owlmoose: (cats - tori carrier)
Here is a list of all my currently active public accounts on the Internet. Will be kept updated as things change.

Journals and Micro-blogging

Dreamwidth: [personal profile] owlmoose
My journal and my primary home base on the Internet. Personal posts, political posts, fandom posts, cross-posting of fic and other announcements. If it's important, it will end up here sooner or later.

LiveJournal: [livejournal.com profile] owlmoose
A mirror of my Dreamwidth. Stopped crossposting in April 2017.

Twitter: [twitter.com profile] iamkj
Brief daily life tidbits and interesting links. This is where I'm most likely to share the kind of links I used to share via Google Reader. December 2016 update: Probably the place I am most active and interactive right now.

Tumblr: [tumblr.com profile] lifeofkj
Mostly reblogs (fandom, politics, cute animals), quick fandom thoughts, and daily life spam. Increasingly, I'm posting my fic here first, as well, although anything worth saving will end up cross-posted to AO3. As of December 2016, less active, although I still usually check in at least a couple of times a day.

Fanfiction

AO3: [archiveofourown.org profile] owlmoose
Fanfiction. This is my fanfic archive, complete starting in November 2009, and some older works are there as well. Some things will be posted to DW or Tumblr first, but AO3 will always be the place to find the definitive version.

FF.net: owlmoose
My older work, all Final Fantasy X/X-2. No longer updated with new stories as of December 2007.

Writings of an Owlmoose
My WordPress-based fanfiction archive, complete through December 2010.

Other

GoodReads: owlmoose
Updated fairly regularly. Usually, but not always, crossposted to Twitter.

Pinboard: owlmoose
Links to cool and useful things. Mostly for my own saving purposes rather than sharing, but I'm always happy to add people to my network!

This list is current as of April 12, 2017. Subject to change as communities and my online participation shifts. Feel free to add or follow any of these accounts! I have a fairly free add-back policy. :)
owlmoose: (heroes - hiro jump)
I saw Hamilton last night!!!!!

When it was announced that the touring production of Hamilton would open in San Francisco, I decided with some friends that we were not throwing away our shot, and we bought season tickets to guarantee that we'd get to see it. (As it happens, I also got lucky with the general on-sale, and was able to buy tickets to a second show in June.) So we've been going to the theater since last fall, seeing The King and I (which was fun; despite its problematic elements, it's a childhood favorite of mine, so I had quite a bit of nostalgia for it), Finding Neverland (eh -- although it had nice production values), and Into the Woods (which I'd never seen in any format before, so I was pleased to finally have the chance). But it was all about Hamilton, really, so I've been bouncing about this for weeks. I think it's safe to say that the experience was pretty much everything I had hoped for. Even knowing the words nearly by heart, and having seen a few clips and GIFs here and there, there were still quite a few surprises in store, and the energy of the live performance was incredible. The audience was hyped, too -- I don't think I've ever been at a play where the theater erupted into cheers when the lights went down.

I went with an interesting mix of people, as far as their past experience with the show was concerned: two friends who had already seen it twice (once with most of the original cast in New York!), a few who had listened to the cast album a couple of times, and two who went in completely cold. Everyone enjoyed it a lot, and even the folks who were unfamiliar were able to follow along, although at least one commented that they were occasionally confused by the double casting.

Afterward, we happened to walk by the stage door, and we were able to get signatures on our programs from the actors who played Lafayette/Jefferson, Mulligan/Madison, and Hamilton. So that was fun! Although a part of me wishes I had gotten the opportunity to see the original cast, I thought all the touring actors did a fine job. (The only main cast member who rejoined from New York is Rory O'Malley, who plays King George, although some of the leads are played by former members of the chorus.) Some of them were clearly channeling the original actors (especially Joshua Henry as Burr), while others put a bit of their own spin on things (Emmy Raver-Lampman as Angelica, and to a certain extent Michael Luwoye as Hamilton, particularly in Act Two).

Anyway, I am very, very happy I had the opportunity to see this show, and am really looking forward to doing it all again in June. :)
owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I didn't take my laptop with me on my East Coast trip, mostly because I figured we'd be out and about a lot, especially in New York. I was mostly correct in this, so I fell a little behind on world events while I was gone, which is probably just as well.

  • I found this overview of the violent protest in Berkeley this Saturday to be a good and thoughtful summation of the situation. As usual, it's more complex than you might think from headline news. It's not really Trump supporters vs. anti-Trump; it's the latest evolution of a long-running conflict between the white supremacist right and the anti-fascist left, with the white supremacists using more moderate Trump voters as cover.

  • From The Nation, "Fear of Diversity Made People More Likely to Vote Trump." This is a nice way of saying that Trump voters were racist (or, to take it a little more broadly, xenophobic, but the poll discussed by the article asked questions specifically about race and racial anxieties). The article never comes out and uses the word "racist" but the implication is clear. I'm getting a little frustrated by the mainstream media's inability to call racism out by name, even left-leaning publications like The Nation, but at least they're still raising the issue.

  • Of all the various takes inspired by the United Airlines debacle last weekend, I was most interested in Vox's history of airline industry deregulation and consolidation, and how that's led to current miserable flying conditions. It also answered a mystery that has long puzzled me: whatever happened to America West? (Answer: they bought out US Air and kept the US Air brand, so through various mergers they're basically now American Airlines.)

  • From The Washington Post's Daily 202 newsletter, poll results show that the change in support for military intervention in Syria is driven entirely by a massive swing in Republican opinion. Only 22% of Republicans approved of potential airstrikes in 2013, when Obama sought permission from Congress to punish Assad for using chemical weapons against civilians; today that number is 86%. (Democratic opinion is nearly unchanged, from 38% to 37%, well within the margin of error on the poll.) But sure, tell me that their opposition to Obama was principled.

  • I really appreciated this interview with political scientist Marcus H. Johnson on the problems with Bernie Sanders and his approach to fighting Trump, and the problems with infighting in the Democratic Party.

  • As you might therefore guess, I'm not on board with primarying every moderate Democrat under the sun in 2018 (please stop making noises about Dianne Feinstein; I don't love everything she does, but she has serious seniority in the Senate, and she flexes those muscles when it matters). But there are exceptions, and it seems like these eight New York Democrats who caucus with the Republicans are prime candidates for some challengers.

  • It's a little too depressing to go back and chronicle the events that led up to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court now that the damage is done, but I did want to share the article about his purported plagiarism, largely because it was a centerpiece of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley's epic filibuster last week, which I caught part of. Merkely wasn't blocking any particular vote by speaking overnight; it was mostly a protest move. But I found his effort inspiring anyway.

  • Jill Filipovic on why it's a problem that Mike Pence won't eat a meal alone with a woman who isn't his wife. This is not an uncommon stance among a certain strand of conservative Christian -- it's known as the Billy Graham Rule, because the evangelist famously pioneered the practice when Christian leaders were getting caught in sex scandals. It's still offensive in that context, but when a world leader adopts the policy, it's flat out discrimination. What if Pence becomes president, and has to take a private meeting with Angela Merkel? Will he insist that his wife be in the room? It's a system-wide problem, too, as this survey of female Congressional staffers shows -- they report being routinely excluded from after-hours networking opportunities because it would require them to be alone with male members of Congress.

  • On the good news front, recent local elections in Illinois elected a record-shattering number of Democrats to office. Includes a video from Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, who runs a boot camp for people planning to run for office. It's called Build the Bench, and of the twelve alumni who ran in this cycle, at least eight of them won. This is exactly the kind of effort we need to be putting in, and I hope we see it spreading across the nation.

  • On that note, and related to my comments about primarying moderates above, here's a "List of Things Progressives Should Do Before Primarying Joe Manchin", moderate Democratic Senator from West Virginia. I'd add the caveat that if West Virginia progressives believe it's worth putting in the time and effort to mount a primary challenge to Manchin, then more power to them, and I'll support their efforts. (Same for Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, etc.) But on the national level, I absolutely agree that everything on this list takes higher priority.

  • Jill Filipovic has been killing it in her editorials for Cosmopolitan lately, and this piece on abortion rights as a precondition for economic justice is no exception.
owlmoose: (ffx2 - crimson squad speech)
This is my final crosspost to LiveJournal. I think you all know why. The LJ community was a wonderful space for me for a long time, but it hasn't been that for many years now, and I'm ready to face forward into this new chapter.

I'm not planning to delete anything, and I may still pop in to read occasionally, but functionally [livejournal.com profile] owlmoose should be considered an archival account.

If you post on DW and I'm not already following you there, please ping me so that I can add you. Same with Twitter and/or Tumblr, if that's your preference. Just leave a comment on this post and let me know.

Hugs to all, and see you on the other side.
owlmoose: (hp - a few words)
Lady Business is once again a finalist for the Best Fanzine Hugo!!

Thank you, so so much, to everyone who reads us and supports our work and who nominated us. And heartfelt congrats to most of our fellow finalists!

The whole ballot is really pretty amazing this year. Not a single white dude in the Best Novel category, and many other categories are similarly diverse. I have a lot of great and exciting things to read and watch! And many of my favorites got the nod. Basically, this is the happiest I've been about the Hugos in awhile, and that is a very good thing.

Congrats to everyone whose work was nominated! As I said on Twitter, I am humbled to be in your company.
owlmoose: (book -- glasses)
Just like with my writing goals, it seems like I ought to check in with my reading goals at least a couple of times through the year, and quarterly is as good a time as any.

As a reminder, here are the goals that I set for myself when I wrote about my favorite media of 2016 over on [community profile] ladybusiness:
  • At least 40 books total, not including novellas/short fiction or graphic novels/comics collections.

  • At least 20 books by authors of color; of these, at least 10 by new-to-me authors (i.e. authors whose work I've never read before).

  • At least 5 non-fiction books.

  • At least one novella and one piece of shorter fiction each month -- not just during Hugo reading season!

  • At least 10 books or graphic novels/comics collections off my existing TBR shelf.

About a month ago, I started wondering whether I should be counting novellas after all, and Twitter's response was unanimous: Yes, I should count them, and no, it's not cheating. Which I suppose makes sense, but in that case it also makes sense to up the overall goal. So, I hereby amend the first goal to 50 books including novellas, and my second goal to 25, also including novellas (my intention there was always to try for 50%). This has the advantage of making it easier to use Goodreads to track my reading, because I tend to list novellas there, but not shorter fiction.

Let's do the numbers:

So far in 2017, I have finished a total of 10 books. Of these books, 7 are by women (6 unique authors) and 4 are by people of color (all unique authors). Four were novellas, and none were graphic novels. One (Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire) was taken off my TBR shelf.

This would put me on pace to read 40 books in a year, but is a little bit behind the 50 book pace. I think that's okay, though, because I spent more time reading short fiction than I anticipate doing normally, for Hugo nominations. I'm also a bit behind on writers of color, but catching up there is entirely doable.

Not bad, overall. Let's see how I proceed.
owlmoose: (B5 - Ivanova)
Being required to accept a Terms of Service written in a language that most of us can't read is majorly dicey. Although from what little I know, it sounds like the things that seem shady are EULA boilerplate (stuff like the ToS being able to change at any time).

I accepted it for now, mostly because if I want to salvage anything from over there I will need access. (If you choose not to accept it right now, it tries to force you to log out.) Still, it just seems like another step down the path towards a problem, even if this is itself not a problem.
owlmoose: icon by <user site="livejournal.com" name="parron"> (ffx - mi'ihen sunset)
Days written: 20/31
Words written: 7,172
Words of fic written: 1,389
Stories worked on: Three
Stories posted: One

Charts knew it would be bad, but not this bad. )

Specific goals:

1. Write an average of five days per week, including while traveling. I was on track for this until the business trip, which was more tiring than expected, and then my travel back got royally screwed up, so I spent the weekend recovering.

2. Between unfinished [community profile] monthlysupergo prompts, whatever that community does for March, the Final Fantasy Kiss Battle, and a bingo card I requested from GYWO but haven't gotten yet, write at least four flashfics. I got one completely drafted and one mostly written, both for the GYWO bingo card, but I didn't post any of them.

3. Write and post story for [livejournal.com profile] picfor1000, a 1000-word fic challenge I signed up for in January (due March 31st). Success!

4. Post at least three times a week (including Lady Business posts). Nope! I haven't done a Lady Business post that wasn't contributing to a group post in awhile, and I need to get back on that.

Mere words can hardly express how little I want to check in with my annual goals today, but it must be done nonetheless.

1. Sign up for [community profile] getyourwordsout with the intention of hitting the 150k goal. Boy, am I ever behind on this one. Not so far behind that a good push on a Big Bang or Part Three of Wardens of Ivalice couldn't catch me up. But still.

2. Keep up the regular linkspam posts in my journal; write at least one, ideally two posts for [community profile] ladybusiness every month; and stay on top of contributing to [community profile] ladybusiness anchor posts and group projects. I've kept up the linkspam, averaging one post every week and a half, and I've done a good job of keeping up on the regular Lady Business features. Unless you count the Hugo recommendations post, an effort I co-led with [personal profile] bookgazing, I've not written a single post for the group blog this year, and that's pretty sad. At the very least, I need to get back on the TBR feature.

3. Participate in at least one Big Bang and two fic exchanges. Of these, at least one of these should be new to me. Not yet.

4. Once Wardens of Ivalice Part 2 is finished, pick a month to prioritize writing a first draft of Part 3, with a goal of getting it posted sometime in 2018. I posted the story in February, and am planning to get back to it sometime over the summer (depending on what happens with fic exchange and Big Bang options).

5. Find a fic prompt community I like and participate regularly. Recommendations welcome! I'm going to count [community profile] monthlysupergo for this, even though I've only done one month so far (and didn't even finish that month's challenge). Last month wasn't a writing challege, so I feel that I can excuse myself a little.

Regarding April, I'm about to leave on a week's vacation in a few days, and I don't want to push myself to write while I'm gone. For the rest of the month, I want to try something a little different.

1. Write or edit (see below) at least six days a week when not traveling.

2. Finish up the second story for GYWO bingo and draft the third and fourth (it's a smaller card, 4x4).

3. Post at least twice a week and write at least one stand-alone post for [community profile] ladybusiness.

4. Clean up and repost my first epic story, A Guardian's Legacy, to AO3, in installments, starting after I return from my trip. This is my most significant work that's not on AO3, and I held off on moving it in part because it's not really a story I would write today -- my concept of Auron as a character, and to a lesser extent Spira as a place, has evolved quite a bit over the years. That said, A Guardian's Legacy was an enormous undertaking, and it remains the longest story I have ever written (46 chapters, almost 150k words), and I'm still really proud of it. So my plan is to republish it over the next month or so, one chapter every few days, lightly editing as I go. I recognize that this project will do almost nothing to add to my total wordcount for the year, but I was never going to catch up to that in one month anyway, and I'm hoping that removing the pressure to create anything new for a little while will help me reset my writing headspace. Rewriting is also writing. And I want to take on a larger project that I know is doable. I've never set a goal anything like this before, so I'll be interested to see how it works out.
owlmoose: (ramona flowers)
I was mostly offline for a few days last week -- Wednesday through Friday. It turned out those were some pretty eventful days to be offline.

  • Montana's probably-failed vote by mail bill is mostly notable for the state Republican party's opposition letter, in which they straight-up said that they opposed it because it made it too easy for Democrats to vote. They aren't even pretending to make it about voter fraud anymore, are they?

  • This New Yorker article builds a compelling and terrifying case for how the White House halted the US House investigation into the Russian election shenanigans with the active help of US Rep Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats are making louder and louder calls for an independent investigation like the 9/11 Commission; it's pretty obvious that we're never getting to the bottom of this otherwise.

  • This Twitter thread is a good explanation of how the GOP broke the ACA by refusing to fund the risk corridor (in which the federal government would help insurers with the cost of covering higher-risk patients). It also links to an article explaining what the risk corridor is and how it was supposed to work, as well as detailing the problems with it now. It's hard not to think that the GOP purposefully made the ACA worse to drive public opinion toward getting rid of it.

  • Of course, we all know how well that worked out. We need to keep wary -- there's no doubt that Paul Ryan will try to kill the ACA again. But for now, we all live to fight another day.

  • The other big story last week was the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination. The Democrats are, as usual, weighing whether to fight or cave. Myself, I don't particularly care about Gorsuch or his politics; the person who deserves the first committee hearing and up-or-down vote is Merrick Garland. That Supreme Court seat is stolen, and I will never feel differently, and I am perhaps angrier at the Democratic party for letting the GOP get away with it than I am about anything else they've ever done, up to and including the loss of the 2016 presidential election. The Democrats need to consider that rolling over on Gorsuch will demoralize their unusually energized base. Can they afford to do that, when a victory in 2018 depends so heavily on voter turnout? Time will tell, but I still hope the Democrats stand their ground on this one.

  • Here's an article on "blue lies" -- lies that are meant to reassure a group while being obviously false to people outside that group -- and how they might explain the rise of Trump. I think it explains a lot of other political phenomena, too; Bernie Bros come to mind, and climate change deniers.

  • Men Just Don't Trust Women, and This Is a Problem: A thoughtful article by Damon Young looks at the ways in which men don't trust women to speak their emotional truth, and how this wreaks havoc not just in relationships, but throughout public life.

  • In news that surprises no one, the cuts in the White House budget bring the most pain to the people they purportedly "help" by cutting taxes. Newsflash, GOP: most of the people helped by government social programs aren't the ones who make enough money to be paying a lot of taxes.

  • This article on liberal transphobia was a hard read, but an important one, especially in the wake of the controversy sparked by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her comments about trans women. It's not always an easy issue for cis women to confront, but we need to get better at it. I also recommend Raquel Willis's response to Adichie. I want to make it clear that I admire so much of Adichie's work and think she is an important voice for the feminist community to support, but she got it very wrong here, especially in her attempts to respond to the criticism.

  • For the "actors who were born to play their characters" file, Chris Evans lays out his feelings about the Trump presidency in an Esquire interview. Also, in case you missed it, it's worth checking out his Twitter fight with David Duke.


Today's fun is politics-related, but I couldn't not include a link to the best hashtag of recent weeks, #GOPDND, which re-envisions GOP politics as the worst Dungeons and Dragons campaign ever. The Mary Sue has a good roundup.
owlmoose: (kh - roxas)
Was I really going to post three times a week this month? So much for that. I'm really behind on writing other things, too. I took a brief business trip this week (to a meeting in Southern California), but that's no real excuse since I was back to my hotel room every night before nine. Then again the trip was fairly draining, especially since my flight home got in four hours late.

We did start Mass Effect: Andromeda yesterday and are still on the first set of missions (what feels like the tutorial level). Started with f!Ryder, of course. I feel like it's too soon to have an opinion, really, but it's got promise anyway. There's some housework and chores to finish first, and I have evening plans, but I hope we get a little more in this afternoon. I'll probably be taking a semi-hiatus from Tumblr for the duration; we'll see.

Otherwise not much to say really. We're going to DC and New York for a week next month, so I'm looking forward to that. I hope you are all well!
owlmoose: (stonehenge)
We finished Season One last night, and holy forking shirt. I am so eager to see what comes next.

Anyone want to talk about it? Spoilers in the comments, yes please.
owlmoose: (lost - hurley dude)
  • A presidential appointee to an EPA leadership position is stepping down because staffers won't play along with his climate change denial agenda. "They’re here for a cause," he said. A cause, like, say, protecting the environment? WHO KNEW.

  • The New York Times and The Washington Post Are at War, and Everyone Is Winning: when two major news organizations are trying to out-do each other in their investigating efforts, there can be no losers (except maybe the Republican administration).

  • I could share a lot of links about the Day Without Women, the strike scheduled to coincide with International Women's Day last week, but I already wrote a whole post about it, so I will limit myself to this New Yorker piece, The Women's Strike and the Messy Space of Change.

  • Ever wonder why the big news always seems to break at night? The Atlantic has a good explainer; the short version is that newspaper publishing deadlines are at night, we're just now getting the stories as soon as they're filed, rather than having to wait for the next morning to read them.

  • Some professors at NYU staged a gender-swapped version of the three Clinton-Trump presidential debates, and did not get the reactions they were expecting from the audience. There's a clip from the rehearsal, which is fascinating to watch. I'd be really curious to see the whole thing.


For your Thursday funny/cute, I commend you to Olly the Terrier have the time of his life at a dog show skills competition. The announcer's affectionate amusement makes it even better.
owlmoose: A bright blue butterfly (butterfly)
Title: A Home by the Woods
Fandom: Critical Role
Rating: G-ish
Wordcount: 1000
Characters: Percy/Vex
Spoilers: Set vaguely after episode 89, spoilers to that point (though nothing too specific).
Notes: Written for the "a picture is worth a thousand words" challenge, where participants receive a photo prompt and write a story of exactly one thousand words based on it. My photo was Silent Shadow (Finding Alice) by Alexandra Bloch.

Also on AO3.

Summary: On the eve of an important event, Vex goes for a walk in the woods.

Vex always feels most herself in the forest.

From their childhood, Vax preferred the hustle and bustle of cities and towns; while Vex acknowledges the many charms of urban life (good food, cute shops -- and cute shopkeepers -- soft beds...), every so often she needs a day away, needs to trade cobblestones and buildings and prying eyes for soft earth and ancient trees. A day to breathe deeply of fresh air, feel dappled sunshine on her cheeks, listen for the small sounds of abundant life -- wind brushing through leaves, insects creaking, birds chirping, the cry of a distant eagle. Alone, with her bear and perhaps her brother for company, Vex can journey into the woods and find solace there.

Not every day, but some days, she awakens to wooden beams over her head instead of the open sky, and knows she needs to make her escape. On one such day, she rises, dresses, and wakes Trinket -- all quietly, so as not to disturb the man still asleep beside her -- and then goes, snagging some bread and cheese from the kitchen on her way out. As she leaves the castle for the woods, she feels her breath come easier, her shoulders lighten as the trees rise around her and the rustle of wind in the leaves fills her ears. An hour in, she finds a likely fallen log, covered with moss and dead leaves, and sits, pulling out her breakfast and scratching Trinket behind the ears while they watch the sun rise.

Read more... )
owlmoose: (quote - questions)
I have returned! Yet another successful FogCon: in the books. Probably jamming two days into one post is too much, but no matter how much I tell myself I can wait for tomorrow to write about today, the fact is I'm very unlikely to do it.

My first panel of the day might also have been the best of the con, and certainly the one that I heard the most people talking about over the rest of the weekend. It was entitled "When Do You Pick Up A Blaster?" and was about revolution: how revolution is depicted in speculative fiction, what fiction gets right and wrong, what can we learn about real-life uprisings from fictional ones, and what is, or should be, the tipping point for the decision to use violence as a tool. One of the panelists, guest of honor Ayize Jama-Everett, suggested that there are types of violence other than physical, namely social and economic violence, and said that the "objective of violence is free the colonized mind from the colonizer. How you define violence is an interesting topic -- another panelist said that he doesn't consider property damage, like bombing empty buildings and shattering store windows, to be the same thing as violence, and although I'm not convinced I agree, it's an interesting point. (Or going back to the previous point, you could consider it a form of economic violence against the property owners). To cover the discussion property would take better notes than I took, but a few other points I wanted to consider: a definition of revolution as when the unimaginable becomes commonplace; the suggestion that you should be willing to risk dying before you risk killing; that you lose something when you fight, even when you win (sometimes it's worth it, but take the costs into considerations); revolution will always take longer than you think it will. As you might imagine, I got a lot to think about here, and took more notes than during any other panel. Lots of discussion centered around the Black Panther Party, and although I'm going to save most of my book recs for another post, I wanted to make note of one here: Black Against Empire, a recent history of the Black Panthers.

Lunch was the annual FogCon banquet, where I sat with friends old and new and chatted about a number of things -- for one, I ran into a fellow Dragon Age fan, and then we decided to stop boring the rest of the table to death and talk about the Hugos instead. Then my afternoon consisted of two guest of honor events. First was an interview with the other guest of honor, Delia Sherman, who talked about her writing process and her stories. After that, Ayize Jama-Everett gave his GoH presentation, a conversation with Afrofuturist Lonny Brooks. The theme of the talk was Jama-Everett asking Brooks to help him imagine a future that isn't bleak. A challenging project in these times, but I think also a worthy one. Some of Brooks's ideas included looking at Peter Diamandis and his thoughts on abundance, platform cooperativism (a worker-centric alternative to the so-called sharing economy promoted by companies like Airbnb and Uber), and diverse communities that celebrate difference rather than fighting against it or practicing separatism.

After dinner -- I crashed an event for members of a writing message board, and had a great chat with a doctor from Illinois whose name I unfortunately cannot remember -- was my one panel of the con, "Between the Pixie and the Crone: Middle Aged Women in Speculative Fiction". Other members of the panel included the aforementioned GoH Delia Sherman and the always-entertaining Ellen Klages, so that was not intimidating at all. Unrelated in any way to the panelists (they were all great), the discussion got tense in a couple of places, which I think is a risk with any panel on a topic that deals in a trope about women at a con that tries to be feminist -- it's going to hit too close to home for some people, feel completely off the mark to others, and it's easy to fall into talking stereotypes. But overall I think it went pretty well. Folks seemed engaged, asked good questions and made good recommendations, and almost no one left before the end, which are all positives, and I got to make most of the points I had planned, including a comment about not falling into the trap of defining all women by their relationship to motherhood, even including women who are mothers, which got a little "whoop!" from someone in the crowd. Last up was a panel on podcasting, which focused almost exclusively on fiction podcasts and never even got to fannish pop culture reviews, although I did get to rec Black Tapes and found a few new shows to look up. Afterwards I wandered by the bar, where I hung out for a little bit before bedtime.

Today I took it a little easier, as I usually try to do on the last day of the con. The first panel of the morning was the guest of honor reading, which I always try to attend and almost never disappoints. I was completely sucked in by Ayize Jama-Everett's reading and bought all three of his books (the only other time that's happened was all the way back in FogCon2, after Nalo Hopkinson read from The Chaos). For lunch I walked over to the farmer's market with [personal profile] forestofglory, and after I went one last panel on how to write dystopian fiction in the age of alternative facts. The panelists agreed that, for all the stories where false information is commonplace and fed to people by the government, no one ever saw coming that we would impose the world of wrong facts on ourselves, without a repressive regime forcing us into it. The discussion was mostly about real-world information bubbles and info overload, less about fiction, but it was still interesting. As usual in this type of conversation, I walked away convinced that librarians are more necessary than ever, and I need to do a better job of turning my information literacy skills into political activism.

Next up: WisCon! Two and a half months away, and I can hardly wait.
owlmoose: (lost - sawyer)
It's actually now the end of Day 2, but last night I was out and about and doing stuff, and I haven't had many opportunities to sit down and take some notes. Much much good stuff has happened today, too, but I want to keep this shortish as I need to get to bed soon, so for now I'll limit myself to yesterday.

Yesterday I went to four events. First up was a panel that ended up more of a round table discussion on how games of all kinds are changing. It's a pretty broad topic, but we still managed to hit the three major types of games -- tabletop (meaning board and card games), role-playing games, and videogames -- and many current trends in gaming, both good and bad. Topics included the role of Kickstarter (great for board games and card games, perhaps less suited to videogames), the rise of co-op board games and how that might relate to the popularity of Pokemon GO, and the ways in which gaming relates to learning, such as this research on virtual reality games as a potential treatment for dementia.

The next panel I attended was entitled "Looking Forward/Looking in the Mirror", regarding the ways in which stories about the future inevitably reflect the time in which they were written. The panelists freely admitted that this question has a different weight to it than it would have in early November, and there was some speculation about how speculative fiction written in the next year or so might change. One panelist freely admitted that she has much less interest in writing dark futures right now, to the point that she's trying to revise story to give it a more hopeful ending. There was quite a bit of talk about Arrival, and the ways in which it sometimes feels like we're living in a dystopia right now (to quote Debbie Notkin, "Get me out of this bad Harry Turtledove novel!"

Next up was dinner with [personal profile] forestofglory and Robyn, a writer who we'd sat next to during the previous panel. After that we went to our last formal panel of the night -- which Robyn happened to be on, although we'd already been planning on it -- which was about writing across genres. Discussion began with the question of why we have so many sub-genres in speculative fiction anyway; marketing is the obvious answer, although some panelists also talked about the value of knowing what to expect from a book before you open it. Sometimes you want a new and exciting experience from a story, but sometimes you want predictability, and ultimately there's nothing wrong with that. Of course, this brought us to one of the inherent dangers of cross-genre writing, because when readers doesn't get the experience they were expecting, the resulting disappointment can affect book sales and reviews. The panelists, who were all pro authors, each brought up various examples from their own experiences, some causing more trouble than others. Someone in the audience asked why genre bending seems to be more of an issue with speculative fiction than other genres, and after some discussion we all came up with an intriguing theory: other genres of fiction (mystery, thriller, romance, etc.) tend to be defined by their plot structures, while speculative fiction genres are defined by their elements (spaceships, wizards, being set in the future...) but can follow almost any structure. I suspect this makes specfic highly flexible but also gives the writer more places to "go wrong" in terms of reader expectations. In the end, the panelists concluded that you can't be too worried about those expectations -- write the story that calls to you, and worry about how to sell or market it later. Lots and lots of book recs out of this one.

Last but never least: ConTention, the annual tradition where a bunch of con attendees get together and argue for an hour and fifteen minutes. This year's debates included some oldies but goodies (Star Wars vs. Star Trek, privacy vs. safety) and some newer ones (The Force Awakens vs. Rogue One, what's the scariest Dr. Who monster, can WorldCon survive if it continues to be primarily based in North America).

And now it's late (and soon to be even later, yay Daylight Saving Time), so I'll come back with today's report tomorrow.
owlmoose: (CJ)
Happy International Women's Day!

I hope that today's events lead both to a continuing groundswell of the progressive actions that have been going on for years but came into focus for many more with the Women's March in January, and to a greater recognition of International Women's Day in the United States. Interesting reading: this Slate article on the history of International Women's Day, which discusses its roots as a day of strikes and pro-worker action through a defanged and commercialized holiday somewhat akin to Mother's Day. (Also an excuse for self-styled wags and MRAs to complain that there's no International Men's Day. Which: 1. shut up; 2. November 19th, in case you actually care; 3. It's during White History Month and Straight Pride Week, duh.)

Although I'm wearing red today, and ate breakfast at home instead of going out as I often do on workdays, I haven't varied my routine much otherwise. I contemplated not working, but since I'm on a major deadline and had a couple of meetings, I decided it would inconvenience the wrong people without sending any useful messages. I felt a little bad about it, but I also firmly believe that every person needs to decide this sort of thing for themselves. I have heard and sympathize with some of the criticisms that not every woman is in a position where they can afford to take a day off work and/or care-taking; I think that's legit, but I've also seen too many women -- and by this I mean the well-off white women who could most likely take the risk -- use that criticism as an excuse not to participate. In the end, if trusting women is important -- and I believe that it is -- then we need to trust women to evaluate their own lives and know what actions are appropriate for them. We can critique the larger meaning of an action without getting too bogged down in the choices of individual women. I'll be interested to see if any statistics come out about the aggregate effect of Day Without a Woman, and if the strike tradition continues.

(Post title is from a Peter Gabriel song, "Shaking the Tree".)

GYWO Bingo

Mar. 6th, 2017 05:53 pm
owlmoose: (ffix - garnet)
The [community profile] getyourwordsout community is running a bingo for participants, and they've taken a tack I've never seen before: pictures of potential settings.



As mentioned on my last writing goals post, I'm really excited to try this out, and I already know where I want to start. Should be interesting, at least.
owlmoose: (Default)
I was tagged by [tumblr.com profile] shadowedhills! Even though I was tagged on Tumblr I'm posting it natively here, because that's just how I roll these days. I'll tag some people on both sides.

RULES // POST 10 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF AND PASS IT ON 15 PEOPLE

1. I love coffee and used to run on the stuff, but I had to cut back because of reflux reasons. I'll drink one regular each morning, then switch to decaf after lunch.

2. I am considerably more likely to enjoy a video game if it has good music. Right now I'm rediscovering the Phoenix Wright series and how much I love the Cornered! theme, one of the most epic songs ever.

3. I'm really nearsighted and have been almost my entire life. I got my first pair of glasses at age 6, then switched to contacts when I was 16. I've not seriously considered surgery even though I'm well within the range where it could be fixed (-6.50 in the right eye, -7.50 in the left). If I ever get to a point where I can't wear contacts anymore, I might think about it more.

4. I have a hard time just watching TV and not doing something with my hands meanwhile. Lately, it's hand-held games that don't have time constraints and don't take a whole lot of thought -- Flight Rising coliseum battles, Angry Birds, Bubble Spinner, things like that. I've considered trying out adult coloring books for this purpose, too.

5. I don't like raw tomatoes, but cooked into sauce they are one of my favorite foods.

6. Meanwhile, I'm happy to eat whole or slivered almonds, but anything flavored with almond oil, or that involved almonds ground up, I can't stand.

7. Although I consider myself a Californian through and through, I was born in Ohio, then lived in small-town Iowa until I was 13. (That's when we moved to CA, and except for college I've lived here ever since.)

8. The first time I ever drove a car, my family's Volkswagen camper, I got confused driving around the streets where we lived, mixed up the accelerator and the brake, and plowed into a fence. The neighbor was very nice about not reporting the accident, but we did have to pay for the fence and some rosebushes.

9. When I was in sixth grade, my music teacher broke us into different vocal parts for the first time. I was assigned to sing alto, and I was so upset at not getting to sing the melody that I actually cried. Fortunately, it didn't take long for me to discover the joys of harmonizing, and now I can't imagine singing any other way.

10. Today is my 44th birthday. The older I get, the less I stress about age as a number. Am I exactly where I expected I'd be at 24, or even 34? Not especially, but for the most part I'm content with where I ended up.

Tagging! On DW/LJ I will tag [personal profile] umadoshi, [personal profile] lassarina, [personal profile] firecat, [personal profile] elainegrey, [personal profile] heavenscalyx, and [personal profile] spindizzy. Totally optional as always. :)
owlmoose: (think)
Anyone else think that they referred to last night's speech as an address rather than his first State of the Union as a ploy to keep expectations low? Just me? Okay.

  • If it was intentional, it sure seems to have worked -- mainstream media spent last night and today falling all over themselves to congratulate the president for his ability to read words off a teleprompter without melting down. Way to set a high bar, folks. At least some articles, like this commentary from NBC, pointed out his lack of substance and a fair number of the "alternative facts" contained in the speech.

  • Meanwhile, the known rabble-rousers at USA Today posted an editorial calling for Congressional Democrats to get serious about potential impeachment.

  • This week in "I Miss Jon Stewart": Stewart's appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on Monday, 2/27, in which he compared the media's relationship with Trump to a bad breakup and advised them to move on. Nice analogy. I wonder how long they'll wait before taking it to heart?

  • A special election for three seats in the Connecticut state senate was a wash, with all three seats remaining in the hands of their original party, but both Democratic-held seats were won easily, while the race for the GOP-held seat was more competitive than it had ever been. Democrats also held a state senate seat in Delaware, won narrowly in 2014, by over 10 points on the strength of 33% turnout -- which is huge for a special election. There's plenty more of these coming, so keep your eye out. Here's an article about some upcoming US House races in Montana and Georgia -- the Georgia seat, especially, could be key to gathering momentum for the midterms.

  • I would say the dominos are falling when Darrell Issa -- terrible GOP rep from Southern CA, who led some of the worst investigations of Obama and Hillary Clinton, and was largely responsible for the California recall election that brought us the Governator, and who came very close to losing his seat in a district that Clinton won in 2016 -- is calling for a special prosecutor to look into the Russia shenanigans, but he walked it back just a day or so later, so.... *shrug* Talk is cheap, folks.

  • My main feeling about the election of a DNC chair is to be glad its over, so now the party can buckle down and get to work. But what really elevated the whole thing to a non-event to me was Tom Perez, immediately and without rancor, naming Keith Ellison vice chair to unanimous approval. This way, we get both of their voices in party leadership, and Ellison gets to keep his seat in Congress (although nothing prohibited him from staying on, he had promised to resign if he'd won). As far as I'm concerned, this is a win-win. As for the people who tried to turn this into a proxy battle to re-litigate the primary, meh. If you're leaving the party over this, you were looking for an excuse to go. See ya bye bye now.

  • One of the big stories last week was members of Congress ducking constituent town halls during their recent recess (mostly Republicans, but not exclusively -- I don't think Pelosi or Kamala Harris had one, and I know Feinstein didn't). Lots of folks are calling them out, but none better than Gabrielle Giffords.

  • Another thing you might have heard about was the Department of Education pulling guidance to schools that explicitly protected the rights of trans students. Bad as this news is, no laws have actually changed here, just the federal government's mandate to interpret them a certain way. The National Center for Transgender Equality provides a FAQ explaining what it all means.


Lastly, for today's bit of fun: here's a livetweet of a cow escape in upstate New York. Watch the gifs, revel in the puns, and read all the way down for a happy ending.
owlmoose: (owl)
Days written: 20/28
Words written: 5,126
Words of fic written: 2,356
Stories worked on: Six
Stories posted: Five

Charts are not so surprised, it is February after all. )

Well, work got suddenly super busy this month (two major deadlines, yay); combine that with Hugo reading and my blitz through a couple of Ace Attorney games, and I suppose it's not too surprising that I'd have a down period. At least I succeed in my big-deal goal of getting the second part of Wardens of Ivalice posted!

Specific goals:

1. Write an average of six days per week. No, and I should have known better. February is always a down month; if I'd had five days each week as my target, I would have hit it easily.

2. Annual WIP triage and target a fic to finish in February. I went through my WIPs, but I actually didn't find that much -- just a half-started epic about Marissa Hawke in DA:I that I decided was more epic than I wanted to deal with.

3. Hugo recommendations post. Done! Posted as part of a group effort at [community profile] ladybusiness.

4. Write and post stories for [community profile] monthlysupergo, which I'm trying out as a lightweight prompt community. They're doing a random characters challenge this month, a game I can never ever resist. Although I overdid it by requesting two prompt sets, I still managed to write and post four ficlets.

March is a toughie -- I have a con and a work trip, and Mass Effect: Andromeda is out soon, and although one work deadline is past the other is likely to ramp up, but I don't want to set the bar too low. Also I have a dearth of major projects right now, and I'm trying to decide whether to embrace the break or cast about for something new to work on. At the moment I'm thinking the former, despite the havoc it will wreak with my GYWO counts, but I'm open to inspiration. Anyone know of any good Big Bangs launching soon?

1. Write an average of five days per week, including while traveling.

2. Between unfinished [community profile] monthlysupergo prompts, whatever that community does for March, the Final Fantasy Kiss Battle, and a bingo card I requested from GYWO but haven't gotten yet, write at least four flashfics.

3. Write and post story for [livejournal.com profile] picfor1000, a 1000-word fic challenge I signed up for in January (due March 31st).

4. Post at least three times a week (including Lady Business posts).

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