Apothecary Chronicles: A is for Anise

Wow! It’s been a long time since I did an Apothecary Chronicles post. I decided I was going to do this project to get me in the habit of posting and then then totally didn’t get in the habit of posting. For a while this had to do with the difficulty of finding anise lying around, but then I found some anise and it’s been sitting around waiting for me to get to using it.

I finally did last week. The anise being discussed here isn’t star anise, but the kind of anise often referred to as “aniseed”. There actually weren’t really any recipes given for it, but some uses were listed. It’s apparently mostly useful for mothers and babies, as it brings on mother’s milk and relieves colic. So… not so much useful for me, though it would have been good to have on hand before my friend’s baby grew out past the infant stage. (Really need to start doing these more often!)

The closest it got to a recipe for this chapter, which I did make, was a “sleepytime toddy” involving steeping anise in warm milk. I substituted almond milk because I am lactose intolerant, and it tasted nice enough, I suppose. It didn’t do anything for my cough. But if you like anise it’s not a bad thing to have late at night.


Sorting Hat Chats: Library Wars

I’m very fond of the Sorting Hat Chats. Their system divides houses into primary and secondary houses. Primary houses are why you do what you do; secondary houses are your methods, the how. They’ve got big essays over there on each house’s qualities for primary and secondary. I like them a whole lot, and they haven’t put up any new sortings lately, so I’m going to sort Library Wars. (This is based on the manga and a fan translation of the original light novels; I haven’t seen the anime, and I only saw the live-action movie once and haven’t been able to find a version with subtitles again. Also, while the live-action movie was awesome, it necessarily left out a lot.)

Unsurprisingly, the Library Force has a lot of Gryffindor in it.

Iku Kasahara is a Gryffindor primary. She knows intuitively that censorship is wrong, and so she’s going to fight it. She decided that very suddenly in high school after her first run-in with the Media Betterment Committee, and having decided that, she immediately devotes her life to doing what is right. That moral certainty is the real reason she’s the first woman assigned to the elite Library Task Force, because while they can (and do) train the bookwork skills into her at least enough to be up to par, they can’t train the devotion to the ideals into her. She finds the world very black and white– no matter how many times Dojo and Genda tell her “We’re not heroes”, she persists in believing that they are supposed to be heroes. Often enough, when she’s flinging herself against reality like that, reality is the thing that ends up shattering.

She’s also a Gryffindor secondary. When confronted with another bookstore in need, her first impulse is to go charging straight in without any awareness of what her actual authority is, because if censorship is wrong, it must be stopped by the most direct means possible. She breaks the Library Force’s rules without a second thought if it means doing what’s right, and when she’s prevented from doing so she rails against the injustice and insists politics should play no part here. We see her Gryffindor charisma pulling everybody else in behind her– Dojo takes punches for her, Komaki breaks his strict radical honesty with a lie of omission to protect her, and Shibazaki, who decided long ago never to have real friends, wants to be her friend. Even Tezuka, who initially can’t stand her, also can’t stop thinking about her. She’s rapidly acquired an army of people who will follow her lead, to the point where Dojo is willing to take risks that nearly get him killed rather than let the impossible odds against them stop them from doing what’s right, all because she’s inspired him.

Dojo is also a Gryffindor primary with a Gryffindor secondary. Like Kasahara, he knows intuitively what the right thing to do is. Censorship is wrong, and while we don’t spend a lot of time in his head, we do know what was going through is head in the bookstore– hurting a high school girl over a book is also wrong, and most of the people advocating censorship are brutes. Unlike Kasahara, though, he’s buried his Gryffindor/Gryffindor under a Hufflepuff/Hufflepuff model. He tries to base his actions on his loyalty to the Library Force as a whole rather than the broader intuitive “censorship is wrong”. He tries to accomplish his goals via working hard at his assigned duties, training the recruits, and being the best Task Force member he can be. Part of the problem he has with Kasahara is that she calls out to his buried true nature, and by the end of the fourth book he’s choosing to rewrite the plan on the fly so they can complete the mission in the face of impossible odds– and he nearly dies doing so, and doesn’t regret it, even when by regulations he should probably have gone back to base. Together, Dojo and Kasahara kind of become Gryffindor squared, and no reality cannot be bent to their will if they try hard enough.

Hikaru Tezuka is also a Gryffindor primary! He has that same intuitive sense that censorship is wrong that Kasahara and Dojo have. It’s just Tezuka expresses it differently, because for him, it’s personalized in the context of his brother. He never cites any reasoning the way a Ravenclaw primary would when arguing with Satoshi– it’s just “You are wrong because censorship is always wrong and you’re manipulating me which is also wrong, and also you’re hurting our parents!” He’s willing to turn to Satoshi when it serves the ultimate cause by finding out where Komaki is, but he won’t try to get Satoshi to stop coming after Iku– because he knows the price for that would be “betray all your ideals by helping me”, and even to save a friend he won’t betray his ideals. (This is, in fact, Tezuka’s core problem with Satoshi: Satoshi ostensibly has some kind of complex plan to accomplish the same goals, and Tezuka’s straightforward Gryffindor nature sees this as unworkable. You know what’s right, and you do it; the very idea of a ten-year subterfuge is ridiculous and will never work.)

Tezuka’s secondary is Hufflepuff. He lives his ideals by joining the Library Force, excelling at both the bookwork and the training, working hard, and trying to live up to the family name.

Komaki is the only one on Team Dojo with no Gryffindor in him. We don’t spend a lot of time in his head, but we do see that he’s consciously chosen a lot of his behavior, like the whole “I only tell the truth” thing, which he’s still willing to bend when faced with evidence that in this case it’s right to make an exception. He’s also the one who’s most rational and observational about everything– the one pointing that yes, Library Force politics do exist and we need to account for them, and quietly talking everybody else through their emotions with his rationality. (Even when Marie is hurt, he’s able to tamp down his rage and use it, and think to have Iku test his hypothesis about why Marie was targeted.) That makes me designate him Ravenclaw primary, one who’s decided on the values of the Library Force to guide his system.

Komaki’s secondary is Hufflepuff, but he expresses it very differently from Tezuka. Where Tezuka works hard at the curriculum and his duties, Komaki builds community with the other officers– he’s there to comfort Tezuka after the bear-killer incident and Iku after she finds out the identity of her prince, and more generally Komaki is usually the one explaining everybody to everybody else and quietly keeping the team stable. He’s not obvious about it, but he’s always there when it counts.

Shibasaki starts the story as a petrified Slytherin. She wanted friends, in middle school, but middle school was so awful for her that she cut herself off from the possibility and tried to care only about protecting herself. I say Slytherin and not Hufflepuff because she doesn’t feel guilty for not caring about the people around her; she’s just lonely and trying not to admit it. When she meets Kasahara, she gradually starts to un-Petrify and realize this is someone she wants for a friend, and then she pretty much wholesale adopts her, whether that means teaching the library classification system or openly sticking by Kasahara during the inquiry. Later on she adds Tezuka to her people. Pretty much all her actions after that point can be defined by her own personal ambitions (being a good librarian and rising through the ranks) or standing up for Kasahara and Tezuka.

Shibasaki’s secondary is Hufflepuff but with a solid Slytherin model. When push comes to shove, what she relies on is her community connections and the effort she puts into being popular, but she’s also quite adept at improvisation and manipulation. The combination is what makes her so good at being in the library’s intelligence division.

Genda is harder because we see him less often and almost never as a POV character. He could go either Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, or even Slytherin– I’m not sure if he’s charging into his ideals because those are his ideals, or if he’s loyal to the Library Force itself, or if Inamine and Origuchi are his and he’s loyal to the Library Force and freedom because those are their goals.

His secondary is Gryffindor, though. When it came down to the pressure moment, he stood up, blocked an artwork with his body, and dared the would-be censors to shoot him. We later find out that he was shot 23 times. How much more charging into things can you get?

Satoshi Tezuka is a Slytherin primary. First and foremost he wants power for himself, and he also wants his brother under his control. He’s got a somewhat corrupted version of it, though, because he puts the possessiveness before the caring– he doesn’t really care that he’s upsetting his brother; he just wants Hikaru to be his and he’s willing to set anything in train if that happens. He’s also got a Ravenclaw model, with his systems and analyses and examinations of the world– he achieved his views through study and examination, and he’s very smart.

His secondary is also Slytherin, improvisational, but with a strong Ravenclaw model. These two secondaries in combination result in Chessmaster tendencies, which he totally has. For most of the story, he’s operating on a long, complex plan that’s supposed to take ten years to play out, but when circumstances present him with a way to accomplish his goals much faster by allying with the Library Force, he’s quick to drop the old plan and pick up a new one.

Marie and Inamine we just don’t see enough of to sort, although Marie is possessive enough of Komaki that I would be unsurprised if her primary was Slytherin. Winning him seems to have been her driving motivation for most of her life.

Kit Does Filk: “My Favorite Things”

I’ve written another filk, everyone! This is for an old song, but a fun one.

Dances in ballrooms and manuscripts written,
Bright steampunk goggles and hand-knitted mittens,
Magic adventures inspired by kings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Bear-armored doggies and times that were feudal,
Swordsworn and fighters in kit and caboodle,
Dragons that fly with the flames that they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Books from small presses and tortoiseshell glasses,
Stories that leave tears against my eyelashes,
Imagining landscapes carried on dreams,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the con bites, when I lose things,
When drama gets bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so sad!

New Publication!

I’ve sold another essay to Hoax Zine. This one is about how the queer community can be hostile to those who don’t fit into mainstream queer narratives. It’s on presale now; you can go order a copy here. This issue’s subject is “Feminisms and Spaces” and there are a lot of other great essays in there.

Go check it out!


Kit Does Filk: “Catch a Bulbasaur”

I’m sure you’ve all see that rather clever Pokemon-edited chorus from “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers that’s been making the rounds on Tumblr and Facebook. I looked at it and went “Clearly the whole song should exist!” At two in the morning, because filk does that. So, I give you “Catch a  Bulbasaur”, Pokemon filk. It’s not just Pokemon Go; I referenced a lot of stuff from the rest of the Pokemon canon. (Incidentally, I have so much more respect for Weird Al now even if I still mostly don’t like his stuff. Writing this stuff so it stays with the existing tune and rhyme scheme is hard.)

Catch a Bulbasaur (500 Miles)

When I wake up, yeah I know I’m gonna be,
I’m gonna be the one one who gets them all with you,
When I go out, then I’ve got the ball ready,
I’m gonna be the one to catch them all with you.
When I get drunk, and a Pikachu gets me,
Then the one who’s gonna pick me up is you,
And if I haver, say I’m gonna beat Uxie,
Then the one who’s gonna Full Restore is you.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur

When I’m fighting, yes I know I’m gonna be,
I’m gonna be the one who beats the gym for you,
And when I level, and I finally catch that Mew,
I’m gonna pass Team Rocket’s clone along to you.
When I come home, after I catch that Eevee,
I’m gonna be the one to breed Eevees with you,
And in Kanto, I’m gonna beat Giovanni,
I’m gonna fight Team Rocket out of here for you.

But I would walk five hundred miles,
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur

Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pik-ka (Pika-ka),
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pika-ka (pika-ka)
Pikachu pika pika pika,

When I’m lonely, then I’ll find a Togepi,
And it’ll keep me company when without you,
And when I’m dreaming, well you know I’m gonna dream,
I’m gonna dream of catching Entei to give you,
When I go out, I’m gonna swim with a Starmie,
And catch it in a Masterball for you,
And when I come home, I’ll be with a Butterfree,
And I’ll bring a legendary home to you.
I’m gonna bring a legendary home to you.

But I would walk five hundred miles,
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur.

Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pik-ka (Pika-ka),
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pika-ka (pika-ka)
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pik-ka (Pika-ka),
Pikachu pika pika pika,
Pika-ka (pika-ka), Pika-ka (pika-ka)
Pikachu pika pika pika,

And I would walk five hundred miles,
And I would walk five hundred more,
Just to be the one who walked a thousand miles
To catch a Bulbasaur.

New Publication!

Look look, I sold my writing somewhere else! I have sold a personal essay about my experiences with rape and abuse to Hoax Zine, which you can find here.

I’m going to make a note for everyone who might be inclined to go read it that the zine in general deals with a lot of very intense content surrounding things like rape and domestic violence and alcoholism and just… all the content warnings. All of them. But it’s still worth reading; I got my contributor copy in the mail the other day and it’s really great. Therefore you should go order copies so you can take a look.

I really should make another page, up by the About page, with links to the things I’ve published in now that I’ve published in more than one thing, shouldn’t I.

And Then It Wasn’t An Archive…

I went looking for something on a website that’s been taken down. No problem, right? I’ll just go into the Wayback Machine. I’ve gotten it off the Wayback Machine before; I know it’s there. I even bookmarked it! Except what happens when I go to that bookmark? “Can’t display because of site’s robots.txt.”

If they’re going to retroactively remove content that was freely available simply because someone– probably someone entirely different– bought up a domain just for squatting purposes and put that in there, they don’t deserve to call themselves an archive. Archives are about preservation, and there’s been enough outcry on their own forums that they have to be aware of the problem. But they keep holding that it’s some kind of ethical bound, to let people– who may not even be the originators of the content– remove things from the archive via an automated process. I see this as Big Brother, and a sign of the coming media control over all our thoughts. When you put things on the internet, they’re there forever, and we’re all told that repeatedly when it comes to putting things up there; that it will never go away. Except now here they are participating in making stuff go away. Just like Winston altering the news.

Since I get “cannot find server” at the website when I click on their link to view the robots.txt directly, that suggests something even more insidious: that they’re removing websites that no longer exist from their archive, thereby directly violating their own preservationist mission statement. And if they’re doing that? There’s no real reason for them to exist. It serves no real use to see the history of existing website– certainly they change, but not all that dynamically. The real value has always been in the knowledge that what they archive stays around, that they’re dedicated to keeping it there. Except, apparently, they no longer are.

Certainly they should cease calling themselves an archive, and if they’ve lost their way so badly as to stop being one, perhaps they should consider whether they ought to continue existing at all, or step aside and leave room for someone more dedicated to the principles to stand up in their place. Because this? This is an unforgivable betrayal.