kaigou: this is what I do, darling (3 patience is not my virture)
Hello, fandom, my old friend. Been so long I've almost forgotten how crazy you are. Almost. It's okay, don't call me, I won't call you.

ANYWAY. So. Noragami. One of the first anime in like forever to really capture me, which tl;dr means: why the hell have I not seen in-depth, sparkling, thought-provoking commentary from either of the Emilys? -- [personal profile] branchandroot and [personal profile] annotated_em, that is. Or even [personal profile] starlady who is not an Emily, but does begin with a vowel, so that's close enough. ONE OF YOU. Satisfy my need for analysis! Or I shall be pushed to poke [personal profile] ivoryandhorn or [personal profile] phoebe_zeitgeist to carry the weight. Which I might do anyway, because analysis.

SOMEONE. AVAIL ME. My former fandom status as a near-BNF compels you!

Also, I just got home after enjoying two glasses of some really nice reisling, the name of which I totally meant to get and did not. In case you couldn't tell from the random name-dropping. Where is my next episode of Noragami? Or my next scanlated chapter? I'm retired from scanlating, so I'm able to say again that scanlators are toooooo slow. Damn it.

Should reisling be capitalized? Inquiring minds want to know. Leik yesterday.

I actually had to explain tl;dr to my sister this evening (while texting). Either I'm hipper than I realize, or my sister is seriously out of touch. I'm guessing the latter. Very eye-rolling, so sigh.

Also also, I realized while talking to my other sister that I AM the disruption at work. Go me! Doing prototypes and shit that will cause nothing but trouble for other departments, and this is WHY I was hired. This is awesome. I'm causing trouble and I'm getting PRAISE for it.

I'm considering changing my tag from "analysis is my chocolate cake" to "analysis is my greek beignet" because holy fuck you people, this shit is awesome. I am addicted to greek beignets. I shouldn't be, but I am.

I just realized that 'reisling' is another exception to the i-before-e rule. Which reminds me of the time I got sent to the principal's office because I demanded to know why 'science' broke the rule of 'i before e except after e'. Yes, newsflash, I have always been a troublemaker.

There was some other also to add, but I forget now. Where's my extensive analysis on Noragami already?
kaigou: Internet! says the excited scribble (2 Internet!)
A year (or two?) ago, there was a conversation online about the experience of growing up as an immigrant, with Mom's homefood for lunch and the reactions of (native-born, white) Americans to seeing the unfamiliar food. I cannot recall where that conversation occurred (community? someone's journal?) but if you do, pass along this link.

Is it Fair for Chefs to Cook Other Cultures’ Foods?, Francis Lam and Eddie Huang. Two immigrant sons hash out what it’s like to have your food shunned and celebrated in America

Some interesting, err, food for thought, in terms of how that childhood experience bears on the adult experience of two non-white American chefs/foodies and the question of -- when a non-American cuisine becomes 'popular' -- who has the right to cook it.
kaigou: under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac (2 charming maniac)
Currently reading Trade And Travel In The Far East, the Cambridge History of China (vols 6-8), The Early Age of Commerce, parts of Cultural Exchanges Between The East Asian Seas Ming And Qing Dynasties, and various articles like High Corruption Income in Ming and Qing China, Networks of Malay Merchants and the Rise of Penang as a Regional Trading Centre, Ryukyu in the Ming Reign Annals, and Sino-Japanese Interaction via Chinese Junks in the Edo Period.

Yes. I'm sure it's a hardly-startling reminder that I really am a total geek.

But anyway, the frustrating thing is I have no baseline for any of these articles. So-and-so was corrupt, making X amount of taels from bribery. Is that a high number? I have no idea. How much was so-and-so supposed to be making as a bureaucrat? No baseline. Or, these four junks did the Siam-Fujian run twice each in a year, carrying Y pikuls of rice. Does that mean all four junks were stuffed to the brim? Or is that just the rice-part of their shipments? Is that an overachiever's number of shipping runs, or was that fleet really lazy? This other shipment made so many catties of silver as profit on silk. Is that before or after paying the broker, the shipping magistrate, the dock fees, and how much of that went to sailors? In other words, is that a reasonable profit, or not much one of all once you count out the rest of the costs (and not just taxes)?

So, like I said: no baseline. I could probably deduce the rest, if I could just figure out how much the average sailor would expect to be paid. Or some sense of the cost of things. What was a reasonable market cost for rice, or silk, or fans, or umbrellas, anyway? No one ever lists these things...

Sheesh, I miss being in DC, where if I got really desperate I could haul myself to the Library of Congress.
kaigou: under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac (2 charming maniac)
Well, [personal profile] maire recommended The Riddle-master of Hed and Barry Hughart's stories, and I finally tracked down copies of each. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it past three pages of the first. It just felt too much like in media res, but not in a good way. More like I was expected to care about the siblings' squabbles, and the text was clearly indicating that I was expected to read characters in a certain way, but I'd barely even met them. It actually felt a little like I was walking into a sequel, and I was supposed to already know what was going on and who-was-who. So, guess it's a pass on that one.

Bridge of Birds... reminds me so much of the translations of Chinese stories. It's a particular style, influenced by the patterns of the original language, and Hughart does manage that. With a bit of dry humor, here and there.

However, I got sidetracked by another story, and I'm still not sure where I found the recommendation. Reiko Morgan's Over The Mountain Of The Moon is a m/m romance set vaguely during the early Sengoku, maybe, in Japan. Awfully florid and oh with the romance and declarations of luuuuuurve and the protagonist-uke veering into yandere, but relatively entertaining all the same. If you can get past the flowers and hearts of the so-romance-it-hurts variety. Not a complex plot and a bit of whump, but sometimes I guess a body's in the mood.

And then a rec from Dear Author, I think, that sent me after Master of Crows, which is your usual fantasy-romance, but with cultural elements of a steppes-influenced world bordering the, hrm, maybe central eastern European sort of world. The heroine isn't helpless nor stupid, which is a plus. Not a massively complex plot, but the hero is just as much a little off-beat as the heroine, so what might've ended up annoying spunkiness in her is toned down because he's not the usual all-bastard, all-the-time.

I quit halfway through Abraham's sequel, A Betrayal in Winter, even though I really did enjoy the first in the series, A Shadow in Summer. Abraham's managed a world that's substance of China, not so much trappings. It's very subtle, but it reminds me of stories about 19th-century Shanghai: cosmopolitan merchant-crossroads, but still China beneath the veneer of things from everywhere.

The problem for me was that the first book's emotional hinge is a triangle. Normally, I don't have a problem with this, and in the first book, it wasn't actually a problem. One hero leaves for a journey, and in his absence, his girlfriend and his closest friend become, erm, close. Things roll out that way, sometimes, after all. Technically, it's still cheating, but in the book's context, I had no issue with it.

The problem was that the second book... also hung its major emotional-plot elements on a woman cheating on her supposed intended/affianced. So again, uncomfortable triangle, with everything hanging on the woman's choice to split her attentions between two men. Once, okay, but twice is a little too much of a pattern. I had no interest in finishing the book once I realized that, and certainly no interest in carrying on to find out if the third and fourth books also turn on the emotional pivot of a two-timing woman. Pass.

Tried to read Maya Snow's Sisters of the Sword, but it's a little too YA-style for me. Not in content -- it's got some brutal scenes early on where the protagonist's family is murdered right in front of her, so I wouldn't recommend it for kids under, hm, twelve -- but stylistically. It's just a very YA kind of voice. I didn't like that at that age, and I like it less, now.

Never did finish Dragon in Chains. Awful lot of lyrical poetry, but I need a little more conflict to make me turn the page. Okay, I need conflict, period. Wasn't getting any.

On order: The Signore: Shogun of the Warring States, a fictionalized history of Oda Nobunaga by Kunio Tsuji, and The Samurai and the Long-Nosed Devils by Lensey Namioka. Ambivalent over the second, since it's been so long in print (and now out of print, I think) that I can't find an excerpt anywhere. So not really sure if I'm facing yet another YA-voiced story, even if a used copy is only a buck-fifty. (What a joke: shipping is more than twice the book itself.)

In related notes, the past night or so, we've been debating what it'd be like to have a Buddhist monk, a Catholic padre, a Daoist master, a Confucian scholar, and a Shinto priest in a room together. Although by the Heian or shortly after, the Buddhist and Shinto were probably close to the same in terms of ideology... but I still think the Confucian, the padre, and the Buddhist would be arguing over whether women are evil inherently or only evil if they don't follow the moral precepts of being barefoot and pregnant, while the Shinto priest would be in the corner playing one-sided Go. CP says by mid-Qing, the Daoist would be arguing right along with the rest, but I'd rather think of early Daoism, and that kind of priest would probably also be playing Go.

Although I'd be really curious to read anything that compared how each school of thought would react to meeting a yokai/demon in the flesh. (In the spirit?) Exorcise it? Beat it into submission to the Buddha? Instruct it in moral rules of behavior? Fear it? Or invite it to tea?
kaigou: under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac (2 charming maniac)
This is partially leading off my post from this morning. I had the pleasure of chatting with someone, yesterday, who does the same thing I do, job-wise. If you realized how few of us are actually around (for all that our job may sound awfully necessary, most corporations don't seem to agree), then you'd realize also what a rare pleasure it was to talk to someone who totally gets it.

Think of web application creation as a balancing act between two extremes: there's the design (what it looks like, what it does on the page, all the way to colors and fonts and whether you get a thank-you note when you're done), and there's the development (the code, basically). Designers don't code, and coders don't design, for the most part, and IMO/IME this has less to do with any integral dislike between them... so much as the fact that both sides require a lot of expertise. It is not half as easy as you may think it is, to code the backend of an application, or even to do a nicely-turned out page of CSS and Javascript on the frontend. Nor is it half so easy as you might think it is to come up with the buttons and the corners and the logos and the whatever else in Photoshop or Illustrator or Fireworks or whatever is the in-thing this week. These are areas that, to do well, do require a fair bit of training and experience -- and by then, you're probably firmly into the perspective of your area of expertise.

I'm the person in the middle. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
I've been wondering whether I should compile the various posts (and unposted drafts) that I've done on fandom, and try looking at them as a collection of chapters about fandom and fanfiction. I think the current count is that I've been quoted now in (or at least asked for permission to be quoted in) five different grad-level dissertations.

Or maybe it's just that I may never be able to truly equate "published on the net" with "published, like, for reals". Wouldn't quoting me count as quoting from an unpublished work? How the hell do you cite someone's blog post?

I really need to dig out my craigslist acct info and get rid of some of this stuff... so I can replace it with new stuff. Like, say, butcher-block countertops. The ones that have been out of stock for the past two months, for crying out loud. I could use different ones instead of continuing to wait, but then I'd have to deconstruct the countertop bases to make room for the extra 3/16" I'd need. Much easier to just wait for the countertops to come back into stock. Someday. Damn it.

Ta-Nehisi Coates' series on the Civil War continues to fascinate me, interrogate my own education and long-held unquestioned cultural assumptions, and make me ponder what I learned as a child and what I just sort of absorbed even if no one ever said it. His most recent post, "The Civil War Isn't Tragic", has had me thinking today about how the war, overall, was presented in my childhood (formal, not family) education. I think the message in grade school was that it was tragic because so many people died, and so many families split north/south... but by high school and then into adult (informal) education, the tone shifted. It became more that the Civil War was tragic... because of the stupidity of people who kept it going and/or insisted on fighting in the first place.

That it was not averted by a peaceful resolution of outlawing slavery when there was the political chance on the board (as Britain did, in the 1830s) is the real tragedy, and that it dragged on for so long and cost so many lives is equally horrible. But the outcome? Not tragic at all. The aftermath and the scars? Tragic, mostly for (similar to the origins) being so badly handled, and so on.

But in the end: no, not tragic. Just stupid and horrible. And I think Coates has a significant point about the fact that we don't have a holiday to celebrate the re-unification of the Union. Why don't we?

Okay, rain would be great. Rain that consists of only 1/4" worth of water doesn't even make the ground damp. It just kind of made everything glisten for a few minutes, before it evaporated again. This is more than a little unnerving, to know we're coming up on heat-lightning season and we're in the worst drought in fifty years.

ETA: Rain! ... and the whole "20% chance of thunderstorms" was really "a few minutes of dark sky, followed by a single drop of rain." ONE DROP. One big honking drop landing smack in the middle of my A/C repair invoice.

kaigou: you live and learn. at any rate, you live. - doug adams (2 live and learn)
[belated realization: this is not a question I'd ask if I met you outside the South and we weren't at my home. This is a question asked by a host of a guest, and I honestly cannot recall ever seeing it the other way around (not counting the host's concurrence after a guest completes the response). As "home" counts as a kind of "Southern turf" regardless of geographic location, that might be why I can recall asking guest-Northerners visiting my home when I lived in RI... but even in the South, it's not a question I'd ask as a guest. It's certainly not something I'd ever ask, or have ever asked, just to make conversation. When I say it's part of the formalities, I'm using "formality" intentionally. Just FYI.]

This is riffing off the previous post re the US Deep South, in that it occurred to me to write something out thanks to [personal profile] taithe's comment -- but it's something I've bandied about mentally, many a time, over the past few years. (This is not to say this kind of question or its message isn't important in other geographic/sociocultural regions. I'm sure it is, although maybe asked/approached differently.) Your Southern mileage may vary, but upon meeting new people (especially in a social/casual situation), this is a question I've seen asked many times in my life, have been asked many times, and have found myself asking many times.

Where's your family from?

Now, I've also read plenty about how people -- whether recent or farther-back immigrants -- who do not look some generic form of "white" or "black" (which both tend to be classed as, "been here awhile") -- will get asked (usually by white USians), "where are you from? Pittsburgh? No, where are you really from?"

This is an annoying, and patronizing, question. Absolutely! So I figured maybe it's time I explained that when a Southerner asks you the question above -- where's your family from? -- that this is NOT the same question. In fact, if the purpose of "where are you from?" is to to prove (if unconsciously) that you are not a 'real' American, the purpose of the Southern version is quite different. It's for you to demonstrate that your family matters to you.

How not to answer, how to answer, and why it matters to me. )
kaigou: under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac (2 charming maniac)
I was writing a reply recently and stumbled at a description. "Straightforward," I started to type, then paused, backed up, and pondered for a bit before coming up with "forthright". When rereading before hitting the post button, it occurred to me that I do this rather often, with the following words and phrases, and use alternates instead.

straight up => right out
straighten out => clear up, set right
go straight => go forward
setting someone straight => correcting, telling clearly
a straight answer => succinct answer
straight through => all the way through
___ straight [period of time] => ___ unbroken [time], ___ uninterrupted [time]

They're not all perfect synonyms, and sometimes I can see I've done a bit of a sidestep around my kneecap to get to my elbow, just to avoid the word. It's not like I'm trying to be PC, only that I think I took it to heart the joke a gay friend used to make, when I was in college: "never go straight, go crooked." (Though if feeling cranky, he'd say, "don't go straight, get bent.")

My sensitivity to the word and its connotations means I'm equally sensitive to reading the word in anyone else's writing. Not that I judge when I see it, only that I think, here is someone not sensitive to that, the way I am, sort of like when you're surprised that someone doesn't get hay fever like you. Neither good nor bad, just a bit of ah 'oh' observation. If someone else also avoids the word... that's harder to assess, because unless it's a really obvious one (where 'straight' would be kind of the default term, so to speak), there are different ways to say just about anything, so the absence isn't proof of anything.

But am I the only one who goes out of the way to avoid certain, specific words? And not even words that necessarily politically loaded, either -- because I also avoid 'overt' and 'sublime', whenever I can.
kaigou: Edward, losing it. (1 Edward conniption)
So the word is that Gaiman is adapting Journey to the West. Now, I will give the man props for doing a beautiful treatment for the subtitles of Spirited Away that really kept the poetry and meaning of the original, and I'll set aside for now the issue of Cameron's involvement, which I do consider so many kinds of wrong I don't even know where to begin.

It's this bit in the linked article that's got me coming back, and twigging again each time:
Additional pressure may come from the Chinese government itself, which has been known to censor creative works. Speaking to that, Gaiman said, “Monkey is irrepressible. The moment that you try to censor Monkey, he’s not Monkey anymore.”

First of all, I'm dubious as to what the Chinese government would censor in terms of Monkey. I mean, haven't there already been like sixty-something various treatments of Journey to the West already, just in China -- radio, television, movies, books, comics, and so on? It's not like we're talking about current events here.

Second, if the Chinese government were to insist on changes (because to film, you must submit a script for review), is that automatically censorship?

I've been trying to think of a Western tradition/story that's as well-known and loved as Monkey. Hmm, maybe Robin Hood (because here I'd say the Arthurian Legends are a little too, uhm, formal -- in the sense that Robin Hood's semi-satirical characters, like Friar Tuck, are impertinent in the same way that one might see Sanzo's party as mildly impertinent). What happens if I consider the shoes on the other feet?

Let's say someone in China decides to do a film adaptation of Robin Hood and the British government were to insist on an approval process to, say, film at certain locations. And let's say there's something in the script that contradicts the understanding of the British review board when it comes to their own legends. Like, I don't know, the idea that Robin Hood kept a lot of the loot for himself. Or that he was abusive towards Maid Marian. Or that Friar Tuck was a double agent. I think if I were on that review board, I'd express my dissatisfaction with the script. If I had the power, I might even say, "you're filming something, but it's not the story of Robin Hood. Go ahead and film it, but I'm not putting my stamp of approval -- or permission to use historical locations -- on your not-our-Robin-Hood story."

I don't consider that censorship. I consider that a natural human self-interest when it comes to stories we consider "ours". If Robin Hood is a story I "own" in some sense due to family background and language and other socio-cultural factors, then I'm going to have -- whether or not I realize it, most of the time -- some kind of cultural possessiveness about it. It'd take someone doing Robin Hood really really wrong (and I won't mention the times that's happened), but that's when I'd stop and say, hey, that's not Robin Hood. It could be a good story, but it's not the Robin Hood.

As much as the West sometimes likes to paint China with the broad brush of a totalitarian system, it's still a system comprised of humans... and we're talking about a story that probably every single one of those humans (in any government review board) probably grew up with. I would expect each of them to feel, whether or not they've ever been made consciously aware of it, somewhat protective of Monkey.

I guess that's what's got me twigging -- the sense of entitlement and arrogance in saying that any assertion by a Chinese government board is (implied automatically) censorship. I can't believe someone who didn't grow up hearing stories of Monkey all over the place could possibly ascertain what is, or is not, Monkey... better than those for whom Monkey is a continuing, constantly-entertaining, story-force. Or maybe I should say: I have a bubbling sense of disgust for the implied argument that if someone -- whose culture effectively 'owns' a large chunk of the legend -- corrects for doing it wrong that this is immediately the error of the correcting culture.

Actually, the other analogy that popped into my head when I first read that short article was of drinking alcohol. If in my home country, drinking wine comes with loud cheers and extra rounds and raised voices, let's say then I travel to the country where that wine was originally made. If that country is one where wine is drunk with reverence and only at solemn occasions, but I'm in the back whooping it up -- if I get shunned, or even thrown out, can I really claim that wine-drinking is irrepressible, and that attempts to make me adjust my behavior to what's considered proper were a sign of a totalitarian system that wanted to censor me?

There's a phrase for that -- gaijin smash -- though I guess in this case it'd be weiguoren smash.

ETA: I think maybe what's bugging me is the hidden antagonism in the proclamation. I mean, try inserting some other government/country/culture, and it feels more blatant. Does it seem acceptable to [the speaker] to state such assertions because the government in question is presumed to be hostile?
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (5 bookstack)
A bit ago I posted a link to an author's advice on Trying to Write the Southern Accent, and one of the comments reminded me of one of my favorite childhood stories... and its problematic representation of Southern Black American (and former-slave) speech. I quote, from the original:
"Didn't the fox never catch the rabbit, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy the next evening.

"He come mighty nigh it, honey, sho's you born--Brer Fox did. One day atter Brer Rabbit fool 'im wid dat calamus root, Brer Fox went ter wuk en got 'im some tar, en mix it wid some turkentime, en fix up a contrapshun wat he call a Tar-baby, en he tuck dish yer Tar-Baby and he sot 'er in de big road, en den he lay off in de bushes fer to see what de news wuz gwineter be. En he didn't hatter wait long, nudder, kaze bimeby here come Brer Rabbit pacin' down de road--lippity-clippity, clippity-lippity--dez ez sassy ez a jay-bird. Brer Fox, he lay low. Brer Rabbit come prancin' 'long twel he spy de Tar-Baby, en den he fotch up on his behime legs like he wus 'stonished. De Tar-Baby, she sot dar, she did, en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"Mawin'!" sez Brer Rabbit, sezee--"nice wedder dis mawnin'," sezee.

Tar-Baby ain't sayin' nothing', en Brer Fox, he lay low.

"How duz yo' sym'tums seem ter segashuate?" sez Brer Rabbit, sezee.

Brer Fox, he wink his eye slow, en lay low, en de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' nothin'.

It's much easier to find revisions of this text than the original. One of those revisions posted online has a forward that says, "Harris retold the fables in the dialect used by the African slaves. Later retellings, such as the version of the story given here, have been in standard English, which makes the tales easier to read but takes away the charm of the original."

If you read the revised versions (behind the cut), you'll see what I mean: I don't think they realize where the so-called charm comes from. I do think it's true that the original exoticizes the slave dialect a great deal. It's so extreme, it alienates the reader, like it's letting you in on mysterious (getting near on Magical Negro territory, here) Other-stories, and your ticket to play is paid by the time you spend parsing out this unfamiliar not-English... but the exotic is not the source of the story's charm.

[That said, I should also note that while Harris may've propagated the image of the former slave as somewhere between lyrical and illiterate, he did also do a great service for later linguists, in putting so much effort into authentically and faithfully recording the actual speech. Even if he did do it via phonetic spellings, some of which are just plain baffling (I never have figured out what 'segashuate' means, but I think it might be 'suggest') -- he still managed to notate historical and actual speech patterns. Before him, most had discounted slave-speech as just Bad English, instead of understanding it as a communicative and evocative language in its own right. Some of the linguists even imply that had Harris not set the precedent, it might not've been until the WPA Historical Records Survey that anyone would've captured a contemporary speech record. In that sense, as difficult as the text is to read, to linguists and historians looking for long-standing patterns in the African-American creole, it does have value as a kind of historical record.]

Two edited versions, a few explanations of some of the phrases/words, and childhood memories of a Georgia storyteller. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 oh em gee)
Talking just now with CP on a paper idea of his, and (as we frequently do) we ended up tangenting along until we ended up on a discussion of whether there are/were significant non-named/generic non-human critters in folklore from any of the African countries.

When I was researching for stories of my own, one thing that bothered me to no end was the overwhelming amount of material available on European (especially British and North European) folklore creatures... and the absolute dearth on just about anywhere else other than maybe Japan and Russia (and a smattering from India). Elsewhere, sure, you could find plenty of stories about named characters -- i.e. Anansi, Coyote, Baba Yaga -- where there's an entire body of legends about the character's exploits. But those legends also presuppose that there's only one, even if that one shows up everywhere at any time. What I was looking for was generics or categories, like the Indian naga, or the Korean gumiho, or the Welsh redcap, and having no luck.

A few times, in articles from/about -- I think it was Mozambique, South Africa, and... I want to say one of the western coastal countries, but I don't think it was Cote D'Ivoire proper -- there would be random passing reference. Then the interveiwee (or translating author/ethnographer) would keep going, into some story of another named legend. No, no, back up, I wanted to say, but it was clear that someone -- whether the interviewee, or the interviewer -- didn't consider these incidental unnamed category-creatures to be worth more explanation.

This is entirely my speculation, but it's possible that it's the ethnographer only wanting a 'body' of stories, instead of snippets here and there -- little stories, if you will. And it's also possible that it's the interviewee (as CP suggested) not wanting to seem too backwards, so preferring to tell legend-type stories, where there's a running narrative. Instead of, y'know, talking about the bogeyman.

But I wonder if it's also possible that in telling the little stories, that there's a self-censorship at play because of the self-consciousness of the telling. Like, for instance, choosing not to repeat the stories of Santa Claus, because you stopped being fooled by that story when you were eight -- even if ten minutes after the interviewer leaves, you're reprimanding your own children about the fact that if they don't behave, Santa will leave coals in their stockings.

Besides, it's my firm belief that if there's one universal aspect to parenting, it's that all parents have a bogeyman at their command. And if you don't behave, that bogeyman -- whatever his or her name, age, rank, appearance, or living quarters -- will come get you.

Or maybe it's just that bogeymen are universal.

ETA: If you do know of beastiary [yokaiography, demonography, list-of-nonhumans, etc] books that recount the folklore of 'generic' (unnamed) non-human types, from cultures other than EU/CEE (which I already have in spades), please do tell.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 pretentious with style)
This is being passed along/asked on behalf of [personal profile] taithe -- you can read what prompted these question in this thread (from the previous post). Slightly modified to be more universal for Southerners in general:
Who is defined as a Southerner? When not in the South, can you spot a Southerner right away or is it less obvious? If you live outside the South, do you feel like you don't/can't belong because of your Southern background? How closely do you think you match the stereotype of Southerner, and do you think this impacts how well you fit in -- or don't fit in -- when living outside the South? Alternate for those who've always lived/stayed in the South: can you identify when someone's a returning Southerner versus a newcomer picking up Southern habits? If so, what's the tip-off?

Formally speaking, "being Southern" has two-parts, or so I was always taught: born, and bred. Technically, I'm not a born-Southerner (thanks, DAD, the military guy!) because I was born in North Dakota. I'm completely bred-Southern, though, since we returned to the Deep South when I was six months old, and I lived in various places in the South until I was in mid-twenties. Beyond that, I have multiple generations in all directions who are born-and-bred Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi, so generally... yeah, I'm pretty Southern.

Rest of my answers behind the cut. )

If you don't mind [personal profile] taithe using your comments as possible jumping-off or consideration points for grad study, and want to contribute with your own stories/input for her questions, please feel free. If you'd prefer anonymity, you can go with anonymous here (I'm hoping that's okay, for taithe's purposes), or just PM [personal profile] taithe directly.

If your experience has differed from mine, especially do speak up. The South is hardly monolithic and I'm nowhere near an expert on All Things Southern, so do feel free to help me make sure no one gets that impression. Let's freely contradict each other, if that's what it be.

[see comments for additional response/questions from [personal profile] taithe]
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (3 break out of prison)
My previous post on this topic (and the ones before) were working towards a kind of apology, and a kind of working-through on just what/where that apology is due. When I had posted about seeing a Korean actor at a specific angle and mistaking that facial structure for my little sister, I gave none of the context that I've given in these past few posts, so it's possible the post could have been read on several -- totally unintended -- levels.

Without context, a reader might ask... Was I actually implying in some way that a Korean man's face might be so neutral ("all you ___ look alike") that I could impose my sister's facial structure upon him? Was I erasing the distinct features of "Korean-ness" or "Asian-ness" and superimposing "Anglo-ness"?

I would hope that the post directly before this one (in the topic-string) makes it clear that my mistaking one-for-the-other was operating on the level of most prominent (to me) facial details -- cheekbones, jaw, nose, brow. For that matter, the similarity is/was really only significant when the actor is filmed at three-quarter angle, from slightly above. Again, without context of understanding the properties of light and how I'd learned to view faces as a matter of angle and proportion against the light cast, then... yeah, my acknowledgment of seeing facial similarities may have been misleading, and as a result, potentially offensive. For any offense given, I do humbly apologize.

And I think if there was offense given, that my tone within the post may have also been a trigger for that offense -- because I did write bluntly about my own confusion as to how I could be "seeing" these similarities. But again without context -- and, I should note, without addressing or understanding other related issues bubbling underneath -- then even such admittance could be ambiguous.

Was my confusion or seeming dismay at the mistake/overlay because I couldn't see (so to speak) how I could mistake an Asian (implied: not-normal) face for an Anglo (implied: normal) face? I say "implied" not because I meant to imply such, only that in expressing "how could I mistake one for the other" that my reaction might be read as dismay. If you've spent your life with people thinking your face is strange, or not-normal (in contrast to Anglo faces), and so on, then to have someone say, "how could I mistake that for this" (and explain no further), one might conceivably knee-jerk right into: "So, basically, you're saying that you're shocked you might mistake that (not-normal) face for this (normal) face."

In this particular instance, the real surprise for me wasn't the Korean/Anglo aspect; it was the male/female aspect. I'm used to comparing within a sex, but almost never between sexes. (More context: I spent time among drag-queen communities as I came of age, and learned quickly to use other cues -- clothes, hair, speech, walk, etc -- to identify sex. Regardless of strongly so-called 'masculine' features, if someone dresses like a woman, uses the women's bathroom, etc, the person is clearly 'being' a woman, and for all intents and purposes is a woman. Hence, to this day, I'll compare male/female faces but rarely mistake them for each other, not when there are plenty of other cues otherwise; doing otherwise will catch me off-guard because it's going against that ingrained rule.)

Getting back to the point: the fact that I spoke without a double-meaning (ie, to imply that X type of faces are not-normal) doesn't mean that someone else hasn't used the same statement to intentionally imply that negative meaning. The burden isn't on the reader to force the trust that the speaker (me) means no harm. The burden is on me to either avoid the topic and not say such double-meanings (intended or no), or to give careful thought first to whether there might be a better way to express myself. Whether I stay silent or speak, neither absolves me of wrong if I did offend; that remains my responsibility. And if I did offend, I deeply regret it, and apologize most sincerely.

Were the issue underlying these posts only a small matter to me, then silence is the option I would've chosen. But what's going on underneath is of such importance to me, that I need to address this possible failing in myself -- and make amends. )

Because this is getting long, I'll be posting this part now, and posting the rest shortly.
kaigou: under this playful boyish exterior beats the heart of a ruthless sadistic maniac (2 charming maniac)
I recall doing a beta-read for [profile] difrancis and tripping over a sub-plot that involved two childhood friends meeting again as adults... and recognizing each other instantly. That, to me, seemed preposterous. Biiiig suspension of disbelief! And bigger for Di herself, when she said she's recognized (as adults) people she knew in second grade. Just. Could. Not. Comprehend.

Oi. I have trouble recognizing coworker faces if our paths cross outside of work, and don't even ask me about faces (or names) of classmates, excepting a handful of really close friends. I've even walked right past my own sister with no recognition at all, when she chopped hair short and bleached it to white. And sure as spit, don't ever call me and think I'll recognize your voice. I've gone blank when my own father calls, for crying out loud. I'm never able to identify who's calling if I don't have caller-ID or some other hint to clue me in.

In person, I rely on things like hair color, length, and style, which means abrupt and extreme hair-style changes will throw me, especially if you're not wearing frequently-worn items like a distinctive coat or pair of shoes. I've learned to look for distinctive gestures and mannerisms, even if that means waiting patiently until someone who I think I should know -- and who acts like they know me -- says or does something that brings the face into sharper focus.

CP sometimes snarks that "all you white people look alike", but to me, pretty much... everyone does look alike. Or maybe I should say: everyone looks different, yes, but everyone looks unfamiliar. I just plain can't recall faces, and I sure as hell can't recall them if they're out of context (ie coworker not at work) or it's been more than about a year (ie old classmate).

Does anyone else do this, or have any similar kind of failure of recognition? I've always wondered if it's just me, or if it's just that everyone else fakes the lack of recognition better than I do.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (3 break out of prison)
[note: edited to reduce ambiguity in middle part]

Last year (has it already been that long? or am I confusing my fails?) there was the slight kerfluffle among we netizens between female romance writers of M/M fiction and gay (male) readers. This particular note was barely more than a footnote, but I saw it mentioned in a number of places: deriding stories as 'okay-gay'. The label means every character is "just fine" with homosexuality. There's no trauma, no bullying, no isolation, and friends discovering a gay character's sexuality don't respond with negatives but positives, if they even bother to give the character's sexuality that much thought. I didn't see anyone questioning this, which even at the time raised my eyebrows. I don't mean questioning whether it's okay (so to speak) to apply this label; I mean questioning the assumptions in the label.

A few months ago, CP picked up a copy of Boy's Love Manga: Essays on the Sexual Ambiguity and Cross-cultural Fandom of the Genre, edited by Antonia Levi, Mark McHarry, and Dru Pagliassotti. Most of the essays are, frankly, rather pendantic, and some just repeat what's been said plenty of places elsewhere. Some are only barely related to the genre in question, and have little more than a few names dropped of BL publishers to tie the essay into the anthology's theme. (I note all that in case you're thinking it sounds like a good read. It has its bright spots, but of fourteen essays, few really stood out to make the cost worth it.)

One of the essays had a point that's been bubbling around for awhile now; the essay is "Gay or Gei? Reading 'Realness' in Japanese Yaoi Manga", by Alexis Hall. The author interviewed female (American, from what I gather) readers of yaoi manga, asking them about whether yaoi manga is realistic, and what elements 'make' a yaoi story realistic. read the rest... )
kaigou: first I'm going to have a little drinkie, then I'm going to execute the whole bally lot of you. (2 execute all of you)
Yesterday I flaked out on errands because it was 4pm already, a torrential downpour, and the start of a three-day weekend. Given this city's penchant for water-soluble driving skills, the last thing I wanted to deal with was a whole highway of the oblivions, in rain, on a friday afternoon, when everyone's getting into the holiday mood. Bleah.

So instead I went out at 10pm to get cat food, and that's when my clutch cable snapped, instead.

On the other hand, the 10pm trip was supposed to be short, because CP was going to head out with the car in time for a midnight get-together with friends -- which means if the cable was that close to snapping and it hadn't been me, it probably would've been him, instead. On the side of the highway, in a torrential downpour, at two in the morning.

All things considered, better to have the cable snap in the grocery store parking lot when you're not even out of first, yet. Unfortunately, stupid modern computerized cars means you can't even start the car unless the clutch pedal's down -- as opposed to the Porsche or the Austin-Healey, which you could start in neutral without the clutch pedal down. And that means no starting the car at all, once the cable's snapped, and that means no point in even trying to remember the specific ratios for shifting sans clutch pedal. Damnitall.

Oh my god, it's my grandfather's car and it's parked in my driveway. )

However, I'm still not entirely sure how to explain to my little veedub that I'm no more happy than it is about that sofa skulking in the driveway.
kaigou: don't go all fangirl on me now (2 fangirl)
A completely tongue-in-cheek (or shark-tooth-in-kneecap, as case may be) representation of the past twenty-four hours' realization that coming out from under the bed was A BAD IDEA. (You know I love you guys... right? You do know that, right? Right?)

A visual representation of my brain right now:

It starts with a story. IT ALWAYS STARTS WITH A STORY. )

That is my brain, on fandom.

in case it's not obvious, this post is a JOKE, and mostly on me: because some fandoms days you're the shark, and some fandoms days you're the chum.
kaigou: life is a banquet, and some poor suckers are starving to death. (3 life is a banquet)
I'm getting the impression that some of what I've figured out over the years either isn't as widespread knowledge as I thought, or maybe it's just not something most therapists/doctors explain to user-satisfaction. This ties into the issue of medication for ADD/ADHD, because one of the biggest issues about medication for that specific cognitive issue is that it's, well, pretty freaking illogical. I mean, honestly, my reaction the very first time a doctor suggested a specific medication was, and I quote: "Wait, my brain fires off in every direction at top speed, so you want to give me a stimulant? Are you people on drugs?"

So here's a really really simplified, only barely marginally scientific, explanation of one of the major theories about why stimulants work for ADD/ADHD. Keep in mind that when I say "marginally scientific," I mean that this is an extremely generalized version of something that seems to be how it (generally) works, but the brain is a damn complex organism. The how's and why's of ADD/ADHD (and related cognitive disorders) remain murky and new things are being discovered all the time, as our technology gets better and better at tracking brain processes.

In general, though, I'm told this is the basic gist of how doctors/researchers are somewhat sure (as sure as anyone can be, which is "kind of" and "maybe on days it's not raining" and "ask again tomorrow" styles of 'sure').

First, let's look at a brain that doesn't have a chemical imbalance.

The term "chemical imbalance" is actually pretty literal, if you think of your brain (and your body overall, for the most part) as containing a whole lot of checks and balances. The little receptor points and controllers and whatever else in the brain, the nerves, the cells, so on and so on, don't work in a straight line. Instead, a lot of them work by affecting something else, and making sure that "something else" is balanced properly.

Yes, more pictures! With the caveat that I beg forgiveness from any biochemistry majors who get cranky when the proper terminology isn't observed, or anyone who gets discomfited by attempts at a generalized, non-scientific, crude explanations of what's admittedly an incredibly complex process. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (4 no sacrifice)
[continued from part 1]

Ms Lindholm, you wrote: "The only person in my extended family who ever took drugs for his condition long term did not achieve any success until he weaned himself off them. Is that unique? If your brain is wired a certain way, is it truly an illness? Or is it ‘artistic temperment’ [sic]?"

Continued from the original post, now broken in two. )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 what I do)
I should've said this before: this is LONG, and when I say something is LONG, you can expect it to be about six times as long as the longest long you've seen. I know I go on, but the length here is in direct proportion to the height of my temper. Just so you're warned.

RE: This Is Your Brain On Drugs . . .

NOTE: consider the above link as having a trigger-warning if you have a disability, know someone who does, or are sensitive to sudden spikes in blood pressure when in the vicinity of someone with a big megaphone busy talking out of her ass.

Ms. Lindholm's blog topic on May 20th of this year puts her in the Tom Cruise Denouncing Postpartum Depression category: someone rattling on quite definitively with little to no comprehension of the facts, in a way that essentially amounts to what you are experiencing is not only all in your head, it's a personal problem and shame on you for thinking you should, or even deserve, to seek a resolution.

First, to make this perfectly clear, the issue at hand is ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and its counterpart, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The two are cousin-conditions that we could generally define as "a state of excessive mental activity, sometimes accompanied by excessive physical activity (the hyperactivity element)".

ADD and ADHD are not mental "illnesses". ADD and ADHD are disabilities.

More precisely, they are cognitive disabilities, along with other cognitive disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia. ADD/ADHD shade into the class of physical -- because 'chemical' in the brain is still, fundamentally, a physical attribute -- disabilities, while the cognitive side is what impairs or affects thought processes like learning new skills, accessing short-term memory or transferring new information into long-term memory, capturing and comprehending incoming information, and so on.

So, to repeat: ADD/ADHD is not an 'illness'[1]. It is not something that you catch; it is not something you can cure. It is, like so many other disabilities (including learning disabilities), something you live with. You find a way to get through, and if you're really lucky, you find things that will help you deal with the disability, and the stress it causes in your life each time you ask someone around you to put up with, help cope with, or even just feel compassion for, the result of having that disability.

But because this is an alien concept for you, Ms Lindholm, let me make it perfectly clear for you, as well as any readers following along at home. )

[ continued in part 2 ... yeah, had to break it in two. sorry. ]

To clarify a few things that might've gotten buried:

[1] Many mental illnesses are also disabilities. I'm only focused on ADD/ADHD here, but a lot of what I say here could be extended easily to autism, bipolar, OCD, and others. What I dislike is the hidden connotations in that term: mental = "all in your head" and illness = "something curable". As though it's acceptable to dismiss the illness and/or expect one to get better! The truth is that any long-term condition, even those manageable with various tools/treatments, are (to me) not 'mental illnesses' but '[mental] disabilities'; they infringe on our ability to live as full a life as we'd have without them, and thus on a practical level are all disabilities to some degree.

[2] I am not saying that diabetes/heart-disease/ADD is a simplistic direct correlation, that because diabetes has clear-cut medication requirements, so does ADD/ADHD. Technically, the analogy fails already at 'heart disease', since that disease's medications are a cocktail to be carefully navigated to fit the particular patient, just like any medications for ADD/ADHD. But in terms of those who carry social prejudice against medication for mental/cognitive disabilities, the diabetes/heart-disease analogy does work, or I wouldn't freaking use it. Like all analogies, it breaks down when you go too deep, but for my purposes it holds up: medication is a valid tool.

As someone who, ironically, has responded to very few medications for ADD/ADHD, I will never tell you that my life is intact due to medication. In fact, I'm still here in spite of modern psychiatry, yet I continue to believe medication is a valid and crucial corner of the triangle of treatment. It may not work for every disease and every person, but it should not be discounted as an option, out-of-hand, either. The patient-and-doctor in question, ultimately, should make the decision -- not social prejudices about the mentally ill.

[3] If you are, or know, or think you may know, someone with ADD/ADHD, the best book I've found for concrete behavioral coping mechanisms -- with info for supportive family/friends, too -- is ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Just FYI, if you wanted more concrete info on how to help yourself, or a friend or family member.

[4] A much-shorter follow-up on what's going on in the brain (roughly, very unscientifically) when it comes to ADD/ADHD medication, cobbled out of the explanations of a whole lotta doctors & neurologists.


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

October 2016

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