or-lack-of-one

All the people who had any prolonged personal contact with Dostoevsky remark on the secretiveness and evasiveness of his personality; he was not someone who opened himself easily or willingly to others. There is scarcely a memoir about him that does not comment on this lack of expansiveness, and one suspects that this elusiveness may well have developed from the need to dissimulate as a means of coping with his father’s combination of capriciousness and severity. The pathological shyness from which Dostoevsky suffered all his life can possibly also be attributed to an unwillingness to expose himself, a fear of being rebuffed and emotionally abused that had become second nature. Most important of all, as Freud noted, is that Dostoevsky internalized as a child a highly developed sense of guilt.
—  Joseph Frank, Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time

A little snippet of the next TMIB chapter

When Peridot walked in, she was met with yellow eyes, brows narrowed down in clear displeasure. Her mother was seated on the couch, legs crossed and a glass of wine in her hand. It wasn’t even noon yet and the business woman had cracked open a bottle.

“Peridot,” Diane Diamante greeted, her voice cold, authoritative. It lacked the warmth that one would think a mother would greet her child with after not seeing each other for months. It sent a shiver down Peridot’s spine.

The girl in question quietly stepped into the living room like an obedient puppy, head ducked down, unable to look her mother in the face. She felt shame rush through her, but didn’t know what she should be ashamed of. Just that she had to have done something that her mother expected her to feel bad for.

“Chin up!” the woman barked, “I’ve told you time and time again about that posture of yours! Straighten your back and don’t look at the ground when I’m talking to you!” When Peridot did as she was told, her mother reached over to a pile of papers next to her and held them out to Peridot.She held the pages between her fingertips as though she were holding something filthy that she didn’t want to touch.

 “Mind explaining to me what this is about?” 

‘From the moment when society enters into possession of the means of production and uses them in direct association for production, the labour of each individual, however varied its specifically useful character may be, becomes at the start and directly social labour. The quantity of social labour contained in a product need not then be established in a roundabout way; daily experience shows in a direct way how much of it is required on the average. Society can simply calculate how many hours of labour are contained in a steam-engine, a bushel of wheat of the last harvest, or a hundred square yards of cloth of a certain quality. It could therefore never occur to it still to express the quantities of labour put into the products, quantities which it will then know directly and in their absolute amounts, in a third product, in a measure which, besides, is only relative, fluctuating, inadequate, though formerly unavoidable for lack of a better one, rather than express them in their natural, adequate and absolute measure, time. Just as little as it would occur to chemical science still to express atomic weight in a roundabout way, relatively, by means of the hydrogen atom, if it were able to express them absolutely, in their adequate measure, namely in actual weights, in billionths or quadrillionths of a gramme. Hence, on the assumptions we made above, society will not assign values to products. It will not express the simple fact that the hundred square yards of cloth have required for their production, say, a thousand hours of labour in the oblique and meaningless way, stating that they have the value of a thousand hours of labour. It is true that even then it will still be necessary for society to know how much labour each article of consumption requires for its production. It will have to arrange its plan of production in accordance with its means of production, which include, in particular, its labour-powers. The useful effects of the various articles of consumption, compared with one another and with the quantities of labour required for their production, will in the end determine the plan. People will be able to manage everything very simply, without the intervention of much-vaunted “value”.’
—  Engels
why you should stan namjoon: his ability to manipulate and play around with the korean language

A little while ago, I asked a question about whether Korean music sounds like gibberish to non-Korean speaking listeners. Majority of those who answered said yes and for the most part, many just try to recognize certain phrases or the overall gist of the song when you are listening to it. Now this sort of got to me because as a bts fan, the members play around with words in their songs and they honestly have some of the most poetic/complex lyrics in the industry and it’s really interesting for me, a Korean-American, to be able to hear and distinguish that. But for non-Korean speakers, you guys can’t really do the same. An awesome example of this is Namjoon because well- he is just a genius, a modern-day poet. So, I’m going to try my best to try to point some of the word play in his lyrics out because I think you guys would find it just as interesting as I do!

1)  흥탄소년단/Fun Boyz

저 위 정상들이 보이지
일상에 상을 하나 더해 난 이상해지지
정상인 상태로는 정상에 못 가요 baby

trans:  “You see the peak over there, right? Add one more prize to my daily life, I’ll get weird. You can’t reach the top by being normal baby”

In this verse, Namjoon uses the word “정상” which can mean two different things depending on whether you use it as an adjective or a noun. As a noun, it means “the peak” (like the highest point of something). But as an adjective, it means “normal”. In the first line, he uses it as a noun- asking a question if you can see it. But in the third line, he uses the word in both ways. If I were to translate the last line stiffly it would be something like: “in a normal state you can’t reach the peak”

In the second line, he also does another word play.  일상 is a noun that means “daily life” while 이상 is an adjective that means “weird” or “abnormal”. However, he also makes a math pun in the line. The first syllable of  일상 is  일 which is the number 1 and the first syllable of  이상 is  이 which is the number 2. So literally, if you “add one more” to  일상 you get  이상. Add “one more” to daily life, you get weird.

Also! Note the repetition of the syllable “상” (sahng) through out his verse!

2) 고엽/ Dead Leaves

모든 낙엽은 떨어지듯이
영원할 듯하던 모든 건 멀어지듯이
너는 나의 다섯 번째 계절
널 보려 해도 볼 수 없잖아
봐 넌 아직 내겐 푸른색이야
마음은 걷지 않아도 저절로 걸어지네
미련이 빨래처럼 조각조각 널어지네
붉은 추억들만 더러운 내 위에 덜어지네
내 가지를 떨지 않아도 자꾸만 떨어지네
그래 내 사랑은 오르기 위해 떨어지네
가까이 있어도 나의 두 눈은 멀어지네
벌어지네 이렇게 버려지네
추억 속에서 난 또 어려지네

trans:  “As if every autumn leaf has fallen, as if everything that seemed to last forever is falling away, you’re my fifth season. Even if I try to see you, I can’t. Look, you’re still blue to me. Even if our hearts do not walk, they walk instinctively. Our lingering affections, like laundry, hang piece by piece. Only the crimson memories fall above my dirty self. Even if I do not shake my branch, it keeps on falling. Sure, for my love to ascend- it falls. Even if I’m near by, my two eyes grow further- they’re falling away. Like this, I’m being thrown away. I become young again inside my memories.”

Not only is his entire verse extremely poetic with his usage of analogies and personification and overall language but another thing that you have to make notice of is the fact that he raps in alphabetical order.

From the line 마음은 걷지 않아도 저절로 걸어지네 down, the verbs at the end of the lines follow alphabetical order.

The part of the Korean alphabet he uses is (from left to right) ㄱㄴㄷㄹㅁㅂㅅㅇ. Order-wise, and not by actual sound, its equivalent to the English alphabet would be abcdefgh.

Now pay attention to the first consonant of the first syllable of the last word of each line.

걸 어지네 , 널 어지네 , 덜 어지네 , 떨 어지네 ,떨 어지네 , 어지네 , 버 려지네 ,어 려지네

ㄱ,ㄴ,ㄷ,ㄸ*,ㄸ,ㅁ,ㅂ,ㅇ

a,b,c,cc*,cc,e,f,h

*ㄸ is a double consonant, meaning that it’s the stronger sound of ㄷ. In some alphabets, the double consonants come after its single consonant- meaning that Namjoon was still technically following Korean alphabetical order

One more thing to note is his repetition of the verb ending “-네”. This is typically used when the speaker is just taking notice of something and it implies that they have been taken aback by whatever has happened. For example, if you haven’t seen somebody in a long time, you might say something like “You’ve gotten prettier/more handsome”. In Korean, you would use the verb ending “네” for this situation and say something along the lines of “__ 예뻐졌네” or “__ 더잘생겨졌네”

So similarly, in this verse, it’s as if Namjoon is first discovering that hearts will walk instinctively, that his lingering affections hang piece by piece, that his love must fall in order to ascend, that he is becoming young inside his memories, and so on and so forth. It’s slight, but it adds a new level of depth to how you interpret his lyrics.

3) Always

난 세상을 이해하기 위해 사는데
세상은 날 이해한 적이 없어 왜
아니 딱 절반이 모자라
날 해하려 하잖아

trans: “I live to understand the world, but the world has never understood me- why? No, precisely one half is missing. It’s trying to hurt me.”

In this verse, Namjoon uses the verb 이해 which means “to understand”. When he says “precisely one half is missing”, he literally meant one half of 이해 which is 해. The verb 해하다 means “to hurt/injure” which is why he’s saying that “it’s (the world) is trying to hurt me.”  The world lacks one half of understanding him, which is why it’s trying to harm him.

Again, another thing I’d like to talk about is how he says 날 해하려 하잖아. Typically, the verb ending “하잖아” is used when you want the person/people you’re addressing to take notice of something. So, for example, if you’re craving something when you just ate- typically your friend would say something like “but we just ate!” And if you’re talking in Korean, it would be here that your friend would use the verb ending 하잖아 and use the phrase “방금 먹었잖아!” (you just ate!)

By saying 날 해하려 하잖아, it’s as if Namjoon is asking us to see that the world is trying to hurt him, it’s as if he’s implying “can’t you see this?” So it adds a whole entire new spectrum of emotion to his lyrics and I just wanted you guys to clearly hear the song the way he wrote it.

"Back in my day we didn't have all these mental issues!"

Well yes you did, Karen. They were called “Problem children” or “retards” or “psychos”. The were thrown in institutions and treated like criminals, or beaten to curb their behavior, or publicly shamed as “dunces”. They lacked adequate healthcare and no one understood what was wrong with them. They wandered the streets while their families either struggled to take care of them or pretended they didn’t exist. I know because I have an aunt who grew up schizophrenic in the 50s. You think anyone really knew how to deal with her when she wandered away from home or said and did bizarre things? And then there was my uncle, likely suffering from PTSD caused by his military service when he threw himself over a waterfall.

The increased ability to identify and diagnose things doesn’t mean these things just started existing. I’m not saying society doesn’t tend to overdiagnose and overmedicate (if you raise your kid with absolutely no boundaries or discipline and they end up a horrible brat, that’s probably not because of some rare mental disorder so much as bad parenting), but stop dismissing every mental health issue as some newfangled millennial nonsense you don’t have to take seriously. And don’t let that mindset stop YOU from getting help if you need it.

4

THE ACT 6 TAROT ANTHOLOGY: THE MAJOR DECK (PART III)


VIII. Strength (Artist: Sollay)

  • ▲ Bravery, compassion, inner strength, focus and resolve, the overcoming of personal demons
  • ▼ Insecurity and weakness, heavy burdens, feelings of futility and powerlessness

    IX. The Hermit (Artist: Chuchumi)

    • ▲ Understanding of oneself, profound knowledge, a search for truth, inner peace achieved through isolation
    • ▼ Crushing loneliness, an impeded ability to grow, a sense of having lost one’s way

      X. Wheel of Fortune (Artist: Gilly)

      • ▲ Destiny, the cyclical nature of the universe, the power to change fate
      • ▼ Inevitability, misfortune, a lack of control, an unwillingness to take responsibility for one’s fate or the fates of others

      XI. Justice (Artist: Jununy)

      • ▲ Absolutes, clarity and truth, karmic or divine retribution, the arrival of a crucial moment with irreversible consequences
      • ▼ A miscarriage of justice, dishonesty, unfairness or a lack of accountability for one’s own actions

        MAJOR ARCANA

        Part I
        Part II
        Part III
        Part IV
        Part V
        Part VI

        Vanilla (M) || Dom!Jimin Smut

        gif is not mine

        Genre: SmUuUuuT || Fluff (?) at the end || Dominant!Jimin
        Word Count: 5.6k of pure fiLTH
        Warnings: Hair pulling, light spanking, light choking, overstimulation, fingering, a lot of dirty shit okok prepare yo self

        Description: Jimin is a busy guy. The idol life is not an easy one.
        With you missing him for three months due to his schedule, all you wanted was to spend his first night back with him. When that doesn’t go to plan, you end up spewing shit about your sex life with Jimin – or better yet, your lack of one.

        Keep reading

        The fae

        Living in Ireland I heard many stories about the fae.About they’re kind nature, the peaceful woodland spirits, playful tricksters, or even malicious beings.

        Here I will give some ways to appease them, and ward them. I will also tell about dangerous fae and how to ward them.

        AVOIDING FAIRIES

        In Ireland children were told to keep away from fairy mounds, fairy circles, certain places in the woods, certain trees, and some strange places. Fairy mounds can be identified as strange lone hills, often found in odd place. Fairy circles are mushroom circles. They are a naturally occurring pattern, however they are believed to be portals the their realm. And stepping in one may be dangerous. Steer clear of certain trees. It is believed that fae live in them, and if disturbed they would not be happy. Notable trees to stay away from include hazel, thorn, alder, and oak. An example of a strange place would be strange rock formations in a field, and that if disturbed or moved would upset the fae who made them.


        Farmers didn’t go to their mill or barns at night. It was believed that the fae used the cover of darkness to grind their grain. Disturbing them while they worked could result in you having a failed crop or other curses.

        Certain bodies of water were said to be the homes of kelpies, Corrigans, and other water fae. If you came to these waters alone, you could be pulled in, or lured to your deaths (corrigans are said to beautiful creatures that lure you to your death, were they drown you.) They would drown their victims, forcing their spirits to live in the fae realm forever.


        WARDING FAE

        Certain flowers such as primroses, were layed on the windowsills and hung over doors. This ensured that he house was kept safe from the fae.

        Garlands were made from marsh marigolds. These were placed over the barn doors. This protected the horses from being ridden to death by the fae.

        However, the most notable flower to protect yourself against the fae is St. John’s Wort. Wearing this flower provided the wearer protection from fairy magic and tricks. Sometimes my grandmother would scatter petals around the outside of the house, to try to provide protection.

        Some said holly berries would repel them. (Unknown why. Unlike the others I was never told this. Maybe someone could clarify.)

        A four-leafed clover would allow you to see the fae, even through their glamours, or invisibility. However, this would only work once. An old tradition was to sew them into clothing, or even a little bag (this is to be worn round the neck, though some say it just has to be held) this allowed the user to see them for every clover they had sewn.

        Though these are quite nice forms of protection, iron is always the best form of protection. Many believe that iron burns the fairy. Some legends say that the crafted their weapons out of silver and gold because they couldn’t use the iron. If you kept an iron nail in your pocket the fae would be unable to take you to their realm. Often iron knives, sheers, and other sharp object were hung over or near the crib of a baby. This was to prevent the baby from being stolen and swapped with a changling child. ( I don’t recommend doing this as it could be dangerous to the baby.) Sometimes horseshoes, nails, or arrowheads would be placed over doors to stop fae from entering the house or room. An iron ring was worn to protect people, it was told that the fae could not go near the person who wears it.


        APPEASING FAE

        To be protected from them, and to even form a relationship with the fae; one must respect them, trust them, and leave offerings for them.

        Leaving bread and milk out for them was said to protect the household that did it. It was also believed that one may gain their favour by doing this. This is also a notable way of appeasing the cat síth. Not only do they like bread and milk, they also like butter, cream, sugar, ale, honey, whiskey, and I find that they like dark chocolate.

        If you’re crossing a body of water, or passing by a well you may drop a piece of silver in, or a coin in for the fae that lives in it.


        Ever here the saying that if you spill salt you should throw some over your right shoulder? Well that applies to the fae. If salt is spilled one may throw some over their right shoulder so that the fae can have their share.


        Many of the nicer variety were insulted when they saw human mortals lacking in hospitality to one another and treating each other badly. It’s was said that they would punish people like this very harshly. However, if you were kind and honest to people they were said to treat you nicely, or leave you be.

        DANGEROUS FAE

        corrigans- A form of water sprite. They appear as beautiful beings who sing melodies like sirens. They mostly appear at night on a full moon. In sunlight they’re glamour goes away and their true ugly form is revealed. stay clear of bodies of water and the woods
        Dullahan- The headless horseman. He is seen often in the country riding a dead horse with eyes like fire. He often has a whip made out of a spine. He roams the countryside looking for the dead. If you see him he is said to slash your eyes with his whip. Gold is said to ward them for a while.
        Amadan Dubh- VERY DANGEROUS. The trickster fae. He’s a madman. Often seen dancing on lone hills to ghostly music. Cannot be reasoned with. He can place powerful, harmful curses on people. I do not know of any ways to ward him. (Maybe someone can clarify?)
        Alp-luarcha- If you think it has crawled in your throats after falling asleep at a stream or other body of water, eat salted food. This will make it thirsty, and make it leave.
        Bean sídhe or banshee- The only thing I know of is an iron ring, though when a person is dying nothing can keep her away as she wails.
        Cat síth- it loiters around graveyards and open graves to steal the souls of those who have recently died. To try to distract it one may try dancing, singing, or telling riddles. This gives time for the souls of the deceased to pass on so that it cannot get them. I was also told that on Halloween (Samhain) a saucer of milk should be left out, this will provide good luck and protection, while those that didn’t would be cursed. If you are ever filled with a sense of dread and see a black cat with a tuff of white fur walk away slowly and then place a saucer of milk outside, then pray that this will be enough to appease it.
        Boggart- It’s a malicious form of fae that takes over houses. Somewhat like a poltergeist. They cannot be reasoned with, and any attempts to appease them will annoy them. They don’t like holy water, crosses, iron, or agrimony. However, sometimes an exorcism is necessary. A family friend had to get this once.
        Changling- To stop a child from being swapped keep a close eye on them, put them in a warm well lit room, stitching red thread in baby clothes and blankets was said to prevent them from being swapped, as well as hanging iron sheers or knives over the crib, or having them close by.
        I hope this helps. If you have any questions or any clarifications feel free to message me.

        I’m nervous about making a whole post about this but I’m gonna. I’m just gonna come out and say it.

        If you claim that asexual and/or aromantic people are straight, you are perpetuating heteronormative thought.

        Now, I know that’s a bold statement but please listen to my thought process behind it. I don’t mean any disrespect. I just want to put into words why I think categorizing persons lacking some kind of attraction as “straight” doesn’t work.

        The assumption in our society usually is that someone is 1. comfortable with their body in relationship to physical sex 2. Has a socially acceptable gender that both fits into one of two boxes and lines up with what was perceived at birth and 3. Is sexually, aesthetically, and romantically only attracted to persons in that other box, and not their own, and they have that attraction. They are attracted to people in that other gender category.

        This is what we would call heteronormative thought. The assumption that a person you meet is cisgender and straight. But we all know that not everyone is like that. And the whole “straight until proven gay” mentality our society has is not a good way to go about human interaction.

        There is more than one thing wrong with the “straight until proven gay” mentality. First of all, it is harmful to gay people. But not just that. It is especially harmful to all of those outside of the “gay” and “straight” boxes. Even as society is becoming more accepting of non heterosexual cisgender persons, it still wants to place them in a binary. Either gay or straight. As usual, persons attracted to more than one gender, persons whose aesthetic, romantic, and sexual attractions do not necessarily line up with each other, and persons lacking one, several, or all types of attractions are left out in the cold.

        Saying asexual and aromantic people are straight is like trying to fit a square box into a round hole. It just doesn’t work. And that applies to calling them gay too. That’s like trying to fit a square box into a triangular hole. Its not a circle, but its still not a square.

        I think we’re all stuck in a heteronormative mindset in one way or the other. Society has done its darndest to make sure we are. Many gay people see someone that does not fit into their triangular hole, so they assume that persons that do not fit must fit in the circular one. If its not black its white. If its not a rainbow its gray scale. If its not gay its straight.

        But see, those of us that lack one or more attractions don’t fit on the neat little gradient you’ve set up. Life doesn’t just slide from red to blue with shades of purple in between, and it is most certainly not just red and blue. There are those of us that are green, yellow, orange, brown, black, or white or any color in between and if you talk in terms of just gay and straight you are leaving out a huge portion of the rainbow.

        Life can’t be talked about in terms of this or that. If you get that, then poc who are not of African decent are left out of race discussions, persons who don’t have a binary gender are left out of feminist discussions, and those of us who have an attraction to more than one gender or a lack of attraction are left out of the queer community.

        If the LGBTQIA+ community is for everyone that does not fit into the category of persons who are okay with their assigned gender and feel sexual and romantic attraction towards persons of the other binary gender and only people of that other binary gender then well,

        Make room for the non triangular boxes. Expect more colors than just blue. If you want to fight heteronormative thought, then accept that asexual and aromantic people are not straight. They are lacking attraction or only feel attraction rarely or in specific circumstances, and there is a whole different life experience attached to that, and it doesn’t line up with a straight one.

        I personally think that part of fighting heteronormativity is fighting the assumption that everyone experiences attraction. Not everyone does, and if you do not experience any attraction in one or both categories, then you can’t be attracted to the opposite sex and/or gender both sexually and romantically, and therefore can’t be straight. Assuming you have a binary gender in the first place, which many of us don’t.

        So, in conclusion, just because someone isn’t gay doesn’t automatically mean they are straight, and part of fighting heteronormativity is fighting the binary ideas sexuality has fallen into. Thank you for your time.

        The lack of diversity no one talks about:

        Characters with:

        - Epilepsy

        - Diabetes 

        - Psoriasis

        - Rheumatoid Arthritis

        - Inflammatory bowel disease (crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)

        - Cystic Fibrosis

        - Celiac Disease

        - Hypothyroidism/Goiter

        - Hyperthyroidism 

        - Asthma 

        - Paramyloidosis

        - Sarcoidosis

        - Multiple Sclerosis

        - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

        - Spina bifida

        - Lupus 

        And many more.

        Elemental Imbalance

        If your natal chart is lacking an element, at least one of the following may apply to you:

        • You may suppress any qualities that come with the lacking element, or you may simply ignore these qualities. You may often struggle with understanding certain aspects to life.
        • You tend to find yourself attracted to people with a heavy influence of the element you are lacking.
        • Rather than suppressing the qualities of the element, you may try to excessively balance yourself out. However, you are likely to end up overly making up for it, thus creating more-so of an imbalance because you tend to overly redeem these qualities, creating an imbalance elsewhere.

        The Elements

        Fire: aliveness, spontaneity, adventure, creativity, independence, assertiveness, and passion — on the negative: aggression, impatience, and instability. Fire signs are the signs that radiate warmth with their fascinating air of joviality.

        Earth: reliability, stability, down-to-earthness, pragmatism, responsibility, determination, and tangibility — on the negative:
        greediness and overbearingness. Earth signs are the signs that build the structure of our being with their strong sense of discipline.

        Air: social interaction, intellect, communication, expression, easygoingness, and idealism – on the negative: detachment, flakiness, and insensitivity. Air signs are the signs with the most mental stimulation, for they have receptivity like no other.

        Water: empathy, intuition, inclined towards protection, sensitivity, emotional understanding, and intimacy — on the negative: emotionally controlled, impracticality, and manipulation. Water signs are the signs that see and understand complex realms of the world with their deep-seated sense of clairvoyance.

        Weak Fire

        You will feel inspired by people with fire dominance; therefore, you will seek people with such qualities because they have everything you need, thus feeling as though they can allow such qualities to be released out of you. With the absence of fire, you may also become very rash and aggressive, perhaps expressing more of the negatives of the element because you are trying to overcompensate for what you lack — unless, of course, you are either the type who is aware of its lacking, thus entirely suppressing it, or you are the type to completely neglect the lacking of the element within you.

        Weak Earth

        You will find yourself attracted to people with earth dominance because you crave sensuality, stability, and things of the sort. With the absence of earth, you may find yourself worrying far too much about the tangible aspects of life. You are too engrossed with the idea of being stable, often unable to understand where your balance stands, so you tend to become very controlling with attempting to create structure in your life. Of course, you may be the type to suppress the lacking earth element or to neglect it.

        Weak Air

        You will be very attracted to clever people because you often feel misunderstood in terms of self-expression and thinking approach. With the absence of air, you may engage in too many mental activities, thus becoming rather inconsistent. Otherwise, the same can be said with either suppressing the lacking air element, or neglecting it.

        Weak Water

        You will be very attracted to people who have emotional intensity like no other because you often struggle with understanding your own, fluctuating emotions. That said, you seek emotionally intelligent people. With the absence of water, you may become very hypersensitive and unstable, getting lost in your feelings. Either that, or you may resort to suppression and/or ignorance of your emotions.

        2

        hi guys!! its another new week and hopefully ill have a bujo spread up later this week! but to make up for the lack of one, heres some pics from a method i use to practice my korean!! i basically just write out song lyrics and learn the english translations of them, and i find it both engaging and useful!! do you guys learn any languages?? how do you study/practice for them??

        anonymous asked:

        What would be the disadvantages of sword fighting while wearing a cloak/cape?

        It depends on the sword. During the Renaissance, the cloak and cape were like the dagger and the buckler, used as a supplementary in the offhand to the rapier. It could be used for defense, to distract, lock up an opponent’s sword, and other uses.

        Cloak and Dagger.

        A discussion on Italian fencing master Di Grassi’s techniques for fencing with the cloak.

        The Arte of Defense.

        HOARRs discussion using cloaks.

        On the usage of Cloaks and Capes.

        If you didn’t know how to use a cape, then it would be liable to get in the way. Get caught on the arms, tangled in the legs, distract you as much as your opponent. The cape and cloak are period clothing, much like a jacket would be for us today, which means if you’re a man (or woman) during the Renaissance you’ve got a choice when the time comes to fight or duel about what to do with your clothes. You can discard it, risk losing it if there’s no one to hold it for you, or use it as part of your defense.

        If there’s one thing that is worth thinking about when you’re setting up your fight scenes and your characters it’s the concept of “using what you have”. Combat is joined with culture, it isn’t an abstract or separate. One uses the tools in their environment, designs their weapons around where they’ll be fighting and the threats they’ll face as much as how. Your character’s clothing, their culture, fashion choices, all reflect back into their defensive options (or lack thereof).

        The cape was one of the common accoutrements, so it got used by some fencers when they were caught without their buckler or their dagger.

        Humans utilize tools well, and adapt well. When looking through the links pay close attention to why the cloak works and how it aids a fencer as a combat tool. This will help you when looking back on modern clothing or other day to day items you may never have considered before that easily become natural extensions of a fighting style.

        -Michi

        This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you.

        Black Girl, NYC

        Greetings people. I identify as a Black female who was born and raised in NYC. I am slowly progressing through my study of education and history in college. Other then that, I spend (probably) an unhealthy amount of time reading and writing sci fi and fantasy. But by high school, I got sick and tired of the same story featuring blonds and brunettes saving the day with their straight, lean male heroes so I turned to my librarian seeking something new. She pointed to Octavia Butler and the rest was history. I’ve been seeking diversity in media ever since.

        Family life and Culture

        I grew as the middle child of six siblings with my single mother and grandparents. Yes, my working-class household fits the stereotype. We even have an absent father *sighs* But, hey shit happens. And with the biological father turns out not to be the best father figure, shit had to go right out the door. Yup. But make no mistake that this is a norm. Most households on my block do have both parents involved in their children’s lives. Our circumstances called for us to have one. That’s all.

        The house was full, loud and rambunctious. We made up a good portion of the children on the block (unsurprising) and basically ran it. There’s a whole novel that could be fleshed out of my childhood if I wanted to. Our neighborhood is very tight knit. Next door neighbors were treated like Aunts and Uncles. When summer came around, we were sometimes divided into groups as the parents who were off from work overlooked us while braiding our heads. Blackouts became an all night bbq and sleepover on each other’s porches. Crooklyn by Spike Lee was a good representation of what it was like in fact. Somewhat. Minus the brownstones, plus a couple more fights (lol).

        My grandma was a nurse who’s pretty big on us knowing our family history. She made sure to talk a lot about our Gullah Geechee roots. We also had some Dominican culture influence since her closest friend and our Madrina was, well, Dominican. But she is fairly strict on gender norms and how my sisters and I should act especially with brothers. She antagonized me the most growing up because I continued to ignore this. We don’t get along but i can’t say i don’t get why she’s the way she is. She has a pretty dark past. My mother, a latchkey kid of the finest stock, is more laid back and gives all of us free range to make our own mistakes. Most times. Other times, she’d rather lecture us. Depends on our crime.

        I don’t know what my grandpa used to do. He retired waaaaay before my grandmother. I also don’t know much about his culture. He’s 1st gen Jamaican who fully assimilated into American culture. Well, beside his food choices. Now, he gambles and goes to church. When I was younger, he used to teach us how to gamble too. And how to cheat and not get caught. We got a lot of free fast food while he taught us. He has gotten more frugal the older he got. And more isolated.

        Dating and Relationships.

        I don’t date. I have no interest. Well, no, that’s not exactly true. I’ve considered it but I rather have not seek out anything outside of platonic right now. I have a tight knit circle of friends and several other groups of friends I associate with depending on the activity. I’m realizing it seems like I’m using the term “friends” loosely but I swear I’m not. I’m a virgin and I feel nothing about being one until someone goes “*gasp* You’re a virgin really?” and then I end up on high defense saying “So?” Believe or not, that messed with me a lot.

        My love life and lack of interest in having one has always been a struggle. In middle school, the group of friends I hung with were becoming more infatuated with love and sex. Yes, middle school, fifth through eighth grade, ages nine to thirteen. But, when they would talked about who’s hot or not, they would look at me funny when I didn’t join in the discussion. Instead of explaining myself, I simply copied other’s reactions and gushed along with them. This instinct followed me through High school til stopped out of annoyance. I became a listener and adviser in their relationships because I really do love stories in many shapes and forms. And I would never turn down hearing a story.

        Language

        My primary language is English and AAVE. I’ve been living in a neighborhood filled with Blacks and Latinx. Most of my friends are Black and Lantinx. I didn’t meet a white person my age until college. Okay that’s a partial lie. I’ve been in a summer camp that was made up of predominantly white children. But as the only black kid in my age range, I was sorta uncomfortable. I never made lasting friends there. After High School, I spent a year abroad in Tena, Ecuador where I learned Spanish and Kichwa. I still suck at both languages.

        Clothing

        Lots of my clothes when I was younger were borrowed or hand-me-downs. Half of them still are. It’s like thrift shopping without the hiked prices thanks to its popularity by rich white people (Thanks rich white people!) All my siblings’ taste varies. In my case, I’m fond of combining loose and tight clothing (tight jeans and a loose sweater/ baggy jeans and a tight top). No makeup. Silver accessories.

        I used to have a short bob cut permed. I hated it. But I rather a perm then getting my hair straightened with a hot comb because the back of my neck and big ears would always get burned. It wasn’t until I made a friend with a natural afro that I realized my natural hair was even an option.

        Academics

        Lol I was a nerd with bad grades.

        Religion

        My family practices Santeria, which has historical roots in both Catholicism and Yoruba thanks to slavery (Yay slavery!). However, because the religion is not fully accepted or well-known, I tend to say I’m simply Catholic if asked. Apparently, a Black Catholic is hard to believe. It is assumed all Black folks are Baptists or some branch of Christianity. I have no idea where that stereotype came from. But I can give some guess. (*cough cough* Tyler Perry….).  

        As I stated before, I love scifi and fantasy. I especially love urban fantasy involving witches. I blame this love on Practical Magic and Eve’s Bayou, my childhood faves. It’s because of this love that I wish to see more stories with witches of color. And no, I don’t mean that one evil/mysterious southern/Caribbean Voodoo/Hoodoo witch hollywood loves to portray so much. That always plays into the “Black is evil” trope. Give me some damn variety!

        I would squeal so hard if the mythology involved in a story isn’t even Eurocentric. I’m not joking. This is serious. When my religion was simply hinted at in the Raven Boys series (It was also a great way of making even more obvious that the character was definitely not white.) and Kenya Wright’s Habitat series, I squealed. All the authors did was write the names of some of the Orishas and I couldn’t help but put my phone down for a moment and inwardly scream with glee. That being said, if a writer does decide to use afrocentric or any religion involving “witchcraft” as a basis, I would personally ask that they make sure is is not a closed religion.

        Santeria is, in fact, a closed religion. And while I don’t mind mentions of it in fantasy and even a main character stating they practice it, do not go any further than that. Don’t even research the practices within the religion other than what is public knowledge (And if you don’t have any public knowledge, just ask) Respect that there’s a limit. Anything further spelunking  is consider rude, disgusting, disrespectful and dangerous. There’s things that I don’t even know because I haven’t been properly initiated. And the internet has a lot of these practices exposed when it shouldn’t be so please don’t look into it. Please.

        Food

        Most of the cooking in the house has been done by my grandmother. Because of her various relationships, our food has always been a mixture of Black American, Gullah, Lantinx and Caribbean influences. It is so good. So, so good!

        The only thing I don’t eat of hers is her seafood gumbo because I don’t like shellfish. One of my sisters said I should have my “black card” taken for my distaste. I said she could take it if she can name more black movies than me. She still can’t take it. My other sister wishes we could switch places because she loves crab but is allergic. The crazy girl actually sends her husband to buy some benadryl so she can eat some if we ever have some on the table. Smh. Siblings.  

        Holidays

        My family on both sides are quite fond of reunions. On my grandpa’s side, the family uses Fourth of July and Christmas to get together. On my grandma’s side, they tend to host annual summer reunion and send out RSVP invitations complete with schedules of the whole two to three day event. I didn’t mention this under my family life, but both sides of my family are boujee to different degrees. Lots of black sorors and frats members on both sides. I can’t believe that slipped my mind typing.

        I’m a little iffy with Christmas. It’s more of a holiday for the older generation and our niece and nephews. The younger generation, however, don’t particularly care for the holiday. For some of us, it’s because it’s not really Jesus’s Birthday and Santa was whitewashed. For others, it’s because we don’t care to feed into the corporate holiday. For most of us, it’s a combination of the two. But we do love getting together when we can. My older sister and I have conspired to celebrate kwanzaa instead for the past two years. So far, it hasn’t grasped the interest of anyone else in the family.

        Struggles

        • Being nerds from a young age, my siblings and I have been called “Oreos” or“Not really black” by kids in school on more than one occasion. We shut them down by fighting. Probably not the best strategy but it was best one I could think of in middle school and below. Made it easier to go back to reading my manga.

        • I got compared to my sisters a lot. It was the absolutely most annoying thing ever. And a major source of my insecurities growing older.

        • Need I address colorism? My highschool was filled with it. #TeamLight v #TeamDark. I was on neither team, because in the region I live, skin color was a pretty long spectrum. I fell in the between. Who came up with this?

        • I’ll admit it. I hate my own tears. They make me feel weak. Which isn’t true…I know. But, it is a mentality I always had. I have depression and PTSD. This isn’t really a secret. I tell people if I’m asked. But have you ever had someone look at you and say, “Really? You don’t seem like the type.” ……

        • I am a black female. I’ve been labelled “Strong” and “Independent” the older I got. By my mother. By my siblings. By my peers. And I get those labels. Even from friends. I loved those labels. I call myself by those labels. I mean, who doesn’t want to be seen as strong and independent? Those are positive affirmations, right? I think they would be. If that wasn’t all the positive labels we could get. Somehow, society has decided we are beings that are incapable of being multifaceted. I was indirectly taught to hate my own tears because black girls don’t cry. You can’t cry and be strong. What a terrible mantra fed to black girl at a young age. So, instead you tell everyone “It’s fine.”

        I told my therapist it was fine. Until she told me straight up it was not fine. And it was okay to cry. I don’t like to cry. But I still (involuntarily) did it.

        Things I’d like to see less of/Things I’d like to see more of:

        • I’m sick and tired of seeing black and latinx folks being portrayed as only fantasy gangs members. We are not only gang members. That’s a terrible popular myth the media put out there and I hate it even more so when it’s portrayed in SFF genre..

        • I’m tired of having one black person in a novel being described as having skin the color of “midnight.” And he’s (it’s always a he) not even that important to the story

        • I hate how every time someone decides to add a person of color, they have to be ambiguous brown. I’m not saying ambiguously brown don’t exist and don’t need representation but is it really that had for a dark brown skin person to play a major role in a story that’s not about slavery? Speaking of which….

        • Why we always gotta be slaves? Or better yet….

        • Why don’t we exist at all in High fantasy stories? Urban fantasy? Brooklyn wasn’t always the gentrified white town it is now. Still isn’t. How are you erasing people of color from NYC??? We make up way too much of the population to be completely erased

        • Stop racial coding other creatures to surround your white human characters. Especially as the bad guys. That’s just shitty writing. Step up your game!

        • I love Black love

        • I love Gay love. I wish more would follow moonlight’s example and show poc are gay too and gay doesn’t always equal to stereotypical femininity.

        • I love interracial love HOWEVER, can we pair people of color with other people of color as well? I’m starting to hate seeing it always a white person paired with a Poc. Variety damnit!

        • Friendships between boys and girls that don’t transform into love.

        • Friendships between girls that didn’t start out as a rivalry.

        • Different body types besides the skinny and tall. Make a main character that’s fat for once. It’s not a problem.

        • Magical characters of color that aren’t “Noble Savages” or “Wise Monks” that used their magic for personal gain for once instead of waiting for the white hero to come.

        • Nerdy black characters who aren’t 100% competent and cries. One that isn’t in a five token band that always gonna be compare to the white main character. Make the nerd the main character!

        That’s all I can think of at the top of my head. But my list really does go on. 

        Read more POC Profiles here or submit your own.

        The Boredom Diaries - Aries, Gemini, Sagittarius, and Aquarius

        Boredom is defined as a ‘lack of interest in one’s current activity’. Psychoanalysts seem to agree that boredom sets in when one has not been exposed to new, stimulating environments frequently and being challenged above their skill level.

        Aries, Gemini, Aquarius, and Sagittarius have the lowest boredom threshold in the zodiac. By nature, these signs require successive change of environments. Their expression can become derailed, confused, unstable, or uninspired and when restricted from moving about. A resounding factor that ties these signs together in is their agile mind and thought patterns. Thanks to their active and responsive intellect, these individuals pick up skills and new information with ease. Does it mean they will remember it? Certainly not. But they just about acquire knowledge like quick simmering osmosis. Mars is the ruler of Aries and ignites the tremendous need for excitement and obstacles. When the mind and body is not absorbed by constant, changing stimulation the individual becomes easily distracted and destructive. Remember those kids at school who would yell something out mid-class to catalyse chaos and create stimulation and noise and a reaction? This is the essence of a bored Aries. Mercury is the thinking planet and the ruler of Gemini. Gemini’s ability to swiftly comprehend new information and seamlessly adapt into new environments makes the freshness and sparkle of experiences quickly darken. It doesn’t take long before Gemini has read everything, seen everything, and heard everything, then it becomes pure torture. Sagittarius harnesses the brilliant intellect with the staircase into the higher mind. They constantly require new information and surroundings to search and learn from. Their ability to rise into the view of the broader picture synthesises everything briskly, they’ve already pieced the puzzle together before people have even gathered the details. Aquarius is the genius expression of the air triad, the element of quality and quantity of mind. Their mental acuity is unmatched in the zodiac as it integrates past, present, and future knowledge into one truthful and symbolic vision. Aquarians are so far ahead of the lesson plan that anything said has been ‘heard before’ in some way or another. It takes a real expert or engaging speaker to hold their attention.   

        These individuals have a sharp and rapid flow of thoughts. They learn quickly, respond to new information excitedly, and enjoy the challenge of fresh environments. It’s this very nature that leaves tasks incomplete due to lost interest. Boredom can become a significant issue. It can be almost impossible to stick something out because they lose all mental and physical energy for it. Growing bored in relationships is another common challenge confronted here. Like their surroundings, they can quickly grow tired of people once they start repeating themselves or becoming less fascinating. Of course this leaves a trail of bemused and angered hearts in their trail. Boredom kills passion, plans, dreams, and relationships dead in their tracks. They have minds of genius, which is the mind of the child, wanting to learn, play, colour, and grow.

        -C.

        [art: Leslie Dito]