Category Archives: reminiscing

Socialist Bananas And Limited Ice Cream

One summer, shortly after we arrived in East Berlin, my parents and we children were out and about walking and enjoying the day, when we ran across a stall, which had a long line of East Germans patiently queued for whatever it was being sold.

My father being always curious, decided to look at what the stall had to offer: bananas! Since the queue was rather long, I was sent to mind my younger brother while sitting on a nearby bench, while he and my mother got in line, telling us we’d have bananas for a snack. I remember my Dad being excited because they were very cheap, and smelled good despite starting to have brown spots on a number of them. Later, Mom told me what had happened, while they were there. The line moved along at a fairly steady rate, so it wasn’t long before they were at the front. A plastic bag was handed to my Dad, and he happily started filling his bag with bananas.

My mother started nudging him – first discreetly, then a little harder, then hissed at him in his native Romblomanon to have a quick look at the other people. Puzzled, he did, only to realise that the other people in the queue behind him were glaring daggers at his back, and the others who were selecting their bananas were only taking a few pieces – perhaps only enough for one each of their family members, or enough to cut in half and share if they were a larger family. Nobody was filling an entire bag full, like Dad was!

Shamefacedly, Dad carefully put the bananas back, and refused the stall-minder’s saying they surely could get one each! He and my mother walked back to us, saying we’ll get bananas next time. When we were far enough away, Dad explained that we could get bananas any time we liked from the groceries in West Berlin, as much as we wanted, while the East Berliners could only get these whenever a different socialist country – probably somewhere in South America – sent them something like that, which would then be distributed to sell to the locals in stalls across the city, and once they were gone, they were not likely to get any until the next shipment, which might not happen until the next year. So, it was nicer to let them have their special treat, since we could get nicer, larger bananas when we went across the border.

But for the East Germans, that’s all they’d get.

My parents had a way of explaining things so we would understand and not complain if we didn’t get a thing. (If anyone encounters me in real life, this is why I have issues understanding why children aren’t better disciplined in this day and age.)

I don’t really know where the bananas came from. Dad thought maybe Cuba, or Venezuela.

The other memory I have of such stalls and lines involves ice cream. It was pretty hot that day (a different day from the bananas one), so Dad lined up for ice cream one day. But by the time he got there, they no longer had any ice cream (there had been only two flavors – vanilla, and chocolate; chocolate had run out first, then the vanilla) and all that was left were the little shaped wafer dishes that had been used to serve out a single scoop of ice cream per person, which the stall-minder gave to him as an apology. I remember not minding not getting ice cream, because I liked the wafer; and Dad making an especial point of getting a supply of neopolitain ice cream from West Berlin that weekend.

Some time afterward, I remember Dad telling us not to line up for the things that were sold by street seller unless they were a regularly available thing, like bratwurst, and only to do so to treat our friends, because we could always eat the delicious treats the East Germans were lining up for anytime we wanted, while they might not get those things at all. If we were out by ourselves, we would not line up for those things. The government was in charge of all the things that they would get; and things that they weren’t able to grow or manufacture themselves, well, those were special treats, that the government was able to arrange for. The ordinary Germans could enjoy them – in limited quantity – and if they missed out, oh well.

Speaking of bratwurst, I really miss, to this day, the bratwursts we ate there. I remember them well – fat slightly greyish-mostly-brown sausages, boiling in the cart, put between a sliced piece of brotchen, their juices softening the hard bread, which may or may not have had a thin swipe of butter on them. The sausages, when bitten into crunched as you got through the sausage skin, and I remember hurriedly wiping my chin with the edges of my bread to catch the delicious meat juices. The sausages were slightly salty, and a single one was filling.

We always patronised the bratwurst sellers; they were common enough that Dad didn’t feel bad about buying from them nor did he feel that he was depriving someone else of a treat by getting some for us. I’m rather glad about this, because eating bratwurst, especially on a cold autumn, winter or spring day, was a wonderful feeling, and I remember the men selling them being so pleased that we children were really enjoying the food.

To this day, I can still remember how tasty those bratwursts were.

New Game Console

So, my son Vincent decided that he was tired of playing the XBox One, XBox 360, the PS2 and the Nintendo 64 and the DreamCast,  … and he had a Christmas gift card he hadn’t used yet. He decided on a new game console, suitable for 2018 gaming.

That’s what he came home with.

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Pot-ability

(Yes I know, not quite the same thing, it’s a pun, for the humor impaired.)

See that pot above? I have a smaller version. You can boil water in it, cook rice with it, or soups or stews. I didn’t feel right about migrating to Australia without one (or without a tabo. I use it to rinse out the tub or when cleaning the shower, it’s really good for pouring water where the spigot doesn’t reach.) You can buy them from any market in the Philippines, and even some department store groceries.

This are originally my comments from Larry Correia’s post fisking the flaming idiot who said it was too much for us to expect poor people to cook. If the fool’s hypothetical poor people throw out their whole damn kitchen and all their eating utensils every. single. time. they cook, they are not poor, by any stretch of imagination. Seriously, give the whole fisk a read. It’s totally worth it.

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Spaces

I’m not sure why this one’s been sticking in my head today, but it has. Perhaps it’s the wind, howling outside with the sun shining down through an unrelenting blue sky, that’s jogging my memory…

 

Some years ago, Rhys and I faced a dilemma – how to get his job to recognise that he had a family, and was supporting one, as opposed to being a single man with no financial responsibilities. After much research, Rhys found the answer: to be recognised as a de-facto relationship, a legal definition in Australia which is similar to ‘common-law spouse’, I guess. For this to happen, we had to live together, as a household, with shared finances and living arrangements, for more than six months. It just so happened that at the time, Rhys had been assigned a three-bedroom residence in Sydney. It took some time to decide on logistics, but the time period we finally worked out was bad for our eldest to come and stay with us as she was attending school (and she wouldn’t be able to attend school in Australia for that period of time.) So for a short while, I lived in Sydney with Rhys, and our then youngest, Vincent, who was three years old at the time.

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Second Year

Today my baby Brandon would’ve been two years old. I think he would have been having a fun time today; though perhaps his birthday would’ve been much quieter than Vincent’s party a few days ago.

We gave him his presents – a toy tank and a toy helicopter, and his Grammy and Grampy sent a hand made card.

It’s the one with the little dinosaur on it. Brandon’s urn is the one with the birds. His brother Damien is in the smaller round urn next to it.

Rhys and I spent a little time reminiscing fondly about his birth, and a few delightful memories. I wonder about how he and Damien would’ve been like now, but that happens a lot. Perhaps his hair would have been gently curling, like his eldest brother’s was. We still can’t imagine him smiling, however, as he was a baby with a rather impressive scowl. I think Damien would have been the plague to him at the same time being a favourite playmate.

What could have been…

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Getting Wired Wirelessly

My hubby got me a surprise – a smartwatch, with a pedometer and some other features. It was a prize or a free gift with something, and he knows I gleefully enjoy such things.

Early experiments trying to pair the damn thing with my phone resulted in vast irritation so I stopped that.

Sigh. Technology. Younger me would be shaking her head in disbelief at current me.

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Canaries in the Coal Mines

I popped over to Larry Correia’s site today; having had a little time for a change, and ran into this blogpost, which talked about how a conservative science fiction writer has found his career effectively threatened for advancing a concept in a book.

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/02/10/left-wing-bias-in-publishing-your-wrongthink-will-be-punished/

The blogpost by the author himself, Nick Cole, is found here.

I won’t write about the freedom of speech issues and the effective censoring being done, nor the reasons that Harper Collins’ has shut down a writer under contract here, as Larry and Nick have done excellent jobs of that; Larry in his inimitable way as usual. No, I’m going to write about something that Nick said in his post, that resulted in a realization.

I am a writer.
A writer is often the last defense in a society collapsing into a one-mind totalitarian state where the rights of people are trodden upon by the ruling elite in the name of the “greater good.” Where freedom of speech and independent thinking are also curtailed in the name of the “greater good.” Where writers and other artists disappear either by blacklisting or “disappearing” because they say, or write, something that the intellectual elite hates. I am a writer. It is my job to stand up and say what cannot be said. It is my job to play with unpopular ideas. I would not deny anyone from doing so, and I expect not to be denied. I expect the same courtesy others are being extended. I expect not to be discriminated against merely because I am different. Better people than myself have written the truth at the cost of their lives. Many dead writers have paid for the freedom of others with the truth, and their lives. Writers are often the last flame of freedom on the flickering candle of civilization in the darkness of a world going mad.

There is often a vocal defense that Science Fiction editors do not have a liberal bias. Well, here’s your proof. They do. So you may not agree with me on the idea I advanced. But what happens the next time when some potentate decides they don’t like your idea? There is no place in publishing for this kind of Censorship. This is an issue, regardless of the idea, that affects all of us and our freedom.

It is quite de rigeur these days to encounter the disease called Social Justice bullies and CHORFs everywhere one turns. The majority of people seem to think that they’re a fad that will go away, the latest version of ‘teenage rebellion’ – if it weren’t for the fact that the folks engaging in such shrill, rabid denunciations range from their teens to their late sixties.

Simply put, for those of us who actually recognize them for what they are, they are people who would have been the Useful Idiots of the Cold War era (which, I submit, never really ended – the battlefield simply shifted.)

The people who advance that a totalitarian regime, that the suppression of freedom of speech, human rights, etc are the pampered children who have never lived under such a regime. This is especially true of modern day Europeans, and especially true of Americans, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians.

Take note, this is not a sneer at the abovementioned nations’ people – you are all incredibly lucky to not remember what it was like. Americans especially have had a freedom that is, in my opinion, very unlike the experience of any other group of people on this planet. On one hand, for hundreds of years, you have refused to bow down and stayed guarded against overt attempts at conquest. On the other, it makes for a great emotional and intellectual cultural vulnerability – because such oppression has never been experienced, to some extent that same precious freedom and opportunity is taken for granted. Too easily do people think “surely, that can never happen here / they couldn’t possibly be that stupid/gullible etc.”

I’ve lived on the other side of the Berlin Wall, and one of the more common frustrations that the people whose homes we were invited to voiced discreetly to my parents (in the safety of their sprawling gardens, away from potential bugs in their homes) was that they were unhappy with how their government treated them like children, incapable of making up their own minds. They missed their relatives from whom they were separated by the Wall, and simply wanted to meet with them again, visit them on occasion. “After all,” our hosts would tell our parents, “we are so much better off than they are in the Capitalist world. Why wouldn’t we want to return?”

Looking back on the differences, with an adult’s eyes, I understand now that the Socialist government could not have maintained the illusion that they’d hoodwinked their people with if those people had been free to travel to the West, instead of only select groups being allowed to pay short visits. As it was, such was the shock to the psyche of a number of people after the Wall fell, that they wished it had never happened, that they could return to the comfortable illusions they had, comfortable, old and worn, like familiar habits and old woolen sweaters.

A great number of the most vicious and fanatic social justice attack hounds come from the countries that have not experienced being under a totalitarian ruler. The immature belief that ‘if we did it, then we’d do it better, in a non-evil way’ of good-intentions backed magic thinking echoes one of the favorite sins to damn a person to hell employed by the Devil in old folk tales: Pride. Pride that ‘we know better’ and the certainty that ‘it’s not evil when we do it,’ or, the ever so insidious ‘for the greater good’ without ever checking if it actually results in good things. I’ve even seen the illogical concept that ‘good intentions are enough reason for us to employ horrible methods.’ That’s just a more complicated way of saying “The ends justify the means.”

The useful idiots and the quislings are useful exactly because they secure in the belief that when this dreadful, nightmarish regime that they work for comes, they are spared, or rewarded, or benefit in some way.

They don’t remember that they could just as easily be rewarded as a traitor deserves.

I sometimes wish my father were still alive, so I could ask him for stories about what it was like to be a journalist under the Marcos regime. (On the other hand, I am glad he is not around to see that a Marcos is one of two possibly only GOOD candidates running for the Philippine Presidency! And on the third hand, I wonder what other good Dad might have accomplished. Apparently they’re still talking about the good things he did while he was the Philippine Ambassador to Israel; that my youngest brother was asked how he was related to ‘the Honorable Ambassador Antonio Modena.’ cackle! His turn now!)

My mom remembers some of the things my father was willing to share with her. Or there’d be a wife of one of his colleagues trying to find her husband. If they were lucky, they got the man in question back alive; or had something to bury.

I sometimes wonder, “Are they so desperate to experience this, that they import something that would do exactly this to everyone, if they got the chance?” Then, I shake my head and remember the SJWs think that they’ll be the ones in control, in power, instead of the ones who’ll first be up against the wall. By what means do they think they’ll cling to control? It is only through the trappings of civilization that they’re able to get away with what they do, but if they erode enough of it away, those fetters they rely on will be too weak to hold back the horrors they’ll experience.

Oh, and I got a copy of Alt Ctrl Revolt too. I wanted to know what happened beyond the ‘offensive’ concept – which really, was not offensive, and the logic-process tree is completely sound. I think Nick Cole succeeded in giving a reason that a reader who isn’t a mental eunuch can understand – and similarly, those readers can go from there and want to find out ‘what happened next?’

That’s good writing.

Between This Essay and The Next

A few days ago, I retweeted something I saw on The Ralph Retort‘s feed and briefly wrote about how I stopped being a feminist in reply to that retweet. A brief discussion followed and I decided it would be best to expand on it. I guess it’s one of those ‘triggering’ things for me because whenever I flash back to that time, it always results in the same towering fury I remember having that pushed me to my feet and had me start shouting back. After all, all the hate they were spewing went against everything we ourselves had been taught about being good strong Catholic women. I decided to break it up into two parts because 1) I had to stop being angry because it really wasn’t doing good things to my heart rate and 2) I had to do stuff away from computer, namely lunch for the family. As it was I had to ask my daughter to handle the rest (just make sure it didn’t burn) because I needed to fall over into bed: I was burning up with flu and everything hurt. I’ve been bedridden since.

Ralph asked if he could feature it and I said yes.

While I was asleep it went up on his site.

I woke up today, fever broken, and went to check on the kids. My eldest boy, Vincent, was up already but Big Sis wasn’t so I sicced him onto her to wake her with cuddles, yelling “INVASION OF THE LITTLE BROTHER” at the top of my voice. Cue “KYAAAAA!!! What are you doing?! Oh, hugs.” The ruckus had Aff come out of his room where he was playing L2. I made coffee and sat down to look at stuff online. That’s when I saw that my account had gone up on The Ralph Retort, and saw retweets talking about a young girl/woman. My still fever-fuzzy brain thought “…I hope they don’t think this is current events.” (I’m still fever-fuzzy.)

 

That’s my graduating year ID – lucky it was where I remembered it was. I blacked out my ex’s surname – yes, I was married then to someone else; our marriage was on the rocks and we separated before I graduated and eventually divorced – He was American so he could divorce me; the Philippines does not have divorce for anyone who isn’t Muslim and that is a rant for a different day. I visited Australia in 2004 and Rhys and I have been together since. My ex and I still talk on occasion, and we both agree that we’re in better places than we were before and we wish each other happy.

This happened while I was still in college. I went for six years from 1998 to 2004, not because that’s the required time to put in, but rather because as an ‘irregular student’, I didn’t have the per-assigned hours and classes that regular block students did. I started in the second semester, not the first, of the last co-ed school ‘batch’ before Miriam fully reverted to being an all girl’s college. So I had to try grab the empty slots for my required major and minor classes if they were still available, or if they weren’t, I’d take them next year. This caused some issues as …I think it was calculus?… was dropped while I was attending (Miriam did not offer hard science or engineering majors at the time – that may have changed now) so other than Algebra or Statistics, there was no need for it – and it had been on my curriculum list when I entered. So I had the strangest schedule sometimes. The history classes were supposed to be spread across the first three years; I got them all on my second semester. Unfortunately I had a very boring World History teacher – one of those people who focused more on geography and dates and timelines as opposed to bringing the events to life in the classroom. Philippine history and Asian Civilization was fun, especially Philippine History, because that was taught by someone who became one of my favorite teachers ever. A tale for a different day.

I wrote as much as I could remember – this would have happened sometime between 2000-2002 or 2003, so I’m afraid that I don’t remember things like names any more. I’ve always been bad with them, so I’m sorry, I can’t point you to a particular lecturer, I remember only that the two Indian women were the most outspoken of the four or five guests up on that stage. They’re a lot like the typical militant feminist common today, just without the rainbow hair.

I forgot to include the parts where I argued extensively about how could they simply shove aside half the human population and dismiss them as rapists when surely all of us present knew of good men, were related to them, and had good male friends. How were we supposed to become good parents to sons, if we treated them with suspicion simply because they were born the opposite sex? I suppose most of the details have gotten hazy in the back and forth shouting. But I remember that fury, the feel of my sense of restraint breaking one chain at a time with each outrageous thing that the feminist lecturers were verbally heaping on our heads – and trying to crush our spirits with. In a way, they did us a favor by overplaying their hand; that particular batch of students were never feminists of the type that seem so prevalent today.

I have good memories, for the most part, of my college years in Miriam. I liked most of my professors and had problems only with the Statistics teacher and the hard-line socialist who was very upset that I didn’t paint a shining picture of glorious utopia after finding out I’d lived in East Berlin. In fact, I don’t really have bad memories of Women Studies classes either – and I know now I was very lucky in that respect. It was a lot more classical feminist than the fainting couch paternalism-encouraging Third Wave weaklings. The focus was more of being able to improve conditions for women and push for a more egalitarian outlook on a local scale. In some respects that is correct and indeed a good thing to advocate. In some other respects however, I don’t think it really applies to a lot of the Filipino outlook either honestly, but that’s the topic of my next essay, which I’m still in the process of writing.

 

First though I have to make sure I don’t relapse.

 

Pondering new projects

I’ve been getting lots of email and feedback in response to my essay, to please write more such essays, as well as to collect my anecdotes of living in a different time of history into a book.

I’ve been thinking about doing so, when I’m not either working on commission art, art in general, or writing the fiction books that I co-author with David / Aff, or am working on my own fiction.

To that end, I’m thinking that perhaps the rough drafts of the chapters will be published here; like a free eARC chapter by chapter, for the history, the fiction work. I’ll try to avoid typos and grammar errors, but as said, I was thinking these would be the rough drafts.

The reason why I was thinking of doing this is because of the way that Stjepan Sejic would originally post the roughs of Sunstone and other comics on his Deviantart accounts, errors and all, then publish them better cleaned up and fixed through Top Cow.

The reason why I haven’t is because of copyright issues and confusion around the issue between working with International copyright, Australian copyright and US copyright laws. It’s all very confusing to me so I’m looking at asking for more feedback and input before I try this. Mind, I’m still going to write these things anyway, the point of this is whether or not putting up chapters and essay roughs on the Net will cause issues later. This is supposedly not the case if there is enough of a difference between the rough on the ‘net and the finished published work but still. Things to consider.

I’m somewhat tempted too to use the Forums for this purpose if I go ahead with this (posting the rough online) because we seem to have far less issues there with regards accounts and comments than I do with WordPress. (Oh and browsing there by proxy or trying to sign up via proxy doesn’t work I’m afraid.) I’ll ask for my own subforum there (if there is enough interest in this and if there are no issues with regards copyright and publishing) and post in sections.

The thing is some of the fiction I’ve been thinking of writing may or may not have illustrations as per the Light Novel format. I wonder about this as a whole, as posting roughs versus nicely cleaned up work would be nice as well.

The whole thing I’m also considering is that this will make me work harder. I used to put out a chapter of Dragon’s Cycle back in it’s heyday, once a month – but in exchange for the long wait time between chapters, I had minimum standards for each chapter released – at least 8 pages, Times New Roman font size 11, 1.5 spacing.

One of the reasons why I’m thinking of shaking up my work like this is because honestly, my grief is downright crippling now. It’s almost 3 months since Brandon died, and it’s really starting to hit me hard. I’ll be working on a piece (mostly art of late) while listening to the mood-inducing music suited for the piece, and wham! out of nowhere, it is like I’m being sliced into shreds from within and tears are running down my face and that’s that for the rest of the day.

I’m aware of my own cycles of grief, and I was much the same way after we lost Damien. The pain REALLY hit me hard months later. I’m strongly aware of the way my body is reacting, the depression, the frequent mental blank-outs, internal thought-static, and the urge to use various forms of escapism to run away from the grief. There’s also the more frequent, vivid nightmares of late – familiar and unwanted dreams of losing everyone around me, my children, my darling Rhys, losing Aff. Rhys has had to wake me more than once already, and it sucks to have such a miserable sleep cycle. (I’m getting better at fixing that!)

And Mom, since I know you’re reading this, you’re not allowed to die, you hear me?! Not for at least another forty or so years! stamp feet (Love you Mommy. ;-P )

Things to think about.

 

 

edited to add: These are for future projects; not something that will happen in the near future. My project plate at present is full. ^^;;;

Sad news

I discovered today that a longtime online friend of mine passed away.

Obituary for Bruce E Durocher II on SF Site.

I first ‘met’ him on LJ as Bedii, and we got to talking about books; he was able to point me at a site that had some old East German books that my family had lost during a termite infestation at our house. We talked a lot about books at random, and he encouraged me to write.

We’d email each other little updates of life and health; and he’d often chide me about my tendency towards insomnia when working. I prayed for his health and would celebrate whenever he gave me positive updates. Our last emails were about his wife’s art, and I suggested a possibility if she’d be willing to do commissions for indie book covers. Bruce said he’d have a chat with her about it and thanked me for keeping them in my thoughts.

I’m going to miss him. Godspeed, Bruce. My prayers for you and your wife.

Nazi is not a term you throw around lightly

Message from the site wizard: There is an excessive amount of errors on the local login system that looks like people trying to log into the local (here only) account with their remote (WordPress) account.

Please ensure you have clicked ‘Login with WordPress’ on the login form before attempting to use WordPress login credentials.

If you are having serious issues, send an e-mail to [email protected] with ‘Shadowdancer WordPress’ in the subject line and I’ll figure out what’s wrong.

If you don’t have a WP account, please direct any comments to this post at the Affsdiary Forums.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Also: I’ve been Instalanched?! (Hi!) AND Larry Correia linked this?! faints!

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I haven’t really written about the Sad Puppies 3 campaign on my blog because when it really started to heat up, my two and a half month old son Brandon died of SIDs. After that, I kind of wanted to keep my little space on the Internet off that kind of harassment, like what I saw levelled at Brad Torgersen – for a while. Nevertheless, I openly support Sad Puppies 3, because I honestly saw it as a chance to vote for the Hugos, as a fan of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, to see try vote for books I felt was worthy, honestly.

I can’t any more.

I’m just a small (literally – I’m only 4’8″) indie author and artist. So most people will probably dismiss me as unimportant. Most people don’t know who I am, and that’s okay.

The problem is when you don’t know who you’re talking about, or yelling insults at, you don’t know anything about them, where they’ve been, what they have done.

You don’t know what stories they have.

This will be long, so brace yourself.

A bit of background about myself first, which I don’t really wave around much.
My family’s always been a politically active one. My father, the son of two poor teachers was a police beat, later investigative journalist during the Marcos Era, and he openly didn’t approve of the abuses being conducted at the time by the dictatorship and its cronies. I don’t think most people who read this will really get it unless they’ve lived under similar circumstances, but that pretty much was walking around with a big fat target on your back. Not the bullshit social media kind that is common these days, but the kind that actually gets you hit with bullets. Journalists disappearing wasn’t uncommon, and most of those who did disappear were never seen again. If the family was lucky, they’d find something to bury and mourn – my parents related that a belt buckle in a shallow grave in the jungle was all that was found of one of my father’s journalist friends years after he’d vanished. One of the ones who made it out alive refused to talk about the years he was gone and missing.

For whatever reason, Dad didn’t vanish, nor was he openly assassinated, even with critical columns when he was an editor. He was a bit too visible perhaps – at his funeral, one of his longtime friends described Dad as a noisy bantam rooster, kicking up a fuss when it was warranted. (Another described him as being so restless and excitable that he would often be like a headless chicken rushing about, or so his senior editor would yell.) He taught me that there’s a story to be told if you know how to find it – and he was very good finding stories and bringing them to light. Have an article written by another one of his friends which some examples; which, surprisingly, has comments from myself, AND Uncle Larry Sipin’s daughter. Larry Sipin and my father were best of friends, and when Tito Larry died, he grieved for years. When my father died, his former colleagues in journalism wondered who they would first pester for an interview when they got to Heaven.

Dad was also a union leader, back when such a title actually meant something, looking out for worker’s rights and safety. One day, when I was on my way to college, I put on my school ID – it clipped to my blouse pocket. An old man sitting across from me in the Tamaraw FX taxi (these functioned more like jeepneys, plying set routes) saw my surname and asked if I was related in any way to Antonio Modena. Surprised, I replied that he was my Dad.

The old man then said “Ah, a man of great principles, your father. When he was the leader of our union at the newspaper I worked at, he looked out for us, the workers lower on the ladder – the cafeteria workers, the janitors, the people running the print machines, the security guards. When one of us lost his fingers in a printing machine accident, your father was able to fight for our employer to pay for the medical bills and give the man accident compensation and a pension. His children didn’t have to drop out of school to work.

“He never sold us out, you know. I heard they tried to bribe him, two million pesos and immigration to the US and a job, and he turned them down. A man of great, solid principles, your father. Be proud of him.”

Needless to say, his principles and unwillingness to bow to fear earned him enemies, including one of the relatives of Imelda Marcos. When Dad refused to accept that bribe, he found himself sacked on Christmas Eve that same year. There’s lots more to that story, but at any rate, he was encouraged to take the Foreign Service Officer exam. Out of two or three thousand, only six passed. Dad was number four, I think.

The relative of Imelda, we heard later on, was quite unhappy and tried to get Marcos himself to keep my father out of the foreign service. Supposedly, Marcos told him that because my father had passed the exam, there was nothing he could do.

My father’s first assignment was to East Berlin. A World War II history buff, he was excited because this meant that he could go and live in a place he had only read so much about. I was seven when we got there, and for two years we lived under in a socialist country. Privacy was an illusion, quite honestly; and my parents knew that there would be listening devices, and that our house would be inspected while we were out of the house. It would be little things – cups just out of place, neckties and suits not in the same order that my Dad carefully arranged, our toys moved from their original positions. There had been no housing in the diplomatic quarter, so we lived in an apartment high-rise where the families of the Stazi were granted homes. Dad was happy – we got to live Socialist East Berlin unfiltered and uncurated.

But to get to East Germany, we first flew to Amsterdam. And while we were there, Dad took us kids to the Anne Frank House museum. That started my education in history. Dad felt it very important that we learn about it before we got to Berlin, because once we were there, there would be no mention of it. This was particularly emphasized by the fact that the Second World War was excised entirely from East German education at the time, and they were only taught about ‘The Great War’ – what the rest of the world was calling World War I. Socialist Germany was a big exercise in erasing the past and reconstructing it in a great big lie – and somewhat inconveniently, there were still people who remembered WWII. It was a verboten subject, and the younger generation knew nothing of it. They didn’t believe that someone as evil as Hitler could have ever existed.

Dad, the Aristotlean gadfly that he was, liked to smuggle in copies of Mein Kampf and give it away as gifts, his own little subversive fight for the truth. I know he horrified one of our babysitters with it, who was a college student and an avowed Marxist who enjoyed being able to pit wills and philosophical arguments with ‘someone unfortunate enough not to be educated in Socialist education.’ It was her awakening into questioning what she knew.

One of the people working at the consulate fell in love with an East German woman. The only way they could marry was if she escaped East Berlin, and so he smuggled her out. The details of that I don’t know, but I remember my dad saying she was struck dumb for three days from sheer culture shock after she saw West Berlin for the first time – and realized that everything she’d been raised to believe, and had known as truth was in fact a carefully manufactured and maintained lie that was possible only through total control of information. Everything had to be spoon fed. They had to develop a disdain, to instil contempt, pity and aversion to Capitalism, America and other countries on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

It was actually the control of information that the older people tended to rebel against – the younger generations knew nothing of that, of course, because they did not know about the reality of the past. But the older people hungered for news, information. So we’d often get invited out to houses outside the city, where there were big, sprawling gardens. While my brothers and I played, my parents would be discreetly grilled for information and news about the outside world. They had no interest in leaving the Socialist setup, but would have liked to have the freedom to make up their own minds about the information out there, as well as events. They didn’t like being treated like children who were unable to think for themselves, or thought of as not having that capacity. They also wanted to just be able to travel and see their family on the other side.

The other thing they didn’t like what that good manners, right conduct and personal responsibility for one’s actions was no longer taught, and was considered ‘old fashioned’ and ‘wrong.’ Basic decency was being slowly erased, and the younger generations sind nicht mehr so nett. (no longer as nice.)

These seem like such a small things, I’m sure, to those of you reading this now, but the truth is, lots of little things eventually pile up, and become bigger than expected. We were reassigned to West Germany after only two years, but those two years still have an impact on me.

I was the only Asian student, and an ‘unknown’ Asian at that, in my classes in East Germany – most of my classmates had never heard of the Philippines; for the most part, they had heard of China, a sister nation in Communism. The years that followed in Bonn exposed me to the kind of racism I only had read about, but hadn’t experienced. See, my parents raised me to believe that I am a worthy human being, that my sex and skin color didn’t matter, and that it was my personality, my skills, my mind that mattered, that had merit, in the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. who is one of the figures of history we look up to. So I was surprised to find myself getting bullied because I was seen as ‘less’ because I came from a ‘dirty Asian country.’

And since I’m my father’s daughter, I got into a lot of fistfights. I got accused of a lot of falsehoods too, including supposedly trying to throw a teacher down a stairwell, with ‘lots of witnesses’ lined up against me. My father asked that the person I supposedly tried to murder be brought into the room. So they did, and the teacher in question was surprised. “She saved my life, because she kept me from falling over the railing when the lunchtime rush caught us both.”

The teachers, trying to save face, tried to tell my father that I was disliked because I was ‘abnormal’, preferring to read (Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, at the time) over playing during recess. My father jerked his thumb at the other children and said, “No, they are.”

In time though, the fights from my fellow schoolmates dribbled away as they decided I ‘wasn’t as weak and as cowardly as the other Asians’ – just in time for me to get into a fight with several teenagers from the high school who had heard of the uppity Asian girl who didn’t bow to her superiors. The same kids I used to get into a punchup with were right there with me and fighting back, and telling the teen boys that I was ‘stronger’ than the ‘rest of the weaklings.’

I remember trooping back to my house, the whole lot of us cleaning the scrapes and cuts and bandaging them up, and my mother, baby brother and the nanny coming home to see a crowd of Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian, African and German kids with cuts and bruises eating pizza at the dinner table. My mom’s only response was to send the nanny back out for more pizza and coke and for more band-aids. My house became the preferred place to hang out at after that, which my father said was fine because at least if we were there, we weren’t out in the streets getting into fights. I didn’t get into more fights after that, since word seemed to spread.

We moved around a bit after that, staying in the US with relatives for a few months, then going back to the Philippines, where I endured a different kind of discrimination – our household had always been English speaking, and the California sun had lightened my hair to a reddish brown, something I myself didn’t notice but my schoolmates did. Worse, I didn’t know how to speak Filipino, my English had a notable German mode of pronunciation, and the repeated syllables of Filipino, as well as it’s tonal inflections greatly eluded me. I was treated outright as an outsider, because I’d ‘lived abroad’ – seen as one of a different class of privilege and ‘snobbishness’ that I actually didn’t have (despite my father’s job and social standing, we were financially middle class.) The Philippines had changed a lot in the time we’d been gone, and I have to admit that the whole concept of envy of social and financial circumstances had been something I didn’t understand. It made less sense to me than racism, because it was something you could change with your own two hands!

My Dad got an assignment to Paris, France, as the Embassy’s minister counsellor, for six years. Because I was of college age, my mother and I stayed in the Philippines (though I stayed there for a year) and my brothers and father lived in France. When that tour was over, they came back home, and after a couple of years Dad took the panel examinations to qualify to become an Ambassador. He passed (not easy to do), was assigned to the ASEAN division of the Department of Foreign Affairs for a while, then he was up for assignment. He three options, one of which was open an embassy in Ireland (I think?) an assignment… I think the Maldives, and Israel.

I came down from upstairs to get a cup of coffee (that which sets my mind in motion…) and he was sitting at the dinner table, pondering what to take. He asked my opinion.

I said, “Ireland would be interesting. But Dad? You’re the kind of guy who thrives on stress. Israel’s better for you! Besides, that’s the land of the Bible! Think of all the history! And besides, it’s the only place in the Middle East where you won’t go insane from all the human rights violations and discrimination you’d be able to do nothing about.”

He chuckled and said I was right.

Now I mentioned before that my family is very political; and while Dad admired the Jews, he and my mother disagreed on the Israel-Palestine history. He felt that the Palestinians were the victims against a better set up aggressor – essentially buying the long-running media narrative. My mom on the other hand, curious about the Jews, studied the history, and took Israel’s side. It was, my mother and I felt, Dad’s blind spot; but he was also honest enough and objective enough that in the terms of comparison, Israel was the best place in the Middle East to be if you didn’t want to be in trouble for having different beliefs and religions.

Within five months of his arrival in Israel as our Ambassador and representative of the nation, Dad changed his decades-long opinion about the Palestinians, and sided with Israel. During a brief visit back we asked him why. Frankly, we were shocked; the Israel-Palestine situation had been an on and off debate with my parents, and we’d figured Dad was firmly entrenched in his view.

“It was all a lie,” he said. “Everything that I thought had been true of the Palestinians, is a lie. They fire rockets from hospitals and schools and houses, aiming at the Israeli schools, hospitals and houses, not military targets, and then run to the media and complain about how their civilians died in retaliatory fire. It’s stupid that they act like they’re the victims.” What broke the straw on the proverbial camel’s back though, was seeing the thrice a week caravans of food, supplies, necessities for living in food aid going across the border, funded by the Israeli government

He was also furious that any land the Palestinians got, ‘they turned into a wasteland’ – Gaza, Bethlehem… Gaza had been a fertile stretch of orchards and farmland when the Israelis surrendered it. Bethlehem, with it’s deeply religious significance, had been a thriving center for tourism and pilgrimages, but under the Palestinians, ‘it had become a slum.’ He saw the pictures of what these places looked like while under the care of the Jews and Israelis. Under the Palestinians, those places were ruined.

This isn’t to say he became unable to judge between right and wrong – barely a year into his ambassadorial duties, he called my mother, saying that he was likely to endanger his career, and told her why. She supported him and told him to do what he believed was right.

Now, I know in the light of the current controversy, which I will address later, this may sound hypocritical, but it isn’t – only those who are incapable of reading comprehension will take it wrongly.

My Dad, you see, had witnessed and been subject to very rough treatment by the Israeli Immigration Police. I know the general populace will go ‘so what?’ but there’s a culture of proper diplomatic protocol expected from the host country – and the IIP were violating it. Worse than that however, were the reports brought to him in his capacity as Ambassador of how the Filipinos were being segregated and discriminated against– told to sit in the back of the plane, treated more suspiciously at the immigration lines, and generally disrespected.

For the Filipino workers, he heard stories from both groups, and their Israeli landlords, how the IIP would conduct sudden searches – usually at night, startling families who were about to go to bed, often taking showers or were half-undressed, by kicking down doors and breaking through the windows. There were stories of men trying to protect their half-undressed female kin and being beaten, and if they protested the rough treatment, would be struck with the butts of rifles, and if the Jewish landlords protested the rough treatment of their Filipino tenants and the damage to their property, they would get yelled at and intimidated and threatened. “They were looking for illegal workers,” the landlords said. “But that doesn’t excuse their treatment of our tenants, because it assumes by default that the people they’re investigating are guilty.”

This was a gross violation of basic decency and human rights, as well as a big case of unfair discrimination. Further investigation by him – and when I heard about it, by me – that this was a common problem but limited to the IIP. There used to be a website documenting their violations, which I linked to my Dad.

Around this time he was also scheduled for an interview in one of the local magazines, and during the interview, he talked about the actions of the IIP, and called them ‘Nazi-like,’ ‘Gestapo-like,’ explaining why he used that description. He said that the Israeli people were quite hospitable, friendly and welcoming – and that this behaviour was specifically confined to the actions of a particular government body. He cited those offences, and talked about the responses of the landlords.

When the interview was published there was a brief firestorm, because, how DARE someone describe Jews as ‘Nazi-like’?! The furore was actually confined to a single politician in Israel, and one in the Philippines, calling for my father’s resignation in disgrace, that he be declared persona non grata and be immediately deported from Israel.

The people on the other hand… Well, my unofficial help on this side was to keep track of the news. I provided my father links and information, detailing the feedback. What was interesting was, the Israelis themselves said “We call each other Nazis in fits of pique, and he’s not wrong about the rough treatment he’s complaining about.” This response was common in the comments of the online newspapers even in Israel; at home, countering the grandstanding of that one local politician, the journalists were saying that my father should be lauded as a hero for standing up for Filipino well being and treatment, behaving as an Ambassador should. He would call my mother at odd hours, saying he was sleepy but was unable to sleep because he was getting interviewed globally – radio shows, newspaper interviews.

The Knesset called for an investigation. My father said that other representatives from other Embassies delivered complaints of mistreatment and discrimination.

All he wanted was for the Filipino people to be treated like normal human beings, he said, like people. He cited that with the history that Israel has, they shouldn’t forget what it is like, to be treated as less than human, second class. He did not blame the entirety of Israel. He sincerely apologized for his heated remarks in that light, but, he said, he had been so shocked and dismayed by that unfair discrimination that he forgot himself.

Bolstered by his stance, Israeli employers pressured the government to improve the lot of the Filipino workers and caregivers – many of whom work in caring for the aged and infirm.

There was no further ill treatment of overseas workers or discrimination from that point on, as far as I know. That website with the descriptions of the IIP’s wrongdoing went away, and was gone. During checks of passengers on the planes, Filipinos were no longer segregated to the back of the plane, but investigated and checked like everyone else.

My father consistently believed that the Filipino was worth fighting for – not as superiors, but in defence of their equality, that they have the right to work for their successes and dreams without discrimination. This does not mean he was blind – he was just as open about his criticisms of the flaws of Filipinos, just as he was willing to call out a flaw in Israeli performance.

We are human after all, and not perfect. He believes that we are capable of mistakes, and when we do them, apologize and make up for it.

This would not be the only time that my father would do everything he could in defence and protection of the Filipino. During the Israeli-Lebanon war, he coordinated the efforts in evacuating Filipinos from Lebanon – in some cases, helping them escape from their employers.

Soon after that, my father started promoting awareness of how the Philippines had opened it’s doors to the fleeing Jews during World War II. It’s a piece of history, he said, that isn’t commonly known, and is, by large unacknowledged.

Courage and determination to give humanitarian support for the Jews seeking refuge from the Holocaust in Europe in the 1930s.

These are the Filipino values that are sought to be remembered in this project called “Open Doors, ” the first Philippine Monument in Israel symbolizing the people’s hospitality, when the Philippines opened its doors to the Jewish refugees fleeing Europe during the Holocaust.

In 1939, the Philippine Commonwealth Government, as a matter of policy, opened its doors and welcomed Jewish refugees escaping Nazi tyranny in Europe. Ten thousand visas earmarked for travel to the Philippines Islands were made available to thousands of Jews.

President Manuel L. Quezon fully understood the crisis that the Jews were facing at that time. And to reinforce this open door policy, President Quezon built a housing community for Jewish refugees in Marikina in 1939 and allotted a farm and large settlement area in Mindanao for Jewish refugees before the outbreak of World War II.

The Filipinos expressed their indignation to the persecution of the Jews. On 17 November 1938, hundreds of Filipinos held a rally in Manila to express their moral outrage and to denounce the Kristallnacht.

These episodes in the journey of Jews to the Philippines to escape the Holocaust were documented and thoroughly discussed in the book entitled “Escape to Manila” by Frank Ephraim, one of the Jewish refugees and a witness to the humanitarian efforts of President Quezon. “Escape to Manila” will preserve for all generations the memories and experiences of the European Jews who sought refuge in the Philippines and the warm hospitality of the Filipinos during this difficult period in the Jewish history.

Perhaps impressed by my father’s willingness to fight for his fellow countrymen, or by the strength of his character, the Israeli government offered that a monument be raised to commemorate and remember that show of welcome when so many other nations turned the Jews away.

My father never saw the fruits of his efforts; he came home that last Christmas to tell us he had lung cancer. His doctors in Israel were optimistic; saying that if this had been twenty years prior, he should have been saying his farewells. Instead, they felt it was treatable. He collapsed while accompanying my mother on a pilgrimage to a certain church so she could pray – the unusually cold weather had given him pneumonia. While he was in the hospital, they treated his cancer as well, but his body had been so weakened by the pneumonia he didn’t make it through recovery.

I gave birth while he was in the hospital, and Rhys and I would sit and ‘talk’ with him – Dad had a tube inserted into his throat through which he was fed or to help him breathe, and couldn’t reply, but wrote his replies on a pad of paper. Vincent wasn’t allowed into the ICU then, so my father demanded photos, as many as we could take, which he would gaze at longingly. The day Rhys had to return to Australia, he promised my Dad he would take care of us.

A week later, Dad was released from the ICU and put into a normal hospital room. We brought Vincent to see him. Dad looked happy, and nibbled at his grandson’s little toes. Perhaps prickled by my Dad’s mustache, Vincent began to cry, and that seemed to upset Dad, so we said we’d visit him again later.

He passed away the next morning.

http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/local-filipinos-mourn-death-of-ambassador-antonio-modena-1.213810

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/59977/pinoyabroad/open-doors-first-rp-monument-to-rise-in-israel

http://www.philstar.com/travel-and-tourism/481231/open-doors-monument-filipino-heart

What does this have to do with the Sad Puppies, I’m sure you wonder. I’m fairly sure few would have made it down this far, down this long-winded summary of the last 30-odd years of my family history.

Well see, consider first what the Hugo Awards are, and the claims that are constantly slung against the Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies and their supporters. I won’t deny that the Sad Puppies campaign is politically touched – Larry Correia set out to prove that if he got conservative authors nominated, the left-leaning establishment would explode in rage and out would come every single tactic in Alinsky’s playbook.

Sad Puppies 1 and 2 proved that he was right. Satisfied by that, Larry was ready to lay down the banner. After all, Sad Puppies 2 had shown that the opposition would go FAR beyond merely calling him names and making up false claims on the Internet about how evil he was. He was libeled on the Guardian by Damien Walter, and people called up Larry’s home, ‘offering help’ to Larry’s wife to ‘escape from her abusive husband’ – the sheer amount of slander that he got, simply for disagreeing and exposing the biases and hate was staggering.

The Hugos are the big prestigious award for science fiction and fantasy. One of my books was a finalist for best novel. A bunch of other works that I recommended showed up in other categories. Because I’m an outspoken right winger, hilarity ensued.

Many of you have never heard of me before, but the internet was quick to explain to you what a horrible person I am. There have been allegations of fraud, vote buying, log rolling, and making up fake accounts. The character assassination has started as well, and my detractors posted and tweeted and told anyone who would listen about how I was a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a rape apologist, an angry white man, a religious fanatic, and how I wanted to drag homosexuals to death behind my pickup truck.

The libel and slander over the last few days have been so ridiculous that my wife was contacted by people she hasn’t talked to for years, concerned that she was married to such a horrible, awful, hateful, bad person, and that they were worried for her safety.

I wish I was exaggerating. Don’t take my word for it. My readers have been collecting a lot of them in the comments of the previous Hugo post and on my Facebook page. Plug my name into Google for the last few days. Make sure to read the comments to the various articles too. They’re fantastic.

Of course, none of this stuff is true, but it was expected. I knew if I succeeded I would be attacked. To the perpetually outraged the truth doesn’t matter, just feelings and narrative. I’d actually like to thank all of those people making stuff up about me because they are proving the point I was trying to make to begin with.

Larry didn’t win the Hugo, but despite what John Scalzi and the rest of Larry’s detractors claim, that was never his goal. His real goal was to expose what he, and Sarah Hoyt, and several others have been saying all along:

Short Version:

I said a chunk of the Hugo voters are biased toward the left, and put the author’s politics far ahead of the quality of the work. Those openly on the right are sabotaged. This was denied.
So I got some right wingers on the ballot.
The biased voters immediately got all outraged and mobilized to do exactly what I said they’d do.
Point made.

I’ve said for a long time that the awards are biased against authors because of their personal beliefs. Authors can either cheer lead for left wing causes, or they can keep their mouth shut. Open disagreement is not tolerated and will result in being sabotaged and slandered. Message or identity politics has become far more important than entertainment or quality. I was attacked for saying this. I knew that when an admitted right winger got in they would be maligned and politicked against, not for the quality of their art but rather for their unacceptable beliefs.

If one of us outspoken types got nominated, the inevitable backlash, outrage, and plans for their sabotage would be very visible. So I decided to prove this bias and launched a campaign I called Sad Puppies (because boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness).

Sad Puppies 3 started with a bid by Brad Torgersen to try get the authors’ works we felt were worthy of nominating into the Hugo nominations, but wouldn’t otherwise get nominated. Larry felt that Brad was being rather idealistic, but hey, Brad felt the Hugos could be brought back to it’s original meaning of being an award that represented ‘the best of SFF’ as opposed to ‘who wrote the ‘most important work’ by purely left-leaning talking points of ‘important’, or by the color of their skin, their politics, who they slept with, if they’d changed gender, or were female. He wanted simply that the works be judged as works of science fiction and fantasy. So he called for suggestions. People replied – not just on his blog, or his friends’ blogs, and facebook posts, but also sent in suggestions via email – either to his friends, to Larry, to Sarah and Mad Genius Club, who forwarded it on, and such.

Brad called for everyone to send in suggestions of what they felt was worthy of an award. That invitation included people who opposed the previous campaigns. The only rule? Was to suggest only works that the persons suggesting it had read. No ‘I’d heard that…’ People sent in their suggestions, and the resulting slate of suggestions to nominate for the Hugo awards was a wide range of people and political leanings, sexual preferences and races – diversity by it’s very definition, as is considered important by those who are our detractors, but in reality, what we cared about were the works those authors produced.

We chose entirely based on merit.

Not on whether the person who wrote it was white, black, yellow or green striped and with red and orange polka dots.

We didn’t choose because of their political leanings.

We didn’t choose because of who they slept with.

We didn’t choose because of their religious beliefs.

We didn’t choose works based on whether or not the writer was transgender.

Brad stressed that nobody had to follow the slate. It was just suggestions – if there was a work that they felt should be nominated over one that was on the list, then by all means, vote for it. All that mattered was that this time, we were participating. And that we should also get the word out to other fans to nominate, and if we missed that, see about spreading the word that anyone who paid the supporting fees could vote this year, and nominate next year.

All he cared about was getting more and more people involved. That we judge works, as opposed to the people.

Leaving aside whether or not you agree with what we Sad Puppies did, let me emphasize that this is an award ultimately determined by who votes for what, as they wish, according to their individual tastes. I’ve been seeing lots of complaints, rage and demands, lots of misrepresentation, and falsely pretending to be impartial. There was a ridiculous complaint that if ‘we puppies had done the thing perfectly, the anti-pups wouldn’t be complaining.’

(That one is extra silly because it soon became clear that nothing we did or said was ever going to be good enough.)

There was also a strange, and frankly unrealistic expectation that we should have predicted that we sweep the nominations (Sorry, but while some of us write fantasy, we’re not wizards.) This one is funny to me because it’s a tacit admission that we supposedly outnumbered their nominations, thus ‘that’s not fair!’

We didn’t make the Sasquan rules. We followed them. And yes, yes, I hear the arguments about the ‘spirit of the awards’ – well, what are Hugos awarded for? The ‘best of SFF.’

Heck, we were unaware that we’d get so many works nominated – and honestly, not all of the ones we picked were. Larry and Brad both got nominated – and then refused their nominations. But the outrage was already showing up before the nominations themselves were announced.

We really didn’t know.

And while we kind of expected that rage would be directed at Brad and Larry for their nominations, honestly we didn’t expect that kind of rage to be directed at say, Jim Butcher, whose politics were completely unknown. Our detractors were demanding to know if ‘they’d allowed’ themselves to be included on our list. I’m sorry that you think that we need your permission to like something that much, but no, we don’t. Others complained about The Three Body Problem not being nominated by us – then demanded to know why we hadn’t read it in time.

And on and on and on. Even we were shocked by the Entertainment Weekly smear piece, but the detractors pooh-poohed it as careless journalism, because they were quite happy that we were being spread far and wide as the usual list of outrage engendering labels.

Misogynist.

Racist.

Homophobic.

Rape apologists.

And so on and so forth. Not a whit of it was true of course. This was, however, a step further than the smears laid on Larry by Damien Walter at the Guardian, because within hours, the libelous Entertainment Weekly piece was requoted across the globe – and even after the threat of litigation caused Entertainment Weekly to retract – bit by bit, starting with the title, then the content, then changed it to the point that it just leaned towards the anti-Puppy side in tone – the other articles have not been changed the last I heard.

There were accusations of us dragging in GamerGate, but this had little to no traction, honestly because Sad Puppies is about books, while GamerGate is about games – different focuses of ethics. Yes, there was some overlapping fandom but it didn’t take – until well known anti-Gamergater Brianna Wu said something. Gamergate wondered then what they were being accused of this time, apparently being the new boogeyman that is ad hoc blamed for everything. The problems we fight against are similar, especially with #NotYourShield.

The controversy has grown to the point that big name authors have weighed in, some in defense of us, some against. Ultimately, most of those have been private opinions, expressed privately on their own blogs.

Then along came Irene Gallo.

When you are promoting the product of your company, you are representing your company. Hitch along with it sneering in the main body of that post? You’re using your company’s name to give your words weight, whether or not that was what you intended. When someone asks you a question, and you respond in such a libellous, career-destroying manner, including authors in your statement – not by name, but by association – that your company publishes, you are indicating that this is the company point of view.

The thing is, honestly, such is what is considered acceptable – and frankly, you’re showing Larry is right again – from the other side, as indicated by the dismay by the anti-Puppies by Tom Doherty’s addressing the outrage from out side. They toss those labels at us because they consider us the enemy and must be destroyed.

Proving Larry right again and again and again.

The thing is, they toss those labels blindly, caring only for the destruction such words a capable of. So all-consuming is their hatred, that they include people like myself as ‘hateful white cis-men’ – I’m Filipino, female, and in an interracial marriage – and label people like Peter Grant to be the very thing that heroes like Peter have fought: White supremacists, Nazis.

Mr. Doherty, I spent eighteen years working with the victims of racial and tribal violence in South Africa, trying to overturn the vicious and racist policies of apartheid. The white government sought to rule by diktat, and the so-called ‘liberation movements’ who opposed it sought to render white rule impossible through terror. Groups such as ours that sought to bring relief and new hope to areas of conflict were targeted by both sides. We paid a heavy price for our beliefs. Twenty-seven of us died during those years, and more have died since. I’ve written here from time to time about some aspects of our experiences. If you’d like to know more, try this article, or this one. As for my attitude towards racism, try this article for a start.

Given that background, you’ll understand that to be told by Ms. Gallo that, as a supporter of the Sad Puppy campaign, I’m “unrepentantly racist”, is utterly unacceptable to me. Furthermore, I’ve fought (and I mean exchanged gunfire with) real neo-Nazis who sought to impose Nazi-like ideals of racial purity on a country at war with itself. Thus, to be told that I’m a member of an “extreme right-wing to neo-nazi group” is equally unacceptable. I could go on cherry-picking individual clauses out of Ms. Gallo’s statements, but why bother? I think you can understand why I exploded with anger when I read it. She has no idea about those realities. I do. I will bear their scars, mental, spiritual and physical, until the day I die.

I strongly, strongly advise you to read his post. The links in that quote that should, no must be read.

This is why I prefaced this post with a history of who I am, and a rather summarized description of my experiences. I have faced real racism, real discrimination. I have stood OPENLY in support of the Jews, of Israel, for which I have been stalked by someone on the side of the Antis FOR NEARLY SEVEN YEARS AND RECEIVED THREATS AGAINST MY CHILDREN FOR.

Peter Grant has fought against it.

Brad Torgersen goes to fight ISIS / DAESH – against REAL terrorists, REAL religiously motivated hatred, REAL rape culture, REAL KILLINGS OF GAYS.

You who sling mud at us, who question our honor our integrity, our hardships and experiences are doing so FOR THE PETTY REASON OF AN AWARD FOR FICTION.

With Irene Gallo’s original response to the protests of her words, and her subsequent non-apology, it is clear she is unrepentant in her contempt, in her hatred.

The difference between her and my father is, she is ‘sorry’ that ‘we were hurt by her calling us Nazis’, not that she is sorry at all ‘for calling us Nazis.’

My father apologized for his words, for calling the then actions of the Israeli Immigration Police as Nazi-like.

Irene Gallo and her like are not building, they are destroying. They are discriminating against merit, and favoring things extant to merits.

I frankly feel bad for Tom Doherty. He has employees who are more interested in their own agendas and their own ideology, than they are interested in keeping the business of the customers who do not share that ideology, or being welcoming towards authors who do not share that ideology. I do not know him, but I’ve heard about him, for the large part, good. I do not remember bad things said about him – and I heard about these good things from Larry Correia, John C. Wright, Sarah A. Hoyt, and others I may have forgotten. It is clear he treasures what he has built up.

An actual apology, instead of a sulky ‘I’m sorry you’re pissed off by what I said,’ would have been good. Perhaps probation. It depends on what punishments are deemed fit by the head company (Macmillan in this case) – as noted by other people already, the human resources departments of other companies would have already fired her for her unprofessional conduct.

Personally, I have no wish that their words ever be silenced. Let them speak, let them scream. Let everyone know what they think. Let them show the world how they react to disagreement.

Judge them by their words, their actions, revealing their character.

The people Tom Doherty has under him stand on the house he has built and throw rocks and jeer at half of their audience, and have openly reviled some of their authors, and openly reviled authors of other houses, regardless of their true beliefs.

But that is not important to them. That is why Brad came up with the term CHORFs – it was to distinguish the easily, perpetually outraged from those who lean simply left or disagree with us, like Eric Flint, who is on record as disagreeing what we Puppies are trying to do / how we did it, but speaks in our defence because such shrieking hatred is flat out unacceptable.

For all the accusations that they are flinging our way for ‘destroying the Hugos’ they really need to look at the behaviour they are displaying.

When it is gone, they will find something else to destroy in their attempts in recreating the Great Leap Forward in whatever genre or part of society they are in.

I would like to thank my mother, Maria Caridad Modena, for proofreading and checking my essay, as she used to do for my father’s articles and editorials.

Thank you to Eric Rasmusen for letting me know of a typo!

Interesting little surprises

I run into interesting people online – hell, my hubby is a person I met on the Megatokyo Story Discussions forum and Aff is my former clan leader now housemate. This is probably why most of my friends are online too.

Naturally, interesting stories come up and this is one of them. A discussion about Star Wars over at According to Hoyt lead to this delightful anecdote by Xenophon (who kindly allowed me to repost his story here.) Enjoy!

The first Star Wars film (episode IV) was a really interesting phenomenon in H’wood, not least because NOBODY (including the studio, director, producer, etc.) expected it to be a huge hit.

When SW was in production I was in High School living in Santa Monica, CA. Across the street from us lived a budding young producer who’d heard about SW through the grape vine. The buzz at the time was “It’s an old-school SciFi adventure film, with a twist. The big difference is that the milieu is lived in: beat-up, run down, dirty, and USED.”

Our neighbor **really** wanted to visit the special effects team working on the film. He figured out that the sfx team would really want to meet “the father of computer graphics” (a.k.a., my Dad). So he got my Dad’s permission to parlay Dad’s reputation into a visit for himself, my Dad, and me. Dad’s other “payment” for the use of his reputation was that we got our neighbor’s tickets to see SW at the theater belonging to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. No lines to wait in, and the best projection and sound systems in the industry at the time. At the time we made this deal, nobody expected SW to be a huge hit, so we had no idea what a big deal those tickets would be after the movie came out.

According to our neighbor, the reason he was so eager to visit the sfx team was that he’d heard that they were producing amazing results on a budget that he described as “half a shoe-string.” He really wanted to learn about how they were doing it.

We spent most of a school-day visiting the sfx guys. They too described the “big difference” from what had been done before as being the “run-down and dirty” look. Absolutely NO ONE claimed that anything about the *story* was special or different.

There was virtually NO CGI, as that was far too expensive for their budget. Instead, it was almost all old-school model building, etc. They did only one thing that they described as “high tech.” The fly-through of the surface of the Death Star (and the trench) was done by putting a camera on a computer-controlled arm, and moving it (extremely carefully!) past and through a BIG model of the DS surface and trench, doing stop-motion photograpy as they went. In this context, “BIG” means about 15 feet by 40 feet or so. The arm was an industrial robot arm they’d leased for the purpose, controlled by a PDP-11 (also leased). Apparently they were the first in H’wood to use this technique. The precision and flexibility of the computerized arm let them mount a video camera so they could preview the results and tweak the camera motions to the director’s satisfaction — all before shooting even a single frame of actual film. It also meant that late changes to the exact path of the camera required shooting *only* the specific frames that changed. Prior techniques required re-shooting the entire sequence.

They told us that the model-work for the DS surface was put together out of square modules about one foot on a side, fastened side-by-side on a grid. They had remarkably few different modules — four or five, IIRC (certainly a single-digit number) — and disguised this in part by rotating the modules so they’d be in different orientations to the camera. And yes, the sides of the trench were exactly the same modules, placed vertically. If you look closely, you can see that the trench is exactly one module deep and one module wide. This modular structure mattered because they needed nearly 1000 modules for the DS surface; about 75% in use at any time, the rest as replacement parts when they broke something.

We also saw some very amusing saved video camera footage in which mistakes in programming the arm caused the camera to run into gun towers. Or the wall of the trench. Or the floor of the trench. Including a few where they said things like (paraphrasing here) “and the point where we lose the video here is where the robot arm destroyed the video camera by shoving it through the 2×6 framing that holds up the bottom corner of the trench.” Oops! Apparently this represented another significant savings: destroying consumer-grade video cameras was WAAAY cheaper than destroying high-end film cameras and lenses.

 

Silence but for the tears and memories

Suffering from insomnia. It’s past two am. I hurt all over, because there should be a peacefully snoozing baby near me and every cell of my being is refusing to let me rest because of how wrong this lack of Brandon is. I have this driving need to find and retrieve my son, and there is this Brandon-shaped hole in our lives that tells us he is gone, we won’t see his bright, piercing gray-eyed gaze or hear his voice as he cries or coos, or cuddle his small body against ours or feel his tiny, chubby arms trying to hug us back.

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Pain and practicality

Technical Update:

The problem with the site has been identified. Some users will have to visit this site via http://www.affsdiary.com/shadow/ in order to have the ability to comment. It would be best if you logged in with a WordPress account after entering via either http://www.affsdiary.com -> Shadowdancer Studios or http://www.affsdiary.com/shadow

The shadowdancer.affsdiary.com subdomain is not set up correctly, and I am not in a mind state where fixing that is possible right now.

We now return you to the blogpost proper.  – Aff

 

Beware. Rambly post ahead.

 

Grief, from where I stand, never plays out the way they portray in the movies.

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A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.

 

"Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end." -- Spock (Star Trek VI)

“Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end.” — Spock (Star Trek VI)

Leonard Nimoy dies at age 83

The title was his last tweet.

Mr. Spock was one of my childhood inspirations. If anything I looked up to the ability he had to analyze logically, act reasonably, yet be tempered by intangible things such as duty, friendship, and wisdom. Inspired by the way his character seemed to know so much, I happily embarked into reading everything I could and studied hard as I could.

I’m too sad to say more.