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Welcome to my fandom musings on Avatar: The Last Airbender and more. Here are some of my main posts (including outside links) grouped by category.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender EssaysCollapse )

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My weird-ass sleeping schedule

For the past few months my sleep pattern has settled into something like this:

4-5 days of "bright and early" sleeping and rising, where I fall asleep between 9 and 10 at night while breastfeeding the baby*

1-2 days of "what do you mean, night owl? I saw the dawn light before I fell asleep" where I can't sleep for shit and stay up until 3-5 a.m.

It looks like my generally night owl body is adjusting to being a parent in a weird way, like I can't stay awake past 10 most nights but after a few days my body gets sick of that and stays up late to compensate.

I don't generally sleep in after late nights either, because a toddler who wants his mommy to wake up is a force of nature who will climb over you, poke you in the eyes, cry in your ear, and (in one memorable case) attempt to pull you upright by the hair. I look forward to the little angel's teenage years when I'll be paying him back--with interest.**

Idk if it's related, but I generally have more energy and procrastinate less these days than I used to. Not that I've become a perfect taskmaster--there are still items on my to-do list that I dread and try to put off--but I've certainly become better about deadlines. I noticed this kind of energy boost in the past when I managed to get a full night's sleep, too. It only took having a baby to get me to a better, if still strange, sleep schedule!

*Yes, the baby generally breastfeeds to fall asleep. Yes, he's going on 17 months old. Yes, we have failed big time at sleep training the baby, but I also suspect he's inherited his parents' jumpy nerves and has a hard time going to sleep in general without a lot of comfort. No, this will not be the last parenting excuse you will hear from me, far from it.

**Not really. I know teenagers do better with later sleep schedules and that's just their biological clock, and I'd prefer to let him sleep in. I'm an advocate for pushing back high school class times, too.

Dreamwidth entry URL: https://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/73339.html

Snowy day

Well well, I decided not to go out today only for snow to start flurrying outside, with a hard wind too judging by how it's periodically flying sideways. I feel undeservedly smart.

Dreamwidth entry URL: https://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/73188.html


WTH brain

Why did I have a vivid dream of watching John Boyega coming out on television? (His exact words: "I'm attracted to men, I'm attracted to women.")

And whyyyyy did I dream of trying to be the first to make a Tumblr post about it? Tumblr withdrawal is like whut.

(I was still thrilled by my dream, though. I mean, not to infer anything about John's actual sexuality but that would have been epic.)

Dreamwidth entry URL: https://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/72010.html

Updates of a Tumblr refugee

Well, it's been a while. I've been spending way too much time on Tumblr and obsessing over Star Wars, and decided to take a break during the last week before the release of the next movie. (Idk if I'll be seeing it, I'm getting restricted spoilers from a friend first.) Tumblr is a fun place, addictive by design, and the fact that it has a somewhat functional mobile app meant it was suited to my new schedule of watching a baby for large swathes of time. Between the notes coming in, the asks--I answered like 10 in a row to clear my inbox before taking this break--and the chat messages, it fulfills the craving for constant feedback and stimulus. Add to that Discord for multiperson chatting, and it really does become a 24/7 thing.

It got to be a little too much in the end. The anxieties about the upcoming movie, the constant exposure, the outrages, the arguments... maybe it's because I didn't grow up on the internet, but I don't think I'm up to being "on" to any social media platform on a constant basis. I found myself missing the more sedate pace of LJ/DW, even though back when I went over to Tumblr I didn't like how quiet it was here. Now that quiet comes as a relief.

Real life stuff:
- The babby is doing well at a very rambunctious 15 months of age. Pictures upcoming.
- The husband and i are well, too, and we celebrated our five-year anniversary in October.
- I'm still plugging away at my job, but the program I'm working for expires in October and I'm looking for a new job. It's a nervous time.
- Not much writing going on the past few months. Between the baby and having my brain sucked up by Tumblr and Star Wars I wasn't making enough time for it. This is something I hope to remedy during my Tumblr break and beyond.
- Two of my friends are going through the dissertation grindstone and I feel for them. I can't believe I did all that last year. It is one of the toughest things I did in my life and I think I'm still recovering on some level. Another of my friends who got a Ph.D. before I did is now on a career path that's completely unrelated to academics and I completely understand why someone would be burned out by the whole process. The two friends going through it, by the way, also swear they won't go near academics again for the rest of their lives.

Fannish stuff:
- I made fan videos for ATLA and SW! It was fun to learn to use Premiere Pro and After Effect.- Shows I've been watching: Elementary, BBC's Luther, The Get Down. I got a few seasons into the first two and tired of them for reasons I'll get into later on. I finished the first season of TGD and it was great, looking forward to Season 2. (I can't believe that's the last season, it's such a great show...)
- Shows I tried and didn't like: Breaking Bad, House of Cards. I gave up both a few episodes in. Considering that these are both highly acclaimed shows I guess I just don't have the requisite Taste. I'd like to pretend I sensed something wrong with Kevin Spacey's vibe or something, but I just didn't like his show.
- Show I got one season into and probably won't be continuing: The Expanse. I wanted to like this one better because there just aren't enough hard science fiction shows, but the twist of the first season was a letdown for me and I hated the way they treated a major female character. My husband is on Season 2 now and I've been catching snippets of it. The Korean dubbing is quite good.
- Yes I am terrible about sticking with shows. Even when I like them I get tired of them eventually. DS9 was one of the few live-action shows I watched from beginning to end, and I like it enough to be watching for a second time. I'm very much looking forward to watching Star Trek: Discovery when I'm done with my DS9 watch-through. A new Trek that isn't JJ Abrams' reboot, wow!

It's good to be here. It's nice to go through the feed and see familiar faces, old stalwarts unlike my fickle self.
Dreamwidth entry URL: https://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/71799.html

Letter for history exchange

Dear History Exchange writer,

Thank you for agreeing to write for me. Prompts for specific characters can be found in the description of my request. Here I wanted to put together requests and likes/dislikes that apply regardless of character or time period.

I am fine with just about any sexuality or pairing as long as it's consensual and not incestuous. I request that the story not feature in a positive way relationships with a heavy power imbalance between the parties (including age and family dynamics) to the point of coercion. I have no problem with tender moments arising in the context of an abusive relationship, but I'd be very uncomfortable if the story ultimately portrays such a relationship as healthy.

That said, I'm fine with large age gaps as long as it's clear that both parties have full agency. I also adore genfic, so if you don't feel the need for a pairing in your story there's no need to try and add any.

I'm no stickler for historical accuracy (and don't have the expertise to judge anyway), but would greatly appreciate it if there were at least a couple of evocative details that gave a sense of the period and setting.

Seeing how these are real people, though long dead, I would like to request a level of respect for their cultures and legacies. That means, for instance, no easy stereotypes like an Indian character being reduced to funny accents. Humor is great, obviously, including those that arise due to differences between language and cultures, but I'd like all characters to be human first.

I have a preference for stories with a clear arc, as in something changes at the end of a story in comparison to the beginning. It doesn't have to be a flashy "action" story--though I love those, too!--but I would like some character development no matter how introspective or action-packed the story. If that's not something that comes to you, though, there's no need to force it.

Thank you again for your participation, and I hope the process of creation is an enjoyable one for you!

Explanations and rules for History Exchange
Signup for History Exchange open!
Current prompts for History Exchange
List of nominated historical figures

Dreamwidth entry URL: http://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/70697.html
(picture and text via Kukmin Ilbo, reposted from my Tumblr)
(English portion of banner held up by protestors: Why OBAMA incide Homosex in KOREA? / Stop interfering! Go out!
Korean portion of banner: Obama and Ambassador Lippert of the U.S. spread homosexuality and AIDS / Stop interfering in internal affairs and leave!)

On May 10, three evangelical Christian groups--Only Jesus Love, G&F Ministry, and VOCD International--protested the U.S. Embassy in Korea for being one of the sponsors of a forum for parents of LGBT people. They claimed the U.S. was interfering in Korea’s internal affairs and morality. They also argued that homosexuality is contributing to an epidemic of HIV in Korea and the U.S. should not be promoting the practice in South Korea.

Here is a letter OJL sent to U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark William Lippert. I have reproduced the English version as is, with my fact checks and responses in bold.

Rampant homophobia below the cutCollapse )
Dreamwidth entry URL: http://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/70472.html

Normal families are WEIRD

My husband's family feels so weird to me sometimes. Yesterday we had dinner with Mark's parents and then his dad suggested we drive to Ganghwa Island, about an hour away (it's also where one of my ancestors is buried), to see the sunset. He drove us, we chatted about stuff, we saw the sunset and Mark and I took pictures. We drove back in the dark, talking or just keeping companiable silence, came home, ate mangoes and bananas Mark's dad had bought for us, and Mark's parents watched television before they turned in while us kids did our own stuff.

Did you see that? The total lack of blowups, old grievances, strained silences, drama, or games? Just four people enjoying each others' company? Did I mention that Mark's parents are divorced and were perfectly comfortable having dinner and spending two hours in a car together just being good friends and their son's parents?

It still blows my mind sometimes that a family can just... enjoy each others' company without underlying unease or some hidden agenda, without navigating the minefield of old resentments and perceived slights, without inevitable fights and long Why You Suck speeches spoken into seething, miserable silence. It's even more foreign to my experience that Mark's divorced parents have a better relationship with each other than many married couples, including my own parents when Mom was alive.

I know intellectually that this is how emotionally mature and stable people behave, and that you get these lovely and peaceful times with family when the family members have no psychological trapdoors ready to be tripped by anything and everything, when they genuinely love and care for each other and can control themselves. I know all this, but experiencing it for real is still so weird sometimes. I also suspect Mark's parents are more stable and adjusted than most people, given how rare amicable divorces can be.

And the fact that I fit so neatly into these dynamics, that I'm not causing any cracks in these family times or dragging anyone down, helps me see that, hey, I'm actually pretty normal, too. That helps me get away, little by little, from the sense of wrongness and brokenness that was instilled in me from childhood on. My dad always said I, or my brother, or our mom, was the problem and he was fine. Well Dad, guess who fits right into a perfectly normal family evening? This bitch!

My father, of course, in his self-serving gaslit reality thinks Mark's family is somehow dysfunctional and oppressive. Yeah, if being at peace, surrounded by caring and stable people, constitutes oppression, then I'll take it. Maybe my senses are all out of whack or I'm lying as my dad constantly accuses me of doing, but I like this a whole lot better than what I had with my birth family.

Being part of a stable, caring family is actually a thing. I'm not messing up anything by being here, I get along with everyone and I'm a good, stable person myself. I'm really okay, despite a lifetime of being told I am a fundamentally flawed person who makes others unhappy. I'm going to bring my own child up in a happy and functional family, and my kid will have a super-loving and gentle dad who will model the supportive, secure family life that still seems so strange to me.

All this is overwhelming at times, even after three and a half years of a blissfully happy marriage. I could get used to this. Just give me time.
Dreamwidth entry URL: http://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/70165.html


More proof that jingoism sucks for history

Jingoistic nationalists distorting history for their own agenda doesn't just happen in Korea, of course. I was disheartened to learn that the new conservative government in Poland plans to effectively co-opt a World War II museum in the works because the government wanted the museum to focus less on the suffering on all sides and more on the Polish "point of view."

And look, it's perfectly valid to want to have a museum in Poland that records and commemorates the suffering of the Polish people during WWII, which was indeed considerable with an estimated 5.7 million citizens perishing in the German occupation and 150,000 in the Soviet Occupation, including 90% of Poland's Jewish citizens. Nobody is saying the Polish people and government should not have a place for the atrocities they suffered.

That said, it is entirely unnecessary for the government to scrap the plans for a museum that tells the story of the war as one of human suffering across borders. That's not a case of "I want my story told," it's "I don't want your story told and I will use my governmental powers to stop it from being told."

This is what happens when people who don't give a damn about our common humanity gain control of historical records and institutions. These are the people who see history as nothing but a tool of propaganda for their own power and self-aggrandizement. I'm not surprised that this sort of thing happens elsewhere (and just in case Yanks want to get all smug, your history textbooks and curricula are a mess, too), I'm just disappointed that our bad habits are so reliably universal.
Dreamwidth entry URL: http://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/69859.html


I've mentioned my love of Steven Universe briefly before. I'll be here forever if I start talking about everything I love about it, and others have written excellent reviews that you can check out if you're curious.

One of the things I love about the show is the music, and there are a lot of great ones. Lately I find myself bursting into song with the number from the episode "Sadie's Song." It's short, as Steven Universe songs tend to be, but it's current and catchy; it wouldn't feel out of place spilling out of a storefront. The above is the original version, and you can see variations from the show here (spoilers for the episode "Sadie's Song").

Along with the bouncy tune, I love the lyrics' unabashed revelling in fame and fortune, the validation and vindication of success. It reminds me of the What Do I Want? soliloquy from the graphic novel Artesia in its celebration of a woman's worldly ambitions. It's such a comfort at a time when I'm going through the grind myself in hopes of uncertain rewards.
Dreamwidth entry URL: http://ljlee.dreamwidth.org/69551.html


LJ Lee

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