[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Coworker calls me “mama” because I’m pregnant

I am currently 18 weeks pregnant with my first child. I work remotely on a team made up entirely of remote workers. It’s a small team of all women, all of whom have kids or even grandkids, and we are very close and friendly. It’s definitely a professional environment (and being the youngest member of the team by far, I try to stay very professional) but we also share stories about our weekends, pictures of our pets, etc. and I like that.

I told my coworkers the news a couple weeks ago and they are all very excited for me. Each meeting or call seems to start with a report on how the baby and I are doing. I am totally comfortable with this and it has been an easy pregnancy, so it’s been simple enough to give a little soundbite that I’m feeling fine and everything is going well without getting into details of ultrasound pictures or symptoms.

One coworker is very nice but she is a little awkward. She keeps asking me “How is mama feeling?” Alison, I HATE being called mama, even among friends and family. It feels infantilizing and puts an emphasis on my new role as a mother which is only one part of my life, especially with coworkers. If this were a friend, I would have no problem telling them not to call me mama, but it’s a coworker so I have mostly just ignored it. I don’t mind ignoring it either, but maybe that’s weird too! Any advice or scripts for handling this with a minimum of awkwardness?

Ugh, yes, it’s weird, but there’s always someone who seems to want to do this.

It’s perfectly to say, “Oh, please stick with Beth. Thanks!” Then follow up with a subject change to minimize the awkwardness, if you want to.

If that doesn’t work (although hopefully it will), then you may have to repeat it: “I’m still Beth. Please call me that instead.”

For what it’s worth … you might be totally fine continuing to share those regular updates in meetings and calls, but you also might reach a point in your pregnancy where you want more privacy (especially if you have any complications). It can be easier to shut that down now than try to do it down the road — so it might be worth a “from here on, I’ll let you know if anything changes.” Or not — some people are fine with this level of sharing — it’s just something to keep in mind.

2. Why are employers and candidates held to different standards in hiring?

Why do recruiters do the opposite of what is expected by candidates, then cry that there is a talent shortage? For example, I am expected to customize a resume and cover letter for each specific job application to ensure that either the person reading my application can see how I’m qualified, or a computer algorithm doesn’t automatically reject it. Meanwhile, I get extremely generic messages from recruiters (regarding relevant positions) on LinkedIn only that my profile “intrigues them.” Why should I reply when they made zero effort to customize their message to me, and why do recruiters think this is acceptable when they expect applicants to do the opposite?

Well, you don’t need to reply to recruiters who send you obvious form letters if you don’t want to! Those recruiters tend to be going for numbers over quality, and in a lot of industries (not all, but many) might not be worth your time anyway.

But your larger point stands: Candidates are expected to put energy into things that employers don’t. Part of that is because recruiters need to convey the same message to enormous numbers of people, and form letters make sense for that. (It doesn’t make sense to write a personal rejection note to all 200+ people you might be rejecting for a single position; a form letter is going to convey what needs to be conveyed pretty effectively.) And part of it is that your materials will actually be more effective when you customize them, so it’s in your own interests to do it.

But part of it is also convention. There are a bunch of double standards in hiring that are rooted more in convention than anything else. For example, your interviewer can be late to the interviewer or check her phone in the middle of it, while it’s typically going to be really frowned upon for you to do that as a candidate. And you certainly couldn’t get away with sending employers a list of instructions for interviewing you or simply announce the time you will meet with them, while some employers do exactly that.

So yeah, there are double standards. Some are eye-rolly but not worth the capital it would take to fight them. Others are worth pushing back on.

3. I want to ask for a promotion four months into my new job

In negotiating my current role, the compensation I was offered was deliberately anchored to my previous package, a simple 10% on top of my previous salary. Frustratingly, my recruiter revealed this without my permission, which I feel was unfair because firstly, my previous company had implemented a company-wide pay freeze for over a year. I was told I was deserving of both a higher salary and promotion but they simply didn’t have the budget. Secondly, during the period I was searching for a new role to get the promotion I desired, I was offered senior roles more than once. However, I felt the companies weren’t the best environments for me to develop so I declined.

When I was negotiating my current package, I did bring up these points, but it came down to them simply not being willing to hire me in a senior role as they didn’t think I was quite there, so they refused to budge on either level or salary, adding that they expected me to progress fairly rapidly. I figured something was better than nothing so accepted regardless.

As my probation period comes to an end, I believe I’ve demonstrated myself to be performing at a senior level and would like to again request the promotion. I like my job and don’t want to go through the upheaval of starting somewhere new after just four months, but I can’t help but feel like I’m being short-changed, which is making me feel very dejected, especially as I see peers with less experience leapfrog my progress. How do I broach this subject during my probation review and find an outcome that suits us both?

Oooh, I don’t think you can. You can’t really ask for or expect a promotion after only four months, unless there are very unusual circumstances (like that you ended up doing a different job than the one you were hired for). They told you clearly four months ago that they didn’t think you were at a senior level, and it’s unlikely they’ll have changed that assessment in just four months. Plus, you accepted their offer for this role at this level — it would be operating in bad faith to resent being expected to stay in it now, when it’s been such a short time. Typically a year would be the earliest you could bring this up.

What you can do, though, is to ask your boss about how things are going generally, and whether she thinks you could realistically be on a path to move up to a senior level in time, and whether it’s something she’d be open to talking about once you’ve been there a year.

4. Should we send a graduation announcement to my husband’s boss?

My 45-year-old husband started his current job four years ago, at the same time he started college. He already had years of experience in his field and the college degree was a personal challenge. He graduates in May.

His company is small, less than 50 employees scattered across the country, and the CEO is his grandboss. The CEO’s wife heads up the home office with a small group. All other employees travel extensively for work. My husband has been pushing for a promotion after several successful large-scale projects. He’s had a small promotion and a raise since he’s been there, and they’ve paid for him to take several professional development courses and obtain certifications. His degree relates directly to the work he has been gunning for (but is not required to do said work).

I think we should send his boss and grandboss graduation announcements as a kind of nudge towards that goal. My husband is concerned it’s too personal but he’s on the fence. If it makes a difference, the announcements are standard fair, no photos, but have the chancellor’s crest for the university. As an idea of the company culture, they send out signed cards from the CEO and his wife and gifts to employees for most major holidays (typically things like company logo wear, specialty food items, and restaurant gift cards). He’s on a first-name basis with his boss and the CEO’s wife, but when speaking about/to the CEO it’s (Full Name). I certainly wouldn’t send them a baby or wedding announcement, but I feel this directly relates to his job. What’s your advice?

I wouldn’t, because a lot of people feel obligated to give gifts in response to graduation announcements (or read that expectation into them). I’d rather see him just send them both a note with the news, including thanks to them for supporting him in that work if they did (and definitely if they paid for any of his courses). But ultimately your husband knows the culture there best, and you and I should both defer to him on what feels right!

5. Putting Klingon fluency on a resume

I am a polyglot and like learning new languages. My current count is six (two fluent, one semi-fluent, three basics). A wonderful part of my CV, which many friends and employers agree, is a world map where I have every country highlighted where a language I know is spoken, and it easily covers a third of the world.

Now I started learning Klingon on Duolingo for fun (they also have High Valyrian), and my level of understanding is getting comparative to other languages I can understand. Is this a thing I could put on my CV, or would it only appear negatively?

I wouldn’t list Klingon on its own without other languages (unless you were a field where it would clearly be a plus, although I’m having trouble thinking of what those might be), but if you’ve already got a bunch of languages on there, I don’t think it would be a problem to add it. That said, I’m not convinced it’s going to strengthen your candidacy in any appreciable way; you clearly already have impressive language skills without it. But some hiring managers will see it as a fun thing that shows personality.

(For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t normally recommend including a graphic like a map on a resume or a CV. If you’re getting interviews for the jobs you want, then feel free to ignore me, but typically I wouldn’t use that sort of graphic on a resume. I’m not going to reject a good candidate over it though.)

coworker calls me “mama,” why are employers and job candidates held to different standards, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

alchimie: (Default)
[personal profile] alchimie
The younger of my two cats is ill with what is hopefully an easily curable respiratory infection, so tomorrow has been rearranged to accomodate taking him to the vet. I am trying not to be anxious about his health, but of course I am; he is dearly beloved by the entire family but I am the one whom he spends his days on top of, and to have him ill is upsetting. And also it is frustrating to have to once again rearrange the time I had set aside to attempt creativity in order to meet other needs, however necessary it is, however beloved the creature whose needs must outweigh my own. Etc, etc, I think the whining here may be taken as given, yes?

But I have pear brandy if I choose, and books. I am reading a dozen things as always, some of them in the direction of research for this fantasy I am certainly not writing, but some of them are only for pleasure, and the most pleasurable of all right now is 's A Succession of Bad Days which is so very much all the things I want in a particular kind of book that I do not even know where to begin enthusing about it. It has people learning magic, it has cosmology and world-building and all those things which make sense at the top level, and then it has that underneath making sense as well which I do not know how to explain in words and part of the pleasure of the book is watching the protagonist trying to figure out how to explain it in words as well. There is absolutely something interesting on each page; there is something interesting in every paragraph, really, and the only problem with the book is that inevitably it is going to end and then what will I read before bed to fully engage my brain something pleasant such that I fall asleep thinking about the pleasurable thing rather than worrying about any of the details of my life? (Fortunately there are thus far two more books in the series, but I do not think I can read them slowly enough. Yes, I am even enjoying the concern of it.)

I have mosquito bites from the camping trip, but mostly they do not itch. It has been very hot here the last few days but it is predicted to be cooler tomorrow, and by next week it will be enjoyably warm instead of unpleasantly hot. We might go swimming on Sunday, the children wish to very much and I enjoy it as well, but Saturday is a long and physically tiring (although fun) event with many people, so Sunday may be spent in recovering from both the exercise and the crowds.

I am tired, always I am tired. I could write about the why but it comes down to not enough hours for sleep and too many interruptions. I make up for it on the weekends, as best I can, but I am becoming intensely bored with the pattern of mid-week exhaustion and having to push through. Right now as I type, though, I can feel myself relaxing, so I think it is time to post this, resist the urge to write another post about the anime I have been watching in 5 minute intervals between interruptions, and lie down to read about a barge trip which, if I am very lucky, might include some hugging. (Probably not, but I cannot help but hope.)

Lesson learned

Apr. 24th, 2019 11:24 pm
sasha_feather: dog looking over a valley (dog and landscape)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
I definitely made an error in judgment when I agreed to dog sit a young golden retriever. He's gone home now, and Abbie and I are both very relieved. It could've been worse-- he was an essentially good-natured dog-- but he was very high energy and had separation anxiety. My roommate described him as a "needy boyfriend".

I'm enjoying watching "The Expanse" which I have out from the library. Tonight I watched disc 2. It's gripping and I like the focus on working-class people.

The weather has been nice for a few days and it certainly makes life easier. We're in that moment of Spring where tiny flowers bloom under trees. Willow trees have a yellow glow.
[syndicated profile] transgriot_feed

Posted by Monica Roberts

Image result for Black Transmen Inc dallas
April  24, 2019
Contact: Monica Roberts BTAC Media Chair 346-310-0824
Carter Brown, BTAC CEO
855-255-8636  Ext 11

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition (BTAC) and Black Transmen Inc.(BTMI) once again has to raise its collective voice to condemn another attack upon a Black trans Texan, this time in Killeen, TX .

On April 19 Keir Rice was attacked by Garfield David Hicks, the owner of the barbershop when he worked with a child client in his chair.  He suffered a concussion, bruised ribs and a damaged shoulder. 

Rice was also quoted in a KWTX-TV news report that Hicks discriminated against TBLGQ customers, misgendered and deadnamed him repeatedly, and touched him inappropriately.

This is unacceptable on multiple levels.   We also condemn what happened to Mr. Rice in the strongest possible terms would like to see justice served in this case.

If Mr Rice is able to do so, we would love to extend an invitation for him to join us at the Black Trans Advocacy Conference currently talking place in Dallas until April 28.

This transphobic attack upon Mr Rice sadly is more concrete evidence it is past time for the Lone Star State to add Texas transgender people to the James Byrd Hate Crimes Law. 

These attacks are why BTAC enthusiastically supports Rep. Garnet Coleman's HB 1513 that would add gender identity to that existing law.

If there is any community that we Black trans people should feel safe in, it should be the African American one.   Texas Black trans people in the last ten days have unfortunately received the message with the assaults on Mulaysia Booker and now Keir Rice that we are hated by our own people.   

That needs to change, starting today.


Apr. 25th, 2019 04:17 am
grrlpup: yellow rose in sunlight (Default)
[personal profile] grrlpup

post with white graffiti: “MY BAD”

outside the alternative high school by the #17 bus stop

This post originates at read write run resist. Comments welcome here or there.

Spring! + Musings on Future Desserts

Apr. 24th, 2019 08:53 pm
heron61: (Default)
[personal profile] heron61
Today was a lovely Spring day. I had a lovely walk to the store, and on the way back I stopped by the blueberry bushes growing on either side of the path between the 4 condos of which ours is one. The blueberry flowers appear to be doing very well. In roughly 3 months there will be an abundance of blueberries. Leaving some for others, I typically still manage to collect 3-4 quarts, and each quart yields one dessert, typically one blueberry-vanilla pie, made with a GF/DF crust, or perhaps a similarly allergen friendly blueberry buckle.

Blueberry bushes a few feet from our house

Top Ten Cutest Cat Breeds

Apr. 24th, 2019 08:00 pm
[syndicated profile] icanhascheezburger_feed
Cute cats by breed

There are between 44 to 48 recognized breeds of cats in the world, depending on who you ask. So we took on the monumental task of deciding which ones go in our top 10. These cat breeds are incidentally among the most popular in the world, and every year there are more breeds being recognized. I'm still waiting for Cheetahs to be recognized as house cats. If you thought training a dog to get a beer was clever, try a cheetah, it will bring it faster than you can get up from the couch.

How would you rank these cat breeds? Which one wins this makeshift pet pageant? Is there a breed missing? You be the guest judge.

Submitted by:

Tagged: cute , jo38ma3 , Memes , Cats

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Apr. 24th, 2019 07:59 pm
kimberly_a: Hawaii (Hawaii)
[personal profile] kimberly_a
Our trip to Hawaii wasn’t nearly as fun as usual this year, due to the plague we both struggled with. I’m glad we both still got in some time in the ocean, though, and got to spend time with Gary and Mary. And I kept reminding myself that there was less pressure to get optimal enjoyment out of the trip this year, because we’ll soon be back there permanently.

So now we’re home, very happy to see it.

There are cats, very happy to see us. We’re happy to see them, too, of course, but they seem a little more desperate about it.

There is a bed, and it is ours, and we’re very happy to sleep in it.

There is a hometown, which is very noisy, and we’re not nearly so happy to hear it.

The trip home was mildly hellish, because the Lihue airport was a ridiculously crowded disaster, with the disorganized TSA having me in tears because we were running so late (because of the incredibly long lines and disorganization) and they wouldn’t let me through because of Scooty McScootface (and the sight of my tears had Shannon—who had already made it through—growling and hissing at the TSA to go help me IMMEDIATELY, which they then scurried to do, because a protective Shannon is a frightening man to face), and we barely made it to the gate in time to pre-board with Scooty. Also, the horribly friendly man sitting next to me, once he stopped his constant flow of conversation, started watching a movie aloud without headphones. And the entire rest of the passengers on the plane appeared to be extremely noisy children and babies. I put on my own headphones and listened to the new BTS album about a thousand times with the volume turned up. It reminded me how little, in this digital age, I listen to entire albums like I used to. I tend to buy individual songs I’ve heard and liked, and so I never have that old experience of listening to an entire album over and over again & discovering some hidden gem of a song that no one else seems to appreciate. My favorite song on the latest BTS album (Map of the Soul: Persona) is one that most fans aren’t talking about (Mikrokosmos), so it’s inspired me to listen to some of the other albums I’ve bought on iTunes to see if I find other favorites not yet discovered.

We arrived home fairly late last night, exhausted and hungry, so Shannon ran to Taco Bell for some quick “supper,” and we went to bed not too long afterward. We then both proceeded to sleep almost all day today. For me, I think it was primarily a recovery from yesterday’s traumatic travel, but for Shannon I think it was primarily due to his lingering atrocious cold. Right now we’re both still lying around like beached starfish, but I hope we’ll both be more functional tomorrow. I have a PT appointment tomorrow afternoon (I haven’t done any leg PT exercises in more than a week and feel horribly guilty about it) and would also like to go get my blood drawn ASAP to check on the kidney function problem discovered not long before the trip.

I also came home to the letter from Paratransit declining my eligibility (also discovered immediately before the trip) and so wrote the letter that begins the appeal process. Fun fun. Now I wait to hear from them regarding the date of my hearing.

Our suitcase lies, largely unmolested, in the dining room. We rummaged for the crucial things (like my pill cases, our cables to charge electronics, etc.) and opted to just leave the rest for when we have more energy.

Since Shannon still seems miserable with his cold, I’ll deal with the laundry when I feel able (tomorrow if I can—the next day otherwise), but for right now I still feel just exhausted and want only to lie on the sofa, drink ice water, watch a bit of tv, and nap as required. I’m betting I’ll go to bed very early tonight. I really don’t want to race around tomorrow, but the kidney labs are important and I don’t want to cancel the PT at the last minute. So I’ll manage it ... and then probably collapse again in the evening.

I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Probably due to my (much milder) case of Shannon’s horrible virus in addition to yesterday’s traumatic travel experience (possibly the most stressful I’ve ever had).

Okay, back to reading some nice, comforting, familiar Sherlock fanfic I’ve read a million times before and which, therefore, requires basically no brain whatsoever. And that’s about how much brain I have to spare.

Soooooo I really am a bit sedentary

Apr. 24th, 2019 03:26 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Well, sedentary with long walks because I'd always rather walk than take the bus, but still.

On the one hand, I want to exercise more for general health reasons. I don't want to end up old and find out that immobility has snuck up on me, nor do I want to discover that it's really true that being inactive increases your risk of dementia. (It's all well and good for me to assert that dementia doesn't run in my family, but that only works if I ignore my father's mother. Which I mostly do, but still. Probably I should stop doing that.)

On the other hand, I don't want to exacerbate existing joint issues, which would really suck and probably not help my old age mobility at all, especially not if that's connected to arthritis. In the past month my mother has mentioned off-hand an alarming number of relatives who were severely restricted due to arthritis at rather young ages - and that's only counting the ones who developed it in adulthood! There's at least one cousin of hers or her mother's who was apparently "totally crippled" before puberty. She can preen all she likes about how that gene seems to have skipped her, I see my sister increasingly worried and yet dodging the thought that she might already be developing arthritis. She's not even 40 yet! (She ought to go to a doctor. I think we all know that neither funds nor time is really the reason she hasn't.)

So clearly the thing to do is find some 15 or 20 minute daily exercise routine that's reasonably high intensity but isn't going to screw up my joints, at least, not more than they already are. Preferably something that can be done by somebody with no real coordination - I can't jump rope, I can't ride bikes, every day I nearly trip over my own two feet/my pants/the dogs and break my glasses.

Maybe I should just buy myself an exercise bike. When I don't need to balance, I am very unlikely to fall down. I'm not worried about myself so much as my poor glasses.

It Takes A Lot of Getting Used To

Apr. 24th, 2019 09:51 pm
nathanielbuildsatesseract: Inverted World Satellite Map centered on Afro-Eurasia (Default)
[personal profile] nathanielbuildsatesseract

I don't want to write this post, but this is going to eat me up if I don't write about it, so here goes.

Read more... )
lb_lee: A pink sketchy heart (heart)
[personal profile] lb_lee
I'm diving through Many Voices back issues, doing quick records sweep, and I found someone talking about an in-system relationship! (A queer, non-monogamous one!) It's on page 2 of their 1993 October issue, which is their Love and Sexuality issue! (Which is also not accessible so I will type it out.) The article is called "Love and Sex Among Alters," and it's "By Daphne of Marianna."

Transcription behind cut! )

EDIT: Oh my gosh, there's more in this issue!  On page 8, from "James (Jeremy's brother) from the Team":

More! )

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2019 10:39 pm
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
Accomplishments for Today:

*Did normal workday things!
*Adapted a resource from a coworker and made it more thorough for my Algebra kids
*Put in all the participation grades from this week
*Afterschool PDs, yayyyy.

*Spent like...an hour after PD chatting with coworkers and kvetching cheerfully about school and stuff.
*Found [personal profile] anu3bis on my commute home, followed him to his new house and spent an hour chatting with him and [profile] balsamic_dragon and the LionCub. We're gonna have dinner a week from Friday! I might show them Anna and the Apocalypse that night! This is all REALLY AWESOME!
*Veronica pinged me and was all "do you wanna Do A Skype Tonight?" and yes, yes I very much do, so I am currently Skyping with Veronica while she knits and I do my words. Veronica is best <3!

*I did not go to bed before 11 last night, but I did go to bed before 11:30, and I did set my alarm for 7 hours. I think I woke up briefly before it went off, but trusted the alarm and went back to sleep.
*Also I got up without hitting snooze, but that only sorta counts because I was at Austin's and it's a lot easier to not hit snooze if I know that by jumping in and out of the bed I'm being obnoxious to my partner.
*WENT TO HIGHLAND for the first time in a month and we did FOUR DANCES which is a _lot_ of dances, sheesus. Including Bonnie Dundee which is so hard and I hate it, but I am demonstrably better every time I actually make it there. But we did sword dance, which I tend to like, and Hornpipe, which is the only Highland dance I definitively love.

*Caught up on today's emails, including the four or five from yesterday after I had "caught up". Not even *delaying* on them, the ones that needed action, I took the damn action (be it reading the patreon post, responding to the personal stuff, or sending in my kickstarter surveys).
*Am writing my words for the 138th day in a row. They're not done yet, but I think I will probably make it.
*Edit: I did successfully do it! Also almost 400 of them were _fiction_, so that's clearly amazing.
*Gonna take a shower, shut up, it's allowed to be an accomplishment. Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to wash my hair, which I do need to do sometime soon, but still. Regular shower is good!
*School lunch today was _really good_. It was mashed potatoes and tangerine chicken (sortof a sweet-glazed style) and carrots and damn, I was so satisfied with all of it.

Yes, I'm going to continue to do these until I get bored and distracted, so don't worry, like three more days.


MCU fic: Dealbreaker

Apr. 24th, 2019 10:22 pm
mollyamory: (Default)
[personal profile] mollyamory

Dealbreaker, (2796 words) by [archiveofourown.org profile] Molly
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Warnings: None
Relationships: Bruce Banner & Tony Stark; Bruce Banner/Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Science Bros to Science Boyfriends, Tony Stark Has a Heart, Bruce Banner has Issues, slow burn, like really really slow
Series: Soft Science #1

Summary: After the battle in New York, Tony brings Bruce home. Bruce fights the line a little.

Notes: Many thanks to [personal profile] astolat, [personal profile] cesperanza and [personal profile] dorinda for cheering me on, even though I haven't posted fic since dinosaurs ruled the earth. :)

I'm not quite rational on the subject of these guys, and I have a lot to say about them (or rather, a lot to make them say (and do) to each other). This is the start of a larger framework of stories that will either bounce off of or ignore canon as it goes, in mostly chronological order. It's mostly about Bruce how he and Tony come together, but it's also about the team, and how they all become one. I'll be posting on a fairly regular basis - probably once a week or so. I hope you enjoy it. :)

2 things need to edit

Apr. 24th, 2019 10:26 pm
archangelbeth: Bleary-eyed young woman peers up, pillow obscuring the lower half of her face. Text reads: SO not a morning person. (So Not A Morning Person)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
I need SLEEP.

Havva Quote
You already have inspiration! I can't keep giving you points! You have to start spending them now!
--The GM to the players, Hit & Abyss, Episode 8: Words Kill

INwatch+Bookwatch )


Apr. 24th, 2019 09:09 pm
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
 I'm off to Green Bay, Wisconsin tomorrow for the following:
  • I'll be speaking and reading at the UW Green Bay Pride Center Friday at noon
  • I'll be doing an author panel on diverse books at 10AM on Saturday, then tabling at the Book Fair, them doing a presentation on small press publishing on Saturday afternoon. 
  • Full schedule here 
Plus us meeting some people, possibly getting interviewed for a podcast and generally having an interesting time. :-)

lebateleur: Sweet Woodruff (Default)
[personal profile] lebateleur
What I Just Finished Reading

The Beast’s Heart – Liefe Shallcross
Unfortunately, no. I have a weakness for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When done right, they can be innocently romantic or deliciously subversive. But Shallcross’s version dwells on all the elements of the original story that don't work for me. Wow, apparently I had THOUGHTS about this one. ) Luckily, Shallcross spends almost as much time on the doings of Beauty’s two sisters as she does on the “romance” between the two main characters. I honestly found these diversions more interesting than the Beauty/Beast story arc itself, and had Shallcross written the entire book about Beauty's family, I would probably have liked it much more.

Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson
Such a good book. I love that Wilson’s protagonists are so flawed, but in ways that complement and bring out the best in each other. I love her blending of technology and fantasy. I love her descriptive language and sly humor. This is the Middle Eastern-flavored fantasy that Ahmed and Chakraborty have tried and failed to pull off.

夏目友人帳 vol.3 – 緑川ゆき(Natsume Yujincho vol. 3 – Midorikawa Yuki)
Midorikawa’s yomikiri about the adventures of an orphan who can see spirits and his youkai companion really hits its stride in the third volume. I very much liked the supporting cast in the four stories collected here, especially the fourth.

What I Am Currently Reading

Senlin Ascends – Josiah Bancroft
I’m less than 100 pages in, but thus far Bancroft has created a fictional world to rival any of China Mieville’s. This looks set to be an excellent read.

The Raven Tower – Ann Leckie
Pure exposition shouldn’t be this engaging, but Leckie sure manages to make it so here.

龍宮 – 川上 弘美 (Ryugu – Kawakami Hiromi)
The fourth story, “Kitchen God,” finds Kawakami returning to form. I’m currently midway through the fifth, about a narrator who may or may not be a mole, and who may or may not be kidnapping human beings and confining them in tunnels underground.

What I'm Reading Next
I’m in the mood for some Naono Bohra so will probably knock out some of her tankoubon.


83F - 59F : Sunny

Apr. 24th, 2019 09:02 pm
zhelana: (seaQuest - Hurled)
[personal profile] zhelana
I couldn't sleep last night, but I really wanted to sleep so I stayed in bed. Kevin woke me up when he got up for work at 7, so I wound up getting 1 hour of sleep. I fell back asleep. When my alarm went off at 12 it was painful. I stood up, and... fell down. I pushed myself back up on the bed, and tentatively tried putting weight on my left leg again, and if I hadn't had most of my weight on my arms already, I would have fallen again. I shuffled my weight onto my right leg, and did not fall but literally wound up screaming out in pain. I have no idea what I did to my hips, but it isn't good. I called my therapist and told him I couldn't walk through his parking lot, and then went back to sleep. Kevin called at 4 but it failed to get me out of bed. He came home at 5:30, which did wake me up.

Because I have no brain, I stood up from bed. This time I didn't fall, and didn't scream, but every step gets a whimper. I shuffled stiffly into my office where Jack tried to jump up with me and give me kissies. I kind of alternated between reading lj and dw and trying to go back to sleep in my chair. Kevin kept demanding that I get up and do things and I really wanted to snap at him that I don't ask him to do shit on high pain days, and where the fuck does he get off demanding I move around on the one high pain day I've had this year. Slowly I realized that walking is less painful than standing, however, and while I was in the kitchen to let the dogs into the yard, I made myself a bagel. I ate that and finished off the granola bites I had bought last weekend, and called it dinner.

I read the 4 books I read on Wednesdays, and then did the habitica tasks that don't require standing or using my hips (which honestly isn't many of them). I decided not to go to the SCA meeting because it was a class called "bycockets part 2" and I don't know what a bycocket is, and I missed part 1 whenever that was. Rather than hold the class up while she caught me up, or just not understanding what was going on, I opted to stay home. My hips still weren't feeling up to standing for a long period, which always happens at these things, anyway. So I just stayed home.

I have somehow tagged Aaron on here almost half as many times as Jack, despite the fact that I've had Jack for 11 years and Aaron for only 3. I usually only tag them if they do something cute or if I have to take them to the vet. I suspect this comes from all the vet visits for Aarons UTIs? Though I'm pretty sure that Jack has hurt his legs more often than Aaron had UTIs.

At this point, my hips don't hurt anymore, so I'm hopeful I can get to fighter practice tomorrow evening if they don't flare up overnight again. Maybe that's a bad idea, though. But since the writers don't seem to write anymore, I'm not sure what else to do with my Thursdays. if I do the thing, I need to buy gas. I went to buy gas yesterday, and all of the machines had a card in the credit card slot that said "cash only" - I'm certainly not about to either try to guess what my gas will cost ahead of time nor spend my cash on gas because they can't get their shit together to allow me to pay with a credit card. There are plenty of other gas stations around, and they should be punished financially for not having their shit together. I've been thinking I shouldn't go to that station anyway because one of their pumps doesn't allow you to set it and stop holding it the entire time you're pumping, and I never remember which one it is so I often end up at it. lol. I just realized that I drove off and left my gas cap off. Fortunately it was still attached when I got out there.

One of the founding members of our barony, Duke John the Mad Celt, found out yesterday he has cancer, and today they did surgery. It was fairly major surgery, and he's still going to be in the hospital for a few days, and then we'll see what's going on about chemo and all those other cancer treatments out there. The speed they're moving with makes me think things are bad.
redheadedfemme: (sparkle dragon)
[personal profile] redheadedfemme
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

(Note: R.F. Kuang has been nominated for the John Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This is famously "not a Hugo," but it will be presented at the awards ceremony.)

I've heard a lot about this book. It's been nominated for several other awards, and even won a few. I've heard how intense it is, and how the author pulls no punches when it comes to her depiction of war, and how many content warnings it needs (all of them)...and I'm here to say that all of that is true.

But damn, this is one of the best books you'll read this year.

First and foremost, this is a story about war, and yes, it is bloody and gory and not for the squeamish. (Just as one example, if you want to know exactly what happens when you thrust your sword under someone's chin, the author will provide a detailed description.) But more than the physical aspects of war, this book tackles the psychological aspects. Specifically, how war slowly but surely drains away one's humanity, and makes a soldier into someone who sees the enemy not as a fellow human being who is fighting for the same reasons you are, but as an animal to be hated and destroyed, and finally, simply, as a number in your way to be subtracted. The protagonist, Fang Runin, undergoes this journey, and emerges as (as she says at the book's end):

I have become something wonderful, she thought. I have become something terrible.

Was she now a goddess or a monster?

Perhaps neither. Perhaps both.

This book breaks down what leads Runin (or Rin) to this place. It's a result of war, a reaction to the Federation invading her country of Nikan, but it also comes about due to her desire for power and revenge. She has a great deal to want revenge for, as it turns out. The depiction of the Federation destruction of a Nikara city and the wholesale slaughter of its entire population is a harrowing, sickening moment that I will warn you requires a lot of spoons to read. Multiple spoons. An entire drawerful of spoons. Even so, I wouldn't blame you if you set the book aside once you get to that point and never pick it up again. But Rin pushes on, and does something even worse in return, invoking the power of the supernatural entities she learns to partner with and control during the course of the book. It's a hideous game of one-upmanship, and the ending promises it will not stop there.

But because the author so convincingly strips Rin down to nothing but her hatred and obsession, it's as dark and compelling a character study as I've ever seen, and this is what kept me reading. There is no way out for these people, and their choices only make things worse. If you can't handle that kind of thing, it's best you don't even start this book. Because as bleak and relentlessly grimdark as it is from beginning to end, the author writes it with such skill you can't put it down. And dammitall, I'm going to pick up the sequel as soon as it comes out.

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