owlectomy: A picture of myself, with glasses and wavy hair, wearing a blue shirt. (self)
#1) This is a particularly flattering picture of me! If you are on LiveJournal you can click over to Dreamwidth, or pretend that a panda serving tea is a particularly flattering picture of me. My hair looks a bit lighter and substantially frizzier in person.

#1a) My twin sister will be coming to the convention too! She's rather skinnier than I am (one of us runs marathons, one of us writes novels) and we don't look ALL that much alike but it's something to be aware of if you don't know my face that well.

#2) I feel weird about hugging people I have just recently met, but otherwise I'm good with hugs!

#3) Once I start to get overwhelmed and oversocialized I go downhill very suddenly. I try to be aware of this and remove myself from situations accordingly.

#4) My sister Meaghan and my friend Beth will be attending WisCon for the first time. Indoctrinate them into the WisCon experience! Gently!

#5) I feel weird saying this, but heck, I'm a published author: I won't be at the SignOut because of an early plane flight, but if you want a bookmark or a signature feel free to ask whenever.
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Looking Beyond the Gender Binary in Anime and Manga
Sat., 4:00
M: Andrea Horbinski. Emily Horner, Johanna Eeva, Oyceter, Andy Smith

Sometimes, the media of manga and anime fail hard at handling gender. But sometimes they are amazing. In some series, people pass back and forth between genders (Sailor Moon), or have gender confusion (After School Nightmare). People also seem to cross-dress a lot more frequently than they do in Western SF/F media. Let's talk about examples in anime and manga that look beyond the gender binary in a meaningful way.


Every year, I think that I wish I could clone myself so as to go to panels I want to go to that are happening simultaneously. This year, I HAVE SUCCEEDED!

...She may not want to be told, "You, go to this one, and tell me what happened."
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owlectomy: A book with the text "Pride and Prejudice and Monster Trucks" on the cover, and a picture of a monster truck. (monstertrucks)
One of the themes that emerged from this year's WisCon was some very ambivalent feelings about power, in particular about 'hard power,' so to speak, versus the 'soft power' of empathy, finding common ground and building on it, the reed that bends in the storm and doesn't break.

I am thinking about this. I'm going to write a post about this when I get my head together.

In the meantime, Feminist Hulk says:

HULK BELIEVE IN HEALING POWER OF LOVE. HULK ALSO BELIEVE IN HEALING POWER OF SMASH. HULK VAST. CONTAIN MULTITUDES.


Thanks, Feminist Hulk!
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So, it turns out, if you watch the "Handlebars" music video from Doctor Who and the "Women's Work" video from Supernatural (I'm going to link these later when I have more time) you just might not get to sleep until 4 a.m.

They are both absolutely devastating videos, "Handlebars" specifically about the 10th Doctor and -- power, joy and insouciance and the self-confidence that you can resolve every problem devolving into the love of power, the abuse of power, being able to do terrible things with power and not caring. It is an astonishing and disturbing video; I will be thinking about it for a long time and will download it when I feel up to seeing it again. (Someone linked me to it several months ago and I closed out of it, partly because I didn't want to spoil myself too much and partly because it was scaring me.) "Women's Work" about the link between sexuality and violence in Supernatural -- the song "Violet" by Hole, the refrain "They get what they want and they never want it again." I don't even watch Supernatural but I know enough of the metacommentary to know that the women all end up dead. And they often end up having sex and then dying.

And both of these are earwormable songs. So I'm lying in bed trying to get to sleep and these videos still flying through my brain.

So, by the way, the vid party was awesome! That I'm made squidgy and anxious and weird by those videos is a good thing. And hopefully maybe I will actually sleep more than three hours tonight.
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In preparatory conversations for the WisCon panel on Miyazaki, it came up that Thomas Lamarre, who teaches East Asian Studies at McGill -- I had three classes with him and he is amazing -- has come out with a book on anime called The Anime Machine.

I can kind of hear his voice as I'm reading it, which brings back an intense feeling of nostalgia and fondness, and then all of a sudden I remember why I decided a Ph.D. was not for me, because being a YA writer means I never have to say post-Heideggerian thinking or post-Lacanian viewing.

E. Lockhart got some good mileage from Foucault. But I'm not E. Lockhart.

I'm not making fun of this kind of academic writing, just acknowledging that it's not my thing... this bit is really chewy and fascinating:

Yet at the outset it is crucial to point out that I do not think of the postmodern in terms of a break with the modern, as what comes after the modern. Rather I propose that we think the postmodern as a situation in which the modern appears at once intractable yet indefensible, neither easy to dismiss nor available for redemption.
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With Delia Sherman, Vito Excalibur, Ellen Kushner, K. Tempest Bradfor, Debbie Notkin

Since I have been linked on Linkspam, let me add this: I caught about 80% of what was said. I'm missing a lot of the connective tissue between one idea and another. Please take these remarks in that context. Please let me know if you feel you've been misquoted or misrepresented.

Read more... )
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We Do The Work

with Fred Schepartz, Eleanor A. Arnason, Chris Hill, Michael J. Lowrey

SF writers are supposed to be good at building compelling and believable worlds. So why is it so hard to build a world featuring working class characters in working class settings, especially given that a lot of SF writers come from that kind of background?

Not a full transcript, but fairly detailed notes )
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Eeee! I'm signing up to be on panels at WisCon! Um -- I'm -- what if they pick me to be on panels? Do I need to be shaking in fear now? How do they pick people for these things anyway?
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Wiscon!

5/1/09 12:57
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (happy)
Last year I failed to be sufficiently organized for WisCon: as a result, I had to skip any late-night things I might have wanted to do in order to get the last bus back to the hotel. Getting the flu, too, might have been just slightly more pleasant if I could have taken an elevator back to my room instead of a taxi. (This sounds like such a hardship, I know. If you are not up to taking a taxi, you are really sick.)

This year I didn't dither so much about going, as I seem to be in an okay position financially, and I really need a vacation, and I can promote my book (but not in a tacky way!) and maybe even deduct it on my taxes? I'm not sure about that.

So, I have my registration all set, WITH dessert, and hotel. Whee. I think this will be the first time I've stayed in the convention hotel since one of the Otakons in high school, which seems very exciting and self-indulgent.

Hmm. And then Middle Sister is graduating from Concordia June 7th, and I need to get to Japan eventually, and mini-book-tour... all my vacation days, gone, gone, gone.
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Last week at work we were discussing some child who had gone from K to 12th grade without missing a single day of school. I was the one who kept insisting, "It's NOT wonderful!"

It's not that hard to catch up if you miss a day or two. It's not such a bad thing to take care of yourself instead of succumbing to this stupid all-consuming work ethic. And it IS a bad thing to infect other people with your germs. So I am staying home one extra day and I won't regret it, because I'm staying home instead of giving small children the norovirus.

Like I said, Wiscon was really good. Except for the stomach thing. And the troll.

I've become a lot better able to monitor my emotional state, my level of stress and tiredness, and decide when I needed to have a sleep, alone time, sandwich, or cold drink instead of going to yet another panel. Or a party. Result being that I didn't go to any parties at all, but I also didn't get burnt out. And WisCon was really good at accomodating that, too--they actually had a "quiet room" and a "very quiet room" that you could go to for some chill-out time.

Unfortunately, I wasn't as good at listening when my stomach said "No."

Friday

Got to downtown Madison late enough/stressed enough that I decided to drop my things off at the hotel, eat something, and then go to opening ceremonies. I perked up quickly, and said hi to [livejournal.com profile] littlebutfierce, [livejournal.com profile] phredd, and [livejournal.com profile] raanve, who I met last WisCon, and then their friends [livejournal.com profile] wrdnrd and [livejournal.com profile] the_andy. For my first panel, I decided on "Elves and Dwarves: The Racism Inherent in Fantasy," since, as I noted, "I'm still at full Sanity points." Not full enough to debate descriptivism vs. prescriptivism in language, however!

Transcript by [livejournal.com profile] badgerbag, her commentary, panel reactions caught on video.

Yes, pretty much what they said. I felt that some of the people on the panel (not everyone!) were too busy being apologists for their own work to really address the question of whether essentialism is problematic or not in fantasy. There was this strain of thinking that there is NO problem with having all your elves be more graceful and all your dwarves be more strong if it's a genetically-coded Fact, which strikes me as kind of simplistic, especially given how a lot of people still think that racial differences (not in terms of physical features but in terms of intelligence, etc.) are genetically-coded Fact!
I don't know whether that means racism is inherent in fantasy, or (anyway) in Tolkien-pattern fantasy, because generally the panel was too busy self-justifying to actually talk about the panel topic. But then, for what it's worth, most of the panel topics were way too big to cover in 75 minutes, and that's always true of WisCon panels, and it's actually kind of neat, if frustrating! We are all on Livejournal anyway, if we want to talk about things more deeply.
There was some discussion of Drizz't and the dark elves in the Dragonlance setting, which I actually haven't read, but I realized that when I was younger and played D&D I was a naive enough reader not to make any connections between dark elves and black people.

My next panel was the Octavian Nothing book club, with [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink, [livejournal.com profile] oyceter, [livejournal.com profile] heyiya, [livejournal.com profile] mystickeeper, and others. Which dissipated my annoyance with the previous panel, because it was great! We discussed the idea of colonialism as a gendered thing, and the contradictions of the American revolution, and generally all the good stuff in the book, but also in a way that linked it up with other texts, and now I have book recommendations!

Oh, and before the panel I was knitting, and as [livejournal.com profile] oyceter and I discussed knitting, it turned out that we were both making Pomatomus! Which struck me as terribly funny. Except I was making it as armwarmers rather than socks so that they wouldn't be uncouth to try on as I went. Generally Wiscon was a very knitty space and there were three or four people knitting in the audience at most panels I went to.
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owlectomy

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