Still discussion happening in my Hugo reactions post, if that was a thing that interested you at the time; it seems to have had a slow trickle out onto Twitter, sped up today by John Scalzi linking to it and other criticisms of his position from Shweta Narayan, Arachne Jericho, and Rose Lemberg.

I explained why I took a somewhat different approach than those posters in a comment on my old post, but the criticisms of Rose Lemberg, and SL Huang, about the idea of "merits" generally, are important and worth reading as a broadly-applicable matter. (To be clear, I also recommend Shweta and Arachne's posts as powerful and important, they're just a little more focused on the specifics of this discussion.)

A link roundup is being maintained by Stefan Raets.

I'm going to again err on the side of caution and screen anon comments; I will unscreen them as soon as I can if they're consistent with the policy statements in my profile. So far I haven't had to keep anything screened; I will say so if I do. But, if you have substantive comments rather than something about these links, I'd appreciate it if you took it to the original post, because I hate split discussions.

And now, I must go wash dishes.

I'm home with the Pip this afternoon because daycare is closed, and I can't take a nap because I had to do things and now it's too close to the time he'll wake up, so to keep myself awake, some more fic recs post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Spoilers below; organized chronologically except the one that I had to yell about.

SPOILERS )

So the nominations for the Hugo Awards (and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which is, we must ritually say, Not A Hugo) were announced this weekend, and have already occasioned a fair bit of comment while I was spending quality time with my family. (Here, have some cute kid pics.)

Here are some reactions, and reactions to reactions:

the slate of works pushed by Vox Day, cut for length )

Second:

The Wheel of Time, the fourteen-book epic fantasy series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, is nominated for Best Novel in its entirety. Here is where I disagree with some quite good friends, and say that even if this makes sense (and I am not convinced that a fourteen-book series really belongs on a Best Novel category, whether or not that is technically permissible), I didn't nominate it and I'm not voting for it, because frankly I don't think it deserves it. Yes, it more-or-less stuck the landing (ugh, I've still never written up the last volume), but the multiple books of wheel-spinning in the late-middle (I've still never read one of them all the way through; err, also, pun not intended) and the incredibly poor way it handles its gender politics mean that as far as I'm concerned, it would be a nostalgia/tribute vote and not one on its merits.

Third:

There are some really exciting things on the ballot, too. Ancillary Justice is one of the most talked-about novels in my circles this past year, and I look forward to reading it. A blog post about erasure of women from history is nominated for Best Related Work (next year, I nominate medievalpoc for something—Fanzine? Fan Writer?). Sites I read regularly are nominated in Semiprozine and Fanzine (Strange Horizons and The Book Smugglers, respectively). I've been nominating Abigail Nussbaum for Fan Writer for years, and I'm thrilled to see her on the ballot; Liz Bourke and Mark Oshiro also do great work. [*] And the Campbell Award nominees are, as best I can tell, at least 80% non-white-males (and the cover of Max Gladstone's first book, the 20%, looks like this). So that's pretty great.

[*] Though eligibility for Fan Writer, when it comes to paid-for work out on the web for free, is really messed up under the WSFS Constitution (PDF), and badly needs revision. When it's not 11:30 at night I can elaborate, if anyone cares, but really, I'm mostly convinced that it should be changed to "nonfiction writer" instead, as someone-or-other suggested.

Fourth:

All that said, I promised agnosticism, which is this: I genuinely cannot find it in me to care whether the Hugos devolve into, as James Nicoll points out with characteristic brevity and asperity, political parties, or whether prior community norms about politicking prevail, or Vox Day et al. get bored, or whatever. Worst comes to worst, a few years of concerted effort results in actual winners instead of mere nominations for hateful trolls, and a few year after that, booksellers and the like catch up and realize that the Hugo is no longer prestigious, and, well, SFF fandom is big, even the bits of it that self-identify as fandom, and WorldCon and the Hugos are only a small part of that. Maybe Locus stops overweighting subscriber votes and becomes the popular award of record. Maybe the Nebulas experience a surge in prestige. Maybe I hit the lottery and endow a juried award in my honor. Who knows? But the Hugos aren't that big a teapot, at the end of the day, and if people want to self-identify with them and participate in the community that votes on them, great, they should do that, and if people don't, great, they should do that too.

(Note: my availability may be erratic over the next couple of days, so I am screening anon comments in an excess of caution. If you're new here, please review the policy statements in my profile before commenting. Thank you.)

but it is not this day. Saw it again tonight, this time with Chad.

spoilers, of course )

Only different trailer was for The Giver, which looked like a bog-standard boring YA dystopia before the title reveal. (Somehow I made it out of the US educational system without reading it, so I don't know if I'd have recognized it beforehand.)
Hello, DW. I had a very busy weekend, all of it lovely, which is nice since Thursday was, oh, let's say top three in worst courtroom experiences ever.

Friday: the kids went off to Chad's parents, and we went to see the Hold Steady in a little tiny restaurant/bar in Albany. I was still really tired from the week and recovering from this cold, but I found a bar stool to perch on at the side of the room, which both kept me from having to stand and elevated me slightly so I could see somewhat. Unfortunately, this meant I had a really good view of the singer from the opening act, who cut for minor grossness )

Anyway. Chad has been a huge fan of the Hold Steady since the days of "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"; I like a few of their songs and can take or leave the rest, but I had a very good time anyway, because it's the kind of music that sounds best when played loud, live, and to an audience who knows all the words. Their lead singer has the weirdest version of rock star . . . stardom, I guess, though. I can't call it charisma, because I have seen rock star charisma, I have been to a Yes I Am-era Melissa Etheridge concert and two Bruce Springsteen concerts, okay, that is charisma, which (if you swing that way, and maybe even if you don't) obliterates the "or" in "everyone wants to do me or be me" (TM Tom and Lorenzo). What Craig Finn, the Hold Steady's vocalist, has, is neither do me or be me, but is kind of an infectious dorky joy at being there in the first place to have fun with everyone else (the last part is key). I just spent way too long looking for decent live videos of my favorite songs, without luck, so have a semi-random video of "Chips Ahoy" (the racing wagers song) from several years ago, to give you a sense of the idea. For more details, see Chad's post and the set list.

Then Saturday I had a routine endoscopy, just to make sure a decade of acid reflux hasn't caused significant damage; this was actually why we'd sent the kids off in the first place, since it involved anesthesia and someone else driving me home. The procedure was fine and I spent the afternoon asleep on the couch, just a little soreness that has passed. Even not eating after midnight or drinking after eight was perfectly tolerable when I didn't have to get up at five with a toddler, so hey, no complaints. Plus that night we got to watch the college where Chad works, Union College, win their first-ever NCAA championship in men's hockey, which was pretty great. (The NYT story does a good job of putting the game in context.)

Today I drove out to Massachusetts to have lunch with friends from high school and a selection of their kids, including an eleven-week-old that my friend was kind enough to let various of us snuggle. I do not want another baby, but there's just nothing like a tiny baby asleep on your shoulder, and that was a really lovely full-body trip down nostalgia lane. Plus I got to have a conversation with another kid who is a bit older than SteelyKid, and catch up with all the adults, and it was all very restorative, despite the drive.

And then tonight Chad and I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because he skipped it opening weekend to take SteelyKid to movie night at her school (he was much less interested than me, and SteelyKid was super-hyped to go to movie night). More on that (inevitably) in a moment.

Oh my god this day. Here, let me dump some more Captain America: The Winter Soldier feelings. (I haven't seen it again, because free time, hah!)

Spoilers for the MCU )

additional spoiler from comics )

Some fic recs, which I think ought to be pretty clear what they're like from the tags and summaries:

cut for length )

Finally, an addendum to my post about the trailers: an important critique of Lucy.

I've got the kids' Cold of Doom, surprise surprise, and took an unplanned snooze getting His Pipliness down for his nap, so something easy to get my brain working again. Here are the trailers I had with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (more thoughts on which coming, unsurprisingly).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: no. Absolutely not. (Grimdark? The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?!)

Lucy: if it weren't "let me make a damn Black Widow movie, already," I would be a titch concerned about how much like The Matrix it looks like, but hey: let Scarlett Johansson make a damn Black Widow movie, already.

Blended: As if Adam Sandler and romcom weren't bad enough, they had to go set it in Africa. Run away! Run away!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: I still have no interest in this.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: I'd like to be convinced, but (1) I am allergic to time-travel stories and (2) even if Brian Singer is back, I'm not sure how much goodwill I have left for this franchise. The trailer is notable for having some really impressive eyefucking and at least three perfect single tears, which . . . I dunno, could be good or bad depending on my mood, I guess.

Maleficent: I love her design, and I have zero idea what kind of story is coming out of it.

Guardians of the Galaxy: I don't want to like this movie, and nothing about the trailer is making me feel conflicted about this stance. (The audience was pretty cold toward it.)

A lot of you have opinions about the ranking of Heyer books!

As of five minutes ago, Cotillion was the runaway favorite, with 45/64 votes putting it in the top tier.

Next were: Frederica (34), The Grand Sophy (27), Venetia (26), and The Unknown Ajax (25).

Bonus mention to The Talisman Ring (20), which has a fervent faction in comments making the pitch for its underratedness.

And because I promised [personal profile] metaphortunate, a follow-up question: Read more... )

Okay, here's how this is going to go. I have a bunch of stuff I wrote before the movie, because I thought it would be useful in assessing it after and also I was indulging my anxiety because I really wanted this movie not to suck. That's first. And then I'm going to feelings-dump until I have to stop, and then I'm going to read all your spoilery posts, and then I'll probably be back tomorrow to talk some more about things other people have said.

(Oh, and guys? You know there's two post-credits scenes, by this point, right?)

Pre-movie knowledge and expectations )

SPOILERS for entire MCU to date, not just this movie )

Because [personal profile] skygiants asked, and because I don't mind using search & replace to generate DW poll code off of Wikipedia's novel list (hence the years, because it would take too long to edit them out): a poll about Heyer's Regency romance novels, what your personal top-tier are and, bonus question, what (if any) one you suspect is probably underrated generally.

Because there are a lot of books and the first question involves ticky boxes, it's behind the cut.

Read more... )

First: You're Always Coming Out, by [personal profile] thefourthvine.

Coming out is supposed to happen in One Big Moment. Usually your One Big Moment involves coming out to your parents; sometimes, especially in fiction, it's coming out at a press conference or in front of an audience or something. But wherever it happens, the concept is the same: in that moment, your whole life changes. Before, you were closeted and ashamed, and after, you become open and honest. You have chewed your way out of the cocoon of secrecy to emerge as a beautiful gay butterfly!

[ . . . ]

So my One Big Moment was -- not. It was not big. It was not dramatic. It was, to be honest, pretty comical. [ . . . ] It didn't even manage to be a single moment, since I spread it over most of a day.

This was probably much better preparation for the rest of my life than I thought at the time.

Second: untitled post at [tumblr.com profile] imreallybad, which is very short, so in full:

bisexual people passing as straight when they’re in a straight relationship is not “passing privilege.” it’s erasure. it’s assimilation.

that’s like saying that femme lesbians have privilege over butch lesbians. invisibility might keep people safer on a micro-level which is fucked up, but it’s all based on people thinking they can tell who’s queer & who’s straight just by looking at them, which is infinitely problematic and painful.

don’t alienate queer people who are assumed to be straight. invisibility is a symptom of hetero-normativity, not a privilege.

With regard to this one: I agree with the first sentence of the last paragraph, but I'm not entirely convinced by the last. Or maybe I'm not thinking of "privilege" in a sufficiently narrow/term-of-art sense. But the day-in, day-out that [personal profile] thefourthvine describes? I'm in a heterosexual relationship, and as a result I don't have to do that.

Don't get me wrong—invisibility sucks! It's why I bothered to come out in the first place! But, seeing those posts in that order . . . I don't know, it just felt like a post I should make.

(And now, having failed to come to a better conclusion, I must take my dull self off to do some dishes and make the kids' lunches. Talk among yourselves, if you like.)

some lousy-quality, but cute, pictures taken of them in the last week (with the camera in my tablet; all previously uploaded to FaceBook. I think the thing likely to push me over into getting a smartphone is actually an always-on-me camera, weirdly enough.).

A week ago, the Pip demanded I take his picture; here he is with SteelyKid, singing a song about flowers (consisting of "flowers!" over and over again):

two pictures )

The intermediate stage of SteelyKid's Lego Jaeger, entirely self-designed and -constructed:

one picture )

And the Pip, telling me he has a new nose:

one picture )

They are now, uh, *counts on fingers, rounds off* five and three-quarters and two and a half, basically. Time, it does fly.
Tonight, SteelyKid asked whether boys could give birth (well, she said, "born a baby," because that's a hard verb formulation), and thanks to the picture book What Makes a Baby—and especially its Reader's Guide—I felt reasonably comfortable answering her question in an age-appropriate, non-cis-normative way. So, I highly recommend it (passing it on; someone here originally recommended it to me).

Emphatically not recommended, by the way, is the book which prompted this discussion, Tikki Tikki Tembo (Wikipedia). I told her at the beginning that we were going to say it took place somewhere made up (she came up with "Treeland") because it said untrue and mean things about China, which is a real place with real people. And I'm going to recommend that the school take it out of its 1,000 book reading program.

(Hi! The winter and chronic sleep deprivation has made me feel sort of . . . muted, like someone had pressed a button on a remote, when it came to writing here, which then turned into a self-perpetuating cycle. But there was actual sun and mildness today, and this seemed like a topic for you all, and I will try to be more present because I miss you all. Also: Captain America 2 this weekend, and I expect to be blurting out FEELINGS all over DW. (NO SPOILERS. NONE.))

Over a year ago, friends asked me, heavily paraphrased, how did I manage to maintain outside interests after having kids. I wrote part of an email several months ago, and then in a (successful!) push to get to Inbox: Zero, finished it earlier this month. With their permission, and Chad's, I'm putting a slightly edited version of it here for public consumption.

I tried really hard to make it clear that I was writing from my own experience here and that other people's situations may vary, but I probably did less of that in a personal email than I would have in a public post. So consider that disclaimer bolded and emphasized up front: this is what I find helpful and what I thought those friends would also find helpful, but I'm really not judging anyone who finds that other things work better for them or who weighs priorities differently, because that is an awful thing to do (assuming thresholds of safety, care, and affection are met, of course).

and now, the email )

Icon in honor of the Gorey covers of Sarah Caudwell's books, the first two of which I spotted on my shelves while changing clothes. They were only on my shelves because they used not to be available electronically, which has changed now, so hey, check them out—they're awesome.

[Selena] likes, I know, to pretend that Julia is a normal, grown-up woman, who can safely be sent round the corner to buy a loaf of bread; but, of course, it is quite absurd. Poor Julia’s inability to understand what is happening, or why, in the world about her, her incompetence to learn even the simplest of the practical skills required for survival—these must have made it evident, even in childhood, that she would never be able to cope unaided with the full responsibilities of adult life. She must have been, no doubt, a docile, good-natured child, with a certain facility for Latin verbs and intelligence tests—but what use is that to anyone? Seeking some suitable refuge, where her inadequacies would pass unnoticed, her relatives, very sensibly, sent her to Lincoln’s Inn. She is now a member of the small set of Revenue Chambers in 63 New Square. There she sits all day, advising quite happily on the construction of the Finance Acts, and doing no harm to anyone. But to let her go to Venice—I imagined her, wandering alone through those devious alleyways, looking—as, indeed, she does at the best of times—like one of the more dishevelled heroines of Greek tragedy; and I could not forbear to chide.

Familiar characters, something good on every page, plots I only partly remember, and just fun. There, reader's block conquered.

Thank you for all your suggestions—I'd forgotten that I need to put Hild on my list of homework. (I tried the sample online, but it was a lot of names and words for my current mood.)

help me DW

Feb. 25th, 2014 08:23 am
What do I want to read?
DVR'ed, thanks to the AV Club noting it was running on CW a few weeks ago. This is the low-budget British alien invasion flick from a couple years ago that got a lot of critical buzz.

Good stuff, nothing stunningly ground-breaking but makes excellent use of a limited budget (see: the creature design) and a good cast. The setting is also very specific, which contributes significantly to its success. Roger Ebert's review is good; I don't know if the theatrical version is more horror-like, I have a pretty low tolerance for such things and was okay with what we saw. (TV has the advantage of subtitles. Also, I almost wish they'd bleep expletives rather than just mute them, because it makes it more obvious that something is missing.)

Now I almost want to re-read Broken Homes, which is also about council estates in South London (and has a lot about architecture and history).
1) I've reached the limit of trading non-Fate gifts for Masquing, so don't send me any. Instead, comment here, and I will send you something (a Buttered Chess Piece by default, because it trades in for 2 Masquing and so is a more efficient use of actions, but if you're collecting them all, make a request) and you can send me a menace reduction offer or chess invite in return.

2) Here is a list of what you can spend Masquing on. Note that the more expensive ones are not significant improvements, stat-wise, over the less expensive ones, and should be regarded principally as role-playing choices.

3) Speaking of which, I want the Monster-Hunting Academic because she's awesome. So I'm willing to trade for at least 30 Fate and up to 80 Fate (I could trade in last year's Luxuriantly Coiffed Sorrow-Spider, which I don't use, but I'd be willing to keep it in case it eventually unlocks something or you really need something; also, the Pirate Poet and the Ghostly Presence would be kind of cool just because). Those can be anything, since I'm going to trade them I don't care what. Just ask first in case I forget to update this post.

(Separately, I'd like a Hamper of Heart-Cuts, because apparently you can feed them to the Rose-bearing Maggot.)

The Feast lasts for two weeks, so there's no rush on this.

4) I'm still poking at the additional content in the Feast of the Rose card itself, but in case you haven't noticed, it has at least four different sets of options that appear at different times.
Such as when the live Welcome to Night Vale show in Northampton didn't sell out immediately.

*prints ticket*

(Granted, it's two hours drive away, so this is not the wisest thing I've ever done, but it's going to make me really happy.)
It's that time in Fallen London. And it's a snow delay day, so, gifts!

ETA 2: see next rock.

superseded )

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