"You can't take the sky from me" vs. "well you can't have it."
"You can't take the sky from me" vs. "well you can't have it."
• What are you currently reading?
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin. NKJ is the keynote speaker at WisCon. I'd enjoyed her first series (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms etc) and bought TKM & its sequel but hadn't gotten around to reading them. So I'd like to finish those up in time for the con. I'm about 100 pages into this and enjoying it, though it's one of those books that has a lot of characters and world-building, and would probably benefit from being read in big chunks rather than a chapter at a time, and chapter-at-a-time is sort of where I am with time commitments right now.
For my in-car audiobook, I have The Once and Future King by T.H. White, which turns out to be one of those books that I knew both more and less about than I thought I did. The edition I have is actually a collection of 5 shorter books (there are 4-book versions, too, but this has the final, later, sequel.) I've already sort of absorbed most of the book in adaptation form, I think -- I saw the Disney version of Sword in the Stone as a kid, and of course I know the high romantic tragedy of the middle books in musical form from Camelot. But White's a better, funnier, writer than I expected somehow, and particularly in the first part (since I'm still on The Sword in the Stone), there's not only a lot of comedy that still hits but a lot of deliberate anachronism (which was in the Disney version from the 1960s, but I always figured that was just Disney, but it's obviously part of what White was doing in the 30s, too. My favorite bit so far is the narrator explaining that (not an exact quote since I'm not looking at the book, but the gist of it), "In those days, magicians were still seen as rather middle class by the true jousting set" -- which is nonsensical in medieval terms, but perfect for Britain in the first half of twentieth century). Anyway, I wasn't sure how many books into this I was going to go, but it's very fun so far.
I've also picked up The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas (the sequel to Something Red, which I reviewed here before) but I'm not far enough in to have enough of an impression.
• What did you recently finish reading?
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, a teen werewolf romance which I found both ridiculous and delightful. (It's not supposed to be ridiculous, or at least I'm pretty sure it's not.) It's basically like a Twilight book if you could imagine a Twilight book being well-written and done without horrible gender issues. The werewolf boyfriend, Sam, is actually a sweetheart who, I am happy to report, writes songs and quotes long passages of Rilke in German. Love interest Grace, on the other hand, is an extremely pragmatic problem solver (pragmatic if you ignore the part where she is clearly into Sam in a sexual way BEFORE she realizes he is not just an ordinary wolf, though why would you want to ignore that?)
I also recently read After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman, which is an engrossing multigenerational family story wrapped around a murder mystery, and reread Gaiman's American Gods, which I was glad held up for me, and also the novelette sequel "Monarch of the Glen" for the first time, which I liked okay although the casual reveal of Shadow's real given name made a lot of the plot of AG seem kind of nonsensical. ( Spoilers for American Gods )
• What do you think you’ll read next?
The number of things I plan to read before WisCon never manage to line up with the number of things I actually end up reading, though I'd at least like to finish the two Jemisin books + Hiromi Goto's Half World, and at least make some headway into Nicola Griffiths' Hild.
I enjoy the instance of "The Empty House" - I feel for ACD in a comical sort of way, like, the poor guy! but I also like it when readers' desires come out on top. No matter how many times I try to engage with Sherlock I always end up bouncing solidly off of the much more authoritarian textual power dynamics.
They were very gracious when I told them I had just received and accepted a promotion. Neither would pay as well as here, and both were about the same rank as the job I'm moving into, so it was no great loss. Also I didn't really want to move to Minneapolis. It's a lovely town! But Chicago is more convenient.
Apparently it will take a significant amount of power to kick free of Chicago, but at this point I'm disinclined to try. NO. I SHALL NESTLE DEEPER IN THE SERPENTINE BONDS OF THE WINDY CITY MONSTER.
By describing the process of being educated out of regressive views as an "evolution," the president - and all the other leftist voices that have followed him in this, I'm looking at you Rachel Maddow - misframes the situation. Learning is not an evolutionary process, nor should social justice be; while evolution is a nonteleological system for survival, education and social justice are, in point of fact, both attempts at (semi?)linear improvement. (I hedge because I AM awfully fond of chaos and productive directionlessness, but no matter how unschool your schooling is it still does come with a clear end goal. But although it is possible to fail to learn, or to deliberately resist learning, nb that you can't escape evolution by burying your head in the sand. Failure to evolve is death - but not, um um um, not culpable death. Not the way that failures of social justice are culpable failures.) Framing progressive change in individual minds and hearts as an evolutionary process only further entrenches our cultural difficulty in really groking evolution as it is rather than in some sort of theistic Whiggish Just-So-Story sort of way, imo, and it also leaves room for oppressors to wiggle out of responsibility for their own views and ignorance.
I haven't had a position and/or title change since 2012, when I was promoted from receptionist to administrator, and while my surname is not super common, it's not out of the bounds of belief that they might get the wrong Sam. So I emailed them and said, hey, are you sure this went to the right Sam?
I got one sentence back: "You should check with your manager."
So I forwarded the email to my boss with what I felt was far fewer question marks than all this deserved, and Friday night she emailed me back:
Sorry, HR got ahead of us! We’ll be meeting on Monday morning to talk about your new role. This shouldn’t be a complete surprise since we’ve talked about your goals for growth, and about the new business manager taking over some of your duties. It’s a good direction for you and the team. We’ll talk more on Monday!
Which at least is less ominous, if still hilarious. Only I could get a promotion and not know what it was for an entire weekend.
Anyway, the upshot is that we met this morning and I have been promoted from administrative manager to full-on Research Analyst. This is a huge jump in terms of my career and a huge compliment, and involves absolutely no more money whatsoever, because I already make more than an entry-level Research Analyst makes, but whatever.
Makin' my way in the world!
Also this means I can stop looking for jobs. Oh thank god.
Ways to Give:
digitalwave has been hit with a massive tax bill due to errors made many years ago. They're on a payment plan, but she and her husband have ongoing medical bills to pay and digitalwave is unable to work due to illness. She is selling comics, collectibles, books, accessories, and other items here to raise funds.
Anon linked to a fundraiser for Cat, a Rennie who is having shoulder problems after a kayaking accident and has had to cancel her summer renaissance faire in anticipation of shoulder surgery. Her surgery is covered by insurance, but the rest of her life while she awaits it and recovers is not; you can read more about the fundraiser for her non-medical bills here, and buy goods from her Etsy store here.
Kayla has been accepted to the 2014 Clarion SFF Writers' Workshop at UCSD, but needs help with travel expenses, as she'll be driving from Atlanta to San Diego. You can read more and support her efforts to get to the workshop here.
Help For Free:
Emily is doing an undergraduate seminar research essay on the formation of internet-based friendships using HP fan forums from the mid-2000s as a case study. As part of her research she's collecting anecdotal data via a survey, which you can fill out here. She is also available to discuss the survey if necessary at email@example.com
Mark let me know about Flamingo Rampant's newest project, "Who Will Hire You Now? Trans and Genderqueer People Talk About Our Work." A compilation of interviews with trans and genderqueer people regarding work and employment. They're looking for interview candidates; you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. (They would like people to include demographic details -- age, location, race, ability status, gender identity, sexual orientation -- and the job or jobs they want to talk about.)
News To Know:
Gen sent me an email about an experience her partner had with a therapist aiding them in gender transition, who gave them incorrect information regarding a therapy session requirement before a letter of recc for hormone treatment could be written. The therapist later admitted they provide misinformation about requirements on purpose, because they prefer a specific theraputic method. They both wanted to warn people against this therapist; you can read more about their experience here.
digitalwave also mods a couple of help-out comms on LJ: dusty_corners, a comm for people to post things they'd like to sell, and wish_list, a place for people to post when they need help or have charities to share.
kinetikatrue is looking for a new housemate for the People's Republic of Fandom, a 4 bedroom Victorian in Takoma Park, Maryland. You can read more about the household and its amenities here, as well as how to contact the residents.
And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can always post items for my attention in comments here (or on any post) or email me at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!).
2. Mad Men -- THAT WAS EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER WANTED, SCRAP EVERYTHING AND MAKE AN AU SHOW WHERE DON AND SALLY ARE FATHER/DAUGHTER GRIFTERS.
3. Orphan Black* -- Keep telling me this story, for I like it!
4. Once Upon a Time -- I haven't watched it yet.
*Technically this is Saturday TV but since I am subscribed through Amazon, I don't get it until the next day.
Overall, I've been a bit absent, gonna try to get back in gear.
(I suspect I'm going to end up staying up late tonight; there's an awful lot of partyish noise outside, perhaps some sort of sporting event? What DID we do before Netflix Watch Instant? Actually, scratch that, I remember life before Netflix Watch Instant; I watched all of BtVS and AtS on Netflix delivery DVDs, rationed out in little 4-episode-a-week mini-binges. NOT fun.)
eta: "I don't wanta be like other people. I don't wanta be like you. I don't wanta stoop that low. Kirk wouldn't stoop that low." What the HELLL show you just HIT ME WITH THAT KIND OF SWEET ISH with no warning or nothing? Like. That's even better than Lois McMaster Bujold's continued "City on the Edge of Forever" ref, "I love you" and "let me help."
God, I love science fiction.
One of them is an investigation of early Chinese novels, which led me to The Plum In The Golden Vase, the "fifth great novel" of Chinese literature, which has spent most of its five-hundred-plus-year existence banned due to graphic sex. Apparently the first really good English translation has just appeared on the scene; according to the article I'm reading, the first English translation in the 1940s had all the sex, but translated it into Latin instead of English, to get around some censorship law or other.
I assume Latin was chosen because Classicists all have dirty minds anyway.
One thing I find really strange/jarring about a lot of genre YA fiction is how something huge and life-changing happens and then the characters go back to doing normal teen things--particularly going to school. They also don't tell their parents things that they really, really should.
Like, authors, maybe I remember being a teenager better, I don't know, but I have something to tell you: I stayed home when I had to catch a late flight from vacation and nobody wanted to wake up in three hours to work/school the next day.
If I was secretly the princess of a magical kingdom and had until the full moon to find the Fiddlybobs of Rule, I would absolutely not be going to school. And yet, I saw this perpetrated again and again! I can forgive plots where the supernatural side of the story is a secret to be kept from parents (e.g., Animorphs), but that's not relevant in a lot of the books I'm reading now. Or sometimes the characters keep things secret when they really shouldn't because there's no evidence their parents suck, can't handle it, shouldn't handle it, or whatever. When things went south, 90% of the time my first instinct was to make an adult deal with it and those were normal life issues! If I needed to find the Fiddlybobs of Rule I would 100% be asking my parents if they know anybody in the Fiddlybob finding biz.
Were all YA authors raised by rabid disciplinarians?
I just got my book sale revenues from last month, and they were $110.
*tilts head other way*
I mean, when I put out a new book, revenues spike, of course, but I didn't put out a new book in March, and By The Days was out early in February. That's a high revenue for a regular month where I didn't publish, and looking at the data, I can't figure out why. It's not like one person bought ten books, and it's not like ten people all bought the same book, 42 people just randomly bought my books.
The only correlation I can see is that I posted my diatribe against gratuitous death in fiction before the spike, and the post was fairly popular, but the timing seems a little disparate.
AT ANY RATE, TRYING NOT TO JINX WHATEVER LUCK IS GOING ON HERE. Brownian motion, what can you do.
I know that's broken logic, but that's how it feels, right now, deep down inside. I am glad to have language for it, though, & will seek to do some patching. It's a way that I feel out of touch with my age cohort, because I keep finding emotional resonance in the words of older divorcees leaving long-term marriages that few of my friends have had the time to build as of yet.
I do wonder where I picked this stuff up in the first place.
There's a weird balance between liberalism and conservatism in being an outsider, I think; I couldn't have been brought up with more radical politics, and certainly in the eyes of Christian Patriarchalists I have been the worst of sinners, but in other ways I recognize the defensive snobbery of the girl-child who wants to believe that she's better than the other girls because she's industrious and family-oriented instead of crass or materialistic, and I'm not sure it mattered that much that my parents were anti-capitalist intellectuals instead of religious fundamentalists, not in the virtuous outsider social psychology of that sort of thing.
But it's awkward, because I still also do often think that the family ways I was raised to ARE Best, really & truly, and I want to be loyal to them.
Relatedly (?), I guess my Mormon childhood bff and intermittent crush object is also moving back up north. I have ... complex? ... feelings about this.
Mum and I have been texting all day about how:
a) The last of Mama Tickey's inheritance came through which means
b) I'm paying off all credit card debt tomorrow but
c) The Tickey family is not as excited as I am because one of my (THOUSANDS OF) stepcousins rolled his SUV down a 200-foot ravine yesterday evening.
Now, he survived, and apparently the worst he took was a broken nose and a broken arm, so there's that at least. But it's a hell of a mood swing to hear "You will never have to look after us in our old age" followed by "[stepcousin] is in the hospital btw, apparently he drove his car off a cliff by accident."
I believe that particular stepcousin is the one who wore jeans and a rodeo shirt to Mama Tickey's funeral. Coincidence, or a gentle reminder from the afterlife? Hm.
The incoming inheritance will be very nice, but I'm a little paralyzed by it. It's more money than I've ever had to my name in my life. Good, but perplexing.
My grandmother was born in Chicago in '33, a World's Fair baby, and she's got a tremendous collection of related stuff, but that poster - the one by Glen C. Sheffer, with the lady standing on the globe with her arms outreached - is the one she's always had most prominently on display. In quiet tribute to her, I've used it as an opening object in my science-fiction-topic comp class, and three circular detail-crops top my current syllabus. Suffice it to say that the image is majorly iconic for me and seeing it in this show is blowing my heart to confused sentimental bits.