Open Thread: Welcome to Maine


"Moxie" is a dictionary approved word that spellcheck recognizes.  The word is named after the drink.  Apparently if you're on the "love it" side of the "love it"/"hate it" divide then when you drink a sufficient amount . . . that's where the word "moxie" comes from.

I can't speak to the accuracy of that because the only time I tried some I immediately spit it out on the pine needle covered ground.

Moxie isn't actually from Maine, its creator was, but he made it in Mass and the company is currently headquartered in New Hampshire, but for some reason it's strongly associated with Maine and thus when I saw a giant pile of Moxie boxes while standing around in Maine, it felt kind of appropriate, locationally speaking.

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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: Squirrel on Fence


So there was this squirrel lazing on the fence in a way that begged to be photographed, but I didn't have my camera.  It was in the house.  The squirrel stayed there for the longest time, and eventually I had reason to go into the house.  As expected, this made the squirrel disappear.

I brought the camera back out anyway.  There were 9 squirrels running circuits, and while none adopted the brilliant pose of the one I'd wanted to photograph, one did at least stop to hang out at the same spot.  Thus the above picture.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

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Narnia: The Trumpet at Last

[Narnia Content Note: War]

Narnia Recap: Shasta has united with the Narnian army and Corin has strong-armed him into being his "bodyguard" for the upcoming battle. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 13: The Fight at Anvard

Alright.

Deep breath.

We're going to try to finish this chapter today. I'm sorry it's taken so long.

I've struggled with this chapter because it feels fundamentally wrong. All the elements that have got us here have been summarily discarded and the result is a literary mess. We have an Animal army and yet so much of this battle has nothing to do with the Animals on the Narnian side. We have a besieged castle and yet so much of this battle has little to do with siege warfare or any sort of castle defenses on the Archenland side. We have a Helen of Troy who is a crackerjack shot with a bow, and yet she is Sir Not Appearing In This Battle.

This battle ought to combine all the elements we've seen thus far into a glorious crescendo of literary beauty. Bree, the war stallion, should be here--as should Aravis, in her brother's armor. They should be vital and necessary to the story, using their knowledge of Calormene tactics against the invaders. Instead they are Chekov's Guns who go unfired, and all their knowledge of battle and tactics and hunting could've been replaced with an interest in knitting for all the impact it has. Susan is shoved into a closet. Some token effort is made to reveal Shasta as the True King, but since he looks exactly like Corin, the only real mystery to the reader is why it took everyone so long to work out the bleeding obvious.

This is, in short, a climax which is flatly anti-climactic and all we can do is slog through it.

Open Thread: Giant Lego Giraffe (three)


For the second time I went to the theater that grew up after the Assembly station on the Orange Line was planted.  The first time I went we weren't quite sure where it was and someone told us that it was by the giant Lego Giraffe (which is in fact made out of Duplo bricks.)

So, as this picture clearly demonstrates, I have now seen the movie Wonder Woman , which can stand as the first "Friday Recommendation".

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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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Repost: If Only They'd Planted Ginkgo Biloba

[Ana's Note: By popular demand, this is a re-post of an old deconstruction, partly to have content while I struggle with my ongoing disability challenges and partly so that newcomers can comment on old conversations.

The original post is here. I have not edited the content.



Narnia Recap: The children have been pulled back into Narnia and have found an abandoned castle with apple trees for sustenance.

Prince Caspian, Chapter 2: The Ancient Treasure House

Last week we talked about an ongoing world-building problem with Narnia: namely, how much the children remember about their adventures therein. This is not a trivial point to me, since it's on this question that hinges a great deal in terms of the Problem of Susan. After all, if some magic muddles the children's memories of Narnia, she can hardly be blamed for thinking of the whole experience as a child's dream game. And if magic doesn't muddle their perceptions and memories, then we are justified in asking how all this zig-zagging between Narnia and England and all this living of two lives concurrently is affecting the children emotionally and mentally.

Open Thread: Echoes of Architecture



When space is at a premium buildings have no gaps between them and as a result something is left behind when one is knocked down, burned down, stomped by Godzilla, abducted by aliens, or accidentally transferred to another dimension.  Outlines of where one building touched the next remain even after one or the next (but not both) has left this reality.

They linger for all to see.  If one only looks.

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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: Beast of Burden


Rumor has it that if you pass through a magical portal you'll find a land where time moves at a different speed and all the farm equipment can talk.  Well the machines at least.  The talking scythe lives in a different plane of existence altogether where it raises its little sickles (which it produced by parthenogenesis, don'cha know?)

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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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Writings: Rabadash's Ride


Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with my Narnia deconstructions, which are currently on The Horse and His Boy right now. I'm not having the easiest time of it, to be honest. The text is incredibly racist, whether on purpose or not, and Lewis had gotten very sloppy indeed at this point in the series even as regards basic fundamentals of writing like "sensible plotting" and "consistent characterization". All of these problems--Bad Writing and Bad Racism--collide in the person of Prince Rabadash, the violent angry suitor (and man of color from a country literally called "Calormen") who wants to steal Queen Susan away from Narnia to be his "bride".

I won't go into the racism of this trope here because I've beat that particular dead horse heavily enough on my blog, but one thing I have noticed is how much more sense Rabadash would make as a victim of abuse rather than as a mustache-twirling villain. He doesn't make sense as a villain; he was supposedly able to pretend at honor and worthiness when he lived as a guest with the Pevensies in Narnia, yet couldn't keep up the act when Susan visited him in Tashbaan with the intent of hashing out their betrothal contract. In the book, the Narnians see his change in character at home as evidence of his 'true colors', but it seems so much more likely to me that Rabadash behaved well in Narnia because he was happy and he behaved badly back home in Tashbaan because his abusive father is in close proximity and Rabadash is therefore under considerable stress.

After Susan pretends to be on the verge of accepting his proposal as a bluff so the Narnians can flee on their boat under the cover of night, Rabadash instantly (and correctly) blames her despite this characterization not fitting with his ego or his supposed affection of Susan. Reader Anton Mates pointed out that this bad characterization (i.e., having a direct line to the author to know who did what when and how) also contributes to the underlying racism in the book:

(THAHB) "But I want her," cried the Prince. "I must have her. I shall die if I do not get her--false, proud, black-hearted daughter of a dog that she is! I cannot sleep and my food has no savor and my eyes are darkened because of her beauty. I must have the barbarian queen."

(Anton_Mates) I'm surprised that Rabadash loves Susan and yet automatically blames her for instigating the flight of the Narnian delegation. Why does he think that she's in charge? You'd think he'd prefer to assume that it was her jealous brother who spirited Susan off, while she totally wants him and is pining to be rescued. But I guess he's eviller this way.

This stuck with me, and I wanted to write a fic where Rabadash is a flawed victim of abuse who assumed Susan was carried away from him rather than fleeing him by choice. I also wanted to write a Susan with agency and the ability to recognize that though her choice to flee was the right one, the consequences of that choice are things she can manage as a competent and wise queen (rather than, as in the book, being left at Cair Paravel to never be heard from again while the men sort things out with violence). This fic was the result. I think it is a little rough around the edges, but I hope you enjoy reading my "fix" for these events.