not a guest post

Takato
Volleyball practice with Shouri
We’re like Kenma and Kuro. 

We’ve finally perfected our B-quick!
We’ll definitely practice more.

Next is the A quick!!!!
Right?  Shouri?

Translation by @nimbus-cloud

(seriously, watch to the very end)

Cursed Child AU: insomniac additions.

Another thing (because yes we’re just going to go back to talking about the Cursed Child AU like we never left) that annoyed me about The Cursed Child was how the Adults treated Scorpius Malfoy in the text. 

Like I get it, nobody is perfect and everyone has issues, especially when you take into account the things the original trio endured. But, and this is a large but I cannot lie, I also feel it’s entirely out of character for Harry Potter, the boy who survived twice and lived to become the man who would name his second son after two of his arguably worst abusers* (after Voldie and the Dursleys of course) in recognition of their bravery and…whatever…redemption I guess, to only then turn around to his son, point to another child and say “they come from an evil family, don’t be friends with him”. 

It just…it doesn’t feel right.** 

Just like how Ron pitting his daughter against the Malfoy off-spring doesn’t feel right either. “Here sweetheart, we fought this entire war based on opposing those who thought they were better than others because of how they were born, and we made the world a better, more fair place. Now go kick that other kid’s ass his dad was a dick. Also don’t come home if you get sorted into Slytherin, bye honey loooove yoooou!”

Like….that is just not Ronald Weasley to me. It’s maybe Ron at the start of the series when we see him coming from a place of…not monetary privileged to be sure, but definitely perhaps cultural in terms of his bloodline? Like they might be dirt poor but the Weasley’s are a pure-blood family and that matters in this world. 

But it’s not who Ron is at the end of the series. 

It’s not who any of them are at the end of the series. Yet somehow we just see the continuation of “all adults are awful, yes even the good ones” and it just…it’s mediocre writing for one thing, but it’s also a continuation of validating shitty adult human behavior for Reasons, which Rowling is infamous for, and maybe it’s just me. But I’m tired of that shit.

I’m so, gods damned tired. Both as a reader, an editor and a writer.

Which is why I’d like you to consider: Cursed Child AU Molly Weasley meeting Scorpius Malfoy for the first time. 

In my head, for whatever reason, the new trio are soaked, just, drenched to the bone and guilty as hell, and Rose isn’t too worried by her grandmother’s stern look, she knows the shouting and the hand waving is from concern and not a threat. And Albus too, who has gotten into his own fair share of trouble with his brother and cousins and been on the receiving end of his Grandma’s tongue lashing more than once has just sort of, switched off, eyes glazed over as he takes the reprimand as he takes all others.

But Scorpius has no reference for this. His own mother and father have never disciplined him, not really, they’ve never had cause to. But he’s seen the fights between his father and grandfather, and people have walked away from those burned. He’s felt this anger before, this shrill frustration, but it’s never been directed at him before and honestly he’s not sure if he’s about to vomit or cry—until suddenly it stops. And when he looks up, Mrs. Weasley is looking at him, just for a second she’s looking just at him. And then she sighs, wiping a weary hand over her face as she waves them towards the stairs. 

“Go to bed, all of you. Albus, show your friend where everything is. We’ll deal with this in the morning.”

So they climb the stairs and say good night, and Albus lets Scorpius borrow some old but clean clothes from a chest at the end of a bed that looks like it hasn’t been slept in for years but is still kept pristine. And he feels like an intruder in this cramped wonderful space that feels lived in and loved from the ceiling to the floor. But Albus is already falling asleep face down on the other bed so he can’t ask if this is okay and instead just peels back the covers and falls asleep thinking if a house could feel like a hot cup of tea on a rainy Autumn day then the Burrow would be mid-October with two sugars and a ginger snap on the side.

The next morning he awakens to find his own clothes not just dried but cleaned and mended, folded at the end of the bed. Not wanting to wake Albus (snoring gently on his back, dark hair sticking out at all ends in a nice way that makes Scorpius’ stomach do a funny swooping thing he’s not ready to think about just yet) Scorpius creeps out of bed in search of the privy, somehow managing to get turned around in this tiny house that’s smaller than his grandfather’s study and finds himself on the threshold of the kitchen again, where a fire is already lit and something bubbles gently on the stove. He doesn’t mean to stare, but there’s just so much stuff, brick-a-brack and clutter his mother would never allow, mementos, moving pictures on every wall, the clock gently ticking on the wall…

“Cup of tea, dear?”

He jumps, feeling like he’s been caught somewhere he shouldn’t be.

“Come along dear, sit down,” Mrs Weasley continues, placing gentle hands on his shoulders and guiding him towards the kitchen table where the table is already set. “One lump or two?”

“I…” Scorpius stutters, looking around, desperately hoping for one of the other two to appear, even Rose who he knows only tolerates him because of Albus. “Two?” he asks. “Please?”

“There you are dear, help yourself to milk. Sleep all right?”

“I…uh, yes, thank you?”

“Good, good. Toast?”

“Uh…”

“There you go. Help yourself to butter and jam.”

He’s halfway through a second slice when Albus appears in the doorway, still in the rumpled clothes he’d slept in and yawning loudly until Rose pushes him out of the way and sits down heavily in the empty chair next to Scorpius, glaring, as though daring him to say something about her frazzled hair and the pillow markings on her sleep-pinked face. Scorpius wisely takes another bite of toast and pushes the teapot towards her. Albus stumbles over next, still so half asleep her nearly face plants into the jam the moment he’s sitting. It’s only the joint efforts of Rosie and Scorpius that keeps it from happening.

“What time is it?” he asks, rubbing blearily at his eyes. 

Scorpius glances to the clock—not the family one of course, though he can’t help but feel a little envious at just how many spoons it has. His parents have one, but it only has three hands.

“Time you were up and about,” Mrs Weasley comments before Scorpius can answer, swooping in over the table with a platter laden with breakfast food and dishing it out in heaps like she’s used to feeding an army. Glancing again at the family clock, Scorpius can see why. “And time to tell me what in Merlin’s Beard is going on.”

The trio glance between themselves, suddenly far more awake than they were mere moments before. With a mouthful of tea, Scorpius makes a hard swallow and braces himself.

“I’m really sorry, but this is entirely all my fault.” He starts when Mrs Weasley laughs, eyeing her two grandchildren with a knowing look.

“Somehow I find that hard to believe, dearie. Here have some more bacon.”

Somewhere between second, third and quite very nearly fourth helpings (Scorpius has never eaten so much in his life, not even at the Hogwarts feasts) they tell the truth. Or rather, they omit certain details and confess they found the car in the woods while having detention and wanted to see if it would work. How were they to know the doors would slam shut and the car would take them home. Molly Weasley listens quietly, with none of the previous shouting of yesterday, even when they recount the part about the doors falling off. Scorpius is relieved. He doesn’t think he could handle it, and he has no desire to see all that good food come up in reverse. 

“Well, I can’t say I’m pleased.” she says when they’re done, fixing them all with a pointed look. “But I am glad you are safe. Now, why don’t you go get ready and head on outside. The gnomes are in the herb patch again, and I need to contact the school and let them know you’re safe.“

The other two groan and slide out of their chairs to stomp up the stairs. Scorpius also stands and thinks about following them, but he’s already dressed so doesn’t see the point, he’ll just wait here by the door and go outside when they’re ready…he’s oddly excited by the prospect of de-gnoming the garden. He’s never done anything like it before…

“Everything all right, dear?” Mrs Weasley asks him, voice light as she clears away the breakfast table with a flick of her hand. “With school?”

He’s puzzled by the question, but he nods. “Yes, thank you Mrs Weasley.”

She hums politely, drawing her wand again and pulling over a scroll of parchment and a quill from a nearby table. “And what about home, everything all right there?”

The nausea is instant and for one horrible moment he thinks he might actually be sick. His mouth is watering, his head feels hot, his hands are cold and his eyes are blurring as he tries to quell the terror such a question brings because how, how can he answer a question like that while knowing the truth of what is yet to come...

He doesn’t even realize he’s sobbing until warm arms surround him. He’s been hugged before, but never like this. Everyone in his family is rail-thin and formally stiff. Physical affection often feels like an obligation to be endured, not warm and enveloping like sunlight through a glass pane on a cold winter morning. 

“There now dear,” she soothes, patting his back and holding him close like one of her own—a Potter or a Weasley, not a Malfoy. He doubts a Malfoy has ever been held this way. “I’m so sorry Scorpius. It’s not easy grieving…but you’ll be all right…it’ll be all right…shhh”

Later in the garden no one says anything. He knows they know, he can still feel the evidence of it streaked down his face, sniffling loudly in a way that has nothing to do with the chill Autumn air as they run after the scurrying gnomes. Instead they are stoically silent. But it’s a united sort of silence. Even Rosie looks grimly determined as she nods to him, just once, an unspoken version of the promise Albus had uttered in the small hours of the Slytherin Dungeon.

They have a curse to break. And it’s bloody well going to get broken.


(cut for foot notes)

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Lin-Manuel Miranda on His Lifelong Oscars Obsession and Why the Show Still Matters (Guest Column)

The Hollywood Reporter
February 20, 2017

During college, Lin-Manuel Miranda and a friend used to improvise interpretative dance tributes to best picture nominees at their annual Oscar party. “It was a lot of breathing and rolling around,” recalls the creator of the Broadway smash Hamilton. “We had a great Seabiscuit dance one year.”

For the New York-born son of Puerto Rican parents — his father a political consultant, his mother a psychologist — it was just another phase of a lifelong fascination with the Oscars that began when he was growing up in the Inwood section of Manhattan, playing and replaying the telecasts that his family recorded on their VCR. At 37, Miranda is about to cross the threshold from superfan to participant: “How Far I’ll Go,” which he wrote for the Disney film Moana, is nominated for original song, and on Feb. 26, Miranda (with his mother) will attend his first Academy Awards.

It’s an auspicious step in a career that will see him star with Emily Blunt and Colin Firth in Disney’s 2018 Mary Poppins Returns and collaborate with composer Alan Menken on the studio’s live-action The Little Mermaid, one of Miranda’s favorite films and, he reveals here, the gateway to his Oscars obsession.

My brain is a compendium of Oscar moments: Tom Hanks’ beautiful acceptance speech when he won best actor for Philadelphia in 1994. Roberto Benigni climbing over chairs and wanting to make love to everybody in the world when Life Is Beautiful won best foreign-language film in 1999. Kim Basinger presenting in 1990 and telling the audience that one of the best films of the year, Do the Right Thing, was not nominated. For her to take a stand, 25 years before #OscarsSoWhite, was incredible — and impressive because time has shown the prescience of that film.

I expect we’ll see more of that this year. It’s a political time, so I imagine the Oscars will look exactly like your Twitter or Facebook feed. Why should we ignore for three hours what we’re talking about 24 hours a day?

The Oscars were always a family affair when I was a kid. One sort of unintentional tradition we had every year was during the “In Memoriam” part of the show. My family called it the “She died?” section because my dad, who is pop culture-oblivious, would always go, “She died? He died? She died?!” the whole time. So, it was very sad and yet also very funny watching my dad catch up.

When I was a kid, the Oscars felt like this impossibly larger-than-life thing. The first time I felt like I had a horse in the race was in 1990. I was 10, and The Little Mermaid was up for best song and best score. They did that crazy “Under the Sea” number with the late, great Geoffrey Holder and dudes in scuba outfits tap-dancing with flippers. We had a tradition of recording the show on our VHS, and I must have watched it a million and a half times.

There was also an amazing Chuck Workman montage at the beginning of the show that depicted 100 years of filmmaking with classic scores. I was already in love with movies, but this was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my life.

That was the period when Billy Crystal was hosting, and I would memorize his musical spoofs of the year’s top films. He did them with Marc Shaiman, whom I’m working with right now on Mary Poppins Returns… I was a huge fan of those moments and musical numbers — they showed a genuine love of movies while still poking fun at them. I may also be the only person in America who laughed his ass off to “Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Uma.” David Letterman’s commitment to that bit was enough to put it over the top for me. He didn’t care if no one got it. In his head, it was funny.


Hosting the Oscars is not a thing I would ever want to do… You always have to do this dance as a host: You’re playing to a billion people at home, and you’re playing to anxious contestants in a room, and that’s an insanely hard thing to divide. It’s the most thankless task in the world. I have a pretty healthy ego, but it does not extend in that direction. I’d much rather be the guy writing the opening tune than having to deliver it.


Another Oscar moment that really stuck with me was when Whoopi won her best supporting actress for Ghost. I’ll never forget, at the top of her acceptance speech she said, “Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted this,” which is so rare. Then she said, “As a little kid, I lived in the projects, and you’re the people I watched. You’re the people who made me want to be an actor.” For me, it was like she was saying, “If you want this, you can get it, too. I’m proof that you can.”

I had been seeing myself in this world since I was old enough to do anything, and it was as if she reached through the screen to talk to me. I was that kid. Even my mother used to say, “Remember what Whoopi said.”

That speech was the inspiration for the opening song I co-wrote for Neil Patrick Harris, “Bigger,” for the 2013 Tony Awards:

There’s a kid in the middle of nowhere sitting there, living for Tony performances singin’ and flippin’ along with the Pippins and Wickeds and Kinkys, Matildas and Mormonses / So we might reassure that kid and do something to spur that kid  / ‘Cause I promise you all of us up here tonight, We were that kid and now we’re bigger


Another of my favorite moments was in 2005, when they had Antonio Banderas sing “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” from The Motorcycle Diaries, which was nominated for best song. And then when Jorge Drexler, who composed it, won, he went onstage and sang it, like, “This is how it really goes.” It was so funny and ballsy and great. I’m happy whenever Latinos win anything, so I was thrilled by both performances.

I can’t tell you what it feels like in that room because this will be my first time at the Oscars, but I can tell you why the Oscars matter. It’s a night when the arts and artists are formally honored, and this recognition is seen by millions of people across the country and around the world. The show inspires people to keep pursuing their craft, or to seek out the nominated films or the overall body of work of the nominees, and through that exposure, people gain a greater appreciation of what the art of filmmaking brings to our culture.

Today’s entry was written by Guest Professor Sectonia, a marine biologist with interests in most fields of science!


Kartana, also known as UB-04: Blade is one of the mysterious Ultra Beasts discovered when Alola was revealed. It’s known that Kartana can cut down entire steel buildings in one fell swoop, but how can a thing made from paper do such a thing? How can something be so sharp enough that a simple swoop from one of its blades allows it to cut steel? 

To start with, we need to understand how paper works, and what could go with paper to create Kartana. Paper is made with cellulose fiber, which are gotten from trees. Cellulose fiber is a glucose (simple sugar) monomer. That means it is simply a long string-like molecule that’s been created to be a part of something larger (usually a polymer). Cellulose fiber is super strong because when these monomers are close to each other, they form hydrogen bonds, which allows them to stick together and be stiff and strong enough for daily usage. The cellulose itself comes from the bark, wood or leaves of plants, making trees ideal sources of cellulose fiber. This is what paper looks like under a microscope:

Paper, by itself, isn’t too impressive, with the worst damage being paper cuts. However, when you cut it, the real danger begins to show. Cutting paper allows the cellulose fiber to stick out from the paper. This is largely unnoticed by us, since the cellulose fiber is sticking out on a microscopic level, but the fibers sticking out makes the paper more dangerous, since the fibers are now able to contribute to the cutting power and make the paper more dangerous. 

Instead of bonding to each other, the loose fibers are now free to wreak havoc. Kartana’s shape is likely cut like this, contributing to its power. If you don’t believe that paper can be dangerous, watch this video of paper being used to slice through wood: 

Now, an oddity of Kartana is that it has a secondary steel typing. Why? Shouldn’t Kartana be pure grass if it was made from paper, and paper is made from trees? Not exactly. Paper tends to have fillers in it to smooth out the paper and make it stronger. Fillers are tiny particles that are mixed into the cellulose fibers, usually minerals like clay, carbon, chalk, or metals. So, if Kartana’s paper was filled with tiny particles of metals and minerals, it would be stronger, sharper, and explain its steel typing.

The metal used to fill the paper has to meet specific criteria to be a part of Kartana, because we know Kartana has low special defense, and susceptivity to fire. The metal has to have a melting point low enough that regular fire melts it, but not so low that it melts upon touching human skin (like gallium). One possible metal that meets all of the qualifications is bismuth

Just like any metals, if you’re careful enough, bismuth can be sharpened enough to cut something. This is important because the smaller the area that is being applied to a surface, the more pressure the blade is able to exert on that surface to tear it. This property also tells us why Kartana is so small (only one foot tall!) when the other Ultra Beasts seems so big. Because Kartana is so small, Kartana is very sharp, making it a more dangerous blade.

Kartana is made of strong cellulose fibers filled with tiny particles of bismuth. Its metal fillings and small size enable it to cut down enemies with razor sharp precision.

There are two types of people

At customer service:
*me, obviously busy doing something important*

Customer 1: walks up to me immediately, throws a bag on top of the other things I’m doing and says “return”, ignoring my greeting

Customer 2: waits at “line starts here” sign 6 feet away silently, I look up, greet them and wave them over, they still hesitate, I have to say “If you are ready I can take you at this register” and then still ask them what they need after that

There is no in between. And I can’t decide which one infuriates me more.

Today’s entry was written by Guest Professor Aaron (@robo-dactyl) !


Requested by @because-im-freaking-greed

Kommo-o is a powerful Pokemon introduced in Pokemon Sun and Moon, and is this guest scientist’s favorite Dragon type. One of Kommo-o’s defining features are its unique scales. These scales are extremely durable, and are responsible for Kommo-o’s attack Clanging Scales. According to Kommo-o’s entry in the Sun version of the Alolan Pokedex, Kommo-o also uses these scales as a defense mechanism in order to scare away enemies.

In order to understand Kommo-o’s defense mechanism, we need to understand the animal species it is based off of. Overall, Kommo-o is based on a Komodo dragon, as its name would imply. Komodo dragons are the largest living species of lizard. They grow to be up to 10 feet long, and can weigh up to 150 pounds. Like all monitor lizards, Komodo dragons are carnivores. They utilize an anticoagulant within their saliva in order help incapacitate their prey. One thing they cannot do, however, is rattle their scales as a defense mechanism. So where does Kommo-o’s defense mechanism come from, then?

As it turns out, Kommo-o’s Clanging Scales attack is actually based on rattlesnakes! Rattlesnakes have modified tails that they used to scare off predators. A rattlesnake’s rattle is made up of keratin, the same substance used to produce human hair and fingernails, and reptile scales, claws, and shells. This keratin is used to create a series of hollow, interlocking segments that are each made of the scales covering the rattlesnake’s tail. In order to make the rattling sound, special vibration muscles located in the tail to vibrate against one another. These muscles are some of the fastest known, firing off an average of 50 vibrations per second, and can fire for as long as 3 hours.  

As the rattlesnake sheds its skin, it adds another rattle segment to its tail. However, this is not a reliable indication of a rattlesnake’s age. Their rattles are actually rather fragile, which is why rattlesnakes prefer to keep their rattles above the ground while travelling. However, Kommo-o’s scales are stated in Alolan Pokedex entries to be used for attacking and defending, and make explicit mention of how durable its scales are. This is a logical adaptation for Kommo-o to possess, as its Pokedex entry makes explicit mention of how Kommo-o seeks out strong opponents.

In summation, Kommo-o’s scales are made of extremely durable keratin. These scales work much like a rattlesnake’s tail by acting as an intimidation tactic to scare its enemies, but are equally useful in physical defense as well.

Kommo-o’s scales are made of durable keratin. They produce a rattling sound when it shakes them, used to scare off enemies.