Also: Sometimes I fret over some flaw or infelicity in my appearance, the kind of thing someone would notice only if they scrutinized me closely. And on Monday, I got a haircut and lost a foot of hair, so now my hair ends in a long bob that does the flippy thing framing my face an inch above my shoulders. No one in my life has commented on it. So this is a reminder to me when I get all super self-conscious: I notice these things way more than other people do.
(I do like my hair, tho. ^_^)
Oh hey, have I ever defined neg-stimming for people? That's, "negative self-stimulation" as in "deliberately going out and looking for things that will make you feel bad or upset." For example: I can't deal with gore and violent injury. And yet, every so often I go read about serial killers on Wikipedia with some kind of sick fascination, clicking more links even as I rock with disgusted revulsion. I also used to read things like anon memes where people were talking about how fans like me were totally horrible, which fed my fear that people in my life secretly hated me.
Neg-stimming is kind of like the traumatic repetition compulsion. "I will do the bad thing again, and this time I will do it right!" Which is how you wind up being sucked into yet another argument with someone you know is toxic, or volunteering for a situation which will provably push you past your limits. A lot of the time the idea is, "If I were only braver/stronger/tougher, this would work!" instead of just walking away and coming up on the problem later from a totally different angle.
Then there is also, of course, just the pleasure of brainweasels being able to croon, "Yesss. I was right. My overclocked worries were good worries. Look how validating this is. I are a smart weasel." It feels kind of satisfying and necessary, despite the big DON'T FEED THE BRAINWEASELS signs, and the fact that it is neither.
So I'm not saying neg-stimming is bad. One of my healthy, adaptive coping mechanisms has always been finding out just how bad my worst-case scenario would be, so it's not some great unknown. ("Okay, so, if I fail this course I won't get my tuition back, but I will be able to re-register and try again four more times...") It's just something to be aware of: "Am I neg-stimming, or does this serve a useful purpose?"
Then, without judging or blaming yourself, you can learn to disengage and go do something else that's less brain-killing, even if no more enlightening. I'm a fan of Candy Crush, myself.
Meanwhile, is it a sad commentary that I keep having to look up >>cyclinglink<< macro syntax in Twine despite using it reasonably frequently? Now you know why I switched out of comp sci and into math.
With apologies to Sergeant Sagara and Full Metal Panic: Fumoffu. (Uh, just to be clear, that's Jedao and Cheris. Although Jedao isn't quite this stupid usually.)
Drawing Words, Writing Pictures had this fun exercise that the lizard and I both did. Hers came out better, I think, but honestly the lizard is more artistic than I am. :) ( Read more... )
The next chapter's assignment, which I decline to upload so that I don't get my @$$ sued off, is a comic jumble--you take panels from a day's comic page (I just printed off random stuff I found on webcomics) and then attempt to create a coherent comic narrative illustrating the 7? kinds of transitions on the way. I used Claymore, Terminal Lance, Piled Higher and Deeper, Peanuts, and a couple other random things. (You're allowed to overlook "superficial" differences in character design--any cat can be The Cat Character, for instance.) The result was wacky and the actual trying to make something coherent part had me tearing out my hair for over an hour, but it was fun in a masochistic kind of way.
Guy: Hello. This call is in regards to... a computer. Okay?
Me: ...okay, then.
Guy: This is a call about a computer. Am I right in thinking that you are the main person in charge of this computer?
Me: You're going to have to tell me which computer this is.
Guy: The "Windows" computer. The computer that runs the "Windows" operating system.
Me: I'm afraid we've got quite a few of those around here! You'll need to be more specific.
Guy: Well. I am calling to tell you that this "Windows" computer has downloaded a virus, bad software, that is damaging your computer. And that you need to get it off there.
Me: *waiting in silence*
Guy: Ma'am? Ma'am? Can we help you fix your -
Me: I am an IT person, and this is a law office. Please do not try to scam the law office IT person. It's not smart.
Guy: *laughs* Okay, then. Sorry, ma'am.
"Sorry I wasted your time with my con, I'll just call someone else! You have a great day, now."
* Futurama: Love
* Bob's Burgers: don't hate, but the voice acting is like nails on a chalkboard. People talk like this? And they BREED? (I have so many issues with Bob and Linda's parenting, also, mostly related to roping their children into the family business at the expense of said children's actual interests.)
* American Dad (bits and pieces) - started watching when it was just on back in Richmond, and occasionally I'll watch an episode or two. No strong feelings.
* Murder Shows! As always per me, I go through a lot of true crime documentaries.
* Zodiac (2007), and watching it I managed to freak myself out.
* Cropsey (2009), likewise with freaking myself out.
* Reread of the Abhorsen series = <3 <3 <3, as mentioned.
* Currently reading Newt's Emerald, also by Nix, and it's very much a regency romance BUT the romance is very much secondary to the adventure plot. Kinda brainless fluff? But I like that in a book sometimes.
As mentioned, I finished Welcome to Night Vale yesterday (including the live recording of "Condos"), and I am like ... mmm, fandom.
I'm also thinking, if I'm going to be writing on my own or for an audience of 1-3 anyway, I may as well just write original fiction again, huh? Because fanfiction was always about the social jolt I got from connecting with other readers and writers about a shared source we were both/all passionate about. And I have no idea where that's gone these days -- journalspace is a ghost town; tumblr values visual media over textual media; where do people even go to talk anymore?
So I bought a license for windows scrivener, & I'm maybe going to brush off The Novel (that is my white whale) and see if I can actually complete a draft. Or something.
Translation: I am so lazy about creating characters that once I have discovered a set that I like, I never want to stop pummeling them, as opposed to having to create entire new sets, to say nothing of entire new settings, each time I start something.
Related: You know what the nice thing about composing is? I never ever have to put people in. Why yes, I might be slightly smug about how those violin I double stops are sounding in the partial temp render of that one passage of "Ninefox March" that I knocked out on my day-of-Yoon-goofing-off.
I recommend all three games highly, for highly divergent reasons, and wish I'd had time for more playthroughs. (I had the Horrible Three-Week Flu when I was supposed to be doing this.) Coloratura is excellent alien sf/horror, their angelical understanding is beautiful and surreal (PLEASE pay attention to the content notes; in particular, I'm hard to shock with suicidal anything, but while I don't have epilepsy, I do get migraines and the "possible epilepsy trigger" has me clicking madly trying to get the blinking flashing screen to stop), and You Will Select a Decision, the fastest-playing of the lot, is cracky parodic humor.
Anyway, I am like one of the most delinquent members of the IF community, to the point where it's kind of stretching a point calling me a member of the IF community, but I am only glad that I didn't vote because choosing would be OMG so hard. I am very, very impressed.
My sister and I used to talk pie-in-the-sky about starting an sf/f zine. We would not do it because OMG THE TIMESUCK (I have once been a slushreader) and also we agree that our tastes are just too weird to ever find enough of a readership to, you know, not go broke. :p But in a land of INFINITE MONEY AND JOYOUS NARCISSISTIC SKIFFY GREED, what would your ideal edited-all-by-me-just-for-me zine have? ETA: where by me I mean you. I am curious about what other people's dreamzines would have! I already know what mine would have. ^_^
I'll start! Big space battles. (Sometimes, not all the time. Variety is good! But send your imaginary big space battle stories to imaginary meeeeeeeee.) Stories by people and featuring characters who are not all-white-cis-het-guy all the time. Also, it would be online yet also print things up to 20,000 words. This is pure greed; not that I'd publish myself if I were editing a zine, but I am distinctly influenced by the fact that I handed in "The Battle of Candle Arc" at 8,000 words because that's Clarkesworld's cutoff length. The original draft was 10,000 words long. In reality the story needed to be about 12,000 words long for the combat system to make more sense so even the rough draft was being written compressedly . Sorry, guys! I am fallible.
And on the writer end, because I still am not over the fact that these exist, one of those cool online tracking systems for online submissions with those totally nonlinearly-moving queues! Or at least, as far as I can tell, those things are exactly like software installation progress bars on my computer, except I don't care because reloading the URL repeatedly is both emotionally satisfying and keeps me from personally bugging hell out of whoever is slushing, which I'm sure the slushers appreciate. :p Anyway, I love online submissions because I am lazy (even if it increases the odds that I will misspell my own damn name, which is embarrassing considering how short it is) and I love online tracking systems.
Also, someone on the editorial team who loves to do crunchy statistics things. I never took stats and roll a natural 1 every time I'm confronted by Excel, I KNOW THE SHAME.
What do you want in your imaginary zine?
How to Read Nancy by Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik [PDF]. An analysis of a gag comic. Really good!
Blood Music by Greg Bear. (Inspired to read this by the fact that I was seeking out Queen of Angels, which I'm rereading; I'm sure QoA is problematic as spork but I imprinted on it in HS, so I'm curious.) I was spoiled for the end of the novel version of this, although I read the short story version back in the late '90s; OTOH I can't remember if the short story version was very close to the novel version, because all I remember about "Blood Music" the story is "intelligent nanoplague run loose." (This is not, you know, spoiling anything...)
I apologize in advance for making hash of the science that Greg Bear no doubt carefully knew/researched. Not only am I not a scientist, I don't remember any biology from HS bio, and I read this while at the library with a pounding migraine. :] There were things in here with anaphase and -ase (biology chemical thingies?) and centrifuges and so on. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't recognize a centrifuge even if one fell on me. I am sorry for being the stupidest sf reader on the planet. But I was entertained by the read, even if I have some problems with it?
Anyway, we have a scientist, Vergil, who gets caught doing experiments with biologics--basically getting cellular-ish bits to do computations. I am blanking on the name, but the idea is basically all the "junk" DNA (I think the name was incodons, except that looks wrong when I type it out; it started with in- and ended with -on and I suck at Google) can actually be used to do /slave molecular TI-86/ calculations. He gets fired with prejudice and is threatened to be run out of a job anywhere (this seems to be some version of blackening his name everywhere, which I'm not entirely clear how it works, but Vergil has a disagreeable personality and slovenly habits, hacked his way into his degrees although he really is mad-scientist brilliant, and hardly anyone likes him) so in desperation and out of an interesting maternal feeling toward his experimental cellular creations, he injects himself with the biologics and hightails it out of there.
I don't think the fact that (a) injecting yourself with not-entirely-understood germs and (b) RESULTING INTELLIPLAGUEPOCALYPSE are surprises to anyone who has ever read a comic book. In fact, I think it's even mentioned that Vergil used to read comic books, which makes it all the more interesting that he thinks this is a useful plan. Bear emphasizes that Vergil sucks at thinking through long-term consequences over and over like this will paper over this point. Admittedly the bioplague starts out by making "good" changes to its hosts (like fixing Vergil's myopia), but then, RESULTING INTELLIPLAGUEPOCALYPSE.
I'm not sure whether the funniest scene in the entire book is the shower scene (you will know exactly what I'm referring to if you've read this) or the can opener.
You should also not be surprised when INTELLIPLAGUEPOCALYPSE results in some truly entertaining body horror. Uh, if you find body horror entertaining, which I do. If you don't, please for love of spork stay away from this book. And probably also the short story, but I can't remember for certain and while the library probably had it somewhere, by that point (i.e. after I finished reading the novel) I had given up trying to fight the migraine.
I feel deeply ambivalent about this novel's female characters despite the fact that there is hardly anyone who comes off looking good as a human being. There may or may not have been PoC. I think Vergil is white, or that's my guess from the "emerald-green" eyes (I am completely unable to tell green eyes from any other color eyes despite staring desperately at computer monitors trying to see the difference--at least, I don't know any face-to-face green-eyed people whose eyes my staring intently into in an experiment of this nature would be socially acceptable--which is infuriating but them's the breaks), Suzy is described as (naturally?) blonde, and I lose track of the others because migraine. :(
I note in passing that the characters are not particularly deep as characters, but I don't ever recall reading a Greg Bear work for the characters. However, I don't belong to the school of thought that every work of fiction has to dial up its characterization, and I was in this for the interesting ideas, so fairly shallow, plot-device-y characters were a-okay by me. (Yes. This is self-interested, because fairly shallow, plot-device-y characters are what I do. Live what you preach? I mean, not that I aspire to Greg Bear-ish hard sf, unfortunately.)
( actual spoilers )
Overall I'm pleased; a nice, taut 250-page THANK GOD NOT OVER 250 PAGES hard sf novel. Admittedly the ending has what I would identify as what hebethen called his really mystical streak (binary millennium in Queen of Angels, I'm looking at you) and it killed a couple hours that I was going to spend migrainated anyway.
Oh, and for lagniappe, the library copy I read had the first three swear words underlined in pencil, but none of the actual typos. I can't decide whether it's a better story that this was due to some kind of hypervigilant prurience (seriously, you expect a story about SUPERINTELLIPLAGUEPOCALYPSE not to have swears?) or, possibly, some adolescent diligently attempting to learn how to use swears correctly.
You know, it's too bad I can't get paid for writing ridiculous blog posts about books, except then I would have to commit to reading recent books. Also possibly providing actual litcrit value instead of snark. Alas, I don't think anyone's interested in hearing about old books. *wry g*
But the worst thing was that it made me think anchovies and liver were gross. They are delicious. What did the children's television networks have against anchovies and liver, what is wrong with those people?
I mean, aside from the, y'know, other stuff I just listed that's wrong with them.
I am doing a blog hop thing! I was invited to do it by Shannon Phillips, who has a story in a new anthology from World Weaver Press. It is like a promotional meme — you answer a bunch of questions about writing and then you link to other writers and tell people about them — so here goes.
This is Shannon Phillips:
Shannon Phillips lives in Oakland, where she keeps chickens, a dog, three boys, and a husband. Her first novel, The Millennial Sword, tells the story of the modern-day Lady of the Lake. Her short fiction has been featured in Dragon magazine, Rose Red Review, and the upcoming anthology Fae from World Weaver Press.
And these are the questions she sent me!
1) What am I working on?
I’m working on yet another revision of my Regency fantasy of manners about England’s first black Sorcerer Royal. This has been my main writing project since late 2012, but in intervals between working on it I’ve also been working on Space Villette (not its real title), a novella based on Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, but with a space opera setting influenced by the early kingdoms (or should I say mandalas?) of maritime Southeast Asia.
Well, I say it is a novella, but it’s almost 30k words in and the Lucy Snowe character hasn’t even started to make googly eyes at the M. Paul equivalent. That said, I plan to rewrite the whole thing from scratch once I’ve got the first draft done, so pretty much everything I say about it now should be discounted!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
All of my stories are about colonialism. I guess the most obvious point of difference is that the main characters are usually non-white. To the extent that I can, even when I am playing with very Western/Eurocentric genres or tropes, I try to infuse my stories with a non-Western sensibility, to refocus the narrative around characters who aren’t as often in the spotlight in English-language fiction. I don’t know how successful I am at doing that, but I keep trying.
Of course, when I am actually writing my main goal is not to make some big political point or other. My main goal is to write as many long rambling conversations and dumb jokes as people will let me get away with.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I remain profoundly shaped by my childhood reading and am processing it the best way I know how. I got told a lot of stories by my mom that I want other people to hear. I like reading long rambling conversations and dumb jokes myself. I think comfort reading shouldn’t come in just one flavour, or have just one kind of character as the focus. I’ve got a niche and I might as well keep going with it. History is interesting. I can’t write other stuff — I mean, in theory I could write a baseball economics book instead, but I don’t understand baseball or economics.
Lots of reasons!
4) How does my writing process work?
(i) Do anything except writing for as long as I can.
(ii) Bash out some hasty words just before bedtime, when I can no longer put it off.
(iii) Repeat the next day.
I generally take off one day a week, and don’t tend to write on holidays or if I’m travelling.
I’ve tagged the following authors, who will be posting the meme next week:
Alexandra Singer graduated from SUNY Purchase with a B.A. in Creative Writing. The is the author of the ongoing independent comic, Sfeer Theory. An avid fan of historical fantasy and fairy tales, her short stories have been featured in publications such as Chamberton Publishing’s Spotlight anthology and Crossed Genres Magazine. Her blog is at http://moonsheen.dreamwidth.org.
Eve Shi is an Indonesian writer. Her YA supernatural/horror novels are available in Indonesian bookstores. She’s working on more books of the same genre, as well as planning to write books in other genres.
Mirrored from Zen Cho.
Production value *must* be on a level with WTNV or better, because I can't deal with the podcast if it's poorly-made. Side-effect of doing quality assurance on decent multimedia/voiceover things.
I'm home with the Pip this afternoon because daycare is closed, and I can't take a nap because I had to do things and now it's too close to the time he'll wake up, so to keep myself awake, some more fic recs post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Spoilers below; organized chronologically except the one that I had to yell about.
( SPOILERS )
lunabee34: Review of Bread and Butterfly by BPAL
musyc: BPAL, round three
musyc: BPAL, round four
synecdochic: all the perfumes of araby could not sweeten this little hand, but that's because i hate sweet scents
(And lots more is going on at smellsgood, naturally.)
Me in 2014: *desperately trawls Youtube for every Winter Soldier cam vid in existence*
In other news, I have to say there's something intensely weird about coming into a fandom at the start of the escalation curve of a juggernaut pairing. ( Cutting the rest of this for assorted 'Winter Soldier' spoilers ... )