Open Thread: Egrets!


Between my pharmacy and myself is a long walk, and this particular spot is quite popular for snowy egrets and mallard ducks.  There were actually two more egrets and a few ducks, but to get them all in the picture required zooming out way too much for good a scaled down open thread image.

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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: Green, Yellow, Orange, and an Oxford Comma


I was originally going to go with "Yellow and Orange" but there's green in there too, so that means commas, and . . . yeah.

Honestly it's mostly because yesterday I saw a thing where someone had a long list and after the Oxford comma at the end they added "and Oxford commas", which made sense in context because it was a list of things a librarian would employ in the course of the story the sentence described.

In other news, I always get kind of worried when I'm getting an open thread ready and I realize that there's something from Ana that hasn't been out long.  I don't think anyone would really ignore actual content from Ana just because there's an open thread at the top of the main page, but I worry about knocking the content out of the top spot anyway.

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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!

Storify: Tech Girls in Fictional Rep

A storify on how (certain types of) positive representation can't be the only solution to Imposter Syndrome. Then a rant on Firefly happens.

Open Thread: Geese


The photo is taken from the new bridge while they walk in the spot where the old bridge used to be.

Not much else to say, just: Geese.

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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!

Writings: Houses of the Gods

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

Like a lot of American kids, I grew up reading Greek mythology as a child and ate up everything I could get my hands on. I was excited when the Percy Jackson books came out and read the first few in the series before losing interest; I loved the idea but was turned off by some of the probably-unintentional casual misogyny (leading me to write "The Curse of the Smart Girl", for readers familiar with my blog). Plus, I couldn't shake the feeling that a really great idea was being used in a way that could be so much better.

I love the idea of demigod kids running around a modern setting, and an ensemble-cast place like Camp Half-Blood for gathering them all up to work and play together is my kind of tea. But so many of the gods seemed wasted or little more than an afterthought. There are two "honorary" houses with no children in them whatsoever (Hera, who is faithful to Zeus and doesn't bear children; and Artemis, the maiden) and then we see the cabin of Athena brimming with children because apparently the Virgin Goddess of Wisdom started churning out babies for the greater good. Nooooo. There are also houses which are criminally underused like the children of Aphrodite--characterized as sweet, empty-headed cheerleaders--and dear Dionysus who I'm not sure we even see in the first few books. Nooooooooooooooo.

So I've spent an unholy amount of time thinking about how I would handle the housing at Camp Half-Blood and here is a fic about adoption and chosen family. I hope you enjoy.

Narnia: The Humilation of Rabadash

[Narnia Content Note: War, Violence, Chivalry]

Narnia Recap: Rabadash's army has fled, his commanders have been killed, and he has been captured. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

Today we're going to see the humiliation of Rabadash, for which I wanted to dedicate a full post.

This passage didn't leave much of an impression on me as a child, or at least certainly not as much as the scourging of Aravis (which was quite upsetting to me, even at a very young age). I think that's partly because it occurs at the end of a long sequence (which began when the party "split" at the Hermit's house and which dragged on as we waited for the war to resolve and the heroes to reunite) and partly it happens to an unambiguously "bad" character (Rabadash) as opposed to the ostensible heroine (Aravis). But this passage is part of the reason why I chose to deconstruct these novels in the order they were written rather than in the order they occur in canon.

Open Thread: Red and Green


Portland, Maine is a city of brick.  Probably because it got burned down so many times everyone gave up on wood, but --the thing is-- we use brick everywhere.  Thus sidewalks.  And while it may have become fashionable to make tar sidewalks and then, before it dries, press a brick pattern into it (and sometimes paint it) we've still got the old fashioned brick sidewalks.  This leads to things like the roots of trees forcing the sidewalk into an undulating pattern.  It also leads to things like the above.

Oh, also, while an open thread is theoretically for everything, since we had the "everything sucks" open thread just yesterday, it might be good to put "everything sucks" comments there rather than 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!

Open Thread: Everything Sucks, but I Love You


As a trans disabled USian, I'm not doing too well.

Here are some twitter threads for anyone who wants:
* The thing the President said about trans people.
* The thing my Mom said about my writing.
* The thing I did at work.
* The feelings I'm having right now

Here is the short version: I'm low of spoons and in a depression trough so I haven't been responding to people the way I'd like. I wish I could individually write you all and tell you how much I love you because honestly it's a lot. My ultimate wish would be to send you all my love on really special paper, written in way better handwriting than mine, and sealed with a fancy wax seal which goes to show how much I mean it. But in lieu of spoons, I can at least do this post: I love you.

I'm going to try to start sending out early beta read emails to people on the project I wrote about last June. This is less because the writing is ready for prime time and more because I feel like people need something nice right now. Or maybe that's just me. Anyway, if you signed up for that, you'll get an email sometime today about the project.

For everyone else: I have half a Narnia post written. I will try to finish it soon. I'm still here, I promise. I love you all. Please hang in there and be safe.

Storify: On the HBO Confederate Show

Storify under the cut.

Open Thread: Reflecting Bird


Not much to say.  Just a bird that's reflecting.

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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: Evidence That The World Will Not End In Flood


Ok, technically it's evidence that Yahweh (always remember that the vowels may be wrong) won't destroy the world with a flood, which still leaves a lot of room for other people and things to destroy the world in a flood, but still.

What happened was this: After a storm there was the most vibrant rainbow I have ever seen (yes, it was a full arc double rainbow) with a supernumerary rainbow clearly evident below it which I don't think I've ever seen before. (I wondered if it could be one of the "greater than two" rainbows, but none fit the placement and color direction, so I had to look it up and find out that supernumerary bows are thing.)

The violet band was as visible as I've ever seen it and had another violet band below it, separated from the main violet by a green band.  (Hello, supernumerary bow.)

But, you see, I was over here, and my camera was over there, and I knew that getting the camera would kill the wonderful sights.  Eventually I walked over anyway, returned with my camera, and as expected the rainbow was much diminished.  Hence the picture.

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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: Narrated For Your Convenience

[Narnia Content Note: War, Animal Cruelty]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has united with the Narnian army and Corin has strong-armed him into being his "bodyguard" for the upcoming battle. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

When we last left Narnia, Shasta was tangled in his horse's reins and I was boggling at just how wrong this chapter is; I refer you to all my other posts on the subject but first and foremost I'm still angry that Shasta isn't riding a Horse or a Centaur who can protect him from this battle.

We know Shasta being on an unhelpful lowercase-h horse isn't because That Just Isn't Done, since there are people riding on Horses for this battle--it was mentioned in-text earlier--and we've seen children ride a Centaur in a previous book. We can quibble over whether "protect the kid who looks just like Archenland's lost heir" is a valid enough emergency to break social mores, but those mores have been shown to be negotiable.

Anyway, Lewis wants a bird's-eye view for the battle, so we zip over to the Hermit and I can't help but feel this was literally the only reason for the Hermit to exist in the text. He patches up Aravis and tells Shasta where to find Lune, but neither of those things were strictly necessary; what he really brings to the table is a big screen television. Bree will be the color commentator for this game.

Open Thread: Shaky Cam


Technically "Shaky Cam" is when you shake the camera on purpose in a motion-picture setting (by which I mean: "the picture moves", not necessarily "industry") in an effort to make professional work look like it was done by drunken under-funded "college students" (scare quotes for a reason) who were majoring in "Nothing to do with film, cameras, or aesthetics" and minoring in "How to fit every negative stereotype that has ever been unfairly applied to college students".

I don't know what the term for the above is.  I don't even know what I was trying to photograph.  I do know that it was taken on July 4th from on top of a parking garage (the one connected to Wellington Station by the really long sky-bridge I'd never been inside before) and from there we saw enough different fireworks shows that I lost count.  Somewhere in the double digits.

I actually worked really hard to get a picture of the stuffed fox watching fireworks with a firework in the picture, and succeeded (more than once!), but you can only tell the fireworks are fireworks by comparing the pictures to a firework-free picture because a) when you're watching more than ten shows at once you're probably not very close to any of them, and b) the ones in those pictures weren't very big ones anyway.

So, instead, have squiggly lines.

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If you were thinking, "Wow, this is really late," you were right.

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!

Writings: The Necromancer's Solution

[This post was previously posted on my Patreon blog.]

April! This month's post isn't especially social justicey, I must confess. I was instead taken with a very fluffy story idea which would attempt to justify the Sorting Algorithm of Evil--you know, that thing where the Big Bad only sends his weakest and most ineffective minions to start out against the Hero, letting him level up against the weak baddies and utterly failing to stomp out the threat while the Hero is still a Level 1 farmboy. I have a soft spot in my heart for genre-savvy villains and wanted to try a hand at writing one.

Open Thread: Welcome to Maine


"Moxie" is a dictionary approved word that spellcheck recognizes.  The word is named after the drink.  Apparently if you're on the "love it" side of the "love it"/"hate it" divide then when you drink a sufficient amount . . . that's where the word "moxie" comes from.

I can't speak to the accuracy of that because the only time I tried some I immediately spit it out on the pine needle covered ground.

Moxie isn't actually from Maine, its creator was, but he made it in Mass and the company is currently headquartered in New Hampshire, but for some reason it's strongly associated with Maine and thus when I saw a giant pile of Moxie boxes while standing around in Maine, it felt kind of appropriate, locationally speaking.

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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: Squirrel on Fence


So there was this squirrel lazing on the fence in a way that begged to be photographed, but I didn't have my camera.  It was in the house.  The squirrel stayed there for the longest time, and eventually I had reason to go into the house.  As expected, this made the squirrel disappear.

I brought the camera back out anyway.  There were 9 squirrels running circuits, and while none adopted the brilliant pose of the one I'd wanted to photograph, one did at least stop to hang out at the same spot.  Thus the above picture.

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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: The Trumpet at Last

[Narnia Content Note: War]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has united with the Narnian army and Corin has strong-armed him into being his "bodyguard" for the upcoming battle. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

Alright.

Deep breath.

We're going to try to finish this chapter today. I'm sorry it's taken so long.

I've struggled with this chapter because it feels fundamentally wrong. All the elements that have got us here have been summarily discarded and the result is a literary mess. We have an Animal army and yet so much of this battle has nothing to do with the Animals on the Narnian side. We have a besieged castle and yet so much of this battle has little to do with siege warfare or any sort of castle defenses on the Archenland side. We have a Helen of Troy who is a crackerjack shot with a bow, and yet she is Sir Not Appearing In This Battle.

This battle ought to combine all the elements we've seen thus far into a glorious crescendo of literary beauty. Bree, the war stallion, should be here--as should Aravis, in her brother's armor. They should be vital and necessary to the story, using their knowledge of Calormene tactics against the invaders. Instead they are Chekov's Guns who go unfired, and all their knowledge of battle and tactics and hunting could've been replaced with an interest in knitting for all the impact it has. Susan is shoved into a closet. Some token effort is made to reveal Shasta as the True King, but since he looks exactly like Corin, the only real mystery to the reader is why it took everyone so long to work out the bleeding obvious.

This is, in short, a climax which is flatly anti-climactic and all we can do is slog through it.

Open Thread: Giant Lego Giraffe (three)


For the second time I went to the theater that grew up after the Assembly station on the Orange Line was planted.  The first time I went we weren't quite sure where it was and someone told us that it was by the giant Lego Giraffe (which is in fact made out of Duplo bricks.)

So, as this picture clearly demonstrates, I have now seen the movie Wonder Woman , which can stand as the first "Friday Recommendation".

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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!

Repost: If Only They'd Planted Ginkgo Biloba

[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.



Narnia Recap: The children have been pulled back into Narnia and have found an abandoned castle with apple trees for sustenance.

Prince Caspian, Chapter 2: The Ancient Treasure House

Last week we talked about an ongoing world-building problem with Narnia: namely, how much the children remember about their adventures therein. This is not a trivial point to me, since it's on this question that hinges a great deal in terms of the Problem of Susan. After all, if some magic muddles the children's memories of Narnia, she can hardly be blamed for thinking of the whole experience as a child's dream game. And if magic doesn't muddle their perceptions and memories, then we are justified in asking how all this zig-zagging between Narnia and England and all this living of two lives concurrently is affecting the children emotionally and mentally.

Open Thread: Echoes of Architecture



When space is at a premium buildings have no gaps between them and as a result something is left behind when one is knocked down, burned down, stomped by Godzilla, abducted by aliens, or accidentally transferred to another dimension.  Outlines of where one building touched the next remain even after one or the next (but not both) has left this reality.

They linger for all to see.  If one only looks.

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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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