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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

she of the brown dusty attic-smelling wings

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

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April 22nd, 2017

On LJ and DW ...

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I've avoided talking much about LJ's latest shenanigans. Part of this is just sheer exhaustion with the regular cycle on LJ-induced outrage that has been going on since SixApart bought LiveJournal twelve years ago. Twelve years, y'all.

I've also been posting to Dreamwidth with automatic crossposts to LiveJournal for seven years now. (Yeesh. All this looking back makes me feel old.) I would have gladly conducted most of my activity on DW--ymmv but the site is far more user-friendly and the administration actually gives a flying fig about its users and isn't evil--but most of my friends didn't move, or if they did, commented on my posts on LJ, which made me feel somewhat like the person who chooses to move out of their bass-ackwards hometown but everyone they know still lives there, and they love those people, so they spend a lot of time there nonetheless.

Anyway, not much is changing for me.

  1. I will continue to post to DW as my primary journal site with automatic crossposts to LJ. I totally get why the new skeevy-as-fuck ToS has encouraged people to close their accounts (just as I got why people left when U.S.-owned SixApart pulled their multiple bouts of fundagelical-induced stupidity) but ...


  2. I plan to ignore that anyway and continue to leave up the "gay propaganda" and the slash and all the cussing I've dabbled in over the years and to continue posting these things when I want to. I'm not even clear if the ToS applies to me, as a paid account holder (and apparently the paid accounts are still U.S.-owned?), since I don't read Russian and the person LJ chosen to answer English-language questions on their news post could barely speak English ... but whatevs. I really don't give a fuck if LJ wants to shut down my account, so I'm going to continue to post what I want without special warnings or filters or whatever.


All that said, I AM diverting much of my reading to DW rather than LJ. In reading regularly on both sites over Spring Break, I've found that most people who are still posting are crossposting, and I'd rather read and comment on DW. I do get post notifications from a few close friends on LJ, and I'll keep replying to those, but I'm not foreseeing picking up reading on LJ anytime in the near future. Because honestly? I'd love to see what remains of journaling activity move to DW, so be the change, right?

I'm also trying to track down Tolkien fandom people that I'm not following yet. If you're over there under a name other than your LJ handle, can you let me know, please?

There is one thing, brought up in a discussion by the B2MeM mods, that disturbs me: LJ accounts are now liable to be shut down after six months of inactivity? Does anyone know if that is in fact true? And does it retroactively apply, even if someone has not accepted the new ToS (as in they are not longer around to accept said ToS)? I don't see why it wouldn't ... or couldn't. If so, I foresee a massive loss of fan history, not just in Tolkien fandom but everywhere, from both personal LJs and communities.

Here is what the non-legally-binding (so take with a grain of salt) English ToS says: "6.1.1. The Administration reserves the right to delete Account and Blog if User did not access the Account or the access was restricted for more than six months due to a breach hereof."

But I haven't seen discussion of this aside from the conversation among the B2MeM mods. Has anyone heard anything about this? I found a post on the OTW that talks about some of the other implications of the ToS, but this is not mentioned.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/412543.html

April 21st, 2017

First Vermont Moose!

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When we were driving home from Maine on Wednesday, Bobby told me that he'd read a notice from Fish and Wildlife about how moose were moving through the Northeast Kingdom at higher-than-usual rates because of the season and to use extra vigilance when driving. That got me thinking about moose. Namely how I've never seen a moose in Vermont. I saw a moose in Colorado, but never in Vermont. And I had hoped that, during my first year living here, I'd see one. And I felt really disappointed that I had not.

Well! The moose heard me, yo! I went into my school today for about four hours, then Bobby picked me up and we went to the feed store and stopped for Thai on the way home. I was in a semi-food coma as we drove home, when I noticed a woman pulled off to the side of the road, taking a picture of the Barton River with her phone. Now I've taken my share of pictures of the Barton, but it's not particularly picturesque right now: the drama of the near-flood-level waters is over and everything is still mostly brown and dead-looking, and it was a drab, rainy day to boot. But as I looked closer, I realized she was taking a picture of a moose that was browsing through the tall grass growing along the river!

First Vermont Moose

So I have indeed seen a Vermont moose within my first year of living here! Score!



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/412199.html

April 12th, 2017

The crick done rose.

When we had the February thaw, the Barton rose to the level of River Road. I wanted to take pictures then, but by the time I got the chance, the water level had dropped.

It's been very warm this week, and most of the lingering snow and ice have melted, so that Barton has risen steadily every day all week. We went kayaking on it on Monday and there was still ice on the water in places, but we would not be kayaking on it now unless we parked a car at either end because the current is strong enough now that we could never paddle back. The water's right below the road again, and this time, I got out to get some pictures.

Crick Done RoseCollapse )



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/410926.html

April 10th, 2017

Before I say ANYTHING about my video or stick and mud season, I want to wish a happy birthday to my friend and fandom partner in crime heartofoshun. I love you as an author and a scholar but most of all as a friend. I appreciate so much all you do for our little corner of the Interwebz and for me personally. Few people in my life have been so unconditionally supportive of me, and I can't express how much it means. I hope your day is as wonderful as you deserve!

Next things next: My video has creaked through the YouTube upload process on my satellite Internet. It's just the audio of me reading my paper with the slides. So this one is not 45 minutes of watching me sit and read! It's also only 20 minutes. I haven't watched it, so if there is anything egregious in the images or audio, it's a mistake--please let me know! The images are pretty crappy on my computer, but YouTube videos are usually pretty crappy on my computer--to the point that I can't always do my Drupal tutorials if it's rainy or snowy or windy because I can't see the image well enough to get anything out of it!--so I hope they're not actually that bad for people with normal Internet. If they are ... it's doubtful I'm going to have time to do anything about it, since it is basically redoing the video. But it can be used as a last resort as a sleep aid, presuming my accent isn't terribly annoying.



And! It was amazingly effing beautiful weather today. It was like Vermont said, "Fuck! It's spring!" and decided to do something about it. It was 77F/25C driving home from work this afternoon and brilliantly sunny. Most of the snow is now gone. And the river is thawed so ...

What else to do but go kayaking, right?? Bobby texted me when he got home--I was still working, of course!--and I pretty much packed up and left immediately, and he had the kayaks on the car already by the time I arrived home. We launched just a couple hundred yards/meters from our house because the river is so high that places that are normally an impossibly steep bank are only about a foot above the water now.

The Barton River flows near our house. Well, normally, it lazes past our house. It's a very calm river. In February, we had a few very warm days and a thaw, and the river rose to where River Road was, in places, just a car-wide track with water on either side. It wasn't so dramatic this time, but the river did rise to about a foot below the road on Friday. It's much lower now, but it actually has a current to it.

So going down the river was easy and fun. At one point, there was a tree fallen across the river except for a two-foot wide passage. I knew as soon as I went into it that I was going to regret it going back: With the current funneling into that tiny outlet, my kayak shot through like I was on the log flume at a theme park. It was hella fun! We rowed down to the bridge where Coventry Station Road crosses the river mostly because it was a logical turn-around point and I wanted to go under the bridge. This is our usual launch point on the Barton because it has a public access with a path down to the water. Looking at Google Maps, we paddled about 1.5 miles/2.5 km round-trip.

The row back was definitely tough, not helped by the fact that the only arm workout I've gotten since packing up the kayaks last fall is occasionally hauling wood pellets up from the barn--and Bobby does that most of the time! I almost didn't make it back through the log flume. It took two tries. It didn't help that the first time, Bobby essentially piled his kayak onto mine from behind! I let him through and tried again, and made it.

River Road runs parallel with a set of train tracks (a train came through while we were paddling, which was cool), and beyond the railroad bridge, the water was still solid ice. It was like looking through a portal into the North Pole.

We saw quite a few critters: two beavers, a great blue heron, what appeared to be a red-tailed hawk, umpteen redwing blackbirds, lots of different waterfowl. We're officially in mud season. One day last week, I stepped out of the car and sank about an inch into the driveway. But all in all, it hasn't been too bad. People always warn us first about the long winters--and we survived our first of those--and then mud season, and we're surviving that too. (It helps that we have an amazing road guy who has raked the road about weekly since the snow melted off of it. Our road is pretty scary when the traction isn't good, so I think I'd feel differently about mud season if not for our road guy. <3 to the Coventry road guy!)

It's also stick season since our trees are far from blooming or leafing out up here ... but some have buds! And I'm starting to sneeze more, which tells me they're doing their thing. And there is some green among the grass: faint and brave but there.

Right now? I'm tired. I want to stretch out somewhere and read. I wonder if my arms will be sore tomorrow.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/410413.html

March 19th, 2017

So I'm doing some preliminary data-crunching to see if I have anything worthwhile to contribute to this on the subject of Tolkien fandom and Tumblr. I'm on Tumblr but am not a heavy user, so I have the numbers but not the years of deep personal investment in the site that a lot of fanpeople have.

Essentially, I'm looking for the time when Tolkien fandom began to really shift to Tumblr. I joined Tumblr in May 2013, and there was already a huge Tolkien fandom presence there (being as this was in the midst of fandom activity for the Hobbit films).

The Tumblr article on Fanlore is surprisingly unhelpful. It does begin collecting quotes from fans in 2012, which is the date around which I've seen consensus for the big fandom shift to Tumblr. There is also this well-known post about Tumblr and fandom and this Slashcast episode, both of which would suggest 2012ish as the big year. But this is for fandom in general (although, given the fan activity surrounding the Hobbit trilogy, I'm feeling like this is a rare occasion when Fandom and Tolkien Fandom actually moved pretty lockstep with each other).

Does this seem right to you all? That 2012 was the year where Tolkien fandom as well began to have a presence on Tumblr? Any suggestions on sources or documentation for that?



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/409524.html

March 15th, 2017

Well, we got the big snow as promised. I don't know how much we got, but it was a lot. There was a lot of blowing and drifting last night, so it'd be hard to tell, even if I was willing to venture outside, which I have not so far. Schools were closed today after an early dismissal yesterday.

This was our back deck this morning. It's still snowing lightly, but we're not supposed to get more than a few more inches today.

 photo 20170315_110857_zpspw3ibvw2.jpg

Bobby took these pictures of the Wilds last night; he took them out to play in the snow. They are both like little children and get giddy when we have fresh snow falling.

Lancelot.

 photo lance_2017snowstorm_zpshox8nway.jpg



Guineweird.

 photo gwen-2017snowstorm_zpsp2s4grsp.jpg



On a completely unrelated note, I have enough fannish stuff to report that I'm actually going to use a bulleted list. Whoa.

  • I wrote an essay for the B2MeM prompt "Analyze a Chapter or Passage." I chose to compare the death scenes of Fëanor and Fingolfin, looking particularly at the evidence those passages provide for historical bias. The result: The Deaths of Kings: Historical Bias in the Death Scenes of Fëanor and Fingolfin.


  • For the personal essay B2MeM prompt, I wrote a personal essay (duh) called Mountains between the Light and the World: On Walls and Greed and the Privilege of Isolation. Warning: It gets into my personal politics, particularly my musings on why I've always been so bothered by the hoarding of light in The Silmarillion and how contrary to my political and personal values that idea is.


  • There's a new SWG challenge up. We're explicitly encouraging participants to combine our prompt with one of the other challenges going on. There's lots of challenges going on in the next month.


  • Last week, I almost died when I was Googling for a link to Attainable Vistas and, in the process, stumbled on this review of the issue of JTR and my essay in particular. The review called it "one of the best -- if not the best -- article on Tolkien written this year." What?! The writer is a Tolkien scholar, so he liked the first half--about historical bias--more than the second about fandom. Which I'd agree: the historical bias stuff is more generally interesting and relevant to an audience familiar with Tolkien. The fandom stuff is more for the connoisseurs, as it were. :D One of the things I found about traditional publication versus fannish publication is that the relative silence that meets a traditionally published work makes me wonder sometimes if what I wrote is even being read. (There wasn't absolute silence around "Attainable Vistas," but the chatter all came from fandom--go figure!) I was pleased to know that my work was not only read but clearly appreciated. It was a really pleasant surprise.


  • Speaking of "Attainable Vistas," I will be presenting the unpublished parts of that paper at the Vermont Tolkien Conference in just a few weeks. I received official registration information a few days ago, so it's really happening. No fandom stuff this time--just historical bias!


  • I have most of the rest of my B2MeM path planned out or underway. Let me say again how nice it has been to participate in B2MeM this year. I almost never get to participate outside of volunteering. But I get to listen to people participating complain about participating, feeling like the kid whose family never goes on vacation listening to her friends gripe about having to spend a week in Paris. I've really enjoyed getting to focus on my research and writing; I usually need an excuse to do this, and B2MeM has been a great excuse. It's improved my mood toward B2MeM immensely as well. I will confess that this is the fandom project where I am always the closest to burning out--thank goodness for Indy taking the reins these past few years!


  • Not really related to fandom, but while Googling my article the other night, I found that my university has also published my thesis. So you can read it if you want to. Some people said they wanted to! It's been downloaded 21 times, which is pretty amazing in itself.


Well, report card grades are due today, and I still have a little left to do to make that happen, so off I go!



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/408864.html

March 13th, 2017

The Calm Before the Storm

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Like much of the East Coast, we are under a winter storm warning for tomorrow. Our supervisory union is already dismissing early tomorrow, to avoid the brunt of the blizzard-like conditions in the afternoon. We've already used four snow days this year, and people are starting to wig out over how late into the summer students will go to school. (It's a normal date to start summer vacation in Maryland, so it doesn't feel onerous to me.) I think the SU is trying to avoid using another snow day tomorrow when there is already a good chance that schools will be closed Wednesday.

As night fell, I schlepped the compost bucket down to the bin behind the barn. I have to admit that this is chore that I actively neglect because it's quite a slog in the snow, and prying open the partly frozen compost bin isn't fun either. But I knew that with two feet of snow on the ground, I'd want to do it even less. The sky was a flat white and the air utterly still, like the Earth was holding its breath. It was actually eerie how quiet it was and the way the trees stood like they were painted on the sky.

Bobby and I also hauled up seven bags of pellets from the barn. (Next year, we will clear out the shed alongside our house enough to hold all of our pellets; our yard is just steep enough to make carrying bags of pellets up from the barn a real pain in the ass, made worse when the snow is deep, which it is not right now.)

On a completely different note, we started our first indoor seeds a week ago and came home today to the first frail tomato stem curling out of the soil. We also ordered chicks on Saturday: ten pullets, five broilers, and three turkeys. Spring is taking hold, no matter how tenuous, blizzard notwithstanding.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/408814.html

March 12th, 2017

It was bitterly cold outside today, barely passing 0F/-18C with wind chills between -10 and -30F (-23 to -34C) here in the valley. Bobby showed me a picture this morning of a whiteboard at Jay Peak, warning staff that wind chills on the mountain were -58F/-50C!

Of course, he went up anyway and rode for about two hours and came home with some frostnip on his nose. There was a sign at the top of the lift, announcing that temperatures in the waterpark were 100F warmer than on the mountain.

We were almost completely without snow thanks to the springlike weather at the start of February break but got a surprise few inches the other morning--enough to make things pretty again. However, the lack of snow also means a lack of insulation around the house, so we came home from a Vermont Family Theater performance of Into the Woods tonight to find we didn't have water because the pipe running from the well into the house had frozen. This happened once before, and Bobby crawled under the house (not as weird as it sounds if you remember we live in a mobile!) and warmed the pipe with a space heater, and we were fine again within minutes. This was New Years Eve, and our friends that night teased us that we'd earned another stripe as Vermont residents by having to thaw our pipes with a space heater. Tonight, it was much colder and windier and without that helpful layer of insulating snow, and our little heater just ain't cuttin it.

Bobby just got off the phone with the plumber, who told him that we're the eighth call tonight from a mobile with frozen pipes, and he's gotten two calls from people whose oil tanks have frozen. He says we'll be fine till he gets a heater free to come thaw us out; we just won't have running water (we have filtered water in the fridge, so we have water to drink and for the Goldens); such is life sometimes when you live on a well.

However, of course, as soon as I heard that, my hands felt dirty and wanted washing.

We're under a winter storm watch for the middle of next week. If we're going to have the bitter cold, I'd rather have the snow as well. Bobby's hoping for it, of course. But we've learned since living here that the weather prediction is far less reliable than in Maryland, so we'll have to wait and see. The snowfall the other night was not predicted; everyone was surprised to wake up and find the world blanketed in white again. Since they're saying we could get a lot out of this thing next week, we'll probably get almost nothing.

I can hear the wind outside right now, howling like a ghost.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/408537.html

March 11th, 2017

I started to write up this as a comment by someone on a friend's LJ, but it was getting very personal very fast--and therefore a little weird to be putting someone I didn't know well in the position of having to reply to it--and I thought it'd be better here. I somehow ended up talking about kids being bullied by teachers, and this opened a floodgate for me, some thoughts I've been wanting to put down for a few weeks now and finally have a moment to do so.

I know the person I appear to be. I remarked something about feeling inadequate a couple years ago and was told by a good online friend--someone who knows me better than most of the people here, in RL as well as in fandom--that it was hard to believe. That I don't appear to be that person. And most of the time I'm not. I've worked very deliberately to lock up my demons in ironclad prisons. I know I project a lot of confidence and competence. Most of the time, I feel a lot of confidence and competence. Sometimes I even fool myself. I think, "It's over! I'm normal now!" The reminder, when it comes, that some things don't just go away is sharp and sudden and painful.

One of the questions teachers often get asked is if we had a teacher who inspired us to pursue the profession. I do, but it's more of an anti-inspiration. It's a person that I imagined, through my presence in the profession, being unable to find a job because that job went to me. I know it doesn't work that way! But I like to think that if more smart, kind people became teachers, then we might run out the bullies and leave no room for them.

Because, for five years, I was bullied by a teacher. Read more...Collapse )

(I'm taking a risk and leaving this entry unlocked.)



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/408238.html

March 6th, 2017

Fan-dum-da-dum-dum

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I think this is the first year I am able to participate fully in Back to Middle-earth Month since B2MeM has existed. Normally the events require quite a bit of work from the mods during the event; this one was structured quite by chance--though no less brilliantly--so that the work was heavily front-loaded, which means that I'm able to actually participate. (Usually I manage one story, maybe two. This year, I'm doing the nonfiction path with fingers tightly crossed that, when I reach the Wild square, I will roll the option to choose something from one of the more creative paths and can write a story as well.)

My first piece was "On Writing Aman, or the Balance between the Mythic and the Real." It's on B2MeM, SWG, and the Tumblr place.

My current project, for the prompt "Analyze a Chapter or Passage," is a comparison of the death scenes of Fëanor and Fingolfin. I had done a short analysis of these two scenes for the unpublished (though being presented at the Vermont Tolkien Conference next month) paper on historical bias, and I decided to expand this out into its own essay. I'm hoping it will be finished and posted before the end of break.

Also, "Assignation," aka "the skanky fanfic," is now up on SWG and AO3, in case you missed that literary gem. It's Aredhel/Celegorm/Curufin, though I like to hope it's more than just PWP. It's been up on the SWG, but if you want to read the skanky fanfic on AO3, now you can.

Last fannish thing. Hedonist by Heart has done another beautiful piece of fan art for Another Man's Cage called "Before the Hush." If you like it, please go show her some love over on DeviantArt or Tumblr.

 photo before-the-hush_hedonist-by-heart_zpsqesz9yvg.jpg

The AMC passage that inspired it ...Collapse )

Hedonist by Heart has done artwork for AMC before but I think this one is my favorite. I feel like the genuine love and affection I hoped to show between the characters comes out in her art. And I simply love how she has drawn Nerdanel and the intensity of her Fëanor. (And Celegorm! Who doesn't want to snuggle that little muskrat and forget all about that whole kidnapping-Lúthien-betraying-Felagund thing??) Anyway, I love the piece and wanted to share it (and her work).

It occurs to me that this is the first and possibly only journal entry I will write over my fabulously long Winter Break. (I still feel like I'm getting away with something. We don't go back to school till Wednesday.) It's been a busy one: first preparing for B2MeM, then I edited a doctoral dissertation (for pay!), and of course there's always papers to grade and units to plan, and I went in to work for a day to give my classroom a much-needed reorganization and straightening up, and the SWG lately has more chores to do than a farm. It sounds work-filled and awful, but I've loved every moment of it. (And there were doses of fun: We went to St. J's--which feels forever ago--we went to the Ski and Snowboard Museum in Stowe, I had a snowboard lesson, we saw La La Land, we've had a lot of really good meals out.) I've come to terms with the fact that, if I were a dog, I'd be a Border Collie: You know, the kind of breed that gets described as being "happiest when working." I've been working, and happy, but subsequently not around much.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/407973.html
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