Category Archives: Uncategorized

Growing Up Asian

So, my housemate links me this video, and goes ‘You have gotta see this.’

He’s a mutt, so before anyone screams racist, his Dad was from India; so when I brought home some indian sweets the other week, he just couldn’t get excited; though he did tell me the store I got it from had some delicious spicy stuff – and I guess that explains his cast iron stomach.

Anyway, a lot of this was relatable – some wasn’t,  because I had an allowance, for example, and while my dad, oddly enough, never really pushed me to have super good grades, my mom kind of did; even though my grades were pretty good (80+ to 90s… well, except PE and Filipino, because I hated those classes) and I spent my youth pretty much with my head buried in a book. I’m not really sure what gave me my study ethic, other than “if I get this all done and out of the way already I can go do stuff I like to do” so I tended to do my homework during recess (which some teachers had issues with, and some didn’t; but this saved my ass in college because holy crap the reams of homework I had to come home with.) These days kids barely have a fraction of the seatwork or homework we had! Such low standards these days… /asianmomgrumbling

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Writer Emptor

Every one of us has the dream of becoming popular enough with our readers that we will be able to set aside our day job and simply work at writing – be the next Larry Correia or Andrew Weir. That we will be able to pay attention to only the work of crafting our story, and someone else would handle the nitty gritty details of financial remuneration and accounting, the contracts and such – the ‘icky’ business side of writing.

I’ll be honest and say that the mindset – especially when it comes to financial matters – gives me the heebie-jeebies. Granted, I’m not the best person when it comes to finances; but I do know the basics and how to prioritise them; so I can understand why the mindset has appeal.

But that mindset is where predators can swoop in. And have. Dear God, they have.

I’ll spare the gruesome details here because you can read about them written by people far more able than I to write about these abuses. Mario Puzo can’t write about it any more, but the guy who wrote Fight Club was a victim, and he did.

Mad Genius Club has a post about it. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been writing about this kind of thing for years, and finally she has the smoking gun. And the effects. Which is being hushed up – the reaction to this is frankly, stunning… but unsurprising. It’s a bit akin to people who were at a terrorist attack, except that they’ve been victimised for years. You don’t want to admit when you’ve been a victim in circumstances like these, and the predators and abusers don’t want their cover blown. And in fairness, there are likely to be honest literary agents out there who see this as a big threat to their jobs when they’ve done nothing wrong. There are new writers who w

Everyone has a very good reason to be scared, and not want to see the reality.

Me, I just feel sad for the people who are victims of this. I mean, nobody can tell me that Mario Puzo’s estate for his books, the licensing of the movies, etc, isn’t in the multimillions. It also makes me angry that it seems that the other clients of Donadio & Olson seem to be unaware of this happening.

 

Some writers represented by the agency told The Post they had not been contacted about the theft, and did not know if it affected their royalties.

“This is the first I heard of it,” said McKay Jenkins, a nonfiction author.

Bert Fields, a lawyer representing the Puzo estate, said he learned of the arrest from The Post.

The alleged theft was first discovered last fall when an unidentified author who was expecting to receive a $200,000 advance from his publisher asked Webb why he had not received the payment.

According to the complaint, Webb put the author off for months.

“The author did not receive the payment because Webb had converted the funds to Webb’s own use,” says the complaint.

“The agency’s singular focus at this time is ensuring that all of its impacted clients are made whole to the greatest extent possible, and the agency is cooperating in every possible way with the government’s efforts,” said Matthew Adams, a lawyer for Donadio & Olson.

Calls and an e-mail to Webb’s attorneys were not returned.

 

That’s insane. It’s unthinkable. It’s the kind of ‘don’t tell the passengers we’re sinking’ cover-your-ass. Why weren’t the clients told – they have every right to be. But as Kristine has pointed out, there are no oversights for literary agents, and no enforcement. So it’s no surprise.

Good luck to the authors and creators who have been hurt by this crime. I wish you the best, and hope you get the earnings you were due.

 

 

 

Why Humans Have Different Skin Colors

I  mentioned that I went back to the Philippines recently, and brought back lots of stuff. One of the things I also brought home was a container of whitening lotion – to use on my elbows, which tend to darken because I lean on them a lot while typing or drawing, and since I do a lot of that, they darken (as well as dry out) on a regular basis. I’ll cheerfully admit to my vanity that I have even skin tone – a lovely golden toast color, that I have no desire to whiten, the way a lot of Filipinos, and well, Asians want to. I don’t agree with the latter explanations of the post; white skin in Asian culture is tied to wealth and nobility, and existed as a paragon of beauty (for both men and women) – note the reference to pre-Qin China.

Personally, skin colour is one of those things I’ve never paid attention to in my dealings with people. I treat everyone the same – entirely dependent on how the person I am interacting with behaves. (Apparently, that’s ‘racist and discriminatory’ to some folks who haven’t picked up a dictionary within the last 50 years, the claim of which makes no sense, since it’s the other person’s behaviour toward me that I’m judging them by, e.g. their own actions and words.) I’m big on treating people as people, which is far less stressful and aging than constantly being on the lookout for something small and petty to be offended by. There are bigger things to get upset about, but that’s a discussion for some other time.

Me, I like my golden toast skin hue (It’s a permanent, perfect sun-kissed tan that I never have to work on!); although since I live in Australia, it makes it a bit hard to find make up at times. Fortunately, I am not the only Asian in Australia, and there are Asian grocery stores and such that I can source the occasional specific-to-my-ethnic-mix cosmetic needs, which are not, fortunately for me, that great a need. (Just need a thin layer of foundation so that the make up has that to cling to, in order to last longer. (More of the blush than anything else, really.) I should’ve picked up a pack of that face powder while I was back in the Philippines, but I forgot, having other priorities at the time. No biggie; and I’m not going to scream ‘BUT THAT IS UNFAIR’ (if I do, I’m joking; much in the same way I make fun about my being short, and there being no lovely thigh-high boots for someone as short as me that also has curves in my calves and thighs.) Also, seriously, there’s the Internet, and if I really was looking for that and willing to pay for it, I am pretty sure I could find that face powder.

Still, the reality is, folks have skin hues, as part of their physical descriptor; and frankly, that’s a better alternative to transparent skin. Can you imagine what that would be like? Seeing one’s muscles, bared? No thanks. Besides, this completely ignores the benefits of skin hues and melanin. Long and short of it is though, physical description is part of of how we tell each other apart – it’s how humans are able to identify a friend or a member of your family, because unlike other animals, we don’t identify each other by scent. We do it with our eyeballs and the use of our disproportionately huge brains. There are numerous theories why different groups have different skin colours (my main one is ‘evolutionary development in response to environmental exposure to the sun and it’s strength in varying regions of the world’) as well as legends, myths and folk tales that served as an explanation for our ancient fore-bearers. They served well enough that these folks got on with the business of living instead of sitting there, paralysed by ‘why?’ and starving to death.

A friend of mine recently told Rhys one of the more humorous Filipino folk tales as to why human beings all have different skin colours. It goes somewhat like this:

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A Visit Back To The Mother Country

Wedding couple at the San Augustin Church

The wedding had all the ceremonies observed; we did our parts too!

 

The family all visited the Philippines for the first time in 6 years; for my youngest brother’s wedding. It was a short visit, hectic – but ultimately fun and wonderful. I sadly didn’t have time to interview my Mom for stories as I would have liked (so I can start writing those family stories), but she had fun being Lola to her (currently only) grandchildren, and ‘spoiling her baby daughter’ – so I have a load of daster dresses (yay!) and having Rhys and I eat with her at her new favourite food places. I went home with the intention of being able to eat some of the foods I seriously missed while overseas, and while that ambition was partly fulfilled, I feel rather sad that I didn’t get to sample more of the smorgasbord that is Filipino food and restaurant variety.

The Tombstone Hamburger Stack challenge

We didn’t have the time (it was late at night) to try this challenge, alas.

(To our amusement, the kids simply adored Jolibee, though Vincent found the burgers ‘too small’, and Rhys could eat three Filipino-sized servings of food by himself.) I didn’t get a chance to eat fishballs, or Goldilock’s Cathedral Windows, but I did manage to have some Red Ribbon (and introduced Vincent to the joys of mamon, that fluffy Filipino angel food-sponge.)

I did bring home lots of powdered juice mixes and Mom, upon finding out that Nescafe Berry Coffee was something Rhys – the consumate tea drinker – deeply enjoyed, made it a point to ensure that her only son-in-law had a package of single-serves to bring back to Australia. Note to self: next time, bring even LESS clothes, and bigger suitcases for the children, because while I sent home two balikbayan (return to homeland) boxes full of pasalubong (‘welcoming’ gifts) we got given so much there’s a huge plastic chest of stuff we couldn’t fit on our baggage allowance (30kg per person) that Mom says she’ll send in parcels – with more food things that we liked, but didn’t get a chance to bring home more of. (Waah, I realised just now I left behind my little cookies with the little drop of hard icing on top. I wanted to nibble on those while on the plane ride home!) The pasalubong will mostly go to folks my Mom knows; as they’re mostly ‘thank you for taking care of my Mom for me’ appreciation gifts.

I will have to learn to make taho myself though. =/

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Support Your Local Medical Examiner

There’s a snarky meme/ badge pin / livejournal icon I’ve seen before – and used, because I find it funny – that goes Support Your Local Medical Examiner: Die Strangely.

Well. I guess some people… took it to heart, maybe? o_O

But dangerous solo sex is becoming a global issue, with forensic examiners claiming one to two people per one million are killed annually in the act of searching for the ‘ultimate orgasm’, which in most fatal cases can mean oxygen deprivation.

It comes as the body of a man was reportedly found in Hamburg covered in sliced cheese with pantyhose pulled up over his upper body, while he was wearing a diving suit and a raincoat.

He had placed a plastic bag over his head and was sat in front of an active heater, according to local media.

Yanno, the whole idea of pursuing the ‘the little death’ is that you come out of it alive afterward… I mean, I’ve heard of the auto-erotic asphyxiation thing (Thanks so much, David Carradine, I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing about that) but the cheese, raincoat, diving hose and sitting in front of the heater is new. And how did this person find panty hose that fit over their upper body? Was it on top of the raincoat and diving hose?

I’ll leave aside that whole plastic bag over one’s head is a bad idea, because, as the Housemate told me when he linked it to me, “I’m pretty sure that guy was like “Time to fuck with the medical examiner.”

At any rate, that’s enough Internet for today.

Let There Be Light

I recently came across some very interesting articles, which I thought I would share with my readers and friends. While the articles are a bit old – a couple of years as of this posting – I still am delighted with the scientific discoveries.

The first one is about how human eggs ‘flash with a bright light’ at the moment of conception, ‘highlighting the very moment when life begins.‘ A literal spark of life!

Human life begins in bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

How awesome is that? And seriously, how sci-fi is that to imagine? In my head, I see a a mini movie, complete with fwaaaaaaahhhh~~~ sound effect, the moment conception happens. And it seems to me very fitting, because how miraculous is life? How wonderous to behold. (And come on, it’s loads more fun to imagine it happens that way.)

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We’re going to need an aircraft carrier

Probably not the best thing to see when I was talking with my husband about whether or not we could rent a boat one day and go fishing, in the hopes of catching fish that we could grill right on the waves…

 

 

Ahhh. She’ll be ‘right, folks. We’ll just punch the thing in the nose. Belated Happy Australia Day!

Geeky delights

Eldest son had his birthday recently, and of course, got presents. He’s older now, and it’s actually easier to buy him things, given his recent introduction to manga – he blew through the various ones I have that we parents deemed okay for him. He loves Card Captor Sakura – we pushed to get the 4 omnibus set; and is excited to learn that CCS: Clear Card is currently ongoing. His response when he found out that Skip Beat! isn’t over yet: “NOOOOOO!!! I have to wait!” Sometime recently he asked me if there were going to be any more books in Dave Freer’s Dragon Ring series (I don’t know.) and soon he’ll be old enough to be introduced to Monster Hunter International, and later, The Dresden Files.

Reading boy = happy parents.

He also loves video games, of course, but we don’t go out of the way to get the latest and the newest consoles (our house has a Sega Dreamcast, a Nintendo 64, Xbox 360/1, I thiiink we have a PS2, but that thing isn’t hooked up and is somewhere… maybe a PS3 now, inherited from my brother-in-law) because we tend to play on PC for the most part (insert PC Master Race joke here), but it’s the holidays.

Well, this was his big pressie – a full scale display model (ergo, it’s purely decorative and not sharp) of Frostmourne, the sword of Arthas the Lich King. Aff got him a small Arthas figure and some awesome tech swag – a desk-mat, a Genji themed mouse, and Heroes of the Storm Turtle Beach headsets – sort of a mix of birthday and Christmas pressies, really.

The sword replica is almost as big as he is too, and he had problems lifting it, remarking repeatedly that it was heavy and huge and he couldn’t imagine how Arthas would swing it around… then his father picked it up one handed, to his glee and delight.

We’ll have a ‘proper’ party for when some friends will be around (School holidays = kiddies go off to Grandparents to visit, usually.)

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A Cloudy Day

The sky over here where I live in Australia is overcast. In the US right now, it’s September 11, but because I’m ‘in the future’ it’s Sept 12. (For the humor-impaired, that’s a mild joke, the bit about being in the future.) Nevertheless it seems more fitting than the blue skies and warmer weather had for my yesterday.

 

Sept 11 has, over time, become a combination of meaning for me. I do remember the horrible day the biggest terrorist attack in the world happened in New York, and the day holds significance for me in that regard. Why wouldn’t it? That was the day our world changed forever. (And yes it did. We have farcical situations like this one that Sarah Hoyt describes, for example, and the more generalised one in her blog post, which goes more into the societal change.) Incredible stories of that day still hit hard, the heroism of United Airlines Flight 93, the willingness of this female pilot, and, for me the lingering horror and tragedy of the Falling Man and the 200 odd who jumped… for me that is the strongest memory of the Twin Tower Terror attack. Flight 93 makes me weep tears of gratitude and pride, a fierce feeling of wanting to honor the people who fought back. The people forced to jump make me weep in sorrow and sympathy…and understanding.

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Swiftness of the seasons

Lately I’ve been struck by how quickly time flies, mostly in relation to Rhys and I.

13 years together – it shocks me sometimes, when I look back. I have a photo of him and Vincent as a newborn, sleeping together. I see the photo and note how young and … light… Rhys looks in that photo. It brings tears of joy to my eyes. Tears of sorrow too, because I know why he aged, and it’s not just the passage of time. We’ve both aged, and the scars still bleed.

Still, somehow, we’ve survived and we’re somehow still going on.

So as part of getting myself back on the thing of drawing after a long hiatus due to health and RL concerns, I’ve been drawing. I’ve had some images stuck in my head inspired by various pieces of music. I’ve been drawing them as best as I can; the others are not finished yet, but this one I kind of didn’t want to continue touching up any more, because of the emotions it conveyed for me.

Thirteen years. Wow. It seems like such a long time but it sure flew by really fast. If I feel like this now, I wonder how it’ll be like when we’re both in our sixties, or older. Continue reading

Zest and headaches

Of late I have been suffering from severe headaches. They start out as tension headaches then become migraines. I have been trying out several different pillows, rotating them. So I guess it will just be a matter if time before this resolves itself.

Sadly this has been limiting my screentime. Some days I am rather light sensitive so I can’t leave my room in those days. I save the painkillers for the days when I do have to go out. Continue reading

A bit of colour

Just got home from running some errands. Been craving fruit; I guess as a response to my getting repeated 48 hour flu sessions over the last month. I can’t resist the seductive scent of Golden Delicious apples. There is a pomelo and two Japanese Fuji apples too; they smelled so good!

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Hazelnut Chocolate Cake With Coffee Buttercream


I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious. I loooove coffee walnut cake. Luckily for me our grocery chain Coles has them for less than 10 AUD and it is omg scrumptious.

But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though. But for my birthday, I wanted a bit more Ferrero Rocher-ey taste; more chocolatey, maybe a bit of Nutella… I still wanted the coffee buttercream though.

I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle. I made this cake for both my birthday and again for Easter, which is why the above cake has mini Cadbury Creme eggs nested in the middle.

Maybe someday I’ll remember to take a photo of a cake slice instead of going ‘om nom nom’ right away.

Maybe.

Until then, have a recipe!

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The Illusion of Memory

Recently I watched two sci-fi movies that I deeply enjoyed; Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, and the live action version of Ghost In The Shell starring Scarlett Johansson. Despite vastly differing source material, they touched on related themes. Memory – or what is perceived as memory, also played heavily in the movie The Arrival. All of these were excellent movies that I highly recommend watching, as they both entertain and, for me, are incredibly good science fiction stories, full stop. Speaking of stopping, if you haven’t seen these, you’d probably want to stop here.

(Spoilers abound, you’re forewarned.)

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