George by Alex Gino

Dec. 8th, 2016 01:05 pm
[personal profile] my_secret_book_journal

George is a 4th grade trans girl. Over the course of the book, she comes out: first to her bff Kelly, then to her mother, then to her brother. Kelly, who is a generally delightful and positive character, rolls with it almost immediately. George's mom is freaked out; something that's revealed in later chapters is that the whole family (mother, brother, absent father) have assumed for many years that George is gay, and have all long since accepted her as gay, but trans is sort of a bridge too far.

The self-acceptance / coming-out plot hangs on the structure of a classroom play: Charlotte's Web. George wants to play Charlotte, and actually auditions for the part, although she's slapped down by her (otherwise sympathetic) teacher. Kelly gets the part instead, and George opts for stage crew over the part of Wilbur. But there are two performances, and Kelly and George conspire to pass off Kelly's costume and send George on stage as Charlotte for the evening performance. People are astonished but it all works out.

In the final chapter, Kelly's uncle offers her and a friend a trip to the zoo -- he lives in another town and has not met George, so at Kelly's suggestion, George puts on some loaner clothes from Kelly and spends a day at the zoo as Melissa. The uncle (and everyone else at the zoo) are none the wiser. George's mother also says she's going to take her to a therapist; it's clear she's going to find someone sympathetic, and George notes that she has read on the Internet that the first step in transitioning is usually to go to a therapist so this is definitely progress in the right direction.

For the most part, this book felt a little connect-the-dots-y but it is (I think) the first middle-grade chapter book about a trans kid, or at least it's the first middle-grade chapter book about a trans kid to come from a major publisher.

There are a couple of really nice moments when George comes out to her family. Her brother, over mashed potatoes, assures her that he already knows she's gay and is FINE with it. ("I don't care. My friend Matt is gay. It's no big deal.") She then tells Scott the real secret: "I think I'm a girl." Scott is silent, eats some more mashed potatoes, and then says, "Ohhh. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That's more than just being gay. No wonder [mom's] freaking out." And then they talk a little more, he says "oh" again, he asks tactlessly "So, like, do you want to" -- he made a gesture with two fingers like a pair of scissors--"go all the way?" and then finishes off with, "Weird. But it kinda makes sense. No offense, but you don't make a very good boy."

I liked this whole scene: Scott has been set up as the super-boyish teenage boy to contrast with the very, very girly George, but he's shown to be very definitely nurturing (in a teen-boy way) -- there's an earlier scene where George is very upset and Scott invites her to come play Mario Kart. He kind of serves as a proxy for some of the readers in this scene (it's a way to discuss gender confirmation surgery the way kids would describe/understand it.) I like that Scott has to take some time just to think this new information through, but that he also affirms George. (Kelly is initially baffled when George comes out to her, but goes home, Googles, and comes in the next day having read ALL THE THINGS.)

The really lovely bit comes at the end of the chapter: "Scott snuck glances her way too, but where Mom's eyes were filled with concern and confusion, Scott looked at George as if his sibling made sense to him for the first time."

The other bit I liked a lot: there's a bit where George winds up in the Principal's office for getting into a fight with a bully. George scans the posters on the walls, and there's one with a rainbow flag and the words, "Support safe spaces for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth." George spends the rest of the meeting staring at the sign.

During the play itself, it looks like the teacher is going to intervene during a scene change, but the principal comes up behind her and whispers something into her ear, and she backs off. At the end, the principal approaches George and her mother to praise what a great job she did and to say, "Well, you can't control who your children are, but you can certainly support them, am I right?" She then gives George a hug, tells her again what a good job she did, and whispers, "My door is always open" in George's ear.

Anyway. It's a quick read and it's definitely good to have this book out there.

Another Snow Cat!

Dec. 8th, 2016 09:27 am
[syndicated profile] ittybittykitty_feed

Posted by Laurie Cinotto

My parents got a good blanket of snow the other day, and when my dad shared a picture of all this white, I asked him if it might be good snow for building a Snow Cat.

His response:

Sadly, the weather warmed quickly, and Snow Cat 2016 was soon reduced to a puddle on the patio.

Thanks, Dad! Well done. The bow was a very nice touch!

For those who have been following us along for a while, you know this isn't Dad's first Snow Cat. Here are a few examples of Dad's handiwork from previous winters.


A Snowcat for Nigel and Mimsey Frost


Oh, and before I go, don't forget we've got the Sparkle Ball sale happening until 10:00 AM (Pacific Time) this morning.

Order your Sparkle Balls here, and enter the code "SPARKLESEASON" when checking out to receive a 30% discount. Don't delay!

curiouser and curiouser

Dec. 8th, 2016 11:17 am
twistedchick: daffodils in rain, my photo (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
According to my Toronto contact, Kay was buried *with a graveside service* (???) on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Which was the same time that I was phoned to be told there wouldn't be one. I have no idea whether it occurred or not, though I am more inclined to trust my florist.

And the name she is buried under is Judy Kay Simpson. (I never heard of her being called Judy.) This is her online obituary.. There is a place to leave memories.

(no subject)

Dec. 8th, 2016 10:52 am
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen

I am on the tail end of what was apparently an extremely extended case of salmonella poisoning. Fun. I had just enough cope to make it through work every day and then go home and get slept on by a cat, so I basically missed the entire month of November.

The timing of it has also given me a conditioned nausea response to mention of certain current events (altho tbf that might not be entirely the salmonella's fault) so I went mostly internet cold turkey and will probably be less around on social media for awhile yet, at least until my digestive tract and I trust each other enough to start taking risks. Right now I am just aspiring to be able to make the yuletide deadline.

I have been catching up on my fiction reading, though, so if you want proof that I'm alive I am updating Goodreads.


Dec. 8th, 2016 09:14 am
threeringedmoon: (CheesyWebcamPix)
[personal profile] threeringedmoon

Jack’s personal weather station reports that the overnight low was -6 F. I was happy to see that the blanket Jack put on Rags last night seemed to be keeping him comfortable. We rarely use blankets, but Rags is getting old and frail, and was shivering yesterday morning.

Mirrored from Five Acres with a View.

Statist plot

Dec. 8th, 2016 09:05 am
supergee: (shelves)
[personal profile] supergee
Consistently, the Koch Bros are trying to save us from public libraries.


Dec. 8th, 2016 06:23 am
supergee: (disgust)
[personal profile] supergee
Somehow it is not surprising that there are two news stories in the same day about eating shit. A court ruled that coal miners are allowed to tell the boss to do it if he tries to make them engage in unsafe practices, and the pope, no less, said it’s what the peddlers of fake news are trying to get their customers to do.

Thanx to Metafilter and Charles P. Pierce, respectively.

ETA: Three times makes a tradition.

Poker is a woman’s game

Dec. 8th, 2016 06:10 am
supergee: (Pink Panther)
[personal profile] supergee
Gambling is the one vice I never had, but I enjoyed this account of a woman beating men at their own games.

Thanx to Metafilter

The Next Day

Dec. 7th, 2016 11:38 pm
kshandra: Cartoon: Garfield face-down in his cat bed, a single Z in a word balloon over his head (Z)
[personal profile] kshandra
It did not surprise me in the least to wake up this morning showing signs of a depressive episode, despite being at therapeutic levels with my meds. A death in the family will do that to a person.

I was NOT, however, expecting to come home from work and sleep for almost four hours. ([personal profile] gridlore was surprised I woke up at all...)

Now to see if I can get myself BACK to sleep, so as not to completely mess myself up before a solo day in the office tomorrow.

random updates

Dec. 7th, 2016 06:55 pm
cofax7: XKCD boom de yada (Boom de Yada)
[personal profile] cofax7
I realized I haven't posted much lately. Hard to be encouraging when Voldemort seems so intent on just burning everything down.


Anyway, I went on vacation last week: had some great meals, saw some friends & family, and saw the Chicago production of Hamilton! Which was awesome. Just, really full of energy and its own slightly-varying interpretations of the characters.

I came down with a bad cold over Thanksgiving, fought it back while on vacation, and today it appears to have revived and has taken up residence in my sinuses. So I left work early to go home and sleep in my cold house (it was 50 degrees!), and the Mucinex does not appear to be working. Argh.

Anyway. Life continues on; my Nemesis continues her bullshit, my boss is pessimistically supportive, and the new hire we made an offer to in frigging August is finally starting on Monday. My coworkers and I have a running group-text in which we mourn the election results and mock Voldemort, but it doesn't really help deal with the despair.

Between the election and the Ghost Ship fire, there's not much to be happy about in the real world right now.


Fannishly, I did see Moana last week, which was lovely if not earth-shaking.

I'm a few episodes behind on Pitch and Brooklyn 9-9. Really need to binge on Underground soon. Oh, and I watched Stranger Things when I was cocooning after Thanksgiving. That was very fun, although I suspect I would have found it more powerful if they'd showed much less about what was actually going on in the DOE facility.


So, on to the Reading Wednesday report.

Just Finished: Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks, for book club. An interesting look at John Brown and his family over the 20 years prior to Harper's Ferry. Seemed oddly relevant, where the main question is how civil resistance to oppression slowly turns to violence -- even when the violence is not directly against the oppressor. I'm not sure Banks answered the question, because he gives the narrator (Brown's son Owen) such a tortured emotional history that the violence seems more to derive from that than from his understanding of the national moral stain of slavery. Unless, I guess, that is the point? Anyway, it was interesting, but hella long, and the women were all barely 1-dimensional, much less 2.

Also just finished Spinster by Kate Bolick, which was more specific about her personal history than I was looking for. But still interesting, and it made me want to read more Millay.

Currently reading: Le Guin's Gifts; I needed a palate cleanser with some hope in it.

Up next: probably Cloudbound by Fran Wilde.


OK, I have to finish with this, because it will make you happy. Alan Tudyk records his lines for Moana.

24 Hour Sparkle Ball Sale!

Dec. 7th, 2016 10:17 am
[syndicated profile] ittybittykitty_feed

Posted by Laurie Cinotto

For the next 24 hours ALL Sparkle Balls in the IBKC Shop are 30% off!!!  I was hoping a big sale might encourage you to get those orders in sooner rather than later -- we certainly don't want any disappointed kitties with empty stockings on Christmas morning, now do we?

This is the biggest Sparkle Ball sale of the season, so, if you're planning on picking up a pack or two, now is the time!  It's a great time to stock up for year-round fun!

To get your discount,  enter "SPARKLESEASON" when prompted at checkout!

To visit IBKC shop, click HERE.  To go straight to the Sparkle Balls, click HERE!

Sale ends at 10:00 AM Pacific Time tomorrow!!

We put a treat in every package, like postcards or pins.  AND you might even find a Wylla or Charlene hear stuck under some packing tape!  BONUS!!  (Just kidding, I try hard not to let that happen!)

: )

Orange Kitty, Pink Nose.

Dec. 7th, 2016 09:48 am
[syndicated profile] ittybittykitty_feed

Posted by Laurie Cinotto


Orange kitty with a pink nose -- it truly is one of the best color combos appearing on a cat, don't you think?


DSC_0487 '







Oh, and BLEP!


In Memoriam

Dec. 7th, 2016 08:53 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Peter Vaughan, actor (He played Maester Aemon, the only character so far to die in bed of old age on Game of Thrones.)

December Days: Day 7: For SCIENCE!

Dec. 7th, 2016 04:56 pm
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
[personal profile] nanila
Magnet + iron filings
Photo of a grubby optical table with a piece of chipboard on top of which are two dipole magnets stuck together under a sheet of white paper with iron filings sprinkled on top to show the magnetic field lines. Also on the optical table: a magnetometer, a multimeter, two small magnets, a forming machine and a bean bag. You know, the stuff you usually find on an optical table. Or not.

Anyway, I did this demo for a TV programme today. It's going to be about the end of the Cassini mission, and the segment features my Big Boss, who does all of the talking. I had originally envisioned a sophisticated demonstration involving a magnetometer and an oscilloscope, and instead I ended up sprinkling iron filings on different permutations of magnets for three hours. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ C'est la vie!


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Dee Burris Blakley

October 2016


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