wood cat

kate_nepveu


incidents and accidents, hints and allegations


oh yeah, Readercon
wood cat
kate_nepveu

Two kinds of chocolate chips cookies for the bake sale (terrible phone photos) are done. I'll be at the bake sale Saturday morning—come say hi, and by all means please bring something if you're able, no need to ask in advance!

I'll also be on one panel:

Books That Deserve to Remain Unspoiled.
Jonathan Crowe, Gavin Grant, Kate Nepveu, Graham Sleight, Gayle Surrette (moderator).

In a 2013 review of Joyce Carol Oates's The Accursed, Stephen King stated, "While I consider the Internet-fueled concern with 'spoilers' rather infantile, the true secrets of well-made fiction deserve to be kept." How does spoiler-acquired knowledge change our reading of fiction? Are some books more "deserving" of going unspoiled than others? If so, what criteria do we apply to determine those works?

Sunday 10:00 AM, Salon G

And I'll also be chasing the kids around the pool at various points, or hanging out in the lobby, or what-have-you.

And now, I must go pack, because in my experience packing expands to fill all the available time.

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Sailor Moon Crystal
Princess Tutu (telling of tales)
kate_nepveu
I never saw the original. Should I be watching this?

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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood rewatch, Episodes 62-64
Fulllmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
kate_nepveu
So, back in November, I was re-watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and re-reading the manga. And I wrote up the last three episodes with accompanying manga notes and then froze up on turning my final-thoughts notes into actual sentences. And so these complete episode+manga reactions have been sitting in a text file ever since.

Clearly I am never going to get back to this, and so I am putting up this blast from the past just for completeness' sake; the episode+manga reactions are untouched from November except to fix a few typos. (I will expand and annotate the final thoughts just slightly, though.)

Spoilers, obviously.

Episode 62Collapse )

Episode 63Collapse )

Episode 64Collapse )

Final thoughts (incomplete)Collapse )

Dear self, no matter how many fond nostalgic feelings you have for this show and this manga now, you are not allowed to rewatch it or reread it, because you have way too many other things to be doing. Post timely next time and you won't give yourself belated warm fuzzies.

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silver linings and online shopping
wood cat
kate_nepveu
So it's taken me way too long to realize this, probably after everyone else in the world, but all the miserable hours I've spent looking for shoes and clothes has finally paid off, thanks to online shopping.

I figured this out first with shoes, since Zappos has a way better selection than any store around me: right, from trying on a million shoes that don't fit I know I need a strap here, a toe that shape, a sole of this composition; videos suggest this bends well, and reviews say a narrow heel that your foot doesn't slip out of? Awesome, and returns are free so there's no risk if I guess the size wrong. *hits purchase*

But it never occurred to me to try this with clothes until just very recently. And for work clothes, I tend to make do with whatever's reasonably fitting and venue-appropriate, regardless of whether it's also flattering or makes me happy, because if I held out for that then I'd never buy anything. Then I bought a necklace from elisem , didn't have any suitable shirts to wear it with, and had to resort to online shopping to find one, because apparently brown is not an In Color this year. When I went to pick up the shirt from Macy's, my eye landed on a dress that yelled out, "I will be comfortable and flattering and work-appropriate, buy me!" (The listed price is definitely not, by the way, what I paid for it.) And I guessed at a size and it fit perfectly and I went home glowing.

A day or two later, I went looking around the manufacturer's website and discovered that they were having a sale and that a third-party merchant was having a free trial period on free return shipping, so it would be no risk to assume that their sizing held constant. I ruled things out based on my extensive experience of "no, that will look awful on me" and ended up with three summer work-appropriate dresses, which arrived today and all fit great and now I will be happy to get dressed to go to work, go figure.

The morals of this story are: free return shipping is awesome; having shitty luck finding stuff in stores at least can teach you what to avoid when you're narrowing things down; and finding something that fits you from a manufacturer with consistent sizing is a really great stroke of luck.

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for those of you with kids old enough that their friends talk to you
wood cat
kate_nepveu
I always called my friends' parents Mr. or Mrs. (Kid's Last Name), and only realized years later that for some of them, that was incorrect (mothers who hadn't changed their names on marriage, whose kids had their father's last names). Now I'm starting to confront the issue of what to tell SteelyKid's friends who say, "Uh, SteelyKid's mom—?"

Ms. Nepveu seems kind of formal—my default association with people calling me that is judges and telemarketers—also hard to say, but Ms. Kate seems . . . weird. And I don't want to use Mrs./Ms. Orzel on principle, because I'm not.

What do/did you all do?



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Hugo short stories
science fiction
kate_nepveu
Come talk about them with me, over at the booklog!

(I've also put up a bunch of other posts in the last couple of weeks, too, in case you missed them.)

link


How "No Award" works on Hugo ballots
science fiction
kate_nepveu
Hugo voting: to express a preference, put it on the ballot. The upshot: "in a category where you have an opinion about the ranking of all of the items, you should put all of them on your ballot, even the ones you hate."

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Readercon bake sale
wood cat
kate_nepveu
Hotel renovations are done so there'll be one this year, Saturday morning as usual (place and exact start time to be determined). I should be there for a very large chunk of it—come by, bring something if you can, and support the Tiptree Award and Con or Bust!

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Father's Day's existence justified for another year
wood cat
kate_nepveu
I've been feeling particularly stabby about the lead-up to Father's Day this year [*]. But the little booklet SteelyKid made Chad has grudgingly reconciled me to the existence of the holiday, because it is awfully cute.

[*] Every time I get an email, from a business or charity I've done business with in the past, with a Subject: that proclaims I should get my dad something, I have this little mental image of leaping through the computer and demanding to be put on a "my father is dead, assholes" marketing exclusion list, preferably with my hands around someone's throat.

Best wishes to fathers of all kinds (especially the non-biological ones), and to all those thinking fondly of fathers today. And strength and support to those for who today's hard, for whatever reason.

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impressive
wood cat
kate_nepveu
Woke up to draft program schedule for WorldCon in my inbox. It looks pretty great, though I need to reread when it's quiet and I'm more awake.

(Also to the children having created an elaborate and worryingly wobbly "slide" on the couch using all available cushions (while Chad was awake with them, they aren't getting up without adults yet). Have forced some additional breakfast into them and bribed them with more TV, and so am spared having to stand over vigil that for a little bit longer . . . )

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relaunched booklog
happiness is a full bookcase
kate_nepveu
After way more gnashing of teeth than necessary, honestly, I've moved the booklog onto WordPress for better anti-spam tools and, I hope, greater ease in actually posting. Up tonight is a post on Max Gladstone's second novel, Two Serpents Rise, and I have more scheduled for the following days.

I have a request in for [syndicated profile] outsidedog_feed to be updated (oops, I just realized I didn't post "moving now!" notices to my old rss feeds, I wonder if I can do that now . . . oh wait, I can just redirect them, nevermind), and I'm also posting updates to Twitter: [twitter.com profile] knepveu_booklog.

Feedback on the site welcome, but please bring comments on the books over there, so conversation isn't split.

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more MCU fic recs
Captain America, Avengers, Captain America (shield)
kate_nepveu

This is impossibly long, so, broken up by theme!

Two fics about media representationCollapse )

The Sholio section: heartwarming gen team storiesCollapse )

The OC sectionCollapse )

The AU sectionCollapse )

Bucky backstory & adjusting storiesCollapse )

The Sam and Sam/Steve sectionCollapse )

Miscellaneous team-ish storiesCollapse )

Relationships can be complicated but it all works out in the end.Collapse )

Silly.Collapse )

. . . I need to not let these pile up so much next time, huh? (To be crossposted in relevant part to [community profile] mcugen.)

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unexpected parenting dilemmas
wood cat
kate_nepveu
Well, unexpected right this moment, anyway.

SteelyKid got a Lego Clone Wars book today—some of her friends at school/daycare like Star Wars, so she's been reading a random selection of kid-pitched Star Wars books, most of which are quite dreadful. Today's was both dreadful and incredibly long, and as I slogged through it, I found myself wondering when we should introduce her to the actual movies (and trying to remember the recommended viewing order that someone had mentioned a while ago). I'd just about decided that she was still kind of young for them, at 5 and 5/6 . . .

. . . when we got to the end of the book, when everyone is celebrating except Anakin and Palpatine—Anakin because he's pouty and upset that someone else is getting attention (that's text not subtext), and Palpatine because he is the worst at pretending to be Not Evil EVER. And Palpatine tells Anakin something like, I believe you'll be a great Jedi, and the book ends.

SteelyKid promptly asks me, "Why would a bad guy say something nice?"

And suddenly I realize that she is still unspoiled for Anakin's fate, rather to my surprise. I told her that Palpatine was probably trying to trick Anakin—at which point she started spinning a story about how the seats they were sitting on were trapped and Anakin's was going to flip over and he was going to fall down.

But now I feel a responsibility to have her experience that reveal properly—even though I still think she's probably kinda young for it (and the Pip is definitely, so that's at least three weekends of watching when he's taking a nap). And even taking out Episode I, I hate to actually voluntarily show her the prequels before she has more of a critical facility. Still . . .

ETA: now Chad tells me that he in fact told her today! She thought Anakin was Vader's son, and he corrected her. All this angst, could totally have been short-circuited if I'd waited for him to come downstairs from putting the Pip to bed before writing this. (But she obviously doesn't understand how, so it's probably still worth thinking about. (Not that the prequels really do any kind of decent job explaining, at least as I recall the third.))

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links, so many links
wood cat
kate_nepveu

It's Memorial Day here in the U.S. [*], which means I'm off work. The kids are with Chad's parents until mid-afternoon, and Chad's already gone off to be productive, so I'm going to link-dump here, then walk the dog, exercise, shower, and enjoy the rest of my solo day.

[*] I overheard SteelyKid saying yesterday that it's "when the armies fought so we could be free!... from... the Pharaoh!" Ah, unexpected side effects of sending her to the local Jewish Community Center for daycare.

Some of these links were previously posted to G+ as I came across them. I have roughly sorted some obviously-related ones, but not applied a comprehensive scheme.

(Suddenly I feel probably-not-psychosomatically unwell. Ugh. Well, the dog needs walking anyway, and if I revise my plans for my solo day to "lie on the couch and catch up on Elementary," that's valid too. Anyway. Best wishes for your Monday, DW.)

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serendipity
wood cat
kate_nepveu
Is reading criticisms of the new X-Men movie (which I have just about decided not to see) while the Pip watches the Backyardigans episode where Tyrone, as a tour guide, admonishes a bunch of folks in costumes for not being useful: "You're superheroes, for goodness' sake!"

And now Chad is up and I go back to bed, as is our weekend morning tradition.

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moderating convention panels
wood cat
kate_nepveu

[personal profile] troisroyaumes asked for advice on moderating con panels, and I kind of blurted out words all over in response. Here is a tidied-up and expanded version for my future reference.

My philosophy of panel moderation is that I'm facilitating and directing a conversation among as many people as possible. The panelists are people who, if programming has done its job, have already demonstrated that they have something interesting to say on the topic. So through the panelists, we can get a concentrated burst of focused discussion out there. Then the audience will extend that in their questions—et voilà!, we've just had a conversation about something we're all interested in, with more people than would be practical if we were just sitting around in a bar.

This philosophy means I take a pretty active role as a moderator. I don't enforce a "now each person answer this question down the line" style, because I find that stultifying, but I direct traffic a lot:

  • I plan the structure of the panel. I find this critical to my feeling like the panel has been productive.

    Ahead of time, I confer with the other panelists about what they'd like to talk about. Then I sketch out the main topics that we're going to cover, possibly with a preferred order, and I keep that visible in front of me, crossing things off as I go. We may not cover every thing or in the order I planned, but having a plan helps me keep things moving and cover as much ground as useful.

  • I attempt to balance the flow of conversation between panelists.

    For instance, I ask panelists to follow-up on something they've just said that seems to raise obvious questions or demand elaboration, while promising another panelist who's indicated they've got something to say that they're next (and then make sure to follow through). Or I ask panelists who've not spoken yet on a particular topic if they have anything to add. (This is why I like to sit at the end of the table, so I can see all the other panelists at once.)

  • I attempt to balance the flow of conversation with and among the audience.

    I do this in two major ways. First, I usually take audience questions at the close of major topics (not waiting until the end but not jumping in during the middle of a topic either). Second, I prioritize audience questions from people who haven't spoken yet.

    (I say both of those up front, because I like transparency and find it useful. And I'm explicit when I take audience questions too: "I see you, I just want to see if anyone who hasn't spoken has something to add"; or, "Okay, in the front in the green shirt, then the second row in the red hat, then across the aisle with the dragon, then we need to move on because we're running out of time: go.")

  • Regardless of my plans, I listen to what the other panelists and the audience are interested in, and let that be my guide as long as it's still within the scope of the panel description.

    Once I was doing a panel with a very similar description to another I'd done, and it went in entirely different directions, so I threw out my plans and tried to fall back on "make sure everyone gets heard, make note of follow-up directions and try to use them to keep discussion going when it seems like one topic is exhausted." Another, my structure turned out to be too ambitious because a lot of people wanted to express, in very heartfelt ways, personal responses to the first part of my three-part structure, and it seemed obviously important to let that conversation happen without cutting it off too abruptly.

  • ETA: one more I forgot: if it's a potentially fraught panel, I state extra ground rules up front to try and keep the panel from derailing in predictable ways (examples in one of the posts linked above). And, though you'll probably never need it, have the contact information for con security on you, too.
  • ETA 2: include everyone in the conversation by remembering basic accessibility principles, thanks to [personal profile] sasha_feather in comments for the reminder. Make sure people can understand you/others: tell the audience to interrupt if something is inaudible; use microphones where available; show your mouth for lip-readers; summarize audience comments; don't rely solely on eye contact to identify audience members. Describe any visual materials being displayed. And not exactly accessibility, but on the topic of inclusiveness: don't assign gender to audience members (that is, don't say "the woman in the green shirt" when calling on people).

tl;dr: moderating panels is about making the conversation be the best it can. There are different ways to make that happen; these are mine.

What are yours?

(Also: no, I am not at WisCon this year. We are going to the UK for the Worldcon and I don't have enough vacation time. Alas. I hope those of you who are there have a great time.)

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I haven't done all the research on this
wood cat
kate_nepveu

Doubtless someone else has, but re: the most recent in the wave of federal district court decisions striking down state same-sex marriage bans (summary, link to decision at SCOTUSblog)—

I saw it noted on Twitter that "Most federal judges are ex-prosecutors in their 50s, i.e. cultural conservatives. If they're overwhelmingly rejecting SSM bans, it's over." That was right below a screenshot of the end of the decision, which I will quote at a little more length:

. . . in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

So I went looking for information about the judge who'd been the most recent to be moved to eloquence on this subject. (Though, I confess, I would have said "onto.") And indeed: John E. Jones III is a Republican appointed by George W. Bush who will be 59 next month. (Though he was a part-time public defender rather than a prosecutor.) He was also the judge on the intelligent design trial, wow, over a decade ago now, how time does fly.

I have no energy to go looking up the rest of the judges now, but, data point.

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I will not use a Salt-n-Pepa quote for my subject line
wood cat
kate_nepveu
Because it wouldn't be accurate, I don't want to talk about sex, I want to talk about reading sexy things.

Anonymous poll behind the cut.

four questions, including the obligatory Ticky?Collapse )

Here's why I was wondering:Collapse )

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cognitive bias
wood cat
kate_nepveu
There are times when Chad is out of town and The Pip is not vilely ill.

There are times when Chad is not out of town and The Pip is vilely ill.

But wow, the times when both Chad is out of town and The Pip is vilely ill do stand out.

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two quick SFF links
wood cat
kate_nepveu
Strange Horizons' 2013 SF Count, which calculates the gender and racial distribution of books reviewed and reviewers; they've linked in the comments to the raw data, so you can also double-check their work (the article specifically says corrections are welcome).

The next Vlad Taltos book, Hawk, is up for pre-order on Amazon, with an October 2014 release date; the blurb makes me very hopeful.

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