Tesla Tuesday #8: some vidjas

Long time, no see, Teslapunks! I've got a video-heavy TT for ye this week.

In case you're new, here's a primer:

And now for a Kickstarter I'm pretty geeked about: an illustrated biography of our main man, N. T.!

The latest episode of the Epic Rap Battles of History series: Tesla vs. Edison!

And I suppose it was only a matter of time before something like this happened... ;)

Until next time!



Gord Sellar! Kelly Link! Leah Bobet! AND ME. JEI D. MARCADE. I'M IN THERE, TOO. (Demand it for your local libraries!) Plus, a shout-out in the intro to the fantastic S. L. Gilbow

Coincidentally, the day I found Superheroes at Barnes and Noble (03/03/13) was also the day that I attended my very first Western comic book / pop culture convention: Emerald City Comicon! I went to a couple panels ("An Angel Walks Among Us: Misha Collins," "Looking Past the Target Audience," and "Beyond Categories: Non-Binary Sexuality in Comics") but otherwise spent most of my time repeatedly getting lost in the showroom. Half the fun of conventions is having the chance to witness eighteen billion creative expressions of geekery, and Seattle did not disappoint: a Raphael with glowy blue lightning streaks, a bagpiping Darth Maul, a Nyan Cat, and a Marvel Loki (helm and all) were a few high points.

Some of my favorite comic creators graciously allowed me to let me take their pictures with Bristol the Wondermoose*: Danielle Corsetto, Aaron Diaz, Ryan Q. North, Ananth Panagariya and Yuko Ota, Evan Dahm, Brom, Bill Willingham, Darick Robertson, Jeph Jacques, and Matt Fraction. I'm always a little cautious about meeting people whose work I admire, but I'm happy to report that everyone was terribly friendly and sweet, and I had a great, if slightly overwhelming, time. 

Also I ran into the Chief. Did I mention that. Did I mention that I had a random encounter with the Chief. Can I mention that always. Because I exchanged words with Aaron Douglas and I'm pretty sure I stayed fairly coherent through the whole conversation and I would like to never not mention that.

Anyway. It was a good damn day.


*I once asked my camerado Kara, who was journeying into the Northern Wilds (aka Canada), to bring me back a moose named Bristol who had a bionic leg. She did.

Libraries: slashing throats and cutting purses. Or, Why do pushy poor people suffer the delusion that they deserve a chance to improve their little lives?

So this was a headline that happened for realsies: "Libraries 'have had their day', says Horrible Histories author"

Libraries "have been around too long" and are "no longer relevant", according to Horrible Histories author Terry Deary
(Which is kind of a hilarious juxtaposition of wordage in itself.)
"...we've got this idea that we've got an entitlement to read books for free, at the expense of authors, publishers and council tax payers. This is not the Victorian age, when we wanted to allow the impoverished access to literature. We pay for compulsory schooling to do that."

This ignorance of the limitations and shortcomings of compulsory education is almost as troubling as the marked disinterest in allowing lower-income families to access information. But beyond the compelling argument of callous indifference to the quality of life of those who earn less disposable income, what this statement really seems to be demonstrating is how long it's been since Deary last stepped foot in a library:
"The libraries are doing nothing for the book industry. They give nothing back, whereas bookshops are selling the book, and the author and the publisher get paid, which is as it should be. What other entertainment do we expect to get for free?"
Setting aside for now this author's frankly obscene reduction of the written word to an offshoot of the entertainment industry, let's work on dispelling the myth that libraries exist solely as book repositories. After all, to be fair, this kind of myopic thinking is not limited to one person (which is really why I'm bothering with this response at all). 

Libraries provide the space, programming, and tools to aid early literacy and youth development; volunteer tax return assistance; help people find and apply for jobspreserve cultureserve as safe spaces for LGBTQ youthgive students an alternative to McDonald's for studying; offer hands-on gardening savvy; and foster community by hosting technology assistance, special interest discussion groups, FAFSA and resume help, English language practice, yoga classes, maker sessions, speed dating, wildlife talks, fencing demonstrations, craft lessons, wine tastings, radio shows, digital media labs, etc. And yeah, you can borrow things. Like books. And music. And movies. And tools and tech and art and land and dogs and telescopes and musical instruments.

"They give nothing back." 

Some are worried about the imminent collapse of the book industry. As someone who grew up dreaming of publication via the "traditional" model emself, I can grok that. But somehow I don't think that "the concept behind libraries" is what's shaking that tree. After all, as Deary acknowledged, libraries have been around for a longass time--and I notice that they haven't managed to singlehandedly kick out the cornerstones of the writing profession yet. 

Instead, libraries have been stretching the pennies of tax monies that are allotted to them in the effort to help ordinary people in their communities become happier, healthier, and better educated. Why? What do they want in return? The answer to that may strike the profit-oriented as strange, but it's pretty simple: they want people to be happy. To be healthy. To be better educated than before. 

That's it. Full stop.

Look, it isn't a crime for a writer to be more concerned about a perceived loss of profits than about the impact that one's writing has on readers. It isn't a crime to prioritize the weight of one's royalty check over the transformative power of story and knowledge and inspiration. It isn't a crime, but it does occasionally drive one to ask silly questions:
"Why are all the authors coming out in support of libraries when libraries are cutting their throats and slashing their purses?"
Ray Bradbury, who was among them, once said, "I believe in libraries."

And so do I. Because libraries still believe in us.

Mad props to the University of Washington iSchool's 
cohort of 2014 for providing many of the above links!

The Next Big Thing

Holla! The lovely Eliza Hirsch has tagged me for The Next Big Thing, a promotional blog meme for authors to g'wan about their next writing projects.

I tend to work on a bunch of things concurrently, so I'll choose one of them that's been clamoring the loudest in my mind of late. 

1) What is the working title of your next book?
The Madcap Kings of Caballero Street

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Hither and yon. The title came from a different story seed entirely, while the first scene (a group of friends rushing to attend their first masked bacchanalia) coalesced independently. Most of the plot came together as I was trying to find out who these cool cats were, what the shindig was all about, and how the title (which I became convinced belonged here) might fit.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Young(?) adult dark fantasy/horror.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This thing has a large-ish cast, so I'll focus on the primary protags (aka my favorites):

Noomi Rapace as Drum
Emma Watson as Luka

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When childhood friends are cast in high-powered under- and overworld roles that help determine the fate of their slumbering city-state of Jhawari-Qesh, each must decide wherein her loyalty lies, and how much she is willing to sacrifice to fulfill her duty.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would love to go the traditional publication route. (Intrigued agents, hit me up! up! up!)

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This still be a WIP.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I really couldn't say. Not that I think that this is the most novel idea evar, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head that has a similar combination of these theme/plot/setting/character elements. But I've taken literary cues from Link, Gaiman, Whedon, and Miéville, and visual cues from the film adaptations of Perfume: Story of a Murder and The Thief Lord.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A lot of things have fed into this, but particularly a line from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series:
"If the city was dreaming," he told me, "then the city is asleep. And I do not fear cities sleeping, stretched out unconscious around their rivers and estuaries, like cats in the moonlight. Sleeping cities are tame and harmless things. What I fear," he said, "is that one day the cities will waken. That one day the cities will rise."
So while Madcap Kings is yet another experiment in forcing characters to choose between love and the greater good, it is also a story of those who work to keep a city sleeping, and those who want to see it wake.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Monsters uncurling in the blue-black shadows that edge the amber glow of lantern light fighting fog and night on cobblestone streets. High-stakes midnight games and childhood nightmares come to life. Big, shaggy dogs that may or may not be someone's foster mothers. (Okay, so maybe things that pique the writer's interest.) Badass ladies wielding power like sledgehammers! Symbiotic relationships put to the test! Cute hats and matching accessories! All these wonders and MOAR.

Thanks again to Eliza for tagging me! And I, in turn, hereby tag YOU, dear reader,* so drop me a line if you'll be taking on the challenge. Enjoy~!


*Cheap tricks, I know, but I've lost track of who-all has already participated. ;P

A heap o' sun an' shadder


  • Moved (twice)! First to a sublease, which I shared with three hella friendly and generous ladies, that I used as my base of ops while seeking more permanent living arrangements, then to a fantastic little place with a super sweet landlady and a super chill flatmate. Not gonna lie, select scenes from BBC Sherlock's "A Study in Pink" definitely danced through my head throughout this whole process. 
  • My friend Ana has been a bloody godsend while I was relocating and settling in (enough so that she's earned herself a separate bullet point!). It doesn't always occur to me to ask for help, so I'm glad that she up and volunteered to cart my ass around town and lug my crap hither and fro. Cameradoes are great things to have, especially in new places. 
  • Started my new day job as a writing tutor at my uni. It's pretty exciting! I enjoy the work and seem to be doing pretty well at it, and I have awesome colleagues. 
  • Bought furniture that's not made of plastic. IT'S TRUE. I got an industrial shelving unit from Home Depot to serve as my standing desk and a high rise bed from CollegeBedLofts that lets me optimize the storage space in my itsy bitsy room. Also, I got a mattress that isn't full of air. Amazing.
  • Got engaged! I know, I know, "What unholy horror is this" and "I see that they've opened a chain of ice skating rinks in Hell" and "DAFSJ'DFSL;DFSJD'F." P.S. the first person to comment warning Joe to run away! run awaaay! will be flayed. :Db
  • Started on as a fiction submissions editor (aka slush reader) for Apex Magazine. It's definitely a little daunting, but I'm pretty stoked.

One of the first things I did after I moved in was wander around my new neighborhood with camera in hand. Have some pictures under the cut:

I'll show you Hell's Kitchen...

In a desperate bid to free up more hard drive space, I was going through all of my photos from the past three years to delete the poorly composed/super blurry shots when I rediscovered a few that I'd taken when my first teaching program in Korea took us to Seoul for a cooking lesson.

Here is the example gimbap that our instructor made:

Here is mine:

There are reasons why I don't fare well at potlucks.

Look at me still talking when there's Science to do

I'm still alive! (I feel FANTASTIC and I'm still alive.) My life is kind of chaotic right now, but it's the bittersweet kind of chaos that means change and growth and saying goodbye!hello. 

The past couple weeks have been a hot mess of packing, moving, helping other people move, packing, roadtripping, feeding new and interesting bugs my flesh and blood, being reminded of how poorly I swim, packing, and coming to grips with the sad fact that I will never ever catch up on my Tumblr feed. Also, packing. 

This weekend will see yet MOAR roadtripping, the joyful attendance of a Forbidden Union, and even more moving as I make my final push for the Pacific Northwest.

I owe many, many people e-mail/comment responses and story critiques, not all of which I'll be able to get to this afternoon while basking in the library's free Wired. (We don't have Internet access at Joe's apartment, and I'm not 100% sure I will in my temporary home in Seattle.) Please bear with me for another week or so as I tumble across the country and get (temporarily) settled.