highlight of our experience

I think the story they are trying to tell with OQ over this arc is that the young Regina pre-Evil Queen who Tink brought to the tavern that night, never would have worked with this version of Robin. Wish realm!Robin, who didn’t go through what Regina’s Robin did. He needed his experiences, his life with Marian, the loss of Marian and a son to make him the man that could fit with Regina, a former Evil Queen who’d done terrible things, lost love, and found love in a son.

What I think they’re trying to accomplish is putting a bow on the tavern, page 23, and all of the what if’s surrounding them not meeting at that point in Regina’s life. Because even if she had put her fear aside and gone in, it wasn’t meant to be because they weren’t the same people then that they were when they met.

That fits with the themes this season. The wish realm storyline highlighting that it’s our experiences and pain that shape who we are. And the split queen storyline, where I hope it’s going, in saying that Regina needed that side of herself all along.

Quite frankly I think that’s a beautiful story. It’s a good message about what makes us who we are and that regrets shouldn’t form our perception of ourselves and our story.

It also puts a nice nail in the coffin on Regina only choosing Robin because of pixie dust. She loved Robin for who he was just as he did her. And even though magic led her to him sooner, that doesn’t mean it was meant to be then. Just that it was meant to be eventually.

elibraddock  asked:

♥ What’s the absolute best experience you’ve had in RP?

Originally posted by universaldeaththreats

Honestly? I can’t pick just one. That seems like a cop-out I know, but it kind of feels wrong to single out any experience. Though because I’m being lazy, might as well just go ahead and throw the entirety of the D&D campaign with my current FC out there since that means the least amount of people get excluded. Oh boy do my sides hurt from that… Our current highlights are @neekaxiv ‘s lovely Drow yelling at a poor, underdeveloped Lich as it speeds us down a highway whilst bursting into not quite tears. Aerten you monster. ): <

Seriously if we’e ever RP’d I likely have a ‘highlight’ moment about our shared experiences. Yet we’d be here all day if I went down the list.

On Doing More

I’ve been listening to the Strangers podcast lately during my lunch breaks at work. Every day I look forward to the moment when I get to leave my desk, put in my earbuds, and go for a walk. It’s an escape from a workplace where I feel like an outsider. Being alone is the only thing that doesn’t make me feel lonely. I set my timer for 20 minutes and walk as far as I can go in that amount of time and when the timer goes off, I turn around and walk back. The historic district of Savannah is so beautiful, and during my walks I get to pass through many of the grassy squares that dot the area with their fountains and monuments and pleasantly shaded benches. It’s been amazingly calming to spend that time listening to strangers tell their stories. That’s all the podcast is – different people telling stories about their lives, and often the way that they intersect with other strangers.

Storytelling is important. I believe it’s one of the things that keeps us alive, this ability to weave our histories into narratives, to pull the relevant details and highlight the experiences that shape our personalities, our paths, and our futures. Listening to these stories, even the difficult ones, fills me with a sense of peace.

Recently, I listened to a four episode series about two women, Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth decided that she wanted to donate a kidney to a stranger. She met Mary, a 67-year-old woman in need of a kidney on a website called matchingdonors.com. Through a series of interviews with the women, the story chronicles Elizabeth’s decision to donate, her meeting with Mary, the medical procedure itself, and its aftermath. 

And then it goes a step further. 

You see, after the first episode, there was an unusual amount of listener response, much of it critical. There was, for lack of a better term, a backlash against Elizabeth, about how she was unlikable, or judgmental, or suffering from some kind of God complex. I was shocked by this – I found Elizabeth entirely likable, almost faultlessly so! I was inspired by her kindness and her sense of moral obligation. She also just seemed sweet and kind of funny. Lea Thau, who produces Strangers, and conducted the interviews in this story, was also surprised by the response. Listeners can call in and record their comments through a phone number or via a website. Lea chose to include some of these comments on the episodes, and later, because she was intrigued by the backlash, to interview some of the commenters themselves. 

This is where things get really interesting. The story becomes one that’s not just about altruism, but about our human response to others’ altruistic acts. How we can sometimes view another’s generosity as a judgment of our own selfishness. The story is no longer about one woman donating a kidney, but about how so many of us could donate a kidney, but haven’t and most likely won’t. Of course, you could sub in a number of altruistic acts in place of donating a kidney, but the story remains the same. No matter how much we are already giving, there is always something more we could be doing, lives we could be helping to save, ways that we could be improving the world, but we don’t. And that’s uncomfortable to contemplate. Perhaps so uncomfortable that it can turn us against strangers who appear to be doing more, or giving more than we are, even as we aspire to be like them. 

While I wasn’t angered by Elizabeth, as some people were, I did relate to this discomfort and the problem of comparison. Elizabeth and Lea talk about how everyone has a “level.” The word level refers here to a sort of comfort zone of generosity. We give back according to this level, which is different for each person. It is impossible to listen to this story without asking yourself would I donate a kidney to a family member? A friend? A stranger? And at what point do I decide that one life is worth saving over another?

Lea refers to the discomfort that some listeners felt in hearing Elizabeth’s story, and how they took issue with some of her choices in how and why and where she decided to donate. And then she pulls us back to remind us of the “bigger discomfort that stems from every choice we’re not making and every act we’re not taking to alleviate the suffering in this world.” She says I invite you to sit with that discomfort.

This struck me. 

I’ve been wrestling with some guilt for the past couple of days, wrapped up in the current political climate. How did we, how did I let this smarmy, fear-mongering, terrible man get elected? Why didn’t I do more? 

So many of my friends and acquaintances marched in Washington and New York yesterday. I look at their pictures on instagram and facebook with a mixture of deep pride and deep shame. Where was I? 

I was here, in Georgia, where I don’t know anyone else who cares about what’s going on in Washington. I was running errands and talking on the phone with my mom, and going out for dinner, wishing I was there instead. No one was marching in Savannah, but I should have driven out to Atlanta and marched by myself and stayed in a hotel or I should have flown to DC. I wanted to be there. So why wasn’t I? Because I felt like my voice didn’t matter? Because I didn’t want to do it alone? Because it was easier not to? Isn’t that usually the reason?

It’s easy to fall into a pit of self-loathing. It’s easy to compare myself to friends who live in cities where there were organized and widely publicized marches, friends who have support networks of women and friends around them. Sometimes I mentally berate myself for leaving, for believing it was possible to make the same kind of network here, for not having the energy to try harder. 

Sometimes I think about Liz, who worked so fucking hard to get Hillary elected, and ultimately failed because we didn’t do enough, we didn’t march sooner, we didn’t come with our signs and our voices loud enough to keep this hateful, racist, fame-hungry monster out of the White House. It’s enough to make me feel hateful, too, and to direct that hate toward myself or toward other people who didn’t do enough. 

On the podcast, Lea says:

“It won’t do any good to hate ourselves for not doing more. We should feel challenged when we’re confronted with the limits of our own generosity, but we must also have compassion for ourselves because otherwise self-loathing becomes just another place to hide, another excuse to do nothing. There’s only one thing to do, I think, and it is to stop the anger and the self-pity and the self-loathing and figure out what we will do, even if it’s small.”

This is a good place to start. This is a reminder for myself. Start here as many times as you need to. Start here again and again.



Last month we spent an unforgettable week in Kazakhstan. This was our first time visiting Denis Ten’s home country. Denis was one of the first friends we made at our first Junior Grand Prix back in 2008.

While this was the third year of #DenisTenAndFriends, this was the first year our schedule allowed us to skate in the show. It took us 28 hours, but it was definitely worth it. Almaty is a stunning city and the crowd was so welcoming and enthusiastic. The production of the show was impressive and a highlight for us was skating to a live orchestra for the first time. We spent time with old friends and had the opportunity to get to know skaters we’ve always admired. Many special memories were made with wonderful people. Denis was a fantastic host and his “friends” left feeling more like family.

Like Denis says, Kazakhstan is a very beautiful country. We can’t wait to return.

We hope you enjoy this video highlighting our experience!
Maia and Alex



Don’t miss your opportunity to join the 4th annual Botanicality Tumblr Spring Botanical Art Show. This tumblr original contest is the opportunity to expose amateur and professional artists working in contemporary visual arts to a wider digital audience. Our exhibition is a showcase meant to highlight the spring botanical experience in 2-D mediums. Submitted art should relate to the theme of the spring botanical experience.

Full details available here.

Click here to see the above and all other submitted artwork in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Previous artists pictured above: @johnfrancispetersart, @sainibug and @jessrichardsonphotography 

Well, there goes the “apple juice” - what a TRAGEDY, right?  Jensen and Misha really seemed to love this photo op inspired by JibCon and were hella amused by it.  I was worried they would have no idea what we were talking about but apparently they totally knew what we were going for. Hugs and smiles all around after it was all over and it was probably the highlight of our con experience!

musing-ego  asked:

Hello. Since you're the only science tumblr I follow I thought I would ask you this question. If an interracial couple were to marry, and have children, and their interracial children had interracial children, and so on, how many generations would it take before either the maternal or paternal ethnicity would be completely eliminated? (i.e. if it was a black and white couple and their mixed child married an asian, and their mixed child married an hispanic, and so on.)

Hi there! Thanks for your question. Unforch, this question isn’t really answerable.

Ethnicity and race are social constructs, not useful genetic traits that we can (or should) use to differentiate people. Ethnicity and race can’t “dilute” out (in a genetic sense), because you can’t point to a genome and say “that’s the Hispanic gene” or “There’s the sequence that makes you Asian.” Yeah, we can point to genes that influence skin color or facial features, but that’s not race. It’s biology.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t track genetic differences based on geography and its associated populations, though. We can, and we do. For instance, if we compared the genome sequences of indigenous North, Central and South American populations to, say, Asian and European genome sequences, we would see that the original Americans are more closely related to Asian populations. This matches up to geological studies that suggest that there once existed a Siberian land bridge, and allows us to make hypotheses about human migration patterns across the Earth (not all of those migrations have been voluntary, mind you). 

We can, and have, done the same analysis by comparing modern and ancient samples from place X with modern and ancient African DNA, which is how we know that we the first members of our species left Eastern Africa about 70,000 years ago to settle the four corners of the Earth (which has no actual corners, of course). 

However, like quick-drying cement, this analysis gets really hard, really fast (insert your own dirtier joke there if you like). Genetic fingerprints get jumbled thanks to the huge amount of genetic crossover that happens as part of our meotic sexytime, and because humans have interbred … a lot. Not in a gross (and genetically dangerous) “banjo player in Deliverance” way, but in a “we’re all related” way. We only have to go back 2,000-4,000 years before we find a person who is a common ancestor for every single human alive on Earth, and, for Europeans at least, anyone who was alive and had children 1,000 years ago is the ancestor of every person of European descent alive today

So it only takes a few dozen generations before analysis of our crossed-over, interbred nuclear genomes gets so messy that we’re tracing complex statistics instead of neat and tidy family trees. So to make it easier, instead of nuclear genomes, we often compare the tiny, circular genomes that persist within our mitochondria.

You’ll recall from biology class (you were paying attention, right?!) that our mitochondria used to be free-living bacteria, complete with circular, prokaryotic genomes. While most of that ancient genome has disappeared (or migrated to our own nuclear genome), our cellular energy factories still hold a circle of DNA that gets passed down to baby mitochondria when a cell divides and when a mommy and daddy lie down (or stand up, or whatever page of the Kama Sutra they’re on) and do Grown Up Stuff™. What’s weird is that (probably because eggs are big and sperm are small) every one of your mitochondria came from your mom, not your dad.

By comparing mitochondrial genomes from the past with mitochondrial genomes from around the world today, we are fairly certain that one single female of the Homo sapiens crew, living in Africa about 100,000-200,000 years ago, is the ancestor of every living human being today. We call her Mitochondrial Eve. She wasn’t the only human female alive then, and she wasn’t the only human with mitochondria. She’s just the one whose kids ended up covering the Earth.

Yeah, people whose recent ancestors come from South Asia look different from people whose recent ancestors come from Sweden. But that’s just human genetic variation, the same way that I have blonde hair and my friends Jamie and Eric are orange-haired gingers. 

People have grouped together (and often excluded other groups) throughout history for a variety of reasons, some of them good, and many of them unthinkably horrible. Because of this, our ancestors often bred with those close to them in geography as well as culture, reinforcing bits of human genetic variation in traits like skin color and facial features. We invented “race”. Evolution just made different kinds of people.

All of this is a long way of saying that while your original question doesn’t have an answer, studying genetic differences based on geography and culture is still important to science. Not because it shows us how we are different, but because it highlights our human connections, and reminds us of our shared experience and common origin in a world that could always use a bit more of that kind of thinking.


So last Saturday, I was once again reminded that maggie-stiefvater is an awesome person and following her on Twitter should be mandatory for everyone. I went to BookCon with my brother kokolorus my good friend danahirsch1995 we are au pairs and work spontaneously and at weird times sometimes, we did not arrive there as early as we wanted to. So, even though we were there about two hours before Maggie’s autograph session was to start and about six hours before John Green’s panel, both of them were already full. Ok, we were not that surprised about John Green, but all of us were great fans of Maggie, her work, her presence on tumblr and Twitter and her personality in general (I mean: writer, artist, musician, composer, feminist, role model for young girls and aspiring writers everywhere, owner of several awesome cars and goats, what is not to love?). Needless to say, we were heartbroken for a little bit (also a tiny bit disappointed because that meant that the books that we brought for her to sign had been taken along for nothing, and were now taking up space better used for all the free stuff you get at BookCon). After we were done staring at her crossed-out name in horror and disbelief andasking the staff what that meant (because we were in denial) we accepted the fact that we would have to be content with seeing her panel and went on to enjoy the magical place that is BookCon. At around 2:15, however, Dana decided that it was time to torture ourselves, so we went back to the signing room and walked all the way to the front of the line to watch her meet all these people who had been more punctual than us. Let me tell you, it was hell. (and a little bit creepy. I fully admit, we were creeping, and we are very sorry for that) BUT THEN I saw the line end. There were no more people coming up to her, and because of organizational purposes the end of her line was already for someone else so there was no way to get in line now, but she was still supposed to be there for ten more minutes! AHHH! What do we do? WE WERE STUCK! Standing behind security, about 10 feet away from her, watching her have time on her hands and no more fans to greet and books to sign. So close, and yet so far… …until we saw her take out her phone (I know, I know, totally creeping…) and I decided it was time to take action. I tweeted her our dilemma and asked her to please, please sign our books AND SHE REPLIED IN AN INSTANT! Started looking around, her face lighting up when she heard our excited squeals and saw our frantic waving. Security tried to hold us back BUT SHE FRIGGING WAVED US OVER THROUGH SECURITY, TALKED TO US, ASKED US FOR OUR NAMES, SIGNED OUR BOOKS AND GAVE US A SIGNED COPY OF PIP BARTLETT IN ADDITION TO THAT! We also asked for a picture (WHICH WAS TAKEN BY DAVID LEVITHAN, OH MY GOD), she just laughed maliciously at my plea to save Gansey, HOLY SHIT it was awesome! When we left and stopped for a minute to realize WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED and WHAT WE JUST MET MAGGIE STIEFVATER, we were joined by alchemistique, who had profited from my tweet and sort of jumped on the bandwagon, getting to meet her as well. She turned out to be a delight, so we spent the rest of BookCon together and emerged as good friends at the end of the day. All because of you, Stiefvater! Maggie, thank you so, so much for making this possible for us! It was, without a doubt the highlight of our BookCon experience and we will be forever grateful that you wanted to meet us despite us being not as punctual as your more dedicated fans. I have to admit the surprise and shock turned us into screaming fangirls, so it was probably not the most interesting conversation you had with us. We are much more chill under normal circumstances, I promise. We also completely ignored Jackson Pearce, which was incredibly rude of us, considering that she signed a book for us and shared the autographing table with you. I didn’t realize that until later, when I wasn’t a mess anymore, and I sincerely apologize. Urs, notleyla, but Leila (haha, get it?)