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1. In the third grade, math was all about timed multiplication tests. I kept failing – I couldn’t manage to memorize my multiplication tables, I had ways of getting to 7 x 8 = 56 but they took too long. I hated math, through third and fourth and fifth and most of sixth grade–and then we got to do some algebra, as a sort of sneak preview, and instead of memorizing “this is how you calculate the least common denominator” there were rules and logic and the fact that I still didn’t really have my multiplication tables memorized didn’t matter, because it wasn’t about that.

2. On the last day of seventh grade, our math teacher sent the boys out of the room, ostensibly to carry heavy boxes somewhere. “Hey!” we said, because we were strong too. But our teacher already knew that. He stood in the front of the room and said “A lot of girls stop liking math in high school. You’re going to hear that girls just aren’t good at math. You’re going to get told it’s not cool to like math. So right now I want to tell you: You’re all smart enough. You’re allowed to be good at math, you’re allowed to love it. All of you can be good at this.”

3. I went to Caltech. I hated programming, I was bad at it, the classes assumed you’d been coding for fun since you were twelve and I’d never done it before. I was never going to be able to write code, I decided. I just wasn’t good at it. And then, four years later, I started a Master’s degree in agronomy. I hate Excel. I need to find a better way to analyze data than the cookbook nonsense I was learning in class. I install R. I start using it, because the only way I’ve ever managed to learn anything is by diving in and trying not to drown. I start writing scripts. I’m not good at programming, I’m not an expert, but I can do it. It’s not magic.

4. I need python, for work–or maybe I don’t need it, maybe I could use R, but python is faster. I can learn this, and I do. I need new tools: I need remote sensing, I need SQL, I need open source when my licenses run out. I need new things, so I learn them. I poke my fingers into all kinds of different toy boxes. This is something I am good at: I’m allowed to say that. I’m allowed to be good at it. I’m allowed to love it.

I’m allowed for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that, way back in the beginning, Mr. Ropp took the time to say yes, you can do this.

(on Tumblr this was a response-reblog. The full thing is here, but I thought this bit might be interesting to some of my non-tumblr people)
sebenikela: district 6 seal with train (D6)
Your first sin was a lie you told yourself (14049 words) by kawuli
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games Series - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: OFC/OFC
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Original Male Character(s)
Additional Tags: Canon-Typical Violence, District 6, Canon Compliant, Pre-Canon
Series: Part 4 of Smiles and Promises

Rokia's always been a fighter, and nobody knows that better than Sara does.

So sure: the odds are never going to be in District Six's favor, but when Rokia is reaped, Sara's got to believe she can come back.

But surviving the Games is just the beginning.

(Sara watches Rokia's Games)

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This is very silly but it amused me so perhaps it will amuse someone else

Victor-sibling bonding )
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Three of us stood up and asked questions at the end of our (R) representative’s event at the Chamber of Commerce today, since she’s not holding any town halls or actually-public events, and we wanted to tell her not to repeal the ACA without a suitable replacement. We got shut down pretty quick: “This is not the time or place, you’re being rude, this was for Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club only, we’re done here, bye.” And then she left.

But I talked to a TV reporter on camera and a newspaper reporter and another woman was also talking to people, and while I am not entirely sure what I said I think it was coherent? Hopefully?

And now I am out of peopleing and wording ability and will be hiding in my room for the weekend and watching Star Trek and pretending I live in a universe that makes more sense than this one.
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These are really fascinating! Anybody want to give me an excuse to ramble about the characters I write? ???

Very detailed questions and lots of them )
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Rokia is just fine on her own in the Capitol, okay?

(Lyme is not even a little bit convinced)

Aftermath )
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Because apparently one of my coping mechanisms is fictional dystopias, I made some Google Earth files from my absurdly detailed Panem map. In case anyone is as nerdy as I am, here they are (Google Drive links):

District borders
Main cities
Railroad lines
Extra D6 details
There are also extra details from District Nine but those are spoilers for the fic I'm writing so they'll have to wait.

It looks like you can preview these in-browser or you can download and then just double click to open these in Google Earth (which is a free download).
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South Bend, Indiana.

A big crowd of people. Some have signs. A lot have pink pussy hats.

They didn’t get a permit to march in the street–I guess nobody expected a crowd like this. We walked on the sidewalks, down a few blocks and back. We yelled. We laughed. My mom came. Some friends came. There must have been at least a couple thousand people here.

“My husband keeps telling me to get over it,” one woman said.

“I don’t know what I’ll do if I lose my health insurance,” mom said.

“Look at that sign, boy I wish I was clever like that,” someone said.

“I can’t believe there’s so many people here!” we all said.

It was sunny, and warm. “It’s a sign,” we told each other, and laughed.
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Today sucks. I'm scared. I don't know what's going to happen, and I don't have words to talk about it. So I'll just leave this here, from my dad:

Hunker down, do the work, don't forget, and don't let them persuade you to adopt their lie as reality.
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Posted in full at: at January 18, 2017 at 01:45AM
I got a weighted blanket for Christmas this year (except I had to choose and order and then I was traveling so I got it when I got back a couple weeks ago).

It’s kind of amazing? I was describing my brain earlier as like a kid who runs around going “hey mom look what I can do i found a thing did you know birds are actually dinosaurs? also you suck and will fail at everything! and hey you should probably be working but idk what on and the world is terrible and also hey look, SQUIRREL!”

And some. how. if I put a heavy thing on myself my brain goes “…..???” and….slows down.

It’s very much “……that sounds fake but okay” but I have n=several observations and so far this seems to be consistent.

Tags:crosspost, mo liveblogs boring shit
Tumblr post (if anything looks weird try over there)
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(yoinked from tumblr, because i am avoiding work)

1) is there a story you’re holding off on writing for some reason?

2) what work of yours, if any, are you the most embarrassed about existing?

3) what order do you write in? front of book to back? chronological? favorite scenes first? something else?

4) favorite character you’ve written

5) character you were most surprised to end up writing

6) something you would go back and change in your writing that it’s too late/complicated to change now

7) when asked, are you embarrassed or enthusiastic to tell people that you write?

8) favorite genre to write

9) what, if anything, do you do for inspiration?

10) write in silence or with background noise? with people or alone?

11) what aspect of your writing do you think has most improved since you started writing?

12) your weaknesses as an author

13) your strengths as an author

14) do you make playlists for your current wips?

15) why did you start writing?

16) are there any characters who haunt you?

17) if you could give your fledgling author self any advice, what would it be?

18) were there any works you read that affected you so much that it influenced your writing style? what were they?

19) when it comes to more complicated narratives, how do you keep track of outlines, characters, development, timeline, ect.?

20) do you write in long sit-down sessions or in little spurts?

21) what do you think when you read over your older work?

22) are there any subjects that make you uncomfortable to write?

23) any obscure life experiences that you feel have helped your writing?

24) have you ever become an expert on something you previously knew nothing about, in order to better a scene or a story?

25) copy/paste a few sentences or a short paragraph that you’re particularly proud of
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map of panem

I've written about Panem geography and logistics before (geography in general, D9, D6), but now I need to think about things like where the rail lines are and which ones are good sabotage targets and the MS Paint sketch maps were no longer cutting it.

The cool thing about North America is that there's a ton of geographic data available for free online. Which meant that the best thing to do (as someone who is not very artistic) was to go from MS Paint to QGIS. Which is to say, COMPLETE OVERKILL. You could actually use this map for navigation, if the things on it existed.

What's here that's new:

The blue lines are the coastline after a 50m sea level rise. The number's fairly arbitrary, this just gave me something interestingly different, while a 100m rise got into unrecognizable territory. (Climate change is kinda scary, folks).

The red lines are railroad lines. I started with a map of current rail lines, followed them where possible especially in mountainous areas, and tried to make sure sensible things were connected. The rail system is also constructed in typical Panem fashion for Capitol control first and efficiency second. So for example, there is no direct connection between D8 and D9 or D3 and D4, even though there logically would be, because it's easier to control travel when it goes through fewer junction points.

Cities are based loosely on current cities: D9's capital city is modern-day St. Louis, D8 is Minneapolis-St. Paul. D13 is in Ontario, near a graphite mine there. D5 is based on oil and gas locations in the Dakotas, Alberta, and Montana, plus opportunities for hydropower and geothermal (we know there's hydro from the amazing dam scene in the MJ1 movie--I take or leave movie canon in general but damn, that scene stays). Other than that, I've talked about why 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11 are where they are already (in the links above).

Obviously this is overthinking everything. But whatever, I enjoy it.
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Last year I did a very thorough job tracking my word counts. This year I gave up tracking sometime around my first intercontinental move (so, early May). Based on Scrivener estimates I wrote about 150,000 words of fanfic in 2016. Which I’ve decided to be proud of, especially given…everything.

A few of my favorites:

The line between hunger and anger (Hunger Games, gen)
The second in what will be probably a 3-part series about a handful of ordinary people, mostly in District Nine, who help make the rebellion happen. This has been a knock down drag out fight to finish, but I am pleased with how it’s turned out. Part 3 will get written in 2017, come hell or high water, if for no other reason than that I need more stories about ordinary people changing the world.

The Breakout Job (Leverage, gen)
Parker, Eliot, and Hardison break some kids out of an abusive “camp for troubled youth.” I wrote this for a Christmas exchange and managed to finish on time despite November being the worst month (election, a LOT of brain-doctors, intercontinental move #2, work…). And it gave me an excuse to google “can you set a building on fire remotely” (yes, you can).

You do it better, Living is harder, and Plant assembly procedures
(Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey)
I am cheating and listing all of these together, because they are short and I couldn’t pick just one. You do it better is Rey backstory, Living is harder is about culture shock, and Plant assembly procedures is about learning how to make food and also about Chewbacca. Rey is quite possibly the character in fiction I most identify with. Definitely in pop culture.

Still 22 days left till the end of the world and After the storm (Hunger Games, Johanna Mason, mind the warnings)
I wrote a lot of Johanna fic this year, and these are probably my favorites. There’s a lot of ugly shit in this whole series, and some of it I was really hesitant to post, but it was all really cathartic to write. Hopefully it was good for someone to read.

Other people’s favorites in 2016, from my AO3 stats:

Top 5 by hits:
As long as I can see your face (Hunger Games, Finnick/Annie)
Finally breathe (Hunger Games, Finnick and Johanna) (posted 12/2015)
What doesn’t kill you (Hunger Games, Johanna)
Swim out past the breakers (Hunger Games, pre-Finnick/Annie)
Still 22 days left till the end of the world (Hunger Games, Finnick and Johanna)

Top 5 by kudos:
Living is harder (SW: TFA, Rey)
As long as I can see your face
Clean (Hunger Games, Johanna and Annie)
Finally breathe
Still 22 days left till the end of the world

I'm still not sure what I want to say about 2016 in general. But these are some of the good bits. Here’s hoping there’s more to come in the next year.
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Thank you, Carrie Fisher.


They land at the Resistance base, and it's chaos. Rey’s dizzy with it, with the rush of emotions she can't identify, the noise of people around her, taking Finn, moving past her like a sandstorm, battering her even when they don’t touch.

She walks out onto the tarmac in a daze—and there is one sure point in the storm. A woman, old and tired and sad but steady, in a world that's gone wobbly. A woman with kind eyes, and Rey steps toward her automatically, finds herself wrapped in a hug. She rests her chin on the woman's shoulder, feels the tension wind down. Finds her mind wrapped in a hug sure as her body is, courage and calm and fierce protectiveness soothing away some of the fear and confusion.

Rey steps away.

“I'm Leia,” the woman says, quiet but carrying in the commotion.

Of course. Leia Organa, sister to Luke Skywalker, just as mythical and just as real.

“Rey,” she replies, and Rey would maybe be self-conscious but she's still wrapped in that feeling of comfort.

“General Organa—” someone rushes up. Leia—General Organa—smiles an apology, and slips away.

Rey takes a deep breath and follows her into the base.
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The line between hunger and anger (14403 words) by kawuli
Chapters: 3/3
Fandom: Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games Series - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: District 9 - Freeform, District 6, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Normal people make the rebellion happen
Series: Part 2 of These are truly the last days: Panem's rebellion from below

"If they ever know themselves, the land will be theirs and all the gas, all the rifles in the world won't stop them."
-The Grapes of Wrath

The rebellion's heroes might be Victors in an Arena, conspirators in the Capitol, a shadowy district's machinations, but no rebellion survives without a thousand acts of bravery by ordinary people in extraordinary times. The prairies feed the nation, and the railroads knit it together, and when whispers in secret become networks and plans and action, Zea and Sara don't hesitate. There's no going back now.


This one's been long in coming, but 2016 needs more stories about ordinary people changing the world. This is the one I've got. 
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Posted in full at: at November 30, 2016 at 11:08AM
Moving is the worst, especially when you have to run around repacking at the last minute because it turns out your overweight bag is over even the overweight limit so you have to reorganize everything and check your rolling carry on as an extra bag…

However! I managed to get everything (well the absolute minimum required) done and only leave 10 minutes late. And I survived the ruthlessly efficient Schipol security lines with thrown-together second carry-on, hiked halfway to Haarlem and am now sitting at my gate.

I left a bunch of assorted random shit outside my room, threw away an embarrassing amount of food, and left the room messy (but I paid a cleaning fee when I moved in so I don’t feel too bad about that). I also did not realize that Reykjavik is apparently in the Schengen zone so I can’t hand over my residency card at customs. Will sort out mailing it back tomorrow.

Honestly, given the level of near-disaster my life has been lately I am pretty impressed with myself.

Tags:I probably forgot something but I have the critical bits so whatever, Next time I move (ugh) I will be more organized, Although I say that every time and it never happens, Hopefully next time I won't be moving by airplane though, Fingers crossed someone in north America wants to hire me, crosspost
Tumblr post (if anything looks weird try over there)
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After the storm (2488 words) by kawuli
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games Series - All Media Types
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Johanna Mason, Annie Cresta
Additional Tags: Canon Compliant, Post-Canon, canon-typical horribleness, Alcohol Abuse/Alcoholism, Drug Use, Additional Warnings In Author's Note


Johanna, in the aftermath.

(I am too cranky for formatting, sorry, you can read on AO3)

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1. Good friendships do not have Friend Points that must be earned and spent. There is no score.

2. You are allowed to talk about things that bug you with friends, even if they are also stressed/having trouble/whatever. They can say “I can’t talk about this now, but here is a picture of a kitten” if they are having a bad day. That does not mean you did a bad thing by bringing things up.

2.1 You are allowed to do the same thing with other people. You don’t have to earn Friend Points (see #1) by always being the one to help your friends deal with stuff.

3. Being friends is not about being small and unobtrusive enough to fit into people’s lives without them having to do anything at all. You are allowed to take up space, both brain-space and real-space.

4. Pretending you are Fine when you are only fine in the sense of “freaked-out, insecure, neurotic, and emotional” never goes well.

4.1 This includes pretending to yourself also, which is even less likely to go well.

4.2 Your friends already know you are a disaster human, and they like you anyway. You don’t have to pretend.

5. Mind reading is not a real thing. Do not expect yourself or anyone else to be able to do this. That’s why humans invented language.


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