[personal profile] telophase
  • Oh! The arterial spray!
  • You can try to take that Pepsi challenge, but I already did. As [a friend of ours] says, don't start none, won't be none. Except I always win.
  • No blood to spill today? Looks like you got plenty!
  • Let's play Pin the Bullet on the Super Mutant. Fun for the whole family!
  • You don't need that leg...oh ho ho! He flew!
  • Fine! I'll just shoot you in the leg, then! You don't need that knee.
  • Is that a freakin glowing skull? That's not creepy at all. I can't pick it up. Damn.

Jul. 26th, 2016 09:39 am
[personal profile] telophase
OKAY THAT WAS KIND OF CREEPY

Read more... )

Groggy mishmash post

Jul. 26th, 2016 08:00 am
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I woke up before my alarm, in that awkward window of time when it's not really enough before the alarm for it to seem like a good idea to try going back to sleep, thus risking having the alarm go off during a dream or something.

--I really hope some (most) of why Jinksy is so subdued right now is all the heat and humidity, not just the sad betrayal of eardrops. Poor kittenbear. It's breaking our hearts.

--We have so much rain (well, "showers")/drizzle/humidity in the immediate forecast. Ugh. The humidity is what kills me.

--On the TV front, I still haven't decided what to do about watching the rest of Penny Dreadful. I also haven't finished Person of Interest (I'm still ~halfway through season 5), and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I are only one ep. into this season of Killjoys...mainly because every time we have a chance to watch something together I want to watch The Americans. We're now one ep. into season 3. I'm not feeling fannish or wildly in love, but I love lots of things about it and am fascinated.

--I think this is what slipped my mind in my last non-linkspam post: [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose was going over some military/technobabble stuff in Arpeggio of Blue Steel with me, for a volume I have digital files for instead of a hard copy, and I was annoyed about all the flipping back and forth between files...and he said, "Well, you could get a dual-monitor setup." *blinks* I think this had come up on Twitter before (ages ago, when I was also working on a volume from a digital copy--possibly in talking to [dreamwidth.org profile] torachan?), and I use two monitors at Casual Job, and yet...somehow it hadn't really crossed my mind as something I could, practically speaking, do at home. But I probably can. We may look into it once the worst of the "EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING AT ONCE" part of August is over. (Which may mean "in September".)

--Now, of course, something else has slipped my mind. ^^; But it's time to get ready for work anyway. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Daily Happiness

Jul. 26th, 2016 12:58 am
[personal profile] torachan
1. Carla has been wanting to get a tent to try sleeping in the back yard when it's really hot and we got one and it arrived today and I set it up and she seems very happy with it! (That also means I get the bed to myself, which is nice!)

2. I finally got the house vacuumed today and it feels (and looks!) so much nicer. The noise of the vacuum bothers Carla and the cats, and holding the vacuum hose makes my hand/arm hurt (yay RSI), so we've been trying to get by with just sweeping, but it's really not the same.

3. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, which means I'm going in to work late, which means I get to sleep in a bit.

4. I've been having Triscuits and hummus a lot lately and it's so tasty. (And an easy meal for when it's hot and I don't feel like cooking.)

5. Look at this sweet Molly face!

almost missed Monday again!

Jul. 26th, 2016 12:42 am
[personal profile] synecdochic

Every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)

Jul. 25th, 2016 10:45 pm
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 Like most of your online friends, I seem to have been bitten by the Pokémon Go bug. I installed it a few days after it came out and played a bit, but didn't really get interested until sometime next week. There's a pokestop in the cemetery next to my apartment complex (and by "next" I mean "they share an enclosure wall") but I haven't actually been able to go there because it's been over 100 fahrenheit here every day, and I'm just superstitious enough  to not be willing to wander around a cemetery when it's starting to get dark.  Though, while I'm not 100% certain how the pokestop ranges work, I must be in range of the lures because sometimes I'll be sitting here with the app open and have 5-8 pokemon show up at once, or have them appear at 1-2 minute intervals for a while. There are also a lot of residents wandering around, trying to pretend they aren't playing.

I'm currently at level 7 and joined Team Mystic because it's blue and I liked the symbol. Very deep thinking on my part, there.

I really do need to visit the pokestop, though, to get pokebalks, and find a gym that's convenient to me. My church is actually a gym, but way too far away for me to go just for that.
[syndicated profile] erinptah_feed

Posted by Erin Ptah

Short takeaway: The Sea Fairies is not on par with the Oz books. Its sequel Sky Island can hold its own. The Scarecrow of Oz, as the ninth Oz novel and the third with Trot, is a letdown to both series.

***

Both Trot books start very differently from any of Dorothy’s adventures (or Betsy’s trope-xeroxing adventure). In The Sea Fairies, Trot and Cap’n Bill are going sailing near their house when some mermaids (that’s what “sea fairies” means) show up and invite the humans to take a tour of their undersea kingdom.

So the first half of the book is just a random tour. It isn’t even as charming as most of the Oz-related settings. Especially since so much of it is spent on pseudo-scientific explanations of how mermaids work — none of which are actually any more sensible or satisfying than whatever “mystery” they’re trying to explain.

Halfway through the story a Big Bad shows up, but everything about it that might provide some tension gets undercut. He’s an evil sea monster!…who has zero power outside his own lair, to the point that he can’t even lure our heroes there or send agents to kidnap them, he literally sends them an invitation and they swim right in. He keeps humans lost in shipwrecks to use as slaves!…but they’re all unfazed by their state, figuring they were gonna be dead anyway, and this life isn’t so bad. One of the slaves is Cap’n Bill’s own long-lost brother!…who’s been gone for so long that Bill barely remembers him, didn’t feel much grief over his disappearance or much joy at their reunion, and there’s no mention of this maybe being their cue to embark on a brother-rescuing quest.

Finally a Big Good shows up to defeat the Big Bad, and our heroes go home. The end.

It’s notable that we get a lot of Trot’s real-world life and family history.

***

Both books are more tied to real-world concerns than the Oz books get. With Dorothy, we got bits and pieces of her Kansas backstory over the various books; with Betsy, we get nothing at all. With Trot, we get a bunch of family history right off the bat.

I appreciate Cap’n Bill. He’s practical, in a way that Baum’s books don’t often call for — in the next book he knocks together a seat in his workshop, to make a magic umbrella into a viable flying machine for three.

And his contrariness and skepticism (not “this magic thing can’t be real”, but “I don’t trust this magic thing to be safe”)…it never pans out, everything in these books is either Obviously Good or Obviously Bad, but it’s nice to see a different character type.

As for Trot…

…okay, here’s the thing: Trot is mean.

Dorothy in her later appearances can be very definite about what’s proper and what’s not (see: insisting on renaming Bill to Billina), but with the exception of that one bizarre scene in Bunbury, she isn’t rude. Trot regularly tells people to their faces how horrid they are. Look, here’s her first meeting with the Big Bad from Sea Fairies:

“Well,” said he, “do you not find me the most hateful creature you have ever beheld?”

The queen refrained from answering, but Trot said promptly, “We do. Nothing could be more horrider or more disgustin’ than you are, it seems to me.”

“Very good, very good indeed,” declared the monster, lifting his lashes to flash his glowing eyes upon them.

And, sure, that guy’s evil (and seems to be getting off on the insults anyway), but here she is with a completely random innocent octopus:

“Well, are we not friends, then?” asked the Octopus in an airy tone of voice.

“I think not,” said the little girl. “Octopuses are horrid creatures.”

“OctoPI, if you please; octoPI,” said the monster with a laugh.

“I don’t see any pie that pleases me,” replied Trot, beginning to get angry.

“OctoPUS means one of us; two or more are called octoPI,” remarked the creature, as if correcting her speech.

“I suppose a lot of you would be a whole bakery!” she said scornfully. […]

“Let’s go,” said Trot. “I don’t like to ‘sociate with octopuses.”

“OctoPI,” said the creature, again correcting her.

“You’re jus’ as horrid whether you’re puses or pies,” she declared.

(In a joke that will fly right over the heads of any kid not born in the era, it turns out she’s seen the contemporary political cartoons where the big trusts like Standard Oil are represented as octopi.)

I control-F’d back through the Gutenberg texts of the earlier books. Betsy never uses the word “horrid.” Dorothy uses it a few times to refer to the Deadly Desert; Eureka’s behavior on meeting Billina is “horrid of you”; and she uses it twice for Princess Langwidere, prompted by the fact that Langwidere first insults her and her friends, then tries to chop off her head, then locks her in a tower until she agrees to have her head chopped off. Clearly worse than “being an octopus.”

Sometimes that kind of shameless certainty goes to good places. At the end of Sky Island, Trot shuts down the blue country’s system of capitol punishment, and holds to it even when her new regent wants to chop just a few more people in half, come on, not even just the worst one?

But yeah, in general, she distinguishes herself from Dorothy and Betsy by being distinctively unpleasant.

***

Baum’s writing is much-improved with book 2. It kicks off when Button-Bright drops in — he’s definitely grown, he’s speaking in complete sentences now, and knows his own name and everything! — via magic umbrella. Cap’n Bill rigs up that wooden seat, and they go for some flights, only to get stuck for a while on the eponymous Sky Island.

Apparently some kinds of magic work in the non-fairy country of America: Button-Bright’s umbrella took him to a couple of different US cities before they hit the island. He and Trot use it for a morning jaunt down to the village to pick up some sewing supplies, for crying out loud.

The fantasy settings, once we get there, have the sense of fun and creativity that I expect from the Oz books. Sky Island has a pink half and a blue half, each with its own politics, customs, magical weirdnesses, and total commitment to color scheme. I was briefly excited to hear that, in the blue country, the kings are elected — but no, when the people vote, they have to vote for whoever the king told them to. Whoops.

Meanwhile, in the pink country, the ruler is determined by…who has the lightest skin. Holy unfortunate implications, Batman.

Since this island is permanently located in the clouds, we finally get an encounter with Polychrome that doesn’t involve her getting lost on the ground. And this book is officially in the Oz continuity! I wasn’t sure about the relative timing, until Polychrome says cheerfully that she recognizes Button-Bright because they last saw each other in Oz.

Turns out Poly can be an ad-hoc fairy legal scholar. Neat.

By the end of the book, Trot is the new Queen of the pink country, and the Boss of the blue country. But she never considers staying — she likes her home life in California, and she’s been gone for like a week now, so her mom is probably panicking. She leaves both countries in the hands of responsible regents, and little party heads home.

***

The Scarecrow of Oz starts more like a traditional Oz book. Our heroes are sucked into a whirlpool, come out in a cave, and set off to find their way home.

The preface explains that this book is Baum’s response to getting tons of letters imploring him to send Trot and Cap’n Bill to Oz. So, as if he’s just trying to be contrary, he washes them up on the shores of Mo. And has them meet a character who chides them for not having heard of the place.

Continuity! The place still rains lemonade, snows popcorn, and has perfume-scented wind. And you can see the advancement in Baum’s skill, as he doesn’t just run through a list of junk-food-related weirdnesses, but reveals them naturally in response to a weather event happening, or Trot asking something.

They also bump into Button-Bright again. He’s a lot more talky than in his first Oz appearance, but it feels like he’s regressed from Sky Island. He’s back to asking “what’s x?” questions about random things that come up — in Road To Oz, that was most of his vocabulary — and saying rude and cranky things in general.

***

The Ozsolation has gone from “super dramatic” to “totally ineffectual.” Our heroes bumble into Oz exactly the same way so many other outsiders have: by flying over the place and needing to land.

Technically they bumble into Jinxland, which is in an isolated and cut-off bit of Quadling Country. I completely believe the theory that Baum didn’t write it to be part of Oz at all, and only retconned it in after-the-fact.

The writing in general feels like a throwback. None of the sharp wit from the last couple of books. Stock plot about an evil king trying to marry his princess niece off to an also-evil vizier, even though she loves a humble servant, who is conveniently also a prince. Lots of unsubtle punny names. The evil king is named King Krewel, fercryinoutloud.

The drama relies on the throne needing a successor, but nobody in Oz is supposed to die, so Baum has to come up with multiple awkward excuses to get rid of previous kings for good. Oh, and there are a bunch of active witches! With the excuse that they’re so cut-off and so distant from the Emerald City that they can get away with it, even though they’re right in Glinda’s back yard, and her Magic Book means she knows exactly what they’re up to.

We’re in chapter 13 of 24 before the Scarecrow finally shows up.

With a bit of help from deus ex Glinda, they overthrow the evil vizier, undo some wicked witchcraft, and install the princess niece on the throne. The Scarecrow is briefly King of Jinxland before surrendering the throne to the rightful heir after a bit of relevant magic is lifted. Seems to be a talent of his.

***

Meanwhile: Dorothy, Betsy, and Ozma have been watching this whole adventure in the Magic Picture. It’s like their very own privacy-invading reality TV.

Describes Betsy as a “shy little thing” who still isn’t used to the splendor of Oz (in contrast to Dorothy, who’s perfectly at home with it). She didn’t seem all that shy in the last book. Nervous in strange places sometimes, but she strikes up conversations pretty easily, and rode Hank straight into the Nome King’s palace without any self-consciousness. (Retroactive attempt to make them more distinct? I can dig it.)

Anyway: they decide to have Trot and Cap’n Bill stay in Oz forever.

Remember the whole cautious discussion Ozma had about whether it would be too much to extend that same invite to Betsy and Shaggy’s brother, even knowing those two had no place to go? Yeah, that’s no longer a thing. They don’t even check whether Trot and Cap’n Bill want to live here before deciding to make the offer.

There’s also a reference to Dorothy being the one who introduced Ozma to the Hungry Tiger, so, wow, Baum is just forgetting continuity right and left here.

***

It’s such a shambles, you guys.

My impression of Trot from back when I had only read this book was “another generic not-Dorothy,” and no wonder! All her distinctive characterization is limited to the first two books. She’s way more generic in this one.

She’s not noticeably mean. Just a little callous. (When the princess is lamenting that she’ll never be able to marry the humble servant, Trot’s idea of comfort is “Well, never mind; Pon isn’t any great shakes, anyhow, seems to me. There are lots of other people you can love.”)

She suddenly has a “grave and serious little face.” That’s never been a Trot thing! You know what it is? A classic Dorothy thing.

Dorothy assumes Trot will be intimidated by the glamour of the Emerald City. Trot, honored guest of the Queen of the Mermaids, herself the Queen of Sky Island! But sure enough — in this book, she is. Intimidated by Glinda, too. The girl who had no problem insulting a murderous sea monster to its face, and now she literally needs to be handheld through meeting the sorceress.

You’d think she would’ve pulled rank as Queen when she and Cap’n Bill were the ones trying to intimidate King Krewel, but no.

There’s the obligatory scene with the new arrivals having dinner with a bunch of Oz standbys. Trot and Cap’n Bill are astonished by the talking animals. As if they just dropped straight into Oz from America, and hadn’t extensively toured two other realms with talking animals beforehand!

In the other books, these meetings are always the setup for some charming character interactions — like Jim the Cab-Horse’s huffy rivalry with the Sawhorse, or Aunt Em trying to hairy-eyeball the Cowardly Lion into submission. Here, it’s just a boilerplate list of characters, and the authorial announcement that suddenly Trot feels like she’s Friends With Them All.

…and then they decide to stay. On top of all the Oz-related reasons why this is weird, how does it make sense on Trot’s side? She has loving parents! Who are also Cap’n Bill’s dear friends. There’s no struggle over how to handle that, not even a sidenote about them tragically dying offscreen. They’re just…forgotten.

I can’t imagine this being satisfying for all those eager letter-writing Trot fans.

Would’ve been a lot more satisfying as an Oz book, too, if Trot’s interactions with Oz had been informed by her own unique history of fairy-country exploration. Instead, it just becomes yet another rehash of what we got in the last book with Betsy — and this time, it isn’t fresh or witty, just cheap and tired.


Filed under: Erin Watches

Right. So that Pokemon Go community.

Jul. 25th, 2016 10:19 pm
[personal profile] inkstone
I created it: [community profile] pokestop

I'd like to promote it but alas! I ran out of steam. I'll see if I can make a promo banner over the next couple of days but as you can see by my amazing PokeGo icons, graphics aren't my forte. I feel like I was once better at it but you know how it goes. You get rusty and out of practice. And I'm definitely rusty and out of practice!

For now, spread the word, please. :)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Okay, the massive backlog of misc. linkspam has got to go. It really does. Apologies for the extremely minimal pretense of sorting this stuff; the social justice chunk (from a separate but also backlogged list) is up first to make it easy to skip over if you want to go sifting through the truly miscellaneous stuff in search of lighter fare.

first cut: social justice (20 links) )


second cut: science-related stuff (8 links) )


third cut: food-related stuff (9 links) )


fourth cut: everything else (50-odd links) )
[personal profile] sailorptah

Short takeaway: The Sea Fairies is not on par with the Oz books. Its sequel Sky Island can hold its own. The Scarecrow of Oz, as the ninth Oz novel and the third with Trot, is a letdown to both series.

***

Both Trot books start very differently from any of Dorothy's adventures (or Betsy's trope-xeroxing adventure). In The Sea Fairies, Trot and Cap'n Bill are going sailing near their house when some mermaids (that's what "sea fairies" means) show up and invite the humans to take a tour of their undersea kingdom.

So the first half of the book is just a random tour. It isn't even as charming as most of the Oz-related settings. Especially since so much of it is spent on pseudo-scientific explanations of how mermaids work -- none of which are actually any more sensible or satisfying than whatever "mystery" they're trying to explain.

Halfway through the story a Big Bad shows up, but everything about it that might provide some tension gets undercut. He's an evil sea monster!...who has zero power outside his own lair, to the point that he can't even lure our heroes there or send agents to kidnap them, he literally sends them an invitation and they swim right in. He keeps humans lost in shipwrecks to use as slaves!...but they're all unfazed by their state, figuring they were gonna be dead anyway, and this life isn't so bad. One of the slaves is Cap'n Bill's own long-lost brother!...who's been gone for so long that Bill barely remembers him, didn't feel much grief over his disappearance or much joy at their reunion, and there's no mention of this maybe being their cue to embark on a brother-rescuing quest.

Finally a Big Good shows up to defeat the Big Bad, and our heroes go home. The end.

It's notable that we get a lot of Trot's real-world life and family history.

***

Both books are more tied to real-world concerns than the Oz books get. With Dorothy, we got bits and pieces of her Kansas backstory over the various books; with Betsy, we get nothing at all. With Trot, we get a bunch of family history right off the bat.

I appreciate Cap'n Bill. He's practical, in a way that Baum's books don't often call for -- in the next book he knocks together a seat in his workshop, to make a magic umbrella into a viable flying machine for three.

And his contrariness and skepticism (not "this magic thing can't be real", but "I don't trust this magic thing to be safe")...it never pans out, everything in these books is either Obviously Good or Obviously Bad, but it's nice to see a different character type.

As for Trot...

...okay, here's the thing: Trot is mean.

Dorothy in her later appearances can be very definite about what's proper and what's not (see: insisting on renaming Bill to Billina), but with the exception of that one bizarre scene in Bunbury, she isn't rude. Trot regularly tells people to their faces how horrid they are. Look, here's her first meeting with the Big Bad from Sea Fairies:

"Well," said he, "do you not find me the most hateful creature you have ever beheld?"

The queen refrained from answering, but Trot said promptly, "We do. Nothing could be more horrider or more disgustin' than you are, it seems to me."

"Very good, very good indeed," declared the monster, lifting his lashes to flash his glowing eyes upon them.

And, sure, that guy's evil (and seems to be getting off on the insults anyway), but here she is with a completely random innocent octopus:

"Well, are we not friends, then?" asked the Octopus in an airy tone of voice.

"I think not," said the little girl. "Octopuses are horrid creatures."

"OctoPI, if you please; octoPI," said the monster with a laugh.

"I don't see any pie that pleases me," replied Trot, beginning to get angry.

"OctoPUS means one of us; two or more are called octoPI," remarked the creature, as if correcting her speech.

"I suppose a lot of you would be a whole bakery!" she said scornfully. [...]

"Let's go," said Trot. "I don't like to 'sociate with octopuses."

"OctoPI," said the creature, again correcting her.

"You're jus' as horrid whether you're puses or pies," she declared.

(In a joke that will fly right over the heads of any kid not born in the era, it turns out she's seen the contemporary political cartoons where the big trusts like Standard Oil are represented as octopi.)

I control-F'd back through the Gutenberg texts of the earlier books. Betsy never uses the word "horrid." Dorothy uses it a few times to refer to the Deadly Desert; Eureka's behavior on meeting Billina is "horrid of you"; and she uses it twice for Princess Langwidere, prompted by the fact that Langwidere first insults her and her friends, then tries to chop off her head, then locks her in a tower until she agrees to have her head chopped off. Clearly worse than "being an octopus."

Sometimes that kind of shameless certainty goes to good places. At the end of Sky Island, Trot shuts down the blue country's system of capitol punishment, and holds to it even when her new regent wants to chop just a few more people in half, come on, not even just the worst one?

But yeah, in general, she distinguishes herself from Dorothy and Betsy by being distinctively unpleasant.

***

Baum's writing is much-improved with book 2. It kicks off when Button-Bright drops in -- he's definitely grown, he's speaking in complete sentences now, and knows his own name and everything! -- via magic umbrella. Cap'n Bill rigs up that wooden seat, and they go for some flights, only to get stuck for a while on the eponymous Sky Island.

Apparently some kinds of magic work in the non-fairy country of America: Button-Bright's umbrella took him to a couple of different US cities before they hit the island. He and Trot use it for a morning jaunt down to the village to pick up some sewing supplies, for crying out loud.

The fantasy settings, once we get there, have the sense of fun and creativity that I expect from the Oz books. Sky Island has a pink half and a blue half, each with its own politics, customs, magical weirdnesses, and total commitment to color scheme. I was briefly excited to hear that, in the blue country, the kings are elected -- but no, when the people vote, they have to vote for whoever the king told them to. Whoops.

Meanwhile, in the pink country, the ruler is determined by...who has the lightest skin. Holy unfortunate implications, Batman.

Since this island is permanently located in the clouds, we finally get an encounter with Polychrome that doesn't involve her getting lost on the ground. And this book is officially in the Oz continuity! I wasn't sure about the relative timing, until Polychrome says cheerfully that she recognizes Button-Bright because they last saw each other in Oz.

Turns out Poly can be an ad-hoc fairy legal scholar. Neat.

By the end of the book, Trot is the new Queen of the pink country, and the Boss of the blue country. But she never considers staying -- she likes her home life in California, and she's been gone for like a week now, so her mom is probably panicking. She leaves both countries in the hands of responsible regents, and little party heads home.

***

The Scarecrow of Oz starts more like a traditional Oz book. Our heroes are sucked into a whirlpool, come out in a cave, and set off to find their way home.

The preface explains that this book is Baum's response to getting tons of letters imploring him to send Trot and Cap'n Bill to Oz. So, as if he's just trying to be contrary, he washes them up on the shores of Mo. And has them meet a character who chides them for not having heard of the place.

Continuity! The place still rains lemonade, snows popcorn, and has perfume-scented wind. And you can see the advancement in Baum's skill, as he doesn't just run through a list of junk-food-related weirdnesses, but reveals them naturally in response to a weather event happening, or Trot asking something.

They also bump into Button-Bright again. He's a lot more talky than in his first Oz appearance, but it feels like he's regressed from Sky Island. He's back to asking "what's x?" questions about random things that come up -- in Road To Oz, that was most of his vocabulary -- and saying rude and cranky things in general.

***

The Ozsolation has gone from "super dramatic" to "totally ineffectual." Our heroes bumble into Oz exactly the same way so many other outsiders have: by flying over the place and needing to land.

Technically they bumble into Jinxland, which is in an isolated and cut-off bit of Quadling Country. I completely believe the theory that Baum didn't write it to be part of Oz at all, and only retconned it in after-the-fact.

The writing in general feels like a throwback. None of the sharp wit from the last couple of books. Stock plot about an evil king trying to marry his princess niece off to an also-evil vizier, even though she loves a humble servant, who is conveniently also a prince. Lots of unsubtle punny names. The evil king is named King Krewel, fercryinoutloud.

The drama relies on the throne needing a successor, but nobody in Oz is supposed to die, so Baum has to come up with multiple awkward excuses to get rid of previous kings for good. Oh, and there are a bunch of active witches! With the excuse that they're so cut-off and so distant from the Emerald City that they can get away with it, even though they're right in Glinda's back yard, and her Magic Book means she knows exactly what they're up to.

We're in chapter 13 of 24 before the Scarecrow finally shows up.

With a bit of help from deus ex Glinda, they overthrow the evil vizier, undo some wicked witchcraft, and install the princess niece on the throne. The Scarecrow is briefly King of Jinxland before surrendering the throne to the rightful heir after a bit of relevant magic is lifted. Seems to be a talent of his.

***

Meanwhile: Dorothy, Betsy, and Ozma have been watching this whole adventure in the Magic Picture. It's like their very own privacy-invading reality TV.

Describes Betsy as a "shy little thing" who still isn't used to the splendor of Oz (in contrast to Dorothy, who's perfectly at home with it). She didn't seem all that shy in the last book. Nervous in strange places sometimes, but she strikes up conversations pretty easily, and rode Hank straight into the Nome King's palace without any self-consciousness. (Retroactive attempt to make them more distinct? I can dig it.)

Anyway: they decide to have Trot and Cap'n Bill stay in Oz forever.

Remember the whole cautious discussion Ozma had about whether it would be too much to extend that same invite to Betsy and Shaggy's brother, even knowing those two had no place to go? Yeah, that's no longer a thing. They don't even check whether Trot and Cap'n Bill want to live here before deciding to make the offer.

There's also a reference to Dorothy being the one who introduced Ozma to the Hungry Tiger, so, wow, Baum is just forgetting continuity right and left here.

***

It's such a shambles, you guys.

My impression of Trot from back when I had only read this book was "another generic not-Dorothy," and no wonder! All her distinctive characterization is limited to the first two books. She's way more generic in this one.

She's not noticeably mean. Just a little callous. (When the princess is lamenting that she'll never be able to marry the humble servant, Trot's idea of comfort is "Well, never mind; Pon isn't any great shakes, anyhow, seems to me. There are lots of other people you can love.")

She suddenly has a "grave and serious little face." That's never been a Trot thing! You know what it is? A classic Dorothy thing.

Dorothy assumes Trot will be intimidated by the glamour of the Emerald City. Trot, honored guest of the Queen of the Mermaids, herself the Queen of Sky Island! But sure enough -- in this book, she is. Intimidated by Glinda, too. The girl who had no problem insulting a murderous sea monster to its face, and now she literally needs to be handheld through meeting the sorceress.

You'd think she would've pulled rank as Queen when she and Cap'n Bill were the ones trying to intimidate King Krewel, but no.

There's the obligatory scene with the new arrivals having dinner with a bunch of Oz standbys. Trot and Cap'n Bill are astonished by the talking animals. As if they just dropped straight into Oz from America, and hadn't extensively toured two other realms with talking animals beforehand!

In the other books, these meetings are always the setup for some charming character interactions -- like Jim the Cab-Horse's huffy rivalry with the Sawhorse, or Aunt Em trying to hairy-eyeball the Cowardly Lion into submission. Here, it's just a boilerplate list of characters, and the authorial announcement that suddenly Trot feels like she's Friends With Them All.

...and then they decide to stay. On top of all the Oz-related reasons why this is weird, how does it make sense on Trot's side? She has loving parents! Who are also Cap'n Bill's dear friends. There's no struggle over how to handle that, not even a sidenote about them tragically dying offscreen. They're just...forgotten.

I can't imagine this being satisfying for all those eager letter-writing Trot fans.

Would've been a lot more satisfying as an Oz book, too, if Trot's interactions with Oz had been informed by her own unique history of fairy-country exploration. Instead, it just becomes yet another rehash of what we got in the last book with Betsy -- and this time, it isn't fresh or witty, just cheap and tired.

~Sweet, gonna score me a funnel cake

Jul. 25th, 2016 05:36 pm
[personal profile] zarla
I'M BACK again, haha. It'll be nice to finally relax for a few days without having to go anywhere. Well, anywhere major, anyway.

I took SO MANY pictures from the cruise that I haven't scratched the surface on and there's so much to talk about, so I'm thinking I may break that one up into posts by day, so I can just do a post for each individual day and a writeup for that and go through it that way. Then they won't be huge posts and I can cram in the million pictures I took without getting too ridiculous about it, haha. In the meantime, I didn't take too many shots for comicon so I can get that done quickly, hopefully.

Anyway, it was a cool time! I drove down there in the Leaf and it was very managable, I stopped a few times to charge but I really probably could have pushed even further than I did on the way down, but I felt better playing it safe. On the way back up there were two close shaves, where I ended up with around 12% or 15% before finding a station, which was tense but honestly could've been worse, haha. I still made it though! It's interesting, when I stopped at one charging station this dude there who also had a Leaf struck up a conversation about it, electric car owners just really want to chat with other people, haha. He said the new Leafs are going to have a 200 mile range which would be sweet, if true. It was INSANELY hot on Friday though like, whenever I got out of the car it was like AUAGHHHH

A few pics, but not too many )
[personal profile] starlady
As previously stated, I love Sarah Monette's posts on the Wimsey books—they're what got me to read these novels—but occasionally as a historian I have to shake my head in despair over English majors, and Murder Must Advertise is one of those times. Monette is very right to point out the elements of class conflict as symbolized by the lethal iron staircase and the ambiguous anarchy of the company cricket match, but there's a whole other level on which this novel is working: namely, a critique of capitalism.

Capitalism and the tarot )

And I haven't even gotten to the cricket match yet. It is, in other words, an entirely brilliant and deceptively straightforward book.
[personal profile] telophase
He displays 5 Funko Pop figurines in his office. They are:
  • Black Widow
  • Brienne of Tarth
  • Captain Phasma
  • Jillian Holtzmann
  • Jack Burton

Idle Thoughts part 2

Jul. 25th, 2016 01:47 pm
[personal profile] inkstone
Related to this post:

If there was a Pokemon Go community here on Dreamwidth, would you be interested in joining it?

Yes, I'm considering starting one. I figure that with Verizon buying Yahoo, I should become the change I want to see and try to encourage more activity here on Dreamwidth since as far as I'm concerned, there's no point to investing in Tumblr anymore.

Jul. 25th, 2016 11:39 am
[personal profile] telophase
David Attenborough narrating Pokemon Go. (existing narration spliced into Pokemon Go footage. XD)

In other news I got my work computer replaced today and (a) holy shit the new one has big monitors and (b) I'll be spending some time getting everything back to the way I wanted it.

Idle Thoughts

Jul. 25th, 2016 10:34 am
[personal profile] inkstone
Is there a Pokémon Go community on Dreamwidth?

Jul. 25th, 2016 08:40 am
[personal profile] the_rck
Naturally, given that I had to be up at 7:00 this morning, Scott’s phone went off three times during the night. We couldn’t figure out why or how to stop it from doing it again. It went off at midnight, at 12:40 and at 4:15 (Scott had to be up at 5:00). Each occasion lasted only about three minutes, but it was loud.

I managed to deal with two old emails/PMs/comments last night. Both were months old, and both were things that I’d been getting really anxious about every time I thought about answering. Not because answering was unpleasant or anything but because I felt like I was horribly, horribly late in answering and so quite rude. I’ve got two things from April left to answer and one from May and two from June. There are also three things from July, two to be answered and one to prompt me to take care of something that I need to get done. Maybe I can do two more tomorrow?

Scott and I went out yesterday afternoon to pick up some stuff at Kroger and to drop off our library stuff at the Traverwood branch. I hacked several portals on the way home because we took a back road. My returns haven’t, for the most part, been checked in yet which always makes me a bit tense because I remember the time when they shelved all of those things without checking them in and then never found the last one. Traverwood usually checks things in pretty rapidly but not this time. Ah, well. The library opens at 9:00, so I’ll wait and see.

We got milkshakes from the McDonald’s next to the Kroger. Scott thought about Orange Leaf, but we agreed that Cordelia would be upset if we let that slip. I suggested getting frosties, including one for her, but Scott pointed out that that would change our route home and mean I could only hack two portals instead of six.

I need 200000 more points to advance to level eight in Ingress. That means I’m actually kind of hoping for people from the other side to come by and take out the local portals. As long as they do it at a time when I can get to them without half killing myself.

I have a dentist appointment today. My current plan is to take the bus there. I’m still up in the air about how to get home. The #23 won’t get me within walking distance of home until the route detour ends this fall, and I’m not sure about walking from the dentist to where I can catch the #22. I think I can get from there to the part of State St that has restaurants. My appointment is at 11:00, so i’ll be getting there around 12:30.

Stopping for lunch might make sense and would cost less than a cab from the dentist to home (only just, though). If I go to Totoro and get my usual, that will cost (including tip) about $11. Assuming they haven’t raised the prices. Espresso Royale would be less expensive than Totoro but would mean just having a muffin as opposed to, you know, real food.

I know that, after a rest, I can get the rest of the way to the #22 from there. I’m just not sure— Should I walk the extra three blocks and go to the library on the way to the bus station or just catch the #22 at Division? I won’t know if I can make it to the library until I’m nearly there. The bag is currently empty, so carrying it wouldn’t be that big a deal. It would even give me a place for my water bottle for most of the trip.

I did no writing at all during the weekend. When I had time, I was either too tired or found other things to work on instead. I think I’m going to see if I can find a spiral notebook to take with me to my appointment. The dentist’s office doesn’t have wifi, so I can’t easily write on Google docs (there’s an option for working on a given document offline if I set it up while I have wifi, but getting that offline document to upload the new stuff once I have wifi again is challenging).

Scott’s been looking at Ingress maps for the area where we’ll be staying in Chicago. The hotel is in a heavily green area, but there’s more dispute further into the city. Scott’s complaining about the fact that we’ll have to go completely around Chicago to get to and from the hotel, but I really do think that’s better than the other options.

I talked to my mother last night to tell her we’ll be stopping by for lunch next Sunday. I had to repeat the timing about three times. I hope that’s a sign that she was distracted rather than a sign of anything else (I caught her at the end of a day spent trying to install a shower in a bathroom with a slanted ceiling, so distraction seems likely, but she’s seventy).

Cordelia decided that she wanted to skip Brave in order to go to Captain America: Winter Soldier in her alphabetical trip through our movie collection. She skipped several other things that she’s never seen before but knows with absolute certainty are terrible. She just knows.

Scott enjoyed the Star Trek movie quite a lot. It provoked a lot of thought for him about how we, as a nation, define ourselves and what that means for how we deal with the world. I guess this is another movie that he’ll buy and that I will then see well before we could get it from the library or Netflix.

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