Allegra Rivett Sloman's blog

Balian of Ibelin: You go to certain death. Hospitaller: All death is certain.
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21
Dec

Caution, language

Somebody commented on Miles V’s facebook page yesterday, and a mighty wrath swept over me when somebody played the #NOTALLWHITES race card.

This is how I responded.

 

As long as the cops are selectively targeting people of color upon whom to practice their monopoly on the legal use of force, I’m fucking well going to base my comments on skin color. As long as the cops don’t look like the people they police in the Interior of BC, I’m fucking well going to base my comments on skin color. As long as there are 1200 missing women of First Nations descent in my country and the Prime Minister says finding what happened to them isn’t a priority and besides the local police are handling it fine, I’m fucking well going to base my comments on skin color. As long as clueless white people hope to atomize individual cases in which white cops commit homicide, hoping to grind it up so fine it can’t be connected to the systemic racism dating back to *before* the Civil War, I’m fucking well going to base my comments on skin color.


20
Dec

Sleepovers and trash

Keith and Paul and Mike dropped by last night for pizza, movies and conversation, and it was wonderful to see them all.

I’ve done a lot of things wrong in my life, but picking my friends hasn’t been one of them.

Keith slept over – I put a bunch of Woly shoe creme on his work shoes, which are so trashed by salt water that the leather is starting to come apart in layers. There must be six bucks worth of it on there… I hadn’t even opened it and I’ve had it three years, so I’m glad to be using a resource.

One of my fave Beaconites, Dina Davidson, local midwife extraordinaire, got some press time on her favourite subject.

Katie cut her dad’s hair yesterday.  Given that she and Paul hadn’t spoken in the best part of a month – immediately after the birth of the first grandchild – I will leave you to parse that as best you may.

I am doing coffee at church tomorrow.  I think I’ll make a cake, but make something else to leave here so Jeff doesn’t come looking all expectant with no treats.  So I have to remember to immediately put on bread dough the instant I get up tomorrow, because if I do it today, it will be gone tomorrow. Treat Logistics.

I am learning to my horror that the second section of the book is in disarray, and the timelines are all squidded up, and I appear to have TWICE written the same scene twice without incorporating the necessary elements from the other draft.  It’s ugly and I’m frustrated.  I think I’m going to need another writing week without the siren song of Agents of SHIELD to fix this mess (although we are close to the end LOL) so I’ll be checking in with the mOmster to see when would or might be convenient.  Won’t be until after my homily January 4 though.

Autumn, who may really be Peaches, loves Agent Coulson.  She sits on the back of the sofa and gazes at him adoringly.

I have laundry.  I’m doing it, I’m not digging it.  I have to ditch a whole bunch of my clothes because they are not meeting my needs, but that in itself makes me sad.  I should just take a picture and move on.

I’m also hoping to walk over to 6th and do a mini shop.

We’ll see what happens when Keith gets up… he may want a late brekkie.  I can definitely help out with the coffee.

There’s been an update to wordpress, the engine that runs this blog, and it allows me to have an empty screen when I’m typing, which is actually kind of cool and gives you a nice electronic typewriter feeling.


19
Dec

Alien baby names

Some are traditional.  Some are suggested by that prankster Michel.  Some Kima just likes the sound of.  This is not the complete list, and each of the first few names I’ve written some backstory for.  The number is the number assigned by Kima.  Not all the babies are going to make it; a number of them who would normally get et and reabsorbed by their mom are allowed to develop, with occasionally weird and sad results.  W means watermorph and G, T, O indicates who dad is.

 

1 – Pharos WG aka Beaky.  He’s the biggest

2 – Kima Jr. WT

3 – Lumpy WO

4 – Rivergrass WG

5 – Zosime, later Cutshine WG

6 – Panops WT

7 – Gyorg WO

8 – Lara WG

9 – Peleas WG

10 – Phokas WG

11 – Cauchemar WO

12 – Bellerophon WO

13 – Friday WG – she’s melanistic, which is unprecedented.

14 – Hydra WG

15 – Bonnie WG

16 – 16

17 – TRex

18 – Spectrum

19 – Apex

20 – Star

21 – Polydorus – 0

22 – Nereus – 0

23 – Pudding – 0

24 – Neophytos – 0

25 – Aesklepios – 0 AKA Kleppy

26 – Evangelos 0 – AKA Evan

27 – Glykeria – 0 AKA Sweetie

28 – Spyridion – 0 AKA Spiro

29 – Nicoleta – 0 AKA Nico

30 – Zinovia – 0

31 – Aglaia – 0

32 – Stelian – 0

33 – Luca – 0

34 – Borbala – 0

35 – Pelagia – 0

36 – Elefteria – 0

37 – Temair – WG

38 – Graunch – WG

39 – Seawolf WG

40 – Tide – WG

41 – Orca WG

42 – Thisandthat – WG

43 – S01E01 – WG

44 – Corafae – WG (this is a pun – a coryphee is the lead dancer in a a ballet chorus)

45 – DeltaV WG

46 – Blue

47 – Mireille

Brigitte

Denis

Sparrow

Euclid

Stentor

Leonidas

Harry

Genie

Carita

Plenty

Vaslav

Goodgrief

Halloween

Yaya

Pietro

Paulo

Joe

Vic

Leo

Carlo

Tony

Francesco

Shotgun Bob

Mel

Strowler

Sansabri

Cuir

Spielberg

Benthe

Transversal

Torsion

Tension

Compression

Shear

Bending

Quanta

Tracer

Tomasz

Robin

Mason

Jas

Satraj WG F

Ivy

Menlo

Etazonia

Kojo

Incantare

Tengerész teng gay ress – means Mariner

Vonzó

Avantaj

Straylight

Rejtett pron. Raytett Hidden

Lelkes pron Lelkesh, keen

Hullám pron Hoolam wave

Captain

Kalyptra (veil)

Kiborion Chalice

Ráðgjöf – rowthjyeuf

Doofus

Umpteen

Elif


17
Dec

Just so you know

I don’t appreciate having ads for Kinder Morgan on my site, and am trying to figure out how to get rid of them.

Check it out!  Isn’t it great when men who will have access to date rape drugs make fun about date rape?

A friend is having trouble with a band council administration.  Colonialism has made a proper mess of First Nations life.  This story has alcohol, violence and threats of it, substandard housing, employment being contingent on who your cousins are, more alcohol, treatment centers that drive their their residents in to town to buy cigarettes (fuck you must be kidding), people walking into your house in the middle of the night and not leaving when asked, being fired for no cause when you’re doing your job properly, having to call the RCMP on your in laws, racism and more bullshit than could be shoveled in a month by ten strong men.

If I hadn’t heard from a dear friend today, who is doing fine, I’d be very much on edge.d

Back to my babies.  Literary, squidly babies, with large appetites.


16
Dec

My take on Hitchens

That which can be asserted without evidence should be ignored without distress.  And no, I don’t apologize to dead men.

I’m having a much harder time assembling part II than part I since I don’t seem to have as many connecting links between the pieces.

My friend Catherine was on the telly last night talking about her role in rescuing 60 cats.  Despite her allergies she is fostering two immense, extremely affectionate rescue cats, Riopelle and Smokey. Complaints about their point loading have already been registered.

We are enjoying Agents of Shield while ignoring plot holes, bad acting and the comic book world’s lack of sophistication with respect to air frame physics.


15
Dec

Haunting

I find this haunting. Someone has tried to reconstruct Babylonian song.

Yesterday I saw Sue in Little Women the Musical.  Unfortunately the book was not as good as the actors and musicians.  Fortunately I was able to argue my points with the actors afterwards without being dishonest or unkind, and it widened into a broader discussion of the challenges and rewards of musical theatre.  Ten years ago I would have said, Oh it was great, it was great.  Now I have the brains to respect people enough to be honest and the social intelligence to be honest without being a cad.

It was in Granville Island.  I had half an hour to Christmas shop.  I got an Alexosaurus (stuffed T Rex) and a kazoo.  Strangely, that is what I wanted.  I have rarely had a briefer and more pleasant Christmas shop.  The weather was crisply glorious and I likely won’t get to Granville Island again until Tammy comes.

Jeff and I walked to IHOP and back for breakfast.  It was very pleasant.

I think Riddle Number II is a cloud.  What do you think?

Work on the trilogy continues. Kima is pregnant – with more than 100 zygotes  by three fathers of two different morphs. This presents any number of social, emotional, physiological and ‘race’ issues.

I had a pleasant recent conversation with Dave JD.  He has joined the ranks of the unemployed.  I tried to get Facetime to reduce the expense of talking to him and repeated and lengthy attempts to purchase it were fruitless.  I really loathe anything to do with Apple customer service.  When I want an Android app or book I press a button, and free or not, it appears on my phone in about five minutes.  (I’m still on the first chapter of the Piketty book -if anyone wants to mock me… go ahead).

I can’t really deal with heeled shoes any more so I took two pairs of Fluevogs into church yesterday (the bus DIDN’T COME at 10:03, or even five minutes earlier according to the guy I ran into so I was 25 minutes late for church, screw you translink).  Anyway the teenaged co-congregant who had admired my steampunky shoes got about 300 dollars worth of footgear in a little bag, and if I did nothing else yesterday I made her very happy.  Her socks MATCHED the second pair of shoes, in a most gratifying way.

How do you detect an extrasolar planet? With objects found in hardware stores and Nikon lenses and software and a little something something to remove blur.

Yesterday morning I awoke to a dream in which Hitler’s mustache was crawling up my door frame.  I woke up for real and spent a disoriented couple of seconds looking for it.  Very odd, and not a little disturbing.

Breakfast of writing champions! Peanut butter cookies warm from the oven and fair trade coffee with real cream.  Ha!

We think Autumn may be knocked up.  It’s always something.


13
Dec

wooooo hooooo!

I just wrote 2461 words on Kima…. and I had fun and whacked out all the unnecessary verbiage as I went.

I have now set up an entire subplot for the next book in the trilogy, one that has implications for George and Kima’s friendship, ethics regarding experimentation on sentient creatures, ELF broadcast technology (Kima figures out how to miniaturize it to the point of packing it into a Sixer body which would be required anyway because an ELF transmitter normally has to be massive) and will be the catalyst for the world coming together in a way that has not been seen since the moon landing, and almost triggers world war III.  In order for me to carry off this dance of technobabble, I will now have to learn more than I want to about ocean currents, maps of magnetic force around and through the Earth, and what a Sixer would have to do to get an entire sheet of bioluminescent plankton to make a pattern visible from space… as a prank.

 

did i say i was having fun??!!


12
Dec

Depressing thoughts

Re the current clusterhump of police/public relations in the US:

Nothing’s going to improve until Obama decertifies the largest cop unions. Without the union backing, civil suits against cops will stack to the ceiling, and cops will rein in their behaviour because they don’t want to be fired (having lost that golden handcuff as they would now be at-will employees) and they really don’t want to be sued. I say let the market take care of this one, and it would be a nice, nice callback to the f*ckery Reagan got up to with the air traffic controllers. And yes, I am well aware that supporting union rights and saying this is hypocritical, but let’s not kid ourselves what police unions have turned into in the last 50 years; bastions of racism, corruption, thuggery, theft, forfeiture, policing by numbers and a high kicking chorus line of lawyers as a fence around their fiefdom of the War on Drugs.

My friend Mario asked me what news outlets I could trust.  I answered, as I frequently do, with obliquity.

 

I am at a loss, cher Mario, to answer the question.  The difficulty is in apprehending and correcting my biases as I greet ‘new’ news.

I once had a t-shirt made.  “Everybody has cognitive biases. Mine are smaller, cuter and rarer than yours.”
So I push myself to get news – and opinion – from other sources. I read Men’s Rights Activist sites and Smash the Patriarchy sites; I browse through hate sites and mainstream media and left wing sites and libertarian sites and atheist sites and devoutly Christian sites.  I ask myself in any situation involving large sums of money who is profiting and why? I tell myself not to disbelieve my culture’s persons of colour or poor people just because I’ve been trained to.
I have learned to detect when the argument has failed and now people are merely flailing around, angry and uninterested in an exchange of views, however frank, but an exchange of abuse which profits nothing and no one.
I have learned to distrust anyone who doesn’t invite all the interested parties in a matter to sit down and hash it out.  I have learned that our justice system is so irredeemably biased that it seems more likely to be a trigger for mass protest in the near future, rather than an impartial settler of culture wide issues.
I have learned that people lie for profit, but also from ignorance, malice, the desire to protect love ones, and despair.
I have learned that the pressure to perform in the highest levels of academe, journalism and the business world have led to constant low level plagiarism.  You can’t trust wikipedia, and I have screen shots to prove it.
I have learned that the patriarchy’s greatest success, it’s crowning achievement, it’s piece de resistance, has been in directing the anger of two generations of men not at the leaders who have betrayed them in a thousand ways, from offshoring jobs to smashing the access of veterans to healthcare, but at the women they have been trained to despise, and whom they believe have only one goal: to unfasten them from every remaining teat of privilege.
The hatred of modern men toward women is often so raw, so glistening, so constant, that it is always a matter of wonder that it is so misdirected, and all at the whim of a handful of wealthy men.
Men’s desire for a hierarchy they can feel comfortable in has rarely been used against them with such diabolical skill, and makes the task of developing a cultural map that puts men squarely in the centre of civilization an exigent need.  What we have now is not a civilization.  It is a noisy crowd of uninformed factions, frightened and broke and anxious, ready to turn on each other at a hint from the media or in fear of losing their paltry wages.

10
Dec

2500 word day

I’m supposed to be editing, but I ended up adding and deleting and adding and deleting…. and the adding was 2500 words more than the deleting.  So I’m going to have some hot chocolate and run a couple of loads of laundry and call it a day.

Oh, and it’s official. I am no longer looking for work.  I wrote a long, sick, sad post about it, but I am just going to suck it up and say NO to gainful underemployment.  Or as John frequently remarked, “I’m far too well to come to work today.”

Maybe Jeff wants to watch some more Agents of Shield.

 

 


09
Dec

List of projects

My current list of writing projects, which represents pious hope rather than firm commitment, is now in my portfolio.

Paul took me for a walk yesterday.  It was quite pleasant, and we all watched tv afterwards.

I forgot to mention (what a CRAPPY grandmother) that I saw Alex on Sunday.  It is simply astonishing how much gas that kid makes.  He farts pretty much continuously. He gave me another sly little social smile.  He likes being held, that’s for sure.

Autumn is still terrorizing Margot.

 

 

 


08
Dec

Checklist for my novel

Jeff was kind enough to send me this.  I think I hit five out of six.  However, I shouldn’t call it anything before it’s published.

For me I want a novel I write to do the following:

Take you someplace you haven’t been before – in this case into an implausible but internally consistent mode of being alien.

Make you think.  If an SF novel doesn’t make you think at least a moment about ‘what it is to be human’ or ‘the utter strangeness of how it is we are starstuff that does laundry’ then it’s missing an essential nucleobase from its DNA.

Make you worry.  If you don’t worry about what is going to happen to the characters next or what traps lie in store, you’re not connected to them.

Make you laugh.  Either to release pressure or to make a point which cannot be deftly made in exposition.

Leave enough to your imagination that the book can be your co-creation.

Play fair with the story.  My biggest resentments with Dunnett have to do with how the breadcrumb she left regarding our hero’s paternity is nanometrically tiny in the second series and non-existent in the first. (Yes, she recreates the paternity issue as the warp drive of the plot in the second series, but I don’t give a shit about how plot is repetitive.  If it wasn’t repetitive, it wouldn’t be plot, and it ain’t the premise it’s the people.)

Represent a notion of justice, equity, fairness and truth by the speech and actions of the protagonist and her associates. Novels are a very sophisticated way to broach these issues because even though you can be invested in the actors you can’t get killed.  Further, you can represent extremes of morality or fine gradations, thus providing emotionally meaningful denouements or hair splitting distinctions, which is intellectually fun.

Be grounded in the physical reality of human life without being enslaved by it.

 

That’s all I can think of right now.

 

 

 

 


08
Dec

In response to Pat Broderick’s whine about cosplayers

Hierarchical BS in fandom is going to happen. I’m troubled when our media preferences become more important to our tribal affiliation than the enduring sense of wonder that lifted us all up into fandom in the first place. Jealousy and envy are a part of life. Throw sexism, sizeism, publishing credits and perfect pitch into a small and vocal fandom and voila, ongoing eruptions.
 
Entitled people are likely to be cognitively biased enough to keep enunciating why their preferences ought to be the rules. (And whinge when they get called on it.) Those of us who do *not* find our preferences prescriptive for the entire universe of fandom…are “just happy to go to cons, meet new people, learn new songs and stay out of politics.”
 
Unless you’re a tribble, you shouldn’t hiss at Klingons. Or to rephrase, unless you have a physical problem with someone else’s embodiment of fandom (eg., using peanut butter as part of your costume when so many fans are allergic is unacceptable) the correct response falls along a continuum. Privately giggle with your friends, whine to your BFF or SO, or work through the irritation or anger in some constructive fashion. And now I pass the talking stick to someone else.

07
Dec

I remarked in disgust

The folks making these laws have logic tight compartments so big they make the caissons under the Brooklyn Bridge look like music boxes.

 

 

This was in response to the town of Marseilles telling the homeless to carry ID tags with yellow triangles on them.  The law was scrapped in response to local outrage, which, strangely, still helps in some places.


06
Dec

Delightful time

I had a simply wonderful time at the fOlks’.

I made biscotti.  I wrote about 300 new words and deleted about 500 old ones.  mOm and I completely worked our way through the edits for the first 112 manuscript pages.  (She read, I typed…. goes very fast that way).  I plan at least one more pass to ensure that I’ve incorporated all of Diane’s suggestions.  We laughed A LOT and it was like a fantasy come true.  I’m in my favourite room in the whole world WORKING like a RENTED MULE on something that will hopefully make people laugh, think, and maybe if I’m really really really lucky, influence the course of a scientific investigation (the highest praise for SF, screw the awards.  mOm knows I am not in it for fame, or awards.  I’m doing it for her. I’m writing SF for my mother, and so if she likes it (and she does) I’m okay.  (Diane occasionally provided editorial evidence that she was enjoying it.)

I got 600 words into my January homily.

I taught mOm how to cook neeps without them disintegrating.  (Starfit fry cutter and then steam for two-three minutes).  I cooked some beef tenderloin for pOp so that it was neither burned on the outside nor underdone in the middle.

We went to Dan’s, and saw the swans, and the million dollar properties up the hill in Saanich.  I saw Diane and got a sense of when I’ll be able to get the next batch to her. We laughed at the antics of the birds – pogoing Mountain Jays and pugnacious hummingbirds.

I had a dream where I found $50 folded in half and blown up against some weeds on a sidewalk in a town I’ve never been to.

We got a network cable run into the guest bedroom (Alex has already indicated her approval of this message.)  The cable is long enough to run out to the gazebo.  Happy days of writing with the birds, bees and a pan-pipe playing piggy are now in prospect.

We went through mOm’s Narnia-scale wardrobe of fabrics and I got a 25 cm tall stash of various kinds of fabric for baby and steampunk projects.

Katie’s quilt was ready, so I brought it back across the Salish Sea.

It was good and productive and I’ve written 500 words since I got back and tightened up some of Part II.  I am much less afraid of the editing process.  I am not a perfect writer.  Perhaps I shall learn to be a consistent one.

I have the names for all three books now.  Midnite Moving Company will be set in the same universe but about Jesse and Michel.  We see much more of Jesse and Michel in Part II.  Since mOm is eager to read even a messed up first draft of that, I should get on it.


06
Dec

NDP interaction

I’m on the Federal NDP mailing list. (So Sue Me.)  I think I’m going to unsubscribe.  I already answered the survey, and yet I got told I hadn’t answered yet.  This was my response:

 

I took the survey already.

Sending it to me twice is annoying, disrespectful and disorganized.
If I get three of these emails I’m voting Green and the Federal NDP, and that French passport holding man you have as a leader (still a better bet than a privileged twink and a fascist), can go pinch themselves.
When I was in my 20’s I gave money to a Parkdale riding NDP functionary for my membership, and found out later I wasn’t a member and the money likely went into the riding deficit from the previous election.  The NDP is skating on thin ice with me.
so…. while I have this open still I’ll mention that I have received TWO EMAILS from the NDP since I unsubscribed.  Starting to feel like I’m being stalked.
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