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Multifandom Recommendations July 27, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday Roundup, 7/21 July 21, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Comics, Fake News, Fic, Night Vale.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Jessica Lake, M (art | Jessica | worksafe)

Fake News
Calyx (fic | Jon, “Stephen” | T)

His Dark Materials
Alethiometer Symbols (art | graphics | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 27-29 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapters 5-7 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
Backless Red Chiffon (art | Cecil | worksafe)
Mysterious Hooded Figure, A (art | hooded figure | worksafe)
The Successors of Dr. Belacqua, Year 2 (art | scientists | worksafe)
Bloodstone Accessories (art | Pamela Winchell, Trish Hidge | worksafe)
Team Blinking Light (art | Dana, Vithya, Maureen | worksafe)
To honor your contribution as a Strexcorp employee (comic | Cecil, Lauren, Daniel | G)
Janice has the answer (art | Janice | worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Sparrow says hello to a, frankly, pretty-weird supporter of Arthur Bennett.

Multifandom Recommendations July 20, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday Roundup, 7/7 July 7, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Doctor Who, Fic, Hellsing, Madoka Magica, Misc Work, Miscellaneous, Night Vale.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Patrick in battle, A (art | Patrick | worksafe)

Doctor Who
Bad Wolf Rose, G (art | Rose | worksafe)

Hellsing
Alucard and friend, A (art | Alucard, Jackal | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Ein Liebender liegt dir zu Füßen, part 3 (fic | Homura/Madoka, ensemble | NC-17)
Emerald and Aquamarine (art | Gertrud/Anthony, Adelbert, Kirsten, Daniyyel, Jennifer | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 23a-26 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapters 3-4 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
Seductive Bedtime Cecil (2 of 2) (art | Cecil | mildly NSFW)
…Oh? (art | Cecil, Khoshekh | worksafe)
On Schedule (drabble | Cecil/Carlos | G)
Entirely Personal (animation | Cecil/Carlos | worksafe)
Desert Parallels (art | Earl, Carlos, Kevin | worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Could Sparrow’s days of unemployment and Bianca’s days of singlehood be coming to an end? Or just a middle?

In more hopeful news: Sailor Moon Crystal! July 6, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Sailor Moon.
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It’s out!

There are lots of free and legal streams. Watching on Hulu will make sure Viz sees the hits, and encourage them to invest in future English-language SM-related projects.

Spoilers follow.

First episode was…beat-for-beat like the manga, except for Usagi’s dreams, which were probably my favorite part. I hope they find other ways to put their own spin on things as the series goes on, and keep taking advantage of the fact that they have the whole published story to work from, so they can do foreshadowing and pacing in ways the original anime couldn’t.

I’m really into all the choral music, especially on the big planetary pan shots at the beginning. Really gets across the feeling that this is epic. And the (watercolor?) intertitles, at the commercial break and the “Next On” screen — so classy.

The new OP is great. I don’t know if this is sacrilege in the fandom or not, but I’m glad they didn’t go with Moonlight Densetsu, even a re-recorded version. Gives them an opportunity to try something new — and the fact that this is much more of a battle song than a love song is really encouraging. (Love that the lyric “We are not helpless girls who need men’s protection” plays over the Moon-and-Mask scene. Because, yeah, that’s basically their relationship.) Fingers crossed for high-action fight scenes!

Speaking of Mamoru, he’s very pretty, and I like that he’s in high school in this incarnation. Umino, by contest, is drawn even more sloppily than last time. Not sure how I feel about that, joke character or not. Love all the detail in Usagi’s hair now, at least. So many strands!

Mercury next episode. One of the changes in the original anime that I think really worked was how Usagi got to fight alone for a bit, and we got episodes to focus on each new member getting into the role and learning to use her powers before the next one was added. Maybe we’ll get the implication that Usagi has been fighting other monsters in between episodes, instead of it being a perfect one-episode-one-monster lineup? It would fit better with the “target demographic: young adult women, more than ten-year-old girls” angle, IMO.

tl;dr I’m very excited. And overall feeling good about where this is going.

Doctor Who Series 8 approaches June 29, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Doctor Who.
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New teaser for the next season of Doctor Who…and I’m kinda discouraged.

It was encouraging to see Twelve getting an older-looking body, with a style reminiscent of some of the earlier Doctors. But partly because I was hoping it was a hint that they were going to take a more old-fashioned approach to the writing, too. Ditch the “every season gets a narrower and narrower focus on the Doctor himself and his personal importance” trend along with the “every Doctor gets younger” one.

More aliens and mysteries and diplomatic shenanigans and adventures, please! Less of the Doctor navel-gazing and fretting about whether he is a Good Person. There’s only so much you can do with that, and by this point I assure you it has all been done.

Monday Roundup, 6/23 June 23, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Fake News, Fic, Miscellaneous, Night Vale.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Bianca at karaoke, L (art | Bianca | worksafe)

Fake News
Jon in neon, J (art | Jon | worksafe)
Stephen and eagle, L (art | Stephen | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 17-22 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
The Clouded Mountaineer (art | Dana | worksafe)
Carlos (and Erika), C (art | Carlos, Erika | worksafe)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapters 1-2 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
Carlos at re-education, R (art | Carlos | worksafe)
Seductive Bedtime Cecil (1 of 2) (art | Cecil | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
How To Chop An Onion (commissioned chibis, worksafe)
Palette meme (dA) | Palette meme (Tumblr)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Bennett makes the long-overdue decision to start listening to Cybele.

Erin Watches: Cosmos, Magic School Bus June 13, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Meta, Miscellaneous, Night Vale.
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And as long as I’m posting about stuff I’m watching….

Netflix just ordered a new Magic School Bus series!

To be available in 2016. And it’s going to be CGI, which I’m not wild about, but we’ll have to see how it turns out.

It sounds like part of the reason they’re doing this was because of how popular the 1994-era Magic School Bus episodes are with their subscribers. Apparently I’m not the only one using Netflix to catch up on the episodes that weren’t on the VHS tapes my parents made from the original Maryland Public Television broadcasts.

Am working on getting through Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos. I…don’t know that I’ve learned a lot of new things about science from it. (Except about Cygnus X1. That was fascinating.) But it works well better if you stop expecting that, and just take it as a slightly more adult Magic School Bus.

(There’s literally an episode where they make sound waves visible. It’s exactly like the Sound Museum, complete with instruments and clapping. And his CGI ship, which travels through space and other hostile environments, and can shrink down to the size of an atom when necessary, is clearly from the same factory that made the Bus.)

The most disheartening thing about this Cosmos is the way it’s so clearly trying to reach people with fundamentalist religious anti-science beliefs. I mean, it’s disheartening that it has to. That these views have gotten so mainstream that Neil has to interrupt the cool stuff to spend five minutes explaining, in small words, how the fact that we can see things more than 6500 light-years away means that the universe must be more than 6500 years old.

And, admittedly, I’ve been skipping through a lot of the animated history segments. But sometimes even those are worthwhile. I just finished the one that covered a history of the science-versus-corporations struggle to prove that lead poisoning is a serious danger. Real-life action-adventure scientist-heroes FTW.

And the rest is Neil talking about cool stuff. With awesome location shots, and some beautiful CGI. He gets to look like the hero in a sci-fi movie a lot, walking (or flying in the ship) through these great outer-space environments, playing with the futuristic special effects.

tl;dr it’s a nice show to have on in the background. Listen to Neil being warm and enthusiastic the whole time, stop to watch at the points when it gets especially watchable.

…I may or may not be working on a gifset casing Neil as Carlos the Scientist. Some of the shots are too perfect not to. It doesn’t hurt that, half the time he’s on-screen, you could believably subtitle it with “Everything is exciting. Particularly existence!”

Erin Watches: Parks & Rec, Wings June 12, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Meta.
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Parks and Recreation was on Netflix, so I gave it a try. Watched a couple episodes from season 1, then season 2, and was ungripped. Maybe the writing gets better in later seasons, but the whole shaky-cam thing isn’t doing it for me either.

Skipped instead to Wings, a sitcom from the ’90s about a tiny independent airline in Nantucket. Funny, charming, with normal camera-work. Same kind of workplace humor as Cabin Pressure, so if you like that, I recommend this.

One thing struck me about trying the two back-to-back like this. There’s an episode of Parks & Rec where Leslie, our heroine, stages a cute “marriage ceremony” for two penguins as an event for the zoo. Then it turns out the penguins are both male. And it turns into this whole PR brouhaha, with ~family values~ groups complaining about the scandal.

Throughout the whole thing, Leslie’s response is consistently “I just thought it would be cute! I wasn’t trying to make a statement!” It’s doing the whole comedy-of-awkwardness thing…but the awkwardness was never about the family-values groups being inherently wrong to attack pro-gay-rights convictions. Rather, they were wrong because they mistakenly got the idea that Leslie had pro-gay-rights convictions for them to attack. It felt like I was being asked to sympathize with her for accidentally making people think she supported same-sex marriage at all. What a wild and kooky situation to be in, right?

It was just really uncomfortable to watch.

Now, about Wings. Which is not perfect by a long shot. There are some iffy jokes about weight; there are jokes about gender that only work if you forget the existence of trans people; every single one of them is white. But! There’s an episode (s02e10) where one character’s teenage son (Roy’s son R.J.) comes out as gay.

And it’s so good. There’s no angst! R.J. and his feelings are the focus of the arc, not any of the straight characters around him! It comes up naturally in conversation during a non-sexuality-related plot!

The kid is introduced as an aspiring cellist, and starts getting lessons from one of our heroines. He comes out to her first, realizes it feels good, and goes on to tell the rest of our heroes. There’s never any question about whether they judge him or support him — their only worry is how Roy is going to take it. He decides to organize a pride parade! Their only reaction is “okay, well, guess you better tell your dad in person now, rather than letting him find out from the parade.”

So the R.J. does. Now, Roy is the obnoxious owner of our heroes’ rival charter airline — sexist, among other things, but that’s presented as part of his obnoxiousness, not an endearing or neutral trait. (After one snippy comment, Helen takes his lunch away. “Hey, I paid for that ham sandwich!” exclaims Roy. Helen shoots back, “Wouldn’t want you eating your own kind.”)

And his whole reaction is very real. He’s no Burt Hummel, but there’s never any suggestion he doesn’t love his son, even as he goes through the whole process of “are you sure? Is there any chance you might change your mind? *grabs a basketball* Let’s play a round of one-on-one — if you win, you’re allowed to be gay.”

For context, Roy is a big guy, but R.J. is bigger, and about a head taller. The kid wins a lot of rounds.

And all this in 1990!

The whole thing felt so much more welcoming. Totally-supportive was the default view of the straight protagonists. Roy’s homophobia issues were rolled out as another symptom of dickishness, and one that he can work through (even if it takes time), rather than as a thing with some validity that you should try to avoid crossing. R.J. got to be chill about everything, never embarrassed or apologetic, and no one tried to make him feel like he should be.

I think I’m developing a real narrative thing for stories about people, especially parents, whose acceptance is imperfect but who are on the right track. They’re feel-good in a totally different way from the Burt Hummels of the fictional world.

It’s not because the parents’ hang-ups make logical sense. They don’t. It’s not endorsing people with these issues, just acknowledging the reality that they exist — you probably recognize a few from your own life — and it’s cathartic to see them presented as ultimately on your side, weird issues and all.

…and this whole thing will probably never come up in Wings again, but it was great when it happened, and the rest of the series is charming and snappy, and I’m definitely watching more.

(Also! As long as I’m talking about Wings and representation: one of the main characters is a woman in her sixties. And she gets a normal amount of subplots, and the occasional love interest, and is generally funny and wonderful.)

Monday Roundup, 6/9 June 9, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Comics, Fic, Misc Work, Night Vale.
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But I’m A Cat Person
BICP Chibi Bouquet (chibis | just about everyone | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 8-16 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
“Cecil’s in the subway.” (art | Carlos, Khoshekh | worksafe)
City Council Messenger Children (art | messenger children | worksafe)
The Rabbit Is Not What She Seems (art | Janice | worksafe)
Little Brothers (art | Cecil, Kevin, Earl, Cecil’s mother | worksafe)
Battle Stations, Everyone (comic | Dana, Cecil, Khoshekh, others | G)
Eldritch Reunion (art | Cecil/Carlos | mildly NSFW)
Friendly Working Environment (art | Kevin, Carlo, Lauren | NSFW for blood)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
While we all process the end of that last chapter, it’s guest strip time…

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