What does it feel like living abroad in unpresidented times?

I can only speak for myself, but I feel alone. People here are freaking out about Brexit. Someone who I want to be friends with said that Trump is 4 years, 8 years max (it sounds like a prison sentence: 8 years, 4 with good behavior), but Brexit is forever. Maybe so, but I don’t think the amount of damage they can do is comparable. How many people will die because of Brexit? I can’t find any data, other than Jo Cox. He Who Must Not Be Named will kill more than 43,000 a year just from repealing the ACA. This does not count dead soldiers in the needless wars he will start, dead civilians from the terrorist attacks that will occur because he emboldens ISIS and domestic terrorists and will not read intelligence briefings.

I also feel helpless. What can I do from here? All the “action items” or whatever I’m hearing about are to call a senator or march. Yeah, I can calculate the time difference and pay way too much for a long distance call in the hopes that I won’t be on hold for too long and will actually get through. So I spend my time writing emails that will never be opened or using “contact me!” forms that limit me to 1000 characters fewer than I need. If you have any answers, let me know.

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Buffy update and a question

I’ve gotten a surprising amount of hits and comments on my I don’t like Buffy post, and I feel like it deserves an update.

I still don’t like Buffy, but I do appreciate the people debating it reasonably with me and trying to open my mind. I admit, some of my judgment may be unfair (it’s not fair to say I don’t like it because it’s not feminist enough). But some of it is just taste. And to those people, I want to share this:

My husband loves Buffy, and we had a baby girl about 2 years ago. My husband works all the time (often late into the night), a lot of the time from home on his computer. And he’ll usually have a favorite show on in the background. Like Buffy, Star Trek, or Friends. Because he works late into the night, he took a lot of middle of the night feedings when she was a newborn.

On one such night, he was watching Friends and feeding her, and he just felt icky watching this show that he felt objectified women. And he just became so much more aware of sexism and objectification that now he doesn’t like Friends anymore. So he decided to watch Buffy with her, because he thought Buffy (and presumably Willow, Tara, and Anya) would be better role models and the show would have more egalitarian themes and focus more on women’s strength and intelligence. Even though I have my own issues with Buffy, I was touched by this.

But here is my question: Do you think any of the images in Buffy are inherently frightening? This is not to pick on Buffy generally, I mean any frightening image generally. In particular though, I am thinking of the Gentlemen.

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Babies like looking at faces and can recognize faces. Do you think a baby would recognize it as a frightening face, or is it learned that they are scary?

I am not such a prude or whatever that I told him no, don’t watch Buffy with her. I did suggest that he be careful with the monsters that looked like scary human faces.

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Kushiel’s Mercy readalong: weeks 6 and 7

Ok, so I had to stop reading after week 5. I realized why this book isn’t my favorite of the series despite having 200 pages or so that I love more than any other portion. It’s because Sidonie and Imriel return to the City of Elua and learned that they all voted for Donald Trump. And I just can’t. Most of the time, when I do a reread, I stop after Astegal is dies. I don’t need Frodo et al. returning to the Shire and overthrowing Saruman. I can stop when real evil is defeated.

Nonetheless, here we go (sorry my heart’s just not in it anymore):

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Kushiel’s Mercy readalong: week 5

Chapters 50-62. Questions by Lynn.

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The Sex Lives of Eunuchs

The Closet Professor

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Throughout history, there has existed basically three types of eunuchs: those where were castrated before puberty, those who were castrated after puberty, and those who had their penis and testicles removed during the castration. Those in the first group, who castrated during puberty, never developed mature sexual organs because they did not go through puberty. With the lack of mature male hormones, i.e. testosterone, their voices never changed, they had more feminine features, often gained weight very easily and lacked muscle tone, and they were totally impotent. 6a00e55370249988330120a7c50f2c970b-400wi The second group, those who were castrated after puberty, went through puberty and though many took on feminine traits, it was easier for them to gain muscle mass, and they had the ability to get an erection. However, because of the lack of testicles, they could not produce sperm and therefore could not reproduce. They did however, have the ability to ejaculate, though…

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Kushiel’s Mercy readalong: week 4

Chapters 23-35. Questions by me.

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Kushiel’s Mercy readalong: week 3

Chapters 23-35. Questions by me.

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Kushiel’s Mercy: week 2

Time for week 2, chapters 11-22. Questions by Allie.

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Kushiel’s Mercy: week 1

Last book you guys!!! (Well, I don’t know if you guys are planning on reading the other series..) Anyway, yay! Here we go. Chapters 1-10. Questions by Susan.

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I was a wizard for a day

Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that Pottermore was hiring freelance writers. Of course, myself and millions of fans across the world knew we were perfect for this job and flocked to the website to give our CVs and writing samples. But I didn’t want to rush it. I knew this would be my one chance to get my Hogwarts letter, so my application had to be perfect.

I spent the day thinking of creative pitches: the Death Eaters we’ve seen have corrupted the values of their Hogwarts house. For example, it took daring and nerve–traits of Gryffindor–for Peter Pettigrew to go to Voldemort. Or how Draco let his ambition make him jealous and drove him to defeat Harry rather than better himself. How has loyalty, a trait of Hufflepuff, corrupted students? We can be loyal to the wrong people or the wrong things. Perhaps it was a family member of Hepzibah Smith who headed down a dark path to protect a family secret. I also wanted to explore the reciprocal relationship between magic and a subculture. Take Anthony Goldstein. How did being a wizard affect his practice of Judaism? Did he enchant his dreidel to land on gimel when he played with muggle friends? How did being Jewish affect his practice of magic? Does his family have a golem like how other have house elves?

I reworked my writing samples. I had written an essay on how Harry Potter had been used by American courts. Originally, it had been written for a legal audience, so I over-explained Harry Potter references and was light on the law. I had to rewrite it to ease up on the Harry and explain the law better.

I was determined. I was going to get my owl. Of course I thought there was no way I would be picked from the plethora of fans that were sending in their own creativity. But I had to try. I was willing to face rejection from Rowling for the chance of this glory.

Then today, I see on the website where I went to submit my package, nope, it was just one of Rowling’s little jokes. Like when she said lawyers have nothing good to offer the world the day after I took my bar exam. The position (advertised to remain open until September 15) was no longer available. I am Fred or George Weasley, sporting my beard of shame and not even able to enter my name to be considered to compete. But for one glorious day, I was filled with hope and creativity.

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