cinnamon sparrow

... And Somewhere Else the Tea's Getting Cold

Come on, Ace. We've got work to do.

The Halloween that was
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gothicsparrow
After trying to convince her that The Winter Soldier and The Addams Family are both horror movies suitable for Halloween night viewing, I may have told Housemate that I had a movie about a ghost helping the main character to avenge their murder via serial killer* that is totally a horror movie, honest-to-goodness, cross my heart. She remained unconvinced.

Housemate and I ended up watching four movies: The Eye, I am Legend, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, and Psycho, breaking for dinner after The Eye, and breaking for SingStar after Friday the 13th. I hadn't seen the first three. I had seen Psycho, for year 11 media (over 10 years ago, it frightens me to say) but Housemate hadn't, and I spent most of it studiously avoiding answering questions like 'Is she going to die? Is he the killer? Is it his mother? Does anyone else die in this film?'

I liked The Eye, and would like to see the Chinese version. I am Legend was really boring and also thank photon for spoilers. During Friday the 13th I began amusing myself by shouting 'show us your dick' at the screen after having seen a few too many naked breasts. (And after having drunk a can of coke.)

We had a total of five trick-or-treaters, travelling in two groups, with two costumes between them. I'd completely forgotten how unsettling it is when unexpected people come to our front door. I'd bought a big bag of lollies, and we still ended up with enough left to make gross jokes with during Psycho. (At one point all it took was for me to hold up a pale green snake for both of us to get the giggles)

Housemate said that maybe next year she should dress up as the Fourth Doctor and we could get a bag of jelly babies. That would be cool.



*I... just realised that this is pretty much the movie Ghost, the one with Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg and Demi Moore? Except that I was referring to FF7:Advent Children, which I would usually describe with the phrases 'breaks all the laws of physics. And all the laws of canon.'**

**The canon-breaking leaves me all 'you kids stay off my lawn!' but I can do nothing but approve of the physics law-breaking. So much carnage! So many swords! So much motorbike-related destruction! How did you push that glowy-ball into your arm?

Halloween! In the dead of the night, hear you scream...
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gothicsparrow
...just keep running, keep on running yeah, just keep running...

Ahem.

Also, Beltane! But not Bealtinne - I think that's May, off the top of my head.

(Guess what November is called in Gaelige! Guess!)

Me and my housemate are doing a horror movie marathon tonight, and I don't know what movies we're doing, probably because I keep going 'We should watch The Winter Soldier for Halloween! Bucky's makeup looks scary, right?' 'We should watch The Addams Family movie! Because, Addams family!'

(I wonder if I can talk her into Advent Children. The antagonist is a serial killer, after all. And not that easy to kill - literally back from the dead.)

(I still haven't seen it again, and I still Need To for fanfic research. I am slightly pathetic.)

~

I have a ghost story! Sort of. My friend who gives me a lift to kung fu, when she came on monday her car was covered in white petals. She said that her neighbours have a Japanese Cherry tree and another tree that she didn't know the English name for but it's considered bad luck in China because half of it is the word for ghost. They sometimes harbour ghosts, and they're often planted around cemetaries.

She said the petals were from the Cherry, but if they're not...

Her car may be haunted. By a tree.

No suspicious activity has occurred in the car as yet, but who knows...

The English name for the tree is the Chinese Scholar tree or Pagoda tree. Just so you know. Just in case there's one planted outside your window, in case its branches scratch against your window tonight. Just in case it's haunted by the ghost of the woman died in your house under suspicious circumstances years before you moved in, who still seeks vengeance for her death against the occupants of the house.

Just in case.

Not so much to report
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gothicsparrow
Reading: I started Clariel? And it's good? I'm only up to the first chapter so far, but it's got a really nice classic YA high fantasy setup so far - daughter feels constrained by the things parents want for her, they're moving to the capital and have expectations for her, and she isn't happy about any of it.

Cut for mildish spoilersCollapse )

Life: My week has been unusually full of things. Monday there was a cooking demonstration at volunteering, tuesday was the first time my brain had cracked it at volunteering for ages, wednesday was my day off but I just wasn't able to settle into doing anything and was teary for what reason I don't know, thursday I thought I was going to be serving tea to strangers but I ended up washing dishes (yay!) and friday was directing car park traffic so the Lions' club could money and telling people they couldn't come into the carpark that way. I didn't get yelled at, so I was happy enough with that.
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Apparently fridays are pretty grouse too. Also I have Clariel.
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gothicsparrow
Who has Clariel? I have Clariel! I hadn't thought they'd re-cover the series, but only because I hadn't thought about it at all.

(Who hasn't read Clariel? Me! Because I was rereading Keri Arthur for reasons that seemed only vaguely questionable at the time.)

(On one hand it's fun, on the other hand I reeeeaaalllly started to notice how strongly rape-culture-flavoured it is - the female main character is literally turned on by the thought that a prospective partner is physically, societally, or psychically more powerful than her, and because she's poly-until-she-finds-the-one, that pattern has held through five sexual partners over two books. The character signalled to be the one she ends up with is an immensely old vampire (read: physically strong, psychically strong enough to be able to wipe memories and compel people to do things against their will) who is a company CEO. And some of said sexual partners are arseholes. And a lot of 'men are from mars, women are from venus' in dialogue, even with an arse-kicking MC. I think my powers of feminism have grown stronger since the last time I read those two books.)

(Also I started Ancillary Justice, and then wasn't sure I could brain it properly - I know I'm likely to just go along with thinking of all 'she' characters as female and then get surprised when its relevant.)

Writing: This scene hates me. Bad scene!

Life: Going out to lunch tomorrow with 1/3 of the indig plant group and then going to house of Irish teacher dude who has a thing for Australian natives. It might be awesome. It might be cringe-inducing. Who knows?

Last saturday, I went to a calisthenics comp to watch mum be all masterful and stuff (her age group is Masters, pun!). Out of five teams, hers was second last in all the different items except for revue, which they won.

Saturday seems to be a good day for posting
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gothicsparrow
There's been a few things I haven't done for a while, posting being one of them...

Reading:I have finished reading the Disappearance of Ember Crow, and was having complicated thoughts. I've found with both Ember and the first book, Ashala, that the first third or half of the book didn't really grab me, not until the revelations started. I really enjoyed Ember once that kicked in, but before, I was kind of 'I'll finish this one, but I'm not sure I want to read the next one when it comes out.' And I know there's reasons that the books work that way - there seems to be a thing recently in my reading with books not working quite the way I'm used to books working in a particular genre, and what being that comfortable with certain forms means for stories that don't fit those forms.

Writing: Internet silence has mostly been due to discovering that I can make incredible wordcounts if I spend lots of time at the computer, and starting to trying to fix problems before I get to the end of the draft, and I don't know if that's a good way to do things or a waste of time.

I think with writing I eventually get to the point where putting new awesome in means an equal amount of awesome gets taken out. I don't think I'm at that point with this story (dragonshifter thing) but I think I'm at it with Chained.

(internet silence was also due to running out of internet and then waiting a while to get more.)

Music: So, I can now play House of the Rising Sun on three instruments - guitar, ukulele and keyboard. Or more accurately, I can now play the chords for House of the Rising Sun on ukulele and keyboard, and mostly replicate the picking pattern except for the E chord on the uke. I might need to see if I can find a better E chord for the uke - the one I have doesn't use the 3rd string, which is somewhat pesty. I can do it fine, because guitar and knowing how to mute strings but the muting mucks up the strumming pattern and if I take it to Uke group, the muting might be trouble.

On keyboard it has two chords I do not have - the E and the D, which I got with a chord chart and a couple of minutes playing. Wheee!

I figured out how to play Oh, Michelle on the uke as well. Heee!

Switching between guitar and uke is kind of interesting sometimes. Chords that are hard on guitar are often easy on uke, and vice-versa. Not that uke-hard is anywhere near as hard as guitar-hard.

In other musical news, I've been noodling at Rocksmith again, and I'm really out of practise with everything.

Monday is dreaming
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gothicsparrow
I've started writing this post about three times now - I didn't post earlier because I was still on the end of having a flu thing and not quite feeling like putting words out into cyberspace to stay there for ever and ever. Or just because I didn't feel like doing much, even though I wasn't achey all over.

Reading: Wayfarer, Lili St. Crow. It was really good - a punky Cinderella retelling with an abusive stepmother. Not sure what to read next.

Writing: not much, because I wasn't feeling like doing very much, but in the last week there's been some songwriting noodling. Listening to Seanan McGuire's album Wicked Girls and having someone in the house playing Crisis Core is an interesting combination.

I love how the more I listen to her songs, the more I get out of them. I think I've picked up another layer or two to 'My Story is Not Done', and another layer to how the album fits together thematically as well. So many of the songs are a metaphor for something else, even when you know that a certain song is about character x from series y.

Gaming: Housemate has started playing Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, and we've had this odd spoiler standoff wherein I don't want to know much detail about what actually happens in the game, but I know roughly what shape it will take because I remember most of the original FF7 in a pretty good amount of detail.

Watching: No tv, since it broke (no Doctor Who D:) but housemate and I have watched about half of the first season of Continuum, which is really good. It's a time travel thing - cop gets dragged back in time with members of a terrorist organisation from 2077 to 2012 - and it asks questions about the morality of changing the past, hints that the bad guys might actually be in the right, and all that. I do hope the bad guys are in the right - most of the group are ethinic minorities - they look like a terrorist group from a Hollywood movie, and it just seems a bit too cartoony for the rest of the everything they pull.

Saturday Runs Rings Around Everyone
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gothicsparrow
Reading: I have finished A Natural History of Dragons and started The Blood She Betrayed by Cheryse Durrant. Wasn't a fan of the first chapter, due to dude being too oogly, still read to the end of chapter 4 because it was pretty fun. I was expecting it to be more otherworld-fantasy from the cover and the blurb on the back, but it's urban fantasy, with third person dual points of view between the hapless but rich dude and the warrior-magic chick lady.

Dragons continued to be really good right to the end, and also dealt with some of the things that come up when White Imperial Europeans go off to Exotic Lands to further the cause of Science.

Writing: Going slowly, but there has been some, mostly on The One that Formerly Wasn't Going to See the Light of Day, But Now I'm Not So Sure. I'm going to need to do proper plot outlining for Officemancer - I keep on writing fragments that don't have an ending, and this is the usual fix for that. TOtFWGtStLoDBNINSS has a vague outline, though I don't know why the bad guys are doing the things of bad yet.

Movies: I watched the Third Indiana Jones movie with housemate last night. As much as they're fun, they're also very much a litany of 'imperialist, imperialist, racist, racist, let's throw in some sexism for good measure, racist, imperialist again' - it's kind of vilely fascinating. And I know there's implications of things that I'm not picking up.

Oh, um, of Guardians of The Galaxy - for a movie where the main character sleeps around and has little respect for those he sleeps with, where the lone female protagonist is a defector from evil and is really good in a fight but still has to be rescued, where the lone female antagonist is the big bad's 'daughter' and also the 'sister' of the female protagonist, and generally pretty sexist, it's a really good movie, and I really enjoyed it.

Life: Uh, the berry trees that I thought were going to die did not die, in Pokemon? And the tv finally decided that giving us vision was too much hard work, so my laptop is now the primary source of entertainment in the house, which kind of isn't great for writing. I am going out for birthday dinner tonight, and I hope the clothes that I washed last night are dry by then.

Listening to music makes me feel more scattered than usual. Not that I'm doing that now - I wouldn't want writing a blog post to take hours, and if I was listening to words, it might.

Links:

The Story that needs to be told probably doesn't On inspiration and privilleged writers, or just because you can doesn't mean you should

7 August, 2014
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gothicsparrow
It's my birthday.

I'm listening to Aqua and Icehouse and LadyHawke and Seanan McGuire on my new MP3 Player. I've just bought a handful of Disney movies, a couple of sci fi series, and the first series of Digimon from JBHiFi, and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the movies.

It's been an excellent day.

Saturday has time. Usually.
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gothicsparrow
My housemate has installed some point-and-click puzzle solving games on my computer, after I played some on hers. This has turned out not to be my most brilliant idea.

On the other hand, there's been more writing? Plotting for the thing that may not see the light of day gave me some ideas for Officemancer, and I ended up plotting out the end of it and figured out that I may have to write it from the end forwards, mostly because it will be easier to lay in the groundwork going backwards. And also because the actual plot I had planned out was only mildly interesting to me. It might just be that only the ending part is actually the thing that I have any interest in getting working, so I guess we'll see.

Haven't nudged the short story again yet. I should do some of that as well.

Housework has also been houseworking somewhat? I've put the tea towels and stuff on the line outside, at least. Need to wash the dishes. Again. And water my bedroom plants. I have a garlic, an aloe vera, and a rounded noonflower, and they're all looking a bit unhappy.

Thursday is a fish
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gothicsparrow
I've kind of been around but I haven't been anythinging much. I notice that I tend to withdraw from the internet when I'm feeling overpeopled, and just that some of the parts of my brain that work oddly probably aren't very conducive to the business parts of novel writing.

On with the onwardness!

Reading: I am about a quarter of the way into A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, which is the awesomest thing, and if I ever sit down with it during the day, it is very quickly going to be finished. It's basically Victorian Tamora Pierce with dragon-seeking instead of knighthood-seeking - the earlier part is about the main character's struggles with reconciling what is expected of her as an upper-class woman with her unladylike interest in dragons. It's awesome.

I have also finished reading Shadowbound by Dianne Sylvan, which was very cool and 'why are you being evil, author' and interesting but also weird. The story had started to take a turn towards the tertiary-world fantasy in the previous book, and it only solidified in this one. It probably could have been handled better? I really love this series, I love that it has multiple viewpoint characters and was written in third person, I love that it's not afraid to kill people off, I love that sometimes the characters just get really silly with each other, and I'm sad that this is the last book that was contracted for. The author said that she plans to complete the series, and I'm hoping that this is a thing that happens because her writing is awesome.

Writing: Finally, there's been some movement on the writing front: some on a short story that should help with figuring out how vampire hunting works in Chained, and some on another thing I'm mucking around with and may never see the light of day.

Life: I moved one of my volunteering days so that both my days would be consecutive, and I'm starting to feel like I'm getting my head back, on the second day of a five-day weekend. There has been washing of bedding and towels (but also rain- it was warm and windy until the skies opened up), saucepans soaking in the sink... and that's mostly it. But it felt busy. Does that count? I also practised some guitar. I'm starting to get rusty at some of the songs I like a lot.

No Madoka :(
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gothicsparrow
No Madoka tonight :( I've been watching it on the tv, and the tv hath moved it. Bad ABC3.

Sword Art Online is still on, but later.

The other reason I've been quiet recently is that I've been actually plotting fanfic (as opposed to considering writing fanfic but not actually doing anything about it), which has mostly been figuring out what symbolism is happening in a particular work, chasing down what the symbolism means, and figuring out how to tweak it. While also condensing plot.

So, you know, possibly chasing down screenshots of this movie to figure out if a particular flower that shows up could be the kind of flower that I think it is.

... I have a thing about not liking to google things unless I'm fairly certain that I know what's going to come up. As if googling the wrong search string will cause spiders to rise out of the keyboard? My brain is weird.

More Madoka
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gothicsparrow
I think I'm going to need to weed the backyard more today. :( There was going to be An Outing (with the plant group, to Serendip) but it has been postponed, so I played Pokemon all morning (I have a bulbasaur now?) and went to the shops to get bread and margarine.

~

I'm starting to understand why Sword Art Online is on before Madoka - it is not a nice world. All of the episodes I've seen so far dealt in some way with the deaths of other avatars - and when a avatar dies, so does the person playing them.

I have started to notice that Puella Magi etc is being intentionally creepy with camera angles. And the opening credits. Is it odd that the girls don't actually seem to have magic so much as weapons that break the laws of physics? The series is kind of - it makes you wait. It drip feeds you new pieces of information every so often - kyubey in particular seems to only give out any information when directly asked, and I'm pretty sure that's by design, in-universe - but it kind of hedges its payoffs as well. If you're there for pretty fight scenes, they're all eldritch animation like reality has lost its grip on itself. If you're there to see a team of friends working together, there's only Madoka and her friend, and both of them are kind of dealing with their own issues too much to help each other at this point.

Me? I think I want to see how this plays out - I'm waiting to see the man behind the curtain, how all the pieces fit together.

Reading. Story.
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gothicsparrow
This morning I finished Indexing by Seanan McGuire. It is a para-governmental agency who stop fairy tales from playing out. Seeing as most of them end up with people being dead, or staying dead if the narrative isn't completed.

It has given me thinky thoughts about the nature of story, that story is as much who we perceive ourselves to be and the narratives that news media tells as fairy tales and the stories that never leave us, even after we realise how broken and damaging they are.

One of the latter has been slowly creeping back to me - though it's not damaging so much as that I've been always trying to rewrite it since it declared itself mine, and have been coming to an understanding as to why I've been trying to rewrite it.

Everything's story. Every sequence of events that people want to give meaning to is story. Just that some of those characters are flesh and blood, and others are words or pixels.

~

Also finished a book from an author I like very much and trust very much with her representations of people who are not her, with a secondary character who was Australian and annoyed me with her 'I am Australian and I can handle snakes and crocodiles and other big scary things because I'm Australian'-ness. I ended up enjoying it eventually, when plot kicked in, but yeah, it was kind of disappointing.

How do you get a pikachu onto a bus?
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gothicsparrow
So. Things have been busy recently - after the thing with the plumber, we got a letter from the real estate asking us to de-weed the gardens before thursday, which was done. Eventually. Mostly. And then we got a phone call asking us for a time to be avaliable to let people in so they can valuate the property. Oh, yay.

~

I have borrowed my housemate's DS to play Pokemon X, because I have not pokemoned since Gold and I wanted to play at something that wasn't Rocksmith. I've only been on it a few hours and I have about 15 pokemon already. Or 20. A lot. Or a lot more than I'm used to having this far into it.

(She bought a PSP and some games including Crisis Core. She has been informed that I will be playing it. Because there is no conceivable way that there is a Final Fantasy 7 game anywhere in the house that does not end with it being played by me. Especially because the mad science. Even though there will be 'but this is not canon' face-noises from me.)

~

I have been to a lesson of Irish and it was... declensiony? I can say hello, I think, but I can't spell it. And it has no accusitive case. I think it was good that I ended up going on the night where they started working declensions and cases, because such things are handy, even if they can be hard on the brains.

Madoka and Sword Art Online
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There was more Madoka. The end of the episode (episode 3) surprised me, because I thought that uh, that event would stop the plot from progressing. Except that the pacing is a little bit slow - not meandering, just showing what needs to be shown when it needs to be shown.

I don't really care much about any of the characters? Or I sometimes have trouble remembering who is who, and that makes it harder to form attachments? Which might be a good thing, really.

~

There was also a Sword Art Online. And it's... it's own kind of nasty. The premise is that all these teenagers are stuck in a virtual reality MMORPG until someone gets to level... something, and if they die in the game, they die in real life. So far I've seen the end of episode 2 and all of episode 3, the latter of which I don't want to talk about because I don't think I can avoid spoilers, but the main character is a young guy who's both rather angsty and rather disinclined to form real attachments to other characters because of the cause of said angst, and I think that the combination of those might be enough to have me give up on the story eventually, but not yet. I'm familliar with that character type and I can enjoy them but I'm used to seeing them with an ensemble to prod them out of it.

Otherwise it looks interesting. I love the idea of exploring video game tropes in media that are not games, and the series has moments that would be fourth wall breaking in an actual game. I will have to see about this one, I think.

Ninja Real Estate and Schrodinger's Plumber
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I haven't been on LJ because a) weekend was busy and b) the saga of the ninja real estate agency and schrodinger's plumber. The saga being, that the agency managing our property has changed three times in two years and the current one doesn't have a listing in the yellow pages or a website. (solution - they have properties listed in places, and with properties comes a phone number. Courtesy of uncle, who came in the afternoon for a regularly scheduled not-guitar-lesson and witnessed the outpouring-of-tears)

Ninja real estate - you can't find them unless they want you to find them. And you still have to look really hard.

Um, oh, shrodinger's plumber was the call to the ninja real estate this morning and then not hearing anything back for several hours, until they texted to say 'call this plumber', and I did, and the plumber should be here in... half an hour? So maybe not schrodinger's plumber after all.

(temporarily exeunts for lunch)

(and also for the plumber's visit, and also for Judging Amy)

Schrodinger's plumber was pretty uneventful.

But yay! Happy toilet!
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Warning: may contain traces of research
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
After a few minutes trying to figure out how the hell my vampire hunters are going to vampire hunt, I discovered a thing: magic fixes everything. Well, it won't fix the organisational problems (the why do people do this and why do they do it as a group and how does that group function) but it fixes the 'how the hell do the humans stand any sort of chance of even being able to make a pest of themselves to the vampires without attracting the human authorities'.

Goodgood.

While I'm on the subject, have a thing that I wrote a month ago (literally, on the 21st) when I was trying to insert the first two lines of the Odyssey into said novel:


I really want to whine about deciding to put classical greek into the MS, but the only part that is actually hard is that I would like an actual translation of those two lines, my verry rusty Classical Greek-fu, and that the version of the Odyssey that I own is artfully translated into poetic form.

And I'm also mildly confused by the lack of wine-dark sea, which I swear was in the Odyssey, but that's not really relevant to anything.

#writerproblems

This is not weird at all, I swear
cinnamon sparrow
gothicsparrow
So, yesterday morning while idly watching an episode of Power Rangers Megaforce, as you do, my houssemate commented that the original series was a lot less silly than the newer ones. I said, more or less, I doubt that.

I later sent my housemate a text message ending with the phrase 'I regret nothing'.

(Incidentally, she was right - they didn't have a lot of the over the top calling and posing that the newer seasons have. We did only watch the first episode, though.)

(Incidentally, the phrase 'I regret nothing', may have had more to do with the ukulele, or that I bought several disney movies as well as Equestria Girls)

(Incidentally, I have now seen Equestria Girls and like it more than FiM, though why exactly may take an entire post on its own)

Fungi and Puella Magi Madoka Magica
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Is tired after party in Ocean Grove with the fungi*. I remember none of the names. Except for rootyshank/ roudiman-something gigantisporus. Or something. Fungi are new as far as seeing them out in the wild is concerned. There was a specific fungi called a she-oak punk that only grows on dead she-oaks. Lots of looking at dead woody things, there was.

*I bad-punned, please excuse

~

I watched the second episode of Puella magi madoka magica last night. I have been spoiled for the series, but a) I wasn't that interested until I got spoiled and b) I'm not going to be handed a rude shock later on. And seeing the second episode reminded me why I wasn't so impressed with the first - it had two scenes that happened at different times intercut during the first half of the episode, and the animation on the witchhunt gets pretty trippy. Takes a bit of getting used to. I think the other reason why I wasn't immediately into it in the first episode was that it didn't get into the magic or how the magical girl thing worked until the second episode, so I am happier with it as a thing now.

Please no spoilers - I know the shape of what's going to happen, but I don't want to know the specifics.

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