lydamorehouse: (Default)
 Yes, I know it's discombobulate, but blame Bugs Bunny. I always say "discom-boob-ulate." It's funnier that way.

Speaking of preemptive explanations, I have decided that the Internet is a terrible parent. I've been on the "Innerwebs" since its inception. If, several years ago, you asked me if the internet is destroying communication, I would have laughed at you and called you an alarmist.  However, the thing that I'm noticing more and more as we get entire generations who have grown up communicating via text is a tendency to assume the worst of the OP (the original poster.) Today, for instance, I got a comment on one of my fics that was a perfectly reasonable response to an author's note that I'd written several years ago that seems, in retrospect, a bit tone-deaf regarding genderqueer/gender fluid folks. This person probably think they took a neutral tone, but it came off as "The thing you need to understand...", which made me want to knee-jerk with doubling-down and yelling "$%!@ OFF."

Luckily, while I wrote a bit of that initial reaction in reply, I'm used to the fact that most of my fic readers are 12 (like, for real).  So, I try not to start with the swears. I try to say, "thank you for the information" and go from there.  Luckily, I also thought to re-read my intro and spotted WHY this person thought I was either a bigot or a moron.  THEN, I was able to go back and write, "Ah-ha! I get your point now, I will fix this so I don't look like a raging moron/bigot." 

And, yeah, I get that *this* is on me from the start. It's not the offended person's responsibility to treat *me* with respect that I don't seem to deserve. In fact, they mostly did.  

It's just that it really strikes me that, at least, for myself, going forward, I would like to pledge to recognize that even intelligent, wanting-to-do-right-by-everyone people like myself have this knee-jerk reaction to being "called out." For myself, so long as the person on the other end has not made it super clear that they are a NAZI in need of punching, I'm going to start with the expectation that the mistake was honest and maybe just soften my initial blow with something as simple as, "I don't know when you wrote this fic, but..." or "Maybe you already know this, but your introduction makes it seem like maybe you don't..."?  

I guess my point is, is that the internet did not teach us how to have a constructive argument.

You *can* have CONSTRUCTIVE arguments on the internet, though.  I've had, actually, a number of amazing, eye-opening arguments on the internet, specifically on AO3 over mistakes I've made in my fics. I learned, the hard way (by hurting someone), why trigger warnings are actually important. In those arguments, I had to do a lot of hard work. I had to let go of my ego and really listen and that's super-hard to do when you feel massively guilty. I also managed to have a conversation on Facebook about women in science fiction without having to go nuclear on the trolls. It can be done. It just takes a lot more commitment than we're used to giving anyone on the internet.

Anyway, truth is, I'm writing about this, because I'm avoiding a bunch of other writing I really need to either do or decide NOT to do.  
lydamorehouse: (ichigo adorkable)
We've been teasing poor Mason that he needs to have one of those billboards like they do at industrial sites that say: "___ days accident free." So, today, as I dropped him off he waved me away with a cheerful, "One week accident free!"

My poor baby.

Around my household, we refer to these random stumbles, etc., as: nerdspasms. As I told Mason, he comes by it honestly (though possibly via osmosis), as I have a long and sordid history of such events. In my youth, I had been known to just fall while looking up at something in a tree or once, while stopped, I fell off my bike.

While.

Stopped.

We won't even talk about the time I was reading while riding my bike and hit a parked car. (The book was Go Ask Alice).

Speaking of books and accidents, it seems I briefly roiled up the whole discussion about Tempest's reading challenge on Facebook again. My friend and fellow Philip K. Dick award nominee, Minister Faust, is doing a podcast these days and he linked me to his latest, wherein he interviews Ms. Bradford about the reaction she got to her reading challenge.

OMG.

Instantly again.

I've been thinking about this on a more immediate level, because one of the things that Faust and Bradford discussed on the podcast (which is quite good, btw) is WHY does this happen. There are more and more articles appearing about why is it that people instantly freak out in discussions of race, gender, ability, and orientation that happen on the Internet.

In a seemingly unrelated note, I mentioned something innocuous about peanuts on my Facebook feed yesterday as well, and the VERY FIRST RESPONSE was someone admonishing my food choices as decidedly inorganic and politically fraught. Likewise, several months ago I made what I thought was a completely uncontroversial mention of mulching and I got several unasked for SCREEDS about how my mulch choices WERE KILLING ALL THE PUPPIES (that is only a slight exaggeration, seriously.) One person was so upset by the mulch I used that she wasn't satisfied just making her point on my FB feed, but also followed me on to my private message box and tried to continue the fight there.

Mulch.

Which, I think we can all agree is, ultimately, NOT AS PERSONAL as race, gender or orientation...

I've been thinking that, while there are obviously bigger, deeper social-economic/privilege-related issues going on in these discussions, people who use social media frequently, who are not even trying to say provocative things, often get inundated, seemingly constantly (because even when it happens once, it makes a very powerful, personal impact), with these kinds of finger-shakes from strangers. ("Damn it, I just wanted to say how much I loved my peanut butter!")

So there's that picture of Tempest. She's literally shaking her finger at us, the viewer of the picture, and bam! Everything goes down in the flame-y-est flame war in the history of flames.

I mean, yes, of course, a huge percentage of the reaction is from people who really need the rug of comfort/privilege yanked out from under them, but I think there's another percentage who are just unable to cope with finger-shaking without taking it personally. ("But I'm doing my best!" "Peanut butter is yummy!") And, I think even the best of us falls prey to that easily and our initial reaction is some kind of preschooler, "Nyuh-nuh! AM NOT."

I can't even tell you how many people on my feed started their reaction to my posting the podcast interview with, "Well, I haven't listened yet, BUT...."

It was the same when she posted her first article. Most people reacted without reading (honestly, also without thinking.) Kudos to Neil Gaiman who very publicly tweeted that he didn't care if they used him as a poster boy for successful white men. In fact, he encouraged it. He also implied that he could weather this "storm" because, frankly, he *is* a successful white man who is secure enough to let any one who wanted to read other books for a year. Thank you, anyway, but he was going to be fine.

We're all going to be fine.

Thing is, more people who buy books, the better it is for EVERYONE.

Yes, the economy is sucky for booksellers. Yes, as a writer, it's f*cking hard to sell books no matter who you are or what you write. But that's because people aren't buying books. Not because Tempest encouraging people to READ.

Also, it *is* possible not to take finger-shaking personally. It's hard. I can not tell you how IRRITATED I was by the mulch discussion on my FB feed because: OMG.

But the one thing I've learned from my time on the Inter-webs is that the more you let yourself react without thinking, the more you look like a dick. That's not to say you can't say what you feel, but take a breath before hitting "send." Seriously. Or go back and say, like I had to during the first giant discussion that erupted on my FB feed over this challenge, "Mea culpa. That was unnecessarily inflammatory. I mean what I said, but I didn't have to say it that way. I'm sorry."

Of course this is easy to say. So much harder to do. Especially since social media is all about call and response and instant gratification.

Okay, I'm going to shut up about this myself, because it's super-easy to get a rant on. I can't go to bed yet, someone is wrong on the Internet.

In other (but related) news, I finished CHILD OF THE HIDDEN SEA by A. M. Dellamonica (up for a Lambda in the SF/F/H category) and am on to GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by the currently controversial Andrew Smith.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
First of all, the newest installment in my serialized work-in-progress UNJUST CAUSE is up on WattPad. This one is called "Maggots and Magpies" and follows as Alex and Jack investigate the second drop victim who was found on the side of a county highway by Mac's motorcycle gang.

http://www.wattpad.com/51990582-unjust-cause-part-10-maggots-and-magpies

Secondly, you know that thing that goes around the internet that says: "How to Start a Fight on the Internet: 1) post and opinion, 2) wait"? Yeah, well, after yesterday, I feel like I could change it to just, "1) post, 2) wait" because SOMEHOW I managed to press the OMGYOU'REANUNREPENTANTPUPPYKILLER button by mentioning that I'm a klutzy gardener.

Really, I was posting about how I managed to dump mulch THROUGH the hole in the knees of my jeans and how funny it was that I had to use my leg as a mulch spreader, but, apparently, by mentioning the type of mulch I happened to have bought I became the target of three separate, well-intentioned... let's call them 'advice-givers.' One of whom even felt the need to stalk me on IM and harangue me about my mulch choices.

The problem I have with this is not with these people's passion. You love your dogs. I love your dogs. You don't want your dogs getting hurt. I don't want your dogs getting hurt. But, I don't have a dog, my backyard is fenced, and, MORE IMPORTANTLY, St. Paul has very clear leash laws.

You are very worried about my mulch hurting your dog because it smells like yummy, forbidden chocolate and it has trace amounts of the same poison. Okay. Fair. But, if your dog is in my backyard eating my mulch right now it's either because you're standing there watching them do it while holding his/her leash... or your dog is roaming leash-free.

My VERY urban neighborhood has much, much more serious hazards to puppies and dogs who are off their leash than my mulch, namely: cars!

Yes, we both agree that keeping dogs safe is a HIGH PRIORITY. If you have a dog, don't buy this mulch! BUT ALSO, KEEP YOUR PUPPY IN YOUR FENCED BACKYARD OR ON A LEASH AS THE LAW REQUIRES!!! St. Paul also has plenty of safe places for urban dogs to play off-leash. Go there. Avail yourself of those parks and playgrounds. If they have this mulch, you have my permission TO FREAK OUT. I will help you organize a letter-writing campaign. I will sign your petition.

Buying this mulch and using it is not illegal. It *is* illegal in St. Paul to let your dog roam free without a leash (for its own safety.)

*sigh*

I probably shouldn't even post my re-cap of this. Because people are wrong on the internet and I'm one of them.

Gah!

Apr. 13th, 2011 10:23 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
By now, everyone on the planet interested in writing-related stuff has probably read that one author's meltdown over a bad review.

Today, I get it.

I totally get what went through her head. I've been kind of lamenting the fact that not a single soul has reviewed Resurrection Code. But, then I thought, "Well, maybe someone has and I just never saw it." Turns out, I missed one after all.

Okay. Some press. Um, yay?

But, frankly, I'm not sure what to make of it. The author, a science fiction writer like myself and a colleague, read the book in a way I didn't think was possible. He mistook two very different characters as the same person. He writes: "It isn’t until mid-way through the book that we learn that El-Aref is also known as Mouse and Mohammed is a fallen angel called Morningstar."

?????

I don't even know how you could even get that when Morningstar and Mohammad talk to each other in several scenes. I mean, usually, when people are standing side by side, it's a pretty good indication they are NOT, in point of fact, one and the same person.

Also, he tells the reader that Mouse is neither Christian nor Muslim, he's Sunni. Last time I checked Sunni is a branch of Islam, just as Catholic is a type of Christianity.

This is a big head scratcher.

A big part of me wants to write a rebuttal, but I can't see any way that would work in my favor and not make me look like a sour grapes author.

I'm probably going to have to let it go, and say the published author's mantra: "People are entitiled to their opinions of my work, even when they don't love me. (Even when they're WRONG about basic facts.)" And just breathe, but this made particularly difficult because there's not a single review, good or bad or medium, out there BESIDES this one.

Yes, this is my not so subtle beg, okay? Please, if you've read the book, say something about it somewhere. You don't have to love it. You can hate it. Just say something -- extra points if you can keep the characters straight!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
My editor posted my review of an awesome collection of PANG: THE WANDERING SHAOLIN MONK over at my reviewing gig. If you like Jackie Chan monk movies, you'll love this -- and as a bonus, it's an on-going web comic you can read at Shi Long Pang.

And the troll referenced in the title of this post is not actually comic book related, more of the on-line community variety. When the news broke about the union busting bill getting pushed through committee via the "nuclear option" in Wisconsin, I was horrified and devestated. I posted a rather innocuous (though clearly political) status on my FB about how upset I was by this turn of events and how I intended to go hide in fiction where bad guys get vanquished and heroes are victorious. (Not terribly IN YOUR FACE, wouldn't you agree?)

Anyway. I normally live in a comfortable bubble that doesn't include Fox News or, really, any friends who espouse tea-baggish talkng points. However, I know they exist. I even know some of them are my friends on Facebook, because I see THEIR status updates and it's not hard to figure out.

I ignore them. Even when people are wrong on the Internet.

Thus, I have trouble understanding the mentality of someone who would read something akin to "I'm DEVESTATED by the loss of my dear pet fish" and feel the need to take the time out of his or her life to comment, "I'm a dog person myself. Fish suck." This might be a vaguely more acceptable response if you wrote "I love my pet fish. Here's a YouTube video of me making kissy faces at my fish through the tank!!" But when someone uses the word "devestated" I think you can safely assume that they're emotionally involved in whatever it is they're posting. So you think fish are the dumbest kind of pet ever, is the post in which your FB friend used the word "devestated" the time to point that out?

Yeah, see, this seems really simple to me. Some of my Rebulican/Independent/Tea Party FB friends were "devestated by the passing of 'Obamacare.'" Did I post "nana-nana-boo-boo!" on each and every one of their statuses? No, I didn't, and frankly I wasn't even tempted. What I tend to do is "like" the people who I agree with politically, and ignore (and even sometimes HIDE, though I find is just as easy not to responsd) the people with whom I don't. I can think of one recent execption and that was when someone posted a video of Ronald Reagan talking about how union's collective bargaining was a right. This person was clearly trying to show that Walker is way out of line since Reagan would disagree (and thus actually on "my side" of this debate), but I couldn't help but point out that Reagan busted the air traffic controllers' strike and, thus, those comments needed to be considered a bit ironic coming from him.

So, anyway, I let loose both cannons on my former college Game Master/Dungeon Master (now Tea Bag Dittohead), and I felt subconsciously guilty about it enough last night to dream about yelling at former high school friends about something completely unrelated.

As a professional author, I usually try to keep my FB/Twitter posts relatively innocuous. I don't hide my support of various causes and I say things like the example above which makes my political leanings really clear to the casual observer, but, you know, I'm not out there posting things like "Walker is a Kochwhore" even if I think it's true (and funny.)

All I have to say is: "Hey, Troll! Get off my lawn!!" (Imagine me in fuzzy slippers and a bathrobe...)
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I have glitter in my hair. I've decided NOT to grow old gracefully. Yesterday, I took Mason to get his haircut at Kid's Hair and they always offer to spray some color into his hair -- pink, green or purple. He got green. I bought two cans to take home: pink and glitter. Yesterday I had pink glittery hair. Today, just glitter. I mean, what looks good with gray, I ask you? Glitter, that's what!

My hair is shorter too. Actually, a bit shorter than I wanted, but the hair stylist was clipping away merrily talking about the mental illness that runs in her family and I decided NOT to complain that I'd actually wanted a few more bangs.

Hair grows. Mine, especially.

At any rate, I got a chance to write a bit yesterday. I'm not doing anything constructive, yet. I spent Wednesday at the coffeeshop with the awesome internet. I was looking for a place to send off a story I wrote several years ago now called "Bright, Bright City Lights." It was my answer to why Paul Wellstone died, and I *thought* I'd found a home for it, but that magazine, while still apparently publishing, has not printed my story or communicated with me for, well, years. I was never paid or offered a contract, so I assume that somehow I got lost in the shuffle and that piggy is free to go back to market. At any rate, I was poking around Ralan.com and, as I love to do, I scanned the anthology markets. I found three that got me kind of excited. One called something like "Last Man" looking for stories of the last... [fill in the blank] on earth. Then there was "Zero Gravity" or something similar looking for space opera. Then there was another one looking for stories about "the oldest profession." (Note: I LOVE prostitute stories for some reason. Alas, they don't take reprints or I would have contacted [livejournal.com profile] naomikritzer about sending along the one we sold to TOTU about a magic using hustler from a alternate history Britian that was still Roman.)

So I said to myself, why not all three? I started a short story about the last gigolo in space! Of course, I'm only about four pages into it and it's already morphing into something else entirely (this is partly why I suck at short stories. I can never keep them going in one direction terribly well.)

This morning I wanted to call into the "Stephanie Miller" show. They were talking about that killer whale at Sea World that killed his trainer. They brought up that bit about how he likely pulled the ponytail of his trainer as "play behavior." And their guest John Fugelsang said that the only animals that kill for fun are humans and cats.

People are not only wrong on the Internet, but they're wrong on the radio. LOTS of animals kill for fun. Killer whales (which, btw, are NOT whales, but dophins who kill whales,) kill for sport. There's a horrible scene caught on film by the BBC Ocean World folks of a pod of killer whales seperating a baby humpback whale from his mother and drowning him. The pod then plays with the corpse, eats only its jaw, and dumps the body. They didn't need him for food. Why they spent hours attacking him and his mother only to eat a tiny bit of him, we don't know. But they do the same thing in a later episode with a baby seal's corpse -- they toss it back and forth like a ball (for a while it's clear the baby seal is still alive, too.) In fact, I suspect the footage of the killer whale tossing his trainer's body around is eerily similar to the way the killer whales toss around the baby seal. I haven't seen the Sea World film, so I might be wrong, but I have my suspicions. This is not exactly "play" behavior. It's part of how they kill... or at least it is documented behavior in the wild.

That being said, I don't advocate putting the killer whale down. I think it behaved naturally. But like tigers and other wild animals we keep in captivity, killer whales are naturally dangerous. I like to think of dolphins as our ocean friends, but it's easy to forget they're carnivores, PREDATORS. They hunt and kill fish all the time. And killer whales, well, kill WHALES. If they can take on a protective humpback whale mother, they can easily kill us. Training them and keeping them as "pets" is somewhat irresponsible, IMHO. Or at least no one should be surprised if people get hurt. Honestly, we should be impressed by how FEW people get hurt around wild animals in captivity.

/rant

And then someone called in who was wrong about Jesus and I had to turn the radio off. Because while I might feel like, after having watched one BBC special six million times, I might be qualified to rant about dolphin behavior, I at least acknowledge that Biblical texts are obscure and that people might come away with different impressions.

:-)

Anyway, since Mason is happily playing Sonic on his DS Lite, I should probably take advantage and get some writing in. See y'all tonight at MarsCON!

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