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Poll

What's next on our agenda?

Angus and Faye: The Quickening
- 46 (33.3%)
Dora Tells Her Parents (To Predictable Results)
- 10 (7.2%)
The Library Implosion: Emily Finds Out!
- 19 (13.8%)
Moms Meet!
- 8 (5.8%)
Momo and May - The Odd Couple Revisited!
- 12 (8.7%)
Hanners FREAKS OUT!
- 7 (5.1%)
Pintsize!
- 7 (5.1%)
Love and Pancakes!
- 7 (5.1%)
Waffles and Spathe Ham!
- 1 (0.7%)
...Wait, who IS that blue guy lying on the ground?
- 11 (8%)
CLINTONSPOLSION!
- 10 (7.2%)

Total Members Voted: 132


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Author Topic: WCDT: 2811-2815 (13-17 October 2014) Weekly Comic Discussion Thread  (Read 62124 times)

Aziraphale

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I've got a feeling that Mrs A's photo album will make an appearance in due time, possibly in a one-on-one exchange with Veronica's "baby Marten" home movies.

Holy shit, poor Claire would be mortified, and not even in a remotely cute way. I would hope that she has more sense than that.
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Neko_Ali


Clairemom seems a lot more in tune with that, and cool about it. She has had at least what, 6 years to deal with Claire's transition?
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BenRG

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I think that you're all looking at it the wrong way. Transsexual, transition or no, that's still her first baby whom she loves unconditionally; all those photos are memories that she treasures and it would be an instinct to want to share that with others.

(Besides, this is Veronica we're talking about here - if there is anyone of her generation in the cast for whom it would be a meaningless detail, it would be her.)
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AprilArcus

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Clairemom seems a lot more in tune with that, and cool about it. She has had at least what, 6 years to deal with Claire's transition?

We live in hope, and we know Jeph would never write it, but you can totally see it happening, can't you? Here is the complete list of things we know about Mrs. A:
  • divorced
  • makes good pancakes
  • absolutely crap boundaries

I think that you're all looking at it the wrong way. Transsexual, transition or no, that's still her first baby whom she loves unconditionally; all those photos are memories that she treasures and it would be an instinct to want to share that with others.

I understand that you're talking whether this would be in-character for Mrs. A or not, but can you please check in to let us know that you also understand why such a thing would be wildly inappropriate?

Aziraphale

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Clairemom seems a lot more in tune with that, and cool about it. She has had at least what, 6 years to deal with Claire's transition?

We live in hope, and we know Jeph would never write it, but you can totally see it happening, can't you? Here is the complete list of things we know about Mrs. A:
  • divorced
  • makes good pancakes
  • absolutely crap boundaries

I think that you're all looking at it the wrong way. Transsexual, transition or no, that's still her first baby whom she loves unconditionally; all those photos are memories that she treasures and it would be an instinct to want to share that with others.

I understand that you're talking whether this would be in-character for Mrs. A or not, but can you please check in to let us know that you also understand why such a thing would be wildly inappropriate?

Just popping in here for a second.

Ben, on the evidence so far, it would appear that she does love her daughter unconditionally. Crappy boundaries or no, I'd hope that she's sufficiently self-aware (and understands her daughter well enough) to get that that'd be waaaay the hell off-limits. It's one thing if Claire decides to share that part of her past, and with whom she shares it. It's something else altogether if someone's doing it against your will or desires.

I've got a feeling that Mrs A's photo album will make an appearance in due time, possibly in a one-on-one exchange with Veronica's "baby Marten" home movies.

Holy shit, poor Claire would be mortified, and not even in a remotely cute way. I would hope that she has more sense than that.

April: As I was typing that, had a lightbulb moment regarding what you'd said earlier regarding how/when Claire's past might be portrayed, and I think I understand a bit better where you were coming from in the first place. Thanks. (I do get this stuff eventually... :) )
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AprilArcus

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April: As I was typing that, had a lightbulb moment regarding what you'd said earlier regarding how/when Claire's past might be portrayed, and I think I understand a bit better where you were coming from in the first place. Thanks. (I do get this stuff eventually... :) )

That's awesome. Is there a better way I could have phrased it initially?

Aziraphale

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April: As I was typing that, had a lightbulb moment regarding what you'd said earlier regarding how/when Claire's past might be portrayed, and I think I understand a bit better where you were coming from in the first place. Thanks. (I do get this stuff eventually... :) )

That's awesome. Is there a better way I could have phrased it initially?

Not sure. I think it's more my brain than your phrasing. :) This is a fairly common thing for me; I mull stuff over after I read it, and some other thing comes along that helps me put the pieces together, or see the bigger picture. Appreciate your patience in the meantime.
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Such terrible boundaries. I mean we're all human, so there's always something we do for ourselves that might seem to be a violation of someone's boundaries. Inviting a person for breakfast because you wonder over the influence in a loved one's life is borderline to me.

Inviting a person for that purpose without consulting the loved one, and then dumping it in the loved one's face, is so far over the line it can't be seen from there. And don't get me started on answering someone else's phone without their permission. And I say this as someone who did most of their growing up before personal phones were a thing.

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As someone who's mother had hysterically bad boundary issues, but was completely sweet and welcoming, and earnestly open, I can easily imagine an as-yet-unseen conversation the night before between Claire and her mom that made an immediate invitation to Marten to come over for breakfast a no-brainer, with the lack of a heads-up to Claire that Marten was at the breakfast table, not only completely natural but impulsively understood to be essential for Claire's own good and happiness.
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AprilArcus

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That's the implied punchline, I believe. "Mothers, eh?" It rings funnier for some than others.

Aziraphale

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Leaving aside the boundary issue briefly, Ms. A might also have been coming to this from the same place Clinton does: simply being protective. If a conversation took place between Claire and her mom the night before (or even if she just picked up on Marten's interest upon picking up the phone), she might've simply been acting out of an abundance of caution.

Of course, taking the boundary issue back up, it's a lousy idea for a number of reasons, not least of them being simple respect (Claire is, after all, a grown woman) and knowing that it'd probably cause more anxiety for her daughter than it might've eased for her personally.
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MooskiNet

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Leaving aside the boundary issue briefly, Ms. A might also have been coming to this from the same place Clinton does: simply being protective. If a conversation took place between Claire and her mom the night before (or even if she just picked up on Marten's interest upon picking up the phone), she might've simply been acting out of an abundance of caution.

Of course, taking the boundary issue back up, it's a lousy idea for a number of reasons, not least of them being simple respect (Claire is, after all, a grown woman) and knowing that it'd probably cause more anxiety for her daughter than it might've eased for her personally.

I think Clairemom came to a snap decision and could have given any of a million reasons why it was the right one, the justification being she's looking out for her daughter's best interests.  I'm not sure this should be taken as an indicator of Ms. A's boundary sensitivity - this is as much a first for her as it is for her daughter.  "He seems like a nice boy" likely translates as "SQUEEEEETOTHEMUTHERFUCKINSQUEEEEEEE"

Imma give her a pass on this one and see how things go in the future.
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AprilArcus

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Like Faye's proclivities toward domestic violence, it would be completely unacceptable in real life, and I can only barely get my head around it by reminding myself that this is a gag-a-day comic that needed a punchline.

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But yeah, if you disagree with the basic argument over what he should have been, that would certainly mean we're working with different assumptions here. What did you want him to be, if you don't mind me asking?
I wanted him to be a guy who would continue to have scenes with Marigold that didn't involve Faye. I wanted him to maybe make a friend in the rest of the group so that he could be more thoroughly fleshed out. I wanted to know things about him in the same way I do about most of the other main characters. They all feel like people because I know about their interests, their opinions and the way they go about a typical day.

I'm not trying to say you're wrong for liking Angus as he is, I just don't get it.
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valkygrrl

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The other thing I desperately want to see more of (but don't think I'll get) is Claire's politics.

Maybe some time immersed in the culture at SMIF lets her go gender-critical. 
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Gladstone

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Comic's up.

Marten is a good friend.

Edit: Oops, hey, wrong thread entirely.  My bad.
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2014, 18:15 by Gladstone »
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I've gathered that "unacceptable" is not a constant, so I don't really worry about that much. Fictional characters can't respect each other's boundaries. If they did, they'd be boring. They'd also be unrealistic.

Boundaries aren't respected in real life. Primarily, because everyone's map is different and we haven't invented perfect communication. Certainly, there are people who intentionally ignore boundaries, but that's a different topic.

To me, it's like trigger warnings. I find them annoying to the point of being triggering. Thanks to my experiences, I have a galaxy of triggers. I've yet to see one given a warning. Lots of people gleefully post up stuff that stresses me the hell out, because--in their world--those things are cute.

I could argue that the people doing this stuff are wrong, and from the view point that makes trigger warnings a thing they are. They're blithely posting imagery that represents some extremely traumatic experiences. While the experiences of mine are mine, the particular problem is pretty wide spread, so it's not just me who has reactions to this kind of stuff.

The problem with that is that almost everyone has some kind of issue, and almost every issue has some kind of trigger. Carried to logical conclusions, everything should carry a trigger warning.

The same applies to boundaries, carried to logical ends. instead, in both cases, we seem to settle on nigh universally accepted limits. These subjects demand trigger warnings, those boundaries aren't acceptable to cross. So we end up with rules like, don't kill people.

Claire's mom was out of line, but only in the sense that Claire didn't appreciate what she did. It seems like common sense that you consult people, or at least warn them, under such circumstances. Still common sense is neither of those things.

It don't see the same kind of reality violation in what Claire's mom did as you see in Faye's string of assault and battery. Social violation, yes. But I read it as a mother treating her adult offspring as a child, rather than respecting the offspring's adult status. Considering my mother still does that, after decades, it doesn't strike me as unrealistic.

ASB84

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I don't understand the critique about "pandering to shippers". QC is only really interested in three things: indie music, artificial intelligence, and relationship drama. Only one of those things can drive a narrative forward. Subtract the relationship drama, and there isn't much of a comic left.

I'm especially astonished to see this accusation leveled at Marten/Claire, since Claire's whole character seems to have been designed to lure Marten out of the corner of passivity that he's been stuck in since strip #1. She's someone whose in-your-face temperament would catch Marten's attention, but whose sexual reticence would force him into decisive action. Her character traits (motivated, anxious) fill the negative space of his (unambitious, reassuring) like puzzle pieces. Maybe we could productively accuse Jeph of MPDG-ism vis a vis Claire, but she is too obviously purpose-built for a relationship with Marten for me to imagine that she was introduced on a lark and then paired with him due to fan pressure.

It's interesting to me that only Dora/Tai and Claire/Marten fall into the bullseye of "pandering to shippers". It makes me wonder if you (or the people whose opinions you are citing) might have a particular type of shipper (or ship) in mind. The fact is that it's still really rare to see LGBT relationships portrayed in a way that feels both casual and authentic (especially BT relationships, which often constitute the invisible back half of the acronym). So yeah, there's a lot of excitement for these couples in certain circles, because the people in them are unused to having their experiences reflected back at them positively through pop-culture.

As I said in my follow-up post, I think it comes down to how much you like the pairings, the way they were set up in the narrative, and I guess how much you identify with them. If you're not a fan of them, the knee-jerk reaction is to call it "pandering", which I will admit isn't the perfect term and definitely myopic. I can see where other readers are coming from when I say that, I think I know what they're ultimately getting at, but I will back off using the term myself. It is ill-fitting and a bit confrontational, which wasn't my intention.

I can't speak for everyone who isn't necessarily thrilled with Marten/Claire and Dora/Tai (or at least feels a bit so-so about them), but I'd say it comes down to a combination of not being fond of a particular character, the narrative leading up to the characters getting together, or the scenarios created by the relationship. "Pandering" then becomes something of a buzzword to represent a vocal minority that isn't really feeling those developments.

I think you've hit the nail on the head about those relationships appealing to some people more than others because of what they represent: positive portrayals of LGBT couples. I'll admit, I've been a bit hesitant to mention that I'm not a huge fan of either pairing, lest it come across as transphobic or homophobic, because those aren't my beliefs or politics at all. The fact that LGBT couples are being portrayed positively in a work of fiction absolutely is a good thing, a point that needs to be made, and I think Jeph does it in a way that doesn't shoot the message. I completely support that. However, being a straight, cisgender male, I think it's safe to say I don't feel as strong a connection or a representation in those relationships. To me, those relationships represent equality and understanding that believe in; to others however, they represent equality and understanding that they are fighting for. I think that creates a more powerful connection to those characters and their relationships.

That said, I'm not one for shipping in general, and I don't necessarily feel any kind of connection with the Marten/Dora, Wil/Penelope, or Steve/Cosette pairings, either (well, maybe Wil/Penelope to some extent, but only because I'm kind of a shy fella at times, albeit with less poetry-related comedic mishaps). That's probably because the relationships that I'm familiar with and characters I can identify with are common in fiction, so I guess I kind of take them for granted or feel spoiled for choice. Marten/Claire and Dora/Tai, and the politics of QC in general are absolutely fine with me, well in tune with my beliefs. It's the characterisation and the narrative that concern me, and believe me, I'd feel the same way if we got a Marten/Emily pairing (I'd probably be even less of a fan of that, as Claire is a much more fleshed out character while Emily is still more of a one-note joke), or a Marten/Hanners pairing (needless to say there's a LOT of reasons why that wouldn't make sense).

Long story short: I withdraw the use of "pandering", and hope that I've clarified my position a little better. I also hope that I've made my politics clear and that my feelings about both pairings have nothing to do with being bigoted or anything like that, because that's not who I am or what I'm about at all.

On the subject of Dora and Tai though, I think Alphawolf55 summed up in a sentence what bothers me a little about it.

Quote from: Alphawolf55
My problem with Tai and Dora is how creepy Tai acted with that relationship and how she gets what she wants.

I kind of feel that, too. I think if Tai were a man - let's say it was Steve in the role - then the storyline might be perceived a little differently. On one hand, it's a positive portrayal of an LGBT relationship, which once again is great to see, but on the other hand, it's kind of a bad portrayal of relationships and friendships in general. A long-standing crush on a friend's significant other, half making a move on them not long after the relationship ends, Dora reciprocating interest simply because someone pursued her and is obviously more infatuated with her than she is with them...that stuff just feels a bit uncomfortable to me.

I think it's similar to the objection a portion of the fanbase had to Dora making a move on Marten so soon after "the talk" with Faye. All other things aside, the way the character in question acts, even if it's understandable, doesn't sit well with some people. Our reactions are based on our real life experiences, and given that I feel a certain way about hooking up with friends exes, and have found myself in a relationship where I made the mistake of "Wow, this person is interested in me, and that hasn't happened  a lot lately, so I think I'm interested too (but in fact, we weren't really compatible)", my take on Dora/Tai is shaped by that to some extent.

I also always got the impression that Dora's feelings towards Tai were more big sister/Team Mom than anything else, her general flirtatiousness with pretty much everyone not withstanding. But that could just be me reading things incorrectly.

At the end of the day, not everyone is going to love every storyline development or feel a strong connection to it. While I have my criticisms and concerns, I don't hate the developments either, and I am interested in seeing where the story goes next. I'm hooked on QC, and whatever quibbles I may have with this or that, I'm not about to say it's jumped the shark or it's terrible or I'm done with it, or anything of that nature. Like I said, I'll be reading. :)
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mvdwege

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All of which is a longish way of saying, while I don't expect Jeph to go all Brecht on us, I don't think a more "political," or even just realistic, slant of sorts would be unwarranted.
I think Jeph is already telling an explicitly political story. It mean seem obvious to those of us that agree (which is most of Jephs fandom, I guess), but a work of art where the characters and plotlines showcase a level of inclusiveness that some of us in the real world are merely striving for, but miles away from reaching, is a political position.

And given the aggression explicit inclusiveness seems to call up these days, it is in fact a rather radical and outspoken political position.
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Lubricus

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I'd argue that it's only political if Jeph is writing it for that specific purpose - many fairy tales and other fanciful stories feature worlds that are brighter, simpler and happier than the real world without being commentaries on the problems of the day, after all. Of course, some are commentaries, but still. My point is, if Jeph is writing a happier world as some sort of escapist exercise, he shouldn't be accused of having a political agenda. He's probably somewhere in the landscape between the extremes of escapism and political propaganda, in fact. And shouldn't have to bear any label he hasn't chosen himself, really.
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BenRG

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I think it's something a bit simpler than 'politics'. Any author has the ability to create their perfect world and I think that Jeph is working towards that.
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ZoeB

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The other thing I desperately want to see more of (but don't think I'll get) is Claire's politics. Does she identify with the broader trans community at all, or has she put up a wall between her history and her present self in the interest of stealth? How does she feel about Smif's trans policies, whatever they may be? How does her experience of everyday transphobia and transmisogyny make her feel, and what does she want to do with those feelings?

You need to see Momo for that. For other things too. Jeph wasn't exactly subtle there.

Transphobia may or may not be as much of an issue in the QCverse as this one. But there are some parallels elsewhere.
« Last Edit: 20 Oct 2014, 03:43 by ZoeB »
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BenRG

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@ ZoeB,

It's strips like that last one (and also Momo's conversations with Emily and Marten about robot spirituality relative to human spirituality) that makes me wonder if, in the long run, Momo will be the centre of the most 'different' relationship of them all: A human-AI romantic relationship. It might explain why Momo has long desired a near-human-sized chassis if she wants to follow up on these fantasies.

It wouldn't be unprecedented: It's pretty obvious that Station is more than a little in love with Hannelore, so it's clear that advanced enough AIs can develop attachments broadly analogious to human romantic attachments.
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Staff_Inflection

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Faye got on Marten for just letting her go. Now it seems she's doing the exact same thing. Compare the last couple of strips in both arcs. Faye does essentially the same thing Marten does

I believe you're completely misremembering Marten's actions. He didn't just let her go, he actively and permanently sabotaged his last chance with her, for a bad reason, in an unnecessarily immature fashion. I can sympathise with him and understand/accept what he did, but I think he was being dumb. This is a different situation, although I'll admit they're both making things difficult for themselves (however! it's not over yet). Regardless, it's not an example of Faye being a "terrible person". It's just her being "a person". If not, then I can't think of a single character in this comic who's perfect enough to not be terrible :o

And Faye essentially admitted that she couldn't possibly feel happy for Angus. And just let him go. Looks like she's actively sabotaging any chance of even trying to make the relationship work to me
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And I thought I was unforgiving in my relations with people. Well, I am, but ...
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I think you've hit the nail on the head about those relationships appealing to some people more than others because of what they represent: positive portrayals of LGBT couples. I'll admit, I've been a bit hesitant to mention that I'm not a huge fan of either pairing, lest it come across as transphobic or homophobic, because those aren't my beliefs or politics at all. The fact that LGBT couples are being portrayed positively in a work of fiction absolutely is a good thing, a point that needs to be made, and I think Jeph does it in a way that doesn't shoot the message. I completely support that.
[...]
A long-standing crush on a friend's significant other, half making a move on them not long after the relationship ends, Dora reciprocating interest simply because someone pursued her and is obviously more infatuated with her than she is with them...that stuff just feels a bit uncomfortable to me.
[I picked the paragraphs above as being relevant to my comment... if you feel you were cherry-picked then apologies in advance and please let me know what I left out that was relevant]


Marten doesn't seem to have much of a jealousy gene. Others do (Faye, Dora, others). I submit to you that you are being challenged to accept Marten's chill approach to relationship dynamics just as much as you're being challenged to accept LGBT couples.

In other words: in addition to portraying LGBT couples positively in QC as "a point that needs to be made", Jeph could also be positively portraying Marten being chill about the fluidity of his ex (to his poly- boss!) as another point that needs to be made and as another legitimate way to view such things.

Please don't take this as an attack. I'm not trying to call you out on this... just an observation.
 
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Jeph said in a Q&A, sometime, somewhere, that humans and AIs can certainly fall in love but that he doesn't want to write anything that approaches the "Hurr hurr robot sex" zone.
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I'd argue that it's only political if Jeph is writing it for that specific purpose

At a Beatles press conference they were asked if they were going to record any anti-war songs. John Lennon's reply: "All our songs are anti-war."
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"Even 'Happiness is a Warm Gun'?" "Especially 'Happiness is a Warm Gun'."

Live and let die was originally meant to be a jingle for a chain of anti-war hair salons.
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I thought that was "Live and let Dye"  :claireface:
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I think that was "Curl Up And Dye".
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Is that the one beside the Barbershop "Hair Today, gone tomorrow"?
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<Worf voice>Today is a good day to dye.</Worf voice>
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May goldfish leave Lincoln Logs in your sock drawer.

Mr_Rose

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D'you think Michael Dorn would sign a a Worf cast picture "To I. M. Weasel; love your work!" if someone asked nicely enough?
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"I have been asked, 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." - Charles Babbage

ReindeerFlotilla

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Dorn, reportedly, is a decent guy. Still, if you gotta ask that question on the interwebs, you should probably try Wheaton.

ZoeB

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The QCverse is not ours. There are AIs for one thing, with some civil rights.

Another difference:
http://metro.co.uk/2014/10/22/should-you-tell-friends-and-family-youre-dating-a-trans-guy-how-to-go-about-it-4910231/
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Akima wrote thus : " Besides which, forgiving other people is something you do for yourself, not for them. "
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