Saturday, May 25, 2013

All she wrote.

She as in Charlaine Harris. And I guess specifically in the Sookie Stackhouse universe, since I think she intends to write more in other series. There should probably be some kind of spoiler alert here too.

So! I now know the end of the Sookie Stackhouse saga. Or one of the ends. Maybe True Blood will eventually end up in the same place, but if it does the route will have been so entirely different that it'd be hard to really call it the same. I'm like 90% satisfied with how Charlaine Harris decided to leave the series. It made sense. It seemed like there had been an intentional and overarching theme to the series all along. Sam says something about the realization that he's just a man that happens to be a shifter, and I think the same applies to Sookie too. The beginning of the series is all about how alienated she is from regular people because of her telepathy, and how it's just natural for her to be dating vampires. This book is almost kind of a homecoming. Nobody in Bon Temps ever really suspects her...except for the ones that have been hexed...because even though she's a little odd they know she's good people. People come to her rescue from all over. In the end she's rescued by a whole bunch of very regular humans. Turns out she's not such a misfit after all.

There are things I liked about Eric's exit, and things I didn't like. Sending him off to play the part of subservient husband is pretty interesting, especially because it's never suggested that the subservient role would be emasculating for him or undermine his attractiveness. (Go feminism!). I think it also contributes to the series' ability to make vampires "other" in ways that aren't purely about violence. How well can people who were born hundreds of years ago really adapt to modern day thinking? It's not so much that vampires are sadists as that their thinking is medieval or even pre-Christian. Which means that retribution is often swift and violent, and sometimes your romantic love story gets interrupted by a marriage for strategic alliance. On the other hand though, I feel like the thing about Eric always assuming Sookie would become a vampire was just added in to make their relationship double extra plus impossible, without much in the way of roots in earlier books. I'd have to go back and read some stuff again to be sure, but I seem to remember that vampire/vampire romance isn't really a thing. And the promise to keep Sam from talking to Sookie was just contrived and made no sense to me. But, given that Charlaine Harris has openly admitted that she's a little burned out on the series, I think she did a good job. And I respect her for actually finishing it. The great romantic moments might have been a little lacking, but there was some brainstorming on how to ditch a body, and Sookie's holding a grudge against a powerful vampire for ruining a piece of furniture. So I'm happy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Another year older...

Oh hi it's my birthday...which is turning more into a meditative occasion for me as I get older rather than party + gifts day. Turns out it suits my personality better.

I have a weird thing on facebook and birthdays. If I wish other people a happy birthday, I try to find a way to not do it on facebook...mostly because I don't trust myself to be consistent enough to not somehow put my foot in my mouth with that kind of performed friendship. I'd forget someone important while simultaneously remembering someone less important. I hate the decision making process of deciding whether that person I haven't legitimately talked to for over five years still makes the cut. So you get the point, no facebook birthdays.

But then I feel guilty when other people wish me a happy birthday. So now my birthday isn't on facebook. Someone will out me eventually today, probably, but it may take a while. And did I mention the meditation? Because here's the thing. The person who outed me last year passed away later that same month. I remembered that - that she had been the one to out me - about an hour ago, and have been sitting here thinking about what it means to miss somebody and be sad that they're gone. It's this whole wrapped up bundle of change and sadness. If change is inevitable, does it make sense to be sad about it? And does being sad about something imply that you want to change it? I don't want to get too far into it right now, but this is something I've been thinking about off and on for a while. How do you find the right balance between accepting the world as it is and fatalism, or Panglossism...avoid the knee jerk reaction we have to "solve" or "explain" everything but still know when to take action when appropriate? It turns out be kind of a big question.

And I'm a year older, and people don't live forever and the world is not perfectible. But overall life is pretty good.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Charles Cooper's Barely Contained Fertility

One of my handicaps in life is that things that sound absurd to other people often make sense to me.

For example, Charles Cooper's argument that older heterosexual couples need to be allowed to get married to restrain the fearsome procreative power of men over the age of 55. I mean, I'm not denying that the image is funny, especially since I feel safe in assuming that Cooper is himself over the age of 55 and the justices he was making the argument to most definitely were. But, if you're ok with abstract philosophical arguments about human behavior, it's not unreasonable. Adult human beings have a strong tendency to have sex. An imperfect but widely attempted strategy for controlling that tendency is to let everyone have one "right" person to have sex with while making it "wrong" to do with anyone else. Paul said in Corinthians that it was better to marry than to burn, in the Good Earth Wang Lung gets his sons wives to keep them from going to prostitutes. (Although it occurs to me that Wang Lung was not a real person and his story was created by Pearl S. Buck, so I'm not actually branching out of western culture here). So sure, I guess if marriage exists for the sole purpose of preventing illegitimate children, the marriage of a 55 year old, presumably fertile, man to a 55 year old, presumably infertile, woman has a legitimate role in that.

But the problem is that the exact same logic applies to gay couples. Gay people are capable of procreative sex, after all. Assuming that no one ever has sex that contradicts their orientation is only slightly less naive than assuming people don't have sex unless they love each other and want to have babies together. Of course, this is the modern age and people have expectations about love and compatibility beyond gender that prevents making people get married from being a simple solution to any problem...but if conservatives are going to be going around claiming that making poor people get married is the solution to poverty, and making unwed mothers get married would eliminate gun crime, I don't see how they can deny that making gay people get married would prevent gay unplanned pregnancies.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Long time...

I've been thinking lately that it would really be nice to have time to update this more. Thinking isn't necessarily going to make it turns out motherhood is kind of demanding, timewise, and the reasons I wish I could update more are precisely the reasons it will be difficult. It's easy to keep facebook open in the background and like people's pictures and such when you might have to drop everything and change a diaper at any moment. It's quite a bit harder to spend time focusing on what exactly you want to say, looking up sources and data, and really scrutinizing your argument before you hit publish. But I miss the people in my life who find the second a more meaningful form of interaction than the first.

Ironically, just as I've been thinking about this dilemma more and more, Google has decided to shut down Reader. Hopefully some other RSS feeder will step up, if we're really lucky it'll be one that allows following/sharing. But it's disconcerting, and a reminder of how much it sucked when following/sharing got shut off in the first place, and how passive I was about it. Not that I had any chance of changing the company's mind, but I didn't even vote with my feet. Of course, I'm not sure how much Google would have cared about me taking my non-paying business elsewhere.

Because I read Andrew Sullivan's blog, and because he's been very fixated on "the future of journalism" lately...going independent and setting up his own subscription based site. I have not chipped in my $20 yet...I mean to, I think it's reasonable, but I'm lazy and poor. And I need to subscribe to the Merced Sun Star now too, which I think is even more reasonable. I'm heavily dependent on them every election when I'm trying to figure out how to vote on local candidates, and I really think they're a great local paper. And it's only 99 cents a month so...not too steep for my civic duty. But $20 a year here and $12 a year there is quickly going to eat up what I'm reasonably going to spend on online journalism, and it seems to tip the scales towards getting more of your information from one source if possible, which isn't the healthiest thing. I'd like to see "the future of journalism" go to some form of micropayments filtered through RSS feeders, personally. With a sharing function.

And maybe free babysitting. Although actually, I'm in no way interested in reducing the number of hours I spend on childcare. I'd like to go to work less, but that would probably impact my ability to nobly expect to pay for the content I consume.