Whoops my update-o-meter

Oct. 31st, 2014 08:19 pm
soc_puppet: [Homestuck] God tier "Life" themed Dreamsheep (Sheep of Life)
[personal profile] soc_puppet
Going to do an IOU on pics of my Hallowe'en costume - first one I've put actual effort into in years. I don't really feel like wrestling with Photobucket right now, though, so if you want to see right away, you can check out this comment on Disqus at Shakesville. I think it turned out pretty well!

Also I feel like I need a series of books or short stories about the following:
* The autumnal emissary/ambassador
* The winter wanderer
* The vernal vagrant
* The summer stranger

Someone get right on that ;) (I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a cheap romance novel called The Summer Stranger, though.)

Also let me tell you about last weekend at work, and this week as compared. First, though, I've got work tomorrow (and also local SFF convention), and so I need to sleep tonight. Sweet dreams and/or wakings, all!

(no subject)

Oct. 31st, 2014 04:04 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Here is what has been hard for me to learn:

That my relationship with writing is a thing that I couldn't fix all at once; that knowing the right things I should feel, and giving myself pep talks, was insufficient (though a thing I've become very good at). That coming back to it again and again, and accepting the hardness of it, and accepting tiny tiny word counts, and accepting all the times I felt avoidant and suddenly sleepy or preoccupied, and working at it like a thing I almost needed to learn from scratch -- that's been the only way to make it work.

And I still want really badly to sell a lot of books, and be able to write full-time, but I've got to be okay with not telling myself this story of "If you REALLY WANTED IT you would be working fifty billion times harder."

Some time ago I read an essay online arguing that most advice is going to be great for a lot of people and terrible for a lot of people, depending on where they're starting from. "You should work harder" and "You should take a break, you're working hard enough" are both true things for some people and false things for others. And the emphasis in online writers' spaces on "If you want to be a writer you have to write, you have to write a LOT, you have to do it on a SCHEDULE, plumbers don't get plumbers' block they just do their jobs" is understandable and good for a lot of people but if you're in a space of exhaustion and burnout it doesn't really give you room to recover and regrow.

I have to understand that I can work hard without shifting myself into "You have to write ALL the words NOW" mode.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Virgin Galactic's suborbital space plane SpaceShipTwo suffered a serious malfunction during a rocket-powered test flight over Mojave, California, today (Oct. 31) resulting in the loss of the spacecraft. The fate of the vehicle's pilot crew is unknown.

Thanksgiving

Oct. 31st, 2014 06:27 pm
[syndicated profile] thisaintliving_feed

Posted by s.e. smith

When she wakes, the air smells like feathers and shit and something damp and heavy. It’s like being inside her cousin Mark’s barn on the edge of town, where the chickens cluck and scratch even in the darkness, filling the empty space with a meaty, sharp odor that persists even when the doors are open and they’re out pecking around in the field, searching for bugs amidst the cow patties. She wonders, for a moment, if that’s where she is, but it doesn’t smell quite right, and nothing feels right, either.

There’s a glow against her closed eyelids, and her body feels heavy, awkward. She hears shuffling, feathery noises, and, somewhere, the nervous gobble of a turkey, which subsides into silence after a moment.

Mary-Beth Black can’t remember most of the previous night, which is no surprise. After the school’s attempt at a nice, tame Halloween party where they supervised the students in the lower school on a sedate trick-or-treating expedition around town before the sun set, it was time for the blowout party at the Lane twins’ house. Their parents were out of town, as usual, and their perfect house and their perfect stable glowed white under the headlights as she pulled up with Madison and Blaine.

She wanted to spit, or hurl, she wasn’t sure which, looking at their immaculate split-rail fencing and neatly-trimmed hedges, the Halloween decorations right out of Martha Stewart. She privately resolved to leave her beer on one of the antique tables without a coaster or spill Cheetos on the carpet and then grind them in before she left, leaving a mark that even the maids wouldn’t be able to get out before their parents got back.

‘What’s up?’ Madison’s Afro was pulled back from her head with a colourful cloth, and she was wearing jeans that accentuated her mile-long legs, with a form-hugging tee. It might have been cold that late in October, but she didn’t seem to care, and the guys appreciated it – too bad for them that she was gay.

‘Just wondering why we keep going to this party every year.’

‘Because, my little onion, we can lift a bottle or two of the good stuff and then go drink in the park,’ Blaine said, with a grin and a single raised silky eyebrow. He’d inherited his looks from his Indonesian mother, and was almost heartbreakingly pretty.

‘Fine,’ she said, getting out, slamming her door, and stalking into the house.

She made a beeline for the booze, not even stopping to exchange niceties with some of the people from school she could actually stand, but Blaine grabbed her arm and pulled her onto the dance floor. She hissed at him, but he just gripped her waist tighter, and she was forced to dance with him if she didn’t want to end up with a massive bruise. For all his delicate build, Blaine was strong as an ox.

Madison drifted through the crowd, oblivious to the fact that all the guys were practically drooling in her wake, and that most of the girls were shooting her dirty looks. A few of the girls seemed to be in the drooling camp too, but she wasn’t sure Madison noticed them, either. Her determined, cheerful obliviousness was a reflection of her inner determination to get into Harvard – she doesn’t want to be distracted by girls.

This is when Mary-Beth’s memory starts to fragment, like it always seems to at parties, when she’s out with Madison and Blaine. It’s not just the drinking that takes her leaping from place to place, though; leaning against the fence outside to catch some air, talking to one of the horses in the barn, passing one of the Lanes in the hallway making out with a senior who looks vaguely bored. There’s something else that makes it all feel like it’s shattering around her, like she’s grappling at thin air.

Her memory jumps to a scene in the Lanes’ library, filled mostly with books that look like they’ve never been read, and a long desk the sisters apparently share for working on homework. You wouldn’t know it, because it’s spotlessly clean, and she can’t help herself. She’s drawn closer, and closer, rifling through the drawers to find something, anything, that will make the perfect Lane Twins less perfect, that will make them seem like humans instead of androids.

It doesn’t take long before she finds it: Courtenay’s diary, which apparently she thought she could hide in plain sight under a stack of old science papers. She flips through the pages more and more quickly, reading, drinking it in like sunshine on her skin on a hot, perfect summer day, and so she doesn’t notice that the door has opened behind her until it’s too late, and she turns, flushing, still holding the diary.

One of the Lane Twins is standing there, motionless, watching. There’s something eerie about the moment, like she’s being eyed by a snake considering when to strike, and she sets the diary down behind her.

‘I didn’t read it,’ she says. ‘It was sitting out.’

The girl laughs, sharply, and approaches, making her step backward, until the backs of her knees run into one of the window seats and she sits with an awkward grunt.

‘Afraid?’

‘Not really,’ she says, trying to sound bored.

‘Too bad. I like it when they’re scared.’

The creepiness factor has increased, and she feels the hair on the back of her neck prickling.

‘Why are you here, Mary-Beth?’

‘You invited me.’

‘Here. In the library. Looking at our private things.’

The door closes, although no one was there to do it.

‘Thanksgiving is coming up,’ she says, unexpectedly. ‘What are you doing for Thanksgiving, Mary-Beth? My family ordered an heirloom turkey. We’re going to go pick it out next week. Do you like turkey? I just love it.’

She doubted that very much – who likes turkey, the way it always turns out dry and flavourless?

The girl advanced on her, looming, trapping her in the seat.

‘Won’t this be fun?’ she asked, leaning forward to touch her forehead.

Her eyes snap open, and she realises that she’s in one of those huge barns she sees along Route 13, the ones that reek for what feels like miles, that make her parents roll up the windows when they drive by. This one has skylights that shine down across a sea of turkeys, funny-looking turkeys, not like the ones you see in store ads. The floor is concrete, covered in loose wisps of hay, and the barn doors are just creaking open, letting in the bright morning light.

‘There we are,’ she hears a rough voice saying. ‘Why don’t you all come out, now?’

The birds rustle and begin to flood out the doorway, into the morning, the farmer opening the door the rest of the way and casting grain across the grass outside. He walks into the barn, shooing out the few birds clinging to the indoors – one must be sick, because he frowns, and carries it awkwardly off to a pen at the side of the room before turning to her.

‘Come on then,’ he says. ‘What are you waiting for? Nice, sunny day. All Soul’s Day.’

She shakes her head, not understanding. Everything sounds weird, feels strange, and when she struggles to stand, she feels elongated toes, the rustle of feathers. She’s hunched forward, spine in the wrong position, and when she stretches her arms out for balance, all she sees is wings, wings like the turkeys, when she opens her mouth to cry out in terror, nothing comes out but a strangled squawk.

‘Come on,’ the farmer says again. ‘Just a few weeks to fatten up before Thanksgiving.’

Like seeing fiction on this ain’t livin’? Please consider supporting me on Patreon — pledge at the $15 level, and you get to commission articles!

Image: Hunter Desportes, Flickr.

November's Theme

Oct. 31st, 2014 11:31 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
All sponsored reviews and no two week digressions! The list of to-dos isn't super-long but long enough. I mean, anyone wants to commission more reviews, go ahead but

Phoenix Guard (own)
500 Years After (own)
Fire Logic (own)
Ancillary Sword (own)
Rivers of London (sigh)
Something Norton (part of the 50Ni50W, if that is OK, so beginning the week after Podkayne)
"The Reunion At The Mile-High" (atomigeddon coda) (own)

Did I miss any?

Also, to give my editor reasonable lead time, no review tomorrow so that I can reset to a one-day lead.
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Joel Best, the sociologist famous for debunking the myth that your children might receive Halloween candy impregnated with poison and razor blades, wishes you a “Happy Halloween” and nothing but the Best candy:

joel_candy_big

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

"Yes, 1/4lb."

Nov. 1st, 2014 12:53 am
copracat: danny kaye in santa hat with text "merry and bright" (merry and bright)
[personal profile] copracat
I do love the season of seasonal exchange letters. I do not love the season that brings images of the unspeakable every damn where. Fellow arachnophobes, particularly those of you who live in the Halloween-infested North Americas, how do you bear it?

In other news, it is the weekend. Social occasions are planned, sleeping in will be achieved, books will be read. I'm currently reading Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking. Her style is so briskly, crustily sexy, vibrant and bossy.

The Good Stuff for 31-10-2014

Oct. 31st, 2014 09:00 am
green: a kitten in a panda suit (Default)
[personal profile] green

History, Hallowe'en and Hatred

Oct. 31st, 2014 09:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

What follows is a 'Hallowe'en' story. It's not a 'Happy Hallowe'en' story. I'm saying this just as a warning, I've been told, on occasion, that I can be a, the word was, 'buzz kill' when I feel compelled to tell one kind of story when people want and expect another. So, enter warned.

Joe and I don't celebrate Hallowe'en.

At all.

We get into the spirit only as it relates to the kids and to getting candy for others. But for us, Hallowe'en has been tainted. It's a day where we remember the depth of hate that people hold for people, the depth of fear we felt and the realization that when people have permission to hurt and abuse, they will.

 

It was our first Hallowe'en here in Toronto. At both my work and and Joe's people talked about the annual 'parade' at the Saint Charles Tavern on Yonge Street. They spoke with excitement about it and how they were all going. The Saint Charles was a gay bar right down at the end of our street. It wasn't our local, we preferred going to Buddies or to the Parkside, but we had gone there with friends often in the past.

We decided to go and see this parade that people had spoken about. Shortly after dark we headed out, it was only a block and a half from our place so we were able to hear the crowd upon leaving the apartment building. There would be the occasional roar from the crowd, not a cheer, a roar. It sounded malevolent.

And it was.

We got there to see that the crowd was across the street from the Tavern. The 'parade' was when the occasional gay person, often those wearing drag, walked down the street towards the bar. As soon as they appeared the crowed roared hate. Vile words spilled out. Hateful sentiment scrubbed the air of the freshness of fall. Worse. Much worse. They crowd was well armed. Mostly with eggs, tomatoes and rotten apples but occasionally with sticks and stones. On sight of someone headed to the bar there would be a cascade of projectiles in the air, when one struck, the crowd would jump up and down and cheer. The police would applaud a good hit. Yes, the police were there, but they weren't there to protect those going to the bar, they didn't see them as worthy of protection. You will notice in the article that a man, standing up to the crowd is said to be taunting them!

At one point I got lost in the crowd. I didn't know where my friends were. I was alone, surrounded by hateful people with weapons in their hands. Every time I heard a cheer I knew someone had been struck, someone had been hurt. Every time I looked at someone I feared that they would see my difference in the fear in my eyes. I just had to get home.

I got home.

I cried.

I was alone.

Joe wasn't there.

I was terrified that he'd been caught. Beaten. Killed. I had no doubt that the crowd, if it could, would have become murderous.

It has taken years for me to think of that night, to move from the hate of the crowd to the bravery of those who walked down the west side of the street, while hate poured from the east, while rocks and stones, and rotten fruit and veg flew through the air at them. The sheer, amazing, wonderful bravery of those who would not let the street be taken from them, who would not let hate alter their path, who dug deep enough past fear to find defiance and who walked as if the crowd applauded them.

But Hallowe'en changed for me that night.

I think trauma does that.

It leaves scars.

I'll tell you this, no mask has ever been made that is as scary as the human face full of hatred.

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