so it seems my nine characters thing is going to be in no specific order

Brooklyn Nine Nine High School | 1

Overview: Brooklyn Nine Nine High School has an odd assortment of staff. Jake Peralta’s students get the highest grades in any English class, despite his carefree attitude, much to the annoyance of his by-the-book colleague, Amy Santiago, who can’t seem to find a way to make math class fun. Finals are coming up, and all the students are stressed. Gina can’t take any more kids coming to her, crying over their report cards, drowning away their sorrows through substance abuse. Rosa’s getting tired of chasing after students that are smuggling cans of beer. Principal Holt expects the teachers to make sure Brooklyn Nine Nine doesn’t lose its place as the #11 best high school in New York by the end of the year.

Author’s Notes: AU where the characters of Brooklyn Nine Nine work in a high school. Jake is the English teacher, Amy teaches math, Charles teaches Home Ec, Gina is the guidance counselor, Terry is the gym teacher, Scully teaches art class, Hitchcock teaches chemistry, Rosa is the security guard, and Holt is the principal.

Tags: @iwantyoutochooseme @jasonblossomsghost @dorkperalta @notsarasblog @diamantecioccolato @peraltiagoisland @umbreellaa @kukkiduchess @captainswan618 @queennhowell @notnormalalert @countessklair @catnolannn @victorieschild  @wheneverinrome @stardust-on-the-tardis @magnxtize

Ratings: T

Warnings: Beyoncé. IDK if y’all need a warning for this but here ya go.

Word Count: 1,659

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Chapter One: The Beybeys Are Late

“Peralta, you’re three minutes early. For once, you’re not late. I’m impressed,” Principal Holt nodded as the English teacher walked into the teachers’ lounge, hair still ratted, teeth barely brushed, wearing a sweatshirt on top of his pajama pants that he forgot to change out of.

“He probably got up early so he wouldn’t miss his morning cartoons,” Amy Santiago said with a smug look. She sat on the couch; legs crossed, back straight, arms folded over her three binders, containing the lesson plan for her geometry class. She arrived an hour early, since she has five alarms that makes sure she wakes up in time to put together a healthy breakfast and shower. Her pantsuit didn’t have a single wrinkle, and not a strand of her chestnut hair was out of place. She sipped her black coffee and sat back in her seat.

Gina strutted in after Jake, wearing her Chanel sunglasses and holding her Starbucks Unicorn frappucchino in her hand. “Sorry, ladies. Jake coming in early is my fault. Or, Beyoncé’s fault, to be specific, but I’d never accuse Beyoncé of doing such a thing, so I’ll gladly take the blame on this one. Bey owes me,” she explained.

“Were y’all waiting for Beyoncé to give birth!?” Terry asked excitedly after taking a sip of his power shake. “I’ve never been this excited about a black woman giving birth to twins since my wife Sharon gave birth to Cagney and Lacey!” he said as he bounced up and down in his tracksuit. He continued, “And don’t even get me started when Blue Ivy was born! That was the greatest day of my life!”

“What about when your third daughter, Ava, was born?” Jake asked.

“Right, right, right. Her, too. She’s important, too,” Terry quickly nodded.

Charles chimed in, “as much as I love my son, Nikolaj, I gotta admit, I am ready for these Beybeys to be born!”

The entire room erupted into a groan. Gina proclaimed, “Charles, as a certified member of the B-Hive, I can officially say that that word is a whole new level of extra. And that’s coming from me, the queen of extra. I’m so extra I order every single extra topping at Chipotle, no matter the cost.”

“Believe me, I know,” Charles replied. “You don’t think I noticed you stealing money out of my pocket before lunch break?” He turned to Rosa. “Why would you teach Gina how to pickpocket? Did you not consider that I would be her victim?”

Rosa ignored Charles and looked straight at Gina. “So you and Jake just hung out and waited for Beyoncé’s kids to pop out of her? Why didn’t you invite me?”she demanded.

“Well, you seemed more of a Rihanna fan to me,” Gina replied. Rosa continued to glare. “Listen, the twins haven’t emerged yet. We can stalk every celebrity news site tonight. We can also bet on what Bey’s gonna name the kids. My money’s on Purple Reign and Red Moss,” Gina reassured her. Rosa’s look softened. She nodded in agreement.

“Wait, who’s Beyoncé?” Scully asked, his face covered in yellow splotches.

“Beyoncé is one of the most famous female singers of all time. She is the definition of black excellence. Get woke, Scully!” Hitchcock informed, wiping a chip off the shoulder of his lab coat.

“Scully, it’s not even first period yet. How could you have possibly gotten yellow paint on your face already?” Jake asked with a look of disbelief.

“Oh, this isn’t yellow paint. This is breakfast.” Scully wiped the yellow off his face and licked his fingers.

Jake grimaced, but decided to ignore that. He made his way to the coffee maker. “Peralta,” Principal Holt’s voice boomed. “It will take approximately three minutes for you to brew your coffee, and first period starts in one minute. You won’t make it to class in time if you wait for coffee.”

“I’m sure my students won’t mind if I’m two minutes late, like how I don’t mind if they’re thirty minutes later,” Jake argued.

“You don’t write in your students as late?” Principal Holt asked.

“Traffic happens, people sleep through alarms, I understand. If someone comes in late, I mark them as present the whole time. I don’t want to damage their record if they’re late too many times,” Jake explained.

“This is unacceptable, Peralta.”

“I always mark my students as late, even if it’s by five seconds. If you’re not in my classroom by the time the bell rings, you’re late. I work so hard to prepare these lessons, every second counts. I will not let my students waste my time, after all the hard work I do to make sure they get a good education,” Amy proudly announced.

“Ms. Santiago knows what she’s talking about. From now on, Peralta, you need to mark on the attendance sheet which students are late,” Principal Holt ordered.

“Geez, all this lecturing just for a simple cup of coffee!” Jake complained.

Charles spoke up. “You can have my coffee, Jake!”

“Thank you, Charles,” Jake said as Charles handed him his coffee. As he rose the beverage to his mouth, his nostrils picked up the wretched aroma. “Oh, God!” Jake winced as he slammed the cup onto the table. “What did you put in that?!”

“Oh, you know, what you usually put in coffee. Milk, sugar, pickle juice, a teaspoon of honey.”

“No thanks, I’m good,” Jake said as he handed the coffee back to Charles.

Amy stood up. “I have to get my class. I didn’t finish my coffee. You can have it, Jake.”

“No, it’s fine, Rosa has a flask of vodka in her utility belt, I’ll ask her for a sip later,” Jake replied.

Principal Holt’s voice rose. “You brought alcohol onto school grounds?!”

Rosa’s eyes widened. “No, of course not! I need to go, later,” she said as she darted out of the room, with Principal Holt following her closely behind.

Jake turned back to Amy. “Well, I guess Rosa won’t be sharing her flask with me anytime soon,” he shrugged.

“Take my coffee,” Amy insisted. “I feel bad. My speech about coming in on time put you in trouble with Principal Holt.”

“You know he’s not here, you don’t have to address him as Principal Holt now,” Jake reminded.

Amy shrugged. “I know, but it just doesn’t feel right to disrespect Principal Holt, to go against the rules that he installed. He does so much to keep this school running. I just want to hold up to his standards. I can’t imagine what it would be like to run this school, to be in such a high position of power.”

Jake was about to reply with a snarky comment, “Yeah, well, keep imagining it, because it’s never gonna happen. The only time Holt would step down as Principal is if he dies, which won’t be happening in a long time, dude’s got the heart of a bull. You’d be an old cat lady by then, still trying to wipe the eggs off your house windows after your former students egg your house every Halloween.” But he didn’t say that.

He looked at Amy as she was staring off into space. Her eyes had a child-like twinkle of hope. She really wanted to play that role. And he knew she doesn’t stop until she gets what she wants. A small smile rose up from the corners of his mouth. He knew he couldn’t bring her down. He decided to pull her up.

“You won’t have to imagine for long. You’ll be running this school before you know it!” he encouraged.

Amy grinned from ear to ear. “You really think so?”

“I know so. And before class starts, please go a little easier on your students. I get that you always come to class on time and you want that amount of respect to be reciprocated, but not everyone is a superhuman that sets five alarms and comes to school an hour early. You gotta be more understanding if you want your students to like you back,” Jake pleaded.

Amy pursed her lips, trying not to react to Jake calling her a superhuman. “I’ll take that thought into consideration. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna be late to class!” She paced down the hallway.

Jake smirked. He crossed his arms, leaned against the wall, and watched that brown ponytail bounce down the hallway. The bell ringing brought him out of his trance. Students flooded the hallway. Jake navigated his way to his English class through the maze of teenagers. He made it, with five seconds to spare.

Homosexual desire among working-class men in the north in the Downton era

There are many things to grumble about with regards to historical accuracy in Downton Abbey, but I want to tell you my particular bugbear, which is how Thomas’ sexuality is understood. I can go off on a long, discursive explanation of this, complete with bibliography and quotes, but the basics are that ‘homosexual’, as an identity, had not reached the north during the period in which Downton was set. The Wilde trials codified 'the homosexual’ as a type of person in England, but more specifically in London: the trials were covered up north, but minimally and/or sympathetically (except in the Manchester Guardian which had a very insinuating description of Wilde’s lifestyle). This is an era before nationalisation: regional identity is paramount in understanding the outlook of the downstairs characters, except that Fellowes has apparently forgotten that he’s set DA in North Yorkshire (this Yorkshire lass is displeased).

In the north at this time (1912-1926), there is a strong tradition of physical intimacy in working-class male friendships. Male friends embrace, kiss, bathe together and enjoy watching other men bathing (no really), and share beds. The male and female spheres are very separate, and emotional intimacy is shared not between husband and wife but between same-sex 'mates’.

This also leads in several cases to sex between men, particular in industry, where men in the steelworks and mines would work in very scanty clothing due to the heat, then bathe together, leading to comfort with the naked male bodies of one’s compatriots. Since there is no conception of 'homosexual’ as an identity, this is just seen as something that men do sometimes, among themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Buggery, gross indecency and their like were crimes - but a lot, even most of the working-class men arrested for them at this time don’t seem to have even known this.

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The Misfits

Prompt: Six students, of different stereotypes, are sentenced to Saturday detention which happens to land on a very important day for each of them. While their reasons for being there are up in the air, and they might start off on the wrong foot, they all eventually find out there’s more to each person than they thought.

A/N: So I was watching one of my favorite movies last night (The Breakfast Club) and I had an idea for a story! I love it when that happens. I had a couple drabbles that I was going to post, but I wasn’t sure if they were good enough and this seemed like a better idea to me. As of right now (because I haven’t finished the story) I haven’t decided if there are any specific pairings. I’m just gonna go with the flow. This is also an AU so the characters have a few different traits than in the  show. Riley and Maya are still best friends. That will never change. Also, Riley has an older brother in this fic. In the beginning (before the show aired), she was set to have an older brother named Elliot, and I thought it would be great for her to be the middle child.

Word: Count: 2,447


Part 1- Three Rules

At the sight of the old, brown stone building sitting in the middle of the industrial city, Riley Matthews huffed in frustration. Her fingers clenched her phone so tightly, her knuckles turned white. It wasn’t that she didn’t like being at this place (she was forced by the law to go five days a week for eight hours a day), it was the fact that because of a stupid incident, she was sitting outside on the sixth day of the week. Saturday morning.

“You’re going to break your phone if you keep using it as a stress reliving item,” her older brother, Elliot stated at he parked the car in front of the steps. She said nothing. “You’re only going to be here till three.”

She looked at him quickly in rage. “That’s seven hours I could be practicing for the concert, which by the way, is TONIGHT!” Her voice rang in the vehicle as she fell back into her seat and huffed. Not only did she have detention for seven hours, she was less then 12 hours away from her concert, in which scouts from Juilliard School of the Arts would be attending.

He looked at her sympathetically, even though she basically yelled at him harshly. A few years ago, he probably would have yelled back at her, but he understood the stress and anxiety she must be dealing with, since tonight could make or break her future to attend one of the elite schools in the country for music making. Plus she was good kid, always followed her parents rules, she did well in school, and practiced the violin hard. It was the instrument she based her whole life around.

Since the day she held the small instrument at the age of four, she wanted this to be her profession. Despite her parents (father in particular) wanting her to be an athlete, like Elliot and her little brother, Auggie, she rather spend her days sitting in front of a music sheet, rubbing hair and strings making beautiful melodies. Her mother supported her from the beginning, and after Mr. Matthews saw the potential she had to be one of the greats, he stopped pestering her and let her do her own thing. She was her own person, and deserved to do what she desired, since it was her life and not her parents.

“So I’m assuming mom and dad don’t know about this?” He asked.

She sighed defeatedly. “No, they don’t. If they did, they would flip and who knows what will happen. So I told them I was going to be here practicing. Unfortunately, I was told myself that I couldn’t bring anything but my homework and food for lunch, so you mind if I leave my violin here in your car?”

His brown eyes looked at the old case and nodded. “Yeah, so I’m picking you up at three?” Riley nodded, fingers now fiddling with the ends of the case. “Am I also picking up Maya too?”

“How did you know she was going to be here today?”

He gave her a look that said really? “Because ninety-nine percent of the times you get in trouble, Maya Hart is not trailing far behind. I’ve been watching that for the last ten years of our lives.”

Yes, more often it was Maya who got into difficult inconveniences, and if Riley was ever put in a situation where she was at fault too, it was because of her troubled blonde best friend. Normally it was small stuff that caused her to get lunch detention or to stay after school for an hour, but recently Maya had been rebelling to the point she could have been in handcuffs. Riley could never really tell her to not continue this behavior directly, but instead hint to her that what she was doing was not acceptable. Her life at home wasn’t the best situation and the brunette understood that this behavior was normal in order to get attention from mom and dad.

But this act was taken too far, and Maya had dragged Riley right down with her. To the bottom of the pit itself.

Elliot tapped his thumb on the wheel of the car. “You better get in there,” he stated. “Because we all know Mrs. Know’s the Librarian. She ain’t gonna put up with tardiness and if you get suspended, mom and dad are really gonna flip.”

He was right, and she groaned in aggravation as she opened the car door to get out. She spotted the blonde on the top of the steps, and turned back to face her brother. “I’m ready for this day to be over with.”

—–

They said nothing as they walked the halls silently down to the library. Every now and then she could look over and spot the guilt on Maya’s face. Riley hated that her best friend felt this way, but it was technically her fault that they were here on a Saturday, serving detention. Not to mention the brunette was a tad angry with the blonde, and Riley hated that she felt this way too. It was very rare to have this feeling towards her. They weren’t supposed to be mad at each other, ever. They were supposed to be the others escape. A way out of stress. But today wasn’t that day.

In the library, things were quiet, as they should be. Three chairs had been taken up so far. In the front, Isadora Smackle sat, with all the study equipment she could possibly bring, besides her laptop. Riley found it extremely odd that the smartest girl and not to mention, popular girl in school would be caught in Saturday detention, but was reminded that she, herself was here too.

In the other two seats, Lucas Friar and his adopted brother, Isaiah Babineaux sat, quietly whispering to one another, before looking up at the two girls who had just walked in. Lucas was the most popular guy in school for a newbie, as well as one of the most arrogant, self-centered people too. With his dazzling smile, muscular biceps, one look at a girl could make them swoon in his presence. Riley was more annoyed than anything else. Yes, he was devilishly handsome, she’d give him that, but his attitude and first impression gave Riley a bad taste in her mouth.

Isaiah was different. He was Friar’s adoptive brother. A southern gentleman from Texas, who said “please” and “thank you” on a regular basis, as well as “yes ma’am,” “no ma’am,” “yes sir,” and “no sir.” He was also the class clown, who always tried to make the best out of a hard situation. Riley happened to have him in a few of her classes, and she enjoyed his presence more so than his obnoxious step-brother.

Riley and Maya took their seats, sitting at the same table, but on separate ends. The blonde glanced at the brunette in hopes that their eyes would meet. Riley couldn’t look at her, at least not right now. She found the clock sitting on the checkout desk in front of the office door. 7:58. Two minutes before the torturous day would begin.

The door to the office opened and Mrs. Knows, with her silver grey hair, oversized glasses and rag looking face appeared. She might not have looked like much, but she could be scary, when she wanted to be. Just before she opened her mouth to speak, the bulky door to the entrance of the library opened and Farkle Minkus appeared, walking at his own pace to the seat in front of Riley and Maya.

“Mr. Minkus,” the Librarian said, “almost late, aren’t we?” Riley wished she could see his face, but he said nothing so the old lady continued. “Alright, you’re all here till three today. Rule number one, no talking. Rule number two, no cell phones.” A groan came from every one. “Rule number three, if you disrupt me while I’m watching—doing work, this will no longer be a Saturday detention, but a suspension.” Ouch. “Put your cell phones on the desk and I will come collect them. You will get them back at the end of the day.” She looked up. “Yes, Mr. Babineaux?”

Riley turned to see that he had been raising his hand. “What are we supposed to do till then?”

“Well, you were informed to bring books to study, read, writing materials to do homework. Or you could just twiddle your thumbs all day long,” she chuckled. “As long as your quiet and following my three rules.” She collected the phones and waddled back to her office, closing the door behind her.

“Well this is pointless,” Lucas stated, standing up from his seat. “Come on Zay, let’s scram.” Isaiah didn’t move though and opened his mouth to protest.

Just before passing, Maya stood up to meet him. “Sit down Ranger Rick. You heard the lady, breaking the rules meant suspension. You might be new here, but I’ll give you a piece of advice. Mrs. Knows is not a lady to tip toe around. She won’t hesitate to pull out a pink slip.” She leaned forward on her desk. “You really want that on your record Ball Boy?”

Riley could hear Zay’s chuckle from the back. Lucas looked at him, “What are you laughing at?”

“She called you Ranger Rick and Ball Boy,” his tone made Riley want to laugh, but she suppressed the urge. She was supposed to be upset right now. “I like her.”

Lucas rolled his eyes and looked down at Maya seriously. She was at least a foot and a half shorter than him, but she didn’t care. She knew her size, and she was proud. “Look Blondie, I ain’t got time to sit around for seven hours doing nothing. Zay and I have a big game tonight and this we should be prepping, not twiddling our thumbs,” his southern accent was thick.

Farkle turned in his seat. “And you think we’re here to sit around and do nothing?” His voice was deep and his tone was full of protest. “You think we all don’t have something better to do, or somewhere better to be? It’s not just your life that’s important. This time is blocking us from our lives too. So you can sit down and suck it up like the rest of us.” He turned back around and continued to read from the manuscript in his hand.

Minkus was the smartest guy in the school, and everyone knew that. He was also one of the hottest guys too. Not Lucas Friar hot, but still hot. If you had never met him before in your entire life, you probably would have picked him out to be a prep, guaranteed admission into Princeton University, or some other Ivy League school, not because he was smart enough, but because his dad had all the money in the world to send him. You’d say he was a popular guy that partied and could have any girl he liked on his arm. Maybe he was obnoxious too, arrogant and only cared about materialistic nonsense he could buy from anywhere on Fifth Avenue.

But he was just the opposite. With physical qualities of a pretty rich boy and being somewhat athletic, he was a loner. You could normally find him in a library studying for classes he had been dull-enrolled in by his parents through NYU, or in the Science lab on the north end of campus, face stuck to a microscope. He had friends, but they were the obnoxious rich smarties he didn’t click with or the kids who used him for his money. It was really sad.

Lucas looked annoyed staring down at Maya, while her raised eyebrows told a different story. “You heard the genius, Hop-a-Long.”

He looked warningly at Zay who started snickering once again. Then he turned to Farkle, who was no longer paying attention. “If you’re a genius Minkus, why are you in Saturday detention? I thought you’d be smart enough to dodge a situation like this.” It was a good question.

Farkle didn’t glance away from the words on his page, but stated, “That’s my problem, not yours, and you’re forgetting that I’m not the only genius gracing your presence at this moment.” His finger pointed to the side towards a certain lady with pitch black hair.

Maya cocked her head to the side. “Yeah, Smack-lay, what brings you to the land of the troubled?”

The dark-haired girl turned slightly to the right. “It is none of your business to know why I have been sentenced to this dreadful atmosphere, but if you must be reminded, rule number one rule states that we should not be talking, otherwise this dreadful day will be spent confined in our rooms and none of us will be able to enjoy going to the events we wish to attend, playing the games you desire to win, or what ever it is you all do in your spare time. I for one have no desire to to take part in this conversation no more. I have better activities to do at this desk other than exercise my gums that lead to my suspension and the beginning of my problematics hindering my early acceptance into Princeton.” Her face whipped around so quickly, her hair flew behind her.

Lucas stared at Maya for a long time, and finally feeling defeated, he walked back over to sit down. “So what are we supposed to do?”

Riley licked her lips thinking about what she could do that would benefit her. They were in a library, full of books. She was sure she could find a music book with the classical song she was performing this evening. She stood up, and Maya looked at her curiously. “Where you going Riles?” The blonde began to stand back up with her.

But Riley turned quickly on her heels, holding out her hand for her to stop. “I’m just going to get a book. That’s it.”

Maya’s expression dropped. She hadn’t meant to sound that harsh and demanding, but the tone came out too soon with the words. Her best friend sat back down, and Riley had caught Farkle’s blue eyes with her own. She couldn’t read his expression, and that drove her insane. Usually she was great at reading people, but she could never tell what Farkle Minkus was thinking. Ever.

She turned away, heading for the music selection in the huge library. It was time she put her focus on to the concert tonight. People drama was the least of her worries now.


Preview to next chapter:

“Goodie-two-shoes-Matthews?” Lucas said, eyeing her who had looked away from him. “If you’re a goodie, then what brings you to a detention hall? Especially Saturday detention?” Yes, because they all know Saturday detentions are equivalent to one day in school suspension.

I got an ask a while back about doing a Batgirl recommendation list, similar to the Supergirl list I put together. This one probably won’t be as thorough, though, so apologies in advance. 

Same rules apply: Not a complete list of appearances, just stuff I’ve read and liked, etc. Okay, so. Here we go…

- Batgirl: Year One: A nine issue mini-series by Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty, w/ pencils by Marcos Martin and inks by Alvaro Lopez. Probably my favorite self-contained Batgirl story. Excellent art, solid characterization, batfam interaction, Black Canary team up…lots of good stuff, basically. The single issues are up on comixology OR you could go for the really nice trade DC put out that includes the Robin: Year One mini-series as well. (Oh, and I should probably mention, this is a Babs-as-Batgirl story.)

For the next few recommendations, I’m gonna include the primary writer, so as to avoid…confusion? Make it easier to find the particular runs? IDK I’m just bat winging this. (Eh? Eh?) (…I’m so sorry.) 

- Batgirl Vol. 4 #1-26 (Gail Simone): The New 52 run. The only reason I dropped this title (somewhere around the ‘Wanted’ arc) was because I wasn’t a huge fan of the art, but. That’s a personal preference thing. Gail Simone has a really good handle on the character, and of all the New 52 books, I remember finding this one pretty enjoyable. (Dark, but. Enjoyable.) (Also a Babs book, FYI.) (This volume includes the Stewart/Fletcher/Tarr run BTW, but we’ll get to that in a bit) 

- Batgirl Vol. 3 (Bryan Q. Miller) : IF YOU HAVEN’T READ STEPHANIE BROWN’S BATGIRL BOOKS STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND GO GET THE ENTIRE RUN ON COMIXOLOGY RIGHT NOW. RIGHT. NOW. It’s like, 24 issues and it’s awesome and GO. GO NOW. DO IT. (I’d recommend the trades but good luck finding one for under $60.)

- Batgirl Vol. 1 (Kelley Puckett): The Cass Cain era. I think this book ran for 50 issues…and there was like a…six issue mini series as well? Anyways. DC has two new trades out. (I’m pretty sure the whole run has been reprinted as trades but if they’re at all like the Steph Brown volumes, then you’ll have an easier time just picking up the new ones.) Vol.1 Silent Knight and Vol. 2 To the Death, and together they cover up through issue #25, I want to say. 

- Batgirl Vol. 4 Annual #3: Lots of good stuff but the major draw (ha) is Bengal’s art.

Honorable Mentions:

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Your Fantasy Story is Bothering Me Part II

Part I

I’m back with more complaints about fantasy:

  1. Huzzah! I Have Outwitted The Entire Royal Court!
  2. The Midlands, The West Islands, The Dark Lake
  3. The Council of Elrond
  4. Let’s Paint Our Faces Bright Orange to Find One Another
  5. Hello My Name is Dq'eobh'mt
  6. The Misinformed Feminist Preacher
  7. The Broken Queen
  8. Sing to the Goddess of the Earth!
  9. Let’s All Listen to this Stranger and Finally Revolt

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Composition

Hi guys!

Since I’m going through a learning curve myself, thought I should share with you some stuff on composition, since I did talk about it a bit in my previous video.

Now, first of all, a disclaimer: I am no expert in this matter, by any means! It’s just stuff I have observed, or that I have learned as well from other sources. I am also still trying to wrap my head about composition, and I still struggle with it sometimes, but I figured that doing a illustrated post about it might reinforce these concepts a bit for myself…and if it helps you too in any way, than all the better!

Also, I want to add the following: my personal view on the matter is that while rules are meant to be followed, they are also meant to be broken :D I say this because there are several artists and great masters out there which have broken these rules throughout history and thus still created masterpieces, offering a new perspective on things. Art is after all subjective, and people will always be divided in their opinions. This does not mean that someone is right or wrong, it simply means that what one might find pleasing to the eye, another person might not. That being said, there is no painting out there that does not follow a composition rule of some sort, even if they break certain rules.

So without further rambling, let’s get down to business!

SOME RULES OF COMPOSITION

1. Rule of thirds:

This  is possibly one of the most known rules of composition. It basically means that when you split your painting into nine squares, your subject matter should be placed at the intersection cross of the squares, for it to draw attention better.

2.Horizon line should not be at the center of the painting.

This rule mostly applies to landscape paintings. This line of the horizon should be dragged either further up or down, usually at 1/3 of the painting.

That being said, take a look at this painting done by Albert Gottschalk.

Clearly here the line is in the middle. Still, I find this painting marvelous, even if it does break this rule.

3. The Golden Ratio (or Divine proportion)

This is another famous rule of composition. Some words first about this Golden Ratio, and what it means. Approximately equal to a 1:1.62 ratio, The Golden Ratio can be illustrated using a Golden Rectangle: a large rectangle consisting of a square (with sides equal in length to the shortest length of the rectangle) and a smaller rectangle. This ratio has been used throughout history, and can also be found all around us. Some even say that this principle has also been used to build the Great Pyramids.

In art, when applying this principle, the painting will seem to draw in the subject instantly and make for a very pleasing composition.

4. Implied lines

When painting realistically, there is no actual line around the subject. Thus, the illusion of contour is a result of different values and colors contrasting, and also a way to drag the eye around the painting by using the natural attraction to lines.

5. Reinforcing Focal Points

This method is particularly useful when doing portraits or having character subjects. You can use various elements around your character to drag the attention towards the face or any other specific part. This is achieved by adding elements such as arms, objects like weapons, etc to point towards your focal point, where you wish the attention of the viewer to be drawn.

6. Threes are everywhere

This is a composition rule which has to do mostly with value, using foreground, middle ground and background.

When we use this composition, we are mostly trying to emphasize the subject of interest with the darkest values (so foreground), and thus background should use light values (since it is the farthest away) while middle ground will use middle values (between the other two).

This is a great way to make silhouettes easy to read.

7. Contrast

Another way to have a strong composition is by using your contrast wisely. This means that wherever you want your focal point to be, that is where you should use more contrast. For example, if you have a very pale character, adding dark hair or clothes will immediately make the character pop.

8. Camera Angles

This method is particularly useful when we want to add more drama to a scene. In order to make it more interesting, a simple shift in perspective will instantly add more interest to the viewer.


These are just a few of the rules of composition, since there are so many more out there. I just listed some of these while studying my own work to get a better understanding of the issue. Obviously, they are not perfect and there is still much to learn, but  I am definitely enjoying my journey through it all.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the matter or your input.

As always, lots of hugs and take care of yourselves.

Happy arting!

R.

I wasn’t sure I would want to make a post like this about TRK because I really was just so in love with the story after first finishing the book (and I’m still in love with it to a large degree), but I do have some criticisms that won’t stop nagging me, and the more I think about them the more I’m bothered. So this is a mostly negative post, scroll on by if that’s not your bag.

  • Aurora’s death. I have been turning this over and over in my mind, trying to figure out whether it was just really devastating to me because it’s a sad thing that happened to my favorite character, or whether I think it was a poor writing choice. And I think it’s the latter. For one, it was a female character killed off for the sole purpose of providing angst for a male character. It’s odd to frame it that way, considering that Aurora was a dream person who never had much agency in the first place, but at the end of the day that’s still what it was. And Ronan didn’t need more angst! He had enough of that already, the narrative didn’t need to have this kid holding his second parent-corpse in as many years. 
  • I understand why the book never mentions Aurora again after the chapter in which Ronan grieves–there’s a hell of a lot of shit going on. But why not in the epilogue? Why was Ronan’s whole POV bit in the epilogue about him mourning Cabeswater, but never once thinking about Aurora? 
  • What’s more, how in the hell is Ronan okay eight or nine months later? I mean, I’m happy that he is okay, but I really really need the story of those eight or nine months. There is so much about Aurora’s death that he would blame himself for. (The obvious one: they got Opal out of Cabeswater but not Aurora. A less obvious one: If Ronan had succeeded in his experiment to wake the dreams, enabling Aurora to leave Cabeswater, would she have lived?) I’m not saying that Ronan would revert back to where he was in TRB–he’s much more stable now, he has better support, he’d cope better instead of spiraling. (And then he’d feel guilty for coping better with Aurora’s loss than he had with Niall’s.) But you can’t tell me that it wouldn’t be messy and difficult, you can’t tell me that there’s a simple and obvious straight line leading from the end of the last chapter directly to happy Ronan in the epilogue, and I feel like I was supposed to interpret it that way. 
  • Gansey selling Monmouth for a diploma for Ronan. I don’t understand why that was even written in, since it went absolutely nowhere. Like, the text acknowledges that it was a deeply fucked up and stupid thing for Gansey to have done (I did like Helen just straight up being like “what is wrong with you”), but then it never gets addressed again. Like…. why. WHY would you drop something that huge and then just wash your hands of it. I just don’t get it. 
  • In general, I feel like the only thing TRK tried to resolve re: Gansey’s character arc was the matter of his death, and relatedly his anxiety issues. None of his other baggage got resolved at all. It seemed like Maggie was just fine with letting him remain someone who expresses his love in a deeply unhealthy way (or at least, expresses his love for Ronan and Adam in a deeply unhealthy way, I think he’s got a better shot with Henry and Blue). And like, I don’t think you need to make every character a better person than they were at the beginning in order to tell a good story, but it’s strange to me that other than the aforementioned bit with Helen, Gansey never even really gets called on it. (And Helen was more pissed about Gansey fucking up their mom’s political career than she was about the implications of him trying to buy Ronan’s future.) (As a sidenote, it was weird that the book seemed to expect me to give even a single fuck about Gansey inconveniencing his parents due to his life and the lives of all his friends being in danger.)
  • Given that one beautiful line about Gansey finally understanding Adam, it’s just so sad to me that the crux of Gansey’s character arc regarding his relationships with his friends ended up being that he loves them enough to die for them, but he doesn’t understand them. That’s depressing as hell. And if that’s not supposed to be the takeaway, then why did he sell Monmouth for that god damn diploma. 
  • This is more of a complaint in general than about TRK specifically, but I am getting increasingly frustrated about how authors these days seem to think they don’t have to write denouement anymore. What’s with this trend of ending the story immediately after the plot climax, then doing a short time skip epilogue to assure the reader that everyone turned out ok? I much prefer the Tolkien extreme of things, where we get months of fallout and PTSD and everyone rebuilding. I’m not saying that i needed a Tolkien-length last act after Gansey got revived, but SOMETHING would have been nice. Something to address all the things I complained about above. The whole scene with Cabeswater dying and Blue waking up Gansey and then the epilogue was beautifully written, but it left so much unresolved. What about the damn diploma, what about the four of them realizing that Noah is gone for good, what about any of the other Lynch brothers’ reactions to Aurora’s death, etc etc. And yeah, that’s what fanfiction is for, but like, that’s also what denouement is for, dammit. 

Anyway I really did mostly love it, but man, I sure have some things I’d like to address in fic now. 

EDIT: fuck I wrote this whole post and forgot one of the the things I was bothered by most, which was the implication that Adam and Ronan were making racist jokes about Henry. Like, what the fuck? What the fuck, why? I could maybe buy that from Ronan (unfortunately), but it’s so OOC for Adam. It boggles my mind why it was thrown in there.

In general there’s a gross thread throughout this series of just, like, really bad jokes that only get called out half the time, if at all, and I just don’t really understand what is the point of putting them in there. Why is it necessary to have Henry making jokes about the minimum wage–is that supposed to make me feel better about Blue’s classmates making jokes about her blowing him, because wow did that not work. Why is it necessary to have Adam and Ronan making jokes about Henry’s race. Just….. why. It doesn’t prove any kind of larger point, it’s just pointlessly shitty and unnecessary. 

ishipallthings  asked:

would you recommend everything in the lord peter wimsey series? I read nine tailors and loved it, now I'm starting "strong poison". so excited!

I’M EXCITED FOR YOU

Ok, but seriously folks, there are 2 ways to answer this question:

a) would i recommend that you read everything featuring LPW? Unreservedly yes. I mean I think my username is kind of a giveaway on that tbh, but, all other things being equal, they’re very satisfying golden age murder puzzle stories with a wickedly entertaining protagonist (plus his various satellite characters, family etc). Any feelings you may have as a result of reading said canon are at the readers own discretion. (Warning: there may be FEELINGS, about which this advice ask takes no responsibility. Buckle up.)

What I would advise is this:

  1. Things published before Strong Poison: read in any order that takes your fancy
  2. Everything published AFTER Strong Poison: try to read in order of publication because DLS gets her ‘consistent narrative’ hat on, and things unfold in order, emotionally speaking. It goes: Strong Poison, [Five Red Herrings*, not featuring HV though], Have His Carcase, Murder Must Advertise, [The Nine Tailors, which you’ve already done], Gaudy Night, Busman’s Honeymoon, and lastly a notable short story re: the Vane/Wimsey plotline is called Talboys in the Striding Folly collection.

b) do i recommend everything featured *IN* the books featuring LPW? Weeelllll, that’s when it gets complex. The books themselves were written during the detective fiction golden age, so the earlier books do star from a place of Tropey McTroperdom in that penny dreadful character archetype sort of way: he’s a posh peer with a monocle! he fights crime! He’s got a Jeeves-y butler! A few of the very early stories can seem a bit low on characterisation and cut along the dotted lines, narratively, especially if you go in expecting the life-changing emotional beats you might get with the later books. Additionally, being written by a white, middle-class British woman in the 1920s and 30s, you will come across elements that read as classist, racist, or even anti-semitic (YMMV on that, but the conversations ought to be had). These elements are no more or less that you’d find in a standard Agatha Christie, and less than you’d find in a Margery Allingham, but the books are products of their time, and ought to be looked at honestly. 

Keeping in mind both a) and b) most people consider the canon divided into 2 sections: pre-Harriet and post-Harriet. [Vaguely spoilery talk follows, but nothing too specific] Pre-Harriet LPW is a pretty standard detective trope, albeit with a lovely facility for quotation and some some realistically-conveyed WW1 PTSD. He jaunts around being underestimated and loving it, adjusting monocle and talking like Bertie Wooster. Still super fun. Then DLS decided it was time she was just about done with Peter, and that she’d throw in a romantic entanglement for him (in order that he ‘settle down’ and go away, one assumes). Famous last words. Basically DLS got her two characters and tried the classic ‘NOW KISS’ approach of authors everywhere, but both characters turned around and said to their own author ‘excuse us but we’re HUMAN BEINGS and we don’t really act like that in real life OBVIOUSLY, we’d rather not at this time, because of reasons‘. She was in a bind: she’d tried to humanise her character, and he went and turned into a human. Who’d have guessed? The post-Harriet, post-Strong Poison books tend to be mysteries that keep getting sidetracked into ‘why are people like this??’ type reflections. By the time she got to Busman’s Honeymoon she gave up and subtitled it ‘a love story with detective interruptions’. Yuuuuuuup. TL;DR:  you might find a HUGE degree of difference in writing style or engagement between some of the earlier brief-but-sweet short stories, and, say, Gaudy Night.

(*PS- don’t worry if Five Red Herrings doesn’t do it for you. A lot of folks are on the fence about that one)

I started HIMYM way back in 2005 with the pilot episode and fell in love instantly.

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I stuck with it over the years, pushing it on my friends and family like others might push drugs and alcohol.

I grew to love and identify with the characters- seeing them at their highs

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and their lows.

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I enthusiastically tuned in weekly for the first few seasons- and stood vigil in wait during the writers’ strike. 

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I…more hesitantly, trudged onward during the increasingly questionable seasons,

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with hope for the inevitable “rally!” that was no doubt just around the corner. 

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And despite the fact that the series was becoming more and more questionable with time-

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those few sturdy, solid, plot-laden episodes kept me hooked and hoping-

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and much as the stalwart Captain of a grand vessel, I was prepared to go down with the ship. 

And it seems that I have. 

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Granted, like most, I was all for Ted and Robin at the beginning of the series- with the blue french horn and the speeches and the will they wont they. 

But around “Zip, Zip, Zip" 

( The One Where Robin Suits Up)

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I started to get fuzzy feelings for Barnman and Robin that only increased over time as we witnessed their character development along with Ted and Robin’s multiple fallouts.

I don’t know, after it being so clearly highlighted and underlined over and over again that The Mother was The One and that this story was about The Mother and that Robin was most certainly not her- every relapse on Ted’s end just left me going

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So needless to say that when the mother finally DOES pop up onto the scene- and is wonderful and lovable in every way shape and form

I became overjoyed that finally we would see the lovestory that had been anticipated for nine years - only for the writer to…well

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I should have seen it coming! 

In fact- early on they spelled it out for us- even earlier than Marshall and Lily’s bet- back when Marshall had spoken about how he only ever…pleasured himself when thinking about lily. Specifically- the only way he could ever think about another woman would be if he created a long elaborate fantasy in which Lily died and after mourning her for an acceptable amount of time, he could then feel free to jump on the hot girl he wanted to fantasize about. 

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Sound familiar?

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The fact that they would spend this entire time building up to it (along with spending an entire season trying to talk us back into boarding S.S Barney and Robin) they decide to pull this copout- either because they stubbornly refused to alter their original plan in order to adapt to how their character’s have grown. -or, they just took the easy way out in order to try and appease the entire fanbase. 

Well whatever it was

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and I really only have one thing to say to you:

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Using your mind to have a good time: an analysis of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared II

The sequel to the ever-terrifyng and mentally scarring “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” reared its frightening, existential head last night and I couldn’t help myself, in the early hours of the morning, from doing bit of analysis. 

The video follows a similar structure to the first video. The three characters, who  I’m going to call Red, Crow, and Yellow, sit somewhat idle before an inanimate object become sentient and leads into a song. The song, over its course, becomes more and more disturbing, working towards a specific point that seems to be instigated by the inanimate object. In the first video, there was the notepad, and now, we have the clock. 

There are various topics that can be applied to this video: absurdism, existentialism, and decay. I’m going to do my best to break it down. 

Red, Crow, and Yellow sit in what is presumably their living room. The familiar calendar says that it is June 19. The clock ticks, very audibly. Red breaks the silence by saying: “come on guys, stop mucking around. We’ve only got five minutes until our show’s on”.

Crow, looking at their watch, responds, with a worried tone, “that’s not enough time!" 

And then, the clock on the wall, who I’m going to call Time, suddenly sentient, interjects, "there’s always time for a song”. 

He then has limbs and begins to explain what time is, explaining the physicalities of time (it being worn on the wrist or put on the wall) and how “the past is far behind us, the future doesn’t exist” while panning past a portrait of Red, Crow, and Yellow, the date marked 19. 06. 55. (this may hold significance, I will elaborate later)

Let’s analyse what we’ve got so far:

The three sit in silence aside from the tickling of the clock and become anxious about the time they have left before their show starts. As soon as their worries arise, Time springs to life, and begins to offer words of explanation and reassurance in relation to time.  Everyone at one point in their lives, or even their entire lives, thinks about how one day they will die. No one and nothing lasts forever. This pertains to the fear of decay and existential crisis. 

Time tells them that the past is far behind us, while panning past Yellow’s inked-over clown painting:

“the past is far behind us”

And then,

“the future doesn’t exist”

This can be interpreted as an exception that time has passed (and the events in the first video occurred, there’s some continuity here) but then a sort of reassurance via denial of the future: the future is a big blank nothing, oh, don’t worry about it. 

There’s always time for a song = you will always have time to live and be happy. You will always have time for “your show”.

What happens next is a little adventure through time and space. 

Crow: what’s the time?

Time: It’s quarter-to-nine, time to have a bath.

Crow: What do you mean? We’re already clean!

Time: (sternly) scrub, scrub, scrub ‘til the water’s brown! 

Here begins the reveal of Time’s nature. There is  a desperate need to follow the order and schedule dictated by time. Even if you are already clean, you must follow what time says. Time gives order to the frightening and confusing world. More on that later.

At this point, let’s say that the clock and time were created by Red, Yellow, and Crow (representative of the human race) to be a distraction from and creation of order for life. Crow actually gets on this topic. More later. 

Let’s just get some more examples of Time dictating, distracting, and dissuading: 

Time starts to really sing it out about going on a journey through time. Red says that they don’t really want to, because “we’re going to miss our show

Time: "Don’t be stupid friends! Come on, it’s time to go.”

At one point, an apple and a  tree allude to events that occur later in the video:

Time: “A tree that is older has shriveled and died”

Crow: The apple that’s fresh is ripe to the core!

Apple: “then I rot over time and I’m not anymore”

And then, imagery of the “future”:

This is another distraction from the concerns of running out of time or missing something, in this case, their show.

Time: Everything’s cool, it’s the future!

And still June 19th.  

Time is flooding them with positive imagery that shows a world where they are not effected by time. Old things, like that violin in the montage, become a mystery/disappear, but walking on the ruler, Red, Crow, and Yellow are still constant and unchanged. It is still June 19, Just like in the portrait where it was June 19th, 1955, and everyone is fine. They’re distracted from the concerns of missing their show: a symbol of their lives. They’re afraid of their lives slipping by, or running out of time. 

And here is where I’m going to say this: time is a mental defense mechanism of their own creation, personified as the clock, Time. He has stern reactions to questioning of the validity of time:

Time: “now you can see the importance of time, it helps us make pizza and keeps us in line”

Crow: “but when did it start?”

Yellow: “and when will it stop?”

Time: “Time is important and I am a clock”. 

Time makes this straight-forward and broad statement, right when the others begin to question and wonder about time. He’s their own subconscious defense mechanism about to respond to the threats it was built to destroy.

Red: “If we run out of time, then where does it go?”

Yellow: “Is time even real? Does anyone know?”

Crow: “Maybe time’s just a construct of human perception, an illusion created by-”

Time cuts of Crow by screaming/beeping repeatedly until Yellow’s ear bleeds. This is yet again another form of Time distracting and dissuading them away from reality, or the worries of life and the nature of which we give order to it. 

This works, and the three stop questioning time. Time continues the song along.

Time: Sunrise, sunset night and day, the changing seasons, the smell of hay"

Time: “Look at your hair grow, isn’t it strange, how it makes your appearance change”

And then here comes the shift.

This is where Time begins to show how he does not actually keep them safe from the decay that they, as beings must face, and that time is actually what causes them to rot. Red, Crow, and Yellow begin to decay rapidly:

Time looks on, calendar behind him, with a vindictive, condescending stare, hands behind back as a sign of authority: 

The camera then pans out and we find that the horrifying imagery of the decay of the characters is happening on the television:

Yellow, from the television, cries out:

“Make it stop!”

Crow’s eye falls out, and there is an emphasis on this.

The camera continues to pan out to show Red, Crow, and Yellow, in their original sitting positions from the beginning of the video, unscathed.  The events of rot and gore still occur on the television while Time says:

“It’s out of my hands, I’m only a clock. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be fine, but eventually everyone runs out of time.”

Analysis: they just watched the show they’d been anxious to catch in time at the beginning. The entire montage was a philosophical “trip”, per se, brought on by the worry of there not being enough time. The show = their existence. They watched, through the lens of their fears in relation to mortality, how they will succumb to death and decay, while time, what once gave order to the chaotic world they live in, slowly begins to do the opposite of their intent while creating it: showing them what they wanted to ignore. 

With his last lines, Time once again attempts to reassure them, but with menacing tones. 

And, looking closely by Crow’s feet, you can see what is presumably his eye:

This means that they are not fully assured/comforted this time. They are aware of how time is both a defensive-creation of humankind, made to protect us from mental and physical disarray,  but in the end it is what kills us. 

To wrap this up: 

Time is an illusion. Time is in your head. It is one of many human concepts created to give order to this confusing and absurd world. It does not protect one from eventual rot and death, for nothing can. 

Page by Page: Alignment: The Good, The Lawful, and The Neutral

In this week’s Page by Page, I tackled one of the most controversial elements of the game: alignment!

DUN DUN DUN

To start off, here’s my favorite bit from Paizo’s discussion of alignment:

Alignment is a tool for developing your character’s identity—it is not a straitjacket for restricting your character.

See that right there? It says there isn’t a cut and dry way to play any specific alignment. The text goes on to say that each alignment can encompass a wide variety of personalities and personal philosophies, so your lawful goods don’t have to all be straight-faced serious guys, your chaotic neutrals don’t have to be sneaky happy-go-lucky people, your neutral evils don’t have to be cold and calculating. The text even goes so far as to say that few people are truly consistent in their alignment.

That’s what I like to hear! So often it seems players (and GMs) get hung up on a character behaving in a way that they don’t find consistent with their alignment. In answer to this, I present the elegant solution that my gaming group has adopted: the sliding scale.

It looks like this:

There are ten tic marks. The fifth and sixth tics represent the neutral zone (at least, that’s how I like to think of it).

At the start of the game, a player marks down where their character stands on the sliding scale. For example, Martha was initially an 8 on the law/chaos track and a 3 on the good/evil track. 

As the campaign progresses, decisions are made or attitudes change, and a character’s alignment can change. For a while, Martha was chaotic neutral, but by the end of the game, she was borderline lawful good. We find that this scale creates a more organic way of measuring a character’s morality.

Discussion of what it means to be good/evil/neutral/etc. below the cut.

Keep reading

TippiTV #Supernatural recap: "Stairway to Heaven"

Previously on Supernatural:

A bunch of stuff happened that the show is just going to explain again in the episode.

Currently on Supernatural:

We spend kind of a lot of time at a froyo shop where an uptight lady places her fat-free, joy-free order and then berates a little girl for enjoying a sinful sundae. That little girl turns out to be an angel in disguise who basically tells her to make like Michael Jackson and beat it. (Ethical aside: How can little kids give proper consent to angels? I know they did it in Jimmy’s backstory, and the show plays fast and loose with the whole concept of consent anyway, but still.) Another angel comes in – this one in a grown-ass body – and confronts the girl. A moment later, the shops window’s all blow out in a blast of angelic death-light.

After that scene of destruction, the action moves to Sam’s sleeping booty, over which the words “Stairway to Heaven” are laid like a sign over a freeway off-ramp.

Dean startles him awake to say Castiel needs their help again. Dean reminisces about what a “weird, dorky little guy” Castiel is.

They argue a bit about whether or not Dean should take the First Blade. Shouldn’t they just have it handy in case they get their shot at Metatron? And also in case I need to make lewd references to Dean’s bone? Dean reluctantly agrees to leave it behind, but you know he went and grabbed it the instant Sam wasn’t looking.

*****

They get to the froyo shop where a sheriff greets them as Agents Spears and Aguilera because that’s what their “partner” told her with his newfound knowledge of pop culture. The sheriff even points to each of them as she utters their names, like Castiel described them to her so she’d know which was which. (“Aguilera will be the one with long hair, and Spears will be the one you might enjoy seeing in a naughty schoolgirl uniform.”) Castiel shows them all the humans who died in the crossfire, their eyes burned out of their sockets. One of Castiel’s angels – the guy who confronted the little girl – was also killed. “I knew Metatron wanted war,” he says, “but this is abhorrent, even for him!”

Cut to Metatron, in his study, trying on a tan overcoat in front of a mirror.

He hurries to shed the coat when Gadreel barges in, embarrassed like he’d been caught poring over somebody’s porn stash. Gadreel is upset because they’re losing followers to Castiel. Metatron can’t understand it, either. “I mean, sure, he’s cute…” For someone who fancies himself a writer, he doesn’t seem to understand the definitions of some simple words.

*****

Castiel takes Sam and Dean back to the Electric Company and introduces them to Hannah the Palindrome. “The Winchesters – I’ve heard so much about you,” she says.

Hieronymus Borscht snatches from Sam a box of evidence from the froyo crime scene. Hannah mentions that an angel named Josiah is missing. Sam does his computer thing and traces his vessel’s credit card history. Ugh. It’s bad enough these angels use human vessels, but now they’re probably ruining people’s credit scores, too!

Hieronymus comes across a victim’s camera that handily captured the froyo shop attack. The grown-ass angel rips open his coat to expose Enochian symbols sliced into his skin. He shouts, “I do this for Castiel!” and then stabs himself with an angel blade.

Hannah recognizes the little girl – the target of the attack – as one of Metatron’s minions. The whole thing makes Castiel queasy. He proclaims his innocence, but Dean has doubts. He lays into Castiel about his past failings until Sam finally breaks it up.

They take the exposition to Castiel’s office. The self-destructive angel was named Oren, he was a new recruit, he worked at the hospital performing minor miracles, and the symbols served to focus his explosive energy. Dean and Castiel exchange some pretty explosive energy themselves, what with all their hot, angry glaring at each other.

*****

Under Dean’s orders, Sam and Castiel head to Colorado to find Josiah. En route, they talk about how angry Dean seems lately. Like, even more than usual. It’s hot, but also worrisome.

******

Metatron and Gadreel meet at a bowling alley with angel named Tyrus. Metatron tries – and fails – to get Tyrus and his followers to join him. That he doesn’t just kill all of them on the spot is a sure sign that he’s up to something. Gadreel makes some intensely disapproving faces in the background.

As they’re leaving, a cute angel stops them, rips open his shirt and cries, “I do this for Castiel!” Dude, lots of people probably take off their shirts for Castiel. You have to be more specific! So he then stabs himself and kablooeys half the bowling alley.

*****

Meanwhile, Dean meets with an angel posing as a doctor. She has nothing useful to tell him about Oren, but she has plenty to say about Dean.

Dean knocks her to the floor and points an angel blade at her throat. Pleading for her life, she blabs that Oren was friends with Tessa the reaper.

*****

Sam and Castiel follow Josiah’s trail to – what else? – a decrepit warehouse in Montana. The whole place is radiating Heavenly power, but the two of them fail to breach its doors, even with their combined manly manliness.

As the night wears on, Castiel discovers that there’s a hidden riddle on the outside of the building. “Why is six afraid of seven?” he reads. “It’s because seven eight/ate nine,” Sam answers before Castiel can blather on too long about the nature of prime numbers. The door swings open. “It’s like the Doors of Durin in Lord of the Rings,” Castiel nerdifies.

******

Dean confronts Tessa before she can get into a high school’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He brings her back to the Electric Company, where Doctor Angel is telling the others about Dean’s rough treatment of her. “I know he’s the Commander’s friend and we’re supposed to pretend we like him,” she starts, but then the Commander’s special friend interrupts. Dean shows them the bomb symbols cut into Tessa’s chest, which he’s defused with a little dermal graffiti.

Sit-and-Chat. I wish they would have used some of this interrogation time to explain why reapers are angels now, but pfft. Instead, Tessa talks about how Castiel personally asked her to carry out this mission.

*****

Sam and Castiel find other traps from pop culture when they explore the warehouse’s interior. This should probably clue them in to the fact that it’s one of Metatron’s tricks, but Castiel is drawn to a door that he believes leads to Heaven.

It actually leads to prom.

The room is decked out with balloons and a disco ball, tinsel and punch bowls. Maybe Metatron thought it would be Dean accompanying Castiel. Somewhat less decoratively, a barbecued Josiah lies slumped in one corner. Castiel attempts to heal him, but Josiah refuses. “I would rather die than owe my life to you,” he says. “You play at being noble, you play at being one of us… but I look into your eyes and I don’t see an angel staring back at me.” Huh. Dean kind of got the same speech from Doctor Angel.

*****

Dean asks why Tessa would be willing to kill herself. “I mean, I’ve been in bad shape, but I’ve never been that low,” he says. Is he saying he’s never been suicidal? Because I would argue otherwise.

She finally confesses that she can hear all the screams of the souls trapped on Earth and can’t take it anymore. Using herself as a suicide bomber to take out some of Metatron’s minions would give her a purpose again, she says. When she refuses to tell him the names of the other angel bombs, he brings out the First Blade he’s been hiding in one of his many layers.

He means to intimidate her, or maybe even torture her, but what does a suicidal person have to lose? She grabs him and skewers herself on the Blade. “Thank you,” she says. At first he’s stunned, horrified when she drops dead at his feet. But then his face does this scary thing:

Of course, it’s while he’s making this “mm, yeah” face that Hannah and Hieronymus burst into the room and see him. So long, Tessa. The show’s just about out of female characters to kill off now.

*****

Castiel and Sam return to find Dean chained up in the interrogation room. Sam’s upset that Dean lied about leaving the Blade behind, and now, without Tessa’s info, they have no leads.

Just when it seems like things couldn’t get much worse, Metatron Skypes in to the Electric Company for chatsies with Castiel. Castiel makes the mistake of having this call in the open, where all his followers can hear Metatron accuse him of setting up the angel bombs. He says nearly dying has made him reevaluate his past methods, and proceeds to offer all of Castiel’s followers amnesty if they switch teams.

At first, Hannah and the others scoff, but then Metatron blah blahs about what a big lying liar Castiel is. “Have you told them about your stolen grace, Castiel?” he asks. “How it’s fading away, and when it burns out, so will you!” Castiel, unfamiliar with how to participate in an online flamewar, has no response.

Because angels are fickle little butthole puppets, they find themselves swayed by Metatron’s blathering. Hannah gives Castiel one last chance to prove that he’s on the side of the angels, by demanding he kill Dean. “We gave you our trust! Don’t lose it over one man!”

The soundtrack goes, “BUM! BUM! BUMMMM!” The suspense isn’t that Castiel would kill Dean, because duh, it’s not even the finale yet. Also: love! But is he going to make some compromise with the angels? Lock the big, bad hunter away? Maybe at least stop telling them they have to pretend to like him? He won’t do what the angels want, so they all flock to Metatron.

*****

Metatron is thrilled, because this is what he’s been planning all along. He can’t resist bragging to Gadreel that he set the whole thing up. He brainwashed the angel bombs into thinking they were doing Castiel’s bidding. He pretended to be losing to God’s Dreamiest Angel. “It’s an old writer’s trick – it’s called flipping the script!” All he had to do was expose Castiel’s weakness: “He’s in love! […several eons of pause go by…] With humanity!”

Gadreel looks like he wants to vomit, or punch Metatron in the face. Or maybe do both at the same time.

*****

The Winchesters drive home in silence, with Castiel in the back seat.

They wait until they get home to start talking. “Yeah, I lied, but you were being an infant,” Dean says. “Wow, even for you that apology sucked,” Sam says.

Dean says he’s calling the shots from here on out. “Until I jam that blade in that douchebag’s heart, we are not a team – this is a dictatorship.” Oh no, Dean is standing up for himself and not walking on eggshells anymore! Surely that’s a sign that he’s truly evil now!

Without waiting to see how Sam feels about that, he heads off to the library to talk with Castiel. Castiel is much more concerned with Dean’s opinion of him than he is of his own impending battery failure. “Those bombers… you don’t think that I –” Dean cuts him off: “You just gave up your army for one guy. There’s no way you blew those people away.” They sit there just sort of… gazing at each other until Gadreel suddenly waltzes into the Lair O’ Letters. Did they leave a spare key under the doormat? 

He wants to help them stop Metatron. He asks them to give him a chance to prove his trustworthy. Everybody thinks about it for a long time. Then Dean extends his hand – his left hand, which should have tipped Gadreel off. Dean produces the First Blade from behind his back and slashes Gadreel across the chest. Castiel and Sam grab Dean while he growls in slow motion.

And that’s how the episode ends.

On the one hand, it’s cool that Dean gets to do something other than Striving to Save Sammy. On the other hand, it’s annoying that the show relies too often on “darkening” characters through exterior means. Why can’t they just do stuff of their own volition? Why do they have to be soulless, or possessed, or hopped up on demon blood, or addicted to a biblical bone? It just means that the character will later have an “out,” where their actions can be blamed on something that was affecting them. Even though it’ll never happen, I’d kind of like it to be revealed next season that it’s not the Mark of Cain or the First Blade that’s messing with Dean. It’s just Dean finally not taking crap from anyone anymore.

I give this episode…

3.7 Hellhounds, plus…

1 dictionary and 1 thesaurus, so Metatron can expand his vocabulary.

By Tippi Blevins

6

Today we welcome Molly Idle to Penguin Teen Meet the Illustrator! Author and illustrator of the wonderfully whimsical Tea Rex and new Camp Rex, Molly captures the pure joy of childhood in vivid color and bumbling dinosaurs (a favorite combination of ours). Read more to find out where Molly works and the retro sources of inspiration for Camp Rex!

Name: Molly Idle

Book: Camp Rex

Date Available: April 22, 2014

What media and materials do you use to create your illustrations? Pencil and Paper.  I like to keep things simple, and it doesn’t get much more simple than that!  But to be more specific, all of my illustrations are created using Prismacolor pencils on vellum finish Bristol. 

What’s your favorite color and why? My favorite color changes almost constantly depending upon the project I’m working on… At the moment, I’m infatuated with a 1940s, retro looking, sea-foam green. Gorgeous!

Who’s your favorite artist or illustrator, living or dead and why? That’s a toughie… so I’m going to pick two.  I’d say two of my favorite artists are Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. They were both animators, two of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men”. They often worked on characters that worked together in their films (Bambi and Thumper, The Three Good Fairies in Sleeping Beauty, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee…)  Their line-work looks effortless, and their drawings breathed life into the characters they created on the screen!

Where do you do your work? I work in a workshop/studio space built in our backyard- I’ve got all the necessities: lighting, layout space, pencils, paper, rubber erasers, rubber chicken…

Aside from the text of Camp Rex, where did you find inspiration for your illustrations? I looked into camping and wilderness guides created around the turn of the 20th century. There weren’t many references to recreational camping prior to that. I mean, roughing it wasn’t a vacation then, it was a way of life.  Only when most everyone had modern day conveniences, like electricity and indoor plumbing, did trying to do without them seem like “fun”!

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Thanks, Molly! We hope there are more dinosaur adventures to come!

You can find Molly on her website and Twitter.

Order Camp Rex from your favorite retailer here, and Tea Rex here.