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Merry Merry - Stranger Things Fanfic

Christmas Eve - 1984

El had never celebrated Christmas before, the boys knew this. They didn’t really have to ask - her confused gaze and questioning eyes when they mentioned the name Santa Claus kind of gave it away.

So after explaining the concept of Christmas, and presents and family, maybe even snow if it’s cold enough, El couldn’t wait for Christmas.

After all, it would be her first - and it would be with the people she cared about most.

The whole idea of presents was what encaptured El. And not receiving them - giving them. She liked the sound of people being happy to receive them and remembered the only times she felt happy in the lab were when Papa gave her a present. She wanted people to feel what she felt in those rare moments.

So when Christmas Eve came, and all six kids and their families met at the Wheeler household, El couldn’t contain her excitement, gripping the bag with her friends’ presents even tighter. Hopper looked down at the young girl he was proud to now call his own and smiled adoringly.

“Max and the boys are downstairs, go right ahead.” Karen smiled warmly as El hugged Hopper before rushing towards the basement stairs, almost tumbling down.

“Don’t break anything!” She heard Hopper yell after her. She found it funny when he went into dad mode - it was so rare for him.

Arriving at the bottom of the stairs, El halted in her tracks.

It was breath taking - the bright lights, the colourful streamers, the intricate wreathes. It was beautiful. She’d never seen anything like it!

As soon as she hit the last step, all heads in the room turned in her direction.

“Hey El!” A chorus of voices hit her ears as she made her way over. They were all playing what looked to be a card game.

“Hi,” she blushed, still never warming to the idea of all the attention being on her.

All the boys and Max scrambled to their feet, each coming to give El a big, warm Christmas hug - exactly what she needed during the cold, winter nights.

After receiving the last bear hug from Dustin, El shuffled back so she was standing before all five of her friends.

Slowly and delicately, she raised the bag with all her presents.

“Merry Christmas,” she murmured, her cheeks tinting crimson.

Max was the first to grab the bag, eager to unfold the pink tissue paper concealing the gifts inside.

“Max, don’t snatch.” Will chided, ever the parental figure of the group.

“Sorry…” Max mumbled. El giggled and just shrugged.

Max reached into the large bag, fumbling around until she found a small box enveloped in a large layer of pink tissue with her name scribbled on it.

Max shook it slightly before ripping through the paper, uncovering the box beneath. She turned the box over in her hands before shaking it once more - only a light rattle sounding out.

Eagerly, Max ripped it open to uncover a purple (because it’s not as girly as pink but still stylish) friendship bracelet. In the middle, there was a silver bead with the letter ’M’ printed on it.

El held up her own purple bracelet, only her’s had the letter ‘E.’

“So we match,” She said.

Max smiled adoringly down at the bracelet before giving El yet another hug, murmuring it was the best present she could’ve received.

El smiled before turning to Lucas who was already undoing the tissue paper on his present.

After fumbling with the wrapping for a minute longer, Lucas managed to uncover what was inside - a red camo bandana.

Which conveniently went perfectly with his red Christmas sweater.

“It’s awesome! Thanks so much, El.” Lucas stepped forward to give El a large hug before stepping back and tying it around his head.

“You’re welcome.”

When the kids had turned to the next person, they weren’t at all surprised to find the wrapping paper already on the floor and the present laying delicately in the recipients’ hands.

Low and behold there was a ‘Lando Calrissian’ figurine resting gently on Dustin’s palm. It was a beautiful choice - reminding everyone - well almost everyone - about some of their crazier times together.

“I love it!” Dustin shouted before diving towards El and picking her up like a rag doll.

“Y-you’re welcome, D-Dustin.” El managed to stammer out with limited breath.

“Oh- sorry.” He giggled, placing her down gently before taking his place back between Lucas and Will.

He leant down and picked up the now lighter gift bag, handing it to Will.

Will glanced up at El and gave her a big grin, to which El returned just as sincerely.

Leaning into the bag, Will grabbed the largest of all the presents which had his name scrawled across it in El’s familiar, loopy handwriting.

Delicately removing the tape, he unwrapped the bright pink tissue paper, revealing a large sketchbook and some coloured pencils. Everyone knew of Will’s love for art so they knew how much a present like this would mean to him.

“It’s amazing. Thank you, El.”
Will gushed, looking up at her.

El blushed again and looked down.

“No problem, Will.” She smiled, going forward to give him a quick hug before stepping back.

That left one present in the discarded and slightly crumpled Christmas bag.

“Saved the best for last.” Max teased, picking up the bag and passing it to Mike.

Mike gently took the bag before turning to El.

El refused to meet his gaze and looked down. Out of all the presents in that bag, Mike’s was the only one she was unsure about.

Leaning into the bag, Mike grabbed the flat, rectangular present, coiled tightly in pink tissue paper.

Flipping it over, he removed the tape before slowly undoing the wrapping. After about a minute of nothing but the sound of rumpling and crunching, Mike uncovered the gift.

He almost stopped breathing.

Laying in Mike’s hands was a beautiful silver photo frame, engraved with the word 'promise’ across the top.

And inside the photo slot, was a beautiful candid picture of Mike and El, sitting next to each other, eating eggos and laughing until their guts hurt as they had a picnic in the Wheeler’s backyard. His mum must’ve taken it when they weren’t looking.

It was - perfect. No other word could describe it. She was perfect.

Glancing up, Mike smiled before walking towards El and enclosing her in a loving hug. El wrapped her arms around Mike’s torso, leaning into his warm embrace.

“Thank you, El,” he breathed into her ear, tickling her skin.

“It’s perfect…just like you.” He murmured, pulling back to look her in the eye.

El released a breath, allowing the blood to flow delicately onto her cheeks. She was so relieved and grateful that he liked his gift.

“I-I’m glad you like it.” She mumbled, her cheeks turning even more pink.

“You ready to see your present?” He asked, pulling away from her but keeping a firm grasp on her hand.

“Yes,” she breathed, not able to contain her smile. All the others turned and lead the way out of the basement towards the back door.

Where were they going?

Following after them, Mike and El made their way outside where El stopped in her tracks.

All five of her closest friends were standing there, grinning at her.

A huge smile spread across El’s face.

“Told ya she’d love it.” Dustin giggled, nudging Mike in the arm.

Standing before them was a pink bicycle. El’s very own pink bicycle.

She’d dreamed of owning her own for so long! Not that she didn’t love riding on Mike’s with him of course.

“For me?” She squeaked, still not believing what was really in front of her.

“Yup, all yours!” Lucas piped up.

Will stepped forward, bringing out something from behind his back.

“Just while you get the hang of things,” Will playfully remarked, before presenting a beautiful white helmet decorated with purple, pink and blue flowers.

Taking the helmet in her hand, El looked it over before glancing at the faces of all her friends.

“I-I don’t know wha-what to say.” She stammered, eyes beginning to water.

“You say, Merry Christmas!” Max replied, all the boys following in her words.

El couldn’t believe what amazing friends she had.

“There’s still an hour before dinner, why don’t we go for a ride?” Lucas suggested.

“Yeah, teach El how to ride her own bike for once, hey Wheeler?” Dustin smirked, knowing fully well Mike didn’t want to buy El her own bike.

He’d never admit it to the guys, but he loved it when El wrapped her arms tightly around his waist as they flew through the streets of Hawkins. It’s one of the many things he loved doing with El.

But he knew she’d always wanted her own.

“Uh- yeah.” Mike mumbled, scratching the back of his neck, inadvertently allowing a scarlet red to flood his freckled cheeks.

“Let’s go!” Max yelled, already making her way over to her skateboard.

“Right behind you!” The boys all called, leaving El and Mike standing there.

Turning to El, Mike kept his firm grip on her hand.

“Merry Christmas, El,” Mike smiled, his gaze never once wavering from her own.

“Merry Christmas, Mike,” El smiled, thinking over how grateful she was.

She was so lucky.

It’s already Girls’ Day in Japan, so here’s a list of the components of the components of a full hina doll set, along with a picture. (Most modern sets only include the odairi-sama (emperor and empress dolls), which are considered essential, or the odairi-sama and ladies-in-waiting; full sets take up a lot of space and are extremely expensive.) I’ve listed the dolls on each tier from left to right. If you see anything that should be added or changed, please let me know. :-)

First Tier: Odairi-sama (The Emperor and Empress)

  • Obina: This doll, also known as the emperor, is placed on the left side of the platform in the Kanto area (the area surrounding Tokyo), and the right side of the platform in the Kansai area (the area of western Honshu that includes Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe). He is dressed in a Heian Era court outfit and holds a ritual baton.
  • Mebina:This doll, the empress, is placed on the right side of the platform in the Kanto area , and the left side of the platform in the Kansai area. She is dressed in a multilayered outfit called junihitoe and holds a fan.
  • The dolls are usually placed in front of a golden folding screen. 
  • Accessories such as lamps and sanbo kazari (peach branches in vases) are usually displayed on this tier as well. Basic hina sets usually include these accessories along with the emperor and empress dolls.

Second Tier: San-nin Kanjo (The Three Ladies-in-Waiting)

  • Nagae no Choshi: This lady-in-waiting holds a long-handled ladle for serving sake. She is usually standing.
  • Sanpo: A seated lady-in-waiting with a cup of sake
  • Kuwae no Choshi: This doll is a backup sake bearer. Like the Nagae no Choshi doll, she is usually standing.
  • Trays with mochi called takatsuki are usually placed on either side of the Sanpo doll. Due to space constraints in modern Japanese homes, these are often the only other dolls displayed with the emperor and empress dolls.

Third Tier: Court Musicians

  • Taiko Drummer: This musician holds a small drum. He is usually sitting.
  • Otsuzumi Drummer: This musician holds a large drum. He is usually standing.
  • Kotsuzumi Drummer: This one holds a small hand drum. He is usually standing.
  • Flute Player: This one holds a traditional Japanese flute (fue or yokobue. He is usually sitting.
  • Utaikata (Singer): This doll, which is usually standing, holds a flat fan.

Fourth Tier: Ministers

  • Minister of the Right: This minister is usually portrayed as a young man. He usually sits next to a miniature cherry tree (if the guard dolls are not included in a hina doll set).
  • Minister of the Left: This minister is usually portrayed as an older man. He usually sits next to a mandarin orange tree (if the guard dolls are not included) .
  • Additionally, trays with colorful diamond-shaped mochi, hishimochi are displayed between the two ministers.

Fifth Tier: Imperial Guards

  • Sad Drinker: This doll sits next to a miniature cherry tree in a full hina doll set.
  • Angry Drinker
  • Merry Drinker: This doll sits next to a mandarin orange tree in a full hina doll set.

Sixth Tier: Imperial Household Items

  • This tier contains items used within the imperial household, such as lacquered boxes, calligraphy sets, sewing kits, kitchenware, and braziers.

Seventh Tier: Items for Traveling

  • This tier contains travel items, such as lacquered boxes and oxcarts.
Faeries - writing research help

Hey guys! Grim here. 

This post will be on the Aes Sidhe (sidhe is pronounced like shee), fairies or fae. Every writer writes the fae their own way, but some research and background information never hurt anyone. Remember that research is your bread and butter, folks.  

Again, i would like to apologies for typos that will undoubtedly slip past me - the post is likely to be filled with red lines because of the faerie names and Irish words and my keyboard is obstinate on the best of days. (Seriously, if MS word can recognize some of the idiosyncrasies of the Hiberno-dialect, why can’t chrome? It has declared war on the letter s and made me doubt my spelling.)

(Also I am not going to rant about how a certain suethor made blood drinking creatures who more resemble the fae folk than actual vampires, but i will say for you to do your research and change the name of your supernatural creature if they match another creature more than the one you have named them after.)


What is a faerie?

Fairy, or faerie, is the term for a group of supernatural creatures who are said to be “neither in God’s nor the devil’s service” - that is, neither good nor evil. They are completely outside of religion - it does not interest them, and in certain cases the fae will leave someone alone if they ask for blessings from whatever deity or deities they worship.

Some say that faeries are the children of angels and demons, or that they are fallen angels who were indecisive during the fall and as such, were shown mercy. Before Christianity came to Ireland it was said that the fae were the Tuatha Dé Danann who had been driven underground by the Milesians - those who the Irish are now descended from. Still yet others claim that faeries escort the souls of the dead to heaven, while themselves being barred from it, or that they are themselves dead souls undergoing penance for past actions before they may be admitted to heaven.

Whatever the truth, the fae now live underground in a land where time does not pass as it does on the surface - three short days underground could equal three centuries above, a few hours could be a century. (It does seem to fluctuate a bit) 

The faerie court

Each faerie household contains a king, a queen and a fool. King Fionvarra rules over all western faeries alongside his queen, Oonagh (I suspect this may be an Anglicization as Úna is far more common/correct in Irish, much like how the second “n” got added to Conor when it started being used outside of Ireland. Yes google, I am sure that Conor is the correct spelling, you’re the one in the wrong here so stop bloody highlighting it!!!! My apologies for that rant, I am bad with computers. Now let us return to our scheduled posting.)

The fool, or amadan (fool, male only, there’s a separate word for female fool, Oisean. An “i” gets added before the “n” in both cases to make a plural. the spelling amadawn is another Anglicization.) stays within the faerie borders except for June. for that month, he wanders about in mortal lands wild and half naked, dashing mortal wits out. Yes, you read that correctly, he essentially goes about hitting people with whatever is on hand and in the process reduces their IQ by a considerable amount. Worse still, there is no cure. 


It is a mostly forgotten fact that only male children are stolen from the cradle. Females are stolen closer to adulthood, essentially being chosen to become a faerie chief’s lover for seven years, at which point they will be returned as a withered hag. Sometimes the fae will take an adult of either gender, usually to perform some task for them or to marry a chief or queen. In the former case, if they complete the task, the fae will allow them to return, rich and successful beyond their dreams. A human taken to nurse a sick faerie might return as a world renowned doctor, for example. 

In any case, the fae leave behind a substitute encased in a glamour charm. this could be anything from a log to a dying faerie child to a human who was stolen and has now grown old (the fae like humans to die among their own when the time comes), who will soon grow ill and die.

A number of brutal “cures” were used to force the fae to return the original child, including using foxglove to “burn the entrails out of the faerie”. Of course, in all cases, this was just an innocent child being tortured to death - do not try this at home, or any other such “cure”. if you really feel the need to test someone for faerieness, WAIT UNTIL THEY CAN EAT PROPERLY and give them some jam and bread. When they eat it you will know that your fears are completely unfounded. The fae cannot stomach human food of any description. There is no reason to hurt an innocent child.

I do not think anyone would actually do such a thing, but one must cover their own back, yes? 

It was also believed possible for one to enter the faerie fort and take back the child, provided they had not drank three times of the er, enchanted milk. Yes, i just balked at putting the word starting with b in there, purely because of the whole enchanted milk thing. Yeesh. Excuse me… I need the brain bleach.

Much better. Where was I? Ah, yes.

In the case of a stolen wife her husband could attack the faeries when they are abroad and rescue her that way, or by taking the impostor’s girdle, burning it and burying the pin from it.

The Leprechaun and the Cluricaun

Leprechauns make shoes. They are not caricatures of the Irish. please stop using them as such. They wear grey coats, a leather apron, and a red hat for a bit of colour. They are foul-mouthed and generally disagreeable. They guard faerie treasure, and each leprechaun’s entrusted horde is marked by a rainbow. if found and caught, a leprechaun will tell a mortal where the treasure is, but as soon as they get a chance they will thwart the would be thief. In one case a man marked the tree one such rove was buried under with a red cloth. He made the leprechaun swear not to touch the cloth or the treasure while he left to get a shovel, and when he returned every tree in the forest had a red cloth tied ‘round it.

Clurichauns are either close cousins of the leprechauns or simply extremely drunken leprechauns on a spree. either way, the leprechauns deny any association to the cluricauns. cluricauns look exactly like leprechauns save a reddish nose - potentially the result of too much alcohol - and clothing.

The Fear Dearg

A near relation to the leprechaun who enjoys mischief making. Nothing amuses him more than mortal terror. One should say “Ná déan magadh fúm” or “Do not mock me” when encountering a fear dearg to prevent oneself becoming part of some cruel trick or game. strangely enough, the fear dearg show not malice, but favour through their tricks - if thy trick you, you have something they want to see. They might terrorize a modest musician into giving them a performance, for example. 

They will attach themselves to certain houses and will expect a certain treatment, such as food and drink being left out when the household goes to bed.

The fear dearg is good natured and will bring good luck to his targets. (How is natured not a word asdfghjkl!)

Merrows and Silkies

Male merrows will sit by the sea in any weather, scanning for brandy that has been lost with a wrecked ship. Female merrows find them repulsive and instead seek to tease mortal men. Both genders wear a cap and have webbed fingers.

If a fisherman manages to take a female merrow’s cap, she will forget her life in the sea. The fishermen inevitable fail to destroy or adequately hide the cap, and once found, the female merrow will try it on and remember her life in the sea.

Silkies are seals by day and humans by night. They will obey anyone who holds their seal skin, which they shed every evening and leave on the sand. If they marry a human who then becomes lost at sea, they will sing from the cliffs to guide their spouse home.


Banshees are not the causes of death, merely a harbinger. Banshees will attach themselves to an old family (descended from the Milesians) ans will wail upon the death of a family member. They are exclusively female and can be found washing the shirts of those not long for this world. Banshees love their families and will exult at their great deeds and good fortunes, following them to distant lands and attending their funerals unseen.

The Dullahan

Sometimes seen in the company of the banshee, the dullahan appears where a mortal dies. He drives a black carriage with six headless horses and gathers the souls of the dead. He strikes any living being to see him blind.

The Lianhan Shee

The Lianhan Shee, or love faerie, seeks the love and dominion over mortal men. There is only one Lianhan Shee, and she is more a force than anything, for all faeries who love are said to become one with her and to the mortal man who longs for her she is the only one. No one has ever described the Lianhan Shee. She insists upon her lovers entering Tír na nÓg (land of the young).


There are many other types of faerie, but this post is getting long, so i’m going to stop here.

I hope this post helps with writing inspiration/research!


Woo Bum-kon was a Korean man, responsible for the worst spree killing in history. Bum-kon was a police officer and was known as ‘Power’ due to his strict tactics. On the 26th of April, 1982, he had a row with his girlfriend and stormed off to the police armory, where he began to drink copious amounts of whiskey. After getting drunk, he gathered up a whole arsenal of weapons, including assault rifles and grenades. He also equipped a bullet proof vest and a riot-helmet.

Next, Bum-kon did the unthinkable. In a complete abuse of power, he walked from house to house, and instead of making people feel safe, he terrorised the whole neighbourhood by shooting victims as they opened their front doors. He shot most of his victims, but he killed one household containing several small children by throwing a grenade through the window. The massacre lasted a total of eight hours, and over 57 people lost their lives that day. He tore through village after village, eventually leaving five completely destroyed. The most tragic part is, is that all the victims thought Bum-kon was a friendly police officer, getting everyone to safety. They had no idea he was a murderous psychopath.

At approximately 7:00 AM the next day, Bum-Kon took his final two grenades and strapped them to this body. He grabbed three innocent people as he pulled the pin out. They became his final victims, as he blew himself up, killing the three he had taken hostage. The world’s worst spree killing was finally over.


My Sims version of Skyhold is now available on the Sims 4 gallery. Look for item name: Skyhold or under #Baewall ! I’d love to know what you guys think about it after playing, so comments are greatly appreciated!
It’s not totally  accurate, but I tried to make it recognizable and add some funny references here and there. :)

(note that the house and household contain items of Outdoor retreat and the Get to Work expansions. I don’t recommend downloading Skyhold without these installed.)

Grimmie Family files lawsuit against AEG Live and Orlando Philharmonic

**this is a summary of what Billboard has published, I took out the graphic words so this is not exact wording. TL;DR at bottom**

The Grimmie family’s suit was filed Tuesday (Dec. 20) in Florida and also names The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Plaza Foundation, which owns the Plaza Live venue where Grimmie performing, as well as the security company working the event. In it, Grimmie’s father, mother and brother allege wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress caused from the circumstances, saying the defendants “failed to take adequate security measures to ensure the safety of the performers and the attendees at the concert venue.”

The lawsuit claims that only “superficial bag checks” were performed on attendees, rather than any body pat downs or the use of metal detectors that would have provided some safeguard against concertgoers bringing weapons into the theater. 

Grimmie’s family had committed itself to supporting her ambitions and as the suit explains Grimmie’s own career milestones, it also illustrates her parents’ (Albert and Tina Grimmie) and brother’s commitment to supporting her – and their own financial investments. They all moved to Los Angeles from 2012–2013 and, according to the suit, Grimmie “provided financial support to her parents.” Her brother, Marcus, also worked as her road and co-tour manager. 

While the Plaza Theater has previously implemented more serious security measures for some past events, it did not for Grimmie’s concert, the suit states. That decision came despite that more than 40 percent of Florida households contain at least one fire arm – giving reason to believe that concert attendees might bring firearms with them if prohibitive security measures are not put in place. The suit also states the theater’s general manager of six years had been fired nine days before the casualty and replaced with a new general manager who had only a week’s experience working there.

All three defendants, Grimmie’s family asserts, owed a duty to protect the concert’s performers and its attendants and failed: “The loss of Christina was caused by the negligent and culpable conduct of the defendants who failed to provide adequate security measures to protect Christina at the Plaza Live Theater on June 10, 2016.”

As individuals and on behalf of Grimmie’s estate, Grimmie’s family requests a recovery the future support the singer would have provided to her family members, the singer’s projected income after taxes had she lived to normal life expectancy and any and all medical and funeral expenses paid. Grimmie’s parents, Albert and Tina, are also requesting damages for their mental pain and suffering from their loss. Her brother, Marcus, is requesting compensation for the physical and emotional trauma Grimmie’s loss caused, as well.

The Grimmies are requesting a jury trial. There has been no response and no date has yet been set for any hearings.

TL:DR – The Grimmie family has filed a lawsuit against the team’s behind The Plaza Live theater. The Grimmie’s request compensation for mental pain, the money Christina would have made and shine a light onto the security concerns from that night. Jury trial has been request by The Grimmie’s. 

Ah, but cultivate some patience, my love. It will serve you well in the longer, more tedious run. Right now, for instance, you’re not in a place where you take off, go on a vacation, drink mimosas with brunch while looking at the sea (or canals, if you were imagining Venice as you’re oft to do). You’re in a place where you need to work your butt off, write and edit and create and put things together and putting things together takes time. But you can be impatient, and impatience can be a refuge of the lazy and the unwilling too. So don’t be lazy or unwilling.

I’ve gotten some zucchini and more cheese than a household should contain. Tomorrow morning, I plan to make a variant of hash browns with the vegetable (yay for internet recipes). Getting a new Kindle tonight. Trying out new ways to admonish myself into sticking to The PlanTM and not whiling my time away reading.

Living with Parents

I have seen some posts here on the topic of living with parents. I have some thoughts on it myself, but first I will explain my view on it as a single teen parent, then the topic as a whole.

As for my circumstances, there is no way at all I would be able to live on my own, and I am not embarrassed to say that. I do not simply have the means to pay for rent/utilities, food, my college tuition, kennedy’s preschool tuition, ect ALL on my own. I am proud to say that I am able to go to college student loan/debt free and pay for K’s tuition with extra left over from my scholarships. I am and will always be forever grateful my parents and family are able to help support me. With their support I am able to focus on college, which in the long run will be able to provide my access to a career, which then I will be able to support Kennedy by myself. 

On the topic as a whole, I do not see the big deal if someone is living with their parents/in laws and they have children or are ttc. A lot of my view points on this issue is due to the culture I was brought up in. In Hawaii, it is not unorthodox for more than family in a household to live with each other. For example, it is a typical for a household to contain the grandparents, parents, then the children. In Hawaii family is the most important aspect of one’s life and is highly valued. Back home, no one (family and family friends) is hesitant if someone needs a babysitter, or extra help, when it comes to a baby. Family is everything and it should be a positive aspect that the grandparents of a child are able to influence a baby’s life. 

As the saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child…

On the Decline of Poisoning

(xpost from DW/LJ)

… by which I mean Person A slipping something into Person B’s food or drink; accidents, industrial problems, and medical murders are outside the scope of this essay.  

Classically, poisoning was seen as a woman’s weapon; manly men just stabbed you or whapped you over the head or strangled you, as one does.   Poisoning was sneaky and evil because you didn’t, however briefly, see it  coming.   For 17 years in the 16th century,  poisoning was prosecuted as high treason and earned you death by boiling.  (Presumably without arsenic or other additives.)   Anybody who reads Golden Age murders will be intimately familiar with the varying symptoms of arsenic, strychnine, digitalis, and various substances unknown to science – the last being also outside our scope.

Nowadays you’re much more likely to be shot (in the U.S.) or blunt/pointy/flammable objected (elsewhere) than poisoned.    This makes murder mystery authors sad.  What happened?

  1. Easy divorce
  2. Improved availability of contraception
  3. Physical mobility of the population
  4. Regulation of poisonous substances
  5. The birth of forensic medicine

For much of English and American history, most of the population were stuck wherever they were brought up.  In particular, many people lived in multi-family houses, with the resource-controlling ancestors, descendants, and a passel of babies all stuffed together under one roof.   If you couldn’t stand your mother-in-law, too bad; she was going to be sneering at the dinner table until she passed on, and frankly she was healthier than you were.  If your husband was beating you or just driving you up a tree, too bad; “till death do us part” was pretty much the rule, unless you were male, very very wealthy, and able to buy a divorce.    If you kept having babies you couldn’t feed, abortion was haphazard and depended on knowing the right people/plants.  

All of these problems were most easily solved by murder.  You couldn’t move away; you couldn’t divorce and remarry; you couldn’t stop the babies coming.  (For babies, there was the bonus that you could insure them and collect the money.)  You were stuck with your family.   If female, you were at least supervising and very likely cooking the meals.  The solution was obvious.    The solution was made even more obvious when you consider that most households contained lethal substances for killing flies, rats, and weeds.   You would naturally keep arsenic around to solve these problems, as well as for cosmetic uses.   You got arsenic – or strychnine, or prussic acid, or whatnot – by strolling up to the apothecary and requesting it.   If questioned, you’d just explain that you wanted to get rid of rats; you would prudently not append “Like the one I married”.

Irritant poisons, like arsenic, do nasty things to the digestive system, causing noxious substances to issue from both ends.   However, in a pre-sanitation age, people died of gastrointestinal ailments all the time.  If no doctor is called, or if the doctor isn’t suspicious, there’s no reason to think that the guy who just died was poisoned.  (Strychnine being a quite spectacular exception.)   Even if the servants or the doctor are suspicious, the only way to prove that the food was poisonous is – if somebody saved the food or the fluids – to feed them to an unfortunate animal, usually a dog.  

So, motive, means, and opportunity.   The authorities tried to give the poisonee (or his/her estate) a sporting chance by regulating the sale of certain poisons.  Arsenic had to be colored so that it was easily distinguishable from sugar or salt or whatever; people who bought certain poisons had to register at the place of purchase.   The major change, however, was  the invention of forensic testing; Wikipedia has a nice summary of the progress in detecting arsenic.  (Readers of Dorothy Sayers’s Strong Poison will be  familiar with the Marsh test.)   Detecting arsenic and other inorganic chemical compounds happened fairly early; detection of strychnine, digitalis, and so on required substantial advances in chemistry.  As sanitation moved on, there were far fewer “gastroenteritis” deaths, and so poisonings were less-well camouflaged.   By the mid-19th century, at least in urban areas, poisoning somebody had a higher, if by no means absolute, risk of sending you to the gallows.

And now we come to mobility, divorce, and contraception.   Trains made it far easier for the middle classes to move from one city to another; labor migration to the cities made it easier to move from one house/apartment to another.  Again for the middle classes, the gradual loosening of divorce laws made it much more possible to get away from your horrible spouse.   And contraception  made it possible to prevent a crowded house before rather than after the birth.  Banning the insurance of infants removed a financial incentive. Put all these together, and it’s much harder to write a cozy poisoning in 2015 than in 1925.

I highly, highly recommend Katherine D. Watson’s Poisoned Lives: English Poisoners and Their Victims and Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York if you want to know more about the sociology of poison in the United Kingdom and the USA.

Belated Thoughts on “Smoke and Mirrors”: Peggy, Bletchley, and the SOE

Note: this post operates on the timeline that assumes Peggy was born in April 1921. 

Peggy Carter has done more than her fair share of fighting for what she has, and she’s had plenty of doors slammed in her face, but I like that this season of the show is exploring how she also has benefitted from certain privileges that women like Agnes Cully and Dottie Underwood didn’t have. The first of these is security—both familial and financial. Peggy had people who believed  in her, and Peggy also grew up in a comfortable environment, well-fed and full of books and play. Who knows if that thing Peggy said in her application to the Griffith about her father knowing a Senator was true, but if so he might have been an MP or diplomat. In any case, her family had enough money to get a proper wedding dress in wartime, and they were also able to give their daughter her second great privilege: an education.

Let’s look at Peggy’s education for a moment. We know she’s a badass fighter, but given her accomplishments, Peggy is probably also gifted in math and the modern languages. She’s a natural at codebreaking, which means she’s quick at picking up and processing information and at recognizing patterns. To be hired at Bletchley, she would probably have known German and/or been good at math. For the SOE to recruit her, she would most likely have to be fluent in French. We know from “The Iron Curtain” that she can translate from Russian on the spot. She also has enough working knowledge of the sciences that she knows which household products contain what she needs to neutralize a nitramene bomb and that she can BS a sufficiently realistic-sounding way to engineer a strain of malaria.

(More on the timeline of Peggy’s involvement with Bletchley, the SOE, and the SSR below)

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Witch Tips

Use embroidery thread instead of ribbons. They usually come in packs with many color options and are WAY cheaper.

Look for supplies at thrift stores. Candles are often super marked down. You can find beautiful candle holders, bowls, offering plates, and other altar decorations for very low prices.

Yard sales are another good place to look. Used items gain there power from you. Cleanse them and charge them.

And also freecycle. It’s great

Always be learning. Read as much as you can. Amazon always has deals. You can find used witch books online and in bookstores.

Dress/charge/work with he top half of large candles so you don’t have to bury/throw away all that wax. Anything leftover can be used for decorative (non-magickal) purposes or melted into shells, bottle caps, small jars for use later.

Save glass jars from food items (like honey, jam, nut butters, pasta sauce etc.) remove the labels using goo gone (or homemade goo gone) and repurpose for witchy uses.

Reuse tea leaves and herbs from tea bags in spells.

Sustainably harvest plants in your area instead of purchasing herbs in a store.

Use household objects that contain the herb you need (toothpaste, candles, lotion etc.)

Kitchen spices can often be used in magic. Basil, thyme, and pepper are some of the common ones. Basil can be used in prosperity spells. Thyme can be used in cleansing. Pepper can be used in curses and protection.

Grow your own herbs.

Cut up old clothes to make into bags, sachets, pillows etc.

and more!

missed-oblivion  asked:

Your owlcats are so adorable!! Can I adopt one? Please??? Pretty please??

Okay, but be aware that they require some specified care.  They not only have the same general needs as a domesticated house cat, but they also require appropriately-sized wooden items to chew on (twisted cardboard also works, too).

Owlcats also tend to be somewhat noisy creatures, so be aware that nightly hooting is probably going to be a thing.

It is not recommended that they be kept in a household that also contains smaller mammals unless you properly educate your owlcat on the differences between friends and food.  However, a well-fed owlcat may not feel compelled to do any extra hunting for its own food, so make sure your supplies of grilled cheese sandwiches and peanut butter are always fully stocked. 

Small items, especially anything shiny or with a distinct odor to it, should not be left haphazardly around the house, as they will likely end up in your owlcat’s bed.  If you find yourself missing socks, you can bet who’s probably to blame–make sure to keep your laundry room door closed at all times.

[Image source]

anonymous asked:

I think one of the best things about RRR is that while Dipper magicked himself into his human form, he went through the entire baby phase of life again, and it's just hilarious to picture Dipper, the almighty dream demon with the power to distort reality and shatter continents, crawling around on the rug saying "dada".

Well, in fairness, it’s not as if he knew he was the almighty dream demon with the power to distort reality and so forth at the time.

All he really knew was how to babble and blow spit bubbles.

But yeah, you’re right, from a knowing outsider’s perspective, the fact that there is probably a photo album in an otherwise ordinary household containing silly baby pictures of Alcor the Dreambender is definitely something else.