it's about the four of them

like okay, i’m an indigenous nationally oppressed person living in a white settler colony. indigenous people are about 15% of the population, other people of colour are about another 15%. What should I do, according to third worldism? believe that, ontologically, white workers can not and will not ever act against the social relations that benefit them, and refuse to ever work with them?

because if i’d done that, i can name three or four prisoners that the organsation i’m with would never have gotten removed from solitary confinement. The organisers who volunteered for the direct action which got one of those prisoners out, despite knowing that they would all be arrested and tried? white workers. its just materially untrue that white working class people will not and cannot struggle alongside nationally oppressed people for our unified liberation as proletarians. they can, and they do, and i’ve literally seen it and been part of it. third worldism does not explain how this can have happened. proletarian internationalism does.

5

when ppl ask why do you have three rings on ur ring finger and you’re like “I have three husbands, duh!”

It didn't really hit home until I went to bed that night that they all died in that final battle...

Because, at the end of it all we get to see the sun finally rise after 10 years of night. We see Umbra waking up in front of the Citadel at first light

But we don’t see the remaining Chocobros at all, not even the sound of footsteps from any of them.

I was half expecting Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto at least appear on screen at the end welcoming the sunrise in Insomnia with Umbra. Or at least any of the trio showing up at at all.

So let me explain my thoughts because this is going to be a mess of a ride for me. Plus, I’m writing this for closure, this game left me a sobbing mess 

I was so caught up in the moment when Noctis and Ardyn were in the crystal that this moment right here: 

Didn’t hit me like it should until later that night. 

At first you would think it was all simply symbolism, essentially Noctis projecting all the people that meant the most to him appearing in his final moments. In a way: it is; but not in a way that I thought at first.

But then it hit me, what if Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto are in there not because Noctis is thinking of them in spirit, but they are literally there in spirit?

Oh shit this is the part where I’m going to end up dead inside

Let’s all remember that Noctis, being the King of Kings is the only one allowed within the Crystal, and no one else. So Noctis has to absorb the 13 Kings of Lucis in order to take them with him within the Crystal. Because the Kings can’t go inside the Crystal by themselves, they needed Noctis as a vessel to get in.

And they did that through this soul crushing scene right here

Noct took the Kings with him via the Armiger, hence their presence in the Crystal.

so apparently you’ve been collecting weapons that will ultimately kill you in the end thanks dad

Luna’s presence makes sense too because her Trident is a part of his Armiger after receiving it from Gentiana/Shiva.

But remember: the Thirteen Kings of Lucis and Luna are all dead and that is their souls appearing within the Crystal

So what does that mean for the rest of our quartet?

They died in battle after Noctis ascended the throne, and the reason why the three appeared within the Crystal is because of this scene here

I don’t know about you guys but there was no way I was going to let Noctis leave the mortal plane without something to remind him of the more innocent part of his life so I picked Prompto’s first group pic:

I have a feeling most of us are sentimental fucks and probably picked one with all four of them in it too

So the game relied on its faith in us, the players, to pick a photo with the four of them present to some capacity. So when Ignis, Gladio, and Prompto died in battle, their souls followed Noctis along in the Crystal through his memento.

Long story short: 

Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto were with Noctis even in spirit till the very end.

ie:  All my boyfriends are dead and so am I

Because this scene right here

Was the battle that ultimately kills the three of them.

The Best Perfume Insults

I love people’s writing about perfume, because it’s forced to be so creative.  Scent is hard to talk about, so people have to resort to stories and metaphors, all of them intensely personal to the writer.

And when they don’t like a perfume, that creativity gives forth some of the best insults.  I have here curated my favorites from Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.  The list is long, but trust me, they’re all worth reading.

A disclaimer: The same thing that makes perfume reviews fun to read also makes them super subjective.  I have never found less of a consensus on anything than on perfume.  In other words, if you find your favorite perfume on this list, please don’t take it personally (and don’t blame me- I haven’t smelled most of these myself!)

Keep reading

Anyone other than me noticed how thin Chuuya is, compared to the other three…

Let’s talk about the elements!

I’ve written a lot about the seven classical planets and celestial/cosmic witchcraft. I think it’s time to bring things a bit more down to earth, though!

This is a new two-part series! It will focus on the natural elements as understood by the Western Magical Tradition.

In today’s article, I’ll be explaining a bit about the history of these concepts and how I see them. I hope you find this interesting and informative!

Thinking About the Elements

Elements are one of the first concepts I learned when beginning a journey into witchcraft. 

But! How do we view the elements as concepts? Lets consider how they relate to us and the whole universe. Here’s my views!

Some believe the elements are simply words for natural phenomena.
In other words, Fire is fire - the burning of a campfire or candle, or another flame. Water would always be something like a stream, the ocean or other liquid. I don’t see it this way. They’re far more complex than that!

The four elements stem the observations of ancient philosophers. These thinkers guessed that these substances were the building blocks of physical reality. Of course, they were wrong! In reality, atoms comprise matter. Matter and energy, then, make up the physical universe. 

We could associate four classical elements with the four states of matter. These are solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. They’d correspond to earth, water, air, and fire in turn. This is a very simplified view, though!

These concepts were fundamental to the ancients. A wealth of lore has developed around them. They have grown into complex metaphors for aspects of the human condition. The physical manifestations of the elements have become potent symbols. 

They represent various mental and emotional phenomena. Symbols are important in witchcraft. The way I see it, all tools of the Craft are symbols used to connect with larger forces that work within the universe.

The elements themselves, and their attributions, are in fact, somewhat arbitrary. This means that each of us will have a different idea of what each element represents!

There’s nothing wrong with this, though. The point is to use them as symbols. What they symbolize to you is your own business!

Qualifying the Elements

In the Western Magical Tradition, there are four core (classical) elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  

Some traditions do posit a fifth element called the quintessence, also known as Spirit or Aether. This fifth element stands apart from the other four, as it doesn’t behave in the same way.  

I’ll be focusing on these four, not on the quintessence. Spirit as an element is a very large topic best suited for its own series of articles.

Alchemical thinkers have placed these four into categories. . They’re quite useful for understanding the system. 

Each element is either “hot” or “cold,” as well as either “dry,” or “wet.”

This doesn’t describe the physical qualities of the phenomena in question. Rather, these terms are metaphors. They refer to the roles taken by the concepts each element embodies.

Hot and Cold Elements

Hot elements are active in human existence. 

They stand for concepts that penetrate and alter the world around them.
An outdated way of putting this would be to describe them as “masculine.” This comes from historical stereotypes about gender. I tend to use the term “active” to describe hot elements. That’s Fire and Air.

Cold elements are passive and receptive. 

They represent concepts from which we draw nourishment. They are the structure or substance that forms our mental landscape. The hot elements tend to be the essence or organizing principle. 

Cold elements are often stereotyped as “feminine.“  They are Water and Earth, both of which play a nourishing role in human existence.

Wet and Dry Elements

Dryness as a concept within the Western Magical Tradition refers to a fixed state. In other words, the dry elements are things that don’t often change. These elements are full of stability. 

The key feature of a dry element is lack of intense motion. We can depend on the stable parts of our existence, represented by these elements.

The dry elements are Fire and Earth. It may seem strange to call fire stable, but it is a reliable source of warmth to us. It represents a constant feature of human life.

When we speak of wet elements, we mean the two elements that aren’t fixed. In other words, elements that flow ,change and transform. It is the concepts associated with these elements that drive the changes. They are reliable, but only insofar as change, itself, is something to rely on! 

The wet elements are Air and Water. Both are natural features that shift and flow through our lives. The inclusion of Air as a wet element shows that these are metaphorical, not literal terms.

Much more could be said about how people have described the elements throughout time. The above image shows the alchemical view of how the elements can combine to create secondary principles. 

As you might guess, “fixed” and “volatile” here stand for what we’ve been calling “passive” and “active.” If you want to know more about these further topics, I recommend Robert Bartlett’s book, True Alchemy. 

The entire concept of the elements is a metaphor, though. It’s a metaphor that can work for you. It can help with your Craft, and help you connect with the universe. I’ll be posting the next article tomorrow! In that, I’ll be discussing each element in detail.

10

Can we talk about how Suki is the most badass character in the whole Avatar universe? Here she is, an unarmed non-bender, and here are hundreds of rioting prisoners and guards, plus four armored firebenders and the guy who runs the whole prison, and she just deals with them all while the (tough warrior) guys who are supposed to be helping her are still arguing about what they should do.

Gilmore Girls study moods
  • Rory: Sitting in your room surrounded by notes, phone switched off, sweatpants on. Neat cursive handwriting, an empty coffee cup next to you, cross referencing your sources, old school encyclopedias, a CD you borrowed from your friend, only taking a break every 2 hours, focusing on your goals.
  • Lorelai: Kitchen table, papers everywhere, empty coffee cups scattered around the room. Hair in a messy bun and pencil behind your ear, determined when you want to be. TV on in the background. Taking a break every 20 minutes for more coffee and to call your friends to tell them how boring your study is. Accomplishing your goals despite the mess.
  • Lane: Jamming out to rock music while you work, pigtails, your work is surprisingly organised but you find it hard to focus. You've tried the pomodoro technique but it was hard to stick to, so you take tiny breaks to air guitar when a good part of a song comes on. Getting distracted by your roommates.
  • Luke: Your notes are all in one notebook, scribbled in with a classic blue biro. Black coffee in a mug, reading glasses that you never let other people see, a comfy worn-in office chair, the smell of wood. Not worrying about being neat, keeping things as simple as possible. You do what works for you. It's a relaxed environment.
  • Kirk: Studying in the library next to stacks of library books, 15 tabs open on your computer, desk full of pages. Gathering intense background knowledge of everything you come across. Calling your friends to tell them about new things you've learned. Quizzing yourself every 30 minutes, which counts as a break.
  • Sookie: Sitting on the floor with your notes spread out around you. Four different types of study snacks. Highlighter marks on your face somehow. Switching subject every 10 minutes to keep yourself interested. Hot chocolate breaks every 20 minutes. Thriving off encouragement from your loved ones. Papercuts.
  • Paris: Your study lasts all day. First at the library, then at home. Work organised into neat folders, a different notebook for each subject. Straight lines and hand drawn banners. Hair in a neat bun. Glass full of different color highlighters. Scheduled breaks every 45 minutes to increase productivity. Framed photos of people who inspire you. Thriving off of competition.
  • being friends with a gryffindor is: never having to worry about not having someone to fight for you; knowing that you are arms length away from receiving the warmest hug you have ever had, like hot apple cider or hot chocolate; pillow fights at 1AM because why not? it's not like sleep could ever give you this feeling of joy; it's sitting next to a roaring fire painting nails, or trying to braid hair [and failing miserably]; it's watching the sunset together, and trying so desperately to memorize how the colors from the sky are making their face glow; it's standing up for them, even if they screwed up - because they're your friend, and what they did isn't worth giving up those uncontrollable giggles late at night; it's teaching each other how to grow up, and be mature, and learn from your mistakes; it's often going out of your comfort zone to do things that you might regret later, but you know will be worth it in the end; it's trying new recipes together and almost coughing it back up because you seriously needed to have had a recipe; it's always being there for each other when it counts.
  • being friends with a ravenclaw is: turning around in your seat during class, to look at them and roll your eyes simultaneously; coming up with new conspiracy theories about your favorite tv show; writing messages on each other's jeans and hands/arms, and getting in trouble with the teachers for not paying attention; it's not being afraid to tell them that they need to go back upstairs and change their outfit; it's not being afraid to give them the facts, and show them how it correlates with their circumstance; it's watching the stars together, and having a contest about who can spot the most constellations, before you both decide 'screw it,' and make up your own constellations - each with their own history and characterization; it's trying out new things together, whether it's completely foreign to the both of you, or just one of you - to please the other person and to gain their perspective; it's reading to each other late at night, while the other plays with your hair; it's always going above and beyond to keep your friendship alive.
  • being friends with a slytherin is: silent gestures and small smiles during the day, to let the other know you care about them; it's like finding a four-leafed clover - once you find it, you never let it go; it's throwing rocks in water and watching the ripples as they calm you; it's not being afraid to point out the bad qualities in each other, as well as the good, and have conversations about them; it's doing each others makeup and laughing so much that your eyeliner is all over the place, and you can forget about mascara; it's seeing who can sculpt the weirdest animal [with a backstory, please and thank you - along with its diet and habitat]; it's staying on the internet until dawn, and barely speaking, but giggling as you send each other memes; it's jumping on the bed to your favorite music while singing in a hairbrush; it's texting each other in near-tears, spilling your heart out, while the other listens and comforts you, and tells you all the reasons why you'll get through it, and how you don't need the person who is the source of your hurt; it's constantly picking each other up after someone's knocked you down; it's knowing that you have someone you can be completely bare-faced with, and know that they'll either cut all ties with you, or know that you have someone to love you for life.
  • being friends with a hufflepuff is: late-night talks about nothing and everything; sending each other baby hedgehog videos; hand-holding; seeing who can eat the most in one sitting [and then comforting each other the rest of the day, because oh my god who would even eat fifteen pieces of toast in their right mind]; sketching each other [and failing miserably]; lighting dozens of candles and laying down on the couch side-by-side, whilst your favorite instrumental record plays in the background; not being afraid of tear-stained clothes; sometimes having to pull all-nighters working through problems with each other, due to too much blatant and tactless honesty; always smiling at each other while you pass in the halls; always lending an ear when needed, even if you can't give advice; squealing at seeing their selfies, because oh my god, I am friends with the cutest little bean in the universe; making road-trip plans for the future; tripping over air while going on hikes together; drying flowers together; knowing that although they might have their head in the clouds, they will always come back down to earth just for you.
There are two types of people in this world

People who say “I’m so BrenDONE with you”

And people who say “I’m so Josh DUN with you”

Which side of history will you be on?

Flying to New Heights With the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

A mission studying Earth’s magnetic field by flying four identical spacecraft is headed into new territory. 

The Magnetospheric Multiscale mission, or MMS, has been studying the magnetic field on the side of Earth facing the sun, the day side – but now we’re focusing on something else. On February 9, MMS started the three-month-long process of shifting to a new orbit. 

One key thing MMS studies is magnetic reconnection – a process that occurs when magnetic fields collide and re-align explosively into new positions. The new orbit will allow MMS to study reconnection on the night side of the Earth, farther from the sun.

Magnetic reconnection on the night side of Earth is thought to be responsible for causing the northern and southern lights.  

To study the interesting regions of Earth’s magnetic field on the night side, the four MMS spacecraft are being boosted into an orbit that takes them farther from Earth than ever before. Once it reaches its final orbit, MMS will shatter its previous Guinness World Record for highest altitude fix of a GPS.

To save on fuel, the orbit is slowly adjusted over many weeks. The boost to take each spacecraft to its final orbit will happen during the first week of April.

On April 19, each spacecraft will be boosted again to raise its closest approach to Earth, called perigee. Without this step, the spacecraft would be way too close for comfort – and would actually reenter Earth’s atmosphere next winter! 

The four MMS spacecraft usually fly really close together – only four miles between them – in a special pyramid formation called a tetrahedral, which allows us to examine the magnetic environment in three dimensions.

But during orbit adjustments, the pyramid shape is broken up to make sure the spacecraft have plenty of room to maneuver. Once MMS reaches its new orbit in May, the spacecraft will be realigned into their tetrahedral formation and ready to do more 3D magnetic science.

Learn more about MMS and find out what it’s like to fly a spacecraft.

8

If memory serves you said something about a wedding. I mean, not that I need a wedding. I’m all about the deconstruction of the princess myth. But it’s been a long year, and you said it, so what’s up?

i have too many feelings about michelle jones so here have headcanons and peter x michelle

this was obnoxiously long because i have no control so lots of stuff is under the cut and it became very fic-like at the end there, whoops. parts ONE (this one!), two, three, four.

  • so michelle moved with her family to new york when she started high school
  • and mj was actually pretty sad to leave her friends back in chicago because it had taken a long time to make those friends and she always feels awkward around new people
  • so she isn’t very happy about The Move
  • she comes from a loving family
  • like, she gets kissed every night before she goes to bed, her parents read her bedtime stories until she was ten, she used to wear matching outfits with her mother, family movie nights were every friday
  • her parents were really good to her for the most part and just loved and supported her
  • they’re also pretty smart and since mj has pretty much always been inspired by them so intelligence and the acquisition of knowledge is really important to her
  • hence reading and academic decathlon, but she’s also into math and science too because she’s very driven and doesn’t have that many friends in new york so what else is she gonna do?
  • and her parents are an interracial couple and they’ve encountered a lot of hate and mj was always so sad when she walked out with her mother and people would give them weird looks
  • so she’s tried to end hate whenever she can and fights to give a voice to those who are silenced
  • but now cue mj going to high school in new york
  • she joins academic decathlon ofc because who do you think she is she lives for this shit
  • and then! there is this little shithead on the team PETER PARKER
  • like who the fuck does this kid think he is
  • answering all these questions, acting like he’s sooo smart just because he happens to know a lot of facts and is really good at physics and speaks spanish really well and also happens to be really dorky and adorable and okay maybe he’s kind of attractive too and maybe mj starts throwing herself more into academic decathlon and possible CONSIDERS joining band but that’s ONLY BECAUSE PETER IS A SHITHEAD AND SHE NEEDS TO SHOW HIM HE ISN’T THE ONLY TALENTED ONE OKAY
  • anyway

Keep reading

3

Alolan Lickilicky!

I finally beat the Elite Four in Pokemon Sun & Moon and its just rekindled my love for this reion and everything about it. I’ve seen some folks make their own Alola forms of pokemon so I thought I’d do one for my favorite of all time, Lickilicky!

Some thoughts about their Alolan form:

Type: Grass

Info:
Lickilicky’s diet consists of mostly fruit in Alola. They eat so much of it that they eventually began to resemble the fruit they eat. In the past they were believed to bring a bountiful harvest and were given lots to eat whenever one showed up. Lickilicky helps nurture fruit trees and make them produce plenty of berries, it shares the bounty with other pokemon. 

AriA’s File

Okay, what is the deal with Aria’s file? What on earth could be her secret? A secret that would put EZRA in jail, and make him pick Nicole over her?

AD says the following to Aria:

“Jessica DiLaurentis kept excellent records. If Ezra knew what was in your file he would definitely choose Nicole, and she would be visiting him in jail.”


Why would something …

  • in ARIAs file 
  • put EZRA in jail 
  • AND have him pick Nicole

???????????

One thing we know for sure is it had to be something that happened BEFORE Jessica’s murder, since it is something Jessica found out.

This can be interpreted in two ways:

  1. Jessica DiLaurentis found something incriminating about Ezra that Aria has kept a secret. But…. why would Ezra hate Aria because of it? Why would Ezra blame Aria if this came out? What is she willing to keep secret about Ezra that she would go against her best friends for? Does Aria know a secret about Ezra that if it came out would put him in jail? Okay, there are a few possibilities here, but why would it make Ezra choose Nicole over Aria? Thats the part I just dont understand. Ezra could be upset that Jessica found out something about him, but why would it make him give up his love for Aria??? 
  2. Jessica found out something about Aria that would cause Ezra to hate her and to do something that would put him in jail….Is this signifying that Ezra would kill Aria if he found out this secret?

I feel like the following photo is significant. The 4 glasses represent the four main girls, Spencer, Hanna, Aria & Emily. 

By shattering a glass, it is a symbol that she is no longer one of them, that she is going against the group to protect whatever is in her file.

The girls have always stuck together, so it has to be something HUGE if she is willing to go over to the dArk side. 

(Side Note: I swear to GOD if Marlene messes this up and its something stupid Im going to jump off a cliff) 

There has always been something sketchy about Aria. I’ve written a million posts about it and don’t want to go through every little thing again because we’ll be here all day, but I do want to go over a few significant things.


  • Aria and Eddie Lamb

When Aria goes into Radley to get info on Bethany’s old roommate, Eddie Lamb recognizes her and says he feels like they have met before. Aria acts REALLY BIZARRE in this scene. She is obviously hiding something. She has some kind of connection to Radley Sanitarium. 

———————

  • Aria and Jason

A part of me has always believed that Jason is A. I have written theories about it. He has always had a thing for Aria. The weirdest thing was when he had all of those close-up photos of her sleeping. He claimed Alison took them-but I just dont buy that. And later A had the same photos in his/her lair.

Then there is a very similar scene in later seasons, of Aria hanging up her creepy doll photographs in a dark room. It is a parallel to when Jason is in the darkroom with the pictures of her.

Its possible that whatever is in her file has something to do with Jason. This could lead in to why it would cause Ezra to choose Nicole over Aria.

—————————

  • Aria and Mona

What the hell did Aria whisper to Mona at this moment that had her running scared?????? Aria and Mona have always had an interesting relationship and suspicious conversations.

—————————-

  • The Dollhouse 

Aria had the mannequin family framed in her Dollhouse bedroom. The look on her face seems to convey that she KNOWS SOMETHING. Who/why they were taken there.

————

There are so many crazy possibilities as to what is in Aria’s file. The last few episodes of the show have really depressed me. I’ve been majorly disappointed in the writing and reveals. I am really hoping they give us something shocking and amazing for Aria’s secret.

Fingers crossed. 

anonymous asked:

You've talked before about how katana's weren't that great due to the low quality of the metal used way back when. But what if someone made one today? If you primarily used titanium instead of low-quality steel, plus modern forging techniques, could you develop a much better sword that a real person could use in a fight?

The poor quality iron that Japanese smiths had access to is part of the problem, but it’s not the only issue. The design was (in part) a result of that limitation. You can work around those, using high quality steel forged directly from a billet, with a grip you can actually use in a variety of situations, but you wouldn’t have a katana, you’d have a saber.

Those design flaws are intrinsically what defines the katana. Folding the blade is extremely fetishized in defining the quality of a katana. It’s not just a defining characteristic, you will see people using the number of folds as an indicator of how skilled the sword smith was. This is probably a large part of why they continued using the technique, while other cultures, like the Vikings, abandoned folded blades once they had access to better smelting technologies.

In fact, a lot of modern, “katanas,” you can buy, aren’t. They’re not produced with the proper metal, and they’re using machine forged blades. They’re just sabers. Ironically, even the junk ones are superior weapons to traditional katanas. (For one thing, you can actually parry with the blade.)

Using titanium as your base material for a sword isn’t a good option. It’s light weight, strong, and won’t hold an edge without becoming incredibly brittle. Heat treating it is either functionally impossible or prohibitively expensive (maybe a little of both). It’s a fantastic option for a lot of applications, but combat blades don’t make that list.

I don’t really have a lot to say on the subject of titanium, because I don’t do metalworking directly, but (nearly) everything I’ve read on the subject says, “don’t.” There are titanium alloys you use, but the metal, in general, just doesn’t have the characteristics you’d want in a sword (or machete). It is an excellent choice for items that need to survive excessive thermal shock and constant wear, which is probably why you will find aftermarket titanium parts for firearms, it just doesn’t work well for swords.

If you’re really dead set on getting a titanium blade, you can buy titanium kitchen knives. Though, holding an edge while slicing carrots and slabs of meat isn’t quite the same as doing so while slicing through screaming slabs of meat who are trying to return the favor.

You can make excellent blades from high quality steel. No folding required. Actually, please, don’t fold high quality steel. The entire folding process was originally an act of necessity, to get functional steel out of the iron the Japanese had access to.

You’d also probably want to add a functional hand guard to the thing, and contour the hilt. These aren’t mandatory, but they would help. The thing is, none of this is really necessary.

Real people did use actual katanas forged from tamahagane (pig iron), and killed each other in the real world. Humans are very inventive about making sure they have a way to kill each other, and the katana is an excellent example of this.

Limited by their available resources, Japanese swordsmiths found a way to turn the iron they had into something they could use in weapons. Japanese swordsmen developed and refined techniques that allowed them to take the resulting blades into combat while working around their inherent fragility, and they used the things for centuries. They turned the blade into a symbol of their identity.

To be honest, I don’t even hold this against the Japanese, the katana is a symbol of their ingenuity. It’s not a particularly good sword, but that’s kind of missing the point. It is, their sword. It is a symbol. Hell, it is literally a holy icon.

What you can’t do is take a katana out of its natural environment and expect it to flourish. Weapons are designed and adapted to deal with the environment they’re used in. On the global scale, the katana was about four centuries obsolete when it was first developed. Which, really doesn’t matter, because the Japanese weren’t using them against anyone who had a decisive technological advantage.

The problem is, a lot of people, look at how the katana functioned in its native environment, and how the people from that culture regarded it, and then assume that a civilization which had never engaged in long range exploration and had no frame of reference, were able to accurately assess that they had created, “the best swords,” in the world.

It’s a sword. You can make vastly superior ones by changing the design, at which point it’s still a sword, but it’s not the same sword. The katana was an excellent weapon for Feudal Japan, not because it was somehow the best blade design ever envisioned, or because it had some superlative quality, but because it was a symbol of who they were as a people.

Take it out of that environment, drop it into a world that has moved beyond swords entirely, and you’re left with an object that can still have cultural meaning, and personal importance, but trying to cling to it is to deny the changing world.

Icons like that are still important to point to and say, “this is where we came from; this is a part of who we are,” but, that’s not the same as saying, “progress is irrelevant, this will always be the best solution.” And, yes, that second part is an element when discussing the katana. Folded steel was not, strictly, a Japanese invention, other civilizations did use that method to produce early steel weapons. They faced the same issues with fragile blades, and continued searching for better smelting methods and higher quality materials. The Japanese didn’t, and instead fetishized the blades. Make of that what you will.

I’ll still say, actual katanas are beautiful pieces of art. It’s the entelechy of how a civilization viewed conflict. They’re an example of serious ingenuity and craftsmanship. If you take it out of context, it’s not a particularly good weapon, but that’s missing the point.

-Starke

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Type Specialist Stereotypes

In an industry as competitive as this one, of course people are going to stereotype one another. It’s all in the name of memes and banter. 

Water: Pretentious, emotional, and preoccupied with battling beautifully. They want to win majestically or not at all. 90% chance that they own a book of profound poetry. 

Fire: Loud, hotheaded, extrovert. Probably a jerk. They gamble a lot and ‘play with fire’ as they battle, taking risks and relying heavily on instinct. 

Grass: Tree-hugging hippie who doesn’t know how to shout. Peaceful. Drinks a lot of tea and probably a vegetarian.  

Electric: Fun, but never knows when to shut up. A contrasting stereotype exists - that of the cool, unruffled electric specialist who manages to do the most mundane actions (like opening a door or eating a Pot Noodle) in a badass way. Such associations have likely come about due to Volkner and Elesa’s presence in the media. 

Ground: Down to earth, pleasant, but not the sharpest tool in the box. The infamous ‘Confused Ground Specialist’ meme circulated for months, centring on the assumption that ground trainers are always the last to figure out what’s going on. The meme escalated to ridiculous proportions and is now viewed as an embarrassment.

Rock: Fairly similar to ground, but with extra jokes about how they want to roll around in the earth. 

Steel: No sense of humour, boring, likely to battle completely to the rule book. Oddly enough, no famous specialists comply with this stereotype, so nobody is entirely sure where it came from. 

Normal: Overly defensive of their type to the point that they will scream about how they could decimate a dragonite with a skitty. Compensates for the dismissal of their type in competitive play by exaggerating its prowess.  

Fighting: Never stops talking about their damn work-out routine. Claims that they wrestle their hariyama four times a day. 

Bug: The biggest nerd you will ever meet. Encyclopedic knowledge, would cry over a bug, and never pushes their pokémon hard enough because they think they’re all beautiful and perfect. 

Ghost: No sense of priority when it comes to what they are afraid of. Will happily walk through a haunted house with blood all over its walls. Will claim that ghosts are innocent and fuzzy babies. Likely to be killed because they let a haunter lick them. 

Psychic: Completely bizarre. Probably believes in aliens. There aren’t many consistent stereotypes for psychic trainers outside of the belief that they’re all utter weirdos. 

Dark: Would sell their own mother for half a sandwich. 

Fairy: Never has any idea what is going on. Childish and pure. Daydreaming cinnamon rolls who forget everything you’ve told them five seconds after you’ve finished saying it. 

Ice: Mysterious, silent, secretive. They could be a member of a secret agency and you’d never know. Their memories never die. It’s likely that they know more about you than you do. You should be afraid of these people, just in case. 

Poison: Loves alternative music and has a collection of Doc Martens. Probably went through a rebellious phase and is lowkey still in it. Doesn’t shower enough. Ready to fight at all times.

Flying: Too serious and will punch you if you say you don’t like birds.   

Dragon: Noble, haughty, has an inflated sense of self-importance. Can’t get through a conversation without mentioning that they’re a dragon tamer. People make ‘found the dragon tamer’ jokes much like they do ‘found the vegan jokes’.  

Expedition to Sol2487-3 Pt. 2

The first encounter with life on Sol2487-3 - we called it “weeny wacky mudpot”, at least for the time being - would proof itself as one of the most gruesome experiences of my life.
We enterd the “field”, as Dr. Proaxl named it, but in fact it was a jungle. The stems of that cultivated grass reached far into the sky, almost as far as anyone could see. The soil underneath was brown, crumbling, muddy, and smelled like a space corps’ field latrine in Pjörecian summer.
Our expedition platoon consisted of in total four security squads members, including Loxxar Kraes, respectively two members of both medical and scientific squad, on top of that Dr. Proaxl, my first mate Xato Nexgrra and myself. Eleven trained and experienced ambassadors of the Intergalactic Federation of Peace in Space, half of our ship’s crew. The other half stood behind and secured the ship.

As we ranged the woods, suddenly a creature stepped out of the shadows. Our first encounter! Following the protocoll, we stayed alerted, but calm and peacefully. The creature was about our size, quite round and, well, fluffy. Its skin looked like it was covered of billions of the Grdklean Firewrappers poisonous prickles - hopefully it wasn’t as toxic as them. But our protective gear should grant our safety.
The creature approached us on all four of its limbs, and began to collect grains that were scatterd around the ground and nibbled peacefully on them while it peered at us. Its eyes were dark and round and full of… nothingness. Did it even see us? Did it even comprehend the fact that it had encountered life from outer space? This one clearly couldn’t be one of this planet’s sentinent races. I at least couldn’t remember of any sentinent race that used the same limbs for running as for eating. And this empty glance, uninvolved to anything on this planet and propably the entire universe and… for Xaleates’ sake, just how many of that grains could this thing fit in its cheeks?!
“Look how it’s stuffing itself” smirked Loxxar Kraes, “those grains must be quite delicious. Maybe we should take some, to…” As soon as he reached for one of the grains, the gates of Xyrrhos hells opened. The creature, just a second before dispassionate as a rock, jumped at him like a rabid Rjurcean Brooax. Fangs as long as my head burrowed into Loxxar Kraes’ breastplate. Fortunately it was designed for and tested in outer space, so there was no way it… it just broke. That beast just bit through one of the toughest armors the IFPS could provide.
Loxxar Kraes screamed in pain, but was soldier enough to take his gun and shoot the damn monster in the face.
I nearly had forgotten my position, as I pulled my gun and screamed on top of my breathing diaphragms “Fire! Fire! With all you’ve got!”
Beams of blazing hot plasma and bolts of concentrated electric energy whooshed through the air and hit the creature hard. It squeeked in such a high pitched tone and absurd enormous volume, that three of our team’s members - one security and both of the scientists - fainted immediately. But thank Xaleates the beast fled, leaving a scent behind that was even worse than the latrine soil we stood in.

“Status?”
“He is alive” answered Dr. Proaxl, “at least for now. If we returned to our ship, we could stabilize and propably save him, unless…”
“Unless?” I asked nervously.
“Unless those spineless worms that prefer crouching through the mud rather than helping in medical care of a wounded comrade can’t pull themselfes up again!” she vituperated against the collapsed crew, especially her own squad members.
The scolded ones flinched concerned, regardless the circumstance that Dr. Proaxl was the only one around who as a matter of fact had not a spine.
“Ok everyone” I commanded, “return to the ship! Weapons at the ready and all organs of perception at work!”

We retreated as fast as Loxxar Kraes’ condition allowed. But as we reached the edge of the street, the next monster awaited us.
Right on top of our ship sat - IT FRICKIN’ SAT! ON MY SHIP! - a monstrousity unheard of. Not even the scariest tales of my homeworld’s pitchblack mythology would have prepared me for this nightmare. A creature, covered in dozens of long spikes, each of them encircled with black filaments, like leafs of a tree. And its size. It was as tall as half of my crew stacked over each other. Its two limbs each branched into four roots, three in front and one in the back, wrapped around the ships hull and left screaching deep scratches, for the giant claw at the end of each root, that would have put the ceremonial weaponry of the IFPS’ guards of honour at blank shame. Its head alone was formed like an ancient weapon, a gigantic spear, meant to impale one’s body at whole. And its eye. It was gigantic, wide opened, deep as the wide darkness of space itself, but nothing compared to that earlier one’s eyes. This here seemed terrific intelligent. It fixated us with its cold, taxing glance. Suddenly, from one second to the other, the giant turned its head and showed us another eye, identic to the other one. It even bent its neck and stared down to us. It was horrific intimidating. Through the windows of the ship I could see the rest of my crew, shuddering of fear.
Then the beast unbended two additional limbs one couldn’t have expected, it stretched those extremities as if it wanted to cover the sun and bring neverending darkness upon us. We could feel how the ground was shaking and from afar rumbling thunder approached to us. This was an incarnation of Xyrrhos himself and he was about to bring us doom. Then with a clash of its gigantic black limbs it jumped - No! It pressed the air beneth it! - it flew! It genuinly flew! Without any recognizable device, it flew! Away.
“What at my progenitor’s lappets was that?!” whispered Xato Nexgrra.
Then, the doom struck.

A mountain, taller than you could see, faster as you could think, with deafening uproar scorched through, black and silver linings hasted through my sights, a screaching noise of ripping metal echoed in my ears. Blazing storms dragged me along, hundreds of steps away from the point I stood before. When I could pull myself up again, the unimaginable had happened. My ship was gone. Obliterated. Pulverised. Half of my crew, shreds in the blasting winds. Exterminated by a might incomprehensable to my thoughts.

“This isn’t weeny wacky mudpot any longer. This is… Devil’s Playground.”