I'm sorry, I couldn't resist: words so good need a pretty (fsvo pretty) framing.
The AO3 is an archive of fanfiction for multiple fandoms, founded and run by a non-profit organization, Organization for Transformative Works with the aim of "providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms."
And, well, there's also the fact that...
"[...] the Archive is one of a very small number of open-source projects founded and largely staffed by women, another contribution fans have made to the internet as a whole. Many women who were not previously involved in technology have learned new skills in the name of fannish activities, and the AO3 is proud to stand as a shining example of this growth."
So, congratulations AO3!
Where The Grass Grows Green I: We May Yet Stand (Lord of the Rings)
"AU. The Quest failed. Sam killed Gollum before the Ring was destroyed and now darkness rules the lands of Middle-earth. A small group from the resistance battles both hunger and mistrust, to keep hope alive. But will the sacrifices outweigh the gain?"
A what-if fic where one (arguably) minor event (Sam killing Gollum) changes drastically the future of Middle Earth: Sauron regains the Ring, his enemies are destroyed or captives and the only resistance comes from the Rohirrim. It's written wonderfully and features some interesting OCs, beside the canon characters. Note that is quite a dark fic, and many major characters are dead. This is the first installment of six, the second is already online, but not complete yet: Where The Grass Grows Green II: On Bended Knee. The author uploads slowly, but for a fic of this quality is worth the waiting.
Ned Stark Lives! (A Song of Ice and Fire)
Exactly what says on the tin: how events would have been different in Westeros had Ned Stark lived? The author maintains the multiple pov structure, alternating among the different subplots, and everyone is - more or less - in character. The sequel is online, currently in progress: Ned Stark Lives! Part 2
The North Remembers (A Song of Ice and Fire)
"In the ashes of war-torn Westeros, the fate of the remnants of House Stark - and that of their lovers, allies, friends, and foes - hangs in the balance."
103 chapters and counting, this is a good continuation fic for those who need their Westeros fix while waiting for The Winds of Winter. The story is mostly focused on the Starks.
A Bit of Rope (Lord of The Rings)
"What would have happened if Gandalf hadn't fallen in Moria? Would the outcome have been better, or worse? Here's a darker-than-the-original but not-as-dark-as-some AU version of how things might have turned out differently...and the same...if Sam had remembered to bring a bit of rope"
Another what-if dark fic, dealing with the survival of Gandalf the Grey in Moria, the consequent absence of a Gandalf the White and a Balrog roaming Middle Earth.
As usual, if you want to suggest a good fic, drop me a mail.
"I am now 33 years old, and it feels like much time has passed and it's passing faster and faster every day. Day to day I have to make all sorts of choices about what is good and important and fun, and then I have to live with the forfeiture of all the other options those choices foreclose.
And I'm starting to see how as time gains momentum my choices will narrow and their foreclosures multiply exponentially until I arrive at some point on some branch of all life's sumptuous branching complexity at which I am finally locked in and stuck on one path and time speeds me through stages of stasis and atrophy and decay until I go down for the third time, all struggle for naught, drowned by time.
It is dreadful. But since it's my own choices that'll lock me in, it seems unavoidable -- if I want to be any kind of grownup, I have to make choices and regret foreclosures and try to live with them."
David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
I feel the passing of the time mostly the same way, and the possible consequences of everyday choices always nag at my mind.
For a long time, I've been afraid of consequences, of inevitable choices you come to regret, sooner or later.
And then I guess I level'd up without even noticing, because I don't feel anymore paralyzed by the fear of The Worst Thing In The World.
There's always a way out. And you can always go back, if something - a relationship, a job, the new colour of your hair - it's not as good as expected.
I can very well stop reading a book I don't like, and use my time for something else.
Human life can be awfully short, and there's really no point in wasting time with something you don't like.
You cannot live without trying things, that's how we experience the world, and trying things means that sooner or later you'll find something you don't like.
But when you do, you're not condemned to live with it.
You're only dead when you're dead: til then, you can turn tables as often as you like.
[...] this is a great example of overcoming something that we call "problem A, problem B" paradox.
So you've got a group of people coming together, and they're all trying to solve the same problem (problem A) and they're really passionate about it. And then, you've got this problem B thing, which is that you got a bunch of people with different views.
And they may seem to be conflicting, and it seems like a paradox: the same differences that we need to solve the problem are getting in our way. But if you think about it as a paradox, you can get through it.
You think: OK, we've got all these differences. You have to identify the differences that actually are going to move us forward and those that are getting in our way.
And the differences that are getting in your way, set them aside. Push them off to the side and focus on the ones that are helping you move forward.
Well, I noticed that at first everybody was saying "Yes, but this is my idea".
And as we got closer and closer together, it became "Yes, and".
(Quotes from a lecture about "Collaboration skills", part of the Creativity, Innovation and Change course on Coursera)
IMO this is an important lesson to learn if you want to work effectively in a community project like Debian.
We talk much about diversity, and the added value of diversity in our project.
But diversity also means that to converge towards consensus is difficult and requires a specific set of best practices.
A little thing like saying "Yes and" instead of "Yes but" could be of help. Words definitely matter.
Recently, I've been attending a training course in Moldova about the representation of gender
in the media and the influence on society of gender stereotypes.
The course was organized by Inesa Lupu, of Invento and financed by the UE as part of the Youth in Action program.
It was the first time, for me, in this kind of international project and
it was, in a word, fantastic.
Among the participants, there were people from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Italy, Latvia, Moldova and Slovenia.
That meant a great mix of cultures, languages and experiences.
And that was the key, in my opinion, of the success: coming from different countries and different social and cultural contexts meant that we were able to have a very broad and diverse point of view on the problem of gender stereotypes.
So, here's some highlights on what we discussed.
The media representation of gender (aka: gender issues are not only women issues)
Tough Guise by Jackson Katz is a interesting documentary about the way the modern society - particularly in the US - defines masculinity as intrinsically tied to violence, aggressivity and "toughness" and on the consequences of this on the society as a whole. The author's theory is "that male violence, misogyny, and homophobia are inextricably linked to how we define manhood as a culture. The film gives special attention to how American media have glamorized increasingly regressive and violence masculine ideals in the face of mounting social and economic threats to traditional white male heterosexual authority".
It then results clear that we cannot avoid to think about gender issues as women and men issues, because after all is the
cultural definition of both femininity and masculinity that heavily influences the behaviour of men and women and their interaction.
In particular, I liked Katz's analysis of media's use of victim blaming speech while reporting of violences against women which tend to shift the focus from the violence perpetrated by men as part of definition of masculinity.
Another documentary we watched, more focused on women representation, is MissRepresentation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
The film analyses the under representation of women in position of power, and the issue of women and leadership, especially in politics, in the US. Nothing too new, if you are interested in gender issues, as it is a widely discussed and studied topic, but still worth watching.
After watching them, we formed little groups of three-four persons from different countries to discuss them, and it was even more interesting to listen the opinion of the guys (we had four male participants).
Photography and Phototherapy
As a workshop on media representation of gender, photography and advertisement were two of the main argument we spoke about. We focused on it for two days: our trainer, Lietta Granato - photographer and phototherapist - first gave us a lesson on photography, making us experimenting a bit with exposure times and diaphragm's aperture.
Then she presented the evolution in the last 50 year or so, of the depiction of women in the ads.
And that, to be honest, was a bit upsetting.
I've already had seen one of the most important and widely known films on this theme, the Killing Us Softly series by Jean Kilbourne, but some of the ads Lietta showed to us were really really horrible. Actually, most of them were horrible.
Commenting and deconstructing these ads would take a separate blogpost, probably, and there are many people more competent than me on the topic, so I've decided to simply share some of the worst ads in a collage, without much commenting.
These are vintage, from the fifties to the seventies.
Do you think we got better? Pff.
They go from promoting violence and rape to heavily objectifying women. Special mention for the Compaq ad: as a geek woman I feel particularly insulted by the idea that I'm supposed to use a "pocket pc" as "pocket mirror". Because I wouldn't be able, obviously, to use it as a computer.
If you browse Jo Spence's site, please be aware that there is a series of pics documenting all the stages of her illness (she died of breast cancer) and they are pretty intense.
"In 1984, alongside Rosy Martin, Spence developed ‘Photo-Therapy’, adopting techniques from co-counselling. The considerable achievement of Photo-Therapy was to invert the traditional relationship between the photographer and the subject. If historically the subject had little control over their own representation, Photo-Therapy shifts this dynamic. The subject was able to act out personal narratives and claim agency for their own biography." (source: http://www.jospence.org/biography.html)
I love this concept and I really really love Spence's photos.
To close on a happier note, I really suggest you to allocate 20 minutes of your time to watch this great talk by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, about the role of "single story" in shaping stereotypes and misunderstandings.
"I think that we need to be better at accepting mistakes. It's OK to not know everything, it's OK to not be perfect right from the start, but it's better to be vocal about things you don't know, things you are unsure, than to just hide it under the carpet and hope nobody will notice."
Lucas Nussbaum, Bits from the DPL
"This is my definition for a team: waking up in the morning and realizing that somebody else has solved your problem from yesterday."
Andreas Tille, How to attract new developers for your team
While working on English subtitles for DC13 talks, you can stumble upon some real gems. The subtitling work is progressing nicely: four talks have now subtitles available (you can find them here), thanks to the work of Daniel, Gunnar and myself (as well as the reviews from Justin, Andreas and Michael!). In the meanwhile we created an alioth group and a related repository for the sub team, and there are several subtitles in progress!
How can you help?
- you can claim a talk and create the English subtitles for it (more info here)
- you can translate in your language the subtitles already available
- if you are hearing impaired, please send us some feedback: we are trying to create subtitles that are also useful for people with hearing problems, but we've not much experience in the field :)
People from Argentina don't like to shake hands when you first met them: it's too formal (sorry, Marga!)
Video team volunteering is extremely fun. Even directing is fun, except when the speaker decides to wander out of the talkroom just to make a point during a demo.
I won't call names, but I'm not the only one in Debian to remember how to dance the Time Warp and not ashamed to do it in public.
You can bribe a bloodthirsty deity with cheese, especially if the deity is a French one and you are in Switzerland.
A zip line is also called: tirolina (in Spanish), tyrolienne (in French) and - my all time favourite - Tarzanbahn in German, or at least in the German spoken by A. when he was a kid.
Given the number of talks about it this year, we - as a community - care a lot about newcomers, mentoring, creating a welcoming environment and community outreach in general. That's really great!
Self tagging yourself on the badge with your main interests provides conversation starters and make easier to meet new people. Many thanks to Bremner for this brilliant idea.
Cheese&Wine party is the perfect time to discuss pedagogical methods (and discover interesting projects like Sugar (desktop environment)).
During a Mao game, an extremely simple rule by a newbie can result too difficult to guess even to seasoned players. Oh the irony and the inherent democracy of that! All hail the helicopter!
Once in a while, to cook dinner for upstream and/or sit with them around a table and plan your next moves is a good idea and as well as a common practice in Community-supported agriculture.
There are people out there brave enough to stand up and declame their poems or poems they love. As a shy person, I really am in awe of them. They make a sentence like "There will be poetry" sound less threatening.
If you sleep in room 43, next door is the answer. Or the previous one, depending on the direction you're walking.
This week's project is a quick t-shirt reconstruction with the reverse appliqué technique which
basically means layering two different fabrics, sew them togheter, and then cut away part of the top one to
reveal the one underneath.
Ready to start?
What you will need
- a plain t-shirt in your size
- some fabric for the patch
- fusible interfacing
- fabric shears
- small and sharp scissors
- needle and thread (or, if you prefer, a sewing machine)
Cut a square of red fabric of the desired dimensions, I've used the short
sleeve of a ruined red t-shirt.
On the wrong side of your patch, apply the fusible interfacing.
Draw a swirl on the interfacing.
IMPORTANT: remember to draw the swirl as mirrored, because the interfacing is the wrong side of our patch.
So, if usually the Debian swirl has the back to the left and the front to the right - like a "(" - when you draw it on the interfacing it will need to have the back to the right and front to the side - like a ")".
I do realize that this explanation isn't really clear: just look at the picture above.
Turn your t-shirt inside out and pin the patch (with the interfacing up) in the place you want to
put it: I decided to put mine on the lower left corner, approximately 10 cm above the bottom hem.
(In the picture is lower, I changed idea on the position just before sewing it)
Now you can sew it, following closely the drawn line.
Because I'm lazy, I decided to do it by hand, but if you're not afraid of sewing curved shapes, doing it with the sewing machine is definitely the right (and quick) way to do it.
Now, you can cut the extra fabric around your swirl.
Turn your shirt right side out.
Make a snip through the knit in the fabric on the inside part of your stitches and cut off the extra fabric, to reveal the red swirl underneath.
Be careful to not cut the red fabric!
If you like it, you can end embroidering a dashed line (with running stitches) in a contrasting thread all around the swirl.
And you're finished: now you can enjoy your new Debian t-shirt! :)
For any questions feel free to contact me.
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