vid recs?

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:39 pm
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
ETA: And if anyone knows where on earth I can find an Angel S4 AU vid to Will Smith's "Black Suits Comin'" I will be eternally grateful. (I can't remember the vidder, which is making this difficult to Google.) Also a Buffy/Angel shipper vid to Darren Hayes' "Insatiable," likewise apparently impossible to Google without the vidder's name.

I have gotten out of the habit of chasing down fan vids and would like to download some to my laptop for enjoyment purposes. I find them to be a lovely pick-me-up--they don't necessarily have to be cheerful vids. But I probably can't deal with extreme gore or realistic violence (I've seen half an extremely well done Hannibal vid that I had to nope out of because I am chicken).

Some vids already in my collection that I really like, to give you an idea (in no particular order):
- [personal profile] bironic's "Starships"
- bopradar's "I Kissed a Girl"
- Lithium Doll's "All These Things"
- [personal profile] laurashapiro's "Ing"
- [personal profile] giandujakiss's "A Charming Man"
- obsessive24's "Cuckoo" and "Remember the Name"
- [personal profile] shati's "Hope on Fire"
- sisabet's "Cowboy" and "Two Words"

Fandoms I especially like watching/or have some clue about:
- Buffyverse
- Firefly
- I like the visuals of Game of Thrones although I've only watched one episode (have read most of the extant books, though)
- Leverage
- Arrow
- The Good Place
- recent Star Wars
- The Great Queen Seondeok
- Suits
- The Good Wife

That being said, if the vid can be understood without having seen the show, I'm happy to watch it. :)

separate hobbies

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:47 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”

I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.

I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)

Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.

Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

jemck: rune logo from The Thief's Gamble (Default)
[personal profile] jemck
And so we come to War for the Planet of the Apes, the latest in what now seems to be an ongoing series of films rather than merely a trilogy. We see where events since the last movie have led us, as man’s arrogance encompasses his own downfall. Will the unexpected consequences of bio-technology offer other primates a chance at the top slot?

Technologically, the film is a tour de force. What motion capture and CGI can do is astonishing – you really cannot see where reality stops and special effects start. So far, so increasingly common these days. But great special effects are not enough, as rather too many movies fail to realise. A film like this must also have sufficiently strong central performances to make it a drama, not merely a spectacle. Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson deliver absolutely what’s needed. The dynamic between Caesar, leader of the apes, and Colonel McCullough, commanding an embattled remnant of humanity, is tense and compelling from start to finish.

Mankind’s inhumanity to man is front and centre, compared and contrasting with the apes’ mutually supportive culture. All Caesar and his kind want is to be left alone. Colonel McCullough needs an enemy to fight though, and unable to attack the virus that’s been humanity’s downfall, finds the scapegoats he needs in the apes.

As a war film, the movie wears its influences unashamedly on its sleeve, most obviously, though not exclusively films exploring the Vietnam War. It can absolutely and legitimately be called Ape-ocalypse Now. This is not merely retreading those footsteps though. Such echoes, and other references such as the slang names for servile apes, serve to tie this dystopian future to our own reality. There’s also the inescapable fact that the Vietnam War proved the hollowness of the American doctrine of ‘peace through superior firepower’. That undercurrent continually runs beneath our viewing of events where armed men seem to have an inescapable whip hand over apes with severely limited abilities to fight back. Beware assumptions.

Issues of gender in this movie are more complex than they might first appear, certainly as far as I am concerned. I’m using words like ‘man’ and ‘him’ advisedly because this is very male-gaze apocalypse. Not however, one where masculinity-under-threat-in-this-modern-liberal-world can finally come good, with its guns and its manly men taking charge of helpless women and children to save the day.

This is a story about the dead-end destructiveness of arrogant white male masculinity so used to solving everything with aggression that it's incapable of thinking outside that self-defeating box. That influences my response to the widespread online comment about the complete absence of female voices in the dialogue (apart from possibly one female soldier’s scream?) The one significant human female role is mute and childlike in the most literal sense, and while a couple of female apes have things to say, they do so through sign language. Could one view the lack of female voices as a feature rather than a bug, if one were prepared to squint a bit...? Then there’s the almost-gender-neutral appearance of the apes apart from the females’ apparent (and to my mind inexplicable) inclination to unflattering central partings and rustic ear decoration. I think there’s more to be discussed about the absence of female characters here than might be first apparent. Is that very absence what permits masculinity to turn so toxic?

Not that this excuses the use of perhaps the laziest motivate-your-male-protagonist cliche in the first act of the movie. There are other script-writing choices I can quibble with, most notably some utterly bone-headed human tactics as the film rushes to its conclusion.

A fourth movie is reportedly under discussion, or development, depending on what you read. I’ll be very interested to see it, provided that the writers can offer something more than man and ape in conflict. These films have done that, and done it well, but the story needs to move on. In my head at least, there must be other corners of this world where the post-apocalypse is working out differently, with male and female voices contributing equally to co-operation rather than conflict. I’d like to see how that’s working out, given so many challenges will still remain to drive a story.

1st Chapter Friday – Southern Fire

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:51 am
jemck: rune logo from The Thief's Gamble (Default)
[personal profile] jemck
After the holiday-and-other-stuff hiatus, here's where you can find the opening chapter of Southern Fire, Book 1 of The Aldabreshin Compass.
I've mentioned before that I am always determined not to rewrite the last book each time I start a new one. This time round, I was absolutely determined to write a very different series.

Meet Daish Kheda, absolute ruler and warlord, unquestioned master of all he surveys. Of course that means when trouble arrives, absolutely everyone is looking back at him, expecting him to have all the answers. That's a problem when the trouble that's turned up is invaders backed by violent sorcery, and all Aldabreshin law and custom bans magic on pain of death...



Southern Fire - Artwork by Ben Baldwin

A brief foodie interlude

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:15 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
[personal profile] lagilman
PNW summer joys: saffron salmon rice salad, made with smoked salmon I picked up from a local farmstand.

This shit's good enough, and pretty enough, to make it onto the list for my next dinner party, but also easy enough to be on the workday rotation....
 

Nom.
jemck: rune logo from The Thief's Gamble (Default)
[personal profile] jemck
Spiderman: Homecoming continues to build on, and expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While, and oh, thank heavens, it’s not another Spiderman origin story retread, it does an excellent job of refocusing the character on its original appeal at the same time as updating and integrating the High School Hero into the modern day. As a decades-long fan of the comic, I’m thrilled to see a young, nerdy Peter Parker, while also very much appreciating a younger, more modern, far more relatable Aunt May rather than a grey-haired granny stereotype.

With its smaller scale and 80s-teen-movie vibe, the film is in many ways lighter in tone than other recent and forthcoming MCU movies. A story feels much less oppressive when the oncoming disaster is humiliation at a teenage party rather than global annihilation by aliens or android armies. On the other hand, that tighter focus and scenario simultaneously makes this story far more personal. We can empathise far more readily with the reality of that situation whereas we could only ever be onlookers in need of rescue from Ultron or the Chitauri. When a shop which Peter regularly visits, where we know he chats with the owner, becomes collateral damage - that has an emotional impact which can sometimes be lacking in the CGI-spectacular destruction of faceless hordes.

I also like the way that Peter’s school and classmates are portrayed. He’s attending a specialist science and technology school, where being intelligent is the norm, not a reason for ridicule. Yes, he has a bullying nemesis, in keeping with the High School vibe, but that lad doesn’t mock Peter’s brains, rather he’s jealous of his place on the Academic Decathlon team. Yes, there’s a roly-poly, nerdy sidekick, but he’s extremely bright and capable when it comes to playing his own vital role in the plot. Success in the Academic Decathlon is presented as a worthwhile victory to strive for. All of which might be merely worthy if it wasn’t for the presence of Tony Stark. We all know Tony’s off-the-scale-brilliant but one thing his involvement in these events highlights is the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Tony doesn’t listen, he’s arrogant, and he shrugs off what doesn’t interest him. That sets the tone that his employees adopt. It’s Peter who learns the lessons that result from the consequences of Tony’s mistakes – as well as his own teenage missteps, of course.

Michael Keaton is a stellar villain whose coherent motivation is so much more convincing and complex than mere motiveless malignity. Beneath the patent injustice and/or callousness that sparks his initial grievance, there are also a good few questions posed about the roles of big business and government and what happens to ordinary people when politicians and billionaires organise the world to suit themselves. With great power, comes great responsibility. Someone should remind them of that. Which is not to say Adrian Toombs is some misunderstood and wronged individual who warrants our sympathy. He has made his own choices, consciously and deliberately for years now, and as we see, is utterly ruthless in pursuit of his goals. We can believe that Peter is in very real danger, thanks to Michael Keaton’s performance and the personal nature of their conflict.

So far, so good, however ... there’s still no getting away from the most abiding and persistent problem of superhero movies based on characters with a decades-long back story. Yes, I mean the roles for women, drawn from source material written when very different cultural archetypes went unquestioned. Once again, the girls are peripheral to the male-focused action, only present in the stereotypical roles of objects of desire, domestic helpmeets and damsels in distress. The writers and actors make heroic efforts to lift the female characters above such clichés but even with the appearance of Mary Beth Lacey, apparent now working for Homeland Security or some such, there’s only so much they can do here. I can only hope that the hints of more and better to come in the next movie are fulfilled, from Michelle in particular – as long as they can do that without mangling the essence of the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman whom we know and love. I’ve had quite enough of that sort of thing with DC turning Superman supposedly dark and edgy and in the process erasing so much of his core character.

Oh hey, how about some more female-led superhero movies? That would work to elevate women and to offer girls their own role models, without eradicating the men. How about we stop looking at this as a zero sum game?

fountain pen sale

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
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. [Going to [personal profile] rushthatspeaks for a trial run!]

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!)

Chicks Dig Gaming

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:25 pm
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
[personal profile] yhlee
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.

Recent Reads: A WRINKLE IN TIME

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:09 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

jemck: rune logo from The Thief's Gamble (Default)
[personal profile] jemck
It’s been an interesting last little while in the SFF genre, notably for those of us keeping a watching brief on gender issues alongside our uncomplicated enjoyment of superheroes and the fantastic. But rather than demand your time and attention for an extended read on them all at once, here’s the first in a series of related (and hopefully not too spoilery) posts.

Wonder Woman was good fun. I most definitely appreciated seeing strong, athletic women taking charge of their own destiny on Themiscyra, and wearing costumes that drew far more on classical Mediterranean leather armour than on lingerie. Putting Diana into Great War London and seeing the clash of cultures that followed worked well, both in terms of the film, and incidentally to highlight today’s obdurate misogyny. Lucy Davis as Etta Candy gives a performance that’s central to exploring those particular themes all the more effectively through humour. I thought Chris Pine gives a good account of himself, and personally I didn’t feel his presence turned the film into All About Steve. Mind you, there really should be a law against anyone called Steve flying off alone a plane in a superhero movie now. There’s no telling what will follow...

Is this an particularly feminist movie? Not to my mind. Let’s not forget, Diana’s plot ultimately revolves around a response to male aggression. So far, so predictably defining a woman’s role as reactive to a man’s. On the other hand, there are some thoughtful asides on the causes of war and no over-soft-pedalling the dire practical and psychological consequences for men and women alike. Having a female villain in Doctor Poison was a good choice, though let’s not forget she is subservient to a man. But then again, this is set in 1918 ... so ... would a female villain with more overt agency have been anachronistic? There are arguments on both sides. Not least because a more overtly feminist movie would have offered endless ammunition to those primed to attack it as ‘message fiction’ long before they’d seen the opening credits.

All told, I felt Sameer and Napi were badly underused which meant their contribution ended up as primarily ‘see how prejudice extends to race as well as gender?’ rather than having that assuredly valid point made incidentally to more rounded roles for those particular characters. That said, making such roles meatier would mean extending a film with a run time that’s already well over two hours. Oh, here’s a thought? Maybe dial back the extended CGI-spectacular scenes just a bit here and there? Use those saved minutes for more interesting character exploration?

The film did drive a galloping coach and horses through established Greek myth, as I observed as we left the cinema. ‘I thought Greek myths had all sorts of variations?’ remarked one son. ‘That’s your biggest problem with a story set in a universe where a man dresses up as a giant bat to fight crime?’ queried the other. Well, yes, fair comment, both. The unexpected appearance of Spud from Trainspotting did also distract me. Just like my flashback to Renton’s toilet-dive when I watched Obi Wan Kenobi et al visit the underwater city in The Phantom Menace. But that’s probably just me...

So overall I thought it was a good, fun film rather than a great, deeply-meaningful one. I mean, compared to ... oh, wait, there are no other female-led superhero movies to compare it to, are there? So let’s not get hypercritical here. As a foundation to build on, and as a film that proves that a female superhero can light up the box office with a good, fun, adventure story that everyone can enjoy, it’s exactly what we need at the moment.
dolorosa_12: (le guin)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
My wedding is fast approaching, and while I think Matthias and I have that under control (it'd be a bit late if we were still running around planning it, given the wedding is in two and a half weeks, after all!), we've only barely begun planning our honeymoon. All the flights and accommodation are booked, but we haven't yet started to plan what we actually want to do in the places we'll be visiting: Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. That's where you come in.

I had great success earlier this year asking my Dreamwidth circle for recommendations for things to do in Iceland when visiting with my mother -- people made fantastic suggestions, and the two of us were able to put together a good itinerary, and we had a fabulous time. Does anyone have similar suggestions to make for any of the three cities Matthias and I will be visiting?

Things we like:
- art galleries, museums, cool old buildings/architecture. We wouldn't want to spend the entire time doing nothing but visiting museums, but one or two in each city would be nice.
- walking, especially in quirky/pretty/interesting parts of cities we've never seen.
- good food and drink. He likes beer, but will probably have done investigations of his own and have that covered. I like coffee.

If anyone has knowledge regarding public transport (if there's some kind of 24-hour travel pass or the like, or if we need to pay on buses with exact change, or other local quirks to public transport systems), that would also be super helpful. In all three cities we'll be staying in hotels that are reasonably central. We will be in each place for roughly two full days and three nights.

Thanks in advance!

squee!

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:46 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
You guys, among many many other works, Ninefox Gambit is listed as one of the inspirations for Paizo's forthcoming RPG Starfinder! Tons of other authors and media there too.

I'm also chuffed to see I'm not the only one who has found Jack L. Chalker inspirational for sf purposes (although in my case it was Soul Rider and one that's not mentioned in the list, Rings of the Master).

My husband has preordered Starfinder but does this mean I now have to fight him over the hardcopy? LOL.
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Status Update: Red Waters Rising

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:23 am
lagilman: coffee or die (Castiel)
[personal profile] lagilman
 Agent and editor notes are in, my own final markup is complete, and I have a mostly-clear deck for the next two weeks.

I'll be making a supply run this morning, and then settling in for the (hopefully) final pass of fixing-the-broken-things-hopefully-without-breaking-anything-new we laughingly call The Revisions Run.

A lot of stuff to be done, to get this book to where I need it to be. Agent and editor seem to think I've got this well in hand. I hope they're right.

But it has to be done by early August. Because GISHWHES is coming...

la! sewing hopes

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:12 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I have just ordered Gillian Conahan's The Hero's Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming [Amazon] and am looking forward to it. :D Conahan is the editor-in-chief of Vogue Patterns (!).

A couple reasons:
- I have toyed with the idea of getting into cosplay but need to learn to sew.
- I would love to learn to do basic sewing things and maybe work up to fancier sewing things. Like, it would be great to be able to shorten pants legs on my own, or shorten sleeves! That would expand my wardrobe options tremendously. (I know tailors do this stuff, but we are too disorganized to get to the tailor.) Not-so-secretly I want to be able to make slightly fancier outfits for dancing in or cosplay, BUT I know that would be a long way away and I should start with easy basic stuff, like pillowcases. =)

One of the book's reviews indicates that it's good for beginners and talking you through pattern alterations. I might try to swing a beginning sewing class eventually, but first I'm going to try Youtube and check this book.

I have also ordered a couple of Japanese pattern books for menswear and unisex (is that still the preferred term?) military jackets. I have a military surplus military jacket that I love dearly, but for half the year in Baton Rouge it is too damn hot to wear comfortably. I crave a military-jacket-alike done in very lightweight fabric that I can wear most of the rest of the year. But I will have to learn to read and alter patterns for this, so this is more in the nature of motivational hoarding.

Also, if I learned to sew cosplay outfits, I could deck out family members and pose them and take photos of them for art photo reference purposes. =D

Right now the big obstacle is that my sewing machine, which I had only played with a little, was one of the flood casualties. I was not really happy with the bobbin-loading whatever, which seemed to come out really lopsided no matter how I did it, so I might go with a different model this time.

So the subgoal to that is to scrape up the money for a sewing machine. I think a budget of $300 will probably get me a machine that is both friendly to beginners and capable enough to last me as I *knock wood* learn to use it and grow more skilled. (This is based on casually Googling for "best sewing machine for beginners 2017.")

Probably the fastest way of raising the money is selling off the stash of older BPAL LE bottles that my mother-in-law uncovered [1] and also trying to sell off some of my spare fountain pens. Is anyone here in the market for vintage fountain pens? FPN Classifieds or asking a seller I have bought from before for an appraisal is probably the likelier bet...? Let's be real, I have a number of lovely vintage pens that are just not making it into the rotation, e.g. a Waterman Lady Patricia with a superflex nib and a wet noodle Sheaffer Balance and another wet noodle Conklin Crescent and a wet noodle Wahl-Eversharp Doric with #3 adjustable nib, are you sensing a theme? [2] Since they're on the somewhat spendy end, the appraisal might be best, but if anyone here has been in the market for a wet noodle/superflex fountain pen, THIS COULD BE YOUR CHANCE.

[1] I don't have a list right now; I'm recovering from a migraine (yay Excedrin) and I made Joe take the perfumes into another room because something in there (the cinnamon AT MINIMUM) was setting off the migraine like whoa.

[2] I have basically settled into my Waterman 52V and Wahl-Eversharp Doric #7 adjustable nib as the two wet noodle pens that will do me for the rest of my life. The rest have become kind of redundant.
yhlee: Shuos Jedao (Hellspin Fortress) (hxx Jedao 1x10^6)
[personal profile] yhlee
PREAMBLE: I had a conversation with someone at Readercon whom I'm not going to name to save them the embarrassment. They will undoubtedly recognize themselves if they stop by. You're not a bad person, but you're human and you messed up, and I need to explain why and maybe reduce the odds of something like this happening to me again. Please don't ~FEELINGS~ at me here, even if you're tempted to; I don't need or want an apology; just go think about it in your own space, with your own people.

So. I was chatting with someone who knew of my writing but whom I did not know personally (we were meeting for the first time in any venue), and as the topic meandered, they asked me if they could ask me a personal question.

Fine, I said. (How bad could it be?)

They asked me about living in Louisiana, and whether my marriage to my husband Joe was considered valid.

Well, I said, Louisiana doesn't do gay marriage. [EDIT: 0] However, I haven't transitioned legally (or physically) [1]. On all my legal documentation I'm a woman. So as far as the state of Louisiana is concerned, my marriage to Joe is a marriage between a man and a woman, and I'm legally in the clear. (Please refrain from telling me about how terrible this situation is. Rest assured that I'm in Louisiana, I'm not stupid, I have my own thoughts.)

[0] Huh--it was banned the last time I looked it up several years ago, but the ban apparently has since been struck down. So I said this in error; on the other hand, I would personally have serious reservations about visibly going around as half of a m/m couple in my daily life.

[1] I have reasons for this that are none of your business, and I will not be discussing them here.

Point the first, before I recount more of this conversation. I feel rather strongly that asking a complete stranger about the validity of their marriage is something that you should refrain from doing, even if you have taken the precaution of asking if you can ask a personal question. I answered the question, but I was honestly kind of taken aback and I was in "I must show my public face as an author interacting politely with a reader" mode. The blunter version is that the question was rude.

Anyway, my interlocutor blurted out (in response to my explanation about being listed as a woman on all my legal documentation), "They just MISGENDER YOU???" (with about that emphasis).

Let me explain to you why this form of performative pearl-clutching is deeply unhelpful. The misgendering is a consequence of decisions I have made about my own life. As y'all have figured out, I live in Louisiana; I'm in a more or less conservative part of the country. In addition to choosing not to pursue legal or physical transition, part of not attempting to present as male in my daily life in Baton Rouge (besides the fact that I can't reliably pass, absent transition) involves my calculations regarding personal safety.

Again: I made this choice because it's my life and I have to live it. There are a lot of complicated factors involved that I do not feel the need to explain to the world at large. Who the hell are you, a complete stranger, to judge my life choices? Because that's what that was. Judgment.

What happened next was that my interlocutor was extremely performatively upset "on my behalf" to the point that I had to spend the next ten minutes calming them down and reassuring them that I was all right. This was exhausting for me. Look, I live this shit every day, and I have coping mechanisms, but it's deeply unhelpful to have to come up with extra coping for a complete stranger. If you find the whole situation viscerally horrible or whatever, fine, but that's your damage, not mine; I have my own. Deal with your damage on your own time. For my part, I can't sit here clutching my pearls about my own life situation 24/7 or I'd be paralyzed to the point of uselessness.

Dear reader, next time you're tempted to open your mouth and ask a complete stranger about the status of their marriage, or force them to perform emotional labor reassuring you about the details of their own life, maybe consider shutting your mouth, going away, and working through whatever issues you have on your own time. You're not evil; but you're not helping, either.

Readercon bookspoils

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:22 pm
yhlee: chessmaster (chess pieces) (chessmaster)
[personal profile] yhlee
*shifty eyes*

From Pandemonium Books & Games:
- Chicks Dig Games, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith?, and Lars Pearson. I'm only a little way into this but really enjoying it, and looking forward to passing it on to my daughter (a girl gamer!) to read.
- Kingdom by Ben Robbins. This is "a role playing game about communities," recommended to me by [personal profile] maga ages ago. I'm glad to have a chance to pick it up in hardcopy (I prefer hardcopy for games).

- David Weber's The Shadow of Saganami (recommended by [personal profile] davidgillon [1])

[1] I ordinarily do not take book recommendations UNLESS I ask for them. I asked David for a specific reason. Please no book recs; it's not you, it's me.

- Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which he gave to me since he was toting around a copy and was pondering giving it away, and I said, "Give it to me! The ARC you gave me drowned in last year's flood." So he did. =D I love this book so much, and I'm excited for the sequel, parts of which I've read in draft.
- C.J Cherryh's The Faded Sun trilogy, the three-volume SFBC hardcovers with the not very good cover art. I love this trilogy and my omnibus with the lovely Michael Whelan cover art (originally from Kutath, I believe) drowned. This was in the "free books" area at Readercon--some astonishingly good stuff got dropped off there, although of course it got picked over within minutes. I decided this was enough of a lucky find and then took it and ran rather than being greedy and looking for more. ^_^
- William Barton's Dark Sky Legion, which I grabbed last-minute from the free table because, although it looked like no one else wanted it, flipping open to a random page suggested that it might have SURPRISE CLONES. =D Also, it has a cover that honestly looks like...look. The smoldering (figuratively, not literally! with sf/f you have to specify XD) white man appears to be buck-naked, is holding a bunch of wires or something that conveniently, along with some smoke, conceal his crotch area, and also he is ripped. =D I mean, this book could be COMPLETELY TERRIBLE, but who knows? It might live down to its cover in wonderfully cracktastic ways! Especially if there are SURPRISE CLONES!

And then I fell prey to the used books available for sale in the Bookshop at Readercon--mainly because a lot of these I am not sure are even available as ebooks and if they're cheap, why not? (We're going to need another bookcase though...)

- David Feintuch's Fisherman's Hope. I've read the Seafort Saga before; this is vol. 4, my favorite one, and later this week I should probably talk about why.
- Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia. I pounced on this when I spotted it--I had previously owned but not actually yet read a copy of this novel, and then flood. So this time I'm going to read it, dammit.
- Walter Jon Williams' The Praxis, The Sundering, and Conventions of War, first three books of the Dread Empire's Fall space opera series. I have read something short by Williams somewhere and remember being intrigued, so I figure this might be worth a try? Joe might like it?
- Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Book Four, Crown of Kings. =D =D =D I used to own this in hardcopy and flood, so being able to replace it = A++.

still toxic

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:23 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.

That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.

The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.

I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.

Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*

I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)

There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.

I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

(no subject)

Jul. 11th, 2017 10:14 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Thanks to [personal profile] kate_nepveu for the link: The Indies' Guide to Game Making [PC Gamer].

Reading this was fascinating but mostly emphasized to me that I don't actually enjoy the programming side of games! As most of you already know, I fled the comp sci major and majored in math instead because it was easier and I'm a suck debugger. XD

Things that I think would be fun to learn how to do: writing for games (besides IF, I've really only done Winterstrike, which was commissioned by Failbetter Games to use their StoryNexus engine), composing for games (have never done).

In real life, I suspect these would be massively time-consuming, with constraints and learning curves of their own, and writing novels is already, like, a job I have. I'm actually quite interested in composing in general, but I need to upgrade my computer and fiddle more with the music software I have before I can pursue that further. Also, pursuing composing as a hobby means that I can write whatever the hell I want (and what I want to write is mostly neoclassical orchestral music) as opposed to worrying about what other people are interested in!

Fun project for if I ever have free time (AH HA HA HA HA): branching-narrative web-based/hyperlinked gamebook with a soundtrack. Filler art would be great (I'm talking the kind of interior line-art that you'd have in a Fighting Fantasy gamebook) but in real life I am actually not good enough at art to take on something like that, and I don't have the $$$ to commission that much of it. It's fun to fantasize about, though. :]

so very very Tuesday....

Jul. 11th, 2017 06:08 am
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
[personal profile] lagilman
Today's meeting has been postponed/cancelled, and I have taken this as a Sign that today's office should be the sofa, and I am not getting off it for love or money (unless amount of love or money is sufficient motivation for moving).

Also, I was awake at 4am and I can't even blame the cats for that - that's purely my own brain being an ass. On the plus side, the kitchen's clean and laundry's prepped for a reasonable hour to start the washing machine.

What do you do, when you accept that you're awake too damn early? 

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