I have a phone conference with my editor at Penguin on Monday to discuss this, and I should be able to tell you more Monday evening or Tuesday.
- Current Location:Let us just say Mars.
- Current Mood: okay
- Current Music:David Bowie, "Strangers When We Meet"
This is a big one: the typewriter on which I wrote LOST SOULS (and a bunch of other stuff), with certificate of authenticity. Winner also gets a signed/personalized hardcover first edition of Lost Souls. Reserve is $200.
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.
killed by some loser for being smart women
Thanx to james_nicoll et al. for the reminder
Yesterday, I finished the
Indeed, I'm fairly certain that, other than marking the completion of a chapter of a novel I'm very grateful to be more than half done with, there's no particular need for an entry today.
Sixes and Sevens,
- Current Location:Eumenides Dorsum
- Current Mood: blah
- Current Music:Arcade Fire, "Here Comes the Night Time"
We don't even have a picture of him uploaded to the web that I can put here! But he was a very striking variberk, black with white up his sides as well as on his belly and paws, with a white chin and a white blaze on his forehead.
We adopted him from a general pet shelter in New Jersey. He came with his name, obviously after Ratatouille, but as X-Men fans we also referred to him as Remy LeRatt. Unneutered, and solo at the shelter, he lived here alone in his cage but next to the Critter Nation for a while. Maybe because of inadequate socialization, he never made it far up the hierarchy when he did join the mischief, although he was one of the larger and more muscular rats.
His personality was unique: he loved to be out, more almost all other rats we've had; he wouldn't swarm up our arms, but he would come up to us when we opened the cage, not just to beg treats but to be taken out. But he never settled down when he was out. Most rats repose under my shirt, next to me, next to womzilla, or on a book that lies horizontally on a shelf behind Womzilla's head. Remy always ranged from one end of my couch to the other end of Womzilla's, sit for just a while, then head back. "Where's Remy?" "Coming up on the shelf right behind your shoulder." He'd sit and groom himself or whatever and then he'd be traveling again. He also was very insistent about trying whatever food or even drink we had, coming close to tipping plates and knocking over glasses.
In fact, if the end-table between our two couches had stuff on it, as seems to be its proclivity, Remy would just plow on, stepping on, pushing aside, and even knocking over whatever was in his way. Like the honey badger, he just didn't give a ****. In fact, we came to call it honey badgering, as in, "Remy is honey badgering again." (And noted that, after all, he was black and white, like a honey badger.) Womzilla always stopped the TV show to pick stuff up, while unless it spilled food or liquid, I wanted to go on watching. Remy, of course, didn't care which; he'd just sit for a while and move on. He wasn't obedient about coming quickly when I called, like our beloved Honey was years ago, but he'd usually amble my way if I signalled him.
In the dream, I had a black-and-white rat out with me, not in a cage; he'd get nervous/tense about being carried around and want to get away, but when he did get away, even if he ran very far with me chasing him, eventually he'd come back. I knew he was just crazy from new surroundings and uncertainty, and I kept trying to get back home as directly as possible, although (as is the manner in dreams) something kept interfering. His markings were usually Remy's, and even when he was, say, hooded, I knew it was Remy. It wasn't like a dream about his spirit, though, but a dream about when he was alive. That was a transition between a dream about my old sorority house and a dream about a guy out on campus putting the moves on me. (Would that had happened in college! He had his own three PEW rats with him, too.)
I know online people who say they have given up on rats because the sadness of losing them is just too frequent and too hard. I just try to live it and move on.
Nelson Mandela is neither 95 years old nor dead. He is 42 and living in China helping them create cold fusion.
I am so tired of the way the lamestream media and Nobama are trying to fake his death in order to distract you from the Satanic rituals that are being performed at the White House every night.
As long as this disinformation continues to draw traction people will continue to believe that the world is round and more than 6,000 years old. They will think that fast zombies are cooler than slow zombies. Some poor souls may actually believe that Han shot first.
It's time to break through the lies before the death panels start, take a good look at Russia from Alaska and don our Lady Bug costumes and give hand jobs to celebrate our virginity.
Otherwise, what does it mean to be an American?
And people wonder why I spend so much time wanting to set the world on fire.
I think it's very telling that the people who say it's wrong to want representation in fiction are almost overwhelmingly white. If I want to read about white people having amazing adventures and doing incredible things, being heroes and villains, simple and complicated, handsome and hideous, loved and hated, all I need to do is pick up a book at random. There is a literally 90% chance that I will get all those things from whatever book I've chosen, especially if I'm going for the "classic literature" of the science fiction/fantasy/horror world. 90%! And that may honestly be low-balling the number! If I were a straight white man, of course I wouldn't see any issue with representation in fiction—I'd be on every page I turned! Even as a straight white woman, I'd be on a lot of pages, even if half those pages would have me either naked or screaming (or both, if I had happened to grab a Gor book). There's no problem with representation here!
But I've never been a straight white man. I've never been a straight white girl, either. I was a bisexual kid with a lot of questions and not very many answers, and it wasn't until I encountered ElfQuest that I actually felt like I saw myself on a page. No, I didn't think I was an elf, although I sort of wished I was, because elves are awesome, but it was Cutter and Leetah and the rest who introduced me to the idea that I could love boys and girls, and not be a bad person. I wasn't indecisive or wicked. I just had a lot of love to give, and my set of criteria for who got it wasn't based on gender.
Let me restate that: I was already bi. I had already been attracted to girls, guys, and a kid in my class who went by "Pup" and refused to be pinned down to either gender (and my second grade teacher never forced Pup to commit either way, which was pretty damn cool of her, given that this was the 1980s). Books did not make me choose my sexuality; books told me a) that my sexuality existed, and b) that it was okay, it was natural, it was not proof that there was something wrong with me. And especially in grade school/middle school, sexuality is invisible in a way that very little else is. No one knew I was queer until I came out. It wasn't even a matter of openly hiding it; sex wasn't on the table, I didn't feel like sharing, I didn't share. No one knew that I was different. Everyone thought that when they read their books about little white girls having adventures, they were reading about me, too.
You know what's not invisible? Race. "I don't see race" is bull. When we read those books about little white kids having amazing adventures, we knew that it was white kids having adventures, because adventures are for white people. At the age of eight, we all understood that our non-white classmates were not represented in the books we read, and very few of us had the sophistication to jump to "this is a lack of representation." Instead, we jumped to "I guess Oz doesn't like black people." Because books shape your view of the world, books remake you in their image, and the books we had said little white kids go on adventures, little kids of any other race are nowhere to be seen.
This is a problem.
So some of us grew up, and for whatever reason—maybe it affected us directly, maybe it affected our friends, maybe it was just pointed out—we started trying to show a world that looked more like the world we actually lived in, where everything wasn't a monoculture. And for some reason, this is being taken as a threat. How dare you want little Asian kids to go on adventures. How dare you want queer teenagers to save the world. How dare you imply that transwomen can be perfectly ordinary, perfectly competent people who just want to not get eaten by the dinosaur that's been eating everyone else. That's selfie culture, that's diversity for the sake of diversity, that's wrong. And after a great deal of consideration, I have come to this conclusion:
If that's what you think, you can go fuck yourself.
That's not politic, and it's not nice, and it may cause a couple of people to go "what a bitch, I'm done," but I don't fucking care. Because I am tired of people needing to thank me for making an effort. I am tired of receiving email that says it was distracting when so-and-so turned out to be gay, or asking why I have Indian characters in three separate series (and the fact that having an Indian woman show up and never speak a line is apparently enough to put Indexing on the same level as Blackout for some people just makes me weep for humanity). I am tired of "oh you feel like you're so open-minded" because I write about gay people, bi people, poly people, people who are exactly like the people that I know. I want to be unremarkable for my casting choices, and only remarkable for my characters being awesome (because let's face it, my characters are awesome).
A lack of representation in fiction leads to a lack of self-esteem, because selfie culture is important: we need to see ourselves, and the people who keep trying to dismiss that as somehow selfish or greedy or narcissistic are the ones who've had a mirror held up to them for so long that they don't even see it anymore. White becomes so generic, so default, that it's not mentioned when describing a character ("blonde hair, blue eyes" vs. "oh, she's black, of course, that's the biggest thing"). Humanity is huge and diverse and amazing, and saying that only a small, approved sliver of it belongs in fiction is a dick move. If diversity is distracting, it's because it's so rare.
We can fix that.
- Current Mood: cranky
- Current Music:Frozen, "Frozen Heart."
My stepfather died yesterday evening. We had a house full of people when my niece called, and I just sort of fell to the floor. Everyone was wonderful and kind and stuck around to see it they could help, but of course there is nothing to be done, really.
My sister said that she had left Mom at dialysis and gone up to see Carey, and that even though his stats weren't changed, she could suddenly tell that something was wrong. She rushed back to get Mom from dialysis, and they got back to the hospital just 15 minutes before he died.
Mom doesn't want anyone to come to Montana at this time. There will not be a funeral. Instead, she wants us to come next summer and have a memorial for him that is a picnic and family gathering. It's what he wanted. I can barely begin to imagine what she's going through. Last night I put my arms around Ferrett and whispered to him, "Thank you so much for not dying."
I'm feeling sad and in shock and kind of ... not numb, but like the world is all being muffled through cotton wadding. Like I can't quite move forward. I have a huge amount of work I need to get through in the next two days, but I can't really get myself started on anything.
I am glad that I got the Christmas lights up outside yesterday before all this happened. I can't imagine trying to do it today.
It's gotten to be so many things too much in 2013 that I can't even muster being angry with it anymore. It's defeated me.
“The Veto” is one of those auto-debate topics in polyamory, like abortion or religion or Billy Mitchell, where merely mentioning it to the polyamorous causes a hive-like breakout of debate. Those who have veto power in their relationships feel that it’s the only sane method and view everyone without a veto as some sort of Darwinian poaching ground where slavering fuck-chickens knock you down and mount your partner, whereas those without a veto see the vetoers as Relationship Stalin, executing potential lovers with a single word.
Full disclosure: I am a Stalinist. My wife has a veto, as do I. I personally don’t recommend the veto system for every poly relationship, as like most parliamentary procedures the veto becomes a disaster without the proper frameworks to support it.
Yet I wanted to talk about what the veto is not: an end to conversation.
For me and Gini, the veto power is of such a devastating potency, like nuclear weapons, we’re loath to use it. The only reason we’ve given each other such power is that we know neither of us would ever use it without having tried every other recourse: talking, begging, negotiating, smoke signals, operant conditioning, feng shui, late-night infomercials touting the merits of dating someone else.
The veto is our bond of trust: “I know that you would never use this power unless you felt you had no other way of being heard – and so when you use it, I know it is because you are hurting so badly that we need to stop right now.”
As such, in all our years of marriage, we have never vetoed anyone.**
But if Gini or I did veto a partner, shutting down that relationship, that would not be the final word.
Too many people view the veto as a trump card – you slam it to the table, yell “VETO! NO BACKSIES!” and then your partner can only give a Swiper-like “Aw, man!” and dutifully slink away. There is no further discussion, just a sullen obedience.
Whereas if I ever vetoed one of Gini’s partners, Gini would indeed stop dating (or perhaps even talking) to that person. That would be Gini, showing me her understanding of how badly this relationship is hurting me.
But then I would have to explain all the reasons how her behavior with this guy is causing me so much pain that I felt I had to thumb the big red “NO” button.
And then we have a big discussion of a) what’s acceptable and not acceptable in our relationship, and b) how she could alter her behaviors to both make me feel loved and date this guy.
Because I want Gini dating other guys. (And girls.) I want Gini dating other guys and girls who I’m not necessarily involved with. I want Gini to not be dating other people, if she’s in the mood to. I want Gini to be happy.
If I’ve just shut down her relationship, obviously neither of us are happy.
And I think that’s why the veto gets a bad rap: too many partners use the veto as a way of walling off the things that make them uncomfortable. “I don’t like that guy,” they say, yanking the big “Veto” ripcord and then walking away without a word of explanation.
Except that for me, Gini obviously gets pleasure out of her partners. Maybe she’s so caught up in them, she’s neglecting me in ways that make me feel horrible. Maybe he’s abusive to her in ways I do not wish to tolerate. Maybe he’s better at something than I am, which makes me feel small and scared.
The veto power is not the shutdown, for us. It’s the start of an emergency talking session, and that discussion is entitled, “How can she continue to date this person, and still make me happy?” And my goal is to keep her dating that person, if at all possible.
Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes two people have toxic habits when combined, or one person really is disrespectful in a way that doesn’t fit with your relationship. The veto risks discovering that yes, it’s them or me, and now you have to choose. Which is another reason we try not to push that big red Veto button: it could be them. Maybe I’m acting like a jealous ass. Maybe this discussion is going to reveal that I’m the one at fault. It’s unlikely that Gini’s going to leave me, her husband of well over a decade… but I have just opened up that possibility.
In the end, we love each other, which is why we’ve never vetoed. We’ve managed to negotiate through all the difficulties our other partners have caused, and keep them going.
The reason we’ve managed that is because our primary goal is to make the other person happy. That veto works because of mutual assured respect. And I think a veto given to the wrong person, one who wishes to control or suppress, would be an unmitigated disaster.
In the meantime, we’ve got this Veto button sitting between us. Haven’t needed it yet. But if it gets pressed, we know to listen.
* – If you have not seen this movie, which is the best documentary I have ever seen, then you are missing out on the majesty that is Billy Mitchell, my friends.
** – Full disclosure: There has been one veto from my girlfriend, and that after months of misunderstandings and discussion about the party in question. Which should also put a lie to the idea that vetos are a way of enforcing not-really-poly binary relationships: my girlfriend also has veto power.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/358475.h