Enjoy yourselves a little Korpiklaani, y’all!
* I have personal connections to New Orleans. My dad lived and worked there for many years, from the early 1980s until his passing in 2009. I attended Mardi Gras exactly once in all that time, in 2007. Unfortunately I did not get to experience the Krewe of Barkus, who are all Good Dogs.
* Since some people disagree that they are all Good Dog—and who has time or patience for that malarkey—it is sometimes necessary to clean house on Twitter. I have only recently begun to use Twitter as my primary social media outlet, as, though they are both objectively terrible, Facebook is worse. Barry Ritholtz, who I have been following for about a decade, has recently posted his strategy for dealing with trolls on Twitter. Time will tell if it is effective.
* Though I have subscribed to the RSS feed for a couple of years now, and I have been aware of its existence for somewhat longer, I have just now began listening to the Writing Excuses podcast, starting at Episode 1.1. My plan is to go through all of them in order and get caught up to present by the end of the year.
* Over in the day job, as I study up on React.js (which is actually kind of fun, now that I have played around a bit) I am keeping things interesting by using CSS Grids for structure and layout. In particular the Grid by Example website, created by Rachel Andrew, is a tremendous resource. While writing this post I realized that I met Rachel back in June of 2017 when I attended the O’Reilly Fluent conference in San Jose, California.
* Back in September of 2016 I took the Amtrak from Grand Rapids to Vancouver via the Empire Builder route. It was a wonderful, contemplative, transcendent experience (blog posts pending). Based on that, and based on this article in the Calvert Journal, I now want to experience the Trans-Siberian Railway. It will also give me an excuse to dust off my Russian skills.
* And speaking of that trip, while in transit, while not watching America roll by, I read Trysting by Emmanuelle Pagano. It is an absolutely beautiful book, recalling all of love and beauty and intimacy and trust and heartache and the million tiny moments that bind people together and pull them apart. I just came across a wonderful review by Lauren Goldberg in Music & Literature which does justice to the most compelling book I have read in years. On a related note, I think I will now buy a subscription to Music & Literature.
* And speaking of Russian stuff, the Speak Russian Like Russians blog is both useful and fun.
* In the world of fandom and literature, author Jim C. Hines (may his beard grow ever longer) has put together an excellent post detailing the long history of Jon del Arroz’s trolling and harassing behavior toward authors, fans and organizations in the larger community. The comments on the article are mostly erudite and informative, though a JdA supporter/GamerGater pulls an impressive amount of sea-lioning to no significant effect.
* The 2018 State of the World conversation over at The Well has wrapped up. It, as well as the many previous conversations in the series, are well worth perusing over the upcoming weeks and months. A hearty thank you to Bruce Sterling, Jon Lebkowsky and all the other participants for opening this to the general public.
* Dean Allen, creator of the content management/blogging system Textpattern, has passed away. Allen was one of the biggest influences in my early career as a web developer. I took his thoughts on design and typography to heart, though I was never a designer. His photo blog featuring his Weimaraner Oliver made me want to move to rural France. Allen, along with Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman, were huge influences as I began my career in web development.
* Interesting thought experiment: Roko’s Basilisk. To wit, “The premise is that an all-powerful artificial intelligence from the future could retroactively punish those who did not help bring about its existence, including those who merely knew about the possible development of such a being.” See also: America in 2017.
* For the record, this is what happens when toxic masculinity, white privilege and tech-bro douchebaggery combine to create the perfect American asshole. James Damore is a waste of space, skin, time, attention and oxygen.
* Something wonderful: A large (100+!) collection of writers in their writing spaces.
* I follow a few foreign (to me here in the USA) news and cultural feeds. The Calvert Journal recently ran this wonderful overview of pop music from Yugoslavia, circa 1960 – 1990. The Calvert Journal is a wonderful resource. In particular, their New East 100 is worth a few hours of browsing.
* The always-entertaining John Scalzi’s take on Trump’s ongoing racism.
* For the record, here is my stance on Donald Trump: Trump is a racist. Trump is racist. This has been apparent to the entire rational world for decades. If you want to argue this point, I don’t need to provide you with examples of his racist behavior. The simple fact that you want to argue this point demonstrates that you have nothing useful to say.
I have just added a “Published Work” page to this blog. You can access it through the main menu. It’s kind of threadbare at the moment, but with a little luck I will have some publications to add by the end of the year.
Most of my published work at present consists of editorials written for The 3288 Review, and around three dozen interviews with contributors to The 3288 Review.
I will be speaking on two panels at ConFusion 2018! Here is my schedule:
TITLE: Poetry in Novels
DESCRIPTION: Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass include lengthy poems, placing them in a long tradition of long-form fiction that incorporates poetry into the work. How does writing poems for prose fiction differ from writing poems that stand alone? What distinct techniques does it require? Where do poems within stories exist in the landscape of genre poetry today?
PANELISTS: Amal El-Mohtar, Clif Flynt, Jeff Pryor, Josef Matulich, John Winkelman, Mari Ness
ROOM: Isle Royale
DAY/TIME: Sunday, January 21, 10:00 – 10:50 am
TITLE: Analogue Media in the Digital Age
DESCRIPTION: Paper, vinyl, and film, oh my! What are the unique advantages to analogue media, and what’s just a deeply ingrained sense of how media “should” be? Is it not a book without the paper smell, or a song without the soft crackle of a needle on vinyl?
PANELISTS: David Klecha, Gail Cross, John Winkelman
DAY/TIME: Sunday, January 21, 1:00 – 1:50 pm
I will, of course, vastly over-think and over-research these topics over the next ten days, and will therefore post my notes.
* Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky are holding their annual State of the World conversation over at The Well. Quite worth following over the next couple of weeks, and bookmarking for reference as the world continues to continue.
* Charles Stross gave the keynote speech at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in December 2017. Transcript here. Video here. Much discussion about the idea of the corporation as artificial intelligence. As always with Stross’s blog, the comments following the transcript are well worth reading.
* Over at File770, we learned that Rabid Puppy ally Jonathan Del Arroz has been banned from the next WorldCon due to his extremely bad behavior and threats of disrupting the con. This is merely another in the ongoing trend of Puppy-aligned writers and fans running aground on the cold rocks of the rational, adult-behaving world.
* During a quiet moment I looked around the interwebs to see if any other countries had the misfortune of having a leader like Trump. As it turns out, there is one! Turkmenistan has the great good fortune of being led by one Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow, who has recently outlawed black cars in his country, and who has had made a giant statue of himself riding a golden horse. Also he is a dictator and runs one of the most repressive regimes on the planet.
- McKean, Dave and Schafer, William – The Weight of Words (Subterranean Press)
- Nguyen, Viet Than – The Refugees
- Atwood, Margaret – The Handmaid’s Tale
- Walton, David – The Genius Plague
- Sterling, Phillip – And Then Snow (Main Street Rag)
- Mitchell, David – Slade House
- Peninsula Poets #74.1, Spring 2017 (Poetry Society of Michigan)
- Peninsula Poets #74.2, Fall 2017 (Poetry Society of Michigan)
- D’Rivera, Paquito – Letters to Yeyito (Restless Books)
- Simo, Ana – Heartland (Restless Books)
- Khan, Ausma Zehanat – The Bloodprint
- Liu, Ken – The Man who Ended History, signed, #462 of 500 (WSFA Press)
- Chakraborty, S.A. – The City of Brass
- Ashton, Dyrk – Paternus
- Hines, Jim C. – Terminal Alliance
- Law, Lucas K. and Mak, Derwin (eds.) – Where the Stars Shine (Laksa Media Groups, Inc)
- Tomlinson, Patrick S. – The Ark (Angry Robot Books)
- Tomlinson, Patrick S. – Trident’s Forge (Angry Robot Books)
- Tomlinson, Patrick S. – Children of the Divide (Angry Robot Books)
- Sizemore, Jason – For Exposure (Apex Publications)
- Sizemore, Jason – Irredeemable (Seventh Star Press)
- Apex Magazine #104
- Gates, Jaym and Valentinelli, Monica (eds.) – Upside Down (Apex Publications)
- Townsend, Tracy – The Nine (Prometheus Books)
- Ness, Mari – Through Immortal Shadows Singing (Papaveria Press)
- Wolfe, Navah and Parisien, Dominik (eds.) – Robots vs. Fairies (Saga Press)
- Hirshfield, Jane – Nine Gates
- Brown, Adrienne Marie and Imarisha, Walidah (eds.) – Octavia’s Brood (AK Press)
- Karastoyanov, Hristo – The Same Night Awaits Us All (Open Letter Books)
- Music & Literature #7
- Music & Literature #8
- Freedman, Carl (ed.) – Conversations with Ursula K. Le Guin (University Press of Mississippi)
- Le Guin, Ursula K. – The Found and the Lost (Saga Press)
- Le Guin, Ursula K. – The Unreal and the Real (Saga Press)
- Foglio, Kaja and Foglio, Phil – Girl Genius 16: The Incorruptible Library (Airship Entertainment)
- Claybourne, Zig Zag – The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan (Narmer’s Palette)
- Eastern Iowa Review #3
- Johns, Andreas – Baba Yaga (Peter Lang Publishing)
- Granta #142
- Stein, Melissa – Terrible Blooms (Copper Canyon Press)
- George, Jenny – The Dream of Reason (Copper Canyon Press)
- Nezhukumatathil, Aimee – Oceanic (Copper Canyon Press)
- Campbell, Bill and Hall, Edward Austin (eds) – Mothership: Tales From Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium Publishing)
- Goh, Jaymee and Chng, Joyce (eds) – The Sea is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia (Rosarium Publishing)
- Karetnyk, Bryan (ed.) – Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky
- Triantafyllou, Petros (ed.) – Art of War (Booknest.eu)
- Jemisin, N.K. – The Obelisk Gate
- VanderMeer, Jeff – Authority
- Jacobin Magazine, Issue 28 (Winter 2018)
- Nielsen, Madame – The Endless Summer (Open Letter Books)
- Kopf, Alicia – Brother in Ice (And Other Stories)
- Okorafor, Nnedi – Binti
- Sullivan, Susan Abel – Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories (World Weaver Press)
- Parrish, Rhonda (ed.) – Fae (World Weaver Press)
- Parrish, Rhonda (ed.) – Sirens (World Weaver Press)
- Parrish, Rhonda (ed.) – Equus (World Weaver Press)
- Parrish, Rhonda (ed.) – Corvidae (World Weaver Press)
- Bujold, Lois McMaster – Penric’s Mission, signed, #433 of 450 (Subterranean Press)
- Mandel, Emily St. John – Station Eleven, signed, #588 or 750 (Subterranean Press)
- Reaves, Mallory and Reaves, Michael – Eternity’s Wheel, signed, #485 of 500 (Subterranean Press)
- Armstrong, Kelly – Lost Souls (Subterranean Press)
- Blaylock, James P – River’s Edge, signed, #970 of 1000 (Subterranean Press)
- Silverberg, Robert – The Millennium Express (Subterranean Press)
- Spencer, William Browning – The Unorthodox Dr. Draper, signed, #382 of 750 (Subterranean Press)
- Straub, Peter – Perdido (Subterranean Press)
- Silverberg, Robert – The Emperor and the Maula (Subterranean Press)
- Shiner, Lewis – Heroes and Villains, signed, #436 of 750 (Subterranean Press)
- Lumley, Brian – The Compleat Crow (Subterranean Press)
- Pulphouse Fiction Magazine #0, December 2017
- Pulphouse Fiction Magazine #1, January 2018
- Schutt, Christine – Pure Hollywood (And Other Stories)
- James, D.R. – If God Were Gentle (Dos Madres Press)
- Bray, Mark – Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Melville House Publishing)
- Kemper, Donna – Forgive and Forgotten (Credo House Publishers)
- Apex Magazine #106 (March 2018)
- Joshi, S.T. (ed.) – Black Wings 6 (PS Publishing)
- Winn, Howard – Acropolis (Propertius Press)
- Jemisin, N.K. – The Stone Sky
- Coates, Ta-Nehisi – A Nation Under Our Feet 1
- Brakefield, Russell – Field Recordings (Wayne State University Press)
- VanderMeer, Jeff – Acceptance
- Cleave, Sarah (ed.) – Banthology: Stories from Banned Nations (Deep Vellum Publishing)
- Ganieva, Alisa – Bride & Groom (Deep Vellum Publishing)
- Apex Magazine #107 (April 2018)
- Harris, Joseph – Logically Thinking (chapbook)
- Harris, Joseph – Speak Up! (chapbook)
- McSweeney’s #52
- Ugresic, Dubravka – Fox (Open Letter Books)
- Bat-Ami, Miriam – Measuring the Marigolds (Caffeinated Press)
- Ono, Masatsugu – Lion Cross Point (Two Lines Press)
- Two Lines #28
In Sacramento for work for the week. In the spirit of John Scalzi, here is the view from my hotel window.
Before I dive into the mosh pit of American and worldwide events I feel it is important to state my starting position. This will provide context for my positions on topics like politics, religion, economics, environmentalism, and so on.
I am a straight Caucasian male. I was born in June of 1969, which makes me a member of Generation X. Politically, I am a hodge-podge of liberal, socialist, anarchist and Green. Religiously I am predominantly Buddhist, with a strong dash of Taoism and sprinklings of Eastern Orthodox mysticism. I have a college degree and a good job as a programmer. My life is stable enough for me to occasionally feel genuinely bored.
As a straight white dude I am overwhelmingly on the side of hegemony in the United States. Every benefit it is possible to accrue simply by being born white and straight and a dude, I have accrued. In the past twenty years and eight jobs I have only *really* had to fill out a resume once. The only way I could more closely hew to the current odious version of the American Dream would be for me to be conservative and Christian.
Those last two points? Never gonna happen.
I recognize how privileged my life is, and how little I have had to work, comparatively, to make it so. The system is set up specifically for people like me, and specifically against people who are not like me. And that fact nauseates me.
As a nerdy kid in a small farm town I was bullied regularly. Not badly, compared to the suicide-inducing standards of today, but consistently. That led directly to my lifelong practice of martial arts, and to my lifelong–and steadily increasing–hatred of bullies and bullying. For the purpose of any discussion along those lines, I will define bullying simply as punching down from a position of strength. And since this is my blog, I will be the sole determiner in these discussions as to what constitutes punching down.
To go along with that definition, I also have three general rules or guidelines or aphorisms that I try to keep front-and-center:
- There is no such thing as an over-reaction to being bullied.
- In any particular situation, if you take the side of hegemony, the only direction you can punch is down.
- When in doubt, err on the side of compassion.
I agree that the third point is incongruous with the first two. So be it. I contain multitudes. And sometimes pie.