Open Thread: Snow on Leaves


I think it was the first snow of the season.  Didn't stay for long.  Still, nice contrast.

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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: Lights For Us To See By

[Content Note: Cultural and Religious Appropriation. Racialized stereotypes against Romani people. This one has some pretty triggering stuff mentioned briefly in it. I tried to mark the paragraphs appropriately so you can skip over them, but comments may deal with the topics..]

Depression looms, but have you heard this song? It makes me happy.

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 5: The Tesseract

In Chapter 5, Meg asked if her father was fighting the Black Thing. This strikes me even now as a very Christian framing: she doesn't ask if he's trapped behind the Black Thing (he is), or captured within the Black Thing (he is), or any other framing. She asks if he's fighting the Black Thing.

Mrs Which affirms that he is fighting and, well, she's not wrong? I don't want in any way to undermine the fight involved in captivity and being a prisoner! But to be clear, he's not fighting in the sense of, like, hefting a broadsword or something. What we have here is a case where Meg and Mrs Which seem to be using an ambiguous word in the same meaning (fighting = "ideological resistance") which would be odd except that everyone is sort of gently background-radiation Christian in the same way that everyone in my writing these days is background-radiation Queer.

I'm okay with this! It's just one of those things that the reader kinda needs to be on the same page with. If you're coming along expecting a lightsaber fight, you are going to be disappointed! Adjust expectations accordingly. <3

Open Thread: Giant Lego Giraffe (two)


I haven't been back to see the giant Duplo* giraffe since I took the picture of the last open thread to have its name but as noted in that thread, the place where it lives was once a dirt field.  Not even grass grew there and it was a perfect illustration of what "barren" means.  Then they added a new stop to the T.  Assembly.

Where the train goes, commerce follows and buildings and businesses grew with the speed of flowers in Death Valley after a particularly strong melt water hit in spring.

To fully understand the situation, though, you need to understand the orange line outbound in the direction of Oak Grove.

In the city the orange line is a subway, but shortly after North Station it loses all sense of itself.  It goes above ground, but it can't decide if it's a ground train or an L (elevated train) between stops it flirts with being an L but comes back to ground level for the actual Community College and Sullivan Square stops.  Then it runs on the ground for a while, across the water, and into Wellington.  Just when you think it's decided to be a ground train it goes full on L, including the stop, for Malden Center.  But then it comes back to ground not long after and stays there, unless you count an ephemeral underground trip to avoid messing with traffic, until the end of the line at Oak Grove.

Assembly was added shortly before it crosses the water outbound (or shortly after if you're inbound) while this "subway" is firmly above the ground.  One can look across the distance, down the road, and see the giraffe.

It gives me something to do.  But even with my camera fully zoomed in the giraffe is small, it's only visible for a second (figurative, I haven't timed it), and the picture is being taken from a moving train.

I've been trying for ages to get a good shot.  I try every time I pass in daylight and there are few enough people on the train that I can make an attempt without disturbing other passengers.  Last time I passed that way, I finally got the shot.

Even with the camera way zoomed in, it's still really small, that combined with the "moving train" factor accounts for the blur and the grain.  This is barely scaled down, but severely cropped.

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* Duplo blocks have twice the dimensions of Lego blocks** and are primarily intended for younger children.  Mind you if you're building a giant giraffe you probably find the larger size desirable as well and they've been designed to be compatible with ordinary (system) Lego bricks so that they don't become obsolete when the child becomes old enough to deal with the greater fine motor skills, and necessity not to eat their toys, that the regular bricks entail.

** Which makes them eight times as large since there are three dimension to a 3-d object.  Twice as long, twice as wide, and twice as tall equals eight times the volume.

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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!

Political season is kind of over, so I guess I'll stop adding this note, but do remember that some people need a place to get away from . . . you know.  We've been keeping the open threads a space where that can be done.  If you really want to talk about such things:

The post-election thread here is still open to new comments, and I'll probably make a new thread at the Slacktiverse since "the election is coming" has entirely different concerns than "the election happened, what now?", but until I do, here's the (still open) old one.

Narnia: All Her Troubles

[Narnia Content Note: Violence, Rape, Ableist words in-text, 8-Bit Theater Spoilers]

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 10: The Hermit of the Southern March

I am struggling to finish out this book because everything from here on out feels so boring. I can't help but feel that this should not be the case! Shasta is trying to out-run an army in order to reach a king with a message of warning so as to avert a war! This should be thrilling stuff! And yet, for me, it isn't.

I think part of the problem is Aslan's arrival. The race across the desert worked, at least a little bit, because I was able to buy into the conceit that Narnia is in danger and only these children can save it. But then Lewis reminded us that Aslan exists and that kind of broke the tension? Because why isn't the resident deity doing anything to help his people? He clearly can directly interfere because he was able to run the horses to exhaustion and claw Aravis. So he's just choosing not to interfere in an effective way? Which, okay fine, he's Not A Tame Lion, but dude, if God himself isn't taking the situation seriously, why should I?

Then you have the problem that the manner in which Aslan interfered seems designed to slow them down! Aravis is put entirely out of action for the rest of the novel because why should an icky girl share the hero-spotlight, I guess, and hooboy can we talk about Aslan's priorities that he chose this moment of all possible moments to maul Aravis? Meanwhile the horses have been ridden to exhaustion, guaranteeing that Shasta will have to carry the plot-critical message on foot. Does Lewis know how much slower tired human boys are on foot than horses? SPOILER: They're a lot slower! The fact that Shasta reaches King Lune in time at all kind of undercuts how close Rabadash supposedly was to arrival because he pretty clearly isn't that close at all.

Time Quintet: Give Glory Unto The Lord

[Content Note: Some (mild?) cultural appropriation.]

Life is sometimes sweet and sometimes a struggle. Today is one of the struggle-y days, so I'm going to indulge myself a bit with fiction. Come with me?

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 4: The Black Thing

Chapter 4 is where we really start digging into theology and plot! Which is obviously very exciting! And I still congratulate L'Engle for having much better pacing than Lewis. I mean, for one: we have a plot. Meg's dad is missing and it has something to do with Science! and we're going to go get him!

That is a stronger and more straightforward plot than Mr Tumnus is missing and we know where he is but we can't go get him because that's too dangerous so instead we're going to a stone table where a lion-god might be and he'll fix everything... somehow. (If they ever make Narnia public domain I look forward to the gritty reboot where a stone statue of Mr Tumnus is turned into dust in front of the kids to demoralize them.) (No, you're still crying about Rue from The Hunger Games.)

Anyway! Let us leave earth and talk about original sin as it pertains to the rest of the galaxy!

Open Thread: Fiery Bush


The picture doesn't really do justice to the flame-like colors the bush was displaying.

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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!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Thing of the Day: Much Needed Laughter


Link.

The picture is of President Obama with his face in his hands, looking weary while Vice President Biden looks on nearby with an expression that is probably sympathy but--for purposes of the memes going around--could be interpreted as unrepentant mischief. The meme text is:

BIDEN: That went well.

OBAMA: Did you have to say you loved Trump's sons in Twilight?

BIDEN: It's what I do.

Time Quintet: Waiting To Be Contradicted

[Content Note: In-text slurs for ableism.]

The world is harsh but we still have fiction. We've already done most of this chapter, but let's barrel on and then we can get to the good stuff in a later post.

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 3: Mrs Which

When we last left the Murry family, their new friend and adoptive child / future son-in-law Calvin O'Keefe was putting young Charles Wallace to bed. Calvin had read Genesis to him, and we need to take a moment to talk about that because Genesis is a sort of Rorschach for a lot of people.

For people raised in non-fundie and/or non-evangelical homes, the Biblical book of Genesis is often seen as high literature--something you wouldn't necessarily read for fun, but something that an intellectual person would appreciate, like Shakespeare or reading the Epic of Gilgamesh for pleasure. For people raised in fundamentalist and/or evangelical homes, it's important to understand that the book of Genesis is seen as a scientific text. Indeed, not just a scientific text but the scientific text that all others descend from.

Special Open Thread: Donations and Aid

I wanted to have a post for everyone today, but I keep staring at blank pages and feeling wordless and empty. I am sorry. I will keep working at it.

In the meantime, this is a special open thread for people to share PayPal links, GoFundMe, anything and everything for how someone can help you financially if they can. I know it's hard asking for help but I also know that most of us need help from time to time and people can't help if they don't have a way to connect. So I encourage folks to share those links here, if you have them. (And if you don't have something, maybe set stuff up now? Just in case of medical emergency.)

I love you all. Stay safe.

Open Thread: Cornstalk Dragon


Another week, another dragon.  Unfortunately no picture truly captures what it's like to see the thing, to walk around it it, to look at it's giant googly eyes (I had no idea they made them that large.)

On one side of the road is a church and cemetery.  Never been to the church, but the cemetery is home to family.  I think on the day I took this picture I learned that Bronislaw Syska was my great grandfather.  Never knew that before; always thought the name was cool though.

Anyway, there's something appropriate about the road being flanked on one side by a church and the other by a dragon.

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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!

Political season update: if the election left you mourning, we have a thread for that.  Also, the politics space on The Slacktiverse remains open.

Open Thread: Mourning

I don't have much of anything to say. Please stay safe and alive. I'm trying to do the same. I love you all.

Open Thread: Dragon Wreath


The old door was hand painted by traveling artists to whom my sister had offered hospitality.  The new door has more window, less blank canvas, and a dragon wreath.

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Sunday 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 almost over, but there's still time to 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!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Time Quintet: Different and New

[Content Note: In-text slurs for ableism.]

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 2: Mrs Who & Chapter 3: Mrs Which

I left off kinda early in Chapter 2 last time because I wanted to talk about Calvin, but now we can get back to the action! Which is going to stall just a wee bit but stay with me here, I promise.

Anyway, the kids head up to the local "haunted" abandoned house and knock at the door and the door swings ominously open while crows cry and rats scurry out and rusty hinges squeal and Meg is actually getting super unsettled but it is time for someone to finally be nice to Meg! 

Narnia: The Scourging of Aravis

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Forced Marriage, Rape]

Narnia Recap: The party of four have crossed the desert into a valley. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 10: The Hermit of the Southern March

So I didn't mention this last time but the last quote from the text was "The valley itself, with its brown, cool river, and grass and moss and wild flowers and rhododendrons, was such a pleasant place that it made you want to ride slowly." and that was literally the end of the chapter. The pacing here is just so awful and kinda weird and I know Wrinkle in Time came out twenty years later but it's like whoa look at the leaps and bounds in writing technology.

Except Peter Pan first appeared in 1902 and was also better written than Narnia in my subjective opinion so maybe this is just another example of Lewis not being the best writer in the entire world which okay he never claimed to be. I think. And here it's two paragraphs in and I'm already insulting Lewis. I swear I don't do this on purpose. Anyway! It is time for Chapter 10 and since there are only 15 chapters in this book, things should probably start happening!

Time Quintet: The Unlovable

[Content Note: In-text slurs for ableism, racism, and references to homeless / home-insecure people, Anti-Catholicism, Anti-Irish racism, Child Abuse.]

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 2: Mrs Who

Chapter 2 introduces a new character who I have a great deal of affection for but who also brings the series' anti-Irish-Catholic baggage with him along for the ride. And I've been really struggling over how to deconstruct the character because a lot of the prejudiced stuff is spaced out neatly over the book so you might not even notice it, really, if you didn't know to look. For better or worse, L'Engle didn't go the Lewisian route of huge wall-of-nopes for us to point and gape at.

So I've decided what I would like to do is tackle Chapter 2, introduce the character, and then we'll have a biiiiiiig breakdown of things that are coming with regards to him and his family. Buckle in, this will be a long one.

Time Quintet: A Wrinkle in Time

I've been toying with the idea of a Wrinkle in Time deconstruction for a few years now, because it was a big part of my childhood. And now with Ava DuVernay's adaptation in the making right now (and slated for 2018!) (seriously, have you seen the cast?!?! this is going to be amazing, I don't care what you think of the book either way, they are going to adapt the hell out of this franchise and I am here for it) it seems timely to talk about it. So let's talk about the Time Quintet!

Narnia: What's the Terrible Hurry?

[Narnia Content Note: Slavery Apologetics, Animal Cruelty, Forced Marriage, Rape]

Narnia Recap: Aravis has rejoined Shasta and Bree and Hwin in the desert. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 9: Across the Desert

Now we come to the meat of Chapter 9, wherein we walk across a desert for a very long time. What could be more arresting? I mentioned in the last post that a lot of this chapter feels like it was a chapter that needed writing--they have to cross the desert, after all--but which Lewis didn't quite know what to do with the characters to make the slog interesting.

But! And this is weird, but give credit where credit is due, two odd things happen here. For one, Bree--who feels like the closest thing this book has to an author-avatar (though he's still a far cry from the beloved and worshiped Puddleglum)--is wrong about something. For two, Hwin--who is female and (like Susan) speaks vastly less than the other characters in this book--is right about the thing Bree is wrong about. That is very unusual for Lewis, so let's dive in and see how that goes.

Cover Reveal: Survival Rout

~waggles fingers~

      ~trumpet fanfare~

              ~kazoo noises~

I have a new book that will be available to buy at some point in the near future (hopefully this year, but oh my god how is today November who is in charge of time because I would like to complain) and here is the cover and I am very in like with it.


(I'm not really sure what cover reveals are supposed to do except give the author a chance to squee, so uh consider this a very loud squee.)

Open Thread: Leaf on Pavement


Seemed about time what with us being more than a month into Fall.

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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!

Political season reminder: please take any stuff on the election to the politics space on The Slacktiverse.

Repost: The Resurrection of Aslan

[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: Death, Bondage, Scarring from Cat Scratches, Roughhousing]

Narnia Recap: Aslan has been executed by the White Witch at the Stone Table. 

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 15: Deep Magic From Before The Dawn Of Time

Well, you know what this Narnia deconstruction has been missing? Me being positive about the text, that's what. Brace yourselves, because I don't think I have anything negative to say about this chapter.

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