Tags: in real life

year of the cat

Fortified I'll Rise

 Today I had my first experiment in yeast bread making. It could have gone better. I've been growing my own yeast. It started off well, but by today it was smelling a tad vinegar-y. I decided to use it anyway. By then I'd already hauled down my mother's ancient stand mixer from the attic and I meant to use it, by gum! It was completely filthy, so I spent a good half-hour getting it clean. And then I went and dirtied it back up.

I decided to make the Cuban bread recipe from my New York Times Cookbook because it seemed fairly easy and I had all the ingredients. After mixing, I let the dough rise in a greased bowl in a sink full of hot water while I talked with my mom. Did I not let it rise long enough? Don't know, but it didn't rise again once it was in the oven.

In the end, the flavor was good, but it came out dense and chewy, rather than fluffy. Tomorrow I will take down the fondu pot that I've never used and make something to dip it in for lunch.

If anyone has any suggestions for my next to around, please let me know.
year of the cat

Unnumbered women dead go crying through our singing

Today was our local second annual women's march. We hold it on Sunday after the big ones so there's a) free downtown parking and b) an opportunity for people to attend more than one march over the course of the weekend. I'm on the planning committee, and the last few weeks have been pretty hectic. In addition to today's march, we've held various events throughout the year about women's history/issues to keep the momentum going. Last Sunday was a lecture about the history of protest art. On Tuesday, we hosted a documentary about Black power activist Grace Lee Boggs. On Saturday was the opening of the art exhibit Empower 2020 at the local community arts space. It's really been quite a ride.

We had six speakers today on topics including civic engagement, economic justice, environmental justice, reproductive rights, racial justice, and LGBTQ rights. All of the speakers were good and some were rather fiery. Only one of them actually stuck to the 3 minute time limit, but no one froze to death listening, so we'll call it a win. The last speaker, Jamie, was especially impressive. At fifteen, they're a hell of a lot more passionate and articulate than I remember being at that age.

My job for the year was to manage our website and knit so many pussy hats. At the actual event, T.C. and I recorded for posterity. He handled the speakers, while I got B-roll of the crowd. I wish we had some numbers on that. It was somewhere between 100 and 200 for certain, but beyond that, I couldn't tell you. After the speeches, we marched from Wisner Park to Cowles Hall at the college where there was tabling, bathrooms, and a warm place to sit. 

I don't know if we're doing it again next year. The turnout was down a bit as they have been everywhere and people may feel differently about it when Elizabeth Warren is president. I guess we'll see. 

Just remember to vote like lives depend on it because they do!


year of the cat

I make my living off the evening news

I got interviewed by the local news this morning about the grant project I mentioned recently. It wasn't my first rodeo, but I can remember how nervous I was the first time I had to do it. Here's some tips if you ever need to do it:

1. Have some remarks prepared and memorized. This is especially important if the interview will be airing live, but is handy regardless.

2. Discuss the sorts of questions the reporter wants to ask before the filming starts. This will help establish the limits of your expertise and keep you from being blindsided. This morning, the reporter came in thinking we were putting up an African American exhibit for Black History Month in February. If we hadn't discussed it beforehand the interview would have gone very differently.

3. Look at the reporter, not the camera. Stay calm and speak clearly and you should be okay.

I've been given to understand that Thursdays rec days.

Avamorphs by [Unknown LJ tag]
You ever wanted a fusion between Avatar: the Last Airbender and Katherine Applegates' Anamorphs books? I din't, but I'm so very glad I got one. This started out as a series of prompt fics back on white_knuckle, but it has grown into so much more.

Let's do it (Part 1)
The gang learns of an alien invasion and shit gets real

These our bodies possessed by light (Part 2)
Some backstory on the Yeerk known as Zuko Five Three Three.

That's just my battle scar (Part 3)
Zuko and his host Lee are a winning combination.

They call kids like us vicious (Part 4)
Lee probably could have used some therapy even before he got infected with an alien brain slug.

Just don't ask me how I am (part 5)
Turns out Sokka probably could have used some therapy before he got embroiled in an intergalactic war.

They ain't seen the last of me and you (part 6)
A mission goes sideways and everyone gets the entirely wrong idea about Zuko.
year of the cat

You are ahead by a century

Today is my birthday. I spent it in a pleasantly low key way.

Last night and today I marathoned the latest season of Anne With An E. I'm not really sure how I feel about it. I did spend the first half of the season crying though. Collapse )

In the evening, I had dinner with friends at the local Indian restaurant. My friends are babies when it comes to spice, but we found stuff they could eat. I really love the local place. Not only is the food good, the owners have the habit of throwing things in on the house. Tonight, we got free pakoras and kheer. I am so very full right now.
year of the cat

Woke Up Fell Out of Bed, Dragged a Comb Across My Head

This was was my first day back at the office since Christmas Eve. I woke up at 7:54 to discover that I had failed to set my alarm the night before. Luckily for me, I'd already made my lunch and normally leave myself an extra 30 minutes each morning to read. No reading this morning, obviously, but I was not late getting to the office.

Checking my AO3 in box, I found that one kind soul had read and commented on 15 of my stories across three different fandoms. I ask you, is there anything more gratifying as an author than a reader who found one thing they liked by you and then tracked down all the things? ::Happy noises::

Speaking of happy noises, I squealed like an excited dolphin when I found out I'd received the grant I'd applied for back in November. The museum I work for has a collection of oral histories of local Black community leaders recorded back in 1989. The problem is they're all on audio cassettes, some of which are basically unplayable today. With this grant from the local library council, we'll be able to digitize them and then share them on the web. I've also got some fun in-house programing planned for them, including a listening and discussion event with the local NAACP sometime this spring.
year of the cat

Time isn't holding up

Happy New Year everybody! We made it! Let's make 2020 a good one, or at least better than last year.

In 2019, I wrote 30 stories in 13 fandoms, 6 of which I'd never written in before. I'll be posting a list after I get back from this party I'm going to in an hour.

I've got a bunch of new year's resolutions for 2020. Here are the relevant ones.

1. Submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known by regularly posting here about more than just my latest writing projects. 

2. Read at least one book a month and do a full review of it here. 

3. Find a new hyperfixation. Ever since Star Wars and I broke up, I've been listless and drifting. I've flirted with a few new fandoms and even hooked up briefly with some of my old ones. Oh, please, world wide media, send me a fandom I can really obsess over for at least a few months.

I've got a few more resolutions like get the broken windows in my house fixed and buy a ticket to visit my mom in Florida, but that's all pretty boring stuff. Last year I resolved to visit my friends in Denmark and install a ceiling fan in my bathroom and I accomplished both. Go me! I think I also resolved last year to be better about posting here and that didn't happen, so well, we'll see how it goes this year, I guess. 
year of the cat

I need you badly, badly, madam librarian

I am a member of our local library board. For the most part, our meetings are pretty dull. We set the budget, pay the bills, plan capital improvements, and establish policy. It is an elected position hardly anyone bothers to vote for and, considering the work that goes into it, it often seems pretty thankless.

Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked! Back in November, our library hosted a program which caused some pearl clutching among the conservative set. Threats were made against our funding in the run-up to the election. Our budget passed, thank goodness, and an amazing thing happened: members of the public started attending our meetings. In the last two months, we've had over 20 people at each meeting. Normally we get none.

What's really struck me is how supportive most of them are. Last night, they spoke out in support of our stance on the freedom of speech and information; the safe and welcoming space we provided to youth of all orientations and backgrounds; and the overall caliber of our children's programing. One man gushed about our Maker Space and how the training and equipment there helped him launch his business.

Libraries are changing. Our circulation is down, way down, but our programing and visitation are on the rise. We have programs for all ages from baby lap sits to senior yoga. We recently opened our new teen space where teens can hang out, do homework, and even play video games. Our Maker Space has a 3d printer, laser engraver, recording studio, sound/video editing equipment, sewing machines, and training in the use of all of it. We recently started a Library of Things, loaning non-traditional material like board games, power tools, baking tins, and ukulele.

What do you love about your local library? What do you wish they did better or had more of? Any suggestions I should take to my board? Excelsior!
year of the cat

Let's Set The World On Fire

This was a fund week and by fun I mean crazy stressful. My cat, Cumulus, went into renal failure over the weekend, so there was a lot of running around trying to get him treatment. He's on the mend, thank goodness, but it hasn't been fun for either of us. I should be able to take him home tomorrow.

On to Wednesday reading stuff.

What I just finished

The Power by Naomi Alderman. My co-worker gave me this book after reading it herself and instructed me to pass it on. I'm tentatively planning on giving it to my mom over Thanksgiving. Apparently Barack Obama was a big fan, and it's not hard to see why. The basic premise is that an old chemical agent has given women and girls electrical powers and the world goes somewhat crazy as a result. Angry, women, sick of being under men's boots for so long, push back in a big way. Angry, frightened men react with violence disturbingly similar to real-life white supremacists fearing their inevitable loss of privilege and power. Plus, there's new lady cults, meme culture, unscrupulous politicians, and a clock ticking down to Cataclysm.

In many ways, this is an uncomfortable book. Part of it is the sobering mirror to look into aspect. The novel's framing device is a series of letters between the fictional author, Neil, and his editor, Naomi. It's clear that their world is basically a gender flipped version of our own, but it's explicitly portrayed as a dystopia. Our world is a dystopia, but it's one we're accustomed to and thus are less horrified by. At the same time, the entire plot of the story is basically the worst nightmare of anyone who screamed feminazi. Is this how women would react if we had power? Is this how I would react?  Can we get away from basing our society on the threat of violence?

What I'm reading now

Terrier by Tamora Pierce. I've loved Tamora Pierce since Alanna: The First Adventure, but it took me forever to get around to this. It's less an adventure story and more a murder mystery, but I'm enjoying it so far. I was struck by how casually corrupt all the police are. They collect protection money, or Happy Bags, as explicit policy, everyone takes bribes (including our Hero and her training officers), and no one wants to investigate the murder of a child because everyone hate's his great-grandpa. I would love a crossover where Sam Vimes sets them straight.
year of the cat

Young, Scrappy, and Hungry

Guess who was in my archives this morning? Ron Chernow! Spoiler alert, he's working on a book about the last decades of Mark Twain's life and, as our local chamber of commerce like's to advertise, we're proud to be where Twain remains. It's funny and punny because we literally have his rotting corpse. Anyhow, Chernow was in looking through a collection of material from Twain's in-laws. I mostly just made copies, but it's always nice to be able to get researchers what they need/want.

In other news, remember when I was doing flashback Fridays? Well, occasionally, so do I! Today's flashback is:

Pooka Boo
Dark Angel (TV)
Alec, Max, Original Cindy, Logan, undisclosed mythological creature
Maybe Ben's hallucinations started out cute and fluffy too.

This is the last of my old Dark Angel fics. I don't know why, but I only ever wrote them for the old da_halloween  exchange. It's a fun fandom to play in, but it was never quite my scene.

Speaking of fun Halloween stuff, please come and pick a prompt from my Wumptober prompt list. [personal profile] sholio left me one, but I want more.

year of the cat

Fly Right Through The Revolution

Just finished reading

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. The book is a highly fictionalized account of the real-life Dominican revolutionaries Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, who were assassinated by the Trujillo regime on November 25, 1960. Each chapter was told from a different sister's POV, including the sole surviving sister, Dedé. Each sister had a unique voice with their chapters being written in distinct ways. Maria Teresa's chapters, for example, are always diary entries, while Minerva's are the only ones in first person. I don't know how accurate to life the portrayals are, but I liked the way the author examined the things that could lead otherwise ordinary women towards revolution. They each had very different reasons for getting involved and had different things they were willing to do or not do for the cause, themselves, and the family.

It all seemed frighteningly timely. A month or so back, I had a conversation with my mom about how when if things get bad we're going to need people willing to get arrested and give up their livelihoods and lives to resist. Right now, I'm involved in organizing the local women's march and donating to certain causes, but I don't know if I have the courage to do that harder work.

Case in point. Last week I read the New York Times Magazine's 1619 Project about the long-reaching effects of slavery on American economy, politics, and society. If you haven't read it, I urge you to follow the link and do so. Anyway, every week a staff member from at our historical society writes a blog post on a local history topic and I chose to look at the effects of slavery on New York State and our county. It turns out, we know the names of several former slave-owning families, some of whom still have descendants still living in the area. The original last sentence of the blog mentioned that that family was still around, and still wealthy and powerful. The problem is, they're also one of our institution's biggest financial donors. My boss asked me to tone down the last sentence before allowing me to post it and I did. Right call? Wrong call? I still can't decide, but it doesn't give me much hope for my ability to speak truth to power.

What I'm Reading Next
 
No idea. I have a stack of Smithsonian magazines I probably should get around to, but also a whole lot of library book sale books. Decision, decisions.