wook77: (Bolt)
I think fandom has lost one of its best people. [livejournal.com profile] shouldknobetter was an amazing person who was always witty, funny, supportive, friendly and willing to go WAY beyond the call of duty for everyone he met.

The first time I met him, I was completely shitfaced slightly intoxicated and, within 10 minutes, he was insisting on walking me to my hotel room so I got there safely. We talked about working for non-profits and animal rescue and accounting and everything and anything, every con we went to, we'd meet up for at least lunch somewhere during the convention. We'd talk about other things, more personal things that I'm not going to talk about here, but I'm going to miss those conversations so much.

And now he's gone and I know a lot of people are mourning for him but there are plenty of people that don't know how awesome he is and I think that's a shame. I think that if you had ever gotten a chance to meet George, you would've immediately loved him. He lurked at the edges and he was so quiet that it was almost too easy to overlook him. We'd have a room party and he'd end up on the edges but he was there, a constant and friendly presence.

Others have better stories about him, ones that don't involve a very drunk and loudmouthed bitch named wook but I just wanted to add in my own two cents on the fact that fandom is missing a giant heart that was one of its best.

So, George, I hope you're at the most amazing convention of all time right now and you're looking at us and wondering when the fuck we're going to show up and hang out with you again because you're having an amazing time of it.
wook77: (christian - thinking)
On Thursday and Friday nights this past week, I volunteered at an emergency shelter. Tucson declared a state of emergency due to the cold and the fact that 14k people were without heat. Unfortunately, the shelter didn't get a lot of usage but, still, awesome idea.

During my time volunteering, I met some amazing people. There was the guy that gave up his condo in NYC to drive around in a beat-up Jeep and camp out in various places around the US. He was appalled that, whenever he asked anyone where the library was, they had no idea. It wasn't just Tucson, it was Seattle and Des Moines and Chicago and Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. We talked about books and writing for hours.

There was the guy that came in that had a bit of gas going into his house but he simply couldn't afford to heat his house. He chatted with me as he walked his cat around on a leash. We had brilliant conversations about his time in the military and how he felt a bit loss because he'd never found a job that fit quite like the military. He had problems relating to people and never once made eye contact with me. He told me that I was the first person he'd talked to for more than a few minutes, at least in three years. Three years of not having anything more than a cursory conversation with someone.

There was the homeless man who had a service chihuahua. The dog was there for seizures and for mental health issues. It was freezing so the man came in from the cold only for his dog. If it hadn't been for the dog, he would've stayed right outside, he proudly told me. He was very withdrawn and only responded when asked about his dog.

But the one set of people I met that has me wrenched up in a navel-gazing sort of way was the 13 year old girl I met. (I'll call her "A") She came in with her father and they had two cats that walked on a leash. One was fixed and the other wasn't. It wasn't until they'd been at the shelter for three hours that she gave an interview to one of the reporters that showed up. When the reporter asked her how long they'd been without gas, she looked at him, blinked and said that there was plenty of gas in their car. It's just it was nice to sleep in a real bed.

A and her father (always father, never dad or daddy. always father) had been living in their car for two months. This time. They'd had a place for a few months before that but before that, they'd been living in the car. In the past year, she'd been living in the car over 6 months. A car.

Both her and her father had very limited social skills. The first night, they barely talked to anyone. They were polite but withdrawn. A was proud to admit that she'd started her first college class (13 and going to college and homeless). Other than that, they didn't speak. The second night, I greeted them by name, ushered them into the shelter with a smile and found myself talking to both her and her dad. It was hard to navigate the conversation, to keep it away from things they found intrusive (questions like, "are you warm enough here" and asked because the first night, the boiler malfunctioned and the place's temperature sank to 55, was far too personal). I talked to them about their animals and the importance of spaying and neutering. The father mentioned that one of my co-workers had mentioned a free neuter but he wasn't interested. We talked about health risks and ensuring that the animals kept all their shots up to date.

I took a moment to introduce everyone to my replacement, ensuring that my replacement volunteer knew the minefield and could make better decisions than I had the night before, and went on my way.

This morning, I got a call from the co-worker (who is a high mucketymuck at work and not just a grunt like me) that the father had agreed to neuter his cat and that it was all "your fault". I've never been so grateful to hear the words "your fault".

But, really, I wonder about the impact I had. Anyone who has been on my flist for awhile can tell you that, every year, for my birthday and for Christmas, I ask people to give to the needy, to look through their closets and downsize their stuff. I ask people to donate to local charities and take the time to volunteer if they can. I'm really good at the lip service to these causes.

However, I've learned that I still suffer from the "not in my backyard" syndrome. Sure, there's a problem with homeless families but, really, not in Tucson. We're a very generous small city. And, really, if it's a homeless family, it's female-led. That's why it's important to have safe places for families to go. Except that most homeless shelters don't really plan for male-led homeless families so where did this father/daughter combo have to go that wouldn't separate them?

The other part that really got me was that each person that I spoke to told me about how awesome the libraries are, how important they are for a safe haven and the opportunities they presented. To A, they meant a place where she could work on her college and high school classes. To the traveler, they meant a place where he can get a book, brush up on his skills and take a moment to rest somewhere warm/cool. To another gentleman, they meant a place where he could just be. It was rare that I heard about the importance of the books but, instead, they talked about the librarians that helped them without judgment and the rare one that did judge. They talked about how it was a shame that libraries weren't treated with respect anymore. They talked about how people abuse the library, stealing books that others want to enjoy.

And I sat there, knowing full well that I owe twenty-five dollars in fines to the library that I can easily repay but I've been too fucking lazy to do and I was so ashamed at that moment (and now). So, Monday, I'll be calling the main branch and having my credit card charged for my fines. I'll be making a donation, too. I'm going to work harder at my classes.

I'm reassessing what I've been doing and how I look at the world. It's all navel gazing but, really, sometimes you need something to rock you out of complacency and I have to thank A for that.

Sorry this is so long and not under a cut but it feels wrong to hide their stories under a cut. These people are hidden away so much by society already that I feel ashamed for trying to hide them again. So, no cut and you can flay me for it, if you'd like.
wook77: (AZ)
I love my town. I chose to move to Tucson for many (and varied) reasons, not the least of which was the weather. More than the weather, though, is the relaxed atmosphere, the fantastic people and the fact that Tucson skews towards the higher educated and more liberal than the rest of the state of Arizona. It's got a small town mentality in a small city. People hold doors for other people. Random strangers ask how you are and you can tell they actually care.

So when I hear Keith Olbermann say "let's make sure another Tucson doesn't happen", it breaks my heart. I'm proud of the fact that Tucson was the only county, across all age groups, to vote against the marriage definition act a few years ago. I'm proud that Tucson has a vibrant artistic community. I'm proud that Tucson has a fairly liberal attitude about immigration reform and that our Sheriff has refused to enforce SB1070 (the "show me your papers" law) and that City of Tucson Police officers were the first to file suit AGAINST SB1070.

But more than my own pride in my chosen hometown, I have to say that Keith Olbermann's special comment today resonated. We have to do something about hate-filled vitriol. We have to do something to keep others from getting shot.

Because today was horrifying. It's been an emotionally draining day filled with ups and downs. This morning, my Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot, point blank, to the head. A 9 year old girl standing next to her at the meet-and-greet event was killed by a gunshot wound to the back. Five others, most of whom are senior citizens, were also killed. There are a total of 19 victims today.

Arizona has some issues, I freely admit it. We've got wacko concealed-carry laws, ironically passed with the idea that if any citizen can carry concealed, then these mass shootings won't happen because the citizenry can defend itself. We've got crazy immigration bills and Minutemen on the border (Minutemen who happen to like to sell drugs and murder people, too). We've got lots going on down here. I can see the warts.

Part of those warts are the hate-filled vitriol that happens on all levels and by all sorts of people. From Sarah Palin putting a target on Gabrielle Giffords to Jesse Kelly offering a fundraising opportunity complete with shooting weapons with taglines of getting rid of Gabby to the insurance adjustor who came out to look at my car and her comments that "what do a bunch of towelheads know about fixing cars", it's everywhere and it needs to stop.

And what is ironic is that those that are bemoaning how "the left" is leaping to conclusions that link hateful vitriolic nastiness to this shooter are the same people that think that the Arabic people have a hive-mind and all believe in the crazy ideologies that tell them to shoot their senators. The same people that are shouting the loudest that this guy has to be just some random fringe loony are the same people that say that all Mexicans are here to take our jobs, rape our women and kill our economy. And by "ironic", I mean double-standarded and ridiculous.

I don't think that Sarah Palin actually meant for people to pull guns and shoot people just like I don't think that Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly want it to happen, either. But when you're constantly encouraging violence, you can't be surprised when violence actually happens. And if it can happen in Tucson, it can happen anywhere.
wook77: (dancing)
With the recent spate of suicides, I'm fairly enraged and depressed and disheartened. It's nice seeing the Spirit Day Remembrance on October 20th. My question is - what are we going to do on October 19th? What about October 21st? What about January 3rd?

I don't mean this as a slight to the thought behind the Spirit Day Remembrance. It's a great, unifying action and I'll be wearing purple on that day.

Thing is, though, one unifying action, no matter how great, isn't a change in behavior. It's not a change in habit and it can be easily forgotten (not that I'm saying it will be).

I'd like to see a change in behavior, a change in habit, a unifying ongoing action. My suggestion is kindness. The next time someone holds a door open for you, smile at them and say thank you. The next time you're standing in line with hundreds of groceries and the person behind you has one, smile at them and offer to better their day so they don't have to wait for you. When someone says 'hello' to you, smile and say hello back.

You don't know what sort of day someone's having and that small act of kindness could very well make their day. I've had days where the only thing that was keeping me going was the idea that it took less energy to get through it than to end it and no one could've known but, thank the maker for the woman who held the door for me with a smile and a quick "anytime!" and for the guy that let me in front of him in line so I could get home and away from everything awful in my life. Thank the maker for the guy that let me out in traffic or the person who smiled at me and asked me how my day was going. Thank you to the person that bought my pop and the guy that offered to fill my tire when all I wanted to do was cry, hunched down beside my car in a Circle K parking lot because a flat tire was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as I was concerned.

Show you care about your fellow human beings every day.

If you have the time, volunteer for organizations. Obviously, I'm partial to animal welfare and LGBT organizations. Deliver meals to those suffering from AIDS. Work with troubled youth. Work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Teach a hobby at your local youth center. Walk dogs at your local shelter and/or pet cats. Read to kids at the library or go through your stuff and donate what you don't use anymore (do you really fit into those jeans anymore? really?). Reach out and show that you care, every freaking day.

Get involved. It only takes a moment to send a letter to your congressperson and/or senator to tell them to support anti-bullying legislation that specifically protects LGBT youth. It's called the Safe Schools Improvement Act. It doesn't matter who your senator is, get involved (and I'm speaking as someone with John McCain and John Kyl as their senators here, so I've got the bigots and I'm still sending the letters). Hold them accountable.

Vote. Find out what officials are up for election and see what ones are LGBT friendly. Human Rights Campaign has a great way of doing it. Turns out that only one of my elected officials is endorsed. Guess who I'm not voting for - John McCain, John Kyl and Jan Brewer. Way to go, Gabrielle Giffords!

Stop saying "that's so gay" and ask others, too. When you say that, you are saying that "gay" = "stupid", "dumb", "ugly" and/or "awful". You are using a unique identifier as an insult and you are actively participating in a bullying culture.

Speak up. Where would Tyler Clementi have been if anyone had reached out to him and showed they cared? What would've happened if just one person watching that Twitter feed had spoken up and shut down the broadcast? What would've happened if one person would've said STFU to the bullying dumbfucks in any of the suicides? Would Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas or Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover be here right now if we would stick up for people when we see awful things happening?

Because one day is a fantastic show of solidarity but what do we do afterwards? Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover died on April 6th, 2009 and cries for stronger approaches to bullying happened then. We had the National Day of Silence (coincidentally on his birthday, April 17th, 2009) and what happened after that? What's happened since? Just more of the same if not even worse things. Let's not just talk the talk, let's walk the walk.

You want a kinder world? The world starts with you. It might only cost you a smile and a second's worth of time.
wook77: (karl urban is a badassmotherfucker)
Everything I Needed to Know About Life, I Learned From Sesame Street (and Mister Hooper)


Sesame Street's anniversary makes me grin and shake my head and realize that I'm getting old. I grew up on Sesame Street. To really get an understanding of how much Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Electric Company and Mister Roger's Neighborhood meant to me, I need to explain where I grew up and what little exposure to the outside world I had.

I lived out in the middle of bumfuck. We had 20 acres, most of which went back to woods with deer that would walk around our orchard looking for fruit. We had a garden that was a few acres big and we, for the most part, grew all of our veggies and fruit. We made our own jelly, canned our own tomatoes and I cannot tell you how awesome it was to steam up our own asparagus.

My driveway was half a mile long and we owned a snowplow that broke more often than it worked. We lived in a huge dip in the road and that dip resulted in me, literally, walking uphill both ways to school. In the snow. My walk to the school bus was over a mile long. One year, for Girl Scouts, as part of our environmental awareness campaign, we had to count the cars that drove past a major intersection near our houses at rush hour. I had 3. All day. For sitting at that intersection for 4 hours.

So all this is to say that there's a reason we only got three stations, the local ABC affiliate, the local NBC affiliate and PBS. Cable? HA! We would've had to pay for the poles to go down our street and our driveway!My family and I devoured the PBS because it was either that or movies (rented from the nearest movie rental place that was a 30 minute drive away and was a mom-and-pop store) as far as young children went. We watched everything. 3-2-1 Contact was huge in our house. I learned about electricity and helping others and science. Mister Roger, on the other hand, scared me. It had something to do with the changing the sweaters and the shoes. IDK, my little kid brain was weird. Or, god, Captain Kangaroo. That show ROCKED.

But, by and far, the most popular show in my house was Sesame Street. I remember Gordon, Luis, Maria, Linda, and Bob. I remember signing along with the songs and dancing about as Big Bird and Oscar taught me about caring and sharing. I remember learning a bit of Spanish and that pinball routine where they taught you to count. (and I might still sing it) here is a link and you'll be singing it for hours afterwards. It's addictive.

I remember learning about death when Mister Hooper died (offscreen) of a heart attack. I remember my mum and dad sitting down with my older sister, my older brother and me and talking to us about how sometimes, when people get old, their hearts give out. I remember crying and wondering where Mister Hooper was because who was going to run the store and sell paperclips to Bert if Mister Hooper wasn't there.



I just rewatched it again and, I'm not ashamed to admit, I still teared up and sniffled.
Moar on Mister Hooper and Sesame Street )

What's your favorite episode of Sesame Street? What do you remember from it? What's your favorite muppet?

my favorite are mostly embedded below )
wook77: (Default)
Went to the local community college and took my placement exams. Surprise surprise, I got perfect scores. (Can I use this as beta certification that I edited four essays properly?) In fact, due to my high scores, I tested into the honors program there which, yanno, is a waste as I'm only taking one class there.

Am signed up for my intro to international relations class and will be starting it in a couple of weeks. So, it was a productive day, even if I didn't get any writing done at all.

Speaking of writing - I was tagged for that Five Favourite Fics I've written meme. So, here goes -

WRITER'S MEME: Sometimes it's ok to pimp yourself out. Post a list of the top five favorite fics you've written, regardless of fandom or the reason you love them. This isn't about the BEST things you've written, but what you LOVE most. Then tag five other people to do the same. (I don't do well at tagging so no one is tagged)

Moments - (Harry/Draco) It's got a disparate timeline, darkness, an interesting ending and explores various themes. I adore this story though it wasn't well received. I wrote it when I was extremely happy, which makes it a bit boggling that it came out the way it did. I don't think it's the best thing I've ever written but I do love it.

Deprecor - (Harry/Draco) When I started writing this story, it was a complete and total PWP. I never meant it to have any sort of theme or moral or anything at all other than BDSM. I love exploring the lifestyle. Hell, I used to live that lifestyle for awhile. To see it evolve into something unexpected and well-received made me extremely happy. Some authors hate that but I love when stories do that.

Moments in Memory - (Neville/Ginny) I wrote this for [livejournal.com profile] hp_springsmut and omg, so much research and pushing of the self on this one. I wrote this for [livejournal.com profile] coffee_n_cocoa and I angsted over it like you wouldn't believe. Hello, writing Neville for the most fantastic Neville writer ever? Yeah, stressful. I have such a brilliant support network of friends that listen to my wibbling, slap me upside the head and then make me go with the ideas. So, not only am I proud of this story and think that it holds up even now, it reminds me of my friends and the way they listened to my ideas and my flailing and reassured me/kicked my ass/helped me.

This next one - I'm going to cheat on by doing two separate stories as one. Last August, I had two Deamus prompts. I angsted over both. The first was what became Root So Deep and the second became Wish Long and Long. My justification of these two being combined into one is that the writing experience, timeline and the posting date meld into one. I remember when I saw the list of who had made it into smutmas and I looked at that list and prayed for [livejournal.com profile] kaalee. When I got her, I bit my hand to keep from crying and I knew, absolutely knew, the story I wanted to tell. It was completely crystal clear in my head. The same is true of Wish Long and Long. Both stories were there and completely begging to be told. I stayed up long through the night writing both of these stories. I'm truly proud of them for a variety of reasons. The first is that they turned out fantastic and that's not just ego speaking. The second is that they turned out exactly as I envisioned from the beginning. The third is that I wrote them for people I love. The fourth is that network of support I just talked about. My friends organised group chats JUST to cheer me on and reassure me. People that don't read HP or Deamus or slash or even fanfiction, read over them and helped me. I'm getting maudlin but these stories proved to me that fandom is a community.

Finally - This list wouldn't be complete without One Last Fare. This was my first piece of fanfiction in Harry Potter. It doesn't quite hold up to the new writing style and skill level but I'm still inordinately pround of this and I adore it. I was so scared when I linked it to the first community here on LJ. OMG, soooo scared that people would hate it and tell me so. Then people responded to it and were so gracious. I love that this story launched me into this crazy community known as fandom.

So there you have it. My five favourite fics that I've written. They're not all the best in the world but I do love them muchly. I'll admit that I haven't lost that small flutter when I hit post and I wait, anxiously, to see what people are going to think of my latest creation. I don't think that ever goes away, no matter where you are in the food chain of fandom or writing.
wook77: (Hug a wookiee)
A year ago today, I bought a paid account and officially and completely joined the HP Fandom. I actually posted my first story on 8-11-05 and it was One Last Fare - A H/D story set in a cab and inspired by the song - Taxi by Harry Chapin.

Before that, I read alot of H/D stories. I did (and still do) my best to comment on everything I read. I've made some amazingly brilliant friends along the way so far.

Just some statistics for you as I do this retrospective -

I've written 120 stories/drabbles that I claim (there are a few out there that I'm mildly embarrassed about and won't claim) - ranging in word count from 85 to 6401. A total word count right now is 125313.

Of those 120 stories - 68 are H/D. There are 5 different fandoms represented there, including an ongoing introspection into my life for [livejournal.com profile] 30_memoirs.

The story I'm most proud of is Moments - A darker story with an ambiguous ending.

I've always been open to concrit and I hope that you all feel comfortable enough with me that you'll always be willing to give it to me.

Anyway - just thought it was a good time to put this out here as I've renewed my paid account and my extra icons for another year. My fandoms and pairings might be constantly increasing and changing but I'm glad you're all here for the journey.

January 2012

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