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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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thing that are life affirming
children of dune - leto 1
Finishing beta on fic that was due like, Monday. I hate work so much this week.

So, four things that are good in life; I need this list.

1.) I have a new phone! Due to the pretty much universality of phones at his school--and because he's thirteen and has shown responsibility--and because I cannot imagine anything more fun than me and my kid having matching Android phones so we can competitively text each other--I added a line for him, gave him Arthur the G1, and got myTouch G3 Slide in black. It's basically a streamlined G1, but neater, with five screens for icons, a slightly larger screen, a swype onscreen keyboard as well as the physical keyboard, and blah blah blah.

It does not yet have a name. I'm thinking!

2.) Child came in to point out there are no gay couples with children in cartoons or kid's shows. I want to say this came with like, some sort of catalyst, but no; apparently a week out of school with my niece and forced to watch a lot of shows about preteen girls and cartoons suitable for an eight year old have had an effect. One, he wants more books, like, now; two, there is not equal representation in television for the non-white.

To point out, this makes more sense if you know his class (and school) is minority white with a higher than average skew of kids of Turkish and Arabic descent who are also practicing Muslims. He's not exactly the most observant person on earth (thirteen year old boy; he barely remembers to wear pants sometimes), but it's hard not to notice when television life is so radically different from real life. Equally likely is that one of his friends mentioned it and he's been thinking about it for a while. Or both.

He's currently trying to create a facebook group to protest the Arizona immigration act; apparently--I am only going from what he told me--this is a very hot topic in his class among his friends.

I am not saying this is not possible; I am saying, I am trying desperately to visualize a bunch of twelve and thirteen year old kids debating this in the halls between class and failing. Did it come up in class discussion? I've been leery on those since The Day I Had to Explain Zionism and the Palestine Situation (ask me if I'm kidding; I'm not. I emailed [personal profile] amireal incoherently) after his school had a speaker and my extempore speeches work a lot better if they aren't about like, a hideously complex situation with a few thousand years of history and segue that into the creation of the state of Israel after World War II and that's just the goddamn background. And if I know what the hell I'm talking about.

That was fun, by the way.

3.) I made delicious hamburger steak tonight with mashed potatoes and butter. Delicious.

4.) Loretta Chase is the first romance author I have ever read who has not only non-virgin heroines, but ones that if they were married, may have even had a good first husband, and if they weren't married, it's not a source of angst to the hero not to be the one to get her special hymen magic. One even had an illegitimate child she gave away as a child herself.

The following is very true of the books about the Carsington men; Lord of Scoundrels and related have some differences in theme, though the personality of the heroines is pretty universal throughout so far.

Actually--and not to say these are great feminist literature (and with skeevy issues, though pretty historically accurate, regarding the study of "antiquities" and British and European presence in Egypt), though they manage to beat half of the New York Times Bestseller list by a mile even so, which should say something--the lack of interest in the Magical Hymen is almost jolting (in a good way!).

The heroines are different from the usual in that none of them qualify as the classic stereotype of the innocent virgin below twenty, the totally spunky, rebellious gentry girl, the crazy adventuress who totes can handle a gun (they tell you so, several times), the girl who totally break all the rules and omg is so awesome and filled with gumption and non-society-sanctioned beliefs!!!!!!!; most are over twenty five and several are over thirty, intelligent (sometimes genius), strongly principled, responsible, mature, and people in their own right with a history that love isn't supposed to fix but simply accept as a part of them. And they are also crazy, adventurous, breaking all the rules, and living their lives long before the hero came; the neat part is, at least to me, the hero fits himself into their lives as best he can, not trying to recreate it in his image, not dragging them off into his (mostly, with exceptions; I will say Loretta doesn't have a set rule on that either, but even then, I found it more interesting in the way it happens than annoying).

I think the feeling I get is that these women are, and the men see them as, someone they have to earn the right to pursue a relationship with, not someone who owes them love and forever because they are awesome and goddamn it, they deserve it. They don't get the girl because they are hot and/or rich and/or a reformed rake and she is the first to touch his heart; mostly, they get to know the woman and her life, make themselves immensely useful to what is important in her life, learn how they are the same and how they differ, and be, you know, a partner. They aren't there to take her away from it, or take anything from it; they just want to be a part of it.

Part of it, to me, was the separation between sex and the person; the women are attractive, the guys want to have sex with them, and also the other way around, established early on and then discarded as a major motivator to open up all the reasons that these two people should be together or why, barring sex, they should want to.

Or maybe I'm totally biased; I had to stop and smile when Daphne was talking about her studies regarding Egypt in depth and then breaks off, since she thinks she's boring him, and he says he doesn't understand it, but he likes when she explains things, because the way she explains it, he feels like he could, which is more than he ever got out of formal schooling. But also, I think in that book (cannot remember the name now, dammit), it's Rupert's utter lack of expectations of her as created by stereotypes that work for me. She's sometimes shocked by her sudden interest in adventuring, a little ashamed of her own genius in scholarship; Rupert never is. That's the person he met and the person she is; ergo, why should he be surprised? He's worried about her accidentally killing herself, but that's not a reason to stop her from doing anything; it's just why, he reasons, she might find a partner useful.

(I loved Rupert; he thinks she's hot and everything and wants to have sex with her like whoa, but man, he was crushing on her mind like there was no tomorrow. He wants to marry her so he can go adventuring with her and hear more awesome things about Egypt. This is a guy who will doubtless spend hours and hours and hours doing nothing but helping her unroll papyrus, getting her more ink, fetching paper, and listening to her explain her complicated theories on translation quite happily.)

(I also love Darius; he finds out the love of his life has an illegitimate child she had at sixteen and has responsibilities to her home and family, and she wants to acknowledge and raise her child that she just was reunited with. His reaction: I could be very useful helping with the raising thing and with the caring for the estate thing if you married me. Her: virginity? Him: *confused* Her: society? Him: eh. But hey, if you're worried, let me make my entire family come to the super public wedding. You know, if you want. Can we get married now? Her: ... Him: Can you tell me more about the ins and outs of making a property profitable and caring for my tenants now? While I cuddle your awesome kid?)

(Okay, and Benedict, heir to Hargate; Her: I am not acceptable to society. Him: I like the Continent; that's where we're going, right? Her: You'd be made fun of and be thrown out of your family and society forever. Him: *confused* Her: This isn't penetrating, is it? Him: Did you notice how useful I can be? Let me show you again. And make you a list. Her: Oh God. Him: Your sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency is ungodly hot.)

(..and fine, Alestair; Her: I have a duty to my father and the estate. Him: I like estates and duty. Her: My last fiancee left me because I didn't want to run away and abandon my responsibilities. Him: This estate? It's an awesome estate. I like estates, in case I didn't mention it. Her: It's like you aren't hearing the words I am saying. Him: Tell me more about your management skills regarding the estate. Oh, and more about plants! [Later] Him: You aren't worried you weren't a virgin when we met, right? Her: ...I was a virgin. Him: Really? Weird.)

You know, weirdly, I now want to see what the author would do with one of those below-twenty, just-came-out virgin girls at Almacks. Part of the strength of her characters is they are adults and therefore fun without being stupid about it, but I'm curious how she'd work with that stereotype now. Her focus on non-standard heroines, especially ones that are or would be socially unacceptable is ridiculously fun.


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I think the logical extension of the metaphor is to call the new (magical???) phone 'Merlin.' right? it seems obvious to me, but then everything in my life is called after country music artists, so maybe I'm not the best person to offer advice.

Regarding your politicized kiddo--I was *way* more invested in current events and issues of social justice between the ages of 11-15 than I have been at any time of my life since, maybe because my jadedness and sense of futility were not fully developed yet.

Oh my god, I had totally forgotten how awesome Loretta Chase was. I used to read her books up to about 6 years ago when I went to graduate school and stopped reading anything that wasn't for a course. It kind of broke me, I think I read my first fiction novel in years this year...and it was for a book club, so it probably still counts as assigned reading.

Loretta! I remember liking her books not just because her female characters had depth and dimension and it wasn't all My Maidenhead Oh Noes, but because she still kept her stories within reasonable bounds for the time period. There *were* feisty and unconventional women at the time, and women that adventured and did their own thing, and while the scandals didn't work out for them all that often, many still truly lived their own lives, single and sometimes married to men who supported them. I like that Chase writes stories where the female characters can buck the trends in the genre without being so anachronistic that it jars you out of the story.

I really need to NOT go ferreting around Amazon right now for all the books in the past few years I've missed. Really.

Oh, also! I wanted to thank you so much for all your advice and help on the computer buying thing. It made a huge difference for me to hear from someone who really knows what she's talking about, and I felt confident in my final decision (ended up getting a toshiba satellite) even though now I can't afford to buy romance novels. At least not this month. Anyway, I really really appreciate that you took the time to give me such detailed advice. :)

Ooh, my boss got a Toshiba satellite a few years ago and swears by it still.

I'm glad anything I said helped! Did you get it yet or post pictures? What's it's name?

Good to hear your boss is still happy after a few years!

I have it and am going to post pictures (waiting to see if I go through with getting my first tattoo later this morning, so I can do a big picspam), and I have not yet figured out what to name it! I never had this much trouble before (ipods: Homunculus, Tiny Beastlet; camera: Poker Face; last two laptops: The Dreaming, Differential Diagnoses (I was so obsessed with Hugh Laurie)). But this time, inspiration is failing me.

You were so helpful, you have no idea. :)

Me and my new phone? Same thing. Usually I know when I pick it up the first time. I may have to do this the old fashioned way and just say words at it until one sticks.

...of course, this one comes with voice recognition searching as a feature, so God knows wehre I'll end up.

(Hilarity! Me and transtempts were talking last night about getting a first tattoo!)

Maybe you should wait until whatever you say at your phone takes you somewhere awesome? Or unlocks the secret superpower mode? Makes glitter burst from it?

OMG! The tattoo experience was definitely positive. I posted pictures: http://boggit.livejournal.com/213436.html !

Apparently, the first one is a gateway drug and I should expect to soon want a second, and third....

The first tattoo can be a real milestone. The question then becomes whether to get any more. (I've of late been thinking about the second and third I got last year, since I reached a point of deciding I wanted to be the kind of person who has more than a single tattoo and there is of course a direct way to accomplish that. I've reached the first anniversary of the second tatt, and the 4th of July weekend marks the third, and there are a few designs I vaguely remember from last year's browsing as having mentally earmarked for possible future use. I kind of want something for my left upper arm, now -- something largeish. I'm looking hard at this one.)

I had never heard of Loretta Chase before, and now I absolutely *have* to hit the second-hand online bookshops and buy every one I can find. Especially the Egypt one. And the illegitimate child one.

Are those the actual titles of the books? Because I am greatly in need of reading awesome fiction that I can read it in public, and these sound amaaaaaazing.

Ok yay for Amazon Kindle app for iPod... "Mr. Impossible" is awesome!!!! I just wish I could find a guy for whom brains were such a turn on. I especially love this author's turn of phrase, it's delicious :D

Mr Impossible is amazing. And Lord Perfect is--yes.

What's a good first Loretta Chase book?

Weirdly, I think the one about Rupert and Egypt might work. Or Mr. Impossible.

Er, that one *is* Mr. Impossible. Lord Perfect is his eldest brother and in continuity, the second to last, I think. The neat part is a (kind of) sequel to Lord Perfect comes out next month about his new stepdaughter and his nephew. *GLEE* Olivia, the stepdaughter, is really--interesting.

The first one I read was Lord of Scoundrels which is AWESOME, so you could always start there :D

I have a particularly weak spot for The Devil's Delilah. The Devil in question is Delilah's father, the most notorious rake of his time. And Jack Langdon is adorably bookish and keeps disappearing into the library. He's also singularly unattracted by her buxom beauty until she quotes literature at him (at which point swoon). Also she is unimpressed because she would like a rake just like Dad (because rakes make the best fathers hello!)

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