I was especially pleased that Ender's Game had nothing of that “special effects for special effects sake” sensibility that has marred so many recent films. The special effects completely served the story. In fact, I do not believe this story could have been adequately told on the screen without today’s post-Inception techniques: the scenes in weightlessness, especially. The effects gave it visual scope. This is a Big Screen movie, and I--normally a person to wait for things to come out on TV--heartily recommend you see it in theaters, if you can.
The emotional scope of the movie was as good as the novel's: better, in that the dragging pace of the end of the novel was not even hinted at. I saw reviewers who thought the bullying and young people fighting were disturbing, to which I reply that it's supposed to be disturbing. Card was making a negative comment on the human condition almost as profound as the culmination of the plot. That was the theme: the evil we can do in the name of good and self-preservation.
While I was fully aware of the devastating secret at the end of the film, my husband had forgotten it. I was able to appreciate the story knowing what shock it led up to while he was blissfully unaware of what was coming. He called the secret at the end a "gut punch." I was very pleased that he experienced the film on that level. This is how a person who had not read the novel will react. Please – this is like "The Sixth Sense" in that spoilers make it a whole different experience for the film-goer. I hope none of my “in-the-know” friends let on in advance what devastation and hope await Ender.
* Work: My ethical disagreement with my ex boss meant I was effectively unable to work in my field, and no details but that's a shut door. I did some soul searching and decided to put the money I was going to spend on Worldcon on getting credentialed in a new field. (Being offline also kept me away from all the painful "I'm not there" online brouhaha about the Con and the Hugo Awards. Dammit,. I missed you all. Congrats to the winners, a week late.)
* Physical health: My blood pressure is much higher this year, and I made an appointment with a cardiologist to deal with this worst part of my genetic risk legacy. Oh - and guess what? I found out why I am such a lousy typist and screw up dates for things. Dyslexia. *sigh* I had to stop living at my old insane NY pace before things got quiet enough to see a pattern to the symptoms, and not jut blame it on sheer overworked exhaustion. http://www.dyslexia.com/library/adult-s
* Step-daughter's fixer-upper: On August 3 my step-daughter bought a house, "as is" from a bank and has to have it ready for both her mother (my husband's disabled ex wife has nowhere else to go) and a renter by Oct.1 It has not helped that the heat pump (A/C) was broken, there is a major leak in the slab that requires re-piping through the attic, it had carpenter ants, and more. Brian's been there most days after work and I've been helping him and painting. One last push and the nest will be empty. Who had time for social media or a con? My contributions to the rehabilitation are over, finally.
So today I caught up on the housework read back through LJ until I hit the Hugos. Tomorrow I read back a bit on Facebook, then work on A&A things. On Sept 12th I start back to school toward a Master Gardener title and a certificate in Landscape Design & Horticulture. Onward.
Let's take a minute here to talk about the prevalence of mile-marker streams, too. Ten Mile Creek is ten miles west of Columbia, SC and Twelve Mile Creek is . . . you're catching on. There are mile-marker creeks at obvious distances from most larger towns here.Cartography is often a numbers game in the Deep South.
I find it utterly fascinating that this sort of thing is no longer being tolerated in silence simultaneously with a very public anti-bullying
crusade. Perhaps we, as a culture, are waking up.
In this article, "I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl," a Dr. Who fan talks about one of the alternatives film and novels give young women as an alternative to the rather one-dimensional objectified Blonde Bombshell. Typified by the Doctor's companions, at one time she modeled herself on the rather two-dimensional Manic Pixie Dream Girl. It's a supporting role. Eventually she wanted to star in her own life.
"I stopped being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl around about the time I got rid of the last vestiges of my eating disorder and knuckled down to a career. It’s so much easier, if you have the option, to be a girl, not a person."
That was my experience, too, minus the eating disorder. And, she goes on to say:
"It’s definitely easier to be a girl than it is to do the work of being a grown woman, especially when you know that grown women are far more fearful to the men whose approval seems so vital to your happiness."
I stopped applying for supporting roles when my ex-husband, the "man whose approval who was so vital to my happiness," had run off with another woman--several other women, in fact...all right. anything in a skirt--after he'd already made sure he'd done all he could to crush my soul with indifference and neglect for ten years prior to that. I'd come to the very logical conclusion that leaning on anyone else for my happiness was a losing proposition. Favorite songs became "You Gotta Be" and especially, Billy Joel's "My Life" where he says:
They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place
Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else
Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it's okay to wake up with yourself
So. Waking up with myself, I spent 20 years alone after my ex left. You might say I've had time for some introspection. And one thing I got right was spending time on finding out who I was before committing to a second marriage. I married someone who supports my writing, editing and genre roles. If he comes home and I feed him toasted cheese sandwiches and canned soup for dinner because I was plowing through slush or writing several chapters of a non-fic book or polishing a short for submission or working on a rewrite for an A&A author...he's not only cool with that, he's proud.
The author of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl article seems not so lucky. She says, "You cannot be a writer and have writing be anything other than the central romance of your life, which is one thing they don’t tell you about being a woman writer: it’s its own flavor of lonely. Men can get away with loving writing a little bit more than anything else." And women can't? Not necessarily. But you need a real man who is no longer a boy and appreciates a woman rather than a girl, or a fantasy.
Luckily, just as I suspected when a started seriously looking for a new husband at the age of 50, you;'re more likely to find such a man when he is older and more experienced.
Consider this a belated (very) Happy Fourth Wedding Anniversary post. If you're older and single, don't assume you can't find someone. And don't settle for someone who belittles you, ever.
"These are not the assaults, the beatings, the rapes. These are not the traumas. These are small things, mostly; they happen a hundred times a day, you have to deal with them all. To ignore these is to know they’re collecting little victories of privilege, and to wait for “baby” to turn to “bitch” when you don’t answer. To respond almost always risks escalation, telescoping the amount of time you’ll have to deal with it. Either can be dangerous, if the man has a mind.
"You’ll have to assume you’re operating alone; a dozen men at that bus stop will stand and watch the man with his iPhone out; when he threatens at length to rape and murder you for telling him to fuck off, they will stand and watch as you try to dial the cops with one eye on his fists. They’ll tell the bus driver you were making a scene. Sometimes that’s how you deal with it.)
"Either way, when you tell the story, someone will suggest you should have taken the opposite tack. (This is an equal-opportunity moment; the whole world is invited to question women, and this is an easy win for anyone – to keep quiet is wrong, to engage is wrong.) If you don’t tell the stories, they stack up in silence, and they weigh. You have to deal with that, too.
"All of these moments are claims on you. This process is always running; it takes up a variable but dedicated percentage of your active memory. This process is mandatory; your operating parameters haven’t been designed otherwise."
If I may, I'd like to talk about what that process is for my subcategory of female. Genevieve is gorgeous. She's beautiful. She streaked like a glittering meteor through the glamorous people I met at the 2012 Locus Award Weekend. All that she says in her post is right, and valid and true. But my perspective is skewed by a simple fact. I'm not beautiful.
My body type has never been the cultural ideal of some sort of slim model, buxom Barbie, or elfin grace. I'm large boned and have struggled with my weight my whole life. I would have made a good farmer's wife; the polite term for someone like me was "handsome." I suppose I was tolerably better looking in my teens and twenties, enough to suffer a rape in my home town and sexual harassments on the NYC subway of my own at any rate. But usually, I was scorned. I'm not saying I envy those who go through constant sexual harassment, who are treated as if they were sexual objects to be casually abraded by any passing male with a whim to do so. But it might have been nice if, once in a while, someone cared one way or another if I lived or died. Being raised in a home with an alcoholic father also painted a great big "Victim" sign on my chest that took years to erase. Still, I came to the conclusion early that people were people, humans came in male and female, and both were worthy of kindness and respect. I just never got much of that respect back from a world completely swept up in appearances. I was unlovely. I was not a brag-worthy conquest. Nothing to see here, move along.
This is not a request for pity or reassurances. It's a very naked look at how the unlovely can retreat into silences and emotional deadness. Dealing with it? I eventually dealt with being female (and unlovely) by not giving a rat's rear end what anyone thought. I cultivated a dangerous indifference to what any harassing male might say or do to me. I took martial arts, and I learned to fight very dirty, physically dirty and verbally venomous - but only if provoked. My normal defense mechanism was to draw into myself, and to lash out only when coddled or belittled. Not all of it was because I was female: God knows, the new guys on any job or in any situation have to prove their worth. But because keeping people at arms length was safer than letting them in.
So I always expected some men to behave badly, and some women, too. I never have suffered fools gladly. At ten a wrestled a 12 year old harasser to the ground and pushed his face in the dirt. At 12 I broke a harassing 14-year-old's nose*. At 18 I carried a pointy umbrella to jab into anyone trying to hump me on the subway in the rush hour, which happened all too frequently. At 30, I confronted my rapist** and threatened to break his nose. At 35, my husband left me, saying he'd only married me because he thought no one else would take him. Seriously, that said more about him that it did about me. And I knew it, but it still hurt.
And all I wanted to do was have a nice, feminine life - to be appreciated for being me. I wanted to read books and arrange flowers, decorate a home and wear perfume and not be treated like a freak for thinking I could have that when I was not "pretty."
Eventually, I reached the top of my field in one of the most respected professions, engineering, in a male-dominated industry: construction. I was asked to run Abyss & Apex and when I shared that with my face-to-face crit group, and for the very first time in my life I saw the respect of my friends in their eyes. And little by little the respect of my colleagues and friends in SF & F and construction engineering allowed me to come out of my angry shell.
For me, there's a happy ending. My Brian and I are very happy, Abyss & Apex is respected, and I had the satisfaction of being a female trailblazer in my field. But I'm still a little unbalanced by the kindness of my friends in the genre. I love you all. Please see past appearances for the next generation of genre people coming up. Not all of them are beautiful. Most, however, are gorgeous inside. And I love you Genevieve, for speaking out. You're gorgeous - inside and out.
* Both times to defend a defenseless younger girl.
** My husband and I had a discussion about whether or not to make this post "friends only" due to the mention of rape, but I decided that shame should stick to the rapist, not the victim. Every time a woman (or man) acts as if their rape was the rapist's fault it lifts a burden off other victims. So this is public.
We are using my LLC for all this;it's all open and above-board and legal and on the books. Projections show that this side venture will replace our missing income from when I had to quit working for my ex boss, so yay!
- Current Mood: happy
We found this out when we noticed she was looking at houses online. Maggie has been at the same company 13 yeas and is considered a good risk for a mortgage. Houses here are cheap, and she is pre-qualified to get a loan on small one. So she's been looking. The financial education involved in her getting her own car and paying her own insurance and slowly paying more and more of her own way has left her an independent adult. Brian thinks his daughter learned a great deal as my "apprentice" and that she has the skills now to run a household and not be taken in by her mother's financially grasping ways.
What's odd and touching is how much Maggie is carefully spending time with me as if she will miss me. I will miss her, too.
The urban legend runs like this: The University of Florida was trying to develop an insect to deal with the mosquito problem. In something that sounds tailor-made as an argument against things like Monsanto seeds and nanotech, the developing bugs escaped. Supposedly they only live 24 hours, long enough to do nothing but mate and die.
The truth is a little more prosaic. The insects are native to Central America and probably stowed away on a container ship. The really weird thing is to see them "flying United" - they fly superglued together, with the smaller male (who dies when mating) stuck on the side of the female until she lays her eggs and dies.
And they swarm. Remembering that the squashed love bugs are hell on car finishes, eating through the paint, check out a couple of photos of them on cars:
One day's worth of Love Bugs on my son's car. Aannnd...
A Love-Bug-spattered truck we saw.
In a word, eww.