lolaraincoat: (leap!)
I am supposed to be getting a replacement computer from Spork very soon. I have been in the state of supposed to be getting a replacement computer for some months now. There has already been the ritual grovel at the IT office, and a lengthy discussion of voice recognition software. There has been no communication from the IT office at all, though, for about six weeks. Time for more grovelling, probably.

Meanwhile, this computer on which I am now typing, which is my own and not Spork's, and is elderly but has a newish hard drive, is not getting any younger. It has taken to crashing, but only the screen crashes; sounds continue to come out. Today this happened in the middle of a YouTube video of Chumbawumba playing Tubthumping at Glastonbury, which I had clicked on by mistake. Tubthumping continued to play from the speakers for some minutes even after I had closed the computer, and when I turned the computer back on, it had deleted four Word files I had been working on. I blame the anarchists. Seriously, I had better go grovel some more at the IT office.

Also on YouTube today I learned that at some point in the last presidential administration, Billy Bragg had rewritten most of "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward" in ways that I found unfortunate. Not much rhymes with Rumsfeld, it turns out. So.

Yesterday in the parking lot of the Staples where I park when I am going to the acupuncturist, I found a couple of cds - a compilation of music from New Orleans, and some random Christian rock. I was going to play them, but now I'm wondering if they were put there by anarchists, to crash my computer. What? It could happen!

I am very gradually getting better from my shoulder injury (a combination of bursitis, tendonitis, torn muscle, frayed muscle, and arthritis in both shoulder joints and the elbow, aren't you sorry you asked? martial artists, don't spend too much time with the punching bag, the end) but still taking a lot of drugs, which make me loopy and unable to work well some of the time, so I am on sick leave, which leaves me lots of time for random poking around on YouTube for Billy Bragg videos. But also! I have been reading. And so I say:

Everybody should go read The City & the City right away. And then tell me what you think! I loved it immoderately, much more even than I loved the Perdido Street trilogy, which I loved, but maybe that's just the drugs talking?

Also, [personal profile] twotoedsloth sent me a link to an article from this journal, which looks pretty interesting for you fan studies people out there - http://www.participations.org/index.htm -
in that it seems to position its contents as empirically based in opposition to the overly abstract cinema studies and fan studies schools. Which is to say that there's a whole scholarly wank out there of which I have been unaware up to now. But they seem to agree with me that there are no spectators, as in flesh and blood people watching a movie, in the spectatorship literature and that this is a bad thing, so ... well, anyway, potentially interesting journal, is all.

I've been too crippled to do much gardening this year, but the tomatoes are doing all right anyway. I put them in pots instead of in the ground, so far fewer problems with blight, but we are getting fewer of them so far and they're smaller. Tigerella tomatoes are my new favorite, though.

Hey! I updated my LJ/DW! Whoo!
lolaraincoat: (green (rosemary))
Hey, look! A post that is not about Remix! Go me!

So, Mr. Adorno, you're telling me that ideological agreement should trump esthetic judgement? )

Reading Little Brother did make me think that I want to read novels about the characters at its margins - the people stuck in off-shore prisons without habeus corpus rights, the teachers unable to figure out what to say to their students about the national-security state, the military recruiters ... I'm just not as interested in the technologically-empowered (white, male, young) activists. Maybe it's just that I feel like I know their story already.

Meanwhile back in the garden... )

All of this gardening was made complicated by my desire to not drive anywhere this weekend, because of the surprise public transit strike that began midnight Friday. There was going to be a strike last week, but then they called it off, but instead the union went out with less than two hours' notice Friday night. Luckily every one of the eighteen guests who came to dinner on Friday (yes, Ratty, it was a potluck) had carpooled or walked or biked or taken the suburban trains from out of town, so they could all get home all right.

My still-new-ish job, it appears, turns into an eighty-hour-a-week monster in February and March and some of April, and last week was still a very long one, but things are winding down now, so that's good. And it's been interesting - so interesting, in fact, that it will have to wait for a less public post.
lolaraincoat: (fish1)
Well, my brother's wedding was just unspeakably depressing, so let us not speak of it. Heteronormativity gives me an itchy rash, but you knew that. Let us -- and by us I mean me -- instead give thanks to those who cheered me up after, in 24 hours in the City That Cheers Me Up: [livejournal.com profile] bowdlerized, [livejournal.com profile] cubby66, [livejournal.com profile] stillwell, Matty O., Amanda, [livejournal.com profile] twotoedsloth and [livejournal.com profile] idlerat most of all. I love you and miss you and miss everyone I didn't get to see, too.

But that's not what I wanted to post about. What I wanted to post about is Julie Phillips' biography of the science fiction writer James Tiptree Jr./Alice B. Sheldon. It's not a great book, but it's fascinating me. Phillips is a fine journalist but not a historian, and so she has some difficulty distinguishing what's unusual about Tiptree's life from what's typical for Cold-War era women of Tiptree's race and class. This makes the book a little baggy and shapeless.

The details are gorgeous, though. Phillips quotes extensively from the (apparently voluminous) correspondence between Tiptree and Joanna Russ, and Tiptree and Ursala LeGuin. It was your basic lj-type conversation, smart, flirtatious, wideranging, and with identities of all sorts in play. Also, at least one threat of psuedocide. Internet fandom avant la letre! Seriously, it made me think hard about the historical roots of what we do here, how we adapted the internet to our own purposes rather than having our lives revolutionized by new technology.

The detail I loved most, though, will matter to only a few of you - but those who care will care a whole lot, I bet. So in 1975 Jeff Smith -- a fan who became Tiptree's friend and literary executor -- organized and published a written "symposium" on gender and feminism in science fiction. He came up with a list of questions and then a bunch of writers responded, and then he circulated all the responses and the authors struck up a conversation by mail that (mostly) ended up in print. It wasn't, as far as I can see, all that different from what you might find on the web, a few clicks beyond Making Light or some such, except that the participants included Russ, LeGuin, Tiptree, Samuel Delaney, some SF authors I don't care so much about, and ... "African historian Luisa White." Yeah. Yeah! Luisa White -- who must then have been just starting graduate school -- is one of us.

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