There are a lot of bad -- and beloved, in some cases -- history podcasts in which the author postures, makes bad jokes, and assumes you don't know much and only want to know a little more. Two exceptions to this are "The History of the Mongols", which is excellent and clear and takes a fair amount of concentration, and "Revolutions",* which takes an in-depth look to various European revolutions starting with the English Civil War. I've just gotten to Charles I leaving London for the last time (although he doesn't know it).
If there were ever a more shining counterexample to the Divine Right of Kings than Charles I, it has to be one of the monarchs who was actually insane or intellectually disabled.
* Revolutions' podcaster, Mike Duncan, is known for an earlier history of Rome, which I haven't listened to but hear is excellent.
If you like true crime that is dispassionate rather than overblown, I highly, highly recommend "True Crime Japan". The podcasters are gaijin living in Japan, and they do an excellent job of explaining Japanese customs and cultural aspects that are relevant to how crimes took place. These are not crimes that have been rehearsed over and over in English-speaking media -- no Ripper, Bundy, Lizzie Borden -- which makes them all the more engrossing.
All of the above are, of course, available on iTunes and other aggregators; I'm linking to the authors' sites.
This getting stuck at the almost asleep stage is really pretty common for me. It's why I always boggle at the folks who say that, if I can't sleep, I should get up and do something else and go back to bed when I can sleep. I have no idea how getting up to do something else would be possible when the only part of my brain that's functioning is the tense, anxious bit that says that letting go is dangerous and/or wasteful.
I end up spinning a lot of stories when I'm in that state. I can't tell, though, if the stories prolong the difficulty or just fill the time. Or, maybe, even are a beneficial side effect since my plausibility editors tend to be offline just then which can lead to me having ideas that I actually can turn into stories later.
Scott and I mostly just relaxed at home last night. We took a walk out around 7 p.m. because someone from the other side in Ingress hit the science and nature center. I was confused by the rhythm of how the attacks went and by what was attacked when, but all was explained when we got there and found the place full of people. There was a Halloween event for families, and pretty much all of the timing weirdness makes sense if the other player had a kid or kids and was following them and only playing when they stopped for long enough to be safe.
Scott made level 10 as a result, so it was all good. He sent a thank you to the other player over the game comms which we hope was taken as sincerely as it was meant. He doesn't get much chance to play, especially this time of year, unless something happens at the science and nature center.
I need to go back through my journal and check against the other records I've been keeping, but last night gave me a strong indication that the breakthrough menstrual bleeding I've been having for months might actually correlate with when I take long walks. I think that will be a project for tomorrow while Cordelia's at school. I'll be seeing the gynecologist on the 9th, and I don't think I need to have that checking done any sooner than that.
I am sick of having to suffer so a man can grow. What is this, every Hollywood movie ever made? I am tired of having to confess to someone else’s crimes. I am tired of showing up at the banquet dripping blood like Banquo’s ghost. This should be your ghost, not mine. I am not the one who should be ashamed that you have done these things. I am not here to make you see the error of your ways. I am here to get through my life every day without inhaling thick lungfuls of smoke.
Because that’s what this is. This is like getting people who have gotten cancer from secondhand smoke to come testify together as a way of solving the problem. But you are the one who needs to stop.
— Alexandra Petri, “Men of the world: You are not the weather”, The Washington Post
Mirrored from Under the Beret.
One day in the late 80s, I was back at my parents’ house, between semesters at University. “I think you look like my father,” my mother said, rather matter-of-factly, and somewhat out of the blue. She went off to another room of the house and came back with a cardboard stationery box that I had never seen before. Inside the box, she produced a large head shot photo of her father, Walter Dynes, for comparison purposes.
I’m pretty sure that I was in my early twenties. Until that moment, I had never her say a word about her father. I don’t think that she ever mentioned him again.
At some point in my life, I’d come to understand that her father had died quite a long time ago, and that the person I considered to be my grandfather was, in fact, her step-father. Certainly, by the time of the great grade 7 family tree homework assignment, the details provided by my grandfather clearly spelled out the three maternal grandparents. But my bio-grandad’s figure seemed to cast no shadow over my family: he wasn’t talked about, no photos were out, and no stories about him were ever told. When I refer to him, I often call him my “biological grandfather” — a term that feels distant and removed. But it also feels apt because he seems distant and removed.
My father’s father, Vidal Holmes, was also dead. He died shortly before I turned two. But I was aware of his absence in a way that I was never aware of Walter’s absence.
Mirrored from Under the Beret.
Dear Captain Awkward,
I’ve been dating this guy for 3 months now. He has this pattern of disappearing for a couple of days and then come back. At the beginning he was all super flirty on text and showered me with compliments and sent each other snaps and nudes and said all the sweet things like he wants to treat me like a princess and make me his. Lowkey I knew he was a fuckboy* because most of the time he wanted to sext and talk about fucking me. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship but if we become more than something then sure but if we don’t then we continue being friends. I came out of a 4 year relationship couple of months ago so I have been out of the dating game for too long and I moved in here to California from a different country so the concept of dating is way here is new to me. He was showing all signs of “fuckboy*” but my mind ignored it and I got led on and I started to get feelings for him. I know, you must be thinking if I knew he was a fuckboy* the how the hell did I started to like him?
Well, first of all he is really charming and good looking. He is really smart and does all the gentleman things like open the door for me and pays for the food. He actually seems like a genuine good person when I’m with him. I forget every annoying stuff and red flags when I spend time with him.
I realized our relationship will not go anywhere and he will continue to play with me. Once I told him that I had feelings for him and this is getting too much for
me so I’m gonna end the “friends with benefits” thing and remain friends and he gave a simple response “okay your choice.” After 2 weeks he hit me up on snapchat after he saw a selfie of mine and said he wants to come over to my house in the weekend. I couldn’t say no. We had an amazing time and after that he ghosted on me again. He is emotionally unavailable and does not share much about his life. I want to end it with him but I’m too weak to do it. Every time I pull back, he then wants to chase me. recently I texted him ” are you ghosting on me or something going on with u?” then he replied with ” i’m just damn busy :/” .
I’m really confused what he actually wants. If he doesn’t like me anymore then why doesn’t he just tell me or stop texting me? The relationship is hurting me. I don’t blast him with lots of texts nor do I nag. I always try to stay civil and calm even when i’m hurt by him. I’m having a hard time opening up to him of what exactly I feel. I wanted to take the relationship to another level and spend more time with him getting to know him. I wanted him to be my boyfriend. But I didn’t demand it. I did not expect anything in return when I told him I liked him. Because I can’t force him to like me back.
What should I do Captain Awkward? Even though I make myself busy with things. But I can’t seem to not cut him out of my life for good.
*Fuckboy = the letter writer is using it as a term to describe a man who is unreliable and untrustworthy around sex. It has a history as a descriptor of prison rape victims and attaching men who aren’t traditionally masculine and is therefore a word we’re not going to use anymore at CaptainAwkward.com enterprises. I’m not telling anyone they can’t ever use it, but I’m also going to personally stop. Not least because I am a big ol’ white lady and “well it’s more complex than that in AAVE” isn’t really the hill I want to die on in my comments section. Not every word that exists is an ok word for me. Cool? Cool.
Dear Sincerely Confused:
You say you’ve been dating for about 3 months and that you’re “confused about what he actually wants.”
He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Ergo, what he wants is what is happening right now. He wants to flirt and have your attention and have sex with you sometimes. And then he wants to drop out of sight sometimes. He wants you to want him but he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend or have any obligation or deeper emotional connection. He wants you when he feels like it and he wants to be able to go away and ignore you when he doesn’t feel like it. He wants this. This thing that you say is hurting and confusing to you is the best this is likely to get.
You will never have a loving monogamous relationship with him where he is your boyfriend. If he wanted that, he would have said “Yes!” when you asked him about it. He would have made it happen. If you stay friends, or, um, “friends,” he will sometimes want to have sex with you, but it won’t mean anything has changed. Paying for dates and opening doors for you isn’t deeply meaningful. You’ve known/suspected this from the start, and he’s done every possible thing to confirm it.
It’s one of life’s great tragedies and comedies that we can have amazing chemistry and fun sexy feelings with people who aren’t actually good partners for us. That “omg this is the BEST” way he makes you feel should be illegal, right? Charisma isn’t the same as character.
The good news here is also the bad news: All the power to end or clarify this situation lies with you. You can stop this any time you want to.
You could decide “You know what, it’s worth it to me to have a fun diverting time with him when he pops up a couple of times a year, and I can safely ignore him the rest of the time, because I know 100% that it’s not going to turn into anything else.” To be clear, I don’t think this is where you are right now because you say that this is all hurting you. But I also know that there have been times in my life when a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency-need-
You could also decide “Hey, I really want a devoted, reliable boyfriend who loves me and I’m gonna hold out for that and not waste time on charming, unreliable dudes” and then deploy your new best friend, the block button. You’ll be sad and miss the thrill of the little roller coaster you’ve been riding for a while, but then you’ll feel better after a while of not being jerked around and there will be room in your life to meet someone else.
Back when she dated men, the lovely Samantha Irby (rocking it today in the New York Times btw) made a policy to protect her heart and reclaim her time. If she didn’t hear from a dude within a couple days of a date/sexy stuff/or simply her texting him, she deleted his number from her phone. That way she could resist the urge to keep pinging him or checking to see if he’d reached out, and if he did get in touch eventually she could legitimately be like “Wait, who is this?”
If this sounds cynical, think of it as Sam deciding what she needed: Someone who, at minimum, texts back. Someone who pays attention. Someone who treated her like she was important and not some big interruption to the more important things he had going on. You can’t control your feelings but you can control how many times you leave a door open for someone who isn’t walking through it.
Letter Writer, you want love that shows up for you. You want love that is playing on your level. That’s not silly or “nagging” or annoying or needy, and the person who deserves you won’t see it that way. He also won’t act like it’s some chore to keep in touch except when he’s bored or wants something.
Sometimes the answer when someone ghosts on you, is “ghost harder!”
"I know that there are people who think that this is odd. They take their comfort other ways -- from liquor or from God. Now sometimes prayer can call me or a drink helps get me through, But nothing is so healing as the days I spend with you." -- from "My Thousand Closest Friends" (1991) by Naomi Pardue
Deuce of Gears
A cog in the machine. Pawn of powers beyond your control.
(Yes, Jedao was being snarkastic when he chose it for his emblem.)
Also, I love my catten but...she's not very bright? She likes to sit on the ping pong table and will remain sprawled on it when the Dragon and I start up a game. The ball hits her in the leg, she remains sprawled. It took the next ball hitting her in the snout for her to skitter-kitter off the table. *facepalm*
That's not the part where she's not very bright. The part where she's not very bright is that she was on the ping pong table during a game yesterday and got hit in the snout by a ball then, causing her to skitter-kitter off the table. You would think she'd figure out that ping pong game in progress = don't sprawl on the table waiting to be hit in the snout?
Back to work...
My recipient was iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:
Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.
Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.
I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...
- New writing website is up and operational!
- Goodreads giveaway for Out of This World is scheduled for mid-November!
- Miscellaneous things are attended to!
- Edits and formatting for new Emily collection are in progress!
IN THE MAGAZINE
'THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN THE WORLD’: TRUMP IS VIOLENT, IMMATURE AND INSECURE, PSYCH EXPERTS SAY
BY DR. LANCE DODES, GAIL SHEEHY, PHILIP ZIMBARDO, ROSEMARY SWORD AND DR. JAMES GILLIGAN
ON 9/27/17 AT 8:00 AM
After the American Psychiatric Association expanded its so-called Goldwater Rule into a gag order on mental health professionals, the forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee organized a conference at Yale with the title, "Does Professional Responsibility Include a Duty to Warn?" to discuss the rule and its relevance during the increasingly alarming Trump presidency. While only two dozen attended physically in an atmosphere of fear, the conference tapped a huge groundswell of interest in the forms of hundreds of communications from mental health professionals: just as football players don't give up their right to free speech when they take the field, they agreed that the moral and civic duty to warn about the president's dangerousness should supersede professional rules about neutrality. This led to Dr. Lee editing a new book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals Assess a President. Here are excerpts from four of the essays in the book.
( read the article )
Golf and Television Won't Make America Great Again
Trump’s Bullying Tactics Are Backfiring Spectacularly
Steve Bannon, on '60 Minutes,' Fights Trump's War
How Republicans Came to Win Just About Everything
© 2017 NEWSWEEK LLC
Scott commented that he hadn't realized that getting less that four hours of sleep would hit her that heavily and that he wouldn't have insisted that she go to school if he'd known. I gave him a look of utter disbelief because I find it weird that he'd think that she wouldn't feel it. Also, he leaves an hour before Cordelia does, and I was prepared to overrule him on that if I thought she couldn't do it. If it hadn't been Friday, I probably wouldn't have sent her. Knowing that she didn't have to be anywhere before 5 p.m. today was a major factor in my decision.
I took down and washed the shower curtain because it had gotten to the point of being really nasty. I think we need to replace the bath mat, too. I've wanted to do that for a very long time, but Scott paid a lot of money for-- of all things-- a memory foam bath mat. I have no idea why he wanted that. It's not as if anyone stands there for long enough that it matters. Mainly, what the memory foam means is that it sucks in water and takes forever to dry. At this point, it's starting to smell, so I think I can get away with pitching it. It's really not washable unless I want to do it by hand somehow. Given that I hate the dratted thing... Well, it's not happening.
I'm kind of surprised that it didn't get to this point sooner. I think we've had it about three years. I just loathe it because the area in front of the tub is also the area in front of the sink. I despise having the wet squish under my feet when I go to wash my hands or brush my teeth or do anything that requires the sink. I've asked Scott to dry off in the tub so that the mat doesn't get that soaked, but it's apparently not something he can remember to do.
I posted another story in the House of Sulfur and Mercury sequence yesterday. It's short, just something I kind of dashed off that's set about thirty years after the end of We Are Where We Began. It will make zero sense without reading the earlier stories in the arc.
I haven't been doing formal announcement posts for most stories in this arc because I figure there's not a lot of overlap between between people reading here and people following that story. Am I wrong? Then again, I'm not sure how big an overlap there is between people reading here and people interested in any of the fic that I do formally announce.
I wrote between 800 and 900 words yesterday, some of it was the Amber story I mentioned above and some of it was a Weiss Kreuz story that I'm really hoping is near done. It's a one shot smut thing that's been in progress for years. I just wasn't sufficiently motivated before to really look at it and get it done. I think that right now I'm going to focus as much as I can on finishing some of the shorter WIP that are sitting on my hard drive. Of course, some of them are sitting because I have a suspicion that they want to grow into novels or even more than that in length. Others are sitting because I know there's something broken in what I've written so far but can't quite tell what.
The three stories I still might finish for weissvsaiyuki all have their own difficulties. One needs massive amounts of description. One needs at least another 5000 words and has characterization problems in the parts already written. The third is the one I'm working on right now, and that... I'm concerned that the characterization is too far from canon. Then I remind myself that, working just from the anime, Schwarz doesn't actually have that much canon. There's a good bit pulled from other sources, but I can't always tell that from fanon, and, well, I tend toward divergent AUs anyway, so I probably shouldn't fuss about it. People don't read my WK fanfic for accuracy of canon voice and/or details. At least, I'd be very surprised if anyone does.
I try to be canon accurate when writing for exchanges but often play with backstory and characterization and such while writing for other purposes.