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Earlier this summer a friend said they were going to vote for Trump.

I turned bright red, I kid you not. Bright bright red. Even I thought it was funny. They said, “I take it you’re a Hillary fan,” and I said, truthfully, that it wasn’t so much that I was pro-Hillary as I was vehemently anti-Trump. (This has changed: I’ve really had to examine my prejudices against Hillary and question how many of them were instilled by 30 years of media telling me she was evil and corrupt, but that’s another post.)

My friend said, “Why?” and I said, “Because Trump thinks that women are things, not people, and if he’s elected President he’s going to be the person appointing at least two, up to probably five, Supreme Court justices, and every right women have will get rolled under. If you think, for example, that there are any circumstances ever under which a woman should be able to have an abortion, you should not vote for Trump.”

(I don’t know if I had the clarity of mind at that moment to actually say “You in fact need to vote for Clinton if you think women are people,” because a vote for a third party in a two-party system isn’t a protest vote, it’s taking support away from whichever major party, whether you like it or not, aligns more closely with your values, hopes and expectations of your country. Which is also another post.)

I asked them why they liked Trump, and they said they liked the sense that he was cutting through the bullshit and saying what he thought and that somebody who wasn’t tied to the political system seemed like they could do a lot of good.

I said I understood that, to a degree, because I *do* understand that it feels like politicians frequently say one thing and do another, and that they’re always very careful about what they say so they aren’t committing to anything, and I *get* that there are millions of lower and middle class white Americans who feel like nobody in Washington is listening to them.

I also said that Trump is a billionaire, he was born a billionaire, he’s going to die a billionaire, and he absolutely does not care about the lives or futures of people who are not billionaires, regardless of the stories he might tell from the pulpit.

I said as somebody for whom the environment is an important topic I thought Trump would literally burn the world down in the name of making a profit for himself and his billionaire friends and that it would do the rest of us no economic good at all. And I said I didn’t have any great hopes for Clinton improving things environmentally but I thought she at least wouldn’t make it worse.

My friend said I’d given them something to think about, and admitted they hadn’t thought beyond the surface of Trump’s presentation. They said that that was on them, it was something they should have done.

I don’t know if I convinced them to vote for Clinton. Obviously I hope I did. But honestly for me what mattered most was that we had a conversation about politics and nobody (especially me, because who are we kidding, I’m prone to this) flew off the handle, and that we both made each other *think* a little bit. And that’s valuable, not just to me personally but to our political system and our future as a whole.

(Ad hominem attacks in comments will not be tolerated.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
20 July 2016 @ 09:08 pm

At the beginning of July all the Star Trek episodes became available on Netflix. I let out a squee heard ’round the world (it was, too, thanks to Twitter), because I’ve been wanting to watch it with Indy; I was a little younger than he was when I watched pretty well the entire original series (the, er, only series, at that point), and I think it’s a pretty great age to be introduced to Trek.

The non-Kirk pilot is not included, and the episodes are presented by air date rather than production date, which is…pretty clearly not ideal, but I’m not dedicated enough (especially since I’m watching with Indy) to hop around and watch them in production order.

So the story starts in media res with the pretty awful and yet in moments brilliant “The Man Trap,” where a salt-desperate alien able to take on the form of anybody that someone thinks strongly enough about kills several Enterprise crewmen in an attempt to survive. There are sexual politics at once embarrassing and not too horrible for their time, but the thing I liked most was how sympathetically, in the end, the alien was presented: she was the last of her species, not *bad*, but trying to survive. And there’s a straight-up amazing moment when she transforms into McCoy, and Deforest Kelly’s body language flawlessly mimics the actress playing the alien’s. My hat is off, sir.

The alien’s real, monstrous form, once revealed, was sufficiently scary to Indy that he told me he didn’t want to watch any more of that show, and (before he was in any danger of going to sleep) that he had had a bad dream about it. Fortunately, we’d bought a dreamcatcher for him while in North Carolina, so I put that up and all was well.

This morning he asked quite eagerly if we were going to watch more of Star Trak tonight. :)

So tonight we watched the second (aired) episode, “Charlie X,” and hot damn, people, Captain James T Kirk gives a straight-up lesson in consent to the teenage guest star in that episode:

Kirk: It’s not a one-way street, how you feel & that’s all. It’s how she feels, too. If she feels anything for you at all, you’ll know it. There are a million things in this universe you can have & a million things you can’t. It’s no fun facing that, but it’s the way things are.

I knew, in fact, that Kirk was generally a lot more progressive & outspoken about womens’ rights than his reductive image has made him. But the SECOND EPISODE. That was awesome. Also awesome is that I paused it there to ask Indy what had happened:

Me: Does he like that girl?
Indy: Yeah.
Me: Does she like him?
Indy: No.
Me: So what does that mean?
Indy: He should leave her alone!

Leaving me w/this cross sense of
1. My 6 year old gets this, &
2. Aren’t geeks supposed to admire/emulate Kirk? HERE’S A NUMBER TAKE A CLUE

Anyway, aside from excellent unexpected consent lessons, “Charlie X” is a really, *really* good episode. It’s chock full of behavioural lessons and impossible quandaries both for the crew and the guest star, and yeah, wow, that one knocked it right out of the park. (It was written by a woman, DC Fontana, and now I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her episodes.)

(Kirk’s costume changed almost every time he left the room and came back again. I noticed it, pointed it out to Indy, and Indy noticed it after that. :) But wow, the remastered colors! Some of those shirts really ARE green! And oh my, the dramatic lights falling across the eyes in key and tense moments… ♥ :))

(Also, oh, my, yes, Uhura really does flirt with Spock from the outset! I love it!)

(And the crew IS multi-ethnic! And there are women wearing pants! And…! ♥!!!!)

Indy is looking forward to watching the next eposide tomorrow. ♥!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
15 July 2016 @ 12:33 pm

Except this is not a Kitsnaps. This is a picture taken by Young Indiana, who is captivated by my big camera and asked, “Mama, can *I* try some pfa..fopa…forpar…far-tography?”

I think “‘far’tography” is the most wonderful word in the world, and will be featuring Indy’s far-tography from time to time on Kitsnaps. What a darling kid. <3 h_baloo

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
15 July 2016 @ 08:13 am

there is too much to do today. this week. i’m out of steam, overwhelmed, and tired, although i feel the latter is hopefully mostly due to indy getting up more than an hour earlier than i hoped he would.

still, it’s the kind of morning that makes me wish i drank coffee. #sigh

thinks to do today assuming i am not the one who goes into town but at least accomplish by monday:
finish laundry
– put laundry away
clean the kitchen (well, it’s clean*er*…)
– vacuum living room
– bonus: vacuum kitchen area carpet
– bonus bonus: vacuum entryway
– tidy JUST OnE SHELF in the living room
– work on silly paranormal romance novella
– do many, many REDEEMER notes
– do newsletter
post a kitsnaps
– finish chance extras

by month’s end:
– finish REDEEMER notes
– finish silly paranormal romance novella
get FINAL OLD RACES STORY posted to patreon
– get YEAR OF MIRACLES compiled & posted to patreon
– coordinate with ted for getting YEAR OF MIRACLES collection e-pubbed
– try to get BEWITCHING BENEDICT revisions done

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
11 July 2016 @ 11:02 pm

I did a little coloring whilst in Amurrica. I might’ve done more, except the next few pages I can do with crayons and I didn’t have any. (More accurately, I only had access to 24, which is totally not enough. Also I screwed up and didn’t put a color-catcher page between two of the pages so I need to see if I can erase the colored pencil shadows that got pressed through onto what’s supposed to be my next page to color.)

(Other people don’t worry about things like this, do they? Oh well.)

eqp09

Indy: How come you didn’t color the lady?
Me: I did. She’s just really really pale.
Indy: *looks so dubious*

eqp10

There are like…four versions of the swooping off with Leetah scene in this coloring book. I mean, okay, one is Leetah saving Dewshine from the zwoot & her and Cutter being all sexytimes above it, so it’s not exactly the same, but it’s damn close, and then there’s this one and there’s another one with Cutter snatching Leetah & breaking Rayek’s spear and then there’s a THIRD that’s a simplified version of the scene/emotional content that was done for a potential, not-using-the-book-art coloring book that never happened, and honestly, one of those would have been enough. It’s a like 32 page coloring book, it really didn’t need four versions of that scene. Or two. Especially when I can think of dozens and dozens of frames I’d have loved to have seen in the coloring book.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
04 July 2016 @ 05:22 pm

Picoreview: The Legend of Tarzan: Unexpectedly good!

Now, I grant you that it’s possible my expectations going in were *so low* that anything that didn’t make me hide behind my hands and moan with the horror of it all was going to be unexpectedly good, but honestly, I really enjoyed it. I would watch more of those, and not just because Alexander Skarsgård spends a gratifyingly large percentage of the film with his shirt off (although sweet mistress of the moon, that doesn’t hurt. he’s really beautiful in this movie.).

But, okay, so here’s the thing:

It’s a Tarzan story. It’s inspired by books that are a hundred years old, and it wants to be recognizeably *of* those books. That means it’s pretty much “What These People Need Is A Honky,” and it’s my opinion that you can’t really take that away without completely divorcing it from the source material so thoroughly that it’s no longer the thing you’re advertising it as. So I have to say that I start by accepting that it’s an inherently problematic premise.

That said, it felt to me like as bang-up, respectful a job of a WTPNIAH story as is possible.

It’s a film set mostly in Africa that’s actually full of African people who have lines and opinions and, indeed, personalities even if they have no lines. (There’s one young man, I think the actor is Ashley Byam, who is so charismatic it practically hurts. I would watch him in *anything*, dear *lord*.) They’re only ever condescended to by the bad guys, and they deliver more than one slap-down in the face of that condescension.

There’s a moment in the film where Tarzan makes a plan, has an amendment suggested by one of the African tribe members, and goes “okay” without hesitation, which is not generally how these things work in movies. It was, to me, extremely like the moment in Fury Road where Furiosa changes routes, a guy says to her “What’s up,” she says “Change of plans,” and he’s just like, “Okay! Change of plans!” which also never, ever happens in film: women are always argued with (see: ALL of Jurassic World) and white heroes among the natives always have the better plans. But I thought there were a lot of moments like that, and moments where it’s not…I mean, yes, it’s White Man Tarzan Swooping In For The Rescue, but it’s also equally Inhuman Wild Man Tarzan Clearing A Path which allows ordinary mortals (including Jane and Samuel L Jackson’s American soldier, George Washington Williams, but equally often, the tribal members) to achieve the actual goal. And so *flails*, again, yes, WTPNIAH, but equally What These People Need Is A Superhero. It *worked* for me. It worked *well* for me, given the constraints of what makes a Tarzan story.

Margot Robbie doesn’t have a great deal to do as Jane, but she repeatedly does well with what she’s got. She’s a vastly more vibrant character than Tarzan, honestly, happier in Africa for reasons that make sense in the context of the story (she’s not the one trying to wear a human suit that doesn’t fit especially well), and she’s *fierce*. I’d pay to watch a Jane film, honestly. Jackson was a lot of fun as the American totally unsure of how to deal with Tarzan’s wild skills, and he’s given a bit of backstory that comes from somewhere less obvious than I’d expected, which was cool.

The CGI was mostly good, the scenery was gorgeous, I liked the *costuming* (and I’m not just talking about Skarsgård running around half naked for two-thirds of the film), and just overall I was unexpectedly delighted with it. I hope it makes tons of money, because I’d genuinely love to see more.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
27 June 2016 @ 11:08 pm

We’re on holiday in America. Flew to Michigan, then drove to North Carolina. The first night in the RV, we stayed at one of those RV campground type places that feature heavily in horror movies. Obviously we survived, but Ted and I kind of went O.O at each other. Also I flooded the back of the RV by over-flushing the toilet! Go me!

But fireflies! I’ve finally seen fireflies! They’re goddamn magical, OMG. Wow. Wow. SO COOL! Also cardinals and bluebirds! I’d never seen them before! (My high school was the Kenai Kardinals. I honestly thought ‘cardinal’ was spelled with a K until I was about 20, and spent a fair number of years wondering why the cardinals in Pamela Dean’s Secret Country books were mis-spelled. #blush)

Thunderstorm along with the first fireflies, too. Lightning in the background, flashing purple against the clouds, with golden lightning bugs scattered thru the trees in the foreground. So beautiful. I wish I had the photographic skills to have captured the imagery.

Driving through MI, there are all these great little red-winged blackbirds all over the place. Very crisp coloring. “They look like little fascists!” said Ted.

“Well-dressed ones,” I said.

“Aren’t they all?” Ted asked.

Me: JESUS CHRIST GAS IS 2.49 A LITRE WHAT THE HELoh that’s a gallon JESUS CHRIST GAS IS 2.49 A GALLON WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY

Also me: oh 57km to Madison oh that’s not ba–oh wait that’s miles i really don’t belong to this country anymore

Northern Tennessee, I guess. Driving thru soft misty green rolling hills. Strikes me that maybe I’m sposd to see them as mountains & that we’ve reached the Appalachians. (TBF, they were probably the Appalachian foothills, as the Appalachians proper are somewhat more mountain-like. Wee soft things, but still, pretty definitely mountains.)

Americans are so…American. So friendly. Much smiles. I’d forgotten how when you’re on a walk most of the drivers will wave at you as you go by.

And the food. Weird goddamn flavorless anemic American butter. Weird goddamn cloying corn syrup American Pepsi. O blessed American root beer. O god, the land of 40oz “medium” drinks, wth, America.

Everybody in NC: OMG YOU SO PINK YOU BURNING
Me: I’m fine, I’m sunscreened, I just turn hot pink in the heat.
(I am tanning, though. For my value of tanning.)

I don’t want to live in the hills of North Carolina myself, but I can understand why people do. None of it’s anything like Alaska, not really, but it reminds me of home in its way, and it’s beautiful. I’d be really happy to come out here for a month or so to write and let Indy run around in the sunshine.

nc_panorama

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
19 June 2016 @ 06:05 pm

Almost four hours into his Deep Brain Stimulation app calibration Dad texted us:

Almost done. Exhausted but elated. Am texting this with steady hands.

We all got a little emotional, to tell the truth. Dad’s DBS surgery was just over a month ago, and he’s been healing ridiculously well. Every single wound site is essentially invisible, with no obvious scarring or trauma, and we’ve all been kind of trying to imagine just how different life was going to be for him when he returned home from his calibrations.

When he arrived home, he said, sort of bemused, “All I did was sit there for four hours saying, “Mary had a little lamb,” and bringing a cup or a biscuit to my mouth over and over again, but it was really intense!” But then, four hours of repetitive motion is pretty damn intense even if nobody is running itty bitty electrical currents through your brain to see how they affect your motion, and that, of course, is exactly what the team was doing with him for all those hours.

Although apparently pretty well the entire surgical team stopped by to admire their handiwork, there was a smaller team on hand for the calibration process: the doctor, the nurse who held Dad’s hand through the surgery, and the software representative for the company that developed this particular DBS app—remember that Dad is only the second person in the world to have had this specific surgery, which makes him an exceptionally interesting test subject.

It also means there’s no template at all for these calibrations, and while he imagines that everyone goes through an equally intense and careful process for DBS calibration, we expect the work they’re doing with him will become part of their template, which is pretty amazing.

Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
17 June 2016 @ 10:37 pm

I don’t have anything wildly brilliant to say about my Early Morning Oxford Photography Expedition, except that I was very, very glad I’d gotten up so early because the day was absolutely glorious, and the next morning, which would have been my only other chance to take pictures, was heavily misty, which wouldn’ta been so nice. :)

I have a deep fondness for shadow-selfies. I don’t know why, really. I just find them pleasing, and the gold wall with gold morning light seemed a particularly suitable place for one. :)
Oxford_ShadowSelfie

This is the quite magnificent Methodist church more or less around the corner from where I was staying. (The place I stayed, called the Cherwell Guest House, was about as minimial (and as cheap) as you could possibly find in a B&B, but they were incredibly understanding about my whole “well I’ve booked for 11 nights but I could be here 8 or I could be here 15, I just don’t know,” situation, and were perfectly happy to let me go home with no penalty after 4 nights, so frankly if you need genuinely budget accommodations in Oxford and very nice people running them, I recommend it. None of that has anything to do with the church, but all I know about the church is it’s pretty, anyway, so. :))
Oxford_Methodist_Church

Edmund’s Church, Oxford, is off to the right there. I spent a fair amount of time taking pitures of its very cool garden through its gates, and didn’t come up with one I liked enough to share. :p
Oxford_Edmunds_Church

Towers cast morning shadows on Radcliffe Library, or at least I think that’s what the rotunda is called. Possibly it’s the University Church towers casting the shadows, but I don’t think so. I think it’s just the super cool building beside the rotunda. :)
Oxford_RadcliffeShadows

Said super cool building can be seen to the left, here. :)
Oxford_RadcliffeSquare

I wish this was a much nicer picture, but I couldn’t get it any better without climbing over things I wasn’t supposed to. Anyway, it’s for Tersa, even if it’s not actually a rose window. :)
Oxford_ChurchWindow

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
14 June 2016 @ 11:34 pm

I feel that that’s a provocative subject line, but it’s the root question being posed here, so…

I’m reading a book. It’s a decent book. Written by a guy, four or so main characters, one of whom is a woman, and she’s beautiful, which is fine. Viewpoint Bad Guy Character creeps on her, which is creepy but okay fine he’s the bad guy. He creeps on all the other (attractive) women he encounters too. It’s gross but certainly recognizeable.

Hero Viewpoint Character does not creep on her, which is good! What he does do, though, is constantly, *repeatedly*, every time he looks at her, thinks about her beauty, admires her beauty, says to himself, “Self, I would like to spend more time with this woman,” which okay fine whatever, I find it sort of nauseating, not quite as uncomfortable as the Viewpoint Bad Guy but still pretty much “ugh,” and so my question became:

Is this just bad writing (because it is bad writing, it makes me go “ugh” and I’d like to think if it was well done I wouldn’t go “ugh”) or is it actually decently representative of how men think?

Or I don’t know, maybe how *people* think, except, I mean, I know some very beautiful people, people I like to look at, but I do not actively think of their beauty every time I look at them. Literally the only time in my life I can remember thinking of someone’s beauty every time I saw them was Harry Cavill in The Man From UNCLE, because every time he came on screen I was just like “my GOD he’s beautiful, my GOD he is SO BEAUTIFUL,” and I thought it was *ridiculous* that I couldn’t think of anything except his beauty.

I mean like there’s the opening credits of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid where there’s this sepia shot of Paul Newman and even in sepia his eyes are just so freaking blue, so clear and so incredible, that it’s a *moment* of sort of falling over sweet jesus what beauty, and there’s like that gif of Marlon Brando rolling his eyes that I could stare and giggle helplessly at for like a week straight, and okay possibly the entirety of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Newman and Taylor is pretty nearly like that, but those, to me, are pretty extreme cases. I mean, Ted wandered in the other day to see a picture of George Clooney on the screen and said, correctly, “My God, he’s beautiful,” which is absolutely true, but that’s a passing observation; one swiftly becomes *accustomed* to that beauty, and moves on. That was why Cavill in The Man From UNCLE was so absurd: I could not stop noticing how utterly beautiful he was, and that was completely outside my experience.

But that kind of writing from a male POV isn’t all that *unusual*, and so it leads me to wonder if that really *is* decently representative of the male experience (or indeed, the female experience outside my own).

(If it is in fact representative of the male experience but not, broadly speaking, the female experience, I have a lot of Opinions about society and expectation and objectifying and things like that on the matter, but it’s late here and we’ll leave the unpacking of that for another time. :))

ETA: I should note the Hero Character does not seem badly socialized or at all an ass; I have the impression that if the Female Lead said “nah, not interested” he’d be all “okay, cool” about it, not manboy-crushed-self-esteem or anything, which is actually I think why I’m asking: this isn’t the boy who can’t take a hint or doesn’t know how to talk to girls or whatever, it’s an apparently pretty average decent human being, just with this weird-to-me constant *active* awareness of/fixation on How Lovely This Woman Is, and do men really just do that all the time or is it really just bad writing?

ETA2: I mean I get being aware you’re attracted to someone and even noticing “god damn they’re hot” unexpectedly, perhaps even often, and perhaps it’s just that it’s compressed into a book and therefore really noticeable and stuff in which case it’s emphatically bad writing, but…yeah, I’m going to bed now.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)