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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
24th-May-2010 07:37 am
Happy birthday to dulcinbradbury and sweetmmeblue!

Hello to new reader morlith!

I had a good resting-up weekend, so while I'm a bit tired, I am not a whimpering mess of "don't wanna lave the house". This is a step up.

I was doing so awesome on that shawl. Until. Halfway through the sixth of seven repeats of the main body. I misplaced what row I was on, did a few incorrect stitches, undid them, and somehow fucked up how I did them. I am not getting what I did here. Fortunately, I was able (with effort) to stop poking at it, so it remains an isolated five-stitch area instead being a candidate for There, I Fixed It. I have a bad habit of pressing through and gritting my teeth and "I - can - make - this - work!" when with lace this intricate, no.

But it's a huge amount of progress. I usually screw up way before this point.

Fortunately, knitting guru asciikitty is working today and can help. Because I can potentially have this done by the time I leave for Wiscon, thereby freeing up the needles for the next thing. Which is going to be yes another shawl, in the gorgeous jewel-toned merino/bamboo I picked up at NH Sheep & Wool.

I wanted to be working on the second Blogathon knitting project, but the perfect yarn for this character and the perfect pattern for this character don't go together. Too variegated. Fie. I'll figure something out; probably after Wiscon.

Grand Finale
No, not of Lost; we haven't watched that yet, and I am well aware that they can't possibly wrap stuff up well, plus they really lost me with the penultimate episode (I was only hanging on out of inertia anyway), so I am dreading it a bit.

No, I'm talking about Ugly Betty.

Mark and I were Gchatting while he was watching Lost and I was watching Ugly Betty, and I was struck once again by how much Ugly Betty got right. Not just, y'know, not hating women and people of color. But narratively. Ugly Betty is a big cartoonish soap opera, yes, and it had about as many dangling plot threads as Lost, but it pulled them all together. They took the last three episodes to really finish everything right, bringing back long-dormant plots and long-lost characters and weaving them all in perfectly; we got answers to things I thought the characters themselves had dropped. And the characters all got endings that were narratively perfect for their characters. (Unlike Lost, Ugly Betty has consistent characters, so you *can* give them a natural and character-appropriate resolution.) It was just extremely well-crafted.

You'll probably get a Lost post out of me after I watch the finale. Anything else pop-culturey you want to hear me talk about?

I am going! Thursday!

1-4: Manning the Interstitial Arts Foundation table at the Gathering, dispensing tea and cookies.
9-10:15: Goblin Girls and Bedlam Boys reading with csecooney, sevenravens, pattytempleton, and Ari Goelman! As usual, if you come to none of my other stuff, come to the reading. There shall be surprises. And me and Ms. Cooney being ridiculous. And then we will go party with you.

10am: Mothers and Daughters. "In a follow–up to last year's Fathers and Daughters panel, we discuss the impact mothers, even those dead or absent, can have on their daughters, and how daughters can change mothers. There are many books where mothers are missing from the story, but that doesn't mean they are unimportant to the characters. Would Flora Segunda have been half as spunky without her unique background? How is Ista of Chalion changed and challenged by motherhood? How many of your favorite stories portray girls forced to become substitute mothers?"

I wanted the activism panel that was happening at the same time! *pout* but whatever, I can still rock this.

2:30-3:45: The Work of Kage Baker. "Best known for her Company (Dr. Zeus Incorporated) series of mysterious, powerful, time–traveling operatives, Kage Baker's speculative fiction deftly ties history, fantasy and science with ribbons of adventure, romance, irony and keen cultural insight. She wanted more time to spend with us; let's spend some time with her life work."

4:00-5:15: Take Back the Sci-Fi. Okay, if you go to only one thing, this works too. "Sexual assault and rape frequently get used as symbolic plot devices, with no consideration of how sexual violence actually affects survivors and the people around them. Let's discuss books that accurately portray the repercussions of and recovery from sexual assault, as well as those that merely use it as a shortcut to character development and those that end up glorifying it in the process—and how we can write about sexual assault and rape in a way that is true to the character and respectful to survivors. Note: this is a discussion of rape and sexual assault in fiction, and is not the place to discuss our personal experience with sexual assault."

Take Back the Sci-Fi panelists: Me, karnythia, ktempest, rachel_swirsky, and someone from the Madison RCC. So you know we will brook no nonsense and have plenty to say. I am the moderator this year, and those who saw me run this panel at Arisia can attest that I keep it on track and running well.

I'll be there Thursday-Monday, rooming with ckd. Yes, lunch and dinner plans should definitely happen. Here's a list of places I can eat; I don't know Madison geography, so I don't know which of those are near the Concourse. In general, Indian's a safe bet and Chinese isn't (big soy allergy). I will not have a car, but I am perfectly willing to be driven.

If you want to meet up, e-mail me your phone number! I run my world via text message.

No Link Soup
Internet still intermittent, so I'm not as up on everything as I ought to be.

Daily Science
Advancing into the next frontier in astrophysics and cosmology depends on our ability to detect the presence of a particular type of wave in space, a primordial gravitational wave.

Was going to have writing time today, and now I am not. Argh. At least I get to hang out with asciikitty, but then I have another few hours to kill between work and my 6pm peer supe meeting, just exactly not enough time to go home and get anything done and get back in time. Hopefully zombie_dog got my text asking him to bring my netbook today; I could potentially curl up in a coffeehouse and get stuff done.
24th-May-2010 12:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
24th-May-2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
'Let's discuss books that accurately portray the repercussions of and recovery from sexual assault'

And having covered that in three minutes, we'll then use the remaining hour and 12 minutes on the books that fuck it up...
24th-May-2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
24th-May-2010 01:36 pm (UTC)
I mean, not to be flippant, there's also going to be discussion on how to write sf that handles the issue responsibly. But how much sf doesn't do the rape equivalent of women-in-fridges? (Or does women-in-fridges also cover rape? I forget.) I would guess not that much, sadly.

I would imagine part of the problem is that rape, like any intensely traumatic event, would realistically shake the foundations of a character so much that the narrative would then threaten to become solely about that and the physical/emotional recovery from same. It would then be a difficult balancing act to keep the story from being essentially a rape story with sf trappings, instead of an sf story featuring rape (depicted responsibly). Of course, many writers just kind of toss it in there as a way to shock (or, disgustingly, titillate) the reader and come up with OMG Teh Wurst Thing That Can Happen to Our Heroine, aka lazy-ass writing that plays with stuff that shouldn't be so cavalierly played with — rape isn't some exotic Crayola you can use to spruce up your dumb-ass story.

Anyway. Babbling.
24th-May-2010 04:07 pm (UTC)
I feel like women-in-fridges does cover sexualized violence, if not sexual assault itself.

And I totally agree with everything you said.

Heh. I'm writing a fantasy novel about rape survivors, sooooo... we'll see how that goes? Wish me luck? But I feel like also a way to get around it being about nothing but the rape is to present survivors who've already done some healing.

On two sides of this, both presented well: The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell is very much about the turmoil and immediate aftermath. Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh presents the rape early on, but follows the survivor for decades after; you can see the scars in his behaviors, but the story doesn't revolve around the rape.
24th-May-2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
Looking at your list and a map...the Central listed locations seem to have a few that are within a few blocks of the hotel. I won't have a car this time, but would love to get together for food sometime and just general hangout time.
24th-May-2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
Yes! Can't wait to see you! :)
24th-May-2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
As one of your Friendly Madison Residents Who Will Also Be at Wiscon this year, I can definitely attest to the Deliciousness of Chautara and Himal Chuli. :) Neither of those are very far from the Concourse.
24th-May-2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Om nom nom. See you at lunch. :)
24th-May-2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Can I ask you to go read my journal, please? I figured this was the fastest way to make sure you did. I need hugs.
25th-May-2010 02:23 am (UTC)
I'd love to meet up at WisCon. Am e-mailing you my cell number. :)
26th-May-2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
A hint that has saved my lace-knitting life SO many times is to use a lifeline. Google is our friend and links to many useful articles and videos. That way you can rip back to the lifeline (hopefully only one lace-pattern block back) and reknit.
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