rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Illness memoirs, like child abuse memoirs, have a number of pitfalls. They’re about depressing topics and so are hard not to depress the reader, they’re often by people who don’t write professionally and so are not well-written, and as the subject is inherently self-focused, they can very easily come across as self-absorbed. Even if they manage to avoid those problems, many are valuable works of self-help, self-revelation, community-building, comfort, and calls to action… but are not interesting to someone who mostly wants to read a good book.

This one is a good book.

Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.

In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.

And it works.

But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)

Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.

Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.

Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand

New bookshelf!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:11 pm
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
[personal profile] lb_lee
Guess who salvaged a raw wood bookshelf off the side of the road today?  Really nice one too!  It just needed a quick wash, barely any dust or cobwebs on it at all.  Solid wood, no back, but well-built and surprisingly light!  Maybe one of the neighbor people made it, and decided they didn't want it anymore?

Anyway, I've given it to Sneak.  I'll get zer a new thing of gel medium or ModPodge  or something, and ze plans to decorate it like ze did the last one.  Ze's pretty psyched!

I feel like a successful big brother today.  Also a successful cheapskate.

--Rogan

New Bill icon: get!

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:17 pm
dhampyresa: (Bill!!!)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
Bleh )


Speaking of the pool! The most hilarious thing happened: I was swimming along and then, suddenly, a bunch of fighter jets flies outside the window with blue-white-red fumes behind them. Took me a while to realise wtf was going on: the Patrouille de France was doing a Tour de France related thing.

Swimming details )


I need to sign up for [community profile] remixrevival and so do you!


I DREW A THING!


Under a cut, because images )

*sigh*

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:02 pm
dhampyresa: (This is my life)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
I haven't quite reached peak asshole yet, but I feel like if this were a Disney movie, you'd be able to hear the opening strings of my villain song right about now. (Cause: heat, sleep deprivation and people telling me what the fuck to do. NO. FUCK YOU.)


Somewhere around the mid-afternoon, I started being interested in Critical Role again and got through an hour of podcast in the rest of the afternoon! This is much slower than I was going before the brainwipe hit, but it's also much faster than me taking over a week to get through the previous episode (that was ep 62, fyi). So I guess there's that.


In happier news, we are apparently fucking finally a Kaamelott movie! :D Time for a rewatch, me thinks.

Hamilkitties!

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:09 pm
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija


Curious Alex.





Erin, waiting for it.

Doctor Who thoughts

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:51 pm
dhampyresa: (Default)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
1: The Doctor is a woman, FUCKING FINALLY. (I've always low-key resented 11 and 12 for not being girls every since the possibility was brought up in Eleventh Hour.)

2: I need a Bill icon. YESTERDAY.

Gravity Falls Filk: Pure Of Heart

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:27 pm
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
[personal profile] lb_lee
On tumblr, I use the tag 'IMPURE OF HEART' to describe that super-gross identity politics all about conspicuously performing virtue.  Someone showed me this filk of the Gravity Falls episode 'The Last Mablecorn,' called Pure Of Heart and I thought folks here might enjoy it.

 

Lyrics behind cut )

JWP fics (to be updated)

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:37 am
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Holmes and Watson, seated, with the caption "Cut out the poetry, Watson" (Holmes)
[personal profile] violsva
Prompt #1: Bearing Up

Prompt #2: Gone From the City

Prompt #3: A Name in a Crowd

Prompt #4: One or the Other

Prompt #5: Point

Prompt #7: Alarum: Late

The above are one series, Spiderweb, connected to Go On Take Everything

Prompt #6: Amuse: Late

Prompt #9: Motley

Prompt #10: Agreement

Prompt #11: Three Hundred Years Earlier: Warning: period-typical spelling

Prompt #12: A Moment's Meeting

Prompt #14: Territories

Prompt #15: Unwelcome Social Summons

Prompt #16: Side Saddles for Ladies

What'd I miss?

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:37 am
dhampyresa: (Default)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
Anything happen while I was away?
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I have obtained this from a free library (one of those little birdhouse things in my neighborhood.) It's a collection of short stories.

I love Stephen King but not his propensity for grossouts or body horror. In fact, I shied off his short stories after reading two Ultimate Body Horror Grossout stories, "The Cat From Hell" and that goddamn story about the surgeon stranded on a desert island UGH UGH UGH.

Given that, which of these should I read, and which should I avoid? I'm OK with scary and with violence that isn't revoltingly graphic.

Dolan's cadillac
The end of the whole mess
Suffer the little children
The night flier
Popsy
It grows on you
Chattery teeth
Dedication
The moving finger
Sneakers
You know they got a hell of a band
Home delivery
Rainy season
My pretty pony
Sorry, right number
The ten o'clock people
Crouch end
The house on Maple Street
The fifth quarter
The doctor's case
Umney's last chance
Head down
Brooklyn August.

My Readercon Schedule

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:36 pm
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
I don't expect to make the convention Thursday evening.

Friday July 14

6:00 PM 6 Terrible... but Great. Lila Garrott (leader), Bart Leib, Natalie Luhrs, Sonya Taaffe, Vinnie Tesla. Our panelists muse on books that are really bad but in an amazing way! Genevieve Valentine's term "shitmazing" may be appropriate here. What makes something both terrible and great? Are these works worth analyzing and perhaps even emulating, or do they exist simply to be enjoyed (if that's the word) on their own merits (if that's the word)?

This should be fun. Anybody else remember Lauren Baratz-Logsted's Crazy Beautiful (HOOKS FOR HANDS), or John Boyd's The Pollinators of Eden (KILLER SEXY PSYCHIC SPACE TULIPS)?


7:00 PM C The Works of Tanith Lee. Lila Garrott, Sonya Taaffe, Emily Wagner. Tanith Lee (1947-2015) was a supremely talented writer who worked in numerous genres and forms. She wrote children’s novels (The Dragon Hoard (1971)), Vancian fantasy (the five-novel Tales from the Flat Earth series), historical romance (The Gods Are Thirsty (1996)), fantasy/horror (The Book of the Damned (1988)), science fiction (the four-novel Birthgrave series), thriller/horror (the three-novel Blood Opera series), far-future science fiction (the Drinking Sapphire Wine duology), and more, including erotica, Gothic romance, and straightforward horror. Lee was clever, manipulating genre tropes and clichés in skillful and unusual ways. Lee was poetic, writing of everything from sex to childhood in lyrical fashion. And she was prolific, writing over one hundred novels and collections. She was twice nominated for the Nebula Award, ten times for the World Fantasy (winning twice), and six times for the British Fantasy Award (winning once), and was given the Grand Master Award from at the World Horror Convention in 2009 and the Life Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2013. As critic John Clute wrote, "Lee encompassed every genre of the fantastic... with supple attentiveness and an ongoing exuberance of invention which transcends... genre constraints." Join us to celebrate her work.

I wrote the entry on Lee in The Encyclopedia of Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy, which is one of the more random line items on my resume. I always enjoy talking about Tanith Lee.


Saturday July 15

2:00 PM C Lines of Consent in Fiction. Samuel R. Delany, N.S. Dolkart, Lila Garrott, Kiini Ibura Salaam, Josh Jasper. In science fiction and fantasy, consent is often handled in fuzzy, imprecise ways. Obvious scenarios of non-consent, such as the enslaved house elves in the Harry Potter books, are easily identified as problematic, but less is said about magical destiny that compels an ordinary person to become a hero; inherited magic, rank, or family feuds that empower or endanger a character without their consent; soul mates, who are forced to love and be attracted to each other; werewolves compelled to change shape under the full moon; and other strictures that are so common we've come to take them for granted. This panel will discuss work that either explicitly deals with consent or appears oblivious to its relevance, and will explore the writer's responsibility when placing characters in a scenario (or plot) that hinges on questionable consent or non-consent. Content note: this panel may explicitly discuss violations of consent and their consequences. For the purposes of this panel, trigger warnings and content notes are assumed to be valuable tools that assist the reader.

I haven't seen a convention have this panel before. It's an important panel. Let's hope we can do it right-- given the lineup, I should think so.


3:30 PM B Reading: Lila Garrott. Lila Garrott. Lila Garrott reads an excerpt from their novel-in-progress, The Journeyers.

PLEASE COME YOU'LL LIKE IT. The book is very hard to describe, especially since it's not like I've sat down and tried to write a blurb for it yet, but I promise it is enjoyable.


Sunday July 16

12:00 PM 6 Disturbed by Her Song: Gender, Queerness, and Sexuality in the Works of Tanith Lee. Steve Berman (moderator), Lila Garrott, Sonya Taaffe. Memorial Guest of Honor Tanith Lee thoroughly explored gender, queerness, and sexuality in her fiction, creating cultural pansexuality in the Flat Earth series and queering history in the Lambda Award–winning Disturbed by Her Song. Lee wrote lush, sensitive, poetic prose about people unrestricted by gender roles or cultural norms, and she did it for forty years. Were there any missteps along that span? Does her “channeled” writing as spectral lesbian author Esther Garber (and Esther's pansexual half-brother, Judas Garbah) stand out from the greater body of her sexually charged work? How did she handle her portrayals of trans people and their sexuality? Our panelists will discuss queer themes, sexual exploration, and sexual fluidity in Lee's work.


1:00 PM 5 Clothes Make the Story. S.A. Chakraborty, John Chu, Lila Garrott, Kathleen Jennings, Shariann Lewitt. Costuming says a great deal about era, wealth, status, and taboo in both the setting of a work and the time and place where that work was created. It's frequently discussed in the context of visual media, but costuming can be just as important in literature, and it's a vital part of worldbuilding for speculative works. This panel will dig into the implications of clothing choices in speculative fiction, how they age as the work ages, how they interact with diverse readers' expectations around concepts such as modesty and gender, and their use as signposts to help the reader understand how to approach the created world.

An astonishing amount of post-modernist theory centers around clothing, and I'd like to see that transfer to the conversation of SFF. Lo, Barthes did not Fashion System in vain.


2:00 PM 5 Imagining a New Normativity. Lila Garrott, Shariann Lewitt, Alena McNamara, Tui Sutherland. In the varied settings of fantasy and science fiction, writers have an opportunity to model characters who don't make familiar assumptions related to personal characteristics such as gender, sexuality, politics, race, and religion. Some speculative worlds have new defaults, such as the setting of Rose Lemberg's "Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds," in which women are expected to form families with other women; in others, the default is to make no assumption at all, as in the world of full gender parity in Tanya Huff's Quarters series. This panel will explore some of the new norms of recent works, and discuss techniques for writers interested in creating worlds with new notions of normativity.

An object perpendicular to another object is said to be normal to it. This is pretty much how I feel about the concept of "mainstream"-- perpendicular. My day-to-day life, meanwhile, is apparently so unimaginable that the details of it don't come up in art, which is ridiculous.


Also I will be around generally, and [personal profile] gaudior and Fox will be there on Sunday, though I'm not sure yet at what time or for how long.

I look forward to seeing a lot of you there!

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 10:32 pm
dhampyresa: Paris coat of arms: Gules, on waves of the sea in base a ship in full sail Argent, a chief Azure semé-de-lys Or (fluctuat nec mergitur)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
Nothing says "patriotism" like being in a different country for your national holiday, hahaha. Whatever. It's a long week-end and I'm visiting family.

Be back around about Monday.

Also, my [community profile] fandomgiftbox is here. Where are yours?

Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 04:35 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios