Hello, SF!

Nov. 27th, 2014 11:48 pm
quartzpebble: (I care alot)
[personal profile] quartzpebble

I've been in the SF Bay area since Monday and have been enjoying being here. When I've been down to CA in the last couple of years, I always knew that I'd be going back to Seattle at the end. Now I don't have to, and that makes it so much better to be here. As I've been getting around here, I've been looking around and thinking that in a few weeks, I'll be here to stay. Still don't know where yet! Bay Area people, let me know if you know people who'll want roommates or who are moving. Mostly I'd like to have a reasonable commute to the city.

I have:

  • now seen Sneakers
  • been to a judo class at Keiko Fukuda's judo club (I'm still a bit sore, and it felt so good to get back on the mat, even in something I hadn't done before. Hip throws on someone short are still hard!)
  • gotten to catch up with [personal profile] badgerbag
  • worked at the WMF main office, met my boss in person, had good conversations, met more WMF people (thanks, [personal profile] brainwane!)
  • done actual work!
  • been felt out for another contract, this one where my tech feminist background is an explicit plus!
  • gotten to see [livejournal.com profile] mackenzie
  • drunk excellent tea
  • eaten at least a few pounds of mandarin oranges since Monday
  • decided to apply to linux.conf.au's diversity program for travel funding and started the application for that
  • apparently not told local people I'm moving here? I'm moving here!
  • pointed [profile] gwillen at various Python resources
  • continued to take new!med

Once I land for a bit longer I think it will be time to sit down and do some project planning. I have a lot of things I want to do in the next year or few and I'd like to set myself up to make them happen. I think I'll see if I can make a(n internet) party of it.

Daily Happiness

Nov. 27th, 2014 11:01 pm
torachan: onoda sakamichi from yowamushi pedal with a huge smile (onoda smile)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I went in to work a little early yesterday so I could get more done before the store opened (Wednesdays is when I have to change the sale displays and that's always harder to do when there are customers). It also meant I got to go home earlier! :D

2. Not only did I have today off, but I got paid for it! The best kind of day off.

3. Alexander came over and we had a nice day of chatting, watching TV/movies/stuff, and eating delicious food. We had turkey, roasted mashed sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, King's Hawaiian rolls, cornbread, and pumpkin pie. Everything was so delicious!
green: heart in a dialogue bubble (stock: love)
[personal profile] green
In fandom news that has nothing to do with the holidays or my current mental state:

I found a fic today while browsing for a good SGA crossover to read, and I found a Natasha-centric MCU/SGA xover that is so amazing and I can't rec it highly enough, even though I haven't read all of it yet.

A Widow's Tale by [archiveofourown.org profile] Mhalachai is one of the best fics I've read lately. In any fandom. It starts off gen, and there are lots of spoilers I would not want to spoil you for, but I will say this: I have a feeling that after this story, I'm going to be startled by other stories when John Sheppard is not actually Black Widow's son.

There are 10 stories posted in the 'verse, and one of them I haven't read yet is a WIP and, going by what's happening so far in the plot, I am going to be SO FRUSTRATED when I read through to the end of what's posted because there is so much plot and feels going on here that I really, really want things to work out for everyone.

Also, this is THE BEST Natasha fic I've ever read. She is written so incredibly. She is so human and (at the same time, imagine that!) very in character. She is everything she should be, and nothing feels like too much or too little. She has a wonderful sense of humor and loves so fiercely. I've not read a lot of Natasha-centric fic in the past. I believe this is because of the way she's frequently written in the MCU fics I have read, when she's a supporting character. So many fics portray her as either over the top femme fatale with weaponized sexuality or emotionless and/or sexless and robotic. Like those are the extremes I usually see her in, if she's considered enough to give even that much to, and sometimes it's mixed as if in order to do the weaponized sexuality she has to be disinterested in sex. It's... understandable, that she might get a response like that, because I suspect a lot of people who are uncomfortable with what Natasha's sexuality might mean.

But anyway, I guess I'm saying that the Natasha as written by [archiveofourown.org profile] Mhalachai is not like that at all. She does use sex as a tool, or at least uses what others think of her depending on how she presents herself - shy, unassuming innocent, "good girl" or sexy woman with perfectly displayed décolletage and heavy eyeliner. She feels no shame for doing it, but neither does she revert to having no sexuality at all when she's not playing a role. She loves sex. In the past, she's used sex in order to infiltrate or gain trust, but she is unashamed of it. Also, it hasn't turned her off sex altogether.

I would like to write more but I am so so tired and now I must sleep. Sorry.

Read the series. SO GOOD. I cried a lot in many places. SO MANY FEELS.

BPAL Yule update + assorted goings-on

Nov. 28th, 2014 01:53 am
umadoshi: (autumn leaves 2 (dhamphir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
First, I hope those of you in the US who celebrate Thanksgiving had a lovely one today. And for the not-small subset whose family holidays are more fraught than joyful, I hope it was the best it could be, and that you have some downtime/vacation time remaining in the long weekend that you can use for yourself.

As I said recently, the combination of US Thanksgiving and Advent starting in a few days means my mental calendar has now rolled over into the Christmas season, and the BPAL Yule update going live shortly before I went to bed last night was the cherry on top. Yules! )

I didn't manage to try all of my Hallowe'en scents (which I note in case anyone might think I did get through and simply didn't make any notes about them here), since I basically stopped wearing any once Casual Job started up, but maybe I can manage to work my way through my Yules collection...? We'll see.

US Thanksgiving isn't one of those occasions where we have a holiday of our own on the same day in Canada, so this was just a day. (We do seem to be adopting Black Friday, albeit to a much lesser extent. :/) So the main things I can note about today are that I got a rewrite turned in, which should finally get me back on a reasonably comfortable freelance schedule for the first time in a couple of months, and that my copy of Symbiont arrived, so I dug into that tonight after [personal profile] scruloose and I ran a bunch of errands.

I haven't made it very far into the book yet, but I plan to spend a good chunk of time with it tomorrow, because I'm officially taking tomorrow off. No work. None. I probably can't afford more than one day completely off, because I now have a rewrite due on December 8 and one due December 9, but I really, really need at least a small break. So I'll spend it reading and going out for a bit with [personal profile] wildpear and Pumpkin ([personal profile] wildpear's daughter) and hopefully tackling some of the open tabs.

Intellectually, I want to spend some time writing, but I'm still burned out at a level that's not leaving me any actual drive to do it. ;_; I think I've written all of 1000 words or so this month. (Ah, for the early days of November, when I thought I'd make some real progress on something.) I hope it starts to come back soon. My last dry spell lasted so long, and I don't want to have that happen again. :/

Dragon Age Inquisition

Nov. 27th, 2014 09:12 pm
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat
I thought this game would probably tank the already-faint hope of me getting my book done on deadline and instead it is going to save me, because I have bribed myself: I don't get to play until I have written at least a thousand words. Result: have written seven thousand words in last seven days. WOOOO guilt-free gaming.

I would be romping around Thedas as we speak tbh, but I am at my mom's place for Thanksgiving. Hope all of you celebrating are having a great day too! <3 This morning there was parade-watching, then drive out, then all the food, and then ALL the desserts, and then it took 1.5 hours to get Hypatia to sleep because she had napped in the car and had also managed to get her hands on the giant dark chocolate disk off one of the tarts.

ANYWAY, I ended up doing a female elven inquisitor first (she has white hair and is a mage and is named Elsa because I pander to my small child) and I've been really enjoying a bunch of stuff.

NOTE: please do not spoil me for anything I haven't seen yet, esp romances and companion quests, since I can already tell I'm going to be doing more playthroughs. And if you are wondering whether it is safe to look at my spoilers, I'm at Skyhold, just finished the thing at Adamant, I have not done the Orlais court quest, and I am in the process of romancing Solas (and really enjoying that).

spoilers )

That's actually, spoiler-free, the main issue with all the DA games. They are good enough that the moments when they aren't good are really frustrating. Every so often there is a moment where I am all, OK, wait a second, my inquisitor (or character X) needs to have some kind of emotional reaction to this, and they don't. And if you NEVER got to have a reaction, you'd just fill it in yourself and wouldn't expect it, but because you like 90% of the time DO get to have a reaction, the handful of key moments where you don't is really immersion-breaking.

Or the thing where the dialogue paraphrases are too often misleading -- I hate it when I choose a response and then the actual reply is totally not what I meant, which I dislike especially in the companion conversations where it has an actual impact -- I'm totally fine getting disapproval when I actually MEAN for my inquisitor to disagree, but not when she's saying things she would not say! grump.

Anyway! Talk to me about Inquisition! What Inquisitors are you playing?
bluemeridian: Chloe from Smallville, with coffee and a sideways look. (Default)
[personal profile] bluemeridian
Since I'm still unclear on the level and speed of internet connectivity the next few days, I'm going ahead and posting this early in the day. The tweets are all scheduled, so if you're getting them that way, they'll continue to appear at regular intervals. I have a couple more hours still this morning (we're on day... 2 or 3 and D's trying to work on at least starting to fix it), so I'm going to see what I can have ready to go for the next few days. Now if we only had scheduled posts...

ETA: Ahahahaha, guess who forgot to post this before they left? Connection is super spotty, but I'm hoping this uploads at least. If I can format posts for Today, Friday, and Saturday, and schedule some more tweets, then it'll be a bonus. Here's to hoping! (I swear I need to do this on purpose next time just so I can plan ahead.)

A Fic(+) Playlist for the Holiday, Day 1

Fandoms in today's links are: Avengers, Hawkguy, Pacific Rim, Teen Wolf, X-Men, Sleepy Hollow, How to Train Your Dragon, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Labyrinth. Primarily fic with a accent of art, meta, and other fanworks.

18 Recs for Day 2 )

Media Consumption Turkey Edition

Nov. 27th, 2014 04:52 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat


Advanced Style
Ari Seth Cohen has a street fashion blog called Advanced Style which focuses on stylish people (mostly women) aged 50 and over (usually a lot over). The blog has spawned a coffee table book, a coloring book complete with paper dolls and this documentary, which features a few of the women he photographs regularly. All of them live in New York City. You see them working (one works in a vintage clothing store, several teach), being photographed for ad campaigns, singing in a nightclub, being part of a flash mob at New York Fashion Week, visiting Los Angeles to appear on the Ricki Lake show, and more.

Edge of Tomorrow
Tagline is Lather. Rinse. Live. Die. Repeat. Time loop movie. Fairly entertaining in that twenty-teens excessively seriously dystopian way that movies can be. I liked the female protagonist, played by Emily Blunt, and that there was almost no (spoiler) romance between her and Cruise's character, although there was a little. (Wikipedia says the kiss between them at the end of the movie was unscripted and was Blunt's idea. I think it was a bad idea.) (end spoiler) I also loved the cranky old general character played by Brendan Gleeson.

An astronaut and a scientist inexperienced in space travel get stranded in space. Much effort was put into making the space environment seem realistic, although the scenario is less realistic. If you can see it in the theater in 3D, definitely do that, but if not, it's wonderful in 2D on a large home TV also. Great soundtrack. Sandra Bullock is an amazing physical actress.

The Last Unicorn
Animated 1982 film of Peter Beagle's 1962 fairy tale. Liked it a lot. Proves that (spoiler) "the princess marries the prince and everyone lives happily ever after" trope could be subverted long before Frozen came along (end spoiler).

Men in Black 3
This one wasn't as good as the first one but was better than the second one. Doesn't pass the Bechdel test, but has Emma Thompson as the head of the agency. Boris the Animal and Griffin are fun aliens. Time travel to the 1960s is generally fun.

Speaking of time travel to the 1960s...oh wait, this one was made in 1971, but close enough. One of the first and most iconic blaxploitation films, although apparently it annoyed white audiences for making too much of racism and black audiences for not making enough of it. (Gee not much has changed in 43 years.) The relationship between Shaft and his white contact in the police is fun. Everyone is wearing rust colored turtlenecks and lounging on fake fur rugs. Lots of product placement. If you want to make a point about male characters who would be called Mary Sues if they were female characters, be sure to mention Shaft. Now I want to do crossover fanfic with Shaft and James Bond.


Up from the Grave, Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress #7)
This is the last book in the Night Huntress series, although Frost has written other books set in the same universe. I'm somewhat incapable of explaining why I like these books, so have a collection of funny (some intentionally, some not) lines instead:
  • "Baring the majority of my breasts"
  • "That’s how two vampires, a medium, and a dog came to sit around a Ouija board in the back room of a floral shop."
  • "The fact that I hadn’t known what I was doing when it happened was almost moot by comparison."
  • "Groin cleavage"
  • "Changing someone into a vampire was downright prissy-looking by comparison."
Oh, and I really didn't like the way she described Detroit.

The Sittaford Mystery, Agatha Christie
Audiobook, well narrated by Hugh Fraser, who does a wide range of voices well. Published in 1931. Not part of a series, although it was rewritten for a TV show in which Miss Marple became the crime solver. Set in Dartmoor (English title: The Murder at Hazelmoor). The rural nature of the area, along with its bad weather, and the fact that someone can hide upon the moor play into the plot, but not the beauty or loneliness of the scenery as in Conan Doyle's or Laurie R. King's Sherlock Holmes in Dartmoor mysteries. My favorite characters are the chief crime solver, Emily Trefusis, who is the accused man's fiancée; and Caroline Percehouse, a cranky and very smart old lady. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is mentioned in the context of his being interested in metaphysics. I had trouble keeping some of the other characters straight. Enough red herrings to feed an army.

» icons / all ripley

Nov. 27th, 2014 01:56 pm
the: (jasmine ☛ ( well‚ bad girls do it ))
[personal profile] the posting in [community profile] fandom_icons

[syndicated profile] thisaintliving_feed

Posted by s.e. smith

We live in a world surrounded by the great myth of free speech. Anyone can take up a blog, a microphone, an op-ed column, or any other tool and speak out, and others will listen. In the United States in particular, free speech is considered both a fundamental right and a key component of our national identity — speech can take so many forms, and all of them are important, from political commentary to pop culture criticism to expressing a personal opinion on tacos. We celebrate free speech, and decry attacks on the freedom of the press as well as individuals.

But can we say that speech is truly free in the US when so many people encounter death threats, rape threats, and other acts of terrorism in an attempt to silence them? Around the world, people who have spoken up against governments and in an attempt to fight for social movements have faced similar repression, both from their governments and from society in general. The US has condemned such cases, and in some cases has even threatened to go to war over them — the issue of free speech around the world is a subject the US government feels passionately about, and it’s one that comes up in foreign relations and other negotiations on a routine basis.

As a nation, we think ourselves superior to countries without free speech protections enshrined into their laws, and to nations where people cannot speak without great personal risk if they’re voicing minority opinions. We pride ourselves on being AMERICA, where all opinions are welcome and all voices have value, from the President’s addresses to the nation to the small, individual blogger with a handful of followers who wants to put forth a great idea. We believe in the possibility of free speech in a nation, in the power of being able to write, to protest, to comment, to create and respond.

Yet, speech in the US isn’t free when people are afraid to speak — this is a form of suppression that may not be addressed under the law (as only governments can commit censorship) but is no less important. If people cannot speak up about something because the personal risks are too high, their human rights are being infringed, whether a court or the government would agree that they deserve protections. Why aren’t these issues addressed, in this great nation of ours that claims to value free speech so much?

This is, of course, particularly striking when it comes to progressive commentary on social issues. It’s a particularly common issue for women, of course, who commonly find their speech suppressed. Let’s take, for example, a woman writing about pop culture who is repeatedly screamed down by people who don’t like her. That’s simple disagreement, and it’s not very polite, but there’s nothing about it that constitutes a particular violation, though she might not feel inclined to write when facing that level of vitriol on a regular basis.

But what about when that response starts to transition into something more sinister, with credible threats against her, her family, or her friends? What happens when her identity is outed, when people distribute her home address, when it becomes clear that she is at great personal risk, simply for speaking up? Many women go into hiding, valuing their security more than the possibility of being heard (an entirely legitimate respond, mind you), while others struggle to continue speaking out, to be open about the abuse they are enduring, and to get the issue addressed by law enforcement and social groups that claim to be invested in protecting free speech rights.

Curiously, the same kinds of people who deluge women like these are also the same people who scream ‘free speech!’ in comment threads where moderation is used to cultivate a productive discussion. They claim that free speech at all costs is critical to them, yet, when that speech goes against their own personal views, or cuts too close to the bone, they’re the first to engage in suppressive activity that is designed to push people into silence, or, in some cases, to silence them permanently; people in the US are absolutely murdered for speaking up for what they believe in, and they are raped, and they are otherwise punished for having voices and using them.

The disconnect between the claim that free speech is a fundamental value in the US, that everyone has an equal chance, that everyone can speak without fear of reprisal, and the facts of the situation on the ground, is striking. And telling. It’s dominant social groups who feel unafraid when it comes to raising their voices, while minorities fighting back on social issues and trying to construct a more just world are, of course, hung out to dry. When the crowds clamoring for free speech rights see someone being attacked, suppressed, and assailed, they look the other way, because that person’s speech isn’t to their taste.

I value free speech, intensely, as long as it doesn’t include hate speech and incitements to violence. It doesn’t always agree with me, and I can choose to not engage with it, or to criticise it, as case may be. But I don’t believe in suppressing speech — and I have (and will) ridden to the defense of people with opposing beliefs who are being threatened and shouted down by people who should know better.

Because we cannot truly have free speech in a world where if you don’t like what someone has to say, you can just hurl a threat at that person and call it good.

Image: A Soap Box., Matt, Flickr


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