"Superman", Rachel Platten

Jul. 27th, 2017 04:19 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
So put your armor on the ground tonight
'Cause everyone's got to come down sometime

You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to hold the world in your hands
You've already shown me that you can
Don't have to be Superman

The weight of a thing

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:33 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
Everything is super hectic and I've slept for 7 hours total in the last 48, and everything is kind of reaching a boiling point that will basically be "resolved" by me going to London (LONDON LONDON LONDON!), but something happened and I feel the need to record.

Almost exactly a year ago, I handed in the first draft of my MA thesis. And my adviser responded, in his usual overall polite way, that the document I sent him, that I took a week off work for, that I wrote for 6 days straight from morning till night, was not even worthy of being called a first draft. It was a first attempt that needed to be scrapped entirely.

Partially this feedback was softened by a phone conversation we later had, where he assured me he believes in me, and these flaws are all fixable, but for a good few days all I had in my head were his written comments, which basically boiled down to "I thought you were a normal person?? but you are apparently a trash fire that should never have been accepted into grad school????"

It was an awful, awful sort of feedback to get, definitely the most demoralizing moment I've ever had in academia. (And like, I triple majored in undergrad, and in grad school finished a course load that was intended for 4 semesters minimum, in 3 semesters. While working FULL TIME in an unrelated field. None of this means I'm good at original research, but getting the "who do you even think you are? clearly you're totally unfit" feedback was really fucking painful.)

Anyway, it's been a year. I spent 5 days straight rewriting the draft. My adviser spent over 6 months not replying to me. (I contacted him after a month, he politely told me to sit down and shut up, I contacted the department 5 months after that, and he responses with "oh no! I totally forgot about you! sorry".

When he finally replied, he told me this rewritten version was about 70% done. Going from a first draft that was ZERO percent done, according to him, to a second draft that was 70%... well. Let's just say I think his initial reaction was WILDLY exaggerated, but you know. Ugh.

I worked evenings and weekends and finally took 2 more days off work, and wrote a new draft, based on his comments. I got it done in the MINIMUM amount of time he allowed. Like, I wanted to submit a revised version 2 weeks after he sent me the comments, but he insisted he was busy and wouldn't read it for 2 months at least. I submitted it on the FIRST DAY he said he'd accept it.

It has been 6 more weeks! He's gotten back to me with comments. I was SO NERVOUS because a lot of his feedback didn't make sense to me, and he wouldn't answer questions, and I was like, I'm going to bring that 70% back down, aren't I? I mean I was a failure on draft #1, maybe this second version was a fluke. I have NO IDEA whether what I'm doing will really improve things.

Anyway. The verdict is in. He has comments and things he wants me to fix and change, obviously, but in the email he sent me? He started it with: "You have written a highly engaging, well-built thesis.

He ended it with: "Your current version is very strong," before listing a few more minor things he'd like to improve.

I'm doing grad school in between work, and trying to unfuck my health, and an attempt at a fiction writing career, and so I never anticipate how much it affects me.

Getting this email was such sweet, sweet vindication. That's right, I fucking did it. I wrote a thing that you admit is GOOD, from 2 drafts back when you were basically calling it garbage.

There are things I'm way more proud of in my life, even in the last year. I don't know why this feels like such an achievement. I'm sure it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to anyone else.

But I feel like I have been clawing at grad school until my fingers are bloody for the past 3 years at least. I've fought to cling to it, to keep up, to get it fucking done, through being homeless multiple times, through essentially becoming paralyzed to the point where I spent 95% of the time I wasn't spending at my full time job lying in bed. Through writing original fiction, which already took every second of my mental energy and the 5% of the time I could actually function.

I've clawed and clawed at this, and it's felt so uncertain, and the journey has been so long, and literally everyone I began my degree with has given up by now, half of them quit the program and the other half declined to write a thesis.

But I wanted this thing, for whatever arbitrary reason (its usefulness to my life will be zero, have no doubt) and I clung, like someone trying to scale a smooth wall with their bare hands, and somehow I managed.

I still have a revised draft to submit, of course. I'll take so long, and be so hard, and take up time I'd rather spend writing fiction. And who knows when/if I'll actually be allowed to submit? (I mean, god willing October? But who knows)

But I wanted to stop and appreciate this moment. The point at which this thesis is actually good enough to submit.

For a while, I wasn't sure I'd get here.

layers and layers

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:30 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
If you want to understand what is going on in DC, you have to think of it as a layer cake, one of those many-layer tortes, or maybe as layers of rock in geological strata, from sedimentary stuff at the bottom of a lake and igneous and metamorphic rock shoving up and transforming because of heat and pressure, with magma at the bottom of it all, or at the center, depending on the diagram you learned from.

What am I talking about? Stuff where Trump opens his mouth and sick toads fall out and sit on the sidewalk, blinking and vomiting. Ugly sick bloated toads, like the speech to the Boy Scouts and the outrageous dismissal of all transgender military personnel.

(My apologies to all truly healthy toads throughout the country, living their lives peaceably, eating flies and mosquitos and staying far from politics.)

I know these things are serious. I know. The president is trampling on people's value, on people's lives, in every direction, cynically and carelessly. But you cannot take them as the only thing that is happening. Horrible as they are, they are only the poisoned icing on the cake, the noxious smoke from the volcano, the peeling top layer of slate. They are *meant* to get you mad. They are *designed* to keep you upset.

Why? So you won't pay attention to what's going on behind the scenes, down there in the strata. Down there, the separation of church and state is being eroded. Women's right to have a say about how their own bodies are treated is being chipped away. The little tiny things we do not see that have huge effects, things that pile up, like permission to get past environmental checks before running oil and gas pipelines near drinking water. The elimination of much of the Congressional Budget Office staff because they vetoed Trumpnocare. I could go on and on. Often I do, and you see it here; sometimes I don't even put it here because it gets me that upset.

I am not saying not to be upset. It is upsetting. Transpeople should be able to serve in the military without comment. To say otherwise is a violation of equal rights under the law. Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts and other young people's groups) should not have to listen to insane political harangues, should not be put into that arena. National monuments, parks and seashores should stay untouched by developers, drillers, exploiters.

But yelling at Trump, writing to him, even if it feels good to you, won't make a difference. He does not give a flying fuck about any of us -- why would he care about how any subset of us is affected? He thinks health care costs $12 a month. He probably thinks someone who is transgender changes their clothes on a train, or in transit. There is no limit to his lack of understanding and his lack of caring about anything he doesn't understand.

Keep your eyes on the small stuff, the bits and pieces that aren't on page one. Look for what's on page six or the back of a section, with a smaller headline (or in places like The Hill or Politico or other politically based newsletters. Pick one or two areas that interest you, and follow what is going on with them.

And then write your Senators and Congresspeople about them -- on their own email system. (yes, here is that contact list again.) They cannot ignore mail from their own constituents for long. If the time is short, phone and ask to talk to a staff person, instead of leaving a message. Tell them what you think, what you want, briefly and to the point. Tell them you're outraged, when you are. Tell them what you think of what Trump is doing, and (if your rep or Senator is Republican) how can any thinking person possibly agree or support this, because (up to three good reasons). And then, "Thank you for hearing me as a constituent", and give them your name as it is on the voter rolls so they can look it up. Once a week. Pick one thing a week. The staffers should start recognizing your name, your voice.

And keep an eye on the vulnerable Republican seats, House and Senate, the ones that can be overturned in the next election. Support the people running in the primaries to oppose the heartless idiots in office.

Do not be taken in by the sparkly floor show with the mouthy MC. Keep your eyes on what's happening behind the curtain, up in the lighting gallery, over in the wings. That's where things are being done. Look for possible trades and swaps -- Reps and Senators voting for things they should not vote for -- and ask them why they are making such poor, harmful choices? Who benefits from these choices? Follow the money, but also follow the influence. Who's being bought and sold here?

I trust you, all of you. I don't know you that well, but I trust you to do the right thing insofar as you know what it is, and to ask good questions when it isn't obvious. Go find the molten lava under the rock and raise hell. Go and comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, because every one of us matters.

follow-ups

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:53 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
1. Re coffee ice cream: Kineticatrue was in western NY recently, just after I wrote about coffee ice cream, and she brought me back two half-gallon tubs of Perry's Ice Cream, the brand I grew up with. One of them is Coldbrew and Cream -- stripes of good coffee and vanilla -- and the other is something like Bittersweet Sinphony -- espresso ice cream with dark chocolate chips in it. That one is more or less the precursor of my favorite Ben & Jerry's, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz. Yum! Thank you!

2. Sometimes not doing research for a long time because of the cost of travel, and health issues, pays off.

When I started looking for information on Ebenezer Allan, in particular some information on his correspondence with Gen. Haldemand in Quebec, I stumbled across the Michigan Historical Society's annual publications from the late 1800s -- which specialize in the history of the Great Lakes region. And they have published in four volumes Haldemand's correspondence since he was assigned to this region (he had previously been in Florida, I'm sure I don't know why) from 1776 to about 1790. And it's all scanned in online now.

I have the links so I can read it on computer, but that's kind of tedious when it's 1800 pages or so -- and I want to know more about the context. So I am downloading the volumes, one at a time, to my Kindle, reading and making bookmarks; when I'm done, I can go back to the online version (which does not have transcription errors) and copy/paste or type the relevant passages with the bibliographic data (which doesn't come through completely on the Kindle).

Where I'm reading, at the moment, Haldemand has arrived, and is telling the officers running various forts that they are spending way too much money and they have to cut back, and can't the soldiers live on venison and fish they catch from the lakes? I have already read a later letter back to him from Brigadier MacLean, who ran Fort Niagara, about the problems of running out of treaty-specified gifts to Indians of various tribes -- they are supposed to get trousers and he only has shirts, and has had to borrow some from the men, which is not right, and even get some from Fort Erie -- and as I read it I can see MacLean gritting his teeth and trying not to scream because he's writing his boss -- but it comes across at times as *massively bitchy* in the best understated British sense of it. One of the references I already have is a letter of MacLean's to a friend (filed under Scottish Immigrant Papers in the Archives of Ontario) where he lets his hair down and his ire out of the bag and says exactly what he thinks of what's going on when Haldemand did not send the troops to back up the ones retreating and how angry and disappointed everyone was: "The Indians say, "The king has a fool for a general." I cannot disagree."

This is going to be *fun*.

ETA: The other places this info is available is in Michigan and in Quebec, neither of them near enough for convenient research, certainly not for the time to read all 1800 pages. So this is truly a gift.

GRRRRRRRRRR

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:42 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Senate vote to proceed toward removing the Affordable Care Act: 51-50. That's 51 votes against health care in America.

This is not the final word on the matter-- keep yelling, talking, chanting and singing at them. Keep on standing up for the health of everyone in America.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:57 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
Polyamory and autism

...in conclusion, I am polya?

(I have not been so identifying because reasons. But this article points out a couple things I hadn't thought about.)

Recs! Humor and Heartbreak

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:11 pm
bluemeridian: (WW :: No Man's Land)
[personal profile] bluemeridian
I spent a good bit of time last Saturday writing this rec list up in Semagic. Sunday morning I did a last sweep and some final edits before calling it complete. Then opened a new file that I made some changes to and hit save-- which promptly saved over top of my completed rec list. Semagic has a weird save quirk that makes this possible when hopping between different files but I never remember that when I need to and I'll let you imgaine the swearing and clawing at face that proceeded, especially after I tried an immediate salvage of the file autosave and failed. So I then spent a good chunk of Sunday rewriting it from the scraps of memory. This time in Notepad ++ as all future posts will be drafted. *glares at Semagic icon*

ANYWAY, before all that excitement, when I first called up my rec tag shortlist, I realized I had over a dozen that were either Avengers/Captain America or Wonder Woman related (or, in one case, both), so I decided to run with those and give them their own list. These are heavy on the Steve, Bucky, and Diana, not surprisingly, along with two from Antiope's POV. They also feature significant appearances by Peggy, Tony, Pepper, Pietro, Wanda, Steve [Trevor], Donna Noble, and Bruce Wayne. Mostly fics as usual but one exceptional vid and a serendipitous art experiment also made their way in. There's 14 recs all together and the rec notes were written in order but you can, of course, pick and choose as you like. <3

ETA: The first couple of recs had a missing div coding error so they looked like one rec with the wrong title/link/author. That's been fixed now. :)

Onward to the Recs! )

Yay Mango Languages app

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:05 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
...so how do I type (what I presume are) hiragana with an American keyboard?

...wait

victory may be mine

こんにちは

\o/

fmlllll

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:08 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
*spends two hours crocheting part of a shawl that is supposed, excluding any row-currently-in-progress, to be rectangular throughout the process*

*puts it down for several hours*

*picks it back up and discovers it's trapezoidal*
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