
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

(A couple of quick reminders!

  • Remember to have a look at last week’s Casting of Carynne, Colin, and a few other folks!
  • RSVP if you are coming to the August 20th meetup in Louisville, KY!
  • There are still a few slots open for Fanworks Thursdays!
    Love you all! -ctan)


  • I was more alert while getting on the plane this time. I still felt like a jerk for having other people carry pretty much everything for me, but at least I didn’t give myself a cramp in my hand, and we could proceed with my non-show-day medication regimen.

    This time I noticed that the different parts of the entourage were in different parts of the plane. The roadies and stagehands were all the way in the back. The band was in the section in front of them— behind the bulkhead galley and the overwing table section. The dancers were in front of the table section. Management had taken over business class. And what I guess I have to call Ziggy’s inner circle took first class and the upstairs lounge.

    Read the rest of this entry » )
    18 July 2017 11:17 - Busy, busy, busy
    wildeabandon: sushi (sushi)
    It's all gone a bit hectic. Definitely in a fun way, but at some point I should probably schedule some quiet nights in...

    I mentioned last month ago that I was trying climbing again, and since then I've been going most weeks. So far I'm making fairly measurable progress in terms of each time getting up a route, or at least further up a route, that I got stuck on the previous week. I was particularly pleased because one of those routes hadn't been graded the first time I tried it, and when I came back to it the following week it turned out to be three grades higher than anything I'd successfully climbed before (I still didn't quite make it to the top, but I got past the move I was stuck on, and I'm fairly confident that I'm going to make it to the top tomorrow).

    I've been swimming a bit as well, both on my own and with [personal profile] sfred. The funny thing about swimming compared to most other forms of exercise that I do is that whilst I'm doing it it feels as though I'm going fairly gently and not working very hard, and then I get out of the pool and all my muscles go "gosh, that was bracing!". I think it's a combination of the water softening the impact of the motion, and feeling as though the only reason ones breathing is constricted is because of being underwater half the time, rather than from the exertion, and as Fred pointed out, not noticing that you're sweating, because it gets washed straight off.

    I had my first singing lesson in ages last week, to get in a bit of improvement before choir starts in September. I'd forgotten how physical singing is when you're doing it right - I think my core muscles were getting more of a workout then than from the climbing!

    I've also been enjoying various dinners. Last month I went to Morito with [personal profile] borusa and a couple of weeks ago I went with my sister to the Barbary to celebrate her birthday. They both do Middle Eastern/North African small plates on barstools overlooking the kitchen. Both were very good, and in both cases the aubergine thing was the high point of the meal. On that comparison Morito comes out on top, because their deep fried aubergine with date molasses and goat's curd was so delicious that I ordered a second plate of it instead of pudding. The crisp batter/melty soft aubergine texture contrast was heavenly, and the curd was light and fluffy but with a warm richness just made to be cut through by the sweet/sharp molasses.

    Last weekend had more delicious food. On the Friday [personal profile] hjdoom was in town, so I had the fun challenge of finding somewhere good for a coeliac vegan to eat. We went for Itadaki Zen, the vegan Japanese place near Kings Cross, which is always fantastic. We had a mixture of small dishes to start, with lots of crunchy textures and umamish seasonings and sauces, then six pieces of sushi, all exquisite. My main was decent, but Oliver's tempura really won the day. I was especially excited by the vine leaf and the seaweed. On Saturday Ramesh & I went out for a very (very!) belated celebration of our anniversary to St Moritz. We ate all the cheese. And then we ate all the chocolate as well, because why not. I didn't think the fondue was quite as good as the late lamented L'art du fromage, but it was still basically giant pile of cheese, so hard to complain too much. On Sunday I'd invited Beryl, one of the St John's grandames, over for lunch, and then delegated the cooking to [personal profile] robert_jones, who did us proud with a lovely summery pea and basil soup, roast lamb that was just perfectly tender, and strawberries in balsamic syrup.

    Tonight I'm dining with [personal profile] borusa again at Rok, and planning a dinner on Friday, when I've got the day off work so can pull the stops out a little bit. Then next week Ramesh & I are off to Amsterdam, where cultural and culinary delights various await us.
    18 July 2017 04:26 - "R&R"
    rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (relaxed)
    Once more unto the vacation to-do list/wishlist. A whole week of vacation when I'm not ill! Such luxury!

    Things with deadlines:

    * NONE AT ALL

    Things without deadlines (fun):

    * Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
    * Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (needs to happen today if it's going to happen, because the weather's going to be too hot and unpleasant the rest of the week)
    * Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
    * Read
    * Cook
    * Lunch with my mom
    * Sleeeeeeeep

    Things without deadlines (productive):

    * Shower and dress in real clothes every day
    * Tidy room enough for vacuuming
    * Unpack
    * Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
    * Catch up on laundry
    * Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
    * Call insurance company about that bill
    * Call doctor's office about that prior auth
    * Finish setting up Tinybeans
    * Remake OT appointment for next week
    * Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
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