sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I keep on trying to write up my thoughts on the recent US election to post here and keep failing. I just don't know what to say that other people aren't already saying, more eloquently than me. I spent basically all of Wednesday in tears or near it. I am horrified at what the next four years are going to be like for people in the US, as well as for the rest of the world given the US's outsized influence.

I wish I could have hope that things aren't going to be that bad...but evidence does not seem to be on my side on this one.

I can't believe this happened. I can't believe this is really reality now.

book post

Apr. 27th, 2014 06:36 pm
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The Wealthy Barber Returns, by Dave Chilton

Reading this book was my adulting homework this weekend. When I was at my credit union on Friday dropping off my paycheck I talked briefly with the financial advisor there so I can set up a meeting to talk about financial planning. Because I know nothing and I want/need to know more. So as a preliminary before the meeting he lent me this book to read. It's about living within one's means and saving money for the future.

And okay it felt like I was reading about an alien world! All these things where the author's like "I know it's hard but it's a good idea" and I'm like UM I DO THE THING ALREADY AND I CAN'T IMAGINE NOT. I live a fundamentally frugal life, is the thing! The idea of living with debt is just TERRIFYING to me; I always notice the many small ways money trickles away, and try to keep myself away from temptation in those regards; I can't imagine saving as small a percentage of my income as a lot of people apparently do; etc.

Also the book is clearly aimed at people who already know what things like mutual funds and stocks and lines of credit and whatever are, and are simply not behaving responsibly with them - whereas me, I couldn't define a "mutual fund" if my life depended on it.

I'M KIND OF THE WRONG AUDIENCE HERE, is what I'm saying. a) I know nothing, and b) I'm never going to be what one might call "wealthy" (unless something really surprising happens to me career-wise) but I am already working from decent principles on how to live according to my income.

I did learn some useful things from the book though. Like about the difference between a TFSA and an RRSP and the basics of how both of them work, and like what percentage of my income it's recommended to be saving specifically for my retirement. Both of those are useful things to know.

But mostly reading that book was a glimpse into a foreign world.

(also I did not appreciate the author's sense of humour, because it seemed to rely too much on saying insulting things about people like his family and friends, as well as various jokes relying on false modesty on his part.)
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Reading the lyrics of The Marseillaise today, I was kinda struck by it -- because yeah it makes a lot of sense as a song of the revolutionary period, but as the national anthem of modern-day France? It just seems kind of....incongruous. Really? You're still going to sing about watering furrows with impure blood? Really?

But then, hell, I've always felt a bit uncomfortable even with my own country's national anthem, and that's about as unbloody as national anthems get --



I definitely didn't just spend way too much of my afternoon reading through the wikipedia list of national anthems until getting bored somewhere in the H's because they all start sounding kind of the same, what are you talking about, but if I had, dude, there's a lot of REALLY GOOD ONES out there that don't mention any kind of violence at all, not even obliquely! I think my fave is Cape Verde's, because it is a) successfully poetic, b) nonviolent, c) super into freedom, d) hopeful in tone, and e) not just all "my country is the BEST country".

But idk, I'm bad at patriotism, so reading most of these national anthems just made me either go "lol so cute" or roll my eyes. I have trouble thinking of myself singing ANY of them with any kind of genuine sentiment, really. And Canada's is actually rather mediocre when it comes to all the awesome that other countries have for their national anthem. I mean, Australia's, for example, is all "Australia's a super great place to live and everyone knows it, and we welcome anyone who wants to come hang with us!" It's a "lol so cute" anthem but in a really endearing way, and I could get behind having something more like that, instead of the sexist language, and the unnecessary reference to God, and the military-language-in-disguise of "we stand on guard for thee" that Canada has.

BUT ANYWAYS THAT WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL POINT OF THE POST. The original point was that one of these days I'm going to have to try to figure out how to reconcile my pacifist upbringing/inclinations and my deep love for Les Miserables despite its glorification of Just War.

sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (MfU: Illya: seduced by capitalism)
So I and a couple friends just spent a good portion of the evening watching a bunch of the videos at the Old Spice youtube channel and discussing them with great interest. They are interesting on a number of levels:

1. Most of them are pretty damn hilarious
2. They go back and forth between doing really rather interesting things with gender, and being completely gender!fail
3. They are capitalizing on and using social media in a truly incredible (and well-done!) way as an ad campaign -- one of the most effective commercial uses for social media I've seen so far.
4. This is the first instance I've ever heard of an actor becoming famous for doing commercials.

There are some of the videos where I do actually cringe at the gender!fail, which makes me not want to approve of the campaign, but then it goes and does something brilliant and I can't help but approve. And it makes me want to do (or at least read) all sorts of in-depth analyses of the way gender is presented in the videos.

But the other important point to make is that this is the sort of ad campaign that could only happen in today's culture. And it impresses me that Old Spice was able to recognize the potential when their original ad went viral, and they ran with it in new ways instead of just assuming that the thing to do is follow old paradigms. I am curious to see how this will affect the future of advertising!

Anyways, I don't know where I'm going with this other than that all of this is fascinating.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Thing One: Dude! Finland has made access to broadband a legal right for all its people! DUDE!

Thing Two: Men With Brooms the sitcom is apparently coming to television. With occasional Paul Gross! Which, woohoo because Men With Brooms is awesome and Paul Gross is awesome. Except it's a sitcom and I can think of only two sitcoms EVER that I could bear to watch more than, say, three minutes of. Sitcoms = my embarrassment-squick kryptonite. It is a problem.

Thing Three: Knowing that the rest of the world is not nearly as cheerfully uncaring about spoilers as I am can be frustrating. For instance, when I am trying to rec fic, it is very difficult to know what to say in the rec. I have a lot of trouble telling whether or not a given detail would be considered by normal people to be a spoiler or not! I mean, some details are obvious (Soylent Green is people!), but other stuff? Hard to judge. It is frustrating. Also, the spoiler-wary world means that I can't squee about stuff to people who haven't yet seen it (or seen all of it). Like when talking about Highlander with [ profile] sentientcitizen: she's only partway through the first season, so although I can discuss the nature of Immortals, and the Game, and Duncan's personality, and the ways that the show is ridiculous, etc etc etc all to my heart's content? I cannot discuss the character of Methos, or ANY of the interesting or intriguing details from the episodes I've seen! Sad story.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (STxi: Kirk & McCoy: a little help from)
I've noticed some things about myself since beginning to actually read metafandom on a regular basis.* There are more or less two types of issues that tend to be brought up in metafandom: stuff to do with privilege (eg race, gender, sexuality, and disability, which are the four I'll be addressing in my post, but are by no means exclusive categories) and how it gets used/abused in fandom and the rest of the world, and other stuff. I read the posts that fall into the "other stuff" category with varying degrees of agreement/disagreement/amusement/anger/apathy, but for the most part from an attitude of "dude this is fascinating, I love that fandom loves to over-analyze everything." And the privilege stuff, which tends to run in cycles based on some instigating incident, spark some slightly different responses. The gender stuff I read with huge fascination. (I'm female) The sexuality stuff ditto. (I'm biromantic asexual)

The race stuff is a little more complicated, in that I do have personal reasons to be interested in it (spent some of my formative childhood years growing up in southern Africa, one of my parents works for an international relief and development NGO, and the other parent does a fair amount of work in anti-racism stuff. So I grew up in an environment that cared about this stuff), but I am 100% white and thus unlike with gender and sexuality I fall entirely to the privileged side of the axis. So it's something that I pay attention to with interest, but can easily get overwhelmed by.

The disability stuff? I read it all, just like the gender and sexuality and race posts, but from a different attitude. When I look at the summaries for the posts about disability on metafandom's lists, I find my mind whispering really bad thoughts (to my horror and disgust): "This is boring", "This is pointless", "I don't care", "Can't we just ignore it and have fun", and even "Suck it up". And then I go, "FUCK,** self, no, all of those are TERRIBLE THOUGHTS. BE A BETTER PERSON." And so I make myself read all the posts on the subject anyways, to try to educate myself, and I make myself think about them too, to digest the things I've read. I do this to try to train my thoughts into a more open and accepting pattern.

I mean, fandom has already taught me to be a better person about so many things. Like, for instance, go ask my high-school-aged self about non-vanilla sex. Or rather, don't. You probably wouldn't like her answer.

And how was this change brought about? From me scrolling past myriad sex scenes while trying to get to the good bits of the fics I was reading,*** and from me reading meta, and from me stalking reading the entire LJ archives of people who are wonderful and interesting and intelligent people and also happen to be into stuff that kinda squicked me. From immersing myself in the mindset of a culture where kink is understood and accepted.

So that is what I am trying to do. Immerse myself in a mindset where disabilities, and people who have disabilities, are treated fairly and respectfully. Change my pattern of thinking. Make myself a better person.

It's hard.

*which I began doing only a couple months ago, I think, if that.
**and me actually swearing like that is a good indication that I feel strongly.
***yes, I know, my definition of "the good bits" is backwards from most of fandom!

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