Scenes From the Costuming Life

Only three sewing days until Halloween! I’ve been frantic, but fulfilled, and it seems we’ll have a wizard ready just in time. Gotta few pictures for ye, which doesn’t make up for my absence, but at least gives you a little something.

This is Misha’s idea of being a big ol’ help:

Misha on the robe.

Misha on the robe.

She loves that robe. She’d always take up station upon it whilst I was sewing other bits of it. She’ll be thrilled to bits when she learns I’m making one for myself out of the same fabric.

My current supervisor fell in love with the robe, too, and decided he must wear it awhile.

Mah supe in costume.

Mah supe in costume.

He wandered round the call center talking about being a pimp wizard until he got too hot and had to take it off. And guess who gets a wizard’s robe next? Ja you betcha. I’m shopping for the most obnoxious fabric I can find, because he wants it so loud it’s screaming. Suggestions welcome.

When I’d finished the initial bits of the robe, tabard/tunic thingy, and the hat, we stuffed him into it for a fitting – he’s close enough to B’s size that he works as a stand-in. But I didn’t really need to see how everything fit together at that point so much as wanted to see mah supe in the full get-up.

Mah supe in the outfit.

Mah supe in the outfit.

He decided the point should point the other way, the way in which you should go: a wizard GPS, if you will.

Wizard GPS

Wizard GPS

So that’s the basic thing, and I’ll be done with some of the extra bits, and we’ll have a respectable wizard costume going on soon. Yay!

Got stuff for me own costume, too. After a billion years of the really ugly and unwieldy cutlass, it was time for a new pirate sword. B decided to test it on Luna.

Off with her head!

Off with her head!

And she’s all like, “Whaa??!”

Off with mah who wha nao?

Off with mah who wha nao?

And we learn why some pirates have only one hand:

Hoomin fingers is finger-lickin' good!

Hoomin fingers is finger-lickin’ good!

I’m not going to wear the hook, it just came with the set, and now belongs to the kitties.

Kirby and Luna got a good nap in with B’s brother’s costume.

Sleepy kittehs

Sleepy kittehs

He went as Jareth, and hopefully will give me permission to plaster his mug all over the internets, because he looked awesome. Even though he asked me to do his makeup, and really, what do I know about doing makeup? But he was a hit.

Back to work for me. I’ll soon return with moar photos! And then we’ll get on with the actual substantial blogging thingy. I’ve missed you, my darlings!

Not Acceptable (Aside from the Taking Responsibility Part – That’s Good)

By now, most of you know that Bora Zivkovic harassed several women. He engaged in the kind of everyday sexism that chips away at a woman’s psyche and drops her into a vortex of doubt, disgust, and anger. What he did isn’t as obviously terrible as groping or assault or rape, but it did its damage, and is unacceptable.

Dissapointed cat

This kind of sexism – the inappropriate remarks, the (perhaps) unconscious belittling of women, reducing them from professionals to sexual beings – has no place in this world we’re forging. It’s no more to be tolerated than other forms of degradation. Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any form, perpetrated by anyone. It doesn’t matter how much we otherwise admire them.

Bora’s my blogfather. He gave ETEV a boost onto the public stage when it was just a potty-mouthed political blog taking its first tottering steps into the science blogosphere, and without him, there would be no Rosetta Stones. The online science community is flourishing in large part because Bora was there, tirelessly promoting, prompting, and pushing to make it happen. He understands the internet like few others. He is one of those people everyone knows and almost no one can imagine us being without.

But he didn’t just make a mistake, apologize, atone and change his behavior. He harassed, and kept harassing. From reports of what happened, it seems he was told that his behavior was inappropriate, and continued that behavior with other women regardless. That’s not something we can quietly accept anymore. Not even from blogfathers. Not even from people who have done so much as Bora.

We all of us make mistakes. Sometimes, those “mistakes” are willful, and repeated, and so hurtful that they outweigh the good we do, and we must atone.

This could have been the story of a man who harassed women, then turned on those brave enough to speak out, trying to destroy them. This could have been the story of a man who had to be forced out of positions of authority he was all too willing to abuse. This could have been the story of a long and bitter campaign to bring the victims some measure of justice.

And that would have been easier for those of us who have determined to be silent no more, but owed Bora so much of our success, and liked him so well. Speaking for myself, and myself alone, I know it would have hurt less. So much less. It’s so much easier when pain can be subsumed in anger.

But Bora’s a better man than so many of those clay-footed former heroes we’ve seen revealed as harassers and predators. He’s resigned his position at Science Online, and apologized to the women he harmed,* even giving them plaudits for sharing their stories.

Bora Tweet 1

No need to defend me. Kudos to @monicabyrne13 and @hannahjwaters for having the courage to speak up. I was wrong. I am sorry. I am learning.

I wouldn’t be crying right now, if he’d been one of those who turned on the women who refused to remain silent.

He understands there must be consequences, and isn’t forcing us to impose them. And that gives me hope that this isn’t the end of his story in our community, that he will become part of the solution rather than remaining part of the problem. He did wrong things, and owns them, and doesn’t ask us to forgive or minimize them.

Bora Tweet 2

To friends I let down and perhaps lost today: I understand why. I am sorry. I will miss you.

That’s not something I’m used to seeing from men who have harassed. I’d rather have no harassment, but when there is, I’d like to see more of this, please.

There will be accountability, as there should be. Chances are he won’t be my editor anymore, and that’s what should happen**, although I take no pleasure in losing him at all. The women who spoke out – women like Monica Byrne and Hannah J. Waters – did exactly the right thing. We needed them to, and need more like them, more people willing to stand up and say, “This person with this power did this terrible thing.” It’s so much harder when the person doing terrible things is so well-loved. I admire their courage, and hope others follow their lead, until we’ve changed this world for the better.

And I hope that more of those who have done the damage will have the kind of integrity Bora has displayed. That’s a huge part of being better humans: owning our failures to be the people we should be, and showing that just because you have done some wrong things doesn’t mean you can’t step up and ultimately do what’s right.

A better science writing community can emerge from this. And knowing the people involved, I believe it will.

I shall now return to my costuming, avoid the internet for many days, and cry some more. Please excuse me.


*Some of you, doubtless, will point out the inadequacies of his original apology. That’s your prerogative, of course, but I suspect a part might have been played by legal counsel. So don’t expect me to launch into a full-throated condemnation, please. I also will not be commenting publicly on what is not public knowledge. Do not expect me to, and keep in mind that this may factor in to the way I respond to this situation in the future.

**Scientific American is determining the appropriate course of action. They’re not internet-fast, and they sometimes stumble, but I do trust the people there to do the right thing.


New at Rosetta Stones: Wherein I’m #standingwithDNLee

So this thing happened where the editor of a sciencey sorta website *cough Biology Online cough* decided it would be hi-larious to call a black woman an urban whore for refusing to write for his shit for free. Punchline? She’s a SciAm blogger, and SciAm won’t stand with her.

I have a thing or dozen to say about that.

I’m ashamed to be a SciAm blogger right now. But I’m proud to be #standingwithDNLee.

Gone Costuming

Sorry, my darlings! I haven’t meant to neglect you for so long, only it’s approaching Halloween, and you know what that means: Dana has been roped in to making costumes. By hand. Without a sewing machine.

So far, I’ve nearly got me faux-leather bodice for me pirate outfit done. Just need to finish the back hem, put in the eyelets for the lacing, and perhaps a bit o’ trim and a dart or two. That’s #1.

This is #2:

B's frightfully awesome wizard's robe

B’s frightfully awesome wizard’s robe

That’s just basted together – the fine stitching needs to be finished, and the capelet with the arcane symbols, and the wizard’s hat. So that’s going to take some time. It would be easier if B were shorter, but oh, well.

#3: Helping B’s brother become the Goblin King. Oy. Glad I don’t have to sew that bugger, just some trim.

And then, when those are done, I’m going to be making myself a Renaissance dress for the next time we do the medieval faire circuit.

Mah dress. Which is going to take FOREVER. But will be thoroughly awesome.

Mah dress. Which is going to take FOREVER. But will be thoroughly awesome.

The dress won’t distract from blogging (much) as I’ve got ages to do it, but the other costumes have to be done by the end of this month, soooooo….. Unless the Cons get done throwing tantrums and I can repost some nice stuff, you won’t see much o’ me round here for the next few weeks. But I’ll be back! And I swear I’ll even reply to some emails (I still love you, friends who have emailed me and waited forever for a reply!!).

But for now, gotta get back to pushing thread through threads.

In Solidarity With Students, I Present Jesus -n- Mo

The following photo would be enough to get me kicked out of just about any freshers’ fair in Britain:

Jesus -n- Mo

Jesus -n- Mo

So these are two lovely rocks from the Skykomish River, and I’ve named them Jesus and Mo because it seems many religious people have not yet learned to be reasonable adults. I know, I know, this comes as quite the shock to those of us in countries where the religious majorities are oh so sensible. But for those who have not yet learned that one group’s sacred thingies are other groups’ not-at-all sacred thingies, it seems random things will need to have the names of mythological folks plastered to them until the dumbfuckery stops.

Believers: I do know your prophets and messiahs are important to you. I remember a time, brief though it was, where seeing Jesus mocked was almost physically painful. But I knew I had no damned right to demand other people refrain from offending my religious sensibilities, just as I know now that I have no right to demand religious people refrain from criticizing my philosophies. You could pass out literature at a student fair saying that atheism is a terrible idea and name a kumquat Epicurus, if you like. That’s fine. You might annoy me, I might think you’re a douchebag, but while you’ve attacked ideas that have deep meaning for me, you haven’t attacked me. So it’s up to me to discuss these ideas with you, or avoid you, or counter your ideas with my own – but you’d howl if I got your ass removed from an open venue for being a shit, wouldn’t you?

You god-botherers are in the majority just now, and you’re able to play the thug, throwing out people who offend your sensibilities. But thuggish behavior won’t earn you any sympathy: it’ll just earn you a plethora of people finding ways around you, leaving you and your narrow world views behind.

And really, what weak-ass sort of god is threatened by having the name of one of their special favorites plastered to an inanimate object? Think about what you’re saying about your god/s when you pull shit like this.

All we’re hearing is that these beings, should they exist, aren’t in the least worthy of worship. Way to win converts.


For the background on this matter, see:

LSE pounces on non-existent “Islamophobia” again

Jesus and Mo respond

Chris and Abhishek report what happened at LSE yesterday

LSE Student Union gives its version

Act 2: what happened at LSE today

Reading University has banned its atheist society. Why? Because they named a pineapple Muhammad

Atheist society harassed by student union at LSE freshers’ fair

Republicons Determined to Protect America From Menace of Health Care

Ah, yes, because the last government shutdown went sooo well for the GOP, it appears they want to try, try again. In case you didn’t care about science or kids with cancer or needy families or the economy or any of that rot, consider this: no Prelude to a Catastrophe until this is over. Nope. On account of the USGS being less important than the Cons’ determination to shut down the government over more people being able to buy health insurance. Which means photos of the Mount St. Helens eruption are unavailable.

Oh, and do keep in mind: Obamacare is up and thriving. So the Cons are basically trying to prevent something from happening that’s already happened.

They’re terrified, of course. Because once people get a taste of being able to visit a doctor AND afford to eat all at once, it will become clear to the vast majority of folks that this health care thing is sweet indeed, and that Cons have been lying to them about how horrible it all is, and they’ll remember how determined the Cons were to prevent them from getting affordable care, and suddenly the GOP’s voter pool will dry up faster than a shallow puddle in the Arizona desert in July. During a historic heatwave. Which we will also be seeing more of, courtesy of the Cons. Fantastic.

Anyway, should you happen to not believe that the Cons are this bloody evil, just incredibly stupid, keep in mind that even Michele Bachmann, who makes many of the most reality-challenged of the Cons look positively coherent in comparison, knows what the reality here is. What they’re selling to the ignorant masses is pure bullshit. They’re perfectly aware that their party is pooped if the hoodwinked manage to get a peek outside the blinders.

This, my darlings, is why people who opt to let Cons win in order to punish Democrats for not being Democrat enough infuriate me. Granted, it would be nice to push the Dems toward being actually progressive, rather than Republican Lite. However, comma, with an opposition party that, were it a person, would have been diagnosed as a psychopath and bundled off to prison for crimes against humanity long before now, there’s no fucking way I will play that sort of chicken. Don’t like it? Stop letting Cons win.

I do hope this shutdown gets the attention of all the fuckheads who’ve gone round thinking the Cons aren’t actively evil. It’s time to cut the tumor out of the body politic.Vote these douchenozzles out.

Those of you who would rather vote Republican have many fine choices. Don’t be deceived by the Ds after their names. Where the fuck did you think all the reasonable Republicans went? It sure as shit wasn’t the Bahamas.