In need of a challenge? Set a timer for an appropriate amount of time (appropriate according to your energy/available time/other commitments etc), find something that looks like clutter and either sort it and get rid of what is clutter or pack things away where they belong and create a space. How far can you get? 1/4 of the way through the pile/space, 1/2 of the way or even all the way? Don't be disheartened if it's not all the way - really consider what is a reasonable amount to have progressed through in the time you've allowed. Remember if you come across something important or urgent within the pile, let your priority change as appropriate - forward progress!
Good luck! And many many cheers!
Location: Anywhere in the world if you're a UK citizen
Deadline: Varies, but there will be some this autumn
Time estimate: 15 minutes
Requirements: money / mental / personal information / decision-making
Anything else: It may be a while until the next general election, but local elections can make a difference to people's lives. Joining an imperfect party and campaigning for change from within is usually easier and more effective than starting a new party from scratch or trying to get an independent elected. Being a member for a few months before the election gives you opportunities to help influence things when it comes, whether that's by voting within the party for a particular person to be the party candidate for your area, putting forward or voting on topics for policy discussions and campaigns, or by getting information about ways to volunteer and increase voter turnout.
I don't have any clever graphics because I am not a clever-graphics person, but with the season 3 premiere fast approaching (September 10!), I invite all Outlander fans to join outlander_forum, a discussion community for fans of the Starz TV adaptation and/or Diana Gabaldon's books. Please note that at this time, this is aiming to be purely a discussion forum, not a forum for fanworks (icons, fanfic, etc.) as there are other venues for that. This might change down the road, but for now, the focus will be on discussing the show, the books, and related issues.
The minimum for fic is 500 words; the minimum for art is a work at the 'nice sketch' stage. The deadline is Saturday 2 September at 23:59 UTC.
To claim, please comment to the dreamwidth post with your AO3 username. Comments are screened and you don't need a dreamwidth account.
( Pinch Hit #1: Bates Motel (2013), Bloodline (TV 2015), Better Call Saul (TV) )
I know that the saying is that you can't organise clutter, you can only get rid of it, but I've been doing a bit of column A, a bit of column B. Friday I went to IKEA, bought a medium-sized shelf (and boxes to fit) to go in the spare room. This morning the kids and I assembled it, and then I spent two hours sorting things to go on it and to be thrown out. I have emptied three wicker washing baskets (and a very large suitcase), which previously had to craft supplies in them, and stacked all that I'm keeping into two boxes! I've also rehung the curtains in that room, saving a bit more floor space. I have hopes that I will have that room under control when a friend comes to stay in about a week, so that I don't have to move everything currently in there somewhere else in the house. (the idea is that all the wicker baskets will be given to another friend for classroom storage, if I can bear to part with them).
This follows on from yesterday, when I had visitors, one of whom went away with some children's clothing and another two who left with books. Very briefly my outbox was nearly empty!
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That means I have seven days to pack and clean, three days to move, and half a day to clean before I have to hand back the keys to this here apartment. (Double-counting the day on which we get the keys to our new apartment. And WHY did I not ask for Mon 28 off too? My sorry ass is going to be cleaning that day from eight to three-thirty and working for that paycheck from four to midnight!)
This apartment does not look moving-ready. This apartment looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Alex—send in the Red Cross!
My todo list has seven sections. Each section has from four to fifteen bullet points. While most are once they're done they're done, some of them will need done more than once this week. (Six of the day's bullets are four instances of "eat" and two of "feed cat", and "rest 10min for every 20min working" will appear as often as it damn well needs to, but that's totally beside the point.)
My anxiety level is already RED ALERT. My spoon level has spent a lot of time recently at DANGER DANGER, and isn't terribly far above that now. (I got my psych doc to prescribe lorazepam for as-needed over the next couple weeks, in order to calm my shit because 100% focus on calming centering breaths means nothing else gets done and less than 100% focus on etc was for days meaning being on the verge of an anxiety attack, but. And no, having other warm bodies to help—except on Sat 26, which is furniture hauling day—is not apparently an option; I keep asking.)
I need all the cheerleading I can get!
I did manage to shred the letters from B2P that I brought home for that purpose, so something was accomplished, but the shredder froze up with three letters left. I hauled some small cardboard boxes to B2P to use for shipping. I put a batch of newspapers in a bag to take to B2P for packing. I found places to put some of the things piled on the desk so Mike will have a place to put his computer. Trying to clear surfaces is the project for tomorrow.
Powell’s Books beckoned to us in red, black, and white, like a flag for a new America. One that’s educated, homegrown, and all about sustaining local book culture.
Libraries are where nerds like me go to refuel. They are safe-havens where the polluted noise of the outside world, with all the bullies and bro-dudes and anti-feminist rhetoric, is shut out. Libraries have zero tolerance for bullshit. Their walls protect us and keep us safe from all the bastards that have never read a book for fun.
Juliet is a fat 19yo Puerto Rican lesbian writer from the Bronx, spending her summer in Portland, Oregon, interning with Harlowe Brisbane, the white feminist author of Raging Flower: Empowering your Pussy by Empowering your Mind. Shenanigans ensue, and they are gloriously, heartbreakingly real: a science fiction writing workshop honoring Octavia Butler; a reading at Powell's that goes horribly wrong; a queer POC party in Miami.
Rivera is brilliant on the rollercoaster that is growing up one or more kinds of "other" and trying to be true to your authentic self before you have quite figured out what that is.
You are your own person, Juliet. If it’s a phase, so what? If it’s your whole life, who cares? You’re destined to evolve and understand yourself in ways you never imagined before.
She is also extremely acute on the specific failures of white feminism. At a moment in history when our alliances may or may not save the world, it's on white women to understand how our thoughtlessness can inflict deep injuries on our best allies. And it's on white women to stop that shit.
This is a first novel and unpolished, but it's a huge shiny diamond full of light and color and my favorite thing I've read in the challenge so far.
So what have you been tackling? How's that motivation going? What's your priority absolutely must not be procrastinated task?
If you're in need of a challenge or a little encouragement.... Hmmm, now let me think... How about 10 minutes (or whatever time suits) to tackle something clothing related - suggestions include : sorting washing into loads that can be done together, actually tackling a load of laundry, handwashing some items, folding some dry clothes, ironing, re-organising a drawer, shelf or wardrobe space to make it more user friendly. I'm sure there are other related tasks. Ooh, I've thought of another - repairing an item e.g. sewing a button on.
Set the timer for the amount of time you think you can spare or manage energy wise and go for it. Surprise yourself with just how awesome you are! And share with us.
Good luck, team! You're awesome!
The novel is at its sharpest and funniest when Amal is reporting his Pakistani parents' reactions to his horrible in-laws:
‘What she means is, we wish you all the luck in the world, Amal, but you must watch your back. Her people look like a bunch of backstabbers. Never trust them for an instant.’
There are also some moving passages where Amal imagines what he and Claud would be like as parents:
Theirs would not be paraded about like Sussex show ponies. There were plenty of cool, funky children they could take as their template.
or what their lives would be like child-free:
They could buy a holiday home abroad. Two. One on each hemisphere if that is what would make her happy. He racks his mind to think of the childless couples they know – not the kids from the office; guys their age and older – but cannot dredge any up. In their immediate circle, there are no trailblazers, only conformists. No matter. They are taste makers, she and him. They can set the precedent.
As with McEwan, though, I found these characters difficult to warm to. Amal and Claud both struck me as joyless corporate drones, preoccupied with status, their world devoid of beauty and pleasure. A technically adroit book, but not for me.
In a classic Tom Haverford move, rather than just write the obligatory you-have-succeeded-as-a-comedian-on-TV book (Bossypants, Girl Walks Into a Bar, I'm Just a Person, Paddle Your Own Canoe, Self-Inflicted Wounds, The Bedwetter, Yes Please... yeah, it's a genre), Ansari teamed up with Stanford sociologist Eric Klinenberg to figure out both why technologically-mediated dating is such an unrelieved horror show and, reading between the lines, why Ansari was finding it difficult to meet a nice woman.
The resulting book reminded me a bit of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything in that it's as curious and interesting as it is funny. Ansari's quizzical sweetness shines especially in his reporting on the specific dating scenes in Buenos Aires, Doha, Paris and Tokyo.
In Japan, posting any pictures of yourself, especially selfie-style photos, comes off as really douchey. Kana, an attractive, single twenty-nine-year-old, remarked: “All the foreign people who use selfies on their profile pic? The Japanese feel like that’s so narcissistic.” In her experience, pictures on dating sites would generally include more than two people. Sometimes the person wouldn’t be in the photo at all. I asked what they would post instead.
“A lot of Japanese use their cats,” she said.
“They’re not in the photo with the cat?” I asked.
“Nope. Just the cat. Or their rice cooker.”
“I once saw a guy posted a funny street sign,” volunteered Rinko, thirty-three. “I felt like I could tell a lot about the guy from looking at it.”
This kind of made sense to me. If you post a photo of something interesting, maybe it gives some sense of your personality? I showed a photo of a bowl of ramen I had taken earlier in the day and asked what she thought of that as a profile picture. She just shook her head. OH, I GUESS I CAN’T HOLD A CANDLE TO THAT STREET SIGN DUDE, HUH?
For me, the most engaging part of the book was seeing insights that later ended up as jokes in Master of None. I endorse and seek to emulate this kind of creative reuse! As for meeting a nice woman, the gossip rags tell me that Ansari was in a relationship with pastrychef Courtney McBloom for a while, but they parted amicably last year. So it goes.
I've decided to rip out some
As a household with three kids, one of whom is through high school, and the other two still in high school, we've generated a lot of 'unused' paper through the last decade -- mostly half used scrapbooks and note books. We have a shelf that this gets put on, and then any time anyone needs to make notes or doodles, they grab paper out of there. However, there are different 'grades' of such paper, depending on how easy it is to get more/the proportion of it in the stack. And every time I see one of the kids grab some of the coloured construction paper (which means I usually can't read the notes), the heavier card stock, the graph/manuscript/dotted thirds lines paper, I take a moment to go 'don't use that, use the real scrap paper'. And mostly they do, but sometimes they just grab what is on top. And when what is on top is what has just come out of someone's desk drawer, it could be anything.
The sorting was pretty simple. I took the top 15-20cm off the pile (of ~30cm), and then anything I didn't care about that was roughly A4 sized went straight back on. Coloured paper and construction card were put in one pile; all the other 'precious' paper types in another, and scrap that was smaller than A4 was either sorted into a notepad pile or binned. The 'precious' papers have been put at the other end of the shelf (vertically, between existing dividers), and the small note pads have been put on top, so that they can be used first. Random bits of card, covers off scrapbooks, pieces too small, all in the bin.
And now I have a neat and tidy shelf, and I know that if I grab the top piece of paper off the active pile, it will be something I can throw out after I've used it, because it really is scrap.
Earlier this week, I finished Alaya Dawn Johnson's The Summer Prince. I have had this book by my bed for months and months and months. I would pick it up, read some, like it, and then get distracted. Finally, I decided it was too good for that kind of treatment and got serious about moving through it.
It is an excellent and fascinating book, even though it never really grabbed me. The worldbuilding is awesome and the depiction of the inner lives of teenagers, affected by the different world they live in and nonetheless completely recognizable as the teenagers of our times, is especially well done. The The prose is beautiful and the evocation of the city is outstanding. The setting is a post-apocalyptic Brazil and effectively everyone is (from our perspective) PoC; Johnson explores class divisions and to some extent national divisions, but the key cultural rift she explores is age.
I can't quite figure out why it didn't have momentum for me, and I expect that will be different for other people. I found it well worth the comparatively slow going, and will probably re-read it at some point.
Letter URL: http://slippery-fish.dreamwidth.org/
Pinch Hit 4 - Law & Order: SVU, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Crossover Fandom, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, Chicago Justice (TV)
Letter URL: http://sidewinder.dreamwidth.org/
If you are willing to claim either of these pinch hits, please either comment on this Dreamwidth post or email me at email@example.com with your AO3 name and the number of the pinch hit you wish to claim. Pinch hits are due on the 5th of September.
Even if you can’t claim a pinch hit, I’d be much obliged if you could reblog this Tumblr post to spread the word about the lingering pinch hits.
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I know I sorted something out yesterday, but I've already managed to forget it (apart from making sure the open pack of biscuits was finished, as per yukonsally's suggestion yesterday). Friday, I took a randomish swatch of knitted yarn that I think might have been the start of a scarf (it was in a bag donated to me; the yarn was one of those matting ones, so frogging it wasn't an option) plus three scarves that had turned up from various places and gave them to a school teacher friend who is going to put them in some collection in their classroom (she was asking for blue things for a water cycle, and two were blue).
Today, I sat at the desk, and tidied a corner. Someone had pulled partner's collection of playing cards out and kind of distributed them across the space, so I sorted through and put them back in their pigeon hole. A couple of cards that didn't match any of the sets were binned (they were the wrong size for contributing to a cheat deck), and a set of Donkey cards that were too dilapidated for small hands also went in the bin. Plus some other bits of paper.
All this to say that The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is yet another delightful take on Journey to the West, this time set in the hyper-competitive high schools of the Bay Area. Monkey is now Quentin, a handsome, short, brilliant and very annoying teenager who kept reminding me of Miles Vorkosigan, in a good way. Genie herself has a surprising connection with him, but is a three-dimensional character in her own right, with a sense of honor and complicated relationships with her parents and friends. Her efforts to balance college applications with supernatural obligations had a Buffy-ish resonance, and the various Gods and demons showing up in modern America will please Neil Gaiman fans. I found this a quick and enjoyable read.
Like Bad Indians, this is an intricate quilt of a book, part memoir, part poem, part dream. It's hard to imagine how it could be otherwise. The loss of a parent is a loss of meaning. For indigenous people, this is doubly true. Lillian Alexie was one of the last fluent speakers of Salish. Her death robs her son, and the world, of an entire universe.
This book, like Hawking radiation, is an almost-undetectable glow of meaning escaping from a black hole. If you haven't lost a parent yet it might be too much to bear, but if you have, it might feel like joining a group of survivors around a campfire after a catastrophe.
IN AUGUST 2015, as a huge forest fire burned on my reservation, as it burned within feet of the abandoned uranium mine, the United States government sent a representative to conduct a town hall to address the growing concerns and fears. My sister texted me the play-by-play of the meeting. “OMG!” she texted. “The government guy just said the USA doesn’t believe the forest fire presents a serious danger to the Spokane Indian community, even if the fire burns right through the uranium mine.”
...“Is the air okay?” I texted. “It hurts a little to breathe,” my sister texted back. “But we’re okay.” Jesus, I thought, is there a better and more succinct definition of grief than It hurts a little to breathe, but we’re okay?
Ira and Susan attended Worldcon 75 on our behalf (we can't even with our jealousy over Ira getting to meet Daveed Diggs). We're so grateful to everyone who nominated and voted for us this year. Thanks also to our fellow finalists, too. It was lovely being a part of a robust ballot featuring commentary and criticism from a wide range of voices. The full list of finalists and winners can be read at thehugoawards.org.
We're still reeling a bit, but we wanted to at least reach out and say THANK YOU and OMG and WHAT and THANK YOU OMG, etc. We are super honored and so excited! Congrats to US, congrats to the other winners, and thanks for liking our work! ♥ You can find the text of our speech below.
Thanks so much for this amazing award. We accept on behalf of ourselves and the four Lady Business editors who couldn't be here tonight: Clare, Jodie, KJ, and Renay.
We also want to thank everyone who has supported Lady Business throughout the years in ways large and small, including our readers, commenters, and guest columnists. Special thanks go out to John Scalzi, whose work welcomed Renay back to science fiction. Without his books Renay wouldn't have been in the SF community to start this project with our co-founders, Ana and Jodie. Thanks to Ana Grilo of The Book Smugglers for consistent support and writing opportunities, Kate Elliott and Justin Landon for believing in our work and being the best cheerleaders, and Zachariah Carlson for being our personal Shadow Broker all these years.
When Lady Business was founded, the goal was to create a safer space for discussions in a community that was still struggling to recognize white women, much less any other marginalized identities. There's still work to be done, and change has been slow, but we are thrilled our project has been a voice within this cultural shift. We are incredibly honored that the Hugo voters find our intersectional feminist work valuable, and we will keep working to remain worthy of your recognition as we move forward.
We dedicate this award to Jodie Baker and Ana Silva. Thank you very much.
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.
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