sabotabby: (books!)
As promised/threatened, I spent my weekend in part reading YA fiction for work and writing down my recommendations as to which books I felt would work well for senior-level English classes. Because I basically have no life, I ended up writing a bunch of mini book reports about them.

Important note: I think I kind of hate YA fiction. There are some very obvious exceptions, but I find a lot of the tropes insufferable. I wasn't interested in reading YA when I was a YA, and I don't think that books written at a low reading level, regardless of how mature their content might be, are necessarily the best way to engage students in the study of literature. If I never read another story about a teenage girl who doesn't fit in at school, it will be too soon. (So here are three such books.)

I've also included a recommendation for something that does the thing that each book does better. Only one of these could remotely be called YA fiction.

Also, here be unmarked spoilers.

3 reviews )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Buy my Christie Pits Hardball League hoodies and t-shirts!


hoodie
I'll donate any profit to BLMTO and/or Movement Defence Committee. I couldn't set it up as a direct donation, but trust me, I have no desire to profit from these; I just want lots of people to wear them.

sabotabby: (possums)
 I've been experimenting with going to sleep without taking sleeping pills and my brain is coming up with some seriously strange shit.

I was a newly fledged werewhale, and in love with another werewhale who spent almost all of his time as a whale rather than as a human. Unfortunately, in my human life, I was being stalked by a serial killer who was also obsessed with me. I guess I must have bitten him, or otherwise transformed him into a werewhale, and he was much more pleasant in whale form, but still very sexually aggressive and scary by whale standards. But while he was a whale, I was reasonably safe from him.

Along with two female whales who were our pod members (and I think full-time whales rather than werewhales), we formed a whalesong band. We spent a ridiculous amount of money to buy a practice pool where we could rehearse. We planned a first show for Toronto Island where just my lover and I would perform, serenading the guests from the waters, as a trial run. But my stalker was jealous, and as I swam out for the island, I was afraid he was somewhere in the water, waiting to surprise me.

But I was alone out in the water. The current was strong, and my skin itched. I remembered hearing on the news that because of climate change and a depleting ozone layer, whales were getting blistering sunburns. It was a foggy evening, though, so I didn't think that this could be why I was having problems swimming. I could see the cathedral, draped in mist, where we were supposed to perform, but the harder I swam for it, the further I drifted from it.
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
Since this is likely to be my primary home for a bit, I had a gander at my profile to add "sweet sweet Soros cash" (my primary interest from now on) to find that no one else on this whole site has put "fully automated luxury communism" as an interest. I miss the days when people used interests to find friends. Anyway. I added both. My interests and icons massively need updating but I don't have time atm.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Testing LJ's new TOS (and DW's image hosting):

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 Discuss. I'm going to sleep. Hope there's still a world when I wake up.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (raccoons of the resistance)
 1. Charoset that looks like vomit but tastes roughly correct:

charoset

It's a bit boozier than I remember it being. Probably because all the recipes call for Manischewitz, which has been banned in my household ever since I became a grown-up who lives on her own and drinks actual wine.

2. This logo for my new baseball league:

christie pits hardball league
For those of you who aren't Canadians, it's a reference to this. I want to make baseball jerseys or hoodies or something. After I've cleaned up the design, anyway.

3. A difference in the lives of children. :)

In other news, I still have massive feels about the Black Sails finale so anyone who wants to talk about it with me, please please please. Also, I'm wondering if I should end my paid account on LJ and get a paid account on DW to get more icons.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Today, in a fit of pique, the following occurred to me (prompted by me posting a leftist pop culture critique, only to be told that the author of said post was being called out at the moment, though for reasons that had nothing to do with his post):

Politics, but instead of doing anything about it, we just post “your fave is problematic” over and over again.

Okay, that's not completely fair, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that the left has become even more of a toxic and humourless wasteland than it was the last time I was regularly going to protests, with less effect. Say what you will about grim Stalinist and Maoist dystopias, at least they were effective. What passes for activism these days is not, largely because call-out culture, about which many pixels have been spilled, targets our friends rather than our enemies. 

Also, I am pretty sure that there is not much overlap between "people who are heavily, or even slightly involved in real-life activism" and "people who call out problematic people over the internet." I can't prove it, though.

That's not to say that we should pretend that problematic ideas and people don't exist in our movement. Of course they do. And we shouldn't tolerate sexism or racism and transphobia from our allies any more than we tolerate it from our enemies, but the perfect is the enemy of the good. A rigid adherence to standards nurtured in academia and inaccessible to the vast majority of people who feel that shit is fucked up and wrong is not productive, and it's not like we have so many friends that we can afford to alienate most of them.*

At the root of this, I think, is an overabundance of seriousness. We have focused so much on creating the perfect political terminology, actions that walk the line between confronting capital and creating a safe space**, ensuring that our meetings take place under appropriately sterile circumstances, that we have failed to create a lively, dynamic culture that extends past the protest and meeting and Facebook re-share and into our daily lives. In short, we have forgotten that this struggle should be fun.

"But wait," my straw-activist† exclaims. "You're not taking this seriously! Not everyone has the privilege of being an activist because it's fun."

Of course, no one's an activist because it's fun. It's not fun. Even when you get to fight with a Nazi, it's much more scary than anything else. I would vastly rather marathon Netflix on the couch than wake up at ass o' clock to march in the streets, and I really do it because I'm compelled, because I don't have the privilege of ignoring the world's drunken flailing towards fascism. Because if we lose, I die and my friends die. Fun isn't the end goal here; it's part of the process.

If you look at movements throughout the world and throughout history, you'll see that desperate times and privation and hard, often fatal struggles, did not stop people from having a sense of humour or building community and culture. Witness the dark satire in the plays of Brecht, the poetry of the Zapatistas, the songs of Joe Hill. What I see missing on the left is the hopeful alternative, the shared art and music and theatre, the giant puppets in the street protests, the creative actions, the meetings in pubs†† that bleed into social gatherings. The idea of fighting for and not just fighting against. Even totalitarian state communism had its enjoyable moments; strangely enough these days the only people I see really creating an active, vibrant political culture are tankies. The very people who you'd expect to be the most uptight and humourless are the ones manufacturing memes like they're boots for the revolution. And good on them; it's why I like tankies more than most people whose politics I, on paper, agree with.

It's a matter of pragmatism, not warm fuzzies. Seriousness is unsustainable. Most of the young people currently calling out this that and the other thing††† will not, long-term, be involved in activism. Anger is a good temporary fuel, but it burns out quickly once jobs and kids come into the picture. The way to retain people and to draw more into the movement is by building links that are less easily severed—those of friendship and community.

Among the most effective groups I was ever a part of had as its core members myself (then an anarchist), a Trotskyist, two MLMs, and a Cuban revolution fanboy. We did not have much political common ground with each other, much less with some of our allies. What we did have was a simple shared goal and debriefing sessions at skeezy bars that degenerated into drunken giggling that had nothing, superficially, to do with politics. I don't doubt that these types of connections are happening now, on an individual level, but I don't see it happening at a larger scale. I don't know how to make it happen—most of the new comrades I meet manage to piss me off within 30 seconds of interaction—but I think it needs to. I know it needs to.

It's worked for the far-right. Their schoolyard humour got Cheeto Benito elected. People who like the spadgebasket like him because, for whatever reason, they find him funny. They're in no small part desperate, jobless, broke, and suffering, but they can find the space for a laugh.

In other words, more giant puppets, people. More biting satire and music and graffiti and I don't care what, just lighten the fuck up and stop trying to make everything perfect and safe.

P.S. If you hadn't noticed, I'm under the same name on LJ and DW. I'm not jumping ship on the latter, ridiculous TOS or not, seeing as I have a paid account at least through next year. But if you wanna add me on DW for the same fun content and fewer icons, by all means do so.

* I say this as someone who holds a lot of grudges. There are people on the left who, for reasons of offences committed recently and otherwise, I cannot be in the same room with.

** This is impossible BTW.

† Not really. I've met loads of people like this.

†† You can't do that, Sabotabby. That's ableist!

††† Today I learned that Love Life of an Asian Guy is racist and misogynist, and that PissPigGranddad—who as far as I'm concerned is a fucking hero—is a "war tourist."


sabotabby: (sabokitty)
 Cocoa turned 13 yesterday! My baby is officially a teenager! It's also, by default, Sabot's birthday. They got to celebrate with a meat cake made from four different animals, catnip, and new toys.

meat cakekitties eatingkitties eatingsabot checking out her toycocoa eating



I think they had a good party. They're currently sprawled out, blissfully content, on my bed.

sabotabby: (doom doom doom)
I'm finished work at 8:05 pm! That's only an 11-hour day—a record for me lately, and gives me a whole hour or so with which to SURF THE WEB and all its wonders. And I have internet at home, which is exciting.

Because he clearly hates me, [personal profile] frandroid  asked for my opinion on two recent Twitter hashtags—#lacgate and #hothick. You folks know that I hate Twitter, right? As far as I can tell, the only useful thing it's ever done has been providing me with a torrent of #piggate jokes when the story broke, but whether this balances out the way it's helped to mangle the English language by sticking number signs in the middle of otherwise reasonable sentences, reduce everyone's collective intelligence by limiting thoughts to 140 characters, make otherwise reasonable writers break their blog posts into un-parseable gibberish, and turn the internet into a hate-filled cesspool remains to be seen. 

But okay, there's been some good stuff on it lately. So here goes.

#lacgate

While everyone in the US wakes up like this each morning:

picard - damage report

wondering what new horrors Cheeto Benito has wrought, you'll be pleased to know that Canada too is in the throes of political scandal. #lacgate has gripped the national imagination and is currently haunting my fucking nightmares.

The story is as follows: A decade ago, at a party of the political elite, Globe and Mail journalist Leah McLaren attempted to breastfeed the infant child of one MP Michael Chong, the Last of the Red Tories and the current best hope we have of stemming the global wave of fascism.* McLaren was not at this time lactating—she just wanted to know what it was like. Chong walked in on her and put a stop to it. He's subsequently confirmed that yes, this totally happened.

The entire country proceeded to lose its shit.

I did a really good job of avoiding reading about this for about two days. Look, I think birth and parenting and breastfeeding are all wonderful things, but I have a massive squick around the details thereof. The whole thing horrifies me. I totally support the right of parents to whip out a boob and feed the kid wherever, and post it to Facebook without censure, etc., but it's okay if I avert my eyes, isn't it? Because if I think about it too much my own boobs hurt. Why anyone would want to stick their nipple in a baby's mouth that did not belong to them is gross and awkward and weird and TMI. And also I think a violation of—something.

The Globe and Mail has, in response, suspended McLaren for a week. This, of course, is a complete overreaction but also hilarious. Isn't print media dying? They must have gotten a million clicks from people sharing the article, and then frantically searching for it when the story got spiked the same day. This is good for business, which is why someone must have approved it in the first place.

I also really wonder why shit like this even gets published. I know so many starving writers who are better than the journalists who get paid to write incoherent drivel, like Rosie DiManno, or hateful screeds like Christie Blatchford, or blatantly plagiarized hateful screeds like Margaret Wente. And yet, as the industry gets downsized to nothing—and as the world teeters on the brink, and First Nations communities don't have running water, and migrants lose fingers to frostbite trying to flee the US, and climate change threatens to sink us into the ocean—people are getting paid to reflect on how they once tried to breastfeed a stranger's baby at some bougie party ten years ago.

Vice has a funny article about it, of course.


#hothick

I didn't even know what this was. Ho Thick? Hoth Ick? No, apparently it's Hot Hick, which is a thing. That is a thing apparently I am when I go country line dancing. Anyway, it's a hashtag too.

I checked it out, and it includes people confessing to finding the guy in Duck Dynasty hot. I am typically a "live and let live" type person (except when it comes to breastfeeding strangers' babies), but I actually think that this is a kink that is not okay. I am not okay with people finding the guy in Duck Dynasty hot. Sorry. In fairness, it's mainly because he's a racist.


#osslt

I'm going to add one of my own, because today was the day of the standardized literacy test here, and apparently there's a hashtag for that, too. It's pretty funny, and probably far more educational than the test itself, which is a pointless waste of students' time, teachers' time, and taxpayers' money.

Anyway, this year the braintrusts at the EQAO (that's the company we pay to put our tenth graders through hell) thought that a good question to ask 15-year-olds on a test they need to take to graduate high school was: "If you could meet any historical figure, which one would you choose, and why?"

This is a question meant for old people. Obviously teenagers are going to blank, and reportedly, many of them did.

If you know any 15-year-olds, you will know that 90% of them can name only one historical figure.

Yes, that one.

So have fun marking that.



* I'll explain. Chong is the most moderate of the candidates for the Tory leadership, which is still more right-wing than I'd prefer, but basically he's the only one who's not a Nazi. In a federal election, he'd have practically no chance of winning. Which is why a bunch of non-Tories have recently joined the Conservatives in an attempt to vote him in as leader. I think it's not a bad strategy, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. He does seem like a good egg, though.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 OH THANK FUCK IT'S BACK ON

Just enough downtime that I was completely unable to relax and de-stress, but not enough that it would impinge upon my productivity or anything. Fuckin' A.

in the meantime I cleaned up all the crap on my desktop
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 No internet. Am writing from my phone. You probably won't hear much from me for awhile which is too bad as I was going to do a really witty post tonight. Am hella upset as my day was already horrible and this is my one night off. Just when you think shit can't get more stressful amirite?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
You know, there's so much about Cheeto Benito's wholesale looting of the scraps of the American Empire that I have to turn my ragebutton off for much of the day just to be mildly functional. Don't get me wrong; I'm angry all the time, but I have to still get up and go to work and do the laundry and grocery shopping and make sure the cats are fed, so I can't be a full-time ball of flaming fury.

But every day or so something happens that is so completely over-the-top that I just drop everything and go like this.

Today, it's Bono, the end product of nearly two centuries of liberalism and Glamour's Woman of the Year*, praising a man who believes in electrocuting gay children for his work on AIDS research.

I got nothin'. Well, that's not really true. I have nothing but hatred and contempt for Cheeto Benito and his bargain basement Stormtroopers. But there is only one species of lifeform lower than a fascist, and that's a collaborator. It's a scumsucking tax-evader who claims the moral high ground when it benefits him and instantly asslicks the Alt Reich because the glamour of standing next to ultimate power gets him hot.

So in lieu of projectile vomiting enough to earn a cameo on season 2 of the Santa Clarita Diet, here's the only thing that helps:



* That's not a transphobic joke, by the way. That's an actual thing that happened.

Cake!

Feb. 12th, 2017 05:05 pm
sabotabby: (books!)
 I am up to my eyeballs in work and stress, and also probably have the flu (oh joy) but I just thought I'd share a picture of the truly magnificent cake that I made for a friend's Tacky Valentine's Day party:

tacky red cake

Just look at this majesty! It's a mint cashew cheesecake with chocolate cookie crust, topped with vegan peppermint marshmallows that look like wee teeth. It was very tasty and I'm really pleased with how it came out.
sabotabby: (teacher lady)
DeVos is the actual worst. It's as though everything I hate in the world took a massive shit and then someone made a shit golem out of it and appointed it Secretary of Education.

Still, I ought to point out that both sides of the Billionaire Party had a hand in this one. It's not like Arne Duncan didn't thoroughly gut public education, and the Democrats love their charter schools, standardized testing, and industry disruptors as much as the Republicans.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 It was cold. It was well-attended. There were too many speeches and not enough marching, given that the temperature was minus balls.

Much too cold to take proper photos, but here are the two I managed. Note the dudes with guns on top of the US Consulate, despite the fact that it's a Saturday and it was closed:

protesters us consulate

ETA: Better picture, taken not by me, giving a sense of scale:

big crowd of protesters

Question

Feb. 3rd, 2017 07:26 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
 How does one become a "professional anarchist"?

Asking for a friend.
sabotabby: (sabokitty)
So I wrote my MP and he wrote back. I'm posting it here 'cause tbh, while I will never vote for or support the Liberals, I thought his response was pretty decent and I'll give credit where credit is due:

if you are interested )ETA: I ain't naïve and I know Trudeau won't actually do anything
sabotabby: (doom doom doom)
Just yesterday, I found myself arguing with a hippie on Facebook over a photo someone had posted of a man holding up an Islamophobic sign at Yonge-Dundas Square. One of the commenters had suggested that what the man needed was a good elbow in the face, and the hippie self-righteously declared that in the name of FREEZED PEACH, holding a hateful sign was not illegal but elbowing someone in the face was.

I pointed out that the sentiment in the sign would lead to genocide, whereas an elbow to the face seldom did.

I hate to say I'm right, but:

At least five people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. The mosque was targeted with a pig's head in the summer and it's pretty safe to say—though, of course, the situation is still developing and we don't know many details—that the mosque was targeted because the most powerful voices in the world have declared open season on Muslims.

I'm so sick with rage and grief that I can barely breathe. I'm almost inured to hearing about mass shootings in the States, but this is here. I'm not so naïve as to think that Canadians are better than this—the same sick racist impulses roil just below the surface here—but it still hits close to home. There were children praying. I pass two mosques every day; it could have been the families that I casually smile at on my way home from work. It's too close, it's too real.

And regardless of what they uncover about the shooters (and we know it's going to be a lone wolf white dude who sparks a serious discussion about better awareness for mental illness; I guess two lone wolves in this case), you know who's to blame. You know who has been stoking the hatred here, in the States, in the sewers of Reddit and 4chan, on Twitter, in the White House, in the Tory leadership race. Holding up signs in Yonge-Dundas Square, aided and abetted by appeasers shrieking about free speech. J'accuse, you all have blood on your hands.

You cannot deal with them politely. You cannot appeal to their reason and humanity. This is the result of a climate of xenophobia, and muddleheaded liberalism has been fertile grounds for hatred to thrive.
sabotabby: (jetpack)
It seems vaguely horrific to be writing about anything other than politics right now, but someone requested awhile back that I do a master list of all of the movies and TV that I watched so that you don't have to. And to be fair, we all need distraction now and then—perhaps now more than ever.

(All links go to LJ; sorry DW people, but there are a lot of reviews and I don't have time to do this twice.)

Current (good) TV reviews: I review The Magicians, Preacher, and Luke Cage for terror_scifi. My reviews are all tagged with my name there, but if you're looking for specific shows:

The Magicians (currently posting!)
Preacher
Luke Cage

Bad Movie Reviews: They are all tagged (along with the odd bad book and other things) under Cheatsheet of Freedom. If you're looking for specific things:

This Revolution (the one that started it all; a movie about anarchists that sounded really good and even starred Rosario Dawson, but spoiler, it is not very good)

Left Behind (Jesus takes all of the good Christians to Heaven, leaving Kirk Cameron to fight the Antichrist)

Atlas Shrugged Pt. 1
(John Galt takes all the good capitalists to Heaven, I mean capitalist paradise, leaving some actors you've never heard of to fight the socialists)
Atlas Shrugged Pt. 2 (second verse, same as the first)
Atlas Shrugged Pt. 3 (yes I watched the whole fucking thing, why do you ask?)

American Sniper
(smug jingoism with a fake plastic baby. I was super drunk the whole time.)

50 Shades of Grey
(bad softcore porn, but don't worry, I fixed it.)

The Fountainhead
(a rapey Ayn Rand movie about architecture)

Red Dawn
(communists invade middle America and are repelled by the high school football team. Note that I have somewhat revised my opinion of the film since I wrote this review, and now view it as a clever satire.)

Rambo III (the one where he joins the Taliban, who are the good guys.)

Battle In Seattle (it is about the Battle of Seattle and is exactly as good as you would expect a movie about the Battle of Seattle to be.)

X-Files Season 10 (okay, not a movie, and not a proper screenshot review, but it was really bad)


Good Movie and TV Reviews: I also sometimes review things I like that are kind of obscure, in the hopes that someone else will watch them and squee with me.

Enthiran (this is my favourite movie of all time and objectively the best movie ever made. It's a 3-hour-long Tamil musical about a killer robot and you should watch it at least 70 bazillion times)

Seventeen Moments of Spring (a Soviet-era miniseries about a Russian spy undercover in Germany during WWII)

Cambridge Spies (a BBC miniseries about the Cambridge Five, a bunch of upper class British kids who spied for the USSR for decades without getting caught)

Babylon 5 (some people found out that I had never seen the show and made me watch the whole thing, so I did. Spoiler: Vir is my favourite and Susan Ivanova is my other favourite)

So yeah enjoy.

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