Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive
30Mar/122

Friday Linkdump is your feathery friend

Well, the chickens have officially been named. We ended up going with Doctor Who companions in the end, though the sauce nicknames also seem to have stuck. Thus, the Easter Egger is now Susan (aka Sweet & Sour), the Barred Rock is Barbara (aka Ranch), the Buff Orpington is Vicki (aka Honey Mustard), and the Australorp is Katarina (aka BBQ).

Katarina, incidently, is definitely the chicken most likely to engage in airlock heroics.

Also, ever since somebody mentioned that Buff Orpington sounds like a pulp sci-fi hero, I can't stop thinking about that idea. I really should consider asking my friend Jean about illustrating that for me...

Speaking of brainmeats, it's been a productive week here in blogland! I've posted writeups of The Hunger Games, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and Marco Polo (serial 004 of the epic classic Doctor Who rewatch) over at Not Broadcast Safe.

I also posted some thoughts about Jimmy Carter's departure from the Southern Baptist church over the treatment of women over at The Land, Sea, and Sky, which rather turned out to be more about my thoughts re: individuals' responsibilities within their faith communities, but there you go.

Good times.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Internet:

- Music from places that aren't the United States or Western Europe: I found BIGBANG's "Fantastic Baby" video very enjoyable indeed, while this badass combo of Tuvan throat singing and Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" kicked my ass.

- For all three of you who have yet to see it, the first Doctor Who Series Seven preview. Yeah, I've been humming a particular musical theme all week. Why do you ask?

- From LifeHacker, an interesting thought: Instead of Saying "I Don’t Have Time," Say "It’s Not a Priority." Now, I have feelings about this. On a normal weekday, I have about three hours (usually 6-9 PM) that aren't already spoken for outside of sleep, work, basic self-care/hygiene/nutrition, or writing. Some nights, I don't even get those hours. By that standard I may well genuinely not have time to do everything that needs to be done, or would be nice to do, etc. On the other hand, the way I use that time (and even the time broadly allotted to various tasks)? Well, it's all about choices, isn't it? At the very least, trying this language on could yeild interesting (and probably uncomfortable) insights about what one's real priorities are? Then again, I have in the past done myself terrible harm by telling myself "your X is not so broken you can't also do Y." So. Approach with caution?

- How To Be Creative. Another thing I'm wearing my skeptic pants about, because while the article is very slick in its way, what does it really tell us? How to prime your brain. As someone who's very good (at least in theory) at priming his brain, I can genuinely say that the actual labor of creativity is not as easy as 20 minutes on YouTube. If it were, I'd have written a hundred libraries' worth of books. Instead...well, instead I've seen an awful lot of funny videos on YouTube. Er.

- Some soldiers in Afghanistan have apparently begun adding "infidel gear" to their equipment. While I certainly have a deep, personal understanding of that impulse to act out in frustration in the face of all kinds of pressures, this is pretty much the very definition of bad choices.

- Why hello there, 2012 Clarke Award shortlist. Or, as I like to call it, that list of books that will only make my to-read stack just that much less possible to scale.

- Banana flavored scorpion vodka. Or, as I like to call it, something I am actively refusing to put in my mouth.

- Transgender Miss Universe Canada Finalist Jenna Talackova Disqualified From Competition. And yes, the comments are just as appalling as you'd expect them to be. Still, if you follow the story around a bit, there's a lot of support for Talackova out there right now, too.

- Pictures From a Battlefield: the men and women who started ACT UP.

- “Clicktivism” vs. “real” activism – everybody needs to just sit down.

- While I could live without the whiff of dismissiveness in the headline, this news about IDW making Womanthology becoming an ongoing series makes me very happy indeed.

I now return you to your previously scheduled Friday afternoon.

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27Mar/120

On the naming of chickens

Seven days ago, I brought home four baby chicks. This is exciting for plenty of reasons, not least because I've been reading about chickens, planning, and so on since last summer.

So far, keeping chickens has been fantastically enjoyable. Baby chicks are cute and fun to watch, and their space and infrastructure needs are pretty minimal. The degree of day-to-day attention needed won't really ramp up that significantly when they get older, either from what I can tell. Leeping a small flock just isn't particularly intense. These are, after all, recreational chickens of the "pets with benefits" variety. I'm in it for the eggs.

One thing I was particularly stubborn about, though, was refusing to name them before I met them. I didn't want to impose something on them unfairly without getting to know them first. Great in theory, but in practice? I'm stumped. I'm probably overthinking, and too attached to the idea that I need to do theme names. They are, after all, a flock.

(The roommate has suggested BBQ, Ranch, Honey Mustard, and Sweet & Sour. He's helpful like that. Because I am a terrible person -- I refer to them in the collective as "The Nuggets" -- I even kind of know which ones those names should go with.)

So far, the two ideas that seem to have stuck are a) giving them full Roman names, and b) naming them after female Doctor Who companions. The latter is easy -- Susan, Barbara, Vicki (I could sneakily refer to her as Cressida!), and Katarina -- while the former is a little more complex. Still, I've worked it out: praenomens Prima, Secunda, Tertia, and Quarta, I can use Gallina for the gens, and I've even picked out some descriptive cognomens.

While the girls don't seem to have a strong opinion either way -- when I asked, they seemed more interested in pecking at the grocery ad on the newsprint I'd just laid down in the brooder -- I'm not sure I'm quite ready to settle. I mean, what about "little old lady" names like Esther, Gertrude, Dora, and Mildred? Those could be fun! Or maybe chicken-edible herbs and wildflowers? Henbit, Violet, Chickweed, and Dandelion could be very nice indeed...

I am apparently an indecisive chicken-namer.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Amusing Commentary? Gentle mockery?

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23Mar/120

Friday linkdump has been through the wars

Still playing catch-up with my life, but at least I've made sure that write-ups for "The Daleks" and "The Edge of Destruction" happened. I keep telling myself that all progress is good progress.

And now, links:

- Some of this week's excitement came in the form of my first flock of chickens arriving. I've got four pullets, which I brought home as day-old chicks on Tuesday. It's crazy, because I've spent a year reading up on chickens and behavior and care and suddenly holy crap, actual chickens. My source of sanity? Backyard Chickens. Super, super useful.

- I spend an unusual amount of time thinking about how ideas mutate when they're transmitted outside of their original context, culture, or language. My favorite example of this right now is a marvelous quote attributed to Goethe, usually rendered "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." And it is his words, sort of, except that the context is entirely wrong and the idea has been extrapolated entirely beyond recognition.

- The Sex-Swapped Anime Version of Harry Potter That Never Existed. People, I love this like burning.

- Do E-Books Make It Harder to Remember What You Just Read? I've had conversations with friends about how I'm reluctant to move to tablet computing over paper in terms of keeping notes and such because there are elements of the tactile experience (and how I ultimately process information) that are missing for me. And, thinking about it, a lot of those tactile cues are part of the reading experience for me as well. Maybe we're still learning to figure out how to find tactile cues in e-books?

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16Mar/120

Friday Linkdump is feeling much better, really

I had so many good blogging intentions this week, and then promptly got nailed by the Space Virus. Oof.

Still, I'm making progress digging myself out of this hole. My write up of "The Daleks" will go up over at Not Broadcast Safe either tonight or tomorrow, and I've got some other stuff in the works. This makes me happy. Not as happy as I'd be if I'd done everything I'd intended to this week, but...

And now, linkery-pokery:

- More than Half of Mississippi GOP Primary Voters Believe the President is Muslim. I think it's telling that something like this, which was more than debunked back in 2008, is still going around, and is more prevalent among Evangelicals.

- Go Away, I’m Reading. As if I needed a reason to reaffirm my long-term relationship with various office supply stores, somebody has designed book covers that say exactly what I'm thinking when somebody invades my reading time. <3

- So. Invisible Children. It's a thing. But wow, there are problems with 'Stop Kony'. According to some folks, very big problems. Also, let's not forget that this is Uganda, where the government -- aided and abetted by white American Evangelicals -- keeps trying to give LGBTQ people the death penalty. So. Still, problematic though the thing itself is, how amazing is it that this is actually a conversation?

- The Reproduction of Privilege. As someone with a lot of love for higher ed, and strong feelings about the benefits that access to college has had for me as a person, this whole article depresses me beyond words.

- Sherlock: the Case of the Invisible Women. This and Cat Valente's post about the focused erasure of women from stories in modern literature have me thinking really seriously about some of the long fiction I'm working on, and how not to fall into this trap, even if I happen to be writing a male protagonist.

- Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group. Obviously this isn't all sides of the story, but it looks bad. Catholic friends: I love you, but your leadership genuinely frightens and enrages me.

- One-Way Wantonness. That misogyny is rampant even in the liberal media is a thing is worth talking about because misogyny is wrong. If we take our values seriously, we must also look to our discourse. Still, Limbaugh strikes me as a special case in that, unlike Maher and Olbermann, he pointedly used language in the literal sense in support of an actual political movement to strip women of their rights in terms of access to health care. While bad behavior on the Left is a problem, it's a different problem. So.

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9Mar/121

Friday linkdump is maximally informed

This week's Not Broadcast Safe offerings have been all about the True/False Film Festival. Check out write-ups of my adventures on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

Meanwhile, other people did all kinds of interesting things elsewhere on the Internet:

- Over at The Atlantic, we learn that Reading the Privacy Policies You Encounter in a Year Would Take 76 Work Days. So. That's comforting.

- Shockingly Awesome Surreal Sculptures by an artist named artist Nancy Fouts. The photography is great, but I'd love to see some of these up close.

- Some of the best commentary I've seen on the current contraception coverage debate reminds us that, for those of us insured through an employer, health insurance isn't a courtesy, but part of a worker's wages. Women work. Women pay taxes. The whole "paying for women to have sex" thing is a red herring at best. Meanwhile, The Daily Show has also been bringing the awesome, both with Jon Stewart's take on the Rush Limbaugh "slut" thing, and by having Planned Parenthood's Cecille Richards on as a guest as well.

- A study has shown that the QWERTY keyboard may be affecting how we feel about words. Basically, people tend to preference words that use more letters that appear on the right-hand side of the keyboard (and are thus easier to type if one is right-hand dominant). I guess it's a good thing we've got three vowels over there...

- Jim C. Hines' The Wolves, the Pig, and the Retarded Bunny. I'm possibly preaching to the choir here, but it's well worth a read.

- And hey, while you're reading genre authors making social commentary, swing on over to Whatever and see John Scalzi say a lot of sensible things about Kirk Cameron's assertions about homosexuality on Piers Morgan, including how free speech actually works. (And seriously, Kirk Cameron? What on earth is he doing in the national consciousness again? Go away, Kirk Cameron!)

- Speaking of speech, some employers, agencies, and educational institutions are demanding Facebook passwords and/or that applicants log in and click through during interviews. Because, wow, that doesn't curtail speech or invade privacy or cause individuals to make disclosures about their private lives that should not be part of a job interview at all.

- Hey, you in the headdress! As someone who, as a child, did not understand these things because I was actively encouraged by my scouting organization appropriate native cultures, I'm glad this exists. Knowing is half the battle! [insert musical fanfare here.]

- Discovered this week that the Edgar Allan Poe house in Baltimore is under threat of closure after being defunded by the city. Want to help? Donate here.

- Why "Sex Change" Surgery is Medically Necessary, Revisited. Incidentally, if you get insurance through your employer, one way to be a good ally is to a) find out if your coverage includes hormone treatments and gender-affirming surgeries and, b) if not, demand it be included. With transfolk being all of maybe .2% of the population, we're a surprisingly inexpensive population to extend equal coverage to (and, like women, we're also workers and taxpayers who deserve to get the full benefit of our efforts). Plus I'm willing to bet most transfolk are better workers when we're less stressed, miserable, and tired from struggling with our physical and legal status...

- No, the Equinoxes are not magical days upon which brooms and eggs are magically more able to balance on their ends. Next!

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6Mar/120

When you Google “Rush Limbaugh bust”…

...Missouri Speaker of the House Steven Tilley's current plan to add Limbaugh's likeness to the Missouri State Capitol's Hall of Famous Missourians isn't in the top three hits.

Or the first five pages.

What one does get, though, is a litany of hits (mostly from 2006 and 2009) about Limbaugh being busted for Oxycontin and being caught on his way back from the Dominican Republic with Viagra issued under an assumed name.

I mention this not because I'm in a particular hurry to moralize about drug use and abuse -- I'm not -- but because the legislature here in Missouri is very much in that business.

So it's not unreasonable that I should be surprised to hear of this particular bit of future statuary, right?

Then again, NARAL gives Missouri an F on reproductive health issues, and rates us 48th in the nation in terms of access to family planning services and education. So maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Tilley says he plans to go ahead with the bust regardless of how a certain Conservative ideologue chose to refer to a woman as a slut and a prostitute, and demand that she produce a sex video for having the audacity to testify that her health care coverage should, you know, cover her basic health care needs.

Limbaugh, a Cape Girardeau native, is indisputably well known. But really, is this who we want to see when we walk between the chambers of the House and Senate? Is this someone we want to be inspired by? Tilley seems to think so.

Me, I could not disagree more vigorously. Which I why today I called and e-mailed Speaker Tilley -- you can find his contact details here -- to tell him that I think he needs to scrap plans for the bust.

Limbaugh is not a role model, and he's done Missouri no great service. In fact, right now he seems to be doing his level best to disgrace himself on the national stage. By honoring him in the midst of that, we bring that same disgrace upon ourselves. I am not okay with that.

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4Mar/120

True/False post-o-rama in progress!

If anyone's wondering why I've fallen off of certain faces of various Earths, it's because this weekend is True/False here in Columbia, and I lucked into a pass when a friend had a spare.

As a result, my life is pretty much All Film All The Time until tonight. And, because I love you all (and had the good sense to finally start the damn thing), I'll be sharing the magic over at Not Broadcast Safe, aka land of the inconsistent hyphen.

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2Mar/122

Friday Linkdump means never having to say you’re sorry.

This has definitely been a week of writing and posting things.

- Over at Not Broadcast-Safe I've posted a review of Stormhouse, the beginning of my long-haul Classic Who rewatch and a post about the latest White Collar season ender.

- Over at The Land, Sea, and Sky, I succumb to my sing-song poetry roots with a bit of ogam-learning verse at The Land, Sea, and Sky.

Meanwhile, other people did things on the Internet!

- One of my favorite folks actively working in pagan culture today, Erynn Rowan Laurie, is traveling to Ireland as part of a Brigid-focused pilgrimage, which you can find out more about here. If you're moved to support her and her work directly, she's accepting donations to assist with the preparations and otherwise smooth the way and defray some of her overall costs.

- Crossed Genres has announced an open call for their MENIAL: Skilled Labor in SF anthology. As always, CG actively solicits stories that focus on a diverse range of character types, which is always happy-making.

- If you're one of the five people who haven't read "ILU-486" yet, go do that. It's okay. I'll wait.

- Vida has released their 2011 pie charts showing percentage representation of men and women in major mainstream periodicals and literary markets, including the New York Review of Books, Harper's, and the NYT's book review section. As an annual gut-check, I think this is pretty important data.

- 50-kilogram metal sphere falls from the sky over Brazilian town. Holy shit, you guys. I always used to joke about space junk being the way I'd like to go out, but this is terrifying. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

- The MPAA just gave a documentary about teen bullying an R rating for language. The net effect is, as the article points out, problematic in that: a) it means it can't easily be used as a teaching and discussion tool in classrooms, and b) it means the MPAA has effectively said that teenagers shouldn't watch "a documentary about what teenagers actually say and do to one another." Weinstein is fighting back, but this seems like the sort of thing people should know about. (Incidentally, I'm hoping to have an opportunity to see Bully this weekend at True/False. Fingers crossed.)

- Old, old news, but I keep laughing about this video of Matt Bomer talking about wardrobe hilarity while shooting Magic Mike, including having trouble getting into a thong. It's like all of the naughty White Collar fiction on the Internet just got an extra helping of awkwardsauce.

- There's a bill under consideration in Georgia that seeks to curtail protesters' ability to picket, as well as impose significant fines and criminal charges for some kinds of protest. Worse, it may be retaliation.

- Over at HuffPo, NOW president Terry O'Neill explains the whole state-mandated ultrasound issue, and why requiring women to submit to a medically unnecessary transvaginal procedure is both ridiculous and monstrous. (And really, isn't it odd that these same conservatives who were shouting about how the government can't require us to pay for medical things are chomping at the bit to force women to pay another $300-700?) (Oh hey. Did I mention you should go read "ILU-486"? No really. Go do that.)

- Over at Dear Author, a post that starts with updates on a significant plagiarism situation going on with an RWA chapter, but what I really want to point out is the second half about Smashwords caving to PayPal over content. Look, I am no lover of some of the content they're removing at PayPal's behest, but I am profoundly opposed to the idea of PayPal being allowed to make those decisions for Smashwords or their customers.

- Oh hey! New Rufus Wainwright song. Niceness.

- I am fascinated with this promo from The Guardian. It's beautifully done, and strikes me as weirdly hopeful. Every time I watch it I have new thoughts. Not bad for what is essentially a commercial for a newspaper.

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1Mar/121

Seriously, body?

I have been in bed, exhausted and with intent to sleep, for over 90 minutes. Up until the minute I turned out the light I was ready, oh so ready, to be unconscious.

Light goes off? Boom. Wakeful.

This has been going on all week, and roughly lines up with what can only be described as a post-adventure mood crash, with the added bonus of some serious Leap Day baggage. Plus weather change. Plus my bad knee is flaring up. Plus...I don't know. Plus something! Lunar disturbances, maybe.

All of which would not be the end of the world except that I really, really like the story I'm working on right now and want to hammer out at least a couple hundred words in the morning. And be functional tomorrow. And, I don't know, sleep.

This, friends, is what happens when you tamper with time zones and keep a bizarre schedule. Sooner or later, even valerian cannot save you.

OPERATION HOT BATH WITH A BOOK IS NOW GO.

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