Open Thread: Frog

Hosted by a frog

The Frog

Be kind and tender to the Frog,
And do not call him names,
As 'Slimy skin,' or 'Polly-wog,'
Or likewise 'Ugly James,'
Or 'Gap-a-grin,' or 'Toad-gone-wrong,'
Or 'Bill Bandy-knees':
The Frog is justly sensitive
To epithets like these.

No animal will more repay
A treatment kind and fair;
At least so lonely people say
Who keep a frog (and, by the way,
They are extremely rare). 

 - Hilaire Belloc

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 coming up, 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! 
 ~ Kristycat

Open Thread: Writer Workshop

A couple of you have requested a special monthly open thread dedicated to talking about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). So here it is!

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Open thread writing workshop below!

Twilight: They Don't Need To Breathe

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.
Extra Content Note: Rape, Self-Harm]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 16, Bella gets even more backstory. *yawn*

Twilight, Chapter 16: Carlisle


Pretty much nothing at all. Yeah.

Who was it who pointed out last time (or was it two times ago?) that we've gone through 15 chapters and it feels like hardly anything has happened? We're on Chapter 16 in a book that has 24 chapters, and it still feels like we're sitting on our hands. And this week is more Carlisle backstory and I've already said I couldn't care less about Carlisle's backstory even if you paid me to care less about it, so today may suck a little. Maybe once we get into it, there will be something good.

   HE LED ME BACK TO THE ROOM THAT HE’D POINTED OUT as Carlisle’s office. He paused outside the door for an instant.
   “Come in,” Carlisle’s voice invited.
   Edward opened the door to a high-ceilinged room with tall, west-facing windows. The walls were paneled again, in a darker wood — where they were visible. Most of the wall space was taken up by towering bookshelves that reached high above my head and held more books than I’d ever seen outside a library.
   Carlisle sat behind a huge mahogany desk in a leather chair. He was just placing a bookmark in the pages of the thick volume he held. The room was how I’d always imagined a college dean’s would look — only Carlisle looked too young to fit the part.
   “What can I do for you?” he asked us pleasantly, rising from his seat.
   “I wanted to show Bella some of our history,” Edward said. “Well, your history, actually.”
   “We didn’t mean to disturb you,” I apologized.

I... what the hell kind of family is this?

Open Thread: Cereal

Hosted by breakfast cereal in a strawberry-shaped bowl

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.*

(*Rough translation: my bad, my bad, TOTES my bad.)

I know there haven't been any open threads for a bit, and that... is completely and utterly my fault, though I WILL shamelessly deflect some of the blame onto contracting the plague these last two weeks.  (Better now!)  I will do better!

For today, have an open thread about breakfast cereal!  I will admit, I am a sucker for cold cereal and milk.  I forget how much I like it, and then one day I have a bowl and go "oh goodness, I forgot that I love this," and then have like three more bowls and suddenly it's noon and there's no more cereal left in the house...

...ahem.  Anyway, yay breakfast cereal!

Open thread!  What is your favorite breakfast cereal?  Do you like cold cereal or hot, sweet or unsweet?  If you don't like cereal, what is your perfect breakfast?  Do you have any foods that you really like, but routinely forget that you like until you try them again?

 ~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!  

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!  

Wendy Wednesday: I'm With Wendy

[Content Note: War on Agency]

Folks, Jessica Luther (who is awesome and you should follow on twitter if you have twitter) has written me about a really cool project that she is doing in order to push back against a lot of the really toxic and misogynistic memes about Wendy Davis. (Because, seriously, if you've been following all this on Twitter, it's gotten really bad with people tweeting Wendy 24-7 about being a "murderer" and really toxic stuff like that. Constantly.) And also to talk about all the other good reasons to support Wendy Davis besides reproductive rights (not that those aren't an important issue, but they're not the only issue).

So! Jess has started a site called I'm With Wendy to put a face on the movement, for those people who feel comfortable putting their face online. (And for those who aren't, that's okay too. No pressure at all on this.) 

Main site:
Tumblr page:
Facebook page:
Twitter: @imwithwendy
Email: (NOTE the D in the email address!)

Jess says: 

I’ve started a new photo project around my twitter hashtag, #ImWithWendy, that was originally born from this blog post.

This photo project is open to anyone who lives in Texas. If you would like to participate in this photo project:

1) Write your own sign that starts, “I’m With Wendy because…” followed by a specific reason that you are voting for Davis. Please DO NOT write, “because she’s not Greg Abbott” or “because she’s better than the other option.” For ideas, see the list below.

2) Send me an email titled “I’m With Wendy Pic” with the picture attached and please type the city where you live, and, if you would like, your name. Email: (NOTE the D in the email address!)

Possible things to put after your “because”:
§    she backs legalizing medical marijuana and will consider its decriminalization
§    she has a strong history of support for the LGBT community
§    she champions equal pay
§    she has literally stood in the way of anti-choice legislation
§    she has been a supporter of Planned Parenthood for a long time
§    she filibustered a budget that cut over $5 billion from education funding
§    she has been an advocate of veterans
§    she wants state-wide Pre-K for all Texas kids
§    she favors granting driver licenses to undocumented immigrants
§    she backs re-regulating college tuition
§    she wants to expand Medicaid
§    she supports federal efforts to declare the voter ID law unconstitutional
§    she backs gay marriage
§    she wants teachers to have higher pay

Thank you!!

Feminism: Arresting Survivors

[Content Note: Rape, Police Detention]

This is an actual headline in the real world: Prosecutors Arrest Alleged Rape Victim to Make Her Cooperate in Their Case. They Made the Right Call.

Those words up there are the title to a piece written today by Amanda Marcotte, a very well known feminist. In the piece, she argues that it is a good thing to arrest and detain survivors if that's what it takes to convict rapists, and that it's "understandable" that prosecutors would do "everything within their power" to get their conviction. (That link is a DoNotLink url because I don't care to provide click-bait views to Slate over this.)

I am a rape survivor. I do not find carte blanche powers to arrest and detain survivors "understandable".

I like to think that I don't find giving prosecutors a blank check to victimize survivors at will "understandable" not because I am a rape survivor but rather because I care about the autonomy of survivors. Because I care about not victimizing them all over again. Because I understand that the choice to kidnap and detain a woman at the will of the state is not necessarily less of an abuse against her than the choice to kidnap and detain the same woman at the will of the man on trial. But maybe that's just me.

I don't even know what to say about this except to recommend this letter in response, and to 1+ everything said there. I am literally shaking and crying at the idea of being detained by police in order to convict one of the men who raped me. And, in my lexicon, if your anti-rape activism actively triggers survivors and loudly calls on the state to transgress their bodily autonomy all over again, then you are not, in my book, trying to help survivors. You are trying to win at a game in which you're willing to use the lives of survivors as game pieces.

I am horrified and disgusted.

(Hat-tip to Melissa.)

Metapost: Accessibility Reminder

Folks, I just realized that we have several really big replies (as in a "Reply" to a comment, which causes nesting in Disqus) in the Narnia thread from a couple weeks ago. I want to please remind everyone that we don't use Replies here except in short cases (like verbal "likes" of comments) and moderator notices. (Both of these exceptions are to accommodate the fact that otherwise the commenter won't necessarily get an email notice of the response.)

This is outlined in the comment policy, which I encourage everyone to review.

I realize this is a difficult to remember for a lot of commenters, but we're trying to maintain a disability-friendly space and several of the people in this space (including some members of the moderation team) have difficulties processing nested comments here. I thank everyone for being aware of this and commenting mindfully. Thank you!

Narnia: A Question of Honor

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Content Note: Nightmares]

Narnia Recap: The ship travels to the island where dreams come true.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 12: The Dark Island

Today's chapter is a short one, and I feel bad about dragging the Dufflepuds out for so long (though not near so badly as I felt at Lewis for making the episode so long to begin with) as well as generally just writing less often because of pain issues, so let's see if we can get through a whole chapter in one post.

*cracks knuckles*

   AFTER THIS ADVENTURE THEY SAILED on south and a little east for twelve days with a gentle wind, the skies being mostly clear and the air warm, and saw no bird or fish, except that once there were whales spouting a long way to starboard. Lucy and Reepicheep played a good deal of chess at this time. Then on the thirteenth day, Edmund, from the fighting-top, sighted what looked like a great dark mountain rising out of the sea on their port bow.

Oooh, couldn't get past the first paragraph without stopping.

Review: I Love Macaroons

I Love MacaronsI Love Macarons
by Hisako Ogita

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I Love Macarons / B00B2XPBLW

So, everyone else on earth has already said this about this book, but I'll add on to the pile: The pictures are pretty, the ideas are great, the recipes are flat-out wrong. I haven't had a chance to confirm that the recipes use too much egg-whites, but I wouldn't be surprised because our first batch was too runny. But! Everything plumped up and I even had pied-feet and was feeling great...

...until the oven burned the cookies like whoa, because 375 degrees fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes is going to practically set your cookies on fire. (Not really, but they WILL smell like burned popcorn.) That was quite the bummer and meant that I had to guesstimate how long to cook the next two trays, and it ended up being a bit of a mess.

Then the icing. The recipe seems to be trying to get your sugar-water mixture to the soft ball candy stage, but 4 minutes in the microwave (which is the STARTING point given, with more time added "as needed") ended up in a caramel that was practically black. And subsequent tests with the microwave convinced me that the line between soft ball stage and hard thread stage is too fine to try to achieve in my microwave. So that's a huge disappointment.

I think this book is pretty, the pictures are lovely, and in terms of talking you through the theory of macaroons and the available flavor combinations, there's a lot of good material here. But in terms of, you know, actually making the cookies, this book is worse than useless because unless you read the reviews, you'll go into this trusting the book and end up with burned cookies and burned sugar. A lot of effort with nothing to show for it.

Two stars because no matter how pretty the book is, someone should have tested the recipes before publishing this edition. (Macaroon book, you had ONE JOB!)

~ Ana Mardoll

Recommends: A Worried Princess

Kristycat sent this to me, because she is awesome, and it gets all my blubs: a lovely story about a worried princess, illustrated in comic form, and shared on Will and Erika's Something Short and Snappy tumblr.

Metapost: Transcript Update!

Presented without further comment because it's bedtime and zomg happy:

Proof (Vol.)
Proof (Prof.)
Paper Layout*
Paper Publish*
SB5 Video
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
HB2 Video
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
SB1 Video
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
Citizen (1)
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
Citizen (2)
not started
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal

Fat Acceptance: My Wife, the Dehumanized Hippo

[Content Note: Fat Hatred, Mention of Cancer, Digestion Issues, Diet Talk, Cosmetic Surgery]

I joked on Twitter a week or so ago that I wanted to write an advice column that was "sex positive, basically Dan Savage, only not horrible and hateful". That idea has been kicking around in my head, and then Liss did a blogaround link to Cristy's awesome re-answer of this Dan Savage column, and you really should go read Cristy's re-answer first. Go on, I'll wait.

Then I'll quote the column after the cut, because it's pretty triggering and fat-hatred-y.

Let's Play: Long Live the Queen (Naval Battle)

[Content Note: References to assassination, oppressive government, depression, self-harm, parental abuse, incest.]

It's another Let's Play!

Technical details first: I used LiteCamHD to grab the video and my voice, and I used Freemake Video Converter to merge the video files together whenever I had to stop for any reason. And I am still unable to find a way to transcribe these with any degree of accuracy, and I apologize for that; I'm sorry to our deaf and hard-of-hearing members of the community.

Copyright permission next: I thank Hanako games for responding to my request for copyright permission to use this material (to avoid all those pesky Fair Use considerations) with "open permission for people to make let's plays of our videos and to use the standard youtube monetisation tools if they want". That's a wonderful policy.

Content summary last:

Walkthrough 05 (Naval Battle) is my playthrough where I won the naval battle without using the Kraken-summoning ritual. I also show how to marry Talarist (as a subject + not as a subject), Banion, Linley, Kevan (heartbreak ending + non-lethal marriage ending), Adair (without a pre-engagement), and Anciet. Phew! This playthrough will snag the Victory At Sea, Better Left Unsaid, and No Other Rulers Before Me achievements.

This video will grant the following Steam achievements:

1. Victory At Sea
2. Better Left Unsaid
3. No Other Rulers Before Me

YouTube video below the cut, plus game transcript. I also strongly recommend the LLtQ wiki for any questions about the characters.

Open Thread: Baby Birds

Hosted by hungry baby birds

Hey, did you know that the old myth about not touching baby birds or their mom will reject them is just a myth?  I just learned that today!

Open thread!  I couldn't decide which way to go on this open thread prompt, so let's do both!  a) what other widely-known "facts" have you learned are just myths?  Educate us!  b) what are your go-to favorite easy and tasty recipes when members of your family (or you, for that matter) start to resemble hungry baby birds going "feed me!"?
 ~ Kristycat

Wednesday Reminder!  Open threads are meant to be fun, chatty places to discuss anything that doesn’t “fit” into a deconstruction or other regular thread.  This can be something totally off-the-wall and random, or it can be something interesting that a deconstruction prompted you to think of, but which would be derailing to get into in the deconstruction thread.  When in doubt, move it over here - that’s what it’s for!  

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!  

Recommends: Deep Down The Rabbit Hole

Have you read Brenna Hillier's post about ingrained sexism in the game industry? I liked it. A lot. I very heartily recommend sticking to the end in order to read the wonderful made-up dialogue. Snippet:

Female: *bursts into conference room* Wait! I propose a solution!

Developer and Publisher: *express confusion and dismay at discovering a female in their midst, but can’t find their cans of mace fast enough*

Female: Why not make 12 male characters and 12 female characters, dividing the budget between them? $3 squillion each?

Publisher: Good lord, I did not know women could do maths!

Developer: I did, but then again, I have met several women. My mother was one, as is my sister.

Publisher: Goodness me, does your father know?

Female: Still in the room.

[much later]

Publisher: Come to think of it, I’m actually deeply personally ashamed that it took a financial argument to convince me of this, given the inherent, objective immorality of exclusion and oppression.

YESSS. LOVE. Hat-tip to Louisa.

Narnia: And The Horse You Rode In On

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Content Note: Body Transformation]

Narnia Recap: Lucy has cast the spell to make things visible and will now spend time with the Magician Coriakin.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 11: The Dufflepuds Made Happy


There are times when it's difficult to deconstruct a text, and this is one of those times. I've been looking over this chapter every couple of days for the last week, and I still don't know what to say about it that hasn't been said already. It's awful and nasty and ugly stuff, and I don't know how to get through it but to barrel through. Let's hold our noses and plunge in.

   “When will the spell work?” asked Lucy. “Will the Duffers be visible again at once?”
   “Oh yes, they’re visible now. But they’re probably all asleep still; they always take a rest in the middle of the day.”
   “And now that they’re visible, are you going to let them off being ugly? Will you make them as they were before?”
   “Well, that’s rather a delicate question,” said the Magician. “You see, it’s only they who think they were so nice to look at before. They say they’ve been uglified, but that isn’t what I called it. Many people might say the change was for the better.”
   “Are they awfully conceited?”

I... no. What? NO.

There is no universe, no universe, in which that question naturally flows from what was said there. There sure as hell is no universe in which that question flows from Queen Lucy the Valiant. Lewis is asking us to accept, on the words of a star-man, that the bodily autonomy and self-determination of an entire race of people is nothing more than mere vanity simply because a star-man says he likes them better this way. (But not so much better, obviously, that he chooses to shed his own shape and join them in theirs.)

The only natural questions here are cagey ones soliciting more information ("What makes you say that?") or social justice ones which immediately call this out for the bullshit it is ("What gives you the right to make that decision for them?"). It is in no way natural to just immediately accept this framing and go along with it ("Oh, I see! So they're pretty vain, huh?"). Even if someone were inclined to assume perfect good faith on Coriakin's part, the result is more confusion than acceptance ("I'm sorry; I don't understand."). Not this wholesale, totally-accepting, Nothing To See Here Move Along, headlong rush to condemn the Dufflepuds.