Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday: Link love + life

This post is exactly what the title implies: I give a bunch of love to links, hopefully make a few witty, scathing, or adoring comments about said links, and drop in a few little anecdotes about my life. You've been warned.

There's a mild bit of buzz in the sf/f community about NPR's list of 100 Top Science Fiction, Fantasy Books. To which I say, meh.  I've not read the entire list but I've read a lot of it and I'll probably read more of it (intentionally) but I'll probably die before I read all of it.  Okay, let's drop the scary mortality-thoughts b/c they totally screw with my twenty-something brain.

There was apparently an open voting period which I did not participate in but many of my friends and acquaintances did.  They complained that there was no write-in option for books that did not make the NPR short list for voting. They claimed there were obvious oversights -- Lois Bujold McMaster for one -- and that the list was skewed toward science fiction and away from fantasy (which is always hilarious in my eyes because fantasy now outsells sci-fi but sci-fi is still considered more "classic" and therefore more "literary."  Ah well, that's fine, if I live long enough I'm certain I'll see fantasy move closer toward the accepted canon anyway.  And there I go with more scary mortality-thoughts.

There's much spatting going on in internet circles about who is and isn't on that list. Me? I'm not going to engage in any spats. Perhaps you have to be a cog in machine of academic standardization before you realize that any "canon" is all arbitrary and none of it matters. Perhaps that is the greatest argument for attending grad school. One way or another, it's just a list.  Moving on.

I sprained my foot this past weekend and the resultant injury has colored my life for the past six days.

Yes, sprained my foot not my ankle.  My ankles are surprisingly hearty, having been rolled many times during years of field hockey practice and never injured until trying to catch the bus to the train station for the 2009 AWP Conference. Odd. Anyway.  Missing the last step of the flight has caused a week of sitting, elevating, and wrapping with an Ace bandage.

The cats, btw, love the Ace bandage. They find the wrapping/unwrapping fascinating. And the tiny little metal clips beg to be batted to the floor -- and they have been, repeatedly, even though they've only left my foot for a few hours total over the past week.

Oh, and the cats think that all the pillows i'm placing on the table/desk/etc for my foot are there for them.  Of course.

Stay true.

Margaret Atwood has been announced as the 2012 AWP Conference Keynote Speaker. This makes three out of four years where the keynote speaker has straddled the lines of literary and the Other for an organization where most of the members (if not the official organization) is conflicted in its feeling toward comic books and speculative fiction.  Sure they could say that Art Spiegleman wrote in the exciting new vein of the "graphic novel" and that Michael Chabon was a literary maverick who indulged our interests in the supernatural, but inviting Margaret Atwood to be THE speaker should be a brilliant slap in the face meant to wake up those who do not believe genre can be literary.  Don't believe me? Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale just made number 22 on that top 100 all time science fiction, fantasy list from NPR.

I always find it strange that literary types claim to have "forgotten" that Vonnegut and Orwell and Le Guin and Atwood are science fiction.

I had thought about going to the 2012 AWP conference just because it will be in Chicago, a city which is within easy traveling distance and, thanks to my brief stint living in the windy city, easy for me to navigate.  Even in fucking February.  Burr.  With Atwood as the keynote ... I think I really will have to go. 

On the Odyssey Workshop blog, bestselling author Carrie Vaughn discusses how she knows when a story will be a novel or a short work.

100 Year Star Ship project + conference.  Need I say more?

I helped plan part of a bridal shower this past weekend. And frankly, I fail to see the point.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have done it for my friend and really excited to make super cute flower vases, except for the part where I was carrying a giantassbox, missed the last step and fell funny on my foot/ankle resulting in much pain and limited mobility -- but that could have happened for any reason.  But I fail to see the point of bridal showers nowadays.

My friend was astonished and flattered at the gifts she got.  She didn't expect or desire the level of gifting that occurred.  She was afraid that by inviting people to both the shower and the wedding she's making them feel like they should provide two gifts. Of course, there are people who feel like they should celebrate the union of two young people and if that means purchasing Corning Ware and Pyrex sets, then so be it.  But she and her fiance are not nineteen-year-olds who've never moved away from home.  They both have places and kitchens and kitchenware of their own.  Do we need to continue the social practice of giving showers? Particularly I ask, do we really need to gather all our female relatives for three hours of small talk, mediocre food, patronizing games, and gift opening wherein we speculate voraciously over how many ribbons the bride will break thereby determining how many children she will bear in this union?

I find the whole "bridal thing" dubious.  And I am in favor of not having one should I ever find myself in the throes of imminent marriage.  Or at least I'd rather have a co-ed "open house" rather than an all-chick shower.

Goat + duct tape + Chuck Wendig.  If that was not enough to entice you (and it should be) consider clicking through to his writing advice as well as the equally crude and wondrous birth and life of a novel.

I've realized that I have to change most of what I do this semester when I go back to teaching composition.  Okay, not most of what I do, but the big projects.  Partly because the textbook was ordered for me and the textbook supports either a gender studies or a cultural studies approach rather than a genre studies with a pop culture studies flavor.  That's okay.  Attempting a gender/cultural bent will make me more marketable. It will also be good for the students. A nice dose of spinach. I'm not entirely sold, eh?   Guess it's time to cultivate multiple talents other than teaching comp.

Ira Glass on what nobody tells beginners:
Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Miracle Whip wants to give you $25,000 for your wedding or divorce -- so long it's a Miracle Whip kind of romance.

And lastly, take a look at the night sky tonight.  The moon and Jupiter are teaming up for a particularly bright Jupiter tonight.  Oddly enough, I dreamed last night that I could see Jupiter.  Not Jupiter how it really is, but a nice little graphic of Jupiter with all its rings pasted onto the night sky.

Addendum: The Hugo Awards Ceremony will be streamed live tomorrow (Saturday) starting at 8:00 PM Pacific Time.

Highly Recommended