* I cannot finish your urgent project in a timely fashion if you keep interrupting me to ask when your project is going to be finished! Please stop!
* We have already done Thing based on all your requirements (and with your approval!) last quarter. We can just update it instead of spending so much time trying to come up with a new way to do it (only to come up with basically the exact same Thing). There is no need to spend hours reinventing the wheel!
* You have to decide whether you need a meeting to happen ASAP or if you need everyone involved present, because it's July coming up on August, and half the people you need will be out on vacation at any given moment and I have no control of that.
* I don't want healthy snacks in the vending machine. If I am driven to getting food from it, it's generally because I want Frito Lay corn chips or terrible plasticky cheap chocolate, not some sort of chip made from beans or some kind of granola bar! WTF?
Okay, this next one needs a little history. In the Constitution, war powers are given to the Senate: only the Senate, on majority vote, can declare war. George W. Bush managed to get war powers transferred to him, I think in the Patriot Act. A Dept. of Defense appropriations bill was approved that included removing war powers from the President, giving them back to the Senate. After it was approved, Paul Ryan took that wording out of the bill, which had been given bipartisan approval.
ETA: A scientist blows the whistle on the Trumpists moving scientists to non-science jobs in the hope they'll quit, while leaving their previous useful positions unfilled.
A Friend from my Meeting is walking, biking and rowing/paddling the US. Here's his blog, about his journeys.
The finding of a 14,000-year-old settlement verifies the land claim of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Canada.
Armed redneck lefties fight fascism.
<ahref="https://news.vice.com/story/marble-helped-scholars-whitewash-ancient-history?utm_source=tcpfbus">Marble helped scholars whitewash ancient history.
Here is mine, which also happens to be my first foray into Discworld. Let's hope I did it some small justice. *grins*
Title: Almost Like Magic
Beta(s): The lovely, LJ-less RNR
Prompt: Snape has been appointed a lecturer at Unseen University; he and Hermione attend their first faculty soiree.
Hogwarts' newest Professor is in a bit of a pickle. Hot on the heels of one of the country's most dangerous magical creatures, she's only gone and found herself transported to another world mid-chase. A world that is flat and disc-shaped, where magic doesn't work quite as it's supposed to, and where the local Librarian has a distinct taste for bananas. It's unfortunate, too, that this new world is also home to the last person she wants to see.
Oh, and there's still the matter of that creature to deal with.
You can read it
HERE on LJ
HERE over at AO3
Thunderstorms last night and this morning, which I don't object to at all, except for the bit where I have to get out of bed and leave the house while it's still raining. :P Water shoes and quick-dry dress, ahoy!
T is coming over tonight to pick up the bulk of the books that are Going Away. I can't WAIT. Couldn't haul a load downstairs this morning because of the rain, so it's going to be a lot of one-armed hauling tonight, but it will be worth it! We'll have to keep Shoba (the black German Shepherd downstairs) inside while I'm working, as he's developed a worrisome tendency to think I am an Invader, despite knowing me for almost two years. He blocked me at the top of the stairs coming home last night, and growled with enough sincerity that I didn't think pushing it would be good. It wasn't a big thing, J was right there to make him knock it off, but I worry that he's not feeling well and it's making him cranky (he has lymphoma). Fortunately, his huge fluffy white counterpart Juno still thinks I'm awesome. Juno has no discretion, but that's fine. :)
So, I asked my Patreon, and I'll ask everyone here too - prompt me? Art prompt? Give me nouns, adjectives, things that have a visual presence, either singularly or in groups. Or fandoms/characters, if they're ones I know or you think I might know!
I'll mix and match as the ideas takes me, and I promise to post stuff here (and tumblr/instagram) after I post to Patreon. I'd just love to compile a nice large list (like the #worldbuildinginjune list large) of art prompt ideas that I can do sketches from.
One of your favourite 70's songs. I'm not very good at knowing which songs come from which decade, and most of the music on my computer has really inaccurate metadata. But one song which I know is from the 70s, and which is definitely one of my favourites, is Go to Hell by Alice Cooper. I'm not sure if it's actually my favourite 70s song, but I really ought to have something by Alice Cooper in the meme.
I'm really very fond of Alice Cooper goes to Hell; it was my first encounter with the idea of a concept album. I especially love this opening track because it's a bit of (darkly) humorous intro, with the bathos of ridiculously specific examples of depravity:
You'd gift-wrap a leper and mail him to your aunt Jane
You'd even force feed a diabetic a candy cane
I often tell the story of how when I went to university I gained a certain amount of respect among the alternative crowd by explaining that Alice Cooper was in fact a ouijia board chosen stage name for a definitely male singer. Despite not looking like the sort of person who would know rock music trivia. But I love Alice Cooper for being so gloriously terrible, and occasionally coming out with works of sheer genius like Poison (not from the 70s) in among all the McGonagall stuff.
( video embed (borderline NSFW) )
(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)
So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.
(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)
(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)
Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?
(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)
Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.
Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)
Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.
Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)
Eowyn, also LOTR, is certainly a hero -- gets into armor, rides into battle, kills the Witch King --"No man can kill me." "I am no man." She also shows 'womanly' virtues by caring for the ailing king, her uncle, and mourning her brother. I would dearly love to see a story in which she and Arwen are hanging out and talking, since they are the co-rulers of neighboring countries. Peter Jackson has much to answer for in not having Faramir's courtship of and marriage to Eowyn in the movie. Yes, it was three hours long. It could have been three hours and five minutes.
I don't see Galadriel as a hero. Yes, she turns down the Ring. But that's it. Nothing changes for her after the movie -- she goes into the Weat, where all the elves were going anyway. She's a queen, a wise woman, a visionary -- but not a hero in these terms. And -- JRR Tolkien, why could you not have put Arwen and Galadriel in the same room *once*?
Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.
I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).
Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.
What women are your movie heroes, and why?
I've been very lazy (also injured) this summer, and I could really feel it as I exercised. But as usual, the first set of push-ups was the worst, and they were less painful after that. I even did one set with my hands close together, which is the hardest for me. My wrists are no worse than usual this morning. My fingers are pretty swollen and not very bendy this morning. The high humidity today might be contributing.
Today is the staff luncheon, and then my group is leaving to do a team-building thing. Tonight, dinner at Kabobeesh. I don't think I will get much done.
In the fourth part of Thief of Time, Lu-Tze begins to realize how special Lobsang Ludd is, and Susan relents. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I feel like this is more of a set-up for things to come than any sort of escalation of the plot. That’s okay, for the record, and Pratchett needs to do this if we’re going to be dealing with the complications of time. For example: I’m not quite sure why we need the scenes between Wen and Clodpole, but I suspect they’re part of the worldbuilding. If the mentor relationship between Lu-Tze and Ludd is going to comprise a large part of Thief of Time, then I’m guessing that we need to know why it’s set in this specific monastery. At the very least, Pratchett helps us understand the importance of this location and the method used to observe the currents of time. And that matters because of Ludd’s reaction to the currents in the last section, which I didn’t really comment on at all within the previous review.
Then there’s Lu-Tze’s conversation with the abbot, which pushed forward the notion that there’s something really special about Lobsang Ludd. I enjoyed the rapport that the abbot and Lu-Tze had, first of all, since they respect one another so highly. They speak plainly about Ludd’s complications: that he is as quick as he is, that he can recognize patterns in the Mandala, that he saw more than he realized, THAT THE CURRENTS REACTED TO HIM… this kid truly doesn’t know how powerful he might be. From his perspective, the world mostly bores him or scares him, and it explains the way he behaves.
But what does this mean for the larger story? Ludd is most likely going to be the link between the Monks of History and Jeremy’s construction of the Glass Clock. If that object really is as awful as I’m guessing it is, then it’ll have repercussions that will appear in the currents of time. Yet what of Ludd’s apparent ability to anticipate things before they happen? Is that something that can be developed, or is it so rare that the monks don’t know what to do with him? I don’t actually know!
My hope here is that Ludd finds the kind of guidance he’s so desperately needed in Lu-Tze. The two seem to like one another well enough, so that’s a good start, and hopefully, Ludd abandons the terror and reverence he feels towards Lu-Tze. That feels like the only impediment at this point. From there… I don’t know, y’all. I’m still in the dark. IT’S VERY EXCITING.
It’s the same case with Susan. I have a basis for understanding her in the context of fighting against the Auditors, but I’m ultimately in the dark, too. She gets a long sequence here where the woman who runs the school she’s employed at is confused by her tactics, which are both in contradiction of the school’s mantra (to learn only while having fun) and drawing more students in than ever before. And what a place to feel stuck within! Madam Frout knows she can’t fire Susan, as Susan will most likely start up her own school and steal all of Frout’s students. At the same time, Frout is bothered by the seemingly impossible things that keep happening around Susan! IT’S VERY ENTERTAINING. Well, it’s also meaningful to me because I really enjoy teachers who make a concerted effort to be interesting when they’re teaching others. I had this professor in college – Dr. Roberts, actually. He was one of the heads of the Political Science department, if I recall correctly. I had three or four courses with him before I dropped out, and I lived for those lessons. He did this thing during lectures where he performed belief systems and political ideologies, which helped us to udnerstand all of these complicated forces at work throughout history. I cannot remember ever being bored by him, and I loved that.
I cannot imagine feeling bored by a lesson from Susan. So… what are her students going to do? She relents to the Death of Rats after much pestering, so she’s about to be wrapped up in another adventure. But how is she gonna deal with leaving her students behind? I FEEL VERY DEEPLY FOR THEM HAVING TO DEAL WITH A TEACHER THAT ISN’T SUSAN STO HELIT.
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