Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm interested in writers who make their work available for free online. Kelly Link, Cory Doctorow, and Jim Kelly are three writers I know of who put their work online after it's been published elsewhere. It makes sense--you can't sell it again. And getting people interested in your work will only help sales of things that can't be put online, like novels. More importantly, though, as Doctorow said in an interview with Jason Kottke:

copying is only going to get easier. It's the 21st century, there's not going to be a year in which it's harder to copy than this year; there's not going to be a day in which it's harder to copy than this day; from now on. Right? If copying gets harder, it's because of a nuclear holocaust. There's nothing else that's going to make copying harder from now on. And so, if your business model and your aesthetic effect in your literature and your work is intended not to be copied, you're fundamentally not making art for the 21st century.

So here's another online writer, writing about online, for free: Julian Dibble's My Tiny Life (via, not surprisingly, kottke). I haven't read it all yet, but the first chapter, A Rape In Cyberspace, is something I came across a couple of years ago while doing research (for a book on sex, for a professor at USM)--I was interested in how an online event can have repercussions in the real world. This was before myspace and all, remember.

If/when I am ever a Real and Published Writer, you can find my stuff online, for sure. And in whatever new media are invented between now and then.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Passport, Please

I keep thinking about that ubiquitous frog. You know, that slowly boiling one that everyone uses in examples to talk about how we just adjust to gradual change that we would never accept all at once?

Today's Press Herald covers the changing rules for crossing the border from Canada to the US with a lighthearted story about what a "pain in the butt" they are. It looks like a birth certificate and a drivers' license are required for now, with next year's rules asking for a "single identity document"--in other words, a passport.

I got a letter from the State of Maine last week saying that we need to prove our citizenship or else we will lose our state-sponsored insurance coverage.

I've written about this before. I'm still thinking of all of the old stories I've read about people who have to carry their papers with them at all time. I'm thinking about countries at war. But mostly I'm thinking about my daughter, who is ineligible for a passport because her father--to whom I was never married--disappeared after signing her birth certificate but before we could set up a legal custody arrangement. Which means that she can't get a passport without his presence, in person, at the passport office. Which is about as likely to happen as me flying to work tomorrow on wings that have sprouted out of my back.

That's not even to mention the hassles this will cause for my transgender friends, or immigrants, or activists on whoever's watch list, or so many other people who for whatever reason will have trouble getting a passport. I had already resigned myself to the fact that we will not travel overseas until S is 18, but now I have to get used to the fact that we will also not travel to Quebec or Montreal. Not for field trips, not for anything.

Is it warm in here?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Expensive Hobbies

Well, not nearly as glamorous as skiing, or, say, a coke habit. But it is, officially, expensive. I've just purchased a digital voice recorder. It was on sale, blah blah blah. But besides its obvious uses in my new (paying) journalism-type habit and my (as-yet-unpaying) radio work, I really bought it because 1.) I got a graduation gift of cash from an aunt, and 2.) as I was looking at the recorders it suddenly became clear that I needed to make a choice for this kind of life I want to be living (i.e. working p/t and writing for money). And the recorder suddenly epitomized this choice.

Really I shouldn't be spending that kind of money on anything but practical things. We are really living at the far edge of what is financially acceptable--if I was out of work for a week we'd be totally fucked. A used washer & dryer would have been the more practical choice. Or keeping it in savings.

But I felt like I needed to jump, now, to make a positive choice towards what I want for my life. Or else I am a consumer like everyone else and now some Olympus co. executive is a little richer.

Either way, I could potentially be recording everything you say the next time we meet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reading the Signs

I am possibly disturbed by the fact that I had to create folders to better manage my feed reader. Am I that kind of person? >identity crisis! identity crisis!<

I did, in fact, take the day off yesterday (not literally; I already had the day off from work, but I stayed in all day and tended to the apt. and the fam). What that meant was that I cooked and hung out with S and facilitated a play date, but also mostly that I sat on my ass in front of the TV all day and knitted. We only get one channel, so I was pretty much at the mercy of WMTW. I even watched the soap operas, producing a kind of nostalgia for my childhood and the times my mom and I would watch Days of Our Lives together (it was on at 9:30 in the morning back then, and we sat together in our one-room cabin and watched it on our black and white tv in the middle of the woods). I recognized a lot of the actors! I wondered what it would be like to make a career out of acting on one soap opera.

I also (oh, the shame!) ended the day by watching Dance War. I actually kind of enjoy live TV. The mistakes that happened made me giggle, but also reminded me that those are real people up there. S and I are firmly for Carrie Ann, but I couldn't bring myself to vote.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Busy Weekend

New column up at The Bollard.

Also, I attended two public entertainment events this weekend: Saturday night I went to see Sweeney Todd, which was every bit as gory and dark and stripy as you could want any Tim Burton movie to be. And why haven't Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter gotten married and had pale, tangle-haired children yet?

Then today I went to see The Laramie Project, which was being performed near where I grew up. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have gone except that I was invited to be on a panel because of my job. The last time I saw the show I felt all soggy and sad for hours--like I'd been through some kind of ordeal. It's an incredibly moving show. This time was no different. Wrenching, I think I might call it. And now I'm so very tired... I'm glad I went, but I think it's the kind of thing I only want to do every couple of years. The show just makes concrete for me so many of the things I don't want to think about, like how fragile people's lives are, and how vulnerable being out and queer makes people, and that there are people in the world who hate people like me. That probably sounds funny, given that it's my job to be gay, and I'm about as out as a person could possibly be... but listening to the words of those people in that town gave me chills.

I might skip MLK Day events tomorrow and just stay in and make banana bread and chicken soup. I think I need to recharge after all that violence.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I'm a Sucker for Falsetto

This is captivating. (Performed as part of a contest to win tickets to the Broadway version of the Little Mermaid).

via radicalmuffin


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