brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
Swine's Arrow (591 words) by circumvention
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Political RPF - UK 20th-21st c.
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Geordi La Forge, Data (Star Trek), David Cameron (Politician)
Additional Tags: hameron - Freeform, Pigs, baeofpigs, piggate, snoutrage, pigsociety, aporkalypsenow, Time Travel

"Ideally, we would cause a minuscule perturbation in the space-time continuum: create a change historically significant enough that it would rapidly propagate into our records, but which would not materially affect the underlying foundation of our current timeline."

With apologies to the dead pig, to the writers of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time's Arrow", and to everyone who actually lives in the United Kingdom.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I was clicking around on the Amtrak website and was reminded that the Pope is visiting Philadelphia next month. So I clicked through to the dedicated site for the visit and associated conference. So interesting! This list of patron saints for the conference (and this list of patron saints of the family in general) reminds me of other conferences' lists of keynote speakers.

I could (and will not) sign up to spend 30 or 60 minutes in adoration (silent prayer). The volunteering FAQ says you don't have to be a Catholic to volunteer (also, the Church will pay for your background check). They have training via online webinar, smartphone app, and a YouTube guide video.

I spent several minutes clicking around and reading their official prayer, their (sparse) info on accessibility, the suggestion that Philadelphians think of the Papal visit as like a snow weekend in terms of limitations on mobility.

Oh now I am reading the lesson plans for kids. Includes the note to the teacher: "Students may or may not be able to answer with depth. Try to lead them." I feel you.
brainwane: Photo of my head, with hair longish for me (pro)
From one Indian-American woman to another.

I saw your statement. I know it takes the South Carolina legislature to take that Confederate flag down and you can't legally just do it yourself, and I'm glad you've now stated that the government ought to take it down. I know you cried after the murders; I did too.

We Indian-Americans get a bit of crap here in the US, but if you and I have a sense of proportion and perspective, we look at other people of color and we see how very much better off we are than Native Americans, Latin@s, African-Americans, and the descendants of most other nonwhite immigrants. Middle-class professional Indian-Americans get exoticized in ways that often help us. As long as they don't think we're Muslims, white people here basically trust us and think we're hardworking and smart. You and I benefit from that whole model minority stereotype. Hell, I think one reason the white and Asian guys in the computer science major at UC Berkeley didn't scorn my technical competence and interests was because I'm Indian. Maybe one stereotype partially offset another.

You and I have integrated really thoroughly into white society. And basically we benefit from the fact that a lot of white people's racism doesn't focus on us. So we should use that privilege to stand in solidarity with the victims of racism.

You and I are in community together. We have some shared experiences, and some shared privileges. How do we use them to protect those who are hurting? I make my own personal efforts in my spheres -- my neighborhood, my workplaces, my volunteer communities -- to mentor and protect people with less privilege than me. Not just in the wake of this murder of your constituents, but for months and years afterward, how will you use your privilege to fight racism?

I don't know enough about your state and your black constituents to speak with authority about how you could best stand in solidarity with them and against racism. (The flag's an open wound, of course; you knew that already, and if I had to bet, I'd bet you started trying, last week, to get that thing taken down, holding private meetings about it so everyone can save face. As I was writing this, you spoke out against the flag, finally; I'm glad you did that.) Yes, there's a political price you would have to pay with the white establishment if they started perceiving you as pro-black. You may have started paying that price, now, coming out against the flag. I hope that, nonetheless, you will use your power as governor and your privilege in the racial hierarchy to advance the work of black activists in your state. The flag fight is a start, not an end. This work will take courage and stamina. I offer you my best wishes.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
Title: Pipeline
Vidder: Sumana Harihareswara ("brainwane")
Fandom: Multi (documentaries, movies, TV, comics, coding bootcamp ads, and more)
Music: "Blank Space", Taylor Swift
Length: 3 minutes, 11 seconds
Summary: The tech industry has a blank space, and is quite eager to write your name.
Content notes: Implied verbal/emotional abuse, a few seconds of very fast cutting around 1:50
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike (CC BY-SA)
Download: on Google Drive (165 MB high-res MP4, 23 MB low-res MP4, 98 MB AVI), or at Critical Commons with login (high- and low-res MP4 and WebM files)
Stream: at Critical Commons (choose View High Quality for best experience)
Subtitles file:

Premiered just now at WisCon 2015 (the vid party).

Embedded video below:

50 sources (28 video, 22 still) )

Thank you to my betas:

  • Skud
  • seekingferret
  • were_duck
  • Leonard Richardson
  • Teresa Nielsen Hayden
  • and others.

Feelings and interpretation:
You don't need to read this )
About 75 hours over 2 months )

This vid is under CC BY-SA and I hope people feel free to remix it, redistribute it, and otherwise enjoy it, as long as they attribute me as the vidder.

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I started watching fanvids at WisCon 2009, thanks to Skud, and particularly loved a few, such as "What About", "Starships!" and its monochromatic remix, "Grapevine Fires", "Hey Ho", and "Us". Once I decided to make "Pipeline", I started rewatching and seeking out vids with a political message, multifandom/multisource vids, ambitious vids, and vids that used still photos, screencasts, comics, and similar material well. I took notes, sometimes brief and sometimes detailed, of lessons I took from those vids (especially particularly fine-grained "how do you do that" bits of technique). This feels like something to share.

With some arbitrary categorization for ease of skimming, here are some vids I learned from:

Using stills well
three vids )

four and a half vids )

six vids )

two vids )


And of course I learned from a ton of other sources, like a ton of meta about vidding, and Tony Zhou's "Every Frame a Painting" video series, and the scores of vids I've watched over the years. Anyway, hope someone finds this of interest.

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I'll be at WisCon starting tomorrow and leaving on Tuesday. I am scheduled to participate in these sessions:

  1. Imaginary Book Club, Fri, 4:00-5:15 pm in Conference 2. Five panelists discuss books that don't exist, improvising critiques and responses. I proposed this panel a few years ago (you can see video of its debut) and it has continued, which is cool!
  2. Lighthearted Shorthand Sans Fail, Sat, 8:30-9:45 am in Capitol A. What are your go-to phrasings to avoid sexism, ableism, etc. while getting your point across in casual conversation? I hope to walk out of this with some new vocabulary to replace bad habits.
  3. Vid Party, Saturday night 9:00 pm-Sun, 3:00 am in room 629. I am premiering a fanvid. Once it's premiered, I'll hit Post on blog posts to announce it publicly as well.
  4. Call Out Culture II: Follow-up to the Discussion Held at WisCon 38, Sun, 10:00-11:15 am in Senate A. Meta-discussion around discourse in social justice movements. I predict this session will be pretty intense.
  5. Vid Party Discussion, Sun, 1:00-2:15 pm in Assembly. We will discuss some of the vids shown at the vid party, and fan vids in general. This will be the first time I've engaged in public realtime conversation about fanvids. Before this panel I hope to publish some notes about what I learned from watching several vids that drew from multiple sources (including stills), made a political point, or were otherwise particularly ambitious. I'll probably reference those lessons during the panel.

I also proposed "What Does Feminist Tech Education Look Like?", "Impostor Syndrome Training Exercise", and "Entry Level Discussion Group", but am not a panelist or presenter for those sessions; I bet they'll be interesting, though, and you could do worse than to check them out. You can read Entry Level ahead of time for free online.

I look like the photo to the left. I am often bad with names, and will remember 5 minutes into our conversation that we had an awesome deep conversation three years prior. I apologize in advance.

If you are good at clothes, consider joining me at the Clothing Swap portion of the Gathering on Friday afternoon to help me find pieces that suit me. I'm introducing two old pals to WisCon and spending a lot of time with them (we live in different cities), and they're both white, so I might not be able to come to the People of Color dinner on Friday night. And sadly, The Floomp dance party on Saturday happens during the Vid Party so I probably can't attend that. I did buy a ticket for the Dessert Salon and will attend the Guest of Honor and Tiptree Award speeches on Sunday, and maybe you will be at my table!

One of my pals who's coming to WisCon is Beth Lerman, an artist who will be displaying and selling her work in the art show. Check it out!

Also I am open to doing a small room performance of my half-hour geeky stand-up comedy routine if several people ask for it. I don't know when or where it would be; Monday night would be easiest. Speak up in comments or some other medium if you'd be interested.

[Cross-posted from Cogito, Ergo Sumana]

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
crossposted from Cogito, Ergo Sumana

screen capture of 'Another Sunday'When Leonard and I lived in the Bay Area and drove south to Bakersfield to see his mom every few months, he got a satellite radio subscription. I'd navigate the music channels and look at the device to see the name of the artist and ask him to guess. When he couldn't tell, he often guessed "REM" (for loud stuff) or "Belle & Sebastian" (for quiet stuff).

Right now I'm working on an ambitious fanvidding project and am thus watching a bunch of other ambitious fanvids (e.g., chaila's "Watershed", danegen's "Around the Bend", counteragent's "Coin Operated Boy") to take notes on technique (e.g., exactly how many 100%-dark frames serve as a good stutter in frightening montages, versus how many blank frames help reset the eye and prepare it for a new sequence). Just now I was watching "Another Sunday" by Jescaflowne, set to "We Built This City" by Jefferson Starship. I checked the timecode scrubber. "Hey Leonard," I said facetiously. "Did you know that rock songs used to be four and a half minutes long?"

He looked at my screen as we made up Freakonomics-worthy nonsensical explanations of why this used to be the case. "What show is that?"

"Stargate Atlantis."

At this, Leonard developed a hypothesis that Stargate Atlantis and Supernatural are like REM and Belle & Sebastian, viz., if he can't tell what fandom a vid is, and there are spaceships and lots of guns, it's SGA, and if there are no spaceships and nearly no guns, it's Supernatural.

As a data point, I've watched zero SGA and one ep of SPN ("Fan Fiction"), but have spent happy hours enjoying fic and vids about both, particularly the critical readings -- if you're waiting for Ann Leckie's next Ancillaryverse installment, you could do worse than reading "Second Verse (Same as the First)" by Friendshipper/Sholio. I wonder whether the same thing will happen to me with Teen Wolf.

brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
I just remembered last night that I have a DVD copy of Aardvark'd: 12 Weeks with Geeks, a documentary about my old employer, Fog Creek Software, that I can use in my in-progress multivid. I'm looking through it now and it may be perfect. Amazing. Also it's not the most fun for me to look at this source because it has, e.g., Paul Graham (wince) and Aaron Swartz (grief). Oh right, vidding is art, sometimes it'll hurt.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I am embarking on a vidding project and thus watched some trailers on the DVD for "The Muppets" (2011). Thus I saw a trailer for that I was CERTAIN was going to be a Cabbage Patch Kids live-action reboot, until the title came up at the end: "The Odd Life of Timothy Green". (The web says I am not alone.) A boggling experience!

I have also now had the experience of watching source for one project and having a bunch of distracting ideas for OTHER vids one might make with the same source. I predict this will continue.
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
Title: In the pale dublight
Music: "Intro movie", Syun Nakano, CC-BY
Source: Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Category: gen
Content notes: alcohol, one character striking another
Summary: Sisko's turning.
Download or stream: at Critical Commons

Today, I made my first fanvid, a 30-second Sisko study called "In the pale dublight".

Thanks to Critical Commons for hosting transformative works! Thanks to the open source software community and especially the makers of VLC, Handbrake, and kdenlive for the software. Thanks to synecdochic, Skud, and the wiscon_vidparty vidding workshop for guidance, and thanks to Syun Nakano for the CC-BY music.

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
Spangled (142 words) by brainwane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Steve Rogers
Additional Tags: Astronomy, Wistful, Sonnets

In the 1940s, if you looked up from Brooklyn at night, you could see the stars.

I was showing my friend Elisa the "something doesn't smell right" thread and [community profile] cap_chronism, and she reminded me that also Steve Rogers would be surprised that he can't see the stars at night. So I wrote this sonnet.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
crossposted from Cogito, Ergo Sumana

I have been to WisCon three times (2009, 2010, 2011) and I am going again this year, yay! If you enjoy my writing, you might like WisCon, and -- especially if you've never tried it before -- you should consider joining me in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, May 22-25 (Memorial Day weekend).

Smart, funny conversations. Mary Anne Mohanraj and me at a past WisCon, photo by E. J. FischerSome of my best WisCon memories are of really funny panels (I enjoyed serving on the "Must Pleasures Be Guilty?" and "Imaginary Book Club" panels, and watching "Not Another Race Panel"). Some are of friendly semistructured interaction like the clothing swap at the Gathering on Friday afternoon. And some some are of formal and informal discussions where incisive people tossed around ideas that gave me new thoughts for the rest of the year. I expect to get all of that this year, and if you decide to come, I'll happily tell you which panels/panelists/parties/workshops/etc. look promising to me!

Relevant sessions. You can create a free account to look at programming signups and indicate your interest in attending -- the deadline is March 29. The programming committee does take those numbers (how many people demonstrate interest in attending something) into account when rejecting or scheduling specific sessions. And there's an Overflow/Spontaneous Programming (a.k.a. unconference) room throughout the convention -- for topics people want to discuss that aren't on the schedule -- where we can hold impromptu sessions about vidding, open source, self-directed learning....

Accessibility lane at WisCon, photo by sasha_feather, CC BY-NC-SAGreat accessibility. I especially love the Quiet Space to regroup, the free-flowing traffic lanes marked in the hall with blue tape, and the rule that speakers use microphones so the audience can hear better. They all help me enjoy the con more, and they help other attendees, which means I can enjoy their company. And overall, I find WisCon participants care about being intersectionally feminist and inclusive (example: discussion and renaming in the Floomp dance party). Sometimes folks make mistakes, as we all do, but we apologize, and fix it, and (although I know other people have had different experiences*) I trust in WisCon in the long term and am happy to recommend it to others, including people who have never been to a scifi con before. It was my first!

First-timers welcome. The site gives you detailed directions to the venue. There's usually a first-timers' dinner (small group expeditions to local restaurants, I think), and orientation sessions, early in the con, to help first-time attendees and first-time panelists (tips) and first-time moderators (tips). If you feel better showing up someplace for the first time if you're being useful, check the checkbox to volunteer, e.g., for a couple of hours in the con suite stocking free food for everybody. And I would be happy to help you meet folks (my credentials from a shy previous WisCon first-timer).

Another world is possible. I cannot overstate how much it has influenced me to participate in WisCon, which asks everyone to influence programming, provides accessibility and childcare and a comprehensive program guide, and nurtures and amplifies feminist voices. And WisCon communicates thoroughly with its community via blog, Twitter, Facebook, an email newsletter and printed, mailed progress reports, and more. This includes talking about really difficult stuff like owning up to past mistakes in handling harassment reports and disinviting a Guest of Honor (if you've never been to a scifi convention, think "keynote speaker").

A gateway to more. I've made friends, started watching or reading new stuff, and joined Dreamwidth to keep in the feminist fannish conversation year-round.

I skipped WisCon for years basically because I had other travel commitments for work, and this year I'm so glad to be coming back. Feminists of all genders who enjoy science fiction, think about coming to Madison in May.

* Kameron Hurley posted "Burn it All Down: Wiscon’s Failure of Feminism" before the WisCon con committee permabanned a particular harasser. As this year's cochair said in criticizing the previous decision for a temporary ban, "WisCon bills itself as a feminist sci-fi con. And compared to some others that I have attended, it is definitely better at paying lip service to being feminist than any of them."

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
A few bits of thought passed across my mind recently, about legacy and friendship and the law, and I found myself curious about whether I'm quite different from my friends in my assumptions about the way my life will go. So: a three-question poll.

Poll #16481 What do you expect?
This poll is anonymous.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 35

Do you expect that someone will, in the future, systematically research your life, e.g., by reading all of your public blog posts and interviewing your friends and family?

2 (5.7%)

10 (28.6%)

Probably not
13 (37.1%)

10 (28.6%)

Not applicable; I know that this has already happened
0 (0.0%)

If you have never been sued before, do you expect that someone will someday sue you?

0 (0.0%)

6 (17.1%)

Probably not
24 (68.6%)

5 (14.3%)

Not applicable; I have been sued before
0 (0.0%)

Do you expect that you have already met everyone who's going to be very important in your life?

0 (0.0%)

5 (14.3%)

Probably not
14 (40.0%)

16 (45.7%)

The poll is anonymous. Please feel free to elaborate on your answers in the comments! EDITED TO ADD: And comments are screened by default and I'm going to leave them screened unless you say it's ok to unscreen.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I request your recommendations for fannish meta comparing and contrasting Batman and Iron Man, especially CEO Wayne vs. CEO Stark.

data point

Jan. 31st, 2015 05:12 pm
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (trenchcoat)
I have 1671 followers on Twitter and 105 followers on (the microblogging service that runs on free and open source software). I post nearly the same content to both (I don't copy @-replies from one to the other). I get about the same number of tiresome, missing-the-point pedantic, or otherwise sigh-worthy (but not spam) replies/notes on both services. Does that mean that users are 16 times more likely to say sigh-worthy things to me?
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
Someone posted to a mailing list I'm on about a scifi conference at Oral Roberts University ("Science, Faith, and the Imagination" - keynote speaker Orson Scott Card). I clicked through to "Experiencing Tulsa", whose second paragraph begins:

We are proud of our cultural diversity, and of the cultural activities that celebrate our part and our future.

Unfortunately, the next sentence is not:

In 2021 we will be commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Tulsa race riot, in which envious, racist white residents killed at least 39 of their black neighbors and destroyed the most prosperous black community in the United States.

And the list of key city attractions -- opera, ballet, the jazz district -- doesn't mention that, as a bonus, if you visit one of Tulsa's parks, you may well be standing on a mass grave.

The scifi conference is requesting submissions of short stories. Alt-history counts....

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I post more often on "Cogito, Ergo Sumana" than I do on DW, so [syndicated profile] sumana_feed is your feed for that action.

Today over there I posted recommendations for funny, new perspective-y, and tearjerker fanvids, and reported on a bit of an argument around political fanvids.
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
I am trying out a bunch of thoughts on what some different approaches to software are... beyond waterfall/agile, free software/open source, and FLOSS/proprietary, and beyond shrinkwrap/internal/embedded/games/throwaway....

* Deliberately ephemeral
* Accidentally ephemeral (like some Minecraft mods or personal one-off scripts)
* Enterprisey, scale-centric
* Artisanal/personal/couture
* Educational (as in, writing source code specifically to be read as an aid to learning, as in a presentation, test, blog post, or textbook)
* Angry, competitive, insulting
* Cheery, collaborative, complimenting
* Innovative
* Stable
* Mimetic (copying functionality/approach of other existing software)
* Particularly amenable to any one of the Felder-Silverman engineering learning styles (and not to its opposite)
* Social norms (especially around permission, redistribution, reuse) taking the place of copyright when in a copyright grey area
* Voluntary
* Paid
* School project
* Taking donations, but passing some of them to upstream
* Gift culture
* For-profit proprietary
* For-profit open source
* Copyleft licensing + charging extortionate fees to license differently
* Corporate non-profit open source
* Free software
* Specifically playful, alternative, queer free software
* Copyright abolitionist or nearly so
* No license out of neglect/convenience (the "GitHub License", sort of formalized as WTFPL)
* Piracy, open and proud
* Piracy, furtive and/or (interally seen as) hypocritical
* Grey market (like Minecraft mods)
* Despotism by founder
* Willingness to hand maintainership over
* Benign neglect by owner/maintainer of core infrastructure
* Monolithic
* All the different ways "not monolithic" can look (plugins, APIs, scriptability, portability, content/logic/presentation...)

I'm brain-dumping this as I think noodly rambly thoughts about open source software communities and abstractions we might borrow from other software communities. I absorbed some assumptions fifteen to thirty years ago, of how to use and make software, how open source citizens should act in open source communities, about what the rules are, and about the sets of expectations we have about how we talk and work with each other. And I'm wondering what a genuinely different approach would look like.
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
I just read C.S.E. Cooney's piece thanking an editor for encouraging a particular author to write a particular story, and I'm remembering the innumerable times I recruited or nudged or forwarded or invited or encouraged or hand-held or outlined or co-drafted or persuaded or, well, argued, to help someone do a cool thing.

I'm in particular remembering a guy in the MediaWiki community.

A few years ago, I think, I was looking around some old patches, and I saw there was this one guy who'd submitted good work that always got merged quickly, but who didn't have core contributor privileges to merge work directly. So I asked the core contributors whether they thought he ought to have core committer access. They hadn't thought about that, but, yeah! So I sent him a personal email and invited him to apply.

The next year, as we were planning out a hackathon, I saw that this guy was working on a particular aspect of the tech ecology that we wanted to advance at the hackathon. I asked a few people, "would it be especially helpful if he's there?" and they said yes. I sent him a note inviting him.

He said no, he didn't have the money.

I said we had travel scholarships that would cover flight and hotel, and most of the food would be covered, and transit passes as well.

He said he really didn't have any extra money at all to cover incidentals, and besides, it would be so expensive to cover him travelling internationally, and that money should be better spent.

I said multiple people had requested his presence, and I would find some way to make sure all his expenses were covered, and we really would like for him to come.

He told me I was making him an offer he couldn't refuse, and basically since I insisted, he would go (which meant applying for a passport for the first time, I think).

At the hackathon he got to work for the first time with people he'd been collaborating with online for years -- and as a result of some chats at the event, he got a much better job, working fulltime on open source software. And he was absolutely totally qualified for it, but I know him well enough, now, to think he would not have applied -- too intimidating.

(Edited to add - I believe this is not breaching this person's privacy, for reasons too boring to go into here.)

A few years earlier...

In early 2010, when Paul Cutler encouraged me to come to a GNOME marketing hackfest in Spain, paid for by GNOME, I protested that I had never done marketing before. Paul said he'd seen me work on GNOME Journal with him, I was a good writer and a good project manager and a good editor and I'd be able to do this just fine.

Later that year, Andreas Nilsson encouraged me to apply for the GNOME 3.0 marketer position.....

I don't have time to go into all the "yes you can" I've given and received. But it's just so important. Yes autonomy is important, yes, respecting people's strong "no" is important. But there is an art to encouragement, to respectfully getting past anxiety and self-esteem objections.... I don't know how to articulate it, though.

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