i have no idea what the context for this picture was

Things to Consider in a Tarot Reading (Other Than Card Meanings)

It’s important to look at the meanings of tarot cards, but it’s very possible to pull even more out of a reading that individual card meanings. Here’s some other stuff you might consider bringing into your interpretation when it feels right:

🍄The position of the cards. This is why spread design can be so important! I’ve had instances where all the cards, in their positions, had the subjects looking or pointing towards one specific card. It was wild. What did it mean? Maybe nothing, but maybe something very significant, depending on the question!

🍄The visual element of the cards. Sometimes what’s depicted on the card can give more specific insight than the actual book meanings. The pictures were done that way for a reason, so don’t be afraid to give them their own weight! Also, sometimes the spread as a whole will have a flow of design (like when one half is much brighter than the other) or a specific card is WAY more colorful than the other cards on the table. Any of these could potentially carry meaning.

🍄Jumper cards. This is when a card pops out while you’re shuffling! I usually just put them back… UNLESS the question has already been presented, and I’m shuffling with that question in mind. Then, I keep them as extra advice, bonus cards.

🍄Reoccurring numbers. Maybe you do a four card spread for a friend, and you get the four of cups, four of swords, four of wands, and the Emperor! (IV.) What does that mean? What does the number four symbolize? Well, a lot of things, potentially, depending on what you study. Some tarot designs incorporate the Kabbalah’s numbered paths in the tree of life, others go with numerology. Maybe, the number four just means something special to you or the querent in particular.

🍄A bunch of cards in order. I’m not talking about when you forget to shuffle. I’m talking about when you give it a really good shuffle and you still get the ace, two, and three of Pentacles all in a row. This can be seen as a sign of progression, or that the events are all much more closely connected than anticipated. It can also mean it happens over a shorter period of time than normal. It’s up to you, your cards, and the contexts.

🍄Proportions of different features. Maybe you’re doing an obstacle spread, and your obstacle is something like the nine of swords. That’s pretty nasty, but if all the other cards in the spread are Major Arcana, then it’s probably not going to be that difficult to surmount. The reverse can also be true. Additionally, a high number of reversed cards in a spread typically signifies a lot of confusion, conflict, and turmoil.

🍄Reoccurring symbols. Beyond just the four suits, because that’s a given! But maybe your spread shows a lot of cards with images of fire, people dancing, or birds. Do these mean anything to you or the querent? What do they typically symbolize?

🍄Any hiccups or unusual events during the reading. Once I had a querent pick up a card to examine it, drop it, then pick it up and put it back reversed. Since it was the overall outcome card, I interpreted that as a heightened ability to change her own fate in this given situation, since she had turned the card from quite a bad omen to a good one. Sometimes little accidents like dropping cards, accidentally shifting them, or laying out the spread wrong are meant to be there and add to the meaning!

I hope this gives you some ideas! Feel free to add more. What do you interpret alongside the cards in a reading?

Originally posted by gameraboy

I believe Spencer’s twin is coming.

In this post I want to give a list of reasons why Twincer is my prime suspect as AD. I know a lot of these ‘clues’ come from interviews, but they’re still really convincing for me at least. I’ve definitely missed some of the clues from within the show because they’re not as easy to spot - we need to know for sure if Twincer is happening, then we can dig further. (The fun won’t instantly stop once the finale airs.) But for now, enjoy these, and at the end, I give my theory as to the motive.

Please note: none of this is overly new. This is just the summation of everything we’ve been talking about on my blog for the past couple months. I wanted to put all the ideas into one post, rather than 31529 mini posts scattered here and there. I will be updating this as we find more. 

  1. The famous airport scene from 715.
    We all already think it’s weird that "Spencer" asked Ezra to not tell anyone he saw her there with Wren. What’s weirder, is the fact that Wren and “Spencer” were arguing. Amongst muffle, I heard Spencer say "stop calling me that" (let me know if you heard differently). Did Wren have a slip-of-the-tongue moment and call her Spencer rather than the twin’s real name?
  2. Dr. Cochran’s story is very telling.
    We all already know the ambiguous implication that Mary had more than two babies, because Dr. Cochran said he dealt with “two of Mary’s babies”. What’s more interesting is the second baby he dealt with. The first baby (Charlotte) he gave to Jessica. He said that the second baby that he delivered was placed in family county services. This could not have been Spencer, since Spencer was delivered to Veronica within 5 minutes of birth. So, who was that second baby that was placed in family services? I believe it was Spencer’s twin. Why? Dr Cochran referred to that second baby as “underweight but tenacious” - lo and behold, the next episode, Toby calls Spencer tenacious. This was the writers foreshadowing the similarities between this second baby, and Spencer. Twins. 
  3. We all know Hanna’s ‘dream’ in 701.
    It makes no sense that Hanna was able to dream ‘Spencer’ saying the name A.D. since Hanna was kidnapped before these initials were even revealed. Perhaps Hanna was visited by Twincer; the one holding her captive.
  4. A.D. needs to stand for something. 
    Spencer’s twin could literally have the initials A.D., since we know she would be Mary Drake’s child. Her first name would start with A and the D would stand for Drake. 
  5. Brendan and Ian both confessed to being confused by the identity of A.D.
    They needed the backstory to understand it. Is that because they had no idea who has the name “Alex Drake” (for example) ?
  6. Tyler said before 7B aired that “you’ve never met AD. You kind of have. You’ll know what I mean”.
    This can be interpreted in two ways: you’ve never met Twincer but since you know Spencer, you kind of know who AD is. Or. You’ve seen Twincer over the years, but thought it was Spencer. Either way, Tyler’s comment screams twin-theory to me. This could apply to any twin theory, but in this context, I’m using it for Spencer.
  7. Ian said (0:57) that “fans will be satisfied to a point. Right when it seems it’s gonna be really great, it might do a little [downwards hand motion]”….
    That cheeky smile on Ian’s face when he said “it seems it’s gonna be really great”… what could be greater than a liar being AD? Ian could be referring to the fact that they initially show us Troian under the hoodie, making us think Spencer is AD. Then, after commercial break, they will reveal it’s just her twin, hence the “it might do a little [downwards hand motion]”. We will be satisfied to a point, he said. It’ll start off amazing by thinking it’s Spencer, oh wait, it’s another twin.
  8. Ashley said (0:14) that she didn’t even know the A.D. reveal is possible.
    Because she did not expect a second pair of twins to come along?
  9. “It’s like there are two of you living in this house. You, and you’re evil twin, and we’re not sure who’s coming down to breakfast". 
    said Veronica to Spencer in 423. Foreshadowing at it’s finest.
  10. Spencer doesn’t remember this flashback.
    Was it her twin? And oh how coincidental, that the writers tell us a time Spencer doesn’t remember, in the same scene Veronica makes the above comment about Spencer’s “evil twin”.
  11. “Where are they?”
    said Mary as she entered the Hastings house (flashback from 717). Who is they? The twins? She proceeded to say that Spencer is the only good thing she’s ever made. Maybe Mary knows Spencer’s twin is evil, and is neglecting her. 
  12. “You look very much like your sister. Almost like twins”.
    said Mary to Spencer in 701. The writers wanted us to think that Mary was talking about Spencer and Melissa, since Mary was holding a picture of the half-sisters. But, were the writers, and therefore Mary, hinting towards Twincer? Is Mary being blackmailed/forced (by Peter?) to keep quiet on Twincer, and she had a slip-of-the-tongue moment here?
  13. Marlene is very aware of the Twincer theories.
    Back in 2014 she said that Troian sent her an online fan theory regarding Spencer having a twin who is A. Marlene was blown away by it and she thought it was a very well thought out plan with detailed evidence across the series. Watch from 1:35. Whilst you may be saying “there’s NO WAY Marlene spoilt her own show’s ending in an interview!!” - I feel like she had no idea the show would go on for 7 seasons, and once they got renewed, she panicked. “Shit, we need a new Uber A. Let’s go with that brilliant fan theory Troian sent me”. She probably regrets making this interview now. You can tell her passion for Twincer in this interview. She talks so damn highly of it.
  14. Marlene has said that the person who plays A.D. had known for a while.
    We know that Marlene told Troian the entire ending of the show years in advance. “Just like I had story time with Marlene, you all now get story time with Pretty Little Liars” said Troian.
  15. The girl in the coffin in the opening has the exact same black puffy shirt as Spencer.
  16. Why does it seem that A.D. is always going after the Hastings?
    Why shoot Spencer, out of all the liars? Why demand Aria to plant the audio device in the Hastings? Why not ruin the Marin household? The jealous twin wants her ungrateful sister dead, hence the shooting, and the jealous daughter is angry she never got adopted. Too much of the story is Hastings-oriented. 
  17. “They’re all some pretty. Good. Theories.”
    Was Janel’s response to being asked about the Spencer-twin theories. (22:20)
  18. And, I’ll just leave this here. Good one @prettylittlesessions​ !
  19. “Spencer’s” weird comments in 718.
    In 718 “Spencer” says to Toby “you know what its like to be the outsider. Removed from friends and family”. What made her say this? Nothing was said or done in 718 to prompt our Spencer to say this. 
  20. Keegan said there are no more Spoby kisses in 7B.
    “I can honestly say that there is not another Spoby kiss.” Yet - there was one in 718. Either Keegan lied, or that was Spencer’s twin. (10:15)
  21. “It’s somebody you have seen.”
    says Marlene in regards to who AD is. Was she talking about the Spoby kiss in 710, which Twincer referred to in 718 when she kissed Toby again? Marlene was very careful to avoid saying “it’s someone you KNOW”. We don't “know” Twincer. But, we have seen her.
  22. “That’s not the Spencer I know”
    said Toby in 718. Writers are foreshadowing.

Setting all this aside, I want to add my theory on the backstory and motive:

  • Twincer, who’s name is A_____ Drake, was born in Radley, as Dr. Cochran told us in 7A. 
  • Twincer was raised in Radley - not because she needed to be at a psychological hospital, but as a form of daycare, because Mary was deemed an unfit mother, and also she kept Twincer a secret from Peter… he already hated her (to the point of planning her murder, later on) enough for having one baby together, imagine Peter’s reaction to having twins.
  • There, Twincer met and bonded with her sister Charlotte. Charlotte became Twincer’s only friend. (Twincer might even be Bethany, since we already know of this bond between Bethany and Charlotte, and how Bethany was drawing Charles being taken away by a monster. But for this theory, let’s just forget Bethany for a second.)
  • When Mona came to Radley and started telling Charlotte about everything she did to her sister, Charlotte and Twincer wanted to play. They wanted a turn at harassing Spencer and her friends.
  • For Charlotte, as we know, it was the feeling of finally succeeding at something in life that made the game her drug. For Twincer, it was something far darker.
  • Harassing Aria, Hanna, Emily and Alison is all about driving a wedge between the girls. Twincer wants to break up the girls. Turn them against each other. Hopefully by throwing fire at the girls, they will break up, ultimately, to ruin Spencer’s life. Again, jealousy. Twincer’s plan is backfiring because it’s exactly A’s threats that makes Spencer say “we need each other more than ever” and “always stick together”. The writers keep making the point of SPENCER being the one to make the comments about “always” sticking together. Twincer cannot break Spencer and her bitches. This is fueling Twincer’s anger. Nothing is working.
  • That’s why AD/Twincer recently shot Spencer. “If I can’t break the girls up to ruin Spencer’s life, why not just become Spencer?” Twincer shot Spencer in an attempt to assume her identity and squeeze her way into the loving friendship group that she could never crack. “These girls are so loyal to each other… they don’t even break up after even my threats. Damn, I want to be a part of this. It’s my turn to live a happy life. You had your turn Spencer.”
  • Note: I do not believe that AD has been operating since season 1. Mona’s time as A is completely independent from Charlotte and Twincer’s story. Mona started the game, and now someone is ending it, and she wants to know who. Charlotte and Twincer are their own duo; their own A-team, which stemmed as a result of Mona coming to Radley. Charlotte revealed herself - next up in the A team is Twincer, who is carrying on the game she once played with her sister. 
In which I get a wife in my first session of a campaign

Context: So I made a new character for this campaign, and she is a very punchy fighter by the name of Mae Gjallarfjall. And her trouble is “Punch first, ask questions later.” I joined one or two sessions late, so I have no context for this campaign other than “Magitech is a thing that exists and can do things.” I am a crewhand on a ship traveling across the sea.

DM: All of you hear the crashing of wood as a cannonball tears through a bit of your ship’s hull. You then hear the captain yell “PIRATES OFF THE PORT BOW!” What do you do?

Me (OOC): I run over to the captain and tell him to get me in punching distance.

DM (as captain): Wait what?

Me: Get. Me. In. Punching. Distance!

Wizard: *grabs me by the shoulder* Hold on. *rolls Magic to teleport*

DM to me and Wizard: You two end up on top of the pirate ship’s mast, a good sixty feet above the deck. The ship is also flying above the water. Below you see six pirates that do not seem to know you are here. What do?

Me (OOC): Well, my trouble is “Punch first, ask questions later,” so I’m going to roll Fitness to sprint down the mast and activate Fist of Havoc.

DM: Alright, roll.

Me: *rolls +2 on Fitness and 18 damage on Fist of Havoc*

DM: You kill two of the pirates instantly and send the other four back a ways staring at you in shock and fear.

Me (OOC): I want to roll Persuasion to convince them that fighting me is a terrible idea.

DM: Um… okay, roll for it.

Me: *rolls +2 on Persuasion*

DM: You succeed on two of the pirates. Pirates 1 and 2 sheathe their weapons and take a step back. Pirates 3 and 4 are not convinced.

Everyone else takes their turns.

DM to me: Alright, so Pirate 3 has been smacked by [Paladin], and Pirate 4 tried to attack but accidentally lost grip on his sword and is floundering to pick it up. The pirate captain has come up from her quarters and yells “What the hell is going on on my ship‽”

Me (OOC): I run over to her and punch her right in the face. *rolls +3 to hit and another +3 for damage*

DM: Wow. So you run over and deck her right in the schnoz and she staggers back a bit. In retaliation, she shoots you. *rolls +2 and deals 3 points of damage after armor*

Me: Bitch!

Engineer: *busts out from under the ship and yells* “ABANDON SHIP OR BURN IN HELL!”

Me (OOC): *rolls neutral on Fitness and jumps overboard, rolls again for Hero Landing™ and gets +2* Wait, where’s pirate captain lady?

DM: That’s a good question. *rolls dice* She says goodbye to her crew and ship and jumps overboard.

Me (OOC): I roll Initiative to see where she’ll land, and Fitness to catch her.

DM: Go for it?

Me: *rolls +1 Initiative and crit Fitness*

DM: Holy shit, give yourself a fate chip and let me paint you this word picture. [Engineer] sprints out from the engine room and yells to get off. Both of you dive off and land on your ship. [Paladin] jumps off and lands on his horse, and then Pirate Lady jumps off after you guys. You look up and hold out your arms and catch her bridal style so comfortably that she swoons and blushes profusely at you.

Me: I apologize if your fall from heaven hurt. *rolls persuasion and gets +3*

DM: She is so overcome by her emotions that she is now profusely in love with you and wants to marry you.

Me (OOC): I say yes and marry my new pirate bride.

Yuri on Ice 2017/02/11 all night event report

I’m back from the event and I’ll write a report before going to sleep, mostly because I’m sure I will not be able to decipher my scribbles when I wake up… It’s not the full talk show since you can’t record it and also I couldn’t possibly write down everything, but I tried to take note of most things, especially stuff that has never been mentioned elsewhere. In the end it became quite long so I guess I was able to get most of the stuff down…

Needless to say it’s my notes, so other people might write about parts I omitted, etc. To be honest quite a few of the things they said especially in the beginning, like what the seiyuu think about their characters, is something I’ve read so many times in interviews that I could almost answer in their place, lol… I was a bit disappointed that one of the questions that was answered is the one about Chris’ mysterious acquaintance, because actually Kubo answered that in Pash already (it’s in the Q&A part I’ll be translating later), and I hoped they would feature questions about stuff that hasn’t been explained yet. Well I guess not everybody reads interviews, but still…

Due to the format of the report you can find my comments here and there, mostly in brackets.
Under the cut because it’s long.

I forgot to mention something important: the ones participating in the talk show were Mitsurou Kubo, Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Yuuri), Junichi Suwabe (Victor), Kouki Uchiyama (Yurio).

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Learning Graphic Design On Your Own

A Quick Note…

Everyone learns differently. Some people like to ask questions in class, others like to watch videos that they can pause and replay, and even more people could prefer to just tinker and see what happens (I’m personally a tinkerer). The first thing you should do when learning on your own (so probably online or through books) is to do some research and know how you like to learn.

So, let’s start with… what even is “Graphic Design”?

Let’s get this straight… graphic designers aren’t fine artists. They are problem solvers, visual communicators, and sometimes curators of information in an aesthetically pleasing way. We organize information and try to make the world an easier-to-understand and more beautiful place. Of course, there are other fields like advertising where we communicate to customers why they should buy certain products. Or there are User Interface/Experience designers that will develop websites and video game interfaces and design how you interact with it. Look into graphic design and see what field you want to be in. What do you want to do with graphic design?

Fun fact, the google definition says: “the art or skill of combining text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, or books.” and to that, I’d like to say we do SO MUCH MORE.

Now that you know what you’re doing…Here’s the VERY BRIEF process!
(I may make individual posts for each step later on)

  1. Learn the basics
    1. Typography, how to use the basic principles of line, shape, color, and so on is usually for everyone no matter your field.
    2. Basics like composition are also very important. If you’re into editorial then typographic spreads will be more of your focus. If you’re in web design then seeing how websites are typically laid out will be a thing to look into. Basic typography, color theory, and principles still apply!
    3. Basics and principles are a google search (or a book) away! Everyone talks about these things ALL the time.
  2. Look up inspiration and develop an “eye” for design
    1. Follow design blogs! Follow other designers! On all of your social media! (There are so many Tumblr blogs and Instagram accounts solely dedicated to graphic design curation).
  3. Look into the big names of the industry
    1. Why were they remembered? Everyone else in the field probably remembers them for that, too.
    2. What was so great about them? Apply what you learn to your own work!
    3. If they’re well known, they probably have at least decent work to get inspired from!
  4. Research is done… time to do some work!
    1. If you’re just starting out, there are some things you’re probably not used to. Doing things by hand with sharpie markers on paper will definitely help train your eye and mind to think more about communication, not pretty things. 
    2. Abstract things down into simple shapes. Then try communicating that same object with fewer shapes. Maybe only lines? Geometric style? Play around with communication! This is key when you get into icons, logos, and other visuals that require a more minimal look. 
    3. Remember, you make information more easily accessible. The best logos are easy to remember because they are simple and effective. Your work may one day need that kind of punch!
  5. The jump from traditional to digital
    1. It’s time to learn about your program(s) of choice… my biggest piece of advice would be to just mess with it. Learning on your own by trying to make something is one of the best ways to train your mind and body on how to use the programs.
    2. Try every tool. Try making basic shapes. Then make basic objects with those shapes. Then try making a person or something more complicated. Try to test every tool to see what you’d use it for!
    3. Don’t know anything or how to do something? Google it! If you’re asking there’s probably 5+ different YouTube videos, 3+ articles, and 100+ tutorials on how to do it.
  6. Let’s work on projects!
    1. Now that you’re familiar with the history, principles, other designers, and the programs… just keep on making stuff!
    2. Making your own projects (make your own website, business cards, a flyer for a club, a T-Shirt, and so on…) is my biggest recommendation on how to learn graphic design. Actually applying everything you’ve learned will make you think in a problem-solving way! Also sharing things that you’ve made that actually matter is way more fun than sharing a fancy circle you made with no context. (You can say “look at this T-Shirt I made!” instead of “look at this weird circle I made!”)
  7. Get feedback from designers and non-designers
    1. Once you’ve made stuff… ask everyone! Non-designers will give you a client’s perspective of your work. A designer’s perspective will help you grow as a designer and they may see things that you and your average person wouldn’t have noticed. (you’re always free to ask me if you’d like!)
    2. Please remember to not take feedback personally (unless they’re being rude, then just ignore them). You’re learning and growing and there’s always room for improvement. A lot of feedback is not a bad thing!
  8. Stay determined!
    1. Being a designer isn’t easy. That T-Shirt you made that took you a couple days? Someone could say they don’t get it. Other designers could say there was a better way to execute your idea. Another person may even say it looks like something else!
    2. When you design you have to expect to make revisions, rethinking, and making more revisions until it’s at a good enough place to publish. But no matter what, you have to remember that it’s not about PERFECTION. It’s about getting it DONE and learning to grow. No one is perfect, and it’s mostly subjective, so just take the criticism you agree with and don’t apply what you disagree with. As a designer, you should know what’s right, wrong, or what you should consider bringing up to other designers.
    3. KEEP MAKING MORE STUFF! You can even remake older stuff as you go on! Just keep going!

That’s my super brief process!

Now honestly, I could’ve gotten down into the nitty gritty details of each step, but this is basically how I’d suggest going about it if you want to get a head start before getting into college, or you want to just learn on your own.

If you guys have any additional questions or want me to go more in-depth about anything, feel free to let me know! :)

I have several problems with the concept of privilege. I actually surprised some audiences when I say that I don’t actually accept the discourse of white privilege. I actually offer a different discourse, and let me explain why.

Firstly, look at the things that are called privileges. The things that are called privileges are actually rights to things such as healthcare, being treated fairly if you’re pulled over by a police officer, being treated fairly in a criminal justice system, to have access to employment, housing. As you go down the list, you begin to realize, it’s something weird about calling privileges something that every human being would like to have on the planet. Neoliberalism wants to call them privileges exactly because neoliberalism wants to take them away from everybody, Black and white. And so if you can get enough people feeling guilty for what they should actually have, then it’s easier to take things away from everybody and give more to those who are wealthy.

The second reason I have a problem with the privilege discourse, it’s a distortion of the concept of privilege. We’ve often heard the expression, for instance, “it’s an honor and a privilege to work with you.” When you hear something like that, the thing about privileges that people often don’t understand, is that privileges are good. It’s a privilege, for instance, to serve if you’re patriotic. It’s privilege to be in the company of people you respect. Privileges are actually good things, so the idea of telling you that you’re supposed to feel bad about good things is, as Fanon would argue, sick.

The third problem with the white privilege discourse is exactly what we’ve seen play out historically. Then it just gave an opportunity for whites to simply talk about their privilege and still not do a damn thing about the system of injustices that are around them and the rest of us. So it bleeds into a form of narcissism, and of course the thing about narcissism is that it puts whites  back into control because they can control their cathartic emotional life in terms of how they respond to to the charge of privilege. But they go home to a system that remains intact.

What I actually argue is a more constructive way to deal with this issue is the concept of license. Now people may say what do you mean? If you think about the basic thing of what a license is, when you get a license, it means whatever you’re doing is protected by law. So what happens is in mundane examples for instance if you have a license to drive a car, and you’re pulled over, it is established that you have the license to drive a car. Whether you’ve done other things while driving the car is another matter. The thing about license is that a license is legitimate right to use a certain power.

So if we think of the most extreme example of how a license works, try to imagine a license to kill. If a person has a license to kill, and in many contexts, many people when they’re designated soldiers or mercenaries have a license to kill within that context. Now let’s just say that you’re born with a license to kill say, all except other people who have a license to kill. If you’re in a framework like that, so long as you’re killing anybody outside of that category, then you don’t have to give a reason for the killing you’ve done, you just have to show a license. If you think about it historically, and I’m using that because it’s the most extreme example, if you look at the history of white supremacy, it’s a history of large communities of white people who can pack a picnic basket, get together, drag predominantly Black men and women, there are other contexts in which large groups of Native populations were wiped out, but the main thing was that they could drag these people, they could eviscerate them, lynch them, and throughout the entire process pose for pictures that are put in newspapers with them committing those acts. So when you think of that example, it means that the legal authorities will not act upon that precisely because the perpetrators, and the license here becomes the designation white.

Now I give you one more example that’s really crucial because of contemporary debates. One of the ways that there has been a form of fascist attack, particularly on Black people and on women, is this phony defense of free speech in a war against political correctness. But they’re not defending free speech and what they call political correctness. Political correctness is a term developed by the American right. It’s a right wing concept just like white privilege was developed by whites. This was a way in which the right wanted to undermine the efficacy of political institutions. But if you look carefully at what they call political correctness, it’s not actually political, it’s moral. In other words, the examples they would use is if people are going to judge certain people as immoral for the things they say. That is very different than politics.

What’s striking if you look for what they’re fighting for, it’s for an assertion of legal apparatuses and structures that will give them not free speech, but licensed speech. In other words, licensed speech is to be able to hurl your words in an action of harm. The way I usually formulate it, free speech doesn’t mean the right to be a schmuck, it’s an adult responsibility in a world that actually expands the capacity of other people in terms of human flourishing. However, the childlike adolescent licensed speech comes down to a thesis: I just wanna do or say what I want. It’s defended to the point where saying or doing what you want can lead in very real ways not just to harm but to the death of others. As we know in the case of Emmett Till for instance, the words of the woman who gave the testimony were used for the lynching of this 14 year old boy. And there are many other examples. If you look at Trump, Trump is not about free speech, he is the manifestation of the adolescent fantasy of many whites to return to a world in which they had the license for liberty without responsibility.

And this comes back to Fanon, because he understood the distinction between liberty and and freedom. As a therapist, a patient would come to him precisely because although the patient may have liberty, if the patient has insufficient control or understanding and her or his own life, and the relationship that person has with the social world, that person’s freedom will be impaired, although there are no formal shackles over her or his hands and feet. This is the crucial thing that is missing from Anglophone discourses around issues of freedom and around the excursion of racism. There is in freedom always a responsibility and a demand for one to take on the task of bearing the burdens but they’re not burdens in the negative sense. they’re burdens in the elective sense, in the good sense or what’s called election in the Bible. There are certain burdens that are a function of responsibility that make us into better human beings.

Dr. Lewis Gordon (x)

Character Analysis: Blue Diamond

I kept trying to make the juxtaposition post between Blue and Yellow Diamond work, but I really needed a foundation before I started comparing their characters. It was turning into a huge section for each character and less like certain aspects of them were being analysed. It never turned out acceptable enough to me, and I was taking longer and longer to write just one post. So I decided to break it down (again) into a character analysis post for each character, and I’ll be following up with their juxtaposition before talking about PD’s shattering.

I want to start with Blue Diamond first, if only because I’ve touched a little on Yellow Diamond before . Blue Diamond is a relatively new character in the show, in that her presence hadn’t been confirmed until Steven’s Dream. Before that, all we had to go on were the Ziggurat and Moon Base murals and Garnet’s story in The Answer.

BD is a very complex character. On the surface, she appears as a victim, a foil to the “harshness” of Yellow Diamond (more on her in the next post). She is a very visible and obvious embodiment of Homeworld’s humanity, that they too have been hurt by the war and the conflict that underlay it. At the same time, though, there is a feeling of guilt about her that reveals she wasn’t totally ignorant of the said conflict going on. Moreover, by her own words, she has not only been dwelling in grief, but also has been searching for answers.

Blue Diamond then, is not a helpless mourner in distress and under duress. She is a capable and intelligent ruler, trying—and failing—to put aside personal pain in order to continue ruling. And that makes her similar to Yellow Diamond in more ways than one. Like their civilisation, she is trying to heal but a focal point of her healing is finding out what really happened the day PD was shattered. The way she deals with her stress and sadness, as well as the way she interacts with the gems around her, reveals a lot about her character. Let’s get to that.

1. BD dances the line between power and helplessness

What is striking about BD is how she looks like the quintessential ruler, a cross between the archetypes of mother goddess and queen. She is altogether very regal and dignified. She speaks deliberately, slowly compared to some of the other dialogue on the show. Combined with her crisp diction, her words always feel weighty. One of my favourite instances is her reply to Yellow Diamond in the Trial. YD almost annoyed asks whether examining Blue’s palanquin is necessary and Blue quietly but firmly says, “Isn’t it?” In that line, it was as if the room collectively held its breath, and even YD paused for a moment.

Blue Diamond possesses all of the attributes that we would normally associate with a leader. Her presence, from her first appearance in The Answer, spoke of someone who literally stood above others. Even while crying or angry she manages to look elegant and composed. Like the classical leader, she is introduced not with her generals but her Sapphire, analogous to leading with wisdom rather than brute force.

This picture of BD reaffirms the concept of a Diamond. In What’s The Use of Feeling (Blue), Yellow Diamond reminds Blue how each gem has a role, and when she gets to BD, she says the needs to be a leader. This is a very telling line, because we begin to understand how the socio-political hierarchy is understood on Homeworld. It isn’t a lie told by the Diamonds to placate lower-ranking gems in society. They themselves fully believe in their role as rulers. They honestly feel that “every gem in her place” is the only way for their civilisation to function properly.

That “truth” becomes a huge limiter of the supposed power that comes from being the unquestioned ruler of an empire. The Diamonds can technically do anything, but they are situated in a particular context, embedded in particular social roles, like any other character in the story. In the rigid social structure of Homeworld, they are expected to lead. So they can do anything, in so much as they do as leaders do. This explains why YD had to drop everything and run after Blue in The Zoo and That Will Be All. Ideally, they can’t just do anything they want because they are fully aware of the huge waves the ripples of their actions will cause around them.

The operative word here “ideal.” One thing to note is that all these rules are enforced by a social structure. That means social roles and expectations do blur and how to act within this structure is largely informal. There probably aren’t written rules that say how far behind a Diamond one should walk, when exactly a Pearl should speak, or how much shoulder-punching is too much shoulder-punching among soldiers.

Much like ours, their society is governed by these informal rules as much as the formal written laws. The Diamonds may have a formal set of responsibilities, but so many other social factors intervene in the way they are perceived. Things like power, class, and even height difference factor into how they are perceived by other gems. This means that a structure in which everyone is supposed to have a place, may not be as easily enforced, especially as gems go higher up the social ladder. Discipline, particularly at the Diamond-level is largely self-enforced.

So it doesn’t mean they don’t break these unspoken rules—we’ve seen them arbitrarily use their power when they’re upset or stressed. It so happens though, that in the show so far, all we’ve seen them feeling is indeed upset and stressed.

The idea that Blue is a powerful, at times unquestioned leader, is countered by how crippled and paralysed she feels in the face of Pink Diamond’s shattering. Blue has so much to offer gem-kind, not only as their leader, but also, as Peridot pointed out in Message Received, someone with abilities that surpass those of any other gem.

Yet she is unable to fulfil her role. In her most vulnerable, while she’s on Earth, she entrusted her safety to only her Pearl. For emphasis, Blue touched down on a Homeworld-hostile planet with no guards, and no Sapphires. The only gem with her was her Pearl. Given my old theory on PD’s shattering, and even the theories floating around now, that whoever shattered PD would’ve had to be close to her, it shows how exposed she is right now.

Blue is a force, but she’s also presented as a character who is flowy, flexible, rounded, and very sad. Were she the same size as the average gem, she would appear weak, not a fighter, and unable to defend herself.

BD seems very much like the archetypal leader, the only Diamond we’ve seen hold court and carry with her the formalities traditionally associated with leaders. But she’s also immobilised by grief. There is a paradox in her looking so willowy and bendable but deeply emphatic and firm about her beliefs, in this case, her search for answers.

In Blue we have a character seemingly transparent, showing everyone her tears and her breakdowns, but at the same time so opaque, as she makes decisions behind closed doors (or closed palanquin, as in The Answer) and has been searching for answers with a resolve YD didn’t even know about.

2. Leadership style

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I TOLD YOU I WOULD

WELLLLLlll okay it’s not a shirt, but only because the original image itself was an odd dimension size and a bit too small and resizing it would have made it blurry when printing on a shirt. BUT when I get a bit of free time (pffttttcute Xedra, ‘free time’) I want to remake the image to be of a high enough resolution to print on a shirt. :D

But I do love me some mugs, so I’m more than pleased as punch right now. A mighty thirst indeed ahuhuhuh~ :D Thanks so much, @asrielisdeadandfloweyisabitch <3

Blue Skies and Possibilities (Lin/Reader Soulmate AU)

Summary: In a world where you can only see color once you make physical contact with your soulmate, you’re keeping your hands to yourself. Fate has other plans.

Word Count: 8642

Note: Thank you to @the-real-tony-stank for reading this ahead of time and being so sweet and to @thatoneimaginesblog for giving me a cute idea that pops up in here and putting up with a lot of Lin pictures while this got written.


You were in the forest again.

There was light streaming through the trees, and the vivid color of the leaves told you that you were dreaming. You felt a flutter in your stomach and smiled to yourself. If there was color, that meant he would be here. You let your instincts take over and walked swiftly in the direction the creek you’d visited so many times before.

There he was, just like you knew he’d be. He turned to you with a boyish smile on his face and you felt like you had just gotten home after a long trip away. You didn’t have a name to attach to the color of his eyes, but you knew they were deep and familiar. He held out a hand to you and you grabbed it, never knowing how much time you’d have here. Tonight was a lucky one. You spent what felt like an entire summer in the woods, neither of you speaking but somehow communicating anyway.

When you heard a buzzing in the distance, you knew your time was up. You held tight to his hand, but the world around you faded anyway. The feeling of his fingers laced with yours was the last thing to slip away.

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anonymous asked:

Sorry if I'm bothering you but can you share why you think avatar is bad?

hoo boy man ur asking for a lot bc that show is a complete and utter M E S S. first, heres the main phrase my tibetan ass wants u to think about: its a show using asian/indigenous ppl and their devastating histories made by ignorant weeaboo white men. I want to write about it in detail bc i’ve always wanted to say something about this but never rly got around to doing it. maybe ill send this in letter format to the writers lol. anyways im going to split this up into parts. I’ll put a readmore bc its kinda long

@bryankonietzko take a nice long look if u still use tumblr lmao

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francesofsuburbia  asked:

Hi Hiller- when I was younger I loved to draw. I'm an adult now and for some reason when I sit down in front of a piece of paper I don't know what to do. What advice do you have for a grown up who forgot how to draw?

Oooh that’s a tricky one. Sitting in front of a blank piece of paper is probably the most intimidating thing and has always been kind of scary for me. I’ve come up with a list of things for you to try to make drawing a bit easier.

A. Work on old paper/materials. End papers from discarded books, craft pads from second hand stores, a notepad from grandma’s junk drawer, a cool piece of wood you find in a dumpster, stuff like that. It takes away the pressure of having to create a perfect thing if the material you’re working on is already flawed or smells weird.

B. Draw a lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. Only a small fraction of things I draw end up being shared, maybe every one out of twenty things will be decent. What people don’t see is the heap of not-so-great things I create in the process of making that one thing. If you’re drawing different ideas all the time, and thinking of how to make those ideas better when you’re not drawing, eventually you will get better and the good ideas will come more easily and more frequently.

C. It’s incredibly hard to draw when you are overly prepared to draw. Sitting down with the intent to create a perfect drawing adds a terrible amount of pressure and is the thing that trips so many people up and makes it hard to even start creating in the first place. Draw informally, when you’re watching television or listening to music. Watch a movie and draw a picture of something you hear that would be interesting when taken out of context. Try to not think too much about it. Approach drawing from an angle, not head on, if that makes sense.

D. Finding your subject matter can also be difficult and may be what you’re actually talking about here. A few things influence the content of my drawings:

  1. Inspiration from the world around me. Other artists’ work, books I read, music, conversations I have while waiting to buy groceries, things like this.
  2. My feelings and internal dialogue, what I’m thinking about or am moved by or want to express to others. Daydreams, real dreams, imagined conversations are all good sources for drawing material as they are things that no one else would ever know about unless you expressed them.
  3. My ability as an artist. I am less of an M. C. Escher and more of a David Shrigley. You have to find the right spot on the infinitely wide spectrum of art in which you can create work that you like and you think is good. I like drawing amorphous shapes and faces and fun things, so that is where I’m currently situated. Agnes Martin drew lines and dots and is well known because she was super good at it.

Hopefully, at some point, 1, 2, and 3 will come together and allow you to create something that you consider great or good or even okay will do sometimes.

I think those are four good things to think about. The very beginning is the hardest part when it comes to making art, I wish we could all just skip it. Hopefully this will help you, and maybe others, get started again.

anonymous asked:

Thoughts on the new gaming vid? They seemed so happy and cute and lighting has improved everything A++ ^_^

(faceapp)

  • 2 seconds in and i’m already shook i can’t believe this is real we are literally looking into their new house they are literally actually filming in a new HOUSE and it’s all just too much to process
  • phil sitting cross legged on the same old futon and fixing the tetris lights and balancing them and the pacman light on cardboard boxes is all too cute his enthusiasm is too much for me and dan definitely thinks it’s so cute too and this whole intro is just so soft
  • i love that phil owns up to the fact that this was his idea while dan is tryna go for his traditional ugh this is too stupid and vapid and too mainstream and not creative enough shtick. phil giving no fucks about a got damn quality threshold is my kink
  • when phil is attempting to take his neutral expression selfie and slightly pouts and he and dan giggle (i’m being generous w that term bc dan’s was more like a squawk tbh) at the exact same moment i just smiled so hard. they’re so cute. and they’re both apparently kind of uncomfortable w the notion of like trying to look sultry in photos which is why that pouty expression made them laugh immediately, and also is a good precursor to the whole discussion that comes later about phil’s ladybird selfie
  • dan’s look into the camera at 2:13 gave me lifeeeeee i like that he’s trying to shade phil for taking forever to get his fuckin selfie but instead he has this ever so subtle up tilt to his lips bc he can’t completely hide his smile ughaierjoaierj
  • omg underrated discussion in this video: at 2:26 once phil has finally succeeded in taking the selfie he turns to dan and says “i look alright there” but w the intonation of a question, like he’s literally asking dan for affirmation that he looks good and  not only that but he full on turns to look at dan and gauge his reaction and that felt so special and genuine to me??? like??? not a sort of thing i would expect to see tbh? and in general this video was obvi silly and just a bit of fun but also i thought the level of feedback they were giving each other on their photos and the way they were reacting was all so,,, warm and comfortable and surprisingly open. in this instance i’m also just frustrated bc dan was about to say something in response to phil asking dan if he looks alright, but he cuts himself off. he says ‘that’s an excep—’ and it def sounds like he was gonna say exceptional or exceptionally and i need to know what his thought was. i also like that the thought he interrupts himself with is about phil still having slight crazy eyes. we’ve talked about phil’s own explanation for his wide-eyed deer-in-headlights expressions in selfies a bit on this blog. according to him, he resorts to doing that bc having his photo taken makes him uncomfortable, so it was cute to me that dan noted that phil still did a little bit of the wide eyes without giving any context for why he was pointing it out bc it’s just an understood thing that they obvi have talked about a lot
  • 3:14 dan’s horrified and squeaky “what have they done to your face?” is so good. it’s just. so good. he sounds so outraged that they’ve fucked w phil’s face i lov it
  • 3:20 is the besttttttttt. this is the exchange where dan teases phil for being old and i love everything about it i love how dan made that comment without even thinking which sort of suggests that teasing phil for being old is just a regular/habitual thing and i love the way phil reacted bc it wasn’t rly irritated or even mock irritation in the end. instead he just played along w dan’s joke and accepted it and the whole exchange was so warmmmmmmm and comfortableeeeeee and flirtyyyyyyyyy and it reminds me of a few other comments that dan has made here and there that allude to their age gap and they’re always v cute and gentle teasing and it’s just so good
  • 3:42 they’re talking about the ‘old’ selfie and 1. dan is captivated and i can literally see him contemplating his future w phil lmao and 2. phil talking about joey graceffa and calling him good-looking w a blatant pause before he said that, making me wonder if he was going to use a word that was a bit more emphatic than “good-looking” either way i’m into it and then there’s a blatant jump cut and i’m wondering if they had a lil side conversation about joey being cute lol 3. phil is still looking at dan basically every time he makes a comment and it’s rly surprising but lovely 4. dan needed to come in w that compliment about old phil rocking current phil’s fringe and how cool he looks :) 
  • here’s dan howell caught right in the act of contemplating growing old w phil:
  • bless them for calling out how dumb the concept of a “female” filter is. also dan’s once again violent reaction to phil in the female filter is so cute and funny i love how incensed he is with the whole concept of anything being different about phil’s face
  • 5:36 dan looking at phil in the male filter and saying “you look so average” in such a disappointed tone is rly one of the best fucking things i’ve ever seen in my life. i’ve often thought about dan’s attraction to phil being based in some of the things that are most striking about his appearance. for example he always talks about how black phil’s hair is and how pale his skin is and back in the day he obvi left that infamous comment on phil’s dailybooth about how blue his eyes are and i feel like dan is probs drawn to these features that are just,,, extreme,,, and i love that even a slight change to phil’s jawline/face shape made dan think phil looked decidedly more average precisely bc what he loves about phil’s face are all the things that aren’t average at all!!!! i’m emotional!!
  • phil was so hype to see all of dan’s ones!!!! i’m crying!!!!! the way he was doing his hee-hee laughs and bouncing up and down quite literally and like hitting his hands on the table and saying things like i wanna be friends w him instead of you and ‘i wanna see old danny! old danny slice!!!’ like calm down mate!!!!! ur cute!!! we know u think dan is cute!!! y do u love every single version of him so much!!!! when he sees the old one he immediately says he likes it and compliments it!!!!! when he sees the old one on the daniel x dream pic he calls him cute!!!!!! and then makes this face at dan while dan looks at it!!!!!! 
  • help!!!!
  • dan talking about embracing makeup was amazing and phil being totally down with it and immediately suggesting a smoky eye look and consulting some tutorials was also amazing and i hope thats something they’ve discussed before tbh
  • dan @ manly dan: ‘i mean i would.’ nice. dancest is real and it’s right before our eyes ppl
  • 8:28 dan saying he hates his current profile picture was so surprising and lovely when he gave his reason—it doesn’t reflect his natural curls. i’m honestly so pleased to hear that he views the natural hair as such an important change for him that he wants his display pic (something we know he spends way too much time thinking about and therefore treats as an incredibly important thing) to reflect this shift
  • 9:05 ahhhh the controversial dan reactions to phil’s ladybird selfie. here’s the thing. i think when dan says it’s a “really cringe selfie” he’s talking about the discomfort they both feel about doing posed/sultry shots. he corrects himself after phil protests that it’s not cringe to saying it’s only slightly cringe instead of really cringe, and that he should’ve included an ironic (i hate dan’s use of the word ironic so much bc he often uses it when what he really means is “sarcastic” or, in this case, self-deprecating/humorous) caption. when phil then says that he did use a funny caption, dan basically entirely revokes his criticism and says that phil actually “nailed it” w the photo/caption combination. basically i think both of them get embarrassed about the idea of unabashedly posing in an attractive way for photos and since they’re so close dan feels that embarrassment for phil as well. i don’t think he was saying he actually dislikes the selfie or that phil looks bad or unattractive or anything negative about phil himself. the only comment i did find questionable was when he almost said that the smile filter was an improvement!!! it seemed weird when compared to how much he disliked all the alterations to phil’s face on the first picture lol but then he also made fun of it so i didn’t take it to mean that dan literally thought the filter is an improvement to phil’s real face, just that it was pretty remarkable how cleanly the filters worked on that particular selfie
  • overall: really liked this!!!!!!! such a good intro to the new office!!! such a warm and chill lil vid where they were mostly casual and just being so soft and flirty w each other and basically calling each other cute in creative ways whats not to love about that it was great
Scrooge’s Grief for Della Duck (An Essay):

A.K.A. Scrooge McDuck grieves and misses his niece Della, but has tried to bury that pain for the past ten years. 

DuckTales handled Scrooge’s grief for Della wonderfully for me.

His grief isn’t apparent like Donald’s, or the consequences of her disappearance aren’t obviously shown as it is with Donald. His overprotectiveness comes from losing his sister.

Scrooge’s a man constantly on guard with his feelings. It’s like pulling  teeth out when it concerns him opening emotionally. He doesn’t want to appear vulnerable, and this is a feature from the comics. Pride and fear keeps his emotions close and under his heart. His hidden grief for Della, or rather her absence, and the subsequent rift it caused in his family, is in-character.

But this could be guilt as well. I have the opinion he may believe he’s responsible for TSPoS incident despite what he tells Donald.

This essay is currently over 2,000 words long, so I understand if you’re not interested in reading. These are my personal observations after rewatching the pilot movie on Youtube (it’s DisneyXD’s official channel), and from my personal readings of Don Rosa and Carl Barks’ comics, which have been a while. I plan to reread Carl Barks as soon as I can as well as catch up with the European comics.

Disney isn’t holding any punches for this show. It was a 23 hour marathon for the pilot movie. Thanks, Disney.

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Seijou Youtubers AU #1

Have you not realised I am a slut for Seijou and youtubers? I have so many parallels for ships like Matsuhan and Iwaoi you have no freaking idea, and I can’t help but procrastinate about what it would be like if Oikawa and Iwaizumi were both Youtubers sharing an apartment, kinda like Dan and Phil. I mean, they’re both a pair of best friends that people ship with each other so why not? This will have a few parts, this is merely the summary. I’ll go into details in different specific posts.

-Important-

Please note, that though most of these headcanons are drawn from Dan and Phil, not every single one of them is inspired the British duo. I am very aware that Dan and Phil may not be involved in a relationship and I do not wish to disrespect them by assuming they are. In other words, if they are indeed not together, and find someone else they decide to start a family with etc, I as a fan will be happy for them.

I am going with the headcanon that Iwaizumi and Oikawa are openly dating each other.

 - Iwaoi -

  • Oikawa basically makes videos of male apparel, life advice, vlogs, gym routines and pretty much anything that comes to mind. He also has a long running series on his channel where he takes in requests for a tag or challenge, then films it with Iwaizumi on Friday; things they have done include the 7 second challenge, chapstick challenge, miracle berry and even attempting to put on a hundred layers of socks.
  • Oikawa live-streams on Saturday at odd times cause usually, he’s really busy with other more “Personal” stuff. Iwaizumi used to live-stream on Sundays but now, he does it on Tuesdays. Fans suspect it’s because they have some cheeky bum sex on weekends and Iwaizumi is either too sore to live-stream or too doused in hickies. It has been hinted multiple times by Oikawa that he gets jealous really easily and has a propensity to display it physically.
  • Sometimes when Hajime is streaming, Tooru would come and start kissing his neck or give him a quick peck on the lips. When reversed, Iwaizumi would simply plop himself beside the brunette while resting his head on the taller’s shoulders and start browsing his phone. When fans comment how domestic they’re acting, they tend to laugh it off.
  • Tooru calling Hajime babe sometimes when he live-streams and wants something, the raven just coming in like “What?” with some random-ass granola bar.
  • When Oikawa has a fan telling him they’re new, he’ll greet them with words like, “Thanks for deciding to watch me!” or “That’s great, I hope you look forward to more content!”. Iwaizumi is just like, “I’m so sorry.” or “You must be pretty lonely if you decided to watch me of all people so I guess it’s my responsibility to ensure you don’t feel so alone.” People think he’s this really asshole like guy but fans who have met him in real life say he’s one of the nicest people they’ve ever met.
  • Iwaizumi makes gaming videos, mainly horror or PS4 games he’s fond of, and he swears so fucking much it’s actually funny, one of the most memorable moments was when he was playing Outlast and called the dude in the game “A even more fucked up version of Oikawa on drugs”, and to give context to his viewers, he explained that Oikawa had wondered into their room with a facemask on at 3 am in the morning scaring the shit out of him.
  • Both of their channels have around seven million subscribers, though Iwa did begin his channel a little earlier.
  • Tooru has a very outgoing personality so he usually engages with other’s really well. Even at events or fan-meet-ups, he tries his best to take a picture with every one of them. Iwaizumi is socially awkward but he gives really good hugs to those he knows need them.
  • He has to drag Oikawa away from fans if he constantly dwaddles, their friends merely say it’s Iwaizumi’s way of showing he’s jealous.
  • Oikawa has stated a few times he’s bisexual while Iwaizumi says he doesn’t really like labels. They’ve been dating for over five years but only recently came out as a couple. 
  • They have a cat called Princess that fancies Iwaizumi over Oikawa, when she appears in one of Oikawa’s blogs, she’s most commonly found lying on Hajime’s lap. Oikawa would most of the time turn to the camera and murmur, “What a spoiled piece of shit.” Before scoffing and resuming his intended task. She’s a snow white maine coon Hajime rescued from a ditch.
  • Fans noticed that when Hajime does playthroughs, Princess is either beside him or on him 90% of the time. 
  • The duo having a short series of them taking care of Takeru, and in the process, the internet sees how good of a cook Iwaizumi is and what good parents they’ll be.
  • Oikawa calling Iwa-chan compilations, done by Hajime just to prove how often he says it. It’s one of his most popular video and he doesn’t understand why.
  • Iwaizumi rarely vlogs, he calls it a hassle. But he does appear a lot in Oikawa’s vlogs so fans are cool with it. Besides gaming, sometimes he does song covers because this fucker can play the guitar and has an amazing voice, he even wrote a song once for Oikawa and made him react to it, he cried. They do a Q&A over on Hajime’s channel twice every year, one at the beginning and one at the end.
  • Tooru steals Iwaizumi’s cereal all the time. Which only results in a pissed off raven talking about it on one of his live-streams. Apparently other things Oikawa regularly does on a daily basis is leave his glasses in the fridge, sneak onto Iwaizumi’s laptop and change the background to weird pictures of aliens, hog the blanket, spill coffee all over their coffee table and print out candids of the raven before sticking them around their house. Once, he also mentioned that Tooru also sleep-talked and it was the creepiest thing to hear without context. He was going on about dicing some sort of motherfucker but it turns out he was trying to chop some onions without crying in his dreams.
  • Hajime casually stealing Tooru’s hoodies to get back for his empty cereal boxes. Oikawa says that when they aren’t filming, Hajime tends to wear his shirt and walk around in only that along with his boxers.
  • They occasionally film with their close friends Hanamaki and Mattsun who share a prank channel named ‘TheDankMemes
  • Hajime’s most popular video is the one of him singing the song he wrote for Oikawa.
  • Oikawa’s most popular video was the chapstick challenge, but now it’s his marriage proposal to Hajime ;)
  • Tooru vlogging them planning their wedding; choosing matching tuxes and deciding on a location. They chose the beach.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Tarot Reading

Tarot readings are cool, but why not make them AWESOME? Here’s some ways you can be sure to get the most out of your divination situation.

🔮Have a Question In Mind- This sounds pretty obvious, but it’s astounding how many people I read for that have no idea what they want out of it. Wanting a general reading is fine, but definitely have an answer to the question “what would you like to know?” when you sit down/place an order. Thinking about what you want helps you solidify the question with the cards, and helps you avoid thinking an hour later, “Drat! I should have asked about _____.”

🔮Think about How You Frame your Question- Tarot has different strengths and weaknesses, like any divination form. Playing to these strengths will help your reader give you a more fulfilling answer! For example, I once had a querent purchase multiple readings from me asking for very specific times of things. While tarot CAN be used in that way, it is much harder and in my experience usually comes at the expense of more valuable information. A better version of, “when will X happen?” is “what will make X happen?” or “What must I do before X?” That way you know if X requires specific action on your part, instead of sitting around waiting for “Oh, maybe about three months” and nothing happening. Phrasing your question in a way that milks the most information out of the cards makes for a better reading!

🔮Know Your Reader- First and foremost, a tarot reader is not the same as a psychic. A lot of psychics use tarot cards as a tool, but most people just offering readings can’t tell you the name of your future spouse or the color of your great-grandfather’s shirt when he died. Secondly, every reader is different! Some are intuitive readers and pull cards from the middle of the deck, some have you choose the cards, others deal from the top, and that’s just one example. Every reader has a different style to their interpretation that makes for a unique experience, so if possible, be picky with who you choose to purchase from. Some readers work better with certain types of questions. Maybe some give more detail in their interpretations. Some readers tell a little story about each card, which people can like or dislike. Some have trouble delivering bad news. Some just may not resonate with you! If you have the ability to check out multiple readers, especially online, definitely do so and find one who you think lines up with your needs the best.

🔮Don’t Be Afraid to Confide- The phrase, “I have a question in mind, but I’m not going to tell you” makes me want to rip my hair out. In my experience, people do this less because they want answers and more because they want to be impressed by a display of Tarot’s accuracy and the reader’s intuitiveness. They want to see the reader still pick up on the Truth with no outside input. This is all fine and dandy, but it’s not going to give you a lot of information. Why? It’s going to be vague! I can’t connect the dots as well if I don’t have half of them. It’s okay to give me some information about your question; it helps me pick out signs I may have not found significant without context. That said, I understand the fear of just having a reader use your words to tell you what you already know and call it divination. So don’t feel like you need to over share, either! If you want to know about whether to break up with your partner over that argument two days ago or not, a simple, “I’ve been having relationship problems and would like some insight on how to move forward.” Should work fine. That should allow you to still get a display of the reader’s intuitive ability (identifying the specifics of your situation) while still getting an actual answer.

🔮Interpret For Yourself- Yeah yeah, do my job for me. But not quite. Sometimes there are symbols that strike us that the reader may not emphasize in their interpretation. You know yourself better than they do, after all. If you think the cards are saying something extra to you, feel free to include that in your personal takeaway! If a reader asks, “what does this mean to you?/does anything stand out to you?” (this happens more in person than online) it’s totally okay to say, “I find X really interesting because Y. How do you think that ties in with the rest of the reading?” Feel free to start a conversation over it. Pick these cards apart with your reader. I, at least, love when querents do this. It shows they’re invested and engaged, and it lets me pull even more information out for them.

🔮Take a Picture- If you can. Sometimes online readings come with a photo of your spread! (Mine do.) Look back on the photo with a fresh mind later and reflect on it. Have you come up with any new personal interpretations for it? (Once I had a reading that I thought was about starting a business, but realized later it was about me writing a book!) What do each the cards actually mean? Are there any patterns in the spread you notice? It can also be fun to look back on it much later and see how accurate it was!

🔮Get Readings from Multiple People- I like a little variety, but I also just like people. I have people I go to for when I need a really solid dependable reading, but I also enjoy talking to other readers and seeing how they do it differently. I know it’s helped me improve a lot as a reader. If you’re able, consider getting your question answered through multiple sources (but be respectful, we’re still people.) See if there are any common threads between the two interpretations (it happens quite frequently.) See how they differ! It’s more work and money but is usually fairly interesting.

🔮Don’t Take it Too Seriously- At the end of the day, getting a reading is not going to change your life. Only you do that. While tarot can be a magnificent tool for insight, it is not an actual changing force in and of itself. Don’t stress too hard over it and be sure to use it alongside your own judgement, intuitiveness, heart, and common sense. And most importantly, enjoy it for the sake of enjoying an art form!

If you’d like to purchase a reading from me, you can do so here!

Originally posted by limoniume

force of habit. 12x10 coda. deancas. (ao3)

“Is this something we’re doing now?” Cas asks. “Being honest about how we feel?”

Dean looks up from his beer to find Cas staring at him, one eyebrow raised in a way that’s decidedly snarky. There’s something in the steadiness of Cas’ gaze, though, in the tilt of his head, that tells Dean it was an actual question and he expects an honest answer.

He had felt good earlier, after giving up the charade and admitting he wasn’t angry. It had felt nice to have things out in the open. He had relaxed, had told himself he could be honest and things would be all right, that he wouldn’t scare Cas off. He had wondered, for a few minutes, why he always felt the need to reign himself in, to bury his care and his concern under a facade. He had asked himself why he still bothered.

Dean sees, now, that he had just talked himself into becoming complacent. As soon as the words are out of Cas’ mouth, Dean’s heart suddenly starts doing double time. Ah, right, he thinks. That’s why. This is why he had changed the subject earlier, when Cas had made it clear he would die for them.

Dean still has limits that Cas seems uniquely excellent at pushing him to. He isn’t doing it on purpose, Dean thinks. It’s one of those human things he never quite got the hang of. Cas has always stood a little too close, stared a little too long. He’s always said things that unsettle Dean in a way he doesn’t quite understand, and this is no exception.

Keep reading

Meet Me In The Hallway; H.S.

She’d always meet me in the hallway. Whether it was four AM, three in the afternoon or so early she had almost had to leave for work, she was waiting for me to come home. For a kiss placed upon her lips, her arms snaking around my waist one of the things I always looked forward to. Gradually, she didn’t wait for me anymore. I don’t know what caused her to be so heartbroken that she’d just laid on the sofa, eyes trained on the television as I passed her.

I know where it started. Rumours. I’m not one to go around and lie that I didn’t do anything wrong, because I’m not perfect – but whatever magazines were slandering about, I knew that wasn’t true. I’d never do anything that would do Y/n any wrong. But I think, and somehow, I hope I’m wrong, that it had gotten through her head. Everything she heard – from so many people – pictures that were ripped out of their context – I just couldn’t blame her. We never spoke a word about it. Per her request.

I hope she still loves me. I hope, that when it gets better, when I get better, she’ll give me another chance and it’ll work out. When I got home today, her last drop seemed to have fallen.

“Y/N, I’m home…” My voice hasn’t been chirpy since she stopped waiting for me – I know I can’t just expect her to do so, but it seemed she enjoyed it as well. I hear a mumble coming from somewhere out of my field of sight, so I take a few steps into my home.

“Harry.” Y/n appears in front of me, apparently completely dressed, her jacket slung over her shoulder. I stare at her, at every aspect of her, and I feel my throat already constricting. “Where are you going love?” Her lip starts quivering and without a second thought I leap towards her and cup her face in my cold hands.

“H., I – I need some time off. I think.” She averts her gaze and I swallow to keep any fluids at bay. Within a split second, I wanted to scream out and vomit all over my floor. She can’t leave me. Not now. “Y/n, sweetheart, where would you go? Please, don’t leave me.”

She just shakes her head. I don’t want her to disappear through that door and not know where she is. I don’t think my heart could handle that. It was more than logical in my mind that the next words flowed past my lips. “Stay. I’ll leave.”

“Harry, no. This is your home; I was just a guest.” She pushes me away from her and starts shrugging her jacket on; but I won’t have it. “The moment you stepped foot insides this house it was also yours. Everything that I own is yours.” My words were heavy and I hope she grasped the nuances behind it. For now, I might as well leave.

“I’ll come collect my things when you’re at work tomorrow.” I mumble, my voice so strained I think she knows exactly how I feel. I take another step towards her, pressing my lips against hers, for maybe, my last time. I didn’t look back, because she would see how much this was paining me.

I had roamed the streets for the rest of the day. I didn’t want Y/n doing this, but right now I didn’t know where to go either. Of course, I could just give Lou or Niall a call and I’m sure they’d help me out almost immediately, but, we were going our own way and I don’t think they liked their former bandmate crashing on their sofa for an unspecified amount of time.

I walk and walk, think and try to force myself to think harder, for it to get better, for me to get better, for some way to work this out. I knew my girl and I know the most important thing she needed now was time. But I wasn’t going down without a fight.

My chest still feels vice-grip-tight, my throat closed off. I’m in some sort of daze where I somewhat realize I’m walking the streets of London, but I have absolutely no idea where I am. At some point, I’m sure I passed Piccadilly Circus, but it seemed so empty. I had never seen it empty.

This is hard, both for her and I alike. I wouldn’t want to think about reading so much slander about my girlfriend and pretending everything is alright. I would’ve cracked months ago. The hours pass and the sun trades his place with the moon.

When I stop in front of his door, I don’t know how much time has passes. I just hope he’s still up. I need a friend, horribly. I hear his heavy footsteps stomp towards his front door and shrug my coat closer to my shivering frame as I hear the familiar click.

“H.? What are you doing here? It’s almost six in the morning, man.” Niall opens the door, rubbing his eyes tiredly as he stares behind me to see if I brought anyone with me – Y/N.

“Y/n and I – uh – we are on a break.” I cast my gaze down, biting my lips while stuffing my hands in my coat pockets. I hear Niall sigh and the door creak. “Come in, H. You want some tea?”

I talk to Niall about it. Every single little thing that has eventually built up to my relationship crumbling at my feet. I feel helpless and I never thought I’d experience something like this again. “I don’t know what to do now, Niall. If I lose her, I’ll practically lose everything. But the horrific part of it all is that I get her and I wouldn’t blame her if she decided to let it be.”

Niall just sits there and lets me ramble. We talk until ten in the morning when he offers his guest room to me. I assure him it’s just for a few days – at most.

Those few days pass and when I’m not doing promo for the new album or recording, I try to stay out of Niall’s way as much as possible. I don’t know what I need to do, but I need to come up with something, fast. I’ve been so occupied in my mind that it’s physically paining me.

I walk the streets, and by now I find that I almost have them all completely memorised. I’ve met some new people, found some new bars. But all I could think about is how much Y/n would like this overjoyed fan, or how much she’s like the paintings on the wall on this art-themed café.

I’ve stopped at my front door many times, about to knock, but deciding not to. This day wasn’t any different, although I’ve been standing here for almost an hour now. I lack the courage of knocking, or just entering, and talking to her. I’m afraid – terrified even – she’ll say the things I don’t want to hear.

Just when I had decided to come back another day, hopefully with more courage, or maybe a box of Y/n’s favourite chocolates, I feel my phone vibrating in my coat pocket. A text message from her flashes brightly onto my phone screen.

Meet me in the hallway.

How Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart

It’s incomplete, but I had to get this out of my system:

How Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart

Persona 4 is a funny game. It is also a long game, and that allows the social simulation aspect of it to really work, allows you to feel at home with the characters, through charm and repetition - grumpy Dojima, overly energetic Chie, confused heart of gold Kanji. Through little bits of interaction, day by in-game day, you at some point start to realise that when this is over, you might actually miss them. All of them. 


And then there is Yosuke. 


You play Persona 4 as Souji, a quite detached guy moving in from the city, hand on his hip, jacket slung over his shoulder, and while you, the player, grow fond of the game’s characters, Souji always feels like he doesn’t quite belong. He is the leader, the one who pulls the strings, the one grown up far beyond their age, with the world’s weight on their shoulders. 


You juggle realtionships, help people out, they call you senpai, sensei - and then there is Yosuke. 


Yosuke, who somehow, magically, manages to transcent Persona 4’s charming but game-y relationship system and becomes something else. Yosuke, who calls you Partner, and rings you up at night asking about your dreams or which girl you like. Yosuke, who does and says so many silly things that you never quite know what to expect - Yosuke, who ultimately breaks the boundaries of Persona 4 and makes Souji/Yosuke the most unexpectedly real-feeling relationship within a video game that I’ve ever encountered. 


I don’t know what I thought when I first laid eyes on him, it’s likely that it was something along the lines of “Hey, this is quite cool-looking for an anime video game guy. Nice headphones.”


Then, in quick succession, things happened that made it clear that Yosuke was many things - heartbroken, repressed, funny, lazy, loyal, competitive, insecure, reckless - and that there was something building between him and Souji that seemed like a stunningly natural depiction of friendship. Somehow, this is rare - a video game showing two guys becoming friends, a process that just like falling in love requires making first moves, and opening up, and getting comfortable with each other. It seemed like Yosuke was the person in the cast that always wanted to know a little more, the one to push Souji a little bit, willing to ask stupid questions just to get a reaction, and unlike the other characters, he seemed to always act out of a desire to be level with Souji, to break through the calm, collected, leader-shell of his and address the human being inside. 


Now, that alone would be a remarkable thing for a video game to depict, and worthy of high praise. What complicates things is that Yosuke, no matter how much he might deny it, seems like the most obvious case of a closeted gay person the world has ever seen. 


When I started playing Persona 4, I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, through reading about it and actually having played a bit in the past. I also knew about the game’s realtionship system, and was aware, or thought I was, that you could only get romantically involved with girls. Thus, when the game started to tease the possibility of a gay option, I raised an eyebrow, then another one, and then I lost my marbles. 


When it started, the closeness between Souji and Yosuke had already been established, and since I’m a sucker for guys not actually hating each other, I started to favour Yosuke a little bit - choosing him to eat lunch with on the roof, studying together, spending afternoons at the Junes food court, talking in the soft glow of the sun on the Samegawa river bank. When Yosuke asked which girl I liked, I chose “neither”, cheekily, thinking I was playing the metagame, when the next midnight channel story twist came up, I bet each time that Yosuke would be the one to call Souji, outraged, worried, flustered, and each time when the phone rang and it was indeed him, I smiled to myself. But surely it was all in my head - I was starting to ship it, but it was just a fun little thing to do, to spare a thought here and there and layer it on top of these two characters whose interactions I enjoyed way more than expected. 


Then, these little moments started happening - the group sitting together at Junes’ and Yosuke remarking how good Partner is with his hands, a comment that might not even have stuck out so much if weren’t for the fact that immediately after saying it, Yosuke became a hot mess of backpedalling embarrassment. His insistence to know whether Souji had a crush on somebody, and who it was, despite the awkwardness. His remarks about inviting a third person to their activities, “or else people might think we’re gay.” And ultimately, the sheer time the game devoted to the Souji/Yosuke relationship - way more than any of the other characters got.


Persona 4’s social link system is fairly rigid. You choose to spend time with people, and if things go well, and even sometimes if they don’t, it raises your relationship level with said person, allowing you to climb the social link ranks, which has gameplay and combat benefits and also allows you, in some cases, to pursue a romance. What is remarkable about Yosuke is that the game spends a significant amount of time showing interactions between Yosuke and Souji outside of this system, building their relationship beyond the confines of you walking up to a person after school and answering “yes” to their proposal of hanging out. This not only serves to create a markedly more natural and complex relationship, it also sets Yosuke apart from the other characters - he is the one to choose to interact with Souji while the other characters can only wait to be chosen. 


And then Kanji entered the picture, Yosuke freaked out completely and I looked on, amazed at the fact that this game would dare to introduce a gay character, who, despite being closeted, met up with dates after school and whose dungeon was, of all things, a gay bathhouse, with sexual content that wasn’t even the slightest bit concealed. Of all the characters, Yosuke reacted most strongly to this, outright refusing to enter and making a big fuss about being afraid of Kanji taking advantage of him. 


It culminated in the camping trip - Kanji, Yosuke, Souji sharing a tent - a scenario that could have been used very easily for a gay romance movie of questionable quality, full of the usual tropes of late night talks, denial, confrontation and very real confusion on my part of where exactly this was going - the game laid on the armored gay homophobia on Yosuke so thick that it seemed almost impossible to read what was going on in any other way. Combined with the unusual qualities that had been established in the realtionship before Kanji joined the group, it started to feel like an entire plot was going on behind the scenes, inexplicit yet persistent and increasingly impossible to ignore. 


A few in-game days after that camping trip, Yosuke broke another boundary the game had set up to this point - he visited Souji’s home. More importantly, his room, a place that up until then you, the player, had always been alone in. The conversation that followed, in that intimate space, can’t adequately be described as subtext anymore, it’s text, and very gay text at that. I was streaming the game at the time, and I bet if that session’s video was still up, you’d hear my breath hitch when Yosuke, no homo Yosuke, asked about Souji’s porn stash and teasingly, suggestively stated he’d find it while Souji was out of the room. That was only the top of the iceberg, the whole scene and its context hit me like a 10 ton truck - could it be real? Was there really, explicitly something going on? The fact that I, after learning through research that there was no gay option, felt the need to double check after that scene, to make sure there wasn’t one, should speak volumes. 


That’s when I learned of the fact that Yosuke very likely was a gay option, that there were unused text and voice lines left over on the game’s disk that turned the inexplicit explicit, both in english and japanese, suggesting the developer changed their mind after the localization was done, i.e. very late in the game’s development. Only, they had ripped out very little, leaving in tons of sublte and not so subtle parts of the relationship, and that was when I realised that Persona 4, beyond being one of the best games I have ever played, would also have the potential to make me very sad, and very angry.


It wasn’t just that gay rights had been dear to my heart for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t just that the progression of Souji and Yosuke’s relationship eclipsed any other possible pairing in the lineup by miles in terms of complexity and depth and just feeling right. It was the loss of an incredible story being told, a story that would have been unique in the history of video games - the story of two fully realised, multi-faceted male characters that you, as a player, like, falling in love, and dealing with the fact that they both happen to be guys, with all the issues that might bring in a society where homophobia and hate are still so prevalent. 


While this has been done in movies to great success in recent times, mainstream video games haven’t dared to show male homosexual relationships in positive light and up front and center. Persona 4 does dare to spend significant time on very progressive subjects, including homosexuality and transgender issues, but it falters and pulls back just on the brink of being truly groundbreaking, which, to anybody playing the game with an open mind, can only scream injustice both in a worldly and in an in-game sense. 


The level 9 rank of Yosuke’s social link progression has the two of you standing on a hill overlooking the town of Inaba. Yosuke’d probably call it a village, and the two of you talk about coming to terms with your place in the world, literally and figuratively. It’s autumn, and the evening sun plays with the coloured leaves on the trees - it’s a beautiful spot, a wistful song is playing, and despite the Playstation 2’s aged graphics you can’t help but marvel a little. You’ve never been to this spot before, you think Yosuke probably brought you here, and you wonder if there are any other locations in the town you know so well by now that you haven’t seen.


“There is still nothing here,” Yosuke says, meaning Inaba, a place he resented for the longest time, “but I have family, and friends…and you.”


I sat in front of the TV for a long time, the soft piano notes of the song playing making me ache, and then I realised that while Yosuke Hanamura was denied the chance to become part of video games’ first positively framed gay male relationship, he had acomplished one thing:


Yosuke Hanamura broke my heart.

newt-fruit-main  asked:

Hey! I am very pro-AZA facilities, but I am a little bit concerned about your recent comment on sanctuary breeding. Sanctuaries and rescues are NOT receiving genetically valuable animals, usually they come with no genetic history, and are inbred for color morphs or mixed species (i.e. tigers)! This wouldn't be smart breeding for conservation like the SSPs! (1/?)

The animals they receive should essentially be considered like the excess domestic dog/cat populations in the US (only big and dangerous), because there truly are more than there are available suitable homes for. The argument of breeding for conservation in captivity has to be done in line with responsible breeding that’s part of a larger networked plan, because roadside zoos breed all kinds of animals irresponsibly (filling up the sanctuaries) and claim conservation.

Most of what you’re saying is true, and what you’re most concerned about re: the SSP mention is going to be an issue in the future. However, there are a couple things I want to respond to because they’re going to be super important for people who care about big cats to understand in the near future, in regards to conservation and the sanctuary industry and animal rights interactions. I’m gonna break those down below, but it’s not intended as a smackdown - you just gave me a great opening to talk about something I’ve been realizing I need to write about. To give you some context: I’ve spent the last couple months digging into the histories of sanctuaries and rescues as an industry and studying a lot of the exotic animal legislation that has been proposed/passed in the last couple decades. That means I’ve been researching the evolution of legislation and how animals move (both around the US, and between types of placement) in response to it, and what legal actions or public petitions influence those movements. The holistic picture is… interesting. 

First, though, I want to talk about a couple of the statements you made - because they’re super common in sanctuary messaging right now and, most importantly, have started showing up in legislation and lobbying regarding big cats recently. 

The lack of known lineage for big cats coming into sanctuaries and rescues was really only accurate in the 90s and potentially early 2000s, and from what I can really was at latest an issue up until 2007. The 90s was the period when the big cat population in private ownership in the US was out of control and rescue began to be a big deal - hence the formation of the current major big cat sanctuary organizations. The last large number of big cats of “unknown origin or lineage” left private hands and went into sanctuaries between 2004-2007, as people prepared for the full enforcement of the Captive Wildlife Safety Act (which, among other things, prohibited moving cats across state lines). After that point in time, the need for rescue - by which I mean hoarder situations or animals that truly were not receiving appropriate care, not exotic pet politics framed as abusive - dropped off sharply because anyone who hadn’t given up their big cats prior to 2007 was very aware that the CWSA meant that they were responsible for keeping those animals for life because they could no longer be easily transported to a new owner or another facility. So, a decade after that, animals coming into rescue are generally coming from either pet situations or are confiscations from private facilities. The people who are currently breeding big cats outside of AZA accreditation - regardless of what else you think about them or their practices - are smart enough to understand that inbreeding can occur and that tracking bloodlines is important. All of the exotic pet communities are pretty small and tight-knit in the US, so I can’t believe that there’s no known lineage for the animals currently ending up in sanctuaries. It might not go back more than a couple generations, or might not be something the sanctuaries are given, but it’s got to exist. 

I’m also really skeptical about the whole “there are more big cats than there are suitable homes for” messaging that’s omnipresent in the rescue and sanctuary industry right now, for two reasons. One, there’s no agreement on what a “suitable home” for a big cat is: the Animal Welfare Act is the federal set of requirements for appropriate care, but sanctuaries and animal rights groups consistently condemn places that meet that criteria, and only AZA likes the idea of AZA standards being a requirement for a suitable home, since most facilities don’t have the funding and mission to become part of the AZA. This means there’s no other set of standards that sanctuaries and rescues can point to to back up a claim about a situation for a big cat being ‘not good enough’. Since sanctuaries continue exist because they house confiscated animals, in the absence of data or concrete standards used to quantify a bad situation, any statement they make about big cat quality of care is inherently embroiled in politics. 

Two, the current numbers for captive big cats in the US just do not make sense. They’re all over the place and appear to be estimations because there aren’t primary source citations in any document - legislative or media - that I’ve found past 2003, and even that’s iffy. 

Let’s just look at tigers, for instance. In 2003, a paper Nyhus and Tillson estimated that there were anywhere between 5000-12,000 captive tigers in private hands alone in the US. The excuse given for such a huge potential range: the authors think most pet tigers would be kept illegally and not reported. It goes on to say the most likely estimates are between 7000-9000, but following up on those sources simply gives me news articles where the one of the authors is quoted about those numbers - there’s literally no data or study cited to support that. Okay, so, hold on, we’re guesstimating in a scientific paper about the existence of multiple thousands of tigers, multiple times more than exist in the wild, because of an utter absence of data and the determination that people lie? That doesn’t seem right.  But, then, in 2008 a report on tiger trafficking done by Fish and Wildlife said there are “as many as” 5000 tigers in the US - total, including in zoos and sanctuaries as well as private hands. They were using data from a single 2005 study, which estimated 3349 tigers in “private” hands (2120 in USDA licensed facilities that were not considered zoos or sanctuaries and 1129 in non-exhibition situations). That’s a drastic difference from 2003-2005, and only the 2005 citation shows evidence of actually having data backing it. Now, fast forward to the last couple of years. In 2014, the World Wildlife Fund states that of the 5000 tigers it thinks are in the US, 4700 of those tigers are in private hands. In 2015, the founder of the sanctuary group Tigers in America stated that he thinks there are actually upwards of 7000 tigers in the US with no mention of location. Neither of these statements have any sort of citation, and those numbers don’t make sense. It’s been a decade since the last mention I can find of an actual study of the locations of big cats in the US, so does that mean the numbers that are now being used in legislation and advocacy efforts are simply estimates based on how many pet tigers these organizations think people aren’t reporting? Not to mention, the numbers don’t make sense - the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, as well as many pieces of state-and local-level legislation restricting big cat ownership have majorly restricted the ownership, transport, and breeding of big cats. How are the numbers going up as legislation gets more restrictive? If anyone can show me actual data on the number of big cats in captivity in the US post-2005, I’ll happily update this post - until then, I remain pretty skeptical about this supposed surplus of big cats because after months of searching I’ve found no primary data anywhere to support it. 

Next, let’s chat about roadside zoos for a second. If you’re not aware of why I think that appellation is outdated and meaningless to the general public, please take a second to read this article I wrote about the topic. This is especially pertinent to this discussion, as many facilities outside of AZA (frequently referred to as roadside zoos) directly contribute to the success of SSP programs - see Mill Mountain Zoo’s success with Pallas Cats and Red Wolves, and Tanganyika Wildlife Park’s success with Clouded Leopard breeding. Not all non-AZA places are of the same quality - some do still promote breeding color morphs or talk about white tigers as a separate subspecies - but it’s inaccurate to say that all roadside zoos don’t contribute to conservation or just “fill up sanctuaries” with excess animals. 

Okay. Now, on to the SSP and sanctuaries comment. Most of the cats coming into sanctuaries right now are either previous pets or animals confiscated after animals rights investigations, as mentioned above. Right now, AR groups aren’t going after places that participate in SSPs… but that’s not going to last. For years, HSUS has been campaigning to close down every zoo that isn’t AZA. You can see that in their rhetoric, and in the fact that in every single piece of legislation and media they right they directly contrast how AZA does things with the horrors of roadside zoos. As of earlier this month, the CEO of HSUS made a statement indicating that AZA is partnering with them to help police the rest of the zoo industry - and the biggest focus that HSUS wants to see from AZA is help shutting down roadside zoos, according to a representative who spoke on HSUS’ behalf at the 2016 AZA national conference. It’s convenient that there’s no operant definition for “roadside zoo” published anywhere in HSUS literature since 1980, isn’t there? (See the linked article above for that discussion). This leads us to the question of what happens to the big cats in external facilities that participate in SSPs when animal rights organizations start going after facilities they deem “roadside zoos” or those they condemn for simply not being AZA. Somehow I sincerely doubt they’ll deviate from the long-term plan of shutting them all down just because they happen to support a decent big cat conservation program. When HSUS lobbies to have a facility investigated, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF, the legal branch of the AR organizations) get involved with advocating to have animals removed from a facility, there’s always a sanctuary or two ready and willing to take those poor animals -  and they’re all ones that are tightly associated with the animal rights organizations and decry the breeding of their residents. So yes, I do think we’re going to see genetically valued animals “rescued” from facilities where they were part of legitimate, planned breeding programs in the near future and put in sanctuaries where they can no longer contribute to the conservation of their species. 

I also don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the animal rights organizations will eventually start going after AZA, once all the other zoos have been driven out of business or had their animals confiscated. The head of BCR has said publicly that she wants to see all cats removed from zoos and in sanctuaries by 2025 - and that she plans on doing it by first turning the public against roadside zoos, and then by taking in all the big cats the zoos abandon after she convinces the public that they’re fundamentally immoral for having them. That lines up pretty neatly with the current rhetoric coming out of sanctuaries and animal rights organizations about zoos right now, and hey, BCR and HSUS and ALDF are all sponsors of all the recent big cat welfare petitions to the USDA and heavily involved in lobbying for congressional legislation like the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Still not convinced? In the newest iteration of the BCPSA, AZA-accredited facilities are no longer accorded their historical exemption from the proposed regulations. 

Big cat sanctuaries may currently only have cats who aren’t considered valuable to conservation programs, but I don’t think it’ll stay that way. All of the animals who came into the sanctuaries because of the Captive Wildlife Safety Act in 2007 (along with a ton of funding, because pretty faces and sob stories are great for fundraising) are reaching the end of their natural lifespans. If the sanctuaries want to continue to exist, they have to get new animals from somewhere - and you can see them beginning to turn against the zoo industry and demand ownership of their animals. It’s scary, but it’s real, and it looks like it’s starting already - in late 2016, ALDF notified Landry’s Downtown Aquarium (an AZA facility) of their intent to sue for removal of their tigers under the Endangered Species Act if Landry’s did not send the cats to an accredited sanctuary. 

Some of the relevant citations:

Bonjour! We all know language learning is fun, but it’s still studying, and sometimes you just get really tired of studying. And if you’re like me and you’re intermediate in a language, it gets to the point where you want to start using the language instead of just endlessly reading textbooks and doing the same practice questions over and over. So I’ve compiled a list of things you could do where you’re learning a language without it feeling like you’re studying!

- ̗̀ Reading ̖́- 

  • Books. Pick up a book in your target language and just read it, with no need to analyze it or answer end-of-chapter questions. Don’t worry about every single foreign word you come across, try to get the general idea of it from the context. But if a word shows up a lot and you still don’t get it, you can look it up! Children’s books are great, too.
  • Comics. Basically just dialogue with pictures to help you understand what the characters are talking about. Need I say more.
  • Blogs. Follow a blog in your target language which posts about something you’re interested in. Blogs usually have less formal language than novels, are of course a lot shorter, and have lots of pictures.
  • Wikipedia. Whenever you’re curious about something and want to casually look it up, switch to the page in your target language. If you want to, you can always read the article in your native language first to understand the topic.

- ̗̀ Listening ̖́-

  • Films and tv. Some have more complex dialogue than others, some have simpler, so there are films and tv shows for almost every level of language learning. If you can’t find a movie originally in your target language, find a dubbed version, it’s better than nothing!
  • Cartoons. Or live-action movies/shows aimed at children. These usually have dialogue that’s easier to understand than those aimed at older viewers. Also they’re fun!
  • Youtube. If you can find vloggers who upload videos in your target language, then go ahead and watch them. Kind of the same thing as with blogs, where the language is more “everyday”!
  • Music. Listen to songs in your target language. It’s okay if you don’t understand everything or even anything, the most important thing is to get used to how the language sounds!

- ̗̀ Writing ̖́-

  • Keeping a diary. This is by far my favourite thing to do when it comes to language learning. The point of this isn’t to write a flawless essay with no mistakes, no one has to read your private diary anyway. The point is to get used to producing a text and expressing yourself in your target language. Start with writing about your day in the present tense. Go on to write about something that happened yesterday. Write about your feelings and what you think will happen in the future. If you want to express something but don’t know the word, look it up. Woo, new vocab word! 
  • Short stories. Similar as above, but experiment with verb tenses and sentence structure. Use the fanciest words you know to make that description extra descriptive. Learn to use idioms and similes and metaphors. Your story can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. And this time, get someone to correct it!
  • Letters and texts. Get a pen pal who speaks your target language, if you can! Or even just an internet friend you can text with. You can even practice speaking with them via Skype or maybe even in person if that’s possible. What better thing to do with a language than do what it’s meant for: communication!
  • Anything else. When writing down your daily to-dos in your planner, write them in your target language. Jot down that reminder on a post-it note but do it in your target language. Anything.

That’s all I have for now, I hope this was helpful and that it has given you some extra motivation to learn that language. Good luck!