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2016 Year In Review

Take the first line of the first post from each month, and that's your year in review.

Skipping monthly writing goals posts.

January: By canon, then order of publication. [fic master list for 2015]

February: That feeling when the research paper you're reading has the exact info you need in the appendix, and the appendix isn't included in the online version?

March: I posted a mini-rant on this subject to Twitter last month, but apparently I decided that wasn't sufficient.

April: Written for the 2016 Wintersend Exchange (a lady-centric fanwork exchange for Dragon Age).

May: Today, it was announced that [community profile] ladybusiness is up for a 2016 Hugo Award in the Best Fanzine category.

June: Over a week without posting, oops.

July: Thanks to everyone for your kind words and condolences on the loss of Lexi.

August: Thanks to the recommendations and enthusiasms of MANY PEOPLE (you know who you are), I took the plunge and started watching Critical Role, a Twitch show in which a group of American voice actors play an ongoing Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

September: For our special celebration of Kate Elliott and her books, I wrote a review of her most recent, Poisoned Blade.

October: I rarely write my take on scenes that are probably going to happen soon in canon, but this bunny wouldn't leave me alone.

November: To think that I lived to see the Chicago Cubs -- perennial underdogs to the point that sci-fi authors often use their losing ways as a punchline or a sign that you're in an alternate universe -- win a World Series.

December: For the first time in 13 years. [In reference to my new glasses.]

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Rogue One

I thought it was pretty great! Maybe this is an understatement. I need to see it again.

Some thoughts, no specific spoilersCollapse )

Major spoilers for the endingCollapse )

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Political Linkspam

  • Here's a pretty fascinating look at how different state boundaries would have affected the Electoral College results. Based on such things as commute patterns, phone call patterns, states of equal population, etc. A good reminder of how arbitrary the Electoral College is as a way of deciding anything.

  • The always-excellent Jamelle Bouie writes about Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns and how they might serve as a blueprint for Democrats to strengthen their economic message without sacrificing social justice issues.

  • Good piece on what it really means to empathize with conservatives, and what that means for moving forward.

  • This article on fake news and media credibility is a little harder on the mainstream media than I would be, but it's a thought-provoking perspective nonetheless.

  • Speaking of fake news, here's an interview with the creator of a browser plug-in that detects and flags dubious sources, called (appropriately) BS Detector. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I'm curious. Could be a valuable tool if it works, although I worry that the people who most need it are the least likely to install it.

And for today's fun link: The San Francisco SPCA partners with the downtown Macy's every holiday season, creating a store window display of cats and dogs who are available for adoption. I try to get there at least a few times every year to witness the adorable in person, but this year they've added three webcams. (Requires Flash.)

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Regular politics linkspams?

I've been thinking I'm sharing most of the best resources I find on Twitter and Facebook these days, and given the speed at which things have been happening since the election, good stuff sometimes gets lost in the social media firehose. If I noted the best of those links and posted them here, say on a weekly basis or so, would people find that useful and/or interesting?

I'm a librarian; curating and sharing information is what I do. If I can take that task on in a way that helps people, I feel like I should. So I'll try this for now, but if folks have feedback or suggestions, definitely let me know.

And now for something completely different: NPR's Monkey See blog is putting together a Pop Culture Advent Calendar, sharing one perfect pop culture moment from 2016 per day. I love this idea, and perhaps in its spirit, I should make sure to include at least one happy or uplifting thing in each links collection. We can't have four years of unalloyed misery, no matter how bad things get -- that way lies burnout and despair. As I've said before, we need to take our bright spots where we can get them, even if it feels like trying to keep a candle lit against a firehose. This is my candle, and I will do whatever it takes to keep it burning.

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New glasses...

For the first time in 13 years. Not only is the prescription stronger than in my old glasses, it's actually stronger than the one in my contact lenses (at least in my left eye), so it's definitely going to take some getting used to.

They're also plastic frames, which makes them much chunkier than my wire ones. Definitely some getting used to...

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November update; December goals

Days written: 28/30
Words written: 9,963
Words to date in 2016: 101,395 (that's right -- I finally broke 100k)
Words of fic written: 5,702
Stories worked on: Three
Stories posted: One new, several crossposts

Charts are surprised we did this well, reallyCollapse )

Specific goals:

1. Write at least ten minutes every day. Almost. Considering the clusterfuck that was this November, I am reasonably proud that I only missed two days, and both were over Thanksgiving weekend.

2. Post publicly to DW every day. Success! (Or it will be, once I get this post finished.)

3. Finish and post Critical Role reverse bang story (due November 16th). Also a success.

4. Send Wardens of Ivalice 2 to beta. On Monday! \o/

5. Archive outstanding flashfic to AO3. For real this time. There were only three stories, all from a 15 characters meme I did over the summer. In case you missed it, they're all linked here.

Seriously, I feel lucky that I got even halfway to any of my goals, given November 2016. 2016, man. I know it's just a date on a calendar, and that there's no reason to think 2017 will be any better, but I'm still looking forward to turning that particular page. If you managed to win NaNo this year, I am seriously in awe.

Anyway, December goals:

1. Write at least six days per week except while traveling (the last week of the month). December is a busy month, not even counting my upcoming trip, so this is a little ambitious, but I'd like to try.

2. Finish and post Wardens of Ivalice Part 2 before I leave on 12/27.

3. Finish and submit story for Winter's Crest Gifts, also before 12/27 (due on 12/31).

4. Write and post at least two substantial articles for my journal and/or [community profile] ladybusiness.

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Once upon a time, I was very excited for this game. Then my trust in Squeenix began eroding, until this happened, and I washed my hands of it.

Which means that I completely forgot that a new game in what used to be my favorite series is coming out today, until I saw a poster for it on my way home from work.

How things change.

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Recs for Hugo novel reading?

As the year comes to a close, the thoughts of the Hugo nominator turn to planning her reading for the next four months. Obviously, I cannot read every single novel that was published in 2016, not even every novel that reviewed well and/or seems likely to be a contender, even if I wanted to. The end-of-year lists are already coming out, and I'll be applying to those, as well as the always-helpful Hugo eligibility spreadsheet, but there's almost too many options there.

So I figure, why not start by asking my friends and followers, whose opinions I trust? What's your must-read book from 2016? (I'll get started on short fiction and other categories later; new series are probably more than I'm willing to tackle right now.) I'm already planning to read All the Birds in the Sky and Ninefox Gambit; books published in 2016 that I've read are here. Some possible nominee contenders there, but only one slam-dunk, so your thoughts are definitely welcome.

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I might have just sent a draft of Wardens of Ivalice Part 2 out to beta. Maybe I will actually finish this thing.

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Back to Life

The busy holiday weekend is now over, and I expect a somewhat rude re-entry into real life thanks to a dentist appointment first thing tomorrow morning (getting a cavity filled; not my favorite thing ever but not too terrifying either). And December is booking up quickly, what with social events and cultural events and a trip to Hawaii for a wedding the week after Christmas. So I want to settle in to something that feels like a normal life, but it's difficult to contemplate given the state of national events.

I had really been looking forward to the 2016 election being over. Turns out it will never really be over, but I still feel the need to draw a line under the election, accept that its happened, and move on to the work of fighting the president elect and his cronies. Reportedly, on a call with Democratic party volunteers a week or so ago, President Obama informed them that they had until Thanksgiving to mourn, and then he expected everyone to get back to work. Seems reasonable to me. So despite the specter of recounts and audits and the (extremely slim) possibility that Electoral College will pull something unexpected, I want to make some effort to get back to some semblance of normal. Not complacency, not ignoring what's going on, but finding the balance of paying attention to what's happening, and pushing back where necessary, without letting it consume my whole life. In the words of wise Tumblr poster:

We’re in this for the long haul. It’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s also a relay race not a singles event.

We need to pace ourselves and work together. And if you're ever in a place where you need to hand me the baton, just let me know.

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Gilmore Girls marathon

I spent all day watching the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life with friends. Because we took a number of breaks for chatting and eating -- because how can one watch a bunch of Gilmore Girls without a corresponding spread of snacks? such coffee, popcorn, blueberry pancakes, more coffee, french fries, and corn dogs, which would have been the more appropriate burgers except it was raining, so our hosts couldn't use their grill -- it's late enough that I don't feel like I have time to write up thoughts up in more detail, but overall I can call myself content. It felt very much in the spirit of the original, and I was pleased by where all the most important relationships -- Lorelai and Rory, Lorelai and Luke, and Emily with her daughter and granddaughter -- ended up. More later, I hope.

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Family time

I've seen a lot of commentary about the difficulties of going home for the holidays in these divided political times -- people stressing out about the prospect of political arguments, coming up with strategies for dealing with the bigoted uncle, and so forth. Although I have my own family stresses, I count myself very lucky that politics is not one of them. (At least not among my mother's family. My dad's family, and T's family, are another story, but they aren't local -- when I talk about getting together with family, I generally mean my parents and brothers, and my mom's siblings and their kids). We fall at various points along the liberal spectrum, but at the core we have similar enough beliefs and values that when we argue politics, we're debating the details, not more fundamental questions like whether racism exists. As I mentioned at one point, it was a relief to be able to assume that no one at tonight's dinner voted for Trump (I do have one brother who's a Bernie Bro, and I expect he voted Green Party; we steered clear of that particular topic, which is fine since he lives in California where his presidential vote was essentially irrelevant) or supports his policies and beliefs. Not to say there weren't debates or arguments -- we're a big loud family who likes to talk about controversial topics, so of course there were points of disagreement -- but because they came from a place of fundamental agreement and respect, we're able to have actual conversations that rarely end in hurt feelings. It might be one of the ways I am most fortunate in my family of origin, and this year of all years, I don't take it for granted.

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It can be rough to find things to be thankful for in these troubled times. And yet overall I remain relatively happy and content with my life. I am fortunate in so many ways: my stable marriage to a good and caring person; my healthy kitty who stayed healthy; wonderful friends in my daily life, my online life, and around the world; a job where I do meaningful work and have flexible hours so that I can pursue my other interests; a family that loves and supports me even when they don't always understand me; healthy and financially stable enough that I don't have to expect too much energy worrying about my basic needs.

And of course I have fandom, and every single one of you reading this, even those I don't know that well, even if we've never spoken directly. Fandom has brought so many good things into my life and I can't imagine a world without it. So thanks to you all, from the bottom of my heart. I hope everyone who celebrates is having a good and low-stress Thanksgiving, and a very happy Thursday to all.

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Various events will be changing up my usual holiday celebrations this year. Because my cousin who's hosting Thanksgiving wants to spend the day with her late mother's family -- it's their big all-family gathering day -- we're getting together on Friday instead. So tomorrow, for the first time ever in my life, I will be having Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant, with some friends and their family. It's weird to think that I won't be going anywhere tomorrow, that I'm not baking or assembling some dish tonight, that we have the entire morning and afternoon to ourselves. Not bad, just weird.

Friday, then, will be family day (which means no Moose Day celebration, though it's been years since I organized anything for that anyway). On Saturday, I'll attend a Gilmore Girls marathon. Most years, I go to a "Friendsgiving" dinner on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but that's not happening this year, because the friends who host it are packing up their house for a massive remodel. Which makes Sunday another unexpectedly free day. I expect all of these events, and relaxing days off, will be fun and lovely, but I'm a fan of tradition and ritual, so all these changes are throwing me off a little.

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Book review: "Indexing"

Today, over on [community profile] ladybusiness, I reviewed Indexing by Seanan McGuire. Take a look!

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Critical Role Reverse Bang Fic

Title: Those Who Wait
Fandom: Critical Role
Rating: G
Wordcount: 4317
Characters: Mostly OCs. Brief appearances by Kerrek and Vax.
Spoilers: Through Episode 56 ("Hope"). Set during Ep 54 through 56.
Notes: Written for the 2016 reverse big bang sponsored by [tumblr.com profile] critrolebang, and based on this artwork by [tumblr.com profile] cool-porygon. The art is also embedded at the end of the story.

Summary: A young woman of Westruun contemplates whether to flee the site of a terrible disaster, or stay and help rebuild her home.

On AO3

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I got all the way to November 20th without having to post about how I don't have anything to say today, so I guess that's a good thing?

At least I did manage to get a little editing done on Wardens of Ivalice, and roughed out a missing section that was giving me trouble. My plan is to get it to beta this week; we'll see.

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The Netflix disc we had in the house tonight was Silver Linings Playbook, added on the strength of reviews and Oscar buzz. We were, on the whole, unimpressed. The depiction of mental illness was deeply problematic, it was difficult to like any of the characters, and the ending felt almost entirely unearned. I think I am officially done with David O. Russell movies for the time being -- Flirting with Disater was great, and I remember liking Three Kings well enough, but I was pretty unmoved by American Hustle, and this movie gets a distinct thumbs down.

Today was, as planned, mostly laid back. The fact that it rained all day also helped inspire sloth -- we went grocery shopping (and bought ourselves a delicious rib roast, which we then cooked up for dinner), but that was about it. Just about right when I need to rest up for a concert day. (We will not talk about how much time I spent retweeting posts about current events and arguing with people on Facebook. I want to be active, but I need to figure out the best strategy for budgeting my time and attention.)

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One down

First concert was tonight, and it went quite well! We hit all the marks we needed to hit and no major errors, certainly nothing noticeable.

Now it's time to flop until the second show on Sunday.

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Meme: 11 questions

I was tagged on Tumblr by [personal profile] heavenscalyx for the 11 questions meme. I've done this a number of times, but never on DW -- it seems to mostly be a Tumblr meme. But since I prefer to home longer posts on DW, I'm transporting it here, and maybe it'll catch on. :)

Rules: 1. Always repost the rules 
2. Answer the 11 random questions posted for you
 3. Create 11 new ones and tag 11 people 
4. Let the person who tagged you know that you answered

Tagging [personal profile] lassarina, [personal profile] umadoshi, [personal profile] alias_sqbr, [personal profile] sathari, [personal profile] spindizzy, [personal profile] forestofglory and brennacedria -- optional as always, and if anyone else wants to answer, feel free!

My answers:

1. Do you have a ghost story that happened to you or one of your family? Sadly not, nothing like this in my personal history or family lore.

The rest behind the cutCollapse )

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