This is a really interesting memoir by someone who I didn’t know much about. She’s got a complicated life story, and a great attitude as she sashays her way through her life. She’s funny, and touching. And, as ever, the inner lives of Black women are still not something that receives nearly enough attention.
The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read
Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”
Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.
Serial killer. And Ghost of St. Giles vigilante. And river pirate. And bondage.
If any or all of those things appeal to you, I’d really recommend this book. If you’re looking for a spicy historical, or one not focused around the glittering aristocracy, Wicked Intentions fits the bill. Aside from a few ball scenes, this book takes place among the working class of London.
A man controlled by his desires…
Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she’s spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.
A woman haunted by her past…
Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance’s help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London’s high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.
RECOMMENDED: A Duchess in Name by Amanda Weaver is 99c! Redheadedgirl reviewed the book and gave it a B+:
This book involves a massive renovation, a HERO that was won in a card game, awkwardness, and learning to love each other despite a most inauspicious beginning. Throw in some terrible parenting, and we got ourselves what could totally be a miniseries jointly produced by ITV and HGTV.
Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham’s finishing school, she’s been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can’t matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.
Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he’s devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family’s fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn’t care to know.
Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn’t so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.
Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake is $2.99! This is a paranormal urban fantasy, and the first book in the Asylum Tales series. The book has a 3.6 average on GR, and readers particularly liked the hero, who is a former warlock who now runs his own tattoo parlor. I’m actually pretty interested in this book, but I’m wary about buying it for some reason. Anyone care to weigh in on whether to buy or bypass?
Buyer beware . . .
Looking for a tattoo—and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using unique potions—a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks—to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart’s desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.
No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment—execution—will be swift.
Though he’s tried to fly under the radar, Gage can’t hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead—or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage might just make it through this enchanted world alive.
Lightning Reviews are back with another trio of quick thoughts on a few selected books. We have a must-have cookbook, a Clueless graphic novel, and a YA book that blends fantasy, Chinese folklore, and high school!
While nothing can match the divine quality of the movie Clueless, the graphic novel Clueless: Senior Year is a fun reunion with Cher, Dionne, and Tai, the main characters from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it before reading the comic, because the comic will make more sense and because everyone should watch Clueless.
The story picks up on Cher’s last day of junior year. One of her teachers tells the students that they are being assigned a project. By the end of their senior year, they have to turn in a report on what kind of adult they want to be. Cher, Dionne, and Tai each get a chance to answer that question in their own chapters while Cher’s romance with Josh, her boyfriend who is now in college, suffers due to her experimentation with being an “activist-environmental-entrepreneurial grown-up.”
Cher’s storyline is, like Cher, adorable. She jumps into her project in the graphic novel with the same overboard enthusiasm with which she jumped into the Tai makeover in the film Clueless. It’s even more fun to see Dionne and Tai come out of Cher’s shadow and develop their own confidence. All three stories are relatable and celebrate both independence and female friendship, with some romance as well.
My favorite thing about this is the art. It matches the aesthetic of the movie but throws in some grunge drab for a visit to Seattle, and soft earth tones for a trip to Tai’s family farm. Movie fans will be pleased to see that Cher’s poufy pen (what did we call those?) makes many appearances, as does some Lisa Frank-inspired art and a lot of cassette tapes. It’s a fun love letter to the movie and to the 1990’s.
Y’all, I gotta tell you, I’m getting some great pitches from Twitter these days.
This was billed as a treatment of Journey to the West, and I totally admit that most of what I knew of Journey to the West is from The Forbidden Kingdom, which is not a good movie, and has significant problems, but also has Jackie Chan and Jet Li. As an introduction to “Hey you can read more about this!” for JttW, the film doesn’t suck and the fight scenes are glorious.
Anyway, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is about our heroine, Genie, a Chinese-American high school student who is in the midst of college prep when a new student shows up and turns everyone’s life upside down, especially Genie’s. Quentin is annoying, and always around, and Things Happen around him….and he’s also the embodiment of the Monkey King. And he’s drawn to Genie because she’s a reincarnation of another member of the Journey’s party. Together, they have to save the world from escaped demons. And also get into college.
This was a FUN READ. Genie is hilarious, and fights so hard against destiny because goddammit, this isn’t in the schedule, and also this Quentin dude is annoying and clingy! I find that romances based on literal destiny can be dicey – I like agency in my romances. But they spend enough time together that Genie gets to know Quentin on his own terms and like him for himself, not just because they are supposed to.
There’s also some great tension between Genie and her mother which explores the children of immigrants dynamic. Add a little magic in there, and things get really fun. Yee also does a really good job of instructing the reader in the salient points of Journey to the West, so if you didn’t grow up with this tale as one of your childhood stories, you can still follow what’s up. I recommend this for anyone looking for fun adventure stories that invert a lot of destiny-romance expectations.
I don’t usually review cookbooks here, but this book has been making me so happy, I had to share. I first borrowed this cookbook from the library, because the Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks can be costly, especially if I end up liking one or two recipes. I ended up liking this cookbook so much, I bought my own copy and have been adding recipes to our rotation since it arrived in July.
Y’all. Y’ALL. I love this cookbook. I love recipes where I can put a bunch of stuff on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven and let heat and time do their thing while I do all the other things I have to do. Some of the recipes are more hands-on than others, but the ones I’ve made I’ve enjoyed so much. Each section focuses on one container or method of cooking: skillets, sheet pans, dutch ovens, casserole dishes, roasting pans, and slow cookers. There are a set of recipes designed for each method, and I’ve tried several so far.
Lemony chicken with spinach and potatoes: This one is made in a skillet, and comes together very quickly (a number of the recipes are labeled as “weeknight friendly,” which I appreciate!). The flavors are simple but interesting, and I liked the wilted baby spinach. Usually spinach that’s not raw in a salad makes me gag.
Lime ginger chicken with rice: This made a lot of rice, but it was delicious. There are a bunch of different flavors and the combination didn’t get boring. I wanted to keep eating.
Italian sausage with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and polenta: I loved this recipe. It’s all cooked on a sheet pan, and the combination of textures and the balance of the sausage, the polenta, and the pepper/tomato mixture was perfect. We’re making this one again very soon.
Mexican-style spaghetti squash casserole: I’ve made this three times already. I usually hate squash – I think it has a weird aftertaste. But by heating the spices in olive oil, then tossing the spaghetti squash and the chopped vegetables with that oil means that the spices permeates the squash and yay, no weird aftertaste! I have eaten a portion of this casserole every day for lunch for a week and have been very, very happy about it. (Seriously, yum.)
If you’re a vegetarian, alas, there aren’t too many recipes in here for you. Most involve meat or fish. And if you eat zero carbs, like no potatoes, rice, or pasta, the pickings get a little sparse.
But for my weeknight cooking rotation, this cookbook has made me so happy. I am trying new recipes in the next few weeks, and I’ll report back how they go. I love the ease and convenience of using one method or container for the food preparations, and so far the flavors and combinations have been terrific.
Sarah: I had my hair cut this week, and as I got in the car, I thought that having very short hair is very appropriate for watching this film.
“And Introducing Audrey Hepburn…” Oh, we have met, I assure you.
I love the long opening credits. And Edith Head did the costumes! Of course she did.
This is a trope that works for me – individual bound by a massive weight of duty and expectation finds a temporary escape to be themselves or the opposite of their lives. It’s a lovely mix of behind-the-scenes and public self vs. private self, both of which I love.
CarrieS: If I were going to present her with stuff it would be cookies, tennis shoes, and a puppy.
“I’m just being veeery happyyyy” yes dear, I know that’s exactly what happens to me when I eat creme brulee. No lie.
Sarah: I also love the tension in the boring “please meet everyone” scene where she nearly loses a shoe, and then the Cinderella reference when she can’t get it back on in time. Adorable. Also the relief that they helped her avoid a breach of protocol.
Though I question the protocol that requires all these people from different countries bowing to her
CarrieS: What is it about Italy and romance? How many romance movies have we looked at so far with an Italian theme?
Sarah: That said: here is some fun, though not sourced trivia:
The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real, too.
CarrieS: If there’s anything we should have learned from romantic comedy it’s, “Never make a bet.”
“What would you do for $5000” is a line with strange overtones when it’s spoken by one guy to another while grappling in a bar.
Sarah: “It’s nerves. Control yourself, Ann.”
Bugger off, lady! Girl is dramatically upset and it’s totally earned. And she gets a royal sedative.
Sarah: Nighttime gallivanting with a sedative in your bloodstream seems like a bad idea. But if you’re going to pass out on a low fence, Gregory Peck is the best thing that could happen, I think.
CarrieS: Peck improvised the Mouth of Truth so her reaction is genuine.
Sarah: I love the “dance” on the staircase going to his room.
“I’m terribly sorry to mention it, but the dizziness is getting worse.” I love the absurd politeness. I’m going to say this all the time now.
I love that he thinks he holds all the cards (ha ha) and he does not.
CarrieS: Gregory Peck should always be wet and disheveled.
Sarah: The haircut scene is one of my favorites. When I last donated my hair, and my stylist put my hair in a ponytail to cut it all off, even though we both knew what we were doing, I was so nervous, and so was she. Also why the hell is he back-combing her hair before he cuts it off?
And short bangs! She looks so good with short bangs. Interesting pacing note: she gets her hair cut at nearly exactly half way through the film. She buys ice cream and flowers at about 1:02 and the film is about 2 hours long. Epic change midway through!
CarrieS: Um they totally just smashed up a lot of other people’s stuff, people who probably didn’t have a lot of stuff to spare, and lied their way out of paying for it and that is a jerk move, also, how old are these characters supposed to be? Peck you are a little stalkery.
CarrieS: “You should always wear my clothes.”
“It seems I do.”
Sarah: I love how Joe is early on a varying level of jerk, and slowly does something unselfish. I also like the way the film parallels itself. Her princess agenda includes going to all these sites to improve trade relations and connections on one level, and her tour of Rome in semi-disguise is more personal, and focuses more on how real people in Rome live day to day. She’s supposed to be given a car which she will refuse, but then she steals a scooter and drives it all over Rome (and makes a big mess – geez, woman). And the movie begins with her dancing at a ball, distant, silent, and impersonal from each person, and midway through she’s on a barge dancing (scandalously!) close with Joe and actually talking to him. There’s the distance of her role contrasted with the intimacy and experience of her day as a (sort of) anonymous individual.
Her realization that her job and her role mean a lot to the people of her country: “Were I not aware of my duty to my country and my family, I would not have come back tonight, or indeed ever again.” Also: she’s wearing a dark almost-black dressing gown instead of white silk — o RLY?
CarrieS: The grab and hug just kills me. Every. Damn. time.
Sarah: They do a lot of subtle face reactions and they get my right in the hearty feels.
Also, I LOVE that the first question is like, “So, princess, what do you think about a European Union?” Well, let me tell you some things from the future! You’d better sit down.
Expressions of personal affection through bland press statements – I am terribly sorry to mention it, but I am a puddle of feels right now.
“I will cherish my memories here as long as I live.” I’ve seen this movie a mess of times, and I am all sniffly.
CarrieS: It’s an A movie, obviously. Am helpless before its powers.
Sarah: Meeting the press contrasting the opening meeting of the dignitaries — this movie’s parallels are so well done. My catnip, so much catnip.
And then he stays there, waiting longer than anyone before he leaves. Oh, gosh, this movie works so well on me.
I just did the dumbest thing: I wondered if there were fanfic for this movie. Can you imagine such a ludicrous question? Of course there is!
This is so timelessly effective and charming, and gets me every time I watch. It’s easily an A for me.
Complete aside for trivia via IMDB: The original writer, Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, one of the writers of the final screenplay, took credit for the original story and accepted the Oscar. Hunter did, however, pass on the $50,000 payment he received for the job on to Trumbo. Trumbo’s wife, Cleo, was finally presented with the award in 1993, long after his death in 1976. The Oscar she received was actually a second one, because Hunter’s son wouldn’t give up his father’s Oscar. Thus, two awards for Best Motion Picture Story of 1953 exist. The story credit was corrected to credit Trumbo when the restored edition was released in 2002, nearly fifty years after the original release.
The drunken Ann recites a poem, “If I were dead and buried when I heard your voice, beneath the sod my heart of dust would still rejoice.” which prompts Joe to declare her “well read.” The poem is actually an original work by Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted writer.
Sarah: The history of the blacklist in Hollywood is both fascinating and very eerie given current political media climate. I really enjoyed this series from You Must Remember This devoted to the history of the blacklist. If you’d like to know more about it, I hope you enjoy it.
Is Roman Holiday a romantic classic for you? Or does it not hold up to modern scrutiny? Let us know what you think!
[We interrupt the previously scheduled rant for another rant.]
At some point, if you are so lucky, you will be old. You may already be old. Somebody you love may already be old. Old people, being people, require medical care, and are often treated – because this is basically what primary care in our society consists of – with medications.
Thing is, old bodies handle medicine differently than young ones.
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23rd-Sep-2017 01:28 pm - I Have Discovered Fashion
I went looking for costume pieces. I'm aware that my chances of finding the kind of costume pieces I want are low, and it's likely to take more than a casual search to find the kind of things I want within my budget. But I wanted to at least get a sense of what's available.
One of the things I want, is a Victorian-esque high-neck long-sleeves full length dress. Doesn't need to be period-accurate at all; just needs to have roughly the right silhouette. So I went to Amazon and searched for a few things; "maxi" is the current term for long dresses, but that gets me a bunch of sleeveless evening gowns. I searched for "long sleeves," which got me a number of pajama-esque looking shirt dresses, which warned me that searching for anything with extra coverage on top was likely to mean they removed an equal amount of fabric from the bottom. And sure enough, searching for high-neck dresses gets a bunch of sheaths that stop at the garter belt line.
And this monstrosity, which I am inflicting on you, dear readers, because otherwise I will have to bear the pain of having seen it alone. I think the... shoes? leggings? tights? ... are a separate article of clothing, and apparently so is the collar. But the full ensemble is stunning.
23rd-Sep-2017 03:21 pm - Habit tracker help needed!
I started a bullet journal in January of this year, and though I don't use all of the possible pages I've found it has helped me become more organized. However. I have a problem with the habit tracker grid, in that I have never been able to go more than two weeks in keeping it updated--there is a month that I think I have about three days tracked. This pains me because I love the idea of the habit tracker and I have several habits I want to establish in my life.
Does anyone have ideas about how I could have more diligence in sticking to the habit tracker? Or bullet journal alternatives to the habit tracker grid? I feel like a failure for not being able to make the grid work for me.
Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 43 secrets from Secret Submission Post #561. Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ]. Current Secret Submissions Post:here. Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
Optional: If you would like your secret's fandom to be noted in the main post along with the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret. If your secret makes the fandom obvious, there's no need to do this. If your fandom is obscure, you should probably tell me what it is.
Optional #2: If you would like WARNINGS (such as spoilers or common triggers -- list of some common ones here) to be noted in the main post before the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret.
Optional #3: If you would like a transcript to be posted along with your secret, put it along with the link in the comment!
23rd-Sep-2017 09:36 am - ITPE dear podficcer letter
Hi! I am once again super excited for my favorite time of the fannish year \o/
I'm making life (maybe) a little easier this year in that, since last year I got a pinboard and have filled it with things, so if reading through the fandoms below nothing springs to mind, or you just want a place to start, I've got a "wishlist" tag, which is everything that I wish there was a podfic of. Additionally the "tier1" tag are fic I've loved/are favorites and I would be delighted by podfics of any of those as well.
So, if anything on my pinboard strikes your fancy, excellent! But I also super love getting to listen to podfic of new things (of course!) and hopefully we've been matched on a fandom you're excited to record for, so here's a bit more about what I like...
There is probably more to see than we saw at Wawel Hill, but we did the State Rooms and the Royal Private Apartments of the Royal Palace, and the cathedral. Must remark that dwelling in marble halls, or at least spending several hours walking/standing on floors of that substance, does my lower back thing no favours.
23rd-Sep-2017 01:41 pm - Des chansons québecois encore
I've been alternating between Radio-Canada and seeing what YouTube autoplays when I look up songs I hear on there. Here are a few of my favourites ... and I think I have found a new beloved band in Les Cowboys Fringants. They have an album called L'Expédition, for crying out loud.
How much this helps me learn the language is anyone's guess. My comprehension even of sung English is pretty pathetic; I've been listening to non-English songs as long as I can remember, enjoying them for their musicality without the pressure of processing the words, so they're in one ear and out the other. And while learning to sing songs in another language might be a good practice generally, whoever suggests that has little experience with how many syllables a French Canadian can cram into one line holy cow.
(On the other hand, it might give a genetic excuse for my speech being excessively fast and inarticulate? Can't help it, I've got 400 years of Joual to overcome ...)
Yesterday I spent my whole afternoon listening to seven different Native activists, including Louise Erdrich and Edgar Heap of Birds, talk about their activism. It was such a challenging, important experience. And while I am walking away from it with a lot of thoughts, and a lot of books i need to read, and a lot of concrete actions I can take, I took away one thing overall that I need to keep at the forefront of my mind.
When I say / think / complain that this present political situation is unbearable, or words to the effect, I am showing my white privilege. To listen to these seven activists talk about what their families have experienced within the last five generations is staggering. I knew much of it intellectually, but yesterday it hit me with full emotional force. So shut up, white girl. I barely know what it is to hurt.
Previously: Jamie survived Culloden, and got sent home to Lallybroch. Claire had their daughter and is trying to make a home in Boston.
The title splash is a redcoat posting a wanted poster for an outlaw called the “Dunbonnet.”
At Lallybroch in 1752, three boys, in the manner of troublemaking boys, find a hidden pistol in the dovecote. They are Rabbie, Wee Jamie, and Fergus (HEY FERGUS). Their bragging is interrupted by a bunch of soldiers who are looking for the Dunbonnet, who might also be Jamie. Jenny, who is very pregnant again, tells them (as they arrest Ian), that they haven’t seen Jamie since the filthy traitor went to the rebellion. The soldiers remind them that anyone harboring a traitor will be hanged, and they tell him the same thing they told five other commanders – there’s no Red Jamie there. They arrest Ian anyway, and Fergus spits at the Redcoat who is a Corporal MacGregor.
Of course, Jamie is there, in ragged clothes, long hair, and generally looking not at all like himself. He successfully hunts a stag (with a bow and arrow) and brings it to the house after dark. When he walks in, he has a vision of Claire working in the garden, but it’s really Jenny. He’s haunted and hunted and isn’t used to talking.
Inside, they butcher the deer, Jenny and Fergus keeping the conversation going while Jamie is silent. Jenny also asks Jamie if he can help with the books, since Ian is away for a bit. Jenny also tells him that her conscious is clear when it comes to lying, because she’s not: “James Fraser hasn’t been here for a long, long time.”
Claire, in her bed, pants as she remembers Jamie in happier times (by which I mean sex and fun bed times). We get a nice shot of Sam’s butt in her memory. But it’s Frank sleeping by her side, and she’s alone.
It’s 1949, and Claire puts Bree in her bed (with her Bunny), and in the Globe, there’s an article about Irish Independence. Bree fusses a bit, and Claire tells her that she’ll want to hear this: “This is history in the making.” Bree makes her own history by rolling front to back the first time. (Claire’s dressing gown is very 1940s, but also reminiscent of one of her Paris dressing gowns, which is a nice touch). Frank comes down in just a towel and they marvel over their clever daughter who rolls over a month ahead of schedule. Claire puts on a hand on his naked chest. It’s a moment, and neither is too sure what to do with it.
Jamie paces through the woods to his little cave covered by bushes. He hears someone outside, but it’s just Fergus, who SAYS he was very careful and doubled back on his trail. He’s brought the pistol and wants to learn how to shoot so he can be ready for the next rebellion. Jamie tells him there won’t be another one, and Fergus snaps ,”Just because you’re a coward now doesn’t mean I am!” Jamie just tells him that weapons are outlawed, so PUT IT BACK.
In the house, Jamie comes to help with the books, and finds that Jenny is in labor. Mary tells him not to worry. The boys are doing their chores, and see a raven. Rabbie tells them that his Granny said ravens are messengers of death, and they shouldn’t be near a birth… so they decide that the best thing to do is get the pistol and shoot the raven.
Of course, there are soldiers near enough to hear the shot. Jamie is about to throttle one or all three of them, when Mary tells him that the baby has been born- a boy- and takes the gun.
Inside, Jenny is quite pleased with herself, and is going to name the new baby Ian. He is a wee chicken. Jenny tells him that Jamie looks good with a baby, and then asks how long it’s been since he had sex. Jamie tells her to not go there, and she’s like it’s been 6 years and Mary McNab is young enough. Jamie takes the baby out to meet the others, when he hears the soldiers looking for the gun. Jenny settles herself in bed, and calmly tells them that there’s no weapons. They threaten to search the house. Baby Ian starts making noises and Jamie shoves a fingers in his mouth, and Jenny’s like look, we always cooperate, there’s no weapon!
He asks her if she’s given birth, and she tells him that baby came early and was dead. (MacGregor says that’s good, it’s one less Scot to deal with.) They ask where the body is, and then the Captain gives and order to find the midwife. At the point, Mary comes in with the pistol. She tells them that it belonged to her husband, and she kept it because it gave her comfort, and she fired it at a raven to protect that baby. MacGregor scoffs at the “stupid Highland superstitions” and offers to take her into custody. The captain says nah, they have the weapon, but warns Jenny that if anything happens again, they will not be so lenient.
The soldiers leaves, and Jenny muses that she’s seen the look in that captain’s eyes before… he’ll not give up. She tells Jamie to dig a fresh grave in the cemetery, just in case.
In Boston, Claire wakes Frank up and says she “misses her husband” and initiates sex (with her on top). This is the first time they’ve been together since she came back.
In Scotland, Ian is brought back, and MacGregor tells him that the garrison is searching to north and south, and they’ll be back. Fergus eyes them darkly. Ian thanks them for the “lovely visit.”
Fergus sneaks out, where there is a soldier hidden, waiting to see who leaves the house. In the woods, Fergus knows he’s being followed, and leads the pair of soldiers, including MacGregor, on what he intends as a merry chase. He taunts them Frenchishly, runs, gestures, and taunts them a second time. Jamie hears the yelling and sneaks to see Fergus spending more energy on taunting and less on running. Fergus gets cornered by another pair on horseback, and MacGregor uses his saber to cut off Fergus’s right hand. The soldiers leave, and Jamie tumbles down the slope and puts on a tourniquet and brings him back to the house.
Inside, Jamie paces by the fire, and Jenny tells him that Fergus is alive because of Jamie. Jamie says he should have stopped them, and Jenny sensibly points out that if he had, then they would all be dead. Jamie falls to his knees, sobbing, and Jenny holds him.
After he’s collected himself, Jamie finds Fergus, who says that Jenny has been quite generous with the whiskey (Though he prefers the taste of French wine). And that he’s sorry. Jamie says that Fergus reminds him that he does have something to fight for, and Fergus smiles: “There you are, Milord.” Fergus also reminds Jamie of the agreement they made in Paris: if Fergus lost an ear or a hand in his service, that Jamie would support Fergus for the rest of his life: “In one stroke, I have become a man of leisure, no?”
Claire and Frank are having Millie (the neighbor Claire met) and her husband over for dinner. They are having Eton Mess for dessert, and Millie laughs that she doesn’t do baking – if it’s not in the freezer section, too bad. Jerry says she that her “talents lie elsewhere.” They are affectionate, and easy with each other, in the way Claire and Jamie were and Frank wishes they were.
After Millie and Jerry leave, Frank pours Claire a nightcap, and after some banter, she takes his glass, removes her panties, and guides his hand between her legs. Her eyes are closed as he lays her down in front of the fire, and he asks that she look at him. She refuses, and he stops. He doesn’t want to be used as substitute: “When I’m with you, I’m with you. But you’re with him.”
The him in question gets a drink from Ian, and Ian talks about the phantom pains he gets in his leg: “Feeling a pain in a part of you that’s lost…Claire was your heart.” I dunno, that’s laying it on bit thick, show. Upstairs, Jamie sees a tapestry with the family arms on it that’s been slashed – the British did that. Jamie muses that they won’t stop until he’s found.
Jamie’s plan is to have Jenny turn him in: that way they get the reward money, they prove their loyalty to the Crown, so the soldiers will stop harassing them. Jenny hates the idea, like REALLY hates it. She’ll hide her brother forever if that’s what he needs, because Ohana Means Family. Jamie’s plan is that Jenny will tell the British that she’s heard from Jamie, and she knows when he’ll show up, so that’ll be that. Jenny says that he’ll be “hangit” but Jamie doesn’t care all that much, and besides, it’s been seven years. They’re not hanging people that much. It’ll just be prison. Jenny asks Jamie if he’s not seen enough prisons, and he shrugs. “Little difference to the prison I live in now.”
In his cave, Jamie sees Mary bringing him food and offers him company. She shaves him, and cuts his hair, and he thanks her for her bravery for turning over the pistol to the British. He leaves to go bathe, and tells her to bring back the books to the house, and toss the rest. She doesn’t though: she offered him company, and he comes back to find her in her shift.
What she’s offering is a moment of humanity. She’s not trying to compete with Claire. “Something we both need. Something to keep us whole as we move forward in this life.” He wrestles with himself, and admits that he hasn’t done this for a while. She hasn’t either, but they figure it out.
In Boston, Claire walks with Bree in her pram, and Bree is a super cute baby. Claire voiceovers that she did her best to resign herself to her new role as wife and mother, while looking at a headline announcing that Truman appointed a woman as Treasurer. She’s been a part of something larger, and eventually… she picks up a knife, and holds it like scalpel, and the picture fades into her actually holding a scalpel. “I would need to do something more.”
She’s in the Anatomy classroom at Harvard Medical. She’s a first year, and her professor muses that Harvard is being super modern this year, with a woman and a Black man in the class. Claire takes her seat amid the hostile glares of her classmates, until the Black man walks in. He asks if he can sit next to Claire, and she smiles. His name is Joe Abernathy. They shake hands, while the white dudes shake their heads in disgust.
The professor starts class: “Alright, gentlemen. Let’s begin.”
At the house, Claire comes into bed. She and Frank now are sleeping in twin beds.
Jenny feeds the chickens in the yard, and Jamie – shorn and shaven and looking like himself, comes to the gate. He swallows hard before saying that he’s come home (and takes off the brown hat). She says nothing, and the soldiers come out of hiding and seize him. He, acting, says, “No, Jenny!”
She, not acting, says that he brought this on himself and she’ll never forgive him for making her do this. The captain arrests Jamie and gives Jenny a large pouch of coins, and she looks away and ashamed. But she takes it. He’s loaded into the cart, and she runs into the house, crying. Jamie sits in the cart, staring at the irons on his wrists.
Claire walks across a bridge where a man playing Scotland the Brave on bagpipes is. She pauses to put money in his case, and walks on.
RHG: JOE ABERNATHY you are my favorite new character to come out of Voyager. HELLO.
I had a lot of thoughts while watching this episode- among other things, I’m not as enamored with Voyager as I am with the first two books, so my knee jerk “grouchy when things are changed” is considerably less that it was the first two seasons.
The second was articulated beautifully by this piece on (Bustle? I think it was Bustle) about how this episode made the point that the emotional part of sex exists for men, too. Frank wants the connection, he doesn’t want to be a sex toy. Mary understands that Jamie also wants the connection, and she can and will give him what she has to give.
Fergus, oh Fergus. Fergus, Fergus, Fergus.
Elyse: See, this is why I stopped reading after Outlander. I want my hero and heroine to overcome their pain and live happily ever after together. Instead Jamie is living in a sadness cave and Claire is sleeping in a Dick VanDyke bed next to a guy she doesn’t love anymore. Also I’m not chill about a kid getting his hand cut off.
So as a non-Voyager reader I just kinda let my head hit the back of the couch and went, “but whhhhhyyyyyy aren’t they together? Whhhhhyyy angst?”
I like that Jenny and Mary are holding everything together though. Jamie and Ian aren’t really present (by no fault of their own) and once again, Jenny is getting shit done.
Alex + Ada is a series of three graphic novels by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn. The series is a love story between a man named Alex and an android named Ada. Over the course of the story, there are many parallels with past and current civil rights movements, as well as explorations of how, specifically, a rights movement for sapient androids might play out. It’s a tender, sweet story with moments of horror and tragedy but also with a truly enduring and endearing romance.
Alex is mooning over his ex-fiancée when his grandmother decides to get him an android companion. Alex’s grandmother, who is a constant source of comic relief, expresses great and uncomfortably explicit delight with regard to the success of her own android, Daniel. One day Alex comes home and finds a surprise from Grandma – an android named Ada.
Alex is quite creeped out by Ada’s complete lack of agency or interest in anything other than whatever he orders her to seem interested in. He is polite to her but can’t figure out how to interact with her (and no, he doesn’t have sex with her). Alex finds an online forum about android rights and learns that androids were built with the ability to be sentient, but have had that ability locked away. Unlocking an android is a difficult and illegal task but a person in the forum offers to unlock Ada. Ada would be a fully conscious person albeit still in an android body.
From this point on, Ada has agency and more of the story is told from her point of view. Unfortunately, unlocking a sentient is extremely illegal, as is simply being a sentient robot. Alex and Ada try being friends and try being lovers, while they also figure out what their lives can be like as a couple and individually given that Ada’s sentient state has to remain a secret.
The art in Alex + Ada is very simple, but I thought it fit the story. There’s no panel tricks here – everything is drawn inside uniform rectangles and the color palette is subdued. This allows the focus to remain on faces. Even when Ada is standing still and not speaking, it’s easy to tell when she is sentient and when she is not.
The focus of the story is very much on Alex and Ada, but I loved the side characters as well. The only problem is that the more villainous characters are too one-sided whereas the more sympathetic characters are either allowed more complexity or are simply more pleasant to be around. There are multiple examples of healthy, happy relationships that involve a variety of races, ages, gender preferences, and human or non-human statuses. I’m especially fond of a character with a prosthetic leg who wants to upgrade and hang his older prosthetic leg on the wall. His wife is generally supportive, but in an aside to Ada whispers, “That’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.”
This isn’t a very complex story and it doesn’t say anything we haven’t heard before about what makes a person a person. It’s also pretty brief and could use more elaboration about the world and other characters.
However, its very simplicity makes it emotionally focused. While everyone in the story is worried about society and the place of sentient robots and whether sentient robots will kill people and how to catch them, Alex and Ada just want to live their lives together. The story is affecting because of the relationship between Alex and Ada, and between their friends. There’s tough going at the end of the story but it ends on an optimistic note, with Alex and Ada poised to be the slightly boring suburban couple they always wanted to be.
Explicit, 1570 words. Texting turns into flirting turns into sexting. Cringingly realistic depiction of teenage awkwardness and nervous excitement, and so funny (and so, so hot). Comes with a smutty sequel, [eggplant emoji].
The picture comes out pretty good, Yuri decides, slapping a filter on it and sending it before he gets cold feet. He'd do himself, probably. Maybe Otabek would do him too.
He puts his shirt back on and buries his face in the pillow. Ugh, feelings. They're the worst. Why does Otabek have to have that serious, cute, seriously cute face, and that ass? Why does his opinion have to matter so much to Yuri?
When his phone dings, Yuri has to take some deep cleansing breaths before he can look at it. But when he does --
Mature, 5007 words. Another long-distance phone sex fic, in an alternate timeline where Yuri doesn’t medal at the GPF, and Otabek does. Achingly lovely.
After that, Otabek starts sending Yuri more pictures of himself. Shots at the rink; a video clip, short and shaky, of him not quite landing a quad Lutz. In front of a Tim Hortons, making a face at a cup of coffee while two girls laugh at him. That one, Otabek captions, don’t worry, they’re dating each other. Yuri sends back do you think you’re funny, and, because words alone cannot capture the depth of his disdain, refuses to answer Otabek’s messages for three days.
He doesn’t send back pictures often. Otabek follows him on Instagram, anyway, and it seems like admitting something to take photographs just for him. So he mostly just talks: short, idle thoughts he drops into the ether. What’s Canada’s deal with this Tim Horton guy. Beat Georgi at nationals. Do you like cats.
Explicit, 15485 words. Three years on, Yuri is living with Victor and Yuuri when he confesses something to Otabek. Gorgeous pining, flawless characterization, and one of my favorite Yuuri+Yurio scenes EVER:
Katsuki watches him carefully. “Teach you,” he repeats, like a statement rather than a question.
“Yes. How to…how to do that. Everything you know.” Yuri swallows, and then reaches out and rests a couple of fingers on Katsuki’s knee. Those big, dark eyes go wide suddenly, as he realizes what Yuri means.
To his credit, Katsuki a couple of years ago would have probably jumped a foot in the air, screamed, left a pig-shaped hole in the farthest wall in his haste to get away. But he's changed since coming to Saint Petersburg. He's more relaxed, smiles more, makes more stupid jokes. Even so, he draws in a long, unsteady inhale, and says quietly, “Oh, Yurio, no.”
Explicit, 10456 words. Otabek is clueless, so Yuri decides to make his meaning clear by taking Otabek “on the date of a lifetime … He’s going to date the shit out of Otabek.” Funny and awkward!
“Are you actually going to eat any of that?” Otabek asks when Yuri buys a large popcorn, Milk Duds, an Icee with every flavor, and a questionable-looking hotdog.
“I’m going to eat all of this,” Yuri says. “In about thirty seconds. As soon as we sit down.”
They find their seats. Otabek moves to push the armrest between them down and before Yuri can even think about it, he backhands it into the upright position. The corners of Otabek’s mouth turn up very slightly, but he doesn’t say anything about it.
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