tesserewhon: (Default)
2010-01-22 12:17 am

Reading Challenges

Awesome possum! Thanks to my lovely friend, Jules, and various sci-fi/fantasy sites, I’ve now got a goodly number of authors to try out from various continents. For some reason, I think Australia might be the difficult one to fulfill. It’s exciting, though. I’m thinking that I might cheat a little, and instead of having two books set in either of the Arctics, I might read two books of Middle Eastern origin, which will be considerably easier and give me more variety to choose from. Anyways, let’s see what I’ve got so far

Nalo Hopkinsons: “Midnight Robber”, “Brown Girl in the Ring”, “The Salt Roads” – Jamaican Canadian (North America)

Rabih Alamaddine: “Koolaids: the Art of War” – Lebanese American (Middle East/Asia)

Nisi Shawl: “Filter House” – Seattle, Washington (North America)

Vandana Singth: “The Woman Who Thought She was a Planet And Other Stories” – Indian American (Asia)

Nnedi Okorafor: “Zahrah the Windseeker” – Nigerian-American (Africa)

Angélica Gorodischer: “Kalpa Imperial: the Greatest Empire that Never Was” – Argentinian (South America)

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: “100 Years of Solitude” – (South America)

Paolo Bacigalupi: “The Windup Girl”, Colorado (North America)

N. K. Jemisin: “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” (North America)

Well enough, most of these are scifi/fantasy.

I believe I'll start with 100 Years of Solitue. Just because I've always meant to read it, and it should be fairly easy to get my hands on a copy. Here goes.
tesserewhon: (pic#406767)
2010-01-15 01:11 am

Reading is fun, y'all.

In order to make moves towards realistically finishing my reading challenge, I just joined Good Reads, a huge online community for people who also think reading is fun. Yay. Time to hoard virtual books online, read actual books in real life, then feel accomplished in real life and online. :)

I'm sort of split on whether I want to search out the books I should read ahead of time, or just kind of let them come to me. I think, at this point, it would make more sense to plan them out. Especially since I'll have to make some extra effort to find books that weren't originally written/published in America. I just hope I'll manage to find some genre fic in there somewhere. Different states, too. This'll be interesting.

Also, I've got Julie's list of recommendations pinned to my board, and I'd like to take a stab at those. Let her know how I'm coming along if I get the chance to visit her in Boston.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2009-07-19 12:07 am


So, occasionally, I feel the need to state my opinions on a matter on the intarwebs. There really wasn't anything I could say on Racefail that wasn't said better and with more better English by everyone else. But I've been a quiet supporter of [livejournal.com profile] aang_aint_white and [livejournal.com profile] racebending 'til the cast photos from the Airbender movie came out several days ago. Now I'm a wordy supporter spewing my wordiness all over the Internet. Don't worry. The Internet can take it.

So here's my wordiness in a shell full of nuts, posted on the Last Airbender fans forum. It's mostly for storage purposes but it's also for whoever pops over here from the racebending community and/or the world wide web.

Quoting CancerianFireLordess: I think either way you're going to have people offended or not happy or simple angry at the way things are. There is always something to be "angry" at. If people just saw the positives of this film rather than the negatives, things would be a lot easier, no?

As an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan, I find myself torn between squeeing with glee and shaking my head. But I agree with Carcerian Fire Lordess on that point. We can't just look at the problematic issues with race. It's not all bad news. James Newton Howard is one of my favorite composers, and M. Night has had me as an avid fan ever since I experienced the wonder that is Unbreakable.

Of course things would be a lot easier if we just swept all this talk about race under the rug. But just because it would be easier and less contentious is not a good enough reason to stop discussing it. Please believe me when I say that I don't believe I'm overreacting, and I don't believe Carcerian Fire Lordess is attempting to condescend to all of the people who do feel concern over this issue. But it is surprising that a moderator for such an awesome fandom would appear to be dismissing the concerns of a group of race-conscious people as "simply angry." I'm not particularly angry or mad or simply "not happy" with the movie. My problem is not with the cast members, who are surely doing the best they can, or the crew , who are also working towards a creative product that we can't necessarily envision yet. My problem is with the production company that was responsible for the casting and constraints, and what is very obviously a movie that has divorced itself from the source material to the point where it is not necessarily recognizable.*

I speak as an Airbender fan when I say that I have great hopes for this movie but I started out with even greater hopes. I don't think it's unreasonable of me to have some fears when I look at the casting for the main cast, and realize that yes, there has been a whitewashing of Sokka, Katara, and Aang and yes, there has been inappropriate co-opting of Asian culture in order to place white heroes and a white heroine at the forefront.

And I can't say that voicing my fears and concerns are any less valid or reasonable than when Cancerian Fire Lordess states that
"What's racist is when Shakespeare's Othello is played by a white man in black face paint."
I'm glad that I can completely agree with Cancerian Fire Lordess that it is racist. But bear with me when I say that only 70 years ago, an actor showing up in black face would have been perfectly valid entertainment, and that even into the 1960's it was still occurring. Actually, that brings to mind one of the definitive cases of black face controversy, which was the 1964 ban of the use of black face in the Mummer's Parade in Philadelphia. The ban wasn't instantaneous nor was it comprehensive. Magistrate Myers, director of the parades, banned the use of black face makeup, but when met with opposition compromised with the ruling that "black face make up would be permitted, . . . if it was to be used to create a character and not to ridicule any ethnic group."** Now, since Cancerian Fire Lordess already stated that a white actor using black face paint to portray a black character is racist, I'm sure s/he can see that it was the practice of black face paint by white entertainers that was problematic, no matter the intent behind it.

After that ruling, the NAACP then asked the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia to ban black face makeup in the parades. But again, there was opposition to the banning of what many saw as harmless fun, not an embarrassing display of racism. There was even African-American opposition to the ban, stating " As a Negro, I see no reason for feeling insulted or offended because a few illiterate idiots in the community wish to smear their faces with grease to cavort, clown, and dance up Broad Street. Intelligent people are fully aware of the fact that the antics of this uncouth element of our society does not by any standards depict the true images of Negroes."*** Which seems like the perfectly composed response to the black face issue until you realize that while it might have served to keep the peace, it would have done nothing to further the ban on black face use, which Cancerian Fire Lordess deemed racist. Eventually, there was enough protest and tension that the city of Philadelphia enforced its ban of black face makeup.

Now, you might be saying that the controversy over black face doesn't really have anything to do with a bunch of Avatar fans overreacting to the whitewashing of Katara, Aang, and Sokka. But I'd like to respectfully disagree. What seems like a trivial detail of Caucasian actors taking over Asian/Inuit/ethnic minority parts in Hollywood has a long history as well, deemed yellow face. While yellow face makeup refers primarily to those actors who don actual prosthetics and makeup to portray Asian characters, the ideology behind the act, that white people can play Asian just as well or better than Asians can or that it doesn't matter if it's an Asian or white actor as long as the character is entertaining, is the same.

When Cancerian Fire Lordess states
"Ugh, I just think there are more important things to focus on rather than the continuation of what the movie could be. They've made their choice. A bunch of angry sensitive fans isn't going to change their decision."
I'm going to have to disagree. A bunch of angry, sensitive fans is exactly what is going to change the atmosphere in Hollywood so that one day producers, directors, actors even, will acknowledge that yellow face, whitewashing, and cultural appropriation are racist and problematic with the same sense of surety that Cancerian Fire Lordess deemed black face make up on white actors as racist.

* Along those lines, it bothers me as well that the consultant for martial arts from the series, Sifu Kisu (who's also a friend and martial arts teacher to Bryan Konietzko) is not working as a consultant on the movie and has explicitly stated:

"Well when I first saw the trailer I got excited because the special effects looked great (barring the ((less than polished)) martial arts staff sequence which I overlooked with sympathy 'cause I told them "how" to make it right and apparently the martial art is not priority...)"
Lokhopkuen on the Avatarspirit.net Forums, [url]http://forums.avatarspirit.net/index.php?topic=17315.125[/url]


"I did a couple of consultations for preproduction and had a meeting with the director (who i liked) I outlined a strategy for the film. I explained there are no short cuts in training Gung Fu so I insisted on 6 months to a year to train the actors and drill them in some basic skill sets until they would at least be able to appear to manifest the proper geometry's, initially they agreed:

But then!

The "stunt coordinator" suddenly became a Martial Art Master"

- Lokhopkuen on the Kung Fu Magazine Forums, [url]http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=46683&page=19[/url]

It's troubling because it's just another aspect of how such a necessary and enjoyable aspect of Avatar (the elemental bending) was modified to create a less compelling product. Again, you could say that I'm overreacting (being too sensitive), and that Noah Ringer looked great in that trailer, so why nitpick. But I point out this detail for two reasons. The first is that this situation with Sifu Kisu points to the production company's lack of respect for or interest in the source material, and as an Avatar fan, I'm insulted that they did not see fit to invest the time and care into this movie that they could have. I want the film to be the best that it can be, and this is just one example of the production letting us down. Second, it ties into the whole issue of race, where martial arts are historically and presently a predominantly Asian cultural tradition. When I say tradition, I use the dictionary.com definition of "1. the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice." Therefore, the lack of respect for the practice of martial arts, which is essential to the Avatar world through bending, is another concern.

** Charles E. Welch, Jr. "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers": The Philadelphia Mummers Parade. The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 79, No. 314 (Oct. - Dec., 1966), pp. 523-536

*** The Inquirer (Philadelphia), December 31, 1963, p. 19.

tesserewhon: (Default)
2008-01-30 08:09 pm

(no subject)

I have got to stop watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I seriously cry every episode. It really doesn’t matter if the family is crying or not, I’ve got tracks down my cheeks and a sniffly nose. The Voisine family has got to be one of the best I’ve seen yet ’cause the community really did keep paying it forward. God, it’s better than Oprah.

Highlights of the past couple of weeks:

- In Baltimore the weekend of the 18th-21st, toured the Walters Art Museum while Sunyia worked behind-the-scenes in the preservation lab. Apparently there are labs for the preservation of paintings, documents, and statues. Sunyia's in the document lab working on a nanobinding technique that's possibly less invasive and more durable than the typical glues used for this kind of work. Apparently, most of the techniques in use today are just tried and true versions of the relatively simple techniques that date back at least a century. It was fascinating touring the place and hearing about her job.

- Finally got some downtime with Zia and Vivian, even if it was at 5 in the morning, in the midst of several rousing games of Mafia and Axis & Allies. Also, got to see a whole bunch of APO kids and visit Book Thing on Sunday. I've now got a whole stack of books that need to be read at some point. I know I should stop picking them up but the fact that they're free just makes them practically leap into my arms.

- Saw Julie! Only for about 20 minutes during a loud party but it’s always awesome when I get to see her and discuss free-range Cyrano. I just hope he grows up into a fastidious adult bunny who like to poop in one place.

-I finally saw Shane’s workplace, and boy, was it was purdy. A beautiful brick and glass building in one of the coolest places in Baltimore. Then, Chris and Zia decided that a spaghetti dinner was necessary, so we went back and cooked a huge, awesome, delicious, commune style dinner which actually ended in some really disgusting online videos. But the less said about that portion of the evening, the better.

- Then I went back on Thursday the 24th for Shane’s birthday, mostly 'cause I wanted to keep expanding his comic book horizons, and dude, why do I keep finding the cutest guys in comic book stores? Gorgeous geeks whose comic book loves are actually coupled with decent social skills. Fun times! Met up with Julie again, in B&N, keeping Shane occipied while Sunshine made him a lavish, romantic feast for two (with Danya’s help) In the background, Vivi and Eric Lam (hilarious boy) argued like a married couple. Those two are gonna make awesome Pledgemasters.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2007-03-07 11:26 pm
Entry tags:

Pairings of Twoo Wuv/Lust/Convenience/Snarkiness . . .

I don't know why I need to do this, but apparently I do. Half these pairings are due to all the fanfic writers out there. I didn't even know certain pairings could exist until I started touring the big, bad, Internetz. Its done hooked me in. :)



Harry Potter

Jayne/River (only cuz of Dyce)


Veronica Mars
Mac/Dick (post-Apocalyptic only)

Stargate Atlantis



Jubilee/Nick Fury (only one story ever convinced me of this)
Cyclops/Jean Gray
Ult. Storm/Ult. Cyclops
Cyclops/Jean/Warren (woohoo for Minisinoo)

Justice League
Wonder Woman/Batman
Hawkgirl/Green Lantern
Black Canary/Green Arrow
Superman/Lois Lane



Doctor Who

Robin Hood (BBC)
Marianne/Robin Hood
Marianne/Guy of Gisbourne

Battlestar Galactica
Caprica Six/Gaius
tesserewhon: (Default)
2007-03-03 12:57 am

Worthy of the Scold's Bridle?

I was raised in a family of debate. If I could prove an intellectual argument right to any member of my family, he/she still wouldn't change her/his mind but that didn't matter. It only mattered that I had had a chance to say what I wanted to say. I lived on a permanent soapbox with a particularly incisive audience of one: my brother. He was irrational, illogical, and unfettered. In short, the perfect opponent. Under his whimsical and bullshitting logic lay a quicksilver mind and stubborn will, and it was with this whetting stone that I sharpened by wit.

Nowadays, I find myself in the most enjoyable debates, of my life, with classmates almost daily. It forces me to think about whether I am wrong or right. It forces me to think about what my very basic notions of society are, and then take a step back and think about why those notions are in place. It also, unfortunately, forces my friends to listen to endless debates about the meaning of gender identity and prescribed roles and whether ethics are universal. And unless this stuff is your cup of tea, there's no joy in it. It just sounds like babble, bullshit, or pretentious woolgathering. And it's fucking annoying.

So, I find that my tongue is curbed, if not completely silenced. Because while vast, sweeping, endless debates on the nature of everything in life are my cake, close and personal friendships are my bread and butter.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2007-03-01 06:13 pm

History puts me in my place

Too much craziness is happening nowaday for me NOT to write it down.

Earlier today, during my Women in England class, we got a tour of our library's Rare Books collection. Specifically we flipped through a diary from the 1500's and several recipe books from the 1700's and 1800's. My gods, they were awe-inspiring. Not the subject matter itself, which seemed to consist of recipes for everything under the sun (the lemon pudding one seemed especially tempting). But the amount of care and the details from which we could then paint a picture of the women behind these diaries and cookbooks.

I fell in love with history all over again! I love how studying history places the present day in perspective. In 300 years, will there even be any diaries or records of everyday life left? So many people go the digital route. And it'll probably always be banging around the internet somewhere, but is that any more or less permanent than the linen pages of a centuries old journal?
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-09-28 04:45 pm

Foooooood! Fooooooooooooodd!

At the moment I am daydreaming about food. All foods. Food is my new god.

The images of chinese dim sum (spare ribs in black bean sauce), cupcakes (strawberry w/chocolate chips), pizza (real Italian margherita), smoked salmon w/capers, hot buttery lobster, peking duck, Thai spring rolls w/that really awesome sauce, lamb saag, Jong Kak's kalbi, shrimp tempura, lo mein, sushi (volcano roll, spider roll, salmon, fatty tuna), crispy bacon, roasted red potatoes w/herbs, thick baked mac 'n chesse, and the list goes on.

I am dreaming about food the way a dying Christian dreams about Heaven. The REASON I am dreaming about food is because I am fasting, alongside my two Muslim room mates. They go to the Interfaith Center every day for a free dinner during Ramadan, and on the days I go with them I fast because otherwise my Catholic guilt would keep me from enjoying the meal. I can't go every other day for a free (awesome) meal if I'm taking food from people who have been starving themselves all day. So I fast. And I dream about food. All foods. Food IS my new god.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-09-21 10:17 pm
Entry tags:

Summer lovin' . . .

Just updating in the interest of making it habit.

Speaking of habits, I would one day like to acquire the habit of bursting out into song and dance in the middle of a mundane part of my life. Like, Summer Nights from Grease when I'm walking back from class. And then, somewhat like the musical episode of Buffy, the construction workers across the street would burst out into chorus and a dance line. My life would be complete.

I wish I could sneeze. Maybe my head wouldn't be all worbly. I like the word worbly. Oh man, am I out of it. Tired, loopy, and craving unconsciousness, I think I'll go to sleep now. And dream of Olivia John Newton moments in my life. :)
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-09-21 01:36 am
Entry tags:

The Triumphant Return of Asian Geek Girl!

AGG Returns!
by Lori Lake

Sep. 21, 2006 - Today noted the triumphant return of the Asian Geek Girl to the Nation's Capital. People have been asking what she's been up to and why she chose to abandon her home world for so long. Thanks to yours truly, we have the inside scoop with this comprehensive interview. So sit back and enjoy the ride:

LL: So, Geek Girl, the question on everyone's minds is . . . where have you been?
AGG: To be concise, I've been away on an intergalactic mission saving our world and the entire universe from imploding. And I've heard that implosion is more painful than explosion so feel free to thank me any time.

LL: Well, that's certainly a good reason to have missed several months of humanity's life. Now that you're back, what're your plans?
AGG: I'm obviously going to go back to saving the planet from its own stupid mistakes but I thought I'd also start a couple of hobbies, too. While I was on the Planet Lipton, my only allies were the blue squirrels of Tangarina. I would like to make sure all squirrels throughout the galaxy know that they are now considered friends of AGG, and I'd like to start a foundation to help Earth squirrels learn to read and become active citizens of our great nation, America.

LL: . . .
AGG: . . .

LL: Are you serious?
AGG: Yes. Absolutely. And I'd like to color code the squirrels, too. The ones who'd like to ally themselves with my cause of geekdom for all would be dyed blue while the ones opposed to my noble mission would get dyed red. For bloody. Because that's what they'll be after I'm through with them.

LL: . . .
AGG: . . .

LL: So, favorite color?
AGG: Green.

LL: Not blue?
AGG: No. I just told you, it's green. Are you alright?

LL: Fine. Well, that's all the time we have today. Thank you for your time, Asian Geek Girl.
AGG: It was a pleasure, Lori. Thank you! And don't forget, The Foundation for Blue Squirrels Against Ignorance and Squirrel Intolerance will be coming to a neighborhood near you soon! Kids, gather all the nuts you can and donate them to your local squirrel.

LL(mutters): and your local nutty superheroine. . .
AGG: What was that?

LL: Oh, nothing. Thank you, again. And Geekdom for ALL!
AGG: especially the blue ones.


Yeah. I went away from livejournal to get 3/4 of my brain removed. As you can see from the interview up there. Anyways, junior year of college is going swimmingly mediocre. On the one hand, mountains of reading and lotsa class hours. On the other hand, awesome room with awesome view of hospital, orgasmic comic book class, and awesome friend time. Oh, and this is mostly written because I enjoy going back in about a year to read blogs I did when I was slightly less mature and a great deal more tired. So prepare for kooky wierdness of the 150 kazoo band playing Hairspray the Musical sort. :)

P.S. Nick Duffy is my hero. Mastermind. Neil Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels. KICKASSERY!
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-03-01 11:54 pm

Life is an Ultimate Kickboxing Match . . . in the Mind

I am currently full of life, and life is full of me.
We suit each other perfectly.
Even when the homework threatens me
I just jump right back and kick it's knee.
Then it hops and makes mewling sounds
While I Chuck Norris it in one round.
Life is there in my corner to hand me a towel
While I study top-down lexical access to a vowel.
Now if only I can kick homework's older bro,
The bigger, brawnier Midterm in the .

- Esther Kim
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-02-13 12:57 am

(no subject)

I would just like to take the time out now to state that I love all of the writers of Justice League Unlimited, and I would most definitely have their babies. For Flash is awesome and awesome is Flash, and ZOMG last night's episode was too Flash for words. :)

"You're a stand up guy, Bats, don't ever let them call you a crazed loner."
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-01-13 01:29 pm

(no subject)

I had a very odd dream last night, where I took off these awesome tube socks that happened to go with the wedding dress I was wearing in the dream ( and I didn't marry the dude because I had to play the violin. yeah, doesn't make sense to me either).
Then I woke up this morning and found that I had somehow removed my awesome tube socks that I wore to bed, while sleeping. Wierd, no?

My definition of heaven these days seems to encompass a fruit tart and the Firefly DVD. My life is so sad. But it won't be next week! :)
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-01-11 08:48 pm

(no subject)

Okay, so in about another week or so, I move back to Hopkins after a semester away, and I'm freaking just the slightest. Not about the workload, cuz after weeks of nonstop secretarial drudgery, studying neurons and Descartes sounds decidedly delightful. Nope, it's more of the "I've been away from my college friends for several months now and god knows what's happened," cuz truthfully, I have no idea what's happening with any of them at the moment. I've missed them a great deal, but I've been pretty lacking in the communications department.Plus, I've completely forgotten how to live in a dorm.

Hopefully, things won't be too wierd, and I'll be back to my sarcastic, snarky, self once I've settled in.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2006-01-03 04:31 pm

Happy Belated New Year

Now, I know that all of you, my close friends and distant readers, will have figured out by now that I am a raging alcoholic and whore/junkie. In my crazy drunken quest to find the best combination of spirits and illegal medication on New Year's Eve, I have somehow managed to erase the past ten years of my life, excepting the occasional memory of a particularly splendid breakfast here and there. Therefore, I find that I am hard pressed to write an entry about the past year since, to my knowledge, it didn't exist. Fortunately, during my hazy days of drug abuse, I glimpsed a bit of the future. Enough to tell you that in the next year, Paris Hilton's dog will take over her brain via securely placed breast implants, I will become even more of a comic book nerd, Firefly will gain popularity amongst the college crowd, and the space-time continuum will warp just long enough to gift President Bush with menopause and a crush on John Cusack.

That is all, and may you all live a happy, fruitful, charitable year because of course the fiercely trained ninja dolphins of China and the fiercely trained sharpshooting donkeys of Finland won't gain sentience and take over the world, resulting in an apocalyptic state of affairs where only those kind to flippered individuals will survive. Just the fevered crack dream of a scarlet woman.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2005-12-23 05:02 pm

(no subject)

Okay. So my brother just came up to me, asking me if he looked okay. And he does this occasionally when he cuts his hair or is deciding an outfit or something. So I got all ready to give him an honest opinion on whatever fashion challenge he threw my way, a la Queer Eye. Then I see him, and I try to be nice and not laugh out loud but the giggles are just tumbling out of my closed lips. So I tell him he looks fine with an insane Joker-esque grin on my face. And he, for reasons unknown to me, did not believe my heartfelt comment.
The poor boy has sheared off half of one eyebrow. He looks like a demented Mr. Potato Head.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2005-12-20 12:03 am

(no subject)

Dude. My nails are at the claw-worthy point. They kinda make me feel like Catwoman. I keep accidentally scratching myself, but I figure so did Catwoman when she first started out.

Grand Marnier, OJ, pineapple juice, and Sprite is an awesome mix.

I would like to see all y'all and hug you over winter break. As it is, I shall endeavor to see and hug as many of you as possible. Hugs are the best. I would like to hug Mr. Darcy. Actually, I would like to jump Mr. Darcy's handsome bones, but I would settle for a hug.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2005-12-17 07:29 pm

(no subject)

I'm never getting married. Ever. If only to spite my mother, I am never going to get married.
Or I'll have a non-Catholic ceremony. And then it won't really count. Oooh. I'll have a Wiccan ceremony. I won't "really" be married, to her, PLUS she'll think I'm consorting with the devil.
Oh, man. Now I definitely need to get married.
tesserewhon: (Default)
2005-12-13 11:06 pm

Oh, the cleverness of me!

It's pretty amazing how much music and weather affect my moods. If I didn't know better, I'd believe God was just some mad scientist in some wierd Transylvanian lab with thousands of alternate worlds and billions of variables. I wonder what the control world would be like? All of which concludes this session of "Reason #1,394 Why Esther Is Crazy In The Most Absurd Way."

Makin' chocolate cupcakes and cheesy fries. This is my new diet for gaining weight. I want to get to Jenny-Craig-the-monster-before-she-basically-lost-a-hippo weight. That way all I'll be able to do everyday is sit in my room and study, next semester.