juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Welcome to Working Title. This is a public journal, but old posts (and the rare new post) are locked.

Information about me can be found on my user page. New subscribers/commenters/friends are welcome. Feel free to leave a note of introduction (on this post or elsewhere).
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
LJ's recent ToS update and the final, for-real-this-time exodus hit me harder than I expected, for one logistic reason (my list of book reviews, which I reference a lot for personal use, links to LJ posts, and I will never be arsed to manually replace >600 links), predictable comment- and community-related nostalgia reasons, and vague "the intrusion of the current world climate into my personal bubble" reasons. The compromise? solution? I've opted for is to turn off crossposts and make all of my LJ entries private; I have indefinite, personal access to the comments, but if my LJ is deleted or it becomes wiser to do so, so be it.

A while ago I made a trip down to see Devon which ended up lasting about a week longer than normal. When I see him, a lot of my crazy comes to a head because my subconscious decides the make-it-better person is present and I should therefore provide all the icky things for making-better purposes; as such, I tend to have ironic mental health crises when visiting; as such, I generally make those visits sort of ... vacations from reality, since they're also vacations from my 1.5 responsibilities. So I just ... switched off the politics part of me when I was there, and I was there for ages. And when I got back, I never switched politics back on.

And you know what, I was pushing myself far beyond my limits. So now I'm one the other side of the same debate: I'm not doing the work I deem important, I'm filtering what I expose myself to which, there's inevitable unfilterable intrusions that really bring it home; I'm less crazy, less anxious but more depressed, cognizant always that avoiding the world is only possible because I'm so crazy as to not have a life; I know it's a long game and I can resume my role in it later.

And LJ manages to be simultaneously a petty nothing and emblematic of all of that.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
On account of how change is scary and thus LiveJournal's new update page rubs me the wrong way, I've made the deeply ironic and incomplete change over to Dreamwidth: My skeletal account is now set up, so you can find me as [personal profile] juushika on Dreamwidth; everything will be crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] juushika and LiveJournal will remain my central hub for social interaction (although replies to my posts are welcome anywhere). Basically, this means no change for anyone reading this now, but if you prefer one site to another feel free to follow/interact with me there; meanwhile, I get to use a better update page that's more likely to load; the end.

I put J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy on hold when it came out on account of it being Rowling, and four months later my name finally came up on the list; I'm 30 pages in and about to call myself done. I'm also (finally, [livejournal.com profile] phoenixfalls) reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Spell Sword.

Last night while reading the latter I told Devon that while I agree that there's a need for sexist fictional societies—so we can explore their flaws, and make parallels to the flaws in our society—it would be lovely if maybe once in some fantastical setting in a distant era sexism could perhaps just ... not be a thing. Bear and Monette's A Companion to Wolves and Tipper's Grass (which I read last month) both have innately sexist societies despite the fact that they're as disparate as ancient pseudo-Norse and future space colonization, and it's sexism with depth and commentary and purpose—but it was still my daily dose of sexism, always explored to about the same point: hey guys, sexism really sucks! this man here is realizing that; this woman here is struggle to overcome that. their small efforts make us feel better but honestly make few significant changes to their society or ours.

So The Casual Vacancy is the intentionally petty story of a whole bunch of petty white folk, and I know it digs into issues of sexism and rape and poverty (and drug use and hot button issue of your choosing and and and) while still wallowing in the pseudo-depth of the sufferings of a bunch of suburban white folk. The Spell Sword is about a bunch of attractive white folk in heterosexual romances, and while it at least digs into some cultural divides it's still hugely homogeneous. And both are another same old story that mentions that sexism is bad.

And it is!

And I know that.

I'm about to return The Casual Vacancy barely begun, but I'm actually really enjoying The Spell Sword; likewise, I loved A Companion to Wolves and Grass. It's a two-pronged thing, the difference: One, the genre books are also the story of something else: telepathic powers and/telepathic companion animals and/evil telephathic companion animals and: trying to save the world. They sell themselves first on a fascinating premise; the premise of Vacancy is a social upheaval in suburbia, which is not so fascinating. Two, the premise in each book interacts with the "sexism is bad" commentary; in genre books, the interaction is unique.

The Spell Sword: telepathy introduces an incredibly intimate aspect to certain interpersonal relationships, therefore crumbling the wall of every social boundary—between sexual and nonsexual relationships, between sexual orientations, between gender identities and roles, between individual identities. A Companion to Wolves: a bond to a female animal puts a man into a "female" sex (and therefore cultural) role, making him personally aware of many of the effects of sexism. Grass: humans are exploited, telepathically and interpersonally, according to their gender roles; controverting that exploitation requires recognizing the harm of and deviating from the limits of those gender roles.

None of those books (well, I can't speak yet to all of The Spell Sword) do a stellar example of exploring or resolving the issue of sexism; as mentioned, they all hit home that sexism is bad (no, really, is it? tell me more), but their solutions to the problem are limited and more feel-good than convincing, especially on the level of permanent social change. But each goes about it in a way that's both interesting and unique, because they tell a fantastical story and because what makes the story fantastic gives it unique insight into the great beast that is sexism. It doesn't just tell me that sexism is bad, but shows so in a way that white folk is suburbia can't: they can't have men assume the sexual role of a female wolf, or experience a telepathic intimacy that makes them question their understanding of sexual or gender identity. The fun of genre, of crazy and intriguing ideas, is neutral: neither better no worse than the mundanity of general literature. But that it brings something new to the table both makes me a more willing reader and allows me to explore something I couldn't otherwise, be it that premise or an angle in towards a message, a bit of social commentary, which is also in dead earnest and is applicable to our society.

So back to the library with ye, The Casual Vacancy; may the next 736 readers with holds have better luck with you than I.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Fighting the urge to break out into Britney Spears, of course:

Hair Cut 4/28/09: The Ten Inches
I cut my hair again.

About ten inches, this time. It's been not even six months since my last major cut, where I took off a foot. I've just been getting sick of the upkeep of long-long hair. When your grow your hair to bum-length, any damage it receives will stay with you for years. I've gotten sick of careful washings and keeping it bunned and worrying about breakage. My new length is hardly short and I don't plan to be rough on my hair, but with the rate it grows (12 inches a year, easily) this new length is essentially worry-free.

No more anxiety about getting it caught or developing split ends. No more reasons not to wear it lose (though, I'll admit, it is cooler and more comfortable bunned). And ah, it feels so much thicker! I'm quite in love with it.

Three pictures, fairly large. )

Also, Dude the cat says hi. Ain't he handsome? (He was actually purring himself to sleep when I took this picture, but I'll be damned if he doesn't look like he thinks the camera is yes indeed very droll now will we get it out of his face?)

Fun games to play when viewing the above photographs: Spot the eyelashes! (Yeah, they're all but invisible.) Spot the veins! (Look hard enough and you can trace them up my entire arm.) The crook in the back of my hair which made most of my photos unsalvagable comes from bunning my hair. The pictures of me and my hair were taken indoors at night with flash, and so the colors aren't entirely accurate, but browse back through my hair tag and you'll get a better idea of the true color.

New layout over at [livejournal.com profile] juushika, by the by: almost-pastels for spring, and smaller stripes because I wanted something a touch less bold. I'm quite fond of it, too.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
I have a new LJ layout. I was tired of the old one, and wanted something new in autumn colors. When looking for potential backgrounds, I found PatternCooler (at least, I think so—I closed the tab, and now that I'm trying to find it again the website is down) which, although buggy, allows you to recolor and modify preexisting backgrounds. I love irregular stripes, so I used them—in all the reds, oranges, gold, and greens I wanted. The layout is based on Smooth Sailing as always (I like the way it handles icons), but this time I broke down and edited the entire CSS sheet. It's been a while since I played with CSS, but it was a joy to come back to. It allowed me to arrange posts with plenty of padding so that the stripes aren't overpowering, and I was able to tweak almost all of the things about the style which bugged me—like the lines above the posts, the lack of padding around mood icons, the gaps between header and columns, and soforth.

So all in all, I am incredibly pleased with this new layout. ^___^ It's brighter than I expected I'd end up with, but I like it that way. I love the link color, the negative space, and how images, icons, and my mood theme look. Seriously, I'm quite pleased and proud. I'm pretty lazy about changing my layout—I think I've had this one for nearly a year—so it's important that the final product is one that I'm willing to keep for a long while.

It's official: I can write a veritable essay on any subject, even one as mundane as an LJ layout.

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juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
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