Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The vote on repealing net neutrality is coming up

I know it's hard not to feel overwhelmed right now. Even though Doug Jones won his election in Alabama (yay Doug Jones and yay for the black women who tipped the voting balance), he won't be seated until after the new year. So the next couple of votes are going to have to be another knife fight. Because nothing is coming easily right now.

Net neutrality should not be a partisan issue. Why would one party want people to have limited access to the internet?  That's the kind of question that leads to conspiracy theories, doesn't it? But if you don't want to see higher cable bills because you want to access Facebook and Twitter, you need to make your voice heard. Because at its heart, this is just another action that seems to be nothing more than a reaction to something President Obama wanted.

We deserve better. And it's cynical to pretend there's any reason WHY net neutrality needs to be repealed. Here's the guy you need to call. If you, like me, have kind of a horror of speaking to strangers, this number leads to voicemail so you can leave your message without actually having to interact with Mr. Pai.  The website 5 calls.org has a script you can use.

Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman

The Paranormal Gift Guide

Really, nothing says "holiday" like a vampire gift. I remember years ago when the last book of the Twilight saga had been published and my nearest Bookstar couldn't keep the trilogy in stock at Christmas. The sellers knew it was going to be a phenomenon but even they were taken aback (and brought up short) by the demand.

The paranormal book world has moved on since then, but if you have a hardcore vampire fan on your wish list, you might want to stuff their stockings with some old school bloodsucking reads like Les Daniel's awesome Spanish/Aztec The Silver Skull. (It's actually part two of a duology, but it can be read as a stand-alone.) The book is out of print but pretty readily available as a used book on Amazon. (

There's a more expensive hardcover version available on Etsy and if you go on Etsy in search of the book, why not pick up some "Vampire Kisses" bathbombs while you're at it.)

Continuing the Vampire theme, no collection of vampire horror is complete without the late, great Tanith Lee's Blood 20, which is available from Telos Books, a UK publisher. it's not cheap at almost 15 pounds, but while supplies last, the books come with stickers signed by Lee herself. This one is definitely on MY wish list.

If you're looking for an historical vampire novel for someone who has already read Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night or Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, you might check out Lauren Owen's debut novel The Quick, which is set in Victorian London.

If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, you may not know that before he embarked on that epic book journey, George R. R. Martin wrote a series of one-off horror novels including one called Armageddon Rag (about a rock band that resurrects their lead singer) and Fevre Dream, a dark, sensual nightmare of a vampire novel. It's a vampire novel for people who don't think they like vampire novels and it's a lot of fun. More Vampire-themed stocking stuffers include Black Phoenix Labs' perfume oils inspired by Jim Jarmusch's lush movie Only Lovers left Alive. You'll need to act fast, though. Cut-off for domestic Christmas mailing is today, December 13. Other vampire-themed gifts that aren't books include Dracula t-shirts found on Red Bubble (mostly featuring various Bela Lugosi images) or the super-cute Japanese-inspired "Dracula blood-drive t-shirt that features tiny Draculas. (Find it on Snorg.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fun with Pictures

There was a Facebook challenge going around earlier this month--take one picture a day in black and white and post it without comment. The idea was ... no people and no explanation. It was a lot of fun. and I stumbled across the insanely useful and free website LunaPic, a place that enabled me to convert my color snaps to black and white.  LunaPic is a free online photo editor and it allows you to do all kinds of snazzy things with your photos. They have a filter called "space" that I'm especially fond of. It enabled me to change my fairly boring head shot into this.

Playing around on the site is a most excellent distraction from any unpleasantness that might be going on in your life. I highly recommend it.

The Net Neutrality Vote is Thursday

The chairman of the FCC wants to repeal "net neutrality."

Here's a really good explanation of what that means, put together by ABC news. If you're not sure where your Senator stands on the issue, here's a handy site with that information (and more). At this point, petitions and postcards are not particularly helpful but calling your representatives is. Daily KOS has put together a list of phone numbers. Here it is. (And keep it handy because there's going to be a new vote on the evil tax plan pretty soon as well.)

Monday, December 11, 2017

My favorite dinosaur-themed gift

I have never really had bookends because I usually have so many books stuffed in my bookcases there's no need for them. But if I did need some bookends, I'd buy these.

They're not cheap--$65 from Etsy, but they are unique and playful and they are perfect for the dino-lover/book lover in your life.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Say NO on repealing Net Neutrality

Here's a video that explains what you have to lose if Net Neutrality is repealed.

And here's John Oliver explaining it way better than I could.  There's going to be a vote on Net Neutrality on Wednesday. I'll be posting some tips on how to protest this. But in the meantime...here's what I'm talking about.

A picture is worth a thousand words

My mother was a commercial artist with a degree in fine art, and so our home was filled with art--paintings she'd done, paintings and prints she picked up  on her travels, pieces of sculpture, objects she prized for their intrinsic beauty (shells and rocks and pretty pieces of crockery). When I first started fournishing my own apartment, I did what every 20-something did and bought posters. (One of which, a stunning 1978 poster for AIDA is now out of print.  YOu can buy it for $1200 on Instadibs.  I sooo wish I still had that poster, which went missing during one of my moves.)

But one day I stumbled across an arts fair in a park near my apartment and discovered I could buy ORIGINAL ART for the same price (or even less) than a copy of the Picasso Don Quixote print (you know the one) or the reproduction of Ansel Adams "Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico (you also know that one, and did you know the bidding started at more than half a million when a print was auctioned by Sotheby's in 2006).
Then eBay came along and suddenly you could buy art from all over the world. It wasn't necessarily cheap--I paid $500 for a painting by a Vermont artist who signed her paintings VERTE--but the works were original and I wasn't going to see them in every corporate waiting room and low-end motel in the city.
Then I discovered Red Bubble. And Etsy. And well, let's just say that I now choose my living quarters by how much available wall space there is.

Art is a great gift to give people but it's so very, very personal that unless you know someone REALLY well, the best thing to do is buy a greeting card that's an art piece you like and then enclose a gift card for a site your friend might enjoy browsing.

On Redbubble, posters begin in the $12 range and go up, depending on size. You can get something like one of Tanyashatseva's dreamy, spacetime inspired glitter-infused acrylic paintings called "Nahdezhda Nebula") as everything from a sticker to a phone case to a t-shirt to a greeting card if you don't have room for a poster.)  You can even get the image on leggings!

Other sites with original art for sale are:


Root Division (a gallery in San Francisco) also has terrific art in the $200-$500 range, but it's only available for local pickup. That's a shame because there's a piece by Eva Enriquez that calls to me.

Life needs to be beautiful. Do your part. (And remember, no matter how awesome Georgia O'Keefe is, friends don't let friends hang posters of her bones and flowers.