World Around

In which RVA stares out the window…

I often think about how much space is wasted.

I work in downtown, with an hour commute, give or take half an hour (usually give).  I ride alone because being in America, we have no appreciable public transportation.  This is in Raleigh North Carolina, which actually has a decent bus system for downtown and the surrounding areas.  The problem is that Raleigh is a burgeoning megalopolis, combining Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary.  That’s four cities in three counties.  Raleigh and Chapel Hill have public transportation (Chapel Hill’s bus system is amazing), but Durham and Cary…not so much.  Individual towns are individual, I get it.  But the chasms between the cities?  There’s an intercity shuttle that keeps a schedule that can only be divined by aged psychics and it runs only slightly more frequently than solar eclipses.  So if you live and work in the same locale, you’ve got public transportation options.  Live in one city and work in another?  You are SOL. Continue reading “World Around”

Dereliction or inevitability?

In which RVA waxes about politics…again…

Question: Do you believe in justice?

Watching children be murdered by guardians of justice, and then for those protectors be punished with a paid vacation, watching the current administration just decide it won’t obey the law and there being effectively no appreciable recourse, watching two elections in my lifetime be stolen by essentially electoral munchkinism, watching a few dozen businesses just absolutely deplete the planet, watching bankers scam the populace and get paid for it, watching bigots and racists coddled and attended to like favored children at the expense of those in real need, watching whole swaths of the population be marginalized and then tortured for economic benefit, I came to the crashing realization that I don’t think I believe justice exists.

I don’t know if I think it doesn’t exist anymore, or if it ever really did.  I do know that in this moment, I’m not sure I know what justice would even look like.  Revenge?  Yes.  Fairness?  Perhaps.  Justice?  I really don’t know.

Continue reading “Dereliction or inevitability?”

Conventionless Life

In which RVA talks about life without cons…

So, Sand Diego Comic-Con just wrapped up.  Along with some of the usual staples of the convention world – Otakon, Dragon*Con, etc – I’ve been getting inundated with stories about con life and narrated events of the con-going experience.  In some ways, they make me lament the loss of conventions in my professional world.  In other ways, they make me glad that I have no conventions currently slated.

To clarify, I haven’t retired from conventions.  I’m honestly not sure what my current convention dynamic is.  I just know I have no conventions currently scheduled, I have no plans to make any major convention pushes, and I’m strangely okay with that.  Conventions are a LOT of work.  Even discarding the panels – which can take a surprising amount of time to put together – a convention weekend generally involves about a week’s worth of work in either direction after the convention.  Whether it’s arranging travel, organizing supplies, orchestrating the whole process, it may happen in bite-sized chunks but it adds up.

Conventions have never been that big of a deal for me, commercially.  I sold a fair number of books at conventions, but what conventions really did was push my name into the spotlight (such as it was).  I might move a few dozen books at a convention, but that number would be dwarfed by the online sales that would follow in the days and weeks after.  But the thing is, that movement was likewise dwarfed if I could actually get somebody to write a review on Amazon.

I stopped prioritizing conventions chiefly because of burnout, and because a convention very near & dear to my heart really did me wrong.  But what made it so easy to stop pushing to do conventions was the decreasing gains from them.  Not unlike fanzines in the 70s and 80s, conventions were once the staple for artists and authors wanting to promote themselves.  Now?  Now, I’m not entirely sure what conventions meaningfully offer to creators.

The scary thing is, though, I’m not sure what’s taken their place.

Undecided

In which RVA lambastes undecided voters…

“It is better to be uninformed than misinformed”
– Orville Hubbard, former mayor of Dearborn Michigan

As we gear up for the 2020 election (and it’s only 2019…yeegads), I’ve heard a lot of reports going to undecided voters and unaffiliated voters.  Now, these two groups are not the same.  An unaffiliated voter is one who has decided to without any adamant allegiance and will support candidates, not parties.  Cool, great.

But undecided voters?  Forgive me for being blunt, but what kind of an absolute moron, what kind of heartless, spineless, soulless monster could look at the modern world and say ‘you know what?  I just don’t know’.  Politics in America has polarized to the point where you have two options.  You may think they are both bad, but they are not in any way comparable.  And you damn-well know the differences matter big-time.  You might be an anarchist who just wants to see the world burn (in which case, you selfish ass, you’re a little late), but you cannot honestly have a single brain cell AND be unsure who should get your vote.

Anybody who polls undecided voters isn’t getting a litmus test for the nation.  They are determining how deep the flood waters that will end up drowning us all.

Just a thought…

In which RVA thinks about people in cages…

14 Characteristics of Fascism.

  1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
  2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
  3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
  4. Supremacy of the Military
  5. Rampant Sexism
  6. Controlled Mass Media
  7. Obsession with National Security
  8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
  9. Corporate Power is Protected
  10. Labor Power is Suppressed
  11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
  12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
  13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
  14. Fraudulent Elections

This list was compiled by Dr Lawrence Britt in 2003.

There are times I struggle to remember what life was like a few years ago.