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.)
owlmoose: (ffx2 - rikku)
Since someone asked about this on Twitter, and I figure it's handy for me to have the info all in one place for myself as well, I figured I'd post up my WisCon schedule here. I'll be arriving with [personal profile] renay and [personal profile] justira sometime on Thursday evening (in time for the evening reading, I hope, but since we're driving from Chicago I don't want to make any promises), and heading out early Monday afternoon. Also, I've gone from being on no panels last year to four (4) panels this year, one each on Friday and Sunday and two on Saturday. One on gaming, one on fanfic, and two on not being a jerk in fandom. Titles, times, and descriptions are as follows:

Friday, 2:30pm
Destroying the Mythos Around Female Gamers and Games for Women. Moderated by the one and only [personal profile] tanyad! Description: There is a continuing false perception that video games are thoroughly dominated by male gamers and male developers. However data disproves this fallacy. This panel will discuss the actual demographics of gaming, and how to buck the idea of "appealing" to women with old stereotypes and tropes. I.E women are all casuals, and games like FFXV with an all male cast supposedly appeal to women for a change. We'll also look at how narrative can drive an audience to or away from a game series such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.

Saturday, 1pm
It's OK to Not Like Things (But Don't Be a Jerk About It). Description: It's a wonderful feeling when geeks meet each other and share enthusiasm for the things we enjoy, but what happens when that enthusiasm becomes an obligation? While there are more and more geek and pop culture shows, stories, characters, art, and creators to be fans of and consume, the expectation that fans must like (or at least be aware of) certain things in order to be considered "real" geeks/nerds is still an issue. This panel will discuss what happens when fans are expected to like certain things, what happens when you don't, and how that creates unwelcoming geek communities. The panel will also stress that criticism isn't mutually exclusive with being a fan, as well as elaborate on the difference between criticism and "being a jerk."

Saturday, 9pm
Fanfic, Retcon, and Zombies, Oh My!. Description: Let's talk about what happens in the murky territories where fanfic meets original works. Do writings that use original works in the public domain—modern-day Sherlock Holmes characters, zombies in Jane Austen's worlds—count as fanfic? When a series gets unwieldy or unpopular, it can be rebooted or rewritten with different parameters: maybe a character comes back to life, changes gender, or gets a new backstory. Are there differences between retcon and fix-it fic, other than who owns the copyright?

Sunday, 10pm
How to Ship Without Being a Jerk, and Other Guidelines for Being Good Citizens of Fandom. Description: Everybody hates shipper wars, but nobody trusts the cult of nice, and at some point many of us have been tempted to send a snarky postcard/email/tweet to the Author or Showrunner Who Ruined It All Because They Just Didn't Get It. But just because the Powers that Be are the worst doesn't mean we have to be. How do we have conversations about the fandoms we all love without ruining friendships? Are those even the right goals? If not, what is a better way to look at it?

There will also at some point be an informal [community profile] ladybusiness BarCon gathering. My best guess right now is Friday evening, since I have panels on Saturday and Sunday night, but stay tuned! (I'm actually pushing for a CoffeeCon at Michelangelo's instead, since the hotel bar is small and gets very loud, so we'll see.) Look for an announcement on the [twitter.com profile] feministponies account.

It's so soon! I'm so excited! I hope to see some of you there. :)
owlmoose: (cats - tori peeking)
I kind of want to share some links, and I'm kind of afraid they'll all be out of date within five minutes of posting them. (At the very least, by 5pm Eastern Time today, which is when we seem to be getting our daily bombshell.) It's been less than two weeks since my last linkspam post, and in the meantime it feels like an entire year's worth of news has happened.

But, this the teaspoon I have, and so I'll keep going at this ocean for as long as I can.

  • It's hard to say what's the biggest story in the long run, but for now I'll put my money on the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Could this be the thing that brings it all toppling down? Vox thinks it might be.

  • Not just the firing itself, but the way that the White House narrative tried to deflect the blame onto Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might be what triggered the appointment of a special counsel (FINALLY OMG). Unfortunately, the special counsel doesn't quite have the power or independence of a special prosecutor, but it's probably the best of the options we have right now. Vox has a good overview of what a special counsel is and what they have the power to do.

  • This close reading of James Comey's farewell letter to FBI staff is a work of genius. So is the farewell letter itself.

  • Don't forget The Comey Memo. (Does anyone else hear that in the cadence of "The Reynolds Pamphlet"? Just me? Okay.) This New Yorker article is a pretty good summary of the memo's importance and how it raises the stakes for everyone involved. Also, I'm pretty sure the last shoe has not dropped on revelations from James Comey. Not even close.

  • I suppose it might be a staggering coincidence that the White House invited Russian officials into the Oval Office with only Russian media present, and that 45 dropped some key intel to make himself look important (and SERIOUSLY? You are the President. Of. The. United. States. You don't need to puff yourself up to look important anymore, I promise) on the day after the man leading the investigation into Russian ties with the campaign was fired, but. Well. It doesn't look good. Politico's brilliant take on how Trump supporters are trying to spin this story is both illuminating and a work of trolling genius:
    Others accepted the report but contested the suggestion that Trump’s behavior was problematic. “This is only a scandal in the minds of those who haven’t heard that the Cold War is over,” said white nationalist Richard Spencer, who over the weekend rallied a peaceful, torch-bearing mob in support of the Confederacy at a park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • If you haven't seen it yet, [personal profile] renay's story about trying to get involved with the local Democratic party only to run into roadblocks and uncommunicative people at every turn is frustrating and infuriating. As I said on Twitter, red state and rural progressives are fighting enough battles. Getting the attention of the Democratic infrastructure shouldn't have to be another.

  • There are currently six Democrats in Congress who identify as pro-life and regularly (though not always) vote for anti-choice legislation, three Senators and three Representatives. All of them are white men. This is my surprised face.

  • Meanwhile, voter suppression is back in the news, as The Nation reports on new research into the effects of Wisconsin's voter ID law. I still contend that voting rights is THE issue we need to fix if we're going to straighten things out in the long run. Even with all the balls in the air, we need to keep an eye on this one.
owlmoose: (teamoose)
This Sandwich Alignment Chart went around Twitter awhile ago, and I realized that it had been far too long since I ran a poll about what constitutes a sandwich. So, here you go. Vote, argue about your vote in the comments, send your friends.

https://goo.gl/forms/7oZkz9MuIRGVdGJn1
owlmoose: (hp - monsters)
We saw it. It was fun with some issues, very much on par with the first movie. If you liked the first movie, you will probably like this one. A few unexpected twists in the story, along with many predictable beats, but that's not really a bad thing in this case. I'd say it's the MCU film that feels the least connected to the main movie storyline, although it might tie in more later, depending on what happens in Thor 3 and the next Avengers movie.

The main thing that mars this otherwise lightweight film is a theme of abuse that runs throughout. The movie revolves around family, both found and birth, which is usually something I like, but many of the relationships are abusive in one way or another. It would be one thing if I thought the filmmakers had introduced the topic intentionally, in order to make a statement, but I suspect that it was mostly accidental. Ana of The Book Smugglers wrote an excellent article on the abusive way that Drax treats Mantis, and that's just one example. Cut for major spoilers. )

I have other concerns about the movie (Mantis as the subservient empath was maybe not the best choice for one of the very few Asian actresses in the MCU; Gamora as the joyless scold, a role too often reserved for the only woman on a team; Drax's literal mind and lack of tact being played for laughs, when it was often hurtful toward Mantis and others -- I had that issue with the first movie, too, and as a result Drax is one of my least favorite MCU characters), but I don't want my comments to come off as relentlessly negative. As I said above, I had fun at this movie, and I look forward to seeing more not just in this franchise, but to see it drawing stronger connections to the rest of the series. Most of the cast is fun and charming, and I was particularly glad to see Karen Gillan get much more to do than in the first film. I laughed a lot (even as I was sometimes cringing), and the vibe in the theater was good, and it definitely brought the feels. So I do recommend it (unless abusive parenting is a significant trigger for you; then maybe proceed with caution).
owlmoose: (avengers - a little help)
I'm sure no one really wants to think or talk about anything other than the House's narrow passage of the AHCA today, the bill that's intended to replace Obamacare and dismantle our entire healthcare system in the process. It's terrible, awful, and terrifying for a lot of people; I don't expect to be affected in the short term myself, but the ripple effects could be tremendous if this bill becomes law. It's hard to know what the odds of that happening are. The GOP got away with this in part by rushing the AHCA through before the CBO could prepare its report on how much the updated bill will cost, and how many people it will affect, and that report is expected to be ready before the Senate can vote. It's also commonly thought that the House bill is too draconian to pass the Senate as-is, but if the Senate softens it up too much, it might not survive another House vote. (Never forget: the GOP got this bill through the House by insuring fewer people. I think about that, and compare it to Obama's fruitless efforts in 2009 to win even one Republican vote for the ACA, and it makes me want to cry.) But never underestimate what this group of thugs, bullies, and fascists is willing to do. That said, if you are feeling defeated today, I recommend you to this Twitter thread, which I found a small beacon of hope on a dark day. Friends, we were dealt a setback today, maybe the worst one since January 20th; it's okay if you need a little time to rest and regroup. But I hope you come back refreshed and ready to fight another day. The marathon continues.

Some other stuff that happened:



Today's fun link: The Sandwich Alignment Chart. "What is a Sandwich" is possibly my favorite low-stakes debate topic, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if we come back to this one.
owlmoose: (kh - roxas)
Days written: 21/30
Words written: 8,706
Words of fic written: 5,175
Stories worked on: Four (one all editing)
Stories posted: One new, one re-post

Charts are pretty pleased, all things considered. )

Specific goals:

1. Write or edit (see below) at least six days a week when not traveling. I blew this one out of the water, writing every single day that I was hope except for one.

2. Finish up the second story for GYWO bingo and draft the third and fourth (it's a smaller card, 4x4). I accomplished the first part of this goal (and I even posted it!) but I didn't even start the other two.

3. Post at least twice a week and write at least one stand-alone post for [community profile] ladybusiness. Once again I got the first half and not the second. But I have two LB posts scheduled for the first two weeks of May, assuming I can read everything I plan to read fast enough, so maybe I'll catch up a little.

4. Clean up and repost my first epic story, A Guardian's Legacy, to AO3, in installments, starting after I return from my trip. Editing finished, posting in progress! After a bit of a flurry at the beginning, I've been posting two chapters a day most days. It should be completely posted in another week or two. Now I want to go through the rest of my archive and see if anything else is missing. (Other than the collaborations with [livejournal.com profile] kunstarniki. I know those are missing. I still haven't decided what to do about that.)

Considering the week off I built in for travel, and that I got busy with work and started a new major video game (Mass Effect: Andromeda), I feel pretty good about this. Now for May.

1. Write at least six days a week when not traveling. I might get a little writing done during Wiscon, but I don't want to count on it, so I'm going to allow myself that time off.

2. Finish posting A Guardian's Legacy, with more editing if necessary.

3. Write two reviews for [community profile] ladybusiness (both books already planned).

4. Complete draft of FFXII fic recently requested by [personal profile] renay -- assuming the bunny doesn't get out of control and turn into something longer than I can write in a month. No details just yet; I may talk about this more later.

For a month with travel, a new game, and Hugo reading coming up, I think that's plenty.
owlmoose: (ffx - auron young and old)
Title: A Guardian's Legacy
Fandom: FFX
Rating: Teen-ish
Wordcount: A lot. Currently at 29/46 chapters.
Characters: Auron, Kinoc, Braska, Jecht, Paine, Baralai, most of the main cast of FFX, lots of OCs. Main pairing is Auron/OC, with a side of Paine/Baralai, and others (particularly Tidus/Yuna) in the background
Spoilers: Yes, lots, for FFX and FFX-2.
Notes: As I mentioned in my monthly writing goals post, I decided to take on a different kind of project this month: cleaning up and reposting an older story that hadn't yet made it onto AO3. Although the posting is only about two-thirds done (I plan to put up two or so more chapters every day until it's done), I finished the big editing pass today, so I thought it would be a good time to share my progress so far.

Summary: The story of Auron -- warrior monk, guardian, legend -- and the family he left behind.

Posted on AO3
owlmoose: stack of books (book - pile)
Title: Research
Fandom: Critical Role
Rating: Gen
Wordcount: 944
Characters: Vex, Cassandra, background Percy/Vex
Spoilers: through Ep. 94. Set during the one-year break, written before we know what will happen during that time.
Notes: Written for my [community profile] getyourwordsout bingo card, specifically this photo.

Also on AO3.

---

The Castle Whitestone library was beautiful, and more than a little intimidating. It was rare for Vex to find her way here without Percy, and on those few occasions she was never quite certain where to begin. But today he was engaged in his workshop -- aiding Taryon in his efforts to recreate Doty -- and so Vex had come on her own, determined to muddle through as best she could.

Sunlight streamed in through the high windows, and the lanterns had already been lit, so it was both brighter and more cheery than Vex had expected, and soon she discovered the reason: Cassandra de Rolo, sitting in the plush window seat, a large volume balanced open in her hand. Vex started to back away, but Cassandra looked up, and smiled. "Ah, Vex'ahlia." She set a bookmark in the book before snapping it shut. "What brings you here?"

'Oh, you know. Nothing in particular. Just wondering what's here.' )
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.

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