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Birthday Wishes and Conventions [Jul. 17th, 2013|03:27 pm]
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[Current Mood |excitedexcited]
[Current Music |Nate singing on my voicemail]

It's my birthday, so I'm going to ramble a bit. Please indulge me. ;)

To a large extent, I have already gotten what I wanted for my birthday. Readercon 24, the science fiction convention I chaired this past weekend, went really well. We had excellent attendance, fantastic conversations, and lots of people had a really great time. While there were some bumps along the way, nothing seems to have gone horribly awry (knock on wood). I believe we didn't kill Readercon over the past year. In fact, we came within twenty attendees of hitting our membership cap. I've been asked to chair Readercon again next year. Third time's the charm? ;)

My friends are, many of you, fans of science fiction. Are you yet a member (either supporting or attending) of LoneStarCon3 (this year's World Science Fiction Convention)? Are you in the process of voting on the Hugo ballot, and perhaps pondering whether you want to become an Advance Supporting Member of the 2015 Worldcon (aka, vote on site selection for 2015)?

You may have noticed that I've visited Helsinki twice so far this year. I'll be going to Finland (and Sweden) again in October to attend Swecon. (And many thanks to the love and generosity of my family and my colleagues at Luminoso for letting me run around like this!) The reason for my visiting Helsinki so much is that I'm heavily involved in the bid to bring Worldcon to Helsinki in 2015. So much so, in fact, that if Helsinki wins, I've been asked to co-chair the Worldcon that would result.

This is something I am incredibly excited about. It's a fascinating challenge, and I want to take it on.

To do that, though, Helsinki needs to win the vote on site selection. This year's race is tight, between Helsinki, Spokane, and Orlando. The votes have already started to roll in!

If you are reading this and a member of Worldcon this year, please vote on your Hugo ballots. Voting is good for you! Please further consider paying the extra $40 fee to vote on site selection. The Helsinki team (including me) would appreciate your consideration for site selection, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have about the bid and our plans.

If you're not already a member of Worldcon this year, but want to vote for us, the basic steps you can follow are:

1. Get a membership for this year's Worldcon (either supporting membership or attending). (This gives you ebooks of the Hugo-nominated literature and allows you to vote on the Hugo awards, so long as you do so by the end of the month!)

2. Pay the $40 USD site selection voting fee.

3. Print out the voting ballot. Fill it in, and seal it as instructed.

4. You can mail it yourself, or contact info@helsinkiin2015.org and we can make sure your ballot is delivered at Worldcon this year!

For more details on voting, you can also look at Helsinki's Page of Site Selection Explanation.

Any questions? :)
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Convention-Running Notes [Jun. 29th, 2013|02:45 am]
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This past year has seen significant discourse on addressing sexual harassment in fandom.

Friends will remember that I chaired Arisia in 2011, and worked with the executive board to ban a man who harassed several individuals (not just women) -- banned first from staff, then the 2011 convention, and then from 2012. This past week, I forwarded my post-con 2011 report to the division head currently tasked with making Arisia 2014 safe, at her request.

I chaired Readercon last July, and we were at the epicenter of a harassment firestorm. After said storm, Readercon staff (particularly rosefox and my beloved omnia_mutantur) put extensive effort into creating a clear new Code of Conduct, Policies, and Procedures for addressing reports of harassment and problematic behavior. It is my fervent hope and belief that we are making vast improvements, although I know it's unlikely we've gotten it perfect right out of the gate.

I care about fandom. I care passionately about conventions. I used to average more than one per month. I have traveled internationally to meet strangers and talk about science fiction (Montreal, Melbourne, London, Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Aland, so far!).

I am working actively on making a better future in fandom, on multiple fronts, as much as I can. I'm even contributing significantly to the Helsinki Worldcon Bid (here, have a reminder to show us your support!), which is another facet of conversing about the future.

Fandom has a long way to go. But as Elise Matthesen is demonstrating, with help from Jim Hines and Seanan McGuire, amongst others, fandom is definitely *having* this conversation now. Which is fantastic.

We have and will will make mistakes. I have certainly made more than my share. (Not for nothing, but we all agree now that a zero tolerance policy discourages some reports, potentially making a less safe environment. To my grave, I will wish I'd paid more attention to our policy prior to Readercon 23.)

Hopefully we will continue to learn.
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RIP Grampa [May. 5th, 2013|12:25 am]
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Of all the journal entries I have been writing in my head recently, this wasn't one.

My Grampa spent this past week in the ICU with a systemic infection and sepsis. He passed away tonight, never having regained consciousness. I got to spend time with him this afternoon, alongside hakamadare, eldrad, as well as my Mom, step-grandmother Pat, and aunt Sandy. I didn't get to say good-bye, per se -- I thought I would get to do that after dinner, or perhaps tomorrow night. But I did see him, and his passing is definitely better than his staying would have been.

My favorite photo of Grampa is the one that comes up when he calls my cell -- he's wearing a bright red crab-shaped hat, and is menacing the camera with his fingers outstretched, grinning maniacally.

It was very rare to see him do anything other than smile.

He used to read aloud to me from Peanuts comic strips when I was a kid. He would do the voices. His voice for Lucy was particularly hilarious.

He went from being a staunch Republican (voted for Bushes!) to a staunch Obama supporter.

He was married to my Gram until her death in 1999(ish?), and he remarried in 2002(ish?) to a spitfire woman named Pat.

Grampa believed strongly in family loyalty. He did his utmost to provide for 5 kids, 15 grandkids, and 4 (I think) great-grandkids.

He continually told me, growing up, that he would live to be 100. He actually lived to be 90.5. The last time he went to the gym (3x/week!) was about a week ago.

Grampa was an engineer who tinkered. He loved fixing things. He loved jokes.

And now he's gone.

There are many hardest parts, but one such was convincing Pat to take her meds tonight before sleeping. Oh, my heart.
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3 Days for the Brattle [Feb. 24th, 2013|11:14 pm]
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The Brattle Theatre desperately needs money. They've set up a kickstarter campaign. They need another $8k, in the next 3 days, or they lose the $132k pledged.

PLEASE HELP.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brattle/brattle-theatre-digital-projection-and-hvac-renova
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Public Statement from the Readercon Convention Committee [Aug. 5th, 2012|01:26 pm]
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]

Please read the Readercon convention committee's statement on recent events: http://readercon.org/publicstatement.htm
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Readercon Board Resignations [Aug. 3rd, 2012|07:10 pm]
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[Current Location |work]
[Current Mood |pensivepensive]

The entire Readercon board has now either resigned or announced intention to resign at the next meeting.
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Re Timeline of Readercon Response (thus far) [Aug. 2nd, 2012|06:39 pm]
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]

Seventeen days have gone by since the board was notified of Ms. Valentine's complaint.

Seven have passed since the board had their emergency meeting and gave a decision.

Five days ago, Rose Fox called for a vote of the concom to overrule the board of directors' decision.

I have personally been on this for not quite four days. Aside from everything else, my highest accomplishment thus far may have been to suss out why Ms. Kligman didn't receive a response from the board before now, apologize profusely to her, and address her directly on the phone last night. (As has been discussed elsewhere, the board didn't receive her email, and we didn't realize it until someone else wrote in referring to her complaint.) Ms. Kligman told me that she understood, accepted my apology, and said that "we're cool." I hope that does reflect her feelings about it, but she also has the right to let me know that more discussion is needed or wanted by her in the future, and I will do my best to be available to her again if that is the case.

It is a very important conversation (or cluster of conversations) that we are having here, about safe space and personal responsibility for behavior and harassment and gender and standards, among other things. I am very grateful we are discussing these things, and I would not wish it to go away. I think the community and the larger culture needs to be talking more about this, painful and difficult though it may be. I WOULD wish that it didn't involve personally attacking any of the individuals involved, because none of them deserve to be treated poorly. Ms. Valentine and Ms. Kligman don't deserve to be treated poorly. The members of the Readercon board don't deserve to be treated poorly. I'd like to think I don't deserve to be treated poorly. No one here deserves to be treated without respect, in my opinion.

I do not feel that we are taking this lightly, or that we are acting slowly, particularly as we are a committee. I am sorry that others do.
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Readercon "edited to add" Note [Aug. 1st, 2012|11:22 am]
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[Current Mood |coldcold]

Edited to add: Due to trying to make progress on addressing this situation, as well as coming back to my normally-60-hours-a-week job after camping vacation, I do not have nearly the time I'd like to respond to comments. They will all be read, and I will do my best to participate in this discussion, too, but I want to explain why I'm less available than I wish I could be.
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Readercon Update, Safe Spaces, and Personal Experiences [Jul. 31st, 2012|06:00 pm]
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[Current Mood |exhaustedexhausted]
[Current Music |Greg Greenway]

I have not, recently, made many posts in my LJ, and some of this post involves information that I have never publicly shared before. So this is a challenging step for me, but it might be needed, and I want to do what is needed, if possible, if I can.

Readercon has been at the epicenter of a discussion about harassment and safe space in fandom, this past week. As the chair of this past Readercon, I can't be unbiased. I can't speak for Readercon as a whole, but I do have thoughts I would like to share publicly at this time (now that I'm back from my annual camping trip, which unfortunately coincided with a lot of the discussion I now feel the need to respond to).

I value safe spaces, and I am confident that this is a priority for Readercon people, as well. Many Readercon staffers are the same people who've been deeply involved supporters of the Backup Project. We recognize that the board's decision with regard to Ms. Valentine's complaint of harassment was made in haste, as was the original policy with regard to harassment at Readercon. In order to not compound errors further, we as the Readercon convention committee will be reexamining both with lots of thought and care.

That will, unfortunately, take time. We apologize for that, and for those who want a final decision sooner, but we are not able to do this both well and quickly. The makeup of the Readercon board is in transition, which does not in any way speed this process up.

Please have patience with us while we sort through this.

In the meantime, if it is possible, please try to add positively to this discussion. Think about ways that we can all support women PEOPLE coming forward with their concerns, in this community and the wider community. Be cognizant that the people trying to make Readercon happen were overworked and unpaid volunteers *before* these events, and are now even more overloaded with even fewer resources to spare.

Above all, please try to treat each other with respect and dignity. The amount of email I personally have received about this is astounding. The high percentage of emails that are pointedly hurtful and fall into name-calling is quite depressing. The calls to action have been furious and had no response from me before now (and many unfortunately will have to continue to wait for responses) because I was actually unable to respond before now. Not that most people realized this, but I was on a camping trip, away from internet and cell service for most of the past week.

I was not involved in the Readercon board's decision concerning this matter, but I did chair this past Readercon and was asked to chair the next one. I am personally invested, as a survivor of harassment, abuse, and rape, in having Readercon be a safe space. Please do not think I am impartial or uninvolved in the large-scope discussion we are having. Please allow us to take the time to have it.

Edited to add: Due to trying to make progress on addressing this situation, as well as coming back to my normally-60-hours-a-week job after camping vacation, I do not have nearly the time I'd like to respond to comments. They will all be read, and I will do my best to participate in this discussion, too, but I want to explain why I'm less available than I wish I could be.
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Privilege Link [Jul. 4th, 2012|06:51 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

This discussion of privilege made me think.

Also, it took me entirely too long to get to reading it.
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Online Readercon Registration ENDS TOMORROW! [Jun. 14th, 2012|07:50 pm]
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

Hurry! www.readercon.org! It'll be awesome! :)
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Shavuot is for Cheesecake! [May. 27th, 2012|08:15 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

hakamadare made blintzes for breakfast, and last night's homemade cheesecake (Steve's first!) was set for this afternoon's snack. It was amazingly tasty, particularly with my homemade applesauce from last fall.

This isn't the way I'd planned to celebrate Shavuot, but it is pretty damn nice, all the same. :)
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Wow. [Dec. 23rd, 2011|09:03 pm]
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

It turns out, my life is often just damn amazing. :)
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Meh! [Dec. 22nd, 2011|07:32 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |awakeawake]

In trying to fix the LJ settings, I realized that my old customized mood icons no longer function, and also somehow I managed to b0rk my custom default view. I reset to the new S2 or whatever, and now my beautiful wide-view journal looks like a thin column in the middle of blank blue space. Meh!

Does anyone know how to use my old Firefly mood icons (have they disappeared? the images won't load!)? And please feel free to suggest a view style that doesn't suck. :P I may not write in my LJ nearly so often, but I try to read it several times a week. Particularly when home sick. :P
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Help, Library Geeks! [Nov. 26th, 2011|05:14 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |awakeawake]
[Current Music |Catie Curtis, "Happy"]

O my friends, many of whom are library geeks, I need advice. We have many YA books to add to the librarything.com account. Do we file them in the overstuffed Kid Lit section of the library (in our guest room), or do we file them in the Adult Fiction section of the library? The shelves in the guest room have very little room (I'm actually pondering a cull, for the first time in a while). But the shelves in the entertainment room aren't much better, once the current set of books gets shelved. And when being visited by a 12-14 year old, will he or she want to curl up in the hammock in the Kid Lit section, knowing Nancy Drew, Winnie the Pooh, and board books are all in the same room?

Hm. There's simply no way we can fit all the Nancy Drew books anywhere else.

Okay, then, here's the real question: Do Nancy Drew, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, and Madeleine L'Engle belong together? Is it okay to put them in the Kid Lit section, alongside Winnie the Pooh and board books?

These are the things my household ponders. ;)
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OMG, the Tasty Food! [Nov. 24th, 2011|11:34 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]
[Current Music |Peter Bradley Adams]

I may or may not have worried that we'd run out of food. ;)

The obligatory food orgy is behind the cut!Collapse )
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Carousel Horse Race [Jun. 27th, 2011|11:09 am]
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[Current Mood |amusedamused]

When you need a laugh, Improv Everywhere is there to cheer you up. With silliness. It's awesome.
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Bean Crack Recipe [Jun. 22nd, 2011|11:50 pm]
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[Current Mood |happyhappy]

Because someone asked for it recently, I reproduce for posterity. This isn't a recipe we made up ourselves, but something we've experimented with from Myla's kitchen for a year or more, at this point. It's always ended up coming out crack-alicious. :)

Take 5 big cans of butter beans. Drain the extra liquid out.
In a big fry pan, fry up something tasty like: a couple of onions (chopped), sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, tasty sliced carrots ... use your imagination.
Always use a bit of sesame oil in the mix, and preferably a bit of butter, but mostly olive oil for the fat of choice (because it makes the beans stick less to the pan, later).
Let saute or simmer in the pan for a bit.
When the above options are mostly thoroughly cooked, add a spicing theme. Ones we've tried with success are: zatar spices (with sesame seeds), Chinese five spice, Italian herb blend, cinnamon/cumin/clove, curry, shallot salt ... We usually go for savory rather than sweet on this recipe, but butter beans are awesome no matter what you do to them.
After mixing in the spices, add the butter beans and mix everything again. Add water or veg broth if more liquid is needed. Don't let the beans utterly dry out.
The beans don't actually need to cook all that long, they just need to warm up, basically. Somewhere between five and twenty minutes, or after the liquid has mostly cooked off, you should be good to go.
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Actual Conversation # 5890024: Green Lantern Ring [Jun. 17th, 2011|10:52 pm]
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[Current Mood |amusedamused]

Me: "This movie made me very conscious of forgetting my wedding ring after my client. When we get home, remind me to put it back on?"
eldrad: "Does it go BAMF?"
hakamadare: ...
Me: "Well, it doesn't go pew-pew-pew!"
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Deadline by Mira Grant [Jun. 10th, 2011|05:45 pm]
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[Current Mood |enthralledenthralled]

As I've said before, I'm not a blood-and-guts kind of girl. I'm a bit squeamish. Sin City was too intense and graphic a movie for me, despite being cartoonish.

And Mira Grant (pseudonym of seanan_mcguire) is writing one of my favorite series ever. About zombies, and life after the end of the world. I swear, this is the last thing I expected to happen when I cracked open that first book spine.

If Feed, the first title in this trilogy, was a first date, it was a roller coaster of action, adventure, tears, laughter, cynicism, and one heck of what I originally thought would be a one-night stand.

Deadline was preordered as soon as said one-night stand had concluded, because I was hungry -- no, desperate -- for more. It took forever to appear on my doorstep, but once the second book was in my hot little hands, I was swamped in the world of fights for one's life, the truth, and more zombies (and real character deaths) than I could safely count. This second date ravished me, and had me swooning to the music. I may have had an orgasm from some character developments. Just saying.

Feed is deservedly up for a Hugo this year. Deadline is no less worthy. I am scared about how much Blackout, once it's published, will rock my little world.

You should all read Mira Grant. This is the sort of infection we should spread.
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Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing [Apr. 25th, 2011|12:41 am]
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[Current Mood |enthralledenthralled]

It is SO cute!

Movie available here.
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Actual Conversation #5890020: There's a reason why we drink strawberry smoothies ... [Apr. 9th, 2011|09:31 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]
[Current Music |Brooke Brown Saracino]

hakamadare: In this household, we play BOTH kinds of music -- folk, and singer-songwriter!
(The room collapses in giggles.)
(Guest chokes on strawberry smoothie.)
hakamadare: Awesome! I get to tell a funny joke, AND I get to resuscitate someone!
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Actual Conversation #5889999: Welcome to the Future! [Mar. 29th, 2011|09:56 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

hakamadare: Shall I show you the ways of the ancients?
devoken: Oh, yes, please!
hakamadare: We are going to make couscous using ... worm hole technology!
devoken: (gasp!)
hakamadare: Scorpius can't take it from my brain!


rednikki, I thought of you in particular at that last bit. ;)
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The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder [Mar. 18th, 2011|10:39 pm]
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[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]

My review for this book was always going to start with "I read this book so that you don't have to."

Unfortunately, it's taken me two weeks of trying to admit that it's worse than that. I couldn't finish reading this book.

You would think that a steampunky alternate reality book about Sir Richard Francis Burton (who, among other things, published a famous translation of the Kama Sutra during the Victorian era, after which he was knighted by Queen Victoria!) ... you would think that such a book would be, in a word, AWESOME.

It is not. The writing simply fails.

This is the third paragraph of the book:

From where she stood on the threshold of the "robing room," hidden by its partially closed door, Isabel Arundell could see that her lover's normally dark and intense eyes were wide with shock, filled with a sudden vulnerability. His mouth moved spasmodically, as if he were struggling to chew and swallow something indigestible. She longed to rush to his side to comfort him and to ask what tidings had wounded him; to snatch up that note and read it; to find out who had killed himself; but such a display would be unseemly in front of the small gathering, not to mention embarrassing for Richard. He, among all men, stood on his own two feet, no matter how dire the situation. Isabel alone was aware of his sensitivity; and she would never cause it to be exposed to others.

Okay, so the initial narrator (who, by the way, never narrates again, at least as far as I read) describes Burton as someone who suffers in silence, despite having obvious signs from across the room that he's in distress (and she can somehow see his eyes fill with vulnerability from across said room... which surely means his pals can see it, too?). The author then spends the next several pages describing how publicly Burton displays his distress. My trust in the narrative of the story or the authenticity of the characters never recovered, although I read the next 66 pages.

I don't remember who recommended this book to me as something that might be Hugo nomination worthy, but I hope I didn't get any further recommendations from that person.
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Feed by Mira Grant [Mar. 13th, 2011|01:20 pm]
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[Current Mood |satisfiedsatisfied]

I was somewhat dubious when I heard that Seanan McGuire, newly-minted winner of the Campbell Award this summer (aka seanan_mcguire), was also publishing a series of books under a different pseudonym. Whyonearthwouldyoudothat? I asked. But it turns out she put a lot of thought into the answer, and she wrote a handy LJ post about it, so if you're curious to read more than the pico-answer, go over to her longer explanation. The most salient point, for me, is genre separation, and the fact that Feed has, as the author herself acknowledges, "a high body count." I agree with her that the audience for Mira Grant books has overlap with the audience for Seanan McGuire books, but they're not entirely the same. Yay, Venn diagrams!

Those of you who have ever watched a movie with me know the term "Crystal-friendly Movie." It means a movie that won't have lots of graphic violence, basically. I walked out on Sin City in the theatre, and nearly broke up with hakamadare over his choice of movie that night. So you might be particularly confused when I say that this novel, a dystopian future in which lots of people die, graphically, on camera was one that I loved. It made me weep. It wrenched my heart. But I loved it. It was well written. It was poignant and powerful. It made me think. I want to buy lots of copies and give them to my friends.

It's the first book on my list of Hugo nomination submissions. You should all go read it, whether or not you're already a fan of seanan_mcguire. Particularly if you're a fan of zombies, but I'm not at all a zombie person, and I absolutely loved this book. Even when it broke my heart.

moominmolly and her crowd, this is so written just for you!
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Interpreting Gaga [Mar. 4th, 2011|04:12 pm]
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[Current Mood |amusedamused]

Have you ever wondered how to interpret "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" into ASL? ;)
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Review: White Cat by Holly Black [Mar. 4th, 2011|01:38 pm]
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[Current Mood |pleasedpleased]

I am a compulsive reader and collector of children's books. I don't necessarily have good taste in children's books when they are beloved works from my own youth (the Mode Series by Anthony Piers being one example). But when not blinded by nostalgia, I like to think that I ditch the poor ones and only keep exemplary modern ones. This one is a keeper.

White Cat is the first in a new series by Holly Black, a YA novel that is more urban fantasy than anything else. Magic in this world is hereditary, perhaps 1% of the population has it, and its practitioners are known as "curse workers." There's a lot of interesting social commentary to be had in these pages, and I read it with interest. I did have some difficulty pegging what age I'd deem this book appropriate for -- there's minor character death on-screen, no sex but some sexual situations, no drugs but coercive situations, and discussion of some complex ethical situations. The cover says ages 14 and up, but I think I'd give it to a mature 12-year-old I know.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The main character, a boy around the age of 15, is a likable ruffian. The female characters were sassy, not cowed by the powerful men in their lives. There were only really two female characters we spent much time on, as opposed to five male ones, but those two were quirky and interesting and nonstandard in practically every way. The male characters were diverse and layered, and the narrator surprised and pleased me on multiple occasions. He had a voice of honesty, even while calling himself a con man. I grew fond of him while reading this book, and intend to continue reading the series as it comes out.
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Review: Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas [Feb. 17th, 2011|09:24 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |cynicalcynical]
[Current Music |Brad Yoder, "Excellent Trouble"]

Okay, I admit it. I'm a bit of a sucker for books, movies, and entertainment in general. I will watch terrible tv shows in the gym, get hooked on a story or character, and go look it up on Netflix the next time I have a free hour. I have only once purposefully walked out on a movie without finishing it, so far as I can recall. For God's sake, I watched Andromeda at least partway into season five before I finally killed it dead. (For those of you who cringe at this revelation, I will say that only seasons one and two remain on our shelves. I'm not that tasteless.)

Given that background information, then, when I say that I nearly quit Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas a couple of times before page 50, perhaps you can read my full meaning in those words.

The novel is a meta-novel, really, about a writer-turned-book-reviewer who wants to have an affair, whose friends cycle in and out of her thoughts and days, whose boyfriend is a jobless loser. I kept wondering how much the protagonist/narrator, Meg, was a stand-in for the author documenting her own writing crisis and relationship drama. It made for an unsettling read. I couldn't get rid of that voyeuristic feeling that the author was talking about an insufficiently fictionalized self, particularly as the narrator often discussed how often her (the narrator's) novel draft changed when she added and deleted details from her (the narrator's) life. A bit more commentary ...Collapse )

I won't reread this book. That said, my writing this review is an example of my stepping off a cliff, according to the narrator. It can't have been all bad.
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Hugo Prep Reading [Feb. 10th, 2011|01:26 am]
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[Current Mood |geekygeeky]

Now that Arisia 2011 work is mostly done, it's time to do a bit of Hugo nominating. In prep for this, I'm trying to read several books by the end of March.

If anyone has a copy of the following, please let me know?
Zendegi by Greg Egan
Quantum Theif by Hannu Rajaniemi
Red Plenty by Francis Spufford
Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan
Yarn by Jon Armstrong
State of Decay by James Knapp
The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente

2010 books I've already obtained or gotten access to (yay, public library and helpful friends!):
Counterfeit Magic and The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Reapers are Angels by Aiden Bell
Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy
The Strange Affair of the Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
Surface Detail by Iain Banks
Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
An Artificial Night and A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
Feed by Mira Grant
Harmony by Project Itoh
C by Tom McCarthy
Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
Aurorama by Jean-Christophe Valtat
White Cat by Holly Black
Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
Dervish House by Ian McDonald
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
Chill by Elizabeth Bear
Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer

How am I getting reading done? Either by sitting at home sick or reading while at the gym, on a machine. I get reading done, lately, in either situation.

I spent a lot of time before Arisia at the gym, too, but I was reading Octavia Butler and Ursula K LeGuin novels, mostly. And Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, to lighten up a bit. I also started reading Lois McMaster Bujold last week, before more of the 2010 Hugo possibilities arrived. Book therapy is becoming rather costly, even if I buy used. ;)

Which reminds me. Anyone have any other books to add to this list? Want to throw some books my way? I'm mostly looking for science fiction/fantasy novels published for the first time in 2010, at least until the Hugo ballots are finished.
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Prejudice, Racism, and Me [Dec. 14th, 2010|11:07 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |determineddetermined]
[Current Music |"Stronger For Your Flame" Randall Williams]

I have a confession to make.

I have said stupid, prejudiced things in the past. I will probably say stupid, racist things in the future. I will try to avoid doing so, but when I fail, the words will come out of my mouth (or the actions will come out of my body), and I will disappoint myself and my community and the better future I am trying to work toward.

Racism and prejudice are really hard things to understand, let alone avoid perpetuating. I am a privileged, middle class, white person. That isn't an excuse, but it is the background of how I am probably incapable of understanding, really grokking, what it's like to be on the receiving end of racism. Lj-cut because I know this got long, not because I think you should skip reading the middle of this entry.Collapse )

Racism is hard. Prejudice is challenging. In my opinion, one of the reasons why there is so much controversy about racism amongst well-intentioned people is because we so want to believe that the future is here, the post-racist, post-patriarchy, post-prejudice world that we've spent years dreaming of. That dream is easier than the reality.

I am probably never going to live in the world I hope for, one in which social justice is automatic and there's no need to combat prejudice because it doesn't exist. But until and unless I do live in that world, I will continue doing my best to comprehend racism, to make good choices about social justice, and to listen to others, in general. I will continue to try to put my money where my mouth is, and spend my time trying to fight prejudices in myself and others, as thoughtfully as possible.

I thought about posting this entry to a friends filter. I've said some pretty private stuff here, publicly. I know it's an unpolished entry, too, and I'm bound to have said something poorly that will be jarring to the eye when you read it. But the truth is, I think this is important to say publicly. So I'm screening comments, in the hopes of avoiding my once-and-future-troll, and we'll see how it goes.
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Joe Decker Photography [Dec. 13th, 2010|09:34 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |goodgood]

My friend Joe Decker is having a drawing where the prize is a piece of his art! Take a look at his webpage, and email him with which of his pieces is your favorite. Mine is still the Icelandic rainbow piece that's at the top of our stairway, which most anyone who has been to our house has admired. :)
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Psyched for Arisia Events [Dec. 10th, 2010|10:29 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

I saw the org chart updates just now, and am totally psyched and awed by the fabulous events that will be happening this year at the convention.

Dances:

* 8-bit demoscene dance: Val Grimm
* Contra dance: David Silber
* ORDNANCE & Mr Pet: DJ Pet
* Period dance: Jesse Wertheimer
* Time Traveler's Ball: Paul Aldred
* Weird Science Dance (80s dance): DJ Johnny Zed

Gaming (gaming@arisia.org): Puck Dowd
LARPs (larps@arisia.org): Michael McAfee

Live Performances:

* 2010: Our Hideous Future: Unreliable Narrator Theater Group
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sing Along: Teseracte Players of Boston
* Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog: Teseracte Players of Boston
* Dr Who radio play: Post-Meridian Radio Players
* Faebotica, A Musical Event: Renee Staffeld
* Geeky Belly Dance: Katrina Meyer
* Goli: Vessela Stoyanova, Valerie Thompson
* Hallucinating Shakespeare: Michael Anderson
* Higgins Armory demos: Higgins Armory
* Kusntbruder: Steven Hirsch
* Psyche Corp: Genevieve Yang
* Repo the Genetic Opera: Teseracte Players of Boston
* Rocky Horror Picture Show: Teseracte Players of Boston
* Sassafrass and Stranger Ways: Julia Suggs, Susan Weiner
* The Subs: Rebecca Angel


Doesn't that sound fantastic? The biggest problem will be figuring out how to choose between so many awesome things, some of which are bound to be happening at once!

majes (and jasra), you guys rock. So much. Thanks for making events happen this year!
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Window to Paris Showing at Arisia, with Subtitles [Nov. 30th, 2010|10:47 am]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

Window To Paris (Okhno v'Parizh), Sunday 8:00pm


In St. Petersburg in the early 1990s, right after the fall of the Soviet
Union, some people in a communal apartment discover a wormhole in space
that terminates in Paris. Visiting the west helps them see more of their
own country. ``It's like a Soviet version of Being John Malkovitch'' says
Mary. This beautifully-made comedy will be introduced by Andrey
Fedorov, an actual Russian, who will provide a little background.
In Russian with subtitles.
{1 hr. 27 min., in 35mm}


Sunday at 8 pm showing at Arisia.

Who's with me??? :)
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Thanksgivingstravaganza [Nov. 25th, 2010|12:44 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |hungryhungry]

Deviled eggs & challah to start.
Stuffed hubbard squash with homemade fruit compote.
Ginger-saffron carrot soup.
Baked asparagus with balsamic. (by hotpoint)
Baked potatoes. (by eldrad)
Roasted cauliflower with garlic and lemon juice.
Bagel-fruit-nut stuffing.
Saute'd greens with garlic. (by metahacker and co.)
Morrocan carrots.
We're roasting 2 or 3 ducks on the rotisserie, plus a large turkey.

Finally, for dessert, we have PIES (by olivetree): pumpkin coconut, pear butterscotch, blueberry with almond crumble, and pecan maple. And 5 kinds of sorbet made by eldrad: lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate, and beet-ginger.

I know we're having tons of leftovers, but that's part of the plan. We're hosting a small "fancy leftovers" Shabbat dinner Friday night. My plan is to make some roasted vegetables if we run low on food. ;)
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Workout App? [Nov. 19th, 2010|09:24 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Current Music |"Summer Wind, Cotton Dress" Richard Shindell]

Anyone have a favorite application for the iPhone that can track my workout progress daily? Something that I can choose which machines or exercises I'm doing, input how much weight and reps (or time, in the case of some), and have it all go like magic? Bonus points if it's inexpensive and I can track calories burned and/or current weight.
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The promised hotel update (re Arisia) [Nov. 15th, 2010|12:10 pm]
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[Current Mood |busybusy]

My apologies for the delay; this has been a somewhat crazy week.

The hotel update is essentially that the Westin wants us to continue sorting through the waiting list on a rolling basis. As we finish up allocating rooms that were set aside for particular uses, we will shift people from the waiting list into those rooms. Ultimately we think that everyone currently on the waiting list will get a room (though not everyone will get the type of room they requested -- the hotel only has so many doubles). We are also looking into overflow hotel options (there are two other hotels within a short walk from the Westin), although we hope that won't be necessary.

The Westin has many more rooms than the Hyatt had, or even the Park Plaza. However, we may have more people interested in staying in the hotel this year than previous years. It will just take more patience than we had expected.

For anyone who is not yet on the waiting list: the waiting list is still the best option for getting a room in the Westin. The hotel will only be releasing rooms to those on the waiting list, so there is no reason not to be on it.

We will post updates about updates about the hotel status to the Arisia website as well as LJ, FB, Twitter, etc., when we have them. If there will be an overflow hotel, that determination will be made based on the status of the waiting list once all rooms and suites are allocated.

And thank you for your patience!
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Arisia Notes: Breakfast Event, Turtle Track, and Hotel Updates [Nov. 8th, 2010|12:44 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

We're trying a new event on for size this year -- a breakfast buffet event with GOHs and other Special Guests (including Seanan McGuire, Cat Valente, Hildy Silverman, Frank Wu, and others)! Breakfast price is comparable to prices in the hotel restaurant, with the added bonus of cool conversation! Go to http://2011.arisia.org/buffet for tickets & more info.

Turtle Track (childcare) is currently full. To get on the waiting list, email reg@arisia.org with "Turtle Track" in the subject line. Every year, there are some cancellations, so don't despair if you haven't yet signed up. (Same is true for hotel reservations, actually. Last year, we ended up with a couple of empty rooms in the main hotel, due to cancellations.)

Speaking of hotel reservations: The hotel has turned off the public reservations page while we sort through the Waiting List together. We're working on an alternate solution for getting reservations into their system, but the meantime, please have patience. We expect to have a further update tomorrow night, after more conferring with the hotel.
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Cooking a Farmshare [Sep. 17th, 2010|02:22 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Current Music |Noelie McDonnell]

Accomplished tonight:

huge batch of banghan bhartha (including 8 large eggplants, 5 large tomatoes, 5 sweet peppers from the farm share)
additional 10 eggplants roasted (possibly for baba ghanoush, possibly more banghan bhartha)
over 1/2 bushel (possibly 3/4?) of yellow farmshare tomatoes for
- oven-roasted dried tomatoes
- insides & seeds reserved & used to make yellow tomato marmalade
halfway done with making at least a few jars of pickles

Steve also made a tremendously awesome fresh corn pudding, which was a suggestion by mtolan and naufiel. He did it in the style of my Gramma, which is a fabulous comfort. :}

All in all, today wasn't a waste of time, after all.

Not that I've managed to write the Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur post I intended, but I do hope that anyone who wants to talk with me about my actions knows that I am generally up for it. I love to talk. ;)

Now if only I could get onto the normal sleep schedule of someone who lives in this part of the world ... :P
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Getting On the Arisia Program (or Organizing an Arisia Event) [Aug. 12th, 2010|08:06 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |awakeawake]
[Current Music |Guggenheim Grotto, "Ruby Heart"]

Hey, folks, I wanted to point out that some of you aren't aware of this, but the rough draft schedule for events and program items at Arisia this year is already in progress. If you want to be on a program item or putting on an event, the time to act was actually prior to now, but your absolute last chance to email program@arisia.org or events@arisia.org and get on the schedule is coming up right quick, now.

I suggest you email what you're thinking asap to the relevant division (or if you're not sure, proposals@arisia.org). Please don't email me (or talk with me verbally) about it, as I'm not in charge of the schedules involved, and have delegated the fun stuff to people I trust with it -- majes, crazybone, and omly. :)
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NSFW Video, Causes Hysterical Laughter [Aug. 8th, 2010|11:24 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]
[Current Music |isn't it obvious?]

8 Miles Wide. Seriously, turn the volume way up, but not at work!
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SCA Census: for past and present participants [Aug. 1st, 2010|11:54 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |Rachael Sage, "Angel in my View"]

I've filled out the SCA census. Have you?
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Free Compliments! [Jul. 27th, 2010|08:00 am]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

This totally made my morning. :)

I need to write about FRFF, but no time. Later!
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Productivity in the Kitchen [Jul. 3rd, 2010|03:31 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |productiveproductive]
[Current Music |"Breathe in Autumn" by Pesky J. Nixon]

Currently on the stove:
borscht with kohlrabi and chioggia beets
pickle juice for making radish pickles
cheese raviolis for lunch

Currently in the stove:
hakamadare's ginger-ginger-ginger buckle for tomorrow brunchings

Not yet in the stove:
kale chips made with kale, beet greens, and kohlrabi greens
eggplant lasagne crack (but made with farm share squash instead of eggplant)
roasted kohlrabi, beets, and fennel (not sure if we'll get to this today or not)

Currently in the freezer:
tons of yellow carrots
tons of chioggia beets
tons of pesto made by eldrad


Yes, listing it out does make me feel more productive, even if I'm taking time out from veggie prep to do so. ;)
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Because I Can ... [May. 22nd, 2010|08:52 pm]
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[Current Location |home]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]
[Current Music |Beth Colegrove]

Poll #1568192 Ask a silly question ...

Did you participate in this poll?

Yes.
42(91.3%)
I am Cos.
4(8.7%)
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Help Clean Up! [May. 6th, 2010|05:24 pm]
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[Current Location |work]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]
[Current Music |"The Same Old Things" The Paper Raincoats]

This Saturday is Spring Clean-Up in Somerville from 10 am to noon. I'm totally gonna help clean up Ward 2, meeting in Union Square. This seems like a perfect spring-y activity (even if it is on Shabbat), and I've noticed lots of trash and stuff around our beautiful city, so I'd like to help make it go away. Anyone want to join me/us?

I don't yet know what kind of supplies the city will provide (and it sounds like they're still soliciting donations of same), so I plan to bring some gloves and a couple of trash bags. Also, some tea. :)
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"Charmed, I'm Sure!" [Apr. 29th, 2010|02:55 pm]
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[Current Location |work]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]
[Current Music |The Weepies, "Take It From Me"]

I am utterly charmed by the options under "how I heard about Josh" when joining his newsletter. Yes, I know I should've discovered this ages ago, but I'm charmed now, and wanted to share.

I selected "Wanted Poster." ;)
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I'm out of touch with the Cambridge Homosexual Crowd. [Mar. 22nd, 2010|03:46 pm]
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[Current Location |work]
[Current Mood |quixoticquixotic]
[Current Music |"A Rainy Night" Carrie Cheron]

The comments in the Somerville blog are always priceless ...
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Chinese curses have a way of haunting one so! [Mar. 16th, 2010|06:28 pm]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

I do sometimes dislike boredom, so I guess I was due for some excitement, eh? ;)

Cryptic girl is cryptic.
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Image Amusement [Feb. 18th, 2010|04:21 pm]
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[Current Mood |amusedamused]

The world (according to Google) apparently thinks that "cheery" is primarily associated with cherries and flowers. I suppose it's true that both cherries and flowers make me feel cheery. Okay, Google, fair enough.

To amuse myself, I sometimes google images of an adjective or abstract thing. This is today's, in an attempt to cheer people up. I share because I care. ;)

(Astonishingly enough, "cheer" finds a bunch of cheerleaders, including some that aren't so safe for work.)
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Straw Poll [Feb. 16th, 2010|05:15 pm]
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[Current Location |work]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]
[Current Music |Billy Bragg, "I Keep Faith"]

Poll #1526405 Arisia 2011?

Are you going to attend Arisia in January of 2011?

YES!
43(55.1%)
I'm not sure yet.
16(20.5%)
Nope.
19(24.4%)


Comments about why, factors, what you're looking forward to, etc. are welcome in the comments section. :)
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