Okay, the rumblings have come to fruition, fic writers! After some discussion with @puzzlingpeace, we’ve decided that this Saturday, March 25, at 10:00 P.M. EST, we are going to do a rewatch of the classic episode Ice and tack on a tipsy writing challenge after the rewatch.
We’ll do a fun drinking game (or two) during the actual episode, and the “challenge” will simply be this: Write for one hour after the conclusion of the episode and post what you’ve come up with. No beta, no word count restrictions, just post. Easy enough, right?
We think it’ll be a fun way to bond and a unique way to grease some of the gears of your mind that may normally be stuck in place
with some extra libation.
Obviously, you must be of legal drinking age if you’re going to participate in the drinking game. And, with @startwreck‘s blessing, we’re bogarting her chatroom-style for the purposes of this rewatch.
Episode will start promptly at 10:00 P.M. EST, so sign in a little early, and have your beverage of choice in hand! Reminders to come as the day approaches!
It’s difficult for me to recommend thrillers to non-thriller readers. I
grew up reading them and so have a high tolerance for the genre
conventions. You know, men named Jack or Tom who will later be played by
Denzel Washington or Liam Neeson. Shadowy figures from whichever
country your grandpa thinks is sketchy. We need YOU, civilian man with
no training, to help us with this investigation, or it will all fall
apart. Machine guns referred to by brand, in case you were in the market
yourself. A certain number of fridged relatives in order to grease the
emotional gears of the plot machinations. Titles like DOUBLE-CROSSED and
DON’T LOOK BACK and MAN ON THE RUN and TRIGGER HAPPY.
Look, I know.
I think BEFORE THE FALL is a mystery/thriller I can recommend to
non-thriller readers. “This,” I will tell them, “is a thriller!”
Actually I will mean, “This is what I always want thrillers to be.”
hook is simple: a small plane crashes with two fancy business moguls on
it. Also in attendance are their families and a down-on-his-luck
painter. Only the painter and a four-year-old boy survive. The narrative
winds back and surges forward in order to examine the events leading up
to the crash and the consequences after.
It’s fast-paced and
tightly plotted, which is always on the menu of Genre Thriller Cafe. But
BEFORE THE FALL also has a playful turn of the phrase, a decidedly
character-driven story, and something to say about the media. It means
that while you’re devouring this particular menu item, you’ll find that
you might have to stop to chew, a welcome request in a genre that in
both print and film has been overflowing with lump-free puddings since
the 80s. I’ll be putting this one on the plates of both my
thriller-loving friends and those who normally stick with more literary
Mechu-Deru: Anakin's Relationship With Machines and The Force
Mechu-Deru is a Force ability that involves machinery. It is quite rare as technology isn’t alive and most Jedi would struggle to interact with it using the Force. The principle behind it is that one places one’s own Force energy into it and thereby communes with the machinery.
Unsurprisingly, Anakin is significantly skilled at mechu-deru. It is one of his greater areas of strength in the Force and he has used it, instinctually, from a young age. Anakin finds that beyond his skill in programming, mathematics, engineering, and just being a general grease-monkey and gear-head, he can place his hands on any machine, channel the Force into, see what’s wrong and know how to fix it. Better yet, he can see how it’s been made, how it should be, and how to go about making it better. He loves doing it. It’s just so satisfying.
I would say that Anakin appreciates mechu-deru on another level, however, that goes beyond mere enjoyment. As discussed in this post, Anakin struggles a great deal with ‘excess’ from the Force. Being able to channel the extra Force into machinery must help him manage being as powerful as he is. He probably keeps things to fiddle with in his pockets for those times when he’s overwhelmed and doesn’t know how to channel it. In fact, you can tell when Anakin is getting too much ‘background noise’ when he pulls out a tiny project from his belt, his comm if he’s desperate, and starts fiddling with it to drain away the surplus Force. This is why moving meditation is Anakin’s favourite form of meditation and why he goes straight to his Starfighter when he needs to focus, because when the Force is pounding him, (and he was never taught how to handle that), he can relieve himself of it, to a small extent, by pushing it into the machinery he works with.
2. There’s nobody left alive Outside. That’s why we give thanks, every day, for the strong metal walls and the kindly thrum of the ventilation fans, the holy work-tables of the machinists and the sacred aquaponics room. They keep us alive, when all the world has died.
3. The Council is wise. The Hereafters protect us.
4. There are people alive Outside, but they’re cannibal monsters who eat their own babies and would tear you to pieces in a moment.
5. What happened to Mama was for her good and ours.
6. If you crawled up the ventilation shafts, squeezed your way past gear and wheel, pried open every metal plate, you would see the sky. But the sky isn’t blue anymore: it’s black and red and rains poison that can melt the flesh from your bones. There are no stars left at all.
7. You should be glad you’re still alive. You know what usually happens to girls like you.
8. It’s not cruel and ugly Outside. It’s beautiful, too beautiful, because the world wasn’t broken by weapons, and not by humans at all: it was broken by monsters, creatures so beautiful and heartless that anyone who sees them, becomes one of them.
9. Papa came from Outside. (Only Mama ever said this, late at night and softly, softly into my hair.) Papa came from Outside, and he said there were people and stars and blue, blue skies. He said it and he loved us so it must be true.
10. We are all of us happy and lucky, here underground.
These are the things that I remember:
1. Mama’s hands turning pages of her tattered old books. Her smile as I sounded out the letters: Blue sky. Green grass. Sasha’s anxious frown, as she sat by the door, listening for the drumbeat of the Hereafters’ feet as they marched by on patrol.
2. Four bowls of rice soup becoming two. Mama poured hers into yours, Sasha poured hers into mine, and when I was little, I didn’t realize they were lying when they said they weren’t hungry.
3. The first time I realized what my songs could do. I was greasing the gears in the Left-Left-Top Corridor, and thinking of the Outside that I would never see, and I hummed a half-forgotten song. It slid into something else, a tune soft but deep that hummed in my chest and made the metal walls shiver in reply. There are a hundred dead lights in the Left-Left-Top Corridor, lights that never glow even when we get double rations—but when I sang, they sparked and kindled to life, shimmering all around me, and I wondered if this was what Mama’s books meant when they talked about stars.
4. The moment I decided not to tell anyone but you, Kisa, my little sister. The way that you laughed and clapped your hands when I sang and the dead lamps in our quarters glowed to life.
5. The swift, sharp knock-knock-knock against the door before they broke it open.
6. Mama, weeping and begging as the Hereafters dragged her away, as they pried open the secret cupboard and took all the books.
7. The way that nobody would look at us, for weeks after.
8. The little bit of bone that they gave us to put in our memorial jar. It’s the same as everyone gets for dead and cremated kin, and I hated it. If they’d only been a little crueler, not let us have any piece of her, I could have pretended she was still alive.
9. Sasha’s face, painted the same bone white as all the rest of the Hereafters. The brass rings on her fingers, the hooked knives on her belt. The steady drumbeat of her steel-shod feet, as she marched in formation. Her cold voice, as she told us she was joining them to atone for Mama’s sins.
10. Two full bowls of rice, heaped with fish and vegetables. Our reward for Sasha’s service.
These are the things that I wonder:
1. Did Sasha tell the Hereafters about Mama?
2. Did she hesitate before she told them about me?
3. Is there a world Outside?
4. Did Papa really come from there?
5. Will you ever forgive me?
These are the things that I know:
1. I can’t become a Hereafter. Some people say the training eats their hearts and breaks their minds, makes them unable to disobey the Council. And some say they just kill all the recruits who aren’t ruthless enough. Whatever’s true, if I join them, there won’t be any of me that survives it.
2. I can’t stay. The Council won’t let a girl who can sing electricity run free. Now that they know about me—now that Sasha has seen me and told them—I don’t have a choice. They will make me a Hereafter or they will kill me.
3. I can’t take you with me. I’m sorry, Kisa, but I can’t bet your life the way I bet mine.
4. Mama believed there was a world Outside, one we could live in. She believed that Papa came from there.
5. Mama was a liar. She swore she’d never leave us.
6. I may die tomorrow. The Hereafters could easily catch me. The machinery between here and the surface could easily eat me. What I find above could easily do worse than destroy me.
7. I’m going anyway.
8. Whatever happens, as long as I’m myself, I will remember you.
9. And if I find a way, I will return to set you free.
Vox Machina as pirates. Not just pirates, but pirates of the air, sailing a hijacked airship kept aloft through magic and mechanics and a great deal of ingenuity. People speak of the crew with awe and fear alike, these figures of legend who arrive with the clouds and disappear into the open sky after they pillage and plunder and strike down tyrants and monsters, thieves and saviors all in one.
Captain Pike Trickfoot, who took to the life as if she were born to it, wanderlust and freedom in her blood, and she is not a cruel captain but she is strong, sharp and quick, bright as lightning and twice as dangerous.
Her first mate Grog Strongjaw, who joined her for a debt owed and stayed out of loyalty, who may not know his number or letters but he knows the feel of wind on his face and a good day of hard work and how to apply the right level of force when things don’t go as planned. And things rarely go as planned.
Scanlan Shorthalt, bard extraordinaire, who promised his services in exchange for a lift away from a sticky situation he finds himself in. Then he saw Captain Trickfoot, and that was it. And anyways, the freedom of traveling the open skies puts even his days with the troupe to shame; this is a wanderer’s dream.
The twins, Vex and Vax, who begged and bartered their way aboard. It was Vex who convinced Pike in the end. She has longed for wings since she was young and will do whatever she can to grasp this opportunity; she has grown skilled at refusing to let things slip through her fingers, coin and chance alike. Pike likes her pirate spirit; a hunger for gold is not so out of place aboard this ship.
Her brother comes with her, a shadow, but this ship sails beneath the sun among the open sky, and there is nowhere for a shadow to hide. He grows wings of his own, dark and heavy with the promise of freedom. (He also takes great pleasure in baiting the first mate, and Pike sighs and lets it go. Some battles are not worth fighting.)
Keyleth the Ashari, who pays good coin for nothing more than transportation and falls in love with the wind in her hair and the emptiness around her. It is the closest thing to home she knows, she confesses to Pike in secret, when she thinks they will make her leave. But Pike is not so cruel as to refuse someone the open skies. In return, Keyleth makes the ship her duty; it sails smoothly through the air, carefully tended to by the druid who knows what it means to fly.
And Percy, a boy running and running and running, who takes to the skies to hide from his nightmares and stays because he has never known anything so wonderful as the wind in his hair, as days on deck drenched with sun and rain alike. He falls in love with the ship, with the gears and grease of it. He falls in love with the people, their brightness and their shadows and their ingenuity and their wildness. There is a security in knowing he can put down roots and keep moving; the ground will still be there when he is ready. And, besides. They could use a good mechanic.
hello. i'm new to Furby collecting and have just bought a 1999 Furby Baby, and this one's gears are very loud. sometimes i can't hear what Cali is saying above the grinding gear noises. idk if you've made a post on this already that you could direct me to, but i would very much like to know what i could do to grease/oil the gears up a bit to make them a little quieter?
I have a post about this exact topic right here, with a follow-uphere!
I’ve heard that it is Atem’s birthday tomorrow (and even if it’s not, I’ll take the excuse). I am going to be traveling tomorrow via car, so I’m not sure how much I’d be able to do, but if people send in Atem and/or Yami related prompts (for sketches or short one shots) I’d love to at least get the gears greased and churning for when I have time to fulfill them!
Can be ship related or not. Can even be just words. Give me something to think about while I’m trapped in the car for what will probably be 6 hrs but feel like an eternity.
In his candidacy, we saw the resurrection of the KKK, a vast indifference to rape allegations, increased social media assaults on people with Jewish last names, a promise to undo whatever meager protection of rights we have for LGBTQ. We watched the Republicans pout and scream and ultimately get what they want because they are elderly, white men, regardless of procedural precedence or the Constitution.
We witnessed the hammering away at what little safe space people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants & first generation Americans, Muslims, and women have carved for themselves.
As a white man, I’m aware of inequalities and harassment and murder that masquerade as a Great America™, and I’m also aware that Donald Trump does not bring anything unique to the Republican platform, except unrefined rhetoric. But as a white man, I also know the previously refined rhetoric of conservative (and liberal) politicians has helped to hide from me the quotidian reality of racism, sexism, xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and systemic white supremacy. “Hey look, our president, hates racism and sexism too! It’s gonna be fine, you guys.”
I’d like to move away. I’d like to never return home to America, because right now I hate it. I hate America and can’t look it in the eye. But that’s not an option for most people. Not an option for most people who are egregiously punished for their blackness, their otherness, their gender.
I can only hope under a new president that those who have the ability to effect change do remember that change can happen. It’s been happening thanks to social media, millennials, and a spirit of ‘fuck this bullshit’ that has inspired a generation of people tired of getting killed and assaulted. I hope people who are not victims of this kind of everyday abuse can hear and see beyond just what our white/male/cisgender-dominated culture and media allow them to see.
When the transmission falls out of your car, you have to repair or replace nearly everything. But when you just have a small leak, or a weird grinding noise when you drive, you don’t think you have to take action right away. The real damage has been muted and you convince yourself nothing’s seriously wrong, and everything still works, so why spend the time and money dealing with it? But when the car won’t start and there’s a puddle of grease and gears below, you know what needs to be done. And that it will be inconvenient, costly, and painful to deal with.
Perhaps in some ways this fight will be more clear-cut than with liberal leadership, wherein we’ve pretended like our leaders will do something about it. (I’m not trying to find a silver lining on a turd cloud here. I’m simply framing what might be ahead.) Perhaps if the leader is supremely ineffective and antagonistic, it will force more of us to take stands, to make phone calls, to donate money/time, to speak out against injustice, to protest, to know the difference between supporting people and taking on their challenges as your own, to look (I mean *really* look) at what is happening to those most affected by the racist underbelly that has never not been a part of American history.
“Cause now the KKK wears three-piece suits” - Chuck D
The illusion of the internet was the idea that the opinions of powerless people, freely offered, had some impact on the world. This was, of course, total bullshit and based on a crazy idea of who ran the world.
The world was not run by its governments. The world was not run by its celebrities.
The world was run by its bankers. The world was run by its investor class. The world was run by its manufacturers. The history of human destiny was money, the men who controlled it, and nothing more.
Money, a measure of humiliation, was the only thing that mattered.
The illusion of opinions, freely offered, was encouraged because it made money for bankers. It made money for investors. It made money for manufacturers, who enslaved the citizens of far off nations to build the devices required for the free offering of opinions.
The one thing that freely offered opinions did not do, at all, was change the world. Opinions were only more words, only more shit that someone somewhere made up, and words were grease in the gears of capitalism…
Words were not power. Take it from a professional writer. The only place where words have power are scrawled on a bathroom wall. The only effect of the words of powerless people on the Internet was to inflict misery on other powerless people.