What's Making Me Happy: "if At First You Don't Succeed, try, try Again" by Zen Cho

In one light, Zen Cho's If At First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try Again is precisely what it says on the tin: A hapless imugi is determined to attain the form of a full-fledged dragon and enter the gates of heaven. For a long time, things don't go well. Then, it meets a girl.

But it's so much more than that. The protag's sense of humor is biting and self-depricating at once. Its view of humans, slowly shifting from disdain to confusion to love for a few precious few is spectacular. And that it's only when it opens itself to the full beauty and terror of the world that it stands even a chance of success is the perfect capstone. Not to mention there's gorgeous writing and a queer love-story as its beating heart. And the numerous little details that flesh out the world of the imugi are magnificently hilarious; my stand-out fav has to be the self-help/braggadocio memoirs some of the already-ascended dragons deign to publish for their imugi brethren. If that's wetted your appetite, have an Collapse )

The Aurors Fest is now live!

So, I know there's been some confusion about this fest's posting schedule (mostly because the fantastic mods took pity on all us participants and extended our deadlines to take the holiday exhaustion in to account). It is now live, and there are some absolutely phenomenal offerings! A rec post will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, most everything there is worth checking out; especially because so many of them are 5k or shorter, which I know is a definite plus for many of you. I was surprised, and pleased, at the breadth of topics covered, and how many of the fics are overtly political; politics are something people seem to shy away from in fandom. Which is unfortunate for me, because watching people competently maneuver within the political system, particularly when they're having to negotiate strained loyalties or when their principals come up against reality, is an absolute bulletproof kink of mine. And Aurors, especially with how much their work falls in to grey areas, are fantastic vehicles for exploring these issues, as demonstrated by the fest. As for my own contribution...I fear it will be painfully obvious to anyone who knows my character and theme preferences :) The works index can be found here This fest rather slipped under the radar, with all the holiday fests. So, if you like something, please let the authors know. For the record, AO3 does allow annonymous commenting, so an archive username isn't required for leaving feedback.

Invite Codes?

So, I realize this is rather a long shot, but does anyone have an AO3 invite code they'd be willing to share?

I'm squeeing like a mad thing at the prompts for the Auror Fest currently being held there (a link to said fest will soon follow, once I've found the proper FAQ entry on LJ, because far more people need to be signing up), but you can't sign up without an archive account, or at least, it looks that way. And the waiting list is absolutely mad!

What happens when you make poor kids do manual labor to pay their way in a school environment.

Originally posted by cluegirl at What happens when you make poor kids do manual labor to pay their way in a school environment.
Herr Gingrich has offered a Modest Proposal. It goes something like this: Since poor kids have no adult role models who do any work at all, we need to fire school custodial staff, and make the poor kids do the maintenance in their schools at cut-rates, to teach them what a work ethic is.

Clearly Herr Gingrich has been spending time with the extremely wealthy 'poor', given that the role models that kids in poor neighborhoods have today are generally working at least two, usually three jobs, and still barely scraping by. He's thinking of the 'poor' who have trust funds, clearly. However, there is some merit to his questioning the efficacy of poor parents ability to instill their kids with a respect for work ethic, given that if kids grow up never seeing their parents except when they're exhausted, or on their way to work, fighting about money, or complaining that their bosses cheat and exploit them unfairly at every turn, and if with all that work they still can't afford to live anything like well, or even securely, that really isn't much of a good sales pitch for getting a job and joining the retail zombie hordes. Not when clever kids can't see any advantage to doing as The Man wants them to do, but plenty of advantage to breaking the rules and making good money on their own terms.

I'm not saying that every poor kid will choose to steal over choosing to work in a soul killing series of jobs, but I am saying that the example those poor parents have to set is not a good one for The Man's cause. Not at all.

[personal profile] filkertom posted on this issue here, and I made a reply in the thread. However I felt it worthwhile, since I am one of the few Americans who can actually speak with personal experience about a child being made to labor in their school to gain rights to services her peers got without any effort of their own, to speak of what I know.

The text below, is an expansion of what I posted there.

Then I was ten, through a series of fucked up events, I had to do EXACTLY what Herr Gingritch suggests; in order to get fed lunch at school (and bringing it from home was a non-option, seriously, as my mother was an invalid, and my father, after financially ruining her with his coke habit, was divorcing her,) I had to work half my lunch hour in the school kitchen.

It was thoroughly illegal in every way, but the kitchen ladies offered it as a way for them to still feed me lunch without giving me a free ride. (Don't ask me why it was less morally reprehensible to put a ten year old to work in the kitchen than to give her some food on a regular basis, but there you have Arizona in the early 80's.)

I can speak with absolute certainty on what this does to kids. It 'Others' them. Plain and simple, it takes them out of the company of their peers at a time when children are building critical social skills, and it paints a huge blot on them that their peers see, and target. Poor kids already have a hard time making their way with their wealthier peers in school. The wrong shoes, shabby clothes, ugly welfare glasses, all these target kids for some pretty merciless teasing, but to take those poor kids and literally remove them from the company of their peers, and make them be seen in a servitor role fully and thoroughly alienates them. Kids who could-be friends now don't dare be seen lowering themselves to associate, because the role shoves the poor kid into a place where they are seen as bizarrely different, and worthy of, and in fact deserving of any scorn and abuse their wealthier peers might choose to dish.

Kids, please remember, are psychos until around the age of 16, when they begin to learn empathy and courage. But by 16, the social heirarchies of a school class are well established, and it takes a disaster, a move to a new school district, or graduation to blast any slack into them. When I had to suddenly take half my lunch time and go work in the kitchens, the friends I had went from supporters, to joining ranks with the bullies in about a week, and they stayed there for the rest of the time I knew them.

Turning students into part time Skivvies also encourages poor kids, whose time for homework and socialization with their peers -- arguably half the reason to even GO to school, -- is now taken up with drudgery, to drop out at ever earlier ages, and to turn their hands to things they might be not only better at, but which would 'pay' better as well. There are thousands of pimps on America's streets that are happy to take a 12 year old and 'teach her a trade;' all they need is one single opportunity, a moment of doubt, a kid who's tired of being insulted and debased, and looking for someone to offer some shred of promise. Pimps have been doing this for centuries. They're good at it. Just like gangs are amazingly well versed at putting hungry young kids to work in dangerous, illegal, and lucrative positions, trading on the kids youth to send him to juvie for a crime any adult would do hard time for. Pimps and gangs are fantastic manipulators. Feeding poor kids a social diet even richer in dehumanizing scorn and ridicule just makes them that much more vulnerable.

And what it also does, this idea of making kids clean their schools for the right to attend, is expose kids to the more sadistic tendencies of teachers as well. At present, it's actually illegal to give a kid a Snape kind of detention, and for good goddamned reason -- I've known many, many teachers who would have very much abused such authority over their least favorite students, and told themselves they were just handling a little 'discipline problem' by grinding the kid's self-respect into a paste. If they'll do it in class, you good goddamned bet they'll do it afterward. Snape's fun to read about, but you damn betcha any student would hate him to the point of self harm if they really had to cope with that kind of abuse. Of such scenarios are school shooting sprees born.

And shall we now get into sexual abusers on the child-cleaning-crew-management staff, and how much easier it is to get the privacy to commit rape when the kids are there, and their classmates either aren't, or are kept busy elsewhere? Because really, half or more of the rapes that adult offenders commit in schools are done in exactly that 'after hours' scenario.

Oh yeah, and as Filkertom mentioned, shall we also address the adults who will be put OUT OF WORK by this notion? Or shall we just leap straight to calling them shiftless, lazy, and pampered instead?

Tt;Dr? I did just that when I was ten. I survived it. I believe Herr. Gingrich is a loathsome individual for suggesting such a practice as an institutional measure. Actually, I think he's a loathsome individual altogether, and one whom I'd actually like much better if he would just stop breathing please, because every time he breathes, he speaks, and that's really getting to be a problem.

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1295051.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


Originally posted by kylecassidy at post
Via Citykitties (emphasis mine):

A good samaritan found this cat today in a gutter by Clark Park, half dead. He is now at the Cat Doctor with a body temperature of 90 (normal is 102) and blood PCV of 8. The Cat Doctor housecat, Diamond, is currently donating blood to save his life. During the exam, the vet found that this cat has a microchip. When called, his "owners" reported that he was acting sick, so they put him outside. If this makes you as angry as it makes us, please channel your anger in one of two ways: visit our website at www.citykitties.org and make a donation to help us pay for his care, or share this post and encourage others to do so.

Click to donate.

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This is where I draw a line

Originally posted by cluegirl at This is where I draw a line
By now Officer Pike has been made into the poster child of the American Police State. There's a rampant meme of inserting him and his spray can of chemical weaponry into just about every visual context imaginable.

This is fair play. Ridicule is one of the tools in the nonviolence arsenal, and often the only way to be sure that people actually SEE what's really wrong with things that have happened.

However, to the person who put out Officer Pike's home address and phone numbers; That was badly done. That was terrorism, plain and simple, and to you I say SHAME! Just as it is unacceptable to broadcast the home addresses of rape victims, or of OWS organizers, or of abortion providers, or of elected officials, or of trial witnesses, or of people on the internet who disagree with you, or whom you feel have done you wrong, you have put this man's family, his neighbors, and his friends in the way of danger with your thoughtlessly vindictive action.

Does officer Pike deserve censure for his actions? Yes.

Do his superiors deserve to be held accountable for the order given? Yes.

Does his family deserve to be stalked by anybody who's angry, violent and in proximity to hurt them? Do they deserve to be destroyed by the kind of terrorism that internet trolls think of as 'fun', escalated out of the digital format and into the material world of their actual lives?

Do people who invite violence and terrorism upon others deserve the name of 'protester' more than of 'terrorist sympathizer'? What about such an action is nonviolent? Disingenuity will not excuse the knowing spite of such an action. Not if you want to pretend that you are one of the good guys, it doesn't.

Look at it this way; you wanted him to be held responsible for his actions, and the hurt they caused, and that means that now you have to pony up and take responsibility for the FACT that your actions have hurt more than just the man you wanted to kick.

You are on his level now, the difference being that nobody up the command foodchain ordered you to do what you have done. And WHEN violence is brought to that family, you WILL share the responsibility, just as surely as if you went there yourself, baseball bat in hand.

Shame on you.


This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1292229.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Congress wants to take away your internet.

Originally posted by dynamicsymmetry at Congress wants to take away your internet.
Folks, I know you're tired of me yelling at you, but you should be aware that there's a hearing this morning being held by the US House Judiciary Committee on a "copyright" bill that will essentially break the entire internet.

You like the internet, right? I mean, you're here.

From the link above:

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's domain name system (DNS). The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the reliability and universality of the DNS evaporates.

It gets worse: Under SOPA's provisions, service providers (including hosting services) would be under new pressure to monitor and police their users’ activities. While PROTECT-IP targeted sites “dedicated to infringing activities,” SOPA targets websites that simply don’t do enough to track and police infringement (and it is not at all clear what would be enough). And it creates new powers to shut down folks who provide tools to help users get access to the Internet the rest of the world sees (not just the “U.S. authorized version”).

This is being framed as an attempt to fight hackers and pirates. Don't buy it. And don't think for a minute that it's going to stop there. This is bad. And at the hearing today, only one opponent of the bill is being allowed to testify.

Please do whatever you can to fight this. Email congresspeople. Sign petitions. Yell about it in every venue you can.


BAD Internet Laws Heading Your Way

Originally posted by write_light at BAD Internet Laws Heading Your Way

From the flist: 

Spread the word, even you're not a US citizen, it is important for everyone!! It easy to do and it can change everything. More info by clicking on the banner.

Website Blocking

The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.

Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users

It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.

Chaos for the Internet

Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn't be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.

Read this analysis from boing-boing.net

Get on the phone and call your representative. Express your disapproval. Tell him or her exactly how you feel, and that you don't support this. Tell your friends to call their representatives, their Congressperson, and complain. Mention that you are a registered voter that takes your civic responsibility seriously and that you will use that vote to express your feelings about this.


“We support the bill’s stated goals — providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting,” the Internet companies wrote in Tuesday’s letter. “Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites.”  The chamber-led coalition in support of the bill includes Walmart, Eli Lilly & Co. and Netflix.

Google and other opponents of the legislation argue that restricting the Internet in the U.S. sets a bad international precedent and that the language defines infringing too broadly.

Dubya's monster has moved out of the airports.

Originally posted by cluegirl at Dubya's monster has moved out of the airports.
The TSA is implementing 'random checkpoints' on highways in Tennessee.

Let's see, that's probable cause down the drain, as well as about half of the search and seizure laws as well, given that the TSA seems to think it's developing profiling teams who can gague your malfeasance at highway speeds. We might bid fair to have a breach of posse comitatus there too, depending on the armament of the checkpoint officers and 'behavior detention officers'.

Jesus hopping Christ on a biscuit, people! CAN NOBODY SEE HOW BAD THIS IS GOING TO BE?!?! Can nobody actually remember that the restriction of mobility is actually one of the MID STEPS of the Fascist process, not the beginning? How the FUCK can anybody think this will end well? We already have American citizens pulled over randomly for driving while brown in some of our worst states, but that's always been a matter of one or two bad cops with their racism hanging out. This is systematic. And as the politics in this country get worse and more desperate, and the lobbyists get more extreme, it's going to be a fucking cancer of an organization to remove.

This is terrifying, when you look at where it's falling in the pattern of current events. Positively terrifying.

I'd be less scared of a zombie uprising.

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1286844.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

the War on Women October 12, 2011

Originally posted by tammypierce at the War on Women October 12, 2100
I'm not going to say a great deal about these entries, because they make me so angry I'm afraid I'll start to speak in tongues. I used to think the line "the War on Women" was hyperbole, meant to make us sit up, be scared, and send our book money to NOW or NARAL. Today? Today I hear bullets in the shape of vicious legislation flying. Bad people want to strip us of our rights, folks. What's next: women can only work in the home? I

Amendment 26. This is . . . truly frightening. In the Mississippi legislature a movement is afoot to make life a legal construct that begins at--fertilization. This is not a joke. I spent a good chunk of today searching the Intertubes because I was positive it had to be a foolie, in part because I could find no mention of it on the main pages for NOW and NARAL. The whole subject is operating under the radar, which is nervous-making, because the people who support this say they have petitions ready for a lot of other states. Because they say they had 30,000 signatures more than they needed to get this on the fall ballot. Because they say they can use this to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Because it is mid-October and the rest of us are just now hearing about it.

If this passes, no one will be able to get an abortion, ever. It would be murder. Never mind if the cops were able to take your rapist's fingerprints off your eyeballs while he stood right there telling them what he did while his attorney took notes--you don't get to abort that child. If you are dying of complications pre-birth while there's still time, too bad. No abortion for you. Suffer, you daughter of Eve. That's life within you, don't you understand that? Fresh life, as opposed to your sin-addled, wrinkly, stale life. It counts more. You could win a Nobel Prize and three Olympic Gold Medals, and under this law, should it pass, a 6-week-old fetus that can't grasp the meaning of "too hot" is more important.

There are several ways to help down the page in the Daily Kos article: donate to Wake Up Mississippi and/or sign their petition. Contact the National Democratic Party and ask them to do something since the state Democratic Party is actually supporting this crap. Like the Wake Up Mississippi Facebook page, and keep in touch for ways to help. And boost the signal by posting about this on your lj/blog/whatever and e-mailing family and friends. Please do! If this Amendment 26 virus spreads to other states, I know there will be more ways to help.

They're jokingly calling it the "Let Women Die" law. HR (House Resolution) 358 is being debated this week. If passed, it will prevent a woman from getting an abortion at a federally funded hospital if the facility opposes abortions, even if it would save her life. In other words, if a woman is brought into a Catholic hospital that gets federal funds dying from complications due to her pregnancy, the hospital would be able to refuse the abortion, even at the risk of the woman's life. It also plans to forbid any federal funds from going to health plans that cover abortion services. And, it allows funds to go to health organizations that don't block abortion rights (even though abortion is the law of the land). There are links in the article directing you to further discussion and ways to reach out to your congress person and register how you want him/her to vote. This--do I have to say it--is REALLY--important. Our bodies are ours, and the decisions with regard to the fate of our bodies must be ours.

But wait! There's more! The city of Topeka, Kansas decided this week to repeal their ordinance against misdemeanor domestic violence. In other words, partner beaters, feel free. But today, the D.A. said he will review each domestic violence incident on a case-by-case basis, even though he said last month he would no longer pursue such cases. He says he'll do it with less staff, and less resources, and I don't know how this heroic crusader for victims will manage if the cops aren't arresting anyone on misdemeanor charges, but there you have it.

The excuse? No money. I wonder what money the city council makes? What their pensions are?

21 beaters have been released from jail so far. 35 cases have been reported since September and not pursued. This is because the majority of domestic violence victims are women and kids, and they don't count.

This week sucks, in our nation and at home. I'd like to carve me some reactionary roast and feed it to sharks. No, wait--I like sharks. Maybe lamprey eels. They don't seem that nice.

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