My sleep "routine" is even worse than usual lately. I think deadline stress is affecting it. I'm not even particularly behind on deadlines or anything, but I'm stressed anyway, which means my focus is shot... It's a nasty cycle.
It's still cooler than I like for the end of May, so we're not planting this weekend, but scruloose is outside digging the flowerbed-to-be. Hero!
Meanwhile, the potted clematis in the spare room are reaching through the air, groping for the window. It's kinda amazing.
Reminder that nanodownunder starts up in a few days! I'll quote china_shop:
Want to kick-start your writing?
Set your own goals -- this doesn't have to be a full 50K-word endeavour, just whatever you want to aim for. Pick a WIP to finish, or set a daily time- or wordcount-goal. Or just wing it, if you prefer.
Daily check-in posts. Locked comm so we can chat/cheer/commiserate in semi-privacy (ie, you have to join to play, but membership isn't moderated). Come one, come all...
EddieMcClintock tweeted a "Mini #WAREHOUSE13 reunion!" pic of himself, Scags, Aaron Ashmore, and (executive producer) Jack Kenny, and my heart melted all over the place.
"The Intrepid ’20s Women Who Formed an All-Female Global Exploration Society".
"Finding Brooklyn’s Ghost Streams, With Old Maps and New Technology".
"In 1975, a Cat Co-Authored a Physics Paper".
"Gereja Ayam, the Abandoned Chicken Church".
"Signal de Botrange: The highest point in Belgium is a staircase to nowhere".
"Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre: A magical work of architecture where a wind turbine enables monks to levitate".
"Abandoned London Post Office Railway: An unmanned underground railroad created to transport London’s mail beneath its congested streets ran for seven decades, until it was unceremoniously shut down and abandoned".
"Underground Railroad Memorial at McDonald's".
"Forgotten Giants: Six beautiful wooden giants are hidden around Copenhagen".
"Tiny Mouse Shops of Malmö: Swedish mice can dine at the Nuts of Life restaurant or take a date to the amousement park".
"FBI Spy House: A painfully obvious spy house sits right across the street from the Russian Embassy".
"Why Justin Timberlake Sings ‘May’ Instead of ‘Me’: Linguistics and vocal styling converge in this late ’90s pop trend".
"One of the Earliest Industrial Spies Was a French Missionary Stationed in China: When he wasn’t converting people, Father Francois Xavier d’Entrecolles was extracting trade secrets from porcelain producers".
"The Unsung Delight of a Well-Designed Endpaper".
"The Violent Ice Cream Wars of 1980s Scotland".
"The Surprising Challenges of Making Things Vegan".
"Judean Date Palm Methuselah: This tree was extinct for a thousand years before sprouting again from a 2,000-year-old seed".
The Establishment ( 17 links, including discussion of suicide, body positivity, and fatphobia )
audio: Passion Pit, "Lifted Up (1985)"
stream: on Vimeo
download: 258MB on Dropbox
summary: I won't lie, I knew you'd belong here.
My wiscon_vidparty premiere!
There's no point beating around the bush: Tomorrowland is a compelling movie with bad pacing and execrable politics, but it's also a movie where two girls save the world, one of whom is a robot. (George Clooney helps.) I wanted to make a vid about that part of the movie, less about Brad Bird's weird elitism and despair. The song choice seemed almost too obvious, but on the other hand, I like it.
Weirdly, this is the second vid I've made for Wiscon with a Disney connection, the first being Just a Dream Away. Making this vid also helped me to realize that the movie has already been influential at the level of visuals: Yorktown in Star Trek Beyond, last seen in my equinox_exchange vid We Are Who We Are, is almost a carbon copy of the city in this movie, right down to some of the camera angles. I had originally hoped to make this as a Festivids treat, and then November happened. At least I can now go watch the Festivid that did get made for the movie.
One of the things I like about vidding is that it's changed the way I watch movies and it changes the way I think about the sources I vid. Towards the end of making this one I started thinking that they should have cast Casey as not white, which cemented my ambivalence about the entire film. (It wouldn't work, of course, because Brad Bird not so secretly fears the postmodern present, which is why his vision of Tomorrowland is anchored in the late 19thC and the high water mark of the modern, the 1964 World's Fair.) In conclusion, Star Trek does it better. Onward.
I intellectually know that I have a whole lot of things sorted and packed, but the fact that I haven't got much in the way of a sensible staging area makes everything very hard to see the progress, and many of my daily-use things are still front and center, even though the closets and cubbies are getting packed and stacked.
We'll be loading the moving cubes, and then I take some important things in my car and drive from the SF Bay Area to the Seattle-Tacoma area. I'll be crashing with my sister for a while; there will be some overlap between me and her boyfriend who is currently staying with her. I'm bringing an air mattress.
All of these things are hard. Occasionally my partner has to remind me that hyperventilating is bad, and maybe that anti-anxiety medication is there for a reason.
"Artists are creating gorgeous mermaid art all #MerMay". [The Daily Dot]
"Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o will costar in a buddy movie directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix".
"Josh Boone Says THE NEW MUTANTS Is A Full-Fledged Horror Movie".
"The Origins of Anime: Watch Free Online 64 Animations That Launched the Japanese Anime Tradition". [Open Culture] (Note: I haven't delved into this yet.)
"How dogs get older: A fascinating and deeply touching photography project".
Via larryhammer, "Photographer Uncovers The White Ravens Of Legend In West Coast Forest".
"Fallen Cherry Blossom Petals Fill a Lake in Japan for Naturally Beautiful Scenes From Above".
"All The Wrong People Are Asking All The Wrong Questions About Fidget Spinners". [Sarah Kurchak at The Establishment]
Via [flocked], "Angry otter pursues Scottish man". [~40 sec. video]
"A Moose Destroyed a Flowerbed Planted to Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial". [Atlas Obscura]
"Fairy Princesses And Mermaid Queens Have Been Waiting For These Fishnet Stockings".
"Why Americans Smile So Much".
"Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them". "For me, as for many daughters, the time before my mother became a mother is a string of stories, told and retold: the time she got hit by a car and had amnesia; the time she sold her childhood Barbie to buy a ticket to Woodstock; the time she worked as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s, struggling to pay her way through her first year at Rutgers. The old photos of her are even more compelling than the stories because they’re a historical record, carrying the weight of fact, even if the truth there is slippery: the trick of an image, and so much left outside the frame. These photos serve as a visual accompaniment to the myths. Because any story about your mother is part myth, isn’t it?" There's an accompanying collection of photos on Instagram: mothersbefore.
Via ironymaiden, "I Got Drunk With The Funeral Industry To Find Out What Happens When We Die". [Buzzfeed, 2015] "The Ideal Death Show initially started out in 2011, not as an industry shindig, but as a Six Feet Under fan convention in Bournemouth. It was run by a guy called Brian Jenner, who is a professional speechwriter and not remotely connected to the funeral industry except for this one weird thing. [...] When everyone turned up for the Friday night welcome wake, it was clear that what Jenner had accidentally organised was an industry meeting for people who worked with the dead; undertakers on a busman’s holiday, stood around a cardboard coffin in a room full of lilies.
The next year he stripped away the HBO pretext and just made it that: a bunch of people talking about death, once a year, with other people who know about death. They needed it – death can literally be a lonely business."
--"You Can Stay Overnight In A Jail Cell At This Haunted Prison In Canada". (I'll pass, thanks.)
--"10 Beautiful Photos Of Dogs Underwater" by photographer Seth Casteel.
--"I’m A Barista From Korea Who Creates Art On Coffee".
So much fun colouring them.
I livestreamed the colouring of all of these over at Instagram,
and had really great crowds join me throughout the day.
Also honestly how have I never drawn a Mandarin Duck before,
they're so awesome. :D
Mandarin Duck as Totem
Original available at Etsy
'Love can be such a bright, brilliant emotion. I teach about eternal love. I don't teach lessons about love that fades, but instead, love that remains, stays steady, flames bright no matter what. I champion fealty and loyalty to one's loved one, will show you why opposites attract, or why two people can fit together like a perfect puzzle even when they're already whole. I also teach about the beauty of the liminal, how to find wisdom in the dawn and dusk, in the mist and fog. I will guide you through confusing places, and you can follow my bright plumage, or, if you get along better with my female counterpart (or myself when I'm in eclipse plumage), you can follow the flashes of green-blue upon her wings. See me at the surface, and I will teach you about the beauty of love, but I am a duck, and we are made to delve deeper, friend. Come with me, learn what lies beyond.'
( More under the cut. )
Mediterranean Gull as Totem
Original available at Etsy
'You might think, to look at me, that I am a bird that whispers the secrets of the sea, or squawks them, but I'm the Mediterranean Gull, and you'd best get to know *me!* I cry the secrets of the coast, the shoreline, the cliffs, but especially the reeds, the marshes, the swampy wet places where sea meets land. I'm not about those huge open seas, nor am I about endless land, I love the meeting places. Perhaps you'll not be surprised then, to learn that I also teach about meeting places! How to socialise, interacting with others, loving others and hating them, walking through a social life of literal pecking orders and subtler nuanced association. I am not as brazen as some of my gull counterparts, but I'm not quiet either! I will be near you, and I will talk happily. Do you want someone to walk along the beach with you? To forage through the reeds? To find gems of wisdom in the places other people neglect? Look at how we can become so successful, commanding the places that people put second, to their detriment. I am joyful, determined and outspoken, but respectful and understanding too. I might look like so many of the others, but you will learn that I am only ever myself - as you are too.'
( More under the cut. )
Mountain Hare as Totem
Original available at Etsy
'I am integrated into my ecosystem, to the point where the way I live from place to place is variable, as it should be for you as well, if you are hopping from ecosystem to ecosystem. I am aware of my place, I respect it, we have a relationship of mutuality. On the surface, you may think me silly and hilarious, with my hopping antics, my wild racing across the fields or meadows or forests. I am happy in the higher places, I'll never be all that content at sea level, and you may find yourself drawn to the wisdom of hills and mountains and rises. Whether gentle or steep, we know how to appreciate a good hike to see the view beneath us, don't we? It's not always an easy life, I feel you know this well. I am hunted, and I am prey. But there are those who look out for me, and I look out for myself, too. I'm watchful, wary, made to inhabit my environment as perfectly as possible, whether white as new-fallen snow, or as grey-brown as a stone in a grassy field. Look for my moon and goddess wisdom too, if you wish, look deeper, into how I am anchored with the legends of the land and fertility. Oh, we can go so far together, you and I, across the fields or meadows or forests.'
( More under the cut. )
--been to see Lawyer Friend with scruloose and signed a heap of financial paperwork;
--voted in the advance polls for the provincial election (which is this coming Tuesday);
--called (CALLED, with the despicable VOICE APP) to follow up with the library branch where I returned the book last week (the library staff member who picked up was awesome);
--successfully ordered a Slasher Chicks tank top from Unicorn Empire (tomorrow is the last day to order, y'all), which I'm counting as adulting because it got stressful when there was a period of many hours when the tank top option vanished, and I really want that and not either of the t-shirts (and okay, the shop didn't respond when I asked about it on Facebook, but the tank top did eventually reappear and I still asked, which is hard for me);
--tweeted at the local community net to ask after my still-unanswered/unverified "please renew my account" email (a small thing, but again, stressful);
--done a fair bit of laundry.
Okay, that's not actually as long a list as I'd hoped, but some weeks you take what you can get. And now I'm gonna get to work.
Or maybe I feel uneasy because the story is in such a weird place: it's an AU WIP that's so AU that I've basically decided that I'm going to take the serial numbers off and let it breathe as its own thing...except that'll mean rewriting absolutely everything I've already gotten down. So "sharing a chunk" would mean "sharing words that I already expect will never see the light of day even as part of a complete draft". (But I love those words.) (But it's a weird thing to post.) (But I've already shared swaths of it with ushobwri on workshop days, if not for quite a while, so what's the big deal, self?)
Community promotions! china_shop just created nanodownunder, which will run in June and offer daily check-in posts. I've signed up in another attempt at getting an external kick in the pants; I haven't made it anywhere near as far as trying to figure out what I might attempt to work on.
Anyway, china_shop is lovely, and it sounds fun. Do come join!
Also, prompt claims are now open at smallfandomfest! (Complete spreadsheet of prompts here.) The prompt list accrues new prompts with each round, rather than discarding the list of unfilled prompts and starting over, which means it's fairly long. ^_^ And there's a new Newsflesh prompt. Made by someone I don't know. (My fandom is small enough that wholly unfamiliar names literally always startle me for a second.)
And it's a smutty prompt for my ship, so clearly I should try to write something for it, because a) how often does that happen? and b) it's a prompt that meshes perfectly with my headcanon.
Tomorrow we're signing some Very Grown Up (and uninteresting, alas) money-related paperwork, which always feels intimidating. One nice thing is that our lawyer friend (formerly of Casual Job, who passed the bar just last year) is doing the necessary lawyerly things; if we must spend money on getting paperwork extensively handled, I'm glad (some of) it's going to a friend.
I'm waiting on such dull things, guys. For one, an email notifying me that my ancient email account that I never use but don't want to let go of has been renewed for another year (it's with the local freenet, and they require you to say "please renew my account for another year" annually, which is kind of annoying, and I did it a bit late. And I really wish the damn "okay, that's done!" reply would turn up so I can forget about it for another year.
For another, when I was out erranding with my mom last Thursday, we stopped by a library branch I don't usually go to, and since she was going in and I otherwise didn't need to, she dropped a book of mine that was due that day into the returns bin. Great! Except my online account still thinks it's checked out (and thus overdue). I've been logging in once or twice a day to see if it's been checked in, and tonight (after business hours) I finally tweeted to the library system's account to ask "um, when should I start worrying?"
These are small, boring things, and since I'm not wired to put stuff like that out of my mind, I can't stop thinking about them. >.< I've hit the point of actively resenting the amount of mental real estate they're taking up between them.
"Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading".
Via deifire, "George A. Romero Is Planning a NASCAR Zombie Movie".
"If You're Under 16, You Won't Believe What The Internet Used To Be Like". [Buzzfeed, in case the title didn't give it away]
"'A Kingdom On Wheels': The Hidden World That Made The Circus Happen".
"Nevertheless, He Persisted: Tales of Masculine Perseverance". [McSweeney's]
"13 Real AF Situations Every Anxious Person Has Experienced". [Buzzfeed]
"The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack".
"Exclusive: Could the legend come true? Tower of London raven allowed to fly free".
"On the radar: receipts". [OxfordWords Blog] "How and when did ‘receipts’ come to mean ‘proof’?"
"Surreal Pencil Drawings Look Like How Repressing Your Emotions Feels". (Really neat; also frequently disturbing.)
"Exploring Yugoslavia’s Mysterious Abandoned Brutalist Monuments: Serbian photographer Jovana Mladenovic photographs forgotten post-World War II sculptures".
"Dear Media: Please Stop Simply Saying the Rape Charges Against Julian Assange Were “Dropped”". [The Mary Sue]
"Why you should never ever feed bread to a duck".
"Coming Up Aces: What does asexual mean?" [Queership]
At Baking Bites: "A Visit to The Museum of Ice Cream, Los Angeles".
"Presenting…The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide!" [Matt Wallace]
"A Brief History of 'Squee': The word has its fans". [Merriam-Webster]
"The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages: Communal living is hardly a departure from tradition—it's a return to how humans have been making their homes for thousands of years".
--I promise not to get in the habit of signal boosting lots of aftertheendtimes posts over here, but cantarina is trying to gauge interest in a fanworks exchange covering all of seanan_mcguire's worlds.
--scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I went to Happy Veal for lunch, and we're forced to conclude that while the food ranges from "tasty" to "AMAZING" (hello, green onion pancakes), the service is just always either mediocre or awful, so we're always going to have to calculate if we're up for dealing with that. ( TL;DR, the food arrived SLOWLY. No, more slowly than that ) And yet I can't swear off the place. The green onion pancakes are so good I could cry.
--Garden: scruloose dug out the rough shape of the flowerbed, and it looks like getting that ready will be trickier than we'd hoped. OTOH, transplanting our six tiny Lemon Boy tomato seedlings into their interim pots was quick and simple. And in between those things, when Kas and Ginny dropped me and scruloose off, they came in to borrow a spade and see the breathtaking new openness of our small back yard. Ginny got a look at Neighbor L's dandelion ripper, and then scruloose brought our shiny new one out...and Ginny proceeded to spend something like half an hour, in her Fluevogs and cute dress, merrily massacring dandelions for the sheer delight of using the thing.
It's remarkably satisfying. [/understatement]
Ways to Give:
rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They are frequently running out of money for gas to even do odd jobs for pay. You can read more and help out here.
Help For Free:
florentinequill linked to The PRIDE Study, the first large-scale, long-term health study of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual or gender minority. You can read more and sign up to participate here.
darlingarmadillo's third roommate is moving out and she's seeking a new roommate for a three-bedroom condo, bedroom unfurnished, two cats, in-unit laundry, workout room, near the Howard stop in Chicago; $750/mo. You can read more and get in touch at her craigslist posting here.
News To Know:
zorilleerrant linked to the upcoming Static Shock Appreciation Week, to celebrate the television show Static Shock and the comics and other media the character appeared in. Appreciation week starts on May 29th, and you can share fanart, fanfic, meta, and other commentary on the character, including themed daily posts. You can read more and spread the word here.
And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Today's plan to dig out a small flowerbed was set aside when the board emailed to take us up on our offer (us and Neighbor G, who'd been planning to take our unwanted shrub) to just dig the plant up ourselves. The landscaper they'd consulted didn't think it was worth it to try to transplant the shrub, which worked out, because G had realized that it wasn't actually a good fit for him after all.
So G and scruloose spent a while digging the poor unwanted thing up, which went pretty fast once we thought to truss it up like a Christmas tree (getting its branches out of the way) and our neighbor remembered he has a pickaxe to go with our pair of spades. (scruloose and I spent a chunk of yesterday shopping for garden supplies and equipment.) The combination of a pickaxe and not attempting to save the plant made it go very fast indeed, although then there was another hour or so of digging roots and rocks out of the hole, plus ripping dandelions out of the vicinity--thanks to Neighbor L, from our other side, who'd come outside and, when she heard me sadly mention our lack of a dandelion ripper, ducked in to lend me hers. (And now we have one too--I had to get some work done, so scruloose made another shopping run to get one of those, some grass seed, and some spray-on sunscreen. I keep forgetting the latter is a thing; I hate most sunscreen, but G said he actually uses the spray-on stuff, and let me use some to protect my outer-arm tattoo. And lo, I didn't hate it.)
In our shrub's death, I finally learned its name, because its tag was still attached at the base. It was a Tor Spirea/Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor'. I do feel bad for its fate, but I really did try to at least not mind it for seven years. (Or eight. Whichever.) And honestly? As soon as it was gone, while there was still just a big gaping hole where it'd been, I already felt so much better about the space.
Or, as scruloose said, "Suddenly it feels like being outside."
In honor of the occasion, I'm using Dreamwidth's image hosting for the very first time. Have a pic of the trussed spirea and one of scruloose dealing with its roots: ( I embedded thumbnails, but I'm still cutting the pics in case you don't feel like actually seeing the poor spirea's fate. There's also a bit of explanation of how much of what's visible in the second picture is space we're allowed to work with )
Anyway, hopefully tomorrow we'll get the little flowerbed dug out so we can plant...next weekend? Or the week after? And I'd like to get the Lemon Boy tomato seedlings settled into their compostable interim pots.
But I also have a half-volume of manga due tomorrow, which until Saturday night I'd somehow thought was due Wednesday. >.> So the amount of garden work we accomplish will depend a bit on that, too.
Blade of the Immortal trailer. [~2 min., subtitled]
"Supernatural Is Crossing Over With Scooby Doo Next Season".
"Lin-Manuel Miranda Joins the Cast of DUCKTALES Reboot".
Via erinptah, an FFA thread on what kind of fic summaries do or don't entice people.
"65 ‘Wonder Woman’ Images Highlight Amazonians, Allies, and Antagonists".
"Hugh Jackman didn’t know wolverines were real animals".
"On Captain America and the Spirit of Story". [Kiya Nicoll]
Over at ladybusiness, Ira and Anna have teamed up "to present you with two ways to skim the highlights of [The Vorkosigan Saga] in 5 books each". "This post is intended for two audiences: (1) People who have never encountered a Vorkosigan book in their life, or maybe have read one or two but don't really know the full series, so we can suggest a subset of the series that is readable by the Hugo voting deadline; and (2) Fans of the series so they can come argue with us about our picks. BOTH ARE SO WELCOME." (I'm in the former camp, so I've only skimmed the post and haven't gone into the comments.)
"What Will Sink Our Generation Ships? The Death of Wonder". [Kameron Hurley at Boing Boing]
"A Hot Steaming Sack Of Business Advice For Writers". [Chuck Wendig]
Via telophase, "New WannaCry Ransomware and How to Protect Yourself". (telophase's summary is "In short: if you're on Windows, make sure you're updated to the latest OS version. If you're on an unsupported version (XP, 2008), there's a patch you can load. Make sure your antivirus is updated.")
Signal boost: via 2017revival, I see that transandnonbinary is a newly-created community.
"The Ingenious Way TV Logos Were Made Before Computers".
"Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives".
ETA: juniperphoenix linked me to Ancestry.com's response: "Setting the Record Straight: Ancestry and Your DNA".
"An AI invented a bunch of new paint colors that are hilariously wrong".
"The Skeletal Structure of Japanese Horror Fiction: Digging into the Guts of Japanese Folklore". 
"Japanese Finally Comes To Duolingo".
General: Any rating is fine for adult characters but please don't make anything sexual with characters under 16 or explicit with characters under 18. No non-con. Minimal violence in kids' cartoon fandoms. Thanks for making me something! Some prompts are more specific/detailed than others; it doesn't mean I like those fandoms more, I'll be happy to get anything for any of these requests!
( Letter goes here )
The Democratic establishment was initially bent on ignoring him, considering the race a sure loss, while Republicans PACs poured millions to prop up their candidate, the cardboard cut-out plutocrat Gainforte. But Quist continued drawing huge crowds to his rallies, raised much more money via small donors than anyone expected him to, and the establishment and media finally started taking notice.
They're now calling this race a referendum on Trump's presidency and policies. I think they're right to characterize it this way. The GOP nominee Gainforte had previously run for governor in 2016. But at that time, he'd distanced himself from Trump, going so far as to refuse to attend Trump's rally. He lost the race for governor in a state that Trump won by 20 points. Now he's turned into a die-hard Trump booster, believing that no matter what happens, just like before, the majority of voters in his district will continue blindly supporting Trump, and tear down anyone who doesn't.
Strategists believe Gainforte holds a single-digit lead, but there have been no official polls done, and the margin of error going either way is high. A GOP loss could have a large impact on things such as the American Health Care Atrocity, Congress braking the country's slide to autocracy, etc. (It took a special election in 1974 to convince Washington that Nixon had become toxic.)
Anyway, I'm really hoping for a win, both because I think the candidate is amazing, and because of what it would mean.
You can donate to Quist's campaign here.
ETA: A group of 40 Montana writers distributed an insert in local Montana papers endorsing Quist. In their own words -- "In an unprecedented show of unity, more than forty of Montana’s best writers have gathered, in rapid response fashion, to write original essays and testimonials advocating for the protection of our public lands, and endorsing Democratic House of Representatives candidate Rob Quist’s position on this (literally) most common ground of issues."
It’s possible, even useful, to think of these places instrumentally: wild lands make for clean water which makes for good fishing which is good for tourism, etc. There are sound practical reasons to preserve our wilderness. But these are not my reasons. I want to be touched by mystery, to walk in a place that surpasses my idea of it, to not be in charge for once. I want to touch something greater than myself. And this is where it is.It's a brilliant collection.