Feminist Monday Oversleeps

But I kind of needed it. Was so nervous about the video interview that I didn't sleep the night before. Anyway... here's your Monday morning cup of outrage. ;)

Today's video:

For the record, I don't have kids. Do people EVER tell men they're selfish for not having kids? I know that no one tells Dane that. They don't even ask if he has kids.

Literary/Entertainment: Our first article is from Forbes--Disney Spent $15 Billion To Limit Their Audience. Remember that whole monopoly thing and how it's a bad idea, even for the monopoly in question? Yeah. In addition, what the hell is up with the seeming ban on Black Widow merchendise? She's even been erased from her own scene. Now, when women talk about being erased from history that is exactly what that looks like. And that, my friend, that is some serious bullshit. This next one is an interesting article about Wonder Woman and the Paternal Narative. Again, I'm not a big fan of WW. I'm certainly not a fan of her creater--personally, I wouldn't call him a feminist. I'd call him a sexual opportunist bordering on abuser, but everyone has their point of view on that one. And you're very much allowed your own. Nonetheless, the article makes some great points that I DO agree with. It's worth reading, exploring, and thinking about. I know I will. And now, Someone Swapped The Genders Of The Avengers And It’s Perfect. And my favorite thing ever: Mad men mad at Mad Max for having mad women and Furious about Furiosa: Misogynists are losing it over Charlize Theron’s starring role in Mad Max: Fury Road. That makes me not only want to see the film 100 times, but it also makes me want to buy tickets for fifty of my friends so we can watch it together for 100 times. Marvel A-Force Writer G. Willow Wilson Takes Issue with Jill Lepore’s New Yorker Op-Ed Calling Her Heroes “Porn Stars”. Marvel Finally Reveals The Identity Of The New Female Thor. I kinda dig that. Of course, I have to wonder how that is going to affect her relationship with Thor? They have to explore that. Oh, and this looks really good. I'll have to watch Ex Machina.

General: From Bust Magazine, have 5 Feminist News Stories You Might Have Missed This Week. I'm going to re-link the one about the female reporter in Canada that had to endure sexually explicit taunts on camera because she handled it perfectly. By the way, at least one of the assholes was fired from his job. And the Canadian Justice Minister backed the reporter up. While I do have some issues with certain instances where people are clearly making a mistake they regret, that asshole wasn't even remotely sorry. I'm certain he isn't now, either. But that action is about deterring other assholes, not that particular asshole. And now Austin is in the headlines. [sigh] Austin Greets Female-Majority City Council With Workshop on How Women Are the Worst, Warning, Austin: Your Female City Councilors Will Talk a Lot, Hate Math, Austin’s city manager apologizes for tone deaf ‘training’ to deal with women being elected to city council, As women take majority on Austin City Council, staff warned to expect more questions, longer talks, and City Of Austin Sorry For Hiring ‘Experts’ To Teach How Lady Leaders Are Different From The Regular Kind. When I talk about how Texas is behind when it comes to gender equality... Austin is the most progressive city in Texas. Think about that a moment. Oh, and for your enjoyment. Yeah, things haven't changed all that much. Let’s call ‘trolling’ what it really is. If men are ‘failing’ we need to look to the future, not at lazy stereotypes. HHS: Insurers must cover all birth control. Lastly, When Gender Stereotypes Become A Serious Hazard To Women’s Health. That is no exaggeration. My own sister nearly died of endometriosis due to the same bullshit gender stereotypes.

Well, That Just Happened

I'm going to be at Comicpalooza this coming weekend--Memorial Day weekend. In preparation, Comicpalooza did some interviews via the nice folks at the AFK Show. You should check out their channel. They've interviewed Patrice Sarath and well... me too. More interviews are coming soon, I'm sure.


Stina's Big Adventure (Part 15)

And then... Oxford on the 21st of April. Kari drove us and we met up with Juliette McKenna who showed me some of her favorite parts of the campus. For me, the ultimate for the day came shortly after we got off the bus. I'll post the picture and then give you a hint as to why it's significant because not everyone is as big a dork as me.

For those who aren't complete and total Tolkien nerds[1] this is where JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis's writing group, The Inklings, met. This is also where Epic Fantasy was born. It's lovingly referred to as "The Bird and Baby." I got to eat lunch in the spot where they met and everything. My inner 16 year old exploded in the spot. I couldn't stop geeking out, and Jules and Kari were really good about not being too embarrassed to be seen with me. ;) Never in my life did I actually think I'd ever get to go to Oxford and see that. Never. Sorry about the image quality. It reflects the fact that my mind was officially blown.

And there's Kari and Jules, ordering those pints. :) And now I'll skip to the CS Lewis part. Jules took us to a tiny street on campus and stood in the middle of it. First, she pointed to what is in the first photo. Then she turned and pointed to what's in the second picture. "Fawn. Lamp post."

Now for the scenery stuff.

Actually, I lied when I said the Bird and Baby was the first thing I saw. It was the first place we stopped. The first thing I saw was the following.

Suddenly, I don't feel so alone for having eaten many lunches in graveyards. In Texas, they freak out and call security if you do this. England? It's Tuesday. Go England.

Next: New York. Again. :)
[1] Those do exist, I know. ;)

Stina's Big Adventure (Part 14)

On April 18 and 19, I spent most of my time chatting with Kari about novel-things, catching up on email, and writing. Phil has a fantastic collection of antique swords and a sword forge. So, in addition to the help Kari supplied as plot-sounding board, Phil let me play with some swords from around the time of the Malorum Gates novels.[1] On the 20th, Kari and I did a walking tour of Cambridge. So far, I think it's my favorite university campus. It reminded me of Austin, but much, much older and therefore, much, much cooler. Even the graffiti on  their wheelie bins is cool. See for yourself.

I'm seriously trying to limit myself to the best shots, and I'm not digitally editing them either. (I'm still under a deadline and I don't have time.) What cracks me up is that when I was taking photographs in Ireland I kept feeling like it didn't matter how I set up the shot. Gorgeousness happened. It was like Ireland was the super model of landscapes. I could've closed my eyes and randomly pushed the button, and I'd still have drop dead gorgeous--often when I didn't think I had. England, on the other hand, was a bit more camera shy. England is absolutely beautiful, mind. She just didn't respond to the camera in the same way. (It's probably just me.) Still, I've a ton of nice photos.

The photo on the right is of what my brain has labelled "The Mathematical Bridge." It's a bridge (originally) constructed without nails in the 1700s I think. (Kari will correct me, if I'm wrong.) It was all done with carefully engineered weight and arcs and such. Then someone came along and decided to take it apart in the 1800s. Because, "curious" and "science!" And "people of the past aren't as clever as we are now!" And then they couldn't put it back together again without the nails.

What was funny (to me) is that I've always, always wanted to go to an Ivy League University or (in an ideal world) an English one like Cambridge but I never thought I was smart enough. (Not that I could've afforded it.) Kari was sweet and told me I totally could've. Then she told me the horror stories of living in a medieval building without sufficient heat or bathroom facilities for women. Did I mention that Kari is amazing?

Tomorrow, Oxford.
[1] And earlier. They were quite beautiful.

Stina's Big Adventure (Part 13)

On the 17th of April, I said goodbye to Northern Ireland and my kind hosts. I flew out of Belfast and went back to England. This time, Cambridge, to visit with Kari and Phillip. The very first thing we did (after dealing with The Beast aka my luggage) was eat lunch with one of Kari's friends at a Tudor-era pub, the Queen's Head. (I've no idea which Queen that's supposed to be. I should've asked and didn't, sadly.) That's pretty gruesome. Pub names are kind of mystifying when I think about it.

The Queens Head2.jpg
And here's where I first start hearing the whole "the new annex which was built in the Georgian Era" schtick. The red brick part of the pub is the original Tudor-era building. The bit from the red door and off to the right? The brown brick? Yeah. That's the new addition. The thatched roof house was just something I thought was cool. (And it was next door.) Also, I liked the building below and took a shot of that. The whole place was amazing but Tudor part of the building was particularly interesting

The funny thing is, I think this is where the jet-lag started to catch up with me. All that running around Ireland and Northern Ireland and well... England was where I sat still long enough for it to jump me. That said, sitting around talking plot-things with Kari Sperring was a huge, huge help. She's the best.

Stina's Big Adventure (Part 12)

Ah, The Crum. Ian and Enid and I visited on the 16th of April[1], my last day in Northern Ireland, and it was appropriately creepy. I understand it was patterned for the prison where In the Name of the Father was filmed. For the record, Enid took these for me. I forgot to download all the photos from the previous day. So, my iPad and iPhone were full up.

There's an underground tunnel (lower right) connecting The Crum to the Courthouse (on lower left.) Once you were sentenced, you were taken through the tunnel to the prison. It's every bit as scary and dank as the image shows.

A number of prisoners were executed by hanging at the Crum, and some were buried in unmarked graves which the prisoners (I seem to recall) labeled by craving the names in the wall.

And that was my last day in Northern Ireland. The whole visit was amazing and incredible and totally wouldn't have happened but for Ian and Enid's generousity. They're wonderful folks, and seriously, buy all of Ian McDonald's books now. Just do. He's the best.

Next up: Cambridge. :)
[1] Although, it might have been the 15th and the Giant's Ring may have been the 16th. I'm kind of fuzzy on that.

Stina's Big Adventure (Part 11)

So on the 15th, I went to the Giant's Ring and the Lagan Navigation (a park with a lock system and a lighter/riverboat) with Enid. The Giant's Ring features in the beginning of And Blue Skies from Pain. It's where the Church and the Fey meet to negotiate a truce. The talks doen't start so well. Anyway, I used Google Maps to sort out the scene. It was funny seeing the place for real and thinking of all the fighting and knowing which angle of approach Liam and his uncle Sceolán took to get there. In fact, I stood on the very spot and looked down. It looked exactly as I'd imagined it. (Yay, Google Maps.)

My characters set up a card table next to the rocks there and placed the peace agreement on top. The wind was every bit as bad as I'd imagined too. I've lived in Texas too long. I had trouble imagining anyone would be freezing their butt off in April. The area around the Ring is gorgeous. I stopped and had tea at the cafe by the Lagan River.

The little white house is one that Enid worked on reconstructing. It's beautiful, and although it's tiny, it's very functional. No wasted space in it at all. In fact, all of the Irish cottages I saw were like that. I've no idea what the stacked branches were for but it looked like someone was building a shelter of some kind.

That one looks like an Ent, doesn't it? I couldn't help but see it.

River travel features in the Malorum Gates series. So, I got a tour of the (at the moment) non-operational lock and a river boat on display. I cleverly (heh) figured out the meaning of "two path" on my own, along with a couple of other things. The guide was a little surprised. I guess she doesn't get many folks who are actually interested in lock systems and river travel.

Tomorrow: My last day in Northern Ireland and the Crum. :)

Stina's Big Adventure (Part 10)

All right, back to the big trip. As previously stated, this was the day I went on the Black Taxi Tour. Brian's cousin, Mickey, runs a West Belfast murals tour from his taxi. However, Brian had already walked me through all the West Belfast murals that Mickey would've done, stealing Mickey's thunder as it were. Therefore, Mickey decided to take us up the Shankill. I'm glad he did. For one thing, I used to get confused by all the different sectarian groups--paticularly the UVF, UFF, UDF. It was hard to keep them straight.[1] (This was one of the reasons why I tried to simplify things a bit in the books. I knew if I couldn't keep them straight after years of study, readers would have an even tougher time.) But after being there and seeing how close the neighborhoods are,[2] everything makes more sense. Also, because history is such a far away thing in the US...well, we have a different perspective of it than they do in Northern Ireland. Everything is so fresh. The people depicted on the murals are neighbors and friends--people everyone knew. It's not like here. I don't have much in the way of photos from this day, largely because I had the guidebook. There really wasn't need. Plus, it did get a little uncomfortable once or thrice. Like I said before, not everyone feels the same, and quite a few people wish to move beyond the past. I can't say as I blame them. So, the idea that tourists come and dredge it all up... well... like I said, I get it. One of the most disturbing murals we saw was this one. There's a better shot of it to be found here.

The thing about this mural is that you can start on one side of it and walk in front of it, watching the barrel of the gun, and it doesn't matter where you walk, the gunman has you in his site. The barrel follows you. It's downright creepy. While we were out of the taxi watching this effect, a woman walked right up to Mickey in the middle of the three of us. She stopped within inches of him. She was so close that I thought he knew her and that she was going to hug him or something. She didn't say a word. She just stood there, stared at his taxi badge, hung out long enough to make everyone uncomfortable, and then moved on before anyone could ask if she needed something. This happened twice in the span of the five minutes we were there. The second time it was a man. I thought to myself, "Well, this is a bit uncomfortable. But hey, it's okay. I'm with two big guys. I'm good." We got inside the taxt. Mickey cranked up the engine. He says, "That was uncomfortable." Brian says, "Yes, it was." Mickey says, "We were fine. We were with the American tourist." That was in the UDA/UFF part of Loyalist Belfast. We drove to the UVF side after that. One of the things I learned was that even flowers can have a sectarian association--in this case, poppies. Poppies are associated with WWI, and many members of Loyalist families served in the British Army in WWI. Anyway, here are some more pictures that I took that day.

The second photo? That's a Troubles Era police station. The gear on top of the tower is for wind gauge readings for the helicopters. There's a lot of wind in Belfast. We have wind in Austin, but not like that.

If you're interested in the Belfast murals, there's a great guide titled (coincidentally enough) The Belfast Mural Guide.

Tomorrow, the Lagan Lock and the Giant's Ring. :)
[1] In part, I blame dyslexia. You see, for me the beginnings and endings of words are what my brain focuses upon. The middle stuff, much less so. It's one of the big reasons why I still misspell words. All three groups are Loyalist organizations. For the record, the UVF is considered scarier than the other two. The Shankill Butchers were UVF.
[2] You literally can walk across a street and find yourself in an opposing area without anything much to indicate that you have.

Feminist Monday Goes to the Movies

How about that, it's Monday. And now for some links to get your blood moving. :)

Entertainment/Literature: The internet is all a-blaze about Avengers: Age of Ultron at the moment. Dane and I saw it last night, and I enjoyed it. Sure, it has its problems which I'll discuss a bit, but I don't feel that the film is in any way terrible. Nor am I as angry about the issues as some folks seem to be. Largely, I think a lot of the anger is connected to Joss Whedon's reputation as a feminist. And again, I'll say that just because a person is a feminist doesn't make them idealogically perfect and somehow should never make mistakes. I hate that bullshit. We're all works in progress--particularly feminists. We're all learning and progressing and growing. Mistakes are a part of that process. People who have to make mistakes in public (writers, media-makers, actors) have the toughest time of all. Creatives work with their subconscious, and if you're lucky, quite a few people are watching you do it. This is part of what makes creativity so dangerous and scary. So, keep that in mind as I go forward with this. I don't hate Whedon. I think he's wonderfully talented. Writing dialog the way he does is extremely difficult. There's a reason why not that many writers/moviemakers have cropped up who do exactly as he does--no matter how successful he's been. Snappy dialog is very, very hard to do right. Okay. Here goes. At one point, Black Widow tells Banner that she was sterilized and then practically in the same breath says this is what makes her a monster--what makes it easier for her to kill people. The lack of babies is what dehumanizes women. [sigh] That, dear Mr. Whedon, was a great big mistake. In one sentence, you took women backward in time. You reduced Black Widow to a dysfunctional womb. Also? I'm not a fan of the romance schtick between Black Widow and Banner either. It sucks. For one thing, why must every super hero woman have a romance? Why? Can't we have one who doesn't? Certainly, we have a lot of male superheros for whom romance isn't a defining characteristic. Can't we have the same? Why must women in stories always = romance? Men don't. They have a large number of other stories. Why can't we? Here's another take on it, but keep in mind that we don't agree on a number of things--the first is that Whedon is an un-evolving one trick pony. That's bullshit. He's evolving, just not in a way that she agrees with. And have an article from Playboy about how and why Black Widow got Slut-Shamed.[1] Lastly, Disappointed, But Not Surprised: Disney Excludes Black Widow From Avengers: Age of Ultron Merch. Just... ARGGGGHHHH!!! And now, more about comics and feminism--Smart, Nice, and Sassy: 'Good Girls' Make Boring Superheros. I disagree. If Steve Rogers can be an interesting superhero, then a female varient is totally possible. (See Peggy Carter.) We just have to allow her to be a person. Steve is fallible. It's what gives him dimension. The same would be true of women superheros. And have one more article for your daily eyerolling excercise because your eyes need that workout: Leaked Email From Marvel CEO Is A Listicle About Why Women Can’t Be Superheroes. Just give us the damned Black Widow movie already. And don't make it be all about how she's sexy, romantic, and perfect and is only broken due to lack of baby-making. You know what would be great? Making it be about the sexist landmine field that girls have to navigate while growing up and how it's turned against them--how it shackles them to the bed. If Ginger Snaps (a werewolf movie) can be a discussion about menstruation and developing into a woman, why can't a movie about a woman who was manufactured by her environment into something called "Black Widow"? That, my friends, would be super brilliant. it'd have depth. And hey, shit could still blow up.

General: People Have Misconceptions about Miscarriages. I'd go so far to say that this is why so many people have backwards ideas regarding abortion. They have this crazy idea that once a woman is pregnant, that's it. Birth is simple, safe, and ordinary. Hey, I did too, but pregnancy is none of these things. It's a life and death situation. If anyone is clear on that, it's the person going through the process.

Trigger Warning Section: Domestic Violence Prevention Campaign Uses Fake Tinder Profiles To Raise Awareness
[1] I have to think hard about what it means when freaking Playboy has more evolved feminism than comic books.


sorry. today was one of those days. i had a pretty intense weekend and was all about the recovery from that. it happens.