Riba Rambles:
Musings of a Mental Magpie

About the author: Elisabeth in early 2007, photo by Todd Belf
Elisabeth "Lis" Riba is an infovore with an MLS. This is her place to share whatever's on her mind, on topics both personal and political. [more]
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Saturday, November 15, 2003
Oh no, not again
Posted by Lis Riba at 5:30 PM

I've just spotted another potential quagmire anad I'm trying to avoid getting sucked in.

Ampersand's Alas, a blog has an interesting, feminist take on the issues.

Several recent posts have touched upon matters of gender and sexuality ("There's Something About Miriam" and Censorship of porn sites, just to name two), but his latest post: Facets of Gender Identity tries to address the matter head-on.

Ampersand quotes another blogger, who suggests the following six components as a more nuanced way of describing gender:

  • Core identity (how you see yourself)
  • Biological sex (the "official" opinion of who you are)
  • Sexual/romantic attractions (who you gravitate towards)
  • Sexual/romantic attractiveness (who gravitates toward you)
  • Gender expression (mannerisms, clothes, affinities, interests)
  • Social perception (what conclusions people tend to make of you)

I'm not sure what I think about this. It certainly has more depth than the typical binary divisions or even the linear scale. On the other hand, most of these measures still use the familiar male-female/masculine-feminine/butch-femme scale. So it has more dimensions, but each dimensions is still built on the same scale. So for people who don't map to that scale, it may still not fit their self-identities...

I know that several people reading this have... nonstandard takes on gender identity. I'm really trying to focus on my story and not get sucked into the discussion. On the other hand, I don't like to see certain POVs ignored. So I guess I was wondering if any of you would care to jump into the Amptoons thread so I won't feel so obligated to. And maybe someday when it's not NaNoWriMonth, you can tag me in on one of your discussions...

"Second Chances" updated
Posted by Lis Riba at 4:15 PM

For everybody reading my NaNoWriMo story, I have just uploaded the conclusion of the acromantula scene. My sincerest apologies for leaving you hanging on a cliffhanger for so long.

My only plan for this weekend is to try to catch up on writing, so I might have a chance of meeting the official goal. [Today's efforts brought me to 33% of 50,000; the month is now half over.]

[Note: I seem to average about 500 words per hour according to Veritime and the Excel spreadsheet, so I was hoping that a fulltime concerted effort this weekend could bring me back on target. Unfortunately I didn't count on the fact that I start and stop Veritime many times over a writing session. Statistically, I've written 1346 words in just under two hours today. However, those two hours were from noon to 4 pm. This may take a bit longer than I anticipated...]

Earlier this week, I got sucked into a fascinating discussion in somebody else's blog. Honestly, I've written plenty of words over the week, just few of them on my story. And this, people, is why I think I'll never get a PhD -- if I get this easily distracted only twelve days into the month, how could I possibly stick with a topic long enough to write a thesis?

At any rate, the thread I was following seems to have petered out, and hopefully nothing else will come along to cause further delays. Onward and upwards...

Friday, November 14, 2003
Friday cat blogging
Posted by Lis Riba at 1:20 PM

Cats sleep in the weirdest positions:

Boopsie, being awoken by me taking her picture      
      Boopsie from a slightly different angle

Aww... Idn't she cuuute!


BTW, I think my post reviewing The Hebrew Hammer will have to wait until after Shabbos...

A tale told by an idiot?
Posted by Lis Riba at 10:10 AM

I was just reading this morning's Salon, when I came across another article slamming Madonna's latest children's book. [Apparently, there's a second.]

Being enough of a fan of YA books and writers to be rather annoyed at celebrities who think it's easy to just whip off a kiddie book, and having read articles slamming her first effort, I read this latest article with curiousity. Until I got to this paragraph describing Mr. Peabody's Apples, about the evils of gossip:

Mr. Peabody is a schoolteacher and baseball coach. One day, a boy named Tommy Tittlebottom sees Peabody apparently steal an apple from the local grocer. He tells his friends. Soon the whole town believes their beloved teacher is a thief. As soon as he hears about it, Peabody proves his innocence. The grocer confirms that Peabody pays in advance each week for an apple a day. Tommy apologizes to Mr. Peabody and asks how he can make amends. But instead of telling Tommy it's OK and forgiving him, Peabody has him slice open a pillow and let the feathers blow across a field. He then tells Tommy to pick them up, which is impossible. "It would be just as impossible to undo the damage that you have done by spreading the rumor that I am a thief," Peabody says. "Each feather represents a person in Happville."

I know that story. I know it quite well.

The entire notion of making a repentant gossip shake open a pillow and then collect the feathers is an ancient Jewish cautionary tale. At least she acknowledges that in her introduction, although most of the articles I could find say she credits it to "a 300-year-old Ukrainian tale called 'The Baad Shem Tov.'" First of all, it's Baal Shem Tov, and second, he was a person, not a tale. I wonder whether those errors were Madonna's or the reviewers.

Either way, according to most of the reviewers, she doesn't tell the story well, coming across as preachy and not told well. In the original story, the rumor being spread was a defamatory one spread maliciously about something that shouldn't've been anybody's business. In Madonna's version, the boy thought he witnessed an actual crime.

At any rate, maybe her next children's book should be about finding one's own voice, rather than parrotting from others...

Added slightly later: Nope, just found another article on Madonna's new pasttime, saying this is "the second of five children's books by Madonna" (so at least we know it'll be a finite set) and her next book will be titled Yakov and the Seven Thieves. Oy.

The Hebrew Hammer
Posted by Lis Riba at 12:34 AM
The Hebrew Hammer
Adam Goldberg as Mordechai Jefferson Carver
Judy Greer as Esther Bloomenbergensteinenthal

I'll write more about the film in the morning, but oy was that fun!

Thursday, November 13, 2003
Yessss... My precious
Posted by Lis Riba at 12:45 PM

Google has just implemented something I tried to hack together myself many years ago from their standard toolbar.

Google Deskbar

Allows you to search Google even without having a browser open.

It's still in Beta, but I'm downloading it.

Cool.
[First seen through Hiawatha Bray]

A few other nifty discoveries about Google in recent weeks:

Enjoy!

The Court is amused
Posted by Lis Riba at 10:45 AM

I haven't done much Supreme Court geeking in quite a while, but I couldn't help grinning over Scalia's hypothetical in yesterday's oral arguments (as related by Dahlia Lithwick) and simply had to share it. The issue under discussion is what can be considered an accident and under what situations is someone negligent for refraining to act:

[As the lawyer] starts to speak, Scalia hijacks him with a hypo[thetical] in which a man "hurls himself into the sea, intending to commit suicide," while nearby there is a dock with 30 people, each with a life preserver at his feet, all of whom refuse to throw a life preserver to the drowning guy. "I don't know," he adds. "Maybe they're 30 libertarians."

And another amusing exchange from the article:

Rehnquist asks what industry practice and Olympic Airlines' policy regarding moving passengers' seats is (since the claim here is that the stewardess' action was "unexpected" as it violated routine policy). Farr replies that the general practice is to accommodate people who ask to move. Really? My general airline experience is that the industry practice is to avoid eye contact and look aggrieved.

Given the tenor of many bench comments I've read this session, I'm surprised nobody said "No, Bill, that's just you."

Assorted (sordid?) thoughts
Posted by Lis Riba at 9:48 AM

A few random thoughts this morning:

  • Got our flu shots last night. Just read Ian's post and my comment.
  • Don't want to say anything about last night's Smallville and Angel, but ohhhh I'm looking forward to next week's, based upon the previews. I can already hear how the WB announcer should be promoing the night:
    "Insanity reins on an all new WB Wednesday night. First, on Smallville...
  • If you tried to follow my links to the Harry Potter trailer last night and couldn't get through, MSNBC has the explanation. The links weren't supposed to be posted until later last night, but some industrious fans managed to figure out what the URL should be. [Not too hard -- they merely replaced the HP2 in the last movie's filename with HP3.]. Story via Leaky Cauldron
  • And speaking of the trailer, funniest comment ever! Don't even bother to read this unless you are okay with dirty jokes and Harry Potter in the same thought. If you haven't yet watched the trailer, first take a look at this still. Next read Amanuensis' speculation on the candles and then read hannelore's explanation, which made me laugh out loud. [FWIW, here's my speculation on the real source of that scene -- just don't ask me to explain the chorus of toads.]

I'm sure I could write more about all kinds of topics, but there's other things I should be doing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Any Volunteers?
Posted by Lis Riba at 5:22 PM

This week's Free Will Astrology Horoscope is up:

"Can you find a sensitive saint who'll cater to your desires for a whole day? Someone who is knowledgeable about what gives you pleasure, who would listen with supple curiosity to your stories, who would sing you songs and read you poems and describe to you in lyrical detail all your wonderful qualities? In other words, Cancerian, can you enlist the devotion of a love genius who would regard being of service to you as a holy privilege? The planets have rarely been better aligned for such a possibility. The entire universe is yearning to be more demonstrative in showing its love for you."

I don't have that much free time, but if someone is willing to pamper me with affection in order to increase my writing speed, step right up. I'm game.

[via BT!]
First trailer for the new Harry Potter movie!
Posted by Lis Riba at 3:50 PM

The Leaky Cauldron has the link, and they'll be posting more links on this page as they arrive. Opens June 4th. Just in case anybody's interested... [via BT!]

Take two tablets and call me in the morning
Posted by Lis Riba at 1:30 PM

You know, maybe I wouldn't have so many problems with Christians wanting to put the Ten Commandments in public places if they ever showed signs of reading the darned thing. I mean, get a load of this statement by Catholic Archbishop O'Malley, printed in today's Boston Globe:

"We want homosexuals to be part of the community, but we can't change the Ten Commandments for them."
[Courtesy of Yehoshua]

For Gd's sake, this man is an archbishop!? Does he even read the text he's supposed to be preaching from?

And of course, last week I shared a similar secondhand quote attributed to Ronald Reagan about AIDS, where he said "illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments." But that was Reagan, and I don't think people are claiming he's a theologian (yet).

Just for everybody's benefit, here's a quick refresher on the text of the Ten Commandments with the different groupings used by Jews, Catholics and various Protestant sects. [Did you know different religions read them differently? Yet another reason why posting them publically violates the Establishment Clause!] In no case can I see any mention of homosexuality. The only kind of sex mentioned is adultery.

And as I think of all the prominent Republicans who have made their Christian values part of their campaign message, all I can think is:

"We want Newt Gingrich, Henry Hyde, Bob Livingstone, Helen Chenoweth, and Dan Burton to be part of the community, but we can't change the Ten Commandments for them."
I just can't get enough...
Posted by Lis Riba at 10:05 AM

Damn.

Why do I keep getting sucked into these discussions? Argh. I don't have time for this.

Right now at least a half-dozen things I want to write are all competing for attention in my brain. Aside from my NaNoWriMo story, they include:

  • An email to somebody in the Amptoons discussion elaborating on something I'm uncomfortable posting publically,
  • Tendrils of an essay I'm tentatively calling "In defense of fanfic and the commercialization of imagination,"
  • A possible personal statement for a seminar I've been invited to speak at, which I will also post here,
  • Two cover letters by Thursday

And I know there's at least one other thing I'm blanking on. Plus, I've got work to do, and plans for tonight and tomorrow night.

Don't worry, Goljerp, I really want to finish this NaNo story, and I've got to prioritize that first. Well, that and the cover letters, at least. It's just that discussion threads are so tempting, because contributing to them seems like it should be so brief. They're like potato chips, and before I know it, I've eaten the whole bag. [Remember the old slogan, "Usenet is like Tetris for people who read"?]

And here I go again, devoting time to this post instead of NaNo. Bad Lis. No biscuit.

Anyway, sorry to leave folks hanging on a cliffhanger. I'll try to finish that scene tonight, and once the term starts (about another week story time, another two or three minor scenes after this one to be written), things should happen fast and furious. I've actually got at least two scenes from the first week of school in all-but-final condition, and for many others, the dialog is just crackling in my mind such that I've been chomping at the bit to write them.


BTW, somebody in the Amptoons thread brought up the recent Naomi Wolf essay. I don't really want to read the whole thing in enough detail to respond, but fortunately, others have.

Some women on the Naomi Wolf essay:
Avedon, Carly and Julia
And a few men:
Dan, Daniel, Eric, James and Matt (see also Avedon's comment near the bottom of this one)

Take your pick.

As my husband pointed out this morning when I described the essay, "What's before porn? The earliest examples we have are neolithic!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
The more things change...
Posted by Lis Riba at 9:15 PM

This December, studios are releasing a newly restored print of Charlie Chaplin's classic satire on technology and the tyranny of machines, Modern Times.

So, should I be amused or disturbed that my two attempts to view the trailer crashed not just the browser (different ones each time), but took my entire machine down with it?

[As a public service, I am not providing a link to the trailer.]

How many licks does it take?
Posted by Lis Riba at 8:35 PM

Followup to something I mentioned this morning.

In 1996, several US soldiers who were prisoners of war during the first Gulf War sued the Iraqi government. The court ruled in their favor, awarding them damages, which was largely a symbolic victory since the Iraqi government refused to pay. Now, the Iraqi assets are in our government's control. Will our government reimburse our soldiers, who underwent torture in serving our nation?

There's an old saying that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will accept it as truth.

In that vein, I'd like to share this excerpt from a recent White House press briefing:

Q: Scott, there are 17 former POWs from the first Gulf War who were tortured and filed suit against the regime of Saddam Hussein. And a judge has ordered that they are entitled to substantial financial damages. What is the administration's position on that? Is it the view of this White House that that money would be better spent rebuilding Iraq rather than going to these former POWs?
Mr. McClellan: I don't know that I view it in those terms, David. I think that the United States -- first of all, the United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal torture to which these Americans were subjected. They bravely and heroically served our nation and made sacrifices during the Gulf War in 1991, and there is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. That's what our view is.
Q: But, so -- but isn't it true that this White House --
Q: They think they're is an --
Q: Excuse me, Helen -- that this White House is standing in the way of them getting those awards, those financial awards, because it views it that money better spent on rebuilding Iraq?
Mr. McClellan: Again, there's simply no amount of money that can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering--
Q: Why won't you spell out what your position is?
Mr. McClellan: I'm coming to your question. Believe me, I am. Let me finish. Let me start over again, though. No amount of money can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of a very brutal regime, at the hands of Saddam Hussein. It was determined earlier this year by Congress and the administration that those assets were no longer assets of Iraq, but they were resources required for the urgent national security needs of rebuilding Iraq. But again, there is simply no amount of compensation that could ever truly compensate these brave men and women.
Q: Just one more. Why would you stand in the way of at least letting them get some of that money?
Mr. McClellan: I disagree with the way you characterize it.
Q: But if the law that Congress passed entitles them to access frozen assets of the former regime, then why isn't that money, per a judge's order, available to these victims?
Mr. McClellan: That's why I pointed out that that was an issue that was addressed earlier this year. But make no mistake about it, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the torture that these brave individuals went through --
Q: -- you don't think they should get money?
Mr. McClellan: -- at the hands of Saddam Hussein. There is simply no amount of money that can truly compensate those men and women who heroically served --
Q: That's not the issue --
Mr. McClellan: -- who heroically served our nation.
Q: Are you opposed to them getting some of the money?
Mr. McClellan: And, again, I just said that that had been addressed earlier this year.
Q: No, but it hasn't been addressed. They're entitled to the money under the law. The question is, is this administration blocking their effort to access some of that money, and why?
Mr. McClellan: I don't view it that way at all. I view it the way that I stated it, that this issue was --
Q: But you are opposed to them getting the money.
Mr. McClellan: This issue was addressed earlier this year, and we believe that there's simply no amount of money that could truly compensate these brave men and women for what they went through and for the suffering that they went through at the hands of Saddam Hussein --
Q: So no money.
Mr. McClellan: -- and that's my answer.

You got that?

He only stated six times that no money can compensate for suffering, so therefore they're getting no money. To paraphrase Julia's response, maybe the money won't compensate, but I'm sure they'd be willing to try.

And cleverly deceptive use of the passive voice there in his third comment to disguise the fact that the administration itself acted to reclassify those assets precisely to keep them out of the hands of the POWs and others with legitimate claims.

Whenever I read one of Scott McClellan's press conferences (such as July and October, in addition to this one), I feel like I'm watching someone slowly damn himself to Hell.

And on this note, best wishes for a peaceful Veterans' Day.

A wonderful obstruction to the mind
Posted by Lis Riba at 6:25 PM

As I mentioned earlier, I've gotten no more words on my NaNoWriMo today, aside from appending a Concluding Note to the end, which really shouldn't count.

I simply need to reassure myself that the subject matter of today's Mister Boffo cartoon is purely coincidence.

Another way to tell when you're dealing with someone who's not going to be finishing the novel anytime soon.

Sigh...

I swear I won't tease you, won't tell you no lies
Posted by Lis Riba at 4:15 PM

The World Health Organization has stated:

Since health is a fundamental human right, so must sexual health also be a basic human right.

The Institute for Sexual Medicine at Boston University Medical Center is one of the nation's leading facilities for research and treatment of sexual medicine.

November 23rd, they will be offering a Free seminar on Female Sexual Dysfunctions: Symptoms and Solutions.

Every time I've heard Dr. Goldstein speak, I've come away enlightened. These are exciting times, as the field is rapidly advancing and changing. They're learning so much, it's amazing. Here are Ian's comments the last time we attended one of their lectures, and that was a shorter talk on a narrower topic.

Until Viagra hit the market five years ago, there was very little medical research into the physiological aspects of women's sexual responses. Despite the attempts of ignorant congressmen to cut funding for basic studies, they're still learning a great deal in an impressively short time.

If you'll be in the Boston area and have any interest in learning about these matters, whether for yourself or a partner or a friend, for something happening now or as a preventative measure, I highly recommend attending. I'll be there.

And did I mention that it's free?

Further information on the seminar, including the program and registration forms, is available at the website: www.bumc.bu.edu/sexualmedicine/fsdseminar.

And for further information on female sexual dysfunctions, I've heard nothing but positive things about the Women's Sexual Health Foundation, which was founded by women with sexual dysfunctions who were frustrated by how difficult it was to find information about sexual health issues. They've got pamphlets and articles and links and advice, all geared towards educating women to understand and take control of their sexual health care. Doctors don't always know best, and I know of too many women who've been told that physical symptoms were all in their heads (just a few examples).

Spread the word about these resources. Don't let the medical establishment screw your sex life over.

Or, as George Michael once sang:

Sex is natural - sex is good
Not everybody does it
But everybody should
The continuing relevance of history
Posted by Lis Riba at 2:20 PM

So, one of the other support reps is out today and tomorrow, leaving us at two-thirds staff. Needless to say, I haven't gotten any further on my NaNoWriMo, despite my high hopes from yesterday.

At any rate, I was poking through my blogroll, and via SCOTUSBlog came across this Christian Science Monitor article on a Sixth Amendment case.

Apparently, the primary precedent to this case is Sir Walter Raleigh's treason trial nearly four centuries ago. Evidence in his trial included a condemnatory letter, even though its author had recanted of the statements he was forced to write. But the judges refused to allow the author to testify on his own behalf, preferring written statements as evidence.

In this case, since American law exempts spouses from testifying against one another, prosecutors used recorded testimony of a statement the defendent's wife gave to the police around the time of the event. Because this was static evidence, rather than a witness, there was no way for lawyers to cross-examine, or for the accused (in the words of the Sixth amendment) to be confronted with the witnesses against him.

If anybody is interested here's the accused's brief which has about 50 references to "Raleigh"

[via BT!]
Veterans' Day
Posted by Lis Riba at 12:42 PM

Once upon a time, on this date 1918, the War to End All Wars ended. Unfortunately, humans have continued to fight, but we continue to commemorate this day in hopes of peace.

I wish I had something pithy or poignant to say, but I'm really drawing a blank.

I rather liked the sentiments expressed in this morning's Arlo & Janis, Frazz and Heart of the City. Particularly Frazz.

It seems like a sad day when the best news story I've seen about veterans is that Larry Flynt has bought nude photos of Jessica Lynch in order to keep them out of circulation.

In more depressing news, now that Lynch has actually started to tell her side of the story, disputing the prepackaged Pentagon spin, she's been under attack by some of the right-wing shock jocks, as Jeanne and Billmon describe.

After the first Gulf War, American POWs sued Iraq for damages and won. Now that the White House controls all Iraqi assets, you'd think they'd have an easy time collecting. Far from it. Instead, the Bush administration has been going to court to try to overturn the decision, saying they need all the Iraqi money for reconstruction. This story has been going on for ages, Jo Fish has the latest.

Good news for one soldier, whose story I've been following. Not as bad as the PTSD victim charged with cowardice, but the judge in a custody case ruled that one of the parents must stay home to avoid losing their children -- even though both were soldiers on duty in Iraq. The mother chose to stay, and though they tried to work things out with military command, Army officials declared her AWOL. Well, today's good news is that the Army has reconsidered, giving her a compassionate reassignment. Good for them.

Anyway, my deepest honor and respect to all our military veterans. Like the perennial Jewish wish concluding each Seder, I dearly hope that this time next year all the soldiers are home and nothing necessitates the creation of new veterans in the future.

Monday, November 10, 2003
Things I'm not writing tonight
Posted by Lis Riba at 11:54 PM

Ampersand has started yet another thread on why certain kinds of porn should be outlawed. I'm trying real hard to limit my participation this time. As much as I'd like to go in there guns blazing, I really do have better things to do with my time.

Also noodling around in my brain is a lengthy essay on the appeal of fanfiction, including the relative difficulties among different sandboxes and the commercialization of imagination.

But again, I'd rather not delve into writing that at the moment, when I'd rather be NaNoWriMo. [I ended the day with 13,226 words -- 26.5% of the goal. I am continuing from the cliffhanger, rather than doing the backfill, but I won't upload the latest segment until tomorrow morning, just to leave readers with a modicum of suspense...]

Not bad
Posted by Lis Riba at 6:25 PM

Just passed the 12,000 word mark. About 400 to go until I'm 25% done. [Mind you, the month is 33% done, but I'm trying not to think about that.]

Not only did I get all that written, but I also reached one of the major cliffhangers. Mu-ha-ha-ha!

I'll confess, knowing that people are reading the story makes me tempted to hold off on further writing, just to heighten the suspense a little before revealing the resolution. But of course, that would completely negate the progress I've been making. Maybe I could go back and work on the earlier scene that I had defered, and leave this cliffhanger till tomorrow?

Or, I could just be a good doobie and continue plugging away, onward and forward...

Grumbles
Posted by Lis Riba at 2:30 PM
  1. For the second time in about as many months, the button on my best pants broke in the wash. Just cracked in half, looking like a letter D. My pants still close, but I'm going to have to find another sturdier black button and sew it on real soon.
  2. Kraft EasyMac probably was a good idea to keep onhand at work for fast cheap lunches. But I should've read the directions first. Our kitchenette doesn't have a measuring cup. A Dixie cup is about 5 oz, so I estimated, but it wasn't quite as easy as the box makes out. And I can already tell that cleaning my mug is going to be a pain.
  3. I had a third grumble, but between the time I thought about writing this post and actually writing down 1 & 2, I've forgotten.

Good thing: my wordcount has now broken 10,000.

Words, words, words
Posted by Lis Riba at 10:00 AM

Seems like most of my friends cracked 15000 words over the weekend. Whereas I didn't even make it to 10K (106 words shy). I feel like borrowing matociquala's headbang icon.

I did find some entertaining distractions in the meantime, but I'm feeling a little bit pouty because I'd hoped to get ahead on my wordcount over the weekend, and now am even further behind. And not only will this week have further new episodes in Smallville and Angel, but Thursday night, we're going to the Boston Jewish Film Festival to see The Hebrew Hammer, further cutting into my writing time. And, I've got several non-writing tasks that have to get done this week as well.

Ah well, slow but steady and all that.

So, hows about I distract you with some of the things that kept me smiling and giggling this weekend?

  • Someone named suzvoy has created a video to Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" illustrated with clips from Pirates of the Caribbean. Quite well done, too. As Mike Nesmith commented in Elephant Parts, the real secret to music videos is to cut on the beat; and suzvoy manages that perfectly. If you've seen the movie, you simply have to see what she's done with it here.
  • The first teaser trailers for Troy, the big-budget extravaganza based upon the Iliad, are now up on the official movie site. Get a load of some of the publicity stills, too. They're definitely going for the spectacle, as the trailer keeps pulling back to show those thousand ships.
    Meanwhile, Siriaeve's critical review of the promotional materials is also worth reading. I'm starting to hope the eyecandy is entertaining, because one certainly won't want to go see this thing for any hope of fidelity to the myth or period.
    BTW, get a load of SiriaEve's usericon in that post. It's the funniest usericon I've seen in a long time (sorry, matociquala; your new 60s spy graphics are great, but OTPi knocked me on the floor) The icons are courtesy of chresimos, with a larger set available here.
    [The new trailer for Shrek 2 is also newly available online and worth watching. OMG! Antonio Banderas as Puss In Boots! LOL!]
  • Finally, Minerva McTabby has a periodic feature she calls "Summary Executions" -- quoting the worst lines from summaries of Harry Potter fanfic. The lines on their own are hysterical, but the commentary in the responses can make one incontinent with laughter. A few favorites from the latest batch:
    SiriaEve's comments
    Are you sure shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet? Well you're wrong. Remus Lupin did after the tragic death of his two best friends he wrote down their love story so the world could remember Lily and James Potter and the love they shared, even after death.
    Oh dear lord. And yet it's still more plausible than the Marlowe theory.
    Ginny Weasley is unnoticed and undepreciated.
    Like a vintage car, she will never go down in value.
    oh feel free to email me suggestions on what city, town or country you'd like to see Sev do.
    'Severus Snape Does Manhattan' - you know, I have a feeling someone in the fandom has already written this...
    jessikins4774's comments:
    Chapter two is up. Not as pointless as reveiwers say.
    Yes, folks, it's even more pointless than reviewers say.
    She had been thrashed, slashed, cut, and sliced as she tried her hardest to get back to the castle.
    Voldemort even makes julienne fries. [/infomercial references]
    amanuensis1' comments (too many great ones to quote them all here):
    Ron is a quidditch star and on his team there is a new member. Krista Stevens the new chaser for the Cuddly Cannons.
    There's my nomination for Worst Canon Misspelling EVER.
    See that stallion over there? It is a broken horse...See that girl over there? She is a broken girl.... The horse was wounded in the leg, but the girl was wounded in her soul...Life has broken them both.
    See that community over there? Those are the Amish. They don't have computers. That's where we're sending you until you get better at this, kiddo.
    The friction it caused, the moans it evoked were so foreign to Ginny that she held tightly to the source that was causing her her internal struggle.
    Yeah, I've got one too, and even though it's got Hello Kitty on it and I call it a personal massager, we all know what it's for. Call it like it is, Ginny.
    The usual story, Hermione changes, Draco falls for her, passion blossoms, you know the deal.
    Hey, I don't have to read it now. Thanks.
    We all know how mere "Muggles" use artificial insemination.... How would witches do it?
    Probably the same way. Kidnap a male, seize his bodily essence forcibly, dump him at the local truck stop gagged and bound...*looks about* What? There's another way? Sperm whats?
    Meet Draco Malfoy, living the life and lies of a good little Catholic boy, who just can't shake the feeling that he doesn't belong. Heaven must be missing an angel.
    Yeah, they are, and they've decided YOU'RE going to take his place.
    wildreality's comments:
    Can five magic cards, three powerful jewels and Canadian exchange students be the key to Voldemorts defeat?
    He's a powerful dark lord. She's a Canadian exchange student with five magic cards and three powerful jewels. They fight crime!
    During a dentention with Slytherin Vamp Sarah, Snape learns that biting is fun!
    But he still won't know how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop.
    I could go on and on and on, but I recommend you read them for yourself. Just be sure to do it someplace you can safely stifle your giggles, because some of these are really funny, even if it does feel like shooting fish in a barrel.
    And of course, this does boost my confidence in my writing abilities. Because, if this is the nature of the competition among Harry Potter fanfic, then I'm already in the top 50%. [Again, Ian says I'm a "double-A minor leaguer who was going back to compete in Little League" but there is some very high-quality Harry Potter fanfic out there as well (May I suggest Lust over Pendle for starters?)

I suppose that's about all for now.

My Excel Report Card app says I only have to write 1910 words a day and I'll still make it! Joy. [Honestly, my word rate has been relatively unchanged over the course of the story -- averaging around 500 words per hour. I just need the hours to devote to it.]

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