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Sep. 16th, 2014 11:35 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
My OKCupid Adventures Tumblr tag is updated with the latest and greatest from my month in Malaysia!

Also, a prospective name for a hypothetical SEAsian SFF regional con.

Also I feel the need to let people know that the Octavia Butler Legacy Network is looking to hold a conference commemorating ten years of her passing in February 2016.

I woke up at a decent hour but only got out of the house around 10am. Bad idea. Anyway, I got a check for my Mothership reprint and went to deposit it, then went to get more eyedrops. I stopped in AT&T for a new phone and the guy was so intent on selling me a new plan he spent around forty minutes trying to get me a thing with data even though I don't use data that much. I'm looking at this phone, the LG Xpression 2, mostly because it has a QWERTY keyboard and who can get enough of things to write with. The thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't have an FM radio in it. (I don't really care for loading a phone with my own music and prefer to listen to the radio.)

Then I walked to campus to get my office key, check my mailbox (I have a box of books, yay!), check out my office. I'm back in 2414, which is smaller than the last one I was in. My officemate has been using it over the summer and practically colonized the whole place, so I told her to move her crap off the table I'm using and clear half the shelves. She's got the bigger table so I'm moving mine closer to the computer table so I can move between my workstation and the computer station more easily.

I then wandered over to the Health Center to make my appointment for my follow-up pap smear (among my many letters was a printed letter from my doctor stating very firmly I needed to come in for my pap) and then because it was too hot to be real, I went to the sub place nearby for a sandwich. Then I skedaddled home and haven't been back out since. It is aggressively hot out.

I'm gonna be at the International Student Orientation all day tomorrow. It's for the Masters students and apparently they didn't have enough Masters students to be on the peer panel so I volunteered. Good thing, I think, because the PhD orientation was today and I kind of was not in any shape to do it.

you've got to wear a smiling face

Sep. 16th, 2014 10:32 pm
metaphortunate: (fooled you again brain)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
I had some kind of minor nervous breakdown this weekend, I guess? I just kind of lost my ability to, like…make plans.

Or eye contact.

The particularly good/bad timing is that my sister-in-law and her husband are visiting, which is bad because I like them and yet I spent all of Saturday blatantly, horribly ignoring them and staring at my phone, and good because they spent most of Saturday entertaining my children and so I was able to do that. I really did spend all day reading. I haven't done that since the Junebug was born. *sigh* It was wonderful.

I didn't read all of Tana French's books that one day, but that's what I read that day, and over this past while I have been mainlining them all. I resisted reading them despite [personal profile] jae's glowing recommendation because I checked out the summaries and decided I just wasn't into that much child harm these days - well, they are murder mysteries, you have to expect a certain amount of murder. But then every time I turned around someone was drooling over the latest one, so finally I decided to start with The Likeness, on account of how no kids are the victims in that one. And then of course I read all the rest of them in a row. She really is excellent. Her books are a perfect illustration of what China Mieville says about detective fiction:
that unreality function is one of my favorite things in crime fiction: I've said this before in various other venues, but I think the logic of crime novels is not really "realistic," but is a kind of dream-logic. I don't mean that as a criticism but praise—I love the oneiric feeling of logic that is logical but that is punctuated by certain elisions.

On a much more cheerful note, and another story to scarf down in great chunks, Sarah Rees Brennan has finished The Turn of the Story! God, she's going to hate me for describing it this way, but: imagine that someone took the three main characters from Harry Potter and stuck them in a blender. Hit "Frappe" a few times. All right, pour them out, and now the redheaded born sidekick is also the smartest witch in his year and also the neglected child in a cupboard under the stairs. Except that there's no witches, but you know what I mean. The born hero is now the one with a huge and lovely family, and Hermione is a stone killer and the most delightfully misandrist elf you'd ever care to see (think Legolas, not Dobby.) It's not fanfic but it is a riff on genre tropes. In a sense it's the opposite of Lev Grossman's Magician novels. If Grossman had felt like writing about a guy who was fun to read about instead of The Douchebag Who Walked The Earth Like A Man, Quentin Coldwater might be a little bit like Elliot Schafer. Also, I might be interested in reading more than ten pages of the Magician novels. Yeah, I know all the problems with demanding ~likeability~ in characters, whatever. I'm a grown person, there are plenty of reasons to read books with unlikeable characters. If you as an author GIVE me those reasons. If you don't, then reading an otherwise dreary, forgettable book entirely about assholes is just me choosing to spend a few hours of my really truly irreplaceably precious free time with assholes, and I just…I don't want to do that. I don't believe in Elliot Schafer. No teenage boy has ever been that consistently kind and smart and brave and funny. But I don't really give a shit, because sometimes, for fun, I like to spend time with people who are kind, and smart, and brave, and funny. Even if they're fictional. I find it enjoyable! Go figure. Also go read the story, it is a prequel but it is complete in itself, and the ending is not what I thought it was going to be, which is always nice. It does suffer a bit from Rees Brennan's strength-that-she-leans-on-until-it-turns-into-a-weakness, which is that she is a very funny writer, so she writes very funny characters, to the point where sometimes their voices are not as distinct from one another as they could be. But, as weaknesses in free, fun stories go, "characters are too witty" is one that I will take. If this month has you needing a unicorn chaser, this story has got that covered for you. Heh. On a number of levels.

Music: I am still working through [personal profile] norah's Femcees mix, so no comment on that yet, but other than that I keep going back to Angel Haze. Oh, also, if you ever wanted to hear what has got to be Strexcorp's theme song, it's fabulous.

Going back to the small nervous breakdown: I think I need to make fewer plans. There are a million things I want to do, and I love my friends, I want to see you all! This….may be something I need to try to slow down on. I think the overhead is starting to get to me. I really gotta work on getting some more alone time.

patterns of behavior

Sep. 16th, 2014 10:44 pm
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
I read the long article in Buzzfeed about misogyny in the atheist and skeptic communities, written by Mark Oppenheimer:

Will misogyny bring down the atheist movement? (content note: harassment, rape, gas lighting, etc).

This is a pretty thorough article, although there are some odd writing and editing choices in it. For instance, blogger Watson has her appearance described, although no one else does. Male privilege is mentioned nowhere. A quote given by a man, in reference to hate male, is pictured next to a woman, making it look like she said it.

There are many good points, though, and a lot of good background, such as the fact that the skeptic movement attracts libertarians. Some of the community is there via magic debunking, while others are there via ivory-tower science, and people who come from social justice areas don't necessarily have a lot in common with those folks.

In talking about this on twitter, a friend pointed out that people in geeky, alternative communities are used to feeling embattled, so are resistant to attempts to change their behavior (a geek fallacy-type observation). Also, sometimes assholes make good activists because they focus on one goal to the exclusion of all else, and steamroll other concerns, which is sometimes a needed thing but also causes many problems.

Although the article covers many incidents and problems, the main reactions I've seen are to this one guy Shermer (who seems like a gross individual). I am apparently in an argument with a friend's spouse over on Facebook. UGH, people are fools.

After the Shermer article: what do you decide? A call out to the community.

The Shermer Allegations: some considerations for those to whom this is a nasty shock

I should say that I am not a member of these communities and have no idea who these people are; I am mostly interested in this because of the patterns of harassment and reactions are similar to what happened in my own community, and are happening everywhere it seems.

A Platform Studies Book: Flash

Sep. 17th, 2014 02:03 am
[syndicated profile] grandtextauto_feed

Posted by Nick Montfort

I’m delighted that Flash: Building the Interactive Web by Anastasia Salter and John Murray has just been published by the MIT Press.

Flash: Building the Interactive Web

This is an excellent study of an influential software platform – our first such study in the Platform Studies series – and it both traces the history of the platform, its development and the contexts in which it arose, as it also covers many famous and representative Flash productions.

Mark Sample writes of it, “Combining historical research, software studies, and a deep appreciate for digital creativity, Salter and Murray dramatically explore Flash—whose very ubiquity has heretofore made it transparent to media scholars—as the defining technology for a generation of artists, storytellers, game designers, and Web 2.0 companies.”

Dene Grigar calls it “a must-read for all scholars and artists of digital media,” while Aaron Delwiche names it “the best and most provocative work I’ve encountered about emerging technologies since the publication of The Cyborg Handbook.

Flash is still with us, but Salter and Murray nevertheless take up the difficult task of providing the historical context for this platform’s creation, from the days before it supported general-purpose programming through its dominance on the Web. The relevance of this book is not limited to a particular product (now, but not always, an Adobe product). It extends to the Web to interactive computing overall.


Sep. 16th, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed
Has the federal government banned public school students from bringing their lunches from home?

Tape Measure

Sep. 16th, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed
Image shows a 1980s advertisement offering a free U2 album with every casette player purchase.

Exchange Berate

Sep. 16th, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] snopes_feed
Are prisoners swapped in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl now top 'ISIS leaders'?


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