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: (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: (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: (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. :)
chaiya: (asl "c")
I was somewhat dubious when I heard that Seanan McGuire, newly-minted winner of the Campbell Award this summer (aka [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire), was also publishing a series of books under a different pseudonym. Whyonearthwouldyoudothat? I asked. But it turns out she put a lot of thought into the answer, and she wrote a handy LJ post about it, so if you're curious to read more than the pico-answer, go over to her longer explanation. The most salient point, for me, is genre separation, and the fact that Feed has, as the author herself acknowledges, "a high body count." I agree with her that the audience for Mira Grant books has overlap with the audience for Seanan McGuire books, but they're not entirely the same. Yay, Venn diagrams!

Those of you who have ever watched a movie with me know the term "Crystal-friendly Movie." It means a movie that won't have lots of graphic violence, basically. I walked out on Sin City in the theatre, and nearly broke up with [livejournal.com profile] hakamadare over his choice of movie that night. So you might be particularly confused when I say that this novel, a dystopian future in which lots of people die, graphically, on camera was one that I loved. It made me weep. It wrenched my heart. But I loved it. It was well written. It was poignant and powerful. It made me think. I want to buy lots of copies and give them to my friends.

It's the first book on my list of Hugo nomination submissions. You should all go read it, whether or not you're already a fan of [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire. Particularly if you're a fan of zombies, but I'm not at all a zombie person, and I absolutely loved this book. Even when it broke my heart.

[livejournal.com profile] moominmolly and her crowd, this is so written just for you!
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: (eating brains)
You know what makes me happy?

We have little baggies in our downstairs freezer carefully labelled "emergency cake!" that [livejournal.com profile] hakamadare made a couple of months ago.

My husband is awesome. :)
chaiya: (shul)
What do you think happens when someone dies?

I have been thinking about this a lot, lately (particularly given my Gramma's death). Sometimes the thoughts comfort me, and sometimes I cry about it. But I'm curious. What do others think?
chaiya: (bike)
I'm at 594 miles, atm. [livejournal.com profile] hakamadare and I biked out to the Arisia meeting at [livejournal.com profile] paradoox and [livejournal.com profile] smozz's house today, and then [livejournal.com profile] palmwiz and [livejournal.com profile] noeltheone joined us for the bike ride back.

It was significantly awesome. My birthday morning on Friday kinda sucked (another dental appointment, plus scheduling snafu, plus having my hair pulled out when an unfamiliar person styled it at the salon). Ever since then, though, my days have improved fairly well. Today was pretty awesome, in fact. I even got serenaded by a chorus of boys singing happy birthday to me over ice cream cake! I approve of ice cream cake. A lot. Thank you so much, [livejournal.com profile] paradoox.

[livejournal.com profile] palmwiz also started the heck out of me on the bike ride by asking if I wanted to go faster, and when I responded with a "yes" and tried pedaling faster, he was suddenly pushing me from my sacrum. It was thrilling, and really really speedy, but startling. I whooped a lot.

All in all, today was an excellent present. Despite having to run my first Arisia corporate meeting. ;)
chaiya: Photo of me under the Japanese maple tree in our yard (spring tree serenity)
Just had a longish phone chat with [livejournal.com profile] arib. Saw he was calling, stepped away from my desk, and decided not to let it go to voicemail.

Life is too short to stay angry. Turns out, deciding to let go of it is really awesome. We had a good half-hour talk. I'm kinda proud of both of us for that, if that's not too odd a thing to say. :)
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: (thoughtful)
After some discussion in a friend's LJ recently, I decided that having a "reasons-for-self-love list" is preferable to updating my "reasons-for-self-loathing list."

This has been a public service announcement. ;)
chaiya: (right path)
I just finished eating homemade lasagna that was not in any way cooked by me -- [livejournal.com profile] omly and [livejournal.com profile] yuggoth teamed together on it.

I'm hanging out with friends old and new, and my beloved husband, to see the end of the year through.

Our household has really gelled, recently, and I'm loving it. We have a HOME together. Seriously, this is all I have ever wished for and more. I LOVE this.

I have plans up the whazoo for the next few weeks, which may or may not be crazy (omg, Arisia!), but people still like me and want to spend time with me.

I have a reciprocal (I hope!) infatuation with my iPhone. For which I have made many custom ringtones out of my favorite folk music songs. And 80s songs. Because I can.

I reconnected with [livejournal.com profile] zsquirrelboy and gave and received forgiveness this past week. That was really awesome.

And now I'm sitting in our awesome, huge-ass bathtub with multiple Lush products, while sipping tea and writing on my laptop. Soon I will go back and join people and be social.

But for now, I just wanted to recognize, out loud, that life, as they say, is damn good. Also, I may or may not have already started in on the celebratory booze. ;)
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: (psych)
Or at least somewhat philosophical.

[Poll #1234757]

If the friend relevant to question 1 responds in the affirmative, I'll let them know privately about it. If not, I won't. I often dream about people on my flist or in my social circle, but this time was particularly striking. As far as I know, this isn't someone who is currently pregnant or trying to become so.

I guess I am fascinated by dreams, in general.
chaiya: (dvn attacks fangirl!)
I need to update about Falconridge. Heck, I still want to update about [livejournal.com profile] naufiel and [livejournal.com profile] mtolan's wedding.

But. We now interrupt this broadcast to announce that I am going to see Bruce Springsteen this weekend, live, thanks to some complimentary tickets donated to my employer (well, the employer who isn't me, directly). [livejournal.com profile] hakamadare, [livejournal.com profile] desert_born, and [livejournal.com profile] noeltheone will be joining me. Unless they're ill behaved, in which case I'll scalp the tix for their face value of $77.50.

Eeeeeeee!

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