chaiya: (cute smile)
I'm hardly ever on LJ, these days. I want to let y'all know that I'm frequently on Twitter as @crystalvisits and @CrystalMHuff, and I'm on FB sometimes, and I occasionally blog at www.crystalvisits.wordpress.com. I'm working hard on a number of projects, the most public of which is currently the Helsinki bid for Worldcon (www.helsinkiin2017.org).

I think a fair amount has changed about my life over the past few years. I'm happy to keep touch with my friends from LJ, but I just haven't had the time for LJ as a platform; it doesn't work well with my phone, which is a big problem for the life I've been leading.

So find me elsewhere, as above? I'll try to pop in here occasionally, or at least more often than every few years...

And I send hugs. :)
chaiya: (TARDIS)
It's my birthday, so I'm going to ramble a bit. Please indulge me. ;)

To a large extent, I have already gotten what I wanted for my birthday. Readercon 24, the science fiction convention I chaired this past weekend, went really well. We had excellent attendance, fantastic conversations, and lots of people had a really great time. While there were some bumps along the way, nothing seems to have gone horribly awry (knock on wood). I believe we didn't kill Readercon over the past year. In fact, we came within twenty attendees of hitting our membership cap. I've been asked to chair Readercon again next year. Third time's the charm? ;)

My friends are, many of you, fans of science fiction. Are you yet a member (either supporting or attending) of LoneStarCon3 (this year's World Science Fiction Convention)? Are you in the process of voting on the Hugo ballot, and perhaps pondering whether you want to become an Advance Supporting Member of the 2015 Worldcon (aka, vote on site selection for 2015)?

You may have noticed that I've visited Helsinki twice so far this year. I'll be going to Finland (and Sweden) again in October to attend Swecon. (And many thanks to the love and generosity of my family and my colleagues at Luminoso for letting me run around like this!) The reason for my visiting Helsinki so much is that I'm heavily involved in the bid to bring Worldcon to Helsinki in 2015. So much so, in fact, that if Helsinki wins, I've been asked to co-chair the Worldcon that would result.

This is something I am incredibly excited about. It's a fascinating challenge, and I want to take it on.

To do that, though, Helsinki needs to win the vote on site selection. This year's race is tight, between Helsinki, Spokane, and Orlando. The votes have already started to roll in!

If you are reading this and a member of Worldcon this year, please vote on your Hugo ballots. Voting is good for you! Please further consider paying the extra $40 fee to vote on site selection. The Helsinki team (including me) would appreciate your consideration for site selection, and we are happy to answer any questions you might have about the bid and our plans.

If you're not already a member of Worldcon this year, but want to vote for us, the basic steps you can follow are:

1. Get a membership for this year's Worldcon (either supporting membership or attending). (This gives you ebooks of the Hugo-nominated literature and allows you to vote on the Hugo awards, so long as you do so by the end of the month!)

2. Pay the $40 USD site selection voting fee.

3. Print out the voting ballot. Fill it in, and seal it as instructed.

4. You can mail it yourself, or contact info@helsinkiin2015.org and we can make sure your ballot is delivered at Worldcon this year!

For more details on voting, you can also look at Helsinki's Page of Site Selection Explanation.

Any questions? :)
chaiya: (tough chick)
This past year has seen significant discourse on addressing sexual harassment in fandom.

Friends will remember that I chaired Arisia in 2011, and worked with the executive board to ban a man who harassed several individuals (not just women) -- banned first from staff, then the 2011 convention, and then from 2012. This past week, I forwarded my post-con 2011 report to the division head currently tasked with making Arisia 2014 safe, at her request.

I chaired Readercon last July, and we were at the epicenter of a harassment firestorm. After said storm, Readercon staff (particularly [livejournal.com profile] rosefox and my beloved [livejournal.com profile] omnia_mutantur) put extensive effort into creating a clear new Code of Conduct, Policies, and Procedures for addressing reports of harassment and problematic behavior. It is my fervent hope and belief that we are making vast improvements, although I know it's unlikely we've gotten it perfect right out of the gate.

I care about fandom. I care passionately about conventions. I used to average more than one per month. I have traveled internationally to meet strangers and talk about science fiction (Montreal, Melbourne, London, Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Aland, so far!).

I am working actively on making a better future in fandom, on multiple fronts, as much as I can. I'm even contributing significantly to the Helsinki Worldcon Bid (here, have a reminder to show us your support!), which is another facet of conversing about the future.

Fandom has a long way to go. But as Elise Matthesen is demonstrating, with help from Jim Hines and Seanan McGuire, amongst others, fandom is definitely *having* this conversation now. Which is fantastic.

We have and will will make mistakes. I have certainly made more than my share. (Not for nothing, but we all agree now that a zero tolerance policy discourages some reports, potentially making a less safe environment. To my grave, I will wish I'd paid more attention to our policy prior to Readercon 23.)

Hopefully we will continue to learn.

RIP Grampa

May. 5th, 2013 12:25 am
chaiya: (henna)
Of all the journal entries I have been writing in my head recently, this wasn't one.

My Grampa spent this past week in the ICU with a systemic infection and sepsis. He passed away tonight, never having regained consciousness. I got to spend time with him this afternoon, alongside [livejournal.com profile] hakamadare, [livejournal.com profile] eldrad, as well as my Mom, step-grandmother Pat, and aunt Sandy. I didn't get to say good-bye, per se -- I thought I would get to do that after dinner, or perhaps tomorrow night. But I did see him, and his passing is definitely better than his staying would have been.

My favorite photo of Grampa is the one that comes up when he calls my cell -- he's wearing a bright red crab-shaped hat, and is menacing the camera with his fingers outstretched, grinning maniacally.

It was very rare to see him do anything other than smile.

He used to read aloud to me from Peanuts comic strips when I was a kid. He would do the voices. His voice for Lucy was particularly hilarious.

He went from being a staunch Republican (voted for Bushes!) to a staunch Obama supporter.

He was married to my Gram until her death in 1999(ish?), and he remarried in 2002(ish?) to a spitfire woman named Pat.

Grampa believed strongly in family loyalty. He did his utmost to provide for 5 kids, 15 grandkids, and 4 (I think) great-grandkids.

He continually told me, growing up, that he would live to be 100. He actually lived to be 90.5. The last time he went to the gym (3x/week!) was about a week ago.

Grampa was an engineer who tinkered. He loved fixing things. He loved jokes.

And now he's gone.

There are many hardest parts, but one such was convincing Pat to take her meds tonight before sleeping. Oh, my heart.
chaiya: (ancient camera)
The Brattle Theatre desperately needs money. They've set up a kickstarter campaign. They need another $8k, in the next 3 days, or they lose the $132k pledged.

PLEASE HELP.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brattle/brattle-theatre-digital-projection-and-hvac-renova
chaiya: (Readercon)
Please read the Readercon convention committee's statement on recent events: http://readercon.org/publicstatement.htm
chaiya: (Readercon)
The entire Readercon board has now either resigned or announced intention to resign at the next meeting.
chaiya: (blue eyes)
Seventeen days have gone by since the board was notified of Ms. Valentine's complaint.

Seven have passed since the board had their emergency meeting and gave a decision.

Five days ago, Rose Fox called for a vote of the concom to overrule the board of directors' decision.

I have personally been on this for not quite four days. Aside from everything else, my highest accomplishment thus far may have been to suss out why Ms. Kligman didn't receive a response from the board before now, apologize profusely to her, and address her directly on the phone last night. (As has been discussed elsewhere, the board didn't receive her email, and we didn't realize it until someone else wrote in referring to her complaint.) Ms. Kligman told me that she understood, accepted my apology, and said that "we're cool." I hope that does reflect her feelings about it, but she also has the right to let me know that more discussion is needed or wanted by her in the future, and I will do my best to be available to her again if that is the case.

It is a very important conversation (or cluster of conversations) that we are having here, about safe space and personal responsibility for behavior and harassment and gender and standards, among other things. I am very grateful we are discussing these things, and I would not wish it to go away. I think the community and the larger culture needs to be talking more about this, painful and difficult though it may be. I WOULD wish that it didn't involve personally attacking any of the individuals involved, because none of them deserve to be treated poorly. Ms. Valentine and Ms. Kligman don't deserve to be treated poorly. The members of the Readercon board don't deserve to be treated poorly. I'd like to think I don't deserve to be treated poorly. No one here deserves to be treated without respect, in my opinion.

I do not feel that we are taking this lightly, or that we are acting slowly, particularly as we are a committee. I am sorry that others do.
chaiya: (books)
Edited to add: Due to trying to make progress on addressing this situation, as well as coming back to my normally-60-hours-a-week job after camping vacation, I do not have nearly the time I'd like to respond to comments. They will all be read, and I will do my best to participate in this discussion, too, but I want to explain why I'm less available than I wish I could be.
chaiya: (corner of sky)
I have not, recently, made many posts in my LJ, and some of this post involves information that I have never publicly shared before. So this is a challenging step for me, but it might be needed, and I want to do what is needed, if possible, if I can.

Readercon has been at the epicenter of a discussion about harassment and safe space in fandom, this past week. As the chair of this past Readercon, I can't be unbiased. I can't speak for Readercon as a whole, but I do have thoughts I would like to share publicly at this time (now that I'm back from my annual camping trip, which unfortunately coincided with a lot of the discussion I now feel the need to respond to).

I value safe spaces, and I am confident that this is a priority for Readercon people, as well. Many Readercon staffers are the same people who've been deeply involved supporters of the Backup Project. We recognize that the board's decision with regard to Ms. Valentine's complaint of harassment was made in haste, as was the original policy with regard to harassment at Readercon. In order to not compound errors further, we as the Readercon convention committee will be reexamining both with lots of thought and care.

That will, unfortunately, take time. We apologize for that, and for those who want a final decision sooner, but we are not able to do this both well and quickly. The makeup of the Readercon board is in transition, which does not in any way speed this process up.

Please have patience with us while we sort through this.

In the meantime, if it is possible, please try to add positively to this discussion. Think about ways that we can all support women PEOPLE coming forward with their concerns, in this community and the wider community. Be cognizant that the people trying to make Readercon happen were overworked and unpaid volunteers *before* these events, and are now even more overloaded with even fewer resources to spare.

Above all, please try to treat each other with respect and dignity. The amount of email I personally have received about this is astounding. The high percentage of emails that are pointedly hurtful and fall into name-calling is quite depressing. The calls to action have been furious and had no response from me before now (and many unfortunately will have to continue to wait for responses) because I was actually unable to respond before now. Not that most people realized this, but I was on a camping trip, away from internet and cell service for most of the past week.

I was not involved in the Readercon board's decision concerning this matter, but I did chair this past Readercon and was asked to chair the next one. I am personally invested, as a survivor of harassment, abuse, and rape, in having Readercon be a safe space. Please do not think I am impartial or uninvolved in the large-scope discussion we are having. Please allow us to take the time to have it.

Edited to add: Due to trying to make progress on addressing this situation, as well as coming back to my normally-60-hours-a-week job after camping vacation, I do not have nearly the time I'd like to respond to comments. They will all be read, and I will do my best to participate in this discussion, too, but I want to explain why I'm less available than I wish I could be.
chaiya: (thoughtful)
This discussion of privilege made me think.

Also, it took me entirely too long to get to reading it.
chaiya: (happy)
Hurry! www.readercon.org! It'll be awesome! :)
chaiya: (shul)
[livejournal.com profile] hakamadare made blintzes for breakfast, and last night's homemade cheesecake (Steve's first!) was set for this afternoon's snack. It was amazingly tasty, particularly with my homemade applesauce from last fall.

This isn't the way I'd planned to celebrate Shavuot, but it is pretty damn nice, all the same. :)

Wow.

Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:03 pm
chaiya: (yoga)
It turns out, my life is often just damn amazing. :)

Meh!

Dec. 22nd, 2011 07:32 pm
chaiya: (avenger)
In trying to fix the LJ settings, I realized that my old customized mood icons no longer function, and also somehow I managed to b0rk my custom default view. I reset to the new S2 or whatever, and now my beautiful wide-view journal looks like a thin column in the middle of blank blue space. Meh!

Does anyone know how to use my old Firefly mood icons (have they disappeared? the images won't load!)? And please feel free to suggest a view style that doesn't suck. :P I may not write in my LJ nearly so often, but I try to read it several times a week. Particularly when home sick. :P
chaiya: (books)
O my friends, many of whom are library geeks, I need advice. We have many YA books to add to the librarything.com account. Do we file them in the overstuffed Kid Lit section of the library (in our guest room), or do we file them in the Adult Fiction section of the library? The shelves in the guest room have very little room (I'm actually pondering a cull, for the first time in a while). But the shelves in the entertainment room aren't much better, once the current set of books gets shelved. And when being visited by a 12-14 year old, will he or she want to curl up in the hammock in the Kid Lit section, knowing Nancy Drew, Winnie the Pooh, and board books are all in the same room?

Hm. There's simply no way we can fit all the Nancy Drew books anywhere else.

Okay, then, here's the real question: Do Nancy Drew, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, and Madeleine L'Engle belong together? Is it okay to put them in the Kid Lit section, alongside Winnie the Pooh and board books?

These are the things my household ponders. ;)
chaiya: (cooking and medieval oddities)
I may or may not have worried that we'd run out of food. ;)

The obligatory food orgy is behind the cut! )
chaiya: (eating brains)
When you need a laugh, Improv Everywhere is there to cheer you up. With silliness. It's awesome.
chaiya: (cooking and medieval oddities)
Because someone asked for it recently, I reproduce for posterity. This isn't a recipe we made up ourselves, but something we've experimented with from Myla's kitchen for a year or more, at this point. It's always ended up coming out crack-alicious. :)

Take 5 big cans of butter beans. Drain the extra liquid out.
In a big fry pan, fry up something tasty like: a couple of onions (chopped), sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, tasty sliced carrots ... use your imagination.
Always use a bit of sesame oil in the mix, and preferably a bit of butter, but mostly olive oil for the fat of choice (because it makes the beans stick less to the pan, later).
Let saute or simmer in the pan for a bit.
When the above options are mostly thoroughly cooked, add a spicing theme. Ones we've tried with success are: zatar spices (with sesame seeds), Chinese five spice, Italian herb blend, cinnamon/cumin/clove, curry, shallot salt ... We usually go for savory rather than sweet on this recipe, but butter beans are awesome no matter what you do to them.
After mixing in the spices, add the butter beans and mix everything again. Add water or veg broth if more liquid is needed. Don't let the beans utterly dry out.
The beans don't actually need to cook all that long, they just need to warm up, basically. Somewhere between five and twenty minutes, or after the liquid has mostly cooked off, you should be good to go.
chaiya: (storm troopers)
Me: "This movie made me very conscious of forgetting my wedding ring after my client. When we get home, remind me to put it back on?"
[livejournal.com profile] eldrad: "Does it go BAMF?"
[livejournal.com profile] hakamadare: ...
Me: "Well, it doesn't go pew-pew-pew!"

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