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(this is what I posted on Mastodon yesterday, that had me figuring if I'm going to write this sort of thing, I should be posting it here.)

On the one hand, I strongly believe that each generation of activists gets to define their own terms. Every couple of decades our vocabulary shifts, and that's a good thing! That's people coming into their own as the driving force of the movement and that's how movements actually last longer than a single generation. So that's why the queer & trans vocabulary I learned in the waning days of second-wave feminism is dated at best, and a lot of it's even offensive -- and so are the words I learned to replace them. Feature, not bug.

On the other hand, history *does* matter and I dunno how to feel when I encounter (for example) "queer's a slur, don't use it." We worked hard to reclaim 'queer' and I'm not really willing to give it back up. I don't need you to use it. But it's still my word for me.

On the gripping hand, I'm pleased (even though I'm sometimes confused) that 'gay' has lost the connotations it had when I was a baby queer. See, back then, 'gay' was the word assimilationists used -- it signified you weren't one of *those* "scary homos". You weren't "queer as in fuck you". So I hear people nowadays self-id as 'gay' and my first thought is, wait, I didn't think you were that conservative? And then I figuratively slap myself and try to catch up with the times.
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Hi, Dee-Dubs.

I was over playing with mastodon and noticed I was posting there like I used to post here. Here's got better privacy controls, so maybe I should just start posting over here again? Especially now that we're all deleting our livejournals.

First I should go get those screenshots of my old ElJay account and find all y'all who are over here too but those are on my other computer and I can't be arsed to lug out the gaming laptop right now. Also if I do that there's a good chance I'll get sucked back into Mass Effect: Andromeda and nobody'll see me for a week. BUT I will eventually get around to that. (the screenshots, and ME:A, yes, both, eventually.)

My ElJay friendslist was at least 50% people I met on usenet. And we're all scattered hither and yon, now.

On twitter I periodically go stream-of-consciousness as cheryltz.
On the book of faces I post pictures of my kid, because that's where the grandparents are.
On G+ I talk to gamers, because for all that everybody says google plus is dead dead dead, the gamers are still talking talking talking.
on Mastodon I've been posting like it's LJ-in-2000, and I'll maybe duplicate some of that stuff over here once I remember how filters work.

Missed you, old friends.

And hello, newer friends, some of whom might know me from twitter and therefore have NEVER SEEN ME WITH A TEXT INPUT BOX THIS BIG, *cackle* because I am the QUEEN of tl;dr and while twitter has taught me to be terser I have added this skill, not replaced the old wordy one.
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When we are cowering children we grow clever. Grown-ups are forces of nature, and nature can't be reasoned with. Nature can only be endured. So we learn our way around them, when to tip-toe, when to run. We become smart children, wise in the ways of hiding, knowing when to swallow our pride, and how to save up our defiance for those moments when submission wouldn't do any good anyway.

And then one day we're the forces of nature, sources of fear, unreasoning, thundering, not so clever at all.

How did that happen? Where do the smart cautious children go, when we grow up?

(thoughts, from reading Hiromi Goto's _The Kappa Child_, and from listening to friends much more clever children than I -- as children and adults.)
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latest stab at the candied pecans my household eats like, well, candy:

1/4c orange juice
1/3c dried cranberries
4T brown sugar
dash salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus some more
2-1/2c pecan halves
2T butter-or-substitute-of-choice
zest of 1 orange

Soak cranberries in orange juice. Mix brown sugar, salt, and pepper together in small bowl & set aside.

In a heavy-bottom skillet, toast pecans over medium heat until they're toasty, 4ish minutes. Add butter & stir until butter is melted and pecans are coated.

Turn heat to low, and pour in brown sugar mixture. Stir until it's evenly distributed.

Pour in orange juice and cranberries and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring until all the sugar has been taken up by the juice.

Turn heat back up to medium and stir constantly until the liquid is thick and sticky and mostly stuck to the pecans instead of beading up on the bottom of the pan.

Transfer pecans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cool a bit, and then sprinkle zest all over. Grind a bit more black pepper (to taste). Stir. Let cool all the way.

No matter how much pepper I put in these, Lila generally complains there's not enough.

This recipe started here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/08/bourbon-old-fashioned-glazed-pecans-recipe.html but I'm mostly aiming for these: http://sahalesnacks.com/valdosta.aspx
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pass 1 at a gluten-free, dairy-free shortbread style cookie. This one was a little dry, unbelievably flaky, not sweet enough. Trying again tomorrow with more brown sugar. (these may be perfect when iced. They are a very grown-up unsweet cookie as-is.)

Ingredients

1c white rice flour
1/2 c sweet/glutinous rice flour
2/3 c almond flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c potato starch
1 tsp salt
12 T stick-form butter substitute (I use Earth Balance buttery sticks)
2 T vegetable shortening
1/4 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract


1. In bowl, mix white rice flour, sweet rice flour, almond flour, cornstarch, potato starch, and salt.
2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter sub, shortening, and sugar for thirty seconds. Add beaten egg & vanilla, beat for thirty seconds more.
3. Shut off mixer. Add dry ingredients. Turn on mixer until dough holds together, which should be quickly.
4. Gather together dough, wrap in plastic wrap, chill 4hrs.
5. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
6. Take about one T dough, form into ball. Squish with bottom of glass, to a thickness of ~1/4". Put on baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.
7. Bake about 30 min.
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After that last post about power & sex & games, I should definitely point y'all at The Gospel of Sarah, which is currently got two weeks left on the fundraising campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/gospelofsarah

A $25 contribution gets you an actual bound book but there's also a pdf-only option, for less.

These people certainly know what they're doing on the gaming front, and everything I've seen of them suggests that they know what they're doing when it comes to the themes they're dealing with in this game, too.

(please signal boost if you think you've got people who would enjoy hearing about this. Thanks!)

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So, I'm sloooowwwwly decommissioning my website. However, it's been pointed out to me that in at least some cases the stuff I've been pulling down is exactly the stuff that's still getting read, and it's going away because I'm not entirely comfortable being represented online by things I wrote a decade ago. So I'm republishing selectively.

So.  Following is the essay which starts "I collect labels..." from 2001.  I have resisted the temptation to edit it, other than to remove most of the images & links that don't go anywhere.

I collect labels; currently, I can describe myself as ...  )
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Gluten-free, dairy-free baked goods are a pain to find, and once I find them, they rarely live up to my (admittedly extremely picky) standards.  And I have not enjoyed my DIY endeavors so far; there's been an awful lot of experimentation and preparations with twice as many steps as their dairyful+glutenful counterparts, for mediocre results.

And so I cast my mind back, to the Cookbook of Unreasonably Rich Desserts and Fatally Flawed Recipes.  Once upon a time, a decade or more ago, I got this cookbook.  I think it came from a garage sale.  Filled with fancy cakes.  I tried a few of the recipes and it didn't take long to discover that each recipe had something skipped -- some place where the author undoubtedly assumed her audience was going to be experienced enough to know, for instance, that she meant what I'd call 'simmer' when she said 'boil' (to take the example I marked up in black ink in my copy).

And I've got a favorite recipe in there. )


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  • geeks & kinksters.  For the second time in seven months (okay that's not all that often) somebody has claimed that there's vast quantities of overlap between the geeky & kinky communities.  While most of the kinksters I've encountered are geeky, many of the geeks I've encountered aren't kinky.  I guess it's possible they're just not *out*, but I suspect that's not the thing.  I do suspect that the respective sizes of the communities is relevant, here.  But there's all these cute geeks that I'm disappointed to find don't share my proclivities... (ahem)
  • writing the Other, part zillion: I don't need to write this, because I'm sure it's been written.  The one where you explain to white authors that never explicitly stating the race of your characters doesn't mean your characters are race-less.  Pretending you're not participating in your surrounding culture while not actually doing anything doesn't mean you're not steeped in that culture, y'know?  I guess the only reason I want to write yet another iteration of this is an author I respected tweeted the fallacy and I'm disappointed. 
I may or may not get around to the post where I enjoyed the Johnson and Morden PK Dick Award nominees and then ruminate to what extent does the main character have to rock before you call a Mary Sue...

...but I *will* get around to the writeup of the recent game of Microscope I played at Story Games Seattle, because if I make sure every game I'm in gets written up I can pretend it gives me license to get stroppy about other people's missing writeups. (though I'll post it over there, not over here.)  I want to know what happens in your games, people!

In case y'all were wondering what I was doing instead of posting here.

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For the first time ever I'm going to read the P. K. Dick award nominees *before* it's awarded.  I figured I could commemorate this with short commentary.

I will note that these first four books are the ones that didn't have a long hold-line at the library -- this suggests that the ones I *haven't* read yet are the ones which are especially beloved.  

Deadline, by Mira Grant:  Really tried to keep an open mind while reading this -- I don't usually like zombie stories.  But the protagonist in this one was a metaphorical zombie.  Early on, he makes it clear he's sleepwalking through life, waiting for revenge, and has nothing else to live for.  And I couldn't hold on long enough for him to develop into anything more. Got bored, put it down. This is a rare response from me, but a noncompelling protagonist *and* zombies was just too much for me.

The Company Man, by Robert Jackson Bennett: my favorite of these first four.   Steampunk noir alternative history in the pacific northwest with just a frisson of horror.  Populated with actual three-dimensional characters, for the most part.  I'm disappointed that something historical set in this area only managed a bare two sentences about the Duwamish.  I realize this is faint praise, but both steampunk & alternative histories are notorious for genociding people of color or otherwise not bothering including them in the story, and this book didn't go that far.

The Other by Matthew Hughes: This book *nearly* examined the power-structures behind self/other.  Maybe the subtext -- the protagonist was thoroughly Other on the planet he found himself, but never stopped reminding himself that he's the cosmopolitian, they're barely-civilized and backward -- was intentional.  And if I squint a little, it's a tale of colonialism and what happens to the people left behind once the colony's resources are spent on the exploiter.  But I suspect that the tale I enjoyed wasn't actually the tale I was reading.

The Postmortal, by Drew Magary:  I realize I'm a bit behind the times but this shallow faux-irony doesn't do anything for me.  The first-person real-time narration hides any complexity the main character might have.  The men in the story are barely two-dimensional, and the women are so flimsy as to be practically nonexistant.  The novel's schtick is a metaphor for abortion, complete with clinic bombings and public controversy, but it was impossible for me to care because there wasn't a single character whose fate I bothered to wonder about.  Didn't finish this one either.

I hope that the library's hold system has accidentally crowdsourced some information about quality, here.  That would mean the other nominees are better, and that's why there wasn't a queue for these.

Or perhaps I'm just hopelessly parochial in my speculative fiction tastes.
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There's one generalization that radical feminism holds to that I find compelling.  Its the one where Liberal Feminists agitate to get women a larger piece of the pie, but Radical Feminists want a whole different pie.

However, what makes radfems turn into racist transphobic femme-misogynist fuckups is when they identify anything that's ever been used to oppress women as "in the wrong pie."  As if there is nothing in those things that have value, or as if once they're co-opted they're forever tainted.  Which is a losing game, because the status quo will just continue co-opting things. That's just going to turn into having to slough off everything that's ever been "female."  Because the dominant culture finds the radfems' behavior an extremely useful tool for oppressing feminists! 

Want something that's empowering women to become problematic instead?  The radfems will help.

(this post inspired by the transmisogynist who trolled #transchat on twitter this morning.)

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(see previous post on test-driving story games.)

So, starting with the one we didn't finish:  Faust & Friends, by Mendel Schmiedekamp.  Schmiedekamp writes chewy game theory articles and comes out with at least one game a year that seems designed to highlight some particular aspect of gameplay/game design.  This one's clearly about relationships.

my experience playing the game )
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Lately I've been hanging out with a couple of people from the Story Games Seattle meetup & we've been test-driving story games. Thanks to yearly events like GameChef, the landscape of free titles in indie gaming is strewn with titles in their first revision, with only a handful of playtests under their belt. Some of these games go on to do great things, but most of them languish. (the titles available for sale are sometimes higher-quality, but there are no guarantees!)

I'm not temperamentally suited to writing my own games. When I'm engaged in a creative endeavor, I subconsciously expect the step where I show other people what I'm working on to be at the *end*. That's not a good match for, y'know, playtesting? I find I lose interest right around the same time everybody else does (and maybe for the same reason). I get maybe one more version past the first round of playtesting, and then I'm bored. So I can't fault all those v0.1 or 0.2 games out there -- I do the same thing, except I'm too shy to put my efforts up on the internet.  I think I'm going to enjoy playing a bunch of other peoples' unedited works than I would creating my own. 

I'd like to write up a bit about my thoughts on the games we've played -- at the very least, now that we're past three, I keep finding myself missing one whenever I try to make a list of what we've played so far. These commentaries may end up pretty shallow -- for one, they're solely from my perspective. I may see if I can get my co-conspirators to weigh in, but this is primarily an exercise in keeping my thoughts organized.

Anyway, watch this space. No, I'm serious this time, I'm actually going to post something!

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Laksa-inspired coconut fish stew

Inspired by:

Spice Paste:

  • 6 shallots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2T cashew butter
  • 2T ginger-juice
  • 3T diced Anaheim peppers
  • 1t flaked bonito
  • 1t olive oil
  • Prepared curry powder, 1t

Fish Gravy:

  • Spice paste
  • 1 14oz can coconut milk
  • 14oz water
  • 2T white miso
  • ½  filet baked halibut, crumbled

Also:

  • Rice noodles, prepared according to package (soaked in boiling water, in the case of the ones I use)

Pretty things that are also yummy:

  • Sliced summer squash, sautéed in hot olive oil, just long enough to get slightly brown, tossed with herbed sea salt
  • Quartered crimini mushrooms, tumbled in tamari and briefly sautéed in olive oil
  • Yin-yang carrots

Grind first six ingredients until it’s a chunky paste, and stir in olive oil and curry powder.  Heat at least 2T olive oil in a 4qt heavy-bottomed pot.   Add paste and cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently.

Pour in can of coconut milk, water, and miso.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until well-combined.  Dump in crumbled halibut, reduce heat, simmer until heated through.

To serve, put noodles in bowl.  Ladle fish gravy over noodles.   Put pretty yummy things on top. Apologize to partner for making an extraordinary mess of the kitchen, and be thoroughly forgiven due in part to the yumminess of dinner.

For some reason, this was exactly what I needed this evening. (It's Batgirl stew!)

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So, Love Your Body day is two weeks from now. I continue to have mixed feelings.

Two years ago I posted about my response to the idea of "making peace" with our bodies. It's all still true. And if you're looking for a succinct, well-thought-out, unambiguous statement from me on the subject, go read that post and then stop, because this post is none of those things. This post is about ambivalence, and futility, and feelings of powerlessness and is even more full of commas and question marks than my writing usually is.

I mean, yes, it is important to practice body-acceptance. But really, why aren't we hearing as much about "Hey You, Stop Hating On Bodies Day"? Or maybe even just "Stop Policing Women's Bodies Day"? Sure, Ms. Magazine showcases a dozen offensive ads a year and many of those get pulled due to reader activism, but … seriously, twelve ads a year? Vs. how big the Love Your Body Day campaign is?

I'm not on board with personalizing the political.... )
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I know I slammed Stross pretty hard on some of the decisions he made in The Atrocity Archives. Only fair that I follow up with evidence that he is, in fact, thoughtful about this stuff.

from the comments on this post:
Charlie, what is the % of females among Science Fiction authors? My guess is a lot less than 55%.

Funny you should ask this ...

Among SF and Fantasy authors, the percentage of females is 55%.

Among SF authors, it's around 45%, if I remember the survey correctly.

Among hard SF authors, it's lower ... but, per discussions in a forum for working SF/F novelists, a lot more women want to write hard SF: it's just that their publishers steer them away from it "because hard SF readers won't read books by women". Although around 40-45% of hard SF readers are women ...
`
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As reported in megwrites and labelle77's spaces, a blogger is outing transwomen who might be found at that women's music festival in Michigan.  I don't care how you feel about the Festival (okay, I care, but I don't want to discuss it with you) but I am upset that Wordpress is protecting information that can be used to further harrass an already-vulnerable group of people.  Feminists get up in arms when anti-choice forces post hitlists of pro-choice doctors; we need to similarly step up and protect transwomen who are also at risk of violence.

I honestly don't care whether there's wiggle room in the ToS to argue about whether or not this speech is protected.  Hosting a list outing transfolk is wrong.

I have no confidence that Wordpress will do the right thing here, but this is what I sent them:

This article (link redacted for this post; why give them more traffic?) violates Wordpress's ToS as it violates the privacy rights of multiple people who are already at risk of violence and harassment. This vulnerable population has been singled out for exposure and the five people who've been outed so far are in danger of losing their livelihoods. Nonconsensually outing transgender people subjects them to job discrimination, harassment, and violence.

This violates your ToS, which states:
By making Content available, you represent and warrant that:
[...]
the Content is not pornographic, does not contain threats or incite violence towards individuals or entities, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party;

Please enforce your ToS and have this content removed.

Thank you-
Cheryl Trooskin-Zoller

(also, in the course of writing this, I ran across Wordpress.com's About Us page, with a photograph of wordpress employees.  And I thought, wow, look at all the white guys!  Did they really shove all the people of color and most of the women into the front row?  Oh, yes they did.  This shit doesn't happen in a void, people.  As if I needed any more data to show that intersectionality is important...)

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