jhameia: ME! (Default)
Con or Bust, the fundraiser that helped me get to WisCon34 back in 2010, has now opened for bidding on its various items! I also has an item up for bidding!

You can find most general information about Con or Bust at its site but I would like to give my own perspective on why you should bid, or perhaps even donate, to Con or Bust.

I tend to see people ask, "what do we do to help racism go away?" Or "what can we do to encourage POC participation at events?" And sometimes infuriatingly, "yeah we know racism is bad: what are you doing about it?"

Racism being less just insults or individual prejudices and more a system of excluding people of colour from acts of self-empowerment and equal participation, requires a mass action on the parts of many individuals. It requires acknowledgement of exclusion and active movement to address this exclusion. It requires a communal effort of raising ourselves and each other and a pooling of our already-scarce resources.

When I asked for funding to go to WisCon, I indirectly also used that money to fund my trip to Steampunk World's Fair, 2010, because it was just two weeks before, and I didn't feel like traveling back into Canada and out again, when I could just stay in the States. After SPWF, I traveled from New Jersey to Wisconsin, and stayed with a friend of my father's, before checking into the Concourse for WisCon34.

I actually did not honestly expect to get as much money as I did for my trip down: I simply told [livejournal.com profile] kate_nepveu the breakdown of expected costs for my trip. And somehow, that is what I got. I've actually been feeling quite guilty about that since then, because I was expecting maybe half of the amount, or less. "Whatever you can spare," I told her.

But I can say that I remain immensely grateful for that money, even though it was some two years ago. I don't know if there's a way to really articulate how much it meant to me that I was given such a lump sum, no questions asked about my credentials or eligibility, to attend what was to me a really big convention, more importantly, a really important conversation. I know for some WisCon is just another fan convention, but for me, then and now, WisCon is THE convention to get some grounding in how feminist theory, intersectionality and speculative fiction are wound together and grounded in the realities of actual writers and fans of the genre, who then transfer these values we learn over into "real life".

Sara Ahmed's written about having a place at the family table and being the feminist killjoy who ruins the family dinner. Con or Bust essentially gives us the wherewithal to even secure a place at the table in the first place. For so many of us who are consistently excluded from the table, because we don't have the time or money or resources to get there, it becomes an invaluable opportunity to make sure we are counted, our voices are part of the discourse, and our perspectives count for something.

So this is what Con or Bust has been doing about racism: we have been addressing the glaringly empty gaps in POC convention attendees and taking steps to fill them. This is what Con or Bust does for a larger purpose of addressing racial disparity in geekdom. Many geeks consider themselves marginalized by mainstream without considering ways that their spaces just re-create and reinforce the problems of the mainstream. Con or Bust's existence is a reminder of how marginalization comes in many forms.

Fans of colour and non-white fans are not always well-represented at fan conventions. I've shared this joke with several people, which runs along these lines:

"I counter X [racialized] people at this con!"
"Wow! We're reaching our quota!"

It is sad and somewhat infuriating that part of our fandom reality is that we feel we have a quota to our presences as people of colour in a gathering that's supposed to be for all sorts of people. That there is a tipping point of how many people of colour can be at any given event before we start becoming threats. This is something that can only happen when it is so abnormal to see people of colour in large numbers, interacting as if we belong there.

And we do. Fundraisers like Con or Bust give us the wherewithal to prove that we have a place and that we belong. Because we as fans of colour are valuable to fan conventions. We bring a perspective that an all-white-with-tokens space cannot have, and the spaces to which we bring our stories to become all the fuller and richer for it.

So if you've ever asked, "what can I do about racism?" then supporting efforts like Con or Bust, run by and for people of colour, in a world where our exclusion is a matter of course without intention, is an action you can take to purposefully address and begin to help allay racial disparity.

Thanks for reading. Now go bid!
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Today I did the following:

- Got properly lost in Central Park before unlosting myself to meet Dan Holzman-Tweed for lunch. Then spent a couple more hours hanging out with Lou.

- Then Melissa and I made out way out to Brooklyn to the steampunk-themed bar, Way Station. Our bartender Jim was pretty awesome and made me the following: a vodka and cran, a Sonic Screwdriver (10th Doctor), a Train Wreck (which I passed on to Melissa since I'm not a fan of cucumber) and a Sonic Screwdriver (11th Doctor). I think I like the 10th Doctor better.

- The washroom really IS a TARDIS.

- Also, the Way Station allows folks to have food delivered to the bar. The pizza I got was some from high-end resto.... and they'd mixed in red peppers into the pizza sauce, yuck. Fortunately, Jim swapped some slices with me because he thought his pizza was too greasy. Good times.

- Pictures forthcoming.
jhameia: ME! (Sparklez for Efferyvun!)
So today, I have a shiny new Sony Ericsson W595! It is pink, and I have adjusted the theme so everything in the theme is pink also, because I am a girly-girl like that, and like to rock the world with pink. It is a very pleasing pink!

And while I was fiddling with my new phone, I also went to the fish spa. I may post a picture.

Anyway! So I need to charge my phone for the first time, right? So I dug out the new phone charger to get it charged for the first eight hours. (Did you know you can't charge a battery for more than 2 hours after this first 8 hours? Because then the battery gets overcharged, and dies faster. I did not know this.)

Now, when I first got the box? My manual was in German. This is because it's an AP phone, meaning that it was imported from countries that already had the phone when it first came out, rather than through official channels. These phones tend to be a bit cheaper - I got this for RM500 (which includes a RM29 decal that I didn't have to pay for), when I would have had to pay RM570 (plus anything else) if I had bought this from the official Sony Ericsson store. I asked for an English-language manual, though, so things are groovy.

So, um, my phone charger? Is European. I had to dig through a drawer to find converters, all of which are converters for Asian electronics into European plug points. Which could fit into my Canadian converter for Malaysian plugpoints. So, I had, in effect, two converters. Which got me a good laugh, but fortunately, my brother has an Asian charger for my phone anyway. I may try to look for a Canadian charger when I get there.

So! I have 2gb of space to store music on the phone! With headphones! And I can listen to audiobooks and podcasts! Whee! I have yet to explore the phone further, but I'm pretty excited about this functionality, goodness knows why, since plenty of people have it.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Today I did the following:

Exchanged emails with Kate Nepveu, who's handling the fundraising for Con or Bust!, to apply for monies for WisCon. She remembers me from Tor, and I've seen her LOTR re-reads.

Went to the library. Borrowed Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction by Robert JC Young (the first paragraph already gives me a REALLY GOOD feeling), the Colonizer and the Colonized by Albert Memmi and Beginning Postcolonialism by John McLeod.

Had a good chat with Jessica, who is currently Coordinator of the SMU Writing Center.

Lunched at Sushi Shige's, and had a good chat with Chef Shige too.

Found out from [livejournal.com profile] troubleinchina about Jaclyn Friedman's talk tonight. Freaked out. Napped. Went. For those who don't know, she edited Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. It's a truly visionary book.

Got Jaclyn Friedman's autograph ^__________________^ The talk was really fun and good too. I wished [livejournal.com profile] troubleinchina was there though. Friedman said "crazy" and "lame", and I was too scared to call her out on it during the talk. I did get to talk to her about it later though, and she apologized and was really awesome about it. She's giving another talk at Venus Envy tomorrow night, a shorter one, at 8pm. I might go to that one, if just to hang out with her some more. I dunno. It was neat. I met a lot of cool people. I might volunteer to help the Avalon Center set up some social networking stuff.

Anyways.

Nawh.

Jan. 23rd, 2010 10:39 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
I was secretly hoping for the Zuko/Mai ship to not work out.

<3 Ty Lee, though.

There IS an LJ icon which says "I'M NOT TOPH, I AM MELON LORD!" somewhere, right?

:O

Jan. 23rd, 2010 10:43 am
jhameia: ME! (Sparklez for Efferyvun!)
Zuko's VA is an actual Asian-American! Most of the other characters are voiced by white folks (I can't tell from English names, and I wouldn't know an African-American name even if you slapped me in the face with it unless it came with a picture). And he also voiced Jake Long! JAKE LONG! HAHAHAHA! .... Do you guys know Jake Long? Like American Dragon: Jake Long? (Hey, Mandarin speakers, is it really pronounced "long"? In Cantonese, the "O" sound has a bit of a "U" in it...) ....



JAKE LONG. Or Jake Dragon, I guess. Anyway, he has mad transformation skillz... don't ask me why he's in America. Same reason why all 2nd-gen folks are there, I imagine. His sister can transform too. It used to play on Disney. On Cartoon Network, there used to be The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, also an Asian-American supernatural-power-wielding kid.

And Iroh's VA is (was...) ALSO an Asian-American (a pretty impressive resume, actually) who voiced AKU!.... You know? In Samurai Jack? He was totally a caricature, most likely a stereotype in the American context, but delightfully theatrical. My brother and I thought he was totally awesome. But I guess, that's because we're in a much different racial context.

D:

Jan. 22nd, 2010 05:35 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
Yes, I am online. Yes, I should be watching and finishing off Avatar: The Last Airbender, but then you know what happened?

MY FAMILY HAPPENED.

Last night my parents and brother got on the bandwagon, and today I was going to continue, and then my dad woke up from his nap, my mum came home to do some mattress-shopping, and then THEY TOLD ME NOT TO WATCH ANYMORE. I was to go NAP.

NAP.

Like I'm a TWO YEAR OLD.

Now, see, my brother? He told me I could go ahead without him. He claims to not like the show anyway, and yeah, he's not as hardcore as I am, plus, he knows how to go watch it at his leisure. But my parents? Dad'll make me feel like shit if I don't wait. So will my mom. I want a vacation, guys.

STILL.

Shared geekery shouldn't mean I have to wait for the next episopde! T_T No one told me shared family geekery meant I had to wait until the 'rents get back from MATTRESS-SHOPPING to get to find out what happens to Iroh! D:

... And that, folks, is what will happen to you when your family gets interested in your geeky pursuits.
jhameia: ME! (Totes Me!)
It's a Sunday linkfest! Sorry for taking so long. I faceplanted yesterday and scrapped my knee for the first time in years. Not only that, but my knee is still a bit swollen. If I leave it alone for a long time, when I start moving again, it's sore. Oh well.

Onto the linkfest!

Over at the Acting Out Edition, I angst about some fat issues (nothing new for you folks!), and wondered whether the Body Shop would ever produce an American [flower] scent. It's also a steampunking triple-threat this time! A discussion on saying "the point is", a thought on Orientalism, and... a post you've already seen before. Also a 101 on a complicated theory on the rise of patriarchy alongside the idea of transcendent gods.

I also did a bit of RaceFail reading, and this correlation between a queer person's troubles with a PoC's troubles struck me as sensitive.

Here's a post called, "Don't Be That Guy!" which articulates the main attitudes that lead to douchebag behaviour. I found it quite affirming.

So, sometime last year, there was a huge deal in the liberal blogosphere about the role of men in feminism. Penny Red talks about the main problem, from the women bloggers' POV, which apparently most men bloggers do not understand.

Tracey of Unapologetically Female articulates common themes in commentary wrt to Hollywood sexism. These things are a pattern, phew!

It's a wonderful week of wonderful guest posts at Feministe! My favs:

amandaw from three rivers fog on dissability and being respectful.

Queen Emily on the difficulty of filling out forms as a transgender person.

Not a guest blog, but Holly points out that a grandpa has an agenda, sending his grandson to harass a transgender girl by following her into the washroom and calling her 'faggot'. He argued that his grandson should have the right to use the girls' washroom, if the transgender girl was allowed to.

Continuing the theme of transphobia, apparently the term "cis" is hostile terminology. Follow the drama at Questioning Transphobia! My favourite quote:

"Oh my God. I don’t get this at all. I mean, for a start there’s the whole “cisgendered people are the majority and hardly an oppressed group whose self-identification is an important part of staking out their place in the world” and then there’s “what the hell is insulting about “cis”?”"

I don't understand what's insulting about 'cis' either. Complaining that using "cis" as an insult is as expressed in this pic by gudbuytjane:



Renee of Womanist Musings has some strong posts on patronizing behaviour towards disabled people and Lynndie England being unable to find a job. If you don't remember who Lynddie England is, she's the women who was pictured torturing Abu Ghraib prisoners.

A discussion on how abuse doesn't always manifest in physical violence, and sometimes in pregnancy. h/t to Cara of the Curvature.

Into the geek realm! An old article on Geek Social Fallacies. I definitely have some form of GSF4 and GSF5.
[livejournal.com profile] twice_immigrant has a very interesting thought on the Borg! In JournalFen, a big discussion on triggers, and on asking fanfic authours to put up a warning in case their fics featuring rape trigger someone. Apparently asking people to put up a trigger warning is damaging to their authourial integrity. Who knew.

On the Asian women carnival front, recently there was an intra-PoC discussion: colorblue responded to a carnival post, and there was dialogue between the two. oyceter felt the need to apologize in response to colorblue and here is the resultant discussion. It's hard to apologize the way these folks did (honestly, and being able to pinpoint what they're apologizing for) but it's a necessary lesson! In accordance to all this, ciderpress has refined further guidelines and articulated more clearly a vision for the carnival. A quote:

"We are not safe from each other. I think it is important to ensure we have communal space so that we have the ability to reach out and support rather than silence and suppress those among us who are particularly vulnerable. I think communal space is vital in dismantling privilege, our own as well as those of other people."

Very noble, very true, very hard for some people to swallow, but in the end, we can't cop out, even though it's so easy to ignore what's going on online, since we don't actually see or feel the hurt we inflict on others. My carnival is not affected by these new guidelines, but I'll do my best to follow them anyway. Call for submissions is still on!
jhameia: ME! (Sparklez for Efferyvun!)
So I know a lot of you are book nerds, so I thought I should share this:

Here's what Pride and Prejudice would look like if it happened in the Twitter-verse.

It is amazing and awesome.
jhameia: ME! (Sparklez for Efferyvun!)
Racialicious' Special Correspondent Arturo Garcia has a quick review of Star Trek up.

He calls the new Star Trek film "iTrek" and TOS Star Trek "8-Track Trek."

OMG I CANNOT THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO EXPRESS THAT. GENIUS!

Also, I have a very long essay on Uhura here if anybody wants to read.

EDIT: Also, some anonymous commenter here mentioned Finnegan. THIS IS TRUE! WHERE WAS FINNEGAN?
jhameia: ME! (Default)
So like I promised, here's an analysis of President Barack Obama's speech at the Inauguration Ceremony, and while I can't say these are true for all his speeches, there is a pattern to this particular speech which makes it very powerful, and you should be able to find it in most charismatic speeches through the ages.

Clickies for MOAR! )
jhameia: ME! (Default)
From an English major with some interest in linguistics and grammar and rhetoric.

Obama's speeches tend toward parallel structures in how he arranges his sentences. Not only that, but they're sometimes triple phrases too.

Will elaborate more when I get the time. Or if anybody asks.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
I'm trying to explain the concept of Cognos 8 Business Intelligence tools, particularly the PowerCube (which is, in my document, a data cube).

To me, I would say "a data cube is a processor of intersecting search parameters used to calculate specific data elements in order to generate meaningful summary reports."

The Powercube site explains a datacube as a "multi-dimensional data set".

Now, a cube contains data within it, and a user can interact with the data in order to slice-and-dice down to something which has all the search paraameters s/he wants. For example, I could create a cube with the following dimensions:

Newspaper reports - which region I want - what newspapers I want - specific newspaper
intersecting with
Reports of economic losses - which region I want - which city I want
intersecting with
Reports of poverty - which region I want - which city I want
intersecting with
Reports of crime - which region I want - which city I want

And a couple other dimensions which I won't mention here... now, in a regular search engine, I could only do ONE of those searches at a time. And then within that I'd have to do another search for the second one, and so on.

Data cubes take these parameters and find all the specific reports I want for me to look at immediately.

And that's not it; that's just simplified in Jha's Concerns speak, for me to understand. Businesspeople don't normally search for social concern reports. They do the numbers thing. And data cubes enable them to take the numbers of more dimensions and process those numbers so that instead of getting a bunch of reports in which you have to figure out how to arrange them so they have any significance, they spit out reports which compare the numbers you want, all within the same report in a way which is pre-arranged for you to understand.

Let me see if I can find another example:

Statistics of poverty
X
statistics of crime
X
statistics of violence against women
X
statistics of domestic abuse
X
statistics of economic disparity
X
statistics of urba development

A data cube will comprise of all these statistics (that's a lot of numbers!) and I can mess around with specifics of EACH statistic (each of which has its own search parameters I can zero in onto) in order to come up with an analysis of the specific data I've taken a look at.

Hmmmmm.

This doesn't make sense to any of you guys, does it?
jhameia: ME! (Joline)
I'm going to admit that one of the reasons I felt moving out of the Spring Garden Awesome Apartment was because I was watching WAY too much TV.

In my defense, TV was actually really awesome. I got in touch with my inner child a lot through Family and Cartoon Network, PLUS, the cartoons also appealed to me as a young woman. AND an Asian minority.

Case in point, The Life And Times of Juniper Lee. Juniper is a young, pubescent teen coming into her powers as the new guardian of the spiritual demon realm, which she inherited from her grandmother (and the powers skipped a generation). The rest of her family is oblivious to this, besides her younger brother. This show, of course, shares a great deal of similarities to American Dragon, except that the protagonists have different genders (and Juniper's all human with no transformation skillz. She just kicks a lot of butt the way she is).



The family is Cantonese - even speaks it occasionally, and it's not even random Chinese-sounding gibberish - it's ACTUAL CHINESE, in an actual accent (not faked!) which I was very impressed with.

Elie came over one day while Juniper Lee was playing, and the episode in question was one where Juniper discovers the animals at a zoo are actually assorted demons trapped for their spiritual power. She finds this out because she realizes she can speak to the animals. In particular, the camels. Her ditzy friend immediately says, "OH I LOVE camels!! I think I'll call THAT one Nathanial!"

And the camel says indignantly, "My name's not NATHANIAL! It's CLIVE! Do I LOOK like a Nathanial to you? AMERICANS!"

You guessed it - in a ridiculously flamboyant-gay tone of voice. Later, after they've transformed back, the ensuing exchange occurs:

"Be honest with me: that hump made me look fat, didn't it?"
"Oh, but you carried it SO well, darling!"

I'm not sure, but I still feel that it was a bit of an insinuation that these two characters were meant to be gay. And, well, that happening in a kid's cartoon? That's very impressive. It's not perfect, since it's over-the-top, but it's better than rendering them invisible.

Then there was Atomic Betty, Galactic Girl. I didn't watch this one consistently, but like Juniper, Atomic Betty is the main character. She's surrounded by a ton of male supporting characters, but there're also a LOT of female supporting characters, too. (One of her best friends turns out to be a princess hiding on Earth... the younger sister of said best friend turns out to be the bodyguard who hijacks Betty's ship to save the princess. Passes the Bechdel test, right there.)



And seriously, how can I NOT like the song? It's got a great guitar riff, and the lyrics kick ass:
Atomic Betty, she's a fighting girl!
Atomic Betty, gonna rock your world!
Atomic Betty, Atomic Betty, Atomic Betty,
Atomic Betty, a galactic girl!
Atomic Betty, gonna save the world!
Atomic Betty, Atomic Betty, Atomic Betty...


OH, and let's not forget Totally Spies? The valley-girl accent was fucking ridiculous, the shopping is stupid and nuts, the general lack of PoC (besides Alex, but there aren't a whole lot of PoC being represented otherwise) is disappointing - but it also rocked on the girl power side of things!



For some reason their fathers are never mentioned; there's really only one male character who plays the Charlie-esque role (but I never got the sense he was ever patronizing, I actually rather liked his avuncular personality), and turns out they have a "spy gene" inherited from their MOMS. Yeah. Moms and daughters kick ass in this series.

Speaking of kickass cartoon heroines, I just want to finish this with Kids Next Door. I always found the premise dumb (kids vs adults, ftw) but it's definitely creative, funny, and silly. (Seriously, the different grades have different cultures... which isn't too far off the mark if you think about it.)



(I couldn't find the original intro; this is the Latino version - there actually isn't anything said in the intro.)

I liked this series also because it tries to represent other countries as well. It's still American-centric, but the main cast is also varied: one American boy (obviously the leader), one British-type boy, one Japanese girl (appropriately named Kuki, wtf), one Australian lad, and one kick-ass black girl (mother is French-speaking, probably a Cajun-type, dad is Bill Cosby-esque and sounds it). Obviously, the latter kicks the most ass. The leader of the main base in outer space (the Moon Base) is also a girl. There was an amusing episode about cooties, in which the nerd-boys in the Sea Base are the stereotypical basement nerds who don't know how to talk about girls, and Number 4 (the Aussie kid) comes out after having been in contact with "Specimen 1" (a girl who giggles and says, "I LIKE YOU!") with puffy lips. The boys run away and resolve to blow up the base, and Number 5 (kick-ass black gal) smacks her forehead and says, "THIS is what happens when Numbah Four forgets that he is ALLERGIC TO COCONUT! Cooties do NOT exist!"

Some serious funny stuff there, folks - the pains and anxieties of growing up, all sillified for ostensibly children's consumption, but anybody undergoing the transitioning period from childhood to adulthood can totally relate.

And the giant robots are awesome too.

(There's also the Proud Family, but that's another post for another day.)
jhameia: ME! (Illuminated Idea)
So, I'm not a fan of stoner comedies because they're, well, obviously stupid. I won't watch them featuring white frat boys so I doubt I'll pick up Harold & Kumar for enjoyment either. I'll watch it to see how they've treated the issue of racism and any minority tics, but it won't be for the stoner comedy aspect. I'm actually quite curious to see how they pull it off.

Anyways, that's not what's important here. More importantly, John Cho, Harold of the duo, will be playing Hikaru Sulu in the new Star Trek prequel movie!!!!

Yay!

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