Nerd Alert (Adventures at Comic Con and Urgent Care)

As I’m writing this I’m laying down amongst an absurd number of pillows, waiting for the muscle relaxants to kick in. You see, dear readers, I have had my first big grownup injury. I think.

There’s a line in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe where Zaphod says “I’m so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.” Or maybe it’s the first book in the trilogy, I don’t remember. But he says that. Anyway. Rewind. Back to last week. Back to…

Salt Lake Comic Con!

Massive convention of all things pop culture! (I can’t restrict it to all things nerdy, not when there are people cosplaying Minions and massively-endowed migrants from ModelsMayhem are swanning about in painted-on Spiderman suits – sorry no, just no, no, no. But that’s a rant unto itself.)

Competitor for the title of Bigger than San Diego Comic Con! (This is a stupid title, and a stupid – nay, dangerous – quest. More on that in a bit.)

Carpeted labyrinth of panels you’ll walk out of halfway through, unless they’re the celebrity ones, in which case good luck getting in in the first place!

Home of TWO TARDISes, mystery-meat hotdogs (eel? condor? lost children?) and a dealer’s hall that will make you sploosh your undercarriage!

Anyway…

So we arrive Thursday, my BFF/sister and I, and it’s a ghost town. I mean. It’s a decent line and that. But compared to the Saturday crowd it’s deserted.  YES. I hate dense crowds. Plus, this particular venue – the Salt Palace – is kind of a dense little maze, a folded intestine of corridors and escalator-tunnels. With crowds at “fire marshal giving the side-eye” density, I worry that someone will get smooshed. This year there were complaints of people’s service dogs getting kicked/stepped on, in fact. Does someone have to die for the organisers to figure out bigger isn’t always better?

We are cosplaying Miriam Black and River Song, and we chat up the authors for a time, and both end up leaving with new books.

Then we locate Joel Hodgson, also known as the original and superior host of MST3K. And he’s just lovely, frankly. I had heard he was kind of meh, but whoever said that didn’t meet the same person I met last week. Joel FTW.

Fast forward to Friday. Now, yours truly has always had a bad-but-not-quite-bad-enough-to-warrant-intervention back. Mild scoliosis, hyperlordosis, you know. No big. Everyone likes a big ol’ booty that pops. Well, except maybe the owner of said booty, who will more than likely have severe back pain from their lumbar region being about as well-aligned as a Chevrolet Cavalier that’s been used for student drivers.

Friday. Osgood, who keeps getting mistaken for the Fourth Doctor. I’m sure the real Osgood would have been delighted by the compliment, but I was just getting irked. I also was sore. Did my daily stretches, got up, and WHAM.

So I limp and yelp through the next four days till I’m back home, and in the meantime, there’s more Comic Con to be had. Saturday went well, we tried some panels, and some were good and some were dumb. We shopped more, and we rested up for the evening party. The party was not what they sold it to us as, so we called it a night.

The last day went great up until the part where we went to a panel for LGBTQIA representation in fandom. I had been really looking forward to this. I mean, this stuff matters to me. Hell, my first Gallifrey One convention had me ON a panel like this.

I get in there – there’s like – 3 gay guys, one bi girl who says she’s “just an ally,” and one little white girl who ID’s as a “two spirit” and says she’s a man when she works on cars…and she is policing one of the guys’ pronouns when trying to describe the Wachowski siblings.

Mm. Ok. Right away, it sat really badly.

  1. “Two spirit” is a First Nations word for people who are gender non-conformist or queer. It’s oh so inappropriate to appropriate that word for white use.
  2. Check your own words before you police someone else’s.
  3. Presentation != gender, hello, this conversation has been had to infinity and back! Doing auto work doesn’t make you a man any more than folding laundry makes you a dry cleaner. When I feel agender or masculine, it has fuck all to do with my outer activities. I may bind my chest, but I ain’t gonna stop knitting or cooking if I was planning to do that shit anyway! Is my mom a man when she does yard work? Is my dad a woman if he washes a dish? Are these questions stupid as hell?
  4. WHERE WERE THE LESBIANS?

Now maybe I wasn’t in the best shape to start with, what with the constant pain and all that, but the hits just kept on coming.

There was a spirited discussion of an “amazing lesbian romance.” The movie in question? “BOUND.”

Mother. Fucking. BOUND.

The movie that I have had recommended to me by straight men a-plenty because it was great fap fodder.

Because lesbians only exist to be fap fodder for straight men, unless they’re sexless lumps of obese cat lady, amirite?

I expected this shit from straight men, but from my own kind?

So that was strike one.

Strike two was when, every time I tried to bring something up, they looked right at me, then called on the guy in the corner. Same guy over and over. And he even said “I didn’t see anyone else’s hand up. Eventually they started calling on people right behind me, but they kept looking me in the eye before doing so. Like “I see you but I’m not calling you.”

Strike three was looking at their powerpoint slides and realising that most of the examples of representation they had were cis white males.

There were a few males of color, otherwise, it was just their own damn selves being mirrored back on the screen over and over.

I walked out to the doorway, and it was all I could do not to scream something as I did, something to disrupt their self-congratulation.  My sister held me back, then held me as I cried.

A couple of con staffers came over and I told them what was wrong. They gave me paper to write a complaint, and gave it directly to someone who was ostensibly in charge of programming. We’ll see if it goes anywhere…but it really soured me for doing any future LGBT con panels. I can’t believe there’s representation in the wider world if, even in our own narrow world, I can’t find anyone who looks like me.

OH, and they made sure to address trans males but didn’t even talk about trans females, despite the fact that they could EASILY have mentioned the show “Sense8″(also by the Wachowskis) and Samus Aran from Metroid for examples. Hell, I’m half baked on Robaxin and I remembered that off the top of my head.

No excuses, people. Not in the age of Google.

The only funny thing, I think, is that I was wearing my last costume of the weekend that day – Ohila, of the Sisterhood of Karn. Karn, a planet where men are only allowed if the Sisterhood deems it acceptable – otherwise they are set on fire.

I was feeling my Sisterhood that day for sure. I just wish I’d had my spear, peace-bonded or not.

I did get my mystery pain seen to as soon as I got home, and as it turns out, I’ve got a locked up SI joint as well as some locked up lumbar and thoracic joints. Yay for spinal fuckery! But a good crutch, some heavy meds, and an appointment for PT make a world of difference. I’ve also gotten the ok for a sleep study to see if I stop breathing at night often enough to warrant treatment.

The upshot of all these medical shenanigans is that I will hopefully be stronger soon. Stronger, and with more energy to kick some chauvinist butt.

The Sisterhood is coming for you, fuckboys. Gay, straight, other – you disrespect women, you will hear from me.

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Stonewall Is A Shitty Movie, Apparently

http://defamer.gawker.com/there-arent-enough-bricks-in-the-world-to-throw-at-rola-1731974702

http://jezebel.com/blissfully-ignorant-director-roland-emmerich-on-stonewa-1732440269

The Stonewall film features THIS as its first-brick-throwing protagonist:

Oh look, a white, cisgender, “straight-acting”(director’s words) pretty young thing.

Here’s what actually happened (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_riots)

A scuffle broke out when a woman in handcuffs was escorted from the door of the bar to the waiting police wagon several times. She escaped repeatedly and fought with four of the police, swearing and shouting, for about ten minutes. Described as “a typical New York butch” and “a dyke–stone butch”, she had been hit on the head by an officer with a baton for, as one witness claimed, complaining that her handcuffs were too tight.[65] Bystanders recalled that the woman, whose identity remains unknown (Stormé DeLarverie has been identified by some, including herself, as the woman, but accounts vary [66][note 3]), sparked the crowd to fight when she looked at bystanders and shouted, “Why don’t you guys do something?” After an officer picked her up and heaved her into the back of the wagon,[67] the crowd became a mob and went “berserk”: “It was at that moment that the scene became explosive.”[68]

As for the “white boy throws a brick and starts a revolution” folderol:

Garbage cans, garbage, bottles, rocks, and bricks were hurled at the building, breaking the windows. Witnesses attest that “flame queens”, hustlers, and gay “street kids”—the most outcast people in the gay community—were responsible for the first volley of projectiles, as well as the uprooting of a parking meter used as a battering ram on the doors of the Stonewall Inn.[74] Sylvia Rivera, a self-identified street queen[75][76] who had been in the Stonewall during the raid, remembered:

You’ve been treating us like shit all these years? Uh-uh. Now it’s our turn!… It was one of the greatest moments in my life.[77]

And that right there is where Roland Emmerich got things so very, very wrong.

His comments are pretty fucking telling:

“Some people warned me, but I said, ‘Well, you know, so be it.’ […] You have to understand one thing: I didn’t make this movie only for gay people, I made it also for straight people,” he said. “I kind of found out, in the testing process, that actually, for straight people, [Danny] is a very easy in. Danny’s very straight-acting. He gets mistreated because of that. [Straight audiences] can feel for him.”

Stonewall, the actual historical event, came about because the police raided one of the few safe spaces for gay people in NYC. It was dingy and scary and run down but it was theirs. They rioted because they were sick of being humiliated, abused, and jailed for who they were. When you stomp on a group of people for long enough, for no damn reason, they are going to snap someday. And Stonewall was the snapping point. Up till then there’d been this massive secrecy and with secrecy you get its little friend shame. You think, “If this was really normal and healthy I wouldn’t be hiding it, would I? I’m skulking around, therefore this must be bad. This is what breeds internalised homophobia, which is where Emmerich’s precious “straight-acting” comes from in the first place. Straight-acting is camouflage. Straight-acting is bullshit.

It says, “I can’t act in ways that identify me as gay, because then I will lose passing privilege.”

It says “There is something intrinsically wrong with being gay and I have to hide that part of myself by acting straight.”

It says “I have to earn acceptance from straight people by pretending to be like them. I have to be non-threatening.”

Being non-threatening got gays arrested, beaten, strip-searched, fired, publicly humiliated, disowned, locked away in mental hospitals, and killed.

Being non-threatening never got gays anywhere but ground under the heel of the boots they were told to lick if they wanted to be accepted someday. If you’re a good do-bee, maybe someday we’ll let you eat the scraps.

Stonewall said “fuck that.” Stonewall said, “We’re done trying to earn your permission to exist. We’re done acting like you’re the Chosen Ones who get to decide whether we’re humans or not. Fuck you, we’re DONE. We’re taking our humanity back.”

The fact that in the bricks thrown by trans women, drag queens and street kids of all colors in real life were co-opted and put into the hands of a fictional white cis straight-acting self-loathing male is just proof that we have SO much more work to do.

Because let’s face it, a lot of the “gay history narrative” is still driven by cis gay males, usually white, and semi-affluent to boot. The stories of persecution during the AIDS crisis are focused on the men.

While we know now that lesbians were active in AIDS awareness and caring for dying patients when nobody else would, the scars are still deeply embedded in the community and some of the most narrow-minded, vicious, transphobic and woman-phobic rhetoric I’ve ever heard has come from these gay males. It’s as if they’re saying “My people suffered more than anyone else, so you can’t criticise what I say now.”

This is absolutely untrue, and worse, it’s poison to the movement. There’s no such thing as the Oppression Olympics, and even if there were, you wouldn’t want to win them:

RIP Bill Blackmar

When we play this game we forget that we’re all one, and that we’ve all been dealt some shit in our lives. AIDS was a great equaliser. It started with the gay community and then it went everywhere.

Retrovirus doesn’t give a fuck

But at some point we got the upper hand, at least in the First World. And we forgot. We got complacent again. AIDS became the thing you lived with instead of dying from. And we forgot. And we started to succeed, in getting our basic human rights. And we forgot.

We forgot that the experience of the cis gay white male is worlds apart from the experience of the trans lesbian of color. We forgot that the lesbian is still getting comparatively crappy healthcare compared to the gay man. We forgot that being non-binary means getting screwed on all sides, being bisexual means you’re an invisible slut* apparently, and being any sort of queer in the wrong 30 states means unemployment, homelessness, and any other forms of discrimination that those states haven’t explicitly outlawed.

Emmerich forgot so hard that he decided his version of reality – his Stonewall headcanon – was the truth. And he had the unmitigated chutzpah to push it out into the world like an ugly little baby made of lies, so that we could all coo over it and say “Good job!”

While I’m very relieved that the community has decided to tell him that his baby is, in fact, hideous as hell, I’m mad that someone like him still gets to drive the Gay Community Narrative Bus at all. I’m mad that I’ve never made a movie in my life and I can tell you right now how he could have had his precious twinkie cake AND eaten a respectful movie too:

  1. Make White Boy A Fucking OBSERVER. Let him walk into that mess and OBSERVE the bricks and bottles flying. Let him see the dykes and queens being arrested and let his ass be en-fucking-lightened. He can still BE there and serve a narrative purpose even if he’s not the center of attention, for fuck’s sake.

We didn’t get this far by playing NICE.

We won’t get our stories told correctly by playing nice, either.

Shame on you, Roland Emmerich. Our community deserves better than you.

*not as useful a superpower as you would think

Your Call Is Very Important To Us, Please Hold

Yep, it’s another Terrible Minds challenge! This one is “1000 words of space opera.”
Which got me thinking about operas, and then music, and then this popped out.

BEEP

“Thank you for calling Villacom, this is Rix speaking, how may I serve you today?”

“Get me your godsdamned supervisor NOW!”

“Sir, I would be happy to do that, can I just ask what the issue is so I can debrief them?” Rix said smoothly. Remember the training! his brain gibbered. Calm them down, get their details, make sure they’re not going to bomb the company…

“You know, I don’t have all fucking day to spend on the phone with you people. Where is the supervisor? If you don’t get me a supervisor in the next 10 seconds I’m going to come down there and-”

*click*

With the customer on hold, Rix brought up the comm window to page his supervisor. A yellow-vested drone came over and took the headset from him. Rix leaned against the wobbly particle board desk and listened in.

It never fails, Rix thought. The word “supervisor” seemed to have magical calming powers on the caller, and before he knew it the customer was spilling his tale of woe.

“I see,” said the drone, a frumpy ginger fellow named Stahl. “And you say you’ve used this exact product model before without any issues?”

“Dozens of times. I buy them in bulk, you know. Got a lot of rebel scum to deal with in these parts.”

“I see, sir. Is there any way you could tell me what the date stamp on that last batch was?” Stahl tapped his overlong fingernails on Rix’s desk. Rat-tat-tat-tat. It set Rix’s teeth on edge, but then, so did most everything at Villacom. Still, it was only his third day. Maybe he’d get used to it. “Mm-hmm. Ok. Well, it looks like that was in fact a fresh batch, but it’s possible that one of the internal components was past its use-by date, which is a rare manufacturing error that we express our deepest regret for.”

“It’s just, man! I’m out 50K credits and a dozen guards, you know?”

“Well, we can definitely replace those guards for you at a very meaningful discount,” Stahl said.

“No, man, you can’t!” the customer grunted. “I inherited ’em from my daddy. D-51s.”

Stahl muted the phone for a moment and sighed.”Goddamnit. D-51s again.”

The D-51s were something of a legend around the calling floor. Based on anachronistic droids that fell through a hole in a neighboring ‘verse, the D-51s were built like the byproduct of a drunken mating session between a fire hydrant and a Pop-O-Matic Bubble. Short, squat, and extremely well armored, the D-51’s most notable features was its tiny but devastating gamma blaster. It was also extremely slow on its undersized wheelbase, which gave you plenty of time to pray to your chosen deity before it reached and killed you.

Unfortunately, the D-51s were also somewhat sentient and, as it turned out, packed to the brim with self-loathing existential angst. Only an extremely skilled hacker could override the hard-coded self-destruct pulse that every D-51 was manufactured with. As a result, they were in production for a mere five years. After all, a bestseller was still a bestseller, even if it occasionally blew up its own buyers, or pet shelters, or hospitals full of orphans- and Villacom had investors to please.

“Okay, and if you just press your thumb to the auth-pad on your end, we can transmit the order details straightaway and get you those new guard droids. I think you’ll be extremely satisfied with the P-9000 series. I have one myself…Ha-ha, yes. Let’s just say my neighbors and I have an understanding now, shall we?” His voice dripped with unspoken criminal intentions.

Rix shook his head.

“Yes, yes, we appreciate you too, sir. Have an excellent day and thank you for calling Villacom.”

Stahl released the call and clapped his hands together gleefully. “See how easy that was?” he asked. Rix shook his head again.

“It’s not that hard,” Stahl said. “They have needs. We have the means to address those needs. That customer was a minor warlord on the fringes of the Kungoshaad Nebula, but with our support, he could become a legitimate illegitimate Emperor! And when he needs weapons, who’s he gonna buy from? Not those bastards over at Wal-Mort, that’s for sure! The tanks that crush his insurgents will have Villacom treads, godsdamnit! You know why?”

Rix knew what was coming next. He swallowed hard and recited:

“Because evil is a business, and business is good.”

Stahl smiled. “You’re gonna go far here, kid. Now let’s see how you do on an outbound collections call…”

Tense

We are nicely tipsy right now, yes, tipsy enough to use the royal we (or maybe just getting distracted by this episode of Longmire that’s on. And can I just say-

permission

NEW LONGMIRE! SQUEEEEEEEE!
(Seriously you guys it is sooo good. I am the last person you’d expect to get into a Western but it hooked me.))

Er. Where was I? Oh yeah. The drinking and the writing and the Friday night when you find out on your first day at a new job that it’s also your last day, because the people in charge are a bunch of fuckups. But it’s absolutely fine because I am the Real and they were all Jabronis.

Now home, and thinking about the next Terrible Minds challenge, and how I’m probably gonna write it in present tense AGAIN, because that’s how I do. I’m sure that some people are going “Oh, she’s aping Chuck Wendig’s style.” No. Chuck is one of a kind. I wouldn’t dream of trying to copy him. Also I cannot grow a beard, much less a beard of FACEBEES.

The truth is, I wrote in present tense back when I did fanfic, and found it to be much more to my liking than past tense. And when I discovered Chuck’s fiction, it was like “OMG! SOMEONE ELSE WHO WRITES THIS WAY!” It was like finding a kindred spirit.

If my character’s heart gets broken in a story, I want you to be just as surprised and wrecked as the character is. I want you to hear the crack of those ventricles ripping apart and feel like it’s happening to you. I cannot do that in past tense. Past tense is a history report. Present tense is fresh and raw. And that’s why I do it.

So. Back to work. This gin and tonic isn’t gonna drink itself, you know.

Pumpkin Spice Everything, Bitches

It’s September and – holy shit, it’s almost my birthday. This year I’ll be 37, a number which I lamented to my mother because 1)goddamnit I’m OLD and 2) it’s a prime number. Not sure what to make of that symbolism there.

I’m not really old am I? Or is it just the feeling of not having Made It yet?

I’m not a has-been or a never-will-be. I’ve always been a late bloomer. Like fall this year, which just now decided that it would actually show up and kick summer off its triple-digit-temperatures high horse.

Today’s a chill day. A little rain, a little wind, the smell of the first fireplaces being lit. Just 2 weeks ago we blasted fans, now we’re bringing out the lap blankets.

The day’s writing is done. Certain scenes are kind of going nowhere fast right now so I went back to outlining. Who the fuck is that guy? Who the fuck is the other guy? What the fuck are they doing? Why the fuck are they mad at each other? Etc. In the last week I’ve researched Pentecostals, broken arms, amputations, osteogenesis imperfecta, and gay exorcism for this story. The research part is actually pretty neat because I end up falling in the internet rabbit hole and learning all kinds of other random crap that I can stash away for possible later use.

Next week will probably be full of boring Adult things like going to the unemployment office, getting my driver’s license updated, seeing my brain doctor, and cleaning up my room after the last couple of sewing adventures trashed it.

#COSPLAY #YAY BRAINS

I am stupidly proud of my Miriam Black cosplay that is like 80% finished. If you’re at Salt Lake Comic Con this year, look for me. I’ll be hanging out with River Song and fangirling over the MST3K guests. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll tell you how you die.*

The Trubel cosplay is also doing well, though I need to get a pair of jeans I don’t mind shredding. *time travels back to 1993 when everyone was doing that*

The nice thing about being a cosplayer is never wondering about Halloween costumes. I’m literally spoiled for choice here. #firstworldproblems

I mean at this point I look in my closet and it’s like this:

332pedi
Stay out of my closet, Monroe

My cosplay collection thus far:

Ninth Doctor
Tenth Doctor
Eleventh Doctor
Fourth Doctor
a very Twelfth Doctor-ish coat
Osgood
River Song
Ohila of the Sisterhood of Karn
Agent Scully
Chell
Theresa “Trubel” Rubel
Miriam Black
Catrina De Los Muertos a la Jinkx Monsoon

In the coming years I plan to add a Classic Time Lord, an updated Doctor’s Mother, a Strax, and a Madame Vastra, along with any other characters I happen to fall in love with.

*Miriam Black knows how you’re going to die. #SPOILERS