Aug 27

YA YA

Reading this, it reminds that over the past year the fiction I’ve read has been 90%+ YA.

This is for a few reasons:

1) No ridiculous literary pretensions that make many books so incredibly boring.

2) The writing is usually better. Lit-fic just tries too hard for me. Most of those writers aren’t nearly as clever as they think they are, and rely on wordplay and metaphors I thought of and rejected when I was 9.

3) YA is thus more fun.

4) And one of the most important reasons for me is that YA almost always has well-rounded, interesting female characters even if they are not the actual protagonist(s) or antagonist(s).

5) And relatedly, YA almost never features 45-year-old men from Brooklyn having mid-life crises. This has been done to death, and I have no interest in reading it.

If you aren’t reading YA right now, you are doing yourself a huge literary disservice, very similar to the self-slight of not watching all the great television shows of the last 10+ years.

Aug 26

Twi

About Twilight, I have no interest in it and will never read it – not because it is aimed at women, but because it is badly written (I have read enough of it to know this – it could’ve been written by Dan Brown) and because the relationship dynamics in it are terrible and un-feminist.

However, I am glad it exists. Without Twilight, many many other books I’ve read and enjoyed over the past few years probably would’ve not been published.

So, thanks Stephenie Meyer for publishing a poorly-written series of novels that somehow got massively popular despite being as retrogressive as drawing and quartering.

Without you and your tin ear and 16th-century worldview, books like The Hunger Games series, Viral Nation, Ex-Heroes and many others might never have made it to print.

And a good portion of those (mostly) female readers who enjoy Twilight will grow up and branch out and make it more likely that more fiction with interesting female protagonists gets written.

Like a herd of cows shitting all over a field, Stephenie Meyer has provided the fertilizer that is producing and will produce many good things.

Aug 26

Ben

I don’t really care that much one way or the other, but I think Ben Affleck is actually pretty perfect to play Batman if you think about the role.

Seem somewhat innocuous and uncomfortable when not in the suit, but who can still be charming at need? Affleck has that.

Be intimidating and gruff when in the suit? Affleck can do that.

Batman is not a difficult role. Who really gives a crap who plays him.

What would’ve been really fun is if they’d cast a woman in the role.

Aug 25

Noise

Agreed, completely.

And nothing disrupts thought the way noise does, Schopenhauer declared, adding that even people who are not philosophers lose whatever ideas their brains can carry in consequence of brutish jolts of sound.

I think so much better, so much more fluidly and quickly, when I am out in the countryside away from city noises. Really it’s like I become whole different person mentally. In a city, I am stultified, dull and far dumber. And I am just the opposite away from urban noise.

One of the best things my partner and I have ever done in our home is to spend quite a bit of extra money building our very own whisper-silent computers. I now have to get within a foot of my machine tell if it’s switched on or not.

Our next living arrangement is likely to be far more rural than where we live now, mainly (for me) due to noise.

Aug 24

Never overachieved

I’ve never been an overachiever, so luckily I’ve never had to face dilemmas like this.

In my early life, I figured I’d be dead in a bank robbery gone wrong or similar before I was 25, so everything now feels like gravy.

If that sounds ridiculous or uncharacteristic of who I am now, consider this: right after I left for the army, a large group of my friends went to jail for a long time. If I’d still been hanging out with that crew, it’s pretty likely I would’ve gone to jail with them, too.

Every day when I wake up next to my amazing partner and get to do the things I want to do and am still alive – to me, that’s a really good day considering the future I could’ve had, and thought I was bound for.

Aug 23

Long and short

It’s a long story how all this happened, but years ago an unhinged brother of a former co-worker threatened me and another former co-worker’s kids with bodily harm.

Shit, threatening me I am used to. I’ve been in more fistfights (mostly in grade school and high school, but some as an adult) than most people been in arguments.

But threatening my co-worker’s kids? What the hell.

I told the guy that it was it, I was done, and I was – more than he realized at first. It’s always mystified me that people don’t take me seriously when I say I am going to do something. I don’t make threats. Threats are cheap and worthless and only make you look weak. Where I grew up, threats got you nowhere but on your ass crying.

Anyway thanks to me, two days later, he was fired from his high-paying job at Microsoft, his car was towed to some unknown repair shop (hehe) to have expensive repairs done, his cable was disconnected and the police showed up at his house questioning him about why he had threatened to kill a four-year-old and a two-year-old.

I believe all this happened on the same day, but it definitely happened within two days of one another.

I could’ve done a lot more. I only stopped when he and his sister (who was instigating all this) begged me to. He’d had enough, and I was barely getting started.

But to paraphrase The Game, I do believe that when someone begs for mercy, the beef is over.

I stopped then. Enemy defeated. Mission completed.

What I did wasn’t quite an act of revenge. I needed that idiot to stop terrifying my friend and her kids. And he did stop.

Probably calling the cops would’ve been enough. But doing what I did taught a life lesson that simply calling the cops would never match.

Aug 22

Gated

No matter how much I think about it, I don’t think I will ever understand the desire some men have to keep women out of so-called geek communities.

Who cares if a woman shows up at an sf convention cosplaying as the Scarlet Witch just because she read half of one comic and liked the costume?

And just looking, there is no way to tell, anyway.

Besides, do you think that anyone was born knowing all the history and trivia of geekdom? People have to start somewhere.

Funny, I’ve never read an entire comic book. Never will. My brain – not being visual at all – just can’t process them. Yet if I showed up at a convention dressed as The Joker, no one would question it one bit even though I’ve never even held in my hand a single Batman comic book.

And the aforementioned cosplaying Scarlet Witch might teach you something you don’t know – about rock climbing, or nin jitsu, or cooking, or a non-geek movie you’d never considered watching. Or she might be the biggest comic book or sf nerd in the world and tell you about some Romanian sf translations you’d never even heard of.

I just don’t understand the purity urge, especially when it is so senseless.

Here’s a particularly funny example of gatekeeping gone wrong.

Aug 22

Even though

Even though I know intellectually that Tatiana Maslany plays all the roles that she does on Orphan Black, I can’t quite wrap my head around it when I see her on screen playing against herself. It just does not seem possible that it’s the same person.

I don’t even understand how someone can learn to move their eyes and their face so differently. In a hundred years, I could not train myself to do what she does.

That she makes it look so effortless, that it is in fact unnoticeable unless you consciously repeat to yourself as you’re watching the show, “They’re all the same woman. The same woman. The same woman,” demonstrates just how hard it must be.

My favorite moment from Episode 8, and one where Maslany particularly shines is when Allison is venting and gives this little speech:

Alison:  We’re all messed up, except you, Sarah.
Sarah:  I’m the biggest mess there is, Alison.
Alison:  No.  No, no, no, because you say, “Eff it.”  I tried to say, “Eff it” today and I blew up my whole life.  I just wanted to say, “Eff it,” “Eff you,” and I effed it.  I effed it all up.

Alison is wound so tight even when she tries not to be that it’s like she is going to explode at any moment. What a great character, because you both empathize with her and don’t like her very much. That takes skill beyond skill to pull off as an actor.

What Maslany does is art in motion. I’d hate to act on the other side of her. No matter my credentials, I’d feel like such a poseur.