It's challenge time!
Comment with Just One Thing that you've accomplished in the past 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.
Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling accomplished!
Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!
Nothing is too big, too small, too strange, or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.
Born on this day in 1624 to Duke George of Brunswick-Luneburg and Anne of Hess Darmstadt, Duke George of Brunswick-Luneburg(my toy,wikipedia). Father of Sophia of Celle, who married George I. I think that Brunswick-Luneburg was part of the Holy Roman Empire... which was around for a long time (I may have said that already).
There are three problems, though. The first is that...my pain in the butt is back. And I have no idea what to do. It's not as bad as it was originally - it doesn't radiate down the leg, and I can still run, and actually, the pain goes away after about five minutes - but it hurts all the time. In fact, it hurts more when I'm not running! I've been doing some stretching and strengthening exercises, but I'm reluctant to go back to PT when it didn't do me any good before.
Second, I am soooo slooow. I'm running by heart rate, keeping my HR in the 'easy' range, and my pace is 1-2 minutes per mile slower than it used to be. I am so out of shape! It should improve as I run more, but it's just depressing.
Third, I am soooo fat. I gained ten pounds since October, and that's a lot for me. I don't fit in any of my clothes and I feel terrible. Almost terrible enough to diet. It's just so hard for me to restrict my eating. I'm eating a little less, but I haven't e.g. given up drinking wine, and I probably should, but - I hate dieting. HATE. So I rely on my eating a generally good diet and running to keep the weight off. I'm hoping that when I get back to my usual running volume all this fat will go away, because I really don't want to go on a diet!
Anyway, I feel like I am clawing my way up out of the pit. I can see the sunlight, but man, it's so far away.
- loose-leaf assam tea
- corduroy trousers for what is probably going to be a cold windy day for the eight minutes I am outside
- insurance check reimbursing me for therapy expenses
- I have to use up 10 vacation days by June 30 oh noez who wants to lobby for me to visit them?
- Amy Macdonald's song "Let's Start a Band", from "This Is The Life," which I am in love with
I’m on a blog tour to support the release of The Tower and the Tears, which has a bisexual hero and the idea for which came about while I was writing Harry Potter fanfic for fun. Two of the guest blogs I did on those topics have gone bananapants viral!
First, over at the Lambda Literary Review I wrote about the trope of “Bisexuality in Science Fiction” literature.
I wrote: “As a young bisexual growing up in the 1980s, when I thought I was possibly the only one of my species, I was drawn to science fiction because while I didn’t see space for myself to exist in contemporary stories, I could imagine a world that included people like me only by imagining other worlds. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way: many writers also used the expansive canvas of worldbuilding and futurism that science fiction afforded them to explore sexuality “outside the box,” and bisexuality in particular is a trope that has been explored variously in every era of the genre.”
I talk about how “Science fiction literature of the 1970s used bisexuality as a signifier of outsider/other, alien, or futuristic status” but how more recently, as the literature moved toward more representation of actual people and not “tropes” in the late 90s, bisexual characters in sf/f began to suffer the same invisibility that bisexual people do in real life.
The article got a big shoutout on i09 and you can read the original article on the Lambda Literary website: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/0
Second, I wrote about “Why Fanfic Matters to Pros” for the OTW website.
International Fanworks Day is coming up, and as the OTW gears up for that, my post tackles the subject of why fanfic and fanworks are good for professional writers.
“We pro writers can be a very insecure lot, and with good reason: our world is uncertain, and our lives and livelihoods often depend on the whims of both large corporations and the faceless masses. Just because the corporations are cozying up to fans now (and looking to utilize and even monetize fan culture) doesn’t mean that the landscape got any smoother or more reassuring for us. For some, I’m sure the spectre of fan fiction is even more ghoulish than it was before. For those who were convinced fanfic was a form of theft, the money being earned by EL James and Anna Todd must seem like proof!”
“[Some pro authors believe] fanfiction hurts writers because it takes away attention from the writer’s original work and gives it to fan writers instead. This last point is truly an emotional one, but if looked at with rational eyes is revealed to be patently backwards. There is no more loving and in-depth attention given to a writer’s work than that paid by fanfic writers and readers.”
The OTW also shared a snippet from the essay on their Tumblr and it has been reblogged many times:
“Pro writers: this isn’t a zero sum game. Every minute a reader’s eyeballs are on fanfic does not mean a minute is subtracted from the attention the original work receives. We don’t get paid per eyeball or per minute anyway: there is no Nielsen rating for books. If anything we get “paid” these days for the size of our audience (author “platform”) and the passion of reader engagement, both of which are GROWN via the vehicle of fanfic. Fans are good for a career. Fans are good for a writer to have. Fans are not merely a passive sea of consumers: fans are evangelists, recruiters, and cheerleaders. Given that, why wouldn’t a professional writer want to do everything possible to support fans and fandom?”
Meanwhile, I was interviewed on two blogs as part of the tour, by fellow authors who will be presenting at BDSM Writers Con in August. Gray Dixon and Silk Jones both write kinky romance and interviewed me about the subject:
Gray asked “What kind of research do you do for your books?”
Cecilia Tan: My entire life ends up being inadvertent research. Since I’ve been in the BDSM lifestyle for over 20 years if I happen to want to include a kink in a book or story I can usually find someone who can tell me about it. The details from life that make it into books aren’t necessarily what you can read in how-to books: the way my socks feel as my lover pulls them off my feet, shower sex can make me lightheaded, the way lube tastes when you accidentally get it in your mouth… I end up researching mundane things like floor plans for the buildings where scenes are set, the time of sunrise, and weather.
Read the whole interview on Gray Dixon’s blog here: http://graydixon.blogspot.com/2015/01/fl
Silk asked “Do your nearest and dearest know what you do, and if so, what was their reaction when they found out?”
Cecilia Tan: “Found out” makes it sound like my erotic writing was ever a secret. It was never a secret. I’ve been a professional erotica writer pretty much my entire adult life. My first professionally published story over 20 years ago was a self-bondage story called “A True Story,” which it was. My mother was little worried about bondage and the master/slave roleplaying at first. Her take was that she couldn’t figure out how she had raised me to be a freedom fighter for civil rights and yet I could eroticize slavery. Once I explained that BDSM is about consent and a personal imaginative connection between two people, and nothing about the subjugation of one race by another, she was fine with it. She reads all my books!
Read the whole interview on Silk’s blog here: http://silkjones.com/interview-cecilia-t
Still to come, an interview on Paige Matthews’ blog and an essay on bisexual characters and identification that will be posted as part of the Queers Destroy Science Fiction! campaign on Kickstarter!
I also did an online video chat, which you can now watch:
Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.
Fandom: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Characters/Pairings: Homura/Madoka, ensemble
Disclaimer: MadoMagi characters and plot aren't mine.
Homura is red/green colorblind. Snapshots of how she sees the world.
(Simulated protanopia image generated with Coblis.)
( When Homura wakes in the hospital and opens her hand to find a Soul Gem, the jewel is a dark blue so dull it's almost grey. )
I was enjoying the hell out of this, and when I woke up, it was with an annoyed sense of Hey, I was watching that!
Danger 5 doesn't really do parody, as we know it. It also doesn't really do pastiche. I'm not sure I have the word for what they do, because it sits in the same territory as those things, but it isn't those things. Surrealist pastiche, maybe? There's a thing they accomplish on a consistent basis, which is to make you think they're heading for a trope, and then they subvert the trope not by subverting the trope but by doing something so out of left field that it's not even in the same ballpark as the trope.
In general, my love for this season is not quite as unabashed as my love for Season 1. I mean, obviously there are problems with Season 1 aside from the intentional problems, but the writing is so sharp that my tendency is to overlook them. Season 2 has been clunkier. Outside of the simple episodic formula that drove Season 1, there have been fumbles to reestablish characters and storytelling devices. I think they're also running into the limits of using so many one-note characters. The characters have felt out of character, compared to their static Season 1 versions, and the tactic of subjecting them to new pressures has not really had results that were either emotional resonant or even very funny. Their fridging of Claire in the first episode was frustrating on feminist grounds and has not been used effectively since.
On the other hand, I've enjoyed every episode more than the previous one, and episode four was the one that most had the feel of a season 1 episode: the strange geopolitics of the Vatican, the goofy fast food, the matrioshka doll phone, the Pope marionette, and ultimately Hitler's macabre Dantean descent. McKenzie felt most integrated into the team and Pierre, Tucker, Jackson and even to some extent Ilsa had actual emotional arcs. There were more quotable lines.
So I'm holding out hope for a clean finish to the season. It's even possible that some of the bad parts have been deliberate, since the show's using more continuity than it did in season 1 and there may be payoff to delayed jokes. We'll see, I guess.
I think I am in a probably relatively justifiable slump period following last year and the endless treadmill of papers to write and give, articles/chapters to write/revise, trains and boats and planes, etc.
Unfortunately I am giving a paper in a fortnight's time and it's a new paper.
Well, when I say it's a new paper, it's I think going to turn out to be a remix of stuff I've already talked about with a different theoretical angle and with a few bits and bobs from the research files that I haven't used before.
(Yes, I have been having my arm twisted to give a paper to this particular seminar series for over 2 years...)
But, whatever, I am finding it really difficult to motivate myself to sit down and do the necessary cutting and pasting, editing, rewriting, etc.
If I were Ororo Munroe, I would have a moral dilemma. But I'm not.
(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)
I feel like I should do “something special” this week to mark V beginning school a week from today. But on the other hand, there’s three weeks and six days between Christmas and his birthday, and that 27 days also contains New Years and his sister’s birthday. I think the turning of the year is going to be quite adequately marked in our household for the foreseeable future without adding in any ritual to welcome the school year.
This week: vacation care is over, so he has a babysitter Tuesday to Friday. A babysitter for whom we need to find four days of rainy day activities. On Friday we go up to the school for his hour long ‘Best Start’ assessment with his kindergarten teacher. I also need to buy his uniform at some point during the week. I might try on Wednesday, so as to have two days to fail to do it before I really need to do it. His birthday party is on Saturday, and my invite spreadsheet helpfully informs me that eleven of V’s very best friends in the world are coming, accompanied by two babies and around fourteen adults. We cunningly timed it to be at 10am so that we aren’t offering lunch to 25 people, but on the minus side, it looks like it may be raining so we need a plan for that. And really, I think that’s enough for the week.
Emotionally, I mostly feel bad about his entering a not entirely pleasant institution for a thirteen year sentence; something of a silly feeling for a long-term daycare kid like him.
He’s just spent two weeks in the school’s vacation care program, which he liked a lot. School of course involves way less ice skating and excursions to fun playgrounds, but vacation care has given him a head start on getting to know some of the older children in the school, so that will carry into the school year proper, to go with the eight part-time weeks he’s already spent in their kindergarten transition program with his age-mates. (His age-mates will dominate the school: they will have three kindergarten classes when some grades in the school are too small to form even one class. Very bottom-heavy.) So I’m not even sending him off to an alien place with innumerable new and mysterious rules. It’s all quite humane. Even so.
It doesn’t help that I worked out last night that he finishes school in 2027, and A will finish school in 2031, the year I turn fifty. 2031. Fifty. Here goes.
I have a practicum placement at the school where I worked a couple years ago--I'm running a group that's part therapy, part psycho-ed. I also have a supervisor in the form of a psychologist who used to work at the school and now does supervision to some of the school's intern counsellors. I didn't get a job there; they decided to hire somebody who was likely to stay in the position for several years, since stability is important in that kind of environment.
My supervisor and I chatted a bit about my career in general. Once my degree is conferred, I can register in Alberta as a Provisional Psychologist; I then have to work 1600 hours under the supervision of a more senior psychologist (takes about a year working full-time) before I take the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (pronounced "E-triple-P") and become a Registered Psychologist.
So what I'm freaking out about is what to do right now. I think I could be finished my degree totally by June, so... getting any kind of job with the intention of quitting in six months doesn't feel good. It's bad enough when it's just punching a cash register, but anything human-services and high turnover can be a downright hazard. So do I just live on my EI pittance, or...?
The perfect thing would be to find a psychologist who will hire me right now as a psychologist's assistant, then bump me up to provisional status in June (with attendant rise in pay and independence of work) and then, after a year of supervision, keep me on as an associate. That's kind of the scary option--the thought, "I could, right now, just start my career." It's like stepping off a cliff.
Anyway, questions of Now Right Now aside, my supervisor's told me that there is "some difficulty" getting placements as a Provisional, so it takes a bit of extra effort. In Alberta, that difficulty means "more than two weeks", so the 1-2 months she cited sounds totally normal to my BC-acclimated brain, so I don't need to start looking right away, but I feel uneasy just sitting around. She also said that one of the best ways to meet and network with people was to go to local training events (which I have found too). So I'll see if I can get in to a DSM-V seminar a week from now, which is being run by a clinic that looks like it might be a good fit for me. Most of the jobs I've really liked have come because I got some kind of recommendation or referral from somebody, instead of sending my resume to a person sight unseen.
But I'm not sure it'll be worth it, especially since that kind of training is expensive. (I'm doing that one in particular because I promised myself I'd get up to speed on the new DSM this spring.)
I am excited to move house next weekend. I have grand plans for what to do once I can put up shelves and bookcases and unpack all my stuff, and it'll be nice to move out of this apartment, with its grody leaking faucets and upstairs neighbours who have loud sex every night. Then I can change my mailing address everywhere and let my mail catch up with me.
My eyelids are getting heavy. Sleep, I hope.