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 No longer updated with new stories as of December 2007.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: (avengers - captain america)
Title: Public Service Announcement
Fandom: MCU (The Avengers / Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Rating: Gen
Wordcount: 588
Characters: Steve Rogers
Spoilers: Minor spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming (no plot spoilers). Set about two months after The Avengers.
Notes: My inspiration for this story is a bit spoilery for Homecoming, so I'll put my notes behind the cut.

Here are the spoilers )

Summary: Next time, Steve Rogers will be more careful when he agrees to lend his name and likeness to a project.

Also on AO3
---

Several hours into filming, Steve Rogers had to admit that this job wasn't the worst he'd ever done. )
owlmoose: (avengers - assemble)
I had been up in the air regarding whether I would see Spider-Man: Homecoming on opening weekend. Like many MCU fans, I've been resentful of Marvel's willingness to shoehorn the character into the franchise the second they got the rights back, especially in comparison to their mealy-mouthed excuses for not making a Black Widow film at the height of her popularity. Add in the annoyance at yet another white-dude-centric film and yet another Spider-Man reboot, and I was ready to put this film deep on the back burner. Maybe I'd see it later, like Ant-Man and Guardians; maybe I'd wait for video, like Doctor Strange.

But then. Despite his last-minute inclusion, Spidey was one of the best parts of Civil War. And then advance word came out that they weren't doing an origin story, and that they would follow up on Civil War's promise of Peter Parker as a legitimate awkward teenager. And then the early trailers were super-promising. Finally, the reviews started to come out so positively that T wanted to see it on opening weekend. So in the end I decided I couldn't say no. And you know what? I am really happy I did.

[twitter.com profile] kaytaylorrea put it perfectly in her early reactions: although the world doesn't need more white teenage boy coming of age stories, if we must have another Spider-man reboot, this was the best way to do it. Tom Holland may have just turned 21, but I 100% bought him as a geeky sophomore, torn between wanting to do normal teenager things and his desire to become a full-fledged Avenger, surrounded by other high schoolers trying to figure things out -- especially his best friend, Ned, who is a pure delight, and Zendaya, whose snarky, no-bullshit performance as Michelle made her a favorite character. Tony Stark's extended cameo adds just the right level of connection to the rest of the series without overwhelming the show. Adrian Toombs/Vulture as played by Michael Keaton is easily a top-5 MCU villain: complex, sometimes sympathetic, with realistic motivations, and genuinely threatening without feeling unbeatable. The third act fell apart somewhat, as third acts of superhero films often do, but the beginning grabbed me so, so hard that I can forgive its later flaws.

To talk about why requires some spoilers. So I'll put them behind a cut. )

I also appreciated watching a genuinely funny superhero movie that did not punch me in the face with gratuitous sexism and abusive relationships (I'm looking at you, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man), the comparatively diverse cast, and the hints of what might come in future installments. (Zendaya and Jacob Batalan (Ned) and Donald Glover had better be back, or I'll sit on Marvel's doorstep until they are.) And possibly the best post-credits scene in the history of post-credits scenes.

So: fun time, happy to have seen it. Happy that Marvel made it? I'm not sure I would go that far. But within the universe of choices that Marvel actually made (instead of the big picture choices I wish they'd made instead, I'm glad they went this particular direction.
owlmoose: (ff12 - ashe)
I started playing yesterday and got a couple more hours in tonight. The music and voices are remastered wonderfully, and the graphics are quite nice, even if the faces and Vaan's abs are still a little off (but much better than they were before). I cannot wait to sink back into this world again.
owlmoose: (da - seeker)
McConnell didn't have the votes ("You don't have the votes / You don't have the votes"), so the Senate healthcare bill got delayed. There's still a lot of public posturing and wavering, but you can bet once the recess is over, the GOP leadership will start wheeling and dealing to get to fifty. They have room to play with two no votes, so just like in the House, I suspect they'll give the two most vulnerable some cover (my money is on Collins and Heller), then twist arms for the rest. So we need to keep twisting back, and harder.

  • Osita Nwanevu wrote this long and excellent article about the history of US democratic primaries, with a thesis that (contrary to the narrative that BernieBros and others have been trying to push) racial and social issues have been keeping white working class voters away from progressive candidates since 1972. Not coincidentally, this was the first presidential election after the GOP adopted the "Southern strategy", Richard Nixon's plan to attract racist white Democrats alienated by the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Nwanevu is a little too quick to throw around the word "neo-liberal", but otherwise this is a fascinating look at history and trends.

  • It's easy to dismiss the various Twitter-tempests-in-a-teacup as distractions from "real" issues, but let's consider that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are accusing the President of the United States of blackmail, and that's not a small thing.

  • Not politics exactly, but a hot topic in tech lately is allegations of inappropriate behavior of venture capitalists toward women who are asking them for funding. This Guardian article uses one particular case as a jumping off point to talk about the problems with sexism and misogyny in the tech world. I also found this Facebook post to be a thoughtful response.

  • Speaking of Silicon Valley and its sometimes-toxic culture, this video from Fusion does a good job of why the resignation of Uber's ultra-bro CEO, Travis Kalanick, will not solve all the company's problems.

  • In voter suppression news, I was cheered to see so many states pushing back on or flat refusing the administration's request for voter data. And this hasn't been a particularly partisan response either -- only 17 states have Democratic Secretaries of State, but as of the most recent count, at least 44 states are refusing to cooperate, either wholly or in part. When the governor of Mississippi told Trump to "jump in the Gulf of Mexico", I figured that was pretty much the ballgame. Maybe there's some hope for the republic after all.

  • "I Don't Know How to Explain Why You Should Care About Other People" is an article that sums up a lot of my feelings right now, and a lot of other people's too, if the number of times I've seen it shared on social media in the last couple of weeks is any indication.
owlmoose: (ffx2 - baralai suspicious)
Days written: 24/30
Words written: 11,857
Words of fic written: 4,857
Words written in 2017 so far: 51,311
Stories worked on: Two
Stories posted: None

Charts recognize that things could be worse. )

Specific goals:

1. Write at least six days per week (not on average). I would have made this goal, but I wasn't accounting for having out-of-town guests at the end of the month. I'll call it close enough.

2. Write and publish a story every week. Oh good lord no. I did make substantial progress on the FFXII story I mentioned, but it's not finished yet, and the rest of the writing went by the wayside.

3. Write and publish at least one article for Lady Business. I didn't manage this, but I did post multiple substantial things in my own journal this month.

It's also time for a mid-year check-in on 2017. (Do I haaaaaave to? Yes, yes you do. Okay, here goes.)

1. Sign up for [community profile] getyourwordsout with the intention of hitting the 150k goal. I haven't even hit the monthly target yet (this month came closest), so I don't know if this will be possible without a big push somewhere along the line. But I'll keep plugging away at it.

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. Linkspam is down to twice a month or so, but I think that's enough. I continue to keep up on the regular Lady Business features. I'm still falling down on solo posts -- I did post two book reviews in May, but that's been pretty much it so far.

3. Participate in at least one Big Bang and two fic exchanges. Of these, at least one of these should be new to me. Still no. Sadly nothing has really jumped out at me so far. Any suggestions? I might have to dial back on this goal a bit, given that the year is half over and I haven't even started.

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 expect do this sometime in the fall. September or October.

5. Find a fic prompt community I like and participate regularly. Recommendations welcome! [community profile] monthlysupergo has not turned out to be quite what I wanted, so it's back to the drawing board on this one too.

Okay, let's think about July. I have some travel at the end of the month and a banner number of social engagements throughout, AND work is likely to get quite busy. So I don't want to be too ambitious, but I don't want to give myself permission to slack off, either. Here's my attempt at a middle ground.

1. Write at least six days a week except while traveling.

2. Finish and post the FFXII story I've been working on.

3. Write at least two posts for [community profile] ladybusiness -- a book review and a mid-year media report.

4. Identify a fic exchange or Big Bang to participate in later this year.
owlmoose: (B5 - londo oh dear)
Photobucket discontinues 3rd-party image linking unless you get a paid account that costs $400 a year.

Without warning, either. So many sites host their images on Photobucket. This is going to break so much fandom history, I don't even know where to start.

ETA: Okay, maybe one thing. Looking at the new ToS, they offer a number of tiers of service, from free through the top-tier $400/year. Only the top level offers third party image hosting. Dear Photobucket, if you think millions of people were using your site just for personal image storage, I have a surprise for you.
owlmoose: (marvel - jessica jones fractured)
On the occasion of Tumblr potentially being at risk because of Verizon's recent purchase of Yahoo, this article talks about the problem of Internet culture websites and their inability to turn a profit. Although the focus isn't on fandom, I feel like it's an encapsulation of everything I've been saying for years about the difficulties inherent in building fannish communities on sites owned by for-profit companies.

I recommend reading the article, even if it does lean a little too heavily on "Tumblr users are mostly excitable teenagers" when the site's own demographic data shows that this isn't true -- in 2015, over 40% of the site's users were 18-34, and only 15% were 13-17 (the same percentage as 55+). It brought me to a lot of thoughts about fandom, and how it operates today, and how it's splintered. Tumblr is still active, but it's not the hub it used to be. LiveJournal is all but dead (I assume coincidentally, today's episode of the Reply All podcast is about the Russian government's concerted, and essentially successful, attempt to kill LJ). Facebook thrives, but it's a terrible place to do fandom, and for once fandom seems to agree. Dreamwidth is seeing a bit of a resurgence, but I doubt it will ever become a thriving community the way that LJ used to be, and the same is true of AO3. The Imzy experiment has come to an end. A lot of the action has moved into walled gardens like Discord and Slack (I myself spend more time on a private Slack than anywhere else on the Internet by a large margin right now), which is understandable from the point of view of wanting to avoid random drama and trolls, but the isolation makes it so much harder to discover new communities and meet people. (Also, I kind of hate the Discord interface; Slack at least is much cleaner.)

I don't have any specific recommendations or conclusions to share right now. But this issue isn't going away any time soon, and if Tumblr closes, the issue may be forced sooner rather than later. Where do we go from here? Is there even anywhere left? Can fandom take the reigns and build a community platform for itself, along the lines of AO3? Or will we end up depending on the goodwill of fandom-friendly for-profits, like Dreamwidth and Pinboard? Time will tell.
owlmoose: (ffix - garnet)
This past weekend was super and fabulous. I was fortunate enough to be able to snag four tickets to Hamilton for this past Friday, and I invited [personal profile] justira and [twitter.com profile] kaytaylorrea to join me. They both came into town, [personal profile] justira with their partner in tow, and the four of us had a great time not just at the show, but hanging out in SF.

Friday's show was a matinee, so we grabbed a quick lunch beforehand, then an early dinner after. The show was just as wonderful the second time, and in some ways I feel like it was better -- when I went in April, this particular troupe had been together for less than a month. Now that they've had two more months to work together, the ensemble gelled more, and I saw more nuances in some of the performances. I also saw a couple of different actors, in particular a different Angelica, and although her voice wasn't quite as powerful, I loved the acting choices she brought to the role. Another thing I noticed overall is just how funny this performance was -- this particular cast plays up the humorous moments in the songs and the choreography in a way I found really effective.

All three of my co-attendees loved the show as well, despite bringing very different levels of familiarity with it (one who has listened to the album a million times, one who'd never heard the music but read all the lyrics in advance, and one coming in almost completely cold), and it was fun to talk about how their various expectations colored their watching experience.

On Saturday, [personal profile] justira and I met up with [personal profile] forestofglory to wander the Ferry Building and Farmers Market. We noshed our way through, one of my favorite ways to eat breakfast in the city, including some breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocombe (taking advantage of the lack of line). After that I met Kay for a Giants game; our boys lost (not unsurprisingly; the team is TERRIBLE this year), but we still had fun. Then we all (minus [personal profile] forestofglory, who had a prior engagement) gathered at my place for more chatting and hanging out until far too late, chattering about fandom and everything else under the sun, driving poor T to distraction I'm sure. I was particularly happy to see how well everyone clicked, considering that my two guests didn't really know each other before the weekend. There's nothing better than introducing two friends and watching them develop a quick rapport. :)

As Kay said a couple of times over the weekend, our parents were wrong: always make friends with strangers on the Internet. Sure, there's a risk, as people are always a risk, but the rewards are one thousand percent worth it.
owlmoose: (Obamoose '08)
This is it folks, this is the big one. I don't need to tell you that, I suppose, but here we are. Even in California, where my Senators are firmly No-votes and leaders in the resistance, there are things we can do to stand up and fight -- here's a short to-do list for anyone who lives in a state with two Democratic Senators.

A few links on healthcare:

And other things:
  • The Brookings Institution put out a scathing editorial on voter suppression in the United States, a good overview of recent court decisions with some damning statistics.

  • The Associated Press published a report on the effects of gerrymandering, and it's not pretty.

  • It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the Democrats lost the special election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, and in fact the narrow loss continues the trend of being competitive in districts that ought to be safe GOP, but given how much effort and money we poured into that district, it's also understandable that people were disappointed. But the rush of pundits and BernieBots to blame Nancy Pelosi for the loss is both a headscratcher, and almost unbearably stupid. Charles Pierce explains why.

  • And maybe before you get too invested in demonizing one of the most powerful women in the Democratic party, maybe you should consider who is in the trenches, doing the actual work in places like the Georgia 6th.

  • Meanwhile, another Congressional special election flew completely under the radar: the South Carolina 5th. The Republican won that seat as well, but by an even smaller margin. This is not a seat that any polls suggested ought to be competitive, and the Democrats spent almost no money here. This ought to scare the GOP; we'll see if they heed the warning.

  • Maryland and the District of Columbia have sued Donald Trump for violations of the emoluments clause and other conflict of interest laws.
owlmoose: (da - seeker)
It's been a week for finishing video games; first ME:A, and now this. I've been slowly working on a Qunari mage Inquisitor, Nazlin Adaar since about ten minutes after I finished up my Trevelyan warrior playthrough, and I wrapped her up through Trespasser yesterday. She is easily my favorite Inquisitor so far: fun and snarky, thoughtful and caring, and I loved playing out the Josephine romance with her.

I went into this playthrough with three goals in mind, besides the obvious ones of seeing how the game plays out for a Qunari and with a mage, and wrapping up my Garrett Hawke's canon: 1) an F/F romance; 2) seeing a different outcome at the Winter Palace (both of my previous Inquisitors put the same person on the throne); and 3) befriending Solas, something that neither my Cadash nor my Trevelyan remotely managed. Other than that, I let Nazlin make all her own decisions, which may be why I enjoyed her so much.

It was a fairly light playthrough, all things considered -- I didn't quite finish Jaws of Hakkan (even with difficulty turned down to Casual, it was clear that I was never beating the final boss with the team I wanted), didn't even start Descent, and left a lot of the optional areas only half explored. And I'm okay with that, considering how little bearing most of the sidequests, even the major ones, have on the outcome. Even the ones that are interesting for their own sake tend not to differ from Inquisitor to Inquisitor. I doubt I will ever play a thorough game again, which is kind of too bad, but I feel like that's the best way to feel like I'm seeing different stories each time: concentrate on the content that can change.

Next up is DA2, where I will continue Loral Mahariel's universe. I started that game awhile back and got a little into Act 1 (meeting Merrill and her clan). This Hawke is a female mage, mostly aggressive so far but with a side of snark; I want her to romance Isabela, but otherwise I don't have much of a concept for her yet. That will set up my elf Inquisitor, probably my first male, probably to romance Dorian or maybe Cassandra. Since Loral was my Morrigan romance, I'm pretty much dying to see that play out in DAI, but I do need to get through DA2 first. It'll be nice to get back into that story -- it's been quite awhile.
owlmoose: (da - aeducan)
We finished playing through the main storyline of Mass Effect Andromeda this weekend. I've heard many of the complaints about the game, and I'm hard put to really disagree with any of them -- sub-par graphics, too many meaningless sidequests, an uncomfortable colonialism narrative, etc. But ultimately, I enjoyed myself. I found most of the characters interesting, played out a satisfying romance, and for the most part had fun with the gameplay. Since I feel no deep personal investment in the Mass Effect series overall, I feel like I spent less time comparing it to the other installments, and more time appreciating the game for what it was.

Rather than a straight up review, I'm going to tell you about my Sara Ryder and use her story as the framing devise for my thoughts on the game overall. Spoilers ahead.



Pull up a barstool and settle in as I tell you a tale of a lady, her spaceship, and her traveling companions. )
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
It's E3 time, and although I haven't been paying super-close attention, a few things have broken through. One of the harder stories to miss is the controversy over The Last Night, a side-scrolling platformer in a cyberpunk setting. Among other issues, the game seems to be set in a dystopia designed to be a critique of socialism (in contrast to most cyberpunk, which tends to be anti-capitalist). I'd seen a number of takes on the issue, but the one that broke through and inspired me to write my own thoughts was this Twitter thread by [twitter.com profile] petercoffin (the thread and replies are recommended reading, both up and down):



I retweeted it a couple of days ago, with a promise to come back and say more, and here we are. My thoughts are going to be less about capitalism vs. socialism and the many issues with this specific game (Peter and the rest of the Internet have that aspect amply covered) and more about the economics of creativity, specifically the economics of fandom, which is where my creativity has lived for the past decade and more. I said in my tweet that I have "literally never" been paid in money for creative work; there are some hairs to split (I've written freelance a little bit, mostly advertising copy, and [community profile] ladybusiness launched a Patreon about six months ago), but I think it's fair to say for the creative work that's personally meaningful to me -- fiction, fannish meta, book reviews, essays like this one, etc. -- I have never received renumeration. I consider this to be choice, because I have immersed myself in fandom, writing fiction of a type that I legally cannot sell. I've chosen not to write original fiction, or file the serial numbers off my fic; I've chosen not to pitch essays or reviews to paying venues; and I've chosen not to set up a personal Patreon or any kind of tip jar. Within my corner of fandom culture, we mostly accept that we're creating for the love of it, and for the personal satisfaction of sharing our creations with others.

So I look at a sentiment like the one that Peter describes, and it's alien to me. Many years ago, at my first FogCon, I got into a brief debate with a professional author during a panel about fanfiction, and why anyone would put time into writing something you couldn't sell. (Perhaps ironically, it was a panel about cyberpunk and other "-punk" genres.) Although my comments were well-received in the moment, the pro who raised the issue admitted that he still didn't really get it; he offered to continue the discussion over email, but I was too shy to take him up on it, so it ended there. I still think about it sometimes, though. There are plenty of people who undertake creative pursuits with no expectation of making them into a career: crafters, home cooks, musicians. I've never made money off music, either -- I actually pay for the privilege of singing in my chorus. Amateurs often create for love, in all kinds of fields. Why should writing be any different?

Fandom has an economy, of course. Most often it's described as a "gift economy", meaning that you publish your work as a gift to the community, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. Another, in my experience more accurate description, is the "attention economy". Instead of money, creators get "paid" in attention: likes, kudos, clicks, reviews. Both of these models are somewhat limited, and the "attention economy" frame in particular is still rooted in the paradigm of capitalism, but I think there's something worthwhile in both descriptions. One of my favorite articles on the subject is The Economics of Fandom: Value, Investment, and Invisible Price Tags by [personal profile] saathi1013, which goes into detail about the "work" it takes to be in fandom, and the different ways in which we value and/or are compensated for that work.

On the other hand, there are signs that this may be changing. In this respect, there's always been a disconnect in fandom between fanfic and fanart -- unlike fanfic, there's a long tradition of selling fanart: at comics conventions, for example, or via commissions. In professional comics circles, there's an expectation of sorts that artists will cut their teeth on fanart and perhaps even include it in their portfolio. And increasingly, fanfic authors have been questioning why they can't benefit from selling their work, too. I've known fanfic authors to take commissions, or set up Patreons. And the practice of "filing off the serial numbers" has gotten more transparent with the success of authors like E. L. James and Cassandra Clare. Everyone knows that 50 Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight AU, and that Clare was offered a book contract on the strength of her following in the Harry Potter and LoTR fandoms. As IP holders have grown less likely to bring down the hammer on fanfic authors, fanfic is coming out of the shadows. Can a growing commercial acceptance be far behind?

To me, maybe it doesn't matter. Although I certainly appreciate no longer living in fear that I'll receive a cease and desist letter someday, I don't know that I would try to sell my fic even if I were given the opportunity. Essays and reviews might be a different story, further down the road, but for now I'm happier where I am, in (what feels to me) like the lower-pressure environment of fandom, where I can write for the love of it, and in the hopes of finding fellow travelers who will love what I love with me.
owlmoose: (quote - bucket)
owlmoose: (marvel - peggy hat)
Ever since this movie was announced, I've been both excited and afraid. Excited, because of course I was excited. Even though I'm not super familiar with the Wonder Woman mythos (probably my strongest exposure was from the 1970s and '80s Super Friends Saturday morning cartoon), and I don't have the deep connection with the character that many of my friends share, I'm well aware of her stature in the mainstream superhero canon and her importance as a feminist icon. But precisely because of her iconic nature, and also the habit of Hollywood to use the failure of high-profile superhero films with female leads as an excuse not to make more, there was an awful lot of pressure to get it right. Not to mention the way that Hollywood blockbusters tend to misunderstand and objectify female characters. There were good signs -- a female director, promising previews, Diana being hands-down the best part of last year's Batman vs. Superman -- but I didn't want to get my hopes too far up, especially given the lack of high-profile marketing in comparison to other DCEU films (although ScreenRant presents an interesting counter-argument).

Then the buzz from pre-release reviews started building. Between rapturous comments from people who'd gotten an early look at the film and the sky-high Rotten Tomatoes rating (96% pre-release, which made it the highest-rated superhero movie in RT history; it has since settled at 93%, which puts it just behind Iron Man and The Dark Knight), it was impossible not to get at least a little hopeful. I saw the film yesterday, with T and three friends, and I am thrilled to report that my hope was warranted. Wonder Woman is a solid movie, one of the best examples of the mainstream comic book superhero genre so far. I had fun watching it, I walked out of the theater happy, and even after a day of reflection, I can't find much to complain about. (Not nothing, of course; it was by no means a perfect movie. But it doesn't need to be a perfect movie. Its average rating on Rotten Tomatoes is around 7.5 out of 10, a respectable score for an action blockbuster, and that feels about right to me.)

Some non-spoilery thoughts: Gal Gadot was fabulous, perfectly cast as Diana, able to pull off all the emotional beats as well as the action and a number of fish-out-of-water moments (some funny, some poignant) that hit all the right notes. The rest of the cast were also great; I particularly liked Robin Wright as Amazon war leader Antiope (and how fantastic was it to see a middle-aged lady in such a strong action role?) and Lucy Davis as Steve Trevor's secretary, Etta Candy. Both of these roles were fairly small, but they stuck with me in a good way. Chris Pine was a fine Steve, too, acting alternately as Diana's support and as her foil as circumstances dictated. The action sequences, mostly set pieces that could have been lifted from any modern superhero film, did get a little draggy in places. The film's action was at its best when it focused on Diana: her strength, her agility, her determination, and the high-quality fight choreography that showcased all of these things. Apparently Gal Gadot undertook extensive martial arts training for this role, and it shows. Maybe more than anything, though, is that Wonder Woman is a superhero movie that takes a solid point of view: on the horrors of war, on the twin pillars of goodness and evil that are innate in humanity, on finding a reason to fight the darkness without and within. I also appreciate how little Diana was sexualized, and for the most part neither were the Amazons. Instead, they were presented as images of female agency and power. I suspect Patty Jenkins, the film's director, should take credit for this achievement. What a difference it makes, not to have a male gaze behind the camera's lens.

And now for some spoilers )

In conclusion, it was awesome. Not perfect, but what film is? And it shouldn't need to be perfect -- Hollywood should also have room for mediocre superhero movies featuring female leads, and it sucks that Wonder Woman needed to be twice as good to get half the buzz. That said, the opening weekend has been strong (at $100.5 million domestic and $200 million worldwide, it shattered the record for opening day take for a female director), and between the finances and the solid reviews, I have to expect that a sequel is on the horizon. And maybe now we can start getting all the other female heroes we ever wanted. Give me Black Widow, give me Ms. Marvel, give me Oracle, give me Storm. Give me all of them, good and bad and everywhere on the spectrum in between. You can do it, Hollywood. I have faith.
owlmoose: (da - avaline)
Days written: 23/31
Words written: 10,103
Words of fic written: 2,352
Stories worked on: Two (one all editing)
Stories posted: None new, one re-post

Charts are happy that it's almost summertime )

Specific goals:

1. Write at least six days a week when not traveling. I got sick a few days before Wiscon and lost all my progress toward this goal. However, I actually did write almost every day at the con (all journal entries, but still), so I almost broke even.

2. Finish posting A Guardian's Legacy, with more editing if necessary. Success! I only edited a little bit more though. I enjoyed this exercise very much and will probably do another pass through my website this summer and see what other gems are missing from my AO3 archive. (And I'll think a little more about what to do with the collaborations.)

3. Write two reviews for [community profile] ladybusiness (both books already planned). I did this, too! Wrote and posted reviews of The Lady Trent Series by Marie Brennan and InCryptid by Seanan McGuire.

4. Complete draft of FFXII fic recently requested by [personal profile] renay. Not complete, but I did make some progress.

So, I hit almost all of my goals, but none of them were particularly ambitious. Since I'm not going anywhere in the month of June (although I will have houseguests one weekend), I think I want to step it up a notch.

1. Write at least six days per week (not on average).

2. Write and publish a story every week. This is my own adaptation of a project that's happening at [community profile] getyourwordsout this month, where people are committing to write a new story every day for a week starting on June 6th. That's way beyond anything I might be able to do right now, but one short story every week ought to be doable. I plan to start with the FFXII story I mentioned last month, and then go from there.

3. Write and publish at least one article for Lady Business. Possibly Hugo reading, possibly Mass Effect: Andromeda if I finish in time.

That's only three goals, but considering how ambitious #2 is, I think I'm set for the month.
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
Links to previous days! Arrival Day / Day One / Day Two / Day Three

This was a programming-free day, because I decided to sleep in and take it easy rather than rush to any of the panels. It was the correct decision. Although I feel much better today than I did at the start of the con, being sick the entire time did put a crimp in my con experience; I didn't sleep as well, had much less energy than I wanted, and my voice was pretty thrashed by the end of every day.

So, anyway, after a casual breakfast, packing up, and checking out, [personal profile] renay and I said goodbye to [personal profile] justira, who had an earlier flight direct out of Madison, and went to the sign-out, where Nay added to the autograph collection in her copy of Joanna Russ's How to Suppress Women's Writing. It was delightful to join her for this leg of her quest, and to see the reactions of such women writers as Pat Murphy, Alexandra Erin, and Nisi Shawl. I also got Kelly Sue DeConnick to personalize the copy of Bitch Planet Vol. 2 that I bought on Friday.

Then, after a flurry of goodbyes, Nay and I hit the road to Chicago. The drive to the airport was mostly uneventful -- only a little more traffic than on the way up to Madison -- and we are now safely ensconced at our respective gates, waiting for the planes that will take us away from con space and back to real life. Even if the con experience wasn't exactly the one I would have asked for, I'm still so glad I went, and I absolutely plan to make the pilgrimage again next year. If I met you there, I hope to see you again, and if I didn't meet you, I hope I do.
owlmoose: (stonehenge)
I had fully intended to get up for morning panels today, but I guess my body had other ideas because I woke up at 9:55am, and the panel block started at 10am. So instead we bailed on the morning and had a leisurely brunch, followed by a trip to the chocolate shop. (I'm having a delicious fudge snack right now.)

So then came the afternoon panels. First up was a panel about the women of Luke Cage, and it was awesome. Awesome. Probably my favorite panel this year. Five black women, talking about these black female characters who meant so much to them, and the great things and not-so-great things about how the representation. Panelists and audience members discussed issues like respectability politics, colorism, the importance of Eartha Kitt as Catwoman, and also whether Shades is or is not an appropriate Supportive Murder Boyfriend. I highly recommend the hashtag for this one. The panel was recorded, and will be posted on the Nerdgasm Noire Network, and if you get a chance you should totally listen.

Next up was a panel on comics, focusing mostly on recommendations, and featuring "comics matchmaking", where an audience member would ask for a rec based on their specific parameters, and the panelists and audience would make suggestions. There were far too many recs for me to catch them all, but moderator [twitter.com profile] crosberg promised to post up a complete list on their website after the con. (It seems I will have a lot of things that I need to come back and share with you soon.) We closed out the afternoon with perhaps the most entertaining panel of the con: an examination of which superpowers might be the most useful for banging. Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin; the hashtag has more. We laughed, a lot.

After dinner, it was time for dessert salon and the Guest of Honor speeches. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amal El-Mohtar were both brilliant and moving in their own ways, both of them urging us to stand up and support each other and fight against the terrible and growing injustices in the world. I imagine the full text of both speeches will go up eventually, and I'll make sure to link those too. Unfortunately I had to leave before the presentation of the Tiptree Award, because I had a 10pm panel and the speeches were running over. The late panel was on "how to ship without being a jerk", but the conversation ranged much more widely, into the history of ship wars and fan entitlement (I got to share my favorite story, about Louisa May Alcott getting into a ship war with her own fans), and how and why fandom conversations have gotten to be so toxic. It was more about root causes than solutions, but I still found it an interesting conversation, and we all had fun with it.

Then we hung out in the lobby for a little while, before coming back to the room to wind down and start packing. Tomorrow will be a light day for me -- no panels, probably, just the sign out -- and then we drive back to Chicago to end the weekend.
owlmoose: (hepburn)
So, Saturday. We decided to forgo 8:30am panels, instead having a quiet Starbucks breakfast, then running into [twitter.com profile] butnotdegeneres in the lobby on our way to check out the art show. I did go to a 10am panel, on crowdfunding (hashtag). I took a lot of notes on that one and will try to write it up at some point.

We followed that up with a taco lunch, and then I had to run back for my first panel of the day: It's OK Not to Like Stuff, where we talked about the delicate art of having unpopular opinions on the Internet, particularly as a critic. Although there were only three of us, we developed a great rapport, and afterward, the mod ([twitter.com profile] crosberg) expressed sadness that I live too far away to come replicate the panel at C2E2 next year. The hashtag for that one didn't get too much action, sadly, because it was a fun discussion of how to navigate negative reviews, how we communicate differently when we're being a critic as opposed to when we're being a fan, and how to tactfully disengage when someone insist that you must be wrong not to love the thing they love.

My next stops were a panel on the ever-evolving SF/F canon (hashtag), which may become the fodder for arguments and discussion at a later time, and an entertaining group reading featuring Charlie Jane Anders, Mark Oshiro, and more robot sex than expected. After dinner, I dropped by the Tiptree Auction; [profile] branewane was in top form as auctioneer, just as she was last year, but the highlight of my time there BY FAR was the auction for a bottle of lube autographed by Zoe Quinn on behalf of Chuck Tingle (final sale price: $125).

My last event of the day was my third panel, about fanfic. The description was a little broad, so in our pre-con email discussions we decided to make it a conversation about the connections between fanfic and historical fiction (using Hamilton as a jumping off point), and about older canons like Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen that still have transformative works being made about them. It was a pretty lose panel with lots of audience participation (and a fun, active hashtag, where [twitter.com profile] afranklinhudson helpfully posted links to many of the fics and other works mentioned). Also during that time period was the panel I was saddest to miss, on the joys of Leverage, so I am very glad that it was live-tweeted by a number of people.

It was a good day but also a long day, so after a quick nightcap at Michelangelo's followed by a pass by the Floomp, we are back in our room, typing away on our computers and recovering from a day of talking and sociability (at least I am). Looking forward to tomorrow, but for now I am happy to relax for a bit.
owlmoose: (avatar - korra)
I typed this up before bed Friday, but wasn't able to post it because I got kicked off the wifi and wasn't able to log back on until this afternoon. Now Saturday is over, but both days have been so full that I wanted to keep it all separate. I'm not going to go through and rewrite the whole thing, so consider this a snapshot of my yesterday. :)

---

WisCon proper kicked off this afternoon. We had a very lazy morning, sleeping in and then getting breakfast at Michelangelo's, followed by a trip to A Room of One's Own for some actual book shopping (we decided not to deal with the lines after the reading on Thursday). I got the second volume of Bitch Planet and Rainbow Rowell's Carry On. Then it was time to check out the Gathering, followed by my very first WisCon panel!

The panel was about women who play video games, and it went very well. To get a flavor of the discussion, I suggest checking out the Twitter hashtag, #WomenGameWriters. Of the five panelists, two are professional video game developers, and the moderator, [personal profile] tanyad, is the founder of #INeedDiverseGames; myself and the fifth panelist are gamers with no industry connections. So we brought a nice mix of professional and non-professional, outsider and insider viewpoints to the conversation. We talked about the perception of women gamers -- women don't play shooters, women only play casual games, casual gamers aren't "real" gamers, and so on -- and also about the perception that the people who make and sell games are all cis white dudes (a stereotype with some truth to it, but there have always been women and people of color in the industry, and their numbers are growing all the time, especially in the indie game space). I felt like we had a good conversation and that I made some worthwhile contributions. I was also very glad to have a microphone, because although I'm feeling a little better today, my voice is not in any shape to project.

The next panel block was Mark Oshiro's "Queer Eye for Sci-Fi", which I was very happy to attend for a second year in a row. Similar to last time, the panelists discussed their experiences as queer people of color who are fans of sci-fi and fantasy media, in all its glory and with all its problems. The hashtag for that one is pretty great, too.

Afterwards was dinner; we headed to a local brewpub for some burgers and fried things, where I introduced [personal profile] justira and [personal profile] renay to the wonders of deep fried cheese curds, and then we dropped by the Opening Ceremonies. Just like last year, Katherine Cross gave a stirring speech, this time on the subject of the importance of WisCon and the safer space it provides for marginalized fans, and why it's vital to keep it going in Trump's America. Our next stop was the game tables, to play a long-planned game of Slash hosted by Jed. Slash is a card game in the style of Apples to Apples, except instead of adjectives and nouns, the cards each have the name of a fictional or historical character, and the objective is to make the best pairing. Some of our better results included Gandhi/Hannibal Lecter, Veronica Mars/Marge Simpson, and a whole harem (including Rasputin and Andre the Giant) for the cast of the Golden Girls. Then I dropped by the annual vid party, which was an excellent set list as always. I left after the first half, which ended with a funny and moving tribute to Carrie Fisher that left half the audience literally in tears. I'll post the complete set list when it's available.

---

I plan to type up today's con experience now, but it might not go out into the world until tomorrow, depending on how long it takes. It's going well, and I'm having fun with Ira and Renay, but I so wish this cold hadn't decided to come along. It's kind of getting better, but the amount that I'm talking is probably not helping matters. Stupid cold. But it's not getting me down too much. I just have to take it a little easier than I would prefer, which overall is maybe not a bad thing.
owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
We have arrived! [personal profile] renay, [personal profile] justira, and I are in Madison, safe and sound, sacked out in our hotel room after a day of travel. We all flew into Chicago (me yesterday, Ira and Nay this afternoon), rented a car, and drove the two-ish hours with very little trouble. Made it into town just in time for the pre-con Guest of Honor reading at A Room of One's Own bookstore, where I got to sit next to [twitter.com profile] toughlovemuse. The two GoHs, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amal El-Mohtar, each read a short piece and answered some questions. They are both fantastic performers with many interesting and worthwhile things to say, and I'm really excited for their speeches on Sunday, as well as hopefully seeing them around the con.

Now we are crashing early, in my case because the universe in its infinite wisdom decided to gift me with con crud BEFORE the convention. I've been under the weather with a bad sore throat since Sunday, to the point that I even changed my Wednesday flight to see the doctor before I left (but it seems to just be a stubborn virus). The main problem is talking, which is a fun thing to have trouble with at a con when you're on four panels. :/ But hopefully it will run its course soon. (So if you see me, and I dodge a hug or don't seem my usual bright and sunny self, you know why.)

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