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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Michigan and GOPFail

I didn't read this in the news. It's something I know.

The State of Michigan decided a bit ago to use an online system instead of paper notices about things like food stamps and low-income medical benefits.

Okay. Because employing postal workers is that liberal thing, something about JOBS, and who needs that?

That way someone's benefits could be quietly cut. No muss, no fuss, just one day the dollar amount changes to zero.

Those people might be working multiple jobs, not have computers, not be able to get online -- maybe no car, disabled, or simply unable to get to their local libraries. Which are also having to cut hours.

Again, that job thing. They aren't job creators, those people have no impact on the economy; more of that tired old spin. The pretense that their kids shouldn't be fed; they had to be born, and once that happened, all bets were off.

I know it's extremely dystopian to think that the people who aren't worrying about jobs now want the "not like us" people to die off.

Like liberals are something you can outlive. Like people who are in unions don't matter. Like people oughtn't have health care unless they're quite rich. Like infrastructure isn't important.

Because y'know, only those poor people and middle class people use roads. Yeah, AS IF. Food comes on roads and bridges; all goods travel. FedEx ships by road and air, you know. Then the post office delivers to everyone that FedEx doesn't. Funny about that.

As if society, our shared community, does not matter.

This... this is bull.

You don't have to agree with who I vote for. That's not what's important. But I'm angry. I'm angry for people I've met and those I know, people who needed that money. What if my great-uncle needed food stamps?? He doesn't have a computer and he's past ninety. What about the people I know who've suffered bankruptcy for medical bills? Foreclosed because they lost jobs...

The list goes on and on.

This is a shared construct, society. It's how we humans survived so many things.

Food doesn't teleport to you. Water doesn't get to your house by magic. You do not live without a huge interconnected network of people, goods, services, infrastructure. People made your car, the bus, that truck your food comes on.

I love reading about dystopias. I hate living in them. I'm living in one now. Our world keeps getting closer to madness every fool day. Who put these people in charge?? I swear that it's like the Arab spring taught many politicos nothing.

Is that the world they want? Revolution? Or do they really think that people will roll over? Did they not notice the Occupy movement?

I don't recommend us reliving the French Revolution on a worldwide basis either.

And I wept a bit last night when I saw how my legislature treated two female Michigan lawmakers. I am deeply ashamed. I know the Michigan Republicans have been on this insane anti-democracy kick. But--! This is not the world I signed up for.

This is wrong. This skewed world needs to be fixed, changed, corrected, made better. Let's do it: Time to change things for the better.

Because I want the kids I know to be proud of us and to be glad for their world -- our world. Not ashamed. None of us should have to suffer this madness; and since I've been mad, I have some cause to say that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Freelance tips.

Not So Elementary.

Posting this useful link over here because a] it's quite clever and b] it's about freelancing. The blogger used Sherlock as an example of what not to do in business.

Very well done!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Taking the day.

Every so often, once a week, sometimes twice, I'm not online at all. At times this random break is more like ten days from the last.

(I'm a somewhat random person, y'see.)

Usually, but not always, I get twitchy after the day's gone by. It feels a lot like I do if a day's passed and I haven't read a book AT ALL.

I might be a con all weekend and not feel the need the entire time for being online. It depends on what I do that day. Some days after being with my niece and nephew, I come home and want a book -- I might read an entire book then, rather than do email or get on Twitter.

The interesting thing is the difference. Twenty years ago, I didn't have that withdrawal twitch. Ten years ago, I was online quite infrequently. I could read email once a week or even less, and it didn't trouble me.

I had a hard time persuading others of this. That my jobs then -- I was a temp -- didn't involve computers, and I didn't have 'Net access reliably, so that they'd just have to wait on when I got online.

Most other people found that incredibly hard. Email is instant! How could it be that I wasn't responding right when the message popped into my inbox???

So I've been on/off addicted to email and the 'Net for years now. That doesn't trouble me.

Two years ago, I'd been online a great deal, something which really began in 2005. That's probably why I resist texting so much. Boring: been there, done that, sold the t-shirt on eBay, made a profit.

But one needs breaks; *I* need breaks. Still, last night, I had to keep rolling my saves versus "get online" because by midnight, I could feel the 'Net calling.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A few links of fun and fandom &c.

I popped onto LinkedIn and found this fascinating link: Amazon's markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%


The Clarion Write-a-Thon began. You can join, or pledge [or both!]; my friend Daniel J. Hogan is taking part.

A great post
from Mary Robinette Kowal about traveling with Scalzi [and his travel karma].

Did you ever read the Evil Overlord plot generator? No? Someone decided to see what the costs were for being an unbeatable Evil Overlord...

The very nice Saladin Ahmed, a Michigan author/editor I met at Penguicon, has requested aid -- and 24 hours later, gotten it! See Pulp Pastiche and a Plea for Patrons.

Erika Holt writes The Deep End: My Plunge Into the SFF Community over at Inkpunks. :)

The "lesser known editing marks" image, courtesy of the very fine Jeff Faria.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

John Carter was like an audio book

John Carter was like an audio book, too long.

Too many characters. Took too long to get to the story. It should've been a miniseries, and if they'd contained themselves -- meaning, if they'd compressed things better -- and not gone for the Huge Panoramas everywhere, that would have been better.

The graphics were nifty, though. :) I have a feeling that if you watched it with the sound off, that might help.

Also, I can appreciate fans making stories; that's how we got Sherlock and Peter Jackson's LOTR cycle. The problem is when the movie makers go overboard because of enthusiasm. So much stuff not to leave out, you can just feel them cry... no, no, you must leave things out.

That's what makes the others good. Knowing what to leave out as well as what to put in.


I loved the Tharks. Except they were too skinny, so half the time I was thinking "Anorexic Tharks!" and the rest I was being all delighted at them. Whoever did the Tharks is full of win, and I salute you most happily.

My favorite part was the arena. :) But overall it dragged. I kept pausing it to see just how long I'd been watching, which is never a good sign.

Dad watched the beginning with me, and we discussed [and he critiqued] how long it was taking them to get to the story. He complained -- rightly, I thought -- about the actor cast as John Carter. They really needed someone built like the young Schwarzenegger. Every time the camera came back to Carter, I got a bit more twitchy. :/

I did like how Deja Thoris wasn't all wimpy. I don't remember what she was like, but that was a pleasant difference. The different frame story had its moments, particularly the end, but... sigh.

I read the John Carter books in my teens. They were just like Tarzan in many ways, unsurprisingly. That's not a complaint, it's just an observation. They went in two-book cycles.

So I kept saying, "Why aren't they getting to the cave?" and similar comments. Now I understand why some fans watching Spiderman got upset about the webshooters Peter made. They didn't upset me, but the gizmo instead of John Carter's teleporting, arghhh!!

I could see how they'd been seduced by movies past: Dune, Flash Gordon, the original Star Wars trio, Tron.

So, yeah. See the arena scene, that's really good. The dog, I want a Martian dog a bit, he was great. :) I know he was a plot point, but a very skillfully used one.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Change the world yourself.

There was a great discussion that Scalzi brought up: SWM Setting in the Game of Life. Jim Hines has written about this as well. So has Michelle Sagara: Please don’t tell me how I should feel oppressed, thanks.

Does this all matter? Absolutely. I remember one of the first times I looked at a guy and realized he'd just discounted me because I was female.

I was disappointed in him. I'd thought him better than that. I don't think I've slammed into race -- for myself -- as a problem very much; I only remember it happening once, at a job.

Getting eaten by the rape culture

Why do these things matter? Buying into oppression by gender or race, perpetuating abuse and the rape culture -- makes you a smaller person. It means you'll hurt someone else. Domino effect.

Once I managed to stop a sexual predator from preying on someone else I knew. I'd do it again.

I don't want to live in a dystopia. Do I have a choice? Sure. You and I and everyone can change the world.

Plus I'm all pleased about a friend of mine, author Sarah Frost. :) She sold her first story to Analog, she's sold more stories, and I noticed a link to her work blog about her sold work. So proud!!

(Yes, it is my own fault for not knowing Sarah has a work blog. I am very erratic about noticing things online. Nor do I get on G+ very often.)