lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
 Oops, I forgot that yesterday was "What Are You Reading? Wednesday."  This week has been very weird for me.  But, enough of that.  I will simply move my Wednesday list to today!

I picked up a nonfiction book at the library called Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities by Richard Valantasis.  I've been interested in the Gnostics since reading Elaine Pagels, plus this one promised to talk about other wacky early Christian cults.  I'm about halfway through the book and I'm a little disappointed in the surface treatment of everything, but the this is a Belief.net publication, so I probably should have expected as much.

Otherwise, I've been doing my usual yaoi reading. I read After Morning Love by Fujii Mitori, which I actually liked better than most.  I feel like the official translator missed the boat with the title though, I think you'd get a slightly better sense of the plot if it were called, "The Morning After Love," just a very slight change that tells you that this starts with the classic, "Wait, why am I hungover? Who is in my bed?" and leads to romance.

But, I speak almost no Japanese, so, weirdly, no one has hired me to be a translator.

Speaking of Japanese study, I've been terrible about keeping up with it, BUT I started watching "Pandora Hearts" on recommendation and I actually had to pause at one point because I distinctly heard the hero ask, "Kimi wa?"  (Who are you?) Given my native-speaker Japanese teacher's reaction to someone offering 'kimi' as a word for 'you,' (he turned BEET RED and literally could not speak for several seconds. I had to be the one to tell the student, "Um, that's a little rude? You've shocked Tetsuya-sensei."), I thought--okay, either this person is extremely rude or... maybe we're supposed to presume previous intimacy, despite the fact he doesn't recognize this demon-woman?  

"Anata wa?" is even fairly rude for an opening gamut, in my understanding. I feel like a polite person would ask, "Dare desu ka?" (lit: "Who is?') leaving off any rude pronouns.... which are most of them, so there you go.

To be fair, this guy is freaked out, and anime heroes tend to be rude as a rule (at least in shounen). Ichigo, for instance, is not someone you want to learn Japanese from because he starts out using the pronoun "tamee" which is akin to shouting out 'Yo, a$$hole' to people you meet. But 'tamee' ...you hear it a lot in anime speech.  You hardly ever hear 'kimi' spoken (or rather I should say, *I* haven't noticed it as often since I started paying attention) except in love songs, where it seems to be used almost exclusively, because of the intimacy it implies. My gut sense of 'kimi' is that it's not the normal sort of word you'd use WITH A STRANGER.

I had a long talk about this with another friend of mine who is studying and eventually, with the help of Google, we learned that 'kimi' as a you-pronoun can be used by men of a high status when addressing an underling without being considered rude AF.  Apparently, in the right context, 'kimi' implies a strong hierarchy, and, thus, tells us a LOT about this character, in that he can presume that the person he's addressing--a STRANGER--is automatically and significantly below him in the social pecking order.  This fits with the character, in that he is presented as a lordling of some sort, though after this pronoun use, I'm going to have to assume PRINCLING of some sort, or possibly even THE prince of all the land.

Things you can glean listening to a program in a language you barely speak.... kind of fun. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, because I am absolutely NOT one of those anime fans who will lecture a fellow fan that subs (subtitles) are superior in every way to dubs (dubbed)--BUT, I will suggest to anyone who is able to handle /comfortable reading while watching to give subs a try once, if you never have, because I do believe that it is possible to pick up extra content subconsciously.  Obviously, the above is an example that only works for someone like me, who is trying to learn the language.  BUT, previous to this, I FELT things about some characters in "Bleach" based only on my impression of their voices--their inflection, etc.  Without knowing ANYTHING about Japanese, I picked up on the fact that one character had an unusual accent (Gin for those in the know) and that it was likely Significant.  I do not know what they did with Gin's voice actor in English.  Ideally, American/Western voice actor casting would have a native-speaker on staff consulting about regional and class accents. (Please don't pretend we don't have class accents in American English. You KNOW what an upperclass East Coast accent is compared to a dirt-poor Southern drawl...) I know likely don't have a person like that on staff, but in my ideal world they would, because this is the stuff I feel you get by listening to the foreign language often enough, even without ANY study.

That being said, if, right now, you're feeling like I just dissed you because you prefer dubs.....  Honey, no!  I am so happy you're watching anime!!  I would never, ever tell you that you MUST do subs. If dubs is what works for you, yay!  I watched all of Full Metal Alchemist and Black Butler dubbed and J. Michael Tatum (the voice of Sebastian in the English BB) is an amazing dude and I would FIGHT anyone who says he's not an awesome, seductive Sebastian!

Besides, if you've been watching anime long enough, there used to be things you could ONLY get dubbed.  I have no idea what the original Starblazers sounds like, but my anime fan cred is strong because, kids, I was watching that LITERALLY before many of you were born: in 1978.  Deslock was my first anime husbando. 

Wow, this turns into a long screed. My apologies.  Gomen, gomen....

Bummer Bunnies

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:42 am
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
Yesterday, when I went to pick Shawn up at the History Center, I saw a baby bunny just sitting in the road, near the curb.  She seemed stunned, maybe?  So I went to try to shoo her back into cover, but it became evident that she was injured.  There was blood near her neck.  Worse, (because it's not a good sign when wild animals can be easily picked up), I was able to scoop her up and get her into a towel filled bucket that Shawn prepared.  We took her to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  

It was the longest drive of my life. The Rehabilitation Center is actually not all that far away--just on the other side of Hwy36 on Dale.  But, not long ago, I picked up a bird that was stunned and it died while in transport, and... I just.  The world is full of awful things, and I just did NOT want a dead baby bunny in the back of my car.

She made it to the Center, at least. She perked up a bit, once inside, actually. Hopping about a little.  But, who knows what happened to her overnight, if she pulled through, or if I only managed to make her death that much more frightening and strange.  I'm going to hope that my attempt to rescue her will save her.  

Then the news hit about health care and that traitor John McCain.  You know, if this were Ireland, they'd have a song about that guy already, I swear to gods. 

All of this contributed, I think, to this sense I woke up with today. I feel like I'm behind on something or I've forgotten something important.  So I spent much of the morning so far reading something that I promised someone I would--a beta reading thing.  I got that done.  In a minute or two I will hop up and do the dishes. Normally today is a day for me to go to the coffee shop and hang out with the ladies, but I'm skipping that in favor of attempting to do enough stuff around the house to banish this feeling. I suspect what I'm feeling is actually 'political hopelessness' like I did right before the election, and what I need to do is garden or sweep or do something else physical. (I have a feeling that if I were still doing martial arts, this political season would have made me an uber-athlete, because my desire to punch stuff and scream is very high right now.)

It's drizzle raining outside which isn't helping my mood, alas.

Okay, off to banish this feeling by doing something.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
 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.  

Apologies for Not Being Around

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:17 pm
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
Mason will be fourteen on Monday. It’s kind of hard to believe that I have a high schooler in the house.

On the other hand, I like teenagers. Maybe I will live to regret the words I just typed, but I will confess that my very least favorite stage in child development is everyone else’s absolute favorite: infancy.

Babies? Not for me. You can keep the “new baby smell” and the diapers and the once every two hours feeding schedule. I like young people when I can have a talk with them. Pretty much the instant they’re able to communicate, I’m there. I quite like the stage where they hand you random things and you suggest, “Oh, you’re giving me an apple?” and they sternly correct you, “No, moose.” Because, you know: toddler brain. But, that delights me. Plus, they just grow more interesting, IMHO, the more they age.

Even though he’s moody af sometimes, I’m happy to have a clever, bright young adult at home.

My folks came up to celebrate early.  We had a good time. Friday night we met them at their hotel and ordered Red's pizza. Mason got to open his present, which was from all of us: a Nintendo Switch.  He was so excited by it (and the new Zelda game) he lost track of time playing it and ended up staying up all night.  This morning, my folks came by ours and we went off to the Good Will Outlet.  That's always an experience. It's the sort of place where you pay by the POUND.  Shawn gets a ton of fabric for her rugs this way, and we usually actually find a few shirts and whatnot for me to wear.  The outlet is a little different from the experience of a regular thrift store because nothing has been processed yet at all--except in the barest minimum of ways: all the clothes are together, all the non-clothes are together. That's it. Sometimes stuff is still in the paper or garbage bags that people donated them in.  We were there when the outlet first opened and there were only the hardcore sifters there.  I watched people just take handfuls of stuff and shove them into their shopping cars--I presume to sort later, though maybe, like us, these were people who wanted fabric of any kind. I'm not sure.  It's quite the experience. I highly recommend it.

Mason and Shawn are both napping now. My folks have left and the temperature is climbing.  I'm thinking about joining everyone in the "cool room."

Parenting: A Gender Moment

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:53 pm
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[personal profile] labingi
I was just reading [personal profile] veleda_k's great post on gender in The Lego Movie and commenting on how I worry about how messages like this affect my kids, but it put me in mind of a more hopeful recent gender moment with my son.

I've been reading him The Lord of the Rings, and we came across some line (I don't remember exactly) like whoever has the Ring, it will corrupt "him":

Son: Who's "him"?

Me: Whoever gets the Ring, whoever possesses it.

Son: But it could be a woman.

Me: That's true, but this older English from a time when "he" meant any random person, including women.

(Son looks at me like both I and the world are insane.)

Me: One day I will show you the Blake's 7 episode where Avon uses "he" (actually "his") to refer to a group of one man and two women.

(Son looks even more dubious.)

(Mom's heart is profoundly encouraged.)

Wednesday Reading (and Writing)

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:50 am
lydamorehouse: (Default)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
I didn't get a whole lot of reading done over this last week. First, I was busy prepping for class, and then, right after finishing all that, I read and critiqued a manuscript for the Loft's writing coach program. (If you ever have an extra pile of dollars lying around and want to hire me, here's how you can do it.)

Then, yesterday, out of the blue, I got a note from my agent asking if I have any other trunk novels that I might be able to polish up and send off to Tapas Media again.  (She seems convinced she can squeeze real money out of them). I sort of do, but in order to meet what they're looking for, I'm doing a lot of revision... kinda major revision, which might not, ultimately, be worth it. But, I mean, what else do I have to do? (I mean, besides fan fiction.)

But, despite all that, I did plow through three manga that I picked up at Quatrefoil Library when I was there for Gaylaxicon's book club reading of Precinct 13. So, I read:

Dining Bar Akira / Kuimonodokoro Akira by Tomoko Yamashita
Man’s Best Friend / Inu mo Akurekeba by Takashima Kazusa
Your Honest Deceit / Kimi no Tsuku Use Hontou (vol. 1) by Ajimine Sakufu, and one I haven't had a chance to review yet:
Bachi Bachi by Kijima Hyougo.

You?
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
 Every time I teach teenagers, I take a moment to gather "market" information. I ask them what they're reading/watching/playing and what they wish they'd see more of.  For YA authors out there, here's what my Loft teens would like most of all:
  1. Assexual representation.  They want a character who is explicitly ace who DOES NOT FALL FOR SOMEONE BY THE END.  Please more GLBTQIA+ representation in general. Non-binary/Genderfluid/Genderqueer, too, please. (Ace comes up every year, by the way.) 
  2. Supernatural creatures who are *not* run of the mill vampires
  3. NO MORE ROMANCE.  Or, if there must be romance, can it please be something more than the tradition love triangle.  Better yet, let the triangle end in a poly arrangement (yes, my teenagers asked specifically for poly).  
  4. More dystopia, but no more Divergent rip-offs. How about a post-apocalypse that has nothing to do with the government dividing people by their skills/factions/what-have-yous?

Obviously, this sample size is small.  My class this year had twenty students, only four of them male-identified, one non-binary, and the rest using she/her pronouns. The majority of the class was female.  There were only two obvious PoCs. All of the students, except one that was there on a scholarship, came from families that could easily afford a $300+ class for their kids. Most were urban/suburban/Metro area, though some came from the 218 area code (I can't remember how many without checking my class list, but it was at least two. I remember because it surprised me.)  

The only other thing of note is that this is the first class where we've had to have a few discussions about the technical aspects of writing. Every year I teach, I try to have an opportunity for students to have their work critiqued. It's best when the whole class can participate and I can teach "how-to" peer critique, BUT with twenty kids it was strictly voluntary and I took their work home and typed up my response to their opening pages.  I bet half the class participated.  

Their abilities ranged wildly, but I was expecting that in a group of 13-17 year olds.  What I wasn't expecting was at least three students who seemed to have zero concept of paragraph breaks.  Their writing was otherwise good, it was just presented as a giant block of text.  I'm not sure where this comes from, and I had to take some time to remember how *I* was taught when a good paragraph break should come.  Of course, much of it comes from osmosis, from reading.  But I do remember someone requiring that we learn about what should be contained in a paragraph... I wonder which grade though?

Anyway, that was the only 'surprise.'  It's tempting to blame the lack of paragraph breaks on the internet.  But, I'm still not convinced that the Internet is ruining young writers. I suspect this lack of breaks comes from generally not being much of a reader.  (Voracious readers always have an obvious 'ear' for how stories are structured.) Or from reading things, like graphic novels or web comics, that come in a differently consumed format.

It was a weird year at the Loft this year, but, ultimately, the class was great.  My boss asked me to be sure to propose something similar for winter quarter.

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