or this is one of those knowledge gaps

Consider this a 3 am AU written entirely on mobile tumblr in which Neil is a runaway prince and Andrew is a bandit/thief/Robin Hood-esque whatever the fuck with his family + Kevin, and like most of the plot is over and done with.

o0o0o0o

“Abram.” The name rolls off of Andrew’s tongue, unfamiliar. “Abram,” he repeats. “Is that a truth?”

“It’s the only truth I know,” Neil responds. “But if ‘Neil’ is a lie, I’d like to keep it so for as long as possible.”

“You are Neil Josten,” Andrew says. His tone holds no room for arguments. Neil has never been good at listening to such things, though.

“I am Nathaniel Wesninski,” he says, barely forcing the words out. “I am Prince Nathaniel Wesninski and my father–”

“You are Neil Abram Josten.” Even if he had not spoken, the conviction behind Andrew’s eyes would have been enough to shut him up. He wonders, not for the first time, how anyone could believe him to be heartless. How anyone could believe him to be The Monster that they’ve all labeled him as. Perhaps Andrew is more human than all of them. Maybe he just knows the truth better than all of them. Maybe, perhaps. “You are Neil Abram Josten and you are one of us.”

It’s the last words that knock the air out of his chest. “I’m one of you?” Neil breathes, eyes wide.

“Don’t be an idiot.” Andrew leans forward to flick his forehead. “You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.”

“I’m dangerous to you, and your family.”

“So is Kevin.”

“But you have a deal with Kevin.”

“I had a deal with you.”

There’s a silence. A bird chirps. The wind rustles through the trees. The moon just barely shines through the leaves above them.

Andrew lifts a hand and it hovers just beside Neil’s bandaged cheek. He’s giving him a choice. Neil leans to the side, letting him cup his cheek as he closes his eyes. He hasn’t touched Andrew since Riko took him. He is still warm, although the air is cool. He had thought Riko would bring him to is father, and he’d never feel him again. He’d been prepared for that. Now, he doesn’t know if he would ever be able to leave again.

“Your father still believes Riko to be alive and on his way to him,” Andrew murmurs lowly, stroking his thumb along the bandage. “All it would take is a worded letter to your uncle. He would be dealt with–him and his men.”

“And who will take over?” Neil asks. He opens his eyes. “I am not fit to be king.”

“You are a leader, Neil Josten. You will do fine. It is your birthright.”

“I have not been learning to be a leader in years. I am out of practice.”

“Your uncle can help you. You can build an alliance through your father’s death, and he can teach you to be king. He loves you enough to do so.”

“And what of you? And Nicky, and Aaron, and Kevin?”

Andrew is quiet while he ponders this. “What do you want? What is it that you wish for us to do?”

“I wish for you all to be able to find somewhere to rest.”

“Even Aaron?”

“…I suppose. He is your brother. I can retract your criminal status. You can have a place in the palace.”

“So you are planning on becoming king, then.”

“I–.” Neil blinks. He hadn’t realized. “I suppose so.”

Andrew nods. “We shall send a letter to your uncle, then?”

“I do not need him to fight my battles.”

“You will not fight your father.” It’s an ordwr, but it sounds like a plea. Neil is and likely always will be weak to Andrew. He cannot argue when he can hear that something behind his voice.

“Okay,” he murmurs, “we will send for my uncle.”

Andrew looks at him, looks into eyes that Neil hates because they are wholly his father’s. They are eyes that Andrew finds intriguing, he knows. “The era of Wesninski will soon be over,” he says. “You will be a king bearing the name Josten. You are not your father. You will be better than him.” You are better than him, he doesn’t say.

“Andrew…” His hand is still to his cheek. He isn’t inclined to remind him to remove it. “Yes or no?”

Neil has not kissed Andrew since the night before Riko had taken him all that time ago. The last time they kissed, Neil was aware of the time limit hanging above his head. He had wanted to know the feeling of being something to Andrew before he was forced to leave them.

There is still a limit, but he feels like they have all the time in the world. Nicky and Aaron and Kevin sleep, far enough away to not be heard but still be seen. In this moment, it is Andrew Doe and Neil Josten and no one else. This is the one thing Neil has ever truly wanted. Whatever ‘this’ may be.

“Yes.”

It is Andrew who closes the gap. Andrew who presses his lips so, so softly to Neil’s in a way that is odd, but not unwelcome.

It is not a kiss in a haze of lust. It is not one of desperation. It is not one that speaks of a goodbye and the knowledge that ‘this’ will never be anything ever again.

It is a kiss that holds the promise they had made all those months ago, and the silent promise they made just then. It speaks of that 'something’ that Andrew refuses to acknowledge. It speaks of the things they will never tell each other, but know, deep down. It speaks of battles hard won and the freedom that is so, so close. It speaks of whatever Neil Abram Josten and Andrew Joseph Doe are.

It is a kiss that speaks of everything.

maychorian  asked:

Gosh, I didn't even get twenty-five percent down list. Anyway, here are two prompts. 15. “I made your favorite.” for Hunk and Lance, gen, please. Or 16. “It’s okay. I couldn’t sleep anyway.” for Shiro and Lance, also gen. Obviously you don't have to do either if you don't want to. Thank you for considering!

It’s the 1000 Followers Special!  Based on these prompts.  Prompts are now closed.  Don’t want to see all 35 of these?  Block ‘1000 Followers Special’.  Can’t read on mobile?  These will slowly be posted to AO3 starting in a few days as ‘Hold Up Half the Sky’.  A huge thank you to Xagrok for the beta’ing!

(Shockingly, I picked the Shiro one)



“Couldn’t sleep?”

Lance jolted, nearly losing his balance and falling over.  Impressive, given that he was sitting, but he’d been resting all of his weight on his braced arms.  Turning, Lance saw Shiro in the doorway, one hand resting on the frame.

Shit.  Caught.

Lance shrugged elaborately, going for casual.  “I’m restless still,” he replied airily.  “Figured I’d mess around with something until I was ready for bed.  Get around all that energy from our awesome fight.”

Stepping over, Shiro nodded, not looking down at where Lance sat.  “I see.”  He glanced over the projected star map in front of Lance, depicting a very specific solar system, then looked back down.

Lance tried not to squirm.  He didn’t really manage.

(Read More Below)

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Ashi’s Teacher

Rating: K+
Prompt: Teaching Ashi your choice of any of Jack’s non-combat training from the pilot (astronomy, horsemanship, writing, to name a few), and she reminds him of when he was a student. He is very patient and pleased with her dedication. 
Note: Thanks for the Samurai Dad prompt @bluebird722! Hope you like it!


Lingering on the edge of the sprawling grassy field, Ashi regarded the creatures that stood a distance away. She tilted her head to the side, studying as the four-legged creatures grazed, tails flicking in the air and muscles flexing as they shifted. Now that she was no longer blinded by her mother’s corruption, she could see the world through her own eyes, and she could not believe the beauty that had been surrounding her this whole time.

A touch to her shoulder jolted her out of her awed gazing. She silently cursed herself, for though she was now free to make her own choices, she did not have time to waste gawking at livestock. There was an important mission at hand, one she could not be distracted from.

“Sorry,” she apologized, turning to face Jack. “I should not get distracted so easily.”

“It’s fine,” he assured. He glanced at the trio of animals and said thoughtfully, “It has been some time since I’ve seen horses.”

“Horses?” Ashi tested the word on her tongue. “Is that what they are?”

“Have you never seen horses before?”

She gave a shake of her head. “We didn’t have need for such useless knowledge. The only nature I ever glimpsed was through the gaps in the cave where we lived, and those were rare.”

Jack felt a swell of remorse for all the girl had missed out on, and a rush of anger towards the woman who used her as an object to achieve her own desires. “I suppose that means you’ve never ridden one.”

The stunned expression she cast him was almost comical, and he had to bite down on his lip to keep from laughing. “You can ride them?”

“If you know how, yes.”

“Do you know how?”

“I do.” For a brief instant, Jack experienced flashes of memories, of learning to ride in the dusty deserts of India. “Would you like to learn?”

“Oh—no, it’s fine. We should continue on our journey.”

But she could not disguise the longing that appeared in her dark eyes, and that settled it for Jack. Extending a hand towards her, he promised, “We will not take long.”

Hesitating for a brief moment, Ashi took his hand and allowed him to lead her across the field. “Won’t they run when they see us?”

“Not if we show them we are friendly. Now, do we still have—yes, here they are.”

Reaching into the satchel slung over his shoulder, Jack removed two apples they had picked earlier that day. When the horses noticed them, they straightened and started pawing at the ground threateningly. Jack did not seem concerned, pressing an apple into Ashi’s hand.

“Do not be afraid,” he said softly, holding out his apple towards the white horse. “We are your friends.”

Suspicious, the horse sniffed the apple and Jack’s arm. Eventually deciding him not to be a threat, he took a bite of the fruit and whinnied happily. His chestnut-maned friend ventured towards Ashi and she fed him the apple, smiling at the ticklish sensation of his tongue against her skin. She cautiously patted his muzzle, encouraged when he leaned into her touch.

“Now what?”

“We mount. Watch.”

Jack gently took a bit of his horse’s mane and swung one leg over, using the momentum to hoist himself into a sitting position. Ashi tried to copy his movements, but promptly fell backwards onto her bottom. Disgruntled, she got to her feet and brushed herself off.

“Why didn’t it work for me?”

“I am a bit taller than you are, so I am able to reach. You need to pull yourself up a little more in order to get your leg over. Would you like a hand?”

“No,” said Ashi determinedly. “I got it.”

She tried again, managing to hook her leg over the horse’s back but unable to keep her hold. She crashed back to the ground. This process was repeated several more times, and her agitation was clear by her tenth failed try.

Jack eased off of his horse and approached Ashi, helping her to her feet. “Let me help you once, so you can see how it is meant to feel.”

He guided her hand to grasp some mane by the withers, and held her up by the waist so she could hook one leg over his back. He kept her hold as she wiggled her way over, soon getting into position. Her breath caught in her throat as she gazed from her high viewpoint, the breeze tickling her hair.

“It’s beautiful.”

Smiling at her awe, Jack agreed, “It is.”

“I think I can do it myself now.”

Ashi slid to the ground and tried again. She was almost over the horse’s back but lost her balance, but instead of striking cold hard earth she landed in a pair of solid arms. Setting her back to her feet, Jack said, “No need for unnecessary bruises.”

He was not irritated by her failures and did not leave her side, continuously catching her whenever she fell. He did not get angry with her, and it was a stark contrast to how her mother trained her with cruelty. Ashi felt herself relax and she took a few deep breaths, eyes narrowing with focus. She swung herself over the horse’s back, a triumphant grin crossing her features when she stayed in place.

“Very good,” praised Jack. “Keep your shoulders back, and look past the horse’s ears.”

He showed her how to properly sit and she adjusted her position. When she was set, he started to lead the horse around the field. Ashi wobbled slightly, but he reached up to help keep her balance. It took her a bit before she got used to the feeling, and Jack eventually let go.

The horse walked on his own, Ash bouncing with each movement. She gently nudged his sides to get him to stop and tugged on his mane to change direction, as Jack had instructed her. She grinned at the sensation, the horse’s muscles moving beneath her.

Jack kept an attentive eye on her, watching for the slightest indication that she was about to fall. Though she had shown clear frustration over her unsuccessful efforts, she hadn’t given up. It was a mix of stubbornness and dedication, and she reminded him of himself when he was young.

“How was that?” asked Ashi hopefully, returning to Jack’s side.

“That is very good,” said Jack proudly. “You learn very quickly.”

“Thanks.” Ashi stroked the horse’s head. “I never thought this was possible. Thanks for showing me.”

“It is my pleasure.” Jack patted the creature’s side, adding, “Thank you, friend, for your cooperation.”

“Maybe next time you could show me how to go faster?” she asked, beginning to lift her leg so she could dismount. But she was slightly off-balance and she started to fall for the umpteenth time that day.

Jack easily caught her. He set her on the grass and idly brushed a strand of hair away from her face. “Perhaps another day.”

“After we defeat Aku.”

It was said so surely, so matter-of-factly, that Jack paused for a moment. Her confidence and faith in him was immense, despite having known him for such a short time. Warmth swelled within him and he confirmed, “After we defeat Aku.”

Ashi still had much to learn about the world and it’s wonders, and Jack very much wanted to be the one to teach her.

6

Noam Chomsky - “10 strategies of manipulation” by the media

Historically the media have proven highly efficient to mold public opinion. Thanks to the media paraphernalia and propaganda, have been created or destroyed social movements, justified wars, tempered financial crisis, spurred on some other ideological currents, and even given the phenomenon of media as producers of reality within the collective psyche. But how to detect the most common strategies for understanding these psychosocial tools which, surely, we participate? Encourage stupidity, promote a sense of guilt, promote distraction, or construct artificial problems and then magically, solve them, are just some of these tactics.

1. The strategy of distraction

The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information. distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public interest in the essential knowledge in the area of the science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. “Maintaining public attention diverted away from the real social problems, captivated by matters of no real importance. Keep the public busy, busy, busy, no time to think, back to farm and other animals (quote from text Silent Weapons for Quiet War ).”

2. Create problems, then offer solutions

This method is also called “problem -reaction- solution. “It creates a problem, a “situation” referred to cause some reaction in the audience, so this is the principal of the steps that you want to accept. For example: let it unfold and intensify urban violence, or arrange for bloody attacks in order that the public is the applicant‟s security laws and policies to the detriment of freedom. Or: create an economic crisis to accept as a necessary evil retreat of social rights and the dismantling of public services.

3. Self-blame Strengthen

To let individual blame for their misfortune, because of the failure of their intelligence, their abilities, or their efforts. So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual autodesvalida and guilt, which creates a depression, one of whose effects is to inhibit its action. And, without action, there is no revolution!

4. The gradual strategy

acceptance to an unacceptable degree, just apply it gradually, dropper, for consecutive years. That is how they radically new socioeconomic conditions ( neoliberalism ) were imposed during the 1980s and 1990s: the minimal state, privatization, precariousness, flexibility, massive unemployment, wages, and do not guarantee a decent income, so many changes that have brought about a revolution if they had been applied once.

5. The strategy of deferring

Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as “painful and necessary”, gaining public acceptance, at the time for future application. It is easier to accept that a future sacrifice of immediate slaughter. First, because the effort is not used immediately. Then, because the public, masses, is always the tendency to expect naively that “everything will be better tomorrow” and that the sacrifice required may be avoided. This gives the public more time to get used to the idea of change and accept it with resignation when the time comes.

6. Keep the public in ignorance and mediocrity

Making the public incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used to control and enslavement. “The quality of education given to the lower social classes must be the poor and mediocre as possible so that the gap of ignorance it plans among the lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to attain for the lower classes (See „ Silent Weapons for Quiet War).”

7. Go to the public as a little child

Most of the advertising to the general public uses speech, argument, people and particularly children‟s intonation, often close to the weakness, as if the viewer were a little child or a mentally deficient. The harder one tries to deceive the viewer look, the more it tends to adopt a tone infantilising. Why? “If one goes to a person as if she had the age of 12 years or less, then, because of suggestion, she tends with a certain probability that a response or reaction also devoid of a critical sense as a person 12 years or younger (see Silent Weapons for Quiet War ).”

8. Getting to know the individuals better than they know themselves

Over the past 50 years, advances of accelerated science has generated a growing gap between public knowledge and those owned and operated by dominant elites. Thanks to biology, neurobiology and applied psychology, the “system” has enjoyed a sophisticated understanding of human beings, both physically and psychologically. The system has gotten better acquainted with the common man more than he knows himself. This means that, in most cases, the system exerts greater control and great power over individuals, greater than that of individuals about themselves.

9. Use the emotional side more than the reflection

Making use of the emotional aspect is a classic technique for causing a short circuit on rational analysis , and finally to the critical sense of the individual. Furthermore, the use of emotional register to open the door to the unconscious for implantation or grafting ideas , desires, fears and anxieties , compulsions, or induce behaviors …

10. To encourage the public to be complacent with mediocrity

Promote the public to believe that the fact is fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and uneducated…

A look at the career of Hiroyuki Imaishi

For my first entry for my new artist appreciation blog The Tezuka Complex, I decided “What better to do than my personal favorite artist currently working in the anime industry: Hiroyuki Imaishi?” Hopefully you will learn who he is by the end of this, or at the very least, learn more. Or well… that’s what my goal is? Hmmmm…. 

               First, some background. Imaishi worked the majority of his career at Gainax, his first notable animations being for

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Some thoughts about learning history

So, a lot of people (like 100,000) have reblogged my history post. A lot of them have notes about “how do I learn history like this?” and so on.

I’m just a nerd, not a real historian, but here are some basic outlines about “how to get into the history of a time and place.”

* Don’t try to learn everything at once. You can’t. The world and it’s history are too big.

* Start by being interested in something. This can be a place (“I really want to know the history of India”) or a time (“I really want to know what was going on in the world in 1200”) or both (“I really want to know what was happening in mesoamerican pre-contact with Europe.”) Don’t pick something that you think you “should” study. Pick something that you _really want to know_. There’s no such thing as a bad reason. Do you want to study medieval military culture because swords are cool? AWESOME! Do you want to study Japanese history because you want some context for all the anime you’re watching? AWESOME. Do you want to study west african history because that’s where your ancestors came from? TOTALLY AWESOME.

There is no “wrong” reason and there’s nothing that’s “wrong” to study. Just study it with an open mind and an open heart, ready to learn.

* Type whatever it is into Google. You will get a smattering of pages, one of which will be a wikipedia link. Click this. It will be called something like “History of Malaysia.” Read the article. Each section will have a link to a larger article that expands on those sections. Open all those in new tabs. There will also be links to specific people, places, and events. Open anything that seems cool in a new tab. As you read your new tabs, open further tabs.

* If you are studying modern history, or history which is currently contested, it might help to also read the talk pages, where you’ll get to see people arguing about history.

* After a few hours, or a day, or a week, you’ll be done exploring what you can find on this topic on wikipedia. What you’ve now learned is the basic, mainstream view of this topic. This doesn’t mean it’s correct, necessarily, and it has certain flaws (it will tend to focus on political / military history, it will tend to focus on men and rich people and politically powerful ethnic groups), but it is a basic broad overview of “how we see this thing, roughly” and “here’s what happened in broad strokes, more or less.”

* Maybe this satisfies you? That’s great. Maybe digging through this has made you want to read more history of a different place or time? That’s also great. But if you want to go deeper, start to go deeper.

* You can’t learn everything. Don’t try to. Sometimes people on this website will be like “you don’t know about history X! Shame ON YOU! AND ON YOUR MOTHER!” but, ultimately, there is too much history. Don’t try to know it all. Try to learn some of it well.

* Going deeper generally means books. Some of this stuff you can find on history webpages, and there are some good blogs (like ushistoryminuswhiteguys ) but a lot of stuff on the internet is totally false, and pretty much lies. In general, books are where it’s at (not that books aren’t also sometimes full of lies, but just, less likely than the internet). Look in the sources for the wikipedia articles, for a start. For another start, ask your local librarian. Look for books that will fill in all the gaps from your basic, wikipedia knowledge. So, for instance, if what you’re really interested in is “how did women live?” then look for a book about that. If you’re interested in “what were the ethnic politics” then look for a book about that. If you can’t find a book, ask. But maybe there isn’t one, and you’ll have to glean from other books. Or you’ll have to research and write it yourself.

Try for specific topics or general overviews, but not books which claim to have broad sweeping theories about history (anything by Jared Diamond, say). Those books are universally untrue. There is no correctly “general theory of history.” If there is one, I promise you, you will not first hear about it in a pop book.

Similarly anything that promotes a weird theory or conspiracy or “secret history” is probably a lie.

If Atlantis or aliens or “ancient scientists” are involved it’s definitely a lie.

Some of these books will be dry. I’m sorry. Some of them will have confusing terminology. You can look this up on the internet.

* Be prepared, over time, for your interests to change. It’s totally okay to hop interests. If you started out being really into swords and ended up studying legitimacy in feudal systems, that’s awesome. If you started out studying legitimacy in feudal systems, and ended up studying swords, that’s also awesome.

* So you’ve read a few books, but you don’t have a sense of how it all fits together. Look up professors at a local university. Write to them and talk about your interest and (politely!) ask if they’d be willing to recommend other books to read. Professors are basically just professional nerds, they will often be quite happy to talk about their areas of interest. Particularly if you’re a kid, and thus a potential recruit for academics. Alternatively, look up the people who wrote your favorite books. They are probably professors as well. Ask them for recommendations for more books and about the state of the field.

* OK, now you’ve started to read academic books in this particular field. At this point, it’s a good time to start looking into formal educational programs, because you’re approaching “real expert” and far beyond any advice I can give you.

Art Improvement Tips

Just a few points I’ve picked up and like to practice. They apply to me, maybe they’ll apply to you. There are a lot of obvious or practical art tips such as ‘draw from life’ and the like that I won’t be including, this is more a mindset kinda thing.

1. Focus on improving one area of your work at a time. Decide ‘I’m going to try get better at inking,’ or ‘I’m going to try and improve my compositions’, etc. It keeps you focused, and like in a scientific experiment, it’s easier to measure the results when you only changed one factor.

2. Ask for crit. You don’t ALWAYS have to be asking for criticism.If you’re like me, sometimes you might feel hella down be in a just-need-to-get-the-work-done mood, and the last thing you need is a list of reasons you’re terrible (or at least that’s what it can feel like). But every now and then you’ll feel that burning ‘I need to be better than what I’m doing now’ feeling. THAT’S when you ask for crit. Ask someone you trust, someone you know won’t go soft on you, and ask in earnest what they think you could improve on. 

3. Compare yourself to other artists. I KNOW, I know, one of the biggest pieces of advice for not getting down about your art these days is to not compare your work, but when you’re feeling up for it, it can be very helpful. I’m not talking about looking at them and damning yourself for not being as good as them, I’m talking about choosing a specific area you want to improve in, looking at pieces of work that excel in it, and really trying to identify what it is that they’re doing that is working so well, and seeing if you can apply it to your own work.

4. Look at your old art. Often it can be good for a boost to see how far you’ve come, but sometimes you might see things you used to do better than you’re doing now. Me, for one, a few years ago when I had a lot of gaps in my knowledge, I’d try to hide those gaps by putting in a ridiculous amount of effort in other places. Occasionally it’s good to look back on those pieces and remind myself how much effort it’s possible to put in. When you draw a lot you can start to get a little lax sometimes, after all.

5. Try out different styles. Don’t feel constrained by the way that you’re working, you don’t HAVE to always work in one way. If you work in an anime style but you see a western cartoon that has a really funky look you admire, give it a whirl. It doesn’t have to become your new look, but it might strengthen you in areas you haven’t been practicing as much.

6. Don’t just draw. Think. A big piece of advice handed out is ‘draw everyday, draw a lot’. Drawing every day IS important, but it’s not all it comes down to, not if you’re constantly doing the same thing in the same way. Analyse your drawings. Try to think about what works and what doesn’t work. Look at ref. Make all the time you put in mean something.


This ended up being longer than I meant.. Again, I’m no master or anything, but these things have helped me. Maybe they can help someone else too =) 

It Will Not Be HSUS Who Destroys Us- It Will Be Our EGOS.

Most of what I have to say could easily be filed under “Welcome to the Internet”, however I have seen so much blatant disrespect over the last 24hrs that I feel this needs to be said. By and large, we pride ourselves in not being involved with the drama surrounding the community, and I hope that by writing this, we can help see to that end. So first, allow us to introduce ourselves:

My name is Abby. I am the one who is solely responsible for managing Biofauna’s social media empire platforms, ads, and networking, so when you talk to us, you’re basically addressing me haha. I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for 16 years, have been published in one book and again in one issue of Reptiles Magazine. I’ve worked at two AZA accredited institutions and have over 170+ different species of animals on my “experienced with” list. Of them, 140 are herps. I’ve been a zoo keeper, veterinary technician, professional herpetoculturist, and an educational outreach professional. My specialties are the Family Boidae (as defined currently, aka no pythons), Genetics, bioactive vivs, plant and invert feeder propagation, amphibians, and medical.

Chris is the other half of Biofauna and the far more outspoken one online. He fills my gaps in knowledge perfectly with 15 years of his own experience working with herps; running a 501c3 reptile rescue for 10 of those years. His expertise is in varanids, crocodilians, Pythonidae, colubrids, venomous, and giants. As these are all text book “novelty” species, he has seen the worst of the worst with regards to husbandry. He is also the pro at ID’ing native species because he’s an avid herper (as defined correctly: one who seeks out herps in situ. Those who keep them/breed them are correctly defined as herpetoculturists. Those who study them in academia/research are herpetologists). He has worked in countless AZA accredited facilities with everything from crocs to big cats. His main focus is educational outreach (I’m super shy, but learning quickly). So to say we are a match made in heaven is a bit of an understatement I suppose. That said, I made the above acknowledgments for a few reasons.

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Ordinarily, I would be WAY too terrified to post this in a public forum, but over the past few weeks, I’ve grown tireder and tireder of the paleo-fandom’s shit, so today I’m going to take a stand.

Not all dinosaurs had feathers. Not even most dinosaurs had feathers. All birds are dinosaurs, but not all dinosaurs are birds. Dinosauria is a massive group, and a statement like “dinosaurs had feathers”, while technically true, is also highly misleading. It makes more sense of you’re part of that massive group of the fandom(and it IS a fandom) that only cares about theropods.

Phylogenetic bracketing is a useful tool because it tells us “this animal is related to this one, so what we know about one helps us fill in the gaps in our knowledge.”

Skin impressions also fill in the gaps. Therefor, skin impressions > phylogenetic bracketing.
And skin impressions tell us that:

Most sauropods had scaly skin. There is evidence that they had spines or bristles along their backs, but these wouldn’t have been proper feathers, and would’ve probably looked more like those of an iguana.

Most ceratopsians had scaly skin. It was suspected they may have had dorsal bristles due to impressions discovered on psitticosaurus(a basal ceratopsian)’s tail, but those turned out not to be feathers. Knobs discovered on triceratops’ back, first thought to be broken off bristles were more likely osteoderms, like those of a crocodile.

Most hadrosaurs had scaly skin.

Most stegosaurids had scaly skin - and osteoderms on their necks.

Ankylosaurs had scaly skin.

Most abeilosaurids(or at least carnotaurus and its closest relatives) had scaly skin.

At least some carnosaurs had scaly skin.

Maniraptors were definitely feathered, which includes the iconic dromaeosaurs, ornithomimids, therizinosaurs and even modern birds.

At the time of this writing, the jury is still out on whether or not T.rex had feathers.

No, it really is. The most substantial evidence in favor of a feathered T.rex is skin impressions from a tyrannosauroid, but not a tyrannosaurid. That’s something, sure but we also have skin impressions from albertosaurus(A more closely related animal) which show scales.

Now, some evidence suggests that, evolutionarily speaking, dinosaurs had an easy time changing their integument. Feathers have been found deep in dinosaur lineage, only for their descendants to still show scales.

We need to remind ourselves that form follows function. Dinosaurs were not growing feathers because birds are higher on the evolutionary ladder than reptiles. They were growing feathers because natural selection favored them, for one reason or another. And when natural selection took them on a path that favored thick, scaly hide(for instance, being a large herbivore that needed to defend itself from predators) that’s what they developed.

Now, all of those groups I listed above were pretty massive themselves. Is it possible that some members of those groups had sparse bristles, feathery crests, or even full coats in isolated pockets of the evolutionary tree? Sure.

I reiterate: Dinosauria was an ENORMOUS group. Consider the differences in feather structure between different birds, and then remind yourself that birds are a tiny group within a tiny group within a tiny group, within a tiny group, within all of dinosauria.

Now, to everyone who took one look at this list and started sending me angry messages, do us both a favor and don’t. Everything I’ve said here is supported by our knowledge on the subject at the time of this writing. If that angers you, then the problem is with your personality.

I’m looking at you, person who’s digging up a fossilized skin impression of a maniraptor.

I’m looking at you, person who’s going to accuse me of thinking dinosaurs were tail-dragging, cold-blooded lizards.

I’m looking at you, person who thinks I’m just mad because they think I hate birds(I don’t. I love birds.)

I’m looking at you, person who read an article about filaments found in early Triassic dinosaurs once, and horribly misinterpreted the meaning.

Noam Chomsky: ‘10 Strategies of Manipulation’ by the Media

Renowned critic and MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, one of the classic voices of intellectual dissent in the last decade, has compiled a list of the ten most common and effective strategies resorted to by the agendas “hidden” to establish a manipulation of the population through the media. Historically the media have proven highly efficient to mold public opinion. Thanks to the media paraphernalia and propaganda, have been created or destroyed social movements, justified wars, tempered financial crisis, spurred on some other ideological currents, and even given the phenomenon of media as producers of reality within the collective psyche. But how to detect the most common strategies for understanding these psychosocial tools which, surely, we participate? Fortunately Chomsky has been given the task of synthesizing and expose these practices, some more obvious and more sophisticated, but apparently all equally effective and, from a certain point of view, demeaning. Encourage stupidity, promote a sense of guilt, promote distraction, or construct artificial problems and then magically, solve them, are just some of these tactics.

1. The strategy of distraction

The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information. distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public interest in the essential knowledge in the area of the science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. “Maintaining public attention diverted away from the real social problems, captivated by matters of no real importance. Keep the public busy, busy, busy, no time to think, back to farm and other animals (Quote from “Silent Weapons for Quiet War”)

2. Create problems, then offer solutions

This method is also called problem -reaction- solution. “It creates a problem, a “situation” referred to cause some reaction in the audience, so this is the principal of the steps that you want to accept. For example: let it unfold and intensify urban violence, or arrange for bloody attacks in order that the public is the applicant ‟s security laws and policies to the detriment of freedom. Or: create an economic crisis to accept as a necessary evil retreat of social rights and the dismantling of public services.

3. The gradual strategy

[of] acceptance to an unacceptable degree, just apply it gradually […] for consecutive years. That is how they radically new socioeconomic conditions ( neoliberalism ) were imposed during the 1980s and 1990s: the minimal state, privatization, precariousness, flexibility, massive unemployment, wages, and do not guarantee a decent income, so many changes that have brought about a revolution if they had been applied once.

4. The strategy of deferring

Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as “painful and necessary”, gaining public acceptance, at the time for future application. It is easier to accept that a future sacrifice of immediate slaughter. First, because the effort is not used immediately. Then, because the public, masses, is always the tendency to expect naively that “everything will be better tomorrow” and that the sacrifice required may be avoided. This gives the public more time to get used to the idea of change and accept it with resignation when the time comes.

5. Go to the public as a little child

Most of the advertising to the general public uses speech, argument, people and particularly children ‟s intonation, often close to the weakness, as if the viewer were a little child or a mentally deficient. The harder one tries to deceive the viewer look, the more it tends to adopt a tone infantilizing. Why? “If one goes to a person as if she had the age of 12 years or less, then, because of suggestion, she tends with a certain probability that a response or reaction also devoid of a critical sense as a person 12 years or younger.

6. Use the emotional side more than the reflection

Making use of the emotional aspect is a classic technique for causing a short circuit on rational analysis , and finally to the critical sense of the individual. Furthermore, the use of emotional register to open the door to the unconscious for implantation or grafting ideas , desires, fears and anxieties , compulsions, or induce behaviors …

7. Keep the public in ignorance and mediocrity

Making the public incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used to control and enslavement. “The quality of education given to the lower social classes must be the poor and mediocre as possible so that the gap of ignorance it plans among the lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to attain for the lower classes.

8. To encourage the public to be complacent with mediocrity

Promote the public to believe that the fact is fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and uneducated…

9. Self-blame Strengthen

To let individual blame for their misfortune, because of the failure of their intelligence, their abilities, or their efforts. So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual autodesvalida and guilt, which creates a depression, one of whose effects is to inhibit its action. And, without action, there is no revolution!

10. Getting to know the individuals better than they know themselves

Over the past 50 years, advances of accelerated science has generated a growing gap between public knowledge and those owned and operated by dominant elites. Thanks to biology, neurobiology and applied psychology, the “system” has enjoyed a sophisticated understanding of human beings, both physically and psychologically. The system has gotten better acquainted with the common man more than he knows himself. This means that, in most cases, the system exerts greater control and great power over individuals, greater than that of individuals about themselves.
How to ace a test in one evening

Sometimes life is so busy and you have so much homework that keeping on top of revision is impossible, or perhaps you have just procrastinated too much. If so, don’t worry! Here are some tips to make sure you learn everything you need to in one evening!

  • Get your syllabus for the class so you now exactly what you need to learn,quickly condense it into a list with the key points so you know what to focus on.
  • For each key point make a mind map (or a list) or the information and facts for that point. Don’t put too much detail down because you don’t have time to learn it. Your focus for the evening is just to learn the most important information.
  • Once you have learnt the information, do one past paper or test yourself. This will show the gaps in your knowledge, then go back and learn those topics again.
  • Keep your revision breaks to a minimum. I would recommend that you give your phone and computer to a family member so they can’t distract you and to stop yourself procrastinating.
  • Play relaxing music with no lyrics in the background. I find that meditation music really helps me keep my focus. It will also help you keep relaxed and keep stress at bay.

(BeautifulLearning)

Half Truths (and Similar Fractions)

Hello! This is an AU fanfiction - nothing is real. I’d recommend reading at least chapter one, so you can understand the premise of this AU; all previous chapters can be found on my fanfic page.

As ever, thank you for reading, liking, reblogging, leaving messages, etc - all appreciated.

Chapter Seventeen

The first thing that she does, when she gets into her car, is absolutely nothing.

Grace puts it into drive, smoothly pulls away, and spends the entire journey with the radio turned up as loud as she can, to try and drown out the ringing in her ears.

When she pulls up at her house, in the empty drive way because her parents aren’t home yet, Grace sits, staring into space.

You stay away from her, you fucking maniac repeats in her head, and Grace worries that if she closes her eyes, she’ll be able to see the look of utter dejection on Hannah’s face, when Grace walked away without explaining anything.

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The Surveillance of Women's Political Consciousness

Surveillance of women’s political consciousness is a key objective of the patriarchal backlash, which manifests itself through male demands for inclusion into women’s spaces. One need only look at all those organisations that have men within them to see how collusive and compromised such organisations become within a short space of time. Often these men take over the most critical elements within the organisation, often the control over finances and the publications section, imposing a male voice over the views and knowledge that women bring to the public. We know that voice and the visibilisation of women’s experiences are foundation stones of the Women’s Movement saying what we know and want is so very central to our agenda and our freedom. Why therefore are some women’s organisations handing over their newsletters and documentation sections to males who gladly ‘speak on their behalf.’ Have we not demanded the right to speak for ourselves and used this facility to debunk the myths and stereotypes that still characterise the male media. Yet some women see no political threat with having a male, one of those ‘nice’ ones, occupying the status of knowledge processor in their organisations.

Within the language of compromise, such organisations are conforming to ‘gender mainstreaming’ which basically re-inforces the welfarist tendencies within women’s activism through the de-politicisation of women’s agency in the public.

Gender becomes an empty notion, without any relationship to power and contestation, and women are told to consider the interests of boys and men in the same breath as they attempt to bridge the yawning gap between themselves and males across time and space. The de-politicisation of women’s struggles lies at the heart of the demand to include males in women’s political spaces, because it is clear to males (as well as to conservative females, most of whom predominate in the Women’s Movement across the globe) that by occupying a political space in the public which women have crafted and marked as their own, women become radical and develop a consciousness of themselves and their rights. This is a threat to the privilege and interests of males in all patriarchal societies.

For me, this is the core of the matter. When women occupy public spaces as persons who understand that for millennia they have been denied their inalienable rights as human beings, they begin to demand the restitution of those rights through the creation of structures within which they situate financial, technical and intellectual resources.

When women become articulate about who they are sexually and cast off the old patriarchal myths about what a woman can be and what she is not allowed to become, women become powerful and acquire the ability to say no to violence; no to unpaid labour; no to exploitation and discrimination in the name of cultural preservation. Women become persons who relate to the state in new and challenging ways, no longer waiting for men in the state to dole out a few “favours” in the name of benevolent dictatorship.

Such women become autonomous and their Movement becomes a force for the transformation of oppressive relations of power in both the public and the private spheres.

Such women are a danger to all males, regardless of how some men define themselves. Therefore, women’s spaces as politicised spaces must be occupied under the guise of “inclusion” and those women who resist such surveillance are accused of being man-haters and of acting in “exclusionary” ways the same old story we have heard for centuries. When women first demanded the right to be free, to have access to education (not even equal access, just access to the collective knowledge of their respective societies), they were accused of hating men. Those of us who have refused to be ritualised and owned by men through heterosexual marriage, and who have sometimes gone on to love other women, are marked as “heretics” and man-haters. The tarring of women with the brush of heterosexist vitriol is well-known and most women fear it because it is a harsh and ruthless brush that marks a woman for the rest of her life as Other and Dangerous.

But we have learnt along the long road of our struggle for freedom, that compromising only takes us back even further than where we started. So we must hold on to our spaces because they are the only living spaces that we have and can own as women in these deeply woman-hating, patriarchal societies we continue to live in at the present time.

If men want to engage in gendered politics, let them set up their own structures and create a new political discourse on democracy and equality with those who live in their societies. As politically conscious women well know, men have a lot of work to do on themselves. While a helping hand is always useful, the old saying that charity begins at home applies moreso today to men than ever before. Men must clean out their patriarchal household as men, first, and get themselves a new identity one that does not depend on owning women; on buying and selling women; on raping, forcibly occupying, and pillaging the bodies of women or on plundering women’s minds so that they can prove to each other that they are real men. Men need to develop a political ideology that does not require that men exclude women from the institutions that we too have built and which belong to us as much as they belong to all who live in our societies.

That is where I stand as a radical African feminist on the sacred spaces we have carved out, often with our very lives, and I am not prepared to share them with any man, as long as males continue to be privileged by patriarchy.

Patricia McFadden is a radical African Feminist/Scholar, born in Swaziland almost 50 years ago. She lives and works in Zimbabwe as well as at the level of the regional and global women’s movement (She considers the Women’s Movement her home). She works particularly in conceptualising gender within the African context; making the distinction between Gender as a construct and Feminism as a political ideology/stance. She also works in Sexuality and Reproductive Rights/Health, and more recently she has been focusing on issues of citizenship and relations of property between African women and the state.

anonymous asked:

Regarding Iron Man, what comics would you recommend reading? And what cartoons should we watch?

answer to the second question can be found in the FAQ, and in fact all of these popular ‘what should i read / what should i watch’ questions are answered there for future reference. (edit: tony shows up throughout EMH + AA not just the stevetony episodes listed so you can watch them p much all the way through. there’s also iron man: armored adventures featuring teenage tony which is v. cute)

i’m going to do iron man recs again though, just… so i can get my two cents in here once and for all.

all comics mentioned here can be downloaded via the masterpost

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Bullseye - Chapter 18

Summary: When Katniss Everdeen finds herself stocking up on Midol and tampons at her local Target, the last person she expects to check her out is Peeta Mellark.

An age gap!Everlark love story. Rated E for explicit language and sexual situations.

This is an ongoing group drabble written by @dandelion-sunset @everlylark and @papofglencoe. Each author writes her installment individually and with no knowledge of what material she will receive until the previous author has posted hers. Unbetaed.

Banner by the brilliant @loving-mellark

                                 ******************************************

*We’ve received feedback that the multiple chapters in one post are easy to miss. From now on each chapter will get its own post. So for those who may have missed it, here is our newest edition*

This one is for my amazing co-authors @papofglencoe and @dandelion-sunset. I’m not even sure I could ever put into words how much this project means to me, but truly you ladies are the best. We’ve poured our hearts into these characters and know at the end of the day, I love every word you both have written. Your talent blows me away <3 Thank you to everyone who has read and commented. I am in complete awe with the love you all have for these characters. It truly touches my heart.

*Please note that this chapter contains talk of child abuse. It is also completely unbeta’d and literally written in the dead of night while I was actually on a roll. I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, but am only human. I hope you enjoy our next installment.*

The tendrils of dawn’s light pour through the curtains. The light cuts a line across the smoothness of Katniss’s bare skin as she sleeps. Peeta lays awake staring at the ceiling. Sleep had not come easily to him as he knew the conversations that needed to happen today. While his body is fully sated after their romp against the door, his mind is a mess of emotions. He releases a large sigh and Katniss’s body stretches as she begins to awake.

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anonymous asked:

why does it feel like most tome rp,ask,or any blog that has just a bit of tome stuff on it are girls

well, from my knowledge, most of the TOME fanbase on tumblr IS girls.

TOME itself doesn’t target a specific gender audience, but rather appeals to those who form online relationships: thats one of its major selling points as an emotional hook. It is also an animated series, which tends to bring in more of a younger audience appeal due to its medium.

Here are some examples of tumblr’s demographic in 2013, and heres an updated graph based on results found in 2015

based on information found from this and other sources (like this one ) tumblr’s gender gap is relatively even, but there is more of a margin to women using the site: particularly, young women. 

While its no surprise that those of younger age use social media more than those who are in their 30′s, tumblr is also a social media site geared for content sharing. This allows for Art and Fandoms to be widely spread, and with relative ease. When you combine the two, you get fanart, and fan communities based around fanart. TOME is no exception to this: if you look in the tag, its primarily fanart, theories, and stories, whether it be about the canon characters or exploring the world TOME has presented to us as the audience.

In addition, my own speculation that I have seen on tumblr is that this age group is more likely to participate in excessive fandom contribution: This is the age group most likely to make gifs, talk about theories, and admire characters. From my own experience, I don’t see (or follow, coincidently) boys gushing over the same material on the same level as girls do. Boys on tumblr tend to be more relaxed in their blogging habits, and don’t necessarily rely on the same level of interest or fan communication to make their posts.

However, this does not mean that the TOME fandom is EXCLUSIVELY young girls. If you look on the TOME Facebook page, you can see its a much greater mix of fans commenting on the wall. Boys and girls, men and women, black or white - You name it, you can find it there. It just so happens that TOME’s Tumblr fandom is a primary place for young women to share fan art (no matter what medium) due to tumblr’s demographic as a website and social behavior of fandoms using the site.

hope this clears up some of the confusion anon!

The Flash (particularly Iris) isn’t ready for Patty Spivot

*Warning: This is a rant, and a long one. If you’re not scared, grab a cookie and some wine and settle in for my tyrannical rambling :) *

You know I love this show like a Kardashian loves attention. While DC Comic Executive Geoff Johns was working as a producer on this show, the character development for all of players was excellent. But, as it goes, Geoff had to leave mid-season (he still has a full-time job at DC Comics, as well as consults on other projects the CW is starting this year) and the writing immediately reflected it. Consistency and character growth stunted, and story lines lost their coherence. One of the relationships/developments that went almost completely off the rails was that between the most iconic couple in the Flash cannon - that of Barry and Iris.

I’m not really a DC fan, so I knew very little about Flash cannon when I started watching. But once I fell in love with the show, I learned that Barry and Iris as a couple are/were just as iconic as Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Iris was not some passing experience in Barry’s life, she was his life and vice versa. Theirs was a relationship of mutual respect, love and support. Iris was someone who helped Barry be a better man and superhero, not just some sycophant seeking a place in the world of super humans. Iris had her own life and career, goals, values and trajectory. That’s what Barry, and by extension Flash comic fans, loved about her. Sadly, the CW (as usual) has no idea how to properly write for and develop a strong female character.

While the show is primarily about The Flash, and since this is an origin story, his development into one of the biggest superheroes ever; Iris is a HUGE part of his story. If the writers on this show truly recognized that, they would have used more of season 1 to start laying the ground work for Iris; letting us an audience get to know what’s so special about her, why Barry has never truly loved another. Instead, most of the season Iris was not only left in the dark about the biggest secret there was, but she was rarely seen out of the context of her boyfriend/fiance Eddie or as a rescue motivation for Barry. The damsel in distress hasn’t been attractive for a very long time. Even Disney has started giving their women more power and purpose. But now, as season two quickly approaches, Iris’ character is in a precarious position.

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t completed the first season of the Flash

Now that Eddie is out of the picture, the context of how Iris fits into the show is in limbo. Yes, she knows Barry’s secret and how he really feels about her now. But the writers set it up so that either of them acting on those feelings any time soon just won’t work. Why? Well, there’s the whole Iris grieving her fiancé thing. We don’t know exactly how much time has passed come season two (though EP Alex Kreisberg mentioned at SDCC that it’s at least a few months) but in order for the fandom not to start labeling Iris “cold” and “insensitive”, her character will have to keep Eddie’s sacrifice fresh in her mind for a while. And knowing the CW’s penchant for drama, they’ll likely have her blame Barry somewhat for it as well. So of course, instead of having Barry take a minute and wait for Iris to deal with her loss (not to mention his own feelings about Eddie’s death), let’s have him start a relationship with some new random person. le sigh

Does this look like a man who’s looking to date someone else?

It makes no sense, at all, for someone of Barry’s character to want to get into a relationship with anyone else at this point. Iris is the professed love of his life, the woman of his dreams. She has just suffered the loss of a man she cared for in a situation that could have been avoided. The mature and caring thing to do would be to give her some space while letting her know that he’d be waiting on the other side. But nope. The CW must have it’s drama, so instead, they bring in not just a new woman, but a canonical new woman of import. In the New 52, Patty Spivot is not Barry’s side chick. She’s the chick. In this universe, Barry and Iris know of each other but aren’t in love. Patty is the woman Barry loves and wants to marry. To bring in someone of this weight to the show - with Iris and Barry’s connection being strained at best and Iris’ character not being better fleshed out - screams danger. Danger Iris West, Danger!

I can already see Barry having the deep, bonding conversations with Patty; see them sharing tons of intimate romantic moments, and due to Patty’s job (as Joe’s new partner) she’ll also be privy most of the metahuman stuff as well. All these things beg the question…where does Iris fit? Really, the only thing that Iris has (so far) that Patty doesn’t is the knowledge that Barry’s The Flash. Otherwise, Patty fills in all the gaps that Iris normally could. And if Barry falls in love with Patty, Iris becomes what?

I’ve seen far more love triangles, squares, hexagons - you name it - in my lifetime than I care to admit. One thing that has rung true on most shows (and especially the CW) is that triangles are rarely written well, and almost always have a losing/loser party that becomes the pathetic hanger-on. And I’ve seen far too many of those types of triangles where the woman of colour (WOC) ends up being said sad sack.

You know, I was SO excited when I saw that The Flash had a WOC cast as the lead female. I mean, taking the chance on a popular comic character and allowing her to be someone that black girls/women could relate to seemed bold. But as we go into season two, I get the sinking feeling that the CW never really had any intention of being that bold, but simply wanted to gain a broader range of viewers before the old bait-and-switch. As it stands, if Patty Spivot becomes a series regular next season, I can easily see Iris being faded into the background until she’s no more than a name muttered by her father from time to time or dusted off and brought out of the magical negro closet whenever the gang needs a favour or exposition (I’m looking at you, Vampire Diaries). I’m really not here for that. 

“I found her in the closet of Elena’s room. Quick, let’s get magicky stuff done and get her back in before she needs a story line!”

Either way, my hope is that I’m wrong, but experience tells me otherwise. About all I and other fans of Iris and Candice Patton can do is show our support of her character and make ourselves heard. Tweet, email, write and vote to the writers, letting them know that we love Iris and want to see more of her and her character development for as long as the show runs. Also, it doesn’t hurt to follow Candice on Twitter and Instagram to let her know she’s loved and has support, especially if she has a hard decision to make about her future on this show.

Well, I’m glad I got that /rant out. What do you all think? Am I way off base? Do you want to see more of Iris? Are you looking forward to season two?

anonymous asked:

do you dislike all the "baby communists" who agree with the general idea of it but don't really understand it in depth or do you not really care about how educated they are on the topic

it’s not a matter of hating communists. nowhere did i ever suggest i’d actually hate someone just for being new to the ideas, so let’s get that out of the way right now.

beyond that its worth thinking about how someone can really be critical of capitalism without having a critique of capitalism. like if you asked people on here why they were opposed to capitalism, they might not really be able to give you an answer. perhaps they’d mention a lot of things that aren’t unique or inherent to capitalism at all. for example, if i said that my problem with capitalism is that it does this one particular thing that can actually be reformed out, then you’d have a hard time saying i’m actually an anti-capitalist since my issue isn’t with capitalism at all but with something that just happens to exist under capitalism and has nothing to do with its fundamental characteristics.

that’s not to say that newer people are Fake Leftists and should locked out of the movement (i have to state the obvious here so that no one deliberately misunderstands me), just that there are bound to be gaps in people’s knowledge and those need to be addressed. the same goes for people that have been around a while, even though many of us like to think we’ve got it all worked out.

that’s why it is pretty important to push for education (at least to some extent, since i don’t think we all need to be experts in everything). this was a problem with a lot of early socialist movements and even a few modern ones that sorta miss the point of anti-capitalist politics and push for things that don’t actually touch the core of the system, which clearly causes some problems, but i obviously don’t think it’s in any way intentional for a newer commie to have some half formed ideas about things, it’s just that we all have to start somewhere and it won’t be with a full knowledge of the literature and history and all of that.

we’re bound to be wrong about a lot of things when we start out, which is totally understandable and we should expect that without always being hostile whenever someone says something that isn’t Ideologically Correct, especially if they’re struggling with the ideas. but at the same time we should take a more active role in education (as in actual, genuine education, not propagandistic bullshit to convert everyone to your tendency so that you’ve got an army behind you every time you start the latest ML/anarchist debate).

it’s a hell of a lot more useful than the endless infighting on here and also makes us better communists when we’re having to actually answer questions and think critically about our politics and weaknesses. it also means that we challenge each other in ways that are actually helpful (for everyone), rather than just being ways of derailing and manipulating a conversation in your favor for Tumblr Left Points or whatever.

6

MEET & GREET! Submit your meet-and-greet stories to bryanstarsfanpictures@gmail.com. They are posted throughout the week.

On July 22nd, I went to the Merriweather Post Pavilion for Warped Tour. It was a day I’d been looking forward to the most other than going to Vegas a few days later with my parents. The one band I wanted to see the most was The Summer Set. While walking around the outside of the venue, I ran into Pat and Kennedy from The Maine. I told them I’d seen them two years ago in Silver Spring, Maryland and remembered meeting Kennedy behind the venue. “I remember that. I was on my phone in the back parking lot.” Kennedy said. I got a picture with them and thanked them for their time. When the gates opened, I found their merch tent and got a ticket for their photo meet and greet. I had to buy a shirt to get it. I found the F'real truck where they would be signing and then Bandhappy to check in. I was taking Josh’s class that day. At the last minute, I took another. I saw Jess at the tent while I was in line. She was preparing to start her class. When I see a member of TSS, I like to say a quick hello. As a result of my quick hello to Jess, one of the guys at the check in table motioned me to come forward. “Are you taking Jess’ class?”
“I’m actually checking in for Josh Montgomery’s guitar class. Are there any more spots available for Jess’ class?” I wasn’t planning on taking Jess’ class but seeing as I was there already, I decided at the last minute to find out what I could learn from Jess.
“Yeah, there’s two spots left.”
“I’ll take one.” I handed the guy $30 and sat at one of the available stools.
During the class, we learned a basic beat. While I was in Vegas, I went to Guitar Center on South Las Vegas Boulevard and sat in the drum section practicing what Jess taught me. The next day my parents and I were looking at model homes seeing as my parents and I are moving to Nevada next summer. It cannot come fast enough. There was a drum set in one of the houses.  It was right behind that very drum set I mastered what Jess taught us in class. I can’t wait to tell her about it. She also told me she liked my hat. It was her signature edition Never Take It Off snapback.
During the class, I ended up overcoming a sensory issue I have when it comes to really loud environments. Due to Asperger’s syndrome and two other neurological and behavioral issues, I have a hard time dealing with certain, but not all loud environments. Nightclubs are an extremely good example of a loud environment that would easily cause a sensory issue. While Jess was playing the drums, there was a band playing. Needless to say, it was louder than I could usually handle. In those kinds of environments where the decibel level is higher than I can handle, my first reaction is to remove myself from the environment and go somewhere where the decibel level is at or below the level I can handle without issue. This time, I didn’t do that. I was really focused on learning from Jess that that reaction didn’t even come to mind.  However, when it came time for me to sit behind the drum set, I had a bit of a hard time focusing. I even made that known to Jess so I could have a few seconds to get to a focus point. That means closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths before doing what I need to be focusing on. Once I was at that point, I played the beat. After the class ended, I made it known to Jess that her class helped me overcome my sensory issue due to Aspergers. I also told her that I had been bullied recently because of my autism, which is basically what Aspergers is.
When I went to the signing I thanked Jess for helping me overcome a sensory issue during her Bandhappy class. I was the last person in the line. Brian, who was sitting right next to her, asked me about it and I explained to him what happened along with being bullied because of my autism. I said to him, “Having autism does not make me less of a human being. I don’t have to be fucking perfect, so fuck perfection!” Saying that caused brian to high five me and Josh to look at me with a shock reaction.
“Oh, hey Josh.” I said with a shit eating grin. I told him what I had just told Brian, and he high fived me too. I showed him my Montgomery College shirt and I actually gave him a Montgomery College shirt. I also gave him an “Ain’t nobody got time for that” shirt. I wonder if he’s worn them or kept them. I wore the shirt because I thought it’d be funny to walk around with Josh’s last name written in large white block letters across my chest.
At the photo meet and greet, I did something that caused me to end up feeling like a kid in the principal’s office. When I was in school, anytime I was in the principal’s office was never a good experience. I told Josh to his face, “Josh, I’m out to take TJ’s job one day,” TJ is The Summer Set’s sound engineer. I’m studying to be a sound engineer because of him. He lives two miles from me, and I really do want his job. “If and when I do, no more nannying for you.” That was in reference to a video where TJ talks about the things he has to do for Josh and Josh complains about being “sooooo tired” to the point where TJ has to carry him. While the pictures were being taken, I was mashed between Josh and John, and I told Josh, “I’m not cleaning up after you, I’m not bathing you either.”
After that, I instantly felt really bad about what I said. I went to the Bandhappy tent and waited for Josh’s guitar class. I couldn’t help but mull over how rude and disrespectful I was to him. Saying what I said to him seemed like a good idea, but it turned out to be a really bad idea. I was instantly reminded of the first time I saw The Summer Set at Warped Tour 2010 and how I was so rude and disrespectful to Josh then. At that time, I was what I like to call stupid 17 and I hated Josh due to several automatic assumptions I made about him. It took me more than a year from that point to snap out of it. It turned out none of my assumptions were true.
Josh’s Bandhappy class took place on the band’s tour bus. It marked the second time I’d ever been on a band’s tour bus, both times it being The Summer Set’s tour bus. Josh’s class afforded me and the two other girls in the class, one of whom is a friend of mine, 30 minutes of relief from the heat. The bus was nice and cold. I also apologized to Josh for my rude remarks. I was forgiven.
During the class, I finally told Josh to his face after a long time of waiting that he’s “responsible for putting an electric guitar in my hands. Orianthi didn’t do that, you did.” Orianthi influenced my playing style and choice of guitar, but Josh was the one who put an electric guitar in my hands. Josh played a PRS acoustic for the class seeing as PRS Guirars was a sponsor of Bandhappy. PRS is my absolute favorite brand of guitars, but I like their electrics a lot better. I actually argued with Josh on Twitter over whose choice of guitars is better than whose. It was out of retaliation for something he did to me while being afforded the chance to hang out with him and John at Barnes and Noble before a show. He likes Fender while I like PRS. The argument consisted of me trying to convince him that PRS is better than Fender and him telling me that he’ll never touch a PRS. When he had that PRS in his lap, I said, “I need to let this sink for a second.” Then Josh was playing the guitar and singing. It was like an aspiring female rock musician’s version of this scene from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit where they’re singing “Oh Happy Day”. I know that sounds very overreaching, but that’s what it was for me.
He taught us about playing songs in different keys and keeping songs simple. For a year, I neglected my acoustic guitar because I was so focused on mastering the Beat It and According to You solos. I actually made mention of my knowledge of those solos to Josh. At one point, gender gaps and anatomical differences were brought up. Here’s a prime example.
“You have boobs, I don’t.” Josh said to me.
“I feel really violated now.” I put my arm across my chest and sank into my seat. I jokingly thought in my head, “Good one, Josh. Way to pick on the most legal person out of the bunch.” I’m 21 and have been playing guitar since I was 8 years old.
At one point, Josh suggested that I check out the Nashville number system. I still have no understanding of how to use it.
At another point, Josh and I talked about the video where TJ carries him to the merch tent. I told him that I felt bad about what I said to him and then asked him the following.
“Has TJ ever had to bathe you?”
“Absolutely not. Do you honestly think I would let another grown man bathe me?”
“No. But Zach told me TJ actually did it once. I thought that video was an actual thing.
"Zach was messing with you. That video was a joke, a parody. I’m not a diva. In the days we were touring out of a van, I was the one changing flat tires outside in torrential snowstorms.”
If you’ve ever seen The School of Rock where there’s a little girl crying in the principal’s office and she’s saying, “I’ll be good, I swear!”, that was me minus the crying and the swearing I’ll be good part. I’d never felt so uncomfortable around Josh before. I’ve written stories with scenes involving that kind of discomfort, but to actually feel it was another story.
Before we got off the bus, I asked Josh the one thing I’d been dying to call him out on. Since the second time The Summer Set toured with All Time Low in the fall of 2012 up until that point, every time I tried to bring up my Twitter username to him, he’d cut me off and tell me that he knows what it is. And every time he made that claim, I had an absolute refusal to believe him, mainly because he has over 52,000 followers and doesn’t follow me. I’ve tweeted him more times than I can count, and the number of replies I’ve received from him outnumbers the number of times I’ve seen The Summer Set. I’ve seen them 10 times, with Warped Tour being the 10th time. Josh has replied to me 14 times. He also sees everything that’s tweeted to him. Even with that, I refused to believe him. When I finally asked him if he really knew it off the top of his head, he actually said it out loud.
“It’s TheSpiritRoom1. I have Twitter on my phone.” I figured the phone part a long time ago.
After the class, everyone got off the bus and Josh took pictures with us. It felt good to finally get another one with him. At around 4:30, I made my way the Kia VIP high rise tent to watch The Summer Set. I was able to get a wristband for access to the tent earlier in the day. I love watching TSS from the crowd, but watching them from the view I had was better. I got one of Josh’s guitar picks even though I was high up. During their set, Josh threw a guitar pick. It went over the heads of everyone in the crowd and landed in the dirt right below the VIP high rise. A girl below me saw it and picked it up. When I was absolutely sure that she didn’t want it and her friend didn’t want it, I got her attention and asked if I could have it. She was kind enough to give it to me. Once I got it, I put it in my pocket and carried on. I was rocking out and dancing and it just felt so good. It was my 10th time seeing The Summer Set, but it felt so good. Josh’s guitar pick currently sits in a clear plastic jar with all the other guitar picks I’ve gotten at shows and from the artists themselves.
After their set, I went to The Maine’s signing. Due to timing, I was unable to watch their set. While I was in line, Brent from Crown the Empire walked past the line and took the time to talk to people in the line. At first I didn’t know who he was.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Brent. I play in Crown the Empire. What’s your name?”
“I’m Kristina. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” My inner fangirl caused me to ask for a picture with him. When I went home I googled what his last name is. Out of all the non-TSS musicians I had the opportunity of meeting that day, Brent Taddie is one of those who takes the fucking cake. I thought it was great that he took the time out of his day to go around and say hi to people. I like to do that to make someone’s day a bit brighter. Brent definitely made my day a lot brighter. Eric Halvorsen happened before him. I knew who he was, but I didn’t know if it was actually him. Once it was cemented that it was actually him, I asked him if it was really okay to call him Halvo.
“Yes, it is.”
“Okay. I just wanted to be sure.”
When it came time for me to meet The Maine, a lady standing next to John said, “Put your phone away.” I didn’t know who she was talking to seeing as I had my phone in my hand so I could show John a picture. It turned out she was talking to the girl next to me because she was taking pictures. I was given a program for them to sign and I placed it on the table.
“Hi John. How are you?”
“I’m good. How are you?”
“Peachy keen. John, I have a question I’ve been patiently waiting all day to ask you.”
“Lay it on me.”
I showed him the picture and asked, “Do you remember this picture being taken?”
“It’s a beautiful picture.”
“It was your idea.”
“Yeah, I remember taking that picture.”
“Okay, do you remember this?” The following was sung, “I said I wish I could meet Kennedy.” Kennedy, who was sitting right next to John, looked up at me.
In March of 2012, I rewrote the lyrics to “Loud Music” by Michelle Branch and made them about The Maine while sitting at a Joe’s Crab Shack. At a show on May 12th, 2012, which was the second and last time I saw or met The Maine before Warped Tour, I literally got John’s attention in the middle of the show and asked him in front of nearly 2,000 people if I could sing it. He told me to find him after the show and I could sing it to him then. I thanked him and he dedicated “Take Me Dancing” to me. After the show, I sang it to him and he thought it was awesome. The picture I asked John if he remembered taking it was taken right after and it was his idea. He wanted to take a picture that embodied what happened during the show and while I was singing my song. We were standing back to back in the picture and it looked like we were singing.
“I remember that, too.”
“That was two years ago. I’m 21 years old now.”
“Have you been behaving yourself?”
“Pretty much. I’m flying out to Vegas on Sunday.”
“Uh-oh. Stay away from Vegas.”
“I’m moving there with my parents next summer.”
“That makes it a bit more acceptable.” I can’t remember if Kennedy or John said that.
“Don’t worry. I’m not gonna drink.” I ended up drinking while in Vegas. It was too tempting. However, I did drink responsibly. That should count for something.
Garrett talked about alcohol and I told him that my medication limits my alcohol consumption to one drink. That’s all I have anyway. One more, and I’m going to have an issue. When I got to Jared, I told him that I liked his shirt. It was a Fender shirt, and we talked about guitars. I don’t remember what I talked about with Pat, but it must’ve been something interesting.
When I got home, I looked at the autographs from The Summer Set on my ticket stub and the autographs in my program from The Maine. I discovered John (O'Callaghan) write “21.” next to his signature. Why he did it remains a mystery, but I’m glad he did.
As I sit here and write about the crazy things I did at Warped, the wise words of my dad come to mind. This was said the day before Warped Tour.
“There’s two types of bullshit. There’s good bullshit, and there’s bad bullshit. Then there are two types of bullshit artists. There are good bullshit artists, and there are bad bullshit artists. Bullshit is an art. It is not a science and cannot be taught. A lot of the stuff you’ve done at shows like asking Josh about the possibility of hanging out takes a good bullshit artist.”