feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Slow Travel Berlin (run by English-speaking expats) posted today about language schools in Berlin. So I'm going to collect the links here.

http://www.die-deutschule.de/

http://www.speakeasy-sprachzeug.com/en/ (rather twee, holy god)

http://www.sprachsalon-berlin.de/en/ (I should contact them about the practicum I need to do for this course I'm taking)

http://www.hartnackschule-berlin.de/ (I can't tell if they have job opening things)
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
Some d00d wrote a post about why writers should always say yes when people ask them to do stuff because "you never know!" I thought that was an incredibly privileged position to take, and I blogged about it because I didn't want to flood twitter.

Enjoy.
feuervogel: (trains)
This isn't news. I've discussed this before.

But now someone with GIS mapping tools created a visualization of population density, Amtrak routes, and Amtrak ridership. Unsurprisingly, ridership is highest where service is most extensive, ie the Northeast Corridor.

Did you know you can't take a train directly between Houston and Dallas? Don't you think that's pretty ridiculous? Did you know that there's only one train a day between San Francisco and LA? And that it usually takes longer than driving between the two cities?

While there are reasonable discussions to be had over the merits of train service to the sparsely inhabited middle regions of the country, there are few good arguments against having increased train service between population centers. The NE Corridor has multiple trains per day--once an hour or so from DC to Boston--and the ridership to match. The Carolinian/Piedmont routes, from NC to DC, are used far less--because there's only one in either direction every day, and it's invariably several hours delayed. Amtrak expanded Raleigh to Charlotte service to three times a day and increased ridership on that route.

Expanding service on the I-85/95 corridor, Atlanta to Charlotte to Raleigh to Richmond to DC would reduce traffic on I-95, save fuel, decrease CO2 emissions, and make travel much easier. Think of how much you could get done in 5-6 hours of riding a train rather than driving! (I get motion sick, so I can't do anything in a bus beyond stare out the window. And anyway, busses get stuck in traffic.) Riding a train is much less stressful than driving, unless you're stuck waiting 45 minutes outside a station because there's a freight train stopped there, and since you're outside the NorthEast Corridor, the freight companies own the tracks, so you get to yield. Then it gets stressful because you're meeting someone when you get in.

But no, we can't do that because communism and central planning and we can't make taxpayers fund trains (but we can subsidize the shit out of oil companies and roads!).

This country has its collective head up its ass on the issue of transportation. There's not much we can do to fix it, either, because the fetish for Rugged Individualism is disgustingly deep seated.
feuervogel: (hertha)
Because I know you're all dying of anticipation to read some stuff I wrote about football for a twitter acquaintance's Bayern fan blog. One of you is, anyway. Have at it.
feuervogel: (writing)
I don't know if I've mentioned Bull Spec here before, though I have on my blogspot blog. It's a (SFWA pro!) spec fic magazine based out of Durham (the Bull City; you may recognize it from the film Bull Durham) run by this guy Sam, who's a little mad, and he's backed it out of his own pocket, except for ad sales, so far.

Sam recognized the huge spec fic writers' community in the Triangle (and throughout the state) about 3 years ago, and he basically organized us into a unit, single-handedly. In every issue of Bull Spec, there's a flyer listing local goings-on, from book releases to readings and signings. He's a good guy. (He's also the reason I got to read and review Germline, which I can't stop saying good things about to anyone who'll listen.)

If you want to help support the magazine, he's running a kickstarter to get some of the pressure off his own pocket. Pledge rewards range from a t-shirt to short story critiques to a novel submission packet critique to original art. Right now, he's got $645/1000 pledged, and the project closes 9/30.

After thought and angst (because, uh, no income), I decided to pledge at the $100 level for the novel sub packet critique (at the "encouragement" level) from Gray Rinehart, chief slush-wader at Baen. Two main reasons: a) it'll get me off my ass to get the synopsis done & a query/cover letter, and b) he's a pro. I definitely don't think he'll read it and go, "revise XYZ and send it to us." (It's not a Baen book for a couple reasons.) Hiring an editor to give it a developmental edit (the overarching look at the thing) costs 2-3X that, or more, so it's still somewhat economical, and it helps out my buddy Sam. It's not exactly the same as having someone edit your entire work, but a synopsis can also show your plot holes, and the first 20-odd pages can show your style/voice.

Consider supporting Bull Spec, which helps support a vibrant writers' community here in NC.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
In response to some wanker complaining that there were posts in Russian on the Dreamwidth latest-posts feed, how horrible, make them go away, [personal profile] yvi is organizing a non-native English* celebration fest.

I suspect most of the people reading this who have a non-English native language also read her and already know about it, but just in case, I thought I'd share.

*the discussion in comments gets into how to be most inclusive, eg, for people who grew up in formerly-colonized countries and spoke primarily English until they learned their ancestral tongue later or learned them simultaneously, etc.
feuervogel: (fail)
I can't upgrade the software on my Captivate from 2.1 to 2.2, because they require you to use this bullshit proprietary WINDOWS ONLY software.

And since I own a Mac and don't have the cash to spare to a) buy Windows 7 and Boot Camp it or b) buy a cheap Windows computer, there's no way to do it. Multiple rounds of @ conversations on twitter and an email to customer support later, I have a blog post detailing the fuckery.

I'll never purchase another Samsung product again, and if asked for recommendations for Android handsets or other consumer electronics, I'll say to get anything but a Samsung. Because their customer service is legendarily shit. Put it this way: AT&T customer service has given me less of a problem than Samsung's.
feuervogel: (reading)
I got a review copy thanks to a recommendation from [personal profile] smarriveurr, and I take a look at it on my blog.

It's a dystopic future where literal aliens and extrahumans stand in for groups that are currently othered, and where recent American politics are taken to the extreme. Engaging and occasionally a kick in the gut.
feuervogel: (facepalm basti)
If you say words that are known to be hurtful, be they the traditional slurs starting with n or c, among others, or words that people who are hurt by words like "lame" are telling you directly that they are hurtful words, your intent doesn't fucking matter.

You are willfully and directly causing harm because you refuse to understand their point of view and accept that your continued usage of those words is harmful.

That's an asshole thing to do.

Genderbitch has a post that's extremely on point: Intent! It's fucking magic!
Today, someone said a slur. It actually doesn’t matter what slur it was, because you see, he didn’t intend to hurt anyone and therefore it couldn’t possibly be a slur. Much like how intent magically protects the actions of all privileged fuckjobs, intent means that anything you say, no matter how many groups it hurts, what awful views it enables, no matter what systemic bigotries it props up through the usage of language that enforces social concepts that crush a marginalized group, it mystically negates all of that.

So if you out a trans woman? Your uncanny intent wraps around her and protects her from murder, harassment, degendering and objectification by the people you just outed her to! If you say something ableist, you’re not actually contributing to the system that demeans PWD because your intent will gird your words with alchemical shields, made of eldritch power themselves, that prevent the words from creating and furthering social associations between disability and being bad, wrong, broken or unwanted! I know? Isn’t it grand? I love magic!

Go read the rest.
feuervogel: (crowley eternity)
Once upon a discussion with my libertarian now-ex-boyfriend, he told me that I shouldn't get so upset over "the little things," like "that's so lame" or the eleventy-millionth depiction of bisexual women as slutty, indecisive, or outright evil, because ... I don't know, I guess because sharia exists, or something. The Real Problems, as defined by a white, middle-class, straight, cis man, because bisexual women don't get to define our own problems, I guess.

[personal profile] sohotrightnow has this excellent post on why little things matter.
Do not ever forget that it started small, that the Holocaust was merely the logical conclusion of the gradual devaluing and dehumanizing of large swaths of people -- some people claim that focusing on microaggressions and trying to end them is reductio ad absurdum; I'd go in a different direction and call the Holocaust an increscio ad absurdum: a completely logical series of steps from one degree of devaluing and dehumanizing to the next, on up to the most horrifying and completely logical conclusion. But don't forget either that there were a lot of people, along the way, who did fight, who didn't simply accept the tiny little ways their society had told them, day in and day out, for their entire lives, that certain lives were worth less than others, that certain people were less human than others. Don't use the latter fact to write off the former, because if more people had spoken up from the beginning, if more people had examined their assumptions and their language and the casual everyday ways they devalued and dehumanized the undesirable, maybe the more dramatic actions of the Righteous wouldn't have been necessary. But don't let the former cause you to lose hope, to think that there is nothing you can possibly do in the face of widely-held, systemically-enforced, popularly-approved and -perpetuated injustice. And by God, don't let it be an excuse to do nothing, to ignore the microaggressions because there are "real" problems, "real" injustices: because -- I know I am saying this over and over again, but seriously -- if more people had stopped and examined the small injustices they were committing or simply ignoring from the beginning, there may not have been a need for a few people to give up their lives trying to stop huge injustices.


And as far as the casual throwing around of "lame" as a derogatory term, who does it hurt to make the effort not to use words others find offensive? Ask yourself, if someone said "that's so gay," would it piss you off? Would it add to the hundreds of papercuts of society-wide injustice perpetrated against the LGBT* community? If yes, then STOP USING LAME as a replacement for gay in that sense.

Sometimes

31 Jan 2011 08:20 am
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
Every now and then, Cat Valente says something I can agree with almost whole-heartedly.

Because this novel [Red Plenty] about Soviet utopia is only unexpected and remarkable (the book itself is quite good, what I mean is the concept) if you think it's bizarre and science fictional that Soviets, in enacting the Soviet system, expected it to work and believed in it, believed it would make a better way of life.

She goes into the American mindset of "LOLZ, U COMMIEZ LOST & WE WON HAHAHA" and the America FIRST and ONLY! exceptionalism:
One thing Russia was not wrong about was how much Western oligarchs suck, and how little they care for anything but themselves. We are stuck in an almost comical version of olicarchical capitalism, one familiar from any Soviet cartoon, but by god you had better put your hand over your heart when that flag comes out. What are you, a communist? An atheist? A foreigner? Please do not look at the highly successful socialist programs this country has enacted, that brought prosperity and equality, and are being dismantled at this very moment in order to make room for even more satire-become-reality oligarch theatre. Please do not think about any other choices, ever, or how other humans might have made different ones.

Several of my former-East-German friends here on DW have an instantaneous prickly reaction to Besserwessi. It's the same damned thing.

Notes

27 Jan 2011 02:47 pm
feuervogel: (enemy birds)
I may have something to say about this poor middle class girl's problems at some point. Just putting it here so I can find it again later.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
For those of you who don't follow my other blog, I've just posted a recommendation for Princess Tutu.

I avoided spoilers beyond about the first 5 episodes, so I couldn't get into much detail about just *how* the tropes are deconstructed. (And [personal profile] leora, you still need to watch this. The dub is painful, but I know you can't do subtitles.)
feuervogel: (godless liberal etc)
In answer to a reader's question ("Why is it that the people freaking out the most about taxes on the rich are the ones who don’t seem to know how the tax code works?")

I really don’t know what you do about the “taxes is theft” crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires. Sorry, guys. I know you all thought you were going to be one of those paying a nickel for your cigarettes in Galt Gulch. That’ll be a fine last thought for you as the starving remnants of the society of takers closes in with their flensing tools.
feuervogel: (win)
Via [personal profile] rydra_wong

Stop telling people to love their bodies.
Every time I go to the supermarket or the drugstore, I get treated to an endless barrage of magazines helpfully pointing out what is currently too monstrous about my body for anyone to see. I thus can really get behind the idea of body positivity. I think it's a great stance to have, and would like to see it more widespread.

But here's the thing: It's not something that can be forced on people. You can't shame someone into thinking they're a stone-cold fox. Snarking on someone for being self-conscious for whatever reason (hey, it's not like there might be any cultural conditioning behind it, amirite?), isn't really going to help.
feuervogel: (do not want)
Pursuant to a discussion on another, locked journal, I was reminded how violently I hated "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya." At the time I watched it, I couldn't really put into words why I hated it, other than I wanted to stab Haruhi in the eye, kick her in the teeth, rip her head off, and shit down her throat. I also thought the bullshit pretentious wankery of "we're gonna show the episodes out of order!" was a bunch of bullshit pretentious wankery for the sake of being Experimental and Pretentious Wankers.

There was also an extreme discomfort at the way they treated Mikuru (aka tits-girl). Yay, reducing a woman to a sexual object (and never a subject, Mikuru... she was literally incapable of saying no or even giving consent. Seriously fucking gross.)

But [personal profile] eisen, who writes amazingly thinky things about cartoons and society and culture and whose brain I fangirl mightily, put into words her own loathing of TMHS, and in her words, I found the expression of what I found so disgusting.

It is intellectually and emotionally dishonest, its characters never rise above cardboard cutouts in temperament, personality, or character designs - and it chooses the most tawdry and tautological justifications why - its most popular and beloved running gag involves the nonconsensual molestation and sexual abuse of a girl who's repeatedly demonstrated to be psychologically incapable of saying "no" and even if she were THE SURVIVAL OF THE UNIVERSE HINGES ON HER ALLOWING HARUHI TO DENY HER RIGHT TO CONTROL HER OWN BODY because otherwise Haruhi might get fucking bored, the number of "funny molestation" gags don't end with just Mikuru, Kyon is supposed to come off like a beleaguered Everyman but instead he comes off as an insufferable, cynical, selfish, egotistical boor (and a bore!) who's deluded himself into thinking he and he alone really understands the situations they're all stuck in - and the series wants you to believe he's right, not to mention that for all Haruhi's vaunted control over the fucking cosmos DID YOU PERHAPS NOTICE THAT HARUHI WASN'T IN CONTROL OF THE FIRST TIME SHE USED HER ABILITIES? No, that was Kyon, aka "I am John Smith", thanks for playing "I might be impotent and a loser but I bet if I just knew a reality warper she'd listen to me and it would be my will that shaped the world after all, haha".

[...]

The entire premise of the show is that the main characters can and will have their own identities, their bodies, nonconsensually violated at any time, without permission, and that they should just shut the fuck up and deal because Haruhi's just too awesome to be denied, and really, it's okay, because Haruhi just wants to have fun! And Kyon can control her, don't you know? Don't you trust Kyon? You should! Because he's a jackass, but he's a jackass Haruhi will listen to!

In summary: Consent? Who needs that?

If you like the show, I'm not judging you. Just recognize and acknowledge the vile misogynist shit that TMHS (and a lot of anime full of fanservice, moe-blobs, and otherwise directed at the male gaze) are perpetuating. Be aware. There's some sketchy shit out there that I like, but I still acknowledge it's sketchy.

[personal profile] eisen again: The most execrable part of HARUHI and its fandom is not that the show itself contains cynically misogynistic elements - but that the show itself, and its fandom by extension, often sees nothing wrong with the way these elements are presented, and in fact considers them exemplary of their worldview, glorifies them as wish fulfillment.... I just can't accept a show that treats learned sociopathy as a desirable characteristic in everyday life.

If you think I'm overreacting, being too sensitive, and ought to just let it go or ignore it? Kindly go fuck yourself. I don't need to enjoy yet another piece of popular culture that perpetuates vile, heteronormative, patriarchal crap while reducing me to a sexual object.
feuervogel: (arne friedrich scarf)
50% beautiful game
50% beautiful men touching each other
feuervogel: (facepalm basti)
I finally found one.

The fabulous Herr Vize-Kapitän Bastian Schweinsteiger.

On the topic of Herr Basti, I can't stop watching this 45-second video. (Oh, Mario, why so bad at football, yet so adorkable?) This is fashion. Schweinsteiger fashion. *rofl*
feuervogel: Mesut Özil hugs Cacau (german team 10)
The guys of the German National Team wrote a letter to their fans thanking them for their support.

It's the sweetest thing ever. I love meine Mannschaft! Even if I can't decipher their freaking signatures. (Someone pointed out Miro's, and I think I spy Arne Friedrich in the upper left, but the rest? You got me. And I've deciphered some doctor scrawl in my time.)
feuervogel: (corset)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] listener and their lending of it to me after I made this post. Y'all can read a more detailed review (though I couldn't even touch on HALF the things I wanted to) over at my blog.

(Also, if I have any egregious wording errors or faux pas, please let me know so I can fix them.)

On Eowyn

4 Apr 2010 12:11 pm
feuervogel: (katara not a victim)
I love this post on Eowyn. I've been an Eowyn fangirl since I was about 10, and Recessional sums up everything I love about her and how it's not a bloody cop-out to have her go to the Houses of Healing and give up the sword.

She stood between her beloved uncle and King and the King of the Nazgul, faced down what was sure to be her death, and laughed in its face. She was driven mad by the glass cage society put her in, where heroic deeds bring honor, yet only men perform heroic deeds and gain honor.

Only Eowyn, a woman driven so mad by despair's conflict with honor that nothing worse could be done to her than already had been and ready to die, could slay the Witch-King. She had nothing more to lose but her life.

Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him."

(Since I have no Eowyn icons, have Katara instead.)
feuervogel: (moo)
Via my network page: [personal profile] marina gets her rage on, with a little help from [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna, (rightfully so) about the depiction of Soviet Russia (and Russia in general) in American media. It sounds like a serious case of Did Not Do The Research. (A phone call? In a KGB prison? Wut?)

But remember, guys, it's OK to be casually abusive against Russians! It's bad, but it's not as bad as being casually abusive to people of color, because Russians are white and their experiences don't count.

In a similar vein, this post and this post talk about how USian issues dominate discussions, and mentioning how things are in other countries is called derailing, and that's not OK.
feuervogel: (happy)
You can buy ebooks of CJ Cherryh's books directly from her. Right now it's only older books (Heavy Time/Hellburner, with Finity's End and Tripoint coming out later this year). Because the contracts are old enough that they didn't get e-rights! So she's going DIY at Closed Circle.

Heavy Time and Hellburner are a pair, and they're set during the Company Wars. It's all humans, all the time (Union hasn't split yet and created azi), with some people rebelling against the corporation that controls space faring. Some of the slang and language is dated (it's so 80s new wave crossed with punk it *hurts*), but it's believable enough. I forget exactly what the story is, since it's been a while since I read it. It's more on the action end than the psychological end. (wikipedia)

Finity's End is set 18 years after the end of the Company War and follows the exploits of the ship Finity's End, as they work to hunt down the last of the renegades. It begins on Pell's World, which we see in Downbelow Station. It's been a long time since I read this as well, but it's also really good. (wikipedia)

Tripoint I read, but I have no memory of it. The wikipedia summary is unfamiliar. Weird.

I think it's pretty sweet.
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
A variety of ways:

Quick, easy, and painless: Text "HAITI" to 90999, and $10 will be donated to the Red Cross (added to your next cell phone bill.)

[livejournal.com profile] help_haiti: a fannish auction to support a variety of charities.
Auctions by people I know (1st or 2nd degree):
Plutokitty
foxysquid
ladymako71: necklace San Fran goodies
tallihensia

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
US/UK SIM card

Inexpensive rental apartment in Vienna

Citystay Hostel: really close to the Institut.

Singer 109: Close to Alex, women-only options. Con: price increase for random Catholic holidays. Also close to Institut. Gorgeous building. Only bookable 1 week at a time per web form.

Riverside Lodge: 12 beds only, can close curtains around beds in dorms for privacy.

Ostel: The GDR Hotel: How could this not pique my interest? Also, 9E/night in a dorm (they don't do gender-segregated rooms, but if I'm reading it right, they will if you ask?)

East Seven: in Prenzl' Berg, also close to Institut. Has a great 70s-ish web design.

These are only relevant if I decide not to pay for housing through the Institut, which is 450 E for the month (about 16/night.) Most of these would run more than that. I'm also not sure I want to spend a month living in a multi-bed dorm. I'd meet a bunch of people, most likely... but would I sleep? And I plan to make some weekend excursions, or at least day trips, like to Dresden. It would be stupid to pay for rooms in both places. I'm awaiting a return of my email to the questions address at the Institut. I just sent it this morning, so it'll be tomorrow at the earliest.

Tab dump

9 Jan 2010 02:14 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I need to close some tabs so I can restart Firefox and get some memory back.

From left to right:
Yuletide 2009 (I need to add more bookmarks)
Matt Thorn on translation (via links in comments to link #5)
RDJ picdump
Demographics of anime & manga fandom
On translation of manga: keeping honorifics?
It's not a diet, it's lifestyle activism
feuervogel: (happy)
National Geographic gallery of bionics and prosthetics.

This? Is what science fiction was made of 15 years ago. Ghost in the Shell had characters 'enhanced' with bionic eyes, jacks in their brains to connect to the net, and Major Kusanagi's entire cyborg body.

And now, it's getting close to science fact. How fucking cool is that?

Stuff.

5 Dec 2009 07:00 pm
feuervogel: (never too late)
Today I slept in a bit (though I laid in bed awake a while), then did the Saturday morning routine: Cup a Joe for coffee & breakfast, then grocery shopping. We skipped the farmers' market, because we didn't need anything, and, besides, the weather was nasty.

It's the type of day where you want to stay inside where it's warm and dry. It's been in the 40s and rainy all day. It's supposed to get into the 20s overnight. Brr!

I finished reading All the Shah's Men. I'll put a review and some thoughts on my blog later this week. I made a brief review on GoodReads already.

I wrote a couple reviews of books I finished earlier for my blog; they'll be autoposted at specified times.

Inspired by [personal profile] sabeth, I'm going through my hoard of BPAL and deciding what I want to get rid of. I'll possibly post here, then at the forum. Primarily looking to sell; I have more freaking perfume than I know what to do with. (You'll pry War from my cold, dead hands, though.)

Tomorrow, Mo & Nolan are coming over, and I'm making them Turkish coffee. One pot makes a demitasse cup for 3 people (approximately), so that should work out fine, since Ben can't have caffeine. I'll have to break out the antique cups I got from Etsy that I'm terrified to use (because they're 80 years old!), since I only have 2 cups from Ikea.

If you want to hear this year's Bad Sex in Fiction "winner" read out loud in silly voices, go here. NSFW, obviously. Possibly also not safe for your mental health. Or your sex life.
feuervogel: (reading)
I just wrote a long post for my other blog, if you care to read it.

UK LeGuin is one of the reasons I love science fiction.

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