Narnia: High and Lonely Destiny

[Narnia Content Note: Genocide, End of the World]

Narnia Recap: Digory prevented Polly from leaving so he could ring a bell. Now there's a very tall woman dragging them around the castle which is rapidly falling apart around them.

The Magician's Nephew, Chapter 5: The Deplorable Word

I'm sorry it's been such a long time since the last Narnia; life has been difficult over here and I'm so grateful for your continued patience with me. You are all the best. As you may recall, we last left off with the castle crumbling around the children while Jadis unhurriedly hauls them out whilst playing tour guide.

   They came at last into a hall larger and loftier than any they had yet seen. From its size and from the great doors at the far end, Digory thought that now at last they must be coming to the main entrance. In this he was quite right. The doors were dead black, either ebony or some black metal which is not found in our world. They were fastened with great bars, most of them too high to reach and all too heavy to lift. He wondered how they would get out.

This feels faintly strange to me but it's hard to explain why.

Open Thread: Colors of the Sky


Just after Sunset on Sunday.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies and shows, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Game of Thrones
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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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!

Film Corner: Morning Star Warrior

Y'all don't mind that I live-tweet movies at you, do you? It's. I'm grappling with loneliness, and it's a form of talking to people without exhausting my introvert reserves. Tonight I'm going to try MORNING STAR WARRIOR. I think that's it's name. The name on the listing and the name on the movie cover are slightly different. Always a good sign.

"After conquering their enemies, a group of triumphant warriors return home to rejoice with their nation. What starts as a day of celebration quickly turns to horror as the group discovers that the world they lived in has changed forever." Well that's delightfully vague. "Changed forever", like, aliens? Or, like, post traumatic stress? I don't know.

Two opposing armies stare each other down and so far everything looks nicely expensive and artsy. This is a much better quality than my usual fare. Someone had a costume budget. War happens and this looks kinda realistically what I think war would look like in terms of (three guys knife a dude because one on one fighting is harder than bringing your mates to help) but I have no idea which side wins SMASH CUT TO CREDITS.

(Bless you all for reassuring me that my live tweets are ok. The world is just so overwhelming and this helps. Thank you.)

Open Thread: Ripples and Light


Light going through ripply/wavy water creates an effect on the bottom that we never quite figured out a name for* when some light is concentrated into brighter areas† which naturally makes other areas darker.  This . . . doesn't look like that very much.  I think that the reason is twofold.

First, the waves are large enough to be visible in themselves, thus distorting the view of the play of light and shadow on the bottom.  Second and, I believe, more importantly is where the picture was taken from.  Basically, if I hadn't cropped the image, my shadow would be in it.  (The bottom of the picture is level with the top of my shadow's head.)

Unless you happen to be a light source, this is as close as one can come to seeing what it looks like when the light coming out of the water is altered in the exact reverse way of the light going into the water.

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* The reverse effect, the play of light and shadow created when the sun reflects off of a rippled surface (which is usually seen on ceilings) has a name in Italian, though it also applies to light from mirrors, which doesn't look the same at all.

WanderingUndine calls it "lakelight" when it's off a lake, which suggests a decent formula (pool-light when off a pool, sealight when off the sea, so forth.

† The technical term for an instance of any such phenomenon is "caustic", on the grounds that such manipulation of light is the means by which sunlight can be transformed into a death ray by, say, a magnifying glass.  Thus the bright areas are known as "caustics" or a "caustic network".

The noun "caustic" means "thingy that burns", with the adjective from which it is derived meaning "burny".  Most optical caustics do not burn; I feel that this technical term was badly chosen.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies and shows, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Game of Thrones
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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Friday 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’s ahead of us almost over, 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!

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #35 Winter 22 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Open Thread: Purple


Have a flower.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies and shows, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Game of Thrones
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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Friday 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 ahead of us here, 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!

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #34 Winter 19 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #33 Winter 17 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Transcending Flesh: Children and Childhoods

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

a pink and blue sky with a radio tower

This essay is one in a series which focuses on writing gender in science fiction and fantasy settings that provide body modification options beyond our current level of technology. Note that you can download this collection of essays from my website here.

---

Transcending Flesh:
Gender and Body Diversity in Futuristic and Fantastical Settings


Essay #13: Children and Childhoods

~Infants and Alteration~

Giselle is an author who wants to write a BodyMod magitech society wherein every child is altered at birth to have a "boy" body (i.e., with a penis) and are only allowed to switch to a "girl" body (i.e., with a vagina) when they reach adulthood and legal emancipation from their parents' decisions.

I do have to point out that this premise makes very little sense to me. Some societies heavily prioritize bearing children of a specific body configuration, yes, but those communities do not attain total parental adherence to that ideal. Some parents will always exist who disagree with the larger cultural values around them, or who simply refuse to alter the bodies of their children against their will. Having said that, this is one premise which has a note of real world truth: it is still legal and acceptable in many places for parents and doctors to surgically alter the genitals of children without their consent.

The belief that all infants are born with one of two types of genitals is incorrect and unscientific. Many people are born with genitals which cannot be easily sorted into a binary "male/female" dichotomy. Our society uses the term "intersex" to refer to people who experience one or more of a variety of conditions which may lead to atypical development of physical sex characteristics; in this book I will use the term "perisex" to refer to people who are not intersex, with a note that the term "dyadic" may be used elsewhere.

In an effort to force a binary state which does not occur in nature, our culture has accepted the use of genital surgery on infants incapable of consent. Many intersex people are subjected to surgery at a very young age because of a bigoted society which believes that adherence to a constructed cultural norm of what genitals "should" look like is more important than individual bodily autonomy and self-determination.

Given this context, Giselle's world in which babies are fed into the BodyTron5000 to receive a standardized body becomes much more plausible. However, it is important for the author to understand that this culture is terrible, and to make certain that this fact comes across to the reader. The alteration of children's bodies without their consent is a human rights violation which flies in the face of all personal autonomy.

Giselle's fictional culture is not performing a "favor" for its infants. Bodies, whether intersex or perisex, are allowed to possess beautiful variation. Neither intersex nor perisex people are all longing for surgery to make them identical to everyone else. Any setting which performs body modifications on babies is a dystopia, and the author must be aware of that; this situation is not something which can be played off as a cutesy cultural quirk of Planet Monogender. Moreover, the author must be aware of real world parallels and how this situation isn't hypothetical for many of their readers.


~Childhoods~

Let us now consider two trans people in their late thirties, both of whom have the bodies they desire through the wondrous invention of BodyMod magitech. However, one of them was allowed to access that magitech at age four, while the other was not allowed access until age eighteen and legal emancipation from their parental guardians. As a result, these two trans people have had very different childhoods.

When an author writes a BodyMod magitech setting, it is important they understand that even if bodies can be changed easily later, experiences cannot be: we only have one childhood. Some authors get so wrapped up in the fact that their trans characters can "change later" that they forget that childhood experiences, validation, and affirmation are all incredibly important things which can affect a person's mental wellness.

Forcing someone to experience puberty in a body which causes them dysphoria is cruel. In Giselle's fictional world, every person in her setting is forced to experience puberty in a specific type of body regardless of their consent. This is an act of society-wide violence which would harm a large number of its inhabitants, and which only contributes to the stark fact that Giselle's setting is a dystopia and cannot be played for laughs or cutesy cultural characterization. If you are writing a society which is in any manner accepting of trans identity, then people must recognize that children have bodily autonomy and deserve the right to experience childhood and puberty in a body which does not cause them discomfort.

In our society, the biggest objection to allowing children to transition is that they might be "wrong" about their identity or could "change their minds later". This is not a good reason to deny a child access to transition, in part because it is based on a fundamental misconception of what "transition" is in this context. Childhood transition involves social transition (i.e., telling people the correct pronouns to use), presentation changes (i.e., clothing, hair, etc.), and puberty-delaying medication which prevents early onset of puberty and the major bodily changes which accompany it. None of these steps are irreversible, and it is important that cis people stop portraying childhood transition as scary and primarily surgical when it is neither.

Moreover, in a society where every body can be custom-made at any time to any specification, there is no good reason to deny a child the chance to grow up in a body they feel comfortable with. "But what if they change their mind later?" ceases to have any meaning in a world where there are no consequences to changing one's mind because the BodyTron5000 can grow and attach an unlimited number of body parts! "We can change it later, so you can't change it now" makes no sense unless bigotry is in play.

Open Thread: Pink, Green, and Blue


Picture taken Monday, with a location of "The walk home from my eye exam".

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies and shows, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Game of Thrones
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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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!

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #32 Winter 14 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #31 Winter 11 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Hobbit (Five Armies)

We've got one more of these 6 movies. Let's do this.

Actually first I'm gonna say something that's gonna piss some people off and instead of knee jerk defensiveness I want y'all to listen and sit with it ok. Please. I've been watching the DVD menu screen on a loop got about an hour now, and it is scenes of the dwarven fellowship--13 dwarves and Bilbo--going to war and doing badass things.

And they're cool scenes. But it's group shots of 13 white guys doing cool fantasy shit. And I keep trying to think of ANY movie that has 13 women doing this sort of thing. Suiting up, going to war. Army shots that's just women everywhere, no men. I can't think of one. Mad Max, but that's a different genre and there's still plenty of men in it, and it's not 12+ women until late in the movie anyway.

Film Corner: Hobbit (Desolation of Smaug)

Ok, I remember Hobbit 2: Electric Shiraloo being where everything broke down. Let's do this.

The backstory flashback is.......a thing. I don't hate it! It explains why the Arkenstone is important rather than just a Shiny. Might've been good to explain all that to Bilbo.

I....like that Bombur can run the fastest.

The forest is sick and diseased and honestly stop using illness as a metaphor for evil!

Mmmmmph. There's a "humorous" scene where Legolas mistakes Gloin's wife for his brother, and his son (Gimli) for a goblin and it's.....definitely in this movie.

Open Thread: Dropped my hat off a bridge again


[Warning: long explanation here.]
[You may want to jump to the section break, which has a possibly useful meta note in it.]

One may note that it's in shallow water close to the shore.  I got it back.  I got it back with the help of a long stick that I think was some kind of cheap and basic indoor architectural trimming, which had no business being on the sea shore.

What happened was, I was taking pictures of some clouds.  I'm not even sure why.  They weren't spectacular or anything.  I just started taking pictures of clouds and ended up stuck in "taking pictures of clouds" mode, but through a process known as "wind" the clouds moved across the sky, and I ended up having to face more or less straight up to get all of the clouds.  That's when my had fell off of my head, off of the bridge, and into the estuary.

Fortunately I was already at the spot where the pedestrian exit to the bridge is located.

I think this is the first time I've ever dropped a hat off of this particular bridge.  I also think that it's the first time I dropped this particular hat.  I have an unfortunate habit of losing my hat.  I forget it on the bus.  I forget it at the bus station.  I forget it other places that I have since forgotten.  I possibly even drop it in places that are unretrievable.

(Chrome tells me that unretrievable is not a word.  I care not for your prescriptivism, Chrome.  If you're going to get all tetchy about such things, why not get people to start using the subjunctive properly or something equally laudable?)

As a final note, I've actually been a lot better about hat stuff lately.  I think this is the first time this year I've had a had problem, and I don't think the last problem (whenever it was) was particularly late in the year last year.

~ Meta Stuff ~

It's on time for once, woo!

In other news, I meant to say this weeks ago, I think, but here's a thing on the film open threads:

I don't actually have some scientific means of testing whether a film (or TV show) will generate enough conversation to merit a separate thread so I tend to just provide them on request.

If you think that what you want to talk about isn't conversation-inducing enough to merit it's own open thread, then you should talk about it here (by which I mean a given week's general open thread) with spoilers in Cthulhu summoning form (cyphered with rot-13.)

If, conversely, you think enough people will want to talk about it (or a lesser number of people but at great length, or whatever) to merit a dedicated open thread, all you have to do is ask for one.  Then everyone can say as much as they want without worrying about drowning out other topics, and (provided they Lorem ipsum sufficiently) in plain text without any cipher or Cthulhu-esque SAN points damage.

I originally planned to say something to this effect re:Game of Thrones, but Ana swooped in and made an open thread for it (which is probably what I should have done anyway) before I got it composed, and then I . . . sort of lost track of the outside world.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies and shows, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Game of Thrones
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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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!

Film Corner: Hobbit (Unexpected Journey)

Apparently they made a prequel to the trilogy I've been watching? I assume it's about Sam and his origin story. I know THE HOBBIT is going to be good because a full baker's dozen of you were like "you don't have to, save yourself" when I mentioned I'd watch it for this series.

I have seen all the movies before... once... in theaters... and the lack of captions was a bad thing. Maybe I'll like it better once I can understand what people are saying! I am going to say AGAIN that all I wanted going into this movie was for the casting director to cast half+ of the dwarves, at random, with lady actresses. And the cowards did not do that.

I really like seeing the thriving dwarf community. It reminds me of the space station on Valerian. I like seeing fantasy cultures just doing their thing. I hate hate hate that they turned "greed" into "mental illness" and explicitly say that "where sickness thrives, bad things will follow."

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #30 Winter 7 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Return)

Apparently this is a trilogy, who knew. I'm sure there's no movies after this one, though.

ROTK starts with the Smeagol and Deagol back story and it's an interesting choice. Gollum is important to this novel (obviously) and it's important to show his past. It's interesting that Gollum was able to subvert the will of the ring for so long and not be drawn out to Mordor. I know the canon is that he used it sparingly and I think, too, Sauron wasn't at full strength and calling for it.

This isn't me having some clever insight; iirc, Gandalf points this out himself. The halflings who have been ring bearers had some natural immunity or strength when it came to the one ring. Maybe because their ambitions weren't as high as kings'. Smeagol did jump to murder alarming quickly. Frodo and Bilbo didn't kill anyone for the ring. Sam and Merry and Pippin and my perfect fat Freddy didn't ever consider killing Frodo.

So, Gollum: Good willpower, bad morals.

Please do not acquire birthday presents through murder.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #29 Winter 4 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Two Towers)

Apparently there's a sequel to the movie I watched last night.

I don't have this one as memorized as the other, and I forgot to say last night how relieved I was that Bombadil wasn't in the movie and how confused I was that people wanted him to be. Being on the outside of fan communities always brings these little surprises like "people care about Tom Bombadil???" and "who the fuck is Boba Fett??"

Gandalf and the winged Balrog fall into a cavern I've been to in LOTRO and it is BEAUTIFUL.

I love how Sam is sick of the lembas bread. The fanbase is sick with mighty need for the stuff and Sam legit wants some variety in his diet.

God, poor Gollum.

Open Thread: Moon


A while back, my camera died.*  Faced with the choice of not having a camera or hundreds of dollars of new debt, I went with option two.  (As you might guess from the fact that open threads all† feature pictures I took myself, being able to take pictures is kind of important to me.)

Apparently, it took me a very long time to point replacement camera at the moon.  I think that this is not, in fact, the first time I pointed current-camera at the moon.  However, if I'm right, the other time would have been on a mostly cloudy night while riding shotgun in moving car on a winding (and possibly bumpy) road.

This, by contrast, was a handheld shot from my sister's driveway on a clear evening.  My hands are not steady.  My hands are, in fact, a sort of anti-steady.

As such, this picture has blown my mind and completely altered how I think about what an unsupported camera in my unsteady hands can do.

~

*How much of a while?  The November 2nd open thread picture was a test picture I took in the mall, but out of the store, after buying current-camera (the replacement for dead camera.)

† This statement has not been verified by an archive crawl, but it --at the very least-- feels true in the context of recent history.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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Friday 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 ahead of us here, 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!

Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Fellowship)

Rewatching Lord of the Rings!

I love the Shire so much. Frodo hugging Gandalf. The little perfect baby hobbits. Rose and Sam dancing.
Bilbo running to hug Gandalf after their argument. My soft boys.

The MUSIC. The way the ring doesn't want to fall from his hand. The heavy thud as it hits the ground. The portentous weight.

(Theater release, before everyone asks; I don't like the extended cuts.)

The way Gandalf warily circles the ring and draws back from touching it. So much conveyed without words.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #28 Winter 1 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Berserker Hell's Warrior

I'm trying to fall asleep to Rifftrax Berserker Hell's Warrior on Amazon Prime and it's amazing.

Valkyrie Brunhilde is apparently represented by stock footage of a vampire????

They're....they're really going with this?"

Wait a minute.

V a l k y r i e
V a m p i r e

"The bite of the Valkyrie makes us strong."

THEY HAVE GLOWING VAMPIRE WOMEN AND THEY'RE CALLING THEM VALKYRIES.

I'm not ok, I'm calling a manager, any manager will do.

They're hissing and making claw hands with their fingers!???!

They're warring and some guy just Leroy Jenkinsed.

Wait what suddenly 30 minutes in and we're in Modern Era???? I've never experienced whiplash quite as bad as this.

I... There are...Vikings in Modern Times and they're breaking into a maximum security ward in an attempt to kill the vampire there.

How is she reincarnated if she's an immortal vampire who doesn't die?????

VALKYRIE ARE MAKING AN ARMY OF VAMPIRE WARRIORS TO OVERTHROW ODIN WHAT.

I

What

It

How

I

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #27 Fall 25 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Curse of the Dragon

Tonight's film is CURSE OF THE DRAGON which, despite sounding like every other movie title we've watched, I'm pretty sure I've not seen THIS one.

"A brave knight returns to his homeland to find a powerful dragon terrorizing his village. After many unsuccessful attempts to defeat the monster, he makes a sword which has magical powers." Now, ME, I'd have started with the magic sword.

Please do not confuse this film with Curse of the Dragon SLAYER, which is good.

Strong opening here: men in cloaks on horses. A horse is led to water but refuses to drink.

Open Thread: Button


My sister's car charger is decorated with several buttons, of which this is one.  In spite of seeing them there for years, I have no idea how they're attached.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

-

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!

Film Corner: Zombieland & Night of the Comet

Zombieland is on Amazon Prime and I'm remembering why I didn't care much for it.

The whole "the fatties went first" is annoying and wrong, obviously, and then they follow it up with the whole Nice Guy sequence of his hawt neighbor attacking him.

But then you get to the girls, and their plan is so fucking foolish? They tell men the little girl is infected and needs to be shot, and the older girl wants to be the one to do it, and this causes nice men to hand over their guns. LIKE. She believes men are nice enough to let her be the one to shoot her sister, WHILST believing men aren't nice enough to trust and team up with. She believes two mutually incompatible things!!

Film Corner: Journey Quest (Season 1)

[Trigger Warning: Rape Threats, Whorephobic Language]

Amazon has reminded me that Journey Quest exists, so I'm gonna try to watch that next. But here's the thing, ok. Here's the thing.

(Holy shit, I was gonna tag this #AnaWatches and it autofilled to #AnaWatchesShittyAmazonStuff?)

But ok. I LOVE Gamers 2: The Dorkness Rising. I couldn't buy Journey Quest fast enough. One click order back in the day. And it just.......was not the same. I didn't love it. I felt feelings. So we're gonna see if I still have those feelings. And because those feelings are gonna be Snotty Feminist feelings, everyone may hate me after, SORRY, but hey at least you can mute the hashtag??

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #26 Fall 22 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Midnight Chronicles

Ok, fuck it, I'm in pain and this helps: shitty Amazon movie live-watch.

This one is called MIDNIGHT CHRONICLES. "Based on the role playing board game" I pause. I have...never heard of this game? I feel like I have heard of a lot of games.

"Based on the role playing board game, in the world of Midnight, it is a time of overwhelming darkness. After three agrees of scheming and war, the dark god Izrador has finally defeated the heroes and armies of the free races."

Amazon cuts off the description there, so I hope it's a light hearted comedy in which Izrador marries, like, a fashion blogger and she has to cope with her new identity.

There's reading. I was not informed there would be reading.

It's fine, it doesn't make sense. Probably not important.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #25 Fall 19 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Let's Play Darkest Dungeon | Week 17-19

Another Darkest Dungeon is up! ♡

Film Corner: Dwarves of Dragon Mountain

Ok, that last one was awful, let's have a new "disabled in bed watching terrible Amazon Prime movies" thread.

We have LORD OF THE ELVES which says: ""In an ancient age, the peace-loving hobbits are enslaved by the Java Men, a race of flesh-eating dragon-riders." I thought "hobbit" was copyrighted and trademarked by the Tolkien estate, tbh. I'm also confused where the elves come in and who is their lord. Elves aren't hobbits or cannibalistic dragon riders. (I think?)

Oh shit uh.

I was about to be thrilled that all the hobbits are POC little people (like Willow!! But not white!) but then the camera panned to the Java-Men and they're.....really offensive racist stereotypes of brutish Black men? So that's a...no, we're done here!!! No, thank you! I like shitty movies, but I have a limit. Noping out.

Instead let's try DWARVES OF DRAGON MOUNTAIN.

"In a fantasy world four dwarves are mining in the dangerous Dragon Mountain when a sudden explosion causes a cave in, trapping the dwarves inside."

Ooh, this one has decent special effects AND a no-nonsense narrator.

We're starting in medias res, AFTER the cave in, which is a fascinating decision; I know nothing about the people making sad coughing noises. It will be on the movie to get me to care about them. I look forward to this.

Ok, they're all trying to find each other and they're varying degrees of wounded.

Open Thread: Healing Goat


One of my sister's goat on Wednesday, recovering from an injury with the help of a splint.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel
   ● Into the Spiderverse

-

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!

Transcending Flesh: Sexuality and Gender

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

a pink and blue sky with a radio tower

This essay is one in a series which focuses on writing gender in science fiction and fantasy settings that provide body modification options beyond our current level of technology. Note that you can download this collection of essays from my website here.

---

Transcending Flesh:
Gender and Body Diversity in Futuristic and Fantastical Settings


Essay #12: Sexuality and Gender

I am now going to say something which I feel ought to be obvious: every sexual and romantic orientation you can imagine has trans people in there alongside the cis people. There are gay trans men. There are lesbian trans women. There are bisexual nonbinary people. There are straight trans people and pansexual trans people and asexual trans people and aromantic trans people. If you can name a label, there's a trans person out there with that label.

Gender and sexuality can intertwine for some of us in complicated ways, but body modification is almost always about the individual's identity as a person, and not about attracting sexual partners. In a magitech setting where I can custom-build any body I want, I'm going to build what I want, not what prospective sex partners want! Trans women (whether they be lesbian or straight or bisexual or anything else!) are not "gay men" who thought body modification would be the best way to meet men. Trans men (whether they be gay or straight or bisexual or anything else!) are not "lesbian women" who thought body modification would be the best way to land a girlfriend. Trans people don't change their bodies in order to get laid!

Other useful facts to note:

- A character who enjoys sex with men will not automatically run out to get breasts and a vagina, either to appeal to men or to facilitate sex with them. There are plenty of men who find other body types appealing, and there are plenty of ways to have sex besides penis-in-vagina intercourse.

- If your only on-page examples of trans people are straight couples, your reader is going to wonder where you've stashed the gay trans men and the lesbian trans women. Straight trans people absolutely exist, but they are not the only kind of trans person in the world.

- While we're talking transness and sexuality, trans people date each other quite often. It stands to reason that two people who have experiences in common may be drawn to each other. If all your trans characters only date cis people, that seems to suggest that they (or their author) don't consider trans people desirable. Avoid creating that impression.

- A setting with BodyMod magitech ought to have at least some people who are excited to explore with their partner(s) every possible combination of bodies to mash together sexually. I have read magitech settings where everyone paired off into "male/female" marriages and then never experimented! There should be at least someone in your magitech setting who wants to see what sex is like with different equipment in play.


~My Trans Body is for Me, not You~

Let's talk about Felicity.

Felicity has written a BodyMod magitech setting where anyone can have a penis or a vagina. She imagines that all the gay and lesbian people in the world immediately line up to switch body configurations as soon as this magitech is made available. In her setting, all the lesbian women grow penises and go marry straight women to be good husbands to them, while all the gay men grow vaginas and settle down as happy wives to straight men.

It's unclear whether Felicity knows that bisexual and pansexual people exist, but if they do exist in her world, they too all settle down into "male/female" pairings as well on the stated grounds that penis-in-vagina sex just works better than all the other possible types of sex.

If this sounds ludicrous, that's because it is--and yet this is a story I have encountered. This is not how transness works, nor how sexuality works, nor how people work. Lesbian women are not all universally longing for the day when they can transition to a "male" body in order to have penis-in-vagina sex with a straight woman! Gay men are not all waiting on tenterhooks for magitech to come along and allow them to transition to a "female" body so they can have penis-in-vagina sex with straight men!

Gay people are not all transgender and seeking transition, and trans people are not transitioning in order to attract partners from a specific gender. Transness is about one's self-identity, not about attracting a mate.

Film Corner: Warrioress

[Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence, Nazis]

Next up is WARRIORESS: Two powerful female warriors must journey across a post-apocalyptic land to fight a ritual duel and fulfill an ancient prophecy. Please, gods, let this be sapphic.

We have a lady narrator!! And two swords called...Opener and Dragon Singer? I'm...not seeing a theme just yet. There's....there's a lot of backstory I'm struggling to assimilate quickly.

[TW] A naked professional gymnast just slaughtered a bunch of guys who were gonna rape another lady, and I haven't seen such brutal efficiency since John Wick.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #24 Fall 16 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: The King's Guard

Ok, I'm stuck in bed again so it's back to the well of Amazon Prime Fantasy Movies looking for diamonds in the rough.

Next up we have THE KING'S GUARD which is efficiently described as: A princess falls in love with her father's swordsman. I hope the entire movie is about her supportive dad melting down as the wedding spins increasingly out of control.

RON PERLMAN IS IN THIS???

Ron Perlman is amazing, I honestly think people just ask him to be in movies and he says yes no matter who it is. Like, yes, nice barista. Yes, kindly uber driver. Yes, mail lady. I will be in all your movies.

Let's Play Darkest Dungeon | Week 15-17

Another Darkest Dungeon is up! ♡

Film Corner: MST3K Season 5 (Part 2)

Previously published on my Patreon.

Most of you know that I'm disabled and can only work part-time. Every other day of my life I spend laid up in bed (or going to run disability-related errands like doctor appointments and pharmacy visits and then laying in bed) which can get pretty boring without something to watch or listen to or do. As a consequence, I've seen a lot of Mystery Science Theater, my favorite show of all time. But have I watched them in order? I have not. Until now.

And we're starting with Mike's first appearance because I'm a rebel like that. (We'll cover the rest of Season 5 in a later Part 1.)

Season 5 (1993–94)

Mitchell (512)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] This is the last Joel episode before he flees in a crate of hamdingers and Mike is hired (and then fired... into space!) as a temp. I've watched this movie at least a dozen times and I still don't understand it. Michell is a cranky sleepy cop... whom none of the other cops like him because they're dirty... and Michell isn't dirty... except for when he is... look, it's complicated. The riffs are lovely and this one is seminal enough to the MST3K library that it's a must-watch. 5 stars.

The Brain That Wouldn't Die (513)
[Rhino Single DVD; not subtitled] This is Mike's first episode as host and he comes out of the gate strong. Lots of good riffs on this one, but the grim subject matter (scientist stalks hot women seeking a body-host for his dead fiancee's brain) makes repeated viewings less fun--plus, the pacing isn't exactly enthralling as he repeatedly fails to corner a series of likely victims. 4 stars and a shower afterwards to scrub off all your skin.

Teen-Age Strangler (514)
[Rhino Volume 10.2; not subtitled] This one is just boring; not really worth the riffs and hard to pay attention to. The strangler isn't a teenager and doesn't really confine himself to teenagers so the title is baffling (the bots point this out at the end and it's such a relief when they're as confused as the viewer). Nor is this one of those "teen criminals!" moral panic films which provide such amusing fodder for several episodes in the series. The movie is just... here, free-floating without a genre or a point. 2 stars, a bland unflavored cracker in need of something interesting spread on it.

The Wild Wild World of Batwoman (515)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] Oh man, this one is surreal. You need to understand going in that this isn't the Batwoman of the DC universe but instead a deliberate knockoff on the Bat/Ant/Spider-person theme and the movie is about a crime-fighting vampire. I say you "need to understand" because outside of a few baffling references to blood, this will never be made clear and you'll be left wondering when DC's Barbara decided to collect a coven of girls. The plot is incomprehensible and it helps to know that it was basically being constantly re-written mid-production based on various mercurial whims of the powers which made the film. 2 stars.

Alien from L.A. (516)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] What if science fictiony space apocalypse Mad Max... but underground... searching for a missing father... with Kathy Ireland...? This one has to be seen to be believed and manages to be a relatively entertaining movie in addition to the excellent riffs. Several points don't exactly make sense, but you didn't come to MST3K for logical consistency. Kathy dumps her crappy boyfriend in the end and Mike sings a catchy love ballad. 4 stars.

Beginning of the End (517)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] This is an old one and the special effects are *hilarious*. Are those paper cutouts of grasshoppers superimposed on the scenery to make them look like radioactive giants? Yes? I think so? You have to watch just because you can't look away. 3 stars.

The Atomic Brain (518)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] Another movie about science putting brains in the bodies of pretty young women, apparently a popular horror trope of the black-and-white film era. Decent film made better with excellent riffs; Mike and the bots get the giggles over the actresses trying and failing to hold onto various "foreign" accents. 4 stars.

Outlaw (Outlaw of Gor) (519)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] They made a Gor movie where the hero frees all the slaves of Gor. THEY MADE A GOR MOVIE WHERE THE HERO FREES ALL THE SLAVES OF GOR. Do you understand how much that delights the little troll that lives in my heart? That's like making an Ayn Rand movie where the hero invents social safety nets and destroys capitalism and blows up trains. I will never stop laughing. This is a good B-movie of the "why don't we make terrible fantasy movies like this anymore" era and I will defend it to my fuzzy fantasy go-go booted death. 5 stars.

Radar Secret Service (520)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] You know you're in for pain when the Mads promise deep hurting. So many unanswered questions with this movie. Why did they cast two nearly identical blond women for two different subplots which only merge near the end, certain to cause confusion? Why is radar repeatedly hyped up to the audience like an item being sold on a late-night shopping channel? Was there a time in our nation's history when radar needed to be marketed to the public? 2 stars.

Santa Claus (521)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] One of the most beloved of the MST3K franchise, docked a star only because the RiffTrax Live version is longer and better. If you have to choose between versions, pick up the RiffTrax one for the full unedited cut. Surreal nightmare fuel from start to finish. 4 stars and may god have mercy on our souls.

Teen-Age Crime Wave (522)
[Shout Factory Volume 33; not subtitled] A teenage Bonnie and Clyde wanna-be pair take a tragically innocent teenager hostage and commit home invasion on nice elderly god-fearing folks in the country. A standoff ensues with a lot of Bible reading and cigarette smoking until the elderly couple's handsome son returns home from college and fails to be effective. Hilarious in parts, marred by slow pacing and lack of subtitles. 4 stars.

Village of the Giants (523)
[Amazon Video; subtitled] Honey, I shrunk the kids, but backwards and they're delinquent teenagers. A "teenage crime wave" moral panic movie with a gigantism twist so bizarre and unnecessary that one is tempted to speculate that a kink was being indulged in the making of this movie. Good riffs can only do so much to save the viewer from this one. 3 stars.

12 to the Moon (524)
[Shout Factory Volume 35; not subtitled] A somewhat dull "what if aliens didn't like us because we're bad" movie that comes with some strong riffs. Paired with one of the most surreal shorts (on behalf of General Motors) I've ever seen and which is nicely worked into a good ongoing skit about Mike and the hazards of dating mysterious dancing space-ladies. 3 stars.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #23 Fall 13 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: DragonSlayer & Attack of the Gryphon

Thinking about marathoning the free dragon movies on Amazon Prime because the alternative is depression naps. CURSE OF THE DRAGON SLAYER is still my favorite and a good fantasy movie if you're looking for a GoT palate cleanser. MYTHICA is good if you can look past the infuriating treatment of disability in 4 and 5.

Ok, let's try DRAGONSLAYER. Amazon Prime says: a king has made a pact with a dragon where he sacrifices virgins to it, and the dragon leaves his kingdom alone.

I have questions, like "Why does it have to be virgins" and "how do you determine the presence of a socially constructed state".

Oh my god, the opening has birds in cages squawking and Cookie is losing her shit looking for them birds.

I feel like maybe there was a prequel to this that I missed. Either that or we're just really committed to letting the audience sink or swim.

Oh bless me, there's some good writing. What's that doing here.

Let's Play Darkest Dungeon | Week 13-15

Another Darkest Dungeon is up! ♡

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #22 Fall 10 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Open Thread: Game of Thrones

I hated the Game of Thrones ending! Which will probably surprise no one here! So here's a thread to gripe about the Game of Thrones ending with me, including spoilers (without need for ROT 13 Cthulhu summoning.)

Unfortunately the "Current Comments" feature removes whitespace so, to avoid spoilers appearing there, please use some space for non-spoiler comments or just start your comment with some nonsense.

Example nonsense:

[nonsense] Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, id soleat doctus sit, cum te erant omnium. Invidunt periculis at cum, eos diam vivendum no, ea qui vivendum legendos. Verterem similique ut pri, iisque prodesset voluptaria no nam. Eos esse mollis et, mei no putent utamur praesent, nec ex solum saperet. No has soluta molestie.[/nonsense]
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: Another Wet Plant


Sorry this is a day and a half late.  I've been having computer (and other) problems.

Picture taken the same day as last week's.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel
   ● Into the Spiderverse

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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: Thank God, A Girl

Previously posted on my Patreon




[Trigger Warning: Gender Detecting]

I've been watching The Borgias on Netflix this month in my downtime because I love lush historical dramas and the actors really are so good in this series. But I'd forgotten that there's a gross subplot in Season 2 where the pope becomes attracted to a young man only to find that "he" is a woman who disguised herself in order to apprentice as a painter. (I'm using she/her pronouns for her because she really does seem to be a disguised cis woman rather than a trans man to me.) There's one of those trope moments of "well, phew, at least the pope wasn't attracted to a GUY" because obviously there is nothing more upsetting than queerness. Ugh.

I've seen this trope a lot and it irks me so much. Why does no one ever just not care? Or have a little lightbulb moment where they realize they're bisexual? Or even a major lightbulb moment where they realize they're full-on no-girls-allowed gay? Or at the very least not make this moment about their manly heterosexual boner? This girl is telling you she had to disguise herself and live a lie for her own safety and you want to talk about your dick? Dude.

So. I've written a classic version of this scene and then re-written it five different ways I'd much prefer to see instead.

Narnia: The Red Wedding

[Narnia Content Note: Misogyny, References to Torture]

Narnia Recap: Digory prevented Polly from leaving so he could ring a bell.

The Magician's Nephew, Chapter 5: The Deplorable Word

   THE CHILDREN WERE FACING ONE ANOTHER across, still trembling, though it no longer gave out any note. Suddenly they heard a soft noise from the end of the room which was still undamaged. They turned quick as lightning to see what it was. One of the robed figures, the furthest-off one of all, the woman whom Digory thought so beautiful, was rising from its chair. When she stood up they realized that she was even taller than they had thought. And you could see at once, not only from her crown and robes, but from the flash of her eyes and the curve of her lips, that she was a great queen. She looked round the room and saw the damage and saw the children, but you could not guess from her face what she thought of either or whether she was surprised. She came forward with long, swift strides.

I know I don't say this a lot about Lewis' writings, but I almost like this.