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Strange Horizons: The 2014 SF Count

By Niall Harrison

Welcome to the fifth year of Strange Horizons’ “SF count” of representation in reviewing. The goal of the count is straightforward: for the last calendar year, for a range of SF review venues, to calculate the gender and race balance of books reviewed and of reviewers. The aim is to draw attention to imbalances in literary coverage.

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  • Amazon User:*reviews Stones to Abbigale*
  • Me:You didn't read it.
  • Amazon User:Yes I did.
  • Me:No you didn't. You read the first chapter at most, and then wrote a review as if you read the whole thing.
  • Amazon User:...
  • Me:You gave me 3/5 stars, and you didn't even read 1/19th of it.
  • Amazon User:Yeah I did, I mentioned the "NISEONE" part! That proves I read it!
  • Me:That was in the first chapter.
  • Amazon User:...3/5 stars!
  • Me:(^_^) Fuck you very much.
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hi guys!! im introducting a new store today! it’s called “smitten store” and can be found here! they sell super trendy pieces and are based in canada ayy. the item i’ll be reviewing is the white tennis skirt shown above which can be puchased here

service&shipping ♡♡♡/5

shipping was a little weird but im guessing it’s just me because the customers on their instagram are fine, since i didn’t go through the typical ordering process because the store was lovely enough to gift these to me! the package didn’t come in the mail instead one of the staff came to my place and handed it over to me which was a little weird lol. i received an email confirming my order in late january and the i got my package march 20th because i had ordered products that came from different manufacturers. but again, i don’t think this is a problem that will occur if you go through the typical ordering process!

sizing&material ♡♡♡♡/5

this item comes in xs-l and i ordered this in a large as i usually do with products that are made in east asia, and since their FAQ said a majority of their items were from china, i sized up to be on the safe side. however when i received the product it was still a bit tight around my hips and a little loose around my waist and that’s because i didn’t check the measurements on the website so lesson learned, check the measurements! so i just detached a few stitches on the back of the skirt and it still looks fine. the length isn’t super short, im around 5′6 and it ends at mid thigh.

the material of is great, it’s definitely the thickest material of all the tennis like skirts i own, not as thick as the AA ones, but that might just be because i haven’t touched the AA skirt in a while lol super sturdy, not very stretchy though! 

overall ♡♡♡♡/5 

i’ll definitely be getting a lot of use out of this skirt, especially since it’s starting to warm up here! you’ll definitely see a couple instagram posts with this skirt!

!!ALSO!!

along with the skirt i received this adorable mini macbook mirror!! it looks super real and even has the usb ports and lettering on the keys but it’s actually a mirror! it’s definitely a conversation starter if you pull it out in public :-) i’ll have additional pictures here if you would like to check out what it looks like!

thank you for reading and again you can purchase the item here!!

-celty

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AfterBuzz TV || DWTS After Show (Week 3)

Yurikuma Arashi Recap & Review: Episode 12 - “YURI KUMA ARASHI” (Finale)

Let’s go, Miss Kureha! To the outside world!

I thought I’d start this with a spoiler-free review, for those of you scrolling past and wondering if you should give this strange little series a try. Hit the jump to read on, and I’ll let you know when the spoilers kick up again.

Keep reading

Hello everyone! Sorry, it’s been a few days since my last post! However, I’ve been trying to change up the genre of movies that I do each post. I don’t want to always do the same kind of movie, because I love all genres. I think it would be fun to do a top favorites or least favorites of all time or genre, director or actor/actress specific. Let me know what you all think of that idea, for the near future! Maybe throw me some suggestions of what you’d like to see. :)

So, I’ve noticed this movie many times on Netflix. I’ve always been interested in watching it and finally got around to doing so! I was definitely not disappointed. Chef is classified as a Comedy/ Drama movie and was released in the summer of 2014. This movie had so much inspiration behind it, not just for those interested in being a chef but for any career. A very good family and friend oriented style of movie.

Chef stars Jon Favreau as the head chef in a restaurant, where he is forced to keep making the same food over and over with no room for creativity. He tries very hard to get the owner (played by Dustin Hoffman) to allow him his own freedom in the kitchen. Hoffman, wants him to cook his menu as he’s done for years because that’s what the people keep coming back for. The restaurant has a very important food blogger coming to review the food and Favreau really wants to impress him. He ends up having a really long debate with himself about whether he’s going to make the creative food anyway or do what the owner wants and keep it simple. Turns out, he keeps it simple. The blogger hates the food and writes a bad review about the chef and restaurant. This is where it gets interesting, and the story really starts to get heartfelt. He is forced to make decisions on whether or not he wants to stay or do his own thing. His decision not only affects him, but also his family and friends. I don’t want to say much more, because this movie was so surprisingly good and worth the watch.

Onto the review! One thing this had from the start is the cast, plain and simple. Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and Dustin Hoffman?! Excellent. What really made it excellent was that RDJ, Johansson and Hoffman didn’t have very big roles and the movie was still great. I was really shocked with how much I liked Sofia Vergara’s performance, alongside Emjay Anthony (Favreau’s son in the movie). I’ve not seen a lot from Vergara and I’ve never even heard of the kid and he was one of my favorite parts about the movie. Another actor that has been around for a while, John Leguizamo. Leguizamo is usually pretty hit and miss with me, but he crushed this role. Crushed it. I absolutely loved his character. I also really love seeing Jon Favreau direct, write and produce movies and he did them all and starred in this one! 

This movie ran 114 mins and I think that’s a good amount of time for what this movie was trying to accomplish. Maybe trim it down 10-15 mins. Some of it felt a little extra, either way I still really like it. (Usually I complain about run times of movies.)

I’m having a hard time finding negatives to this movie. I can’t rate it a 10/10 mainly because although I really liked it, it’s not my favorite type of movie. Even if I’m only rating it on its genre and movie as a whole, still probably not the best drama I’ve ever watched but it’s definitely good. My overall rating for this film is 8.5/10. It’s one of the better dramas I’ve watched in the past few years. If you haven’t watched it, please check it out (it’s on Netflix). Tell me what you thought of Chef! Did you like it as much as I did? Do you plan to see it? What other movies would you like to see me review? Thank you everyone! 

Interesting Reviews for Week 14, 2015

Extracellular matrix control of dendritic spine and synapse structure and plasticity in adulthood. Levy, A. D., Omar, M. H., & Koleske, A. J. (2014). Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 8, 116.

Gap junctions in developing thalamic and neocortical neuronal networks. Niculescu, D., & Lohmann, C. (2014). Cerebral Cortex, 24(12), 3097–106.

From conflict management to reward-based decision making: actors and critics in primate medial frontal cortex. Silvetti, M., Alexander, W., Verguts, T., & Brown, J. W. (2014). Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 46 Pt 1, 44–57.

Mechanisms of object recognition: what we have learned from pigeons. Soto, F. A., & Wasserman, E. A. (2014). Frontiers in Neural Circuits, 8, 122.

The construct of the multisensory temporal binding window and its dysregulation in developmental disabilities. Wallace, M. T., & Stevenson, R. A. (2014). Neuropsychologia, 64C, 105–123.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Release Date: April 7, 2015

Age Group: Young Adult

Genres: GLBTQ, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Check it out on Goodreads here.


I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli has its moments of extreme adorableness and moments of self-discovery as we follow Simon, the protagonist, and his unconventional coming-out-story. This is one of those books that you go into not expecting too much, but end up with a goofy grin on your face once you finish reading. I couldn’t put this down and honestly, I think that this is a pretty important novel because it doesn’t show the overly cliche idea of what it’s like to come out. Granted, every one has a different experience, but I like that this novel doesn’t depend on overly dramatic scenarios of bullying to drive the story, but instead focuses on the message of accepting who you are and trusting others to love you just the way you are.

Simon is an awesome character, mainly because he’s pretty true to himself and is witty as hell. He admits when he’s messed up and when he needs to accept the consequences. Also, I love the fact that at one point, he mentions the whole idea of men being comfortable in their “masculinity”  and totally calls that phrase out for being complete BS. He is a brave character who, even if he is terrified, still puts his heart on the line and just ACCEPTS the situations he is put in, then moves on from there. Also, I found it funny that Simon also talks about how straight people should come out as straight in the same awkward fashion.

One of the themes brought into focus in this novel, and I’ve noticed it in a lot of teen books lately (understandably), is the use of social media as a way of interacting. “The” Tumblr, Facebook, and email are so common nowadays that it’s inevitable that it will be in novels, and as a fellow blogger with a slightly unhealthy addiction to social media, I relate to this trend a bit too much. Simon like a contemporary version of You’ve Got Mail but without the knowing who’s on the other side of the screen. The continued mystery of NOT knowing who is messaging Simon teases the reader as Simon strives to figure just who he is falling for. The emails themselves are great because they show two distinct personalities trying to figure out their lives together. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of writers who can portray a character’s personality via nothing but emails.

Simon’s family is ridiculously cool, but Albertalli shows us that even the cool families can have its drawbacks. Just as Simon is learning to be this new version of himself, his family is also morphing. The great thing is that they’re not morphing because their son is gay, but because life has a tendency to change of its own accord. His mom hints to the fact by simply stating that it’s hard to not make a big deal out of life’s changes when she isn’t around to witness them anymore. Her words ring true and while not everyone has such involved parents, it can be something that can be applied to almost everyone—even if you’re not a parent, you can also feel a sense of disconnect and loss when being told a story via a faraway friend, or acquaintances, rather than experiencing the moments with them.

This whole book is just great. The pacing is quick, making it a fast read, and the topics introduced (bullying, sexual identity, personal growth, family, love, etc) are all extremely relatable. The narrative is witty and full of well-phrased and relevant points, and you can’t help BUT like Simon, even if he sometimes forgets that others have their own problems to deal with—he is human, after all.

I recommend this to any reader who enjoys a book about great character growth and the kind of romance that has you squealing at the end of a novel.

Happy reading!

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my hair makes me feel like a different fantasy creature everyday and i guess today i was a mermaid… or merman?

i’m planning on doing a kuranosuke shoot featuring this lovely crown from killertentacleoctopus so expect to see that soon! (these awesome tentacle faux plugs are from there as well)

hoodie | tights | tentacle jewelry

Zayn Malik’s solo demo moves former boy bander in a different direction: review

The demo of Zayn Malik’s first solo song - released by its producer, Naughty Boy, on Tuesday - moves him in a very different direction.

In its raw, initial form, “I Don’t Mind” is a moody, acoustic piece that holds far more gravity, intensity, and intimacy than anything this boy band member has ever recorded.

Malik’s vocal has a huskier texture than before, which he uses to inhabit the song with complete confidence.

Countering the dewey and sweet sound he most often used with 1D, Malik sounds more like a dusty troubadour here. He even bares a resemblance to esteemed neo-folk singer Damien Rice.

In his rasp, he recalls the Scottish neo-soul star Paulo Nutini.

It’s a far more promising, if inadvertent, start to Malik’s inevitable solo career than the light-weight ditty released by Harry Styles (“Don’t Let Me Go”) back in 2013.

In fact, Malik has always been One Direction’s strongest singer. His solo parts have long shown more maturity than his four group-mates.

Still, “I Don’t Mind” augers well for the 22 year old to be taken seriously by grown-up listeners, not just the teen dream set. One hopes the official version doesn’t cover up the demo’s raw allure.

source

Review: Stonewall by Ann Bausum

Words can barely contain my disappointment, frustration, and anger at this book. 

Stonewall by Ann Bausum purports to tell the history of the Stonewall riots, and the subsequent rise in LGBTQ community and activism.  The book stands apart by being one of only a few nonfiction books on LGBT history to be written specifically for teens.   But it is a sloppy, poorly researched accounts — giving too much of the credit for the riots and the political gains that followed to gay men (and a little to lesbians).  Bisexual and transgender people are erased from her telling of history, leaving glaring holes that demonstrates she doesn’t fully understand her subjects.  

If you want a quick and easy example, just look at this sentence from page 53 of the ARC: “Activists took part in the attack, as did some cross-dressing transvestites, and other gays.  But the so-called queens of the era - effeminate men, many still teenaged, who affected effeminate mannerism but didn’t necessarily cross-dress — drove the show”.   

That might be the saddest, most ahistorical mess of a sentence I have ever seen in a book about LGBTQ history.  It is an acknowledgement that other people existed, and at the same time an utter dismissal of their importance.  It’s a mess of poor wording choices and frankly, its just plain wrong.


Digging deeper into this book, it really does not get better.  One of the first problems is the erasure of legendary bisexual transgender activist Sylvia Rivera from both the events at Stonewall and what followed.  If you read the acknowledgements at the end, Bausum did a fair amount of research, so I am absolutely boggled as to how she could have done so without ever coming across the name Sylvia Rivera.  Sylvia was largely considered to have thrown the first bottle at Stonewall.  Whether she did or not is debatable, but its hard to argue that she wasn’t a forceful part of the riots or of the activism that came from it.  Her story of being pushed out of the movement she helped to birth that night at the Stonewall Inn is a sad but vital part of our history.  Her erasure is reprehensible. 

But it also ties into a larger problem in this book.  Often Bausum conflates cross-dressers, transvestites, and transgender people to the point where you’re not sure who is what, or who was doing what.  Trans people made up a significant part of the bars clientele (and a significant part of the arrests that first night) but transgender issues in the world of the Stonewall Inn in 1969 are given no explanation.  Gay culture is given a lot of page time in this book yet the basics of trans culture is completely ignored.   I understand that Bausum and her editors may not want to use the term transgender because it didn’t exist in 1969, however there are other ways to explain who these people were and how they identified.  

And the lack of explanation is confusing.  At one point Bausum quotes Yvonne Ritter, a woman who was there that night in a dress borrowed from her mother, saying “on that night Ritter was a young man celebrating his eighteenth birthday”.  That could have been the perfect segue to introduce readers to transgender people and culutre of that time period.  Instead the trans-ignorant langauge just hangs there in a way that makes the informed reader groan.  Presumably Yvonne is a trans woman?  We think?  Later she climbs out a window, but without the cultural context of transgender women in this time period, her story lacks depth.  We don’t understand why she might be desperate to crawl out a window or even who she was. 

This book also does a pretty crummy job of handling lesbian issues as well.  It talks about gay activism as just that, GAY activism.  While there were few lesbians at the Stonewall Inn that night, they were very involved in the subsequent LGBT activism that followed.  Yet lesbian issues, achievements, and goals are limited to a caption under a picture and a claim that AIDS made the issues between lesbians and gay men in the movement just disappear.  Just as there is no context for bisexual people or transgender lives, there is no context for lesbian activism or the intersecting issues of sexism that lesbians faced.  None.  

The final blow of erasure and inaccuracy concerns Brenda Howard.   In Bausum’s telling of the story, the bisexual woman who founded that first Christopher Street Liberation March, aka The Mother Of Pride just doesn’t exist.  Instead all credit for the commemorative marches and subsequent political and cultural achievements of pride is given exclusively to her gay male cohort Craig Russell.  To be clear, everything I’ve seen indicates that Russell and Howard co-planned several of the earliest marches, but to give him exclusive credit is appalling.   Brenda Howard continued working with what we now call pride parades (as well as other activism) long after Russell moved on. The blunt truth is that without Brenda’s dedication to the march every year until her death in 2005, there is little doubt that Pride as we know it would not exist. 

In fact, the word bisexual is used exactly once in this book, on page 88, and in the context of defining the term LGBT.   That is it.  Though I suppose Bausum doesn’t need to use the word, since she has already stripped our bisexual leaders from Stonewall’s very history. 

The worst thing about all this is that well-meaning teachers and librarians will buy this book.  They will.  They will buy it because there is nothing else out there on this topic for this age group (grades 7+).  They will buy it because bi erasure isn’t seen as a serious problem, because none of Bausum’s editors knew enough about the bisexual and transgender history of Stonewall to spot the glaring historical inaccuracies, and because none of them cared to look. 

As far as I’m concerned, this book is an utter failure.  Because of the poor quality scholarship on the part of adults, teens will receive a distorted picture of Stonewall as a historical event and of the movement it created.  And more specifically for bisexual teens, stripping their role models from history reinforces the subtle messages they already receive about bisexuals not being real or not being queer enough.  And that makes me sad and angry.  Bausum had an opportunity here to tell the story of Stonewall for EVERYONE in our community and she squandered it. 

- Sarah 

trigger warnings: transphobia, cisexism, sexism, bisexual erasure, lousy writing about lesbians, ahistorical scholarship