Narnia: Justice, Mercy, and Humility

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, Religious Abuse, Chivalry, Racism, Slavery]
Extra Content Note: Magical Torture, Enchanted Sleep]

Narnia Recap: The ship travels to an island where they find enchanted sleepers.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chapter 13: The Three Sleepers

I'm still sick, but I don't like going this long without a deconstruction up, so let's soldier on. When we last left our heroes, they were sailing into the empty sea of the empty world that is the empty Narnia 'verse, only now they were doing it under completely different constellations so obviously that's new. The new constellations have (maybe?) also made the crew introspective:

Most of them slept on deck and talked far into the night or hung over the ship’s side watching the luminous dance of the foam thrown up by their bows. On an evening of startling beauty, when the sunset behind them was so crimson and purple and widely spread that the very sky itself seemed to have grown larger, they came in sight of land on their starboard bow. 

I've been re-reading Fred Clark's older Left Behind and Tribulation Force blog posts lately, and it strikes me again how much I wish the sailors on this voyage had some kind of representative member (or three or four) among the main named cast. All we really have is Drinian (who is explicitly a Lord) and Rhince who might be a commoner, but who speaks very rarely and usually only so that Drinian will have someone other than himself to talk to. Rhince is therefore not so much a character as he is a parrot or a mirror for Drinian to interact with.

We don't even know if the majority of the sailors on this voyage are commoners--since the ship-building and sailing industries were invented literally from scratch in the past few years (an almost impossible feat in itself), it's entirely possible that noble families were jockeying to send their heirs off with the new King in the hopes that they'd come back bosom-buddies. Or maybe second sons were sent into sailing, like they used to be sent to the Church. Since the industry is brand-new, there's no reason to assume that Narnia holds classist attitudes about the job.

On the other hand, the job is dangerous and frequently unpleasant, so maybe these are the commoners of Telmarine society. And we already know that Reepicheep has a low opinion of sailors as opposed to the other, better kinds of humans out there (i.e., more Chivalric ones). And we know that in the upcoming island, the sailors will pull a (fake, discredited) Christopher Columbus and (briefly) refuse to go on, which the book seems to expect us to see as cowardly and low-born and something something classism.

And so we come to the burning question, never addressed in this book: Why are these sailors here? 

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!

Open Thread: Equinox

There wasn't a Friday open thread, but I wanted one for selfish reasons, so have a Saturday one.

Everyone has had a week and two days to ponder the Spring Equinox that just went by, plenty of time to come up with something to say about it, right?

What is an equinox?  Something to do with axial tilt.  I drew you a picture.


It is clear to me what words should accompany the bringing in of spring, but since it's a satirical song called, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park," it stands a good chance of triggering people via melodious descriptions of harming animals.  Thus I'm only going to quote the happily ever before.  So here's the introduction and first verse:
Spoken:
I'd like to take you now on wings of song as it were,
and try and help you forget, perhaps, for a while,
your drab wretched lives.
Here is a song all about springtime in general,
and in particular about one of the many delightful pastimes
that the coming of spring affords us all. 

Sung:
Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here.
Life is skittles and life is beer.
I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring.
I do, don't you?  'Course you do.
But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me,
And makes every Sunday a treat for me.
-Tom Lehrer

For those who would like to hear the song in full, it can be found here, albeit with a different intro.

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 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! 

Metapost: I'm Sick (Also Something Something Health Insurance)

[Content Note: Illness, Doctors]

I'm sick. I've been sick since Monday, only I didn't realize it until Wednesday when it got particularly bad. I'm disappointed because I always, always get sick once every Winter/Spring with something that takes ~10 days to clear up, and I'd really hoped that I'd missed it this year. Nope!

Today is Friday, and I feel like shit. That's expected when you're sick. But the last thing I wanted was to have a weekend emergency and spend another several thousand dollars at the Emergency Room, so I weighed my options and got in to see my doctor today.

She did not--and for this I am grateful--diagnose me with Fat. Apparently my coughing, drainage, and lung condition were enough to point to something more substantial in terms of a diagnosis. She looked at a lot of body parts, listened to a few more, and declared it "not bronchitis and not pneumonia" but probably instead an "upper respiratory virus" that should be treated symptomatically, i.e., she gave me a cough syrup (that is in reality a sleep-through-coughing syrup because it make you drowsy but doesn't stop the coughing) and told me to rest and take Mucinex. Fine.

They didn't take blood while I was there, or scrape my throat, or do a strep culture or anything else medicinal like that. It's very possible that there was no need to, based on my symptoms--that giving me a strep or flu test would have been as useful as giving me a kidney biopsy. That's fine, too. But what is interesting to me is how relieved I was that they didn't test for anything, because tests cost money.

My family has what is called down here "good insurance", even though it has steadily gotten terrible and I'm not sure how often we're allowed to re-evaluate whether it meets the parameters of "good" anymore. What it means in practice is that it costs me $100 just to talk to my doctor; anything on top of that causes the visit to go up in price. Sometimes astronomically.

I don't really know how many times you and I and everyone has to say how fucked up and broken this is before it gets fixed, but it is fucked up and broken. And it's hard not to keep that in mind when you're coughing up your lungs for ~10 days, and then spend the next ~10 days after that weak and disoriented and tired and frantic because you're trying to catch up on all the things you were 'supposed' to be doing while ill. And all the while you're wondering if maybe this was something that could have been treated if only you'd been able to afford the kind of care that lets the doctors investigate properly.

Our country's health care system makes people sicker and more miserable than they need to be.

Open Thread: Poppy

Hosted by a red poppy
"Poppies!  Poppies will make them sleep! Sleeeeep..."  *cackle of laughter*

Poppies!  Symbol of Veterans/Remembrance Day, source of opium, reminder of that weird creepy scene from The Wizard of Oz, or just a pretty, brightly-colored spring flower.  As Spring has officially Sprung, I thought it would be appropriate to have a pretty flower as an open thread!

Open Thread!  Talk about poppies and what associations they have for you, or talk about other flowers, or just talk!

 ~ 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!  

Metapost: Week Off + Twilight Piano

Folks, I have family coming down to stay with us--I still don't even know how many or when they are leaving, because of reasons but I think it will be a full week--so there won't be a Twilight or Narnia this week because I won't be here to moderate them and also because they aren't written yet. I'll try to resume regular posting next week, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

However! I will leave you with this EPIC VIDEO which I really suggest you watch (I'm not a big YouTuber, so you know I have to really like something to share it). TheOtherMelinda found it, and it's a piano song worthy of Edward's supernatural talents:


And you really wanna also read this after. RELEASE THE PENGUINS. I am crying with laughter, ya'll.

Friends: An Annotated Index of Ross Geller (113-118)

[Content Note: Misogyny, Patriarchal Relationships, Disability]

So the thing I love best about analyzing older pieces of Very Popular Media is that the sense of distance given by a series that has finished out and closed up often makes it a lot easier to analyze and discuss without distractions over where the series is or might go from here.

For example: When I criticize Ross for falling into, say, rape culture or stalker culture or bullying culture tropes, we don't have to worry about whether the writers are "getting better" or if they're "going somewhere" with all this in a clever double-secret-deconstruction-of-the-genre sense because we all already know where all this is going and that it just gets worse and worse. Which means we can talk about the problems inherent in the work without the distractions provided by a still-ongoing series.

I bring this up to note that for this particular DVD in the series, Ross is actually much better than the previous two DVDs (as well as many of the upcoming ones), mostly because his presence in the episodes has been dialed back quite a bit, rather than because the writers figured out he was being a creepy asshole all the time (as evidenced by the fact that he will go back to being a creepy asshole soon enough). I have an unconfirmed suspicion that this might be because we've hit the point where the writers decided to make the show about all the Friends and not just Ross and Rachel. But for whatever the reason, we've been granted a small reprieve!

Cute of the Day: Squee Wolf

Picture of a cross between a corgi and a husky.

Twilight: Rules For Dating My Daughter

[Twilight Content Note: Murder, Abusive Relationships, Winning At Patriarchy.
Extra Content Note: Misogyny, Conservative Christian Fathers (CCF), Sex-Shaming]

Twilight Summary: In Chapter 17, we play baseball. 

Twilight, Chapter 17: The Game

OK! It's still the baseball chapter! We're gonna baseball the crap outta this chapter. I mean it this time. I have been looking forward to this chapter for something like forever. Wheee!

When we last left our heroine, she was being uncharacteristically snippy at Billy and Billy was framing his perfectly reasonable objections to dating a supernatural mass-murderer as though he once heard a rumor that Edward smoked a cinnamon cigarello behind the school gym once. (There are also rumors that he might own a leather jacket. You don't wanna go steady with a boy like that, do you Bella? You're one of the Good Girls!)

Which is to say: Billy is being weirdly puritanical rather than genuinely concerned and his response is not to offer Bella shelter on the reservation (where vampires are forbidden to go) like you would to, you know, a woman facing the threat of abuse from an obsessive and powerful boyfriend, but rather his response is to instead semi-threaten to tattle to Charlie, before being the first to blink in the wimpiest game of chicken ever.

I can perfectly believe that everything about this scene fits a conversation that S. Meyer may have experienced or have heard about from her friends; what everyone involved in the making of this novel seemed to forget (possibly intentionally? for the cozy?) is that this dialogue makes no goddamn sense in the context of serial killing vampires. But whatever, let's plow through.

Open Thread: Dragon

Hosted by a gold dragon

"It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
 - J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit


“Noble dragons don't have friends. The nearest they can get to the idea is an enemy who is still alive.” 
― Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!



"Always speak politely to an enraged Dragon."
 - Steven Brust, Jhereg


“No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit



“It's a metaphor of human bloody existence, a dragon. And if that wasn't bad enough, it's also a bloody great hot flying thing.” 
― Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!



“As the horde of ancient and mythical creatures impossibly descends upon you and dragonfire envelopes the land, you are forced to concede that it’s probably the very coolest way that you could die.” 
― Daniel Keidl, Armageddon: Pick Your Plot



“Meddle not in the affairs of dragons,for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.” 
― Anon


Open thread!  Let's talk about dragons!
 ~ 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!  

Cute of the Day: Mercat!

Picture of a kitty wearing a "mer-tail" costume.

Wendy Wednesday: Pencils Down!

Pencils down, volunteers! Because we have finished transcribing all the videos! I really wish you could see the happy dance that I am doing in my head right now! Because it is a GOOD happy dance!!



Record
Splice
Transcribe
Proof (Vol.)
Proof (Prof.)
ePubify
ePublish
Paper Layout*
Paper Publish*
SB5 Video
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
HB2 Video
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
SB1 Video
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
Citizen (1)
complete
complete
complete
complete
complete
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal
Citizen (2)
complete
Complete
complete
complete
working
not started
not started
stretch goal
stretch goal

That one remaining orange square means that the final video has been sent off to the professional editor for final proofing and editing. The final video! There is officially no more transcribing work to be done on this project! Yayayayayayayaya!

So! What comes next?

Well, first of all: I need to start putting the proofed scripts into Sigil (my ebook editor) so that I can get a readable version of this baby out the door. Several of you have asked if you can help on this stage, and I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate the help, but it will be faster and easier if I do this part on my own. I'll probably be harder-than-usual to reach for a couple weeks while I work this, but I'll try not to let this affect my posting schedule too much.

Once the proofed scripts are in Sigil, there will be a flurry of eReader testing (thank you bunches to those who volunteered to be beta testers--if you'd like to be one of those, send me an email and tell me which eReader you'll be testing it on because that'll help me a lot) and then the final product will go up in the Amazon store to be followed (hopefully closely!) by other stores like Barnes and Noble. Fortunately this isn't my first rodeo on that front.

If you were a volunteer on this project, and if you are not getting my update emails, and if you would like to get my update emails, please send me an email telling me your new email address (or telling me that you haven't heard from me, and we can troubleshoot from there). I mention this because I intend to send out a few private updates on this project in addition to the public ones and you might wanna be in on that! (If you don't, that's okay too! I know not everyone wants to be spammed on this!)

The final question is prolly: How long will this take? That's trickier to answer. It takes me about 12 hours of work to copy-and-paste the individual transcript documents into the big one for the editor. (Part of the length of time has to do with cleaning up artifacts between document types. As several of you have already run into, the conversion from one type of file extension can do wonderful things, like stripping out spaces!) Moving from .doc to .epub can be even more sensitive, as I found when I was publishing my novel a couple years ago.

My rough estimate right now is 2 full days per transcript, so that's 10 days total to get a rough draft out for the beta users. Then maybe another 5 days to polish any errors they find, plus whatever time they needed to find the errors in the first place. Since I need to keep working my day job during this time, that means a lot of this will be done over weekends and evenings. My goal is to get this finalized and loaded into the Amazon Kindle store by May 1st, which I think is something that I can meet. That would also mean that it's available for public consumption for 6 months prior to the election cycle (if I count correctly), which I think will be amazing.

On a final note, I want to thank everyone involved in this project for the amazing, truly amazing, work that you've all done on this. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I could not have done this without all of you and I cannot thank you all enough from the bottom of my heart. Every time I feel lonely as a Texan or frightened about the state of healthcare in my state--feelings I get often these days--I remember what so many people have reached out to do for us and I don't feel quite so alone. Thank you.