Wiscon 41 - Day 2

May. 28th, 2017 01:00 am
owlmoose: (hepburn)
[personal profile] owlmoose
So, Saturday. We decided to forgo 8:30am panels, instead having a quiet Starbucks breakfast, then running into [twitter.com profile] butnotdegeneres in the lobby on our way to check out the art show. I did go to a 10am panel, on crowdfunding (hashtag). I took a lot of notes on that one and will try to write it up at some point.

We followed that up with a taco lunch, and then I had to run back for my first panel of the day: It's OK Not to Like Stuff, where we talked about the delicate art of having unpopular opinions on the Internet, particularly as a critic. Although there were only three of us, we developed a great rapport, and afterward, the mod ([twitter.com profile] crosberg) expressed sadness that I live too far away to come replicate the panel at C2E2 next year. The hashtag for that one didn't get too much action, sadly, because it was a fun discussion of how to navigate negative reviews, how we communicate differently when we're being a critic as opposed to when we're being a fan, and how to tactfully disengage when someone insist that you must be wrong not to love the thing they love.

My next stops were a panel on the ever-evolving SF/F canon (hashtag), which may become the fodder for arguments and discussion at a later time, and an entertaining group reading featuring Charlie Jane Anders, Mark Oshiro, and more robot sex than expected. After dinner, I dropped by the Tiptree Auction; [profile] branewane was in top form as auctioneer, just as she was last year, but the highlight of my time there BY FAR was the auction for a bottle of lube autographed by Zoe Quinn on behalf of Chuck Tingle (final sale price: $125).

My last event of the day was my third panel, about fanfic. The description was a little broad, so in our pre-con email discussions we decided to make it a conversation about the connections between fanfic and historical fiction (using Hamilton as a jumping off point), and about older canons like Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, and Jane Austen that still have transformative works being made about them. It was a pretty lose panel with lots of audience participation (and a fun, active hashtag, where [twitter.com profile] afranklinhudson helpfully posted links to many of the fics and other works mentioned). Also during that time period was the panel I was saddest to miss, on the joys of Leverage, so I am very glad that it was live-tweeted by a number of people.

It was a good day but also a long day, so after a quick nightcap at Michelangelo's followed by a pass by the Floomp, we are back in our room, typing away on our computers and recovering from a day of talking and sociability (at least I am). Looking forward to tomorrow, but for now I am happy to relax for a bit.

Wiscon 41 - Day 1

May. 27th, 2017 11:55 pm
owlmoose: (avatar - korra)
[personal profile] owlmoose
I typed this up before bed Friday, but wasn't able to post it because I got kicked off the wifi and wasn't able to log back on until this afternoon. Now Saturday is over, but both days have been so full that I wanted to keep it all separate. I'm not going to go through and rewrite the whole thing, so consider this a snapshot of my yesterday. :)

---

WisCon proper kicked off this afternoon. We had a very lazy morning, sleeping in and then getting breakfast at Michelangelo's, followed by a trip to A Room of One's Own for some actual book shopping (we decided not to deal with the lines after the reading on Thursday). I got the second volume of Bitch Planet and Rainbow Rowell's Carry On. Then it was time to check out the Gathering, followed by my very first WisCon panel!

The panel was about women who play video games, and it went very well. To get a flavor of the discussion, I suggest checking out the Twitter hashtag, #WomenGameWriters. Of the five panelists, two are professional video game developers, and the moderator, [personal profile] tanyad, is the founder of #INeedDiverseGames; myself and the fifth panelist are gamers with no industry connections. So we brought a nice mix of professional and non-professional, outsider and insider viewpoints to the conversation. We talked about the perception of women gamers -- women don't play shooters, women only play casual games, casual gamers aren't "real" gamers, and so on -- and also about the perception that the people who make and sell games are all cis white dudes (a stereotype with some truth to it, but there have always been women and people of color in the industry, and their numbers are growing all the time, especially in the indie game space). I felt like we had a good conversation and that I made some worthwhile contributions. I was also very glad to have a microphone, because although I'm feeling a little better today, my voice is not in any shape to project.

The next panel block was Mark Oshiro's "Queer Eye for Sci-Fi", which I was very happy to attend for a second year in a row. Similar to last time, the panelists discussed their experiences as queer people of color who are fans of sci-fi and fantasy media, in all its glory and with all its problems. The hashtag for that one is pretty great, too.

Afterwards was dinner; we headed to a local brewpub for some burgers and fried things, where I introduced [personal profile] justira and [personal profile] renay to the wonders of deep fried cheese curds, and then we dropped by the Opening Ceremonies. Just like last year, Katherine Cross gave a stirring speech, this time on the subject of the importance of WisCon and the safer space it provides for marginalized fans, and why it's vital to keep it going in Trump's America. Our next stop was the game tables, to play a long-planned game of Slash hosted by Jed. Slash is a card game in the style of Apples to Apples, except instead of adjectives and nouns, the cards each have the name of a fictional or historical character, and the objective is to make the best pairing. Some of our better results included Gandhi/Hannibal Lecter, Veronica Mars/Marge Simpson, and a whole harem (including Rasputin and Andre the Giant) for the cast of the Golden Girls. Then I dropped by the annual vid party, which was an excellent set list as always. I left after the first half, which ended with a funny and moving tribute to Carrie Fisher that left half the audience literally in tears. I'll post the complete set list when it's available.

---

I plan to type up today's con experience now, but it might not go out into the world until tomorrow, depending on how long it takes. It's going well, and I'm having fun with Ira and Renay, but I so wish this cold hadn't decided to come along. It's kind of getting better, but the amount that I'm talking is probably not helping matters. Stupid cold. But it's not getting me down too much. I just have to take it a little easier than I would prefer, which overall is maybe not a bad thing.

WisCon 41: Day Zero

May. 25th, 2017 11:36 pm
owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
[personal profile] owlmoose
We have arrived! [personal profile] renay, [personal profile] justira, and I are in Madison, safe and sound, sacked out in our hotel room after a day of travel. We all flew into Chicago (me yesterday, Ira and Nay this afternoon), rented a car, and drove the two-ish hours with very little trouble. Made it into town just in time for the pre-con Guest of Honor reading at A Room of One's Own bookstore, where I got to sit next to [twitter.com profile] toughlovemuse. The two GoHs, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amal El-Mohtar, each read a short piece and answered some questions. They are both fantastic performers with many interesting and worthwhile things to say, and I'm really excited for their speeches on Sunday, as well as hopefully seeing them around the con.

Now we are crashing early, in my case because the universe in its infinite wisdom decided to gift me with con crud BEFORE the convention. I've been under the weather with a bad sore throat since Sunday, to the point that I even changed my Wednesday flight to see the doctor before I left (but it seems to just be a stubborn virus). The main problem is talking, which is a fun thing to have trouble with at a con when you're on four panels. :/ But hopefully it will run its course soon. (So if you see me, and I dodge a hug or don't seem my usual bright and sunny self, you know why.)
spindizzy: A stick man sitting a desk looking cross-eyed and saying "Im a riter" (im a riter)
[personal profile] spindizzy
At least partially so I have something to do while listening to these podcast samples for the Hugos that isn't crocheting. ([profile] jilliferium's housemate has had their baby and I still have wool left! I need to make ALL OF THE BOOTIES before Jill comes to visit me!)

(In related news: if the Coode Street Podcast has a download button on their mobile site, I can't see it. How unfair is it to ding an entrant for it being a pain in the arse to access their sample?)

I have SO MANY ideas and WIPs and LB posts and THINGS that need cracking into a proper, sensible to-do list and triaging. I just need to sit down and sort it out so I can plug things into my diary. Might make it my task at the weekend while I wait for laundry to finish. Hm.

(Q: Susan, is this just convoluted procrastination?
A: Man, if you think THIS is convoluted procrastination you ain't seen nothing yet.)
spindizzy: A picture of Deadpool in mask and tuxedo, shrugging. (What can I say?)
[personal profile] spindizzy
I took some scrap paper in when I went to see King Arthur (again) today, because y'know, I'll take some quick notes! It'll be fine! I had some good fic ideas that I kept forgetting!

Eighteen 6x6" scraps of paper and a WHOLE BUNCH of notes later... >_>

([personal profile] thebaconfat I don't know if you're planning to see it, but if you are, let me know what you thought? There are war elephants! And I can give any spoilers/warnings you want.)
spindizzy: (Aren't you interesting?)
[personal profile] spindizzy
... Seriously, one day, I am just going to sit down and do a series of posts where I try to explain fandoms that I have encountered in passing and what I think the plot and/or canon ships are based on what I've seen. It will go SO BADLY and I will be SO WRONG.

(Pro-tip: my explanation of Star Wars: Rebels would be the only one with actual names. And even then it's Ezra Who Is Jenny's Idiot Son, Hera the Great, Wren the Explosive, Purple Dude, Failbot, Ponytail Jedi of My Heart, and Douchebag McRedemptionArc who's real name is too on the nose to be worth remembering. ... Oh, and I could maybe Jojo! Because I think everyone is named Jojo? Maybe?)

... No, fuck it, this IS that day! Give me a canon/fandom you think I'm not in, I will tell you what I think it's about, and we'll see how wrong this goes.

Mentioned on twitter already

May. 23rd, 2017 12:35 am
spindizzy: I feel like I spent the whole day fighting guys in rubber suits! D: (I feel like I've fought fake aliens)
[personal profile] spindizzy
But I am aware of the explosions in Manchester, I've texted me mam and she says that none of my family are in town tonight so they should all be safe. I've seen a few of the older ones knocking around on FB, so it looks like we're all okay. We're okay.

(I've actually been in that concert arena, and the tram line they've had to shut down is my only route home. This is deeply deeply strange to see.)
spindizzy: (Default)
[personal profile] spindizzy
What time is it? Time for me to give you additional voting resources, that's what bloody time. HAVE FUN.

1) Are you registered to vote? If not, it takes five minutes on the internet, you MIGHT need your national insurance number. Do it by the 22nd. https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
1a) If you are about to say any variation of "My vote won't matter," my only response is "Yes it will, because not voting is the same as voting for the Conservatives, VOTE YOU FOOLS." ... Okay, and possibly "Nooooo, friend human, the old people will all go and vote, and they don't give a fuck because they aren't going to live long enough to deal with this bollocks." WHICHEVER WORKS.
1b) If you are a student, it is worth checking out this site to see whether it's more effective to vote at home or at uni: http://ge2017.com/students
1c) Postal votes are big and clever if you're not sure you're going to be able to make it to a polling station!

2) If you are voting tactically, this site tells you which party has a better chance of beating the Conservatives in a given constituency: https://www.tactical2017.com/
2a) ... See, I saw this tweet from Theresa May saying that she only needs to "loose" six seats to not be PM anymore, and while I'm sure that's bollocks, I feel like that's pretty good motivation, right? https://twitter.com/theresa_may/status/865855578454806529

3) If you want to see exactly what you're voting for: friend humans I am way ahead of you.
Labour Manifesto: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/manifesto2017 (Hey look, they showed their working!)
Conservative Manifesto: https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto (As I saw on twitter: "Isn't it interesting how few actual timeframes and plans for funding there are in here?")
Lib Dem Manifesto: http://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto (They literally had to take out an ad to get it on the first page of Google, it was NO WHERE ELSE ON THAT PAGE.)
Green Party Manifesto: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/green-party-manifesto.html (Is apparently not up yet, despite the election being in two weeks.)
UKIP Manifesto: Excuse me I already put the Conservative manifesto here, I think that's quite enough bigotry in one post, yeah?
(If there is another party you think worth adding to the list, leave me a link in the comments and I'll add it to the post.)

This is all of the information I have that I don't feel the need to precede with "A Conservative government is LITERALLY GOING TO GET PEOPLE KILLED," feel free to share it if you don't feel like compiling the links yourself. But seriously: Registration closes on the 22nd. Postal votes will be arriving by the 2nd of June. The election is on the 8th of June.

VOTE.

WisCon 41 schedule!

May. 20th, 2017 12:06 am
owlmoose: (ffx2 - rikku)
[personal profile] owlmoose
Since someone asked about this on Twitter, and I figure it's handy for me to have the info all in one place for myself as well, I figured I'd post up my WisCon schedule here. I'll be arriving with [personal profile] renay and [personal profile] justira sometime on Thursday evening (in time for the evening reading, I hope, but since we're driving from Chicago I don't want to make any promises), and heading out early Monday afternoon. Also, I've gone from being on no panels last year to four (4) panels this year, one each on Friday and Sunday and two on Saturday. One on gaming, one on fanfic, and two on not being a jerk in fandom. Titles, times, and descriptions are as follows:

Friday, 2:30pm
Destroying the Mythos Around Female Gamers and Games for Women. Moderated by the one and only [personal profile] tanyad! Description: There is a continuing false perception that video games are thoroughly dominated by male gamers and male developers. However data disproves this fallacy. This panel will discuss the actual demographics of gaming, and how to buck the idea of "appealing" to women with old stereotypes and tropes. I.E women are all casuals, and games like FFXV with an all male cast supposedly appeal to women for a change. We'll also look at how narrative can drive an audience to or away from a game series such as Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.

Saturday, 1pm
It's OK to Not Like Things (But Don't Be a Jerk About It). Description: It's a wonderful feeling when geeks meet each other and share enthusiasm for the things we enjoy, but what happens when that enthusiasm becomes an obligation? While there are more and more geek and pop culture shows, stories, characters, art, and creators to be fans of and consume, the expectation that fans must like (or at least be aware of) certain things in order to be considered "real" geeks/nerds is still an issue. This panel will discuss what happens when fans are expected to like certain things, what happens when you don't, and how that creates unwelcoming geek communities. The panel will also stress that criticism isn't mutually exclusive with being a fan, as well as elaborate on the difference between criticism and "being a jerk."

Saturday, 9pm
Fanfic, Retcon, and Zombies, Oh My!. Description: Let's talk about what happens in the murky territories where fanfic meets original works. Do writings that use original works in the public domain—modern-day Sherlock Holmes characters, zombies in Jane Austen's worlds—count as fanfic? When a series gets unwieldy or unpopular, it can be rebooted or rewritten with different parameters: maybe a character comes back to life, changes gender, or gets a new backstory. Are there differences between retcon and fix-it fic, other than who owns the copyright?

Sunday, 10pm
How to Ship Without Being a Jerk, and Other Guidelines for Being Good Citizens of Fandom. Description: Everybody hates shipper wars, but nobody trusts the cult of nice, and at some point many of us have been tempted to send a snarky postcard/email/tweet to the Author or Showrunner Who Ruined It All Because They Just Didn't Get It. But just because the Powers that Be are the worst doesn't mean we have to be. How do we have conversations about the fandoms we all love without ruining friendships? Are those even the right goals? If not, what is a better way to look at it?

There will also at some point be an informal [community profile] ladybusiness BarCon gathering. My best guess right now is Friday evening, since I have panels on Saturday and Sunday night, but stay tuned! (I'm actually pushing for a CoffeeCon at Michelangelo's instead, since the hotel bar is small and gets very loud, so we'll see.) Look for an announcement on the [twitter.com profile] feministponies account.

It's so soon! I'm so excited! I hope to see some of you there. :)
spindizzy: Kyoko lying on the floor looking sad. (Nuuuu)
[personal profile] spindizzy
Me: I have to write my Eight Book Minimum stuff.
Me: Or I could do the reading for Fangirl Happy Hour.
Me: Or I could start on my Hugo reading!
Me:
Me:
Me:
Me:
Me: Oh look, I lost an entire evening to playing Banished and Renowned Explorers, how the fuck did that happen?
owlmoose: (cats - tori peeking)
[personal profile] owlmoose
I kind of want to share some links, and I'm kind of afraid they'll all be out of date within five minutes of posting them. (At the very least, by 5pm Eastern Time today, which is when we seem to be getting our daily bombshell.) It's been less than two weeks since my last linkspam post, and in the meantime it feels like an entire year's worth of news has happened.

But, this the teaspoon I have, and so I'll keep going at this ocean for as long as I can.

  • It's hard to say what's the biggest story in the long run, but for now I'll put my money on the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Could this be the thing that brings it all toppling down? Vox thinks it might be.

  • Not just the firing itself, but the way that the White House narrative tried to deflect the blame onto Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might be what triggered the appointment of a special counsel (FINALLY OMG). Unfortunately, the special counsel doesn't quite have the power or independence of a special prosecutor, but it's probably the best of the options we have right now. Vox has a good overview of what a special counsel is and what they have the power to do.

  • This close reading of James Comey's farewell letter to FBI staff is a work of genius. So is the farewell letter itself.

  • Don't forget The Comey Memo. (Does anyone else hear that in the cadence of "The Reynolds Pamphlet"? Just me? Okay.) This New Yorker article is a pretty good summary of the memo's importance and how it raises the stakes for everyone involved. Also, I'm pretty sure the last shoe has not dropped on revelations from James Comey. Not even close.

  • I suppose it might be a staggering coincidence that the White House invited Russian officials into the Oval Office with only Russian media present, and that 45 dropped some key intel to make himself look important (and SERIOUSLY? You are the President. Of. The. United. States. You don't need to puff yourself up to look important anymore, I promise) on the day after the man leading the investigation into Russian ties with the campaign was fired, but. Well. It doesn't look good. Politico's brilliant take on how Trump supporters are trying to spin this story is both illuminating and a work of trolling genius:
    Others accepted the report but contested the suggestion that Trump’s behavior was problematic. “This is only a scandal in the minds of those who haven’t heard that the Cold War is over,” said white nationalist Richard Spencer, who over the weekend rallied a peaceful, torch-bearing mob in support of the Confederacy at a park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • If you haven't seen it yet, [personal profile] renay's story about trying to get involved with the local Democratic party only to run into roadblocks and uncommunicative people at every turn is frustrating and infuriating. As I said on Twitter, red state and rural progressives are fighting enough battles. Getting the attention of the Democratic infrastructure shouldn't have to be another.

  • There are currently six Democrats in Congress who identify as pro-life and regularly (though not always) vote for anti-choice legislation, three Senators and three Representatives. All of them are white men. This is my surprised face.

  • Meanwhile, voter suppression is back in the news, as The Nation reports on new research into the effects of Wisconsin's voter ID law. I still contend that voting rights is THE issue we need to fix if we're going to straighten things out in the long run. Even with all the balls in the air, we need to keep an eye on this one.
spindizzy: Young Goku holding a candle. (Here comes a candle)
[personal profile] spindizzy
I got a text from our David, my brother, on Saturday telling me he's having a boy and also not to worry about Brexit because he love me, so I phoned him, right? And he is PLASTERED. Like, full-on drunken slurring into the phone because he's so happy that he's having a boy!

David: You're gonna be an auntie!
Me: I'm already an auntie, our David, I have nine nieces.
David: No, I mean a real auntie.

Apparently it only counts if it's a boy and/or his (he alternately remembered and forgot that we have a great-nephew when trying to explain that he's the only male human in our family.), and all of the women in our family are muggles and he and his son are going to be the purebloods. Hm. That... Sure is a thing that my brother said out loud with his mouth. Along with all of the ranting about how happy he is that the baby's penis is visible on the ultrasound.

I mean, it's not that I didn't know he was dating someone (although I didn't, and it's a different person to who he mentioned last time I was down to visit, so this is a relationship that either he's been keeping secret or it's less than five months old, which is...), it's... Hm. I want to be happy for him! I genuinely do! I think he will love this kid! He will probably be fine with this kid! Because he is great with our Chloe (our mutual niece who is wobbling on the rails at the moment; she got high on some TRULY DODGY STUFF not too long ago and he was great at dealing with that.) and he loves all of his family very much. But also... Our David is a racist UKIP/Conservative-voting Brexiteer who used to get done for violent offences and now just gets done for drink driving? And I am really worried about this kid before it's even born?

It's due October 22nd, apparently it's going to be named Anthony after our David's dad1 and he wants me to come to the christening. Okay. This is doable.

(Also: I think this officially means that all of my six older siblings who are physically capable of spawning now have. Bingo?)

1: For those who are just joining us, this row of my family tree is COMPLICATED. My parents both had two daughters and a son from previous marriages when they got together, and then they had me and [twitter.com profile] jilliferium. David is my brother on my mum's side. Also yes, I am the second youngest of eight.

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