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Sorry for the serious comic. It'll be back to butt jokes tomorrow. This has been a thing that's been stressing us pretty bad for a few weeks, so I thought I'd share. Apologies to all people who are not from the US, and who are shocked and/or baffled.
Catch drilling dust with a Post it
For a super simple way to avoid making a mess when drilling into walls.
A bit later this week, Thanksgiving comes for part of my family. For myself and my Eternal, Thanksgiving was marked a bit earlier in the year, but that is a quirk of how things are. Still, the thing about Thanksgiving is that one should, always, have something to be …
There are many days which the Realm’s calendar celebrates through the year, days marked for moments which have special note. Each of them is unique and singular in its appearance. Each, that is, save for one. For, in the Realm, there are two Thanksgivings to be celebrated every year.
Perhaps it is more accurate to say that there is the Thanksgiving which is marked because of a certain monarch’s adoration of a certain country; red, as an aside, has a lot to do with that adoration—the snow and hockey is a side benefit … supposedly. And then there is the Thanksgiving that is something a bit more unique.
As the nights turn colder and the snows start to whisper upon the winds, there is a day set aside when, for the monarchs of the Realm, thanks is to be given. While elsewhere there are many enjoying a turkey coma or preparing for the mad rush of the following day to shop until they drop, this Thanksgiving of the Realm isn’t that.
Formality isn’t part of the event, nor is there ceremony, nor programs, nor announcements made. While the entire Realm knows of the day, it is assumed that things work out as they do with the first Thanksgiving being held and many express that thanks similarly. There are gatherings where many congregate, a special time where those that missed the first can refresh their ties, tell of the year past, and express their hopes and more for the future.
One might think of it as a makeup holiday, or perhaps a backup plan should they miss out on the first celebration held. Thankfully the meals are made anew as, generally, most delectables would be somewhat stale by the time of the second celebration. Some are lucky enough to celebrate both days, having decided that two thanksgivings are better then a single one alone. This is now the expected understanding, the belief that has become, overall, what is expected. However, there is another aspect of this second moment of thankfulness that few have witnessed or understood.
That thanks begins with a certain Queen with hair of ebony and horns of red, locating a specific book in the home she dwells in with her Eternal. The book is dog-eared, having been passed down through generations before. Leafing through the pages, she sees the cursive script of those she thinks of often: a mother she knew for a flicker of time; a grandmother who held her in the after. Another page turned and the precise handwriting of her aunt, the one that Tera takes her fashion sense from, appears. About the middle of the collected thoughts, writing in red appears, having made a series of notes; Tera, of course, holds those mulling thoughts in high esteem, for the writer of these points, after all, knows of what he speaks. Lines upon lines of commentary flow over the pages, distant hands in time reaching out through the yellowing paper to the present. They tell of the secrets, lessons learned, experiments made. Trials of this idea or that thought, some which were perfect, others a bit less so.
From the description, one might think the book holds a secret, and they would be right in that. But it isn’t the secret of some part of the Realm, nor an explanation of the mysteries of the succubi and incubi. It’s a far more important, and dearly treasured, secret.
If there is one passion, outside of … passion … that is adored by the Queen, it is the delight she has in gathering the ingredients needed, the utensils required, and settling them upon the countertop within her cherished refuge from the world. For when Tera is baking, and it is a cheesecake … well, one does not interrupt an artist at her craft.
As she carefully constructs her delight, the bemused red-tail cannot help the smile which comes in knowing that cheesecake has several different meanings. There’s a particular sparkle in her so-green eyes that comes when she mentions cheesecake to some and the recipient seems to be expecting something far more erotic than what is offered. It’s a shame, really, because there’s delight in the exquisite texture and taste in these confections she creates. Cheesecake is, after all, such a suggestive word at times, whether or not one is paying attention to her words while being held by her so-green eyes.
Her Eternal wanders in from time to time, being sure not to disturb his raven beauty’s concentration. Still, in spite of himself, he does hold a can of Redi-Whip, which happens to be in the way as he looks through the fridge. But his Queen is on a mission, and a wave of a batter-covered wooden spoon gives warning. The reply is, of course, a promise that when her baking is done, he’ll be doing something with that spoon and the creamy delight to a certain red-tail’s red tail.
Tera tries—really, she does—not to rush things too much. The recipe is very clear on that point. The crust must be made perfectly, the filling as well. The cherries must be made into the perfect sauce, of an exact colour. Cheesecake, as she is wont to say, is both pleasing to the eyes and to the palate.
As noon arrives, the preparation is complete. The cheesecake rests in the fridge, Redi-Whip having been removed to make room for it. What happens with the wooden spoon and the cream of delight is something best left to the imagination, though it may well involve the Redi-Whip, which cannot be left to get warm, after all.
Still, the time comes when a mane of wild ebony hair needs to be tamed, if slightly. There’s no need for anything formal, neither Eternal dressed up more than sweaters and jeans. There’s no travel involved, for the invitations are for always on this day. Keith’s time has been spent putting the rest of their home into place, the cheesecake having its place upon the dessert table. There is some fretting, of course, from the Queen, making sure that everything is in its place and every place has its thing.
Then, in the mid-afternoon, their family arrives. The fence gives way to a door to allow her heart and his beloved to appear. Song comes, as does Tera’s angel. A brother from far away appears, sisters from an island far away. A cloaked figure slips in, there to watch, to be there. Family both near and far, some seen often, others but once in a blue moon. Aunts and uncles, some with hockey on their minds, pop in soon after. The home fills with the light of family and the love shared with all. Each comes with her or his own moment to be shared, the thanks to be given.
In all of the moments shared and thanks given, there comes a moment when Tera’s offering is divided. To be given, freely. With each slice served, as each soul touches the plate Tera holds, she gives thanks. Her thanks are for a Goddess of light that created this family, a mother that brought her into being and another that did the impossible. Her thoughts are thanks for her heart, her song, an angel that loves her, a brother she holds dearly. She gives thanks for her sister, for all of those that she calls her family and that hold her in that same love.
Before the party ends, there is one part of this Thanksgiving that seems a bit like a ceremony, a bit like tradition: as the guests depart, they each write a small note in the book. Those greetings and memories—and the occasional suggestion about the colour of the cherry sauce—help Her Majesty be inspired for the next Thanksgiving.
There’s always one slice left, one bit of the offering left, when all are enjoying the fruits of her offering. It’s the final piece, the one that she drizzles some cherry sauce over. The one that she carries over to her Eternal to be shared with him.
There are many reasons to give thanks on this day, but the most important of all is to be giving thanks for the love of a family, love that lives in the day, in the book, in the dessert.
For that thanks is forever given.
(crap, I sent it before finishing the question; so here is the second part) Is consent important to you? and, on a more practical note, how does mind control articulate with consent? Thank you, and nice day to you.
*sips some Diet Coke and ponders*
Consent, to me, is important. I tend to write my stories and as well RP, from the perspective that the other wants what I’m offering to them. Perhaps that need is a little guarded, or has to be teased out, but it matters, at least from my perspective.
Consent actually brings better stories, a richer RPing I think. Just “making someone do what I want” isn’t interesting to me. But knowing what they’d like, and playing to that… That’s a challenge and works for me better than just snapping my fingers and having them fall…
Which then brings me to the mind control aspect….
There are some stories written where the consent not being present, adds heat to the story. It’s the corruption that seems to be more telling and powerful erotically.
I think the stories where a character consents to … something… and it goes wrong, can be just as hot. Some of the caption writers here on Tumblr are really good at taking the best of intentions and turning them to something a bit more dark.
It’s that internal struggle between a character that knows they are being MC’d and the end result where the MC’ing has changed them that I think’s difficult to write. Again, the “poof you are MC’ed” stories don’t do much for me…
But something with emotion and a story to tell… that’s something I can really enjoy…
Mind control and consent aren’t necessarily at odds with each other. Perhaps that’s the most telling thing when a really good MC story appears.
Good morning. Here is a simple question to ask but maybe not to respond. Anyway, here it is: What is consent, to you?
Consent to me… I think this little snippet of one of my stories tells something:
“Within seduction comes the moment when, if one is truly capable of seducing, one can inspire great admiration from the other. Drawing the desired one closer, like a moth to a flame, calling out to the imagination, and offering that which someone desires and dreams of … or even inspiring that desire.”
“Or, more rarely, seduction can create awe. It can cause, sometimes, an epiphany. The sudden realization that the seducer, or seductress, has caught the prey, has hold over another’s thoughts, and, then the seduced wonders how to express that awe”
“Occasionally, there are those that know, clearly, they are being seduced. Oh they know, intimately, they are, but even in knowing there is a certain admiration of that. To know there is someone that could, in spite of oneself, find the way into one’s soul. To open that door, look within, and whisper the things which are simply irresistible.”
“Sex is easy for us. To collar someone, make them a thrall, is as simple as breathing. To walk into a room, strike up a conversation with someone, and have them willingly give themselves to their passions … that’s a challenge.”
“Seduction without challenge is nothing to be proud of; in fact, it isn’t really seduction. There’s more pleasure in being all we are than not. We are more, and that, most of all, matters the most.”
It’s been some time since I’ve written something for a Monday here on the Tale. There’s just been a lot of things going on, leaving little time to actually write … something. There are a lot of books to review was well, literally months’ worth, that I need to accomplish soon before that gets well out of hand … if it isn’t already. Among all of these things that have been, very recently something happened which gave rise to today’s story. In the real world, my chair broke, and I needed to find a new one. It’s the chair that I’ve had for a very long time now, one that’s been the place from which so many of the tales of the Realm were written. Call this a reflection upon …
There are many symbols to be found in the Realm, if one is willing to look for them. Some of them are quite obvious, cannot be ignored, for they reflect some aspect of the more formal things that such worlds do have. The palace, for example, to some is known as the seat of power. The spires reach for the clouds above, while the walls are study to hold that which resides within from harm. It is a place of formality, with little space for informal things.
It is, perhaps, that lack of the informal that bothered Tera from the first moment she set her tail within the walls. It wasn’t so much that there was pomp and ceremony, though that did bother her sense of decorum. She could live with that, even if the corsets that formality demanded she wear did cause her tail to itch in the most bothersome of ways. Nor was the sense of history something that took anything away from Tera’s thirst for knowledge, her hunger to understand how things were, the why and way of things. Even the bureaucracy—though it was a pain in the tail at times—didn’t take away from the bemused smile that came when Tera read, or was told, of some rule or proclamation from the past that seemed completely out of place.
When Tera ascended to being the Queen of the Realm, there were so many things that needed to be done. The bureaucracy tugged this way, the need for paying tribute to history pulled that way, while the many ceremonial events that demanded her attention and participation left her spinning. It was all, though she never admitted it, a drain.
The third day of the third month of her new reign found Tera resting, if it could be called that, in the Gardens of the Palace. She’d taken the opportunity, when her advisors had been occupied, her pages distracted, and, if she was honest, no one left to bother her after so many weeks of minutia, and it was something she dearly needed.
She’d left at the point when her advisors had begun to express the need for her to hold court. It had been too long, they advised. She needed to show her power, to express her control over the Realm. Now, this was before she’d met her Eternal, long before Keith had stood with Tera against the tide that pressed upon her. She was alone, staring off into space and time, wondering about all of the things that had to be and if they actually needed to be.
The sound of footsteps on the cobblestone path to her little oasis revealed that her escape had been noted and someone had found her. “I wondered where our Queen had disappeared to.”
The shaking of Tera’s mane wasn’t in frustration, not by any means, and the light smile that caressed her lips added a bit of needed joy to her reply: “Are you going to spank me, Uncle, for being a bad girl?” Looking up, the young Queen found herself in the presence of an elderly red tail with the whitest hair she’d ever seen on any of the incubi.
That in itself didn’t surprise her, for what did was the cup of tea that her uncle handed her. “No, that would be unseemly wouldn’t it?”
She didn’t reply, though sipping tea and smiling a bemused smile wasn’t the easiest of things to do. Instead, she observed him, first advisor to the Queen, as he looked over the hedges and examined them. He did have a green thumb, though it was more of a hobby these days than in the past. However, Tera remembered when she was a child, rushing through the Gardens as they just had started to come to be, and encountering her uncle working on those hedges. She marveled at how time had transformed the little bushes he tended to into the shoulder high walls of green that encircled this little oasis she’d come to love, and even more now that she needed to carve out a place away from the things all about her.
Plucking an errant leaf that was marring the precise manicured tops of the hedges, Uncle mused: “I noted that you made yourself scarce when talk turned to your throne.”
Cupping her hands around the warm tea, Tera sighed: “Uncle … I just … don’t feel like I should move mom and dad’s place. It feels … wrong. This entire thing just feels completely wrong.”
He didn’t argue the point. Still, his reply caused her to pause: “My dear niece, my young niece: you aren’t supposed to feel right about this. Our dear, young Queen is, however, supposed to show her subjects that there is nothing to fear.”
“I know that, as you do. But there are those that wonder about you, that aren’t sure that you are up to the task ahead.”
He wasn’t surprised when Tera’s eyes narrowed and her voice turned, if only slightly, hard: “Then let them come and see how ready I am.”
Turning towards the ebony-haired monarch, the wise one with white hair explained: “We’ve been through enough, you know. There’s no appetite for that sort of thing.”
“What difference does a throne make anyway? It’s a piece of furniture, made of wood or something else, covered in materials that make it sparkle. It’s not, at all, anything more.”
“Then, why is the old throne causing you so much pain?”
Her answer was to look into her tea cup and watch the ripples passing over the surface.
There was a second chair beside the one where Tera reclined, in which the other red tail in the conversation took his place. “The throne is a symbol. It reflects power; that is its purpose. It isn’t the actual chair itself, if you think about it. A throne is, at its core, the place where the Queen has taken her place and, if you think about it, any chair can be the throne, at any time.” Tapping his cane against the edge of the lounger that Tera rested upon, he seemed amused: “At this moment, that is your throne. When you are out in the Realm, or anywhere, anything can be the Queen of the Realm’s throne. No one is going to be following you around with one.”
She eyed him: “Don’t tempt me into having a score of incubi carry me around the palace like I was Cleopatra.”
Chuckling, her uncle replied: “Not a score; just a half dozen or so.” Seeing Her Majesty arch an eyebrow, he moved on quickly: “Cleo would lodge a complaint, though. That’s her style, not yours.”
Rolling her eyes, Tera took another sip of her tea: “And I wouldn’t, anyway; too much pomp and ceremony.”
He considered that before asking: “Tera … what is your favourite chair?”
Her answer didn’t take but a moment: “Oh that’s easy. It’s that old chair I have—the old worn out one that I’ve had for years. It’s a bit wobbly, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
“Do you know the history of that chair?”
“I … no; no I don’t. I found it in my bedroom when I was …”
“… very young. That chair, my dear niece, was originally used by your great-great-grandfather. When your mother and father reigned, it somehow came to be in your room.”
The bemused smile she saw was very familiar: “Well, you did need a chair and it went with that old desk you fell in love with.”
The tea cup found itself placed upon the table beside Tera as she wondered. “Tell me more, please, uncle.”
He considered her request before standing up and picking up the tea cup: “Long ago, before the Realm became so complicated, he ruled from that desk and chair. There was no Palace, no pomp or ceremony. There was work to do and it was the place that he felt most comfortable being. The chair became worn over time, the edges of the desk as well. Over time, of course, parts of the chair or the desk needed to be replaced by new pieces. In the same way, the Realm itself changed over time. Buildings came and went, places appeared and changed. Nothing remains static, dear niece; on that you can rely.”
She didn’t have much of a reply to his wisdom, seeing the point of it. Being the advisor, more so, her uncle, the advice given was always good and not to be ignored.
“He understood, as you do, that the Ruler is the Realm. It isn’t about the throne or what surrounds it. You are what the Realm becomes, in all ways. You need not proclaim from a gilded chair or force your will from a chair of iron. You do, however, need to know where your true seat of power is.”
Tilting her head to the left, she regarded her uncle: “The throne then, dear uncle, is wherever I happen to have my tail?”
Shaking his head, he turned and walked towards the Palace: “I can see you are learning to be diplomatic, my dear niece. Please try not to be so with all those that wish to help you … even if you can’t see it.”
In the Palace of the Realm, in the centre of power, there is a throne upon which a monarch reigns. It’s a bit wobbly, a bit worn, and it needs new parts from time to time. But it reflects the care in Her Majesty’s thoughts, the wisdom that she has learned. It speaks of her endless giving, open arms, and endless hope and desire for a better life for all.
Surrounding this throne are the trappings of her past, her joys of the present and her hopes for the future. It is a simple looking chair, something one would overlook otherwise. But regardless, of all of the places she is seen, it is the one place were she makes her dreams… true.
So FCC chairman Ajit Pai has announced a plan to roll back net neutrality rules called “Restoring Internet Freedom.” I think we all know that this isn’t about freedom in the sense of allowing people to access the internet freely. Or viewing or creating whatever content they please free from tracking or throttling. It’s not about personal freedom at all.
Ajit Pai (formerly of Verizon) being sworn in by outgoing FCC Chairman Genachowski (before taking a job at the Carlyle Group)
What it’s about is the freedom of network providers to do whatever the heck they want. That may FEEL like personal freedom to Pai since he worked for Verizon prior to taking on this role with the FCC. But for the 7 billion people on Earth who benefit from net neutrality (real internet freedom), this is a huge step in the wrong direction.
Will this be the death of internet innovation? When’s the last time a billionaire did something innovative? Uncovering tax loopholes doesn’t count! Can we reasonably look to Verizon to fix the many issues that we’re seeing on the web today? As Google/Youtube fess up to how messed up their content has become and vow to fix it, do you really believe that they can or will? What about Facebook and their complete incompetence during the last election? Will billionaires fix those problems?
I’m betting on the coder sitting in her apartment dreaming up a better way to serve age appropriate videos to kids. I’m betting on groups of computer science undergrads brainstorming an open protocol for social networking. But will Verizon and the rapidly consolidating group of internet network behemoths allow those ideas to thrive on THEIR internet? If not, we’ll be talking “Restoring Internet Freedom” in earnest.
In a sort of timey-whimey way, this particular story will be appearing on the Tale on a different date than the one which actually appears. That said, it brings me to a thought I had. I’ve been meaning to write a bit wider in the Realm, perhaps to tell some stories that aren’t quite like those I have told before. Now, that’s not to say that I haven’t tried before, it’s simply that I haven’t shared a lot of unfinished thoughts that have come to me, from …
Time to Time
One of Tera’s favourite sayings is that “Time is an illusion; lunchtime doubly so.” Now, to be clear, the saying itself wasn’t originally Tera’s, nor would she even consider saying it was one of hers. However, as time in the Realm doesn’t quite work like it does elsewhere, it could be fair to say that she has more experience with lunchtime and time as a whole than most.
How does one tell time in a place where, for example, one might encounter a citizen of the Realm, find oneself entwined for what seems like an eternity, and yet still be able to make it to tea time … on time?
For those whose sense of time defines them, the Realm offers unending oddities and mysteries to examine and explore: knots of time to unravel and calendars that seem to take far more time that seems normal to be turned over to the next point in the year to arrive are but the beginning.
Time doesn’t, to be clear, take a holiday in the Realm, nor is it an endless loop of time, repeating itself over and over again. There is a structure to the Realm’s passage of time, as vague as it can be at times, and, for those that have to deal with those two points in the year when time moves ahead and then backwards, it can be a rather mischievous thing indeed. Gaining time, depending on what is happening when that occurs, can be a bother. Conversely, losing time can be something of a surprise, when one isn’t prepared for it.
Realm Savings Time comes about just before the arrival of the joy of Thanksgiving and just after the celebration the cherished night of All Hallow’s Eve. It bridges between the two, a moment in which—for those that just cannot find enough time in the day, even in the Realm—to get all of the things done they wished to, wanted to, or, more importantly, required for pleasurable pursuits.
There is one official timekeeper in the Realm: a clock tower located between the fields of sighs and the valley of pleasures, which marks time in all of the oddities that are created. Some call it the Tower, others the Marker. Tera herself winks and calls it … well … naughty.
While the day when time is rolled back one hour is well known, the actual moment of the event varies quite a bit. No one is really sure as to why there isn’t a set hour in the day for the event to happen. Sometimes it happens in the middle of the night; others at high noon. Occasionally it is at sunset or sunrise. Once, the shift in time happened in the last minute of the last hour of the day in question. There is, however, one thing that serves as a warning that the event is about to happen. It isn’t the clock hands moving or the bells which chime the hour ringing. In truth, the sign has nothing to do with the tower itself.
The sound comes from almost anywhere in the Realm, be it by the lake, or near the Gardens. It might be in the middle of the Library or along one of the hallways of the Palace. Once, the clue came from a tea shop near fifth and moan street, and there is a tale of another time, clearly a myth, when the event was marked from within a bakery that served the most amazing apple pie.
Wherever it comes from, none can be really sure what it is, exactly, for the sound becomes swallowed up by time turning back, all while the balance of the Realm looks around in confusion. Many mill about, trying to figure out what it was, where it came from. Of course, the betting pool that happens every fall about this event has nothing at all to do with that.
Immediately afterwards, the citizens of the Realm gather around the Palace, to learn where the event had occurred and who won the betting pool. The Secretary makes her appearance at the Queen’s balcony, declares where the event happened, and then the masses check their tickets to see who, if anyone, won that particular year.
This year, to the surprise of many, it seemed that no one yelled out their win, or celebrated their success, and soon the crowds had carried on, in good nature, speculating on where next year’s event would happen.
The Secretary watched them for a time before returning within the walls with an amused expression. Her heels clicked on the marble floors as she made her way towards the private residences, where the monarchs were ensconced. Passing pages and advisers, she held in her hand a slip of paper … with that amused expression not wavering.
Turning the corner into the private residence proper, that sound which none could quite figure out drifted to her senses. Passing through the tall cherry-wood doors, she made sure to close them before moving onwards. The sound grew stronger, more clear as she passed through the hallways towards her destination. Arriving at one particular door, she noted the sound pushing through it, just being muffed enough that it wasn’t quite definable. At least not until she opened the door and was met with the clear sound of multiple orgasms, causing her hair to be unraveled from its usual bun.
Looking to her right, she found the source of the sound in the bed of her monarchs. There is such a thing as amazing sex, and, considering that Tera’s hair was more of a wild mess than usual and her body was covered in a sheen of sweat, it was a good indication that she’d had a really good time. In the same way, Keith was lying beside her, not looking all that different from his Eternal, overall. Certainly his hair was well and truly messed up, though the sheets did manage to provide them both with a degree of cover as they were observed, the cans of RediWhip not withstanding, of course. Those gave no illusion as to what they had been doing for the past hour.
Tera’s tail poked out of the sheets as the Secretary asked: “So … was it good for you?”
The giggling fit from the Eternals was a clear indication it was. Catching her breath, Tera managed: “So … um … who won the pool this year?”
“Oh … I did.” There was an uncharacteristic, self-satisfied smirk.
Keith mumbled as Tera dropped a pillow on his head: “You cheated.”
“No, I only advised my monarchs of a place they hadn’t … enjoyed themselves.”
Rolling over, Tera’s so-green eyes regarded her: “You’re evil, Auntie, you know that?”
“Merely mischievous,” was the reply. Turning to leave, Tera’s aunt, the Secretary of the Realm, announced, in a teasing tone: “I just know you too well.”
Today is my heart’s birthday, and there is no gift that can compare to the joy I have in calling him my heart. The love shared within our family and the thankfulness, every time we say hello, that I have for Goddess having her hand in what has become, in so many ways, more than I could ever have wished for.
My gift is my words, shared with my heart before all others. In that gift, in that delight and thankfulness I hold, there comes …
A Mirrored Heart
For my heart, with love, always …
There are many mirrors within the Realm, in which many things can be seen. For the succubi and incubi, it is the way to see their Tails, to know them. For others, a mirror is simply a mirror. A reflection of themselves, reversed, that tells of their physical appearance. However, there is a mirror, only one, that is neither of these, but tells far more than what is within and what is without.
Not a grandiose thing by far, to be clear. It’s not something in which to primp or preen, a chance to examine one’s outer appearance and correct the visual record such that only one’s best look appears, only one’s best foot comes forward. There is no need for it to be held within a frame, standing upon footings or, as some are, be placed in such a way as to be the centre of attention.
This particular mirror is not grand, not gilded, nor it is a treasure, save for the two who use this special pane of silvered glass every day to remind, reflect, and recall. A cherished heirloom it might not appear to be, but then, the most valuable things are sometimes the most ordinary of all.
There are always, within oneself, those thoughts that speak of one not being sure of oneself. Sometimes they speak of not being good enough or talented enough or, from time to time, not seeing the value of what one does. We feel the burden within, covering it up, setting the weight of those thoughts into a place where we believe they will not appear. However, even with the best of intentions, there are those that can see past our veils to what remains. We need, at those times, a mirror held up to us, a reflection of our true selves, of who we are—not to focus on the flaws or missteps, but rather to show that we are, always, far more than what we believe ourselves to be.
Even a Queen needs to be shown this truth. Even her heart needs to be shown, as well.
Who held the mirror up first is lost to the depths of time, at least within her mind. She feels like that mirror has always been there in the midst of her heart reminding, teasing, sharing. The mirror appears, he reminds her that holding up that mirror to her is to reflect all she does, all that she gives, all that she is. Even if she cannot see that within herself, or demurely replies her thanks, it does matter. It does remind—and, most of all, it states, always—that her heart knows her better than she knows herself.
Who held the mirror up first is lost to the depths of time, at least within his mind. He clearly sees his Dear One with the mirror, holding it up to him. She reminds him, with all of her love and joy, that he is her heart, that he matters more than he knows, that the words of Goddess, shared through him, have healed many, taught more, brought faith to countless that have heard the word. She knows that he doesn’t see himself like she does, that she reminds him of her faith reborn through him, the light reminded through his wisdom and counsel. If there is one thing that he admits—in amazement, really—it is how her complete trust in him is a wonder upon itself.
Who held the mirror up first, Goddess knows, doesn’t matter. It is an aspect of her love for her children, the absolute knowledge that the two souls that meet by a certain fence have done amazing things together. She knows that both have their flaws, their angst, all being wrapped up sometimes in their own doubts. The fence, brought into being from love and hope, provides the passage, to close the distance. The mirror, that is a gift given to be shared. Neither soul actually holds the mirror, possesses it, lays claim to it. It is, however, a reflection of both.
The mirror is to be held up to remind of what the other sees, what the other wants the former to remember. It is a reflection of the certainty that a Dear One has with her heart. It is a bond that heart has with his Dear One. Divine will created the mirror, but it is the love between two souls, reaching out over a fence, across space and time, which tells of more.
The cherished thing about this gift, this small mirror no larger than a hand’s width in size, is that it is shared. Not possessed, not squirrelled away. It isn’t brought out occasionally, or on the rare occasion. The need for the mirror, the wonder in what is reflected when held, is grounded in the simple truth Goddess knows.
There is need to be reminded, always, of how amazing each soul is. For the one called her heart, for the one called his Dear One, the gift of the mirror is Goddess looking over them both … and sharing her amazement in them. There is no greater gift than both knowing, truly, the other is there.
Holidays & Days of Note for November 4th, 2017
* Book Lovers Day
* King Tut Day
* National Candy Day (U.S.) Wasn’t that Tuesday?
* National Skeptics Day
* Use Your Common Sense Day (U.S.) how about using it EVERY day?
* It was on this day 1871 that Alice went through the looking glass.
* In 1954 Gojira premiers in Japan, an anti-atom bomb film in which the bomb is metaphorically represented by a 150 tall fire-breathing monster. This message, along with over 20 minutes of content was removed and replaced with footage of Raymond Burr when it appeared in America in 1956 as Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
This upcoming coming weekend marks Gamehole Con, a fantastic gaming convention here in Madison, with a teeny tiny con-within-a-con called Dorkstock too go along with it!
And if there’s a Dorkstock, there’s surely an Igor Bar bake-off, around lunchtime, Saturday.
If you’re coming to Gamehole Con/Dorkstock, we’d love to see your take on the classic Igor Bar! Here’s the recipe as published in Geek Dad, a few years ago. Put on them oven miits, and get baking!
Even if you don’t want to bake Igor Bars (WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BAKE IGOR BARS???), do stop by and sample a few! You have nothing to fear but
an insane and possibly life-threatening sugar rush fear itself!
(PLEASE NOTE: The Gameholecon/Dorkstock IGOR BAR Bake-Off was incorrectly listed for Friday, at 1 pm. It will be Saturday, at 1 pm. GET BAKING, folks!)
(1-2 Fri Slot 3 : Igor Bar Contest (Frances Moritz, John K. Scott Olman) Mendota Room)
IGOR BARS: the Recipe
In the fifteen years since their creation, Igor Bars have become semi-legendary on the gaming convention circuit. I actually came up with the idea for them when I needed to find the Ultimate Excessive Gaming Snack – at least in the eyes of Igor, the most excessive character in my comic strip Dork Tower (http://www.dorktower.com). Their ensuing popularity, though, took me totally by surprise.
Since 2002, when Igor Bars were first introduced into the Dork Tower comic book, they’ve taken on a life of their own. Conventions will hold Igor Bar cook-offs, and there are web pages dedicated to them. But two aspects make Igor Bars particularly suitable projects to share with your kids. The first is, there are three different stages that all lend themselves to children’s differing kitchen abilities.
The second – and possibly most important – thing that makes baking Igor Bars a great kids’ activity is that they are almost infinitely improvisational. Igor Bar bake-offs are great fun at cons because of the huge number of variations (some far more frightening than others) that appear. Kids can have a fun time making these sweet treats THEIRS. Don’t like peanuts? Add some Heath Bar pieces instead. LOVE nuts? Add some in the cookie dough, too!
The classic Igor Bar consists of a layer of pan-style chocolate-chip cookies (although any cookie that can be baked pan-style will do), a layer of peanuts and caramel (which acts as the glue that holds the bar together), and a layer of Rice Krispie ® treats. Cut into squares, these can serve 30 or more kids. Heck, they’ve been known to take down that many ADULTS. But the big trick is to keep them moist: Igor bars should be chewy and scrumptious, not crisp and brittle.
Pan-style Cookie Base Layer
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 t. baking soda
• 1 t. salt
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 t. vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Caramel Middle Layer
• Two 14-oz bags Kraft Caramels
• 3 Tb. milk or evaporated milk
• 1 t kosher salt (optional)
• 1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts
Rice Krispie Treat® Layer
• 3 Tb. butter
• 1 package (10 oz., about 40) marshmallow or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
• 6 cups Rice Krispies® or other rice cereal.
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
You will also need:
• 15×10-inch jelly roll pan (a 9” x 13” x 2.5” or thereabouts lasagna-size pan can be substituted, but thicker Igor Bars may prove tough for little mouths)
• cooking spray, margarine or butter to grease the pan
• baking parchment paper
• two saucepans
• double-boiler. Two, preferably.*
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.
STEP ONE: PAN COOKIE LAYER
Grease a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan, and line it with parchment paper. Spray cooking spray onto the paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat the butter, the sugars and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread in the pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. (I usually go for slightly “underbaked” here, at a scant 20 minutes bake time, to keep the finished Igor Bars moist and chewy. If you prefer more solid bars, the pan cookie can be bake for a few more minutes.)
STEP TWO: PEANUTS AND CARAMEL LAYER
Once the pan cookie is done, it’ll need some time to cool. While it’s baking is a good time to start unwrapping the caramels. This is easily the most tedious part of Igor Bars. Nobody will blame you if you designate this step to the kids’ nimble little fingers. Fortunately, you can sacrifice one or two caramel squares, for bribery purposes.
Place the unwrapped caramels, along with the milk and the salt (salty caramel is possibly the strongest argument I can think of for the existence of a loving deity – ignore the salt if your taste and/or worldview differs) in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low until the caramels are completely melted, stirring constantly. (This is a better job for the older kids – hot caramel’s nothing you want all over the floor or – more importantly – your progeny, and possibly you.)
You can also use a double-boiler for this step, if you wish. It’ll be a slower process, but there’s no risk of forgetting the caramel until the pungent smell of burnt sugar tells you it’s too late. If you only have one double-boiler, wash it after the caramels are poured, because you’ll need it later.
Pour the finished salty caramel over the cooled pan cookie, and spread evenly. Sprinkle the cup and a half of dry-roasted or other peanuts on top of this.
STEP THREE: RICE KRISPIES® TREAT LAYER
In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and then add the marshmallows, stirring constantly until completely melted and mixed together. Remove from the heat and add the Rice Krispies®, one cup at a time, stirring them into the melted marshmallow. As soon as you have a mass of soft, crispy, chewy goodness, spread with a buttered spatula or wax paper on top of the caramel and peanut-layer.
Melt 16 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double-boiler. When melted, spoon or drizzle over the Igor Bars.
Wait until the bars are cooled, and cut into 2” –3” squares.
Almost anything and everything can be added to Igor Bars! Let the kids get creative. Change up the chocolate-chip cookie layer: try a sugar cookie or oatmeal cookie base, instead! Add things to the caramel layer. Switch the topping to peanut-butter Rice Krispie® treats. Throw on some cut-up Peanut Butter Cups or crumbled English toffee pieces. Try a layer of frosting! Ad malted milk balls! Coconut! Chopped cashews! Dare we mention bacon? Or all of the above!
Look, nobody ever accused Igor Bars of being health food. In the famous words of Cookie Monster, Igor Bars are possibly the ultimate “Sometime Food.”
* Not everyone has a double-boiler on-hand, let alone two. You can melt the caramels and the chocolate topping in the microwave, as long as you use a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at one-minute intervals on “High,” stirring frequently until fully melted. Be careful: the bowls will get hot.
Thanks again, and thanks to Amy Stephenson of 107Cookbooks.com for the photos of her Beta Testing! (Note, she added an m&m layer to hers. Hmmmm. PRETZEL m&ms suddenly sound very Igor Bar-ish, right now…)
Anyway, for larger photos of the above, or to check out Amy’s step-by-step technique, CLICK HERE and head over to her marvelous blog. To quote Amy:
“Wow. Igor Bars are overwhelming. The juxtaposition of the caramel and the Rice Krispie layer is brilliant, and the contrasts are numerous: sweet and salty, chocolate and cookie, nut and sugar, marshmallow and butter. I felt slightly dizzy after finishing my square.”
Yer bestest pal forever,
Richard G, an expert on real life Going To Do Research wrote most of this for the game, I just edited it a bit and changed a sentence here and there...
If you can mentally cast yourself in the role of a totally new GM picking up this book and can read from that pov, and then manage to form an opinion on whether you think you'd want to read it in the book, let me know.
Horror: An Introduction
You expect an author, at this point, to go on about how we like to be scared. Or, worse, how they do. How I discovered I liked to be scared one dusty summer break sitting on the mustard carpet in the corner of the neglected bookstore.
I didn’t, really. I discovered first that I liked to imagine things: Superman, a dragon, rockets, and as a teenager I was running out of things to read and so, maybe against my better judgment: Stephen King, then Lovecraft, all that. I liked them alright.
I kept liking imagining. And as the play (and then, later, the work) of imagining things kept on, I realized it was very hard to use that imagination for anything as an adult—as an adult who needed like all adults to occasionally talk to other adults about their adulthood—without imagining horror.
There will never not be trouble. Some things you have to make because they aren’t there—some things you make because they are.
I have noticed adults who are good at imagining but not good at imagining horror can be bad with people, and with trouble. They can’t experiment with a new train of thought…what if it goes somewhere horrible? People are at their most dangerous (accidentally dangerous and on-purpose dangerous) when they have things they don’t want to think about.
I’ve made game-things and most weren’t really horror, but they all had room for horror (or brutality and isolation and other horror-cousins) because without the detailed exploration of the possibility of everything going to shit then imagined things really are just escapism, just checking out of this place where we live and checking in to a dazzling comfort zone.
This might be the primordial purpose of horror in the end: to enable you to continue to invent and create not just in the presence of-, but against-, the awful.
Horror—the genre—is what imaginative people use to keep their imaginations in working order in the face of horror—the fact of life.
So like here's a game about it.
Thirteen Ways Of Looking At The Terrible Thing You Just Made
When you say a thing is bad, you are usually using it as a shorthand for one of these things.
|They wanted it to stay up. It didn't.|
What you really mean:
It Fails to Do What The Author Wanted It To Do
This is a poorly crafted game. People say "broken" a lot here. This also covers things like typos and literal math errors (like the author expects one outcome but it inevitably produces another, things meant to be weak are strong, etc). It is the kind of "bad" where a designer (if they were honest) would agree they missed the mark.
"I co-wrote Mythus with Gary….One of the first things I did when I started playing was to throw out half of the rules we wrote…."
--Dave Newton, co-author of Mythus)
What's a helpful thing to do?
Show the author saying it does a thing, then demonstrate that it can't, under any circumstances, do that. Then you're right. After that you then might have to prove that that thing is important or outweighs all the good things about the game, but you have proved--at least--a failure of craftmanship.
|They were lying|
What you really mean:
It Fails to Do What The Advertising Said It Would Do
People also call this "broken", too. This is a dishonestly made or poorly-tested product.
Seclusium of Orphone says you can make a Seclusium in half an hour (or an hour? Can't remember. Anyway:) You really can't. If you can I haven't heard anybody say you can. You might say Mythus is this, too, if you assume Dave and Gary knew they'd throw out half the rules they wrote before they played.
What's a helpful thing to do?
Point out the advertising says one thing and demonstrate it's impossible to do that thing. If the advertising is ambiguous and you're railing against it, you're back at (10).
(3) The Left Handed Scissors
What you really mean:
It's relatively unpopular
Not very many people like it. Often conflated with (4).
Torchbearer. All RPGs ever, really.
What's a helpful thing to do?
Explain why anyone should care whether a game is popular or not. I mean: what's wrong with left handed scissors? Left handed people need scissors, too.
(4) The New Coke
What you really mean:
The Thing Is Underperforming in Terms of Popularity
Less people than you'd expect like it, considering everything it had going for it in terms of advertising, licensing etc. More of a big deal than (3) above--but only if somebody claimed it was supposed to make money. If part of the designers' goal was to make lots of money and sell lots of copies (true in the case of Marvel Heroic, not true in the case of many DIY D&D products) then this is a bit of (1), as well.
Marvel Heroic RPG
What's a helpful thing to do?
Explain why anyone not working for the company should care whether a game is making as much money as somebody expected it to. Are you evaluating the ability of the designer to guess the public taste? Sometimes that's important, sometimes it isn't.
|In case you had any doubt, Dave Sim's comics had|
loooooong text pieces in the end telling you in the
first person that he's sexist.
(5) The Cerebus
What you really mean:
The Thing Accurately Reveals the Author Is A Douche
The words or images in the RPG reflect attitudes on the behalf of the author that only douchebags have. Games called racist or sexist are often this.
Frequently conflated with:
(6), (7), (11)
Example: Those dumb novelty RPGs people make that just make fun of other peoples' RPGs
What's a helpful thing to do?
Explain how there is no possible way anybody but a douchebag could've written what's on the page . The easiest way is to find some nonfiction piece the author wrote which echoes the bad ideas in the piece. The most tortured and fraught path is to assume that whatever the author depicts it's something they like--that's almost always wrong and very hard to prove. Ask yourself: are you guessing the author of Ghostbusters hates ghosts, or just assuming?
(6) The Garfield
What you really mean:
The Author Chose To Do Less Than Their Best Work
A variation on 5. The particular douchebaggery in question being the author clearly could've done better. A lot of stereotypes are supported by this kind of bad because stereotypes are easy to write.
Ruins of Undermountain.
What's a helpful thing to do?
Prove the author knew a better way to do a thing--or grasped that finding it would've been useful--and then show how what's there isn't that.
(7) The Russian Roulette
What you really mean:
Literally the world outside the game gets worse because of this game existing. Games called racist or sexist are often this.
DragonRaid (an '80s Christian D&D alternative), Fate
What's a helpful thing to do?
Prove it with facts. Like DragonRaid for instance made money for some shitstain who had a problem with D&D on Christian grounds, plus maybe granted legitimacy to bigoted attacks on the RPGs that made a lot of peoples' relationship to their hobby (and parents) pretty traumatic when they were young. I'd probably have to do some more research to confirm all this if I really wanted to go after DragonRaid, plus prove that this wasn't balanced out by the fact that it probably introduced people to RPGs who otherwise would've had nothing because their parents were fundamentalists.
If a thing is, objectively, Russian Roulette and will cause harm and the author knows it and agrees with that and puts it out anyway, you have a clear case of (5).
What you really mean:
The Thing Upsets You (When extreme: Triggering)
Games called racist or sexist are often this but it doesn't necessarily mean they are racist or sexist because culture offends people, period. Like any game with gay guys in it will offend someone but whoever it offends doesn't count. People taking offense usually implies they believe it's bad in some other way, too.
Frequently conflated or combined with:
Blue Rose--the setting purports to be an egalitarian paradise but sweeps class issues completely under the rug. I'm offended. I have no evidence that the authors were classist (5) or just didn't think through egalitarianism very much (1) or that RPG people became any more classist because of it (7), however. It wasn't exactly a popular game (in which case (3) may have led to it not being (7)).
What's a helpful thing to do?
Make a case for whether the people who are offended are just offended alone (in which case who cares?) or whether the offense might indicate (7) or (5). Here's a thing: are people offended by two guys kissing actually not harmed even though they think they are or are they harmed but who cares because fuck them they suck?
(9) The Bad Influence
What you really mean:
It's A Harmful Influence On Other Games
Caves of Chaos, most other early adventure modules--companies realized that authors paid by the word could bulk out 5 pages of ideas to 15, 30, 100, or even 200 pages of text and people would buy it. Thus leading to a lot of (10) and arguably (2) and undeniably (6).
What's a helpful thing to do?
Point out how the tendency didn't exist until that thing came along and make a case the new tendency was some kind of bad.
What's a helpful thing to do?
Describe what kind of person you and/or your group are, what you like, and why that game doesn't do those things or doesn't fit. It's as much about you as it is about the game, acknowledge that, it'll help people who are like you and who aren't decide what to do with the game.
(11) OH GOD NOT ANOTHER...
What you really mean: Not To My Taste Plus It's Part Of A Whole Trend Of Things Not To My Taste (Aka "I'm so sick of these games like…")
You like pizza, this game is a hot dog, plus it seems like every ten seconds there's another hot dog.
Apocalypse World Engine-games
What's a helpful thing to do?
As (10) plus describe why you think anyone else should care that there are a lot of these games that you don't need to buy (if you are). Are you arguing (9)? Are you arguing that a critical mass of (11)s result in (7)? Are you just sort of irritated at not being a majority? If it helps: you play RPGs, you're not and never will be.
i.e. Are you saying "less of this, please" when the problem could be just as easily solved with "more of that, please"?
What you really mean: Not To My Taste Plus It's Only To The Taste Of Shitty People
This is like (10) on overdrive: You don't like it and can't think even imagine a worthwhile human being enjoying this thing, nor have any such people come forward.
Bliss Stage. Maybe it does what it's supposed to and what it advertises and does it to the best of the author's ability and hurts no-one but what it's supposed to do doesn't seem to appeal to anyone who isn't a moron.
What's a helpful thing to do?
Describe what shitty characteristic of a person links to the shitty part of the game. If someone you like is into the game, then you have to revise your opinion. Like so even thought tons of terrible people like Monsterhearts, so does Shoepixie and I like Shoepixie and don't begrudge her entertainment, so I guess that game is ok.
(13) The Chew Toy
What you really mean: One or More Of The Above Plus the Author is a Douche
It has flaws that may or may not be objective. But the author is pretty objectively terrible.
What's a helpful thing to do?
You can keep calling the game "bad" because the only person it's unfair to is the author and they're a douche. But if someone asks then you need to point out what made you decide the author's a douche.
The standard knock against White Wolf is a lot of mechanical (1) with either (10) ("I'm not a goth") or (2) ("I am a goth and it wasn't goth enough").
The 4venger attacks on Old School D&D were a lot of (1) and (2) with, at least on some sides, some (7) leading to (3).
Temptress of the Night by nmroloffsc
As found at:
A bit moody perhaps… but a lovely succubus…