incidental

8

*cracks fingers* Right. There’s been a lot meta about this scene from whether Keith unintentionally made Lance feel worse because he dismissed Lance’s concerns to why Lance chose Keith – of all people, to go to about his insecurities when he easily could have gone to anyone else on the team. But this here? This is what stands out for me.

Keith might not have said the most comforting thing initially (which…I think has more to do with him not being the best at the whole comforting others thing which is understandable considering his backstory) but when the first mission after Lance confessed to feeling like he doesn’t belong on the team and doesn’t have a lion to pilot, this is what Keith does. Keith offers to sit out of the next mission, and lets Shiro pilot the black lion. Furthermore, he doesn’t ask Lance to return the Red Lion back to him signaling that Keith more or less handed over the Red Lion to Lance.

Keith has gotten a lot of flack for his leadership skills both in canon and in the fandom for understandable reasons, but this is a great character and leadership moment from him. He took Lance’s concerns to heart, even if he couldn’t comfort Lance properly, and then took action to remedy the conundrum without putting anyone else but himself on the spot. It’s unselfish and caring all at once.

More than the bedroom scene – which was a great Klance moment, the scene that followed it truly cemented what a great scene the former was. Without this scene, I think the bedroom scene would have felt way more lacking for me.

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate that Voltron could have made Matt the stereotypical older brother who gets angry at Pidge for getting herself in danger, and tells her off or tries to stop her, or even gets angry at Allura and the rest of the Voltron Team for “letting” her do something this dangerous, causing a rift between the two as soon as he comes back

Instead he turned up and immediately went, “You’re a pilot of Voltron????? Fuckin SWEET. Everyone? Hey, everyone? LOOK AT MY LITTLE SISTER SHE’S BASICALLY THE MOST AWESOME PERSON IN THE GALAXY. Go kick the Galra’s asses, dude.”

4

NEW CHARACTERS!

Folks, we’re SUPER excited to unveil our first update for exclusive pilot content!  We wanted to start it off with some of our background (incidental) characters!  Just a few of the residents you will find taking up space in the Gulch.  You’ll see em hanging in the saloon, hiding under a tree, or hobbling from shoppe to shoppe.  Our idea was to do our take on various myths but also create new ones.  Part 1, more to come!  Enjoy and thank you for your ongoing support! 

So, incidentally, my experience with the movie Megamind is that I ended up watching it backwards in a hotel once when I was younger and nothing else was on. And by “backwards” I mean, the first day I only caught the latter half of it and then it was on again the day after and I saw the first half.

That said, that one dang scene, is kind of an immortal one in my mind, because it’s one that has a lot more depth than it seems to.

The part that people often miss is that right after that pithy one-liner of how the difference between a villain and a supervillain is presentation… that whole conversation gets context.

Because Titan makes an immediate lunge for Megamind.

And immediately gets crunched by the giant head, and stuck in that situation because Megamind just drops out of the bottom, to a waiting vehicle, and maneuvers around him to focus on the actual issue: rescuing the hostage while Titan’s occupied.

That whole setup isn’t just, “watch me out-drama you”, it’s showing off an actual tactical asset.

Because Megamind as a character is someone who was always, always motivated by getting attention. The reason why Roxanne is never afraid of being his hostage isn’t because of her unshakable faith in a rescuing hero as much as it is that she knows, ultimately, what Megamind is doing is overwhelmingly a show. His atrocities are symbolic in nature. When he actually needs to take somebody out he dehydrates them into a cube for a while. And it’s not just Roxanne that calls him on this, either- Metro Man’s entire retirement scheme hinged on the idea that Megamind really didn’t need someone keeping him at bay from innocent civilians, because, as we’ve seen, innocent civilians really don’t have much to fear from him. Ultimately he is still, actually, just a kind of needy person desperately looking for validation and approval, neither of which can be provided by dead people.

But that’s not to say he can’t actually fight. Like any actual proper magician, he knows how to hold attention and an element of danger is how that works. He’s actually brilliant, and plenty capable of raising genuine hell.

However- he’s been doing this stageshow thing for ages. He’s mastered this. Titan may have him outgunned practically in every respect- but the guy has no conceivable head for subtlety.

So the real kicker to that whole setup, is this isn’t just Megamind being Megamind for the sake of drama- this is Megamind knowing exactly how easy Titan is to bait, dangling the largest trap he could possibly conceive in front of the guy, and doing it in an unapologetically glorious manner as any true performer would.

“Presentation” is not a superpower to be overlooked.

There are definitely many things worth criticizing in Steven Universe, but it’s weird because one of the biggest criticisms I see is something I personally love about the show?

It’s a lot of criticisms that basically boil down to “pacing”. 

Like “They keep setting up this big mysteries and then not paying off on them!” or “A big thing happens and then we get right back into filler episodes!” and like

Yeah? Exactly. IDK what to tell you. 

Rebecca Sugar is like reverse Steven Moffat, I almost feel like. She sets things up without you even knowing anything is being set up, so it doesn’t build tension, but then when you get the payoff it’s satisfying and obvious. Or, alternatively, she introduces a big plot element, and it’s like “Are we ever going to address this?” and then, eventually, when it naturally comes up, we finally do. 

We saw Connie’s glow bracelet in episode 1, and didn’t even know it was foreshadowing until we me Connie 8 episodes later. We didn’t learn Garnet was a fusion until 50 episodes in. 

We met Lion in episode 10, and there were SO MANY QUESTIONS. What is he? Where do his powers come from? What is his connection to Rose? And we never directly got answers to those questions - instead they were indirectly answered in a “filler” episode about a historical Beach City in episode 106 that really only raised more questions than it answered, followed by the most recent episode, 132, which was about Lars and Homeworld and also, you know, incidentally answered the entire Lion mystery. 

Over three years after it was introduced we finally learned what Lion’s deal is, and it wasn’t even in a Lion-centric story. But you know what? It was still satisfying. At least, I thought so. 

I don’t get the feeling that that explanation was made up. Watching it, I get the feeling Rebecca Sugar knew three years ago what was up with Lion. She just wasn’t going to incorporate it until it became immediately relevant. 

It’s slow, honest, sprawling worldbuilding that I can really fucking get behind. The writers know what this world is and who these characters are, they just aren’t going to force exposition or explanations where they wouldn’t naturally occur if they can avoid it. 

IDK, the whole “we just introduced this big new thing, but now the characters are just dinking around? Living their lives? Why???” thing is, to me, at least a solid half of the draw. I like the show is approachable, that the tension is present but not overbearing. 

It feels like life. Big, life-changing, worldview shifting things happen. And at the same time that it changes everything, it doesn’t actually change very much at all. 

A good friend dies suddenly, you still have to make yourself lunch. Your parents are getting a divorce, you still hang out with your friends and maybe even act like everything is normal. And maybe even forget while you’re hanging out with your friends what is going on at home. You get arrested, get out on bail, know you have a huge case coming up that could determine your whole future, you still play video games for a couple hours the next night, you still go to work the next day. You’re working with your lawyers and everyone to put together your case, of course, but normal life doesn’t stop. It rarely ever does.

IDK, I see these criticisms like “They introduces Bismuth and then just benched her!” or “They introduced the cluster and then it didn’t actually do anything” and it’s like, yet. I have no reason not to trust that those things won’t be coming back around. Everything else in this show has, in time, come back around so far. From seemingly insignificant side characters, to weird locations, to random trivia. 

There’s an old saying, “things change slowly, until they change all at once”, and it has, in my life, generally proven to be true. And it seems to be the Steven Universe approach to story pacing. And I, personally, really really like it. And it’s cool if you don’t. But I don’t think I’d like the show as much if it weren’t so chill. It’s a show that drips along in tiny, soothing, sentimental increments. 

It’s fine if that’s an aspect of the show you don’t like. I have preferences and there are things I don’t like even though they’re arguably good. But I keep seeing people propose it as an aspect of the show that is bad writing. And, I just can’t wrap my head around that? It’s perfectly fine writing. It’s even, often, great writing. I prefer a slow and quiet accruement to a plot-heavy infodump any fucking day. Not that there isn’t often call for the latter, depending on the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it. But I prefer the former. 

So far I haven’t been given any indication there isn’t a planned followthrough for all the many, many threads Steven Universe has laid. They’ve successfully followed through enough times before, often on things we weren’t even aware we should be looking out for, that I imagine they’ll keep doing so. The only reason I ever see the show failing to do so, and having a rushed and unsatisfying end, is time. If they get prematurely cancelled, or prematurely decide to end things out of personal desire to work other projects, then yeah, SU could end badly. Lots of stuff could end up unexplained or given a quick unsatisfying end. But there’s no evidence of that yet, so right now I’m going to take the pacing choices as just that. Choices. Good ones, that I like. Even if they aren’t to everyone’s taste. 

Witchcraft 101: Core concepts (energy work)

You’ve probably heard “energy work” mentioned, or at least one of the following terms: grounding, shielding, cleansing, raising, charging, visualising, casting. You’ll see these terms in spells and rituals as well as textbooks and theoretical discussions. There are other posts for theory; this post aims to give a rundown of multiple basic concepts of energy work to get you up and running. (Or at least, to help you understand other posts.) Bear in mind that much of this is personal opinion. Since everyone sees energy differently, in my “how-tos” I’ll refer to energy generally - fill in your own views. 

Also, in my methods, I mention “get comfortable” a lot - exactly what that means varies, depending on what I’m doing and wearing, but generally, stop fiddling with anything, and make sure you’re in a comfortable position, whatever the position is. You could be standing, sitting, lying down, moving, dancing - whatever, so long as you’re comfortable. 


Visualising

What is visualisation?

I consider visualisation to be a core concept to energy work in general. Visualisation is, essentially, thought. It’s imagination and memory and emotions all rolled up into one. (This is heavy on personal opinion, by the way.) Visualisation is what makes your intent for a spell come to fruition; if you aren’t holding your intent (i.e. thinking about/visualising it) while casting it, you can’t expect your spell to work the way you intended it to. 

How do you visualise?

As mentioned above, everyone sees energy differently, and your way may not be the same as mine. My basic visualisation method can be seen in the way I do any time of energy work: I get comfortable, close my eyes and steady my breath, and I focus on feeling and “seeing” the energy around me (I view all energy as white, incidentally). Say I’m cleansing something, my first step is to hold the object, focus on how it feels (is it cold, smooth, rough?) and “see” it glowing with a white light (energy). Then I’ll move onto cleansing it (see below). 

Your method will be different, but you could start with this or look through other posts for ideas. 

Grounding

What is grounding?

Grounding, basically, is all about ridding yourself of unwanted energy/getting your energy in balance. I kind of view it as a warm-up: you’re getting yourself in the right frame of mind and the right physical state before a workout (or spell). 

How do you ground yourself?

Everyone has their own techniques, and in time, you’ll develop yours. This is my routine:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. 
  • As you exhale, imagine unwanted energy leaving your body.
  • As you inhale, imagine the energy you want and need pulling comfortably around you. 
  • Continue for as long as you like. 

Many people like to visualise different places, or contact with nature. Try different techniques and take what you like from them, and just go with what works for you. 

Cleansing

What is cleansing?

Cleansing is like setting a device back to factory settings, or washing the dishes so they can be used again. You cleanse something to rid it of any unwanted energies - kind of like grounding, but for something that isn’t you. You could cleanse spaces and objects, and it’s generally a good idea to cleanse any items you’ve used before as well as the space you’re using before beginning a spell. It’s also generally a good idea to cleanse anything you use for divination, like tarot cards and pendulums (but I totally don’t cleanse them as often as I should). You can use just visualisation, or you can use tools - water, salt, incense and sage are all pretty common tools for cleansing. 

How do you cleanse?

My method for objects that you can hold:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • Hold the item and focus on how it feels - its shape, size, temperature, texture, and scent. 
  • While holding the item, now focus on how it looks (with or without opening your eyes) - its colour, decorations, the way the light falls/reflects on it.
  • Still holding the item, visualise energy glowing/pulsing around the object.
  • Still holding the item, visualise the energy flowing away from the object, leaving it without any glowing energy.
  • Continue until you feel like the object is cleansed. 

My method for a space, area, or room:

  • Clear the space you plan on using (physically - move unwanted objects out of the way, pick up any rubbish etc).
  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • Mark the parameters of the space you’re going to use (this can be a whole room or just part of one - just mentally or physically figure out where the “ends” of your spell space are). I generally walk around the edges of my space.
  • Focus on how the space around you feels and looks - temperature, light, textures etc. 
  • Visualise energy glowing/pulsing within the boundaries of your space.
  • Visualise energy flowing away from the space - if you have a broom, you could sweep the area while visualising the energy moving away as you sweep. You could also use incense or herb bundles while visualising energy moving away from the smoke as you move through the space.
  • Continue until you feel like the space is cleansed.

Warding

What is warding?

Basically, warding is putting up a shield to stop anything unwanted interfering with your spell, tools, ingredients, intent, belongings, etc.. It’s like an antivirus on a device, or a lock on a door. You could put up wards around your spell space, your home, yourself, anything you own, other people (with their consent) - pretty much anything.  

How do you put up wards?

My method for putting up wards:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • Mark the parameters of the space or thing you’re putting up wards around (this could be running your finger around a crystal, walking around an area, stretching your arms and legs out to mark the parameters of your body, etc.)
  • Focus on how the space or thing feels and looks - temperature, light, textures etc.
  • Visualise energy glowing/pulsing within the space or thing.
  • Visualise unwanted energy flowing away from the space - like with cleansing, you could use incense or a broom to aid your visualisation.
  • Visualise “walls” growing up, over and under the space or object. It’s important that the walls connect, and there aren’t any gaps (unless you want to visualise, say, a door that you can enter and leave from). 
  • Continue until you feel like the space or thing is warded.

Raising

What is raising energy?

Raising energy is like creating or compiling energy with a specific purpose (intent). Up until now, we’ve been looking at ways of using energy to prepare yourself, your environment and your tools for spells - raising energy is a bit different. The energy that we raise has a specific intent, and generally, we want to use that intent somehow - like in a spell. 

How do you raise energy?

There are so, so many different ways to raise energy - such as music, chanting, dancing, walking, laughing, exercising, and a whole bunch of others. You can also raise energy by visualisation alone - as I describe here.

My method for raising energy:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • If they aren’t already, position your hands so that your palms are open.
  • Focus on what you want to happen - your intent.
  • Visualise energy pulsing from your fingertips. The energy moves over your fingers and towards your palm, where it collects. As you do this, keep focusing on your intent.
  • Visualise the energy, now in your palm, growing larger and larger. As you do this, keep focusing on your intent.
  • Continue until you feel you have the energy you wanted, or for as long as you like. 

If you’re raising energy from, say, dancing, you might visualise the energy coming from your feet or body instead - I adapt this depending on the activity, but I always like to have a way to “gather” energy in one area. This could be your whole spell area, or it could be an area like the palm of your hand - whatever works for you and the activity. 

Charging

What is charging?

Charging is drawing on energy from elsewhere and putting it into an object to give that object intent. Think charging your phone, or laptop. You can also take energy you’ve raised and put it into an object - the energy can come from anywhere. People often have specific correspondences for different sources, however - so think about the source of the energy if you aren’t raising it yourself. 

How do you charge something?

Like with raising energy, there are entirely too many methods to list here. Some examples include leaving objects in sunlight or moonlight and bathing it in water or fire. You can pretty much do anything, so don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re raising energy, you can just put it straight into the object (see the method below). If you’re charging something without raising energy yourself, then you can skip this and consider it charged after as much or as little time as you think works. 

My method for charging objects:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • Visualise the energy, now in your palm, growing larger and larger. (This is the energy collected by raising energy, with a specific intent.)
  • Hold the object you want to charge (with one hand if you visualised the energy going to one palm, or with both hands if you visualised the energy going to both palms) and visualise the energy flowing into the object from your palm(s). Continue focusing on your intent as you do this. 
  • Continue until you feel that all the energy you raised is now in the object, or for as long as you like. 

Once you’ve charged an object, you can leave it indefinitely and use it in a later spell (though if you’re forgetful like me, you might want to put a post-it near it reminding you what you’re using it for).

Casting

What is casting?

Casting is guiding your energy towards the outcome you want. For me, this is the most important part of any spell - this is when you put all that work into making shit happen. So it’s important to be very, very specific. Don’t just focus on needing a job. Focus on finding a job that is right for you, will help you meet your professional goals (you can be specific about the goals, too) and will meet your needs (availability, hours, pay, travel time, benefits etc.), and finding that job at a time that suits you. This is also where you can really have fun with visualising! 

How do you cast?

My method for casting:

  • Get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  • Hold the object(s) you’ve charged, or your spell (if it’s a tangible thing, like spell bags, candles, food etc.).
  • Visualise the situation you want to happen. As described, be specific. If you’re looking for a job, you could visualise a “you’re hired” email, dated at some point that suits you, with the above information that suits you - the hours you want, the pay you want, etc. Morph that situation into your first day, meeting friendly and efficient coworkers and management, then six months or a year into your new job. Visualise yourself feeling productive, happy, and relaxed. Visualise yourself at a review, hearing that you’re doing well and you’ve made great progress.
  • Now visualise the energy in your spell moving “towards” that situation. (I like to “keep” the situation in one part of my spell space, usually in the air in front of me, so I can “see” the energy from the spell I’m holding moving towards it. 
  • Continue until you feel that all the energy from your spell has “made it” to the situation, or for as long as you like.  

Bringing it all together

So, this looks like quite a lot. I promise it’s easier in practice, especially once you’ve done it a few times. Also, remember that this is a post that largely focuses on visualisation - you can minimise effort by charging objects in light or water (aka leaving them on a windowsill for a few hours) instead of by using visualisation to raise power and charge them. 

In practice, a routine for a spell might look like:

  • Ground yourself.
  • Cleanse your space, and any tools or ingredients you’re going to use.
  • Put up wards.
  • Raise power (you could raise power individually for individual ingredients, or all at once for all your ingredients).
  • Charge your ingredients (either individually, or all at once). 
  • Cast your spell. 

Personally, I can do the first 3 in about 5-10 minutes altogether. The last three are more time-consuming, and could take 5-10 minutes each, per item. So a quick, simple spell with no ingredients could be cast in 15 minutes (I would just skip charging and put the raised energy straight to casting). Let’s take an example of a kitchen spell, making soup:

  • Ground self.
  • Cleanse space, tools, ingredients.
  • Put up wards around the kitchen.
  • Raise power while doing food prep.
  • Put ingredients in pot.
  • Charge ingredients through stirring - energy goes into the soup through the wooden spoon.
  • Leave to simmer and continue charging.
  • Cast spell by eating. 

When I do kitchen magic, I’m already doing most of this just by cooking. I just add more visualisation in, and put some thought into the ingredients, and I have a spell! 


I hope this helps! You might find my other posts helpful:

10

“Do you remember it well?” she asked.

“Halo?”

“Yes. Do you remember the one from your story?”

“It is still vivid in my mind,” I said, closing my eyes. “Those massive bands reaching up like arms into the sky: they were bluegreen and rich with life within, and a cold ashen metal without. I can still see its shape, twisted and fractured in the cracked viewport of my ship. I remember watching it shrink into the distance just before we left.

Even back then, when machines of that scale were ordinary and expected… Halo took my breath away.” [Halo: Fractures - Epilogue]