04.12.12

Can we stop with the strange self-hate, please?

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:34 pm by kyrias

Yet another “why Asian women date white men” essay that is apologetic, carries tones of own-race-distaste (let’s not call it hatred), and doesn’t say anything new at all.

One wonders why people even bother. On the other hand, it’s such an easy grab for attention that I should probably write my own dissertation on why I think Asian women date white men.

It would have been easy to laugh off except for a couple of lines that just leaped out at me, slapped me silly, and started a slow fire in my gut. If the rest of the essay had been a treatise in interracial dating psychology, or even just evolutionary psychology, or even just a nice list of statistics, I would have probably shrugged it off . As it is, it’s infuriating without being helpful.

The appeal of Asian women for Western men largely lies in the fantasy-indulging experience that engenders a feeling of dominance and masculinity which is lacking, or perhaps even threatened, in their own culture. Just look at the funny Charisma Man comic below (click to enlarge). Because Asian women come from a history where they traditionally serve men, the stereotype of the docile and submissive Asian woman feeds this dehumanizing fantasy. The sex industry catering to Westerners is constructed around selling not only the flesh, but what Sheridan Prasso calls the “Asian Mystique…the fantasy of the exotic, indulging, decadent, sensual Oriental who will indulge you and delight you with the decadence and servility that no women in your own culture could.” This fetishization of Asian women causes many women to wonder whether a Western suitor is interested in her as a person, or in the expectations surrounding the Asian Mystique.

A common conception, eh? It is correct? Incorrect? She doesn’t quite say.

But let’s start with “because Asian women come from a history where they traditionally serve men, the stereotype of the docile and submissive Asian woman…”.

Excuse me, but I seem to remember that women in the West weren’t exactly exempt from such practices as being submissive to their husbands and they also had to do all of the homemaking, childrearing, and other “serving type” stuff around the house if there were no servants.

I find the implied suggestion that Western women had it better to be disingenuous at best. If I remember correctly, a husband was allowed by law to beat his wife in some places in the West and even in the United States, for ages the government was loath to enter into a man’s home and tell him he was doing it wrong.

This wasn’t her word, but really? Servility of the Oriental? Servility? I mean, docile, submissive, exotic — those are bad enough — but servility?

It’s true that independence and power is valued more highly in Western women, whereas Eastern values traditionally emphasize community and social harmony, and are unfortunately more patriarchal. This may influence the behavioral traits of some Asian women. However, men sometimes take this to feel “remasculated” in their interactions and perceptions of Asian women because they can experience feelings of dominance, power, and wealth (real or imagined) — especially in Asia, where some women cater to these fantasies for personal gain, or associate with Western men as a status symbol. There’s fantasy built into the idea of dating a Westerner, too, which makes them appealing to Asian women; the stigma goes both ways. On the other hand, there’s also a common notion among more affluent Asian women that the only men who hang around chasing women in Asia are just “creepy losers” that can’t find a girl back home.

Does Lee Shien (I’m doing her name correctly, alright?) mean to say that Asia has traditionally been more patriarchal? If so, what does that even mean?

Patriarchal simply means that 1. men have most of the powah and 2. inheritance and other crap passes through the male line. It simply is — you cannot be more or less patriarchal.

You can, however, be more or less oppressive.

And I have to say, if someone wants to tell me that Asia has traditionally, historically, been more oppressive towards females — I might have to laugh. I’d get angry, but I might have to laugh a lot first. Mostly because that is a sweeping statement that is just bad in terms of how generalized it is.

For the sake of argument, let’s use China.

Around the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220AD), women were allowed education, jobs, and property. Han Wudi in 141 BC apparently allowed female officials. There were numerous women who held property as lords and given noble titles. Women were allowed to divorce, widows were allowed to remarry, and women were allowed to be queens regnant.

Then there was the Tang dynasty, where we had the first female empress, there were female officials, and women were still allowed to hold jobs, own property, etc etc etc.

Can someone conversant with the Middle Ages in Europe please do a side by side comparison? And I’m being generous here, since I could just compare the Han dynasty to the Dark Ages in Europe.

She states that “the stigma goes both ways”. What stigma? Is there one stigma that goes both ways, or does she mean to say that both the Asian woman and the white guy both get seen as complete losers for dating each other?

I know, it sounds terrible, doesn’t it? While we all know that the “Creepy White Dude” does exist, these notions feed dehumanizing stereotypes that prevent mutual respect, and taint those interracial relationships founded on mutual love and respect due to judgment passed by others. The fact is, each person is attracted to certain characteristics in a prospective mate, whether they are physical, cultural, or behavioral. Who’s to say the attraction is based only on fantasy? A bit of fantasy can be beneficial in relationships. It’s unfair to pass judgment on a person for race and culture-related characteristics they find desirable based on the color of their skin.

Oh god. I am not going to pass judgement on anyone who is attracted to say, redheads as opposed to blondes. However, anyone who claims that an entire culture behaves a certain way and then proceeds to choose their significant other based on said stereotype — really, tell me why exactly I cannot pass judgment on them?

Besides, the modern Asian female doesn’t necessarily know how to cook, or how to keep house, and certainly doesn’t know the ten thousand and one ways of fellatio learned at the knee of the premiere geisha in her home precinct.

As I mentioned before, a stigma exists toward Asian women who date Western men, which also casts interracial dating in a poor light. They are condemned as being social climbers, materialistic, and superficial. However, that, too, is a stereotype, and some of the reasons Asian women prefer to date Western men extend beyond perceived social status or physical attraction. Sexism has, in fact, been an integral part of Asian society since its origin, and is still prevalent in Asian societies. Asian women may prefer pairing with Western men because they feel like they are treated more as an equal, and enjoy greater independence in a relationship. Moreso in Asian cultures, men feel threatened when a woman’s abilities, talent, and social status exceeds their own. I’m sure there are plenty of Asian and Asian-American men who do not adhere to patriarchal beliefs, but there’s no denying the inherent values embedded within certain cultures that may shape a woman’s preferences.

Here’s the crowning gem of what made me angry enough to spit nails: “Sexism has, in fact, been an integral part of Asian society since its origin…”

Yes! Utterly unlike Western society!

You know, I am not saying Asia as it stands today is amazing. I would be the last person to say that China is in any way shape or form completely ready to join 2012.

But really?

Are we just going to toss over 4000+ years of civilization, during which a good portion of it women were not significantly more downtrodden than their Western counterparts, and probably a decent portion of it where they actually had more rights than their Western counterparts, and just say as a blanket statement: oh hey, us in the east, we’ve just been failing hardcore for the past four or so millenia and everyone should just hate on us, including ourselves.

Oh, and let’s forget that for a chunk of Chinese history women were actually expected to be worthy of their husbands in so far as intellect, artistry, and other such things. To broadly state that Asia has historically had issues with men hating on women who actually had half a brain cell is just factually incorrect.

Also — clearly men here in the US have no problems, none whatsoever, when women start getting uppity. Did Lee Shien even pay attention to how much crap Hillary Clinton get/got/will get? Sarah Palin? (Well, she kinda deserves it) Elizabeth Warren?

I mean, dude, I’m all for beating Asia with a stick for their misogyny and sexism and general backward idiocy, but to say that this is something inherent in the culture and that it’s something that’s been going on for millenia is just willfully ignorant.

Argh.

Seriously. I’m going to have to write a treatise on why Asian women date white men.

03.22.12

Should games have a fast forward button?

Posted in Video games at 2:09 am by kyrias

Let me preface this entire post by stating that I believe the entire hoopla over Jennifer Hepler’s comment that she would like there to be a fast forward option for video games to be mostly angry male reactions to what they perceived as a female coming into their territory and daring to tell them that what they loved and knew best should be changed — for what they see as for the worse.

That said, back to the question at hand: should games have a fast forward button?

I believe that they should have that option, but possibly with certain caveats, such as having previously unlocked the game or having to jump through some hoops to unlock the game in such a fashion as to render that option not easily accessible.

At the very least, if I’ve run through a game once already, it seems utterly reasonable that I should be allowed to go through subsequent playthroughs with the option to skip all non-essential combat.  As more and more modern games seem to be going the route where the plot branches out into radically divergent paths — I find that it kills the fun of replay when I need to whack my way through trash mobs two or three or four or (god forbid) more times just to see alternate possibilities.

What I don’t understand is why the backlash?

Iddt, my friend, says that having easy access to the ability to god-mode the game kills enjoyment for many people. Lack of effort put in makes the result not as worthwhile to these people and they would essentially be cheating themselves out of their fun without even realizing why.

To put it bluntly?

I don’t really care if people manage to ruin their own fun by doing things that kills their enjoyment. I suppose we could attempt to save people from themselves by making the fast forward mode something that needs to be unlocked rather than having it simply right there as a button you can hit without thinking twice about it. Then again, it’s not like engaging god-mode via the console is actually hard. Hence my not caring if there’s an even easier way to let the people who would find ez-mode not-fun to get into ez-mode.

Next argument?

It makes the game shorter. It’d kill the game because then the devs wouldn’t bother balancing the game so that it skirts the line between too hard and just challenging enough to pique people’s attention. It’d take the meaning of games right out.

Where to start? There’s nothing wrong with a shorter game. As I grow older and gain more responsibilities and leave the age where all I had to do was to show up for class and do my laundry once in a while behind, the less inclined I am to grind my way through endless mobs in a long-ass dungeon just so I can get to the nitty-gritty of what I want. Killing mobs that don’t actually offer any real challenge doesn’t actually improve my enjoyment of the game and I see no reason to do it, much less repetitively.

To be clear, I do not advocate skipping boss fights. Those are usually worth it and where real gameplay comes in. Trash fights which can pretty much be done while eating, fapping with one hand, and afk-auto-shotting? Not particularly useful to anyone and hardly what I would call a shining example of the gameplay that certain people seem to be holding up as some sort of sacrosanct trust.

Also? Dude, if say, Bioware decided to do this, and decided to shit on their main, devoted, established fan base in order to pursue the potential business of the *girly girl useless gamers* — I highly doubt this, by the way, since I doubt they’re that dumb — then people would just quit buying their games, which should send them a really pointed message. Are we really worried that Bioware is going to shit in their pie, so to speak?

In response to someone’s statement that perhaps there should be a fast forward button for those people who have actual difficulty playing prolonged games, such as those people with carpal tunnel, cerebral palsy, and so such, here’s this gem by a certain Dan:

If you are unable to play due to a disability, then hey, that sucks, but lets not obliterate the challenge for the majority. Perhaps you should play something that you are physically able to? I’m not fit enough to climb Everest, should the mountain shrink, or perhaps I should be carried up and back? I’m not skilled enough to play in the NBA, perhaps they should adjust the rules in my favor?

There are _many_ gaming alternatives out there for individuals with physical and mental handicaps, that will offer them a compelling challenge, use what is accessible to you.

Uh-huh.

This argument is sort of along the lines of the one that says that people who cannot manage to eke out the time from chores, childcare, two jobs to pay the bills, laundry, dishes, and so forth should just GTFO and find something else to entertain them.

Well.

Surely, if we’re going to decide that only those who are truly fit for some form of entertainment then we shouldn’t stop at just video games. For that matter, forget about DVD fast-forwarding. If we cannot desecrate the vision of the artists of video games by speeding through their opus, then surely it’s some sort of sacrilege to skip past the boring parts of a movie you’ve seen a couple million times over as well.

In that case, I vote that we should do away with wheelchair accessible basketball courts. Or we should get rid of all subtitles for movies. If you can’t watch a movie in its original language, then clearly either you need to learn that language or you shouldn’t be able to get some sort of magical ability to gain access to content you otherwise wouldn’t have.  Oh hey, why don’t we disable all forms of locomotion not our own two feet or what we can reasonably propel via human methods? Surely if evolution/god wanted us to be able to see places further than what we could travel to on our own, he would have given us wings, right?

Any other arguments? Any other petulant “we don’t want change” whiners?

Guys — this would be an option. Furthermore, since not all game companies do the same thing or have the same systems — not even all game companies would necessarily pick up this idea unless it was statistically proven to give them more sales.

Just how is this very reasonable suggestion going to throw your world into chaos?

03.05.12

More masochism and renditions of Gretchen Wilson’s song

Posted in Beauty, Gender, culture at 5:46 pm by kyrias

*puts on Redneck Woman at full blast*

So, in further news of just what I have issues with Ms Pundarik-Dossin:

Cook for him.

I spoke to many gentlemen and found that the reason they appreciate a girl knowing how to cook is because when she does, it creates a sense of intimacy, comfort, care, and nurture. People fall in love and gain closeness over a good meal. Also, when a man comes to the dining room to see his favorite meal on the table, the house he lives in suddenly feels like a home. I remember speaking to a male friend of mine who was talking about to me about family dinners. He described the wonderful feeling he had of sitting down and waiting for the meal to be brought to the table and how he felt so loved and nourished, and he felt like his mother was loving and taking care of him.

It seems to me that gentlemen like women who cook not because of the food itself (although that’s an obvious benefit) but because of the emotional and sensory factors surrounding the woman taking the time to prepare a nice meal for her loved ones.

Really? And what is to preclude the man doing such things to make a home feel like a home? Why is it up to the female to create the feeling of being nurtured and cared for? Why can’t a man be *ahem* man enough to step up to the plate and create a warm home before he goes wife-hunting?

Hi, sexism.

Contrary to public opinion, bringing warmth, joy, real food, and culture to a man’s life is not exactly high on my list of “how I want to shape the world”.

Also? I do not want my partner to associate the feeling of his mother taking care of him with me at any point. In fact, there is so much I do not want I don’t even. Reminding a man of his mother is hardly one of my highest aspirations.

The art of being the perfect guest:

When Nina’s fiancé casually asked him during dinner how the apricot-dijon pork was, he was unresponsive (and the pork was quite good yet his actions and lack of response still made the hostess nervous that there was something wrong with her cooking and the host feeling tense with his fiancée, leading to some awkward questions directed at her after the party). His actions hurt the experience for the rest of the people there. I was secretly upset to be sitting across from him, Nina was worried that her food was bad and was wondering during the entire party if all guests disliked it, her fiancé felt irritated and was wondering what she did wrong, the woman on the man’s right was upset that she didn’t have an attractive dinner companion sitting next to her, and the entire environment became tense.

*blinks*

Where to start?

Let’s just say that if C were to become tense with me and directed awkward questions my way when I had gone to the effort of organizing a dinner party because of one guest’s bad behaviour — there would have been words. Why is it taken for granted that Andrew, instead of comforting Nina, would have “directed awkward questions” her way after the dinner? Why is it said, so casually, that A was wondering what N did wrong?

Japanese Etiquette Rules:

Unlike in China and other parts of East Asia, it is considered to be bad manners to burp.

Oh really? I wasn’t aware that it was considered proper manners to burp in China. My parents must have been mistaken all these years.

Then there’s the feminine appearance page.

Ye gods, the judgey.

Yes, that’s a word.

I don’t think I can even go into it without wanting to claw my eyes out and start muppet flailing.

Then there’s The Elegant and Proper Ladies of Jane Austen:

In Jane Austen novels, something else that is portrayed as being delightfully attractive is an appeasing nature, one that cares about pleasing others above all else. In Mansfield Park, the character of Mary Crawford’s obligingness, among other traits, are what Edmund Bertram finds to attractive in her:

“Miss Crawford’s attractions did not lessen. The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good-humour; for she played with the greatest obligingness, with an expression and taste which were particularly becoming, and there was something clever to be said at the close of every air.”

-Mansfield Park, page 57.

“[W]hen being earnestly invited by the Miss Bertrams to join in a glee, she tripped off to the instrument, leaving Edmund looking after her in an ecstasy of admiration of all her many virtues, from her obliging manners down to her light and graceful tread.

‘There goes good-humor, I am sure,’ said he presently. ‘There goes a temper which would never give pain! How well she walks! and how readily she falls in with the inclination of others! joining them the moment she is asked.’”

-Mansfield Park, p. 99.

It is viewed as an attractive quality because it hints to a woman being free of selfishness. It hints to her more traditionally feminine qualities: selflessness and obligingness to both the needs and the wants of others, qualities which hint at her being built for both a good wife and a good mother. Men wanted women who were soft, gentle, and sweet.

I swear, I might break something if I flail any harder.

Yes, because women are essentially decorations and entertainment. This is, quite simply, rank objectification and sexism.

One must be obliging, beautiful, graceful, and accomplished. To what purpose? To be pleasing to others, of course.

Note that at this point, women who read and thought for their own edification only were called bluestockings, and they were not held in the highest regard.

Then there’s Even Ladies Make Mistakes.

The judgey. It pains me. I swear it does.

I might not necessarily approve of being a party girl, but is Michelle Obama’s stance, Cindy McCain’s cleavage, and Audrey Hepburn’s nipples that offensive?

Languages that Refine you:

(I really should stop. I’m starting to come across as a creepy obsessed stalker and I really don’t want that.)

Japanese for being the language of possibly the most elegant nation in Asia and also a good language for business and travel.

Chinese is good for business.

*sigh* Alright, I admit it. Nationalism and cultural pride is rearing its head.  Asides from the harm of even positive stereotypes, what’s it about Asian languages being good for business and not much else? After all, China only has a couple thousand years of poetry and prose to indulge in. Japan is only the country that came up with the first full length novel.

I’m not even going to mention about how Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea don’t even merit mentions.

I think I’m going to call it a day.

Nothing is going to be served for me to continue in this vein and it’s just making me depressed.

The thing is?

I don’t feel inspired.

I feel judged. I feel pained sympathy for those who are also being judged. Although it’s nice to be in the ranks of Michelle Obama. :/

I am horrified at the amount of casual sexism, gender tropes, and stereotyping that goes on and I don’t even know how to begin to address that.

03.04.12

Cuz I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad…

Posted in Beauty, Conventions, Gender, culture at 3:29 pm by kyrias

Usually I try to be classier than to single out other blogs that espouse opinions that I don’t agree with and flambé them, but I’ve hit the point where I can’t resist because I finally hit a post that made me so angry.

My conscience and manners tell me that I really could just click that useful little x in the top right corner of this woman’s blog, but it’s not that easy.

You see, I do try to be classy and elegant whenever possible or necessary. I feel that it is important to be courteous, to always keep the higher moral ground, behave with all possible decorum etc etc etc etc. I also feel that it is very important that we hold onto these ideals of civilized behaviour in this day and age where it seems like courtesy and common manners has gone the way of the dodo.

No, in fact, I will not be joining C in sitting on our lawn and screaming at the neighborhood kids to GTFO our lawn, thank you very much. I’m not quite that curmudgeonly, I swear.

As an aside, I’m also not going to take the higher moral ground in this case because I do want to give credit where credit is due in terms of quotations. Besides, I know from reading other blogs and my own reactions to blog owners not giving out incriminating identifying information that people who are really interested will just go ahead and search for the offender anyway. Traffic and imprints be damned and all that.

However, my beef with Ms Pundarik-Dossin is that she’s somehow managed to make me want to cringe and rake my nails over my face every single time she mentions the word “elegant”.

Originally, I was going to settle for making catty comments to my friends and my suitably cryptic Tweet about how I find judgmental people to be infinitely more classless than most things they’re passing judgement on, but one post in particular just lit a fire under me.

I was already wondering, what sort of background does this woman come from?

I had the impression that she must have a decent sort of background because of the people she mentions hobnobbing with, the sort of friends she mentions her parents associating with, and other various tidbits that just hint of at least a bit of disposable income somewhere in her life.

I was becoming frustrated because of the royalty-chasing, the borderline offensive cultural stereotypes, the sexism,  the constant low-key reminders of the differences in privilege and financial ability…

Then there was:

I was inspired to write this post because when I first started dating my fiancé, our dating style was very reminiscent of The Easy Life and that led to a greater intimacy and care for one another. It allowed us to devote an entire few hours to one another. It allowed us to bond and to get to know one another. It allowed us to converse about romantic ideas and it allowed us to have conversations about literature, art, culture, history, science, etc. while dating instead of having the typical “what do you do?” conversations.

and

Most simply: The Easy Life is characterized by a life where one is never flustered or in a rush. A life where one is rarely too busy for their loved ones. A life where one can put aside hours for their family and friends – where they can speak over a cup of tea for long periods of time and where dinner is extended, either with courses or by not leaving the table right after the meal until all conversational has naturally ceased or until one has made good use of the cheese tray.

Does this sound like something that you might be interested in? Make a few small changes in your life so that your life can start to resemble that of the Easy Life culture:

  • Extend dining periods: make the meals longer so that you can eat slowly and enjoy your company while dining – extend dining periods so that you can make it a time for family and friends
  • Set Aside Personal Culture Time: set aside time each day to read, to cook ambitious recipes, to watch a videotaping of an opera performance, to listen to a ballet recording from start to finish, to discuss culture with valued companions, etc.
  • Make Regular Theater Trips in an Attempt to Socialize

Pundarik-Dossin, N. The Easy Life. Retrieved 3/5/2012 at 3:15pm from http://theproperlady.blogspot.com/2011/04/easy-life.html.

The Easy Life?

Indeed.

I would love to have a life where I don’t have to be in a rush. Where I have the time and wherewithal to have long, leisurely tea parties and dinner parties without worrying about either the cost, the time, or the energy that would require.

My partner works full-time, has overtime frequently, and goes to school part-time. I have work with odd hours, weird days off, and not nearly enough time in a day to clean all the things, go to the bank, and do what needs to be done.

Small changes?

Why do I hear the screams of class warfare right there?

Regular theatre trips? With what money, what time, and what energy?

Personal culture time? When the drama is screaming, when the chores are an albatross around your neck, and when you get home from work at 10:30 to find that there’s been yet more work created for you in your absence?

Then there’s:

When trying to achieve grace, there are some things that we do that really cannot help in any other way. However, there are a few ways to help us be graceful that also help us to become refined and/or elegant. One of these is an instrument that requires good posture and skilled and steady movements (harp, piano, viola, violin, cello, etc.) Fine ladies of the time period placed much more importance on things like music when it came to catching a husband, after all, things like music and art were the societal values of the higher society.

Playing an instrument that requires steadiness, good posture, and preciseness of form really can develop grace and composure in a person. You’ll learn coordination and movements that are not only pleasing to the eye, but create pleasing sounds on the instrument itself.

Dance, especially classical ballet, can also be very helpful in both the creation of grace and the quest to achieve refinement. Ballet requires talent and dedication and it also helps the body to “stretch,” improving posture.

…perhaps we should see classical dance plus classical musical training as a perfect combination for achieving pose.

Pundarik-Dossin, N. Grace and Composure. Retrieved 3/5/2012 at 3:15pm from http://theproperlady.blogspot.com/2011/03/grace-and-composure.html

Tea parties, ballet, and learning a classical instrument? When so many of us all but need a second job to get by, when half of us are trying to find jobs and can’t, when children are starving in Africa?

(Alright. That last was a low blow on top of being a strawman argument that made no sense. I admit it. :D )

This almost makes me want to join the 53% in their poor logic with a rant of my own. I shall refrain, however.

What I’m getting here is elegance is what you do when you have money, time, and energy — something that almost all of Americans are running perilously low on. What I’m hearing is the plummy tones of the aristocracy, asking with all innocent confusion as to why the commoners don’t eat cake or meat gruel.

And that, that makes me want to muppet flail like nothing else.

I just might address my other concerns regarding sexism and stereotypes at some other time.

Right now though? I just want to sit sprawl legged with my hair unkempt, and howl “I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad” at my laptop screen.

11.15.11

Amazing Grass’ Amazing Meal (Chocolate infusion)

Posted in Reviews tagged , , at 4:47 pm by kyrias

I was running late today and didn’t have time for a meal, so I grabbed a container of Amazing Grass’ Amazing Meal off the shelf at Harvest Co-op.

*shell-shocked face* It was 47.99 for a mere 15 servings. I knew it was that expensive when I took it off the shelf, but I didn’t expect the container, which is pretty big, to be only about half-full.

To be perfectly frank, I am feeling a wee bit cheated. I honestly probably wouldn’t have bought it if I had known.

At 15 servings, it comes out to slightly over three dollars per serving. Bit pricey.

On Amazon, it’s 31.03, which makes it slightly above two dollars, which is much, much better.

Harvest Co-op, you’re making me sad with how much I want to support you and how much your prices differ from everyone else’s. More than 15 dollars more expensive? Really? :(

I mixed it with organic whole milk, not using the full 10 ounces, and thought it was pretty drink-able. Not amazingly chocolate-y, but enough that I could chug it without feeling too “healthy”. Definitely not something I’d savor though.

It did mix up pretty smooth, with little of the icky things like clumps that just won’t die and had a good texture.

All the reviews I read said that they felt energized and full for a long time after they drank it. I drank it at about 2pm and didn’t feel particularly full afterwards and now at near 4pm I’m feeling positively hungry. Meal replacement? Perhaps not.

Also, I’m still feeling really sleepy so that whole energizing thing? Nah.

Noting, a lot of the reviews I read were done around 2009 and were done with free samples. I’m wondering how much of their glowing reviews was based off of psychosomatic happy feelings on getting a relatively good tasting drink to experiment with, how much of it was due to them being people who were already pretty healthy to begin with ( also known as the raw/vegan/scary type who CAN easily subsist off of meal replacement shakes) and how much of it was that Amazing Grass had a better product back then and has since declined in quality.

Not to be cynical, but I’ve noticed that the first year or so of a company putting out a product, they tend to have amazing stuff, and then it usually goes downhill after that. And then there are the others that get bought out and just suck after that. Naked Juice, Burt’s Bees, I’m looking straight at you.

Meh. I guess I’ll finish this container since I already paid for it, but I doubt I’ll be back for more.

Two stars for taste and convenience.

06.03.11

Sibling love

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:50 am by kyrias

Me: “I’m so bored I could jump out a window.”

Brother points at the bank of windows, “Yeah, sure, out there should work. It looks high enough.”

Me, looking downwards, “Nah, I don’t think it’s high enough.”

B: “Just make sure to land headfirst.”

Me: “Jeez, that’s too much effort. Besides, you’d have to go to Taiwan and China alone if I die.” *smirk*

B: “No, I’d go home to tell dad the tragic news and then I wouldn’t be able to leave the country because I’d need at least a month of mourning time.”

… and then college would start was the unsaid implication.

God but we’re bored. We’ve been sitting in Boston Logan Airport for, oh, like 5 hours now. Gah.

01.25.11

Self-publishing: A ramble

Posted in Writing at 11:17 am by kyrias

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Probably for too long considering that I haven’t even managed to finish Estyria (temporary title) yet, but hey, that’s how procrastination works, right?

The thing is, if I ever do finish Estyria, I’m probably going to try and sell it to NY first, and then if that doesn’t happen, I just might try self-publishing.

There’s a couple of reasons for that:

I don’t like how little money most authors make. What I’m hearing from the authors I read and like is that it’s really hard to make a good living off of writing.

The consensus is to not give up your day job. Keep it even if you could scrape by, in case piracy drives you back to it!

The way I see it?

Unless you’re one of those writers who will simply die, die, if they do not write — you not writing sucks a hella lot more for the reader than for you.

Well, also unless you hate your current day job a hella lot more than you hate scraping by and relying on the vagaries of humanity to keep you and yours fed.

Me?

I hate relying on the vagaries of humanity to keep me fed just a little more than I hate my current day job. Considering I have a boyfriend to help put through college, a family to feed, retirement to think of, children to save for, and my own love for disposable income to think of — no thanks.

The idea of busting my tail off to write the book, then shop it around, probably get a paltry 5~6k for my efforts, and then have to start praying that I make back that advance while working furiously to pump out the next book and to just continue on that merry-go-round is somehow oddly disincentivising.

Then there’s more facts to dissuade!

The fact that authors only get about four dimes for every paperback novel they sell and 2.50 for each hard cover is just a tad disheartening. Add to that the fact that you need to make back your advance first and thereafter the money often comes in bi-annually…

It’s almost incidental to comment that bookstores often don’t keep books on the shelf for all that long and that bookstores will order less with each subsequent order based on how they perceive your books will do, driving some authors to publish under other names.

The little quibble I have with losing control over cover art, book title, and ebook rights pales by comparison to all of the above.

Mostly, I’d put up with a good deal with regards to cover at and book title, but in this day and age it almost seems like financial suicide to give up ebook rights.

…right.

Uh-huh.

How about a big, fat, resounding no?

I’ll publish on my own terms, or self-publish, or not at all.

The way I see it, there’s some pros and cons of self-publishing for me personally, cheerleading and hide-bound dinosaurs aside:

Pros:

  • Making significantly more for each book I sell. Smashwords, just as an example, offers 85% of net sales proceeds.
  • More control over the book, period.
  • I’ll be able to reach more readers if I go with a non-DRM system that is user-friendly and doesn’t rely on ebook readers. Think instant demographic boom.

Cons:

  • Lack of platform. It’s going to take a lot of PR tail-busting to get it out there and to get past the stigma of self-publishing. Problem? I’m desperately shy.
  • Need to hustle to find/pay people to do the editing, proof-reading, and cover design.  ~3k for an editor? Hah. When I win the lottery, perhaps.
  • Trying to shout above the masses to get attention is going to suck.

The thing is, I don’t believe that the majority of publishers and authors are looking in the right direction when it comes to ebooks. Completely asides even from the self-pubbing bit.

E-books means that you can offer up to half or more of your book as a tease.

It means that ex-pats in other countries can easily find and read your book, thus fulfilling their burning desire for something in their own language.

It means that, not even ex-pats, English speakers the world round suddenly have the ability to become your readers. If I could just sell my book to 1% of the Chinese population, I’d have it made. Which, with their push on English learning, I might very well be able to sell to the Chinese eventually given enough pushing.

So there’s no way I’m giving up my e-book rights. Which is probably a deal breaker. Oh well.

I’m lucky in that C can probably do enough editing to make it pass muster for the majority of the population, which is all we’re really aiming for anyways. If I pass the book around my friends, I’m sure between us monkeys we can get enough plot-nits out. Deviantart can probably supply me with amazing cover art.

I’m not saying it’ll be professional grade editing or cover art, but honestly, reading through horror stories of how new authors can get screwed over with regards to editing and cover art — I’ll take my chances if it comes to that. By the way, I’m speaking of barely getting edited and proof-read because of the time crunch and white-washing of characters, not the lack of choices.

Now, to finish the damn book so I can test out how badly I can fail at this. :D

01.21.11

Piracy: some thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:33 am by kyrias

Things have been floating in my mind off and on since I read Shiloh Walker’s post on piracy and now that some people from a comm I subscribe to have posted their views on the subject, I figure it’s about time to finally hash out what exactly I think on the matter.

I’m not going to read anyone’s full post before I post this, just to see how much privilege I have hanging out.

So. Pirating.

I believe that it is the right of any creator to be paid for their work. I’ve caught flak for this in the past, but I also believe that if fan-fic authors wish to be paid for their work, then they should be.

For the point of books and other media for entertainment, I do not believe that anyone is entitled to free entertainment. If people desire free entertainment, then there’s myriad possibilities on the internet without going into illegal territory. If you’re downloading for the point of pre-viewing something before buying it, then that’s one thing, but if you’ve downloaded something and it’s something that you would have bought if you were forced to it, then you should. If it’s something that you didn’t enjoy and that you wouldn’t have bought if you read it in a bookstore, then I don’t believe that you’re necessarily under moral obligation to purchase it.

I believe, if there a way of acquiring it legally, then you are under moral obligation to do so.

EXCEPTIONS to my rule:

Textbooks. Non-fiction. Information in general. Information should be free for all and should be disseminated freely.

If there is no feasible way to procure the item in question, then by all means.

Now, I’m going to go off and read other posts and see how my privilege is holding up.

- crossposted from DW where there are 14 comments

01.06.11

Dear dumb shits:

Posted in life tagged at 8:41 pm by kyrias

To the dumb shit who ran out into the street after their light turned red:

I have to say, you bring a whole new meaning to the reminder to go down the street, not across the road. Please, if you want to kill yourself, do not engage us in your suicidal plans. I assure you that pills work just as well as getting run over by a car. Potentially better, since you don’t need to count on the hapless other party to not brake on time. If you must needs use a car, I have it on very good authority that running a hose from the exhaust into the interior of the car is a pretty reliable method of suicide — and your cheeks turn a lovely pink from the carbon monoxide too. Or, if there’s something appealing to you about relying on chance, why not use the railroad tracks? That way, at least you’re not ruining someone elses’ insurance premiums and potentially involving them in a lawsuit. Of course, if you’re a dickless dumb shit, which you appear to be, then I suppose there’s no help for that. I wish you the best of luck in your suicidal endeavors and sincerely pray that you will not make it to reproduction because the last thing we need is someone irresponsible like you parenting an impressionable child.

– no love, kyrias

To the dumb shit who wasn’t paying attention in the middle of Central Sq:

First of all, above all, you fail at life. Mostly because you engaged in a hit and run and lied to us to get us to get back into our car and then skedaddled. Secondly, I’m going to assume that you’re not from NYC, because if you were, then you should know better than to not pay attention when dumb fucks are running around like headless chickens. It was the middle of Central Sq where idiots were running amok, and yet you managed to hit us when we braked for one of said idiots. Considering that it wasn’t a hard brake on our part, I suspect you were just tooling along at a much faster speed than you should have. Double fail for you. If you are from NYC, triple fail with no cherry on top. I hope you get what’s coming to you, shitface. :)

– no love, kyrias

The thing about series…

Posted in Writing tagged at 11:53 am by kyrias

I read a post by Ilona a day or so ago about series and their whyfores and therefores of ending or not ending them:

Personally, it strikes me a little odd when people come out guns blazing to tell us that they’re huge fans of the series, but no, don’t write any more books in it. It’s like walking up to a concert pianist and telling him, “Your rendition of Bach was lovely, now please get off the piano, we’re done listening.” You might think it, but you would not necessarily tell that to the pianist’s face.

The thing is, as a reader, I remember predicting that Robert Jordan was going to die before he ever finished the series — when I was 12. He died when I was in college. I swear I laughed myself silly. C told me at that point that Jordan had said something to the effect of him writing the series until he was stuffed in his coffin — but hey, I’d called it, many years before he came out and admitted it.

Then there’s the Laurell K. Hamilton series where really, I don’t give a flying fuck. I was interested in the first two books and then it just went weird from there and then went crappy after wierd.

Then there’s the Twilight series…not even gonna go into that. Y’all know my stance on that particular series.

Then…and then….and then…

One series that is handled pretty brilliantly is Mima’s Truxet books. As I said to her when she commented on wondering if her series was getting away from her:

I just wanted to say that your series is definitely not dragging on. The problem with long series is when it seems interminable, when it seems like the author is milking the series for all he/she can get out of it and the story line isn’t really so much progressing as standing in place. Your series is pretty much stand-alone so far as I can see; there’s an overall story arc, but it doesn’t get in the way of reading each book as it comes. Each book builds upon the one before and reveals another facet of Truxet life — definitely not boring at all.

Lynn Kurland’s fantasy series is pretty damn amazing too. There’s world-building, there’s character development and there’s closure and she doesn’t take a million zillion years to get around to it. I do want to read more about Morghain and her newly kinged husband — but really, to a certain extent, I’m ok with exploring new characters.

The real problem, is as I see it, is that people get invested in characters and then the new characters just aren’t as shiny for some reason. Perhaps they have the wrong personality type. I like Mercy more than I like whoever the heroine is of the alpha and omega series. See how I can’t even remember her name. Perhaps we don’t like the way the storyline is going. Maybe the conflict just isn’t our cup of tea.

It’s not that I always don’t want a series to end, it’s just that sometimes the known is so much better than the known.

Sometimes, like with Morghain and Miach, it’s not that the story is left undone, it’s just that I’d actually like to see how they deal with being proper royalty and the hilarity that has to ensue from seeing Morghain being a queen.

But why would a reader come right out and tell the author that they’d like it to end quickly?

Well, sometimes I just want it to end because really, we’re done with this arc and we’re done with waiting and can you please just tell us what the ending is already? I don’t want you to get sidetracked by any more side-arcs. Or sex. Please don’t try to distract me with sex.

I want to know if Meredith Gentry or whatever her name is finally does get crowned queen or whatever. Which I do want to know, but I assure you that the question is almost purely academic. That Fae Fever series by Karen Moning is also on my list of “you dragged it out too long and seemed to be going in circles and fuck me if I’ll buy another one of your hardcovers only to see that the plot went forward in inches” series that I’ll just buy the last book or borrow the last book to see how it all goes down. See,  I bought the first book in hardcover. Then I bought the second in hardcover and put my foot down in frustration.

PSA: The plot needs to move forward sufficiently so I don’t feel cheated as a reader. ‘k?

And by move forward sufficiently, I mean that it’s great to have a really long series, but Briggs and Ilona Andrews did the correct thing in resolving at least one main plotline before continuing. Mercy finally got together with Adam, rejoice! Samuel got a lady-love! Kate and Curran kind of sort of have figured out their relationship, yay!

And now for our regularly scheduled ass-kicking….

Honestly, if they had dragged it out for longer, I might have said “fuck it” as well. I just can’t keep up the level of anticipation if I’m not thrown a bone once in a while.

Then there’s the “we’re going to write about every. single. possibly. interesting. side character before getting to THE ONE that everyone is looking forward to”.

Nalini Singh, I’m looking at you.

I loved her series to start off with, but towards the later bits, I felt like it was getting a wee bit formulaic. Alpha-ish female having to work out issues with power and so forth with another alpha male. Yeah, we got that. Or, cold Psy needs to defrost with hot-blooded changeling male. Check.

Can we get to Hawk and Sienna’s story already? I’m not at the point where I don’t like them anymore, but it’s getting a little too fluffy for me and it feels a bit like doing time.

The worst of it is when there’s this huge buildup to THE ONE that everyone is interested in, and then the last book just doesn’t live up to the hype. Acheron, yeah, that one. By Sherrilyn Kenyon? The one that’s been building up for what, years and years now? Bought it in hardcover, couldn’t even make it through.

Series building is srs bzness, peeps.

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