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Galactic Suburbia Ep 110

In which culture, we consume it. Over at iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.


What Culture Have we Consumed?



Alisa: Landline by Rainbow Rowell; Coode St Podcast Ep 207: Kameron Hurley; The Wheeler Centre: Books, Writing, Ideas Podcast – Quarterly Essay: On Women Freedom and Misogyny : Anna Goldsworthy; … AND PHd Check in!

Tansy: Rachel & Miles X-plain the X-Men, Battle Scars, Uncanny, Cranky Ladies, Nanowrimo

Alex: Haven seasons 1 and 2; Upgraded, ed Neil Clarke (NB available from Fishpond, for Austraian listeners!); Journeys, Jan Morris; The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness


Orphan Black cat cosplay

Anthony Mackie shouts out to little Falcons & Falconettes.

Sean Pertwee cosplays his Dad for Halloween.


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


 





Drowned Vanilla Book Launch – Hobart

Sadly I can’t make it, but if you’re in Hobart tomorrow:


DrownedVanillaWHERE: Hobart Bookshop, Salamanca Place, Hobart Tasmania.

WHEN: 5:30-7pm, Thursday 20 November


Kate Gordon, author of Thyla and Writing Clementine, will be launching Drowned Vanilla by Livia Day at the Hobart Bookshop. Please come and join us! There will be wine, and books, and THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR WHICH FEATURES MURDER AND ICE CREAM.


We’d love to see you there. No RSVP required, just bring yourselves


For more info, check out Tansy’s/Livia’s blog.





Years Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013

We’re delighted to announce today, the table of contents for the first volume of our new series, The Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction – to be edited by Julia Rios and myself.


Fans of Kaleidoscope will find more tales of wonder, adventure, diversity, and variety in this collection devoted to stories with teen protagonists. This volume will be released later this year (not that many days left in this year!) and preorders will open as soon as we set the RRP.


Table of Contents



Selkie Stories Are For Losers  –  Sofia Samatar

By Bone-Light  –  Juliet Marillier

The Myriad Dangers  –  Lavie Tidhar

Carpet  –  Nnedi Okorafor

I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon  –  Sarah Rees Brennan

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides  –  Sam J. Miller

The Minotaur Girls  –  Tansy Rayner Roberts

Not With You, But With You  –  Miri Kim

Ghost Town  –  Malinda Lo

December  –  Neil Gaiman

An Echo in the Shell  –  Beth Cato

Dan’s Dreams  –  Eliza Victoria

As Large As Alone  –  Alena McNamara

Random Play All and the League of Awesome  –  Shane Halbach

Mah Song  –  Joanne Anderton

What We Ourselves Are Not  –  Leah Cypess

The City of Chrysanthemum  –  Ken Liu

Megumi’s Quest  –  Joyce Chng

Persimmon, Teeth, and Boys  –  Steve Berman

Flight  –  Angela Slatter

We Have Always Lived on Mars  –  Cecil Castellucci


 


 





Galactic Suburbia Episode 109

22 October 2014


Show Notes


 http://galactisuburbia.podbean.com/e/episode-109-22-october-2014/


In which we solemnly swear we will repeat the title of our culture consumed after discussing it. Pinkie promise. 




Update on Gamergate with particular focus on Brianna Wu AKA @spacekatgal


(This episode was recorded before the Felicia Day incident)



Alisa’s con report – Conflux

Tansy’s con report – CrimesceneWAStrange Horizons fundraising


 We read and appreciate all your Twitter comments and emails, even if we don’t reply. We love your feedback!

It’s time to start thinking about the GS Award, yes already, WTF 2014 why are you moving so fast?


What Culture Have we Consumed?

 

Alisa: Landline, Rainbow Rowell (NB since recording, Alisa actually finished this book YES SHE DID); Night Terrace S1 1- 5

Alex: Sarkeesian’s XOXO talk; Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen); Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond; Indistinguishable from Magic, Catherynne Valente; Bitterwood Bible and other Recountings, Angela Slatter; The Dish.

Tansy: Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan; Night Terrace S1, Agents of SHIELD S1, The Flash S1 Ep 1-2


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!




In knitting, it’s called Startititis – the urge/disease/need to start new projects, usually before finishing ones in progress and usually more than one or three or five at a go. It’s no breaking news story to say I love starting new projects. I love the thrill of thinking of something new – the “can we?”, “would it be possible to…”, “what if?” I love pitching ideas to people, bringing them on board. I love the possibility and potential that new projects bring. I love the idea that I could be the person on the other side of starting a new habit or routine, the person who just is or does [whatever]. But I’m not so good at follow through. I’m not so awesome at taking things through to the finishing line. My most classic example might be my first postgrad attempt where I built the mathematical model, I played with it for 2 or 3 years, even published a paper in a pretty good academic journal, then I saw the problem I was solving through to the end *in my head* and I was good. I knew how the story ended. And I lost interest. Anyone will tell you the thing about a PhD, the thing the actual piece of paper says, is that you can complete something.


In my life, I’m surrounded by half started projects. Let’s see. I’m sitting at my coffee table. Let me tell you what I can see by looking around and without getting up or moving in any way –> to my left there is a started quilting project (the top was finished more than two years ago but never made it’s way to being quilted) and a block of my Solstice quilt with half a border. Panning right is a bookcase that is only partially sorted and some wedding gifts yet to be homed. In front of me are about 6 TV series I’ve started but not continued (yet). And on the table are pieces 4 different craft (quilting and knitting) projects, the rest of the TPP financial bank statements etc from 2014 that are yet to be formally processed (balanced against records, entered into financial software packages and spreadsheets and royalties statements), a book I finished reading and want to write a Goodreads review for and a whole pile of To Do Lists in various states of untidiness. On the printer is a shopping list for a cake I want to bake for Mothers’ Group on Weds. And to my right are receipts that were partially sorted a few days ago.


And I’m not even sitting at my study desk.


But I’m always striving to hope towards being better. You know how it is. As I mentioned previously, a couple of weeks ago we signed up for a program to help us organise our house in a structured way. We aren’t moving at the pace of the program but we’ve made enough progress that I’m starting to get inspired and hopeful we might be turning a corner. The other Alisa lives in a Vogue magazine spread. In whites and eggshell blues. I can see though that when you start to *feel* like you’re gaining control, that helps you gain momentum. It’s quite interesting how important it is how you feel rather than how it is for this stuff. In the GTD school of thought, just sitting down and corralling your to dos makes you feel accomplished. You don’t even have to do any of the items, you just feel back in control simply by emptying your head and itemising them in some way.


So with this thinking in mind, I decided last week to try that piece of advice (was it Mark Twain?) – eat the frog first. Find the thing you least want to do, that you are most avoiding or will be the hardest, and do that first in the morning. Normally, and in Michelle Bridge’s 12WBT, that’s supposed to be exercise. Get it out of the way up front etc. And look, I’m not that person so I’m not even going to pretend to myself that that’s what it will be. But last week, every day, I tried to start the morning, especially over my first cup of coffee, to do something I had been seriously avoiding. And wow! That was an interesting exercise. Not every task when completed made me feel awesome. Some things you avoid because you know you have to tell someone something they don’t want to hear. But getting it over and done with was good. And it wasn’t quite as confronting an exercise as I thought it would be. I actually got a lot of things done. And progressed things that had long been shelved. And it did open up a bit of a floodway in that last week was the first week in a very long time that I actually had really long moments (hours) of feeling “in the flow”. I’d forgotten how great that felt! So productive! And exciting!


It had the additional result of having me think about *why* I was avoiding particular things. One of the things I’ve noticed about how my email inbox can build up is that I don’t like making decisions. Not that I’m indecisive or incapable of making decisions but the act of sitting down and actually thinking something through to a decision feels like hard work. “Oh that requires *thinking*. No time for that now!” But actually the thought process ends up taking less than 5 minutes when you finally sit down and do it. Sure, it might mean you have to admit there are 5 or 25 actions that are required but … you know, otherwise, you don’t really want to do whatever it is you are looking at. And usually, once you itemise the actions required, you find yourself doing them without even noticing. Like, “Oh well I need to email … may as well just do that now …” etc. Or the admitting you have to tell someone no or that you can’t do something. That for me is usually the hard bit. Once I’ve done that, I can actually write the email or make the call. It’s the admission that is hard.


So I’ve found that for me a lot of the procrastination is in the required thinking through of something and making a decision on how to act. Once I’ve done that … whee … I’m in flow.


Building onto that is what I’ve been focussing on over the last few days. Is it true that I just can’t finish things and if so, why? I’ve noticed that I can’t finish a novel, for example. That I haven’t finished a book in over two years. Even books I’m enjoying. And a friend of mine mentioned to me one day last week that a mutual friend of ours is now reading 3 books a day just by not doing anything else. And I thought, wow, when did I last finish a book and is it because I “distract” myself with things like TV and craft etc? Have I given myself a short attention span by not staying long attention fit? And … is this the issue I’m having with my reading for my PhD? And … what about all these other things I start but don’t finish? What do I lack? Is it attention? Is it staying power? Commitment? Who am I? And where is my mummy?


The only thing to do was to challenge myself to finish a novel. To just keep bringing myself back to that task. And I did it! (See finished book above!) I finished a book. Wow. 1 frigging book. I proved to myself that I can in fact do it. Good. Though this isn’t enough. But I think shows that I’ve let myself get shortened attention span in the way I interact with things in my world. Yes yes I mean Facebook and Twitter. And only half reading pretty much any article I click on. So I’ve challenged myself to finish a whole bunch of started projects in my house. For the rest of the year. And then I’m going to post a list as my end of year summary – what did I actually do this year.


And as with all things, it’s not so hard. It does involve thinking through why I’m not finishing something and figuring out what the next action is and sometimes holding my hand though the decision. Here’s the quilt top that has been finished for over two years but not ever actually progressed further. It turns out, I just needed to admit that backing material I’d bought was in fact backing material and the world would go on if I cut it up. And then I just needed to measure and cut. And lie batting in between. And then pin it all up. And get out the quilting hoop. And then … begin quilting.


photo 2


Time taken to get to this point? Over two years.


Time taken to do all the above? Less than 15 minutes.


The trick it seems is to ask yourself “What is next?” and when you brain says “I can’t do X because I still need to do Y”, to then ask yourself, “Well, what do I have to do to get Y?” It’s usually not as hard as your brain likes to pretend.


Here are last week’s finished Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt blocks. The bow tie ended up too small and I’ve fixed this by just creating a new (third) border size to frame it (and several others also undersized) to bring them up to the same size. It’s not perfect but it will do.


photo 1 . photo 3 . photo 4





How *DO* you get it all done?

The tl;dr to the title question is: you don’t.


You notice how they never ask men if they can have it all? You know why, don’t you. It’s because noone can have it all, it’s an impossible question AND actually, noone really wants it all. But we ask women that question all the time to passively aggressively imply that they don’t get to give up the expectations of stuff in one part of their lives in order to do the stuff they also want to do in another part of their lives (or heaven forbid, instead of). Women have to juggle. Men get to delegate.


The expectations. The expectations are there no matter how hard you fight the patriarchy – there from me, there from others. I still stress out when people come over and my house isn’t tidy and organised. *I* know that I’m pulling more than 2 full time jobs at the moment. And I know that other people know that too. But still you can kinda see them think, when I say I haven’t done something or got to something yet, “but it’s just” or “you just have to” or “it’ll only take X amount of time”. And I think but mostly don’t say “When exactly do you think I have time for that?” We all prioritise and triage. I just wish we didn’t also have to feel guilty about doing that. Yes, this is me working on killing the dream of the SuperWoman. She doesn’t exist. Just like cake, she is a lie.


And in other myths. I’m finally having to admit that I can’t still work at the pace I was pre-baby. Horrible realisation. Comes with the “it’s actually impossible to have it all” myth. I hit my wall just over a week ago, one convention shy of my 2014 commitments. Burn out. The worst. I got pharyngitis which is both painful and totally yuk. I’ve ended up on 1 week holiday, self enforced. And am looking at a second week off just to make sure it sticks.


I’ve been doing the traditional rewatch of The Gilmore Girls as antidote for burnout (aka my Business Model – TM Tansy). And working on some sewing. I’ve nearly finished sewing on the borders for the blocks for the Solstice Quilt and then piecing them together. I just had three star blocks left. Tonight I finished Block 11:


photo 2


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


I’m working on the Farmer’s Wife project. I was supposed to be posting 2 blocks a week here (you might remember that one). And then I fell off the wagon. I ended up precutting a whole bunch to take with me to Canberra and have been posting the finished ones over on a Pinterest board here. I discovered that the reason I’d been letting this project lie fallow is that I hated some of the decisions I’d made. I felt locked in to the first couple of blocks because I’d started quilting them, and the backing I cut was too short. And I also didn’t actually like the border I’d chosen and some of those blocks. I decided to bite the bullet and change the borders – some are now the strips and some are triangles with the block on an angle. Eg:


Paris Table


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


And here is the before (or first go) and after (and second) on the first block, which I really hated.


 


photo(115)


Farmers Wife block 54: Kitchen Woodbox


 


Today I started working on this new project too. Ages ago I bought a fat quarter bundle called Nightshade – really fun cameos that I thought I could cut into panels and then do something with. The problem was that I really liked the purple ones but the way they cut the fabric, I didn’t get the faces that I liked. I did, though, get them in the green. So I was sort of half-hearted about the project. I made the first one and then I guess I got a bit procrastinaty about it.

photo 1


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Last night I figured out part of my problem was the maths – the purple face was going to be a different size, and I had to work that out (and cut it in a perfect rectangle). And then I had to redesign the log cabin pattern to match the new size of the face and finish at a similar size to the first. But importantly, this doesn’t have anything to do with finishing off the above piece, which just needs now quilting and binding (course now I have to figure out the backing … but I digress).


Voila to the cut piece, BIG progress. And I have designed up the log cabin block. Currently I’m piecing one to see if I like the fabric combinations.


photo 3


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


I still have to decide if I make 3 or 4 of these – 4 seems a bit of an odd number for hanging purposes.


So that’s what I’ve been doing this week of “holidays”.


I’ve also been working on our house project. Just before we headed off to Canberra, I got C to sign us up to this Organise your House in 20 days project (by way of The Organised Housewife). Because being organised at the end of 20 days sounded awesome. It started just as we were leaving so we already knew we would be finishing it after the rest of the sign ups. When we got back, I had a look through the first week of tasks – each day (of the working week) you get a room assignment and a list of tasks. I admit I freaked out. I’m still not sure how other people are completing each day within the day – did they start out more organised than me? Was there a baseline organised requirement that I missed on sign up? Do they not have kids? Other job commitments? Do they spend 8 hours on these tasks each day? The mind boggles. My husband, though, pointed out *we* don’t need to complete this challenge in the 20 days. As long as we set aside an hour or so a day and move forward, we can still win.


Our goal for by the end of the weekend was to have finished the first 3 days’ worth and whilst we’re not quite there, there is very definite improvement. I’m almost completely on top of the laundry, even having done about a half or more of the handwashing. I also had to sort through all my jewellery in order to complete the bedroom tasks. It turns out that I had not ever sorted my collection and instead of making use of my boxes to organise things, I had them stuffed full of stuff I knew not what and most likely didn’t even like, leaving the stuff I did like, all piled up all over the place making everything look messy and also getting dusty and too gross to wear. So, both displeasing to the eye and meaning I haven’t been enjoying wearing jewellery for some time. I’m not quite finished sorting it all and in true GTD fashion, it generated other next actions like – get broken pieces fixed etc. But I’m more inspired, I’ve culled lots of stuff that I can finally admit I’m never going to wear and don’t like or have outgrown, and my dresser is starting to look like a happy place again.


I’m liking the organising challenges. As long as I can be ok that it’s going to take us longer than the 20 days.


Which kinda summarises this whole post. You *can* have and do it all, *as long as* you adjust your estimated timeframes accordingly.


 





How *DO* you get it all done?

The tl;dr to the title question is: you don’t.


You notice how they never ask men if they can have it all? You know why, don’t you. It’s because noone can have it all, it’s an impossible question AND actually, noone really wants it all. But we ask women that question all the time to passively aggressively imply that they don’t get to give up the expectations of stuff in one part of their lives in order to do the stuff they also want to do in another part of their lives (or heaven forbid, instead of). Women have to juggle. Men get to delegate.


The expectations. The expectations are there no matter how hard you fight the patriarchy – there from me, there from others. I still stress out when people come over and my house isn’t tidy and organised. *I* know that I’m pulling more than 2 full time jobs at the moment. And I know that other people know that too. But still you can kinda see them think, when I say I haven’t done something or got to something yet, “but it’s just” or “you just have to” or “it’ll only take X amount of time”. And I think but mostly don’t say “When exactly do you think I have time for that?” We all prioritise and triage. I just wish we didn’t also have to feel guilty about doing that. Yes, this is me working on killing the dream of the SuperWoman. She doesn’t exist. Just like cake, she is a lie.


And in other myths. I’m finally having to admit that I can’t still work at the pace I was pre-baby. Horrible realisation. Comes with the “it’s actually impossible to have it all” myth. I hit my wall just over a week ago, one convention shy of my 2014 commitments. Burn out. The worst. I got pharyngitis which is both painful and totally yuk. I’ve ended up on 1 week holiday, self enforced. And am looking at a second week off just to make sure it sticks.


I’ve been doing the traditional rewatch of The Gilmore Girls as antidote for burnout (aka my Business Model – TM Tansy). And working on some sewing. I’ve nearly finished sewing on the borders for the blocks for the Solstice Quilt and then piecing them together. I just had three star blocks left. Tonight I finished Block 11:


photo 2


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


I’m working on the Farmer’s Wife project. I was supposed to be posting 2 blocks a week here (you might remember that one). And then I fell off the wagon. I ended up precutting a whole bunch to take with me to Canberra and have been posting the finished ones over on a Pinterest board here. I discovered that the reason I’d been letting this project lie fallow is that I hated some of the decisions I’d made. I felt locked in to the first couple of blocks because I’d started quilting them, and the backing I cut was too short. And I also didn’t actually like the border I’d chosen and some of those blocks. I decided to bite the bullet and change the borders – some are now the strips and some are triangles with the block now on an angle. EG:


Paris Table


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


And here is the before (or first go) and after (and second) on the first block, which I really hated.


photo(115)


Farmers Wife block 54: Kitchen Woodbox


Today I started working on this new project too. Ages ago I bought a fat quarter bundle called Nightshade that I really liked – really fun cameos that I thought I could cut into panels and then do something with. The problem was that I really liked the purple ones but the way they cut the fabric, I didn’t get the faces that I liked. I did, though, get them in the green. So I was sort of half-hearted about the project. I made the first one and then I guess I got a bit procrastinaty about it.

photo 1


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Last night I figured out part of my problem was the maths – the purple face was going to be a different size, and I had to work that out (and cut it in a perfect square). And then I had to redesign the log cabin pattern to match the new size of the face and finish at a similar size to the first. But importantly, this doesn’t have anything to do with finishing off the above piece, which just needs now quilting and binding (course now I have to figure out the backing … but I digress).


Voila to the cut piece, BIG progress. And I have designed up the log cabin block. Currently I’m piecing one to see if I like the fabric combinations.


photo 3


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


So that’s what I’ve been doing this week of “holidays”.


I’ve also been working on our house project. Just before we headed off to Canberra, I got C to sign us up to this Organise your House in 20 days project (by way of The Organised Housewife). Because being organised at the end of 20 days sounded awesome. It started just as we were leaving so we already knew we would be finishing it after the rest of the sign ups. When we got back, I had a look through the first week of tasks – each day (of the working week) you get a room assignment and a list of tasks. I admit I freaked out. I’m still not sure how other people are completing each day within the day – did they start out more organised than me? Was there a baseline organised requirement that I missed on sign up? Do they not have kids? Other job commitments? Do they spend 8 hours on these tasks each day? The mind boggles. My husband, though, pointed out *we* don’t need to complete this challenge in the 20 days. As long as we set aside an hour or so a day and move forward, we can still win.


Our goal for by the end of the weekend was to have finished the first 3 days’ worth and whilst we’re not quite there, there is very definite improvement. I’m almost completely on top of the laundry, even having done about a half or more of the handwashing. I also had to sort through all my jewellery in order to complete the bedroom tasks. It turns out that I had not ever sorted my collection and instead of making use of my boxes to organise things, I had them stuffed full of stuff I knew not what and most likely didn’t even like, leaving the stuff I did like, all piled up all over the place making everything look messy and also getting dusty and too gross to wear. So, both displeasing to the eye and meaning I haven’t been enjoying wearing jewellery for some time. I’m not quite finished sorting it all and in true GTD fashion, it generated other next actions like – get broken pieces fixed etc. But I’m more inspired, I’ve culled lots of stuff that I can finally admit I’m never going to wear and don’t like or have outgrown, and my dresser is starting to look like a happy place again.


I’m liking the organising challenges. As long as I can be ok that it’s going to take us longer than the 20 days.


Which kinda summarises this whole post. You *can* have and do it all, *as long as* you adjust your estimated timeframes accordingly.


 





Conflux 10!

We are off to Canberra this week as I am joining Margo Lanagan as the Guests at Conflux.


I’m taking pitches for Twelfth Planet Press on Friday afternoon ahead of the Opening Ceremony (5.30pm, Forest Room 2) and then disappearing for Yom Kippur. I’ll be back around on Sunday morning (9.45am) to be interviewed by Helen Merrick in my Guest Speech slot before we launch Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA SF & Fantasy Stories in Australia in Forest Room 2.


I’m also scheduled to appear on the following panel items:


CURRENT TRENDS IN BOOK BUSINESS


This century has seen new ways of “doing” book business, from the major publishing house to small and indie press, from print to ebooks. Small press and independent titles are attracting both award and review attention. Panellists have experience with a range of publishing strategies and share their insights.

5.30pm Sunday, Forest Room 2. Panellists: Alan Baxter, Jack Dann, Alisa Krasnostein and Aimee Lindorff.


WRITING ABOUT GENDER AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY


Issues in writing about gender and sexually diverse characters.

9am Monday. Forest Room 2. Panellists: Alisa Krasnostein, Helen Merrick (Moderator), and Jane Virgo.


THE SPOKEN JOURNEY


Podcasts, talking books, radio, audio journals: in a multi-media environment the writing market includes audio presentations. This panel explores audio as a medium and issues in accessibility, technology and performance.

1pm Monday, Forest Room 3. Panellists: Phill Berrie (Moderator), Alisa Krasnostein, and Tehani Wessely.


TRANSMEDIA STORIES


New strategies and trends in story telling are increasing in popularity with graphic novels, e-books with embedded content, Youtube tie-ins, film and television and many other formats. Our panellists discuss ‘telling’ a story across multiple platforms.

3pm Monday, Forest Room 2. Panellists: Jacqueline Abela, Alisa Krasnostein and more panellists to be confirmed.


 


I’m bringing the Twelve Planets Scarf Project so come along and say hi to us in the Dealers Room and knit some rows and check out our new books!





Something happened yesterday

So while I was in London last month, I managed to catch up with a friend good, very old friend of mine. We had a really lovely afternoon (photos to come in another post) and in it, we caught up on all things. And one of the things I love about good old friends is that they know you, you can’t throw a glamour over yourself and fool them into believe your spin. They see you for what you are. And so during this afternoon, we had a good long chat about the fact that I am a Procrastinator, with a capital P. Which, you know, I can complain about a lotta stuff but I can’t get away with a straight face denying that particular thing. We spoke a bit about it and I toyed with the idea of tracking how much time I work on things – I’d read a really interesting article that said that working 8 hours a day is all you need and you will get everything done, but that you really need to work – honestly – that full 8 hours.


I had been thinking about setting up a way of tracking, not necessarily to see how little work I do, but to actually look at it and use it as a way to maybe counter some bad habits. As it turned out, I didn’t need to spend too much time setting something up as I’d already installed Tictoc some time ago and had a couple of heading tasks in that app – it sits on your dock and you just click on and off as you switch from task to task. I added a few more things in like social media, household stuff, etc and I have some pretty broad titles like TPP, PhD, emails etc. I don’t really need to know the minutiae for this experiment.


I’ve only been doing it properly since about mid last week so I don’t yet have enough data for pretty graphs or anything and let’s be honest, I’m not about to reveal anything earth shattering here. I only got close to anything resembling an 8 hour day yesterday and that was with me pushing working til 1.30 am. Now, yes, I have a baby at home, what do I expect? But I’m studying full time at the moment, so what I expect is to be honestly able to show those hours or else that commitment is unrealistic (hey, what? I can talk reasonably about myself!) So yesterday I was pretty happy as I managed to earn my 12 red ticks for 1 gold star (yes I’m still running that system, it makes sure I touch base across a bunch of projects and not just get lost in one) and I got the 8 hour day of work done.


But today I’ve not managed to get myself to do very much at all. I had Mothers’ Group and then also Galactic Suburbia. And pretty much no motivation or brain space to do much else. Which kinda proves that thing where you can push really hard to double on one day but you pay for that by being able to do nothing the next and thus averaging to normal across 2 days.


I don’t think that my regular work output (before yesterday) is any different to when I had a full time day job ie if I replace the baby for that (which is not quite an equal trade …) I’m still working the same hours on TPP. Which kinda makes me amazed at what I’ve produced in so few hours and annoyed because now given all the time in the world I still don’t have any more time.


But yeah, since a new song sister, we already know this tune.


Today, remarkably, I actually picked up my quilting and worked on one of the Jinny Beyer blocks. Not only that, but I also started looking at how to finish this quilt (the borders and block placement etc). I haven’t thought or been inclined to sew at all since before the injections in my hands (sadly, I’ve had some pain back in my wrists this last week, so I guess they might have lasted me 3 months?). As usual, I’ve been freaking out because I was worried this meant I would never ever want to quilt again (EVERY FRIGGING TIME) and I didn’t know what it was that makes me interested. And of course now I’m worried I’ll drop the knitting and then wonder if I’ll ever want to knit again. Why can’t I be all poly with my crafts? Why???





Worldcon Trip – debrief series pt 4

The Hugos


 


Long time listeners of Galactic Suburbia will know what huge fans of the Hugos we are. To be nominated for a Hugo just totally floors us. To be able to attend a Hugo ceremony as fangirls was amazing. To be there in a year we were nominees was just super awesome. We got to do the whole trip and we held on and enjoyed the ride. Mostly. We talk about the experience on the latest episode of the podcast. Here are the accompanying photos.


The rehearsal.


Yeah that’s terrifying. Here is a photo of Tansy as we entered the auditorium and got hit by the wave of Hugo nerves. We were all good until this very moment. Behind her, Al Jazeera had swept in asking about where they should set up their cameras. I took this photo to capture all the moments but clearly Tansy is all “Just what the hell are you doing, Alisa? We don’t have time for this right now.”



Here I think she is agreeing with me that is a truly terrifying moment. Behind her is *half* the auditorium and stage.



HALF OF GALACTIC SUBURBIA AT THE HUGOs Selfie!!! (And the OTHER HALF of the auditorium.)



And then we went up to do the rehearsal proper. Here is lovely Niall Harrison going along with my antics. We did the rehearsal with Niall and Abigail Nussbaum and that was a truly fun experience (as well as deeply deeply terrifying, but we were all terrified together). There were lots of instructions on how to handle and how not to handle the trophy – look, if you make your trophy look like a giant penis, there’s not much you can do about what that’s gonna look like when nervous people clasp to it trying not to drop it in a moment of great shock/surprise/denial/surrealism/overwhelming joy/whatever.



Then we went to get changed and head on out to the preceremony cocktail party.


The Cocktail Party


Here is Tansy placating Scottish Liz (Scottish Liz, I cut you out of this photo because it was not a good shot.)



There were two Doctors Who at the party. I’m not sure if there was also a rift in the time space continuum because of this. Doctor One:



Doctor Two:



I was sad neither of them won since they came along and all. But George is lovely. And I was also sad Orphan Black didn’t win. So I guess I must have really liked that category.


OK, so basically, at the party, everyone is nervously hanging around counting down til the pain of the Hugos will be over, oh and also, having their photos taken in their category. Here is ours (I’m going to link to it rather than post it here. Click over to the next photo for us being a bit silly.)


The Hugos Ceremony


Here we are seated for the ceremony in a sort of half the Podcast Posse.



My attempt of a Pat-Cadigan-style-selfie (see her Facebook for the reference)



And Verity!



Our lovely hosts for the evening – Geoff Ryman wearing his Tiptree tiara and Justina Robson



The guarded Hugos cabinet, or as I like to call it – a cupboard of dildos



I was in the front row. Like a true Hugos nerd. Therefore my photos are not awesome but what they lack in lighting, the add in enthusiasm for being there in person to take them.


Sofia Samatar (author of the loved “Walkdog” in Kaleidoscope and the Crawford winner for A Stranger in Olondria) won the Campbell Award (not a Hugo) and here is Julia Rios accepting it for her.


Gratuitous picture (because I love her) of Kate Elliott accepting the Best Fanwriter Hugo for Kameron Hurley. (BTW, Elliott knows how to classily handle a Hugo. Just sayin’)



Best Fancast category was up and SF Signal won. Here is Gail Carriger accepting for Patrick Hester



And then there were my three personal favourite wins (though there were many more that night that were truly awesome too).


John Chu won Best Short Story for “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere” which … was rejected 12 times and he was told that noone would ever want to read this kind of stories he wrote. Oh how wrong that feedback was. “To win, and for *this* story” is what he is saying here:



You can read his story for free here, and I really do think it’s worth it. You can thank me later :)


And then Mary Robinette Kowal won Best Novelette for “The Lady Astronaut from Mars” which was my absolute favourite in the category – and that’s including against the Ted Chiang! I know!!! This story made me cry, it’s totally beautiful and totally feminist and exactly the kind of subject matter I love to read about and get explored in science fiction. There was some politics surrounding this entry because it was first published in audio format the year before and knocked out of eligibility. You can read it for free on Tor.com who saved it from missing out due to this ruling by printing it online.



And then, finally. The big moment. I had tried not to listen to all the people predicting who would win Best Novel. I really really wanted Ann Leckie to win. And then, as the awards unfolded, and it came to pass that I quite liked the 2014 Hugo voters, I thought, surely, surely they won’t let me down? And they didn’t. And Ann Leckie swept the full suite of awards for her first novel in her trilogy – Ancillary Justice. And we in the front gave her a standing ovation of excitement, of respect and of celebration. And here she is, accepting her Hugo:



What an awesome night! Truly exhilarating. In my mind, a gauntlet had been thrown down many months before, and the Hugo voters picked it up and ran off with it. We read the works and judged them on their merit. And lo, it came to pass that Hugo winning science fiction could be gender bending, feminist, and gay. Who knew?! I love you all. EVEN the people who voted No Award in the Best Fancast category.





Worldcon Trip – debrief series pt 4

The Hugos


 


Long time listeners of Galactic Suburbia will know what huge fans of the Hugos we are. To be nominated for a Hugo just totally floors us. To be able to attend a Hugo ceremony as fangirls was amazing. To be there in a year we were nominees was just super awesome. We got to do the whole trip and we held on and enjoyed the ride. Mostly. We talk about the experience on the latest episode of the podcast. Here are the accompanying photos.


The rehearsal.


Yeah that’s terrifying. Here is a photo of Tansy as we entered the auditorium and got hit by the wave of Hugo nerves. We were all good until this very moment. Behind her, Al Jazeera had swept in asking about where they should set up their cameras. I took this photo to capture all the moments but clearly Tansy is all “Just what the hell are you doing, Alisa? We don’t have time for this right now.”



Here I think she is agreeing with me that is a truly terrifying moment. Behind her is *half* the auditorium and stage.



HALF OF GALACTIC SUBURBIA AT THE HUGOs Selfie!!! (And the OTHER HALF of the auditorium.)



And then we went up to do the rehearsal proper. Here is lovely Niall Harrison going along with my antics. We did the rehearsal with Niall and Abigail Nussbaum and that was a truly fun experience (as well as deeply deeply terrifying, but we were all terrified together). There were lots of instructions on how to handle and how not to handle the trophy – look, if you make your trophy look like a giant penis, there’s not much you can do about what that’s gonna look like when nervous people clasp to it trying not to drop it in a moment of great shock/surprise/denial/surrealism/overwhelming joy/whatever.



Then we went to get changed and head on out to the preceremony cocktail party.


The Cocktail Party


Here is Tansy placating Scottish Liz (Scottish Liz, I cut you out of this photo because it was not a good shot.)



There were two Doctors Who at the party. I’m not sure if there was also a rift in the time space continuum because of this. Doctor One:



Doctor Two:



I was sad neither of them won since they came along and all. But George is lovely. And I was also sad Orphan Black didn’t win. So I guess I must have really liked that category.


OK, so basically, at the party, everyone is nervously hanging around counting down til the pain of the Hugos will be over, oh and also, having their photos taken in their category. Here is ours (I’m going to link to it rather than post it here. Click over to the next photo for us being a bit silly.)


The Hugos Ceremony


Here we are seated for the ceremony in a sort of half the Podcast Posse.



My attempt of a Pat-Cadigan-style-selfie (see her Facebook for the reference)



And Verity!



Our lovely hosts for the evening – Geoff Ryman wearing his Tiptree tiara and Justina Robson



The guarded Hugos cabinet, or as I like to call it – a cupboard of dildos



I was in the front row. Like a true Hugos nerd. Therefore my photos are not awesome but what they lack in lighting, the add in enthusiasm for being there in person to take them.


Sofia Samatar (author of the loved “Walkdog” in Kaleidoscope and the Crawford winner for A Stranger in Olondria) won the Campbell Award (not a Hugo) and here is Julia Rios accepting it for her.


Gratuitous picture (because I love her) of Kate Elliott accepting the Best Fanwriter Hugo for Kameron Hurley. (BTW, Elliott knows how to classily handle a Hugo. Just sayin’)



Best Fancast category was up and SF Signal won. Here is Gail Carriger accepting for Patrick Hester



And then there were my three personal favourite wins (though there were many more that night that were truly awesome too).


John Chu won Best Short Story for “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere” which … was rejected 12 times and he was told that noone would ever want to read this kind of stories he wrote. Oh how wrong that feedback was. “To win, and for *this* story” is what he is saying here:



You can read his story for free here, and I really do think it’s worth it. You can thank me later :)


And then Mary Robinette Kowal won Best Novelette for “The Lady Astronaut from Mars” which was my absolute favourite in the category – and that’s including against the Ted Chiang! I know!!! This story made me cry, it’s totally beautiful and totally feminist and exactly the kind of subject matter I love to read about and get explored in science fiction. There was some politics surrounding this entry because it was first published in audio format the year before and knocked out of eligibility. You can read it for free on Tor.com who saved it from missing out due to this ruling by printing it online.



And then, finally. The big moment. I had tried not to listen to all the people predicting who would win Best Novel. I really really wanted Ann Leckie to win. And then, as the awards unfolded, and it came to pass that I quite liked the 2014 Hugo voters, I thought, surely, surely they won’t let me down? And they didn’t. And Ann Leckie swept the full suite of awards for her first novel in her trilogy – Ancillary Justice. And we in the front gave her a standing ovation of excitement, of respect and of celebration. And here she is, accepting her Hugo:



What an awesome night! Truly exhilarating. In my mind, a gauntlet had been thrown down many months before, and the Hugo voters picked it up and ran off with it. We read the works and judged them on their merit. And lo, it came to pass that Hugo winning science fiction could be gender bending, feminist, and gay. Who knew?! I love you all. EVEN the people who voted No Award in the Best Fancast category.





Worldcon Trip – debrief series pt 4

The Hugos


 


Long time listeners of Galactic Suburbia will know what huge fans of the Hugos we are. To be nominated for a Hugo just totally floors us. To be able to attend a Hugo ceremony as fangirls was amazing. To be there in a year we were nominees was just super awesome. We got to do the whole trip and we held on and enjoyed the ride. Mostly. We talk about the experience on the latest episode of the podcast. Here are the accompanying photos.


The rehearsal.


Yeah that’s terrifying. Here is a photo of Tansy as we entered the auditorium and got hit by the wave of Hugo nerves. We were all good until this very moment. Behind her, Al Jazeera had swept in asking about where they should set up their cameras. I took this photo to capture all the moments but clearly Tansy is all “Just what the hell are you doing, Alisa? We don’t have time for this right now.”



Here I think she is agreeing with me that is a truly terrifying moment. Behind her is *half* the auditorium and stage.



HALF OF GALACTIC SUBURBIA AT THE HUGOs Selfie!!! (And the OTHER HALF of the auditorium.)



And then we went up to do the rehearsal proper. Here is lovely Niall Harrison going along with my antics. We did the rehearsal with Niall and Abigail Nussbaum and that was a truly fun experience (as well as deeply deeply terrifying, but we were all terrified together). There were lots of instructions on how to handle and how not to handle the trophy – look, if you make your trophy look like a giant penis, there’s not much you can do about what that’s gonna look like when nervous people clasp to it trying not to drop it in a moment of great shock/surprise/denial/surrealism/overwhelming joy/whatever.



Then we went to get changed and head on out to the preceremony cocktail party.


The Cocktail Party


Here is Tansy placating Scottish Liz (Scottish Liz, I cut you out of this photo because it was not a good shot.)



There were two Doctors Who at the party. I’m not sure if there was also a rift in the time space continuum because of this. Doctor One:



Doctor Two:



I was sad neither of them won since they came along and all. But George is lovely. And I was also sad Orphan Black didn’t win. So I guess I must have really liked that category.


OK, so basically, at the party, everyone is nervously hanging around counting down til the pain of the Hugos will be over, oh and also, having their photos taken in their category. Here is http://gilesgphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Hugo-Awards-2014/G0000nDSne4TR0kw/I0000QG.DQAspf9s/C0000qJ9dQsR2gjk”>ours (I’m going to link to it rather than post it here. Click over to the next photo for us being a bit silly.)


The Hugos Ceremony


Here we are seated for the ceremony in a sort of half the Podcast Posse.



My attempt of a Pat-Cadigan-style-selfie (see her Facebook for the reference)



And Verity!



Our lovely hosts for the evening – Geoff Ryman wearing his Tiptree tiara and Justina Robson



The guarded Hugos cabinet, or as I like to call it – a cupboard of dildos



I was in the front row. Like a true Hugos nerd. Therefore my photos are not awesome but what they lack in lighting, the add in enthusiasm for being there in person to take them.


Sofia Samatar (author of the loved “Walkdog” in Kaleidoscope and the Crawford winner for A Stranger in Olondria) won the Campbell Award (not a Hugo) and here is Julia Rios accepting it for her.


Gratuitous picture (because I love her) of Kate Elliott accepting the Best Fanwriter Hugo for Kameron Hurley. (BTW, Elliott knows how to classily handle a Hugo. Just sayin’)



Best Fancast category was up and SF Signal won. Here is Gail Carriger accepting for Patrick Hester



And then there were my three personal favourite wins (though there were many more that night that were truly awesome too).


John Chu won Best Short Story for “The Water That Falls on You From Nowhere” which … was rejected 12 times and he was told that noone would ever want to read this kind of stories he wrote. Oh how wrong that feedback was. “To win, and for *this* story” is what he is saying here:



You can read his story for free here, and I really do think it’s worth it. You can thank me later :)


And then Mary Robinette Kowal won Best Novelette for “The Lady Astronaut from Mars” which was my absolute favourite in the category – and that’s including against the Ted Chiang! I know!!! This story made me cry, it’s totally beautiful and totally feminist and exactly the kind of subject matter I love to read about and get explored in science fiction. There was some politics surrounding this entry because it was first published in audio format the year before and knocked out of eligibility. You can read it for free on Tor.com who saved it from missing out due to this ruling by printing it online.



And then, finally. The big moment. I had tried not to listen to all the people predicting who would win Best Novel. I really really wanted Ann Leckie to win. And then, as the awards unfolded, and it came to pass that I quite liked the 2014 Hugo voters, I thought, surely, surely they won’t let me down? And they didn’t. And Ann Leckie swept the full suite of awards for her first novel in her trilogy – Ancillary Justice. And we in the front gave her a standing ovation of excitement, of respect and of celebration. And here she is, accepting her Hugo:



What an awesome night! Truly exhilarating. In my mind, a gauntlet had been thrown down many months before, and the Hugo voters picked it up and ran off with it. We read the works and judged them on their merit. And lo, it came to pass that Hugo winning science fiction could be gender bending, feminist, and gay. Who knew?! I love you all. EVEN the people who voted No Award in the Best Fancast category.





Worldcon Trip debrief series – pt 3

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz





An important engagement we had to make on the very first day proper we were in London was to honour the Kaleidoscope Pozible Campaign reward of Afternoon Tea at the Ritz. Some people have all the hard tasks, I know! It was such a headspin to be finally heading off to catch a train to go and have tea – it had been a flippant idea of Tansy’s maybe two years earlier and since then we’d successfully crowdfunded, (I had a baby), edited and then published a book and now here it was, launch in London time!


 


Here is the baby all dressed up in silver pants and a shirt that says “My First Tea Party”.



Sadly, she fell asleep before we arrived!



Not to worry though, we enjoyed the very beautiful surrounds:



Isn’t it fancy? Here’s Tansy standing in front of the tea room.



And Julia, who was waiting for us when we arrived.



Unfortunately, the most important members of our party were held up due to a train incident. Ever the professionals, we got seated at our table (you have a set time limit for your seating)


Our table:




But we only ordered tea.



I was talked into the The Ritz Royal English since it’s the blend made specifically for The Ritz. Later, we got to have new pots of tea and I chose Orange Pekoe which was also lovely.



Tea came with all the fancy things – sugar cubes, milk, clotted cream and jam (which was not for the tea).



Whilst we sipped tea, we enjoyed the room:



You can see the well dressed footmen (is that what the servers are called? I only watch Downton Abbey) who waited on us most kindly.



When our guests arrived, we had the food brought. I must confess that all this time, I’d thought I was going to go home hungry. I don’t really know why I thought this – perhaps in Perth high tea is overpriced and under delivered? The Ritz did not under deliver.


The sandwiches (bottom tier were vegetarian)



Baby enjoying a hummus sandwich:



And the top tier which you can almost see were the little cakes. I got my own small plate of nut free cakes (they asked for allergies on arrival and sorted on the spot):



Here is (I guess a non nut free?) cake with a lovely little R on top:



On top of this, they then brought out scones and unveiled the clotted cream and jam (OMG I only just realised I didn’t make it to the scones!!!). At the same time, there was a lovely trolley circulating with MORE CAKE! Two kinds! Since Tansy and I didn’t want to pick, we got one each and shared.


This was some kind of lemon drizzle sponge.



AND OMG! This one was a Bakewell Tart which swooooon OMG. The raspberries! The white chocolate! The delicious scrummy base! This was pretty much the best slice of cake I’ve ever eaten in my life. And that’s a big call.



At about this time, we asked for the champagne to arrive and we toasted to Kaleidoscope. The baby hung out with D and we had all kinds of political chat, most inappropriate for a civilised afternoon tea!


And then it was time to leave – well, to head on back to the convention which was only just getting started.


The editors at “almost completed project delivery status”:






Worldcon Trip: Debrief Series part 2

Dealers Room, Knitting Project


For me, a lot of a con is about the dealer’s room. LonCon had a really great one and Farah was amazing in both helping out with us being able to get stock to the con and also in organising the way the room worked once it was go. There felt like there was plenty of space for all the dealers and on top of that, there were amazing installations and exhibits peppered throughout.


Here is a pic of us setting up – Sophie very kindly held the banner up for this photo. It feels like such a short time to have accumulated to many titles already! Of course we also had FableCroft titles on the table and it was very squooshy! I guess soon we’ll need to think about getting a double table at these things! Mindboggling!



Long before we were even in the headspace for LonCon, Fran suggested that the Locus table and the TPP table go next to each other so we could mind each other’s table when needed. It was a FABULOUS idea and even though I suspect they minded my table more often than we minded theirs, we had such a great time we have decided we *must* do this every con. It was perfect. Plus, otherwise cons are so hectic, we’d not get to spend as much time with the Locus crew. And the baby met Fran (in her Galactic Suburbia tshirt, is it not the cutest?)


 



Our table was actually near this installation of one of my favourite Iain M Banks’ books. I stared at it so long that I think it’s time to reread Use of Weapons.


 



Ahead of LonCon we were bandying around ideas for the dealers room. I’m pretty sure it was Tansy who suggested we knit a scarf in the Twelve Planets colours – inviting people to come on over and knit a row, maybe switching to a colour they liked on whim and the scarf knit up however it did. And then we take photos and Instagram the scarf progress. I tried to make this work a couple of other ways but ended up choosing this yarn which I’d conveniently bought when I was on holiday in Sydney earlier this year. A mad dash request had Alex popping in to the same store in Melbourne to buy their last skein and squeeze it in Tansy’s bag to bring over so we had two skeins. For those asking, the yarn is Manos Del Uruguay: Alegria in the colourway Locura Fluo. (Incidentally, Manos Del Uruguay is a very cool not for profit organisation that gathers women in coops across Uruguay to handpaint this yarn and bring economic and social opportunities to rural women. Alegria means joy in Spanish.)



And the thing is, knitters are just awesome people. We had a sign about the project which people asked about. Sometimes the sign wasn’t up and people still asked about the knitting. We tweeted and instagrammed and people came over specifically asking to knit on it. It was like a compulsion – I am knitter, must knit on this project.


Here is Louise who started pretty early.



There’s different styles of knitting, you know.



Sometimes we had some dropped stitches, here’s Anita painstakingly picking up one.



People *had* to just knit a row or two. I loved the passing conversations.



Some people told me how they had managed to integrate knitting in to work – seriously!



Eventually we got a proper knitting seat set up and some people came over to relax and recover with a few rows before heading back out into the fray.



Brenda came over to tell us that we’d joined the Knitting Force by knitting at Worldcon and then showed off the gorgeous knitted jacket she’d made.



Sometimes the scarf just chilled out, amongst the books.



And sometimes, I got to chat with people I know from the internets (Twitter). Here’s Elizabeth studiously knitting a few rows.



Everybody has their own bunch of people they fangirl over. Here’s one of mine – Adrienne Martini who is KNITTING ON MY SCARF! Ages ago I reviewed Adrienne’s book Sweater Quest in which Adrienne does something obsessive and consuming and totally something I would love to do (knit an Alice Starmore sweater exactly according to the pattern, yarn and all) and at the same time shows she is smart and funny and someone I totally wished I could be friends with. You can imagine my inner squee to discover she was pulling some time on the Locus table and I got to chat to her. A lot. And I love her. And here she is knitting on my scarf!!!



Another squee moment as Maureen K Speller is knitting on my scarf and we’re having a lovely chat. I love Twitter and getting to meet people over time in 140 character spurts.



Things got unhinged, as they do towards the end of the con. Here we are on Monday right before we began packing up. Keffy had only just recently started knitting! And I’m still waiting to see how the trip to Lapland went, Keffy!



So uh. Seriously, I thought we’d knit this scarf over Worldcon. I vastly underestimated how much work we’d be doing in the Dealer’s Room which was a hubbub from beginning to end. Plus panels, book launch and other commitments, what was I thinking? But it was such a great project both for meeting all the knitters at Worldcon – so many people like me! Taking knitting into panels and carrying projects around with them! I loved seeing what other people had on the needles. And I love love love the idea that knitters across the world and across cons are going to leave a few of their stitches in this project. We’ll take it along to all the cons we’re at and see how it grows over time.





Worldcon Trip: Debrief Series part 2

Dealers Room, Knitting Project


For me, a lot of a con is about the dealer’s room. LonCon had a really great one and Farah was amazing in both helping out with us being able to get stock to the con and also in organising the way the room worked once it was go. There felt like there was plenty of space for all the dealers and on top of that, there were amazing installations and exhibits peppered throughout.


Here is a pic of us setting up – Sophie very kindly held the banner up for this photo. It feels like such a short time to have accumulated to many titles already! Of course we also had FableCroft titles on the table and it was very squooshy! I guess soon we’ll need to think about getting a double table at these things! Mindboggling!



Long before we were even in the headspace for LonCon, Fran suggested that the Locus table and the TPP table go next to each other so we could mind each other’s table when needed. It was a FABULOUS idea and even though I suspect they minded my table more often than we minded theirs, we had such a great time we have decided we *must* do this every con. It was perfect. Plus, otherwise cons are so hectic, we’d not get to spend as much time with the Locus crew. And the baby met Fran (in her Galactic Suburbia tshirt, is it not the cutest?)


 



Our table was actually near this installation of one of my favourite Iain M Banks’ books. I stared at it so long that I think it’s time to reread Use of Weapons.


 



Ahead of LonCon we were bandying around ideas for the dealers room. I’m pretty sure it was Tansy who suggested we knit a scarf in the Twelve Planets colours – inviting people to come on over and knit a row, maybe switching to a colour they liked on whim and the scarf knit up however it did. And then we take photos and Instagram the scarf progress. I tried to make this work a couple of other ways but ended up choosing this yarn which I’d conveniently bought when I was on holiday in Sydney earlier this year. A mad dash request had Alex popping in to the same store in Melbourne to buy their last skein and squeeze it in Tansy’s bag to bring over so we had two skeins. For those asking, the yarn is Manos Del Uruguay: Alegria in the colourway Locura Fluo. (Incidentally, Manos Del Uruguay is a very cool not for profit organisation that gathers women in coops across Uruguay to handpaint this yarn and bring economic and social opportunities to rural women. Alegria means joy in Spanish.)



And the thing is, knitters are just awesome people. We had a sign about the project which people asked about. Sometimes the sign wasn’t up and people still asked about the knitting. We tweeted and instagrammed and people came over specifically asking to knit on it. It was like a compulsion – I am knitter, must knit on this project.


Here is Louise who started pretty early.



There’s different styles of knitting, you know.



Sometimes we had some dropped stitches, here’s Anita painstakingly picking up one.



People *had* to just knit a row or two. I loved the passing conversations.



Some people told me how they had managed to integrate knitting in to work – seriously!



Eventually we got a proper knitting seat set up and some people came over to relax and recover with a few rows before heading back out into the fray.



Brenda came over to tell us that we’d joined the Knitting Force by knitting at Worldcon and then showed off the gorgeous knitted jacket she’d made.



Sometimes the scarf just chilled out, amongst the books.



And sometimes, I got to chat with people I know from the internets (Twitter). Here’s Elizabeth studiously knitting a few rows.



Everybody has their own bunch of people they fangirl over. Here’s one of mine – Adrienne Martini who is KNITTING ON MY SCARF! Ages ago I reviewed Adrienne’s book Sweater Quest in which Adrienne does something obsessive and consuming and totally something I would love to do (knit an Alice Starmore sweater exactly according to the pattern, yarn and all) and at the same time shows she is smart and funny and someone I totally wished I could be friends with. You can imagine my inner squee to discover she was pulling some time on the Locus table and I got to chat to her. A lot. And I love her. And here she is knitting on my scarf!!!



Another squee moment as Maureen K Speller is knitting on my scarf and we’re having a lovely chat. I love Twitter and getting to meet people over time in 140 character spurts.



Things got unhinged, as they do towards the end of the con. Here we are on Monday right before we began packing up. Keffy had only just recently started knitting! And I’m still waiting to see how the trip to Lapland went, Keffy!



So uh. Seriously, I thought we’d knit this scarf over Worldcon. I vastly underestimated how much work we’d be doing in the Dealer’s Room which was a hubbub from beginning to end. Plus panels, book launch and other commitments, what was I thinking? But it was such a great project both for meeting all the knitters at Worldcon – so many people like me! Taking knitting into panels and carrying projects around with them! I loved seeing what other people had on the needles. And I love love love the idea that knitters across the world and across cons are going to leave a few of their stitches in this project. We’ll take it along to all the cons we’re at and see how it grows over time.





Worldcon Trip 2014: the debrief series

The Yarn Edition


Well, we are finally home from our trip to the UK. So much happened, we saw all sorts of things and the con itself was amazing. I have a ton of photos and stuff but I figure I’ll stick to just a few posts.


But first, I’m unpacking and doing all the laundry and setting everything back in place. So obviously the first post should be on the loot. And by “loot”, I do mean yarn. (Books to come later – I had to post them home and I’m not saying that that’s because of the yarn.)


Here it is, the pile:


photo(110)


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


I didn’t get to browse too much of the LonCon Dealers Room. Our table was quite near the front of the room so we didn’t walk past too many other tables to get in in the morning or out at closing time and we were really busy pretty much the whole time. I’m a bit sad but I also had very little room in my suitcase so I wanted to keep book buying to a minimum. HOWEVER. There was a yarn stall. Seriously. All my dreams coming true!


The dealer was a German company called Alte Kunste (Ancient Arts). Their yarns are dyed with plant colours, reviving the ancient craft of natural dyes. The two skeins I couldn’t resist are on the left hand side of the photo – the sock yarn in that delicious brown (called hummus) and the lace yarn in a colourway I can’t read on the label as it’s in German so I’m going to read as Summertime by the Sea.


The neon coloured yarn at the top is the second skein for the Twelfth Planets scarf project which I’ll talk more about later.


The other yarns I picked up in London when I made my pilgrimage to a shop I’ve heard about a lot for many years – Loop. It is in Islington and well worth tracking down. It’s not a big shop and I walked straight past it the first time. They have a really lovely range of yarns (colours and also companies) and you choose what you like and they go find out if they have the number of skeins you need. They also had a really nice range of books. I bought a baby garments book and then picked the grey yarn above for a baby cable knit jumper I want to knit next for M. That’s Cascade 220 which I’ve never seen in real life before and wasn’t really what I was expecting. I also grabbed those two purples in a Just Coz way because they are divine to touch – the uncommon thread in Lush Worsted (merino wool and cashmere and nylon). The darker purple is called Lila and the light one Into Dust. I have no idea what I will do with them (they are 100g and 212m each). So so pretty. I also might have grabbed two Unicorn Tails from MadeleineTosh because reasons.


I found the best coffee I came across in London in the same street as Loop – The Coffeeworks Project. The best flat white I’ve had in a month, for sure.





Well, we are finally home from our trip to the UK. So much happened, we saw all sorts of things and the con itself was amazing. I have a ton of photos and stuff but I figure I’ll stick to just a few posts.


But first, I’m unpacking and doing all the laundry and setting everything back in place. So obviously the first post should be on the loot. And by “loot”, I do mean yarn. (Books to come later – I had to post them home and I’m not saying that that’s because of the yarn.)


Here it is, the pile:


photo(110)


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


I didn’t get to browse too much of the LonCon Dealers Room. Our table was quite near the front of the room so we didn’t walk past too many other tables to get in in the morning or out at closing time and we were really busy pretty much the whole time. I’m a bit sad but I also had very little room in my suitcase so I wanted to keep book buying to a minimum. HOWEVER. There was a yarn stall. Seriously. All my dreams coming true!


The dealer was a German company called Alte Kunste (Ancient Arts). Their yarns are dyed with plant colours, reviving the ancient craft of natural dyes. The two skeins I couldn’t resist are on the left hand side of the photo – the sock yarn in that delicious brown (called hummus) and the lace yarn in a colourway I can’t read on the label as it’s in German so I’m going to read as Summertime by the Sea.


The neon coloured yarn at the top is the second skein for the Twelfth Planets scarf project which I’ll talk more about later.


The other yarns I picked up in London when I made my pilgrimage to a shop I’ve heard about a lot for many years – Loop. It is in Islington and well worth tracking down. It’s not a big shop and I walked straight past it the first time. They have a really lovely range of yarns (colours and also companies) and you choose what you like and they go find out if they have the number of skeins you need. They also had a really nice range of books. I bought a baby garments book and then picked the grey yarn above for a baby cable knit jumper I want to knit next for M. That’s Cascade 220 which I’ve never seen in real life before and wasn’t really what I was expecting. I also grabbed those two purples in a Just Coz way because they are divine to touch – the uncommon thread in Lush Worsted (merino wool and cashmere and nylon). The darker purple is called Lila and the light one Into Dust. I have no idea what I will do with them (they are 100g and 212m each). So so pretty. I also might have grabbed two Unicorn Tails from MadeleineTosh because reasons.


I found the best coffee I came across in London in the same street as Loop – The Coffeeworks Project. The best flat white I’ve had in a month, for sure.





That time again, again

I’ve been putting off this post for a while. It’s the “Say it out loud” task on the 12wbt preseason tasks. The one where I’m supposed to say my goals for the next 12 weeks in a place that makes me accountable etc. Because, I *am* a woman of my word but I also like to believe I can do more than I really can. Because sometimes I can pull rabbits out of my hat. And because I push myself beyond breaking. And because I feel bad because I really didn’t/couldn’t stick to what I committed to last round.


But I signed up for the next round. And I want to complete all the preseason tasks. And I do want to be accountable.


On a sort of tangent. I’ve been diffusing essential oils for a few years now. I used lemon and grapefruit for morning sickness when the taste of ginger started to make me feel ill. I use lavender a lot for headaches and for insomnia. And I use a bunch of blends as well. After I started wearing the blend “Transformation”, I applied for my Phd and quit my job and got married. Maybe I would have done all those things anyway, maybe choosing that blend was a subconscious action acknowledging a suppressed feeling of wanting to change. Maybe wearing it was giving myself permission to actually pursue it. Anyway, I was at the airport recently and I decided to buy myself one called “Focus” in the hope that it would dispel the cobwebs, the heavy weight of feeling tired all the time and help me to just get on with working one task all the way to the end, not forgetting my handbag places etc. The whole time I was standing there looking, I couldn’t shift the feeling that what I actually should have been buying was “Relax”. The feeling stayed with me so long that last week I finally got myself that one too. And really, it makes sense, that you just can’t keep pushing yourself to work longer and harder and better and think that the productivity/efficiency graph is hyperbolic. That if you could only create more time, you could get more done. I know that’s not how it works.


And the same goes for this whole 12wbt goal setting. This time round, I’m challenging myself to focus (wow that oil really works!) on the REALISTIC element of ACHIEVABLE. And I think that is being the most honest and accountable to those who will be reading this. In the same way that sometimes you need to take time out to relax in order to be more productive, you need to know when to step off being tough on yourself and be kinder to get yourself to do more.


So that’s going to be what I commit to for the next 12 weeks – working out 3-4 days a week, following the nutrition programme, drinking more water every day, taking my vitamins and fitting more yoga in. And to take some time out to just breathe.

I’m not going to set a weight goal and I’m not going to even pretend that I can find time to work out every day.





One of my favourite events in the week these days is going to Mother’s Group. People close to me will recall how stressed out I got about whether I would actually be assigned one (M was born in November and they didn’t form new groups then til February) and also if I would fit in (I never really felt at home where I live and wasn’t sure I would meet people who would get me). As it turns out, those Child Health Nurses have some whacky superpower whereby they match people up in some way that most people cling tight to their group like it’s their oxygen machine. And as it turns out, I love my mother’s group more than I’ve loved many many things in life (not more than Tim Tams though, Tim Tams are for life). Anyway, we hang out, often for more than several hours on mummy’s group day, and laugh and debrief and all those things, and take photos of the bubs playing. Yesterday, I caught sight of myself (checking Twitter on my phone) in the background of one posted on our FB page. And … it made me sad.


I’ve signed up for the last two rounds of Michelle Bridges’ 12WBT programme to lose my “baby weight” – truthfully I lost weight during my pregnancy as I felt sick for pretty much all of the time. But that weight has not stayed off since. My plan was to – meh – it was probably to be someone else entirely in those photos for the Hugo nominees. This plan of course has not been successful and Loncon is next month.


This plan, by the way, has not been successful because it was completely unrealistic – not the programme, which is fantastic and has been really life changing for me. And not necessarily unrealistic that a new mum could follow it. Just. Not this new mum. In my feedback for the last round I did note that you know, the one mother of a newborn who manages to lose a bunch of weight whilst learning this parenting gig on the job and not sleeping is truly amazing and deserving of much kudos but for the rest of us, who basically feel like zombies dragging themselves through mudflats in a thunderstorm whilst wearing heels and having been slammed up the side of our heads, and already feel like losers and failures, don’t feel encouraged by the “I/She did it so can you too” bullshit.


You see, I’m having to admit that even Wonder Woman couldn’t juggle fighting crime, flying an invisible plane and wearing pants all at the same time.


Yes, that’s right. I’m currently exploring this question: “What is reasonable?”


SMART goals ask you to set measurable, achievable, timely goals that are *reasonable* and in my head I always think that the first three therefore imply the fourth. Yeah, no.


I feel like a total failure because I don’t feel like, don’t have time for and can’t make myself exercise. Oh yeah, and I’m still suffering from carpal tunnel from my pregnancy so some days I hurt so much that I can’t walk on my feet and hold a cup of coffee. (And when you’re the stay at home parent, noone can hear you scream from RSI from baby lifting and noone cares either).


Could I carve out time in my day, maybe when the baby is sleeping or after she goes down for the night? I’m supposed to answer yes to this – sure I can! But I’m supposed to be studying full time right now and running Twelfth Planet Press (which now is perpetually behind and slammed). I don’t really get that much time to do any work uninterrupted during the day so I work a full day from about 6/8pm (the baby currently woke up from her late afternoon nap that she never normally takes and is drinking a bottle – it’s 7.21pm) til 2.30am. Sometimes I work a bit later, sometimes I go to bed at 1/1.30am and read (reading is not always for leisure though it’s for staying in touch with the genre or reading submissions and manuscripts).


What is actually reasonable?


I’m working pretty hard to keep my business running and towards a career change so that when I come out the other side of this full time parenting gig, I’m not tossed aside for being out of date and therefore unemployable. And, you know, so that I don’t lose all that money I’ve invested into my small business because it stagnated and therefore lost its profile, interest and brand. I don’t want people to say “hey, remember that small press thirteen? ten? some number something? Whatever happened to that?” When I have “down time” I go to the toilet, get a hot cup of coffee (OMG remember those?! You’re sipping one right now, aren’t you?) and then I go and do work.


Oh and I am bone tired *all* the time. If I stand still, I can pretty much fall asleep. Any time.


So what *is* reasonable? What *can* you actually expect of yourself. Or more importantly for me, what can *I* really expect of myself? And what can I put on the to do list for later? What can I be ok with just letting be? What’s truly important?





This week’s blocks were a breeze to make simply because I’d done all the planning weeks ago. How GTD of me! I made one whilst mainlining Emma Approved on YouTube and the other I made during our regular Kaleidoscope Skype meeting on Monday night.


First up, the blocks.


City Life Holds No Glamor is this title of this week’s letter by MRs A. B. D.



This block is called “Flock” and is block 34. And it was one of the hardest ones for me because after, gosh, 10 years or something, I finally cut up this fabric. I’ve been admiring it for years and so unsure what project to use it in but so scared to cut it up. It’s so so pretty. But. I don’t think I am a fabric collector. Or if I am, it’s ok to collect the fabrics inside of my finished quilts. And. There’s never going to be the perfect project for fabric you swoon over. There will always be the fear of cutting it up. Something can be finished or perfect but not both. And this project is a bit about just sucking it up and getting on with it. About progress. About consistency. And about working on something towards the end point. Therapy, if you will. I have a lot of fabrics I’ve collected over time that I want to just have large squares of it framed and I realised that the number of quilts you can make and have like that is one. So … you know … Get Things Done already!



This block is called “Hill and Valley” and is block 46. The lady in Paris fabric I bought at the craft fair trip just gone. So that has barely hit the sides of my stash. The other thing I’ve realised is, you can’t buy more fabric if you’re busy not using the fabric you already have. And there’s so much more beautiful fabric out there to buy and own …


This week’s letter from Mrs A. B. D. is all about how she loves good honest moral hard work having previously lived in Chicago and how she doesn’t miss it. I dunno that I am looking forward to the day America tires of jazz, as she yearns for, but I do agree that there is much to enjoy about watching the slowly changing landscape. That’s something I realised my soul misses, living in the suburbs of Perth which are flat and boring. And I only discovered this after visiting Tasmania and finding so much to drink in from the surrounds.


In other things I finished this week, Block 9 in the Solstice Quilt:



This one nearly broke me because of the lack of a good white pencil on black which meant all the pieces weren’t marked quite right. I bought a chalk pencil at the craft fair but I’m not loving that much more.


And something else.



I’ve been working on this sock for quite some time. I cast it on straight after I finished the socks I made for Deb. And … yeah. So, the sock knitting project for the year (knit as many as I can) was basically about picking kinda mundane sock patterns and the yarns I’m happy to gift away and then knit in the dark whilst I catch up on reading. I would both move theough my stash, make yummy socks for people I love and also get some reading done every day. I have carved out some time in my day for reading by, ahem, getting into bed at about 1am, a bit early for me, and then reading for about an hour in the dark whilst knitting. I can do pretty straight forward knitting without looking at the work.


But it turns out for me, that a lot of the enjoyment in knitting comes from playing with the yarn as it unravels and turns into the fabric. The enjoyment comes in watching the pattern of the colourplay reveal itself. And you miss all of it when you knit in the dark; you become completely disengaged from the piece. And I guess I’m a process knitter. So I stopped working on the sock completely for ages. Which is a ridiculous response. Lately I’ve been grabbing the project as I run out the door in case I have the opportunity to work on it somewhere else. And it’s progressed. I’m packing the sock for the weekend away and I’ll be finished with it pretty quickly.



And finally, my travelling projects. I am going to be travelling and this is what I’ve packed. I hate to be bored or to find myself in any moments where I have nothing to do but could have done something if I’d planned for it. So here are all (some) of my current projects all GTD’ed up. I have to say that in sitting down and cutting out all the blocks for the Farmers Wife ahead of time a couple of weeks ago was a bit of an epiphany for me. The envelopes in the top right hand corner are the last of those but when I get back I’m going to sit down and do another month ahead again. The ability to just grab one and have everything in there for the block ready to go has been awesome. And having it made me realise the value in planning for crafting.


I’m really a fly by the seat of my pants crafter, cutting materials up as I need them because that end of crafting is not the fun part. It’s the chores and it doesn’t feel like recreation or down time. But there are moments when you aren’t up to crafting, like if your eyes are tired, and they make good times for prepping ahead. So for travelling, I prepped little ziplock bags with everything I need for the project. So above, I have the pattern, the yarn and the needles/hook and any other tools, all in there for easy grabbing. And all the pieces have been precut for the quilt blocks as well. And there lies a week or two of happy crafting because all the thinking is already done for me! I’m going to start setting aside some time each week to do this regularly. It’s the “think and plan” bit of GTD and means projects won’t stagnate going forward! I can’t wait!


Happy Friday!





This post is late not because I have fallen behind but rather because I haven’t had time to post an update. Ahh how times have changed. Right now I’m grateful for having sat down last weekend and planned out a bunch of weeks ahead as I was able to just grab envelopes with precut out blocks both last week and this week. Most helpful as I might be offline next week.


Anyway, this last week’s blocks and letter! Week 2′s letter was written by Mrs E. M. L. who is very pro marrying a farmer. I have say though, all her reasons are really similar to marrying into the Navy, living an hour from your family and running a small press from home, well apart from the bit about the satisfaction of hard work on the land and providing for one’s own dinner from the fruits of said labour. Apart from that, it’s exactly the same.


Reading matter? All you want and any kind, brought by the rural carriers. [Australia Post]. Music? Classics and comics, any and all kinds for Victrola and other”players”. [iTunes and Comixology - see what I did there?] Clothes? Ordered from a dozen catalogs [Modcloth, The Iconic] and a world of pleasure in ordering [Oh yeah!] Over the telephone [Internet] and also close connection, with any needed aid in the event of illness….And there are picnics [Coffee in Perth], camping trips, and the “going-to-see” more distant friends [We'll call this conventions]


Work? Plenty of it and this is the best part…


Children? Of course…


See what I mean?


Except she does lose me at enjoying getting up early in the morning. Probably I couldn’t really marry a farmer at all.


The blocks this week were, Country Path (number 24)



and Silver Lane (block 79)



This one looks crooked only because of the angle of the photo.


I also have started quilting as I go. Last weekend I went with my mum to get sashing fabric and also wadding. I’ve decided that it’s perfectly fine to start out with the thinnest wadding there is. Perth is hardly cold and I can always use several quilts if it’s really cold. And if the thinnest wadding helps me skill up on quilting such that I actually finish the job? Well finished is always better than perfect. And so I actually started this:



I watched a couple of Youtube vids on how to quilt and I’m working on the rocking motion as well as consistently sized stitches. At first I was trying to get the smallest stitches and the closest together but I’ve realised that since I’ve bought fancy coloured variegated thread, it’s ok to make the thread and stitching a feature not a bug.  And that’s allowed me to have a bit more fun. I actually did quite a bit of quilting on this first block – quilted a bunch of the stripes and then also outlined each of the objects in this block. It was not to bad – kinda fun, didn’t take as long as I thought and I think I got better as I went. Making it small by just being this small block is definitely a real incentive and also in no way daunting!


My goal will be to sew the 2 blocks per week of the project and then also quilt the two blocks of the week before. That way when I finish sewing all the blocks, I’ll almost have finished the quilt. And if I get good enough at this, I’m thinking of doing the Solstice Quilt quilting of each block before I piece the whole thing. Speaking of which, I did manage to finish Block 9 of the Solstice Quilt this week as well:


 





Farmers Wife Sample Quilt Project Week 1

And so I have begun! My intention was to post finished blocks on Fridays and I was really determined not to meet that goal on the first week. Which was really good because it’s pushed me to finish off one of the blocks in time for this post! The format is working!


So first up, the excerpt from the letter for this week, titled “Living in God’s Open Air” is by Mrs J E F, from Valley County, Montana. In her letter, Mrs J E F says that had she been asked the question (if she had a daughter of marriageable age, would she encourage her to become a farmer’s wife), 50 or even 20 years ago, she would have said no. But she says yes for having been asked in 1922. Firstly she cites the healthy lifestyle and also that the town lifestyle can be [well she doesn't say bitchy but that's what she means]. But then she goes on to say that she loves living on the from because it gives her an opportunity to make her own money from her eggs, from churning butter and from having her own veggie patch. She feels like this enables her to contribute by buying almost all the things for the house. Bit of a feminist answer out of the gate. I especially like the closing:


How beautiful our home was! It was only of logs, covered in summer with a wild clematis vine. I told out doctor that after five o’clock on winter nights we became New York millionaires for we had our easy chairs, a big fireplace and good books. We could not have had more in a mansion.


Indeed that does sound cosy!


So my plan for the quilting was that I would print out the templates I need as I go (there are 100 or so and are provided as PDFs on a CD that came with the book – 1 template per PDF. That’s a lot of paper. Definitely a downside to being provided this way). Anyway, I’ve seen that these little blocks are nice portable projects so I thought that it would be great to set up the 2 I needed for this week’s goal and then perhaps get ahead and set up a few blocks going forward.


You know what happened next. Yup, I started working on the third block cause it looked more fun than finishing the first two. This means I don’t actually have any in reserve either! Posting on a Friday with the week’s work is good for me because it forces me to actually finish two each week!


And here they are (excuse the lighting, I tried to get them done before the sun moved, didn’t happen).


 

Block 26: Cut Glass Dish




54: Kitchen Woodbox


I am hoping to get wadding this weekend so that I can experiment with Quilt As You Go and also so I can see how much fabric I’m left with after taking out for backing, as I go. Sadly I do not have as much fashion fabric stashed as I led myself to believe. That will need to be rectified …


One thing missing from the book is why Hird chose the blocks to go with the letters. I think that would have made a nice addition.


I’m now thinking I might like to read up on the history of quilt blocks. Do you have a recommendation of a book I should read?





Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Project

I promised myself as reward for finishing publishing projects X and Y, I could start playing with a new project. Well … I finished project X yesterday and maybe setting myself the goal of finishing two books in one day was a tad overreaching. So … I’m going to play with this new project anyhow.


On the weekend I popped in to the Perth Quilt and Craft Fair (and by that I mean that my husband shoehorned me out of my pjs and dropped me at the train station to make me go). I had a quick race around all the stalls – a lot of them are the same each year and this year I’m not feeling the buying things without a project intent. I grabbed some tools and ok, maybe some fat quarters just because.


photo-3


I then wandered through the quilt exhibition and enjoyed quite a few quilts. I really liked this one, which looked like a really example of the kind of version of Farmer’s Wife Sampler that I want to try (more on that in a bit).


photo(102)


And then I had a chat to a friend who pointed out one of the special quilts on display – a Dear Jane quilt. And this is possibly the thing that made the whole event for me. The Dear Jane quilt is very similar to the Farmer’s Wife – it’s a pattern of sampler blocks, in this case it reproduces an original quilt made by Jane A. Blakely Stickle, and finished in 1863. The one on display at the Quilt and Craft fair was made by Angela Davis and made out of a collection of Liberty Fabrics over time and using a technique I’d never heard of before called Quilt As You Go (QAYG). This is quilting each block as you finish it and then sewing them together at the end and voila quilt is done! She had used the fabric she used in each block as the backing for it. This meant that the back was a gorgeous display of the collection of fabrics. This really appealled to me in the sense that if you use fabrics you’ve been specially collecting, it’s a nice solution to the cutting it all up to use it problem. Also, I LOVE the idea of QAYG because I hate quilting so much that I not finished any of my quilts yet. I have a nice pile of finished tops. I think I could attack quilting just one block at a time and also I assume this would give me the chance to improve across the project.


You see where this is all going, don’t you?


The eagle eyed will have already noticed I went and bought myself some fancy quilting thread before I left the show.


Some time ago, I bought myself a copy of the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. I loved the idea of it – a sampler quilt with a block each dedicated to a letter that was written to the competition run by the magazine The Farmer’s Wife: A Magazine for Farm Women in 1922 to answer the question, if you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you want her to marry a farmer? I’ve never actually been particularly interested in sampler quilts, they look so busy to me. But I love the idea of a quilt with a story and I thought it would also be a good opportunity to try a bunch of traditional blocks (yes, that is the point of a sampler quilt, ahem). And so the book has been on my shelf for a year or two as I’ve wondered how to make this project work.


On the weekend I decided that it might be fun to actually do this quilt. And do it with intent – as a blogging project. I also think it might be the best solution to try and use my fashion fabrics I’ve been collecting which I don’t want to cut up, and would rather have displayed in some way, yet don’t want to do straight blocks with borders with them. But they also don’t really all work in one cohesive colourway. The sampler quilt might get around that. Plus I get to keep the pieces whole for the backing and maybe improve my quilting.


The fabrics I’m thinking of using (funny how the collection wasn’t actually as many fabrics as I had thought I had, in my mind).


photo-2


In 2013, I picked up the Jinny Beyer Block of the Month project in 2013 with the idea that I would like to have a project where I finish one block on a regular basis. At the time I was knitting more than I am now. But when I’d been part of quilting circles, they had kept me honest about working on a smaller project and finishing it each month. And I really liked that.


So here it is. The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Project – it’s about 111 blocks, each 6 inches. I’m going to work on finished 2 a week which makes this a one year long project. And I’m going to post the finished blocks every Friday (is the goal) and read the excerpts of the letters as I go along.





Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Project

I promised myself as reward for finishing publishing projects X and Y, I could start playing with a new project. Well … I finished project X yesterday and maybe setting myself the goal of finishing two books in one day was a tad overreaching. So … I’m going to play with this new project anyhow.


On the weekend I popped in to the Perth Quilt and Craft Fair (and by that I mean that my husband shoehorned me out of my pjs and dropped me at the train station to make me go). I had a quick race around all the stalls – a lot of them are the same each year and this year I’m not feeling the buying things without a project intent. I grabbed some tools and ok, maybe some fat quarters just because.


photo-3


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


I think headed through the quilt exhibition and enjoyed quite a few quilts. I really liked this one, which looked like a really example of the kind of version of Farmer’s Wife Sampler that I want to try (more on that in a bit).


photo(102)And then I went and had a chat to a friend who pointed out one of the special quilts on display – a Dear Jane quilt. And this is possibly the thing that made the whole event for me. The Dear Jane quilt is very similar to the Farmer’s Wife – it’s a pattern of sampler blocks, in this case it reproduces an original quilt made by Jane A. Blakely Stickle, and finished in 1863. The one on display at the Quilt and Craft fair was made by Angela Davis and made out of a collection of Liberty Fabrics over time and using a technique I’d never heard of before called Quilt As You Go (QAYG). This is quilting each block as you finish it and then sewing them together at the end and voila quilt is done! She had used the fabric she used in each block as the backing for it. This meant that the back was a gorgeous display of the collection of fabrics. This really appealled to me in the sense that if you use fabrics you’ve been specially collecting, it’s a nice solution to the cutting it all up to use it problem. Also, I LOVE the idea of QAYG because I hate quilting so much that I not finished any of my quilts yet. I have a nice pile of finished tops. I think I could attack quilting just one block at a time and also I assume this would give me the chance to improve across the project.


You see where this is all going, don’t you?


The eagle eyed will have already noticed I went and bought myself some fancy quilting thread before I left the show.


Some time ago, I bought myself a copy of the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt. I loved the idea of it – a sampler quilt with a block each dedicated to a letter that was written to the competition run by the magazine The Farmer’s Wife: A Magazine for Farm Women in 1922 to answer the question, if you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you want her to marry a farmer? I’ve never actually been particularly interested in sampler quilts, they look so busy to me. But I love the idea of a quilt with a story and I thought it would also be a good opportunity to try a bunch of traditional blocks (yes, that is the point of a sampler quilt, ahem). And so the book has been on my shelf for a year or two as I’ve wondered how to make this project work.


On the weekend I decided that it might be fun to actually do this quilt. And do it with intent – as a blogging project. I also think it might be the best solution to try and use my fashion fabrics I’ve been collecting which I don’t want to cut up, and would rather have displayed in some way, yet don’t want to do straight blocks with borders with them. But they also don’t really all work in one cohesive colourway. The sampler quilt might get around that. Plus I get to keep the pieces whole for the backing and maybe improve my quilting.


In 2013, I picked up the Jinny Beyer Block of the Month project in 2013 with the idea that I would like to have a project where I finish one block on a regular basis. At the time I was knitting more than I am now. But when I’d been part of quilting circles, they had kept me honest about working on a smaller project and finishing it each month. And I really liked that.


So here it is. The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Project – it’s about 111 blocks, each 6 inches. I’m going to work on finished 2 a week which makes this a one year long project. And I’m going to post the finished blocks every Friday (is the goal) and read the excerpts of the letters as I go along.





Galactic Suburbia Ep100 – Show Notes

Alisa, Alex and Tansy invite all our listeners to join us as we celebrate our 100th episode of Galactic Suburbia in time-honoured tradition, with cake!


Alisa is eating Golden Gaytime cheesecake. Tansy is eating orange sour cream cake. Alex combined them both to create chocolate orange cheesecake! Let us know what kind of cake you ate while listening to the podcast! If you’d like to enter our cake logo contest, please send a picture of your Galactic Suburbia themed cake to us by email or Twitter by the 27th May!


 

NEWSThe Norma Shortlist includes some Twelfth Planet Press books!</p>

Alisa recently announced the Kaleidoscope TOC, and may be launching Rosaleen Love’s book Secret Lives of Books at Continuum.



Hugo Packet – Orbit UK not including the novels.

Tansy news: upcoming Tor.com reread column & web serial

The Galactic Suburbia scrapbook available soon for download.Listen to the episode for giveaway codes. Free books!</p>

Limited editions second print run for Love & Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Let Alisa know now if you want one of these – she’s printing them for London.



What Culture Have we Consumed?

  Alex: Hav, Jan Morris; Graceling, Kristin Cashore; so much Fringe. And Orphan Black. No more Comixology for me.

  Tansy: Captain America: Winter Soldier; Gravity; Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Saga 3

  Alisa: OMG I AM IN EDITING/PROOFING ARMAGEDDON – Kaleidoscope almost ready to drop and Secret Lives of Books! And …. Tea and JeopardyGalactic Suburbia highlights.</p>

We love you all, thanks for listening to us!

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


You can subscribe to through iTunes or stream from galacticsuburbia.com




Galactic Suburbia Episode 99 Shownotes

Spoilerific Special – Orphan Black


Alisa and Alex welcome you to Clone Club! That is, an incredibly spoilerific discussion of the first season of Orphan Black. If you haven’t watched it yet (it’s only 10 episodes), we’ll be right here when you’re through.


Things we discuss: the clones themselves (and we do use the c-word); representations of motherhood; whether and how the show is SF; the various characters – and their diversity – as well as a rather large amount of gushing love for the show overall.


We really mean it about the spoilers.


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


Download the episode from here


 


 





Why your words matter

As Galactic Suburbia approaches our 100th episode – that’s about 150 to 200 hours of talking about specfic publishing news and chat! with a feminist bent – we’ve been working on a thing. Last week I found myself reviewing our Spoilerific Book Club episode on Joanna Russ, recorded way back in July 2011. In that episode, on discussion on a chapter in How to Suppress Women’s Writing, I made this comment about gatekeepers:


…  other than when a lot of the male gatekeepers are actively pushing women – for example the Science Fiction Mistressworks or when they’re actually talking about it – I’m still listening whether or not you’ve forgotten to talk about women, I’m still listening as a woman and I hear you not talking about women.  And I hear those gatekeepers and they meet and they review, they talk about what was brilliant this year and unless they actively switch on that “Whoops!  We better talk about women!” they actually revert back to Paolo Bacigalupi and Ian McDonald and blah, blah, blah, and you forget about women.  “And I know, … Mary Robinette Kowal she’s really good better mention her.” It’s what she talks about in The Female Man, where it’s lip service and it’s not real and I think she talks about it in this book too: unless you actually push yourself beyond your own boundaries you will stay in the centre, the dead centre.  And it’s not true that women aren’t writing, it’s that you don’t notice them because you don’t think they are as good, and that’s not changed in forty years.


We’ve been talking about this subject for a long time – I’ve been actively involved in the ongoing discussion since, I dunno? 2005, maybe? I didn’t invent it. I didn’t invent the arguments. Joanna Russ wrote The Female Man in 1970. Women have been writing letters to the editor since the beginning of the pulp magazines way back in the 30s.


At Swancon this year, I took the opportunity to have a little celebration about the Twelve Planets project. I spoke about it on the night and talked about the political motivations of the project. Back in 2009/2010, we were really having a lot of conversations about the gender imbalance of awards ballots. Here some graphs I prepared earlier.


The Ditmar novel winners by gender is perhaps the most damning. In 2009, when we were having this discussion, 4 women in the history of the award had won. And then another woman won in 2010 to make it the first time a woman won in a consecutive year. This is particularly interesting given that the Ditmars are a popular vote, determined by the community. This is what we as a community think. That in 50 years there were only 4 novels written by women that were worthy of winning.


Ditmar novel winners column


Here’s a different pie chart. This one looks at lifetime achievement awards. These can be awarded by a panel or by a single person. There are a few awards mixed up in here and each award is independent of the others.


Population of Achieve Awards


Or another way, let’s take say the Peter McNamara Award, here are the winners by gender:

Peter Mac Winners


And here is the breakdown of gender of the judges (one person is asked each year to choose a worthy winner):


Peter Mac Judges


From this, we might deduce that men really dig the career achievements of men. But actually some years a female judge has awarded a male winner.


The breakdown of the Chandler Award is even more profound:


Chandler


This gives some of the context of finding myself sitting in a Mt Lawley cafe one fine day in 2009 with Jonathan Strahan discussing such things – the lack of women winners, whether this pertained to the quality of their writing or perhaps how much they write.  Maybe it’s just that men write more? The discussion has a lot of aspects to it, but on that day, this is how this discussion went, below is an excerpt from the speech I gave last month at Swancon:


This project has been quite a ride. It was conceived way back in 2009 when we were having many discussions on the male dominance of awards shortlists and whether this related to how much new fiction by women was or was not being published. Jonathan said to me, well, if you really believe in Australian female writers, why don’t you publish a whole lot of it in one go and see what happens. If you don’t think there are enough women being collected, why don’t you release a collection a month? This is when I realized I needed to stop drinking so much when I hung out with him.


And so the Twelve Planets project came into being. I chose a variety of female writers for it – well known writers, writers I had enjoyed working with before, writers I wanted to work with, talented writers I wanted to draw attention to. It’s been a really interesting project for a whole lot of reasons. Each writer was given 20 – 40 000 words that were to be in 4 stories. Some wrote to the minimum and some to the maximum word count. Some wrote a suite of interconnected stories, some wrote to a theme, some wrote entirely unconnected non-themed collections. What was interesting was what each writer wrote when given the opportunity to write *anything* they wanted and know it would be sold. Novellas that are really hard to sell became a bit of regular sight (I love novellas). Margo Lanagan gave me a very Australian work taking the chance to write something that would be less sellable to overseas markets. Someone asked me at Swancon when trying to choose a volume, which ones weren’t horror and I have to say, actually only a few. I had to coin a sales phrase of “soft horror” :P


So then, what of the experiment? The original idea was to publish all 12 in one year, one a month. I pulled back from that because I was still doing short print runs rather than POD and the whole project was costed at about $25k. It also turns out that life happens and writing takes time (who knew?). We’ve published 9 so far. And here’s the awards results tally:




  • 14 Aurealis Award nominations and 4 wins

  • 16 Ditmar nominations and 3 wins

  • a Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award

  • a World Fantasy Award nomination

  • 2 Shirley Jackson Award nominations and 1 win

  • 2 15th placings and 1 7th placing in the Locus Awards

  • 5 Australian Shadows Award shortlistings and 2 wins

  • 1 Tiptree Award longlisting

  • and 1 ACT Writers and Publishers Award



Though the full awards cycle relating to volumes 8 and 9 has not yet played out.


I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means, in the context of the original dare, I mean conversation, with Jonathan. The project itself, when I stand back and view the stories of all 12 volumes as one project – 50 stories in all – is a really interesting narrative.  It’s one I’m very proud of. And at the same time, we’ve seen a shift in the way the awards play out. Perhaps voters and readers became more conscious of their habits? Perhaps women suddenly started writing. Perhaps women suddenly started getting good at writing? Certainly my own project suggests that if you support women and provide avenues for their fiction, they write at a very high standard.


But I still didn’t really know what it all means.


And then yesterday, I came across an article that was written about the State of Play in Australian specfic. It was split in two, one section dealing with SF and F and the other dealing with Horror. This latter half of the article was presented as an authoritative snapshot of the Australian Horror scene right now. It listed several Aussie small presses and talked about some of the writers. However, it omitted Twelfth Planet Press completely.


My response was to raise this, via a medium I regret – Twitter. I regret that as in order to get your point across you need several 140 character tweets and that is cumbersome and confronting. I’ve had great multiplayer conversations on Twitter before. I don’t think I’d rate this as one of those.


There’s long been discussion about the gender imbalance in Horror, not just in Australia, but I’ve certainly been keeping an eye on it at home. Here’s an example, Midnight Echo is the flagship magazine to showcase the writers belonging to the Australian Horror Writers Association. Here’s the gender balance of the fiction they have published. So far, no woman has edited the magazine solo and only two women have edited it at all. (However, Kaaron Warren is to edit the next issue.)

MidnightEchoFiction


But you know, maybe women don’t write great horror? Maybe they don’t submit? Here’s some other stats from Midnight Echo,


MidnightEchoNFcorrectionMidnightEchoArtcorrectionMidnightEchointerviewees


But this is very interesting, if we look at the Aurealis Awards winners for Horror Novel over time, only 1 ballot has ever had more novels written by women than men on it:


Aurealis Horror shortlists column


Yet, the women who do make it onto the shortlist seem to write ok:


Aurealis Horror Novel winners


However, my response of pointing out that I found it “interesting” that my press and the Twelve Planets were neglected from the state of play of the current Horror scene was a kind of shock at watching exactly how women just go unmentioned and the goalposts get moved to work around them, quietly excising them from the discussion. The Horror portion of the article in quiestion has since been updated by the author to include TPP and also this particular paragraph has been reworked:


The Australian genre literary scene is full of nationally- and world-renowned Australian horror writers such as Cat Sparks, Kaaron Warren, Lucy Sussex, Sean Williams, Rocky Wood, the wonderful Will Elliott, Sara Douglass (vale), and Amanda Pillar.


My issue with this paragraph, and with the article itself, is not that it failed to namecheck women, many women were in fact namechecked. But what was interesting to me was when the adjective “horror” is omitted from the above sentence, as it originally was, it renders all the names after it as outside of the pool of “horror writers”. It’s an example of this moving the goalposts. I’m always incredulous to see that done. It’s just one word but completely changes the meaning. And sure, call me sensitive, narcissistic, ambitious, a case of sour grapes, attention seeking, (all words we like to use in the direction of women we don’t like and never used in the direction of men for similar actions) and emotional (which interestingly was how my response was characterised – decide for yourself) etc but this piece and this conversation don’t exist in a vacuum, don’t exist without a history and context.


The thing is, I came full circle back to that conversation I had with Jonathan that day in 2009. Because the argument had been – well you need to publish more women and then they will win more awards – and I set out to do and achieve that and then … women were still omitted from the discussion. In other words, it didn’t matter what I did, or maybe how many or how prestigious the awards were that women in Australia win, they are still going to be written out of/forgotten about in the conversation. (It occurs to me that Jonathan’s suggestion might work in a patriarchal world order for men.)


My discussion with the author of the article revealed that he did not do it intentionally, and I believe him. He had not in fact read our work. It’s not like this was for Wikipedia or for an academic journal or an historical assessment and recording of the scene for all time. But actually, both these things are exactly the point. The way women are rendered invisible from history is by this unintentional omission from the narrative we tell each other about ourselves and our history. Gatekeepers pass on the information and it’s heard and repeated down the line. And when someone asks you off the top of your head to name your favourite author or a great work, you’re likely to grasp at something easy to hand. And what’s easy to hand is what’s repeated over and over, from one person to the next, in one retelling of our scene to the next. (Quick name a famous brilliant SF female author that’s not Ursula K Le Guin! – Now, how long did that take for you to do?)


I decided long ago that if I wasn’t part of the solution, I didn’t get to complain about the problem. I consider myself a gatekeeper and I hold myself to this bit of what I said in that Galactic Suburbia podcast: “I’m still listening whether or not you’ve forgotten to talk about women, I’m still listening as a woman and I hear you not talking about women” and I gotta stand up and point it out because otherwise I’m a silent participant.


I’ve apologised to the author of the article for the way I went about speaking out. I’ve spoken on GS before about the limitations of Twitter and I feel I should have acted differently. I do though feel icky about feeling like I need to apologise for my tone in some way. The author and I have had a chat and I would like to consider us having walked away as friends. He has already reworked the article. And I appreciate that the publisher was open and willing to make those changes.


I feel sad that in the end, the whole thing kinda came full circle.


 Edited: Please note that the editor of Issue 9 of Midnight Echo let me know that there was one female writer of nonfiction in his issue which I had incorrectly attributed. Additionally, the cover art of Issue 9 was by a female artist. This was not previously captured. Both figures in this article have been updated to reflect those changes (originally the Nonfiction in Midnight Echo showed to be 100% by men and the artwork as 81% by men). I also added in the chart on the gender breakdown of the interviewees as this is not included in the Nonfiction chart. I’m interested in who is chosen to be interviewed, across magazines. That will be data I intend to present at a later date.


I greatly appreciate the opportunity to have my data scrutinised and errors pointed out. I consider this process integral to the robustness of my work and as part of the peer review process of my PhD and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to correct these as I proceed.





What have I been crafting lately?

The latest block in the Jinny Beyer Solstice Quilt kit was a long time in coming. I must admit that I don’t enjoy the circular sewing as much (this does not bode well for my project sitting on the design wall to be finished – the New York Beauty). The other reason it took so long is because I’ve become obsessed sewing the log cabin alternate blocks. I’m driven to do nothing but sew them til they are finished. *shakes fist* The will be finished! I’ve completed 3 of the 12. 9 to go and I don’t seem interested in working on anything else really.



These fabrics photograph so well, I don’t think they look quite as spectacular on the design wall.


Course when I said I’ve been doing nothing else, that wasn’t entirely true.


MINISKEINS! OMG I LOVE miniskeins, I can’t get enough of them. So I’m making this blanket, each miniskein makes just over one of these granny squares. So colourful. At some point, I will have enough squares and I will have to stop collecting miniskeins (though once you get into a collecting jag, it’s so hard to stop – I keep forgetting I’m no longer collecting for my monochrome quilt for example). The rule is that miniskeins must be converted to squares as a top priority so that I DO NOT amass a miniskein stash.



I managed to get a pair of socks for the baby out of the leftover sock yarn from Socks #2. They don’t spend much time on baby’s feet, however.



And there this is this quilt. It’s a scrap quilt and it’s going to be the map of the Tokyo Subway from Oh Fransson. But this first block has such a long story! I thought I would be able to easily sew this without marking the squares, if I cut them all correctly with a quarter inch seam and sewed straight. I took the pieces of the first block with me to Conflux last year and then on to Tehani’s house afterwards, where I stayed for a bit of a rest up. Well, I realised about halfway into this block, at Tehani’s, that I was not in fact sewing straight and that the squares didn’t line up. So it went into the suitcase and then into the back of a cupboard for a while. A long while. Until I was doing some GTD around the house and realising that really the next action was to unpick the sewn block so far and start over. To cut out a proper template, suck it up, mark each square and move on with my life. Which I did. And then voila, block 1 below, I sewed the two halves the wrong way round. Sigh!






What have I been crafting lately?

The latest block in the Jinny Beyer Solstice Quilt kit was a long time in coming. I must admit that I don’t enjoy the circular sewing as much (this does not bode well for my project sitting on the design wall to be finished – the New York Beauty). The other reason it took so long is because I’ve become obsessed sewing the log cabin alternate blocks. I’m driven to do nothing but sew them til they are finished. *shakes fist* The will be finished! I’ve completed 3 of the 12. 9 to go and I don’t seem interested in working on anything else really.



These fabrics photograph so well, I don’t think they look quite as spectacular on the design wall.


Course when I said I’ve been doing nothing else, that wasn’t entirely true.


MINISKEINS! OMG I LOVE miniskeins, I can’t get enough of them. So I’m making this blanket, each miniskein makes just over one of these granny squares. So colourful. At some point, I will have enough squares and I will have to stop collecting miniskeins (though once you get into a collecting jag, it’s so hard to stop – I keep forgetting I’m no longer collecting for my monochrome quilt for example). The rule is that miniskeins must be converted to squares as a top priority so that I DO NOT amass a miniskein stash.



I managed to get a pair of socks for the baby out of the leftover sock yarn from Socks #2. They don’t spend much time on baby’s feet, however.



And there this is this quilt. It’s a scrap quilt and it’s going to be the map of the Tokyo Subway from . But this first block has such a long story! I thought I would be able to easily sew this without marking the squares, if I cut them all correctly with a quarter inch seam and sewed straight. I took the pieces of the first block with me to Conflux last year and then on to Tehani’s house afterwards, where I stayed for a bit of a rest up. Well, I realised about halfway into this block, at Tehani’s, that I was not in fact sewing straight and that the squares didn’t line up. So it went into the suitcase and then into the back of a cupboard for a while. A long while. Until I was doing some GTD around the house and realising that really the next action was to unpick the sewn block so far and start over. To cut out a proper template, suck it up, mark each square and move on with my life. Which I did. And then voila, block 1 below, I sewed the two halves the wrong way round. Sigh!






Hugo Nominations 2014

This is the podcast you’re having when you’re not really having a podcast. Don’t think of it as a new episode. Think of it as an additional appendage. If we’d recorded the last episode further down the timeline, we’d have discussed the Hugo ballot in full. And when you think of it that way, aren’t you glad we split those 4 hours into two?


Galactic Suburbia the John Campbell Memorial not a Hugo Episode 


In which we do discuss the Hugo shortlists both Retro and Current, but this is not an episode. Not at all. For… administrative reasons.




Hugo ShortlistBrandon Sanderson says interesting things about fandom groups, and the Wheel of Time nomination. </p>

Some gender notes on the Hugo shortlist


Tansy’s Hugo links post


Tansy & John DeNardo of SF Signal discuss the shortlist on Coode Street Podcast


THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO NOMINATED GALACTIC SUBURBIA FOR BEST FANCAST, WE LOVE YOU TOO. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH WE WOULD GIVE YOU FIVE STARS ON ITUNES.


Download the latest not a Hugo Episode Hugo Episode Additional Appendage HERE




Galactic Suburbia Episode 98 Shownotes

Heads up: there’s a bonus Hugo edition episode incoming.


In which we approach Fringe from multiple sides, rant about Game of Thrones, muse about cake lit and Alisa is a PhD student again! Bonus supplemental awards chat (but not in depth about the Hugos because we recorded before the shortlist went public) and an invitation to CAKE OUT for our 100th. See you there…


Culture Consumed:


Alex: Fringe s1; A Million Suns, Beth Revis; The Crooked Letter, Sean Williams


Tansy: Game of Thrones rant, Jenny Colgan novels, Jago & Litefoot 7, Yonderland!




Alisa: Game of Thrones; Generation Cryo; The Cuckoo by Sean Williams, Clarkesworld Issue 91; the PhD Report


Aurealis Awards were awarded.


(sidetracked: Before the Internet from XKCD)



Hugo nomination


CAKE COMPETITION! For our 100th episode, we would like to have a new logo. On a cake. Designed by you. Send a picture of your creation and you could win… something… and you can eat the cake, too. (This is episode 98, so you’ve got 4 or 5 weeks to plan your creation.)


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


LISTEN TO US HERE!




What does a good con look like?

One of my favourite greetings at a convention is “How is your con going?” I love the implication that everyone is experiencing the same event differently, from their own perspective. I love that it’s implied that one person can be having a terrible time and that be completely unrelated to someone else’s ie a great convention is one that offers a diverse group of people that which they each need to have a good time. Not such an easy task to complete when you run a con and a very easy thing to attack when you attend. It also means that you can be hearing a lot of complaints about a con being boring or disorganised yet be having the best time yourself.


We just came off of Swancon 2014 (39 for those who talk SwanconGeek). It was the first con I’ve attended with my child in tow. That had its drawbacks – I didn’t manage to get to the Art Show for example, which I really wanted to (I think there was some work there I might have wanted to buy.) I couldn’t have done the con at all without Terri and Shani who did a lot (most) of the baby wrangling. The baby didn’t really want to nap too much, what with all the people and things to look at and process. So we had quite a grumpy baby by the end of each day and yesterday was painful trying to get her back into her routine. My favourite grumpy baby moment was when she just gave up on Friday night and sat in her highchair at a restaurant and squealed over and over and over like she was on total overboard (her daddy removed her from the situation and we went home).


But for me, a good con starts and ends with a good dealers room – decent size space for the traders who will be there, nice mix of traders offering different things, enough chairs for each table, access to power, aircon (that can be adjusted) and a good steady flow of people coming in to see us! This year Margaret was the dealers liaison and she was hands down the best liaison I’ve ever dealt with. She sent out regular but not too often emails ahead of the event with relevant information (and information gathering about our needs). She organised traders to bump in at 15 min intervals allowing only one of us to be unloading and using the hotel trolley at a time. She was hanging around and available to assist us when we arrived. She organised menus and took lunch orders, our money and then sent up the waiters with lunch for us at lunchtime. We DID NOT STARVE. And she did it in a calm, take charge authoritative manner. She made it an enjoyable breeze. The room was a good size and overall pretty pleasant.


Being a trader, my con basically looks like the inside of the dealers room. Hopefully trade is brisk and constant so I have things to do (and I sell my books to enthusiastic readers!). But also, hopefully everyone eventually comes past and says hello. I definitely feel like I got to have good chats with lots of people – new friends I’ve made in the last year on Facebook and old friends too. It’s also a good chance for writers to come past and talk about stuff, pitch projects or touch base on work we’re working on and so on.


We had a small Twelfth Planet Press event. I was quite worried I’d overcatered and that noone would come. Terri spent hours and hours conceiving, making and icing 450 macarons. I helped a bit with some oven management but basically that was all her. She made 9 kinds to match the covers of the Twelve Planets published so far and flavoured them according to themes within. (I’ll be posting more on that over on Pinterest). Shani kindly looked after the baby during this. As usual at Swancon, some lovely people popped in early to help me set up – thank you to all those people, I greatly appreciate your help. And I had Cat there who made sure all the champagne was served and drunk (I definitely was worried I’d overcatered). So many people came along and it turned out to be a really lovely event to celebrate the books we’ve done so far and the four more to come (yep – FOUR!).


And finally, for me, a good con has attracted some of my friends along so I get to catch up and hang out with people I love. That definitely happened this year and I can tell because I got given homework by Stefen, Nick and Jonathan as well as Cat and Bec. Should keep me busy for a while!


When you leave a good con you feel inspired to do something, be it consume or create. I came away with some ideas to mull over and a lot of reading to do. And I think we managed to feed everyone some Twelve Planets coloured and flavoured macarons thanks to Terri’s creativity! So I’m calling it a Good Con.


IMG_4832IMG_4838IMG_4841


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Photos taken by Cat Sparks


 





Galactic Suburbia Episode 97

Spoilerific Special – Veronica Mars


 Veronica_MarsIn which a long time ago, we used to be friends, but I haven’t heard from you lately at all – come on now, sugah, bring it on, bring it on. Just remember me when


It’s the Kickstarted Veronica Mars Movie Squeeful Spoilerific Special!


With Alex away stargazing, Alisa and Tansy dig into the nitty gritty of the recent release movie we had been waiting YEARS for. We talk about the history of the show (SPOILERS FOR ALL OF VERONICA MARS, NOT JUST THE MOVIE), the writing, the characters, the love stories, the murders, the stars and the in-jokes.We also talk about the Kickstarter campaign and its ramifications for a TV industry teetering on the brink of a total rebirth.</p>


Are you Team Logan, Team Piz, Team Mac or (most importantly of all) Team Veronica? Does a soundbyte of a certain Dandy Warhols song make you break into a smile? Were you so disheartened at the end of Season 3 that you watched all of Party Down to get over the sad? Come on down to Galactic Suburbia.


People say we’re a marshmallow.


Listen here or subscribe via iTunes


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!




Craft Update: New acquisitions

For my birthday, I allowed myself to buy a yard of a bunch of fabrics at the Fat Quarter Shop that I’d been leaving open in tabs in my browser.



So uh, yeah. I have a Paris thing going on. I’m adding these to a stack I already have. For a um, as yet non defined project. And quilt shop fabrics – it’s so meta I had to get it.



Ballet fabrics. Also a theme I am currently unable to resist collecting. I’m hoping the pinks work together so I can just make the one ballet themed quilt. Two is probably overkill.


I had to do a big thing and unpack the fabrics for these photos. It took me a couple of days of “can I really do that?” but  think I’m ok about it now! And I might even start thinking about what I’m going to do with these! I suspect a long time ago I made a rule about not starting new projects when the textiles came in because I might have a tendency towards startititis. You’re shocked to read this, I know. But the rule seems to have set in so hard that I now am leaning towards scary hoarder who buys stuff and then just never unwraps it or looks at it but stacks it in the ballooning back room.


I have a cute idea for the fashion fabrics I’ve been collecting which may or may not extend into using some of these. I’m going to let the idea percolate.


Meanwhile, my March KnitCrate finally arrived, and a little worse for travelling as it looked like customs had to pack it into a plastic bag, it having come apart at a seam. I was sad because a couple of my friends had already got theirs and I couldn’t yet agree that I loved the pink yarn but not the shawl pattern (now I can agree on both). The indie yarn this month is from Hazel Knits – a new dyer to me. And I can’t believe we got two skeins – that would make two pairs of socks if I went that way. Instead, I’ve cast on a little sweater/shrug for the baby. I’m going to think about what I will do with the second skein later. And MINI SKEINS (10) in Hazel Knits various colourways too.



The baby yarn is LanaMundi Yarns and is spun with a thread of silver which is exceedingly cool! I don’t fancy the little baby slippers, especially after seeing how quickly baby socks got schlepped off this morning. The kit came with ideas though – apparently silver threaded yarn makes mittens that can still navigate an iPad! Goodies in the kid included some boiled lollies and these two lovely knitting needle rulers. Can never have too many of those!



My finished piece this week has been the first (of 12) of the alternate blocks for the Solstice Quilt. They are log cabins with a fussy cut centre. 6 will look like this and the other 6 have a different centre. I’m sewing these sort of in batches but the lead block is finally done!


photo(98)





Craft Update: New acquisitions

For my birthday, I allowed myself to buy a yard of a bunch of fabrics at the Fat Quarter Shop that I’d been leaving open in tabs in my browser.



So uh, yeah. I have a Paris thing going on. I’m adding these to a stack I already have. For a um, as yet non defined project. And quilt shop fabrics – it’s so meta I had to get it.



Ballet fabrics. Also a theme I am currently unable to resist collecting. I’m hoping the pinks work together so I can just make the one ballet themed quilt. Two is probably overkill.


I had to do a big thing and unpack the fabrics for these photos. It took me a couple of days of “can I really do that?” but  think I’m ok about it now! And I might even start thinking about what I’m going to do with these! I suspect a long time ago I made a rule about not starting new projects when the textiles came in because I might have a tendency towards startititis. You’re shocked to read this, I know. But the rule seems to have set in so hard that I now am leaning towards scary hoarder who buys stuff and then just never unwraps it or looks at it but stacks it in the ballooning back room.


I have a cute idea for the fashion fabrics I’ve been collecting which may or may not extend into using some of these. I’m going to let the idea percolate.


Meanwhile, my March KnitCrate finally arrived, and a little worse for travelling as it looked like customs had to pack it into a plastic bag, it having come apart at a seam. I was sad because a couple of my friends had already got theirs and I couldn’t yet agree that I loved the pink yarn but not the shawl pattern (now I can agree on both). The indie yarn this month is from Hazel Knits – a new dyer to me. And I can’t believe we got two skeins – that would make two pairs of socks if I went that way. Instead, I’ve cast on a little sweater/shrug for the baby. I’m going to think about what I will do with the second skein later. And MINI SKEINS (10) in Hazel Knits various colourways too.



The baby yarn is LanaMundi Yarns and is spun with a thread of silver which is exceedingly cool! I don’t fancy the little baby slippers, especially after seeing how quickly baby socks got schlepped off this morning. The kit came with ideas though – apparently silver threaded yarn makes mittens that can still navigate an iPad! Goodies in the kid included some boiled lollies and these two lovely knitting needle rulers. Can never have too many of those!


 


 My finished piece this week has been the first (of 12) of the alternate blocks for the Solstice Quilt. They are log cabins with a fussy cut centre. 6 will look like this and the other 6 have a different centre. I’m sewing these sort of in batches but the lead block is finally done!






Guest Post: Marianne de Pierres

Peacemaker Tour Banner


Why Westerns Appeal


Peacemaker-CR_webAt 14, when I started out reading Westerns, I wasn’t much of a critical reader, so I devoured them with an enormous but undiscriminating reading appetite. I didn’t understand the inherent sexism, or the fact that many of them were formulaic. Teenager me, was totally seduced by the landscape and the romance and the action. The notion of the male hero was appealing and entrancing. So was the tradition of courtly love – men prepared to die for their women, defend their honour, and ride to the ends of the earth to rescue them.


Reflecting upon that now makes me very uncomfortable. What was I thinking? And why does my attraction to the traditional Western still remain?


Well, there’s definitely a sense of nostalgia at play, a wistfulness that comes from the knowledge that the young, wide-eyed reader from those days no longer exists. But that’s not all. See, I love a sense of purpose and a sense of place in a novel. I’m really not one to meander around in someone else’s fictional world, content not to know where I’m going. Westerns get me somewhere. They also, in my experience, always have a deep connection with the landscape. The West itself, is a major player in the story, just like The City is often the silent protagonist in urban fantasy. In Westerns we not only get to look at the scenery, we get to experience how it makes it makes our hero’s life better, or worse, or sometimes both.


Then there’s the lawlessness. I’ve always been a fan of anarchical tales. In destroying or ignoring one set of rules, do we just build another? What’s the higher connection between morality and the law? How do we organise ourselves in times of chaos? All these are questions I’ve been exploring in other genres for a long time. It was only a matter of time before I re-visited them in the Western format — but with a brand new set of eyes.


GR author pic_web Marianne de Pierres is the author of the acclaimed Parrish Plessis and award winning Sentients of Orion science fiction series. The Parrish Plessis series has been translated into eight languages and adapted into a roleplaying game. She’s also the author of a bestselling teen dark fantasy series entitled Night Creatures. She lives in Brisbane, Australia. Marianne writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt.


 





TV Review: Big Love Seasons 1 – 4

wallpaper-s5-bill-and-wives-1600I recently finished a full rewatch of HBO’s Big Love. I’d recommended it to my sister and so I watched a long with her, mostly for her reaction to the ending, which was totally worth it. I really love this show, especially what they did with the ending and the way it empowers 3 women in a very interesting way.


Spoilers for the entire show below.


I can never remember if I’ve actually seen this show from the pilot or if you really are just thrown into the action. Bill Henrickson is a self appointed Priest of his own church having returned to polygamy and being kicked out their LDS church and also have been kicked off the compound he grew up in, Juniper Creek, as a 16 year old boy. We don’t see a lot of the history and background that brings this family of 3 wives and 8 children together but can only glean it over the full four seasons. And that picture that we put together ourselves is a complex and complicated one. In many ways Bill is a good man, a well intentioned man. He was a “lost boy” – kicked out by his father at 16 and left to fend for himself in a world that he didn’t grow up in, with rules that he wasn’t schooled in. Presumably Bill (and his brother) was kicked out much like young male lions are from the pack by the dominant male – the threat to his power and virility. On Juniper Creek, women are possessions that can be traded for favours, the Prophet can reassign wives if it pleases him to reward and punish. It seems that most of those wives are not treated very well, most live in what looks like abject poverty, with little power, and the power they do have is through the hierarchy of their sister wives. Not only this but girls are placed in the Joy Book at 15 or 16 to be perused like shoes a catalogue and traded across borders and between other compounds. Not all women are of the age of consent when married off.


Bill is essentially a good man. But that doesn’t mean he’s without flaws or that he does not always do well even when with the best of intentions. He spend his life fighting for freedom for the women on the compound, by way of wanting more for his mother but also in pursuing through legal and governmental policy means, as well as developing a program, to assist women to leave abusive situations. And in trying to help prosecute paedophiles and the peddling of young women through the Joy Book.


As I watched the show this time round, I started to wonder if this show is feminist. Bill has 3 wives. He is the head of his house. He consults with the women and looks for family decisions *unless* they disagree with him. He often makes decisions on his own. Two of the four (one doesn’t work out) wives that he marries he sleeps with before marriage even though he is staunchly against sex before marriage. He absolutely cannot deal with Barb’s (his first wife) declaration that she holds the priesthood too – I loved that whole logic, she couldn’t possibly hold the priesthood because noone had laid hands on her and it was just impossible because its passed down from father to son. (That sounds more logical an argument, even if I disagree with it but in the show it was a lot more circular in that basically he was choosing not to allow her to feel it therefore she couldn’t feel it.). Only Bill’s testimonies from Gpd were real and funnily enough they always involved either him getting a new wife, setting up his own church, deciding to run for office – they always involved him getting more sex or power. I kinda decided in the end that even though he means well, he is a bit of an arsehole. A kinda well meaning arsehole, held back by his frame of reference but kinda sexist and self serving. Basically I found his biggest flaw to be hubris – he never ever took a moment to step back and look at his weaknesses as something to overcome. He never ever addressed ideas like, maybe if I continue to cheat on my wives, then have a testimony that I’m supposed to take a new wife, that maybe my current wives might feel – jealous, betrayed, angry, ignored etc. I feel like he really got in the end what was coming to him – in so many ways he really did try to resolve conflicts but he also conveniently ignored lots of ticking bombs and then was shocked when people reacted in human ways.


Really, I feel like the show is not about Bill at all but about his three wives and that’s what has always drawn me to this show. Bill takes his second wife – Nicky – when Barb is (I presume) sick with cancer. He had a testimony I guess, that he needed another wife to look after his first one but also to look after his kids should the first wife die. In this context, it’s kind of extreme that a woman who did not grow up in polygamy to accept this as the obvious solution but it *is* sort of understandable. If you squint. Barb follows Bill into polygamy I think firstly because she thought she was going to die (and her kids were little, you would want someone to love your kids the way you do so if you could groom that replacement? I dunno). But mainly she follows him because she loves him and accepts him as her head of house. What is interesting though, is how much of Barb’s character we see throughout the four season as a result of this. How much resentment, jealousy, anger and so on she swallows and how she makes the best of this situation.


Nicky is the least likeable woman you would ever want to share a family life with. She’s mean, jealous, spiteful and very prickly. She hates hugs. She will always point out the bad in the situation. She will always expect the worst and remind you of that when it happens. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to learn to love this woman as your sister wife. To share not just your husband but your house, your children, your life. Nicky grew up on Juniper Creek so for her polygamy is the natural way of things. Her jealousy is not about sharing Bill but in all kinds of other ways. We learn though that she was a child bride, her father, the Prophet, traded her via his Joy Book and married her to a man older than her. Bill must have rescued her from the situation of living on the compound – though he did not know of much of her personal history or that she had a child in that union, which must have happened well before she comes to care for Barb. (We learn her father relented and let her divorce her husband, as an indulgence … )


Margene is the third wife and the newest on the scene. She’s young and peppy and not a Morman. She was the babysitter – I guess Barb went back to work and Nicky needed help, this is never really explained much – and Bill had an affair with her. We learn in the final season that she was totally not of legal age when he married her. And so the whole story comes full circle. What’s so interesting about that is even though it’s Bill who is responsible, Barb and Nicky are implicated because they consented (though Nicky did vote No – Of course she did!) to the marriage. And Barb of course was in the house the whole time so she becomes an accessory to statutory rape. And the women feel just as betrayed by Margene as Bill is responsible for sleeping with a minor.


These women have strength of mind and commitment to the vision of their family, both now and in the afterlife where they believe their family will be reunited, to want to work on making it work. It’s so interesting to watch their relationships and they evolve and interact – they must absorb the waves that Bill is constantly making. They must make it work and they work to move past jealousy and pettiness to do so. They raise each other’s children as their own. They have their own politics that are outside of their relationships with Bill. Some favourite moments are when one wife kicks him out of her bed on their scheduled night and he wanders next door to another wife who sends him back to the first. That doesn’t always hold true – later on things do break down. But when Barb leaves Bill, briefly, I love that Nicky and Marge feel like she has left them too, they feel that they are married to Barb as well and that they didn’t deserve to be punished for Bill’s mistakes. There very much are 4 people in this marriage.


What I love most is the evolution of each woman across the series. Barb struggles to find meaning in her life between losing her affiliation with the LDS church and in some ways having to move over and share her husband after I think it was 16 years of marriage. She wants to have her own spiritual path and hold the priesthood – give blessings and take a greater role in the church. I wonder a lot about what might have happened if Bill could have loosened the reins and felt he could share his church with his wife rather than pass it down to his son. He felt very threatened by her desire to have a greater role as though it was commentary on his ability to lead or the job he was doing. Sometimes, it’s not about you, dude, sometimes someone else is just walking their own journey. (Sorry, I did a lot of yelling at Bill this time).


Nicky becomes liberated. She goes from a very traditional woman, living in a suburb but with her head still on the compound. She’s the work horse, she can fix anything that’s broken, isn’t really very materialistic (though amassed a $20k debt before we begin following the story) and cares a lot about the insulation of family against the world. Through various circumstances she goes out to work to a day job, meets other people, falls for someone in her office (which does make her have to address the fact that she’s kinda married to someone she doesn’t actually love and what kind of choices did she have in getting to there), takes contraceptives because she doesn’t want more children (really interesting thread because it’s seen as a betrayal to the vision of the family if she’s not contributing more children yet Margene is allowed to not want more children eventually too with much less contention, though she does have to fight for that somewhat.), changes the way she dresses, eventually falls for Bill and then kinda doesn’t want to share him anymore (interesting …) and runs the underground train for helping women escape Juniper Creek. Really though, what hope did Nicky have given both her parents were amoral, self serving, manipulative, selfish people who kinda didn’t love their kids. Nicky probably does really well with what she has and there are some great moments when she is the parent of choice to go to with problems.


Margene grows up. Basically. She was a child going into a marriage with three adults who in some ways parented her but mostly just tolerated her. She had very little say in things in the beginning and was kind of a sex kitten come babysitter. It’s very hard for Barb to see and treat her as her equal. She was a child who got distracted by having children – three in a very short period of time. I think she was about 21 either at the beginning or the end of the show. In that time, she finds herself. She discovers she’s good at business, setting up her own, and then when that gets harpooned due to them coming out about being in a plural marriage, she gets involved in a pyramid scheme company. But through all this she finds her own voice and her abilities. She starts to earn her own money and see life goals she might want to pursue. That’s a bit difficult when you have kids at home and your husband thinks your family should be your life goal. She agitates a lot for pursuit, and Bill tolerates it where it doesn’t mean he has to give up anything. But clearly that is not going to be a sustainable situation long term. I very much love a conversation between the wives where Margene says that she didn’t get to have a life between being a child and a parent and Nicky points out her childhood was taken from her, thus Margene is better off!


There is much talk about love and family and the vision of their family in the after life. And in the final episode, Bill gets killed. There is this healing scene where he begs Barb to give him a blessing as he dies. Well, healing or infuriating cause he’s ever the hypocrite, anyhoo. And you think, well, did these women really share his vision of family? They are all young women with a long life to live. We get a flashforward to not quite a year ahead and we see that Barb has taken over Bill’s church. And Nicky and Barb are raising Margie’s kids whilst Margie is off on three month stints doing volunteer work in South America. She looks vibrant and energised and happy. And she looks older, more equal to the other two. And Nicky and Barb are at home, in a sisterwives marriage with each other. Living the life Bill envisioned.


I do wonder though. Will those women really live the rest of their lives like this? Surely they will want to meet other men and maybe have other romantic relationships? What will Bill think if they rock up in heaven as a marriage of 7 people! “It’s just not the way it is, Barb! It’s not *right* for a woman to have more than one husband!” But you know, they do like to seal people after they’re dead so … Bill better prepare himself for reality :)


 


 





Cafe Review: Brew-ha


For reasons that make sense to me, pretty much all my doctors are up north of the river, in and around Subi. So I kinda spend a bit of time killing time or grabbing food before and after appointments. Brew-ha is conveniently located very close to my new GP and with babies, you’re kinda at the GP a bit. Last week I finally did the second lot of baby vaccinations which I required my mum to come along and help me with :) Poor bubba cried her heart out, and then was smiling and laughing like nothing happened.


We met for lunch at Brew-ha beforehand and I grabbed this very pretty flat white and a raspberry and white choc muffin.


I’m in two minds about this cafe. It *does* have free wifi and quite a bit of space for wheeling a pram in and around. The coffee is fine. And I think the food we’ve had there has also been fine. It doesn’t have table service, you usually have to wait for the staff at the counter to finish their chat in order to order and they only take cash at the register. I’d complain about that but there is a bank ATM just down the street so I spose I could use that if needed (I never have cash on me).


 





TV Rec: Generation Cryo

I’ve just started watching a doco series on MTV (Foxtel) called Generation Cryo. It’s about a young woman called Bree from Reno Nevada who goes in search of her 14 half siblings and her sperm donor father.  Best quote so far, “my mom blames my lesbian mom for why I’m gay…” (yes her mums were in a gay relationship when they conceived her.)


In the first episode, Bree visits her first set of siblings in Georgia who are Jewish and she has Shabbat with them. The family is really lovely and welcoming and open. Their father is really honest about how he felt about his own infertility and his hesitations with Bree’s quest to find the donor – that he feels threatened by it. It was very moving. Bree forms a bond with her two half siblings and her half brother agrees to give her his DNA so she can search databases to locate their father. (They do get a match and a few of the half siblings send an email but it’s a dead end.)


In the second episode, Bree travels to Boston and California to meet several other siblings. And we learn that many of them have already met each other and their parents have kept in touch with each other over the years. Not something I knew was possible with anonymous sperm banks. In a sense, I think Bree realises she’s missed out a bit by her mothers never being curious about the idea of other people out there related to Bree and that maybe she would have liked to have had some siblings or at least know of them. Some of them take a visit to the Cryo Bank where they learn that they can write letters, when they are 18, to the donor and the bank will pass them along. He may choose to ignore the letters entirely or may communicate back to the bank. Several of her siblings are 18 and so write letters. Afterwards, she learns her half brother Julian had written his own letter more than 8 months ago and had no reply, and she feels a little disappointed. It seems that the donor wishes to remain anonymous. She then recruits one of her other half brothers to help her further in her quest.


There were some really crunchy discussions in the first two episodes – Bree has lesbian mothers who have since split, one family is a single mother, one is where the father was infertile, and another where the father was originally infertile but later on was able to father a child so those two siblings are half siblings and thus related the same was as the donor sperm kid to Bree. And these bring up such interesting discussions about how the men feel. So interesting to see how open and inclusive all the parents seem to be, both with welcoming Bree in to their fold and also with how comfortable the other half siblings feel in some of the other homes. And what constitutes being a parent.


Not all the kids feel the same way either – some want to meet their father, some just want to know who is and some still have no connection at all and want nothing to do with it. Julian, who himself had already gone on an expedition to find this guy, argued that it was immoral for Bree to try and find him – that the conditions that these men donated sperm under was that it was anonymous and that it’s not ok to now try and find them. Bree doesn’t see it that way – it seems incomprehensible to her that someone would donate sperm to create people and then never ever think about it again or never want to know who they are (I wonder how anyone would feel if 16 people suddenly showed up and said, “hi we’re your children”. So many interesting sides to the situation. I’m assuming that they find him because it doesn’t make an interesting arc if not. Though watching Bree be awkward and yet feel kinship with basically strangers is fascinating.





Phd Data Mining

I officially finish maternity at the end of this month ie next Tuesday. Can you believe that’s been six months already? I can’t! Except, almost 5 month old baby tries to say differently :)


I’ve been trying to do a regular catch up day of study with Amanda and some weeks I’ve done better at that (either in the actually meeting up or in the getting significant work done) than others. I figured a really easy place to start researching – easy in terms of being able to pick up and put down bite size pieces – was with the data collection. I’ve done a reasonably thorough scramble around our house to find all the Aussie SF (short fiction) we have as a starting point. At the moment, my sample set is going to be Aussie SF because it seems more doable and I’m probably going to be able to better, and more completely, source all the texts. And my thinking was, just work through the piles of mags, collections and anthols that we’ve got in the house as a starting point.


The problem of course is, I’m not yet sure what and how I want to crunch data so I don’t quite know what and how to capture information. I don’t want to have to come back and get something else from all these titles later. And the way I collect all this data now is likely to affect what I can do with it later. It’s very circular. The other issue is, because I can only pick up and put down small bite size pieces, I never really get the chance to sit and think long and hard about it. Other than the thinking I did for the general objectives and broad methodology I outlined in my candidacy proposal. So this means that every time I do sit down to work, I get distracted by possible tangents to veer off on or rabbit holes to dive into. Though probably that would be the case even if I was sitting in an office on campus in silence for hours at a time too.


Yesterday I sat down and managed to work on some old ASIMs. I’m looking at the gender breakdown of publications in SF in Australia, basically. Originally I was just looking at the fiction. Though I had also planned to look at other methods of performance evaluation ie years best round ups (both the fiction chosen and the way the editors view the year in their editorial round ups) and then also the various awards. These two will likely be more general SF rather than Aus SF in isolation (again because the sample set seems more doable). But along the way I realised that I will also need to look at other features in magazines such as the interviews (who conducts them and who do they interview) and also the reviews (again, who reviews whom).


I’m interested in the way we rewrite and reframe the scene – women have always written SF and yet they mostly have also been written out of (or their roles downplayed in) the history. How does that happen? Looking at the books that get attention, the authors who are spoken about, held up as the finest or the core or the genre shapers of our field may give some hint to that. These are the authors we remember and these are the ones that become easy for everyone to then pull out if they suddenly need a list (try it in your head and then see how many women are on those lists). And I realised today, that along with looking at editorials for gender breakdown of who is most discussed or held in esteem, I also need to do the same within interviews and reviews, if necessary. It’s quite fascinating, and well, then quite angry making followed by downright depressing. But not anything we didn’t know or haven’t discussed before. All I’m doing is collecting the data to make the pretty pie charts later.


I like to play games with it like, will the one woman mentioned be Ursula le Guin? And now I’ve got a list of Australian male writers too. I don’t have a sample set big enough yet for that one but I might have some breakdown on who those authors are at some point. My guess is that the Aussie women will be Sussex, Love and Lanagan but we shall see.


 


 





Galactic Suburbia: Episode 96 Shownotes

In which we announce the 2013 Galactic Suburbia for activism and/or communication that advances the feminist conversation in the field of speculative fiction.


 [If you want to listen unspoilt to the episode discussing shortlist and winners of the GS Award, listen Noooooow without reading the rest of the show notes. Don't even glance at them! Move along, nothing to see here] 


Culture Consumed:

Alex: Shadow Unit! Haven ep 1!

Alisa: Fringe, Haven S1, Game of Thrones S1 and S2, Veronica Mars Movie

Tansy: The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin; Dark Eyes 2 (Big Finish); Veronica Mars Movie




Galactic Suburbia Award!! for activism and/or communication that advances the feminist conversation in the field of speculative fiction


  Foz Meadows for her blogging generally, but particularly “Old Men Yelling at Clouds.”

  Anita Sarkeesian – Tropes vs Women in Video Games (Damsel in Distress 1 & 2, Ms Male Character)


  The Doubleclicks – Nothing to Prove music video

  Cheryl Morgan – The Rise & Fall of Grimpink

  Deb Stanish for her essay in Apex magazine: “Fangirl isn’t a Dirty Word.”


Honorary shortlistee (the Julia Gillard Award):Wendy Davis for her amazing filibuster


Joint Winners this Year!!! (drum roll please)

  NK Jemisin for her GoH speech from Continuum (link)

  Elise Matthesen for her essay “How to Report Sexual Harassment at cons” (link)


Also discussed:“Not Now, Not Ever” (Gillard Misogyny Speech) by Australian Voices


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!




Crafterly Update

I’ve been posting these blocks of my current quilting project on Facebook as I finish them but here they are all in one place. These are the individual blocks of the month from 2013 Jinny Beyer block of the month quilt – Solstice. C bought me the kit for my birthday last year and I was so hoping to work on just one block a month as they got emailed out to me. It seemed like such a reasonable goal. Unfortunately, I got carpal tunnel with the pregnancy and ended up not being able to sew at all for most of my confinement. This was very devastating – being cooped up at home with time on your hands and being expected to loll about on the couch watching TV and NOT being able to craft!


The other obstacle with this project which I now know I should have tackled differently is that at the very beginning of the project, before the first block, Jinny sent out the in between block pattern which is a basic log cabin with a fussy cut internal square. You have to make 12 of them and the instructions suggested making them up whilst you wait for the first block. I took that to me, finish these before you make the star blocks. And that would have been well and good had I been machine sewing and not hand sewing because 12 log cabin is actually more than 1 month of hand sewing. And it took me a long time to let go of finishing these before starting the project. (I’m still sewing these damn log cabins!). But I’m very proud of myself for wading in and attempting this project. Yes I made mistakes on the fussy cutting but making mistakes and having a quilt is much better than never starting for fear of failing, I ended up buying some extra fabric for the fussy cutting and now I can cut away with error room to spare.


Block 1



Block 3



Block 4



Block 5



Block 6



Block 7



Here’s a close up of the fabric that is being fussy cut for the details in the stars (colour not quite this purple in real life)



And the fussy cutting – cutting out exactly the same diamonds etc across the fabric to produce the extra patterns when sewn together. I’m thoroughly enjoying this process. It requires precision and exactness but the payoff is amazing. I’m hoping to do this by myself in other projects when I’m finished this one.



And!!! Because the socks in 2014 project plods along, here is Sock Pair # 2!!! A gift, so clearly not my size!



These are made from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Rocking Sock Yarn, with a Mille End in mediumweight. I’m not sure I’ve knit in medium weight of theirs before and I was surprised by how much leftover yarn I had even with making these socks in a few sizes bigger than mine. I love this colourway so the baby is getting a pair of socks from the leftovers!





When you’re home all day every day, it’s inevitable that every so often you will get someone door knocking to sell you something you don’t want. Yesterday, a very nice young woman knocked on my door and tried to sell me roller shutters. “Not just roller shutters,” she said when I quite clearly articulated I was not interested, “but to be a display home.” Long time readers/followers of me on social media might remember last year some time when we got a similar offer, by the same parent company, for solar panels right before the election and the end of subsidies/and increases in our state electricity for a bunch of other reasons. My husband researched this company after our interactions and found the deal not quite as good, shall we say?, as they claimed. In fact it was a total hustle.


Now, normally, I feel a need to be polite and I let solicitors go through their full spiel before I say I’m not interested. And you won’t be surprised if I tell you that this allows a lot of them to push me into things I actually didn’t want. My husband likes to remember the time I changed internet providers when they weren’t even offering the promised ADSL2 down my street as claimed in the upsell. Or the time on our honeymoon when I okayed a not-actual-taxi-driver to give us a lift from the airport even though I felt bad and wrong about it and there were signs saying not to. It’s not that I’m stupid or that I fall for the scam, it’s that I feel rude saying no. I feel obliged to engage when sales people cat call to me in shopping centres or in malls. I participate in annoying phone surveys even when I don’t have time and am in the middle of my dinner.


I’ve noticed, though, that my husband, who is actually very polite, has no such reservations about such things. He investigated the solar panel business quite thoroughly after deciding on the spot that he wouldn’t be pushed into a deal that was only available whilst the salesperson was at our house. He headed off at the pass the non-taxi-driver at the airport business. And the other day, when a survey person asked to speak to the oldest male in our house for a survey, I handed the phone to him and he hung up, without even speaking to the person! He said, “I don’t have time for this,” as he shoved more laundry into the machine.


Lately, I’ve noticed I have a lot less time and a lot less patience. I’m annoyed when people step in my way, ignore me and bash into my pram as I walk keeping to the lefthand side of the footpath. I’m tired and I don’t have time to fill in surveys or competitions or whatever it is someone is selling that I don’t want. And I’m sick of every charity in the state calling me exactly when my baby is finally asleep for her midmorning nap asking me for money. I found myself telling the door knocker yesterday that we weren’t interested in dealing with her company. Shocked, she pushed to ask why – when I’m fully reformed, I will just shut the door afterf saying I’m not interested – I told her that her company rips people off.


It’s not that I’m not a giving person. I donate money all the time to charities that I seek out to support. And when I want to change phone plans, as an educated female adult, I realise I want to and do my research before making my own decisions about what plans I want from what phone company. But lately I’ve realised that I want to be left alone, not seen as a constant stupid buyer to be sold crap I don’t want. And I want to choose who I let into my personal space.


I’ve had to start to unlearn something in order to be able to do this – that I’m not a bad person for not doing or going along with what someone else wants me to do.


I’ve been doing some reading on how to raise your children to protect themselves from harm – to learn how to establish their own boundaries and that what is private is private and not for anyone else to take or touch or use etc. This is also what I was taught as  a child about sexual predators/stranger danger. It didn’t, by the way, stop me from having my boundaries violated. And I think that’s because of this other thing that we teach girls, in all kinds of ways, that to be a polite and nice girl, you must go along with what other people want you to do.


Ignoring people in high school (or later in life on the bus or train or in a line at a nightclub) – bullies, annoying boys, girls being bitchy – didn’t make them go away. It made them angrier and meaner. And they made it about you being rude for ignoring them. Once, when I was standing with a group of girls at a school camp, a male teacher wanted us to move and do something he wanted us to do but noone in my group moved. So he came up behind me, grabbed me to lift me (and touched my breasts in the process) and shoved me to make me do what he wanted me to do. When a person in authority does that to a teenage girl, they are teaching you that you don’t even get the right to choose to defy them. He taught me that I don’t get to determine my personal boundaries. I don’t get to decide who could and could not touch me. He taught me that someone bigger and angrier than me can make me do what he wants me to do, even if I try and stand my ground. It’s pure biology, isn’t that what they say? Isn’t that why patriarchy?


In all kinds of ways, in all kinds of roles, I’ve been groomed to be polite – that’s what nice, good girls are. So when someone in a public space puts their hand out to shake mine in greeting, I can not just walk past them. Even when they are quite clearly selling me something I don’t want. Last year, I was pregnant and walking from the supermarket with a bunch of flowers and one such salesperson called out to me flirtily, “Oh are they for me?” I’m sure I said something witty back to diffuse the situation but it made me angry. Of course they weren’t for him and he was only trying to engage me to sell me something. At the time, I wished so hard that I could have walked past and not replied. I didn’t invite conversation with him, why should I feel obliged to be in one? Why should I feel *obliged* to diffuse it? Last week, some sales guy stretched his  hand out to shake my hand and called, “Hi Mummy!” – ew! I’m not your mummy!


A few years ago, a friend of mine made me feel uncomfortable and I pulled back from interacting with them. Instead of having a conversation with me about it, they spent about 2 years making digs. As though they could make me feel bad enough that they felt bad and I would acquiesce and put myself back into a situation that I was clearly giving signals about not being comfortable being in. When people do that, they are telling you that you don’t get to make decisions about your boundaries. They also like to pretend that they didn’t know that that was harassment … And many many many men I have known in my life, men most people think are good and nice men,  have pushed and bullied and wheedled and cajoled to move those boundaries in all kinds of ways. I have been in more situations where I feel uncomfortable and thus hate myself for being pushed into being in than I care to recall. And it’s because I feel bad telling someone something that they don’t want to hear. Being honest when it involves telling them no. That I don’t like them.  Because actually, good girls don’t say no. They don’t make waves. They don’t make trouble. They aren’t difficult. Or impolite. They liked everyone. They play by the rules, even if the rules get to bent for other people. They don’t make you feel bad about whatever it is that you are doing.


Screw that. I’m angry that I found it weird when I met my husband and he would ask me to define my boundaries. When he would ask me what it is that *I* wanted – for all kinds of things from what movie to see, to what restaurant I wanted to go to, whatever. I found it *difficult* to make decisions like that without knowing what “the right answer” was. With the right person, there is no “right answer”, there’s only, “your answer.”


I don’t want my daughter to think that being polite and a good girl means doing what other people want her to do. Or not telling them what they don’t want to hear. I want my daughter to choose any and all of her personal boundaries – physical, emotional, financial and intellectual. I want her to know that for “no to mean no” – to *really* mean no – it can’t just be about situations where a stranger jumps out at you in a dark alleyway at midnight, it has to mean no all the time. It has to be ok to say that you don’t want to move when someone (even in authority) tells you to, or that you don’t want to hear about a product you don’t want to buy or be friends with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable or bad or stupid. It has to be ok, polite even, to say no when you feel like saying it. In all situations.


So I’m working on this. Model the behaviour you want to teach, right? Right now, I’ve got it to when people shout out greetings at me in the shops ,I smile and say “Hi, but I’m not stopping.” I’m going to keep working on this so that I’m ok with walking past without even acknowledging them and not feeling bad about it. Baby steps.





Haven Season 1

I’m rewatching Haven after seeing the finale for Season 3. A lot of information was imparted in the final episodes and I’m interested to see who knew what and how they reacted given I now know a lot more about what they knew (and also, seeing whether the writers were making a lot of this up on the run.) I keep thinking that if you liked Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti, you’d like Haven. But then, we claimed the reverse of that on the back cover :)


In episode 1 we meet Audrey Parker, an FBI agent who perhaps is a bit out there in her investigation methodology. Her boss sends her to Haven, Maine to bring back an escaped convict. As we get a bit of a view of Haven on Audrey’s drive into town, I realise how much I have fallen in love with Maine, and mostly due to Stephen King. Since a lot of the town and coastal shots throughout the show are the same few, it’s obvious it’s not filmed in Maine. But I still think one of those gorgeous red brick farmhouses nestled sleepily into the rocky shoreline, with the windy sea air is just begging to be rented for a year long writing project. As long as they have internet, I can run my press from anywhere, right? Course, not in Haven. Somewhere less … troubled.


Agent Parker’s convict is found dead the day she arrives, in somewhat mysterious circumstances. And she encounters some other oddities – a crack in the road appears as she’s driving which causes her to have a dangerous accident, a local cop with whom she instantly establishes witty rapport can’t feel pain and an odd fog envelops them – that have her hanging around a bit longer than she expected. Agent Parker solves the episode mystery but it raises more questions than answers.


A random highlight is meeting Duke – “The guy’s not all bad,” she tells cop Nathan, “he saved my life and then he served me coffee.” And it should be pointed out, he made plunger coffee! Can’t be all bad at all. And he laundered her clothes. But … replacing her phone was just weird.


SPOILERS (from up to Season 3) BELOW:


So, now onto the broader picture. We’re left wondering just what is happening in Haven – a town with full translated name is “Haven for God’s Orphans”. I always remembered it as Audrey Parker coming to Haven having seen the picture in the paper with the woman who looks like her mother. But no, Vince and Dave totally plot to keep her there by planting the question in her head by handing her the photo of her the day the Colorado Kid goes missing/is killed. And they pointedly mention it was  “27 years ago”. They  know she appears every 27 years and they know that means the Troubles are back. You can see them, rather than rattled by her appearance, eager to pick up where Lucy left off. They ,issed their friend, and are eager to play again.


The Chief knows who Audrey is too. And I think he’s sort of amused that she’s back as an FBI Agent this time.


Agent Howard is all creepy with watching her from afar and calling, presumably the Chief … but maybe Vince? and saying, “She’s staying, maybe she can help you with your troubles.”


Questions. Howard arrives at Audrey’s place to kinda kick it all off. But where did she, and he, come from? Presumably they came out of the Barn. So why does Haven manage to manifest them both so far away from the town? That’s kinda odd considering the Troubles always seem implied to be a Haven only thing (even though it could be a haven *for* the troubled since people obviously come to Haven via the underground railway of Vince’s.)






Haven Season 1

I’m rewatching Haven after seeing the finale for Season 3. A lot of information was imparted in the final episodes and I’m interested to see who knew what and how they reacted given I now know a lot more about what they knew (and also, seeing whether the writers were making a lot of this up on the run.) I keep thinking that if you liked Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti, you’d like Haven. But then, we claimed the reverse of that on the back cover :)


In episode 1 we meet Audrey Parker, an FBI agent who perhaps is a bit out there in her investigation methodology. Her boss sends her to Haven, Maine to bring back an escaped convict. As we get a bit of a view of Haven on Audrey’s drive into town, I realise how much I have fallen in love with Maine, and mostly due to Stephen King. Since a lot of the town and coastal shots throughout the show are the same few, it’s obvious it’s not filmed in Maine. But I still think one of those gorgeous red brick farmhouses nestled sleepily into the rocky shoreline, with the windy sea air is just begging to be rented for a year long writing project. As long as they have internet, I can run my press from anywhere, right? Course, not in Haven. Somewhere less … troubled.


Agent Parker’s convict is found dead the day she arrives, in somewhat mysterious circumstances. And she encounters some other oddities – a crack in the road appears as she’s driving which causes her to have a dangerous accident, a local cop with whom she instantly establishes witty rapport can’t feel pain and an odd fog envelops them – that have her hanging around a bit longer than she expected. Agent Parker solves the episode mystery but it raises more questions than answers.


A random highlight is meeting Duke – “The guy’s not all bad,” she tells cop Nathan, “he saved my life and then he served me coffee.”


SPOILERS (from up to Season 3) BELOW:


So, now onto the broader picture. We’re left wondering just what is happening in Haven – a town with full translated name is “Haven for God’s Orphans”. I always remembered it as Audrey Parker coming to Haven having seen the picture in the paper with the woman who looks like her mother. But no, Vince and Dave totally plot to keep her there by planting the question in her head by handing her the photo of her the day the Colorado Kid goes missing/is killed. And they pointedly mention it was  “27 years ago”. They  know she appears every 27 years and they know that means the Troubles are back. You can see them, rather than rattled by her appearance, eager to pick up where Lucy left off. They ,issed their friend, and are eager to play again.


The Chief knows who Audrey is too. And I think he’s sort of amused that she’s back as an FBI Agent this time.


Agent Howard is all creepy with watching her from afar and calling, presumably the Chief … but maybe Vince? and saying, “She’s staying, maybe she can help you with your troubles.”


Questions. Howard arrives at Audrey’s place to kinda kick it all off. But where did she, and he, come from? Presumably they came out of the Barn. So why does Haven manage to manifest them both so far away from the town? That’s kinda odd considering the Troubles always seem implied to be a Haven only thing (even though it could be a haven *for* the troubled since people obviously come to Haven via the underground railway of Vince’s.)






A Long Time Ago, We Used to be Friends

Veronica_MarsLast night we watched the long awaited, Veronica Mars movie. For those who have no idea what the what, Veronica Mars was a three seasons long show on the old WB Network that came just after shows like Dawsons Creek, Buffy, Roswell etc and was a noir detective show with Veronica Mars as the teen private eye protagonist. I know! Right?! And yet it got cancelled after just 3 seasons.


Veronica Mars was a popular kid in Neptune, California and hung out with the rich kids until her best friend is murdered. After that, her life went to hell – her mother left, her father got fired as the local sheriff and she was kicked out of the popular crowd but not before her drink gets spiked and she is raped whilst unconscious at one of those rich kid parties she used to enjoy so much. So we enter the pilot episode. Veronica is now an outsider, loner at school and working in her dad’s private detective agency (Mars Investigations) in her spare time, determined to solve the murder of her best friend.


Veronica is smart and strong. She always has a come back. She always has a plan. And she always manages to wangle the situation to get her way. Despite – or perhaps because of – what’s happened to her, she has a very pragmatic, cynical view of the world and people. She could get depressed about all she’s lost of her old life but instead she uses what she has left (mostly her smart mouth and resourcefulness) to look out for herself. Technically she might be morally dubious but usually it’s in the scheme of helping someone out or exposing someone else’s corruption and that makes it ok, right?


Veronica Mars was a show with a strong female lead that was something other than a pair of angry trousers (Tansy’s TM). Her superpower is that she’s smart, inventive, resourceful and sure of herself. And a woman being the detective, instead of the broad? SO FREAKING COOL.


The first season was all about solving Lily Cain’s murder. And that had us worried that maybe the show would fall over in season 2. But that didn’t happen. It was still awesome. And so was season 3. And then there was the rumour that there might be a spinoff sequel where Veronica joins the FBI. I saw some little clips of her finishing up at Quantico. But then nothing. And there were rumours off an on about how there could be a movie. And this show was so awesome! Every now and then Kristen Stewart would rally the Marshmallows and encourage them to lobby Warner Bros. She would do a movie if given the chance. And then last year at first I thought it was just a hoax, but there it was – a Kickstarter to raise the funds from fans of the show to make this movie already! And within 24 hours they’d reached the first million. But alas, they were only allowing US fans to fund it! Eventually they managed to negotiate the rights with Warner to let the rest of the world play and records were broken with the amount raised and the number of backers. And they made the movie.


March 14 was delivery day and (after wayyyyyy too many backer updates) there in my inbox was the download code to download VERONICA MARS!


I didn’t want to just download that and watch it on my laptop late at night by myself. So I invited some friends over, we borrowed a projector and screen and we had a small cinema in our house to watch it!


AND IT WAS AWESOME!


And it has IRA GLASS (from This American Life) in it as well.


Anyway. It’s 10 years after high school, Veronica is a lawyer interviewing for her first job out of college in NYC and she’s happy. She comes home to help a friend out, investigate a murder and attend her high school reunion. It’s Veronica at her best! And Neptune still at its worst.


I was so worried that after everything, the movie would suck. Or that it wouldn’t be everything I was hoping it would be. Or that it would be 90 minute movie with a straight, obvious plot and then the end. But it was so much more. And I don’t mind one bit that they’ve written it with ways to launch off another series or movie. I’m a fan, I want more.


As things go, it was really interesting to see crowdfunding used to finance what should have been a Hollywood movie. And I think they did amazing with the budget that they had. It’s an interesting idea, perhaps a gamechanger, on the way movies might be funded in the future. You either need 1 person or entity to sink a huge investment into your project or nearly 95000 people with just a bit of cash each. But now, even though the movie happened, it could still be considered a flop because – 95000 fans willing to pay for the movie they wanted is still a small crowd when you consider success by the box office numbers. I’m fascinated by this and in seeing what will happen next. I’ve already preordered the first novel which apparently picks up at the end of this movie but won’t get in the way of a second one …


 





GTD Post: Getting Back on the Horse

The thing I love, and need to keep revisiting, with GTD is that if you’re on a flow, you stay with the flow and you don’t need GTD. GTD is there for when you fall off the horse, when you’re stuck or blocked and when you’re procrastinating. I’ve been in a slow panic for a couple of weeks with regards to, well, everything. Time management, household chores, running the press, getting my PhD up and going, a bunch of big commitments I signed up for this year. You name it, I think it’s currently out of control. And when completely overwhelmed, I tend to ignore and hide. And, you know, generally make it worse.


I’m still fascinated by how you can be in a rut for days and days and weeks (and months sometimes) and then one day you just wake up and feel differently. Suddenly tackling the big scary pile of whatever it is you’ve been avoiding feels like the only thing you want to do that day. Or getting stuck into solving some problem that seemed insurmountable every other time you vaguely thought about it feels easy. I need to remember, to remind myself, that it’s all ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and that just because I feel a particular way about something doesn’t mean I will always feel that way about it. Just because something seems hard now, doesn’t mean it won’t be easier later.


This year I’m working on putting out into the world what I want to see in the world. No matter what the world throws back. And I’m also working on stepping back from emotion. Not ignoring or denying how I feel about things but stepping back to observe them. I came upon the realisation that the meditation I’ve done in yoga of observing thoughts and feelings as leaves floating past you is the same as the idea of the seated self, that part of you that is immovable and apart from fleeting thoughts and feelings. And when you become in tune with that part of yourself, you can (sometimes) step back when you feel something, and let it pass by you. Not so that you don’t feel anger/hurt/jealousy/pettiness etc but rather that you name it and let it pass you by and then you react.


And what does that have to do with GTD? I forgot that Next Actions don’t have to be the Final Action. That you can work on things and take them to temporary done and come back later to finish them. And that sometimes that’s more progress than waiting to do it perfectly the first time. I had a dire situation in my kitchen that required a massive task of pulling everything out, culling, sorting and cleaning before organising to a better system. Not fixing it was stressing me out. Fixing it was stressing me out. We spent a whole weekend on it, two weekends ago now, and it mostly got done. But you know, not everything fit back in the cupboards. Funny that. But I really want everything to be neat and organised. It makes me happier to actually be in my kitchen and do things. And so I’ve been slowly trying to rejig it all. But I still have a bunch of things that don’t fit. And of course, I can’t move on to the next task until I deal with this one. But it finally occurred to me that since it’s all clean and whatnot, I could out everything back and then reorganise smaller parts that don’t work as they are not yet in the perfect configuration now. That whole, it can be perfect or finished but not both.


I’m slowly trying to climb back on the horse of practicing GTD – I’ve not done a weekly review fora few weeks, I’m struggling to get my email inbox back to zero and my intray empty and I don’t know what many many Next Actions are. But I’m slowly trying to climb back on and that’s more progress than sitting here pretending I don’t even see the horse.





Cafe Round Up!

My lack of cafe reviews is purely down to being short of time and nothing to do with being short on visits. Here’s a quick round up of a bunch of places I’ve been to recently.


Taste and Graze



I met Terri here for a TPP publicity meeting – she’d told me they boast having “Melbourne coffee” and I was keen to check the claim. The coffee is indeed very good, possibly the best in a 20 minute drive radius from my house and I admit having considered several times heading out there for another cup. The food is excellent – I had eggs on toast. The service became counter service for some reason (wasn’t clear if it was the time of day or a new thing – I’d been there a week or two before that and it was table service). Located on the Mandurah foreshore, the view is lovely (though broken by the main road). However, both times I’ve been there now have been hot days and there is no aircon. My poor baby slowly wilted.


The Merchant on Beaufort



Met my sister for lunch here – I don’t feel it’s the type of place I would feel comfortable sitting and working for hours. That said, it’s got great pram access and I was able to keep the pram next to the table without it feeling in the way. The table service was excellent, very helpful and our waitperson knew exactly what was in every dish (she was quizzed). The coffee was good. And I had the pan fried gnocchi (above). This is where we begin to notice that at the moment, Perth vegetarian option on the menu is most likely to be gnocchi.


The Daily Planet



OK so, I’m completely torn about the Daily Planet – next to Planet Books on Beaufort St. It’s not a very warm place in that the first of the two visits reviewed here, I thought there was no table service at all because all the staff were hipsters and dressed no differently in any way to the customers. And then the second time I visited, not a week later, table service had gone completely and you had to order at the counter. I don’t *necessarily* mind ordering at the counter *except* when you have to wait for the really cool people to stop their inane conversation to pay you attention. And this of course meant that both times, when I’d gone there to work, it was hard work to get a follow up coffee. Or a glass of water. Or a new menu.



But! The Daily Planet has free wifi, nice spaces to sit and spread out and work. AND a really great baby changing facility in the disabled toilet. It’s not even one of those gross fold out from the wall tables but a proper table with lots of space to put your bag down and change a baby in peace. This leads to happy baby and mummy staying for many more hours than she has done elsewhere. Also cool mural on the back wall.


The food is fine. In fact, the breakfast I had the second time and the lunch panini (above) the first time were really delicious. And the coffee is ok to good. I had a piece of cake the first visit which was stale – that was my bad because I should have known and not ordered it. Very rarely do you get not stale cake at cafes. (Sigh – anyone else remember the outstanding cake that Blakes had? When it was the very original Blake’s Blakes?) But there is also no aircon and lots of windows and doors open which makes for a hot cafe on hot days.


Standing Room Only



It’s only fair that I declare that coffee by which I compare everything else. To me, Standing Room Only serve the best coffee in Perth. It’s clearly not everybody’s cup of … coffee … as I could never get anyone else I worked with on board (they tried once or twice). Located in Piccadilly Arcade (which is all pink marble and art deco ness) makes it fun to visit and they’ve now done some changes to the place. I don’t really like them but I think knocking out the storefront window probably eases some of the congestion at peak times. I miss the wood floors that have been replaced with black and white tiles. Standing Room Only is as advertised and is just a takeaway place. They offer three beans each day – their house blend, a single origin and another blend. The latter two get changed daily. When I used to work in the city I didn’t really like the house blend and I’d try one of the other two every day. I guess though if I didn’t like one of the daily specials, I could come back and try something else. The last couple of times I’ve been in the city, I tried first the house blend and then a recommended blend the next time. Whilst the blend was lovely, it wasn’t *as nice* as the house blend and since it’s so rare now for me to get into the city, I’m just having the house blend and being assured of a really good cup of coffee. It’s a deep, rich, intense blend with several layers of flavour. Everything else, to me, tastes hollow. My work mates think that it was too strong. It probably is. Note: a large cup is three shots of coffee.


The Peasant’s Table



My sister and mum took me for breakfast to The Peasant’s Table at The Mezz in Mt Hawthorn for my birthday. The Mezz has been renovated and given a facelift and has a very nice outdoor seating area complete with a kids’ playground that’s easily visible from coffee tables. Unfortunately for us, they don’t do breakfast on Thursdays which is when we went. I had a muffin with coffee, which were both fine, and probably all I wanted anyway. I took this photo of my mum’s cup of tea cause I thought the little bottles of milk were gorgeous. Again, no table service – is this now a thing in Perth? And no cooked breakfasts. But very accessible for the pram and they had a high chair for my niece. I’ve been there before for lunch with my sister (whilst pregnant and they had good vegetarian, pregnant friendly dips and things for a ploughman sort of lunch). I have a feeling this would be a really nice place to hang out in wintery rainy months (here’s hoping we get some of those in Perth again). The bonus here is the parking is good (park on the roof and take the lift down to the ground floor) and you can do a nice food shop with a few specialty stores too.


Wild Poppy



I met Kathryn at Wild Poppy in Fremantle on a Thursday afternoon for a work session. There are lots of little nooks to sit and be in a quiet space as well as comfy couches and places to park a pram and spread a baby out. The coffee was good. And I had a very nice toasted vegetarian mountain bread roll as well as a delicious caramel slice. Bummer was that they closed at 4pm which was just about when we were settling in to work. There were other people in the cafe who had clearly been there settled in for work sessions so it’s worth another look, I guess. Though for the drive, I think probably for me, somewhere north of the river is more feasible (or closer to K’s place) where I can run a few errands or drop into see people.


Circa



Circa deserves a relook even though it didn’t really get a bad review here. We were back here this week and whilst access into it is really bad – I need a friend to help me lift the pram up the three steps and into the restaurant, especially since I watched a table of men sit there and watch me struggle without offering to help – there is space inside for the pram. The staff are very helpful and pleasant – they rearranged the tables so the pram could slot in next to me out of the way and they didn’t mind bringing several pots of hot water to sterilise certain people’s dummies that kept getting spat on the floor. I had the beetroot ravioli this time which was delicious. And the coffee is good.  It’s a very lovely space though the issue with the lack of changing facilities for the baby means I probably wouldn’t bring her with me to work there again.


Cucina



I met up with Naomi in the Perth CBD for lunch at Cucina yesterday. She knew to enter the side entrance which has easy access. I came in the front (from Hay St) and struggled up the two steps – again, people watched but didn’t help. The service was by and large very attentive, helpful and pleasant, except for the drink server who slammed down my lemon, lime and bitters before sauntering off. Not sure what I did to offend. Both vegetarians, we ordered the gnocchi – goat curd, chilli and lemon butter I think. It was very nice. The space was good for leaving two prams next to our table and they offered us two highchairs which was very nice too. And they coped well with a bub dropping toys and rusks from his chair. Naomi discovered there was no real space in the toilets for a nappy change and I’m still trying to figure out how she did it with her bub standing up. She was raving about the souffle which is no longer on the menu though we heard it might be coming back so we might have to go back and try it.


Cafe Vinyl



This one was totally me taking one for the team. I popped past on the way back to my car to grab a cup to test it out entirely for my blog. Cafe Vinyl is down the West End of Hay St (it’s actually very close to where I park my car) and my brother in law used to tell me it’s the best coffee in the city. It is very very good.





Galactic Suburbia Episode 95 Shownotes

In which, the Hugo host debacle online conversation became a many-tentacled AI that wants to steal our souls, and ladies are cranky.


Speaking of Cranky Ladies – check out Tansy and Tehani’s crowdfunding campaign.


News In Depth:

The Hugos v. Jonathan Ross, Safe Spaces & Online Discussions

Foz Meadows laying out the original drama in her usual inimitable style.

Cheryl on the arguments for & against Jonathan Ross as host as particularly on the importance of Intersectionality – how to be a good ally, and why you LISTEN to why people are upset, even if it’s inconvenient to you or your community.

The Chairs of LonCon apologise for the situation – weirdly, this graceful and thorough acknowledgement of their responsibility for how the chain of events went is often not being mentioned in coverage of the discussion.

 


UPDATE, PLEASE READ:

The downside of recording several days ahead of broadcast is that sometimes the conversation we are contributing to moves on without us – in particular with the “Hugos and Jonathan Ross” conversation we recorded on Wednesday night there has been some serious reframing of the narrative, some of it highly gendered.


We wanted to reference some of this further discussion rather than be seen to ignore such an important (and troubling) development.


Some important posts calling attention to the reframing of the narrative to trivialise the concerns of women (and to hide the fact that many prominent men shared and vocalised those concerns):


Kameron Hurley on Power, Responsibility, Empathy and Privilege

Kari Spelling on how the conversation has changed from being about the unsuitability of Ross as a Hugo host to being about how women were “mean” on Twitter – and how those women are continuing to be unfairly targeted.

Natalie Luhrs on “Reframing and Punching Down” – with particular reference to how those posts calling for people to be nicer to each other, or how fandom is too hysterical to deserve nice things, aren’t always as helpful as you think they are.

David Perry questions the mythical concept of Seanan Maguire’s Angry Mob, calling particular attention to how Seanan and her tweets are now being reframed as central to Jonathan Ross’s resignation, due to selective quoting, selective memories and gross misrepresentation of the actual timeline of events.

This is important stuff, people. Our history just got rewritten while we were watching.

[note: we deliberately didn't mention Seanan by name while discussing the issue in this episode of GS because we could see she was already being unduly blamed and centred in the discussion despite being only one participant - it's the exchange between Seanan and Jane Goldman mentioned in the Perry article that Alisa also refers to as a conversation that ends in mutual apologies and is later misrepresented by others long after it's concluded.]


Another important post by Kameron Hurley, Rage Doesn’t Exist in a Vacuum. On why internet rage happens, why someone else might be more upset than you are about a thing, and why it’s important to speak up about upsetting things even if it ruins someone else’s happy party fun times.


Culture Consumed:

Alisa: Game of Thrones S1, Fringe S3, Kaleidoscope ToC

Tansy: Ms Marvel #1 & She-Hulk #1 Fringe S3

Alex: Midnight and Moonshine, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter; A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar


Pet subject: feedback

Galactic Suburbia Award!! (last call for suggestions)


for activism and/or communication that advances the feminist conversation in the field of speculative fiction


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


 


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Birthday Weekend

I have the sad, sorry withdrawal come down that follows a birthday weekend. Luckily for me, I’m going out for a work session this afternoon which means I get to to try out another cafe (I’m behind on those posts too). Course, the come down means I had a great time!


I wasn’t really sure what was happening with my birthday this year. I didn’t organise anything. It’s kinda sad how the older you get, the less shiny and exciting your birthday becomes. I knew that there was a family dinner organised for the Friday night but C kept telling me that my present would be given to me then, not on the day, and in the calendar, he had a mysterious note “Tell Wife a Secret”. No matter what I tried, he refused to give away any hints! I had a meeting with Julia over Skype late Wednesday night and as soon as I hopped off, it was Thursday, and my birthday and he revealed the secret: he’d taken a day of annual leave to give me a day off. He’d remembered that I had a philosophy of not working on my birthday – something I picked up from the crew back in my Wetlands days. We’d all take annual leave on the day and frankly, if you can do that, it’s a really nice thing to say to yourself – I give me the day off! So C gave me the day after off and stayed home to look after the baby on Friday and sent me off “wherever”.


Thursday, my actual birthday, I had breakfast with my sister and mum and then hung out at my parents for the afternoon. I madly rang around local day spa places near my home to see if somewhere could fit me in. I had no idea what to do on my sudden day off and I didn’t want to waste it.


The Urban Day Spa in Rockingham could fit me in at 10am and I got to sleep in (after doing the 6am baby feed!) and then roll out of bed and head out for a full body massage. Hidden upstairs in the cafe strip on the foreshore, it’s a very lovely day spa. The massage was excellent – I was so sore from baby lifting etc – and the mood was dim lights and music and so relaxing. And then afterwards, they served refreshments on a balcony overlooking the ocean. I was still so very sore but definitely more relaxed.


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Afterwards, I headed to the Kent St Deli, a street back, and my favourite local place, to have a couple of uninterrupted hot coffees. It was very busy and not the most pleasant place to hang and the service wasn’t really as good as it’s been before, nor the coffee. But nonetheless, I hung out for about 2 hours, drank coffee and juice and ate lunch and worked on my PhD quietly. And even though technically that’s working, it’s been such a long time since I could sit for two hours and just work without stopping, following through processes, jotting down notes and actually developing a methodology for my stats collecting. And not being able to do such things had been stressing me out. I had a really great time working on my PhD.

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I was still sore and still had time to spare so I headed home to have a long luxurious bath (this particular bath bomb made the bath look like the pee of someone who needed to badly rehydrate!). I listened to Norah Jones and read a book. Divine!


And then! I still had some time before we had to leave for dinner, so I finally sat down and tackled the stumbling block on my quilt project. I’d stalled back when I was pregnant due to pregnancy brain meaning I could no longer fussy cut without stuffing up and my carpal tunnel eventually stopped me crafting altogether. It’s taken me this long but I finally got back to it. I had to recut one template and then fussy cut those 8 diamonds and then a bit of sewing over the weekend and voila! Done!


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Then it was time to head up to family dinner. Everyone came along and they had all pooled my birthday money to get me one giant day spa package omigosh! You know the kind that has EVERYTHING and you have to be there for like half a day! Oh yeah! Now to decide when that day is going to be! I cannot wait! And we had dinner. And Cake:


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Because it was a public holiday on Monday, we got a long weekend as well! We checked my post box on the way to dinner and I discovered my swift had finally arrived! So Saturday, I managed to work it, and wind up yarn!


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This should keep me going for a while:


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That’s a couple of balls of sock yarn for the year of sock knitting, one scarf and the TPP pink shall be a shawl.


 





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