sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-06-23 10:16 pm

Brief review of "October" by China MiƩville

 You know when you finish a book and you're sad because you know you won't ever write anything nearly as good?

That.
sabotabby: (books!)
2017-06-22 04:30 pm

2017 Book Log

 Fiction

1. Everything Belongs to the Future, Laurie Penny
2. Wake of Vultures, Lila Bowen
3. We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson
4. Waiting for Gertrude: A Graveyard Gothic, Bill Richardson
5. The Pastel City, M. John Harrison
6. 13 Ways of Looking At a Fat Girl, Mona Awad
7. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
8. Rise: A Newsflesh Collection, Mira Grant
9. The Stealer of Souls, Michael Moorcock
10. Seven Surrenders, Ada Palmer
11. Amiable With Big Teeth, Claude McKay
12. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
13. The Stone House, A.K. Benedict
14. The Female of the Species, Mindy McGinnis
15. It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
16. Moonglow, Michael Chabon
17. When Everything Feels Like the Movies, Raziel Reid
18. Walkaway, Cory Doctorow
19. Feed, M.T. Anderson
20. Kids of Appetite, David Arnold
21. The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi
22. Crossing the Distance, Evan Solomon

Non-Fiction

1. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
2. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer
3. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Cathy O'Neil
4. Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner: A Story About Women and Economics, Katrine Marçal
5. Indefensible: Seven Myths That Sustain the Global Arms Trade, Paul Holden et. al.
6. October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville

Books What Have Pictures In Them

1. Missing Nimâmâ, Melanie Florence and François Thisdale
2. Mayday, Alex de Campi, Blond, Tony Parker
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-06-20 07:41 pm

Your evening schadenfreude

GUYS!

Remember that hilarious story about the Parkdale gentrifiers? Did you think that after Jesse Brown tweeted the Parkdale Tinies that the story couldn't possibly get any funnier?

parkdale tinies

How long can Toronto keep a thing going, you might wonder. Surely not this long...

How my family came to be the most hated family in Toronto (at least for 24 hours)

By Julian Humphreys


You owe it to yourself and your lulz to click that link and read the whole thing. It is GLORIOUS. It is 10,383 words long. It quotes ADORNO AND GOETHE and my buddy Todd and I can't breathe through my tears. It is full of not-very-subtle digs at his wife and even worse digs at his editor, who really can't be blamed for not turning down this pile of comedy gold because tbh no one was really reading Toronto Life before and now everyone is in the hopes that there will be more of this kind of thing.

Some choice quotes:

"Back when I was in academia and enamoured by writers like Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, I was particularly in to the idea of origins, and where exactly we can trace origins back to."


"My mum emigrated to the UK in 1939 from Germany. Yes, that’s right, she was a Jew, or at least somewhat Jewish."


"[My counsellor] then proceeded to give me a lecture on cell biology, including how many bookshelves it would take to hold all the information contained in a single human cell. The lesson being, we are endlessly complex beings, and attempting to oversimplify both ourselves and the world is foolish."


"I did try to clean myself up at one point, attending a 10-day silent retreat in Southern Thailand. But the switch from partying on a Thai beach to sitting quietly for 12 hours a day in a Thai monastery was too dramatic, and I only lasted 5 days before I was back to Bangkok and their opiated grass."


"So let me explain what really went down during our reno from hell. Not that my wife mis-represented the facts – for the most part, she didn’t. But a) she was at home looking after our newborn for most of the year of our reno, so doesn’t know first-hand what really went on; b) she was constrained by a word limit of 4000 words; and c) she was working closely with an editor at Toronto Life, who clearly had his own agenda that overwhelmed her own."


"I had concerns about how I would come across in the piece, but I was prepared to put my ego aside for the sake of a good story and in support of my wife’s career. "


"Looking back on that telephone conversation now, I realize that Malcolm never did assure me that he would look out for my wife’s best interests."


"Although I could see the literary merit of these additions, a mean-spiritedness was entering into the article that was not in the original draft."


"I also didn’t like the photo because in reality my wife is much more attractive than she appears in that photo."


"Criticisms of capitalism presented by the bourgeoisie are nearly always duplicitous, masquerading as in solidarity with the proletariat while cutting off real protest at the knees. And this was exactly what was going on here. By seeming to sympathize with the downtrodden, Malcolm was hoping to humanize us just enough to avoid a revolution, while dehumanizing us enough to garner clicks."


"We could have called an ambulance, I guess, but that, in my mind, would have been a gross invasion of his privacy."


"My wife does, however, say that we were ‘a young family without a lot of money’ and whether this is true or not depends on what you consider ‘money.’"


"[O]n the one hand yes, I made some bad decisions. And yet we came out ahead. Was this luck? Or strategy?"


"It’s better to move forward without all the answers in place than to not move forward at all, an assumption best expressed in this quote attributed to Goethe..."

"His gift substantially changed my life, and I show my gratitude by honoring his generosity as best I can. I could have snorted $100,000 of cocaine, but instead used it to prepare myself, however tangentially, for a career in which I feel I make a positive difference."

Oh, just read the whole thing, trust me.

Bonus: Here is his Twitter.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-06-16 06:07 pm

Full of rage

Apparently I am not completely desensitized to horror, which comes as a relief in a strange way. I'm just full of rage—at the acquittal of Philando Castile's murderer, at the barring of Black Lives Matter activists from testifying about the impact of cops in schools, and, most acutely, at the completely preventable tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The latter is, to me, the starkest depiction of austerity and late-stage capitalism in action. The residents called for repairs. Labour called for tighter safety regulations. Boris Johnson literally told them to go stuff themselves. The cladding, which was probably a major factor in the deaths of 100 or so people, was installed not to protect the building's tenants—low-income, many of them racialized, many of them Syrian refugees—but to hide the unsightly nature of the tower from wealthy neighbours.

I kind of get why people lose their shit over terrorist attacks and mass shootings, but this gets me more. There's a lot we can do as a culture to reduce terrorism and mass shootings, and of course we tend to do the opposite of that, but even in a perfect world, not every act of senseless violence would be preventable. Norway still produced Anders Breivik—even a utopia would have its madmen.

But a situation where you have people saying, "this tragedy is going to happen if you don't fix the thing," and those in charge do not fix the thing, because money is more important than human lives—that is totally preventable and entirely foreseeable. There was an obvious, simple way to prevent those 100 deaths, if our civilization valued people as much as it valued profits.

There are death tolls to tell you how many people died because of communism. There are no tallies of deaths under capitalism, as if starvation because of collectivization is somehow less preferable to starvation because of austerity, or a firing squad is worse than a fire.

This is the very heart of my politics. This is why I fight, even though it doesn't affect me, even though I don't really know how to, even though I'm exhausted. Sometimes fury is the only thing that keeps me going.
sabotabby: (kitties)
2017-06-13 06:56 pm

Scammer story

 I took Sabot to the vet for her annual. She was a very good girl, gained some weight but not a worrisome amount, and is in general good health. While I was waiting, there was the most piteous sobbing that turned out to belong to a very large, very sad dog who had just come out of surgery. Her owner came to pick her up (she was wearing the most adorable cone of shame that said "hug me," "love me" and so on) and as we were standing in line to pay our bills—mine reasonable, hers ridiculously high—she told everyone at the vet's a story.

Earlier in the day, she'd received a phone call from an unlisted number. There was a pause when she picked up, and she said it sounded like a call centre in India. The man claimed that he was calling from Windows, and there was something wrong with her computer—could she turn it on for him?

"Do you think I'm an idiot?" she asked.

Another pause.

"Yes," he said. "I think you are an idiot, and a motherfucker, and an asshole." And then he hung up.

She was fucking thrilled and was so excited about it that she had to tell everyone because it was that delightful.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-06-12 05:59 pm

Camp 30 photodump

As promised/threatened, here are a buttload of pictures from the road trip [personal profile] the_axel and [personal profile] the_siobhan and I took to POW Camp 30 in Bowmanville. For reference, this is about an hour's drive from Toronto. It's a former school for delinquent boys that was converted into a POW camp during World War II. It's since fallen to ruin, squatters, and graffiti artists—which tbh makes it approximately 10,000x more awesome from the point-of-view of a photographer or aspiring author of post-apocalyptic fiction—despite being guarded by surveillance cameras and one intimidating as hell pre-recorded loudspeaker message.

There are No Trespassing signs all over the place, but let's be honest; if they wanted to keep people out, they'd put some barbed wire or guards around. We ran into two other people wandering around the premises who had the same idea we did.

Narrowing down which pictures to show you folks was brutal—I hope you appreciate that I got it down to around 20 from over 100. (Okay, so more because Photobucket has ceased to work for me and DW's image hosting is brutal, but also to spare your browsers.

camp 30
+22 )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-06-12 07:23 am

Photography teaser

I went on an Exciting Photography Adventure yesterday. There are 100 or so photos to go through and edit, but here's a teaser of the incoming photo dump.

looking out a window into...?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (raccoons of the resistance)
2017-06-09 07:20 am

UK Elections

Want to write a long analysis post and such but I just got up after supervising prom all night, so you're not going to get that right now. I expected a lot worse and am experiencing some schadenfreude over a) Theresa May having an exceptionally bad night, and b) Corbyn not looking so unelectable now, amirite?

Hope feels kind of weird. I mean, you still have a shitty government in power, but it's a shitty government without a sweeping mandate, and for the UK, that's saying a lot. It's too soon to say that the tide is starting to turn against global reaction, but it's something.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-06-03 09:41 am

Linkspam, mostly political

 There's so much I want to write about and link to lately, but of course it's June and I'm a schoolteacher, so I've just been reblogging things on Facebook. And that's no way to live. Here are some highlights of the week.

The story gripping the city is of the Toronto Life story about a pair of self-involved, clueless rich kids who bought a Parkdale rooming house, sight unseen, and were shocked that people still lived there and also that you can't hire a contractor based on the fact that he's cycling by. This is all in the context of violent purging of the poor in the Parkdale neighbourhood, most notably an asshole landlord attempting to murder a tenant for striking against deplorable conditions. Quite a lot of pixels have been spilled over this issue, but the best response was my friend Todd's GoFundMe page (you can still donate), and the Metro interview with him that followed. Great stuff, and perfect timing—the Parkdale Rent Strike has the potential to be the most successful political action since BLM-TO forced Pride to ban uniformed, armed cops from getting paid to march in a parade that celebrated the very folks they like to beat up.

The Tories have a new Head Asshole, Andrew Scheer. No one has heard of this guy, and he conveniently had a lot of his more disgusting positions wiped from the intertubes. However, the Streisand Effect is still in play, so you can totally go and read what he's about. Spoiler: It ain't good. Fortunately, he has all the charisma of a mysteriously damp toilet paper roll, so I don't think he has much of a chance against Prince Justin or whoever the NDP nominates.

Do I have a clear preference for an NDP leader? I am shocked to say that no, I do not. I actually like multiple candidates. This is weird. I would be happy if Charlie Angus, Jagmeet Singh (with some reservations), or Niki Ashton won. I tend not to put a lot of hope in electoral politics but I do like having someone I can vote for and campaign for happily rather than someone who's the lesser of three evils.

Speaking of Niki, she's preggers. Yay Niki! She announced it on Twitter, because we live in the darkest possible timeline, and minor douchecanoe Brian Lilley got upset because she did not specify that she was pregnant with a human fetus. What else might she be pregnant with? Speculation abounded. Was it an alien? A tank-human hybrid? A dinosaur? No one knew until she clarified, kinda.

The coolest thing to happen around these parts is that the Ontario Liberals—who I don't even tend to like—announced that the minimum wage would rise to $15 by 2019, along with several other good labour reforms. This is great news, though in Toronto, where the cost of living is stupidly high compared to the rest of the province, it doesn't go far enough for my liking. Almost everyone is in favour, except for this whiny fuckhead, who is such an incompetent businessman that he can't afford to pay people to work for him. He was shocked and appalled to find himself the target of a boycott, and put up an even whinier sign that was immediately mocked for obvious reasons.

I try not to ever think about Barbara Kay, but a hero at Canadaland read that pro-genocide book that she recommended so that you don't have to.

Speaking of genocide against the First Nations, guess how much Trudeau's government spent fighting against indigenous rights in court? #sunnyways #colonialismbutfromtheheartoutwards

In international news, though I hate to go there:

Ivanka Trump makes her shoes in a Chinese sweatshop (no surprise there) and three activists have been disappeared for looking into it.

Laurie Penny continues to be my internet girlfriend. Here's a scathing editorial about freezed peach.

Finally, it is extremely important that we know about whether Melania is getting, and I quote, "federally-funded side peen." Yeah, you're welcome.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-05-22 09:46 am

Realization

 Listening to some TERF spew TERF bollocks on CBC and I'm struck by how close the TERF (and their buddies, the misogynist right) sound to the arguments of anti-immigration types. You were not born X, therefore you can never be X, etc. Is it then coincidence that the two greatest points of unity on the Alt Reich are the opposition to the human rights of immigrants and trans people?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-05-21 08:51 pm

Do you want Hellmouths? Because this is how you get Hellmouths

 Things can't possibly get any worse politically, right? I mean, we're already in the Darkest Possible Timeline. What is Cheeto Benito going to do next, open a portal and just up and summon Cthulhu—

portal to hell
"Hold my beer!"

Yeah, we're all fucked.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-05-16 08:25 pm

Birfday

 So as some of you noticed, I am another year older.

I normally get pretty depressed around my birthday for reasons, but this one was Quite Good. Had a not-shit day at work, enough notifications from friends to crash the FB app on my phone, and dinner with mum at Hogtown Vegan, complete with a Caesar so I'm also a bit drunk.

I am an Old though. It's time to yell at the kids to get off my lawn and stop wasting their money on smashed avocado post.

I've been away from news all day; did Cheeto Benito piss off the Mossad now?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-05-14 08:35 pm

Sunday night foodporn

fiddleheads and southwestern saladTonight's dinner. The salad was technically part of lunch as well.

I almost never make anything super-fancy just for myself these days—seriously, half my meals come out of a can—but fiddlehead season comes but once a year, and my mom brought me some, so I got to make some of these tasty-but-dangerous delights.

Here is a recipe for how to make fiddleheads.

It came out excellently, holy shit.

The Southwestern salad is my own recipe, more or less. Sauteéd jalapenos, avocados, grape tomatoes, cilantro, and walnuts. The dressing is olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, black pepper, and lime juice. 

Other delicious things I have made or participated in making this weekend: Homemade falafel balls, pear-walnut pie, and more of that avocado pasta that I am obsessed with at the moment.

falafelpie

















In other, related news, my apple tree is blossoming!

apple tree 

And Cocoa is looking extra-cute:

cocoacocoa
sabotabby: (doctor who)
2017-05-07 11:44 am

Self-punching Nazis

For your enjoyment and viewing pleasure, here are some Nazis punching other Nazis. We do not know why, or who filmed this, or why people think that filming vertical video in 2017 is an acceptable thing to do, but we can just sit back and enjoy it, right?

Here is some background on the Nazis involved: Ronny Cameron (the organizer of yesterday's pitiful LARP module), and Eric Brazau.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-05-01 06:28 pm

Here is a good recipe

avocado pasta

AVOCADO PASTA

 

INGREDIENTS:

• 12 ounces spaghetti

• 2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled

• 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

• 2 cloves garlic

• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1/3 cup olive oil

• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

• 1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.

2. To make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor;

season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified;

set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes and corn.

4. Serve immediately.


This is delicious and dead easy. A++ would cook again, especially if I were using my own awesome blender and not the school's shitty one.

sabotabby: (doctor who)
2017-05-01 06:12 pm

Rejected script for the Heineken "Worlds Apart" ad

 After this piece of dreck.

MEDIUM SHOTS OF SIX INDIVIDUALS ON A WHITE BACKDROP, SPEAKING DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA.

BONEHEAD

I would describe my political views as the new right.

FEMINIST

I'd say that I'm left.

Title: TWO STRANGERS DIVIDED BY THEIR BELIEFS.

NARRATOR (V/O)

She believed that she was a full person entitled to human rights. He believed that she should be making him a sandwich. Is it possible that the truth lay somewhere in the middle?

A buzzer, much like one you might hear in a prison, buzzes.

INT. WAREHOUSE

Title: MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME

Each pair faces each other over a pile of flat pack IKEA boxes.

BONEHEAD

Feminism today is man hating.

FEMINIST

I would describe myself as a feminist 100%

Title: EACH KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE OTHER OR WHAT THIS EXPERIMENT INVOLVES

DOUCHE

I don't believe that climate change exists.

SMUG ENVIRONMENTALIST

I drive a Prius with Bernie Sanders stickers on it!

TRANS WOMAN

I'm, like, a person and stuff.

TRANSPHOBE

I'm more obsessed with strangers' genitals than a normal person should be.

Title: IS THERE MORE THAT UNITES THAN DIVIDES?

WHITE CISMALE HETEROSEXIST SUPREMACY

*Intensifies*

The pairs are presented with the flat pack boxes.

DOUCHE

I got this. I am a man and therefore an expert in IKEA.

Montage of each pair struggling over the instructions.

BONEHEAD

I think this is in some kind of furrin' language or some such.

TRANS WOMAN

What *is* a KUGGALLÂ, anyway?

FEMINIST

I think this is missing a piece. Maybe all the pieces.

Close-up of shelf, assembled with all of the pieces facing the wrong way and some random bit dangling.

SMUG ENVIRONMENTALIST

Aaaah, just hold the—this thing—for an—OWWW.

TRANSPHOBE

This has to go in that hole, there's no other hole that it can go in.

DOUCHE, screaming his head off, tosses a board into the wall.

SMUG ENVIRONMENTALIST sinks sadly into a pile of cardboard boxes, his face in his hands.

TRANS WOMAN stabs TRANSPHOBE in the eye with an Allen key.

TRANSPHOBE
Sooooo much for the tolerant left...

FEMINIST (CRYING)

I...can't. I just...can't do it.

Long shot. Everyone is crying and/or bleeding. Clawing herself across the floor, FEMINIST finds a case of Heineken and cracks one open. DOUCHE reaches for her.

FEMINIST

You! Stay away! I will fucking glass you.

Montage of everyone sobbing into a beer amongst the wreckage of half-assembled furniture and battered cardboard boxes.

Title: HEINEKEN: IT CAN'T SOLVE RACISM, SEXISM, TRANSPHOBIA, OR CLIMATE CHANGE DENIALISM, BUT IT WILL EASE THE PAIN OF YOUR COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE.

BLACK.

sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-04-25 08:43 pm

This is a first for me

 
renouf the goof tweetApparently my little design got famous enough to be tweeted by local fascist nutjob Greg "the Goof" Renouf!

I would be flattered were it not for three critical errors in his sentence-long tweet:

1) I'm not actually an anarchist, nor am I part of any anarchist group, nor does this design have anything to do with or benefit any anarchist group. I'm not even sure which anarchist group he's talking about. I mean, I like (some) anarchists and I have broad ideological agreements and commonalities with them, but I lived in a cooperative house for too long to actually be an anarchist, as I'm quite fussy about dishes and such.

2) It says right in the product description that the graphic refers to peacefully dealing with fascism through fun sports like baseball.

3) And this is the weirdest one—I am not nor have I ever been a Christian. I mean, this commemorates a battle primarily fought by Jews, albeit with some Christian allies. But while I've been accused of belonging to all sorts of beliefs and causes that I have nothing to do with, I don't think I have ever in my life been mistaken for a Christian.

So that's neat.
sabotabby: (magicians)
2017-04-23 10:58 am

Quick announcement

My last review for terror_scifi is—not coincidentally—my first review for [community profile] terror_sffa and is, accordingly, posted in both places. That's right, we now have a community on Dreamwidth! So go over there and join for more reviews, recommendations, discussions, and awesome people.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
2017-04-21 06:58 pm

Sabs reads a book that is not YA

it can't happen hereSince no one else has finished their three YA books yet, I get to read adult books until they're done. Yay! I just finished It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis, and I have a lot of feels, and need to talk about it.

You may have heard of it as "that dystopian novel written in 1935 that suddenly ended up on the bestseller list again because it predicted Trump's presidency." It is, basically, that—written to warn Americans, well before WWII, about the dangers of fascism in a populist mask. It's not the only such book, but there's something particularly resonant in it—probably because the weird-looking, jovial, outsider president is just so very Cheeto Benito that it's deeply chilling to read.

I also very much related to the protagonist, despite the fact that he's completely a liberal who complains at great length about how the Marxists are a bit shit. (I have to say, as a commie myself, the book's scathing portrayal of communists is pretty much accurate.) This guy has to be one of my favourite dystopian fiction protagonists, as he really just wants to be left alone to sleep in, get laid, and read proper literature, but people keep being fascist at him so he has to actually go out and fight. That's me in a nutshell, or would be before Netflix was invented.

It does pretty well on gender—again, 1935, just in case you're ever inclined to write off a lack of interesting and complex female characters in a book as a product of its time—there are multiple overtly feminist women, one of whom gets to kick way more ass than any of the male characters. It's worse on sexual orientation, if only because the only prominent queer character is based on Ernst Röhm and meets a similar fate (it's unknown whether the writing of the book was completed before the Night of the Long Knives, but one doesn't have to be all that prescient to guess at what happens to people like Röhm under fascist regimes, or Milo Yiannopoulos, for that matter).

At any rate, I was absolutely engrossed and if you want a likely portrait of what the next four years will bring, give this book written over 80 years ago a read. And never sleep again.