not in spite of who she is but because of it

The Turkey Story

 So it’s 2001, and my family drives from fucking California and like three blizzards to get to Ohio for thanksgiving, becuase my grandparents are moving into a nursing home and it’s their last holiday in that house.  So its a bit bittersweet but ultimately a good thing.

Since it’s their last holiday there, the family pulls out all the stops when it comes to dinner, all the Russian desserts come out, as does the Lethal Bacon Mashed Potatoes and the horrible candied yams dish because not all expressions of love are good, even if they are sincere.  In the spirit of going all-out, Uncle Bobby smokes a Turkey.  

Uncle Bobby started cooking as a boy scout by tossing foil-wrapped potatoes into a campfire and has been addicted since, and now has a hand-made smokehouse in the backyard where he makes various cured meats and other delights.  He seasons the turkey in the traditional manner, but he and grandpa have a shared passion for a spaicier mesquite-style bird, so Bobby makes a Cornish Game Hen seasoned that way, for them.

Then Bobby has a Brilliant Idea.  He realizes that he can stuff the turkey (once it has been smoked) with regular stuffing, and there is still plenty of room for him to put the game hen inside THAT, and stuff the game hen becuase why not?  He confers with Mom, and she explains how to cut open the turkey so there’s  dramatic reveal as the stuffing and game hen come out.  It’s Genius.

Except, of course, that my Aunt Sue is attending, Uncle Cliff slouching after her.

So the day of the dinner, tensions are running a bit high, between the marathon cooking, the kids all being trapped indoors due to aforementioned blizzards, and Uncle Cliff deciding that the best way to amuse himself is by hiding from the adults in the basement, getting drunk and rambling about how various ethic groups were destroying America.  Being that I had close Muslim friends that were leaving the country becuase of 9/11, I was near tears from this nonsense and ready to fight a man roughly five times my size.  

Sue, for some reason, keeps coming down and defending him, or telling us we’re rotten children for ‘attacking’ him, becuase she Must Stand By Her Man, even if her man is a hefty bag of feces with an ugly mustache.

My sister eventually bolts upstairs to tattle and my grandfather limps down to the basement and brandishes his Hip-Bone Cane, hands rock-steady in spite of the Parkinson’s slowly taking over him.

“Firstly Cliff, It may not be my roof much longer but while you are under it you will be civil, or I’ll beat your skull in.  Also, dinner’s ready, everyone go wash up.”

We go upstairs and sit down, and do the traditional “Name one thing you’re thankful for” as the bread gets passed around the table, and things calm down a bit.  Bobby brings out the Turkey and everyone goes OOH becuase it’s really pretty, them Mom carves it open so that the stuffing spills out dramatically along with the game hen and there’s an appreciative gasp all around becuase it looks cool.

Only Sue KEEPS gasping, in utter horror, before getting up and clasping her hands to her face ala Edvard Munch and shrieks-

“OH MY GOD IT WAS PREGNANT!”

We all stare at Sue.  We all look back at the fully-dressed-cooked-and-stuffed birds that in no way had any internal organs in them or ever gave live birth. Then we all looked back at Sue, trying to figure out where to begin but since she’d been trying to justify Cliff’s behavior she was pretty much free-associating conspiracies and scandals now, and just kept going.

“IT WAS PREGNANT MY GOD WE’VE COMMITTED AN ABORTION WE’RE ALL GOING TO HELL FOR THIS, I’M SO SORRY JESUS-” She goes into full pearl-clutching gibbering horror at this point and falls back into her chair like it’s a Victorian fainting couch only it’s a shitty chair from the Eisenhower administration so it collapses and she slams into the floor, sobbing and kicking her feet like a toddler.

Everyone watched for a moment before my Mom sighs heavily and starts carving and serving the turkey while my grandmother mouths “she’s not coming back”.   

Cliff, reactions delayed by about six beers, finally notices his wife is on the floor and tries to pick her up, falls on his ass himself.  They are assisted by Dad, who is saintly patient man and less immune to this jacknapery at that point. I am stuffing dinner rolls into my face to keep from laughing at this grand spectacle and it’s not working.

“I CAN’T EAT IT, I REFUSE TO PARTAKE IN THIS BARBARISM-”  Sue begins but Dad puts on his best Kindly Father voice (he went to seminary school long enough to learn that before getting drafted but that’s another story) and assures Sue that she need not eat, or even be in the room if she wants.  She nods, placated by being the center of attention again, and Dad goes in for the kill.

“I wouldn’t want you to go hungry.  Can I make you some Eggs?”

“That would be lovely.” Said Sue, joke flying over her head like a boeing 747.  I recall watching my grandmother nearly choke to death on the green beans over that, and everyone pointedly trying to avoid talking about anything poultry-related while Sue sat there and ate the most ironic scrambled eggs in the history of mankind.

Shortly thereafter, Cliff threw up in the sink and they went home, and the party got underway properly, with Grandpa raising a toast to Mom and Uncle Bobby “For marrying well, for a change”

“Pregnant Turkey” has been an Ohioan thanksgiving staple since then.  I’ll see if I can hit Uncle Bobby up for instructions but if you decide to make it 1. you HAVE to shriek “OH MY GOD IT WAS PREGNANT” when you carve it open, or it’s not authentic and won’t taste as good 2. Share the pictures with me.


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Harvey Weinsten sexually Harassed Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita: “I have been following the news and reading the accounts of women coming forward to talk about being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein and others. I had shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind, joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years. I had felt very much alone when these things happened, and I had blamed myself for a lot of it, quite like many of the other women who have shared their stories.

But now that this is being discussed openly, I have not been able to avoid the memories resurfacing. I have felt sick in the pit of my stomach. I have felt such a flare of rage that the experience I recount below was not a unique incident with me, but rather part of a sinister pattern of behavior.

I met Harvey Weinstein in 2011 at an awards ceremony in Berlin, while I was still a student at the Yale School of Drama. An intermediary introduced him to me as “the most powerful producer in Hollywood.” As an aspiring actress, I was of course eager to meet people in the industry but cautious about strangers, and the intentions of men in general. So I tried to vet this famous producer by asking my dinner-table companions what they knew of him. A woman who was a producer herself cautiously advised me to “keep Harvey in your corner.” She said: “He is a good man to know in the business, but just be careful around him. He can be a bully.” And so I exchanged contacts with him in the hopes that I would be of consideration for one of his projects. I wanted to keep things professional, so I made a point of referring to him as “Mr. Weinstein.” But he insisted that I call him by his first name. In this first encounter, I found him to be very direct and authoritative, but also charming. He didn’t quite put me at ease, but he didn’t alarm me, either.

Not long after we met in Berlin, Harvey wrote to me inviting me to attend a screening of a film — a competitor’s film similar to one he had produced. He said we would be watching it with his family at his home in Westport, Conn., which was not far away from New Haven, where I was living at the time. He would send a car to pick me up. I accepted the invitation.

The driver and I met Harvey in the little town of Westport, where he informed me that we would be having lunch at a restaurant before getting to his home. I did not think much of this. It was a busy restaurant, and as soon as we sat down he ordered a vodka and diet soda for himself. I asked for a juice. Harvey was unimpressed with my choice and told the waiter to bring me a vodka and diet soda instead. I declined and said I wanted the juice. We went back and forth until finally he turned to the waiter and said, “Get her what I tell you to get her. I’m the one paying the bill.” I smiled and remained silent. The waiter left and returned with a vodka and diet soda for me. He placed it on the table beside my water. I drank the water. Harvey told me that I needed to drink the vodka and diet soda. I informed him that I would not.

“Why not?” I remember him asking. “Because I don’t like vodka, and I don’t like diet soda, and I don’t like them together,” I said. “You are going to drink that,” he insisted. I smiled again and said that I wouldn’t. He gave up and called me stubborn. I said, “I know.” And the meal proceeded without much further ado. In this second encounter with Harvey, I found him to be pushy and idiosyncratic more than anything.

We got to his home after lunch and I met his domestic staff and his young children. He took me on a brief tour of the house before he rounded us all up in the screening room to watch the film. He had just produced a similar film of his own, but everyone was raving about this rival version.

I settled in for the film, but about 15 minutes in, Harvey came for me, saying he wanted to show me something. I protested that I wanted to finish the film first, but he insisted I go with him, laying down the law as though I too was one of his children. I did not want another back-and-forth in front of his kids, so I complied and left the room with him. I explained that I really wanted to see the film. He said we’d go back shortly.

Harvey led me into a bedroom — his bedroom — and announced that he wanted to give me a massage. I thought he was joking at first. He was not. For the first time since I met him, I felt unsafe. I panicked a little and thought quickly to offer to give him one instead: It would allow me to be in control physically, to know exactly where his hands were at all times.

Part of our drama school curriculum at Yale included body work, using massage techniques on one another to understand the connection between body, mind and emotion, and so I felt I could rationalize giving him one and keep a semblance of professionalism in spite of the bizarre circumstance. He agreed to this and lay on the bed. I began to massage his back to buy myself time to figure out how to extricate myself from this undesirable situation. Before long he said he wanted to take off his pants. I told him not to do that and informed him that it would make me extremely uncomfortable. He got up anyway to do so and I headed for the door, saying that I was not at all comfortable with that. “If we’re not going to watch the film, I really should head back to school,” I said.

I opened the door and stood by the frame. He put his shirt on and again mentioned how stubborn I was. I agreed with an easy laugh, trying to get myself out of the situation safely. I was after all on his premises, and the members of his household, the potential witnesses, were all (strategically, it seems to me now) in a soundproof room.

Earlier Harvey had sent the driver to the store to buy a boxed collection of “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” an HBO show that he had produced. This was the project he thought I would be right for, he said. (I later found out that the show had not been on the air for some time.) As I prepared to leave his home, he presented it to me. He wanted me to check it out and let him know what I thought. He would be in touch about it. I left for New Haven with his driver.

I didn’t quite know how to process the massage incident. I reasoned that it had been inappropriate and uncalled-for, but not overtly sexual. I was entering into a business where the intimate is often professional and so the lines are blurred. I was in an educational program where I was giving massages to my classmates and colleagues every day. Though the incident with Harvey had made me uncomfortable, I was able to explain and justify it to myself, and shelve it as an awkward moment. His offer to me to be a part of the HBO show was a very attractive one and I was excited about it, especially as I would be graduating in another year. I didn’t know how to proceed without jeopardizing my future. But I knew I would not be accepting any more visits to private spaces with Harvey Weinstein.

I decided to invite Harvey to come to a production I was in at school. Perhaps that way he would really see what I had to offer, and he would see my colleagues, too. He accepted the invitation, but the night of the production, he sent a message saying he had been caught up in New York and would be unable to attend. He would make it up to me. So when I received an official invitation to a staged reading of his new Broadway show, “Finding Neverland,” I was not surprised. I was still debating whether I should accept his invitation, and so I responded saying I was not certain that I could make it because of my school schedule. He responded with exactly the words I needed to hear: Come with whomever you want to come with. And so I invited two of my trusted male friends.

We attended the reading, and afterward Harvey invited us all to a restaurant for dinner with his comrades and collaborators. He sat me next to him, and another actress sat across from me. He had my friends sit at a different table. The talk was shop the whole time and Harvey held court with ease. He was charming and funny once more, and I felt confused about the discomfort I had previously experienced. I looked at the actress who I was informed had just worked with him on a project, searching her face for any sort of indication that she too had been made to feel uncomfortable by this powerful man, but of course I saw nothing. We did not stay very long because we had to catch a train back to New Haven. My friends had been equally charmed by Harvey. He knew when to turn it on if he wanted something. He was definitely a bully, but he could be really charming, which was disarming and confusing. I left feeling that perhaps he had learned my boundaries and was going to respect them.

A couple of months later, I received an email from Harvey, inviting me again to New York for a screening of “W.E.” After the screening, we would have drinks in TriBeCa. I then received a phone call from one of his male assistants to arrange my transportation. Feeling more confident about the new sense of boundaries that we had established in our last meeting, I attended the screening on my own this time. Afterward, as planned, his male assistant arranged for me to get to the Tribeca Grill, where Harvey would be joining us. I met a female assistant when I arrived there. I was expecting that it would be a group of us, as it had been for the reading, but she informed me it would just be Mr. Weinstein. She would sit with me until he arrived. She seemed on edge, but I could only imagine how stressful it was to work for a man who had so much going on.

Harvey arrived and the assistant immediately disappeared. We ordered drinks and starters. Again he was offended by my nonalcoholic beverage choice but he didn’t fight me on it as hard. Before the starters arrived, he announced: “Let’s cut to the chase. I have a private room upstairs where we can have the rest of our meal.” I was stunned. I told him I preferred to eat in the restaurant. He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing. He said he had dated Famous Actress X and Y and look where that had gotten them.

I was silent for a while before I mustered up the courage to politely decline his offer. “You have no idea what you are passing up,” he said. “With all due respect, I would not be able to sleep at night if I did what you are asking, so I must pass,” I replied.

His whole demeanor changed at that point. “Then I guess we are two ships passing in the night.” I had never heard that saying before, so I remember asking him what it meant. “It means just that,” he said. “We are two ships going in two different directions.”

“Yes, I guess we are.”

“So we are done here,” he said. “You can leave.”

We got up, having not eaten anything, and he led me out of the restaurant. My heart was beating very fast. A cab was hailed for me. I said I would take the subway (I could not afford a cab at the time), but he handed me some money and told me not to be silly, take the cab. Before I got in, I needed to make sure that I had not awakened a beast that would go on to ruin my name and destroy my chances in the business even before I got there.

“I just want to know that we are good,” I said.

“I don’t know about your career, but you’ll be fine,” he said. It felt like both a threat and a reassurance at the same time; of what, I couldn’t be sure.

I did not see Harvey again until September 2013 when I was in Toronto for the premiere of “12 Years a Slave,” the first feature film I was in. At an after-party, he found me and evicted whoever was sitting next to me to sit beside me. He said he couldn’t believe how fast I had gotten to where I was, and that he had treated me so badly in the past. He was ashamed of his actions and he promised to respect me moving forward. I said thank you and left it at that. But I made a quiet promise to myself to never ever work with Harvey Weinstein.

Not long after I won the Academy Award in 2014, I received an offer to play a role in one of the Weinstein Company’s forthcoming films. I knew I would not do it simply because it was the Weinstein Company, but I did not feel comfortable telling this to anybody. I turned down the role, but Harvey would not take no for an answer. While at Cannes, he insisted on meeting with me in person. I agreed to do it only because my agent would be present. In the meeting, he was honest about intending to persuade me to do his movie. I told him I simply did not feel it was a role I needed to play. He said he was open to making it bigger, more significant, maybe they could add a love scene. He said if I did this one for him, he would do another one for me — basically guaranteeing backing a star-vehicle film for me. I ran out of ways of politely saying no and so did my agent. I was so exasperated by the end that I just kept quiet. Harvey finally accepted my position and expressed that he still wanted to work with me at some point. “Thank you, I hope so,” I lied.

And that was the last of my personal encounters with Harvey Weinstein. I share all of this now because I know now what I did not know then. I was part of a growing community of women who were secretly dealing with harassment by Harvey Weinstein. But I also did not know that there was a world in which anybody would care about my experience with him. You see, I was entering into a community that Harvey Weinstein had been in, and even shaped, long before I got there. He was one of the first people I met in the industry, and he told me, “This is the way it is.” And wherever I looked, everyone seemed to be bracing themselves and dealing with him, unchallenged. I did not know that things could change. I did not know that anybody wanted things to change. So my survival plan was to avoid Harvey and men like him at all costs, and I did not know that I had allies in this.

Fortunately for me, I have not dealt with any such incidents in the business since. And I think it is because all the projects I have been a part of have had women in positions of power, along with men who are feminists in their own right who have not abused their power. What I am most interested in now is combating the shame we go through that keeps us isolated and allows for harm to continue to be done. I wish I had known that there were women in the business I could have talked to. I wish I had known that there were ears to hear me. That justice could be served. There is clearly power in numbers. I thank the women who have spoken up and given me the strength to revisit this unfortunate moment in my past.

Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you to their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused. I hope we are in a pivotal moment where a sisterhood — and brotherhood of allies — is being formed in our industry. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. Though we may have endured powerlessness at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power. And we hopefully ensure that this kind of rampant predatory behavior as an accepted feature of our industry dies here and now.

Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. I speak up to make certain that this is not the kind of misconduct that deserves a second chance. I speak up to contribute to the end of the conspiracy of silence.”


I’m so happy Lupita shared her story and I have so much more respect for her and commend her for sticking by her morals. It’s disgusting that Harvey would even try something with her while his kids were in the other room, what a sick bastard

anonymous asked:

I would've liked Riposte more if it weren't for the fact that Marinette now caused THREE AKUMAS IN A ROW. Seriously, if she keeps this up, she may as well become the new Chloe.

Okay I’m going to stop you right there Anon. I understand what you’re trying to get at, but I just don’t agree with it at all. Not with Marinette being the cause for Riposte, or any of the akumas we’ve had thus far. In some way, I can see how you came to that conclusion, but I honestly feel like you and a lot of other fans who have made claims like yours, are too eager to persecute Marinette, too much to the point of actually deeming her the “new Chloe,” when there’s a world of difference between them.

To clarify, these are the reasons why Nadja, Gina, and Kagami became akumatized:

Why Nadja became Prime Queen

Nadja had an agenda that she did not relay to Ladybug or Chat. She was primarily concerned with getting ratings and she continued to push Ladybug to admit that she had a relationship with Chat Noir, even when she repeatedly denied it and appeared very uncomfortable with it.

Ladybug saw through Nadja’s intentions and that she would not stop until she forced her to give her the answer she wanted. And primarily she came to the interview and left it because she was wholly and completely focused on her responsibility as a hero and only wanted to reassure Paris that she and Chat will continue to keep them safe.

And what’s more, was she supposed to give into pressure and lie about having a relationship with Chat Noir???

Why Gina became Befana

She was disconnected from the fact that her granddaughter is not a young child anymore, but a teenager with a life and friends of her own. At the end of the episode, she’s come to accept that Marinette had grown up.

Even when Marinette asked her if it was okay to leave for the party, Gina encourages her TWICE that she should go.

And is it really that wrong for a girl who JUST turned 14 years-old to want to go her own surprise party that her friends worked hard to plan for???

Why Kagami became Riposte

She lost to Adrien. That’s it. That’s why.

Maybe Marinette made the wrong call, but it was literally her very first day in a sport that she barely knows and in spite of that she was still put on the spot to make the final judgement. She admits upfront that she’s not sure, but she thinks that Adrien won, but D’Argencourt accepted her answer without question, only happy that his student won over the “insolent” girl. Even when Adrien tried to clarify Marinette’s answer and it’s very clear that she’s uncertain when she talked to him, D’Argencourt remains firm that her call was final.

source for translations on the scene of Marinette making the call

And in any case that still doesn’t make her responsible for Kagami’s reaction to losing. While it’s understandable why she took it hard (she felt that she let down her family) that’s an issue that’s completely separate from Marinette.

Plus towards the very end, none of the characters really learn who truly won. Adrien might’ve thought that Kagami got the point, but neither of them really know for sure. And ultimately let’s say that Marinette was correct all along, Adrien did win.

We would end up with the same results of Kagami getting akumatized, so would you STILL honestly pin the blame on her then???? And if you do, doesn’t that make Adrien just as responsible if not more than Marinette for akumatizing Kagami with him beating her???

Conclusion: all of the reasons for these characters’ akumatizations were due to their own pre-existing issues that they already had before Marinette came onto the scene.

  • Nadja was under the threat of having her show cancelled.
  • Gina hadn’t been involved for most of Marinette’s life and she was lamenting over it.
  • Kagami has a hard time accepting losing because there’s pressure in her family to always win.

TL;DR Marinette did nothing wrong in any of these episodes.

In freshman year I had a math teacher who was super mean to me specifically who would loan out basic calculators. So one day I decided that I would steal all the calculators. But not all at once bc then it would be obvious it was me. So whenever she wasn’t paying attention I would grab 2 calculators a class and put one back but keep the other one. I did this over a course of 2 months. Now I wasn’t gonna let my fellow students suffer just because of my spite. So I’d loan out calculators. But then I realized I could gain something from this. If someone wanted a calculator I’d ask for a quarter or something like food. I became known as the calculator girl. But everyone kept it on the dl bc no one liked this math teacher.
In the end I think I had over 50 calculators.
And the last day of school I dropped them all off anonymously in her classroom.
And that’s the story of how I ran a successful black market business out of spite.

Here’s a happier thought: in another world, things are different.

Darth Vader takes one look at this feral fierce daughter of queens and politicians, this girl lying silver-tongued and spiteful to his face and thinks oh. And a heartbeat later he thinks Padme because this child looks so much like her, down to the imperious jut of her chin. And she looks like a boy he knew once, a boy called Anakin Skywalker, who was reckless and absurd and so strong with the Force that the universe buckled around him.

He says, “You are adopted, aren’t you,” and Leia’s eyebrows skyrocket.

“What relevance does that have,” she manages, “Lord Vader,” and Lord Vader would smile if he could. Instead he reaches down to touch her beautiful face; she flinches away, shows her teeth, and he feels his heart full up to bursting point.

He says, “None at all.”

Alderaan does not burn. Tarkin does though. He falls in two neat, sizzling halves.

“Um,” says Leia. Vader’s lightsabre burns red in her eyes.

“I’m no friend of the Emperor,” says Vader, says Anakin. And, “I knew your mother.” And then, because he’s Anakin Skywalker and planning has never been one of his strong suits, he offers her his hand.

“Come with me.”

“Will Alderaan be safe? My parents?”

My parents. Not by blood, but by choice, and that matters more.

“I will protect them,” says Anakin.

i don’t think i’ve made a post about this yet, but i find it fascinating how MHA is kinda the story of a next gen shonen story, only the audience has never seen the previous generation.

All Might was the protagonist of his story, and now he’s reaching his limit and needs to retire. the story focus is on the new generation surpassing the old, and learning from their mistakes. All Might doesn’t want Izuku to experience the same pain he did, by losing his master. instead, he’s focusing on helping Izuku become the next Symbol of Peace.

Izuku is learning that self-sacrifice isn’t the end all, be all for heroes. that you can’t just wreck your body to save someone else, because sooner or later it’ll catch up with you.

Endeavor is what would happen if a shonen rivalry continued on into adulthood without ever resolving itself. he’s the logical conclusion of an unresolved rivalry of someone who couldn’t take being left behind. Bakugou’s development is in direct contrast to Endeavor’s, because Bakugou is learning and growing and slowly letting go of his spite and frustration and need to be number one all the time, unlike Endeavor

Toshinori made himself the Symbol of Peace, and as a result he was the only thing keeping society on it’s feet. once he fell, so did everything keeping the villains at bay. the new generation are all going to learn from this and become more symbols, holding up the peace together instead of just relying on one person.

the next generation is all about Teamwork, not just working as individuals.

Toshinori lost his place as a hero after he went after All for One in revenge those 6 years ago. he lost sight of his heroism in order to avenge Nana. that’s the moment he fell. that’s why he can no longer be a hero anymore, because of the injuries he sustained from that fight.

Nana gave up her child and cut herself off from her family because she couldn’t take the pain of it anymore. she likely kept herself emotionally distant from Toshinori because of this, during their short time together, and Toshinori is doing the complete opposite of what she did; Toshinori is getting close to Izuku and they’re both emotionally supporting each other.

there’s so much about Toshi’s life that we don’t know about, and it’s his life that would’ve been the star of the previous generation. how he was quirkless, how he wanted to become a hero, and a symbol who could stop crime, how he met Nana and earned her trust and gained her powers, how he lost her and trained under Gran Torino, how Endeavor met him and sparked that rivalry, how he eventually became All Might and how his reputation alone nearly stopped crime (something no hero in any previous generation was able to do). 

his whole life could be told in it’s own series, but we, the audience, aren’t privy to that information. we just know the bare bones, and occasionally we find out more as the story goes on. little hints of what happened before. but that’s all in the past–it’s all about helping the next generation grow now. All Might was a legend in his own time, but he’s old and injured and has to retire from hero work. instead, he’s helping a new generation of heroes grow; he’s helping Izuku become the next Symbol of Peace in his place. 

the story of MHA is a next generation story without the previous generation being shown, and i think that’s fascinating.

Public School Is A Goddamn Disater, Part 2: The Lovecraftian Madness of Machismo

Part 1 here, AKA: the Mantisocalypse (you don;t have to read it to understand this one, but you should anyway)

Content Warnings: Mental Illness, Attempted Murder, Sexual Content, Stalking, Abuse, Animal Abuse Mention, Emetophobia, US Public Education, Military Industrial Complex.  I’ve been told this is my most disturbing story, even if it’s hilarious, so mind your health.  All the names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent and Not-So-Innocent.

This is the story of Recruiting Sergeant Scott VS. The Lacrosse Jocks VS. Yours truly.

To understand this story, you must understand the dystopian hellscape that is US Public High School- I went to the NICE high school in town, with the AP curriculum and new building, where the the kids were generally too obsessed with getting into the ivy league to do anything worse than occasionally smoke on the roof.  Not even weed, just regular cigs.  During their off-periods, so they’d have time to febreeze their clothes and arrive to their next class early.  You know, the most boring fucking kids ever.

AND STILL, we were subjected to the various scourges of US public ed, namely-

-on-campus police officers and regular “what to do in case of a columbine event” drill.  We had Officer Munoz, who was a wonderful Latina Woman with the good sense to focus her efforts on getting kids away from abusive parents rather than persecuting brown kids, but we were VERY lucky on that front.  Still, having someone walking around with a gun and technically the authority to kill you, and having to hide in the science cabinets three times a year fucks you up.  Remember Officer Munoz though, She is Important.

- A weird, cult-like, frankly masturbatory attitude regarding athletic achievement.  The arts and sciences were stuck doing bake sales for supplies while the gym got re-done two years after the school opened.  This was tempered in an odd way at my school in that literally all the sports teams unequivocally sucked, with the exception of 

1.Marching Band, which went to nationals twice in the first two years the school was open 

2.Knowledge Bowl, where kevin and I took the team to 3rd in state in our first year, and only lost because Kevin had an asthma attack so we decided to let the other teams fight over the ‘lesser’ medals 

3.Lacrosse, which didn’t actually didn’t GO anywhere, but was a “real” sport and beat our ‘rival’ school, so the team got to be Big Men On Campus, and get away with all kinds of nonsense like eating in class when everyone else was forbidden or skipping tests for ‘practice’.  The three worst offenders were Dustin, Jack and “Rattlesnake Pete”, all of whom were budding neo-nazis and thus signed up for German.  With our Jewish teacher.  Remember them too.

-On-campus military recruiters.  As in, people who are legally allowed to exaggerate, manipulate and actually lie to minors to convince them to join the armed forces.  Ours was Sergeant Scott, and as much of a skeevy rat as he was I honestly felt bad for him, because remember, academic magnet high school so he had three kinds of kids to work with:

  • Kids who made the physical standards for the armed forces and were all about honoring their country via physical labor, but were dumb as shit and couldn’t pass the written exam.
  • Kids who could pass the written exam and were totally ready to bully some people in the third world, but couldn’t do a pull up if you covered the gym floor in cobras.
  • Kids who passed the physical and mental portions but were uniformly rabidly anti-military industrial complex, to the point where 35 of them crammed into his cubicle in the office he shared with Officer Munoz and Janitor Wendy, so they could hold a sit-in protest of the Iraq war and chant “Impeach Bush” and “War is Murder” at him  Someone chucked red paint on him, because they’re furious immature teenagers.  It was his first day.

Poor bastard.  Remember Him as well.

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somewhere, in a better gotham, the joker was born a woman, with eyes like candy apples, smooth skin. babysoft. 

in the gotham we know, the joker fell into a pit of toxic waste and turned green with envy. in this gotham, the better one, the joker is a tall, thin lady walking down the street. “smile, pretty” follows in her footsteps. when she stands at open mic laughter nights, she’s heckled from the crowd. they won’t smile for her but they resent her frown. 

her mother says that her best feature is her body. the joker spends hours staring in mirrors. picturing a trophy-wife kind of life. smile, pretty. smile pretty. smile. pretty. she’s sixteen the first time she tapes her lips up, just to see if she can teach her skin to learn the shape better. your teeth are your best feature. in the wild, smiling is a sign of fear.

she’s twenty and lives alone with her dog and tries to be okay with that. another night where she’s losing money on transportation, but she goes to the open mic anyway. the guy before her talks about airline food. she gets on the stage and immediately booed. and it’s years like this, in a pattern, in the weave of her passion, so that every night is thrown beer bottles and shouting and comments that make her sick to her stomach and being told she’s nothing special and being told women aren’t funny and being told her voice is shrill and ugly and being told when she’s too animated that she’s crazy and being told when she’s too stiff that she’s boring and being asked out by every single sleeze in the zip code and being shouted at when she says no and the neverending tumble of it because maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe tomorrow will be better, maybe tomorrow

he comes up on stage with her and soaks her shirt in beer. now that’s a show! the man calls. he gets cheers. she doesn’t cry, just walks out the back door before doing something stupid. the manager pats her on the head while she leaves. it’s okay, darling. he looks her over. i don’t get it. a body like yours? you should be an exotic dancer. comedy isn’t for everybody. you’re not funny, sweetie.

she’s not funny. not funny. not funny. the words turn alarm bells. the one thing she’s supposed to be talented at. the one thing she loves is just to make people laugh. and she’s not even funny.

hey you know what’s kind of funny? the way it feels at the bottom. how flat everything turns. how unreal. she skims like a rock. your body is your best feature. she tries again on monday. “you know what’s funny? i thought about murder the other day”. don’t we all, sweetie. on the bus, come home with me. on the street, why aren’t you smiling.

maybe some people are born close to the camel’s back, maybe some people have just always been looking for the straw. it’s too much in either direction. she goes home and smears makeup on her skin. tears her hair off. dyes it green, a shock, to match her eyes and spite and envy at men who can tell the same jokes and get laughter for it where she gets nothing and nothing and nothing, where she is pushed off of stages, where she is mocked.

well, isn’t it her turn to do the mocking.

in this story, in this better gotham where vigilante is sometimes good, sometimes a few letters from villain: who will stop her? in this life, when harley walks in, the two are different, best friends, sugar-on-pie because isn’t it true the world has it out for women. in this life, when harley shows up with hyenas, the joker thinks about the wild and the laws of it and says, “oh, of course, let them in”. in this life the violence has a name. 

and nobody says it without laughing.

Internal Conflict:  Five Conflicting Traits of a Likable Hero.

1.  Flaws and Virtues 

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but characters without flaws are boring.  This does not, as many unfortunate souls take it to mean, imply that good, kind, or benevolent characters are boring:  it just means that without any weaknesses for you to poke at, they tend to be bland-faced wish fulfillment on the part of the author, with a tendency to just sit there without contributing much to the plot.

For any character to be successful, they need to have a proportionate amount of flaws and virtues.

Let’s take a look at Stranger Things, for example, which is practically a smorgasbord of flawed, lovable sweethearts.

We have Joyce Byers, who is strung out and unstable, yet tirelessly works to save her son, even when all conventional logic says he’s dead;  We have Officer Hopper, who is drunken and occasionally callous, yet ultimately is responsible for saving the boy’s life;  We have Jonathan, who is introspective and loving, but occasionally a bit of a creeper, and Nancy, who is outwardly shallow but proves herself to be a strong and determined character.  Even Steve, who would conventionally be the popular jerk who gets his comeuppance, isn’t beyond redemption.

And of course, we have my beloved Eleven, who’s possibly the closest thing Stranger Things has to a “quintessential” heroine.  She’s the show’s most powerful character, as well as one of the most courageous.  However, she is also the show’s largest source of conflict, as it was her powers that released the Demogorgon to begin with.  

Would Eleven be a better character if this had never happened?  Would Stranger Things be a better show?  No, because if this had never happened, Stranger Things wouldn’t even be a show.  Or if it was, it would just be about a bunch of cute kids sitting around and playing Dungeons and Dragons in a relatively peaceful town.

A character’s flaws and mistakes are intended to drive the plotline, and if they didn’t have them, there probably wouldn’t even be a plot.

So don’t be a mouth-breather:  give your good, kind characters some difficult qualities, and give your villains a few sympathetic ones.  Your work will thank you for it.

2.  Charisma and Vulnerability

Supernatural has its flaws, but likable leads are not one of them.  Fans will go to the grave defending their favorite character, consuming and producing more character-driven, fan-created content than most other TV shows’ followings put together.

So how do we inspire this kind of devotion with our own characters?  Well, for starters, let’s take a look at one of Supernatural’s most quintessentially well-liked characters:  Dean Winchester.

From the get-go, we see that Dean has charisma:  he’s confident, cocky, attractive, and skilled at what he does.  But these qualities could just as easily make him annoying and obnoxious if they weren’t counterbalanced with an equal dose of emotional vulnerability. 

As the show progresses, we see that Dean cares deeply about the people around him, particularly his younger brother, to the point of sacrificing himself so that he can live.  He goes through long periods of physical and psychological anguish for his benefit (though by all means, don’t feel obligated to send your main character to Hell for forty years), and the aftermath is depicted in painful detail.

Moreover, in spite of his outward bravado, we learn he doesn’t particularly like himself, doesn’t consider himself worthy of happiness or a fulfilling life, and of course, we have the Single Man Tear™.

So yeah, make your characters beautiful, cocky, sex gods.  Give them swagger.  Just, y’know.  Hurt them in equal measure.  Torture them.  Give them insecurities.  Make them cry.  

Just whatever you do, let them be openly bisexual.  Subtext is so last season.

3.  Goals For the Future and Regrets From the Past

Let’s take a look at Shadow Moon from American Gods.  (For now, I’ll have to be relegate myself to examples from the book, because I haven’t had the chance to watch the amazing looking TV show.) 

Right off the bat, we learn that Shadow has done three years in prison for a crime he may or may not have actually committed.  (We learn later that he actually did commit the crime, but that it was only in response to being wronged by the true perpetrators.)  

He’s still suffering the consequences of his actions when we meet him, and arguably, for the most of the book:  because he’s in prison, his wife has an affair (I still maintain that Laura could have resisted the temptation to be adulterous if she felt like it, but that’s not the issue here) and is killed while mid-coital with his best friend.

Shadow is haunted by this for the rest of the book, to the point at which it bothers him more than the supernatural happenings surrounding him.  

Even before that, the more we learn about Shadow’s past, the more we learn about the challenges he faced:  he was bullied as a child, considered to be “just a big, dumb guy” as an adult, and is still wrongfully pursued for crimes he was only circumstantially involved in.

But these difficulties make the reader empathize with Shadow, and care about what happens to him.  We root for Shadow as he tags along with the mysterious and alternatively peckish and charismatic Wednesday, and as he continuously pursues a means to permanently bring Laura back to life.

He has past traumas, present challenges, and at least one goal that propels him towards the future.  It also helps that he’s three-dimensional, well-written, and as of now, portrayed by an incredibly attractive actor.

Of course (SPOILER ALERT), Shadow never does succeed in fully resurrecting Laura, ultimately allowing her to rest instead, but that doesn’t make the resolution any less satisfying.  

Which leads to my next example…       

4.  Failure and Success 

You remember in Zootopia, when Judy Hopps decides she wants to be cop and her family and town immediately and unanimously endorse her efforts?  Or hey, do you remember Harry Potter’s idyllic childhood with his kindhearted, adoptive family?  Oh!  Or in the X-Files, when Agent Mulder presents overwhelming evidence of extraterrestrial life in the first episode and is immediately given a promotion?  No?

Yeah, me neither.  And there’s a reason for this:  ff your hero gets what they want the entire time, it will be a boring, two-dimensional fantasy that no one will want to read.  

A good story is not about the character getting what they want.  A good story is about the character’s efforts and their journey.  The destination they reach could be something far removed from what they originally thought they wanted, and could be no less (if not more so) satisfying because of it.

Let’s look at Toy Story 3, for example:  throughout the entire movie, Woody’s goal is to get his friends back to their longtime owner, Andy, so that they can accompany him to college.  He fails miserably.  None of his friends believe that Andy was trying to put them in the attic, insisting that his intent was to throw them away.  He is briefly separated from them as he is usurped by a cute little girl and his friends are left at a tyrannical daycare center, but with time and effort, they’re reunited, Woody is proven right, and things seem to be back on track.

Do his efforts pay off?  Yes – just not in the way he expected them to.  At the end of the movie, a college-bound Andy gives the toys away to a new owner who will play with them more than he will, and they say goodbye.  Is the payoff bittersweet?  Undoubtedly.  It made me cry like a little bitch in front of my young siblings.  But it’s also undoubtedly satisfying.      

So let your characters struggle.  Let them fail.  And let them not always get what they want, so long as they get what they need.  

5.  Loving and Being Loved by Others

Take a look back at this list, and all the characters on it:  a gaggle of small town kids and flawed adults, demon-busting underwear models, an ex-con and his dead wife, and a bunch of sentient toys.  What do they have in common?  Aside from the fact that they’re all well-loved heroes of their own stories, not much.

But one common element they all share is they all have people they care about, and in turn, have people who care about them.  

This allows readers and viewers to empathize with them possibly more than any of the other qualities I’ve listed thus far, as none of it means anything without the simple demonstration of human connection.

Let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite caped crusader, for example:  Batman in the cartoons and the comics is an easy to love character, whereas in the most recent movies (excluding the splendid Lego Batman Movie), not so much. 

Why is this?  In all adaptions, he’s the same mentally unstable, traumatized genius in a bat suit.  In all adaptions, he demonstrates all the qualities I listed before this:  he has flaws and virtues, charisma and vulnerability, regrets from the past and goals for the future, and usually proportionate amounts of failure and success.  

What makes the animated and comic book version so much more attractive than his big screen counterpart is the fact that he does one thing right that all live action adaptions is that he has connections and emotional dependencies on other people.  

He’s unabashed in caring for Alfred, Batgirl, and all the Robins, and yes, he extends compassion and sympathy to the villains as well, helping Harley Quinn to ultimately escape a toxic and abusive relationship, consoling Baby Doll, and staying with a child psychic with godlike powers until she died.

Cartoon Batman is not afraid to care about others.  He has a support network of people who care about him, and that’s his greatest strength.  The DC CU’s ever darker, grittier, and more isolated borderline sociopath is failing because he lacks these things.  

 And it’s also one of the reasons that the Lego Batman Movie remains so awesome.


God willing, I will be publishing fresh writing tips every week, so be sure to follow my blog and stay tuned for future advice and observations! 

Mehcad Brooks story time!

So today I met Mehcad at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest in London. It was hot and everyone was under a glass roof, Melissa and Chris cancelled the day before the event, a lot of people were a bit moody and Mehcad showed up half an hour late to his signing. We were told he had food poisoning, poor guy. 

But boy was he worth the wait. 

As soon as he arrived he changed the mood. He was a ball of light. He hugged everyone he could and kept apologizing for being late, going down the line and giving people hugs and high fives. I had a VIP pass and was the only VIP pass waiting so I was one of the first ones to go and get my autograph and picture.

I told him that as a trans man who is transitioning one of the things I struggled with was finding positive male role models who embodied a positive masculinity, being strong but sensitive and leaving room for women and femininity, and that James represented that for me and was one of the first characters who did. His response was beyond humbled. He thanked me, probably gave me three or four more hugs and told me how much it meant to him to be putting that energy out there, then he asked if he could take a picture with me. I laughed and said that I had bought one, and he said but I want to take it with you on my phone. So we did. He took the pic himself (bless those long arms) then took a couple with my phone as well. He asked if it was ok to share my story and I said of course, that I’m very open and out and proud, and he thanked me because he felt it was so important and he was so floored by it. 

A little later was his panel. Due to the other Supergirl guests cancelling he was alone. From the moment he stepped out he was full of light and energy in spite of having food poisoning. You would never have known. There was a sign language interpreter there and he was trying to learn the things she was signing during his questions, made everyone feel special and welcome, made sure every child that stepped up to ask a question was given a round of applause, and when a girl came up to thank him for what he was doing for the people of Manchester (he’s giving away free autographed 8x10s to anyone from Manchester who sees him this weekend) he asked if she was from there and she said yes, so he said “come up here” and gave her the biggest and longest hug. 

He told some funny stories, and at the very end when someone asked how he feels about the show being political, he said he doesn’t think it is, he thinks it’s about inclusion and hope and light, that it doesn’t matter who you are, a black man can be an iconic comic book character and you can love any gender, and he doesn’t think that’s politics, he just thinks it’s right, and as he was saying it he made contact with me in the audience and smiled and winked at me. It was honestly so touching. 

He was also asked about what he thought of Mon El’s backstory, and he pretended his mic had cut off LMAO. You could tell he was ready to pop off about slavery, but he wanted to keep things light and positive, which was exactly what people needed, to be honest.

Mehcad Brooks, everyone.

Hey there everyone! WHOO! Finally got a reprieve, as I’m done with my drawings for my final project, now I have to continue typing the written parts.

Done largely in part because I love the lore, practice drawing human characters, and to pass the time whenever I need a breather from from college.

While researching for the lore of Dark Souls for my In-progress AU Comic, I noticed how LARGE the mythology of Dark Souls and the deities that reside, along with the fan speculation of which god corresponds with whom and etc. In spite of all this, from what I can tell, outside of Gwyn’s family, there has never been a, for lack of a better term, “compendium piece” of the gods and goddesses of dark souls, so I made my own :D

Because some gods are not represented in imagery, I decided to design how they might look if they ever showed up amongst mortals. I owe a lot to Tumblr, Reddit and the DS fandom as a whole, the amount of theory and lore discussions are always gold, and of course, the lore-lords like @vaatividya and @silver-mont, their vids are always interesting to watch :)

From the Top Row: The Bearers of the Lord Souls

Gravelord Nito: No need for an explanation here xD

Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight: Drawing him was easy, but here I wanted portray a very stern, no-nonsense god king who really, REALLY is someone you don’t want to piss off, and someone who is almost NEVER happy and/or satisfied.

The Witch of Izalith: I’m honestly surprised there’s not much fanart of how her face might look like, so I pitched in. She basically resembles her daughters, but with a more matriarchal vibe, with a stronger jawline and sharper eyes to reflect that. She’s also very tall, towering over Gwyn and just slightly edging out NK in height.

The Furtive Pygmies, featuring Manus and a Pygmy Lord: With the Ringed City revealing that there were SEVERAL pygmies, I had quite some fun with the speculation and possibilities of how the Pygmies as a whole looked like.

Personally? I simply interpret them as humans but more, with more power over the dark soul, but otherwise having different roles in society like regular folk, the Ringed Knights are Warriors, the Lords are the rulers, etc.

I put Manus amongst them, why? Because no way should ONE man be able to have THAT much abyss power just because he’s a human. Since the dark soul is divided amongst humans, I interpret him having a huge chunk of the Dark Soul (as per these two threads), and thus was simply a mighty sorceror who happened to be really, REALLY old, even by Pygmy standards. Plus I always wondered… How does one torture a dead man? The Mad King was described as undying, so according to my own logic, he wasn’t totally “dead” when he was buried. His grave could signify him wanting a modicum of peace, after all, his entire race was basically put in a glorified prison by Gwyn… Sensing the growing madness within him (probably due to sheer isolation), he probably decided to “die” on his own terms in Oolacile… then future idiots proceeded to listen to TOTALLY NOT SUSPICIOUS AT ALL SERPENT and dug up his grave.

The random Pygmy Lord is basically representing one of the first Pygmy Lords.


Second Row: The Children of the Gods

The Nameless King, Firstborn of Gwyn, God of War: In a short period of time, has become my favorite character amongst the gods… There’s so much of a story to tell from him, his relationship with his family, the reasons as to WHY he betrayed the dragons, and thanks to lore threads a-plenty, I interpret him as one of the most honorable and dedicated of the gods. He watches over his warriors of sunlight even if they ARE humans (whom Gwyn HATES) AND he protects Dragons. Despite meI head-canoning him bigger than Gwyn and is in general a wall of muscle and armor, he’s STILL shorter than his sisters.

Gwynevere, Goddess of Fertility: Gwynevere here I interpret as one of the nicer gods, so I made her expression to reflect such. Because Gwyndolin’s illusion of her may be simply him projecting what he remembers most of her and thus potentially exaggerating certain aspects, I toned down a lot the “Aphrodite-esque” glamor, in favor of a more personable look, though still decked out.

Filianore: The daughter we know even less of than Gwynevere, but thanks to a certain reddit thread that discussed how dedicated NK was to her via the floral carvings that is present in Archdragon peak… She must have been someone who NK was VERY close with, so I interpret her as the “Always trying to bring life to the family” kind of sister, though closest to her eldest brother.

Gwyndolin: The Dark Sun himself. Not much else to say here, I just wanted to draw him happy for once… Because WHY FROM? He really, really needs it.


The Daughters of Chaos

Quelana, Mother of Pyromancy: Due to her own title, I interpret her as the Studious Daughter, incredibly dedicated to her craft and always finding out ways to further her pyromancy… Until the Chaos Flame incident happened of course… Then she became wracked with survivor’s guilt…

I also interpret her as being the responsible one looking out to make sure her sisters don’t do anything too brash… Though in hindsight, that would make her suvivor’s guilt worse.

Quelaag: The most well known Chaos Daughter, and whom I interpret as The Aggressive Daughter, hence why she’s the only one of the sisters with a melee weapon. As the most in-your-face daughter I head-canon that she is the one who lowers down her hood the most, especially when she feels like challenging someone. Also VERY protective of her family.

Quelaan, The Fair Lady: Last but not least, I interpret Quelaan as always having been the shyest and nicest of the daughters. Her hood is more drooped down compared to Quelana, to highlight her shyness.

Fun fact, while trying to find her real name, turns out the name Quelaan was the name the community gave to her, and just became established fanon, so I just opted to name her just that.


Third Row: Other Members of the Larger Pantheon

All-Father Lloyd: Gwyn’s uncle, founder of the Way of White. Now there IS speculation that he’s not real, but here I interpret as the real deal, and thus looks like a wimpier, older version of Gwyn, yet still has an aura of authority. I used a bit of Paladin Leeroy for his crown, because I interpret that, when he REALLY needs to get his hands dirty, he too wields a mace, setting an example to all paladin-esque worshipers after him.

His clothes are tattered despite being the godly equivalent of a pontiff, to highlight two things:

One, despite him being a “lord”, his tattered look is to signify he is not “above” the rabble/his followers.

Two, I head-canon him becoming slowly more insane and full of hate toward the undead,as more and more of his family and friends either dies off or leaving home… He eventually disappears for unknown reasons and becomes forgotten.

Fina, Goddess of Love: The most popular candidate for Gwyn’s wife, or at least his first, I wanted to design her with the Embraced Set in mind, just modified to look more queenly rather than armor. Going by the general fanon, I interpret her as the mother of both NK and Gwynevere, but due to unknown circumstances, just up-and-left. Why? I dunno I haven’t thought that deep :(

Also wanted to try out and giving her a different look, skin-tone and facial wise compared to all the other gods and goddesses out there.

Velka, Goddess of Sin: My favorite goddess, her lore and weaponry associated with her is cool, but even with DS3 and all its DLC, I wish we got to know more of her and how she even became the one to hold the title of “goddess of sin” and how she absolves it. She is also, I noticed in fan-art and fanfic, the other most popular candidate for Gwyn’s wife.

Due to the fact that both Gwyndolin and Filianore are associated with illusions and magic, I interpret her as the mother of Filianore and Gwyndolin. She has sharp features and very pale skin, and share’s Filianore’s dark hair.

For her design, I compared aspects of the Statue of Velka from DS3, and both Oswald of Carim and Cromwell the pardoner. I didn’t want her to strictly dress like Oswald and Cromwell, so I incorporated more feathers to her outfit to give her a more “regal” look, as befitting a goddess, and not just pardoner. Funnily enough, with her book of sins and outfit, she also gives the aura of a medieval judge.

Caitha, Goddess of Tears: The third goddess associated with Carim, and one that I intentionally kept her eyes hidden. Mentioned in both 2 and 3, I want to reflect her constant “mourning” nature, and since ‘Gentle Prayer’ is associated with her chime in DS3, I thought her being in a position of prayer would be most appropriate.

Nahr Alma, God of Blood and Murder: Take Titchy Gren, make him more beast-like in proportion, now make him the size of Father Ariandel with the animalistic agility of the Orphan of Kos or Slave Knight Gael, and you have the God of Blood himself. I interpret him as a kind of god that is shunned by the rest, and is mostly treated as an attack dog, and nothing more. REALLY resents the other gods.

Why I Quit German

WARNINGS: This story is really gross and/or horrifying but also hilarious imho.  Your health always comes first, so mind the tags:  Violence, Cannibalism Mention, Suicidal Ideation, Feces, Sleep Deprivation, Airplanes, I generally had a really bad time but now it’s hysterical.  Most of the story is under the cut because it’s eight miles long.


In August of 2009 I flew back to Honolulu to do my sophomore year of college with the intention of entering 400-level german. What happened instead is the closest I’ve ever come to personally dying or actually murdering someone.

The problem started the day before my flight, when I attended a birthday party for a very dear cousin in Denver, and due to be in 1 of 2 adults present, ended up driving a bunch of teenagers home and didn’t get home until 12:30 that night.  Oh well, my flight’s at 6AM anyway, I’ll just stay up. I can sleep on the plane, I thought, like a complete fucking fool.

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Matthew Mercer’s Raven Queen ™

I’ve been seeing a whole bunch of stuff being thrown around about the Raven Queen after the latest Talks Machina, mostly centering around the speech that could have happened if anyone in VM had tried to argue with the Raven Queen for Vax’s soul. For simplicity’s sake, just in case anyone hasn’t seen or read it, this is the speech Matt gave:

“Do you have idea how insignificant you are? You are the instruments of divinity. Everything you have accomplished is because we gave you the tools to accomplish it, for goals unforeseen to you that fit our needs and interests. You are nothing, and yet you come and beseech me this, after all I have done for you?”

And I get it, it’s incredibly rude! After everything VM has done, after everything they have bled for, struggled for, lived and died for, to call them insignificant at the moment of their greatest triumph? It’s a slap in the face right before she takes away someone who should have gotten the happy ending that everyone else was getting.

But I feel like maybe we’re forgetting a key element of the Raven Queen in the Critical Role setting.

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Thank you, ladies.

I’m mad that that 10th anniversary comeback -that trainwreck- is how we leave things. SNSD deserved better than that. As OT8, they deserved more. I don’t think things would’ve turned out differently if they got the legendary comeback they deserved -because obviously these members made up their minds long ago- BUT it’s just really fucked up that that’s their last hoorah. They should’ve gone out with a bang and by “they” I mean Seohyun, Sooyoung and Tiffany. But considering SNSD will most likely disband altogether soon or will surely lose half its remaining fanbase, I suppose I mean the group as well. And there won’t be another comeback or chance to rectify that situation now.

I’ve been suspecting Tiffany and Sooyoung were the members who hadn’t resigned. I’m taken aback by Seohyun, though. However, I completely get it, SM was holding her back. Seohyun has so much ambition, I didn’t think she’d remain tied down to SM or SNSD for much longer, tbh. 

Tiffany, that’s a loyal bitch, so jot that down. She dedicated her life to this group, hardcore. SM fucked that up. She was so ride or die for this group. I’m actually so happy for her or, I will be once I’m over this heartbreak. They’ve never done right by her and after last year, honestly, fuck them. Tiffany leaving SM is one of the bravest things I’ve seen anyone do in a while.

Sooyoung, I have no idea what happened there. Perhaps she wants to be free to marry. That’s not reductive or sexist to say because she literally wouldn’t be able to marry as long as she was an idol. And this contract of course would’ve been for years, how long should she wait? Leaving SM isn’t ending her career but it is breaking one of the chains of idol life. If she wants to make acting her focus and move forward in her relationship, good for her. Actually, doesn’t matter her reasons for leaving, that’s her business and good for her.

I’m proud of Jessica, Tiffany, Seohyun, and Sooyoung for putting themselves first. It’s not selfish to realize you’re not getting what you need out of what is essentially a business arrangement, especially when the arrangement is with a toxic company like SM (think about how they literally sabotaged the 10-anniversary comeback just to spite the girls who are leaving). And it’s not selfish if you realize it’s simply time for the next chapter in your life.

I said before that I will always be thankful to the girls no matter what happened with the contracts. They’ve given up 11 years of their lives. They gave us 11 years of their lives and the entirety of their 20s pretty much. That’s more than most girl groups have had to sacrifice, the burden of being one of the last ggs standing, I suppose.

SNSD might but done, certainly the SNSD we have come to love is done. But they’re legends, that can’t be taken away. 

The Dead Ladies Club

“Ladies die in childbed. No one sings songs about them.”

The Dead Ladies Club is a term I invented** circa 2012 to describe the pantheon of undeveloped female characters in ASOIAF from the generation or so before the story began

It is a term that carries with it inherent criticisms of ASOIAF, which this post will address, in an essay in nine parts. The first, second, and third parts of this essay define the term in detail. Subsequent sections examine how these women were written and why this aspect of ASOIAF merits criticism, exploring the pervasiveness of the dead mothers trope in fiction, the excessive use of sexual violence in writing these women, and the differences in GRRM’s portrayals of male sacrifice versus female sacrifice in the narrative. 

To conclude, I assert that the manner in which these women were written undermines GRRM’s thesis, and ASOIAF – a series I consider to be one of the greatest works of modern fantasy – is poorer because of it. 

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I don’t mean to come off as aggressive, but truth be told, I’m about to utterly destroy this interview with Dove Cameron. I am not doing this because I don’t like her, I’m just infuriated by this theory. I am a reader, and I read the prequel books before watching the movies. This stuff doesn’t align with the books, and I’m peeved about it. All my fellow Divergent and PJO fans know that when a movie doesn’t follow the books, WE. GET. MAD!

Let’s start with the claim that Uma and Mal’s rivalry is partially based around Harry. Here is where that actually comes from. Uma and Mal were partners-in-petty-crime when they were little kids, kinda like bffs. One day, the two wanted to prank Cruella De Vil by dumping sea sludge on her. However, the sludge spilled and Mal slipped off the dock. Uma initially laughs at the accident, but she becomes panicked as she desperately searches for her friend, who also can’t swim. Mal never actually fell off the pier. She appears behind Uma and dumps a bucket of smelly shrimp on her head. The smell of shrimp never went away, and Mal nicknamed her Shrimpy. Since then, the two were always in competition. (“from the sandbox to the doomball court”) Their 13th bday parties were even on the same day. “Mal always came out on top.” Uma’s fury intensifies when Mal is selected to go to Auradon and not her. Uma is envious of Mal because she always beat Uma, and Uma just wants to win. Their bad blood is based on a gradual one-sided battle and years of jealousy. Basing it on a guy belittles Uma’s motives and makes her look petty. She’s not; she has millions of reasons to hate Mal, and none of them are Harry.

Now let’s talk about Evie. Actually, let’s talk about their whole gang’s origins. It started as Mal and Jay, the worst kids of Dragon Hall and partners-in-crime. Carlos was a runty nerd in school, and Evie was the new girl. She was castleschooled (homeschooled) her whole life because when she and Evil Queen were banished when they she was a kid. Why? Because her birthday party was the same day as Mal’s, and everyone went to Evie’s. Mal was upset, so Maleficent banished the Evil Queen and her daughter to a lonely castle. Bottom line, Mal started out hating Evie. When Evie goes to Dragon Hall, her first friend is Carlos, and neither are too keen on being evil. One day, Maleficent asks Mal to retrieve her dragon eye scepter from the Isle of the Doomed, and Mal hatches a scheme to make Evie grab it and fall into a death-like sleep. Thus, the rotten four is born. Mal brings Jay and invites Evie who brings Carlos. However, Mal develops as a person over the journey and saves Evie from death by grabbing the scepter herself (She only sleeps for a few minutes because she’s related to Maleficent). Bottom line is that Evie was not some replacement for a kicked out gang member. Uma was never apart of Mal’s gang because it started long after Uma and Mal’s rivalry began, and Evie was one of the original members of the gang anyway. Suggesting otherwise puts majority of Mal’s character development to waste and disregards her relationship with Evie. Also, Uma was never in her gang, but she constantly tried to join. Mal claimed she wasn’t big or bad enough, but she was actually threatened by the presence of leader who might just be as evil as her. Thus, the rivalry intensifies. Again, Uma has plenty of reasons to hate Mal.

The part saying Harry and Mal were each other’s first loves makes next to no sense. The evidence for this lies more in the first movie. First, Evie says Mal never had a boyfriend. Next, Mal says that there isn’t really dating on the Isle, just gang activity. Finally, she tells Ben that she doesn’t know what love is. Saying that Harry was Mal’s first love makes illegitimate Ben’s efforts to help Mal learn how to love. It’s Mal’s discovery of love that enables her to develop as a character and defeat her mother. Dating Ben was supposed to be what transformed Mal, and implying that she has loved another before makes her development in the first movie almost meaningless.

Now for the part about Harry getting dumped and joining Uma’s gang. Uma doesn’t get a crew until after the events of the first movie because she concludes that she needs one to beat Mal’s gang. Uma is described as Harry’s longest friend on the Isle, meaning he knew her before he knew Mal. And yes, THEY ACTUALLY SAID FREIND!! When they were young, Uma started ordering him around, and he let her(Gil was there too, but he drifted away and came back when he found out they needed a crew). When Uma says she wants a crew and a ship, she makes a bet with Harry. The winner is captain and the loser is first mate. Ya’ll can figure out who won. Anyway, Harry was always friends with Uma, and he joins Uma’s crew because he wants to, not because of a silly rivalry between former gang mates and a broken heart. There is no mention of a distaste for Mal on his part. In fact, when Uma is hell-bent on getting a crew so she can beat Mal, he wants her to lighten up and have fun with him by causing mischief or something. He doesn’t care about the kids in Bore-don; he just cares that Uma’s upset. The idea that Harry joins Uma’s crew in spite of Mal downplays Harry and Uma’s friendship.

In glorious conclusion, this theory makes a mockery out of the books written to support the movies. Why bother having Melissa De La Cruz write them if you’re not going to agree with the story line? I feel like the actors and directors should read these books so they understand their characters’ motivation. I mean, didn’t Dove Cameron do a promotional video for Rise of the Isle of the Lost? I thought she read it!

I’m not doing this in spite of Dove’s relationship with Thomas. Their personal life is none of our concern, and as a fandom we need to respect that. However, her story does harm to the canon in the following ways: it bases Uma and Mal’s years of tension on a guy and petty gang drama, it turns the beginnings of Evie and Mal’s relationship into a mere replacing of someone else, it turns Ben’s role as Mal’s reason to be good into a lack luster second rate, and it makes Uma and Harry’s relationship based purely on mutual hatred for Mal.

Their backstory is nice, but I ask that they keep their personal life and professional life separate. I really liked the books, but this makes them pointless. If they’re going to force this onto us, don’t expect me to believe a word of it. It lacks evidence from the written text, puts De La Cruz’s work to waste, and shoots down loads of character/relationship development.

Thank you for your consideration.

listen, I get that Allura isn’t perfect. she pushes the paladins and pushes them hard with no regard that they are (with the exception of shiro) no older than her. she ices keith out after finding out he’s part Galra. and she is generally quick to react with anger, especially in high pressure situations.

but she’s been through so much. She lost her planet, her family, her people, her culture. and now she’s being forced to lead a war when she’s just a kid. she had to sacrifice the last remnants of her father (his ai) for the sake of a war that she didn’t start. she was rejected by her father’s lion despite how strong she’s been and how badly she wants to follow in his footsteps. Not to mention she represses all her emotions instead of actually addressing them (which is probably why she iced Keith out in the first place) and has a tendency to ignore the individual over the whole.

she came face to face with the dead body of an Altean once she finally had hopes that she wasn’t the last of her race. and then she had to face the alternate alteans and the implication that there’s a reality where she filled Zarkon’s role. from the moment Allura woke up in episode 1, she has faced trauma after trauma and hasn’t been able to properly grieve because, again, she’s in the middle of a goddamn war.

she has every right to be angry and spiteful and vengeful and yet? she’s not. for the most part, Allura is entirely driven by empathy and a sense of duty to help others in need. At every turn she’s the one who insists they stop and help everyone who sends them a distress signal, she doesn’t care that it may be a trap and she doesn’t care that she would get to defeat Zarkon sooner if she didn’t. Because they are her priority. 

And she risks her very life for strangers on a regular basis. She goes down to the Balmera with enemies shooting at her–without a ship! and then she refuses to abandon them, instead giving them hope. Allura is, fundamentally and at her core a good person. An amazing person. She is only a teenager and yet she faces danger with bravery most Adults would not be able to muster.

Allura is a leader who fights alongside the others; even before becoming a paladin. She never asks of anyone else something that she herself would not do, and consistently puts the good of the universe above herself. 

so, yes, Allura has flaws. But those flaws make her more relatable to the audience and they’re invaluable to her character. And they most certainly don’t outweigh the good in her. So if you want to say Allura is “rude and racist” or “not a good person” then we’re gonna fucking throw down.

Top 13 Most Fuckable Women in Dragon Age (according to me, a lesbian)

Honorable Mention: Shale

Shale is 8 feet tall and butch, which is super hot, but also made of rock, which would make her really difficult to fuck. Shale, however, not only finds sex disgusting, she also no longer identifies as a woman and therefore does not make the main list. But if I possibly could fuck Shale, I absolutely would.

13. Wynne

Wynne ranks last mostly because she’s like a billion years old, and furthermore, she knows more than me, and that intimidates me sexually. If I fucked Wynne she’d be giving me instructions the whole time, and not in the sexy way either. Afterwards she would pat me kindly on the cheek and tell me I did a good job but I’d be able to tell that she was just being indulgent. I would fuck Wynne but I would feel a little weird about it.

12. Morrigan

Morrigan is super hot and kind of evil, which is also hot. However, there is the distinct possibility that she would turn into a giant spider mid-coitus. And beyond that, Morrigan is an obvious virgin and closeted lesbian who doesn’t know she’s a lesbian yet. You’d have to show her how to do everything. Also she’d take your stuff, and possibly your sperm. Still hot, though. I would fuck Morrigan, and I’m not sure if I’d be relieved or disappointed if she didn’t do the spider thing.

11. Cassandra

Cassandra could break me in half, which is a quality I find attractive in a woman, but she’s also, like, a Templar? And kind of a cultural imperialist?  She also doesn’t know that she’s a lesbian yet, so she has some of the same issues as Morrigan. Less likely to steal your sperm. I would fuck Cassandra but I wouldn’t discuss politics with her.

10. Tallis

Fucking Tallis would be the complete logical equivalent of fucking Felicia Day in cosplay, which I am told is the nearest and dearest fantasy of millions of awkward male nerds. I would fuck Tallis because she seems cute and fun, but especially to spite a million awkward male nerds.

9. Velanna

Velanna is probably a virgin but I have no doubt in my mind that she’s a top, and if we fucked she’d hold me suspended in the air with those vines while she called me a dirty shem, and I’d leave the experience aching but hungry for more. I would fuck Velanna and discover dozens of horrifying things about myself in the process.

8. Aveline

Unlike Velanna, Aveline is a married woman and she knows a thing or two about a thing or two. And I bet she has a spectacular full-body blush. Aveline has sweet muscles, big titties, and a caring heart, and would definitely make you breakfast the next morning. I would love to fuck Aveline, if I could manage to convince her I was interested.

7. Merrill

Merrill doesn’t seem to know much about fucking women, but I bet she’d learn fast, and then bring all sorts of fun things into the bedroom. Also she would move into my house and braid flowers into my hair, which is exactly what I want. I would fuck Merrill and then tenderly hold her close and tell her all about how she’s right about everything and that I will support her always and if anyone is ever mean to her that I’ll eat them alive.

6. Sigrun

I don’t actually find Sigrun especially attractive but she ranks this high because I just love her so much. Just so much you guys. Sigrun deserves to be fucked good and then told how valued and precious and worthy and loved she is. Sigrun deserves every single good thing in the world. I wouldn’t fuck Sigrun, but I would make tender attentive love to her, and then devote myself completely to the preservation of her well-being.

5. Vivienne

I would love to fuck Vivienne but this is actually impossible. Madame Vivienne de Fer does not do anything as crass as fucking. Vivienne would scoff at my pathetic attempts at what I call sex. Vivienne knows sexual secrets that I dare not even begin to comprehend. If she lowered herself to do so, Vivienne would fuck me, and only if I was really, really lucky.

4. Sera

Sera would make sex the absolute most fun. There is a non-zero risk of bees, but it is a risk I am willing to take. If Sera wanted to involve bees in our sex life, I doubt I would be able to tell her no. I would joyfully fuck Sera, then high-five her, then we draw cartoons on the wall while naked, then fuck her again.

3. Isabela

Isabela is hands-down the hottest woman in Thedas and fucking her would be an absolute privilege. I would fuck Isabela and then reminisce about it on my deathbed, because I’m certain it would just be that good. Also, I bet she has nice calloused sailor’s hands. Mm.

2. Leliana

Leliana has been around the block, and I rank her higher than Isabela just because I bet Leliana would be a really sweet and attentive lover. She would make eye contact and hum little songs and compliment your hair and it would be an all-around fantastic experience. She also might write a song about you and then travel around singing it in taverns, which is the primary thing I look for in a woman.

1. Josephine Montilyet

Josephine Montilyet is the alpha and the omega of fuckable Dragon Age women. She is beautiful, intelligent, charming and attractive, and also rich, and not even a little bit crazy. You genuinely can’t do any better than Josephine Montilyet. I would fight a duel for Josephine Montilyet, declare my undying love for her, propose on one knee to her, marry her in an elaborate spare-no-expense ceremony, kiss her tenderly at the altar, move into her seaside villa, and there, in the warm moonlight, in her huge bed, fuck her.

Then we raise a big lesbian family together and I brush her hair and rub her shoulders every night.

100 Instant NPC Agendas

When running campaign encounters, especially in a town or city environment, count on players to surprise you by seeking out encounters with walk-on NPCs you haven’t detailed. 

Whether their characters want to speak to merchants, burghers, servants, or criminals, this list of instant personalities and agendas is perfect for surprise NPCs.

Don’t bother to create an interesting character for every single encounter. 

Many scenes are best left short and sweet, allowing you to move on to an entertaining scene that relates to the main adventure. 

Every so often, you should throw in a memorable character whose agenda has nothing to do with the main plot. 

This creates the illusion that your world is a living, complex place, not a mere backdrop for the adventurers’ activities. 

Often, players remember these improvised characters and come back to them, weaving them into the ongoing story of your campaign.

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I had a really interesting conversation about the possibility of a female Doctor with my 12-year-old sister two weeks ago. Doctor Who is her favourite tv show. In the past, she has always underlined that she wanted her Doctor to be young and attractive and basically Matt Smith, thank you. I don’t think she would have had issues with a Doctor of Colour, but a female Doctor would have been almost as bad as, you know, some old guy.

I never had the impression that she put any deeper thought in the matter. And then two weeks ago, faced with the more tangible potential of a female Doctor happening, she looks at me and tells me she doesn’t think a female Doctor is a good thing, because a female Doctor can’t do the same things as a male Doctor? “Really?” - Unsure look. “I guess…?” Silence. “My favourite scenes are the ones where he realises that he’s wrong, that he’s an idiot, they couldn’t do that with a woman?” - “Why?” - “I mean, there’s not really a reason, but…”

There’s this back and forth in which she comes up with new things that a female Doctor probably cannot do, only to me met by her own confusion every time I question why. There’s no direct logical reasoning that goes “Female Doctor” -> “Incapable of all the Doctor’s ‘weak‘ moments”, but she also kind of holds on to that concern as a real one. She never fears that a female Doctor cannot be an awesome hero. She fears she cannot be an awesome, flawed one.

And that’s fascinating perspective from someone who is essentially half a generation younger than me, who grew up with a slightly different media landscape, with half a generations worth of new heroes. So here’s to the Doctor as a flawed female heroine, as someone who is silly, as someone with faults, as someone who gets to be wrong. In spite of being a 2,000-year-old alien, let her be a role model who is real.