Wednesday, September 22 2021

Quote of the Day

Being poor is not an indication of potential or worth. It’s a lack of resources.

Kim Harrison, A Perfect Blood

Understanding a thing finally!

Now that The Uninhabitable Earth is in my researching rear-view, I’m moving on to more specific research for my novel. I’m still a little shaky on worldbuilding, so I decided to take a chance on MasterClass, and watched N.K. Jemisin’s class on Writing SFF. Completely worth it! I actually understand what I need to do now, with a simple, repeatable process. Her explanation of power dynamics in a society alone was worth the price of the whole year of access to the site.

Looking over my old work with this new information, I can see now exactly what I was missing and why a lot of my stories seemed to take place on a low-budget set instead of in a world.

I’m watching the worldbuilding section of some of the other writing classes on MasterClass to see if there are any gems in there, but Nora’s process is going to be basis of how I’m going to start worldbuilding.

It’s amazing seeing these pieces start to all come together. It’s amazing to be able to look at my stories and finally see what was missing and how I could improve them.

I can’t wait to get to work.


Tattoo

I’ve been re-reading some of Kim Harrison’s The Hallows series lately, because they are comforting as a warm coat in late fall. My probiotics have been messing my guts all up, I have no idea right now what is “safe” to eat, so I’ve been in pain a lot and having to spend a couple hours a day re-grouping. I’ve lowered my dose, so hopefully that will help.

I’m in the middle of A Perfect Blood, and Rachel just got a tattoo (spoilers, I guess, but it’s a pretty minor plot point externally). It made me think about my tattoo. Which I haven’t. In a really, really long time.

There was lots of symbolism talk in the book about the final design of Rachel’s tattoo. And even though I’ve read this book at least 5 times I’ve never connected it to the symbolism of tattoos in general, or how I got mine without having any real clear idea about what it meant at all.

Yeah….I’m wearing forever marks on my skin that I stole from a tiny detail piece of an artist’s painting of a parrot. I don’t remember the artist, nor could I probably find the painting. The detail was not part of the parrot itself, it was a little circular symbol. I don’t have any idea why I wanted this kind of design. I didn’t know then. At the time I was big on following my instinct and figuring it out later. I never figured it out. Here it is:

Why those colors? I don’t know. What kind of flower is that? I don’t know. Is it a 6 pointed star or 3 loopy links locked together or 2 stacked triangles? I don’t know. Why are there 6 little balls? No clue. Why is the whole thing outlined in little half-circles? Why indeed.

It’s like 15 years later and I got nothing. I originally got the tattoo as a reminder that I didn’t have to go back to being a version of myself that I didn’t like. I honestly have no idea that I ever needed that reminder. I never looked at my tattoo and had this great moment of realization about My Life and Where I Was Going and Who I Am. It’s a thing on me and honestly, I’m reasonably mystified as to why it’s there.

At least it’s pretty?

Maybe when I’m 85 I’ll be able to look at it and say, oh yes, I see now how that fit into my life. Maybe it was a waste of however much I paid for it. ($300?) Maybe someday a fairy will conjure with it and trap me in the fairy realm forever and I’ll be like oops, maybe I should have figured out what this symbol meant a long time ago….


Resources

Another Rachel Mariana Morgan realization. Rachel always tries to do the Right Thing, to stand up when it’s time to stand up and not let bad behavior slide. And, Kim Harrison makes clear, she expects that of others.

It’s one of the things I love about the character, because that’s something I wish I did in my life more often. But I did have the realization today that she has a lot of resources to back her up when standing up to power greater than her own doesn’t work out. She’s got the help of entire government agencies, and lots of people who have power and money and skills that mean she always has a place to turn when she loses everything.

This isn’t inherently a bad thing. It’s just a thing to remember if you want to stand up and are afraid even when inspired by characters like Rachel. It’s a lot easier to stand up when you have resources.


Bad oil

I clicked on a clickbait-y headline on YouTube, and actually found a well-researched thing. Why is food so problematical? Am I going to have to search the store for duck fat now?

The $100 Billion Dollar Ingredient making your Food Toxic

Monday, September 20 2021

Quote of the Day

You need a new hobby, Rachel. Something other than nasty little men with visions of world domination. 

Kim Harrison, Pale Demon

Omega-3 fats are really really great

So my nutritionist says. And mine seem to be low. I eat seafood, but apparently not enough. I was cooking with walnut oil for a while, because that is supposed to be a good source of omega-3s. But there are types, my friends. There are types.

Why The Omega-3s In Walnuts Are Not The Same As The Ones In Fish And Algae

And I just bought a whole new bottle of walnut oil. Sigh.


Downgraded humans

This phrase is astounding.

The result of all this is what Harris calls “human downgrading”: A decade of evidence now suggests that digital tech is eroding our attention, which is eroding our moral attention, which is eroding our empathy.

 Sigal Samuel, It’s hard to be a moral person. Technology is making it harder., Vox.com

There aren’t exactly any big surprises in this article, but I’ve noticed the lack of empathy out in the Real World, not just online. It’s…interesting knowing it is partly technology to blame.


Starting to find the ways

I stumbled over the idea of solarpunk a number of years ago, and it intrigued me because while I had loved cyberpunk in the 90s, watching the present turn into the future of cyberpunk was a lot less fun in reality than in novels. I was annoyed that sci-fi wasn’t moving beyond cyberpunk to the next vision for most of the 2000s. A couple years ago I heard of solarpunk, and realized that finally, we had.

I know I want to write about hope mostly because I’m sick of despair. Also despair is about as motivating as a traffic jam. We need to be moved to act, I feel, not moved to give up. But that was just me appreciating the idea of solarpunk, not really trying to be in it to write about it.

Now I’m trying to be in it to write about it. And I found these things:

From Afrofuturism to ecotopia: A climate-fiction glossary

Is Becky Chambers the Ultimate Hope for Science Fiction?

The more we talk about tea, the more Chambers and I realize we’re circling a fundamental truth about the genre: Tea—cross-cultural and civilizing; steeped in historical trade; revealing, in the leaves it leaves behind, of possible futures—might be the most science-fictional of all beverages. Long before Star Trek’s Captain Picard asked for “tea, Earl Grey, hot,” the Infinite Improbability Drive in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was being powered, Douglas Adams wrote, by “a fresh cup of really hot tea.” More recently, there’s Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta, about a tea master in a water-scarce dystopia, and novellas like The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard. Ann Leckie made tea, its rituals and its trade, central to her Imperial Radch books, one of the more important trilogies in modern times. Even Yoda, in swampy exile, enjoys steaming mugs of things. As does Baby Yoda, his serene sippingmemorialized in a thousand memes.

Dreamforge: A Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

A few of what I’m sure will be many more….