alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-20 12:30 am
Entry tags:

Fanfic: Naga's Story

Title: Naga's Story, Ch 1 of 2
Characters: Naga, Amelia, Prince Phil, Christopher, Alfred, Randy, Eldoran
Ratings/Warnings: Blood and guts and gore
Plot: Growing up in the Seyruun Royal Court is bound to warp anyone's character.

FFN
AO3
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-16 05:40 pm

Live Theater Review: Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Casa Manana in Fort Worth had a production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I went to see it with my parents and kids for my mom's birthday. I've never seen a live production of it before, though I've seen the tv movie with Donnie Osmond, and Brent went through a period where he was watching it daily.

Joseph is one of those musicals where when I first saw the movie I wasn't sure what I thought of it, but after hearing the music on my Pandora Broadway station and watching it a ton of times with Brent I've comes to enjoy and embrace it's quirkiness. And the Casa Manana production was extremely good and enjoyable, even the children's chorus was very nice and it wasn't annoying.

The actors were very engaging with the audience, and Casa Manana is set up with a lot of aisles that they come down and dance in. We were right at the front of the stage and twice an actor sat next to Brent or Gwen and started talking to them (and where met with stone face silence). All of the singing was great, it was well choreographed, and the set designs were fun. I also liked how during the encore they did a remix and let everyone do a section of their big song. It was a very well done production and I have no complaints or nitpicks.

Brent really liked it. He has the live theater passion. Gwen enjoyed it, but wasn't able to contain her excitement, so my dad had to take her to the lobby for parts of it. I think in another year she'll handle it better.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-10 09:28 pm
Entry tags:

Fanfic Update, What Comes Next?

I had some major tunnel vision with The Storm. I wanted it done, and I was not going to focus on anything else until it was. So what's up next?

Read more... )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-09 08:24 pm

Book Review: The Mass Psychology of Fascism

The Mass Psychology of FascismThe Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Written in Germany in 1933 after Hitler’s rise to power, this book is still very relevant today, so much so that many passages could easily describe our current political climate in the US. That said, this book was written in 1933 Germany for people living in 1933 Germany, and there were many passages where I did not feel as though I had the historical background to fully understand Dr. Reich’s ideas. The translation I had was completed in 1970, yet only had a few footnotes. This book could really use a reader’s guide for the modern reader.

This book alternated between being fascinating and difficult to get through, for the reasons listed above. Dr. Reich attempts to explain a question that liberals are still struggling with: why do working class people vote against their interests? He posits some interesting ideas, and ideas that I believe warrant further testing. He argues that authoritarian governments rise and model structures in authoritarian families. He also argues that a lot of this control is done through the suppression of the sex drive, which causes people to act irrationally because of the shame that they feel.

While it could be easy to dismiss the focus on sex as psychoanalytic drivel, Dr. Reich makes a lot of good points, though I will admit, some of these ideas need to go through rigorous testing and some of his claims, such as all pre-historic societies were matriachical, do not withstand the test of time. At the same time, given the effort that the right has put to inhibiting access to affordable birth control and to LGBT rights, one does have to wonder why such private, bedroom affairs matter so much to people on the right that they want the power to legislate what goes on behind closed doors with consenting adults. Dr. Reich’s chapter on The Sex-Economic Presuppositions of the Authoritarian Family sounded so relevant to our modern struggles that it was jarring to consider that this was written nearly 80 years ago!

Quotes: “The wife must not figure as a sexual being, but solely as a child-bearer. Essentially, the idealization and deification of motherhood, which are so flagrantly at variance with the brutality with which the mothers of the toiling masses are actually treated, serve as a means of preventing women from gaining a sexual consciousness, of preventing the imposed sexual repression from breaking through and of preventing sexual anxiety and sexual guilt feelings from losing their hold.”

“The ideology extolling the ‘blessings of large families’ is necessary for the preservation of the authoritarian family” (I could just see the Duggars here).

Interestingly, even then there was the contradiction between women being in support of having birth control yet voting for politicians who would restrict their access to it, and Dr. Reich argues that this is due to fear of responsibility. And fear of responsibility is the reason Dr. Reich argues that the Soviet Union failed.

Dr. Reich calls out other socialists who assume that the people will wake up one day and demand a socialist government, and talks about how people must first shake their authoritarian upbringing and sexual shame. Given I have noticed that authoritarian families tend to be conservative (there are exceptions), while authoritative families tend to be liberal, I do think it would be interesting to see if anyone has done a survey of parenting styles and political affiliation. But regardless, I believe Dr. Reich is right in his argument that people who vote for fascist leaders are not acting rationally, they are acting emotionally, and will not be swayed by rational arguments. Basically, I wish a lot of well-meaning Bernie supporters had read this.

This is a challenging read, and I do hope some historical society out there decides to release a new addition with footnotes and a readers guide for the modern reader. I also think for any psychology or sociology grad students there is a wealth of potential research material here to mine. Recommended.




View all my reviews
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-09 03:58 pm
Entry tags:

Fanfic: The Storm, Epilogue

Title: The Storm, Epilogue
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Luna
Warnings/Ratings: Themes of death
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait. COMPLETE!

FFN
AO3

The short version is that they all get eaten by a giant slug. Really!
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-04 09:34 pm
Entry tags:

Fanfic: The Storm, Ch 16

Title: The Storm, Ch 16 of 17, Passing the Torch
Pairings/Characters: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Xellos, Shabranigdu
Ratings/Warnings: Themes of death, violence
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait.

FFN
AO3

Whew, just the Epilogue left, and there’s a lot to wrap up there! Hoping to get it out to towards the end of the week. I’m glad to be seeing the end of this one.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-02 09:20 pm
Entry tags:

Fanfic: The Storm, Ch 15

Title: The Storm, Ch 15 of 17, The Path Forward
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Rubia, Shabranigdu, Xellos
Ratings/Warnings: Violence
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait.

FFN
AO3
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-02 01:47 pm

Apocalypse Panic...Again

Saw a meme on Facebook where someone seriously talked about the eclipse and Hurricane Harvey happening so soon after meant that the world was going to end because of some Bible quote. I groaned, because I knew it was only a matter of time before my MIL saw it and got all up in arms and starts spamming me with doomsday emails and to repent. I grew up in the Bible Belt and graduated class of 2000, and knew a lot of people who seriously believed that the world would end in 2000...or 2007. Both came and went. Still, when I met my husband and his family, the Catholic twist on the world ending was even stranger, especially with his mother.

When I first met Andy he talked about the end times often, and about how his mother, who he believes has prophetic dreams, had a dream that the world will end soon and in a February, so every March I think, "not this year." Considering I am a skeptic and know good and well that Jesus was an Apocalyptic Jew and that he and his followers believed that the world would end within their life times, and yet here we are 2000 years later and it's still here, I'm pretty open about how I don't think it holds much water. And after 15 years of MIL going through apocalypse panic only for it to never happen, I'm not sure if Andy genuinely lost his interest in it or if it's just embarrassing being wrong so many times that he doesn't talk about it anymore.

And then it hit me that the world can't end...because every time something threatens it Buffy and the Scoobies kick into action and stop it!
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-09-01 04:57 pm

Harvey and the Great Gas Panic

The culverts in my parent's neighborhood worked like they should, and their house stayed dry. A lot of people in their city were not so lucky. And right now they are without water (ironically), but between Home Depot and the National Guard, that have five cases of water. Next worry is they may run out of food as all of the roads in and out of their city are flooded, but for now they are good. If anything, this shows the need for good urban planning and building codes IMO. Two of the other houses they had nearly bought are now under water and they are glad they held out for a house out of the flood plan and with a drainage system built into the neighborhood design. This was not full proof, as a different block flooded when a tree fell over and blocked one of the culverts, so luck was also a factor. But that neighborhood weathered the flooding better than the rest of the city.

In more local news, the other night I went to the grocery store and noticed a ton of cars at the gas station. I shook my head wondering what it was all about, and the next day when I dropped Brent off at Easter Seals one of the other parents was talking about their being a run on gas because of the hurricane and that it was getting as high as $10 a gallon at some places. I was at a half tank, and a full tank lasts me a week, so I figured it we didn't go anywhere over the weekend we could stretch it into the following week and stayed away. Honestly if it's going to go up, it's going to go up, and topping off before it skyrockets doesn't make much sense to me because it won't last. But throughout yesterday I saw long lines that went into the street for gas. Now I'm glad I stayed away because they're referring to it as the Great Gas Panic and that people panicking and running for gas created the situation, not the Hurricane. I hear some local gas stations are out of gas now. So we're kicking it close to home for awhile.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-28 06:27 pm

Life and Healthcare Rant

Poor Mr. Brent woke up with a stomach bug today. He seemed to be getting his energy and appetite back when I left, but this morning he was lethargic, in pain, and throwing up everywhere. So I had a fun morning:-/

My parents live along the Gulf, though they are north of Hurricane Harvey. Even then, their street is flooded and neighbors who have lived there for forty years have said they have never seen that street flood. Their house was built to divert the rain and thus far it's doing that well, though when they release the dams they are worried that will change.
Read more... )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-25 04:38 pm

A Therapist Weighs in on Whedon's Fall

I was not surprised to hear about how Kai Cole, Joss Whedon's ex-wife, came forward with the news that he had cheated on her during their 16 year marriage. Not because I thought that Whedon was a fake feminist, but because while one of the most hated sins, infidelity is one of the most common. Estimates vary greatly, especially because I think different people think of different things as infidelity (is watching porn cheating? Is talking to someone of the opposite sex?), but between 30-80 percent of men and 20 to 60 percent of women have extramarital affairs, and the number of women who engage in affairs has been climbing. And considering how often I see people for infidelity (however they define it), it does not surprise me when news that an affair has torn apart some couple comes out.

Read more... )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-24 10:34 am

Fanfic: The Storm, Ch 14

Title: The Storm, Ch 14 of 16...or 17, To the Death
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Rubia, Xellos
Ratings/Warnings: Blood and guts and gore and potentially major character death
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait.

FFN
AO3

Lina v Xellos. Guess that means I'm finally trying to wrap this up.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-22 06:43 pm

TV Review: Atypical Episode 2

I think this episode bothered me more than the first one. The big thing was the scene where Sam decides to collect data on how to win a girlfriend over and goes up and asks a group of popular kids how to do this. I won't say all, but most autistic people I know wouldn't do this. In fact, by the time high school comes around, most autistic people are doing everything they can to not be noticed so they won't get teased and bullied, which likely means staring at the floor and walking as fast as possible to the next class when they see a group of popular kids to avoid them. And when I talk to autistic people, they voice the same fears that I have about being noticed and go to the same lengths I do to avoid being noticed. In high school I left the popular kids alone and hoped they would leave me alone. I just can't fathom an autistic person setting themselves up for humiliation like that.
Read more... )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-20 10:00 am
Entry tags:

Fanfic: The Storm, Ch 13

Title: The Storm, Ch 13 of 16, Acts of Love
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Xellos
Ratings/Warnings: Blood and guts and death
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait.

FFN
AO3

And sometimes, after the arduous ordeal of a chapter that won’t come together, you have one that writes itself. Enjoy.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-19 11:17 pm

Fighting Nazis

I put on my "Nasty Woman" shirt and hiking boots and went to the Dallas Against White Supremacy protest today. I made a signed that said, "How Long Until America's Promise of Equality Includes All People And Not Just Rich White Men?" I suck at sign making, and I'm too tired to upload pics, so pretend it looked really cool. This was a different experience than the Rally for Women's Rights. For one thing it was in Dallas, not Fort Worth, and I'm more comfortable with Fort Worth even though I worked in downtown Dallas 10 years ago. Still, I didn't want to deal with parking so I took the train down. When I got on the train a white man asked to see my sign. I wasn't sure if he was anti-racist or wanting to stir something up but I showed it to him. As I was another white man wearing an Obama shirt came on the train also going to the protest. Sure enough, the first white man started saying inflammatory things. I sat down and put my nose in a book, while Obama shirt kept saying that this was a peaceful, non violent movement. On the next station a group of black women got on the train, and a different person started telling everyone to be quiet and peaceful. I'm not sure if he was there to monitor the trains for such activities or just wanted to break things up, but it worked. Rest of the trip was peaceful.

Got off the train, started walking to the protest at city hall. There was a racist protest also going on by the confederate statues. During the Rally for Women's Rights, once I started seeing people with signs I felt relief and knew I was at the right place. Here? I started seeing a bunch of white people, and I wasn't sure if they were there to demonstrate for white supremacy or if they were there to demonstrate for equality! And with my Nasty Woman shirt and sign, it felt like a target. And I started getting hella nervous. But then it struck me that this must be what POC color through every day.

At first I came to the area where the confederate statues were. Well, there was one person with a swastika and another with a stupid "Make America Great Hat" and they were surrounded by people telling them that what they were doing was hateful. I started seeing people with the right kinds of signs, Make Love Not War, etc, and followed them to where the rally was.

Police presence was also strong here, and they were armed. Helicopters were circling. And I spotted a sniper on the roof of city hall. Did not have this at the Rally for Women's Rights.

Once again, I prefer marches to rallies. There's something powerful about marching with people, rallies you just walk around aimlessly and look at people's signs. Still, I wish turn out had been greater. And I couldn't even hear a damn word of what the speakers were saying. Though there was an effigy of the Racist in Chief, and I flipped him the bird, which was so cathartic. Still, I can't stay silent and let fascism grip this country. Like I said, racism is nothing new, but the fact that we are debating whether or not Nazi are evil just confounds me to no end! So I'm glad I went. I hope all this makes a difference.
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-17 05:05 pm

Fanfic: The Storm, Ch 12

Title: The Storm, Ch 12, What We're Fighting For
Characters/Pairings: Lina/Gourry, Zelgadis, Sylphiel, Rubia
Ratings/Warnings: Me and my morbidness
Plot: Lina feels compelled to join the fight against Shabranigdu again when her children befriend a girl who she believes is the reincarnation of the daughter she lost. Sequel to Beneath the Portrait.

FFN
AO3

This chapter. This damn chapter. I nearly gave up writing fanfiction because I never thought I would get this damn chapter written. Usually I write a first draft and it’s crap, and then it goes through a refining process during the second draft, and sometimes I can post then, other times I need a third draft. For this damn chapter? I lost track of the re-writes. Scenes just never gelled together, I constantly had to tear apart everything I’d written as terrible and unsalvageable, I realized I kept needing to add scenes, I realized I kept needing to delete scenes, and still it just never worked.

Until it did. It finally started to work. And I finally know how this is going to end. I have persevered!
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-16 10:06 pm

TV Review: Atypical: Episode 1: Antarctica

Andy and I were curious about the new Netflicks series, Atypical, a coming of age story about an autistic 18 year old named Sam. Like the family, I'm autistic, and apparently it's implied that the mother on the show is also autistic, and Sam has a younger neurotypical sister named Casey, which is basically our two children, only our children are 6 and under. Below are some thoughts.

Read more... )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-15 04:53 pm

Comment on the Sorry State of the World, and a Lot About Homeschooling

Sadly, racism is nothing new in this country, yet the openness with which it was on display over the weekend and that fact that people are openly embracing and calling themselves fucking Nazis just saddens me to no end. I mean I thought everyone could agree that fucking Nazis are evil, but I guess not. I am even more appalled by the number of people on Facebook who are either silent about what happened or are buying into the two sides BS or defending attacking people, breaking into people's homes and mowing people down via car as free speech. In short, with the exception of one person, the only people I saw denouncing the White Supremacists were the people who were already speaking out against the rise in hate and the Trump administration. From my vantage point, Charlottesville has not been the new low that has jolted people out of complacency

Given that we do live in a rather diverse, multi-cultural area and given that my kids are so young this has largely not touched them. At Easter Seals, for example, there is one white kid, two Hispanic children, one black child, and Brent is biracial Asian/Caucasian. His coaches there are a similarly diverse group. But I worry about as they grow older.

In happier news, I am feeling better about being able to homeschool Brent. I was worried that he wouldn't respond to me as a teacher, yet Brent really likes doing school work stuff! So much that I'm surprised. I thought he would think it was boring, but he enjoys and asks to do it. I'm not big on worksheet drills, but we found some at Target and he wanted it and will sit down and go through it. He loves figuring out addition problems on the abacus, and if he can't find the abacus, he'll just make dots under the numbers to represent the number and count them. He may not talk much, but his math skills are stronger than mine when I was his age! He knows his letters and enjoys doing tasks centered around the letters. Not really had much success as far as actual reading, but considering that a lot of boys aren't able to grasp this skill until they are 7 or 8 I'm not that worried. It will happen when he's ready.

He has a lot more control over his impulsivity and is better able to respond to redirection and figure out what I want him to do than he did a year ago. His coaches all comment on how quick he learns something when he figures out what they want him to do, and after seeing this in action I see what they mean. The hard part is getting him to understand what we want him to do, but once he figures that out, the skill comes rather naturally.
Read more... )
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-08-02 11:47 pm

Book Review: The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty

The Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious DynastyThe Tudors: The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by G.J. Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


As many others have pointed out, the title of this book is rather misleading. Barely 50 pages is spent on Henry VII, about 300 are spent on Henry VIII, a bit over 100 on Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey and Mary I combined, and then a little over 100 on Elizabeth I...and keep in mind Elizabeth had the longest reign of all of them by far. I felt a much more accurate title would have been Religion and Succession During the Tudor Era or something along those lines, as that would have explained the scope of the book better. Even then, after Jane Seymour died, and with the exception of how Protestants took control of the government during Edward VI's reign, it seemed as though Meyers was exhausted with all of the previous detail he had spent on the matter and seemed to skim through the rest of history

That said, this book did focus on matters that I had always wondered about when reading biographies of the Tudors, namely, how did people react to being Roman Catholic one day, Henry Catholic (for lack of a better term) the next, then Protestant, then Roman Catholic again, before returning to Protestant. Here, especially during Henry VIII's reign, Meyers painted a detailed picture of how this was accomplished. His two great strengths were in illustrating how these changes were forced upon the people of England and bringing a rather novel and fresh perspective to events that I had never read any one espouse before but made me think.

I also appreciated on how he focused not just on events in England, but how events on the European Continent and even the Ottoman Empire played a role in English affairs. For instance, the reason the Pope likely never excommunicated Henry VIII was because he was under attack by the Ottoman Empire and couldn't afford a war with England. This gave added depth and perception to how interconnected the world was even in the 16th century.

His weakness was how openly he showed his biases. I won't defend Henry VIII. He was a vile, ruthless tyrant. And most of what I have read supports the view that the people of England were content enough with the Catholic church and the decision to leave was Henry's temper tantrum over not getting his way. Yet the way Meyers so rigorously defended the Catholic Church in England as innocent and Henry as vile was simply over the top. What made this even worse was that while he maintained over and over about how reports of abuse at monasteries were exaggerated, he didn't provide any figures and few examples to back this up. Given I had read similar things from other authors I don't have any trouble believing his point, yet how forceful he was with his statements of how rare of a problem this was for the Catholic Church in England (something like of 1000 monasteries, only 2 had sustained complaints against them would have been helpful) just created this impression that if he yelled loudly enough he could make a lie truth. And this was how it seemed to someone who agreed with him!

And sometimes his examples exonerating Catholics backfired. For instance, in defending Wolsey, an archbishop who had a illegitimate son, he talked about how he refused to let Anne Boleyn and her family appoint a female family member who was sexually loose to become head of an abbey. So I guess it's okay when a male priest has sex to still hold positions of power, but it's not okay for a woman to do so. If Meyers had focused on this women being grossly incompetent or the like I wouldn't have minded, but apparently the hypocrisy did not register with him.

I have seen some reviewers wonder if Meyers has a problem with women in power in general, and given his sympathetic portrayal of Mary I and how strongly he defended English Catholics, I wondered more if he was Catholic. Yet he was also very sympathetic to Edward VI and he could be just as cuttingly harsh on Catholics when the circumstances warranted it as he could with defending them when he felt they were slandered. If anything I would say the longer the time the monarch had to rule, the harder he was on them. And his bias came out again in full force with Elizabeth I, and unlike Henry VIII, it felt unfair rather than over the top.

While rightly lambasting her for the failures of her reign (and to be fair, he lambasts everyone in the book at some point), I was flabbergasted by the lengths he went to deny her any credit for the successes of her reign. When successes did happen, it wasn't Elizabeth's doing, it was because of Cecil's brilliance or bad weather or Phillip of Spain making a mistake, etc. Yet, as he points out on his chapter on Parliament, good leaders delegate and put good people in charge. There's simply too much to do on their own, and to my mind, Elizabeth does get credit for having the wisdom to appoint Cecil and to listen to him. His other big critique of Elizabeth was that she had no ambition other than to survive, yet given what Henry VIII's ambitions did to England and how the country had been reeling from that, Elizabeth giving the country time to breath and adjust to a new status quo sounds wiser than tearing it down all over again.

That he stated the last years of her reign were Essex's story was rather appalling and feeds into the appearance of sexism.

All said and done, I felt I gained a lot from reading this book. From a fresh, novel perspective, to details on how the Church of England was established and what effect this had on the common people, as well as filling in the blanks on how events in Spain, the Ottoman Empire, France and the Netherlands played a role in English politics, it answered questions I had been harboring for a long time. Bottom line, would recommend with reservations.



View all my reviews
alexeia_drae: (Default)
2017-07-23 10:50 pm

Book Review: 4th Rock from the Sun

4th Rock from the Sun: The Story of Mars4th Rock from the Sun: The Story of Mars by Nicky Jenner

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


This book seemed to spew random trivia about anything related to Mars, rather than forming some sort of cohesive narrative. I got about 60 pages in and then I couldn't take it anymore. It wasn't even too heavy on the science, there was a lot about how Mars is seen in pop culture and astrology which, the author says, is pseudoscience BUT then she does this "isn't it interesting how astrology is right about saying Mars has this characteristic about being emotionally cold and low and behold it turns out Mars is a cold planet so the astrologists are right" type dance that got extremely aggravating (plus tangents about how astrology is pseudoscience but right about the other planets...and palmistry! Which is also pseudoscience, BUT...I wish I was making this up).

The random trivia wasn't even given in any sort of chronological order so we could see how our views of Mars evolved with time which could have been interesting (for instance, she talks about how Mars is portrayed in "Doctor Who" while talking roughly about the 1960s, goes way into the 2000s to talk about an episode with Tennant before going back and talking about an episode with Troughton in the 60s). And she does not combine how Mars is portrayed in popular culture side by side with how our scientific findings impacted the media portrayal, which also could have been interesting. It was just a spew of loosely connected facts.

Skip.



View all my reviews