remember when re actually had a lot of detail in its settings

This is not a success story

As I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now, somewhere downtown Detroit, with a coffee to my right, a salad on its way to me, and a sweaty CrossFit session behind me this morning, let me share my candid thoughts with you.

Weight loss is hard. I actually forgot that little fact a few weeks back when I called my sister to declare I had re-signed up for My Firtness Pal; it had been two days and I saw my weight drop, and I remember thinking this will be easy.

It is not. 

I had been in Detroit for just over a month, and with the exception of mentally thinking about trying to lose weight, I had put no actual conscious effort into doing so. It was the usual: just wishing and hoping and obsessing, but not actually changing any of my habits.  Sure, I had signed up for CrossFit, but to say I was “half-assing” it would have been over stating it.

The mental toll of watching my weight increase was exhausting.  I had told myself when I arrived in this new city I’d have a fresh start to my weight loss voyage, but a month had passed and that wasn’t the case.  Then at some ungodly hour one morning, I wrote a very honest letter to myself; there’s something about writing that sets things in stone for me.  I can tell myself something 302 times, but if I don’t commit those thoughts to written words, I’m almost guaranteed to forget them the next morning.  I won’t go into the details of the letter, but I woke up the next morning ready to officially commit to something I so desperately wanted.

That was just over a month ago, and I have been amazed at how that letter somehow switched a light on from within. 

Exercise:

Since then I have been to CrossFit four or times each week. It’s been humbling getting back into it.  A 35lb bar is all I can handle right now. I’m the slowest by far in all the workouts, and the majority of the movements I have to modify.  

I am fortunate that a lot of the movements and my techniques from doing CrossFit in Melbourne were like riding a bike. And my new Coach here is exceptional.  This CrossFit focusses on quality over quantity (often the area where CrossFit gets a lot of criticism) and I am definitely thankful for that (I never really found a CrossFit I liked in Toronto because I thought all the coaches didn’t focus on technique).

If you follow along on my Snapchat you’ll already know this, but I’ve even been getting my ass up for the 6am or 7am CrossFit sessions. Last week I made it to FIVE early morning sessions and got a glimpse into life as if I was a morning person.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it got sooooo much easier each day, and I had significantly better days when I did exercise in the morning. 

I live in perpetual muscle pain these days, but it’s a good happy pain; one I missed. 

Food

As we all know, you can’t out exercise a bad diet, and thus on that fateful letter-writing night, I decided to focus on calorie counting. Calories in, must be less than calories out.  I set my goal to “1 pound a week loss” which landed me at 1,800 calories a day.  Also making this the most generous number of calories I’ve ever aimed to hit.  (In my younger stupider days I’d always aim for 1200/1300 a day).  

I bought a little kitchen scale and hit the ground running. I measured and tracked everything. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  From the oil on my roasted veggies in the evenings, to milk in my coffee, everything was added to the My Fitness Pal app. I quickly got into the routine of it too, I became more conscious of labels in stores, and more aware of how quickly calories can add up.

One thing I didn’t expect from calorie counting, but am absolutely over the moon about, is how it released me from mentally beating myself up throughout the day.  I learned from counting calories that I wasn’t eating that badly before, but mentally I thought I was.  

If I ate a Turkey Tom Jimmy John’s sandwich (for Canadian friends, it’s like Subway but more delicious) for lunch (because it was free at the Lunch n’ Learn at work, let’s say) I would be so angry at myself the rest of the day, and think I completely (pardon my french) fucked up my diet that day, which in turn would lead to negative thoughts and not caring about dinner that evening, or worse, trying to hardly eat anything for dinner. 

From counting calories I saw that having that Jimmy John’s sandwich for 520 calories was a lot, true, however also completely manageable and normal and I could still easily end my day without going over my allowed calorie intake.  A huge amount of mental stress has been lifted from counting calories, and I saw very blatantly how negative I had been previously to myself for no reason at all.

I counted the tomatoes and broccoli and cauliflower and onions and asparagus too, and quickly saw how my current weight is where it’s at in large part because of healthy food. Portions! Portions! Portions! And my portions of healthy food were huge. With the oil on my roasted veggies (carrots / sprouts / asparagus / onions / etc) and half a sweet potato sprinkled with some feta cheese and a breast of chicken on the side, my dinner could and would get to around 600 calories. Yikes. And this makes sense. As I don’t eat McDonalds or candy or go through tubs of ice-cream. I am over weight because of portions. HEALTHY portions. 

Weight

This post is not a post about my success.  

Over the past four weeks my weight has been up and down and up and down and overall  I have stayed the same. It’s incredibly frustrating. I am trying really hard. I also have a smart scale which shows no Fat % loss, which busts the muscle weighs more than fat theory. 

My jeans, however, are fitting looser, but I also feel like they need a wash…  I tried on a dress yesterday which didn’t fit before Christmas, and said dress? Still does not fit.  I believe I only went over my calorie intake once, and yet here I sit, seeing no results. 

So Why

I made a Snapchat story a few days back on how frustrated I am, and a few of you kind people wrote back: 

Don’t count calories, look at macros
You’re now in your 30s. This is life. 
Eat the majority of calories in the morning
Eat more. Are you adding calories for CrossFit?
Do the Whole 30; it works
You have to wait longer. At least six weeks
8 hours of sleep, more water. 

Looking at the above list there is certainly room for improvement. I don’t pay attention to macros, I do eat the majority of my calories in the evening (although I really think a calorie is a calorie to your body, no matter when you eat it), I do not add my CrossFit calories to MFP (It would be about 600 extra calories a day! Which I think is nutty), and I could definitely drink more water.   I also side-eye Whole 30, as I don’t want a “diet,” but more of a lifestyle change; truthfully, I’m also nervous of binging on a “diet.”

I am working at being better at all of the above. Except, of course, I can’t reduce my age.  I remember people telling me it would get harder, but like with everything else (skin and cancer and terrible things) it won’t happen to me. I think it has.  

But. 

But I am not going to give up, because regardless of the number between my toes each morning, working out and eating better has helped my mental state a lot.  I am more confident, putting effort into dressing better each morning, and not beating myself up any more. 

So yes. There that all is. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed there’ll be some scale or fat percentage loss movement. Stay tuned! 

valkyriewolf246  asked:

Senpai, you have such an amazing art style! It's super easy to draw! Do you have any tips on how you draw and proportion the bodies?

Hello~! And also; Thank You! As for proportions of the body I have a few tips for you. A lot of this I’ve learned from my college art courses as well as several books and tutorials online haha. I’ve done the process as well visually here!

1.) OPTIONAL: Make a stick figure drawing of the pose. It can be as small as your thumb (a thumb-nail sketch is the actual term haha) or as big as the page; whatever shows you the flow and direction of the form!  This is helpful if you’ve never done the pose before, or if you have a vague feeling of what you want but have a hard time drawing it out right away. You can make as many of these as you want; whatever it takes to get the right one! Art takes time, its important to know that as you work so you don’t feel rushed.

2.) Make a gesture drawing of what the pose is. This is a very fast drawing of where the body will be (If you’re drawing traditionally, make it very light!). The gesture drawing is basically a very loose rough draft; it’ll almost never be completely correct anatomy-wise, but it will give you a place to start adjustments. Staring at a blank piece of paper/canvas and trying to draw it all completely correctly on the first try will take a nightmare-ish amount of time, so you’re basically getting a vast amount of mistakes out of the way first and foremost.

3.) Adjust the rough draft, and don’t be concerned that you have to adjust the same thing over and over again as you fix other parts. Things make more sense as they come together and you begin to see other mistakes, so this part may take awhile. (traditionally you use a nice white eraser for this or use a blue pencil very lightly at first and gradually increasing pressure with each new adjustment, but digitally I just use the keybindings (which are set up in most art programs as) [cntrl+T] to adjust bits and pieces.)

3.2.)ZOOM IN AND OUT OF THE CANVAS. Taking a look from far away after working with it closely for so long will show you any other mistakes you’ve made proportion-wise.

3.3.) If something in the drawing you know isn’t anatomically correct but it looks and feels right, leave it. That’s artistic liberty talking; an influence of style. Its a rare case but it does happen. However you must be absolutely sure; this can’t be influenced by tiredness or feeling lazy. Leave the drawing and come back if you’re unsure and you’ll generally see why.

4.) Add details to the rough draft/adjusted gesture drawing. This means clothes, hair, face details, etc. Placement is important based on the pose, so make sure you’re still following the line of direction you had with the first two steps based on what’s happening in the picture. If you’re drawing someone that’s falling, make the clothes and hair in the correct direction, etc…

5.) Do the line art, preferably on a new layer for clean lines or just fixing everything up on the original layer for a more rough style (It depends on what you like!). Once you take away the rough draft you’ll see anything else thats wrong and can fix the rough draft beneath, erase the line art section where its off and re-do it (if you’re keeping the rough draft/erasing as you go, zoom in and out again when its clean.)

PROPORTIONS DONE YOU DID IT! Of course if you want maximum accuracy you should use a reference/model, but it tends to be hard to find the right pose out of thousands and not everyone can have a friend ready to model at all times, so this is some you can do without it. Remember that looking at yourself in a mirror is also very helpful for deciphering proportion!

SOME MISCELLANEOUS TIPS: When extended, the tips of your fingers generally reach mid-thigh. The face is an oval thats cut in half for the placement of the eyes, nose, and mouth, and your hands are generally about as big as half your face. Of course, these can be exaggerated at-will for your style, and not everyone is a generic person with the same features, so keep that in mind as you work! Some people have big feet or hands, most people have uneven features, and almost no one has perfectly balanced faces. That kind of perfection is reserved for unnatural beings and photoshopped models, so have fun doing what you like anyway.

—->Generally in cartoons faces are meant to be even because anything overly misapplied tends to be unnerving, so also keep that in mind haha.

Here’s a drawing exercise: Make a bunch of stick figures in various poses. Fill a whole page/canvas! Exaggerate the level of intensity! Note the direction of flow and the lines of action, maybe in red pen. (These can all just be thumbnail sketches.) A fun thing to do is open a video of people dancing and pausing the frames every so often and drawing their lines of action from there.

anonymous asked:

Hello! I really enjoy reading your thoughts on Tokyo Ghoul, and I was wondering if you have any thoughts on where Mutsuki's character arc might be heading? (Besides Kaneki and Touka, Mutsuki's probably my favourite character, but I'm preparing myself for a lot of pain while still hoping for some redemption.)

Aw thanks anon! I have many thoughts on Mutsuki; maybe too many thoughts on Mutsuki, so do you mind if I go overboard and extend this question into a mega Mutsuki analysis post? I figure now’s as good a time as any.

(NOTE: Based on Mutsuki’s internal monologues herehere and most definitively here, I think it’s clear that Mutsuki considers herself to be a woman and merely masquerades as a man due to her fear of male sexual attention stemming from her childhood trauma. Thus I will be addressing her with ‘she’ and ‘her’ pronouns accordingly. Discussion below about ‘gender confusion’ and the like is entirely unrelated to transgender issues, and solely applies to these characters’ individual psyches.)

As soon as we see Mutsuki, we are instantly reminded of Kaneki - specifically Kaneki as he was at the start of the series, the persona we call Kuroneki. She has the same wide, innocent eyes and a similarly prim and proper haircut, with her head stuck in a book. And of course, if you were left with any doubts, the eyepatch vanquishes them immediately. As we get to know her better, we find out she is polite and kind but meek and easily frightened, without a great deal of faith in her own abilities. It’s not exactly subtle paralleling, but then, it’s not meant to be. 

Because while in :re, Kaneki is slipping out of the mould of his tragedy, there needs to be someone to take up the mantle of the tragic hero. The gift of a sequel series spared Kaneki from his death at the end of the original, but the author must maintain a balance - tragedy must have its tribute, and here is a person as ideally suited to the role as Kaneki once was.

In fact, Kaneki in his amnesiac ignorance ends up symbolically helping Mutsuki down the path he once walked. In the Christmas chapter - the same chapter where Kaneki’s own self-discovery takes a new turn with the gift of his mask - Kaneki offers Mutsuki a new eyepatch, without having a real reason other than instinct. He feels as though Mutsuki ought to have a new eyepatch because he subconsciously remembers how he changed in the past.

Mutsuki is pushed along little by little towards her ultimate revelation on Rushima Island throughout her time in the Quinx Squad, with snippets of the truth slowly revealing themselves to her. This evolution is sped along by several encounters with various characters representing different aspects of herself - the true self that she has been suppressing. Kaneki was the first, but the second of her doppelgangers was Torso.

Even before his torture irrevocably changed her, the two were already alike in their abusive backgrounds and, most importantly, their mental confusion between love and violence. Seeing one’s doppelganger is traditionally a harbinger of death, and in Tokyo Ghoul, an encounter with your doppelganger escalates your character’s tragic arc, often to that very final point. It is Torso who first begins to unravel the relative security she had felt living as a man, together with the web of lies Mutsuki had spun around herself to protect her. We learn more about Mutsuki as her own safeguards are torn down around her, much like with Kaneki before her. Our initial assumption that Mutsuki is transgender is disproved when we get deep inside Mutsuki’s head and it becomes clear that she considers herself to be a woman. 

It establishes that Mutsuki is comfortable with living a lie in order to protect herself - and if she’s willing and able to hide her gender from the rest of society, who’s to say she’s not hiding something from herself? But already, ever since Torso lands that first crucial blow against the safeguard of her false gender, she finds it quickly crumbling as she is compelled into situations like the Auction that require her to dress (and therefore be treated) as female, and it isn’t long before Urie finds out her gender and eventually Saiko too. Because it’s not just Torso that finds out, it’s also the reader. And once the reader knows, the author can begin gradually undermining her defences to fit her into the tragedy she was written for.

I’ll be talking a little more about Torso later, but for now I’d like to get to Mutsuki’s third doppelganger: Juuzou Suzuya. 

The two bond very quickly out of an unspoken connection to each other. Indeed, they share much in common: their sadistic tendencies, their reliance on gentle paternal figures to make up for their lack of a real childhood, and   the ambiguity of their genders stemming from their sexual abuse as children. The latter connection in particular is highlighted by the inclusion of Big Madam (also of confused gender) in the arc, reminding us of Suzuya’s past and making us suspect similar activity in Mutsuki’s, and by the two of them dressing up as women for the Auction. While Suzuya believes them both to be pretending to be women - both to be lying - the truth is that Mutsuki is actually being honest, suggesting a misunderstanding in Suzuya’s connection with Mutsuki. 

Although they’ve never discussed their pasts to each other in any great detail, Suzuya senses their similarity, and tries to help Mutsuki along by training her in the same lethal artwork that allowed him to cope and find purpose in this brutal world - until Mutsuki eventually even joins Suzuya’s squad. But again, Suzuya misunderstands how they are similar and how they differ. Suzuya’s trauma left him numb to feelings of empathy and love, and so he used his bladework, and the strength it gives him, as a distraction from that hole. Mutsuki is still connected to those feelings, only in a very twisted way. She instead starts filling that hole with knives, mingling violence hopelessly with her notion of love. There’s no better proof of that fundamental difference between the two than their individual reactions to Uta’s masks.

When Suzuya finally learnt how to love, he learnt to do it in a healthy way, and so he couldn’t bring his knives against the image of Shinohara because violence and love are completely disconnected for him - when he killed Big Madam, it was not out of personal desire for revenge (a reaction to the spurned love he should have been given by his maternal figure), but merely out of duty. Love can never involve violence, and violence can never involve love - those two sides of his personality are entirely cut off from each other. Mutsuki, on the other hand…

…sees the two as the same, having gone down the second of two opposing paths stemming from similar trauma. And so Suzuya’s attempt to aid Mutsuki only escalated her tragedy, just like Kaneki’s gift of the eyepatch, and even Torso’s warped attempts at love.

The last of Mutsuki’s parallels are solely antagonising figures. In the midst of the Auction, three of Mutsuki’s parallels intersect due to their mutual interest in her.

Mutsuki catches Nutcracker’s attention at the nightclub and she is quick to take advantage of her. She embodies the sexual abuse that made Mutsuki who she is today - only in reverse - and where Mutsuki covers up her sexuality, Nuts flaunts it. But like Mutsuki, Nutcracker just wants to be loved, and ends up expressing that desire in violent ways.

But as soon as Mutsuki escapes from Nutcracker, she runs straight into another of her parallels. Karren is another female character who masquerades as male, and whose actions, good and evil, are motivated out of a powerful desire for love. But she quickly finds herself battling for control over Mutsuki with Torso - yet another of Mutsuki’s parallels.

 After the Auction Operation forced her to confront her femininity by dressing up like a girl, she spent the rest of it wandering through a maze of her own mind, running into a grand total of three of her alternate selves all seeking to control her in this space alone. The effect? Mutsuki begins remembering the thoughts that she had locked up, presenting them to the reader for the first time:

But with these memories unlocked, a certain gruesome aspect of Mutsuki’s behaviour does as well, as we learn later on at Rushima.

Being attacked on all sides by agents of her inner psyche externalised, she is slowly pushed to a very dangerous point that requires a very dangerous spark to fully ignite. 

Ken Kaneki underwent his transformation as Aogiri started to gain power. Tooru Mutsuki underwent hers towards the end of it. The Rushima arc serves as an excellent parallel to the original series’ Aogiri arc, as Mutsuki finds herself trapped in the tragic hero’s role that was once Kaneki’s. But where once there was Yamori, now there is Torso. Mutsuki is trapped by Aogiri, all alone, in the hands of a mad torturer. Her hair becomes pale and dishevelled as Kaneki’s once did, and she remembers something vital about her family that kicks her transformation into motion. She adopts the nervous habit of her torturer, accepts her sadistic urges, and gives her torturer a taste of his own medicine.

And right afterwards, she goes on a battle spree, far more confident in her kagune and far more ruthless in its use. Mutsuki’s ability to suppress large parts of her memories lines up with the entire conundrum of Haise’s existence.

Urie functions as the Touka to Mutsuki’s Kaneki; someone initially cold to Mutsuki who warms up to her and becomes the most determined to save her when she’s captured. But even then, at the start of their heartwarming, but sadly doomed, relationship, Mutsuki only thinks to show love towards Urie after being wounded by him. As @linkspooky points out, she is completely accustomed to abuse by male figures at this point. For Mutsuki, love and pain are one and the same.

But where does all this lead? With all these parallels set up, where can we see Mutsuki’s journey finally taking her?

Nutcracker is dead. Karren is dead. Torso is dead. If the original manga is taken as a separate entity, in that world, Kaneki is dead. Is there hope in the precedent set by Suzuya? While I do think Suzuya will survive the series, I’ve already established the great point of difference between the two, and I think it will be what keeps Suzuya alive. You’re right to prepare yourself, anon. I don’t think Mutsuki has much hope of surviving this series.

Will she be redeemed? I think, before the hypothetical raid on :re that I believe will be happening soon (especially since Mutsuki has considered it as Kaneki’s possible hiding place), a confrontation with Urie may lead her to question her actions, but it won’t be enough to stop her. As she hunts for Kaneki in :re, she will find her efforts will come down to nought as members of the CCG begin defecting and her way is blocked by enemies. Her single last thread of hope will lead her to a God of Death, and as his scythe takes her eyes out she will deeply regret ever coming to this place, but all too tragically, all too late.

We’ve been given reason to doubt Suzuya’s loyalty to the CCG for some time now. He asserts his obedience too boldly for me to trust him completely. If he does defect, he would be ideal to fill Arima’s shoes and have Mutsuki meet the tragic fate that originally was meant to be Kaneki’s, especially since they already have the mentor/student relationship Kaneki and Arima would go on to have. To have these two, so similar and yet so different, fight each other to the end would be a fitting end for Mutsuki’s arc. Urie’s attempts at reason, like Touka’s before him, won’t be quite enough to stop her. I’m sure Suzuya would try not to kill Mutsuki…but I’m not sure it will be that easy. 

The tragedy will have its due.

anonymous asked:

i'm very curious because i don't watch Skam but i always see Noora being hailed by the fandom as a social justice heroine and flawless angel -could you elaborate to which extent she's homophobic and a performative activist? I hardly ever see fans discuss this and it's a bit offputting

Hi anon!

To preface this answer, I want it to be clear that I love Noora. I love her as a character, I love her in ships (I ship her with… three different people? Like? If that’s not love idk what it is) and I relate to her a lot. Like when I was her age, I was a mix between Noora and Jonas, no joking. When I was her age, I was also A Shithead, and I think that a lot of her problems stem from her being 16.

That said. (Under a readmore because it’s image-heavy!)

Keep reading

My Harry Potter Fanfiction Masterlist

It was about time I separated out my fandoms.

BBC Merlin Here

Yuri on Ice Here

Update 23/5/17 - I have decided to no longer post my Harry Potter fanfiction online, my reasons can be found in this post and this post

The short of it is that yes, posting fanfic online is opening myself to negativity and people being pushy and disrespectful, yes, I am aware that is an unavoidable part of posting online, and yes, I have the option of accepting this as a part of posting fanfic online, and pushing through it to continue, and I did that, for a year, even though at times I hated it, but there is another option. I can stop. I can stop posting things and opening myself up to it, opening myself up to these things that are making me upset. So that is the option I am taking, because I put up with steadily feeling worse and worse for a year, and that’s not working for me now, the negativity/pushiness/disrespect, and the feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy they awaken in me is now outweighing the good, so it’s time to stop.

That is my decision, for my own emotional wellbeing.

This is predominantly because of the Harry Potter fandom and my fanfiction there, so I am, at this time, tentatively continuing with my other fandoms and with the 5-line prompted drabbles, as I still enjoy those and so far people have been respectful about them.

I’ll figure this out as I go.

You can find me on FFnet and AO3 with the same username. Everything on AO3 is also on FFnet, but on FFnet, some of my ficlets are organised within one fic because the formatting for series or collections is a nightmare over there.

#my headcanon for some of my headcanon posts

#my drabbles for anything short (such as ask-prompted things like ‘send me 1 line I do 5′ and such) - various pairings

My prompted 5-line drabbles are collected here on AO3 (rules here)

Mostly Drarry, but also HP f/f pairings Pansmione, Ginsy and Parvati/Pansy.

Non-Drarry will be at the very bottom of this post.

Titles link to AO3, but click ‘ffnet’ to go there instead.

Keep reading

This is My Rape Testimony

Ever wonder why victims of rape don’t go forward with pressing charges? Well I had always wondered this, until it happened to me. It was a hot and muggy August day. I woke up excited because I was getting my hair done, and for all you girls out there, you know how exciting this is. I also had my last workout of the summer at the gym I had been going to. I went to the hair salon and spent probably a good 2 hours there. I had been texting one of my close friends the whole time, who had just started her new job in the city. It was a Wednesday. She was going out after work for sips at the uptown beer garden, and I had made plans to go down to the city and meet her after I got my hair done. It was around 5 o’clock when my hair was finished, and my mom came to pick me up. I felt pretty and decided I definitely had to go out because I had just gotten my hair done. I asked my mom to drop me off at the 69th street terminal so that I could take the El right into the city to meet M. Of course my mom drops me off and says “Remember, text me when you get there, who you are with, when you are coming home, and how AND don’t drink too much!” I replied back just by saying yea ok mom I won’t forget! I get on the EL and head down to the city. It was around 6:30 when I got there—still light out. The uptown beer garden was packed, but it did not take me long to find M. M, her friend C and I started drinking, and we thought “hey let’s just start chugging our drinks, and ordering 3 at a time” And that is what we did. We were having ourselves a ball. Eventually we decided to go back to a hotel right across from city hall, where M’s work friends were staying. We started to drink again when we were there and around 9 o’clock we were deciding to go to a bar close by. This is where everything turns black. There’s a part of time where I just don’t remember up until I realized I was lost from my friends in the city by myself. I was texting and calling to find them, but just couldn’t make sense of anything, and neither could they, but I was determined to explore around the city until I found them. I am very familiar with the city and have been in this situation before so I didn’t really think anything of it.
I’m a very outgoing and talkative person if I do say so myself. Usually this isn’t a problem, but August 17, 2016, my friendliness got me into a bit of trouble. A man approached me, probably in his mid-40’s or 50’s. He was wearing a Phillies hat. A black man probably the same height as me. He had facial hair. We started talking and he was being very friendly so I just told him that I was looking for some friends. Then things started to get a bit weird. I will spare most of the details for you, but he eventually led me down an alley where he then forced his penis into my vagina. I was raped. Luckily I was eventually able to get away and by the Grace of God there was an uber 1 minute away that I was able to get in right away at the place where I ran to. My head was spinning. I was confused. I was in denial. I had no idea what to do.

I ended up ubering to my friend B’s house. I probably got there around midnight. I cried and cried and cried to her. She hugged me and just let me cry. Eventually, she drove me home where I went right to sleep, hoping I would wake up and it would all just be some crazy nightmare. I woke up the next morning, wearing exactly what I was wearing the day before. My mom was downstairs in the kitchen making breakfast, and I walked downstairs and just started bawling my eyes out, apologizing to my mom when I saw her. I told her what had happened and she just hugged me and cried with me. Eventually I calmed down and I told her that I didn’t want any police involvement and I didn’t want to go to the hospital. Long story short, we decided that was what I had to do. I spent half of August 18th in the hospital, and the other half, in the SVU department of Philadelphia speaking with detectives. Telling every little detail that I could remember of what had happened, close to 10 times. It was by far one of the hardest, most exhausting days of my life. Flash forward a month or so, I get another call from the detective. They had found someone matching the description I gave 6 times that night on camera. They needed me to come into the SVU again and look at a photo array. This is a lineup of 6 photos they showed me, in which I were to identify if any of them were the man who had assaulted me. I ended up identifying him, which made it possible for them to get a warrant for his arrest.

Now after this, I just waited and waited to hear from them. One day I decided to call and ask for an update on my case. The Detective said that she was actually just about to call me because they had to bring me in for more questioning. Probably the last thing I needed at that time. I went back in for more questioning and waited and waited. I ended up forgetting about all of it for a little. Besides the nightmares and flashbacks I was able to convince myself that I am ok. I had been wondering when I would get an update, and if they had even done anything. I really had no idea what was going on. Eventually in the beginning of February, 2017 I received a call saying that they had arrested the man. I felt an immediate sense of relief, but the more I thought about it, I realized this meant I had to face him in court. The day came where I received my witness subpoena in the mail. The court date was set for February 23, 2017, a day I will never forget. We got there at 10:30 and waited until my case was called around 2 to go into the courtroom. I saw many girls there for the same reason as I was. Everyone had tear filled eyes, but there was still a strong sense of bravery radiating off of every girl sharing their testimonies. Facing this man in the court room, and having to be re victimized was sickening. Testifying was the hardest and worst thing I ever had to do in my life by far. This is the reason why girls don’t end up pressing charges and testifying. It all comes down to he said she said. And that is exactly what happened. The judge discharged the case for burden of proof that I did not consent. I did all of this for nothing. Had to face this man again, had to feel him staring at me as I was up on the stand, had to be cross examined and almost forced to believe that it was my fault this happened, all for nothing. The criminal justice system had failed me.

How do I feel most days? I feel dirty, worthless, alone, confused, overwhelmed, damaged, unlovable, scared, stupid. Did I deserve this? I know that God didn’t make this happen to me, but why me? Why anyone? Why are people like this? Why are there bad people? Where is God? When will I forget? Will I forget? I know I am doing the right thing by reporting it but why is the right thing so hard to do?

These questions, plus hundreds more constantly cross my mind. Some days I wake up and have to call my mom to ask if something bad happened to me because it doesn’t seem real. Nightmares and flashbacks have become a part of my life. I smile and act goofy on the outside, but inside by body is quivering in fear and broken heartedness.
This attack is now a part of my life. I know that it is not who I am and I am not defined by this but I am a victim of rape. I have been trying to run from it and pretend like it never happened the past few months, numbing myself to life, but the reality is that it did happen. And I think that is what my recovery depends on. Realizing that it did happen, and facing it. This chapter must be in my story book for some reason, and one day I hope that God shines his light upon its purpose, or the road leading me to help others in similar situations in the future. I think that another important step I need to make towards my recovery, is facing Jesus and inviting him back into my life. When I am feeling the weight of evil, remembering that He promised us good. He will help me to fear no evil, and he will walk with me through this storm.

There is a Bible verse that I have been thinking of a lot recently, and that is “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). Just a reminder that no matter what struggle you are going through, whether it is something small, something large, or something in between, God is with us always. He will help us get through these deep waters. He will help us to be brave and do hard things every day of our lives. He promised us good, and he will make sure good is what we get. Easier said than done, and trust me, it has been extremely difficult for me, but all we have to do is open our hearts to him and ask.

I still question myself everyday wondering if I had said or done something differently would any of this have happened? Would my case have been discharged and all of the charges dropped? But in the end I have to remind myself that I did all that I could. I was as brave as I could have ever been, and I told the truth. At least I know the truth and I want the rest of the world to know the truth and how the criminal justice system has failed me, along with so many other girls.

Board Stuff

Hello! This will likely be my first and last blog post, but I’ve had many people ask for board prep advice, and I figured this was the most efficient way to get it out to everyone at once! I had a ton of advice along the way, so am happy to give back in any way that I can.

I will start out by telling you guys that my MCAT was well below average. I spent so much time looking up correlations between MCAT and board scores, and was convinced that I couldn’t do well on boards. This caused me a ton of anxiety, and despite what my NBME assessments, class grades, and Qbank averages told me, I doubted myself until the day I received my scores back.

My scores
USMLE: 257
COMLEX: 826

What I did

My goal going in to med school was to give 110% every single day, so that no matter what happened, I could not regret anything because I knew I had done everything I could. I maintained this mentality the entire way through, and it landed me where I am right now.

This being said, I never had a “goal score” for my boards. My goal was to max out my potential.

For the entirety of my first and second year, I put in on average 11-12 hours of work on weekdays, and 14-16 hours each day of the weekend. Obviously there were days I did less, but this was the exception and not the norm.

The absolute best advice I can give in regards to boards is to focus on class work and build a solid foundation. This is UNDERRATED. I knew many people who spread themselves thin with “board” resources, and wasted their time studying those rather than focusing on their class work. This is a huge mistake. The class work IS the “board material”. There is no point in venturing outside of your class work until you have that down solid.

1st year – 100% focused on classes. No board materials used.

Summer between first and second: DO NOTHING…except….Sketchy Micro. I watched this one time through during the summer, and the advantage it gave me is indescribable. During the fall, I would watch the videos again as we talked about them in class. Overall I went through the entire thing about 3 times. Not only was my micro class an absolute breeze, but after the fall semester, I hardly ever looked at micro again. These videos were so solid, that come board time I still remembered every detail, so there was no need to continue to study micro. I maxed out the micro score on both COMLEX and USMLE, and it was due primarily to this program. (We did also have an excellent micro class at school, so I don’t want to undercut that either).

2nd year

Fall semester:
This semester I was still about 95% focused on classes and 5% focused on boards. I started Kaplan Q bank, as well as USMLErx. I ONLY did these along with class work (ex: if we were learning cardio path, I only did cardio path questions). This not only helped me get used to board style questions, but also hammered in the class material.  

I also did dabble around in COMBANK a little bit. I think I finished a little over half of it.

Spring Semester
My primary focus was still class work. I bought Uworld in February or so, but still only did questions that corresponded with my class work. However, if we were learning GI path, instead of JUST doing GI path questions, I did ALL GI questions. This re-exposed me to anatomy, Biochem, histo, and other topics from first year.

I also began to diligently watch Pathoma. If we were learning GI path, I would learn the class material well, and then watch the Pathoma videos to hammer in the info. This was crucial.

I had all of Pathoma and Uworld done x1 before I got to my dedicated time.

Towards the END of my spring semester, I started messing around with First Aid. I had not really opened it before this time. If we were learning about cardio, I would make time to review cardiac anatomy and phys (we are not systems based). Again, this not only helped for boards, but also for classes.

Spring break
Biochem was my weakest subject- I think I had literally forgotten all of it. Over spring break, I watched the entire Kaplan Biochem series (schedule below). I made very detailed, yet simple notes, and from then on only worked from those. The number of pathways I had to learn after watching was daunting, to say the least. I came up with the idea of “pathway time” (dumb, but it worked well for me). For 15 minutes a day, I would stop what I was doing and draw out a biochem pathway. I would re-draw that same pathway for several days until I knew it cold, then would move to the next. I had all of the pathways down in about 4-5 weeks, and had turned my worst subject into one of my best. By working on this during the school year, I was completely done with Biochem before dedicated even started.  Breaking Biochem down in to short quick segments made it less stressful for me, and made it easy to attack.

Dedicated
Here is my dedicated schedule. I will stress the importance of regularly scheduled assessments. From what I’ve read, a lot of people are scared of taking assessments, so they just continue to study blindly, take an assessment a month or two later, do poorly, and then feel like they wasted those one or two months with ineffective studying. For this reason, I chose to space my assessment exams about 1 week apart. This way I could track my progress, and quickly make adjustments to my study methods if needed. This also allowed me to identify any weak points and quickly address them.

Uworld Stuff
During dedicated I finished Uworld for a second time. Many people advise saving Uworld until dedicated. I went back and forth trying to decide when to start it, and ultimately chose to begin early (thanks to the help of a super smart radiology resident I know ;) ). This was hands down one of the best decisions I made in regards to my board prep. Yes, Uworld is unequivocally the best resource there is for Step 1; so why the heck wait until dedicated to start?! Doing this qbank twice allowed me to get the most out of it. There were SO MANY things I picked up on the second time around that I would have otherwise missed. Start this in your spring semester, and do it in tutor mode, along with class work. Your second pass during dedicated should be random timed. Uworld for me was NOT about tracking scores; it was about learning from the questions and explanations.

I also kept a Uworld Journal (I read about this on someone else’s blog, so thank you for the idea!).  A Uworld journal is a word document that I used to keep track of questions I got wrong. I would read the explanation, and then pick the ONE FACT that I needed to know to answer the question right. I would type up the one fact in question form, and then answer it below. (Ex: What type of collagen is found in bone – Type 1).  I’m a wordy person (as you can probably tell), so this ‘one fact’ thing was awesome for me because it kept things short. The goal was to review this journal frequently, which I actually did not do very well, but the night before my USMLE I read through the entire thing and can say for sure I got several questions on my test that came from this journal. Uworld is huge, and keeping this journal was the only way for me to remember everything I had missed.

Between Uworld, USMLErx, Kaplan, COMBANK, and my assessments, I did somewhere between 12-13k questions. This was the most important thing I did. They can only ask questions so many ways. By exposing myself to this number of questions, there was not much that I hadn’t seen. A huge chunk of my questions were done during second year, but as stated above, I always did them in a way that would correspond with what we were learning in class at that time. I think I good goal to set is at least 10k questions.

Pathoma
I finished Pathoma for a second time during dedicated. I had a strong path background, so 2x was enough for me. If you are still hazy on any of the path, I would highly recommend watching Pathoma as many time as you need to until you have it down cold.

First Aid
Went through first aid twice. Not much else to say about this!

Between my USMLE and COMLEX
I took the USMLE 5 days before COMLEX. The idea was to study for the USMLE alone, and then in the 5 days between read the green book and do COMBANK OMT questions. This did not happen haha. I was brain dead after my USMLE. I think I read about half of the green book and worked maybe 200-300 COMBANK questions or so. I am not some OMT wizard or anything, so its safe to say the OMT on my COMLEX was easy (fortunately). Know your VSR’s and Chapman points cold. VSR’s were probably 80% of my OMT questions. I used a youtube video to learn them (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-r_QriTMSc


Assessments I Took 

- NBME assessments - forms 15, 17, 13, 18

- UWSA - 1, 2 

- Free 120 

- COMSAE form E 

- COMBANK assments 1 and 2

- Kaplan full length 

Thoughts on these - take as many as you can, especially the NBME assessments. My overall score on the USMLE was the exact average of my NBME assessments. They do a good job of letting you know where you stand and what you need to brush up on. Take one at the very start of your dedicated time period to get a baseline score. This will let you know where you stand and show you how much work you need to do to reach your goal. I think getting a baseline is super important. 

All of the COMLEX assessments (except COMSAE) were taken during the spring semester of school. These were all required by the school. 


Overall, the material I used in dedicated was no different than what everyone else uses. The work I did in my first two years is what laid the foundation for me to score well.

My MCAT is evidence that anyone can do this. Just takes a lot of work! Happy to answer any questions that I can!


Board Schedule












I was NOT able to stick to these time blocks. However, I DID finish everything I was supposed to finish each day by the end of that day. The time blocks were just not realistic for me. I had several days after my UWSA2 to just hit weak areas. In retrospect, I took WAY too long to study. 4 weeks would have been ideal. 


My Biochem Schedule (spring break)


THE GREAT ROMANCE NOVEL RECOMMENDATION POST

Please note: I am not linking to downloads of the books in this post, this is merely intended as a guide. I’m very paranoid and just. Message me if you have questions tho.

Okay, this is going to be fairly detailed. I’m going to attempt to do so and provide proper squick warnings without ruining the whole book. Spoiler alert: people fall in love. Usually the main characters. It’s the journey you gotta care about! I’m also hyperlinking to the goodreads so you can read an actual summary beyond just me screaming the characters’ names.

Keep reading

John is always right: A Sherrinford Hope-ful Meta

A theory about Mycroft, Sherrinford, Eurus and Moriarty that fortunately turned out very S2-ish.

I have made it somewhat clear that I wasn’t exactly excited after The Lying Detective, aside from the crime case of Culverton Smith which was certainly one of the most thrilling of the show. 

One of the worst aspects of it was the unveiling of the secret Holmes sister, Eurus. I have trouble finding her convincing as an evil psychotic sibling and even more trouble to understand why she haunted the brothers’ minds even when they were kids (”there is an East Wind coming, it’s a story my brother told me when we were kids”) or why she seems to be justified for her wrath (”seeks out the unworthy and plucks them from the earth”). There is a lot more I don’t like or understand but I decided to roll with it until we see what happens in TFP.

What’s worse is that the show seems to point at the direction of another Holmes sibling, Sherrinford, and it becomes dangerously implied that this fourth sibling might be Moriarty. I can’t analyze again why this is a terrible possibility but let’s just say in short that if Moriarty is a fourth sibling, the plot becomes significantly weaker with all the brother and sister drama additions and all the old scenes between Sherlock and Moriarty become suddenly very uncomfortable to watch. Moriarty’s former characterization also suddenly loses a lot of depth and credibility. 

So, I tried to check if there is a way Eurus is truly the secret bad sister and Moriarty is still biologically unrelated to the three siblings that actually seems probable and I came up with the following theory that fits and is also perhaps my last hope:

John, as usual, is the conductor of light. 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

You've frequently written (to a really brilliant quality) about your misgivings on the topic of Tranquility in DA. Whilst I would agree that performing it upon an individual in the absence of informed consent raises serious moral issues, is there not a case to be made that some who might willingly undergo it should be given the option? Look how much Fenis, Oghren(granted, he's be immune) and Aveline suffered. Those are just three examples, but a lot of DA characters have emotional problems.

Hi, Anonymous person. Thank you for the compliment.


And … Sorry, are you joking? I honestly can’t tell. I can certainly see how this could be satirical, but Asks are unfortunately not always a great place to convey tone.


I mean, on the one hand, you’ve presented Aveline as one of your candidates for voluntary Tranquility. Aveline, the successful guard captain of Kirkwall, happily married and (at least in my game) responsible for kicking Sebastian Vael’s arse all the way back to Starkhaven, which had to be really bloody satisfying. One of the most stable, comfortable and probably among the happiest characters in the series. Granted, there has been tragedy in her life, but that’s a bit like prescribing euthanasia for a papercut so … reductio ad absurdum on the idea that Tranquillity could ever be used for moral purposes?


On the other hand, I get Asks about how alienages are merciful and how the Chantry is somehow the only thing preventing Thedas from breaking down into constant unstoppable warfare, so … I’m a bit past assuming there are arguments people won’t make.


So. I’m … going to assume you’re serious. If you’re not, I’m sorry, and obviously you don’t need to hear anything I’m about to say.


But if you are …


Okay. Let’s get something clear, here: Tranquillity is not a medical procedure. Skyhold’s surgeon may believe the body is ruled by ‘humours’ and in some cases her efforts to balance them may well do more harm than good, but she is practising medicine. Tranquility is a religious ritual. It’s right there in the name: the Rite of Tranquillity.


No one has investigated this and established that Tranquillity is good for its victims. Kind of the opposite, actually. While we don’t know exactly how they stumbled upon the idea, the earliest known use of the Rite of Tranquillity is as part of a Seeker initiation ritual. For the Seekers, the whole point of Tranquillity is the cure. It is a trial of faith: a crude way of making contact with a spirit of Faith (note that Wynne had no need of such nonsense, ‘sinful’ mage though she is; the spirit was drawn to her naturally). A Seeker who survives the Rite becomes a mage (I’m sure they’d object to that definition, but guess what, Cassandra, setting someone’s blood aflame is doing magic) without the social stigma associated with being born a mage. If you stay Tranquil, you’ve failed. You’re lost.


The Chantry claims that making mages Tranquil is merciful only in the sense that the only other option they’re offering is death. Both mages we’ve encountered who have been made Tranquil and recovered (Karl Thekla and Pharamond) have actually chosen to die rather than be returned to Tranquillity, which pretty strongly suggests that the Chantry, as usual, is full of shit. Mages who choose to be made Tranquil (and while I appreciate you’re not talking about mages specifically, they’re the group for whom we have evidence) see only the ‘public face’ of the Tranquil: it is defeat, and it is self-annihilation, but when it is done your suffering is over.


To which I can only say: listen to Pharamond. He is our best and most detailed source on what Tranquillity is actually like, and that is not what he says at all:


“I find it ironic that the Rite of Tranquility cuts one off from the land of dreams, because a dream is exactly what it feels like. Everything in a dream is as it should be, nothing is out of place … yet part of you knows that something is not right. This isn’t your home, this isn’t your life … it isn’t you.

“Yet one cannot act other than the dream allows. It follows its course, and you follow it believing nothing is real. You will turn the corner and awaken, safe and sound. Yet you never do. Instead you are slowly smothered in a crystal-clear silence that has no meaning.”

Dragon Age: Asunder


Pharamond describes Tranquillity as suffering, but as suffering that is ‘smothered’, and only partially perceived by the victim. Now, it’s fair to point out that people who are still Tranquil will often claim to be content:


The young and old may stare at me, ill at ease, but they would be worse off without me. They may think me a failure, but there is no horror for me now. I feel no fear of what I am. The shadows are merely shadows, and I am content.

– Journal of the Tranquil


It’s not that I’d say they’re lying. That’s part of what Pharamond says, after all: that being Tranquil feels unreal, and it’s not possible for a Tranquil to pinpoint exactly what is wrong. But if you’d suggest that this sense of wrongness is something that can only be perceived after they’ve been cured, I would … disagree:

Consider Maddox:


Now Samson looked at the solemn, incurious man who had suffered in those dark places beside him. “D’you ever think about the old days, Maddox? About Kirkwall or Meredith, or the Gallows?”

Maddox was laying fuel in the lyrium forge like he was placing chess pieces. “No. I have no dreams, and no capacity for regret.”

Samson laughed a bit. “Tranquility’s good for something, then.”

“But I could think on those times if it is required. Do you need me to do so?”

Glancing at the red and glittering armor taking shape on the mannequin, Samson shook his head. “Maybe you’re better off. I doubt steel would want to remember the forge it came out of, either.”



By dawn, the sword was re-forged, with a little scrap metal left over. Maddox looked at it and recalled his conversation with Samson the night before, about Kirkwall and the life he once lived.

Tranquil waste nothing. Taking the scrap in his tongs, he heated it carefully, worked the steel on the anvil with a few deft blows, and quenched it. He set his creation on the table near the armor to cool—a little bird, wings outstretched, forged in steel.


Paper and Steel


Those birds meant freedom to Maddox. He hid his letters inside them, when he was imprisoned in the Kirkwall Circle. He claims to have ‘no dreams, no capacity for regret’, and I don’t think he would lie to Samson about that. But when he remembers who he used to be, he makes the symbol again. Maddox’s world is not right, and it never will be again, and that’s the only way he can express that sensation.


Or worse – and I do mean worse – think of the Oculara:


There must be more Tranquil in the area — the rebels abandoned most of them when they fled their Circles. Remember, the skull will only attune properly if the Tranquil is in close proximity to one of the shards when the demon is forced to possess him. Even then, the blow must be delivered immediately. The oculara produced from Tranquil killed even minutes later failed to illuminate the shards when used.

– Oculara


The ‘trick’ to making these things seems to be murdering a Tranquil while their connection to the Fade is being healed. Wait too long, and the person is cured (possibly possessed, but that’s a different problem entirely), and then the ocularum doesn’t work. They must still be Tranquil when it’s done, but on the way back.


When you find the skulls, Cole says:


“They’re Tranquil skulls.They couldn’t fight back when it happened. They couldn’t ask for help. I would have heard. I would have helped. I would have stopped it.”

Cole’s Dialogue


Cole is a spirit of Compassion. He detects suffering, fear, guilt, distress, grief – and he wants to help. While the Tranquil don’t generally seem to desire death, they don’t get worked up about it. They can’t. As Cole says: they don’t fight and they don’t scream for help. The capacity to do those things has been taken from them. But even through that tiny link to the Fade, forged through the skulls of the fucking dead, Cole says he can feel their anguish. They were trapped and afraid and in pain, but the people around them couldn’t see it, and quite likely they couldn’t understand it either. Cole could. Because that’s what he’s for.


So I’m pretty convinced by Pharamond’s evidence. It’s not that the Tranquil don’t feel per se, but rather that their access to their emotions, their ability to process and express them, has been horribly damaged. In short, it doesn’t actually help them: it just makes them shut up about how unhappy they are, even in the privacy of their own heads.


Tranquillity is not a ‘treatment’. It was never intended to be. It has never been tested as such. Evidence suggests that it’s a form of torture.


To take this from general principles to the specific: you mentioned Fenris. The thing is, the basis for his ‘emotional problems’ is that he suffered something not wholly unlike the Rite of Tranquillity. He too was branded with lyrium. Now, obviously this was a different ritual. It had different results. Fenris never lost the capacity to access or express emotion. He lost the context for it: he forgot his name, his family, his reasons for putting himself through this hell.


He will say that being a slave feels like an immutable condition. Hawke can counter that slave revolts are in fact A Thing, and Fenris will explain that, with no memories or identity of his own, he lacked the capacity to dream of freedom. Even to himself, he wasn’t a person. The difference between what happened to Fenris and true Tranquillity is that it didn’t require the touch of a spirit to bring him back to himself: the time he spent with the Fog Warriors gave him enough emotional context to be horrified and ashamed when he murdered them on Danarius’s orders. From there, he was able to find his own way back. He has friends now. He’s free. If your Hawke romanced him, then he’s in love.


When you suggest Tranquillity to somehow deal with these ‘emotional problems’, you’re suggesting stealing the very thing that saved him: the capacity to feel, to strive, to want – the very things that Pharamond says the Tranquil don’t have, even though they have free will to act as they see fit. It would make him as he was at the very beginning of his story: a slave.


Sometimes Fenris is violent. Angry. Difficult. I’m not going to pretend he isn’t a little alarming in those moods. Tranquillity would stop him from behaving like that, sure. But that wouldn’t be for his benefit, would it?


Look. Sometimes people who have suffered trauma, and/or who have certain kinds of mental illnesses, want to do themselves harm. I’m not qualified to discuss that in detail, so I won’t. But sure: you could probably find volunteers for Tranquillity in Thedas.


Tranquillity is not a real thing.There’s nothing in the real world that mirrors its effects exactly. But it’s pretty damn clear that they drew on lobotomies for their model, here. Surely you’re not suggesting we should be calling for volunteers for those as well?


Or, would you encourage someone who had responded to trauma with alcoholism to drink themselves to death? You mentioned Oghren. You might not be able to burn away his emotions, but you could do that.


Why would you look at this thing, this religiously motivated trial-by-fire, meant to prove that someone is both tough enough and devout enough to be a Seeker of Truth (and then be fixed), and decide that – hey, we should offer that to people in pain?


Tranquillity makes people who are suffering and people who are unwell more convenient to be around. But it does fuck all for them. This isn’t medication that has a few side effects that the individual might find worth the results. It doesn’t give them the chance to pursue their dreams, find love, enjoy themselves – any of that.


It takes all that they are and crushes it down into one tiny little corner of their minds, almost entirely suppressed, and leaves them adrift with little reason to do anything but what they’re told.


So no. I don’t think there’s a case to be made for it.

Author Interview -- mysilverylining
This week’s author interview is with the up and coming Veronica Mars fic writer, mysilverylining. Maybe you’ve heard of her? Duh. Of course you have! She’s currently got two WIPs. “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own,” a season one AU starting with 1.03, “Meet John Smith,” and “Neptune,” a future-fic that takes place five years after the finale. 
1. When you’re not writing fic, what are you doing?
I’m always writing fic.  Sure, sometimes it’s the same paragraphs, over and over again, for weeks in a row.  But whichever chapter I’m working on is always open on my task bar.  Judging and taunting me.  
Sometimes I sleep.  Sometimes I work.  I spend too much time commuting in my car.  I watch a gazillion TV shows, but always seem to miss everything important - hello, ADD.  I buy ridiculous kitchen gadgets I’ll never use and have no place to store (strawberry slicer, anyone?).  I start fanvids I’ll never finish.  I’m mostly ignored by my Aspie kid.  Used as furniture by one cat.  Stared at creepily by the other one (whom I’m convinced is plotting my murder).  
And Tumblr.  Always always Tumblr.  
2. Had you ever written before you started writing for Veronica Mars? What inspired you to start writing for VMars? 
I hadn’t even read any fanfiction before watching Veronica Mars.  I’d actually avoided reading ff for years.  
I binged all three seasons in a fever, and then went crazy online searching for fanvids and forum discussions, recaps and meta.  I’d never gone through show withdrawal like that before, and I remember feeling like nothing would fill that Veronica Mars shaped hole.    
One day, seeing a link to a highly recommended fic, I finally said “Fuck it,” and clicked.  Luckily, that fic happened to be “A Strange New Story Every Time”, which left such a strong impression that I started devouring all the fic I could find.  Why did I wait so long?  I’ve always made up stories in my head to help myself fall asleep, and Logan and Veronica started taking center stage.  
I started a dozen or so stories in a OneNote notebook.  Some were painfully awful.  Some, were promising enough that I still intend to complete them someday.  The first one I finished was this crazypants amalgamation of the Pilot, Credit Where Credit Due, and You Think You Know Somebody - all smushed-together on the same timeline - where Veronicatakes Logan up on his offer to “Come with”.  They end up solving the Chardo case and the Troy case on this long field trip to TJ, while snarking and squabbling the entire time.  Until…you know.  That one will never see the light of day, but it gave me an idea how much I love writing.  Especially that time period.      
The first fic I ever worked up the nerve to publish was ‘I Hate You Because’.  I would have been happy if four or five people had read and enjoyed it.  The response to that fic absolutely floored me, and gave me the encouragement to keep writing.      
3. Biggest Veronica Mars fanfiction pet peeve?   
I’m really not very hard to please.  I can find something to like in almost anything.  But there are a few things that irk me.
  • Logan acting like a Neanderthal who has a nervous breakdown every time Veronica leaves the house.  Canonically, the only time he ever worried about her job was after Mercer/Moe shaved her head.  Over-protectiveness is NOT Logan’s default setting.  He doesn’t mind being the cavalry, but in three seasons, he only tried to stop her from doing her job one time - after proof that she was being targeted.  Logan LOVES, admires, and respects Veronica as the badass P.I. she is.  I’ll forgive it in a story, if she’s had death threats or a stalker in-universe.  But if she’s just going out for a routine stakeout?  Nope.  
  • Overly neurotic characters.  Of course,they all have major issues, which should be explored and addressed.  They’re from Neptune after all.  But if those issues are like a black hole that sucks all of the joy out of the story, I. Just. Can’t.  
  • Logan trading his entire personality to be Veronica’s Generic CW love interest who always says and does the right thing.  Happens a lot in S1 fics where Logan learns of Veronica’s rape or difficulties after Lilly’s death, and completely forgets how to snark.  Jason Dohring’s expressive face can sell it, but in writing, Logan needs to have an edge.  He needs to be dramatic and a little pissy.  Morally gray.  Cocky.  The same goes for Dick with regards to Mac.  You can’t turn him into Piz, throw a “Dude” in every sentence, and expect me to accept it as Dick.
  • The word “ministrations”.  Acceptable if Veronica is cleaning Logan’s wounds or nursing him back to health, but takes me right out of a love scene every time.  Kills the mood, because it summons images of Neosporin, peroxide, and gauze pads.    
  • “The petite blonde”.  This phrase is like nails on a chalkboard to me when it’s used in place of a proper name or pronoun.  Same with “the older detective”, “the shorter boy”, “the younger sibling”, etc…  I’d rather see the name/pronoun overused, than to see this.  The exception would be when we’re reading about character(s) who haven’t yet been introduced by name.  Does this make me a horrible person?

4. Why do you think it is that Veronica Mars, out of all the shows out there, is the one that has wormed its way into your heart in such a profound way?  
I love Veronica to death.  I admire her and identify with her.  I root for her and cheer for her always.   
But Logan is my heart.  My muse.  The fictional love-of-my-life.  
No character has ever gotten under my skin like that jackass.  I want to write ALL of his stories.  Pre-series unbroken (merely fractured) Logan.  Pilot OPJ Logan.  Reluctant Veronica-stan Logan.  Angry self-destructive S2 Logan.  Maturing S3 Logan.  Rebuilding S4 Logan.  Future, healthy-member-of-society Logan.  Future re-OPJ’d Logan.  All of them.  
5. Season three of the series saw a number of hardcore fans give Rob Thomas the side-eye, and many left the fandom. Two part questions: a) what kept you sticking through season three? b) and is there anything you felt season three handled particularly well?
I’ve never hated S3 as much as most people do.  Sure, I hated the straw feminists, the keister egg rape, Tim Foyle, and his hideous wig.  But there was plenty of greatness in S3.    
Many of my all-time favorite Logan/Veronica moments are in Season 3.  I could spend forever watching 'Actual-Married-Couple' L/V.  Sharing meals.  Bantering.  Supporting each other.  They’re not acting on pure passion like in S1.  They know each other inside out.  They love each other.  They've chosen each other.  And it’s beautiful.  I HATED the Madison debacle, but I loved Every. Single. Other. Thing. between them.  I loved their happy scenes.  I loved their sad scenes.  Their fight scenes.  Even their post-breakup scenes (was their chemistry ever stronger?).  
Season 3 gave us perfect onscreen pairings.  Logan / Wallace, Veronica / Prof Landry, Veronica / Dean O'Dell, Logan / Heather Buttons, Mac / Max (So what?  I liked it), Piz / Desmond Fellows, Veronica / Dick, Veronica /Jeff Ratner (love him or hate him, he was the perfect snarky foil for Veronica), and my personal favorite, Logan / Mac.  
Season 3 ended with two stellar episodes, and set-up so many threads for an amazing Season 4.  I’m going to write that story someday, dammit!  Seriously.   
6. Were there any storylines in the series, movie, or now book that you started off loving but ended up not caring for? How would you have handled it differently?
That’s a hard one.  I won’t even touch on the straw feminists.  Everyone else has already said it, and probably better than I could.  This is a hard question, because the things I would most change - the Madison debacle for example - weren’t things I ever started off loving.  
The closest I can come to answering in the spirit of the question would be the S2 L/V/D triangle.  I didn’t start off loving it, but I was initially okay with V/D dating.  I felt that since they were “cruelly ripped apart by fate” according to the narrative, it was inevitable that they would try again eventually, and I wanted to just get it over with.  
As much as I love (and would hate to lose) those flashback scenes from the Summer of LoVe, I think the better story might have been to have Wallace be the one at the door.  I would have handled it differently by Veronica actuallynoticing Duncan’s transgressions, calling him on his shit, and kicking him and his Madonna/Whore complex to the curb.  Veronica should have had the epiphany that NORMAL wasn’t really doing it for her.    
I would NOT have had Duncan ride off into the sunset, halo still shining.  I would have had him stay in Neptune and battle for custody of his daughter.  I would have had him experience consequences for his choices just like Wallace, Weevil, and Logan. I would have had him embrace his noir roots and “go dark”.  Become a villain.      
7. You are currently posting chapters for two stories: a season one AU and a future fic. Are there any challenges inherent in writing two stories so different from one another at the same time?
I think the biggest challenge is remembering to use Past Tense when writing Sometimes.  Present tense is the natural fit for me, and I really have to force myself to switch.  
Characterization is not a problem between Neptune and Sometimes.  
Where I’m actually struggling now is in keeping Neptune separate from movie and book canon.  
One of the main premises of Neptune is how people adapt and change based on the events in their life.  How adversity can bring out the very best or very worst in people.  Logan has a very detailed and complex backstory that will eventually explain exactly how he came to be the person he is.  So does Veronica.  And Madison.  Mac has dealt with the death of her bio-mom.  Wallace is divorced.  Characters that haven’t even been introduced yet have gone through profound changes.  (Not Dick - he’s the same).  
The changes in each of these characters are very important, as they speak to the actions and decisions they’ve taken and will take in the story’s future.       
Where I struggle is that during editing, I keep finding myself trying to align characterization to new canon - which would be disastrous to my story. 
My Veronica is more haunted than new!canon V.  My Gia hasn’t experienced the same horrible circumstances as new!canon Gia.  My Logan is similar, but is a bit cockier.  
I just have to hope my readers can understand that this was plotted and outlined well before the movie was ever announced, so it is what it is, and the characters are who they need to be.  Even when it conflicts with what we know now.   
8. What is one moment or scene from any of your fics that you’re really proud of? What is it about that specific moment?
There have been one or two scenes that made me laugh so hard I almost cried when I was writing them.  There’s a scene I wrote for Neptune months ago, that probably won’t be published for many more months, that makes me bawl my fucking eyes out.  
For my published works, I would have to go with Chapter 11 of Sometimes.  It’s the chapter that contains the car chase - which gives me an adrenaline rush, and Duncan’s long flashback to the L/V/D origin story - which makes me physically ache for Veronica (and Logan).  
My favorite stories are the ones that create visceral reactions while reading.  Ones that give me butterflies in my tummy or make my gut clench from pain.  PetPluto is a master at this.  Everything she writes creates this kind of reaction in me.  Ghostcat as well.  But I rarely experience it reading my own stuff - except for that Chapter 11.
9. Pick a character or two from Veronica Mars that you write for. What are three things you like to keep in mind when writing for that specific character(s)?
Good question.  I don’t really have any hard and fast rules for characterizations.  With Logan, I do try to keep in mind (1) what’s going on inside his head? where is his internal energy?  (2) who is his audience and what kind of performance is he putting on for them? (3) what are his hands doing?     
10. It’s the year 2030. Where are Veronica and Logan and what are they up to?
Snarkily ever after.  Married - for practical reasons.  Being told “family-only” by the Navy every time she tried to get any information about Logan, was not cutting it for Veronica, and Logan will take her any way he can get her.  Two kids - the first, a result of an over-enthusiastic reunion.  The second one planned - once they realize they aren’t actually miserable failures as parent.  
Solid.  Nine years apart puts all of their problems in perspective, as does two high-risk careers, age, and wisdom.  Of course, they still squabble occasionally.  For the fun of it.  And for the making up.           
Veronica is still detectiving.  Logan runs a part-time flight school (for his love of flying), and provides muscle for Veronica’s cases.
He still makes her say “Woof!”  
Re: Callout Posts and Social Justice Activism on Tumblr, or, Moral Complexity in the Age of Memes

Just a little over two weeks ago a post on this website began to get mass exposure. The post, a self proclaimed “callout” post, consisted of a long list of popular and semi-popular artists and creators on Tumblr whom the OP accused of a wide variety of unacceptable behaviors: next to each of the listed there was a bare-bones description of their supposed crimes. Immediately, the post garnered controversy: while many of the listings provided evidence or sources for their claims, many others did not, and several claims were spurious at best, based on rumor and gossip. Furthermore, the spectrum of “crimes” was absurdly broad: while one artist might be listed for child sex abuse, another might be listed for refusing to tag certain posts on their blog. Not only were these wildly different acts cause to be on the same list, but they were treated with the same gravity as if they both deserved the same level of condemnation.

This post caused a lot of harm: quantifiable, legitimate harm. Artists who had committed minor acts of impropriety were put on the same level as pedophiles and Nazis, jeopardizing both their personal and professional reputations as well as damaging their emotional health. Many people rightfully decried it. However, the post was not an isolated incident, but the culmination of a dangerous trend in the Tumblr community.

It has become generally accepted in tumblr culture, especially within “social justice” or otherwise leftist circles (of which I consider myself part, mind you), to make assertions about a broad variety of people in callout posts without any kind of evidence, often without any firsthand knowledge of the sins in question. As I will explain, this trend was born out of good intentions, but its evolution on Tumblr has had disastrous consequences. I have seen innocent bloggers called rapists and pedophiles on the basis of half-remembered 4chan drama, leading to their eventual harassment once these posts picked up steam. Conversely, I have seen the actions of genuinely malevolent individuals, including known racists and abusers, defended on the basis that their critics’ claims were worthless: guilty of exaggeration or falsehood by association with the growing amount of false or trivial callouts; indeed, this happened with many of the actual racists and pedophiles including on the list of the post in question.

It’s obvious from a glance that something is very wrong with the methods used within the leftist/social justice community on Tumblr. I would argue that the post that set off this essay was only a symptom of a problem that lies much deeper within the community itself. Increasingly, we seem to have reduced ourselves to binary thinking, assigning issues and individuals to simplistic categories of “right” and “wrong” and ignoring furhter complications. So long as we maintain this kind of thinking, we refuse to engage with the complex reality of community problems in a constructive manner. I hope, in small way, to be able to make a positive change in the social justice community. What follows is an attempt to analyze what has gone wrong, why this has happened, and what we can do to fix it.

1. How Did It Get So Bad?

Tumblr, as a blogging system, is terrible about accountability. Once a post is made, it is entirely out of the OP’s hands. Until quite recently it was possible to invisibly alter the text of a post, making it seem as though the OP had said something they didn’t. Name changes, deleted accounts, and hacked accounts make it further difficult to guarantee the authenticity of any given post.

To make matters worse, by default Tumblr has no indications on posts as to the time or date at which they were made. It is very difficult to establish accurate chronology on Tumblr because of this, making tracing the development of conversations in post chains difficult. A callout post might link an inflammatory statement made in 2009, which the author has since recanted, and intentionally or unintentionally create the impression it was made in the past month and was representative of the author’s current worldview. Because every post is isolated in time, and because finding the original post in paginated blog form can be very difficult, most users are discouraged from following what happened after a particular post.

Callout posts can pick and choose what they link to. They can ignore any amount of clarification or apology. This isn’t technically a problem - a certain amount of selectiveness is inevitable and necessary for any effective callout. However, one must remember that on Tumblr the same means are available to everyone, including harassers and abusers. this means that, if we are universally credulous to all callout posts, a guilty blogger may be implicated by their victims just as easily as an innocent one may be implicated by a harasser. This is especially true for accusations of abuse - as the nature of relationships means that many intimate things are said by both parties, I have often seen abusers make convincing cases, via cherry-picking, that their victims were completely complicit and consensual.

In short, because of many inherent design flaws, Tumblr as a system is ripe for abuse and harassment in the guise of public service. This is exacerbated when we apply the same standards of credulity universally. I discuss belief and the suspension of doubt in the next section.

2. When Should We Believe?

One of the most important conversations to emerge from the greater feminist discourse about rape culture concerns the flaws within the liberal western notion of “Innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt”. It is the “Shadow of a Doubt” part that is often left out of conversations like this. To suggest that rape accusations should be given weight on the basis of no evidence whatsoever is mad. However, for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into detail about here, but which include society’s inherent suspicion of women and muddled ideas about what consent actually is, rape accusations will almost always have at least a shadow of a doubt to them.

On this basis, many feminists have argued that different standards of proof have to be applied to accusations of crimes committed from a position of power. From similar conversations we get such arguments about accusations of race-hate crime and police brutality. The essential notion is that, in crimes committed by dominant groups against marginalized ones, the “beyond a shadow of a doubt standard”, that is, our standard notions about doubt, belief, guilt, and innocence works in favor of whoever is in the privileged position and against the victim, severely limiting the possibility that crimes against marginalized peoples are punished , and indirectly encouraging more such crimes to be committed. In America we have seen this again and again with police officers murdering people of color and getting off innocent or on lesser charges.

This, I believe, is the ultimate origin of the prevalent attitudes about proof, doubt, and belief in the Tumblr social justice community. To summarize, the core of these attitudes is a belief that, when a victim makes an accusation, much of the burden of proof may be overlooked in favor of a willingness to believe, rather than doubt, the personal testimony of the victim.

I cannot stress this enough: THIS IS NOT AN UNSOUND PRINCIPLE. It is a natural response to society-at-large’s overwhelming tendency to disbelieve survivors of abuse and trauma. This is especially true when, as is often the case in Tumblr callouts, the accused is a popular or beloved figure. Being more generous in credulity and listening to the personal experiences of victims is not a bad thing at all. I know of several instances on this site when popular bloggers, who ultimately turned out to be serial abusers, would never have been outed as such if their accusers had not been met with encouragement and support.

Offering belief and trust rather than doubt and cynicism to accusers speaking from marginalized positions is an invaluable method in the pursuit of justice. Meeting victims with trust and belief not only enables us to determine the possible existence of a predator, it allows us to warn others of the possibility of danger, keeping them from becoming potential victims themselves.

I am in no way arguing that such information should form the basis of a conviction. I am only saying that listening to the words of victims is the crucial first step towards a longer process of determining the truth. The benefit of the doubt regarding guilt should be our general guiding principle; it is only in certain specific situations, such as those listed above, in which we should override that principle for the sake of fair treatment to all parties.

3. Why Shouldn’t We Always Believe?

I’ve explained above the origin of tumblr attitudes about proof, doubt, and belief, as well as why these attitudes aren’t inherently wrong. There are many occasions where generosity of belief is absolutely the right approach. What I hope to outline in this section is when, exactly, that approach shouldn’t be used.

The attitudes in the social justice community about belief in accusations emerged in response to an unwillingness to believe, and even a tendency to blame, the victim/accuser in society-at-large. Lack of belief in the testimony of victims was the problem, and extending the benefit of belief emerged as the solution. What often gets lost in our callout discourse today is that only the victim and/or those assisting them have a right to this suspension of doubt.

Why would we treat of testimony of a third party recollecting claims made by other third parties with the same amount of credulity as the testimony of someone who has known an accused person and claims to have experienced their wrongful behavior first-hand? The benefit of belief emerged in response to a very real deficit of belief displayed towards victims, especially marginalized ones. Why should this greater willingness to believe, which developed as a counter-balance to the distrust, scorn, and victim-blaming experienced by society’s less-privileged when claiming injustice, be extended to those for whom there is no deficit to make up? We shouldn’t: there is no reason to prioritize the words of a third party unconnected to the accused above what should be our general principle of the benefit of the doubt. Only the words of victims and those working with them need to be prioritized to such a degree. And yet this is exactly what we do.

To use a concrete example fresh in most people’s minds, the artist callout that I mentioned as the origin of this essay originally included an entry on popular artist and LPer sketchamagowza, better known as “Shmorky”. This entry accused them of infidelity and, more seriously, pedophilia. No sources were provided for either of these accusations. However, because Shmorky’s entry was included alongside the entries of many genuine pedophiles and rapists, some of which did provide evidence, and because these accusations were given the same weight as those of one who had experienced this firsthand, many of the thousands who saw the post were convinced the accusations against Shmorky were of equal validity. Furthermore, because the accusations were completely unsourced, there was no way for anyone unfamiliar with their origin to investigate the validity of those claims, positively or negatively.

As it so happens, I am familiar with the origin of these claims. They come from Encyclopedia Dramatica, a website that is a haven for casual racism, homophobia, and misogyny. About a decade ago, some ED users discovered that in their early career as an artist Shmorky had drawn “diaperfur” art and other extreme age-play subjects on commission, in exchange for money. These examples all date from the turn of the millennium; Shmorky has stated that they regret doing the commissions, and nothing in their art since has shown any pederastic overtones. The accusations of infidelity also stem from ED, but I don’t know anything about their factual basis because the subject is neither mine nor anyone else but Shmorky and their partner’s business.

The blogger who included those accusations about Shmorky had no connection to them. Even if they believed the accusations from Encyclopedia Dramatica were genuine, they had no reason to believe anyone was in any way currently in danger because of Shmorky. If they did, it was their responsibility as a third party to investigate the accusations thoroughly prior to publicizing them. And for that matter, what good did they intend to do by alerting Tumblr of Shmorky’s hypothetical infidelity? What did they want to accomplish? What was there to be gained from any of the listings?

4. What Is Our Goal?

Notes, many would say. Others would suggest their actions sprang from genuine good intentions, with the hope of alerting people of racists and pedophiles who were popular on Tumblr. These are the two obvious motivations behind any callout post. But psychology isn’t my bag, and I can only speculate about the motivations of the original author, and I don’t care to speculate.

What I have noticed, however, is a change in the social justice community’s attitudes towards our methods. By “methods”, I mean generally the actions with which social justice on Tumblr is carried out: this several different activities, making callout posts being one of the primary ones. The change I am speaking of is a subtle change of the sense of purpose in these actions. I believe that in the social justice community we have shifted away from believing that the purpose of callout posts is to create change in the community, such as ousting a bigot, or to create awareness, such as warning others of potential abuse. What I’m saying is that we in the social justice community on Tumblr have shifted from believing that our actions create good through their results to believe that our actions create good in and of themselves; in other words, that pointing out moral deficiencies in others is an inherently right action, regardless of any effect it may or may not have.

The reason that this section is titled “What Is Our Goal” is because the question that should be on our minds when we engage with one another as activists is “What Is Our Goal?”, or, to further elaborate, “What Do I Intend To Accomplish With This?” “What Is The Effect I Want To Have?” Many before me have noted that one of the dangers of online activism (which itself is just an online evolution of an existing problem with IRL activism) is a tendency towards endless oneupsmanship devoid of actual, practical purpose. At a certain point, we fight with one another not in order to better ourselves or each other, but to prove ourselves right and gain the satisfaction that comes from being right. I would argue that on a medium such as Tumblr, where explicit rewards and motivations exist in the form of notes, we are especially in danger of becoming completely disconnected from the real-world problems that we talk about, and thus the ultimate purpose behind our actions.

This is tricky water. I don’t want people to not talk shit about people who do bad shit. And I’m not arguing that every instance of speech should be predicated with some concrete political goal in mind. What I do think is that when we try to engage with one another explicitly as activists, such as we do in call out posts, we should try to determine what, precisely, is the desired outcome of our action. Are we trying to warn people? Are we trying to oust a predator? If we are raising awareness, what are we specifically raising awareness of and are we doing it in a clear and coherent fashion? If we can’t answer these questions, we need to rethink our action and examine our reasons behind it.

I offer these thoughts as general guidelines and, ideally, a springboard for discussion about the place of callouts and other activist tactics online. I love the tumblr social justice community, but it’s obvious that deep-rooted problems exist within it. Hopefully, this post might help us begin to address them.

anonymous asked:

What do you think it is about the story of Harry Potter that makes it so powerful? I've been asked why I love it so much, but I honestly can't express it. I'm not very good at putting things into words...help? I know, it's kind of a tough/random question.

Hehe it is a tough question but do you know what? I love it! In fact I started to well up just thinking how I would reply to this message. It doesn’t help that I’m now listening to a HP soundtrack playlist on youtube either. I don’t help myself really.

I think that for most of us here on Tumblr, the significance of it is that we grew up with it. It doesn’t matter if you were 13 when the first film came out, or 5, a whole generation grew up with it. My mum works with a 22/23 year old who is apparently just as obsessed with it as I am, quite a lot of my friends love it, and I am moulding my 3 year old sister to love it - in fact she calls me Dumbledore, and calls herself “Romione”, which is how she says Hermione (for some reason, though she can say it properly), which I love. But, having said that, my dad loves it too, he read the books when I was a child and took me to see the films, and took me to the HP Studios, and actually wants to go back. I feel like I was lucky, because I got into it at a very young age. My parents took me to the cinema to see PS in 2001 when it came out, simply because they had seen on the news the success, and the recommendations that it was a great film for kids. That was that, I then became obsessed at 5 years old. Oops. It’s my parents fault, I swear!

I think that the series is a rare thing. The outline of the plot may not be that original - “The Chosen One” versus “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. But Jo is a mastermind. She embellishes it so that it is something that has never been done before: a 7 book series, that are so closely interwoven that there is foreshadowing for the ending in the first book! And amazingly it never gets old! I read the first book 12/13 years ago now (I was 5 or 6 I can’t remember exactly how old I was), and read the rest of the books when they came out. I’ve probably read each book half a dozen times, more likely a dozen times each. But I never tire of them. Whenever my parents see me settle down to read one of the books again, they’re amazed that I can still read it, even though I probably know each sentence by now, and even though the plot to each book is engrained in my brain, so much so that I think I know the Harry Potter Universe better than I know myself. I remember when I was like 8 or 9 years old, they told me with conviction that I would grow out of it. Now, a decade later, I actually love it even more, which I’m baffled is possible. In another decade, I’ll love it even more. Each time I re-read one of the books, I notice even more about it, more foreshadowing, or moments or sentences that I’ve overlooked and forgotten in the past. It’s these small details that make the series so special. Jo is nothing short of a genius. I’m not joking when I say that I think she should be made queen. Shove over Windsors, the Rowlings are taking the throne mate. 

First of all, let’s look at the characters. They’re painfully real and relatable. They’re all grey characters, no-one is just good or just bad, the line between them is blurred in real life, and they’re blurred realistically in the series. They’re just such realistic people! I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail with the characters because I was planning on going to sleep at some point tonight.

Let’s look at Harry, who could so easily have been written as “The Chosen One”, perfect boy, poor unfortunate soul who handles his burdens with an air of grace, and just manages to defeat the evil one every time because he is so goddamn brilliant, like most of the protagonists are in YA. No. Our Harry is a goddamn idiot. He is the biggest idiot ever! He is a sarcastic little twat who, if he wasn’t the chosen one, would be an average student who just happened to be good at sports. He is overly loyal and forgiving, and wouldn’t be able to do anything that he did do without his friends. 

Now, Hermione. In the films she is little miss perfect, but in the books she is far from it. She’s not just the smart girl, who in quite a lot of YA novel would fall in love with the protagonist. She’s ruthless: she punched Malfoy, cursed Marietta, set fire to Snape, and set a flock of birds to attack Ron.

Ron grew up in a very poor household, overshadowed by his brothers, then came to Hogwarts, where he was overshadowed by his best friend. He earned the right to be pissed off with him. But he’s loyal, and intelligent too, which most people seem to forget. No he didn’t get great grades, nor did Harry. But did you see that chess game he played in his first year????!!!?!?!?!

Moving on from the trio, what makes the series even more rare is the development of the secondary and tertiary characters. Think of the silver trio, Draco, Dumbledore, Lupin, Dobby, Cho, Lily, the Weasleys, even Crookshanks! They are all so developed that it’s amazing. How did Jo even do it? What’s more, they’re all realistic too. I don’t think there’s anyone in the series who wouldn’t exist in real life. I don’t know any other novel or series ever to have so many characters that are so well developed. Every character is so interesting, from Harry, to Luna, to Rita. My mind bogles at the thought! This makes the series special, because everyone has that one character that we relate too. I can’t even articulate how Jo has written so many characters that we love and adore and hate and relate to and who are all so important in their own right and so amazing. We also see them grow up, from children to adults. But I think one important lesson is that no matter who you are, you’re loved: Harry didn’t think we was loved, and then he became on of the Weasleys. Also, the fact that even the wisest of characters, Dumbledore,makes mistakes, and so teaching us that it’s okay to make mistakes, and not to know what you’re doing. And, that despite how you’ve been brought up, no one is more important than another because of their birth. 

I think that brings me on to this: the series has so many important life lessons in it, and that, for a series about a wizard, it’s surprising the parallels it draws to our world. For a supposed child’s series, it touches on some very real and important topics, but masks them. Like racial prejudice for example: the prejudice of purebloods against muggle-borns. The Death Eaters are basically the KKK. There is other prejudice, against werewolves for example (an example of HIV), house-elves, and giants. But in the end, Jo teaches us to throw our prejudices out the window: everyone is equal. That’s not just it. There are very heavy topics in the series. Abuse (the Dursleys), PTSD (Harry), grief after death (Harry and Cho), moving on from loss (Luna, Harry, Cho, Neville), the inevitably of death (Tom), the importance of having love (Harry vs Tom), depression (Dementors). This educates kids without it being obvious what it’s about, learning the lessons about acceptance without the prejudice. I don’t think this is a kid’s series, but the fact that so many children read it is fantastic.

Finally, the world that Jo created is so magic. It’s so like our own, but just different enough for us to be entranced by it. She created this world and it’s people so cleverly. You never want to leave. Once you’ve read one of the books, or seen one of the films, you have to come back. The depth that Jo went in to creating this universe is outstanding, and I’m amazed that I’m still learning stuff about it, nearly 14 years later.

That’s what makes the series so powerful. It’s so hard not to fall in love with it. It was so cleverly created, and, in my opinion, stands head and shoulders above most literature. I think that people are going to be reading the books and watching the films for centuries. I’m already looking forward to reading the books to my kids - hell, I’m excited to reading it to my little sister (if she would let me, her attention span isn’t quite long enough yet). 

In short, the series is just magical.

i feel like im one of the few people who actually believes that it is a possibility that they will make steve/bucky canon. please bare with me for what will be the longest post i will probably ever make. they set it up so nicely (besides all the more subtle less-than-platonic things that happened). specifically what steve says to natasha when she tries to set him up with women. “it’s hard to find someone with the same experience” seems a lot like a very specific and very intentional foreshadow referring to bucky. without going into details too much, there is literally no one else in the entire mcu that shares as much experience with steve as bucky. growing up in brooklyn, going off to the war, “dying”, being frozen for several years, waking up and being a soldier, you get the idea. in my opinion that single line has a lot in terms of setting up a potential relationship between them. 

nothing in the movies is unintentional, i believe the russos hide a lot more and understand a lot more than we give them credit for. besides that, it’s incredibly clear in the mcu how much bucky and steve mean to each other. they are both obviously willing to die for one another, as seen in the scene where steve saves bucky from zola (which i will talk about later), bucky won’t leave steve to die in the fire (“not without you”), and where steve is sacrificing himself to the winter soldier (i believe this is also a manifest of steve’s depression and his belief that he would rather die than “lose” bucky again). 

especially the implications of “till the end of the line.” not only are they willing to die for each other, it was made shown throughout the movies that they are willing to loyally stay with each other until death (marriage proposal much ?) once again, the russo’s understand the implications of the heavily emphasized lines they put in the movie. by using the “till the end of the line” phrase as the main trigger for bucky’s memory, it’s sheer importance and relevance (after 40+ years steve still hasn’t forgotten it) is capitalized upon. 

also the line, “even when i had nothing, i had bucky.” yes, someone could potentially say that about their best friend. (although that seems far-fetched as i probably wouldn’t even say something close to that about my own friends, but i digress) but as i said the russo’s understand. they don’t throw in a random line just because, they place lines like that in the movie to reiterate the importance of steve and bucky’s relationship. so many seemingly offhand things are actually importantly included by way of the writers. there is a team of so many people that make and write the movie, you can’t actually believe that not a single one of them read these lines and thought “maybe that has a bit of romantic implication.”

rewinding to the first movie, although bucky didn’t get much screen-time, we still see how much they still care for each other. of course they do, they’re best friends. but in my own personal opinion, i believe it runs deeper than friendship. for example, bucky keeps trying to convince steve not to join the army because he doesn’t want to see him get hurt, even though it’s the one thing steve wants more than anything at the time. and once steve finally gets that, he risks everything he just worked so hard for on the off-chance that bucky is still alive and he can save him. i don’t really feel like going too deep into this, but its incredibly obvious how important joining the army is to steve, and they showed that bucky was more important than all of that, as he risked being discharged even though he didn’t even have confirmation that the latter was still alive.

(i’m not even going to go into age of ultron, joss whedon is a garbage director and wouldn’t know continuity if it was up his ass.)

and fast forward to the events of civil war that we’ve been shown so far. albeit it’s not much, we can confirm that steve and bucky fight together, and crossbones makes a reference that underlies a less-than-platonic relationship between steve and bucky. “you know he remembered you. your pal, your buddy, your bucky.” i don’t know how much i can possibly emphasize it, definitely not enough, but the russo’s are not idiots. pretty much no one refers to someone’s best friend as being “theirs.” crossbones could’ve used that as a taunt by way of making fun of steve and bucky and their friendship (basically his equivalent of calling steve the f slur for being so close to another man). however, the fact that in order to hurt steve he brought up bucky’s torture seems telling enough to me. there is nothing most people hate more than to see the people they love (in any capacity) suffer by fault of them. but bucky’s torture and it’s level was directly affected by his memory of steve. steve must see it as his fault, because if bucky didn’t remember him, they wouldn’t have had to torture him so many times. assuming steve knows why they had to keep erasing his memory, and i believe he will know by civil war.

and god, the line “your mom’s name was sarah, you used to put newspapers in your shoes.” so, bucky couldn’t even remember something as simple as his own name, but he managed to remember things that specific about steve ? this seems like one of the lines that was put in the movie to re-emphasize the importance of their relationship.

on the other hand, we do live in a very heteronormative society and that could affect how their relationship is portrayed just as much as all of this stuff, so take with that what you will.

i really didn’t mean for this post to be so long (and trust me i could go on for much longer) but i would appreciate if you could give it a read and potentially discuss more points with me.

to sum it up: steve and bucky have the perfect build-up for a romantic relationship, the russo’s aren’t as oblivious as we think, and civil war is going to be very exciting.

The Olitz Phone Call (Scandal #420)

I have had several questions/submissions regarding this Olitz phone call. Once my annoyance/anger about 420 subsided, I revisited what I actually did enjoy about the episode. My initial malaise prevented me from noticing the intricacies, the pregnant pauses, and the subtext of this scene, including the ways in which it fits into what I believe to be the larger Olitz arc of this season. Reasonable Katrina is back, so, let’s explore, shall we?

Fitz: “Liv?”

Olivia: “I’m here.”

Right away, I had to chuckle. I mean, yeah, Olivia is c-c-c-c-old as ice, but… she knew it was Fitz calling her the moment she fished that phone out of her bag. She sighed 50-11 times, yet kept walking out of the room with the intention of answering that man’s call.

Given that she was so intently focused on B6-13 business—including doing a favor for a retired KGB agent—the woman absolutely could have silenced the ringer and went about her business. Yet, she did not. And when she does answer it, like many a time before, she waits for him to speak first. I may be wrong, but I have seen Olivia Pope ignore Fitgzerald’s calls exactly twice: 202 (after Pastor Drake’s funeral), and 308 (before Vermontgate). In both instances, she was at home when she ignored those calls–thinking that staying away from him is the best and only policy.

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ponderinggourd  asked:

With Robbie gone, I was trying to recount a bit about the remaining writers to a friend who doesn't know much about the behind the scenes stuff, but I realised I have only vague ideas of what kind of opinions and writing quality they represent, and I know you're much more knowledgeable on the topic. Would you mind summarising your thoughts on that (and also, if it's not too much of a bother, put together your tags for them)?

Aah I don’t tend to have tags on the writers, tbh. Robbie earned his for being a menace on Twitter and then I was reblogging so much of it I needed a tag and then it just evolved into a general admiration tag. (I’m assuming whatever he does next, my tag for him will stay for that reason :P) Of the remaining writers, I think I have an infrequently used tag for yelling at Dabb for his car continuity and a barely used tag for Berens being a troll on twitter. :P

Anyway who is left…? (bearing in mind I don’t think I’m actually “knowledgeable” on the topic, I just spend a lot of time online reading second hand opinions and re-watching the episodes remembering who wrote them and then forming my own misguided opinions/feuds with them :P (I can not stress enough that most of my interest in the writers is over nonsense fake feuds and offers to fight them, so why do people trust me?? :P) Anyway standard disclaimers about opinions and healthy, non-wank-intended criticism of the people who write this nonsense for us :P)

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Arcade Fire’s Will Butler burns short, bright and solo on Policy

If Arcade Fire were a baseball team, Will Butler would be the star utility player. At any given time, he can be found playing keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass, sitar, trombone, and/or percussion (for starters). He’s a veritable Will of All Trades, if you will. “There are so many strong artistic voices in Arcade Fire,” admits Butler of the Canadian-based indie-rock sextet that includes his older brother Win Butler on vocals, guitar, and a few other instruments as well. “It’s a strong musical collaboration that’s always fun.”
After the international success, widespread critical acclaim, and extensive touring behind Arcade Fire’s ambitious 2013 release, Reflektor — plus an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score for his work on Spike Jonze’s off-kilter 2013 romantic comedy Her — Butler felt like pushing other envelopes by making a solo record. The result: the quite stark and very much heartfelt Policy, which is out today on a variety of formats via Merge Records. “It was certainly exhilarating to step back from Arcade Fire for a minute,” Butler says somewhat modestly of Policy, which veers from the balls-out Americana thrust of Take My Side to the singalong electronic burble of Anna to the harmonic ethereality of Son of God to the minimalist ache of Sing to Me.

Digital Trends got on the horn with Butler, 32, to discuss Policy’s sonic intentions, reconnecting with the genius of Prince, and what might (or might not) be next for his main band. Out of The Suburbs, into the Fire.

Digital Trends: You cut Policy at Electric Lady Studios in New York City last May. How did that come about? What made you want to record there?
Will Butler: We mixed Reflektor there, with Tom Elmhirst. It was done in Studio C, on the very top floor. Tom doesn’t use the live room; he just mixes in the studio part. He said I could use the live room if I wanted — so I did. (chuckles)
Live is certainly the feel I get when I’m listening to this album. Were you and Jeremy [Gara, drummer] in that live room together when you were recording?
Yeah — all the beds are live, and a couple of the vocals are live. The goal was to do it all that way, but we didn’t succeed in that. But yeah, it’s very lively.
Did you and Jeremy have a conversation about how you wanted his drums miked?
We did. We really put ourselves in the engineer’s hands, a guy named Ben Baptie. Since it was so simple, we wanted to trust him. We shared what we were envisioning, and what we wanted. Sometimes we would tweak it and go, “Let’s open it up a little less.” He was a very good engineer.

In terms of arrangement, I wanted to keep it simple and just have three, four, or five items to mix on an 8-track mixing desk. I ended up mixing back in our studio in Montreal [Sonovox Studios].
Those arrangements complement the songs quite well. We get to hear the character of specific elements on tracks like Something’s Coming, where each piano chord and notes resonate clear and true.
Yeah, very much so. I wanted it all to be pretty transparent and pretty identifiable for you to get what was going on.
The economy of the record [Policy runs less than 30 minutes] and its sequencing are very important in determining how we’re taken along on your journey.
Yes. I want people to be able to take it as a whole. I think it’s a short enough album that you can keep it in your head — like you get to the end and you can still remember the beginning, but you went on a trip. So, yeah, I was definitely trying to make it like a good, medium-length poem.
What were the blueprint benchmarks for what you wanted Policy to sound like?
The two that I used were the John Lennon solo stuff, like the Plastic Ono Band (1970), which is pretty direct. It’s such a beautiful record. And the other — do you know the band The Breeders?

Yeah — Kim Deal, Tanya Donnelly….
Yeah yeah yeah! That first album, Pod (1990, engineered by Steve Albini), was really important.
I can see the connection with The Breeders on Anna, and then I can see the vibe of a Plastic Ono Band track like Isolation relating to Sing to Me, which is a very naked, emotional piece. To me, the echo on your vocals there gives it a timeless feel.
Oh yeah, thank you. We used a lot of that classic slapback. I was definitely shooting for that classic sound there.
Would you say your family background with classical music might have helped in terms of how you compose?
Yeah, very much so. I don’t have the skill set to truly do complex music (laughs), but it’s part of my heritage. My mom [Liza Rey] is a jazz and classical harpist, and her dad [Alvino Rey] is a jazz and classical guitarist, so we’ve always been about that world. It’s very deep, and very important. It’s part of my history.
You grew up in Texas. Did you get into any of the deep blues while you were there?
I more absorbed it than actively listened to it. But it was definitely present there. We were near Old Town Spring, Texas, and they do the Texas Crawfish and Music Festival every spring with real East Texas and Louisiana bayou music, rock & roll, and Cajun stuff. There’s a club there called Wunsche Bros. [Café & Saloon] that was definitely part of that world.

To me, this record screams to be heard in high-resolution audio, via a 96/24 digital download. Are you into that idea?
Yeah! Neil Young has been pushing for high-res listening for a while now, and I think it’s really exciting, particularly as the Internet gets better. (laughs)
You don’t want to lose any of the subtleties or details in these mixes, like you can with MP3s.
Yeah — you’ll get to hear the harmonics dying in the piano as the chord is held, and you can hear stuff breathe in a really satisfying way.
“Breathe” is a good word for it! You have some interesting effects that move in the stereo field on a track like Sing to Me, and I really like the way you use the background vocals. How did you put that one together?
That one was written really late at night, when I was trying to be quiet. I’ve got a baby at home, so it was originally written in that mode, and then I tried to keep that feel of something very still. It’s kind of a song you could fall asleep to, and then you wake up and you’re not really sure if you’re awake or not. (both chuckle)
Oh, I know that feeling. (both laugh) About a minute and a half into it, the vocals change and get a warbling effect, and things move over into the left channel. Do you like playing with the stereo field?

Yeah, I like how it’s done on [The Beatles’] The White Album (1968), both the mono and the stereo versions — the fun and the experimentation.
Mono was the original intention for The Beatles, right up through The White Album. Do you have a preference between mono and stereo?
It’s kind of song-to-song. There’s something charming in some of the failings of their stereo stuff. But they did have some serious fun. (laughs)
That is true. What albums influenced you the most growing up?
(exhales) Whooo. I mean, for a long time, I didn’t listen to the radio or anything — I listened to classical music in my early teens. Then I went through my mom’s records and listened to the U.S. version of Rubber Soul (1965). And in my mid-teens, my brother [Win] really got into Radiohead.
What was your starting point with Radiohead?
Probably the first stuff I heard was The Bends (1995). I was 16 when OK Computer came out (1997). I was a giant fan, and was 18 at the peak of my fandom when Kid A came out (2000). That was so fine.
Radiohead is a perfect example of a band that continues to do whatever it wants, kind of like what Arcade Fire does.
Oh wow. Yeah.
Finish What I Started has an interesting intro before you go into vocal effects and other subtle things with the piano. What was your plan there?

It was one where I was trying to get that Lennon ’70s feel — tight, like the drums and bass being of the same world, and the piano too. I wanted everything having the same effect at the core, running through the same speakers. We owe a lot to Mark Lawson, who mixed the album.
For a while, I tried to make the record more “same-y,” but I actually couldn’t. I embraced the surprise of it. Anna, we did it in two takes. Jeremy had actually never heard the song or played the song, so I was playing bass synth and he was playing drums. We did a slow one, and we did a fast one. I would tell him when to stop and start. (chuckles)
The vocal sounds quite live on Anna, and I love that brief hiccup in your voice. You could have edited that character right out of the vocal and made it really septic, but I like being able to hear how you sing a few different ways on the record and don’t follow that “same-y” thing you were just talking about.
Thanks. I originally had a take where I was literally still writing the lyrics. I almost kept it in, as it was the first time I stepped to the mike for the song, right after I finished it. I just rambled it out. I almost kept it, but I decided to finish it instead. But I wanted to preserve that spirit.
In the writing process, did you know you wanted background vocals on certain tracks, or did that come later?
It varied from song to song. I did one session in Montreal with my wife [Jenny Shore Butler] and an artist named Laurel Sprengelmeyer, who’s also known as Little Scream; she’s really great. And I did another original New York session with my wife and her sister [Julie Shore], who’s actually going to tour with me, and some other musician friends of hers, one who’s been on Broadway.

For songs like Witness or Take My Side, it was present from the beginning. Some of the other stuff developed in the studio like, “Oh, let’s try a take of this,” or, “That was interesting, let’s figure that out,” and then we would develop it a bit. Like the background vocals on Son of God came late in the game: “Oh, let’s experiment with this. Let’s play around.” We found some good stuff.
And we have a sax solo on Witness. Was that you, or…?
It was a guy named Matt Bouder, who’s the touring saxophonist for Arcade Fire. He’s actually going to open for half of this March solo tour, with a really great sax, drums, and organ setup.
After the stark, ethereal vibe of Sing to Me, Witness is a nice album closer.
Oh, cool, thank you. I wanted to end on something a little frisky. The record is short enough where you can be excited, go out and run a lap or two, then listen to it again.
No, you should run some laps with it! You have to take it anywhere you go.
(laughs) Yes, you should!
We’re getting Policy on 180-gram vinyl. Vinyl must still be an important medium to you.
Yeah. I’m so heartened by that. It’s still a small part of the music world, but it’s kind of vibrant and growing, and people think about it, buy it, and listen to it enough that it doesn’t feel like just a novelty. I came to that late in life where I went, “Wait a minute, is that what cymbals are supposed to sound like?”

I know what you mean. Vinyl is not just a “talisman,” as some people like to think. Listeners actually do spend time with it. You pay more attention because you interact with it differently and more directly with the ritual of putting the needle down and turning the sides over.
It’s really important. It’s very important for an artist to create for the segment of people who do that. I certainly think so.
What are the best-sounding records to your ear, the ones in your upper-echelon?
Oh gosh. (pauses) It just changes over time. More and more production gets redeemed the further in time you go. (chuckles)
On this last [Arcade Fire] tour, I listened to all of the Prince albums, from the beginning. And around the third one, Dirty Mind (1980), it just coalesces where it sounds like a guy on his own, but it sounds perfectly technically proficient. There’s a home-made aspect that’s really powerful, but it’s also like the greatest hits of all time, played in the basement by a genius, and wow, you can kind of hear it all.
It’s the literal one-man army on those first few albums of his. But I always come back to Sign o’ the Times (1987) as his grand opus.

Yes, that’s a really amazing record. I really never dug into it until this last year.
Will you do another solo record at some point?
Definitely. It’s not a one-off. We’ll have to see when I have time for it. My dream is to finish touring and run right into a studio and bang something out. But we’ll see if I have the time and the material.
Now that you’ve done your own thing with Policy, will that inform what you do with Arcade Fire any differently?
I’m curious to see how it’ll go, going forward. It’s a mystery. We’ll see. We’ll gear up at some point.
We won’t be seeing you wearing any papier mâché heads on your own tour like we got on the Reflektor Tour, right?
(laughs) Not this time around!