"But you can help me!" he said. "There may be a way to destroy the dragon, d'you see, or at least we can help people, channel things to mitigate the worst of it, somehow find a meeting point--"
Vimes's blow cught Wonse on the cheek and spun him around.
"The dragon's here," he snapped. "You can't channel it or persuade it or negotiate with it. There's no truce with dragons. You brought it here and we're stuck with it, you bastard." -- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
I'm always amazed at how topical Pratchett is. I shouldn't be by now, but I am. Anyway, I came upon that passage the other day and can't help but feel it fits perfectly. Let's carry on, then, shall we?
Call for Action: Today's is from my friend Will Alexander.
"Hope and despair are not locked in a zero-sum game. Tolkien tried to sort out a way of moving through the world with hopelessness but without despair. Denethor despaired. He glimpsed the future, accepted fate as fixed, & set himself on fire like a gentleman. Aragorn marched--not because the scruffy king of splendid perma-stubble had hope, but because he avoided despair. Despair is certainty. Despair is the illusion that the future is already set.
The future is not set. We know this, because physics. Heisenberg poured uncertainty all over that deterministic nonsense. The cat in the ballot box is still alive and dead, both at once. So do everything you can to tip the balance into a better timeline. Example: Support the recount. #AudittheVote Drumpf is fighting it. Hard. He fears the recount. So defend it. Michigan's Attorney General is trying to block the recount in every way he can. Here is his phone number: 517-373-1110 Here is another one: 313-456-0240 Here is his twitter handle: @SchuetteOnDuty Take a moment to express your displeasure. Inquire of Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Committee, why he won't investigate Drumpf's obvious conflicts of interest:
DC office: (202) 225-7751 UT office: (801) 851-2500 Twitter: @jasoninthehouse
If you know any electors, please play them some Hamilton. Do this regardless of whether or not you allow yourself to hope that any of it will work. Do it to avoid despair. Don't go peering into any palantirs.
Sorry about posting so late today, but I'm in the midst of the research phase on a Space Opera novel project I'm excited about and I lost track of time. Today, I interviewed a space doctor to get some background information. I'm amazed at the number of incredible people I know these days, and their access to even more incredible people. (Did I mention I love being a writer?) At first, I was a little overwhelmed, but now I'm inspired. I've always secretly wanted to do this and I can't wait to give it a whirl.
For grins, do you have any recommendations? Non-fiction, SF Fiction, movies, inspiring music and/or visuals? Military SF is cool. Preferably nothing rape-y and nothing that throws Libertarian ideals in the reader's face. My favorite SF movies are Bladerunner, Alien, Aliens, a number of Star Trek films, and the new film, Arrival. I like smart stuff. Action isn't necessarily a requirement.
 The newer stuff, please--unless it's written by minority writers. I've read Heinlein, for example, and I don't need to go back to it. But Octavia Butler is on my list, and so is Samuel Delany.
 I tried Honor Harrington, and I just can't.
I went to see the SF film Arrival not long after the election because I needed something positive in my life. I wasn't disappointed.
The film is based upon SF author, Ted Chiang's novella "Story of Your Life." Alas, I haven't read it yet, but I will sometime this week. (It's next in the cue after I finish Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.) Arrival is, obviously, a First Contact story. We've seen First Contact stories. They've been a staple of SF fare since H.G.Well's The War of the Worlds (1897.) So, it's been around for at least 100 years. Some amazing stories have resulted. (Like The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell for instance.) But only when the author strays from the stereotypical path. Ted Chiang's story does this with considerable mindfulness and empathy for his characters. I very much need to read the story before I can say much more about the film--one of the reasons I waited this long before saying anything, but I just can't wait any longer. I want to recommend the movie before it leaves theaters. You really should see it on the big screen. It's filmed in such a way that (while 3D would be overkill) a theater screen makes the experience more...overwhelming--as overwhelming as it would be. I love that. And there are so many things to adore about this story: the fact that a linguist is at the center of it, not Spaceman Spiff™ with his Trusty Laser Rifle™ and pocket-size copy of Heinlein. This is a story about what it means to be human while reaching out to alien. It's about the value of communication and a cool, logical mind. It's about being open to multiple interpretations because perception of reality isn't the same thing as reality or truth. Above all, it's about trust and faith in ourselves and others when neither of these things are easy to keep. If there's ever a message we need right now, this is the one.
 Yes, that's 1897. Not 1996, person I heard complaining about the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds remake in 2005. I shit you not. They actually complained that it ripped off the Will Smith movie. Look, I like a good Will Smith movie. I do. He's fun. And hey, I'll watch just about anything with Jeff Goldblum in it, but that film wasn't even remotely original.
 Just not The Fly.
So, now I understand we're doing an election recount. I've heard that 5,000 votes for Trump in Wisconsin have already been disqualified. That's more election day screwy than has ever happened in the past three decades. It's obvious something is wrong. It's obvious that a foreign power had undue influence on the election. In my opinion, we need to find those responsible and prosecute them. We need to fix the problems with media--false news sites in particular. We can't shrug our shoulders about this shit anymore. It threatens faith in our democracy. Do I really need to add that any group or individual who is willing to win power at any cost isn't fit to serve in our government? Looking at the popular vote numbers, I strongly suspect I don't.
So, today I did a search on YouTube for "Feminism" and didn't find a single positive search return in the top twenty. I'm not shocked to discover this, but I will point this out to those who believe that misogyny is an "old white man" problem. YouTube is not where the old white men hang out, y'all. It's a place where GenX and Millennials hang out. It also demonstrates the effects of the US election. Anyway, today's video:
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in America--not that I feel like there's a hell of a lot to be thankful for at the moment. (TWO MILLION?!? And that makes no difference to the outcome?! GOP gamed the system via gutting the Voting Rights Act and Gerrymandering. That's the bold-faced truth. The rest is wheel-spinning.) But hey, I gotta try. One needs to remember the things one's fighting for in order to keep up the energy to fight effectively. So, I'm going to look at it that way.
I'm the Queen of Pie in my family. So, when it comes to holiday time I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, baking. I love baking pie. Sadly, I can't have sugar so much anymore. (It screws with my immune system which is pretty f-ing wonky--yay, autoimmune disease. NOT.) But I've been recently reassured that the sugar moratorium isn't a permanent thing. (Thank the gods.) Nonetheless...pie. I've five to bake today before my gaming group meet up tonight. Therefore, enjoy your Waitress trailer (I love that movie.) and have one more because I feel it's timely.
My favorite bits? When Captain VonTrapp tells the Nazis to fuck off--multiple times over and in various ways, and when the nuns sabotage the Nazi car. "Bless me, Reverend Mother, for I have sinned." always makes me laugh.
Americans, may your Thanksgiving be full of laughter. Laughter and love are just two of the things we're fighting for.
I love this image of Beyonce so much. It's badass. Alas, I don't know the photographer's name. I plucked this off of FB and well, they weren't credited there. If you know who the photographer is, please let me know and I'll give credit. Anyway, I'm adding a new section to Feminist Monday. It's a call to action. We need to be not only more vocal now but more active. We cannot just sit back and bitch about how much things suck. Too many people's lives depend upon our not backing down. We cannot accept White Supremacy as the new normal. We cannot. Every one of us loses, if we let that happen. Every one of us. Don't kid yourself. Our humanity is at stake here. Empathy is good, as long as you remember that a line sometimes must be drawn. As a martial arts student, I know you can make a stand and be empathetic to your opponent at exactly the same time. It's more difficult to take that path, but it is well worth doing so to prevent atrocity.
Today's call to action: Congresswoman Katherine Clark has introduced legislation to ensure that U.S. Presidents are required to resolve any conflicts of interest with regard to financial interests and official responsibilities. In the past, every president has done this, not because it's the law, but because they had a conscience. Apparently, Trump doesn't have one of those. So, call your state representative to tell them to support HR6340, now. It doesn't take long. And if you don't know who to call, go to http://whoismyrepresentative.com. It's easy. It's fast too. Make sure to speak to an actual person. Leaving a message is okay, but if they speak to a person, it has more impact.
Also, if you can spare the time, call Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan's ACA poll line. He wants to convince everyone that the GOP has a mandate to remove our healthcare. So, call Paul Ryan's survey to support the ACA (Obamacare). (202) 225-0600. I did. NOTE: there's reportedly 2min of dead air and/or anti-ACA proselytizing you'll have to sit through. (On Friday, the poll actually disconnected the call. Today, I got the proselytizing bullshit.) You'll get a recorded message. Press 2 to take the survey. After the silence/pro-corporate propaganda, press 1 to support ACA.
Call your Congress-Critters and tell all of them that you oppose the appointments of Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions. Both are White Supremacists/Neo-Nazis.
Seriously, don't be afraid to call. (I used to be.) This isn't a big deal. They're used to talking to people. It's what they're supposed to do. We can't remain silent any longer. And if you're like me, you'll sleep better knowing you did something.
And now, links.
And those expressions pretty much sum up how I feel about what's going on in American politics these days...on a good day. (On a bad day...which is pretty much every day...it's a totally different image...but a raging fire gets boring to look at, I suppose.) That said, I've been watching Gilmore Girls to keep my spirits up, and frankly, it's largely been working--except for those moments when Hillary Clinton is mentioned and I know her future. I highly recommend the show. I missed it on its original run. I'm sad I did, but I'm also glad I get to experience it now, during a time when I need an upbeat Feminist viewpoint most. the dialog is amazing. Currently, I'm nearing the end of Season 3. Once I hit the end of season 6, I'll ditch and go over to the newest show released on Netflix. Bless you, Netflix. You've given me some much needed sanity.
Speaking of Feminist, yesterday I did some volunteer work for Jane's Due Process. They're lawyers who help teens needing abortion access and are unable to get a guardian's consent. (For a start, not all kids have legal guardians, y'all.) It's very, very important work--particularly when you consider how much the mortality rates for mothers have risen in Texas since the ridiculous laws have been put in place to "stop abortion." (FYI: it's higher in Texas than anywhere else in the US, and the maternal mortality rate doubled from 2010 to 2014.) You're probably going to be seeing me post about this organization more often.
"She guessed that behind the conscious evil there was an unconscious blackness. That was what distinguished the earth's children of darkness; they couldn't make things but only break them. God the Creator had made man in His own image, and that meant that every man and woman who dwelt under God's light was a creator of some kind, a person with an urge to stretch out his hand and shape the world into some rational pattern. The black man wanted--was able--only to unshape. Anti-Christ? You might as well say anti-creation.
He would have his followers. He was a liar, and his father was the Father of Lies. He would be like a big neon sign to them, standing high to the sky, dazzling their sight with fizzing fireworks. They would not be apt to notice, these apprentice unshapers, that like a neon sign, he only made the same simple patterns over and over again. Some would make the deduction for themselves in time--his kingdom would never be one of peace." --The Stand, Stephen King
So, over Halloween I decided to re-visit one of my favorite novels The Stand. Some parts of it haven't aged well, and the unconscious/casual racism is pretty bad. (Hey, we all internalize oppression. That doesn't mean the author hasn't evolved. I know I have quite a bit.) So, I don't like the use of "black man" in that quote...however, the novel is still a damned good one--in spite of the ending. And the similarities to what is going on right now in American politics are too terrifying to ignore. I say this as I watch Trump's inability to form a working transition committee. It's crumbled twice already. His decisions to split the White House Chief of Staff position into two different positions doesn't bode well for the TeaParty's [cough]bullshit[cough] agenda regarding "smaller government." But hey, the man is a pathological liar. Why should anyone be surprised?
That said, for the most part yesterday was a pretty good day. I got things done. I advanced my goals regarding activism. I even got my first dirty look for my Black Lives Matter patch. ;) I even made art. (I'm working on a logo for a new writing-community-activism group I'm forming with a few very wonderful local writers. More on that once we've solidified everything.) The only thing that didn't happen was writing. But that should happen today after Martial Arts class.
And another semi-random thought...
"I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place. But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness within." --Wonder Woman, 2017
Never in my life have I ever found Wonder Woman inspiring. Never. She's always seemed to be too much of a slave to the Male Gaze of Comicbook-dom. (I mean HEELS?! SHE WEARS HEELS INTO BATTLE? WTF?! They're wedges. Sure. But they're still MF-ing HEELS.) Nonetheless, Gal Godot has done something that no other actress or comic book has ever been able to do before. She's made me believe. And no matter how sucky the film ends up being, she's my new go-to for inspiration during the coming years. That quote says it all.
Last week sucked. I went from the glorious feeling that Americans were headed into a bright future where sexism was coughing up its last diseased gasp to the devastating knowledge that this country is sexist and racist as fuck and doesn't want to admit the truth. That's it, right there. If you voted for Trump, no matter your reasons, you're racist. You selfishly opened wide the door to racism. If you are white, consider yourself a liberal, and voted for anyone but HRC because Hillary wasn't the most perfect human being on the planet, you have internalized misogyny issues you have not faced, and you threw more than half the population of the United States under the bus as a result. The same goes for those 50% who couldn't be bothered to vote at all because they deemed the candidates "equally awful." In truth, this was the first presidential election after the Voting Rights Act had been gutted. If you want a line drawn under a single cause, this is it. Nothing else. This election was decided with a very thin margin. Thousands were turned away and had their vote shunted into the provisional category. (I witnessed around twenty of these at the precinct where I worked on election day. That is an unusually high number. We also turned away at least five. And we weren't a busy precinct.) We are not "post racial." That is a bold-faced lie. So is the stance that we don't need Feminism. I've been saying that for decades. Stuff that shit.
Now, for something more hopeful. I'm going to write about what I feel is going on with this backlash we're having because liberals dared to vote-in a black president twice in a row.
Me: What is on the agenda tonight?
Dane: Going for a walk, several hours of television involving women named Gilmore, witty banter, and snuggling.
Me: That's nice. I like snuggling. I am pro-snuggling.
Dane: I heard that about you.
Me: In fact, it could be stated that I am a staunch supporter of snuggling.
Dane: Well, I was sort of lost for a moment. You used the word 'staunch' and I had an image of a phalanx of Spartans. And well, they didn't seem very snuggly.
Me: [attempting to sound like Peter Graves from the movie Airplane] Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?
Dane: It's all the shields and the pointy bits. The shields and everything. So rigid.
Me: Shhh. I'm in a happy place.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.