Review: Raya and The Last Dragon

I mentioned I watched this movie, but it wasn’t really the focus of that post. So here are my thoughts on the movie. So I was distracted trying to pinpoint aspects of various cultures, and there really are some interesting references to various cultures. I, personally, really like it. I never thought about mismashing viking culture, monogolian culture, and japanese-northern cultures together (they did!). It works really well surprisingly. The world is pretty amazing really. I think it’s one of the best parts of the whole thing. It was really unique. I feel like it was a brave decision to produce the movie with such an interesting and challenging world to build up. The plot is not complicated (it is a kid’s movie), so I can’t think of anything that surprised me. I would say it probably follows the very typical beats of “high-low-high-low-done.” Without doing an in-depth dissection, that’s how it felt. I don’t want to give spoilers, but

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Writing: Appropriation

I recently watched Raya and the Last Dragon (I know, I’m slow on these things). I wanted to see it because it said “dragon” in the title AND because I’ve heard some stuff about appropriation in it. Some hub-bub around the film’s release said it was insensitive to other cultures. You know, Disney perhaps not being known for their cultural sensitivity… I get it. Mulan is…. well it is based on Chinese legend but VERY westernized. Specifically, when I use this term I mean social appropriation, which Dictionary.com says is: the adoption, usually without acknowledgment, of cultural identity markers from subcultures or minority communities into mainstream culture by people with a relatively privileged status. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/cultural-appropriation Examples include white people wearing clothing/styles of Native Americans, or (white people) making art based on African cultural style(s). You have probably heard some of these things. In the past several years, there have been conversations about people dressing as Michael Jackson (if you aren’t

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Writing: NaNoWriMo plug

I am not sponsored. Especially by a 501(c) non-profit. I have participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for years now. I have rarely “won,” but I keep trying. It’s a fun exercise if nothing else. A challenge. And even if you are not a writer, I would like to shout out the organization, because they do so much more than just entertain me every year. They manage a Young Writer’s Program for K-12 educators to use. This includes classroom kits, workbooks, and more. Getting them creating early and addict them…. I mean educate them in the love of writing. It’s also quite the community both in person (though not in 2020 and at least in Atlanta most of the “Come Write In” events are listed as virtual) and digital. There are regional volunteers who help wrangle the events and community. Seriously, if you have a few bucks to spare this month, I would encourage you to potentially donate to

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Politics: They called that a deal?

If you aren’t a political nerd, you might not be aware of the “impending crisis” called the debt ceiling. There is a lot of rhetoric and a lot of bullshit. I have an amateur’s take on it. The history of the ceiling: The “debt ceiling” was created in 1917 with the Second Liberty Bond Act. This took us from a system where Congress had to pass/approve EVERY LOAN to allowing the Treasury department (and therefor the President) to borrow as much money as they wanted as long as it fell under the debt ceiling (hence the name). In 1917 this meant putting out as many war bonds as the president needed to deal with World War I. Instead of congress having to sign off on literally every bond that went out, this meant the Treasury could borrow from Sam Everyman x1000 without getting 1000 approvals – allowing for smaller loans from individuals instead of just big loans with lots of

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Life Events: 20 years after 9/11

I remember the day of September 11th, 2001 with unusual clarity. I remember where I was and what I did when I heard about the initial attack (my response to my friend was “that’s not funny” because I could NOT imagine it being real). I didn’t see the towers fall live. It was the only teacher the rest of that day who didn’t turn on the tv and watch the coverage. I wish I had thanked him for that. As anxious as I was to know in that class, by the end of the day, I was basically sick. Physically and emotionally I was absolutely sick. Twenty years has now passed. This week I watched a documentary on MSNBC called Memory Box which interviewed survivors of the towers and the pentagon attack in 2002 and again this (2021) spring. I really liked that because we heard about the day through the lens of these survivors as the primary source within

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Pets: Aging

I adopted Genkii and Kawaii in fall of 2007. When I adopted them, they were less than a year old, about 7-9 months old. At 14, Genkii is finally less “energy” and turning into an older man. He doesn’t get “zoomies” as often. He is “talking” less. More alarming to me are some physical signs of age. His spine is probably the one I worry about the most. Genkii has always been skinny. I have always had to do a mix of 1/2 kitten food, 1/2 adult food to keep his weight at a healthy level. Kitten food has a higher fat content. When I have tried to cut out (or been unable to get) kitten food, he gets so skinny you can feel his ribs when you pet him. His ribs have a nice layer on them right now, his spine however is boney. Almost spiky. In my experience, when a cat begins to be boney like this –

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Short Story: Queen Bee

I am only BEGINNING this. I am floating some things in my head. What do you think so far? I am trying to write short stories. They may not be very good because they are fast and rarely edited. I would love feedback regardless – what do you like? What confuses you? Do you like the POV or should it have been different? To anyone who gives me feedback – THANK YOU. The heater was broken. Again. Because of that, the ship was creaking. Sounds in space echo in a strange way. Not the way of sound in an atmosphere by bouncing off something, instead the sound just stays in place, repeating itself. The crew had thermal suits on at all times, which led to a smell of body odors across the ship. Depending on the area, it might have the tang of singed fur, the sulfuric fumes from the reliquins, or the plain stink of humans. In this atmosphere,

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Short Story: Night Stalker

I am trying to write short stories. They may not be very good because they are fast and rarely edited. I would love feedback regardless – what do you like? What confuses you? Do you like the POV or should it have been different? To anyone who gives me feedback – THANK YOU. “Are you ready?” I asked. A nod in response. I slowly stood, it was our first night on solo patrol and even knowing this was one of the safer districts, I was nervous. I stepped off the roof, my partner spreading his wings to lead the way. I moved carefully along the street, enjoying the quiet of the night. Most houses had shuttered their windows, but a few had flickering lights escaping curtains. One showed the silhouette of a man hunched over a desk. I stepped over a cart with a late night pastry seller, careful not to let myself cause even too much wind. He didn’t

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Review: Plague, Inc.’s DLC The Cure

There is a video game called Plague, Inc. which was released in 2016. The description on the steam page is: Your pathogen has just infected ‘Patient Zero’ – now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself. Plague Inc. is so realistic that the CDC even asked the developer to come and speak about the infection models in the game!¬†http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2013/04/plague-inc/. https://store.steampowered.com/app/246620/Plague_Inc_Evolved/ I used to LOVE this game. I have it on computer and on my iPad. And then 2020 hit. I haven’t been able to play this in over a year. Previously, it was a game I’d sit and play through for 20-30 minutes (about how long it takes for me to win or lose). I recently saw they are allowing their DLC The Cure to be played for free. I downloaded and opened it up. They have 4 difficulty modes: Casual Normal

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Politics: The Fall of Kabul

Wow. This weekend was…. wow. History in the making. I missed much of it. Something about chasing a toddler around made watching the news…. impossible. So I looked at my news on Monday morning and I was floored. Flabbergasted. Appalled. Grieved. Maybe a little afraid? But not a direct fear per say. In other words, confused. I am old enough to remember 9/11. I was in high school. I am young enough to say I don’t know exactly how we got there. I was only in high school. I do remember several of my classmates talking about “joining up.” Even after the first rush of patriotism, several wanted to serve their country and defeat the “enemy.” Afghanistan was too quickly sidelined by Iraq and Iran issues (and fighting and sanctions and blah blah blah). I would say America really struggles with nation building. We don’t have a great record of it. I actually include our own in this in some

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