(no subject)

May. 29th, 2016 12:28 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
This may be strange, but I love the brutality of a lot of the vids at the WisCon vid party.

Like: it's something I couldn't put up with for more than three and a half minutes, but three and a half minutes is just right.

Like: in the original source the violence may be lazy or gratuitous. A good vid can play up what's glamorous in the violence (and it IS easy to make a gun fight or a knife fight operatic if you're good at editing) and also construct a new narrative structure where the violence is hugely emotionally significant and not a cheap ratings grab.

When I see a vid like that, I often think, oh, that's the kind of book that I want to write, which is strange because I think the books I write tend to be gentle. It's not like you can't have both; I think one of the things I appreciated about Fury Road is that sense of gentle ideals within a brutal world. But I do think that's something I want to try harder to do in my writing, to nudge my characters toward more desperate decisions with more dramatic consequences. Not because gentleness is wrong or boring, but because it means more when there are real, awful choices on the table.

WisCon Schedule + About Me

May. 23rd, 2016 02:35 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I'll be at WisCon this year, arriving Thursday the 26th and leaving incredibly early on Monday the 30th (to get to PyCon). I look basically like my profile photo, with slightly longer hair; you might recognize me as @brainwane from Twitter. My pronouns are she/her. I eat mostly vegetarian but will eat fish/poultry that has at least one hippie buzzword (e.g. "organic", "free-range", etc.).

I'm speaking in three sessions:

  1. Panelist on "The Fandom Awakens" (on Star Wars): Friday, May 27, 2:30-3:45 pm, Assembly.

  2. Comedy auctioneer for the charity auction benefiting the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award: Saturday, May 28, 7:30pm-probably 8:30pm or 9pm, Capitol/Wisconsin room.

  3. Panelist on "SIX SEASON SERIES BASED ON THE THREE-PART TRILOGY BASED ON THE SINGLE BOOK OF THE NOT ANOTHER F*CKING RACE PANEL" (comedy game show focusing on people of color): Sunday, May 29, 4:00-5:15pm, Wisconsin room.



Also, I will probably drop by the Clothing Swap portion of the Gathering on Friday afternoon to find pieces that suit me and to bask in other people wearing my donated stuff; I would like to drop in on the vid party on Saturday night; I would like to drop in on the Hamilton singalong; I have a Dessert Salon ticket and intend on attending the Guest of Honor and Tiptree Award speeches on Sunday evening.

I am easily lured into talking about Hamilton, Zen Cho, Star Trek, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Mahabharata, Hinduism, and other interests in my profile.

Please ask before hugging; sometimes I'd rather not.

I am often bad with names, and will remember 5 minutes into our conversation that we had an awesome deep conversation one year prior. I apologize in advance. Also, I will probably be a little less intensively social this year, because I am trying to actually sleep enough and thus get to PyCon reasonably well-rested, and because client work for my consulting business may come up; I'll probably be trying to sleep every night from about 11pm to 7am, and aiming to take some alone time on top of that. So if you and I have multiple chances to see each other in person at other times of year, I may choose to make time for other people instead; apologies.

The fact that I am, in a sense, succeeding Ellen Klages in serving as the Tiptree auctioneer is quite a responsibility and I hope to discharge it well. So if you came to the Tiptree auction and raucously laughed at my japes I would welcome your chortles.

(no subject)

May. 20th, 2016 10:52 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I would pay someone actual cash money if they could prevent me from ever hearing again "There is obviously not a market for YA with LGBT characters which I know because of statistics and demographics and MAGIC" from people with WAY LESS KNOWLEDGE OF THE YA MARKET THAN I HAVE.

(I am lucky in that actual professional industry people have never been less than supportive of me on this subject. I'm just talking about random people on message boards.)

It is true that swooniness is a definite factor in the popularity of the most popular YA books. I personally don't find the gender of either love interest to be a factor in whether I find a book to be swoony, but probably some people do, OK, cool. If you advance 'demographics and statistics and MAGIC' as a reason why a book with a lesbian relationship isn't going to sell 8 million copies, well, I'll point out that going by demographics and statistics and MAGIC, 'Fifty Shades of Grey' shouldn't have had millions and millions of sales outside the BDSM community -- but I also won't think you're 100% wrong. (Actually my favorite love stories tend to be the ones where I really believe in the emotional arc of the relationship, whether or not I find any character in the book dreamy, which is GOOD, because I am an OLD, and I should not be swooning over any YA book character.) All right. So there's still room for thousands and thousands of books that are not ultra-bestsellers, that you hear of if you're paying attention and maybe don't hear about otherwise. To say 'there is no market' erases all the people who see that not as something carved on a stone tablet, but something that can be changed -- that they are working hard to change by reading, and writing, and talking about books.

Bookstores and publishers and agents and librarians and bloggers have a lot of room to do better, with regard to all the books that fall under the radar. But I don't think that writers can react to the realities of the market with the kind of glib despair that says 'It is what it is, I will only write the kind of books that I assume will sell well.' I'd rather acknowledge that it might be an uphill path at times and say 'Hey, I'm not afraid of walking up a hill.'
[personal profile] mjg59
Github recently introduced the option to squash commits on merge, and even before then several projects requested that contributors squash their commits after review but before merge. This is a terrible idea that makes it more difficult for people to contribute to projects.

I'm spending today working on reworking some code to integrate with a new feature that was just integrated into Kubernetes. The PR in question was absolutely fine, but just before it was merged the entire commit history was squashed down to a single commit at the request of the reviewer. This single commit contains type declarations, the functionality itself, the integration of that functionality into the scheduler, the client code and a large pile of autogenerated code.

I've got some familiarity with Kubernetes, but even then this commit is difficult for me to read. It doesn't tell a story. I can't see its growth. Looking at a single hunk of this diff doesn't tell me whether it's infrastructural or part of the integration. Given time I can (and have) figured it out, but it's an unnecessary waste of effort that could have gone towards something else. For someone who's less used to working on large projects, it'd be even worse. I'm paid to deal with this. For someone who isn't, the probability that they'll give up and do something else entirely is even greater.

I don't want to pick on Kubernetes here - the fact that this Github feature exists makes it clear that a lot of people feel that this kind of merge is a good idea. And there are certainly cases where squashing commits makes sense. Commits that add broken code and which are immediately followed by a series of "Make this work" commits also impair readability and distract from the narrative that your RCS history should present, and Github present this feature as a way to get rid of them. But that ends up being a false dichotomy. A history that looks like "Commit", "Revert Commit", "Revert Revert Commit", "Fix broken revert", "Revert fix broken revert" is a bad history, as is a history that looks like "Add 20,000 line feature A", "Add 20,000 line feature B".

When you're crafting commits for merge, think about your commit history as a textbook. Start with the building blocks of your feature and make them one commit. Build your functionality on top of them in another. Tie that functionality into the core project and make another commit. Add client support. Add docs. Include your tests. Allow someone to follow the growth of your feature over time, with each commit being a chapter of that story. And never, ever, put autogenerated code in the same commit as an actual functional change.

People can't contribute to your project unless they can understand your code. Writing clear, well commented code is a big part of that. But so is showing the evolution of your features in an understandable way. Make sure your RCS history shows that, otherwise people will go and find another project that doesn't make them feel frustrated.

(Edit to add: Sarah Sharp wrote on the same topic a couple of years ago)
erika: Woman gracefully playing cello. (music: cello)
[personal profile] erika
Found a bunch of stuff I wrote about old boyfriends from 10 and five years ago. Disturbing similarities to things I've written about current partners. Maybe I only date people whose laughs I like, or I have a consistent writing style, or it feels the same because I recognize it as my own writing. Maybe I should let it go. Probably that's it. Still find the resemblance creepy, especially when I feel like I'm in good relationships with happy boundaries now, and definitely wasn't then.

Having trouble trusting my own judgment. Big surprise, right. Yet convinced I'm meant to be in California, and proud of that.

Little victories. Recognizing the dialectic and tension between old and new. Breathe in, breathe out, observe. It's a good day when I find that space between the breath, where I am.

The walled-off library

May. 17th, 2016 01:03 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
Some time ago on Facebook there was a discussion about whether teen nonfiction materials should be put into their own section to protect teens from potential predators. And I'm like - lots of these kids are going to be in COLLEGE in a couple of years. Reading adult-level nonfiction (if not Baudrillard and Foucault-level nonfiction!) is part of the skill set they're going to need. Interacting with adults is part of the skillset they're going to need. There isn't enough teen nonfiction to provide a decent-sized collection for browsing and research at most public libraries, anyway, unless you have millions of dollars to just duplicate the adult collection.

And then another discussion came up about teen-only areas in libraries. And, you know, I think it's a nice idea to have a place for teens to hang out with comfortable chairs, that doesn't immediately get taken over by 10-year-olds, or by adults running small businesses out of the library. (But let adults BROWSE THE COLLECTION, please, even if they're not allowed to sit down!) However - it does bother me when this is positioned as a measure to protect teens from sexual predators. Safety is something you achieve through good sight lines and adequate staffing, not by imagining that everyone 17 and under is a potential victim and everyone 18 and over is a potential criminal.

I think that when we talk about 'helicopter parenting,' one of the things we're really talking about is the kind of suburbanization that makes it impossible for a child to go to a friend's house or the movies or the convenience store without begging an adult for a ride; it makes independence harder. I think that as a librarian, it's really important to protect teens, but it's also important to foster their independence, their curiosity -- their young adulthood, really.

Fundraising for Code2040: recap

May. 16th, 2016 11:52 am
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
As per this post from me a month ago, I said that I would donate $5 for each harassing tweet I received as part of the SJWList harassment campaign. I received 5 such tweets and have donated $25 to http://www.code2040.org/. The combined impact of this donation will be $125: $25 from me, $25 each from [twitter.com profile] bcjbcjbcj and [twitter.com profile] cbeckpdx, $25 from an anonymous donor, and a $25 match from my employer.

A few harassing tweets can go a long way! (Not meant as encouragement to harass people :)
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