Open Thread: Birds and Reflection


I'm not able to connect my camera to my computer and while I could just wait until that changes . . . here: have two birds and, I'm going to say, one and a half reflections.

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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!

Check-In: End of 2016

Hi, everyone! I have been falling behind on my early resolutions to write more posts and record more videos and basically do all the things! because it turns out that there are still only 24 hours in a day. Wild, huh? But I wanted to do some end-of-year thoughts at you.

Thank you for your support. So much. Thank you for the comments here. Thank you for the donations. (I read every note that comes with them and I'm always especially touched by you donating lurkers who reach out. Bless you.) Thank you for the purchases of my books and the kind reviews (every review helps so much, I can't pound that gratitude drum hard enough). Thank you to my video-watchers and the ad-revenue that comes from eyeballs on YouTube. Thank you. You have all made an immeasurable emotional impact on my life, and you help keep this blog afloat financially.

We will survive. I know everything seems super scary right now and 2017 is looming large. I am going to live through this to the best of my ability and I hope you can be here with me. I want to believe we can get through this together. I love y'all.

Transgender and/or non-Cisgender and/or Questioning Writers! Have you seen this? It's a charity gig so it's unpaid, but you keep the rights to your work and can republish in 12 months. I am doing this so hard it hurts and I'm making a friend write with me because I am a bad friend, lolsob. ;)

Images for a Transmasculine Little Red Riding Hood

Open Thread: Shopping for Snow


Continuing with pictures of the Northern Hemisphere temperate zone season, I give you a well stocked shopping cart.

I guess the idea is to get it while it's available, because the way the climate is these days you never quite know whether any given snow storm will be followed up by horrid death-cold, which is too cold for precipitation, or a warm rainy day that seems to have missed the memo about the showers being in April and instead migrated to December.

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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: Footprints in Slush


Slush makes for very visible footprints because, given time, the liquid component will settle a bit leaving the top mostly composed of little tiny solid bits.  What do little tiny solid bits of water look like?  They look white.  Thus: snow.  Below the top, though, it remains a sort of collodial-ish thing that shares many properties with wholly liquid water, including the color: clear.  So unless the underlying surface was already snow-ish white, you get really nice contrast.

The nice contrast makes it so visible that it kind of feels like an explicit message from the universe: "A chicken was 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!

Narnia: Beginning to Enjoy Himself

[Narnia Content Note: Violence, Slavery, Child Kidnapping]

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 11: The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler

Wow, it's been longer than I thought before we had a Narnia update. Sorry! Between holiday-planning over here and finishing up my latest book (BTW I WROTE A BOOK) the days slipped by me.

On a personal note, I am coming to realize that I have some weird emotions wrapped up in this deconstruction. I started these Narnia posts in 2011 and we're coming into 2017 soon. So many of you have been with me every step of the way, through my ups and downs, and I am truly humbled and grateful. I find myself not wanting this to end, which is a silly feeling; for one, there are still two more books in the Chronicles and for two, there is a world of books left to deconstruct. But you have all made this one special and I treasure our time together. Thank you. You have made me a better, happier person, and given me an invaluable gift of your time and thoughts and friendship.

So where were we?

Book Birthday: Survival Rout

~fireworks~

      ~doves released into the sunset~

              ~rainbow streamers everywhere~

This announcement is to announce that my latest Earthside book, Survival Rout, can now be purchased as an eBook at most retailers! (Links are here!!)


You guys, I am really excited and proud of this one. This is the 2nd book in the series, but if you haven't read Poison Kiss yet, you should be able to leap feet-first into this one without being too disoriented; my goal for this series has always been to make it accessible in any order, like the series fiction I grew up on. I consider this the best thing I've written thus far, and I hope you all love it.

Survival Rout is the story of a girl with scoliosis (like me!) who is kidnapped to fairyland with her genderqueer demigirl girlfriend (who uses xie/xer pronouns like me!). After their memories are torn away, they have to piece together who they are, what they mean to each other, and how to survive in a hostile world determined to destroy them. And because this is a capital-R Romance novel, you know they're gonna be okay somehow in the end.<3

The book is up at all the eBook retailers except Barnes & Noble Nook (it's been submitted to them, but it hasn't gone live there yet--it should by the end of the week, though!), and if you're interested in a review copy emailed to you, ping me! Or even just a free copy if you're strapped for cash; I know not everyone can afford a book right now, but I'd rather folks have something nice to keep them warm through the holidays. We need good things this year.

Open Thread: Frosted Grass


In keeping with the seasonal theme of last week, I give you verdant green grass covered in frost, with a few fallen leaves thrown in for good measure.

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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: 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.

Open Thread: Smiling Mushroom


It's sort of a "Face on Mars" thing, and I could never quite get the camera to reproduce what the eye sees, and it sort of becomes clearer if you back away from your screen, but I swear when  I saw this it was clearly a smiley face growing out of the grass.

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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.

Open Thread: Pretty Mistake


I didn't mean to take this; I like how it turned out.

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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.

Narnia: Her Friend's Affectionate Embraces

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Forced Marriage, Misogyny]

Narnia Recap: Aravis and Lasaraleen are alone now that the Tisroc has left the room where they were hiding. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

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

I want to say that I've been really enjoying the comments on how this book was a favorite in the series for many of you since it showed cultures and people within Narnia that weren't Default British Child #58. I really think this illustrates how thirsty many readers are for viewpoints that aren't the mainstream white-cis-straight-western normative we were fed as children.

I don't know if many of you are on Twitter, but the #ownvoices hashtag includes fantasy stories written by people of color and queer folk, and might be right up your alley. I also can't strongly enough recommend "indie" literature (i.e., stuff published outside the mainstream) because the mainstream has a habit of squeezing and changing and filtering things through that white-cis-straight-western viewpoint in an attempt to make everything homogenous for the privileged.

Anyway, there's my soapbox for the day but the short version is that books are great. <3

We come now to Chapter 9, which is a bit of a mess. It feels like a chapter that really doesn't want to be here and yet sorta has to be: In Which They Slog Through a Desert and Nothing Much Happens. (Not to be confused with the bit in Prince Caspian where they slog through a forest and nothing much happens.) Chapters like these are hard to write because there's stuff in them that needs doing, but it's not interesting stuff. (Depending on the reader, ymmv, standard disclaimers apply.)

Open Thread: More Orange


This is the fourth orange open thread of the year.  I've just got a lot of pictures of orange I guess.

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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.

Narnia: Ode to the Third Cook

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Forced Marriage, Misogyny]

Narnia Recap: Aravis and Lasaraleen end up hiding in a room with the Tisroc. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 8: In The House Of The Tisroc

When we last left Aravis and Lasaraleen, they were hiding behind a divan while the Tisroc, his son Rabadash (Susan's suitor), and the vizier Ahoshta (Aravis' suitor) plan an invasion of Narnia. Let's finish up Chapter 8 because there's not much more of it left.

  “To hear is to obey,” cried Rabadash, and after kneeling for a moment to kiss his father’s hands he rushed from the room. Greatly to the disappointment of Aravis, who was now horribly cramped, the Tisroc and the Vizier remained.

So Rabadash has left the room. You could even say he dashed out, and I'm increasingly uncomfortable with how much his name resembles "rapid dash" or indeed "rabid dash". Has anyone with more naming knowledge than I been able to pin down the etymology here? Because there's meaningful names and then there's outright insulting racist ones, but I could be way off base.

Anyway. Rabadash is gone, so it's time to make really sure we understand that the Tisroc is evil and not just a doting father giving in to his rash son's demands. Also, did we mention he's not just evil, he's also Oriental-y evil? Because he very definitely is!

Open Thread: Flower Wormhole



A reasonable person might think that my camera has difficulty taking pictures of the inside of deep coned flowers where the cones are translucent and subjected to bright sunlight.  I choose to believe that each of these flowers houses a small wormhole.

The pollination process is doubtless quite difficult, but presumably worth it for people who would have such a spacetime bending plant on display.
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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!

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Open Thread: Goats and Chickens


Last week we had a sheep, so it seemed kind of appropriate.  I could not get all three goat faces into the picture at once.  Taken the same day as the picture of the sheep's tail.

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Repost: The Passion 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, Torture, Execution]

Narnia Recap: The four children have joined Aslan at the Stone Table. The White Witch has demanded Edmund as a traitor sentenced to death, and Aslan has made a secret deal with the Witch, out of the hearing of the rest of the company. The Witch's final question -- "But how do I know this promise will be kept?" -- was answered with a fierce roar from Aslan, and she fled the camp in fear.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 14: The Triumph of the Witch

I want to say a few things before we start this chapter.

Feminism: Bisexuality Visibility Week

Hola, all! I'm doing much better after my run-in with the norovirus, thank you. I am blessed and touched by how many people reached out to check in with me when all that was going down, and I can never say enough thank yous. Bless you all.

I haven't been posting (for which I apologize) because I'm trying to finish up editing a book and my schedule got wrecked by my illness. I managed to burn through three more chapters yesterday and I'm feeling good about that! But I did manage to twitter some stuff about bisexuality and you may like to see what I had to say!

Storify under the cut.

Open Thread: Sheep Tail


Might seem strange to say, or not depending on your experience with sheep, but I'd never really seen one, or at least never noticed seeing one, before.  Then there it was: a sheep tail.

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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.

Guest Post: Hospital Woes

(Tw: health issues, vomiting, money issues)


Hello! Your friendly neighborhood Kristycat here. Letting y'all know: Ana is super sick. Night before last, she ended up going to the emergency room, where they put her on morphine & anti-nausea meds and an IV drip.

When they sent her home, the anti-nausea meds they gave her did not work. By the time I went to bed last night it was going on 40 hours in which she hadn't been able to keep anything down, including water. It was looking like she might have to go back to the hospital, which would be a problem because hospitals are hella expensive.

As of this morning there has been tentative success with a banana. Fingers crossed, here's hoping.

I wanted people to know what was up - for obvious reasons, posts may be delayed. Also, if anyone would like to help defray the costs of hospital bills (seriously, they're ridiculous), there is a donation button on the side, or you could just click here.

Open Thread: Tree


It's a sort of tree colored tree that has the sort of stuff that grows on trees growing on it.

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Open Thread: Tis the season


This picture was taken in August.

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Open Thread: Purple


Seen while I was walking down a street, I think.

Generally my camera is very bad with purple I think it did a pretty good job here, though.

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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.

Narnia: Be Swift, Secret, and Fortunate

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Forced Marriage, Misogyny]

Narnia Recap: Aravis and Lasaraleen end up hiding in a room with the Tisroc. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 8: In The House Of The Tisroc

If you'll recall, Aravis and Lasaraleen are hidden in a room and overhearing a conversation between the Tisroc, his son the crown prince Rabadash (and Susan's suitor), and the vizier Ahoshta (who is Aravis' suitor).

Spelling all that out has made me realize we have a lot of suitors in the room. Too many, in my opinion, especially if they aren't going to dovetail at all. It's almost a Chekov's gun that goes un-fired: Susan is fleeing from an unwanted marriage and Aravis is fleeing from an unwanted marriage. Both Rabadash and Ahosta have very recently and very publicly been jilted and humiliated.

How is there never a comparison or commiseration drawn between these two nearly-identical situations? Aravis and Susan never meet in this book, not even from a distance; it's Shasta who overhears the Narnians, and when Aravis arrives in Archenland it will be Lucy who takes her in hand to become friends and talk about dresses. Susan disappears from the pages, no longer needed once she's served her purpose as Helen of Troy and no longer wanted by the author who seems always to have held her in poor esteem.

Deconstruction: Last of Us (Again)

[Content Note: Children in danger. Murderous guardians. Death and violence. Medical malfeasance. Zombie Apocalypses and *everything* bad that goes with them. Everything. Also, all the spoilers from The Last of Us, including the final scene of the game.]

I know I already talked about this game before, but I keep getting into this with Dudes on Twitter so I made a little Storify.

Deconstruction: Ana Watches Avatar

I don't have a Narnia this week (at least not yet) and for this I am sorry--my laptop broke last week and it's made life exponentially harder because it was what I used from bed when my back was acting up (which is "most of the time" now).

I do, however, have a live-watch of Avatar: The Last Airbender which may entertain some of you. My short review is that Season 1 was fine, if a little rushed in parts (particularly over the self-sacrifice of a girl who is miserable in her misogynistic culture--her sacrifice is covered in literally two lines of dialogue, which... just... ugh.); Season 2 was one of the best things I've ever experienced and had an amazing disabled character with hopes and dreams and challenges and a world-outlook I knew as intimately as my own; and Season 3 showed the rift of a major creator shakeup (I'm told various people left the show) and is in my personal subjective opinion ableist garbage that stabbed me deeper than I could have imagined and over which I still quietly bleed.

All of which makes the show utterly impossible to rate as a single contained unit, of course, because "best thing ever" and "worst thing ever" don't average out cleanly. People have asked whether I recommend watching it and I never know how to answer the question. "Don't watch Season 3" would mean skipping the episode in Season 3 with the old lady and I did like her. "Don't watch Season 3 except for that one episode with the old lady" would be my recommendation, I guess.

To be clear before anyone leaps in to tell me my opinion is wrong, my gripe isn't just with the ableism of the stereotypical messy-haired, disheveled-clothes, cackling-descent-into-crazy villain. Awful as that is, I'm used to that by now. No, what hurt the most was watching how the Season 3 writers just didn't care about the disabled girl Toph, to the point of actually making her established trauma into a literal punchline. That hurt me, because it wasn't just benign neglect or careless invisibility--it showed people actually understanding how and in what ways someone like me is human but then laughing at the idea that anyone would ever care because, c'mon.

Why would you care about Toph getting a resolution of her parental arc? Why would you care about her receiving closure on the letter she sent to them pleading her case one more time and asking for a reconciliation on terms that respected her as a person and not a pet? (A letter she asked for help writing because she can't write!) Why would you care that she was shuffled off the show so everyone else could have a one-on-one episode with the Brooding Angsty Boy, a fact that was lampshaded with a scene where she tries to confide in him anyway about her problems with her parents, only to be brushed off because he doesn't care. Why would you care about a disabled girl, or the latter scene in the "recap" episode where she explicitly points out that everyone else has a character arc but she's just a cannon for them to point at problems so the plot can continue. (And of course she's okay with that because, like a good Disabled Character, she's just happy to be here helping.)

I cared. I cared. And it hurt to see that care mocked and belittled.

So.

Anyway!

Enjoy the Storify if you're into that sort of thing. There are exactly 1,000 tweets, which is Storify's upper limit, I learned. I've placed an embedded Storify reader under the cut, though it might crash your web browser if you try to view it all here on Blogger. Direct link to a non-embedded view is here: Anatar.

Writings: This War of Mine

[Trigger Warning: War, Violence (implied, but in a graphic manner), Children living in a war area (but she's okay, nothing bad happens to her), Mild Language.]

I've been playing This War of Mine for my YouTube channel, and then kept playing after my YouTube playthrough ended because I like the game so much. I bought the expansion pack with children, ran through a scenario, and then had feels I had to flash fiction out (at midnight, when I was supposed to be sleeping. On a work night.). Kristy said I had to upload it here because if she had to cry, so did someone else. This fic is based on a true event that happened in game.

Characters: 
Franko (trader who comes to the house)
Katia (survivor whose talent is bargaining)
Marko (survivor whose talent is scavenging at night)
Kalina (child survivor)
Roman (survivor who deserted from the army)

Here's a picture of almost everyone's faces, and a picture of the general layout of their house just so you have an image. At the end of the post I'll put the YouTube series (although, again, this event happened in a non-recorded game).

Open Thread: Orange


If memory serves, this was grown by Lonespark and co.

(This is, at least, the second orange open thread this year --plus the orange dragon-- because I am original.)

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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!

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

Open Thread: Rainbow


So... there was a very distinct full arc (horizon to horizon) rainbow with the secondary rainbow also visible.  I totally forgot that I could take a picture.  I never did remember.  By the time I was reminded that I could take a picture, this was basically all that was left.

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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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Open Thread: Park Sculpture


This can be found in Lincoln Park in Portland, Maine.  Apparently it was put there at the beginning of June.  It is called, "The American Dream," and credit goes to Judith Hoffman, but as near as I can tell it was a team effort.  I'm just not quite clear on how many people were on the team.

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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.

Narnia: Things Commonly Reported

[Narnia Content Note: Racism, Violence, Misogyny, Sexual Violence]

Narnia Recap: Aravis and Lasaraleen end up hiding in a room with the Tisroc. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 8: In the House of the Tisroc

I missed something in Chapter 7 that I want to go back to for a moment.

  Then came an old man, very fat, wearing a curious pointed cap by which she immediately knew that he was the Tisroc. The least of the jewels with which he was covered was worth more than all the clothes and weapons of the Narnian lords put together: but he was so fat and such a mass of frills and pleats and bobbles and buttons and tassels and talismans that Aravis couldn’t help thinking the Narnian fashions (at any rate for men) looked nicer.

Several of the commenters pointed out that this makes no sense--one doesn't think the Tisroc looks odd in his clothes any more than Catholics think that about the Pope (thank you Anton Mates)--but I skimmed over the bit where Aravis finds the Tisroc's clothes distinctly feminine. This is of course a well known racist trope about eastern cultures and fits with the sinful decadence tropes that Lewis is already rolling around in. The Tisroc looks silly not just because he is fat and opulent, but because he is opulent in a feminine way. So once again we have a feminized villain, just in the form of a man of color.

With that said, let's look at Chapter 8.

Open Thread: Pink and Yellow


Just a flower.

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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!

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Open Thread: Gulls on a Roof


The picture, and several other pictures taken at the same time from the same angle, didn't really come out as well as I'd hoped.  Still: seagulls, lots of seagulls

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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!

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

Repost: The Emperor's Hangwoman

[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, Torture, Execution]

Narnia Recap: Peter, Susan, Lucy, and the Beavers have caught up with Aslan at the Stone Table.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 13: Deep Magic From The Dawn Of Time

   NOW WE MUST GET BACK TO EDMUND. When he had been made to walk far further than he had ever known that anybody could walk, the Witch at last halted in a dark valley all overshadowed with fir trees and yew trees. [...]
"No," said the dwarf, "it is no use now, O Queen. They must have reached the Stone Table by now."

Open Thread: Orange Dragon


I do not own this cloak.  I'd like to own this cloak.  The best I could do was get a picture of the dragon on the back.

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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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Open Thread: Pink and Purple Sky.


I was away from computer for the weekend.  I had meant to schedule a Friday open thread, but there were a lot of things that I'd intended to do which I didn't actually do.  So, sorry about that.  Then, well ... more or less now, I discovered that I have misplaced the cord that connects the camera to the computer, and was forced to look for things already on my computer or online.

I ended up with this picture, which was used, I think, three and a quarter years ago on Stealing Commas.  It's really a pink and blue sky with the purple mostly at the interface of the pink and the blue, however the beginning of the song "The Princess who Saved Herself" started running through my head on a loop ("There was a castle by a waterfall // with a pink and purple wall ...)

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Friday Monday 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 gone by, 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.