Mirrored from Twisting Vines.
Lousy weather notwithstanding, I am soldiering onwards with planting in the back garden. (And, indeed, some things are even growing.) This week, it was time to establish the new bean wigwam.
First job was to prise up some more paving slabs, as this is an area I haven’t used before. Next, to shove a few bamboo canes firmly into the ground and tie them together. Here it is, modelled by my glamorous and somewhat grubby assistants Leon and Sidney:
The other beds are all standard raised beds (made from pallets), but this time I haven’t had a chance to build a proper bed. So for now I’m just piling compost around the poles and planting into that. Leon helped me to trowel compost out of the bag and spread it in a circle.
Finally, after Leon was in bed (so I wouldn’t have to hoick him out of the compost heap), I dug a few spadefuls of not-yet-composted material out of the compost heap, and piled that in the middle of the wigwam. (Ideally I’d have done this before setting up the poles, but baby and dog assistance precluded.) The idea is that the beans will surround this pile as it composts down, creating new soil in the middle of the bed. Once the beans are done for the year I can also chop those off at the base, leaving their roots in place to help improve the ground, and pile the rest of the dead bean plants in over the compost to rot down further over the winter. This bed only gets sun during the summer so won’t be in use in winter anyway.
- Wednesday, 0003: RT @anildash: Thanks to @bradfitz @lisaphillips @dormando & so many others for memcached, without which the modern social web wouldn't run.
- Wednesday, 0831: @semanticist Indeed so. The light is useful to me as a driver to know the state of the other light.
- Wednesday, 0834: @semanticist Some of them trip on legal right on red turns.
- Wednesday, 1238: RT @oakandsage: A poorwill is arguing with a rooster.
- Wednesday, 1251: RT @ajaromano: Basically currently all fics are transformative until proven derivative in a court of law (which has only happened once ever… ( read the other 10 )
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Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Natasha Romanova, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Hulk, Steve Rogers, Betty Ross, JARVIS, Bucky Barnes, Nick Fury.
Warnings: Mind control. Inferences of past child abuse and other torture. Current environment is supportive.
Summary: A mission in Russia introduces the Avengers to the Winter Soldier. Steve wants Bucky back and will stop at nothing to make that happen. Everyone else helps however they can.
Notes: Asexual character (Clint). Aromantic character (Natasha). Asexual relationship. Sibling relationships. Fix-it. Teamwork. Canon-typical violence. BAMF!Avengers. Vulgar language. Drama. Rescue. Hurt/Comfort. Emotional whump. Survivor guilt. Friendship. Confusion. Mind control. Memory loss. Slow recovery. Nick Fury makes stupid-ass decisions. Fear of loss. Arc reactor. Fluff. Nonsexual ageplay. Making up for lost time. Tony Stark has a heart. Games. Trust issues. Safety and security. Howard Stark's A+ parenting. Obadiah Stane's A+ parenting. Food issues. Multiplicity/Plurality. Sleep issues. Non-sexual touching and intimacy. Yoga. Personal growth. Family of choice. ALL THE FEELS. #coulsonlives.
Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12.
( Read more... )
And the gap is a gap between people
They do not talk or make eye contact
The solitude is protocol
But at 1 in the morning
If an elderly piss-stinking drunkard gets on
Dribbling, jabbering gibberish
The people will laugh
And smile at each other
They are in this together now
We need the drunkards
And in later life
It is a service
I am happy
That one got me right in the gut, and I don't think it's just because I'm biased. I'm kind of in awe of what he's writing at just 20, and I find myself wondering what he might be doing by the time he's my age. Meanwhile, there's more, and darker, in Dog Tired Eyes, available at Lulu.
Topped off the day by calling my BFF. ♥
I've also seen up to episode five of the first season.
Brent and I have been doing our best to Skype, but his connection is terrible out there. For his sake, I turned on Facebook chat. Ew.
He's got the Orange Bunny out there with him, so that makes me feel a bit better about him being without me.
I didn't sleep very well last night at all, I kept waking up thinking I'd heard someone walking in the apartment. I finally got some sleep when it got light out but then I was a little late to work. I overslept enough that I drove to work instead of biking or walking, even with the rain today. The back of my truck doesn't seem to want to stay properly shut. I may have to wire it shut. That reminds me, Elise needs to bring back my orange rope. She introduced me to the Game of Thrones series one not last night but Monday. We also made Chex Mix without a microwave, thank you very much, General Mills, not everyone owns a microwave, so neener.
I'm going to turn into a sleep dep zombie at this rate.
Overcast with a chance of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 64F. Breezy. Winds from the NNE at 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of rain 20%.
Clear. Low of 41F. Winds from the NE at 5 to 15 mph.
Clear. High of 66F. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%.
Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the evening, then overcast. Low of 46F. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 70F. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph.
Clear in the evening, then overcast. Low of 48F. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph.
Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the morning, then overcast with a chance of rain. High of 73F. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 52F. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Mostly cloudy. High of 73F. Winds from the SE at 10 to 15 mph.
Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm. Low of 55F. Winds from the SE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
The Concourse Hotel is between two lakes, so breezy (but not Lake Michigan-level breezy).
Hotel weather can be hot, cold, dry, humid, windy and stuffy.
I decided to re-read Jane Smiley's The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton (1998), as being something I had vaguely been meaning to reread and v different from Ten Days in the Hills (one thing one can say of Smiley is that she doesn't keep writing the same book over and over again...). I had forgotten just how long a part of the book her being married and living in Kansas Territory among abolitionists at a time of increasing attacks against them was. I had remembered as much more of her disguised as a boy. Anyway, this is still on the go as I was about threequarters through and didn't want to bring it travelling.
Still working my way through the stories in Conservation of Shadows.
Have just started Jo Anderton's Suited the sequel to Debris, about which I was a bit ambivalent, but interested enough to give this a go.
What I've just read
My weekend Christie was Murder in Mesopotamia, of which I thought the conclusion was really a bit farfetched for reasons I have to describe as SPOILER.
Waiting for my flight and on the plane, and in the passport control queue from hell, I got through the two latest short stories by Barbara Hambly downloaded from her website, Sylvia Engdahl's Defender of the Flame, two odd comic dystopian novels by Madelaine Duke, Claret, Sandwiches and Sin (1964) and This Business of Bomfog (1967), and Tansey Rayner Roberts, Splashdance Silver (1998 reissued 2013).
The Hambly stories were well up to standard. The Engdahl was interesting, but really, the characters are all terribly flat. The two novels by Duke: CS&S was an interesting idea somewhat unsatisfactorily developed, and I'm still trying to work out what the point of TBOB was. I think even comic dystopias should have more plot in their worldbuilding. The Rayner Roberts was probably not the best choice - apparently it was her first published novel and I have possibly read slightly too many humourous subversions of standard fantasy narratives.
Also, several essays for a competition, about which I may expatiate further and perhaps under lock...
And what next
As per usual, no idea.
We can help subsidize the transfer somewhat since at this point we'd rather the cancellation fees go toward helping someone enjoy their con rather than going straight to the hotel coffers.
We were able to transfer the room. I hope everyone has a wonderful Wiscon and we wish we could be there.
Anasazi America, by David E. Stuart. Yes, still. It's good, but slow, and I have been interrupting myself. The book promises to combine archeology and history, but I'm still in the early chapters, which are necessarily archeological (pre-dating any written records from that part of North America). The book is talking about climate, changes in tools, food sources, settlement patterns, and economics (in a large sense), and the author promises to draw connections between the collapse of the Anasazi civilization and our own time and circumstances.
King of Morning, Queen of Day by Ian Macdonald. Too early in the book to have much to say about it, except that I can entirely understand some of the reasons the characters are annoyed with each other, without anyone actually doing wrong.
What have I read recently?
Aunt Lulu, by Daniel Pinkwater. A cheerful, silly picture book that I reread after spotting it while unpacking. A librarian, sled dogs, and some fine illustrations.
An Excellent Mystery, by Ellis Peters. Reread of a Brother Cadfael that I asked the library for because I didn't recognize the title. Good, but I think I've had enough of these for a while, even if the King County Library System has the middle of the series (the first several, and the last few, are relatively easy to find).
The Highest Frontier, by Joan Slonczewski. I wanted to read something of hers before Wiscon, where she is one of the guests of honor (the other, Jo Walton, is a friend of mine and a writer whose work I like and have read just about all of). This is a coming-of-age adventure about a bright girl from a very political family set about a century in the future, in a world badly affected by climate change, with eerily familiar politics even though the anti-reality forces . Jenny Ramos Kennedy is descended from two presidents, and her family takes for granted that she will go into politics too, but in the meantime she's playing varsity zero-gee sports and being awakened to take EMT/first responder emergency calls.
The story is set mostly in a space habitat, with chunks in virtual reality ("toyspace") and in Somers, N.Y. A kudzu-covered Somers, with a very different fauna and ecosystem than is found there now. It's as plausible a choice as any, but there's something odd about that level of "I've been there" not-really-familiarity for a bit of suburb. The book is fast-paced, the world-building is mostly convincing, and I didn't think the ending quite lived up to the first nine tenths of the book.
What am I going to read next?
Likely something random I download for the kindle (I have a long flight ahead of me) followed by something from the Wiscon dealer's room. Or maybe back to the library stack. [I may drop this section, given that its predictive value has been lower than that of just rolling a die.)
Congrats to all the Finalists!
Awards will be given in seven categories. Finalists are announced today for all categories except Bisexual Book Publisher of the Year, which will be kept secret until the awards ceremony. The awards are open to people of all orientations, except the Bi Writer Award, which goes to the best bi author of the year, from all the categories combined.
Books were nominated by the Bi Writers Association and allowed to be nominated to any category they fit. No limits were set on number of finalists, but were narrowed down to the best in each category by the judges. Bisexual Fiction had the most nominees, and therefore, the most finalists. The judges are a combination of award-winning writers, respected bi writers and passionate bi book readers.
Bisexual Book Awards Finalists List:
1. Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, Edited by Brit Mandelo, Lethe Press
2. History of a Pleasure Seeker, Richard Mason, Random House / Knopf
3. In One Person, John Irving, Simon & Schuster
4. The Last Nude, Ellis Avery, Riverhead Books
5. Mount Royal, There’s nothing harder than love, Basil Papademos, Tightrope Books
6. Silver Moon, Catherine Lundoff, Lethe Press
7. Whitetail Shooting Gallery, Annette Lapointe, Anvil Press Publishers
1. Girlfag: A Life Told In Sex and Musicals, Janet W. Hardy, Beyond Binary Books
2. My Awesome Place: The Autobiography of Cheryl B, Cheryl Burke, Topside Signature
1. Fireflies at Absolute Zero, Erynn Rowan Laurie, Hiraeth Press
2. Love Without Limits: The Bi-Laws of Love, Yazmin Monet Watkins, Red Journal Publications
3. Shine, Donnelle McGee, Sibling Rivalry Press
Bisexual Erotic Fiction/Erotica
1. Mount Royal, There’s nothing harder than love, Basil Papademos,
2. The Poet and the Prophecy: Magic University Book Four, Cecilia Tan, Ravenous Romance
3. Times Square Queer: Tales of Bad Boys in the Big Apple, Mykola Dementiuk, Renaissance eBooks
Bisexual Speculative Fiction [Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror]
1. Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, Brit Mandelo, Lethe Press
2. Gleams of a Remoter World, Fiona Glass, Riptide Publishing
3. The Poet and the Prophecy: Magic University Book Four, Cecilia Tan, Ravenous Romance
4. Silver Moon, Catherine Lundoff, Lethe Press
Bi Writer Award
1. Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, Brit Mandelo, Lethe Press
2. Fireflies at Absolute Zero, Erynn Rowan Laurie, Hiraeth Press
3. Girlfag: A Life Told In Sex and Musicals, Janet W. Hardy, Beyond Binary Books
4. My Awesome Place: The Autobiography of Cheryl B, Cheryl Burke, Topside Signature
5. Mount Royal, There’s nothing harder than love, Basil Papademos, Tightrope Books Inc.
6. The Poet and the Prophecy: Magic University Book Four, Cecilia Tan, Ravenous Romance
7. Silver Moon, Catherine Lundoff, Lethe Press
8. Times Square Queer: Tales of Bad Boys in the Big Apple, Mykola Dementiuk, Renaissance eBooks
9. Whitetail Shooting Gallery, Annette Lapointe, Anvil Press Publishers
Bi Book Publisher of the Year -Winner will be announced at the Bisexual Book Awards, June 2nd in New York City.
Bi Lines VI: A Multi-Arts Celebration of Bisexual Writing & Bisexual Book Awards June 2nd NYC!
Advance Tickets: Nuyorican Poets Cafe website
- Coming bank holiday weekend. I'm planning to be in Cambridge and specifically at the last day of the Beer Festival on Saturday. Who else is going to be there? I may be free Sunday evening or Monday, if anyone wants to get together?
- 14th-16th June: I'm returning from travels with jack late on Thursday evening 13th. Would anyone like to see us either in London or Cambridge on the Friday or, more likely, during the weekend? If people can offer crash space in London Thursday night and hang out on Friday that would be perfect, but most likely we'll end up heading back to Cambridge to recover from travelling.
- The first crop of doctorlings whom I've personally taught are graduating in July. This is slightly terrifying, knowing that kids I remember as callow second years are going to be actual doctors in just a few weeks! Anyway, the Medical School have very kindly invited me to represent the school in the formal academic procession. This is the first opportunity I've had to wear my PhD gown in a professional capacity (first academic dress occasion since my own graduation).
Although they've changed this now, when I graduated Scottish universities mostly didn't have caps, so I have to process bare-headed. pseudomonas came up with the brilliant suggestion that I could make up for this by getting hair-falls. Dundee colours are black and something called "Stewart blue" which is basically as near to royal / liturgical blue as they could get away with without actually being royalty or the Virgin Mary. I am really struggling to translate the official British Colour Council code (BCC149) into a modern digital code, but it's something close to #002266. And a secondary colour of eggshell blue which is approx #0088ff. Does anyone who knows heraldry or any relevant aspect of formal colour stuff know how to get a more precise identification? And does anyone have any recs for where I might order hair-falls in my academic colours?
( tech )
For those of you coming in midway through this story, Amazon has just announced that they'll be publishing fanfiction for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, allowing the fic to be sold for money. The author will receive 35% of net revenue (for works of 10,000+ words) and royalties (unspecified) will be payed to the rightsholder of the fictional universe.
I think a lot of people have a kneejerk reaction to this which is strongly negative—"Jesus Christ, it's FanLib all over again!" People also have the expectation that it will fail, that fans are not interested in selling their works. I don't think that all that negativity is entirely justified. Here's why:
- The success of Wattpad shows that younger writers especially are interested in self-publishing and that many of them view fanfic as a road to a self-publishing career. For writers who view fanfiction in this way, Kindle Worlds would seem like a godsend.
- Unlike FanLib, Kindle Worlds is not framed politically—as "freeing" fans in any shape or form. A lot of people were turned off by FanLib's rhetoric who won't be turned off by Kindle Worlds.
Still, I suspect that there is a large enough base of writers who would like to sell their fanfic for any amount of money that Kindle Worlds will not have a hard time finding authors. I'd bet that it will serve as a point of entry for people who were otherwise uninterested in writing fanfic, too. This is another way that they're being smarter than FanLib: instead of trying to appeal to fans who are already uninterested in their deal, they are introducing the idea of fanfic to people who might not otherwise have been interested, expanding their base, so to speak.
A larger obstacle are the content guidelines. Kindle Worlds does not accept pornography, "offensive content," "excessive use of brand names" or crossover stories.* Contrary to what many people say, there is plenty of fanfic that falls within these guidelines and that I believe people would be happy to pay for. Take a look at the fandoms for One Direction or, yes, Twilight if you don't believe me. Yes, these content guidelines mean that a large amount of fanfiction is excluded from Kindle Worlds. So what? Maybe there becomes a bifurcated fandom structure—people willing to write stories within Kindle's content guidelines, and people who aren't. Who cares? If anything, I suspect that the stories "too hot for Kindle Worlds" will be more in demand, not less.
Generally speaking, I believe that fans are not too dumb to read a ToS. I believe that fans will choose to use Kindle Worlds if it works well for them, and they will choose not to if they are uninterested in its strictures. After all, nobody has to submit their stories.
Or do they?
I worry that some people in the entertainment industry are viewing Kindle Worlds as a way to "control" fans. This is a tale as old as time, or at least as old as when rightsholders really, really wanted the Harry Potter fandom to stop writing about Harry Potter being gay. (Yes, this was An Issue, long before Dumbledore came out of the closet. I swear to you, it was.) Can I blame them for wanting to control the stories they've told? Not entirely, no. I can't blame that impulse, any more than I can blame the impulse of a novelist to yell at fanfiction writers for "messing up their world." The novelist invested their heart and soul, Warner Brothers invested millions of dollars, in either case there are these weird outsiders coming in and making the stories about something else, something they never envisioned. What will happen? What if Harry Potter gets associated with gay porn? Then maybe audiences won't want to see it anymore! And then what?
But the thing about this view is that it's unrealistic. It does not reflect the realities of the internet, and it does not reflect the realities we've seen in the past ten years of fans interacting with corporations. Even though Harry Potter did get associated with gay porn (well, slash fanfic, but it's the same thing in the eyes of the uninitiated), it didn't stop it from being profitable. Hell, fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic turned it into a megahit among the most unlikely audience—and among the audience that people most want to woo, 18-30 year old males! Nobody would be excited to find out that their show was getting associated with 4Chan, yet 4Chan made it a runaway success.
There's nothing wrong with Kindle Worlds as one possibility among many. It actually represents one good thing: the recognition that fans are doing work for franchises, work which can and maybe should be compensated. That's a step that nobody has taken (outside of rare contests), to my knowledge. I know a lot of fans see this as cheapening their art by tainting it with commerce, but the fact is that the entertainment industry is all about making money, and unless fans are able and willing to talk in monetary terms, they will never be taken seriously. (Actually, it represents two good things. In its terms, it admits that fans have rights over their own fanfic, rights that can be signed away when you take part in Kindle Worlds. This seems basic, but it is not always recognized.)
Where Kindle Worlds may go wrong is if it is viewed by the entertainment industry as the be-all and end-all of interacting with fan creativity. That would create a no-win situation for everybody. Many waters cannot quench fandom, neither can the floods drown it—a fact that companies are likely to learn if they believe that they can condemn works that are not published within Kindle Worlds, or if they believe that fans will stop writing their porn and run happily into Amazon's corporate arms.
In the meantime, the answer to Kindle Worlds must come from within fandoms. It must come from places like Organization for Transformative Works, providing alternative spaces in which to share stories that are not within corporate boundaries. Everyone must educate themselves about what rights they hold to their fanfic, what rights they can choose to sign away, and what rights they have no matter what. This is not the end of a conversation. It's not the beginning of a conversation, either. We're in the middle of it, and we will be for a long time to come.
*This is especially funny given that one of the fandoms they're allowing as a "Kindle World" is The Vampire Diaries. How can you possibly write a Vampire Diaries fanfic without depicting racism, and probably using the N-word? A significant chunk of the story occurs in the antebellum South! I suppose that the TV show does it, but one of the things fanfiction is best at is engaging with issue that network TV can't or won't. Sigh.
Edited to add: Another great response to this, from a different perspective.