July 2014

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Friday, August 1st, 2014 05:17 pm
This poem was written outside the prompt calls. Musician and band name are by Trevor Edwards. It also fills the "road trip" square on my 1-2-14 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
Friday, August 1st, 2014 05:25 pm
AV Club: Hawkeye 19 uses Deafness to help a Broken Clint Barton to find his Voice

Has a bit of ableist language; otherwise a good article.

The easiest way for readers to see more diversity is to support titles that feature diverse casts and creative teams. Larime Taylor is a disabled comics creator born with arthrogryposis, and he writes, draws, tones, and letters his work with his mouth. His Top Cow series, A Voice In The Dark, is a chilling psychological thriller featuring a primarily female cast, and it returns in September with a new first issue in full color. Valiant’s Harbinger stars a disabled cast member in John “Torque” Torkelson, a teenage boy that is paralyzed from the waist down, but can project solid psychic holograms that turn him into a powerful superhero. Gail Simone introduced a new disabled superheroine to the DC universe with Vengeance Moth in The Movement, but low sales prompted that book’s cancellation after a year.

Bleeding Cool: How Hawkeye #19 Portrays the World of a Deaf SuperHero to a Hearing Audience, for Next Year's Eisner Awards

Has some images of the comic; does not appear to have image descriptions. If anyone has the wherewithal to put descriptions in the comments there or here, that would be cool. There are also several typos in the article, FYI.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 02:11 pm
I am attempting a meme.

[profile] wordsofastory gave me...

rachelmanija and food.

Food is my passion. My first meeting with [personal profile] oyceter consisted of an hour-long discussion of tropical fruit. (Best tropical fruit: fresh lychees and Alphonso mangos. I have still, sadly, never had a mangosteen. Worst tropical fruit: custard apples. They taste fine. I just can't deal with the grainy AND slimy texture.)

One of the very best things about Los Angeles is the food. Even LA-haters cannot deny that this is a great city for food. We have great high-end fancy dining. We have excellent medium-priced restaurants. We have AMAZING low-end cheap food - taco kitchens at the back of corner stores, food trucks, guys with rainbow umbrellas selling fresh fruit - mangoes, soft young coconut, pineapple, oranges, cucumbers- that they slice up while you watch and douse in chili, seasoned salt, and lime.

People in LA love food. They are passionate about food. They photograph their meals and post them on the internet. They follow food trucks on twitter. They make earrings of teeny cupcakes and wear them to pastry shops. If you read the Chowhound board for Los Angeles, every single restaurant thread will have at least three posters claiming that it used to be good, but now it's gone downhill. This includes restaurants that opened last week. The sushi is always fresher on the other side of the freeway.

My grandmother used to say, "Food is love." I would say, "food is feeling." Food is memory. Food is culture. Food is passion. A bad relationship with food, or an illness that affects eating, or only bad food available will make you miserable in a way that goes way beyond the actual moments where you confront the problem food. Being able to enjoy food again is a shocking joy.

As I type, I am drinking a cup of coffee with powdered creamer because my milk ran out, and eating wafer cookies with black sesame cream.

rachelmanija and werewolves.

The biggest influence on how I think of shapeshifters is Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. If you transform yourself into an animal, you think as an animal thinks. Will you remember how to become a human again? Will you still want to, when you can soar as a hawk?

To me, the most interesting thing about being a person who can become an animal is what it would feel like to be an animal. I can't know what that would be like, but when I think of the moments when I've thought the least and felt the most, when I've reacted most purely on instinct... they're all moments that felt, if not good exactly, very pure. Very clear. Stripped down to the basics. Usually, in fact, that does feel good. If it doesn't, it's because of context - like, you're fighting for your life. But that can feel good, too.

When I imagine being an animal, I think of a combination of being enraptured in the present moment, caught by the beauty of a sunrise or the taste of a peach, and of an adrenaline rush. Halfway between combat and meditation.

I'd like being a wolf, I think. It would be very tempting to stay one.

rachelmanija and fashion.

I had no interest in fashion until [personal profile] oyceter convinced me to watch Project Runway, and in between designers squabbling and having meltdowns, I started getting a sense of how different silhouettes and colors create different feelings, and the history of fashion, and why people get very passionate about matchy-matchy. Watching the designers dissect the designs and listening to them explain why they liked one dress and disliked another, I started seeing what they saw. And then I started having opinions.

I now own quite a few dresses. And shoes. And blouses. And skirts. I periodically poke through ebay and etsy, and I wear shoes to work that I bought in Paris. I have Betsey Johnson dresses and Prabal Gurung for Target shirts and a dress. I wear my matchy-matchy belt and shoes and smile to myself.

For myself, I like very girly dresses with fitted tops and skirts that swing. I like bright colors and jewel tones and patterns, and also slinky black and corsets. I like black leather jackets and Battenberg lace, and slashed tops and high boots and trench coats. I don't wear stiletto heels.

The main thing I learned from Project Runway is that fashion is supposed to be fun, and it's about wearing things that you like and that make you look good.

I used to think of it as this horrible game of one-upmanship and that it was all about desperately keeping up with the correct thing, or else everyone laughs at you. But now that I'm out of high school, I think of it as a buffet you pick and choose from, and a set of elements that, if you understand them, you can use to create a look that will say what you want to convey. It's like writing, if you think of it. You select the tropes, or you select the silhouettes and colors and shoes. If you do it right, you have said, and you feel, "Playful!" or "Sexy!" or "Badass!" or "Classic Elegance!"

You are embodying a feeling, not just a look. Sometimes you're embodying a story. See how these dressesconvey the sense of an atmosphere and a story? And these convey a different story.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 11:38 am
May I recommend to you Ask A Man. (A personal favorite, to start with.)

From the description:
Stephen Shaughnessy is a Certified Man who lives in England in 1882. He answers questions on tumblr through the strangest of black magics, which he does not choose to explain here.
But Stephen Shaughnessy first saw the light of day as a helpful guy in the pages of The Suffragette Scandal, by Courtney Milan, currently $3.99 on Amazon Kindle:
It has come to the attention of the editorial staff that our newspaper, with its determination to be "by women, about women, and for women," cannot possibly impress anyone as we lack the imprimatur of a man to validate our thoughts. To that end, we have procured an Actual Man to answer questions. Please address all inquiries to Man, care of Women's Free Press, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. - F.M.
I know people who scoff at the idea of comfort reading. Which is fine: you don't have to like all the things I like. Though I will note by the way that a number of you have sources of comfort in basically all of your reading that not all of us have. Representation, of course; and the characters who represent you not having mysteriously gone llama. The subtle reinforcement of the social pyramid is a nearly unnoticeable source of comfort to those of us on top! But, you know, that's cool, like I said, you don't have to like romance novels or anything like that, and it's not like Milan is immune to it in her own ways. If you're not into femme stuff, or fluff, peace out now; I want to talk about Courtney Milan, and her books are romance, and fluff, and they are the best fluff ever and if you like this sort of thing you need to read these. NOW.

Here is the key to the joy of Courtney Milan, helpfully summed up in the title of one of her very own novellas:
The Lady Always Wins
Remember when I wrote about Georgette Heyer?
Hugo wants Anthea and Anthea wants Hugo, that is a fact. But in the way their conflict is set up - the classic way that courtship is set up - if Hugo is cleverer than Anthea, Hugo and Anthea get each other, and if Anthea is cleverer than Hugo, neither of them gets to be happy. What's Anthea's motivation to be clever, or funny, or effective, or wise, when doing it gets her punished instead of rewarded?
Oh my God, Heyer is funny and fun, but all of her heroines (but Sophy! Go, Sophy) have to accept their proposals in tears, reposing on the manly bosoms of men who have masculinely rescued them and corrected them and sorted out their lives, because God knows the women were making a dog's breakfast of them. Elizabeth is so very Wrong about Darcy and Wickham (Darcy needs to be less of a dickhead, but he's not Wrong about Elizabeth's family being jerks, because: jerks.) Marianne is Wrong about, uh, everything, and needs to nearly die and admit that she is just so goddamn emotional and wrong before "by general consent" she can become the reward of everyone's obligations to Colonel Brandon. Jo is Wrong about wanting to be a boy and a writer and not marry and she needs to stop writing all that awful trash that they put in newspapers! where kids can read it! and marry a much older man (all covered in crumbs, obviously) and start a Boys' School where she can teach Boys and have Boys because Boooooooooys, fuck it.

(In these days of the 50 Shades trailer coming out and everyone falling all over themselves to go on about how awful it is that women just keep throwing their wallets at that crap, I'd like to take a moment to say that I haven't read 50 Shades, but I have read Twilight now, and I saw the movie, and my understanding of the rest of them is that it kind of boils down to this:

Bella: Damn, you are hot.
Edward: You are also hot and fascinating, and I would like to spend eternity hearing about your favorite bands, but I can never be with you because I am too sexy and powerful and dangerous!
Bella: Wow, really? I would like to have a sexy powerful dangerous boyfriend who thinks I am hot and fascinating. Incidentally, I would also like to MYSELF be this sexy powerful dangerous thing.
Edward: No, I can't! It's too dangerous!
Bella: And sexy and powerful?
Edward: Maybe.
Plot: [Occurs.]
Bella: [Gets every single thing she wants.]
Bella: Huh, this is what I used to want, and what I tried to get, and now that I have it…I'm really happy and pleased with my undeath choices. Plus we even have a magical daughter who was sleeping through the night 30 minutes after she was born. Let's make out!
[makeouts] [interrupted by wrestling mountain lions and punching a dude who used to kiss her without permission]


Anyway, Courtney Milan, back to her: it's like a romance novel, with the focus on women, and the comfort reading style, and the sexy parts, but without the bit where the women are doing everything Wrong and the men swoop in and correct them. Instead, the women are doing various other things! Sometimes they are not daring to let themselves be great and they need someone to encourage them to be great. Sometimes they are in a tough situation but they meet someone else who is in a tough situation and they find ways that they can help each other. Sometimes they are in a tough situation but they meet someone who needs help and that gives them an idea for a way in which they can help the other person and also themselves. Sometimes they meet someone who is Wrong and just needs his ass kicked. Sometimes, although in minor parts, they are lesbians. They're pretty cute about it!

And the lady. Always. Wins.

And Milan is seriously just getting better and better. Like she says: don't start with the Carhart series - unless, going back to representation, you would cry with gratitude to read a happy ending romance novel about a good person who happens to be struggling with what looks like bipolar, in which case you want Trial by Desire. But every book she has published is better than the one before. Last year I was raving about The Countess Conspiracy, because Ms. Milan knows what unspeakable desire really lurks in the hearts of women: a powerful, sexy man who is devoted to the dream of getting his beloved her rightful principal investigator status on her published scientific discoveries and then becoming a faculty husband.

But The Suffragette Scandal is even better.

So read it.

If you like that sort of thing.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 11:14 am
Days written: 24/31
Words written: 6,895
Words of fic written: 5,909
Stories worked on: Six and some ficlets
Stories posted: Three plus ficlets

Graph )

For July's goals, I'm just tempted to post the word "FAIL" in bright sparkly letters over and over, but that wouldn't really be keeping myself accountable, so...

1. Write six days per week. NO EXCUSES. Better than last month, but still no. I have officially decided that working on substantial meta counts as a writing day. Not every journal entry or fandom meme response, but if I put as much work into it as I do into a piece of fiction? It should count. If I'm serious about wanting to get back into writing posts about things that are important to me, I shouldn't treat it as something I have to find time for in between writing fic.

2. Revise and update guest post for [community profile] ladybusiness. Complete! Okay, I guess I didn't fail every goal.

3. Polish and crosspost [community profile] genprompt_bingo fic and write at least one more. I posted the "Missing Persons" fic to AO3 (but still haven't crossposted it here), and wrote a kind-of draft for another prompt but am not crazy about it. And I'm just not that excited by the rest of that row after all. I'm starting to think that maybe I need a break from bingos entirely.

4. Finish [community profile] dragonagewomen story (and post? I need a better handle on the schedule). This project seems to have been abandoned. I went back and checked the schedule, and posting was supposed to have been in mid-June. I'll probably still clean up this story and post it eventually, but right now other things have mindspace.

5. Work on Tumblr giveaway fic. Didn't even start.

So, this is kind of bad. But not as bad as I thought it would be. And actually, the last couple of weeks I have been feeling a little better about what I write. When I sit down and start rolling, the words that come out are pretty good, and they inspire more words to come, but there haven't been many of those days. If you take a look at the chart up there, you'll see that it's a very few high-count days, interspersed with lots of low numbers and even zeros (although some of those are editing days that don't produce new words). So it's an improvement, and I'm not feeling quite as down and frustrated as I was. Still a little sluggish, but better.

Goals for August, which might have the monkey wrench of being out of town for a week in a place with no or limited internet and/or writing time, but it also may not -- the trip might also be canceled, and I won't know for sure until next Wednesday. So consider these goals provisional.

1. Write six days a week, except maybe while traveling.

2. Work on Tumblr giveaway fic.

3. Finish and post at least two WIP (one MCU story that's almost finished, check on other IP stuff).

4. Write [community profile] ladybusiness guest post (for a super sekrit project!).

5. Start on Dragon Age Reverse Big Bang story (due mid-September).
Friday, August 1st, 2014 12:50 pm
Captain America shares his views on immigration.  You really don't want to be leaning over that guy when he goes off. 
Friday, August 1st, 2014 12:21 pm
 [personal profile] thebonesofferalletters has posted a call for prompts with the option theme of "dreams and illusions."  There are perks for donations.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 10:20 am
So if you recall, back when I first joined WorldCon, I had all these grand plans about how I was going to talk about my Hugo reading, through both the nomination and voting process, and how those basically came to nothing. The voting deadline was yesterday, and my votes are in, so consider this a post-mortem of sorts.

Musings behind the cut. )

In conclusion, read Ancillary Justice. ;)

Soon it will be time to start scoping out the landscape for 2014. I spent the last two months reading nothing that wasn't nominated for a Hugo or Campbell, and two months at the beginning of the year reading nothing that wasn't eligible for nomination, so I think I'll be able to better balance it all if I start earlier. Here's hoping, anyway.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 11:02 am


Magic Carpet Ride

I’ve been boarding Magic (an Anglo – Tennessee Walker cross)  for a friend for years. I originally volunteered to board her in her retirement because she never got hurt and she never got sick. Yesterday morning, she was screaming for her breakfast. This morning, she was showing  signs of colic when I went to give the horses their breakfast. After consulting with her owner and vet, she was euthanized around 10:00 am.  Although her ground manners left a bit to be desired, she was an awesome trail horse, search and rescue horse, and field hunter in her time.

Mirrored from Five Acres with a View.

Friday, August 1st, 2014 10:21 am
One of my favorite songs in a newer typography version. I like this one better than the first one I saw!! :)

Friday, August 1st, 2014 10:11 am
So J introduced me to Evil Nine last night. I'm liking it rather much, especially this song!

Friday, August 1st, 2014 03:57 am
 The actions of the past are visible, like ghosts, in the shapes of present trees.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 12:29 am
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk," and "kintsukuroi."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Nick Fury
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Minor character death. Bullying. Fighting. Suicide attempt (minor character).
Summary: This is the story of how a little boy named Flip grows up to save the world a lot.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. Accidents. Emotional whump. Disability. Sibling relationship. Nonsexual love. Parentification. Manipulation. Coping skills. Asking for help and getting it. Hope. Protection. Caregiving. Competence. Toys and games. Comic books. Fixing things. Martial arts. Gentleness. Trust. Role models. Military. BAMF Phil Coulson.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26.

Read more... )
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 11:55 pm
This poem was written outside the prompt calls, inspired by the "flirting" square in my 5-22-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread in the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 09:44 pm
So, my COBRA continuation coverage ran out. I had to run to the health care exchange in Washington state, and buy a plan that's about $150 cheaper a month, but with slightly different co-pay/out of pocket structure. So it may or may not be a wash, money-wise.

It's ridiculous that it's *this* much trouble. It's ridiculous that, if the ACA had been ruined, I wouldn't be able to keep working at a job I enjoy because my employer offers a horrid health care plan. But, wow, it's better than it used to be.

I suppose if I was 20, I should be horrified that, if I was in perfect health, an insurance company *might* have sold me a cheaper policy with really poor benefits. But I think about this: my blood sugar's a bit wonky, I've been tested for heart problems, I've been on antidepressants - time was, I simply could not - could not! - buy a health insurance policy. They simply wouldn't write one for me at any price.

I guess this is another tricky distraction of President Obama, like his sneaky, dirty, filthy trick of getting Congressional Republicans to talk about impeaching him. But if so, it's working, for me at least.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014 11:16 pm
 Loony-Brain is hosting a call for prompts on the theme of "dreams and nightmares."  Also previously unsponsored stories are on sale half-price.