LAST EDITED ON Dec-15-13 AT 01:36 PM (EST)
Annotations by Gryphon
Annotations by Phil
Annotations by Anne
 Suite for Trinity and Avatar - The Dìqiú Suite began, as those who were here while it was in progress will recall, as a multi-movement arc within S5 under the title Taken by Storm; and before that it was envision as one movement with that title. As it grew, it became ever more unwieldy, and we experimented with different ways of relabeling it for greater clarity. None was satisfactory until we finally hit on the notion of grouping the pieces of the Dìqiú substory developing within Symphony No. 5 into their own subseries, using the concept of the suite, a musical form we hadn't used in Symphony titling yet, as our guideline.
The American Heritage Cultural Dictionary defines a suite, in a musical context, as:
"A group of related pieces of music or movements played in sequence. In the baroque era, a suite was a succession of different kinds of dances. In more recent times, suites have contained excerpts from longer works, such as ballets, or have simply portrayed a scene, as in Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite." (emphasis mine)
 goodbye and hello, as always - The closing words of Roger Zelazny's The Courts of Chaos, the fifth volume of the Amber chronicles and the last to be narrated by Prince Corwin.
 he knew exactly where he was - Once again, we revisit the Eyrie Productions "waking up" intro with yet another twist.
 a slightly weedy attempt - If it's not long enough to plait, many of Corwin's maternal relations don't consider it a proper beard, though certain of them are bucking the trend nowadays. Thor, for instance, has recently gone to a cleaner line, much like Corwin's. Less for the other guy (um, or Sif - Thor's marriage is... not the most stable) to grab in a fight.
 bounced back... amazingly - Part of this is down to genetics (see below), part to the fact that she passed the entire ordeal being literally bathed in healing energies (and so was in better shape than one might ordinarily expect right from the off), and part to sorcery, as we shall see anon.
 first-night courtesy - Not that the children of royalty are commonly born on Air Temple Island in the first place, but Kyoshi Warriors have served as bodyguards to the Fire Lords and their families since the end of the Hundred-Year War, and one expects those Warriors posted to that assignment have observed this formality at the palace in Caldera City quite a few times in the last 190-odd years.
 Grandmaster Jinora - The front half of the unstoppable rap duo The Next Airbenders, backed by the inimitable turntable stylings of DJ Fresh Ikki. Their first album, Dad's Not Gonna Like This, remains a minor classic. Also, this entire note is probably a lie.
 generic old-fashioned-phone ring - Corwin uses the Universal Telephone Ring for non-assigned incoming calls.
 more or less how it works - There are dragon-human (and dragon-other things, for that matter; in fact, since Draconia is in Alfheim, one imagines dragon-elven crosses are more common) hybrids, but Nall would be mortified to be taken for one, even though his human form deliberately makes it impossible for the layperson to tell.
 the Dreaming - The idea that the UF universe's "true dragons" (as opposed to other dragon-like creatures, some of whom probably think they're the true dragons, but I digress) don't have a fixed time-to-hatch has been kicking around, unmentioned on-screen, for a while now. (I touched on this in the notes for Le Droit du Dragon.) For most of that time, though, I didn't have it in mind that they did anything while still in shell, though.
For this scene, to explain why Garnet didn't hatch in the last movement without her having to explain it herself, Anne suggested that Nall have been able to communicate with his cousin in her egg, based on a similar mechanism in a series of books I've heard of, but not gotten around to reading (Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, if you're curious). While I was working on this sequence with that suggestion in mind, the notion of the Dreaming popped into my head as an explanation both for what dragons do when their "hatch conditions" haven't been met, and how they know how to talk and whatnot when they emerge.
This, by the way, is how Nall knows as much as he does about Draconic culture despite having been raised almost entirely in Midgard - he was taught it during his Dreaming, which was a fairly extended one, as it happens. Unfortunately, the ancestor spirit who taught him had some fairly old-fashioned ideas, and though his (also formative - it's complicated) years since hatching have been in a much more modern and free-thought-encouraging setting, some of that stuff is pretty well ingrained now: something he's been having a bit of trouble with lately.
 expecting the new dragon to look like Nall - Well, not all design ideas can survive unchanged from initial conception to final implementation, folks!
 Nalliuniqsiutsiarit - Inuktitut (and thus Tukisi, the language of the Water Tribes), "happy birthday". Also Nall's Water Tribe name.
 What about Ruby? - Indeed, in the original plan, Annabelle's boon companion was going to be the pink-furred cat-dragon Ruby from Lunar: Eternal Blue. But with a change of dragon type comes a change in dragon name...
 intense, vaguely bemused curiosity - Babies can't actually see very much when they're born, but they sometimes really look like they can. What they can do is hear and smell, and Garnet, I'm sure, is very interesting on both axes.
 Drem yol lok, Sovngardsekiir. Zu'u Yolvahlok. Fen kos hin spaansebriinah. - Draconic: "Peace upon you, child of Valhalla. I am Yolvahlok. I shall be your shield-sister." Drem yol lok is translated idiomatically; the phrase literally means "peace fire sky". Sovngarde is the Draconic name for Valhalla (and also what it is called in places where dragons have shaped mortal culture, like Skyrim on Nirn).
Garnet's Draconic Name, Yolvahlok, has a double meaning. As with all dragon Names, its three syllables translate literally:
Yol - fire
Vah - spring (as in the season)
Lok - sky
But vahlok, taken as a single word, means "guardian".
 just remembering days gone by - While Corwin doesn't remember it, Nall certainly does. Like father, like daughter, it seems.
 for maybe a couple more hours - Despite having hatched with a much larger vocabulary than a newborn human, Garnet is still a child in many ways, and will be for some time; she does not entirely understand that she's flirting with Azana, only that she likes looking at her and, being a dragon, doesn't see any great need for words to be minced.
 History repeating - As seen in the brief flashback in Try, Try Again.
 a swirl of colors - In Diqiu, dragons have historically bestowed this display upon firebenders they find particularly worthy of deeper insights into their craft.
As was bestowed upon Aang and Zuko by the dragon masters Ran and Shaw in the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Firebending Masters".
 lion turtles - The only reason any ancient lion turtles (mobile island-sized forest-covered intelligent sea turtles, Chelonia leo) have managed to survive at all into the modern era is due to the survivors migrating to live in the hemisphere-wide (as far as we know) ocean opposite the major landmasses of Diqiu. Rumors of lion turtle sightings in the territorial waters of the various nations come up every so often but are rarely verified. The last publicly-known recorded interaction with a lion turtle was by Avatar Aang in 100 ASC.
 the elegant snappy-dresser type - Juniper remarked to herself that Azana wasn't really her type back in Honeymoon by the Sea, but that was what we in the industry refer to as "denial". She does not, after all, want to risk introducing an element of awkwardness into her relationship with her firebending teacher.
 Anne's too young for her anyway - Not that Juni would necessarily care what the laws say, perpetual scofflaw that she is, but she isn't really ready for another summer romance right now. The last one was awesome, but left kind of a rough patch on her heart due to the ending.
 the Apsara Lama - Jinora's "regnal name", inasmuch as the grandmaster of the Air Nomads "reigns", is a reference to similar titles adopted by real-life Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leaders (the most famous being the Dalai Lama). An apsara is an air spirit, of a kind particularly noted for their beauty, elegance, prowess in dance, and - Jinora didn't know this part when Ikki, having dug it out of an old text, suggested it for her - powers of seduction.
 drumming and chanting - They do this in Tibet, along with an interesting naming ritual that we didn't get to use here because the kids named Annabelle themselves last issue. (Tibetans apparently leave it to a lama to choose names for their children, which is frankly not anybody's style in the Trinity. :)
 my late mother's gift - Anthy's mother was an exile from Svartalfheim. Millennia of living in that shadowed and dangerous world, with its predatory animals and its predatory politics, have pretty effectively selected for women who weather childbirth well, and babies who don't make a lot of noise, among the svartelves. It's the best way to ensure that your family's rivals and/or the umbrawolves don't get you.
 Dad was a little nonplussed - Inspired by a rather adorable piece of Legend of Korra fanart postulating this scenario.
 Maximilian Chin Yongmin XVII - Chin's family line predates beyond-Zipang contact and the appearance of Western-style names in Diqiu by many centuries, so he is not actually the seventeenth to style himself "Maximilian"; his proper name is Chin Yongmin the Seventeenth.
The fact that the line of Pabus is also on its seventeenth scion is purely coincidental. (There have been way more Chins, see below; he's only the seventeenth called Yongmin.)
 Hereditary Chief Bureaucrat to the Celestial Emperors of the Western Reaches - This is an indication of just how far back the Chin family's heritage of civil service stretches. There hasn't been a Celestial Emperor of the Western Reaches since the Earth Kingdom was consolidated, which happened long enough ago that there have been 55 Earth Kings. It can be assumed that this title dates back to some Diqiu equivalent of the Warring States period, if not earlier - several thousand years.
This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why Chin is on such good terms with Korra. Chins have probably been acquainted with Avatars for millennia by this point, and some things tend to become incarnationally transcendent after a while.
 don't set government officials on fire - At least not officials of friendly governments.
 regrettable, but necessary - Heelprick blood draws suck! Wasting diseases that kill you at age eight and could have been prevented shortly after birth by a modified diet suck a hell of a lot more.
 freewoman of the Commonwealth - Being an Air Commonwealth citizen is a little like having the Freedom of the City of London, except all over the world. This presumably also means Annabelle will be allowed to drive livestock over the Councilman Sokka Memorial Bridge if she so desires.
Well, I would be more inclined to mention the even-more-expedited-than-usual check-in and security procedures at Tenzin International Airport (the mellowest airport experience you will ever have).
 does this wear off at some point? - I am informed that it does not.
Indeed it does not.
 autogyro - Minami's Future Industries RW-3 autogyro is similar in appearance to a Cierva C.30, vintage 1934. Like many of her favorite machines, it was originally the property - and, indeed, is the creation - of her great-great-grandmother, Asami.
As an aside, if you're interested, here is a quick aeronautics lesson: The difference between an autogyro and a helicopter is that an autogyro's rotor is not powered. It's caused to rotate by the vehicle's slipstream in forward flight. This means an autogyro cannot take off vertically (unless some provision is made for providing temporary power to spin up the rotor system, which Minami's RW-3 has, and indeed some advanced real autogyros did as well), hover, move sideways, or any of those other cool helicopter tricks, but it can land vertically, because the rotor has a lot of inertia and doesn't immediately stop turning if the aircraft stops moving forward. This is called autorotation; modern chopper pilots are trained to do a similar thing in a power-off emergency. Because the rotor isn't powered, there's no rotor torque to offset as there is in a helicopter. This makes them easier to operate, safer, and more efficient.
 Koji Aho - 23rd-century Ishiyaman writer; author of the original Crimson Lizard novels, on which Sumire Kanzaki's films are (ever-more-loosely; think of the EON Productions James Bond films) based.
 you're handsome, I'm... a Sato - This may be my favorite Minami line ever, narrowly edging, "Did you grow up to be a gentleman burglar?"
 can't a hatchling get a little sleep - Dragons are champion sleepers right from the start; this is one of the reasons why a dragon hatchling can work as a human's boon companion from infancy, despite being rather more intellectually advanced at the beginning. They spend most of the time asleep anyway and thus don't get bored that their infant companions can't speak.
 that's what friends do - In fairness to Kate, she's quite right: It's also what lovers do in Corwin's case, because Corwin's lovers are his friends. He wouldn't bother taking as a lover a woman he wouldn't have as a friend.
 the Jasmine Dragon - The world's best-loved chain of tea shops, which can trace their lineage back to the original Jasmine Dragon, founded in 100 ASC in Ba Sing Se by Fire Lord Zuko's uncle, General Iroh the Elder.
There are even Jasmine Dragons on Zipang (mostly in Saikyo and Uehara), due to emigration of Diqiu natives there. As of yet, there are no Jasmine Dragons in New Avalon or Babylon 6, much to Korra's regret.
 the girl from Avalon This Afternoon - As seen in Gunboat Diplomacy, back in Symphony No. 3.
 the freewire - A packet radio networking technology similar to wifi. Ironically, freewire doesn't use wires and is not always (monetarily) free.
 tall and thin, ... with a narrow, ascetic face - Master Cheong is a Republic City native, whose family has lived in the United Republic for generations, hence his rather ambiguous features.
 natty blue suit ... discreet White Lotus lapel pin - The "Men In Blue", the White Lotus Society has evolved with the times. The full formal robes as seen in ATLA and TLoK are only worn for supremely formal ceremonial occasions these days.
 I studied hard - In Nyima's place, Lhakpa would probably have made a mean play on Emily's worries about Korra's temper and claimed that she got the job after the Avatar fed the previous holder of the office to her polar bear dog for failure, but Nyima would never, ever be that cruel to someone.
Mind you, Korra is much less likely to resort to violence when it comes to interpersonal negotiations these days, but her reputation for doing so was somewhat unfortunately established during her early tenure as Avatar. Also, one of her prior polar bear dogs, Amaruq, had to be prevented from taking his own initiative a little too eagerly when it came to intimidation purposes.
 they brought it down - I decided not to go into detail about this operation, but I like to think that Korra and Utena, having decided that Corwin could not be trusted with such a delicate operation, relegated him to lugging the rolled-up mattress while they had their first proper team-up getting the frame down the stairs.
"Watchitwatchitwatchit - "
"You're all right, you're all right."
"OK, ready for the corner, don't let the back slide IsaidDON'Tletitslide - "
 ten thousand gold ren - The ren is an archaic unit of currency from the Earth Kingdom. They're gold or silver bars weighing about five ounces. Utena is wildly exaggerating her offer for purposes of being comical: 10,000 gold ren would be worth something on the order of 50 million yuans.
 it's sweet how you assume I was trying to - Anthy's mood continues to be distinctly puckish. ;)
 dovfahdon - Draconic: dragonfriend.
 read the magnetic tapes - This is a problem NASA actually has. Reams and reams of data from past missions, stored on media that can't be read. The tapes may or may not even be any good any more, but even if they are, no working examples of the reader hardware survive.
 hence the name - The drug is of course named after Sozin's Comet, a(n in)famous astronomical phenomenon in Diqiu. Sozin's Comet - which is not really a comet; it's not any sort of astronomical object that can actually occur in nature - passes through Diqiu's outer atmosphere once every century, and while it's in the atmosphere, firebenders all over the world are incredibly powerful. In the year 2119 on the Standard Calendar, Fire Lord Sozin exploited its effect on his armies to wipe out the Air Nomads and take over half the world (which is why the comet now bears his name, and the Diqiu calendar is reckoned in years since that point); a hundred years later his grandson, Fire Lord Ozai, tried to use it to exterminate the people of the Earth Kingdom. The time after that the effect was put to much more peaceful and impressive use, making possible the initial launch of the Phoenix Flight mission to Yue, but it's still regarded with dread by many people in Diqiu. Few who aren't firebenders can really be said to be looking forward to its next appearance in 2419.
 some kind of angle - *evil writer cackle*
 explain the sparrowkeets and the bumbleflies - I just like the imagery prompted by this, that Korra had to be the one to give the Facts of Life talks to Minami and Ryo.
 Tahno - The waterbending team leader of the White Falls Wolfbats in the pro-bending championship series in 170 ASC. He and his team had a decidedly skewed attitude towards the sport, one that would in modern wrestling would get him labled a "Heel", save that it wasn't scripted, and indicative of the corruption problems in the original pro-bending league. He and Korra were natural rivals.
 that one of me and President Raiko back in 171 - As seen in The Legend of Korra Book 2 Ep. 5, "Peacekeepers". Sadly, she never got around to getting the negatives destroyed, since by the time she was in a position to do anything about it, the pictures had already gone to press and the national archives.
 is that a lychee - I'm not sure where Corwin's curious fascination with lychees originates; possibly Korra.
 Master of Lemurs - Inspired by the drawing I did of the four "airbabies" as Learned Masters, which was drawn before the episode "Peacekeepers"... where Meelo actually did become the master of the winged lemurs! Seriously!
 not very well-curated - There are rumors that Master Shespa, the Air Nomads' chief librarian, has organized the Air Temples' libraries as they are in order to confuse Wan Shi Tong, the difficult and temperamental spirit of knowledge, should he ever take it into his owly head to interfere in their operation. Shespa will neither confirm nor deny this, saying only that it's her system, and if they don't like it, they're welcome to see if they can do better. Given the size and complexity of the collection, no one has ever called that bluff (if indeed it is one).
Mind you, Shespa is on what passes for "good terms" with Wan Shi Tong; enough so that she is capable of calling on the knowledge seeker fox spirits out in the Material World if she needs their assistance. Though that may just be because she knows the secrets of how to bribe them with choice trivia factoids and information pamphlets.
 I'll take it - Here we see that Corwin has gotten better at this kind of thing since his epic failure to manage a similar situation with Vigdis Brightblade, lo these many years ago. Admittedly, Nyima is not as tricky to handle as Vee generally, but still.
 It's a Detian thing - This was actually one of the key design features of the Detian "subspecies" in my high school friend Joe Martin's original Detians 413 game design - that they're really good at learning languages, spoken and written. I sometimes forget about it, but it's always been there.
 philos, but no eros - Philos and eros are both Greek words for different types of love as understood by the ancient Greeks. Philos is sometimes translated as "brotherly" love, and more generally denotes a love born of pure affection (as in e.g. philosophy, "love of learning"), while eros is easily recognized from its role as the root of the English word erotic. Both are distinct from agape, which is a sort of not-mortally-attainable, archetype/Platonic-ideal love (usually co-opted in modern times to stand for the omnipresent love of the Christian God).
 a kind of third-person deja vu - A similar occurrence happened between Korra and her prior incarnation near the end of TLoK Book 1 Ep 12 "Endgame", though this time it's Korra in Aang's place, supporting another person who's at a conflicted point in their life.
 an academic category in and of itself - Several noteable universities in Diqiu have a specific Avatar Studies track that combines several historical, sociological, and psychological disciplines. Hong Fuzoku Ph.D, Professor of History at the Royal Fire Academy, was one of Korra's academic advisors during her years at Ba Sing Se University (he was there on an exchange program at the time) and a noted scholar of Avatar History, past and present; while Professor Ikkin of Republic City University was a respected expert on Avatar Psychology (and stood on the review board for Korra's master's thesis).
 longer ago than I want to admit - This was during TLoK Book 1 Ep 8 "When Extremes Meet".
 ice dodging with blinders on - It's a sign of just how much of a funk that Utena is in that she doesn't immediately ask what ice dodging is. Fortunately, she gets her answer later on.
 college career center - Actually, thanks to the actions of the Valiant crew, more college students are looking into careers with the IPO than they were even 5 years ago.
 despite what her mom might want - Azana's mother's overbearing desire for grandchildren is more than a little odd, given that Azana herself was an unexpected child and, to her mother at the time, an unwanted complication. Azera has evidently changed her tune over time; or perhaps it's just another way of trying to assert control over her annoyingly wayward offspring.
 and Corwin will always be Corwin - Utena quotes her husband's literary namesake, Prince Corwin, again from Zelazny's The Courts of Chaos. "Her" Corwin gave her a copy of the compiled Chronicles of Amber for her 15th birthday (back in A Rose for the New Year).
 a little more time away - Paternity leave. Very important to take it, and to use it to spend time with the kid and the family, because boy howdy does a brand new infant play merry hell with everybody's groove. (And not just maternity leave, either - paternity leave is just as important.)
 the lights begin to twinkle... - A snippet of Alfred Tennyson's 1833 poem "Ulysses" - a work in which a number of UF characters have found personal meaning over the years.
 this day is over... - An original composition, and for all that I am no poet I'm rather pleased with it. I didn't bother trying to make it rhyme, for the most part, because it's supposed to be in translation anyway, but it scans reasonably well and I'm satisfied with the imagery. It's supposed to be a very old and traditional Southern Water Tribe lullaby, so I based that imagery on a few details from the Avatar backstory and what I know of the Inuit way of life.
 Utena was fast asleep - As seen in The Avatar and the Rose Prince.
 replied the moon - Echoes Corwin's conversation with Saturn in Interlude on Titan, except that was probably all just in his head. As a Water Tribe-born Avatar, Korra has effectively known Yue all her life; in her previous life, she even knew Yue before she became the Moon Spirit.
 unnukkut angijuga Yue - Inuktitut: "Goodnight, elder sister Yue."
 unnukkut nukara Korra - "Goodnight, younger sister Korra."
 unnukkut paniga Utena - "Goodnight, my daughter Utena."
The cliffside scene was one of the last scenes written, but a favorite of mine due to the unique circumstance it puts Utena and Korra in. For over half her life, Utena's never had much in the way of a mother figure, and would normally feel a little weird at any of the mothers that she knows in Kate and Corwin's extended family treating her in a "mothering" fashion; but on a night like tonight, with her only now recovering from the strange headspace she's been in all evening, it's all right to indulge a little.
 should not reasonably... - Rule of thumb I was given - it takes about as long to get back to the shape one was in pre-pregnancy as it took to get to the end of the pregnancy. In other words, about 10 months. Anthy, however...has some tools better than modern medicine at her disposal.
 I'm a witch, darling - Utena still manages to forget this sometimes. It's always fun to remind her.
Incidentally, Anthy wasn't sandbagging all day Thursday; despite her chipper demeanor and sociability, she was pretty worn out physically. She hadn't recovered enough of her internal reserve (or been able to grab enough privacy) to work a sorcery as involved as the Assassin's Last Surprise until Friday morning.
 that whole thing is a scam - Lhakpa is being a huge jerk here, but one has to admit she may also have a point. The airbender thing about abandoning earthly attachments does ring more than a little hollow in the face of, for instance, Aang and Katara's mythic-love-affair-for-the-ages deal.
 that other game from Zipang - Risk, which is considered preposterous by most people in Diqiu owing to the insanely complicated world map. Look at the number of nations in this game world! Ridiculous!
Chess, meanwhile, is regarded as a cut-rate version of pai sho - there's some nice strategy to it, but it seems a bit too cutthroat for some people's tastes. Mahjongg, on the other hand, has gotten some traction, thanks to its multiple-player nature and easier betting schemes.
 airball - The game of airball, as played by airbenders, involves using airbending to loft a slitted ball (looking much like the spinning part of one of those whirlybird roof vents) between poles towards a rotating goal target. The players also balance on top of those poles, usually using airbending to move between them. Nonbenders (and other-element benders) are allowed to use their hands to throw and catch the ball, but they're on their own for getting from one pole to another.
 all in shades of red - It's possible to assemble an all-red outfit from pieces available to Air Acolytes, though it involves a bit of mixing-and-matching. In the Legend of Korra Book One artbook, men and women Acolytes are shown wearing reversed palettes, such that there is a red version shown of each common item of Air Acolyte dress. This is presumably non-regulation, which is fine with Anthy, as she has (as yet) not been formally recognized by the Air Commonwealth in any capacity, and does not wish to seem as if she's arrogating any such accreditation to herself. Besides, red is much more her color than yellow.
 losing an argument - Maternal consultant powers activate! Yes, it really is this hard when one starts baby-wearing with a sling. I still lose arguments with my wrap from time to time. That being said, it is hands down one of the most comfortable ways to carry a baby hands-free, and when they're in the milk-slug state and one wants to do something like, say, the laundry, it's a wonderful, wonderful invention.
 dress... out of a tablecloth - In the fifth episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, "On the Night of the Ball".
 down which a waterfall streamed - The inspiration for this piece of real estate was, believe it or not, the "Stoney Falls" lot in Sunset Valley, the default town in The Sims 3. As with the house on Wildwood Road in Symphony No. 4, which I modeled using The Sims 2, I designed the Mount Weitang house in the latter game. I had originally set out to build it in the house lot next to Stoney Falls (which by default is a "community lot", intended as a kind of park/beauty spot/fishing hole), but then it occurred to me that with the "column-supported foundation" building options introduced in a later patch, I could probably build a really spectacular house in the Stoney Falls catchment pond itself if I switched the property to a house lot. As an experiment, I did, and it was marvelous.
Lake Weitang and its waterfall are on a somewhat grander scale than Stoney Falls, which is constrained by the general compactness of the Sims world, but the general layout and ambience are the same.
 Mount Weitang - The Weitang brothers are legendary figures in the Earth Kingdom; identical triplets, intrepid explorers, and master martial artists, they are credited with mapping much of what were then the Western Reaches in the era before the unification of the continent under one kingdom. They may not really have existed, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Earth Kingdom or United Republic who is prepared to believe that.
 holographic mockup - This level of architectural planning technology has not reached Diqiu yet, but the readings Ryo's tools gather (which are meant for a conventional CAD system) can be imported by modern holoCAD systems. At least modern holoCAD system Corwin is operating. :)
 diligently investigating Utena's shirt front - I do not know of a single baby I've held who was still nursing who has not tried this trick on me. It is very amusing. "I'm sure these must work, I just have to ask right..."
 talking quietly to Annabelle - Fun fact: a mom can nurse a baby inside the wrap and NOBODY CAN TELL. I kept my son quiet on several public bus rides by means of this trick. However, people can get very embarrassed about it if they figure out what's going on, go figure.
 Deng's disapproval - I'm fairly certain Juni is blowing a mental raspberry at him, every so often.
 respect for the craft - Like many who received their advanced training in the armed forces, Ito (a retired naval officer) regards bending as a craft, not an art. Art is for show; craft is for gettin' stuff done.
 I see you favor the White Lotus gambit - Kaitlyn suspected that Ito might be a member of the Order already; his reaction to her play confirms it.
It's less of a secret handshake these days, but it is tradition and pretty classy. Makes things interesting when it's used by regular Pai Sho players, though!
 Sifu Azana... Azana-sensei - Anne is never entirely certain which term to use when it comes to Azana; she's more accustomed to the latter, and if Azana has any cultural identity recognizable to someone not from Diqiu, it tastes much more Japanese than Chinese, but the former is the one more customarily used among firebending students and the art is more like Chinese kung fu than anything Japanese. It's all a bit confusing, and Anne's unconscious response is to use the terms more or less interchangeably.
 Your Plastic Pal - Amy found this shirt in a shop on the Babylon 6 Zócalo and decided it was necessary.
 in the old days - This view of Water Tribe marital sensibilities is taken from research into the way things were done among the Inuit before European contact.
 Sokka's book titles - Compiled from a series of jokes in a thread about the Avatar characters' lives after the series on the EPU Forum. Most were my inventions; To Wang Fire, Thanks for Everything! Ty Lee was coined by Forum user Mercutio, after the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.