a few hundred times

Five Famous Pulsars from the Past 50 Years

Early astronomers faced an obstacle: their technology. These great minds only had access to telescopes that revealed celestial bodies shining in visible light. Later, with the development of new detectors, scientists opened their eyes to other types of light like radio waves and X-rays. They realized cosmic objects look very different when viewed in these additional wavelengths. Pulsars — rapidly spinning stellar corpses that appear to pulse at us — are a perfect example.

The first pulsar was observed 50 years ago on August 6, 1967, using radio waves, but since then we have studied them in nearly all wavelengths of light, including X-rays and gamma rays.

Typical Pulsar

Most pulsars form when a star — between 8 and 20 times the mass of our sun — runs out of fuel and its core collapses into a super dense and compact object: a neutron star

These neutron stars are about the size of a city and can rotate slowly or quite quickly, spinning anywhere from once every few hours to hundreds of times per second. As they whirl, they emit beams of light that appear to blink at us from space.

First Pulsar

One day five decades ago, a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, England, named Jocelyn Bell was poring over the data from her radio telescope - 120 meters of paper recordings.

Image Credit: Sumit Sijher

She noticed some unusual markings, which she called “scruff,” indicating a mysterious object (simulated above) that flashed without fail every 1.33730 seconds. This was the very first pulsar discovered, known today as PSR B1919+21.

Best Known Pulsar

Before long, we realized pulsars were far more complicated than first meets the eye — they produce many kinds of light, not only radio waves. Take our galaxy’s Crab Nebula, just 6,500 light years away and somewhat of a local celebrity. It formed after a supernova explosion, which crushed the parent star’s core into a neutron star. 

The resulting pulsar, nestled inside the nebula that resulted from the supernova explosion, is among the most well-studied objects in our cosmos. It’s pictured above in X-ray light, but it shines across almost the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays.

Brightest Gamma-ray Pulsar

Speaking of gamma rays, in 2015 our Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope discovered the first pulsar beyond our own galaxy capable of producing such high-energy emissions. 

Located in the Tarantula Nebula 163,000 light-years away, PSR J0540-6919 gleams nearly 20 times brighter in gamma-rays than the pulsar embedded in the Crab Nebula.

Dual Personality Pulsar

No two pulsars are exactly alike, and in 2013 an especially fast-spinning one had an identity crisis. A fleet of orbiting X-ray telescopes, including our Swift and Chandra observatories, caught IGR J18245-2452 as it alternated between generating X-rays and radio waves. 

Scientists suspect these radical changes could be due to the rise and fall of gas streaming onto the pulsar from its companion star.

Transformer Pulsar

This just goes to show that pulsars are easily influenced by their surroundings. That same year, our Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope uncovered another pulsar, PSR J1023+0038, in the act of a major transformation — also under the influence of its nearby companion star. 

The radio beacon disappeared and the pulsar brightened fivefold in gamma rays, as if someone had flipped a switch to increase the energy of the system. 

NICER Mission

Our Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission, launched this past June, will study pulsars like those above using X-ray measurements.

With NICER’s help, scientists will be able to gaze even deeper into the cores of these dense and mysterious entities.

For more information about NICER, visit https://www.nasa.gov/nicer

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

10

Some of the gorgeous chickens being shown at the 2017 Pacific Poultry Breeders Association show in Modesto, CA. 

Breeds in order of appearance: Golden sebright, silver sebright, araucana, australorp, frizzled American serama, Belgian bearded d’anvers, appenzeller spitzhauben, frizzled cochin, polish, and American serama.

It irks me a lot - and I mean a lot - that people think it’s Scanlan’s future to outlive Vox Machina and tell their story and all that jazz. And I know why people think that. That’s the bard thing, right? That’s why Mythcarver awakened - because Scanlan chose to live, which is what the bard needs to do.

Except that Scanlan has never given any indication that he would do that. Scanlan doesn’t tell their story. He used to tell his story and sometimes that involved telling people about Vox Machina as well, but he cut that out around the Conclave arc. People treat Scanlan like he’s the classic archetypal bard who will write epic poems and songs about the heroic adventuring group he was part of. 

But Scanlan isn’t that archetypal bard. Scanlan’s never given any indication whatsoever that he considers his music to be anything more than a means to an end. It’s what he’s good at and it’s how he channels his magic, so that’s what he does. In fact, Scanlan’s been really frustrated by people just seeing him as the song guy. You really think Scanlan wants his future to be “the guy who tells other people about some other great people he once knew,” when he’s put this much effort and anger into insisting that he wants people to know him for who he is and not what he can do?

Moreover, that’s Keyleth’s story. Keyleth is and has always been the Eliza of Vox Machina and honestly I can’t believe we don’t talk more about the fact that Keyleth knows and is terrified of that, compared to the archetypal bard who would usually be proud to tell people about the heroic exploits of his compatriots. Which isn’t to say Keyleth wouldn’t be proud to talk about them, but she’s terrified of the fact that she knows one day she’ll have to talk about them because nobody else will be left to do so. 

Keyleth explicitly is the one who will, in the best case scenario, outlive everyone she loves and be the only person who remembers them enough as people to tell their story. Sprigg isn’t really a reflection of Scanlan - he’s a reflection of Keyleth and she outright said as much. Keyleth is the one who, in a few hundred years time, is going to be beating herself up because she can’t remember anymore which twin was which or what Grog’s last name was or whether Percy was the third or the fourth - and eventually she won’t even remember that much.

Scanlan just wants to live a peaceful (okay, and criminal) life with his daughter and not think very hard about his adventuring days at all because they were miserable. Keyleth is desperately clinging on to memories of her friends and family because she knows one day, it’ll be all she has.

Stealing that narrative from Keyleth and putting on it Scanlan just because he’s the bard is a mockery of both characters. It’s exactly the way Scanlan doesn’t want to be seen or thought of and it’s Keyleth’s greatest fear and inevitable future.

University Gothic
  • You wake up in a lecture hall. When did you get here? How did you get here? You look down at your feet. They’re gone. You have merged with the floor. You are one with uni and uni is you. Everytime a bored student scribbles on their desk, they carve into your skin. You smell blood.
  • Your field of study is divided into 3 main schools of thought. Each school consists of 3 main areas. Each of these areas is divided into 3 main topics. Each topic splits into 3 major theories. Each theory is supported by 3 observations.
    You stare at your 3 hands with 3 fingers. Your 3 eyes blink. Thrice.
  • You awake from your homework as if from a dream. What language is this? Illogical hieroglyphs stare at you and shuffle around on the paper. You have forgotten what you were trying to prove. What lnguaudka i sdha s? The paper giggles and you’re so tired. You smile and answer in a language you do not understand.
  • You will need to buy a book for this course. It is pricey. Maybe you can afford a hand-me-down. A hand descends from the ceiling. It beckons you and offers you a deal: the cursed volume for a bracelet of ramen. You sigh and knit another bracelet, while the hand massages your scalp. The pact is made. Finally, you get to open the first page.
    Your professor wrote this book.

    Your hollow, desperate shriek wakes the ever-sleeping students in the last row. They climb over the tables, slimey hands embracing you from behind, and they whisper “There’s a pdf online. For free.” Coffee is pouring out out of their eyes, staining your shirt.

  • You write a to-do list. The paper grows longer and longer as you vomit long lines of responsibility-ink onto it. You cannot stop. Just like real vomiting, it feels gross and violating, but somehow liberating in a primal sense. Somehow, you find yourself on your knees, in the middle of the street three blocks away from your bed where you’d started. The cars drive compassionately around you as you scrunch up the paper and vomit at the sky. You cross out the whole list, draw a single check box underneath and write “Write a to-do list” next to it.
3

Ok so idk if anyone else saw the skulls on Toffee’s shoulders but they have the marks of Moon and Eclipsa.

I thought at first it was moon and her mother that toffee used as a metaphor, meaning that he was going to have the skulls of the current queens. But when I saw that it was Moon and Eclipsa I thought about something the lizards said about being hard to kill.

What if Toffee was around since Eclipsa’s rein? That would make his a few hundred years old, and enough time to build up his rage against mewmens.

What if the “Eclipsa skull” and the “moon skull” are to symbolise that his suffering began in Eclipsa’s reign and was going to end in Moon’s reign?

While reasoning, but it can hold Irs ground.

Superpowers stopped appearing in people, until there were no new superheroes/villains at all. Now it’s the far-flung future, and only those rare few from “modern” times whose powers incidentally let them live hundreds of years still have superpowers.

Taste The Sweet (Grayson Smut)

Summary: You’re a Youtuber, hanging around the H&M tent at Coachella. Grayson is your biggest fan.
Word Count: 2,861
Warnings: Fingering.
A/N: Thank you to the anon who sent this idea in! This is all your idea, I’m just writing it out. I didn’t want to post the request because it contains “spoilers” but this imagine is basically what the anon requested. Hope you like this one! (title from Don’t Be So Shy by Imany)


“Turn your head a little to the side…” The photographer gestured with her hand, cocking her head to the left so you smiled and complied. “Perfect. Now smile.”

The flash went off a few times as she snapped her photos, and you tried to stay still and let her do the work but you were feeling too excited. Earlier today you had arrived in Palm Springs, ready to head over to the festival and show off your outfit that you had spent three weeks planning beforehand.

You didn’t know how you had gotten so lucky. One minute you had been uploading your pictures on instagram and it had blown up, gaining over a hundred thousand followers the first few months. By the time you had reached five hundred thousand, you had started up a Youtube channel, and a year later you had gained over two million on your channel and been invited to numerous events. Coachella being one of them.

Keep reading

8

You got me hooked up on the feeling
You got me hanging from the ceiling
Got me up so high; I’m barely breathing
So don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me, don’t let me go

anonymous asked:

Based on my reading, fight scenes tend to be best written with shorter sentences and use sluglines to help avoid it from becoming a wall of text. The writer should add details of what happens, but focus more on giving the desired feel of the scene than an list of every strike.

Sure, that’s one way to go about it but I’d hazard though that it is possible to have a fascinating fight sequence which is a wall of text. (And, actually, I’m sure there are in The Lord of the Rings and probably War and Peace or the more downright confusing translations of Father’s and Son’s, I’m just too lazy to go digging.) A scene is defined by how successfully it manages to keep the reader’s attention so they remain invested in the action occurring on the page.

The issue with writing advice of any kind is that any ground rules laid down will be broken in fairly short order by a hundred other books. The other problem is that the vast of advice majority depends on the styles of the times rather than the writing itself. A fight scene can be anywhere from a single sentence to five or even ten pages long, or longer. There’s no clear metrics for creativity.

The only rule is there aren’t any rules. Not even when it comes to grammar. The only metric for success is based on what you can get away with, and how well you hold the attention of your audience. Many of the best writers we remember were people with enough confidence to look at the rulebook and throw it out the window. Writing is mostly trial and error, and figuring out what works best for us as individual creatives. The best thing to do is throw out the shoulds and learn to trust yourself. Take the Barbossa line from Pirates of the Caribbean to heart, “the Code is more what you call guidelines than actual rules.”

The great secret of every creative you admire is that we’re all mostly making it up as we go along. The only quality you truly need is the willingness and courage to leap off the platform without looking back, and see if maybe you’ll fly. 99% of writing is learning how to nor give a crap about what other people think. Or, what we think other people think. The voices that whisper we’ll never do it right and that we’re not good enough.

Don’t listen to the voices. Go with your gut.

Besides, talking sentence is almost pointless because everyone’s writing style is different and their narrative structure is also different. The best fight scenes are like dessert or a topping, they serve as a means to enhance your narrative and build it up rather act as a full course meal. Each scene and sequence are a dish to go with that meal or just an ingredient. Sometimes, they might be able to function as meals unto themselves but are excellent when consumed together.

The best fight sequences are the ones which maintain the audience’s suspension of disbelief. They can go about doing that in a number of ways, from utilizing the five senses to the author making excellent use of their set pieces, but usually come together when the author has a solid grasp of what they want from the scene and understand how to go about getting it.

The how is usually what trips people up, how to translate what we’ve envisioned in our minds to the page. The more you understand about a subject, any subject then the better you’ll be at figuring out how to get what you want. This may involve some reevaluation of what, specifically, you wanted to begin with in order to start asking the right questions.

The more you understand about warfare, and how warfare has grown, changed, and transitioned throughout history then the better you’ll be at writing magical, fantasy battles.

If you want to write Rurouni Kenshin anime fight scenes, starting with research into Kendo, Iaido, Budo, and that specific historical period in Japanese history will ultimately help you parse through where inspiration was drawn.

Sometimes, we need to ask the wrong questions before getting to the right answers. You want to write in a similar vein to what you’ve drawn inspiration from then start with understanding how it works.

It may suck when looking for a quick and easy answer, but the truth is that good work isn’t easy. It’s difficult. It takes a lot of investment, both mental and emotional. And there will never be anyone who can get to the bottom of what you want better than you can, because you know what you’re looking for. You just need to figure out how to get there. Investigation, essentially, is key to writing good fight scenes.

When you understand basic concepts like distance and the order of operation in a fight, moving between different zones until we end up on the ground, then the fight sequences won’t feel like just a static listing of techniques. Instead, they become interesting due to the fight actually moving. (The issue with many fight scenes is lack of progression.)

The second issue is choreography. When writing fight scenes, the writer’s closest relation is a film’s stunt choreographer. That’s a different set of priorities beyond just “realistic or no?” because a novel, like a movie has its own setting rules that it abides by outside the realm of the real world. The key issue for many writers is they either don’t know enough about martial arts or have a ready grasp of various techniques to choreograph a fight. Then get down on themselves, forgetting that fight choreography is a craft in and of itself. The best scenes we see in movies are often choreographed by seasoned, if not master, martial artists. 9/10 when you’ve got someone asking for a fight scene, they’re asking for choreography. They want to know how to structure a fight so it’s interesting to read/watch.

A fight scene that utilizes it’s environment, laying down the groundwork and foreshadowing objects like staircases as the fight progresses will create a sense of catharsis for the audience when a character finally throws another down those stairs. Or grabs a frying pan off the counter. Or starts throwing plates. Or is out numbered against a group of bullies, and maneuvers their way around the hallway to pull the fire alarm. (They see the fire alarm before they get jumped, or when they’re trying to figure out what to do, then try to get to it.)

Fight scenes work when we understand a character’s needs, desires, and wants rather than focusing on a need to “show, don’t tell” their fighting ability by making them fight.

Poor fight scenes aren’t just badly written, they serve no purpose other than “proving a character’s fighting ability to the audience” and often feel out of place in the narrative. They are a violation of the character’s stated goals and needs, and often work under a different setting rule set which has no interaction with the main story itself. Poor fight scenes are boring, the illusion breaks and the characters are just paper dolls being mashed together.

After that, the sentence structure is just structure.

In fiction writing, we use sentence structure, grammar, word choice, and even white space on the page as a means of crafting tension and tempo. Tempo in fiction is manipulating the speed at which someone reads. An easy solution is to use progressively shorter sentences to build a sense of tension and imitate the feel that events are actually moving faster. Long sentences feel slower because they take longer to read. That’s the basics, anyway, it becomes a great deal more complicated than that once we get into the inner workings of a single sentence. There’s also beat, rhythm, and rhyme schemes.

If you want to learn how to manipulate emotional experiences in very few words then poetry is what you should be reading.

Basically, all these require various skills. There’s no easy way to develop these skills beyond hard work, practice, and trial and error.

The first step is: get over the fear of failing.

You’ll try, you may fail, it may not work the way you want on the first go. You’ll probably have to go back to the drawing board multiple times, and that’s okay. You’re not alone if you sit at your computer watching a single fight sequence you love on repeat a few hundred times trying to figure out how it works. That’s normal.

It takes work to gain knowledge and then figure out how to apply it contextually. You’ve got to learn about the subject then learn how to make that knowledge work for you. The process is often embarrassing, sometimes clumsy, and we may feel like we suck because we’re unfairly comparing ourselves to experts in the field. A writer is a perpetual student seeking out new knowledge and new information. Whatever we’re digging into will always be more complicated than we initially thought.

TLDR: It’s difficult to write fight scene involving guns if you don’t know how guns or bullets work. That follows for everything else.

-Michi

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I am so tired of hearing “look at you, you could have any girl you want” because a. Every girl that I have ever wanted has never wanted me or b. Has completely fucked me around and then just stomped on my heart a few hundred thousand times just to make sure I was as broken as I could possibly be. So, no I can not have any girl I want, in fact I can never ever have the girl I want.

Sing Along

So a little bit ago my lovely friend @nalusrainbowtree messaged me a little prompt and I’m honestly in love with it. 

Prompt:

You know what fic I need? One where lance is listening to his music but no one's around so he takes the headphones out and just plays it out loud. Bohemian Rhapsody starts playing and he gets really into well the other paladins hear and start singing with him word for word. Allura and Coran look at them in horror at the lyrics (‘momma just killed a man, put a gun against his head pulled my trigger now he’s dead’) 

I’m so excited to write this, I love Bohemian Rhapsody or anything by Queen. 

Also slight homesick Lance because I had too 

Lance was cleaning his lion, he needed to keep busy. Being still made him too fidgety. It made him feel lazy, like he was suppose to be doing something, so he started to clean. 

He started with his room, making his bed, dusting his shelf, washing his closes, organizing his bathroom and vacuuming the floor. Yet Lance still felt like he hadn’t done enough so he moved into the kitchen. 

Hunk usually kept the kitchen pretty clean but Lance still found things to clean. He scrubbed the stove a few hundred times, he washed the dishes and wiped down the counters. 

Lance hummed as he cleaned, he felt more at home than he ever felt on the castle. Lance leaned back and rested his elbows on one of the counters, his eyes fluttering shut and he sighed. Just like home, cleaning. Now I’m just missing music and my family dancing and singing. Lance’s eyes flew open as he thought about what he just said. “MUSIC! I need music!” He looked around the kitchen, “now where are Pidge’s headphones?” 

-

Lance was on a roll, he had already cleaned the common room, the bridge, the star room and was now making his way down to Blue’s hanger. Music was pulsing through his veins and he could feel the beat in his bones. Lance had his phone on high volume and swayed to the beat as he strolled into the hanger. 

Blue immediately perked up at her paladins presence and Lance gave her a huge smile, pulling his headphones around his neck. “Hey beautiful, ready to be cleaned?” Lance heard her purr and started to wipe down one of her front paws. 

Lance started to scrub at some of the dirt but found himself working up a sweat the longer he scrubbed. Man this stuff is really on here. He felt sweat fall down his face and soon pulled off his headphones and unplugged them from his phone. “Well Blue, I hope you like my music.” Lance was off again, his music echoing off the big room and Lance’s voice blasting through the music. 

Lance’s mom always liked his voice and Lance liked signing for her, she always encouraged Lance to sing everywhere and he fell in love with singing. Every time he sang he felt closer to his mom and the hole in his chest filled in a bit more. 

Lance was so lost in thought thinking about his family that he completely missed the first words to one of the best songs ever. His brain focused on the words around, “Is this just fantasy?” and without hesitation Lance immediately started to belt the lyrics. 

Caught in a landslide! No escape from reality!” Lance started to dance around the room, the familiar harmonies fill his ears. 

Look up to the sky and seeeeeeeee!” Lance heard another voice join him and looked toward the door, seeing Hunk smiling as he kept singing. 

Lance ran towards his best friend and they both continued the lyrics. “I’m just a poor boy!” 

I need no sympathy!” Pidge ran into the room and immediately joined the two boys in their singing. The three of them sand “To meeeeeee,” and without fail both Keith and Shiro entered the room, singing the piano part, keeping their voices light for the piano. 

Lance gave a giggle at what they were doing and immediately composed himself to sing the most tragic part. “Mamaaaaaa, just killed a mannnnn. Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he’s dead. Mamaaaa life had just begun!! But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away!” 

The five paladins kept on signing, filling each word with emotions for the story that they were telling, all completely oblivious to the two Alteans who entered the room to check on the noise and their horrified expressions. 

“Coran! Did the paladins kill a man?” Allura whispered as she grabbed onto the older man’s arm in fear and concern for her paladin. 

“I do not know princess.” Coran stared at them, “maybe they finally lost it?” 

The paladins kept singing, all of them swaying to the beat keeping the mood heavy. “Too late, my time has comeeee. Sent shivers down my spine,” Lance moved his hand down as to motion the chimes and Keith smiled widely at him. “Body’s aching all the timeeee. Goodbye everybody, I’ve got to gooooo.” 

“Are the paladins leaving? Coran they can’t leave they need to defeat Voltron! And why are they singing to their ‘mama’?” Allura stepped forward to questioned the paladins but Coran stopped her, she didn’t understand the stroy at all. 

“Princess, let’s not jump to conclusions, maybe they are just having fun?” Coran voice was low and he didn’t even believe himself. 

“Killing a man is fun?! Oh I do not wish to visit Earth.” Allura placed a hand on her head as the group moved on to another part of the song. 

Lance took this part over, dramatically falling to his knees. “I don’t want to dieeeeee! Sometimes wish I’d never been born at allllll!” The paladins all played invisible instruments and Allura looked like she was ready to slap some sense into her paladins, hoping they would explain the song. 

“Does Lance really think that?” 

The paladins still ignored their guest and soon broke out into piano playing, switching between the notes for Gallieo. Pidge taking the high notes while Shiro took the low notes. Lance went solo for the next part and his friends covered the background notes. 

I’m just a poor boy nobody loves me.” 

HE’S JUST A POOR BOY FROM A POOR FAMILY!

The paladins unconsciously split into groups, Lance, Keith and Pidge singing the first “LET HIM GOOOO!” While Hunk and Shiro sung, “BISMILLAH! WE WILL NOT LET YOU GO!” This followed to the hard guitar playing and the paladins screaming at the tops of their lungs, feeling the high fall down towards the end. 

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN STOP ME AND SPIT IN MY EYEEEEEE? SO YOU THINK YOU CAN LOVE ME AND LEAVE ME TO DIEEEEE?? OHHHH BABY!” The paladins played intense air guitar as they danced around the room, ignoring the words and stopping when the song started to come down from its high. 

Nothing really mattersssss, anyone can see. Nothing really matters. Nothing really matters. To meeeeeeeeeeeee.” The group stopped where they started, only then realizing Allura and Coran horrified faces. They all caught there breath for a minuet and Lance waved them over. 

“Hey you guys, did you like the song?” The paladins smiled at the two of them and Allura couldn’t contain her emotions anymore. 

“That was the most confusing sing ever! You killed a man then sang to be let go??? I have so many questions.” She leaned against Blue and heard laughter around her. 

“Join the club Princess.” 

Does anyone actually understand this song????? Jk

I based this off of how my sisters and I act when we sing this song, it’s a family and school classic. 

I had so much writing this and I really hope you have fun reading it!!!!

I recommend that you check out this song if you haven’t heard it before! 

Thank you so much for letting me write this

I hope you like it! Sorry it took so long!!!!!

INTERNET FRIEND MOONBIN

Originally posted by tt-aeils

bear with me please this is my first bullet point fic and my first fanfic since like 7th grade?? mlp was a dark stage

-okay so you aren’t tumblr famous really but you do have a few hundred followers on tumblr and you put time and effort in your theme and stuff, like ur blog is classy but trashy,,

-you pretty much use Tumblr daily and you are a bts blogger and post gifs that you make for bts and a few headcanons

-so one day in math class you get like 30 notifications that someone liked and reblogged your gifs

Keep reading

It will all be washed away. The backyard and the boulevard and the soccer field and the Home Depot. Everyone you’ve ever known or will know will die, and eventually, you will be forgotten. The place where you’re sitting, reading this, that will go away, too, with time. If nothing else, the Earth will eventually be reduced to a cinder, orbiting a dead star, what reminders of life were once on it long ago burned away. You know this. I know this. But to carry on in our day to day lives is to ignore this fact, over and over, to keep consuming and keep moving and stop thinking about the darkness up ahead, the one that could be just a few feet from here or several hundred miles.

The time we have is so short. We’re on this planet for maybe a century, and more likely three-quarters of one. The things we do most likely won’t be noted by historians or scholars, and it’s unlikely we’ll create anything that gets revisited and analyzed centuries from now. How many people still read Baudelaire? (And he’s a genuinely important writer!) The people who last are the people who change the face of the Earth, and you’re lucky if you get two or three of them a century. Not everybody can be Shakespeare or the Beatles or Albert Einstein or Gandhi. Most of us will fade away, a dim silhouette on a wall marked with the passage of time. There won’t even be a dot on the map to say we were here.

The moment you realize all of this is the moment you chase it all away, because serious contemplation of it is depressing at best and suicide-inducing at worst. The truth often functions in that way. It can be a bracing slap to the face, a call to arms. But more likely than not, it will terrify us. Everybody on The Sopranos has been confronted at one time or another with these very thoughts, and they’ve constantly backed away from them. Carmela goes to Paris in “Cold Stones,” and she realizes that her time is so short, that she’s unlikely to last as long as the cold, stone faces of the statues she stares into. When she breaks down to Rosalie in the ruins of an old bathhouse, she says the words that start this piece, then says she spends so much time in worry, when that’s the least helpful thing she could be doing. But what else can she do? It’s a rigged game either way. When she gets home, it’s as if the epiphany—or the one she has telling her Adriana died—didn’t even exist. She slips back into her life like a comfortable old shoe.

The first half of the final season of The Sopranos involves David Chase grabbing his characters by the shoulders and screaming, “Wake the fuck up! This is all going to be over soon!”

-this is from Todd Vanderwerff’s av club writeups of The Sopranos and i read it 2 years ago and it’s always stuck with me.

The gender reveal
  • (The year is 2017; Harry and Draco, aged 37, find themselves at a gender reveal party.)
  • Draco: I don't understand this at all, Potter.
  • Harry, sighing: It's George's newest bestseller. St Mungo's sends WWW the fetus's sex and they magic fireworks to reveal the news. Blue fireworks for boy, pink for girl.
  • Draco: I know that. What I don't understand is why.
  • Harry: It's insane. That's why you don't understand. And another thing! It's not a "gender" reveal. It's a "sex" reveal.
  • Draco, raising an eyebrow: You and Hermione need to stop reading those Witch and Gender Studies books.
  • Harry: I'm serious! All they know is whether the baby will come out with a penis!
  • Draco: Admittedly, an important factor. Oh Salazar, look. We are not playing this game, Harry.
  • Harry: What are they doing?!
  • Draco: I think they're Charming one team blue and one team pink and having them race? This is so undignified. Quick, Disillusion me. Did you bring your Cloak?
  • Harry: Shut up. What I don't understand is, who cares if they have a boy or a girl?
  • Draco: Say what you want about Pureblood traditions, Potter. Call us regressive. Call us bigoted. We would never tolerate this nonsense. Only you barmy progressives could come up with something so preposterous.
  • Harry: Oh bloody hell. Now they have pink and blue cakes and we're supposed to guess the sex by way of eating cake.
  • Draco: Can I demand a blue cake with pink frosting?
  • Harry, laughing: Yes! Let's do it! Let's sneak up and Transfigure them! You make the blue frosting pink on yours. I'm going to make my whole cake rainbow. Can I write "Queer AF" on top? That's what the kids say these days, right?
  • Draco, smirking: Oh, I dare you. If you actually do that, I will do the dishes for a month.
  • ....... Five minutes later......
  • Harry, grimacing: I've never seen a grandmother so angry.
  • Draco, scowling: I've never been accused of brainwashing a fetus before.
  • Harry: Do you think we can leave yet?
  • Draco: Potter, you are the most conspicuous guest at any gathering. No, I don't think we can sneak out before the penis-status announcement.
  • Harry: Have I mentioned how stupid I think this is.
  • Draco: A few hundred times. And though you know I agree with you, you need to stop whining about it.
  • Harry, smirking: Make me, Malfoy.
  • *Heated snogging*
  • Draco: Oh good, here comes the announcement about the presence or absence of the fetus vagina.
  • Harry, snickering: I don't think I've ever heard you say the word 'vagina' before.
  • Draco: Well, it's not in my general vocabulary.
  • Harry: Thank Merlin for that. ... Oh God, here it comes.
  • *Fireworks*
  • Draco: Annnnnnnnnd the fetus has a penis.
  • Harry: I don't understand how I'm supposed to be feeling right now. Am I supposed to be happy?
  • Draco: I don't know. Salazar. I am NOT wearing one of those "It's a Wizard!" hats.
  • Harry: Can we leave yet?
  • Draco: Yes, thank Merlin.
  • Harry: Do we have to say goodbye?
  • Draco: You have absolutely no manners.
  • Harry: Well what the fuck am I supposed to say? Glad to hear your fetus has a cock?
  • Draco: Just shut your mouth and I will do the pleasantries for both of us, then we can go home and I'll show you what else has a cock.
  • Harry, leering: Can we do a reveal with fireworks?