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.
chaiya: (thoughtful)
This discussion of privilege made me think.

Also, it took me entirely too long to get to reading it.
chaiya: (messy life)
I have a confession to make.

I have said stupid, prejudiced things in the past. I will probably say stupid, racist things in the future. I will try to avoid doing so, but when I fail, the words will come out of my mouth (or the actions will come out of my body), and I will disappoint myself and my community and the better future I am trying to work toward.

Racism and prejudice are really hard things to understand, let alone avoid perpetuating. I am a privileged, middle class, white person. That isn't an excuse, but it is the background of how I am probably incapable of understanding, really grokking, what it's like to be on the receiving end of racism. Lj-cut because I know this got long, not because I think you should skip reading the middle of this entry. )

Racism is hard. Prejudice is challenging. In my opinion, one of the reasons why there is so much controversy about racism amongst well-intentioned people is because we so want to believe that the future is here, the post-racist, post-patriarchy, post-prejudice world that we've spent years dreaming of. That dream is easier than the reality.

I am probably never going to live in the world I hope for, one in which social justice is automatic and there's no need to combat prejudice because it doesn't exist. But until and unless I do live in that world, I will continue doing my best to comprehend racism, to make good choices about social justice, and to listen to others, in general. I will continue to try to put my money where my mouth is, and spend my time trying to fight prejudices in myself and others, as thoughtfully as possible.

I thought about posting this entry to a friends filter. I've said some pretty private stuff here, publicly. I know it's an unpolished entry, too, and I'm bound to have said something poorly that will be jarring to the eye when you read it. But the truth is, I think this is important to say publicly. So I'm screening comments, in the hopes of avoiding my once-and-future-troll, and we'll see how it goes.
chaiya: (hippie)
This Saturday is Spring Clean-Up in Somerville from 10 am to noon. I'm totally gonna help clean up Ward 2, meeting in Union Square. This seems like a perfect spring-y activity (even if it is on Shabbat), and I've noticed lots of trash and stuff around our beautiful city, so I'd like to help make it go away. Anyone want to join me/us?

I don't yet know what kind of supplies the city will provide (and it sounds like they're still soliciting donations of same), so I plan to bring some gloves and a couple of trash bags. Also, some tea. :)
chaiya: (quizzical)
The comments in the Somerville blog are always priceless ...
chaiya: (political)
The solar decathlon, which I read about via the White House Blog, looks awesome. Go, government dollars! ;)

Also, new user icon from the family trip to the JFK Library earlier this summer.
chaiya: (accomplishment)
For those of you who're politics junkies, I found the Cook Political Report on the updated Partisan Voting Index (PVI) quite fascinating.
chaiya: (books)
Discussion of race has been going around a lot, lately. I think it's partly related to Obama's election, and I think it's important to talk about. However, I rarely know what to say. I'm absorbing a lot, and I'm thinking a lot, and I'm hopefully using enough sources of information that no one mis-reading will lead me astray. Not that there's a clear path to travel, of course.

I just this week finished reading Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. I had previously read (during the election cycle) his book The Audacity of Hope. I recommend both highly. Obama has an amazing voice, as a writer, and I feel like I learned a lot about him as a person through both books. I enjoyed reading Hope because it inspired me and made me think about politics in the US today. I loved reading Dreams because I felt like I understood at least a little of what Obama is like as a person, if that's not too audacious a claim, and because I heard from his perspective a lot about what his racial heritage means to him. Dreams was an actual page-turner, which rarely happens between me and non-fiction. (I am a somewhat slow reader, and took both books in chunks, but stayed up reading later than I should have, which is the definition of page-turner to me. Also, I cried at some points of both books.)

My Harvard Bookstore book of the month is The Book of Night Women by Marlon James. It's got great reviews. We'll see when the next time I have time to read a book is!

I will say this: I hope to have discussion of race, slavery, and culture at our Passover seder next month.
chaiya: (meeting of the minds)
Since I read www.electoral-vote.com pretty daily, at this point, I've discovered the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is encouraged by the National Popular Vote campaign. Fascinating! I've disagreed with the use of the electoral college for years, ever since I noticed how non-swing states tend not to get their questions addressed nearly so swiftly during national campaigns, and swing states get the bulk of the attention during a national election. I just didn't know that there might be a way around the electoral college *other* than amending the Constitution.

Take a look!
chaiya: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] rednikki and others. :)

chaiya: (frowny face)
When we first got the Honda Civic Hybrid, we averaged 40 to 45 miles per gallon. Highway driving, we could get up into the 50s and even 60 mpg. Even in winter driving, in the city, we were at least getting 38 mpg or so.

Back around November of this past year, that took a sudden nosedive. We took the car in for her 60K mile checkup (as we have done for all the routine maintenances scheduled in the manual and recommended by the dealership), and did lots of making sure she was okay. Gas mileage didn't improve. Finally, talking about it with a service tech last week, he said, huh, Bush started changing the ethanol additives in gas around then.

Turns out that ethanol additives burn much faster than normal gas. And all the gas stations in New England tend to use that gas.

So now we're averaging 29 to 31 miles per gallon, in a fucking Hybrid, in the summer (which is generally better conditions for mpg than winter). I am outraged. And I can't imagine what kind of crappy mileage others are getting.

Just thought I'd share. Anyone else noticing similar problems? The dealership assures me that there's nothing wrong with our car.
chaiya: (all evil eradicated)
Carl has to run on a sticker campaign, now.

This really makes me angry. Would this have happened to a guy who wasn't a freshman politician, who wasn't an openly gay man? Carl has been an amazing legislator for the past four years, and gotten a lot done. Please, if you live in his district (parts of Somerville, parts of Medford), do your homework and vote your conscience.
chaiya: (explosion)
This story totally rocked my socks off! :)
chaiya: (hippie)
I went and calculated my/our carbon footprint.

(FYI, site doesn't work well in Safari, but Firefox was able to do it just fine.)

Our total carbon footprint seems to be 10.351 tons of CO2.

On the other hand, the site lists these stats:

*The average footprint for people in United States is 20.4 tonnes.
* The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes.
* The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes.
* To combat climate change the worldwide average needs to reduce to 2 tonnes.


So, I'm not doing so great, but I'm not doing too horribly, either. I look forward to the farm share starting up for the spring, so we can be almost entirely using local (nigh organic) produce again.
chaiya: (sunshine kaylee)
It doesn't have to be accurate. It's frikkin' AWESOME!
chaiya: (grumpy old woman)
Adapted from my answer to a question elsewhere:

Labels are important. Words are powerful. Marriage is the word I want (and the word I use) for the legal binding of any person to another person. "Civil union" just doesn't have the ring of truth or progressiveness or equality. It's like saying "the blacks can have water fountains, so long as their water fountains aren't near our white water fountains." Separate but equal isn't really equal. Haven't we already learned that lesson?

(In terms of the upcoming primaries,) I think I might vote for a candidate who supported civil unions if they agreed with me on everything else. No one does agree with me on everything else, though, as far as I can tell. Perhaps someone who's a civil union supporter isn't idealistic enough for me. Even if it's not "practical" right now, I think it's important to stand up for what's assuredly the right thing to do. I believe that it's right to make marriage legal, and that involves acknowledging that those who wish to marry (or divorce, or remarry, or whatnot) *should* be able to do so, even if the current legislation doesn't allow it. That makes me an idealist, apparently.

Debate/discussion is welcome. (Flaming is not.)
chaiya: (meeting of the minds)
I took the candidate match quiz and weighted my issues (high importance on same-sex marriage, low importance on what kind of experience the candidates have -- environment and immigration and Iraq and health care are also pretty important to me, but didn't alter my results). My results were Kuchinich, then Obama, then Clinton. I've been following Obama and Clinton a bit, actually, but haven't done much research on Kuchinich thus far. I'm late to caring about politics, other than in the most general terms or on very specific issues.

Guess it's time to start educating myself.
chaiya: (explosion)
I received a leaflet from the recycling effort at my other job today. It says:

Recycling one aluminum can
saves enough energy to run a
TV for three hours
or the
equivalent of a half a gallon
of gasoline.


Can that be true? Wow.
chaiya: (thoughtful)
There's a remarkable thread going on in the Davis Square LJ comm. Hooters Haircuts for Men wants to open a franchise in Davis?!? The outcry is amazing, and the conversation is fascinating.

In the spirit of inquiry, I have a poll. Please only answer one of the following questions, whichever best fits your situation.

[Poll #1043726]

1 equals very uncomfortable.
10 equals very comfortable.
chaiya: (crystal as menolly)
Harry Potter and the Dark Lord Waldemart. I do think Harry would be fighting Wal-mart, don't you? ;)

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