All right, this is it, the big break.

Livejournal has updated its user terms and conditions with an expectation of complying with Russian (I almost typed Soviet, oi) law, including their anti-LGBTQ and freedom of speech laws, which is more than the camel can bear. It’s not like LJ’s had a lot of activity the past, uh, well, several, years, but many of us who have been holding out…no longer are.

I’ll be here on mizkit.com, of course, but I’ll be crossposting this journal to mizkit.dreamwidth.org from here on out, too. (And, y’know, to everywhere else it automagically crossposts.)

If you’re on Dreamwidth, you now know where to find me. If you’re on it with a different name than you use on LJ, let me know, or it may take me years to figure out who you are! :)

I grew up in a small town in Alaska. It was on the road system, which meant we could and did drive to Anchorage once a year, maybe twice, but my town didn’t have, say, a McDonald’s, when I was a kid. I remember when the Dairy Queen opened, and the Arby’s, which was less of a big deal because it opened after DQ, but the first time I went to McDonald’s I was around 11 and I froze. I had no idea what to order. I hardly had any idea *how* to order, even though I’d gone to DQ and Arby’s. But that had always been with my parents, never leaving me on my own to order.

I remember standing there in the McD’s, staring at the menu in a panic. There was so much STUFF and I didn’t know what was *good* or…*what*. I ended up ordering a Big Mac, because two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun was basically all I could think, so it’s what I got. (I thought it was awful.)

And that was the first McDonald’s experience for a kid on the road system.

I have a friend who teaches in a Yup’ik village on the west cost of Alaska. You fly in, to get to Kotlik, or if it’s winter–and the ice is safe, which it often isn’t anymore–you can take snow machine (mobile) up the river to visit other villages. There aren’t many cars. My friend brought the first *cats* the kids had ever seen to Kotlik. The nearest movie theatre is 200 miles away, in a town you have to fly to, to reach.

Three of her students have qualified for a Yup’ik language spelling bee in Anchorage this year. They’ve never competed in the bee before, and didn’t expect to do so well. Their school has no money to send kids to Anchorage, so my friend is running a GoFundMe to get them there.

They’ve paid for the basics. They’re hoping to cover all expenses, at this point. They’re hoping to be able to go to a movie, which they’ve never done in a theatre. They’re hoping to eat at a sit-down restaurant, which isn’t something that exists in Kotlik. They’re hoping to go swimming in a pool.

It’s almost impossible to convey how much it means for me to see these kids get to experience what is almost certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kotlik is threatened by climate change, but most people don’t leave the village, and most of them will only move with the village when it has to move, rather than going somewhere else.

It’s not just that they’ve got the chance. It’s that they’ve got the chance through academic achievement. It’s no insult to the kids to say most rural Alaskan schools aren’t well known for their academic prowess. They’re small, underfunded schools in tremendously remote locations. So I am *so proud* of these kids, and I want so badly for them to get to do all of the things they have a chance to do here. I think about me, eleven years old or so, overwhelmed by McDonald’s, and I think about how amazing and overwhelming and exciting this is going to be for them, and I want it for them so much.

If you have a few dollars to spare, it would be amazing if you could help these kids do the things that an awful lot of us take for granted, and that they’ve never had the chance to do.

Picoreview: Ghost in the Shell: I think it’s probably the kind if thing you’re going to like if you’re going to like it and the kind of thing you’re not going to like if you’re not going to like it.

I apparently decided the hill to die on was “female-led films need to do well at the box office” rather than “whitewashing is evil” and went to see it last night. Having only seen the anime once, and not having particularly cared for it and remembering almost nothing about it except a handful of iconic images, I thought it…wasn’t bad. It didn’t seem good, either, but then, I didn’t like the original, so.

The visuals were good. Excellent, even. Scarlett Johansson’s bodysuit/shell, in contrast to my recollection of the anime, is the least sexy thing I’ve ever seen. I suppose really enthusiastic teenage boys might be titilated by it, but seriously, it utterly lacks in titilation. I loved Johansson’s body language: she moved like a tank, stiff and unconnected to her shell, which was exactly right for the process that created her. I thought she went through a reasonable emotional story arc, although I kind of felt that Pilou Asbæk really did a fair amount of heavy lifting for the film’s emotional arc, without having all that much time on screen. He was good.

I don’t really know how to feel about the casting. From my perspective, as a white American lady, it was a problem. My vague understanding is that while many people in Japanese fandom (which is to say people who are fans in Japan, not of Japan) would have *liked* an Asian actress in the role, they didn’t expect one and figure Johansson’s at least got star power. On the third hand, the Major isn’t drawn as particularly Japanese in the anime, and there’s story stuff related to that. So I just don’t know. I personally would have liked an Asian actress in the role, but at the same time I didn’t feel that Johansson was badly cast.

A couple of very minor spoilers, more or less regarding the casting, behind the cut.

(more…)

Babushka gorilla

I wondered aloud the other day if I were to consistently get enough sleep, whether I would still be tired all the time. I recall an experiment in this field a couple of years ago, where for about two weeks I made a real effort to go to bed early and get enough sleep. After a couple weeks I felt so great I…stopped…

Anyway, after a very busy day yesterday I slept 11.5 hours* and this morning had a lot of weird dreams, the highlight of which was about a troop of gorillas living along the creek behind us. There were three of them, an adult couple and a younger male, and they were well-known all the way up and down the neighborhood.

But then they had twin babies, and I became a little concerned about my 6 year old and the babies (or, more accurately, their parents), so I called Dublin Zoo and told them they should perhaps get these gorillas and bring them to the zoo for everybody’s safety.

The zoo, quite reasonably, insisted that there couldn’t possibly be a troop of gorillas living wild in Ireland without them knowing about it. The whole thing turned into a rather intense discussion, and came to no satisfactory conclusion.

*I probably only SLEPT for about 9.5 hours, as this morning I kept waking up and thinking I should probably get up but I was bound in such comfortable sleep paralysis (I’ve loved that sensation ever since I found out what it was) that I didn’t want to break it by moving, so after a while I’d fall back asleep and that went on for quite a while…

Nearly 8 years ago now I started the ‘war room’, a chat room for writers to log into and keep each other company while we write. It’s a combination of support group, inertia-breaker, guilt-inducer, and social space. People log in from all over North America and Europe (I don’t think we have any other continents checking in), and it works really well. (Michelle Sagara dedicated the latest Elantra book to us. ♥ :))

I wish I could figure out a way to make something similiar for more off-line activities work. Going to the gym, for example (or at least, exercising). The best way to get me to the gym is to have somebody I don’t live with expecting me to show up there. It doesn’t matter if they’re actually my workout partner; they just have to expect to see me there. Etc.

But it’s different to have somebody expect you to show up in physical space. When there are thousands of miles separating you it’s harder. Past experiments with “I’ll email you when I’ve worked out, and then you’ll have to, too!” haven’t been…I mean, they work for a few days, but then somebody misses either a workout or an email and the whole thing peters out, and it’s months or even years before it gets picked back up again. I don’t know how that can be dealt with.

I mean, at the moment I’ve got a bit of positive feedback loop going with my friend Ellen, who was inspired by my spring cleaning post the other day and then did one of her own that inspired me and back and forth a bit, but I’m afraid we’re running out of speed on that one. (Although I got the table cleared off, Ellen!) So I dunno.

Anyway, they (“They”) say to become a (relative) expert in something, all you need is to do it consistently for 20 minutes a day. Arnold Schwarzenegger has a 15 minute body weight workout that he says is all you need to get fit. (I’ve done it. He’s right. It’s a great, by which I mean ass-kicking, workout. Unless you’re already pretty fit, don’t try all four reps in your first workout unless you don’t want to be able to walk for a week.) Even overlooking DuoLingo, there are a ton of 20-minutes-a-day language study programmes.

I’d like to get myself doing those things. Arnie’s workout, studying Spanish for 20 minutes a day, drawing for 20 minutes a day. Assuming some lead-in and wind-up time for those, they’re half an hour each. A total of 90 minutes a day. God knows I could afford to lose out on 90 minutes of looking at Facebook or Twitter every day.

(Obviously there are forty other things I’d like to do too, but I kind of think managing 3 is a big ask all by itself, even if it’s HARDLY ANY TIME, so, y’know. Baby steps. Or at least, medium-sized steps…)

(And yes, this is like a combination of Spring Sunshine Makes Me Ambitious and New Hair Means I Could Be A New Person, Right, so, y’know. Stupid brain, or something.)