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.
sasha_feather: Steam punk goggles (Steam punk goggles)
Age of Ultron challenge

spoilers )
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
Daredevil on Netflix has many problems but one thing I love are the characters. They are flawed people who care about each other in flawed ways, and they grow and change.

spoilers, Foggy and Matt )
sasha_feather: Simon Pegg from Hot Fuzz holding a gun looking tough (hot fuzz)
First, I don't speak for all people with selective mutism, only for myself and my own experiences.

Spoilers for the Fosters through Season 2, episode 6.

Read more... )
sasha_feather: dog looking over a valley (dog and landscape)
Lt. Abbie (dog) and I had our first "Manners" class on Saturday. I enjoyed it. It's led by two middle-aged women and there are 9 dogs in the class. We learned basic things such as: when you say your dog's name, and she looks at you, give her a treat. When you walk on a loose leash and stop, wait for her to look at you, then say "good dog" and give her a treat. If a dog jumps on you, turn your back to it. Etc.

I didn't bring treats to the class: I thought about it, and decided against. So, anxious and embarrassed, I had to go up to one of the instructors and ask for treats, in order to work on some of the skills. I wish they had told me to bring treats during the initial phone call or in an email. Anyways, I will next time.

Abbie was anxious but well-behaved. She is attentive to me, but won't sit or lay down for a treat. When we are at the park, I can get her to jump up onto her hind legs for one.

She's anxious about a number of things, but it's only been about 6 months. I'm hoping that teaching her some tricks will channel some of her energy that is otherwise going into being anxious.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Wiscon Readings and Programming Sign-ups are open now, and are scheduled to close on Sunday March 22nd! http://wiscon.info/program/index.mhtml

There is some really great programming this year, check it out! You can sign up as "interested in attending" a panel or program item, which is part of how programs get picked and also room sizes chosen.

Please signal-boost if you are so inclined. You can copy/paste this post.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
For the #KTBookChallenge*, I decided to make a public Google drive spreadsheet listing disabled authors.

Disabled Authors Spreadsheet This spreadsheet can be edited by anyone; please feel free to do so.

Some people may want to focus on reading more disabled authors for this challenge, but not know who fits into the category. Many authors may not be "out" as disabled; this spreadsheet is for those who are: those who talk or write publicly about being disabled. The column for type of disability is not there because I want to focus on that or consider it especially important: it's more because some people with a certain disability may want to read books by people like themselves. Note that many of these authors are also women and/or queer.


*KT Bradford's article at XO Jane: I Challenge to you stop reading White, Straight, Cis male authors for one year

x-posted
sasha_feather: Moriary and his neck, Sherlock BBC (Moriarty)
Consolidated notes on Queer movies that I've seen over the last six-ish years, as people seem to look for recs from time to time. Since I wrote these a while ago, some may no longer be on Netflix. Will edit this from time to time. Adding stars to ones I especially recommend.

52 movies )

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sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
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