bodlon: (cumberbatch - with book)

chainToday has been interesting. Lots of writing, but the sort that takes a significant amount of revision as I go.

Which means all kinds of things didn't happen today. Or maybe that a lot of the thing I wanted to get done most got done, just in a slower way than was entirely convenient, and that my weekend now has meaning.

Oh, and I just finished binge reading the second and third books of the Divergent series. I need some kind of recovery program now. Or a new heart. And some tissues. And more books to read.

So. Links.

Why Getting A Job Doesn't Mean Getting Out Of Poverty
Income inequality and crappy jobs: why the recession feels like it's still happening for almost everyone.

Dad gets OfficeMax mail addressed 'Daughter Killed in Car Crash'
Third-party mailing lists: kind of evil.

Utah is ending homelessness by giving people homes
I'll be interested to see how this program develops. I mean, if solving the problem is cheaper than the problem...

Meryl Streep, National Treasure
Not actually the title of the video. Basically, Ellen gives Streep random readings, each to be read in a different character. Pure Internet candy.

Father photographs his 5-year old daughter in the clothing and settings of Renaissance Dutch, Flemish, and Italian masters
Exactly what it says, and just as awesome as you think.

World's first comet chaser wakes up suddenly from 31-month hibernation
Nerd happiness. Yes.

Non-alarmist commentary on the body mod ban
So the whole "OMG ARKANSAS BODY MOD BAN" thing goes around from time to time, but nobody seems to get past the point of freaking out. So here. Have some useful info from someone on the ground, who worked with legislators to make sure folks were well-informed.

Singer Gets a Major Photoshop Makeover in Music Video
Again, does what it says on the tin, but in a language I don't speak.

This post has been mirrored from Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive. To see it in its original format, visit

bodlon: (cumberbatch - with book)

body with herbsWednesday night, one of my roommates and I were at a social function and she asked me whether I prefer Harold and Maude or Tenacious D.

I was confused, given that one is a really excellent film, and one of them is an amusing musical act, but then she clarified that she'd specifically wanted to know about Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, and not necessarily Tenacious D in general.

You guys. Let me tell you about how I love Harold and Maude. Harold's obsession with acting out the idea of death, his ingenuity in the execution, how it changes when he experiences Maude's relationship with life and mortality, the way the story shows characters dealing with the reality of death and how that stands in contrast to the way we symbolize it, how the whole thing is informed by the concept of how a Good Death is a desirable thing, the mentoring/maturity storyline, how it destigmatizes suicide in a beautiful and sensitive way...

It is a hell of a film. Pick of Destiny is a laugh, but it's not even in the ballpark.

And really, of course I'd feel this way. Ghostbusters is the film that stuck with me more than any other, with Beetlejuice coming a close second. I worry may have come close to wearing out the copy of The Making of Thriller we used to rent from the Curtis Mathes shop when I was a kid. I have always loved monsters and dead things and death. The aptitude tests my high school guidance counselor gave me actually suggested I consider being a funeral director (among other things, including being a writer).

Cemeteries are my happy place. I think a lot about the implications of my own future possible deaths, the logistical nuts and bolts (both for myself and loved ones), and the disposition of my remains. I have a lock of my grandmother's hair from when she died. I keep meaning to build myself a nice coffin/bookcase.

Death is such a big part of who I am that I don't really notice until I notice it's not like this for other people, or until someone asks something death-related and then I get really, really excited.

So, uh, yeah.

And now, links:

In Which We Can Only Imagine The Decay
Sarah Wambold writes about embalming, and our weird relationship with it, and embracing death as it is.

Finally, Some Decent Leather Battle Armor For Cats
Because why not? I mean, how else are they going to be able to compete with well-armed guinea pigs?

The Aesthetics of Reading
Typography affects mood. While I'd venture that most graphic designers have known this for ages, it's nice to see it in study format.

Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels
Relatedly, researchers think they've found some common traits shared by bestsellers. Still deciding what I think about this.

London Underground in the 1970s/80s
Some of these are really fantastic, and I got a good hit of nostalgia for the aesthetics of my early years (though the London Underground almost couldn't be more different from where I grew up). Possibly even more interesting: color film of London from 1926.

How to Save Local Bookstores in Two Easy Steps
I'm not sure I agree that Espresso and e-book shopping are the only fixes for the brick-and-mortar model, but the combo in a local shop context is intriguing.

'Mein Kampf' Was A 2013 eBook Bestseller
Speaking of e-books, Mein Kampf is apparently selling best in that format, possibly because of social stigma. It's an uncomfortable topic.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story
Adichie grew up in Nigeria, but had little early exposure to stories about people like her. The effect of that "single story" -- i.e. the experience of white Europeans -- was that she didn't realize that people like her, in places like her home, could exist in books. She cautions us about simple, limited narratives, and narratives that don't accurately describe the world as it is.

Hint: privilege != everything being easy. Hint #2: Intersectionality is a Thing.

This post has been mirrored from Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive. To see it in its original format, visit

bodlon: (cumberbatch - with book)

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about Cecil Gershwin Palmer.

If you've got no idea who I'm talking about, stop what you are doing and go discover Welcome to Night Vale. Aside from what it is on its own (i.e. podcast theatre/storytelling in the format of community radio from a brilliantly bizarre desert town), it's also a thing with a significant and creative following composed of people who like to make art, and cosplay, and write stories.

Which, you know, without visual cues means that the community decides what things might/could/should look like.

Given that WTNV is entirely audio, and given the nature of the show -- a literal five-headed dragon is running against The Faceless Old Woman who secretly lives in your home in the mayoral race! -- Cecil could look like anyone and/or anything.

He could look like Chiwetel Ejiofor. He could look like Jim Morrisson. He could look like a pastrami sandwich (though this is unlikely given the policies in Night Vale regarding wheat and wheat byproducts).

The way fandom visualizes Cecil (the voice of Night Vale) fascinates me. I initially came to the show because I kept seeing dream casting on Tumblr suggesting Richard Ayoade in his role, and had misunderstood that to mean he was actually involved in the podcast. I later became aware of what's become one of the most common Cecils -- white, blond with-or-without dark roots, lots of squiggly purple tattoos, into sweater vests, may or may not have a third eye -- as well as what Cecil Baldwin (the voice actor who plays him) looks like.

I like the uncertainty. I like the different possible Cecils. I like that there's a Cecil I can be for Halloween (white Cecil with the tattoos) while having a very different headcanon (my Cecil has always been multi-ethnic, dark-skinned, tattooed, and a snappy dresser in an punk-ish sort of way). The openness and variety is really satisfying to me because anyone can play.

(Well, everyone but Steve Carlsberg. That guy's a jerk.)

Of course, that may be the reason I resist getting too deeply into the WTNV fandom. Because as much as I want to believe that everyone on that particular train thinks as I do -- that an abundance of Cecils is much to be desired -- I keep seeing hints that this is not the case often enough. Or that white Cecil is just "Cecil" while Cecils of color are perceived as special variant Cecils. Which is annoying but not surprising, given how race works in our culture.

So yeah. I'm chewing on this a lot.

And now, links:

- This is Anxiety
As someone who struggles mightily with anxiety at times, I was excited to see that this exists. It's not just a matter of calming down and being rational. It's a matter of body/mind doing things that make even a rational person crumble in bizarre ways.

- Shovel Your Fucking Walk
Not that we have done this at my house yet, but given that the city can't seem to be bothered to deal with our street, I've kind of chosen Skyrim over shovels.

- The BBC's Social Media Problem With Sherlock
Given how spoiled I've been with Doctor Who (in the "given many things" sense, not the "early information" sense), I'd actually forgotten that the UK is getting Sherlock before us until the .gifs hit Tumblr.

- Trans Housing Network
Kind of like "need a penny, take a penny" but with couches and people whose gender identities tend to make us homeless and stigmatized.

- Sneak-Peek: Top 5 Sky Events of 2014
Look up a few times this year, yeah?

- Why Some Parents Are Refusing HPV Vaccine For Their Children
A really solid look at why some of the common reasons parents resist having their kids immunized against HPV, some rebuttals, and a fantastic visualization of the data.

- Words, Words, Words: On Toxicity and Abuse in Online Activism
The evolution of call-out culture in online environments is increasingly broken if the people it's supposed to help are the ones being hurt. Just putting that out there.

- Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet
This is a long read, but it's a powerful one about the extent of the hostility about half the wired population experiences daily, and the lack of seriousness with which it's treated by our current culture.

This post has been mirrored from Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive. To see it in its original format, visit

bodlon: (cumberbatch - with book)

It's been a while since I did these on a regular basis, but I'm kind of thinking I'd like to bring them back. Sharing things tends to lead to discussing them, and I seem to enjoy that sort of thing. So.

The Year We Broke the Internet
The nice thing about the Internet is that anyone can have a say, and that information moves very fast. The problem with the Internet is that everyone can have a say, and that information moves very fast. And, as it happens, these things have consequences not just for the masses, but for journalism as well.

Thoughts After Writing My First Official Fanfiction Story
In December, Jim Hines wrote Crimson Frost and posted it in installments. Here's his post-fic wrap-up, where he discusses his experience of writing it, shares some thoughts about how fanfic fits into the experience of writing, and where you can find links to the story.

Overturning the Myth of Valley Girl Speak
It turns out that uptalk is something everyone uses, that it doesn't reflect a lack of education or ability, and that attitudes about it are more or less rubbish. So.

Scientists: Dogs poop aligned to Earth's magnetic field
Yes, this has already begun to figure into post-walk discussions about the dogs.

ACLU Sues, Claiming Catholic Hospitals Put Women At Risk
Three years ago, Tamisha Means rushed to the hospital because her water broke only four and a half months into her pregnancy. When she arrived, she was told to go home and hold out for nine more days. Two days later she returned, bleeding, in pain, feverish, and desperate for help, but the hospital told her that they could not assist her. Only when she began to deliver the child -- while they were in the process of discharging her -- did they assist. The reason? The hospital's religious stance on therapeutic abortion. The ACLU is helping Means sue the bishops, the source of the rules that put her and other women at risk.

Have a good weekend, all.

This post has been mirrored from Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive. To see it in its original format, visit


bodlon: It's a coyote astronaut! (Default)

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