score reading

I just got a job as a writing tutor, and it inspired me to start a series of writing masterposts! From teaching college composition for two years at grad school and from working as a consultant at my university’s Writing Center, I’ve come to learn a few things about writing I’d like to share. Some of these tips may sound basic, and some may be fresh to you. Some may meet you exactly where you are. Regardless, these are some of the foundational aspects of good college writing.

I. Content & Style: Avoid Fluffy Language

Perhaps this is a symptom of trying to meet page minimums, but some students tend to inflate sentences with unnecessary adjectives. Similarly, they may puff up an essay with a useless statement, like, “Depression affects people in various ways.” What follows a sentence like this is usually a cataloging of the various/numerous/diverse ways in which depression affects people. Kill the middleman: that useless sentence. Be assured that most readers are astute enough to infer that depression affects people in many ways when you list said ways.

Language that sounds like that of a motivational speaker is maddening to most college instructors. “If you are true to yourself, you will be happy in life.” “Friends and family are the most important way to get the emotional support you need.” These are platitudes and overly generalize. Broad claims make for unoriginal writing; be specific and back up your claims with a logical argument, providing evidence for your opinion. Broad generalizations like, “Since the dawn of time, people have loved art” are just padding and detract from more interesting ideas you may have. 

II. Description: Be Concrete and Concise

An easy way to avoid vague fluff is to use concrete images and concise language. First, if you can say something in five words instead of ten, that’s great! Go with the five. Second, concrete details provide a more refined image in the reader’s mind (car vs. Ford Taurus, for example) without the use of adjectives and adverbs. And try to avoid adverbs when you can. Show how a person is running “quickly” instead of telling the reader the person is running quickly. Is there sweat? Is this person bumping into others? Are the legs pumping like pistons? Specificity makes for much more interesting writing.

III. Organization: Make a Backwards Outline!

The best thing about outlines is that you ultimately do not have to follow them. Many people use the drafting process to think and come up with their best idea in the middle of the paper. But often the papers that are turned in are first drafts, so that great idea—around which you ought to have centered your paper—remains in the middle, not standing front and center and lacking enough space to develop further. If you’ve allowed yourself enough time to make a second/final draft, post-organize your paper. Map out the flow of your ideas and ask yourself if this is the best order and arrangement possible. Yes, revision is more work, but it is worth it. It is so, so, obvious to professors when a paper has not been properly organized.

IV. Grammar: Comma Splices

The most common grammatical error students make is the comma splice. A comma splice is the attachment of two sentences with only a comma. For example: “Harvey and Tim built a raft, they took it out on the river later.” ARGH. “Harvey and Tim built a raft” is a complete sentence, as is “they took it out on the river later.” How do you fix a comma splice? Well, there are three ways:

  • Use two separate sentences: “Harvey and Tim built a raft. They took it out on the river later.”
  • Add a conjunction after the comma: “Harvey and Tim built a raft, and they took it out on the river later.”
  • Use a semicolon: “Harvey and Tim built a raft; they took it out on the river later.

Standard/Edited (American) English grammar is the grammar of (American) academia and will be for a while. Also, simply, spelling and grammar mistakes only work to undermine your writing. If you have brilliant ideas, you shouldn’t obfuscate them with lousy grammar.

V. Language: Build Your Vocabulary

What does “obfuscate” mean? Well, when you encounter unfamiliar words, look them up and commit their meaning to memory. Practice using them, when appropriate. Of course don’t bloat your language so that your prose reads like a thesaurus. Your writing should sound intelligent/formal (with the help of new words), yet not awkward and stiff with the clumsy handling of “big” words.

VI. Scoring: Read What You Wrote Out Loud

This is pretty basic. Listening to your own writing will help you determine if it sounds stiff and/or unnatural or just awkward as hell. You can read your writing aloud to yourself, but it is best to hear another person read it. I refer to this section as “scoring” because writing has a musical aspect, too. Your use of language should be pleasing, made so by choosing the right word for the right moment, by opting for combinations of words that sound harmonious, and so that your delivery of ideas is arranged to have the most powerful impact. Choose a tone suited to your subject, and know thy audience. What will sound good to you may not sound so good for your intended audience. Adjust the score accordingly.

VII. Research: Do More of It Than You Think You Need To

Often you will be assigned a minimum number of sources for a research paper. Let’s say five, for example. Go for eight or nine. Of course you should avoid using redundant sources (a book on Samuel Beckett’s stage directions and journal article about Samuel Beckett’s stage directions). Find as many perspectives as possible; it’ll only make your arguments stronger. Plus the more academic writing you read, the more naturally it’ll come when you have to do your own.

VIII. Go Weird or Go Home

Another reason more using sources than required can help: finding unique perspectives/approaches to a subject. You may encounter some ideas that counter popular assumptions (peer pressure has some positive impacts; depression can sometimes benefit cognitive function; anti-drug education actually increases drug use). Another interesting tack to take is to go with a subject that often makes people uncomfortable, such as child sexuality, masochism, and alternatives to capitalism.

Strange, uncommon arguments are more interesting than broader overly researched topics, such as nature vs. nurture. A paper on the deliberate use of plot holes, in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and their effect on narrator reliability would be far more interesting than the representation of capitalism in Animal Farm by George Orwell. The more complex and difficult the argument you choose the more critical thinking/writing skills you demonstrate. Weirdness is rewarded in academia, by getting your professor’s attention, by getting published in critical journals, etc. In this case, the axiom of “Be unique, and stand out in the crowd” stands true.

I hope this was helpful! Message me or send me an ask if you have any questions.

Go Yuuri Go!!! staff comments

Translated by the amazing aki_the_geek on Twitter!

Please visit her account for more!

Katsuki Yuuri

Yamamoto: Many of YoI’s skaters were inspired by real-life people, and Yuuri is no exception.
In Yuuri’s case, I’ve heard about someone who is usually timid, lacks confidence and believes to be mentally weak, but once he steps on ice, turns into a competitive skater who wants the audience, the judges, and the viewers from all over the world to   look only at them. I found it to be a really interesting mentality and that’s where I got my idea for Yuuri from.
This Yuuri stands at the edge of the proverbial cliff - and then changes through his meeting with his hero and rival, Viktor. Thanks to this meeting, Yuuri himself starts reaching for more and more, grows stronger.
I find relationships with labels like “lovers” or “family” to be stifling, so I came up with these two characters that are not bound by names like that, who hold each other dear and who share a bond that would be difficult to replace.
As a skater Yuuri has an individual sense of rhythm, his steps his unique weapon, but even on a solid ground, he’s a great dancer. When he was young, Minako-sensei taught Yuuri the basics of ballet, and, as Viktor praises him highly, his skating feels like he is creating music with his body - it moves into dance on its own as he charms his audience.

Kubo: Yuuri is the kinda type of a glass-wearing character I draw often. (laughs) Many skaters have bad eyesight, and Yuuri too skates without his glasses. I though people would love the narrow-eyed, uneasy face he makes when trying to read his score, so I added that element, too.
I aimed for a design that would be easy for Hiramatsu to draw, so instead of deciding every detail, I drew a base that would later spring to life under Hiramatsu’s hands.
“Change” is an important aspect of Yuuri, so I gave him a seemingly ordinary appearance instead of making an easy-to-get pretty boy.
Yuuri is slightly taller than a typical Japanese person - that’s because both the director and I are around 165-170cm, and we though it’d be nice if he was taller than us. Yuuri’s eyebrows are in a  slanted ハ shape, but turn sharp when he competes. Things that are easier to explain via animation, like Yuuri’s hair growing longer as the show progresses, are also present.

Hiramatsu: I made sure he looks different during his chubby and slim phases. His best body shape would be right after “Onsen on Ice”.
We based Yuuri on a typical Japanese body: he doesn’t have long legs, wide shoulders or a spectacular butt, but going with Kubo’s drawings, I gave him long arms and bony hands. Yuuri grows about 10cm taller when he dons his skating shoes, which makes his legs look longer. Yuuri’s Japanese silhouette was influenced by Yasuhiko’s style, who was in charge of many of his scenes.

Viktor Nikiforov

Yamamoto: I think, surprisingly, there are many people like Viktor in the skating world (laughs). Viktor doesn’t care about what people around him think of him, he thinks it’s obvious that he is the center of all the attention. Viktor acts as he pleases and through it, he believes he brings joy to others.
I love it when characters like him appear out of the blue. In this case, Yuuri is the cause of Viktor’s sudden appearance. Yuuri barged into Viktor’s world that he closed himself in without noticing, believing he has to create all the new surprises. Yuuri offered Viktor a possibility he hadn’t thought about - becoming someone’s coach.
Unconsciously, Viktor is lonely, without anyone of similar circumstances, without anyone he could empathize together with. Viktor didn’t yearn for someone to understand him; he didn’t see it as a problem, but also didn’t realize how lonely he was. Yuuri is not the only one who became stronger by experiencing love - through Yuuri, Viktor learned new feelings and grew stronger.

Kubo: I challenged myself to create a character everyone would look at and find handsome, moreso than in my previous works. Viktor’s hair is silver, with some lighter streaks. At first I also thought about giving him a hair that looks silver, but once you see it from up close, turns out to be blond hair with many streaks of white hair. However, I couldn’t find enough information on how white hair grows on blondes so I gave up (laughs).
Thinking of balancing his height with Yuuri’s when they stand next to each other, I made Viktor slightly taller. I wanted Viktor’s face to be recognizable in gag scenes and so gave him a heart-shaped mouth. This is something straight out of the shojo manga era of “Tokimeki Tonight” or “Ohayo! Spank” (laughs).
I wanted there to be something unexpected in contrast to Viktor’s usual handsomeness. That aspect of him where he worries about his receding hairline, you know, where it goes slightly above the sweet spot? I wanted the viewers to watch it with a beating heart and confuse that feeling with falling in love. A suspension bridge effect. (haha)
I took heaps of inspiration for Viktor’s sexiness from Stephane Lambiel.

Hiramatsu: I paid attention to the flow and quality of his hair - and same goes for Yurio. Viktor’s eyebrows are straight, rarely ever turn into a mountain-like shape. Viktor’s posture is beautiful and adds to his brilliance; he sports a magnificent butt and long limbs.
Viktor has a confidence of an adult, but as someone still in his 20s, he can be quite childish. Viktor’s heart-shaped mouth was there in Kubo’s storyboards, which influenced the staff to emphasize that in the show.

Yuri Plisetsky

Yamamoto: Russia is a country where skating can change your life - the country supports its strong skaters. When I learned that some families bet on their children or grandchildren becoming famous and make them learn skating  I thought there must be many children with unrelenting spirit and a will to climb up - and created a deformed version of that in a form of a Russian badboy.
Yurio has many lines with swears, but there’s one in ep 10 that angered Viktor when Yurio implied he is now looking after a “pig”. This line goes back to my 20s - whenever I saw a pair wearing matching rings I’d think, “A pair of pigs tied with rings” (laughs). When I mentioned it to Kubo, she was like “Pigs! That’s good!” and we decided to put it in. Yurio is the only one with a potty mouth in the series, so coming up with his bad boy lines was fun.
Many growing skaters probably understand what Yurio said when he mentioned his time in his current body grows short. Girls change a lot during that period, but boys too have their muscles grow - it’s a big burden on the body that makes it impossible to perform some moves. We tried to put as many things that Yurio can only do now as we could into the show.

Kubo: There are many elements to Yurio’s design that make him popular, such as blond hair and blue eyes. He really does stand out. Looks-wise Yurio is probably most similar to Rabi from Madō King Granzort.
To quote the director, there are many elements from different skaters in Yurio. The base inspiration was Yulia Lipnitskaya. When I saw her at the rink, I realized there are many different kinds of skaters and that a more mischievous character could work too.
Yurio’s visuals were decided on early, earlier than Yuuri’s, as he is very anime-like, easy to animate. As story progresses, Yurio’s hair grows longer. I wanted to express how, when you haven’t seen him for a while, Yurio grows more and  more beautiful. Is it Lilia who styles his hair, or is it Yurio himself?

Hiramatsu: Half of his face is covered with hair, which strengthens his expressions. It was fun to give emotions to that slightly visible eye. Yurio’s body is slim, girlish, with long limbs and not much muscle.
I draw him as I would draw a girl. His looks were heavily influenced by Tatenaka’s style, who was in charge of many scenes as well as the skating of our model Honoka Kawanishi. Yurio has a potential to grow, outgrowing Yuuri and reaching 180cm or so.

Christophe Giacometti

Yamamoto: I wanted to create a character who would share popularity with Viktor, a character overflowing with masculine charm. I wanted Chris to have this showy sexiness in him like an ice dancer, so he’s one of the taller single skaters in the series. It was so difficult to show a sexy man type of a character, as there aren’t many visual symbols associated with it. I am hoping to one day establish a new frontier of male sexiness.

Hiramatsu: Chris has a sturdy body, and the most emphasized butt in the whole series. I poured all of my drawing skills into that scene where Chris grabs and lifts his butt while skating. (laughs) Until halfway both his arms and butt are raised, and then arms go up, butt goes down, which is how I showed the butt’s bounciness.

Phichit Chulanont

Yamamoto: Yuuri is friends with Phichit because even if Yuuri doesn’t go to him, Phichit will come to Yuuri on his own. Yuuri doesn’t have to be suspicious of Phichit’s motives and he doesn’t show customary concern over him like Japanese people do which in turn is less stressful for Yuuri.

Jean-Jacques Leroy

Yamamoto: I created JJ because I wanted a character type that falls into a “mentally a musclehead” category. JJ entered Toronto University as a top student, off season participates in charity activities. His girlfriend is his HS classmate, but as a devout Christian, premarital sex is a no-no - they’re in a pure relationship.
He often says JJ this, JJ that in conversations and in general only talks about himself. Even if he nods with understanding as someone speaks, he soon butts in and changes the topic to himself.
JJ talked to Otabek in ep10 because he found it sad that his old rinkmate was alone - couldn’t leave him out of kindness of his heart. Even when people find him overbearing, JJ believes he is doing a good deed, so it doesn’t bother him.

Hiramatsu: JJ could be considered a good catch if he just shut up. (laughs)

Otabek Altin

Yamamoto: First, I wanted a Kazakh skater to be a dark horse of the GPF and that’s how Otabek was born. There are many Russians in Kazakhstan and Russian is the official language so I thought Otabek could easily be friends with Yurio. Some Kazakh skaters are known to train in Russia, so the bit where Otabek participated in Yakov’s camp and became fascinated with Yurio came to me naturally. We created many qualities that Yurio finds cool in Otabek outside of skating  - such as riding a bike and DJing. 

Lee Seunggil

Yamamoto: All Seung-Gil does is training, and has no interest in things beyond skating. To create a contrast with his personality, for his SP, I went with a passionate mambo. The idea to have him count his score as he skates during competition came from Kubo.

Hiramatsu: Because of his personality, I always draw him alone in the back of group images, but he still looks into the camera. (laughs)

Michele Crispino

Yamamoto: To protect his sis, Michele tries to be threatening to scare off others. This doesn’t work on Emil, so they’re on good terms. 

Kubo: As an Italian who cares about appearance, I made him look like he visits a hairdresser once every two weeks. But I also wanted to add something non-Italian to him, hence the pretty dark personality.

Hiramatsu: Michele also would be a good catch if he shut up.

Emil Nekola

Yamamoto: Emil is rarely scared and there is nothing two-faced about his personality; he doesn’t feel too down when he makes mistakes which means he can still grow and become strong.

Kubo: I googled “Czech, male” and based Emil on one of the first pictures I found. At the beginning Yamamoto was talking about making Emil the most handsome out of the European skaters, but I completely forgot. (haha)

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BOOKS READ IN 2016: the score by elle kennedy 

I look around the front lobby of the dance studio, then meet Dean’s twinkling eyes. “I thought you said you didn’t want to salsa dance. And Dean Di Laurentis only does what he wants, remember?” 

He shrugs. “I am doing what I want.” 

My eyebrows knit together as I wait for him to clarify. 

“I’m making you happy.” 

Squish. That’s the noise my heart makes. Because it’s so fucking full of love it can no longer contain it all.

Little Star Son

I wrote a thing for this post, below. It’s fluffy and self-indulgent, but I hope you like it.

For @powerovernothing as tribute to our lovely conversations, as well as for the title Star Son, because that’s absolutely yours! (It’s pretty unedited, so I’m awful sorry for all of the errors but I was excited to finish it and post. Also, this is an AU where Yondu and Meredith knew each other before Peter was born so, yes, there’s Spacelily):

_

          It’s a brand, a brand that sticks. There’s no going back.

_

          The Terran child, one of Ego’s brats (and the last one to be uprooted from their home by Yondu), had clung to his leg the moment he’d been let up from the makeshift surgery table. They’d been running low on sedative, thus Peter had been awake for much of the last half of his operation. It wasn’t a surprise that, after sobbing for the last twenty minutes or so, Peter immediately twisted himself within Yondu’s long coat. It did take a good minute for Yondu to relax, though, once he felt Peter’s small, shaking hands clutch at his pantleg.

          Had the boy been anyone else, he’d have lost that hand in an instant.

Instead, Yondu indulged him and pulled open his coat to look at the kid concealed there, making eye contact with Peter’s wide, fearful eyes.

“You understand me now, huh kid?” Yondu grunted.

Peter gained enough nerve to nod vigorously, then added, “Yes.”

“That’s ‘yes, sir’ or ‘yes, Captain’, son.” Yondu retorted.

He felt ridiculous standing there, talking to newly acquired cargo in his jacket, but their onboard doctor was busy sterilizing where he’d just performed a hasty operation on Peter and there was no one else around to pay them any mind. If it helped the kid to hide close to Yondu like he was being hunted for sport, then so be it, for now.

Peter’s frightened gaze transformed into one of confusion, then awe, and if Yondu didn’t know any better, there was a good deal of hope sparkling in those big greenish-blue eyes. All the pain that had continued to overwhelm the little boy was still there, but seemed muted in the face of a bigger, more pressing question.

“Are…” Peter’s voice lacked strength. He sounded hoarse and all-too quiet.

          “Whassat? Speak up. I can’ hear ya kid.” Yondu made a show of leaning down and curling a hand around his ear to hear the boy better.

“Are you…” He swallowed, “Are you my Dad?”

          Yondu’s mind went blank.

He slowly pulled the boy from out of his coat and planted the kid in front of him. Peter Quill stood, still shaking like a leaf and now nervous to boot. His head was lowered like expected divine judgement for daring to think he might have family among the stars that would come get him.

          “Mom said that my Dad would come to get me when she was…” It hurt to say it out loud, what became of Meredith Quill. It hurt to even think about when the events were still fresh in Peter’s mind. “She said he was made of light. Called ‘im an… an angel.”  

Yondu snorted. Peter’s father was the farthest thing from an angel.  

          He could connect the dots well enough. The boy was still just that, a boy. He’d become eight standard years of age not long ago, being born right when the leaves on Terran trees changed from green to reds, oranges, and yellows. Following childish logic, Yondu supposed he met enough of the vague description that Meredith had given her son.  

“Yesiree, that I am, Mister Quill.” Yondu replied in a patronizing tone but kept a straight face. He watched as the child’s head whipped up, eyes growing impossibly wider as he looked at Yondu.  

          Peter whispered, breathlessly, hopefully, “Really?”

Yondu was two seconds from laughing in the kid’s face. His dumb, round, adorable and ever-so-hopeful little face…

“Really.” Yondu answered before his brain caught up with his mouth.

_

          It wasn’t hard convincing most of the crew that the kid was his. Recruiting a horde of bloodthirsty, hyperactive men to join up in the ranks of Ravager-dom didn’t require much more than a willingness for thievin’, for killin’, and obedience where the Captain was concerned. Average intelligence wasn’t a necessity.

          Of course, there’d been minimal griping since they’d had to make a good few jumps to reach Terra and once the rest of his horde figured out that this was a child that wasn’t cargo.

But, one whistle was all it took to stop the loudest protestors from getting too big for their britches.

_

Peter was sat in one of the co-pilot seats, strapped in extra tight while Yondu piloted his own personal M-Ship from out of one of Xandar’s seedier ports.

“Why aren’t I blue?”

The Terran was coming out of his shell, gaining more and more courage the longer he spent time among Ravagers – which had to be around a standard six months at this point. It was hard to be a meek and scared child amid a throng of bawdy crooks, especially around those that liked to try and kick him to the floor and pour cheap alien alcohol on his head as a “joke”. Not that that was much of a problem anymore, after Peter had learned to come straight to the Captain. You had to be downright shameless to try picking on the Captain’s son.

          Thankfully, being timid just wasn’t who Peter was, either.

“Ya take more after yer mama than me, boy.” Yondu replied without hesitation. He was a practiced liar, needed to be in his line of work.

“A lot more.” Peter blurted out. The child’s eyes grew comically wide after he realized what he’d just said, but Yondu only laughed.

                      “Yer right there, son. Don’t know that much about Terran biology – guess the genes and whatnot are pretty dominant from yer mama’s species.”      

Peter frowned, mulling over the new information. He sat back and was silent for long enough to where Yondu assumed that that had been enough questions for the trip back to the Eclector.

“But I’m still yer boy, right?” Peter proved him wrong, leaning as far over the edge of his seat as he could. “For sure?”

          An expert at lying his ass off or not, Yondu figured that Peter didn’t need much in the way of convincing that Yondu was his daddy, not when he was so anxious to believe in it. “Sure as the day is long.”

Peter giggled; for the first time since he’d entered space, Yondu realized. The sound was light, almost musical – familiar too, but Yondu ignored the pang in his heart over making that connection.

          “Mom always said that.” Peter giggled.

_

At one point, even those closest to Yondu were begging for a leash to clip around the kid’s waist.

“He’s wearin’ everybody out, Cap’n.” Kraglin all but whined. He, Tullk, and Vorker were lined up on the bridge and Vorker had one arm wrapped around Peter’s knees while the kid swung upside down gleefully. Little shit seemed to think it was a game being ten feet from having his head split open by the metal floor below him.

          Yondu spat. “Ya tellin’ me my men can’t keep up wit’ a Terran brat?”

“It’s not that, it’s jus’ –”

“You all call yerselves Ravagers.” Yondu shook his head in disgust, keeping his harried glances at Peter still dangling precariously to as much of a minimum as possible. “Tch. Sound more like wusses ta me.”

“Take it easy, Cap’n.” Tullk cut in, stepping forward. “It’s not tha’ we cannae keep up with little Peter here, we jus’ thought it’d make sense to make watchin’ him a full time job. He’s always lookin’ for trouble.”

          “Found him in one of the vents this morning, took all day to get him out.” Vorker said. He was a soft-spoken man with a shifty cybernetic eye and a scrawny frame that made him appear fragile for all intents and purposes. He wasn’t.

Kraglin wrung his hands together. “We got more important shit to do than spend all day to get Peter outta the vents, Cap’n. With all due respect.”

“Kraglin’s jus’ mad cus he got stuck tryin’ ta get me out!” Peter finally chimed in. He tried to cross his arms, but all the blood rushing to his head was surely disorientating. “I wasn’t stuck neither! I got out when I wanted ta, without no help.”

          Yondu had had it by the time Kraglin leveled a truly childish glare at Peter and ordered the boy be let down.

“Yer wastin’ my time and yers, boys. If ya’ll can’t hack it and look out fer yer own, might as well throw ya out the airlock for not obeyin’ the Code.”

The captain eyed them all, one by one, as if daring them each to say another word.

Vorker cracked first. “Captain -”

          Yondu whistled, and like a lightning bolt the arrow struck out and headed straight for Vorker’s eye. The good one.

          Tullk, Kraglin, and Vorker (though slightly unsteady) raised their hands simultaneously to concede. It was a smart move, not only for Vorker whom would’ve potentially lost his last organic eye, but for all of them, even Yondu. He wasn’t dense. Peter was a full time job, and this was blatant favoritism. But then the three of them should’ve minded that in the first place and not put their captain up to taking sides.

                      They retreated just as they came, only Kraglin sparing a pitiful look back as if he were hurt, before the bridge was cleared.

“Dad!”

Peter was upright, scampering toward Yondu with a big grin. “Can I try an’ use the arrow too?”

          His demeanor toward Yondu’s weapon of choice had seemingly changed overnight. Yondu could remember the first time he’d aimed his arrow directly at Horuz’s eye in front of Peter, and how he’d nearly lost the damn thing when Peter had snagged not long after that confrontation. It’d been a struggle to get it back from the child, but Peter had been adamant about Yondu, whom he’d been shy about referring to as his father in the earlier days aboard, not killing anybody.

Horuz had been one of the worst, most spiteful pricks toward Peter since he’d been catapulted from cargo to a secure place as Yondu’s spawn – yet Peter hadn’t wanted him to die.

Yondu had managed to wrestle it away from Peter, not by force but by getting down to the child’s level and reasoning with him, of all things. And that’d eventually done the trick, with Peter surrendering the arrow with only minor reluctance.

Now, not long since he’d first come to wreak havoc on their lives, he was damn near foaming at the mouth to try and use it himself.

          “Why?” Yondu asked. “You got someone you need ta ‘take care of’?”

“No, not exactly.” Peter scuffed his toe. “It’s just cool when you make ‘em do what’cha want when you whistle and it just goes –”

          Peter mimed the motion of the arrow zipping through the air and stopped in front of his own face with a whoosh-ing noise.

                      “I see. You just wanna be like yer ol’ man an’ scare everybody shitless.” Yondu chortled.

“Yeah!” Peter cheered back. Lord only knew he was stuck on being like Yondu and not too attentive to the idea of scaring others.

Yondu ruffled Peter’s already tousled hair with a grin of his own. There was no denying the genuine pride that Yondu felt over being thought of as cool by Meredith’s kid, even when Yondu was supposed to stay mad at Peter and particularly if it was inspiring Peter to want the impossible.

He should’ve told the kid as much, quashed his hopes before they got too high.

He didn’t. “You keep practicin’ that whistle o’ yours, son. Maybe we get you a little some’in of yer own when you’re a proper Ravager.”

_

In between the heists and hustles that made-up Ravager livelihood, Peter developed a knack for asking as many questions as he could before the day was out. If anything, Yondu believed that all Peter did aside from running up and down the Eclector and tricking Kraglin into the ventilation shafts and sassin’ Horuz and makin’ a mess of the Captain’s quarters with drawings on makeshift sketch paper and driving Yondu to threaten him with cannibalism if he didn’t quit stealin’ those stupid ass stickers and putting them on Yondu’s coattails was ask a million and one questions.

          “Can I have flames and arrows on mah coat?” Peter practically squeaked, trying to grab at the Ravager flames pinned trustily to his breast pocket.

          Most were irritating.

Peter pouted. “Why don’t the rest of the crew got their own beds?”

“Are my teeth gonna look like yours when the baby ones fall out?” Peter gulped.

Some were downright frivolous.

          “Are there movies in space?” Peter rambled.

He pondered aloud. “How come some Xandarians are peachy-colored like Kraglin but others are pink?”

Few were just met with frustration.

          “Am I still yer boy?”

But some were… some questions cut too deep. Sometimes Peter’s questions, innocently spoken, were about as piercingly felt as an arrow into one’s heart.

“Why weren’t you there? When Mom died?”

          The boy fidgeted with his Walkman. He’d come up to sit on the floor next to Yondu after spending the better half of the day scrubbing down the floor of the loading dock. Yondu would never get used to Peter’s incessant need to always find where he was and stick to him after a job was done, regardless of whether Yondu had another task for the kid or not.

          It was like Peter wanted to be around him, without any kind of ulterior motive, or any good, sensible reason at all.

Yondu stopped in his tracks to observe Peter sitting near where he could best look out at the sea of stars around them. He looked oh-so-small just sitting there, waiting for an answer. The tune of ooh-child wasn’t as cranked up as usual, but it was noticeable in the restless silence between them.  

          “Couldn’t be there.” Yondu said finally. “Where yer from there ain’t people like me… like us, Petey. You was lucky not to be born wit’ the worst of yer daddy. ‘Sides, I was away takin’ care of the ship when yer mama got sick.”

“And a Ravager ship ain’t no place for a lady and her baby.” Yondu finished quietly and left it at that.

                      Or he meant to leave it at that. It would be better to let Peter live with the hard, if not slightly altered, truth and learn from it. He genuinely couldn’t have taken care of Meredith and Peter before the woman had fallen ill, he’d been out of the loop shortly after Peter’s birth. The only reason Yondu had gotten to Peter at the right time and place had been attributed to coincidental circumstances too numerous to trace back and perfect timing that paved way for what could only be considered a tragedy.

He meant to leave it at that.

“Come ‘ere, son.”

          There was no one of the bridge but them two, so Yondu sat down in the pilot’s seat and motioned for Peter to come to him. When he was within arm’s reach, Yondu scooped him up and sat Peter on his lap before pulling an unlikely little keepsake from out of his pocket.

It wasn’t a goofy trinket or bobble, or a shiny bit of cheap plastic. It was a picture.

Yondu lifted a polaroid up to the boy’s face. “Here.”

Meredith Quill had always been proud of what Yondu, and any respectable lifeform beyond the middle of nowhere where Terra was located, considered primitive technology. He wouldn’t ever forget her stupid, heavy stereo and its finicky antennae that blared music throughout that dingy country house of hers. Or of what she proudly referred to as the garbage disposal which was apparently ‘top-notch’ and had nearly ground his fingers up a time or two.

Or of what she called a polaroid camera, a flashing, obnoxious device that you clicked so it would spit square images into your hand that took time just to formulate. He’d complained about it being obsolete and useless for the most part, only to surprise Mere one day by jumping out from behind the door and snapping dozens of pictures of her. She’d come from a double shift as a waitress, feet aching, hair frazzled, and bone tired – but she’d laughed and laughed at his uncharacteristic moment of playfulness as if it were the funniest thing in the world.

          “Took this of yer mama before you was born. Nearly made herself sick, laughin’ at your poor daddy.” Yondu said. His explanation did little to lighten the atmosphere, but it didn’t matter in the end. Peter took the picture from Yondu and held it reverently in both hands.

          “Oh.” He looked awed at seeing the image of his mother (happy, healthy, whole) before his gaze turned longing. Small fingers came up to graze at Meredith’s frozen face as Yondu looked on over Peter’s shoulder.

“Hi, Mom.”

_

          “It ain’t like you, bein’ so quiet boy.” Yondu said. He sat on his haunches, barely noticing the pain that crept into his leg muscles from having to crouch at such an awkward angle.  

          One of Peter’s hands moved to clutch at the lapel of Yondu’s coat, and the boy twisted and toyed with the cloth absentmindedly. It wasn’t a unique gesture on the child’s part, as Yondu had come to recognize Peter’s odd little quirks and motions that signified what he wanted without him saying as much. The child wouldn’t look him in the eye, but he was communicating a need to be coddled nonetheless.

          It’d been a relatively lazy expedition for the Ravagers. They were technically in the middle of a mission, but it was slow goin’ just getting to where they needed to be, and Yondu had spent most of his time inspecting the ship. He and his little shadow had certainly gotten a good deal of exercise touring the quadrants before Peter had begun to move at a snail’s pace and Yondu was forced to double back and find where his dumb kid was lost at.

“Tired.” Peter mumbled.

His head dipped forward slightly as though it’d grown too heavy to keep upright. He was about to slump into Yondu’s chest haphazardly if Yondu didn’t reach out first and pull him forward.

                      Yondu sighed, already knowing the answer to his own question. “I’m guessin’ you can’t make it to bed on your own two legs?”

Peter, instinctively, wrapped his skinny arms around Yondu’s neck and buried his face in the hollow of Yondu’s shoulder, while Yondu adjusted his grip on the boy and stood up. He grunted, ignoring the pain in his calves as his legs stretched, and then strode off from the hangar bay.

          If any of the rest of the team had something to say about seeing their gruff captain with a small child swaddled in his arms, it went unsaid.

The time it took to reach Captain’s quarters was minimal, and Peter had been jarred enough to break out of his stupor so that Yondu could set him down. Peter fumbled to get his coat off, tugging at the sleeves like a tiger cub until he was finally released. He left his coat on the floor in his pursuit to make it to the bed, trying to crawl up onto the mattress by way of grabbing onto various pelts and ratty quilts as leverage.

Yondu grunted. “Boots, kid.”

He shrugged off his own Ravagers’ coat and tossed it over a low-hanging pipe. Reaching down, he picked Peter’s jacket from off the ground to hang it up with his own without much grumbling. He began to unbuckle a few of the less-than comfortable parts of his uniform and watched out of the corner of his eye as Peter sluggishly pull at his shoes. The kid was practically in a nose-dive while he leaned down to concentrate on how to pry his boots off with the little energy he still had. Yondu couldn’t help but grin, chuckling quietly at the sight; the boy was hopeless.

Not even a sour-faced Kree fanatic could deny that Peter was damn adorable.  

“Here, Petey, I gotcha.”

Yondu moved to help him, fitting large hands over the tongue of one boot and then the other to pull them off effortlessly. He got a face full of wiggly toes within holey socks before Peter scooted back while muttering what sounded like a ‘thank you’, and dove into the bed sheets.

Scrubbing a hand over his face, Yondu walked to the other side of the bed and lay down without ceremony, having shorn off his own boots moments prior, and lie down on his side. The man didn’t have to wait long for Peter to scoot over and all but throw himself into Yondu’s body. He sought out Yondu’s warmth without hesitation, and hooked his hands wherever he could into Yondu’s tunic to keep them warm, or more accurately to make sure he had a good grip in case Yondu began to disappear into thin air while Peter slept.  

          Yondu let the child be, although he couldn’t find it in himself to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep effortlessly. He was exhausted, there was no doubt about that, but privately his mind whirled like a cesspool. Yondu was an awful lot of awful things, but had he been on par with his crew in terms of intelligence, he wouldn’t be able to claim his saving grace of Captain of the Ravagers at all.

           But then, if you asked Stakar and his former friends, there would be little tolerance to even mention Yondu’s name and the title in the same sentence. Especially not now, while Yondu claimed Ego’s son as his own, while Yondu paraded around with the boy tucked close to his side and gave his own crew a hell of a time in accommodating said boy above nearly everything and everyone else.

“Dad?” Peter was barely audible above the thrum of the ship surrounding them.

“Hn?”  

“’m I… still…” Peter yawned softly. “… yer boy?”

          Yondu sighed and stared off at the far wall. He patted the kid’s back vaguely, gently, while the images of Stakar’s disappointed scowl faded away from his mind.

Rather than feel frustrated with that infernal question this time, Yondu felt a deep ache in his chest. It was too difficult to face at times, the desperation and the crave for love that Peter had. What was even more harrowing to think about was how, unlike most, Peter wanted nothing more than to return that love. The kid was soft-hearted and stubborn when it came to making others feel worthwhile, especially those that gave him the time of day. And at the top of Petey’s list, just below the memory of Meredith Quill, was Yondu.

He didn’t deserve this. He didn’t deserve Peter’s trust, his confidence, the pride that Peter bestowed on Yondu like he didn’t have to earn it. He didn’t deserve for Peter to love him like a father.

In his brooding, Yondu imagined Meredith Quill smiling, Meredith with her head thrown back in a laugh, teasing him over his unsuccessful and nigh-on painful attempt at singing one of those fool love songs from her bulky stereo. He saw Peter, tiny and new to the galaxy, begin to whimper in the crook of his arm before Yondu smoothed a thumb over the child’s forehead. Peter, still small, reaching out to point at a particularly bright star beyond the ship window, and looking back at the Centaurian to make sure he saw Peter’s find.

“Course you are, Pete.”

To hell with Stakar, and all the rest of them and their judgement. To hell with what the crew thought, with what was good or should be. He was a goddamn captain: he made the rules around here and the whole goddamn galaxy was gonna live with it.

“You sure?” Peter asked.

          Yondu looked down. Peter stared at him from the crook of the man’s arm, face squished together in an exaggerated pout and eyes barely able to stay open, just to hear what he wanted to hear.

          “Sure as the day is long, kiddo.” Yondu replied dutifully.

Peter smiled sleepily. “M’kay… Night… Night, Dad…”

          Yondu reached up to card his fingers through Peter’s hair, thumb smoothing over his forehead like he’d done when Peter was just a babe.

“Night, son.” Yondu said, to a little boy whom was already fast asleep.

_

          You go home to your mother and father and grow up to be strong and straight. And, Joey… take care of them, both of them.

_          

On Paper

He failed my class. It really wasn’t even a close call. I couldn’t do the 2-point mercy bump. 

It wasn’t for a lack of trying on either of our parts. Yeah, he could have put more effort into homework, but “home” isn’t easy for him in a year of personal transition. He could have studied to improve his quiz and test scores. But in class, he tried his hardest. Always had his hand raised. Not the best reader, but always the first to volunteer. If I needed a favor or an errand, he’d be there before I got the request out of my mouth. 

He had his off days too. He could be a nudge. We’d go out into the hall and have a little chat, and he’d admit he was off. I said, “One step at a time,” mimicking a book we read in class that he loved. And he’d go back in and hold it together.

When we received teacher thank you’s, he wrote to me. “Thank you for believing in me when no one else did.” I sat at my desk, with tears in my eyes because I didn’t think he’d write to me and I certainly didn’t think he’d write that.

So when I sat down to give my “thank you’s” in the form of awards, I had to repay the debt. I couldn’t congratulate him on his grades, so I gave him a well-deserved participation award. His face lit up when I said his name. My teammate said when he returned from the stage, he sat there staring at the paper with a smile. When I returned, he pointed at me and I pointed back. And then I had to turn around and pull it together. It was the only award he received and he carried it like a trophy.

I requested him for summer school. I know it doesn’t look like we made strides, but we did and I want to send him to 8th grade with that momentum.

On paper, this was a failure. On paper, he dropped my passing rate and lost me a point in APPR. On paper, his reading scores dropped. On paper, I didn’t do my best for him. On paper, this whole year was a waste for both of us. 

And this is the problem with education today. You can’t measure fruitless diligence and dedication. You can’t prove someone is doing their best when their best isn’t hitting expectations set for other kids. You cannot give points for pulling it together on a bad day. You cannot assess heart. These are all impossible things to quantify. 

It wasn’t a failure. It was a success in every way but one.

edin dzeko went from living through the bosnian war in the 1990s as a kid, having to hide, living in poverty and not being able to have a normal childhood to becoming bosnia’s greatest ever player, scoring loads of goals, winning a bundesliga title, winning two premier league titles, and still being looked down upon and criticised with every opportunity people get, but at least he is now in a good league in which he was the top goal scorer last season and at a club where he is loved and respected

My prompt for the DBQ was to write about the Populist Movement and I realized I was screwed when I said to myself “… What’s the Populist Movement”

I don’t buy it - Jon isn’t “a northern fool”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!! SPOILERS FOR LEAKED EP 6 AHEAD !!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just don’t buy it. I still believe that Jon is playing Danielle (btw we are using this name so it won’t show up in the search, not as an insult), going “undercover” as he did with the wildlings, to ensure she helps against the white walkers. Want to know why? Keep reading, but I warn you this got … very, very, very long. 

Keep reading

Knuckles : Boxer!Ashton (Part 7)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven  | Part Eight

[Following anyone/everyone who leaves some form of thoughtful feedback x]

- Knuckles Playlist


“He won.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

“Then don’t say that!”

“Well I’m pretty sure!”

“Why is it taking so long?”

“It was a pretty even match.”

“One beer left, anyone want it–”

“Shhh!” You and Calum break from your bickering to join forces in shushing Kennedy.

She rolls her eyes from behind the couch, turning on her heels to retreat back into the kitchen.

“Wait, I do.” Calum realizes what she was asking and corrects his manners, holding his hand out to collect the drink.

Kennedy scoffs and gives the can a good shake before handing it over.

“Prick,” Calum mutters, placing on the coffee table the beer that he now has to wait to open.

You squirm on the couch beside him, leaning forward to rest your elbows on your knees, wide eyes glued to the TV screen. It’s been impossible for you to sit still since the match began, and even moreso now that the results are taking forever to come in. The pressure of the fight’s importance only adds to your usual discomfort, the impact that a win will have on either boxers’ career going to be colossal, and you really, really want it to go toward the one that you’re pulling for.

Keep reading

One of these days I should actually write up, like, “a fannish guide to C-PTSD and BPD” for people who aren’t mental health professionals, so that people understand what I mean when I say a character sets off my trauma radar. 

I’m writing that kind of thing for work–trying to explain these disorders to people who have them, since I can write from the perspective of having them, and so much psychological literature is essentially written by therapists as a way of teaching other therapists how to treat people, not about how to live as one of those people. But it’s hard–hard to constantly dig up my perspective and re-root it in a different position, when I’m so used to being clinically detached; hard to concisely explain things that took years of experience to learn. 

I struggle also with my position in fandom?  I don’t like being in a position of authority over knowledge, telling people what to think and what’s correct or incorrect. Especially in the mental health field, I go out of my way to de-emphasize my systemic power and build up peoples’ knowledge over their own lives. So I don’t want to say, you know, “That neurodivergent headcanon is incorrect!” or anything like that, ever.  

On the other hand, I do kind of want to explain the frankly excessive amount of thought that goes into some of my own headcanons, because when people go, “You can’t just slap these labels on characters! You’re not an expert!” I’m like… I can slap these labels on people, not just fictional characters. I can legally diagnose people. I kind of am an expert. So I’m not coming at this from the same place as someone who’s read the Abnormal chapter of their Psychology 101 textbook. XD

And somehow, telling people, “Just read three or four of these books” has a low success rate.

Honestly let’s go down this rabbit hole. 

Reverse AU where Yuuri quits at 25 at the top of the game after realizing the mental exhaustion of skating and fighting his anxiety isn’t worth it. He spends 2 years putting himself through rigorous therapy, touching back with his family as a support system, and slowly taking steps towards reclaiming himself as something other than a skater. At 27 he makes his first appearance on the scene as an interviewer/announcer for the GPF in Sochi. 

 People tune in expecting to hear Yuuri talking about a comeback…but instead they get him talking about his anxiety publicly for the first time in his life. He talks about his new dog Vic-chan that is a support dog to help his anxiety. How he’s taking medication and going to therapy now. How much happier he is. The only moment that trips him up is when one of them says, “Do you miss skating.” 

A sharp breath. A hand digging itself into the leather of his chair. A forced little smile that made people nostalgic for his glory days. “No. I don’t.” The laugh was a dry thing in his throat that neither of the other commentators say anything about. They couldn’t as Victor Nikiforov, age 23, took to the ice for his first GPF. 

And ate 2/3 of it on his way out.  

Eventually the box goes silent as Victor gives a final bow in the middle of the ice, barely holding back the tears stinging his eyes. No coach meets him at the kiss ‘n cry as Yakov left halfway through his skate. He curls in on himself as the scores are read, and leaves the moment he is allowed mumbling “No questions” as anchors surround him desperate to catch the crack in his voice. He doesn’t let them. 

Yuuri is only a little successful in not seeing himself in that skater. 

Yuuri can’t drink because of his medication so he hangs back during the banquet…until he sees Victor on his 3rd glass and decides he really won’t let this be his past. His hand covers the rim right before Victor can take a drink making the 6th place finalist splutter in anger. And then fall into silence when he sees THE Yuuri Katsuki. 

“You’re Yuuri Katsuki.” “I am.” “You just ruined my drink.” “You shouldn’t be drinking. It won’t make it easier.” “How do you know?” “Trust me.” “Do you wanna dance?” 

“Will it stop you from drinking.” 
“We’ll see.” 

The next morning Yuuri wakes up with a number on his arm that is halfway scrubbed off before realizing it. The day after that Yakov Feltsman announces that Victor Nikiforov is no longer his skater. 

A week after that Victor Nikiforov, with recently chopped hair, skates “Yuri Victor On Ice” 

Yuuri takes a chance. 

yagi-h  asked:

Is there statistical proof that players react better to characters that are like them? Sure, the role of the "self-insert" character is important in a story, but though many readers look through the Frodo's eyes while reading, he scores pretty low in many voting lists. Meanwhile, Gandalf, Aragorn and Legolas, characters that the readers/viewers look up to, occupy the top spots. So what's with the fixation of making sure everyone gets a character identical to them, down to the hair color?

Let’s explore this idea. Below are the top 25 grossing movie franchises:

1) Marvel Cinematic Universe - Mostly humans (albeit many with superhuman abilities). Has gods, but they look human.

2) Star Wars - Has lots of aliens and droids. Main characters mostly human though.

3) James Bond - All humans.

4) Harry Potter - Moat characters are technically wizards but essentially humans. Has some fantastical creatures.

5) Fast and the Furious - All the main characters are human. One could argue cars are kind of characters.

6) Transformers - Here the cars are literally characters. First on the list to have main characters not be human although every movie has had its POV protagonist be human.

7) Despicable Me - Main characters are human. Minions do get a lot of screen time though.

8) X-Men - The heroes are technically mutants but essentially human in appearance and demeanor.

9) Jurassic Park - The main characters are always human, but obviously the dinosaurs are the Draw of the franchise.

10) Pirates of the Caribbean - Primarily Pirates but other than a few dead ones, mostly human.

11) Mission Impossible - All humans.

12) Spider-man - Protagonist and antagonists are superhuman but human nonetheless.

13) Toy Story - This is the second franchise where they main characters aren’t human but toys. The main characters are facsimiles of humans.

14) Ice Age - Not only are the main characters animals, but humans have had very little screen time in this franchise.

15) Indiana Jones - All human.

16) DC Cinematic Universe - Superhumans, some of which are human, some of which while technically not human pass easily for human.

17) Kung Fu Panda - This is another IP filled with animals. Unlike Ice Age, these animals primarily act like humans, walking on two legs, using martial arts, etc.

18) Terminator - Main characters are humans but robots get a lot of screen time.

19) Star Trek - Mostly humans with a few aliens that look a lot like humans with a little face make-up.

20) Planet of the Apes - Another IP where the main characters are not humans but apes. Like Transformers, movies also have a human POV protagonist.

21) Alien - The bad guys are not human but mostly everyone else is including all the main characters.

22) Jason Bourne - All humans.

23) Men In Black - Main characters are mostly human, but lots of aliens.

24) Rocky - All humans.

25) Die Hard - All humans.

So, of the top twenty-five grossing movie franchises, only five can be argued as not primarily being about humans, three of which are animated. Both of the non-animated ones always have its protagonist be human. Of the animated ones, only Ice Age don’t have the characters anthropomorphized.

The fixation on humans is because that’s what works.

(mike drop)

: )

Witnessing a World Record - Hope & Legacy in Helsinki

I have so many thoughts and stories I want to share from the 2017 World Championships in Helsinki, but I’ll start with Yuzuru Hanyu’s world recording breaking free skate which is obviously the thing I want to talk about most! It’s been 3 days since the men’s free program and the excitement and joy still lingers and has definitely put me in a good mood even as I return to work (hopefully this will last all the way to WTT!). I have a lot to say on this so bear with me as this will be long.

After the men’s SP on Thursday I think many Yuzu fans that I met and spoke with were quite depressed and there were a lot of doom-and-gloom talks going on (would he even medal, will he take silver to Javi AGAIN, etc etc). The one thing we did say repeatedly in our conversations was that it wasn’t over yet, and that he still had a chance to win gold but he would probably need to be clean in order to do so, and that is exactly what he did.

The nervous feeling for the men’s free started up immediately after the pairs free program ended the night before, up until that point that day I was able to distract myself with the other competitions but at that point it felt imminent and real. That night in the hotel room I was stress eating instant noodles late at night (I guess Boyang likes to celebrate this way) while I wrapped up the Winnie-the-Pooh I got to toss on the ice, the gift I got for Yuzu, and wrote the card to go with it. After the SP I had stuck the little Yuzu buttons I had made on the Winnie-the-Pooh and held it as I went to sleep the next two nights, that thing really brought me some comfort over a couple of days. Each morning housekeeping would make our beds and place our Pooh bears neatly on the bed, I have to wonder what they thought of all the Poohs and toys in our hotel room!

That same night I was stress eating the noodles I remembered that I had brought a bag of Bourbon Lumonde snacks (from the “mou chotto” meme) that I happened to find at a local Daiso shop before I left home. Now, I’m not superstitious, but I had meant to eat one of the snacks before the SP for good luck - as if I was eating and making the bit that was lacking disappear. Sadly, I totally forget the bag in my hotel room the day of the SP because we left early to get a good seat to watch morning practice that day. Well, I remembered them that night and immediately dug them up and made my friend and I eat one each that night to eat away all doubts! I took the rest of the bag with me the day of the free and told my friends that we would eat ALL of the bag before Yuzu skated his free skate (and we did during the last ice resurfacing).

As the final group was preparing to get on the ice I grabbed my Hope and Legacy banner in preparation and my wrapped up Pooh bear to hold for support. As they did the skater intros Yuzu kept moving around to keep his body warm, he looked extremely focused. He started the warm-up with a nice 3Lz but then fell on a 3A which I’m sure made the audience stand on edge since he rarely fails to land his axels. Once warm-up ended I looked up at the seconds on the jumbotron to make sure he wasn’t in danger of having a time violation again, but he promptly took his place this time. Then the program began.

What happened over the next 4 minutes and 30 seconds was nothing short of magic. As he landed his 4Lo the cheers and applause erupted but were quickly silenced until he landed the following quad salchow to which we all erupted again. After each jump I would applaud as hard as I could, then quickly clutch the Pooh bear again. Once the triple flip was completed and we moved into the second half of the program it seemed like everyone in the arena held their breath as we waited for the 4S3T combo. When he landed the salchow and then the toe beautifully everyone cheered the loudest, as if we all knew this combo had plagued him in the free the entire season. The relief was short-lived as he set up for the 4T and the tension increased again, and then he proceeded to land the most beautiful 4T he’s done in the second half yet! I was stunned by how magnificent it was, but was still waiting for the axels. With each element being completed I felt the elation inside build and build, I could hardly believe what I was witnessing and I felt delirious. 

As Yuzu exited his spin to begin his choreographic sequence everyone started applauding and cheering and that intensified with his hydroblade and ina bauer up until the set up for the 3Lz where it went nearly silent. Once he landed the final lutz the audience went absolutely crazy! The applause and the cheers continued until the end of the program as nearly everyone got on their feet. I remember clapping like crazy and shouting non-stop, I was so excited I was waving my banner around and jumping up and down for who-knows how long after it was over. The girl beside me was so moved she was crying, after the program we looked at each other and gave each other a hug even though we had never spoken a word to each other the entire competition. The excitement was palpable, and the audience in Helsinki was so supportive for all skaters, it really felt as if this program and this skate unified the audience and we reacted as a collective as he showed us something unbelievable. It felt as if my entire body was charged, I knew that no one would be topping that free skate that night and just hoped that it would be enough to take the title.

My seat was just above the Kiss and Cry, as Yuzu stepped off the ice he gave a hug to Brian and to Tracy. Can I just say I loved seeing Tracy rink side during the entire competition? I know she’s usually busy doing commentary but I hope next season she finds the opportunity to be at the rink side and Kiss and Cry with her students, she does just as much as Brian does and I think the skaters also appreciate her presence. The scores were ready pretty quickly, and I knew we were in for a new world record, as the announcer enthusiastically proclaimed, “223.20 points,” the crowd exploded again. Also, looking at the protocols I think if Yuzu had skated later in the last group we would’ve seen higher GOE for his jumps. They were immaculate. I loved the reaction of all three in the Kiss and Cry - Brian smiling proudly, Yuzu looking up with his eyes wide then closed as he basked in joy in near tears, and Tracy who was calm and collected until the score registered with her and she looked on in disbelief.

I think after Yuzu’s performance I was in an incredibly good mood, everything and everyone’s programs seemed 10x more enjoyable, even the ice dance free afterward seemed more exciting. As each skater in the final group skated I checked on the real-time scores on the ISU site to see what score they needed in order to take the lead, and Yuzu’s scores held for the remainder of the night as we were treated to some other fantastic performances in the final group. When it came time for Javi to skate and I watched his program unfold I knew that Yuzu had succeeded and I couldn’t believe he was able to move from 5th to 1st in such a stunning fashion. I clapped so much and so hard I think I bruised my left hand since it hurt the next day.

As Javi’s scores were read and I noticed the final ranking of the podium I yelped for joy (sorry, Javi, I couldn’t help my honest reaction). Yuzu, Shoma, and Boyang had been the dream podium I told my friends I wanted at the very start of the season and I was in partial disbelief that it had actually happened. I was recording the medal ceremony, and as the audience stood for the Japanese national anthem the arena went silent. As the song began to play I could quietly hear the audience in the distance singing the lyrics together (I wonder if it’s audible in my fancam video?) and I just lost it.

I’m not Japanese, but the moment was so sweet, so unifying, and so gratifying that I had a brief flashback to the medal ceremony in Boston the year before which was the first competition I had ever attended. I had decided to go to Boston instead of Barcelona that season because it was within the US and I felt sure I’d be going to witness Yuzu reclaim his world title. The memory of the sad feeling and watching Yuzu go through the medal ceremony to receive the silver medal in Boston was so excruciating that I’ve never watched it again. Thinking back on that moment, with the voice of the audience singing the national anthem in my ear, and seeing Yuzu standing atop the podium the tears just started welling up in my eyes and I began to cry. Before my trip to Helsinki started I had told friends I had met in Boston that I hope no matter what I don’t end up crying during the gala again (Yuzu’s Requiem in Boston hit me hard). I don’t think I’ve ever cried from happiness before, but these were probably the best kind of happy tears. I wasn’t expecting to be moved so much but it came from a place of joy. It felt like we, and he, had been waiting so long for this moment to come. The journey to his second world title had seemed so long and full of obstacles. From Cup of China all the way to Worlds in Helsinki, the weight of it seemed to sink in and I couldn’t help crying. As I was recording with the tears in my eyes and my running nose, a kind Hartwall staffer came up to me and handed me a tissue in an act of kindness that warmed my heart (you may or may not hear my crying in the fancam…).

While I witnessed Yuzu’s perfect Ballade SP in Boston which nearly set a new world record, that experience and this felt very different. Perhaps it was the fact that we knew he had to fight in the free skate and be perfect to have a hope at winning the title that added to the drama and excitement of it. It also felt like there was a larger Japanese crowd in Helsinki than in Boston (Boston felt like more Americans and Canadians) and the audience in general was super supportive for all skaters. I was elated in Boston after the SP, and I had a similar elation here for the FS but it felt magnified ten times over. The entire free skate it felt as if the audience was one in supporting him - it’s a feeling I won’t forget and will treasure for a long time. After the medal ceremony a group of fans from the FB group met up in the concourse, there were hugs and high fives all around and no one could contain their excitement. It felt like we had witnessed the impossible! I’m so glad I decided to come to Worlds in Helsinki, I hadn’t decided on it until Skate Canada came around but I’m so glad I did as I would’ve missed out on a spectacular event and witnessing Yuzu set a new world record.

Another fun tidbit - after the medal ceremony Yuzu took a photo with Grishlan (I don’t think I’m spelling his name right) and then handed him his bouquet.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on for much longer than I anticipated. I’ll try to do write-ups of the other events and the rest of the men in the coming days. To all the fans I met in Helsinki, and to Yuzu and all the other skaters, thank you for making this an unforgettable experience.

happy-amateur  asked:

Funny how every one of those senators complaining about how federal power can jeopardize education all voted in favor of Devos. They can't even keep their rice-paper-thin excuses consistent.

I suspect a lot of them are anti-public schools and pro-private Christian charter schools, both of which are in line with DeVos’s own attitudes toward education. 

Mother Jones has a very good article here on the kinds of things that DeVos values and pays for–and the probable results of her policies:

Michigan now serves as one of the most prominent examples of what aggressive, DeVos-style school choice policies look like on the ground, especially when it comes to expanding charters. About 80 percent of the state’s charter schools are run by for-profit companies—a much higher share than anywhere else in the country—with little oversight from the state. In 2011, DeVos fought against legislation to stop low-performing charter schools from expanding, and later she and her husband funded legislators who opposed a proposal to add new oversight for Detroit’s charters.

Detroit, in particular, provides a cautionary tale of what happens when the ideology of market-driven “school choice” trumps the focus on student outcomes. The city’s schools—where 83 percent of students are black and 74 percent are poor—have been in steady decline since charter schools started proliferating: Public school test scores in math and reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have remained the worst among large cities since 2009. In June, the New York Times published a scathing investigation of the city’s school district, which has the second-biggest share of students in charters in America. (New Orleans is No. 1.) Reporter Kate Zernike concluded that lax oversight by the state and insufficiently regulated growth—including too many agencies that are allowed to open new charter schools—contributed to a chaotic system marked by “lots of choice, with no good choice.”

A 2015 study from Michigan State University’s Education Policy Center found that a high percentage of charter schools also had a devastating impact on the finances of poor Michigan school districts like Detroit. Researchers reported that, under the state’s school choice and finance laws, it was hard for districts to keep traditional public schools afloat when charters reached 20 percent or more of enrollment. While per-student public funding follows kids to charters or other districts, traditional public schools still have fixed costs to cover, like building expenses and faculty salaries. Charter growth also increased the share of special-needs students left behind in traditional public schools, and the extra costs for educating such students weren’t adequately reimbursed by the state.