taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
[livejournal.com profile] selenic76 came up with this:



Want to dip your toe in a new fandom? Have a hidden desire to try out a new pairing? Or maybe you're dreaming about writing that first fanfic or original story? Why not take part in the low stress, deadline and wordcount free Writerly Summer Fling, and take that first step in making it happen! Click the pic to learn more on what the Fling is about, and how to join in on the fun ^_^

It's no-pressure and Selenic is a sweetheart, so there is no reason at all not to participate if you've been wanting to get a bit more (or any) writing done. I've got my Gay Were-Dinosaurs of the Pseudo-Amish Apocalypse novel(la) as well as three Stucky fanfics I'd like to finish, and between this and [livejournal.com profile] ushobwri I figure I should get something banged out. And with my DH's broken arm stressing me out like a stressing-out thing, I figure I could use all the stress-free encouragement I can get.

I'm also not likely to get to a beach anytime soon, alas. So at least I can look at the lovely back of the model water in the picture. Because, y'know, it's inspiring. And I'm all about the inspiration, really. :)
taste_is_sweet: (Aliens Made Me)
Yep. Sometimes things happen where I just want to go and do this for a few hours:

And I would totally look that adorable, really.
Pout

Or maybe get really ambitious and go eat worms, or go riding off into a monsoon or blizzard and make everyone go fetal with guilt when they finally find me tragically frozen (but I'd look really pretty).

Or, you know, just flounce off and take my ball and go home.

But I'm a grown up. Or at least I play one on the internet. So tempting though it is on occasion, I'm not going to do that. Besides, I left my horse in my other reality and we're too far inland for monsoons. And too far south for blizzards. Probably lucky, really.

(And I've disabled comments because this post is not for me to milk sympathy from my FList. Though I thank those of you who would want to in advance <3. This is just me reminding myself out loud that I can deal, so I need to. And actually just writing this has made me feel better anyway.)

taste_is_sweet: (Joy)
One of the many, many things I love about being a parent is all the ways my kid surprises me. I mean, I like to think I know him pretty well by now, but he still amazes me all the time. Especially when he gives me an opportunity to look at something in a way I'd never thought of before.

Monday during dinner, he sat down at the table and gave a big, heartfelt sigh. Naturally my first thought was that he had a problem with the food (not uncommon, alas). But when I asked him it turned out he was thinking about a YouTube video he watched part of before dinner.

Apparently the video--which was about the Minecraft computer game--had a title in English but soundtrack entirely in Russian. Javier had read some of the comments, and he was upset for the vidders because so many people had said rude, hateful things to them over the language.

This is exactly what they look like.
Troll

We discussed the concept of 'Trolls' on the internet. He'd learned about it in the context of 'pranking' from other videos, but not as referring to someone who purposely writes hurtful posts or comments just to upset people.

He didn't get why anyone would want to do that. He also didn't understand how people could watch videos on YouTube and then 'dislike' them with the thumbs-down button. Then he told me that he always clicks on the 'like' button before he watches a video. If he ends up not liking the video he just goes to something else.

And I looked at my amazing, generous sweetheart of an 8 year-old kid and I have to admit I got a little teary. Because he clicks 'like' to acknowledge people's effort, and thank them just for wanting to share. And I swear to God that never, ever, even occurred to me.

Sure, I have my own philosophy that if I read an entire fanfic story I give the author a 'kudo' or comment. And sure, I have to basically dislike a story enough to stop reading it before I won't do that. But to just thank something for writing a fic in the first place? No way.

It's because I'm an author myself, and I know from both fandom and the professional book industry that in real life, no one is going to reward you for something just because you went to the effort of making it. It's all about putting your stuff out there and hoping to hell you'll either get a positive response or hoping to hell you're thick-skinned enough not to care.

I'm never thick-skinned enough not to care, but that's my problem. And the last thing I would ever want is for someone to leave a comment, or kudos, or even pay me money as a 'thanks for coming out' consolation prize.

And yet.

Somewhere along the line, among the millions of pieces of fanficton and art and videos and published stuff, I forgot that someone actually went to the trouble of making it in the first place. Maybe not for me specifically, but for the joy of creating something and sharing it, in the hope that others would enjoy it too.

Just because the ability to create is so easy these days doesn't make the act of creating itself any less meaningful, or any less worthy of acknowledgement. Jav may not always like what his parents make for dinner, but I make sure that he thanks us anyway, because we went to the trouble of doing it. And gratitude is never a bad thing.

It's humbling that my son was the one to remind me of that. I hope I don't forget it again.



The illustration is by Rien Poortvliet

taste_is_sweet: (Chuck was Worried)
I love the internet.

You probably do too--you're here, after all (and thank you for that). The 'net has given me fandom, friendships, introduced me to things I never knew existed, and enabled my first professional novel.

The World Wide Web is a repository of the simultaneously best and worst of humanity. Name anything you could possible want to learn about, see, hear, share or buy and it will be there in one form or another. Because of the internet we can debunk urban legends; learn new and awesome terminology; revel in fandom; and read stories and stories and stories and stories and stories.

And if you live in the U.S., you might lose it.

This excellent excerpt from Last Week Tonight not only makes the situation pellucid (that was for [livejournal.com profile] brumeier), it's incredibly funny. Well worth 13 minutes of your time. Just be careful of the NSFW language.



For those of you who don't have 13 minutes, the TL:DR version is this:

The biggest cable companies in the U.S., like Comcast and Verizon, want the Government to enact a law that will let them charge internet companies (think Netflix; Amazon; Etsy; that place where you bought that stuff that came in a box with no return address) more money to enable them to load faster on your computer.

That means companies who can't afford to pay (like that place with no return address) will suddenly become far less accessible. It's like the Fastpass at the Universal Theme Park in Orlando: The companies who can't pay will end up waiting in line to get to the consumer Revenge of the Mummy ride, while the rich ones just walk on through.

We can't let that happen. It probably will, but there's still time to do something about it. Go to fcc.gov/comments, read the simple instructions, and leave a public comment. Hopefully if enough people remind the Government who voted for them, it might keep this from happening.

Might. I'm not holding my breath--I'm not Comcast; I can't afford it.
taste_is_sweet: (And Counting!)
I'm sure you think I'm joking by that subject heading, O, best-beloveds. But I'm not! Entirely! This is totally not entirely a joke.

Because, according to Brazilian physician Claudio Gil Araujo and Discover Magazine (which makes it absolutely, totally true, yo), being able to sit cross-legged on the floor and then stand up again without using your hands or putting your knee down, etc. is an excellent indication of how long you may live. At least if you're over 51 (and able-bodied enough to attempt it in the first place).

Why? Because having enough flexibility, balance and strength to sit on the floor without crashing on your ass, and to get up without needing your hands helps in avoiding falls (which get more problematic when our hips start snapping like Doritos), and means you're in good shape in general, which helps in avoiding death (which will never not be problematic). The test is scored out of ten with anything other than feet-only subtracting a point. Anyone with a score of less than 8 was twice as likely to die within the next six years. Anyone with a score of three or less was five times as likely to die. Which might raise someone's chances at death to only 5%, but still. Whoa.

I'm blessed enough to be able-bodied, but I found to my chagrin that I needed to use one hand to get up. Nothing like having my delusions of physical prowess sunk like the Titanic in literally one sitting.

Give me ten more reps. For freedom!
 photo CaptainAmerica.jpg

My physio therapist (Apparently sitting in terrible positions for 5+ hours a day typing for over ten years causes repetitive strain injuries. Who knew?), who is in his (very) early 30s and looks like Captain America, can of course get on and off the floor using only one leg. Which would be intimidating if he wasn't so adorable. And heroic.

So, my current exercise regimen now includes simply getting off the floor without using my hands. I managed it once today! Once! ONE WHOLE TIME!

I'm going to be immortal. Seriously.

taste_is_sweet: (Chuck was Worried)
(Yes, "oppilant" is a real word. I totally looked it up.) And edited because I can't believe I spelled 'losing' with two 'O's. What the hell, brain?

I've been told in no uncertain terms by the lovely woman I pay to bitch at that I may be losing out on opportunities because I'm terrified I'm reluctant to move out of my comfort zone.

Since I pay her to tell me these things, I can only assume she has my best interests at heart and is probably right. Therefore o, best-beloveds, I've decided that this year I need to get off my frightened little ass and go to a writers' conference.

What am I frightened about (I know you're not asking, but I'm telling you anyway)? That would be rejection, my friends. Plain and simple. I've posted about this before, because I'm nothing if not redundant consistent, but I didn't realize just how terrified I am of rejection until I contemplated being rejected in person by other writers I don't know.

Seriously, nauseous with terror just from looking at a couple upcoming conferences in Texas. All I can think of is going to these panels hosted by beautiful writers (that's not even a joke--they all look so pretty and thin in their pictures) who are way more successful than me and then I'll say something or offer something, or just, something...and there'll be crickets. The metaphor for the deadly silence just before the hapless comic taps the microphone and asks, "is this thing on?"

But, I'm going to be brave and do it anyway. However, it'd be a lot easier to be brave if I wasn't alone. So, is anyone else out there planning on going to a writers' conference, who would like some company? Even if it's outside of Texas, if it's not too far I could probably manage to go. And I can be extremely encouraging to other people, if necessary. It's just me I have trouble with. I'd love to meet more people on my FList, too.

If not, well. I was thinking of going to the Writers League of Texas Agents and Editors conference in June. If you happen to be there, I'll be the plain, geeky older woman in the back. But my tee-shirt will be awesome.
taste_is_sweet: (Vague)
Hi, guys! The local District School Board's Christmas vacation is almost up, and I've finally wrested my laptop away from my beloved child without feeling too guilty about him not being able to play Minecraft. He loves Minecraft; most of the world loves Minecraft, apparently. I get seasick when I try to play it.

Since I'm more-or-less online again, I thought I'd pull a Shea* riff off [livejournal.com profile] brumeier's idea and publicly display my New Year's Resolutions in the optimistic hope that it'll mean I actually keep them. (I know Brum isn't the only person on LJ who's done this, but I haven't read my FList since some date that I'm scared to find out for certain.)

So, here is what I want to accomplish this year:

Writing:
--Finish a novel, preferably two.
--Get that novel published.
--Write at least 1000 words a day, per the above.
--Get my already finished novel Blood for Magic published. Please, for the love of God.
--Post something in my LJ every week. Preferably something people want to read. Unlike this.

Everything Else:
--Keep up my food and exercise regimen, which seems to be working out okay.
--Do the exercises and stretch my physio therapist gave me, so I don't end up looking like a hunchback when I'm 80. (It'd also be nice not to have my back hurt all the time.)
--Try to worry less (I already know I'm going to fail at this one, but what the hell.)

Not too ambitious, I think. We'll see how it goes. :)

How about you guys? Trying anything new for the new year?





*Actually, since I said I stole it, I didn't really steal it. But I still totally think that 'Pulling a Shea' should be a new term.
taste_is_sweet: (Please be Advised)
Many years ago, while riding the Toronto subway, I was in a car with a young woman and her two friends. This was back in the early 90s, when name-brand, novelty sneakers were very much 'in'. This young woman had on such a pair, and I, with nothing else to do, was watching her wearing them.

I didn't realize it might have been rude until she glared at me and demanded to know why I was staring at her.

"I'm just looking at your shoes," I said, horribly embarrassed.

And she replied: "They don't wanna know you!"

Snobs
 photo Sneakers.jpg

It's the kind of moment that stays with you, and sometimes, like when I'm about to post on LJ or--especially lately--when I send out another novel query after the previous one was rejected again (three for three so far!), I hear those words. They don't wanna know you.

I realize this isn't helpful, and not even true (at least with non-footwear). I've met many people who wanted to know me, though I can't speak for their shoes; and many of these people both still know me and still want to, as far as I can tell. And I know that the people rejecting my novel aren't actually rejecting me. Maybe they'd want to know me if we ever met in person, even if they did describe my novel as 'fairly well written' and 'off-putting' in the same paragraph.

Maybe I wouldn't want to know them, but that's not the point.

Radio Host Jay Smooth, who is a bit of a YouTube celebrity for his commentary on racism, homophobia and gender issues, calls these kind of internal mantras "Little Haters". He has a video about them, which is pretty cool:

And Martin Freeman, lately of The Hobbit but possibly more beloved as Sherlock's Dr. John Watson, told an Entertainment Weekly interviewer that he doesn't read reviews because (to paraphrase, because I can't find it), it wouldn't matter how many awesome reviews he got, he'd only remember the negative ones and they would ruin his life. He has inner haters too.

That's reassuring, of course, to know that even famous people have their they don't wanna know you moments. But it's also discouraging. It'd be nice to think that at some point, somehow, maybe, I'd reach a threshold of success that would mean I didn't have to make the little haters shut up all the time.

Instead, most some days, like right now, it's a constant battle to keep writing, and posting to LJ, and sending out my novel when it seems like no one will ever want it. And to remind myself that they--whomever 'they' actually are--probably do want to know me. Just maybe not my writing.

It's a battle I don't think I'll win, but I'm still trying. And I'm still writing. And that's something, right?

But their shoes would love me. Really.

Photo: "Colorful Sport Shoe" by John Kasawa, via Freedigitalphotos.net

taste_is_sweet: (Chuck was Worried)
Don't get me wrong--I love writing. Mostly. Black Hawk Tattoo (Woot; there it is) is now in it's second month of being available, and hasn't quite fallen off the face of the earth the sort-of reasonable rankings on Amazon.com, but I figure it's going to happen any second pretty soon, so I'm trying to prepare myself for it. One of the ways I'm doing that is by more writing, because the more books you have, the more books people might buy from you, yo. The other way is to try not to worry about it (because I'm so good at not worrying).

What I've come to realize about this writing gig is that even when you succeed, there's anxiety. The difference is that now I'm worried about my next novel. Will anyone want to publish it? Will anyone want to buy it if it's published? Will anyone like it if they buy it? And how long will it stay anywhere reasonable on the Amazon rankings?

Yep. Yet more fun and excitement for me! And to think I actually somehow didn't anticipate this happening. Yeah, I'm awesome.

I do realize that in the grand scheme of things I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I know I've done well and I'm lucky and I'm definitely happy with and grateful for what I've accomplished. I'd just love to be able to relax, you know? Just a little. Slightly. Sometimes.
taste_is_sweet: (Hawaii loves Danny too)
I was reading this essay by Becky Chambers on teaching her mother to play computer games. The essay itself is fascinating and rather sweet, but I was more interested in an anecdote Ms. Chambers included, about playing the Star Wars: The Old Republic online RPG with a group of strangers. During the game one player revealed that s/he was new and didn't understand part of the game, and the immediate response of the other group members was an angry demand to to kick that person out. No second chances, no patience, no kindness to a newbie whatsoever. Just kick kick kick.

So I was thinking about that, and how often people react to problems (especially problems with other people) with anger or even nastiness. I've seen my son do it--I sure as hell know I've done it--and I've read LJ posts where the bloggers lament co-workers who apparently went out of their way to be vindictive or just mean. And I've been many, many places where being indifferent or rude is so common that it's a memorable surprise when someone's friendly.

The thing is, I've noticed as I get older (and some days I feel very, very old indeed) that most of the time it's more of an effort to be nasty than to just take a breath and carry on. I've seen how much energy people I love put into resenting indifferent store clerks or seething at their neighbors, and it just seems exhausting. Who has time for that much negativity?

I've come to understand that this is why forgiveness is such a big thing--it's not actually for the person you forgive, it's for you. When you forgive someone, you don't have to deal with that hot ball of rage you have because of them anymore, and hot balls or rage are a bitch to carry around. I know because I still have a few of them, but I'm working on it.

I'm also working on forgiving the indifferent store clerks or the implacably inefficient receptionists or the downright rude food servers or the guy in front of me at the grocery store who used a cheque to pay for a bag of beef jerky and a pack of gum. Life is too short to be pissed-off so much of the time, and depending on how you choose to react, you can get pissed-off at everything.

One of the nicest things about being kind is that it doesn't even have to mean going out of your way; it can just mean taking a deep breath and carrying on. And that's actually pretty easy most of the time.
taste_is_sweet: (Brave Little Toaster)
Yes, oh best beloveds, I am now on Twitter. You can find me there either via Aundrea Singer or Taste_is_Sweet. I haven't tweeted anything yet in terror of it disappearing into the ether with a deafening and humiliating silence. Because I'm assuming that, like LJ, if you follow someone you can read their tweets, but no one will read your tweets unless they follow you, right?

I feel like the new kid in the high school cafeteria, here. Does anyone want to be my twitter friend? I promise I don't pick my nose in public and I bathe regularly.
taste_is_sweet: (Nom You)
Yes, here I am about to tell you what I've learned about losing weight that actually works, because I'm really happy about it and I know some of you have mentioned wanting to lose weight. And LJ is for sharing stuff that might interest nobody else, so what the hell.

Unrequested Advice Below the Cut )
taste_is_sweet: (Joy)
Moderation as the Exercise Sweet Spot - NYTimes.com

According to the link, I'm actually doing more than necessary by walking for 40 mins a day 5 times a week, but I like it. But it does mean that I can feel less guilty about taking a nap instead once in awhile. :)
taste_is_sweet: (Harlock Skull)
I put my original fic, Seeds up on AO3. If you'd like to read it, you can find it here.

And yes, I would love it if you read it. But no one is obliged. :)
taste_is_sweet: (Owen is Screaming)
A few minutes ago, my darling husband started talking to me from where he was reading Entertainment Weekly in the bedroom. He wanted to let me know about a new show on SyFy about The X-Men super-powered crime fighters called Alphas, because apparently Callum Keith Rennie is going to be in it (it looks like he'll be a reoccurring character, which most likely means he'll be a villain, because that's how SyFy rolls).

I asked Dom how many characters were in it and he said five. Then I said that without reading the article I could tell him how the team would look:

The leader would be a white male
There would be two other white guys on the team
There would be one black guy
There would be one woman, possibly of Asian descent

Turns out I was wrong--the female team member was played by a an American of Middle Eastern descent. The magazine had also made a mistake in that the cast has six members, not five, which naturally means there can be another female. She's white, of course.

I was surprised, though, to see that the Professor X analog of the team is a Dr. Rosen, because as far as I know that's a Jewish name and I'd been thinking that the Dr. Zimmerman of Sanctuary was just a fluke. Then again they're both doctors, right? You wouldn't want, say, the Bad-Ass sniper dude to be Jewish. Because then you'd have to set the show in Israel.

Much as I honestly applaud SyFy for being brave enough to have a character who, based on her last name, could possibly be Muslim (not to mention how nice it is to see Jewish surnames), I still think there's a big damn problem when I can guess the ethnic and gender makeup of the cast almost exactly based exclusively on knowing that it's an action show and the number of team members.

And while the last nails in the coffin of my love for SyFy were brutally hammered when they chose to cancel SGA for the horrendously racist and misogynistic casting and character choices of Stargate: Universe, I will say that I know they're not the only network that constantly uses these kind of ratios for their action teams. I don't want to keep picking on SyFy, but Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: SG-1 were perfect examples of this. So is Hawai'i 5-0. There's always a bit of leeway as to the background of the female character if you already have a male PoC on the team, and if you have a team of three than the woman will most likely be the PoC as well. SyFy (sorry, SyFy! But seriously, you keep asking for it) did this with Being Human; I'm afraid I don't know about the cast from the original UK production.

Actually, I do want to pick on SyFy. After reading the cast descriptions for Alphas, it turns out that (of course!) the Really Strong Guy is black, the Sniper Dude (God forbid he not be a dude!) is named Cameron Hicks--seriously, does SyFy ration names or something? Or is the constant repetition some kind of in-joke?--the female character I mentioned earlier is described as 'a pretty girl in her twenties' (emphasis mine). The other woman is--OMG I SO CALLED IT!--basically a super-sexy, manipulative bitch ([livejournal.com profile] springwoof: she's a charmer, but ours is cooler). The youngest guy on the team is not quite the technopath I thought he'd be, but he still does shit with radio, television and cell-phone frequencies. He also seems to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder by the way he's described, but I'll bet the producers didn't want to out-and-out say so in order to not have to deal with anything approaching a real Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Way to go with the originality, SyFy! You keep pushing those boundaries, you edgy, outside-the-box, imagining greater network, you! ::golf clap::

I know I'm not the only one on LJ who's gotten more than a little bored and sick of this. It's not just the predictability, it's the fact that it's all so damn predictable. Why can't a team of five have four women and one man, with a female leader? Why do most of the characters in pretty much any show ever on a major network have to be white? It's tiring and it's sad and it's gotten to the point where looking at the new shows advertised on TV or in my husband's Entertainment Weekly is just discouraging.

I'm sure that at least some of the new network shows promised this fall will be as fantastic as the glossy photo ads and the previews claim, but I'm voting with my eyes and I'm not going to watch any of them. The stories may be different, but the faces are way too much the same.
taste_is_sweet: (But some of us are looking at the stars)
Today I am feeling discouraged in the writing and lonely in the heart, so after going over my FList to do some connecting out in the ether (always good to do if you're lonely), I thought I'd invite some of you guys over here to chat. Or at least the somewhat vaguer LJ equivalent.

So, would you like a sympathetic eye? Someone to bounce ideas off of? Something you'd like to rave or rant about? Mi comments son sus comments. Or you are welcome to email me at simple.carbohydrates AT gmail DOT comm.

Please don't feel obliged, though. I know almost everyone is at work and busy anyway. But you know, if you'd like to drop a comment, I'll be here. :)
taste_is_sweet: (On a Daily Basis)
I couldn't go walking last week because either the weather sucked or I had a fever. I didn't go walking the week before that because I was feeling too low to haul my ass out of the house. I couldn't go walking yesterday because of the fucking end-of-the-world deluge heavy rain. It rained again last night, booming thunder and everything. Luckily not for long.

The rain stopped, finally, late this morning. Glee! I thought. I can finally get some exercise!

It started raining again five minutes ago. And not just rain. This is man the chandeliers rain. This is get two of every animal, no matter how small rain. This is rain where I'm a little worried my husband will get swept into the fucking ocean before he makes it to his car. This is rain where--all joking aside--I'm looking at the TV to see if the flash flood warnings for my area of Texas have been updated. Not yet, which is something.

But I can't go walking in this. Hell, I wouldn't want to cross the street in this. Damn it.

Okay, it's calmed down some since I've been typing, so maybe all is not lost and it'll stop in the next half hour. Otherwise, sheesh. I'm trying to take care of myself, here! Give me a break, weather, okay?

...And just as I typed that, it stared deluging again. o_O I get the point already.

ETA: I got to walk! The rain went away completely, and I got to go out for half an hour. I would have walked for longer, but the sky got dark and I didn't want to drown on the way home. But still, I feel all accomplished and sweaty. Cool. :)
taste_is_sweet: (But some of us are looking at the stars)
I'm (finally) posting my New Year's Resolutions here:

In case you're interested )

Wish me luck, guys! I'll try to remember to do a follow-up post in December, to let y'all know how I managed. I'm kind of excited and kind of terrified. Which is pretty much par for the course for me, come to think of it.

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