The ongoing health crises of the past two years seem to have had serious negative consequences for my ability to read in a sustained manner, but recently I've been having more success in managing to read.
I have liked to read multiple books at the same time - this allows me to pick the subject that most suits my mood when my brain goes "I want to read sonething now, please."
Current books in progress:
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler, edited by Rebecca J. Holden and Nisi Shawl
First of the Tudors, by Joanna Hickson, historical fiction about Jasper Tudor, uncle of Henry VII.
And I've just begun reading Adilifu Nama's Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, which looks to be very interesting. As the author describes his work:
"The present work examines the symbolic discourse and ideological messages encoded into black representation, including its structured absence, across a multitude of sf films as a symbolic dialogue with the multiple racial discourses and ideas surrounding black racial formation, past and present, that are circulating in American culture. Moreover, sf films of the 1950s to the current moment are discussed in this book with an eye toward drawing connections between sf cinema, black racial formation, and shifting race relations in America over the past fifty years. Too often the sf film genre is regarded as addressing only signature divisions in the genre: humans versus machines, old versus new, individual versus society, and nature versus the artificial. In this book, however, I place black racial formation at the center of these common dichotomies. As a result, a more complex and provocative picture emerges of how sf cinema, in imagining new worlds and addressing a broad range of social topics, has confronted and retreated from the color line, one of the most troubling and turbulent social issues present in American society."
If by some strange chance any of the sff fans reading this do not know that Farah Mendlesohn has written a major critical work on Robert Heinlein's opus, and due to contract issues has decided to crowdfund its publication.... Well, now you know.
If you like Farah's work, if you like Heinlein's work, if you want to give me a super present by helping to enable the publication of this work that I desperately want to read, please consider supporting this crowdfunder.
The latest trick is revising the bill to send money towards the states of potential holdouts.
plaidadder: Zombie Trumpcare 3.0 continues to stagger through the streets. It is time to call your elected representatives again.
bengaliprincess: heads up: as of right now, whip count for the graham-cassidy health care bill (trumpcare 3.0? i think it’s 3.0 honestly i’ve lost track) is split evenly at 50-50.
sashayed: Hello! Good morning! Did you know Congress is trying to kill millions of people, again? (includes script, with screaming; maybe leave out the screaming? or maybe don't?)
digoxin-purpurea: Anonymous asked: yeah that's part of the issue.... phone anxiety means i don't like to make people uncomfortable even if it's Very Worth It (contains very brief and good phone script)
WaPo current tally:
Cassidy-Graham whip count
McSweeney's: Why Won’t You Just Let Us Pass a Health Care Bill and Kill a Few Million People?
(Cross-posted to thisfinecrew.)
After my book on Heinlein went beyond a length that most academic publishers could manage (it may be around 500 pages) I decided to go with a Crowdfunding publisher called Unbound. They can keep the price down to affordable levels.
Of course I would love it if you bought the book:
ebook and hb £35
But what I really need is signal boosting. Please copy and paste.
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.
Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)
To get some good AC I went to the cheap seat movie theater tonight and saw "Step." This is a documentary about a Step dance team at a girls' high school in Baltimore. The film focuses entirely on black girls and women. Recommended.
Liberty and Other Stories (Prosperity, #2-4, 6) - Alexis Hall - ★ ★ ★ ★
A diverse series of stories expanding on the Prosperity universe, both before and after the events of Prosperity. ( read more )
The New Born Year - Kris Ripper ★ ★
I love this series, and I really liked getting to know Ally better, but I found this a difficult and unpleasant read. ( read more )
Full of Briars (October Daye, #9.3) - Seanan McGuire ★ ★ ★
I'm several books behind in this series, and figured this was a good way to dip back in. Because Quentin. Who is awesome. ( read more )
Gun To My Head - Dira Lewis ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reread. First read April 5, 2017. Second read April 6, 2017. Third read now, by which you might infer that I really fucking love this book. ( read more )
The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia, #2) - Heather Rose Jones ★ ★ ★ ★
I continue to adore this series. This second installment continues to follow Barbara and Margerit's lives, while expanding the focus to two characters who played a supporting role in the first book. ( read more )
The Element of Fire (Ile-Rien, #1) - Martha Wells ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reread. I think I first read this sometime in 2010.
This is a secondary-world fantasy set in the approximate equivalent of 17th Century France only with both sorcery and Fae creatures.( read more )
Point of Dreams (Astreiant, #2) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett ★ ★ ★ ★
In some ways the murders are the least interesting part of this book. They matter, and they drive the plot, but it's the thematic stuff going on around and in cause of the murders that I found most interesting.
This is a book about relationships, and the ways they are seen and controlled by society and societal pressures. ( read more )
Seven Summer Nights - Harper Fox ★ ★ ★ ★
This was not the book I expected it to be, but I quite enjoyed the book it turned out to be.
This is, as the cover copy stated, a just-post-WWII historical romance between an archaeologist and a vicar, both of whom came back from the war changed. It's about two men trying to fit back into roles and ways of life they no longer fit. ( read more )
Bound to Be a Groom (Regency Reimagined, #1) - Megan Mulry ★
It's queer, kinky, poly, historical erotica. I'm pretty much THE target audience for this book. And I gave up at 13% read. ( read more )
Death by Silver (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey, #1) - Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold ★ ★ ★ ★
This was a rougher read than I expected from the ad copy. Good, but at times decidedly difficult.
This is a queer, steampunk murder mystery, but that's not really what it's about.
What it actually is is a book about institutionally-sanctioned bullying and abuse and the different ways in which adult survivors of childhood trauma cope with their past. ( read more )
There’s a great quote from Canha that gets to the heart of what this is about:
I had to think about what I was going to do to show my support for Bruce, for 20 minutes. Even then, I was hesitant to do it. I thought about Colin Kaepernick. It’s like, geez, I love baseball. I want to play baseball. I love my job. I love everything about it. I love this country. I want to be part of this country. But to live in fear, just the fact that I had that small amount of fear, that small amount of hesitation, speaks volumes about that we need more change.Full interview here: A’s Mark Canha speaks out on Bruce Maxwell’s protest and whether others will follow
The A’s have been rebuilding. This is a very young team. But they have lots of confidence. I like their character.
This is a 10,000-year rabbit hole!
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was designed to store radioactive waste in Nevada. The storage area would not be safe to enter until 10,000 years had passed. Several groups of smart people came together to design warning messages that could outlive our civilization and protect future explorers. These designers knew they couldn't rely on any current language surviving that long, so they worked on landscape designs that project "this is toxic waste, don't mess!" ( audio/text background and four fanfics )
One of the forbidding-landscape proposals is incorporated into California, a meh dystopian novel published by a non-genre writer in 2014. If the WIPP project follows up on the experts' suggestions, elements of those proposal should be showing up in pop culture for millennia.
As our flight was not until after lunch, this morning after we'd packed and put our luggage in store we went to the Hipolit House: more historical domestic interiors, plus exhibition on the actress Antonina Hoffman and on theatre/acting more generally in C19th. Rather interesting.
Of the journey, not a great deal to be said except for the enormous distances walked within airports.
Anyway, ome agen.
Dinky Hurricane Lee not a threat to land
Dear Dr Jeff Masters, should you really taunt a storm like that? Especially if it's come back from being dismissed as "done"?
Also, Tropical Storm Pilar? Where did N go? (Ah, whew, that's an East Pacific storm.)
And Jose, still?? "After 70 advisories, enough is enough," said the NWS on Friday. Indeed.
I've no idea what i was surprised about yesterday.
It looks like autumn. I went out for maybe 15 minutes. It's not hot, but i am dripping wet. Ah, i've calibrated. Apparently it is, "85°, Feels like 86°" outside. I was mowing with the reel mower, so that's some exertion.
I called my Grandmámá this morning, after examining some of my "oughts" in therapy this past Wednesday. I ought to call her, i tell myself, because i want her to know i care about her. But 9 am -- which is apparently the good time to call her -- comes and goes with my attention on other things. Just before Hurricane Irma, i decided Sunday mornings would be good. It's not a work day, but since i'm headed off to Meeting it's not as fluid and Christine-focussed as Saturdays.
So i called, and it *is* a good time to talk to her, because we actually talked for almost a half hour. She shared stories she's shared before, but new ones too.
I was talking with "oughts" with my therapist because I want to thrive. My therapist asked, have i ever ... thriven?
(thrives, thriving; past throve |THrōv| or thrived; past participle thriven |ˈTHrivən| or thrived) from Old Norse thrífask, reflexive of thrífa ‘grasp, get hold of.’
We talked a little about college, when "adulting" was novel and i was successful at it. Now i reflect on bad habits that could be graduating from college, i ache when i see Christine trampled by elephants again.  ... and since i am committing to examining my thoughts for distorted thinking -- even if i have procrastination habits that are decades old, i have also gone through periods of success and vibrant creativity. It will happen again.
Leaving my therapist, i thought about Laughingrat and her frustrations with cognitive therapy. There is a frame where "I'm thinking wrong" is just one more thing wrong with yourself, and it's so easy to stand in that relationship with the distorted thinking practice. I don't think i could successfully do this work if it wasn't for some of the far more somatic work i did some years back. I'm learned then how to have compassion for myself in a way that's hard to describe. In a way, i think Noelle coached me in a mindfulness practice that never mentioned the mind and focused on my body. This practice with disordered thinking will, i hope, be another mindfulness practice, this time focusing on my mind.
 For new readers, to give my spouse Christine some privacy and to yet talk about my experience of her experience, i refer to what's going on with her as "elephants," as in "the elephant in the room."
Vanity Fair: Mike Flynn’s Nuclear Side-Hustle Gets Even Shadier
Vanity Fair: Did Jared Kushner’s Data Operation Help Select Facebook Targets for the Russians?
Talking Points Memo: Report: Trump Using RNC, Campaign Funds For Russia Probe Legal Bills
Huffington Post: The blow-it-all-up billionaires
Mother Jones: How Donald Trump Lied to Conceal His Moscow Business Partner
Salon: How Trump followed a Russian map straight to Paul Manafort
Deadspin: Teresa Kaepernick On Trump Calling Injustice Protesters Sons Of Bitches: “It’s What Most Of Us Have Come To Expect From Him” (her magnificent Twitter response: "Guess that makes me a proud bitch!")
Vanity Fair: Has Milo Yiannopoulos’s Berkeley Troll Circus Become a Fyre Festival for the Right? (answer: looks like it, and it's glorious)