a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
21 November 2014 20:13
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))
My Wacom tablet bricked and I was working on a picture of Cheris. *sob* I guess I have to buy a new one after all.

(I've tried a Huion. It's not tilt-sensitive, and it's already been passed on to the lizard, who likes to draw with it. My Wacom lasted something like 15 years. I'm going with Wacom again. But first, I need money.)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Robert A. Heinlein (15)

Rosemary Kirstein (4)
K.J. Parker (4)

Max Gladstone (3)
Larry Niven (3)
K.B. Spangler (3)
M.K. Wren (3)

Steven Brust (2)
Mary Gentle (2)
C.L. Moore (2)
Andre Norton (2)
Jerry Pournelle (2)
L. Neil Smith (2)
Arkady Strugatsky (2)
Boris Strugatsky (2)
Joan D. Vinge (2)
Martha Wells (2)
21 November 2014 18:11 - photo of the day
yhlee: two kittens side by side (kitty 2 (evil_little_dog))
Taken at the Baton Rouge Zoo during "Boo at the Zoo" (Sunday before Halloween, a group of us went):

All the animals were snoozing--it was a hot day. Aww, tigers. Tigers safely behind a wall. :p
21 November 2014 18:44 - Note to self
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Do not end months-long period in which Fig got no catnip abruptly.
sovay: (Claude Rains)
So from Monday until Wednesday I had a cancer scare, and on Wednesday I learned some non-fatal but upsetting news about a different part of my health, and on Thursday nothing medically traumatizing happened to me at all, but I had to go out to Quincy and back on the trains for yet another doctor's appointment and that pretty much ate the afternoon. So that's why the radio silence around here. Thank you to everyone who left a media recommendation in my latest post.

Last night, finding that all eight seasons of Foyle's War (2002–) are currently available on Netflix, I rewatched the third-season episode "Enemy Fire" to see if it was as good as I'd remembered from years ago on PBS. Short answer: yes. It's the one with the thinly veiled versions of Archibald McIndoe and the Guinea Pig Club, here a requisitioned manor house in Hastings full of badly burned airmen under the care of Dr. Patrick Jamieson (Bill Paterson), an outspoken plastic surgeon whose pioneering treatments include saline baths, skin grafts, and treating his patients like ordinary people, not objects of pity or horror. The resolution of the mystery—who is responsible for the escalating acts of sabotage at Digby Manor, including one attempted murder and one successful one—is only so-so, but everything about the airmen themselves is great. Jamieson has all the time in the world for his patients and none for anyone who tries to interfere with their treatment. Flight Lieutenant Johnny Bridges (John Lloyd Fillingham) is missing the use of his fingers and most of his original face, but he's a jaunty, outrageous flirt who wears his officer's greatcoat over his pajamas with a rakish red scarf, well aware of the irony when he sneaks cigarettes to smoke where he won't be a fire risk; his sparring relationship with brisk Matron Grace Petrie (Dearbhla Molloy) has all the tart-tongued affection of screwball comedy, never directly acknowledged. The night of the hospital concert party, they stop the show with a Coward-esque duet: Paris without the Eiffel Tower, spring without an April shower . . . I just can't imagine what the world would be like without you. I had remembered a sudden turn of sympathy for the martinet Group Captain Smythe (Peter Blythe) and I was right, but I liked the chance to observe how it was done.

Smythe is the antagonist of the A-plot, assigned to evaluate Jamieson's work for the RAF. A sharp-faced, greying man with an astringent tenor voice, everything about him is disapproval and asperity. He doesn't like the concert parties, the beer on tap, the relaxing of military discipline or the absence of correct hospital uniform (Jamieson destroyed them), he doesn't appreciate the doctor's unconcealed contempt for authority (which very definitely includes the Group Captain himself), and he makes it quite clear that while he can't fault Jamieson as a surgeon, he can condemn everything else about the man's practice. He promises to put it all in his report to the Ministry. We recognize his type at once: the stiff-necked stickler with no imagination to speak of, who would rather subject wounded men to further hurt and humiliation than unbend a fraction of the chain of command. It's no use arguing with him; he probably can't even hear a request that doesn't come with a requisition form. We're just as glad as Jamieson to see him go. And then, as he's leaving to make his report, someone pushes a piece of statuary off the roof onto him.

It doesn't hit him. It's probably much harder than most people think to kill someone by pushing statuary off a roof. It smashes the bonnet of the car he's just gotten into. And we cut to a shot of Smythe through the car window, while chunks of stone are still bouncing to the driveway. All through his previous scenes, we've seen him narrow-eyed and unpersuaded, looking down his nose at everything; now his eyes are wide, shocked, and he covers his mouth with one gloved hand, breathing hard. It's no more than a moment. Later dialogue never refers to the emotions of the scene; Smythe is clipped when discussing the incident and only looks disapproving when a sketch at the next night's concert party sends up his near-miss. ("Something has terrible has happened. Someone has dropped a statue on Group Captain Smythe!"—"That is terrible."—"You're telling me. They missed!") His demeanor doesn't warm over the course of the episode, even by the finale when he reveals that he's thrown his approval behind Jamieson's unorthodox methods; his parting "Good luck" is as dry and cool as his initial "Very good, thank you." But for just those few critical seconds, he is scared and shaken and human and we know he's real, all without a word. Peter Cushing couldn't have done it better.

(Oh, man. I looked up the actor just now, curious what else he'd done, and found he died in 2004. The episode aired posthumously. He was in Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), which I was not expecting.)

When I described this scene to [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, he pointed out the cleverness of the writers in choosing to drop the statue on an unsympathetic character instead of a sympathetic one: if the popular Bridges or the indispensable Petrie were almost smashed to flinders, naturally everyone would be upset, but there's an entirely different spectrum of reactions available if nobody would have much missed the intended recipient of half a ton of gargoyle. (In fact, Jamieson mostly views the resulting police investigation as an irritant and an inconvenience; he cares more that someone is trying to get his hospital shut down. He's even more annoyed when an actual corpse turns up.) And without any need for a confessional exchange or a conventionally humanizing moment, it offers the audience the first hint that Smythe is not the impervious dummy he acts like. It moves the mystery plot forward, of course, but so do several other developments. This is the one that crystallizes a character and the community he's temporarily part of. And that sort of thing is always very neat to see.
21 November 2014 11:55 - 42 years ago
wcg: Once Upon A Lifetime (oual)
I wore a dark brown suit. The bride wore white, as brides do. Joe and Elaine Ennis were our witnesses, and Paula's parents were there to see us through. It was a very cold November night, with snow on the ground -- quite unusual for Denton, Texas, especially at this time of year.

42 is supposed to be the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Yes, I think that's right. My Life. My Universe. My Everything.
21 November 2014 08:00 - A Year in Pictures – Delos Poppies
swan_tower: (Default)

Delos Poppies
Creative Commons License
This work by http://www.swantower.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Too many years have passed since my honeymoon for me to remember the significance of this bit of ruin on the Greek island of Delos. The bright contrast of the poppies, however, remains.

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

21 November 2014 08:28 - Cool Stuff Friday
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Friday challenges you to a dance-off!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

20 November 2014 22:47 - This I believe
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Eschew using old about the author sections lest it turn out that in the decade-plus since the piece was written the author got divorced and remarried.
20 November 2014 22:13 - and another review link
rushthatspeaks: (Default)
My review of Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire, at Strange Horizons.

Short version: many admirable qualities, but far too grimdark for no obvious reason.
20 November 2014 17:06 - what can change the nature of a Yoon?
yhlee: Korean tomb art from Silla Dynasty: the Heavenly Horse (Cheonmachong). (Korea cheonmachong)
My mom got back to me on the hanja for my name:

이(李: 오얏 리 ; plum ), 윤(允: 진실로 윤 ; heartily ), 하(夏: 여름 하 ; summer )

ceciliatan: (default)

**Deadline is passed! Thank you all for playing! I’ll plan to make this offer again in a few months!**

The fanfic roots of my Magic University series are pretty clear, I think: who in Harry Potter fandom didn’t wonder what college would be like for wizards and witches? Although I have all original characters and an original magical system, the MU books are by a fan (me), for fans (*waves to LJ flist*), and happen to be liked by lots of other readers, too.

One of the most exciting and important developments during my time in HP fandom has been the creation and growth of the OTW: Organization for Transformative Works. If you’re not familiar with the OTW, you should be. The OTW, plain and simple, fights for the rights of fans to create fanworks. They are a bastion against the mishandling and misconduct that corporations and literary estates are prone to as they overreach on what copyright entitles them to. (Did you see that the Doyle estate finally was forced to accept that Holmes and Watson are in the public domain?)

And fanworks are in the news a lot these days (you might have noticed that 50 SHADES OF GREY, which began life as a fanfic, turned the publishing industry completely inside out last year, while AFTER, a One Direction fic from Wattpad, sold to a NYC publisher for six figures…). I believe that as corporations realize there is money to be made and material to be exploited, the right of fans to create transformative works is one that will need to be defended even more zealously than it was when they were just calling us “pirates” and “molesters” for doing it.

The OTW also operates The Archive of Our Own, a fanworks and fanfic archive. Anyone who has ever had a fanwork TOS’d or DMCA’d off a site like YouTube or Livejournal knows the value in having an online repository that is owned by us, not by some tech company.

I’ve been a paying member of the OTW for years. This year I decided to go a step further, and with the blessing of the OTW’s membership and development folks, I cooked up the following plan.

**Deadline is passed! Thank you all for playing! I’ll plan to make this offer again in a few months!**

Join the OTW or renew your membership for $10 or more before 12 noon eastern time tomorrow and I will give you a free ebook copy of THE SIREN AND THE SWORD, the first of the books in the Magic University series. AND, the first five people who respond with a donation of $25 or more will get either a signed copy of the book in paperback OR a free audiobook download from Audible.com! Your choice!

To participate, go to the OTW website (http://transformativeworks.org/support-otw), go through the Paypal button there to process your donation via credit card or from a Paypal account. Then forward your Paypal receipt, which you should get in email, to me at ctan.writer @ gmail dot com. That’s it! I’ll reply with your reward!

Please feel free to spread this offer around to anyone you know who might enjoy a magical new adult erotic romance, or who might enjoy supporting the rights of fans to create fanworks, or ideally both. :-)

Remember! Deadline is tomorrow, Friday November 21st at 12 noon! (Eastern US time!)

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

20 November 2014 08:00 - A Year in Pictures – Tower Cannon
swan_tower: (Default)

Tower Cannon
Creative Commons License
This work by http://www.swantower.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

I am much less sentimental for artillery than I am for swords and other such personal weapons . . . but I liked the lion chawing down on this cannon.

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

20 November 2014 10:00 - Cradle of Love
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

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

When I woke up Ziggy was wearing me like a cape. We were nowhere near the pillows, curled in the center of the bed, with my arms around his neck/shoulders and the rest of me draped over his back. I freed one arm and pulled one edge of the duvet over us and then nudged him toward the head of the bed. I don’t even think he woke, really, but he moved and then we settled into a more traditional spoon position.

Read the rest of this entry » )
20 November 2014 01:28 - "Sucker!"
rosefox: Me on a beach, holding a red pencil and looking at a notebook. (writing)
So, uh. This happened.

If you can't see or read the image, click through for the original tweets.

Do I know how to motivate myself or what?

So here is the thing. I am super conflicted about writing fiction.

Conflict, in excruciating detail )

Fast forward to today, when I was thinking about undermining the cisnormative heteronormative tropes of romance novels, as I often do, and tweeted, "Someone please write a historical where the crossdressing 'heroine' realizes he's actually a trans guy, and the hero loves him just as much." I know a lot of romance readers and a lot of trans folks, so that got picked up pretty quickly; soon it was up to 19 retweets. I encouraged people to keep it going, and encouraged writers to write those stories. All par for the course when I say something like that. But to my surprise, the retweets kept coming. Soon it was up to nearly 50.

Meanwhile, on my private account, I made a promise to myself that I will do my own personal NaNo-ish thing in January.

So I looked at those things together, and I thought about it. For maybe two seconds. And before I could lose my nerve, I posted, "Okay, here's a brash promise: if I get 100 RTs on the trans historical romance tweet, I'll try to write it. No guarantee of success!"

It took 12 more minutes to hit 100 retweets. You should have seen my face as I watched the counter go up: excitement, terror, pure disbelief.

Having just watched three people I know do 500 push-ups, sit-ups, and squats thanks to "we'll do two for each RT this gets, ha ha, surely it won't be that many", I really should have expected that it would go far. But I didn't. And I was really touched to see so many people I know gleefully boosting the signal to support me in my self-motivation efforts, and also to see so many organic RTs and faves for the concept. Right now the original tweet is up to 196 204 206 208 RTs. Sure, the first 100 spread it to where the next 100 could see it... but there's a whole lot of love for the idea of a trans historical romance character. It doesn't have quite the same vibe of "The world needs this book" that Long Hidden had, but given that #WeNeedDiverseRomance was a trending hashtag for days, I think it's safe to say that the world needs books like this. And there's safety in numbers, even imagined numbers. If I imagine myself writing just one of the hundr--well, okay, maybe doz--okay, like five romance novels inspired by the idea of a crossdressing heroine who turns out to be trans, suddenly there's a lot less pressure than if I'm going to be writing a wholly idiosyncratic fantasy novel.

There's probably some internalized stuff about how romance doesn't count and whatever. That's fine! This once I won't question it. Whatever makes this easier, I'll take it.

So now I need a plan. First I want to take a month or so to do research and outline. I've already downloaded a bunch of romances that handle crossdressing in various ways, for genre research. I need to pick a time and place; I'm very familiar with how Regency England is used as a romance novel backdrop, and if I were going for a straightfoward deconstruction that would be the best way to do it, but I'm also tempted by Victorian England, and early 1900s New York would be fun and interesting to play with.

--my brain has helpfully informed me that as long as I'm there I could make it about immigrant Jews in 1909 Brooklyn, and research my own family history at the same time! Thanks, brain. Maybe for the next book.

Anyway. Research and outline in December, and then I start writing in January. Today while I was still on the giddy high of "WHAT HAVE I DONE" I considered a serial with weekly installments, to keep myself motivated and give myself explicit permission for it to be about as polished as you'd expect from something written in a week. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea. But I might do it anyway, or do a NaNo-like thing, or go some other route entirely.

One way or another, though, I am going to at least try writing this thing. That's what I promised to do: try. And now the hundr--well, dozens of you who still read LJ and DW know it too, so I really can't chicken out. :) Working title because it amuses me: An Unlikely Hero. (This will almost certainly change.) By the end of December I will have an outline, even if it's literally "boy meets girl, girl is a boy, boy is cool with that, HEA", and by the end of January I will have spent at least one hour putting words in a document that might or might not be chapter 1.

And maybe after that I'll go back to being not-a-writer for a while. Or maybe I'll write the book and then another and then another--I hear it's addictive, like getting tattoos. Who knows? At this point I sure don't. As with all other aspects of my identity, I'm about ready to give up labels and just do what feels good. Next up: figuring out what feels good.

The subject line of this post is a tiny little joke I have with myself. I'm continuing my kanji studies with WaniKani, and my mnemonic for 作家, which means "author" and is pronounced "sakka", is that authors are suckers. Guess I suckered myself in this time. :)
19 November 2014 11:42 - Reading Wednesday Is Back On Track
pantryslut: (Default)
I have read all of "Phantasm Japan" except the last long illustrated novelette. Positive comments forthcoming when I'm done.

I also read, as planned, the second and third volumes of Zita the Spacegirl, and now I have also read one and a half of those volumes to the kids as bedtime stories. Reading comics aloud can be odd; I do a lot of sound effects and pointing and querying as to whether they followed what happened from panel to panel. (The answer is almost always yes.) This is why I sometimes have a moratorium on comics as bedtime stories. This time I flipped it into "I bet you can probably read it yourself!" And so April snuck a peek at "Return of Zita" and keeps trying to tell Simone what happened as a way to show off. This is the genesis of anti-spoiler culture, right here. I have never, ever, ever in my life uttered the words "don't tell her what happens! Let her find out for herself!" before this week, but here we are.
19 November 2014 22:05 - A very lucky driver in KW
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Train engine hits car on tracks near downtown Kitchener. The car looks surprisingly intact and no injuries have been reported.

That's a main road so I assume traffic was hell.
19 November 2014 18:07 - Scrivener for Windows
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Default)
Good: I figured out how to reassign the horrible, horrible Ctrl+Space keyboard shortcut in Scrivener that collapses multiple spaces down to one space. The layout of my Kinesis Pro is such that the odds of my hitting Ctrl+F9 (the new key combo) are minuscule. It would be even better not to have a key combo at all, but I couldn't figure out how to get it to do that.

Bad: Only after it munched 4,000 words in the current section, where I will have to go put all those damn spaces back in for consistency with the rest of the manuscript. I wish I were any good at regular expressions. :( Although I don't even seem to find regex in Scrivener anyway.

(Yes, I put two spaces between sentences. No, I am not changing unless I am directly instructed to by the person requesting the manuscript. Nobody has ever complained yet so I am going to keep on. Mainly, I like that Scrivener has the command in case I ever need it, but I don't like that it was assigned to a key combo that I kept hitting by accident where I didn't want it.)

Just 400 more words before I'm done for the night. *longing*
19 November 2014 17:08 - School Visit
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

I don’t do as many school visits as children’s authors and YA/MG authors do, but I occasionally get to stop by and chat with a class or a school. Today I got to go back to my old elementary school — the same school I attended in the late seventies and early eighties — and talk to two of the 4th grade classes.

We talked about the process of writing and revising and getting feedback and submitting your work. We talked about practice, and how nothing is ever perfect, and none of us are born knowing how to write. We made up stories about mummies that came out of the TV and a memory-sucking vampire that had lived in the ceiling of the school for the past thirty years. (In both stories, tragically, the teacher was the first to fall victim to these threats :-) )

It was a great deal of fun. I love talking writing with kids. There’s so much energy and enthusiasm and excitement. And sure, classrooms now have these weird Smart Boards that I never quite figured out how to use, but that’s okay.

Both classes had kids who were talking about wanting to write more of the stories we talked about, either rewriting them with their own ideas, or doing follow-up stories. And if a bunch of kids came out of those sessions feeling excited about writing and storytelling and creativity, I’m counting that as a win.

The box of chocolates they gave me as a thank you is a nice bonus ;-)

Thank you to Mrs. Huss’ and Mrs. Fulk’s classes for letting me spend some of the afternoon with you!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

yhlee: (FMA:B Mustang Hellbound)
- recent reading
Brandon Sanderson's NaNoWriMo pep talk:
The toughest moment in my writing career came in 2002. I had just finished my 12th novel, but so far hadn’t been able to sell a single one of the things. Earlier that year, I had been rejected by all 13 MFA programs I’d submitted to.

I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs since—including books that topped the bestseller list and others that crashed and burned—but no moment in my life has been more poignant than sitting with the latest in what seemed like an endless stack of unsold novels, wondering what I was doing with my life.

What I didn’t know was that the process had already begun—the spark had dropped onto the grass, and a fire was smoldering that would change my life forever. A year earlier, in 2001, I’d submitted my sixth book to an editor. Eight months had passed with no communication, other than a short follow-up I’d sent about three months after the submission. (The editor replied that he’d gotten the manuscript, but said nothing else.)

That book, Elantris, was still sitting on the editor’s desk. He hadn’t looked at it. He wouldn’t until April 2003, after which he’d call me in a frenzy after reading all night, demanding to know if the manuscript was still available. He made an offer on the spot.

M.J. Engh. Arslan. Thanks to you-know-who-you-are for hooking me up with this.

This is a strange, feverish, improbable, beautifully-written novel in which the invasion of the USA and eventual conquering of the world by a third-world nation leader named Arslan is enacted in miniature upon the small nowhere town of Kraftsville. sorry, hadn't realized how long this segment was )

[1] I also enjoy Kaleidoscope Century by John Barnes. So if anyone has recs out there for more of books along these lines (not necessarily sf/f), I am actively seeking them.

Another commentary on Arslan, by Jo Walton.

Both the Nussbaum and Walton commentary links by way of [personal profile] rushthatspeaks; thank you.

(Sorry I don't have thoughtful commentary to bring to anything anymore, but I am on a binge of pleasure-reading.)

Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D. Writer's Guide to Character Traits, 2nd ed. This is by a psychologist, but because it tries to cover so much, everything is very shallow; more useful as a way to browse potential personality types, mental disorders, career trait clusters, etc. and then go off and research further. Read more... )

Anyway, interesting enough to keep (I bought this at Books-a-Million for fast entertaining reading, because this kind of thing is catnip to me), but not good enough to recommend buying. I also note that the book is actively not great on GLBT/etc. stuff. I don't know whether the author is toeing the DSM-IV/V/whatever party line or what (it's ©2006 and I've only read DSM-III/IV excerpts).
19 November 2014 14:55 - OK, I have some breathing space
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
I am down to the first Norton, which I will read tonight, and three books [1] I have not tracked down: (Rivers of London (British edition), Oliver VII by Antal Szerb (translated by Len Rix) and a Sullivan to be named later as long as it is not Maul [2]. I don't feel as behind as I did on Sunday.

That said, I am down to just three! three! three! commissions! This is an excellent time to schedule a review with me, whether it is of a book you think deserves more attention or if you just want to see me squirm [3].

1: There's a review in the part of process that is between me composing it and me posting it.

2: I didn't care for Maul and don't want to reread it.

3: Note to self: add "my egregious teenaged hypocrisy" para to the Venus Belt review.
swan_tower: (Default)

Signpost in the Middle of Nowhere
Creative Commons License
This work by http://www.swantower.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

I can’t tell if this picture is at all funny without the story behind it.

My husband and I spent a day and a half on Inis Mór, and the morning we woke up there, we decided to go to Dún Dúchathair — the less famous cousin of Dún Aengus. We were told to go along the coast road and then turn right at the sign — well, there was no sign at the coast, but we turned right at the first chance we had, and there was a sign a little ways in. So we follow the road . . .

. . . which turns into a track . . .

. . . which turns into a footpath . . .

. . . which dead-ends at a low stone wall. Which we go around, and at that point we’re lost in the wilds of Inis Mór (note: the island is only about a mile wide). We head on in more or less the same direction we were originally going, hoping to find the fort, and eventually we find this sign: Dún Dúchathair, thataway. Sitting all by its lonesome in the middle of a limestone moonscape.

As I said to my husband, “I hope the lads don’t get drunk of a Saturday night ane come out here to give that sign a spin around its post.”

We went thataway, and we did indeed find the Black Fort, so all was well. But the sign itself still amuses me.

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

19 November 2014 10:00 - Liner Notes for November 2014
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

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

ctan: Welcome to another liner note with me and Daron, where we fill in background info on DGC, provide site news, kibbitz about the music industry, pop culture, LGBT representation in the media, and other of our favorite topics. In fact, we hit so many topics in this one here’s a preview:

-Kickstarter & ebook news
-New fanfic and fanworks initiative!
-Which Hogwarts House does Daron belong in?
-Daron’s new favorite guitarist
-Movie trailers & other videos we thought you might like
-Thoughts on mixed-race identity and standards of beauty

Daron: You used my name in vain a bunch on Twitter this past week.

ctan: I did. It’s your fault I’m obsessed with every tenor leggero I hear now. Jesse Clegg was only the start. Now I’m onto Adam Lambert.

Daron: Is he Ziggy’s godchild or what?

ctan: Reincarnation is more like.

Read the rest of this entry » )
19 November 2014 10:00 - Gender Equality at Magic University
ceciliatan: (default)

I guest blogged this time at the online home of Catherine Lundoff, award-winning author of fantasy and alternative sexuality books like A Day at the Inn, A Night at the Palace and Other Stories and Silver Moon, and editor of Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories and co-editor, with JoSelle Vanderhooft, of Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic.

The topic I decided to tackle: equality of gender representation.

I wrote about how for me it started with the world-building and things I did in my magical system to balance gender roles: “Many real-life sacred and magical systems create special roles for women (i.e. “Earth mother”) while fiction and literature as a whole tend to give male characters agency but not always female ones. While I made it that some things are easier [in my magic system] if one is biologically equipped in certain ways, it’s not a requirement–i.e. if your sex spell requires a phallus for ritual purposes, no one said it had to be a biological one.”

But what about the question of gender-balancing in the cast? My main character is male, after all…

MU1_new_cover_100x150I wrote: “Geena Davis founded a think tank in Hollywood to study representation of female characters and they found that in crowd scenes there would only be 17% women. Another study showed that in real-life groups of people if there were 17% women and you asked the men how many there were, they would say the group was 50/50. Whereas if you had 33% women, they would say there was a majority of women. They also found that 17% of cardiac surgeons and tenured professors were women. “Is it possible that 17 percent women has become so comfortable, and so normal, that that’s just sort of unconsciously expected?” Davis on NPR. (http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=197390707) When I heard that I panicked. I had been striving for racial and ethnic diversity among the characters, but I couldn’t remember what the gender balance was. Might I have unconsciously shorted the women’s ranks?”

Go on over to Catherine’s blog to see the results and please leave a comment there if you found the essay thought-provoking!

Gender Equality at Magic University

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
Internet! I am looking for a good database and/or personal recommendations of science fiction media foregrounding characters of color. My father was expressing his disappointment in the latest season of Doctor Who tonight and he is quite right (among other complaints) that reverse-fridging a male character reads much less cleverly and much more sketchily when the male character is black. I should like to be able to recommend him some antidotes.1 More than one person of color in the cast preferred—who are not the canaries in the coal mine or the sacrifices on behalf of the white characters, if there are any white characters; there don't need to be. Bonus points from my perspective if there are women with agency and queer characters. (I should just hand him Janelle Monáe's back catalogue, right?) He is a hard sell on animation and does not play games, but enjoys things that are not in English. I can do this a lot more easily with books.

1. It is not like my father has never seen science fiction with protagonists of color; he followed Eureka for a while just because it contained Joe Morton. I just know there's always room for more. A lot of room.
18 November 2014 20:43 - On cleaving, in six parts.
brooksmoses: (introspection)

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed splitting firewood.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed splitting firewood, outdoors on a crisp Virginia slightly-below-freezing late November afternoon, and having the muscle memories start to come back.

I have brought down a wheelbarrow full of large pieces of firewood from the half-frost-covered stack on the trailer behind the shed, a trailer that probably hasn't moved since I left seventeen years ago.... )
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey)
I went to bed before midnight last night. I read Frank Boyce Cottrell's Millons (2004) and spent about three hours not being able to fall asleep, although I'm not sure if I was feverish for some of that time. Eventually, I think I slept for eight hours, which is more than I've managed in months at this point. Most of it was nightmares. This seems very unfair. I have spent most of the day since feeling spacy and disoriented, although I could also chalk that up to fasting for bloodwork since last night; any second now this rather substantial grilled cheese I just ate will kick in and I'll start feeling like I can focus again, I hope. I sat in the waiting room and read Somerset Maugham's Up at the Villa (1941), noting the ways in which it differed from the film I saw in 2000. A complete stranger encouraged me to eat something afterward, because I looked so hungry. I don't think that's happened to me since high school.

There were two exceptions to the nightmares, both of which made me think that for my own mental health I should be watching more old movies. One was a kind of Technicolor musical starring James Mason. [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel and I remarked in the dream that he must have done his own singing, because that dark, dry, slightly gritty timbre was unmistakable. Sometime later in the night, I dreamed about Leslie Howard. Himself, in person, although I can't remember if he was in color or not. The house we were in looked more like my grandparents' than my parents' or mine. We were standing by the fireplace, looking at pictures on the mantel. I hoped he didn't mind my asking, but was he dead? He shook his head slightly and said regretfully, "Fifty-one . . ." Awake, I checked his dates: on June 1, 1943, he died at age fifty. The regret was for a year he didn't see. At least my subconscious knows its math.

(The dream ended when someone stole a picture I had of him—not a photograph, a sketch; he was very young in it, done by a theater friend years before his film career—and everything went back to nightmares and I woke up.)
18 November 2014 11:22 - The Big Click!
pantryslut: (Default)
My essay "Crime in Oakland: A Personal History" went live at The Big Click today. Read it here. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] garnetlocks for excellent editorial feedback. And to [livejournal.com profile] black_pearl_10 for the same, only earlier.
wcg: (Default)
Last night, while entering data about long-dead relatives into the family history database, I was struck by the unusual (for the time) family of one 2nd cousin four times removed. She married in 1884, had her first child in 1885, a second in 1887, and a third in 1889. Then she stopped. After two sons and one daughter she and her husband had no more children. She didn't die as a result of her last pregnancy, nor does he seem to have moved away. It set me to wondering what family planning options were available to them, living as they did in Hamilton, Ontario, in the 1890s.

Turning to Google, I found that they would have had a number of options -- rather more than their American cousins to the south, due to the Comstock laws which limited the options of American women to abstinence and prayer. While vulcanized rubber condoms were available by 1890, the preference seems to have been for cervical caps and diaphragms. In the event of "accidents" the midwives of the day would provide a "uterine wash" to "promote regular menstrual flow" should that become necessary.

The perils noted in the Subject line came from the complete lack of regulation and government oversight. While most midwives were careful and diligent, there were sad exceptions. Furthermore, there were a lot of quacks peddling "French pills" which often contained toxic amounts of drugs intended to induce abortions. Fortunately, my long-dead cousin seems to have avoided these, succumbing instead to what was most probably breast cancer at the age of 51.
18 November 2014 13:54 - still alive
Having a return of serious digestive badness since the whole IUD debacle, so I'm feeling very low on energy and brain. Still, I have some things to say!

Changes in anime art styles over the last several decades are something I had noticed but not qualified this way.

It took tumblr like five minutes after the movie announcement to write a Captain Marvel post-credits scene that causes me to squeal in incoherent delight.

Hilarious send-up of Jonathan Franzen from Twitter.

I have some TOUGH DECISIONS to make about further #scishirt options for this week. XKCD was required, so I wore that yesterday. Today is the shirt Wim brought me from Meguro Parasitological Museum. I guess I'm going to have to go with sentimental value -- Plant Disease, FHL evo-devo course, and Monterey Bay Aquarium -- rather than any of my cool conference shirts or ones that just have plants/animals.

Last night when I was trying to eat food, I had truly amazing applesauce from [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. Wonderful stuff.
swan_tower: (Default)

The Moon at Kiyomizudera
Creative Commons License
This work by http://www.swantower.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

If I had planned this whole thing better, I would have saved this picture for today. It is the shot that sparked this post, and today is my father’s birthday, so it would have been a nice bit of timing! That post references the light-up at Kiyomizudera, though, and so that is what I give you today. with a cameo appearance by the moon.

Happy birthday, Dad. You are my favorite pusher of drugs expensive new hobbies. :-)

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

18 November 2014 10:00 - Can’t Live Without Your…
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

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

We left the club in a stretch limo, Tony driving, and headed up the West Side Highway. No, maybe it was the east side. I don’t know. I was too busy kissing Ziggy.

I know. Sarah was sitting there, looking smug and watching. But I had reached some limit on my patience or my sanity or something. Do you think I had been able to keep my eyes off him while he was dancing? When every twitch of his hips and curve of his hands was so obviously aimed at driving me out of my mind?

So I was out of my mind, kissing him in front of someone he’d just met, in the back of a car with blackout windows, with no idea what I was thinking.

Read the rest of this entry » )
18 November 2014 05:43 - Mostly offline this week
At a conference. Have actually spent most of my non-conference time with dear friends (a trend that will continue tonight). So not only not posting much (a not-uncommon trend these days, alas), but not reading much online (a truly uncommon occurrence). And that extends to other social media services, too, although my day-job Twitter account might get active.

Anyway, hope everyone's doing well.
17 November 2014 22:21 - Mad Men 1.3
yhlee: kitty with paw outstretched (kitty paw (evil_little_dog))
Oh what the hell.
- recent viewing
Mad Men 1.3. I got work on the proposal done, my brain is too dead for more work today. Read more... )
17 November 2014 21:16 - Mad Men 1.1-1.2
yhlee: (SKU: Anthy/Utena (credit: sher))
By way of [personal profile] telophase, Wintercroft Masks, which sells instructions/templates for cardboard masks that you put together yourself. [personal profile] telophase pointed out the fox to me, but I also like the skull and the moose!

- recent viewing
Mad Men 1.1-1.2. I saw my library had this and was curious (I know, years late). I think I had seen the pilot before but I've forgotten most of it. OTOH I have gotten semi-spoiled for bits along the way just through cultural/fannish osmosis. So we'll see.

Why are you getting the femmeslash icon? Because I spent large parts of this wishing for some consolatory femmeslash, and normally I prefer slash because that's how I go, but I wanted the women in this show to have some happiness!

Read more... )

You know, the hilarious bit is that other than the smoking, the 1950s of Mad Men doesn't look super different from 2014. Just dressed up different ways. Which I'm sure is part of the point.

Okay, I need a break to watch something less depressing.
17 November 2014 22:10 - Grow strong and learn to fly
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
So I am not doing well. I am waiting on some things to see if they improve. Some other things are just very worrying right now. Here is a good thing.

My very short story "Exorcisms" has been selected for reprint in Rose Lemberg's An Alphabet of Embers. It was published originally in Mythic (2006). It's about dybbuks.
17 November 2014 21:11 - Elementary catchup
kate_nepveu: small turtle in pond, one leg on rock, looking up at camera (expectant turtle)
I'd watched the first half of last season more-or-less in real time and as a result have forgotten most of it that wasn't carried through the back half. I caught up with the rest mostly by just listening while stitching, since S3 has started, and now I'm actually, shockingly, up-to-date on that as well.

indiscriminate spoilers for S2 )

and now for S3 )
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