theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
( Oct. 31st, 2017 10:32 pm)
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Marching back into town gets us some looks.

The artillery going first is just odd; five tonnes of sheep with blood drying in its underwool and eel-tree ichor splattered all over the rest of it is unexpected.

Rust has found a couple of horse-favouring town kids happy to earn some money by making much of the horse-ghost’s feeding and grooming. It’s essential to the ghost to have contact with some technical variety of innocence Rust is unable to provide. A delegation of matrons resulted; Blossom was able to reassure them with impeccable tact that the definition of innocence was on the order of “never summoned a demon”. Since good Creeks don’t do any such thing, and even more do not mark themselves as suitable for consumption should a demon arrive, all was well.

Halt’s comprehensive definition — never consumed a human soul, never slaked wrath by wide killing, and, oh yes, never coerced a bound demon into a shape empty of all but pain — was not provided to the matrons. Even more fortunately, Halt’s oddly wistful expression was not observed by any townsfolk at all.

That's the beginning of chapter five of The March North, the first Commonweal novel by Graydon Saunders, and I'm sharing it with y'all for two reasons.

The first reason is that I'm privileged to know some damned good writers. One of them is [personal profile] graydon, who'll soon be releasing a third Commonweal novel by the title of Safely You Deliver (find links for obtaining the first two here). The consensus opinion expressed by reviews of the books, if you're curious, is "definitely worth the effort"; this is original, subversive fantasy-with-hard-SF-underpinnings that doesn't "see spot run" readers through the details of the (amazing, richly crafted) world, a world I think is well-captured in a line from chapter two, describing the five-tonne sheep upon which possibly the most powerful living sorcerer on the planet, who happens to look like somebody's grandma, has just ridden into town: "It breathes slow, which you'd expect, and fire, which you would not." Even the reviews themselves make for interesting reading (at least to me, admittedly biased with squee and vicarious pride that something somebody close to me made is attracting such an enthusiastic following); many of these are collected unsurprisingly on goodreads (that's book two, A Succession of Bad Days, and topmost review is v. spoilery; The March North is over here) but there's also this (which is basically the first chapter of The March North as free sample glued together with my sales pitch when it came out in 2014), this (spoilery), and this.

G's not alone in my dwircle; I'd run out of original things to say if I tried to list all the writers I follow here whose work I adore but I want to pick on my other two regular interlocutors/best friends currently active on this platform, who are also extremely talented (if you're not comfortable with me hyping you here I'll take it out; I just want y'all to know I think you're great). [personal profile] kore posts fic as [ profile] actonbell, fic that's not only beautifully written and often heartrendingly poignant but assiduously researched and supported with cross-references and links to visual and audio garnishes tucked in like easter eggs. [personal profile] thatyourefuse writes like sinfully rich dark chocolate cake with bee stingers inside, and I mean that glowingly; current/simmering projects include in their ranks a Crimson Peak epic from the POV of an omniscient atemporal haunted house and a novel adaptation of King Lear, and it is all devastatingly good. ([personal profile] recessional/[ profile] Feather gets an honourable mention because we don't converse as much and I still haven't come close to catching up on YBEB and its outgrowths, but what I have read is exquisite and I'm very happy to have her on my reading page.)

The second reason is that I am apparently a bound demon. I've spent the last week and a half (more?) in fucking agony. Not consistent agony, it varies in both intensity and flavour (sometimes achy tension, others like a full-body migraine), but agony as the soundtrack for daily life sucks. It's not only unpleasant but boring and extremely frustrating. I hope very much that the acupuncture appointment I have to run off to ten minutes ago will help; either the one I had on Sunday didn't do much or I'd have been howling without it. ETA: and I'm a fucking idiot because the bloody appointment was for 4:15, not 4:45, so I'm SOL and forfeit the free appointment credit (this was already rescheduled from yesterday afternoon when I was going to be too late to get there in the miserable pouring rain because I couldn't drag my ass out of the shower).
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Bruce glasses)
( Jan. 10th, 2015 10:30 pm)
1. School is happening again. I had grand plans for getting so much knitting and pleasure reading and voluntary socializing done over the winter break, and instead I mostly played Mass Effects 1-3. For a month. Because "obsessively" is the only way I know how to play computer/video games. I'm kind of in love with the world-building and want to hug many of the major characters, and I can say lots of more specific things if anybody wants to hear (read) them.

2. I did read Slow Seduction and Slow Satisfaction, the middle and end of Cecilia Tan's BDSM erotic romance trilogy, because they are snack food. The plot gets kinda ridiculous over the course of the series, IMHO, though nothing on the level of Mr. Benson. The prose is engaging and there are enough interesting/sympathetic characters to merit actually reading rather than just skimming for the saucy bits.

CTan is one of the coolest people I've ever met (definitely the most famous person who has let me stay at their house) and one of the few good things to come out of the Fifty Shades craze is that publishers will finally print the kind of stories she's been trying to sell for years. If I still worked in a bookstore I would do everything I could to steer people interested in this kind of book towards the ones written by capable kink activist/educators and experienced authors.

3. At the end of November I lost the nearly half-finished Bat'leth scarf I was making for a looooong-time friend on the subway and honestly I am still grieving.

4. Creative brain has swung back around to wanting (really badly) to write. I have lots of medium to huge (mostly MCU, some GoT and small fandoms, now Mass Effect) things stewing in my brain/gdocs/the notepad app on my iPod but I'm very open to prompts as a goad to write and share short stuff, so let's reopen this >7 month-old prompt post, shall we?

5. Skimming back over old posts looking for the prompts one, realize I never gave an important update on the rotten pot-smoking downstairs neighbour (whom I might have only mentioned under access lock?): he's gone! Long gone actually, left in early November. Ejected by his roommates. Apparently recalcitrant about leaving; Phil(l)ip the Good Neighbour asked if I'd be willing to help if they needed to present a case to the landlord or LTB to get him out. Didn't end up being necessary but yes, I was willing.
After one lovely day in Victoria with my mum visiting some of her favourite places and another having breakfast with [personal profile] staranise before wandering downtown by myself--with a not quite as lovely day in between where Dad and I went to see the UTTERLY ENRAGING Monty Python reunion show and I stomped out at intermission then cooled down by taking a long solo walk along the ocean and hanging out with a deer--I caught the ferry back to Vancouver, slept on high school friend's couch (wearing borrowed clothes, with all my own stuff out on the balcony, because friend's roommate's MCS is scary severe), left very early in the morning and nearly missed my Greyhound because Translink confuses me, rode bus through mountains! all day long, and was collected by Aunt in Canmore and whisked back to her place.

While in Victoria I'd talked Aunt into accompanying me to the Calgary Folk Music Festival for a day ("talked into" is maybe the wrong expression; she was on board even before I got to the magic words "Bruce Cockburn"). The festival had already sold out of Saturday day passes, of course, but I managed to scoop a pair for face value on Kijiji, woot.

We didn't hurry into Calgary Saturday morning, took our time waking up and didn't rush the drive, so we didn't get through the gates until a little after noon (also I hadn't yet noticed that my iPod's clock didn't switch to Mountain! Standard Time when we crossed into Alberta, so I spent chunks of the weekend believing that it was an hour earlier than it was supposed to be, depending on which timekeeping device I happened to check, but this would not become a problem until Monday). Wristbanded and be-programmed, we plonked down at the nearest source of interesting noises, which happened to be Jaron Freeman-Fox, who is a much weirder person than his program blurb suggests. We planned to stroll around sampling sounds after that but ended up sticking the first place we landed because that place was in front of (well, off to the side of) Nick Sherman, with his charm and his face and his ink-covered arms and his beautiful husky-soft voice.

Next stop was "Letter to a Young Songwriter", because Aunt wanted to get as much Bruce as possible, and I stayed there for a bit before wandering off to check out some stuff towards the western end of the park, including more Roger Knox & pals (no, I had not had enough of them yet, thank you for asking). What Knox is doing, with the help of Langford and his multifarious musical connections (see below), is introducing the world to the rich and tragically underknown tradition of Aboriginal country music in Australia via an album of songs, some previously recorded and hard to find, others never recorded at all, all by Aborigine writers, performed by himself and a mob of talented and established artists in northern hemisphere alt-country and adjacent genres. The story, in a nutshell, is that classic country & western music snuck into Australia via white American servicemen after WWII and, like rabbits and cane toads, made itself at home. Unlike rabbits and cane toads, this introduction was embraced, especially by Aboriginal people, because it's music evolved for big skies, dust storms, camp fires, cattle drives, and telling sad, sad stories--of which the Aboriginal songwriters had plenty to tell. Knox, "the Koori King of Country", was a big deal in this tiny vibrant scene in the 80s, and AFAIC deserves to be a big deal all over the place.

Aunt and I were supposed to meet up again at "Hard Truths and Summer Breezes" but by the time I got there the set was over and the crowd dispersing, so I tried "The People's Mic" (full of folks I'd heard in Vancouver and praised in talking up the festival) and found Aunt there only once the audience started thinning towards the end of the session. The reason it took so long to reach Stage 3, and to get from there to Stage 2, is that the site layout was TERRIBLE. maps and complaints )

I understand that the organizers are limited by the island's size and permanent features, there are only so many configurations they can actually use, but come on. I cannot be the only person to get bounced from volunteer crew to volunteer crew looking for somebody to complain to. (Also, this isn't the organizers' fault but it really pissed me off: somebody hotboxed one of the portaloos that I tried to use right before I tried to use it and, like, what the fuck?!?!? First of all, I hate you. Second, WHY??? Third, I hope you catch many gruesome parasites, you gross, rude jerk. Yech.)

I'm not entirely certain what happened during the first part of the evening? I know Aunt and I were on our blanket in the wee triangular space we claimed at mainstage for part of The Lone Bellow, and then we must have gone to Stage 4 because I remember eating curry there and moving closer to the stage during the changeover before Waco Brothers, but I don't remember listening to Typhoon? I must have been absorbed in my knitting--oh! It was during this block that I went back to Stage 2 to look for the cable needle I'd lost that afternoon. I found it, and a bonus quarter.

Waco Brothers (here joined by or now including Jean Cook and her violin), ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh so good. I danced my legs off and yelled my lungs out and it was awesome. I am amazed and embarrassed that I didn't know about Jon Langford before this summer--like, I was distantly aware of Waco Brothers but couldn't have told you anything about them, and Langford himself I'd never heard of, and it's amazing because the guy is everywhere. He's in I'm-not-even-sure-how-many active bands (Mekons, who've been going since he helped found them in 1977, Waco Brothers, kids' band Wee Hairy Beasties, The Pine Valley Cosmonauts if you consider them a band rather than an event . . .) and plays solo with and without Skull Orchard, is one of the major moving parts in the engine of the alt-country label, Bloodshot Records, and a hero in the Chicago music scene, hosts a radio program, has both inspired and been involved in multiple theatre projects, collaborates with anybody who'll hold still enough long enough, and on top of all that he's a visual artist with a stack of exhibitions, books, a comic strip, and a line of beer labels to his name. It's terrifying how productive he is, especially when you see him in person: this shortish, balding, white-haired Welsh guy three months older than my mother leaping around on stage with more fierce energy than I have ever had or will have. I'm not entirely sure he's human. As a band Waco Brothers are a forceful reminder that the thing we now call alt-country didn't come out of popular country at all--it mostly came out of punk. The bands that kicked it all off in the 80s--Mekons, The Blasters, The Knitters, Rank & File, and everybody else in this rabbit hole I am happily falling down--did it by mixing classic country sounds into punk spirit and punk politics (which might have something to do with how people like Langford, Sally Timms, Dave Alvin, and Alejandro Escovedo are still doing the amazing stuff they do, and why they seem like such genuinely good people); at the time people even called it cowpunk. I expected them to bring out Roger Knox for a song at some point, like Langford had done during what was supposed to be his solo show in Vancouver, but they didn't; they brought Frank Yamma, who led the crowd through this down-in-it call-and-answer blues number, screaming "hey crazy mama" until our throats were raw. This show just did not let up--there were protest songs and union songs and love songs and hate songs and covers pulled from half a dozen genres, and at the end of the set Langford jumped off the stage and ran around in the audience and it was fucking glorious.

After that came the hotboxed portaloo incident, and rage, and looking for somebody to complain about the layout to, and after that came Bruce Cockburn, and that made everything so much better. It was magic. I don't even know what else to say about it, really. I knew the words to almost every song he played, all the singles and a couple of the obscure ones, and they're really good words. That's his biggest strength, from my perspective: good singer, amazing guitarist, bloody devastating poet. Cockburn's another of these folks who doesn't look like a life-changing music god, too--he can turn on that power presence, you see it in some of the photos and hear it sometimes in his voice and then you (I) get the spine-shivers, but most of the time he's just another white-haired white guy, bespectacled subtype. Even on stage, alone, in a leather duster coat with an emerald green guitar, he seems so mild, until you listen. Aunt suggests that the innocuous is a survival tactic, on a career level if not an actual mortality one, like the opposite of a scarlet kingsnake, to persuade TPTB to let him keep performing, which, when you record songs declaring your desire to convert Guatemalan dictators into pulpy splatter . . .

We didn't stay long into Seun Kuti's set, had to get going before things got too sleepy for safe driving on mountain! roads, but yeah. That was my day at the Calgary Folk Festival: excellent musical programming, excellent company (which the festival cannot take credit for), abysmal site layout, and another imaginary stamp on my folk festival passport.
One of my dear local friends just published a novel called The March North. I haven't read the published version yet but I read the rough draft (and the draft of the book that comes after it) and feel I can safely say that it is an excellent story.
front cover of The March North

Author's description reads "Egalitarian heroic fantasy. Presumptive female agency, battle-sheep, and bad, bad odds." If that's not enough to pique your interest, I will expand: The March North and the Commonweal series it launches take epic fantasy tropes, set them on fire, and juggle them, all while walking on a tightrope slung between whimsy and a solidly material and pragmatic sort of realism, and whistling. This first book in particular is designed as a trap to lure fans of more traditional military SFF into caring about the characters and the world, but those aspects (character- and world-building) are present and engaging enough that readers who don't care much for or about military anything have just as much to latch onto (the second book will have even more of this, plus experiments in magical pedagogy).

Rather than your too-typical medieval Europe-but-with-dragons high fantasy setting, the Commonweal series posits the emergence of a radically egalitarian society in a world where powerful sorcerers have been fighting and screwing around with their environments for hundreds of thousands of years, destroying and enslaving and weaponizing and reshaping landscapes and lifeforms with all the creativity you'd expect from millenia of batshit/lonely/paranoid wizards; a culture that values consent and agency above all else and has discovered that magic worked cooperatively is stronger than the sum of its parts, and needs every tool at its disposal to scratch out a habitable territory between all the "weeds" (weaponized organisms) and expansionist totalitarian regimes and nameless horrors from beyond your worst nightmare. The March North chronicles the efforts of a regional battalion of the Line (the Commonweal's version of an army) to deal with one such threat, and the beginnings of what happens after.

IMHO the series has all the makings of an excellent Yuletide fandom. The writing is memorable, witty, and detail-rich, and the cast of characters is exceptionally diverse, with folks of vastly different histories, gender expressions, ages, species, sexualities, and magical aptitudes all treated with fondness and respect (my favourite character is obviously Halt--the extremely powerful and incredibly ancient sorcerer who has reigned as dark lord over a substantial territory for a thousand years at least once and who gives demons the justified heebiejeebies, but who looks to most eyes like somebody's sweet little grandmother, riding around on the back of a giant sheep named Eustace with knitting bag and tea service perpetually at the ready--but pretty much everybody with a name is delightful). It's a bit like Welcome to Night Vale, actually, insofar as it is concerned with a diverse community working together to survive a weird and horrific milieu that from their perspective is entirely normal. The librarians are less likely to slaughter you.

Plus the e-book is staggeringly cheap so, y'know. The odds of you regretting buying it are slimmer than those for the success of the West Wetcreek Wapentake.
Another quick fibre-craft related post, because I've been hyping this up on every other social media site so I might as well share it here too: knitted scale mail. Yes, I know it's not ~real~ scale mail and I wouldn't advocate going out and attempting to conquer Gaul in it, but it looks damned cool and almost disturbingly easy to make (just knit the scales directly into the fabric, no ring fasteners or pliers required!), and I personally cannot wait to try it out. I'm sharing this link for every other fibre crafter who feels similarly (that website offers both a free tutorial on adding scales to knitting and a for-sale pattern with more detailed instructions for scaled gauntlets; the technique for adding scales should be at least as easy to work in crochet as in knitting), and for everyone I know who wants scaled garments/other objects (gauntlets? hats? laptop bag? . . . a loincloth?) but can't/doesn't want to make it yourself to let you know that I'll be making a bulk scale order probably early next week so if you want me to make you something, get your requests in soon (I'm estimating materials costs at around $30-40 for a pair of adult gauntlets, call it another $40-60 for labour depending on how big/fancy you want them to be, further commission details to be negotiated on request; will once again ship anywhere at commissioner's expense).

Note: I am aware that the link above goes to the website of someone who also offers knit scale items for sale, and that making this post offering a competing service is kind of a dick move; I tried hard to think of a less rude way to put my offer out there (I'm going to be making a pair of scale gauntlets for myself anyway, I might as well order scales in bulk and share the love with local folks especially; there wasn't really another way to share pictures of finished objects without linking to that site; I'm going to be using my own custom-fit not-a-pattern(s) for fingerless gloves etc. rather than copying Opiel's pattern exactly, and she does say that she's cool with other people using the scale technique as long as they don't sell things made from her pattern, and I prostrate myself before her creativity for choosing to knit with scales in the first place) but in the end felt it was best just to be direct and acknowledge my awareness of the situation, and hope there's room in the world for more than one knit-to-order scale mail enterprise.
So I know I've owed a mix to [personal profile] dragovianknight for approximately one million months and I've owed one to [personal profile] garden_hoe21 for nearly half that long, and in light of the overdueness these probably look a little half-assed, but I've actually had to fight myself down from a Sisyphean quest for curatorial completeness just to get these danged things posted so here are some unsorted collections of 1) "music to write fight scenes by" and 2) music to carry someone off to sleep, posted together because I like the pseudo-symmetry. I might try to make up for the sloppiness with more mixes, later.

fight songs! )

lullabies )
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee I am so excited! And because I am excited, here are sixteen more songs, in no particular order, that give me Avengers character ~feeeeeeeeeeeelings~ (aww, who am I kidding, they're feels, for the Avengers I have feels and I feel them in my feelers):

"Mercy of the Fallen", Dar Williams
"Little Waltz", Basia Bulat
"Guns Not Bombs", Die Mannequin
"Frank Mills", Veda Hille (Hair cover)
"The Future", Weekend Dads*
"Price Paid", Wax Mannequin
"Chelsea Hotel No. 2", woodpigeon*
"Microphone", The Fugitives
"First We Take Manhatten", Les Jupes*
"Snowman", The Nields
"Five Free Minutes", Spirit of the West
"Angel, Won't You Come Down?", Tracy Bonham
"Ex-Army", Boys Boys Boys!
"Rhapsody", Veda Hille
"In Your Light", Bruce Peninsula
"A Thousand Suns", Hey Rosetta
* from this amazing FREE collection of Leonard Cohen covers by a passel of Canadian artists

Download ici
I look forward to discovering how narratively or affectively predictive my choices are or are not :)

And on that note I am out, off for a busy evening of babysitting, Cards Against Humanity, and MIDNIGHT SCREENING OMFG ALL THEIR PERFECT FACES IN SHINY SHINY 3D *dies and is dead*

ETA: Stopping by between kids and games to throw up gang signs and blood one more song for the cast and production crew and for the fandom: "Doin'" by Wax Mannequin.
I can't be the only person to think of this, but checking my reading and network pages hasn't turned up much quite like this, so. March 8th is International Women's Day (yes, what, why only one day and why not an International Nonbinary Gender Diversity Day and what about other kinds of oppression and intersection and multiple marginalization and kyriarchy etc., but damnit look at this mess we're in, we have to make the most of what we've got AND fight for more). To mark the occasion, I am declaring this post a commentparty. Post or request fanworks and recs about feminism and women being awesome, share anecdotes, bitch about oppression and whatever (but PLEASE be nice to any other commenters and potential readers--"boo hiss hegemony" is cool but "people who believe X are stupid" gets problematic), hug, have sex for your own pleasure and don't send the tapes to Rush Limbaugh, etc.
[for those unfamiliar with C6DVD, it's an exchange where fans send each other cards in character, from one (or more) C6D character(s) to another(s)]

I received my card a few days ago, but the envelope said do not open until Valentine's Day )
So I held off until last night (after midnight--it counts, right?), and found this lovely card with fireworks on it )
Then I read the inside and my heart leapt into my throat )
Like, a had a serious moment of panic, both "HOLY SHIT CAN YOU DO THAT? ARE WE IN TROUBLE NOW?" and "AUGH SOMEONE IS DEAD" even though I knew it was only a fictional character and based on my exchange sign-up I was pretty sure I knew who. I didn't know if the notice would be online or only in print or whatever, so I checked the Star website )
It took a while to find the In Memoriams section proper (distinct from obits, for example), but once I did I found the entry I was looking for pretty easily: Lew )
Which, eee, is so heartbreaking and so believable and so lovely (and also now that I think about it makes the fireworks card really fucking morbid and I'm flabbergasted by the creativity and effort and the, I don't know, courage that went into this gesture that is, did I mention, so believable and in character? (Also, the birthdate. I know that's Mark Taylor's birthday, but it's also the day I was supposed to be born before I hit the snooze button for three days--Pisces coincidence powers, activate!)

Spiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike :( Thank you, mysterious benefactor!

ETA: So, just when I thought I had the EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE from the Spike/Lew loveliness under control, I went downstairs to refill my water bottle and saw that lo, my roommate had brought in today's mail (it's raining, I'm unemployed, and I have leftover chili with quinoa--why the heck should I go outside?), and there was another card for meeeee--or rather, for Vic, from Kat (oblique spoilers for the movie, that is, Trigger [2010]).
behold! )

inside! )

the note! )

the signature! )
AUGH, people, MY HEART. My heart cannot take this, it is too much love and too much anguish for what has happened (Lew, and more truthfully Tracy) and what is happening/will yet happen (Vic). Thank you both, senders, so very very much, for punching my heart in the face! (Seriously, no sarcasm, thank you!)

Truly, this is the best/most saddest Vamlumtimes Day ever.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (bad decision dinosaur)
( Jan. 10th, 2012 11:05 pm)
Ugh, last week. Don't even ask. (Seriously, don't.)

* Snowflake challenge, Days 3-10 )

* Stolen from [personal profile] commodorified, because fun.
Pick up the nearest book to you.
Turn to page 45.
The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.

I am not unusually surrounded by bookpiles so grabbed either the topmost or the most protuberant of the three closest, which were:
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jennifer Grant: "Here is something to do if you are unslept and have a ponytail: Bring that ponytail around under your nose like a moustache."
Pretty in Punk: 25 Punk, Rock, and Goth Knitting Patterns by Alyce Benevides and Jaqueline Milles with photos by Rob Benevides: [full-page photograph of a young white woman with downcast eyes crouching gargoyle-fashion on what appears to be a rooftop in front of a background of industrial twilight (low sun, orange sky, tattered clouds, and shabby buildings) wearing a black leather aviator's cap with goggles, silver eye makeup, spiked collar with ring, black fabric bat wings, layered fishnets and ripped pantyhose, bikerish boots, and the featured knitting pattern, a "cobweb-inspired" "loose-knit tight-fit holey jumper" called "Goth Girl", over a black tank top]
The Slave by Laura Antoniou: "'Now,' he said, when she returned, 'you're in serious trouble.'"

* More Joy Day is coming up on Thursday. I have some ideas about what I'm going to do.

* Handmade meme people (you remember who you are?) who have not already PMed me with your addresses, please do so soon. I have or shortly will have stuff to mail you.
Day 2
In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create. Drop a link to your post in the comments. See if you can rec fanworks that are less likely to be praised: tiny fandoms, rare pairings, fanworks other than stories, lesser known kinks or tropes. Find fanworks that have few to no comments, or creators new to a particular fandom and maybe aren't well known or appreciated. Appreciate them.

While it's emotionally easier to rec works by other people, it is logistically more difficult (pool of things to choose from the first day: stuff made by me; pool of things to choose from for this one: EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD). I have decided to take a slightly crooked approach by tying this into the following two days and reccing three totally awesome people who you should deffo check out and maybe think about following. None of them are new to fandom or particularly obscure or unknown, though they do all at least dabble in small fandoms.

First in reverse-alphabetical order (while we're being arbitrary) is [personal profile] toft, whom I met online I think after [personal profile] nixwilliams (also awesome) recorded her poem The Lay of the Turkey and the Moose about Robarts Library (a giant concrete "peacock" full of books on campus at U of T) and the moose silhouette across the street, for the bukkake square on her card back in the very first round of Kink Bingo (when we were young and carefree [ha] and bukkake was a square), and then met in person through other new mutual friends when I moved to Toronto that same summer. Toft is amazing and brilliant and an astonishingly talented storyteller and also one of the funniest people you will ever meet. Toft didn't post many fics last year (though the ones she did were mostly very long and uniformly very good) so if that's your primary interest in subscribing you might be disappointed (though the back catalogue is not empty), but every post is worth reading. She also periodically posts curated collections of favourites from [ profile] fandomsecrets.

Second is [personal profile] petra, who wrote the fic that I think I have recced more than any other and in more diverse circumstances (barring perhaps Toft's poem above): Were He Not Romeo Called, which is Patrick/Sarah (Slings and Arrows S2) in which Patrick is a trans man, that fits rather beautifully into canon (to me it is canon) on an emotional level . . . it's in some ways so simple, and so small, and yet it's so precise--really a beautiful little story. Petra also writes poetry (mostly limericks), a skill that I greatly admire especially because it is one I feel I do not possess, and posts such other amazing sundry things as Authorial Math (fascinating and prompted some scintillating and polite debate) and A proposed amendment to Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. Tasty brainmeats!

And third is one of my faaaavourite writers of the decade, [personal profile] helens78, who I am again reccing not just for the fanfic (although it is always good and appears rather frequently), but also for the podfic, original novels, cat pictures and anecdotes, liveblogs of awful movies and other delicious meta, and other awesome stuff like, for example, this one-take acoustic Ani DiFranco cover. Kinky knitter solidarity high-fives!

Can't do the other two right now because I am freaking out about my asshole landlords. Maybe there will be spoons tomorrow.
The deadline to submit proposals for the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national conference in Boston April 11-14 2012 has been extended until next week, December 22, 2011. This means there's still time to get your proposals (usually just a rough sketch of about 100-300 words, depending on the Area you're submitting to) together and send them in, if you (like me) have not yet done so. (For those who may have forgotten and those just tuning in now, the PCA is the huge, awesome nerdfest con that I am currently involved in trying to organize a Kink Studies stream for, as I have previously mentioned at length here and here.) The list of Subject Areas, for those not submitting specifically to the Kink Studies pilot project co-sponsored by the Romance and by Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Studies chairs, is here. Tasty brainmeats ahoy!

Signal-boosting is greatly desired and appreciated and will be rewarded with *hugs* and possibly also ninjabread persons once I get the chance for a baking spree.
[ profile] stainofmylove started this "Holiday wishlist meme" thing a few years ago (rules below, but basically you post a list of stuff, fannish, abstract, or material, that you want, and grant each other's wishes if you can) and I think it is pretty great, so I am going to do my best to participate and hope that some of you lovely folks on Dreamwidth will get into it too. I'm not sure why this has to be a "holiday"-specific thing, myself, but it does work better if everybody's playing at once, even though there are really no time limits, so I guess this arbitrarily selected season is as good as any. (SoML's list, btw, is here.)

The Rules )

My Wishlist )
You may recall that my main excuse for going to the States in April was to present a paper at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association national meeting in San Antonio and that I presented in the Romance area because one of the area chairs specifically recruited me because she's been looking for fellow kinky/kink scholars. I'm glad that I did because the trip was great overall (I haven't written up highlights because I've been too busy since then being broke and breaking up and I don't want to think about how much money I spent buying presents for a man who whined at me the entire time I was gone and for weeks leading up to cancel/come back/never leave again, and then spent a bunch of my money on alcohol and lied to my face about it) and all the people I met (mostly romance scholars) were marvellous, but presenting in that area was hella awkward because I don't know squat about romance genre or scholarship. I found out after submitting that there were other areas I that might have been a more "logical" fit, depending whose logic you use, like "Eros, Pornography, and Popular Culture" or "Gender and Sexual Identity", but after attending their panels I'm not sure that would have been a huge improvement.

After this year's conference, Sarah (Romance chair) suggested to me and another grad student I didn't meet in Texas that we put together a CFP and submit it to the area master, asking for a couple of kink/BDSM panels in the new "New and Special Interests" stream (a testing ground for nascent research areas, to save them for creating new areas that don't draw crowds or last more than a year). We haven't got as far as a CFP yet, because the other student contacted the area master to ask for timeline clarification and got summarily brushed off: "he pretty much flat out told me that kink/bdsm belongs in queer" ( = "Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Studies" area)--which is just fucking wrong. I know so many people on each side of the "kink = queer" equation who not only disprove it but who would be shocked and furious to hear it so stated (I happen to be both kinky and queer, the same way I happen to be both Canadian and mad--there's some correlation there, but it's not really as strong as some people claim).

I'm pretty incensed about this and want to do everything I can to push for a dedicated kink studies panel, as well as encouraging more kink-related presentations in other areas (Sarah wants enough presenters for a BDSM romance panel, for example, and the Gay, Lesbian, and Queer area chair is quite willing to take in strays as well) both in general and as a fall-back if we can't get a panel all for us (demonstrating demand by widespread infiltration!). I therefore humbly ask everyone reading this to consider presenting on kink (or on any other topic--I'm specifically fishing for kink presenters but it's a big fun geeky nerdfest/nerdy geekfest with dedicated streams for all sorts of media and popular culture interests) at the next PCA/ACA national meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, April 11-14, 2012 (actually a week earlier than usual, or at least than last year; the website is wrong), or pass the word along to people you think might be interested! The deadline for submissions won't be until December 15, 2011, and you do not need to be an academic formally studying whatever you're presenting on to present on it; scholars presenting on hobby projects/personal interests, professionals (especially writers), and "educated laypeople" were all thick on the ground in San Antonio. Boston! Nerds! Springtime! Activism! Kink! Fun!

I'll be back with a CFP for kink studies soon, I hope, or if not with links to other shiny and potentially relevant subject area calls. In the meantime, it would help if any of y'all who might be even just a little tempted could let me know so I can use that interest to leverage the area chair into reconsidering his misinformed flippancy.
Oh, /o\ .

There are so many things I've wanted to post about but haven't allowed myself to sit down and write, and some of them may still get posted evenutally but today there is only one thing I can talk about, because today has gone like this:

*wake up*
*evict cat from comfy perch on my bladder*
*go to the bathroom and have a shower*
*turn on the computer and read about Jack Layton's passing*
*cry forever*

You guuuuuuys I am so sad and so scared and my heart is breaking for all of us but especially for Olivia and his family and then I read the goodbye letter he wrote two days ago and I can't, I just can't. The sun is beaming bright outside but it feels like a mockery. I never met him personally but I know a lot of people here in Ontario who did and who confidently attest that he walked the walk he talked. I'm going to the gathering at City Hall at 4pm if I can manage to stumble my way there through the blur of my tears, and put my hope in the axiom about shared pain etc.

As [personal profile] zingerella said earlier today in another forum, "I've said fairly often that the best friends are the ones who show you your better self--the parts of you that are stronger, braver, more honest, kinder, more generous--and help you to be that person all the time. By that metric, I think Jack Layton was a pretty good friend for a country to have."
My plan was to stay in as much as possible this weekend to work on the Paying Gig and to save my spoons for the next three which will be busy-busy (I'm already double- or triple-booked at one or more points each next weekend and the one two after, and the one between is Headstones Time). That hasn't quite worked out so far, mostly because our new roommates MJ (human), Alaska (old lady poodle dog), Beowulf (pushy cat), and Shiloh (dim bulb cat, who is either lost in the dark downstairs right now or attempting to echolocate) moved in for real today, and between helping to move things in and move things around and assemble Ikea furniture (and, tbh, plotting my C6Dbb in chat with fellow participants--thanks again for helping me pick a bunny!--and watching Festivids vids, see below) ate up more of the day and evening than anticipated. Sigh.

[community profile] festivids went live today! I didn't participate, but I did upload a couple of sources to a secret source place for vidders to use, so I feel a little like I contributed anyway. I've really enjoyed almost every link I've clicked on. these are some of my favourites in approximate order of increasing adoration )
So I've been watching Lost Girl, right? And it's still cheesy and ridiculous but mostly, apart from the absurd fat-hate in the second episode, it does a pretty good job of avoiding fail (at least it tries *so hard* that I want to offer it a Milkbone and a scratch behind the ears). In particular, the series' dedication to sex positivity and female sexual agency--manifested in the premise of a female protagonist whose supernatural abilities and, often, survival depend on feeding off others' libidinal energy but who is not reduced to a victim or an addict but who actively enjoys sex and whose choice between a prospective male love interest and a female one was, for as long as the angst-hungry machine of genre TV narrative conventions allowed, "both"--is pretty exceptional. This is why the appalling, and appallingly cliched, kink negativity in last week's episode was not just disappointing but actually surprising. summary of offending incident = spoilers )

This bothers me enough for what it is in itself (a baldly pathologizing sentiment); it bothers me more for what it is in the context of a media meta-narrative (bad guys = perverts & vice versa, lazy storytelling); and it saddens and confuses me because of its program-specific context (Bo is supposed to be such an ambassador for broad sexual appetites, and she suggested a safeword prior to enjoying a raucous one-night-threesome in a previous episode; why is she so down on this? why doesn't she distinguish between what the baddies are doing in the club and consensual SM?). The part that actually rather hurts me, though, is that this time they're not just maligning abstract concepts to which I have an intellectual affiliation. They're doing it to actual, local, human communities that I and many of my friends belong to.

I know Lost Girl doesn't claim to be set in Toronto. The characters have mostly accepted that they're in Canada, I think, after the whole "across the border" execution issue, though the series is still faking up details & aiming for Generic North American City, Unspecified Region, Fictionworld. But come on, who do they think they're fooling? They may not be as explicit as Flashpoint (which, for all that they may have dodged actually using the word "Toronto" until--I think?--the second season finale inside not!Maple Leaf Gardens, never really pretended to be anywhere else: within the first sixteen minutes of the series, we're shown the inside of the Spadina-University subway line, with stop announcements; Timmie's cups; Canada flags, "Metropolitan Police" badges and red trouser stripes; Ontario license plates on familiar EMS vehicles; and, oh yeah, throbbing luminescent cock of our nation, the CN Tower), but the locations are easy for anyone to recognize who knows what they're looking for (like that walk'n'talk down Queen West at the end of the pilot, hello!). Which means that goth club is supposed to be a Toronto goth club (it isn't, not a real one; the interiors are mostly The Opera House with some overstated set decoration and I dunno about the alley), and the shit they're saying about kinky people they're saying about Toronto kinky people.

Now, I'm not saying that all the goths or all the kinksters or all the dwellers of the overlap in this or any city are good and loving people. There are far too many folks who fit those bills for me to vouch for them all personally, and there are certainly some dense and unpleasant specimens in the sub-clusters of people I have actually met. But it does smart more than usual when TPTB aren't thumbing their noses just at people who like the same stuff you like but at you and your friends, more specifically (and maybe I'm spoiled not to have encountered this before, it's never occurred to me to ask people who live in big American cities where ALL THE TV happens). I'm sure it wasn't personal, just another symptom of how much many people think they know about kink and how little they care that there are actually millions of people in the world who do choose to do it and deliciate in it.

I'm not even sure where I'm going with all this tealdeer anymore, except perhaps to put it out there: Hey TV-making people? We're here, we're queer (well, some of us), and we'd be happy to look over your scripts and tell you whether they're bullshit before you hurt us by putting them on all those screens.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
( Aug. 27th, 2010 08:15 pm)
This started as a footnote on my post about this year's Folk Fest, but it got too big and too tangential, so I shuffled the bits around and now it's over here.

Okay, where are all the songs about polyamory? Or other forms of/more general consensual non-monogamy? There are gazillions of songs about kink, whether explicitly about actual kink practices & practitioners (either laughing with or laughing at), appropriating kink imagery for "poetic" purposes, or just handily lending themselves to kinky readings (pervertibles for your ears! :D ) --c.f. the enormous Kink Bingo playlist and participants' further suggestions in the comments. There are songs about serial monogamy. There are songs about jealousy, and about "cheating", which mostly imply a very narrow understanding of "fidelity". But I don't know of many songs about multiple concurrent, low-conflict loves.

I'm thinking about this because Romi Mayes has a song called "Sweet Somethin' Steady". I didn't hear her play it this year, but I mentioned it to a couple of people while in Winnipeg because it is the most interesting thing she's done that I know of. I have mixed feelings about it. I feel like it could be nudging towards a consensual non-monogamy anthem, at least the first verse, but the songwriter had no such aspiration. Here's a video of her playing it live in Nederland; skip to ~3:45 for the song, ~2:00 for her not agreeing with me (with annoying gender normativity on top of the mono-normativity), or ~1:00 for her pestering Danny Michel into doing a Christopher Walken impression:

The part that tickles me is:
don't want no fancy diamonds, don't want your mother's pearls
I don't want you to tell me that I'm your only girl
just want [someone] to come on over, pick me up and take me for a ride
why can't you be my sweet somethin' steady on the side?

And then it kind of goes downhill (I guess it still works as far as empowering women to enjoy 'casual encounters', which is what Mayes seems to want from it, but it in a way so detached as to be potentially exploitative?), and I ask, is this the best we've got?

I thought about it briefly, and put together a handful of examples of could-be-poly-if-you-read-it-right songs. The download link is here (32mb zip), my notes on why each track is included are behind the cut.
who are we noisy fools who laugh and bend the rules )

Your turn now, dear readers; anything to add?


theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
roses, bruises, 'bout your shoulders


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