It’s Time to Save the World

Hello from 2017, and holy shit, has the world gotten pretty bad since Jan. 20th, hasn’t it?

First of all: YES, this is bad. This isn’t normal. We are not just being overly dramatic here. Even if you are middle-class and white and think that none of this will affect you — yes, it will. Also, stop being a selfish chump, okay?

Let’s recap the last week:

First of all, our current “leadership” has moved forward with repealing the ACA, and has already started making lists of people who “don’t deserve” to have it replaced. (Not that they have a plan to replace anything anyway.)

They’ve threatened to send the military against citizens of one of our own US cities over exaggerated and untrue claims of crime stats that don’t exist. The Superintendent of the Chicago Police literally said, “I have no idea what he’s talking about.”

Let’s not forget to mention that after the Jan. 21st Women’s March(es) on all seven continents, they still proceeded with their plan to punish and directly or indirectly cause the deaths of women seeking safe, legal healthcare, both domestically and around the world.

This is on top of the fact that one of the top advisors is a white supremacist who has gleefully gone on-record as wanting to “destroy the state” and “today’s establishment”. And this guy now has access to our National Security Council. I have to say — I don’t feel very secure!

But if that wasn’t enough, they also want to build a useless wall and starve our families and friends. Or that pesky little executive order from yesterday that’s already been blocked (but the fight’s not over yet).

Protest sign that says: "First they came for the muslims and we said not today motherfucker."
Photo from: https://twitter.com/amyharvard_/status/825593307229278208

This is NOT OKAY.

Yes, this blog has historically done book reviews. If you’re about to message me and tell me to keep my political opinions to myself?

First of all: fuck you. Second of all: THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN PREPARING MY WHOLE LIFE FOR, MOTHER FUCKER.

Did you think I’d spent hours as a kid searching Goodwill for a real-life copy of So You Want to Be a Wizard? so that I could sit back and let this shit happen? Did I check the back of every closet I came to for a door to Narnia to not go in? Bullshit. Ever since Ce’Nedra fought for her armor and jumped on a horse with all of the West at her back, I’ve been preparing for this. The purpose of supernatural power is to use it to defend the defenseless. That’s what we need now.

If you’ve ever said something along the lines of, “I’d never let that happen…” about Germany in the 1930’s? THIS IS YOUR TIME. Put up or shut up time, kiddies. And if you’re sitting there reading this and thinking, “That could never happen. She’s being melodramatic”? You’re part of the problem. I’d like to say I don’t care how you voted, but I do. If you voted for this shit, or abstained from voting against this shit, you have betrayed everything the women in novels from The Wheel of Time to Discworld to a hundred others have tried to teach us. I’m ashamed of you. But there’s also time for forgiveness. I’m putting my hand out. Help carry this bag of Cheetos to Mordor and we’ll throw it in the goddamn volcano together.

So what do we do to stop this?

First of all: be the kindness you’d like to see in the world. That doesn’t mean be a doormat. You should still stand up, speak out, and punch Nazis. Compliment someone. Smile on the street — especially if it’s at a person of color. They need our support right now. Buy small gifts for those you love. Bake cookies. Recharge. Put on your own oxygen mask first.

Donate to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, if you can. Volunteer if you can. Voice support if you can’t do anything else. These organizations are fighting for us, and they also need our support.

Go to a march. I’m seeing signs that they’re planning one for scientists and another for LGTQBIA+ folk. Watch. Listen. Be vigilant. If you can’t march, voice support for those who do. Knit a hat.

If you want more to read or to do, check out the following resources:

Indivisible

Resistance Manual

Digital Security for Protestors (EFF)

5Calls.org

Be safe, and know that you are loved and valued.

Work. Fight. Resist. Persist. Rest. Repeat.

We can do this together.

What I’ve Been Up To

My attempt at making tiny clay animals led to my purchasing some acrylic paints. A sale at Michael’s led to… Well. This.

image

I’m rather proud of this one, although it’s not finished. It got too wet, so I’m taking a break for it to dry some. A really cool bit is that I had some glow in the dark paint I used on the moon.

This next one I’m less proud of, but it was actually my first one, so not bad for a first try, I guess?

image

Both of these were painted along with/inspired by some tutorials I found on YouTube channel called Pandemonium Art Videos.

It was a bit harder for me, since my canvas is 5″x7″ and they tend to work on 12″x16″, but I made it through. Think I need a better quality of paint, though.

What have you all been up to lately?

Black Friday Madness {Gift Offer Inside}

It’s that time of year again. Where we celebrate the obliteration of an entire continent of cultures by gorging on food and pretending to be thankful for our drunken familial arguments over politics and religion and then wake up hellishly early the following morning in an orgiastic display of America’s One True Religion: Capitalism.

Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with people celebrating Thanksgiving. I think we should be thankful. I think it should be every day, but I’ll take 1 day a year over none. What I don’t appreciate is Black Friday. I don’t appreciate being told that I need to show my love for family and friends with dollar signs. I don’t appreciate the encroachment of commerce into one of the only days of the year that retail & service industry workers — including members of my own family — were guaranteed to have off from their labor.

I was willing to stay home on Friday and be quiet about it, but these “early Black Friday”, “forcing people to skip dinner with their families”, Thursday sales are bullshit. ESPECIALLY when your workers aren’t getting holiday pay. (YES, I’m looking at YOU, McDonald’s franchise my mother works for!)

So to all of this I say, fuck it. Fuck Black Friday, fuck forcing low income workers to work on one of the few days they were previously guaranteed a rest, fuck commerce, fuck all of it. I’m not doing it. I urge all of you not to do it either.

I’m going to be away from a computer when this posts, but here is my counter offer: if you’re going to give gifts this holiday season, make them. If you can’t make them, support small businesses and artists by making your purchases next week.

For those of you who are thinking, “I’d love to get a person I love a gift this season, but I can’t afford it.” Or maybe, “I don’t have anyone who’ll be getting ME a gift this year, and that makes me sad.” For those people, I have a counter-counter offer.

Let me help. I’ve donated to Worldbuilders this year, but I want to do more. I want to, but I’m no Patrick Rothfuss. I don’t have a NYTimes best-seller to my name to rate me celebrity friends to help and bigger clout. So I’m going to start small, but I’m going to do what I can.

If you know someone who could use a gift this season, let me know in the comments. Maybe you know someone who could use getting a package in the mail to make them smile. Maybe that someone is you. Tell me.

Obviously, you need to be willing to share your mailing address with me in order to participate. I’m in the US and don’t have a budget for international postage, but I’m hoping more people will chime in wanting to give.

Here’s what I have on offer: a few books of the SF/UF/F variety that are gently used to send to someone who will love them. I’m a crafter who sews and works in polymer clay. I’m still learning at both of those things, but I’m willing to share what I have. I like to make wallets and bags, and tiny strange creatures in clay. I can’t promise the seams will all be straight or the creatures won’t have lumps and bumps. But it’ll be a promise, from me to you, that I care. That I’m thinking of you. Even if I don’t know you.

These are a few things I’ve made in the past.

There are no strings attached to this offer. I’m not sure if/how I’m going to do international packages but I could probably manage a letter if nothing else. I’d prefer people who sign up be truly in need, but I don’t have any way to check up on that. So if you tell me you need it, I’ll believe you. I’ll do what I can.  I’d also like it if people who are able could also offer to help send someone else a gift. Otherwise, I’ll try to fulfill as many as possible myself.

If you’re interested, leave me a message in the comments about why you feel you (or your friend) could use a gift. Tell me a little about the things you like. Then fill out the form with your personal info.

If the form doesn’t show up below, click this link to reach it directly.

A Little Something for V-Day

Invitation to Love

Come when the nights are bright with stars
Or come when the moon is mellow;
Come when the sun his golden bars
Drops on the hay-field yellow.
Come in the twilight soft and gray,
Come in the night or come in the day,
Come, O love, whene’er you may,
And you are welcome, welcome.

 You are sweet, O Love, dear Love,
You are soft as the nesting dove.
Come to my heart and bring it to rest
As the bird flies home to its welcome nest.

 Come when my heart is full of grief
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry.
Come when the year’s first blossom blows,
Come when the summer gleams and glows,
Come with the winter’s drifting snows,
And you are welcome, welcome.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African-American poet from Dayton, Ohio. This poem, Invitation to Love, and many others, are in the public domain. Hat tip to Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets for choosing this one for their subscription today. {Sign up yourself using the second link.}

Cool Stuff Friday 02-13-15

Happy Friday the 13th! The only remaining holiday that Hallmark doesn’t have a card for (please don’t disabuse me if I am wrong)!

  • It’s Mary Robinette Kowal’s birthday and she’s giving us gifts! Read her novelette here.
  • Lifehacker found a tool called Twine that lets you create your own Choose Your Own Adventure stories.
  • And this gif, via user zombiederf on Tumblr:

In Solidarity with Deliliah: How Society Teaches Us to Hate Ourselves & Other Women

First, you should probably go and read Delilah Dawson’s post. I’ll give the same admonishment here: I’m not posting this for bravery accolades, or to be told I’m wrong, or that I’m right, so I’m asking you to refrain from those types of comments. I’m saying this because it needs to be said.


I first heard of Delilah Dawson at Jordancon two years ago. She was on some panels I attended, and I wondered who this gorgeous woman was with the long dark hair and the big expressive eyes. She was thinner than me, and pretty, and published, and my first honest instinct was to dislike and dismiss her.

I have a friend who’s a volunteer at JCon and she gave me some background: Delilah had had a baby, written a book, and gotten published on her first try. Yep, I was definitely ready at that point to write her off. She was too perfect, too lucky. Then I actually listened to her speak, and I found out that this woman was also smart, and sweet, and as nice as pie. She was literally one of those people who seemed too nice to hate.

After the con, I started following her on social media and read some of her stuff. This was an intelligent, geeky, feminist woman with some wonderful, whimsical work. In other words: completely in sync with my areas of interest. And I’d almost dismissed her because of some misguided notion that there was only so much beauty and success to go around.


 

Society teaches us to hate more than our bodies and ourselves. There is a slow mind-poison that whispers to us that if someone else is cuter, or richer, or more successful, that it diminishes our own value. And even though many of us know it’s a lie, it’s still hard to resist the whispers in our own minds.

Growing up, I was the “smart” one. I was thin, all angles, awkward and gawky and anxious around people. When I was in elementary school, my parents told me they didn’t know where I’d gotten my smart genes, they certainly weren’t from them. So I learned being smart wasn’t something you did, it was something you were. And the first time I ran into a class that was too hard, I gave up, believing I didn’t have what it takes.

When I hit puberty, and started developing, I was bullied for stuffing my bra. I didn’t, of course, and was bewildered that anyone might believe I’d want *more* attention. All I got for that “attention” was my straps snapped, giggles from behind hands, and laughing questions from the back of the bus as to whether I “had a tissue”. At twelve years old, I was called a slut just for being audacious enough to develop a chest.

My whole identity at home was in being the skinny one. My sister was heavier, more athletic, she rode her bike and ran with friends and tanned in the sun. I was the waif: thin and frail and pale, left indoors to moulder with my books. So I spent high school barely eating lunch and skipping dinner on the nights when my parents worked. I took too many caffeine pills on an empty stomach in an effort to be anywhere but inside my own body.

I didn’t know anything about makeup, wore Wal-Mart clothes, and had no idea what to do with my hair besides dye it into a rainbow of colors. I would sarcastically quip that I wore all black because my clothes were easier to match in the dark, but honestly it was from a lack of knowledge of what went well together, and an intense desire to fade into the background and disappear. The worst thing I could imagine was being noticed, because when I was, I was ridiculed, tripped, or lured into verbal traps so I could be laughed at some more.


 

My first boyfriend out of high school liked to eat fast food for every meal. I went with him, and I even footed most of the bills. It wasn’t long before he was admonishing me to finish my plate. When I inevitably started gaining weight because of it, he told me I was too fat for him and dumped me, which mostly meant he hit on every girl in sight while simultaneously telling me he still loved me so I’d have sex with him and pay for things.

I started recovering my self esteem over a decade ago, when I met my current group of friends, including my husband, who has always encouraged me to be healthy while never telling me I was too big to be loved. But between the extra “honeymoon” weight, being cooked real meals for the first time in my life, and hitting my thirties, I am also now nearly a hundred pounds over the BMI my height says I should weigh. Even taking into account that being that slim makes my collar bones stick out grotesquely and I feel healthier at a much more substantial 150, I am overweight.

As much as I tell myself that I don’t care what other people think, I do. I wonder if my friends think of me as the fat one. I wonder if my husband is embarrassed to be seen out with me. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. Mostly just when I’m confronted with a mirror.

Certain people like to make fun of Tumbler “Social Justice Warriors”, but it honestly wasn’t until I joined there that I really started to understand the constant barrage of not good enough that I’d been absorbing my entire life. Magazines that assured me that if I was just thin enough, hungry enough, empty enough, that I would be happy. Articles that said I had to give up everything in bed to be an empty vessel for a man’s fantasies while not even mentioning that I might want to be on the receiving end of pleasure myself.

The love and acceptance of the culture I’ve seen at Tumblr has been a wonderful boon to me. Delilah’s post has been the same. What age and wisdom has imparted to me is that no matter who we are or what we look like, we’ve all been poisoned to believe that we’re not enough. Knowing that even the woman I thought was beautiful doesn’t see herself that way, gives me hope that maybe, somewhere, someone thinks that about me. And maybe — just maybe — they could be right.

We have to be honest with ourselves before we can get better. We have to admit that we’re sick before we can heal. I don’t have all the answers, but I believe talking about it is the first step.

 

 

 

The 2015 Urban Fantasy Zodiac

So a couple of years back, I did a tongue-in-cheek Urban Fantasy Zodiac with a similar structure to the Chinese zodiac. All my respect to the original astrology, and if you’re not familiar with it, this is a good starter guide. I’m not really a believer in any version of the zodiac, honestly, but I’ve always appreciated what these beliefs teach us about mankind’s early attempts to explain astronomy, the world, and ourselves. In any case, for some reason that post has remained one of my most popular. So I thought this year I’d revisit that and give you your 2015 Urban Fantasy fortunes.

Come with me as I look into the stars and give you a little glimpse of what’s in store for you this year. [Don’t know your UF Zodiac sign? Check the original post.]

Created by Waiting for Fairies.com
Created by Waiting for Fairies.com

Sign of the…

Zombie

I won’t lie. This year is going to be challenging for you, especially throughout the summer months. But don’t fall apart! By October, you’ll be back in your groove.

Fairy/Fae

The year is going to start slow for you, but keep your wings busy by helping others. In springtime, you’ll be everyone’s favorite dinner guest. Party hardy, but drink responsibly!

Dragon

January and February are going to be big months for Dragons. You’ll be happiest at home with your horde for most of 2015, but try to get out and about periodically.

Ghost

This winter leaves you feeling pale and wan, so why not plan a summer vacation to somewhere tropical? All a Ghostie really needs is some palm trees and one of those little umbrella drinks.

Griffin

Griffins won’t hit their stride until late in the year, but keep on keeping on! Some people may try to bring you down, but you can soar above it all. Try helping out the less fortunate when you’re down or blue.

Demon

It’ll be a frantic year for demons, and it’s unclear yet whether that’s a good or a bad thing. Brace yourself, because there are mighty changes coming.

Dryad

2015 is going to be a quiet and peaceful one for Dryads. Friends of yours are going to have a hard year, though, so listen up! They may not be upfront about their needs, but you’ll be able to provide just what they need at the right time. By December, your patience and caring will blossom into a great event!

Shape-shifter

This year is going to be all ups and downs for you shifters, I’m sad to say. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of things, they’ll change again. Hang in there. Things always get better.

Selkie

Family will be big for selkies this year. Stay close to home and don’t get distracted with things beyond your control. Someone is going to need your advice in August.

Incubus/Succubus

2015 is all about variety for the incubus/succubus crowd. You’ll be happiest when you’re getting out there and trying new things. When the urge to travel hits in April, give in to it. You won’t regret it.

Druid

Springtime travel will be great for Druids. Don’t forget to bring your meds, because you’re really going to need them! Make an effort to be social — you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did!

Vampire

Vamps will be having a great year when it comes to fashion. Take care of your appearance and everything else will fall into place. You’ll be looking cool in September when someone special finally takes notice of you.

[Disclaimer: We here at WFF make no pretense toward having any sort of psychic abilities. Remember, this is just for fun, so don’t take us (or yourself!) too seriously!]

Ghostbusters vs. Ghostbusters II

So my husband and I were debating the opening scenes of the two Ghostbusters movies, as one does, and we determined that Peter’s introduction in the first movie is not the same as Egon’s opening scene in the second. Stick with me, for all shall be revealed.

ghostbustersdvdart
Ghostbusters DVD art

Venkemen’s opening scene is him, in his office, with a pair of presumably undergrad volunteers. He is in the midst of an experiment, as he states it, to determine what the result of stress (in our case, electric shocks) is to human precognitive — or perhaps telepathic– abilities. We see Peter lie to the male subject when he gets both incorrect answers and correct ones, giving him shocks for both. He appears to be making no notes or documentation. And as Mythbusters told us, science is only science if you write it down! After he drives away the man, he proceeds to hit on the woman, shamelessly. Were these things all part of the experiment? I think not. We all know Pete was being douchey and using his experiment to score himself a date with a much younger woman.

Contrast this with Egon’s first scene in the sequel. Here, also, is science! We could also make a case that Egon is being douchey here. After all, he’s had his assistant lie to a poor couple about their marriage counseling appointment, which seems likely to break their marriage permanently. He even alludes to taking away a little girl’s puppy!

However, I think there is a difference here that makes Peter a jerk but not Egon. That is because Peter was a jerk for his own ends, to score himself a date. It probably doesn’t help that he spends half the first movie throwing himself at Dana, putting him farther into creeper territory than I prefer my heroes (and even my anti-heroes) to be. I appreciate his not taking advantage of Dana while she’s possessed, but let’s be real: You don’t get special points for being a decent human being.

Egon, on the other hand, does what he does not for himself but for SCIENCE. It may be bat shit crazy or, a term I saw on Tumblr the other day – “guanomental” – science, but he’s trying to ascertain truth, not get himself laid. Intent, my friends, really can make all the difference!

So, in conclusion, Peter is a bad man. Egon is awesome. And if you haven’t watched Ghostbusters, we can’t be friends.