Open Thread: Squid and Mon Calamari


The little Ackbar there is a trap.  If you get one then annoying people will squeeze it repeatedly so that it never stops saying, "It's a trap!" which will have a negative effect upon your San points (effect is cumulative.)

The squid, however, is awesome.  And quiet.  And adorable.

Then again, I could be biased because I'm responsible for the squid being a part of the household.

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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!

Writings: The Lady or the Tiger



[TW: Gladiator arenas, Wild animals, Forced marriage]

I read Frank Stockton's "The Lady Or The Tiger?" in grade school and was utterly furious at the lack of a proper ending. Yes, it was supposed to "make you think" and in that regard it did so because I thought about the story off and on for years afterwards. At first, I simmered at the gimmick of the story: a moral dilemma without proper closure. Later, I found more things to dislike: its aggressive monoamory (why shouldn't the youth love two women? why is the princess' jealousy treated as a given?) and the plight of the "rival" who faces forced marriage to a man she's spoken to only briefly and may not even want.

These failings are meant to contribute to the characterization of king and princess as "barbarous", but this too feels like a cop-out by the author; cruelty without examination or resolution is titillation, not education. Titillation is not in itself a bad thing but here is a story which fancies itself a Serious Thought Experiment while failing to question its own underlying assumptions. In that respect, "The Lady Or The Tiger?" reminds me of the Heinz Dilemma, another thought experiment whose premises are too often left unexamined.

So here is my answer to the question of the Lady or the Tiger. I urge people to read the original story here, as mine will make little sense without context.

Open Thread: Trees of January


At some point when I was --if not a child-- still a kid, it occurred to me that one possible reason that Christmas cards looked nothing like the muddy reality of Christmas where I lived was because, perhaps, the pictures on them were taken in January and February.

Mind you, my word-replacement slip-up thing that I inherited from my mother almost had me calling them the trees of July, which would paint a very different picture of the climate here given that, I think, people are generally aware that I live in the northern hemisphere.

Regardless, it was this or a picture of a button that said, "Don't make me throw this golden apple..."

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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: It Was I

[Narnia Content Note: Slavery, Abuse, War, Violence, Religion, Racism]

Narnia Recap: Shasta ran into the forest to find King Lune and warn him of Rabadash's approach. He was then separated from King Lune's party in the fog, and briefly overheard Rabadash's army pass by. Obligatory note about racism, intent, and Lewis is here.

The Horse and His Boy, Chapter 11: The Unwelcome Fellow Traveler

Okay! Now we get (I think) to the actual Unwelcome Fellow Traveler promised by the chapter title: Aslan.

I said this last time, but I honestly think that the original order of events that Lewis probably intended for this chapter was: Shasta warns King Lune, a magic fog descends and separates them, and then Aslan shows up. I have a lot of theories as to why Shasta got to overhear Rabadash's army scurry by in the mist, but setting those aside for now I will just say that it feels like a late addition. So here we are with the reason for this chapter: the unsaved prince will meet god and become properly inducted into the Church of Aslan. For Lewis, this is kind of a big deal. Let's go!

Metapost: Patreon Launched

This is just to let everyone here know that I have a Patreon account here. Patreon is kind of like a paid blog for writers and creators to... create things. I'll be posting writing snippets there and also it's a good way to sign up to get free books when they come out. It's not, like, a bargain to be clear; it's just a way for people to support me if they want to support me and have a bucket of money handy to fling at my face. Money bath, if you will.

Some folks have asked questions so I'm gonna do a little faq thing here.

QUESTION: Should I change over from a Paypal subscription? 

ANSWER: Honestly, that is 100% up to you; I don't "favor" one method over the other. I've tried to set up a plethora of donation options to cover everyone's needs. If you already have a Paypal subscription up and don't feel the need to move over to Patreon, that's fine! No need to mess with what works.

QUESTION: Does this mean you have work behind a pay-wall now? 

ANSWER: Well, yes, sorta, for a very brief time? Patreon posts that would also fit over here will migrate over to Ramblings after a short delay (and maybe a little more editing), so over the long-term you won't miss much content. Some of the posts over there won't come over here, but that's because they're writing drabbles that will be expanded into actual, like, published works. It's probably just my own brain-weasels, but I'm shy about putting unpolished writing drabbles out on the blog for everyone to comment on. For the same reason I don't post nudes, really. So, um, yes, there will be some brain-nudes on Patreon if you're interested in those.

QUESTION: Are you abandoning Ramblings?

ANSWER: Oh my gosh, no. This place is crucial to my mental health. Plus, I don't think my writing-patrons want to hear about Narnia twice a month. ♥

QUESTION: Is there going to be a Narnia post soon? 

ANSWER: I'm writing one right now, so I hope so. I've been distracted by existential crushing dread (also known as: Politics) but I'm going to try to get one up today. Also, I have a newish video up on YouTube if you want to watch me try to escape from fictional prison. (I fail.)

Open Thread: Shaking the Camera


Ideally I'd probably want to show something from this year to contrast with last week's picture from the end of last year, but other than some pictures of my cat taking a nap, I don't have much from this year yet.  Thus I give you this picture taken at about the same time and in about the same place as the one from last week.

As I'm sure you can all tell, this is a tree in a public park with orange ... new years(?) lights on it.

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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: I Need a Hero

[Narnia Content Note: Violence Towards Infants, Violence, Slavery, Rape, Ransacking]

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

I mentioned this last time, but a real problem with analyzing Chapter 11 is that is just doesn't make any sense. Let's recap: The children and the Horses were on a sort of geological ridge that let them look down into the desert between Tashbaan and the border of Archenland. Down in the desert, they saw Rabadash and his troops racing apparently at full speed. This doesn't make a lot of sense; the "racing" part should indicate that they are within sight of their goal, but apparently they are not. So they were presumably racing because Rabadash is hot-headed and impatient, and doesn't care about wearing his troops out unnecessarily.

Open Thread: Light at the End


On the eve of the new year, at the Boston common. Early (family) show not the midnight show. Light at the end of the year. I considered "New Year; New Light" as a title, but this was December 31st not January 1st. An ending, not a beginning.

The 17 on the building confused me (Lonespark can verify this.)

It's just . . . I have previously seen (though not in person) building lights used for countdowns and such, and I can imagine such a display being put on when the new year started, but never before have I seen an announcement to anyone with line of site of which year it isn't.

Part of me wonders if they switched to "18" at midnight to remind everyone that it wasn't 2018 yet.  (Ok, it doesn't.  No part of me wonders that.  But I do think it would make sense for people who have a giant lit up "17" because it's 2016 to have a giant lit up "18" when it's 2017.)

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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: Death of a Star

[Content Note: Death and self-harm. Cultural and Religious Appropriation. Racialized stereotypes against Romani people.]

A Wrinkle in Time, Chapter 6: The Happy Medium

Chapter 6 is really long and I'm going to have to break it into several parts. The latter parts, arguably the most interesting and memorable, show us life on Camazotz and a picture of fantasy-fascism in all its well-deserved horror. The first part is more theologically-thorny and runs into a lot of the usual problems we encounter when we try to answer the question of "if a loving godbeing, then why do bad things happen?"

When we left off in Chapter 5, the children were frightened by the Dark Thing they're about to face, so the three Mrs. W's brought them to the Happy Medium to show that it can be fought and overcome. Watsonianly, this is meant to steel them for the ordeal to come and reassure them that all is not lost. (Arguably, this attempt fails because the angels are too inhuman to have considered things from a human perspective.) Doylistically, and I think more important to L'Engle, she wanted to combine a fantastical theory on supernovas with her theology on death as a cycle of life.

Repost: Playful Animals, Platonic Allies

[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: Classist Language, War, Deformation, Disabilities]

Narnia Recap: Aslan has been resurrected and has carried Susan and Lucy to the Witch's house. 

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Chapter 16: What Happened With The Statues

   "WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY PLACE!" cried Lucy. "All those stone animals -- and people too! It's -- it's like a museum."
   "Hush," said Susan, "Aslan's doing something."