2. I have tomorrow off! I'm excited about that. If I keep this as my schedule, it will be my ideal type of schedule, with the days off as evenly distributed as they can be in a seven-day week.
3. It was really cloudy and overcast today and I was worried it might rain tomorrow, which I don't want because I need to go get my bike tire fixed and it will be enough of a pain lugging the bike around, much less in the rain. But I looked at the forecast and there seems to be no sign of rain? So I guess it's just overcast, which is fine with me because I do like overcast weather.
4. I got a free two liter of my favorite Ooi Ocha green tea today. There was a case that got pretty smashed in transit and the bottles were bashed up so the vendor gave us credit.
5. I went around and found a bunch of items that just do not sell at all (a couple pieces a month, if that) and have put them on sale to try and get rid of them. I don't want stuff taking up space if it's not selling and there's always plenty of other stuff I can find to fill the space (even if not all of that ends up selling well, at least I'd rather try new things and maybe find a few hits than just keep shelf after shelf of dead items).
Title: All Out!!
Author: Amase Shiori
Publisher: Morning Comics
Status in Japan: 3 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations + Kidu's Scanlations
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates
Summary: Gion Kenji is short and perpetually pissed off about it. Iwashimizu Sumiaki is tall but timid. Although it's bullies that bring this unlikely pair together on the first day of high school, it's the rugby club that will make them friends.
Chapter 1: This Year's Freshmen Are Hilarious
Cross-post from my archive.
Fandom/Arc: Have and Hold, Kuroko no Basuke
Characters/Pairings: Aomine Daiki, Kagami Taiga, Kuroko Tetsuya, Kuroko/Aomine/Kagami
Summary: Kuroko decides to push Aomine a little further, and offers to spank him for breaking his collar (again). Aomine is perfectly pleased, but Kagami needs a bit more reassurance.
Meta: D/s, Porn, I-4
( Ring Led )
"You know," Tetsu murmured, fingers stroking over the line of Daiki's new collar, "sometimes I think you let them break just so I'll put another on you."
Daiki looked up at him, relaxed by the feeling of being collared again. "You did say that you would, as often as necessary."
The corners of Tetsu's mouth curled up faintly, and he set his fingers under Daiki's chin, keeping his head tipped back. "I did, and I will. Though I'm starting to wonder if I should punish you, when you break another one, for putting me to the trouble."
But today I felt some real pangs that this year I shall not be getting to Wiscon because of the scheduling clash with Enormous Triennial Women's History Conference. It would have been my 10th Wiscon.
It is probably a bit early yet for people to be making the 'here are my panels' posts, at least, I haven't seen any - is the programme out yet? - or to be setting up arrangements to meet and socialise.
I'm excited by what I shall be doing at around that time - city I have never been before (except passing through airport), the ETWHC, which I always enjoy, and all the people I shall be seeing there, followed by 2 weeks nose down in archives, one of what I believe is one of the World's Great Railway journeys, etc etc.
Even so, I'm still a little bit waaaaah that there will not be the hanging out in the lobby at the Concourse as people start arriving, and the strolling down State Street checking out the eateries, and my ritual walk to look at the lake, and the gelato, and the whole Wiscon thing.
I was thinking today - meetup with somebody I met online way back in the late 90s, and have only met in person once before - about the effects that being online has had on my life, and in particular, the signing up to LJ which led to going to Wiscon which led to doing The Monograph which led to other things in the sff field including The Sekkrit Projekt.
So, yeah, just a little bit bitter that bilocation has not yet been developed.
It belongs to a wider series of poems I'm writing about ancient/prehistoric archaeological finds, which includes "Bowl" and "Thousands of Years Ago, I Made This String Skirt" in Stone Telling and "Sister" in Through the Gate. I'm fascinated by people very distant in time, by people whose stories are rarely told and by how the past is written about: the metaphor of a palimpsest is useful here, the past visible between the lines of the future, and I'd like what's visible to be a truer look at the past than what we get in most popular discourse.
When I read about the bones of a c.2900 BCE woman found at Shahr-e Sukhteh, 6 feet tall with a prosthetic eye covered in gold, carved with a sun-pattern, I wanted to write about her. What an eye! What a story she must have had! One artist on tumblr drew her, which I love. Here she is, as we know her:
Bones. Is writing for a find of bones and grave goods truly history, or historiography? I started writing a narrative for her, a world she saw through her gilt eye. I stopped. The problem of filling in the gaps, of fictionalising, is one that historians (especially of the ancient world) face, and though I can embrace writing story in fiction or poetry, I apparently can't do it for long without stopping to question it. "Her Sun-patterned Eye" is me questioning it: the opening up of possibility, the narrowing down again to truth, to bones. Remarkable bones, a surely remarkable woman. I hope this poem means more people are aware of her.
Thank god for spring.
( Content warning: not giving a fuck about suicidality. )
A few days ago:
My head hurts. It's the steady ache of my days, separating dream from reality. Lucid dreaming's a snap when you have chronic pain; if I'm in reality, then I'm in pain. The ache in my head is unrelenting, though modest, a steady drumming thrum of plucked strings and high wires.
My heart hurts: it aches so deeply that I experience "heartbreak" as so much more than a word. Maybe it's impossible to convey, that searing agony that forces me to my knees and desperate tears to my face, denial already on my lips, like a punch from a cannon into my sternum. But—but—it passes. It dwells within me and then escapes, only to come back at the oddest times to remind me of the pain, to make me think "Oh god, I will die. I'm dying right now."
You say hername went with you on that hike, and I wonder what else you're keeping from me. I remember how you said, "I think it's for the best." I don't know what's for the best anymore.
The last section speaks to the fact that while under unimaginable emotional stress, Josh broke up with me for a few days.
I told him, fine, move out, but I'm keeping the lease. I rallied my support system, and played "So What" by P!nk a lot, but I was okay, fundamentally. That surprised me more than anything else. Afterwards, he said he was proud of me for telling him to get out and asserting myself like that.
"What would it look like if it weren't that", my social worker asks me.
She nearly interrupted me when I started talking, a pre-emptive apology for phrasing it badly—that's how I know she was either embarrassed or I make fun of people too much for weird phrasing, but I interrupted her right back and said "No, no, it stuck in my head."
I'd been rambling about how I worry, like usual, that i'm not helping anyone at work and that i'm a major burden, but she had said that and it felt ... like a splinter, like the tip of an iceberg that would drench me in cold water once I'd worked it out.
So I thought about it, pondered in my mind what that meant to me, her words, because I can never resist a challenge.
What would the opposite of your fear look like, perhaps. And I had this feeling, concurrent with a stumbling inability to put emotions to words that I've recently discovered as a barrier to discussing the most important parts of me—a decent yellow flag if you think of it that way—
I felt like "the opposite of my fear is what's in reality."
As in, if I fear that I'm a burden at work, the opposite of that would be a valued contributor who pays attention to the moment and plans for the future, is rooted in reality.
Yes, I am a valued contributor at work, says the evidence. But I'm not looking for the shadow of the mountain of evidence, I'm not listening to the appreciative thanks that land in my ears, I'm not running my fingers over the embroidered deeds and words and support I've given happily at work, so I don't know it.
I fear that Josh is tired of me and sickened by me, and the opposite of that is that he loves me and wants to be around me more often than he wants to be around anyone else. Again, I think that has evidence for it.
But how can I know what being a valued contributor would look like, or being really appreciated as a partner, because I've never had those experiences before or if I did, they came along too fleetingly for me to understand them, underscored by the long uncomfortable punctuations of being hurt instead of heard?
(Hurt instead of heard: a small flippancy to the dreadful experiences that I hope you'll forgive me.)
This has the flavor of the uncomfortable perspective shift that always accompanies epiphanies for the first few days.
If I don't know what it is, if I haven't defined it for myself, then I won't ever know it even if I do encounter it.
If I don't know what it is, I wouldn't recognize it were it right in front of me. Yet being with Josh, and working this last month, I've had the very strong feeling that these experiences are distinctly different from others.
However, when it was only with Josh, and me not seeing this effect in other areas of my life, perforce unique, entirely, to recognize that he values me. Adding to that when I got this job and they value me too, it wasn't as shocking and it also meant——hey, this isn't just a fluke.
Somehow I find this revelation comforting, even affirming. It says to me "yes, Virginia, there is hope. These things do exist, and may even be in your life right now, but you haven't learned to recognize them. Now I know I haven't learned to recognize them.
As Archimedes said, give me a lever and a place to stand.
The opposite of my fear is what's in reality also has another meaning to me. I think sometimes I... react to my fears like they are reality. Even often, I do that, perhaps. Certainly more than I want to.
The epiphany of these last few paragraphs serves to move my world view a few degrees, and here I am, rotated into seeing my life differently with that arc of space.
Many times I fear things that may not or probably won't happen and act as though they must BECOME reality at some point. For whatever reason: a fertile imagination, past bad experiences, playing too many video games——that last was a joke.
I don't want to waste my energy like that anymore. I have better things to do.
2. I cooked dinner, which is something I haven't been doing enough of lately.
3. Lately I've been waking up before my alarm every day. I'm really hoping I can keep that up.
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. NOTHING ELSE.
( On to the recs! )
New York friends! You are cordially invited to the launch party for For Love or Money, this Thursday, April 17, at 7pm, at Melville House Publishing (145 Plymouth St., Brooklyn, NY). Sarah Jaffe and Melissa Gira Grant will be in conversation, moderated by Jennifer Pan; everyone is going to be brilliant, and there will be cake.
FNFF discussion thread.
This is so surreal. I got into fake news only a few months before TCR started, so TCR and TDS have been a part of my life -- and a package deal -- since high school. There was always a huge backlog of TDS episodes I hadn't seen -- and even now the Kilborn episodes aren't online, so there are a lot I may never see -- and last summer's substitute hosting by John Oliver the show could go on after Jon, even if it wouldn't be quite the same. But in 2015 TCR will have stopped. There's no way to replace Stephen in that role. It's no longer open-ended; it's finite, and the bounds are set.
As long as Stephen's happy with the job change, that's the important thing, but still.
The ending had better be amazing, that's all I can say. (I mean, obviously the dream is for "Stephen" to run off to Vegas and have a big gay wedding, but, you know, any number of other scenarios could be satisfying. We'll see.)
Well, I should unpack that a little bit. We're both agreed that we're extremely tired of the first-person narration, pretty much regardless of genre or target audience, because so much of the time it's extremely clunky, clumsy, intrusive, or affected. I think a lot of authors think that first person is easier to write, when in fact it really isn't. It only feels easy. We're also both pretty tired of the obligatory love triangle business, especially when it's used to denote how ~special~ the female protagonist is. Not that being the object of affection from multiple people is a bad thing, of course, just that a lot of the times the romances are pretty transparent and contrived and the endgame pairing is usually telegraphed from the get-go. Basically we object to the love triangles that are unnecessary to the actual plot, and the fact that romance is assumed to be necessary to the plot (if the protag is female; when the protag is male it's less necessary and the romantic interest is more like a reward than anything else, if you ask me, but I digress).
Anyway, that's not terribly important, and not why I'm writing this post.
I've continued to think about our conversation since then, and this morning I finally managed to articulate what it is about the whole dystopian trend that really annoys me. I thought about it first in terms of YA, since the dystopian future/alternate reality trend is strong there, but I suppose it extends to broader audiences than merely YA.
The problem is that most of these dystopias feature an authoritarian and oppressive society, often with clearly marked divisions between the privileged and the oppressed, but that the reasons for the oppression and the divisions are often gimmicks that make no logical sense as an outgrowth of real, lived human history and human nature. Furthermore, these divisions often ignore the actual fracture lines of oppression we can see in the world today (race, class, gender identity, sexual preferences, (dis)ability, and so on and so on), treating them as if they don't exist. Or they conflate these axes of oppression with their artificial gimmick world-building in ways the reinforce those oppressions. Or they use their world-building gimmick as a hamfisted metaphor for real-life oppressions.
This sets my teeth on edge.
I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, don't get me wrong. I love me some good escapist fiction as much as the next person, and if the writing is good enough, I'll even entertain ridiculous world-building gimmicks for the duration of the story. (Most of the time the writing is not good enough, but my feelings about the literary quality or lack thereof in YA writing is another discussion entirely.) On the other hand, if the current trend for dystopian fiction that we see is a reflection of our anxieties about our world--which I would argue it is, at least in part--then why on earth ignore the actual sites of oppression in favor of making shit up? I mean, think of the ongoing struggle over a woman's right to her own bodily autonomy. Extrapolate from that and all of a sudden you have The Handmaid's Tale, right? Which has its speculative fiction tropes whether Atwood likes to admit to it or not--there's the vague reproductive disaster that has affected the population, and as a consequence you get (fertile) women being pressed into service as human broodmares. Or consider colonialism, and look at Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood as a critique of the idea of the benevolent colonizer while fucking around with ideas of gender while Butler's at it.
Instead we get things like this, where the world is divided by the privileged people who are only allowed to go outside during the day, and the oppressed worker types who are confined to the hours of darkness. (This review, btw, is what crystallized this whole thing for me. Heh.) Apparently this division was a response to the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, as a measure to control its spread.
...yeah. If you're banging your head against your desk after reading that sentence, know that you are not alone. I have a pretty large bruise on my forehead from reading that.
I'm not against dystopian fiction as such. I'm not even against the plucky-female-protag-bucks-oppressive-sy
(And while I'm at it, I would also like a pony. One with wings. A pega-pony, if you will.)