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#1345: Newborns, vaccines, and visiting relatives.

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Hi Captain Awkward,

My wife and I are happy parents of a newborn baby. Relatives have been eager to pop in on us, and we have enjoyed these visits.

Meanwhile, my sister and brother-in law have just booked tickets to come visit us. While we are excited to see them, they are of a different political persuasion than we are. Given that we have a newborn in our house, we would feel most comfortable knowing that our guests are vaccinated. This is probably something that should have addressed when we first were notified of their impending visit, and we now find ourselves in the position of needing to address this after the fact. Naturally we don’t want to ruin their travel plans or make things awkward. How do we approach this issue in a tactful manner?

-Vaxxed and Vexxed

Dear Vaxxed and Vexxed,

Congratulations on being a new parent! Welcome to many, many rewarding years of Ruining The Vibe™ and Making It Awkward® in order to protect your child’s safety!

I suggest that you call your child’s pediatrician ASAP, both for the latest vaccine recommendations for people who will be around newborns, and so that you won’t be lying when you tell your sister, “We spoke to Kid’s pediatrician, and their advice is that anyone visiting the baby within the first six months be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (among a few other things, that whooping cough is a nightmare!) and also mask up while Kid’s immune system is still developing. We wanted to let you know so there’s enough time to handle it before your trip, or make another plan* if it’s not possible. Can you confirm that you’re both fully vaccinated plus the recommended two weeks?”

*Another plan = NO VACCINE, NO BABY CUDDLES. THE NEW BABY SMELL FACTORY IS CLOSED WITHOUT PROOF OF VACCINATION, SORRY!

Hopefully they’re already all set and this was just a check-in, but tell the doctor that you are specifically concerned about mitigating risks from unvaccinated/anti-vax relatives, and fall back on your doctor’s advice if your sister and her husband give you any difficulty. “We are really looking forward to seeing you, but we’re going to stick with our doctor’s recommendations, so we understand if that means holding off on the trip for a while yet so everyone can be safe.” 

Yes, it would have been ideal to address this when they were first planning the trip, but you probably had a lot going on and it probably didn’t occur to you immediately that your sister could have the option of receiving the vaccine and not choose it. Hopefully she did the right thing already, but don’t leave it to chance, and don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you didn’t bring up an important thing right away, you’re never allowed to bring it up, oh well, nothing to be done about it now. Talk to her before she visits and make sure.

I’ve gotten so many letters in the last year and a half that basically boil down to people asking for permission to prioritize their own safety and health even if others find it rude or upsetting. “Am I allowed to save my own life even if other people are put out?”

The social pressure to comply with unconscionable, unsafe shit is not abating. People will find all sorts of ways to make the risk of appearing “rude” or “tactless,” causing inconvenience, and making them feel less than awesome about their own risky choices seem more onerous than the risk of serious illness and death.  “Are you really going to check our vaccine papers at the door?” “Are you going to make it necessary? Because if that’s what I have to do, I will.”  People who play these power games seem to think the prospect of them feeling bad about themselves or being mad at you is the scariest thing in the world, but they never think about how mad you would be at them if they transmitted a serious illness to your baby because: ideology! Wanna talk about “ruined” vacations?

Trips can be postponed. Hurt feelings can be soothed. Men have died, and worms have eaten them, but not for being kinda cautious about immunizations in the middle of a global pandemic and insisting on a few awkward conversations with anyone who will be around your brand new baby. You will not be the making it weird by enforcing a few minimum safety standards on behalf of someone who can’t, and the virtues of “respecting other people’s ideological differences” fall apart when those ideologies actively endanger you and yours.

There will never be a better reason or better time to hold the line.



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angelchrys
1 day ago
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colddwater:honest to god can’t stop thinking about this song about jeff bezos by philip labes...

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colddwater:

honest to god can’t stop thinking about this song about jeff bezos by philip labes (link takes you to his spotify). it’s such a good example of politically driven folk music.

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angelchrys
3 days ago
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yeoldespacebuns:this video is making me SOB

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yeoldespacebuns:

this video is making me SOB

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angelchrys
5 days ago
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In the Heights Star Leslie Grace Will Be Batgirl

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Leslie Grace in In the Heights

It seems that Warner Bros. has found its Batgirl: In the Heights’ Leslie Grace. Deadline and TheWrap report that the actress recently tested for the role, and that she’s been tapped to play the character in the upcoming superhero film.

Earlier this year, Warner Bros. brought on Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah to helm the film as a direct-to-HBO Max original, which was written by Birds of Prey and The Flash screenwriter Christina Hodson.

While the various versions of the character have appeared in live-action form over the years (in the original Batman TV series, in 1997’s Batman & Robin, and in the upcoming third season of HBO Max’s Titans to name a few), she has yet to headline her own film. Not for the lack of trying: Warner Bros. hired Joss Whedon after he directed the first two Avengers films to write an adaptation, but he eventually left. Shortly thereafter, Warner Bros. brought on Hodson to pen the film.

According to Deadline, Grace will play Barbara Gordon in the film, one of the best-known versions of the character.

Barbara first appeared in 1961 as the alter ego of Betty Kane, a sidekick to Kathy Kane’s Batwoman, and was phased out a couple of years later. DC later resurrected the mantle thanks to the 1966 Batman TV series, which needed a female character. They opted to introduce Batgirl as the daughter of Gotham’s police commissioner Jim Gordon—Barbara Gordon, a librarian. The character was a hit, and later introduced in the comics, where she grew in prominence.

Notably, Barbara was later retired in Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, in which she was attacked by the Joker and paralyzed. She traded being Batgirl for a new role, an information broker named the Oracle. The Batgirl mantle has been worn by other characters as well: Helena Bertinelli, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown.

But Barbara Gordon is the best-known version of the character, and it’s of no surprise that any film adaptation would follow her story. As to what specifically the film will be about, Warner Bros. hasn’t said, nor how it will fit into the larger universe of DC adaptations.

We also don’t know when the project will debut, but Grace’s casting signals that production will likely start in the near future. In the meantime, we’ve got plenty of DC films on the way: The Suicide Squad is set to debut next month, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman 2 are coming in 2022, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled for 2023.

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angelchrys
5 days ago
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The Other Half of the Secret

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I mentioned that making Good Omens two is half of what I've been working on, and will be working on for next eighteen months, and I said I'd tell you soon enough what the other secret project I've been working on is.


It's this.





And I cannot tell you how happy I am to be making it, and making it in the way that we're making it.


Anansi Boys started in about 1996. I was working on the original Neverwhere TV series for Lenny Henry's film company, Crucial Films.


I loved a lot of what we were doing in Neverwhere. 25 years ago, it felt like we were doing something ahead of its time. 




Lenny and I went for a walk. Lenny grumbled about horror films. “You'll never get people who look like me starring in horror films,” he said. “We're the hero's friend who dies third.”


And I thought and blinked. He was right. “I'll write you a horror movie you could star in,” I told him.


I plotted one. I tried writing the first half-dozen pages of the movie, but it didn't seem to be right as a movie. And I was beginning to suspect that the story I was imagining, about two brothers whose father had been a God, wasn't really horror, either.


I borrowed Mr Nancy from the story I had not yet told and I put him, or a version of him, into AMERICAN GODS. 


In 2002 I was having lunch with my editor, and I told her the story of Anansi Boys, and said it was probably a novella. She waved her fork at me. “That is a novel,” she said, very certain. I was impressed enough with her certainty that I wrote the novel.


The creation and publishing of the novel is documented here on this very blog. Here's a useful bit, explaining its relationship to American Gods, and also explaining what Anansi Boys is:


https://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/05/anansi-boys-question-of-day.asp


(For those of you who don't want to click, I talked about describing it thus:


My new novel is a scary, funny sort of story, which isn't exactly a thriller, and isn't really horror, and doesn't quite qualify as a ghost story (although it has at least one ghost in it), or a romantic comedy (although there are several romances in there, and it's certainly a comedy, except for the scary bits). If you have to classify it, it's probably a magical-horror-thriller-ghost-romantic-comedy-family-epic, although that leaves out the detective bits and much of the food. 


Which, oddly enough, is still a pretty good description.)


The book came out and was my first New York Times Number One Bestseller. 

https://journal.neilgaiman.com/2005/09/theres-first-time-for-everything.html 


(This is the Ukranian cover.)




A top Hollywood director wanted to buy the rights to Anansi Boys, but when he told me that he planned to make all the characters white, I declined to sell it. It was going to be done properly or not at all.


And then, about ten years ago, two things happened at the same time. Hilary Bevan Jones, a producer who had made a short film I had directed (called Statuesque) mentioned she'd love to make Anansi Boys as a TV series, and a man named Richard Fee, who worked for a company called RED, spotted me eating noodles in a London noodle bar, waited outside so he didn't seem like a stalker, and told me how much he loved Anansi Boys and that he'd love to make it into television.


I loved the TV that RED had made, loved Hilary and her team at Endor, and, unable to decide between them, suggested that they might be willing to work together. They both thought this was a good idea. 


Work started. Somewhere around 2016 I agreed to work on it to help it get made, but we all knew that we would have to be patient as I was writing and making Good Omens. And when Good Omens was in post production we began to move forward.  Amazon had loved making Good Omens, and were blown away by the viewing figures and reaction to it, and wanted to make more things with me, so Endor and Red now had a place to make it for. We put together a fabulous team of writers -- Kara Smith and Racheal Ofori and Arvind Ethan David, not to mention Sir Lenny Henry, who came on board both as a writer and as an Executive Producer to make sure that the soul stayed in it. (I'm writing the first and the last episode). 


Douglas Mackinnon agreed to co-showrun it with me, because I knew I never wanted to be the sole showrunner of anything again and after the Good Omens experience I would trust Douglas with my life and (which actually may be more important) with my stories. We planned to shoot it all around the world...


Paul Frift had been the producer of Good Omens during the South African leg of the shoot, and was indomitable, so we were very happy when he agreed to come on board as our producer.


And then in 2020 Covid happened. The Prime Directive of making Big Budget International television suddenly became “Don't Travel and Especially Don't Travel All Around The World. We Mean It.”


Douglas came up with a Plan to bring Anansi Boys to the screen that was audacious, creative and brilliant. All we needed to make it work was the Biggest Studio in Europe and access to an awful lot of cutting edge technology. 


The biggest Studio in Europe happens to be in Leith, outside Edinburgh. 


Before Covid, the plan had been first to make Anansi Boys, then immediately to make Good Omens 2. (Good Omens 2 was going to be shot in Bathgate, outside Glasgow.) That was the plan we were working on through most of 2020. Then, in September 2020, Douglas and I got a call from Amazon. “We've got good news and complicated news for you,” they said. “The good news is we are greenlighting both Good Omens and Anansi Boys. The complicated news is... well, how do you feel about making them both at the same time?”


So...


Anansi Boys is coming.


Hang on. I want to do that again in a bigger font.


Anansi Boys is coming.


I'd loved the pilot episode of Star Trek Picard, and talked to Michael Chabon about the director, Hanelle M. Culpepper, and he gave her a rave recommendation as someone who could tell a story and stay in control of the technology. We reached out to her, sent her the scripts and the novel, and she loved the project. Hanelle is going to be our lead director, and will direct two episodes.


Hanelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Hilary Bevan Jones and Richard Fee are executive producers, as are Douglas and I.  Hanelle,  Jermain Julien and Azhur Saleem are our three directors.


We will start to announce the cast soon (it's thrilling).  (The crew are, to me, just as thrilling.)


(But I'll give you one clue: one of our cast members was on a public event with me at some point in the last five years. The first thing she said when we met backstage was that her favourite book was the audiobook of Anansi Boys, read by Lenny Henry. And when I told her that there was a part in the book I'd originally written with her in mind, she was overjoyed. So when it became a reality, she was the first person I asked, and the first to agree.)


(The Anansi Boys image above is by Michael Ralph, our amazing production designer.)










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angelchrys
6 days ago
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Overland Park, KS
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When No Landlord Will Rent to You, Where Do You Go? - The New York Times

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angelchrys
6 days ago
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iridesce
6 days ago
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DC
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