Gratitudes

Jul. 27th, 2017 05:51 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: glasses of pink wine (rose)
1. Friends who love me even when I'm having a terrible day.

2. The "New Beginnings" playlist that [personal profile] heresluck made for me last year, to which I am listening even now.

3. Setting a pretty Shabbat table for tomorrow night.

4. The many excellent things that have been recommended to me in the last 24 hours! I devoured The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe (a truly lovely novella) last night, and am now beginning to read Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, which, um, yeah.

5. I'm gonna pour myself a glass of pink wine, because it's wine o'clock, y'all.

Help me turn away from the awful?

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:58 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: lilacs, "zen fen" (zen lilac)
Ugh, y'all, I am having one of those days where just keeping my eyes open and witnessing the awfulness of my nation's government is making me feel bleak and wrung-out and helpless. And I keep opening FB and Twitter in adjacent tabs, and then after reading for a while realizing that reading them is not actually helping anyone or anything (me included) and closing them, and then a few minutes later opening them again without even thinking about it, which says something about my social media habits that I do not like. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

I miss having a sense of active involvement in fandom. I have a few hours ahead of me with no kid to mind, and I obviously need to stop poking at social media (it's the emotional-intellectual equivalent of just eating endless bags of potato chips -- hours go by and then I feel sick to my stomach), and I know that once upon a time I would have seized on this time as an opportunity to make something for y'all, and I miss that. But I'm not embedded in any particular universes right now, and I feel tapped-out and devoid of ideas.

Read any good books lately, especially fiction or nonfiction that left you feeling lifted-up instead of dragged-down?

For those of you who are actively fannish, what are the things that are bringing you joy?

McCain (warning for spitting)

Jul. 26th, 2017 11:23 am[personal profile] dichroic
dichroic: (oar asterisk)

One problem with not blogging often enough is that you can get overtaken by events. I’d been meaning to write a post about John McCain. When he was diagnosed with the brain cancer, I saw a lot of posts on social media lauding him for being independent, with a history of putting country over party.

Pfui.

My awareness of McCain goes back well before his Presidential campaign, because I was his constituent during the decade we lived in Arizona (not that long after the Keating 5 scandal, in fact. I have a special feeling for him; I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s strong and it’s negative. It’s not the same feeling of utter disdain I have for someone like Ted Cruz, who has never been anything but vile, or even the feeling I have for Lindsay Graham, a man whose politics I’ve generally disliked but who has been known to surprise me with the occasional principled stand.

My dislike for McCain is based on disappointment; he’s had so many chances to be a hero and he’s failed at all of them. (In his Senate years I mean – did he use up his lifetime supply of cojones in his POW years? That would be understandable and even pardonable – but in that case, don’t run for the Senate!) So many times he’s stood up to his party to defend the country and constituents … and then they turned up the pressure and he crumbled. (Also, there was the Palin thing.)

Well, now everyone knows it. He flew back from cancer treatment for the healthcare vote, made an inspiring speech, voted for open debate (I can even understand that one – I do believe in open debate, even of reprehensible bills, so we can see who is reprehensible enough to stand behind them) and then promptly voted to take away access to healthcare from millions Americans.

Pfui again.

I don’t wish harm on McCain, because I hate cancer even more than I hate politicians who put power and party ahead of compassion or Constitution. I just despise him for not having the decency and fairness to want others to have the same level of care he himself is getting.

ETA: McCain’s people have rebutted the criticism that he gave a fiery speech, then promptly voted to kill the ACA, saying it was just a procedural motion to advance the bill to a vote, and that he would not vote for it in its current form. We’ll see.

Given that he has nothing to lose now, and unlike, say, Ryan or McConnell seems to have some idea of ethics even if he doesn’t always act according to it, this really would be the time to step up!

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

Lush and soaking wet

Jul. 26th, 2017 10:21 am[personal profile] mount_oregano
mount_oregano: Let me see (Default)

I spent 17 years living in Madrid, Spain, which was long enough to forget what summers in America’s Midwest are like. This is my first full summer in Chicago, and I grew up in Milwaukee, with very similar weather, so none of this should be a surprise. But it is. The contrast is just too great.

When I first arrived back a year ago, I’d forgotten how lush and green things are in this part of the United States. And not just green – lots of flowers, too. There’s a reason for that. I’d forgotten how much it rains, often in the form of thunderstorms.

Chicago’s average rainfall in July is 3.7 inches. Madrid’s average for July is 0.4 inches. In other words, on average in July, Chicago gets nine times the rain of Madrid.

The July average is 3.7 inches, but so far this month, my corner of Chicago has received 4.94 inches, with more rain forecast for tomorrow morning. August tends to be an even wetter month with an average of 4.9 inches of rain. Areas northwest of me in Illinois are already suffering from record floods.

It’s hot, it’s wet, and as a consequence, it’s buggy here. But that’s not all bad. I can watch moisture-loving fireflies sparkling in my back yard – on evenings when it isn’t raining.

— Sue Burke

It's my birthday...

Jul. 26th, 2017 01:40 pm[personal profile] el_staplador
el_staplador: Actress Mary Anne Keeley in a breeches role (breeches)
... and I'll write finally get around to finishing and posting ridiculously self-indulgent fic if I want to.

Un fior che nasce e muore: two studies in Hanahaki disease (4421 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 2/2
Fandom: La Traviata - Verdi/Piave, Zenda Novels - Anthony Hope, The Opera Companion - George W. Martin
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Violetta Valery/Alfredo Germont, Flora Bervoix/Violetta Valery (unrequited), Flavia/Rudolf Rassendyll, Rudolf Rassendyll/Rupert of Hentzau, Duke Michael/Flavia (unrequited)
Characters: Violetta Valery, Alfredo Germont, Giorgio Germont, Flora Bervoix, Michael Duke of Strelsau, Flavia (Zenda), Rudolf Rassendyll, Rudolf V of Ruritania, Colonel Sapt, Rupert of Hentzau
Additional Tags: opera - Freeform, Hanahaki Disease, Alternate Universe - No Homophobia, tuberculosis, Meta masquerading as fic
Series: Part 3 of Opera Over The Rainbow
Summary:

Opera has always presented a more overt demand for suspension of disbelief than most other dramatic forms, and never more so than with its ongoing fascination with plots based on hanahaki disease. The middle of the nineteenth century saw the emergence of this tidy, sentimental metaphor for tuberculosis – a gory, unpleasant and all too real ailment – and it has lingered ever since. Blood was replaced with roses, hacking coughs with immaculate arias, lingering deaths with graceful swoons.

Chapter 1: Violetta, o, la traviata (Giuseppe Verdi and F. M. Piave)
Chapter 2: Michael of Strelsau (Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan and Julian Sturgis)



I have also: been swimming in cold water; had my heart gently broken by the latest Madame C- C- instalment. We're going out for dinner later. It's a quiet birthday, but a good one so far.

Summer gratitudes

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:12 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
1. I am making a new cucumber salad recipe, courtesy of an issue of Cook's Country that came to my hands. I think the trick of seeding and pre-slicing the cucumbers and letting them rest on a paper towel in the fridge for 20 minutes will indeed help keep the cucumbers crisp, and I flavored the salad with mint from my one garden bed. \o/!

2. One giant load of wash is in the dryer, another load of towels is in the wash, hallelujah.

3. I'm going to oven-roast salmon tonight, glazed with soy-sesame-miso-ginger-garlic and a smidge of maple syrup.

4. I had a morning of self-care (therapy followed by massage). My friendly neighborhood massage therapist tells me that she encounters a lot of people's necks and that they are not supposed to feel like corded steel cable. Well okay then. :-)

5. I got to have lunch with [personal profile] squirrelhaven, and will get to have dinner with [personal profile] sanj and [personal profile] kouredios. What a delightful day. :-)

How are y'all?

a little red flag

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:08 pm[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I know a lot of writers. Really a lot. Really really. And we all have different process, and that’s great, that’s wonderful. In person I have been known to chirp “we are all a beautiful rainbow,” but it’s really hard to get my total lack of sarcasm on that point through on the internet. (We are, though! We are all a beautiful rainbow! Yay!) In this case, I have spotted what looks like a consistent red flag for burnout, and I’m having a hard time phrasing it so that it’s clear that I don’t mean to exclude some kinds of inspiration.

Here’s the red flag. Writers with a few novels or a ton of short stories under their belt who get into a place where they only want to talk about being sick of tropes and wanting to deconstruct them. I know that deconstruction is a major creative inspiration in some writers’ processes (all a beautiful rainbow!). But the larger percentage of conversation about other people’s work gets to be about deconstruction and frustration, the more I watch for other signs of burnout.

Because–squee is not just good publicity. Squee is important for your own work. If you’re not honestly feeling like squeeing about other work you’re encountering, that’s a bad sign. And it’s probably not a bad sign about what’s out there in the world, because there is a lot of stuff out there in the world. If none of it is pressing your buttons, really none? that’s a bad sign about your buttons and where you are in terms of energy levels, taking criticism, getting enough recharge, all those things.

This is not a red flag of you being (or a friend being!) a bad person, or a worthless artist, or someone who will never recover, or anything like that. I’ve seen many people come out of this kind of burnout. But just as it’s easier to talk about how to begin a story than how to deal with the middle and ending that grow out of it, it’s a lot easier to talk about early-career things than all the paths that can grow out of them. And yet it feels to me like there are a lot of mid-career/developing writer paths and pitfalls that it would be really useful to talk about more, so…I’m going to try to do some of that, and I appreciate the other people who are doing that too.

(One of my favorite roads out of this is to cast my net very, very wide and look at things that are way outside my usual so that badly handled tropes and obvious choices are less grating. But other solutions for jolting out of this kind of deconstruction/negativity trap welcome.)

Attention tax

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:32 pm[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

One of the things that has been making me furious about sexual harassment lately–secondary to all the other things that make me furious about it–is the attention tax it imposes on women. The time spent figuring out whether there’s enough evidence for us to be taken seriously this time, whether the people who were in the “surely you misinterpreted” and “that doesn’t mean what it blatantly means” camp last time will finally take us seriously, the time spent recovering from someone shouting in our faces and someone else grabbing our asses, the time sharing stories and pooling information and cleaning up messes and figuring out what to do, what we can do, what we have the power to do. That is time not spent on other things that are frankly a whole hell of a lot more interesting.

When it’s in convention terms, the time spent discussing who did what and what to do and letting the adrenaline settle and coping is time not spent on ideas for books and stories and where to go with them. It is very directly a tax on attention that could and should be going toward work. And it makes me exhausted and resentful, and then I try to corral my attention back to my work, because that is a far, far better place for it to be. I have directly observed that when I am at a con where people are dealing with an ongoing situation of this type, I come back with far, far less in the way of inspired notes for new projects–not just coming away drained instead of energized, but the specifics of what business are we doing here, where is our attention going.

I’m lucky. I know a lot of good men. I know a lot of good straight, white men. One of the benefits of this is that when a straight, white dude is an asshole, I am clear that it is artisanal assholery that he is hand-crafting by choice, not a trait he can’t avoid by his demographics. And a lot of good straight, white men have been stepping up to share the work of dealing with sexual harassment on a community level. I appreciate it. I do. But that is a choice they are making. Statistically, on average, the nonconsensual part, the part where you have to cope with the fallout of being harassed again, the part where it happens several times in a row and then it’s on your mind and you go into the next professional situation having to have a plan for how to cope–that’s a drain on your time and attention that you cannot have back, that other people can help with structurally but not in the moment. They can donate their time but not hand you back yours, not give you back those hours and days of working on the situation and processing and coping. It can happen to men. It does happen to men. And as one woman I know never loses an opportunity to point out, it does not happen to every woman. But statistically, on average, it is an attention tax that falls much, much more heavily on women, for things that we did not ask for and cannot change.

It’s not just sexual harassment. This is not the only attention tax, and I don’t mean to talk as though it is. Racist bullshit and the people who visit it upon people of color? That is, among other worse things, an attention tax on those people of color. Having to cope with accessibility issues and prejudice against the disabled? Attention tax. Homophobia and other forms of anti-queer assholery? Attention tax. Navigating the world while neurodiverse, even in ways that do not feel like a disability internally, among people who are going to be utter jerks to any hint of non-neurotypicality? Attention tax. And while I’ve talked about men and women above, the amount of attention tax that falls on gender-nonconforming and non-binary people gets mind-bogglingly larger the more gender-policing the subculture they’re interacting with gets. One of the fundamental questions is: how much jerkitude are people going to blithely shovel on you for being you and then skip along with their day, and how much will that pull away from the focus you need to do your stuff that you do.

Do I imagine I’m the first to observe this? Hardly. But “show don’t tell” is hardly new advice, either, and writers get blog posts out of that several times a year. What I’m saying to you is: this is affecting the work of people you know and care about. All the time. It doesn’t have to. It is literally all entirely voluntary. The thing I said above about artisanal bullshit: last month I got very tired of people saying “so that’s a thing that happened” when they were describing a choice someone made. So let’s not do that. Let’s not ascribe to fundamental forces things that are actual bad choices people are making.

And also: people who are doing work through all these attention taxes, who are managing to push it aside and fight their way through to focusing on making something awesome: I see you. I appreciate you. I’m sorry it’s like this. I keep hoping that some of the draining work will gain us some ground and it will be long-term less necessary. But in the meantime, thanks for clawing back some of your own in the face of it. It’s so hard, and it matters so much.

Gratitudes

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:53 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
1. I made two really tasty things with my farm share yesterday: napa cabbage slaw (soy, sesame, fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, scallions, and peanuts) as well as a kohlrabi salad from Yotam Ottolenghi (fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, fresh mint, and I'll add arugula á la minute) and they will be tonight's dinner along with some roasted chicken thighs. Om nom nom.

2. This morning I was really good at what I do.

3. This afternoon I went for a walk with kiddo and the visiting [livejournal.com profile] ltlbird, and after that we played card games and watched cartoons, and these have been lovely ways to spend a Shabbes afternoon.

4. This weekend I've been reading a draft of something awesome and offering beta comments and that is making me super-happy.

5. I spent some time learning today about the origins of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, and Magic: the Gathering (my kid asked me which came first and I did not know, but now I do.) It's neat to be learning things about geek culture because my kid wants to know more.

How are y'all?

F&SF story interview

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:32 am[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I’m back from Boston! I had a lovely time going to Readercon and writing and seeing friends and riding back and forth on the T and wandering up and down Mass Ave. I am now convinced that wandering up and down Mass Ave is a substantial part of what you do in Boston. Things are there. Also, every time you come out of the Harvard T, there is Greer Gilman, so it is written and so it must be.

But other, less eternal things are written, and you can read them! Such as this interview about my story in the July/August issue of F&SF. Interview with me! Things you might want to know! or maybe not, but there it is anyway.

I answered these interview questions in the spring, and one of the things they’re showing me now is that life moves fast. Well. I knew that. And if it’s going to move fast and smell all right while it goes, I’d better get a load of laundry in. More, much more, soon, now that I’m home for awhile.

wellness and cooking

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:40 am[personal profile] dichroic
dichroic: (oar asterisk)

Update: Whatever I did to my chest muscles this time, it either wasn’t the same thing as last time or was a lot less of a strain. That one lasted for weeks. This one just hurt Sunday and Monday, and was better yesterday. So I did a light erg piece – still seemed to be coughing a bit and it’s always hard to get onto the erg after a couple of days off, but I finished 5K, anyway. My plan is to erg either harder (interval pieces) or longer today – I haven’t decided which. Then I’ll try to do a strength and conditioning class tomorrow, work demands permitting.

We plan to head out to the lake house again this weekend since we can’t go next week, so hopefully I can get in some real rowing time. (Last week I only kayaked on Saturday – they were having dragboat races so I needed to go to the upper lake and I don’t like rowing there. Too many snags and shallow places.)

Also a cooking note: last night’s dinner was stuffed mushrooms, salad and sourdough bread – I stuffed cremini mushrooms with breadcrumbs, mushroom stems, garlic, leeks, parmegiano, and seasoning. I liked them, Ted said they were OK but wasn’t wildly enthusiastic. Next time I’d use less of the breadcrumbs and more of everything else. Last week’s new-recipe experiments succeeded better: We had Welsh rabbit one day and a wine/mushroom sauce over flatiron steak another day. The sauce was easy and very tasty – basically just saute mushrooms and scallions in about a half stick of melted butter, add a cup of wine, simmer until it reduces, then add another pat of butter and parsley at the end. The Welsh rabbit might be a better dinner for winter than summer, but it was taty and filling. We had lots of the sauce left over, so Ted used it to make homemade mac & cheese later in the week. That was OK, but needed more stuff in it than just sauce and noodles – even when we have the Kraft version, we add hotdogs!

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

Garbage poetry

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:39 am[personal profile] mount_oregano
mount_oregano: Let me see (Default)

“Garbage” is the theme of the current issue of Eye to the Telescope, a quarterly online journal of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. I’m a member, and as such, I’m pleased to invite you to enjoy the July 2017 issue.

It offers 19 speculative poems dealing with such refuse as socks, landfills, trashy novels, and star dust.

Read it here:
http://eyetothetelescope.com/archives/025issue.html

— Sue Burke

Gratitudes

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:01 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: glasses of pink wine (rose)
1. Beautiful summer skies.

2. A glass of pink wine. (See icon.)

3. Lunch with someone I dearly love. \o/!

4. The entertainment value of watching my son play his first game of Magic: the Gathering today.

5. The prospect of an evening of Great British Bake-Off with [personal profile] sanj once I put Mr. Kid to bed, huzzah.

just not quite right

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:34 am[personal profile] dichroic
dichroic: (oar asterisk)

I’m really missing the days when I blogged near-daily, and thus could go back and look up when everything happened in my life. (Also, I just learned that apparently my LJ hasn’t mirrored updates here since March due to plugin issues. Oops. Might need to handle that manually, if anybody is still there.)

This is mostly because it seems like I’ve been sick, or at least not-quite-well, all damn year. Some time in January I came down with a cold that lingered for about two weeks, then turned into bronchitis on the very day I was interviewing for my current job (you can imagine how much fun the interview was). The bronchitis was taken care of with antibiotics, but as it was ebbing I got a pain in my chest. No, not that kind of chest pain; it was right around where the left-tit underwire in a bra would be, and it hurt whenever I coughed or twisted. I was wondering about pleurisy, but the doctor concluded it was probably just a strained muscle, nothing to be done but rest it (not really possible, for a rib muscle, especially while coughing) and wait for it to heal.

Sometime in April or May I came down with another cold, but that one was mild and only lasted a few days. At a different time, I came up with a stiff neck – the kind where you can’t turn your head in one direction. That mostly resolved after a few days, but there’s still one particular spot on the right side of my neck that hurts it I stretch it at a certain angle.

Then in early June I cam up with yet another cold. This one was also mild, but it lasted for-bloody-ever, and the cough is aaaaalmost completely gone.

So here I am in mid-July, with a sore muscle in my neck, still coughing up stuff now and then. And yesterday (after yielding to Ted’s persuasion to try sleeping without a pillow, to see if it would hurt my neck) I woke up with another chest-muscle pain, this time on the right side. It’s not as bad as the left-side one was at its worst, but still hurts when I cough.

This is all tiny minor stuff, but it’s wreaked hell with my workout consistency for this year and it’s starting to just piss me off to feel that I haven’t been at 100% for months now. I’d see a doctor, but in my experience they’re not much good for small vague stuff.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

gramarye1971: Old Ways (TDIR: Old Ways)
Signed up for [community profile] remixrevival, because Parallels doesn't seem to be running this year and I'm in need of a midsummer fic exchange to boost creativity levels. More people should sign up (especially if you're nominating anime/manga, because I am happy to adjust my own offerings if people do)!

Writing that first sentence, though, made me stop and ponder: it's a bit past the time for it this year, but would people participate in an AO3-coordinated Dark Is Rising fic exchange next May/June? Perhaps with reveals timed for Midsummer's Day? I may post about it on [community profile] thedarkisrising, but since a significant body of that community overlaps with my flist, it's worth doing a straw poll for it here.
el_staplador: Yuri Plisetsky from 'Yuri!!! on Ice' sticking his tongue out; caption 'makes me wanna barf' (yuri on ice)
I posted a fic. It's not at all the sort of thing I usually write...

Shining Armour (1900 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Michele Crispino/Emil Nekola, Michele Crispino & Sara Crispino
Characters: Michele Crispino, Emil Nekola, Sara Crispino, Yuri!!! on Ice Ensemble, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - toyshop, Fluff and Angst, Angst with a Happy Ending, Experimental Style
Summary:

They came out of the factory on the same day. They were packed in the same box, sent to the same shop, displayed on the same shelf. But now somebody's bought the lady and left the knight behind. Nobody understands what a disaster this is, except maybe the robot on the shelf above...




I have also managed to post my assignment for Rare Ships!!! on Ice, a whole day before the deadline. This, by contrast, has my grubby fingerprints all over it. (At least, I think it does. I shall be interested to see if anyone guesses.)

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