("That," in this case, being my messing around with the oven before I had my caffeine. It really was an impressive amount of smoke.)
Note to self: get a battery in there when I come home from work. There is WAY too much smoke in the house to put a battery in that thing now.
Summary: James Barnes leads a busy life as a single working father in New York. But when his childhood best friend Steve Rogers falls back into his life, James will have to re-learn what love, friendship and and family are really all about.
Rating: Teen for slightly mature themes, swearing
Characters: James "Bucky" Barnes, Steve Rogers, kid!Natasha, kid!Clint
Story inspired by this fanart by tumblrer bannannibal.
(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!)
Smoked turkey replaces the more traditional choice of bacon in this rendition of braised collard greens. Nice and garlicky, the greens are spiced up with red chili flakes, with a bite of acidity from cider vinegar and lemon juice. And, since the turkey's pretty lean, we finish it off with some butter to give the pleasantly bitter, tender greens the rich, mouth-coating quality that pork belly typically provides. Get Recipe!
Every month we answer the things people typed into search engines like they are actual questions, adding punctuation but leaving the wording intact. If it sounds like me saying “but you could just not” 20 times in a row, that’s pretty much what happens every month with these. Enjoy?
1. “Ex will not stop calling.”
Tell them ONE TIME in a way you can document (text or email): “Please don’t contact me any more.“
Then do not respond to any communications. No matter what they say, do not answer. Some people have success by getting a new phone number but keeping the old one active for a few months. Give the new number out to people close to you (with instructions not to share it with anyone, and if your friends break that rule, they are not your friends). Put the old SIM card in a friend’s drawer and let your ex fill up your non-existent mailbox with messages that you will never, ever listen to.Tell family and friends what’s going on, and consult law enforcement if you feel like you need to. But do not answer this person’s calls.
2. “How to reject a hug.”
If you can, when they put up their arms and start toward you, put your hand out and shake their hand instead, while taking a giant step backwards.
You could also say “I’m not a hugging person but it’s been nice to meet/see you” if more clarification seems necessary. But you have nothing to apologize for. Hugs need to be invitations, not commands.
3. “What does it mean when a guy says I can’t be you(r?) love(r?) and also can’t be just friends with you.”
I would personally translate this as either someone who doesn’t want to be in a romantic relationship but wants to leave the door open to casual sex, or someone who doesn’t want to be with you romantically but knows that the relationship is too muddy and confusing to be friends at all.
So, “sleep with me, but don’t expect anything but that” or “It’s a bad idea for us to be around each other right now.” In no world does it mean “Everything is great between us, let’s do this thing!”
4. “My ex says he doesn’t care about himself so how could he care about anyone else?”
For once on this beautiful green and blue earth, I wish a person hearing these words from an ex would just say “Okay then!” and back away slowly and not sign up for the 6 more months of angsty sex and staying up all night crying that these words prophesy.
5. “A message of how to tell a guy that you are not interested in a friendly way.”
Please strive for clarity above all things. Please. Everyone. Please. “Thanks, that is very flattering/kind of you, and I think it was really cool of you to put yourself out there like that, but I’m not interested in having that kind of relationship with you.“
No “maybe someday.” No “If things were different.” No “not right now.” Please learn what a clear no sounds like in your own voice. It is seriously one of the best skills you can learn for yourself. In the moment it will suck, but you’ve just saved both of you from this hopeful crush lingering on in your blind spot for years.
6. “I said no and he said ‘it’s fine, I’ll masturbate.'”
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww. I’m guessing that you, the Searcher, were not exactly psyched about this statement. Perhaps it’s because ‘he’ gave you Too Much Information right there. Masturbation is great, healthy, (Learning To Love Yourself is) The Greatest Love of All, etc. Telling someone who just said “no” to you that you are about to masturbate about them (near them?) is oogy.
ETA: Commenters are right, it matters if this is happening inside an ongoing relationship. If people are already sexual partners in a healthy relationship, this is a totally normal and respectful thing to say and do. I was reading this as people who are not sexually involved, one says “nope” and the other outlines their plans for the rest of the day.
7. “What causes a guy to be rude to you?”
His own jerkish whims are what. Take all the time that you would spend figuring this dude out and a) call a friend b) do something fun for yourself or c) go learn to paint or some shit. He can…maybe…have your attention again when he stops being a buttface about it. Maybe.
8. “What does it mean when a guy says ‘something just isn’t right’.”
If it’s a guy you are in a relationship of some kind with, that relationship is about to end, and he’s setting you up for that possibility so it’s not a surprise.
9. “What does it mean when a girl says she doesn’t wanna be in this relationship anymore?”
Delete her number from your phone. It’s over. You have been broken up with. Dumped. It is okay to be sad, but believe it when someone tells you this.
10. “Advice for teens on telling my parents I want to leave the Catholic Church.”
I personally failed spectacularly at this. Or, I told them, but somehow still ended up making a sham confirmation and having to go to weekly Mass until I moved out on my own, because it was clear that pretending was the price at the time.
Standard script is “I’m questioning my faith and I’d like to take some time away to think about everything.” You know what kind of parents you have, though, and I completely understand people who keep their religious doubts close to the vest until they are out of the house on their own.
11. “My husband lets his family disrespect me.”
That is a shitbird, love-killing way to behave, and I am sorry you have to deal with that. Families will do what they will do, but your husband should have your back, either on minimizing time spent with his family, backing you up when they say something rude, or creating (for example) your own holiday traditions where you’re not subjected to them. This is a YOUR HUSBAND problem more than it is a His Family problem. I hope you can work it out.
12. “My teacher crush is married with children.”
Channel that crush into doing excellent schoolwork, never speak of it to your teacher, and let it pass. It will pass! Trust me. It will pass.
13. What it means if a guy says he cant date u because u live too far.”
He doesn’t want to date you. It might be tempting to move next door to him, but, don’t. Believe the sentiment (I don’t want to date you). Try not to focus on the reason.
14. “Son’s girlfriend is enormously fat.”
And if you say one word about it to him or to her, you will be Enormously Awful.
Stop hating other people’s bodies. Stop hating your own. Just be a fucking decent person, ok? Imagine this girlfriend person as a fellow human being whom you like, or want to like, someone you don’t know very well on whom you wish to make a kind and good impression. Like, maybe a new hire where you work. Cool. Now, don’t say anything to or about her that you wouldn’t say to that theoretical person.
15.” My mom disowned me as her daughter.”
I cannot recommend the book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Dr. Karyl McBride enough. I wish you peace and every good thing.
16. “What to say when a person asks ‘why didn’t you invite me to your party?’“
People who ask why they weren’t invited to things are confirming why they don’t get invited to things. If you’re not invited to something, it’s okay to be miffed, hurt, feel left out, etc., but if you want to fix whatever relationship that is, invite the person or people to an event that you arrange rather than asking why or invitation-grubbing after the fact.
“Why didn’t you invite me to your party?” = how to get someone to never invite you to anything ever again.
“Hey, it’s been too long since I’ve seen you! Would you like to have breakfast sometime soon?” = how to let someone know that they are important to you and you want to see them.
If someone asks why they weren’t invited to something, and you want to be as kind as possible to them, change the subject as soon as possible. “Huh, no good answer to that, really. But it’s good to see you now. Read anything good lately?/How’s that hobby that you like?” Save them from themselves, basically.
17. “How do I get my husband to brush his teeth more often?”
Brush your teeth before you anticipate kissing or sexytimes, and say, bluntly, “Hey, brush your teeth, so we can make out.” Or “I want to kiss you, let’s both brush our teeth, though.” Make it about right now. Blunt, direct, in the moment is the way to go here.
It is okay to ask someone to brush their teeth, take a shower, etc. before you put your body on their body. We all have bodies. Bodies are gross sometimes. Sometimes in a long term relationship you have to be like “Baby, I’d love to, but I’m made of farts right now” or “Why do you smell like pancakes…and feet?”
The more matter of fact you are the better.
18. “Best response to a date that said no.”
No to another date?
“Sorry to hear that, but you’re so cool that I had to ask. I wish you well!”
Then back off from contacting them. Stitch your pride back together in private, pat yourself on the back for being brave, and move onto the next thing.
No to…’activities’…on the date?
Go back and look at #6. Don’t be that person. Be graceful and cool and back off from whatever it was you were doing.
19. “I love cheating on my boyfriend.”
Consider giving him the gift of “just fucking break up already” this holiday season!
20. Can men and women be just friends?
Yesterday, a Grand Jury delivered an indictment. But, you say, the news says they decided not to indict. That may be the case regarding the officer, but that decision itself was an indictment of our legal system, and highlighted both its strengths and its failures. The reaction to it was a statement as well — a statement that many people don’t understand the legal system, and that many people do not understand the ways to bring about change.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: I was going to title this post “Guilty, Guilty, Guilty” (in deference to an old Doonesbury comic). It is clear the officer, Darren Wilson, shot Michael Brown. There is no disputing that fact.
However, the law does not view all shootings as equal. This goes back to biblical days — the commandments do not say “Do not kill”, but “Do not murder”, making that fine distinction between killing and murder. We kill every day in war, but do not prosecute the soldiers. We watch TV shows where cops kill clearly bad guys, and that is justified with no penalties. So “guilt”, at least for the killing, is only the first step.
The next step is determining which of the many crimes for which Wilson could be charged would have sufficient evidence to convince a jury to render a unanimous decision that he is guilty. First degree murder is out: you clearly couldn’t show premeditated intent. As this article noted, second-degree murder charges were theoretically possible, but this choice was unlikely if jurors decided that Wilson feared for his life when he killed Brown. If jurors concluded that Wilson was negligent when he shot Brown, they could have gone with a charge of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
Let’s look at that “feared for his life”, and add in the complicating factor. We’re dealing with a police officer here, not a normal civilian. Police officers, by definition of their role, are expected to carry guns and occasionally use deadly force, with justification, as part of their job. As a result, there are strict definitions of the conditions when such force is justified; if those conditions are met, murder charges cannot be substantiated. In this case, it isn’t “white privilege”, but “police officer privilege”. One of those conditions is “fear for your life” (and that is an internal judgement call, something slippery to disprove). The other is to prevent a known felon from escaping.
Now, add to this that a Grand Jury’s function is not to judge guilt, but to decide if there appears to be sufficient evidence to convince a jury to render a guilty verdict (which must be unanimous). In other words, the Grand Jury needed to review all of the evidence provided, and make a determination that it convincingly and unambiguously demonstrated that the officer had no reason to fear for his life, no reason to believe that Brown was a likely felon, and no reason to believe he was trying to escape. From what I’ve read, the evidence wasn’t quite that clear.
This left the Grand Jury with a difficult meta-decision: Do they indict on weak evidence, and risk a Not Guilty version at the trial, or do they not send the case to trial unless it is clear that Guilty would be returned. If you think the reaction to non-indictment was bad, just imagine the reaction to a Not Guilty verdict.
Next, let’s explore the question of whether white privilege was involved. I believe that it was, but its involvement was subtle. A long history of such privilege probably led to a different quality in the evidence based on who gave the evidence (I wanted to say “race”, but that’s incorrect). There was also the impact of the skin color of the people who collected the evidence, and a judgement by the Grand Jury of how the skin color of the eventual jurors might judge the evidence. It was also present in the decision of whether the officer feared for his life — that fear was also the product of prejudice and privilege. This is all subtle, but present.
In the end, an indictment was delivered: an indictment of our criminal justice system. It is a system that ultimately does not judge guilt or innocence, but whether specific crimes can be proven. The standard of proving those crimes is harder if they were committed by a law officer in the performance of their job. It is complicated by the fact that, in the general sense, the legal system works very hard to keep the innocent out of jail, making standards of proof difficult. And yes, it is an indictment of the inherent privilege effects in that system, for subjective belief is involved, and the jurors eventually judge the evidence through the lenses of their biases. This isn’t CSI with purely factual evidence and a purely factual decision.
You’re probably asking, if you’re read this far, if I agree with the decision. That’s hard to answer. Do I feel the shooting was justified? Based on what I heard, no. Do I believe the Grand Jury decision was correct? Having not read all the evidence, I can’t answer whether it would be sufficient to convince a jury unanimously that the shooting was justified, because all jurors do not think as I do. I can believe that the Grand Jury might think the evidence was insufficient. That is the fault of the prosecutor, who had the responsibility to build a convincing case. This prosecutor did no such thing — he dumped the mounds of evidence on the Grand Jury and left it to them to build the case, connect the dots, and decide the charges. That poor performance probably led directly to the Grand Jury decision, which may have been what the prosecutor wanted. Do I believe the system is biased towards the police? Yes, and we’re not helping by giving them former military equipment and creating the mindset of “them against the enemy”, as opposed to protecting the population. There are deep mindsets to change here.
In the beginning of this post, I talked about how to bring about change. I’ll note that looting is never the way to bring about change. Protesting can be, but not violent protests that result in creating biases against the protesters. King and Gandhi had it right — non-violent protest is the way to go, if one must protest. The best way to bring about change is from within, but it is often too slow for many people’s taste. Voting is important, but even more important is doing — getting people educated about the inherent biases and problems in the system, and then getting them to run for office to change the laws and the system to reduce or mitigate that bias.
Here’s the TL;DR summary: The system is broken. Most people don’t understand the system. The system worked, but didn’t give the answer the unwashed masses thought it should deliver. To fix the problem, violence is not the answer — get educated about the problems and work to fix the system from within.
This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. There are currently comments on the Wordpress blog. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.
These are all very first-world problems, but, on top of my not feeling 100% well with vague and intermittent symptoms that don't constitute me sick enough to get off work and existing commitments, aaaaarghsome.
I was not entirely prepossessed by the dermatology clinic at London Teaching Hospital last week, since, although it was no longer in a building large swathes of which were being closed down and echoing around it, it was in a really unwelcoming hole and corner space on the floor over the clap clinic, with the receptionist concealed behind the door, a queue across the doorway to see her, and everything seemed really disorganised. I will, however, concede that I did manage to get seen (by a doc who did not seem to have had prior access to my notes) within 15-20 minutes of arrival.
I am also in a 'financial transactions badly aspected' phase, and while none of this is actually critical and it is not as though I have the bailiffs at the door due to these various instances of inefficiency, it has involved more time than I like listening to hold music and please hang on messages, repetitive phone conversations, and naggy emails.
Would my dearios not have imagined that, two months late and counting, I would have had paid my expenses for being Guest Speaker at Ottawa conference? Ha!
There is new system at work whereby instead of minor sums coming out of petty cash with proferred receipts as necessary, all expense claims have to be put in the same way and signed off by line manager. Our LM is currently away so I got a minor matter of a taxi fare signed off by someone who used to be my LM before the reshuffle, who, it turns out, is not authorised to sign off on that account.
Also I am having Immense Faff with Financial Institution which already has Massive Incompetence Form, in which people give me the wrong information as to why they are calling me, are not giving me pertinent information, and signally failing to transfer my money that they happen to be holding to the place where I would like it.
Added unto which, I am trying to find a pillow that suits my requirements (non-down, fairly flat) and discover that the various purveyors of beds and bedding along Tottenham Court Road have masses of cushions and jolly throw pillows and snazzy pillowcases but are really coy about committing to just plain ol' pillows that you can then put your existing cases on, and seem to have very limited ranges.
In the first part of Pyramids, Teppic ponders how he came to try to be an assassin. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
So, here we are! My seventh Discworld book, and I’m just so pleased that most of this is new and unfamiliar to me. Well, I must admit that I am always happy with Ankh-Morpork as a setting, but that’s barely a part of what happens here. I am just ENDLESSLY amused with how far Pratchett takes an admittedly absurd idea. It’s very much like the school for fools we saw in the last book, or that acceptable thievery present in Ankh-Morpork, and I’M JUST SO INTO IT. Pratchett accepts a reality of the fantasy genre – that the kingdom is littered with assassins for hire – and takes it EXTREMELY FAR. While I feel like Wyrd Sisters was far less of a parody of fantasy, I think most of the Discworld books so far have followed this type of humor.
And I personally love it. It’s no secret that fantasy itself is not often something I read, and I’ve had to be recommended really good fantasy in order to begin to enjoy the genre. (Which is strange to me sometimes because there ARE two things about fantasy that will generally pull me into a story: good systems of magic and DRAGONS. I almost typed “FUCKING DRAGONS,” but worried that would be sending the wrong message. I’m not into dragon smut.) Some of that is a matter of taste, not anything political or social. I’m just not into a lot of what fantasy tends to address. That makes these books a lot of fun for me because they are fantasy while simultaneously able to poke a lot of fun at the tropes and archetypes that are commonly used. (Another good example: I don’t like first-person shooters pretty much ever, but I’m obsessed with the Borderlands series. They’re more cartoonish and hilarious than most others in the genre, and it helps me be able to get into the world.)
Pyramids introduces me to Teppic, an assassin-in-training who is taking his final exam, one that has only two possible conclusions: he passes and is a real assassin, or he dies. Er – he’s inhumed, I should say. That’s intimidating and scary, yes, but it’s also super fucking funny to me because WOULDN’T THAT NEED TO BE HOW THIS WORKS? To be an excellent assassin, you need to be able to blend in, stay a constant secret, kill others as quickly and inconspicuously as possible, and you would need to survive. So doesn’t it make sense that the exam should test that? There’s a beautiful commitment to worldbuilding present in this joke. You’ve got Teppic’s dressing sequence, which actually reminds me of EVERY TIME I HAVE EVER PREPARED FOR AN EXAM. Y’all, I was that annoying kid who brought pens of every color and back up batteries and three different kinds of paper and a perfectly organized binder and detailed notes if they were allowed and is anyone surprised by this. Then there’s, “No assassin ever used the stairs,” which… oh my god, the more I think about this, the more hilarious it becomes. Are all assassins destined to do parkour at all times? Could you imagine grocery shopping with assassins? Or going to Disneyland with an assassin? THEY WOULD REFUSE TO STAND IN LINES and then they’d magically appear at the front of other ones and I take it back, I actually want this. A lot.
Anyway, back on topic.
Fairly solid classroom rumor said that if he inhumed his examiner before the test, that was an automatic pass.
Christ, I’d forgotten about college class rumors. I’D FORGOTTEN THAT THEY EXISTED. Like the rumor that certain professors re-used the tests, but changed certain names and numbers. Or the more seedy rumors about affairs. OR THE TIME MY STUDY GROUP FOR A POLITICAL SCIENCE COURSE BECAME CONVINCED OUR PROFESSOR WAS SOCKPUPPETING IN OUR ONLINE DISCUSSIONS. We never proved that one, but I was a staunch believer. But this specific rumor that Teppic heard probably would have been true, given how intense Mericet is. Mericet is such a fun character because he’s a perfect trope himself: the brutal training master who cares not about affection or small talk, and who we’re convinced believes that everyone ever fails him. He just seems so ready to expect disappointment!
I was surprised, then, that in the midst of this exam, Pratchett found a way to give us flashbacks. We don’t get those often in the Discworld books, but goddamn, it works so well within the story itself. As Pratchett flashes back and forth between Teppic’s horrifying fall and the years leading up to his exam, we get a chance to get to know Teppic and his family. I found this necessary because he is not a character in this fictional universe that we’ve ever met. We need to know details about his life and his origins because we’ve got nothing else from him. Plus, the place he’s from (I’ll get to the thing, I swear) is somewhere we’ve never been before!
So Pratchett takes us back to a kingdom on the Disc, squished between Tsort and Ephebe (I think?), that’s small, selfish, and historically obsessed with pyramids. There are some clear elements of ancient Egyptian cultural present, but Pratchett doesn’t rely on them too much to tell the story, with one exception: Teppic’s father, King Teppicymon XXVII, hates pyramids. HE HATES THEM. They wasted money and resources, and they do nothing for him but make his life and his king duties more difficult. I imagine this is one of the reasons why he’s not nearly as close with his son as he could be. He does try – oh, does he ever try – to send his son off to school respectfully, but it’s clear that he never was the kind of father who was… I don’t know, attentive. Ever.
“…he was left to bring himself up on a trial and error basis, mildly hindered and occasionally enlivened by a succession of tutors.”
How Teppic’s uncle, Vyrt, came to convince him to take up assassination is a mystery to me, but I’d love to find out. Why this specific trade? Why would someone willingly enter an educational facility where 90% of the students die by the time of the final exam? Is Teppic just naturally good at this? He’s good at some things, but not others, so I wonder if there was some other circumstance or motivation that got him to this point. Regardless, this book has my attention. I LIKE THIS, PLEASE GIVE ME MORE.
You’ll notice I haven’t said the name of Teppic’s home country. I just wanted to make you wait until the last paragraph so that I could tell you that I’m well aware of the fact that y’all made me read Discworld just so I could get to Djelibeybi. I’m on to you, fandom. I am on to you.
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