When you say, “I guess I’ll vote for Secretary Clinton,” some of you say it flippantly. Some of you say you will just vote for her because you won’t vote for Trump. But you should understand what you are saying, whether you take it seriously or not.
When you say you’ll vote for Hillary Clinton for President, it says you do not support blatant racism. You understand that not everyone is given the same opportunities in this life, and that understanding is one the world needs. When you say, “I guess Clinton,” you say you don’t support systemic bigotry.
When you say, “She’s better than Trump,” not only are you right, you understand on some level that she will bring to the table unparalleled political skill. Like it or not, this is a necessity. Even President Obama suffered from needing to learn on the job.
“I don’t like her but I’ll vote for her.” Remember, if you will, how Bush Jr. won because he was “likable”? Don’t vote likable, vote capable.
“I don’t trust her.” Should you trust any politician, on an emotional level most especially? I certainly don’t. No matter who they are they are someone who believes they know what’s best for everyone. From Clinton to Sanders to Stein to Johnson to Obama. That is a trait in someone that should always be questioned.
“I’d prefer someone else to be the first female.” Well, truly, I would’ve liked to have been the first person on the moon but it didn’t happen. This statement could be applied to ANYTHING. I’m not willing to live through four years of the alternative, hoping that the perfect “someone else” comes around next time. The damage that could be done to so many is one I personally could not live with and I don’t think you want that either.
“It makes you sick” to know Sanders endorsed Clinton. It shouldn’t. They voted the same over 90% of the time. He will vote for her. I believe him. They see different paths to the same America. Maybe one isn’t the course you’d prefer, but sinking the ship vs. steering the ship is what we are weighing here. And you shouldn’t underestimate how effective he could be in a Clinton presidency. The President gets a lot done, no doubt, but not without the help of many, many others.
When you say you’ll vote for Clinton because you’re scared Trump will win, well, I don’t want you to be scared. Because we have been listening to these types of people our entire lives. Most particularly women, people of color, the LGBT community… we’ve had to hear them for longer than I’ve been around. That we don’t deserve the same rights and treatment as everyone else. That we are weak, damned, un-American, un-Christian, pick your adjective. And for some strange reason, they think we don’t all live in a country, or even a world, that belongs to all of us. And it does belong to all of us. Not just them, not just us, not just whoever. ALL OF US.
Louder and louder they seem to get. Truly it’s because media is overly abundant and constant. The reality is that they are becoming less and less in the world. But they are still here. And they are still angry. Whatever the reasons may be, a lot of people are voting out of anger. And their anger, justified or not, threatens the well-being of many, many people.
Including me and every sister I have.
Every female friend that I have.
My five nieces and nephews whose mother is Mexican.
My youngest brother and his boyfriend.
Every person you care about stands to lose something important in a world where someone like Trump is elected president. Even the people supporting him stand to lose.
Everyone. Including you.
If you’re thinking of not voting, my heart hurts and I implore you to reconsider. So many people already do not vote. They already render their involvement invalid.
Do I think Clinton is perfect? No. I don’t think anyone is perfect, nor do I even seek that in a President. There is a very long list of reasons why I’m not ashamed that I am voting for her. Being afraid of Trump isn’t even on it.
If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton then I am going to say, “Thank you,” to you. Maybe it’s not a big deal to you. Maybe you’re doing it because you think you have no other choice. But it means that you are helping me and everyone I care about. And to me that is no small thing.
I went to Las Vegas again this year. It happens when tickets are cheap, the room is free and you need a break from reality. I am not a gambler so it's sort of funny that I've been here so many times. However, I love shows especially Cirque Du Soleil. I've seen 14 of their shows. I saw "O" this year and wow, it blew me away. There is also great vegan food in Las Vegas these days. I wrote about it here last year and now I'll share some old favorites and new ones.
I went back to Slice of Vegas because the food is so good and of course they have an entire vegan menu. I am quite glad however that I walk tons and tons in Vegas.
This year our server at Slice of Vegas suggested we visit their other restaurant Hussong's.
The food was pretty good. I enjoyed my tacos quite a bit. They have an entire vegan menu as well.
We try to go to one nice place each time we're there in between the causal dining. We love the Wynn for this.
Last year we ate at Wing Lei which is the amazing Chinese restaurant there. This year we ate at Costa di Mare. An Italian, Mediterranean place. The food is out of this world. Rich, aromatic, with excellent cocktails to match. The service at the Wynn is always above and beyond. We get absolutely no attitude about our dietary restrictions. We also eat at the buffet at the Wynn when we are in town as it's one of the best.
The atmosphere is gorgeous and romantic.
Off the strip we visited the not so fancy but magically delicious Ronald's Donuts. They have nearly 2 cases of vegan donuts. And the prices are so good. Most of the time you pay up to $6 for a single donut. Not here. $1.5-2.50. Lovely owners as well. I read the most stellar reviews of the donuts and they did not disappoint.
Breakfast was had at Violette's Vegan. I've had dinner here before and breakfast was quite good.
Simple, hearty vegan fare.
I randomly was looking for lunch one day and wandered by a bar in the hotel I was staying at and found Holstein's.
It's not super vegan friendly, but they had a really great veggie burger with fries but what was truly the most YUMMY drink I had all week there was the Vegan Raspberry Coconut Milkshake. I actually went back and had one again at night the next day. It does have alcohol in it but I am sure they will make it without if you prefer. My pics are not great but wow, the food was a delightful surprise.
I tend to have a hard time finding a decent mocha in the mornings in Vegas. I always end up at Starbucks because they at least have soy milk. Hopefully, next time around I'll have better luck.
I have been reading science fiction and fantasy books for as long as I can remember. I am sure there are a lot of us who can say that because it turns out there are a lot of us geeks. You know who we are: not popular, not good at sports, not very social. Books were our life and that never stopped being the case.
As I have gotten older I have branched out to many types of books, but science fiction and fantasy in all its forms has always been my mainstay. In fact, I grew so enamored of it that I started attending conventions, working at conventions, have a room dedicated to geek fandom as well as my office being filled with geek toys. You know how it is, you love it, you love it all the way.
My new step this year was to become a voting member for the Hugo Awards. I am thrilled to have finally been a part of it. And what’s more, the convention itself was not far from my own home, so attending was also in the cards this year. WorldCon74 was held in KC, MO.
(BTW KC is great but that’s a separate post.)
Attending the world’s oldest science fiction convention has its pluses and minuses like anything does. I didn’t know anyone there and geeky people are not known for being easy to friend. Despite my efforts I didn’t do so well making new friends. But that’s okay. The panels were amazing and filled with great advice and world class writers. The Dealer’s Room took a lot of my money for books and gifts for friends. I checked out parties, the art show, a Paul and Storm performance (and I got to meet them!), a John Scalzi reading (which was remarkably fun), and of course I attended the Hugo Awards ceremony.
I knew going into it that there had been drama around the awards for the last couple of years. It was more than a little unnerving that there was strife in the community. That it was aimed particularly at women and people of color, different religions and countries is frustrating since to me Science Fiction is the place where all walks of life, no matter how different, are accepted by each and every one of us (HELLO STAR TREK).
A lot of the female writers especially have been enduring an endless amount of harassment. As someone who is seeking to become a full time writer and has dealt with plenty of sexism and harassment at other jobs, I was more than a bit wary.
However, women won big this year and that was truly inspiring. The community on the whole stood behind them and their amazing talent, myself included. The night of the Awards I was quite proud, plus Pat Cadigan was a funny, funny host. There is plenty of fallout from certain overly privileged people whom I refuse to acknowledge, but the winners are holding their own against them and it doesn’t change that they did amazing work and got the recognition they deserve.
The decriers rather baffle me as it’s not like there haven’t always been women writers or gay people or people of other races (besides white). They’ve ALWAYS BEEN A PART OF OUR WORLD. And them being here and also writing and getting recognition doesn’t detract from other good writers. The idea that it does is quite puzzling. Truly it does not even serve their best interest because people get bored reading the same old stuff all the time and if you turn people off to books, you turn them off to ALL books. Which means NO ONE IS BUYING ANYBODY’S BOOKS, which totally sucks.
Anyway, they don’t matter. The complainers are a group of hate-spreading opportunists growing ever smaller, most of whom just rile up who they can to get money out of them. There will likely always be a few of them, but hopefully they will join the rest of us here in the real world full of good books and many engaging voices.
A few snaps from my trip:
Minnesota seems like such a nice, mild mannered place. Nothing weird would happen here. People wouldn’t be into odd and curious things. Well, to a degree this is true. People tend to be very practical here. But not everyone. Not all the time.
Back in May I went to/participated in three things hosted by the MN Historical Society.
The Summit Avenue Walking Tour, A Victorian Superstitions Tour at the Ramsey House on Friday the 13th and A Victorian Magic Happy Hour at the Ramsey House.
Let’s start with the walking tour.
You meet at the James J. Hill house. I have not toured this house yet but plan to do it soon. It’s a tour of some of the historical area of St. Paul. Truth be told, I get a little bored listening to how much money so and so had and the house they built with it. I tend to be more impressed by people doing things than having things. But that’s just me. There was a lot of information on who was the wealthiest person on the street and how they kept building bigger spaces to outdo one another. However, it was a nice day and there were flowers and some pretty details and at the end of the street you see a house that an Italian horror movie was filmed in. As well as the apartment and bar F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in and drank in. There is also a sculpture by an artist I love by the name of Paul Manship. My photo is not great so I won’t post it. He is probably most famous for his sculpture outside of Rockefeller Center. I first encountered his work in Chicago and then again Boston. I think I will write about him in the future.
Now to the Friday the 13th tour. This ONE was FASCINATING! I couldn’t take pictures that night but I could the night of the happy hour so I do have a few snaps of the Alexander Ramsey House.
So, the tour takes you through the house and I was on the later one so when we ended up on top floor in the nursery the creepy factor was about as high as it could go. Complete with murderous looking dolls and creaking floors. If you can ever tour the house at night I highly recommend it.
Some of the highlights of the enormous pile of information they gave us include:
-Alexander Ramsey attended a seance at the White House hosted by Mary Todd Lincoln. When this was first discovered researchers became quite excited to learn what happened. Harry Houdini was also said to be in attendance. Governor Ramsey was a meticulous journal keeper. All that it said on this night: Went to party and dinner at White House, nothing of note happened. So, I guess he was a skeptic. And when you also ask why there is so little art in the Ramsey House, you find out that the Ramsey family wasn’t “into art” and thus we have your practical Minnesotan trait.
However, they did have their daughters participate in Victorian magic tricks popular at the time, such as peeling apples to uncover the initials of future mates and tea leaf readings.
If you wrapped a ring in a cloth and put it under your pillow, it was said you would dream about your future husband. They read us a letter where the daughter sarcastically mentioned she would end up a polygamist as she dreamt about three brothers in one night.
There are so many parlor tricks and games filled with mating, impending disasters and death that this would be about ten thousand words long if I continued on.
The last thing I will mention that sort of blew my mind was this: TB was ravaging parts of the world at the time. Especially rural, uneducated areas. The natural conclusion was that there were vampires(The word vampire became in use because of the British Press) as the idea that TB was “sucking the life out of you” was where this came from. People were dug up, heads chopped off, bodies burnt and in one very hysterical and odd case, a heart was ground up and consumed to protect a family(it did not work, they died). In fact, the part of this that was completely nuts to me as this went on as recently as the last exhumation of the Great American Vampire Panic took place in Winona, MN in 1922! Minnesota, crazier than you think.
The Victorian Happy Hour was great. Seriously I loved it and I want to go to the ones in the Fall. It featured magician Michael Callahan. Boy, did he know his stuff. He was so filled with facts and stories that I could probably listen to him for 24 hours straight. He is so passionate about his craft that I really hope I get to see him again. The Happy Hour included treats and wine as well as wandering on the main floor. He focused on the 19th century and spoke about tricks I’d not heard of before. He spoke about “mind reading” and coercing attendees to participate in ways that they would not expect.
Below are my photos from the walking tour and then my snap shots of the Ramsey House. There’s lots of strange and compelling things to learn in Minnesota. And you really never know where you can find out something that might seem more than a bit mad.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's Grandmother's apartment, where he lived for a time.
I believe this is where Dario Argento filmed a movie.
I am always looking for the less known spots in my adopted state. Not that I don't love plenty of popular spots but the dusty corners and lesser known nooks tend to be where the unusual and unexpected stories live. Caponi Art Park is no exception. I had learned about this park from a friend who has family that lives nearby. I've lived here 15 years + and had never heard of it till this year. I looked into the history a bit to learn that the founder had passed away not all that long ago at the age of 94. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 15 from Italy. Anthony Caponi served as a translator in World War II and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He was employed by MacCalester College in St.Paul for nearly 42 years, having a big impact on the art department there.
He bought the land that eventually became the park not too long after starting to work there and did all the labor on the park himself.
He accomplished a great many more things which you can read about here.
This is a perfect example of finding great accomplishment in the everyday person.
The park hosts many events throughout the warm months and I recommend heading out for a picnic. Be sure to bring a camera, there's lots you'll want to remember.
Some of my pictures from my visit:
It's that time of year again. When CONvergence has come and gone, all that remains is memories. But, like 16 years worth in my case. In the past I have hosted parties at CONvergence. They are huge, expensive, amazing undertakings. I took the year off this time around and tried to just enjoy being an attendee. The last couple of years of parties had coincided with the release of my Sci-Fi Novels. I didn't release a full length novel this year but I did put out a little short ebook about some of my previous CON adventures which you can find here: Adventures in Science Fiction Reality
It's the story of a girl who without meaning to be so, is sort of an idiot. By accident.
Please have a read, laugh at my misery.
There are so many things to see and do at CON, I can never keep up. I visited all the parties, attended some panels, art show, dealer's room, Vilification Tennis (always amazing), went to the dance, visited the Space Lounge. And I get nowhere near doing everything.
Here are some of my snaps this year!
The Fireman by Joe Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As with much of Joe Hill's writing, this is an odd book. Not to be confused with being a bad book, just odd. There are a lot of weird cultural references, new and old. J.K. Rowling dies a hero(of course). A reference to The Road is made and it's one of the first times I've ever seen anyone write about it in a way I feel about that book. Humanity's inevitable doom not withstanding, you should read this if you like Mary Poppins references, sarcasm and Martha Quinn(yes, you read that correctly).
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