[sticky post]where I'm posting
I've moved my blog. These days, I'm posting primarily over at wordpress - same username. I'll still put up Doctor-who related posts every so often, though - the Doctor Who community on livejournal is great.

Ten thoughts (spoilers!) on Doctor Who: "Death in Heaven"
Below are my top ten thoughts on "Death in Heaven."
[Spoiler (click to open)]
1. Why did they kill the geeky woman fan? Why? Seriously! That was a gratuitous death if I've ever seen one. An underhanded insult. And stupid. ("What shall we do this week? Our ratings are too high. I know! Let's kill off our fans.")
2. What exactly happened? Who died and who ended up back in the nethersphere?
3. Missy got teleported. She could come back if the showrunner wants. Yes!!!
4. The Cybermen were properly creepy.
5. Nice job with the Doctor's explanation of himself. I was getting tired of the Doctor being omnipotent. It made me want to go back and look at the other times he's called himself an idiot, and there were a few. It harks back to Peter Davison's episode "Kinda," where the Doctor is given, and willingly accepts, the name. It has a different meaning in that episode -- he is the kind of "idiot" who can understand hidden truths other men can't see.
6. Loved the abdication theme! It's been a recurring theme, occuring in "The Beast Below" and "Kill the Moon."
7. What on earth is going on with Clara? Is she turning into the Doctor? She certainly is about as tangled up with him as it is possible for a human to be. She entered his time stream during his every incarnation, revisited his time stream in "Listen," and pretended to be him in "Flatline" and "Death in Heaven." She knows his secrets, maybe even his name, and uses his tactics. And why were her eyes shown in the opening credits, before Peter Capaldi's? Why did her name come first? No idea what's going on, or whether this is all one enormous tease, but I will say at least that Clara and the Doctor have unfinished business.
8. Lately, I've survived the Doctor Who episodes with most of my wits intact, but I've been a bit dazed.
9. It was fabulous.
10. Thank God I can return to my normal life.

My Missy Theory
Possible SPOILERS for Doctor Who: "Dark Water." I'll try to be a little circumspect here. I've been checking out all the teasers and promotional videos and a review that said it was non-spoilery but wasn't, and I think I know who Missy is. In my previous post I put all my observations and conjectures and put together five theories. I believe it's #2.

possible spoilers coming

Missy is Missy. She is a Valkyrie and she welcomes fallen warriors to the World of Wonders.

What do I mean and how did I get here?

Click here for my reasoningCollapse )

Thanks to http://www.chakoteya.net/ for providing the transcripts.

Doctor Who Series 8 Speculation (Spoilers)
Caution - this blog post contains spoilers for Series 8 of Doctor Who.

I enjoy speculating about Doctor Who season finales, even though I know it's ultimately futile. There are always clues and hints, but also a third element that's always introduced, something nobody could possibly have guessed. I try anyway! In this post I'll lay out some of my questions about this season, some possible hints, and some theories. Then on Saturday I'll come back and touch on where I might have been right and where I might have been wrong.

The questions

This whole season has been soliciting viewer questions of all sorts. The first big compelling question we had was "Are we going to like this Doctor?" Transitions between Doctors are never easy.

The first episode added another question: "Is he a good man?" The writers were really toying with us there. At one point, we see him in an alley advancing on a tramp because he wants his coat. He's scary. Only later do we learn that he traded a valuable watch for the coat. So he's good, right? Well, maybe. At the end of the episode he might or might not have pushed a cyborg to his death. This question has continued throughout the seasons.

The end of the episode questioned the afterlife. After the cyborg falls to his death, he ends up in some mysterious realm called Heaven, greeted by a mysterious woman called Missy who appears to have an intimate relationship with the Doctor, as well as some kind of control over his regenerations. How is this possible? Who's Missy? What's Heaven? Is something the matter with the world?

Later in the season we start questioning Clara, who is doing quite a bit of lying to both her boyfriend and the Doctor.

And now, to top it all off, the teaser for the upcoming episode features Cybermen. It also has Missy, the Netherworld, and a Clara who is behaving quite strangely indeed.

Looking at possible hints

Having asked some of the questions, the next step is to gather up all the clues and hints and themes and red herrings that have cropped up through the season and throw them into a hat. Here's my list:

1) Theme of beings who make things out of bits of other people, as the cyborg does in the first episode. The Doctor asks himself where he's seen it before, which is of course a clue to go looking for it.

2) Allusions to past episodes. I've seen quite a few, and I expect I've caught only ten percent or fewer.

3) Duplicated people. This came up in the bank heist episode.

4) Lies and lying.

5) The 51st century.

6) Where the Doctor got his regenerated face.

Let's mix that in with Clara's timeline. She first meets the Doctor because a mysterious "woman in the shop" gave Clara the Doctor's phone number. Who's the woman in the shop? (Maybe Missy.) So what themes have popped up for her?

7) Being uploaded and downloaded and hacked. She got her computer skills from the Great Intelligence.

8) Having multiple copies of herself.

9) Hacking networks (the Daleks).

10) Being something she didn't think she was. (Being a Dalek and thinking she's a human.)

11) Being lost.

12) Being inside the Doctor, visiting the Doctor's timeline, and being the Doctor.

13) Lying.

14) Saving the Doctor.

Now let's add some of the allusions I've seen. They could be hints, or they could just be cool allusions.

15) An allusion to the Fires of Pompeii, featuring the character who had his face before.

16) Allusions in "Kill the Moon" to the episode "The Beast Below" and "Waters of Mars."

17) Allusion in Deep Breath to "The Next Doctor" (the cyborg's balloon of flesh is like Jackson Lake's hot-air balloon).

18) Allusion in the Season 7 episode "NIghtmare in Silver" to the Season 2 episode "The Girl in the Fireplace" ("you've had some cowboys in here!")


1. Missy is a Time Lord and participated in giving the Doctor his additional regenerations. The people who have gone to the afterlife did not actually die -- she rescued them in her TARDIS for some reason. She is fighting the Cybermen.

2. Missy is the Cyber-Controller from "Nightmare in Silver" or the Cyber-King (Miss Hartigan) from "The Next Doctor". Both of those entities were human-computer interfaces that took charge of the Cybermen. She chose Clara as the Doctor's companion so she could keep him alive long enough to be absorbed into the Cyberiad.

3. Clara is a cyborg and doesn't know it. Alternately, the Clara we'e been seeing this season is the duplicate of some other Clara.

4. The Doctor never fully got the Cyber-Controller out of his mind and is being influenced. Alternately, the Doctor we've been seeing is a duplicate.

5. The Doctor got his previous face from a man who volunteered to become the Doctor. (Peter Capaldi previously played a character, named Lucius Caecilius, who was very interested in the TARDIS.) That's why Time Lords have two hearts: one Gallifreyan heart and one human heart. Missy offers Clara the chance to be the next Doctor, and she accepts. Peter Capaldi regenerates into her.

Okay, #5 is a little random! But I kinda like it. However, I think I will place my bet on #2, unless I think of something else between now and Saturday.

Time will tell. It always does. 

Announcing Misfits from the Beehive State
I'm excited to announce that my short story collection Misfits from the Beehive State is now available!

Also, I'll be appearing in Salt Lake City at Weller Book Works to read from my work, on April 17th, 2014, at 6pm.

For more news & updates, visit my blog at kristinking.org.

About the Book

Misfits from the Beehive State
Kristin King, author
ISBN 9781494974220
Softcover, 134 pgs
Fiction / Short Stories
Availability: The book is available through CreateSpace.

An airplane passenger who just wants to leave home is stuck with a magic boarding pass that won’t cooperate. A housewife intent on heaven encounters an angel looking for sex instead. And a young woman begins her descent into schizophrenia, pursued by a fairy tale character.

In this debut collection by Pushcart Prize award-winning author Kristin Ann King, the characters try to fit into paradise, but fall down the rabbit hole instead. Now they’re plagued by mental illness, mystical creatures, and character flaws, and they’re forced to muddle through as best they can.

The result is by turns hilarious, heartbreaking, and downright peculiar.

Misfits book cover front

About the Author

Kristin Ann King is a writer, parent, and activist who lives in Seattle. Her work has appeared in such places as Strange Horizons, Calyx, The Pushcart Prize XXII (1998), and the anthology Missing Links and Secret Histories (2013). She enjoys reading, blogging, her family, coffee, hiking, and more reading. She also enjoys playing with a dollhouse filled with Doctor Who action figures and writing critical essays about the show’s companions.


Patty woke early, tossing and turning. She couldn’t stop running the morning routine through her head. She was going to get up and mop the floor. While it was drying, she would dust the knickknacks and polish the dining room table and chairs. Then she would vacuum the living room floor and crawl along the wall with her edge cleaner looking for dirt. By then, the kitchen floor would be dry and she could get down on her hands and knees to inspect it.

It was going to be dirty, she just knew it. No matter how often she cleaned, the house was dirty. And when she got home from work, her carefully polished and gleaming table had dust. Dust mites were everywhere, even swimming in the sunshine.

She sighed and opened her eyes. If she was going to be working so hard in her head, she might as well get up. She rolled over. Stan wasn’t there. This was bad, because it meant he’d be watching her clean. Patty hated to have people watch her, because she was a little embarrassed about cleaning the same spot twice, three times, sometimes five. Part of her knew it was too much, but the other part couldn’t stop. She cleaned, and there was still dirt--or there might still be dirt, and her throat constricted, and she knew that if she just wiped with furniture polish one more time everything would be OK. But Stan made these little comments.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect,” he’d say, or, “Honey, I don’t mind it being a little messy.” Whenever he said that, her wedding ring tightened and felt as cold as ice. It was the one flaw in an almost-perfect marriage. So he’d be up today, watching her clean. She sighed again.

She got out of bed and reached for her apron. But it was missing one of its strings. Strange. She looked at it, puzzled, then folded it and put it neatly in the mending basket. She went to the closet and got another, then padded out to the hall to open the cleaning cupboard. But it was missing its handle. Had it fallen off? She looked around but didn’t see it.

“Stan?” she called. “Sweetie?” There was no answer. Rattled now, she went into the kitchen to get a glass of water. But the kitchen faucet sprayed all over her. Her heart pounded. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and looked around the room. A few things were missing, small but important items. The knob on the oven, the lever on the toaster. A hinge off the cupboard door. The lid off the sugar bowl.

She started to shake.

Last-minute anagrams of "Fields of Trenzalore"
river song
This Den of Geek article had some fun with anagrams of Trenzalore. ("Learnt zero" and "Real Zen crap", for instance.) How about "Fields of Trenzalore"? I tried it out and learned something very important: the human mind is excellent at making connections that don't exist, finding meaning where there is none. Here are my faves:

Frozen tears, old life - Most angsty!
Frozen fears, told lie - The Doctor lied about his name!
A frozen doll set fire - Our arch-villain is a doll
Soldier Zero left fan - Remember Prisoner Zero? Well, he got put in jail because he left a fan behind
Left ear frozen solid - The Doctor whispered his name into River Song's ear, but it was frozen solid so everyone is safe

The word TARDIS is in there too, but I didn't go there.

Reviving an old Doctor Who speculation post
For anybody not into Doctor Who - this post will be very very boring. Skip it.

I posted some speculation to the doctorwho livejournal community back in June 2010 (before "The Pandorica Opens") and thought I would repost it here so that if I turn out to be right about anything, I can take credit! I still like #1, D, and E.

. . .

And here is my theory, which is a six-part mathematical equation BECAUSE I AM JUST GEEKY THAT WAY

1 and (A, B, C, D, E, and/or F)

I. The crash of the TARDIS at the beginning of the first episode, while apparently resolved during the first episode, has been continually happening throughout the entire series.

A. The crash of the TARDIS created two Doctors - one "above" Doctor who thinks and plans and one "below" Doctor who acts as a shadow-figure, influencing events without being seen.

B. Amelia went through a crack in her bedroom wall into another dimension or pocket universe, in which she lives in a replica of her house but without her mother, father, and aunt.

C. Amelia stayed in the real universe, but her mother, father, and aunt went through the crack in the bedroom wall.

D. The two parts of space and time that are pressed together are reality and fantasy/dream.

E. The two parts of space and time that are pressed together are reality and the massive computer in which the Doctor "saved" River Song during the season 4 episode "Forest of the Dead".

F. The two parts of space and time that are pressed together AND in conflict with one another are the Doctor's universe and Amy's universe. The entire series arc can be seen in terms of the Doctor's reality and Amy's fantasy imaginings, with red representing Amy's fantasy imaginings and blue representing the Doctor's reality.

Doctor Who Fanfic: The Trap
Title: The Trap
Rating: G
Characters, 11th Doctor, Clara, the TARDIS
Spoiler warning: Spoilers for "The Bells of St John" and "Hide"
Note: This was inspired by a speculation post I made to the Doctor Who Livejournal community (doctorwho.livejournal.com) on April 22nd. Also, it assumes knowledge of Season 7 up through "Hide."

   It started with occasional wary glances, as if the Doctor didn't trust her. Then the Doctor began asking questions about things that hadn't happened.
   "What did you say?" he would ask.
   "Nothing!" Clara would say. She hadn't said anything.
   "Don't touch that!" he would say, when she hadn't touched anything.
   Although he smiled when she was watching, sometimes when she pretended to look away he fixed her with such an intent gaze she was afraid of him.
   "Doctor," she complained, "You look at me as if you don't even know me!"
   "Maybe I don't," he said coldly.
   Then one day they were both in the console room, and she had touched a button to display the south viewer.
   "Don't touch that!" he yelled, and roughly pushed her hand away.
   "What?" she asked. "It's just a viewer."
   "Don't lie to me," he said. "Leave. Now. Leave the room."
       He began talking to the TARDIS in her presence. "It's okay, old girl, I won't let anyone hurt you." And he would glare at Clara. "Not anyone."
    It was worst when they were in the console room. When they were other places, like the TARDIS jogging track or the kitchen, he seemed to relax. But every now and then, she would have a lapse. It was as if she had skipped ahead in time, only for moments, but enough to notice. Like the time she asked about his granddaughter and he told her about a woman named Jo, and she asked, "But what about your granddaughter?"
   "Weren't you listening?" he asked.
   "Of course I was listening!" Clara huffed.
     And then she had lapses in space as well as in time. She was in the TARDIS library, looking at books, and then she was walking down the hall with the Doctor.
   "Does the TARDIS ever mess with people?" Clara asked. "Move them around, things like that?"
   "Only with people who aim to do her harm," replied the Doctor. He looked at her coldly. "You don't aim to do her harm, do you?"
       The next time it happened, the Doctor was teaching her to make souffles. (Clara's grandmother had taught her, but they always burned. Every time.) One moment she was watching the Doctor bend over to pull the souffles out of the oven, and the next minute she was standing next to the console pressing a button and the ship was making the same klaxon sound it had made when the Doctor was lost in the pocket universe. The Doctor ran into the room.
   "Step AWAY from the console!" he shouted wildly.
   "But . . . but . . ." said Clara, disoriented. The Doctor took her by the arm and pulled her over to the farthest wall of the room. "Stay!" he ordered. He pointed his screwdriver at her, but then muttered to himself, "No, no, it's a screwdriver. Those don't work on people. If she is people."
   "She did it . . ." said Clara, pointing to the TARDIS console.
   "Tell me. Tell me what you've done to her," he said, as the klaxon continued to sound. "No, that's not an answer. Don't lie to me. I know the difference between the viewer and the navigation controls. Yes, you have flown her before, of course you have."
    "Doctor, slow down, I don't know what you're talking about!" said Clara. She was sitting. Why was she sitting? "Doctor, why am I sitting in a chair?"
    He smacked his head. "Of course! I'm so thick! It's the wifi! Oh, Clara. All those times you were looking at me with malice in your eyes, all those times you lied to me, it wasn't you."
    "I never lied to you!" Clara said indignantly.
      "No, you didn't. I see that now. But something did. Something inside you, using your body and your voice, and looking out through your eyes with pure hatred. And you didn't remember it, of course you didn't."
      Clara shuddered. What was he saying? That she wasn't herself?
     "I had lapses, Doctor," she said. "I thought it was the TARDIS."
     "No, no, no, not her, not the old girl. It's just like when the wifi was controlling those people. But there's no wifi in the TARDIS. Clara, when you were downloaded back out of the wifi, I think you brought something with you. And that something has done . . . what has it done?"
    The TARDIS klaxon was still sounding. Clara was chilled to the bone. "Doctor, we're landing. Where are we landing?"
    Then she was standing next to him at the console, watching the TARDIS door open.
    "Of course," he said. "The one place I must never go."


Doctor Who fanfiction: Sliver of Ice
It's been quite a while since I've posted here - usually I post over at wordpress.com, same username. I got frustrated by aggressive LiveJournal ads. But I love the livejournal Doctor Who communities, so here I am with a slice-of-life fanfiction.

Title: Sliver of Ice

Rating: G

Characters: 11th Doctor, Clara, River Song

Pairings: 11/River

Spoiler warning: It refers to events from "Hide" and "The Snowmen"

Notes: This is not a full story, and it won't make any sense if you haven't watched episodes with Clara up through "Hide." It was inspired by a line from the episode "Hide," which got me to wondering about the season's "Big Bad." When I'm in the middle of a story, not knowing how it will end, it is so fun to imagine my own possibilities. Also, I wanted to stake River's claim on the Doctor. Love you, Clara, but the Doctor's hers.

Sliver of Ice

     The Doctor and Clara saved the Nestorians, but at a heavy price. Half the foxes had given their lives for the human settlement. The Doctor clutched at his chest. "It hurts!" he said.
    Clara remembered. "Like there's a sliver in your heart?" she asked.
    "How did you know?" asked the Doctor.
    "Somebody told me," she said. "She told me not to trust you."


    Brambles scratched their ankles as they followed a deer path in the forest. The trees dripped water miserably on their shoulders and face. Blocking their way, they saw a dead fox, lying on its side.
    Clara gasped. "Poor fox!" she said.
    "That's the price of life, Clara," said the Doctor. "Death." He trudged on.
     "You have a sliver of ice in your heart," said Clara.
    "More than a sliver," he said. "Oh, it hurts. But never mind that. We've got a city to save and an interplanetary shark to stop."


    "Pity me, Doctor," said the interplanetary loan shark.
    The Doctor sneered. "You made your bed, now lie in it."
    "You are so cold, Doctor," said Clara taking his hand.
    "I spared its life. Mercy. You want me to give it pity too? I haven't any to spare." He tried to pull his hand away, but Clara wouldn't let go.
    "Doctor, your hand feels like ice!"
    "Help me, Clara," he whispered. "Get River."
    "River who?" asked Clara.
    "Oh, never mind. Just somebody who says she's my wife. Don't trust her."
    "Doctor, I'm afraid for you," said Clara.
    "Don't be. I am ice, Clara. That is what I am. Fire and ice. Kindness and cruelty. Hope and fear. That's what we all are, isn't it?"
    "This isn't ice, Doctor. Ice thaws. You're not thawing."
    "I think it's because I haven't had a holiday in so long. Let's have a holiday. Did you know, there's an entire planet dedicated to amusement parks? Forget Disneyland. It's got Whedonland, Trekland, Oz, Hobbiton, you name it. Let's go have some fun."


    "Of all the adventures in Fantasyland, you had to pick Snow White?" asked the Doctor.
    "Bad choice, I guess," said Clara.
    "But anyway, let's go see where she slept!" The Doctor set off briskly, and Clara had to run to keep up with him. She caught him in a clearing, staring at a long glass box that looked like a coffin, open at the top.
    "I wonder what it's like?" he asked. He stepped inside and lay down. "Cosy." He closed his eyes and frost crystals formed on his cheeks.
    "Stop it, Doctor! Get up!"
    He opened his eyes. "Why?" he asked.
    "Because of what I'm going to do if you don't," she said. She prepared to kiss him, but she was afraid. Afraid that he would respond as coldly to the kiss as he had to everything else lately.
    "You're not my type," he said.
    "Oh yeah? What is your type?"
    "Type 40!" he said, and laughed, as if he had made some brilliant joke.
    Instead of kissing him, she put her hands on his chest, willing heat into the frozen skin.
    He screamed in agony.
    "It burns, Clara, it burns! Don't touch me!"
    She held out her hand again. "Get up then. Listen, I know what would be fun. Trekland!"
    "Can I sit in the captain's seat?" he asked.
    "If it makes you happy."


    He was still babbling about the rest of the Enterprise when she led him into the sickbay. "Can you bellieve it, Clara? A group of Star Trek fans so dedicated that they built a full-scale, fully functional replica of the Enterprise. Look! The sickbay monitor works!"
    Clara felt hopeful for a moment. He was so like a child, because even when his soul was freezing, he could still laugh.
    "I think you're right about the sliver of ice," he said. "I think it happened when Doctor Simeon froze me, right before you fell and died."
    The hope drained out of her. "I what?"
    "Oh, that's right, it wasn't you. It was the other Clara. The one who died."
    "Excuse me?" asked Clara.
    "The ice crystals. The ones who mirror us. One got inside. Help me, Clara."
    "No, no, no, back up. You said I died."
    He took an agonized breath. "You died," he said sadly. "And now you're right here, not dead. I don't understand it. Clara, you'd better strap me down. You do have medical training, don't you?"
    "You know I don't," she said. She looked under the bed, found the straps, and pulled them around his arms and legs.
    "River does," he said. "Get River."
    "River who?" But the Doctor closed his eyes and lay still.


    The monitor showed his body temperature as below freezing, and his heart was beating a strange double rhythm, part fast and part slow. Clara looked at the medical tricorder, but had no idea how to use it.
    "Okay," she said to herself. "Here goes nothing."
    She placed both hands on his chest, willing warmth into his body. His heart sped up a little. She leaned over to give him a kiss.
    And then a woman appeared in the doorway. She was over-the-top flamboyant, with a red dress, high heels, and big curly hair. And a phaser, aimed at Clara.
    "Don't you touch that man!" she shouted.
    Clara paused, her hands still on his chest. "Well, hello Big Hair," she said. "Who the hell are you?"
    "I'm his wife."
    The heat spread into the Doctor's body, raising it only a few degrees, and he opened his eyes. He smiled, more warmly than before. "No she isn't," he said.
    "I will be," she said, still pointing the phaser at Clara.
    "So you say, River," the Doctor said. "But you are a liar."
    "Oh, Doctor," sighed River. "Exactly what mess have you gotten yourself into this time? And you, Clara whatever-your-name-is. Why do you have him strapped down?"
    Clara looked at River, tears in her eyes. "He's like ice," she said.
    "He is," said River. "Fire and ice. That's no reason to strap him down and kiss him!"
    "No, you don't understand," said Clara. "His heart is turning to ice."
    River sighed and lowered her phaser. "It's cruel of him to travel with you and not tell him these things. He does have a heart of ice. And a heart of fire. Two hearts. Did he not tell you? Look at the monitor."
    Clara looked. Now the monitor made sense. Two hearts.
    "No, you still don't understand. Something got into him."
    River sighed. "Okay. Well, I can help."
    "Don't let her, Clara," said the Doctor. "She's not my keeper."
    "Ah, but I am sometimes," River said. "Leave us, Clara. One hour, and I'll put him to rights. Promise." She grinned wolfishly and held up a pair of handcuffs to show to Clara. Clara looked at them in distaste, but just the sight of them caused the indicators on the Doctor's monitor to rise.
    Clara looked at the Doctor, looked at River, and came to a decision. "Do it."
    She stepped out into the hall and waited, watching ensigns and captains hurrying by, while sounds came out of the sickbay that were not at all nice.
    But an hour later, River opened the door, a worried crease on her face, and invited Clara in. "It didn't work. It wasn't enough. It has to be you."
    "Me?" asked Clara.
    "I don't mean kissing. He's mine. No kissing, or I will hurt you more than he ever could."
    Clara stepped back from River's sudden ferocity, hands raised. "Okay, okay!"
    "He's sleeping now. I gave him a hypospray. But when he wakes up, ask him about his first wife. Susan's mother. It's a tragic tale, and he breaks down every time he tells it. But not to me. He won't tell it to me. I have no compassion for rivals."
    She turned on her heel and walked out the door of sickbay, red dress flaring behind her.


Doctor Who Carousel Ride
My Christmas Eve fun. (Click the lj cut and then scroll down to see the full animated gif.)

Three Doctors ride a carousel with Ace and Santa. But when a Dalek attacks, will it spoil the fun or will the Raggedy Man save the day?Collapse ).

loved the latest Doctor Who episode
river song
The latest Doctor Who episode, The Wedding of River Song, was great! Never would've thought I could stand the Doctor getting married, always thought of him as asexual, but I'm down. Though - is he really married? Rule 1: the Doctor lies.

No more episodes till Christmas. :(

Doctor Who: Attack of the Gelt
Grownups can play on Christmas too. (Click the lj cut and then scroll down to see the full animated gif.)

Eleven fights a life-and-death battle with gelt:Collapse ) .

Two kids in school
So I have two kids in school now. This is HUGE.

I am, of course, not doing anything I meant to. The house is a mess, the gym membership is languishing, and I haven't been writing. I haven't even been doing the job of lazybones properly.


I have, though, been greatly enjoying the quiet house. I've been doing a lot of sitting on the couch drinking coffee. Good stuff.

Hey, where've I been?
I've been posting over at kristinking.wordpress.com. Haven't read any of the friends pages - but have been meaning to be in touch. 

my life these days
It's hard to believe that I posted on July 26th about having had an overwhelmingly busy week. Since then I've purposely downkeyed it, and now I'm getting bored! Not exactly that, though - rather, I've been too much in the house. The trouble is that it's hard to get up the motivation to rally the kids. It's hard enough convincing them to eat breakfast, much less go potty and put on their clothes and shoes. And then, if I get childcare, what I want to do is stay home and write.

The computer has been a problem for me. Facebook! Google reader! Too distracting. It's alarming how easily these things have replaced books. I am a voracious reader, but reading online is just not the same as reading a book. There's something about sitting down with a physical book that is calming and helps me focus my mind - it's like meditation. With the computer, there's the lure of some elusive other thing that might be more important for me to read, and I rush through, anxious. It pushes the same buttons as gambling, I think.

I've about had it with livejournal. The ads are too invasive. So, I'm putting more content up on kristinking.wordpress.com. But not the personal stuff.

Finished reading Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote. In awe.

What a week!
 Here's my past ten days:

Friday - pick up my mom from the airport, spend day packing for car trip to Oregon
Saturday - drive to Oregon to visit uncle, aunt, cousin
Sunday - drive back to Seattle
Monday - visit with mom, drive her to airport, clean house
Tuesday - visit from my dad's wife
Wednesday - visit from dad's wife
Thursday - shop for daughter's birthday
Friday - celebrate daughter's birthday
Saturday, prepare for daughter's birthday party, have party
Sunday - all day cleanup

All great stuff, but man, that was a lot all at once!

Now, back to:

being bored,
keeping kids from tearing the house apart and breaking their toys and losing their birthday presents,
agonizing over what to make for dinner,
and wilting in the sun.

home and community
One of the most broken aspects of contemporary society is the lack of community. People often give lip service to the word "community" without knowing what it was, and I did not know what it was until I had children and suddenly understood its lack. When I joined the co-op preschool system, I began to feel what community could be - people looking out for each other, people working together on a long-term common goal. At the same time, I saw its limitations: for one, it would be a community I would have to exit when my children entered kindergarten.

So where do we look for examples of community? Here is a perspective from bell hooks, from her time growing up in the fifties and sixties, where home was a place to develop critical consciousness and a foundation for black liberation struggle. She's talking about the nuclear family as well as the extended family, and linking what happened in the family space to what happened in the broader black community.

This task of making homeplace was not simply a matter of black women providing service; it was about the construction of a safe place where black people could affirm one another and by so doing heal many of the wounds inflicted by racist domination. We could not learn to love or respect ourselves in the culture of white supremacy, on the outside; it was on the inside, in that "homeplace," most often created and kept by black women, that we had the opportunity to grow and develop, to nurture our spirits. This task of making a homeplace, of making home a community of resistance, has been shared by black women globally, especially black women in white supremacist societies. (pp 42-43)

She goes on to talk about the breakup of families under slavery and under apartheid - it was no accident, she says, because undermining the family also undermines the site of struggle - and that capitalism, consumerism, sexism, adoption of white middle-class ideology are doing the same thing today.
Masses of black women, many of whom were not formally educated, had in the past been able to play a vital role in black liberation struggle. In the contemporary situation, as the paradigms for domesticity in black life mirrored white bourgeois norms (where home is conceptualized as politically neutral space), black people began to overlook and devalue the importance of black female labor in teaching critical consciousness in domestic space. (p 47)

So, the first step to a liberatory strategy - for families of any color - would be to rebuild that politicized domestic space, that "homeplace." To bring critical consciousness back into the home through feminist struggle.

I'll agree with that but also say it's only a first step. One home with a critical consciousness, disconnected from the rest of the community, is not going to be effective. Critical consciousness has to be shared with the broader community. For that to happen, we have to strengthen community ties. And for that to happen, we need to know what community really means.

Well, what does it mean?

No, I don't have the answer. But I do know that to build community, you find a common goal, shared work. For me it was the shared work of our co-op preschool. For the community hooks spoke of, it was building a black liberation struggle. Regardless, it goes farther than cultural criticism, farther than standing in a circle holding hands and singing. It has to move into practical action and material change too.

Of what sort?

That's the question.

hooks, bell. Yearning: race, gender, and cultural politics. Boston: South End Press, 1990.

the arts and social movements
Going back to a work I studied in college -  Yearning: race, gender, and cultural politics by bell hooks - I found this:

Lastly, I gathered this group of essays under the heading Yearning because as I looked for common passions, sentiments shared by folks across race, class, gender, and sexual practice, I was struck by the depths of longing in many of us. Those without money long to find a way to get rid of the endless sense of deprivation. Those with money wonder why so much feels so meaningless and long to find the site of "meaning." Witnessing the genocidal ravages of drug addiction in black families and communities, I began to hear that longing for a freedom to control one's destiny. All too often of our political desire for change is seen as separate from longings and passions that consume lots of time and energy in daily life. Particularly the realm of fantasy is often seen as completely separate from politics. Yet I think of all the time black folks (especially the underclass) spend just fantasizing about what our lives would be like if there were no racism, no white supremacy. Surely our desire for radical social change is intimately linked with the desire to experience pleasure, erotic fulfillment, and a host of other passions. Then, on the flip side, there are many individuals with race, gender, and class privilege who are longing to see the kind of revolutionary change that will end domination and oppression even though their lives would be completely and utterly transformed. The shared space and feeling of "yearning" opens up the possibility of common ground where all these differences might meet and engage one another. It seemed appropriate then to speak this yearning.

There's a ton to pull out of this. The whole concept of yearning and longing resonated with me. And then there's this: "Particularly the realm of fantasy is often seen as completely separate from politics." I agree. Since I'm a science fiction / fantasy writer, I especially like the word "fantasy." Because to me it means, "what if?" Radical politics try to transform society, but without the "what if," where exactly, do you want society to go? There's important visioning work to be done, and fantasy and science fiction certainly does it. But my critique of fantasy and science fiction is that it does visioning work and then stops there - there may be no explicit connection between the world a F/SF writer or reader wants to see and the change it takes to actually get there.

This resonated with questions of privilege and oppression. I'm white. I don't like racial oppression. I don't want it. Nonetheless, I have white privilege. What can I do, other than wallowing in guilt? So this - "Then, on the flip side, there are many individuals with race, gender, and class privilege who are longing to see the kind of revolutionary change that will end domination and oppression even though their lives would be completely and utterly transformed. The shared space and feeling of 'yearning' opens up this possibility of common ground . . ."

I like that possibility. Good. Possibility is better than closed options. But I think that a lot of radical texts point to possibility and stop there. But if we really do want to transform society, we can't step there. We have to take the next step. Which means, I think, finding out what the next step actually is.

mobility issues and new home construction
 One of the blogs in my reader had a post that got some wheels spinning in my head. There are some number of people living with mobility issues, who would benefit from a house designed specifically for them. Like this:

- level entry
- clear access to entry
- wider corridors
- toilet on entry level
- reinforced bathroom wall to allow future railing
- step-free shower

So wouldn't it be cool if new house construction incorporated these elements? 

Now, let's suppose that ten percent of households have someone with a mobility issue. Or whatever percent. Ideally, what percent of houses should incorporate an accessible design?

(BTW, this is a trick question.)

My official Doctor Who theory post
Spoilers for all of Doctor Who Season Five

For those who are not up on all the Doctor Who speculation - the Season Five finale airs in the UK tomorrow, Saturday. The whole season has been an enormous puzzle put together by Hugo award-winning author Stephen Moffat.

I've been reading gobs of speculation, watching and rewatching, and now I'm ready to try to match wits with Moffat. Am I red smokin' hot (rather like the Doctor's bow tie) or am I gonna crash and burn (rather like the TARDIS)?

Here is my list of the major puzzle pieces:Collapse )

And here is my theory, which is a six-part mathematical equation BECAUSE I AM JUST GEEKY THAT WAYCollapse )


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