San Diego Hat Company hat: http://www.zappos.com/product/8690752/c
Vince Camuto hat: http://www.zappos.com/product/8657404/c
I like this Hat Attack hat, but do not like the $90 price: http://www.zappos.com/product/8687184/c
Lane Bryant hat: http://www.lanebryant.com/plus-size-acc
This Coolibar hat claims it's packable, which is good: http://amzn.to/1W7jUEs
I like the idea of being able to tie a scarf around it, thought I'm not sure I like this hat: http://amzn.to/1olrFMk
But this one's kinda nice: http://amzn.to/1Qng99E
Any other suggestions?
Hamilton makes fantastic use of repetition, especially of the repeated phrase whose meaning changes with context. The most striking uses of this are “I am not throwing away my shot” (sometimes just “my shot” or “shot”) and “Wait for it.”
The historic Hamilton occupies a specific spot in American common knowledge. In my experience, before the musical came out, if you asked the average American who Alexander Hamilton was, you’d get something like this: “He lived during the American Revolution. He was… Uh…. Secretary of the Treasury, I think? Something like that, anyway. He was shot and killed in a duel with another politician, Aaron Burr. [That is probably the only thing the average American knows or recalls about Aaron Burr.] Oh, yeah, and he's the dude on the ten-dollar bill.”
What both cracks me up and gladdens my history nerd heart about the sheer unlikeliness of the entire existence of this musical is that previous to it, Hamilton was not one of America’s iconic political figures, like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson (or, in terms of people who weren’t president, Harriet Tubman or Martin Luther King.) Nor was he obscure enough to be cool. He was in the exact "One of those dead white guys" zone where people interested in his period know a lot about him, because he really was important, but the average American knew exactly what was in my paragraph above, and no more. (If they’re a leftist, they may have the impression that he sowed the seeds of making America a plutocracy but probably didn’t intend that. Or that may just be me. If I recall correctly, my grandfather hated him for exactly that reason.)
But in popular consciousness, he was just above the level of someone like Paul Revere, where everyone can spit out “The midnight ride of!” upon mention of his name, and then, “Uh… He warned everyone that ‘The British are Coming!’” (Wikipedia has this note in his entry: "The British are coming" redirects here.) And that’s it. In general, no one who isn’t otherwise interested in that period (or economics/the Coast Guard/etc) has thought of Alexander Hamilton since high school. Whereas Americans who are otherwise not knowledgeable of history often have actual opinions on, say, Thomas Jefferson. (If you’re younger than me, you probably heard a lot about his slaves. If you’re my age, he had a sort of demigod status in high school history classes, which makes his takedown in the play especially hilarious.)
You notice that the duel figures prominently in common knowledge. People who know who Hamilton was at all always remember the duel. This is probably because 1) duels are cool, 2) Hamilton was the only important person in American history who was killed in one. (I guess unless you count Button Gwinnett. But I’m pretty sure nobody counts Button Gwinnett except autograph-collectors and people who enjoy unusual names. For the former, his signature is the rarest of any of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. For the latter, just FYI, a dude named Peru Italian Blackerby Ping served in the Kansas state senate in the mid-1800s.) Anyway, just in case you don’t know or forgot about the duel, Hamilton tells you about it right in the opening number. Miranda does not want that to be a surprise.
Burr shot and killed Hamilton, and every time you hear the word “shot,” that goes through your mind. And like any good tragedy, you know what’s coming but you want to scream, “No! Don’t do it!” So “wait,” in the sense of “stop,” also brings the duel to mind.
( OMG, this got long )
Now available through the DMs Guild, Clerics of Lesser Domains is a brand-new 23-page manual of material for players of 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.
Six new domains (Beauty, Illumination, Language, Twilight, Winter, and Youth), four new backgrounds (Beggar, Prophet, Templar, and Zealot), and five new feats (Anointer, Divine Channel, Guiding Spirit, Oracle, and Slayer) allow you to create a functional cleric who serves a less “adventurer-conventional” deity or add a little sacred or supernatural flair to any character. Play a haughty and hauntingly pretty priest of a goddess of love and beauty, a gentle twilit harvester of souls, the mischievous favorite child of a deity of youth, or many other character concepts.
Costing less than $1 per new sub-class, this booklet is a steal at $4.99 even before you get to the optional system of story-rich and flavorful blessings for clerics to give, with three unique blessings for every officially published domain plus the six in this book. After all, what’s the good of being a cleric of beauty if you can’t bless a child with good looks?
Get it today, get it here: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/173314/C
1837: Richard Mentor Johnson becomes the first (and only) Vice President selected by the Senate, after the Virginia delegation of Electors declined to endorse him against the will of the voters.
1865: Voters in Delaware reject the Thirteenth Amendment, and continue slavery. (Since they were not in rebellion, their slaves were not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, and would not be freed until the Amendment was ratified in December of this year. Delaware eventually ratified the Amendment in 1901.
1910: William Boyce founds the Boy Scouts of America. Legend has it that Boyce had been lost in London and was guided to his destination by a young Scout, who refused to take remuneration for the act. Boyce was so impressed by what he learned about Baden-Powell's Scouts that he imported the idea to the US.
1915: Premiere of Birth of a Nation.
1952: Elizabeth II becomes Queen of the United Kingdom.
1969: The largest carbonaceous chondrite meteorite ever discovered falls near Pueblito de Allende, Mexico.
1971: First opening of the NASDAQ.
412: Proclus the Successor, commentator of the dialogues of Plato.
1819: John Ruskin, critic, painter, and reformer.
1820: William Tecumseh Sherman, who marched through Georgia.
1828: Jules Verne, science fiction writer, patron saint of steampunk.
1834: Dmitri Mendeleev, creator of the modern Periodic Table of the Elements.
1850: Kate Chopin, author of The Awakening and other things.
1878: Martin Buber, Judaeo-Existentialist.
1914: Bill Finger, co-creator of The Batman.
1931: James Dean, who starred in exactly three movies.
1932: John Williams, composer of film soundtracks.
1940: Ted Koppel, news analyst.
1955: John Grisham, lawyer-novelist.
1968: Gary Coleman, actor and candidate.
1969: Mary Robinette Kowal, authoror and puppeteer.
I didn’t blog much last week as my energy levels were all over the place and I got super absorbed in finishing up a thing, but two things I mentioned were a change in life habits and a determination to basically kick off the new year properly in February after January being a mulligan.
That whole sentence is all deeply interconnected, as the fluctuating energy levels were due to the changes in eating, and the thing I was pointedly trying to wrap up by the end of the week related to my resolution. The metabolic stuff has leveled off and even picked up, and I’m now feeling pretty good and expecting as smooth as sailing as is possible for someone with a weird metabolism to begin with. This should mean I can keep to my resolution without detracting from my other activities.
Sometime around or a little bit more than a decade ago, the limited pool of people who knew about me were calling me the most prolific author on the net. I hadn’t figured out how to make money doing what I was doing (and most of the tools necessary honestly didn’t exist, or weren’t quite there). I was writing thousands of words of story per day and posting it for free.
Now the tools are all there, but I’m not… or haven’t been. Too much indecision, too much insecurity, too much paralysis, too many directions being pulled at once, too much brain fog, too much fatigue.
So this year, 2016, is the year that I start getting it back. I started with the goal of every week, putting something up for sale somewhere. A story, an RPG thing, something. Now, for practical reasons,I’m giving myself January as a practice month and considering December a holiday for this purpose, and then just to keep things simple and give myself a little leeway, I’m going to consider every month to be four weeks. Four self-published things “shipped” every month from now through November is the goal, or forty things total for the year.
This might give some people quantity-over-quality concerns, but the thing is: I am that good. I know I’m that good. I know that not everything I write and publish will be everybody’s cup of tea, but that’s not the goal and never the goal. Even if a bunch of people think that 90% of everything I write is unworthy of publication, they’ll never agree on which 10% is, and so if I try to please everyone by withholding the stuff I think people won’t like, I ultimately won’t have anything for anyone to like.
Last week’s thing was a slim, no-frills PDF manual of cleric options for 5th Edition D&D, published on the DMs Guild site. I announced it quietly on social media over the weekend, and will be giving it a proper announcement post here later today. It’s already netted some sales, according to the royalty figures. Not a blockbuster, but not bad.
Now, the other thing I’m going to be working on getting back to is my more daring and experimental phases. Accordingly, some of the things I publish may not be under my own name or visibly connected with me. I’m not 100% committed to that idea because it’s very against the idea of staking out a public position for motivation, but there are a lot more eyes on me than there were in 2004 or 2006 and honestly that’s part of what makes me so inhibited. I’m just leaving myself the option open.
By the end of the week last week I was working exclusively on the D&D manual, but I don’t expect that to be the normal experience. I was learning some things about PDF formatting I’m not going to learn again (nor is everything I publish as part of the 40 going to be a formatted PDF), and dealing with greater than usual fluctuating levels of ability to can.
Don’t take this as an announcement of something I’m going to be doing instead of the stuff I have been trying to do. My approach to this is actually going to be to treat it like a new hobby, something to keep me motivated and moving forward even when I’m stumbling on something else and keep me in the creative brain space between other tasks.
And it’s bound to bring in more money than the other ways I could be spending that time. There’s a question to be answered as to how much, and the only way to find out the answer is by doing, but the number is going to be a positive one. If it’s positive enough, it could make a big difference in my day-to-day stress level.
Margaret, as you would expect, I have been glued to the news ever since the voting started in Iowa and now moves on to New Hampshire…up there near you, honey. I bet politicians are worse than the leaf peepers in fall. Being so close to Vermont, I am wondering if you can tell me why the youngsters are so excited about Senator Sanders? I thought all of us old fogeys were too square these days.
I saw a young woman on MSNBC talking about how Hillary’s feminism was not her feminism. Oh honey. If you only knew. When my mother was your age, she wasn’t allowed to vote. When I was your age, journalists wouldn’t have even bothered to ask for my opinion. They would have wanted my husband’s instead. Your opinion actually made news around the world. That’s just remarkable. Trust me when I tell you that my mother’s feminism became mine. And mine became Hillary’s which most definitely became yours. Feminism isn’t a vote. It’s a birthright.
If you will all humor me, I think I would like to talk to those young ladies who aren’t too concerned about seeing a woman in the White House this time around. Of course, you can always feel free to ignore me.
Eight years ago was invigorating. We saw a woman and a black man go farther than any before. Each were viable candidates for the most powerful position in the world. The old broad in me was selfish enough to want the woman to win, but the liberal in me was open-minded enough to celebrate the black man. Now let’s be clear before the comments start coming. I am old and maybe I don’t have a good grasp on political correctness. If I should be saying African-American or Person of Color or some other descriptor then I stand corrected. As I have said before, I used to have a good handle on life but lately that door’s been sticking.
My point is, sometimes elections are about big things. The day we elected Barack Obama, we changed the world for the better, forever. And no matter how hard the Republicans have tried to minimize that, we all now know it is possible and that possibility will change lives for generations to come. The day we elect a woman to the White House, we change the world for the better, forever. Unless that woman is Sarah Palin or Carly Fiorini – then we get a do over.
Now just settle yourself down. I’m not saying we should vote for Hillary just because she is a woman. I’m just saying that’s a good place to start. Read a book she’s written. Look up her biography and study her career without the political pundits like Andrea Mitchell telling you how to think. You might discover that she’s been fighting a revolution for years.
Hillary Clinton has a long list of accomplishments. She went to Yale, became a lawyer and instead of joining a big firm, she went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund. Eventually she taught law and served as First Lady of Arkansas and then First Lady of the country. I remember how the press criticized her because she said she wanted to be more politically active as First Lady. In fact, years before Obamacare, Mrs. Clinton led the effort for universal healthcare. Oh my goodness but the Republicans raked her over the coals for that. But she didn’t give up. She worked with those same Republicans and was at least able to get the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which provided healthcare to millions of children. She also set up the Office on Violence Against Women and was an avid supporter of the Foster Care Independence Bill and championed the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 And that’s just the the short of it.
No doubt some of you young ones only remember her when she served as the U.S. Senator from New York and then as Secretary of State. And sadly, because she was so good at both, the Republican Party spent years trying to discredit her accomplishments. Ted Cruz suggested she should be spanked like the way he spanks his 5 year old daughter.
Well hell, give me five minutes alone with Ted and not only will be never hit a child again, but he’ll also know what it feels like to have a size nine SAS loafer up his ass. He nor any other of those bozos can hold a candle to Hillary Clinton.
Now that is just my opinion, of course, and I encourage you to have an opinion of your own.
I get the allure of Sanders. Revolutions are exciting, but sometimes the casualties are so high that only the young are willing to take on the fight. I do understand that. I’ve been there. We might look like something the dog hides under the porch now, but all us old feminists were young once too.
Before you go, let me tell you a little something about a revolution in this country that started generations ago and is still being fought today.
My great grandmother was born before a married woman could own property, enter into contracts, or earn a salary. In her life time much of that changed. She could own property and make a salary before she died, but she would not have been allowed to own her own business.
My grandmother was born before a woman had the right to vote. She died before gaining that right.
My mother was also born before women had the right to vote but luckily she saw that change in her lifetime. I bet you didn’t realize that was less than 100 years ago.
I was born when the only legal form of birth control was abstinence. Women went to jail if caught with devices such as condoms and diaphragms. Believe it or not, married couples didn’t gain the right to use birth control in all 50 states until 1965. Unmarried women didn’t gain that right until 1972. Of course, Palin and Fiorini would like to see it go away, but we finally gained the right to a safe and legal abortion in 1972. And you might not realize it, but most of those Republican candidates today would like to see all the laws on birth control reversed – not just that last one.
Women of my generation fought hard so that women of your generation could actually grow up believing anything was possible.
Listen, I ‘m so old I might crack in half tomorrow. It takes a lot of Bengay for me to feel the burn. I am still fighting for the right for women to control our own bodies and sadly I have yet to see a woman be elected President. Are you sure you can wait? Forgive me in advance if I am offending you, but I didn’t put on my big girl panties for over 60 years fighting for this day just to have you ignore its importance. You don’t have to vote for Hillary but you have to at least recognize how significant this all is.
People like Hillary Clinton helped to create a world where young women today can actually believe it will happen soon enough if it doesn’t have to happen this time. Fair enough. But please remember that my generation grew up in a world where that possibility was far from sure.
If it is a revolution you want, I can sympathize. I been fighting a revolution too. I just thought you should know that while a revolution might start in your lifetime, it doesn’t necessarily end before you die. I am ready for my revolution… no OUR revolution to come to an end if for no other reason than opening the way for yours to begin. I expect greatness from the women of your generation even if I won’t be around to experience it.
Personally, I don’t think the Democratic Party running so far to the left is helpful when the Republican Party has gone so far to the right. I might be wrong but I fear Bernie’s revolution won’t even make it to the White House much less through Congress. But if you insist on Sanders and he gets the nomination, I will join you in your revolution. And if Hillary gets the nomination, and I believe she will, I hope you will join me in finishing mine. You might be surprised, however, that Hillary could very well be the one you were looking for all along. She’s been fighting for the underdog all of her career.
Regardless of how you feel now, we all can agree on one thing: a Republican in the White House would be the end of both of our revolutions.
Feel free to ignore me. Vote for Bernie or vote for Hillary. I won’t get my feelings hurt. I haven’t the time. A woman of my age got over having her opinion ignored a long time ago. I hope you never do. I mean it. Really.
Helen, dear, feeling the burn at our age is never a good thing and that’s all I have to say about that.
One of the things I love about the internet and social media is finding new things to geek out about. In the cartoon realm, last time it was Avatar: The Last Airbender. This time, in no small part because of Amal El-Mohtar and Sunil Patel, it was Steven Universe. I’m going to try to keep this post relatively spoiler-free, but no promises about the comments.
How to summarize this show… It’s fantasy that morphs into science fiction. It’s a team of superpowered women (the Crystal Gems) and the titular character Steven, who’s half-Gem, half-human. It’s got action and humor and music and surprisingly complex worldbuilding and relationships and character development. It’s a show that embraces diversity in multiple dimensions. It’s at times over-the-top goofy, and then turns around and delivers stories as emotionally powerful as just about anything else on television.
There’s plenty of action, an evil space empire, monsters of the week, and lots of pulpy SF/F-style goodness, including a full-on dystopic society, clone-type servants, spaceships, robots, swords, teleportation platforms, an altered Earth, etc.
It’s also subversive and refreshing, challenging assumptions about family and romance and friendship and trust and gender and sexuality and beauty and love and so much more.
So after ConFusion, I came home and binge-watched the available episodes, catching up to the mid-point of the second season. Here are some of the things about this show that make me happy…
Let’s start with Rose Quartz, Steven’s mother. Rose was the leader of the Crystal Gems, who eventually fell in love with a human and gave up her physical form so Steven could be born/created. Not only is this woman portrayed as a warrior and the leader of the rebel Gems, she’s consistently treated as beautiful and beloved. Greg (Steven’s father) falls hard for her. The other Crystal Gems love her dearly. She’s beautiful, powerful, strong, and competent, and none of this is ever questions.
Then there are the rest of the Gems. Pearl is very slender. Amethyst is shorter and heavier. Steven himself is unapologetically plump. The whole show gives us a more realistic range of people’s shapes and sizes than anything else out there, and that’s never used as a source of cheap laughs. Every character is treated with respect for who they are, and every character is shown to be both strong and important to the team.
Race and Gender:
Sometimes people who argue that they’re “colorblind” about race will say something like, “I don’t care if you’re black, white, or purple.” It’s an obnoxious refrain, but it makes me wonder if the creators of the show deliberately decided to make the three Gems black, white, and purple. Steven and his father are white. Steven’s love interest Connie is Indian. (And also a pretty badass swordfighter and a great character in her own right.) Here are some of the secondary and background characters from the show:
As for gender, the show deliberately flips the usual script. Instead of a bunch of male Avengers and Black Widow, or a bunch of male Ninja Turtles and April, or a bunch of male Smurfs and Smurfette, we have a team of women and Steven. But the show goes deeper, challenging gender norms and roles on an ongoing basis. Steven is unashamedly emotional, celebrating and crying and running around with his feelings on his
sleeve belly button gem. When Steven and Connie fuse (it’s a Gem thing), they form Stevonnie, who goes by gender-neutral they/them pronouns. Stevonnie is accepted for who they are. Garnet at one point describes them as “perfect.”
I love that these characters have so much love and respect and affection for one another. They still argue and butt heads and get angry at one another at times, but underneath it all is so much love and caring. Whether it’s everyone’s love and protectiveness for Steven, Steven’s love for…well, pretty much everyone and everything, Steven and Connie’s developing relationship, the wonderful dynamic between Steven and his father, the pain of Pearl’s love and memories about Rose, the perfection that is Ruby and Sapphire… I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but it just makes me happy to watch.
Also, did I mention the canonical same-sex relationship?
- Lots of good, fun music. My favorite is Garnet’s song, “Stronger Than You,” from the Season One finale. (Possible spoilers at that link.) But I like that music is just a part of their lives, particularly Steven with his ukulele, and Greg (Steven’s father), the former sort-of-pro musician.
- The only episode I ended up stopping was the crossover with Uncle Grandpa. Though I loved the “our ship!” joke. Love a show that’s aware of fandom.
- The writers do a great job thinking about the implications of different kinds of Gem technology and their society. The exploration of fusion for good and evil is particularly wonderful. And powerful. Garnet’s reaction to discovering homeworld had experimented with forcing Gem fragments to fuse without their consent…whoa.
- Redemption arc!
- Watching Amethyst’s development and growth through flashbacks, particularly seeing her more feral aspects through Greg’s memories.
- All of Pearl’s backstory and struggles and stumbles and growth and development. The more you learn about her character’s history and place in Gem society, the more amazing a character she becomes.
- Plenty of silliness. I approve!
It’s an impressive feat of storytelling. Highly recommended.
For those who’ve seen it, what do you think? What do you love (or not love) about the show? What all have I missed here?
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Spotted a meme-y thing going around Facebook on the lines of 'only Britain doesn't have an Independence Day because they were what everyone else was seeking independence from'.
Okay, the UK's sins of imperialism were numerous and gross, but they were hardly the only power from which independence was being sought.
I suppose the situation is complicated by the various European nations that won their independence from Other European Nations at some point in their history - e.g. Belgium - and therefore celebrate that.
However, there are some nations that were never ground beneath the heel of some other nation, or at least not for many centuries, and I'm pretty sure UK is not the only one without an independence day.
I suppose Bastille Day could be considered Independence from Monarchical Tyranny Day?
and just for the interest:
The physics in this is way above my head, but it sounds exciting: two black holes are spiralling into each other and merging (apparently)
The health aspects of this aren't above my head at all, and it sounds good! The terrible disease spread by guinea worms has been nearly wiped out. (Thank you, Jimmy Carter.)
February 20-21, 2016
AFKCON is a small convention for friends (over 18) who love games, comics, movies, books, and more. Offering everything from panels to cosplay, we want to bring the experience of sharing what you love to life.
This year we'll be meeting in Guelph at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Centre!
We're pioneering a new convention style called a CrowdCon. If you’d like to run an event, demonstration, game, or panel, just log in and check the Events page to sign up today!
I will be participating!
James Nicoll is a book reviewer, blogger, game editor, cat-rescuer, and prior local hobby store owner.
He returns to AFKCON to have the following discussions:
- Tanith Lee and Why people should read her.
- So You're a Reviewer and You Went a Year WIthout Reviewing Women: How to React?
- Things you should never do at a Con or Party: Event Survival Skills 101
Note: this is just the handout. It's all bulleted lists. I haven't even begun to touch Scrivener yet. Or Word. Or the handful of mobile apps I'll be mentioning.