It's done!

Well, sort of. It's a really rough 8 pages, but better something than nothing. Not posting anything aside from the pertinent details:

1. I drew a wang. It looks pretty good.

2. I also drew a vag. It looks somewhat less good but that is due to the angle.

3. Intrigue along a Silk Road-esque setting. Featured settings include a caravansary, a vardo (it makes sense in context), a traditional courtyard-styled house, and a mountaintop nunnery.

4. Main female is East Asian/Korean, aggressive but not hypersexual. Main male is North African who was a virgin until he met her; he is somewhat submissive in bed.

So we'll see what happens! EEEEE


I am hiding the pages I drew. I'm sure Vin will find them...sometime. But I'll probably put them on his desk tomorrow and then be gone the rest of the day, LALALA


Today is the day

Today is the day I submit the pornfolio.

I am hilariously behind. I have the entire thing storyboarded, but not entirely inked and definitely not colored. Backgrounds haven't been dropped in. I have less than 12 hours, but I'm stuck at work and have to go in early tonight for my extracurricular activity.

Still going for it. What's the worst that can happen? That I get a no? I'm not such hot shit that I don't expect rejection. Even if my art is a cut above the rest (which it won't be), having such an incomplete representation of my work is still not good.

However, it's still better than not trying at all.

WISH ME LUCK, if I get it I'll cackle.


Pornlord musings

I have always considered drawing and writing erotica as a side business, and since Slipshine has opened up its submission cue for the first time in memory, it seemed like a sign. I have ideas, I can make them happen, and if it works out, I get $100/page. Sweet.

On the other hand, my intense fear about Vin seeing what erotica I create has reared all nine of its ugly heads. Yes, it is that bad. When he flat-out told me that he wanted to see the finished product, I made a noise like a boiling teakettle and ran away to hide under the covers. While fully clothed.

Obviously this is a problem, but I'm not sure why. I have some theories, most of them having to do with the fact that he's a bit boring and predictable in bed and I would *die* if he read my things and felt inadequate. Another problem is that I feel MoC need more well-rounded representation in porn so I've decided that as long as I can avoid having white dude dicks in my stories, I will make it so. The problem is that Vin is white and I don't want to make him feel like I find other men attractive because of their nonwhiteness.


I feel like these are stupid things to worry about, particularly since my female characters will not be self-inserts and I will be doing my best to express many different body types and ethnicities. But all in fantasy settings, because yeees.

Nevertheless I GAHHHH

And regardless of whether or not I get accepted, he wants to see it anyway.

... I will contrive to be out of the house for the whole day. The idea of being anywhere around while he reads the thing makes me so hideously nauseous that the reality would probably result in actual barfing.


Abercrombie and Fitch is for douches - CONFIRMED

A while ago, it came out that the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch is a terrible man who deliberately does not make clothes in plus sizes because he doesn't want fat people (more specifically fat girls, because the men's sizes go way bigger) wearing his brand. It's also company policy to burn or otherwise destroy unworn clothing (which is standard industry practice, though most places use shredders instead of fire). In response to this douchiness, there's been public outcry and celebration for one man who is getting AF merch from thrift stores and giving them to homeless people. He's calling this Fitch the Homeless, and people are going "Yeah, you go, dude! Give away those clothes! Spite that CEO!"

It seems like it's just me in my circle of local friends, but I think Fitch the Homeless is a bad idea. I think it makes fun of homeless people by making them the new uncool who "shouldn't be wearing the brand". I'm all for messing with the CEO of AF, but I'd rather do it by going after his target demographic (the "cool kids") and pointing out that they're now tarred with the stink of his douchiness, and no one of any intelligence or influence will wish to associate with them. Extreme? Maybe. I'm sure there are nice children and teens out there who wear AF, but honestly, there are better-made, more original clothes out there that don't come from a company that body-shames.

Perhaps I'm not the best person to write about fashion. I largely didn't care about it up until a few years ago, and I have the sort of frame that looks good with all sorts of clothing (unless it just plain doesn't fit). I never went into a counterculture, I just never cared about what I wore and if people gave me crap, I never thought that it was something that was my fault--they were being dicks. I mind me this one time when this boy in 5th grade kept making fun of my silk shirt and maxi skirt fashion, and I got so mad that I burst into tears. I probably would have attacked him, but the teachers arrived. In any case, this was a lesson--people care too much about looking cool in their clothes, and the way they make themselves feel cool is by making fun of others who don't fit the mold. How stupid! How cruel! How utterly pointless. Clothing keeps you warm or cool and while it can be armor or camouflage, most of the time it just makes you not be naked, since our society has a wildly inconsistent problem with nudity.

Nevertheless, fashion and social justice are tied together. From people protesting fur coats to catchy slogans on tees, people do care about what they wear and this is why AF is such a thing... A terrible thing, but a thing nonetheless. I think the company will implode, at least for a little while, because teens don't want to be seen as cruel, mean, and stupid people like the CEO. Will the brand die out? Probably not, and even if it did, another company just as blandly generic and desperate for 'cool kid' attention will take its place. The problem isn't with the clothes, it's with the people who wear them with the intention of buying into the aesthetic. I won't say that I'll specifically educate my kids against the 'cool' aesthetic... But I'm probably going to make fun of them a bit if they start caring about it.

(yeeeep... Totally not ready for kids)

Things I come up with while massively stoned

1. Steampunk fishmonger. Has a little "copper alert" so the police won't catch her for selling fish illegally. The fish, btw, are kept in a refrigerated container. There's a collapsible display that advertises fish.

2. This one is long and involved, and perhaps better explained in a weird poem form

we made a large fire and i wanted to roast apples
I cut off some slices and stuck them on my roasting stick, keeping the core to nom on
At last I chucked the core into the fire, saying to the roasting slices, "That's what you get if you don't fulfill your purpose of being delicious!"
But then I thought
The apples might say "No! No! Our purpose is to carry precious seeds and propagate our way of life!"
But then
The apples I just ate don't have seeds in them
I think they were modified out
So then I thought, what is worse?
The apple that knows its purpose and never gets to fulfill it?
Or the apple that knows it has one... But an essential part of the puzzle (the seed) is missing, so it spends its entire existence looking for meaning?
And then I went, "Oh Jesus, this is people"
and aloud
"Well, that was a really fucking weird train of thought."
I told my husband and he agreed
But then I commented that maybe this was happening now
And this was actually a test
If I remembered this and believed this later, the Weirdoes in charge had no hold on me, for I have perceived the truth of my seedless existence
On the other hand, if I remembered, believed, and then convinced myself out of it, then the Weirdoes have won
I think the only safe solution is to make a story

Steampunk ideas

I've never been into the steampunk scene even though it incorporates things I am interested in (sci-fi meets Victoriana ftw!). I don't know why I never got into it. Some of it was probably expense-related, because to put a really sweet ensemble together takes money--LOTS of money. Also, there just seemed to be an awful lot of generic costumes. I got tired of seeing the same corsets, the same bustles, little hats and vaudeville poses with proper dress. Steampunk almost lost its shine for me before I really noticed its gleam.

And then I bought an underbust corset and my mind exploded.

Part of the problem that I have with steampunk or that prevents me from getting into it is that it's so overwhelmingly white, not just in its fans but also in its execution; everyone is from England! Sometimes they're American! The world was (and still is) bigger than that, and the era of steampunk (pre-Industrial Revolution, usually) was CHOCK-FULL OF CULTURAL EXCHANGE! The British Empire was the most powerful it's ever been, and they had Indian people coming through England, Chinese people, Central Asian and Northern African, Saudi--I mean, you get the point. And yet I just wasn't seeing any of this... Anywhere. I still don't really see much of it unless I go hunting for it. And that's lame and off-putting.

But anyway, I got a corset. I came up with a steampunk character who basically dances for a living in order to eat delicious food. She's selfish and careless and callously mean, which I suppose says something about what I miss in my own life. But she was born in China, traveled across the world learning all sorts of dance, and is now in England. The most steampunk thing about her is that she has a corset she wears just for propriety's sake, and she pops out of it in a flash to do a dance, get some money, and then go spend it on food. Yet for such a ridiculously flighty character, I'm already very attached. Here's someone who looks outside Victoriana and is not just searching the future for new things, but also fully committed to the current world. It's been said that the best sci-fi is social commentary on what's going on right now--well, Hua Li's existence tells me that I feel restrained, and the problematic elements and cultural appropriation that abound in her entire character are a symbol of the same exact thing happening right now. She leaves broken hearts and enlightened, engaged minds in her wake when she challenges notions of race and sexuality just by being herself. And most importantly, she's unscathed by all the crap around her even as she realizes it exists. That's something I'd like more of.

I got to thinking about what my husband would be in such a time. When I asked him, he made a face (probably another reason I never got into steampunk, I wouldn't have him as a partner) but then said he'd be some sort of gentleman mechanic. "Which is what everyone is", he said, but then I made a face.

"Have you ever noticed there's no normal or common people in steampunk? What about the maids and farriers and secretaries to keep things running while the lords and ladies are off hunting velociraptors on Mars? I'm bored of the extraordinary glittering people. What about the normals?"

So I started coming up with other characters:

1. Maid - not a head of household, just a regular maid doing her job and getting paid. She has a telescoping feather duster to reach difficult places, anti-static gloves to keep from interfering with the master's/mistress's experiments, and crepe-rubber boots instead of cute Mary Janes because she needs the insulation against electric shocks.

2. Farrier - deals with cybernetic horses, replacing smart horseshoes and fixing robotic animals. Part engineer and part veterinarian, with a love and excitement for both.

3. Secretary - a front-desk receptionist to one of the biggest businesses in the steampunk world.  Able to understand multiple languages, s/he has multiple typewriters and writing utensils that are all steampunked up for maximum efficiency (a pen that swaps seamlessly into a brush for writing East Asian documents, for example). His/her glasses have multiple lenses for reading infrared and otherwise coded messages in telegrams, and s/he has a Morse-code typewriter that can seamlessly turn writing into Morse and back again, which makes sending telegrams as easy as instant-messaging. It also fits into a traveling case. How sweet is that? SUPER SWEET.

And so on, and so forth. Multiculturalism is sweet. Variety is sweet. There should be more of it.

Sometimes I wish I was more prejudiced.

Ever since I was young, I wanted to kick ass and make peace. Usually in that order. As I've gotten older, the meaning of those two phrases has changed. I've turned into a very mild social justice advocate that uses humor and sarcasm to point out wrongs rather than anger, and 'make peace' seems to have turned into 'care not'.

Well, that's an exaggeration, but perhaps I'll better explain myself in a bit.

Dad called and we spent an hour on the phone talking about Sister's "drug problem"--it's in quotes because 1, her "drug" is marijuana and it's medically necessary and 2, she'd go off it if she could--she's said as much and from what I've witnessed of her behavior, it's held true. Mom recently had a very bad experience with MJ when she took an edible in the worst way possible (ate the whole thing, was at work, drove around later, was fucking high for the next 6 days with digestive issues and lethargy), so of course she told Dad and now this has added certain fuel to some of Dad's concerns. After an hour, this is what I got:

1. He thinks she's using too much, but has no idea what a normal amount is or what an acceptable amount is. CONCLUSION: He doesn't like that she's using marijuana at all.
2. He thinks her live-in BF is an unemployed 30-year-old slacker with no motivation. CONCLUSION: He's unemployed and he's 30--the other things may or may not be true. I'm also bothered by his apparent disinterest in finding any sort of employment.
3. He thinks going through suffering and hardship is good for young people. CONCLUSION: She's not suffering enough to satisfy him.

So he goes on about this and I'm trying to temper his arguments a bit--I kept repeating, "So what do you really want to say to her? What is the point of this conversation? What is your desired outcome?"--and also thinking, "Damn it, this is going to turn into another minefield lunch*. Maybe I should drink. But then Dad may think I have an alcohol problem. Damn it."

My thoughts on the matter:

1. I don't think my sister has a drug problem. The physical symptoms she suffers from (nausea, lethargy, depression, lack of appetite, pain) are all aided by marijuana usage, and her apparent lack of progress is due in part to her intense idiopathic low back pain. Ignoring the low back pain and not factoring its presence into her recovery is stupid, but Dad wants to concentrate solely on the marijuana usage. I'm sorry, but what would you rather she do to deal with all her physical symptoms? The medicine that stabilizes her moods also makes her gain weight, which is worse for her back. The pain medicine for her back fucks up her digestive system. Another medicine she's been prescribed gives her energy, but no appetite. And ALL OF THEM have side effects, whereas nothing in the vast body of European research out there suggests that marijuana has any negative long-term physical effects. Is there psychological dependence? Yes, but not as much as some other medications, which actually come with warning labels about that specific effect.

2. BF is not working as hard as he could, but I also don't know him well. I'm not as familiar with his physical condition. Now granted, I have no fucking clue what he does all day, except go to the gym, play video games, and take care of Sister when she's really ill. This apparent lack of doing anything does not engender confidence, and I can understand why the 30-years-old thing scared the fuck out of Dad--people are normally productive citizens by now, and while she and BF aren't in danger of going broke (settlement money ftw), they don't have any incoming cash flow. I agree with Dad on this point that this is troubling.

3. I think the frustration of being unable to work is suffering enough. I do think detoxing from marijuana would be good at some point in time, but not while there's a clear reason to use it. No other medication can handle the symptoms she's feeling right now. However, there's currently an idea being kicked around that she goes out to live with my blind uncle, who's an amazing acupuncturist and healer. We all believe he'll be able to help her a great deal. She also favors this idea (at least she did when last we spoke) and her BF is also going to do some self-betterment because he doesn't like where he's at right now either. We'll see how their relationship survives. But in any case, adding physical suffering to mental and emotional suffering doesn't seem entirely necessary.

Dad is going on sabbatical this year and he wants to take the entire year to live with Christine and monitor her. She'll be pissed because she'll feel like Dad's hovering and to a certain extent, he will. But he's also rightfully concerned that he doesn't know enough about her day-to-day life to make informed judgments on how she's actually being affected, and I feel like she has to understand that he's also anguished because (as he said) he's able to help so many young people...but not his own daughter. He's told me that he feels very sad about not spending more time with us when we were growing up, and while that's a nonissue to me, it obviously costs him sleep at night. So he's compensating. Overcompensating? I don't know. But I don't oppose this idea.

And that's how (we're back to me now) I feel. I don't oppose this. I don't support that.  There are many days I just want to be left the fuck alone to do my own thing and cuddle my husband and kitty and go to work, and just exist in a vacuum, or perhaps a selective bubble. But I'm fooling myself, because I already live in a bubble.

((There's something else too. Dad said he believed Sister's BF was supplying her with drugs. He doesn't know that those drugs came from my house, were created by my husband, and is continuously supported by our support. Vin is smoking with them all the fucking time and he's smoking at home too, and I just don't see the point of using it that often. Maybe if I had a really boring job and a bunch of personal stress (buying a house, silly wife), but I don't. I love my job and my personal stress is very low, so why do I need marijuana? I don't. I think that's why I find my mind and spirit wandering for significant portions of the day.))

Man, it seems like I only ever complain

I recently rediscovered a childhood journal of mine and flipped through it. It was somewhat shocking, because no few of my entries were rants and complaints against family members (especially my parents). I asked my mom if I'd really been such an angry child, and she pointed out that people usually only write when they are annoyed.

So it is now.

I had a...fight? Disagreement? Well, definitely not a meeting of the minds today with Christine. She showed me a video of Megan Lochte's racist rant on a TV show, with such choice comments as "China was chinked out" and "They crossed off 'dog' and wrote in 'beef', but they didn't fool us." And while I did get annoyed and even a little nauseous watching the film, I did not react like Christine.

"She should be publicly shamed! I hate her! I want to sock her in the face."

While intensely angry comments from Christine aren't anything new, this time I found them somewhat more annoying. Yes, I understand how angry you are. But is it really necessary to have this vitriolic peanut gallery going on the whole time? It reminds me of girls gossiping in school, unable to keep their goddamn traps shut and just making a situation worse the longer it goes on.

So I reacted in a way that annoyed her. I told her that while I agreed it was racist, Megan Lochte's comments seemed to indicate that she was really stupid rather than mean, and that it didn't bother me that much because I have the feeling that she's not actually a bad person. I then asked Christine what she wanted me to do...

..Which turned out to be the wrong response.

"Why can't I get mad without getting psychoanalyzed?"

Well, I went home with a bad taste in my mouth and it took me a while to fall asleep. I kept wondering about how to patch things up. Then I woke up and thought, "No."

Most of my life, I've been the one who goes to Christine first, trying to figure out how to not make her mad and patch things up. It's because I'm older and cool off quicker, and if I realize I've done something wrong, I will naturally want to apologize.

But while I'm sorry she's upset and I know where she's coming from (because I had an argument with Luke that was very similar to this not too long ago, but with sexism instead of racism), I also absolutely refuse to be sorry for not reacting the way she wanted me to.

"I thought you'd be able to relate," she said, trying to needle me.

Just because I don't want to sock this girl in the face or string her up in the middle of the town square does not mean that I don't find her comments disgusting.

"The people in the audience are worse than she is."

Agreed, but how many of them are laughing because they're uncomfortable?

"There's so much prejudice against East Asians in the US, and it's all stuff like this."

Yeah, and stuff like making Asian people sexless clones in Cloud Atlas, and re-making a horrible anti-communist film (Red Dawn), now complete with racist overtones and a big budget. Believe me, I'm aware of the problem.

But here's the thing. I don't like to get angry for no reason. As soon as I get angry, as soon as I start to feel sick in my stomach, I WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. And when I bring other people in on the things that make me angry, it's because I want them to get angry enough to do something about it too. Being angry and staying angry is not useful. It's physically uncomfortable and I think it's also toxic to the human body.

Now, everyone is different, and Christine is certainly allowed to feel angry in the way she feels angry. But I am ticked that I am not allowed to do the same. Now maybe it's a communication error and she didn't realize that I was bothered too, in all the devil's advocating of not beating up Megan Lochte. But why can she not understand that I do not get upset in the same way? And why am I being blamed for it?

And naturally, she shut down and went into the passive-aggressive "Okay, okay" mode that I also remember doing in the argument with Luke.


I'm tempted to call her or write her an email and let her know where I stand. Because while I'm very supportive and while I udnerstand that this means she may not share as much with me, she also has to know that I react to terrible things in a completely different way, and I do not like being angry just for the sake of being angry. I refuse to say "sorry" and back down.
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Is anyone else getting attacked by a flooding of retail bots? I've gotten spam comments for designer knockoffs, memory foam toppers, and other such shit.

Dear GOP - the collective you are an Idiot

I got this from Linza and it makes some excellent points.

Originally posted by ladyqkat at Dear GOP - the collective you are an Idiot
(Post originally seen in this post by ramblin_phyl. I have been notified that it was originally posted by suricattus in her journal post. The story and words are hers, but I do believe that it needs to go viral and that as many people as possible need to get their stories out there. Only by making a noise about this can we make a change in our society.)

There is a move afoot in the nation -driven by the GOP - to repeal the new health care laws, to protect corporate interests, to defend against fear-mongering (and stupid) cries of "socialism!", and to ensure that people are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or getting necessary health care.

This movement is killing people.

Think I'm overstating the fact?

Ask the friends and family of writer/reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, who died of a heart attack last week because she was so terrified of medical bills, she didn't go see a doctor who could have saved her life.

From another writer friend: One person. Not the only one. That could have been me. Yeah, I have access to insurance -- I live in New York City, which is freelancer-friendly, and have access to freelancer advocacy groups. Through them, I can pay over $400/month ($5,760/year) as a single, healthy woman, so that if I go to the hospital I'm not driven to bankruptcy. But a doctor's appointment - a routine physical - can still cost me several hundred dollars each visit. So unless something's terribly wrong? I won't go.

My husband worked for the government for 30 years. We have government employee (retired) insurance. It is the only thing of value he took away from that job. His pension is pitiful. He still works part time. My writing income has diminished drastically. Our combined income is now less than what it was before T retired fifteen years ago. Inflation has diminished it further. In the last 30 days I have racked up over $8000 in medical bills for tests and the beginning of treatment. Our co-pay is 20% after the deductible. And there is more to come. Our savings are already gone. I have the gold standard of insurance and I still can't pay all the medical bills.

Another friend lost her insurance when her husband lost his job. She couldn't afford medication and ended up bed ridden for three months at the end of over a year of no job and therefore no insurance until he found work again.

It's our responsibility. All of us, together. As a nation.

EtA: Nobody is trying to put insurance companies out of business. They will always be able to offer a better plan for a premium. We simply want to ensure that every citizen - from infant to senior citizen - doesn't have to choose between medical care, and keeping a roof over their heads, or having enough to eat.

We're trying to get this to go viral. Pass it along.