January 17th, 2018

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Cuddle Party

Everyone needs contact comfort sometimes.  Not everyone has ample opportunities for this in facetime.  So here is a chance for a cuddle party in cyberspace.  Virtual cuddling can help people feel better.

We have a
cuddle room that comes with fort cushions, fort frames, sheets for draping, and a weighted blanket.  It has a basket of grooming brushes, hairbrushes, and styling combs.  A bin holds textured pillows. There is a big basket of craft supplies along with art markers, coloring pages, and blank paper.  The kitchen has a popcorn machine. Labels are available to mark dietary needs, recipe ingredients, and level of spiciness. Here is the bathroom, open to everyone.  There is a lawn tent and an outdoor hot tub. Bathers should post a sign for nude or clothed activity.  Come snuggle up!
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Musicals in Fanfic and Canon

I came across the fanfic "A Very Sherlock Musical," which is actually a great deal deeper than it seems. Begin with the premise: So, you know how musicals are set in a world where people just burst into song every five minutes, and everyone around them automatically knows to join in with the tune and choreography? This fic is set in that world. You now know enough to write brilliant fanfic of your own in whatever canon you wish, using the same premise. Add the plot: John finds it extremely frustrating that Sherlock won't sing their theme song with him.

Here we have a motif straight out of crackfic, the musical episode. Yet the author uses this setting to explore some very serious issues -- it's actually a story about attachment problems told through the metaphor of musical interaction or rejection. Touch on another Sherlock motif, and what you have is fantastic analog of asexuality: a situation in which Sherlock doesn't want to do the thing that everyone else is doing, and people think less of him for not liking it and not understanding why it's So Very Important to them. There's quite a lot of astute exploration into how social ties form between couples or work groups, and how that gets expressed.

This story reminds me strongly of "Once More, with Feeling." That famous episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed the problems that can come from stripping away filters and forcing people to sing about their feelings. In that show, they're not used to it, because it's not natural; it's demonic influence. Compare that with the above story set in a world where musical interactions are the norm.

Another variation is Happy Feet, in which all penguins are expected to sing, and the one who can't gets rejected.

There is a lot of potential to explore more challenges caused by living in a musical world. Most musicals never examine the fact that they are musicals. They just do their thing, a quirky little commentary on everyday life. But when they become genre-savvy, a whole new realm of possibilities opens up. How does the musicality work? What can go wrong with it? How do people cope with disabilities -- being deaf, blind, mobility-impaired, etc. in a world where singing and dancing are fundamental aspects of every human interaction?

I'm not all that fond of musicals, but I'm fascinated by the "musical world" as an AU setting template.
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McDonald's Goes Green

McDonald's has just announced a long-term plan for shifting entirely to recycled packaging on their products, and providing retrieval for used packaging, with an eye toward sustainability.  :D  I was not a fan of this franchise growing up, because the food was just inedible to me.  But the quality of some items has improved -- I am now quite fond of the egg McMuffins and the buttermilk chicken tenders (evidently made with actual buttermilk in some form, the taste is distinct) -- and I'm a huge fan of their extended hours for "breakfast" items.  This new announcement makes me even happier.  They are deliberately leveraging their large size to deliver the top environmental improvement their customers requested, in hopes that it with influence other restaurants to do likewise.

If you like McDonald's food, go buy something, they deserve the folding votes for this. It's like a little slice of Terramagne; this is the kind of socially aware decision that their businesses make all the time. \o/