when this was the obvious solution

Robbie being unintentionally good at dealing with the children’s flaws.

Stingy claims everything as his? Robbie figures he’d never had something that was truly his and helps him make his own clothes. That are his only, have only ever been his and were made specifically for him.

Trixie causes trouble left and right? She needs attention, she is bored. So he entertains her and puts her in charge of something so she can feel important.

Ziggy is obsessed with sweets? Let him eat all the candy he wants. After a day of stomach pain and nausea he’ll never want so much candy again. Some things you have to experience to know they’re not good for you.

Pixel doesn’t like social interactions and sometimes spends hours playing video games right until the next morning? Robbie teaches him ways how to cope with being an introvert and feeling overwhelmed by sensations and explains things to the other children so they can be considerate. As for the gaming, the power goes out suspiciously often lately…

And what about Stephanie? Well, sometimes she can be a bit forceful and stubborn and can’t see other people’s side of the argument. So Robbie, simply by telling her no and annoyedly pointing out the things she missed/ignored, helps her be less narrow-minded.

And he does all of that unintentionally. He just does it without second thought, as if that’s normal and obvious while Sportacus stands flabbergasted and very much in love.

No Longer You

Summary: Now a shell of her former self, the reader runs into an old flame. 

Pairing: Dean x Reader

Word Count: 1,761

Warning: implying an abusive relationship

Nichelle’s 4K Angst Challenge - “I hope you find the happiness you’ve been pretending to have.” @nichelle-my-belle


Green cancels out red.

Yellow cancels out purple and brown…no purple and blue.

And lavender cancels out…yellow?

Jesus Christ. This shouldn’t be that difficult, hiding the evidence of your home life is a normal occurrence. The three concussions you’ve acquired over the years must be catching up to you.

You’re squinting harshly at the Revlon concealers on the top shelf before you. Trying and failing to remember which ones work the best, basically whatever hides the fucking truth.

Your exhausted brain is practically mush at this point in time, you used to know this shit. You used to know a lot of shit. You used to be a strong, independent take no bullshit kind of a woman that took care of herself. But things clearly change. People fucking change.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I'm probably relatively young, but I have a tough time sitting down to watch one episode of a thing I like, so you knowing all this old stuff inside and out as well as totally contemporary stuff blows my mind. How did you make the time? How did you afford it all? And most importantly, how is there room in your brain for such a breadth of content?

I’d like to thank you for the kind things you said, and I want to help you deal with two issues I struggle with: how do you get more knowledgeable, and how do you keep a handle on the need to fidget and click around?

To be more knowledgeable, it’s important to understand the difference between facts and knowledge. Facts are unrelated data points, like “Elmo Lincoln was the first screen Tarzan in 1919.” Knowledge is the broader context, the frame, the sweep of people, events, and others you contextualize and put facts into. If you have knowledge, you can put facts into context. If you hear a new fact, you remember it because you understand “where it goes,” it’s place in the bigger “story.” If you have knowledge, even if you don’t have a specific fact, you can talk about the topic intelligently since you know a lot of things “around” that fact.

If you want to become more knowledgeable about classic scifi (for example), the best way is to start with broader overviews first, and then you read individual works that you can slip into that mental framework. Get that? Start broad then zoom in. 

A few places to start: 

  • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is ultra-newbie friendly, with illustrations, broader overviews, definitions of terms, and a key look at the major works and authors. It turns all of scifi into one big story. 
  • Seekers of Tomorrow by Sam Moskowitz is a great overview of the history of early scifi up until the 1970s by the people who were there. It’s worth it because it’s very close up. 

  • Finally, I recommend David Kyle’s A Pictorial History of Science Fiction because it is more on the fandom side of things as opposed to the writing side of things. 

Also, you have to read, which is non-negotiable. Basically, by their very nature, computers and phones give you a kind of artificial ADHD. I love my phone a lot, it’s a wonder gadget cooler than anything Star Trek characters have, but it is impossible to focus on any one task at a computer. I love reading - if I was bored at a bus stop, I could read the back of a candy bar wrapper - but I find it impossible to do at a computer. Because reading requires absolute concentration…and at my computer or phone, I start clicking away and getting antsy and checking my email again or tumblr blog or something. 

So, there’s my solution: take some time and go to a coffee place or a bar (if you’re old enough to drink) or a library without your phone, and bring a book and spend a few hours there. Don’t worry about looking like a hipster, because nobody is looking at you and nobody gives a damn. Also, if you’re old enough to do this and mature enough to enjoy this activity responsibly, being in a bar late at night where people are has the added bonus of helping get you laid…this could be an article onto itself, but 90% of life is really just getting out of the house. 

I know what you mean when you say it’s hard to watch an episode through at a computer. The solution is obvious: don’t watch anything at a computer. If you have a dedicated streaming or smart TV in the living room or something, watch it on that. Or, better yet, watch it with a friend, appointment viewing: “hey Bob, let’s have a Babylon 5 night, what do you think?” You can watch movies, drink Scotch (or whatever you like), smoke some weed, and play two-player Spelunky. Other people keep you sane. I don’t know how young you are, but this appointment visiting is harder to do if you are too young to drive and live somewhere spread out…but there are ways around that.

The key thing to understand when watching TV is to have your mind be active at all times. You have to keep the analytical portion of your brain active. Consider: brainwaves are slower when watching TV than asleep. So, here’s what I do: I keep a pad by my couch at all times I write my thoughts into about what I’m watching. Once, when watching Avatar: the Last Airbender, I had a thought I wrote down, “what if one of the Avatars was responsible for a murder, and Aang was held responsible by the legal system for it?” Oddly enough, that was the plot of the very next episode I saw!

snape headcanons: staff meeting edition

- is always late
- sometimes doesn’t even arrive at all
- he was sleeping in
- stalks in half asleep and angry and fills his mug with coffee before sitting next to minerva
- acknowledges minerva with a nod and sneers at anyone who dares say good morning
- who thought monday staff meetings before class were a good idea

- mutters witty and sarcastic comments under his breath when anyone has the floor
- “i move that we get wealsey a new wand. he is a hazard to the students” “weasley would be a hazard even if we gave him a stick from the forbidden forest”
- “it breaks my heart that hogwarts doesn’t do anything to celebrate valentine’s day” “it breaks my heart that you work here”
- “pity I wasn’t around to help. I know just the spell.” “its a pity you’re alive”

- takes a prolonged sip of his coffee whenever said speaker pauses to glare at him, and raises an eyebrow in challenge
- minerva and flitwick try their hardest to muffle their laugh at that
- they don’t always succeed

- speaking of coffee, severus has a “world’s best potions master” mug that he keeps exclusively in the staff room
- he drinks out of it ironically and scowls if anyone comments on it
- it was a gift from a student
- it’s his favorite

- he intertwines his hands together and rests his chin on them when he’s listening attentively and actually cares
- he gives good solutions and advice and points out actual important problems with a very snide tone of voice as if it should have been obvious
- sighs dramatically when someone presents a problem with a very obvious and apprent solution
- “well, what do you propose then severus?” “have you considered…not doing that?”

Retrograde Planets in the Natal Chart

There seems to be some confusion about retrograde planets going along the internet. If you were to average out all the posts describing what happens to an Rx (retrograde) planet, it would likely read something like this:

“Retrograde planets appear to be moving backwards through the sky from the perspective of earth which gives them special properties. The planet’s energy is turned inwards and things that planet rules tend to go haywire, so here are some tips for surviving a retrograde and the shadow period before it:

1)      Take some time and reflect on what that planet means. Retrogrades are time for reflection.

2)      Expect things to go wrong, even things that planet may or may not rule. Retrogrades are just kinda hectic, so wait till everything is direct to move forward.

3)      Don’t do anything that involves that planet. At all. ESPECIALLY if it’s Mercury retrograde.

4)      Hide in a bunker under the ground. Wait for all the planets to go direct. It’s just safer that way, ok?

Retrogrades in the natal chart may have a very muted expression because their energy is turned inwards. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean your doomed, but you’ll just have a LOT of extra difficulty and awkwardness as a result of your retrograde planet because other people won’t get your weird way of doing that planet’s action. On the bright side, though, sometimes these retrogrades can actually bring special talents because the planets motion is turned inwards so it’s like doing a lesson over again.”

It is true, a retrograde planet CAN cause some hiccups when they are transiting, but descriptions like this stigmatize people who natally have retrograde planets. Are they doomed to never be able to use that planet’s energy because it’s “turned inwards”? What does it even mean for a planet’s energy to be “turned inward”? Why are these planets “awkward”? And what exactly are the “special talents” retrograde planets give the native? Those are questions the questions that really need to be answered.

When astrologers describe a planets energy as being turned inwards, what they are trying to get across is a slightly more complex idea in simpler language and that idea is this: Retrograde planets, karmically speaking, are places where we subconsciously know the consequences of using that planet’s energy. All of our actions have consequences both good and bad whether we realize it or not. People with a planet retrograde are likely to have an uneasy feeling about using their retrograde planet’s energy because they can feel the consequences. This doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences from acting with a direct planet, but when we do that, we often aren’t conscious of what could go wrong.

For example, a person with a Mercury Rx will tend to think twice before saying anything or may opt not to say anything at all because they are painfully conscious of the weight their words carry. This can lead them to being labeled as “awkward” in the way they communicate. In transit form, this often looks like communication chaos, but in reality, Mercury Rx is trying to remind us to slow down and think twice about what we say, both verbally and nonverbally, because even small acts of communication can have a big impact on our lives and the lives of others.

How can retrograde planets be hidden talents, you may ask? Well, karmically, people tend to learn through trial and error. They do something, they learn the consequences either good or bad from what they can see. They watch the effects of their actions. That being the case, people with retrograde planets can tap into their planet for a ridiculous amount of talent, but they also tend to be very aware of the cost of doing so and will not do it unless they have a very, very good reason. Again, using Mercury as an example, somebody with a Mercury in retrograde likely knows EXACTLY how to communicate what they’re feeling, they just choose not to because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. Saying how they feel could result in a lot of emotional fallout, so while they have the talent to really get their point across when provoked, they’re often sorry later if they do.

Hopefully that helps explain the formula for how interpretations for retrograde planets are created. Here are some of my personal interpretations for each planet retrograde when in the natal chart, but if you have anything to add or ask please do so in the comments below.

*Note: These interpretations are single-planet, meaning other aspects and planets in the natal chart can change the expression. These are meant to be combined with the rest of the natal chart.


Mercury Rx: Natives with this placement often get a reputation for being quiet, not having a lot to say, or not being able to get their point across. The truth is, they often know exactly what they want to say but are more aware of the consequences of speaking their mind and would rather stay quiet than deal with that. They also tend to process information more thoroughly than people with direct Mercury placements do because they know the consequences of spreading false information or assuming something is correct right away.

Mars Rx: Natives with this placement may be labeled as weak willed or apathetic since they tend not to be self-starters or have much drive to compete. Often times, the gentle placement of Mars Rx simple doesn’t like the collateral damage of competition. While people with a Mars direct may enjoy activities that require competing, Mars Rx knows that for as high as the winner gets, the loser gets equally low. This may lead them to forgo participation in anything they must do alone, so they may get run over by more competitive types. The upside is they’re generally pretty good at waiting and are very patient people although their lack of a rush can frustrated more ambitious people. While they can be exceptional competitors under the right circumstances, you’re unlikely to find Mars Rx using that ability.

Venus Rx: Natives with this placement tend to shy away from the material side of life. As a result, they often get labeled as having poor financial management and eating disorders when in reality, they tend to not need a lot of physical objects to be happy. It’s not that they don’t like stuff, they are just aware of how it can complicate things. The stereotype about being unloving is absolutely not true, as Venus Rx can know a love beyond what physical needs dictates, but they often question WHY someone loves them and for what reasons. They can get whatever it is that they want or need, but typically that isn’t much because that’s all they want, not because that’s all they can get in whatever house Venus is in. They don’t want to deal with the burning questions of why they do something if material investments are involved, so they keep it simple.

Ceres Rx: Natives with this placement may lead hectic, disorganized lives because frankly, they know how boring a routine can be. People with Ceres Rx are completely capable of running a tight ship but would prefer to let things be loose. They likely frustrate those around them with their apparent lack of discipline and routine, but if they absolutely have to they know how to get themselves back on track just in time to go back to a messy, surprise-oriented way of living.

Juno Rx: Natives with this placement may avoid partnerships and seem to be very “independent” instead. These lone wolves, however, are just trying to avoid dependence on somebody. It’s not that they can’t have partners, it’s just that they often don’t because they don’t want to use another person to compensate for what they can’t do; they want to be able to do it themselves! Juno Rx people typically won’t settle down until they can be for themselves what they want in a partner. This can lead to their partner feeling useless since Juno Rx tend to have a “If I want it done right I’ll do it myself” mentality but they can and do depend on partners once they’re satisfied with their own capabilities.

Jupiter Rx: Natives with this placement may avoid questioning things too deeply or be uneasy about learning too much about topics like politics and religion. These people often have the ability to pull off miracles of luck in their given houses, going much further than their Jupiter direct counterparts but they tend not to because they’re aware of how bad the crash from going too high is. As a result, Jupiter Rx natives tend to be more low key and avoid situations where they learn too much too fast. People may think of them as ignorant or as “killing the vibe” but it’s because Jupiter Rx knows subconsciously about the come down of a good time all too well.

Saturn Rx: Natives with this placement often have a lack of outside structure and as a result get very, very good at structuring themselves. Often, these people are disillusioned with the true cost of achievement and may choose to live life as free spirits rather than submitting to “the system”. Saturn Rx can work remarkably hard and know all the steps that go into making something big happen, but because they can see all the steps and work ahead of time, they tend to abstain. People with Saturn direct may think of them as downers but that’s just because Saturn Rx people know the grim reality of ambition.

Uranus Rx: Natives with this placement are often labeled as old fashioned or unable to keep up with the times because they’re not excited by new ways of doing things and technology. Uranus Rx, however, is very aware that anything that claims to solve a problem is likely to just create another in its place, even if it isn’t obvious. These people may find comfort in tradition because at least then they know what the consequences of the actions that have been tested over generations are and they don’t have to deal with figuring out new solutions to the new problems.

Neptune Rx: Natives with this placement are often labeled as grim and being downers when they feel they’re just being the voice of reason. Neptune Rx knows subconsciously the consequences of getting one’s hopes too high and they know that life is rarely as magical as we build it up to be. While these people may seem to move through life without a sense of wonder since they keep their expectations low, it’s because they don’t want to ruin a truly beautiful moment by making it more than it is in their head.

Pluto Rx: Natives with this placement are often labeled as “chill”, or more frequently, unpassionate. People with a Pluto Rx are usually pretty good at letting things go, especially in their house/sign that Pluto Rx is in, because they know the consequences of obsessing over something. They generally avoid pain because although they are very capable of gritting through rough situations when they need to, they don’t like how those types of experiences shape people. Pluto direct people are more likely to accredit their strength to a hard event they overcame while Pluto Rx people are more likely to wish such events never happened. Inside, they know they have the strength to survive hardship so the appeal of proving that they can isn’t readily present. While they may seem to lack a bond that drives them, they’re quite happy living life in its more gentle manifestations.

I want to start with a bold statement.

For far too long in this country, progressive Canadians have been fighting a rearguard action against privatization, deregulation and austerity. In many ways when it comes to privatization its become a one-way street. Right wing governments, privatize, we fight back, but we don’t aim to take anything back that belongs to us.

I’ll give you an example from my region. In 1997, the Liberals privatized the Hudson’s Bay Rail Line in the port of Churchill. They sold it for almost nothing to a US billionaire, who hangs out with people like the Koch Brothers. Now this year, this company asked for subsidization by the government. When they didn’t get it, they shut the port down; Canada’s only deep water arctic seaport.

The solution is obvious; Nationalize the Port.

Work with First Nations and Northern Communities to build a future. But what’s been the response from the Federal Liberals? Not only have they not moved forward to renationalize, but they are embarking on an unprecedented privatization plan for Transportation Infrastructure across our country.

So I think its time in this country, that we start saying: You Privatize it, We nationalize it. “You deregulate it, we regulate it. You bring in unfair trade deals, we bring in fair trade deals.

And increasingly I think we have to say something else. One of the leading Black Lives Matters activists in Toronto, Hashim Yussuf, said at our national forum on precarious work, he shared a chant that Black Lives Matter put out. That talked about how we all need to recognize

"The system isn’t broken, it was built this way”.

What we need in this country is a major change to that system. It starts with recognizing that one of the main reasons we have growing inequality; the reason that indigenous people live in third world living conditions; the reason that discrimination and division is still present; the reason women are still unequal; the reason millennials are faced with precarious employment and high student debt is because of a system that is failing all of us.

We must send a message that there is a better way.
—  NDP MP Niki Ashton. She’s running to be the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

anonymous asked:

I have a character who is a thief, and for squeezing-in reasons she can't have anything but leather armor. So, what weapon would she carry around in case she gets caught by any full-armor-wearing enemy? I was thinking a Misericord? Thank you!!! *hug*

I feel like we’ve covered this before. A dagger isn’t going to do much when you’re fighting against an armed and armored guard. For that matter, neither is the leather.

If your character’s going to be going up against guards who are armed with sidearms (maces, swords, whatever), going after them with a dagger in a straight up fight is suicide. A knife fighter needs to get much closer to the target than a swordsman. This means they need to get past the sword. Against any competent, or even semi-competent combatant, trying to rush past the sword will end with your character impaled.

The obvious solution to carry a sword of your own, isn’t necessarily an option either, because 99% of the time, it’s just going to get in your character’s way. It will hit things, get snagged, make noise, and this will draw the attention of those same guards your character is trying to avoid.

If they wanted to make good on killing people with the dagger, then their best bet would be coming in from behind, when the guard doesn’t see them, and slitting their throat. However, this will cause other problems.

Your character is a thief, they’re already a part of the underworld that can easily draw the ire of the people who run their world simply by stealing something too prominent or important. This is a classic genre hook for a reason.

If you have a thief slipping off with a few gems or baubles and getting out undetected, that’s just a thing that happens. It could have been the servants, it could have been a mistake, or it could be any number of other possible scenarios.

However, if you have a thief slipping into homes and killing people, that will make the setting’s elites feel unsafe, which will lead to them pushing the city guard to crack down on the underworld. At that point, your character will put her allies in danger. Remember that old cliche? “No honor among thieves.” When the city guard is kicking down doors, and kneecapping fences, it’s not going to take long for someone to offer up your character’s name, if only because they hope it will let them walk out of their cell with one or two functioning limbs.

It’s worth remembering, if anyone in the setting’s underworld, knows she’s the one who started this, they will hold her directly responsible for bringing the guard knocking through their door, and ruining their livelihood.

As I mentioned earlier, a classic genre hook is a thief accidentally stealing something ridiculously valuable. It may be an ornate artifact with ties to some eldritch power, it may be documents that implicate their victim in some conspiracy, it may simply be a piece of absurdly valuable jewelry. In any of those cases, it can result in a similar crackdown, no dead bodies necessary.

Any competent thief is going to know they should avoid drawing too much attention to themselves. They can still get into messes like this unintentionally, but if a guard spots them, it is far safer for them to run, and escape, rather than stand and fight.

If your character was an assassin, then, yes. I’d say taking a few daggers, a garrote, and maybe a few other fun little party favors is a good idea. The basic thought with fighting guards would be the same, take them out without giving them any opportunity to fight back, or avoid them entirely. That said, assassins are an entirely different animal, they don’t rely on persistent contact with the setting’s underworld the same way thieves do. They just need to get paid, they don’t need to fence what they’ve stolen, or keep appraised of what the City Watch is doing, or stay coordinated enough to avoid tripping over each other on jobs. An assassin just needs a client (who isn’t necessarily part of the underworld) and tools (which they may be buying through legitimate channels and modifying on their own). They may still bring heat down on the underworld, and make life miserable for the city’s thieves, but they’re much more insulated from that world than your character would be.

I mentioned earlier that leather armor might not be a good choice for your character. It won’t do much to protect your character from a guard, but that’s not the real problem. The big issue is that it will announce that your character isn’t just part of the background. Under the best circumstances, a thief needs to be able to blend into the crowd and disappear. If they’ve got a cloak, a dagger hidden away, and a few deep pockets, that’s going to be much harder to spot in a crowd than someone wearing armor.

Beyond that, if your character is climbing or squeezing into places, the leather will just be more weight to move around, and more bulk to pull through tight spaces. Granted, it’s not a lot of weight or bulk, but if her goal is to remain undetected, then it’s not doing her any favors.

Carrying a dagger is a good idea, but not to use as a weapon. Knives are very useful utility items, and that’s no different for your character. It can be used as a weapon, but it’s something your character would probably want to avoid unless they were desperate.

So, stab them in the neck and run like hell, I guess. Or, you know, don’t bring a knife to a swordfight.

-Starke

On the subject of writing about thieves, or a criminal underworld, in a fantasy setting, the first thing that comes to mind are the Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber. If you’ve never heard those names before, they’re really worth taking a look at.

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PEANUT BUTTER AND JEALOUS [DRACO MALFOY]

request: “Draco x reader drabble 21 and 93 please” — by @tragicallypetty

a/n: draco deserves all the love in the world so i made the reader be the first one to admit that she likes him okay spoiler 😂

21. “Scratch that, I’m just gonna be straightforward and tell you that I’m in love with you.”
93. “If you’re jealous, you don’t have to be a jerk about it!”

Masterlist + Request here! 

    Unbeknownst to everyone else, Draco Malfoy was staring at you as you helped Neville Longbottom brew a Shrinking Solution since it was quite obvious that the boy was hopeless in that particular subject. And thanks to Professor Slughorn being the new Potions teacher, he allowed students to help their fellow classmates when they finished early — thus, now there you were, accompanying Neville at his working station.

    Draco could hear your laughter from where he was, and when he looked closer to see, you were chuckling along with the mentioned Gryffindor boy as you squeeze some leeches for the potion. He could see as Neville offered you a cloth since some of its juices managed to get to your face and instead of being disgusted, you had the nerve to laugh it off.

    For that whole period, the platinum haired boy was in obvious bad mood that when the teacher dismissed his students, he dashed out of the room immediately.

    Draco has always held mixed and confusion feelings for you. He wanted to hate you so that was why there were times he tried being an absolute ass whenever you talked to him, but in the same time, he didn’t want to upset you or make you think that he was somehow a bad person. It really did frustrate him to know deep down inside that he actually liked you very much.

    “Hey, Malfoy!” he heard your familiar soft voice from behind and when he turned to look, you were holding his Book of Potions in one hand. “You forgot this on your desk, thought you’d want it back.”

    He grumpily snatched the book from your hand before walking away.

    You frowned, soon catching up with him. “You know, a simple thank you would suffice.”

    He merely glanced at you. “If you wanted a thank you, then you should have left this because you’re not getting it.”

    “Okay, fine, grumpy pants.” you muttered which made him glare at you. “What? You are a grumpy pants.”

    “Why don’t you just go away? Like go to Longbottom or something.” he tried to fasten his pace but you effortlessly caught up with him again.

    You furrowed your eyebrows. “Neville? Why?”

    “Oh, I don’t know? You seemed to hit it off with him just fine earlier.”

    A mystified expression passed through your face but in matter of seconds, it was replaced with an amused smirk and raised eyebrows because of the realization of why he was acting so rude.

    You chuckled, “Someone had peanut butter and jealous for breakfast apparently.” you told him which made him halt.

    “What?” he demanded. “I-I’m not jealous.”

    “Really?” you tilted your head as if to analyze him, crossing your arms in the process.

    Draco scowled at you. “Yes. I don’t like you so I have no reason to be jealous. I don’t care if you go to Longbottom right now or somebody else and date them.” he scoffed.

    “If you’re jealous, you don’t have to be a jerk about it.” you haven’t let the thought go.

    “I’m not jealous!”

     You pursed your lips. “Okay. Good. Because you shouldn’t be anyway.”

     He flickered his eyes away from your steady gaze. “I couldn’t agree more.”

     You suddenly laughed which made him once again look at you like you were somewhat crazy. In all honesty, that statement was supposed to be part of your confession. You have been crushing on Draco for a long time now, ever since that time he helped you with your Charms assignment. But you noticed that after that, he started to act cold towards you.

     "Draco,“ you spoke his name, "I think we’re not on the same page.”

     "Obviously, since you’re acting very weird.“ he defended his foolishness.

     You sighed in exhaustion. "What I’m trying to say is that you don’t have to be jealous because there is no reason to be jealous of someone else.”

    He impatiently rolled his eyes. “Yes, Y/N, I get it. I don’t have to be jealous because I don’t have the right to be. I’m not your boyfriend.”

    “No! That’s not — fine. Scratch that, I’m just gonna be straightforward and tell you that I’m in love with you.

    He widened his eyes and you could see how blood was slowly making its way to his cheeks in understanding. It also shocked him so much that he didn’t manage to utter a word, making you quite uneasy and embarrassed.

     You covered your face with your hands. “Merlin’s beard. You don’t feel the same way, don’t you?”

     But Draco never answered. He just stared at you for so so long that it made you want to melt before gaining up the bravery to remove your palms on your face, leaning down and pressing his lips to yours.

     It was your turn to widen your eyes at his actions but you didn’t hesitate to kiss him back, stepping closer and preventing him from pulling away. You could feel everyone staring at the two of you, gasps heard in the background, but you couldn’t care less. Draco was kissing you and you were kissing him back.

     "Uh, are you sure when you said that you don’t care if I date someone else because judging from that amazing kiss …“ you wrapped your arms around his neck while he held your waist, keeping you close to his body.

     He chuckled, a big grin on his features. "Has anyone told you that you’re so blunt?”

      You shrugged jokingly. “Once or twice, yeah.”

      He pecked your lips once more. “I … um …” he was having a hard time trying to utter the words out but you patiently waited. “I love you too, Y/N, and it’d be wonderful if I’d get to call you mine.”

      You mimicked the large grin on his face upon his statement. “You didn’t even need to ask.”

Friends Part 6

Summary: You and Bucky are friends for a long time, but lately you start to develop romantic feelings for him. One day one of Tony’s parties everything changes but maybe not the way you wanted or expected.

Paring: Bucky x Reader

Words: 2749 (ops)

Warnings: Fluffy, sadness and all flashbacks are in italic

Thank you @amrita31199 you are amazing.

credits to the gif owners

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Originally posted by flyngdream

The elevator ride was torture, it felt like hours and hours but in reality, you know that was only a few minutes.  You take a deep breath looking in the mirror of the elevator, your lips are puffy from the kiss and your neck is red from his beard scratching you.

You look like a mess.

All you want is go home, take off this bikini that is making you feel exposed and take a long hot shower. You feel like you made a huge mistake, you just don’t know what the mistake was. If it was the kiss or never letting Bucky say whatever was that he wanted to say to you.

You tap your pockets looking for your car keys, you curse yourself when you remember that you came here with Bucky and now you don’t have any idea how you are going to get home. Anyone you might ask for a ride, it’s going to ask a lot of questions and you don’t want to answer any of it.

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“I want your advice,” said Celia.

“Certainly.  What is the trouble?   By the way,” I said, looking around, “where is your fiancé?”

“I have no fiancé,” she said in a dull, hard voice.

“You have broken off the engagement?”

“Not exactly.  And yet–well, I suppose it amounts to that.”

“I don’t quite understand.”

“Well, the fact is,” said Celia in a burst of girlish frankness, “I rather think I’ve killed George.”

“Killed him, eh?”

It was a solution that had not occurred to me, but now that it was presented for my inspection I could see its merits.  In these days of national effort, when we are all working together to try to make our beloved land fit for heroes to live in, it was astonishing that nobody before had thought of a simple, obvious thing like killing George Mackintosh.  George Mackintosh was undoubtedly better dead, but it had taken a woman’s intuition to see it.

“The Salvation of George Mackintosh”, P.G. Wodehouse

anonymous asked:

1/3 i love your clexa writing and ive got a topic that isnt the nicest but im hoping youll still discuss it. lets not gloss over clarkes faults just cause shes the other half of our ship. we all know shes manipulative, cunning and stubborn. she has manipulated and used lexa more than once. i think these incidents all happened early on tho? so ok not so bad i guess? i dont like how she acted so hypocritically later on(killing Emerson), even tho she did come around. still, she went there. but my

biggest issue is when she proposed blood must not have blood. i have no doubt lexa made the choice cause its something shes always wanted as well. but did clarke fully know that? did clarke even consider the further risk to the grounders(more villages attacked) and to lexas very life this would bring? she seemed to be having a one track mind and only considering the well being of her people, not the grounders, not lexa. when titus out right tells her lexas life is at risk, she doesnt offer up anything. doesnt ask if theres anything that can be done to lessen the risk, doesnt propose a new compromise, doesnt seem concerned with anything other than making sure not one of her ppl are harmed. ‘including’(one must assume) the killers as well. it bothers me that she didnt seem too concerned with the risks this huge thing lexa was doing(cause she seemed shocked when lexa agreed, i dont think she knew how much lexa also wanted peace) was going to bring about upon lexa and her people

Ok um. I wouldn’t say she ever “used” Lexa. Tried to manipulate, yeah, but she never downright used her. And you’re right, the most memorable incidents happen early on, see Clarke’s bluff about being able to cure the Reapers, twisting and omitting certain events in regards to Anya’s death, trying (and failing) to convince Lexa to spare Finn. Clarke is good with words, she’s always been. She’s extremely clever and her power of persuasion is impressive. Think about all the characters she convinced to do something she wanted at least once by using the right words, from Bellamy to Nia the list could be endless.

You’re not the only one who has issues with how they handled “blood must not have blood”, so I’m not going to defend what happened 100%. But it’s pointless to criticize poor writing now, so I’m only going to focus on what we got in the show, not the what-ifs. Yes, Clarke definitely reflected on what to say to Lexa; as I said, she’s masterful at understanding what to say and how to say it depending on the circumstances. Her main concern when she first makes that proposition to Lexa is that her people survive. Clarke doesn’t want the people she loves and many other innocents to pay for the actions of a few. So she makes that shocking suggestion. But how shocking is it, really? How shocking is it for Lexa?

First, I want to focus on this brief exchange between Lexa and Indra. (x)

They are discussing about the best way to proceed, and as it’s clear from their grave voices and faces, the answer isn’t as simple as it appears. “In a day’s time we lay waste to Arkadia,” Lexa said right after finding out what happened. She was furious in that moment, and had the right to be. She found 300 of her people slaughtered for no reason, and Indra, one of her most trusted people, told her that Skaikru reject peace and demand land. So she calls for blood. But when her initial rage settles down and she starts thinking more logically about what her next move should be, we get this moment with Indra, and we see that she’s incredibly worried about what is supposed to be the obvious “solution” too. War. Because that’s not a simple solution at all, and the outcome is not at all certain. They have the numbers, sure, but Skaikru has guns. This never ending issue is even brought up again by Clarke in the latest ep of the show, when she’s negotiating with Roan.

It’s not as easy as it seems, Lexa knows that. That’s why she is so concerned. Not to mention that we have been told repeatedly in the show just how different Lexa is. It has been established that she is a visionary, that she doesn’t take joy in violence, that unlike her predecessors she doesn’t want war, she wants unity and peace.

Now, why am I saying all this? To show that Clarke’s proposition and Lexa’s subsequent decision don’t come out of the blue. Clarke doesn’t have to make her way in Lexa’s head and warp her thoughts: those thoughts are already there. I feel the need to bring up the script, because it makes what I’m trying to say even more evident.

See what I mean? Even if they come out on top, Lexa is well aware that there can be no winners in a clash of this kind. No matter who prevails, it will be a bloodbath anyway. And that’s when Clarke comes in. She gets there and suggests that Lexa changes things. Indra is quick to remind Clarke that blood must have blood, to which Clarke replies “Really? Because from where I stand the only way that ends is with everyone dead.” If you look at the script, that’s exactly what Lexa was thinking too, BEFORE Clarke said anything.

If we talk about attempts at manipulation, I actually would like to compare this scene to the conversation Clarke and Lexa have in 2x08, when Clarke is trying to convince Lexa to spare Finn. They start in a similar way.

  • 2x08

LEXA: You bleed for nothing. You can’t stop this.
CLARKE: No. Only you can.

  • 3x05

LEXA: Tell us, Clarke. How does this end? Have you come up with a way to save your people yet again?
CLARKE: No. Only you can do that.

Albeit extremely similar, note the difference there is already between these two exchanges. Yes, there is bitterness in Lexa’s voice, and maybe even the hint of sarcasm, but still, she is open to listening to what Clarke has to say, whereas in 2x08 she tells Clarke there’s no point in discussing (and bleeding). And then we get to the way Clarke tries to approach Lexa, which is strikingly different. (x)

Let’s focus on 2x08. Clarke goes for Lexa’s psyche. She takes that little information she received about Lexa, mixes it with her assumptions about how Grounders are, and she tries to use all that to influence Lexa and make her do what she wants, which is release Finn. What does she tell Lexa?

  1. To give a proof of her power. She is flattering Lexa, telling her she is powerful, hoping Lexa will be more easily convinced if she appreciates her strength.
  2. To show that she is merciful. She has already had proof of Lexa being a merciful person, and Lincoln confirmed it as well. So she shows Lexa she recognizes this characteristic that she has come to realize is important to Lexa, and encourages her to do something that will make other people consider her merciful too.
  3. To not act like a savage. She’s telling Lexa that that’s how her people will see her if she does this, not as the merciful leader, but as a barbarian basically. She is telling her to prove them wrong.

Clarke’s words fall flat, though. She is trying to influence Lexa’s decision, yes, with a speech that sounds very much like Clarke is saying Lexa can elevate herself from the “status” of savage that the Sky People have applied to the majority of the grounders. It all sounds too much like Lexa has to prove something to the Sky People, like it is important that Lexa impresses them positively, almost like she has to prove the good guys that she isn’t a bad guy. But Lexa doesn’t care about impressing them, definitely doesn’t care about the Sky People considering her a bad guy or a savage. “We are what we are.” She sees what Clarke is trying to do and she doesn’t fall for it. It’s not accidental that when Clarke stops trying to manipulate her and instead uses more personal arguments, Lexa doesn’t shut her down as coldly as she did at first but instead replies to her, “But Finn is guilty […] Then he dies for you.” and eventually even lets Clarke say goodbye.

So here you have the failed attempt at manipulation. Instead let’s look at 3x05 now.

There is no beating around the bush here. Clarke tells it like is. Her people did something horrible. And Clarke doesn’t even think about trying to justify them. She’s past that mentality of Sky People being better than Grounders that was still in place in 2x08 (even if progress had been made already). Here, she knows her people are in the wrong and what they did was awful. So no, I don’t think that she is trying to manipulate Lexa, even if only because she knows that Lexa is right in wanting justice. Of course Clarke is not going to say “Go ahead, kill them all.” There are people she loves in Arkadia, people she knows have nothing to do with what Pike and his group did. She talks to Lexa, she suggests an alternative to war (which we already saw it’s not what Lexa wants) and she argues her position with powerful words, because we’ve seen that Clarke is very good at doing that. But it’s all in Lexa’s hands really. Clarke never tries to insinuate her thoughts into Lexa’s mind. 

You know, I’m thinking about 2x08, about how Clarke told Lexa to prove herself, and I’m thinking about manipulation techniques. The events of Hakeldama take place a few days after Lexa bowed before Clarke and swore fealty to her. Now imagine if during her conversation with Lexa in 3x05, Clarke had said something like “Show me your words weren’t empty. Show me your vow is real.

THAT would have been a true attempt at manipulating Lexa. But it never happens. She doesn’t manipulate Lexa, she reasons with her. I think it’s important to notice that Clarke tried to reason with her people too in this same episode, and she failed. Her discussion with Bellamy was a complete disaster, and she couldn’t even get to Pike. Look at what she tells Lexa. (x)

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always considered this line right here pretty big. Clarke is placing her trust in Lexa here, she is trusting Lexa to do what her people didn’t, to be better than them. I don’t know, I’ve always found that a pretty huge deal. So no, I can’t really bring myself to say Clarke manipulated Lexa here.

As for what you said about not listening to Titus, I think it’s important to remember that their conversation takes place in 3x06, the episode that features the return of Emerson, who is the personification of Clarke’s demons. She is upset for the majority of the episode, she is so desperate to run away from what she did that she doesn’t think twice about agreeing with Titus that Emerson deserves death, basically going against everything she and Lexa discussed at the end of 3x05 and the beginning of 3x06. Is she being an hypocrite? Yes. And we’re supposed to see her as such, because we’re supposed to perceive how deeply her guilt is conditioning her. The narrative makes sure we see her hypocrisy, via Lexa’s words, “So blood must not have blood applies only when it is my people who bleed”, and Clarke’s reply to that sounds very much like a justification. So it’s not a surprise that she doesn’t listen to Titus when he comes talk to her in her room, she’s not in the right state of mind to do that. Also I would like to point out that this is Clarke’s face when Titus tells her Lexa’s life could be in danger. (x)

Even as upset as she is about Emerson, you can still see that she is worried for Lexa. Definitely not indifferent. 

Also, I would advise reading this analysis by @spacewalkeravenreyes in regards to the connection between 3x06 and 3x12, the episode in which Clarke kills Emerson, but what she did wasn’t hypocritical. Her killing him doesn’t deny the importance of her sparing him in 3x06.

Anyway, this got far too long. TL;DR I don’t think Clarke manipulated Lexa with “Blood Must Not Have Blood”. Clarke is smart and cunning and yes, she can be manipulative too when she wants to, but she is not the devious, evil snake sometimes the fandom takes her for. 

3

A/N: Jack really needs a hug. (I volunteer!)

3rd October: Bonfire night. 🔥 | feat. Captain Jack Sparrow

Words: 1337
Warnings: none

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Being Damian’s Only Girlfriend

- Damian Wayne, despite being his fathers son, only had one girlfriend for his entire life.

- If anyone thinks he’d go into a relationship thinking it would end, they are wrong.

- You two met at Gotham Academy and you accused him of being Robin on the second day of term

- You made sure no one was around, but to you it was was just too obvious.

- The fact you figured it out and ended up catching him on a roof that same night, after he’d denied everything, made him respect you.

- It also meant he had to keep a close eye on you, make sure you didn’t tell anyone.

- Since he was hanging around you, you decided to actually befriend him.

- “Hey bestie.” you’d say loudly whenever you saw him.

- It had taken him a while to understand what you were doing.

- “She’s saying your her best friend.” Jon explained to him on one of their missions. Damian had been talking about you non stop. It seemed like he was both infuriated and in awe of you. Ranting with emotion instead of complaining and being cold.

- “But we barely know each other and it’s so annoying. The way she smiles when she see’s me. People shouldn’t smile at me, they should fear me.”

- “You are the night!” Jon mocked and Damian punched him. “She’s probably just saying it because she’s going to be your best friend, and because she knows it confuses you. Fight fire with fire.”

- So that’s what Damian did.

- “Hello, best friend.” he tried. It sounded so formal when he said.

- You had laughed “Knew you’d come around.”

- Soon you both started sitting together and actually talking. Actually becoming really close friends.

- You always partnered up and would often study together.

- Whenever you went to Wayne Manor, Damian always tried to plan it when he thought nobody else would be home.

- Somehow, someone was always there. Almost like Tim hacked Damian’s phone after seeing him smiling.

- Damian Wayne didn’t smile.

- You two had been sitting in the garden when Tim sat down with you.

- “You youngins need any help.” Tim had had the most contact with you, and you knew Damian didn’t like him.

- “'Cos you didn’t sound a thousand there.” you joked

- “Get lost, Drake.”

- “That’s no way to speak to your wonderful older brother.”

- “Wonderful is the last word I’d use to describe someone whose more coffee than human.”

- “Oh! I know why you’re so grouchy. I’m crashing a date, aren’t I! I’ll leave you two love birds to it.” he tried to run away but Damian flung a knife at his ear.

- Tim managed to just duck in time.

- “Damian!” Bruce yelled from the house.

- “My hand slipped!” he shouted back.

- You both knew his entire clan where spying on you.

- That spot in the garden became your guys spot. Whenever it was nice enough to be outside, you guys would be there.

- Damian attempted to teach you how to use a sword, it didn’t go very well.

- He’d liked spending time with you though.

- Instead, it turned out you were really good a throwing knives.

- Like unnaturally good at it.

- Whenever there was someone extremely dangerous on the loose, Damian would come by your house in his Robin gear and drop off a set of throwing knives.

- Knowing he was Robin from the begin was extremely useful for your relationship.

- You often helped cover for him when he had to disappear, or if he was gone for a long time without warning.

- He realised he was falling in love with you, you had been sitting in the sun and day dreaming.

- You guys were supposed to be doing homework, but you’d become bored.

- He had looked over to see you smiling and half asleep.

- Someone just clicked in his head. He wanted to see you like that forever. He wanted to be the reason you looked so at peace.

- When you realised you were falling in love with him was during an accident as Robin.

- You two had been at a school disco together, older kids were using to raise money.

- He was upset about leaving, he’d wanted to test the idea of a relationship with you.

- He’d been acting strange, so you swung by Wayne Manor to wait for him to get back.

- Alfred seemed overly concerned about something but didn’t tell you.

- After it was nearly early morning, you were pacing the kitchen and making cookies.

- “I really advise that you go to sleep.” Alfred tried

- “No, I’m stressed. Too stressed for sleep. When I’m stressed and cook.” you pulled the tray out of the oven.

- “I’m sure Master Damian is fine.”

- “Then why aren’t they back yet? Damian said it would be a relatively easy job.”

- That was when Bruce had come crashing in with Damian in his arms.

- You had waited with the rest of the family, feeling completely numb.

- What if Damian died? What would you do then?

- Thinking about how you might loose him every night suddenly came to smack you in the head. You cared to much about him to loose him.

- You needed to let him know that you liked him.

- “Aren’t you a bit over dressed for three in the morning?” Dick commented.

- “We had been at a school thing…” your voice was quiet and you had made another load of cookies. “I came here because he’d been acting weird and I wanted…I…wanted to talk to him about it.”

- “He’ll be fine.” Dick assured you. Despite being in their lives for years, this was the first time you were fully aware of how dangerous being Robin was.

- Guess you’d been a bit naïve before.

- “Keep making cookies, these are really good.” Tim nodded, stuffing another one into his mouth. Steph smacked him on the back of the head.

- Damian was banned from patrolling for two weeks.

- Instead the two of you spent almost all of your time together. Both awkwardly skirting around the fact you liked each other.

- When Damian found out how worried you’d been, curtesy of Dick, he decided to tell you about his feelings.

- You two sat in a room for an hour and a half, talking through the relationship

- You talked from dealing with Robin stress to life goal and how a relationship would fit with that. Maybe that wasn’t what most seventeen years did when they got together but you didn’t care.

- The family had been eavesdropping the entire time, only stopping when Tim laughed a bit to loud and a knife just missed the top of his head - through the door.

- “You know that’s not how most relationships start right?” Tim said once you left.

- “I don’t plan on having to start another one, so that doesn’t matter.” he had a stupid smile on his face for the next week..

-  He meant it too. He didn’t plan on dating anyone but you.

- Even when you both went to different universities, your relationship plan covered when dates would happen.

- He was doing business and you were studying forensics science and decided to get a degree in art history too.

- Suddenly your schedule seemed busier than his.

- You were still both happy and very much in love with each other.

- Since you were both studying in Gotham, the obvious solution was to move in together.

- You found it hilarious, watching Damian attempt to live without a butler.

- He was a fast learner though.

- The only time there was a hitch in your guys plan, was when you got the chance to study in Paris for a year.

- You both thought long distance wouldn’t be that hard for you, but it was.

- Both of you thought you might end up breaking up, neither of you wanted to though.

- “If it doesn’t work with Y/N, then it’s never going to work.” Damian sulked to Jon.

- “That’s what everyone says about there first long term love.” Jon rolled his eyes.

- “She’s more than that.” Damian scowled

- Damian ended up getting himself extremely injured since he was thinking about you.

- Alfred phoned you and when you found out, you were on the first flight back to Gotham.

- “Y/N.” Damian said, he was on bed rest. “You need to be in Paris,”

- “I need to be here with you.”

- You did go back to Paris, but Damian took a small break to go with you, helping cleaning up the streets of Paris.

- The next hick in your guys plan wasn’t as bad.

- “Damian!” you yelled from the bathroom after throwing up. You had been late and now you were throwing up.

- “Are you okay?” he rushed to your side on the bathroom floor.

- “I think I’m pregnant.”

- “What?” he was panicking. You guys were supposed to get married first.

- “Pregnant.” you said a it slower.

- “As in baby?”

- “As in baby.”

- He was silent for a while.

- “That’s great.”

- “Really?” you asked, unsure on whether he was telling the truth.

- “It just means we’re going to organising a wedding with less time than I thought. The rings hidden in my shoe is you want me to go get it.” he said it so casually that you almost missed the fact he was proposing.

- “Ring?”

- “I was going to propose anyway.”

- “I thought marriage was a little bit later on the timeline?” you teased.

- “So you don’t want to get married?” he frowned.

- “Of course I want to get married, you idiot.”

Happy Birthday to me 🎉🎉Thought I’d share this little mess in celebration. Also, happy birthday to my birthday twin @a-fallen-little-pine-cone 🎉🎉
JONSA CONFIRMED

Seriously the Jonsa fandom should be freaking out after the last episode cause it was confirmed Jon is the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne over Dany. Jon is the heir to the South, while Sansa has been confirmed as the heir in the North by the Northern Lords. All in the same episode.

Casuality much? I don’t think so. Shouldn’t the heir to the South marry the heir in the North to bring peace to the realm? To unite it before the final war? Why will Dany marry Jon when she can not give heirs to him?

Either Dany fights with Jon (Targbowl), or accepts him as her heir, but still, he will have to marry another woman and the obvious candidate is the (just confirmed) heir in the North. Not to mention is the only solution if they want to keep Jon’s rule as KITN.

So to me, JONSA IS CONFIRMED. Just fast-forward ‘boat-crap’ wait for season 8, and keep calm shipping Jonsa until it happens. CAUSE.IT.WILL.HAPPEN.

THE END.

Drew’s Great Big Beauty and the Beast Review

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

THERE IS NO GOING BACK

THIS IS A SPOILER-FILLED REVIEW

IT IS ALSO VERY LONG

AND THERE ARE LOTS OF SPOILERS

SO PLEASE BE AWARE

THAT THERE ARE SPOILERS HERE

BEFORE YOU START READING

Let me start off by mentioning how much this movie means to me. I’ve kind of made my niche on the internet by dreamcasting Disney movies as if they were live action. I’ve made a ridiculous number of edits, I mean I’ve spent hours, days, probably weeks on this stuff at this point, and many of these edits have been focused on Beauty and the Beast. Live action versions of Disney movies are like… my Thing. And, to be totally honest, this really is only the second faithful adaptation. Alice in Wonderland was a total reworking of the Alice story, not really a cartoon-to-live-action like this. Maleficent completely retold the story from a different angle by making one Disney’s most vicious villains not only sympathetic but good. Cinderella is so close (and so good, I might add) but visually it’s vastly different from its animated counterpart, especially when it comes to Lady Tremaine and the Fairy Godmother, and it’s not a musical. The Jungle Book is the closest we’ve seen to a real and true “live action remake” as opposed to a live action reinterpretation. But here we are. Disney did it. They took one of their most beloved animated classics and straight-up made it into a live action movie without cutting any songs or really very much at all…

And oh boy, did they knock it out of the park.

I love this movie. This is what I’ve been waiting for.

I love Emma Watson as Belle. I think she’s a wonderful choice, I completely buy into her as Belle. She’s beautiful and intelligent and spunky. Her singing is fine. She’s not Kristin Chenoweth or Sutton Foster, but Belle doesn’t need to be. She’s also not Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis, you know, Emma doesn’t go through a massive transformation and disappear into the role, but she doesn’t need to because she’s already so much like Belle. Still, I don’t find myself watching it thinking about Emma playing the role, I think of her as Belle, which is the goal of acting really. I love that this Belle is so active. I love that she is continuously trying to find a way to escape from the castle. The addition of the laundry machine and teaching the young girl how to read is so good because it actually shows us Belle’s intelligence. In the animated movie, we know Belle’s smart because we’re told Belle’s smart. She reads books and, sure, she acts rationally and she certainly shows the poise of an intelligent person, but this new scene gives us an active example of her intelligence and creativity while also demonstrating the oppressive and small-minded nature of the townspeople. Emma’s Belle is charming and smart and lovely, and I think she captures the essence of Belle perfectly.

All that being said, our two male leads really steal the show for me. I’ve seen the movie twice now and each time, one of the leading gentleman really jumped out. The first time I watched, Luke Evans felt like the true shining star of the film. His Gaston reminds me of Jason Isaacs as both Captain Hook and Lucius Malfoy. He isn’t just vain… this guy is a legitimate narcissist, it seems like his mind has truly been twisted by the war. This Gaston is even more evil than the one we left behind in the world of animation. Gaston has always been terrifying because of his charisma. The way he’s able to charm the people of the village is chilling and this time around we see even more of that trait, paired with a darker and more violent streak particularly illustrated by Gaston tying up Maurice and leaving him for the wolves. Plus, both times I saw the movie the audience gasped in horror when Gaston stomped on Belle’s lettuces.

The second time I saw the film, I was specifically watching for Dan Stevens’s performance as the Beast and man, this is good stuff. The Prince at the beginning is such a drama queen. He’s so over-the-top with his costuming, wig, even his gestures are extremely theatrical. The make up at the beginning is particularly brilliant, burying the Prince’s face in streaks of blue and silver so he still feels like an obscure figure that we don’t quite see. When Belle first meets the Beast, this is all still evident. The way he hides in the shadows, even his lines of dialogue, it’s all very dramatic. And then as the movie progresses, you can see this flair for melodrama fade away as he becomes a more grounded person. He becomes gentler, kinder, and his intelligence, which has always been there, comes forward. By the time we see the Prince again at the end, you can tell that this is the same man but he has been changed. The animated film’s human Prince always felt disconnected from the Beast for me. Sure, they made the eyes the same, but it was hard to see much else because we just see so little of him, so he always felt rather vanilla. That’s not the case here. When the Prince transforms back to a human at the end, this feels like the same character we have watched throughout the film. I’m sure this is aided by the incredible motion capture and CGI work, because the Beast is animated superbly, but Dan’s performance is just stellar.

The objects are perfect. There’s only one shot that I think feels odd (when Belle is carrying Lumiere with Cogsworth walking in front as they lead her to her room) but other than that one moment, I never second guess them as objects. They feel and act real. Lumiere’s movements in particular are incredible, right down to his close up at the start of “Be Our Guest.” I was worried about Plumette before seeing the movie because the bird design is so unusual, but it makes sense since they needed her to be able to fly to get around, and doesn’t feel out of place at all in the movie. Mrs. Potts and Chip are also beautifully animated, they always feel like real and solid objects with weight to them. Their relationship is wonderful, so loving and caring. Chip’s line, “OK. I’m older” is one of my favorite little moments of the whole thing. Cadenza is a wonderful addition to our cast of characters and I did not expect his relationship with Garderobe, but they were an excellent surprise. And Frou Frou! I love that Frou Fou is Garderobe’s and that he becomes Cadenza’s bench and is therefore the link between the two throughout their years in the curse. They’re just so sweet.

Maurice has been an under-reported character in all of this, and that’s a shame because Kevin Klein knocks this role out of the park. He is absolutely wonderful as Maurice. He is fatherly and kind but he has also clearly made mistakes as a parent and that is kind of embraced and understood in the storytelling. He is sincere at all times in a role that is pretty exaggerated in the animated film. If Maurice’s arrival in the tavern had been played exactly like the original, it would have felt campy, but Kevin Klein’s earnestness grounds the moment in reality. Not to mention his quips about snow in June and “apparently that’s what happens around here when you pick a flower” are delivered brilliantly.

Let’s talk Lefou. I don’t like this Lefou, and here’s why. Every other character in this film feels developed in a natural way. It feels like we are learning more information about these characters that has always existed, we just didn’t fit it in the first time around. Lefou, on the other, doesn’t feel like a character who has been developed but a character who has been rewritten. They clearly got the seed of an idea to make him gay but felt squeamish about making him evil and gay (and rightfully so), so they wrote this redemption arc that feels forced and really doesn’t actually go anywhere… Lefou’s turn during the battle with the castle objects doesn’t actually do anything, so the whole thing feels arbitrary. After seeing the film the second time, my friend and I spent probably an hour and a half just talking about Lefou and came up with a brilliant solution to this whole mess of a character… more on that in a moment…

Incorporating the Enchantress into the story is very compelling. I think it’s very obvious who Agatha is throughout the movie, but it gives the sense that she wants the spell to be broken, she wants the Beast to learn his lesson, which is very interesting. Having her arrive after the spell has completed and actively reverse it is a riveting choice, and I actually felt like we were missing a moment with her where she realizes that she made a mistake. When she was watching the separated loved ones reunite, it seemed like there was a seed of remorse that was not addressed.

The character development is very well done across the board, but I think something this movie did that was important and contributes to its success is the development of the spell itself. I think this was one of the most brilliant moves the film made. The eternal winter around the castle explains the sudden weather changes in such a short period of time while still using the seasons as an emotional storytelling technique like the animated film. The wolves are also clearly part of the curse here – I would have actually liked to have seen them included in the finale sequence, either transformed into humans like the objects, or else disappearing like mist with the rest of the eternal winter. Having the castle crumble every time a petal falls from the rose is so smart as well; it explains why the objects know every time a petal fall while also representing their and the Beast’s disintegrating humanity. But the best part of the curse’s development was definitely the memory loss. Adding the simple line to the opening narration about removing the people of the castle from the minds of the people who loved them was absolutely inspired. This one quick line explained a huge loophole that the animated film left regarding the presence of a massive castle in the woods and a royal family that apparently the entirely world did not know about. But even better than that, it created some wonderfully emotional reunions at the end. My friend beside me gasped so loudly when our favorite teapot exclaimed, “Mr. Potts!” and the moment with Henri Cogsworth and his wife(?) was so hilarious and, in my opinion, subtly hinted at our second LGBT character in this universe. Which brings me to the Lefou thing.

Here’s what my friend and I came up with: in the opening sequence, we see Cogsworth lurking in the shadows telling the Prince that “it’s time,” we see Lumiere handing the Prince a candelabra, we see Mrs. Potts chasing after Chip… in the midst of all this, we could also show a masked jester entertaining a few people at the ball. When the Enchantress arrives, a lot of people run out – presumably that’s where Mr. Potts and Mrs. Cogsworth escape and why they’re not included in the spell – and the jester leaves with them as well. At the end, the Pottses are reunited, the Cogsworths are reunited, and then Lefou recognizes his old beau, Chapeau the violinist/coat rack, and joins the finale back in his jester outfit. It makes total sense for Lefou to be “the fool” of course and explains why he falls into the abusive friendship he has with Gaston, since it would parallel the relationship he probably would have had as a jester for the similarly self-centered Prince. This adds two quick two-second shots to the opening scene, one of the masked Lefou juggling or something and one of him fleeing when the Enchantress shows up, and about twenty seconds at the end for the reunion and revelation and, in my opinion, is so much less problematic than writing our first ever LGBT Disney character as an evil sidekick with a forced redemption arc – this way, he had his memory erased, just like everyone else. Just our little idea but I think it could have blended into this world quite smoothly. Alas, here we are.

Moving on! The finale is absolutely gorgeous. The whole ending sequence is my favorite thing about the whole film. The fight scene is fantastic and then from there to the end, everything is so marvelous. We know the objects are going to be okay in the end, but seeing them all finally lose the battle they’ve been fighting and become motionless household objects is… emotional! Then the Prince’s transformation is brilliant, giving the perfect nods to the original film, and each character’s subsequent change back to their human state is perfect (Cadenza’s teeth!), especially when Mrs. Potts and Chip go sliding down the steps. And then when she says, “You smell so good,” oh my gosh. Whoever contributed that line is a genius. I go all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. Then we have the wonderful and funny reunions and then the final dance sequence, where Emma is beautiful and Dan is looking good in bright sky blue and rococo curls in his hair. Audra McDonald sings flawlessly and we have that beautiful moment between Mrs. Potts and Maurice that made my little shipper heart do a backflip, even if there is a Mr. Potts now. I’m still not sure if I’m on board with the growl, but I adore the line about the beard – apparently it was written for the original film and Paige O'Hara even recorded it! But it interrupted that finale sequence so they never used it. I think it works perfectly here, it’s so cute.

The first time watching, I felt the pacing was so odd in the film, with some abrupt transitions that didn’t quite work. I felt that less so the second time, maybe just because I was expecting it, and sometimes I actually liked the sudden change. I also don’t fully understand the shuffling of scenes at the beginning. The animated film goes (1) “Belle,” (2) Belle and Maurice at home, (3) Maurice leaves for the fair, (4) Maurice arrives in the castle, (5) Gaston proposes, (6) “Belle (Reprise),” (7) Philippe comes back and tells Belle to the castle. The movie rearrange this so almost all of the village scenes happen together, reordering that sequence as 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 4, 7. Because of this we end up going from Maurice’s whole scene in the castle, back to the village for about thirty seconds with Philippe and Belle, then right back to the castle again. This made the whole sequence of events feel rushed even though each moment was given about the same amount of time, or more, as the original film. Additionally, I felt some of the filming choices from a cinematography point of view were weird. There were several times that we were zoomed in on a character, usually Belle or Gaston in the village, and it felt like the shot was kept tight to hide something but then there wasn’t anything to hide… it’s a hard thing to articulate, but I definitely noticed it through both viewings.

The design of this movie is amazing. Breathtaking. Thousands of beautiful costumes and such detail – human Cogsworth’s buttons have the Roman numeral numbers on them! Not to mention the object designs. Lumiere’s candlestick form is clearly inspired by the Broadway production, which was an absolutely brilliant choice. Garderobe’s wardrobe form is A THEATRE, it has box seats and a stage with curtains as her mouth piece! Even the villagers are designed with such care, memorable and reminiscent of the original in many places – the man with the scissors and the guy with the mustache, the Baker is very similar to his animated design… I would have liked to have seen blonde silly girls to contrast them more distinctly with Belle, but they are what they are. The set design, from the village to the absolutely incredible castle, it’s all so, so good. I love the little flowers painted on the doorway to Maurice’s cottage and I loved the magnificent, baroque-meets-gothic design of an extremely unique castle. I know people are up in arms about the yellow dress, I know it’s not perfect, but it doesn’t stick out so horribly in the movie and it moves so beautifully in the ballroom scene. And honestly, I’ve never cared about the yellow dress, the blue dress is the one I’ve always loved and I just think the live action interpretation is glorious. It does not feel like a costume, it feels worn-in, it feels natural, like it’s just Belle’s favorite dress, and I just love it so much.

Speaking of detail, they named the village. And they named it Villeneuve. As in Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the original author of the fairy tale. Come on. That’s fantastic.

Let’s see, some of my other favorite moments that jumped out at me that I wanted to mention… the whole “Gaston” scene in the tavern is awesome, maybe my favorite scene besides the finale sequence. I love that Lefou is going around paying everyone off to boost Gaston’s ego, I love the dance, I love the use of Tom, Dick, and Stanley as cronies throughout the entire movie, I love lifting the young woman and then lifting Lefou, the whole song is fun and funny and exciting and the new lyrics are just amazing - “Then I shoot from behind!” “Is that fair?” “I don’t care!” …That’s exactly what’s going to happen in the final battle. Ugh. So good.

The moment in “Something There” where the Beast moves to Belle’s end of the table, she puts down her spoon, and they both sip their soup out of the bowl… that hit me in a way the animated movie never has before. It’s amazing symbolism. He can’t eat with the spoon, she’s not going to lap it up like an animal, so they find a way they can both eat the same way. They’re meeting each other halfway. That’s some good stuff right there.

OH, and I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned “Be Our Guest!” Come on. They went hard with that. They put on a full Broadway production on the table in front of Belle! The way it just kept growing bigger and bigger was delightful. Plus I love that the grey stuff is designed after Be Our Guest Restaurant’s grey stuff, complete with the silver and grey chocolate caviar beads.

Replacing the animated film’s bookstore, which never really made sense in a town of people who think reading makes someone weird, with a small shelf holding a dozen old and worn books that Belle has read over and over is just such a wonderful touch. I love that Belle’s favorite play is Romeo and Juliet because she’s barely read anything else and I love that the Beast’s reaction is to roll his eyes at her selection. I would have liked to have seen the giving of the library be a little more deliberate and a little less off the cuff, and I definitely missed the “promises you don’t intend to keep” line, but I’m so satisfied with the choice to make the Beast a reader. Having “a very expensive education” totally makes sense, and what else would he have had to do with all that time? They each develop the other’s literary taste! What’s better in a relationship than that?

The new songs are lovely as well. “How Can A Moment Last Forever?” is so much better than “No Matter What,” I wish it could logically fit into the musical instead because it’s really, really good. “Days in the Sun” is so sweet, it’s nice to have those moments with the young prince and each of the objects and even Belle, and honestly I can’t stand “Human Again” so I’m good with this one, plus the lyrical nod to “A Change in Me” is nice. But “Evermore” is clearly stealing the show as far as the new songs are concerned. What a great song. I still think they could have done a little tweaking to the lyrics in order to still use “If I Can’t Love Her” but if we’re going to write a new song for the Beast, I’ll take this one. (But can we not digitally lower Dan Stevens’s voice next time? It sounds like a computer singing at some points.) I also loved all of the new/old lyrics that were incorporated into the songs we were familiar with. They felt fresh without being forced. The new “Gaston” lyrics are definitely my favorite, but the new lyrics that Mrs. Potts sings in the finale are touching. Plus, using the Broadway songs as underscoring was really nice, especially “Home.”

I’m just so delighted with this movie. Everything from the original is there but now there’s more. The stove is there. The coat rack is there. The footstool is there. They just paid so much attention to detail and did this movie the justice it deserved. I’m already prepared to call this my favorite movie. Easily. By miles. It’s beautiful and just absolutely everything I was hoping it would be.

anonymous asked:

Do you have any spideychelle & avengers team headcanons?? thanks <3

yes okay let’s go

tony
-just in general, tony and michelle do. not. get. along.
-like tony doesn’t trust her dating peter, because he is obviously a protective dad, and whenever he sees them together he makes some comment about michelle
-and one time it gets aggressive when tony and pepper come to their monthly dinner at aunt may’s and michelle is THERE??
-tony is offended that peter told michelle all about being spiderman and showing her the suit, and michelle keeps criticizing tony’s coding because like, a fifteen year old cracked it in five minutes wtf
-and tony insults her hair or her clothes or something really petty (and pepper is Mad) and instead of yelling back, michelle says something really existential that literally makes tony question his identity and purpose on earth
-and then they actually start forming a good bond after that and they tease peter together and it’s all good
(-the avengers actually bring michelle in when they’re prepping to fight thanos because she’s almost as existentially manipulative as the reality stone)
-michelle lowkey gets tony’s number from peter’s phone and texts one day to ask him if he’d maybe be chill with her marrying peter and maybe he would come to the wedding and stuff no pressure
-and that’s when tony really goes head over heels for this tiny nerd child, and he finances the whole wedding and crashes the reception to have a dance with michelle

steve
-michelle also does not like steve at all (which helps win over tony’s affection too)
-he’s just too patriotic, and he’s gotta be hiding something, and what the hell is that beard even?? the human embodiment of american capitalism
-peter is so embarrassed when he first introduces michelle to the literal legend captain america, bc she immediately starts questioning him about the sokovia accords and bucky barnes and so many other things
-but one night when peter’s in the med bay at avengers hq, and michelle’s making nutella toast at 2 am as you do, steve walks in to grab a mug of chamomile tea
-and michelle asks if that helps him sleep, because her mom always gave her chamomile, and steve admits that it’s his go-to whenever nightmares keep him up
-and at first michelle is like pfft what nightmares, but steve starts talking about peggy and michelle is ENTHRALLED
-when peter wakes up from anesthetics michelle tells him she NEEDS access to the avengers library so that she can read up on agent carter
-and peter notices that she starts wearing this red lipstick that peggy was known to wear and curling her hair and listening to jazz and stuff and she is so darn cute that he can’t refuse when steve wants to teach them how to swing dance

natasha
-so michelle was like completely in love with nat for most of her junior high experience, and still kinda crushes on her hard
-so when nat casually decides to accompany peter and michelle on a sci fi movie date, michelle cannot. relax.
-peter tries to put his arm around her and she jumps, and they spend most of the movie in awkward confused silence
-after nat leaves, peter asks what happened and michelle tries to play it off as her being starstruck because she isn’t technically out to peter yet
-peter isn’t really buying it, but he doesn’t push
-and literally, on the train ride back, michelle starts rambling about how pretty girls are, and she can’t get all the way to the point, but peter is like, “it’s chill, dude, i crushed on hawkeye for most of freshman year”
-at some point michelle is eating cereal with peter and nat and she’s also reading some russian novel and natasha is like “hey!! i love that book!” and michelle and her form a small book club, which peter tries to keep up with but they ‘read too fast’

bruce
-ok so peter and michelle actually met bruce at the same time
-and like, they’ve studied his stuff in school, and one of their dates was legitimately to the library to research dr. banner’s ultron solution
-so when he waltzes by them while they’re in the courtyard one day, they both have to stop and breath heavily for a few minutes
-and they ask tony to introduce them and peter tries to ask a bunch of questions about the other guy like “can you drink caffeinated things?? what’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? what kind of meditation have you tried?”
-michelle is so done with him and she elbows him in the side when it’s obvious that bruce is uncomfortable
-michelle insists that they call ned and soon half of the ac dec team is there to listen to bruce talk science
-after some conversation there’s a total nerd sesh and all of them stay in the lab for like six hours straight working on the webbing formula

thor
-again, peter didn’t meet thor before michelle did
-actually michelle met thor first because he took the last pop tart and she started yelling at him before she realized who he was
-and she got a little shy and embarrassed and walked quickly out of the dining room to find peter and yell at him for not telling her that thor was in hq
-and peter was like “thor’s in hq?!! omg man we have to go find him!”
-thor is initially confused by the tiny humans, but later he sees peter crawling around on the ceiling and lifting michelle around and it clicks that peter is spiderman
-but he also thinks that michelle is powered somehow
-so one day when michelle and peter are out in the courtyard reading, thor joins them all happy and grinning, and he just throws michelle like fifty in the air, hoping to figure out what her power is
-and peter freaks the F out on thor, who he has never actually had a conversation with before, and demands that thor do something, and he catches little mortal michelle in his ginormous arms and apologizes
-later in the night he comes to peter’s room with a bouquet of flowers and a box of pop tarts for michelle, and he awkwardly apologizes again for assuming she was also powered
-michelle plays it off, and says it’s okay as long as she can try to lift mjolnir and thor laughs and grabs the hammer and they make a night of trying to use physics to lift it (can she push it up a ramp?? let’s calculate the amount of jerk force needed to knock it over)
-peter asks thor to toss it and is able to web it and stick it to the ceiling, and everyone debates about whether or not that makes peter worthy

clint
-so michelle is weirdly good at archery?
-peter had no idea but apparently the only other club she did besides academic decathlon was archery club
-???? who knew
-so one day peter, ned, and michelle are walking around hq and they find clint’s shooting range and bows and michelle just walks up, notches an arrow, and hits the bullseye in like twenty seconds
-peter and ned are shook
-they spend an hour interrogating her about it and asking her to shoot more arrows into specific spots and try a moving target and everything, she’s just really good at it
-so nat walks by and sees her do it, and woah she’s gotta show clint this one
-clint happens to be on base that day and he and michelle geek out about bow styles and high school competitions and stuff
-michelle knows asl too so they also geek out about that
-clint and michelle get pretty close and when clint needs babysitters, he calls peter and michelle and they play family for a night or two
-ned also comes, and he usually brings like three or four lego sets

scott
-peter and scott like to tease each other, and michelle picks up on this pretty quick, and joins scott in pulling stupid pranks on peter
-they put a bunch of plastic spiders in his favorite cereal, and shrink his soap and shampoo and stuff, and one day peter walks into the courtyard to find his little avengers action figures are now fifty feet tall and also missing limbs
-t r a g i c
-peter decides to retaliate and now scott’s underwear is webbed up all around hq
-he can’t figure out how to prank michelle, though, because the only physical thing she cares about is books, and he’s not about to ruin her books because she’d literally kill him
-so instead he tries to engage her in deep literary discussions about the twilight series and poorly written stucky fanfiction
-and the pranks suddenly stop

rhodey
-rhodey is so done with all these damn kids on base
-like tony and scott were bad enough, and now Actual teenagers? god help his soul
-and when he first meets michelle and ned, he expects total immaturity, so he’s surprised when they start talking about a robotics class project where they created prosthetic limbs
-and then someone mentions the sats coming up and rhodey is like hey! i got a perfect score on those!
-and the kids beg for study tips and tricks, and he ends up holding a mini tutoring session for them every saturday during lunch, because they pick it up so fast that it’s actually really exciting
-and rhodey chills with them at aunt may’s apartment the day that scores are released because he’s so proud of his students
-none of them get perfect scores, but they’re all in the 1500s which is great!!
-he treats everyone to chinese food and ice cream

sam
-for some reason, sam just hates peter’s guts
-this kid can not legally drive a car but he’s out here training like he’s gonna single-handedly start and end world war three
-and he doesn’t like peter’s pretentious, weird girlfriend either
-and nothing changes that
-though he does secretly wish that one day he’ll have kids as smart and dedicated as peter and michelle

bucky
-bucky doesn’t say much, and peter doesn’t really question him about it, but michelle bonds with him right away
-they’re like the loner duo. michelle shares old books with him and bucky shares old music with her.
-one day they just show up with matching tattoos of the New York skyline
-peter is slightly jealous and mostly confused because he’s pretty sure they’ve never had an actual conversation
-he just lets it be though, because michelle can be friends with whoever she wants, and she usually picks good ones

wanda
-so wanda is hesitant to have another young person on base, because she doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt
-but her room is right by peter’s and peter always has friends over, and sometimes she listens to their conversations and laughs at their inside jokes and gosh, she wishes that she and pietro would have had a childhood like that
-so one day she joins peter and his friends and it feels like she has a younger brother in him
-and though michelle is pretty guarded, wanda can sense that she has a big heart and they get closer throughout a few months and wanda actually helps michelle get ready for senior prom
-they both agree that beauty standards suck, and that michelle should wear what she wants and do everything how she wants
-but michelle wants the whole hollywood effect so she gets the ballgown and the hairstyling and the face of makeup, all done by wanda maximoff, expert at all ‘girl stuff’
-AND peter sets up wanda with ned for prom (mostly to make betty jealous) and flash and every other guy at senior prom is blown away
-wanda is such a good sport about it too, coming up with a fake story of how ned and her met and making up a fake identity as a model to impress everyone even more
-everyone loves wanda maximoff

t'challa
-let me tell you
-michelle is also obsessed with black panther, and when they meet she cannot get a word out
-until he mentions the political situation in wakanda and the economic exploitation of his people’s land and michelle is all. over. it.
-she’s gone to protests with peter and ned before, but they don’t Get It as much as t'challa does
-yeah so they’re protest buddies and she accompanies him on all his dignitary duties and she loves it
-peter also comes, but he usually zones out unless someone asks him a question
-at some point people start mistaking michelle for the princess of wakanda and she does not correct them

The signs as actual things Chibiusa has done

Aries: Pulled a gun on her own mother. Twice.

Taurus: Nonchalantly BASE jumped out of an apartment building.

Gemini: *slams the door open dramatically* “I’m not hungry! … but I’ll eat.”

Cancer: Called somebody a loser for making his own Sailor V button.

Leo: Ate a shitload of garlicky foods because she thought her classmate was a vampire..

Virgo: Brainwashed Ikuko by straight up bonking her on the head with Luna-P.

Libra: Wore a fake mustache and beret to a painting class, then painted winged unicorns when she was supposed to be painting landscapes.

Scorpio: Within five minutes of meeting a girl for the first time, she was showing off her silver crystal. You know, that thing that can destroy planets.

Sagittarius: Look, I was gonna have to get around to acknowledging this sometime, but she straight-up made out with a horse.

Capricorn: When you knock on a door and nobody’s home, the obvious solution is just to shout “Is anyone there?” at the door over and over again.

Aquarius: Ran away from her mom in the 30th century because she had to do homework. Ran away to her mom in the 20th century and somehow thought her mom wouldn’t find out.

Pisces: Destroyed half of Jûban with a badminton racket and a shuttlecock.

Senate Republicans are Screwed on Trumpcare and They Know It.

Very soon Senate Republicans will have to decide what to do about Trumpcare. Their choice is severely limited. 

The Congressional Budget Office has made it crystal clear that the House version of Trumpcare will cause 23 million Americans to lose their health coverage. 

Which means that unless Senate Republicans repudiate their own Congressional Budget Office (whose director they appointed), they’ll have to either vote to take away healthcare for 23 million people, or come up with their own plan. 

But if they try to come up with their own plan, they’ll soon discover there’s no way to insure those 23 million without (1) mandating that healthy people buy insurance, so that sick people with pre-existing conditions can afford it; and (2) keeping the existing taxes on rich people so that poor people can afford to buy health insurance. 

In other words, they’ll be back to the Affordable Care Act.

Some Senate Republicans will no doubt claim that the Affordable Care Act can’t be sustained in its present form because private insurers are beginning to bail out of it.

That’s an awkward argument for Republicans to make because Republicans themselves have been responsible for this problem. 

In 2010 Congress established “risk corridors” to protect insurers against uncertainties in setting the level of insurance premiums when they didn’t know who would sign up. Since then, Republicans have reduced or eliminated this backup. And the Trump Administration has done everything possible to generate even more uncertainty among insurers. 

The obvious solution is to restore this backup and reduce uncertainty, in order to attract insurers back in. 

This is surely better than repealing the Affordable Care Act and taking away health insurance coverage for 23 million people.

The only alternative is a single-payer plan – Medicare for all – that would provide universal coverage more cheaply than our present system, as embraced by most other advanced nations.

But Senate Republicans won’t get near a single payer. 

Which means, as a practical matter, they have no choice. They may wrap it up in different garb and call it by a different name, but in the end the logic is unavoidable: They’ll have to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. 

anonymous asked:

Do you have any tips for designing great puzzles?

Sure. When designing a puzzle, a designer must think of the process by which the player interacts with them. Specifically, there are four steps:

  1. The player sees and recognizes the puzzle goal
  2. The player discovers the clues/objects needed to solve the goal
  3. The player associates the relationship of the clues with the puzzle and each other and works out potential solutions
  4. The player solves the puzzle with the proper solution

The designer must make it clear to the player what is happening and what to look for each step of the way. This means that the designer needs to clearly establish context for all four of the elements above. More specifically:

  1. Show the player the goal - a locked door, a treasure chest, an object they want, etc. - but also clearly show that it is not immediately attainable.
  2. Place and advertise the clues to the puzzle goal within the environment. This can be subtle or it can be obvious, depending on whether the puzzle is optional or part of the critical path. 
  3. Provide a way for the player to experiment and learn how the clues interact and behave. This doesn’t have to mean that the player can make attempts until they succeed, but it does mean that they get enough tries with the puzzle to learn the rules.
  4. Create a solution for the puzzle that isn’t too difficult or too easy for the challenge level the designer has chosen.

These are the basic elements that a designer must create in order to make a good puzzle. Missing one of these elements is a recipe for player frustration, and that is something we always want to avoid.

The second layer of designing a puzzle is deciding on the distribution. Puzzles have two primary elements to them - discovering the clues, then using clues to solve some sort of pattern. Some puzzles are 100% clue-finding, such as “find the key to unlock this door”. Some are 100% pattern-solving, such as the Tower of Hanoi. Many are a combination of the two - e.g. the player can play around with this pattern, but is missing a critical piece to finish it.

When designing the pattern, make sure that the pattern is clear and makes sense once all of the pieces are known. If the designer presents a pattern or set of rules to the player for a puzzle, it’s a promise that those rules will be followed. A good puzzle design will let the player make certain assumptions and have a way to test those assumptions. The solution should require some kind of non-obvious, lateral thinking that still satisfies the rules that the designer has set. If the solution breaks the rules or pattern, it will be extremely frustrating to the player.

A good designer will also use multiple solutions to the same puzzle judiciously. Under such circumstances, it’s important to communicate to the player that there are more than one solution and which solution each clue belongs to. Otherwise, the puzzle can cause frustration by making players think that they are missing something when they aren’t, like the nagging feeling one gets when there are leftover parts when building something. One good strategy in puzzle design, in my experience, is to provide a secondary optional bonus puzzle that uses the same rules as the puzzle on the critical path, but provides some additional content or reward to the player for completing it. 

Remember the fundamentals of puzzle design when constructing them. They might seem obvious, but it can be extremely easy to skimp or skip in the creation of one or more of those basic elements. It’s important to get playtesters who aren’t familiar with the puzzle to test it, especially noting any frustration points. Show the player the way first, point out the necessary elements to complete it, and then let the player make those connections and solve it.


Got a burning question you want answered?