It Can't Be!

Jul. 25th, 2014 02:38 pm
onyxlynx: Saluting snowman on back of "Bay Celebrations" (Winter Holiday Icon)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 90 degrees F.  In the Bay Area.

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes

Jul. 24th, 2014 12:17 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] beckyzoole !  May this be a beautiful and peaceful day for you!


Jul. 24th, 2014 03:07 am
maevele: (askars rawr)
[personal profile] maevele
I have contacted folks about joining concomm. have not gotten an official volunteer position, and am therefore not on the list yet, but I am looking forward to getting on the list, finding out what is going on, and doing whatever is needed to save wiscon.
trinker: I own an almanac. (Default)
[personal profile] trinker
I was drafting a more politic, measured note, but the truth is that I'm angry and heartsore and maybe it's the right place to write this from. (I nearly wrote "right this from," and I mean that, too.

I'm tired of seeing Wiscon failing to step up to the mark in some significant ways, when Wiscon walks the walk as well as can be managed in so many others. Hallway access and mindfulness to gender variance are wonderful, but when there's a continuing failure to respond to crisis at modern speeds, it's clear that it's time for big changes to be made.

I'm mindful of the careful consensus culture that Wiscon is founded on...but it works really badly for communication in crisis, whether outward facing notes to the public, or year to year handling of problem issues. There appears to be a horrible two-pronged approach where some things cannot be done without long deliberation by the mass; and other things are placed on individuals, to be potentially dropped or mishandled as other life crises or misconception or mishandling have unfortunate effects.

I am clear that Wiscon is capable of change and improvement, and that there are people with deep commitments to this process for Wiscon...but I also see the effect of 38 years of institutional practice, born of an era even before there was an internet. APA speeds are not sufficient for the issues Wiscon faces. The knowledge and practices of academia and published feminism and fandom are not the only places where our culture lives in 2014.

It is time for new tools and new processes. Teams rather than fiefdoms. Active recruitment rather than passive welcome. The lack of nimbleness and transparency is an archaicism that needs to end. The inability to simply post, "The concom is aware of the issue and is in discussion" both during MoonFail and in the aftermath of the Frenkel Decision is appalling. Asking everyone to wait with bated breath while the perfect wording is sorted out is an artifact of a bygone age.

The same issues that dog the larger world and create systemic injustices should not be meekly accepted at Wiscon -- not if it wishes to keep the epithet "The World's Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention". If it hopes to reclaim the title, it must be incorporating all the advances of the newest waves of feminism and social justice.

I thank the emeritus members of Wiscon for their service, and respectfully request that they consider laying aside their comfortable, well-worn processes. There are many things about the running of the physical convention that are functional and worth preserving. From the outside it appears that the communications and philosophy of the convention are in dire need of revison.

Express track to a radically revised Wiscon, incoming.

The Irony Patrol

Jul. 22nd, 2014 01:46 pm
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx

on the Wiscon issue

Jul. 21st, 2014 06:48 pm
maevele: bill the cat going ack (ackbill)
[personal profile] maevele
I have many thoughts, but few of them are clear and easy to articulate. The ones I can state include:

I believe it should have been a permanent ban, but I do not know what went on in discussions that caused people not to do that.

I believe if they were going to do this four year provisional thing, it should have been made more clear whether he can come back earlier if he proves he has reformed, and what level of proof of reformation would be required both before and after the four year period.

I truly believe that everyone involved was doing the best that they could in a fucked up situation with the information available, but there should have been more continuous communication between different years of con management, and a more deliberate effort to get more information.

More personally, I only interacted directly with frenkel twice. the first time he was rude to one of my children, and dismissed my speaking up for my kid rudely, and the second time he sat down to talk to me based on something he had overheard in a conversation, and made me subtly uncomfortable just by acting overly familiar and staring at my tits. Both of these incidents would have been in 09,(I think, maybe later, but while I was still married) and were enough that I avoided him ever since and was not surprised when more serious allegations surfaced. It seems likely to me that a lot of people encountered this sort of borderline harassment from him without ever feeling like it was something that could be reported because it was just subtle enough that you can't point at it.

also, this is making me reconsider my decision not to join the concomm a couple of years back,because y'all need angry people like me

Birthday greetings and felicitations!

Jul. 21st, 2014 12:53 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] gerisullivan !  Beautiful and placid day!
trinker: I own an almanac. (Default)
[personal profile] trinker
On reading the discussion at anatarcticlust post, I'm finding the Frenkel subcommittee issue an unfortunate example of the persistence of a certain sort of Wiscon conrunning culture -- slow motions by committees and subcommittees, opaque to the outside despite calls for (and promises of!) transparency; a concern for the legal exposure of Wiscon and the accused transgressors over the mental safety of some of the attendees; and falling back to defense by adherence to procedure. Most maddeningly, despite this, things end up being blamed on individual decisions.

Perhaps it's unfair, as some have claimed, to see these matters of organizational style as problematic, rather than simply cultural. I counter that by noting that Wiscon prides itself on being *the* feminist science fiction convention, not a small (and minor) regional con. (I note with some acerbity that evidently the other end of the scale also precludes effective action on issues of attendee harassment, for other spaces tagged as the premier international gathering.)

"We are volunteers!" Indeed. And yet the claim at other sorts of venues is that their organizations are profit-motivated, and thus unlikely to privilege the emotional safety of attendees. What sorts of organization can have functional codes of conduct? I have been seeing more than a few stepping forward to effect fundamental changes in the assumptions of proper behavior among attendees.

Slippery slopes are often invoked, as if the attendees are troublemaking exception-seekers rather than reasonable members of a community.

Wiscon's programming looks like Third Wave Feminism in action, and for that it's much beloved by many. Wiscon's concom (in the loosest definition of the term, as used by members of the wider Wiscon community who are not *on* the concom) appears not to be on the same wavelength.

Wiscon has an opportunity to be among the vanguard of organizations transforming the cultural expectations around contact and interaction, especially in a fandom where the emergence from a culture of male entitlement is among the most heated issues under discussion.

Wiscon at its inception may have stood lonely, as did the fannishness of which it was a part. In 2014, having a fondness of stfnal topics is no longer a proud and lonely thing. We are no longer in the age of the APA, nor even in the age of rec.arts.sf.fandom -- we are scattered, we are numerous, and we are far less subject to the gatekeepers. Wiscon is feeling Entish in a world that's increasingly lead by fast-acting social media. The slow deliberation would be less disheartening if it appeared to serve the gathering of the widest net for inputs (e.g. Readercon and Arisia's policies, and more importantly the *debate* that lead up to them, and the fallout from the first rounds of implementation.)

There seems to be a desire to re-invent the wheel...or perhaps just an ignorance of the existence of other transportation technologies. I understand that antarcticlust stepped up into a void, armed with willingness and some experience in a different realm. Forgive me, antarcticlust as I mean no personal insult toward a person with whom I have no prior significant interaction...but this seems rather colonialist, to come in from outside the culture with foreign knowledge, and to lead a council without taking on knowledge of the region's history with the topic at hand. Perhaps the fault lies with the other members of the committee. I do not know.

I can follow the logic of naming the committee for Frenkel, but it seems to me that this lead to a focus on Frenkel rather than the message this action was going to give...and further an excuse-making for the coming fallout as "we're not going to make everyone happy". The question is not "is everyone happy", but "what are the grounds for the various unhappinesses?" It reminds me of the way in which "dudebros" claim that all women will have issues with all interactions with all men, and therefore it's pointless to be mindful of consent and the comfort of women.

There's an implication that the problem is people being unreasonable. I counter by saying that it appears that the issue has been flattened by bureaucratic handling; as if the problem was encapsulated in the words set down on paper, and needing handling as an administrative issue, rather than being indicative of a cultural matrix that needed substantial shake up.

For some of Wiscon's most ardent attendees, Wiscon stands alone. For some of the rest of us, Wiscon is part of a cohort...and this divide seems to be part of the issue. My ideal Wiscon is part of a larger community. Is yours?
lotesse: (sorrow)
[personal profile] lotesse
It weirds me out when media doing fine arts heist plots show real famous paintings in their various fictional private collections - I always have a moment of "that belongs in a museum!" and then am driven to go and check where the pieces actually are, to affirm that they remain visible to the public. I'm watching Leverage, and the first season finale two-parter just showed Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring in the baddie's locked-down private gallery, when it's been in the Hague for more than a century - I know, because I checked.

It's like these shows take place in some horrible alternate universe where art is totally non-democratized. Vermeer in private collections, and - what was it, Picasso? Monet? - lost on James Cameron's Titanic.

(Am enjoying Leverage, but I wish it would play a bit harder. Watched Hannibal over the last few weeks, and wow it plays so hard. Whither happy mediums?)

Birthday greetings and felicitations!

Jul. 19th, 2014 06:56 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] kinetikatrue .  Because it has no business being the 19th today.  Hope you have had a day of joy and magic.

abusive family dynamics

Jul. 18th, 2014 11:24 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
When I was little, maybe five or six, I knew that a cheetah was an ape. I also knew that a cheetah was a spotted cat, the fastest land animal. For a long time, both facts existed without collision, because one of them was true at home, and the other was true at school. Eventually I noticed the contradiction and figured out that the incorrect fact came from the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies.

I tried to tell my dad, who was the one who liked the Tarzan movies. (My dad is not a native speaker of English, but I didn't realize that that was relevant. I knew his first language was Spanish, but I didn't really understand that. I remember not being able to understand why he hadn't been teased about his name, which was Joaquín.
"Didn't kids call you Joaquín Walking Down The Street?"
"No, because where I grew up, that would have been said, 'Joaquín, caminando por la calle'. It isn't funny."
Did not compute.)

Anyway, I tried to tell him that a cheetah was a cat, and he said no, a cheetah was a monkey, and I said I used to think that, because Tarzan called his friend Cheetah, but "Cheetah" was just Cheetah's name. The kind of animal he was was a chimpanzee. And my dad said no, a chimpanzee was a different kind of monkey, bigger than a cheetah, almost as big as a man. And I went away and thought. How did I know that a cheetah was a cat, given that some people said one thing and some said the other? Books! I realized. All the books said that a cheetah was a cat. So I got Volume C of the World Book Encyclopedia and brought it to my dad. He looked at it, and-- and this was not all that many minutes after our first conversation-- and said, "You see, I was right, a cheetah is a cat."
"No, daddy, I said a cheetah was a cat. You said a cheetah was a monkey."
"No, you thought a cheetah was a monkey. You said you learned that from the Tarzan movies."
I argued, he yelled at me for being arrogant, for always needing to be right. I ran away crying. He yelled after me that I was crying because I couldn't stand being wrong.

My mother said that what really happened didn't matter: what mattered was that I should have known better than to correct him. Ever. And even if I was sure that I was thinking that a cheetah was a cat when I went to get the book, I couldn't be sure that I hadn't said it the wrong way around. And if I was so smart, why couldn't I learn not to say things to Dad that made him angry?

Well, my dad was always a little bit angry (except when he was very angry) and I was always a little bit afraid (except et cetera), but I have always been stupid about feelings and I never did learn how to avoid setting him off.

I was reminded of this by [ profile] amaebi's observations on conversational rules of correction. Rules are helpful. Rules I can learn.

Saki in a Birthday Bag!

Jul. 18th, 2014 10:50 pm
lavendertook: frodo and sam sprinkles on cup cakes (birthday hobbits)
[personal profile] lavendertook
A very happy birthday to [personal profile] mews1945!!! For your birthday, Saki has decided to deliver herself to you.

SAKI: I'm all bagged up and ready to visit Mews. It's kind of weird, though, that I'm in a bag and can still see you. It's like I'm in the Bag World. And you must be a Bagwraith.

Enter the bag here . . . )

And next we'll take a stroll around the lake:

Here's that corner of the lake with all the wildflowers, earlier in the season before the gallardia and black-eyed susans took center stage.

And there's more to see. . . )

Medievally Speaking: recommended

Jul. 18th, 2014 09:42 am
ithiliana: (Dragons!)
[personal profile] ithiliana
"An Open Access Review Journal Encouraging Critical Engagement with the Continuing Process of Inventing the Middle Ages". Excellent review of the Vaccaro collection on materiality and bodies in Tolkien's work.

Am zipping over to add to my feed!

ETA: Feed:

sometimes i lives in the country

Jul. 17th, 2014 08:55 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
This is the view from the house where I used to live with my husband.
double rainbow
There's a panorama of the whole double rainbow here:


Jul. 17th, 2014 05:53 pm
tablesaw: A stick-figure person walking in a carefree manner. The caption reads, 'Haters gonna make some good points' (Haters)
[personal profile] tablesaw
I'm not even done with this article and I already want to blog about it. Well, mostly I just want to blog. Well, mostly I want to put something on my DW. (And a little bit I want to play Spelunky.)

I've been thinking about blogging vs. Twitter for a little bit. I've been aware that there are lots of aspects of Twitter that make me quieter on it. Obviously, there's the length restrictions, which I react to pretty strongly. I find it hard to make statements that comprise more than one tweet. But there's also the speed of tweet/retweet/response (Tumblr has a similar cycle), which I just have a hard time keeping up with. But there's an also an issue of time and speed. I also know that it will add to my blog's accruing history (which I see is going to become important in the part of the article I am still getting to).

As I said, I'm still working my way through Vance's article, but the portion about form and content as regards Twitter polarized me on that matter, highlighting the exploitative structure of its form. One of those things is the way that Twitter is obsessively focused on the "now".
Consider all the reasons why our intrepid capitalists of yesteryear replaced the (almost) timeless Holy Bible with a newspaper whose time is always the present; consider the political redefinition of 'content' to mean consumable rather than everlasting. A Tweet™ spends no more than a day or two in public view before vanishing into a database somewhere. Once our Tweet™ has been consumed and forgotten we make another and another, never Tweeting™ the same thing twice without dedicating 5 characters to an apologetic "ICYMI" (in case you missed it). The 'form' of Twitter, like that of the newspaper, demands a constant stream of new things to bury all the old ones.
On Twitter (and Tumblr), I do feel that pressure of having to put forward quantity a quantity of "content" that's more than I can really sustain in order to have a "presence." And as a result, existing on those sites makes me feel like a ghost, passive. Writing on a blog—my blog—give me a sense of place, and also lets me slow things down to my own speed.

There's also the fact that Dreamwidth remains a noncommercial open-source system, which I can depend on to stay relatively true to its mission statement (though there are, of course, ways that the structure still affects how I write). It just feels like a more comfortable place to be right now, even if I don't think anybody's going to be around to read it. (He says, knowing that once he posts this, links to it will be posted on Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, etc.)

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes

Jul. 17th, 2014 02:47 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] snippy , who continues to recover!  A peaceful and pleasant day!

wednesday reading

Jul. 16th, 2014 08:15 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

This I Believe: the personal philosophies of remarkable men and women. For book group. Mostly, they are nice. The only one that has given me to think is William F. Buckley, who says,
I've always liked the exchange featuring the excited young Darwinian at the end of the nineteenth century. He said grandly to the elderly scholar, "How is it possible to believe in God?" The imperishable answer was, "I find it easier to believe in God than to believe that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop." That rhetorical bullet has everything -- wit and profundity.

Come on. Yes, if atheism means that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop, then atheism is nonsense. But atheism does not mean that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop. Here's what I believe, Mr. Buckley: you should not argue against someone else's position unless you know what it is. And if you cannot say what it is in a statement that your opponent agrees is true, you do not know what it is.

• What did you recently finish reading?

And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

Content notes: Read more... )

There are a lot of twos in this book: Two disfigured little girls. Two highly privileged young men who have a brief but intense connection to someone whose desperate state inspires a mercifully fleeting desire to become a better person. Two people who spend decades with the object of their unrequited, unspoken love. I think this must be some literary technique at work, reflecting or reinforcing the main pairing: two women named Pari, one of whom used to imagine the other was her invisible identical twin.

There are sibling or sibling-like relationships in all the stories in this book. The ones between people who are actually present in each other's lives are strong but unsatisfying, as real relationships tend to be. The ones that are broken or only imagined are far more compelling than reality.

If I weren't reading it for book group, I wouldn't have gotten very far with its mood of longing for a different, better world combined with the futility of making any changes in this one.

No Man's Nightingale, by Ruth Rendell. Satisfactory. Inspector Wexford is old, and he investigates things as an old man would. He putters around. He is reminded of things. He thinks about the way things used to be. He forgets things. He remembers them again. Not very exciting, but I enjoy it. It confused me that two of the main suspects (and one minor character) were men with the initials D.C. I know real life is confusing that way, but fiction doesn't have to be.

The House on Fortune Street, by Margot Livesey.

Content notes: Read more... )

This book is preoccupied with the question: When is love wrong?

Interesting. Well-written. Very sad.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Maybe Three Parts Dead, for SF bookgroup.
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Fenton's Ice Cream, which will be celebrating National Ice Cream Day on Sunday (7/20).
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