It’s no surprise that fantasy and science fiction authors do a lot of worldbuilding for their novels, but it’s one thing to say “worldbuilding” and another thing to offer a glimpse of what the work of worldbuilding entails. The good news is, bestselling author Veronica Roth is here you to offer that very same glimpse, getting into the nitty gritty of what she had to do to build up the universe of her latest novel Carve the Mark. Ready to dig in?
A lot of ideas led me to Carve the Mark. Too many, probably! But the basic plot– that of a young man who is kidnapped by the leader of an enemy country– has been with me for years. I kept thinking about how that would change a person, for better or worse. At first, he sees them all as enemies, but once you’ve lived among people and experienced their culture, is it possible to maintain that kind of unambiguous hatred? (Personally, I don’t think so.) And what if, in some ways, he understood those people better than his own? Would that make him feel guilty? Would he open himself up to friendship? Will I ever stop asking rhetorical questions?
In thinking about all these things, I had to create a world around him that felt complicated and real to me. I decided to use a highly sophisticated approach I call the “follow your gut” method of world-building. Okay, it’s actually not sophisticated at all– all it means is, I pay attention to what I find interesting, and I trust my curiosity to take me wherever it wants me to go. And here are some of the places I went while writing this book:
Politics: the thing about world-building is, even if you think you’re making it all up, you can’t really do that if you don’t know how things work, or have worked, in our world up until this point. Which meant, if I wanted to build a dictatorship that felt real, I needed to research dictatorships. I had lived in Romania for five months as a freshly married person on an adventure, and it’s a place that wears the scars of Ceausescu Communism everywhere (most apparently, in the Communist Bloc housing that towers over certain parts of Cluj-Napoca, where I lived). I had heard stories from the older people we knew there, and I had watched a fascinating documentary (The Lost World of Communism: Socialism In One Family (BBC Documentary Series, Part 3). Rather than dig in deeper to Ceausescu, I opted for a little more breadth– I turned, instead, to a different dictatorship that we frequently joke about here in the States, but is nonetheless horrifying: North Korea.
The interesting thing about researching North Korea is that you very quickly run out of new information about North Korea. (Book recs: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, The Impossible State by Victor Cha, Without You There Is No Us by Suki Kim.) We just don’t know a lot of the things that are going on there. One thing that came up that I found darkly fascinating was that the power of Kim Il Song, Kim Jong Il, and now Kim Jong Un’s regimes comes in large part from their limiting information. The Internet there reportedly looks more like a card catalogue of resources the government has deemed acceptable. Visitors from outside the country stay at a hotel in Pyongyang that is literally on an island, separated from North Koreans who are not pre-approved. It’s easy to understand how a person might believe the misinformation provided by the government when that is the only information available. Knowledge, as we say, is power– and so is withholding knowledge. This is something North Korea has in common with Ceausescu’s Romania, the wielding of knowledge like a weapon against one’s own people.
I have no interest in directly adapting a country’s tragedies, whether it is Romania or North Korea, to flesh out my own work, but I decided to implement this basic principle– that power can be maintained by limiting information– in my work. So, in Carve the Mark, the Shotet dictator, Ryzek Noavek, maintains his power in no small part by outlawing the learning of any language aside from Shotet, which means the Shotet people have to rely on translations to understand the news. Translations that are obviously full of propaganda and lies.
Language: I wanted the language in Carve the Mark— down to the names– to feel new to me, a subtle way of forcing myself to question my own assumptions about what these people were like. That meant I didn’t want to base it on any existing languages, which meant I would have to…make one up.
And this was before David Peterson’s The Art of Language Invention came out, God help me.
But as it turns out, there are whole communities of con lang (read: constructed language) people out there, people who just make up languages for fun. They have helpful guides. And word generators. Observe:
David Peterson’s big list o’ conlang links – http://dedalvs.conlang.org/links.html
Awkwords – http://akana.conlang.org/tools/awkwords/
Conlang word generator 2.0 – http://klh.karinoyo.com/generate/words/
I wanted the Shotet language to be a little like German or Hungarian– harsh-sounding to those who don’t speak it, but oddly beautiful when you get to know it. My husband and I went to a Hungarian Reformed Church while we lived in Cluj, and let me tell you, there is nothing cooler than being surrounded by people singing somewhat dirge-like Christmas songs in Hungarian while a huge organ plays in the background. It made a language that otherwise made no sense to my ears into something haunting and beautiful.
So because I’m That Sort of Person, I made up a few simple rules for how I wanted the language to sound. Shotet’s language rules are: hard sounds instead of their softer counterparts– K instead of C, Y instead of I– few “th” or “sh” sounds, and long “o”s and “a”s, among others. I used the sounds in Hungarian as a jumping off point, though the result bears little to no resemblance to it. The result are names that sound unfamiliar to me, and, unfortunately, are difficult to pronounce, something I…didn’t quite consider at the time. Whoops.
Ritual: I fell about a credit short of a religious studies major in college (damn you, capstone class!), and I’ve always been fascinated by rituals. They are a way of understanding a person’s priorities and something of their inner life–and they don’t have to be religious, either. I find them to be a powerful way of building a fictional culture.
The most significant ritual I devised for this story was the sojourn– a rite in which the Shotet pile into a giant spaceship and cruise around the galaxy for awhile, to honor their history, then descend on a planet (a different planet each year) to scavenge from it. The scavenge is poorly understood by outsiders, who look down on people rifling through garbage, as it were, but to the Shotet it’s a way of recognizing the strengths of other cultures, of repurposing the things they discard that still have value and giving them new life. As the wife of a man who is constantly pointing out objects that other people neglect or turn their noses up at– Dacia cars from the 90s, red enamel radiator knobs, and blazers with GIANT SHOULDER PADS come to mind– this felt like an oddly endearing practice, something that Akos could initially scorn but come to appreciate as he learns that his enemies are not mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplashes, but real, complicated…and, indeed, not all enemies, period.
Andrea Aidekman writes, "I'm a cartoonist and graphic designer from New York. I was asked by a few friends to make some posters for the women's marches on Saturday. I made this little vagina/eye logo and I really got on a roll and designed 10 posters. I want everyone to have a chance to have a well designed and provocative poster so if you need one you can download and print your favorite, or all of them!" (more…)
I learned that Boing Boing seems never to have linked to one of my favorite things on the internet: Zogg, the Cuddly Menace. Jason Yungbluth's brilliant remix of My Little Golden Book About God is as wonderful as it was 478 glorns ago, so I thought it would be fun to perform a dramatic reading to celebrate the impending arrival of the star tankers.
Yungbluth (@IAmDeathRay) is a cartoonist and "all around sexy beast" living in Rochester, NY. His comic books include Deep Fried, PEEK and the Weapon Brown graphic novel. You can read Jason’s work in the pages of MAD magazine too.
Weapon Brown in particular is getting great reviews lately, such as the following from Total Nerd. A parody of Peanuts sent in a grim dystopian techno-future, it was originally published in 2002 but has recently been collected in Omnibus form.
Do not fail your species.
2. I checked my mailbox to discover that I'd received a package from yhlee containing BPAL. Including Spooky, my most beloved scent of scents! For those of you who don't know, Spooky is a LE BPAL blend and I'd been carefully rationing out the three bottles I'd been hoarding. But ALAS! I finally ran out early last year. It was pretty sad. But no more! I can enjoy Spooky once again. Thanks again, yhlee!
3. I started a self-defense class last Tuesday. The second class is tonight and I'm really looking forward to it. My 30-day trial at the yoga studio down the street ended, so I've been doing some home practice for now. On the bright side, another local yoga studio is offering a free class on Friday. I have the day off, so I'm taking advantage of it! Trying to maintain some physical activity throughout this winter has been good for my brain. Normally, I'm a wreck during January, but my energy levels have been nicely high. :)
Hope y'all are good. Did I miss anything exciting while I was gone?
From the start, there have been competing claims about the origins of Transmedia storytelling. Many read my discussion of The Matrix in Convergence Culture as indicating that transmedia was a new phenomenon emerging from networked culture. Transmedia in that account lay where old and new media collide. Indeed, at the time I wrote Convergence Culture, I was excited about the prospect of a new storytelling paradigm which I was trying to piece together from the glimpses provided by a range of contemporary projects — from Dawson’s Desktop and The Blair Witch Project to the early ARGS to The Matrix. So my understanding of Transmedia in Convergence Culture reflected a sense that something new was happening here. Yet, if you look closely at my discussion of “The Art of World Building”, you will see references throughout two Homeric epic, Joseph Campbell, and the Christian church in the Middle Ages, as points of comparisons to the world building and extra-textual references found in contemporary Transmedia storytelling. I was certainly not arguing for a total break with the past, and I was hinting that people have been using every available media to tell stories fora long, long time.
Derek Johnson in his own book, Media Franchising: Creative Licensing and Collaboration in the Culture Industries and through his contribution to Spreadable Media has consistently made the case that today’s Transmedia is simply a reconfiguration of much older industry practices. Similarly Avie Santos has used the example of the Lone Ranger to make the case for earlier forms of product licensing as prefiguring Transmedia. See his recent book Selling the Silver Bullet: The Lone Ranger and Transmedia Brand Licensing. Other contemporary books such as The Rise of Transtexts explores a range of historical analogies. I will be sharing more insights from that boo’ks editors in a subsequent interview in this blog.
But to date, the most thorough and convincing exploration of the prehistory of transmedia has emerged from the pen of British media scholar Matthew Freeman. Freeman recently released the book Historicizing Transmedia Storytelling: Early 20th century Transmedia Story Worlds which represents the state-of-the-art in terms of exploring historical antecedents. Across this book Friedman develops case studies of the Wizard of Oz, Tarzan, and Superman as significant media franchises of the early 20th century. In each case, fictional characters and worlds were extended across a range of contemporary media platforms. For example, L Frank Baum, the “Royal Historian of Oz”, wrote not only books but also comic strips, stage plays, films, games, and other print ephemera, each of which told us something we didn’t know before about his magical realm. Within the first few years of Superman’s existence, the character was appearing in both comic books and comic strips, animated shorts, live-action serials, and radio dramas. Each of these platforms contributed significantly to the development of Superman as we understand him today and of the superhero genre more generally. Freeman explores why each of these producers were willing to take a chance on a new genre and a previously unexplored audience. There were not necessarily the same strong links on a narrative level across these different versions, but there certainly were examples of additive comprehension as sophisticated as anything found in today’s Transmedia franchises.
Freeman’s book must be regarded as a essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how the modern sense Transmedia emerged and what forms it might’ve taken in earlier eras. Freeman is deft in his ability to move between contemporary theoretical and critical accounts of Transmedia and detailed historical accounts of earlier media practices. I was honored to serve as an outside reader on Freeman’s dissertation and have watched with great interest as he’s translated that document into the current book. I was delighted when he agreed to conduct an interview for the blog in which he explores a range of issues concerning both contemporary and historical forms of Transmedia entertainment. I will be sharing his insights over the next three installations of my blog. Enjoy!
Let’s begin with the question which frames your first chapter — why “historicize” the study of transmedia? What has been lost by keeping the focus of discussions of transmedia on the current moment, on an emerging or evolving set of practices within the entertainment industry?
Most pointedly, I have attempted to show in Historicising Transmedia Storytelling that there is far more to transmedia storytelling than meets the eye. It may well be a practice of industrial convergence that affords media content to spread across the subsidiaries of a conglomerate. It may also be a system of technological convergence that grants audiences the power to themselves spread stories across a web of digitally connected media platforms. But transmedia storytelling is also a form of historical production, distribution and even regulation, and one that had a very important role to play in historical media culture long before such modern convergences existed.
That said, I do agree with those who claim that transmedia storytelling is the future. The concept and practice of transmedia has really come to define the workings of today’s (commercial) media industries, speaking as it does to the ways that the spread of content across platforms comes to encapsulate the networks and convergences at the core of today’s media.
And yet the perceived newness of transmedia storytelling – or rather the perceived importance of newer convergences on the rise of transmedia storytelling – has indeed left a sizable gap in our understanding of this practice and its importance across the face of history. Derek Johnson once remarked that ‘one of the newest dimensions of contemporary transmedia entertainment is our recognition of it as such’, and the practice of telling tales across media has not only fed into the workings of media industries over the past hundred years or so, but transmedia storytelling can actually be used as a lens through which to make better sense of some of the biggest industrial, cultural, social and even political developments characterising the fin-de-siècle, the rise of modern advertising and Hollywood.
For example, I explore modern advertising at the turn of the twentieth century, itself a fast-developing industry and system of cultural and commercial communication. That period’s advertising can provide us with a source of early industrialised transmedia storytelling. At that time, new trends in modern advertising invited authors to apply promotional techniques based on branding, collectivity, colour printing technologies, etc. to their storytelling practices. In essence, everything from the giant billboards on the side of buildings and the artistic arrangements in shop windows to the promotional forms of newspaper comic strips served to attract an audience’s attention with content (characters, images, spectacle, etc.) before steering them elsewhere, often across platforms to other related content in media texts and consumer products in an overtly transmedial fashion. In this instance, only via the process of historicisation can we more fully understand transmedia as itself the industrialised slippage of commercial logos, fictional characters and brands across platforms well over a hundred years ago.
In mostly conceptualising transmedia storytelling as part of digital or industrial convergences, it is fair to say that many scholars have thus far had a tendency to neglect such workings of the past – thus leaving us all with a limited and narrow understanding of what is actually a far longer, far broader and far more complex historical development. In other words, only by looking to the past can we fully see the contingencies of the present, and by searching for historical precedents it can force us to be far more nuanced in describing what is truly specific to our present media moment. To be clear, my work is in no way a ‘corrective’ to any particular scholarly understandings of transmedia storytelling. Simply, it is an expansion of those understandings, adding new information, insights and perspectives that enhance the characteristics of this important phenomenon as it evolved across history.
If we are historicizing transmedia, why should our focus start with the dawn of the 20th century? Set the stage for us in terms of what conditions were emerging then which would push storytelling in a more transmedial direction.
There’s no denying that the notion of stories that span multiple platforms pre-dates the dawn of the twentieth century. Derek Johnson and Roberta Pearson, in particular, point to the mythological narratives of Ancient Greece and to the cross-platform narrative architecture surrounding the figure of Jesus Christ as possible (almost pre-historical) forms of transmedia storytelling. Mark J. P. Wolf also points to things like Homer’s Odyssey as a storyworld that exists transmedially and trans-historically.
And so while identifying ‘the first’ transmedia stories is surely well and truly beyond our abilities as researchers, there were nevertheless some major and fundamental transformations associated with the United States circa 1900 that became intrinsically tied to the rise of transmedia storytelling on an industrial scale. Most broadly, two of these key transformations were industrialisation and consumer.
I should probably explain that statement a little. In many ways, telling stories across media is not really about stories converging as it is about stories building – rather like a series of extensions that are added to a building to form a larger and ever-expanding house. This analogy of a house hints at a central point: The industrial strategies of the past century that became most significant to the industrial history of transmedia storytelling were all practices or developments that afforded a way to build and to spread that which was built. Industrialisation was all about building and spreading. Just as media convergence allows content to flow across multiple media platforms, so did industrialisation, albeit in different ways.
Of particular importance were the technological changes that made the production of new forms of culture possible and the concentration of people in urban areas that created significant audiences for this new culture. At the turn of the twentieth century in the US, indeed, larger cultural factors concerned transformations that saw a predominantly rural-farming economy eventually develop into an emerging urban-manufacturing landscape. It may have only fully characterised particular cities such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, but this period unquestionably witnessed the full force of industrialisation and became characterised by related developments to do with new models of mass production, fresh industrialised systems of modern advertising, and evolving developments in methods of mass communication.
What is important to stress is that, come the turn of the twentieth century, new forms of mass production technology, which led to a new and characteristically American form of manufacture, emerged only around the turn of the twentieth century. And this American form of mass production was vital to transmedia storytelling at this time.
Consider the era’s new archetypal model of industrialised mass production – the assembly line. The assembly line’s significance on what is now called transmedia storytelling ties most straightforwardly to the fact that production fast became a reproducible system of adjoining interchangeable parts during this particular time.
If imagined only from a strictly manufacturing perspective, transmedia storytelling is similarly about the reproduction of many media texts as much as it is about the creative expansion of fictional storyworlds and the migration of audiences. If the entire process of transmedia storytelling is ‘like building your Transformer and putting little rocket ships on the side,’ as Heroes’ Tim Kring once put it, then those additional ‘rocket ships’ are essentially interchangeable extension parts. And it is for this reason that the assembly line – this quintessentially American form of mass production – is so crucial to comprehending the industrial context through which transmedia storytelling emerged as an industrialised practice.
After all, in the same way that transmedia storytelling is the integration of multiple forms, or a process where elements of a larger product work like components of a unified experience, so too was the model of early-twentieth-century mass production: The assembly line was a process whereby one component was produced according to its relationship with others, which in turn was designed to be joined with another component, and with each of these adjoining components eventually all coming together to form one larger product. Conceptually, the assembly line and transmedia storytelling both work on the basis that separate product-pieces are each added one by one to form a larger product, like individual bricks building a proverbial house. In short, mass production afforded the sheer reproducibility of fiction as multipliable products for the industrial age.
From there, we then reached a phase in US history where consumer culture emerged, and this too was crucial. Economically, transmedia storytelling operates on the basis that audiences will gain both a richer and fuller understanding of a given story if they consume more of its media texts. Any attempt to historicise transmedia storytelling must therefore account for consumer culture as a broad contextual backdrop; the consumerist ideology ingrained into many current definitions of transmedia storytelling suggests that its history is closely related to the rise of consumer culture.
Specifically, the rise of consumer culture around the early twentieth century was important to the industrial history of transmedia storytelling for two reasons. First, the new models of mass production described above would lead to increased mass distribution, spreading the array of new products across media and audiences whilst further intensifying the importance of standardised differentiation on the production of products. Second, this mass distribution gave rise to the business of a number of interconnected licensing practices associated with corporate authorship’s managerial function, and in turn transmedia storytelling became corporatised. Put simply: If industrialisation afforded ways to build media on an industrial scale, then consumer culture afforded the means to spread and market that media across platforms.
Dr Matthew Freeman is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Bath Spa University, and Director of its Media Convergence Research Centre. He is the author of Historicising Transmedia Storytelling: Early Twentieth-Century Transmedia Story Worlds (Routledge, 2016), the author of Industrial Approaches to Media: A Methodological Gateway to Industry Studies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and the co-author of Transmedia Archaeology: Storytelling in the Borderlines of Science Fiction, Comics and Pulp Magazines (Palgrave Pivot, 2014). His research examines cultures of production across the borders of media and history, and he has also published in journals including The International Journal of Cultural Studies, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, and International Journal of Communication.
IKEA items used:
- FLIMRA drinking glasses of different sizes
- SECOND cord sets
- LACK TV unit (for the white panel)
I started by drilling holes of about 8mm [5/16 inch] into the drinking glasses, this was the tricky part of the project and took me several months. You’ll find a lot of hints how to drill holes in glasses, for me after some trial and error I had success using a diamond drill and applying cellophane tape to the place where I drilled. Using a drill press instead of a handle drill greatly reduces difficulty. Make sure you buy some spare glasses in case you break some during the process.
From the LACK TV unit I only used the thin board, leaving me material for future hacks. (Credit for this idea goes to this hack.) I decided not to have the lamps hanging in one line as it makes things harder and any error visible, so drilling these holes was easy compared to drilling glass.
When I assembled my lamp, I cut some piece off the bulb socket in order to have the bulb not sticking too far out of the glass in the end. I used a couple of cable ties to reduce the pull forces that the glasses may execute to the cable in the end. When assembling, I made sure the holes in the board are on the upper side, as I could perfectly turn screw hooks in for hanging the lamp. I also used hot glue to fix the terminals to the board on the upper side in order to keep the cables as invisible as possible.
~ by Beni Mahler
(A customer orders a vegetarian pizza and he insists that we put quadruple cheese on it.)
Me: “Well, I would not recommend that, sir, since the dough won’t cook properly if we do.”
Customer: “I don’t care; it’s what I want!”
Me: “Okay, then…”
(I make the pizza the way he wants it and he takes it home. About a half hour later the guy calls back demanding to talk to the manager.)
Me: “I am sorry, sir, but we close soon and the manager will not be in until tomorrow. Is there something I can help you with?”
Customer: “Your pizza made us all sick! We took one bite and now we all have salmonella! I want my money back!”
Me: “Umm… sir, salmonella is caused by meat or raw eggs… and you got a vegetarian pizza. Also it would probably take longer than the time you had to eat it to get sick.”
Customer: “Fine! We got… streptococcus!”
Me: “We gave you strep throat… with a pizza?” *I think he meant staphylococcus*
Customer: “No, no… it’s… I know what it is… it’s Ebola!”
Me: *at this point I am trying not to crack up* “So… you have a hemorrhagic fever? I would highly recommend you going to the doctor and not bother to call us, sir. But I think you mean E coli… and that comes from under-cooked meat or contaminated food… and it takes about two to three days to show symptoms… Now, if you are talking about the under-cooked dough, I warned you about that, but the worst you could get from that is maybe a little indigestion.”
Customer: “How do you know about all those diseases?!”
Me: “It was a slow night last night and I read one of our food prep guides, and it had a section on food poisoning and how to avoid it… Now, is there anything else I can help you with, sir?”
(By this point I am putting on my sweet-as-pie voice.)
Customer: *long pause and then a sheepish voice* “No… thank you. Have a good night.” *hangs up*
The post Ebola, E-Coli, And Strep, Oh My appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.
No Exit (@ AO3)
Star Wars; Darth Vader/Ahsoka Tano; adult; 2,525 words
Ahsoka promised not to leave him again and Vader was going to hold her to it.
Contains nonconsensual and highly dubiously consensual sex, inappropriate uses of the Force, and nonconsensual breathplay (i.e., Force choking).
None of it is particularly graphic but it is creepy and fucked up. At least I hope it is. That's what I was aiming for. I also hope the warnings are sufficient. I took out "Stockholm syndrome" on consideration, because despite her...willingness to believe she could reach him, Ahsoka never comes around to Vader's POV, and she always has her own agenda. (I also feel like this is an example of Vader's inability to own his own actions. She promised not to leave and she's keeping that promise, but if he kills her, she's gone, so then the promise is broken and he'll blame her for that despite it being his own fault. *hands* Maybe she makes a daring escape after the story ends. That's what I'd like to believe. *g* But the story had to end on his realization, I think. He couldn't let it go on indefinitely. But I couldn't write him actually killing her.)
In other news, I used some of my Christmas money to order some cardigans and long sleeved T-shirts, so that I can be appropriate but not overheated at work. So many older ladies' style choices have become clear to me now! All hail the twin set, which allows for layering while looking professional. I also bought a couple of cute sparkly bracelets and earrings.
So this morning I tried out the Q for my daily commute and it was great. I mean, I still don't know which end of the platform serves me best for a quick change to the 1 at Times Square, and I lost about five minutes in Times Square because I wasn't at the best place to get to the 1, but it still only took about 35 minutes total travel time, which is amazing, and could be useful for mornings when I'm running late, or the weather is really bad. Of course, that was with everything running smoothly. I even got a seat on both trains, which I didn't expect. So it's nice to know that it's an option.
A woman from Brighton who was mistaken for Ivanka Trump on Twitter by none other than the US President-elect himself has told the BBC it has been a surreal start to the day. Ivanka Majic, a digital consultant, said she and her husband were woken at 06:00 by calls from the media.
Just imagine the wonderful mistakes he'll make as president!
Trump has a habit of manually quoting praise on Twitter rather than simply retweeting it like a normal narcissist would. The result is that Twitter's system presents the quote as being authored by Trump himself, allowing his account to benefit from whatever systematic and organic propagation occurs. So while he didn't write the original mistake, he manually repeated it out of ignorance or plain disinterest in fixing it.
Ivanka Trump is @IvankaTrump on twitter.
During the course of 2016, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Conor Knighton visited all 59 National Parks in America, and he filmed himself singing “America The Beautiful” in every one of them. You can learn more about Knighton’s journey in this CBS Sunday Morning segment:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S62yIFTx
Malaysia Airlines flight #MH370 pitched somewhere in the vast oceans west of Australia three years ago, the only evidence washing ashore thousands of miles away. The search for its remains, and those of hundreds of missing passengers and crew, has been called off.
Families of the victims of flight MH370 say a decision to halt the search for the Malaysian airliner that vanished in March 2014 is "irresponsible". ... More than 120,000 sq km (46,300 miles) of the Indian Ocean has been searched with no results. Pieces of debris have been found as far away as Madagascar. But only seven have been identified as definitely or highly likely to be from the Boeing 777.
It's 2017 and they still dress airline pilots up like commodores and let them turn off the transponders.
While I want her to be responsible with it, I realize she will make mistakes -- which she already has by being on her phone too much. (It has been taken away from her once.) I want her to carry the phone with her in case of emergencies. If it is confiscated at school, her dad will no doubt tell me, "I told you so."
Should I abide by his wishes and not allow her to have the phone, or do you think my points are valid? -- MOM WITH PHONE ISSUE
DEAR MOM: Wanting your daughter to have the cellphone in case of emergency seems valid to me. If you are her custodial parent, I think that prerogative belongs to you.
But I do have a question: Who took the phone away from your daughter? If you did it because she was abusing the privilege, then she will learn her lesson if you are consistent. If a teacher takes it away from her at school, there should be consequences and you should ensure that they are enforced.
"As we head into this week, we know that Friday’s inauguration and the accompanying protest marches through the weekend are at the forefront of people’s minds. Many of us will be in the streets, knowing that this weekend is just a starting point, that standing up to this administration must continue long after – and that by working on your home turf to keep the pressure on your elected representatives, we can resist the Trump agenda.
If you’ve been thinking about joining a group in your community, now is the time. Search the directory for a group near you, or if there isn’t one yet, grab a few friends and start one of your own (and tell us about it)! If you’ve got a group, make plans for your first – or second, or third – visit to your Member of Congress’ local district office. And whether your group is spending this week making those visits or making phone calls, there’s a lot to demand from your Member of Congress.
Two Indivisible Actions This Week
1) Stand With Civil Rights Leader John Lewis. Stand Against Trump’s Agenda. #standindivisible.
Nearly three dozen Members of Congress have announced that they will not be attending inauguration. Why? Donald Trump’s attacks on civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis - attacks Trump made on a weekend meant to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Does your Member of Congress stand with Trump or stand with John Lewis?
Urge your Representative and Senators to boycott the inauguration and stand with Rep. John Lewis.
2) Oppose Trump’s Dangerous Cabinet Picks. There are three big Trump nominees up this week. They are all terrible.
Today, Tuesday, January 17th: Senate Health, Education Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee begins consideration of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos has no experience working in public education, and has been a strong proponent of diverting public resources to private and religious schools through vouchers and to unregulated for-profit charter schools. Find out more about DeVos’s attacks on public education with this video from Brave New Films.
Ask your Senators to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th: Senate HELP begins consideration of Rep. Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Rep. Price is a radical conservative who wants to destroy the Affordable Care Act, eviscerate anti-poverty efforts, and undermine women’s health, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights. There are also unanswered ethical questions about profits Price has made trading health care stocks during his time in Congress where he worked on health care legislation.
Ask your Senators to oppose the nomination of Rep. Tom Price for HHS Secretary.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18th: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee begins consideration of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the EPA. Pruitt, a climate change denier and close ally of the fossil fuels industry, has used his position as Oklahoma Attorney General to undermine rules to protect the environment and public health.
Ask your Senators to oppose the nomination of Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator.
New Indivisible Tool: Indivisible Action Calendar
Is your local group planning a visit to your senator’s office, or a round of phone calls to your representative? Each action is powerful on its own, but they become even more powerful in coordination with each other. To help, we’re launching a new Indivisible Action Calendar, where we highlight opportunities to join coordinated calls to action. Check out the calendar for national calls to action that other groups are participating in - you can turn up the volume on your action by adding your voice to theirs.
Save the Date: National Day of Action January 24th
President-Elect Trump becomes President Trump on Friday. So what are you gonna do about it? Get ready for one big, national action coming up next Tuesday, January 24th. Along with MoveOn, the Working Families Party, and other groups, we’re calling for a Day of Action at your senators’ offices, demanding that they reject Trump’s corrupt and unqualified nominations. We will be co-hosting a conference call in the evening of Sunday, January 22nd to prepare for this nationwide action - stay tuned!
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Previously on Elyse Watches The Bachelor…
Last week I got really drunk on Dark and Stormys while Nick Viall aka The Bachelor took the contestants to a photo shoot and The Museum of Broken Relationships. Corrine took off her top, Josephine slapped Nick across the face, and Liz was sent home–meaning 21 women remain. I think it’s 21. I was too drunk to count.
Tonight I’m a tad more sober–and hoping we don’t lose power due to an ice storm. I bet LA is nice and warm right now…
Anyway, on with the show!
Now, Nick had let Liz go because he questioned her reason for being on the show. I’m sure her motives were the same as all the other contestants–to drink as much wine and get as much free travel out of this contest as possible.
Anyway, Nick and Liz had hooked up after a wedding. At the time she declined to give Nick her number. Then she showed up at the McMansion. Nick was shocked! Except I think they filmed a faux wedding reception to use as a flashback, so I call bullshit.
Nick gets the women together and tells them all that he and Liz had a previous sexual relationship. There are gasps and pearl clutching. One woman says she’s “confused.”
Let me clear it up for you, honey. Nick met Liz at a wedding. There was an open bar. They felt mutual attraction. There might have been foreplay. He put his penis inside Liz’s vagina. Apparently he didn’t do a great job of it though because Liz decided to leave it as a one night stand. Let’s look at the clues:
- Liz didn’t want Nick’s phone number after they had sex.
- Nick didn’t want Liz hanging around the McMansion to tell the other women that they had sex.
Now, I’m not a detective (or a high functioning sociopath), but deductive reasoning tells me that maybe Nick is shit in bed. At one point during this episode Corinne–that sassy vixen–shows up with a can of Redi-Whip, the brand name sort of taped out–and asks Nick to lick it off her boobs. He complies, but he’s super uncomfortable about it and, at one point, says “I can’t do any more whipped cream” in the tone of voice that suggests that–full of horror–Nick has suddenly remembered he’s lactose intolerant. Maybe the sexy games just aren’t up his alley? Poor Corinne is so embarrassed by Nick’s awkwardness and apparent lack of interest, that she starts crying and I wanted to hug her. I mean, after she washed her boobs and put on a shirt.
Honestly this episode would have been so much more satisfying had Liz been allowed to tell the women that she’d slept with Nick, while going into detail. Possibly with a sock puppet reenactment.
Then OUT OF NOWHERE there’s a Dreaded Rose Ceremony! WTF?! We’re only 15 minutes into this episode. I’m so confused. Liz is gone. Corinne is sobbing in the bathroom. THIS IS MADNESS. After a few moments and a fortifying sip of Kraken and Coke, I realize that this Dreaded Rose Ceremony is a continuation of last week’s episode. Corinne, having previously won a rose on their group date, is safe. So Corrine does what any sane woman would–she opts out of this bullshit, pulling on her pajamas and going to bed.
Nick is indignant. Sure Corinne has a rose but she can’t just GO TO BED! She has to follow the scared, time-honored protocol of The Bachelor set down in 2002, and stand around in a ball gown even through she has fuck-all to do. Nick implies, ominously, that this breech of etiquette may impact how he sees Corinne.
Fuck. You. Dude.
Things we learned about Nick in this episode:
- He’s probably bad in bed.
- He’s totally crop-dusting the crew with his accidental-dairy farts.
- He’s big on rules that have no basis in reality.
I can’t believe this guy is still single!
Nick decides to send home Hailey, a photographer from Vancouver and Lacy, a digital marketing manager. Sorry ladies, you didn’t make it to Bali, but at least you didn’t have to spend any time in the Fantasy Suite.
The following day the next group date is revealed–some of the contestants, and Nick, will perform as backup dancers for The Backstreet Boys. The Backstreet Boys actually appear at the McMansion and sing acapella for the ladies. They all freak out, fangirling and screaming. Chris Harrison brings out his Nick Carter fan fic and asks for an autograph. All I could think was “Nick, you are so fucked.”
Remember, this is the guy who said, “I don’t know how to sit sideways on a couch. It’s hard.”
During practice the Backstreet Boys inform the group that they will select the best dancer to be serenaded on stage with Nick. And my heart died a little.
Let me tell you a story about fourteen-year-old Elyse, starry-eyed and on the cusp of discovering romance novels. Little baby Elyse thought that someday she’d marry Kevin Richardson from the Backstreet Boys. She had all his shitty posters from TigerBeat on her bedroom wall. She listened to “I Want It That Way” so often that for one golden moment, the lyrics almost sort of made sense. I held firm in my BSB fanship even when N’Sync emerged.
I never would have imagined that my childhood crush would sink so low as to help Nick pick the winner of a group date. You were supposed to be better, Kevin. The Kevin of my teenage dreams would have recognized the situation immediately and steadfastly refused to turn any of ladies over to Nick for a serenade. He would have stood firm, their knight in gleaming rayon.
Unsurprisingly, Nick sort of flops around on stage like a newly hatched sea turtle getting its bearings. The BSB, of one harmonizing hive mind, select Danielle L as the best back up dancer. Nick kisses her on stage. Nick tells her “The Backstreet Boys think we have amazing chemistry.” NO THEY DON’T NICK. THEY WOULDN’T SINK THAT LOW. They wouldn’t…
Regardless, Danielle L gets the much coveted rose. She kisses Nick a little more but we know she’s picturing Nick Carter in her mind.
Vanessa lands the next solo date, and she and Nick get to go on a zero gravity plane. Basically the plane nose dives so that for moments, they are weightless as if they are in space.
Nick tells the camera, “You can’t control what you do, really. You kinda have to let yourself go.”
Let’s hope he’s not still experiencing whipped cream after affects.
He follows up with “I don’t know if anyone’s ever kissed while floating in space, but all I want to do in this moment is kiss her.”
Oh please. You know astronauts have totally boned in space for no other reason than SCIENCE.
So anyway, they do kiss and then Vanessa gets nauseated and woofs into a paper bag. See, this is how you do it–you lure The Bachelor in with your sweet doe eyes and beguiling smile, then before the nookie can really start you vomit. Now he doesn’t want to kiss you, but also feels guilty enough not to eliminate you. THIS IS HOW YOU GET TO BALI PEOPLE.
Then Nick fucks up my plan BY STILL KISSING VANESSA AFTER SHE VOMITED. OMG NICK WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU! NO! NO! I was so horrified I slapped my hands over my mouth and gagged.
Nick helpfully says, “I can’t taste it.”
Nick takes Vanessa to dinner, and it sounded like he told her they were on the tallest building in Atlanta which confused me for a minute–how far did that plane go? Then I realized he just mumbles and actually said LA. Although in retrospect it’s entirely possible Nick doesn’t actually know what city they’re in. Nick gives Vanessa a rose and they kiss some more–although I really hoped that she’s brushed her teeth by now.
For the next group date, several of the ladies arrive at a sportsing arena type place where Nick tells them he did Track and Field in high school and college.
Good share, Nick. I read The Awakening and Tess D’Ubvervilles and cried when I was still in school, but you don’t see me forcing people to relive that shit with me. No one cares about your stupid javelin.
To help them out with their “Nick-Athalon” (not making that up) is Carl Lewis, nine time Olympic gold medalist. ABC WHY DO YOU KEEP INCORPORATING MEN WHO ARE MORE INTERESTING THAN NICK INTO GROUP DATES?
Allyson Felix and Michelle Carter are also in attendance. At this point I’d be like, “fuck this.” I’d punch Nick in the balls, incapacitating him, and spend the rest of the day talking to these amazing athletes. Nick could ice his nuts and they could regale me with tales of Olympic glory.
Astrid wins the group date and some alone time with Nick in a hot tub, while everyone else gets to hang out with the Olympians. Who is the real loser here, I ask?
At this point we’re at the one hour, thirty minute mark. When does this show get shorter? My liver can’t handle this shit.
I polish off my rum and coke, and the ladies go on to the cocktail party of the evening.
Nick asks “Astrid, would you [mumble something] chat a little bit?”
Astrid says, “Fuck no. I have a chardonnay and the newest My Favorite Murder Podcast episode downloaded.”
Okay, maybe she says that in her head.
Meanwhile Dominque goes into the bathroom–aka The Room Where We All Cry–to weep because Nick hasn’t noticed her yet. She’s probably just a little drunk and overheated from the athletics earlier. Hopefully someone got her a nice cold water off camera and rubbed her back a little. Later she tells Nick he hasn’t given her a fair chance–he’s paid very little attention to her compared to the other women.
Now, sarcasm aside, I found this segment of the show fascinating because the other women–while Dominque is talking to Nick–say that they hope she’s getting the validation that she needs. Which for a show, ostensibly about women tearing each other down and competing for one dude, is an interesting clip to air. It also supports my thesis that off camera (or on the editing room floor) the women are a lot more supportive of each other than we’re meant to see.
Nick fails epically on the validation front and sends Dominque home. You suck, dude.
When he tells the remaining women he sent Dominque home, they all look genuinely upset. Immediately after putting Dominique in The SUV of Shame, Nick gives Rachel a rose.
The next day instead of the normal cocktail party preceding The Dreaded Rose Ceremony, Chris Harrison tells them that Nick would prefer a pool party. Why Nick can’t tell them that his own damn self, I don’t know. It probably has to do with mumbling.
Corinne has a surprise for Nick during the pool party–she rented a bouncy castle for them!
They jump around and make out on the bouncy castle floor, and I just hope to God that they hosed that thing down before taking it on to a six-year-old’s birthday party.
And I’m sorry for the aside here, but man I wish they had bouncy castles when I was kid. Remember this fucking thing?
What fucking monster came up with this? It was made of metal, blistering hot in the summer, and was apparently constructed by a Welding 101 class because all of the joins were illogically sharp and gave you tetanus. The dome from my childhood memories was like six feet tall so that when you got to the top some other little asshole shoved you off and you fractured something on the way down.
Who thought this was a good idea? How the hell were so many of them built? I swear I still have gravel in my knee from falling off one.
Anyway, a visibly shit-faced Nick (me too bud) and Corinne roll around in the bouncy castle while some of the other women look on, and I’m thinking that based on this still Vanessa might be drinking Mountain Dew out of a wine glass. You go girl.
Vanessa, jacked up on Mountain Dew and rage, tells Nick that she’s a little grossed out that they had this nice date where she threw up and he still kissed her, and now he’s dry humping Corinne in a bouncy castle. She says, “I’m not judging Corinne, I’m judging your actions.”
BOOM! Let’s all toast our Mountain Dews to women not tearing each other down!
Vanessa leaves Nick with the bombshell that if he’s gonna be a douche, then he can keep his rose cuz she’s got other shit to do.
And that’s where the episode ends, with Vanessa throwing down like a champ, Nick uncertain of what municipality they’re in, a bouncy castle in need of Clorox Wipes, and Chris Harrison sobbing over his Nick Carter fanfic.
For me this episode validated what I’d long suspected–the ladies aren’t here to compete or be shitty to each other (even if they’re all a little sick of Corinne’s performative behavior). What did you think? Did you find this episode refreshing–or was the post puke kissing just too much? And who should be sent home next?
I have a new exchange for worldbuilding-focused fanworks, very much inspired by the Yuletide tradition of some participants requesting zero characters. (Though matching for this will work somewhat differently.)
Nominations are already open: the tag set is here.
Nominations close: Tues 24th Jan, 07:59 UTC
Sign ups close: Weds 1st Feb, 07:59 UTC
Assignments sent by: Sat 4th Feb, 07:59 UTC
Assignments due: Sat 1st Apr, 06:59 UTC
Works revealed: Sat 8th Apr, 06:59 UTC
Authors revealed: Sat 15th Apr, 06:59 UTC
(All these times are the UTC equivalent of just before midnight Pacific time on the previous calendar day.)