ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
If you don't like how other people portray you, then represent yourself!  That batch is from Africa.  Don't let other people control the conversations about you, your  people, your homeland, or whatever else they're busy botching.  Speak up.

As a writer, I heartily approve of this.  It makes research easier and more effective.  One challenge I face in writing diversity is that most references aren't diverse.  They've heavily slanted.  If I search "African women" I get A) pr0n and B) pity pr0n.  This is not helpful when I am trying to find, say, a picture of a Nigerian woman or a park ranger.  Projects like the one above help broaden the material available.  Then I can do a more accurate rendition of Africa even though I haven't visited it in this life. What makes an African city distinctive from an American or Russian or Chinese one?  What about the landscape is unique?  I need sample of more than just giraffes!
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Nicholas Winton has passed away.  He is best known for rescuing over 650 Jewish children from the Nazis.  

The real heroes rarely if ever think of themselves as heroes.  They may not even have a heroic job.  They may be facing insurmountable odds with insufficient resources.  They may be in danger if they're caught.  But they do what they can, and they focus on saving "that one."  This guy saved 650+ "that ones."
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Right now there's a rash of church burnings that targets all or mostly black congregations. There are things people can do to oppose that ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Enjoy some dolls with disabilities.  My favorites include the birthmark girl and the ASL Deaf girl.  :D  Dolls are available in a wide range of features including not just the disabilities but also skin tone, hair color/style, etc.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I am pleased to announce that America now recognizes marriage equality from sea to shining sea! 

What this means to me, aside from celebrating for friends, is that I no longer have to tell some couples "The state will recognize other people's marriage but not yours" if we're discussing handfasting/wedding officiation.  

*throws rainbow ribbons*  *throws birdseed*
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... in contexts other than sex. 

My favorite is that last one.  That totally happens.  Guys hate that.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is actually one of the more supportive articles I've read on the topic of extreme food sensitivity. And it still primarily describes the problem as belonging to one person -- instead of, say, Asshole Relatives Disorder or Inedible Food Supply Disorder.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today I got to thinking that canes and tables are a bad combination.  Someone with a cane sits down at the table in a restaurant, and there's really no good place for the cane.  Put it on the floor, it's out of reach.  Lean it against the table or chair, there's usually nothing for it to catch on and it slides to the floor.  That's a nuisance for the owner and a trip hazard for other people.

So I thought of a solution.  Put a swivel hook under the table.  It stays out of the way unless someone has a cane, crutch, etc. that needs  something to lean against.  Then pull out the hook.  Now the cane will stay put.  When you're done, put the hook back under the table.  As long as it's a flat hook, it shouldn't snag anything when not in use.  Took me a little while to find something like what I'm thinking of.  These are for snow chains, no price listed.  This one is a cabinet latch, for $1.06.  See how you could put a screw through the hole and the hook would twist around that shaft? Swing it out, swing it back.

It's a really cheap solution that requires an absolute minimum of dexterity to apply.  Anyone with a restaurant, a waiting room, etc. could put a cane hook under the tables.  Or do it at home with your dining or end table, if somebody in the household uses the kind of mobility aid that is not self-standing.  A decent tinker could fiddle around with the design and find something that would work to support a variety of items.  If you want to get fancy, ask a blacksmith or a silversmith to make you one with scrollwork.  No reason it has to be boring if you've got the money to spend.  But if you just want to stop dropping your cane, a buck or two at the hardware store should fix that.  If your hands don't work great, you might need help screwing it on, but most people can work a screwdriver.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My poem "It's Your Body" has been accepted for the forthcoming anthology For Love of Leelah.  The anthology honors transfolk, inspired by the death of Leelah Alcorn.  The poem belongs to my series Polychrome Heroics but stands alone well.  It introduces the It's Your Body Shop, a ship that travels international waters to provide medical services which are illegal and/or difficult to find in some places.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Ursula LeGuin encourages writers to imagine alternatives to capitalism

There are lots of other options.  Some of them are hard to get now.  Others are growing rapidly because of the failstorm that American capitalism has turned into.  The gift economy.  Favor trading.  Barter.  Sharing.  These are all things that flourish when the cash economy withers, because cash only outcompetes them when there is enough of it for everyone to use in meeting their needs.  But you always have your skills.

Crowdfunding is at heart the subversive idea that exchanges should be symbiotic instead of parasitic.  Everyone benefits.  And then we get MOAR GOODEEZ!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Compare and contrast Tomorrowland and Mad Max: Fury Road.  Tomorrowland actually gives us a rare glimpse of the WHOLE spectrum: utopia (too good to be true: the commercial), eutopia (not perfect but still awesome: what they're trying to create), pseudotopia (purporting to be a good place while actually sucking: Governor Nix's society), and dystopia (awful: the end of the world).  Fury Road is, of course, postapocalyptic dystopia.

At this stage, I'd classify America as a pseudotopia, falsely claiming to be #1 while in fact it's only #1 in prison population and quite far down the list for things like maternal health, vacation time, food security, academic achievment, etc.

I work toward a positive future.  However, I am aware that the people with most influence do not share my concerns or desires.  They are driving the world in destructive directions.  Even if we were to stop all that right  now, the damage already done will continue to cause problems for many years into the future.  The chance of people making those changes is very small.  Without that commitment, things will get a LOT worse.  

We are already seeing increased trends in many areas such as biosphere damage and climate change.  Here's a chart of boundaries of survival, which I frankly think is over-optimistic given that even the green zones are already showing measurable symptoms of distress such as the fact that California's snowcap just hit 0% which I think is a flaming red flag that they are living beyond their water budget.

So I concentrate on three things now: 1) Trying to make my little corner of the world a nicer place.  2) Preparing for disaster.  3) Establishing my right to stand in the foyer-ever-after and say, "I fucking TOLD YOU SO."



Believe that all things are possible.  Understand that some are more likely than others.  Trust that you can learn to tell the difference.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an interesting essay about disability in Mad Max.

EDIT 5/29/15: LJ user Arielstarshadow found another good essay by a woman with a similar disability to Imperator Furiosa.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an interesting piece on albinism and discrimination. I have no idea why people pick on albinos, other than the generic hatred of anything different; it makes even less sense than the large-scale ethnic discriminations where at least one might conceive of seeing another large group as competition. Vision problems are a key aspect of albinism. There is a trend toward albino villains in entertainment, although it has a matching heroic version. This association with evil can cause problems for people with albinism. It also spills over to characters with similar appearance, even if they are not specifically identified as albino: pale skin, white-blond or white hair, light (blue, green, hazel) or pink/red eyes. Actually it turns out that in humans, albinos more often have lavender or blue eyes rather than pink/red, although the ruddy tones do occur.

Well, once you count "albino-like" features, my characters cover the whole spectrum because I happen to think it's a picturesque color range. (I am also into dark characters, and dark with light hair. What can I say, I like diversity.) Also albinos and other very light-colored people are just like anyone else, so they can be good or evil or most often a mix of both. So let's see...

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
If you're trying to help a group of people, or honor a cause, to which you do not personally belong then start by asking for their input. Here are some ideas from veterans about how to observe Memorial Day. In light of that ...

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ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
Check out these 3D-printed dolls with disabilities.

I am loving the one with the strawberry mark on her face.  I've just always had a fondness for that style of birthmark -- there used to be a bank teller around here who had one.  I have no idea why some people find skin variations so off-putting.  I love freckles too.  We like appaloosa ponies, why not people?  Sure, it's nice to have a doll that looks like you, but I would've gone for this just for the diversity factor.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So people are picking on college students again for needing safe spaces. I think the world would be a better place if we picked on people less and supported people more. In that interest ...

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is my favorite Captain America speech ever.  This is what it means to be a hero.  It's not about powers or publicity.  It's about integrity.  It's about observing the world until you understand what's wrong with it, figuring out a solution to some part of that, and applying yourself to it.  It's about deciding your own personal code of honor from which you will not deviate no matter what other people do or don't do.  Heroes take responsibility.  An unsullied hero like Cap is just not budgable on this point. 

Conversely, this is my iconic villain speech.  Villains tend to focus on what they can do more than what they should do, and what people will think about them.  They're in it for their own purposes, their own desires, rather than what is good or what is needed.  When things to wrong, they consistently try to lay the blame on someone else, anyone else.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is from the May 5, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "best friends" square in my 12-17-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

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