It's less sore today, which is good, but I am a bit bewildered as to what I did to cause it. I do have a new dog walking bag, which is an early birthday present after my previous one died. However, as it's just about big enough to get a bottle of water in with my phone, keys and a poo bag (and I haven't actually been taking the water), this seems unlikely. It might also be too much editing of documents on my laptop, but actually yesterday was pretty quiet for that.
Today, therefore, I have mostly been sitting in another early birthday present, because a) it's hot and b) it's hard to conceal a six-foot-long box with 'hammock and stand' printed in large letters on the side, which is actually more comfortable than the sofa because my neck is supported nicely.
Hopefully it will be better still tomorrow, as we have riding lessons!
We put the girls in the garden, today, so that the boys could go inside if they wanted to get out of the sun. We made what was, in retrospect, the mistake of closing the duck-proof gate to the yard to stop them getting near the boys: when we went to get them in they were nowhere to be found in the garden. We tracked them down in the garage, sitting on the other side of the wall to their house. I'm not sure if they squeezed themselves through the stock netting on the fence or if they went through the hole that the badger dug under the fence, along the road and back up the drive.
I'm tired of seeing Wiscon failing to step up to the mark in some significant ways, when Wiscon walks the walk as well as can be managed in so many others. Hallway access and mindfulness to gender variance are wonderful, but when there's a continuing failure to respond to crisis at modern speeds, it's clear that it's time for big changes to be made.
I'm mindful of the careful consensus culture that Wiscon is founded on...but it works really badly for communication in crisis, whether outward facing notes to the public, or year to year handling of problem issues. There appears to be a horrible two-pronged approach where some things cannot be done without long deliberation by the mass; and other things are placed on individuals, to be potentially dropped or mishandled as other life crises or misconception or mishandling have unfortunate effects.
I am clear that Wiscon is capable of change and improvement, and that there are people with deep commitments to this process for Wiscon...but I also see the effect of 38 years of institutional practice, born of an era even before there was an internet. APA speeds are not sufficient for the issues Wiscon faces. The knowledge and practices of academia and published feminism and fandom are not the only places where our culture lives in 2014.
It is time for new tools and new processes. Teams rather than fiefdoms. Active recruitment rather than passive welcome. The lack of nimbleness and transparency is an archaicism that needs to end. The inability to simply post, "The concom is aware of the issue and is in discussion" both during MoonFail and in the aftermath of the Frenkel Decision is appalling. Asking everyone to wait with bated breath while the perfect wording is sorted out is an artifact of a bygone age.
The same issues that dog the larger world and create systemic injustices should not be meekly accepted at Wiscon -- not if it wishes to keep the epithet "The World's Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention". If it hopes to reclaim the title, it must be incorporating all the advances of the newest waves of feminism and social justice.
I thank the emeritus members of Wiscon for their service, and respectfully request that they consider laying aside their comfortable, well-worn processes. There are many things about the running of the physical convention that are functional and worth preserving. From the outside it appears that the communications and philosophy of the convention are in dire need of revison.
Express track to a radically revised Wiscon, incoming.
This production transposes the setting from Sweden to 1970s/80s Scotland (Rubiks cubes, X-wing fighters, ‘Star Wars’ defence programme on the TV, those revolting banana-flavoured foam sweets) and cuts the story down to its bare essentials.( Read more... )
(Well, we may put knobs on the drawers at some point. But whatever, that's minor and easy to do and we may decide not to bother. Everyone seems happy to open the drawers from the side right now.)
The very last remaining things to do:
* I put the base and lids for our old blender up on Craigslist Free Stuff, and someone is coming to get them tomorrow.
* The IKEA boxes go out with the recycling on Friday.
* On Saturday J and I will haul two huge bags of fabric recycling to the farmer's market.
* Possibly there will be some vacuuming.
And then I will take photos of the living room/dining room/kitchen/library and you can all see what a splendid apartment we have, now that it's populated by furniture and books and appliances rather than boxes and boxes and boxes.
My knees were feeling somewhat better today (yes, plural--I'm putting more weight than usual on the left to spare the right, so the left is complaining too), despite poor sleep. I've been trying to work from my very comfy office chair instead of in bed, and I think it's helping. After J and I met for dinner, we took a very small stroll in the park. I had the brace on my right knee and was careful not to overdo it, and my caution was rewarded by an almost pain-free climb up the subway stairs on our way home. I rested for a few hours and then got up and did a bit of tidying (no heavy lifting). So far so good.
I can feel my shin muscles aching now that I know what I'm looking for, and the heating pad helped a lot yesterday, so I'm increasingly certain that working from home in a one-flight walkup has simply made me too sedentary and my muscles have weakened to where they can't adequately support my joints. I also need new sandals, which I will hopefully get on the way home from the knee doc tomorrow. I don't like any of this season's Merrell or Timberland sandals, and I've been wanting something a bit more solid and butch, so I'm seriously considering my first Birkenstocks. Fortunately the knee doc is at 33rd Street, so I'll pop over to Eneslow and try on shoes there to get a sense of Birkenstock sizes and how they feel on my feet.
Yesterday was a pretty rotten day for me and X, and we were both staggering a bit today from the emotional hangover. But we managed to pull through it with a great deal of support from the always amazing J, and there was even a bit of cuddling and laughing later in the evening. Tomorrow we inaugurate our weekly family date night, which is probably going to be like a typical night except with more snuggles. I think that sounds excellent.
I didn't get to bed until 7 a.m. yesterday, so I've been groggy and fleh all day. Time to try the yoga nidra mp3 of norah's that rydra_wong pointed me to, and see if it can put me to sleep at something approximating my best bedtime.
As I approached the no shade Charles River crossing, I had a brief welcome flash memory of how the river looks iced over. I'm pretty much done with summer already, even though the past few days have been mild.
There's a short straight stretch of my commute that runs beside the commuter rail line. This morning for the first time ever, I synched up to riding the same way as a train was running. I suddenly understood why people had/have urges to ride horses really fast along side moving trains, waving hats in the air and whooping. :-)
Available to anyone who can conveniently come and collect them from me, just let me know how many you'd like.
We can both read our email. At the same time!
Anyone know what this is? It's been springing up on the edges of the woods:
The ducks really don't like pigeons. If they see them in the front garden, they run at them, beaks open and ready to grab on!
This is the second of the "deep" books, in publication order. It's the first in internal chronology.
There's this interstellar trading empire (well, trading something, they don't rule, as such, but influence continued stability), called the Qeng Ho. They pick up this dude called Pham Something (well, I can't recall the surname) on a planet, because he's expressed an interest in something caleld the On-Off star. The On-Off star is a periodic star with an unusually long cycle. It is dark for quite a few years, then springs into brilliance for another few years. And nothing really explains why it does this.
There's also this completely parallel narrative, happening down on the surface of one of the planets orbiting the On-Off star, where Sherkaner Underhill is a vaguely-arachnoid super-genius.
Then shit happens. It's all very amusing, depressing and possibly triggering. Mostly, to my mind, interesting. Sometimes in a "oh, no, don't run the motorcade full speed into the pile-up!" way.
[ yes, I am catching up with somewhere in the region of two weeks of not taking due care of my bookmeming ]
Sixth and as far as I know final Codex Alera book.
It is pretty interesting re-reading a six-book series pretty much in "binge" mode (travel, unadvised non-use of sunscreen leading to spending a day pretty much reading, plowing through #2 to #5, with #6 being completed over the next couple of days in drips and drabs). It is something I have occasionally done, but nothing so recent as this, I think.
Fourth Codex Alera volume. Things that happened in the past come back and pay off (or, pay forward). Things happen taht set future things up. Some element of justice is reaped (see "come back and pay off"). Some things that have been hinted at pretty strongly become explicit, to everyone intimately concerned.
I do, on the whole, like Codex Alera and enjoy its fictional universe.
- Demeter Hello Kitty -
Sharp apple! Sharp as in lemon.
Reminds me of an apple-flavoured ice lolly from my childhood: when things are frozen they need to have a very strong flavour to overcome the cold.
I expect it to soften after a while, but it hasn't yet.
Hmm. It has quietened down a bit now, ten minutes later. Less shouty, less sharp, more gentle sweet apples.
- Marc Jacobs Apple - in the bottle, it just says 'perfume' to me.
I spray it on, and it's ... Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers. My mother gave me a bottle of that when she came back from a trip abroad somewhere, back in the 90s. It has a fresh and perfume-y smell and it is gone relatively quickly.
- Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl -
'perfume' it says. 'Perfume!' ... and then it does the horrible thing that Issey Miake L'eau D'Issey does on me, going all stinky and wrong. On me, it is cheap plasticky aimed-at-teenagers pefume ...
Anyone want it?
An hour or more later: it's gentler and it has calmed down , to a fresh sort of L'eau D'Issey smell.
- CB I Hate Perfume Gathering Apples
This is apples and I like it. On first applying it to my skin, there was celery in there too, but that faded away after a couple of minutes.
It smells very simple and uncomplicated and apples.
Customer, to assistant: How much is this?
Assistant: (scans it repeatedly) Dunno.
Pharmacist: What's up?
Assistant: Every time I scan this, it just says "enter price", "enter price".
Marn: (under breath) These are the voyages of the Starship Enter Price...
(Pharmacist laughs. Assistant looks confused.)
Pharmacist: Well, *I* thought it was funny.
Thursday I did a rescheduled CSA pick up from cris's back porch as I missed his at-home window. That back staircase is scarier in the light, I didn't notice how rickety is was when I was there for the post bar crawl party. O.o Then on to Arlington for a movie and getting extra potatoes from S.'s share. I roasted them up with the rutabagas from mine the next night (fun note: when verifying that's what the root veggies were, found out that they're also called neeps). I'm not happy so far with my bare veggie roasting outcomes, I always loved them when thrown in a roasting pan under a cradle with a roasting chicken, but they're just not crisping up without that extra animal fat (I'm using olive oil). Also my baking pans seem to be reaching end of life, the coating came off on the pan I used when I washed it. I'm also missing some glass baking dishes (I swear I had one before combining kitchens, but it's gone now). I've been putting off a kitchen upgrade shopping trip until unpacking was mostly done, but I'm rattling around in there now and have room for more stuff. I'll need pans for the stratas for my housewarming anyway. And a new springform pan will definitely get used - the roasting pan was used to hold a water bath for spring form pans, so now I'm wondering if the humid baking sped up the coating death.
Friday I dropped by Clover to see if I could get the fruit share that didn't get included in our rescheduled CSA pickup. They'd struck through our group's share line, but looking at the front sheet detailing how many of each type of share, they'd only cancelled one of the fruit shares we had, so I grabbed the "extra" one. I bought out two people to get a full share and had only heard back from one third share party for the other share and they said to keep it, so I'm not feeling too guilty. Just a bit, but I also made the trek there to pick them up. And mmm, blueberries. :-) I decided to push back my scheduled workout to the next workout day rather than trying to do two in a row, so just made dinner and then went to bed early that night.
Saturday I was feeling a bit better and made a push to get my workout done in the morning. I walked to the gym via the library (I've been making inroads on the Nebula short fiction works) and got under the barbells for an okay workout, followed by a sprinting session (1 min sprint, 1 min jog, repeat for 5 rounds). Everything felt super heavy, I didn't even get to bodyweight in my deadlifts. Okay, not everything: I banged out four pull ups like they were nothing, that was fun. I haven't re-installed my pull up bar at home, the rest must have done me some good. I got my media towers unpacked, then realised that I need to unpack the last of my clothes (dress up stuff) in order to find something to wear to a Viking themed party, and then of course what I wanted to wear was wrinkled from being packed for a month. A quick iron didn't do much, but some chain mail accessories made it work enough that S. took a picture of me when I arrived. I felt a bit woozy while taking a shower, so decided to take a cab out to Arlington (the bus option was leaving in 8 minutes when I checked, with once an hour frequency). Green/Yellow Cab tends to be super fast, they told me 10 minutes and the cab was honking as I was putting my shoes on, and he was on his cell to the dispatcher by the time I made it down the stairs. I had fun at the party, S. had brewed up a 5 gallon batch of mead that she was sharing out, and I had a small(ish) glass of it. I was happy to see friends I haven't seen in a while, though time raced by and I didn't catch up with everyone I wanted to, esp. as I jumped on a ride home when it came up.
I had a nice lazy morning on Sunday (read: bailed on trying to bike out to the Fells for a trail run), finishing the last kitchen box by finally deciding what to do with the spices. Then I headed out for my DND game. It was kind of nice to turn the tables and surprise an evil party out of sleep. Some *very* lucky rolls when firing blind at what I thought was an assassin (but turned out to be a cleric who was doing some scary touch spells) and the time for our wizard to buff me (+4d6 weapons of energy!) and I was doling out serious amounts of damage, even with low rolls. Somehow I'd had my AC calculated wrong though (too high), so I'll be relying on staying back from the action as much as possible again (doesn't help that I keep rolling low/average on hit points). Got to play with the cats for a bit, the stick + stretchy string + stuffed toy combo is entertaining all around. :-) Home for laundry and book unpacking - 1.5/3 book cases done, and since I'd just finished a book and was thinking about what I wanted to read next, it was easy to weed out a few books that I'd kept because they were free or airport desperation purchases. I have to store some of them since they're the early review ones and if I remove them from my online library I lose credit for the reviews. It did remind me to be more picky about which ones I request though. Hoping that with the books in the first case that it stays stable, the floor oddly enough slants just a bit away from the wall. I kept wiggling it and it seems okay, but I also put the big bean bag chair next to it, so I'll keep an eye on it when guests are over.
I didn't get to my computer yet, but did have a revelation about how to fix my photo album problem: run the scripts on the server. *sigh* Not sure how much longer it will last to have a tower at home, laptop + external keyboard, mouse and display seems to do me well enough when I bring my work laptop home, and with my RSI not magically disappearing, I'm limiting home computer use anyway. But anyway, at this point, one more evening should see my books unpacked (taking a bit longer than expected since I'm culling and organising a bit - I'd been piling new books up for a few months rather than slotting them in place) and then it's just the back room.
I'm off to Montreal for Fantasia this weekend, have a full weekend the next one (spectating at Ridiculous Obstacle Course + DND), and again the next - that's Spartan Sprint + housewarming, no skimping on workouts in Montreal. Hrm, weekend after that is Tough Mudder Toronto, I have a weekend at home, then I'm heading to Wyoming for my camping trip. August is busy. *pages to Sept* Oh, right I signed up for a fun 5k obstacle race for the weekend after I get back from camping. And then it's my birthday weekend. *blink* Okay, savouring the empty week nights it is, especially as I'd like to squeeze in one fall camping trip in New England as well and that will eat up another weekend. :-)
I'm *really* looking forward to the Montreal trip this weekend, it's one of my favourite weekends of the year and I think I've plotted out my movies to give enough city/eating time. I'll get brunch with my relatives, hopefully hang out with a work colleague for a club night (he picked up on my musical tastes from my hair :-) ), and scare myself silly at a haunted house. Plus spend time with good friends seeing entertaining movies all the while not having to deal with a single bit of moving related stuff, just working out.
Perhaps it's unfair, as some have claimed, to see these matters of organizational style as problematic, rather than simply cultural. I counter that by noting that Wiscon prides itself on being *the* feminist science fiction convention, not a small (and minor) regional con. (I note with some acerbity that evidently the other end of the scale also precludes effective action on issues of attendee harassment, for other spaces tagged as the premier international gathering.)
"We are volunteers!" Indeed. And yet the claim at other sorts of venues is that their organizations are profit-motivated, and thus unlikely to privilege the emotional safety of attendees. What sorts of organization can have functional codes of conduct? I have been seeing more than a few stepping forward to effect fundamental changes in the assumptions of proper behavior among attendees.
Slippery slopes are often invoked, as if the attendees are troublemaking exception-seekers rather than reasonable members of a community.
Wiscon's programming looks like Third Wave Feminism in action, and for that it's much beloved by many. Wiscon's concom (in the loosest definition of the term, as used by members of the wider Wiscon community who are not *on* the concom) appears not to be on the same wavelength.
Wiscon has an opportunity to be among the vanguard of organizations transforming the cultural expectations around contact and interaction, especially in a fandom where the emergence from a culture of male entitlement is among the most heated issues under discussion.
Wiscon at its inception may have stood lonely, as did the fannishness of which it was a part. In 2014, having a fondness of stfnal topics is no longer a proud and lonely thing. We are no longer in the age of the APA, nor even in the age of rec.arts.sf.fandom -- we are scattered, we are numerous, and we are far less subject to the gatekeepers. Wiscon is feeling Entish in a world that's increasingly lead by fast-acting social media. The slow deliberation would be less disheartening if it appeared to serve the gathering of the widest net for inputs (e.g. Readercon and Arisia's policies, and more importantly the *debate* that lead up to them, and the fallout from the first rounds of implementation.)
There seems to be a desire to re-invent the wheel...or perhaps just an ignorance of the existence of other transportation technologies. I understand that antarcticlust stepped up into a void, armed with willingness and some experience in a different realm. Forgive me, antarcticlust as I mean no personal insult toward a person with whom I have no prior significant interaction...but this seems rather colonialist, to come in from outside the culture with foreign knowledge, and to lead a council without taking on knowledge of the region's history with the topic at hand. Perhaps the fault lies with the other members of the committee. I do not know.
I can follow the logic of naming the committee for Frenkel, but it seems to me that this lead to a focus on Frenkel rather than the message this action was going to give...and further an excuse-making for the coming fallout as "we're not going to make everyone happy". The question is not "is everyone happy", but "what are the grounds for the various unhappinesses?" It reminds me of the way in which "dudebros" claim that all women will have issues with all interactions with all men, and therefore it's pointless to be mindful of consent and the comfort of women.
There's an implication that the problem is people being unreasonable. I counter by saying that it appears that the issue has been flattened by bureaucratic handling; as if the problem was encapsulated in the words set down on paper, and needing handling as an administrative issue, rather than being indicative of a cultural matrix that needed substantial shake up.
For some of Wiscon's most ardent attendees, Wiscon stands alone. For some of the rest of us, Wiscon is part of a cohort...and this divide seems to be part of the issue. My ideal Wiscon is part of a larger community. Is yours?
Mirrored from Twisting Vines.
Hurrah, another story out.
(Only just realised this, despite having looked before, due to their website being a bit counter-intuitive.)
In other news, I have begun revising the novel I’m working on at the moment. It is a bit like trying to put together a really big jigsaw puzzle in several dimensions, when you keep discovering that some of the pieces are missing, and other pieces that aren’t missing are actually from another puzzle altogether.
This is the third Codex Alera book. Tavi has aged another two years and is at the start of the book busy with studying the Romanic Arts, when he's called up to join a newly-formed legion ("First Aleran", if memory serves me right) under an assumed name.
As per usual, "things that have happened in previous books pay off, some planting of seed for future volumes happens".