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Sad.....

Apr. 26th, 2015 04:59 am
mdehners: (pic#965079)
[personal profile] mdehners
Starting Monday we begin Hospice for Mom. Her Doc had us all come in to the hospital yesterday(and for an MD to do something on a weekend showed it was serious)to give what, when I was still working as a Nurse as the "That's It" Talk. If it was just her kidneys, she could live for years on Dialysis but with her Congestive Heart Failure added to it, the best she could hope for is maybe a yr of misery. So she chose to stop Dialysis and let Nature take it's course.
Personally, my only fear is that Mom's, well a "wimp". She's never had much tolerance of discomfort of ANY kind. If she think's she's uncomfortable now, when the Toxins build up in her system OR/AND when the fluids build up in her lungs she'll be much more so. I think she's got the whole "Peaceful Leavetaking" thing in her head and as someone who used to do Hospice Nursing....that isn't always the case. Also, both her and my SIL keep thinking they'll be basically keeping her "high". Neither CHF or Renal Failure are diseases that Opiates are generally prescribed. But, as I've known for YRS, no one takes me seriously.
Both Chuck and I are OK with her Choice. She's had a GREAT Life(1st Woman EMT in Utah, World Traveler, etc)and has nothing to look forward to except bedrest until Leavetaking. For someone who was Tap and Belly-Dancing in her late 60's and was still Dancing until her late 70's this level of Inactivity is Unacceptable to her.
How long Dad sticks around AFTER is another thing. No one in the family thinks it'll be very long. They've been Married almost 60 yrs after all....
Cheers,
Pat

Story: Arrangements Among Paramours

Apr. 26th, 2015 05:58 am
teland: Young brown girl looking replete. (I am a satisfied brown fan.)
[personal profile] teland
Arrangements Among Paramours
by Te
April 26, 2015

Disclaimers: Not mine, not mine, so not mine.

Spoilers/Timeline: Vague mentions of various things mentioned during the first season, however, this story takes place very early on in Athos's, Aramis's, and Porthos's time as Musketeers. Pre-series.

Summary: "Yeah. It changes everything, doesn't it?" And Porthos makes his laugh low and dirty as he keeps working that pretty prick. "Nothing's wrong if it's for your owner. Is it."

Ratings Note/Warnings: Sexual content which does and doesn't dovetail neatly with the content some readers may find disturbing. More — and more spoilery — warnings in the tags on AO3.

Author's Note: A direct sequel to Conversation Among Comrades, and will not make a lick of sense without it. This one starts a couple of weeks after that one leaves off.

This is *not* the Porthos/Athos story I wanted to write for Pixie. This is *also* not the *triad-polyamory* story I wanted to write for Pixie. But it has both of those things to an *extreme* and Pixie midwifed the hell out of it, so I think it counts.

Acknowledgments: With much love and gratitude to Pixie, Spice, Houndstar, Melly, Greyandgold, and, as always, my Jack, for audiencing, encouragement, hand-holding, immensely helpful suggestions, and putting me to bed when I needed to be put to bed. *MWAH*

Length: ~ 82K

Sto-ry! Sto-ry! Sto-ry!

QotD

Apr. 26th, 2015 05:22 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-05-28:

"And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo--that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices." -- Joyce Carol Oates, from "Reflections on the Grotesque".

(submitted to the mailing list by Mike Krawchuk)

In Ingress news

Apr. 26th, 2015 10:30 am
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
Up playing Ingress until 4 am, preventing a planned big blue field over my city, as part of a Germany-wide event.

But we did it, we had lots of fun and it was worth it.

Oh, and I reached level 15 last week!

Now back to cleaning the old flat so that we can hand over the keys and get the safety deposit back soon...

Dragon Age things!

Apr. 26th, 2015 11:57 am
alias_sqbr: (dagna)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
My Wintersend works and some "20 years earlier" comics.

For vaincs:

Sighs and Whispers (Fanfiction.net link)
Fandom: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Female Inquisitor/Cassandra Pentaghast
Additional Tags: Getting Together, Happy Ending, Fanfiction, Secret Admirer
Summary: Cassandra does not have a secret admirer, and there is no way it could be the Inquisitor.
Read more... )
rosefox: A woodblock print of a woman surrounded by roses. (old-fashioned)
[personal profile] rosefox
I woke up and thought for a while about what I wanted to do before deliberately checking only my "family" list and locked account timeline on Twitter. I got up and showered and had breakfast and... well, if I wasn't going to read Twitter while I ate, what would I do? So I read a very absorbing book and chatted with my brother for a bit. When X got up, we had lunch and went out clothes shopping. I read a bit more of the book on the subway.

(The book is Natasha Pulley's The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, which is deservedly on my list of excellent books coming out this summer. It's is the first book I've read since I started writing my own, and it's extremely good, so I got to have that lovely feeling of "Well, this person is a much better writer than I am"--a particularly easy comparison to make when it's set in historical London with a protagonist who shares many personality traits and a name with my own hero! But I managed to turn it into "This book is a good example of things I'm not doing, and now I get to decide whether to do those things" and that felt better. Anyway, I highly recommend it, especially to anyone who liked Jo Walton's Small Change books.)

We came home and I read for a bit and then J and I went to the supermarket and came home and made dinner. I resisted the Twitter urge and instead posted on FOCA and checked LJ/DW while the chicken was baking. I also checked email (I'm trying to remember to keep the email tabs closed and only check once in a while, or hourly for work email during work hours) and knocked my inboxes back down to zero. After dinner J did the washing up*, X went off for some introvert time, and I finished the book.

* Whenever I read a book set in England and written by someone English, it immediately creeps into my vocabulary. I nearly said that X went off for a lie-down.

X has gone to bed and J will probably conk out shortly. I've just caught up on my limited feeds again (at that level it feels a lot more like catching up on LJ/DW) and now I'm contemplating how I'd like to spend the next four hours. I might get some of the work done that I didn't do on Friday. Or I might just sit here and listen to Glean over and over and over again so that I have it memorized for tomorrow's concert, because I'm a nerd. :)

At some point in the early days of the Ménière's, I wrote that I would miss silence. I'm particularly aware of that today, with my ear so blocked up and the ringing persistent and vexing. But on a more metaphorical level, today felt very quiet without the constant background noise of online conversation. I've missed that kind of silence too. It was really nice.

5 things about today #207

Apr. 26th, 2015 12:21 pm
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
[personal profile] transcendancing
Continuing my belated habit...

* Woke up spontaneously and then read my book until a friend came to borrow my car for the day.

* Ral made coffee which was pretty lovely and later made baked potatoes for lunch with leftover bean chilli.

* I actually spent most of the day working on my essay and I got about 500 good words of it - which is about 1/3. The trick will be to get the other 2/3 to cover all the rest of the things I need to cover.

* Made broccoli stem and bean soup for dinner - it was nice. Ral and Fox really liked it but it's not my favourite.

* Ral made cookies for dessert! DELICIOUS!

Advent of the Isopod

Apr. 25th, 2015 08:23 pm
citrakayah: (Default)
[personal profile] citrakayah
Been a month since I last wrote anything. School has been difficult, to say the least. My brain feels like it is full of fog, and doing anything not school-related that takes actual thought and willpower is hard. I could be doing worse, no question about that, but I have a good deal of inertia keeping me in place. The more I'm inactive--anywhere--the harder it is to get the ball rolling again. I'm a creature of habit, after all. And currently the habit is "crawl into bed, blow up enemy ships, and do absolutely nothing."

Which I hate.

I did get a review paper on isopods done, which was interesting to do. Had to do a lot of reading, and learned a lot as well. Among other things, I learned that Bergmann's rule has a long and checkered history, that most people think giant woodlice are cool, and that deep-sea isopods are not nearly as terrifying as old nacho cheese Doritos.

Other students in ZOOL 215 are doing their projects on feral cat colony management, the role of venom and bacteria in Komodo dragons, and turtle evolution. The first and last did fairly well, the middle one did not do enough research. I say that because in the question-and-answer session I asked about a possible test for bacteria uptake that seemed sort of obvious, and she said that that would be a good idea and someone should do that test. When I got back to my dorm, five minutes on Wikipedia linked me to a paper that had that very setup.

Despite the season, it's been cold lately, and it rained heavily today. I was caught outside at the beginning of it; I let volunteer hours slip away from me and I'm having to do a whole bunch at once. And because I'm an idiot and I suck, I missed the bus, so tried to walk over to the Science Center to volunteer. Naturally I got completely lost, but ultimately I did manage to get there... so good for me, I guess. Even if volunteering at the Science Center isn't the most pleasant task, what with all the loud children, it's something.

Formally changed majors from architecture to zoology, and have an appointment on Monday to talk about the possibility of doing field/lab work for graduate studies. I'm skeptical of my chances, given my lack of training, but it can't hurt.

Read some good books lately. The [i]Virals[/i] series, which I've always liked, had two books I hadn't read, and some guy named Charles de Lint wrote a trilogy called [i]Wildings[/i] which was pretty interesting. Also found some pretty... interesting... music by a person named Vertigo Fox. I usually hate the genre he works in, but the lyrics and general feel are interesting enough to overlook it.


Oh, and apparently we have MRAs on the Werelist. Granted I wouldn't expect anything different from the person who believes that plants "evolved beyond the use of brains," but still, it's rather frustrating.

oh my gosh look look look!

Apr. 25th, 2015 09:07 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Guess what was in a mysterious and unexpected box from [personal profile] yhlee today?

terrible cellphone picture )

Choosing “Sides”

Apr. 25th, 2015 08:27 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“I am not doing it because I was pressured by anyone either way or on any ‘side.’” -[Author]

“[Author] is everything any good leftist could ever want in a Hugo nominee, and they got hounded off the ballot by the LEFT.” -Brad Torgersen

#

I’m conflicted about starting this post with those particular quotes. A handful of people have withdrawn their names from the Hugo ballot, and have asked to be left out of the anger and arguments, which I can certainly understand. I removed the name of the author in question because I don’t want them getting dragged into my rant here. But at the same time, this pair of quotes is one of the best illustrations of something I’ve been frustrated with for years.

I am so damn tired of the insistence on shoving everyone and everything into an artificial “Us vs. Them” framework. The Puppies thing is just the latest example. The only clearly defined “side” in this mess is the puppies themselves, and even that’s a slippery argument. Is Theodore Beale of the Rabid Puppies on the same side as Brad Torgersen and Larry Correia? Correia suggests they are: “Look at it like this. I’m Churchill. Brad is FDR. We wound up on the same side as Stalin.” But what about the commenters? Can people support some of what the puppies said they wanted — say, greater awareness of tie-in work in Hugo nominations — without having to swear allegiance to all things rabid?

What about the people on the respective puppy ballots? Is Sheila Gilbert of DAW on the puppies’ “side”? (Given that she has basically zero online presence, and that I’ve chatted with her about this, I can state for a fact that she was not contacted about being on any slate, nor did she know anything about it.) What about the creators of The Flash? Mike Resnick was on the slate, but has spoken out against the kind of bloc voting the puppies represented. (I’m unable to find the link where I read his comments on this, however.) Does choosing not to remove yourself from the slate or ballot mean you’re in lockstep agreement with Beale, Torgersen, and Correia?

I keep coming across commentary and arguments that assume you have to be either pro-puppy or anti-puppy. In broader discussions, you’re either us or you’re the enemy. Left or Right. Puppy or CHORF. Lately, I’m seeing more accusations of blacklists and gatekeepers and people’s careers being hurt because of their politics or beliefs or whatever, because some publishers are for Us and some are for Them, and you can’t succeed in this business without swearing allegiance to the Evil Gun Nuts of Baen or the Evil Tree-hugging Lib’ruls of Tor.

To be honest, that last bit is funny as hell. Baen publishes folks like Eric Flint and Lois McMaster Bujold. Jim Baen wanted to buy my very first book, and Baen continues to buy my shorter work for some of their anthologies. Then there’s Tor, which publishes Rabid Puppy darling John C. Wright, as well as Hugo award-winning author Orson Scott Card.

The “Us vs. Them” framework does nobody any favors. It’s simplistic, childish thinking. Pointing out that a particular author is a homophobic bigot based on things he’s said? Fair enough. Accusing anyone who likes said author’s work of being a homophobic bigot? Sorry, no. Torgersen and Correia have gotten a lot of ugliness hurled their way in all this — some of it has been truthful, and right on par with what they’ve been hurling, but some has been absolutely over-the-line and unacceptable.

I’ve talked to conservative friends who’ve described various microaggressions and flat-out attacks toward them and/or their religious beliefs. I’ve been attacked for beliefs I don’t have, simply because someone assumed I was on the other side. More recently, when I criticized the Sad Puppy slate on Twitter, I had someone accuse me of being a child molester. I spoke out against GamerGate and got a doxxing threat in my email within the hour. Then there’s the editor on the Sad Puppy ballot who publicly blacklisted and badmouthed me and a few other authors for not being on his “side”…

And I don’t get a fraction of the abuse, harassment, threats, and worse that people in more marginalized groups do, simply for daring to exist and speak out. Simply because people decided they were “Them,” and therefore fair targets for abuse and hate.

I know some of the Sad Puppies desperately want there to be some kind of Social Justice Warrior Conspiracy that’s been manipulating the Hugos and persecuting them for years, because that creates a simple narrative with them as the feisty rebels striking a blow against the Evil Empire. But there’s been zero evidence for it. Correia himself said he’d audited the Hugos a few years back and found no sign of anything suspect.

Are there systemic problems that permeate the genre, and our cultures in general? Of course. Malinda Lo has done a tremendous amount of work and analysis of diversity in fiction and the overall lack thereof. That doesn’t mean everyone has to be drafted into one of two like-minded armies of Pro-Diversity and Anti-Diversity warriors.

Some of the problems are linguistic. Hugo-nominated author Eric James Stone said recently, “In my opinion, accusing someone of racism is one of the severest charges one can make against someone’s moral character.” I disagree. I’ve absorbed the racism, sexism, and homophobia of my culture for almost as long as I’ve existed. I blogged about that a bit back in 2010. It took me years to recognize my own problematic attitudes, and to start actively working to change them. If I say I believe someone is being racist, I don’t see it as the severest charge against their character; I see it as recognizing we’re all imperfect beings who should be working to do better. (I recommend reading Stone’s entire post. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he has some good and valid points.)

MCA Hogarth talks about fear of being attacked for being one of Them, of deprecation and insults and criticism that generalize from “This individual is a nasty, bigoted human being” to “Christians and Republicans are the Enemy.” Once again, I don’t agree with everything she says — I’m particularly skeptical that anyone has the power to destroy a career with one Tweet — but I also think the fears she talks about are real and valid and worth thinking about. In many contexts in the U.S., to be Christian or Republican is to be the majority. To have power. But contexts vary, and this isn’t always the case in SF/F and fandom.

Part of my anger at Torgersen and Correia is because I feel like they deliberately encouraged this Us vs. Them mentality in order to win support and votes. They invented an evil cabal of “Them,” then rallied people to join their side against this fictitious enemy. Which only increases the abuse and the hatred. And please note: I’m angry at them as individuals, not because they’re conservative, or because of their views on gun control, or because they might have a different religious belief than I do. I’m angry because whatever problems were out there, these two individuals actively made them worse, and they hurt a great many people in the process. Themselves included.

Fandom is not two distinct sides. It’s a bunch of people who like things in a really big genre, a genre that has guns and spaceships and dinosaurs and dragons and magic and manly men and genderfluid protagonists and grittiness and erotica and humor and hard-core feminism and sexism and racism and hope and stereotypes and anger and messages and politics and fluff and were-jaguars and superheroes and so much more.

Criticism is not war. Choosing not to read or support things you don’t like isn’t censorship. Liking something problematic doesn’t make you a bad person.

We’re not perfect. And we’re going to keep arguing and fighting amongst ourselves. It’s part of being human. It’s part of being a fan. We’re really freaking passionate about the things we love. (If you diss Season Four of Legend of Korra, then hell yeah I’m gonna argue with you!)

But I swear, the next time I see someone arguing not against what someone said or did, but against their own imagined cardboard caricature of “Them,” I swear by Asimov’s Mighty Muttonchops I’m gonna feed that person to a goblin.

As always, I’ll be moderating comments if necessary — not based on what imaginary “side” you’re on, but based on whether or not you’re acting like an asshole in my space.

ETA: I’ve made several minor edits for clarity since this post went live.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

daily gratitudes

Apr. 25th, 2015 05:20 pm
watersword: A young woman swinging on a hill. (Stock: spring)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. remembering I have potstickers in the freezer
  2. grocery delivery
  3. everything is better now that I have cut my tumblr following list down to a manageable number of people
  4. small tax refund + insurance reimbursement = bonus money in my bank account! all of which is going into savings
  5. I don't actually believe I'm going to get one of the city-subsidized housing apartments I qualify for, but it's nice to dream
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The Hot Rock.
Bank Shot.
Jimmy the Kid.
Nobody's Perfect.
Why Me?
Good Behavior.
Drowned Hopes.
Don't Ask.
What's the Worst That Could Happen?
Bad News.
The Road to Ruin.
Watch Your Back!
What's So Funny?
Get Real.


For my money, Drowned Hopes is the best one.

NO MOVIES!
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
[personal profile] vass
From the website that sells those songs composed for cats:

"Terms and Conditions
The following Terms and Conditions apply to the use of this Web site as well as all transactions conducted through the site."

That's it. That's their entire terms and conditions page. There are no terms and conditions following.

[ SECRET POST #3034 ]

Apr. 25th, 2015 03:59 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3034 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 04 pages, 096 secrets from Secret Submission Post #434.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 1 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

[ SECRET SUBMISSIONS POST #435 ]

Apr. 25th, 2015 03:51 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
[ SECRET SUBMISSIONS POST #435 ]




The first secret from this batch will be posted on May 2nd.



RULES:
1. One secret link per comment.
2. 600x600 px or smaller.
3. Link directly to the image.
- Doing it RIGHT: http://i.imgur.com/KuBug.png
- Doing it WRONG: http://imgur.com/KuBug

Optional: If you would like your secret's fandom to be noted in the main post along with the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret. If your secret makes the fandom obvious, there's no need to do this. If your fandom is obscure, you should probably tell me what it is.

Optional #2: If you would like WARNINGS (such as spoilers or common triggers -- list of some common ones here) to be noted in the main post before the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret.

Optional #3: If you would like a transcript to be posted along with your secret, put it along with the link in the comment!

D.O.P.-T.

Apr. 25th, 2015 11:12 am
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
[personal profile] weofodthignen
It rained last night, and steadily rather than the showers we were given a chance of receiving. Unfortunately this meant the bus was not only crowded and late, it had three different bellicose passengers and the driver stopped protractedly several times to get them to state they would control themselves.

D.O.P.-T. (yesterday)

Apr. 25th, 2015 11:05 am
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
[personal profile] weofodthignen
It's still odd to ride the same bus route to work in daylight. I keep noticing stores here and there that have changed hands. The guitar store has become a sushi restaurant. There is still a sea of concrete and a forlorn building where the big Summerwinds garden center was, but I can now see that roses are blooming against the chainlink fence.
rosefox: Spock's pointy ear. (ear)
[personal profile] rosefox
Symptom watch: the tinnitus in my right ear has been on the loud side for the past week, mostly noticeable when I'm in bed at night. Today I woke up with my right ear feeling blocked and congested, and hearing significantly occluded. No change after a hot shower and some Flonase. I may be reaching the limits of last year's Ménière's treatment. :(

I'm not feeling any hint of vertigo, and I'm perfectly functional with only left-ear hearing to rely on as long as people face me when they speak, so I'm not sure there's anything to do at the moment except keep an eye on it and note any changes. But I've emailed my specialist ENT just in case he has any ideas.

And then I will take all the taurine and try not to panic. The thought of going back to the endless horrible vertigo is terrifying, and the treatment I had was experimental, so it may not be available for me to get again. I'm trying not to borrow trouble, but I'm kind of primed for anxiety at the moment, especially when I'm dealing with my other physical disability flaring up. I've really enjoyed being able to hear and stand upright and take taxis and so on. I would like to continue doing those things. I don't want to have vertigo ever ever ever again.

*breathes*

Right. Food, taurine, distraction.

EDIT: I thought at this point it was pretty solid internet etiquette to not provide unsolicited medical advice, but for those who missed that memo, here's a clear statement: I do not want medical advice on this topic.
galacticjourney: (Default)
[personal profile] galacticjourney


Imagine doing brain surgery by remote control.

That's just what STL engineer, Robert E. Gottfried, did over the weekend, on an ailing deep space probe.

(read the rest at Galactic Journey!

(no subject)

Apr. 25th, 2015 11:30 am
katarik: DC Comics: Major Slade Wilson and Captain Adeline Kane, text but I can make you better (Default)
[personal profile] katarik
I have way too many papers and way too little motivation.

The Perennial Miss Wildthyme

Apr. 25th, 2015 04:22 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

Now available for pre-order from Obverse Books: The Perennial Miss Wildthyme, featuring Iris Wildthyme, and a story from me. It’ll be out this autumn, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to reading the rest of the stories.

The cover, by Paul Hanley

The cover, by Paul Hanley

(Should you feel unable to wait for your Iris fix, Iris Wildthyme of Mars, in which I also have a story, is available right now.)

Frequencies in Whisker Forms

Apr. 25th, 2015 02:15 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

At Vox, Phil Edwards dug up and revived an article from the American Journal of Sociology published in 1976. It tracks facial hair trends — or what the author whimsically calls “frequencies in whisker forms” — from 1842 to 1972. He notes, in particular, the overwhelming dominance of the clean face at the time of publication.

This is your image of the week:

8

The original author uses the data to make an argument about the existence of fashion trends. He’s interested, too, in why fashions change and, in like any good sociologist, recommends further research. He does speculate, though, about one possible driver of change: old people. He writes:

…as long as any considerable number of people who have stuck to a superseded form of personal appearance are still living, the young may tend to avoid such a mode as old hat. These distasteful associations seem to be safely overcome only after the passage of a century or more.

His theory holds. If his data is correct, beards disappeared right around 1915. It’s been a hundred years and beards are back!

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

[syndicated profile] thewildhunt_feed

Posted by Lisa Roling

sexuality and NRMReview: Sexuality and New Religious Movements. (Part of the Palgrave Studies in New Religions and Alternative Spiritualities series) Edited by Henrik Bogdan and James R. Lewis. (Palgrave Macmillan, 252 Pages)

Few topics can stir us as quickly as sex or sexuality, particularly when it is different from what is assumed to be “right.” Perhaps this is one reason that Sexuality and New Religious Movements is such an engaging read. According to the editors, Henrik Bogdan and James R. Lewis:

Sexuality is intimately connected to questions of identity: who we are as individuals and also our role in society. Human sexuality is thus inextricably linked to cultural, political, and philosophical aspects of life, which are regulated through legal systems based on morality and ethics. Morality and ethics, even in our secularized and late-modern society, are to a large extent based on traditional religious doctrines and teachings (which of course differ in time and place), and it is thus perhaps only natural that new forms of religion often challenge the moral codes and deeply rooted views on sexuality prevalent in the dominant forms of religion and, by extension, in society at large.

Anyone familiar with the marriage equality movement understands the strong role that religion plays in the arguments against gay marriage. In fact, it is difficult to make a case against gay marriage that does not involve religious beliefs that condemn same-sex intimacy. One such slippery slope argument is often framed as a “non-religious” position for “traditional marriage,” though it still takes us back to taboos rooted in religious beliefs. When it comes to our thoughts, our customs, and our laws regarding sexuality and sexual practice, religious beliefs often takes center stage. Not that they have to, but they often do.

Bogdan and Lewis take on the topics of sex and gender in this anthology to give us a peek into beliefs and practices that are less common than the standard-issue Abrahamic ideals. Specifically, they introduce us to sex and gender within western New Religious Movements (NRMs), some of which have received more attention than others.

The editors point out that, often, NRMs are considered nothing more than cults that provide leaders the opportunity to sexually abuse members. They write:

What these critics often fail to take into account, however, is the way that sexuality is actually understood and used by the groups themselves, and to place these teachings and practices within the broader context of the history of religions. As this anthology aims to show, sexual practices that, at face value, seem bizarre or even dangerous might be understood differently when placed in their proper context.

The book continues on with the goal to provide a better understanding of NRMs and to challenge the misconceptions that exist regarding their beliefs and practices where sexuality is concerned.

The anthology presents a series of chapters that each cover one NRM, including one on contemporary Wicca written by writer and historian Chas Clifton. The Branch Davidians, Communes of Osho, and Satanists are all represented in the volume in addition to the views and teachings of Gurdjieff, Adi Da, and Raël. As with any anthology, each chapter varies in depth and breadth since they have different authors. However, the quality of writing is consistently good and, as an academic book, the information goes beyond the simple rehashing of facts, delving into conversation and analysis.

Of all the chapters, the one that I had the strongest reaction to was “Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Empowerment in Mormon Fundamentalist Communities.” After reading the entire book, I was surprised that this was the chapter that generated the most notes, considering all I learned about the fiancées of super-sensitive extraterrestrials within the International Raelian Movement, the ultimate receptivity of the Satanic female altar, and the denunciation of masturbation and same-sex coupling within the writings of Gurdjieff. No, it was the polygamy talk that caught my full attention.

Written by Jennifer Lara Fagen and Stuart A. Wright, this chapter addresses some of the criticisms that have been made against plural marriage and the often-assumed powerlessness of women within Mormon polygamous communities. The writers assert that critics see these women as victims of a patriarchal system, and that this view is “based on the contemporary devaluation of motherhood and conflation of domesticity with oppression that resulted from the deinstitutionalization of marriage and destabilization of gender roles.” They introduce the work of cultural anthropologist Janet Bennion, who argues that Mormon fundamentalist women have alternate ways to achieve power in their communities and that their solidarity is stronger because of the alienating patriarchal control.

They also offer an examination of ideas such as “subservience,” gender roles, and the feminist critique of the “cult of domesticity.” The primary argument presented is that, although these women “do not have the same access to religious or political power as their male counterparts,” it should not be assumed that  they “as a group, are without agency and without voice…”  There are many other problems associated with polygamy within these communities that were not addressed in the chapter, such as the victimization of “lower status males,” the increase in crime due to male competition, and the increase in child abuse and neglect.

The chapter that I was most interested in reading was Clifton’s “Sex Magic or Sacred Marriage: Sexuality in Contemporary Wicca.” His chapter starts with a description of a Beltane ritual then moves into a discussion of the historical roots of Wicca, an exploration of The Great Rite, then the influence of the southern Californian subculture on Paganism. It was all a very interesting read, but what stood out to me the most was the description of the Beltane ritual, where “both lesbian and gay onlookers cheered as the maypole entered the earth.” Clifton touches on the idea of LGBT individuals within Wicca, but I wish this was considered further.

Being a lesbian from the Deep South, I do not harbor any naïve beliefs about Wicca and views on same-sex coupling. Not that I have ever been told that being gay was wrong, but, at times, it has been made clear that I had no place at a Maypole or that I had no right to jump a fire because I did not have a male partner. In my experience, Wiccan metaphors easily lend themselves to heterosexism and this is something I find gets glossed over far too easily.

One of the most difficult tasks when reviewing books about religion is to separate my own religious beliefs from writing about it. There were times when, in reading this book, my jaw dropped in horror, and other times when my MacBook was in danger of becoming airborne. Some of the beliefs and practices described within the pages of this book are off-putting. That being said, editors Bogdan and Lewis set out to put into context views on sex and gender within various new religious movements. They, together with the other authors, succeed in doing just that.

As an academic publication, it is well-written and edited with plenty of footnotes to offer the reader more background material. Sexuality and New Religious Movements is part of Palgrave’s Studies in New Religious and Alternative Spiritualities series. Released in November 2014, it is available for purchase on Amazon and other online retailers.

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late-dispelled silly misconceptions

Apr. 25th, 2015 08:30 am
kate_nepveu: cartoon ocelot tilting head sideways (tell me more . . . !)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
The Toast's open thread yesterday had a great question: what's the silliest (small-scale) misconception that you held onto for a really long time?

Mine:

Ponies aren't baby horses.

(I don't remember when I learned this, but Chad told me it, and I think it was relatively recently, too.)

What about you?

Handy article

Apr. 25th, 2015 07:43 pm
ironed_orchid: (megalomania)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid posting in [community profile] fucking_meds
For all those times when well meaning people ask if you have tried natural or holistic approaches, or rant about the evils of "Big Pharma" near you.

“Big Pharma” & Privilege: Or Why I Wish Allies Would Stop Using This Phrase, by Camilla Laurentine
Those of us with disabilities who are on medication regularly depend on “Big Pharma” to stay alive. The reason I wish people would just stop throwing the phrase around is that they are only looking into a fraction of what’s wrong with the medical system when they talk about it. And even if they’re not about to spout off some unsolicited advice or some shame to any disabled person happening upon them, they are in a minority of those who don’t use the phrase to shame people for doing what it takes to survive.

QotD

Apr. 25th, 2015 05:10 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Let me explain something about guitar playing. Everyone's got their own character, and that's the thing that's amazed me about guitar playing since the day I first picked it up. Everyone's approach to what can come out of six strings is different from another person, but it's all valid." -- Jimmy Page (b. 1944-01-09)

azurelunatic: "Fangirl": <user name="azurelunatic"> and a folding fan.  (fangirl)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Despite it having been timechange weekend, I had got to bed early, and then woke up disgustingly early, fully perky and ready to get things done. I had a leisurely morning where I did not feel obligated to do any of the things, just get dressed and pack. It was fortunate that I'd woken early, as all of my alarms were set to only go off when I'm at home, and be silent when I'm elsewhere (like at work, but also at hotel). I hauled my stuff downstairs, checked out, and then realized that the valet queue was ridiculous. I promptly found a chair, parked my bags, and joined lobbycon.

I got a chance to chat with Wendy; that was nice.

I saw [livejournal.com profile] ckd; the name on the badge didn't mean much to me, but the blue shark picture did. "Oh!" I said. I know that shark! You are a helpful person who I have known in passing for years! So that was nice. He passed along greetings on behalf of [personal profile] aedifica as well.

Having seen him sillydrunk and being a fucking perfect unicorn the night before, it was no surprise that Naamen was gloriously hung-over.

The next little circle over was having a fascinating conversation about Supernatural. I had thoughts and feelings. It was thus that I met [twitter.com profile] geardrops and [twitter.com profile] doriangrayscale.

For the record, my feelings about Supernatural season 5 episode 22 are as follows:
JUST WHAT. )


I was recommended "I Feel Better", by Hot Chip, which is … a bit surreal. I think this was around when lunch arrived, because Carrie had fries, and they were very very hot. There was basically nothing vegan on the menu, which is unfortunate.

Seanan had been Out of Town, but made an appearance for Lobbycon, in all her mantis shrimp rainbow hair glory. It was very good to see her!

We got around to exchanging twitter handles, and mentioned our strategies for dealing with some of the low-content sorts of people who seem to exist to recycle the same five links every three hours on Twitter. I was abruptly reminded of something I'd seen during an [off-topic] discussion of home automation.

"They're -- tweeting like a lightbulb," I said in disgust, and then had to explain.

Emma and Cynthia came back through, and that was great. Topics included Janelle Monae (yay afrofuturist art) and so many books and shiny things. There is a tool that will let you know when bands you like are going to be local to you, but I am not sure where to find it. I need to check out http://www.elizabethwein.com/sunbird . I did not know that Ellen Kushner had written not just one but several Choose Your Own Adventure books: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Kushner#Choose_Your_Own_Adventure_books

At some point after the valet line had cleared out, I retrieved Vash to load most of the heavy things.

Shweta and husband re-appeared also, and I went fishing for mippos with my party cane. (I have a cane with a rainbow tie-dye scarf attached to the front, and I had added a little book of paper for the con.)

Eventually it came time for the wrap party. That included some review of what had gone well, and who needed to either be sat down with a sock in his mouth or shown the door.

So there was a panel (which I didn't wind up going to, but sounded very interesting if I'd actually been making it to any panels) about how Whitey Brings Civilization is a toxic meme in general, and maybe when we're writing we might not want to do that thing.

So Whitey McMansplain in the audience stood up and started talking, apparently. Read more... )

Eventually the wrap party too was wrapped. Wendy and some guy who also had some muscles carried some soda down for me, as I was willing to take some home, but was sort of limited in what I was willing to carry at once. We loaded it up into my car. The valet dude on duty observed that the car sort of felt like he was going to die when starting. This was a Known Problem.

I headed home, not being quite up for Dinner With People after such a delightfully social weekend. This is such a lovely fun con, and I'm planning to return next year.

I curled up in bed early (for me). Before I fell asleep, I remembered that Aahz had been wearing an "I Break Rule 6" button, so I googled the phrase to see if I could find out the backstory. The backstory is amazing: http://rule6.info/timecon.html

My unexpected early rising schedule would continue for some time yet.
rosefox: A silver spoon labeled "my very last, very small spoon". (exhausted)
[personal profile] rosefox
I think it might be time for me to take a break from Twitter. I mostly spend time on there because it's a convenient source of quasi-socializing and it gives me those tasty dopamine pings. Right now, I'm not feeling very social; we're at an exhaustingly anxious stage of fertility stuff and mostly I want to stay at home, cuddle my people, and nest. I don't mind some socializing--see also: plans to go to BBG--but I want it to be socializing that gets me out of the house and moving around, not socializing that costs me sleep and hurts my arms. Dopamine pings are bad for my sleep, which is especially ungood when I'm stressed out and in pain and generally needing more rest; a few days ago I started leaving my laptop in the guest room at night instead of taking it into my bedroom, and I immediately slept for nine hours per night two nights in a row, which is the sort of thing I definitely need to do more of. It's also really noticeable how much more work I get done when I turn off the interrupt machine. (Turns out this is also a downside of inbox zero: as soon as a message comes in I must deal with it immediately and maintain that clean slate! And then it disrupts whatever else I was doing. So I may have to rethink how I do email too--only checking it periodically, maybe.)

When I think about what I want to be doing with my arm-ergs, I think of work, writing, and PT. When I think about what I want to be doing with my time, I think of spending time with my family, writing, and reading. Twitter doesn't even go on the list. It's not a thing I want to be doing; it's a thing that I do, and a thing that takes me away from things I want to do. Nothing personal to anyone I hang out with there. I really do enjoy your company! I'm just in the middle of a fairly massive priority shift.

I don't know yet whether I'm going to go off of it altogether or limit myself to my nearest-and-dearest list or only go on at specific times or what, but expect to see less of me on the Twitters, at least for a while.

another bookmark

Apr. 24th, 2015 11:38 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
This one's up for auction at Con or Bust (I'm offering a custom-made one, too).

Click to enlarge:

red knotwork front full

The weird waviness is it being unduly flattened by the scanner, because I tried for way too long to get accurate colors with a camera and GIMP and could not.

Pattern by Teresa Wentzler (and a giant pain, it varies the height of the rows it puts in and so I had to take a ruler and pencil in lines so that I could have a proper 1 square = 1 stitch chart). Stitched over two on Antique White MCG evenweave; main stitching in silk, Caron Waterlillies, Cherry 101; satin stitch and Algerian eyelets in DMC pearl cotton size 12, Ecru (best way to do satin stitches EVER); backstitch in DMC 801 (done over one on the diagonals); shiny bits in Krenik #4 Braid Beige (013).

The colors don't quite glow the way I wanted when I saw the silk in the store, but I'm pretty happy with it all the same.

5 things about today #206

Apr. 25th, 2015 11:00 am
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
[personal profile] transcendancing
Belated, so this is for yesterday.


* Woke up early because I anticipated going to join one of my followthroughs for her birth, but things were moving quite slowly, so we updated the plan to join her about 1pm.

* All was not lost, even though I was up and organised and didn't need to be, I made coffee for all of us and I did some work on my essay and I now have a decent introduction.

* Got ready, managed to just make my train with a sprint at the end, but received a message from my followthrough that she was feeling like there were heaps of people in the room already and would it be okay if I didn't come afterall. And of course it was fine and I'd reassured her all along that this was absolutely up to her - her labour, her space. So got off the next stop and went home again. heard late in the evening that she'd had her baby and all was well, so that was nice to hear before I went to bed :)

* Didn't manage to get into an essay headspace again, but we got carpet cleaning things because Ally is being a bit willful atm. I did watch several episodes of S3 Major Crimes - and I do love that show!

* I made this Cacio e Pepe recipe for dinner last night, but I played with it by adding some slow cooked leeks and some Italian beef and pepper sausages with some fresh parsley. Turned out beautifully! Will definitely use this as a great, easy, and light tasting base for pasta sauce again.
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Parked next to an old-timer today. (Columbia Roadster, held together with spit and duct tape.)

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