Monday, November 24th, 2014 07:48 pm
I don't read any more - and don't write - and I don't even make poems, I haven't since all that nastiness in the Loos years ago. I have painted a little for the last two days, so that's something.

It's all part and parcel of being so exhausted and feeble all the time. But I don't really know myself.

I was reading today, and reached and realised I MISS it. I'm not sure how to restart though.
Monday, November 24th, 2014 12:27 pm
i'd like to write here more so i'm joining the bandwagon and asking for suggestions on what you'd like me to write about. But i don't promise to do one a day - i just don't have the spoons (and to be honest i'm not anticipating getting that many suggestions!)

Comments are screened here but i'll compile a master-list of suggestions below (without saying who asked for them) so you can see what has and hasn't already been asked
Monday, November 24th, 2014 11:52 am
Atos today unless it get cancelled again.

I've been poorly since last weekend - swollen glands, fatigue and dizziness (well not exactly dizziness - it feels like a wave washing across the inside of my skull). I'm hoping it's a bug but the symptoms are worryingly like chronic fatigue (which could be associated with endo). The ill is obviously interacting with my mental health but i'm not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg ...

Anyway i had an appointment with gynaecology on Tuesday - they agreed that my worsening symptoms are prolly endometriosis again (you can't be certain until you go in and have a look) and possibly another ovarian cyst so i'm going to have a scan and treatment depending on what that shows. The registrar, medical student and nurse where all lovely and seemed empathic and wanting me not to be in pain - but the system is very broken so they couldn't tell me how long the wait for the scan will be or when i'd be able to get either surgery or hormone treatment after that ...

[personal profile] oilrig came over this weekend which was lovely - it's been absolutely ages since we had proper time together because of various things and stuff. We were both pretty floomped - and the weather was vile - but we did some Christmas shopping and went to see the Imitation Game at the local cinema that does proper pop-corn, so that shiny.
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 01:05 pm
What it's about
This is a book based in an alternate universe: where the United Arab States were attacked on 9th November 2001 by Christian fundamentalists from the mountain regions of America; where an invasion followed and a Green Zone was set up in Washington D.C. and where the UAS Homeland Security works to prevent crusaders carrying out terrorist attacks in Baghdad.

In the summer of 2009, a captured suicide bomber claims during interrogation that this is all a mirage and that in the real world the USA is the single superpower.   The interrogation is cut short by orders from the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee - the war hero Osama bin Laden - but not before the investigating team become aware that this story has been said again and again by other captured terrorists, and are asked to investigate "the mirage story" by direct request from the President.

How I came to read it
I read this book for bookclub (and then was too tired for bookclub, so have no idea what the others made of it) and I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise, because the premise has the potential to be really good or really appalling.  Normally I'd give this book a wide berth and go read something else instead.

Read more... )

I'm very unlikely to reread this and will be taking it to the charity shop next week, unless one of my local friends would like it?
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 07:45 am
Dream. )
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 12:17 pm
I'm altering one of the posh dresses at Stirling to fit me, since the original wearer decided not to stay on when we all had to go freelance.

I work on it while in the palace and in character. My story for it is that it's a gift from one of the nobility to my niece so I'm altering it to fit her. Cue discussion about sumptuary laws, and also how expensive fabric is and that a second hand dress is a magnificent gift to receive.

Not sure what character to do. The original research notes on who was at the palace seem to have disappeared.
I think this one sounds interesting. I can talk about the Rough Wooing and also worry about having soldiers posted near the castle and being disruptive to the locals.
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 11:42 pm
Things that happen on Twitter:

[ profile] readandbreathe: Idea of the day: A Doctor Who/Proust mash-up.
[ profile] rosefox: Remembrance of Timey-Wimey Past, or Was It Future, I Forget
[ profile] ronhogan: I bit into a jelly baby and a flood of future memories overwhelmed my mind.
[ profile] readandbreathe: "For a long time I used to go to bed early. I'd dream of a box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside."
[ profile] ronhogan: OMG, that pretty much IS Amy Pond fic, right there.
[ profile] rosefox: "We are all of us obliged, if we are to make reality endurable, to nurse a few... follies in ourselves." (unchanged)
[ profile] a9ri: "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having a TARDIS"
[ profile] rosefox: "Every person is destroyed when we cease to see him; after which his next appearance is a new creation, different from that which immediately preceded it." Also unchanged. Maybe Proust WAS a Time Lord.
[ profile] readandbreathe: WHOA.
[ profile] ronhogan: WHOAx2.
[ profile] rosefox: "altogether he looked... as though he were the lifeless and wire-pulled puppet of his own happiness." < Matt Smith
[ profile] rosefox: (I am not a Matt Smith fan.)
[ profile] rosefox: "Often she had seen [servants] born. That's the only way to get really good ones." Yep, Amy Pond fic all the way.
[ profile] rosefox: This is making me want to read Proust, which I have never actually done. I'm just pulling quotes off Goodreads.
[ profile] readandbreathe: Ooo, you must. I just started the fifth volume.
[ profile] rosefox: Do let me know if it's better when read with the assumption that Proust was a Time Lord.
Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 03:42 am
I just got round to setting up a DW feed for A Thing of Things, which is written by Ozy Frantz, who I first encountered as the partner of Scott Alexander, and who basically has all of his good points, but also (what I see as) a rather more balanced approach to social justice stuff. I suggest you all add them yesterday.
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 12:29 pm
This week:
  • Arranged flights.
  • Wrangled the first bit of travel insurance. (Still to do: pay extra premium for having mildly faulty lungs.)
  • Applied for accommodation, got three offers, accepted one. (Chose the option that was neither eye-wateringly expensive, nor due to be demolished halfway through my trip. Think I made the right choice.)
  • Set up a GoFundMe to try and help fix the shortfall between my grant and necessary expenditure. If you like postcards and/or videos, and have some cash to spare, there are 'rewards' relevant to your interests :D
  • Started figuring out things I need to buy before I leave. (Please feel free to add suggestions in the comments.)

Plus 18 hours of lectures and homework, and 14hrs on my assignment. Word count around a third of what I was hoping it would be by now. This may be a long weekend.
Friday, November 21st, 2014 08:00 pm
Food geeking ahead; feel free to skip. )
Friday, November 21st, 2014 03:10 pm
This morning, I received an e-mail from a restaurant about a "Christmas Bokking", prompting visions of my fellow lab denizens and myself turning up for our meal dressed as chickens.

Later, someone on my telecon uttered the following words in all seriousness: "So wait, is this the problem we were having with time going backward?"

Poll #16170 Chickens v Time
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 41

Which is better?

View Answers

Christmas bokking
17 (41.5%)

Time going backward
24 (58.5%)

Thursday, November 20th, 2014 09:50 pm
So last week (or the week before; whichever) I decided that I was going to REST in November. (Where "in November" is defined as "in the bits of November which are not Leon-days and when I do not already have commitments, i.e. only actually about 8 days in total.)

My observations so far:

  • I am not all that good at resting. I keep thinking "right, so what am I going to DO today? what is my GOAL? what do I want to ACHIEVE?" and then having to remind myself that what I am DOING today is nothing.

  • I am really not all that good at resting. My idea of 'doing nothing' is only spending an hour or so doing ticky-box useful things, and then the rest of the time knitting. And reading, which ought to count, except I keep finding myself reading things off the 'I really must read this' pile rather than just fun things. OK, sometimes the IRMRT pile contains unexpectedly fun things (if they were truly expectedly fun I would have read them already; they tend to be things that I might be pleased to have read but are not necessarily restful). But still. I mean, I do like knitting! But I find it curious that it is so difficult not to do something that I clock as 'vaguely useful'.

  • Having said all of that, I have had a couple of naps in the last fortnight, which were great! And I have done enjoyable reading and knitting rather than (mostly) hurtling around the place with the mile-long to-do list, so we will count this as a win.

  • When I have sat down for an hour with the to-do list, the enjoyment of crossing things off the list has been significantly higher than usual, which I found fascinating. Possibly partly because I was limiting the time I was going to spend doing it? Rather than having a whole day (and more...) of ticky-box tasks stretching ahead of me.

  • I do, overall, feel better than I did when I made the decision.

  • I do need to rethink what I'm trying to fit into my normal life at the moment. I have done some provisional thinking on this and will continue to contemplate it next week.

  • I have also done some writing just because I wanted to, which is an improvement on last month when it was all about ticking things off. This was pleasing. Long may it continue. (The interesting thing is finding the balance between the self-discipline of 'show up and write'; the feeling of 'I want to do this and am enjoying the process' (where 'enjoying' also covers 'this is hard work and exhausting but satisfying'); and the bit where you just need to keep on plugging.

Further updates at the end of the month, if I think of any.
Thursday, November 20th, 2014 01:28 am
So, uh. This happened.

If you can't see or read the image, click through for the original tweets.

Do I know how to motivate myself or what?

So here is the thing. I am super conflicted about writing fiction.

Conflict, in excruciating detail )

Fast forward to today, when I was thinking about undermining the cisnormative heteronormative tropes of romance novels, as I often do, and tweeted, "Someone please write a historical where the crossdressing 'heroine' realizes he's actually a trans guy, and the hero loves him just as much." I know a lot of romance readers and a lot of trans folks, so that got picked up pretty quickly; soon it was up to 19 retweets. I encouraged people to keep it going, and encouraged writers to write those stories. All par for the course when I say something like that. But to my surprise, the retweets kept coming. Soon it was up to nearly 50.

Meanwhile, on my private account, I made a promise to myself that I will do my own personal NaNo-ish thing in January.

So I looked at those things together, and I thought about it. For maybe two seconds. And before I could lose my nerve, I posted, "Okay, here's a brash promise: if I get 100 RTs on the trans historical romance tweet, I'll try to write it. No guarantee of success!"

It took 12 more minutes to hit 100 retweets. You should have seen my face as I watched the counter go up: excitement, terror, pure disbelief.

Having just watched three people I know do 500 push-ups, sit-ups, and squats thanks to "we'll do two for each RT this gets, ha ha, surely it won't be that many", I really should have expected that it would go far. But I didn't. And I was really touched to see so many people I know gleefully boosting the signal to support me in my self-motivation efforts, and also to see so many organic RTs and faves for the concept. Right now the original tweet is up to 196 204 206 208 RTs. Sure, the first 100 spread it to where the next 100 could see it... but there's a whole lot of love for the idea of a trans historical romance character. It doesn't have quite the same vibe of "The world needs this book" that Long Hidden had, but given that #WeNeedDiverseRomance was a trending hashtag for days, I think it's safe to say that the world needs books like this. And there's safety in numbers, even imagined numbers. If I imagine myself writing just one of the hundr--well, okay, maybe doz--okay, like five romance novels inspired by the idea of a crossdressing heroine who turns out to be trans, suddenly there's a lot less pressure than if I'm going to be writing a wholly idiosyncratic fantasy novel.

There's probably some internalized stuff about how romance doesn't count and whatever. That's fine! This once I won't question it. Whatever makes this easier, I'll take it.

So now I need a plan. First I want to take a month or so to do research and outline. I've already downloaded a bunch of romances that handle crossdressing in various ways, for genre research. I need to pick a time and place; I'm very familiar with how Regency England is used as a romance novel backdrop, and if I were going for a straightfoward deconstruction that would be the best way to do it, but I'm also tempted by Victorian England, and early 1900s New York would be fun and interesting to play with.

--my brain has helpfully informed me that as long as I'm there I could make it about immigrant Jews in 1909 Brooklyn, and research my own family history at the same time! Thanks, brain. Maybe for the next book.

Anyway. Research and outline in December, and then I start writing in January. Today while I was still on the giddy high of "WHAT HAVE I DONE" I considered a serial with weekly installments, to keep myself motivated and give myself explicit permission for it to be about as polished as you'd expect from something written in a week. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea. But I might do it anyway, or do a NaNo-like thing, or go some other route entirely.

One way or another, though, I am going to at least try writing this thing. That's what I promised to do: try. And now the hundr--well, dozens of you who still read LJ and DW know it too, so I really can't chicken out. :) Working title because it amuses me: An Unlikely Hero. (This will almost certainly change.) By the end of December I will have an outline, even if it's literally "boy meets girl, girl is a boy, boy is cool with that, HEA", and by the end of January I will have spent at least one hour putting words in a document that might or might not be chapter 1.

And maybe after that I'll go back to being not-a-writer for a while. Or maybe I'll write the book and then another and then another--I hear it's addictive, like getting tattoos. Who knows? At this point I sure don't. As with all other aspects of my identity, I'm about ready to give up labels and just do what feels good. Next up: figuring out what feels good.

The subject line of this post is a tiny little joke I have with myself. I'm continuing my kanji studies with WaniKani, and my mnemonic for 作家, which means "author" and is pronounced "sakka", is that authors are suckers. Guess I suckered myself in this time. :)
Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 06:55 pm
Quote to sum up my most fun conversation today: "He only died once!"

(As much as I would love it if my stepdad had come back to life since 2008, it's just not scientifically possible. You'd think seeing the death certificate once would be enough though…)

PS, hello neglected blog friends, I'm going to Finland, and trying to get free money out of organisations to do so is exactly as difficult as you might expect.