this is actually a version of the other one

Drafting: The Theory of Shitty First Drafts

Writing books often exhort you to “write a shitty first draft,” but I always resisted this advice. After all,

  1. I was already writing shitty drafts, even when I tried to write good ones. Why go out of my way to make them shittier?
  2. A shitty first draft just kicks the can down the road, doesn’t it? Sooner or later, I’d have to write a good draft—why put it off?
  3. If I wrote without judging what I wrote, how would I make any creative choices at all?
  4. That first draft inevitably obscured my original vision, so I wanted it to be at least slightly good.
  5. Writing something shitty meant I was shitty.

So for years, I kept writing careful, cramped, painstaking first drafts—when I managed to write at all. At last, writing became so joyless, so draining, so agonizing for me that I got desperate: I either needed to quit writing altogether or give the shitty-first-draft thing a try.

Turns out everything I believed about drafting was wrong.

For the last six months, I’ve written all my first drafts in full-on don’t-give-a-fuck mode. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

“Shitty first draft” is a misnomer

A rough draft isn’t just a shitty story, any more than a painter’s preparatory sketch is just a shitty painting. Like a sketch, a draft is its own kind of thing: not a lesser version of the finished story, but a guide for making the finished story.

Once I started thinking of my rough drafts as preparatory sketches, I stopped fretting over how “bad” they were. Is a sketch “bad”? And actually, a rough draft can be beautiful the same way a sketch is beautiful: it has its own messy energy.

Don’t try to do everything at once

People who make complex things need to solve one kind of problem before they can solve others. A painter might need to work out where the big shapes go before they can paint the details. A writer might need to decide what two people are saying to each other before they can describe the light in the room or what those people are doing with their hands.

I’d always embraced this principle up to a point. In the early stages, I’d speculate and daydream and make messy notes. But that freedom would end as soon as I started drafting. When you write a scene, I thought, you have to start with the first word and write the rest in order. Then it dawned on me: nobody would ever see this! I could write the dialogue first and the action later; or the action first and the dialogue later; or some dialogue and action first and then interior monologue later; or I could write the whole thing like I was explaining the plot to my friend over the phone. The draft was just one very long, very detailed note to myself. Not a story, but a preparatory sketch for a story. Why not do it in whatever weird order made sense to me?

Get all your thoughts onto the page

Here’s how I used to write: I’d sit there staring at the screen and I’d think of something—then judge it, reject it, and reach for something else, which I’d most likely reject as well—all without ever fully knowing what those things were. And once you start rejecting thoughts, it’s hard to stop. If you don’t write down the first one, or the second, or the third, eventually your thought-generating mechanism jams up. You become convinced you have no thoughts at all.

When I compare my old drafts with my new ones, the old ones look coherent enough. They’re presentable as stories. But they suck as drafts, because I can’t see myself thinking in them. I have no idea what I wanted that story to be. These drafts are opaque and airless, inscrutable even to me, because a good 90% of what I was thinking while I wrote them never made it onto the page.

These days, most of my thoughts go onto the page, in one form or another. I don’t waste time figuring out how to say something, I just ask, “what are you trying to say here?” and write that down. Because this isn’t a story, it’s a plan for a story, so I just need the words to be clear, not beautiful. The drafts I write now are full of placeholders and weird meta notes, but when I read them, I can see where my mind is going. I can see what I’m trying to do. Consequently, I no longer feel like my drafts obscure my original vision. In fact, their whole purpose is to describe that vision.

Drafts are memos to future-you

To draft effectively, you need a personal drafting style or “language” to communicate with your future self (who is, of course, the author of your second draft). This language needs to record your ideas quickly so it can keep up with the pace of your imagination, but it needs to do so in a form that will make sense to you later. That’s why everyone’s drafts look different: your drafting style has to fit the way your mind works.

I’m still working mine out. Honestly, it might take a while. But recently, I started writing in fragments. That’s just how my mind works: I get pieces of sentences before I understand how to fit them together. Wrestling with syntax was slowing me down, so now I just generate the pieces and save their logical relationships for later. Drafting effectively means learning these things about yourself. And to do that, you can’t get all judgmental. You can’t fret over how you should be writing, you just gotta get it done.

Messy drafts are easier to revise

I find that drafting quickly and messily keeps the story from prematurely “hardening” into a mute, opaque object I’m afraid to change. I no longer do that thing, for instance, where I endlessly polish the first few paragraphs of a draft without moving on. Because how do you polish a bunch of fragments taped together with dashes? A draft that looks patently “unfinished” stays malleable, makes me want to dig my hands in and move stuff around.

You already have ideas

Sitting down to write a story, I used to feel this awful responsibility to create something good. Now I treat drafting simply as documenting ideas I already have—not as creation at all, but as observation and description. I don’t wait around for good words or good ideas. I just skim off whatever’s floating on the surface and write it down. It’s that which allows other, potentially better ideas to surface.

As a younger writer, my misery and frustration perpetuated themselves: suppressing so many thoughts made my writing cramped and inhibited, which convinced me I had no ideas, which made me even more afraid to write lest I discover how empty inside I really was. That was my fear, I guess: if I looked squarely at my innocent, unvetted, unvarnished ideas, I’d see how bad they truly were, and then I’d have to—what, pack up and go home? Never write again? I don’t know. But when I stopped rejecting ideas and started dumping them onto the page, the worst didn’t happen. In fact, it was a huge relief.


Next post: the practice of shitty first drafts

Ask me a question or send me feedback!

Ever needed to hear about mad dad birds with enormous feet? Try THESE on for size:

What’s that you say? These are clearly the feet of a dinosaur, not a bird? WHY NOT BOTH?

This is Australia’s very own dinosaur, the second-largest bird in the world, the emu. Say hi!

They roam around Australia making ‘wonk-wonk’ noises under their breath and glaring at everything. And the dads take care of the babies! They sit on the eggs…

They look after the tiny stripey adorable things….

They look after the less tiny less adorable things…

And they even look after the great big menacing things that are almost as big as they are.

But here’s the catch. All emus look pretty much alike. Especially when you are a tiny stripey adorable thing. All you can see of your dad is is great big dinosaur feet (see picture #1). So there is one very unrealistic thing about all the adorable terrifying dinosaur family photos above:

I have never seen an emu family in the wild where all the babies are the same size.

Here is the reason!

Emu dad and his emu babies are roaming about wonking and glaring at everyone. Suddenly emu dad sees another emu dad! A threat!

Emu dads do some display threats with dancing and bouncing and fluffing and… look, it’s very serious business, okay?

If this does not work to see off one emu they might progress to actual fighting.

Oops, sorry, you wanted the dignified version. Here, have some ART:

MAGNIFICENT.

Either way, this encounter will end up with one or both adult emus zooming away as fast as he can run. This is very fast.

This is the other thing they do besides wonking and glaring, by the way. They run. Fear the running emu.

Anyway, this leaves all the tiny and medium-sized and semi-large stripey things milling around making confused tiny “cheep? wonk?” noises and basically just following whichever pair of large feet they can find.

HI DAD

And so mostly when you see a male emu with a gaggle of youngsters at heel, they are all different sizes. Who knows whose they are? Not him! But he’s going to look after them anyway.

Fear him.

Keith, my love. (*´◡`)/♥ Who made you angry? (Shiro, Hunk) | Redbubble

musicals as kids you knew in high school

Les Mis: dramatic foreign exchange kid who plays up their own country’s stereotypes to mess with the other students. Huge heart; cries at the end of literally every movie. In with the popular kids.

The Book of Mormon: the most politically incorrect kid you’ve ever met. Whenever they say anything, you wait a few moments and look around at the other students to make sure it’s okay to laugh. You sometimes lay awake thinking about things they’ve said because they’re right.

Newsies: that poor freshman who still hasn’t hit puberty yet. Has a friend group of other woefully prepubescent boys. Think Sam and Company in Freaks and Geeks. They sit in a corner of the lunchroom and hope the athletes won’t find them. Is very vocal about how much they hate the school and won’t shut up about transferring to some school in New Mexico. Ran for student government as a freshman and won, shocking everyone.

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812: Transferred to your high school for only a year, but no one will ever forget them. Was responsible for planning the legendary senior prank that resulted in the principal running from the school screaming. Eventually got expelled. Some students blame it on racism drama that 1812 themselves actually had nothing to do with; most people understand that this rumor is false.

Waitress: the kid who decorates their binder covers with glittery letters and hums while they organize their locker. Spends free time volunteering: not for their resume, but out of the goodness of their heart. Punched the school bully once and nearly went viral. Is actually reasonably popular–partially because they’re friends with popular junior Sara B., but mostly because they’re such a great person.

Hamilton: the freshman kid who somehow manages honor roll academics, five extracurriculars, a part-time job, a small nonprofit, a mental illness, and a dog. Is legendary for sassy one-liners. Carries speakers everywhere and dances on tables in the cafeteria, getting everyone to sing along. Is somehow really, really popular; some of the other kids are salty.

Rent: the artistic/political kid. Senior who the other kids look up to. Openly responsible for the controversial political graffiti in the bathroom. Got suspended once for protesting the student dress code: the only thing the handbook actually says is that you must wear shoes at all times, so they just showed up to school naked. Is low-key Hamilton’s idol. Like Newsies, also won’t shut up about transferring to some school in New Mexico.

Wicked: the other artistic/political kid, though slightly more on the political side. The kid with all the pins on their messenger bag. Their Facebook is full of social justice rants and emotional videos shared from liberal media pages. Is probably going to become president.

Dear Evan Hansen: the kid who’s really quiet irl, but has ten thousand followers on Tumblr and is a minor online celebrity. On Facebook, posts inspirational quotes in pretty fonts with nature backgrounds and gets maybe two or three likes. Draws on arms with Sharpie during class. Is also somehow in with the popular kids, but chooses not to hang out with them. 

Little Shop of Horrors: the kid who is really sweet but whom you suspect is kinda internally unbalanced. Has a dark sense of humor; makes quiet jokes sometimes that no one else hears, but you do, and you’re terrified. Bonds with Dear Evan Hansen over plant obsession.

Heathers: other slightly unbalanced kid, though they’re more obvious about it. Is basically Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club. Sometimes wears rollerskates to school; listens to podcasts and wears headphones everywhere and only takes them off to fight bullies. Actually still uses an iPod. Not really in with the popular kids, but does have a gaggle of admirers among the younger students.

Be More Chill: the kid who works in the computer cluster. Is quite a jokester in general, so people don’t know whether or not to be worried by their self-deprecating jokes. Is in Yearbook and swaps out the class portraits of people they don’t like with the most unflattering pictures in the world. Almost sent that version to print once and had a panic attack in the bathroom. Is actually rather famous for said panic attack in the bathroom. Has an unexpected friendship with Heathers

Falsettos: the senior kid always making snarky but surprisingly philosophical comments at the back of the class. Insists that all everyday objects are metaphors. Always looks to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. No one understands how everyone in their friend group knows each other. Tried to run for student government, but tragically lost to popular homecoming queen Dolly Midler.

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A YEAR WITHOUT A PRESIDENT

It seems like forever, but it was just one year ago that Donald Trump was elected president. So what have we learned about the presidency and who is running the country? 

1. The first big thing we’ve learned is that Trump is not really the president of the United States – because he’s not governing.

A president who’s governing doesn’t blast his Attorney General for doing his duty and recusing himself from an FBI investigation of the president.

A president who’s governing doesn’t leave the top echelons of departments and agencies empty for almost a year.

He doesn’t publicly tell his Secretary of State he’s wasting time trying to open relations with North Korea. Any president with the slightest interest in governing would already know and approve of what his Secretary of State was doing.

He doesn’t fire half his key White House staff in the first nine months, creating utter chaos.

A president who is governing works with his cabinet and staff to develop policy. He doesn’t just tweet new public policy out of the blue – for example, that transgender people can’t serve in the military. His Secretary of Defense is likely to have some thoughts on the matter – and if not consulted might decide to ignore the tweet.

He doesn’t just decide to withdraw from the Paris Accord without any reason or analysis.

A president who is governing works with Congress. He doesn’t just punt to Congress hard decisions – as he did with DACA, the Iran nuclear deal, insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and details of his tax plan.

He doesn’t tell a crowd of supporters that he’s ended the Clean Power Plan – “Did you see what I did to that? Boom, gone” – when any such repeal requires a legal process, and must then withstand court challenges.

Instead of governing, Donald Trump has been insulting, throwing tantrums, and getting even:

Equating white supremacists with people who protest against them. Questioning the patriotism of NFL players who are peacefully protesting police violence and racism.

Making nasty remarks about journalists, about his predecessor as president, his political opponent in the last election, national heroes like Congressman John Lewis and Senator John McCain, even the mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Or he’s busy lying and then covering up the lies. Claiming he would have won the popular vote if millions hadn’t voted fraudulently for his opponent – without a shred of evidence to support his claim, and then setting up a fraudulent commission to find the evidence.

Or firing the head of the FBI who wouldn’t promise to be more loyal to him than to the American public.

A president’s job is to govern. Trump doesn’t know how to govern, or apparently doesn’t care. So, logically, he’s not President.

2. The second thing we’ve learned is that Trump’s influence is waning.  

Since he lost the popular vote, his approval ratings have dropped even further. One year in, Trump is the least popular president in history with only 37 percent of Americans behind him.

Most Republicans still approve of him, but that may not be for long.

He couldn’t get his pick elected to a Senate primary in Alabama, a state bulging with Trump voters.

Republican senators refused to go along with his repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And they’re taking increased interest in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Business leaders deserted him over his remarks over Charlottesville. They vacated his business advisory councils.

NFL owners have turned on him over his remarks about players. Tom Brady, who once called Trump “a good friend,” now calls him “divisive” and “wrong.”

There’s no question he’s violated the Constitution. There are at least three grounds for impeachment – his violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution by raking in money from foreign governments, his obstruction of justice by firing the head of the FBI, and his failure to faithfully execute the law by not implementing the Affordable Care Act. And a fourth if he or his aides colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

But both houses of Congress would have to vote for his removal, which won’t happen unless Democrats win control in 2018 or Republicans in Congress decide Trump is a political liability.

3. The third big thing we’ve learned is where the governing of the country is actually occurring.

Much is being done by lobbyists for big business, who now swarm over the Trump administration like honey bees over a hedgerow of hollyhocks.

But the real leadership of America is coming from outside the Trump administration.

Leadership on the environment is now coming from California – whose rules every automaker and many other corporations have to meet in order to sell in a state that’s home to one out of eight Americans.

Leadership on civil rights is coming from the federal courts, which have struck down three different versions of Trump’s travel ban, told states their voter ID laws are unconstitutional, and pushed police departments to stop profiling and harassing minorities.

Leadership on the economy is coming from the Federal Reserve Board, whose decisions on interest rates are more important than ever now that the country lacks a fiscal policy guided by the White House.

Most of the rest of leadership in America is now coming from the grassroots – from people all over the country who are determined to reclaim our democracy and make the economy work for the many rather than the few.

They stopped Congress from repealing the Affordable Care Act.

They’re fighting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s plan to spend taxpayer money on for-profit schools and colleges that cheat their students.

They’re fighting EPA director Scott Pruitt’s crusade against climate science.

And Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s attempts to tear down the wall between church and state.

They’re fighting against the biggest tax cut for the wealthy in American history – that will be paid for by draconian cuts in services and dangerous levels of federal debt.

They’re fighting against the bigotry, racism, and xenophobia that Trump has unleashed.

And they’re fighting for a Congress that, starting with next year’s midterm elections, will reverse everything Trump is doing to America.

But their most important effort – your effort, our effort – is not just resisting Trump. It’s laying the groundwork for a new politics in America, a new era of decency and social justice, a reassertion of the common good.

Millions are already mobilizing and organizing. It’s the one good thing that’s happened since Election Day last year – the silver lining on the dark Trump cloud.

If you’re not yet part of it, join up.

1. About this Journal Page: I usually add this on the first page, it’s sort of like the alpha because it explains the things that i plan to do w/ my journal. I add “Dear reader,… Love, Me” and script my name + heaps of doodles.

2. Birthday Special and Etc. Bonanza: This page is a list of people’s birthday and other special occasions where either list it down or make huge tables similar to a legit calendar. Doodles make this 10x better.

3. Favorites of the Month: I love doing this because it feels like I can actually reminisce the things that i love about the month. I do this in sketches and paint it with watercolors because watercolor makes everything 100x better.

4. Things I love about the season: Frankly speaking, we only have 2 “seasons” in my country so that’s practically just rainy and dry. And since I am desperately in love with summer, I dedicated a list of things I love about it.

5. The Huge Movie list: This movie list is meant to be a sort-of “reacts” and “ratings” kind of thing because i always love rating the movies that I’ve binge watched.

6. The Moody Playlist: I shuffle my tunes and seek for beautiful tracks and turn them into themed playlist. I think this is perfect if you have a spotify account because you can later on make a legit playlist.

7. Tick it off: This is quite typical tbh: the to-do-list page. The page which makes your journal a bona fide journal. I often times write down my to-do-list with boxes so that i can just tick off when i’m done.

8. Bucket list Version 2.0: Also a classic, you can add a little twist to your bucket list by turning them into sketches instead of the old, lame bullet-ed list sort of thing. Bonus: you can add how old, how you want to look, etc.

9. Thoughts in a Bullet: I do this to write down with ease the bothersome thoughts. I just write it down either in phrases or sentences. Thoughts in a bullet is perfect for calming down and easing the anxiety.

10. The Sunday’s best: Sunday’s best is actually the page i dedicate for when I’m chilling. I practically just let my thoughts wander and write it down in a page. I either make a playlist for sunday, how i want my sunday to be, quick sketches of my bedroom, and tv series i binge-watched that day. Sunday’s best is practically just a chill page and you’re free to do whatever you want to do with it.

11. This Week’s Bake, Blend, Stir and Fry: I honestly just call it that way because it sounds cooler but the gist is that page is meant to be your Recipe of the week sort of thing. If you’re a person with a heart for cooking, then this page is for you.

12. The Featured Pet: I love making this  page because I can actually add my pets in my journal!! I’ll sketch them and describe them and just list down the reasons why I love them. Some of the stuff i write are: name, age of description, color, animal, breed, favorite food, behavior, personality, when it barks, etc!!!

13. Quick Urban Sketches: This journal page idea is something to do when you’re feeling the sun and you want to go outside and bathe yourself with it. You practically just sketch heaps of beautiful buildings, strangers, shrines, etc and paint it using a watercolor (i do it this way, you can do it in your own way too). And then describe it in a short phrase, sentence, or maybe even a paragraph. This is perfect if you’re an outdoor person who loves the sun ~

14. This Week’s Highlights: This is quite similar to favorites of the month however it’s for the week plus it’s not only your favorites. I actually like doing the highlight page because i want to remember all the things that happened to me for the whole time i was having this journal.

15. Dear Elle,: Elle does not exist. I don’t even know anybody with the name Elle. I just dedicate a page for her because I feel like I’m talking to a friend. No, she’s not an imaginary friend. I think the things I write in my dear elle page is mostly directed to me. In dear elle, i write down with all my heart the things that I'am afraid of, my flaws, insecurities, anxiety and I usually just sum it up with a nice positive reminder.

16. The Botanical Garden Dream: Actually this is just a page dedicated for my favorite flowers that I’d love to have and plant in my garden one day. I usually just make this in a garden-looking way so there’s not much words but sketches and doodles. And then i color it using my colored pencils because it’s easier to work with pencils for botanical tbh.

17. 100 Resons to be Happy About: I made this on my first journal (that’s when I was 11) and every time i read it, i still can’t help but smile. This page is a major help for struggling people out there. Honestly, it’s just a page filled with heaps of things i love and i write them down in different sizes, orientation and fonts so that it looks sort of like a mess but not really.

18. *insert TV Series*’s Lessons: I did this on Modern Family and I swear to god this is like the most favorite thing I do about the lesson sort-of thing because I just !! I often times divide it in characters like: Here’s for Haley, Alex, Luke, Phil, etc. And I’ll apply them to myself and it helps out trust me!!

19. 17 Things I’ve Learned Before Turning 17: This is perfect because I can actually look back and see how much I’ve grown. You can do it too but you can use your age instead like if you’re 12 it can be 12 things I’ve learned before turning 12. Something like that.

20. The Dreamy Backpack Adventures: The Dreamy Backpack Adventures is actually just the list of places that I want to visit before I die!! I often times get my inspo from tumblr and do a mini research and write it down on that page too.
21. 10 Things That Make Me Happy: This is quite similar to 100 reasons to be happy about but this time it’s more of a me. I just write this down when I’m totally feeling myself and stuff like that. I got the inspo from the anonymous chain message going on in tumblr so yep.

22. The Ultimate Road Trip Guide: I make this page because I’m one heck of a huge fan of road trips! I often times just make a playlist, write a to-bring-list, make my outfit ideas, and food list kind of thing that i shall do for the whole trip. I also sketch my pillows hehe!

23. Other Versions of Sunshine: I actually made something like this and posted it here, can you remember? It’s just a bunch of lovely little things that remind you of sunshine. I write this down when it’s a sunny saturday and it’s the golden hour (4-5pm).

24. Little Things to be Happy About: I also made this and posted it in here. It’s quite similar to Other Versions of Sunshine but this time, it’s more like a little bit of less descriptive. I suggest making this before doing the Other Versions of Sunshine. This will honestly pump you up a bit.

25. Reminders to Myself: These are cute little positive things that i write down so that i can sort of just read it when I’m having a sad day. I add cute little doodles around too. To make this 10x cuter, i add little animal or cupcake or plant doddle with this bubble reminders and stuff. You can also scan this and post them in tumblr.

26. Sketches: I don’t really think I need to explain this. These are just cute sketches of everything: your house, neighbor’s house, your friends, strangers, etc.

27. The Pressed Flowers & Leaves Page: I’m pretty sure your journal will be a thousand times better if you press some flowers on another book and tape it using washi on your journal. You can dedicate a whole page with captions (what’s the plant, where is it from, when it was picked and pressed, initial color, etc) for your pressed flowers. Perfect for future gift ideas.

28. The Ultimate Picnic Guide: The Ultimate Picnic Guide is also quite similar to The Ultimate Road Trip Guide. I sketch my little cute picnic idea and add colors (using watercolor, still) and then i label it and point it out. Like, the sort of food I will eat, the colors of the blanket, the books I will read, the outfit that i plan to wear, the basket i will bring and stuff. It’s honestly better to sketch it than just write it down. But you can always just do it your way.

29. Paint and Palette Test: I think most artists use a separate sheet of paper for this but honestly the palette test is one of my most favorite thing about painting and making art. I keep it in my journal and test the colors that might match. This is really perfect for future art references and also nice if you’re having an art block + don’t know the heck what you should do. This palette test page could help.

30. A Love Letter: A love letter is sort-of a self-project i made because i love to write letters to people. I will make letters for my friend, my crush, my mom, my dad, and other relatives when i feel the urge to do so. I usually never give them out because well, that’s the sole purpose of writing it- never giving it out. So yeah, a love letter is perfect for when you just want to pour out your feelings over someone and you don’t want them to figure it out. EVER.

31. What I Want To Be: This one is just a goals of the day sort of thing. You can also do it in a goals of the week or month. :-)

32. Things I Love About *your favorite artist*: This can either be a singer, painter, dancer, etc. I honestly just do this to express my love for my faves.

33. The Skin Care Guide: Every time I purchase new things to spice up the softness of my face, I’ll sketch the cute little bottles and facial stuff that i purchase and describe it and write my reviews.

34. The All-time Page (fave books, music, etc): This is a little classic. I basically just write down my all-time favorite books, art, painters, movies, and more.

35. The Book Trip: You can google up some nice book recommendations or from good reads and then you write it down. You could also try to write your expectations and stuff.

36. The Movie Binge: This is quite similar to the Book Trip but this time I write down cute movie recommendations for future binge-watching. Yay!

37. Dear Future/Past Me: I’m not sure if this is classic but I actually like doing this. I wrote a letter for myself 5 years ago and I opened it today and just wow, I was so surprised with how much I’ve grown. So if you practically like those things, you can add this to spice up your journal.

38. Dreamy Date: Practically just a list of things/quality that i want my future significant other to be. Or how my dream date will go. Or just practically the “date a person who..” kind of thing. 

39. To Be Or Not To Be: It’s just a cute list of all the inspirational quotes i gather from everywhere. At times, I’ll sketch the figure/portrait of the person who said it and add a little thought bubble with the quote.

40. The Grocery List: Honestly, I just make a grocery list kind of thing because i love drawing goodies and food!! It’s more of a favorite page kind of thing but this time it’s filled with canned foods. You can also do this in bullet form.

41. The Fashionette 101: In other words: outfit page. This is where I sketch my #ootd or just the outfit inspos i get from tumblr. As you all know, i have a tag #ootd_insp. I sometimes sketch nice outfit ideas from there. 

42. Cut It Out: The Cut it out is page is practically dedicated for magazine cut-outs. I have a lot of old magazines and art books that I’ve finished reading so instead of throwing them, I’ll just cut ‘em and paste on my journal.

43. Little Flaws I love About Me: This is also inspired by the chain anonymous message about loving yourself. You just practically just list down the cute little things you like about yourself.

44. List of Pets and Plants + Name Ideas: This is sort of like a keeping track page for all my pets and plants. I will also sketch and draw them when I feel like it. This is perfect with watercolor, jsyk. :-)

45. The Space Page: The Space Page is one of my most recent page where i just draw a lot of space stuff and all the planets and add cute little facts about it. I sometimes add glitters instead of painting them because planets are fab as heck.

46. Mini-Comic and The Everyday Adventures: Literally just a little comic strip about your everyday encounters. I made a similar one entitled “The Homey Adventures” and you can find it somewhere in my blog. You can divide it in four squares or depends on your own liking.

47. The Brunette and Grainy Pictures: If you have a lot of vintage, european-ish sort of stickers and cute little goodies, you can make a vintage page for that. You can fill it out with nice doodles of buses and pins and stamps, too.

48. Doodle page: This is entirely different from the sketch page because doodle page is a lot more chill and adorable. You can fill up a whole page or just half of it or maybe a quarter and add other sections if you want.

49. Poems: Yep, quite obvious, guys.

50. The “Why I love” Section: Some Why I love suggestions: tea, coffee, ice cream, your dog, color, food, etc. You can add a lot of details and images because the more detailed the better honestly.

ARTISTS BEWARE [the short version]

it was suggested to me that i ought to make a short version of this post for convenient reblogging. please read the original post original post or check my geekycomtv tag if that link is broken.


Avoid collaborations with dubious monetized YouTube channel GeekyComTV

I’ve held my tongue about this channel for almost a month and I can’t frickin’ do it anymore. This is a call out post.


[WHY?]
To make a long story short, this user has been posting videos for over a year now, using miraculous art. Although in some cases he has asked permission to repost, he began monetizing [making money off of] his videos at some point without notifying any of the artists.

None of the artists agreed to monetization.

@maristoryart is only one of many artists that reported him upon finding the monetization, but for some reason, Geeky has focused on her as the reason his channel is being reported [for a second time at least, since this isn’t the first account he has lost]…

GeekyComTV’s creator has resorted to blackmail, to defamation, to actual threats, and finally to identity theft, in an attempt to bully mari and others into complying with his wishes.

It’s gross and it is NOT okay.


[^^^ just 20 of the 200+ videos being monetized]

[WHY? part 2: the long version]
And now the entire thing. Strap in and get ready to get real damn mad…

          [read more]

I said I was gonna do it so I actually did it this time. Here is a list of my personal favorite (the best) covers that Panic! At The Disco & co. has done. the numbers are links to other versions/videos, let me know if I made a mistake anywhere this was written out pretty late.

I will probably add to it as time goes on.

Here is a playlist of these covers.

anonymous asked:

isnt aizawa only drawn like that because hes supposed to be buff like all might?

I don’t think so, no but, allow me to explain why!

Firstly, I’m going to use this art drawn by Horikoshi here:

I want to thank @ukitakejuushiro for this post  because they made a very good point here. Aizawa, is holding Bakugou down with literally one arm and absolutely no strain, while Bakugou himself is struggling to get Aizawa’s grip off of him. That’s not the only thing I want to point out here though. 

Notice where Bakugou’s left hand stops against Aizawa’s forearm. 

That’s a thick ass arm, my dude. Bakugou can’t even wrap his hand around Aizawa’s wrist fully. I know Aizawa looks skinny because he wears a baggy ass black suit as his hero attire and they made him appear like a twig in the anime, but legit this man is beefy. Horikoshi basically confirmed this for us every single time he’s ever drawn Aizawa in fitted clothing. 

Aizawa is a broad guy. He is thick. He isn’t a a twig like his loose-fitted black suit would have you believe. 

Look at that fucking neck and those shoulders! Also note how wide his waist is and how thick his wrists are. 

This is a reasonably buff dude. Which shouldn’t be all that shocking considering he can run across power-lines like it’s the easiest thing in the world to do and also dead lift a soaking wet Deku with one hand like it’s nothing. He has the physical prowess of a gymnast combined with a mixed martial arts fighter.

This isn’t my only point though. Look at All Might:

All Might is a god damn mountain. He’s ENORMOUS. But Aizawa in the hero swap:

He is nowhere near as huge. He’s not even close to All Might’s size here. He’s the exact body type you’d expect from someone who is as physically inclined as he actually happens to be. Also notice that his neck and shoulders aren’t any wider than they’re normally drawn WITHOUT HIS CAPTURE WEAPON ON. That’s another thing you have to take into consideration here. His hero outfit does literally nothing in terms of granting people a nice view, ya feel me? It’s baggy af and his bondage scarf usually covers his shoulders and entire neck. So what we see here is all just for more defined because he’s in a skintight body suit instead of a loose tracksuit with miles of metal woven cloth wrapped around his neck and shoulders. 

The last thing I want to add is this:

For every other character Horikoshi has done a costume/quirk swap for, no one’s body type changed. Not one. I get All Might can go back and forth between buff and slim, but I feel like if Horikoshi drew Aizawa to be buff for the sake of portraying All Might, he would have given Aizawa the full All Might, mountain sized body. Not just a beefed up version of himself. Especially since he hasn’t done that for any other character. I mean, Bakugou is Nomu in the very same art but he is no taller, and no buffer than his usual body type. He’s just shirtless.

So I believe that is actually Aizawa’s true, canon body. You just get a much better view of it because the All Might suit is like a second skin :D 

GUYS IT’S DONE!  I FINALLY FINISHED IT!! 

Okay, so a little background.  A long while ago I read This Oneshot by @krzed and I loved it and wanted to make a comic of it.  But since the story is all about their love for musicals, and the characters use the song “All I Ask From You” to share their feelings with each other, a comic didn’t seem to be enough to get the emotions across, so I knew I had to try to make an animatic.  

I wanted to use a version with actual singing in it, but the male and female vocal parts are reversed, so I wasn’t able to find one.

I’m pretty nervous about posting it, but here goes!!

Voyager: The Spacecraft

The twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Continuing their more-than-40-year journey since their 1977 launches, they each are much farther away from Earth and the Sun than Pluto.

The primary mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn. After making a string of discoveries there – such as active volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io and intricacies of Saturn’s rings – the mission was extended. 

Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, and is still the only spacecraft to have visited those outer planets. The adventurers’ current mission, the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM), will explore the outermost edge of the Sun’s domain. And beyond.

Spacecraft Instruments

‘BUS’ Housing Electronics

The basic structure of the spacecraft is called the “bus,” which carries the various engineering subsystems and scientific instruments. It is like a large ten-sided box. Each of the ten sides of the bus contains a compartment (a bay) that houses various electronic assemblies.

Cosmic Ray Subsystem (CRS)

The Cosmic Ray Subsystem (CRS) looks only for very energetic particles in plasma, and has the highest sensitivity of the three particle detectors on the spacecraft. Very energetic particles can often be found in the intense radiation fields surrounding some planets (like Jupiter). Particles with the highest-known energies come from other stars. The CRS looks for both.

High-Gain Antenna (HGA)

The High-Gain Antenna (HGA) transmits data to Earth on two frequency channels (the downlink). One at about 8.4 gigahertz, is the X-band channel and contains science and engineering data. For comparison, the FM radio band is centered around 100 megahertz.

Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS)

The Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) is a modified version of the slow scan vidicon camera designed that were used in the earlier Mariner flights. The ISS consists of two television-type cameras, each with eight filters in a commandable Filter Wheel mounted in front of the vidicons. One has a low resolution 200 mm wide-angle lens, while the other uses a higher resolution 1500 mm narrow-angle lens.

Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer and Radiometer (IRIS)

The Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer and Radiometer (IRIS) actually acts as three separate instruments. First, it is a very sophisticated thermometer. It can determine the distribution of heat energy a body is emitting, allowing scientists to determine the temperature of that body or substance.

Second, the IRIS is a device that can determine when certain types of elements or compounds are present in an atmosphere or on a surface.

Third, it uses a separate radiometer to measure the total amount of sunlight reflected by a body at ultraviolet, visible and infrared frequencies.

Low-Energy Charged Particles (LECP)

The Low-Energy Charged Particles (LECP) looks for particles of higher energy than the Plasma Science instrument, and it overlaps with the Cosmic Ray Subsystem (CRS). It has the broadest energy range of the three sets of particle sensors. 

The LECP can be imagined as a piece of wood, with the particles of interest playing the role of the bullets. The faster a bullet moves, the deeper it will penetrate the wood. Thus, the depth of penetration measures the speed of the particles. The number of “bullet holes” over time indicates how many particles there are in various places in the solar wind, and at the various outer planets. The orientation of the wood indicates the direction from which the particles came.

Magnetometer (MAG)

Although the Magnetometer (MAG) can detect some of the effects of the solar wind on the outer planets and moons, its primary job is to measure changes in the Sun’s magnetic field with distance and time, to determine if each of the outer planets has a magnetic field, and how the moons and rings of the outer planets interact with those magnetic fields.

Optical Calibration Target
The target plate is a flat rectangle of known color and brightness, fixed to the spacecraft so the instruments on the movable scan platform (cameras, infrared instrument, etc.) can point to a predictable target for calibration purposes.

Photopolarimeter Subsystem (PPS)

The Photopolarimeter Subsystem (PPS) uses a 0.2 m telescope fitted with filters and polarization analyzers. The experiment is designed to determine the physical properties of particulate matter in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn and the rings of Saturn by measuring the intensity and linear polarization of scattered sunlight at eight wavelengths. 

The experiment also provided information on the texture and probable composition of the surfaces of the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn.

Planetary Radio Astronomy (PRA) and Plasma Wave Subsystem (PWS)

Two separate experiments, The Plasma Wave Subsystem and the Planetary Radio Astronomy experiment, share the two long antennas which stretch at right-angles to one another, forming a “V”.

Plasma Science (PLS)

The Plasma Science (PLS) instrument looks for the lowest-energy particles in plasma. It also has the ability to look for particles moving at particular speeds and, to a limited extent, to determine the direction from which they come. 

The Plasma Subsystem studies the properties of very hot ionized gases that exist in interplanetary regions. One plasma detector points in the direction of the Earth and the other points at a right angle to the first.

Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTG)

Three RTG units, electrically parallel-connected, are the central power sources for the mission module. The RTGs are mounted in tandem (end-to-end) on a deployable boom. The heat source radioisotopic fuel is Plutonium-238 in the form of the oxide Pu02. In the isotopic decay process, alpha particles are released which bombard the inner surface of the container. The energy released is converted to heat and is the source of heat to the thermoelectric converter.

Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS)

The Ultraviolet Spectrometer (UVS) is a very specialized type of light meter that is sensitive to ultraviolet light. It determines when certain atoms or ions are present, or when certain physical processes are going on. 

The instrument looks for specific colors of ultraviolet light that certain elements and compounds are known to emit.

Learn more about the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

anonymous asked:

What are white holes? Is there any other kinds of "holes" in the universe?

Well, black holes were predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity and actually discovered over the last few decades.

In Astrophysics, White Hole is a theoretical object predicted by the theory of relativity that functions as a time-inverted black hole. Because a black hole is a region in space where nothing can escape, the time-inverted version of the white hole is a region in space where nothing can fall. Instead of pulling the material in, a white hole would blow the material into space.

White holes appear as part of one of Karl Schwarzschild’s solutions to Einstein’s general relativity equations in which a Schwarzschild worm hole is described. At one end of the wormhole is a black hole sucking matter, light, and all, and at the other end a white hole, creating / expelling matter and light.

Even though this may imply that black holes in our universe can connect to white holes elsewhere, it is not considered possible to exist for two reasons. First, because Schwarzschild’s wormholes are unstable, disconnecting as soon as they form. Secondly, Schwarzschild’s earthworm holes are a valid solution only as long as no matter interacts with the hole.

The existence of white holes disconnected from black holes is doubtful, since such hypotheses seem to violate the second law of thermodynamics. 

That is, white holes are mathematically viable physical entities, which is not to say that they exist in nature.

anonymous asked:

Not Voyager or DS9 relate but I really hope Discovery is dark and gritty and actually lives up to some potential something we didn't get from Previous Trek shows. If it does I just may give it a chance.

This isn’t DS9 / VOY in specific, but I still want to address this, because I have some passionate feelings about it.

It sounds like you want A Song of Ice and Star Trek, but that would be as incorrect an approach to the series as it would be if HBO made Game of Thrones without the betrayals, blood, pointless cruelty, and injustice. One of the reasons for the tone of that franchise is because George R. R. Martin is trying to knock down the rose-colored view of medieval times in fantasy. Likewise, one of the reasons for the tone of Star Trek is to oppose the relentless pessimism you find in science fiction.

There are a lot of shows and films with a dark, gritty tone about the future. Half the trailers you see in theaters now are for a world taken over by an oppressive regime, or a world in flames because of what we did to it, or a world in flames and under an oppressive regime, in which kindness and morality are as rare as diamonds and fleeting as desert frost. This is not to say that they are bad, just if you want gritty sci-fi, there is no lacking for options. Star Trek sets itself apart from these stories. Instead of assuming that we will continue being the worst of ourselves, Star Trek dares to propose that we can be the best of ourselves–that we can embrace curiosity, compassion, and knowlege, rather than fear and prejudice and greed. It says that the future can be different if we work for it. It speaks to people who are marginalized and shut out and different and says that they have the right to strive and dream. It speaks to people who are not and says “be better.”

The name of the new ship and the new series is Discovery. Does that sound gritty to you? Doesn’t sound like it to me, and I would be severely disappointed if they went along with the general trend and made a grimdark series.

Here are some things about Star Trek if you believe it has failed to live up to “some potential something,” and maybe you will think twice about giving it a chance.

  • When NASA decided they needed to recruit a more diverse corps of astronauts, they turned to the cast of the Original Series. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, points to Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura as her inspiration. (Jemison later guest-starred in an episode of TNG, and Star Trek has never stopped inspiring the kids who grow up to be astronauts.)
  • Janeway was the first female captain to lead the show, but there was also B'Elanna, the first female chief engineer who was part of the main cast. Both characters were not only intellectually brilliant but often took the lead when it came time to fight dudes who were between them and the Alpha Quadrant.
  • In the height of the Cold War and its paranoia, Star Trek put a Russian character front and center on the bridge, and that’s why you have fans creating beautiful designs for uniforms with hijabs today.
  • Avery Brooks signed onto Deep Space 9 because he wanted to portray a loving, supportive relationship between a black father and son. He even got them to change the ending of the series over it.
  • Patrick Stewart insisted on not flinching away from the brutal, dehumanizing portrayal of torture in “Chain of Command,” and the writers consulted Amnesty International to make it as harsh and realistic as possible.
  • Aron Eisenberg (Nog) got numerous calls from veterans praising his portrayal of PTSD.
  • And then there is this confession. It is far and away the most liked and reblogged confession on the blog.


I would say that is potential realized.

Star Trek doesn’t just inspire, though. Star Trek confronts. From the very beginning it has held up a mirror to society, and through either allegory or visits to “history” – in other words, the present – calls us out. “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” with the black-and-white cookie people has their leader shocked that anyone could fail to see the ‘obvious’ point that his counterpart is inferior becuase of his coloration (black… on the left side) and pointedly has diverse actors in the foreground and background, something which they had to fight for. The whole of the Bajoran Occupation arc is about the hideous toll of colonialism and facism. Janeway confronts the question of euthanasia with Quinn, Enterprise has an AIDS allegory, Picard deals with demagogues and religious fantaticism and Kirk advocates respect for life even if it is not as we know it. Deep Space 9 warns of a time when we might shut away the homeless in internment camps not from malice but apathy.

Has Star Trek failed to live up to potential? Oh, you bet. There’s no excuse for the fact that it’s taken until 2016 to have an openly gay character. It has sometimes stood tiptoe on the line of something important and then drawn back. It’s tried to be a future without sexism but also wouldn’t let Mariana Sirtis and Gates McFadden use swords in the Robin Hood episode even though they’re the only ones who actually knew stage fencing. The “cultural expert” on Chakotay turned out to be a white guy who got all his information from Hollywood westerns, a real-life version of the “Apache Tracker” from Night Vale. The times when it does not love up, in other words, is when its bright future is hampered by present-day prejudice… not when it declines to be “gritty.”

Now it’s true that alongside this you have Janeway turning into a lizard and “NO MORE BLAH-BLAHS” and Miles O'Brien versus the shaving cream monster. And quite frankly, those are also an essential part of Star Trek, and I’m pretty sure there are episodes of everyone’s favorite dark and gritty franchises which are relentlessly dumb.

But if you think the point of Star Trek is just the visuals, just the space travel, just the fun of watching Shakespearian actors fling themselves over their leather seats as the camera shakes… you have missed the point of it. It has never been about just what’s on the screen.

Energy Work FAQ

These are Frequently Asked Questions I get about energy work. Please check this guide before asking me questions concerning energy work!

What does energy feel like?

It just…feels like energy. Energy, in a way, is a catch-all term. There really isn’t a way to describe the whole of energy; sure, you can describe parts of it, like the texture, color, or scent.

Does everything have energy? Even inanimate things like paper, crystal?

Yes everything has energy- science says so too because you know, potential and kinetic energy- though that’s not the only parts of energy you can sense.

Are there any energies that are better for beginners to start with while sensing?

I wouldn’t say so, I believe it’s best to do it wherever and whenever you can. There’s no place or energies that are better than any other to sense

How do I sense energy?

This is the tl;dr version but honestly there is not much more to sensing energy than this. It is genuinely simple

  • 1. Ask yourself, “What does the energy of (insert thing here) feel like?”
  • 2. Use your gut/intuition and pay attention to whatever comes to mind.
  • 3. Practice.

How do I send energy?

This is the tl;dr version but honestly there is not much more to sending energy than this. It is genuinely simple. You do not need to be able to see energy with your physical eyes or third eye to be able to send energy.

  • 1. Focus on your target or a representation of your target.
  • 2. Imagine energy flowing from you/your energy source to your target. You do not need to be able to see energy with your physical eyes or third eye to be able to send energy.

Do I need to see energy with my physical eyes or third eye to be able to sense or send energy?

You do not need to be able to see energy with your physical eyes or third eye to be able to send or sense energy.

What kind of exercises can I do to strengthen my energy sensing skills? How can I practice?

Basically just try to sense energy everywhere; try to feel the energy of a certain object, try to feel the energy of a certain room. Then describe it; and try to be specific in your descriptions. At first you might just be like “the room feels nice”, but as you keep trying to grind for detail it will turn into “the room feels nice because of the plant energies and generally calm and warm emotions of the owner of this bedroom”. So basically just try and practice anywhere, everywhere! You don’t need any specific tools/items to do this which is why u can practice anywhere. Expose yourself to different environments and elements and try to get the feel for them. 

But how do I know I’m right? How can I verify that’s what the actual energies are and not something I’m just thinking is there because I want it to be?

Your gut, practice, and possibly input by other people/spirits. There’s no way to scientifically/empirically verify that whatever you sensed was right. You’re just going to have to be confident in yourself.

What is grounding? When should I ground? And how do I ground?

Grounding is an energetic exercise that can help balance and cleanse your own energies. This is only one version of “grounding”; grounding is sometimes used as a catch-all term to bring yourself back to reality, out of magical feelings. You can ground before/after a magical working, and whenever you want. 

  • 1. Sit or lie down somewhere
  • 2. Imagine roots extending from your back down into the ground
  • 3. Imagine those roots absorbing energy from the ground and giving it to you, and/or have a second root branch that gives your negative/unnecessary energy back to the earth.
  • 4. Do as long as you want.

A few Not-Energetic Exercise forms of grounding, to bring you back to reality, are:

  • Eating food
  • Going for a walk outside
  • Playing video games
  • Talking to others about mundane topics

It is not limited to these few, these are just a few examples. Anything where yu are focusing on the mundane/physical reality an be considered the not-energetic exercise form of grounding. 

What is centering? When should I center? How do I center? 

Centering is the act of gathering your lost/scattered energy. It can also be used to raise/store energy for a magical working. Center whenever you want and/or before a magical working. 

  • 1. Focus on yourself
  • 2. Imagine glowing bits of your lost/scattered energy flowing back into yourself.

What resources concerning energy work do you have?

——————————————————————————

Again, please check this FAQ before you ask me any questions concerning energy work, please ^-^

OFF THE CUFF HOMESTUCK THOUGHTS #3: THE SELF PILE DOESN’T STOP FROM GETTING TALLER OR: THE PROBLEM OF DEAD MARIOS

DISCLAIMER

IMPORTANT THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

[CHECK THE TAG FOR MORE THOUGHTS]

So, a long-ass time ago, Rose and Dave had a conversation like this:

TT: After you go, what do you think will happen to me?
TT: Will I just cease to exist?
TG: i dont know
TG: i mean your whole timeline will
TG: maybe
TT: Maybe?
TT: Is there a chance it’ll continue to exist, and I’ll just be here alone forever?
TT: I’m not sure which outcome is more unsettling.
TG: the thing with time travel is
TG: you cant overthink it
TG: just roll with it and see what happens
TG: and above all try not to do anything retarded
TT: What do you think I should do?
TG: try going to sleep
TG: our dream selves kind of operate outside the normal time continuum i think
TG: so if part of you from this timelines going to persist thats probably the way to make it happen
TT: Ok.
TG: and hey you might even be able to help your past dream self wake up sooner without all that fuss you went through
TT: I think the true purpose of this game is to see how many qualifiers we can get to precede the word “self” and still understand what we’re talking about.

This is the most important sentence in Homestuck.

I am dead serious.

Well, OK, I mean, it’s pretty important for understanding some major Homestuck themes and shit or something like that.

Also, I totally should have said: Pre-Retcon Doomed Timeline Non-Dreamself Rose but ultimately about to become Dreamself Rose who semi-merged with Pre-Retcon Alpha Timeline Rose and Doomed Timeline Dave aka Davesprite AKA future Davepetasprite^2 or as we all call them around the office, Davepeta, had that conversation.

Maybe you begin to see what I’m going to talk about here.

One of the major frustrations a lot of people had with the retcon was that the characters we ended up with at the end weren’t the ones we’d come to love and know throughout the story. Was it even worth it, to lose the characters we loved to the tyranny of Game Over? The victorious kids, with the exception of John and Roxy, were other people, with other histories, other goals, and other choices.

Allow me to submit that that may be the whole point.

SBURB is cruel. We’ve known that for a long time. It’s cruel not as Caliborn is cruel, but as the cosmos is cruel, as a supernova is cruel. It wants what it wants, and doesn’t care about how that intersects with the needs of humanity. It wants to make universes through a complex game-playing method, and drags hapless, vulnerable adolescents along for the ride. And most of the time it doesn’t even succeed, leaving its champions to rot in a doomed timeline or similar! Skaia’s victory is an amoral creation myth where individual human beings are just the carved pieces on the chessboard. (I mean, the other ones. Not the carapacians.)

Again, let’s consider the theme of VIDEO GAMES vs. REAL LIFE.

Homestuck, let’s be real, is basically some postmodern horror timey-wimey Jumanji. For a generation way more familiar with pixels than cute little tokens It’s easy for teenagers and in fact, basically everyone, to fantasize about escaping their life and slipping into some game world forever, where they get to do awesome things and be a heroic person.

Homestuck makes that literal. Congratulations, everything you ever knew is dead. You will never see it again, except your internet friends, who turn out also to be your family and other important people. I mean, from a distance, SBURB sounds like an awesome game, right? You figure out who you are and get to wear a cool costume displaying that identity. You get to make anything you want and enjoy this hyperflexible mythology tailored to YOUR CHOICES. HS fans talk all the time about how cool it would be to play a real version of SBURB. That’s a big part of the appeal of SBURB fan adventures. They put you and your friends in the story. Or your favorite characters! It sounds like a fantasy come true.

The thing is, as fantastical as it is, it’s also really fucked up, and ultimately you and your friends are being used. By a giant frog to let it have its babies. By the universe. By a smug blue cloud thing that doesn’t care about you at all.

SBURB does not care about you at all.

The funny thing, SBURB features a mythology with so many layers and nuances and seemingly human motifs about growth and self that you might search for some grand ultimate meaning behind it, but it’s not even human enough to have a personality, to be something you can argue with or fight. It just is. It’s all the cruelty and power of a god without any of the dazzling personality. It’s empty. It just wants to make universes all day long, or fail trying. It is a great, weird tadpole-making machine that eats children.

One of the big ways it doesn’t care about you is its attitude toward the self. Humans and trolls and whatnot prefer not to be relentlessly duplicated. SBURB says, oh yeah, let’s make tons of copies of the player characters and use them for a lot of different purposes.

There’s the dreamself, an essential bifurcation of identity (you are now and were always the dream moon princex) that sometimes gets merged into god tier but sometimes doesn’t. There’s doomed timeline selves, who exist ultimately to augment an Alpha timeline whose Alphaness is decided very arbitrarily and frequently by Lord English. There’s the you who exists before a scratched session and the you who exists afterward, who are two different people but started as one baby in an act of ectobaby meteor duplication, your player self and your guardian self. Dead timeline yous fill up the dreambubbles made by the horrorterrors and get endlessly confused with each other. Any one of these could be the you experience being at any given moment, and which one it is entirely arbitrary. Don’t like being Dead Nepeta #47? Tough hoofbeast leavings, kiddo.

To top it all off, in Terezi: Remember, we learn that every single time we thought someone changed from one self to another, was resurrected or something like that, it was another act of duplication. For every time someone’s died, there’s another version of them waiting in the Dream Bubbles, surprised that they’re not the main character anymore. And we have no way of knowing which is which. Even John, good old everyman John, may or may not be the person who died three or four times. It’s really impossible to say whether we’ve been following the same person throughout our story, or just the illusion of the same person, like a horrifying cosmic flipbook.

The retcon is a return to this same theme. Ultimately, there’s very little new in the changes John makes to reality except that they drive the point home.

John’s friends all died. John and his friends won the game. These things are both true at the same time, except those things may not have happened to the same people. There was a happy ending. Hooray! For, um, some folks who may or may not be the ones we care about. In fact, it’s very confusing, because from Rose’s perspective, Roxy is dead but came back to life, and from Roxy’s perspective Rose is dead but came back to life, except also she came back to life as a weird tentacle catgirl of pure id and self –indulgence. So there’s that. Um. Which Rose are we rooting for again?

Or wait: is it none of them, because the first Rose died in a doomed timeline, hundreds of panels and a number of years ago?

There’s a tension here which one experiences between saying it’s okay because it’s still the same people, and saying it’s not okay, because it’s not the same people at all. This tension is exactly what we’re meant to wrestle with. To put it another way, Homestuck asks if identity can work in aggregate. Are all Johns John, all Roses Rose, and do they all share in what they accomplish? Or are the final victors only accidents created by the whims and needs of the frog baby machine?

What I’m saying, basically, is that the retcon, in the sense that it pointed out our confused relationship with these characters, was already here.

In interviews and questions put to him over the years, Hussie constantly compares HS and SBURB to other video games, particularly Mario, which he frequently returns to as a baseline of comparison that most of his readers will know. One answer, from a recent Hiveswap interview, is particularly revelatory. To the question of “Why do you kill off all your characters?” Hussie replies:

[…]HS is supposedly a story that is also a game. In games, the characters die all the time. How many times did you let Mario fall in the pit before he saved the princess? Who weeps for these Marios. In games your characters die, but you keep trying and trying and rebooting and resetting until finally they make it. When you play a game this process is all very impersonal. Once you finally win, when all is said and done those deaths didn’t “count”, only the linear path of the final victorious version of the character is considered “real”. Mario never actually died, did he? Except the omniscient player knows better. HS seems to combine all the meaningless deaths of a trial-and-error game journey with the way death is treated dramatically in other media, where unlike our oblivious Mario, the characters are aware and afraid of the many deaths they must experience before finally winning the game.

The big man hass the answer.

Homestuck is the story of those dead Marios.

Other works, like Undertale, have engaged with this topic as well. But one of the major differences between Undertale and Homestuck is that in Undertale, between “lives,” one’s consciousness is preserved. In Homestuck, it’s discontinuous, and the value of the overall trial-error process is called into question by the fact that you, the player, may not even get to experience the victory. What meaning does victory hold if that is the case?

So, to put it in a nice thesis format:

One of the central themes of Homestuck is the challenge of reconciling an arbitrary and destructive pattern of growth and victory with the death and suffering you experienced along the way. Homestuck asks: is victory worthwhile if you’re not you anymore? And would you be able to know?

What even is the self? Is there such a thing?

If you were left feeling somewhat disconcerted by our heroes’ tidy victory and departure to their cosmic prize, or by how which Rose gets the spotlight is so deeply, deeply arbitrary, there’s a good reason for that. You’re supposed to be.

The philosophical problem of Wacky Cat Rose is insignificant next to the bullshit of SBURB.

And don’t forget—John and Roxy’s denizens helped them achieve the retcon. Ultimately, the victory they achieved was mediated by the same amoral system of SBURB, and was a victory over an enemy, Caliborn, whose power was created, perpetuated, and ended by that same system.

Okay, so here’s where it gets contentious. There’s an argument to be made, which I’m not sure how I feel about, that some of the character development that could have been in post-retcon Act 6 was left out precisely to push this feeling and play up this tension. Note that this is not the same thing as saying that they were deliberately badly written, but that they’re deliberately written to make us uneasy.That Hussie deliberately played with the balance between making these retconned characters feel familiar and making them feel eerily different to leave us feeling uneasy with the result.

I’m not sure I like that idea. It smacks a little too much of that “everything is perfect” thinking that comes sometimes from the far Metastuck camp. Some of the differences may also be the result of flawed writing. (See: Jane and Jake’s character arcs, which I might talk about later.) And I want to be able to critique those flaws. Ultimately, I think we still needed more time and development to figure out who these new people were—even if our goal was ultimately to compare them to their earlier selves. And again, more conscious acknowledgement of the problem from our heroes—especially John, the linchpin in this last and biggest act of duplication—might have helped drive this theme home.

Still, I think the Problem of Dead Marios is one of the most fundamental questions of Homestuck, maybe THE biggest question. It’s essential to understand it to understand what Hussie’s doing—or attempting to do— in the retcon and the ending.

I don’t know that Homestuck offers us a clear answer to that question. There are some confusions around the issue, too. Where do merged selves fit in, exactly? Clearly they’re a big part of the discussion, because Hussie spends some time in Act 6, especially near the end bringing the identity-merging powers of the Sprites to the forefront. (See also: the identity-merged nightmare that is Lord English.)  Can we even come up with a clear answer to what it means when a dead Mario returns to life grotesquely fused with Toad? How does he beat the game? Does he tell himself that the princess is in another castle? Or what if he merges with Peach? Are they their own princess? How do they know if they’re in the right castle?

Um. Anyway—

Interestingly, it’s not all grotesque—spritesplosions suggest that personalities that are too different don’t stay together long, so a fusion might rely on some inherent compatibility between the two players. Erisol’s self-loathing, sure, but also Fefeta’s cheerfulness. Davepeta seems to be a way of bringing out the best in their players, a way of getting Davesprite past his angst and Nepeta past her fear. Honestly, I know a lot of people don’t like Davepeta as the ending of these two characters’ arcs, but I can’t help but love it. They’re the ultimate coolkid. Cool enough to know they don’t have to be cool. Regular Dave got there, too, of course. But was his retcon assist from John ultimately any different?

Then, of course, we come to Davepeta’s speech to Jade in one of the last few updates before Collide. Davepeta suggests that there is such a thing as an ultimate self beyond the many different selves one piles up throughout the cosmos. A set of principles that describes who you are that’s larger than any individual instance of you. Your inherent Mariohood. (Maybe this is comparable to your Classpect identity, which attempts to describe who you are?) Davepeta even tells Jade, strikingly, that one might learn to see beyond the barriers between selves. Be the ur-self, in practice, rather than theory. This would be incredible news for Jade, who wrestles with the issue of different selves perhaps more than any other character. (There’s a lot to say about Jade.)

Honestly, I wish this ur-self idea had been developed more, and I honestly expected it to be. It doesn’t fully come to fruition, I feel. (Same goes for Davepeta’s character. Ohhhh, ZING!) I’m not sure it entirely makes philosophical sense, especially with fusion—I mean, doesn’t Davepeta themself disprove it? Or at least complicate it? Like, are they part of the ur-Dave or the ur-Nepeta? They seem to imply they’re BOTH? Does that even work? Does that mean that Marieach is all the Peaches and Marios at once?

(In fact, Bowser/Peach/Mario are but the three manifestations of one eternal principle. Also, Bowser/Peach are the true power couple. Read my fanfiction plz.)

And what, say, of Dirk, who ultimately ends up rejecting aspects of his other selves? It feels like there’s a lot more you could say here, and I wonder if Hussie would have said more, if he’d had time. What’s weird is, none of our victorious kids never reach an ur-self (though to their descendants, they become archetypal to some degree), which one might have expected. They’re just individual selves who happened to get lucky. Does that make them representative of the whole? It feels like something’s missing here, or like something got dropped at the last minute.

Same goes for the idea of the Ultimate Riddle. You’d be forgiven for missing it, but there’s been this riddle in the background lore of SBURB that seems to have something to do with personal agency in this overwhelming, overarching system. Karkat called it predestination, saying something like “ANY HOPE YOU HAD OF DOING THINGS OTHERWISE WAS JUST A RUSE.” But others have interpreted it more positively. My favorite interpretation, from bladekindeyewear: the answer to the Riddle is that YOU shape the timeline through your existence, personality, and choices, even when it looks like it’s all predestination. Ultimately it’s your predestination, your set of events, based deeply on your nature, that you are creating. Someone like Caliborn can use his innate personality to achieve power; someone like John might be able to use it to achieve freedom.

I definitely expected something like that to be expressed more explicitly. Like, a big ah-ha moment that helps John or Jade or whoever understand how to escape Caliborn’s system. Something like that would have been very helpful for a lot of our heroes, actually, who’ve been pushed around by Skaia and SBURB together, in finding a cathartic ending.  Once again, I wonder if something was dropped or rushed because there wasn’t time to put it all in. There’s places where you can see hints of that Answer being implied, maybe? But it’s kind of ambiguous.

You can see how the Answer to the Ultimate Riddle ties into some of Davepeta’s ideas. If your personality, the rules of your behavior are a fundamental archetype that goes beyond each individual self, then the answer to whether it matters if one self of yours makes it through to victory is an emphatic YES. You are all of those people, and by winning one round with Skaia, you’ve won the whole game, despite all the arbitrary challenges and deaths it heaps upon you along the way.

This may strike some as too positive for Skaia’s brutality, or again, some way of excusing flaws in many characters’ arcs, or unfair things that happen to them. To be fair, I don’t know that Davepeta’s necessarily meant to be taken as authoritative or the voice of Hussie. They may simply be offering a purrspective.

Hussie not choosing to come right out and engage with the Ultimate Riddle leaves the question of Dead Marios and what they mean for the victorious versions of our cast very open. I like that in some ways—let the reader decide—but I can’t help but wish we had more to work with in making that decision. Plus, it might have brought the thematic messages of Homestuck all the way home to tie them more closely to our characters and their experiences—character development being one of the things most people found most lacking in the ending.

NEXT TIME: All that wacky gnostic stuff probably