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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

she of the brown dusty attic-smelling wings

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"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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May 20th, 2017

I'm officially behind in the ramble thing! BUT all of the SWG stamp stuff is up-to-date, so I should have a little more freedom this weekend to catch up.

[personal profile] independence1776 asked what are my least and most favorite things about living in Vermont. I was not allowed to count distance from family and friends as my least favorite thing. (She knows me and wasn't letting me off that easily! :)

I've been living in Vermont for eleven months now, and the Green Mountain State and I are very much still in the honeymoon phase. Most of the things I miss living here are pretty petty. Tops would have been that there is nowhere to get Indian food short of going to Burlington ... but then one of my colleagues connected with a local caterer who does Pakistani cuisine--very similar to northern Indian cuisine--and we had our first lunch day at work yesterday, and I had a most delicious cauliflower in butter sauce. We're hoping the caterer will have been as happy with business from our school as we were with her food and will be willing to deliver to us on Fridays going forward.

So I can hopefully no longer complain about the lack of Indian food.

We don't have--or at least we haven't found--what I consider a truly good Mexican restaurant in the area. Not on par with some of the places we had in Maryland. America's Taco Shop is good for lunch, and Aguilera's in St. J's is decent, but I miss Cinco de Mayo and El Rodeo from Maryland.

(However, we have the best Thai food I've ever had right in Newport, and good sushi as well.)

Also, very few people know how to make good iced tea up here. Most places--if they even have it--get it from a soda machine. Blech. Very few places brew it fresh, and fresh-brewed iced tea is my absolute favorite drink, and I do miss that being an assumed beverage at any restaurant. We went to dinner at Cajun's on Wednesday, and they did have fresh-brewed iced tea, and ohmymy was it a treat.

(However, Vermont has amazing hard cider. I'm not sure that drinking hard cider instead of tea is a step in the right direction, but it is something that Maryland doesn't have the same quality of.)

Most of the things that people complain about here don't really bother me. When we first moved up here, people warned us, "There's no place to go shopping!" Since I don't like shopping, I don't care. People complain about the snow--there is still snow visible of Jay Peak!--but having lived all but this year in a place that was cold with little snow, I'd rather have the deeper cold and snow: just-above-freezing and damp weather is far worse, in my opinion! It's more miserably, and all winter is the stick season that Vermonter's lament between the melting of the snow and the sudden burst of spring. Then we were warned about mud season, but the Coventry road guy is exemplary, and we're not clean-car people anyway, so we don't mind that our car is brown either from mud or dust for most of the year. (It's cleanest in the winter because of the snow!)

Now the easier list: the things I love about living here! Things I Love about VermontCollapse )



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/416746.html

May 15th, 2017

Ohmyword. I am so far behind in this ramble thing. This has been the weekend of challenges ... meaning fandom challenges! (Also it's spring, which means more outside chores than usual.) The SWG's Woman's Sceptre challenge was due at the end of last week, the new Hero's Journey challenge went up today, and MPTT's "Back Garden of a Dream" challenge was revealed today. So I have a lot of balls in the air at the moment, and I kinda forgot about the rambling m-thing I'm doing this month.

Anyway. Thankfully no one likes hearing me talk enough to have requested a topic for each day, else I'd be screwed! As it is, I'm two days behind, both from [personal profile] dreamflower, so I'll tackle one today and one tomorrow. [personal profile] dreamflower asked:

Do you think Finrod Felagund ever got to meet Bilbo and Frodo?


In short, yes, assuming that he was reembodied by the time they arrived in Tol Eressëa. (I think he would have been. After all, if the Glorfindels are the same, then Glorfindel was reembodied by the end of the Third Age, and for all his awesomeness, I don't think Glorfindel eclipses Finrod.)

I really don't see how Finrod could have resisted. Throughout The Silmarillion, we see him interacting joyfully with people from other cultures. He worked with the Dwarves to build Nargothrond, managing not to get into any battles over jewelry/murdered in the process. They even gave him a name, Felak-gundu, which was Sindarinized into Felagund. (I bet they gave Thingol a name too, but it was probably of the four-letter variety.) The Dwarves are notoriously stingy with sharing their language ("Of the Sindar"), so I've often taken their giving him a Dwarvish name as a mark of honor and respect.

Likewise, he was the first to welcome the Edain to Beleriand. None of this is particularly surprising: His family is quite cosmopolitan, and Finrod had Telerin, Noldorin, and Vanyarin blood. Even within those groups, he moves with ease, befriending Maedhros and Maglor even as he is Turgon's BFF, a guest of Thingol, and the eventual companion of Beren. Only Finrod could manage those treacherous relationships with ease. He seems more comfortable than many of his kinsmen in crossing the ethnic lines that the people of Arda draw around themselves and seems to enjoy doing so.

I don't see how he could resist the Hobbits, given that tendency. I imagine that when word came to him of the arrival of a new people, a people he'd never met, who drew back from the brink of destruction the world he'd once loved and suffered exile to inhabit, then he would have been on the first ship to Tol Eressëa to meet them. And pompous-ass-Finrod of the Athrabeth aside, I prefer to imagine that meeting as him listening hungrily to Bilbo's stories (though I imagine Bilbo would have picked his brain a bit for old lore) and showing the same tender care and grace to Frodo as his sister Galadriel did when the Fellowship passed through Lothlórien.



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/416065.html

May 14th, 2017

Things with Stings

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give bees a chance
Bees and Wasps--Phobics Beware! Non-Phobics, Come Enjoy Some Schadenfreude!Collapse )



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/415747.html

May 10th, 2017

So in the ramble meme, [profile] engarian asked for:

I'm curious about what you (and Bobby) see as your goals for the next few years of your life, looking ahead from the perspective of your youth. Do you (and Bobby) think you'll stand firm on those goals for yourself(ves) or do you see yourself(ves) being more malleable and able to move as circumstances arise?


This afternoon, I interviewed Bobby in the kitchen, who originally thought I was pretty weird when I asked him where he saw himself in five years and made him talk into a pretend microphone. But he caught on pretty quickly!

If I synthesize what he said and what I've been thinking about (knowing this post was coming up) ... Read more...Collapse )



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/415736.html

May 9th, 2017

On Druidry

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[personal profile] shirebound asked me one of my favorite questions for the ramble meme:

What's it like being an initiated Druid in the 21st century? Is it a blend of ancient/modern beliefs?


I will start by saying that "druid" is about as accurate as "Christian" as far as pinning down precise beliefs and practices. There are many flavors of druidry, and what the term means for me won't mean the same to all people who identify as "druid." Bobby and I are initiated into the Ancient Order of Druids in America. Its then-leader John Michael Greer was giving a talk at the Spoutwood Farm Fairy Festival that we attended annually. Of course, his organizational affiliation caught our eye, and when we looked into it, we discovered that the group's purpose aligned quite well with our beliefs and goals.

Read more...Collapse )



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/415347.html

Mereth Aderthad

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The Mereth Aderthad is indeed happening! The general chaos of my life lately made it so that the website was severely delayed: mostly built but needing just enough essentials to make it impossible to finish in the time I had for it. But ... it's done! Finally!

http://mereth-aderthad.com/

Absolutely anyone can register for a membership. There's also an email newsletter to sign up for to get updates. There's also an LJ comm: mereth_aderthad. More social media will follow, but these are the ways to get updates for now.

If you're attending, there's an additional RSVP form I'm asking people to fill out. One, because it will help us to know how many people will actually be here! :) Also because there are sections of the site for doing things like planning carpools that don't need to be open to all and sundry, and sending in an RSVP gets you access to those.

In case you're not sure what the heck I'm talking about: Mereth Aderthad is a gathering of Tolkien fans in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. It's going to be part fan convention, part holiday. We'll have a kickoff event that first Saturday (more information on this is forthcoming). The week after will be more informal and we're really open to doing whatever our attendees want to do. (Hike mountains? Sit around a bonfire and drink VT beer? Hang out on the beach and watch the lake?) All Tolkien fans are welcome. My only stipulation is that they should be open-minded about fanworks.



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/415030.html

May 5th, 2017

[personal profile] lindahoyland asked me to talk about my pets. I've had some pretty special animals in my life (but anyone with pet dogs and cats feels that way, no? :) so this will be a little bit on the memoirish side.

All the Critters I Have KnownCollapse )



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/414495.html

May 4th, 2017

[personal profile] jenni_blog asked: "Did you watch the premier of A Handmaid's Tale and what did you think about it?"

Indeed I have! I have watched through Episode 4. I'll put my thoughts below the cut because I'm going to make no attempt to resist spoilers.

Thoughts on 'A Handmaid's Tale' [SPOILERS]Collapse )



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/414211.html

May 1st, 2017

So Urloth on Tumblr asked, "What if Celegorm had managed to kill Luthien when he shot at her?" and requested the first of May, so here I am.

Two ways come to my mind as approaches to this question. First is to think about how such a narrative choice by Tolkien would have affected the overall theme of the Legendarium. Such a decision would have profoundly altered the larger theme, to say the least. Just tonight, I posted to the SWG [personal profile] heartofoshun's biography of Barahir. The whole essay is worth a read, but the final paragraph is particularly lovely and salient to my point here as well:

This sense of devastating loss, which also echoes the dark fatalism of the Norse epics of which Tolkien was so fond, is certainly central to The Silmarillion and most particularly evident in its Chapter 18, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."25 We move from a world wherein the shaky balance between the forces of light and darkness is directly threatened and, to steal the words from the poet W. B. Yeats, "[t]hings fall apart; the centre cannot hold; [m]ere anarchy is loosed upon the world, [t]he blood-dimmed tide is loosed. . . ."26 And yet within that smoke-blackened and terrifying world, where the center no longer holds, there remain unwavering heroes like Barahir, with his determination and his hard-won family heirloom, who project hope down through the Ages and into the eucatastrophe of The Lord of the Rings.


As I put it, more or less, in a comment to Oshun on this subject, Barahir is a cog in the larger eucatastrophic machinery: His story is unrelentingly tragic, but we are to understand that his existence ensures defeat of Darkness in the far future. Therefore, the tragedy is acceptable. If he's a cog, Lúthien is a whole clockwork unto herself. If ever there is an emblem of literal and figurative light in the midst of darkness, here you have her, and destroying her in such an ignoble way by a character depicted as all but incorrigible would hamstring the theme of eucatastrophe.

The second approach is to think about how the story would change in an AU scenario where Lúthien dies at this crucial point, prior to recovering the Silmaril. (Because I don't care who was holding the knife: Lúthien totally scored the goal on that one and Beren had the assist.) Most obviously, the Silmaril would not have been recovered, and the existence of key characters like Elwing, Elrond, and Elros would have been rubbed out. If ever you needed to see a scary albeit fictional example of how a single action can completely rearrange history, here you have it in imagining the Second and Third Ages without the peredhil.

Before I get ahead of myself, without Elwing, there is no delivery of the Silmaril to Aman, no war against Morgoth, and Beleriand is not destroyed.

But it's perhaps more interesting to imagine the more immediate consequences of such an act.

I imagine Thingol--already no fan of the Fëanorians and crushed by his daughter's death--waging all-out war against them. This is not a crisis that even the most skilled diplomacy and brother-wrangling of Maedhros could avert.

What of Beren? Unlike Thingol, we get no suggestion that he is a vengeful character. I mean, he's a vegetarian for Pete's sake. It could be that Tolkien, to preserve that innocence and goodness, would have kept Beren's hands unbloodied and allowed him a death of grief.

But in a world (use your movie trailer voice if you want) where eucatastrophe has been essentially erased as a driving principle, what need is there to preserve Beren's goodness? Perhaps he would have become vengeful, ironically healing the rift between himself and Thingol in the interest of pursuit of a common enemy.

Because we also would not have had the second and third kinslayings--no Silmarils to slay over, remember?--I think Lúthien's death would have shifted the focus from the war on Morgoth to a civil war among the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Now that is a scenario with modern relevance: the inability to unite against a common enemy because of infighting among one's own kind. (We do see hints of this in the refusal of Thingol and Orodreth to send forces to fight alongside the Fëanorians against Morgoth but nothing so overt as actual civil war.)

It may be that there is no line to continue into the Second and Third Ages. It may be that the Fëanorians prevail and become the heroes of those ages. Or it may be that eucatastrophe reasserts itself, and from the grievous loss of Lúthien, a new and unseen source of hope arises.




If there's a topic you want me to ramble about, there's still plenty of slots open in the ramble meme!



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/413911.html

April 30th, 2017

Shamelessly stolen from [personal profile] independence1776 because this seems fun as all get-out ...

Pick a day and ask me a question, propose a topic, etc, and I will write about it on that day. This can be fandom meta, real life stuff, whatever you want to hear me ramble about! (No fic prompts, please.)

Comment with what you want me to talk about and the date you'd like me to post it.


I will put the schedule behind the cut and update it as regularly as I can.

ScheduleCollapse )



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/413513.html
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