sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
Comparing Mad Max: Fury Road to Snowpiercer. This post contains small spoilers for both films.

Read more... )
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
My breathing was crappy yesterday due to wildfire smoke coming in from the West. The sky was gray and hazy at 5 pm and the sun was orange. Today seems a bit better.

The internet still randomly cuts out on me, but the good news is the upstairs neighbor wants to share so at least it isn't costing us as much.

Trees are being cut down in our neighborhood; I think they are Ash trees, at risk from Emerald Ash borer.

Have a Teen Wolf Rec!

Electricity in the Contact by ladyblahblah

Derek/Stiles, Pretend Relationship, 27K.

One thing I loved about this story is that in their pretend relationship-- which is for the benefit of making Derek appear less vulnerable at a werewolf event-- Derek and Stile have safe words which they use to express their discomfort with something in front of others who are not in the loop. Then they go away in private and discuss the thing. It's a very healthy approach to a pretend relationship! Heh. I loved this story.
sasha_feather: "The heroine's achivement of autonomy and self-actualization was the point of the narrative" (heroine)
Content note for discussion of cursing, violent language, rape culture.

Read more... )
sasha_feather: beautiful gray horse. (majestic horse)
Cute little milestone.

Abbie laid down in the creek to cool herself off. She oh so carefully sat her haunches down, then experimentally, slowly sat down into "sphinx pose" with her head just above the surface.

She zipped around the narrow side park, running in loops. Someone walking along the bike path on the other side of the creek stopped to admire her run.
sasha_feather: "subversive" in rainbow colors (subversive)
So sometimes around the internet I run into this Problem statement:
Something terrible happens in (usually the South or SouthWest).
Some people will respond with "Why do people even live there?" or "just let them secede".

I find this so problematic in so many ways.

-- These folks are essentially writing off whole swathes of people and places. There are many activists working hard to make those places better. There are people all over the country who *can't* move away and who don't want to. There's history and culture and resources in those places and why would just let the haters have those things? And even if the good folks were to move away....

--Assuming that where you live is better is so wrong.

In the important essay I, Racist by John Metta, he quotes his sister:

“The only difference between people in the North and people in the South is that down here, at least people are honest about being racist.”

--White people where I live (Wisconsin) are sometimes smug and think that there isn't racism here. But Wisconsin is the worst state for mass incarceration of black men and Native American men (source: NPR 2013). And we're the worst for having a gap in graduation rates between black and white students (source: Madison newspaper 2013). It isn't different in other parts of the country. Racism is everywhere. It's in your hometown.

--This framing falls into "us vs. them" thinking. "Those racists over there" are the problem. I was taught that as a white person growing up in a racist society, I *am* racist; it's what I do about it that matters. I must actively combat racism within myself. That is where I begin.
sasha_feather: Bright green grass (green grass)
I spent a good chunk of the day outside today, because it was a cool 70 degrees F (21 C). So great.

This purple plant is a new one for me, it's called Persian Shield. Whether or not it's actually Persian, I have no idea. It's growing very well and I plopped it in a bigger pot. A sprig broke off, so I stuck that in water and will see if it roots.

picture of Persian Shield plant )

I sold a few plants on Craigslist: some purple queen and one of my palms, and even one big spider plant, to 2 different people for a total of 60 dollars. The spider plants, I have so many of, that the supply is much greater than the demand. I really love how vigorous they are. They seize life. If they could survive the winter, they'd be invasive.

I need more pots and potting soil. In my dreams; I would have a big green house and growing magic!

Good things

Aug. 2nd, 2015 12:49 am
sasha_feather: Cindi Mayweather (janelle monae) (Cindi Mayweather)
1. I've really enjoyed seeing my pals lately. I went to the cheap seats to see Mad Max (for the 3rd time); saw some friends and acquaintances at Comics Club today, and saw the film Mr. Holmes yesterday. Gabby is back in town which is great.

2. I got an awesome haircut which was a collaboration between Jesse and my neighbor Devyn, both of whom own clippers.

3. I read Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley and loved it. It features a talented, flawed woman as the main character. Katie is the main chef at a successful restaurant called Seconds, where she also lives. She wants to strike out on her own with a new restaurant, but is having trouble with that venture. Her ex-boyfriend is hanging around and things are awkward. When a young co-worker gets in an accident, party due to Katie's negligence, a house spirit appears and gives her the opportunity to fix it. Katie then gets addicted to fixing all the mistakes she can, and things start to go bad. This book is funny, charming, affecting. I loved it.
sasha_feather: Janelle Monae against a blue background (Janelle monae)
I read a few books and comics about black history lately. I recommend all of these. This are all fairly easy from a reading-level standpoint and are suitable for middle-grade readers and up.

Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long.

An openly gay black man in the 30s, 40s, and later, Rustin was a Quaker peace activist. He was the main organizer of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He also worked to integrate buses in North Carolina 8 years before Rosa Parks, and for that he spent 3 weeks on a chain gang. He was a talented singer, speaker, and organizer, who also protested against nuclear testing. This book is a quick read and beautifully done.

March: books 1 and 2 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell.

Beautiful and interesting comics about John Lewis' life as an activist. The first book is about his early life growing up on a farm in GA, and working as a college student to integrate lunch counters in Nashville. The second book is about the Freedom Riders, which was pretty intense, and the March on Washington. The third book is forthcoming.

Strange Fruit vol 1: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History by Joel Christian Gill

Vignettes about black people (mostly men) from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Includes the man who was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger; the Black Cyclone (a competitive bicyclist); and a chess master. Some stories are sad, some are funny, some are inspiring. My favorite part is the sly, off-beat humor. For example, when a boy's parents send him off on a train trip, a sign declares the platform as 9 3/4.
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
Last week [personal profile] jesse_the_k and I went out shopping to a store we like where we know a number of the staff members. Jesse took her walker rather than wheelchair, principally because it is easier for me to drive and load the walker in my car, than it is to load the wheelchair into the minivan.

One thing that happened as we were leaving the store is the staff person said to Jesse, "It's nice to see you up," as in upright, not using the wheelchair.

This is a microaggression.

First, the assumption that an acquaintance or even stranger has the right to comment on your assistive tech, on your presumed health status, on your body-- that you would even want to know what some stranger thinks. But people do this all the time and they think it's a good thing. They think it's welcome praise, that is a nice fuzzy compliment.

They think it's praise because they value being upright and walking over using a wheelchair, even though it is a value-neutral distinction. It may be better for you and your self-care to use to the wheelchair, but hardly anyone will praise you for that. You should use what will work best for you, cause you the least pain, not what society values.

They think it's praise because they think it's an improvement in health status. This demonstrates an incomplete and failed knowledge of chronic illness, mobility impairments, and assistive tech. Many people who use assistive tech use that tech occasionally or periodically, and again, it is value-neutral to do so. Diseases get worse and they get incompletely better. It happens. And sometimes you use the tech for more practical reasons that have nothing to do with your disease/impairments, but rather to do with the barriers that exist in society. Maybe walkers or walking sticks are easier in the airport than your wheelchair is, for example, even though the wheelchair is more comfortable. Maybe you don't want to risk the airport damaging or losing your expensive and valuable wheelchair. Maybe you'd use your wheelchair all the time if society didn't suck so much.

Intuition

Jul. 2nd, 2015 10:39 pm
sasha_feather: "The heroine's achivement of autonomy and self-actualization was the point of the narrative" (heroine)
I am taking a water Ai Chi class. It is in a warm water pool and the other people in the class are mostly older women. I am by far the youngest person in the class; I don't feel uncomfortable about this though. I like hanging around with older women anyways. It sort of feels like "my mom's friends" age-wise. The movements are very gentle, constantly moving. They focus on deep breathing, range of motion, and balance. It's just my speed, really, because when I've tried things like yoga, it hurts too much to do the movements. This class is challenging, more so than I expected it to be, but doesn't hurt too much. In fact the teacher encourages us not to push through pain, and it's easier to take that advice in a class like this which is aimed at people with mobility issues, than it would be in a standard class.

Sometimes--often-- my internalized ableism tells me that I should be able to do more. After all, I can walk at the dog park, do household chores, drive, etc. But when I'm in this class and focusing on my body, it tunes me in more to how much pain I have and how much I am trying to ignore it all the time. And that takes tons of energy. It's exhausting. Chronic illness reduces your stamina, plus coping with chronic illness takes work.

I have really high standards and expectations for myself, and I should remember to be easier on myself because my life is not exactly easy.
sasha_feather: furiosa holding a gun, showing her metal arm (furiosa arm)
I seen a few people praising this exchange from Arnold's facebook page. The photo is: He changed his user icon (an image of himself as the Terminator) to the rainbow-overlay, which many folks are doing.

A commenter says: "What's wrong with you Arnie? I have to unlike."

Arnold replies: "Hasta la vista."

I get it, people think this is funny. A lot of people probably don't know that Schwarzenegger blocked same-sex marriage in California when he was governor. He did so using his veto power not once, but twice.

This is no secret and not that obscure; for example, George Takei has spoken of Schwarzenegger's homophobic policies as part of his motivation for coming out publicly.

Links for sources (thanks eruthros)
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marl10.htm
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_marl8.htm

Spy

Jun. 18th, 2015 10:38 pm
sasha_feather: Cindi Mayweather (janelle monae) (Cindi Mayweather)
Really enjoyed "Spy" starring Melissa McCarthy and Miranda Hart (Chummy from Call the Midwife). See if if you can! Lots of women, massive Bechdel pass, very funny all the way through.

content notes: small things )
sasha_feather: Furiosa at night (Furiosa at night)
I tried to watch the film "RED" the other day but turned it off just a few minutes in. The protagonist Frank, played by Bruce Willis, is shown to be a super-capable ex-CIA agent. He has a flirtatious relationship with Sarah, whom he talks to on the phone, played by Mary-Louise Parker, and he makes vague plans to meet her in Kansas City. Killers invade Frank's home one night, and he has no problem deftly dispatching them.
discussion of creepy tropes )
Does anyone know if this trope has a name? It is super gross and annoying. It is hard enough having boundaries in life and saying no, and telling people to buzz off, etc, without stories like these which present positive portrayals of abusive situations.

Contrast to Mad Max:

spoilers )

comments welcome
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Vid Discussion Panel with myself, [personal profile] metatext, [personal profile] brainwane, [personal profile] were_duck, and [personal profile] cyborganize. For a list of all vids, please see http://wiscon-vidparty.dreamwidth.org/12762.html

These notes are from memory; any mistakes are my own and please correct me! We mostly talked about the premier vids.

We discussed brainwane's premiere, Pipeline, quite a bit. Brainwane has written about her vid on her journal including sources. This was brainwane's first vid and she did a lot of research into how to use still footage and how to make a multivid; she was very pleased with people's response to the vid. Women used to make up a lot of the tech world but have been pushed out. Similarly, women are recruited into tech but then are pushed out due to hostile work environments. Someone in the audience said that in Mongolia, Ghengis Khan had his daughters inherit power in the capitol city and his sons took over the outlying territories. But when the daughters died, the sons came in and literally scratched the daughters' names off of the stone because it was shameful to them to have women in power.

I don't remember what we said about garrideb's Pretty Deadly vid, "Hope in the Air", except a lot of Ooooh, it is beatiful, and great song choice! Brainwane said that the still techniques were different than what she had researched for her vid.

For starlady's vid, "Just a Dream Away", people joked that hardcore ST fans will brag about seeing "everything" in the Star Trek universe but will not have seen the animated series. But what is great about the series is the camp, and the way it uses animation to do things that traditional film cannot (such as tentacles), and this vid celebrates that. I loved the humor in this vid, and the way it centers women.

For seekingferret's vid "Cassavetes", metatxt explained that Cassavetes was a controversial, prolific film maker who did not share credit easily. The band here, Le Tigre, is a feminist band, and the question they pose in the song is one we struggle with in fandom: how do we react to problematic characters? No person is all good or all bad; when we elevate them, what does that mean? A very WisCon-appropriate question.

Other vids that the panelists and audience mentioned as being particularly note-worthy:
Roxane Samer's Orphan Black vid, Gold Rush, which intercuts footage with intersectional feminist quotes
Silent Fandoms by Ghost-Lingering. were-duck liked the vidder's subtitles which were quite meta and contributed to a community, in-the-moment feeling
Repeated use of the song "Blank Space" in 3 vids (Pipeline; Purple_fringe and such_height's Dr. Who vid; and sleepygeeky's Power Rangers/Fair Use vid). Interesting to note how the meaning of the song seems to change in each vid.
Losing my Religion by rhoboat. Such intense feelings and the song really stood out for people, as it is a cover of a familiar song.
Pressure (Quantum Leap/vidding) by the California Crew. A spotlight on vidders, in the VHS/analog age. were-duck mentioned that when you see what they are actually vidding, you can see that it is in the service of smut, which is so great.
sasha_feather: Leela from the 5th element (multipass)
Writing a bit in my Wordpress blog about WisCon!

https://accessthis.wordpress.com/

Furiosa

May. 26th, 2015 01:18 pm
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Couple-three thoughts on "Mad Max: Fury Road" while it's fresh in my mind. Best film I have seen in ages and ages.

Read more... )
sasha_feather: girl hugging a horse; the horse's neck is a rainbow (horse pride)
Enjoying WisCon a lot.

Trying not to overdo it, physically-- resting and getting to bed more or less on time.

Woohoo!

May. 5th, 2015 06:06 pm
sasha_feather: beautiful gray horse. (majestic horse)
Wow! A DW user randomly gave me six months of paid time under the sponsor-a-free user program! This is so great! I got my icons back and can post polls!

Movie notes

May. 4th, 2015 09:57 pm
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
I saw a bunch of movies last week!

Ex Machina - a science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence. This was quite thought-provoking and stylish, but emotionally I found it cold, creepy, and disturbing.

Woman in Gold - I loved this film and highly recommend it. Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, a woman living in LA who hires a young lawyer and friend of the family (Ryan Reynolds) to sue the Austrian government over paintings stolen by the Nazis during WWII. The foremost of these paintings is the titular Klimt. Maria's aunt was the model for the portrait, and her uncle commissioned it. Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria. This film has grace and humanity; it explores the Nazi's outright thefts, violence and indignities, and the later cultural appropriation of art by the Austrian people in a subtle and moving way.

Avengers Age of Ultron - my main complaint was that it was too long, clocking in at 2 hours 22 minutes, plus many previews. [personal profile] skygiants wrote this hilarious summary.

Older movies I watched on DVR:

Book of Eli - The premise of this movie was so ridiculous that it was hard to suspend my disbelief enough to care. Eli, played by Denzel Washington, is carrying the last copy in existence of a Bible, and he's trying to get it to a safe place. He's moving through a post-apocalyptic world, killing raiders and scrounging for food. Gary Oldman plays a villain who wants to get his hands on the book and use it for evil purposes. It's a stylish film, and kind of fun survival story, and Mila Kunis is enjoyable as his side kick. But the story would have made more sense if the MacGuffin were literally anything other than a Bible.

12 Years a Slave - I loved this film and thought about it a lot after seeing it. That said, I was happy to be able to fast-forward through a couple of violent scenes, and I found them to be gratuitous. One thing that works well in this film, for a modern audience, is that Solomon Northrup is an insider to his time and country but an outsider to Southern slave culture, so his experiences act as a bridge for the audience. His disorientation and bewilderment are incredibly effective ways of showing how ridiculous, brutal, and incomprehensible slavery is. Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, is so completely out of control that it's difficult to believe that he is functional, and yet his society not only tolerates his rages and dangerous behavior-- the society empowers him. All of society has to be complicit in slavery for this system to work. It makes no sense whatsoever, and yet it went on for hundreds of years; a society based upon terrorism. This film is incredibly effective at showing all of these things.

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