I was reading this fic, where there’s a scene where Sam teaches Bucky to cook, and for some reason I seriously thought he was just forgoing the spatula for his hand. It makes sense, if you think about it.
Also, I really like fics where Bucky is kind of weird and robotty, and doesn’t really know how to function like a human being.
By Leo Babauta
There’s an everpresent underlying feeling that most of us have that we could be doing things better. That we’re not sure how to live life. That we’re doing things wrong.
This leads us to try to optimize, to try to improve, but also to feel bad, to seek comfort and distraction, to procrastinate while we seek the answers. This is normal and there’s nothing wrong with it.
But I’d like to assure you that you’re doing nothing wrong. That you don’t need to optimize or do things better.
For just a moment, pause where you are, and soak in the current state of the room around you, and your own state. Just notice what this is like.
Now see how this moment is enough. Just as it is. Without any need for improvement. It is a wonder, and there’s no need for more.
Now see how you are enough. Just as you are. Without any need for improvement. You are also a wonder, exactly enough.
You can g about your day, pausing every now and then to do a check: is this moment enough? Are you enough? And try answering, “Yes, absolutely and wonderfully.”
Some of the actors of color suggested by tumblr following the announcement of casting considerations for the new Spiderman role. If we have to have a new Spiderman instead of Miles Morales or Anya Corazon, then the least the MCU can do is give us a non-white lead for once.
Tyler James Williams
Ki Hong Lee
"Evil bastards" should go to prison
by Tom Sullivan
“I want to stop paying tax, until everyone pays tax,” Wise told the Evening Standard. “I have actively loved paying tax, because I am a profound fucking socialist and I believe we are all in it together. But I am disgusted with HMRC. I am disgusted with HSBC. And I’m not paying a penny more until those evil bastards go to prison.”
Actor Greg Wise is married to Oscar winner Emma Thompson, reported the Guardian.
HMRC has come under fire in the HSBC scandal because of a failure to carry out a criminal investigation against the bank, which has its headquarters in the UK. While the agency found more than 1,000 tax evaders among the almost 7,000 UK clients of HSBC Suisse, only one individual has been prosecuted. About £135m has been recovered in tax, a lower figure than in other European countries.
Stuart Gulliver, the head of HSBC, has apologised in writing and again on Monday, when he said the bank’s bosses were shamed and humbled by the scandal.
How refreshing. On both sides of the Atlantic, we're all breathless with anticipation to see pubic servants who've taken oaths to uphold the law do actually something about it, you know, and-justice-for-all-wise. Sent the evil bastards to prison already.
“Like most asexuals, I spent a good portion of my life feeling broken.”
And it’s not even a lack of representation, exactly; it’s selective representation. Heroes have to have a romantic storyline. Villains, not so much.
Just let that sink in…
Like most asexuals, I spent a good portion of my life feeling broken. While watching a movie or devouring the fantasy novels I loved, I felt more like the villain than the hero. Not in philosophy or beliefs or actions, but being alone and not experiencing the same desires as heroes often do. The hero’s happily-ever-after almost always involves settling down with another person. Even if they fail to achieve that ending, the audience is made to root for that outcome. You read about the chemistry or sexual tension between characters. As a society, we’re made to want that happy ending: marriage, 2.5 kids, and an overall blissful family.
What about the archetypal villain? They tend to be alone (sometimes widowed, sometimes just because). Oh sure, they occasionally have henchmen, but more often than not, they’re isolated. Their arc tends to be opposite the hero’s, probably because their desires are meant to run counter. They don’t want people or family. They want power and control. This is especially true of women villains: just think of almost any Disney villainess.
Imagine being a teenager and everyone around you is sorting out their identities, discovering new labels and desires, and connecting with a community of people who share this label. Gay, straight, bi, or trans. Some of these terms are used in sex education, and all of them are found in U.S. popular culture. Learning these labels helps people discover who they are.
Now, imagine you don’t fit into any of these labels. You don’t fit into any of these communities. Imagine you can’t find a label for what you feel, your identity, because it doesn’t exist as far as you know. Imagine people telling you who you are, telling you that you’re going to fit into one of these groups eventually. Imagine that never happens.
That was the situation I found myself in: I was perfectly content with platonic friendships but experienced no sexual or romantic desire. Not even the typical crush teenagers are expected to have. Everyone around me was pairing up, diving into relationships, and I was left feeling rather confused.
I turned to the fantasy novels I loved so much only to have them suddenly fail me. I searched desperately, often late into the night, my eyes and fingers darting over the tiny black print. “Please,” I would silently plea. “I don’t want to be alone. There must be someone like me. Someone who isn’t broken, twisted, and evil.”
There wasn’t, at least not any women. Every now and again, there would be an old white man who seemed to not experience any attraction (Tolkien’s Istari, Lloyd Alexander’s wizard, etc.). The few women found in these pages were either in a romantic relationship or evil. I was alone.
On a whim, I revisited some ancient myths and I found her. A woman who had always been there, but one who I hadn’t realized would become so important to me in the future. Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, a woman who went out of her way to remain unattached. This powerful goddess specifically demanded that she not be romantically involved with any man. And Zeus, the King of the gods, agreed! He didn’t protest or suggest that perhaps she just “hadn’t found the right one.” He basically said, “Yeah, sure” and let her do her own thing. At last, a powerful woman who, like me, didn’t appear to experience sexual or romantic desire and was perfectly fine with that. There was hope!
The years went by and I continued to search through modern fantasy for a fellow asexual woman, even before I had the term for my orientation. Books blended together and my search continued to be fruitless. There just weren’t any modern asexual women in fantasy. Whenever I got frustrated with what seemed to be a pointless search, I always returned to stories about Artemis. Yeah, she did some pretty horrible things, but she was a goddess. All deities had their petty and vindictive moments.
And then I found Eden Sinclair in the movie Doomsday. Imagine my shock, sitting in a theater, watching a woman kick so much ass and experience little to no attraction to other characters in her story. She wasn’t evil, she wasn’t a villain. Sinclair was a tough-as-nails soldier who was there to get a job done. And she was an interesting character: an orphan (an adoptee like me), someone who was a mystery. Sinclair kept a cool head in hostile territory and outsmarted every opponent she encountered. There wasn’t a large audience in the theater, but I looked around anyway, curious what my fellow movie-goers thought.
I’ll never forget the feeling that bloomed in my chest when I saw how riveted the few people in the audience were. They were rooting for her. They were rooting for someone who was like me. It didn’t matter that she never flirted with the other characters. It didn’t matter that she was an archetypal lone wolf. She was a badass and the audience loved her for it. I think I may be the only person who got misty-eyed during Doomsday, a post-apocalyptic horror film with copious amounts of gore and violence.
As asexual visibility has gradually begun to form into a movement, there has been a predictable backlash. In genre, many creators have dug in their heels to resist the idea that so small a group needs representation. Whether it’s Stephen Moffat declaring Sherlock Holmes can’t be asexual because he’s too interesting, or the literary agent who told me “asexuality is too niche to move books,” ace phobia and the erasure of asexual voices and characters continues in genre.
When I came out as asexual, I decided to be as open as I could. I would wear my label proudly because it was who I was. Being naturally quiet and introverted by nature, this was a bit intimidating. Then I thought of other girls like me: alone and scared, desperately paging through the stories they loved in the hopes of finding someone like them and being disappointed.
Nobody deserves to feel alone or broken or invisible. People should never be labeled as too niche. Asexuals can be interesting and heroic and adventurous too.
Lauren Jankowski is an aromantic asexual fantasy author and a passionate genre feminist from Illinois. She’s the founder of Asexual Artists (on Tumblr and WordPress), a site dedicated to highlighting the work of asexual-identifying artists in all mediums. Author of the ongoing series The Shape Shifter Chronicles (Sere from the Green, Through Storm and Night, From the Ashes, Haunted by the Keres), she specializes in strong heroines and hopes to bring more badass women (including ace women) to the fantasy genre. She’s also still very much platonically enamored with Artemis.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Here's a bunch more. I like making lists so I'll probably do some more on Monday.
Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Varsha Bajaj, Mario Acevedo, Grace Lin, Tananarive Due, Carrie Patel, Kay Kenyon, J. Kathleen Cheney, Nahoko Uehashi, Jessica Reisman, Linda Nagata, C.S.E. Cooney, Maurice Broaddus, Beth Bernobich, Michelle Sagara, E.J. Swift, Teresa Frohock, Nalo Hopkinson, P.C. Hodgell, Aliette de Bodard, Ellen Oh, Carol Berg, Kari Sperring, Courtney Schafer, Milton J. Davis, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Amy Tintera
I don't know about the mechanics of acting in one of these movies. Maybe all the stunt doubles and effects and green screen acting makes it a bit less fun. But who wouldn't want to play a wizard or a guy who can fly?
And the great thing about the contemporary age is that actors are much less likely to get stuck in those roles. Star Trek actors had a hard time finding more work. Christopher Reeve didn't have a great post-Superman career. Harrison Ford managed to break out of it, but that was kind of surprising at the time. Now you can play Gandalf and Magneto and still go on to do other things.
I think it's time for Trump.
All works need to be tagged to the appropriate day, marked for the appropriate recipient, and posted to the collection.
- Uh, I think I'll need an extension. Contact the mods (email@example.com) as soon as you realize that. It's probably going to be okay.
- I may not be able to complete my assignment. Please default from the exchange by clicking "Default" on your My Assignment page, or - if you already used the "Submit" button by contacting the mods (firstname.lastname@example.org) and receiving confirmation. Purimgifts does not penalize defaulters. If you think you need to default, please do so as early as possible - remember that someone will need to complete the assignment at a very tight schedule.
If you fail to complete your assignment in time, have not arranged for an extension and did not formally default (as described above), you will be considered a no-show default. This may be a problem if you wish to participate in Purimgifts again in the future.
If you have any other questions, please contact the mods at email@example.com. Thank you!
In the seventeenth part of Guards! Guards!, the King of Ankh-Morpork faces off against an unexpected opponent. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
It’s been so fascinating to watch Vimes come into his own in this book. The Vimes that I met at the beginning of Guards! Guards! had, more or less, given up on his life having any sort of promising future. Look at who he is now, though! As the dragon blasts the distillery, which blows up and backfires horribly on the King, Vimes is busy running towards the action instead of ignoring it or running in the opposite direction. He expresses regret that he may have treated his fellow Watch guards terribly. And when he begins to free Lady Ramkin, he doesn’t cower in the face of the palace guards:
“Right, you’ve asked for –” one of the guards began. Vimes’s elbow caught him under his rib cage; before he collapsed, Vimes’s foot kicked savagely at the other one’s kneecaps, bringing his chin down ready for another stab with the other elbow.
“Right,” said Vimes absently. He rubbed the elbow. It was sheer agony.
I liked that touch at the end. Heroes always get in these huge fights and it never seems to hurt them! But Vimes isn’t a traditional hero, y’all. This shit hurts.
What’s interesting to me, then, is how Carrot kind of fills the role of the traditional hero. Kind of. He’s got a foolish sincerity to him; he’s ridiculously strong; he’s undeniably moral; and he’ll run into danger because it’s the right thing to do. And while he’s been easy to poke fun at throughout Guards! Guards!, it’s in this section that you can see his true influence: he’s made Colon and Nobby better guards. He’s made them thoughtful. He’s made them willing to run into danger because it’s the right thing to do. He started out as a joke (albeit one I found adorable), but he’s turned into one of the most important characters in this adventure.
AND LET’S ALSO TALK ABOUT THE PATRICIAN. Oh my god, how did I not question his behavior around Vimes? The man manipulates people for a living. THIS IS WHAT HE DOES. He utilizes their belief in the world for his own benefit, and he did exactly that while Vimes was in the dungeon with him. At any point in time, Lord Vetinari could have left that goddamn place, but he stayed there BECAUSE HE NEEDED LUPINE WONSE TO BELIEVE HE WAS STUCK DOWN THERE. He needed Vimes to believe in the injustice of what had happened to Ankh-Morpork because it kept him right where the Patrician wanted him to be. My guess is that somehow, the Patrician is going to end up exactly where he started: in charge of the entire city, with practically no one the wiser as to what’s really going on. (Well, aside from Vimes, who now knows more than anyone else.)
There are a lot of unexpected things in this section, but the second half of it is just… I can barely comprehend how weird and surreal this has gotten. It’s no surprise that Errol was changing into something. His bizarre gastrointestinal problems were always an obvious form of foreshadowing, and Pratchett clearly intended that. He wanted us to pay attention to this character and wonder what was happening to him. Like I said earlier, I had just assumed that through sheer willpower, Errol was trying to change himself into the kind of swamp dragon that could challenge the King.
I was so wrong.
The sunlight glinted off his silver scales as he hovered about a hundred feet up, turning slowly, balancing nicely on his own flame…
The best way I can try to summarize this is that Errol turned into a fucking jet engine. Which makes no sense to me at all, but kind of does??? Given what he ate (THE OIL, OH MY GOD), it seems somewhat reasonable that he somehow turned himself into the kind of swamp dragon that could fly at such a high rate of speed that he could cause a sonic boom from BREAKING THE SOUND BARRIER. And you know what? It’s a brilliant way to disarm the dragon, so much so that it can’t fight back, but there’s one part of this that doesn’t make any sense to me:
“You mean,” said Vimes, “all this is just – just show? He’s just doing it to impress?”
How is this impressive to a dragon? It seems that hurting the dragon, or slowing it down, won’t be viewed positively by the king of Ankh-Morpork, right? So… what?
There’s one last thing I want to talk about that’s so goddamn funny I can barely stand it. I actually started to worry that Lady Ramkin and Vimes wouldn’t be able to see eye-to-eye on the fate of the dragon. Understandably, Vimes has no interest in keeping the creature around, given what it has accomplished in the city. But he’s forced to rethink that after Lady Ramkin insists that they can’t kill the dragon because it’s too cruel:
“But it’s just a dragon! It’s just doing what a dragon does! It never would have come here if people had left it alone!”
Vimes thought: it was about to eat her, and she can still think like this. He hesitated. Perhaps that did give you the right to an opinion…
Well, they’ll all have to deal with the dragon anyway because Carrot is my absolute favorite. HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS COMING?
“It’s not that,” said Colon. “It’s Carrot. He’s arrested the dragon.”
In a beautiful twist, not only has Carrot arrested the dragon from breaking the law in Ankh-Morpork, but HE HAS TO PROTECT IT FROM EVERYONE TRYING TO KILL IT BECAUSE THAT’S ALSO THE LAW.
This book is so incredible, y’all.
The original text contains use of the word “crazy.”
Mark Links Stuff
– Please support the CrossingsCon IndieGogo to help get a Young Wizards convention started in 2016! If the fundraiser reaches $7,000, I’ll be the Guest of Honor. FOR REAL.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
- Please check out the MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– The 2015 Mark Does Stuff tour is being announced!!! Please check my Tour Dates/Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
The benefits of cleaning out your inbox: I somehow completely missed this spectacular image when it came out a while back, but now that I’ve found it I can share it!
That’s the Crab Nebula, one of the most well-studied and famous objects on all the sky. It the expanding gas cloud left over from a titanic supernova explosion, in this case the death of a very massive star. The light from this explosion reached Earth in 1054, and in the subsequent millennium the debris has reached a size of well over 10 light years.
That’s 100 trillion kilometers, just so’s you know.
This image combines observations from Hubble taken in visible light with far-infrared observations using the Herschel observatory. Supernovae explosions combine huge temperatures with unbelievable pressures, enough that elements in the star undergo what’s called explosive nucleosynthesis: The blast actually fuses them together to make heavier elements. Cosmic alchemy!
Oxygen and sulfur in the debris glow fiercely in visible light. Hubble used three filters to pick those elements out, and those images were combined in the above photo and displayed as blue. Herschel is sensitive to dust: complex carbon-based molecules also created by the shock wave from the explosion. Those observations are colored red here. Where you see pinkish is where the nebula appears bright to both observatories.
I was also interested to see that Herschel had also taken spectra of the nebula, separating the light out into different wavelengths. When you do that you can measure various properties of the object observed, including its chemical composition. They found strong evidence in the spectra pointing at the presence of something truly weird: Argon hydride.
Argon is a noble gas. The atoms of argon are configured in a way that it’s (in general) chemically inert; it won’t combine with other elements like carbon or oxygen do. Seeing it forming molecules is pretty strange. In this case, the argon in the nebula is zapped by fierce ultraviolet light from the central neutron star, the ultra-dense remnant of the core of the star that exploded. This rips electrons off the argon, making it easier for it to combine with other material in the gas.
Not only that, but elements come in different flavors called isotopes. They have the same chemical properties, but have fewer or more neutrons in their nucleus, changing the mass of the atom. This also changes the spectral properties of the light emitted. On Earth, the most common flavor of argon is argon-40, with 18 protons and 22 neutrons in its nucleus (made when radioactive potassium decays).
But the astronomers found argon-36 in the nebula, which only has 18 neutrons. That isotope is more common in space, and is created in the wave of supernova-driven nucleosynthesis. It makes sense they saw it in the Crab, even if it was a surprise it was in a molecular form.
Given that the Crab is big, nearby, bright, and so thoroughly scrutinized that I think it’s pretty cool that it still has a secret or two up its carapace. No matter how familiar we are with something, there is always more to discover.
Smooches. (First seen on Instagram.)
Here’s a sampling of what happens when #askhermore actually hits the red carpet.
I had an absolute BLAST talking with my friend and colleague Anupama Pasricha’s class on Sociocultural Aspects of Dress at St. Kate’s this week – photo evidence here, including my signature wild hand gestures.
In that class we talked about makeup and expectations, and I pointed out that I had on BB cream, concealer, powder, blush, brow pencil, eyeliner, and mascara which constituted what fashion mags call no-makeup makeup. In a new video series, Molly Soda explores the inherent absurdity of dropping tons of money on looking “natural,” and questions the very concept of how we define “natural.”
Laura’s reversible two-plaid scarf looks stylish and cozy.
This post provides food for thought about identity and professional dressing norms. I enjoy changing up what I wear from occasion to occasion and environment to environment, and I think that doing so shifts my emotions and focus in constructive ways. But I can see how – for those who are disinterested in style as an expressive medium or who feel confined by dressing expectations – it could feel very constrictive. (Cheers to Mollie for the link.)
Audrey’s bold outfit shows how bright colors and deep blacks can work beautifully together.
“It’s 2015, and — surprise, surprise — women in the legal profession continue to be judged based on the merits of their outfits instead of the merits of their legal arguments. Over the course of the past five years, women have been lectured on “what not to wear” by bar associations, Biglaw firms, law schools, and even federal judges.”
Jewelry can be extremely powerful, emotional, and sentimental.
Frustrated by recent online slurs against groundbreaking plus-size model Tess Munster (AKA Holliday) by other plus-sized women, Shay asks her readership, “How is it we say we want to see women on the larger side of plus, but when we do, we don’t like it?”
This week’s Sudden Death poll pitted red against blue. Loved the responses!
Carrie Brownstein muses on how your city of residence can affect your style.
Tortoiseshell hair. It’s a thing. Apparently.
In my Star Tribune column, I talked about utilizing colorful handbags, styling midi skirts, and leather vs. pleather for boots.
“I’ve struggled my whole life with the size, shape and weight of my body. The biggest single difference has been adopting Intuitive Eating with my amazing nutritionist over the past year. But after that, it’s sewing. You know when you look in the mirror and think “ugh, I look terrible”? 90% of the time that’s your clothes. They’re too tight, things are bulging, or maybe they’re too loose and boxy. Once you can make clothes to fit, you learn that anyone can look good.” (Thanks, LaPriel)
Artisans from India and Ethopia contributed vibrant designs for these Tarrrik scarves.
Love the detailing on Tiffany’s striped sweater – those intersecting panels make the piece so much more eye-catching.
Jessica has assembled a guide to vendors and styles that carry sizes 4X and larger for Skorch Magazine. The magazine is free, but you have to register to view full articles.
Black, red, and leopard will always be one of my favorite combinations.
“It’s easy to be hesitant when fashion makes such an obvious attempt to be more inclusive. These are images that are intrinsically share-worthy, and when 99% of fashion shows are experienced through photographs and social media, anything to increase clicks is fair game. But the diversity ‘trend’ — it doesn’t have to mean something negative, so we might has well call it that — does seem to have its roots in the right place.”
Lucy dressed to blend in, then began dressing to explore her creativity. Now, she gets called out when her outfits aren’t creative or weird enough to meet the new expectations of her peers and even teachers. FRUSTRATING.
My search for high-waisted, distressed-but-not-ridiculously-so skinny jeans ended with this pair from Gap Factory. And they’re only $30!
I’ve never successfully pulled it off myself, so I’m all the more impressed by Dana’s collared-blouse-under-dress ensemble. She’s totally rocking it.
More masterful layering: Turtleneck, dress, and tartan skirt. Amazing.
An important reminder about compliments.
On the Fox 9 Buzz, I offered cold-weather styling tips for tunics.
And from the Department of Random: Everything in Paper’s Sunday Funnies roundup from last week. Especially the red pandas. But also DJ Arch Junior. And Nicki’s hilarious side-eye. OK, really, all of it.
Finally: I LOVED this video about the Olinguito and how new species are discovered.
**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.
Today is a lovely (if still somewhat chill) day, bright sun, blue sky etc.
I had occasion to go the Post Office (and there was a time, my dearios, that conducting some small transaction requiring a PO did not require careful planning and strategising, sigh).
Which involves crossing two Bloomsbury squares (Tavistock out, Gordon back).
Hounz ov Spring be straining at leash - walkies? walkies?? walkies???
Every Friday, I’m posting installments from my original series of Left Behind posts, starting with Book 1, page 1. By a little over a year from now I’ll have re-posted all of the pieces collected in The Anti-Christ Handbook, Vol. 1 — now available as an eBook at Amazon.com.
Plus here you get the comments, which really are the best part of the whole series. An eBook that offers all the posts but none of the comments is a bit like a John Oates solo record — not bad, but it seems like something’s missing.
Still, the eBook lets you read uninterrupted and offline, without needing to navigate the archives of this blog. (Like most blogs, the archives here are in reverse chronological order, which makes reading a series like this in the proper order a bit tricky. I could fix that problem, making my archives much easier to navigate, by writing and posting here in reverse chronological order, but that’s even trickier to pull off.)
For the free, comment-enriched version of the entire Left Behind series here, you can check out the Left Behind category for the blog archives. Start with the oldest page, with the post at the bottom, working your way to the top. If that process gets bothersome, and you’ve got $3.99 to spare, please consider downloading a copy of The Anti-Christ Handbook.
Anyway, here’s a post from the beginning of Chapter 3 of Left Behind, originally posted March 31, 2004.
Left Behind, pp. 41-43
While we the readers were busy turning the page to the beginning of Chapter 3, Rayford Steele was making a risky and precarious landing on the narrow, smoke-filled runways of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. I’m sure it was terribly exciting, but Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins felt it was best not to let us read about it.
As Chapter 3 begins, they pick up where they left off — with an exciting discussion of airport logistics:
Hattie Durham and what was left of her crew encouraged passengers …
… what was left of the passengers …
… to study the safety cards in their seat pockets. Many feared they would be unable to jump and slide down the chutes, especially with their carry-on luggage. They were instructed to remove their shoes and to jump seatfirst onto the chute. Then crew members would toss down their shoes and bags. …
I know what you’re thinking: Millions of people worldwide have disappeared. Every child and infant on the planet is gone. Death and destruction litter the landscape.
So how will these passengers get their checked baggage?
… They were advised not to wait in the terminal for their checked baggage. That, they were promised, would eventually be delivered to their homes. No guarantees when.
So you see, the situation is serious. Now let’s watch as Buck Williams puts the moves on Hattie:
Buck Williams gave Hattie his card and got her phone number, “just in case I get through to your people before you do.”
“You’re with Global Weekly?” she said. “I had no idea.”
“And you were going to send me to my room for tampering with the phone.”
Even amidst the post-apocalyptic chaos, chicks dig guys who work for newsweeklies. (I’ve read that Joe Klein has to beat ‘em off with a stick.) Buck secures the digits.
Now Buck says his farewells to Harold’s wife. The reader, like Buck, never learns her name:
When he opened the bin to pull down his leather bag, he found the old man’s hat and jacket still perched atop it. Harold’s wife sat staring at Buck, her eyes full, jaw set. “Ma’am,” he said quietly, “would you want these?”
The grieving woman gratefully gathered in the hat and coat, and crushed them against her chest as if she would never let them go. She said something Buck couldn’t hear. He asked her to repeat it. “I can’t jump out of any airplane,” she said.
Even poor Harold’s wife is obsessed with logistics. You might think that some of the people on the plane whose loved ones had vanished would refuse to leave. They might want to stick around to see if they reappeared as inexplicably as they had gone. You might also expect that at least one of them would have gone into shock, or perhaps a crazed parent snapping, tearing the plane apart in a mad frenzy to find their lost child. But no, just like our heroes, they’re mainly concerned with getting from point A to point B.
Buck carefully laid his laptop and case in among his clothes. With his bag zipped, he hurried to the front of the line, eager to show others how easy it was …
Another cool thing about working for a major newsweekly magazine is that you get to cut to the front of the line. Chicks dig that too. It shows them that you know you’re special.
Over the last two pages, Buck has come across as a bit of a pushy, swollen-headed jerk. That’s what makes the next little scene so surprising. What happens next was so unexpected to me that I’m almost inclined to say I liked it:
… he clutched his bag across his chest, took a quick step and threw his feet out in front of him.
A bit enthusiastic, he landed not on his seat but on his shoulders, which threw his feet over the top of his head. He picked up speed and hit the bottom with his weight shifting forward. The buggy-whip centripetal force slammed his stockinged feet to the ground and brought his torso up and over in a somersault that barely missed planting his face on the concrete.
It’s slapstick, but I like slapstick. The scene loses a bit of its comic, Blake Edwardsian kick when Buck ends up slamming the back of his head on the concrete and jumps up, his hair “already matted with blood.” (In general, slapstick should avoid profuse bleeding.* A big lump on the back of his head would’ve been funnier than sticky gore.)
He quickly retrieved his shoes and began jogging toward the terminal …
He may be injured, but he’s still Buck Williams. He’s got places to go.
- – - – - – - – - – - -
* Some exceptions that come to mind are a handful of Monty Python sketches, that SNL bit with Dan Ackroyd as Julia Child, and Itchy and Scratchy. From these examples we can perhaps discern a corollary rule: If you’re going to have blood in your slapstick, make sure you’ve got a lot of blood.
The me of today just assumes that they've made it up, or cherry-picked misunderstood evidence to fit their preconceptions. Or done what they're told (it wasn't so long ago that we heard "this was evidence-based policy. The evidence was that the minister wanted to do this.")
I think that's my biggest political shift over that time.
What has yours been?
Last week’s bitter-cold temperatures presented an awful time for my furnace to start acting funny. It would shut off for no reason only to restart when I fiddled with the thermostat. Then it would shut off again without me realizing it, only for the temperature to plunge to 50 degrees while I plugged away at my laptop. Then, all of a sudden, I would be absolutely freezing. I hated to call for professional help, but I knew there was no way around it.
After having a plumbing and heating company come out, I discovered that one of the major components of my furnace was leaking and tripping up the starter. And I got lucky; since the damaged part was still under warranty, I would only have to pay for the labor to replace it and the service call fee, or around $350.
But on the way out the door, our tech hinted that there was a coupon for a free service call floating around, and that if we could find it, we could save $89 on our total bill.
So I did the only thing I could think to do: I got on our neighborhood Facebook page and asked if anyone on my street had this particular coupon. And within a few hours, one of my generous neighbors put the coupon in her mailbox for me to pick up. In the end, I saved $89 just for asking around, a task that would have been impossible without the help of the Internet. This got me thinking about how we use technology to save money.
A smattering of saving technologies
From budgeting apps to deal websites to neighborhood Facebook pages, there are plenty of ways technology can help us keep our cash. Here are a few:
- The Internet helps us shop around. Gone are the days of calling around or driving from store to store to find the best price. Now all we need is an Internet connection to compare prices and nab the best deal. Sites like Amazon.com and Google shopping take things a step further by letting you compare prices side by side all over the web to see exactly how they stack up.
- Mobile banking saves us time and money. Many banks offer online bill pay and other online tools for free. Some banks let you snap a picture of the check you want to deposit with your phone.
- Budgeting technology keeps us on track. Sites like YouNeedABudget.com offer online budgeting software and tips that can help you learn to live within your means while also setting — and sticking to — your agreed-upon financial goals. Meanwhile, sites like Mint.com and PersonalCapital.com help us track our spending and net worth.
- Mobile and printable coupons offer more for less. My favorite online coupon site is RetailMeNot.com. No matter what you are buying online, it seems like Retail Me Not has the exact coupon you’re looking for. Printable coupons for everything from groceries to household items are also available at sites like Coupons.com and SmartSource.com.
- Deal sites make it easier to try something new. Deal sites like LivingSocial.com and Groupon.com offer up group deals on everything from a haircut and highlights to international travel. I have personally used Groupon to buy everything from Christmas gifts to dental appointments!
In many ways, technology has made life easier — and even cheaper — but in other ways, it has made life more complicated too. Simply put, there are so many more ways to save than there were before. But wait a minute! Aren’t a lot of these technologies also ways to spend — and to do it even more quickly than before?
To really use technology to your advantage, you have to learn to use the Internet to save on things you would buy anyway, not as an excuse to buy more. Sometimes, that’s the most difficult lesson of all — and one you have to learn the hard way.
Readers, do you use technology to save? What are your favorite money-saving apps and websites? Have you ever used technology as an excuse to spend more?
For instance, Senator Inhofe threw a a snowball on the Senate floor to prove that there is no global warming. He chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee.
It really is too early to start drinking.
Come on! Get this guy the hell away from kids. In Southern California, a high school science teacher was arrested this week in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student.
Los Altos Teacher Accused Of Having Affair With 15-Year-Old Student
37-year-old David Park, who taught biology and chemistry at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights, was arrested Monday on a variety of sexual abuse charges. He is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student enrolled in one of his classes. According to sheriff's officials, acts were committed inside the classroom, after class and at his home between September and November of last year.
Read more »
howard, under the influence of the hypnotism, claiming his love is fueled by his guilt—claiming steve is important bc he is the only evidence of the good things howard can create, rather than the bad. howard’s love, here, inherently selfish.
howard, later, wryly noting: steve was good even before howard, wasn’t he? howard, before, staunchly telling peggy that he understands her grief because he feels it too. howard, his love for steve being acknowledged and validated as real by peggy herself. howard’s love, here, inherently true.
I WANT MORE OF HOWARD/PEGGY/STEVE BACKSTORY. Please.
Read the rest of Cory Doctorow's Information Doesn't Want to be Free and enjoyed it a lot, even if it is really rather depressing. Like the school that gave a bunch of its students laptops that were spying on them – which only got found out after they accused one of the students of doing drugs based on the video feed. Wow, world. And I was meant to think Don't Take it Personally, Babe, it Just Ain't Your Story was over the top.
I also saw Cory Doctorow speak last week, which was also rather depressing, and he was just about in tears at the end (he blamed it on the long-haul flight :P). Same themes as the book, but different enough that I didn't feel like I was repeating things.
Also, read the 14th and final volume of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga. Wow, that series only took nearly half my life. I probably should have reread everything first, but, I didn't. I can't remember if it's the same as how the anime ends or not.
I have reread all the trades of A Distant Soil and am tossing up whether I should read the single issues that have been published since. Will it just be frustrating?
It is delightfully iddy. (Or should I say distressingly, in some regards?) So many beautiful people being tortured (in the emotionally cut-up angsty backstory sense and the literal sense) or evil. No-one being both, which is nice.
I can never get over Liara supposedly being 15 though. She feels younger. And I know, kept captive by an institution and in a coma for a year, but I keep getting thrown. Like when she gets upset about being called a little girl (by humans, not the young-looking-but-old aliens). Gosh, nobody would even have called me that for me to get upset about when I was a teenager.
what a little butthole.
I need this.
This is exactly how having ferrets in the house goes.
Look at this little dude problem solve. “I just put my butt in here and then it comes with me.”
This is so accurate that it hurts. Bonus: this little cat snake looks just like my Isaac. <3
I have a friend who is looking for a gift for her daughter (coming of age thing 14 years old etc). She’s wildly into manga and has a ton of books on how to draw it.
However, what her mum wants to give her is a ‘coffee table book’. Something big and glossy that, to quote her: “makes you want to cut out every picture and hang it on the wall” (not that she would - mum’s a librarian…).
So this is where you peeps come in. What’s the most gorgeous book you know of that showcases manga in the most delicious way?
Reading now: Genocide of One, Kazuaki Takano (trans Philip Gabriel). Thriller. A new life form that could wipe out humanity has emerged in the Congo; an American-run team of elite operatives are sent to eradicate it first. One of the team has a terminally ill child, and in Japan a pharmaceutical researcher receives orders from his dead father about synthesising a drug that may cure this disease. I'm 100 pages in, so things are still all drawing together. Author majored in film studies and works as a scriptwriter; the military plotline is a bit filmic, but the Japanese researcher has a bit more depth to it.
Up next: Probably the Star Wars book. Possibly the next Sarah Caudwell, if I work out where I put it, and Moominsummer Madness is still lurking nearby.