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Erin Watches: Medium, The Good Wife, The West Wing, and more September 1, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom, Miscellaneous, Personal.
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Going through my music collection in alphabetical order, instead of cherry-picking a playlist of songs I want to hear…there’s a lot of these that I wonder “why do I even have this??”

Had to drop Medium. There was plenty to like about it — protagonist was cool, I liked that she had kids and they interacted in age-appropriate ways with her work, I liked that there was a general population of psychic people she would run into once in a while (even though they’re still too rare for the general public to buy the idea).

Buuuut the crimes got too gory for me to stomach. (See also: why I will never pick up Hannibal.)

On the plus side: I mainlined The Good Wife recently, and, wow, that was so great.

It’s about a lawyer married to a politician, and those two spheres of her life interact like The West Wing hybridized with Boston Legal — incorporating good parts of each. So much competence porn! With a female lead! (Who has female friends!)

Bonus: she’s an atheist, and it’s so well-portrayed. It’s low-key, no soapboxing or strawman arguments about it, but when the topic comes up, it’s there. And she’s not guilted about it — the narrative doesn’t act like she’s less moral because of it, and she’s not deep-down Yearning For Something To Believe In.

The supporting cast is great. The ensembles of judges/recurring clients/opposing lawyers, all with their signature quirks and weirdnesses. (“I’m just a simple Michigan girl, you’ll have to talk me through this…”) (“In your opinion?”)

Chloe from Don’t Trust The B—- in Apt 23 guest-starred (as a client) as the moderator of an Ashley-Madison-type website, which is perfect.

Vague spoilers for Season 5: I love the big twist midway through. So many shows save that kind of Shocking Twist for a season finale, and if they tease “tonight: someone will die!!” in an earlier episode, it’ll be a throwaway character or otherwise not a big deal. This show, no, they went there — unambiguously, in a way there was no going back from — and gave themselves the whole rest of the season to explore the fallout. Not to mention, the will-they-or-won’t-they tension up until that point had been such a stock arc — but how many series have pulled this in the middle of it?

(I should say that I liked the character, this isn’t about any animosity towards them, it’s just, wow, that was good storytelling.)

Finished my West Wing rewatch. Still good. Smart and funny, CJ should run everything, and my Josh-and-Donna feelings are still right there the second time around.

Although, wow, did season 7 ever drag. It’s like the Daily Show: a lot of it can be re-watched, but once you get deep into an election season it’s just tiring, because so much of the original interest came from tension over who was going to win. The debate episode is the only one I flat-out skipped.

Plus, the main characters were scattered across the country and everyone was fighting. So that was draining and unappealing.

I do want to praise “Noel” for being no-less gut-wrenching even when you knew where it was going. (And when you knew it was one of many, many points/events/reveals that would almost never come up again.)

Tried to watch both Alpha House and Veep, hoping to find some more of the same magic.

No luck. Neither one is as smart, which would be fine since they’re both supposed to be straight-up comedies, except neither one is all that funny, either =/

Also gave up on Diabolik Lovers, because I was sold on “heroine has dark romantic/sexual tension with bad-for-you-but-so-hot vampire boys” and got “the vampire boys are just kinda mean with no appeal, and it’s hard for the heroine to have tension with anyone when she has all the characterization of a cardboard cutout.”

It’s like I was promised a show with seven Jareths, and got seven Edward Cullens. This isn’t what I ordered, waiter! Send it back to the kitchen.

Monday Works Roundup, 8/31 August 31, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Comics, Fic, Miscellaneous, Mixes.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Beingsona Art Trade (art | Tina, Dotan, Beings | worksafe)
Baby Cohen + Bennett (art | Bennett, Cybele, Cohen | worksafe)

Miraculous Transformation (screencap redraw | Tip, Oh | worksafe)
As Goes The Slushious (art | Tip, Oh | worksafe)

Legally Blonde
Commander in Chic (art | Elle | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Underused Gemsona Mineral Reference Sheet (photos, worksafe)
Rose Fusion Theory, part 1, part 2, part 3 (comic | Rose/Greg, team | G)

Steven Universe/Welcome to Night Vale
Smooth, Fist-Sized River Gem (comic | Sarah Sultan, NVCC staff, Steven and the Gems | G)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Let The Shadows Fall Behind You, part 6 [end] (fic | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
Alethiometry Apprentice (art | Leonard, Cecil, daemons | worksafe)
Painted Dog Daemon (art | Kevin, daemon | worksafe, eye horror)
ten feet under, and upside down (mix | Cecil/depression | T)
The Gem in the White Jacket (comic | TJ, Cecil | G)
Dana-Maureen Fusion (art | Dana/Maureen | worksafe)

Ryuji (reward chibi OC, worksafe)
Pink rock wall (free tiled pattern, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Behind-the-scenes sketches, bonus art, and a new monthly wallpaper.

Advice for the characters on Medium: August 26, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Meta.
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If you or someone you love ever comes into psychic powers, and you end up with a vision of a friend having a critical health failure…if this is a friend who doesn’t already know about the psychic powers, and who has no existing reason to believe in them…

…why would you put your warning in the form of “hey, jsyk, I can see the future, and I had a vision of your death”?

Make something up! Tell the friend they’ve been looking pale recently, and you’re worried. Tell them you just read an article about how many people in their age/gender/racial bracket have undiagnosed heart disease. Tell them someone in your family got really sick after eating whatever they had for lunch yesterday.

Just come up with a reason for them to see a doctor that will not get laughed off as delusional until it’s Too Late. This is really not hard!

Very sincerely,

Multifandom Rec Post, 8/23 August 23, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos | M | Something I Can’t Make Sense Of

He loved Cecil, trusted Cecil, wanted Cecil, and if Cecil happened to be some kind of Eldritch Horror when he got excited, well- Carlos would have to think very hard about that.
Fake News | Jon, “Stephen”, John, BriWi, Jessica | G | Launching Paper Planes to Help Close the Distance

As Jon prepares to take a hiatus to shoot his film, he has a few other headaches to deal with, namely Stephen, John, and BriWi.
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | G | The Five Blood Quests

Before his marriage to Cecil, Carlos has to complete five Blood Quests. It isn’t as bad as it sounds…honest.
(it is)
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos, Khoshekh | T | Five Times Carlos and Khoshekh Went to War and Khoshekh Won (And One Time He Did Not.)
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos | M | A Monster In Night Vale

Carlos is a monster, a being of void and shadow that spans dimensions. And that is why he is so, so glad to be in Night Vale.
Stargate, A:tLA | Toph, Zuko, Sam, Janet, ensemble | K+ | The Dragon King’s Temple

The spite of the spirits opened a door better left untouched. On the other hand, with Fire and Earth as one’s allies, sometimes escaping is the easy part.
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos | T | 17 Stars

Cecil stands alone in the desert.

He appears a dark pillar against the dim strip of lights far beyond – a darker shade in the silent black, a hole in the universe.

Pippi Longstocking, various | Pippi, ensemble | G | Five Times Pippi Longstocking Turned Down an Offer, and One Time She Said Yes

With guests from Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, Buffy, Star Trek DS9, Doctor Who.
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos, SSP, ensemble | G | Lost and Found

Since this is Night Vale, he’s not 100% sure what exactly passes for canine or even a pet here, but this probably isn’t it.
xxxHoLic | Doumeki/Watanuki | T | Restoration

Watanuki was missing for ten years and presumed dead — the prefectural authorities want to know where he has been, what he has been doing, if he is who he says he is.
Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 | Chloe/June | M | My big fat fake gay wedding

“So we get married for realsies. After a month or two, we just file for divorce and I’ll claim I was going through a phase.”
The Thrilling Adventure Hour | Sparks/Croach/Red, Ginny, Pemily | T | and in the human heart

5 times Sparks Nevada became a parent, and the one time he planned it first. (End pairing: Sparks/Red/Croach.)
Red Dwarf | Rimmer/Lister | G | City on the Edge of Whatever

Rimmer and Lister are stuck for months in the terrifying alternate world where men and women’s gender roles are reversed.
Welcome to Night Vale | Kevin | T | Admiration

Kevin loves his Grandmother.
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil/Carlos | M | skirt his edges and clean up after

There’s nothing Cecil can say. They know; they’ve tried it all. No amount of “This doesn’t make you female; plenty of men have heats” or “There’s nothing to be ashamed of” will reassure him. They can only hold on, stroking their hand up and down Carlos’ back (slick with sweat, and hot under Cecil’s hand, and made of skin)—until he shudders and pushes them gently away.
Welcome to Night Vale | Cecil, the Voice | G | Symbiosis

Cecil has chunks of memory missing. What really happened the night the antiques escaped? Only one shadowy being really knows.
Welcome to Night Vale | Winchell/Trish, Winchell/FOW | T | Your Mayor

Pamela Winchell and the Faceless Old Woman have a late-night conversation about mayoral politics.
Welcome to Night Vale Cecil/Carlos | M | Blood and Honey

“I’m nervous,” Carlos admits. “I… haven’t done this much, and I want to be good for you—I mean. I want it to be good. I want to do well. Don’t.” He swallows. “Don’t say anything. I just wanted to get that out.”
Welcome to Night Vale | TJ, Cecil | G | Tactical Advantages

Being cursed to be forgettable has its significant problems, BUT it also has several serious tactical advantages.
Welcome to Night Vale | Sheriff, Council, Cecil | G | Disaster Averted

The sheriff of Night Vale has enough to worry about without the threat of bot armies.

so I’m catching up on Dan Savage’s podcast August 20, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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and I get to the episode (July 7) where he’s reacting to the same-sex marriage case, and he starts reading from the decision, and I’m sitting in a public place trying not to tear up all over again.

Then he points out the poetry of how, for decades, same-sex attraction was considered disordered and unhealthy and a problem that needed to be fixed…and now we have the Supreme Court looking at the love between these people and saying, no, it is so ordered.

There went my heart. I am dead, bury me at sea.

Tuesday Works Roundup, 8/18 August 18, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Comics, Fic, Leif & Thorn, Miscellaneous, Night Vale, Sailor Moon.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Butterfly Sunset (art | Bianca | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Knights & Heartswords (art | Rowan, Birch, Violet, Thorn, Juniper | worksafe)

No One Gets Left Behind (art | Tip, Oh | worksafe)

Sailor Moon
priestess of Elysion (vintage art | maenad | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Most Trusted Gem In News (comic | Gem!Walter Cronkite | G)
Unintentional Pearl Fusion (comic | Pearl, Mayor Dewey | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Let The Shadows Fall Behind You, part 5 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
Palmero-Ramirez Wedding Night (art | Cecil/Carlos | mildly NSFW)
The Feldspar Triplets (art | Cecil, brother, sister, Janice | worksafe)
Night Vale Gems…and Gemsonas (art | TJ, Lauren, Trish, FOW, Megan, Maureen, Delphine, Michelle, Apache Tracker, Cecil | worksafe)

High school characters (vintage art, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Timothy’s theories of Being activism.

Vaccines, OS upgrades, climate change, and other studies August 17, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Good news about vaccines: “Now more than ever, Africa appears on course to being declared free of polio. The continent has not had a case of polio reported for the last 12 months.”

Bad news about the lack of vaccines: Diptheria has killed a child in Spain, in the country’s first new case for almost 28 years. (They’ve found eight other kids in Spain who are carrying the bacteria…but who aren’t in danger of dying, who aren’t even sick, because they were vaccinated. “Spain’s Health Ministry had to scramble to find the drug to treat the child…The antitoxin was eventually delivered from Moscow to Barcelona by the Russian ambassador.

Good news about women’s health care: “According to a new study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions, more than 95 percent of participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure.”

Bad news about the planet: “If melting continues at its current pace, by around 2025, some parts of Iceland will be rising at a rate of 15.7 inches a year.” Related: “New Climate Change Study Just 400 Pages Of Scientists Telling Americans To Read Previous Climate Change Studies

Bad news for advocates of torture: “At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.”

Good news for controlling parents: “When you add a child’s Microsoft account to your family, you’ll get regular activity report emails summarizing how much time they spent on the PC, the websites they visited, the games and apps they used, and the terms they’ve looked up in search engines.” (Only applies if you have a child-type account, not an administrator-type account. If you’re living at home, in a dodgy situation, and your family is getting the upgrade, stay alert.)

Shocking fact: I do actually know my own feelings about TV shows August 15, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.

This blog post makes the claim that “hate-watching” is not a real thing, just a term people use because they’re embarrassed about watching and enjoying something that isn’t considered Good.

The comment policy on that same blog notes that one ban-worthy offense is “hate-reading”, defined as “you only visit the site to start fights or specifically to disagree with us whenever we publish a post involving our core themes and for no other reason” or “you feel the site has changed in a drastic way and no longer appreciate or respect our content but stick around to tell us that every day.”

Are we supposed to believe this happens on the website you write for, but does not ever happen with television and movies?

Has the OP really never encountered the joy of snarky recaps? Do they think every writer and reader is just putting on a too-cool-to-like-this front, that nobody is getting genuine cathartic relief out of them?

IME, here’s how you get to the point of hatewatching a series: The show opens by offering wonderful things. Maybe it has a lot of promise; maybe it actually delivers. Then it starts getting bad. Not mediocre, not like you lose interest or zone out while watching, bad in ways that make you genuinely angry or upset. However! It’s not quite bad enough to boot you away altogether — or the badness is interwoven with appealing parts, even if it’s only in flickers, that make you cling to the hope it’ll get better — so you stick around, you’re just mad about it.

This was me with Glee for a while. In a way it’s a blessing that Shooting Star happened, because it was awful in such a dramatic way that I found the strength to kick the habit and never look back.

It was also me with The Newsroom. Couldn’t kick that one because it never stopped having Olivia Munn on it…although it helped that it only lasted two-and-a-half seasons. Aside from Olivia, the most appealing thing about the experience was getting to read the Television Without Pity recaps afterward. (For that matter, the Autostraddle recaps of Glee were a balm to the soul.)

Honestly, I’m kinda offended by the idea that I can say “I’m hatewatching this show” and be told “no, you cannot be trusted to describe your own feelings, you actually secretly enjoy it.”

To be played only when the end of the world is confirmed August 11, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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I found John Oliver’s proposed “to be played only when the end of the world is confirmed” video genuinely inspiring.

“Dollar-for-dollar, analysts say GiveDirectly is among the most effective organizations in the world trying to eliminate extreme poverty. GiveDirectly transfers about $1,000 to very poor families over the course a year. It makes no rules or even suggestions about how to use the cash.”

“That is what “The poor will always be with you” means in the Bible. In Deuteronomy and in Matthew, Mark and John. It means, therefore, we are commanded to open our hands to the poor and needy.

At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.”

By an 8 to 1 margin, the most conservative Supreme Court in US history decided that the Federal Law that authorized strict penalties for 3rd strike felonies is unconstitutional. This reverses decades of cases where the Court ruled that locking up people for minor crimes and throwing away the key is just fine.”

“Every birthing room practitioner needs to know that the first thing you say to parents of an intersex child isn’t ‘We’ll fix this.’ It’s ‘You have a beautiful child who will be healthy and happy. We’ll give you resources and connect you with others.’

“This Guy’s Extra-Long CVS Receipt Costume Is Literally Perfect.” (As someone who shops at CVS a lot, I can confirm that yes, it is.)

Monday Roundup, 8/10 August 10, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Comics, Fake News, Fic, Leif & Thorn, Night Vale.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Diamond Kara Lynn (art | Kara Lynn | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
A scary foreign land (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)

Fake News
New York Gems (art | Jon/”Stephen” | worksafe)
And Then I Would Make Them Breakfast (art | Jon/”Stephen”/John/Larry | mildly NSFW)
Coming Soon To A Daily Show Near You (art | Jon, Trevor, Gitmo | worksafe)
Correspondents Course (art | Kilborn, Jon, all the correspondents!, Trevor | worksafe)
Some Sunny Day (fic | Jon/”Stephen”, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Neil Degrasse Tyson | PG)

Skin Horse
Tigerlily Jones, Y’all (art | Tigerlily Jones | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Completely Improper Carnal Speculation (art | Pearl | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Let The Shadows Fall Behind You, part 4 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
Gems in the Sandstorm (comic | Cecil, Kevin | G, blood)
Witches and Sons (art | Cecil, mother, Josie, Serafina, Janice, TJ | worksafe)
Janice-Tamika Gem Fusion (comic | Janice, Tamika, Scouts | G)
Night Vale Gems – Cassette (comic | Cecil, siblings, Janice, Josie | G)
Brotherly Memories (art | Cecil, brother, mother, daemons | worksafe)

Tiled carpet pattern (free pattern, worksafe)
Starfield (wallpaper, worksafe)
Van Gogh, Extra Starry (edited painting, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Timothy was definitely not making plans that Sparrow should interrogate him about. Nope. Nothing to see here, move along.


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