Review: The Most Important Book; SPN 14.01

The Most Important Book in Human History, by Michael Phillips - I got this because a blogger I follow highly recommended it, and--well, I'm still trying to figure out what I think about it. The topic of the book is the nature and effect of modern commerce on society as we know it. Which is an important topic, but I suspect the title is overselling the goods a bit. It's very brief, so if the subject interests you, it might be worth checking out--it's an easy and lucid read with some food for thought.

On the other hand, taking a break from s13 of SPN, some things I enjoyed from 14.01, "Stranger in a Strange Land":

  • Sam turning off the intro music on the Impala's tape deck

  • Okay, so Michael's got the 'true believer' creepy vibe going, better than in the AU dimension, where he just seemed angry

  • First overhead shot of the bunker's war room, I totally thought it was Sam sorting bullets until they panned down and it was some random dude instead. A very effective way of emphasizing that the bunker's full of other people now.

  • Jack learning how to box with Bobby is adorable

  • ....And Cas is once again an idiot without any sense of self-preservation

  • Jack's boxing outfit is so nice and clean, Sam must have gone out and bought it specially for him

  • (Sam's trying so hard to be a good dad and a good leader)

  • Cas: Why are you using me as bait? | Demon: Well, it's kind of what you're for, isn't it? -- Well, that's a bit on the nose. :P

  • I suspect Sam and Dean should've ridden in the car together--they probably would've found more comfort in each other than in their respective ride partners (...and where was Maggie? In the Impala's trunk?)

  • How does Jack manage to continue being so darn cute?

  • Well, that was a pretty impressive fight scene -- and Sam kicks major butt <3

  • Nice little detail of Sam thinking to use some of the BMoL tech--can't use it, of course, because that would make things too easy, but thinking of it makes Sam look smart. :D

  • It's kind of amusing how Cas is still just wandering around the bunker all blood-spattered and banged up

  • Also kind of amusing--Mary and Cas both try to fill Dean's role of "we'll figure it out, like we always do", and neither Sam nor Jack really buy it

Overall--season arc episode, not my cuppa tea, yadda yadda--but despite that, was still a nicely diverting 42 minutes. And I know people were knocking Michael's "Peaky Blinders" outfit, but it does a decent job of making him look very out of place (as he is), so I figure it fadges well enough.

Poem: Snow

- Walter de la Mare

No breath of wind,
No gleam of sun –
Still the white snow
Whirls softly down
Twig and bough
And blade and thorn
All in an icy
Quiet, forlorn.
Whispering, rustling,
Through the air
On still and stone,
Roof, - everywhere,
It heaps its powdery
Crystal flakes,
Of every tree
A mountain makes;
‘Til pale and faint
At shut of day
Stoops from the West
One wint’ry ray,
And, feathered in fire
Where ghosts the moon,
A robin shrills
His lonely tune.

The ride of the Rohirrim

This is the sort of thing that makes--made?--Tumblr as a platform. You used to get this sort of thing in the LJ comment threads, but it doesn't seem to happen much anymore, at least not in the comms I'm part of--we had a taste of it still over at spn_bunker, before that finally closed up shop (alas).

...Anybody have any active hang-out comms to recommend? The only ones still going on my friends list are purely fic announcement boards. Or is there some way I could set up things here to better encourage chatting? I'm feeling the real need to foster social bonds somehow.


meme: autumn edition

via zmediaoutlet. Feel free to share your own picks in the comments!

tea or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate, definitely. Though I'll drink a tisane if everyone else is going with tea, just so I'm not the odd man out.
cozy books or halloween movies? Even though I love SPN's old-school "mini horror movie" episodes, gotta go with cozy books here. Mostly because I've seen so few "halloween movies" that I'm pretty unfamiliar with the genre.
plaid or corduroy? Plaid. It's cozier.
foggy mornings or twinkly nights? Foggy mornings look pretty but make it very hard to get out of bed. Twinkly nights it is.
orange or black? The colors of my alma mater, so let's go with both.
pumpkin or apple pie? Love both, but apple pie definitely has the edge here, especially my mom's dutch apple pie. I'd happily give up every other desert if I could have that on a regular basis.
wool or velvet? Wool, on account of cozy and keeps you warm even when wet.
picking fruit or carving pumpkins? Picking fruit. Less messy, and you get to eat it.
libraries or coffee shops? Coffee shops just make me feel awkward. Also, I work in a library. (And kind of live in one, given the number of overflowing bookcases are here...)
cinnamon or peanut butter? Peanut butter, especially when paired with chocolate.
spooky or cozy halloween? Cozy! Because work is being really stressful right now, and I just want everything to be cozy to compensate.
candles or fairy lights? They have different uses, so I'm going with "both".
faraji + rosa

Fic: Joy in the Morning

Written for the 2011 reverse bang round at originalbigbang, based on a now-locked picture by reapertownusa.

At the age of eleven years and ten months, twenty-four days, Joy decided all she really wanted for her birthday was a Fliek’s dragon (“I’m too old for dolls and silly games anymore, Plen!”) and she wasn’t going to let Plen give her anything else, even if she had to make up all the reasons for why it wasn’t a crazy idea (“You could use it to carry stuff into town for Uncle Increase to sell, instead of having to make Faraji do it!”).

Plen didn’t buy any of her reasons (“Oh, so who it was I saw playing ‘tea party’ in the front yard two days ago?” and “Faraji takes things into town for me because Uncle Increase always tries to cheat me because I’m a family member.”), but he did start to think up his own for why it might be a good idea.

“It would get her to shut up, at least,” he sighed to Faraji one evening after Joy had gone to bed. “I thought Mercy was joking when she described Joy in her letters as a demon sent to plague her, but now I’m beginning to see what she meant.” He pushed his empty glass across the table to Faraji in a silent request to have it refilled.

“Compared to some grown women I’ve known, she is the very model of sense and policy.” Faraji eyed the glass and then Plen. “Do you wish to finish the bottle? It’s the next to last.”

“No, I guess not. We can save it for tomorrow.” Plen watched the cork go in with something like regret, but mostly just because he was out of ways to distract himself from the voluble matter at hand. “Sense and policy, huh?” Considering some of the women the two of them had met on their travels.... “Well, maybe you’re right. At least she hasn’t reached the kicking and screaming stage.”

“And I doubt she ever will. Despite her comments to you, your sister did a better job raising her than that.”

“Didn’t Joy spend this afternoon dropping worms down your back?” Plen refrained from mentioning that he’d been watching and laughing the whole time.

“Mere youthful exuberance.” Although Faraji’s serene certainty did seem to slip a little at the memory.

“And then threaten to put honey in your locks?” That hadn’t been funny—the resulting mess almost certainly would have had to have been cut off entirely, and Faraji had been cultivating his locks since before Plen had met him.

“For which she is now forbidden to eat any until the end of the month.” The serenity was now replaced entirely by fond exasperation, though Plen couldn’t tell whether for him or Joy. “She is still a child, Plen, and not entirely capable of understanding the potential consequences of her actions.”

“Which is the issue I keep running into when I’m tempted to just say yes to her!” And really the only issue, if he let himself actually think about it: he could easily afford to buy and keep a Fliek’s dragon, and it would be useful for hauling heavy loads around. They had the space for one, and even an unused shack/shed that could be fixed up to house it. If Joy hadn’t been pushing him so hard, he probably would have done it already.

And Faraji, because he could read Plen’s mind, asked, “And if I had suggested it instead of Joy?”

Plen groaned and put his head down on the table. “We’d have a Fliek’s dragon.”
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burn notice!

So, Tumblr's on fire

More than usual, that is, with the new hard-line stance on NSFW content. I figured I'd be okay since everything I post over there had to get past the CW censors before airing, but nope. So far, the following items have been flagged:

  • Sam’s chest (3+ times)

  • Dean’s wet head and bare shoulders

  • A couple of junk drawers

  • A dude in a t-shirt holding pencils

  • A close-up of the Colt

  • Close-ups of a couple of knives

  • Several clothed people standing in a room together

  • The shadow of Meg falling out a window

  • Sam drinking a smoothy with a straw

  • Sam and Dean drinking beers together in the kitchen

  • A young girl looking at some candles

  • Dean holding a plate of pie

  • Dead Sam from “All Hell Breaks Loose” / Dean’s teary face

  • Dean about to get stabbed in the eye / Sam freaking out in the closet

  • A close-up of a couple holding hands in bed. All you can see is their hands and the surrounding sheets

  • A guy looking out the window through Venetian blinds

  • Someone in a dark room shining a flashlight

  • A group of children standing in a circle

In a way it feels worse than the Strikethrough crisis back in ye olden days of LJ--at least there, you could be pretty sure which journals were at risk and had the option of preemptively friend-locking yours if you were feeling paranoid. Here, it's just willy-nilly, with completely innocuous content getting flagged by the system. And because only the original poster can appeal, if you happen to have reblogged something from a now-deleted account, if it gets flagged there's no way to get it fixed.

Pretty sure we're going to see another fandom exodus, if people can figure out where to go. Tumblr's free image storage is a pretty big lure, but they're destroying that with this scatter-shot approach to making the site 'safer'. Especially when two people can post nearly identical gifs/images and one gets flagged by the system and the other doesn't.

Don't think the weekly screen cap spams will get affected too much, but if some post without the purported number of images, it's probably Tumblr's fault.

UPDATE: All posts on appeal have been approved, so I think everything's okay for the moment.