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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window

20may2022

cropJeez, the news is so discouraging. Now we have some racist barely-adult asshole terrorist making a special effort to slaughter people 200 miles away because of Fox News spewing brain-dead crap to increase ratings by whipping up racial hatred? Not to mention a bunch of men spouting nonsense to moms desperately searching for baby formula?

On the Buffalo shootings, I've got nothing—besides the plainly obvious need to ban firearms, not to mention getting rid of this nonsense about corps being persons, cuz I want the cynical CEOs and their ilk to go to jail, instead of rich corps paying fines and shrugging off the consequences of their inducements to stochastic terror—but as someone who breastfed two babies exclusively until they weaned onto solid food (at 14–18 months) I can speak to these ijits that just think women should just breastfeed.

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14may2022

cropThis page was s'posed to go up Wednesday, or barring that Friday (& the sentiments to which the linked authors are responding are surely fridayfugly—well beyond fridayfug and blasting into just plain ole mean) but I felt so strongly about them I made the page today.

Strictly speaking I'm trans: nonbinary, I guess. So I have a sense from the inside out what trans people feel, except that I pass, nearly effortlessly, as a boring, middle-aged white lady, so I don't get the blowback. I've always been fascinated by genderswapping, intersex and the like—themes that were rife in the 70s sf I read as a teen and young adult—and would've been thrilled with the options trans kids have now. With even the vocabulary and mental frameworks they have to understand themselves now.

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12may2022

cropMary Robinette Kowal takes apart Project Hail Mary, introducing me in the process to a descriptive term for the plot equivalent of TSTL (characters, often heroines, “too stupid to live” because without their dumb decisions the author can't otherwise drive the plot where it's wanted to go): refrigerator logic. (Kowal describes it as that ‘hey, wait a moment!’ realization as you stand in front of the fridge, but I couldn't help thinking it also had a bit as well of linguistic drift from “being fridged”, a comic book trope in which usually-female characters are killed—and in the eponymous version, shoved into a refrigerator—to provide a male character [typically a love interest, less often a parent] an anguished backstory/reason-for-revenge. The linkage, as we'll see, is lazy writing in both cases—cheap, sloppy motivations.)

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10may2022

cropHere's a blast from the past: a rather boring web page I made exactly a decade ago. Well. Time and distance make the heart grow fonder, or at least less discriminating. Just for kicks I went through my email and other photos from roughly this period, and yeah, those really were happier times.

Last Sunday was the second Mother's Day without mine, the first where I really noticed (cuz we were still reeling from the aftermaths of her death last year) and honestly I'm grateful she didn't live to see this one, much as I miss her—mostly because it means instead of a peaceful, kind death, she'd be undergoing the hell of chemo, and for little gain except the suffering of being in a hospital, likely with memory issues, pain, and very little quality of life; but had she managed to retain her faculties through the haze of treatments, the current political situation would have distressed her very much.

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9may2022

cropI managed to get through most of my week off while visiting friends in NYC without hearing the news. Really, I could've gone through the entire thing without hearing any news of the outside world, but alas, towards the end of the week I checked my phone for other than reference pix of pretty flowers, which turned out to be a bad mistake, cuz oh boy oh joy, women really aren't people, I guess. Certainly not according to certain US Supreme Court Justices.

I do not have Frederick Douglass’ stone-dissolving gift of acid sarcasm, so I'll offer Ms. Plum's Abbatoir, with a side of Pervert Justice's defense of women democrats instead.

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29apr2022

cropI was flipping through old pages (basically because I'm too exhausted to do anything else) and stumbled across this page of one of my favourite necklaces that never got posted.

Well! It's actually sitting on the stringing table right now, mostly restrung except for a couple of dangles (& now I can look at the pix to see how those go...) at which point I will of course re-photograph it.

So! Better get this posted, then, as this version of the page is already very long. Also, the links have been piling up, so time to clear them out:

  • Princess Weekes weighs in on Black representation in Soul and The Frog Princess. It ain't pretty.
  • Xiran Jay Zhao hosted a roundtable (some four hours’ worth) of various South East Asians (SEA) and their feelings about Raya and the Last Dragon. Wow, that's really not pretty.
  • Somehow I missed Lindsay Ellis being down on early feminist criticism of The Little Mermaid when it came out nearly a year ago. Oh, the moral panic over ‘lipstick feminism’! (Remember that ...?) But hey, we got better. And it does mean a Lindsay Ellis essay about one of my fave Dizzy animations. I don't find ironic metacriticism in their later films nearly as annoying as she does, but it was a nice review, and something to be celebrated, since a relatively innocuous tweet about Raya, above, resulted in her quitting her youtube channel. Whilest SEA people's objections are nearly completely ignored. Not pretty.)
  • Sideways explains why my highly flawed blue kittycats (aka Avatar) has a very ironic (not iconic!) soundtrack. Spoiler: it ain't pretty.
  • There's this thing called ejective consonants (that's actually part of the blue kittycats’ conlang.) As it happens, while I cannot roll R's or do a lot of other non-native-to-midwestern-English sounds (oh, that aggravating, impossible Japanese R/D/L sound) I can actually do ejective consonants. They're pretty easy, so you probably can too. And they're fun:)
  • Oh boy (or girl:) Abigail Thorn has a new vid out, this time about transhumanism, that bugbear of the rational altruists. Should be interesting!
  • Why did Turning Red get so many ‘weird’ reviews? Actually, the film has been mostly favourably reviewed (as well it should)—it's just the loudest, most out-there types who are having way too much influence on our discourse are getting a disproportionate share of the news. That said, I enjoyed Xiran Jay Zhao's take on the film. (Also, their decision to honour their promise to a friend and wear a cow costume in all their author pix has allowed me to track their presence across a variety of media—not just the yt things linked here, but also the novel, Iron Widow, that I'm reading. That is iconic.)
  • “The Brontes all died young because they were drinking grave water” is unabashedly a clickbait title, cuz it's not as if they were doing it deliberately. So, to make up for my falling for this, I will happily repeat that PSA, aka clean water is important!
  • When I was researching the Beats for my (failed) kittycat novel, it rather appalled me that William Burroughs got away with killing his wife, Joan Vollmer Burroughs, even though the book I was reading glossed over her death as an accident. Despite my credulity, I couldn't help wondering why the investigation was so brief he only spent a couple of weeks in jail. (Or some ridiculously brief time.) Like so many women, Joan Vollmer's story (& possible? likely? murder) was basically ...excused away in favour of the more important man. Kudos to Katie Bennett for uncovering this nearly forgotten narrative.
  • Jessi Klein makes the case that motherhood is A Campbellian Hero's Journey that this mom found compelling, anyway.
  • I keep stumbling over various Japanese (in) English yt channels, and the latest is Shogo-san's. I watched several (the one where he and his wife talk about how they met is absolutely heartwarming and adorable) but Why you must be ‘normal’ caught my attention for a couple of reasons—one was that I'd actually heard the story about the girl with naturally brown hair forced to dye it black (which I thought bad, because black hair dye is toxic) but I hadn't heard the sad aftermath; another is that probably the most brilliant manga I ever read, Nijigara Holograph is explicitly about bullying, a crappy consequence of not fitting in. The animation about job fairs Shogo recces is well worth your time, and though modern (it was made by a university student in 2012), has to my eyes a 70s or 80s vibe, more in line with underground animation (e.g. Bakshi) than traditional Japanese animation.

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