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10th November 2004

3:33pm: War? What is it good for?
To: alt.dreaming.current_events.pacifica
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Why isn't doublespeak allowed?

The last question of our suddenly-serious game comes from THISTLE PORPENTINE of Eildon, who asks:

Where will admitting this is war save anyone? That won't stop Undersea from attacking. This isn't Vietnam, where our troops are over across the sea in a jungle, or even a "peacekeeping mission" in some desert God decided was the best place to soak up sand when he told different versions of the same story to folks inclined to write it down.

He adds, in a more philosophical vein:

But keep saying it, if they're not admitting it outside this little dust-covered corner of the world. Maybe it won't save anyone, but at least people will know.

G.I. Joe put it best, really, when he told us that knowing is half the battle. I'd like to take it one up from there, and say that since a war is made of many battles, the first of them -- the one you have to win right out the gate -- is the battle for the right to be called a war.

Because 'war' is a powerful word, isn't it? 'War' is a word that people have to pay attention to. 'Conflict' is a war that's been castrated. People caught up in a 'conflict' don't need your support; they don't need you to donate money, troops, or resources; they're just having a little conflict, and it'll all be over soon. Like kids scuffling on the playground, people having a conflict can be safely ignored.

There are resources in Concordia for people in trouble: resources that the Shining Host has pledged to the service of their subjects. Maybe we never stood up and said outright, 'hey, yo, if you manage to cheese off Ariel and the gang, we'll totally give you cannons', but we DID say 'we will be your liege lords, come good or ill, whatever that entails'. Well, in a conflict, that entails a lot of tongue-clucking and 'children-will-be-children'-ing, but in a war...

In a war, that means that duty, obligation, and simple Sidhe decency compels us to put everything we have on the line for the sake of the people we have sworn to take care of. Now, that doesn't mean you can go out, stick your leg in the first available Redcap, and scream 'WAR! WAR!' just to make the Sidhe do your dirty work for you...but it DOES mean that when there's a genuine war, it needs to be called by the proper name, and the people with the wherewithall to do something about it need to be prepared to step up and keep the promises that they made by taking power.

Names have power. If we call what's happening in Eildon right now 'Susie', maybe we can get away with ignoring it...at least for a little while, at least until it spreads. But it was call it what it really is -- if we call it a war -- then we have to admit that it's everybody's problem. Not just the people of Eildon, but EVERYONE. Me, you, Roger, everybody.

Let's call a spade a spade, and let's call this war a chance to prove that what we said at the end of the Concordance War wasn't just another bunch of empty campaign promises.

It's time to put our money where our mouths are...and THAT is why we need to call this war a war.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: thoughtful

9th November 2004

12:55pm: Love is a battlefield. This isn't love.
To: alt.dreaming.current_events.pacifica
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: War.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are, apparently, at war.

Oh, not officially: when asked, the nobility is pretty much going for a degree in 'hedging their bets', with a minor in 'hemming and hawing'. It's pretty impressive, really. I cornered Duchess Amber in the bathroom before Court, and asked her point-blank, "Are we at war with the Undersea?". And she said, "I have no idea." Which, given that currently, people in Eildon can't go outside without having things thrown at their heads, sounds like a whole lot of 'the people above me in the food chain aren't willing to commit', at least as far as I'm concerned. So officially, we're not at war.

Please do me a favor and tell that to Paul Atwater, if you would be so kind? First, let me tell you a few things about Paul.

He's a selkie, as you may have guessed from the name. Twenty-two years old, majoring in graphic design at UC Santa Cruz. Likes surfing, water polo, swimming, and hiking in the coastal forests of California. He received his skin seven years ago, at a celebration that was attended by nearly fifty members of the Atwater family. He decided that he wanted to be a painter when he was eight, and he never gave up on that ideal.

Paul Atwater died Wednesday night, at approximately seven-thirty, from several wounds to the head, back, and chest. No one heard him screaming. No one came to his rescue. Paul Atwater died alone, and he died a casualty of a war that no one is willing to admit to fighting.

When people die, we're at war. When children go to bed confused because no one will tell them where their big brother is, we're at war. When I'm forbidden to go to help because it's 'too dangerous', yet no one will admit exactly what that danger is, newsflash, WE'RE AT WAR. All the polite fictions and delicate language in the world isn't going to stop the deaths, and it isn't going to bring back Paul Atwater, or any of the others that have fallen in Eildon.

These aren't things anyone wants to hear. They definitely aren't things anyone wants me to say. But they're true things, and that means someone needs to say them, as many times as it takes. We're at war.

Now let's just hope that the people who can do something about it will admit it while there's still time to bring as many people as possible home alive.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: crushed

8th November 2004

8:59am: Bang bang bang, on the door, baby.
To: alt.dreaming.current_events.pacifica
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: July 4th, 2004.

People who were inland when the attack on Trimaris -- the March seat of Candlemarch -- began thought that they were seeing fireworks. Fireworks. Pretty little things that explode and sparkle in the sky. They'd been going off all night, after all, both mundanely and in the Dreaming; it was a logical assumption to make.

At least until they heard the screaming, and smelled the sulfur, and realized that something a little more serious was going on.

Last night, at approximately nine sixteen PM, the forces of the Undersea rose up against the land, first attacking Trimaris, and then, once the initial battle had died down, turning their attentions on Fort Snelling, the County seat of Sea-Cross. (Which really does cause me to need to break my news-reporting pattern for a moment, and go: What the HELL? Has all that WATER IN YOUR EARS made you STUPID or something? It's a SHED. I'm on the House Dougal Intranet, I've seen the pictures. It. Is. A. Shed. Congratulations, stupid people; you hit a SHED with CANNONBALLS, and the shed WENT AWAY. They'll just BUILD A NEW SHED! That's all they have to do! New shed! You haven't even TOUCHED the damn Freehold! Idiots.)

Trimaris withstood the barrage admireably, and shows no signs of falling. Fort Snelling's shed was leveled, but the Freehold itself is, by all reports, still intact. Many of the denizens of Eildon were not so lucky. Fatality reports are just coming in, and while I know some names, it isn't my place or my right to be the one who releases them. My heart goes out to the people of Candlemarch and Sea-Cross, and to everyone else who may get caught in this stupid, senseless conflict before we can bring it to an end.

Hopefully, that end will be a quick one. I don't think anyone wants a drawn-out war starting on the Pacifican coastline, and I'd like to hope that I'm right about this. We can't afford the losses of land and life, and we especially can't afford the Banality it will bring -- and that goes for the Undersea, too. There hasn't been a major war between the sea and the land in centuries. Call me crazy, but I was really hoping that I wouldn't be around to see the next one.

We don't always get what we want, I guess.

Everybody, be careful out there. Watch yourselves, and watch the water. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going over to Roger's place, where I intend to huddle down at the end of his couch with my laptop, wait to hear from friends in Eildon, and let his mother feed me cookies until I stop feeling like I'm going to throw up.

Be safe.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: shocked

19th October 2004

2:51pm: Dude, stay away from my toaster.
To: alt.dreaming.weird_dating_questions
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Do you, Eliza, do you?

Today's question comes from AL, who didn't bother to give me a way to reach him -- sneaky, sneaky, SNEAKY Mister Al who I don't know -- but did give me a question to address, namely:

Given the givens, I figure you'd be rather familiar: What's the proper protocol for asking out someone else's AI?

Okay, first, dude, here's your gold star for being too weird for me to handle before my coffee. I'm serious. I got your email, and then I had to call Roger to meet me at Denny's for coffee and greasy fries before I could even begin to consider attempting to answer. So you get points.

Secondly, and most importantly, I had to ask you just how 'I' this AI actually is. If you're talking about a Furby that can do complex math, or a really clever Eliza that thinks on a third grade level, it's either beastiality or pedophilia, and I can't condone it, or advise you on how to achieve it. Your kink is technically okay, I guess, but the 'ick, no' factor remains a serious blockage, at least on my end. For purposes of my not being required to go boil myself in lye, I'm going to assume that you're talking about a sentient adult who just happens to be a robot/computer/other construct of modern technology. Fair? Good.

Now, I need to ask whether this AI has an owner, and if so, how controlling that owner is. I don't condone computer slavery -- and it IS slavery, if you have something completely intelligent and are forcing it to do your bidding -- but the fact remains that most people don't work to create AIs, then free them to frolic in the meadows of the Internet. Does this AI's owner approve of you? Are you going to be committing an act of grand theft if you take him/her/it to the movies? If there's any sort of owner involved, get consent BEFORE you start pursuit of a romantic relationship.

Once you have the owner's permission/amused consent, it's time to start wooing the AI. And I, personally, recommend you do that just like you were wooing, y'know, an ordinary person. Find out what he/she likes to talk about, and talk about it. Make him/her little presents, in whatever medium he/she can appreciate. Spend time together. And yes, if he/she is of a format that can appreciate going to the movies, or taking walks, or whatever, do that, too.

Just don't get yourself electrocuted. Because that would suck.

I'm taking one more question this round, folks, so get it in quickly, or hold your peace until the next time I open up the floor. Peace, Bunny out.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: amused

14th October 2004

2:05pm: Fishsticks and sudden death.
To: alt.dreaming.dangerous-questions
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: The Undersea.

Today's question is a dangerous one, and comes from an undisclosed source out of Eildon. (Look, I know that people can find out who asked me, but this message goes a lot further than my initial call for submissions, and I have to at least pretend to try.) If you don't want to possibly endanger yourself by knowing things, stop reading now, and come back when we're light-hearted and gay. Thanks.

The question:

In case you have the inside scoop -- what do you know about the Undersea that you might be able to share?

And now that our can of worms has been well and truly opened...we begin.

Prior to the Sundering, Faerie was split into three levels -- a division that can be seen by looking at any books of mortal folklore or fairy tales, which, ironically, are more likely to prevent an unbroken (if entirely inaccurate) line of scholarship than our own histories, since they've never had to deal with censorship by whichever side won the Battle of Beanstalk Pass. The land fae, such as most of our current kiths, lived on the Midlands; the realm of Earth. The sky fae, such as sylphs, pixies, and the diverse spirits of the air, lived in the Oversky, and the water faeries, like the merfolk and the nymphs, lived in the Undersea.

When the Sundering happened, it really primarily affected the land fae, since we were the ones who had to co-exist with humanity; the denizens of the Undersea and Oversky just went lower and higher, respectively, and ignored the whole issue. Nothing has been heard from the Oversky in centuries. Most people think this is because they're reclusive and hate people. I, personally, think this is because they're all dead, thank you, Wright Brothers. Big metal machines in sky = Banality where there wasn't any before = lots of people falling from a great height = sky-fairy jelly. So they really aren't a concern just now.

The Undersea, on the other hand, has never ceased to be a concern. They don't have any falling to do, and mankind's exploration of the sea has been slow enough that they had warning. All it did was make them angry.

The civilization of the Undersea is an excellent example of what happens when your feudal structure is never challenged. They had no Sundering, no Accordance War, no Magna Carta. All they've ever had is a firm belief that might makes right, and that the person most right is the one with the most bodies behind them. Think what would happen if the Romulans somehow wound up giving tactical direction to the Klingons, and you're moving in the right direction. Actions speak a lot louder than words in the Undersea, and their diplomats usually speak sweetly and carry a poisoned knife.

The titular leaders of the Undersea are the Merrow, who fill roughly the same position that the Sidhe do on the land. You're never likely to see one, as they can't take any kind of bipedal form, and prefer to send representatives to the land courts, when they have to communicate at all. Sadly, they're reputed to be reasonable people under a great deal of strain due to encroaching Banality, and would probably kill a lot fewer folks than their representatives. Like the Cephali, who are basically Ursula with weapons and PMS. Not fun.

No one has ever compiled a full list of Undersea kiths, largely because they tend to find you and kill you horribly when you start. We know that there are at least nine, and that the Selkies are not counted among them, being as they live between the sea and land. We know that they possess the same level of diversity as the land fae: some are nice, some are cruel, some are totally wackadoo insane. The problem is that their responses are so archaic and inhuman, in many cases, that we really can't tell the difference between them until it's way, way too late. As a rule, if they're throwing things? They're probably wackadoo. I recommend running.

The Undersea also possesses an unholy fondness for big things. Like, kraken. I don't like kraken, actually; they sorta suck, what with the whole 'tentacles' and 'killing you dead' aspects of their personalities. And then there are the giant sharks, lobsters, clams...look, if you've pissed off the Undersea, just don't get into the water, okay?

They respect shows of power. But show too much power, and they'll feel the need to smash you. I'm presently hoping that this little diatribe shows big enough brass balls on my part that they won't feel compelled to crush me like a bug for daring to do research on their existence. Because death sucks.

Be careful out there.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: pessimistic

11th October 2004

11:48am: Welcome to the Gardening Network.
To: alt.dreaming.horticulture
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Magical roses.

Question number eight in this round is, again, from LI QIN ZHOU of Candlemarch. Somebody has an obsession, but given that she currently has the Undersea on her doorstep, I guess I can't entirely blame her. Li Qin asks:

Do you know any more interesting correspondences between roses and magic that you can share?

Um. Well, you don't think small, I'll give you that. You sure you don't want to ask me something narrower in scope, like 'name all the species of fish native to the reefs of Hawaii' or something? Dammit. Thought not. Well, what you're getting here is the Cliff's Notes version, because Roger and I are going to the movies this afternoon, and if I blow off another date, I'm either single or a dead woman.

First, and obviously touched upon by our previous discussions, you have the thirteen-petaled rose as symbolic of the thirteen attributes of God's creation: love before the sin, love after the sin, power, mercy, grace, long temper, great in mercy, great in truth, keeping mercy for a thousand generations, bears iniquity, allows transgression, allows sin, and cleanses with love. That's a lot of weight for a little flower to bear.

Moving on to one of those weeeeeeeeeeird myth evolutions, I give you the eldest of Dougal and Scathach's three daughters...Snow White. No, seriously. Lasair is the eldest of three sisters, a goddess triad representing the growing, ripening and harvesting of crops; she's the one closest to winter, and despite having a fiery nature tied to her position as goddess of the spring growth and rebirth, is generally described as having utterly white skin, beautiful long black hair, and icy eyes (as well as a fetish for silver jewelry, but that's not important). She lives in a castle surrounded by an orchard, and protects the Comb of Magnificence, the Girdle of Truth, and the Rose of Sweetness that never withers, which some view as symbolic of the eternal youth of the true fae. The loss of that rose may well be responsible for that wacky 'aging' thing we do in the here and now.

If we hop over to Wales, we get poor Blodeuwedd, or 'Flower-Face', the woman made of roses, with flowers for a heart and no soul. Blodeuwedd is one of the earliest stories to detail the fickleness of that which is created by man for man's own use, and also represents the quickening of life through the use of a rose. It's possible that the Rose of Sweetness played a part in her creation -- a few petals might have been enough to waken true life in a woman who otherwise would have just been a really sweet-smelling golem.

This isn't the only time a woman and a flower collided, of course. Roman myth holds that the first rose was a woman named Rhodanthe, who was either a friend or lover to Diana, and was transformed into a flower to free her from her suitors, who were so numerous that when Diana got REALLY pissy and transformed them as well, they become her thorns. While I'm not saying this didn't happen, we've found fossil roses over forty million years old, so Rhodanthe was probably, like, the seventy-fifth, not the first. (Not to be outdone, the Greeks said that Aphrodite named the rose. Given that Aphrodite has a vested interest in things that rise, I'm not gonna say she didn't.)

But this, while fascinating, is a bit off the beaten track of roses and magic, huh?

Magically, the rose falls under the element of water, although it can -- depending on color -- also influence other elemental compass points. It can be used to invoke courage (a flower with thorns), good luck (the rose has a charmed existence), healing (that which harms can also restore), health (nothing lives as long as a rose bush), love (natch), protection (see also 'thorns'), and connection to a higher plane, presumably through that whole 'aspects of God' thing again. Alchemically, roses cleanse impurities, such as lead or poison, from the subtle and physical body.

Roses always invoke the feminine principle, and can -- due to their long association with the divine -- be used as a direct invocation to multiple goddesses, depending on color and intent. Try not to invoke Persephone with dead roses, she gets twitchy when you do that, that sort of thing.

Also, roses are pretty.

Hope that helps, Li; I'm just about tapped-out, florally, so I'm going to throw my hands up and cry mercy at this point. Good luck with whatever it is you're looking for!

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: scholastic

8th October 2004

10:33pm: Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.
To: alt.dreaming.current_events.pacifica
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Undersea activity in Eildon II, AKA 'whoa, shit'.

Ladies and gentlemen...holy shit.

I mean that. Holy shit. The most sacred crap since somebody squinted up at the moon and said 'huh, that looks sort of funny, hey, Mark, is that thing supposed to be glowing that brightly, and what are those people coming out of the AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!'. Ho. Lee. Shit.

Word from Eildon is that the representatives of the Undersea have arrived in Candlemarch, and been shown into the presence of the Marquessa Penelope Crawford ni Fiona. Say it with me, folks: the representatives of the Undersea have ARRIVED IN CANDLEMARCH. They are ABOVEWATER, visible to the common population of Concordia, and actually TALKING TO PEOPLE.

The optimist in me wants to say that this could mean the beginning of a new era of peace and understanding between the two halves of our world, the land and the sea working together, like Lori Lemaris always wanted to work with Superman, or Aquaman willingly going to help the Justice League even when they had issues in, like, Arizona. That's the optimist.

The realist in me says 'wow, what's wrong with the moon?'. Because while I AM a part of the Shining Host, that doesn't mean I've forgotten what happened the last time a part of Faerie that we didn't see much decided to actually join the party. And yes, the realist is louder than the optimist, because I've seen 'Deep Blue Sea' more often than 'The Little Mermaid', and when we used to talk Marvel vs. DC, I was always of the firm belief that Namor would kick Aquaman's ass.

More news as it develops. For right now, if you're in or near Eildon, please, watch yourselves, and have a route out if you need one. I'm worried about you all.

Be careful.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: scared

6th October 2004

11:30am: Giant squid, and other ungood things.
To: alt.dreaming.current_events.pacifica
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Undersea activity in Eildon.

Marquessa Crawford ni Fiona of Candlemarch was understandably surprised and upset when the party she was hosting to celebrate the arrival of her new naval defense system was disrupted by a giant squid attack -- or, to be more precise, a kraken attack, since squid aren't normally chimerical, larger than your average submarine, or targeting the engineering projects of my Housemates. Several Dougal journeymen and Trimaris guards died during the attack, despite the best efforts of all present, and Countess January O'Leary ni Dougal of the nearby County of Walls Are Harder Than Your Head Is sustained heavy structural damage when she was flung into a wall by said cephalopod. (Reports from the County say that the Countess O'Leary is recovering, and doesn't seem to have suffered any permanent side-effects from, y'know, CRACKING HER SKULL. Which I consider to be a sign that somebody up there loves her, because Dougal or not, she should be TOAST.)

Unconfirmed and unsettling rumors out of Eildon state that the Marquessa Crawford can expect a visit from an actual Undersea delegation sometime sooner than later. This is, presumably, not because they want to apologize for disrupting her soiree, since the residents of the Undersea aren't known (as a rule) for not behaving like a bunch of total and complete dickheads.

Given how rarely the denizens of the vasty deep actually stick their heads above the water, this is, naturally, the sort of thing that is a) best taken with a grain of salt, b) sort of scary, and c) causing Roger to threaten to tie me to the bed to keep me from going down there to poke the snarly merpeople with sticks. As if I would! I make it a rule never to poke ANYTHING that controls GIANT EVIL SQUID with a stick. Not unless the stick is fifteen feet long and being held by a really, really massive Troll named Mortimer. And Morty is out of town for another three weeks visiting his grandmother in Florida, so he's not available to poke things for me.

But seriously, it's getting a little scary out there, folks. Most of the selkies around here have been in an uproar for days, and there are a lot of familiar faces missing from the Court. Word has it that the Atwaters have been calling all their relatives home, and I fully expect that the Crawfords and deMaraus have been doing the same. Several soothsayers of my acquaintance have invited me to come inland with them for 'friendly getaways'...but I don't like the looks in their eyes when they're saying it.

Consider this your storm warning: there are some dangerous times ahead for Eildon, and maybe for all of us who make our homes too close to the sea. Tie down your sails, batten down your hatches, and get ready for bumpy waters.

If you can't swim, now would be a good time to move to Arizona.

More news as it develops.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: thoughtful

1st October 2004

11:42am: Knights.
To: alt.dreaming.knighthood
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Definitions.

Our final question for today (although only question six of the round -- I'm willing to take four more) comes from RACHEL SLOMER of Eildon, who writes:

"I got asked a question and I was curious as to what your answer to it would be. I have to come up with my own answer but I think hearing another opinion would be good. My question is: what is a knight?"

You have asked a question that has as many answers as there are stars in the sky. Technically, according to my dictionary, a knight is ' a man-at-arms serving on horseback and admitted to a certain military rank with special ceremonies, including an oath to protect the distressed, maintain the right, and live a stainless life'. It also notes that the rank of knight is just below that of baronet, and that 'knight' can also be used to mean champion, partisan or lover. Most of the other strict definitions that I can find just say 'mounted man-at-arms' or 'gentleman-soldier'. So...lofty, but not something impossible to achieve. While knighthoods were never hereditary, they could be bought, and once given, they're almost never taken away.

But that's all mortal definitions, and while we often model ourselves on the humans around us, we're not them; we're allowed a certain measure of idealism, by virtue of our being dreams. It's one of the cooler things about being us. So, speaking from the spirit, rather than the letter, of what it means to be a knight?

A knight is someone who has accepted the nobility as an agency of protection, of preservation, of honour and of stability, and who has decided to become a part of that agency. That doesn't mean 'a knight is a drone who only does what he's told'; it means that a knight is someone who is working for the greater good. A knight is someone who keeps his Oaths as long as they are just, and -- when the choice comes to breaking an Oath or betraying what's right -- faces that choice with open eyes and true contemplation of what each choice means. A knight is someone who goes hungry so a child can eat, cold so a widow-woman can have a fire, and lonely so his love can seek the arms of someone who hasn't chosen justice before happiness.

A knight is someone who understands that sometimes, the road is hard, the choices are harder, and the happy endings come only for those around you, not for you; sometimes, no matter what you do and how valiantly you fight, you have to be the one who doesn't get what they want. A knight is ready to die for what he believes in, and do it gladly, if it means a chance for those around him to live just a little bit longer. A knight is brave, a knight is bold, a knight can be scared, but knows he's doing what has to be done. Knights have friends and family; they have lovers and children; they have everything the rest of us have, but they also have something more: a calling to change the world, one that they won't deny, even if it costs them everything, even when the road is long.

That's what I think a knight is.

Hope it helps.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: thoughtful
9:28am: You wanna WHAT?!
To: alt.dreaming.squiddy-death
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: All I want for Christmas is...a homicidal elder god.

MILES GLENDOWER of Eildon is expressing his suicidal impulses today, with the following question:

"Dear Bunny: I am pondering Christmas and Birthday presents for my family, because it's never too early, particularly for something on the scale I am considering: Please, what can you tell me about the care, feeding, storage, and training of krakens?"

Miles, please don't take this personally, but feel free to never, EVER buy me a present. I have a cat, and that's frankly more than enough for me to be dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Giant tentacled horrors from the deep bent on rising up to destroy me and everything I've ever loved, really not my thing. Even a tiny little bit. That being said...

The kraken is one of the fabulous monsters of the deep, characterized by its ten legs (eight propulsion appendages, like an octopus, and two 'whips', which hold the larger claw-spikes), minor chameleonic abilities, and general bad temper. These are not sweet'n'cuddly plush elder gods; they're hostile predators that can easily reach sizes that would make your average giant squid turn tail and run. Just to make matters more entertaining, they're vaguely amphibious, and can survive fairly extended treks outside the water, providing they can regularly re-moisten their skins along the way. Their beaks, conveniently located at the junction of all those tentacles, are strong enough to bite through steel. Anything that can bite through steel can also bite through me; I tend to steer clear.

Feeding your kraken is pretty easy: just let it get hungry and it'll feed itself. Livestock, smaller housepets, whales, neighbors, any spare children you happen to have lying around...the kraken is not a picky eater. In fact, the best thing that can be said about the kraken's eating habits is that it has very little short-term memory and tends to regard smaller kraken -- such as its own children -- as delicacies. This does a lot to keep the kraken population way, way down, and is probably the reason female kraken have all the maternal instincts of particularly stupid rocks.

Storing your kraken is also easy; got a convenient ocean? Unlike goldfish, which grow to fit their space, kraken expect their space to grow to fit THEM. If the space they're in isn't big enough, they'll just eat the guy next door and expand their territory. This, too, is why the kraken population remains somewhat manageable. If your kraken seems listless or unhappy with its enormous aquatic habitat, see what you can do to provide it with some vicious storms that will likely prove deadly to the local bipedal population. They like those. And bloated, water-logged bodies are quite tasty, from the kraken point of view. To which I must say...ew.

The training of krakens is a little bit sketchier. What I've been able to find implies that either a) you can't; don't bother; just run away while you still have limbs, or b) they can be controlled by mysteeeeeerious water-logged women who sing magical songs that make the krakens reasonably docile (by kraken standards) and thus easy to command. Given classical mythology and its view of the kraken, I'm going to make a leap of logic here and say 'only a siren can control a kraken'. Sirens are either cannibalistic bird-women or cannibalistic fish-women; in view of the squidtastic health-hazard that is the kraken, I'm going to go with 'sirens are fish-women who sing magical songs and can control a kraken'. I'm also going to note that all signs point to them being LOUSY prom dates. Trying to keep a kraken without a siren would probably be a great way to start an aquatic version of 'Jurassic Park' -- it'd be all 'ooh' and 'aah' in the beginning, but later, there'd be running, screaming and a lot of blood. I may be prejudiced, as a kraken recently killed a member of my House, but there you go.

I recommend you get a puppy instead.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: dismayed
7:47am: More roses.
To: alt.dreaming.horticulture
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: More roses.

Once again, we turn our attention towards the charming LI QIN ZHOU of Eildon, who asks:

"On roses and the Kaballah: If the world lives and dies with the blooming of each perfect rose, is there any significance to new bush grown from a hip or cutting of such a rose when it no longer exists?"

Congratulations: you have just crossed over into theology so deep that strong men have drowned trying to wade through it. Because IF the world blooms and dies with the blooming of each perfect rose, and IF a new world begins when the next perfect rose is born, THEN the first perfect rose can no longer exist, because no new creation would carry with it the debris of the old one. There might be a rose where the implanted memories of the new world says a rose should be, but that rose is not truly a perfect rose, nor ever was; for it to be perfect would be to deny the perfection of the new rose, and as reality depends upon the perfection of the new rose, to deny it is to destroy the world. And yet...

It is specifically said that a bush which has borne a perfect rose will put forth fairer flowers ever after that, and that it will be beautiful and healthy even when all around it is dying and spoiled. That a rosebush which has once flowered to perfection will grow flowers even in inclement weather, because it always remembers what it felt like to define the summer. If these bushes continue to exist (which they apparently must), what does that say about the perfect roses that they once bore? How can they remember something that never existed? Is reality a paradox?

Now we get into the theoretical theology. Obviously, for both these facts to be true (no leftover perfect roses in a new creation + rosebushes remember perfection), then it SHOULD be possible to find and cut a perfect rose at the exact moment that the world ends. The cut rose is no longer alive, and is thus no longer perfect; reality fails to unravel messily. Now you have a formerly perfect rose that was once used to define all existence. What happens when you strike it for cuttings?

No one knows. Not even me.

But if you find out, be sure to drop me a line. Now you've got me all curious.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: contemplative

24th September 2004

1:16pm: Roses.
To: alt.dreaming.horticulture
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Roses and the face of God.

Our next question comes from LI QIN ZHOU out of Eildon, who asks:

"What do you think of when I say the word 'roses'?"

Simple question, simple answer: when I hear the word 'rose', I think of God.

All right, simple question, complex answer. Get your notepads, kids, because it's going to be a long and bumpy screed from here. I'll do my best to backtrack whenever things start getting muddy, and Roger has promised to clonk me with a pillow if I make any leaps of logic that aren't comprehensible from the outside. Still, if this leaves you with more questions that you started off with, feel free to either ask me for further details or get out there and start researching on your own.

In the Kabbalah, the rose is the proof of the existence of God within creation, both as an echo of God's own glory and as a representation of creation itself. The true rose, of which there is only one, replicated endlessly throughout the span of time, has thirteen petals, each with twenty-four perfect angles, representing the thirteen aspects of God's creation and the twenty-four unchanging truths of God's law. Without this rose to act as the definition of all things, the world would forget itself -- not destruction, but chaos, the dissolution of God's plan for reality. Risk the rose and you risk everything. (I realize that what I'm saying here treads close to certain elements of Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' series. The iconic image of the rose which protects and is reality, however, has been around for centuries. So Mr. King can cope.)

The Kabbalah also acknowledges the existence of the 'perfect rose', which differs from the true rose in its number of petals -- seven times four and twenty -- although not in its number of angles per petal, which is always twenty-four. The number of thorns on a perfect rose, if counted, will always come to a multiple of thirteen. It should be noted that each rose bush which bears a perfect rose will bear in multiples of thirteen, only one of which will be perfect; all the others will be normal roses, with the customary number of petals and thorns, although the twenty-four angled petals will remain the same. Cuttings taken from a bush which has borne a perfect rose are supposedly hardier than any others, more likely to take root and grow. According to Kabbalistic lore, one perfect rose blooms somewhere in the world every week; that's why they have seven sets of twenty-four petals, one set for each day of the week they represent. At the end of that week, the rose will die, and another will bloom in its place.

Some scholars have taken the concept of the perfect rose one step further, and claim that -- even as God created the heavens and the earth in seven days -- the world is destroyed and created anew every seven days, and thus each perfect rose represents not a stretch of time, but an entire world, flawless and fleeting. This theory claims that perfect roses are wholly unique in some way, and that each perfect rose that blooms has some character or attribute which sets it apart from every rose that has ever been or will ever be, since the beginning of time. By this way of looking at things, every time a perfect rose blooms, a new world begins, one in which roses are black, or gray, or blue, or disappear when the sun touches them; and when that perfect rose dies, the world dies with it, and no rose of that type is ever seen again. The new world begins without pause or prompting, and another perfect rose blooms somewhere in the world.

The word 'roses' makes me think of God, because no world with true and perfect roses can arise by accident; no creation built on flawless fractal lines, where a single petal can reflect an entire lifetime, can come about entirely by mistake. See also 'Bunny pays far too much attention during her theoretical Gematria lessons'.

Hope this answers what you were asking.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: enthralled
11:02am: The EK issue.
To: alt.dreaming.conspiracy-theories
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Coincidence or Cassandra complex?

Today's question comes from PENELOPE CRAWFORD, the illustrious Marquessa of Candlemarch, on whose shoulders half the chaos in Santa Cruz seems predestined to fall. Love the hair, babe. She asks:

"What do you think of the uncanny (and let's admit, they ARE uncanny) resemblances to people and events that occur on EK with the people and events of Santa Cruz?"

First, I feel that I should warn you, Penelope, that I dislike having words put in my mouth; I cram enough words in there already, without looking for outside help, and 'let's admit...' is one of those phrases that makes me want to dig my heels in and argue the exact opposite point, just to prevent anyone trying to make me 'admit' anything else. Call it a character quirk or call it a flaw: it is what it is, and it's only fair for me to let you know that your wording means I can't be entirely impartial. But I'll try.

From what I've seen, attitudes on the Electric Knights/events in Eildon spectrum fall everywhere from 'OMGWTF this is SO OUR LIVES' to 'if I look hard enough I can find parallels with any show you care to name, direct prophecy from the Bible, AND get us to Kevin Bacon in less than six degrees'. No matter what you believe, you fall somewhere on that line, from true believe to devoted sceptic. The extremists on both ends of the argument are doing what extremists always do -- trying to convince everyone else that they and they alone have a line to The Truth -- while the moderates seem to be willing to allow both ends to have their accuracies. Outside of Eildon, a little quick, informal polling has shown that most of the people who've heard about the 'similarities' think you've all gone batshit insane. Which is perhaps comforting, in its own odd little way. After all, once you've gone batshit, it's difficult to blame you for much of anything. But you didn't ask me what the bulk of Pacifica thought: you asked me what I thought, and while my opinions may get a lot of air-time, they aren't universal.

Looking at Electric Knights from a folkloric and thematic standpoint, it's a story that draws and borrows heavily from a lot of different sources, some of which have their own fixed elements. Season one plays like a fairly generic children's adventure show with flashes of something more elaborate, while season two is pure Arthuriana, down to the names and appearances of many of the leads. Bunny herself -- possibly THE iconic visual of EK -- is entirely blues and whites, echoing the lake that she came out of. Season three is either a step backwards, to the generic (possible) or a somewhat jumbled retelling of several stories, bringing in Russian and Scottish elements (Drusilla and the stolen heart), Arabic and Irish tropes (the mysterious merchants -- 'I dare not look at goblin men' anyone?), and a great many thematic notes taken from the story of the Dance of Hours. We're creatures born out of dreams. I've met Duchesses who were allergic to apples, nockers who could spin straw into gold, and a group of seven eshu who turned into ravens every night while they were waiting for their swan-pooka sister to finish weaving them their nettle shirts. In a few more years, we'll probably be seeing fae who want to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly ride their strange new dreams to places where no man has gone before. Considering both that and the patchwork nature of EK, I can see the value of the 'coincidence' viewpoint: some stories are so strong that they inspire the fae over and over again. This could easily be an accident of timing.

Mind you, I'm not saying that I BELIEVE this is an accident of timing; I'm just saying that the possibility exists, and if we're not being batshit today, we have to admit that sometimes dumb luck is really dumb luck, and sometimes lightning genuinely goes for the highest thing in the field. Sometimes the strange noise in the dark hallway really IS Johnny, and not the man in the rubber suit. I DO need to point out that the most generous estimates for animation on a quality level with EK has scripts being submitted to the animators four months in advance of the actual airdate of any given episode, and that six to seven months lead time would actually be more in keeping with the norm. That means that either a) there's an element of coincidence, b) there's a very confused Cassandra on staff at EPT Productions, or c) EK is somehow dictating the future events of Eildon. Since Eildon has its share of Soothsayers, I have to assume that c) is very extremely unlikely: manipulation of fate on that sort of scale isn't just stupid to the point of being suicidal, it's practically impossible, and VERY hard to hide. If EK were actually dictating the fate of Eildon in some way, people would notice. Mystical migraines SUCK.

So I'm straddling a line between a) -- coincidence -- and b) -- somebody out there is seeing the future, maybe blurrily, maybe clearly, and then rewriting it to fit within the limits of their fictional universe. Stranger things HAVE happened. Everyone who tells a story changes it, even when that story is someone else's life, even when they think, incorrectly, that they're writing the story themselves. Since the show's head writer doesn't do interviews and won't answer my email, I really can't tell you where she stands.

This leaves us with the question of 'why'. Assuming that someone, somewhere, is dreaming of Eildon in this sort of detail...why? Why are the stories of your lives being transformed into technicolour and spread out across children's television? Well, beyond the opportunity to buy action figures of your 'avatars', maybe someone, somewhere, is using EK as a way to tell you something. Don't look at the characters and situations as exact matches, because they aren't, and that way lies madness: look at what they represent, and what they learn. Why Eildon, why NOW? Do seasons one and two count at all, or have they just been thrown away in favour of this new story? And if they count...which way is Camelot? What quest are you, in Eildon, undertaking right now?

You may see the past more often than you see the future, but so far, there have been elements of accuracy in each, and while I'm willing to say that lightning can strike twice by accident, 'accident' only gets you so far. If somebody's trying to teach you something, I think you ought to listen. But my advice is just that: advice, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Do what seems right. And if EK really IS retelling your lives, I'll find out what you chose in a few months, when it shows up on afternoon TV.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: thoughtful

22nd September 2004

12:17pm: For Christmas, I want...
To: alt.dreaming.regencies
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Like a kid at Christmas.

Our first question this round comes from RICARDO URBAN-CHAVEZ of Eildon, who asks:

"Do you expect, do you plan, do you hope, to eventually hold title over a fiefdom? Not the 'if it happens, great!' false-modesty bit that our kith is so good at. Do you want it, and are you taking steps to get it?"

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a man who loves his verbs. It's also technically multiple questions -- do I WANT a fiefdom, do I EXPECT a fiefdom, am I PLANNING for a fiefdom, am I WORKING to acquire a fiefdom. That's four questions, right there. Technically, that's cheating. But because it's the first question and I'm feeling generous, I'll address all four.

Do I want a fiefdom? Simple answer: no. My bedroom is already cluttered enough, I'd have no place to put it. I have a lot of opinions, but they tend to be sweeping social opinions; the changes I want to make are the sort of thing that would be better supported if I was acting as a travelling consultant than as a static CEO. I don't want to dodge responsibility. I just want to fulfill my responsibilities in a somewhat different fashion.

Do I expect a fiefdom? I'm a competant member of House Dougal, living in Marin, in a fiefdom with very few viable heirs. Yes, I sometimes expect a fiefdom, the way a person about to walk across a field of rusty nails expects a tetnus shot. If the House says 'you have to do this', I will do it, because that's my duty as a Dougal and as a member of the Shining Host. Do I expect a fiefdom as my right and my due, now bow down, puny mortal? No. And anyone who DOES expect a fiefdom in that fashion probably shouldn't be allowed to have one.

Am I planning for a fiefdom? Not directly. I don't make commitments that I can't break, I'm dating a man who fully understands that sometimes duty and responsibility comes first and that he might have to let me go if duty and our relationship conflict, and I make sure to have a travel kit with toothbrush and fuzzy bunny slippers packed at all times. I've done my political reading, studied the structures of the kingdom as well as of Concordia itself, established my ties within and outside the House and made sure that I had an informed stance on everything I might be expected to understand -- but that's not preparation to be a regent. As far as I'm concerned, that's just preparation to be an ADULT.

Am I working to acquire a fiefdom? No. I'm working to acquire respect within my House, and ties outside of it. I'm working to finish high school. I'm working to change the world for the better. But I'm not working to acquire a fiefdom. If I do, I'll serve it well and hand it off as quickly as I can, because what I want is to leave this world a better place than it was when I found it, and the needs of the many unfortunately win.

Hope that answers your question, Mr. Urban-Chavez.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: contemplative

21st September 2004

3:05pm: Q&Aaaaaaaay.
To: alt.dreaming.party-games
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Ask me a question.

In keeping with my stated desire to have the cards on the proverbial table, I am once again open for questions. I'll answer the first ten that I receive. C'mon -- it's Ask Bunny Anything Hour. Fun for the whole family! Including me.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: amused
2:59pm: Sing-along songs.
To: alt.dreaming.truth-and-consequences
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Say it with a song.

I would like to officially nominate 2004 as 'The Year The World Went Weird'. Seriously. So far this year I've woken up male, actually kept a boyfriend for more than six weeks, and now? Now I'm wandering around like a character in a Disney movie, bursting into fully orchestrated song at the drop of the hat. Following a rather unplesantly timed solo performance in the school cafeteria (aka, 'The Hot Dog Song'), I've had to call in sick for the last three days. If it weren't for the Drama Club backing me up by claiming that it was advertisement for the school musical, I'd be socially dead. And the bastards are still going to blackmail me into working their lighting boards. There is no justice in this world.

There is, however, a great deal of musical theatre. Roger and I had a phone duet yesterday that felt like it should've been presented in split-screen, like those old movies with Rock Hudson and Doris Day. Except for the part where Roger's not gay and I'm not wearing a girdle. And as ways to have your boyfriend say he loves you for the first time and invite you to the prom, musical numbers don't suck. At least, not in the abstract...

Because this isn't just us: it's the entire fiefdom, and judging by the reports I'm seeing around the Chimnet, it's possibly the Kingdom. It's definitely Eildon, but those people don't count as a representative sample of anything, except maybe Joss Whedon's wet dreams. There are a lot of people breaking into spontanious song and dance numbers in the middle of the street, which makes this a) a danger to the Mists, b) extremely inconvenient, and c) funny as hell. Roger and I have been stalking the nobility with Dad's videocamera all week.

And midway through recording the Duchess of Deep Mists performing a heart-rending ballad full of pathos and pain (and complex internal rhymes) I realized something: this really sucks. I mean, REALLY sucks. This is the sort of suck that lesser suck can only fantasize about. Because people are sharing their secrets, spilling out their hearts and souls, and they DON'T HAVE A CHOICE. And it's only getting worse.

Roger didn't want to tell me that he loved me; he wasn't ready yet. I didn't want to tell my baby brother that he was an insensitive jerk. I'm pretty sure Duchess Amber didn't mean to tell me that she's scared of the day when she wakes up and is just another former cheerleader who peaked in the twelfth grade, while her replacement moves smoothly into the Duchy she's forgotten ever existed. None of us wanted to admit these things, but we did, out loud, in tune, and for anyone who happened to be nearby. They're things that maybe we needed to get out into the open...but we should have had a choice. It should have been voluntary.

There may be some people who are laughing at me right now -- 'ha ha, the sidhe is learning what it feels like, ha ha' -- but y'know what? It doesn't work that way. Most of us 'baby nobles' get hit with the Sovereign stick more than anybody else: sit down, sit up, sit still, BEHAVE BEHAVE BEHAVE. We're the ones cluttering up the parlors of our superiors, and they get tired of us bouncing our superballs off the walls. I KNOW what Sovereign feels like, and what's more, I know that usually -- not always, but usually -- when I get slapped with it, I've done something to deserve it. What did I do to deserve admitting my deepest, darkest secrets in four-four time in front of an audience of the people I love? Breathe? I'm sorry, but that's just not fair. And yet...

Maybe there's a certain virtue to this, because it takes the fear out of saying the things we need to say. I know Roger loves me; I know Amber is afraid; I know that I can treat them both kindly for that knowledge. Sometimes we're afraid to speak up and stand out, and sometimes, that's exactly what we need to do. Secrets burn. Maybe if we didn't have so many of them, we wouldn't need to say it with a song.

I want this to end because I want the honesty to be voluntary...but I also want the honesty. I want to know the score.

I think we all deserve that much, don't you?

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: thoughtful

1st September 2004

2:43pm: Making your bed...
To: alt.dreaming.truth-and-consequences
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Making your bed, lying in it.

People talk.

People talk and people argue.

People talk, argue, and have opinions. If they don't, there's a good chance that they're not people. (And since I know that everyone reading this has just had an opinion, and that some of those opinions are already leading to arguement, I feel confident in saying that my statements, in this instance, are reasonably universal. With the exception of the extremely sick, the dead, the sleeping, and people under the age of two.) And when people are talking, arguing and having opinions in the company of other people, they will -- inevitably -- piss somebody off. It can't be helped. I've seen friends fall out over things as superficially simple as 'not liking the same movie' or 'prefers Mounds to Almond Joy'. It all comes down to the human urges to fight and complicate things; those instincts enable us to shout for a million years without pausing or thinking 'hey, maybe candy isn't a valid reason to swear a blood feud that will span generations'.

It's all in how you look at it.

One interesting side-effect of all this conversation, opinionation and argument is that no two people are the same. Your opinion is not my opinion; your way of reading these words is not my way of writing them. It may come close -- there are people in this world whose opinions match mine ninety-nine point nine-nine-nine percent of the time -- but it's not going to be exact. And that's cool. That's just the way things ought to be. If we were all the same, we'd be looking at a world with about as much intrigue and excitement as an episode of 'The Glowworms', and that would pretty much suck. But (and you knew this was coming)...

Because no two people are the same, we need to remember that sometimes, we're going to make folks angry just by being ourselves. Take me, for example. I am opinionated, yes; I am also not shy about sharing those opinions. I speak my mind. I make harsh points. Sometimes I make those points harsher than they need to be, because people are more likely to genuinely pay attention to (and thus take stock by) an extreme. Are my actual opinions always as harsh as those opinions that I put forth? No, not really. I don't wander through my days in a frothing Liberal-Modernist rage, taking umbrage at every little thing that I encounter. Do I sometimes take severe flak for the opinions that I espouse? Oh, HELL yes. There are people who hate me for the things I say, and for a wide variety of reasons -- everything from 'she's just being mean' down to 'she's slumming, pretending to be all liberal and then going home to her shiny crystal castle'. Do I keep saying the things I say anyhow? Yup. Because from my perspective, a little personal discomfort is worth it, if what needs to be said is said.

This doesn't change the part where sometimes, I'm a little bit baffled by the things people take offense at -- and the things they don't that they don't expect to offend. If you act like a bitch, guess what I'm going to treat you like? Good guess. If you're argumentative and hostile towards me, well, that's your choice, but don't expect me to invite you to my birthday party. If you're snide, you'll be treated like someone who is snide, and if you're mean for the sake of meanness, you'll be treated like someone who is mean, and and and. All too often, I encounter genuine cases of 'I am a bitch to you and you just have to roll over and take it because if you're even a little bit mean to me I'll scream and cry and call you horrible names'. Excuse me, but bwah?

If I insult you, I expect you to be insulted and to treat me accordingly. Believe that I will do the same.

If I call you names, I expect you to be hurt, and to react as you see fit. Believe that I will do the same.

If I lie to you, I expect you not to trust me. If I attack you, I expect you to defend yourself. If I'm snide and hostile towards you, I expect you to take offense. Believe...

We're always going to have opinions, and those opinions are always going to hurt people. None of us are mind-readers; if you don't tell me that you're hurt, I won't necessarily know. At the same time, once you HAVE told me what hurt you, the ball is in my court. I have to decide whether to apologize and explain myself, or whether I'm just going to let you walk away and hate me forever. It takes two to tango; it also takes two to have an actual discussion.

Anything else? Is just a lecture.

Like this one.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: pensive

8th August 2004

10:07pm: Boys and Girls Club.
To: alt.dreaming.life-is-strange
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: The Son of My Father. Or Something.

So this year, for Valentine's Day -- on account of my actually HAVING A BOYFRIEND on Valentine's Day, which is raaaaaaare -- Roger and I were planning on doing all this in-CRED-ibly sappy stuff. Like riding our bikes down to the duck pond and feeding the ducks for an hour, and having lunch at our favourite burrito place (Baja Fresh -- try 'em), and going to see a movie we'd already seen six times, so that we could neck in the back row. Y'know. Romantic.

(Look, when you have to make it through the month on ten dollars a week allowance money, THEN you can question my definitions of 'romance'. For right now, this is romance enough for me.)

Only when Valentine's Day arrived, I got woken up by Mom calling up the stairs that 'Honey, you need to get up, Rachel's on the phone!'. The only Rachel I know is this incredibly snotty girl from my physics class. So I was a tiny little bit confused as I pushed myself out of bed, stepped on my skateboard by mistake, fell over, landed on my ass, and tried to push hair that wasn't IN my eyes OUT of my eyes. Why wasn't it in my eyes? Because as a guy, I apparently do not cultivate the 'hello, I am the bastard love child of Sarah Michelle Gellar and a lawnmower' look that's been so important to my life as a girl.

Yeah. Total gender inversion. Which is not, even for me, a normal way to wake up.

Fortunately, no one seems to have noticed. Well, the people who changed notice -- I mean, when I went to bed, I was a girl named 'Bunny', not a boy named 'Jack', and I had a boyfriend, not a girlfriend (and the girlfriend I didn't have certainly didn't have a better figure than I did) -- but everyone else? No notice. My father thinks he's always had two sons. My mother actually wishes she'd been able to have a girl. It's SURREAL.

It's also fairly educational. I mean, I've always been a bit of a tomboy; I like climbing trees and bicycle riding and computer programming. About the only thing I like that most boys don't is, well, boys. So I guess I always thought I got TREATED like one of the guys.

Only I really, really don't. For one thing, I had NO IDEA that Mike and Klaus farted that much. Or knew that many dirty jokes. Or spent that much time seriously speculating about the breasts of the girls we go to school with. Or talked about ROGER'S breasts that much -- as in have I seen them/have I touched them/don't I want to touch them/won't she let me touch them/what do I think they'll feel like. And so on. All of a sudden they're guys, unfiltered, and I'm supposed to be just like them. It's WEIRD.

And then there are the adults. Things that would have been sweet or precocious or just waved off when I was Bunny are suddenly cause for NATIONAL PANIC coming from Jack. It's like there's this unspoken understanding that teenage boys want nothing more than to undermine the fabric of reality, and so they need to watch us ALL THE TIME. Yet at the same time, I get called on more frequently in class, and I don't get challenged to prove my work as much. It's like I've become both smarter and more dangerous, just because I have a penis. (Roger, meanwhile, reports that his breasts apparently make him stupid and harmless. He's having far too much fun with this fact, since it's enabled him to cut half his classes and steal three reams of paper. Jerk.)

Girls are nicer to me now. I always thought boys were normal people, and I was wrong; well, apparently, boys go through life thinking that girls aren't scheming, manipulative, acid-tongued hellbeasts. This explains why the human race is capable of continuing from generation to generation, but it's still COMPLETELY WRONG. When girls are around boys, they talk to each other NICELY. WHAT IS THAT?! These are not girls that understand 'nice'. These are girls who make Emma Frost seem innocent and principled. Yet when I come into the room, Heather Borean stops using her tongue to slice strips out of Amanda and Lulu, and smiles and looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. It would be impressive, if it wasn't so scary.

Roger, meanwhile, is learning what girls are REALLY like. I think I may be single when this is over. Assuming it ever ends. For the moment, he's clinging to me because he ALREADY knows what boys are really like, and he's smart enough to fear them.

There are good things about being male. Menstruation? Not an issue. Also, I can pee standing up, which is good, because there is NO WAY I am EVER sitting down in a public men's room. No. This is why adult men spend their entire lives looking constipated: the state of their bathrooms causes them to develop SPHINCTERS OF IRON.

There are also bad things. My complexion is worse; my Adam's apple looks funny; I seem to be made entirely of knees; and while I don't have to shave on a daily basis yet, I have proven conclusively that it IS possible for a sidhe to look like they have mange. Bedhead isn't a good look for boys. I'm not allowed to wear anything interesting. Girls get all the fun jewelry and stationary options, as well as having the conveniently non-external genitalia. One PE class with the balance beam was enough to make me fake a doctor's note. On the whole, I'd say I'm ready to have my original gender back, hopefully with a healthy side-order of 'not getting dumped'.

This has definitely been the WEIRDEST Valentine's Day ever.

I wonder what we're doing for April Fool's?

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: contemplative

1st July 2004

6:59pm: Identity.
To: alt.dreaming.identity
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Who am I?

This is for the gentleman who sent me a very simple, very heartfelt question -- my answer, and my apologies.

No, sir, I don't know who you are. I'm sorry. I've checked every record I could get my hot little hands on; I pulled files that I'm technically not allowed to have had any possible way of getting near; I poked through archives and skimmed through hospital announcements and admissions, and pretty much did everything short of walking through the city with your picture and a sign that read 'have you seen me?'. And I don't know who you are.

You are something truly rare, my friend: a question that I can't answer.

Good luck.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!

(PS: One question left in 'ask Bunny anything'! If you want to know, get in here fast.)
Current Mood: confused

28th June 2004

10:31am: Those who can't...
To: alt.dreaming.skillsets
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Those who can't...teach?

They let us out for Winter Recess two days early this year, because -- this is hysterical -- one of the new Freshmen is SUING THE SCHOOL. Yup. One of our latest crop of freaks, geeks, jocks and pretty princesses has decided to haul out mummy and daddy's lawyers, aim and fire. It's funny as hell...and it's also sort of scary. Because the kid in question? Is suing on basis of discrimination. See, they didn't make the G&T (Gifted and Talented) program. It's a limited program; they can only take so many kids onto the excellerated track before they have to slow down again, and it winds up doing NO ONE any good. This kid was smart, but there were others who were smarter, so they didn't make the cut.

And now they've decided to sue. And according to the school secretary -- who also happens to be Dame Becky Rainier ap Fiona, Scribe to the Court of Deep Mists, which is why she told me this at all -- there's a very good chance that whether they win or not, the G&T program will be shut down, either in the spring semester or over the summer. The district can't afford the legal battles, the school can't afford the scandal, and so it's the people who followed the rules that are going to wind up being punished.

I think it's understandable that this pisses me off.

We are a world filled with people with different capabilities, skills, abilities and talents. I can't sing a note; I can't sew; if you need someone to slink stealthily through a grid of laser beams and come out on the other side with all limbs intact, I am not your girl. But I CAN do research like a madwoman, my computer security skills are top of the class, and identify every song Simon and Garfunkel ever wrote by the first six notes of music. There are things I can do. They aren't useful in every situation that comes up -- nothing I can do is likely to save the G&T program, although I'll have a petition circulating the second I can do so without risking Dame Rainier's job -- but part of BEING useful is knowing when not to make things worse. If I demanded to be the one who sewed the nettle shirts to save my cursed boyfriend, or challenged a siren to a karaoke competition, I would deserve exactly what I got. Which is, in a roundabout way, why Roger has taken to carrying bactine at all times. Ow.

I look around the world today and see an awful lot of entitlement. More, I see a weird breed of it cropping up, especially among the fae; you might call it Entitled To Help or Entitled To Be Special, but the end result is the same -- people who freely admit that there are other people better qualified or more skilled at what needs doing, but who get ANGRY when they're told that golly, yes, it's the knight with the big sword and the fireproof horse that gets to kill the dragon, rather than the pooka with the cardboard tube and the slightly moth-eaten donkey.

Which is not to say that pooka with cardboard tubes don't sometimes kill the dragon after all. The urge to help doesn't confuse me; neither does the desire to be useful. What confuses me is the ANGER that I see from people when they're told 'yes, we're glad you want to help, yes, we'd love to have your help, no, we're not sending you to fight the fire-breathing death fiend when we've never seen you fight and you haven't got a sword'. This is the point where Roger (who has been listening to me mutter while I wrote) says 'But what about proving yourself?' That's a fair point. How does the pooka with the cardboard tube prove himself if he's not allowed to fight the dragon?

That's simple: find another dragon.

Look, presumably, the dragon that people are frantically arraying knights against is doing something anti-social -- eating virgins, burning down schools, getting the G&T program cancelled. Dragons that aren't being obnoxious tend to be left alone, unless you have some knight errant in the area looking for something to kill. Most problems are that way. We've had a loose board in the kitchen floor for ages, but it hasn't gotten fixed; meanwhile, my Dad has replaced the front window, bought a new back door, had the bricks in the hearth repaired and done an awful lot of plumbing. Why? Because the board in the kitchen is annoying, but it isn't hurting anyone. It's just there. If you want to be taken seriously, find somebody's loose board -- the manticore they just don't have time to get rid of, the scary thing with teeth at the back of the fridge that keeps eating all the eggs -- and fix it. Maybe that isn't a fast route to glory, but it's the route that works, when you want to be taken seriously.

A lot of the problems people will run into in this world are a lot bigger and more life threatening than 'did I make the G&T program this semester?'. If I were to say 'sure' to the pooka with the cardboard tube because I was trying to be 'fair', I'd not only get him killed, but I'd be responsible for any other damage that dragon did before the knight I should have sent in the first place managed to take it down. And that's not fair. That's LESS fair than telling the pooka 'I'm sorry, I don't know what you can do, please find a moment when the city is not in danger of being reduced to ash and SHOW me what you can do, so that next time, I'll be aware'. I would rather hurt feelings than contact next of kin. Every time.

I've also encountered a disturbing undertone of 'if you don't let me help, I'll FORCE you to let me help' -- and frankly, this strikes me as a bad idea all the way around. If I tell you 'please do not attack the dragon; you'll just make it angry, and then it will be harder to kill', and you sneak out to attack it anyway because you want to prove me wrong, well...you'd better be DAMN sure that I am genuinely, one hundred percent wrong. Because if I'm not, and you piss the dragon off, and survive the experience? I will NEVER voluntarily work with you again. I'm not alone in this.

Most of the time, people trying to prove themselves by charging the dragon unprepared after being asked not to just prove themselves to be too unreliable to work with. Even if you come to me, smug and soot-covered, clutching the dragon's head in one hand, I'm unlikely to work with you again. Why? Because loose cannons are just as dangerous as dragons, in their very own, very special way. So congrats; you've proven yourself capable of killing a dragon, and you've proven yourself too unstable to be trusted. Yay for you.

Sometimes part of doing the right thing involves saying 'here I am, here is what I can do', and then waiting. Maybe you don't make the G&T program this semester, but there's always the chance you'll make it next time. Maybe you don't get called to slay the dragon, but there's always the chance that someone will remember you saying 'I am fast and quiet and can sneak' and send for you to scout the next time the situation calls for it. Everyone has skills; everybody's hour comes 'round. The problems arise when I say that I'm entitled to be the one who solves every problem, turns the tide of every dilemma, not because I am the best suited for the job, but because I am Entitled To Help.

To each the measure of their capabilities. And on that note...I need to go print some petitions.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: annoyed

15th June 2004

7:04pm: Thankful.
To: alt.dreaming.holidays
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Thankful.

In the last year, a lot of things have changed, and a lot of things have stayed the same, but still, it feels almost like a whole new world to me. And I've got a lot to be thankful for, here on this national celebration of mass genocide and religious oppression born out of the desire for freedom. (Sorry. I couldn't help myself.)

Here's what I'm thankful for, this year:

* Life. I know that's a big statement, but hear me out. I'm healthy, I'm happy, I'm a good little sidhe girl standing at the edge of the big dark wood called 'the rest of your days', and I'm ready to tie on the red hood and get looking for wolves. The entire world is spread out in front of me, and I have the time to discover and enjoy it. That's something I'm pretty damn thankful for.

* Knowledge. The future isn't here yet, but I wouldn't be half as eager to see it arrive if it wasn't for what I know about the past. I have learned as much as I can about the history of our kind in this world, both before and after the Resurgence, and I feel well-armed to go out into my life. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, after all, and I HATE remedial classes.

* My family. Family rocks. I'm allowed to be twee on Thanksgiving, and so I'm going to say it again: family ROCKS. Having people who love you, circle around you, care for you and keep you? That just rules. Not every family is related by blood, either. If you're loved, count yourself lucky. I certainly do.

* On a more self-centered, less-cosmic level, I'm thankful for good comic books -- especially 'Fables', from DC, and 'EXiles' from Marvel (even if Chuck Austen IS going to be writing it for the foreseeable future), good books -- I'm midway through my nine billionth re-read of 'The Gunslinger', good television (go, 'Angel', go!) and good movies coming soon to a theatre near me. Entertainment is good.

* Finally, I'm thankful for Roger. Being a good girl who wants to graduate this year, I didn't set out to find myself a boyfriend over the summer, which, of course, meant that I wound up finding one. And he's a GREAT boyfriend, who keeps me from bludgeoning the stupid with whatever heavy things I may happen to find close to hand. All you stupid people out there, you should be thankful for my boyfriend, too.

I am happy, I am healthy, and I am loved. And for all of that, I am thankful.

What are YOU thankful for? Take a moment, if you've got one, and let me know.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: thankful

25th May 2004

6:30pm: Samhain.
To: alt.dreaming.psa
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Samhain.

As I am sure you're all aware, Samhain is just around the corner. Ah, Samhain, the one night of the year when we can act without consequences, throw our inhibitions to the wind and simply let ourselves go, right?

Wrong.

Come and sit down with your Auntie Bunny now, kids, because we need to have a little chat about the Samhain Mists and what they REALLY mean to you. Their most visible effect is pretty well-known, but I'm still going to re-state it here, just to make sure everyone gets the point: when you wake up on the day after Samhain, you won't remember anything that happened the night before. NOTHING. Not what you did, not who you did it with -- or to -- NOTHING. So what am I still worked up about?

The things that DO remember Samhain, of course.

Sperm remembers Samhain. So does the female reproductive system. And while you may not remember who you slept with on October 31st, the blood remembers, and one paternity suit can slap you with child support for the rest of your life, even if you don't have any idea what would have possessed you to go there in the first place. Women, your ovaries don't shut down for the night just because you're feeling wicked and unbridled. Men, thanks to DNA testing and the modern era, those Samhain babies are just as much yours as hers. Birth control pills and condoms even on a night you can't remember will spare you a lot of grief -- and possibly a trip to Planned Parenthood.

STDs remember Samhain. Whether it's true or not, the general assumption is that there's a lot of wild-and-wacky sexual hijinking on Samhain, as people work on the sexual tension they build up throughout the year. That's great...but that also means the lovely lady you just took behind the bar may not be a regular sexual partner of yours, and what's more, you may not know her sexual history. Not everything you catch can be cured, and even if it CAN be cured, do you really want to try explaining to your husband that you don't KNOW where you caught that case of crabs?

If there's any night of the year when someone would find it funny to lie about their HIV status, it's Samhain. Keep that in mind.

The police remember Samhain. It doesn't matter that you're an upstanding citizen eleven months, three weeks and six days out of the year; if you spend Halloween night taking pot-shots at people while strangling kittens, you're going to greet November first from the scenic safety of a jail cell. They may let you off on basis of temporary insanity when they realize that you really don't remember...but that arrest will still be on your record. Is it worth it for a bit of fun that you won't even know you had?

For that matter, the mortal world remembers. The Mists can wipe our memories, but they can't do it for everybody. Do you like your apartment, your neighbors, your job? Seriously, do you? Because if you do, YOU may want to remember that on Samhain.

The ER and trauma wards remember Samhain. If you jump off a building and break your arm, it'll still be broken in the morning. If you're stupid, you could potentially do yourself a world of damage, and in the morning, you'll have none of the good and all of the bad to deal with. Just to be clear, the tattoo parlor downtown remembers Samhain, too, and so does that place with the poorly-washed employees that are willing to pierce anything for ten dollars. If you really want a clitoral piercing, justify it to yourself on SOME OTHER DAY.

The bank remembers Samhain. You can cancel credit card charges...maybe...if you can somehow prove that you didn't make them even though you know damn well that you probably did. But checks? Not so easily retracted. And cash? Forget about it. The Samhain Mists have a very poor track record where bank cameras are concerned, and the odds are good that the tellers will remember if you withdrew six grand just before closing time. Money spent on Samhain is money you won't have later, and even if you had a GREAT party that you can't remember now, you're still going to need to pay the rent.

Marriages performed on Samhain are still legally binding, and the state is very likely to remember that they happened. Alimony sucks. Just so you know.

Most importantly of all, the DREAMING remembers Samhain. It's not a license to fuck around without consequences: while it's difficult to break an Oath of Clasped Hands with anything single event short of attempted murder, you CAN betray your Trueheart, and you CAN snap your Oath of Escheat, and you can, in just one night, brand yourself an Oathbreaker for something that you won't even know you did. Damage you do while the Mists are on is still damage done. Keep that in mind.

Samhain is more than just an excuse to get stupid and squelchy: it's the night when our dead are closest to us, when the wheel of the year turns and the darkness is brought forth to make way for the light. Remember that. Remember that everything has a purpose, and that this is still a sacred and solemn occasion, rubber masks, unveiled Ids and all. Try to pause to take all that into account before the sun comes up and washes it away.

Oh, and as a final bit of advice? Handcuffs are fun, but make sure she has the keys before you let her anywhere NEAR you.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: moody

24th May 2004

4:21pm: The Dance of Hours.
To: alt.dreaming.folktales
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: The Dance of Hours.

Today's question comes from ALESSANDRA TRENT, recently of Widderweary but currently of Eildon, who asks:

"Hey, Bunny, you're the Queen of the Internet (...) I was wondering if you knew anything about the Dance of Hours."

Let this be a lesson to you, kids: flattery will get you EVERYWHERE. Annnyway...

The Dance of Hours is the story of one celebration held on the edge of Arcadia in the days just before the Sundering. Over the course of the celebration, a lot of things go wrong, a lot of people die, and three unidentified virtues are lost to the denizens of the castle where the celebration was held, presumably forever. It's not a cheerful story; it's closer to Poe or King than Disney or Dreamworks. And unlike most stories set in magical kingdoms and centering on secret plots to undermine the throne, it ends badly. There are no known versions of the story that have what can be considered a genuinely 'happy ending'.

It's also an almost exclusively fae story. While some mortal versions have arisen, they're pale little things, and they never caught on with any real success. This is a story that we alone seem bent on maintaining, for whatever reason.

The biggest controversy relating to the Dance is basically this: is it a legend, a parable, or a fairy tale? (This is the part where half my readers go 'huh?', but bear with me for a second.) A fairy tale is something invented. Linda Degh calls it 'a magic story which cannot be true'. A parable is a short moral story, sometimes built around a grain of truth, but more frequently designed to provide a quick, easily digested moral message -- in this case, the moral might be 'the road to Hell is paved with good intentions'. And a legend is something that we can't prove or disprove, but which may well -- like Arthur and his Knights, like Robin Hood and his outlaws -- have grown up from the distorted retellings of a genuine event. If the Dance is a fairy tale or a parable, we can dismiss it. If it's a legend...

Well, if it's a legend, it may be a distorted look at fae history. And maybe it can tell us what went wrong.

The basic structure of the Dance is this: the inhabitants of a castle at the edge of the mortal and fae worlds find out that the Sundering is on the way, and decide to have a big-ass party to celebrate the fact that their world is ending. A character they call 'the Fool' is put in charge of preparing the celebration, and he does so. But there's a man they call the False Lord who wants them to rage, rage against the dying of the light, and he subverts several characters to help him change the dance, so that the Sundering won't happen. (Why it's the BAD guys who want to prevent the Sundering is never entirely clear, but our sympathies are definitely not meant to lie with the False Lord.) This subversion includes, among other things, murder, mayhem, and making a play for the virtues -- whatever those are meant to represent.

The Lady of Sorrows (our heroine, if we have one) goes under the False Lord's nose, freeing the virtues to prevent him from harming them. In the end, pretty much everybody dies, no one's happy, the Sundering comes, the end.

Great bedtime story, huh?

Adding to the confusion of the Dance, you have the fact that at some point -- either before the real-world celebration, according to the legend-makers, or sometime in the past several centuries, according to the fairy tale camp -- someone actually went back and wrote the music for the Dance...which was supposedly a whole day and night in length. Twenty-four hours worth of orchestral music, written either for a real event that went sour, or because someone was epic in their boredom. I don't have access to any of the music, but a few inquiries with musical acquaintances of mine confirmed that a) it's old, b) it's complicated, and c) it's a work of musical genius. Even if it was written long after the story, it's still complex enough to be someone's masterpiece. My hat is off to you, long-dead composer-guy.

Hope that answers your question, Alessandra. If not, let me know, and I'll try to help.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: contemplative
2:29pm: Research tips.
To: alt.dreaming.research-tips
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Looking it up.

Recently, I received a question which was utterly buried in the middle of what LOOKED like a research summation, but could just as easily have been a laundry list, the beginning of an essay on What I Did This Summer, or a pizza order. It was, in short, a jumble of words and ideas, and gave me very little as a starting point. (I am not answering that question right this second. I'll answer it later. I have the right to be mercurial when I want to.)

This got me thinking. Namely, it got me thinking about the slapdash approach that many people seem to take to research. And I thought 'y'know, someone should really tell these folks that they'd get better results if they followed a few simple rules'. And then I thought 'I should put my money where my mouth is'. And so today, I present to you Bunny Batzri's Rules of Research. Learn them, know them, understand them, because they just might save your ass one day.

1. KNOW WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR.
When you want to learn about cats, say 'I am looking for information on cats', not 'I am looking for information on mammals'. If you don't know for sure that what you want is information on cats, put a little more thought into things before you actually get started. It's likely to save you quite a lot of grief, and it'll make your results cleaner right out of the gate.

2. BE SPECIFIC.
Once you know what you're looking for, look for THAT. If you know you're looking for information on cats, don't start with mammals unless you have a very good reason. It's easier to look at the big picture once you know what you need. And that said...

3. START BIG, GET SMALL.
The best research topics almost always follow a linear progression from large to small. 'I want to learn about mammals' becomes 'I want to learn about carnivores', then 'I want to learn about cats' and 'I want to learn about Siamese cats'. If you already know that you want to learn about Siamese, you don't need to artificially inflate your area of study, but be willing to chase those smaller branches to see what you can learn. You can always go back and chase another avenue later.

4. DON'T GET SIDETRACKED.
This follows from #3. If you're looking for information on Siamese cats and you find something cool about the Persian, make a note of it and come back to it later. If you let yourself get distracted, you're going to confuse your research, and possibly miss something important.

5. KEEP YOUR QUESTIONS IN MIND.
Know what you want to know more than anything else -- do I want to know how long cats live? What they eat? How they were domesticated? And when you encounter interesting lines of thought that don't answer those questions, apply #4 and put them aside for a little while. Answer your big questions FIRST. Everything else can come after that part is taken care of.

6. NEVER CONSIDER A SINGLE SOURCE TO BE ABSOLUTE FACT.
Witnesses are inaccurate; oral traditions warp; opinions color text. Just because I say something is so, that doesn't mean it is. I can say 'the sky is blue': you should still confirm that with your own eyes, and with other sources, if you possibly can. Otherwise, it's not an absolute. It doesn't mean 'the sky is blue'; it means 'Bunny says the sky is blue'. And those two things are completely different. This leads us to...

7. CHECK YOUR SOURCES.
Anyone can write a book and claim to be an expert. I could write a book on the care and feeding of unicorns, even though I've never HAD a unicorn (and the only unicorn I've ever met tried to trample me to death). I could self-publish it through House Dougal, and there it would be, all shiny and glossy and full of totally inaccurate information. Don't just read one book: read three, and if two of them say the third is bullshit, you need to find out what the situation really is.

8. NO ONE PROOFREADS THE CHIMNET.
I am typing this from the academic ivory tower of the tree house in my back yard, where I am taking advantage of our house wireless network. I'll probably run it by Roger before I post, since he's pretty good at telling me when I'm full of it, but I may not bother -- it depends on whether or not he gets here within the next twenty minutes. The research tips I am giving you are, thusly, taken only from my own experience and from a few questions I shouted to my mother. Are they perfect? Nope. Are they accurate? I think so, but I could be wrong. If you find it online, take it with a grain of salt until you verify it.

9. CONSULT THE EXPERTS.
There are people who have made a living out of studying just about anything you can come up with. If I want information on Siamese cats, I should make a point to contact someone who breeds them, because they're likely to know a lot of stuff that's going to be useful to me. Their information will be subject to opinion and personal focus, just like everything else, but it's easier to apply the grain of salt once I actually have the data that I'm looking for.

10. TRY EVERY ROUTE YOU CAN.
There are a lot of different ways to research. Libraries, contacting the experts, searching through media collections for old interviews and visiting museums. Consider how many 'roads' can lead to your chosen topic, and take them all. Read books on cats, visit a cat show, speak to cat breeders, watch Discovery Channel specials on cats, and so on. You might find a few things you'd miss, otherwise.

Remember, nothing is easy in this world, and to find gold, you first need to dig. I hope I've provided you with a few basic miner's tools today. You can find the rest on your own.

You'll just have to do a little research.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
Current Mood: geeky

17th May 2004

3:11pm: Balancing acts.
To: alt.dreaming.stereotyping
From: Bunny Batzri
Subject: Balancing acts.

Today's question comes from SHAYNE MADHU out of Eildon, who asks me:

"How you balance Sidhe-business worries and cares with Fae job of being a Dream and sharing joy?"

Capitalization is hers. Inherent assumptions are hers as well, since I can't insert them in someone else's question. Let's begin.

I need to note that I'm going to need to take this question apart before I can answer it, because as it stands now, it's too full of suppositions and stereotypes for me to address it in anything resembling a 'fair' manner. Now, there are those who would say that I never address anything in a 'fair' manner -- my politics color every word I write, whether I want them to or not -- and I would have to admit that there's a certain amount of personal opinion in even the most forcefully neutral statement. That said, I have a few issues with the way this question was posed.

First off, there is the immediate issue of the phrase 'job of being a Dream and sharing joy'. I don't feel that the two parts of this statement are genuinely connected. The 'job of being a dream' doesn't necessarily mean sharing joy; sharing joy is a wonderful goal, but you don't have to be a dream to do it. Also, for a moment, let's assume that the Dreaming is really as stereotypical as some people seem to want it to be. As far as the Dreaming is concerned, sidhe exist to rule, eshu exist to wander, redcaps exist to devour and sluagh exist to disturb. Where, in this mess of stereotypes, do we find 'sharing joy' as part of the job description? There are some dreams for whom sharing joy isn't just outside their normal duties, it's actually anathema to their very existence. Share joy, lose your grip on the dream that made you, die.

And that's just the pure base-line stereotypes. What happens when you get a little further into the details? I, for example, would not classify myself as a dream of joy. If anything, I'm a dream of duty and information. Do I always bring joy when I open my mouth? No. As a point of fact, half the time, I'm hiding behind my big shiny Do Not Kill the Messenger sign, because it's the only way to keep people from beating the crap out of me. For me, spending all my time 'sharing joy' would actually be Banal and painful, and probably result in my taking all my repressed anger to an early grave.

I also have to object, mildly, to the phrase 'job of being a dream'. I'm sorry, but no. Being fae is not my job. Being a lady is my job; answering these questions is my job; being a good person, yeah, that's a job too. But being fae? Not a job. Being a dream? Not a job. That's just what I AM. I am female, blonde, fae. I could get a sex change, or dye my hair, or be Undone, but the possibly transitory nature of these things doesn't make them any less valid. So, all of that said...I DON'T balance sidhe-business worries and cares with the fae job of 'being a dream' and 'sharing joy', because I DON'T feel that being fae is a job, or that I am in any way compelled to share joy.

Now that I've shredded the original question beyond all recognition, I'm going to try rephrasing it into something that I CAN answer fairly. Here:

"How do you balance the concerns of being a ruler with the need to avoid Banality?"

That's somewhat easier to address, and part of the answer is, unfortunately, 'you don't'.

'Sidhe-business' -- or, in the less kith-stereotypical way of putting it, simply ruling a fiefdom -- means that you have responsiblities that people who aren't in a position of power don't have to deal with. Yes, you get the good toys and the comfy chair, and that's great, but you're also the one who gets called at three in the morning when one of your knights is killed. You have to plan the Wakes and dole out the punishments and deal with the paperwork, and in the end, that can wear you down. Old rulers tend to stay in their Freeholds all the time, and that's not because they want to be insular; it's because the world has become too much to bear. The sidhe feel that weight more than most do -- it's the price of being what we are -- but it gets to everyone, in the end.

How do we avoid it? The way anyone avoids being worn down until there's nothing left. The ways that I recommend for everyone and anyone underneath the sun:

Laugh. Laugh a little every day, to remind yourself that you can. Dance, even when you're sure you look stupid. Sing like there's nobody listening. Love like you'll never get hurt. Fingerpaint your driveway and go to the movies and have intellectual debates about things you don't quite understand. Make new friends. Spend time with old friends. Go to a wine tasting in Napa, take a ride on a tandem bicycle with your boyfriend, take your girlfriend to the top of a mountain and give new names to every single star. If you don't have kids of your own, borrow a niece or nephew and take them to a carnival. Eat junk food and prepare gourmet meals, draw charcoal portraits of falling stars. Write poetry, write novels, learn to fold paper roses, play 'Space Invaders' until you see aliens in your sleep. In short, remember that life is full of good things, and whatever those good things are for you -- if everything I've suggested seems utterly twee, but a good Clive Barker novel and a trip to the wax museum would fulfill your needs -- you should do them. Stay connected to the good parts of life, because that's what's going to get you through the bad ones.

No ruler -- no GOOD ruler, anyway -- can avoid the cold, Banal parts of running a fiefdom, because if you avoid them completely, you're not a good ruler. At best you're a bad one, and at worst, you're a figurehead for someone who can use your name to say whatever they like. What we can do is make sure we have things to hold onto when the frost comes down. Our lives are never careless, but they can still be fulfilling.

I am now going to go and avoid Banality and share joy by licking gummi bears and sticking them to my boyfriend's face while he sleeps.

Later.

Bunny Batzri
ritm@pacifica.cn.gov
http://www.livejournal.com/users/ritm

C'mon, SOMEONE had to say it!
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