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Hello DW!

While I’m not abandoning Tumblr, I’d like to try to be a bit more active over here. What always seems to stop me is feeling like I “should” write long-form diary-style posts and then not having the energy for it or feeling like I have “enough” to say. And then when a new fandom grabbed me and I suddenly wanted to write meta, I went over to Tumblr because I wanted to talk to people who were also in that fandom, and that’s where they were. But I’ve missed DW-style internet culture, and I’m excited that it might become a Thing again...so here I am.
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It’s interesting to me that I feel safer writing what I’m about to write in the relatively walled garden of DW rather than in the hyper open platforms of Twitter or Tumblr.

One of the challenges of social media is gauging how or whether to respond to a post by someone you interact with sometimes but don’t really _know_. Especially if it’s somewhat conflicted/critical. In this particular situation, a mutual of mine (meaning that we follow each other) on another platform, who I generally find relatable and agreeable, was talking about her feelings of sadness and hurt because she feels like she can’t talk about intentional weight loss (which has helped her back pain) without feeling like people are going to accuse her of being a bad feminist and engaging in diet talk—and apparently some people have, it’s not a theoretical fear.

I really wanted to say, “it’s your body, everyone is different and ultimately you gotta do what’s right for you—on the other hand, given how much intentional weight loss is promoted in society as THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE WAY for fat people to be healthy, and how damaging that has been for a lot of people, maybe you shouldn’t be quite so surprised that some people have strong negative reactions.”

But I didn’t want to start a fight on someone else’s blog, especially when they were feeling vulnerable...so, I posted it here, where the person in question probably won’t see it, to try and analyze my own feelings about the whole thing...
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When I was a kid, I totally wanted to grow to be either Vesper Holly or Alanna of Tortall.

Now that I'm at least theoretically an adult. I sometimes still fantasize about being Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan when I grow up.

She's about my age in Shards of Honor, the first Vorkosigan book, so I think maybe I still have a chance.

As a librarian, I also find Barbara Gordon/Oracle rather inspiring. She saves the world with information, y'all!
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This is a placeholder for my Dear Yuletide Writer letter. I will try my very best to have it up soon!
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So I'm playing Springsteen loud in the living/dining room and doing nerdy dances on the hardwood floors, like I do (at least when my roommate isn't here) and also cooking potato pancakes (which I am probably not paying enough attention to)...

and I started pondering vids to the songs on _Born in the USA_. Now, I realize this is not exactly an original thought, as Springsteen is pretty popular in fandom, or at least in my little corner. I'm one of the more casual Springsteen fans in my fandom friends-group.

I decided that if I weren't too lazy and basically technophobic, I would totally make a Sinclair/Garibaldi vid to "Bobby Jean." It's so perfect. Shots of Babylon 4, shots of Garibaldi waking up from being shot and Sinclair's gone, shots of them being cute in season 1. ANGST LIEK WHOA.

What about "I'm On Fire?" Whatever one chose would have to be CREEPY AND DISTURBING. Although, it occurs to me that a Kara/Lee vid where Lee is clearly the girl and Kara is the narrator would be funny, as well as creepy and disturbing.

Dancing in the Dark? I was thinking of rebootverse!Kirk, but with the line about "little worlds falling apart" I think it could portray him a little unfairly--i.e. as more of an insensitive jerk than he can be at times in canon. On the other hand, maybe it would be perfect for the "Kirk provokes Spock" scene. It's funny; I wasn't immediately fannish about that movie when it came out, and I didn't really grow up with Trek (although I was a casual TNG watcher in high school) but I've been reading some really good fic for it recently.

And "My Hometown"? Perfect for a Homicide vid. Something meta about how the city's dysfunction affects all the characters.

This is a fun game! Feel free to play (with Springsteen songs or otherwise) in comments!
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Dear Yuletide Writer,

First of all, I'd like to apologize for writing the world's latest Dear Yuletide Writer letter. I have computer access issues this season, I'm afraid.

First of all, write the stories that inspire you. I think I gave about the right amount of information in my details, though I apologize if they were a trifle incoherent. I was pretty ill at the time, and it was also going to be my only chance to sign up. So, if anything beyond the details would cramp your style, feel free to stop here. Otherwise, there will be a lot of babbling about these fandoms and why I love them behind the cut!

Read more... )

Hurrah!

Jul. 4th, 2009 01:26 pm
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I'm at [livejournal.com profile] spuffyduds and [livejournal.com profile] washa_way's house! Much squee has been had, and [livejournal.com profile] spuffyduds has actually succeeded in talking me past my mental crafting block and teaching me how to knit!

We're probably doing the classic small-town fireworks display tonight (I think those are the best ones--forget the Mall), and hopefully meeting [livejournal.com profile] likeadeuce and her family.

In other news, I was inspired by the "Twitter in Plain English" video on our work intranet, and decided to finally give in and see what it's all about. An early adapter, I ain't.
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Obama's speech was good, but I was over in a corner quietly bawling while Aretha Franklin sang "My Country Tis of Thee."

Hearing her linger over the words "sweet land of liberty" was so beautiful, and I could tell that they meant something deeper and more profound to her than they've ever really meant to me. I could hear a depth of years and struggle in her voice.

Plus, she's the Queen of Soul, and it was so neat to hear her take a song that can sound antiquated and make it swing, while still being true to what it is.
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New job starts tomorrow! I'm excited!

I did a trial run of the bus-to-Metro commute last week and it doesn't seem too onerous--it took a little over an hour each way, and wasn't hideously crowded. The only thing I'm not sure about is how it will work if I have to work late, or on the weekend. The northern Virginia extension buses are a different system than MetroBus, and have wonky hours.

I'm going to have to get used to getting up early again though--I've gotten out of the habit.

I do wish I were a little healthier--I'm on my 2nd round of antibiotics for bronchitis and I've been sick for a month. I'm functional, but I feel like an easily-fatigued shadow of my normal self.

I'm also hoping that I'll be able to get down to visit my family, which is by no means guaranteed. Normally it wouldn't be a thing, since I was just there for a whole week around Thanksgiving, but my 90-year-old grandfather is coming up from FL with my aunt and uncle and I don't get to see them nearly as often as I'd like.

Yuletide

Dec. 20th, 2008 09:15 pm
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Story is finally done and posted! And I think it doesn't suck! Off to take shower now, since I have been awake for most of the past 24 hours.

I'm considering pinch-hitting. Am I insane?

SQUEEE!!!

Dec. 5th, 2008 10:16 pm
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I GOT A JOB OFFER!!

It's for a library associate position at a branch library in the city, working primarily with children and teens, but at a branch you do a little bit of everything.

I start two weeks from Monday.

OMG so excited!
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Dear Santa,

I'm so excited that you are going to write a story for me in one of four tiny fandoms that I love! Now I am going to ramble about them for a bit!

First of all, I'd like to say that I want you to write the story that you want to write, the one that makes the little idea-centers in your brain spin around with mad glee! If that story doesn't exactly fit my prompts, go ahead and write it anyway. I'd rather have a story that you loved writing than a story that didn't inspire you because you felt like you had to tie yourself in knots writing exactly what I wanted.

If you feel like more information than what's in my prompts would cramp your style, feel free not to read the rest of this. Otherwise, behind the cut there are ramblings about Elfquest, Hopeless Savages, Elizabeth Enright's Melendy series, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan universe, as well as things I like and don't like generally.

Read more... )
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I started avoiding LJ for awhile, because I get these weird moods when I find interacting with people online to be anxiety-producing and stressful. And I was having a fair amount of RL stress--I got turned down for the only job I've had a serious interview for, and it was a job that I really wanted, too. Combine that with increasing money worries, and you get avoidant!BookWench.

But things are much better now, or at least they could be a lot worse. I have basically rent-free housing (with a little room of my own) for the next few months, courtesy of my friend [livejournal.com profile] chrystalguy and I have lots of other friends who've been incredibly supportive as well and aren't sick of me yet :). My parents have been really encouraging too--and they haven't been pressuring me to move home like I was afraid they might. My unemployment compensation finally came through, so my money situation is much less dire. I'm kind of in a period of rethinking what my job-hunting approach should be, because focusing primarily on libraries hasn't worked out so well for me. I haven't entirely given up on that front though, because I still have several applications out, and the wheels of city/county government do turn slowly. And it looks like I might be able to use some of this open time productively to pursue another one of my interests--I'm in the process of trying to work something out with a local alternative school for me to come and volunteer. The contact person there is kind of hard to get ahold of, but I have faith that I will prevail. ;)

I'm trying not to spend too much time reading the news and wallowing in the badness of things.

I saw [livejournal.com profile] likeadeuce today--she's a special person to me, and I'm thankful that we've been able to maintain our friendship in spite of a certain amount of physical distance and also fandom/friendsgroup drift. Today we had fun talking about comics, especially Iron Fist. She lent me the recent graphic novel _The Last Iron Fist Story_ (which it isn't), and I just read it. It was immensely fun, and now I really want to find out if there are any good Heroes for Hire graphic novels (I'm not a single-issue girl for the most part). Maybe I should be posting this on a comics blog, but I never underestimate the potential knowledge of my flist. I'm sure there are some comics fans here (in addition to [livejournal.com profile] likeadeuce of course.

This weekend I went to the National Book Festival and, despite standing in line for over an hour, did not manage to get anything signed by Neil Gaiman. However, I did manage to pick up a copy of his new book _The Graveyard Book_ for my friends before they sold out of them, and I also got to see the Jim Henson exhibit at the Smithsonian, which closes next week. It was exceedingly nifty--in addition to Mupppets, they had a lot of storyboards and video of his earlier projects--shows, commercials, and experimental films, which I'd never seen before. It was a real shame that he died so relatively young.
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Trader Joe's is a fount of goodness. I recently discovered their organic beef jerky, and it is delicious particularly when combined with their chili-spiced dried mangoes. It's great for a quick protein hit in the middle of the day. If only beef jerky were a little less expensive.

Whenever I eat some, M. & T.'s dog Machig follows me around with this pleading look. I always tell her, "Sorry babe, this is expensive meat and you're not getting any."

I was in Borders last week, and for some reason they had all this chocolate on sale. Why they had a ton of chocolate in the first place I cannot begin to imagine. I mean, I know they carry all kinds of tchotckes that aren't books these days, but chocolate seems a bit far afield from their original mission. Not that I'm complaining, because I got a decent quantity of really good chocolate for cheap. The Lindt tiramisu bar makes me swoon. I haven't tried the Ghiradelli dark chocolate with caramel yet, but I'm sure it will be fabulous.

Right now I'm visiting family, and my mom just brought home something called Orginal Aussie Bites--they've got rolled oats and honey and a whole bunch of other stuff in them and they are tasty, tasty, tasty.

I was in North Carolina for a few days and had the opportunity to stop at Gardner's for some tasty NC-style vinegar-based barbecue. I've found this dive-y place in DC where I can get it, but there's something about being in the actual state...I still haven't found anywhere that sells SC-style mustard based barbecue, though. It's too bad that the dominant local purveyor of the stuff is a racist ass whose restaurants I won't eat at. But my mom sometimes makes it in the slow cooker, and I can hope that she'll decide to before I leave town. :)
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Dear Yuletide Santa,

Odds are that I don't know you, given that [livejournal.com profile] yuletide has now reached over 1200 participants (I think that's vaguely frightening--don't you?) but I do know that you are going to write a story for me, in one of four really obscure fandoms that I love, and thus you rock :)

The first thing I want to say is this--if the details I provided feel confining rather than inspiring, please don't hesitate to go in a direction that _does_ inspire you. Like the Pirates' Code from Pirates of the Caribbean, they're really more like guidelines. Sometimes the best story is one that you never could have expected.

For example, when I did [livejournal.com profile] yuletide last year, I threw out a pairing idea for Homicide: Life on the Street that was just sort of random ("Oh, there should totally be femslash with this pairing, why isn't there any?"), among a bunch of other loose suggestions. My Yuletide writer took that pairing and ran with it in a direction I wouldn't have thought of, and it was awesome. Give me a good story in any of these fandoms, and I'm going to love it.

I think I included about the right amount of specificity in my details this year, so at first I wasn't quite sure what to put in my Dear Santa letter. So I looked around at what other people were doing, and decided that I'd talk a little bit about what I love in fic in general and what I love about each of the specific fandoms I listed.

Read more... )
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I went to Borders at 9 a.m. on Saturday (strategically picking the Borders at 14th and F, which I thought was the DC Borders least likely to be mobbed), got my book in less than 5 minutes, and immediately headed down to a nearby Caribou coffee. I inhaled the book for about 3 hours, then decided that I needed to take a break because I had some errands that I needed to run, and I wasn't quite ready for it to end. So I ran errands all afternoon, then packed for my camping trip and headed out to meet my friend Maranda in Alexandria. Had dinner with her and her husband Ken and their little boy Kieran, (and their cockatiel, Zeke, who spent a significant amount of time perched on my head. Once they went to put Kieran down, I picked up the book again, and I'm really surprised that they weren't woken by my audible squeaks, sniffles, and occasional curses (mostly at Harry!) After I'd finished, I spent a couple of hours reading and responding to the posts of other fast readers on Maranda's borrowed laptop, because the experience of reading Harry Potter just isn't complete until you've shared it with friends on LJ, IMHO. So, even though it was awhile ago, here are my initial reactions--I've tried to keep it to stuff I actually thought of intially, rather than stuff I thought of later when I was reading other people's posts, but probably a little bit of that has leaked in.
Spoilery thoughts behind the cut )



ALA!!

Jun. 22nd, 2007 01:00 am
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ALA is finally here!! I don't have to be at work! Come find me, people of my flist who are also partaking of the librarian-y goodness. If you have not actually met me, I am Caucasian, have shoulder-length brown hair, and all throughout the conference will be carrying a bag that I got at BEA last year, advertising a picture book called _Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?_. Shortly my dear [livejournal.com profile] gwynraven will be flying in, and then we will rock the house!
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I know I'm being very posty tonight, but the computer lab in my building is pretty empty (a rare event) and I'm taking advantage of it while I can. Anyway, I've had thoughts brewing on the topic of education that I've wanted to post for awhile, but I just haven't found the right moment.

Anyway, the state of our education system is a perennial topic in all sorts of circles, and although there are people, notably Gerald Bracey, who writes for the very good education magazine Phi Delta Kappan who have pointed out that a lot of the constant claims of "crisis" are overblown (for instance, part of the reason that SAT scores have declined is that a much larger number of students take the test than used to, but do you ever hear about that?). But nobody can deny that there are some major problems--I get up close and personal with some of them every day. I mean--I work in a building that's not that much younger than my grandfather, and my grandfather is 89. But I don't think that the problems are limited to relatively poor, urban schools--they're just more visible there.

And I believe that at least some of the problems are built into our system of education at a level deeper than most people seem to consider: the level of our assumptions about what "education" means. For a long time, it seems like we've been working with what somebody dubbed "the factory model of education". That is, the idea that schools should be large, organized by an efficient system of periods and bells dividing everything into little bits of knowledge. Teaching is telling, learning is listening and memorizing. Kids should be in a largish group of only students their own age, learning pretty much the same thing at the same time in the same way. If they don't learn well that way, something is wrong with them and they need remediation. If they learn much more quickly, all they need for stimulation is to do more homework and move through the courses faster. I was talking with a friend who teaches first grade, and she pointed out that education isn't all like that today, that there is a greater emphasis on tailoring lessons to a variety of student learning styles and skill levels (this is called "differentiated instruction" in educationese). I said that that was true, but that the factory model is so often the background assumption, the water that we swim in.

I don't think that every feature of the factory model is always terrible, but at it's worse, it does violence to teachers and to students, and I do think that alternatives need to be available. Lots of alternatives. And some are, but on a very limited scale within the public system. And charter schools, which could really be a viable alternative, are too often "more of the same, but different".

Women Rock!

Mar. 8th, 2007 10:30 am
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I didn't even realize it was International Women's Day, until I saw it on LJ! What would I do without my flist? I ask you. Anyhow, I gakked this from [livejournal.com profile] inlovewithnight--a favorite women characters meme!

So, some of [livejournal.com profile] erinpoetchica's favorite women characters, in no particular order:

1.) All the women of Firefly rock! But if absolutely pressed, I'd have to pick Zoe and River--and yet, Inara and Kaylee are almost as awesome!
2.) Vesper Holly, from Lloyd Alexander's The Illyria Adventure, etc. One of the kick-ass girl heroines of my childhood, whom I still adore.
3.) C.J. Cregg. Because she's tall and glamorous (but not too pretty) and funny and thoughtful and passionate and sad.
4.) Kay Howard. Because she's sensible without being dull, and compassionate without being soft, and more competitive than she usually admits. The hair doesn't hurt either.
5.) Vicky Austin, from Madeleine L'Engle's books. Because she's one of the female characters I identify with most deeply, along with
6.) Julia Redfern, from Eleanor Cameron book A Room Made of Windows and sequels. She has a journal called The Book of Strangenesses--how cool is that? Yes, it's a sensitive-yet-rebellious-young-girl-wants-to-be-a-writer book, but it's a really good one.
7.) Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, from Lois McMaster Bujold's books. Because I want to be her when she grows up. She kicks all kinds of ass.
8.) Death from the Sandman comics. Because she is perky, and wise, and uniquely fabulous.
8.) Laura Roslin. Because she cares deeply for the welfare of humanity, and is willing to make hard choices to that end--she's not always right, but I almost always understand why she does what she does. Because she starts out uncertain, but she's resolute, a quick learner, and doesn't allow herself to be intimidated by anyone. Because she seemed to genuinely love teaching.
9.) Jenna Boller from Joan Bauer's novels, Rules of the Road and Best Foot Forward for her wry and funny voice, for her responsibility and courage in following an unusual passion.
10.) Katharine, Duchess of Tremontaine from Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint series. I can't explain this one in a coherent way--just go read The Privilege of the Sword.

Of course there are plenty of other female characters that I adore--these are just the ones that popped into my head right at the moment. :)
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So after all that computer squee of a month or so ago, I now bring you a post of computer woe. Starting a couple of weeks ago, every time I tried to turn on my computer, this hideous beeping sound would start coming from inside the CPU, and it wouldn't turn on at all (i.e., nothing showing on the monitor at all). And I would finally have to turn it off with the switch on the back of the CPU. I talked to my computer guru in RL, [livejournal.com profile] kchoseng, and he suggested that I unhook everything that wasn't absolutely essential (speakers, zip drive, etc) from the back of the CPU, and see if the problem was still happening. So, I tried that recently, and yes, the problem is still happening, and I really don't want to bother [livejournal.com profile] kchoseng about it since he is in the middle of a work project that is pwning his soul. So, I was telling [livejournal.com profile] likeadeuce about the whole situation on Gmail chat, and she suggested that I appeal to the collective wisdom of my flist. So, since I have historically gotten good answers with this method, I'm trying it. Oh flist of mine, what do you think could be causing this, and what should I do about it? Bearing in mind that I am not a computer expert by any stretch of the imagination.
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