Friday, December 9, 2016

This Is Not Working

The good thing about procrastination is I get so much done.

Today I washed, folded and put away all my laundry, baked a meatloaf, cleaned the kitchen afterward, ordered salt-free spice mixes online from Penzey's for my father (who cut back on salt after his heart attack), checked all my social media accounts...

Everything but writing on the ms. due in 6ish weeks.
That's enough time to finish it, but only if I write it.

This is serious. So I cancelled a few upcoming social outings (real life ones), and then I deleted my Twitter and Tumblr accounts. I don't use them much anyway … except when I'm procrastinating.

I wouldn't delete this blog! But I do need to take a break. Even just the little things I've been posting lately take a surprising amount of time. (Well, not so surprising, eh.)
I might pop in, but don't worry if I'm gone for a while. 
Love ya'll! --Fresca

Couples on the Couch, V: Bear

Searching around for images of couples on couches or reading in bed, mostly I'm finding what you'd expect--advertising or Hollywood–style stuff.
But this.
This has to be my favorite.

From the Daily Mail, May 2016, Russian Couple and Their Bear
[includes a short video]:

Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko adopted the bear Stepan when he was three months old
Today [2016] the bear is 23 years old and weighs 300lb
Stepan is so gentle he cuddles up to them in the evening and watches TV on the sofa

Couples Reading in Bed

From the Adipositivity Valentine project, photographing fat people in love

A worthy project, but too often the faces are hidden. Here, at least you can see book titles (if you lighten the photo; this is the original lighting though):  
his, Biochemistry; hers, Kama Sutra 365.

But it was the Superman undies that made me choose this photo.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

From Amy Salloway's "Is This You?"––Modern Living While Fat

This is the third of three posts today of things other people emailed me, which I love. Thanks, all!

In reference to me posting Kameron Hurley's essay, "Public Speaking While Fat",  bink sent me this essay, "Is This You?" 

by her writing teacher, Amy Salloway, about being the subject of a photo that went around the Internet mocking her as a fat woman.

It starts:
"One night, about ten months ago, … I got an email from my mother, with whom I haven’t spoken in a decade, because we’re estranged.
She wrote, “Hi, Amy.  I hope you’re doing well. I got a hip replaced. Your sister had two more babies. Say, I’m on Ellen DeGeneres’s funny mailing list, and… is this you?!?!”
And what she attached was – apparently Ellen sends out a humorous email to her bazillion-people fan base once a week, and on this particular week, she sent viewer-submitted photos of humans doing hilariously misguided shenanigans, and there was that same photo – of the fat woman, in overalls, sitting in a chair, on a treadmill…watching TV."

< "Amy Salloway has been called 'kick-ass funny and achingly poignant', 'raw and fearless', 
and 'the voice for all of us who were picked last for kickball'. 

Couples on the Couch IV: Superbat

Superbat fanart by Nao
This time there's no doubt it's Superman/Batman, they're both in their superhero clothes.  

The fast food cracks me up. Also the plant. And the frayed rug.
Special commendation to Nao for a smart solution for getting two massive superheroes on one couch: 
an L-shaped couch.

(Thank you for sending this, Dan!)

George Jones, "Take Me"

George Jones | 1931-2013: "His Life Was a Country Song", New York Times, April 26, 2013:
"Mr. Jones’s singing was universally respected and just as widely imitated. With a baritone voice that was as elastic as a steel-guitar string, he found vulnerability and doubt behind the cheerful drive of honky-tonk and brought suspense to every syllable, merging bluesy slides with the tight, quivering ornaments of Appalachian singing." 
Marz sent me this song. I always liked C/W since I got to know it when I was sixteen and had moved to Denver by myself: that's all the radio stations played out there.

NOTE:  George sings the complete song here, but it's from a doc about Leon Russell and alas the filmed image cuts pretty quickly from Jones to  someone picking up scorpions in Russell's swimming pool (prepping to paint it).
So, just listen.

"A very pretty song"

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Equal Time for Ants

I like bees and can imagine cosplaying the Victorian bee costume (technically a hornet, but I don't like them) I posted yesterday, 
but this medieval painting of ants that I found on Public Domain reminds me that I used to like ants too.
When I was about seven, I got very upset with my sister for maliciously stamping on anthills. She wouldn't stop even though (or because?) I was crying.

I even wrote a paper on ants when I was twelve. I'd forgotten!

Our English teacher had assigned writing a paper about anything we wanted, and that's what I chose. 

Anyway,  aren't these ants surprisingly cute?

From Kameron Hurley's "Public Speaking While Fat"

From Kameron Hurley's essay "Public Speaking While Fat":
The only time I’ve ever been praised for my weight repeatedly was when I was dying of a chronic illness, which winnowed me down to a (still considered “overweight”!) 170lbs.
I’ll never forget my mother on the phone with my dad, having just gotten me out of the ICU, telling him how great I looked because I was so skinny (!!!).

I vowed from that moment on …that I would never, ever ever beat myself up or hate myself for being fat ever again.
I have always considered fear and hatred of taking up space as a feminist issue, as it’s so often used to shame women, no matter what their actual size.

Many women-identified people worry about heckling, about pointing and shouting “You’re fat! You’re not a real woman! You’re stupid! You talk too much!” and I get that the pain and fear and sorrow over that can be too much. But being in these spaces, and being heard in them, is vitally important to changing these conversations…

Go forth into the world, retreat when it is too much, but know that when you stand up to be heard, and be counted, you’re doing your own part to change the narrative, and in doing so, to change the world."
Originally posted on her website,
Kameron Hurley, Intellectual Badass

now in her collection of essays, Geek Feminist Revolution  (2016) >
which I like so much I actually bought, new.

I'd blogged a long time ago about what a time suck it is to obsess about diet & weight: "Being Pretty"

(Wow--that was Dec. 7, 2007, nine years ago to the day...)
If you just look at it objectively like a time-use study or a public health survey, it's an almost criminal waste of human energy. 

And it's such a bore--we could be doing so much more interesting things. But if people keep throwing sticky stuff at you, you do have to give it some attention. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cosplay: Victorian Hornet

I hit the jackpot of cosplay research today, from 1887:
Fancy Dresses Described; or, What to Wear at Fancy Balls 

--basically a cosplay guide and tutorial for Victorians by Ardern Holt; Debenham & Freebody, London.

Here's a page from it, with a description and color illustration for the "HORNET" dress: 

I've been looking for something to cosplay---this could be it! (Though I bet the fabric would be too expensive, I could adapt it in cardboard or something.)

The entire book is free online (click ^ on the title up top) at the Public Domain Review, "an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works…
which have now fallen into the public domain, that vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restriction." 

Don't click on Public Domain Review's IMAGES or you may never escape looking at the likes of Dr Julius Neubronner’s Miniature Pigeon Camera (from 1908!) or, A Sloth, which I just posted below.

A Sloth, Blessed

A Sloth; 
by Joris Hoefnagel, Flemish/Hungarian (1542–1600), and Georg Bocskay, Hungarian (d. 1575); Vienna, Austria; 1561–'62; illumination added 1591–'96; Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment 

From The Public Domain Review: IMAGES
[Do not go there ^; you may never escape.]

I do not know what it's doing there, but the Latin is from the Beatitudes; Matthew 5-7, Jesus says,
"Blessed are they who relieve the miserable, for it is paid back to them in such a way that they are freed from misery." etc.
(God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.)  

Or, the Unexpected Virtue of Doing It Wrong

My auntie emailed me today about being a beginner among more accomplished spinners:
her wool yarn is uneven and lumpy. 

One of the young women admired her work, however, saying that she herself can't spin yarn like that anymore, only fine yarn.

My auntie wrote,  
"I'll have to remember what I'm doing wrong so that I can, in the future, occasionally spin like a beginner if I want to."
Remember what you're doing wrong...
I thought of what I'd written yesterday about the peaceful protests to the Dakota pipeline––my surprise that they had worked––expecting things to go badly as these things so often have in the past.

I'd been idly reading about children's brain development last month and it's so interesting, you know---their brains are literally open to everything (our neural connections are not yet closed); curious like a scientist, they are willing to carry out a thousand experiments.

"When we are babies, our brains are more open to the shaping hand of experience than at any time in our lives. In response to the demands of the world, the baby's brain sculpts itself."
--PBS "Secret Life of the Brain"

Of course we wouldn't want to stay like babies--we could never focus on anything. The trick is to bring the two together:

From Wikipedia: "Shoshin" is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning beginner's mind.
It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." 
― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind 

Monday, December 5, 2016

When Shall We Have Good News?

When shall we have good news?

From the Guardian days 2 ago, Sat. December 3,  2016:
"Cat Bigney, part of the Oglala Native American tribe, waits on the shore of the Cannon Ball river [North Dakota] for travellers to arrive by canoe at the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline [DAPL].
--Photograph: David Goldman/AP *
I cried when I hear the news last night---I'd assumed this would end the way these things usually end, either with a bang––the arrival of the National Guard and a fleet of bulldozers behind them––
or a whimper––roadblocks starving and freezing the people out.

This isn't the case, I know, but it feels like the only good news we've had in 2016, a year of spectacular (and a spectacular amount of) bad news.

Of course this isn't the end of the pipeline itself, but what a great boost as we head into Trumptime, a reminder of the power of persistence.
Never, never, never, never give up.

What Churchill really said:
"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.

Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

Churchill made the speech on October 29, 1941, to the boys at Harrow School.

* The rest of the caption to the Cannon Ball, North Dakota, USA, photo, top:
Despite state and federal evacuation orders, a government roadblock, escalating police violence and aggressive prosecutions that attorneys say lack basic evidence, thousands of veterans are preparing to travel to Cannon Ball this weekend to support the growing movement to stop the pipeline."

Couples on the Couch III: Kirk/Spock

Marz emailed me this fanart this morning; I almost spit coffee on the keyboard laughing when I opened it.
And once again, we can't see what they're reading! Is Kirk reading a Star Trek novel by William Shatner, set in the Shatnerverse

​by elfqueen55; her deviantart:

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Feeling Catholicish

I'm not sure that going to a Protestant church is going to work for me.  
I thought I was looking for local community more than religion, but of course the community gathers for the religion, 
and the religion, or the church service anyway, seems to be based on words and thoughts about religious stuff and not on mumbo-jumbo hocus-pocus crazy magic juju idolatrous religious stuff, like the supra-personal sacraments that I love in the Catholic Church.

Well, yeah. Of course I knew that would be the case, but I didn't know how much I'd miss the wibbly-wobbly luminous numinous--the sort of thing George Tooker painted. I looked him up and learned that he converted to Catholicism. A religion with plenty of problems of its own, but overall, it's been a good religion for art.

Above: Dark Angel

Below: In the Summerhouse

More paintings by Tooker:

Cosplay: The Play's the Thing

Sometimes it's the play, not the costume, that makes a great cosplay.

The most excellent performance cosplay I've heard of:
a man and woman dressed in simple evening clothes spent the day at the 2014 SD ComicCon running up to anyone in a Batman costume, yelling "Son!" and falling dead to the floor, holding a sign reading The Wayne Family.


(You know, right? that young Bruce Wayne witnessed the murder of his parents, vowed to spend his life preventing such crimes, and became Batman to fulfill that vow.)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2 Things I'm Happy About

1. The Pokémon are happy inside the poké ball. 
I'd worried a bit about that. (Did you?)

2. Wikipedia sent me a nice message:

Couples on the Couch II: Bruce & Clark

 Or is Bruce Wayne (Batman), since he's in civvies, and Superman (Clark Kent) since he's in costume? Superhero identities get so confusing...

Again: what's the book??? Looks like a script?

SuperBat art by Taiwanese comic book artist and illustrator Hai-Ning at Dark-room Gate

Couples on the Couch I: Uhura & Spock

I wasn't keen on the romance between reboot Uhura and Spock until the third movie Star Trek: Beyond (2016). They're clearly not the original characters at this point, and I think they're actually pretty great together. 

And here's fanart of them are doing my favorite thing (along with reading in bed): reading on the couch together. 
I imagine she's reading aloud to him, …but what?

Sorry, I can't find the original post or quite make out the artist's name: shiyora? 2012

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cosplay: Go Big

I was looking at women's plus-size cosplay--there're a lot of amazing costumes out there, but this is the one of the BEST  I've seen, any size, IMHO, because cosplayer Bellexi uses her body as part of her costume, and because her guts in doing so also matches the character, who is a badass: 
Roadhog, from the game Overwatch.

Plus, Bellexi made her costume, including using a 3D printer to make parts of her weapons. She painted the stomach tattoo on a body suit.
 Overwatch has a lot of great diverse characters. Here are some more women killing Overwatch cosplay at Baltimore's Otakon. August 2016.

Here are just a few of the many bigger-bodied cosplayers I found:

BELOW: The TARDIS from Doctor Who:

BELOW: Again, I love how the cosplayer uses her body as much as her costume for Shakmina, warrior princes from Faragh Borgh (I think? an OC (original character)).
From Horror Kitsch Bitch, "Alternative Fa(t)shion and Body Positivity"

 The above blogger, Kobi, writes:

I believe plus size fashion is political. Pure and simple.

Our current society tells fat women (and fat people, all genders) that they are entirely unworthy of (amongst other things) love, respect, dope threads, and the right to autonomy over their body (diet, exercise etc).
When I first started collecting body modifications at the age of 12, it was a way of attempting to regain control over my body and refusal to follow the rules (I went to a strict school, for one thing).
As a creative being, I’ve always had an intense passion for costumes and fashion – although the latter always felt illegal, something I would never actually be allowed to participate in. But finding the body pos community and beginning a journey towards self actualisation has enabled me to finally allow myself to pursue these once-forbidden passions.

Briana Lawrence (below, right, in green gown) wrote about being plus-sized, black woman cosplayer, here: 
"I'm A Plus-Size Cosplayer"
, from xoJane, 2013

"People can be real assholes to plus size and/or diverse cosplayers."

BELOW: Rey, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

warrior Fiona from Shrek Forever After:

Cosplay: Nalo Hopkinson, 1977, Uhura

Nalo Hopkinson, author of sci-fi and speculative fiction and guest of honor at upcoming Worldcon 2017,  cosplaying Uhura from Star Trek in 1977-78:

Hopkinson was born in Jamaica, lived in Canada, and now teaches Creative Writing at UC–Riverside.
From her blog post "In honour of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek":

"I remember trying to figure out what the hell to dress up as, since at the time, none of the commonly recognized characters or creatures in popular science fiction and fantasy reflected me or my culture. … Except Ororo Munroe [Storm from Marvel Comics] and Lt. Uhura.

Nichelle Nichols [played Uhura], you were there when I needed you… Because you were and are visible where you are visible, you make it possible for other Black women to be seen, too. Thank you."
I just got Hopkinson's novel Sister Mine from the library.