The ’90s Nostalgia Project: Whitney Livetweets the Buffy S1 Finale

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Once again, y’all are going to get a livetweet masterpost rather than a Canada update, because I’ve been swamped with work.  Here, then, is my livetweet of “Prophecy Girl”:

  • yall I know it’s a ridiculous time of night to be doing this but guess what??? more Buffy livetweeting!!!
  • only one ep tonight, that’s all I got time for, but still
  • tonight I’m tackling the S1 finale whoo boy
  • k so apparently Buffy and Angel have already smooched, duly noted
  • wait who’s this tiny kid
  • also Giles is looking for a super particular vampire almanac and Angel’s like “I’ll interlibrary loan it for you bro”
  • (and that’s what I missed on Buffy!)
  • we open on the Bronze, and tbh I’m having to suspend so much disbelief about this club being a real thing
  • vampires, sure. teenagers who actually go to a legit club?? does that happen????
  • oh christ who’s Xander confessing his undying love to
  • oh god poor Willow
  • (although……… Willow, babe, ilu but WHY are you wearing that dog collar like I know this is the ’90s but sheeeeeesh)
  • GOD, XANDER, WHY. DO NOT.
  • “what’s Buffy doing?” besides avoiding your unimpressive self, you mean?
  • k why does that vampire growl like the tiger noise at every Broken Arrow football game ever
  • is this episode the origin story of man door hand hook whatever?
  • AW YEAH STAKES ARE OUT BUFFY’S JUST LIKE “COME AT ME BRO I DARE YOU”
  • those punching noises sounded weirdly hollow
  • wait whoa does Giles literally live at the school
  • um pls tell me that at some point in the series, characters reading to themselves backfires hardcore and they accidentally summon a demon
  • don’t worry, Giles, I’m sure that vibration is just due to the crapton of fault lines in California
  • (side note, where in California *is* Sunnydale?)
  • oh ok that’s actually one doozy of an earthquake
  • NOT THE LIBRARY
  • good lord is the Master always this melodramatic or does he just have the world’s worst case of cabin fever
  • brief theme song interlude
  • Gilesssssssss you are a mess
  • ugh hang on my wifi went out again, pls hold for technical difficulties
  • JUST TELL HER YOU KNOB
  • I choose to believe that Willow is purposely sabotaging Xander by being an exceptionally bad liar here
  • lord I can smell the secondhand embarrassment a mile away. I need to take a moment, hang on
  • right I’ve got some chips and very garlicky salsa, let’s endure this scene
  • “hey. leave.” XANDER YOU INCONSIDERATE TOENAIL
  • oh my god he’s gonna say the mating thing isn’t he.
  • when you know you’re about to screw up royally but you just can’t stop yourself from running your mouth
  • ok he didn’t say the mating thing. thank god.
  • “Willow’s not looking to date you. Or if it is, she’s playing it pretty close to the chest.” oh m y g o d
  • I Cannot Believe the first gay joke on this show was from f***ing XANDER
  • relatable
  • XANDER IF YOU DON’T SHUT YOUR FOOL MOUTH RIGHT THIS INSTANT
  • “look, I’m sorry, I don’t handle rejection well” – I’m screaming???? did he actually just say that????????
  • god in heaven I do not understand how Buffy didn’t smack him down right then and there
  • oh this is agony
  • ugh pls miss me with the sad piano music
  • oh my god an actual phone with a cord! just like the one we still have at home
  • UM WHY DID NONE OF YOU TELL ME JENNY CALENDAR IS (1) A TOTAL BABE AND (2) EXACTLY MY TYPE
  • does she always open conversations by lovingly dragging people omg I adore her already
  • god, I didn’t realize till just now how Not A Thing the phrase “surfing the net” is anymore
  • Cordelia what are you going to do to Willow
  • a bit of subliminal messaging here
  • YES WILLOW TELL HIM WHAT’S UP
  • also Willow’s puppy eyes have me WEAK
  • yay creepy choir echoes
  • oh SH
  • LITERAL CRICKETS IN THE BACKGROUND when Buffy overhears the prophecy, I’m dead y’all
  • Buffy oh my god I’m emotional
  • she just went all ending-of-Order-of-the-Phoenix on him I
  • *wailing*
  • k now you can *not* miss me with the sad piano music
  • uh, no, my room totally doesn’t look a thing like this why would you possibly think that
  • (ARGH the lengths I go to in order to keep my reflection out of these but my nose still made it in)
  • oh hi Joyce, my favorite TV mom
  • ok but this Cordelia bit is actually uncomfortably
  • I’m just gonna guess they’ll walk in and the boys will be gruesomely dead
  • oh wow that is one hell of a shot
  • why is Buffy like the only person who has ever looked good in an empire-waist dress
  • that’s honestly not even fair
  • WILLOW MY CHILD
  • give her a damn hug ya monster
  • it’s such a shame because I know what happens to Jenny and I’m trying not to get attached but damn it
  • “Buffy’s not going to face the Master, I am.” uh?
  • armed with what, Giles, your stellar fashion sense? or do you actually know how to use those swords for something other than paper cutting?
  • omg my bby’s embracing her destiny and going to h*ck up monsters I’m so proud
  • SHE JUST STRAIGHT UP DECKED GILES
  • ok but do we have this iconic Slayer to blame for the preponderance of ballgowns on YA book covers? genuine question
  • Buffy, don’t trust the damn kid, remember The Shining?
  • same, Jenny
  • the eternal Dealing With Xander Harris face
  • is that thing like…………. a trident AND a crossbow?
  • this conversation between Angel and Xander feels like the literal entire reason the Bechdel Test was developed
  • it’s like not even a Bechdel Test fail……….. it’s more like a reverse Bechdel pass
  • and honestly I’m not here for it, k, let’s move on
  • how did Angel not sense the giant cross before Xander shoved it in his face?
  • “at the end of the day, I pretty much think you’re a vampire.”
  • “you’re in love with her.”
    “aren’t you?”
    LITERAL FRUSTRATED SCREECH
  • please let this scene be over soon oh my god
  • man, I can’t imagine how much faster this research process would go with Google Maps and ProQuest
  • good move, Buffy, waiting till the kid is out of sight to move
  • “thanks for having me” – ICONIQUE
  • dude looks like an overgrown finger who spent too much time under a bandaid
  • there was no way to avoid the reflection in that one, lawl
  • “oh good, the feeble banter portion of the fight” – brb mad that I didn’t come up with that line first
  • am I really witnessing a vampire No Homo between Angel and Xander rn I swear to god
  • I mean I’m sure everybody thought prom was going to be a metaphorical agonizing bloodbath anyway
  • GET IN THE DAMN CAR, YOU TWO, FAST AND FURIOUS THIS SH*T
  • god help me now I really want a Grand Theft Auto/Walking Dead crossover video game
  • BUFF. YOU CAN DO IT STOP THIS CREEPER FROM BREATHING DOWN YA DAMN NECK
  • NOT WHAT I MEANT
  • LITERALLY THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT I MEANT
  • for real though I feel like Joel Schumacher took all of his aesthetic inspiration from this episode and none of the feminism
  • also I paused the video at the exact right moment and I can’t stop laughing
  • oh great
  • if either one of those patriarchal MFs is the one to “save” Buffy I’m gonna riot
  • oh my god no no no NO NOT THE ICKY CPR TROPE DEAR GOD
  • Xander do you actually know CPR
  • HELL YEAH CORDELIA COMIN IN LIKE VIN DIESEL
  • ugh yeah Xander’s CPR was what resuscitated her end me now pls
  • HOLY REDACTED, CORDELIA JUST DID THAT
  • course, the flip side is that she just punched a giant hole in the school so now the vamps can come in easier. goooooooood job
  • Giles over [here] like “I know they did not just do that”
  • they’re building a barricade and I know this is not the time to snicker about Les Mis but just watch me
  • OKAY WHAT IS THAT PREHENSILE VACUUM TUBE DOING
  • oh god the bite.
  • AW YEAH BUFFY YOU ROCK THAT MURDER WALK
  • walk walk fashion baby
  • I love the super literal take on “game face”
  • WAHOO CORDELIA COMIN IN WITH THE REVERSE BITE LIKE A BAWSE
  • ok no but biting a vampire back is literally the funniest thing I can possibly think of for a vampire story I can’t even deal rn
  • wait did the Sarlacc just burst out of the library floor or what
  • the Master over here clapping like Nicole Kidman at the Oscars
  • “I may be dead but I’m still pretty” – HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
  • I can’t believe Buffy dusted the Master in eight words
  • I can’t believe Buffy Summers invented the clapback
  • I can’t believe she just clapped him back to the bottom level of hell wow truly
  • Giles over here turning into Paul Bunyan
  • oh dear god why is it that the Master has to look like a literal horde of spiders when he kicks it
  • whoa okay WHY are they just leaving the creepy skeleton in the middle of the library why aren’t they torching that MF
  • dancing to the ending theme music like
  • OKIE DOKE FOLKS that’s all for tonight. the livetweet post should be up sometime tomorrow or Tuesday. sweet dreams, babies~

I’ll be livetweeting more Buffy, starting with season 2, later this week!  Till then…

The ’90s Nostalgia Project: Whitney Livetweets Buffy, Part 1

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And no, that’s not the official title for this project, just the working title.

Sorry, but y’all aren’t getting another Canada post this week; grad school continues to be an absolute circus, and pretty much the only parts of Canada I’ve actually seen this week are my apartment and campus.  But instead, you get a livetweet post!  In honor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s 20th anniversary, I watched and livetweeted the show’s first two episodes.  Here’s the roundup:

Episode 1:  Welcome to the Hellmouth

  • bruh just from that cheesy title sequence I have chills
  • general rule, if a character asks “are you sure this is a great idea?” it’s not a great idea
  • feel like I’m watching a Grease reboot here
  • HOBOY DANNY ZUKO JUST GOT BITTEN
  • is it just me or is there something super quintessentially ’90s about that overlay filming technique
  • I feel like Xander’s entrance is a perfect metaphor for who he is as a person
  • WILLOW MY LOVE
  • why is burning down the gym on her *transcript* though
  • I cannot believe Buffy was able to finesse her way out of that kind of slip of the tongue… “vampir–asbestos” honestly
  • Xander you are the most transparent ever
  • Buffy not even waiting till she leaves Xander to make a skeptical face
  • oh hi there Cordelia
  • god, Willow is hair goals
  • HELLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GILES
  • Aphrodisia. oh my god
  • that screaming girl looks like Michelle Obama tho
  • oh my god Xander please shut up
  • wait I can’t believe Starbucks was actually a thing when this first aired???
  • YESSSSSS PULLING LOCKED DOORS OPEN MY QUEEN
  • “a whole big sucking thing”
  • Buffy is a lil fireball and I’m in love already
  • oh hey I didn’t know the Phantom of the Opera moved to Sunnydale after the Daroga kicked his ass
  • aw, I like Joyce
  • K SERIOUSLY HOW DOES BUFFY GET AWAY WITH MISSPEAKING SO MUCH
  • is that one of her Slayer gifts
  • lawl I recognize this scene from the Buffy vs. Edward mashup video
  • HOLY CORE STRENGTH, BATMAN
  • what is with David Boreanaz’s vaguely Southern drawl good lord
  • oh good heavens I’ve seen more dinky warehouses like this in midtown Tulsa than I can count
  • the lead singer of this band is wearing khaki shorts on stage I can’t
  • Willow you are so relatable
  • Buffy is already so protective of Willow 😭😭😭
  • retro whooshing noises wheeeeeee
  • Buff, you’re still holding the stake. in the middle of a club.
  • a wild Voldemort appears!–wait no wrong franchise
  • mood marimba 😂
  • I can totally see how these special effects would have been amazing at the time, man
  • oh wonderful, Xander and Willow and that other dude just ran into a Twilight fan convention
  • he’s monologuing, Buffy, kick his–dammit
  • k well obviously I have to watch the second episode now

Episode 2:  The Harvest

  • provided, of course, that Netflix loads the wretched thing. 🙄
  • why is this the perfect “waiting for Netflix to load” face though:

  • IT’S STILL LOADING
  • pls hold for technical difficulties
  • AND WE’RE BACK
  • also, a small thing that’s throwing me off: the beating-people-up sounds are actually really soft in these fight sequences
  • have fight sequences just gotten louder in the past twenty years or so? is that a thing?
  • ah yay history with Giles
  • tbh I probably have a whole essay in me about various versions of vampire genesis
  • this whole human-demon-mixing thing is super interesting and I’m excited to see how it’s borne out thematically
  • in contrast to Buffy, Darla has no finesse
  • “they can fly?”
    “they can drive.”
  • I just find it so hilarious that these here Phantoms of the Opera aren’t *sure* Buffy is the Slayer
  • “so yeah that girl I fought was super duper strong.” “she the Slayer?” “dunno, man, the rugby player I ate last week put up a good fight”
  • that computer is pretty sprightly considering it’s running, like, Windows 2000 BC
  • Xander that shirt is atrocious
  • and of course the boy takes EVERYTHING as an attack on his fragile masculinity my god this is already exhausting
  • dude. Buffcakes. at least wait till Flutie is out of sight to jump over the dang fence
  • How to Not Finesse but Still Get Away with Stuff: the show
  • k honestly of the three leads, Willow is the only one who really convincingly Looks Like A High Schooler
  • why is everything Angel is saying so forced ugh
  • hahahahahahaha “suckfest” I see what you did there
  • k another foley thing I don’t get: when characters are sneaking around, why oh WHY must they still have loud footsteps
  • that is not how you Sneak(TM)
  • XANDER YOU COMPLETE MEATHEAD
  • god Xander you are so bad at this sneaking thing
  • this guy looks like someone but I cannot put my finger on who:

  • k good now I can resume the episode, I wasn’t going to move on before figuring that out 😂
  • wow whoops sorry folks, was talking with about the eventual essay I’ll write on Buffy ANYWAYS
  • “private discussions”? Cord, honey, you’re talking loudly in a small computer lab
  • WILLOW YOU TRICKSTER ILU
  • oh they vamped him. I bet they vamped him
  • is it part of the vamps’ plan to just shamble around and look menacing?
  • knew it.
  • oh god this tunnel scene is giving me claustrophobia
  • god I just realized these guys sound exactly like monsters from DOOM
  • DRAMATIC ZOOM ON GILES for no reason
  • oh my god there is PIPE ORGAN in this dramatic vampire crypt music
  • they’re really leaning into the Phantom similarities, aren’t they
  • ah cool cool here’s a dramatic and weirdly homoerotic hand kiss moment cool
  • “my blood is your blood, my soul is your soul”
    …………….k like I was joking about the homoerotic bit two seconds ago but now, jeez
  • did I just witness a gay vampire wedding lmao
  • uh wow this just keeps getting gayer
  • cooooooool, Voldemort, I’m sure the ceiling appreciated you shouting your last couple words at it
  • ohhhhhh Joyce, Joyce, Joyce. you have no idea
  • oh no, that poor bouncer
  • oh man I thought he was gonna die
  • oh wait yeah he’s gonna die
  • of cooooooooooooourse the black guy dies first, *yay*
  • ugh
  • is anybody actually around your man cave to hear you yammering on, Voldy?
  • tbh it wouldn’t surprise me if the dude was talking to himself
  • or just to his ceiling again
  • seriously, these vampires have the world’s worst reflexes
  • of all the vampire attributes the Underworld series had to take and run with, they HAD to choose that one
  • K BUT THAT CYMBAL FRISBEE WAS BALLER
  • YES CATCH HIM MONOLOGUING
  • PRIME MISDIRECTION
  • “it’s in about nine hours, moron” – also
  • Angel WHY are you so useless jfc
  • “the Earth is doomed” – oh Giles, never change
  • I gotta say, I’m really glad they basically split a pilot episode in two
  • they did the plot much better justice that way

There you have it!  To recap the rest of what I said on Twitter:  because this is for a class project and time is somewhat of the essence here, I won’t be livetweeting every single episode.  Instead, I’ll Wikipedia my way through season 1 and then eventually come back with seasons 2 and 3–which I also probably won’t have time to livetweet in their entirety, we’ll see.  But there will be more of this coming your way!  In the meantime, keep an eye on Twitter for more updates on this big ol’ project.  Till next time…

An announcement.

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(I’m putting this in a separate post from all the vacation shenanigans because I don’t want it to get buried.)

Because apparently I like making more work for myself than I need, I’m doing another one of those class project things this semester, like I did with Lucy Audley’s Secret.  This time, the class broadly concerns memory studies and issues of cultural memory and nostalgia in the media, and the project… well.

If you know me at all, you probably know how woefully behind on pop culture I am.  You may have even stared at me, dumbfounded, and said, “You didn’t watch that?!”, to which I probably replied, “I basically wasn’t even alive in the ’90s.”  And it’s not entirely an exaggeration, either.  I missed a lot while I was homeschooled.  So with this project, I’m at least putting a dent in the frighteningly long list of Things I Missed in the ’90s.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be watching MatildaBuffy the Vampire Slayer, and Groundhog Day, as well as listening to No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom–and livetweeting everything, so keep an eye on Twitter.  These essays will be posted on a website that is currently under construction.  The ultimate purpose of this project is twofold:  to understand the particular breed of nostalgia that manifests itself among the self-styled ’90s kids, and to make sense of my own childhood and how it’s shaped me.

Now, I actually need your help with one part of this thing:  a title.  I’ve wracked my brain for weeks, and I still cannot come up with a title for the project to save my life.  I am open to any and all suggestions, and if you (yes, you) suggest the title I end up using, you’ll get a shoutout on the site and my undying gratitude ❤

So that’s the latest manifestation of my tendency towards extreme academic overcommitment!  Hit me up with your best title suggestions, in the comments or on Facebook or via carrier pigeon.

Canada, weeks 21 and 22: vacation edition!

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Hello again!  Look at me sort of kind of getting back to my normal blogging schedule, golly.  It’s almost like I’m a responsible adult who has her life pretty much together or something.  So weird.

ANYWAY:  There is actually going to be zero Canada in this post (literally nothing of note happened last week), so the title’s a little deceptive.  But instead, you all get a wealth of pictures from my reading week vacation!  I spent approximately two days in Madison and two in Chicago, hanging out with friends I haven’t seen in ages and eating so much good food and basking in great architecture.  Tactically speaking, going on vacation probably wasn’t the best decision–I have so much to do now that I’m back–but it’s fine, I got to snapchat museums, I’m good.

So, without further ado…

First up:  the saga of the garbage cookie.

I flew out of Toronto via Billy Bishop City Airport for a change.  The only airline that flies in or out of that airport is Porter, which I’d never even heard of till a couple of my professors recommended it to me.  The thing about Porter is that they only have about 60% of their life in order at any given time–my flight was supposed to leave at noon but we didn’t even start boarding till 11:55–but they valiantly attempt to make up for it in their free food and beverage selection.  Most airlines will give you peanuts, maybe, or super bland pretzels or terrible trail mix.  Porter, on the other hand, gives you three food options:

  • Terra brand veggie chips
  • Blue Diamond almonds
  • Some sort of cookie thing!

When the flight attendant came by and offered me the basket full of needlessly highfalutin’ food, I saw the word “cookie” and immediately pincered one of those things.  I started lifting it out of the basket–so I was already at the no-takes-backsies point, right–and that’s when I saw it.  The cookie flavor.

Milk chocolate raisin.

What kind of sadistic, horrible person would PURPOSELY put RAISINS in a PERFECTLY INNOCENT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE?

But I’d already touched the package!  It would have been weird to be like “nah tho,” especially since neither of the other choices looked too appetizing at that moment.  So I took the cookie, gave the flight attendant my most sympathetic, I-worked-in-customer-service-once-too smile, and stuffed the cookie in my backpack the second he moved on.

Fast forward a few hours:  I was on a bus to Madison, I wasn’t due to arrive in town for another couple hours at least, and I was absolutely frelling starving.  “Aw darn it,” I thought, “I don’t even have any food with me–”

Wait.

I still had the cookie.

I won’t lie, I debated just going hungry for a solid ten seconds.  But eventually I went “screw it,” fished the cookie out of my backpack, and ate the garbage cookie, raisiny parts first.  Tasted like humble pie.

(And on my return flight, I got the veggie chips.  Fool me once, Porter.)

Anyway, now for more pretty pictures and less garbage-cookie melodrama.

Madison, Wisconsin:

Y’all, I love this place.  I could totally live here.

For real, Madison perfectly blends that hip college town vibe with a Midwestern sensibility.  The sheer hipster of it all can get a little ridiculous at times, I’ll admit; the moment I clambered out of my friend Isaac’s car on Willy Street, I heard the dulcet tones of a street marimbist, of all things.  But honestly, I ate it up.  I loved every second of it.  It’s everything Hamilton wants to be–and can be, I think, once it deals with its gentrification growing pains and figures itself out.  I could rhapsodize more, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The state capitol building:  Wisconsin has the most chill capitol building I’ve ever heard of.  You can just walk in and gawp during normal business hours, easy as you please.  And it’s well worth gawping at–the outside is impressive enough, but the interior is stunning.

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‘Round town:

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Monona Terrace:  Hi, Mom.  I know you’re reading this, and I also knew you’d probs fly up to Toronto just to chew me out if I didn’t see something Frank Lloyd Wright-related while in Madison, so here ya go. 😉

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FLW only designed the outside of the building, apparently; the interior, in contrast, is super-duper Generic Convention Center.  But the outside is rad as heck, and the views in all directions are gorgeous, so that’s cool.

The UW-Madison campus:

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When you visit a botanical garden in the dead of winter:

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I’m generally not a beer person, but… apparently fruit beers are a thing.  Giant shoutout to Nathan for introducing me to cranberry beer and cherry cider.

And now for what I’m sure y’all have been waiting for with bated breath*:  Snapchats!

*sarcasm.

Whitney Snapchats the Madison Public Library:

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Whitney Snapchats the Henry Vilas Zoo:  A small yet free zoo in the middle of Madison that–forgive me–scratched the zoo itch I’ve been having lately.  Perfect.

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Whitney Snapchats the Chazen Museum of Art:

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Coffee:  Beyond all the excellent coffee I consumed in conjunction with excellent food (detailed below), I dropped by a chain coffee shop that, for a chain, is pretty excellent.  It’s called Colectivo, and it needs to come to Canada asap because I miss it already.

Food:  Oh boy oh boy oh boy.  I think I’ll be dreaming about all the food I ate here for years.  Let’s do a quick rundown, shall we?

  • Buraka:  Ethiopian food, which I’d never had before but now want to stuff my face with for a week solid.  I went here with Isaac on Monday night, and we caught up over curry chicken and other sorts of chicken and injera.  Injera is a flat, spongy, almost crepey bread that you can use as an excuse to eat food with your hands, so naturally I was a huge fan of it.  We also had lentil samosas with this super spicy sauce that almost burned off my taste buds (because I’m a wimp who can’t handle spicy food).
  • Culver’s:  Okay, sure, I’ve been here before because there’s one in Mason City.  But honestly, this was what really made this place feel Super Duper You-Betcha Midwestern(TM) to me.
  • Bradburys:  Breakfast the next day, with Sydney, Nathan, Isaac, and our new Japanese friend Yuto.  I got the dark chocolate and salted caramel crepe, which was lifechanging, but Sydney was gracious enough to let me try her trout crepe as well.

    And here’s a nifty little deal Bradburys does, for all you caffeine hounds out there.  They’ll give you a free teensy cup of espresso, provided you drink it in the restaurant and you don’t put anything else in it.  So that was a much-welcomed wake-up call.

    Oh, and did I mention the place itself just plain looks cool?

  • Great Dane:  Tuesday lunch.  Pretty standard pub fare, except with about 100000% more cheese because this is Wisconsin.  I was stoked to see my beloved poutine on the menu, and it held up about as well as could be expected to actual Canadian poutine.  The gravy was a little different; I’m guessing Great Dane’s recipe has more flour in it.
  • Sal’s Pizza/Table Wine:  Tuesday dinner.  Sal’s is one of the legendary pizzerias in Madison, but it tends to not have enough seating to accommodate all its eager patrons… which is where Table Wine comes in.  I don’t know who thought one day, “Hey, what if I open a wine store where people can bring their own food in but buy wine to have with their meal?”  But whoever it was, they’re an absolute genius.  A whole bunch of us split three pizzas and two bottles of excellent red wine, and a phenomenal time was had by all.
  • The Chocolate Shop:  Sydney, Nathan, Jen, and I headed here after Table Wine and had assorted chocolatey goodies, including a teensy cup of Parisian hot chocolate split four ways because god, it was rich.

    (And their decor was perfect.)

  • Porter:  Wednesday breakfast.  Hilarious because I flew to Chicago via Porter, but probably only hilarious to me.  I had a liege waffle, which apparently is like a god-tier, mega-dense Belgian waffle coated in cinnamon sugar–and also super hot, as I found out when I tried to tug it out of the paper packet it came in and almost burned my finger.  Whoops.

    Also, it’s one of a few stores built into a literal old train depot.  As if this place wasn’t hipster enough already.

  • Estación Inka:  Wednesday lunch.  Pretty much everybody had told me this place served fantastic Peruvian food.  I’d been wanting to try Peruvian food for a good long while, and my god, was it ever worth it.  The arroz con pollo had cilantro rice.  I was in heaven.
  • Babcock’s:  The half-price ice cream parlor on the UW-Madison campus.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love Baskin Robbins, but this was quite literally the best ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.
  • Morris Ramen:  Wednesday dinner.  Y’all, this place is so hipster it doesn’t even have a sign out front.  This ramen joint is in an unmarked friggin’ building.  And as you’d hope of such a painfully hipster restaurant, the food is painfully good.

Next up:  Chicago!  Approximately in order…

God, I love this city:

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Whitney Snapchats the Art Institute of Chicago (Again):

Some of you may remember that I snapchatted this place in October 2015, when I went to see Laurie slay as Feste in Twelfth Night.  Well, unfortunately, my old phone threw the biggest of temper tantrums about two months afterward, restarted randomly one night, and in the process deleted several folders’ worth of pictures (and its entire learned dictionary, which is actually what I complained far more about).  I’ve been itching for a second chance at the Art Institute ever since, and it’s a good thing I was, because it turns out there’s so much I didn’t see last time.  I didn’t snapchat the whole museum–there’s a particular sweet spot in Western art history in which art can be ridiculous yet take itself extremely seriously–but I nevertheless spent about five and a half incredible hours in there.

Anyway, here, have yet more snapchats.

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And now for some serious photos of cool art:

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Star Wars trivia:  Laurie and I teamed up with another team of two, and together we had a pretty respectable showing despite being absolutely ripped to shreds in the first round (out of nine plus a bonus round).  I’m still perhaps overly proud of myself for remembering that Poe Dameron’s call sign is Black Leader.

Also, a signature Whitney(TM) moment:  during the “Star Wars in pop culture” round, the emcee asked, “which Marvel movie features Star Wars on a list–” and that was all it took.  I basically launched myself across the table at a teammate to spit out, “Captain America:  The Winter Soldier!”  Never let it be said that I don’t stick to my brand.

The UChicago campus:  Last time I was here, I spent a brief amount of time on this campus, but it was dark, so I didn’t get to fully appreciate the gorgeous architecture.  I was content just to revel in the atmosphere for several hours.

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Women and Children First:  Only the coolest little feminist indie bookstore I’ve ever been in.  I don’t know how I managed to only come away with one book.  If I’d had the means, I probably would have bought the entire bookstore and toted the inventory back to Hamilton with me.

The Neo-Futurists:  After dinner (more on that below), Laurie, Erin, Ashlyn, and I went to see the Neo-Futurists perform “These 30 Plays.”  Admittedly, I haven’t seen nearly as much theater in my life as I’d like, but this was still unlike anything I’d ever seen before.  There was no set order for the titular thirty plays–they just color-coded the plays and randomly selected one for whichever color-coded audience group screamed the loudest.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Some of the pieces were surreal, some were just plain funny (in particular, “The Life and Death of a Zit” was hilariously unpredictable), and some were absolute truth bombs.  I actually got recruited to participate in one, “The Abstract Art of Getting to Know You,” and here’s the proof:

(Getting this back to Canada was interesting, lemme tell ya.)

I could gush about the show more, but frankly, I think that’d spoil the sheer frenetic joy of it for the rest of you.  So if you’re in the Chicago area or just planning to be in the Chicago area anytime remotely soon, definitely go see the Neo-Futurists.  The tickets are cheap, the plays are eclectic, and you’ll have a cracking good time.

Coffee:  So, uh, I was going to go to the Museum of Science and Industry on Friday afternoon, but I kind of ended up at Robust Coffee Lounge instead before just giving up on maps and heading back to the UChicago campus.  All I got here was a plain ol’ cup of coffee and some welcome wifi access, but it was definitely the kind of place I could relax in.

And wouldn’t you know it, the TV above the counter was playing the final episode of this year’s College Championship.  That was a nice little bit of serendipity.

I also had a pretty good vanilla chai from Peet’s, when I first got to Chicago.

Food:

  • At Fadó on Thursday night, I got these teensy little smoked salmon blini.  They were bite-sized, fantabulous, and half-price because it was happy hour.  Win.
  • Lady Gregory is in the same part of town as Women and Children First and the Neo-Futurists’ theater space.  I was cheap and only got a small plate of deviled eggs, batting cleanup for the others when needed, but the eggs were absolutely worth it.  They served them on a bed of cilantro, which pretty much made my entire life.

And a little bit of trivia for ya:  Lady Gregory is named for Isabella Augusta, the world’s most badass Irish dramatist and theater manager who you’ve probably never heard of.  (I hadn’t heard of her either, not till Laurie looked her up.)  She was a huge force behind the Irish Literary Revival and generally a super cool and underappreciated person.  New historical idol?  I think yes.

What I’m reading:  I got Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here at Women and Children First, after talking myself out of getting it at A Room of One’s Own Bookstore in Madison, and I started reading it on the plane ride back here.  It’s already terrifying.

What I’m watching:  Why did none of you jerks tell me Jon Batiste was on Colbert’s show????????  He’s my favorite.

(tbh I haven’t seen La La Land but I’m pretty sure this video alone is better than that whole movie don’t @ me) (I’m looking at you, Carl)

Action items:  Totally forgot about this section in the last post, whoops.  Anyway, here’s what you can do to help save the world this week:

  • Sign up for Daily Action!  It’s a super handy automated text service that’ll give you one thing to do each day.
  • Call your state-level reps about anti-protesting bills, if there’s one in your state.  I know the Oklahoma legislature is batting one around, and I also see Iowa on the map in the link.
  • This one is Oklahoma-specific:  seriously, people, call your state legislators about that divorce bill.  In case you somehow haven’t heard about it, one effect of this bill would be to make divorcing due to incompatibility a lot harder.  The bill’s author, Rep. Travis Dunlap, is trying to couch this in family-values language, but a bill like this would make it so much harder for people trapped in abusive marriages to get out.  Given that Oklahoma ranks sixth nationally for the number of women murdered due to domestic violence, this bill could be downright devastating.

Music:

Whew, that was a long update.  I may not be back with a post next week, because I’ve got a lot of schoolwork to get done in a very short period of time, but regardless, you’ll be hearing from me again soon 🙂  Toodles!

 

Canada, weeks 18 and 19 and 20… I think?

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Man, I’m losing track of time here.

Ugh, anyway, I had a draft all written out here (on mobile, for reasons), and then my app decided to be glitchy so I had to un/re-install, which deleted the local draft, and frankly I’ve had so much technology trouble over the past month that my reaction was pretty much just “oh, of course.” All that to say: I am nonetheless bringing you Content(TM) for the first time in a while. I know I said it wouldn’t ever be this long before I updated again, but this semester has absolutely been eating my lunch. In a good way, mostly, but still.

So, without further ado, here’s some of the stuff I’ve gotten up to in the past, god, almost three weeks:

Data Que/e/ries: I’m taking a class on big data this semester, and a few weeks ago, my classmates and I each gave short presentations at a seminar my professor organized. The topics themselves, while not necessarily in my normal academic wheelhouse, were fascinating (one group talked about data companions, ranging from your average smartphone to BB-8 or Data), and the visiting scholars had so many fascinating things to say about the subjects at hand.

The Mac Dance showoff: I finally got to show off my ballet and tap dances! While performing was fun, though, I’m really feeling the void that Mac dance classes have left in my life and my schedule. Thank goodness for swing dancing class.

Sunset Boulevard rehearsals have officially started! We had our first vocal rehearsal on Sunday. Considering one of the songs we worked on, “Let’s Have Lunch,” is pretty much the worst game of choral Round Robin ever (seriously, Andrew Lloyd Webber, did you have to change the time signature every measure?), things went smashingly well, and I’m super excited for the show. 🙂

More Toronto sights:

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I GOT TO RIDE A FERRY: Yeah, sure, the ride lasted all of two minutes, but it was still fun and I got some killer views of the Six.

Coffee: Dineen Coffee Co. is at Yonge and Temperance. The interior is the perfect mix of marble and filigreed Gatsby-style metal grills and reclaimed industrial parts… oh, and their iced vanilla chai is pretty good, too.

Food: I haven’t been anywhere special lately, but I did find out recently that 7-Eleven taquitos are comparable to QuikTrip taquitos. Not quite as good, but sufficient. (God, I miss QuikTrip.)

Music: Sorry if these links don’t work like they usually do. I’ll fix them once I get back on Majel.

That’s all I’ve got for now! I’m actually out of town till Saturday for reading week, relishing first Madison and then Chicago, so next week’s post (and there will be one, I promise!) will recap those shenanigans. There will be art museum Snapchats. Get excited. 😀

Canada, weeks 16 and 17 and sort of 18

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GUYYYYYYSSSSSSSSSS I AM SO SORRY THIS IS SUCH A LONG TIME IN COMING.  I swear there are several good reasons for this:

  • I got sick pretty much right as I got into Pearson on January 6th, and I subsequently dragged myself through customs and baggage claim and all the way back to Hamilton while running a fever.  I’d gotten a flu shot the day before, and I’m pretty sure it just straight-up gave me the flu.  So not fair.
  • My first week back was just kinda slow, in part because I was kicking whatever bug I’d picked up.
  • I was going to have a post up last week, but my poor long-suffering computer Majel’s wifi is shot to hell, which I spent a good four days last week figuring out.  Till I can get ahold of a wireless USB doohickey that actually works, which won’t be till sometime next week, I’m pretty much confined to the multimedia lab if I want to get anything done.  Siiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhh

Anyway.  All that to say:  I’m back, ish.  I may not have enough material for another post by next Monday, but I swear I won’t go two and a half weeks without updating y’all ever again. ❤

The Yoplait video is online and miraculously not embarrassing.  If for some reason you haven’t heard the story of how Yoplait punked me, here you go.

Women’s March on Toronto:  I went to the march with my friends Charlotte and Robyn, where we were among a crowd of 60,000.  The group pretty much shut down University Avenue for a solid hour.  The energy was fantastic, and I saw so many incredible signs, including a lot of signs evoking Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia.  I wish Carrie could have seen it.  I bet she would have been thrilled.

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The TTC:  Yeah, it took me this long to brave the TTC.  I only used the subway on Saturday, but it was actually a lot of fun.  I felt like it was back in London again.  (Side note, does anybody know if the TTC actually uses the same fonts as the Tube?  It looked like it, but I’m not sure.)

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Other Toronto sights:

I finally found bean with bacon soup!  I hadn’t seen the stuff at all since moving up here, until one fateful Sunday trip to Food Basics:

A histrionic reaction?  Perhaps, but what can I say–I missed that stuff. ❤

Lindy hop till ya drop:  I’m officially learning swing dancing!  McMaster offers several dance classes through the Pulse Fitness Centre, and the lindy hop class works perfectly with my schedule.  I’m learning the lead part, which is extra fun.

Snakes and Lattes:  So after finding the coffee shop listed below, through an extremely fortuitous series of events, I ended up striking a conversation with four super nice girls in a Shoppers* and joining them for board games at Snakes and Lattes.  I’d wanted to go there for ages, but given that it’s a board game café, it’s not necessarily the kind of place you just hit up by yourself.  But I ended up having so much fun playing Cards Against Humanity and some trivia card game that for the life of me I cannot recall the name of with these wonderful people I’d just met.  I have the best Toronto mojo, y’all.  It’s unreal.

*Shoppers Drug Mart, for all you non-Canadians.  Basically like CVS or Walgreens.

Action items:  This is a new section–I figure I might as well make these posts useful.  So here are just a couple suggestions, off the top of my head, for stuff you can do to aid the #resistance.  I’ll include a couple action items in each week’s blog post from here on out.

  • Swing Left is an organization dedicated to connecting volunteers with House districts only narrowly won in their last election.  The site will help you find your closest swing district and get you on the mailing list for volunteering opportunities.  I’ve already signed up to help IA-03 (that and a district in Kansas were my two closest swing districts, haaaaaaaaaa).
  • CALL YOUR REPS!  The linked article specifically refers to defeating the ACA repeal, but it contains a lot of good advice for touching bases with your elected representatives in general.  I know, it’s nerve-wracking.  I stumbled through the first time I called Bridenstine’s office.  But there are multiple sites that will give you call scripts, just a Google away.
  • Along those lines, read Indivisible.
  • Follow Sarah Kendzior and Celeste Pewter on Twitter.  Sarah, a freelance journalist, literally got her PhD studying authoritarian regimes, so she knows what she’s talking about.  Celeste has been a fount of important Congressional news and useful advice and action items.

K, now back to our regularly scheduled rapid-fire travel blogging.

Coffee:  Dave on Twitter (I’m sorry, I don’t remember your handle!!) recommended Empire Espresso to me, so after the Women’s March, I went in search of the place.  It’s a tiny little coffee shop–not much room to really settle down and read or anything–but the Nutella latte I got was lovely, and the interior is still really cute.

Food:  I had brunch with Charlotte at Over Easy before the March.  The Bloor Street location is pretty small, and it was quite busy when I arrived, but the food was nonetheless wonderful.  I had the smoked salmon platter, which was basically like the lox bagel at Einstein Brothers, except I had to construct the bagel myself.  Deeeeeee-lish.

Books:  I’ve been reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut lately.  It’s therapeutic.  I’ve been recommending A Man Without a Country to pretty much everybody, and at the moment I’m working my way through Palm Sunday.

I’ve also been reading Richard II.  Despite taking four different Shakespeare or Shakespeare-related classes at OU, I can’t say I’ve ever had a favorite history play, but now Richard II may be it.  It starts out intense and it hasn’t let up for a second.  Every time I think someone, just one person in the whole ensemble, might be in the moral right, they do something shady.  I’m riveted.

Music:

That’s all I’ve got for now!  I’ll be back with more news from the Great White North soon!

The Phantom Coach, or Ghost Theft Auto: The Masterpost

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Hey there!  I’m blogging twice in one day, which never happens, but what better way to finish 2016 than with a good old-fashioned livetweet post?

In keeping with an old British tradition, I livetweeted a ghost story on Christmas Eve, The Phantom Coach by Amelia B. Edwards.  I know, I’d never heard of it either, but it made for a fun little read.  Here’s the lowdown:

  • the story kicks off with our first-person narrator prefacing something that apparently really happened to them twenty years ago.
  • “I want nothing explained away. I desire no arguments. My mind on this subject is quite made up” – k, wow, gosh
  • anyway, wind the clock back 20 years, and our narrator is on some desolate moor in northern England, having like the worst hunting day ever
  • it’s the (ha) tail end of grouse season, so rather fittingly, he’s… erm, grousing about the lack of grouse to be found.
  • anyway, Ye Olde Google Maps has completely failed this poor sod, so he’s stumbling about in the middle of a snowfall, looking for shelter.
  • the snowfall graduates to a snowstorm, the specter of hypothermia rears its ugly head, & meanwhile the poor sod is on about his lovely wife.
  • “We were very much in love, and, of course, very happy” – maybe rereading Lady Audley’s Secret so much lately has made me a cynic but lol.
  • sure… uh, John. sure, John.
  • “Death! I shuddered. How hard to die just now, when life lay all so bright before me!” – is everybody this extra when they have hypothermia?
  • a wild old man with a lantern appears! John is saved!*

    *probably not, given that this is a ghost story, but whatever

  • good lord, according to Lantern Guy, John is literally so lost that he’s twelve miles from the nearest village and twenty from his home
  • it’s times like this when I really see the merits of GPS tracking
  • anyway, John invites himself into Lantern Guy’s house, which in any other circumstance would be rude af, and Lantern Guy’s like lol.
  • “It ain’t o’ no use,” growled he. “He ‘ont let you in–not he.”
    “We’ll see about that,” I replied, briskly. “Who is He?”
    “The master.”
  • (anybody else hearing drumbeats?)
  • so they get to the house and there’s a dog and suddenly I’m distracted wow ANYWAY
  • “the door was heavily studded with iron nails, like the door of a prison” – okay yeah I’m sure this is TOTALLY fine
  • “my, what an assortment of nails you have on your front door, Grandma!”
    “the better to hang Christmas lights on, my dear!”
  • “In another minute he had turned the key and I had pushed past him into the house” – okay, rude
  • did he just walk into a Walmart or
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  • regarding that bell:
    “‘That’s for you,’ said my guide, with a malicious grin. ‘Yonder’s his room.'”
    dun dun dunnnnnnnn
  • “I crossed over, rapped somewhat loudly, and went in, without waiting for an invitation” – OKAY, RUDE. GOSH.
  • watch, the Master will be Irish, and this whole story will be a metaphor for British colonization
  • “‘Who are you?’ said he. ‘How came you here? What do you want?'” – k like I know this guy is old & white-haired but I’m picturing Edna Mode
  • oh and our narrator finally gets a name! James Murray. cool.
  • I can finally stop referring to him as either “John” or “poor sod” in my head
  • the master: tf is this guy doing here
    Lantern Guy (whose name is Jacob, apparently): dude don’t blame me, this guy barged in
  • the master: no seriously tf are you doing here
    James: trying not to die
    the master: ……………………………fair
  • “I placed my gun in a corner, drew a chair to the hearth, and examined my quarters at leisure” – wait when did the master give you quarters
  • James. bruh. honeybruh. literally one line ago you said he “waved [you] to a seat.” you’re still in the same room.
  • and yet you’re claiming this room as “your quarters”? jfc no wonder neither the master nor Jacob likes you
  • I swear to everything if this doesn’t end up being a metaphor for colonization…
  • an incomplete list of entitled male narrators in the books I’ve tweeted:
    -Robert Audley
    -George Talboys
    -Raoul
    -Jekyll
    -this meatbrain
  • “The whitewashed walls were in parts scrawled over with strange diagrams”
  • “shelves crowded with philosophical instruments, the uses of many of which were unknown to me” – lmao I doubt they’re actually philosophical
  • unless somebody’s invented a Platoboe and nobody thought to tell me
  • or a Voltaireinet
  • (if anyone wants to jump in here with philosophical instrument puns feel free)
  • antithesousaphone
  • I need to stop
  • BACK SORRY had to shred some things for my mom ANYWAY WHERE WERE WE
  • oh right:
    “a small organ, fantastically decorated with painted carvings of mediæval saints and devils”
    Ghostbro would be over the moon
  • idk “a long array of geological specimens, surgical preparations, crucibles, retorts, and jars of chemicals” doesn’t sound super cozy to me
  • now James is staring at the master and making it weird, because of course he is
  • “much of the ruggedness that characterises the head of Louis von Beethoven” – ok what the snot
  • I’ve been googling away for like two minutes and I can’t find a single good reason why “Louis von Beethoven” is anything other than a typo
  • “His master then closed his book, rose, and with more courtesy of manner than he had yet shown” – oh you’re a FINE one to talk about manners
  • man, I gotta hand it to the master, I would have been way too petty to give this dude ham and eggs and only eat porridge for dinner myself
  • turns out the master’s been basically a hermit for a solid 23 years and he wants James to tell him what’s up with the rest of the world
  • like…….. I love the internet, you all know this, but rn the master is honestly
  • the master is mostly interested in what new scientific discoveries have been made, and at this point I’m pretty sure he’s just Doc Brown
  • (also, like. not that it’s actually relevant at this particular juncture, but what’s with him and Jacob. are they a thing.)
  • ah yes and now he’s going on a Jekyll-like bender about how ghosts actually exist despite what science says about ’em. charming
  • exactly one Venkmanesque rant later, it’s stopped snowing! cool! James is still a good twenty miles from home, though.
  • ooooookay–here, at least, is the “coach” part of the titular “phantom coach.” the night mail coach.
  • what do they say exactly–neither sleet nor wind nor… eh, whatever, it’s something like that.
  • ahahaaaaa the master just volunteered Jacob as a tour guide for James, and Jacob’s like “dude really?”
  • “A glass of usquebaugh before you start?”
    I have no idea what that is but it sounds awful
  • HUH now this is interesting
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  • and sure enough, my main squeeze says it originated from the Irish “uisce beatha”
  • oh my god yall if I was right about this Irish invasion metaphor after all I’m going to be over the MOON
  • anyway, James drinks the usquebaugh, it’s sufficiently awful, and he and Jacob are on their not-so-merry way.
  • “My thoughts were full of my late host” – if this is a pun, I swear…
  • they reach the road James needs to take to get to the mail coach and Jacob is just like
  • in what might be an attempt to make up for his truly terrible manners earlier, James gets out his wallet to pay Jacob for his trouble.
  • and Jacob’s just like “on second thought lmao”
  • oh goody, Jacob only loosened his tongue to tell James about a nasty fatal accident the night mail coach had nine years ago.
  • that totally won’t come up later as a plot point or anything. totally.
  • at any rate, James is now left to find the way to the night mail coach on his own, and he’s trying not to think of the master’s stories.
  • “I ain’t afraid of no ghost” – James, probably
  • an admirable sentiment, James, but you should definitely be afraid of hypothermia. which is setting in once more.
  • so James looks back the way he came and sees a light… and then another light.
  • sure enough, there’s the Dwolding Express, barrelling along. James manages to get it to stop for him, hops on, and off he goes.
  • nobody on this coach takes James’s conversational bait and it’s a leeeetle bit awkward
  • in news that should probably surprise no one at this point, the coach itself smells awful and looks held together with spit and prayers
  • James, poor sod, still hasn’t realized there’s a very good reason this coach smells like death. I’ll give him a pass bc of the hypothermia.
  • ooooop, the other passengers on this coach are quite literally giving him death glares, and now the penny has dropped.
  • so I guess all these guys on this ol’ hellsmobile are………….. ghost riders?
  • it’s going down
    I’m yelling timber
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  • so like, obviously James lived to tell the tale, but the whole incident quite literally cracked his skull open a little
  • don’t mind me, I’m just having wild theories that the master and Jacob are the ghosts of the two passengers who died later
  • dag nabit, I just went back and counted the passengers on the hellsmobile. no cigar. that would have been diabolical af
  • missed opportunity, Amelia B. Edwards, missed frelling opportunity
  • anyway, James never told his wife any of that freaky business, the surgeon who patched him up thought he was off his rocker, the end.
  • not kidding, that’s the end of the story.
  • WHEW. anyway, it’s nearly 1 am here, so I think I’m going to turn in for the night. toodles, kiddos, and happy Hogswatch to all of you ❤

So that was fun, and I may or may not be rewriting the story in my head at the moment (honestly, the master and Jacob should have been secret ghosts or something).  Stay tuned–I may be ringing in the new year in similar fashion… 🙂  Till then, though:

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