Smart Girls vs. Glamour magazine

Dear Glamour Magazine,

I saw this in your May 2013 issue and was immediately enraged.

Seriously?

Seriously?

First, Courtney has no need to get over herself anymore than the beautiful ladies on your staff would for claiming that their looks intimidate men. By which I mean to imply, not at all. She is simply making an observation about herself—an observation that stemmed from other people telling her that intelligence intimidates men and she should “play dumb.” I can make this assumption because I was told the exact same thing.

Second, intelligent women rarely go around trying to prove how intelligent they are in casual conversation with strangers. It sort of defeats the purpose, wouldn’t you say? They may flirt more through witty banter than batting of eyelashes, but there isn’t anything wrong with that.

Third, Phoebe should just shut her pie-hole for the moment; she isn’t contributing anything constructive to the discussion.

Fourth, being “too smart” doesn’t make you a lesbian anymore than having a pixie haircut would. I don’t care if Sabrina is joking or not—that’s a ridiculous thing to say.

Fifth, why are you laughing? Maybe it isn’t Courtney. That’s a very real possibility. I resent the implication that being intelligent is a character flaw, as I am sure Courtney does.

Sixth, yes, trying a different venue other than her typical go-to place is an excellent suggestion. The library, as well as bookstores, could be good places to meet people of any kind. However, let’s elaborate on the implication and give Courtney some extra suggestions: take a class, join a club, maybe try online dating if that is your thing. Find something that interests and challenges you and you will likely meet people who match. Work your options, girl.

Seventh: the chess shop? Again, ladies, if you can’t contribute anything constructive to the discussion, don’t say anything. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

To Courtney, and all the other smart girls out there, I would just like to say, yes. Yes, there is a happy medium. It starts with being proud of your intelligence, proud of your interests, and a willingness to be yourself in spite of poor advice from a fashion magazine. The men that appreciate your wit are out there—it may take some extra effort to find them, but I promise they exist.

Stay smart. Stay strong.

Glamour can suck it,

 

Jackie

This is my heart

Hello, my doves. It’s been a few weeks since my last post and I just wanted to check in. I’ve been working through some pretty hefty amounts of stress and anxiety, and as such haven’t really been able to do much in the way of writing or blogging. My brain is not currently a fun place to be and I’ve been avoiding manuscripts for fear of having an IHATEALLMYWORDS meltdown and deleting all the things.

But, I did try to get all the nastiness out of my head through art. Here is a the thing that I painted:

It's a terrible cell phone picture, but there it is.

It’s a terrible cell phone picture, but there it is.

I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile, be well, all of you.

The ocean both terrifies and inspires

I have long been an advocate of the ocean. Its shores are a place to relax, its depths something to protect, its creatures something to admire. Almost all of the ocean is unexplored. It is the unknown—and, much the same with my opinion of space—that fact fills me with wonder and hope. It inspires me.

Our world, our culture is one of finite terms. There is the possible and the impossible, the probable and the improbable, the no and the yes. You either can or you can’t. We’re told, as a global society from birth, what we are likely or unlikely to achieve based on religion, sexuality, gender, and class.

We know what we know and ignore the things we don’t understand. It’s an epidemic. And this prevalent attitude is why I absolutely adore the ocean, in all of its unknown, freakish glory.

Because there is so much unknown about the ocean, and things that are known about it somehow defy logic on a regular basis, that means, to me, that this whole possible/impossible shit is entirely relative.

The ocean is an example. We don’t actually know what is impossible. We don’t actually know, with any degree of certainty, if society would fall apart when a poor transsexual man befriends an evangelist Christian celebrity. We can’t actually say that being born in a certain class means we have to stay there.

Nature, Earth, space—the whole of the universe itself challenges global societal beliefs simply by existing.

What is impossible is only impossible because you believe it is so.

Allow the ocean to blow your mind a little when you click on the link and then come back for one final thought. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

whistles

Back? Good. So, you know how the stuff you just saw kind of defies your perceptions a tad? Yeah, hold on to that feeling. Cherish that wonkiness. Go out into the world feeling slightly off-balance in a good way.

Question, challenge, and disagree.

Fight.

I made it one whole year!

WordPress kindly reminded me yesterday that it was my Blogiversary. I’ve blogged for one year straight on this platform, and I must say, I am actually proud of myself.

I have managed to keep a regular schedule with only the occasional lapse. Granted, I scaled down the number of times I post in a week, but that’s okay. I have steadily increased my followers. I have made blogger friends. I have found many a resource or exciting book release through this blogging community.

It’s been a great experience.

There are some things which I set out to do at the beginning of the year that I didn’t quite complete, such as my Viking novella. I am working on the second-ish draft, in which I am incorporating my pet mythological creature, the draugar. Another thing would be my Campaign for Awesome; I haven’t achieved all the awesome I should have, but I made a good effort and I’m not giving up yet.

There are some things I came to enjoy that I never thought I would enjoy, like zombies, and the ideals of self-publishing. I even extended some in-real-life friendships with this whole blog thing. Who knew the Internet could help with real life? Crazy.

I was considering stopping the blog all together for a little while. I told myself when I started that I had to stick it out for a full year and then I was allowed to decide if I wanted to stick with it for the foreseeable future. I may still take a bit of a hiatus because of reasons, but I like this whole blog thing.

I think I’ll keep it.

Lie to Me

I was looking around the NBC News site the other day when I came across a slide show of pictures from space for 2013. I, being the science nerd that I am, clicked through the slide show. There were a variety of pictures in it, including shots of earth from space (city light patterns, patchwork of fields), shots of space from space (supernova, Venus seen through Saturn’s rings), and shots of space from earth (the Northern Lights).

It dawned on me when I reached the picture of the supernova that though I was fascinated, and had I been more awake, probably awed, I never once thought to myself “this is impossible,” or “this has to be fake,” or even “how scary.”

I’ve said before that I don’t feel small looking into space, even though it is a giant swath of sparkly, dangerous unknown. No air, no sound. Just big balls of heat floating in an endless void, occasionally circled with smaller, round objects that are unlikely to support life.

It dawned on me, when I saw that picture of a supernova, that I was different.

This supernova, discovered in 1604 by Johannes Kepler, belongs to an important class of objects that are used to measure the rate of expansion of the universe, known as Type 1a supernovae. The view you see here, released March 18, was produced using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as infrared and optical imagery. The Chandra X-ray observations led astronomers to conclude that the supernova was triggered by interaction between a white dwarf and a red giant star.Via Month in Space: March 2013 Slideshow http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6955261/ns/technology_and_science-space_slideshows/

Credit: CXC/NASA/JPL-Caltech

This supernova, discovered in 1604 by Johannes Kepler, belongs to an important class of objects that are used to measure the rate of expansion of the universe, known as Type 1a supernovae. The view you see here, released March 18, was produced using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory as well as infrared and optical imagery. The Chandra X-ray observations led astronomers to conclude that the supernova was triggered by interaction between a white dwarf and a red giant star.
Via Month in Space: March 2013 Slideshow http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6955261/ns/technology_and_science-space_slideshows/
Credit: CXC/NASA/JPL-Caltech

I wasn’t like the scientists, who would see such an image and think of all the technical possibilities and implications. I wasn’t like some of the public that would see such an image and wonder at the technology used to get it. I wasn’t like other parts of the public that may fear such an image for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend.

Nope. I had the unique perspective of an avid reader of science fiction. The technology used to get that image, in my mind, is a foregone conclusion. It’s a miracle of science, but it is also just an exploratory tool. I couldn’t ever hope to understand how they made it, but I know that they did, and that it works, and that it sends back images of a larger truth.

That little robot they sent to Mars? The Curiosity Rover? Also a miracle of science. But when I heard about it, one of my thoughts was “Damn, it’s about time. Don’t they have jetpacks now? Where are those?”

People, scientists and everyone else, are stunned when they find evidence of life on other planets. Such discoveries are groundbreaking, and exhilarating, and at the same time I think “Well, of course. We can’t be the only ones.”

Even such things as solar or wind power, that can be so revolutionary, are mundane to a certain section of my brain because I have seen civilization master them.

I have been to different solar systems. I have found sentient life on hundreds of different planets. I have been part of (at least) two empires that spanned galaxies.

I have seen things the majority of the population has yet to dream about, all thanks to the power of the written word.

I started reading science fiction shortly after I was introduced to the Star Wars movies in late elementary school. I started reading the expanded universe books, and then I moved on to more true science fiction and read Dune.

Frank Herbert, I think, was probably the most influential in developing my perception of space and technology, and the implications that galactic rule might bring.  Reading those kinds of books really warped my concept of reality, in a good way. That which most people find impossible I may only find improbable.

That supernova picture, which is essentially a snapshot of the distant past because we’re seeing light that has taken countless years to get to us, is neither impossible nor improbable.  It’s simply truth. Beautiful, sparkly, dangerous truth.

It’s funny how reading a bunch of lies based on theoretical concepts gave me a more open mind.

Lie to me, science fiction. I promise I’ll believe.