musesfool: anakin's lightsaber (this is your life)
[personal profile] musesfool
So maybe there finally is an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie in the pipeline. Ewan McGregor's been pretty vocal about wanting to do one and he's the right age for something set smack dab in the middle of Obi-Wan's sad desert hermit years, which is what I'm guessing they'll do. The comics have been delving into that time a bit, and I would love to see either a noir or an elegiac western (or a noir western!) featuring him fighting Hutts and bounty hunters while watching over Luke (who wouldn't be present onscreen) from afar.

And Disney's already got Rosario Dawson in all the Marvel Netflix shows, so slap some head tails on her and have Ahsoka show up, and maybe Bail Organa as well. (I mean, I would ALSO be super into them retconning Satine's death if it meant we could get Cate Blanchett showing up as Satine. Or I guess they could cast Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan for live action too.)

I feel like the only way I'd be interested in a young, non-Ewan Obi-Wan movie is if they give us the story of his year on the run with Satine, but then they'd have to actually make all that Mandalorian stuff make sense, and I'm not sure that 1. it does or could, and 2. that I care about anything except their angsty teen romance. It would mean bringing Liam Neeson back, which I'm not sure they'd do either. It would also require finding a young actor who could pull it off which could be difficult. Otoh, there's Tom Holland? He could maybe? idk.

And in conclusion, I think sad desert hermit Obi-Wan fighting Hutts and gangsters is the way to go.

***

Helping Charlottesville kids

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:17 am
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
A good friend of mine lives and works (as a teacher) in Charlottesville, and her school librarian has put together a list of books to help kids in the city process what's been happening. If you have a little money, please buy one of the books at the link below and help Charlottesville's kids directly!

[here!]

Fidele Chapter 25

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:06 pm
misslucyjane: Dominic Monaghan writing (i write therefore i am)
[personal profile] misslucyjane
Fidele (113534 words) by misslucyjane
Chapters: 25/?
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: Romance Novel, Paranormal, PTSD, Hauntings, Kid Fic, Drug Use
Summary:

A house full of ghosts is no place to fall in love.

Malcolm Carmichael has been coping with his post-war trauma by taking lovers, teaching art to schoolboys, and trying to ignore the ghosts he sees everywhere. At the death of his mother, he realizes he wants more than just to coast on by, and leaves the exclusive school in search of something more.

Caleb Thibodeaux was so traumatized by the death of his parents in a fire that he hasn't spoken a word since. His uncle Noel hires Malcolm to be his tutor, and Malcolm discovers that Caleb is not the only Thibodeaux son with secrets. The plantation house Fidele is beautiful but haunted, and Noel is much the same.

Soon Malcolm is absorbed in protecting Caleb and Noel from threats both living and dead, and in uncovering the story of Fidele.



Read at AO3, or at JennaLynnBrown.com

hope for an answer some day

Aug. 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
musesfool: toph (come with me if you want to live)
[personal profile] musesfool
TNT has optioned N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season! Which is great news!

I have questions though, because I can't imagine it being an easy novel to adapt. spoilers )

It'll be interesting TV regardless, I bet.

***

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:42 pm
skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
[personal profile] skygiants
It's hard for me not to unfavorably compare every Isabelle Hollington Gothic to Trelawny, the one with the identical non-identical constantly-swapping twins, but The Marchington Inheritance runs a reasonable second for batshit plot resolutions.

Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.

spoilers are full of hilariously plausibly annoying children )

Reading Wednesday

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:05 am
muccamukk: Gregory Peck looks up from the book he's reading. (Books: Hello Reading)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading
The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis by Wes Davis
I'll admit that I started reading this as Guns of Navarone background, but even given that I found it pretty shallow. Basically it recapped almost entirely from the reports and journals of the British officers, with the odd German thrown in, didn't consider the Greek perspective in more than the briefest passing mention. I read the first two thirds and then sent it back to the library because I just didn't care.

Coed Demon Sluts: Beth (Coed Demon Sluts #1) by Jennifer Stevenson
I saw the author talking about this on Scalzi's blog, and decided to give it a whirl. Pretty much read it straight through on the plane, and enjoyed it, I guess. On the whole, there was way too much talk, and not enough action (or "action"). I didn't really connect with the characters because a lot of the time they sounded like talking points, not people. The actual plot, when it occurred, was engaging enough. Not sure I'll bother with the rest of the series.

(Though I did have the great pleasure of the preppy young man sitting next to me on the flight asking me what I was reading.)


Hold Me (Cyclone #2) by Courtney Milan
Enjoyed this one even more than the first one. I totally got the issues both MCs had, and why they set each other's teeth on edge, but at the same time their alternate relationship was totally believable and in keeping with that. They had great chemistry and I loved how their genuine issues were resolved by working things out and patience, not but Surprise Drama.


The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4) by Martha Wells
It's always good to get back to the three worlds, and I really enjoyed seeing how all the characters had grown over the years, plus all the new cultures and places they encountered on their adventure. The book also brought something I'd wanted from the start, the glimmer of hope for at least some of the Fell, in an exploration of their culture as well. Heck of a cliff hanger though.

The Harbors of the Sun (The Books of the Raksura #5) by Martha Wells
I'm sad to see the end of this series, but what a great send off. Everyone got something to do, we met all kinds of old friends again, and Pearl and Malachite got to hang out (the Pearl-Malachite show was easily worth the price of admission).

The last act was Very Dramatic (well a lot of the book was), but really how much had changed since the first trilogy, and I love how much of a family everyone now has, and how many forms that takes.

(Loved this series so much, the sting of loosing it is lessened by Murderbot being so good, and by the snippits that show up on Wells' Patreon.)


Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, narrated by Aidan Kelly
** spoiler alert ** I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is a book about a gay man who is somewhat genderqueer who spends the entire book with the love of his life and is still with him at the end (they are in fact married with a family by about two thirds through). It was gorgeous. The writing was stunning. The content was often brutal.

Not in a Tragic Gay way, but in a wow the MCs were in the US army during the genocide of the Native Americans, and in the Union army during the civil war, and then we did another round of genocide in Wyoming. And so... yeah.

But on the other hand, it painted nothing as glorious, and I really appreciated a "Wild West" story that actually showed what was going on, and boy howdy did it not romanticise anything. And while it never excuses any of the characters, it does lay out how a lot of that happened, how even good men got sucked into being monsters.

So, gay HEA, beautifully written, uncountable slaughter, would rec the audiobook, as the reader has a pleasing Irish accent.

(This was strongly recced to me by Dad who goes in for depressing things with pretty writing. He also may have been trying to bond over queer content, which is nice. Your mileage will vary widely on how much you can handle the MCs being complicit in crimes against humanity, even if they were only foot soldiers, and in the army as victims of imperialism themselves.)


Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, narrated by Ron Butler
I don't have a lot of the historical context for the first half, but the writing is so perfect, and the ideas are clear and sharp, and it's pure pleasure to read. (It's somewhat depressing how little has changed.)


Keeping Her Pride (Ladies of the Pack #1) by Lauren Esker
One of my favourites by Esker (still doesn't top Guard Wolf, but probably edges out Dragon's Luck)! I really liked Debi and her slow road to understanding and redemption. I love how her vision of herself changed, and part of that was just a matter of realising that yes, she could put sugar in her coffee. The business plot took something of a back seat until the end, but it's a fast read, and I mostly loved watching Debi grow.

Fletcher wasn't my favourite hero, but he was solid and his issues made sense. His complicated relationship with his ex wife and their daughter made sense. I liked that the kid was there to be trouble as well as cute, as four year olds tend to be. She was pretty cute though.

Nice guest spots by various agents from the other books, but this was entirely readable as a stand alone. I haven't read Handcuffed to a Bear, where Debi first showed up, and followed it just fine.

(I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which is horridly late. Sorry, Lauren!)


What I'm Reading Now
I've got the first Sharing Knife book going on audio, which I'm enjoying in a peaceable idfic sort of way. I can see why some people want to set it on fire. I quite like it.

I'm also drifting through Sister Emily's Lightship and Other Stories, a collection of mostly fairytale riffs by Jean Yolen, which is very good.


What I'm Reading Next
The Stone Sky is out. Once I've braced myself, I'll start that.

i'm not saying you're not on my mind

Aug. 16th, 2017 02:02 pm
musesfool: darth vader saying "He said what about his sister? Gross." (he said what about his sister?)
[personal profile] musesfool
I don't generally play games on my phone - I have a sordid history with computer games going back to the days of Police Quest and the Indiana Jones game, where I would stay up all night playing and then be unable to get up for class. So I've made a conscious choice to just not go there again, though I have been known to waste some time playing solitaire or bubble spinner or Tetris of an evening.

And then I discovered 1010! Which is like Tetris but without the blocks dropping - instead you place them wherever you like/they'll fit to make complete rows etc. And I have spent the past few days enthralled and exhausted because I've stayed up way too late doing this. I even paid $1.99 so I could have it ad free!

And then last night when I looked up from my phone after many, many games, and it was 12:45 am, I deleted it, because I can't be having with that. I was seeing it behind my eyelids while awake, and dreaming about it when I was asleep. Ugh. It was so nice and soothing too. But since I can't control myself, I had to get rid of it. Sigh.

Anyway, Wednesday means books, so buckle up!

What I've just finished
Babylon's Ashes, the last currently available Expanse novel, which I liked a lot. Are these books perfect? No. There's still too much Holden, though I did like that spoilers ) Avasarala, Bobbie, Naomi, and Amos are still my faves, and Alex makes a good showing here, too. This and Nemesis Games are really one long arc, and should probably be read together.

Buried Heart by Kate Elliott, the conclusion of the Court of Fives trilogy. I enjoyed it, though I still think maybe Jessamy made some assumptions that she had no real basis for which turned out to be true (this happened in the first book too), which is a downside of first person POV, because I kept waiting for her to be wrong about some things and she wasn't (well, she was wrong about a bunch of things, but not some of the things I thought she might be wrong about). Anyway, I found it a satisfying if slightly pat conclusion, and as with the Cold Magic trilogy, I found the revolution a lot more interesting than the romance.

Bombshells vol 3: Uprising - after Recent Events, I decided to go back to this and finish it, and the titular uprising made me tear up on the subway. Also, MIRI MARVEL!!! I don't know if I knew about that? But I LOVE IT. ♥♥♥ I can't wait to pick up volume 4.

Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan volumes 1 & 2. These were fine. I enjoyed them, but they were somewhat repetitive when read in trade - there was a lot of catching up in the narration, which is good for a monthly comic but less good when reading it all in one go. Also, every other page, he's like, "Don't call me kid!" which got a little old. Mostly interesting to me for sad Jedi details, like Caleb saying Styles was his first friend even though we see him with Tai and Sammo - were they not friends? That's so depressing. Unless he meant first non-Jedi friend, which is better. I'm just going to pretend that's what he meant so I can be slightly less sad.

Also notable for explicitly referencing the "Jedi code" which I hear a lot about in fic but am not sure I'd ever seen in any currently canon material, and it was "emotion, yet peace; chaos, yet serenity; death, yet the Force" which is interesting to me because it makes so much more sense than the other formulation I see in fic a lot: "there is no chaos, there is serenity" etc. I mean, you know me and my "take what I like and ignore the rest" approach to canon, so it's nice to have it there as needed, but as always I find the way things get flattened in fanon so interesting.

Because I mean, yeah, the Jedi were certainly culpable in both Anakin's fall and their own demise, because they were hidebound and corrupt the way any millennia-old organization made of people would be, and they definitely had some blindspots about a variety of things (providing therapy to members who needed it, using a slave army, being co-opted by the Senate, etc.), but they didn't deserve what happened to them. Let's not ever actually grace Anakin's horrific dumbassery ("from my POV, the Jedi are evil!") with any validity. Like, sure, Yoda gave him some poor advice, and Mace Windu was critical sometimes, and they made some compromised decisions, but that doesn't justify slaughtering anyone.

Anyway, it was also nice to see Rae Sloane, despite her poor life choices.

I also read Star Wars #34 this morning, which is mostly a standalone issue featuring Sana Starros swindling everyone in the galaxy from pirates to Hutts to Imperials and back. I would watch a whole movie about her. She might be Han Solo's fake (ex?)wife, but she's also Aphra's ex-girlfriend, so that would be amazing to see on screen. You could cast Nicole Beharie as Sana and Arden Cho as Aphra, and let them go be con artists together and I would line up multiple times to give Disney my money. Especially if Hondo showed up, too.

What I'm reading now
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, the third book of the Broken Earth trilogy. But I'm only a few pages in and it's taking me a little while to get back up to speed, especially since my brain isn't working so well today because of my lack of sleep. *g*

What I'm reading next
The next Craft Sequence book comes out in a couple of weeks, but before that, I dunno.

***

Me meme? Don't mind if I do!

Aug. 15th, 2017 07:17 pm
misslucyjane: (typing - archy)
[personal profile] misslucyjane
Blatantly stolen from [profile] musefool, here are the first lines from a few of my current WIPs.

Fidele
The weather was so fine that day that when my afternoon art class (eighteen first-, second-, and third-graders) begged to have class outside, I agreed.

Continuo
The boy was maybe three years old, much too young to be on his own in the crowd of Library Square.

The Funeral Blues of Barnaby Sloan
At precisely eleven fifty-five on a Tuesday morning in January, Barnaby Sloan put the papyrus he was poring over into its storage box, packed his laptop in his backpack, tucked the backpack into a cubbyhole in his desk, and left the documents room.

Cosmic Latte
Grad students could not live by study alone, Dylan said, so Jacob went with him to Zebra on Saturday night.

I don't think we're supposed to post anything for [community profile] unconventionalcourtship before our posting date, so I'm going to leave that story (technically, those stories) off the meme this time.

I've got more Scrivener projects that are still just ideas than I realized. And then there are a few that are going to be rewritten from word one, so they're somewhere between idea and WIP. And there are still a lot of ideas on the Big List of Next that aren't even projects yet.

Waugh. So many words, so little time.

salt water meets with the skies, dear

Aug. 15th, 2017 02:02 pm
musesfool: text icon: somewhere in this building is our talent (somewhere in this building is our talent)
[personal profile] musesfool
Yesterday, I saw a t-shirt that read, "I don't trust atoms. They make up everything." and I grinned for the rest of my walk home. I love terrible puns.

Anyway. There's a meme going around somewhere? where you post the first lines of some of your works in progress? so I thought, why not? I sure have enough of them. So here are the first lines from a few of my wsip:

Half-Truths and Hyperbole (Star Wars; Obi-Wan/Satine Regency AU)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a planetary ruler being targeted by assassins must be in need of a Jedi bodyguard.

how strangely my life is curved (Star Wars, Ahsoka unfrozen in the TFA-era)
"There's a message from Lando," Leia says.

How Soon Is Now (Star Wars, sequel to Sing a New Song)
Time moves differently on Malachor.

nobody move, nobody get hurt (Star Wars, Anakin/lady!Obi-Wan au)
Obi-Wan learns two things in the immediate aftermath of the disaster that is the mission to Naboo: one, it's harder to be a master than she ever thought, and two, she cannot--will not--replace Anakin's mother, and the boy won't settle down and learn until he's assured of his mother's safety.

the movement and the spin (Star Wars, Anakin/lady!Obi-Wan au, companion piece to nobody move, nobody get hurt)
Maybe one day he'll look back on this and laugh, but right now, Anakin hates being fourteen.

The Bonds That We Save (Peggy Carter & Etta Candy crossover)
A secretary leads Peggy through a bewildering series of corridors that are clearly meant to confuse the unobservant; even she might have a difficult time finding her way back out.

Drive It Like You Stole It (Star Wars, Han/Leia)
Leia's back hits the mattress, Han's body a warm weight above her, and she thinks, I don't deserve this.

That seems like enough to be going on with.

***

i'm gonna drink that sun

Aug. 14th, 2017 02:22 pm
musesfool: sexy redheaded topless pinup with stripy stockings, captioned "victoria" (me)
[personal profile] musesfool
Miscellaneous Monday:

= thank you to everyone who commented on my post about the offer being accepted! I'm still working on replying, but your cautious yays are much appreciated. *g*

= One of my co-workers recently left for another job, and upon her departure, she gifted a number of us with tiny succulent plants in tiny plant pots. I dutifully looked up how to care for a succulent, because I have a black thumb and have never succeeded in keeping any plant alive (my mother was so good at plants, you guys! and I have always been terrible at them), so last week I watered it as directed, and this morning when I got to my cube, it looked like it had given up on life. It was all slumped and faded. Boss3 was out on vacation last week, so her little plant got no water, but lots of light. It had actually grown by a visible amount! So I just gave her mine to put on her windowsill. *hands* We'll see if it survives, or if my black thumb has claimed another hapless victim.

= I have been in contact with my new loan officer (the one referred by my broker), and she seems very on the ball. She sent me a list of required documents and I diligently attached all of them to my response. She also asked for two forms of ID, and since I have a valid in-state driver's license, according to the instructions, I could use my work ID as the second form. Alas, when I went to scan it, I discovered that my last name had been spelled incorrectly. I've had this ID card for 8 1/2 years, and never noticed that before. Not even last summer when I lost it and found it and had it replaced. (I knew my name was spelled wrong in ADP, but since it's right on my pay stubs, and my money gets deposited every two weeks, I don't really care. Of course, it's spelled wrong in a different way. idek.) So I couldn't use it. I thought I might have to wait until tomorrow, because my passport is at home, but they say they'll also take a utility bill, so I downloaded the latest one from ConEd and sent that along.

= My attorney received the new contract, so hopefully one day later this week I'll be able to sign it and get the ball rolling in earnest on this whole process. The contract lists a closing date of 'on or about' October 14, which would be amazing if it actually happened that quickly. I can be hopeful but I don't really expect it to happen like that. (Of course, after closing, I would still have to have some painting done and also the floors, but that shouldn't take too much time, right? *meep*)

= Last night, I was looking to watch something easy and comforting, and I remembered The Toast's recent take on The Hunt for Red October, and it's available streaming via Amazon Prime, so I put it on. I have a fondness for submarine movies in general, and this one in particular - my dad and I saw it together, as we did many other movies over the years. For a while in my teens and twenties, we had a standing Sunday movie date (in the 80s he was even okay with going to movies on opening weekend, and occasionally even on opening night - I'm pretty sure I saw ESB and ROTJ as well as Temple of Doom and Last Crusade with him the weekend they opened), and even in later years I could sometimes chivvy him out of his recliner to go to the movies - especially once reserved seating with in-theater recliners started being available. The last movie we saw together was CATWS, which seems right to me.

= And now, lunch.

***

2186 / Orphan Black, 5.10

Aug. 13th, 2017 10:07 pm
siria: (tw - lydia)
[personal profile] siria
As [personal profile] sheafrotherdon wrote about a few days ago, we had a wee bit of a vehicular misadventure while attending a conference. I have some friction burns and a bruise on my arm from the side airbag (which looks worse than it feels), but am otherwise okay. Still, between that and a fairly intensive week-long series of workshops on teaching, I was so grateful to come home, shower, and crawl into my own bed last night.

Orphan Black, 5.10, To Right the Wrongs of Many )
musesfool: head!Six (and they have a plan)
[personal profile] musesfool
Orphan Black: To Right the Wrongs of Many

spoilers )

The show often got lost in its own convoluted plotlines, but the story of the clones who became sisters for real was great and I'm sad there isn't going to be any more (though I would totally watch a half-hour sitcom spinoff of the sestras going about their 'normal' lives, with occasional visits from Krystal or one of the many clones we never got to meet). I hope Tatiana Maslany goes on to even greater things.

***
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
[personal profile] sophia_sol
content note: discussion of nazis and antisemitism

This is a book about the history of nationalism (and attending fascism/racism/nazism) within the Mennonite confession. A good book, but a hard read - both because of the academic writing style and because of the uncomfortable contents.

Too much of Mennonite history is presented kind of as a hagiography: look at all the ways our ancestors have nobly suffered over the years for their morals and their faith! I think this is an important reminder that we are not exempt from sometimes being really terrible too, just because we also have a history of having been persecuted.

Mennonites like to think we have always been separate from the world, but during the general rise in nationalist sentiments in the 19th and 20th centuries, many Mennonites went right along with it. Of course, what nation we were being nationalist for varied: are we German, or are we Dutch, or are we Russian, or are we our own Mennonite nation? The answer to this question swung in various directions depending on political expedience.

And along with the rise in nationalism came a decreased commitment to pacifism within the Mennonite community (at least in Europe), which was really surprising to me, but perhaps shouldn't have been. I've always been taught that pacifism is one of the doctrines that sets the Mennonite denomination apart from other denominations. We're one of the Historic Peace Churches and all! But among some groups there was all sorts of frantic back-pedalling from the historic association of Mennonites with nonresistance, arguing that if one is really committed to being part of your country then of course you must be willing to defend it (which means fight in your country's army, whatever that army happens to be doing, even if it isn't technically defense). Including one suggestion that doing so doesn't break with what the original Anabaptists meant by their pacifism, because defending your country isn't the same thing as spreading your faith by the sword. Wow.

And then we get to the Nazi era and the political expedient of what to be nationalist for swung more firmly towards being German. After all, we were held up as the Aryan ideal! More pure than most Germans, maintaining this purity even when living in diaspora! There's even this whole alarming discussion about how we were seen as the anti-Jew: a wandering people, but the good ones.

I've noticed some parallels between Jewish identity and Mennonite identity before, and it was kind of awful to see that the parallels were brought up historically by Nazis to support antisemitism, when that is the opposite of how I would personally use the parallels.

Of course not all Mennonites - not even all Mennonites who lived in Germany - repudiated pacifism or supported Nazism, but a really disheartening number did. I have a Nazi relative namechecked in this book, even. And Mennonites personally materially benefited from the genocide of the Jews, with land and other possessions. We were complicit in the atrocities perpetrated, and in some cases actively participated in the atrocities.

And then of course in the post-war period there was a whole bunch of denial of germanness (we're not German, because that would mean being stuck in post-war Germany and being held accountable, and we're not Russian, because that would mean repatriation to the Soviet Union and that doesn't sound like a good idea, so let's try out claiming being Dutch! And if that doesn't work then obviously we are our own Mennonite nationality!) as well as denial of any culpability. And Mennonites did a pretty good job of distancing our reputation from both of these things - I mean, the popular conception of Mennonites these days is of technology-avoidant North American farmers. And we did a great job of denying it internally too. Even now if you check out GAMEO (the online Mennonite encyclopedia), the article about one strongly pro-Nazi Mennonite I looked up says nothing about all his Nazi-supporting activities and instead talks about the many ways in which he was a wonderful person who did wonderful things. Gross.

It's interesting to me, the way that this book demonstrates a link between nationalism and the sense of being part of a global Mennonite church body. I've always seen the latter as a positive thing: instead of being insularly focused on other Mennonites who are Like Us, we are reminded of our connection with many different kinds of Mennonites all around the world. And I think it is a positive thing these days when we're actually willing to admit people of colour as being equal coreligionists instead of only counting the white people, but it definitely did not start with a goal I would personally find laudable.

Anyway, the book does manage to end on a positive note, which is impressive given the general tenor of most of the content of the book. It ends by reminding us that, as Mennonitism has had a multiplicity of shifting identities and priorities in the past, so it continues to change now and can continue to do so into the future, and we are not bound by the awful things Mennonites have been and done in the past - we can be better.

Which is a timely reminder, given that we are living in an era when Nazism is rising again. It's time to be better than our past!

(no subject)

Aug. 13th, 2017 08:37 am
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
I am back in my own home after a week away in Virginia doing work things. The workshop I was at was amazing, and has had a profound impact on the way I think about doing my job. I also got to create a bunch of stuff, mostly online, and I feel such satisfaction about all those things and how I'm going to approach my work in the future. Hurray!

Last week's accident continues to need attention - the national rental company apparently didn't pass on to the local branch of the rental company what had happened, so they're wondering where the car is. Technically not my problem - seriously, company in question, get your act together - but I'm the one getting the phone calls. I also have to provide copies of a bunch of documents to my employer tomorrow as they may be liable for the accident instead of me because I paid for the rental on a company card. Who knows.

What I do know is that not having a car between Tuesday and Friday was a terrible idea. (We only really needed a car to get back to the airport, so there was no point in renting before Friday from a practical standpoint.) I really needed to get back up on the horse before that - I was hella nervous driving on both Friday and Saturday. I was also nervous driving back from my local airport last night because it was dark and I couldn't discount the idea that I would hit something - like a deer - on the way home. My luck seems to be running that way. But it did not come to pass and I got home and went to bed and slept like a diving bell going to the bottom of the ocean. Thank goodness.

Amid all this, some incredibly kind person sent me money through my coffee button, and it was amazingly generous and lifted some of the weight of dealing with the car accident. Whomever you are online, I am so grateful to you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your compassion.

Yesterday, [profile] siriaeve and I carved out two hours between leaving Virginia and needing to get to the airport to go into DC and see some sights. We spent most of our time at the National Art Gallery, which I had never been in before. It was really fun, and we had excellent croissants in the cafe, and saw a medieval painting of baby Jesus in which he looked strangely like Jared Kushner. Hmmm. And we walked and walked and walked - my fitbit showed just under 16,000 steps for the day. (This is good news in that I could walk that far without my ankle giving out - it used to do so after a mile and a half before I went to PT - and while it did hurt by the end, it was an ache rather than a sharp pain. My PTs will be super glad to hear this.) It was a great day, even though the giant chicken behind the White House was gone.

Of course yesterday was a day full of the news coming out of Charlottesville - I saw some particularly graphic footage while eating some lunch in the airport. I've seen a lot of people saying that the actions of the Nazis "are not who we are as a country" - and while I recognize that as an aspirational saying, it's simply not true from a historical perspective. We have always been a white supremacist country; it has always been this bad for key segments of our population; the U.S. is founded on denying rights to others because of their race and religion. Our job is to undo what has been done, to untangle the web of white supremacy that runs through all our institutions, our cultural mores, our social conventions - to do any less is to be willfully blind to what is desperately apparent.

There are many good organizations in Charlottesville [to which you might give money] as a first response. But not everyone has money, and action takes many forms. Can I suggest asset mapping yourself? Draw a stick figure on a piece of paper, and then go around that form and list all the talents and energies you can bring to anti-racism work - your knowledge of Google apps, Excel, Word; your ability hammer things, lift things, hold signs, walk in protests, perhaps; your understanding of social justice. Then look around your own community and find organizations that can use what you have to offer. I just joined the board of my local domestic violence shelter, which may seem removed from all of this, but violence is completely bound up in the messages of toxic masculinity that come out of white supremacy and other pools of hatred. We serve about 70 families per month, and my town is very small. That's a lot of people who need to hear messages of love and welcome and to receive practical help with shelter, food, education, and an income.

We can fight this - we have to fight this. And I know from experience that you have such big hearts and minds and a commitment to upholding what is right. We can beat this. Together.

(no subject)

Aug. 12th, 2017 05:51 pm
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
[personal profile] skygiants
I just finished Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which is definite proof that a book-length allegory CAN ALSO be a coherent and compelling novel. (Is this a Kazuo Ishiguro callout post? MAYBE.)

The easiest and most facile way to describe The Underground Railroad is basically like Underground the TV show meets Snowpiercer. I mean, significantly less silly than Snowpiercer, which is a deeply silly movie -- but insofar as it's a train-based road trip for your life in which every stop is an Allegory On the Evils of Class and Capitalism, like that, except in this case it's an allegory on America's original sins.

The book's heroine is Cora, a woman who escapes from a deep-South plantation on an enormous hidden network of rails and tunnels, gaining and losing allies along the way. Each time she gets off she thinks that maybe she's found a place where she can stop and live a human life, and each place she visits reflects a different knife-angle of the generally horrific history of race in America -- alternate histories, but real ones.

Allegory aside, Cora is very much a real and complex and compelling character, and the places she visits have heft to them. Cora's identity is bound up in the legend and mystery of her mother Mabel, the one slave in the plantation's history (before Cora) who was able to escape and vanish completely; she's a real person, too, and so are all the other perspectives that we glimpse briefly in interstitial interludes along Cora's journey. It's a really good book. It's a very page-turning book, and although it's (obviously) extremely grim at times, it's not actually a hopeless book.

nothing else around me looks the same

Aug. 12th, 2017 04:26 pm
musesfool: !!!! from Middleman (!!!!)
[personal profile] musesfool
Last evening, I was minding my own business, answering Star Wars meme questions and talking with [personal profile] silveronthetree on tumblr, when I got a call from the realtor saying my offer on the apartment I'd seen on Tuesday was accepted!

!!!!

TBH, I had given up. I hadn't heard anything, so I just figured he didn't want to ruin my weekend, and that on Monday I'd get a call with a rejection and an email with new listings to look at. So you can imagine my shock. I notified my lawyer and then proceeded to text everyone I know with the news. I can think about accent wall colors and sofas! Dinette sets! I can look at my pinterest again without being depressed!

I mean, I still have to 1. get a mortgage approved and 2. get approved by the co-op board, but since this apartment costs a lot less than the other one did, my DTI ratio is where they want it to be, and the realtor referred me to a lender who hopefully handles mortgages of less than $100K, since that is what I'll be seeking, and the lady I worked with before doesn't handle them. I emailed the new lender this afternoon, to get that ball rolling, so we'll see what happens.

So I'm cautiously optimistic this time rather than filled with rapturous glee, because now I understand just how easily it can evaporate. But even so. It was nice to get good news at 6:30 pm on a Friday night.

Then I had to run out the door to meet L., since we were going to see Girls Trip, which we both enjoyed and found hilarious. I for one will never look at a grapefruit the same way again.

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