readingredhead: (Grin)
First and foremost, a major sigh of relief that I will continue to live in a country where my gender isn't considered a preexisting condition and where I'm allowed to make decisions about my own body. It's weirdly hard to be actively excited about this win simply because the terror of the "what could have been" is so strong that having won is about relief from terror more than excitement.

What I am massively excited about is all of the amazing women who have been voted into congress, and all of the amazing women who voted across the country and made this election possible. What was that about women having ways of shutting things down? Yeah, they shut MISOGYNY down.

In other news, houseguest extravaganza has finally come to a close...I seriously love all the people I've gotten to see in the last three weeks but NEVER AGAIN will I have guests on three consecutive weekends. Even if two of them are long weekends. It just messes with my productivity in ways I can't afford, especially going into November. November is always hell month, because it's when I have to actually start getting to work on seminar papers while still managing to keep up with reading. This year won't be so bad seminar paper-wise -- I already know what I'm writing on for both my seminars, now I just need to sit down and write it -- but that takes time and time is not a thing I've had the past few weeks.

Also on the topic of November, NaNoWriMo...yeah, about that. This is the hardest time I've ever had coming up with a concept for a story, and even now that I have (a bunch of people get trapped inside an uptown NYC apartment during Sandy) it's slow going. I haven't been able to write because of houseguest, and then because of reading catch-up in wake of houseguest, but I'm not going to give up, even if I'm not terribly inspired by what I'm writing. Any motivation would be very, very welcome. I'm going to need it in the next few weeks...
readingredhead: (Fear for Courage)
Fuck, you guys, Berkeley is going up in metaphorical flames: The Police Riot At Berkeley: If They'll Beat A Poet Laureate, Will They Kill A Student?

At another time I'll have something to say about how strange it is to feel closer to events happening on the opposite side of the country than those happening just half an hour's subway ride south of where I work and live, but that's not what this post is about.

This post is about the queasiness I felt when I realized that one of the women at the front of the linked-arms line of protesters, one of the first people to be pulled aside and forced to the ground by the police, was Celeste Langan, my romanticism professor, who wrote me letters of rec and sponsored my SURF project last summer and gave me incredibly cogent and compassionate grad school advice. I'd seen the YouTube video of this action a week ago. I hadn't realized that it was her -- the thought had never even crossed my mind, and I assumed, watching the clip, that since all of the students I knew had more or less graduated, the terror of the thing would be about violence happening in a place that has, for me, epitomized the grandeur and import of learning and knowledge. I never expected that it would be happening to people who epitomized the same thing. I got another shock when I realized that the Geoffrey O'Brien whose ribs were broken by the police is Joanna Picciotto's long-term partner, and Joanna is my absolute role model/future self. 

Thank god Celeste is okay, and she wrote a brief and wonderful account of her arrest -- why she protested, what it means to her, and how appalled she is (and will continue to be). I don't know yet about Professor O'Brien, though he's quoted by ABC News local describing the event after the fact, so presumably he's more or less okay:

"I said, 'if you're going to hit somebody, hit a professor,'" O'Brien admitted. "The cop said, 'you want some?' It was a rhetorical question, and I was hit viciously in the ribs and went to the ground."

I'm torn between feeling an immense upwelling of pride that THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, this is where I come from (and where I'd like to be going back to), and a visceral disgust that just about tears my innards out, because HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO MY PEOPLE. When I first heard the news I was physically sick to my stomach for a few minutes and couldn't say a word about it. It's about an hour later now and I am still feeling it (though it's mostly transmuted itself into a headache, as all my anxieties always do). 

I started this entry feeling like I had something important to say, but right now all I think I can say is that I'm disgusted and terrified and I just want to go cry somewhere for a bit, but NONE of that is going to get my state and my country and my former university back in working order. And I don't know what will.
readingredhead: (Fear for Courage)
Now, I'm no political analyst and I don't read the papers as often as I should, nor have I actually been down to Wall Street because dear god school is killing me, but I live here (where "here" is both the United States in general and New York City specifically) and I figure I might as well throw my two cents in.

A lot of people don't understand what these protests are about. They talk about how untenable it is to be united against something instead of fighting for something. But the thing that strikes me the most about this style of protest is that it opens up a dialogue -- not just a dialogue in the media, but a dialogue between and among protesters. It gets all the people most involved and puts them physically in the same place as one another. The great thing about the "Arab Spring" occupy movements was the way in which the tent cities that sprang up allowed for protesters to have discussions with fellow protesters, who may have had very different reasons for being there and very different priorities when it came to reconstruction.

People talk about "grassroots political movements" but mostly what they mean is that some politician with his team of political advisors has created a plan that he will then do his best to turn into a popular slogan. The plan is disseminated by the people, among the people, but it is not ultimately a plan that has been built by the people. When representative democracy in the capitols and in city halls fails, those citizens who care will find democracy on the streets. They will build their own plans from the ground up, and they will work to implement them. And they will work all the harder because these are plans that they have created, based on what they want, not on what someone else thinks they want.

And yes, this is untenable because not everyone wants the same things. At some point there will have to be compromise. But this way, that compromise can be thought through literally "on the ground" rather than by politicians, who have different criteria for compromise than the average person. Even if the proposals generated by the Occupy movement are not taken up, they are important, because they have been produced and consolidated in a truly unique way. To me, this is a significant factor that can't be overlooked.

I will now end with a relevant (though out of context) Mario Savio quote:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."
readingredhead: (Default)
Originally posted by [ profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Guys, this is outrageous and I hope I don't have to tell you why. Please, do what you can, even if it's just spreading awareness.
readingredhead: (Light)
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[I am now procrastinating, but I actually do have pretty strong opinions on this one.]

In my morality, killing people is WRONG, under any circumstances. Whenever I say this as an argument against the death penalty, people who support the death penalty often counter with, "Well, then what do we do to people who kill people? If what they've done is so wrong, don't they deserve to be punished?" Which, in someone's logic, might make sense (we won't get into the punishment vs. rehabilitation debate right now). But the way I see it, imposing the death penalty teaches the public that killing is okay as long as it's done by the government. In the words of a friend, "How does killing people who are killing people show that killing people is wrong?" Yes, there are trials, and appeals, and tons of money spent on this (we'll get back to this point later), but ultimately someone DIES at the hands of the American government, and this is a BAD IDEA. Our judicial system might hold for now, but how many average people understand the workings of the judicial system? It's too easy, in my opinion, for things to slide in the wrong direction. If the government can kill people to enforce some laws, there is always that small but significant possibility that they will be able to kill people to enforce MORE laws, and even if anarchy never reigns at home, it sets a terrible example to the rest of the world.

And then there's the money. Don't get me started on the costs of the death penalty. Because we do have such an intricate and functioning judicial system, it costs the state a ton of money to go through the process of trials and appeals and related stuff in order to actually instigate Death By Government Decree. In fact, it costs more money to kill a criminal than it does to lock him up and pay for his meals and other necessities FOR THE REST OF HIS NATURAL LIFE (I have nothing against life imprisonment). When I state this some people go on and on about prison overcrowding, but really this isn't a problem that we can solve by killing prisoners! Hm, here's a brilliant idea, what about trying to provide decent education, healthcare, and job support so that people don't end up in prison to begin with? Hello, America, how about a reasonable welfare system? (Yes, I am asking for miracles. But they never happen if you don't ask for them...)

(Also, let's mention that many of the people who think the death penalty could help ameliorate prison overcrowding would be appalled if I suggested to them that birth control and family planning could help ameliorate general overpopulation. And in another instance of people who don't make sense, the people protesting abortion because "every life matters" also frequently support the death penalty...because really, your life only matters if you haven't screwed it up yet. I don't understand how people can be so concerned with a child's right to be born and then give up on caring about quality of life as soon as they're out of the womb.)

As for the way in which this affects my political support, I'm obviously more supportive of candidates who favor more restrictions on the use of the death penalty but I'm not about to vote for a third-party candidate just because abolishing the death penalty is part of his/her platform. Doing something like that often takes votes away from the more mainstream liberal candidates and threatens their ability to win. While I would love to see someone run with the intention of eliminating the death penalty, in today's political reality that's not going to get you elected, and I'm not going to do anything that would jeopardize the possibility of a liberal White House (or governorship, etc.).
readingredhead: (Light)
Because Jacqueline insisted that I "lj the heck out of" this, I figure I have to. :)

So yesterday for Father's Day my family drove up to Westwood for lunch and to see the play Farragut North. It's a political drama set during the presidential primaries that focuses on the backroom politicking that goes on over the course of two or three days leading up to the Iowa caucuses. The central character is 25-year-old Stephen Bellamy, a superstar press secretary for the fictional Morris campaign; the play follows him through a series of bad decisions (at first innocently bad, culminating with menacingly bad) that change the shape of the campaign, or at least Stephen's involvement in it. To me, it felt like a more cynical version of The West Wing with much more swearing (amazing what you can say when you don't have to keep it clean for TV), and although I missed the general optimism-under-pressure of West Wing, this definitely painted a picture of what always could happen to the good guys (and sometimes does).

Of course, the highlight of the show was that aforementioned political wunderkind Stephen was played by Chris Pine (which is basically the main reason that we went to see the show -- well, the main reason my sister went, anyway; some of us were there for the politicking). Personally, I thought he did a great job with the role, and gave it the right kind of nuance. It would've been easy to play up certain character traits earlier in the play that would have made the ending less surprising, but it's supposed to be a surprise: the point isn't that everyone in politics is an angry bastard who, when it comes down to it, will sacrifice anything to save his own skin. The point is that even intelligent guys sometimes make bad decisions and get played. I definitely still had sympathy for Stephen at the end of the play, though not in the same way as I had when the play opened.

A word for sets and stage transitions: The stage was pretty bare but with alternating blue and white-blue almost-checkerboard squares projected onto it (each big enough for a person to stand in) and looked pretty awesome. But the awesomest part was the transitions between scenes. While the hardy props team was readying each new set, the same projector that (presumably) projected the chessboard motif was used to show faked news clips. You could still see all the people onstage, yes, but personally I was focusing on the news.

But back to Chris Pine. I should start this off by saying that my sister's much more of the star-shocked one than me -- I wouldn't say she chose UCLA as a school specifically so that she could be in the middle of all the entertainment world, but it was definitely a motivating factor. She's interested in being some part of the media circus, and definitely has her actor crushes. Sometimes I think they're a little silly. This time, I can't blame her. Chris Pine is actually a good actor and not just a pretty face (though oh my goodness is he ever a pretty face).

Anyway, the whole going to see the show thing was at first largely Corinne's idea. I'd seen ads for it in the paper but not really thought about going to see it, until I mentioned it to her and her brain took off like a rocketship. Sometimes she comes off a little too naive-fangirl for her tastes or mine, but I have to give her the credit for getting my family to go see this play, and for forcing me to stick around with her afterward until Chris Pine came out from backstage. I hadn't really thought I cared too much but I will only be slightly ashamed when I admit that when I saw him standing less than six feet away from me I got the stomach tingles. There were surprisingly few would-be stalkers present (though I will say that is the great thing about small theaters -- did I mention that the Geffen is not huge at all?), so after he greeted a couple of people he knew who'd come to watch the show, Corinne and I were first in line to get some autographs. Not that you can really tell from a two-minute slice of time, but he seems like a nice guy. I forgot to ask him who his favorite English professors were at Berkeley (he graduated from there with a degree in English) but I did get this beautiful picture. And I got to see a great play. All in all a pretty great day!
readingredhead: (Different)
It has recently been brought to my attention that GLBT fiction has slowly been stripped of its sales rankings because it has been labeled "adult."

From Dear Author:

What’s going on?

For those who don’t know, Amazon has decided to derank and then remove from front page searches books labeled “erotic” and GLBT. For example, books that are about Lesbian parenting have been identified as “adult content” and deranked. Patti O’Shea’s book that is listed “erotic horror” despite having only one sex scene has been deranked and removed from front page search results. Amazon has deranked Annie Proulx, E.M. Forster, but not American Psycho. Mein Kampf and books about dog fighting are ranked and can be searched from the front page, but not books about gay love or books with erotic content.

You can track more of the deranked books on twitter.

Why is this is a big deal?

It’s not because customers put any stock into the Amazon Ranking number. It’s that the Amazon Rank affects a books’ visibility on the bestseller list, on the “If you Like ___, you might like __ feature” and so forth. It is akin to the bookstore removing the books from the shelves and requiring you to go to the Customer Service desk and ask for the book or author specifically. Visibility is a huge factor in sales and anyone who doesn’t believe that is kidding themselves.

More information from Dear Author can be found here, including a form letter you can send Amazon's customer service department expressing your disapproval. There is also a petition you can sign.

Mark R. Probst also has a discussion of how this de-ranking has affected him personally; his young adult novel The Filly, which he describes as a "gay western" and which, while it contains gay romance, contains no explicit content, has been removed from Amazon rankings. Similar removals include the

Another blog has initiated "google bombing" of the term Amazon Rank (click the link for a witty and appropriate definition of what Amazon rank has become).

This disgusts me. I firmly believe that it represents censorship, the limitations of the public -- everything Milton was writing against in Areopagitica, everything that our First Amendment was written to protect us against. I can understand not wanting truly adult material to show up in searches, but if that were's real intention, they could have made sure that all adult content is similarly blocked, straight erotica included. They could have done what LiveJournal does, and warned users that the content they are about to view may be unsuitable for children. They could have been up front about these policy changes. Instead, they have been operating in an underhanded manner, and attempted to use their extreme power over internet book-buying to turn Amazon Rank into a reflection of a very narrow vision of what is suitable content for adults.

Please pass this on to everyone you know. The blogosphere, thankfully, is dependent upon far too many individual providers for any singular instance of censorship to spread widely enough to silence us.
readingredhead: (Earth)
Watch this movie. I don't care if you're dying in the next five minutes, spend two of them on this. You won't be disappointed.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die
readingredhead: (Earth)

                I want a world in which there is no default sexuality—in fact, I want a world in which “sexuality” becomes an outdated word. I want a world in which when I meet a person, I don’t immediately assume that they’re straight, or gay, or anything; I want to think of people as people, who, when they love people, love them for their people-ness and do not allow things as puny as sex to restrict them. I don’t ever want to think that I’m better off as belonging to a majority, because it means that there are things that I don’t want to face, things that I would not know how to face if I were required to face them.

                I think that in the future I am going to make a point of not allying myself with any sexuality. Let people assume what they want based upon the people with whom I am in relationships. But I am beginning to believe more and more each day in what I first heard this summer through a trusted friend: sexuality isn’t about the way the parts match up. We’re smart enough as people to find our pleasure where we will, regardless of whether such unions are biologically viable. Instead, it’s about the way the people match up. Why should we assume that love has anything to do with biology?

I’ve been more involved in the issue of marriage equality than I have been with any other single ballot issue this year, but now, I’m realizing that I still haven’t been active enough. If Proposition 8 passes, I will be extremely upset, but I will use that energy to do something. I will become involved. It doesn’t matter what my sexuality is: no one should be treated in the discriminatory manner in which homosexuals are treated.

There was a time unfortunately not too long ago when I would have been uncomfortable with people thinking I was gay. I would not have wanted anyone to question my sexuality, because I was not entirely sure myself what I thought about being gay. My own moral compass hadn’t quite settled on a direction yet, and while I wasn’t about to support legislation that would take away the rights of others, I also wasn’t sure if what some people were saying about homosexuality being morally wrong was something I believed. But now I have come to the realization that in the genetic lottery, it is just as possible that I could have been born gay as it is that anyone else I know could have been. And I would not think of myself as a lesser person for loving women instead of men. I would not want to live in a world that thinks less of me for anything that has to do with me showing my love for others, in whatever form. If love isn’t the point of living, I don’t know what is.

It’s a little late in the game to be talking about this now, but we’re not done yet. If Proposition 8 passes in California, it’s not the end. It’s only the beginning. And I know that I’ll be there fighting for equality of love in every way that I can for years to come, until everyone everywhere is in possession of this one fundamental right: the ability to walk down a street anywhere from Berkeley to Mission Viejo, in red states and in blue states, in America and out, holding hands with their loved ones without fear of sneers or retribution or heckling, without fear that any harm might come their way, with nothing in their hearts but the simple joy of feeling another’s touch and knowing that this is it, this is what we’ve all been waiting for, this is love.

This is my decision. Disagree if you like. Talk to me about it if you like. But please do not try to fight against love with hatred. It will never get you anywhere you want to be. I will not respond to baiting, and like-minded sensible people will not either.

And if you’re one of those like-minded, sensible people—help me spread this love. Work with me to make gay marriage legal all across the country and all throughout the world. Work with me to eliminate discrimination from our hearts and souls as well as from our laws. Work with me to make this world a place I’m proud to live in.

Work with me. Dream with me.

Love with me.

Together, we can change the world.

readingredhead: (Default)
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Is poetry ever not relevant? Since before the Bible we have been saying the things that we really mean in poetry. This semester in school I'm reading poetry spanning the years from 1800 BCE to the present and it's hitting me more than ever how important poetry is to our way of life.

This, of course, comes with a caveat. Poetry as a form of expression and a way of exploring society and tension and life is important. This does not mean that every poem is important. It definitely does not mean that it's better to say a thing in poetry. It just means that poetry as an artform is an exceedingly important aspect of modern society in ways that people don't understand. Sure, few people go around carrying copies of Shakespeare or Milton or Whitman or Eliot, but how many people go around carrying iPods jam-packed with songs? Song is just a step up from spoken-word poetry. I don't think people realize that.

I don't always (read: very infrequently) agree with the contemporary conception of poetry in the literary sense. Most of the poems that I read for my poetry workshop course don’t have any emotional impact upon me. I cannot stand the postmodern/contemporary poetic system in which poems can be so obscure. I think that the purpose of the modern poet ought to be to write things that will make the modern audience feel.

In conjunction with that, I have issues with the current ideas about the connection between a poem and its meaning. Many of the poems I’ve been reading in Hejinian’s class are so opaque that you cannot see through them to the meaning--you cannot even feel through them to the meaning. I care less about seeing the obvious meaning of a poem the first time I read it than I do about being able to sense somewhere deep in my gut that this poem has purpose. Poems should not exist to hide meaning, they should exist to present it, in a condensed way that is understood by the subconscious, or by what I more frequently refer to as the gut. I want poetry that makes my stomach shiver. I want poetry that affects the primal sense still left within me, that sense that tends to frighten the modern civilized urbanite. Howl was such an explosion in its time because it got to the guts of these people who were not used to having their guts gotten to and who did not like to think of themselves as still possessing guts, having attempted to trade them in for stock options.

I want poetry for the people. I was thinking earlier about how no one reads poetry any more. Once, it was possible to make a living as a poet. Now? People hardly read any poetry at all, unless it’s in school. People do not turn to poetry for succor; people do not turn to literature of any kind for succor, but that is another, larger problem. I wasn’t there when this happened, so I can’t state with any certainty that it is the case, but it seems to me that when people started withdrawing from poetry, poets started withdrawing from people. And that was the greatest mistake they could make.

Like Wordsworth and Coleridge proclaimed in their introduction to the collection of poetry entitled Lyrical Ballads, published in 1800 (okay, so I'm an English geek, so sue me), we should have a poetry that celebrates the everyday human language by using it. Language should not be about obstruction of meaning, but rather about presentation of meaning. There is no need to use language deliberately intended to make the comprehension of the poem’s eventual goal more difficult. This is not to say that a poem cannot present itself on multiple levels--there are some poems that, when approached intellectually (ex. within a classroom or analytic setting) yield very different levels of content.

To me, it is acceptable for a poem to have no discernible symbolism, or connection to literary or poetic conceits. One does not need to be able to analyze a poem for it to be a good poem. But really--one ought to be able to call it a good poem if one is to spend time analyzing it!

...and that's my poetry rant for the moment.

In other news, the reason that I was on here was to post my favorite stupidity of the day. I just received my official election guide in the mail, and was idly browsing the arguments for and against certain propositions (okay, I'll admit it, I turned straight to the "controversial" ones, mostly for the purpose of seeing what the other side was saying and then laughing/pointing/screaming in outrage at their idiocy). But for me, nothing quite beats the title of one of the authors in support of Proposition 8: Jeralee Smith, Director of Education for the California Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays.

Um. Yeah. That's like saying, "Hey, faggot! We wanna be your friends!" Ex-gays and gays? Well isn't it nice that they're being inclusive. Let our ex-gays talk you out of your gay, too. You know, gay is like a country, you can leave whenever you like, like the expatriates. *fumes*

But back to the much more awesome topic of poetry! Not so awesome, because I have to write a paper about it, but still awesome, because it's poetry. Which is kind of what I ought to be doing right now -- working on my paper about Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself." So I'm off to do that.
readingredhead: (Default)
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Um. Okay. That's a strange question for you.

Sincerely though? I'm glad I wasn't really alive during the Cold War, but I don't think that the world's threat level has lessened since then. Maybe I'm glad the Cold War is over, but the mentality of the Cold War -- of Us vs. Them -- hasn't changed. We've just redefined the categories.

The Cold War went on as long as it did because propaganda machines in both Russia and America drove it. Let's not make that mistake again.
readingredhead: (Default)
Lauren has already posted about this here, but I figured I'd add my encouragement to anyone interested in participating.

The livejournal community [ profile] livelongnmarry is doing something pretty extraordinary -- they're holding an auction to raise money to support marriage equality. Users can advertise goods and services they're willing to sell, and the winning bidder doesn't get what they've bought until they can show the seller proof that they've donated the purchase price to one of a number of organizations working to defeat the CA ballot initiative that would define marriage in the state of California as a union between a man and a woman. Some people are selling art, fanfiction, original fiction, care packages, photography, baked goods, arts 'n' crafts stuff, you get the picture.

As of the moment, I'm selling some oneshot fanfics and a novel.

A serial novel, to be precise, to be delivered one chapter at a time over the course of a year, with plot and characters built to your specifications.

I really, really hope someone buys it, because I can't think of a more awesome reason to write a novel.

EDIT: Well, no one's bid on the novel yet, but I just raised $10 through the sale of a fanfiction oneshot! I'm planning to sell off up to ten of those...I figure that's something I can reasonably expect myself to manage, even if (hopefully when) the novel gets bought.
readingredhead: (Default)
Two awesome things happened yesterday.

1) Barack Obama won the South Carolina primary with 55% of the vote.
2) I wrote 12,055 words of my story over the course of a single day, and am back on track to finish in time with my schedule.

Time will tell which was more awesome. I have a feeling it'll be the former, but I won't complain if it's the latter.
readingredhead: (Default)
If you're not interested in reading about my personal politics right now, you don't have to, but last night I watched Barack Obama win Iowa by a margin of eight points over edwards and nine points over Hillary, and I needed to talk about it.

Why I want Barack to win )
readingredhead: (Earth)
  1. Finish The Printer's Daughter
  2. Start a rejection collection (i.e. send short stories to publishers)
  3. Become a paid writer
  4. Learn how to dance
  5. Write a musical
  6. Learn how to play a complete song on the piano
  7. Go outside some night and just look at the stars with a friend for a few hours
  8. Take a road trip with someone new
  9. Skip school for a good reason
  10. Stop biting my nails (it had to be on there for old time's sake)
  11. Memorize more poetry
  12. Write more poetry
  13. Abolish the distinctions between literary and genre fiction
  14. Go to the east coast
  15. Elect Barack Obama
  16. Work in a bookstore
  17. Do something big without asking for permission or directions
readingredhead: (Default)
So I just had an idea for a story that would be fun to write, that I may or may not attempt some time this summer.

It actually came to me as a title: The Loyal Opposition. It would be a political novel, centering around the romance between two members of opposing political parties. Part of me thinks it should happen in the UK since "the loyal opposition" is the traditional title for the major party not currently in power in the House of Commons; if this were the case, the two politicians would both be MPs. If it ended up finding its setting in the US, they'd be members of the House of Representatives. Or maybe one would be a Rep, and the other would be a political consultant of some sort?

I probably wouldn't have enough information to make it into a full-length novel, but it could make for an interesting short story. At least, I think so.

It would be interesting to write because I'd like to explore the major differences between the major political parties. I think I'd be better able to do this if I set it in the States, because it would be interesting to deal with the stereotypes of each mainstream political party. I can just imagine the two politicians telling their parents that they're "sleeping with the enemy," so to speak. Anyway, it would allow for some legitimate political debate to occur. I'd also have to find some kind of political subplot -- I don't think I could write the entire thing about a romance alone. And if I did, I don't think many people would read it. I'd love to write something like First Among Equals by British author Jeffrey Archer. He deftly explored the intersection of the political and the personal...and I think that's something admirable.'s really just a thought to keep in the back of my head until I'm inspired enough to write it. But who knows -- that inspiration may come sooner than I think...
readingredhead: (Earth)
Today was our third day in Bath, and we didn’t really do too much. The day started off with us waking up late, so that we had to run to make it to breakfast on time. After we ate, we went straight to the Jane Austen Center (which is here because Jane lived in Bath and set two or so books here). Mom and Corinne took the tour, while Dad and I went exploring elsewhere. (I would have taken the tour, but it was £7.50 per person and I didn’t want to pay $15 to walk through a bunch of Jane Austen/Regency memorabilia.)

It turned out to be all right that I didn’t go to the Jane Austen tour; Dad and I found something much more amusing instead. Down a little back alley, right by the hotel we’re staying at, is a little bookstore called “Mr. B’s emporium of reading delights.” It is relatively small, but absolutely adorable. The store is owned and operated by “Mr. B,” a middle-aged blonde Brit with great taste in literature. The place may be small but it is crammed full of bookshelves, and on every shelf there are notations below books that Mr. B particularly likes and recommends. Dad and I talked to him for a while, and he seems like a really genial guy. The store stocks mostly paperbacks at reasonable prices—a must for any book lover. I certainly would spend hours and hours in that bookstore if I lived here. As it is, I got some good video footage of the inside of the store and its proprietor, and bought a novelette by Charlotte Bronte that promises to make for some good reading.

After seeing the Jane Austen Museum, we went back to Pulteney Street Bridge (the one I forgot the name of the other day). I ended up buying Rick a map of Ireland—the political one was pretty expensive, but I found a really nice one that, while it did not show political party affiliation, was a third of the price. After that, we took a rather roundabout way back to our hotel. We didn’t do too much in the afternoon, just walked around a lot. We ended up going to dinner at a little place right by the hotel. I’m sitting back in the hotel now, watching the X-Files on TV (I was very excited to find it; I’ve been almost regretting not bringing my set of DVDs).

(This is a complete aside, unrelated to the above, but Great Britain appears to be so much more green than back home. Green meaning eco-friendly, although it's certainly green in terms of the amount of vegetation, too. I think it has to do with the amount of precipitation. But back to the green -- it's really everywhere. On waste bags, in shop windows, on buses, even in the hotel bathroom! I love it. It's something I'd like to bring back to the States. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more evidence of this.)

Tomorrow we drive out to Stratford-upon-Avon after breakfast. We’re seeing Macbeth there tomorrow night, so I won’t be updating then. That’s the only night we’re staying in Stratford; the day after tomorrow, we’ll be driving to a small town on the Irish Sea called Conwy, where we’ll stay for two days. I’m having a really good time; maybe sometime in Conwy I’ll have the time to upload pictures!
readingredhead: (Default)
Rachna, Katie and I are getting this shirt for Mr. Krucli (along with the syphilis and chocolate):

This one just entertains me because it's mostly sold out:

I wish I'd heard about this shirt soon enough to buy it:

Also, I like books:

Yes. Now I'll go to sleep.
readingredhead: (Mother)
I should be doing my math homework, or my chemistry homework. I should be making headway on one of the long-term assignments littering my calendar. I should be reviewing what I read last week in Road to War so that I don't completely fail the quiz we'll have tomorrow. I should, I should, I should.

But I'm not. This seems to happen to me a lot. I sit around thinking about what I should be doing, even when doing those things won't happen (and wouldn't necessarily be helpful if it did). I know my own limits and abilities; I know how much I can get away with. Maybe I should start trusting my own self-knowledge?

I'd really like to sit back with some knitting and watch more West Wing. And I think that might actually be what I do. It's amazing how sometimes you do what you want without thinking about what you should do. That's the feeling you should have for your entire life.

Random Recollection #1: My dreams last night

I had one really consistent dream that went a lot of places. I saved Sadie from a car accident, out-ran Rob for something-or-other, and came face to face with Julie Czerneda. (I think Diane Duane might've been there too, and she and Julie might've been arguing over something?) Anyway, I was talking to my dad about why I didn't want to be published by Random House, because they would market a story of mine as a kid's book when it's obviously not. Dad mentioned something about Random House publishing Eragon (which I don't know if they did, but I wouldn't be surprised, I have an odd memory for these things).  Anyway, Julie walked in on me and Dad when I was explaining this to him, and saying that I'd rather be published by DAW.  For some reason when Julie heard me talking about this she felt like I was being really arrogant (which maybe I was, but only because I only thought Dad could hear me).  And then I don't know what happened.  Take that, Freud.

Random Recollection #2: My phone

I have a new phone as of today.  He's sleek and black and in need of a good name.  Corinne says he's emo and needs an emo name.  For some reason I'm thinking of Tom or Carl (yes, there is a Young Wizards theme to my thoughts).  I'm thinking he needs a literary name, because all of my tech toys end up with them sooner or later.  But he strikes me as belonging to popular literature, not anything classical.  He's pretty nifty, though.  (And I've still got the same number, though nowadays no one loses their numbers when they change phones.)

Random Recollection #3: Berkeley interview?

I showed up a week early.  That's a nice way of putting it.  I think that's the phrase I'll use from now on.

Random Recollection #4: I'd like some politics

They should make more good political dramas -- books, movies, television, real life, I don't care.  I swear it's Rick's fault, but the political scene seems so dramatic to begin with, and in a way it's enticing.  I used to be afraid of the fact that I felt like I could be a politician.  Slowly but surely this fear's going away.

Random Recollection #5: Global warming

Melissa Etheridge's song from An Inconvenient Truth is really cool, and you should all listen to it.  When she performed it at the Oscars it was really neat because they had a screen in the background with all these facts on global warming, how to reduce your carbon emissions, etc.  The last phrase on the screen was "When you pray, move your feet."  I like the call to action -- don't just wish for things, make them happen.  It's always been a motto of mine, and I'm glad to see it reflected.

Random Recollection #6: And the Oscar goes to...

I'd like to win an Oscar, I think.  How this shall be accomplished remains to be seen, but I think it would be great fun. 

...and that's kinda what my life's been like lately.  Yeah.  Well, I have to wake up again tomorrow.  That's kind of annoying, but I know I'll handle it; I always do.


readingredhead: (Default)

March 2013

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