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I'm trying to find out whether the new movie Spy with Melissa McCarthy has a lot of offensive fat jokes. (I saw The Heat when it came out and thought it didn't. Have a lot, that is. It had a few.) Any opinions? Would prefer no major spoilers in comments, minor spoilers OK.

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I was on this panel so I didn't take notes. sophy did a great panel writeup here: http://sophy.livejournal.com/1392442.html

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Wiscon 39 panel report: Size Acceptance 201

I almost didn't go to this panel, because I was worried that there would be a lot of talk about (from the quote in the panel description) "considering weight loss surgery" and/or "when you think there is such a thing as clothes that fat people shouldn’t wear". Although I can see why people considering weight loss surgery might want to be part of a size acceptance movement, talk about weight loss surgery upsets me; and talk about "clothes that fat people shouldn't wear" does not seem to have anything remotely to do with a size acceptance discussion. (Talking about clothing that you don't personally want to wear is fine.) Fortunately for me, there were no discussions of either of those things at the panel.

[My notes aren't a complete transcription and may represent my own language rather than the actual words of the panelists. I welcome corrections. I did not identify all audience commenters by name. If you said something I paraphrased here and want your name to be used, please comment or send me a private message.]

Description: What would Size Acceptance 201 even look like? Cary Webb writes that the endless focus on SA 101 begins to seem oppressive "when you can’t afford to eat healthy, when you gain/lose weight for any reason, when you have had or are considering weight loss surgery, when you have chronic health conditions or are not able-bodied, when you think there is such a thing as clothes that fat people shouldn’t wear, or when all those people/artistic endeavors who are lauded look nothing like you or represent ideas you think are flawed. It seems like there is in fact a wrong way to have a body." We need a conversation that prioritizes fatties who are POC, LGBTQ, disabled, men, and masculine of center. Bring your demands, desires, and ideas for a better, bigger Size Acceptance movement.
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Mad Max: Fury Road

On the advice of about 90% of the people I know everywhere, I saw Mad Max: Fury Road today. I found it a huge sensory overload, so my initial reaction was something like "It's like trying to read everything on Twitter for 90 minutes." It was a good movie and had lots of feminist messages, like 90% of the people I know everywhere said.

Unless everyone is completely done talking about it already, there might be spoilers in the comments.

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A Schrödinger's person posts linkspam

I'm a Schrödinger's person right now because Facebook says I am fake (even though I use the same name everywhere on the net) but it has let me keep my account for 7 days, after which I have to prove who I am to Facebook's satisfaction or be disappeared from Facebook, which means everything I ever posted there becomes invisible to other users, although Facebook gets to keep it.

Based on what I've heard from other people, Facebook is completely arbitrary with regard to what it will accept as proof (one person sent a copy of her driver's license and they rejected it), so even if I do decide to jump through that hoop, which I am disinclined to do, I still have no more chance of surviving on FB than Schrödinger's cat.

I have to decide what to do about this tomorrow. In the meantime, here's some linkspam.

~

I love these watercolor kitties!
http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2015/02/watercolor-and-ink-cats-bleeding-into-the-canvas/

~

OOOH SHINY (many pix of large crystals) http://imgur.com/a/QAS7d
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Linkspam for Dreamwidth (and LJ)

3 weeks for dreamwidth seems like a good excuse for starting to post again. Apparently I stopped posting in January because these are mostly links from January.

I love reading about shipping.
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150209-the-network-that-runs-the-world
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Wiscon panel/event ideas

Hey, anyone want to help work up any of these ideas as Wiscon panel descriptions? They're listed with the name(s) of the people I talked to about them.

• there are several entirely different WisCons going on simultaneously (jesse the k)
• "The Structural Underpinnings of Social Isolation" (jesse the k)
• "a panel that isn't about picking people up for sex, but meeting folks one has an emotional/intellectual spark with" (possibly for dating in the future. ACE-friendly) (sophy)
• "carbon dating fairy": which books have aged well, how and why? Not so much about which books the various $suck and $fail fairies have visited, but which ones feel modern even after decades (Dune?), which ones are classics for every age (Tolkien?), and which ones remain attached to the era they were written but stand as great examples of that era's writing and concerns (PKDick?) * Is SF more likely to age badly than fantasy? * How much of a role does writing style play in the feeling of aging well or poorly? Some other books/authors: _War for the Oaks_, Piserchia, _God Stalk_, McCaffrey, Le Guin (the OH)

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thoughts on spiritual community

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/awordtothewitch/2015/01/26/witchcraft-and-the-monkeysphere/

Almost all of my spiritual practices that involved other people have taken place in small groups. This article suggests that small groups work better than large ones because of the way human social brains are wired.

Reading it, I suddenly realized part of the reason I'm reluctant to get more involved in my local sangha (http://insightmeditationcenter.org) is because I have no experience of doing spiritual stuff in the context of more than 4–8 people. (I went to a big church with my parents when I was growing up, but that wasn't at all spiritual for me.) I've gone to the sangha to sit but I don't take part in planning or running things. Sitting with others is different from sitting alone, which is also true for me in other spiritual activities—some kind of group energy is generated. But my limited attempts to socialize with people at the sangha haven't brought a strong feeling of connection.

I couldn't necessarily say this is all due to human brain limits on the number of people we can know well, though, because I've always built or joined as a founding member covens and other spiritual groups instead of joining an already established one, and I think that makes a difference to me, along with the number of participants.

Also my tendency to other myself (thinking "I'm too weird for these people," in the absence of any corroborating data) is active at the sangha because I don't know the people from other contexts. There was an LGBQT* retreat last weekend and I wanted to go, but I couldn't drag myself out of bed early enough (why do Buddhists always start things so effing early?).

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Great essay about design of female warrior characters in video games. Because "Not all women have breasts as big as our heads."
https://medium.com/@Ruby_Magatama/on-designing-better-women-in-games-ebe785d8689
~
Via [personal profile] silveradept, managing your life when you have impaired executive function (but also could apply to managing when you have other kinds of disabilities).
1. Probably the most important part in my experience: especially if you’re having bad executive function problems, you get a star for every success. Metaphorically speaking. Put the dishes in the dishwasher? Star (even if you didn’t wipe the counters or empty containers out of the fridge or whatever). Put laundry through? Star (even if you didn’t fold it and put it away and you end up using it out of the pile of clean clothes before it gets there). The biggest problem with executive function malfunctions (and this is science!) is that we get caught in horrible self-reinforcing loops: we expect too much, we don’t achieve all of it, we feel awful for not achieving all of it, we get more depressed/upset/stressed/anxious, our exective function goes down. You want to do the opposite: set small, achievable goals and the celebrate your successes.
http://last-snowfall.tumblr.com/post/103741300275/hi-folks-im-asking-for-some-help
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"The Debt: When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?" (Spoiler: Nothing, but it's hard for some people to make that choice.)
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2013/02/abusive_parents_what_do_grown_children_owe_the_mothers_and_fathers_who_made.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_top
~
Cab Calloway's Hepster dictionary ("the first dictionary authored by an African-American" according to Barrelhouse words: a blues dialect dictionary.)
http://www.openculture.com/2015/01/cab-calloways-hepster-dictionary.html
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Coyotes are the third most common carnivore found in The The Tar Pits Tar Pits (sorry, I mean La Brea) and we can study their evolution relative to that of the gray wolf.
...climate change couldn’t account for the shrinking coyotes. Instead, Ice Age coyotes may have been larger because size was an advantage during a time when there was a broader guild of big predators stalking the land. Once the dire wolves, sabercats, and American lions went extinct, competition for prey ceased to be so intense and coyotes became smaller. Also, many of the large prey animals of the Ice Age – such as horses and camels – went extinct, too, meaning less food on the hoof for coyote packs.
http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/14/how-extinction-changed-the-coyote/
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In praise of non-photogenic food
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/14/my-cooking-is-a-mess-and-tastes-better-for-it

Many interesting excerpts from Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in WWII by Allan Berubé
http://thingswithwings.dreamwidth.org/219082.html
~
Sherlock Holmes (TOS) fans take note.
...literary scholar Clare Clarke has uncovered some long-forgotten texts...as she sets out to examine the detective as criminal, the bad guy as the hero and societies where crimes may well go unsolved – as well as London, the books take in Australia and India. She introduces us to a master of disguise (yes, another one), a dodgy private enquiry agent, all manner of indolent young men about town and a bent copper. There is a moral complexity to a number of these novels, she contends, that has previously been overlooked.

Along the way, Clarke places the burgeoning crime fiction genre in the context of the growth of the police force and the modern bureaucratic state.
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/books/late-victorian-crime-fiction-in-the-shadows-of-sherlock-by-clare-clarke/2017766.article
~
Interviews with various people in the SF publishing world about SF featuring people with disabilities. Thoughtful but misses some stuff I'm surprised it missed. [And now I wish I had written down what those were, because I had something in mind when I first recorded this in my linkspam collection, but now I can't remember what.]
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/09/mind-meld-disabilities-in-speculative-fiction/

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Media Consumption Wednesday

Movies


The Dark Knight Rises
2012 movie wrapping up director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. I didn't like it as much as the other two, but I thought they did a pretty good job with Catwoman. Also, I really want Bane's coat. (Costume designer Lindy Hemming "personally designed Bane's coat, which she admitted took two years to complete. The design was difficult as Hemming struggled to find a tailor in Los Angeles who could work with shearling.")

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
Continues the tradition of telling the history of Middle-Earth by means of focusing on the humans that hang around with hobbits, with special emphasis on battle and escape scenes. This tradition started in Fellowship of the Ring. I saw it with a sweetie, who left to go to the bathroom (which was located on the other side of the theater) when the troll fighting scene in Moria started. When she came back, the scene was still going on. Well, in this movie, I could have spent half of my time in the bathroom and still not missed anything but battle scenes. Then again, since the title is Battle of Five Armies, I suppose I knew what I was in for going in. I watch these because I'm a Tolkien fan and Jackson's designers have done a fabulous job designing a Middle Earth that mostly tracks with the one that's been in my head ever since I first read The Hobbit at age 9. I don't think the plots track so well but I don't particularly care about that.

Planet B-Boy
2007 documentary about the 2005 Battle of the Year award for crew b-boying (aka break-dancing). The competition has taken place in Germany annually since 1990. I would have liked it better if I had understood more of the moves.


Episodics


Agent Carter
Marvel series about a woman agent in the 1940s just post-WWII. She was romantically involved with Captain America and played an important part in the war. Now that the war is over, she's working in a covert agency called Strategic Scientific Reserve but the men treat her like an office girl. So she starts taking secret missions on the side. First two episodes were very good and the third episode was pretty good.

Doctor Who
I heard that Netflix probably wasn't going to remove Doctor Who permanently after all but the threatened removal is a game of chicken with the BBC. Nevertheless I'm determined to catch up on Doctor Who before February 15. I'm currently in the middle of seaon 7 (11th Doctor with companion Clara Oswald. I REALLY LOVED the episode "The Snowmen."

Fiction


Jasper Fforde, The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3)
Competently narrated by Emily Grey. Fforde is a science fiction / fantasy writer comparable to Pratchett and Douglas Adams in his extremely high "clever idea to text ratio," absurdist humor, and complex world building. I'm liking this one better than the others. There is an extremely high clever idea to text ratio, and it makes me laugh fairly often. I recommend the first two books in this series, but I particularly liked this one, in which the protagonist leaves the "real world" and enters the "BookWorld," in which stands the Great Library (containing all books ever written, and all books ever attempted but not finished — the well of lost plots), and in which the organization Text Grand Central manages software that allows books to be written and read. Anyone who has worked in publishing or writing is highly likely to enjoy it.



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https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/01/facing-challenge-online-harassment

I'm glad they said something.

It's true that rules and regulations aimed at harrassers are likely to end up being used against the same groups of people who are most often the targets of harrassment (women, people of color, queer people, etc.). For example, Facebook's real name policy has been used to harrass drag queens and trans people.

The suggestions they describe for addressing harrassment are important but they aren't sufficient. Stronger blocking tools that are easier for individual users to employ? That matters, but it's not going to help with doxxing. More control over the online availability of personal information? That matters, but it's a really inadequate tool against harrassment per se. It puts a huge burden on the victim and limits their participation in the public sphere. Counter-speech? That is absolutely necessary, but it's not a solution that allows victims to stay online, especially when the victims are individuals who would rather not spend every moment of every day being reminded of their harrassment.

I have a problem with the phrase "The kind of harassment we are worried about happens when Internet users attract the attention of the wrong group or individual," because it's subtly victim-blaming.

Also the post relegates the demographics of harrassment (e.g. that women are harrassed at a far higher rate than men) to a footnote.

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https://www.zooniverse.org/ is a collection of science projects that lay people can help with. Most of them involve looking at images and marking things on the images. Apparently it's easier for humans to do some tasks of this sort than computers.

One of my favorites is called Radio Galaxy Zoo. You're shown an image that is an overlay of radio signals on an infrared photo of a distant part of the universe. You click the picture to indicate associations between the radio signals and the infrared signals. I find it easy and calming.

http://radio.galaxyzoo.org/

Another easy and calming one involves keeping tabs on penguin populations. Basically you see a photo that may or may not have penguins in it, and if there are penguins, you click them.

http://www.penguinwatch.org/

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First Media Consumption of 2015

Movies

To Catch a Thief
Hitchcock with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (and Edith Head doing costumes). I haven't laughed this much over a movie in a long time.
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clearing out the 2014 linkspam

Why "you can just make your own clothes" isn't always a great alternative for people who can't wear straight sizes. I appreciate the reminder "There is no shame in not having a lot of craft skills, but there is shame in making people feel like they should have those skills."
http://meloukhia.net/2014/12/costuming_while_fat_and_uncrafty/
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Notable media consumed of 2014

I recommend all of these (except GRRM). More detailed reviews on request!
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[personal profile] snippy posted about an interactive feature on CNN.com that attempts to determine whether you, a person residing in the US, can correctly identify whether you count as "middle-class."

Here is the gist of the comment I left over at [personal profile] snippy's post:

Income is not a great gauge of class by itself. Net worth matters a LOT.

Have you read The Millionaire Next Door? One of the main themes is that some professionals with high incomes believe that appearing wealthy is an important part of their professional reputation. So they have big houses, expensive cars and clothes, and are deep in debt. Some rich people think it's important to save money, so they have lots of assets but they don't live in fancy houses, drive beat-up cars, etc. (The book is rather simplistic in its judgements but I agree that those patterns exist.)

Those rich folks and professionals might have similar gross incomes. But are they the same class?

They are defining "middle class" where I live as a household income of $68,420—$107,815.

They're counting it as the middle fifth of income, which means they're assuming five classes. One wonders what the results would be like if they took the middle third of income (I suspect the results would be more boring, although I'm sure some people would define themselves as middle class when they aren't in the middle third of income).

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I really like Moby-Dick (the novel by Melville).

I'm afraid I don't much care for this guy's artwork style, but he made 552 illustrations for Moby-Dick (one for each page of his edition), which I think is a great project.

http://www.tinhouse.com/books/fiction-poetry/moby-dick-in-pictures.html

He also claims to have "the world's largest personal collection of Nazgul art"

http://everypageofmobydick.blogspot.com/p/the-worlds-largest-personal-collection.html

This is a recent article about him.

http://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/artsmindsblog/wild-weird-world-matt-kish/

While digging around to find out more about this guy, I discovered there is now a biennial "marathon reading of Moby-Dick" in New York City. This happened in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 there wasn't a reading, but there was a "Moby-Dick Not-Marathon," aka a convention. The next marathon will be in 2016. Its Kickstarter campaign is a sight to behold.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandabullock/moby-dick-marathon-nyc

I found out about Matt Kish via a pattern by Ann Weaver, "His Mark," in the new (50th!) edition of knitty.com:http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEw14/PATThismark.php

She has published two books of knitting patterns based on Moby-Dick. The paper versions of the books have illustrations by Matt Kish.

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A psychiatrist thinks the patient-run web site about psychiatric medications, http://crazymeds.us , is great, but can't recommend it to their patients because it has offensive jokes.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/27/such-mixed-feelings-about-crazymeds/

~

Anita Sarkeesian is on the cover of Business Week, along with the text "VIDEO GAME AVENGER: One woman's crusade to vaporize gaming's grossest trolls."

Need I say DON'T READ THE COMMENTS even though Business Week is moderating them.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-11-26/anita-sarkeesian-battles-sexism-in-games-gamergate-harassment

~

It's funny that this article about gender norms among "millennials" starts out by focusing on men who have chosen to decorate their fingernails. I've never decorated my fingernails before but recently I've started wearing nail decals. I vaguely worry that they make me present as too femme. But I'll save the details of my worries about gender presentation for another post.

It's OK to peek at the comments on this one. A couple of the top comments are along these lines:
"What is the incessant need to classify people in arbitrary "generations" and then build stereotypes around them? People are far too diverse to make such generalizations" (Lencho)

"This just in: Gender norms have never been challenged until millenials came along! (Don't tell David Bowie.)" (fictitiousengineer)
http://www.npr.org/2014/11/30/363345372/for-these-millennials-gender-norms-have-gone-out-of-style

~

The gender norms article referenced this documentary about Bindle & Keep, an LGBTQ-friendly tailoring company.

http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2014/09/lena-dunham-lgbtq-tailor

~

Lately company "wellness" programs have been in the news for forcing workers to undergo invasive medical exams or face large health insurance "surcharges." Good news on that front—the EEOC considers these programs inappropriate and has been suing to stop them.
In the Honeywell wellness program, employees and their spouses are asked to get blood drawn to test their cholesterol, glucose and nicotine use, and also have their body mass index and blood pressure measured. An employee who refuses is subject to a $500 surcharge on health insurance premiums and could lose up to $1,500 in Honeywell contributions to a health savings account. A worker and spouse are also each subject to a $1,000 tobacco surcharge if they refuse to do the screening. That means a couple could face a combined $4,000 in financial penalties.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/12/02/367842386/government-says-bosses-cant-force-workers-to-get-health-tests

~

Time to rewatch Gangnam Style! It has been viewed more than 2.1 billion times on YouTube, thus forcing YouTube to upgrade its 32-bit video counter. "Going to the video page and hovering over the view counter will show an animated math easter egg."

http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/3/7325819/gangnam-style-broke-youtube-view-counter

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My friend Katherine Lampe is an independent author who writes a series called Caitlin Ross. The genre might be described as "small town paranormal fantasy". The difference between this and a lot of other paranormal fantasy is that the protagonists are humans with the ability to work magic in various ways, rather than undead or fairies (although various undead, faeries, and other supernatural characters do make appearances).

Katherine Lampe's books as trade paperbacks on Amazon, as Kindle editions, or as Smashwords DRM-free ePub editions. (The first two books are temporarily unavailable to buy directly from SmashWords, although I am able to buy copies as gifts.)

http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Lampe/e/B00BRWSDFO/

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/wysewomon

I want to introduce folks to these books so I'm offering ten folks a choice of the following:...

ETA: Gifts have been claimed! This post is now unlocked; comments are still screened.

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So apparently with my camera and a foldio photo studio box and certain kinds of BOTMO beads I can take photos that look exactly like last-generation CGI. This is completely unprocessed except for a bit of color correction.

P1130093.jpg

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