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Most of this LJ is friends only, but I do have some open posts that are essays, photos, or book memes. If you'd like to read the personal posts, you may comment here.

In mid 2010 I started keeping track of books that I read cover to cover (as opposed to reference/coffee table/short story flip through books). I'm fairly inconsistent about whether or not I count graphic novels, re-reads, and such. This is the list so far:Collapse )

I'll be demonstrating & discussing small animal skeleton articulation at DC's Art-O-Matic on Saturday, May 26th from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. It will be a free, drop in event, so feel free to stop by for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours!

Art-O-Matic is at 1851 S. Bell Street Arlington, VA this year, near the Crystal City Metro Station.

death of rats 002 cabaret 019


Photos from Belly Horror!

Posted on 2011.10.25 at 11:06
Sensibility:: pleasedpleased
Tags: , , ,
The Mortifera girls were gorgeous and put on a fun show, as always, and some a lot of the other dance acts were also pretty awesome. (Burlesque as a black widow spider killing her mate to Tom Leher's Masochism Tango =win!) I also got to see Nae, Arwen, and Chris G (from highschool) with his wife.

Full Collection:

belly horror 2011 343
Belladonna as Lolth, the Drow's Demon Queen of Spiders

belly horror 2011 026
Hipnosis compares "Tribal Fusion" Belly Dance to the Borg, since it assimilates every dance style it encounters.

belly horror 2011 218
I'm for Alice in Wonderland in any form, so I loved this mad tea party by Bellatrix (Belladonna's students).

belly horror 2011 543
Did I mention that the Mortifera Girls were amazing, as always? And I'm not just saying that because they're my friends, check out the outfits!!!

belly horror 2011 489
This is what they look like dancing.

belly horror 2011 556
And this is what they look like back stage.

Also: Photos from DC Tribal Cafe's Halloween show (which are not as good, since the lighting was not conducive to the flash-less).

arianna mongoose


Posted on 2011.10.08 at 15:38
I've got some new stuff up in the shop.

Like Hair Sticks:


and Earrings:

There's always plenty of gothy, steampunk, and burlesque options at Dolly Ossuary!


Jack and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Posted on 2011.05.27 at 10:54
Sensibility:: confusedconfused
Note: This blog post is from Jack's point of view. Normally he would just post on Twitter, but since this is a long story, I/he will just link to this post from there.

Sometimes a very loud, very scary noise happens, and mom says "It's ok, Jack, they're testing the fire alarm today," and then the noise stops and all is well. Yesterday, mom said "there was no sign about a fire alarm test." The noise didn't stop, and mom went to the closet and got the carrier.

Scary noise not stopping AND the carrier?! I fled under the futon, but mom grabbed me. No fear of claws or bites. No lying down and trying to shoo me out. She just grabbed me and stuffed me in. She lifted the handle, and the side of the carrier I was not in lifted an inch before the handle came off. "You're so heavy!" mom exclaimed, even though I was not in a sound emotional state to deal with her fat-shaming. Then she grabbed her bag and we left. She didn't even stop to put the book she's reading back in the bag.

We walked down stairs for a long time. I meowed a lot. I was worried, and thought mom should know. When the scary noise never stopped, and more people joined us on the long walk down, mom seemed worried too.

Outside were more people and big flashy-light-trucks that made also loud, also scary noises of their own. I meowed, and the people gathered outside looked at me. Normally this is comforting, but I was stressed out. The people from the loud trucks shooed away the crowd of us apartment residents. "It isn't our tower" said a man from the stairwell, and mom was notably relieved.

As mom and the crowd of other residents walked off into the neighborhood to wait from a safe distance, I saw mom exchange a smile and a knowing glance with a woman who sat with a ginger tabby in a carrier of his own. "It's a good thing we have cats to protect us" I assumed they were saying. A teeny gray kitten, about 10 weeks old, cuddled her human. So young, and already so good at her job.

"Jack, the diner has a patio," said mom. And soon we were sitting still. Mom poured some cold water into a dish for me, but I was too stressed. She gave me some whipped cream from her milkshake, but I was too stressed. I just rocked back and forth while mom called and texted people. She tried talking to me calmly, but I was stressed and hot, despite the breeze and the shade.


More people came to see me, which is nice, but I just wanted it to be quiet and air conditioned again. A lady who does cat rescue came and pet me. She and mom talked about how too keep me cool when I was too stressed to drink my water. Then mom remember something.

Miss Maria, who checks on me when mom is away and sometimes come over to play with me, is away, so mom had a key to her place, so that she could check on Angel BB Bangles. So mom carried me to Maria's place. Every block or so, she stopped and adjusted the carrier, hauling me at ridiculous angles. "That needs a handle on top" said a woman passing by. "He's too heavy," mom said, "it came off." Please keep in mind that Doc H. said that I was 10.8 pounds of pure muscle at my last appointment. I may have put on a pound or so of belly fat since then, but . . .

Finally, we reached Maria's where it was quiet and cool. Miss Angel hissed at me. We glared at one another from a distance for hours while mom read one of Maria's books and called the apartment every so often to see if we could go home yet.

"We can go home!" mom said, while Angel scowled at me from behind a sofa. "But I am NOT carrying you. We are stealing the cart." So mom found Maria's grocery cart, turned my carrier front-side-up and put it in, making me sit on what should have been the rear wall of the carrier, not the floor. But it rolled smoothly and quickly. I meowed more. What now? "It's ok; we're almost home," mom repeated like a mantra.

The rolling came to a stop, and mom turned the cart&carrier floor-side-down and opened the front. I looked around and hopped out. Home? Really? Could it be that simple? I looked around, but nothing had changed. Mom fed me, checked my water, and cranked up the AC. That's what I call happily ever after.

scribbling woman

Why Snape/Lily is a horrific ship:

Posted on 2011.04.09 at 16:01
Sensibility:: confusedconfused
Tags: , , ,
Recently a couple of friends of mine remarked that they found the Snape/Lily relationship in the Harry Potter series "sweet," and I was too aghast to reply coherently, so I'm going to do it now.

I was profoundly disappointed when Rowling chose to go make Snape's obsession with Lily his primary motivation because I though that the cliche took away depth from the character as well as making a character I liked completely unsympathetic. Rather than a complex character with loyalties toward his former housemates but socio-poltical sympathies that are anti-genocide that winds up siding with people he personally dislikes because of a moral stance, Rowling turned him into a single-minded stalker.

For those of you fuzzy on the details, books five through seven (Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows) reveal the back story. Growing up, Lily was just about the only person kind to Snape and his thus his best friend. His worst memory was in his fifth year when he called her a mudblood because he was trying to be cool and accepted by his prejudiced classmates. When Lily marries James Potter and has Harry, Snape arranges for Voldemort to kill James and Harry, so long as Lily is left alive. The fact that Voldemort killed Lily is what actually ensures Snape's loyalty to The Order of the Phoenix.

So, Snape doesn't respect Lily enough to be kind to her under peer pressure. He's so controlling that he arranges to murder her husband and son, because he can't allow her to have a life without him. Only revenge really makes him take a stand against murderers obsessed with blood purity.

And some of my friends like this? I can only hope that they aren't big enough HP fans to realize what they were saying, and that they simply meant that Snape still thinking of Lily years later was sweet. Except that for anyone that knows the series, he wasn't still in love with a childhood friend over a decade later. He was still obsessed with the woman over whom he felt such ownership of that he wanted to kill her family without being obligated to even be nice to her. That's not love. That's not sweet. That's not a sympathetic or complex character. That's a rabid dog that happened to wind up hell-bent on bringing down the bad guys. Thus it completely undermines the message of the first book, not to assume that someone is evil just because they're a bit spooky and unpleasant.

This is particularly triggering for me since I spent five years in a "relationship" based on abuse. It was the typical controlling, emotionally abusive, rape-filled "marriage" that I couldn't escape due to violence against me and death threats against me and my family. I escaped due to a lucky series of coincidences as well as some very clever maneuvering.

Now, I'm at least as hopeless a romantic as the next person. I love Jane Austen relationships where people don't give up on love when things get hard. I'm indulging in some pining as circumstance takes someone important from my life as we speak. But it isn't love without respect, trust, and consent.

There's nothing sweet about stalking.

Related post on Twilight:

quiet ones

Questions about Jack . . .

Posted on 2011.04.01 at 08:23
So, I'm a bit worried about Jack. I know that his history presents problems for developmental delays (he was 3 months old when the adoption center took him into custody, and 8.5 months old when I adopted him. I think that he and his family were homeless on the streets of Baltimore before that. I have no records about his family, but I suspect that Jack was not an only child, and that his mom was under 20 when she had him).

He also has a history of abuse. He tended to play rough with his friend, Willie, at the shelter, and he was physically and sexually abused by his older foster brother. He has a disconcerting habit of removing any and all clothing put on him.

Now he's over two years old, and seems very happy, but he isn't hitting all of his developmental milestones.

In some ways he is doing very well. He was already eating solid food, out of diapers, walking and running when he came home. Physically, he's very agile, always climbing on to things and knocking them over like any "terrible" two-year-old. He's curious, always trying to figure out what new sounds, smells, and objects are. He is very affectionate, always cuddling with me, and willing to play with anyone (though large groups of strangers overwhelm him)

However, he has a lot of difficulty with language. He makes baby noises, but hasn't learned any words. He seems to understand my tone of voice, but doesn't understand what I'm saying. He is still working on object-permanence. He sleeps a great deal and at very random hours of the day and night.

Currently he stays home with me all day. Since I work from home and have experience in education, I didn't see any reason to put him in day care. I also planned to home school him for his special needs. I'm wondering if he needs more help than I can give him by myself. Maybe I should look into special enrichment.

ETA: I am not the only ass that posts things like this:

Tolkien Smaug

LOL cat

Posted on 2010.10.20 at 15:09
Sensibility:: amusedamused

If you like it, please rate it up.

erdos pic-up line

Popular Science Reading Challenge

Posted on 2010.08.11 at 19:17
Sensibility:: geekygeeky
Based on this and the comments to it, I have been inspired to devise a pop science challenge.

Non-scholarly science non-fiction books only. Don't count things you've already read. You may count books that you read for other challenges here too.

Levels: Unless you're reading for comps or a dissertation, the Silver (47 books), Gold (79 books), and Platinum (78 books) awards seem rather unreasonable. Instead, we'll be going for these elements:

1 Hydrogen
2 Helium
3 Lithium
4 Beryllium
5 Boron
6 Carbon
7 Nitrogen
8 Oxygen
9 Fluorine
10 Neon
11 Sodium
12 Magnesium

You have 6 months from the time you sign up here. The rest of us doing this would love to see what you've chosen, how you're doing, and what you think if what you've read, so please keep us updated in the comments or link to an entry in your journal where you'll blog about your progress.

scribbling woman

I'd put this behind a cut for the number of photos, but I don't think anyone still uses dial-up ...

Posted on 2010.06.17 at 17:20
Sensibility:: artisticartistic
Sense:: L'Ame Immortelle
Tags: , , , ,
Progress report on my evil plan to conquer the world Flickr:

Despite them being easy to find yesterday (in the top 150 for Dupont Circle), today I found them at 428 and 500 most interesting*, respectively.
pride parade crowd Echo the Contortionist Blows a Kiss

I have nothing whatsoever for Silver Spring.

On the upside, I have the 99th most "interesting" result for "Smithsonian" in Washington, DC and 101st for "zoo".
Crystal Bloom Jellyfish floating across the blue

For Rockville, MD, I have #s 67, 77, 128, 185, 215, 243, 251, 303, 304, and 483.
These includes a couple from the Pet Expo:
dog jump Cute dog

But mostly, they are from my flowers set:
Bee Hover purple flower petal Bee hug

Full flower set here:

For ArtoMatic, however, I have over 100 of the top 500, including 3 of the top 10.
Goth winged bellydancer Isis grape fruit mobile

My most viewed photo (3597 views so far) is also from Art-O-Matic:
Bellydance veils

You can view all of my art-o-matic stuff here:

*"Interesting"ness on Flickr is determined by number views, comments, favourites, and the diversity of sources from whence visitors arrive. So, go look at them, leave comments, mark them as favs, and link to them as much as you like!

scribbling woman

How long until you're Cream Crackered?

Posted on 2010.04.08 at 15:07
Sensibility:: goodeager
Tags: ,
birdgirl78 posted this, and I just had to do it.

Here are the rules as established by Book Chick CityCollapse )
What I've read for the Challenge:
1. Quick Service by P.G. Wodehouse
2. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
3. Pirates! an Adventure with Scientists & an Adventure with Ahab by Gideon Defoe
4. Sir Nigel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
5. Johannes Cabal the Detective by Johnathan L. Howard
6. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
7. The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson
8. King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
Kim by Rudyard Kipling

scribbling woman

Abusive Relationship PSA

Posted on 2010.03.26 at 15:53
Sensibility:: distresseddistressed
Tags: ,
I know some people that are in bad relationships and a ton of people that have been in them. Many of these people, though self-respecting in other ways, don't recognize how bad their relationships are both because they are so used to dysfunctional relationships that they seem normal or because it's easier to deny the problem than address it. So, I'm posting this checklist from It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence by Meg Kennedy Dugan & Roger R. Hack

I urge everyone to look over this list, since it's not only applicable to romantic relationships, but really any kind of controlling/abusive dynamic. Maybe you aren't being treated by a friend or family member in a manner that someone that cares about you really should be acting. Maybe the way you treat someone for whom you care is damaging and inappropriate. Which isn't to say that they/you are never good for you/them or that they/you are malicious. Sometimes, people just never learn how to treat others, and the only way to work on that is to admit that there's a problem.

Have any of the following happened on a recurring basis?
Checking up on the other person
Showing up unexpectedly
Failure to give emotional support
Keeping track of where the other person is
Doing all of the daily planning
Controlling all of the finances
Unfairly blaming the other person
Putting the other person down
Not paying attention to the other person

Have any of the following ever happened?
Telling the other person whom they could or could not see
Isolating the other person from their family
Saying they are always right
"Towering" over the other person
Threats of Violence
Forced Sex

If you have experience or committed any of these, you are/were in an abusive relationship. Not all relationships are equally abusive, but all are damaging. If you are, or were, in an abusive relationship, I really do urge you to get help, so that you can prevent it from continuing to damage how you see yourself and others.

1. "Post-Avatar Depression" or "I wish real life was in 3D."
I've heard & read that some people are suffering from post-Avatar depression because our world doesn't involve light-up trees, flying on dragony-critters, and living in harmony with the magic tree. These people then return to see the film time and time again in an attempt to immerse themselves in the environment. Now, some of these people probably do have a genuine mental illness and Avatar may just be the current inspiration for on-going depression. I get that, I know how hard it is to get help especially when you desperately need it.

The rest of these people, honestly, strike me as whiny and entitled. You want to live in harmony with others in a beautiful rain forest? Go join a charity. If your life really holds no meaning for you anymore, joining the peace corp or Greenpeace shouldn't be much of a sacrifice. Want to fly in the open air between rocks? Take up hang-gliding. If your real life feels lacking, do something about it!

This [I am not your therapist, so please don't tell me that you made the same mistake for the hundredth time] could be an essay in and of itself, so I shall simply ask if you're working toward your goals or if you're simply wishing that things will change. Maybe you need professional help, but maybe you just need to get out of the damn theater and "be the change you wish to see in the world."

2a. "Dances with Fern Gully" or "Pocahontas Doesn't Need a White Male Imperialist to Save her from the Other White Male Imperialists."
Normally, I'm opposed to film spoilers, but the plot to this is so scarce that it's impossible not to give the whole film away just by telling you the premise, so, if you're really concerned about spoilers, skip down to 2b.
Everyone from The Hathor Legacy to my friend Arwen at the Smithsonian Native American History Museum has pointed out that this film is about the guilt of the entitled white man that doesn't actually want to give up the societal privilege to which he has become so accustomed. In this film, a white male from Earth is learning about the blue people on Pandora while most of the other Earthlings are trying to figure out the best way to strip-mine Pandora. The other "researchers" are building schools to teach the blue children English, a well-intentioned cultural condescension that deserved so much more than one line of commentary.
As our protagonist lives with the blue people, he completes years of education in a few months, becomes kick-ass at everything, and wins the heart of the chief's daughter. He feels that he is now one of the blue people and endeavors, with the help of the well-meaning Earthlings, to save the planet of Pandora and its people from the evil Earthlings. Because they couldn't do it themselves. And the blue war-lord-in-training is totally unfair when he doesn't trust the protagonist or feel that he's really one of them now. Umm, yeah . . . Then they start a band called Gary Stu and the Primitive Blue People Whom He Saved with his L33t Skillz.

2b. "It's just a movie!" or "Please switch your brain to 'on.'"
As I said, Arwen was one of the people that brought the racial issues up, as she posted a link on her Facebook. One of the replies that she got, to which I did not respond because I decided that going off on the commenter or not was her prerogative, was something like "Geez, it's just a movie."
Because when you go into a theater you shut your brain off, enjoy a completely random pattern of light and noise, and come back out without any interaction between you and the film nor has the film in anyway reflected ideas of its creators.

As a writer I'm insulted and as a social historian I'm appalled.

You mean to say that what writers (directors, producers, artists, musicians, etc...) create means nothing to them? That it in no way reflects their interests or values? That there is no idea in their head that is conveyed into the art? And that, thusly, no cultural idea, value, or issue if filtered through the artist into the piece? If it's "just" art and thus not in anyway derived from the culture in which it was created, there would be no trends in art and scholars could not learn about a society from its art and literature.

Conversely, "just" a movie also could not affect its audience, establish norms, or define cultural expectations. In this sense, one is denying both the very field of behavioral psychology -- that our ideas are shaped by our experiences -- and the definition of life -- which includes responding to stimuli. Films are cultural propaganda. Whether they urge us to seek a certain change or to be content with the status quo, all ideas that we encounter shape our own ideas. It's called learning. It's called acculturation. It's called not having a rock where your brain should be. I bet you even got that "just a movie" idea from somewhere.

scribbling woman

"I want to be let alone"

Posted on 2009.11.20 at 23:47
Sensibility:: angrymisanthropic
Tags: ,
I'm home safe.

Here's the Schrodinger's Rapist article:

It isn't just about Schrodinger's rapist, it's also Schrodinger's stalker, murderer, robber, or annoying conversationalist.

Honestly, it doesn't matter if it's sex, touching, or conversation, No means No and should be respected.

scribbling woman

Something Witchy this way Writes

Posted on 2009.08.11 at 16:22
Sensibility:: contemplativecontemplative
Tags: ,
Note: I took out the proper names here, because I want to make this an open post.

[My Pagan/multi-faith discussion group] had a meeting this week, which is to say, C______ accepted that cats can not be herded (unlike triceratops) and lured the more playful of us out with a feather on a string. I confess, sitting under a giant acorn with myself, C______, H______, and M______ seated at the four compass points of a circle is about as close to ritual as I'm going to get. E______, our guest speaker, and his friend, whose name I forget, showed up and we had the requisite Pagans-talking-about-their-cats conversation.

It was fun, but I thought that the topic was a little on the "well, duh" side, but I think that it has more to do with the different perceptions of religion based on a solitary, non-denominational humanist/Pagan vs someone involved in Wicca, and thus a social and semi-organized religion.

The topic was the calendar, and it very much came from the idea that the Wheel of the Year/8 holidays need to be updated to be meaningful to modern, American, urban Pagans. Now I agree, but I don't come from a 8-holiday Wiccan calendar to begin with. H______ had the same issue, as she is more Egyptian-influenced than Celtic-influenced to begin with, but she also knows the the flooding of the Nile doesn't really affect her daily life the way it would for an actual person in ancient Egypt. E______ made a point of mentioning that the 8 holidays, as celebrated, are done so according to the date on the secular calendar, rather than the astronomical equinoxes and solstices they are meant to celebrate, which I never noticed, since I'm not Wiccan.

E______ also mentioned that his modified version of Samhain would extend from the 31st, when most people are in Halloween mode, to the 7th or 8th, which is the date that the astrological calendar indicates. As a goth, I was appalled -- only a week?! My Halloween/Samhain peaks from mischief night to Dia de los Muertos, but waxes in from the day in late summer when I start figuring out what I'll be doing (and wearing!) and wanes out until the post-Halloween clearance sections have gone. Of course, that's just a comparative peak to what I always have.

There was also a reference to whether or not Congress is in session having more to do with our lives than the rhythms of nature, which I, as a humanist, sort of got defensive about. My religious views are largely based on moral philosophy related to human interaction. As M______ and H______ pointed out, the academic calendar and Renaissance faire season shape their calendars, respectively. Why should the melting of snow be more spiritually meaningful than, say, back to school sales (I'm addicted to school supplies because they symbolize the tools by which creativity and intellect grow into into accomplishments)? Why is the local cheese day more important to community life than the Baltimore Pirate Invasion, K'zoo, Whitby, or DragonCon? Maybe that's my perspective as a humanist, where I feel that my community is based on shared ideas, moreso than a location on the earth.

For me, the natural cycle of the year, isn't about "hey, Irish sheep have started to lactate, so it's Imbolc" any more than it is for E______ and the point of view he represents, but just because my calendar is a social (and sometimes antisocial) one, doesn't mean that I'm totally oblivious to natural cycles either. At work, where I'm still quite connected to 19th century American agriculture, I do note when we open the house for to cool it or shut it up to stay warm, I notice when the crocuses come up or I see a little blue robin's egg. I watch the garden go from purple irises to orange tiger lilies to yellow somethings (daisies?) (C______ could tell you what's in bloom, what's migrating, and so forth in excellent detail. We think that she should have a blog or twitter or something just for what she, as a nature-focused person, would notice that we'd miss).

I do go downtown for the cherry blossoms, and I kind of resented the statement that DC Pagans, as a whole, don't do anything for it. I'm not a grab-twelve-people-and-stand-in-a-circle-chanting person; that's not the only kind of religiosity that exists. I actually find it interesting that someone whose next guest lecture will be on integrating faith into one's daily life wouldn't have realized that some of us do just that because it's all an internal process, not a stage production. To me, everyday spirituality isn't about finding moments to take a break from the secular rat-race, but to remember that, with the right mindset, nothing is without its spiritual side.

I'm sure that to some young Pagans, or highly literal Wiccans, the ideas were innovative (or even heretical!), but it was a 101 level lecture and my group is both more diverse and more grown-up than the audience for which the lecture was designed. If I'm picking on Wiccans, it's unintentional; I'm just using them as an example of an organized(ish) religion, but I'm sure that every group that's organized enough to have a name (let alone texts!) has that issue. Actually, recently I had a discussion with a Catholic at work and she was kind of confused because I practice my faith according to what seems sensible to me. She was clearly skeptical about a religion that one just makes up as they go along, and talked about how in Church she was told what prayers to say, to whom, and when and how to do it. Personally, I'm skeptical about just following a universal set of directions for something as important and personal as faith.

scribbling woman

My photo is one of the best blue photos on Flickr!

Posted on 2009.07.20 at 14:15
Sensibility:: accomplishedaccomplished
Tags: , , ,
Jellyfish floating across the blue

Edit: Now it's the 81st most interesting photo geotagged as being at the DC zoo!

Ankh winged

Art-O-Matic pics

Posted on 2009.06.29 at 23:34
Tags: , , ,

Om belly/fusion dance troop:

Krista the bellydancer:


Happy Birthday, EAP!

Posted on 2009.01.19 at 01:01
Scene:: bricked up in a wall
Sensibility:: weak and weary
Sense:: the beating of the old man's heart
Tags: , ,

scribbling woman

Bad writers; bad books; bad relationships.

Posted on 2008.10.21 at 01:34
Sensibility:: determineddetermined
Tags: , ,
  I'm on the verge of unsubscribing to the historical fiction forums on the NaNoWriMo page because the people are SO STUPID! All of the posts are people that can't spell asking huge, vague questions, like a detailed explanation of social history for an entire continent over the course of a century. Why ask these things on a fucking message board? Even in this day of lazy research, when Wiki and Google are ubiquitous, can they not even turn there? Each question seems to beg me to respond, "yes, I know the answer to that, but I couldn't explain it all here even if I wanted to, and I certainly don't want to because you are insulting those of us that do research by refusing to."

  Which brings me to my newest LJ icon, which references the golden-eyed, sparkling vampires of the Twilight books. I've seen quite a bit of anti-Twilight sentiments on the internet, but was never really sure why. Ok, the writing is terrible and the characters are Mary-Sue cliches that don't deserve publication.

  I've always been of the opinion that 14-yr-old-girl stories, that is, fan-fic, Sue-fic, vampire romance, and the like are essentially masturbation on an emotional level. It is cathartic for angst and isolation and such. But please, have the shame to do it in privacy or with really close friends, not all over the internet, and don't mistake it for bloody Shakespeare.

  Unless, of course, we mean Romeo and Juliet, the tragedy for me being less that feuding families kept lovers apart than the teenagers killing themselves over the melodrama of first "love."

  This, I have discovered, is the real reason that people hate Twilight. It depicts a foolish, young girl that considers her own future, college in this case, a "plan B" to twue wuv. If you can call a controlling, possessive stalker that doesn't trust her to make her own choices about whom she interacts with and keeps her under house arrest a true love, though I would call it the antithesis thereof. Later in the story she risks her life so that he won't die alone, because she honestly doesn't see that her own life is of value.

  I don't approve of banning books, of course, and feeling that burning them as an act of protest is to be done by individual consumers, not governments, school boards, and the like. Soon, Mary Russel, soon . . . but I digress. I do, however, firmly believe in both literary critique and good parenting. These books, when they are bought and read, especially by minors, need to be accompanied by discussion. "Why do the characters do X? What are the consequences?"

  I know a lot of girls that have spent years in emotionally abusive relationships, often running from similar homes, that didn't have the maturity, experience, hope, self-esteem, understanding of psychological factors, logistical security, etc . . . to get out of them or at least not right away. It seems, amongst my peers, to be a normal right of passage for young women (and some young men, I know, but I shall write this with the pronouns that applied to my situation). We all have those "dark years" where we isolated ourselves from family and friends and turned control over to someone else in order to survive and because we did not see, or thought we did not deserve, any options.

  It isn't an ordinary part of growing up, as normative as is. It's something some women spend their entire unhappy lives in, their entire unhappy and potentially very short lives. The world needs less of this. Especially in a society where people and women do have options. We're not property; we're not likely to die before 20; safety, health care, education, jobs, and civil rights -- while increasingly scarce -- do still exist. The life you squander, throw away, or surrender has the potential to be great and beautiful. And it is an insult to those without the same options to abandon yours.

  I know what it is like. To think there's no way out, or that you don't deserve one, or that it isn't that bad, or that you owe him, or it's your own fault, but CONTROL IS NOT LOVE. I saw these words on a poster at my undergrad uni, and wished they'd been up when I went there. That someone had noticed the hints I dared to give or spoke up past my rationalizations. There was a time when my friends did, but as he threatened their lives, I pushed them away. Besides, they were kids too, they couldn't give me a home and keep me safe, so why bother? I was not rescued by family, employers, teachers, or other "adults" that didn't see, or care about, the signs. It was years before I had the self-respect to rescue myself. This Thanksgiving (3rd Thursday in November, for the non-US readers) will mark the 5-yr anniversary of that exodus.

  Only in my grandest day-dreams did I imagine the life I am living now: safety, respect, freedom. It terrifies me that girls are getting into these situations. It saddens me that the generation of adults that should be raising them to avoid it is pushing them toward it. Not just people like my parents that gave me no where else to go, but also people like Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight who romanticizes the situation.

  These books could be an empowering allegory, the vampire a symbol for a predatory, draining relationship. The character could save herself, but doesn't, and the author and legions of her young readers don't see the tragedy in that. I want to make a stand; this post is the beginning of it.

  I shall reach out, first, to you dear readers. You may email me if you need to talk.

  To one friend, especially, that is in such a relationship, I say:
You have true friends. We love you. We want you safe, happy, and free. We can get you out and provide you a home, if you need it. We can keep you safe, if you need it. You don't owe him anything; you have given enough. It is your life and you deserve anything you want and you can achieve it. With or without our help, please save yourself, for your life is too precious to give away.

ETA: a link to a brilliantly accurate (but funny and happy) review of Twilight with some other much needed literary emotional analysis.:

scribbling woman

NaNo fever seems to have come early this year.

Posted on 2008.09.20 at 14:06
Scene:: work
Sensibility:: boredbored
This is from my intro posted to the nanowrimo communities, but for those of you that don't read them or haven't tuned in yet, here's the plan. Or, rather, lack thereof. I'll set up a nano filter in October for those of you that want to read what I write about writing.

I've discovered as much as love to neurotically plan my novel, it takes the fun of writing it away for me, so this year, I'm not doing any plotting beyond the premise. Instead, I'm taking my neurotic planning out on my fantasy novels that almost never go anywhere (I write fiction constantly, but NaNo is pretty much the only time I finish any of the projects I start).

The premise is that my main character is a historian/translator of an obscure dead language and she is kidnapped by antiquities dealers to help them loot archaeological sites and her brother has to look for her.

I'm not yet sure if I'm going to set it in an historically accurate late 19th-century world, or in a pseudo-Victorian fantasy world. Either way, I'll be exploring themes of Victorian, imperialist culture and historical ownership. I'm sort of a "subversively Eurocentric" historian, dealing with disenfranchised groups in my education (medieval) and work (19th-century), so this will tie in with my interests in 19th century science's affects on class and social hierarchy.

scribbling woman

My take on the LJ strike

Posted on 2008.03.20 at 14:10
Sensibility:: depressed, in pain, & bisexual
Let me first state, that I totally supported LJ in its attempts to weed out child-porn. I agree that a covert strike that took away all potentially guilty LJs and then re-instated the innocent ones was the only way to do it. While it would be different if it were government imposed censorship, this is merely LJ, a private company, deciding what services it will provide and what they want their name associated with.

The reporting of popular interests goes a bit beyond that, though. They refused to report not only sexual terms, but also innocuous ones like, the most notable being depression, pain, bisexuality, and faeries, while allowing terms related to drug use. The selection of terms struck many people as ignorant, offensive, and inconsistent. Many people informed LJ that they were offended that everyone with depression is assumed to be entering a suicide pact, that all bisexuals are child molesters, and that all faerie fans are, um, whatever threat that pagans and/or gays and/or 14-yr-old girls are imagined to be. One person explained to LJ that their listing of pain referred not to a fetish, but to a medical condition, and received a personal apology.
Eventually, LJ re-listed those offending interests.

So, why are people still boycotting LJ if the demands were met?

And what will a 1-day boycott prove? Doesn't LJ make its money from paid accounts and sponsors, and one day of non-use just gives them less work to do, without really impacting the profits?

In short, I can't stand behind the strike enough to recommend that other people do it.

But I shall be signing off LJ at 8pm (the start of the 24 hours for those of us on EST), and this is why: I want LJ to know that they are being held accountable. That not everyone on LJ is a dumb kid, and the guards are being guarded. I want LJ to know, if nothing else, that people are paying attention to their policies and are willing to speak up on the subject.

I'll see you lovely internet people on saturday morning.

born again pagan

pagans_in_touch is up and running

Posted on 2007.05.28 at 03:32
So the small-but-growing pagan/religious freedom activist group I'm in, Pagans in Touch, now has an LJ community. If you are of a minority spirituality, have an interest in the seperation of church and state, or have an interest in civil liberties, I suggest joining. The community will largely consist notifications of events, campaigns, issues, organizations for people to get involved in. That's pagans_in_touch and the profile page is here:

scribbling woman

words, lales, and definitions

Posted on 2007.01.02 at 09:55
Sensibility:: frustratedfrustrated
Post-modernists have declared lables useless, if not dangerous, for they focus attention on the term and the connotation thereof, not on the individual. They argue that there is no realm of forms to which each individual member of a group must be held only as a specific manifestation thereof. We must accept individuals for what they are and how they see themselves, not by comparing them to archtypes. How they manage to say of this when their post-linguistic-turn buddies decided that words are too influenced by the reader to ever convey the meaning of the writer, thus negating the concept of symbol-based communication, is beyond me.

Personally, I'm rather fond of labels. I've done a great deal of soul-searching and self-defining in spite of a lot of antagonistic people and environments. Having a word to define a part of what I am makes me found, legitimate, ans sometimes less alone. Like a new species, taxonomy makes me feel like I have a place in greater scheme of things, and nomenclature indicates certain things about me. Belonging to order: theist, family: pagan, genus: non-denominational, species: humanist makes me confident in who I am, and in a few words "I'm a non-demoninational theistic pagan humanist" tell a lot about myself to another, if they know what those words mean.

And this is my issue with posers: they use words not for what they mean, but for the reaction they elicit. My "Catholic" father who doesn't believe in "*eyeroll* that" [transubstantiation] amongst other things, but won't call himself Protestant, is a prime example. He would rather hide who he is by using a label that his family embraces, thus 1) avoiding his mother's wrath and 2) feeling like part of the community.

Here are another pair of conversations I've had with people that use the word "vegetarian" in incorrect ways:

Me: Mom, you had chicken? I thought you were vegetarian (again).
Mom: Oh, I am. I don't eat it much.
Me: Then you just eat a little meat, but you're not vegetarian.
Mom: I can call myself what I want because this is what vegetarian means to me.
Me: You could eat an all-steak diet and call yourself a vegetarian, but you'd be wrong, because it's not up to you what the word means!

this guy: I'll have a veggie-burger too, I'm vegetarian.
Me: I thought you were piscatarian.
this guy: I don't know what that is.
Me: It means eating fish but not other animals. For example, I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian, because I eat dairy and eggs, but not bits of dead animals. Since you eat fish, but not other animals, you're a piscatarian, not a vegetarian.
this guy: I just say vegetarian.
Me: why? Why not piscatarian?
this guy: Because I don't know what that means.

And because being vegetarian is cool and hip and shows you care in a free spirited kind of way! Who cares about that whole no-meat thing? Being vegetarian means my long-haired, liberal friends will like me!

Of course, no discussion of labels close to my heart would complete without two more: bisexual and goth.
Bisexual, on the off-chance that anyone remembers the term, has come to mean "confused," "closet-case," and "omnivorous slut." Thus true bisexuals, and some asexuals, are often just accussed of being gay, because dichotomy is so easy for people to understand. Options like "both" and "neither" complicate the issue.
Goth, of course, has come to mean "I want to alienate my parents" or "I like to play dress up so that people will think I'm creative and unique." Anything having to do with mindset, music, literature, style etc... is disregarded. The notion of "goth points" and "goth card" has been thrown in to remind people that there were once some qualifications beyong a stick of eyeliner and a free, web-based email account. They forget that while some things are goth and some things are not-goth, some things simply don't matter. Also, there are relative weights, somethings do not make up for other things; somethings can not be overcome.

For example, let's say you're a lady who genuinely enjoys other ladies. You've slept with more women than the Rolling Stones have and kissed more girls than Hugh Heffner has. You've got all of the lesbian stereotypes down from birkenstocks to tofu, from Indigo Girls CDs to a NOW membership. But none of this really matters; if you can't go three days without sucking a cock, you're not a lesbian.

scribbling woman

Club Utopia

Posted on 2006.11.12 at 18:48
Sensibility:: gratefulgrateful
Sense:: This entry is a request list
Last night, after having a BLAST (and pretty 666 drinks) at Piratz Tavern with Forrest, Sasha, Virginia, Marc, Martin, Rachel, Maeve' ride, Maeve*, Jess*, Dan*, and 2 of our regular servers, Caitlin and Whatisname?-not-Dallas,-the-other-one, Darkness and I went off with a few of aforementioned freaks to the one of finest local clubs for goths, Club Utopia.

*At the kids' table

Even before we found the entrance, we could hear the low hum of The Sisters. Seeing a victorian widow, Neil Gaiman's Death, and a medieval vampire (or people that looked like them) walking ahead of us assured us that we had found the right place. We stood at the door for a moment, while the bouncer checked over our outfits as well our IDs, and were graciously welcomed in. The comfortable dimness hit us first. The purple-colored lights were low and a hint of cloud, as from an out-of-the-way fog machine, drifted by. The scent of cloves wafted over from the bar, where we went to fetch Blood Shots, Sweet Deaths, and Vampire Wine. Simple, but effective decor pieces, such as black crepe paper and wrought-iron crosses lined the room, but we could see sofas like Sashas in an adjoining room, so we headed there first. This chamber was set up with converastion nooks and non-danceable mood music including Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana created background noise. We continued to explore and joined some fishnet and ripped-tulle clad girls as they swayed to The Mission UK, their rosaries keeping time like pendulums and teased hair defying gravity. Next, we quickly peaked into the under 21 room to see that the baby bats were on the right track, grooving to the Cruxshadows in black ren-faire outfits and Halloween Witch costumes DIYed beyond recognition and showing off the Demonia boots they spent all of their birthday money on. In the largest room, we found people with crinoline on their heads and crinoline underskirts spinning and bending in harmony to The Cure. We found plenty of room to dance the night away, though we nearly killed the DJs for never giving us a chance to stop. Instead they played danceable pieces, at a variety of tempos. Some of the songs were old favourites, some we had never heard before, but we recognized some of the bands such as Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Iris, Attrition, Bella Morte, Switchblade Symphony, Bauhaus, Concrete Blonde, Christian Death, Alien Sex Fiend, Lords of Acid, Apoptygma Bezerk, Corvus Corax, Unto Ashes, Inkubus Sukkubus, Ascension, And One, Bow Ever Down, Carfax Abbey, Covenant, Das Ich, David Bowie, Rasputina, E Nomine, London After Midnight, The Last Dance, Lunascape, Morgan, VNV Nation, Wolfsheim, Zeromancer, and Nick Cave. We were impressed at how they incorporated both the gothier tracks by Eltro/EMB/Industrial bands and the dancier tracks by traditionally low-key bands into a surprizing, but consistantly good, goth dance atmosphere.

Unfortunately, we can't seem to find where this club was located. Does anyone know?

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