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"Close enough for jazz"

Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:13 am
rosefox: Me snuggling a giant teddy bear, entirely contented. (sleeping)
[personal profile] rosefox
Vacation to-do list/wishlist summary: not too bad! Especially given that today was totally eaten by stressful unexpected circumstances. (Everyone is fine now.)

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (I didn't do this but did go read in the park near our house)
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read (three books! in one week!)
* Cook
* Lunch with my mom
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Shower and dress in real clothes every day (mostly)
* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Unpack
* Vacuum (well, I swept, but it's pretty clean underfoot now)
* Catch up on laundry
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Finish setting up Tinybeans
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem

Attention tax

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:32 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

One of the things that has been making me furious about sexual harassment lately–secondary to all the other things that make me furious about it–is the attention tax it imposes on women. The time spent figuring out whether there’s enough evidence for us to be taken seriously this time, whether the people who were in the “surely you misinterpreted” and “that doesn’t mean what it blatantly means” camp last time will finally take us seriously, the time spent recovering from someone shouting in our faces and someone else grabbing our asses, the time sharing stories and pooling information and cleaning up messes and figuring out what to do, what we can do, what we have the power to do. That is time not spent on other things that are frankly a whole hell of a lot more interesting.

When it’s in convention terms, the time spent discussing who did what and what to do and letting the adrenaline settle and coping is time not spent on ideas for books and stories and where to go with them. It is very directly a tax on attention that could and should be going toward work. And it makes me exhausted and resentful, and then I try to corral my attention back to my work, because that is a far, far better place for it to be. I have directly observed that when I am at a con where people are dealing with an ongoing situation of this type, I come back with far, far less in the way of inspired notes for new projects–not just coming away drained instead of energized, but the specifics of what business are we doing here, where is our attention going.

I’m lucky. I know a lot of good men. I know a lot of good straight, white men. One of the benefits of this is that when a straight, white dude is an asshole, I am clear that it is artisanal assholery that he is hand-crafting by choice, not a trait he can’t avoid by his demographics. And a lot of good straight, white men have been stepping up to share the work of dealing with sexual harassment on a community level. I appreciate it. I do. But that is a choice they are making. Statistically, on average, the nonconsensual part, the part where you have to cope with the fallout of being harassed again, the part where it happens several times in a row and then it’s on your mind and you go into the next professional situation having to have a plan for how to cope–that’s a drain on your time and attention that you cannot have back, that other people can help with structurally but not in the moment. They can donate their time but not hand you back yours, not give you back those hours and days of working on the situation and processing and coping. It can happen to men. It does happen to men. And as one woman I know never loses an opportunity to point out, it does not happen to every woman. But statistically, on average, it is an attention tax that falls much, much more heavily on women, for things that we did not ask for and cannot change.

It’s not just sexual harassment. This is not the only attention tax, and I don’t mean to talk as though it is. Racist bullshit and the people who visit it upon people of color? That is, among other worse things, an attention tax on those people of color. Having to cope with accessibility issues and prejudice against the disabled? Attention tax. Homophobia and other forms of anti-queer assholery? Attention tax. Navigating the world while neurodiverse, even in ways that do not feel like a disability internally, among people who are going to be utter jerks to any hint of non-neurotypicality? Attention tax. And while I’ve talked about men and women above, the amount of attention tax that falls on gender-nonconforming and non-binary people gets mind-bogglingly larger the more gender-policing the subculture they’re interacting with gets. One of the fundamental questions is: how much jerkitude are people going to blithely shovel on you for being you and then skip along with their day, and how much will that pull away from the focus you need to do your stuff that you do.

Do I imagine I’m the first to observe this? Hardly. But “show don’t tell” is hardly new advice, either, and writers get blog posts out of that several times a year. What I’m saying to you is: this is affecting the work of people you know and care about. All the time. It doesn’t have to. It is literally all entirely voluntary. The thing I said above about artisanal bullshit: last month I got very tired of people saying “so that’s a thing that happened” when they were describing a choice someone made. So let’s not do that. Let’s not ascribe to fundamental forces things that are actual bad choices people are making.

And also: people who are doing work through all these attention taxes, who are managing to push it aside and fight their way through to focusing on making something awesome: I see you. I appreciate you. I’m sorry it’s like this. I keep hoping that some of the draining work will gain us some ground and it will be long-term less necessary. But in the meantime, thanks for clawing back some of your own in the face of it. It’s so hard, and it matters so much.

yatima: (Default)
[personal profile] yatima posting in [community profile] 50books_poc
Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer is one of the best things I have ever read. His latest book, The Gene, shares the former's wealth of capsule life histories that draw out the deep humanity of his subject. Ironically, though, given its subtitle, The Gene feels less personal and immediate than its predecessor.

Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher, and where his description of cancer is a front line soldier's portrait of a respected nemesis, The Gene is more of a flyover survey of an emerging science. I learned a great deal about the origins of Genentech and Celera and the genetic underpinnings of sex and orientation. That said, the passages about his family - his paternal uncles and their mental illnesses, played out against the backdrop of Partition; the relationship between his mother and her identical twin - are as wise and lyrical as anything Mukherjee has written.

It's a long book. As is my habit with formidable non-fiction, I listened to it on Audible. Shoutout to narrator Dennis Boutsikaris for bringing this complex material to life.

Facing Away

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:55 am
supergee: (facebook)
[personal profile] supergee
K. Tempest Bradford tries to find a modus vivendi with Facebook.

Cushlamochree!

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:23 am
supergee: (math prowess)
[personal profile] supergee
Crockett Johnson, the cartoonist who did the Barnaby comics and Harold and the Purple Crayon, also created mathematical paintings.

Thanx to Metafilter
yatima: (Default)
[personal profile] yatima posting in [community profile] 50books_poc
(Hi! I'm new here. Let's jump in.)

Kel Cheris is a gifted mathematician underemployed as an infantry officer. Shuos Jedao is the technological ghost of a genocidal general. Together, they fight crime, where "crime" is defined as heresy against the calendar. In Yoon Ha Lee's brilliant device, a calendar is a social contract from which physics - and hence, weaponry - flow. Calendrical heresy disables these weapons and thus undermines the power of the state.

If you love bold, original world-building, reflections on colonialism, and complicated relationships between clever protagonists who have every reason to distrust one another, you'll eat up the Machineries of Empire series as avidly as I did. If military SF and n-dimensional chess sound like a bit of a slog, see if you can stick with it anyway. The language and imagery are utterly gorgeous, and these very timely stories have a great deal to say about complicity, responsibility, and the mechanisms of societal control.

Kellet's Whelk

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Kellet's Whelk


I posted this on Facebook a while ago, but I’m re-posting here so everyone can see it.


This is one of the coolest exhibits I’ve seen in quite a while. What you’re seeing is a lucite box with whelks on the top and a piece of fish screwed to the bottom. The whelks are adapted to live on the rocky ocean floor, and send their long flexible mouth things down in between the rocks to feast on whatever things they can scavenge. In this exhibit, you get to see a behavior that is extremely interesting and that, gives you a very different understanding seeing it than reading about it.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Scaly Tube Snail

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Scaly Tube Snail_1


I hadn’t heard of these guys before, so I looked them up.


Apparently you can’t really find them in subway systems.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Two-spot Octopus

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Two-spot Octopus_5


I got a paint-by-numbers book of octopuses once. That was a confusing day.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

F&SF story interview

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:32 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I’m back from Boston! I had a lovely time going to Readercon and writing and seeing friends and riding back and forth on the T and wandering up and down Mass Ave. I am now convinced that wandering up and down Mass Ave is a substantial part of what you do in Boston. Things are there. Also, every time you come out of the Harvard T, there is Greer Gilman, so it is written and so it must be.

But other, less eternal things are written, and you can read them! Such as this interview about my story in the July/August issue of F&SF. Interview with me! Things you might want to know! or maybe not, but there it is anyway.

I answered these interview questions in the spring, and one of the things they’re showing me now is that life moves fast. Well. I knew that. And if it’s going to move fast and smell all right while it goes, I’d better get a load of laundry in. More, much more, soon, now that I’m home for awhile.

Hate vs. hate

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:24 am
supergee: (spy)
[personal profile] supergee
The Middle East really brings out the worst in us. The Chicago Dyke March refused to let people march under the traditional symbol of Judaism because it has Zio* cooties, and now Congress (including some people who should know better) is trying to take First Amendment rights away from Israel boycotters.
*If you hate something enough, you don’t have to say the whole word: Zio, Antifa

Thanx to Charles P. Pierce.

Nudibranch

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Lion Nudibranch_5


The wikipedia page for the nudibranch boasts the only occurrence of the phrase “Apparent production of sound” on the entire site.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Life imitates Illuminatus! again

Jul. 20th, 2017 02:33 pm
supergee: (eye-pyramid)
[personal profile] supergee
J. Beauregard Sessions sez, “Don’t let them immanentize the eschaton.”

ETA: And Clarence Thomas understands civil forfeiture better than he does.

Acorn Barnacle

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:00 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Giant Acorn Barnacle


In case you ever wondered what was inside a barnacle.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Books No. 39-40

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:48 am
sarahmichigan: (reading)
[personal profile] sarahmichigan
Book No. 39 was "The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton. I'd read her novella "Ethan Frome" in college but nothing else by Wharton, though I've seen both this novel and "House of Mirth" as movie adaptations. Wharton received the Pulitzer Prize for this, and was the first woman to win the prize. I'm not sure it's worth *that* much praise, but I did enjoy Wharton's writing. The love triangle structure of the story is not new or innovative, but writing from 1918-1919 about the 1870s, you can tell she did meticulous research on the dress, social life, food, etc. of that period in New York City. The story follows Newland Archer who is engaged to marry May, a woman from a respectable NY family, when he falls in love with May's bohemian cousin, The Countess Ellen Olenska. Archer is very concerned with "form" and what society thinks of things, and yet he feels stifled by a conventional life and fears that his life with May will contain no surprises or adventures. "Society" becomes almost a character in the book as it passes judgements on the actions, good and bad, of many people in the book. If you're looking for a book with lots of action or sex, this will not fit the bill. But if you like stories that delve deep into characters and their motivations and writing that can convey whole conversations in one glance, this will be up your alley. I need to re-watch the movie (where I think Michelle Pfieffer is terribly miscast at the countess) and may need to read more by Wharton, probably "House of Mirth."

Book No. 40 was "What's That Pig Outdoors?: A Memoir of Deafness" by Henry Kisor. Kisor illuminates a part of deaf/disabled history in the U.S. that I wasn't that familiar with, even though I've read other memoirs by disabled/deaf authors ("When the Phone Rings, My Bed Shakes" by Philip Zazove covers some similar territory). Kisor loses his hearing at age 3, and his parents are adamant about mainstreaming him. He learns lip-reading rather than sign language, and his parents do their darndest to make him feel like any other kid. He goes to mainstream schools and figures out accommodations for himself in college and later on the job as a copy editor at newspapers and magazines, well before the Americans with Disabilities Act. Kisor is a liberal, but he's NOT PC in his take on many things, from gender relations to disability rights to race. He is somewhat controversial in the deaf community and sometimes pegged as a deaf man who refuses to "accept" that he's deaf because he doesn't know sign and interacts mostly with the hearing community. I found this really fascinating because his life was so different from other deaf writers I've experienced and because he was involved in journalism for several decades. The book ends in the mid-90s and feels a bit dated by this point, but I still found it fascinating. It unfortunately leaves off before Kisor goes on to write detective/thriller novels, so I do wonder if the reissue from 2011 adds something about that part of his life. If you're interested in either the history of journalism or of deaf rights in America, you may enjoy this book. You've got to love that the title of this book comes from a Kisor family story that involves a fart joke!

The other books I've read so far this year: )

Blue Morpho

Jul. 20th, 2017 02:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Butterfly_6


In reading about these guys, I learned that, like all* butterflies, it can’t chew so it has to suck fluids from through it’s proboscis. Unlike most butterflies, this one lives off of “rotting or fermenting fruit.”


That means you’re looking at a photo of a carrion eater.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Stupidity never dies

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:59 am
supergee: (horse's ass)
[personal profile] supergee
Beer for Her is the latest gendered idiocy.

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