Open Thread: The weather is here


"The weather is beautiful; wish you were here," is a sort of boilerplate bare minimum cliche of a postcard message.  So of course people have been saying, "The weather is here, wish you were beautiful," for ages.  Apparently it was made into a song in 1980, which I didn't know.

Anyway, the weather is here.

A lot of the time it's hard to get pictures of snow.  Without darkness and flash it just doesn't show up, unless, you know, there's a hell of a lot of it.  (As in: to an absurd degree.)

This picture was taken at my school yesterday afternoon, but I originally decided that "The weather was here," when I took a similar picture on Monday at South Station in Boston.  So apparently the weather is in multiple heres.  Or it's following me.

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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!

Metapost: I Live, I Lurk, I Languish

Okay, I'm not languishing very much, but I couldn't think of another L word. :P

I'm here! I'm alive! I'm reading the comments and enjoying them very much. You may also note that I posted another Narnia repost today. I am going to try really hard to get a new Narnia out this week. This week has been busy.

[TW: Medical Stuff]

Specifically, January and February are just historically bad months for me. I'm dealing with medical stuff that has basically shot my short-term memory all to shit, so a friend is helping me setup extensive to-do lists with things like "bring bear to bed" because otherwise I will forget to bring my bear to bed despite the fact that I forgot the last 50 nights in a row and had to get up after settling in. And family and friends have been told to email me for literally anything they want me to do because no matter how hard they stress it in person or over the phone, I will forget if it isn't written down for me. We're adjusting and fortunately no one has been too mad with me.

Also: January and February are "gather up all your tax documents and fret about that whole indie author thing because IRS" months for me, so that's going on too. Little stuff like that. It'll be fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine.

[/TW]

Speaking of authory things, I'm trying not to spam the board with book updates, so I've revived my old Wordpress site to be a Very Mature Adult Author site. There are things there. Most of which you've already seen, but one post is new. There's also a subscribe button, and I feel a little burst of joy every time someone presses it and I get a subscription email.

Uhhh, other than that, I guess I uploaded another Undertale video. FOLLOW ME ON YOUTUBE? FOLLOW ME... EVERY WHERE? FOLLOW ME TO THE GATES OF HEAVEN, WE WILL STORM--

*ahem*

Sorry, I get carried away sometimes. Anyway! I'm here. Hi! :)

Repost: The Clean and Tidy Poor

[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 four children have found their way into the magical land of Narnia, and have traveled as far as Mr. Tumnus' house, only to discover that he has been arrested by the Witch. Now the children are lost, cold, and hungry, and must decide what to do next.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 7: A Day With The Beavers

   They were all still wondering what to do next, when Lucy said, "Look! There's a robin, with such a red breast. It's the first bird I've seen here. I say!--I wonder can birds talk in Narnia? It almost looks as if it wanted to say something to us." Then she turned to the Robin and said, "Please, can you tell us where Tumnus the Faun has been taken to?" As she said this she took a step toward the bird. It at once flew away but only as far as to the next tree. There it perched and looked at them very hard as if it understood all they had been saying. [...]
   "Do you know," said Lucy, "I really believe he means us to follow him."

Open Thread: Snowball the Snowman


Masterpiece by the munchkin weasel.  Created this very morning.

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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: Brick Walls, with and without graffiti


I was walking home and realized I was several streets too far up the hill, either I missed a turn or I made a turn I shouldn't have.  To get back on track I ended up walking through an alley between a parking garage and a club called The Asylum.  I started taking pictures of the graffiti on the Asylum and someone told me that the good stuff was around the corner.  This is what was around the corner.

I don't have any good software for stitching photos together, and eventually gave up on giving a representative picture for the open thread picture.  You can read an article here (though that is about a previous incarnation, as it's an annual mural), or just run a google image search if you want some good photos.

And, across the parking lot (foreground) and alley (way back) the parking garage's bricks look rather drab and outclassed.

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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 White Barbarian King

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: The four runaways enter Tashbaan.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 4: Shasta Falls In With The Narnians

These are increasingly becoming harder to write for me, and I don't think it's because of the toxic sexism and misogyny so much as... the writing is just so bad. And I know that's taboo to say in Lewis circles but this writing is awful. I don't know why I didn't recognize it as much before--maybe the earlier books were better, maybe the experience I have under my belt as a writer is to blame--but here we are and every page, every paragraph, screams "I had no real outline or plan for this and I disdained the concept of edits!"

*deep breath*

Look, I brought you pretty things so that we can go through this together. First, pie:

@ writingya.blogspot.com

Next, here is a pretty keychain:

via Etsy

Isn't that pretty? Okay. Here we go!

Open Thread: Another Bird


Just another bird.  Picture taken in South Portland, Maine just off the Fore River estuary, November 25th, 2015.  The bird stayed so far away that this picture isn't scaled down at all (cropping to the area around the bird was enough to make it blog-sized) which means that all of the cruddy artifacts of an imperfect camera and an unsteady hand are visible.

At least the bird did give a decent profile shot.

This, by the way, is why I take pictures with the maximum resolution my camera allows: even at 21 times optical zoom, if this picture hadn't been shot in 4608x3456, that bird would be a handful of pixels that might as well have been a pine-cone for all the sense of birdness they'd have evoked.

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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: Tunnel Tracks


Just at the far end of the picture you can see how the tunnel curves to the right.  If not for that it might give the impression that if one could lean left a bit they'd see infinity.

Orange Line, outbound platform, Downtown Crossing, Boston.  November 25th, 2015.

At some point in the future our tunnel tracks will doubtless be in airless tunnels to save all of the energy wasted by pushing air this way and that.  After all, the only things that really need air are the trains and stations, the tunnels themselves would be better off empty.  Until that point, one who stands near the yellow line feels a refreshing rush of air shortly before the train shows up.

For the record, I am not affiliated with the Boston T or any of the advertisers whose ads are in 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!

Repost: A Question Of Legitimacy

[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: Edmund has denied the existence of Narnia and Susan and Peter have visited the Professor to ask his advice. The one thing everyone can agree upon is to let the matter lie for awhile. Some days later, all four children are forced to hide in the wardrobe to avoid a visiting tour group.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 6: Into The Forest

   "There's something sticking into my back," said Peter.
   "And isn't it cold?" said Susan.
   "Now that you mention it, it is cold," said Peter, "and hang it all, it's wet too. What's the matter with this place? I'm sitting on something wet. It's getting wetter every minute." He struggled to his feet.
   "Let's get out," said Edmund, "they've gone."
   "O-o-oh!" said Susan suddenly, and everyone asked her what was the matter.
   "I'm sitting against a tree," said Susan, "and look! It's getting light -- over there."
   "By jove, you're right," said Peter, "and look there -- and there. It's trees all round. And this wet stuff is snow. Why, I do believe we've got into Lucy's wood after all."

Open Thread: Armored Pegasus


Some things require no explanation or justification because their awesomeness is so potent as to explain and justify everything.  Why does this folder from decades ago have a picture of an armored Pegasus on it?  Because it's an Armored Pegasus, that's why.  Nothing more need be said.

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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: Shasta Thought All This Very Silly

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Rape, Slavery]

Narnia Recap: The four runaways approach Tashbaan.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 4: Shasta Falls In With The Narnians

We covered last time that the approach to Tashbaan doesn't make a lot of sense in-text. Partly, there's the problem of geography: previously, the country of Calormen was this wide-open thing that Shasta and Bree could cross pretty much however they wanted. Now it was apparently all a funnel designed to pack them into the Hot Gates where their numbers would mean nothing, or something. The map included in the book is not helpful:


Thanks, Lewis et al.

Open Thread: End of the Old Year


I am still without a camera, so I looked through old pictures for something vaguely appropriate.  This is the final sunset of 2014, today is the first day of 2016, so all of last year, and not much else, took place between this picture and me posting this picture.  Another year's over (according to a largely arbitrary calendar that originally started in March and had no month here) any reflections, plans, or such things?

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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!

Fundraising: Monthly Donation Reminder and Thank You

For those of you who have requested it, here is a monthly reminder to donate to Ramblings here and/or make sure to renew donation subscriptions that have lapsed. (Subscriptions can be canceled through Paypal at any time.) I want to reiterate that I don't want anyone to donate if that donation would create financial hardship for them! But if you can afford to donate, every little bit helps.

If you enjoy the open threads that Chris the Cynic posts for us, please consider donating to at Stealing Commas here. The open threads take a lot of spoons to write and format, and I am eternally grateful to Chris for donating time and attention in order to help our community grow and thrive. 

This is also my monthly heart-felt thank you to all of you who do donate now or in the past; I cannot strongly enough express my appreciation for those who have the ability to contribute and make the choice to donate to support this space. Thank you, thank you, thank you. When I started blogging in 2011, I never truly believed I would last this long. I love you all.

Cup Of Coffee by Petr Kratochvil

Open Thread: Tree under Tree


I have misplaced my camera.  Hopefully.  The alternative is that I lost it somewhere I'll never find it again.  Anyway, the image is from 2011 when I had no presents at my house (pretty much standard fare) and I therefore put a Christmas tree under my Christmas tree (not usual for me.)

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Saturday 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 Did Not Do Any of These Things for the Sake of Pleasing You

[Narnia Content Note: Rape, Forced Marriage, Non-consensual BDSM, Self-Harm, Racism, Violence]

Narnia Recap: Shasta and Bree have met up with Aravis and Hwin. Bree has demanded Aravis tell her story.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 3: At the Gates of Tashbaan

Chapter 3 is one of the flashback chapters that Lewis loved so much; we saw a similar one in Prince Caspian, and there will be a lot of parallels that I want to bring up. But let's get started.

First, Aravis notes her lineage: She is a noble woman, the only daughter of her father, with a deceased elder brother and a surviving younger brother.

  “MY NAME,” SAID THE GIRL AT ONCE, “is Aravis Tarkheena and I am the only daughter of Kidrash Tarkaan, the son of Rishti Tarkaan, the son of Kidrash Tarkaan, the son of Ilsombreh Tisroc, the son of Ardeeb Tisroc who was descended in a right line from the god Tash. My father is the lord of the province of Calavar and is one who has the right of standing on his feet in his shoes before the face of Tisroc himself (may he live forever). My mother (on whom be the peace of the gods) is dead and my father has married another wife. One of my brothers has fallen in battle against the rebels in the far west and the other is a child. 

She also has an Evil Stepmother because (a) adult women are evil in this series and (b) Lewis was nothing if not willing to rip off other fairy tales for material.

Open Thread: Giant Lego Giraffe


Two things tie for coming to mind first.  One is that, even though the person said, "Lego giraffe," it's actually made out of Duplo blocks.  Of course, Duplo is a Lego product line, so I guess there's wiggle room there.  The second thing is that my brain really, really wanted to call this "Giant Lego Elephant".  No idea why, but it's been really persistent about this.  Swapping out words for vaguely related words (Amsterdam for Istanbul, acorn for pine cone, window for mirror, apostrophe for asterisk) is pretty standard for my brain, but it usually doesn't try quite as hard as it's been trying here.

This area was originally a dirt field.  Just a field of dirt.  Not even grass grew here.  Commerce didn't even try.  Then they plopped down a transit station (is a subway still a subway when it's above ground for the last few stops?) and all sorts of buildings sprouted up, and with them a giant duplo giraffe.

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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: Ball in a Bush


And then chris the cynic remembered that she was supposed to make an open thread.

Pink two weeks in a row.  Saw this walking on the sidewalk today.  I wasn't previously aware that soccer balls grew on, or rather in, whatever that bush is.


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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: Syllogisms that Demand a Verdict

[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. It is interesting to me in retrospect that I first encountered Lewis' trilemma in the apologistic works of Josh McDowell, to the point where for a long time I wrongly assumed that Lewis would not have been associated with the trilemma because he'd been talked up to me as a better thinker than that.]



Narnia Recap: Edmund has eaten and drunk the White Witch's magical food and is now compelled by an unnatural hunger for more magical food -- he will obey her orders unquestioningly in order to procure more Turkish Delight. The Witch has also ordered Edmund not to tell anyone of their meeting together. Now he has met up with Lucy and they return to the wardrobe door and step out of Narnia.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 5: Back on This Side of the Door

   BECAUSE THE GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK was still going on, it took Edmund and Lucy some time to find the others. But when at last they were all together (which happened in the long room, where the suit of armor was), Lucy burst out:
   "Peter! Susan! It's all true. Edmund has seen it too. There is a country you can get to through the wardrobe. Edmund and I both got in. We met one another in there, in the wood. Go on, Edmund; tell them all about it." [...]
   And now we come to one of the nastiest things in this story. Up to that moment Edmund had been feeling sick, and sulky, and annoyed with Lucy for being right, but he hadn't made up his mind what to do. When Peter suddenly asked him the question he decided all at once to do the meanest and most spiteful thing he could think of. He decided to let Lucy down. [...]
   And Edmund gave a very superior look as if he were far older than Lucy (there was really only a year's difference) and then a little snigger and said, "Oh, yes, Lucy and I have been playing -- pretending that all her story about a country in the wardrobe is true. Just for fun, of course. There's nothing there really."

Open Thread: Balloon Light


Pink Balloon in front of a white light.  It's not as easy to photograph as you might think.

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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 Horse and Her Girl, a Tale of Princess Aravis and her courtship by King Rilian

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Rape and Rape Culture, Cissexism]

Narnia Recap: Shasta and Bree are being chased by a lion, and have been railroaded into another horse and rider.

Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 2: A Wayside Adventure

That was a longer pause than I'd intended; I'm sorry. How is everyone? Making it through the winter okay so far? It's already dipped below freezing here in Texas (during November!) and I have lost the ability to can. But otherwise I'm doing well, despite a strange parrot-like need to squawk "BUY MY BOOK!" every two minutes. I'm sure it'll pass.

I said before that Chapter 2 is difficult for me, because it's... not wrong, but it's not right for me. Part of this is because I have so much investment in the series at this point that I read passages a certain "this way" rather than an alternative "thus way". (Incidentally, that was part of the reason why I was committed to going through these in the order I read them as a child and not in the "canonical" order.) So, for instance, today we meet Hwin, the girl-horse of this book.

There is nothing stopping you from viewing Hwin as a socially savvy female horse who is a mistress of manipulation and capable of maneuvering the horse and humans around her into peaceable company. Indeed, I think the book would be much improved by such an interpretation. What is stopping me from that interpretation, however, is the belief that Lewis intends Hwin to be a shining example of good femininity and he would have rather torn out his own eyeballs than agree with me that social manipulation can absolutely be good.

No, no, these are books about manly men blurting out whatever inconvenient truths cross their manly minds while the good ladies hang back and deferentially follow their lead. If you let a woman manipulate men, then the next thing you know she's leading him about on a leash (literally, in the case of Edmund!) and cats are lying down with dogs, et cetera. And I think this is an important point when the very last book, The Silver Chair, was predicated on the horror of a man being manipulated into actually buying the pretense of chivalry and thinking that he should defer to all his lady's wishes when everyone knows--most especially the men practicing the chivalry!--that such devotion to her will and wishes is a romantic game of pretend, not something you actually do.

So, slipping back into this, when we last left our heroes, they were being chased by lions because that is how god railroads you back onto track in life:

   Shasta now gave himself up for lost and began to wonder whether lions killed you quickly or played with you as a cat plays with a mouse and how much it would hurt. At the same time (one sometimes does this at the most frightful moments) he noticed everything. He saw that the other rider was a very small, slender person, mail-clad (the moon shone on the mail) and riding magnificently. He had no beard.

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