marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

...are insane. Congratulations if you're the Whitest of People, as you're probably safe from border control harassment for now. Anyone else, regardless of the ethnicity(ies) or race(s) they consider or actually know themselves to be, is at risk of deportation.

There's no way to break out figures on how many people this will throw into utter panic or despair, but it's safe to say tens of millions have become human bull's eyes, at serious risk of getting stopped, asked for papers, but without them, getting arrested, then without due process, dumped over the border into Mexico to be formally deported later on.

100 miles from the US border is "the border" for deportation purposes, so on top of how greatly the pool of deportables has been expanded - you simply have to not look exactly white or be slightly darker and not be able to produce papers on the spot to get arrested and sent off to Mexico - but because of the 100 mile delineation, entire states around the country are border control units now.

If you thought it was "just Mexicans" or "just" the actual border being monitored, splash some cold water on your face and try to wake up. This is Nazi Germany-style "show us papers or GTFO" with the main difference that Jews, since they're of mostly Northern European origin, are harder to tease apart from "whites" than Hispanic-looking people are, which in this country will save the Whitest of People from getting stopped or asked for papers - for now. But we all know where this is going; hunting Mexicans is just this regime's little warm-up act, and I mean really little, so don't say I didn't warn y'all.

Because who knows; I might not be around by then to even remind you that I did.

Any plans to hinder the worst parts of this or any other order through the courts might soon be made moot by this Florida representative's bill to nullify our state and federal judiciaries. The bill states only a 60% super-majority is needed to override anything our courts decide, so don't look to our judicial branch for help, as it might soon be unable to function - and all this with Cheetolini's express blessing.

Can't say we should've seen it coming - but yeah, we should have seen it coming. We all knew the dictator when we saw him, even waaaaaay back when he announced his run for office by declaring, among other things, that Mexicans are rapists; it was just a matter of extrapolating downward from there.

Lastly, after learning Cambridge Analytica won the election for Trump more handily than Russian interference did, I forgive all but the most hateful Trump supporters in the same spirit of comprehension as someone who once declared, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do". Read these words very carefully: I think they were brainwashed, I think they were brainwashed, I think they were brainwashed - because after reading that, there's nothing else I can think.

calvinahobbes: Calvin lying on his stomach reading a book (calvinreading)
[personal profile] calvinahobbes
What did you recently finish reading?
I got through The Hunger Games in record speed. I really enjoyed the story, I found it quite easy to listen to. I think I have learned that for audiobooks the books that work best for me are either very plotty, like mystery and crime novels, or something I know the plot of already. For THG I had already seen the movie so I knew a lot about where the plot was heading, but it was also suitably long ago that I didn't know everything that would happen. Spoilery comments ) I definitely want to listen to the sequels, but I don't have them in my Audible library and I'm trying not to buy new audiobooks atm so it'll have to wait a while.

I also finished The Handmaid's Tale quite quickly, I feel. I thought the world-building was really well done, the narrative was moving so smoothly along - it never seemed to go fast and not a lot really happens but all the flashbacks really served to heighten the suspense. While the tale is super grim at times (she is literally kept in a suicide-proof room and serves only as a baby-machine), expecting the worst in advance made me able to take it in without giving up. Also trusting that Margaret Atwood has a point and isn't just revelling in all the fucked-up-ness also really helped. Spoilers for ending ) Anyway, this is only my second Atwood, and I definitely like it so much better than "Oryx and Crake".

What are you currently reading?
I started Treasure Island as my next audiobook! It's been in my archive for a really long time, and I think it will fit the criteria I described above - I know the overall story, and the plot is quite action-y - and to boot it's quite short (only ~6 hours). I don't expect this to blow me away or anything, but so far it's a nice enough listen.

I am kind of trying to read Hildegard, but I don't feel super motivated the way I did while reading Atwood... Also, it's going back to the library early next week, and I honestly can't decide whether I should try to renew it or just send it back.

What do you think you'll read next?
I did actually order both The Essex Serpent and The Price of Salt, so of course it turned out I wanted to read Patricia Highsmith more but that won't be here until sometime in March, while the Sarah Perry book is here already. I also have Emma Cline's The Girls from my bookclub at work, and I could actually see myself starting that one next. I also feel like I should read a graphic novel just to pad out my goodreads challenge a bit...

(no subject)

Feb. 24th, 2017 02:03 am
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
Also, in order to go to the trans* support rally, I missed a Non-Violent Intervention session, aka, how to intervene and defuse incidents of hate. (At the Roslindale Library.)

I figured it was a worthwhile trade-off.

Of course, as the rally-that-turned-into-a-march stopped in Downtown Crossing, which for non-Bostonites is a tourist destination in the daytime and still somewhat full of people by 7 p.m., some guy passing through asked me, "Are you a tranny?" and I said, confused, "No?" in tones that I hope indicated I was just baffled at his assumption, not offended. And then, since he was heading away at speed, I yelled after him, "But so what if I was?" which is not the best response ever, but better than none.

But still, indicative that I could still use some defusing tips. I'll find another session eventually....
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
I had no idea there were Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in attendance at the rally to support trans youth tonight. I think that's fabulous.

At first I didn't see anyone I knew in the crowd. I had mistakenly gotten off the Orange Line at State Street rather than Downtown Crossing, so I was approaching Post Office Square from an unfamiliar and partly conjectural angle and knew I was in the right place mostly because I was suddenly surrounded by signs like "I Stand with Trans Students," "Trans Rights Are Human Rights," "Let My People Go to the Bathroom," and "Donny Knows Dick." There were people wrapped in trans flags and waving them; there were people of every gender presentation, including non-binary and totally indeterminate; the age range spanned queer elders who had evidently been doing this shit for years to parents of school-aged trans children (and trans parents of school-aged children) to toddlers with scribbly, glittery signs. The trees of Post Office Square were lit up purple and there were blue and pink lights in the windows of a building on Pearl Street. I took a blue-and-pink-and-white-striped poster reading "Protect Trans Youth" from a man with a sheaf of them and carried it for the rest of the night. I had a nice exchange with the young trans man next to me and his cis boyfriend who had just bought him some H.G. Wells, as a good boyfriend should; during the portion of the rally when we were encouraged to introduce ourselves to strangers and meet our community, a pink-haired activist from Athens, Georgia and I bonded over our sudden mutual flashback to college orientation. I complimented one protester on his pride flag kippah and another on her trans flag bowtie. (I got compliments on my bisexual unicorn T-shirt.) The executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the couple of hundred people who had shown up on practically no notice to tell the trans youth of Boston and elsewhere that they are not alone; he pointed out the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education on the other side of Congress Street and spoke passionately about intersectionality—making the cogent point that this administration has not just now begun to hurt trans people; trans people who are Black, Muslim, Latinx, and immigrants have already been hurt—and then threw the megaphone open to trans students and teachers, of whom I think my favorite was the tenth-grade trans boy who talked about equality: "We're all human! We're all skeletons!" And then the formal part of the rally broke up into networking and people with signs going off to line both sidewalks of Congress Street, at which point a woman I had met last month at Jewish Voice for Peace came up and greeted me and [personal profile] skygiants, [personal profile] genarti, [personal profile] sandrylene, and [ profile] teenybuffalo all wandered by at once. I could not participate very loudly in the communal call-and-response, but it was important for me to say the words: When trans youth are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back. When trans rights are being denied, resistance is justified. We're here, we're trans, no walls and no bans. People honked in support as they drove by, smiled out the window, gave thumbs-up, Doppler-cheered. I was told later that one man shouted "Trump! Trump! Trump!" as he drove past, but since I didn't even hear him over the activist chanting, I don't think he won.

I did not expect the rally to turn into a march. I'm not sure the rally was expecting it. But first there were protesters with signs on either side of the street, then there were protesters with signs in the street, then there were protesters with signs walking down the street with the trans flag out front, and by the time we turned the corner on Franklin Street we were definitely a march. The call-and-response widened to include Whose streets? Our streets! Whose city? Our city! and We all got to pee, so let's get free, which I had not heard before. There was a brief logjam at Downtown Crossing which occasioned the only violence I saw all night—a bunch of kids on the sidewalk who didn't care about trans rights but were happy to shout "Fuck Trump!" got into some kind of altercation with one of the older protesters; he got slapped or otherwise physically infringed on, but I saw people taking care of him after the kids ran off—but on the whole bystanders were either visibly supportive or took out their phones in a neutral to approving fashion. We marched up Winter Street; one of the loudest voices in the chants near me belonged to a woman with a white cane. A number of protesters including the Sandry contingent peeled off at Park Street, but I guessed the core of the march was heading for the Massachusetts State House and followed them, which is why there may yet surface some footage of me standing outside the locked front gates of our state house and talking about Bill H.97, although since I couldn't remember the number I just said it was co-sponsored by Christine Barber and designed to protect minors from so-called conversion therapies and had been sitting in committee for over a year and could our state representatives just agree that torturing children is bad and pass the damn thing already? Other people spoke before me, more angrily, more lovingly, and more eloquently: a non-binary trans femme MIT professor who had to leave to grade papers, but first reminded the audience that trans people have always existed, that gender has never been binary (it's so true); a working-class male-presenting trans person with a kerchief over their face because they did not feel safe revealing their identity, talking about class and safety and the need for networks in Boston to help homeless trans people like they had been last summer; the H.G. Wells-buying boyfriend I had met first, doing a much less awkward job than he thought expressing love and support for his boyfriend who had been kicked out of his parents' house for coming out as trans when he was sixteen. People talked about statistics, suicides, bashings, murders. People said things to each other like "I love you; you're beautiful." People chanted hey, hey, ho, ho, white supremacy has got to go. For a while there was a police car spinning its lights over the crowd, but it left without arresting anyone. (I hadn't been confident it would.) There were local news crews at Post Office Square and the State House, which I managed to miss completely. There are some nice photographs here. Around eight o'clock everything broke up quietly and I took the Red Line to Davis and met [ profile] derspatchel for a very late dinner when he got out of work. My knee is hurting again and I think I spoke more than I have in a week, but it was worth it.

Oh, and I met a trans woman in the bathroom at Walgreen's on my way over to the rally. The worst thing that happened was we were both in a Walgreen's bathroom.

transitional states

Feb. 24th, 2017 12:41 am
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
So no matter what happens with my job (it's still in flux; this is annoying), I'm (probably, quite likely) going back to school anyway.

I'd gotten about 3/5ths of the way through Lesley, and then (I say vaguely) several annoying things happened with classes, and also, I let lack of structure surrounding the internships mess up my momentum. Then I avoided for awhile, and then I avoided my parents about it, and then I avoided the avoiding for like, years, and then I felt bad about avoiding, and then! I said to myself, when my job was more in flux than it is now, "Hey, I could just... restart from the Associate's degree credits," and am now mostly through applying to Cambridge College, which is basically one step up from a community college, BUT, it has Human Services/Counseling/Psych stuff, and a good diverse bunch of adult students, and I can do 3-4 classes at once, keep momentum and structure up, kick arse, and contemplate grad school. Maybe. First let us see if Cambridge works, and go from there.

Presuming I get through taxes and FAFSA stuff by the end of March, I should be starting in June. (Presuming they let me in, knock wood.)

I went over to Lesley and got an unofficial transcript, today, just to make sure my fuckuppery was as thorough as I thought it was, and yes, my GPA had gotten down to 2.9 and there are Incompletes dotting the landscape, so I feel more content about this, and the not-transferring the credits. (And I also have been doing Thoughts about how not to repeat mistakes, which mostly boils down to, "I will not let myself shirk structures built by classes and momentum.")

Then I went and yelled a lot about protecting trans kids and other trans folks, over at the rally in Boston. Massachusetts folks, Sovay said at the rally and also says on her LJ, to call your State Reps about House Bill 97, which would ban aversive therapies for teenagers, aka conversion therapy.

Edit: Oh, hey, she wrote up the rally, too!. Quite thoroughly.

Pondering families

Feb. 23rd, 2017 08:56 pm
wcg: (Default)
[personal profile] wcg
I've just recently finished REAMDE by Neal Stephenson.

It is, like most of Stephenson's books, a huge tome of over 1000 pages, with super smart tech geniuses in far flung parts of the world. But it's also a story about a family, and that's what inspired me to write this post.

Some few of you reading this may have read Louis L'amour's western novels about the Sackett family. Although L'amour wrote much tighter, shorter stories than Stephenson, I found myself wondering if Stephenson might have read L'amour at some point. Stephenson's Forthrast family (and his Shaftoe family in earlier books) is very like the Sacketts, in that if you tangle with one of them, you tangle with all of them. Furthermore, they have vast networks of friends who they can call on for assistance in time of need.

Zula Forthrast is a 25 year old Eritrean orphan refugee who was adopted into the Forthrast family after having spent the first 10 odd years of her life trudging back and forth between refugee camps in Ethiopia and Sudan. As the daughter of the almost painfully midwestern Forthrasts, she has grown up with a firm grounding in Midwest Nice behavior and a practical education in the maintenance and repair of all things mechanical and electronic, with the sort of easy familiarity around firearms that you can find in people who've grown up on farms in fly-over country. When we meet her she's a newly minted PhD in geo-engineering, looking for a job in her field. Her uncle, Richard, the major PoV character in the story, arranges for her to be hired by someone in the MMORPG corporation he founded.

Zula moves off to Seattle, gets into a relationship with an IT guy named Peter, and is enjoying a weekend with Peter at uncle Richard's ski resort in British Columbia when Peter makes a very bad mistake. It begins with him downloading a file named REAMDE (not README) to his laptop, and then inadvertently including REAMDE with a spreadsheet full of stolen credit card data that he sells to a broker in such things who it turns out was working for a Russian criminal cartel. In short order Peter and Zula are taken hostage by the Russian mob boss when the REAMDE file turns out to be ransomware that locks up all his files.

This leads to a global adventure involving a wide variety of very interesting characters, a whole lot of mayhem, and an eventual showdown between the Forthrast family and the evil miscreants who would harm one of their own. It reminded me, as the pages turned, of the denoument of The Sackett Brand, where Sacketts streamed into the Arizona high country answering a distress call from one of their own, and the Hash Knife Gang got mowed down in windrows before them.

Yeah, it's a great book. If you fancy a thousand odd pages of techno thriller, grab a copy and dive in.

But, more to my point, I'm wondering if such families really exist in our present day. I know L'Amour was inspired to create the Sacketts based on a real family he met in New Mexico back in the 1950s, but that was almost 70 years ago. Given the forces that have scattered families hither and yon across the US and the world, I wonder if there are any real families like the Forthrasts out there. When I think of my own eight siblings, I know we're just not that tight. I'm even less connected to my far flung cousins.

Do any of you know real life families who would come together in time of trouble, risking their lives and fortunes to help one of their own who'd run afoul of powerful enemies?
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m afraid I might be walking into an Alice situation (a la letter #247). My boyfriend’s family is very conservative and even though he is an adult, he not only lives with them (which is fine) but lives by their rules, curfews, and puts up with their interrogations over who he is spending time with, who his friends are, etc. They don’t know I exist, but he’ll be telling them within a month. He hasn’t so far because due to conservative culture reasons he can’t tell them he has a girlfriend, but rather that there is this girl (me) he wants to marry. And I’m terrified because they’re going to hate me (his mother especially) and I need scripts on how to deal with that when I meet them.

From everything he’s told me (and I take his word for it) I will be considered all wrong because I’m older than him, have been married before, am bisexual (here’s hoping his family needn’t find out, at least initially), am from a different culture (and don’t speak the language he speaks with his family, and his mother doesn’t speak English fluently), I’m not conservative and certainly don’t fit the mould of what a stereotypical wife would be like (I have no intention to just pop out babies, cook and clean, etc., which Boyfriend is fine with but his family won’t be), I’ve already vetoed the idea of us living with his family when we get married, and I’m expecting there to be body shaming.

Boyfriend has said that he expects his family’s displeasure about all of this to be voiced to him, and not to me and I know I can’t force them to like me. Boyfriend is also scared himself about their reaction to his upcoming conversation with them about wanting to marry me. I have tried to direct him to this site so he can read up some great advice about setting boundaries and making it clear what shit he will put up with and what he won’t, but he says that sort of thing is not done in his culture and apparently I just don’t understand (it’s true, I don’t), and while he sees that I’m trying to be helpful, it’s not helping because boundaries is just not the done thing.

How can I support him with this difficult conversation coming up for him (which will be more of an extended series of fights/arguments) while respecting his decision to not have me encourage him to set boundaries, while also being able to set boundaries myself? What am I meant to say to his family when I meet them (and yes, I’m trying to learn the language so I can at least exchange pleasantries with his mother)? (And yes, social anxiety and severe depression is making me overthink all of this, and yes, I am in therapy, but any scripts would help a lot!!).

Any help would be much appreciated,

Scared of future in-laws

Dear Scared of Future In-Laws,

First things first:

  • Keep going to therapy.
  • Make sure you have friends & family who are not your boyfriend in your life and keep your connections to them strong. If you’re about to get a whole bunch of negative stuff dropped on you by his family, you need to be grounded with people who think you’re great.
  • If you don’t have this kind of strong network in place right now, build it. Take at least 50% of the effort you put into your romantic relationship and put it into finding friends & community. Don’t be in a “You and me against the world” situation with only your partner.
  • Keep this question in your mind: If his family sucks, and he turns out to be not good at setting boundaries with them, would you still want to marry him?

Here are some cool ways your boyfriend could show that he’s the kind of person you want to marry:

He could make a plan to move out of his parents’ house. (Not always affordable, and not always culturally the right move, not something I’m blanket-recommending for everyone in life, but in this case, when this guy says he wants to establish independence from his family, he could, like, take steps to get some independence from his family?) What’s he like when he lives on his own, I wonder?

He could find people who are not you to talk through these anxieties with. I mean, so far, you’ve got “My family is going to hate everything about you, I’m oh-so-scared to tell them anything about you, and I’m not going to set boundaries with them because it’s Just Not Done in our culture” dumped on you. Maybe he could use someone else to process all of this with in a way that doesn’t force you to keep hearing about all the negative stuff? A friend, a counselor of his own?

He could tell his folks that he has a girlfriend and he’d like them to meet you. I’ve met a woman who is important to me and I want her to know my family.” And then he could see what happens. He could take this out of the hypothetical where you talk through all the worst-case scenarios and into the real. In other words, he could give you a chance to see what all of this is really gonna be like before you make the decision to marry into it. If it’s going to suck it will suck just as much now as it will at some theoretical future date, so maybe rip the bandaid off and see what actually happens instead of worrying about it. If they act like jerks to you and he doesn’t set boundaries or defend you, then that’s important information for you to have before you start planning a marriage to him. 

I feel like right now he’s trying to lock everything down and control everything – you reactions, their reactions, the whole damn future, in this really high-stakes way that is making you feel really anxious and worried and that puts your whole life history on the judgment block but doesn’t really ask him to risk or change anything about his own situation right now. He hasn’t really ever separated from his family. He is very identified with his family’s point of view about the world. There’s a whiff of “I want to marry you even I can’t stop listing all the things about you that make you ‘not really good enough for my family’ and how worried I am about that” going on here that I mislike.

When and if you meet his folks you’re going to be the kind, thoughtful, polite person that you are in everyday life. You’ll do just fine. Learning a few words of the language are a nice gesture, great, and you’re already just fine as you are and don’t have to improve or perfect yourself for this moment. If they don’t treat you well or like you, it’s not because of anything you did or will do.

Which makes me wonder, is he expecting some big change in you before that meeting or wanting some performance from you? You have understandable anxiety that his family won’t like you, but the real issue is, can you count on him to have your back? To strike out on his own? To make a family with you, where your shared rules and visions are the ones that count? He’s not responsible for his family’s feelings about you, but he is responsible for having your back and for not letting them mistreat you. I don’t know how you can really know this until you see it in action. He’s got to show you, with words and actions, that he can be a rock for you where his family is concerned.

Hello Captain,

Pronouns: she/her

I have a boyfriend of 6 months who I love very much. He is amazing in a variety of ways, but there’s one issue that we can’t seem to get past no matter how I try to approach it.  

He’s not great at engaging in conversation on any subject that he’s not independently interested in. Often, I’ll bring up something I want to talk about, and he’ll not respond for a while and then change the subject because he “didn’t have anything to say about it.” However, I regularly have in-depth conversations with him about video games that I don’t play and music that I don’t listen to. He also interrupts me mid-sentence without noticing fairly often, which makes me think that the times he doesn’t interrupt me are less because he’s listening and more because he doesn’t have anything to say at that particular moment. I’ve told him that this sometimes makes me feel like he doesn’t care about me and doesn’t want to engage in my life.

The problem is, he has severe mental health issues and when I point these instances out to him, he reacts incredibly disproportionately. He’ll have episodes of not being able to move or function, he’ll start hitting his head against a wall, he’ll tell me that he hates himself and wants to die. He understands the issue and is taking it seriously, but it’s so ingrained in his personality that he literally doesn’t notice when he interrupts me or talks over me, and I don’t point it out as often as I should because I love him and I don’t want him to be that upset over something small. As a result, I just get more and more frustrated over time. 

This seems to me like a very gendered issue: as a woman, it’s my job to listen to men and make them as comfortable as possible, but my own needs don’t get met. It’s something I’ve noticed in my friendships with other men, but I’ve never had to deal with it to this extent before. 

Boyfriend mentioned at the end of last semester that he was thinking of going back to a therapist, and I’ve encouraged him to do so several times, but I don’t think he’s currently planning on it. At this point, we’re having weekly conversations about this issue, and he’s both asked me to call him out more often and told me he wished I did it less because it feels horrible for him to be continually told that his efforts aren’t leading to improvement. He says he’s really trying, but in the end I’m still getting interrupted and feeling ignored. I don’t know what to do. 

I’d like to reemphasize that he’s caring, compassionate, has been incredible about accepting my asexuality, never pressures me, and is overall a great person. If you have any scripts for gently bringing up the therapist issue again, or any other advice, I would appreciate it. This relationship means a lot to me and it’s killing me to see him hurting.

 Thank you,

Tired of This Dynamic

Dear Tired of this Dynamic:

It’s only been six months. THIS GUY IS SO MUCH WORK.

This is a very gendered issue, you’re not wrong, and I guess the question is, how long do you want to date a dude who interrupts you a lot and who can only talk about things he is interested in? And, when you ask him to stop doing stuff that bothers you, turns everything around so that you’re taking care of him and how sad he is?

Before we get to scripts I want you to do something:

Take two weeks “off” from trying to make the relationship work. In that two weeks I want you to spend a little less time with him and a little more time to do a couple of things:

  1. Connect/reconnect with your friends and family & people who generally don’t interrupt you or talk over you.
  2. Connect/reconnect with your interests – books, hobbies, things that you enjoy even if he does not.
  3. It sounds like y’all are in school, so, throw yourself into your classes, clubs, things you are interested in doing.
  4. Think about making an appointment with a counselor at school who can support you. Even if you think “I’m not the one who needs a counselor,” I selfishly want you to have the experience of being listened to without interruption for an hour at a time.

You love this guy, you don’t wanna break up, I get it. But now is a good time to re-ground yourself firmly in your life and remind yourself that you don’t deserve to be treated this way.

When you see your boyfriend, keep calling him out on the interruptions. “You interrupted me.” “You interrupted me again.” “I don’t know anything about that game, but what do you like about it?” “You see what I did there, where I’m not interested in something but I ask you about it because you like it?”

Keep track of how many times you gotta say “You interrupted me again just now” in a given day. Like, if you get to three, maybe go home and try again another day? You can make it explicitly about the behavior – “You keep interrupting me, I’m annoyed, I’m going home” or you can make it not so explicit. “Ok, good to see you, I’m gonna go sleep at my place.” The message is the same, though: “Keep interrupting me and I won’t want to keep hanging out.

His “not being able to move” and “hitting head against wall” or “I hate myself and want to die” reactions to being told “Hey, your behavior is not cool!” are not your fault and not yours to fix. One script could be “I’m really sorry you’re feeling that way. That’s awful and I think you need to talk to a mental health pro about it so that you can feel better.” “I really think it’s time to call a counselor in – feeling this bad about this is not normal and you deserve some mental health care!” 

But also, after you deliver those scripts, maybe go home for the day, and let him deal with his feelings? Like, I believe that he feels really bad when this gets pointed out but I also believe that he is sort of trying to train you to just accept him the way he is and not actually challenge him about stuff? And one way he could stop the awful feelings is to stop doing the thing where he interrupts you or tunes all the way out whenever you talk about something you’re interested in? Someone who self-harms when you set a boundary needs to work on his own emotional regulation. You can’t love him out of this.

Someone can be a “wonderful person” and still be too much work to be your boyfriend.

And hey, it’s worth noting, your asexuality isn’t something you have to apologize for or something that dooms you to substandard relationships where you do all the emotional labor.





Weekly Reading

Feb. 23rd, 2017 06:47 pm
torachan: ewan mcgregor pulling his glasses down to look over the top (ewan glasses)
[personal profile] torachan
What are you currently reading?
Still making very slow progress on The Mayor of Castro Street. I think I read one chapter since last week, lol. ^_^;;

I also have technically started, in that I opened the book, but have not read a single word yet, the most recent Wells & Wong mystery, Mistletoe and Murder. Now that I've caught up, I'll be super sad not to have any more of this series to read! D:

What did you recently finish reading?
A lot. O_O This whole being home from work thing has really done wonders for getting through my to-read pile!

Bookwise, I finished reading First Class Murder and the next book in the series, Jolly Foul Play. I like these books so much!

Comicswise, I finished all the Rick and Morty comics (including the one that came out this week), also also the Lil' Poopy Superstar miniseries. Definitely some fun story arcs in there (I really liked the one that just ended with Jerry from the doofus universe taking over the galaxy).

I also finally read the Star Wars Force Awakens tie-in comic, Shattered Empire, about Poe's mom. That's been on my ipad for a while! It was okay. Really nice art, but the story was just sort of meh.

Another one that's been on my ipad for a while is Lost at Sea, a graphic novel by Bryan Lee O'Malley, author of Scott Pilgrim. I love Scott Pilgrim, yet somehow never got around to reading any of his other stuff. I think this may be his first graphic novel; it definitely feels a lot more amateurish than Scott Pilgrim, but I enjoyed it.

I've read a lot of manga, too! I read volumes 2 and 3 of Otouto no Otto, which continues to be awesome. That's all there is so far, and it looks like the next volume might wrap it up, which makes me sad, but I'm glad to have found it.

I also read volume 13 of Silver Spoon and volume 13 of Yotsuba&, both of which have sadly become the sort of series that is on hiatus more than it's actually published, which is sad, because I like them both a lot.

Then I read volume 13 (a lot of 13s here for some reason) of Ore Monogatari!!, which turned out to be the final volume. I'd had no idea it ended! I'm so bad at keeping on top of the series I'm following. ^_^;; Overall I was happy with the ending and I think it ended at a good place. Slight spoiler )

And finally, I finished up Aozora Yell. The last volume of this I'd read was volume 12, and then even though I had the next couple volumes on my ipad for ages, I just never read them. So since I was clearing stuff off my ipad, I thought I'd see how many volumes I was behind, only to find that it had ended at volume 19, so now seemed a perfect time to finish it up. I liked the ending a lot!

What do you think you'll read next?
Well, today is my last day of vacation, so I probably won't be getting as much read as I have been (no probably about it, really), but in addition to finishing the books I'm currently reading, I want to continue getting through the manga and comic backlog on my ipad. But I don't know what I'm going to choose next!

Eastward Ho!

Feb. 23rd, 2017 08:18 pm
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[personal profile] nineweaving
It was a pleasant Boskone, temperate of weather and collegial in spirit.  It was good to see old friends and new young faces, which Boskone of late has sadly lacked.  Let’s hope the revival goes onward and upward.  We are so fortunate to have three cons here in B—:  Arisia, electrifying and exhausting, a nightlong circus; Readercon, intense and cerebral, the engine that drives me from July to July; and Boskone, old-slipperish, a little shabby, but of lineage. 

It has an excellent con suite, which is also the green room, providing:

75 dozen hard-boiled eggs, with condiments;
a golden Alps of bread, with all sorts of butters and jams;
endless, always hot coffee, tea, cocoa.

I brought my own tea (black Yunnan); I brought chocolate.  I can live on that for a weekend; though I wish clementines were still in season.

And thank heavens for the largesse, because this con’s in the Westin Way-Beyond, and there’s nowhere else around to eat, and usually a howling Siberia between the hotel and Chinatown.

Boskone has always had a most excellent art show, leaning toward large pieces by established artists—great oaks—but with a good mix of the up-and-coming in the underwood.   It’s noted for its access to collections—this year’s special exhibition was a century (at least) of illustrations in black-and-white:  Hannes Bok, Walt Kelly (Pogo), Charles Addams, the Dillons....

The dealer’s room is not quite the bibliophile’s delirium it is at Readercon, but it has many more bookstalls than at Arisia, which tends toward chotchkes:  plushies and bondage gear, plushies in bondage gear, steampunk goggles, clockwork oranges...

I bought a stunning scholarly folio, lavishly illustrated, at rather less than half price:  Here Be Dragons:  A Fantastic Bestiary, by Ariane & Christian Delacampagne (Princeton University Press, 2003).  Haven’t yet read it, but it holds an unusual and thoughtful gallery of images, many quite new to me, from many cultures:  ancient and contemporary, sacred and vernacular, all gorgeous.  

Ruth Sanderson was there with her stunningly beautiful edition of George MacDonald’s odd numinous fairytale, The Golden Key

The programming was solid and engaging this year.  There were one or two things every hour that I wanted to hear, and (fortified with strong tea and egg sandwiches), I thoroughly enjoyed some good conversations on (among other things):  Pros on Prose; Non-Linear Narrative, an excellent history panel; one straight from the heart on the importance of libraries (now more than ever); My Gateway Book; Great Ghost Stories, &c., &c..

I heard only three readings, all excellent:  Theodora Goss, with her memoirs of the daughters of the great mad scientists (the piece she read was by Justine Frankenstein); Margaret Ronald, with a good, thoughtful, sciencey story; Jo Walton, doing Mansfield Park on Mars.

And I managed to keep my end up on my own events, thank heavens.

Achilles Needs a Heel: The Problem With Power

I’m rooting for the grass, I said, to break through the pavement.

Poetry and Performance

Moderated by Bob (“Spoken Like a Gentleman”) Kuhn, who asked for a brief verse bio; I supplied:

Tiptree, World Fantasy,
Greer, of the Gilman kind,
Writes—and has written of
Jonson and Cloud;

Gives airy nothing a
Life and a larynx, in
Ink, and aloud.

Panelists were each to do a brief piece; and as it fell out, I was to follow three showstoppers:   C. S. E. Cooney, being vibrant and  gypsyish; Ada Palmer and Lauren Schiller, singing deep myth in complex harmonies; Linda Addison, rocking out in dreads.   All I had were words.  I gave them a brief bit of “A Crowd of Bone” where narrative changes to performative ritual:  Whin telling a death.  I couldn’t say how well it went over—there was at any rate, applause—but afterwards Bob (who knows whereof) said it was well-spoken, with good control, and good timbre.  That made me very happy.

Design Your Own Mythology

Lively and hilarious.  (Doyle, Bear, Friesner, Sarah Beth Durst.)  My takeaway:  When building a mythology, you need to ask “What do my people fear? What do they desire?”  Belief must not be decorative:  if you yourself can't sense the numinous, if you can't imagine a cult enwoven in the daily lives of your characters (Doyle:  "the Spiderian altar guild"), then your world will be flat. 

Reading by Greer Gilman

I had just three listeners:   but they were Michael Swanwick and Marianne Porter, and my old friend Sarah Thompson who curated that fabulous Hokusai show at the MFA, and they were marvellous.  

How Stories End

In the penultimate hour of the con, this turned out to be a dialogue between me and Swanwick, three others having fallen off:  a very nice thing, if only we’d known beforehand.  Still, we managed to tap dance.  I found myself babbling about favorite styles of ending:  “The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. You that way: we this way” and how Bertie surrenders his purple socks.  We talked about how the endlessness of Discworld is so much more satisfying than your endless (n-1)-logy, unfolding like a bolt of a fabric, whump whump whump.  Prachett’s work builds in space-time:  it fits together like a puzzle map.  We talked about arrowy SF; we talked about fantasy and infinite regret; about how LOTR closes door after door:  from the great gates, down to the Sam’s round wooden one, with the fire within;  “Well, I’m home.”  We talked, of course, about further in, about Narnia and its discontents, and Little, Big.  It was a lovely ending to the con.

Can anyone remember what novel I called “a bildungsroman for the planet”?


china_shop: New Zealand painting of flax (NZ flax)
[personal profile] china_shop
The boy and I just spent a week in Ngakuta Bay in the Marlborough Sounds, reading, swimming in the sea (avoiding stingrays), getting bitten by insects, and playing Scrabble. It was divine, largely for the absence of news sources, but also because of excellent weather and the aforementioned activities.

Books consumed:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
Bonk by Mary Roach (hilarious, but incredibly cis-het focused)
A Year and a Day in Old Theradane by Scott Lynch (short story)
Deadline by Mira Grant

Apparently it was SFF season! I enjoyed all of them very much and am about to fail to say anything further about them. Book reviews are hard.

Now reading Blackout by Mira Grant.

Portrait Gallery: Quenton Baker

Feb. 23rd, 2017 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] seattlereviewofbooks_feed

Each week, Christine Marie Larsen creates a new portrait of an author for us. Have any favorites you’d love to see immortalized? Let us know

Friday, February 24th
It Was Written book launch at Vermillion

This Friday, Minor Arcana invites local poets including Robert Lashley and Brian McGuigan to help launch It Was Written with a book party at Vermillion. They’ll be joined by other readers including Quenton Baker, a poet who got his start as a hip-hop artist. Because the party would feel really weird without some form of live music, self-described “beat scientist” WD4D will be running the turntables at the show.
Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar, 1508 11th Ave., 709-9797, Free. 21+. 7 p.m.

How to make awesome granola

Feb. 23rd, 2017 04:01 pm
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[personal profile] isis

It is very easy to make homemade granola. I've been doing it for over 15 years, basing my recipe on one in the Quick & Easy cookbook edited by Shelly Melvin. It tastes way better (I think) than commercial granola, plus it gives you control over the ingredients and their quantities, in case you're trying to avoid certain foods or food types. The recipe is infinitely adjustable, but here's my basic procedure:

4-5.5 cups of grains - I use mostly thick rolled oats (4 cups), plus optional rolled triticale, rolled spelt, millet, amaranth, buckwheat groats (kashi), and recently I accidentally put raw quinoa in the mix thinking it was millet, and it was good!

1/4 cup liquid sweetener - I usually use honey, but have used mixes of brown rice syrup, maple syrup and molasses. All maple syrup is too sweet/maple-y for me, all brown rice syrup is distinctively less sweet.

1/4 cup oil - I use safflower or canola usually, sometimes coconut oil, especially if I'll be adding coconut.

Spices to taste - this is optional, but recommended. I usually use a goodly amount of cinnamon, plus one or more of nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves, cardamom.

0.5-1.5 cups of coconut and/or seeds - also optional. Unsweetened coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and so on.

1-2 tsp vanilla or almond or orange extract - also optional.

Nuts and/or dried fruit - in any amount and combination you desire, to be added after the baking process. I always use raisins and some nut (pecan, walnut, almond, hazelnut) plus usually either dried cherries or dried sweetened cranberries; sometimes I add date pieces, dried apple pieces, dried mango pieces, other nuts. If I use cashews I like to add them with the seeds rather than afterward because they taste better slightly sweetened and toasted.

Procedure: Preheat oven to 300°F. Mix grains, seeds, and spices in a large bowl. Mix sweetener and oil in a microwave-safe container (I use my Pyrex measuring cup) and heat 30 sec or so and stir to combine, then add to the grain mix and stir until everything is evenly distributed. (A silicone tool works well for this.) Spread evenly on a silicone sheet (like a silpat) on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool and harden in the pan, then peel it off the sheet and crumble into a container, adding the nuts and/or dried fruit and mixing thoroughly.

If you don't have a silicone baking sheet you can still do this, but you will need to stand over the granola and mix it frequently as it cools. Otherwise it will stick to the baking sheet and you will be unhappy. You can rescue this situation by returning the sheet to the warm oven for a while.

If you don't want to heat your kitchen (like, in summer) you can make a half-batch or so in a large skillet. You can just add the oil and sweetener to the pan directly, then pour in the grain mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes - you'll see the grains change color as they toast. Continue stirring as the mixture cools off the heat, so it doesn't stick to the pan.

Granola bars are also fairly easy to make. I riff off this basic recipe from the Smitten Kitchen: I use the lower amount of sugar, I don't use the extra corn syrup, I often substitute oil for butter (and use 1/4 cup, that is, 4 Tbsp, rather than 6 Tbsp), I never use nut butter, I don't add a Tbsp of water, and I usually use regular wheat flour rather than grinding oats for oat flour. I also rarely use raisins in them because raisins tend to puff up in the oven. Mostly I make oat-seed-nut bars (I love sesame seeds in these) and cut them in squares. I use a silicone 9x9 pan so I don't do the pan lining, it just turns out in one big hunk when I invert it onto a cutting board.
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[personal profile] jesse_the_k

The Bottle Boys make beautiful music using found instruments:

  • Melodies from blowing across beer bottles (in 10-packs, carefully tuned) and
  • Percussion from shaking pop bottles full of rocks and beating a large, empty carboy.

You can see the many instrumental pop songs they’ve covered at

Combine that with a quartet of three violin & a cello and you’ve got this video:

Stings Strings & Bottles )

[description: All players are white, blond, male Danes. Additional melodies come from

  • a glass harmonica of wine glasses, their rims excited by chopsticks, finger tips, and violin bows
  • an alto pan pipe of test-tubes
  • a tenor pan pipe of wine bottles
  • a bass pan pipe of growlers
  • inserting fingers in bottle neck and swiftly popping them

Percussion includes

  • hand slapping chest
  • hands & chopsticks on the cello
  • a wee plastic egg full of rice]

Empathetic gaze

Feb. 23rd, 2017 03:21 pm
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Previous post on this subject:

While talking with Jesse about how to *really* get at what I want to describe, rather than male gaze or female gaze, what we came up with was empathetic or empathizing gaze vs. Objectifying gaze.

I like accuracy of language, as you have probably figured out if you've known me a while.

You can divide any image into thirds. Your eye will fall onto the top third line or bottom third line of the frame. What sits on this line? Objectifying images often have breasts and hips of women at the top and bottom thirds. Empathethic gaze images will have the subject's eyes at the top third line (or sometimes the center or bottom third) of the image; the point is that you are focusing on their eyes and that encourages you to feel what they are feeling.

TJ and Amal ( is a good example of empathetic gaze in a comics medium.
Also see:
Mad Max: Fury Road
Moonlight - notice the focus on eyes and hands in the trailer (

Puppy Issue

Feb. 23rd, 2017 11:24 pm
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[personal profile] kdheart posting in [community profile] amplificathon

Title: Puppy Issue
Author: [ profile] LadyDrace
Reader: [personal profile] kdheart
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Characters: Stiles StilinskiDerek HaleSheriff Stilinski
Rating: G
Summary: Stiles is temporarily a puppy. It's really unfair how amusing this is to everyone else.

Length: 4:30min
Right-click; save as: MP3|| 4.25MB

Or stream:

[syndicated profile] seattlereviewofbooks_feed

Every month, Daneet Steffens uncovers the latest goings on in mystery, suspense, and crime fiction. See previous columns on the Criminal Fiction archive page

This weekend sees the inaugural Granite Noir crime fiction festival in Aberdeen, Scotland (February 24 – February 26). Heavy-hitters such as Stuart MacBride, Chris Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone and Denise Mina are just some of the featured writers participating in conversations, panels, workshops, film screenings, a special Noir at the Bar and — I particularly like the sound of this one — an afternoon discussing Agatha Christie’s favorite poisons.

Granite Noir offers a distinctly Scottish crime fiction flavor, nicely infused with touches of Nordic noir. If you’re not based in the Scotland’s Granite City, you can still follow some of the fun via Facebook and Twitter

Reading around: new titles on the crime fiction scene

I See You by Clare Mackintosh (Berkley) whose super-chilling psychological thriller I Let You Go was one of the creepiest of last year’s creepy crop, returns with a vengeance and an on-the-pulse tale of our real-life vulnerabilities when it comes to others’ nefarious digital activities. The novel kicks off with one Zoe Walker finding her own face illustrating a classified ad for the intriguingly named “” site, and veers into the “don’t-read-this-alone-in-the-house-at-night” stratosphere from there.

River Cartwright, a British spy based in Slough House – the dead-end office where disgraced MI5 agents are relegated to their final desk jobs – is off to visit his grandfather, former spy David Cartwright, who appears to be succumbing to old-age memory loss and ramblings. Not so reassuring for other spooks. Mick Herron’s terrific intelligence agents thriller series – this one, Spook Street (Soho), is installment number four – manages to be gritty and slick at the same time, and it’s a real pleasure to watch the super-smart if damaged Slough House agents rising to the occasion once again.

In Mark Billingham’s Rush of Blood (Atlantic), three British couples meet semi-cute on a Florida vacation, a vacay that’s marred on the last day when a young girl, unrelated to them, disappears. Back home, the six Brits stay in touch, meeting up for drinks and dinners while cops pursue the Florida mystery as well as a similar one in England. As he did in his previous standalone, 2016’s Die of Shame, Billingham does a tantalizing job of centering the smoothly paced tension around a small group of characters; and, as he did in Die of Shame, Billingham regular DI Tom Thorne makes a tiny but tenacious cameo.

If you like your thrillers to encompass a relentless chase across Europe, then Chris Ewan’s Long Time Lost (Minotaur) is for you. Nick Miller provides a very particular kind of service, relocating people in trouble with baddies to safer spaces with new identities. But with the addition of his latest client going to ground to hide from a very dangerous man, Miller’s entire network is suddenly under threat – especially as more than one element isn’t quite what they seem to be at first glance.

Ann Cleeves’s The Crow Trap (Minotaur) marks DI Vera Stanhope’s first appearance, back when the novel was meant to be a standalone mystery rather than the start of a series that’s going gangbusters 30 years later –not to mention being the basis of a current hit TV series. Three women gather in a small cottage in rural Northumberland to conduct an environmental survey, but it’s the pileup of dead humans that soon becomes their focus. The suspenseful story is beautifully paced and a welcome affirmation of precisely why – and how invasively – Stanhope got under Cleeves’s skin.

The Quintessential Interview: Kathleen Kent

Kathleen Kent, a bestselling historical novelist, turns her trusty pen to contemporary crime fiction in The Dime, a rollicking police procedural set in Dallas, Texas. Brooklyn transplant Betty Rhyzyk, refreshingly engaging and a committed detective with the canny voice of her tough-cop uncle a comforting – and life-saving –presence in her head, finds herself colliding with plastic-surgeried women, Mexican drug runners, Confederate re-enactors, religious fundamentalists, and, in a terrifically entertaining scene, an errant armadillo.

What or who are your top five writing inspirations?

Often, my inspiration for writing future projects will come while doing research on a current one. I’ll come across something odd or notable and it will go into my “ideas” notebook. The top five inspirational sources for writing would be newspaper articles (past or present), traveling, reading books of every genre and every possible subject, listening to music, and talking to old people. Old people have the best stories, and are usually very eager – and grateful – to talk about their lives and experiences.

Top five places to write?

My favorite place to write is at my desk, but I also relish writing in bed, on a train, on my patio when the weather is kind, and, sometimes, at a picnic table in a deserted park.

Top five favorite writers?

This is such an incredibly hard question, because there are so many wonderful writers in so many different genres, but I’ll go back to the writers that I’ve read more than once: Cormac McCarthy (Americana/Western), James Lee Burke (Crime), John le Carré (Spy/Mystery), Erik Larson (Non-fiction) — and now I’m going to cheat here because: Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver and many more….

Top five tunes to write to?

Music is very inspirational to me for setting the mood and narrative voice. While I wrote my first two novels, set in 17th century New England (The Heretic’s Daughter and The Traitor’s Wife), I listened to a lot of Celtic and Ye Olde English music, played on primitive instruments. My third novel was set in 1870 Texas, so I listened to Americana folk/country music, which, interestingly, has a strong Celtic influence as well. For The Dime, I made several playlists to inspire the action. My top five songs from the playlists are Bang, Bang, Bang by Dorothy; Back in Black by Brother Strut, featuring Lorna Fothergill; Conman Coming by Monica Heldal; Glory Box by Portishead; and Bad Things by Emilie Bouchereau.

Top five hometown spots?

Deep Ellum, for its restaurants and music clubs; the Bishop Arts District, for its home-grown craft stores, art galleries and indie bookstore, The Wild Detectives; Addison, north of central Dallas, for its fantastic assortment of Asian restaurants; Klyde Warren Park, for its public green areas, and nearby Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher Sculpture Center; Trinity Groves, for its long pedestrian bridge crossing the Trinity River, walking trails and spectacular view of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.


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