Open Thread: A cat named cat


Ok, technically she's named Pandora but we call her "cat".  I think it's because my sister named her Lydia and then unnamed her that and so by the time she had a solid name our brains weren't ready for it.  Whatever the case, this engine of entropy has been living with me since she was the size of my fist.

I think her being calico finally broke my family out of calling cats "cows" which started with a white cat with black spots that really did look like a cow's pattern and continued to the black and white cat after.

We weren't going to get a new cat.  We were going to wait until the loss of previous cat had faded and then think about the possibility of maybe considering an exploratory . . . At the end we had to manually feed previous cat (human) baby food.  When she died we had some left over.  We asked my sister if she knew anyone with a (human) baby who the food could be given to.  She did.  When she knocked on the door current cat was thrust into her arms with the words "Have a kitten" (or was it "Have a cat"?)

And thus she came to us, a fist sized lump of fur, with a hernia at the time, who tried to pick fights with a mutt (German Shepherd/Great Dane/????? mix) into whose mouth she could fit.

Since my mother left the family home, the cat's been my only free-roaming housemate (the gecko stays in its tank as it dislikes human contact, can run up walls in a flash, and bites hard.)

Since I've been at my house, except for one doctor visit, all week the most readily available pictures were the cat and actual real live fish at a different waiting room (is it a rule that waiting rooms need fish, be they actual or sculptural?) and since the camera couldn't decide whether to focus on the fish in the tank or the reflection off the tank . . . kitty!
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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: Someone Ought To Take The Ring

[Narnia Content Note: Slavery, Racism]

Narnia Recap: Shasta ran into the forest to find King Lune and warn him of Rabadash's approach. He was then separated from King Lune's party in the fog, and briefly overheard Rabadash's army pass by before meeting with Aslan himself. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 12: Shasta in Narnia

Wow, it's been over a month since the last update and I am sorry. I slipped into a depression hole over politics and then got the flu and was out for a bit with that. Fun times. But we're back today here and now to tackle Chapter 12!

One of the difficult things about this book is that Lewis hit a problem with pacing. I've talked about this before and I don't want to belabor the point, but this book is about a horse race: Shasta has important news to impart to the king, he and his friends race across the desert, and the information is given. In many books, that would be a climax in itself; if not the climax, then a peak before building even higher to the siege and battle. (The siege is optional--Rabadash is a fool for trying to continue his plan after he's been thwarted--but a good author could make entertaining hay of this straw.)

Open Thread: Mid-Week Fundraiser and Notes

Hey all, this is Ana checking in. I'm no longer sick from the flu (mostly!) and will be working on a Narnia post today, but I wanted to pop in with an open thread post first.

coins by Luis Llerena

For one, this is a new fresh clean open thread because the last one was 100+ comments (awesome!) and it looked like we maybe needed a new one. Go wild!

For two, we've had a lot of questions regarding the blog policy on whether it's okay to share creative works in the open threads for commenting, and I've gotten valuable feedback from readers by email. So here's our policy (for now, until things change again!):

If you have a piece of fiction you'd like to share, please feel free to post an excerpt here in the open threads (so people can view your writing style and whether it's something they're interested in) along with a link to where the full piece lives and/or where any subsequent updates to the piece and reader comments will go. The opening excerpt doesn't need to be particularly short, but we would like to cut back on multiple-updates-within-the-same-open-thread-for-ongoing-works because that can make conversations hard to follow if they're being broken up by dozens of WIP updates. The moderation team and I hope that this new policy will keep the open threads tidy and approachable while still offering a "sharing" capability for folks seeking comments and readers. ♥

For three, I try not to do too many fundraiser posts around here because I know everyone is stretched pretty tight already, but if you can contribute to Chris she does a lot to run the blog here and I'd be lost without her help, her support, and all the work she puts into our open threads, updates, and comment moderation. She's having a rough month with a broken ankle and a broken computer, and if you can send some extra help her way I can't thank you enough. Thank you so much. ♡

Open Thread: Waiting Room Fish


This is the law of the waiting room
     as old and as true as the sky,
The fish that keeps it shall prosper,
     but the fish that breaks it will cry,
For the strength of the school is the fish
     and the strength of the fish is the school

I was waiting in that room for ages, but I didn't notice the hanging fish sculpture mobiles until they'd reached me, x-rayed me, stuck me back in the room, eventually taken me out and put me in a bed, interviewed me, splinted me, x-rayed me again, had me wait on god know what still in the bed, and finally released me by wheeling me back in there.

I thought of trying to find something more upbeat, but I don't have too many recent photos to look at, digging up external hard drive with older photos isn't high on my list of things to do, and right now my broken ankle is the center of my world.

Plus, it's a pretty fish.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Bird Obscured by Branches


For the second day in a row area schools were preemptively canceled due to predicted snow.  Yesterday that proved a very good idea, whether it will again remains to be seen.  the thing about canceling the night before is that it means kids don't need to get up on time (only to find out that school was last-minute canceled.)  They can sleep in as these ones are wont to do.

That gives a rather peaceful start to the day during which one can leisurely do things like, say, find the best window from which to take a picture of that red bird in that not-red tree.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Orange Brick


Oak Grove is the end of the orange line, and the station makes sure you notice the "orange" bit by having the inside walls decked out in a facade of glazed orange brick

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Squid and Mon Calamari


The little Ackbar there is a trap.  If you get one then annoying people will squeeze it repeatedly so that it never stops saying, "It's a trap!" which will have a negative effect upon your San points (effect is cumulative.)

The squid, however, is awesome.  And quiet.  And adorable.

Then again, I could be biased because I'm responsible for the squid being a part of the household.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Drabble: The Lady or the Tiger

This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog. I posted it publicly there and am cross-posting here to give a "sample" of the kind of content people would be signing up for. I hope you enjoy my drabbles as much as I enjoy writing them.

[Content Note: Gladiator arenas, Wild animals, Forced marriage]

I read Frank Stockton's "The Lady Or The Tiger?" in grade school and was utterly furious at the lack of a proper ending. Yes, it was supposed to "make you think" and in that regard it did so because I thought about the story off and on for years afterwards. At first, I simmered at the gimmick of the story: a moral dilemma without proper closure. Later, I found more things to dislike: its aggressive monoamory (why shouldn't the youth love two women? why is the princess' jealousy treated as a given?) and the plight of the "rival" who faces forced marriage to a man she's spoken to only briefly and may not even want.

These failings are meant to contribute to the characterization of king and princess as "barbarous", but this too feels like a cop-out by the author; cruelty without examination or resolution is titillation, not education. Titillation is not in itself a bad thing but here is a story which fancies itself a Serious Thought Experiment while failing to question its own underlying assumptions. In that respect, "The Lady Or The Tiger?" reminds me of the Heinz Dilemma, another thought experiment whose premises are too often left unexamined.

So here is my answer to the question of the Lady or the Tiger. I urge people to read the original story here, as mine will make little sense without context.

Open Thread: Trees of January


At some point when I was --if not a child-- still a kid, it occurred to me that one possible reason that Christmas cards looked nothing like the muddy reality of Christmas where I lived was because, perhaps, the pictures on them were taken in January and February.

Mind you, my word-replacement slip-up thing that I inherited from my mother almost had me calling them the trees of July, which would paint a very different picture of the climate here given that, I think, people are generally aware that I live in the northern hemisphere.

Regardless, it was this or a picture of a button that said, "Don't make me throw this golden apple..."

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: It Was I

[Narnia Content Note: Slavery, Abuse, War, Violence, Religion, Racism]

Narnia Recap: Shasta ran into the forest to find King Lune and warn him of Rabadash's approach. He was then separated from King Lune's party in the fog, and briefly overheard Rabadash's army pass by. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 11: The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler

Okay! Now we get (I think) to the actual Unwelcome Fellow Traveler promised by the chapter title: Aslan.

I said this last time, but I honestly think that the original order of events that Lewis probably intended for this chapter was: Shasta warns King Lune, a magic fog descends and separates them, and then Aslan shows up. I have a lot of theories as to why Shasta got to overhear Rabadash's army scurry by in the mist, but setting those aside for now I will just say that it feels like a late addition. So here we are with the reason for this chapter: the unsaved prince will meet god and become properly inducted into the Church of Aslan. For Lewis, this is kind of a big deal. Let's go!

Metapost: Patreon Launched

This is just to let everyone here know that I have a Patreon account here. Patreon is kind of like a paid blog for writers and creators to... create things. I'll be posting writing snippets there and also it's a good way to sign up to get free books when they come out. It's not, like, a bargain to be clear; it's just a way for people to support me if they want to support me and have a bucket of money handy to fling at my face. Money bath, if you will.

Some folks have asked questions so I'm gonna do a little faq thing here.

QUESTION: Should I change over from a Paypal subscription? 

ANSWER: Honestly, that is 100% up to you; I don't "favor" one method over the other. I've tried to set up a plethora of donation options to cover everyone's needs. If you already have a Paypal subscription up and don't feel the need to move over to Patreon, that's fine! No need to mess with what works.

QUESTION: Does this mean you have work behind a pay-wall now? 

ANSWER: Well, yes, sorta, for a very brief time? Patreon posts that would also fit over here will migrate over to Ramblings after a short delay (and maybe a little more editing), so over the long-term you won't miss much content. Some of the posts over there won't come over here, but that's because they're writing drabbles that will be expanded into actual, like, published works. It's probably just my own brain-weasels, but I'm shy about putting unpolished writing drabbles out on the blog for everyone to comment on. For the same reason I don't post nudes, really. So, um, yes, there will be some brain-nudes on Patreon if you're interested in those.

QUESTION: Are you abandoning Ramblings?

ANSWER: Oh my gosh, no. This place is crucial to my mental health. Plus, I don't think my writing-patrons want to hear about Narnia twice a month. ♥

QUESTION: Is there going to be a Narnia post soon? 

ANSWER: I'm writing one right now, so I hope so. I've been distracted by existential crushing dread (also known as: Politics) but I'm going to try to get one up today. Also, I have a newish video up on YouTube if you want to watch me try to escape from fictional prison. (I fail.)

Open Thread: Shaking the Camera


Ideally I'd probably want to show something from this year to contrast with last week's picture from the end of last year, but other than some pictures of my cat taking a nap, I don't have much from this year yet.  Thus I give you this picture taken at about the same time and in about the same place as the one from last week.

As I'm sure you can all tell, this is a tree in a public park with orange ... new years(?) lights on it.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Narnia: I Need a Hero

[Narnia Content Note: Violence Towards Infants, Violence, Slavery, Rape, Ransacking]

Narnia Recap: The party of four were attacked by a lion before stumbling into a Hermit's territory. The Hermit took in Aravis to heal her and the two horses to rest, then told Shasta to run and find King Lune. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 11: The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler

I mentioned this last time, but a real problem with analyzing Chapter 11 is that is just doesn't make any sense. Let's recap: The children and the Horses were on a sort of geological ridge that let them look down into the desert between Tashbaan and the border of Archenland. Down in the desert, they saw Rabadash and his troops racing apparently at full speed. This doesn't make a lot of sense; the "racing" part should indicate that they are within sight of their goal, but apparently they are not. So they were presumably racing because Rabadash is hot-headed and impatient, and doesn't care about wearing his troops out unnecessarily.

Open Thread: Light at the End


On the eve of the new year, at the Boston common. Early (family) show not the midnight show. Light at the end of the year. I considered "New Year; New Light" as a title, but this was December 31st not January 1st. An ending, not a beginning.

The 17 on the building confused me (Lonespark can verify this.)

It's just . . . I have previously seen (though not in person) building lights used for countdowns and such, and I can imagine such a display being put on when the new year started, but never before have I seen an announcement to anyone with line of site of which year it isn't.

Part of me wonders if they switched to "18" at midnight to remind everyone that it wasn't 2018 yet.  (Ok, it doesn't.  No part of me wonders that.  But I do think it would make sense for people who have a giant lit up "17" because it's 2016 to have a giant lit up "18" when it's 2017.)

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Time Quintet: Death of a Star

[Content Note: Death and self-harm. Cultural and Religious Appropriation. Racialized stereotypes against Romani people.]

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 6: The Happy Medium

Chapter 6 is really long and I'm going to have to break it into several parts. The latter parts, arguably the most interesting and memorable, show us life on Camazotz and a picture of fantasy-fascism in all its well-deserved horror. The first part is more theologically-thorny and runs into a lot of the usual problems we encounter when we try to answer the question of "if a loving godbeing, then why do bad things happen?"

When we left off in Chapter 5, the children were frightened by the Dark Thing they're about to face, so the three Mrs. W's brought them to the Happy Medium to show that it can be fought and overcome. Watsonianly, this is meant to steel them for the ordeal to come and reassure them that all is not lost. (Arguably, this attempt fails because the angels are too inhuman to have considered things from a human perspective.) Doylistically, and I think more important to L'Engle, she wanted to combine a fantastical theory on supernovas with her theology on death as a cycle of life.

Repost: Playful Animals, Platonic Allies

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



[Content Note: Classist Language, War, Deformation, Disabilities]

Narnia Recap: Aslan has been resurrected and has carried Susan and Lucy to the Witch's house. 

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 16: What Happened With The Statues

   "WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY PLACE!" cried Lucy. "All those stone animals -- and people too! It's -- it's like a museum."
   "Hush," said Susan, "Aslan's doing something."

Open Thread: Birds and Reflection


I'm not able to connect my camera to my computer and while I could just wait until that changes . . . here: have two birds and, I'm going to say, one and a half reflections.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Check-In: End of 2016

Hi, everyone! I have been falling behind on my early resolutions to write more posts and record more videos and basically do all the things! because it turns out that there are still only 24 hours in a day. Wild, huh? But I wanted to do some end-of-year thoughts at you.

Thank you for your support. So much. Thank you for the comments here. Thank you for the donations. (I read every note that comes with them and I'm always especially touched by you donating lurkers who reach out. Bless you.) Thank you for the purchases of my books and the kind reviews (every review helps so much, I can't pound that gratitude drum hard enough). Thank you to my video-watchers and the ad-revenue that comes from eyeballs on YouTube. Thank you. You have all made an immeasurable emotional impact on my life, and you help keep this blog afloat financially.

We will survive. I know everything seems super scary right now and 2017 is looming large. I am going to live through this to the best of my ability and I hope you can be here with me. I want to believe we can get through this together. I love y'all.

Transgender and/or non-Cisgender and/or Questioning Writers! Have you seen this? It's a charity gig so it's unpaid, but you keep the rights to your work and can republish in 12 months. I am doing this so hard it hurts and I'm making a friend write with me because I am a bad friend, lolsob. ;)

Images for a Transmasculine Little Red Riding Hood

Open Thread: Shopping for Snow


Continuing with pictures of the Northern Hemisphere temperate zone season, I give you a well stocked shopping cart.

I guess the idea is to get it while it's available, because the way the climate is these days you never quite know whether any given snow storm will be followed up by horrid death-cold, which is too cold for precipitation, or a warm rainy day that seems to have missed the memo about the showers being in April and instead migrated to December.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Open Thread: Footprints in Slush


Slush makes for very visible footprints because, given time, the liquid component will settle a bit leaving the top mostly composed of little tiny solid bits.  What do little tiny solid bits of water look like?  They look white.  Thus: snow.  Below the top, though, it remains a sort of collodial-ish thing that shares many properties with wholly liquid water, including the color: clear.  So unless the underlying surface was already snow-ish white, you get really nice contrast.

The nice contrast makes it so visible that it kind of feels like an explicit message from the universe: "A chicken was here."

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

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