Cupcake Sews: I Finished a Project!

First things first: New work schedule means new blog schedule. I still plan on posting last week’s feminism friday post, but probably next week. It’s a series and long. I also have another tournament and an escape room this weekend, so I’m aiming for the next blog to be posted Monday (about the escape room), and the FF post I missed later that week.

Now, on to my skirt!

I started this skirt mid-spring last year. Then I was in a musical. Then quidditch season started. Then I cooked Thanksgiving and Solstice dinner and got hit with a nice bout of seasonal depression. Then I started a blog. I still enjoy sewing, though, and this skirt pattern is super cute, and the fabric I found is perfect. And it has POCKETS. I’m a sucker for pockets. And these pockets are nice and roomy, too, and blend in with the skirt very well.

The pattern is the Hollyburn Skirt from Sewaholic Patterns. The fabric is from Joann’s Fabrics in Mountain View. I left off the belt loops and tabs shown in the photo on two of the views – it’s just not my style, and top-stitched the band and hem with a green thread. The instructions on the pattern are great and I highly recommend it!

Here’s a photo of the back:

20180128_232159
Damn zippers.

My next sewing project is the same skirt in a different length, with fabric that has the stained glass theme from Beauty and the Beast. And with just a few days to spare, that’s one goal for this year done!

Advertisements

No Blog Today

Sorry fam, a 1-1 series with Cal, Skrewts white elephant party, and a very very minor head injury that made looking at screens painful ate the time I usually spend on writing posts. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to fit in a Friday post.

Feminism Friday: What do we do with terrible men in our favourite media?

 

Content Note: This post discusses several men accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

 

Recently, a friend asked me a question. Tagging myself and several other feminist-minded friends in the post, he asked:

What do we do with the art/movies made by men who have been exposed as monsters?

It’s a simple question, with no simple answer. Here’s my best attempt to answer it.

The first thing is that you should avoid financially supporting the abuser – don’t go to an Aziz Ansari show, don’t buy Johnny Depp merchandise, don’t see new movies produced by Weinstein. That is, believe it or not, the easy part. Humans are more complicated than that.

What if you genuinely enjoyed Master of None and own a copy of it? What if you have every Oscar Best Picture winner on DVD? What if you morally object to Johnny Depp, and JK Rowling’s defense of his casting, but Harry Potter has been such a large part of your life for so long that it would legitimately be detrimental to your mental health to let it go?

emma-and-dan
At least some people learned the lesson about choosing what is right over what is easy.

I originally thought my friend was referring to Aziz Ansari, since he was in the news that day. Personally, I will never be able to enjoy anything with him in it. Every time I’ve seen his face for the last week, all I can think of him sticking his fingers down Grace’s throat, and the squirmy feelings of uncomfortableness I had while reading that article. My friends (including the one who asked the question) are generally feminist – they know that Ansari is not a feminist, and I knew I did not need to explain that to him.

My friend clarified. He was talking about Harry Potter. Well, crap. He knows what he’s asking with this question. I know what he’s asking with this question. Most of the people he tagged and had chimed in in the comments knew what he was asking. We’re all quidditch players. We know what he meant.

The common, and easy, answer is to not financially support the Fantastic Beast movie. I have a friend who will be hosting a pirating party to view it after its release (not that I’m advocating illegal activity on my blog *coughcough*). I will not be seeing it in theaters.

But… what about JK Rowling’s statement of being glad to have Depp in Fantastic Beasts? Well, she was the one who taught a generation of kids that we must choose between what is right, and what is easy.

Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good and kind and brave because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort.

You didn’t kill Cedric for this bullshit, JKR. But *ahem* I’m getting off topic. What do we do with our 3 sets of Harry Potter books, and full set of DVDs, and the first Fantastic Beasts, our wands, our studio visit tickets, our harry potter tattoos, hell, our quidditch gear? Well, I’m not going to be throwing mine out. I probably won’t stop buying Harry Potter stuff, either, though I’ll probably stick to the sets I have and not buy any brand-new sets. I’m certainly not going to stop playing quidditch. I’ll probably watch Crimes of Grindelwald eventually. I’ll also try to remember the lessons that Jo taught me, and hope that she remembers those lessons, too. Be good, and kind, and brave, and stick up for those who cannot stick up for themselves, and always, always choose what is right, especially when it is not easy. It’d be easy to continue to be a part of Harry Potter fandom without being critical of Johnny Depp. It’d be easy to not criticize Johnny Depp and the Fantastic Beasts filmmaking team and continue like nothing happened.

Our heroes aren’t perfect, and neither are we, but we can still try to choose what is right, even if we aren’t completely sure what’s right.

I’m sure we can throw Johnny Depp out though. Fuck him.

Cosmere Reading Order Chart

I am, like I have said before here, a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. I also get asked a lot what the ideal first reading order for new Cosmere fans is. I tried looking for a chart of some kind, but they were either a) different than I personally would recommend, or b) hard to read and confusing.

So I made one.

Feel free to share. You don’t have to follow it, of course. And it’s obviously not complete – I have it set up until the release of White Sand Vol 2 next month, and I do plan on updating it as new books come out. I didn’t like leaving unfinished works on it because it’s confusing to new readers.

This is designed as a chart for new readers to Sanderson, or to readers who have just become Cosmere-aware and don’t mind backtracking with some re-reads, or are looking for what to read next.

Another good option for a first read is publication order, but that involves some jumping around with series. Another good option for re-reads is chronological order, which I think my next full cosmere re-read will be. This is also not the order I originally read them in. I don’t recommend the order I originally read them in.

Feel free to comment here if you have questions or suggestions.

Letter from a Birmingham Jail

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

[…]

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

[…]

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Letter From a Birmingham Jail

Take your day off to say “Black Lives Matter” and support racial justice in your neighbourhood.

Learn about the Black Lives Matter movement

Donate to BLM

Take Action

Feminism Friday: Emma Watson Graduates Feminist Kindergarten

Think back to September 2014 – Serena Williams is a boss, Obama is still President and the US is gearing up for midterm elections, we’re fresh off of Michael Brown’s death and in the middle of protests, and the Ebola epidemic is in full swing. Oh, and Emma Watson delivers her “He For She” speech to the UN.

I’m not going to rehash everything wrong with that speech and campaign here, enough words have been written about that by people who are better writers than me, and it’s old news. At the time, I called it “baby” and “kindergarten” feminism. I still stand by that – any feminism that focuses on men, and any feminism that fails to include the very basics of intersectionality is, at best, baby feminism. Don’t get me wrong, I love Emma Watson. She had the fortune to play one of my all-time favourite characters and role models, she’s an excellent actor, and standing up in front of the world and saying “I’m a feminist, you should be, too” does take a certain kind of bravery. That does not, however, make you a feminist role model, and Emma has faced criticism as recently as last March for her White Feminism(TM).

But, fast forward to two weeks ago, when Emma posted her book club’s first read for 2018 and fessed up to her past White/Kindergarten feminism. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend you do, it’s pretty good. And? Honestly? In a world with Lena Dunham and Taylor Swift, it is refreshing to have a white celebrity reflect, publicly, on their feminist short-comings, and use their platform to educate other white women about intersectional feminism. Maybe it’s a floor-high bar we’re setting here, but at least when I was going through that part of my feminism journey, the only witnesses were fellow anonymous internet beings and the occasional unfortunate fellow student who still had the patience to hand-hold me through some uh… pretty basic concepts of intersectional feminism. I probably could have used an Emma Watson, then.

So you know what? Good for Emma. I’m proud of her. She’s come a long way, and she’s learned a lot, and she’s shown that she’s willing to put in the effort and work to learn more. She’s privileged, and she recognizes that, but it’s still not easy being an explicitly feminist face in Hollywood. So you know, four for you Emma; you go, Emma. Welcome to the world of intersectional feminism, I hope you continue to grow here.

And, for the rest of us, especially those of us who are white, it’s a good time to check in with ourselves and our feminism, and ask some of the same questions Emma asked herself:

 What are the ways I have benefited from being white? In what ways do I support and uphold a system that is structurally racist? How do my race, class and gender affect my perspective?

I’m not going to answer these in this post (maybe another one), but I am going to remember to ask myself these questions as I go about my life and whenever I speak about feminism. You should, too. We are all privileged in some way, so take a moment to reflect on those privileges and how they affect your perspective, and how you operate in and uphold a world that inherently benefits you due to those privileges.

Cupcake Reads: White Sand Vol. 1

This post contains mild spoilers for White Sand and the larger Cosmere universe. (Very, very mild, as in “these characters appear”, but consider yourself warned)

Anyone who knows me or hangs out with my friends knows that we love Brandon Sanderson. We (well, I) brag that he has a Skrewts shirt. Before Oathbringer came out last year, I did a (nearly) complete re-read of Cosmere novels prior to reading Oathbringer. I’ll blog about that later, probably after another full re-read. So that lead me to finally reading White Sand. I had tried before, but I only bought the Kindle version, and learned that comics on the Paperwhite kind of suck. So I borrowed the paper copy from a friend.

First of all – the production value is gorgeous. The pages are thick and glossy, and in color. The art is also great, even if the style isn’t my favourite. It’s hard-cover, and the dust-cover is very pretty as well. I also enjoy the magic system, and the main character’s interaction with it. We also get to meet Khriss, finally. So far, she seems pretty cool, and I assume we’ll get to the point where we find out how she becomes a Worldhopper.

That said, there’s not a lot going on in this book. We introduce the setting, the magic, the characters and the premise and then…. nothing. There are no answers. It kind of leads me to a kind of “meh” feeling about the book and the series in general. I accept that this might change with the release of vol 2 in February, and that I am the kind of reader who reads in large chunks instead of smaller bites, so your mileage may vary here.

On a nerdier note, and since there wasn’t much story for me to sink my teeth into, I look forward to learning more about the biology of the planet, and the linguistic interactions (aided by the professors, of course) are enjoyable to an armchair linguist. I’m also hoping we go to Darkside at some point in the series. The sun, obviously, plays a large role on the planet, and we’ve only seen the effects of constant sun, and a constant source of Investiture have on the world below.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up vol 2 in February and have another (hopefully more positive!) post about White Sand then.

52 Book, 52 Weeks progress: 1/52