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Last week I was talking to a new friend about tv shows we like. "Supernatural" came up, and I stated I wasn't interested because I like stories about strong women, and from everything I've heard about "Supernatural," it's all about the men. She agreed with me, and went on to state that she sometimes wondered why female characters didn't appeal to her. I braced myself for something potential friendship breaking, and I expected her to start to justify her dislike of female characters by dissing all of the wonderful ones out there. Instead, she speculated that she was raised with so many negative messages about being a girl that she believes she has internalized a lot of misogyny, and the result is that she can't bring herself to like female characters.
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About 7 years ago when I was pregnant with my son (how I remember how long ago it was), I went to the local anime convention, and that year they had a ton of interesting looking panels...and they all seemed to be at the same time. One of them was on early Japanese animation, and I was really interested in it. BUT there were two other interesting looking panels at the same time, and we ended up going to The Philosophy of Anime...which was a complete bust. Some pretentious white dude who had the audience list an anime and he would interpret it in a sentence through a European Christian lens (because Asian Buddhist-Shinto cultures totally write their stories through a European Christian lens). Someone managed to call him out on Kino’s Journey, I wished I’d been able to cut into his butchering of Utena. Anyway, I don’t remember what the third panel was, but I always regretted that I missed the History of Japanese Animation for that crap. Well, with the internet, knowledge you missed out on tends to find you if you wait long enough. And seven years after I missed out on that panel, my wonderful dad sent me this link today. This is pre-Astro Boy, and some of these are simply incredible! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
alexeia_drae: (Default)
Title: Naga's Story, Ch 2 of 2
Characters: Naga, Amelia, Prince Phil, King Eldoran, Christopher, Alfred, Randy
Ratings/Warnings: Blood and mild sexuality
Plot: Growing up in the Seyruun Royal Court is bound to warp anyone's character.

FFN
AO3

*Whew* I kept this contained to 2 chapters. I was that kid whose teachers were shaking their head and telling me my papers were too long for them to read way back in elementary school.
alexeia_drae: (spoilers)
First, I was a bit annoyed with CBS. I was running ragged trying to get the house clean and kids in bed by 8:30PM so I could watch with nothing hanging over my head. I pretty much only watch things on Netflix and Amazon Prime so I'm used to being able to bend tv to my schedule and not be on a network schedule anymore, but I was determined the watch the premiere tonight. I got the kids in bed at 8:15, turned on the tv...and it was already on and 15 minutes in. Really!?

So Andy and I went to CBS All Access and got the free trial so we could see the first two episodes. CBS All Access, like Hulu, has one subscription where you pay and watch commercials and one where you pay even more and don't watch commercials, and that just runs all over me. Andy and I watched, and decided that we enjoyed it and felt it had potential, and it wasn't enough to pay $6 a month for AND watch commercials (forget $10 a month...for one show...neither of us watch a lot of tv), and that we're happy waiting for it to come out on Netflix. Thoughts that contain SPOILERS below.

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Aphrodite's Daughters: Women's Sexual Stories and the Journey of the SoulAphrodite's Daughters: Women's Sexual Stories and the Journey of the Soul by Jalaja Bonheim

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I enjoyed the discussions of myths and archetypes, particularly her take on Inanna and Persephone. I have to agree with some of the people who did not find much to relate to the women in these stories, especially if you're a boring, grounded monogamist. And some of the pseudoscience and bizarre claims got me, as we as the rigid gender roles that the author describes. Read if if you're interested, but take it with a grain of salt.



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Writing Naga's Story has really brought me face to face with just how odd the monarchy is in the Slayersverse. I read a lot of historical works about what life was like in medieval Europe, as well as a ton of royal biographies, mostly of English and French monarchs from 1300-1700. Anyway, some people have asked some amazing questions in regards to the first chapter, and reconciling what is strange in the Slayersverse with what we find in history is interesting.

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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)
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.
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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?

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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.




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alexeia_drae: (Default)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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)
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.
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