|My WisCon Schedule
||[May. 22nd, 2013|09:23 am]
By some fluke, I am on five panels and not moderating a single one. |
Little House on the Manifest Destiny
Fri, 4:00–5:15 pm, Senate A
Her daughter — who turned her onto writing — was a founding Libertarian. Her father, who she idealized, idealized the Native Americans he was disinheriting. Underappreciated prose stylist (greatest landscape- and handicraft-porn evar!), she gave us an ideal of firm, calm, warm, loving parenthood — embodied in parents who constantly and willfully risked their childrens' lives. Agrarian populist who founded a commercial empire on Western nostalgia, she domesticated the narrative of the American West, rendering cozy, intimate, and feminine — without softening its danger — the same era of peril, deprivation, and genocide that Wild Bill Hickock masculinized into "Cowboys and Indians" fun. Is SF's "frontier nostalgia" all Hickock, or did we inherit some Laura Ingalls Wilder too?
Marguerite Reed (mod), Evelyn Browne, Haddayr Copley-Woods, Naomi Kritzer, Victor J. Raymond, Benjamin Rosenbaum
Playing with the Shiny Muse
Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm, Room 634
Elise Matthesen was nominated for a World Fantasy Award in 2009 "for setting out to inspire and for serving as inspiration for works of poetry, fantasy, and SF over the last decade through her jewelry-making and her 'artist's challenges.'" Jo Walton has gotten necklaces for several of her novels and written poetry inspired by new work posted online by Elise. Others have written short stories, poetry, and songs. Every WisCon, ten to twenty percent of the membership writes haiku for earrings. What's useful and interesting about playing with the shiny muse? How does that work?
Elise Matthesen (M), Amal El-Mohtar, Naomi Kritzer, Rez, Jo Walton
History Diverges: Alternate History and "What if?" as a Fiction Sub-genre
Sat, 10:30–11:45 pm, Senate A
Alternate history can be so realistic that it may strike readers as more plausible than what actually happened (GoH Jo Walton's Small Change series would be a great example of this.) Beyond the fundamental "what if…?" question, what issues and ideas are we exploring when we read (or write) alternate history? What are we saying with the scenarios we put together or seek out?
Victor J. Raymond (M), Richard F. Dutcher, Chip Hitchcock, Naomi Kritzer, Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey
(Something I found a little startling: I'm the only woman on this panel. At most cons that's par for the course, but it's a little surprising at WisCon.)
Sex Ed Curricula: the Good, the Bad, and the Actively Malicious
Sun, 10:00–11:15 am, Conference 5
Sex ed has been increasingly politicized in recent decades, with some states mandating "abstinence-only" programs and skipping all contraceptive information. Are there any sex ed curricula that are adequate and yet politically palatable? How do you find out what sex ed is being provided at schools in your area? Who do we lobby, and in the meantime, how do we make up for the inadequate information most kids are getting?
Shannon Prickett (M), Susie, Naomi Kritzer, Katherine Olson/Kayjayoh, Carrie Tilton-Jones
Books Saved My Life
Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm, Capitol B
"I can bear anything as long as there are books," says the protagonist of Jo Walton's Among Others, in one of those lines that probably speaks to everyone at WisCon. Let's talk about our childhood fandoms, the books that got us through hard times, the books we still turn to for solace, the books that saved our lives.
Jeanne Gomoll (M), Naomi Kritzer, Ellen Kushner, Madeleine E. Robins, Jane A Thompson
I am not going to be at the sign-out, but if you have something you want me to sign, feel free to just grab me after a panel or flag me down wherever you spot me.
||[May. 20th, 2013|10:50 pm]
I spent the day volunteering at Project Homeless Connect. While I was there, I picked up a list of low-cost and sliding-scale dental providers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, since I know a ton of people who have issues finding dental care.|
Sliding-scale and low-cost does not necessarily mean you will be able to get what you need for a price you actually find affordable; however, this is information that might be useful to some people, so I scanned it in as a PDF (actually, two PDFs because there were two sides to the sheet and I only have Acrobat Reader. There may be a way to combine them into one but I haven't figured it out yet.) If anyone wants it, drop me a note either as a comment, a fb message, or an e-mail (same name I use for everything @ Google owns my soul dot com). I'll note again that it's only Twin Cities area providers.
Also, one of the things that bothers the hell out of me, in general, is the way our society treats dental health.
On one hand, decent dental care is treated as a luxury. There is no "dental ER" where a person in extreme pain will be treated regardless of ability to pay. If you are lucky enough to be able to find charity care in an emergency, you're going to be offered an extraction, because crowns are for people who can pay for them.
On the other hand, people with visible missing teeth are discriminated against in employment, joked about, and (in some cases) treated with disgust and contempt.
The rationale for this is the myth that virtue inoculates you against dental problems -- therefore, if someone needs a root canal, it's because they didn't brush. The problem with this is that it's bullshit. You can brush, floss, and use fluoride rinse and still wind up with catastrophic dental problems for any number of reasons that are totally outside your control, including whether you breathe through your mouth in your sleep, whether you suffer from GERD, whether your saliva is particularly acidic, whether your enamel failed to form quite right. You can break a tooth while eating a salad.
There are a lot of crazy societal double standards when it comes to poor people, but this is one of the more blatant.
|PSA, plus talking about writing to a crowd
||[May. 11th, 2013|08:45 pm]
So, you probably remember the story of the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, where the woman spilled coffee on her lap. What you might not know is that the woman was really, really badly injured, requiring lengthy hospitalization, skin grafts, etc. This was due to the intense heat of the coffee but also because she was wearing cotton sweat pants. Knit cotton will glue itself to your skin when wet, and if it's wet with something that's scalding hot, it soak the scalding hot stuff right up and then hold it against your skin with great efficiency. If you ever pour scalding hot liquid on yourself, you want to get the hot, soaked fabric off your skin as quickly as possible. Sometimes you just hold it out, away from your skin, until the liquid cools; sometimes you need to take the clothes off.|
Also, if you burn yourself, once you've gotten away from whatever is burning you, you want to get the burned part under cold water (or whatever you've got handy: snow, a cold pack, etc.) as quickly as you can. Don't just try to shake it off: you can avoid a much more serious injury by cooling the burn down as quickly as you can. This can actually make the difference between a minor burn and a really bad burn, and even if you know it's not serious, getting your minor injury under cold water can make the difference between a burn that stops hurting right away and a burn that's still hurting six hours from now. Minor burns can still hurt a lot.
Anyway, this is all prefatory to telling you that Lyda, Haddayr and I went today to be speakers at the Mensa MN Regional Gathering. It was sort of like an SF con with no costumes, but friendlier. Lyda wanted caffeine and a sandwich before we got started, so we went up to the hospitality suite, where I poured myself some coffee and then promptly knocked the cup over, dumping it down my leg, where the scalding hot liquid got soaked up by my cotton sock. (And my jeans, but jeans don't glue themselves to your skin when wet, so that was less of a problem.)
So at this small, friendly nerd convention filled with kind, welcoming people, I proceeded to swear loudly, kick off my shoe and rip off my sock, and demand ICE OMG ICE RIGHT NOW.
The good news (for me, anyway): I was left with just a mildly sore spot on my foot and not a really unpleasant burn. (I'll note that it is sore enough that I'm pretty sure I could have wound up with a really bad burn if I hadn't freaked out and yanked my sock off as fast as I could.)
The bad news: adrenaline and embarrassment are not a particularly good mix right before you're about to do public speaking. I think I am usually more collected and less disjointed when I do panels than I was today. Everyone was nice about it, though.
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