"Let's see what's in the box!"

May. 31st, 2016 05:24 pm
rosefox: Origami boxes. (gift)
[personal profile] rosefox
The Con or Bust auction is going on right now, and you can bid on a tea-and-advice date with me!

http://con-or-bust.org/2016/05/tea-and-advice-with-rose-fox/

There are only two bids up there right now, and the top four bids win, so bid early and often. :) And if we're not going to be in the same geographical location anytime soon, we can have a Skype-and-advice date instead.

Con or Bust is a fantastic organization that gives people of color financial support and free memberships to attend SF/F conventions. They've helped hundreds of fans and do amazing work. I'm thrilled to be supporting them by donating my time, and I hope you will support them too by bidding (there are lots of other delicious things up for auction, including jewelry and signed first editions), donating to a future auction, and/or spreading the word. Fan-run fan-supporting organizations like Con or Bust are part of what make the SF/F community so great--please help them keep doing their amazing work!
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

An obsessive vigilance worrying about the imminent Mark of the Beast plays a large role in the day-to-day culture of Rapture Christianity. So it's a bit odd to have seen so little mention of it thus far in the Left Behind series. Most fictional Antichrists jump right in 666-ing everybody's right hand and forehead in their first 100 days in office, but thus far in this story, neither Nicolae nor the members of the Tribulation Force seem to have given the matter much thought.

Tuesday Yardening

May. 31st, 2016 04:15 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today we used a shovel and bucket to start spreading sawdust from the treeline along the road where we had a couple of stumps ground out.  This will help reduce weeds along the new line of shrubs. 

Off the air

May. 31st, 2016 10:04 pm
oursin: Photograph of a spiny sea urchin (Spiny sea urchin)
[personal profile] oursin

Or, Schrodinger's frelling wifi.

On the bus to Madison, had a reasonable connection yay.

On the bus back to O'Hare, although there appeared to be a connection, it didn't actually do anything - also was an older bus with nowhere to plug in chargers, which may have some bearing.

At O'Hare, have been doing the Masochism Tango with Boingo, which sneers at the tablet and won't connect, but on the laptop, after several rounds of frustration, seems to have let me online for a minimal period.

AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH.

June reccers needed!

May. 31st, 2016 06:49 pm
[syndicated profile] 221b_recs_feed

Posted by unovis

Second call! Sign-ups are still open for reccers for June (or any later month).

You only need to make four recs a month, for works created for any version of Sherlock Holmes, as fic, art, vids, podfic, or meta.  Sign up here!  Info and Guidelines here.  We want to keep this community active for as long as volunteers are interested in making recs.
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
So, I've been writing this fantasy novel in my head for like, about 7 years I guess? 7 years ago was when I got the initial idea, I've been developing it and doing research for it in tiny droplets ever since, with a more intense plotting process happening over the last year.

This post is about something I'm struggling with - something I've been struggling with for as long as I've been planning this book - and something that I feel at this point I'm sort of... stuck on.

A lot of this has to do with someone not of East Asian heritage (me) writing a book based on East Asian history and trying to do so in a responsible and not-harmful way. Please consider this before deciding whether to click the cut.

read more )
reginagiraffe: purple duck (con.txt icon)
[personal profile] reginagiraffe posting in [community profile] con_txt
You have until May 31st to register at the price of $100. On June 1st, the price will go up to $115.
hollymath: drawing in black of owl wearing big red glasses.Words on its belly:"it's not about how you look, it's about how you see" (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
So [personal profile] miss_s_b sorta hinted at wanting a Six/Evelyn story (her favorite Doctor, my favorite companion (and one of her favorites too but I'm less sure it has the top spot for her than I am for me)) fluff...

...and because I do love Evelyn so much and there are never enough stories about her, this was sufficient for me to want to write something. Especially for such an appreciative audience as would be, if I got it right.

But, I'm no good at fiction. I can never come up with ideas (it's why I have no problem blogging: this's just about stuff that's actually happened to me!). What could I do that'd be worthy of such beloved characters?

Since Andrew's out of the house tonight, I was with the Hamilton soundtrack without headphones, loud. (I was also vacuuming, these being two thing Andrew can't tolerate when he's in the house so I have to save them for when he's not. I know how to enjoy my rare evenings home alone, oh yes.)

So naturally I thought What would Evelyn the historian think of Hamilton? Other than that it's Not Her Period, of course... There is already a Six/Evelyn American-history story (it's a theatrical story, even!), and it's a good one -- Assassin in the Limelight (and it's even theatrical, too!) -- but still.

Oh man. I just realized that such a story might be a really good home for [personal profile] po8crg's idea that Britain calling it "the American War of Independence" is arguably racist/white-supremacist... Now I wanna write this even more.
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Aphra Behn

[Content Note: discussion of rape, sexual abuse, and sexualized violence.]

Spoilers: Heavy spoilers through episode 6, season 6, of Game of Thrones. Although I have read the books, this discussion relates strictly to the televisions series. Please be careful in discussion so as not to spoil the books for those who may not have read them.

What’s happened to Game of Thrones? And I mean that in a good way.

As readers of this space well know, this show has, for years, given us some of the most interesting and complicated female characters in fantasy film or television. But it's come at the price of seeing the majority of those characters frequently subjected to rape, sexual abuse, sexualized violence or (minimally) threats thereof. Such scenes were presented in ways that developed male characters rather than the victimized women (as when Sansa’s abusive wedding night ended with a close-up of Theon’s reaction) or worse, served as mere background (as in a scene at Craster’s Keep, where the on-screen rape of multiple unnamed women itself was the backdrop to a male character’s monologue).

Excuses about this being true to canon rang hollow, particularly when consensual scenes of sex from the books became non-consensual onscreen. As for claims that this was more “historically accurate” (but with zombies), well, give that last excuse to someone who doesn’t teach women’s history, thanks. As I wrote two years ago:

Why, I wonder, do the "realism!!!" rape apologists never expect to see any of the real-life historical dynamics which occasionally helped protect women from violence, or at least minimize it somewhat by punishing men's violence? Why is "realism" only invoked in one direction?

Did somebody read that essay? Because something has changed this season. And it’s been damn compelling.

To be honest, at first it was the absence of awfulness I noticed. In Epsiode 3, when Varys confronted the sex worker Vala about her support for the Sons of the Harpy, I snarked to my partner that they’d missed their chance to set yet another scene in a brothel for no apparent reason (other than to use nameless, naked women’s bodies as backdrops, of course). While I was unhappy that Osha met her death at the hands of Ramsay Bolton in episode four, I couldn’t help but notice that she was allowed to die with some dignity. Although it happened as she attempt to seduce Ramsay, the death was remarkably... unsexualized, particularly when compared to, say, Joffrey’s murder of Roz. Progress?

But then, without snark, I realized: there really has been progress. Maybe most dramatically when a character was finally is allowed to process, to react, and to discuss her victimization. In episode 5, Sansa confronts Littlefinger about setting her up with Ramsay, asking “did you know?” and forcing him to contemplate just her experiences were like. As Littlefinger sputters helplessly that he “can’t imagine” her tortures, she cuts him off. She straight up tells him that she can still feel what Ramsay did: “…and I don’t mean I can feel it in my tender little heart. I feel it in my body, now, standing here. “ Holy shit. You can watch the amazing scene for yourself (auto-play at link, content note for this and other scenes as for the post.) It’s quite an amazing bit of writing, and acting.

The show has also finally discovered something I suggested two years ago: the idea that even in very patriarchal periods of history, there still existed cultural norms that might sometimes protect women:

Take, for example, the absence of anything like the medieval Christian Church in the television story. Historically, that was a highly misogynist institution, yes. But it also offered rules and punishments about sexuality and violence which sometimes might restrain men's worst behavior. The men at Craster's, for example, might "realistically" include some men who would hesitate at committing mass rape, particularly in the face of death and with oathbreaking and rebellion already on their consciences.

Welp, in the first episode of Season 6, Game of Thrones finally discovered a compelling cultural/religious reason not to rape! Admittedly it only applies to widows of Khals, but what do you know, the cultural compunction was strong enough that Khal Moro actually chose not to assault Dany when she was his helpless captive. Powerful stuff, those cultural norms! And our glimpse of the widows of Khals who apparently advise the Dothraki on governance gave us another hint that maybe it’s possible for women who are literally hidden away to wield power or influence.

And speaking of influence, the newly introduced religious plotlines have finally yielded something other than women’s degradation or evil. My very words:

And speaking of politics, what if women could gain power through their piety? What if, for example, Margaery's acts of charity were part of her larger reputation for personal piety, one she could use to her advantage in King's Landing? What if Sansa could gain the status of living saint through her devotion and purity? So far both women have played a conventional role by pleasing men, but what if they could play an alternative role, pleasing the gods? Why has one of the most important ways that women historically gained influence out of these women's reach?

Well, helloo, Margaery’s conveniently timed conversion to Sparrow cause in episode 6! I could be wrong about this, but I have a strong suspicion that she’s going to use her new status to, well, wield power and influence. (You can watch the scene where she explains her conversion to the very-malleable King Tommen. And then watch her get out of a walk of Atonement while preventing a bloodbath. Nice save, Margaery!)

Even my complaint that the few women who wield religious power have been evil is softened a bit in Season 6. Neither the Red Priestess Kinvara in Mereen nor Melisandre at the Wall are exactly good guys in my book, but helping quell civil violence and reviving Jon Snow count for something. So far, septas have only been shown as glorified governesses or Nurse Ratched-type prison guards. But maybe we’ll get the equivalent of a powerful medieval Abbess in the Faith of the Seven yet!

And while it isn’t piety that Sansa has embraced, she too is discovering a way to wield power through the invocation of traditional cultural norms, much as her mother was able to, briefly. When Brienne finally got a break and succeeded in fulfilling her promise to protect Lady Starks’ daughter, and when Sansa finally accepted her service using the traditional words you can watch Sansa use the traditional ceremonial formula to accept Brienne’s service here, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one cheering. Indications that Sansa plans to build an anti-Bolton movement in the North feel grounded in both the show’s history—her mother was instrumental in building Robb’s alliance—and in real historyI Has someone been reading up on the role of women in the Wars of the Roses?

There have been a lot of moments that feel more spectacularly feminist this season. It would be hard to miss Dany literally burning down the Dothraki patriarchal establishment—with the patriarchs in it--and emerging unscathed from the flames. But it’s the subtler moments that keep sticking with me. Brienne finally getting to fulfill her promise to Catelyn Stark, finally getting to succeed in her mission.

And I can’t help but think of Arya’s most recent rejection of the House of Black and White in feminist terms. Her time training as an apprentice to the Faceless Men reminds me, in a weird way, of story arc in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3, when Buffy begins to realize that the alleged “good guys,” the Watchers who have trained her, are themselves just another controlling, patriarchal organization. They want to use her as a tool, and don’t give a damn about her as a person. Likewise, the Faceless Men talk a good game, but forcing a woman to completely sublimate her own identity, power, and selfhood sounds less than empowering. If Arya didn’t want to disappear within a dynastically convenient marriage, why would she choose to similarly disappear into a society of assassins?

This season has also spent a good deal of time on brother-sister relationships (that aren’t incestuous Lannister ones, I mean.) Again with the history books: I note that such relationships were some of the most egalitarian that might be experienced between men and women in early modern England. (Particularly when compared to marriages, in which the husband was granted clear legal and social authority over the wife.) In both the Stark and the Greyjoy families, a brother is supporting his sister’s political goals and ambitions, letting her (for the moment at least) seemingly take the lead. (You can watch Theon’s impassioned speech in favor of his sister’s leadership here.) And Margaery seems fiercely committed to helping her brother out of prison (see their scene here). So much so, that I’m quite sure her episode 6 conversion has as much to do with sparing Loras humiliation as anything else. (Or maybe she really did have a completely sincere religious experience, but if you believe that, then I have some lush green wight-free farmland north of the Wall to sell you.)

So where is all of this coming from? This is a change, and a mighty one at that. Jon Pedewsda, who’s directed several episodes, claimed last year that the show would be responding to concerns about its portrayal of rape. Show runners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, on the other hand, say that fan criticism didn’t change anything about Season 6. In fact, they seem to be saying that the inclusion of particularly empowering storylines for female characters is just part of a longer character arc, to which I say: sure. That sounds suspiciously like the ”Rape Turns Ladies Into Superheroes" trope, which is in itself misogynistic (and which I’ve written about here.)

The problem with this show was never just that Bad Stuff happened to female characters. It was never just that there were characters who experienced rape. It was the overwhelming barrage of sexualized violence. It was the casual way that violence “just happened,” like a natural disaster. It was that the sexualized violence was so often totally irrelevant to the development of the characters or plot (What was the storytelling reason for Jaime’s assault on Cersei? How did it change anything?) It was that when it did serve a purpose, it never seemed to be about women who suffered it. (By contrast, Theon’s seasons-long suffering at the hands of Ramsay Bolton was always as much about the fallout for him as establishing how dreadful Ramsay was.) And that’s before we get to the dehumanizing women-as-background-bodies.

My point is that it was never just one thing, it was an entire collection of things that, so far, Season 6 has mostly turned a corner on. And maybe the criticisms didn’t “change” any words written for Season 6, but it would be nice to think that somebody, somewhere, in the creative team considered those years-long criticism when Season 6 was written in the first place.

For whatever reason, the show has changed. For the better. In doing so, it’s proving you can make compelling tv without constant reliance on tired misogynist tropes (because dragons or history or whatever.) I can't call it a feminist show. I can't even say for sure it's taken a feminist turn. But it certainly feels as if a feminist thing has happened, altering the show in both large and small ways. And for that I say: thank you, Game of Thrones. Sunday night has been a whole lot better this spring, in more ways than one.

Daily Dose of Cute

May. 31st, 2016 02:15 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat sitting on a dining room chair with her head poking out over the table, on which is laid out a game of Talisman
Tils wanted to play Talisman with Iain, Deeks, and me over the weekend.
Unfortunately, her idea of "playing Talisman" is just knocking shit over.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Five days of photos: Day 4/5

May. 31st, 2016 09:00 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Hands up! Bubble gun
Hands up or I'll bubble you!

We had the most glorious weather for the bank holiday weekend. The bloke's sister visited (along with husband and our two niecephews), so the house was all barbecues and beers and bubbles. Also, ice cream and shouting and chaos.

I'm happy, but possibly a little tired too.

job openings

May. 31st, 2016 03:42 pm
twistedchick: daffodils in rain, my photo (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I like SoundsTrue.com -- I've been listening to things from there on tapes and cds and reading their books for years. Now they have job openings. This looks like a good place to work, if any of you are interested; it's in Boulder, Colorado.

Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, June 7

May. 31st, 2016 02:25 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, June 7, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "all creatures great and small." I'll be soliciting ideas for ordinary animals, superpowered animals, animal therapists, assistance animals, totems, anthropomorphic or animal deities, other anthropomorphic figures, naturalists, zookeepers, trainers, veterinarians, other people who work with animals, snuggly werewolves, other shapeshifters, training, riding horses, working with traumatized animals, grooming, petting, purring, howling, animal sports such as gymkhanas or hunting, zoos, animal parks, farms, laboratories, circuses, pet stores, the wilderness, animal lovers' homes, other places animals may be found, pet furniture such as catwalks, pet toys, zoo animal enrichment toys, stuffed animals like teddy bears, taxidermy, grooming tools, fur and other animal parts, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "Tour Guides for All of Knowledge" (20 verses, Polychrome Heroics). 

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.  I am now.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )

eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
[personal profile] eruthros
New vid! Since I like to have comments all in one place, the actual vid is up at [personal profile] thingswithwings' journal: download or stream Dance Apocalyptic.

Murderface: family man

May. 31st, 2016 02:11 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
A short update this time! If you haven’t read the one I posted previously today, about the talking dog, go read that one first.

So now that Murderface has a daughter and is all responsible and shit, he’s got to earn a living to support this small family. Which means abandoning her at home alone in Whiterun as he heads out for more adventuring!

Read more... )

Not Feelin' So Great

May. 31st, 2016 02:52 pm
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

Wow, still not really functioning today. I mean, I did manage to eat a meal today, unlike yesterday (I also didn't take any insulin yesterday -- surprisingly, this actually worked out, in that my blood sugar hovered in the reasonable-pre-meal range when I was awake enough to check), and changed the litterbox and made some lemonade mix[*], but before I finished that I was already wobbly and woozy and worried about making it all the way back upstairs. This is ... not encouraging. Gonna lie in front of a fan and close my eyes again and hope better days come back soon -- and try not to think about all the things I'm feeling about my body not working well enough to get to Balticon. (Obviously not being 100% successful at not thinking about that.). Looking back over notes, I wasn't doing very well the two weekends before that (but I wasn't missing a con I'd planned to go to then, so it affected my mood less).

[*] )

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Tim Chevalier

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