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nbd, just a bunch of links about how we’re destroying our planet November 14, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Being caught in a natural disaster can give people long-term PTSD, who knew? (They don’t use the term PTSD, they call it “Katrina brain,” as if this was a total unknown before Hurrican Katrina. It’s bizarre.)

Over 900 people have been cremated in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall a month ago, but the official death toll is still listed as 51.” And that was as of October 30.

Plants like a more CO2-rich atmosphere, but there’s a high price: “Every leaf and every grass blade on earth makes more and more sugars as CO2 levels keep rising. We are witnessing the greatest injection of carbohydrates into the biosphere in human history―[an] injection that dilutes other nutrients in our food supply.”

“The particles are called microbeads, and consumers can avoid them by checking to see if plastic — maybe polyethylene or polypropylene — is on the product’s ingredient list. Once these virtually indestructible beads enter the water, they attract toxic substances, like PCBs. They become part of the aquatic food chain, soon eaten by fish and then, too often, by humans.”

A $17 million study of climate change in the Canadian Arctic has been nixed for now — because of climate change.”

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Multifandom Recommendations 11/13/17 November 13, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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  • Doctor Who | Eight/Master | T | Any Time At All
    “There honestly needs to be an AU in which Roberts!Master kidnaps Eight and convinces him that he is his husband.”
    series:doctor who,fic:one-shot,pairing:doctor_master,trope:marriage,trope:hurt-comfort

  • Red Dwarf, Doctor Who | Ten, Martha, Dwarfers | T | Don’t Smeg The Reapers
    “That’s the craziest thing I have ever heard. Everything always exists somewhere in time- that’s what makes time travel possible in the first place,” The Doctor said.
    “Well… it seemed like a good idea at the time,” Lister finished, lamely.
    fic:one-shot,crossover,genfic,series:red dwarf,series:doctor who

  • PaintsChainer
    Automatically colors your sketches/lineart.
    resources:drawing

  • Unicode Text Converter
    Convert plain text (letters, sometimes numbers, sometimes punctuation) to obscure characters from Unicode. The output is fully cut-n-pastable text.
    resources:internets,resources:writing

  • Kim Possible | Kim, Shego, ensemble | T | Possibility Engine
    Kim is thrown into a maelstrom of possible realities and must rely on her wits, and a little help from some alternate versions of her friends, if she’s ever going to find her way home.
    pairing:kim_shego,genfic,series:kim possible,yuri,fic:chaptered,trope:timetravel

  • Sailor Moon | Kakyuu, Galaia | T | Star Dancer
    Kakyuu has always wanted to be a Star Dancer. Refused in this, she resents that her new bodyguard is the strongest Star Dancer known to the galaxy. When Kakyuu convinces Galaxia to teach her magic, she sets into motion events that cannot be stopped.
    series:sailor moon,fic:chaptered,genfic,!work.in.progress

  • Madoka Magica, tons of crossovers | ensemble | M | Offers you Just Have to Refuse
    “Make a Contract with me, Reader, and you’ll become a Magical Fanfiction Reader. You will have to fight Witches, and probably dubious grammar and lame humor as well. But it will be worth it! At least for me…”
    crossover,series:puella magi madoka magica,fic:one-shot,series:high school of the dead,series:evangelion,series:ranma 1_2,series:code geass,series:dc comics,series:bugs bunny,series:star wars,series:powerpuff girls,kink:tentacles,series:pokemon,genfic

  • Looney Tunes, crossovers | Daffy, others | T | Bounty on a Bunny
    Fed up with the Looney Tunes, Daffy Duck is looking into other universes to find a worthy foe for Bugs Bunny. What’s a rabbit to do?
    series:bugs bunny,fic:chaptered,genfic,crossover,series:star wars,series:friday the 13th,series:lord of the rings,series:pulp fiction,series:shrek,series:terminator,amazing,series:pinky and the brain,series:animaniacs

Monday Works Roundup, 11/13/17 November 13, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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My computer needed some expensive maintenance last week. Click for more details & what you can do to help.

But I’m A Cat Person
Starlit Fights (wallpaper | Poe, Kara Lynn, Patrick, Reseda, Cybele | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Deleted scenes 2017 (extra panels, worksafe)
A Mouthful of Leif (art | Leif, vampire!Thorn | worksafe)
Two Years of Leif and Thorn (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)

Harry Potter
Doe-Eyed (sketch | Lily/Snape | worksafe)

Hellsing
Ultimate Sailors Rip + Laura + Helena (art | Rip, baobhan sith, Helena | worksafe)
Ultimate Sailor Integra x Alucard (art | Alucard/Integra | worksafe)
Integra-Seras Role Swap (comic | Integra, Alucard, Seras | G)
Highland Lady (art | baobhan sith | worksafe, shockingly)

Sherlock
Cute in a Coat (sketch | Sherlock/Molly | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Out Of This World (comic | Ronaldo/Peridot | G)

Voltron: Legendary Defenders
Let Me Show You Why They Call Me Loverboy (art | Lance/Lotor | worksafe)
I’m Following You Now (art | Keith/Lance | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Doctors and Diamonds (commissioned art, worksafe)
Hands and feet (life drawing, worksafe)
Trial of the Century (commissioned art, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Miranda’s lurking in graveyards again. This time she has company.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Violet drops off her assignment, and asks about her sister.

Double pregnancies, megatides, dinosaur reconstructions, and other cool science things. November 9, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“While instances of superfetation in humans are incredibly rare, this case was even more so because it ultimately involved two different sets of genetic parents due to the surrogacy.

About half of people – 85% of women and 25% of men, for an average of 55% of the total population – don’t have spontaneous desire as their dominant desire style. Can this settle, once and for all, the question of whether or not responsive desire is just as normal as spontaneous desire?”

Tides in [the Bay of Fundy area] reach a peak of around 16 m (50′) — the height of a 5-storey building. This is many times higher than typical tides on the rest of the Atlantic coast! The huge tides expose the sea bottom and shape the coastline.”

“Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. [Now,] a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery.” Including whole lost languages.

NecroSearch’s members have achieved a level of success unmatched anywhere in the world; they are so respected that even their unsuccessful searches are deemed significant. Or, as the prosecutor explained to me, ‘If you want to search for a body in a certain place, and those people don’t find it, that means a body probably isn’t there.'”

“Most serious paleoart bases itself on the detailed findings of paleontologists, who can work for weeks or even years compiling the most accurate descriptions of ancient life they can, based on fossil remains. But Kosemen says that many dinosaur illustrations should take more cues from animals living today. Our world is full of unique animals that have squat fatty bodies, with all kinds of soft tissue features that are unlikely to have survived in fossils, such as pouches, wattles, or skin flaps.”

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, some reminders about charitable giving. November 8, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Use sites like CharityNavigator to find out “where your money is going.”

Don’t wait until the next newsmaking disaster to give blood. Call your local Red Cross/Red Crescent/etc. for an appointment, or just show up during their open hours.

Although the Red Cross is great for blood donation, it does have a bad record of mismanagement when it comes to disaster recovery. For that, try UNICEF or Doctors Without Borders instead.

The Salvation Army is genuinely terrible for LGBT+ people. Try Goodwill or the VVA.

Don’t get swayed by clickbaity articles about Outrageous Scandals without doing your own further investigation. For example, Locks of Love doesn’t actually make wigs for child cancer patients!…it makes wigs for children with a disease you’ve never heard of. Wow, much shocking, very horrible.

What Goodwill “actually does” with your donated clothes is one of these non-scandals. If they can’t sell a piece of clothing, it’ll get processed as textile recycling. The planet wins, and nobody loses. (Just make sure to wash and dry everything before donating, because if it’s wet or moldy they can’t even try to sell it.)

Give cash, not canned food. “Find well-managed charities in your community and trust them to know how to do their job. They have access to food at a fraction of the price. They know their clients, and they have better things to do than to sort through your canned goods.”

In fact, give cash in general. “GiveDirectly wants to see what happens when you give extremely poor people a much longer runway — a guaranteed ‘basic income’ they can count on for years. Michael Faye, the chairman of GiveDirectly, says they’ve chosen to set the payment at $22 because in Kenya $22 per person per month is ‘the food poverty line — the amount of money it would take to afford a basic basket of food for yourself.'” (And so far…so good.)

Multifandom Recommendations 11/6/17 November 6, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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  • Hellsing | Integra/Alucard | M | His Reward
    While Alucard loves a good hunt, sometimes it’s not quite enough to scratch the eternal itch that immortality gives you. And Integra is more than willing to reward her favorite vampire for a job well done.
    series:hellsing,fic:one-shot,pairing:integra_alucard,kink:bdsm
  • Doctor Who | Missy/Bill, 12/Missy | T | Take Control of My Whole Body
    Bill is determined to learn the choreography to Little Mix’s ‘Touch’ video, but needs somewhere to practice. Cue an afternoon of dancing in the Vault, and Missy insisting on helping Bill get it right.
    series:doctor who,fic:one-shot,yuri,pairing:bill_master,pairing:doctor_master
  • Doctor Who | Bill/Sappho, 12 | G | Love, That Loosener of Limbs
    “Like, finally here’s a poem that isn’t just some bloke whining about how a beautiful girl won’t give him sex, and it’s basically ‘sweet mother, I’m too gay to do my chores, blame Aphrodite’. Like, honestly? Most relatable thing I’ve read in years.”
    series:doctor who,fic:bite-size,pairing:bill_other,yuri,trope:timetravel

 

Erin Watches (and likes!): Madame Secretary, Rizzoli & Isles, Angie Tribeca, Lucifer November 5, 2017

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Feels like it’s been a long time since I posted about some TV that was actually good, instead of so-bad-it’s-fun (looking at you, Scandal). Which is weird, since I’ve watched a bunch of it.

Have some recs.


Madame Secretary

Adventures in diplomacy with a Secretary of State and her artist/CIA husband.

If any current show is the spiritual successor to The West Wing, it’s this one. Elizabeth McCord is devastatingly smart and has vast depths of experience, all of which shines through in the writing. The political situations are complex and layered; it doesn’t get too fluffy about ethics and principles being easy, but it also doesn’t get too grimdark about good people being inevitably destroyed by Harsh Reality.

Her husband’s great too — also smart with a background in a lot of fields. My favorite parts are when his knowledge of art history is legitimately what saves the day.

And it’s a textbook example of how you don’t have to shoehorn dishonesty or unsupportiveness or bad communication into a relationship to make it interesting.  These characters’ lives are so full of international conflict, the choices they make every day at work so consequential, that they need a healthy and well-adjusted marriage to get through it all. They lean on each other in these complicated and substantive ways that are great to watch.

The show does pull the wishy-washy cheat of “the president is a Republican, but a ‘moderate’ Republican, which means we don’t actually see him take any positions in common with the current Republican party.” On the plus side, it uses real countries in its diplomatic intrigue plots, China and the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan (all with their own fictional diplomats and heads of state) instead of Qumar and San Lorenzo.

I’m in the middle of season 3 right now (so if anything terrible happens later on, don’t tell me).


Rizzoli and Isles

Cop drama, starring a detective and her BFF medical examiner. The one thing I knew going in was that they’re very shippable.

Good solid background TV, like Bones or Law & Order. The plots were fun to watch, if forgettable in the aftermath. It takes place in Boston, so I got a lot of “hey, I know that place/route/reference!” moments.

There’s a bit of ship-teasing in early seasons — contrived “we must pretend to be lesbians” moments, that sort of thing. It mostly fades away later. The canon romantic tension is all focused on unconvincing m/f — I don’t even remember any background same-sex couples — although I’m sure there were one or two involved in the case-of-the-week. At least it doesn’t eat the show.

And the series finale does end with our heroines going to Paris together for a month. As fanservice goes, they could’ve done a lot worse.


Angie Tribeca

Parody cop show. Created by Steve and Nancy Carell, and the series is saturated with their kind of humor. New joke every other line. It’s great.

The directing and staging and camera work and everything, parody-wise, is spot-on. I was alternating episodes of this with Rizzoli and Isles for a while, and sometimes I would be in the middle of a scene waiting for the next joke and realize, oh wait, this is the serious one.

I think most of the humor would still translate even if you’d never watched a police procedural. But if you do watch them, it’s a total must-see.


Lucifer

Also technically a cop show. The Devil got sick of working in Hell, so he did the logical thing and moved to LA, where he ends up using his evil-punishing skills to solve crimes. As you do.

Okay, you know the character type of the guy who’s really self-centered and socially clueless, often to the point of being mean or careless? And you’re supposed to think it’s forgivable — justified, even — because of how brilliant and talented he is, but mostly it’s annoying?

Lucifer takes that archetype and exaggerates it so far over-the-top that now it’s just funny. “It makes perfect sense now! This was all about me! Thank you, detective!” “Lucifer, wait, that’s not what I–” There are scenes where he gets run emotional circles around by eight-year-olds. It’s lovely.

He has a therapist, which is an inherently entertaining idea just to start with. For a while she was going along with the “metaphor” of his family drama being about angels and demons…then she complained she couldn’t keep track of it anymore, so Lucifer busted out some demonic proof, and she had this extremely understandable BSOD. (She got better.)

There’s romantic tension between him and his detective partner, which is not the unconvincing type of m/f, although Lucifer still hasn’t shown her the literal-Devil-proof, and at this point the reasons why are starting to get strained and contrived. As a character in her own right, she’s great. She has a daughter who’s also great, a perfect kid mix of oblivious and savvy. One of Lucifer’s friends is a demon who makes a delightfully weird bond with the kid — they go trick-or-treating together!

And all the mythology is very cool. Obviously the foundation is pop-culture Christianity with a touch of Paradise Lost, and it adds other layers, like the season-long arc with Lucifer’s mom: a creation-goddess and God’s ex-wife.

I’m mostly caught-up with currently-aired episodes, and looking forward to seeing where it goes next. (I haven’t read any of the comics it was based on. So, again — no spoilers.)

Erin Listens: The World in Words, Magic Tavern, Chronicles of Oz October 30, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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I’ve been well caught up with the brief archives of the Lingthusiasm podcast for a while, so when one episode mentioned The World In Words, I went to check out the archive.

It’s ridiculous. There are hundreds of episodes. This podcast has been running since the Bush administration.

Basically they just culled all the language-related material from their overall supply of public-radio stories. Great international perspective — they’ll go to France to talk to the translator of a novel, China to interview people from regions whose dialects are being subsumed by Mandarin, Mexico to report on the state of bilingual education for kids deported from the US, anywhere and everywhere.

Early episodes are 30-minute compilations of segments; later they start releasing individual segments, so you’ll get a “podcast” that is 6 minutes, 5 minutes, even 3 minutes long. So it’s not quite as intimidating a backlog as it appears.

Still, it’s filling a lot of time. I haven’t gotten past 2013.

Hello From The Magic Tavern is getting good, y’all.

A recent live episode included an improv guy who hadn’t actually listened to any episodes, so he was going on a 5-minute summary of the premise. “Don’t worry, it’s not that serious,” they said. “You won’t break the show,” they said.

Two minutes in, he almost breaks the show. The scramble to fix it is adorable.

A while earlier, don’t remember which specific episode it was, but they get into a recurring gag of soda-based puns, expanded to general drink-based puns. One poor guest gets totally stuck until the end. (I spent a bunch of it figuring out how to work in a reference to “high seas.”)

The Chronicles of Oz is a dramatized rewrite of the book series — so far they’ve only gotten The Wonderful Wizard — but the authors are gleefully throwing in references to Baum’s entire oeuvre. Along with foreshadowing about Ozma, they’ve namechecked the political situations in Ev, Oogaboo, and Jinxland.

It takes things more seriously than the books. The death of the Wicked Witch of the East leads to riots, as the underground revolutionaries abruptly stop being underground, and clash with the established loyalists. Glinda reveals early on that she has a long-term plan to depose the Wizard. Continuity!

But it doesn’t throw out the spirit of the books for the sake of joyless grimdark. It’s fun. There are cute nods to the movies, too. (When Oz asks why Dorothy expects help from him, she stammers, “Because…of the wonderful things you…?”)

Dorothy here is a snarky, sarcastic teenager, who has very little in common with book!Dorothy, but she’s fun in her own right. I’m really loving their take on the Scarecrow — he sounds like Arthur Shappey from Cabin Pressure.

Halfway through the posted episodes, I’m already looking forward to Book 2.

More stories of police officers who mysteriously still have their jobs. October 23, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police in the US, 2017. Currently at 970.

“Police in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night fatally shot a deaf man who they say was advancing toward them with a metal pipe as witnesses yelled that the man was deaf and could not hear them.” Fire those cops. They’re not competent to do the job. Justice for Magdiel Sanchez.

“An unarmed 15 y/o child died after being shot in the head by Balch Springs PD (TX). A cop shot muliple rounds into a car filled with teens.” Justice for Jordan Edwards.

“Three of the gunshots fired by officers Jason Anderson and Steven McNew struck Lyles in the front of the torso and chest, three struck her in the back or rear of her arm, and one grazed the side of her ribs, according to the report. Several of the wounds would have been life-threatening on their own, including the one that cut through her uterus and the fetus.” Dear lord, any kind of justice for Charleena Lyles.

Security officers can even feel attacked by black people who do not, strictly speaking, exist: “Emergency dispatch audio said the at-large suspect was a black man wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans […] After the search failed to find any suspect, Mr Ahlers admitted to police he had accidentally shot himself.

To be clear, sometimes the cops do kill white people: “A 21-year-old Georgia Tech student, who was the president of the campus Pride Alliance, was shot and killed by a Georgia Tech police officer, according to a statement released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.” Justice for Scout Schultz.

And here’s a case where the cop was black, and got himself in a panic after shooting at a white couple: “A Sevier County Sheriff’s Office deputy opened fire without warning in a mobile home park, suffered an apparent panic attack four minutes later and was forcibly disarmed by a paramedic.” The people he shot at were then jailed for more than a month for “assault.”

Notice how the people who talk about Black Lives Matter are still standing up and saying these last two incidents are unjust. The “all lives matter!” crowd is…mysteriously absent. Funny how that works.

Monday roundup, 10/23/17 October 23, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
We’ll Call You (art | Walker, Gaillard, Köhler | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
A hope-we-don’t-get-caught kiss (comic | Leif/Thorn | G)
Making Keyite A Thing (comic | Leif/Thorn | G)

Hellsing
Ultimate Sailor Alex + Enrica (art | Anderson, Maxwell | worksafe)
Ultimate Sailors Heinkel x Yumie (art | Heinkel/Yumie | worksafe)
Ultimate Sailor Alucard x Walter (art | Girlycard/Walter | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Figure drawing 10-21-17 (life drawing, NSFW)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Sparrow’s gonna get the hang of teleporting any week now.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Happy second anniversary to the comic! Also, Violet has a solo adventure.