April 2014

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Monday, April 21st, 2014 01:34 am
When I stopped speaking Vietnamese,
It took me years to be comfortable
With calling any elder “you.”
How a language could be so simple
Was beyond my comprehension;
There was no understanding
Of respect.

In Vietnamese, honorifics are law.
You are to address someone
In relationship with their age to yours—
An older man of the same generation:
Anh, older brother.
An older womxn of the same generation:
Chị, older sister.
Cậu or , Mother’s brother or sister,
For someone as old as Mother.
And for someone as old as Father,
Chú or , Father’s brother or sister.
And a person older than both parents
Is bác, a parent’s older sibling.
And even older, an elderly person,
Like Grandpa or Grandma,
Is ông or bà, grandpa or grandma.

To separate the non-kinship
From the familial is then impossible
For we, Vietnamese, are family.
To pay homage in any other way
Is unacceptable,
Because “you” is impersonal—“You”
Can be any stranger on the street.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 11:42 pm
This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] janetmiles. It also fills the "wishing" square on my 11-26-13 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by LiveJournal user Lb_lee. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

WARNING: This poem mentions some weird forms of self-harm and gruesome situations, inspired by superhero origin stories.

Read more... )
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 11:40 pm

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.)

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Sunday, April 20th, 2014 05:09 pm
This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] corvi. It also fills the "senses" square in my 1-31-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 06:17 pm
Hey people who take baths, and claim it is relaxing:

How does that work? Like, specifically, how often do you clean your bathtub?

Currently Rocket is bathed in a small baby tub, and the Junebug takes baths in our ordinary tub, and let me tell you I am counting the days until he grows out of reacting to showers like we have chosen to wash him in the special Flesh-Flensing Acid Shower of Death. Because right now he gets washed twice a week, ordinarily, and I have to scrub the tub down first, at least a quick wipe with one of those Lysol wet wipes, because, Jesus. I mean, we shower in that thing daily. I’ve seen what we pull out of the shower drain. It’s gross. I don’t want him sitting in that. Instead I worry about how well I’ve been able to rinse the tub and about whether it’s poisoning him sitting in Soft Scrub residue. So, like, I walk by Lush, I look at the bath bombs, it sounds nice, but then I think about the choice of sitting in dregs of hair and scum or else scrubbing the tub and then sitting in bleach eddies. Plus, if I got a bath bomb, probably scrubbing the tub afterwards as well. How does it get to be relaxing?
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 01:33 pm
Today is the last day of the half-price sale in the series Polychrome Heroics.  Links have been added for recently posted poems.  I still have one more sponsored poem to post later today.  There are lots of poems left if you're still shopping.  Some are epics but there are plenty of shorter ones starting at $2.50.
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 01:00 pm
This poem is spillover from the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "hands" square on my 3-30-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 12:38 pm
This article suggests that consciousness is a state of matter.  Well, yes.  It's kind of like how little whizzing bits of energy get together and pretend to be solid.  But consciousness is also a lot more fractal and holographic than most people realize.  It's not indivisible.  Parts of it can be lost and other parts still function, or conversely, parts can be lost but then regained from unexpected angles.
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 03:35 pm
This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "extortion" square in my 6-10-13 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest and the "fury" square in my 3-6-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
Saturday, April 19th, 2014 01:13 pm
I'm going to Peru for a week (Lima and Cuzco) very early on Wednesday morning. If anyone has tips of things to do, things to avoid, I'd greatly appreciate them.

I also have two specific questions: if you've been and if they're applicable, how did you handle carrying around/bringing your laptop, and how did you handle using your smartphone?