lolaraincoat: (Default)
What do you know, it's been more than two years since I've posted here, and I'm only back to link you to this, because you, beloved if neglected friends, are precisely the people who need to see it.
lolaraincoat: drawing of toad (toad)
One of my previous posts about what kinds of historical change might have surprised Captain America after he was woken up from a 70-year-long period of hibernation has gotten linked around enough that I'm a bit overwhelmed by comments from nice and enthusiastic people I've never met before. This is flattering, and I'm grateful, but ... OK, a couple of things.

So, first: hello! I'm glad you're here. I'm overwhelmed enough that I am not even going to try to respond to the types of queries about stuff that can easily be figured out with a little googling - you are going to have to take your hat-related questions elsewhere, I'm sorry to say.

Second, to sum up, because I seem to be repeating this a lot in responding to comments: It actually makes no difference to me at all whether you get the small details right (either marvel-canonical or historical.) I know it matters to you whether Captain America would have listened to 78s or 45s, or whatever, and that's great. But that wasn't my point here.

My point was that I keep reading fics which make two very very very wrong assumptions. First, they assume that Steve Rogers grew up in a sexually repressive place and time (particularly, a homophobic one.) Here, the fic writers are assuming that 1945 was just like 1955 - or else just assuming that the past was always all the same. No no no! 1945 was a lot more like, say, 1970 in terms of social mobility and relatively relaxed sexual mortality than it was like 1955. If you write fics in which Steve doesn't know where babies come from, or would punch any man who made a pass at him ... well, you are going to have to explain how it was that he came to be so out of step with just about everyone else in the military in 1945.

And the other wrong assumption made in some of these fics was that the most interesting things about the fic writer's lives in the present day (mostly sex, movies, music, computers and related devices - also, clothing) would also be the biggest surprises to thawed-out Steve Rogers. They might or might not be interesting and/or surprising to him, but they would be much, much less surprising to him than changes in racial hierarchy, gender hierarchy, social class, and economic structure. Those would truly shock a white American man who suddenly went from 1945 to 2010. (As they might shock a non-white American woman, for that matter.) How Steve reacts to all these changes is up to the fic writer, but to have him not even remark on having an African-American commanding officer while being gobsmacked by an iPad is, to me, silly enough that I'll back-button right out of a fic that does it.

So that's what I was trying to say. It's interesting to see so many people coming to have related conversations, and I encourage that! But I'd appreciate it if people would at least skim through the comments others have made first, so they're not repeating each other, and I would also appreciate it if people would link to this post rather than to any of the others. Here are the links for all of them:

First post, LJ version

First post, DW version

Second post, DW version

Second post, LJ version

All of them have some really great discussions going on, so please read through those comments!

lolaraincoat: drawing of phone wirse (wires)
So there were a lot of excellent comments on the first edition of this post (both the LJ version and the DW version) but then they made me think about what I left out, so here's some more stuff that would surprise Captain America when he got woken up after 70 years frozen in ice: )

lolaraincoat: Gorey drawing of character "Mr. Earbrass" (mr earbrass)
I've been reading a lot of Avengers fics - there's been a lot to read - and I've been liking many of these fics quite a lot. Except that there's this one thing that's driving me crazy, so crazy that I keep having to back-button out of perfectly good fics before Nick Fury and the Hulk can even begin to get their freak on, which is kind of tragic. So in case you were thinking of writing anything in the Marvel-verse ever, and you were hoping to avoid me making sad puppy-eyes face, please, please, please consider this question carefully:

What would surprise Captain America in 2012? )

... yeah, anyway, there's a lot for him to catch up on.

But not sex. Really there's not too much new there at all.

ETA: Wow, that's ... a lot ... of comments. I'm glad you're here and will try to respond eventually, but no promises. In the meantime, if you are thinking about commenting here, please read this first. Thank you!

lolaraincoat: (horses of instruction)
Oh you know the one:

Pick up the nearest book to you.
Turn to page 45.
The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.

Psychoanalytic theory would appear to be dependent upon the activation of scenarios with visual, auditory, and narrative dimensions.

Well, that sounds promising. I'll have to try it out as soon as I get over this horrible cold that I caught at the AHA.

(In case you were wondering, that sentence is from Mary Anne Doane, Femmes Fatales: Feminism, Film Theory, Psychoanalysis which I had pulled out of the bookshelf because of a train of thought that began with the introduction to Joan Scott's newish book, Fantasies of Feminist History, though the train didn't get very far, as it turned out. But I remain intrigued by the Scott book and especially feel curious about what [personal profile] cordelia_v, [personal profile] tournevis, and [personal profile] ancarett would make of it.)

lolaraincoat: (slow learner)
So among the several glories of Toronto is the Merrill library, which is a branch of the public library system devoted entirely to science fiction, including an archive of convention programs and zines and other paper ephemera related to fandom, which is an amazing resource. And the Merrill is holding a fundraiser in the form of a SFF short-story contest with a nominal entrance fee.

So, um - I appear to be writing a story to enter into this contest. It's short - probably no more than 2000 words, maybe less - and it's basically just serial-numbers-filed-off Iron Man/Thor/Avengers movieverse fanfic, except set in Toronto. But I would seriously appreciate a beta reader or two. Or three. Or really as many of you as I could talk into reading it, that would be helpful. There's no hurry at all, as the deadline for the contest is next February and I have the first draft nearly complete already. But let me know, and thanks in advance.


p.s. anyone who can think of a better substitute name for Spider Man than Racoon Boy, please speak up right now.

lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)

Garter snakes and Flemish Beauties. Also, some health stuff, so: warning for mention of bodily fluids. )

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
You have to read this:

Beyonce the Vampire Slayer (38621 words) by faviconimpertinence

I don't care if you're not a Buffy fan. I don't care if you can't tell the difference between Beyonce and Joni Mitchell (and oh god stop me before I write a Joni Mitchell, Vampire Slayer 30-chapter epic, destined to be forever a WIP stopped around chapter 18 just as she's struggling out of the clutches of evil vampire David Geffen ...anyway) and I don't care if you never ever ever read het, or RPF. If you read fanfic at all, you have to look at this. Because come on. If Beyonce isn't a slayer, I don't know who is.

God I love fanfic sometimes.

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
A friend of a friend wrote this in ninth grade and I've treasured it up in my head ever since:

Keats and Yeats
on roller skates
went rolling through a wood

Said Yeats to Keats:
"Amazing feats!
Your poetry is good."


So, speaking of amazing feats of genius, there is this astonishing (and only sort of credible) news. Those wacky jokers at CERN, what will they think of next? No but really, this is (as one of the scientists interviewed in the Times says) world-changing news, if true.


And I've been meaning to whine publicly about my health, but it boils down to this: I have an annoying, occasionally very painful, and time-consuming constellation of ailments which are preventing me from doing much of anything. But I have medical leave from my job as long as I need it, I have insurance like you wouldn't believe, I have lots of good friends around (including Fishwhistle) keeping my spirits up, it's not remotely life-endangering, and probably almost all of it will go away as soon as I have a minor operation, in about a month. So if I'm not around much that is why, but you know, it's always something, right?

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
This will be of special interest to Justin Timberlake fans, but it's kind of brilliant even if you've never heard of him. Click here. NSFW by the way, but only a little bit.

Otherwise, as some of you know, I have been at home a lot lately recuperating from an annoying but absolutely not-life-threatening illness, and waiting around for the next medical thing to happen. This has led to a certain amount of messing around on YouTube. I recommend looking up vids of HBCU marching bands if you ever feel glum at all or in any way not optimistic about the human condition. There's no one perfect one to show you all, but try googling around for Jacksonville's marching band, and also Howard U.'s homecoming parades.

lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
So I was talking with a friend who teaches in another department at The University with the Name That Rhymes with Spork. She said, "I'm worried about this new Associate Dean."

I said, "Yeah, I had some dealings with her when I was running our grad program and she was on the grad faculty, and not all of them went all that smoothly."

And my friend said, "Well actually what worries me is that I was kind of mean to her when we were both in high school. I mean, if I known I was going to end up working for her ..."

Meanwhile we also have a new(ish) dean who is making himself unpopular with the faculty - even less popular than mid-level administrators usually are. His big new innovation is enforcing rules related to paperwork, to ensure financial probity and cut down on waste. So now when we are making budget requisitions (for example to reimburse ourselves for minor expenses by charging them against the budgets of grants, if we have grants) we have to fill out a spiffy new two-page form, as opposed to the previous one-page form, and then sign it in blue ink. If we accidentally sign it in another color of ink, or if either of the requisite two counter-signatures by other people are in another color, the form gets rejected and we have to submit it again. But since the dean's office neglected to send out a memo or anything to let anyone know about this new rule, a whole bunch of people (me included) got our expense forms bounced back to us because they were signed in black ink. And no note was attached explaining why. If our department secretary didn't have a sister working in the dean's office we would never have known.

There's this whole complicated mess involving getting copyright clearance for every single item on our course websites which will take too long to explain and is too complicated to go into so I will just say that even though I am not even teaching this term and don't have to worry about it until December, and by then the rules will have changed at least once since they seem to be completely revised every six weeks, the whole nightmareish disaster is making me sad.
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
I just got back from the funeral procession, and then the funeral, for Jack Layton. It was kind of amazing. )

Living here in this orderly and sometimes red-tape-ridden city, I often wish for more of what Mexico City has – that sense of desmadre, the feeling that everything is going to tilt over into chaos at any second (but not always in a bad way.) It was so good to be reminded that Toronto can rise to the occasion once in a while, that we too can improvise celebrations of death and life, and make meaning out of disaster.

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
Following up on the NPR meme, a couple of you asked what my top 100 SF books would be, and since I can't ever answer a simple question straightforwardly, here's a list of SF-ish stories, books and series of books which I love, alphabetically by author because ranking seemed ridiculous.

I can't promise that I would come up with same list on any other day, mind you. Also my view of what counts as SF(f) is pretty expansive, though I left off fanfic because otherwise this list would be in the thousands. But there are a couple of books on here that are meta-SFF, more than SFF: The Short Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Among Others are about being a fan of SF, while The Blind Assassin and Funny Papers are about being a pulp fiction writer, as is The Escapists, which is also specifically a commentary on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. If I could have figured out how to list them by author I might have included two text-intensive games, Fallen London and Myst. And so on.

Anyway, here you go: Less than 100 works of SFF that I like a lot right now )


So what do we learn from this? I have a soft spot for novels by leftist Brits and I'm far more tolerant of series than I might have guessed. Compared to the NPR list, I'm slightly less biased in favor of male authors and significantly less biased in favor of white authors, but it's not like that was a high bar to clear.

And now, your turn: what SFF do you love, and why?

lolaraincoat: (Default)
So, here's my version of that meme that's going around based on the NPR listeners' list of favorite SF/F books. It's a dumb list for several reasons, such as failure to include many books I like, inclusion of many books I don't like one bit, overemphasis on dead white male authors of questionable politics and prose style, and inconsistency in defining book series as single entries or multiple one. All lists are dumb anyway, but I like them. So anyway, the meme: )

I don't avoid *all* long series full of hard-to-pronounce place names and complicated family trees. I just avoid the ones which aren't written by George R.R. Martin. Also, my own 100-best-SF-ever list would only include about a dozen of these books. Maybe twenty. Maybe.

lolaraincoat: (tomato)
So here's how Fishwhistle and I watch TV: on DVDs, one show at a time, and a whole season at a gulp. We are nothing if not committed. We watched all of Dollhouse, even, which I believe makes us the only people in the whole wide world who did, including the show runners. We were complaining all the while, but we watched it. We are picky about what we watch, but once we start, we finish. The only exception was The Wire, because we got to the season where the whole season was going to be about the sociopathic children in peril, and ... yeah, no, couldn't do it. Even though we thought the first three seasons of The Wire were the best tv ever. Anyway, my point: we are tv completists.

So, because so many of you all had expressed enthusiasm about Fringe - and also because there was no more Mad Men left to watch - we sat through all of the first season of Fringe, waiting for it to get good. (And the very last episode was a little better.) We were encouraged because a few people told us that it gets good in season two, like really good, and also because Lance Reddick, and also I swear somebody told me that the star, Anna Torv, is queer and out, although my friend Mr. Google tells me otherwise. And Leonard Nimoy. And I guess Marcus Giamatti? Who I went to grade school with, so that's nice, that he is working and all.

Anyway we are now five episodes into season two, and - is it supposed to be better already? Are we missing the betterness? It might be better, but I just can't tell. We're going to keep watching it, because that is how we roll (I've been waiting for years for a chance to use that phrase. So satisfying.) But can we hope for better from, say, episodes six through fifteen, or whatever?


In happier news, the tomatoes are starting to get ripe and it looks like this will be a good year for them.
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
Nothing I could say about Amy Winehouse hasn't been said already, and better than I could say it. But her death put me in mind of Marilyn Hacker's elegy for Janis Joplin, which on re-reading is not any good at all, but does have one stanza that still has something good going on in it, so here is that one stanza:

From 'Elegy' )
lolaraincoat: (leap!)
Here's an email I just sent, with some explanatory emendations:

Dear [Hapless editor at mid-level academic press who asked me for a blurb of a new edited collection in my exact field],

the ms arrived just now and I am very sorry to say this, but I can't blurb it. One of the articles included is about [very specific topic in my exact field], about which I published a fairly well-known article myself a decade ago [the only other scholarly work ever about this event, although subsequently there was a documentary film on the topic.] Its author is both inaccurate and - in my biased view - unduly harsh in his characterization of my article, and it's just a footnote, but I can't quite bring myself to help out the otherwise quite lovely book. Do convey my regrets and apologies to [the editors, one of whom was on my dissertation committee and also, ten years later, was the supervisor of the ill-mannered scholar who wrote the mean and inaccurate footnote]


[Lola the Pissed-off Raincoat]

For the record, I am usually delighted to have my work discussed, updated, improved upon; criticism is somewhat less delightful to me, but only a little. But in this case the author of the article clearly felt that he couldn't write about the topic without trashing the work of previous scholars who had written about it. Shouldn't somebody have taught him better than that?

lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
So, I am trying out Google+, half-heartedly. I hate change! On the other hand, I kind of hate Facebook! and spend so much time there anyway! and so if Google+ allows me to consolidate what I like about LJ/DW with what I like about Facebook, that would be nice.

If you are there, come find me. I am just using my real-life name but just leave me a message here if you want to know about that.

What I have found myself doing so far on Google+ is complaining about the first season of Fringe, which sucks in my opinion (I know some of you like it! Sorry! Maybe we should have started with season 2! It is nice to see all those shots of the University of Toronto standing in for "Harvard"! & etc.!) And so someone who hadn't seen the show asked for an explanation, and this is what I wrote )

So that is why I don't like Fringe. I hope you are glad that you asked!
lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
So you all know the term "orientalism," right? Invented by Edward Said to indicate the western European set of ideas and images and metaphors and stories about the Middle East which supported formal and informal colonialism between the mid-nineteenth and the mid-twentieth century, right? A very handy term - once you know what it is, you start to see it everywhere, which was kind of Said's point I guess.

Anyway. My question: is there an equivalent word to sum up the set of ideas and images and metaphors and stories from the US (and France, and Britain) about Latin America from the mid-nineteenth century to the present? You know what I mean - the idea that all those people "down there" are "hotblooded little brown people" and so on and so on and so on on on. I need a word. Unless I should just use "orientalism." But probably not.

lolaraincoat: (leap!)
Hello, hellllloooooo ...

well I see that there will be more Potter ... something ... from JK Rowling, and that seems as good a reason as any to dust this journal off.

Besides I meant to tell you all about this amazing book project which I got to write a chapter for, Harry Potter and History. I've never had more fun doing academic work than writing my chapter for this book, and I can't say anything about my own work here, but the other chapters are delightful: funny, erudite, full of peculiar details. You all are pretty much the proper audience for the book, so please go buy multiple copies. We want to encourage the publisher to do more. Wouldn't a Mad Men and History book be a wonderful thing? It's highly unlikely, but it would be wonderful, is my point. Meanwhile, though, this book is fabulous.

Meanwhile, in case you were looking for me, I am hanging out a bit at Twitter and a lot at Ta-Nehesi Coates's blog, under this name, and then on Facebook under my real name. But now, since it is a lovely day and the tomatoes are weedy, I am going out to do a little gardening.


lolaraincoat: (Default)

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