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22 November 2010 @ 01:56 pm
I know I haven't really been posting here lately, but I wanted to announce that the Dresden Dolls are fucking amazing live. If you have a chance to see them on this tour, DO IT.

Of course all of their original stuff (and the cabaret stuff) was awesome, but the cover of "War Pigs" they ended with was mind-blowing. This particular video shows Amanda Palmer almost not at all but that's because it's hard to stop watching Brian Viglione drum - wow:

10 August 2010 @ 12:50 pm

New Kitty!, originally uploaded by squirlaraptor.

Or Whiteland-Tidwell? We haven't exactly worked that bit out. It's a huge name, but he's a big cat and we think he can handle it. (Gracie's full name is Grace Olivia Dulcinea Tidwell, so it seems like a thing around here to give cats huge names.)

Anyway, we call him Max, for short. Cory and I adopted him yesterday. He's about 3 years old and very sweet. They had named him Maximus at the shelter and even though I really wanted to choose a new name for him (since I think naming a new kitty is part of making the kitty part of my family), he really is a Max. They got it right.

He has been exploring the house, cuddling with us, and generally being very cool about everything. Gracie, on the other hand, is pissed and scared. It doesn't look like there will be any catfights to break up, since he doesn't seem fazed by her hissing and she is ultimately a chicken, but I am hoping she gets used to his presence soon. Right now she's hiding in the bathroom (That's what she does anytime she gets scared. When there's a thunderstorm, she hides in the bathroom, too.) and hissing when she hears Max go by or when she is feeling particularly stressed. I think that when she accepts the fact that he's staying and starts to get braver, they will eventually be buddies.

19 June 2010 @ 06:01 pm
Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley is really several books in one. This could easily have been a whole series of novels about Skye O’Malley—and it may have benefited from such a treatment. In light of the book’s multiplicity, then, my review will also be several reviews in one.

They are all beneath the cut.Collapse )
Current Mood: hungryhungry
16 June 2010 @ 12:01 am
Josh Ritter is amazing. I just got home from seeing him play at the Granada and . . . wow. If you have a chance to see him, I strongly recommend going.

In the meantime, have a video:

Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: The Curse - Josh Ritter
06 June 2010 @ 11:04 am
Taken from miladygrey, a list of women sf/fantasy writers. There were quite a few I hadn't heard of, which was kind of surprising. Maybe they write fantasy? I read much more science fiction than fantasy. Also, I added a few writers to the end of the list (I was horrified that Joan Slonczewski wasn't already represented).

Behind the cut because it's long.Collapse )
Current Mood: meh
02 June 2010 @ 10:10 am
[This is an excerpt from Dan Savage's Savage Love column of June 2, 2010. I'm sharing it because it's pretty horrifying to think that a teacher could be fired for being involved in a consensual sexual relationship with another adult human being and for no other reason.]

HEY, EVERYBODY: Jason Robinson is—was—the football coach at Mandarin High School in Duval County, Florida. He was fired last month for sending “adult-oriented pictures” to a student. He didn’t send the pictures to one of his students, but to a 20-year-old college student who just so happens to be his girlfriend. The mother of Robinson’s girlfriend found the pictures on her daughter’s phone and forwarded them to the principal of the school where Robinson worked, among scores of other people.

“We hold our teachers to a higher standard,” principal Donna Richardson told reporters. “They’re in front of our students. They’re talking with our students. They’re teaching our students how to become good characters.”

This is sex-negative bullshit. Robinson is a consenting adult; Robinson’s girlfriend is a consenting adult. And what consenting adults do on their own time—and with their own cell phones—is no one’s business but their own.

Savage Love readers stuck up for Constance McMillen after she was victimized by the homophobic morons who run her high school. Now we need to stick up for a straight high-school coach being victimized by the sexphobic morons who run his. People shouldn’t lose their jobs after their privacy has been invaded, and people shouldn’t be punished for engaging in private, consensual sex acts. Send an e-mail to Donna Richardson at richardsod@duvalschools.org. Let her know she is in the wrong. And let others know to let her know.
02 June 2010 @ 12:01 am
Over Memorial Day weekend, while Cory went to visit friends and play games in Austin, I stayed home by myself and pretty much just read the whole time. It was great.

Here's what I read:

Stieg Larsson, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest -- This is the third and final book in Larsson's series about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist and it makes for a good conclusion to the series (even though he'd been planning to write more books in this series before he died). It is, I think, the weakest of the three books in some ways. The biggest drawback of this book for me was simply that there wasn't enough Lisbeth Salander. She is an awesome and fascinating character and she was out of commission for much of the book. On the other hand, that made room for some other amazing female characters to come to the forefront. Larsson's books are primarily about violence against women and the culture and legal system that allows such violence to continue and he does a great job of both making a strong argument regarding the ongoing victimization of women without limiting women either to the role of victim or to the role of fucked up avenger.

Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö, the first four books of their Martin Beck books: Roseanna, The Man Who Went Up in Smoke, The Man on the Balcony, and The Laughing Policeman. These books, written and set in the 1960s and 1970s in Sweden, are police procedural mystery novels that are absolutely foundational for the genre as it currently stands. They focus not on the heroic genius who figures everything out effortlessly or does battle with a worthy foe, nor do they focus on the Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot or even Sherlock Holmes style detective to solve the crime; they highlight the tedium, emotional toll, and luck involved in catching criminals; and they develop a tone and atmosphere that is melancholy and thoughtful instead of one that is oriented toward action or mere puzzle-solving. They set the stage for later mystery writers like Henning Mankell (also Swedish) and Stieg Larsson (also Swedish! It seems this may be a regional thing) to do similar work. They are brilliant novels. Each of them is only 30 chapters and approximately 180-200 pages and so I raced through them, but I know already that I will want to re-read them. The pleasure in these books is not in the solving of the mystery (though that's nice, too, I guess) but in the atmosphere, in the characters, in the journey. And there are six more books in the series that I can look forward to reading.

Stephen Hunt, The Court of the Air -- I bought this book only after having bought his second book, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves, when several reviewers on Goodreads commented that the second book, though not a direct sequel to the first, would have made more sense had they already read The Court of the Air. They are steampunk fantasy adventure novels and The Kingdom of the Waves drew me in with its ocean-y cover art featuring a submarine and diver, a sting ray, a turtle, and a wrecked ship at the bottom of the ocean. Sounds good, right? I still want to read that one, but I'm not sold on The Court of the Air. I haven't quite finished it yet since I didn't read at all yesterday, but it's somehow both too long and not long enough. The first part drags as it takes way too much time to switch back and forth between the various characters and their narratives (the middle and end pick up speed as the action builds and Hunt switches back and forth much more quickly, however); at the same time, though, there is simply too much book for this book. He doesn't seem to have enough time and space to do the necessary world-building, move the plot forward, and develop the characters into people I care about. At this point, the book seems to be mostly plot. The world-building is sometimes great and sometimes lackluster. And I don't care at all about the characters. I want to like them, but if they all died, I wouldn't be terribly sad. I would just know I was probably supposed to be terribly sad.

Despite these flaws, there are definitely good things about this book and I will still read the next book in the series (not just because of the cover art). It's set in the same world and I'm looking forward to more development of that world; I'm also hoping that maybe Hunt will have learned some things between books.

Now Write!: Fiction Writing Exercises From Today's Best Writers and Teachers, edited by Sherry Ellis -- I started this book before the weekend and haven't finished reading through it yet, but it's not exactly the kind of book you just sit down and read. I have a bunch of this sort of book and I find them terribly useful for teaching (both writing and literature), so I'm currently examining this book for exercises I can use in my summer American literature course. There are definitely some interesting and potentially useful exercises here.

I also bought some other books that I hope to have a chance to read sometime this summer: four more Sjöwall and Wahlöö books (The Fire Engine That Disappeared, Murder at the Savoy, The Abominable Man, and The Locked Room), Laurie R. King's The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Robert Charles Wilson's Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, and the Galactic Milieu Trilogy by Julian May (Jack the Bodiless, Diamond Mask, and Magnificat).
13 May 2010 @ 01:40 pm
The vet said six months ago that she probably wouldn't last much longer. During those six months, Sophie was skinny and weak but still cuddly and playful and interested in things. Last night she was more wobbly than usual and this morning I found her lying awkwardly by the window breathing hard and drooling a lot. She was clearly in pain, so I took her to the vet. The vet examined her and said her body was shutting down and she was trying to go.

I expected that this would be her last vet trip, but it was still really hard to see her go. At least this time I know did everything right. I took good care of her and didn't let her live in pain. I already miss her lots, though. Usually when I'm sad I cuddle up with Sophie and she helps me feel better. :-(

Sunbeam:  August 2, 2009Love, love me do!Sophie StareSophie Loves Me
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
12 May 2010 @ 10:35 am
I have been feeling extremely bored with my hair lately and I'm also trying to grow out the black dye in my hair and see how I feel about going back to my natural haircolor (or something closer to it). I do not like going to have my hair done and I hate paying to have my hair done, so I figured the best way to take care of both of these problems at once was just to cut it off.

And that's what I did. I was a little nervous beforehand (and I deliberately waited until I was done teaching for the semester, just in case I really messed it up), but I got up this morning and chopped off several inches. It's pretty short again (but not as short as it once was). I'm considering this a first draft haircut. I'm going to style it today and maybe tomorrow, too, and see how I feel about it and then maybe take another run at it. If this is a rough draft, it may need some editing.

Overall, though, I think I'm pretty pleased with it. And after I cut it off I realized there's another major benefit: No hair on my neck during the summer. Hooray!
Current Mood: hungryhungry
20 March 2010 @ 05:40 pm
I have set up an account at Red Bubble, which is a site that is, in their words, "an open and inclusive website where you can share your art, photography and design with the world." It is also a site where you can attempt to sell your art, photography, and design to the world.

I have also posted a few photos to see if I can actually sell anything this way. Check it out!
Current Mood: sleepysleepy