Happy Thanksgiving! (Or Happy Thursday!)

As predicted, today was spent cooking and hanging out with Dane's relatives. Shortly, I'm going to visit with my mom and dad. The turkey came out perfect, and the pies are pretty. (I've only sampled the apple so far.) Also, the sweet potatoes surprised me. I'm usually not much of a fan, but I tried the recipe on the side of the can and wow. They were great. I suspect I'll be permitted to cook next year for my father in law and brother in law. :) I really enjoyed it. Sometimes, fuss is a whole lot of fun--particularly when people appreciate it. We managed to get everything to his brother's place without any major accidents. (Although, I'm afraid the sweet potatoes leaked on the back seat of his car.) I hope your day was equally successful.

I know. I know. Soooooo dull. 

The Day Before

I'm an American. So, today is the day I spend more time in the kitchen than any other time of the year except for the day before Christmas. This year, for the first time in ages, I get to cook the main meal and not just the pies. I'm actually looking forward to it. There's something special about being the one who makes the turkey. At least, that's the case for me. It feels...grown up. Silly, I know. And my mom probably doesn't hold the same opinion. She hated making Thanksgiving dinner--although she did a good job of not showing it. Anyway...tomorrow I'll be exhausted from staying up all night cooking, and Dane will turn on the tv so that I can hear the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. (I don't actually watch it. I can't. I'm too busy wrapping up the last minute cooking, and hell, I'd be bored to tears if I did.) We usually make cracks about how all the pop singers sound exactly the same and so on, but he knows I love it. It's not the start of the holiday season without it. For the record, I hate Black Friday with a burning passion.[1] HATE IT. In answer to the question I'll, no doubt, get asked...yes. I've been shopping on Black Friday. My sister dragged me out one year. I've never seen such a wanton display of American consumerism in all my life. People fought over all sorts of crap (and I do mean crap) they didn't need. And maybe it's because I was in the midst of the most awful flat broke, depressing period of my life (and still recovering from cancer too) but it literally turned my stomach. The waste of resources. [shudder]

And now...Saturday Night Live takes on Thanksgiving.

[1] That awful day when otherwise reasonable people trample all over one another to buy crap in mass quantities because it's supposed to be cheaper. I hate that it's become a thing that has consumed Thanksgiving almost entirely. (Charlie Brown would've had apoplexy if he knew how far commercialism in Christmas has gone.) Yes, I have a huge problem with sales staff not being able to be with their families on the one holiday a year when everyone else is. Supposedly, anyway.[2] I used to work retail. A lot. That's bullshit. Oh, consumerism. Fuck. Right. The. Fuck. Off. Really, I can't wait for that fad to die a horrible death.
[2] When I worked in movie theaters it didn't bother me. Largely, I knew people were there because they didn't want to sit arguing with Aunt Sally about Uncle Bob all day. I'm all for less family violence. :) Also, theaters aren't open at 9am--or thanks to Black 'Friday,' 6am on Thursday (Thanksgiving.) They open in the afternoon which allows everyone to have their holiday meal. Theater work shifts go from 11-6 and 6-11. Thus, as a worker you can schedule around it.

Everything Has a Name

While driving to the skating rink on Sunday, I listened to an amazing story on NPR about a man who, at age 27, had no language. As fascinating and depressing and inspiring as that was, the story moved on to questions about how language affects how the human brain works, how communication happens, and...empathy. Speaking as someone who is interested in dialog, communication, and psychology, it was incredible. Here's a related audiocast. Listen to it. It's astounding and moving. The big question is, what is thought without language? Another part of the story was about a group of children (who happened to be deaf) living in Nicaragua, a country that in 1978 was without any special education programs. They, too, didn't have language. It wasn't until a program was finally formed, and the children were put together in a class that they began to form a new language. Oh, and this is the original story I heard.

Is that amazing? I have so many questions forming in my mind right now, and I love it.

Feminist Monday

This week is going to be super busy. We're approaching the holiday season, and I'm actually looking forward to it for a change. It's that time of year when I (hopefully) renew my positive inclination toward humanity and my (battered) optimism for the future. That is what defines a successful holiday season for me--I've only recently come to realize this. It's good to know. Anyway, you didn't come here for me blithering about the holidays. Here are your links:

Literary/Entertainment: Check out comic artist Becky Cloonen's work. I had no idea that Killjoys was a comic book first. OMG, I've so much reading to do. :) The Clique: Race and ageism in Hollywood. I love the concept that when we're talking about diversity it should be discussed in terms of normalization of reality not diversity. Because the implication is that diversity takes effort and that homogeneity doesn't somehow. The truth is that homogeneity (all white, all male) does indeed take effort, and it has centuries of bias (that required a great deal of energy to stay in place) behind it. Anna Paquin Wrecks Trolls Who Insulted Her About Her Weight. WE ARE NOT FICTIONAL: ON DEFAULT ASSUMPTIONS AND WORLDBUILDING. Next, a great article on the new World Fantasy Award statue. THE NEW WORLD FANTASY AWARD: WHAT’S NEXT? I, too, am very glad that this is changing. It's about damned time. This link is a great argument regarding accessibility issues: Van Halen, M&Ms, and Accessibility Policies. Dear WFC and other conventions, we're long past the time that this should've changed. Stop stalling. Just do it already.

General: WATCH THESE TRANSGENDER TEENS SHARE MESSAGES TO THEIR FUTURE SELVES. And this is why seperation of church and state is important-->As Houston Islamic Center Burns, Firefighter Posts, "Let it burn...block the fire hydrant." If you work for the government[1], you should not ever be in the position of denying a citizen services due to their race, religion, gender, age, ableness, or sexual orientation. Your opinion is not a factor in whether or not you do your job. If it is, quit. Period. This shit is becoming far too common in the US, and people need to understand that it's unAmerican. Stop saying that 70% of Syrian Refugees are “fighting age” males. "If you are looking for a reason to justify turning our backs on Syrian refugees, then look elsewhere for a rationale. 76.6% of Syrian refugees are women and children." Yes. That. Also? This: Syrian family rejected by Indiana welcomed in Connecticut. I'm not going to say much about this next one since you've probably already seen it, but just in case: the original article is this one, I think. My white neighbor thought I was breaking into my own apartment. Nineteen cops showed up. But there's also, Her white neighbor thought she was breaking into her own home. Nineteen cops showed up. And this bullshit disgusts me: Philip Davies: 'politically correct males pander to militant feminists.' Your rebuttal to the reasoned arguments you're facing is something a twelve year old misogynist says in gaming chat rooms? Seriously? That's the best you can do, Mr. Politician whose job it is to debate? That's pathetic. And now, a headline that should surprise no one: Home Abortions Rise After Texas Law Closes Clinics. Well, no shit. We know this. We've seen it before. Can we stop repeating history already? Don't like abortion? Don't fucking have one. The end. Stop trying to control women's behavior. It's bullshit. Speaking of bullshit...Gamergate Supporters Are Responsible for the Terrorist Photoshopping of Journalist Veerender Jubbal. I think GG lost all credibility a long fucking time ago, but hey, if you still think it wasn't about hate and bigotry, you're going to have a tough time believing it now. Gwynne Dyer explains why terrorism is overblown and why Islamists want western countries to attack the Islamic State. Again, the holidays are on the way. Time to maybe rethink a few things. For example, Dear Teachers: An Open Letter about Images of Indians. And American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving.

Trigger Warning Section: Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Abuse Among LGBT People: a review of existing research.
[1] Or in this case, volunteer for it. Thankfully, the dangerous bigot isn't serving as a fireman any longer.

Some Comforting News and Some Not-So Comforting News

During this morning's manderings on the internet, I found some comforting news about the NRA--which as far as I'm concerned has lost its connection with reality a long fucking time ago. Most Gun Owners Say the NRA Is Off Target. See also The NRA Is Losing Its Grip on Power. I find those statistics hopeful. I still don't think that everyone should have fifty guns--unless they're running a collection for a museum--and I certainly don't think that military grade equipment needs to be in the hands of the average citizen.[1]

And because there's always a bigger picture, here's a related story: Here’s Why The Privatization Of War Must Stop NOW. That article illustrates why I have such a huge problem with American corporations dodging taxes and marketing themselves as "Global." See, I'm a fan of checks and balances when it comes to power--particularly military power. As long as there's no regulatory group overseeing the global sector...I think there should not be a global space in which corporations hide their money and from which they act on the world. Oh, sure. The Wild West sounds like fun. That is, it does until you grow up and realize what anarchy really means, and it generally means a smoking pile of rubble where civilization used to be.

Have a few more links on police and violence: Why No One Really Knows a Better Way to Train Cops. Here's What Happens When You Complain To Cops About Cops. And FBI director calls lack of data on police shootings ‘ridiculous,’ ‘embarrassing.’ And In The Post-Ferguson World, Cops Are Now Victims And It's The Public That's Going To Pay The Price.
[1] Dear American Gun Freak, you're not going to hunt with that bazooka, my friend, and if you do, you're an idiot. Also, target shooting with a machine gun? Pffft! That's some bullshit. They do not have a catagory in the Olympics for AK-47s last I checked. So, that's not sport shooting. Oh, and if you need an AK-47 to protect your home because you're that scared for you and yours and you can't rely upon the police, you might want to consider moving. Seriously, you don't need to murder people over a television set. It's stuff. With some rare exceptions, stuff is replacable. This is why there's insurance. Human life? Not so much. Also, dealing with the guilt of having killed isn't nothing, not if you're a real human being. Yes, yes, I'm aware I'm making certain assumptions since a majority of gun owners that I know are white, male, and definitely not poor. As for the Second Amendment? No, it was not written to give every US citizen the power to take a pot shot at the government. If you knew anything at all about the Founding Fathers, you'd know they were comprised for the most part of the second and third sons of nobility. They were aristocrats who didn't have a chance in the old country due to a lack of inheritance. They weren't working class Joes. They would no more think it was awesome for Joe Bob the Shoemaker to have the power to overthrow the government (the government was, in fact, the Founding Fathers) than they wanted a king. Also? If you think it'd be that easy to overthrow a government, might I suggest some readings on The Troubles in Northern Ireland?


I read an article about the Texas Board of Education this morning that worries the hell out of me. Of course, I rarely read anything about the TBE that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It's been this way for...quite a while, and it wouldn't be quite so bothersome if they only ruled over Texas school textbooks. They don't. Due to the way things are set up, if the TBE demands certain edits to educational materials (like changing mentions of slavery into "immigrant workers" for example) then this information is changed in history textbooks across the nation. The part that totally blows my mind is that the board has the extreme arrogance to equate college with inaccuracy. If universities are the destinations of your students, then isn't it important to get feedback from professors? Just what do you think your job is as an educator? Is it not to prepare kids for life as an adult? Is it not to help them become contributing members of society? Is it not to teach them to think for themselves? I promise it isn't to replicate them in your political image. And what exactly is your definition of the word 'fact'? Scientific facts aren't like wikipedia. It's not a bunch of people pulling shit out of their ass and then reaching a consensus. It's not about screaming shit loud enough long enough until everyone decides it's true. Facts aren't faith based. [sigh] Maybe that's it? Maybe that's what happens when you make religion the center of everything you think?

I mean, I do believe that sprituality is important to humanity. It has worth. (With varying levels of importance/non-importance for individuals.) However, I don't believe in religious extremism. And that's what that is. Ultimately, I just don't understand people who reject science, education, the social contract, and truth. I don't understand this dire need to have everyone think exactly the same.

Things I Like

The other day I decided to download a different game on the XBox since Dane is lost to me due to Fallout 4. What usually happens is that I retreat to my writer-cave and don't see him for a month. I've been feeling glommy, and I'm between edits. So instead, I decided to play Destiny on XBox and game in the livingroom--next to him. It feels better. Plus, it's a SF game and that'll help make me feel more comfortable with SF.[1] I've not finished the freebie sample, but I can already tell I'm going to love it. Anyway, while the game was downloading I decided to watch something on Netflix. That's when I found El tiempo entre costuras. It's obvious to me that I'm going to have to study the Spanish Civil War. I keep getting drawn to stories set in and around it--partically thanks to my love of Guillermo del Toro. Anyway, I stumbled upon this series, and I'm two episodes in, and I'm loving it. If you like Phryne Fisher Mysteries, I suspect you'll be into a Spanish dressmaker turned Allied spy during WWII. It's beautiful. The costumes are amazing and the sets are lush. Seriously, check it out.

[1] I really want to write longer SF things, and while I've written a 500 word SF story that got published...trying to write longer things has been too intimidating. And yet, I'm good tackling The Troubles. Go figure.

Feminist Monday is Tuesday

Sorry. The act of catching flights on time and shuffling through security is, for me, stressful. This, in spite of the fact that I've only ever missed a flight once in my whole life (and that was the start of this most recent Seattle trip) and it wasn't even my fault. I'm not sure why I find it so nerve-racking[1], but I do. Like stage fright[2], I view it as just part of the writing gig, and therefore, something I deal with. All is good. I just give myself a mental health day post travel to cope. blog posts on travel days. Also, I'm not one of those people who is good at documenting my life as I live it. I prefer to experience things, think a bit, and then talk about what happened. Therefore, I'm not so much on the internet while traveling. It's how I work. So...there aren't as many links today as there are usually. I just wasn't on the internet that much last week. Anyway...without further blithering, here are your weekly Feminist links. :)

Literary/Entertainment: Much has been going on in SF circles regarding the attacks in Paris. Mostly, I've not seen the expected negativity...I suspect because my filter bubble is probably in force. (That's not a good thing.) I've been pretty quiet about it, largely because I'm not studied in Middle Eastern politics and history. If Northern Ireland taught me one thing, it's that I need to study such things before commenting. In any case, Mary Robinette Kowal had some interesting things to say. Next, Lack of Accessibility Isn’t Just Illegal – It’s Gatekeeping.

General: I’m Genderqueer — Please Stop Asking Me When I’m ‘Really’ Going To Transition. You know, I can't help but feel that this dire need to place people in one box or another is a subconscious need for absolute gender binary. Why would otherwise thoughtful people need gender binary like oxygen? It's an indication of the last remnants of misogyny lurking in the subconscious because the root of it is the discomfort of not knowing where to place people in a hierarchy of power. It says that some part of you still thinks of women as lesser beings--of femininity as icky. As long as it's not okay for men to wear high heels and other feminine clothing/makeup in public this is a problem. It's more of "Male is the Default."[3] If women truly are equal, then living in a state between the binary has to be okay. And Call Her Out, But Call Her Cait: Caitlyn Jenner and Why I’m Never Here for Transphobia. What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II. Come on, y'all. This is shit we really don't need to repeat, OK? The 31 Realest Tumblr Posts About Being A Woman. The Horrifying Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools Hasn’t Ended – Here’s What You Need to Know. Scientific study shows that when white people hear 'black' names they imagine big, violent criminals.
[1] I suspect that it's connected to my shoddy at best relationship with time. Time-zone changes are particularly alienating for me. Thank gods for the iPad or I'd never know what time it was while in the air. (I tend to shut my phone off during flights.)
[2] It's never gone away. It's gotten less intense, mind you, but it's not gone away. Doesn't matter how many times I read in front of an audience.
[3] Doubt me? Do you have the same reaction to women wearing men's clothing? Is it as gut-twisting strong? Probably not.

One Last Day...

So, today is my last day in Seattle. Tomorrow, I go back to Texas. :( There are about a zillion people I wasn't able to see while I was here. (Apparently, one week isn't enough.) Therefore, I'm declaring a board game evening. If you're in the Seattle area, and we haven't seen one another yet (or we have and you want to visit again)...let's meet up at Card Kingdom/Cafe Mox in Ballard around 4:30pm for board games and coffee or whatever. It'll be fun! smile emoticon [hugs]