left_turns: (Default)
[personal profile] left_turns posting in [community profile] common_nature
I went up to Chicago a couple months ago and keep forgetting to post this. I spent a day at the zoo and conservatory in Lincoln Park near the lake shore. I nearly didn't bother with the children's zoo, but I ended up over there looking for something else. The trails through it are set up like a woodland trail--sort of narrow and winding through a lot of birch plantings, and covered in bird poo. Near one stand of trees, the zoo had posted a few signs saying basically "yes, we know the paths are messy and please also don't bother the herons above you; those aren't ours."

Apparently black-crowned night herons are on the Illinois state endangered list, but there's been a flock of them nesting in the zoo and somewhere else further south in the park for the last few summers.

DSC_3198
+5 )
[syndicated profile] slacktiverse_feed

Posted by christhecynic

(posted by chris the cynic; written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

  • chris the cynic wrote:
    • So there was this thing about ways in which we might seem strange to aliens that touched on how earth might be other species versions of an uninhabitable death world, and how we do things that don’t make sense like responding to lethal failure by trying the same thing again.  (And again.)  I wrote up a conversation between a human and an alien regarding the Bay of Naples and why there are still people there after Pompeii (and all the other times.)
    • That’s all I’ve got for this week.  It’s better than nothing, I think.

In Case You Missed This

No submissions this week.

Things You Can Do

No submissions this week.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community


[syndicated profile] thewildhunt_feed

Posted by Crystal Blanton

The turbulent nature of the current times have been weighing heavily on many people’s minds. Throughout our interconnected communities we have heard many people talk about struggling with the chaos and uncertainty present in our socio-political climate, and with the challenges of maintaining emotional and physical well-being. Social media sites are full of revolving comments about needing a mental health break as well as expressions of being overwhelmed.

The most recent reports from Charlottesville and North Korea seem to have increased what appears to be a sense of hopelessness, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, and depressive symptoms associated with concern over the state of America and the world.

[Pixabay]

While frustration, anger, sadness, and fear are not new emotions experienced when there is a change in the socio-political climate, this now appears to be a trend associated with this distinct time in history and the increasing divisive nature of change happening in numerous arenas of our society.

Steven Stosney, PhD discusses the increase in stress experienced by people seeking mental health support in the Trump presidency era in his article “How to Cope With Trump Anxiety.” He states,”Our current environment, amplified by 24-hour news outlets and social media, has created a level of stress, nervousness, and resentment that has intruded into many people’s lives and intimate relationships, the likes of which I’ve not seen in nearly 30 years of clinical work.”

In his work, Stosney cites a Care Dash survey examining the anxiety in the age of Trump, which was first published in April 2017. Some of the key findings in the report, titled “Nervous Nation: An Inside Look at America’s Anxiety in the Age of Trump,” include:

  • Nearly three-fourths (71%) of people 18-44 are at least somewhat anxious because of the November election results.
  • Half (50%) of Americans are looking for ways to cope with the negative political environment.
  • Over one-third (39%) of Americans are avoiding social media to reduce their anxiety around the political comments.

I found some of the data to be very reflective of how many people are relating to the world today.

In analyzing my own experiences and insights around what I need this year, I have decided to take a step back from social media and community circles as a means of self preservation, and to seek asylum from the chaos of society. The intensity of everything has meant seeking solitude and trying to find some peace in my isolation.

I have found that others within the Pagan community have mentioned similar coping strategies to restore a sense of personal balance and serenity. Considering the discussions of burnout to expressions of being overwhelmed that result in a “social media” break, it is quite evident that the umbrella of Neo-Paganism and polytheists are individually and collectively feeling the stress of our current societal over-culture. And like with many spiritual or religious people, extreme stress can push people toward or away from routines, practices, and spiritual activities.

Best practices in mental health modalities reinforce the importance of protective factors to balance and maintain mental health wellness during times of increased stress. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) website define risk and protective factors in the following ways

Risk factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes. Protective factors are characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor’s impact. Protective factors may be seen as positive countering events.

While protective factors may vary in addressing different types and levels of stressors, we know that it is important to continue the discussions associated with supporting positive outcomes in our individual and collective approaches to managing our needs.

It is also important to note that protective factors for many people include professional, therapeutic support to address clinical needs surrounding mental health. No single discussion or introduction of protective factors negate the need for professional services.

Spirituality, community, and religious activity are some of the most used protective factors in society. We often hear people refer to the power of prayer in times of distress and using that as a means of divine connection toword hope, purpose, and support.

Within the modern Pagan and polytheist communities there are often shared sentiments that involve personal devotional work, ritual workings, ancestor reverence, and prayer-like activities. We have also seen many people inside and outside of the Pagan community engage in activism as a means to engage in solution focused actions, another common and useful protective factor.

The article”Spirituality and Stress Relief: Make the Connection,” found on the Mayo Clinic website, lists the following as potential benefits of spiritual connectivity as a means of “stress relief and overall mental health.”

  • Feel a sense of purpose. Cultivating your spirituality may help uncover what’s most meaningful in your life. By clarifying what’s most important, you can focus less on the unimportant things and eliminate stress.
  • Connect to the world. The more you feel you have a purpose in the world, the less solitary you may feel — even when you’re alone. This can lead to a valuable inner peace during difficult times.
  • Release control. When you feel part of a greater whole, you may realize that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life. You can share the burden of tough times as well as the joys of life’s blessings with those around you.
  • Expand your support network. Whether you find spirituality in a church, mosque or synagogue, in your family, or in nature walks with a friend, this sharing of spiritual expression can help build relationships.
  • Lead a healthier life. People who consider themselves spiritual may be better able to cope with stress and may experience health benefits.

The current climate and ongoing stress induced cycle of newsworthy events leads us to question what we are doing to increase our sense of well being. How are we engaging in activities that promote safe spaces and spiritual asylum from the continuous challenges of coping in today’s world?

Most of us are aware of some of the common techniques to support stress reduction and balance in one’s life. We commonly hear about mindfulness techniques, meditation, exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and prayer. I spoke about some of these coping strategies in a previous Wild Hunt article on Coping with Community.

[Courtesy of Pixabay]

While many of those same techniques continue to be useful, what are some of the unique ways that we look for spiritual comfort in these times?

Because we are such a diverse collection of communities and of individual practitioners following many different paths, this particular conversation could expand into a myriad of directions and methods. I reached out to a three different people within our interconnected communities to engage them in a discussion regarding their own methods of addressing the need for comfort, balance and spiritual connection during these times.

Yvonne Conway, High Priestess and co-founder of United Pagans of Color, shared with me some of her own personal practice in connecting to a sense of comfort in these stressful times.

I will begin a mediation that starts with visualizing my own heart beating and sending forth radiating energy of love. I feel it surround me completely. From there I begin to visualize people in my most inner circle of connection such as my husband and family. The cats too! One at a time I visualize surrounding them in the same love that radiates from my heart.

Then I will expand my circle of individuals to others I’m friends with. One by one I will picture them surrounded in love. I’ll move further out to those I’m acquainted with. Then those I’ve just barely met in passing. Eventually I expand out to those I’ve never actually met, but perhaps passed on my way somewhere. Then further still to those I’ve never crossed paths with… essentially ensconcing every human in love. I continue with every animal, plant, insect, any and all living creatures. I do my best to visualize as much and as many being surrounded in my love. Once I feel I’ve expanded that radiating love to everyone I sit with it for a bit, or a while, depends on how I’m feeling, until I feel a deep resounding joy. Once I reach that point I begin the process to awaken.

This meditation can take me about half an hour to an hour depending on how I’m feeling as I’m going through it.

Courtney Weber, Author and Priestess, shared with me some of her most present thoughts about how she is working toward comfort despite most recent events that invoke anger, sadness and fear.

Today I felt angry. My hands shook all day even though I smiled. I hugged a seasoned warrior activist woman, herself exhausted. We both were, but she more than me. I snapped at the wrong people, even though for the right reasons. I distracted myself with stupid memes. I found myself more in my thoughts than in my world and I realized it when I saw I’d scanned and emailed myself a blank sheet of paper—absolutely nothing written on it, but I thought it was important.

I stopped. I closed my eyes. I asked myself, “What can I do right now?” I can’t undo the pain that’s been done to all others by the people in charge. I can’t re-freeze the glaciers or bring dead lions back to life or stop bullets shot at raised hands or wave my hands and watch Nazi evaporate. But there must be something I can do. I asked myself, “What can I do, right now?”

I can be kind to others…even when it would be easier to ignore them. I can read to a child…or take the time to thoroughly, thoughtfully, and honestly answer their questions. I can do something nice for a loved one…and expect nothing in return but respect. I can refuse to despair…just for today.

Today, I can do. And tomorrow, I will do tomorrow. But today, I will do today.

Shauna Aura Knight, Author and Artist, described her process of personal support by engaging herself in her art.

I paint to keep my mind-squirrels at bay. It reduces my anxiety. But what really inspires me is when someone uses one of my paintings for devotional work and tell me about how it helped them. I have one guy who bought one of my phoenix paintings, and he has fibro and often has flares where he can’t leave the house, but he uses one of my paintings to keep himself inspired when things get bad. The painting piece itself is a spiritual act for me, but then the person actually working with the art then circles back and is what brings me hope.

Utilizing methods of engagement that directly connect with our spiritual or religious core can be a useful strategy as we move into the what feels like an uncertain future of change and challenge. I have noticed that my own ability to connect with certain aspects of my practice have been hampered by my sincere lack of connection, resulting in a dusty justice altar and abandoned spiritual routines.

[Pixabay]

With the continued looming social and political unrest, it is a perfect time to re-evaluate what activities increase a sense of grounding and awareness. It is also an opportunity for each of us to really invest in our own health and wellness by focusing on decreasing stress and increasing activities that reinforce spiritual, religious, or magical practices.

Here are a couple of ideas to consider in moving forward with increasing spiritually enhanced, stress reducing protective factors.

  • Mindfulness activities have proven to be useful in increasing positive relief to current stress from internal and external triggers. The ability to participate in mindful breathing, nature walks, meditation, coloring, or painting can have great physical benefits of connecting with your body. It also supports positive connections with our inner core and increases personal insightfulness.
  • Daily routine that supports connection with spiritual or religious practices. Mantas, daily prayers, ceremonial candle lighting to release stress from the day, ancestral honoring, focused energy work or protection workings can all be ways that this can be a productive means of connectivity. As with many protective factors, this isn’t just about big rituals that take a lot of energy or planning but more about the small routines we incorporate that create consistent and ongoing connection.
  • Spend some extra time in nature. Schedule time to take walks, go for a hike, put your feet in the sand, and smell the fresh air. Time in the sun releases much needed pent up energy and increases much needed Vitamin D in our bodies. It is also an opportunity to ground and connect with the Gods while in the elements.

If there was ever a time in my generation where individual and societal pressure is at it’s highest, this might be it. It is a specific act of honoring the Gods or engaging our individual beliefs, when we take care of ourselves and care for our needs. I personally find that to be one of the most religiously important magical rituals we could perform.

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! teddy bear (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I meant to link this earlier, as the current event is only officially running for a few more days, but hey:


For ANY medium of fanwork (fic, art, vid, pod) & ANY fandom!

Interested? Check out our info and rules.
Our first round is 10 August - 24 August.

[dreamwidth.org profile] wip_amnesty is a new community that describes itself as "a place for you to leave the works you'll never finish". The user info (which has full details) also notes, "At the moment, we're running an event from 10 August to 24 August, but generally our comm is open indefinitely." [emphasis mine]

I should probably post at least one thing for this. I started out thinking about the Newsflesh psychic wolves AU, which I've been working on for a couple (a few) years now, off and on. I'd still really like to actually finish it, because there's a lot in there I like and think is worth writing, but OTOH if I cut it loose that's a lot of mental space that could potentially be regained. I don't know. :/

It was only within the last day or so that I thought about the X (TV anime)/Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle(/xxxHOLiC) fusion I've technically had on the go for, oh...thirteen years? Very off and on, as in with years passing between spurts of working on it?

IIRC the last time I really touched it was around when, and shortly after, I was working on the scripts for the shiny (oh, so shiny!) rerelease of X (no longer X/1999, thankfully) VIZ put out a couple of years ago. I think it's safe to say that story is never getting finished, and an event/comm. like [dreamwidth.org profile] wip_amnesty is probably the best reason I'm ever going to get to toss what does exist out there.

But with both of those WsIP, I feel more conflicted than I might if I wrote things straight through, start to finish--and there's a weird, uncomfortable dissonance between the fact that if I post never-to-be-finished WsIP in any form at all, it makes sense to think in terms of "well, someone might read them" and the fact that it seems ridiculous to think that anyone will.

If I wrote straight through, it'd be simpler. There'd be the first part of a story, however long it might be, and then it'd stop and that'd be it. But no, I write in chunks and fragments, with notes everywhere, and so anything I post that's incomplete is inherently full of holes and gaps, so at the very least, I'd want to add quick notes along the lines of "[{x} event/emotional progression happened here]".

(Absolutely any input/idle thoughts on this stuff welcome. I mean, thoughts/comments/etc. are always welcome on my posts, but...you know.)
carthaginians: ([b5] the thinker)
[personal profile] carthaginians posting in [community profile] poetry
they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and i keep on remembering
mine
umadoshi: (Jessica Jones 01 (bangparty))
[personal profile] umadoshi
--Such gross weather forecast for the weekend. (Mostly today.) [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose was going to go to the market this morning, but he slept later than intended and then got up and looked out the window, and NOPE. The amount of rain expected today isn't even that ridiculous, but it's dank and chilly and gray, etc. etc. etc.


--Last night I made it through the first three episodes of The Defenders, and might have made it further in that first stint if Iron Fist--excuse me, ~the immortal Iron Fist, as Danny insists on saying every damn time he introduces himself--weren't not only every bit as dull as expected but also a sullen charisma suck. Everyone suffers when he's on screen. The audience has to watch him; the other actors have to try to play off Finn Jones' "energy"; the other characters have to share air with him... If it weren't for Jess I might bail, honestly. But Jessica. (And Luke! And Trish!)

I want to love Colleen Wing on principle, but she's always with Danny, which...is not helpful.

Let's refer again to io9's helpful "Here's the Important Stuff That Happens in Iron Fist So You Don't Have to Watch It".

(I was just double checking Jones' name on IMDb and saw that The Defenders is only eight episodes. That seems awfully short for an MCU/Netflix property. But hey, that means I'm almost halfway through.)


--TBH a bit of me resents that Defenders is taking time I could be spending immersed in In Other Lands, but my mostly-"meh" feelings on the former don't change the fact that I don't have to worry about spoilers for the latter. Although now I'm reminded that I still have two episodes left in season 1 of Black Sails, after which I can (and yes, this is obvious) start in on season 2, where so many people start falling for it.

A lot of my mental energy is still hanging out with AGAHF, about which more later. (O_O)

ALSO, StarCraft Remastered is out, and I haven't even booted into my Windows partition to install it yet! But I really should.


--None of the above helps at all with the amount of work I need to get done between now and the end of September (and most of it by the third week of September, realistically), and there's other stuff happening between now and then too. [dreamwidth.org profile] seangaffney is visiting next week, and Hal-Con is next month, and and and...

I wonder how it got there..

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:04 am
manuleanders: (Default)
[personal profile] manuleanders posting in [community profile] common_nature
tree in abandoned building

Probably via bird poop? Or wind.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
It should be pretentious and snobbish to say: “Sure I eat hot dogs, I have homemade mustard and homemade lingonberry ketchup on it”. Then to take the DIY philosophy serious you have to make the hot dog yourself.

Context sounds delicious!

Hymns by Sherman Alexie

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:24 pm
taiga13: Raylan Givens from Justified (Justified)
[personal profile] taiga13 posting in [community profile] poetry
Published August 16, 2017 in response to recent events in the United States

Why do we measure people's capacity
To love by how well they love their progeny?

That kind of love is easy. Encoded.
Any lion can be devoted

To its cubs. Any insect, be it prey
Or predator, worships its own DNA.

Like the wolf, elephant, bear, and bees,
We humans are programmed to love what we conceive... )

/flops

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:49 pm
nanslice: ([FFXV] contemplating the universe)
[personal profile] nanslice
Friends, who's excited for the eclipse?! I sure am! I live in the path of totality too so that's exciting. I've already talked to all of my professors about taking Monday off and I have my little glasses ready and everything. God, I love space. I don't understand what's going on most of the time but dang if it's not all fascinating.

Mom's going to be going with my sister to pick up the puppy in Mississippi so I'll have the house to myself this weekend. \o/ I'm really excited about this ngl. It'll be me and the puppers and the kitties, eating food and watching a ton of tv and...well, reading a ton because that is what my homework for everything is, haha. Anyway, I'm excited and I have a whole list of things I want to get done and I imagine I won't get very much of anything done.

Does anyone have any opinions about the anime Hyouka? It looks pretty cute and I really like high school mystery anime so I'm thinking it might be right up my alley. And speaking of watching things, is anyone else watching The Sinner on the USA network? Holy crap. It's intense.

The anime and young adult lit tracks for Dragon*con have posted their Saturday schedules!

I'M HYPED )

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh. The horror track hasn't posted a schedule yet and neither has the writers track. I'm really interested to see what they've got planned.

Anyway, that's really all that's going on with me! I'm working a short day tomorrow, since my sister, the groomer, won't be there so we have exactly three bath dogs. I'll work a little bit, get off, and then have nothing of great import (or at least, nothing outside of my house) until Tuesday.

I am so hyped.
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
This is not even an interim con report, because I slept approximately an hour before my panel on lycanthropy at nine this morning and I have spent most of the afternoon either at other people's readings or mooching around the dealer's rooms (I have three beautiful postcards by Darrell Tutchton and a half-pack of Dwight Frye character cards that I bought from the aptly monikered Mike Hunchback) and in slightly less than an hour I have to moderate a panel on the Lovecraftian erotic, but as we were passing through the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel I spied a flatscreen TV with the sound off and the text crawl at the bottom of the screen confirmed that Bannon is out of the White House, so I'm sure all sorts of unpleasantness will spin off that with his Breitbart base—roll on the globalist conspiracies—but at the moment it feels like genuinely good news out of our government and it's been a long time since that happened. Oh, and earlier today I was handed a translucent lime-green plastic tentacle, so I have been carrying it around in my coat like a reasonable person: in other words, there is a tentacle in my pocket, but I'm still happy to see you. So far, NecronomiCon, so good.
[syndicated profile] thewildhunt_feed

Posted by Heather Greene

UPDATE (Aug. 19, 2017 12:48 ET):  Andres Guerrero has been found. He is now in a local hospital’s ICU. Tanya Johnson is with him. No other information is being released. We will have a full report on the story as soon as we learn more.

*   *   *

MINNEAPOLIS —  Andres Guerrero, age 17, disappeared early Thursday morning in north Minneapolis. Guerrero was last seen on Broadway Ave. at 1 a.m. wearing a black shirt and black shorts. After news of his disappearance spread, the local Pagan community and beyond have quickly responded with support in an effort to find him.

Andres Guerrero [courtesy].

Guerrero was born Jan. 20, 2000 to Tanya Johnson, a local Minneapolis Pagan who is known well in this community, sometimes labeled “Paganistan,” and regularly attended Summerland Spirit Festival.

Johnson said that her son loved animals, designer clothes, music and comedy shows. He also attended several Pagan festivals with her.

The night of Aug. 16, Guerrero left his home alone, headed to reportedly his friend’s house. But he was last seen at 1 a.m Aug. 17.  Johnson said that she realized that he was missing around 7:30 a.m. the next morning.

The family is still unclear about other details regarding the time prior to his disappearance.  However, they did say that, without a doubt, this is “not a runaway case.”

What is being reported is that, at some point after 1 a.m., Guerrero’s debit card was stolen and possibly his phone as well. According to the family and local police, the debit card has been used twice by a person who is not Guerrero. ATM surveillance cameras have reportedly provided that information.

In the city of Minneapolis, missing child reports are handled by the special crimes division. The Wild Hunt did reach out to the department for any possible updates on the case, but officials did not respond in time for publication.

Along with the police investigation, the local community has been out canvassing the area where Guerrero was last seen. Led by Johnson’s close friends and members of the Pagan community, the searches began as early as 10 p.m. Aug. 17, less than two hours after Johnson made her public announcement.

The search parties have been passing out fliers to local businesses and talking with residents in order to gain information on his possible whereabouts. The searches have continued into Friday, but no information has been found.

For people who are unable help with the search, the family is asking for assistance with supplies to support that effort, including food items and water for search party members, and for money to help pay for gas and for printing flyers. Monetary donations can be sent to Johnson’s PayPal address. She has said that all “unused money will be returned.”

A new Facebook page, Find Andres, has been created to help the efforts, and the family is asking for users to share the page and the information widely in hopes of finding Andres.

When asked what else the collective Pagan community can do to help, Johnson said, “Say a prayer to your gods. Send light and love. Light a candle. Send Reiki. Talk to your ancestors. Every type of help is deeply appreciated. Raise up all the helpers and give them strength.”

We will continue to follow this story, and we will update you as news comes in.

[This article was updated from the original at 3:15 p.m with more details about the missing teen.]

prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
[personal profile] prof_pangaea
saw the rifftrax "the five doctors" live show last night with a couple friends. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS EXPERIENCE. :D
umadoshi: (Tutu/ItW "charm for a prince" (bookelfe))
[personal profile] umadoshi
There are only four days left in Sparkler Magazine's Year 5 Kickstarter, and at this point they're still only about halfway to the goal. Please do check it out if you haven't, if the thought of a wide variety of female gaze-centered comics and prose appeals to you. There's a ton of info on the Kickstarter page, including a link to a starter bundle you can download for free.


Fannish/Geeky Things

"Michael Sheen, David Tennant to Star in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Good Omens’ at Amazon". Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, people, FFS. >.<

"Dream Daddy, a Queer Dating Sim, Might Be the Gaming Miracle of the Year". (I haven't played the game; please don't comment with spoilers.)

"Suits season 7 finale will be a backdoor pilot for Gina Torres spin-off".

"N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ Book To Be Developed As TV Series At TNT".


Social Justice

Great Twitter thread by [twitter.com profile] SmartAssJen, beginning with "To my 'good' white folks scared to speak out about race: no, you won't be 'perfect', you will stumble, but silence is complicity. Speak up."

"Fat-Positive Activists Explain What It's Really Like to Be Fat: Here's how you can be an ally".

"The Recent History of Fat Stigma".

At The Establishment:

--"How To Stop, Drop, And Roll In Mental Crisis".

--"Young Adult Fiction Writers Are (Finally) Ready To Talk About Sex". [January 2016]

--"Your Global Mansplaining Dictionary In 34 Languages".

--"What Happens When Your Biggest Fear Is Something Inevitable?" [Sarah Kurchak] "Sarah, I know your parents are wonderful people, but maybe you can help me understand this,” my therapist asked during a session that happened at some point after the death of my grandmother and the loss of my childhood home but before the death of my dog and the notification that my building’s owners have applied for a demolition permit. “Why did they feel the need to explain the impermanence of the universe to you at such a young age?”"


Miscellaneous

"As a female sex worker, I'd like to propose my own Google-style gender equality manifesto".

"IKEA Releases Instructions How To Make ‘Game Of Thrones’ Cape After Costumer Reveals Actors Wore IKEA Rugs".

"This Brazilian Tattoo Artist Is Horrible At Drawing, But People Still Pay Her To Get Inked".

"Philly company digitizes 25,000 old records and they're free to download".

"Being the Crazy Friend, 101". [Mishell Baker] ["Content warning: blunt descriptions of negative emotions and disturbed thoughts."]

"Story Time: 10 Times Our Favorite Authors Told the Best Stories on Twitter". [Book Riot] (Includes both Seanan McGuire's story about the guy with the lizard in his leg and Ryan North's live tweets when he got stuck in a hole, as is only right and proper.)

"Monkeys, Mermaids and the Evil Eye. Medieval Stone Sculpture at Kilkea Castle and Graveyard". [Pilgrimage In Medieval Ireland]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] dine, "Forget Tough Passwords: New Guidelines Make It Simple". [NPR] And via [dreamwidth.org profile] hannah, xkcd's take.
[syndicated profile] slacktiverse_feed

Posted by slacktiverseauthors

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who condemns white supremacists with greater ease than elected officials.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

InsertAuthorHere: Um… InsertAuthorHere

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you are ready to tip statues dedicated to horrible ideologies. Or for any other reason, really.


umadoshi: (nonfictional feeling (oraclegreen))
[personal profile] umadoshi
(I tried to make this post more cohesive than it is. I really did! Pretend it worked?)

At last, I know what a childhood of X-Men reading prepared me for: coping with the severe cognitive dissonance when different components of/perspectives on a fictional world are staggeringly different from each other in tone.

Except that, where X-Men (and similar) comics have passed through countless creative teams over several decades (and are a big enough thing to have all kinds of quirky sideline projects), in this case, said staggeringly-different aspects are written by the same person.

I'm now mostly caught up on K.B. Spangler's work in the A Girl and Her Fed (AGAHF) universe, which consists of the ongoing A Girl and Her Fed webcomic and five novels (so far), one of which is Not Like The Others. Oh, and the first of a planned series of novellas cheerfully (and accurately) codenamed "Joshsmut".

I came at this world...out of order, I guess, in that I started with the novels. I'd heard of the AGAHF comic and had been meaning to read it, but I do better with novels...and I didn't really realize how intertwined the projects are. Here's an io9 review of Digital Divide, the first Rachel Peng novel. (Four of the five novels currently available focus on Rachel.)

(Note: I'd heard of A Girl and Her Fed off and on for at least a few years, and had it on my to-read list before I mentally connected it to the Rachel books, but I never really looked into what it is...even though I always tripped, and still trip, over the title because I always parse it wrong. My instinct is still to read the "fed" as a conjugation of "feed", not as "federal agent", which makes no sense at all. How am I STILL DOING THAT?)

So Rachel was my gateway. Rachel as we meet her is a smart, driven, ex-military federal employee who's working as the liaison between the D.C. police force and her own federal agency, OACET, which is made up entirely of a large group of cyborgs. More specifically, a large group of cyborgs created in a catastrophically flawed project that took some of the best and brightest young civil servants from across the federal government, put chips in their heads, and left them collectively traumatized and disturbingly overpowered.

Emphasis on the "collectively". The (functionally nonexistent) "So You're A Cyborg" manual didn't have a chapter for "Welcome to Your New Hivemind! (Please stop screaming! Everyone can hear you!)"

Rachel's books start several years after all that, and several months after she's joined the above-mentioned police force, for the express purpose of helping to ease the public into the idea that Cyborgs Are People Too!, and super-useful to boot! And guys, I love Rachel dearly, so she was a great gateway for me. I kept going with her books until I discovered that the sole (so far) Hope Blackwell novel is set before Rachel's fourth book, so I opted to both read that book and finally backtrack to read AGAHF...

And it turns out that my X-Men experience is only barely up to this whole experience. cut for length; there's about as much text under here as there is above )

Two things of note:

1) Spangler is in the process of redrawing the first chunk of AGAHF. I don't know when she started doing that, or how quickly it's progressing, but the result is that the first 90-100 strips or so have been redrawn (each one linking to its original version) and have had some dialogue tightened and some plot holes smoothed out, but then you run out of redrawn art and get dropped into the original art style for a while, and it's...well, it's pretty jarring. (Here is the current/redrawn first comic; here is the original version. So you see.)

2) I'm not great at picking up things that call for content notes/warnings, unless they're pretty obvious. But one thing that bothered me, and recurred often enough that I feel like I ought to mention it, is the frequent use of "psychopath" (plus some instances of "sociopath") as a descriptor. briefly expanding on that; not very spoilery )

Ontario gears up for Occulticon 2017

Aug. 17th, 2017 04:57 pm
[syndicated profile] thewildhunt_feed

Posted by Dodie Graham McKay

HOLSTEIN, Ont. – As the festival season starts to wind down for the year, organizers of the premiere edition of Occulticon are ramping up to deliver an event that is being billed as “a convention for all things curious, all things occult.”

This new addition to the festival and convention circuit will be held at the Pagan owned and operated Mythwood Campground and Private Retreat from September 8 – 10.

Mythwood Campground is located an hour north of Toronto in Southern Ontario, a region of Canada that already supports a multitude of Pagan, Heathen and Witchcraft related festivals and events. From May until September, the area sees at least one large public gathering and sometimes more each weekend.

Occulticon organizers are promising a unique event and are taking a distinctly different approach to how this new addition to the scene will be presented.

Adam Simpson, the Creative Director and webmaster for Occulticon, outlined the main difference.

“Occulticon isn’t a Pagan event. It will include Pagan elements, but we’re casting a much wider net. We’re hoping to attract visitors from many diverse belief systems, as well as those simply curious about experiences outside of the spectrum of the everyday. We’ve spread the word throughout Ontario, as well as New York and Michigan.”

A detailed schedule will be released closer to the date, but organizers are promising that visitors can expect presentations and lectures on a wide range of topics such as parapsychology, secret societies, ghosts, magick, Witchcraft, astrology, tarot, psychic training, a seance live music performances and more.

In addition to the programming, there will also be vending, a psychic expo and a chance to watch blacksmiths at work creating magical tools.

Rounding out the program will be opportunities to participate in ritual and ceremony.

Frater Archeus will host a High Magick Ceremony during which participants can experience the traditional rites of a practicing ceremonial lodge and initiatory society.

Witchdoctor Utu along with members of the Dragon Ritual Drummers and friends will be consecrating a new permanent altar on Mythwood land with a voodoo ceremony for Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the spirits of the Underground Railroad.

A Sara Kali ceremony led by John Corvus, called “Taking the Cloth” will celebrate the continuation of one’s lifelong dedication to be the magical link of their community.

Addressing this diversity, Simpson said, “Although the convention is non-denominational, it will have an impact on the Ontario Pagan community. This is an opportunity for knowledgeable Pagans to share their thoughts and experiences with a much wider audience.”

“Occulticon will be a gateway for newcomers interested in Paganism, but not knowing where to start.”

The mandate of Occulticon is to support the pursuit of knowledge, history, and ancient religions, with an interest in exploring the mysteries of the universe in a way that supports diversity and respectful intellectual exchange. Courteous discussion of how differing philosophies can bring people together is encouraged.

Occulticon Executive Director Khaman Mythwood [Courtesy]

The original idea for Occulticon came from Khaman Mythwood, one of the owners of the campground. He now serves as the executive director of the event. His personal desire to share the mysteries and hidden aspects of occult practice motivated him to share his vision with the wider world:

“Our patrons at Occulticon can expect to experience something rare and usually unseen to the general public. Experts on the occult from around the world will be sharing their knowledge through lectures and presentations. They will take an academic approach to reveal secrets and hidden knowledge to those who truly seek to better understand the mysteries of life.”

The diverse lineup consists of more than two dozen guest speakers, not only from the local area, but from around the world as well.

Local talent such as Ecstatic Ritualist and the events Master of Ceremonies, Jim Findley, psychotherapist, storyteller and pagan chaplain, Brian Walsh, Romani Wayfairer and Divination practitioner, John Corvus and Witchdoctor Utu of the Dragon Ritual Drummers are but a few of the faces that have been long time contributors to the local communities and events in the area.

Master of Ceremonies and Ecstatic Ritualist, Jim Findley [Courtesy]

International guests include Ian Corrigan, former Archdruid of the ADF who will be traveling from the United States to speak about Archaic Goetia and the Grimoire Revival. Tata Manuel Congo, a well-known ethnologist, occultist and educator, will be making the long trip from Italy to speak about Italian Witchcraft.

The onsite talent coordinator Pamela Fletcher is a well-known and respected priestess and longtime organizer. She has been previously involved with Kaleidoscope Gathering and Gaia Gathering, as well as many other events.

Of this new endeavour, Fletcher remarked, “Occulticon, like some other larger Pagan events, is going to be extremely inclusionary and will have a very broad appeal across many spiritual paths and walks of life. The speakers will be presenting unique and diverse information that anyone, no matter how long they have been on their spiritual journey, will find interesting.”

In addition to the academic-style presentations, world-class entertainment is also being planned including traditional Celtic storyteller Brian Walsh, fiddler Ben Deschamps of the Heather Dale band, and and a special Scottish Bagpipe presentation. It will also include a psychic fair and vendors’ market.”

Mythwood added, “We are proud to host Witchdoctor Utu and the amazing Dragon Ritual Drummers, voted Canada’s number one Pagan hand drumming group.”

Occulticon 2018 is already being considered, and plans are in the works for the next edition.

“We are very excited for the future of Occulticon. It gives us the opportunity to learn and share our knowledge of the occult in a safe open environment with respected Elders and occult experts,” explained Mythwood.

“We already have some amazing things lined up for next year that we just couldn’t fit in the schedule for 2017.”

Simpson’s passion for showcasing his home community and public service is apparent. He said, “It’s time for the Ontario Pagan community to show the greater world what we have to offer. Occulticon is a step in that direction.”

“For newcomers who are interested in Paganism, we can help point them to any number of places where they may be able to find the answers they’re seeking. For veteran members of the Pagan community, Occulticon is an opportunity to learn outside of our traditional milieus. There will be new faces, and you’ll get to see a different side of those you already know and love.”

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