The blockchain arena sure is having a week, huh?

I had this interrogation of Kickstarter’s empty “blockchain proposal” written and on the desk of the Beat’s editors back in March. Was starting to worry that it wouldn’t feel timely, as the publication date got farther and farther away from news like “the Kickstarter CEO has resigned to spend more time with his family.”

And then it ended up getting published within days of “the third-biggest stablecoin goes ker-splat, setting off a rolling chain of destruction in every protocol and/or exchange that leaned on it.” (The power of decentralization, folks!)

There’s always something.

Older Kickstarter news/polling/snark:

“I have no assurances from the people who want to use it on Kickstarter that protocols are in place to protect the users. My biggest concern is I have interacted with Kickstarter three times now – sent emails and had meetings and stuff – requesting clarification of intent and a roadmap, and I have never gotten one, which makes me question the wisdom of the entire venture.”

Will you buy comics on Kickstarter if they go through with their blockchain plans?” Twitter poll, closed with 4500+ votes.

In many ways, Kickstarter’s weird crypto project — and the blockchain aspirations other aging web 2.0 companies are pushing on us right now — are kind of like watching a middle-aged man buy a boat. He doesn’t need to buy a boat. His life will be significantly more complicated, and likely worse, after he buys the boat. But he has somehow convinced himself that he needs to buy this boat because he has done the math and realized he is going to die soon and he thinks the boat will fix this.”

General blockchain criticism/snark:

“It turns out, businesses already use computer programs a lot. DAOs don’t bring anything to the table. So a lot of it is excuses to do things you can already do, and just say, ‘Oh, it’s a DAO. That means it’s crypto, and it’s magical, so if you don’t understand why our idea sounds so stupid, it’s because it’s very complicated and you need to think about it more.’” (Video with David Gerard, who literally wrote the book on crypto failings. Multiple books, in fact.)

“One of the most infamous examples of a game incorporating an early form of a play-to-earn system was Diablo III’s auction house, where players could buy and sell weapons and items for real money. […] But Blizzard’s experiment in monetizing scarcity was a disaster.”

“The biggest [lie] is “this incentivizes green power.” Which it does in the same way that a whole bunch of random shootings would incentivize bulletproof vests.”

This video has my new favorite example of crypto fans using The Most Elaborate Possible Technical Terms for the most absurdly mundane things: “It’s called loading. You’ve described how loading works.

Excellent deployment of quotation marks: “‘Hacker’ Steals NFTs ‘Worth’ Millions From Opensea Users.

Excellent Onion headlines: “Man Who Lost Everything In Crypto Just Wishes Several Thousand More People Had Warned Him

Multifandom works roundup, 5/16 (Moon Knight, Wizard of Oz, etc)

Leif & Thorn
Embassy South Gate (art | scenery | worksafe)
Nouveau Gold Stone (art | Bryn | worksafe)

Moon Knight
Steven Grant versus Steven Grant (comic | TV!Steven, comic!Steven | G)
Chaos In You (and you, and you, and…) chapters 1-4 (fic | Steven, Marc, ensemble, daemons! | T)
Steven and Marc’s Daemon (art | Steven, Marc, curlew | worksafe)
The Wise Build Bridges (fic | Steven, Marc, Layla, T’Challa, gods | T)
Moon Moon (art | Steven/Marc | worksafe)

Wizard of Oz
3 A.M. Realization (fic | Dorothy/Ozma | G)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Annotated chapter 11 continues. Miranda tracks the weather delays on other characters’ flights. Like the overinvested weirdo that she is.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
The Woman in Black is putting a backbreaking amount of effort into this time-loop venture…and for what?

Meet the Cat challenge: Fiddlesticks

As of recently, I have two cats! Let’s get to know the other one.

Round sleeping Fiddlesticks on cat bed with tongue sticking out

My name is: (Chocolate) Fiddlesticks

My nicknames are: Fiddles, Fuzzy, Sneezy, little old lady

My breed is: domestic shorthair (black-and-brown tortoiseshell)

My age is: 10 and a half years

I have lived here for: 2 months

My favorite human food: none yet, but let me sniff it all anyway, just to be sure

My favorite things to do: nap, monitor the view out the window, ignore the Secondary Cat, steal the Secondary Cat’s food (until it was hidden somewhere I can’t find it), accept chin skritches, be admired like the queen I am

My favorite room in the house: the living room, it has my viewing window, multiple soft napping locations, and my tall carpeted throne

Do I snore?: no, but I have a chronic condition that means I sneeze A Lot

Fiddlesticks on top of cat climber
Fiddlesticks diligently drinking out of toilet
Fiddlesticks sprawled with feet hanging off edge of cat bed
Fiddlesticks perched on end of couch with Fluff looking up at her from floor

Meet the Cat challenge: Marshmallow Fluff

Not gonna get around to an updated About Me post with personal details any time soon, so instead, please enjoy some cat pictures.

Fluffy with paw planted decisively on edge of laptop

My name is: Marshmallow Fluff

My nicknames are: Fluffy, Mister Fluff, Fluff’n’stuff, Fluffernutter, Troublemaker

My breed is: domestic longhair

My age is: 5 this past February

I have lived here for: 3 years and a few months

My favorite human food: none, give me cat treats please

My favorite things to do: eat, play with balls and stuffed mice, stare intently at bugs, get fur on everything, hide from strangers, cuddle, keep tabs on the Suspicious Intruder Cat

My favorite room in the house: the bedroom, with my food, my warm spot to lie on the floor where the radiator pipe runs under it, and my safe space under the bed where nobody can get me

Do I snore?: yes, and my nose whistles when I do

Continue reading

Erin Watches: Yurikuma Arashi, The Last Ship, Moon Knight

RL news is awful, feel free to recharge with this low-stakes post about TV problems.

I finally watched Yurikuma Arashi, the infamous “you all loved my smash-hit Utena, now come watch my show about lesbian bears” anime.

Tried to watch it in 2015 when it first came out, got through 3 episodes, and thought “I can’t tell what’s going on, I’m having a hard time telling all these characters apart, I’m not sure how seriously to take any of these metaphors, and it’s not convincing me to care about any of it.”

(How many people in this picture are secretly bears? The answer may surprise you!)

So this time, before tackling it again, I did some prep:

  • re-upped my paid Funimation account, apparently for the last possible time before they merge with Crunchyroll, so I could watch the dub instead of splitting my focus with subtitles
  • saved the Imagine Me & Utena episodes where they watch Yurikuma, and listened to them every 1-2 episodes to explain all the things I missed
  • opened the SailorMoonSub commentary on each episode (currently only through episode 10) for bonus insights, and also jokes

…and it worked! I got through the whole thing, understood it (you know, as much as you can with an Ikuhara show), and enjoyed it.

Still wasn’t super emotionally invested in most of the characters. Or the main romance. But it had a lot of fun details, and I’m glad I made the effort. (Also glad [spoiler] got to be happy at the end.)

The Lost Ship, episode 1: we are something bigger than the US Navy now, our duty is to the world

Episode 2: meet some evil Middle Easterners, no alliance possible, firefight to the death

Episode 3: meet some evil Russians, no alliance possible, firefight to the death

Episode 4: in transit all episode, don’t meet anyone new…

Episode 5: meet some evil Costa Ricans, but also some good ones! And the evil ones are conveniently unambiguous about it. Firefight to the death with the evil ones, then our heroes left the good ones in charge.

Episodes 6-8: meet one (1) non-evil Jamaican…a teenage girl, retrieved from a boat where everyone else died. So she’s immune, which is magic in Hollywood virology. They rescue her once they deduce she’s useful to them. Our heroes!

Yeah, it’s a “post-apocalyptic-pandemic” show. Aired 2014-2018, so the medicine is awful, in a ton of “now we all know it doesn’t work like that” ways. Once somebody says “nobody here is sick”, everyone instantly believes it (also, asymptomatic carriers, what are those?) and is happy to take off their PPE! The current strain is “stable” and will never mutate! A vaccine takes all of 3 weeks to develop!

But after 2+ years of COVID, the “our duty is to the world” speech in the first episode had me genuinely tearing up. We need so much more of that kind of leadership.

…then I kept watching, and the show seems to have 0% interest in living up to it.

Episode 10: season finale took us back to the US, and I was all set to be annoyed at how (comparatively) well it’s doing. But don’t worry, it’s also run by evil people — they’re Surprise Twist Hidden Evil, not Conveniently Obvious Evil.

It’s also the stupidest kind of cartoon evil. The US city’s power plants are now run on plague victim bodies! Because, as we know from the Matrix, those are the most efficient kind of fuel. And the leaders are killing extra people on purpose, because I guess the fictional pandemic that killed 4 billion humans didn’t provide enough bodies.

…yeah, I’m not going back for season 2.

Okay, it’s official: episode 5 catapulted Moon Knight up my rankings from “pretty good MCU TV” to “top-tier MCU TV, on par with WandaVision.”

I just. I love it when you get people in a fantastical world going through all kinds of magic/alien/mutant/shouty-pigeon trauma, and actually being reasonably traumatized by it, you know? And it’s not just a metaphor for real-world kinds of trauma, it exists alongside them, and interacts with them. And their coping methods involve both believable IRL strategies, and dealing with the magic/alien/mutant/divine stuff on its own terms.

Also, I love a good “headmates learning to work together” story. (And they finally got to hug.)

It’s got me writing fic again, for the first non-Yuletide time in…oooh, a long time. I’m on tenterhooks waiting for this finale.

My family has been keeping up with it week-by-week and talking about it. We’re all fannish in different ways, and in this case I’m the one checking out the comics and reading the online discussions and reporting back with interesting tidbits.

So here’s my mother’s very serious prediction for Episode 6: “It’ll be a recap of the whole series so far, but from Jake’s point of view, showing all the things he experienced that we skipped over. Then there will be a secret Episode 7 that’s the finale.”

(…Maybe next week I’ll regale them with the story of Apple Tree Yard.)