Thursday, July 26, 2018

Yes, money would help.

I was asked multiple times if money, for a moving van for example, would help with the shit I'm currently deal with.

Yes.  Yes it would.  Preferably a week and a half ago (when I was asked here) but now works too.  Here's the donate link.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I propose a new genre of ultra-violent books, movies, video games, comic books, and so forth. (From Twitter)

[Originally posted on twitter.  Ish.  The introduction is new and everything will have, at least, an editing pass.]

So, before I get to what this is, I wanted to note where it comes from.  Feel free to skip this introduction, main text after the break.

At some point, I was looking at something (been a while, don't remember) and every time I loaded the page to check for new stuff it landed on one of two tweets about the synopsis of a completely real upcoming book.  I say that because, based on the synopsis, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was instead a fake thing that existed only as a farcical over the top parody.

The synopsis makes it difficult to tell if the book will be something too painful to read, or something that one could have fun tearing apart.

Whatever the case, it's a power/vengeance fantasy in which the perpetually offended hegemons who cast themselves as the persecuted victims of the unwashed masses can live out their fantasy of seeing their supposed oppressors laid low and forced to come to them for protection (recognizing their superiority, of course) OR DIE!

When you're not actually oppressed but your identity is built around believing you're oppressed, you end up looking for signs of your oppression in strange places.  Thus the book, which is called Trigger Warning, is lashing out at the injustice of . . . even at a remove, I can't take this concept seriously.

It's the kind of book where the synopsis puts the terms "triggered", "microaggressions", "male privilege" "cisgendered bathrooms" and "safe space" in scare quotes.

The synopsis went thus:
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WON’T SAVE YOU

Former Army Ranger Jake Rivers is not your typical Kelton College student. He is not spoiled, coddled, or ultra-lib like his classmates who sneer at the “soldier boy.”

Rivers is not “triggered” by “microaggressions.” He is not outraged by “male privilege” and “cisgender bathrooms.” He does not need a “safe space.” Or coloring books. Jake needs an education. And when terror strikes, the school needs Jake . . .

Without warning, the sounds of gunfire plunge the campus into a battle zone. A violent gang of marauders invade the main hall, taking students as hostages for big ransom money. As a veteran and patriot, Jake won’t give in to their demands. But to fight back, he needs to enlist his fellow classmates to school these special snowflakes in the not-so-liberal art of war. This time, the aggression isn’t “micro.” It’s life or death. And only the strong survive . . .
Before I get to my original response, I want to call out a few things in that cutesy synopsis.

As the only person like him in, apparently, the whole fucking school (the school needs him specifically, not the 1% of the student population like him) Jake Rivers is very clearly the specialist special snowflake of them all.  I would also argue that, since he doesn't have to deal with anyone like him, he's pretty damned spoiled and coddled as well.

The "ultra-lib" classmates he has, remember, have to face something he doesn't: Jake Rivers.  A lot of people would love to attend a school where they would never face a Jake Rivers.  His classmates don't get that.  Jake does.

The scare quotes paragraph pretty clearly demonstrates that while Jake Rivers doesn't need coloring books, he seems to want his own twisted version of a safe space.  (Twisted but traditional: the comfortable are comforted at the cost of afflicting the afflicted.)  Also that he is one of the sneerers.

Basically, Jake here is almost everything he detests.  The only broad strokes thing he's not is liberal.  Sure, the specific details might differ, but Jake is exactly what he thinks other people are.  He might not need a safe space or even understand what one is, but it seems like he wants a space in which he personally is safe from everything that might possibly offend his delicate sensibilities.

Also, grammar fail:
[...] he needs to enlist his fellow classmates to school these special snowflakes in the not-so-liberal art of war.
After Jake gets himself an education, perhaps he can teach the author about semi-colons, because that is what they're made for.  Put a semicolon after classmates, and it's fine.

As it is, however, it says that Jake needs to enlist his classmates in order to school some other group of special snowflakes (the the violent gang of marauders, perhaps) in the not-so-liberal art of war.

The use of the phrase "the art of war" makes me imagine that this schooling is taking place under the auspices of Kelton's prestigious Chinese Military Literature program.

(Stuff from Twitter, edited and possibly refined, follows.)

- ~ ∗ ~ -         - ~ ⁂ ~ -         - ~ ∗ ~ -

Ok, so whenever a certain page reloaded it came to one of two tweets about this garbage [link to synopsis], I have thoughts.

No.  I have THOUGHTS.

I shall now make these thoughts known to the world.

- ~ ∗ ~ -

For all the talk about Hollywood liberals, and mainstream liberals, and this liberals, and that liberals,  and those feminists, and these aggrieved masses of entitled . . . whatever, I've never really bought it.

Consider:  We've had Red Dawn twice.

Everything from Home Alone to [[every Steven Seagal movie in the history of actors named Steven and surnames that are almost, but not quite, "Seagull"]] is picking up on the right-wing fantasy of "They violated my home so Imma kill and/or torture EVERYONE!"

One goes to Home Alone for the torture and not-quite-Seagull for the killin'.  (If you're going to watch one of the gull movies, I recommend Under Siege, though be warned that never will a movie make you more in favor of a major American city being nuked than when Steven is trying to stop it.)

Now one could reasonably come to the conclusion that, maybe, we should have less of this.  Perhaps having this one story told in infinite variations is causing us to miss out on other stories and having an effect upon our ways of thinking, and our culture, and . . . stuff.

Or, one could completely ignore the reasonable and think the way that I think.

- ~ ∗ ~ -

All of this has been a roundabout way to say, I propose a new genre of ultra violent books, movies, video games, comic books, and so forth.  Well, I'm sure that the genre already exists, so I'm more proposing that it become mainstream and be brought to mediums in which it has not yet found traction.

Rather than describe the genre, I'm going to give a specific example and let you extrapolate the genre from there.

Instead of former army ranger Jake Rivers saving the Keyton students from a random violent gang of marauders in a battle where only the strong will survive, we'll have this:

Riley "I got disowned and don't have a last name, but no worries; I'm in a better place now" will join forces with others.

Ne will do this not as a leader shaping lesser classmates into what nir ideology requires but instead as an equal partner in a communal cooperative of, "We're getting through this together, and we'll do whatever we can to make sure everyone survives regardless of whether they're strong."

Riley is no more or less special than any of the other snowflakes and doesn't think the fact ne is a genderfluid + genderqueer [∗] ace person of color from a minority religion entitles nir to special rights.  Just equal rights.

(Riley is not a latte fan, but nothing against those who are.)

[∗] Riley's gender shifts between multiple non-binary genders.

- ~ ∗ ~ -

It's no easy task securing safety for everyone when the fascists in your government have decided to make an example of your university (and also use it as a feasibility trial for cracking down on everything not cis-straight-male-rightwing-christian-'Merica-fuck-yeah)

The fact that "We're saving everyone.  Yes, even those assholes" means needing to manage an asshole population doesn't help.  In the lawlessness of the law trying to kill you, bigotry is hard to contain, safe spaces hard to come by, and micro aggressions deplete san points.

Even so, the entire point of the action genre (whatever the medium happens to be) is to let characters solve problems by punching them in the face.  (Something that doesn't work in the real world, but is a wonderful escapist fantasy of simplicity) and so Riley and co dig in.

- ~ ∗ ~ -

If it's a video game instead of a book then there will be a crafting system and bonus points to those who realize that "marble + shoelace" = sling.  Especially since David versus Goliath is the symbolism you like the government has decided to end you.

The government decided to end them in the name of traditional values, keeping daughters safe, making sure America remains a Christian nation, *something*something* states rights, defending white heritage, and so forth, of course.

Said-government also makes a point of mocking trigger warnings, misgendering people, and such.

I'm leaning toward video game here because you can have stealth, shooter, parkour, settlement management, social, and so much more.

You can have the character need to take time in the safe room to recover from the bullshit ne needs to face elsewhere (implement a crayon+mandala system if you like.)  Basically: the importance of self-care implemented as a game mechanic.

You know the fantasy that if society collapsed and [fantasizer] rebuilt it everything would be better?  Indulge in it.  In addition to things listed above and more (how did I leave out tower defense?) you get to shape the society of the resistance to make bigotry not fucking cool.

Instead of being wiped out, as is realistic, the university becomes the center of a new multicultural egalitarian society in which people, while still people, have at least taken steps to make sure they don't fuck up in the exact same way they have been for 700 years.

DLC includes:
  • Daring raids on medical facilities, and factories, and such to make sure no one is forced to go off their meds
  • Treaty building with with other marginalized or outright targeted groups.
  • Setting up a school system that's neuro-divergent friendly.
  • Blowing shit up in epic ways.
There's a rhetoric skill you can invest in if you want to convince the non-evil portions of the army and police to come over to your side.

There's a side mission where you have to deal with not-Jake-Rivers and his social-Darwinist macho murder cult.

But mostly there's blowing off steam in a way that doesn't hurt anyone but feels good, especially when you've been forced to listen to bigots and other assholes rant about how certain people, possibly including you, don't count as people (or that some people's lives don't matter.)

And there's queer, non-white, non-Christian representation.

And safe spaces are respectfully shown.  And trigger warnings are shown as things that improve people's quality of life. And it's possible to actually put an end to microaggressions.  (Remember: the action genre is a fantasy in which the problems faced are actually able to be solved, often in simple, sometimes explosive, straightforward ways.)

And for once it's the people who are actually treating the lives of others as disposable in the face of their ideology in real life who are shown disposing of others in the name of their ideology in fiction.  And non-kyriarchal utopia is shown as a thing worth aspiring to instead of a joke.

- ~ ∗ ~ -

And I forgot to mention, traditionally action protagonist = [really qualified + special], so Riley is the best in the chess club, founded the top Splatoon team on campus, is active in the community (was in the movement that stopped Women's Studies from being cut), and a is glass blower by trade.

- ~ ∗ ~ -         - ~ ⁂ ~ -         - ~ ∗ ~ -

That basically covers it.  I could have named the post "I begin a bunch of paragraphs with the word 'And'."  Cutting and pasting the line in question was close to accurate (though it's not as descriptive as it could be.)

Thought I'd try to get something out there, this was already mostly written.  It still has taken me positively ages, but today is a day of rest.  (My sister is checking out the property she hopes to move into today.  On other days I'll be helping her race to move out of what we're losing, as I have been for a while.)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Gondor calls for aid (i.e. if you're in or about the greater Portland area, Maine Portland, I could use help)

I know that in the past people have said, "I'm not that far away, is there anything I could do to help by showing up in person."  Well, not that.  People have never, to my knowledge, said precisely that.  People have said stuff to that effect, more or less.

Or maybe, "I have friends in your area and they might be . . ."

What I don't know is who those people were or how they came to internet-know me.

Maybe they read this, maybe they were at Ana's, maybe they were somewhere else entirely.

Regardless, for once showing up in person could be helpful.  Short version: Stuff needs to be moved.  Both on the small scale where a person can move it and on a large scale where a vehicle is needed.

If you're up for it, contact me (cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com) and we'll see if you can help.  (I naturally assume no one is interested.)

Long version:

This is hard to write about because I just want to vent about how terrible everything feels and how shitty certain people were to my family, but that's not what this post is about.

This is what it's about: we're losing the whole farm.  My mom was put on the spot and had to decide between between accept the unexpectedly backstabbing altered arrangement, where we didn't get to keep anything at all, or go to the next offer, which would have seen the whole thing bulldozed.  At least by still selling to the backstabbers it'll become a pseudo-park instead of being condos.

That news is what caused my May breakdown, in which I cried for days and was emotionally fucked for even longer.  Then time passed and I had my June breakdown.  Then time passed.  (Actually, if you look at the space between them, I'm due for a July breakdown right about now.)

Property changes hands three days after my birthday, so by August 6th anything we want to keep needs to be evacuated to some other location.

We didn't know that anything would need to be moved until May, I wasn't the only one having problems, it's now mid July.

On my own, the most I can do is help my sister in her efforts.  I can't drive, (don't have a car anyway), I'm just one person, so on, so forth.  The thing is, what she wants isn't how I'd prefer to do things.

Helping her is a good thing, and if you'd prefer her orders to my own ideas then that's definitely a thing that can be done, but I'm going to talk about what I'd prefer for the rest of the post.


There's some path clearing to be done because the farm is one spring + summer-so-far overgrown, so there is a degree to it would be useful if someone wanted to venture forth with weed whacker in hand to do battle with grass and shrub so that others might reach the out buildings.

Mostly, however, what I need help with is moving stuff, both on site and between the farm and my house.
Aside:
Other than the "my house" bit (she's loading up an on-site storage container), that's essentially the same thing my sister needs help with.  The differences are a) the categories of some of the things to be moved, and b) the methodology employed in deciding which potential things should be moved.
So: moving stuff.

Stuff falls into three categories: inanimate stuff one can carry and put in an SUV/pickup/van/thing, big inanimate stuff, and plants.

~ * Stuff one can carry and put in a vehicle to move * ~

If anyone actually does help me, I'm pretty sure it will be limited to this category.  It's really simple, or would be if I had a car, could drive, and were more people:
Pick stuff up, put in vehicle, drive to my house, unload stuff.  Repeat.
Which stuff?
All the stuff.

The thing is, I really do feel like there's not a lot of time.

It'll be a week before I can work at the farm again.  At that point there are three weeks left.  Decent odds that I'll be in the area for at most two of those weeks.  It's the hot season and if I work more than a couple days in a row the exertion combined with the heat will make me sick.
From my perspective there's only a handful of days and they're running out.

So I don't want to sort through everything to save only what I actually wish to keep.  I am very deeply concerned that if I try to do that I'll spend so much time sorting that I'll run out of time before all of the save-worthy stuff gets moved (or indeed located).
I want to go quick and dirty:
 • Grab everything.  Stick what fits in a vehicle.  Drive it to my house.  Remove.  Repeat.

I can sort things after the sixth provided that I actually have the things, which will only be true if they're moved off the farm before the sixth.  Sorting takes time.  Especially when things may be disassembled.  With disassembled things it's like needing to put together a puzzle in order to make each decision.

Even if we do have that time, and I have doubts, I'm stressed the Hell out by taking that time to sort instead of just getting stuff to safety as quickly as possible and deciding what's worth keeping later.

~ * big inanimate objects * ~

The degree to which I think no one can help with this is high, but I'll put it in.
There are some big honking things on the farm, and I don't just mean cars.  Though on the subject of cars . . .

My grandfather talked about us building a car together for much of my life.  I'd say I wanted a rusted wreck from the woods, he'd say that we'd build a car together, but not that one.  Then he'd bring me to the chassis of a model A Ford (I didn't know that was what it was at the time) and say we'd build that.  It was four wheels, a flat (empty) frame, and a steering wheel; I was totally unimpressed.
The chassis has a tree growing through it now, but what I didn't know when I was younger is that, in one of the out buildings, he had all the parts to build a complete Model A.  Now a headlight or such I can probably move by my lonesome.  The body, though?  Not a chance in Hell.  (And I don't actually know if the engine is assembled or in more mobile pieces.  There never seems to be time to just look at things.)

If given the ability to move heavy things, there are other things I'd want to move too, but getting that thing --actually getting it-- it would . . .
It's indescribable.  It would overshadow anything else I can think of save the tractors (which my sister is theoretically looking into options for.)  I would be grateful forever.

And I'd learn how to build a car.  And I'd say sappy things to my grandfather at the cemetery (movies have taught me that this is required), and then I don't know what I'd do.  Maybe find someone who would appreciate it.  Maybe actually get my licence.  (Though that likely involves a lot of therapy, since I have a phobia level fear of driving.  My reaction time isn't that bad, but I'm completely terrified that I'll kill someone.)

~ * plants * ~

Who wants to transplant rhubarb?   Who wants to transplant an entire blueberry patch at the worst possible stage of the blueberry life-cycle without any earth moving equipment save shovels?

Me.

Digging is hard work that takes a lot of time, dirt is heavy, this is a really bad idea.  Horrendously stupid.  I'm going to need help to pull it off.

There are other plants too, I suppose.  They're not incredibly difficult problems though.

For example, there's no possible way to move the willow or butternut (and nowhere to move them too) but given the lack of mowing all spring there are doubtless small children of each that could be transplanted with relative ease.  Likewise there are probably some flowers in various places probably.

Nothing else on the level of work or stupidity require to move a blueberry patch in July.


And that pretty much covers it.

That's what I could use help with.

 ● Moving stuff that can be held.
 ● Moving stuff that's car like in scope.
 ● Transplanting plants.

If you think you could show up and help with any of that, contact me (cpw [at] maine [dot] rr [dot] com) and we'll see if our schedules can be made to align.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Need help: accurate and reasonably precise measurements of Duplo bricks

~ Background ~

So, for some ungodly reason, I decided to get the 30 day Alibre Design free trial.

This was, for the record, a horrible idea.  Right now depression is bad, I'm having trouble with the vitally important eat/drink/sleep trifecta, and since I'm not about to buy a $1,000 or $2,000 licence (depending on the version) I've basically saddled myself with sense of "If I don't do ¡Everything! in 30 29 days I'm an failure!"

(Yes, I did make an effort to indicate that "everything" is getting double exclamation.)

I . . . may not be the best at making decisions that are conducive to a non-catastrophic state of mind.

But it's just . . . I like Alibre.  With some exceptions here or there it's exactly how I would design a 3d modeling.  It's like a perfect fit.

And I've been having design ideas that I'd like to do more than just write about, since that comes with the constant caveat: "Of course this serves no practical purpose now, but if I ever get into 3d modeling again, maybe I could do something with this."

~ The issue at hand ~

  Short version:
It's a lot harder to get the specifications of Duplo bricks than it is for Lego bricks.  The dimensions that aren't easily derived are the studs on top (height and outer diameter) and the tubes on bottom (inner diameter, outer diameter), and the size of the splines that make the wall actually wide enough to hold the studs.  (Most of the wall is Lego-wall thickness to allow for compatibility with Lego studs)

Obviously knowing a radius is as good as knowing a diameter, and also some things can be derived if others are known.  Knowing stud outer diameter will allow one to calculate the spline size, or vice versa.  Stud outer diameter should allow calculations tube outer diameter (in theory, at least.)
  Long version:

The basic Lego and Duplo patents expired ages ago.  It's why Lego keeps on making new specialty bricks (it creates new, non expired, patents) and why Lego is so into stuff that's under copyright* (Superheroes, Disney princesses, a thousand original Lego IPs) these days.

Thus a thousand companies build Lego and Duplo compatible system bricks and don't even need to file off the serial numbers.

However, Duplo bricks don't get the same attention to detail outside of of the clone manufacturing centers.

Lego specifications can be found all over the internet.

Duplo not so much.

Now, Some dimensions of Dplo bricks can be worked out pretty easily by comparison to Legos.  The standard Duplo bricks are twice as high, wide, and long as Lego bricks, for example.  The short ones are the same width and height as the standard ones, but only as high as a single standard Lego brick.

Other things are harder.

The studs (round things on top, hollow cylinders in this case) are not simple multiples of Lego stud sizes.  Their height, inner diameter, outer diameter, and wall thickness are all unclear.  However the tubes under a regular Lego (which have known sizes) fit inside the the studs so we can thus work out inner diameter.  The wall thickness can be found from subtraction once one has the outer diameter.

Thus for the studs, the missing dimensions are height and outer diameter.

The tubes underneath have similar stuff going on, albeit with less to reduce things.

The height is a simple calculation in theory.  It's a Lego stud height less than all the way to the bottom.  The inner and outer diameter not so much.

If we assume similar construction practices to Lego bricks than the inner diameter will be equal to the stud outer diameter and the outer diameter can likewise be calculated once the stud outer diameter is know.

It is not clear that those are good assumptions.

So, for the tubes on the bottom, the missing dimensions are inner diameter and outer diameter.

~ conclusion ~

If anyone has superior google-fu, prior knowledge, or Duplo bricks + really good calipers:

I would be really appreciative if you could tell me these dimensions (plus any others you feel like sharing) of Duplo bricks:

The outer diameter of the studs on top.  The height of the  studs on top.  The outer diameter of the tubes on the bottom.  The inner diameter of the tubes on the bottom.  Anything else that you think one needs to know to create Duplo compatible objects.  (Primarily bricks.)

~ Footnote ~
~ (on copyright law vs patent law) ~

* Copyright law is fundamentally flawed and this is, in large part, due to corporations wanting to have stuff in perpetuity while simultaneously saying, "Fuck You!" to the people who actually made the fucking stuff in the first place as well as the entire extended family and circle of friends + acquaintances of those people.

Short version:
Patent law is designed to balance the importance of creators getting what they're due with the competing interests of the common good of society in general and the people within society in particular.

Copyright law is designed to make Disney (and others of their ilk) richer than God.  I know that, as a classicist, I'm supposed to say, "Rich as Croesus" but the truth is that Croesus couldn't even imagine this kind of wealth.
~ Giraffe ~

When we asked for the location of the AMC at Assembly Row (which was a field of dirt before they put in the Orange Line stop, but a mass transit stop is like really good irrigation and fertilization: It makes commerce grow with a vengeance) we were told, "Around the corner right by the giant Lego giraffe," or something to that effect.

All this time later I still snap photos when possible.  (It's been in multiple open threads at Ana Mardoll's because of that.)

Why is it here?  It's made out of Duplo bricks.  (Which makes sense, it would take eight times as many Lego bricks to do the exact same thing.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Nevy Longbottom (Trans inclusive Harry Potter AU)

It's established in Harry Potter that the chosen one is in fact chosen by Lord Voldemort himself.  (Chrome knows how to correctly spell "Voldemort" but still regards tuatara as too new on the scene to deserve spellcheck recognition.)

If Voldy had instead tried and failed to kill option two (there were only two options), Neville Longbottom would have had a scar in the shape of a tsan (ϟ) on his head.  This interests me because Neville is very much not Harry and thus as story about him probably wouldn't be:
Rich jock breaks rules, commits "unforgivable" acts that are supposed to land him in prison for the rest of his life, does not in fact get a life sentence (or any sentence), learns he enjoys torturing people, is repeatedly lauded as a hero (eventually in a way that sticks), and finally goes on to live a happy life.
I don't pretend to know precisely what it would be, but we can at least know what it wouldn't.

And so this happened.  Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings [Links: comment not on this topic (which contained initial footnote), main comment, the thing I forgot to put into the main comment.]


The footnote that started it:
* I suddenly wonder about the alt universe where Neville was the Boy Who Lived but just as quickly my interest wanes when I realize how what happened to his parents would almost certainly change.

Harry and Neville were both profoundly shaped by the fates of their parents.

If, somehow, Neville was being protected by Lily and James and they died for him instead of Harry, then the broad strokes would remain the same and the characters, while obviously different, could be largely intact.

[Splitting off into its own post.]

Ok, so, Harry Potter AU (in which the main character is trans because I just bumped into the heart's desire mirror, which I'd totally forgotten about, and "I saw a girl that looked so much like me" is way too tempting.)

First book:           Neville Longbottom and the . . .
Second book:     Neville Nevy Longbottom and the . . .
Rest of series:                    Nevy Longbottom and the . . .

Dumbledore guessed that Snape had heard part of the prophecy and warned four members of The Order of the Phoenix that their two babies could be in unspeakable danger.  In order to to avoid losing all four members, it was decided that two (Lily and James Potter) would look after both babies while in the most powerful form of magical hiding possible while the other two (Frank and Alice Longbottom) continue to fight the war.

When the rat betrays (Seriously?  The one who could turn into a rat was a betrayer.  What the actual fuck?  Rats are awesome animals with an undeservedly bad rep) Lily and James manage to hide Harry and are about to hide Neville when in walks Voldemort (who had always assumed it was Harry and wasn't even looking for Neville) Voldemort assumes Harry is the baby, scene plays out as in canon.

Neville is the boy who lived.  Harry is the boy who happened to be hidden in a crawlspace at the time.

Since this is when Snape turns on Voldy, they quickly learn that Voldy and co are after Harry.  Thus Asshole Dumbledore still sticks Harry with evil-family.  Neville goes to grandmother.

When the Voldamovement collapses, it's revealed that it was baby Neville who broke Voldemort.

Harry is still rich with a massive extended "family you choose" waiting to meet him and support him.  Harry is still ideally suited to be a "What the fuck is up with this game?" star.

Neville gets the fame and associated revenge plots.

Neville's fame means that canon protagonists know about Neville's parents from the start.  Harry shows Neville the Mirror of Erised before even trying with Ron (and doesn't try with Ron because, while Neville can see his own parents he can't see Harry's.)

Neville sees girl-Neville with parents.  Hasn't admitted to self to wanting that.  Still uses male pronouns.  Doesn't mention the "girl" bit to Harry.

Neville and Harry continue to go see mirror.  Neville's attitude on rule breaking lessens as a result because breaking the rules lets him see his parents.

When Dumbledore reveals the nature of the mirror, Neville has hard questions to ask about his[?] identity. Does not ask them of Dumbledore.

Goes to McGonagall.  Hugely good idea because it turns out that Minerva McGonagall was born Mars McGonagall and knows exactly what Neville is going through.

After talking to Neville Minerva is reasonably confident that Neville is a trans girl, but privately educates Neville in other options, and also decides that its past time she implemented some gender education.  She doesn't have the power to do it school wide, but she can for her house.

(She makes sure Neville is ok with this, since there's potential for mortifying embarrassment given that Neville is the reason she made the decision.  The winning argument is: "There are probably other kids just like you, and I want to help them too.")

Book involves Neville both coming to terms with being trans* and coming to terms with breaking the rules sometimes being the right thing.  Also defeating Voldemort the body sharer.

Slythrin doesn't lose the house cup, it's a tie.  And it isn't a "I surprise you at the last minute, fuck you 1/4 of my school" tie.  Students are confused about why it's a tie, and they don't get an answer until assembly, but it's not a "Let you think you won to set up for the emotional gut punch" thing.

Yeah, last minute heroics above and beyond the call of studenhood-duty deserve credit, but the bait and switch of the real books is BS.

- - -

Book ends with Minerva (she uses the more personal name when being an advocate for trans* students, btw) talking with Neville's grandmother and Neville stopping being Neville.  Very end is deciding on a new name and finally starting to publicly use correct pronouns.  Newly renamed Nevy will still get internal pronouns wrong sometimes, because it's not like flipping a switch (at least it wasn't for me) but the book ends with transition.

- - -

Side plot to first book:

Members of other houses start coming to attend Minerva's regular "learn about gender" sessions.  Originally they were in Gryffindor common room, which meant that as soon as others started coming the password would need to be changed after each one.

Eventually moved to a more neutral (and larger) venue.

Sessions are mandatory for Gryffindor, optional for all other students (and teachers, and anyone else who happens to be in or near the building.)

Snape isn't openly opposed; Flitwick thinks it's a great idea and started to do a similar thing (at a different time, you can attend both) for people who want a more academic approach (Minerva has an informal approach, initially surprising anyone who has her as a teacher, and with enough emotion in it that you really, viscerally, understand why she's Gryffindor); Sprout is disappointed that this stuff doesn't go without saying but, since it apparently doesn't, she's all for having any Hufflepuff who wants to go to learn more.

While Snape maintains sneering ambivalence, Flitwick has started working closely with Minerva to make sure that what he's presenting is up to date and not, you know, an unfortunate result of transphobia in the places he does his research.

Sprout originally had no involvement on the subject but the good that Minerva's sessions have done for Hufflepuff students made her realize that "You can be anything you want to be" isn't as good of an approach as she thought because students may not know what they want to be, may not know they're allowed to want it, and/or may not know that it's actually a thing one can be.

Sprout's time with Minerva dealing with the subject has a very specific, narrow, and important focus: She only wants to know what stops students from being themselves and how to create an environment where they are no longer impeded.  She gives no shits about learning more about gender, all of her gender related shits are reserved for making sure that her students are best able to pursue the gender things about which they give shits.

- - -

Gender acceptance at Hogwarts in the first Nevy book:

From the start Sprout's Hufflepuff would accept any trans* student, but the student would need to have first figured everything out (including self-acceptance and the bravery to come out) themselves.  Eventually Sprout starts efforts to reduce the self-directed self-study workload this put on students because "being yourself" shouldn't be a massive undertaking you do without any guidance.

McGonagall's Gryffindor was originally . . . theoretically neutral but when oppression is systemic being neutral is impossible, instead attempts at neutrality end up supports of hostility.

Neville (not Nevy yet) coming to her was the final impetus she needed to actually do something.

The gender stuff isn't part of the curriculum, and part of being "Minerva" when addressing it is to shed some of the stigma associated with being "the strict teacher" since this is an area where she feels students are better served by seeing her in a very different way.

As such, she is dragging the house to the front of the acceptance pack.

Flitwick's Ravenclaw was originally theoretically neutral but see the previous on why that's not neutral in practice.  For McGonagall that theoretical neutrality was a calculated stance.  For Flitwick it was because he'd never even thought about it.

Now that he has thought about it, Flitwick wants to be a good ally, is agitating for adding a gender and sexuality class to the required curriculum, and is doing everything he can to move Ravenclawe to the front of the acceptance pack alongside Minerva's Gryffindor.

Snape's Slytherin is . . . passionately ambivalent.

Snape himself isn't going to waste effort going against the other three house heads on this when he really, truly, does not care in the least.

Even without caring his first impulse was and is to look down on all of the trans* kids, but one of his favorite students, a soon to graduate previously-presumed-girl (who reminds him so much of himself), has been attending Minerva's gender sessions religiously, is way happier since starting to do so, and is showing signs of being maybe a trans boy and definitely being a trans* something.  It's not enough to make Snape an ally, but it is enough to make him ignore that first impulse more often than not.

Slytherin in general is so much more about tradition than it is about any of its stated values, so of course there's massive bigotry.  On the other hand, a couple of the more powerful and socially connected bullies turned out to be pro trans*-rights and are using their influence to push in the opposite direction (while others trying to use the high levels of ambient bigotry to undermine the pro-trans* students' power bases.)

So, basically, the hate and acrimony is going both ways.


§ ⁂ §


Annnd I totally forgot a really important part.

Since Hermoine learns about Nevy's parents much earlier, she's still in a muggle mindset when she does. She's thinking trauma and therapy and maybe medication.

Nevy (at the time still identifying as Neville) becomes incredibly interested in muggle science and medicine as a result, and the respect for muggles that comes out of it has the effect of making Nevy and co. much more likely to call wizards on their shit regarding muggle treatment.

And interested in changing the culture.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I might --possibly-- be back-ish . . . maybe.

Completely removing the pressure of trying to write has freed up some of my ability to write.

It's also removed the endless frustration and the feeling of failure that comes from not succeeding in writing when trying to write.  (For obvious reasons.)

All of that is good.  In addition to the ideas for video games involving trans-affirming eldritch sex cults, I've got:
  •  some superhero ideas
  • a game idea that was my response to a book (a real book by a real publisher coming soon to a shithole near you) that's taking aim at everyone who cares about safe spaces, trigger warnings, microagressions, and so forth by asking "What if . . . Outlaws with GUNS!?  What then you spoiled, coddled, ultra-lib special snowflakes?"  With my response being along the lines of "Then action, stealth, relationship building, base building, and social game in which 'only the strong survive' is denounced as Really Fucking Evil by genderqueer protagonist and co," instead of "A book about a generic asshole being so intolerant to people the right wing authors don't like that he can only be "redeemed" (I use the term loosely) by saving them from an implausible situation in action-movie style."
  • Two ponies in human form having a conversation in Latin while one tries to convince the other not to (attempt to) unleash magic on mean high school students.
  • Nevy Longbottom -- Idea for Harry Potter AU in which it wasn't Harry who broke Voldomort and Neville (the only alternative for the prophecy) turned out to be a trans girl.
So that's a pretty good haul especially considering recent standards.

Does this mean I'm back to form, my hiatus of unknown length lasted a mere three weeks, and all is good and right with the world?

Not even fucking close.

- ~ * ´ ⁂ ` * ~ -

I'm having real trouble with the whole "eat drink sleep" thing.

I have an eye problem that they basically never check for because I found out about another eye problem they basically never check for while researching for a story, for which I had all the symptoms.  In the process of checking for that (don't have it) we found what I do have, and while the solution is really simple (prescription reading and distance glasses, use them even though the usual tests say you don't need the reading glasses) it's not cheap to get two new pairs of glasses (especially since the styles that let me feel like me are so unpopular as to be mostly discontinued), which means that "I'm not financially screwed" became "I'm not even sure whether I'm financially screwed or not."

In addition I lost my food benefit and, while I might be able to get by without it, I don't think I was actually supposed to have lost my food benefit which means a massive game of bureaucracy I might not have the san points for, and that's hard enough when I am capable of the eat-drink-sleep trifecta, which, as noted, I am not.

And that's just a random smattering of distractions.

When it comes to writing:
 -- All of the writing I've done recently is new stuff, no continuation of existing things.
 -- ~ I cannot begin to describe how much I want to get back to old stories and continue them, so the above is really fucking annoying.
 -- Most of it is what I tag as "let me sum up": not actual fiction, just description of potential fiction
 -- ~ The one exception isn't very good and, more importantly, the process of writing it was more about looking up Latin words (my vocab has completely atrophied at this point) than actually crafting a scene/narrative/story/thing.
 -- Any attempt to write (instead of completely ignoring the very concept of writing until a creative spurt comes out) might render me incapable of writing again and, regardless of whether or not it does, will restart the whole "frustration, failure, feelings of despair" cycle.

And, you know, stuff.

- ~ * ´ ⁂ ` * ~ -

But I have written stuff, and I doesn't feel right to hold back just to keep people from getting their hopes up or some such, so I'll be posting that.

Still the idea that I'll be posting here even though I won't be trying to post here is kind of . . . strange.

Which, itself, is a sign of how far things have come from the beginning since this place was originally made solely to hold things that I'd written in the comments elsewhere.  (Mind you back then I wasn't actively avoiding trying to post here.)

I don't know, but we'll see what happens.