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Femslash February 2016 February 9, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.
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It’s February again, so it’s time to take f/f sketch requests!

Trying something a little different this year: the Femslash February prompt post is on Patreon. To be clear, it’s still completely free and open to everyone. You leave a request over there, I draw the first ten, no money has to change hands, everything is sunshine and rainbows and girls kissing.

Got it? Awesome. Go forth and gay it up.

Old stuff: math teachings from 1917, scandalous pop songs from 1909, cat video from 1903 February 8, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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In reverse chronological order!

Books are Weapons in the War on Ideas: the librarians who worked with the army in WWI and WWII.

“…contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.” Historical penmanship and out-of-date multiplication methods ahoy!

“It may seem like a Halloween hoax fit for the eerie October holiday. But officials from the MBTA say the discovery of two tattered rags affixed to strange masks at Government Center Station is all too real.

How a sexed-up viral hit from the summer of ’09—1909—changed American pop music forever.” (Excerpts: “It was used in advertisements for everything from Broadway musicals to pretzels. It was translated by newspapers into Esperanto (“Ho! Vi kaprido!”). It was bellowed by a lovelorn Philadelphian as he leaped from a bridge into the Schuylkill River, attempting suicide. It brought scandal to a church in Geneva, Ill., when a prankster altered the hymnal, adding the line “but, oh, you kid!” to the lyrics of the devotional “I Love My God.””)

Millennial in China taking an excited photo with a bowl of rice. And by “millennial” I mean “circa 1900-1904.” Next time you hear someone complaining about Kids These Days sharing photos of their lunches on Instagram, you can bring up this hard evidence that the generation from a hundred years ago would have done the exact same thing.

The first close-up shot in recorded film was from 1903’s “The Sick Kitten”. In other words, humans have been making cat videos literally for as long as it as been possible to do so.

Check out these 19th-century warnings about that most morally-degrading of modern habits. It leads to crime, mental anguish, weakening intelligence, and corruption among the children! Clearly, respectable people should have nothing to do with…novel-reading.

Groundhog Day Fanworks Roundup, 2/2/2016 February 2, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Works Roundup.
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That’s “a fanworks roundup being posted on Groundhog Day,” not “a roundup of fanworks about Groundhog Day.”

But I’m A Cat Person
Fruity furry BICP sketchpile (sketches | various | worksafe)
Bikini Quartet (art | Miranda, Jany, Sparrow, Bianca | worksafe, mostly)

Leif & Thorn
Embassy Pearls (art | gem!Leif, gem!Katya | worksafe)
Magical Boy Thorn (art | Thorn | worksafe)
Tender moments montage (sketches | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Shot Through The Heart (wallpaper | Thorn, Sigrún | worksafe)

Three times the two of us first met (fic | HeinkelxYumie/ko | T)
Girl with a gun (art | Integra, Alucard | worksafe)

Phineas and Ferb
Summer Cuties (art | Phineas, Ferb | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Dessert Magi (art | Sayaka, Madoka, Nagisa | worksafe)

Sapphire and Steel
Sapphire-Steel Fusion – Gabrielite (art | Sapphire/Steel | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Smug yellow bird (art | Yellow Pearl | worksafe)

Jewel-toned sketchpile (sketches | fake news, Sailor Moon, Hellsing, Steven Universe | worksafe)
Falling glitter texture (free texture, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Sparrow drops by Timothy’s workplace to talk magic. Also, cat videos.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Thorn is cranky, in ways that are hard to translate. Leif tries to be understanding anyway.

Erin Rewatches Steven Universe, s2 e06-10 January 31, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Moving on forward with season 2.

Spoilers may include everything, up to and including the latest Stevenbomb.

tumblr_npy39a3WSB1uq8fseo2_400s02e06 Sworn to the Sword

  • Is this the first time we’ve seen that Connie plays an instrument? I love that these kids can make silly music together.
  • “But…I suppose I was only a few thousand years old when I began fighting alongside Rose Quartz…” Aww, Pearl. (And her sparkly face when Connie starts talking just like her younger self!)
  • After what happened the last time Steven saw Holo-Pearl, no wonder he instinctively creates a bubble against her.
  • Love the giant bulky helmeted axe-wielding Quartz on the battlefield projection. I need a comparison to the silhouettes we see in Blue Diamond’s court in The Answer. (I also need their detailed, fully-colored character designs, but one thing at a time…)
  • Steven’s book: “How to Talk to People.” Text: “Step 1: Think of what you want to say. Step 2: Say it.” Thanks, book! Real helpful.
  • Connie’s getting so good with that sword — and the way Steven just summons his shield without a second thought is wonderful. They grow up so fast ;_;
  • “Rose made me feel like I was everything.” Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here drowning in feels.


s02e07 Rising Tides, Crashing Skies

  • Recap episode. Featuring Windows Movie Maker effects, and Comic Sans titles.
  • I really want to know what the rest of the world thinks about the giant hand spaceship. We know this world’s humans have a space program — they’ve been to the moon! — and their telecommunications seem the same as ours, which means they have satellites — there’s no way this wasn’t noticed!
  • Wonder what cover-up Mayor Dewey is panicking about. It would be hilarious if it really had anything to do with the Gems.
  • “Steven: Gracious Host.” Aww.
  • “Onion: ??????”

s02e08 Keeping It Together

  • The Homeworld Gems treat Garnet as if being permanently fused is “shameless” and inappropriate, but when Steven asks to see Ruby and Sapphire, I get a vibe like she thinks he’s being the impolite one. Like being unfused is mildly embarrassing for her, maybe on the level of asking someone to wear a bathing suit in a formal setting. (Not that she’s offended — but that she’s only unoffended because she knows he’s young and innocent, and hasn’t yet learned whatever social more he’s going against.)
  • I swear, even taking the limb extensions into account, Peridot looks taller right now. Like, we see her original legs down to the knee, and her thighs look longer in this episode than I remember later on.
  • Handfoot!
  • The silhouette of a cluster trying to form normal heads and torsos is SO CREEPY. And the way they shriek, yeargh.
  • These don’t seem fundamentally different from the limb-monsters we saw in Secret Team. Is it only after Garnet poofs one, and realizes they’re stuck together, that she starts freaking out in a new way?
  • (Again: future vision: shouldn’t she have started freaking out ten minutes earlier?)
  • “These were Crystal Gems.” So, members of Rose’s team, not rejects from Homeworld? “All the ones we couldn’t find.” (Is it me, or is it weird that they didn’t look here before…?)
  • …as traumatizing as Garnet’s near-splitting looked, I kinda wish we’d seen Ruby and Sapphire fighting separately. It would give us a sense for their tactics as a two-person team. And demonstrate that they can win battles without fusing — that they’re staying fused purely out of desire, not out of pressure or fear.
  • Unless of course this is supposed to foreshadow that they ARE staying together (“together” as in perma-fused, obv, not “together” as in a couple) partly out of pressure or fear.

s02e09 We Need To Talk

  • Wow, do I love this episode.
  • Accidentally fusing in front of Dad, hah, gotta be embarrassing.
  • Rose’s singing voice is so lovely.
  • I hope so much that we get to see another Rainbow Quartz iteration at some point. Rose is beautiful, I want to see more Rose fusions, but Pearl’s ’80s workout theme is just not doing it for me.
  • Pearl: “Fusion is the ultimate connection between Gems.” Okay, by this point I’m 100% convinced that “we only fuse for emergencies” referred to Pearl and Amethyst specifically, not fusion in general.
  • Greg trying to emulate Pearl’s ridiculous ballet moves is so great. And Garnet giving him fusing advice is sweet.
  • We_need_to_talk_Rose_Talking“I’m starting to wonder if you…respect me…?” “You’re hilarious, Mr. Universe!” Aaaawkward. And Rose’s “I’m not a real person…is this not how it works?” She’s not trying to be mean, she just thought they were doing something very different than what Greg thought they were doing. (And relationship misunderstandings like that are so human! Talk about “we have something in common.”)
  • I wonder if Rose is better at reading the feelings and intentions of other Gems, and is tripping up with Greg for species-specific reasons. (e.g.: he’s not giving the same social cues as Gems do; she has stereotypes about humans that she wasn’t looking past; she wasn’t thinking much about it because he would be dead in a hundred years no matter what.) Thinking here about that scene in The Answer, where she immediately (and correctly) calculates that the newly-fused Sapphire and Ruby are interesting — not threatening — to the rebellion.
  • Amethyst: “I think this one’s my favorite.” Of humans? Of Rose’s human boytoys? (/girltoys, /etctoys)

s02e10 Chille Tid

  • Another recap episode.
  • Steven being all worried about life jackets, and Garnet casually shapeshifting her outfit into a life jacket, is a cute detail.
  • His dream is an in-universe human AU! Until Lapis shows up, anyway.
  • Steven describing a dream is the reason that Pearl, for the first time in her 8000+ years of life, falls asleep. (We’ll ignore the question of why a being that didn’t develop to sleep at all would have a subconscious equipped for dreaming.)
  • Is dream-connection a special ability of Steven’s? Or Lapis’s? Or maybe it’s specific to Malachite?
  • Augh, poor Jasper. We’re getting reminded of her situation just two episodes after the horror scenes with forced fusions, and Garnet’s forceful “It isn’t right. It isn’t fusion” speech.

Science!: toothy dinosaurs, adapting our brains to Google, language of whistling, Earth with rings, and more January 26, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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The dinosaur’s jaw was lined with at least 1,000 teeth with coarse surfaces perfect for pulverizing plants. U. kuukpikensis belongs to the hadrosaur group of duck-billed dinosaurs. It was 25 to 30 feet long, six or seven feet high at the hip, and probably covered with scales.”

“With timelapse cameras, specialists recorded salt water being excluded from the sea ice and sinking. The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it. Where the so-called “brinicle” met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish.”

“This effort appears to have backfired for the organization—whose mission is to raise awareness about how certain environmental exposures may be linked to autism—since the study SafeMinds supported showed a link between autism and vaccines does not exist.

We’ve begun to fit the machines into an age-old technique we evolved thousands of years ago—“transactive memory.” That’s the art of storing information in the people around us. We have begun to treat search engines, Evernote, and smartphones the way we’ve long treated our spouses, friends, and workmates.”

Unlike all other spoken languages, a whistled form of Turkish requires that “speakers” rely as heavily on the right side of their brains as on the left side, researchers have found.”

“Instead of using ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to describe Standard American English versus African-American English, Craig’s model uses ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ designations, so there’s no judgment attached to either language. One isn’t ‘better’ than the other per se, it’s all about when it’s appropriate to use one form or the other. It’s ‘this is how you talk in school,’ rather than ‘don’t talk like that.’ Craig calls it ‘a slight change’ that makes a big difference in kids’ attitudes about their own language.

What would Earth’s skies look like with Saturn’s rings? Awesome, gorgeous renderings.

And one (more) big science-based reason why everyone should be able to make a comfortable living wage:

If just one Einstein right now is working 60 hours a week in two jobs just to survive, instead of propelling the entire world forward with another General Theory of Relativity… that loss is truly incalculable. How can we measure the costs of lost innovation? Of businesses never started? Of visions never realized?”

If this happened in a book, you’d think the writer was being way too anvilicious about the moral January 20, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police, 2015. 1204 total.

“In May, the Washington Post analyzed the 385 fatal police shootings in the United States that had occurred so far in 2015. The Post noted its number, which came out to two officer-involved shooting deaths per day, was more than twice the rate that the government had recorded over the past decade.

“While some have blamed violent crime for being responsible for police violence in some communities, data shows that high levels of violent crime in cities did not appear to make it any more or less likely for police departments to kill people.

MLK’s hatemail sounds eerily familiar: “These messages could have been written yesterday in the comments of a Facebook post as easily as they were on stationery or in a telegram 50 years ago.”

“The college student had been enjoying a long weekend at the lake with friends when the trooper pulled him over for boating while intoxicated. The trooper then, according to Ellingson’s friends who watched the arrest, placed an already buckled life vest over the handcuffed man’s head and didn’t properly secure it. […] Divers recovered the college student’s body the next day from the lake bottom, about 70 feet below the surface.

“The officers were randomly assigned to be told that the children in the photographs were accused of either a misdemeanor or felony charge. The officers overestimate the age of black felony-suspected children by close to five years, but they actually underestimated the age of white felony-suspected children by nearly a year.

Recently in “if this happened in a book, you’d think the writer was being way too anvilicious about the moral”: Black teenager stopped and thrown in a police car while he was taking a holiday turkey to the neighbors.

Erin Rewatches Steven Universe, s2 e01-05 January 20, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Getting back into the rewatch swing!

Spoilers may include everything, up to and including the latest Stevenbomb.

s02e01 Full Disclosure

  • Greg’s face as Steven recaps the s1 finale for him, awwww.
  • In general, I really love the way this episode takes you through the damage caused by the Homeworld Gems.
  • A wave crashes against the cliff under Steven’s feet, with realistic water shapes! It’s the same wave three or four times over, so they can afford to be fancy with it.
  • “We did once have a fence! Let’s get a new one. With barbed wire!” Pearl’s so excited.
  • “You always say you’ll be the crocodile, but you never commit!”
  • I also love the way this episode undercuts the trope of Dramatic Manpain where the hero must keep secrets from his love interest For Her Own Good. It only sounds reasonable to Steven, and only because (chronological age aside) he has the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old.

s02e02 Joy Ride

  • Sour Cream parodying his stepdad’s [Onion’s father’s] adults-on-Peanuts dialogue, aww.
  • Kiki and Jenny: identical twins, radically different personalities. How many series actually do that, instead of treating the characters like a single unit? (I should work it into Leif & Thorn at some point. Ragnild and Iona are twins, but fraternal.)
  • Steven’s problems are so much more intense than the cool kids’. I love character moments like that.
  • Again with the future-vision inconsistencies. You would think Garnet could look ahead five minutes and see “if I punch this thing open, Steven will be hurt.”

s02e03 Say Uncle

  • Skipping this one. Not because it was deeply offensive to my sensibilities or whatever, I just don’t care about Uncle Grandpa.
  • My kingdom for a creator-produced Phineas and Ferb crossover. Or — to stick to the same network, making it a little more plausible — the Powerpuff Girls.

s02e04 Love Letters

  • Jamie has been in “a little place called Kansas” because — as the kids immediately recognize — he wants to be a movie star. Soooo Kansas is this universe’s Hollywood?
  • Corrupted Gem waterbear!
  • Garnet’s original shutdown did seem a little harsh, even if Steven and Connie went too far in the other direction. A little “I’m flattered and all, but…” goes a long way.
  • “Love at first sight doesn’t exist. […] At the very least, you have to know the other person.” Thank you, Garnet! (And yet, when someone decided to parody Tumblr identity labels by declaring this a specialized queer identity, a bunch of people actually bought into it. C’mon, fandom, recognize when you’re being trolled.)

s02e05 Reformed

  • Gas mask with a skull inside in Amethyst’s room, yeaaaugh. (And some other bones get thrown around, too.) What war do you think that dates to? Looks WWII-style to my untrained eye…does this mean the Gems were in Europe at some time during the last century-ish? Or that this universe had a ground war in North America, complete with chemical attacks, during the last century-ish?
  • There’s an overturned No Home Boys book in one of the shots.
  • An old-timey radio…a katana handle…
  • Amethyst’s regenerations seem to imply limits on her basic form. It would be easy to temporarily shapeshift to be tall and skinny…but when she’s trying to make her standard/default shape as Pearlesque as possible, it still comes out short and stocky. And when she tries to muscle it up, she can only develop enough extra mass to bulk up one arm and one leg — and Garnet correctly predicts that it’s not sustainable.
  • The form she finally settles on is so stylin’. I love it. Hugs all around.


Monday Works Roundup, 1/18/16 January 18, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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Leif & Thorn
An armful of Thorn (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
30 Outfits Challenge – Sir Thorn (art meme | Thorn, Tiernan | worksafe)

Fake News
Pretty Anchor Sailor Trevor (comic | Jon/”Stephen”, Trevor | G)

Phineas and Ferb
Three Faces of Candace (art | Candace | worksafe)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica(/The Librarians, /Tangled)
Time Loop Survivor Support Group (art | Jones, Homura | worksafe)
And then I’ll brush and brush and brush your hair (art | Madoka, Rapunzel | worksafe)

Steven Universe
Impressive Connection (comic | Steven, Garnet, Ruby/Sapphire | T)
Body Type Swap (art | Lapis, Jasper | worksafe)
Fire Salt (art | OC gem | worksafe)

Tiled wood siding pattern (free seamless tiled patterns, worksafe)
30 Outfits Art Meme (art meme graphic)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
The guest art interlude is over, and we’re back to our regularly scheduled bonus material…

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Birch is in love, Thorn is grouchy, and Rowan wishes people cared about his tragic backstory.

How technology shapes new English accents (1930-present) January 5, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Saw these two links in quick succession, wanted to put them next to each other.

The Trans-Atlantic accent, recognizable from newsreels and films from the ’30s and ’40s, influenced by the need to be understandable to listeners with low-tech radio receivers

The YouTube voice, recognizable mostly in vloggers whose videos are just talking heads, influenced by the need to keep viewers’ attention in a market full of flashy visual effects

Erin Rewatches Steven Universe: s01e50-52 [no Stevenbomb spoilers] January 5, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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I am keeping up with the current Stevenbomb, but there will not be spoilers for it in these rewatch posts. Holding off on all that until the end of the week.

(Spoiler-free reaaction to “The Answer”: AaaaaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaaahhhhHHHhhh.)

New and old commenters welcome!

Spoilers follow, as always.

s01e50 Story for Steven

  • Greg’s young-hot-rocker sequence is all classy. And then you cut to the reality, and it’s a bunch of empty folding chairs. Poor guy.
  • I know everyone’s the same height as usual (Greg may be younger, but he’s at least post-pubescent, while Gems don’t age), but the art style in this episode makes them look so much more childish. Interesting effect.
  • Oh, man, young punk Vidalia. (Tiny playdress Amethyst doesn’t look like she’s hit her wild days yet…) And Marty, presumably Sour Cream’s dad.
  • Owl!Amethyst messing with Greg is great.
  • Pearl: “I can sing! …What?”
  • “How big was she?” “Eight feet tall…massive hair…” I love stories that start out with weird kinks and end up turning into True Love.
  • I remember some complaining about this episode, how “perfect destined love at first sight!” is unrealistic, and I didn’t think that was what they were going for — there was an initial attraction, Greg took a big chance when he didn’t have much to lose anyway, and the deeper love would develop as they got to know each other. Sure enough, eventually We Need To Talk came out, exploring the intermediate stage between “cheesy pickup line” and “deep meaningful romance.” Vindication!
  • Especially nice because there have been more than a few times when I thought a show was doing something iffy to set up a satisfying emotional payoff, and figured out later that I was giving it too much credit. (Looking at you, Glee. And let us not even speak of The Newsroom.)
  • But SU delivers.
  • It might have the best track record for Delivering than any other remotely-serious series I’ve ever been into.

s01e51 The Return

  • Hand-shaped spaceships are such a weird idea. (And the fact that it flexes and points like a hand? That must be so disruptive for anyone inside.)
  • A+ dramatic return of the Cheeseburger Backpack.
  • So many feelings in the car conversation with Greg. They’ve talked about the homeworld, and the Gems coming from space, but this is the first time somebody’s used the word “alien.” Steven finally begins to grasp some things that are so distant from his experience — and yet, at the same time, are an important part of his heritage.
  • Battle Gems, aww yeah. This time they don’t mess around with chucking Amethyst at the intruder, just fuse Opal and start shooting.
  • More unexpectedly-chill Peridot. Her fingers are such a cool interface.
  • And our first sight of Jasper! She’s kind of a stock honorable-but-scary warrior type — respected the strength and tactics of her opponents during the war, expresses how impressive she finds Rose Quartz by wanting to beat her up, disdainful toward the weak…and/or the non-traditional.
  • Lapis seems to have cast herself as a helpful ally to the Homeworld Gems. Giving them limited information so they won’t treat her as a returned enemy combatant? Getting herself assigned to the mission, and sabotaging it as much as she dares without giving herself away.

s01e52 Jail Breaktwo-hands

  • Bracing myself for SU’s Next Top Earworm.
  • Ask me how much I love the detail that forcefields engineered to block Gems are only partly effective on half-human Steven. (It’s a lot.)
  • “I have to find Sapphire!” “Is she your friend?” Ahahaha.
  • Poor Ruby, half-blinded and doing the psychic equivalent of squinting like mad.
  • Was Lapis in a cell for the flight out? Or did she only get locked up after Jasper learned that she’d been hiding important things?
  • Brief shot where Steven glances out the window…and we see a long shot on a hand-shaped spacecraft…and it’s the wrong hand. Somebody else from Homeworld? Or something older, maybe a derelict left in a stable orbit from the war?
  • Peridot: “The whole point of coming here was to check on the Cluster!” So…they were going to come anyway, whether or not Lapis tipped them off about the Crystal Gems? Or Lapis also tipped them off about was the ongoing viability of the Cluster?
  • Aww yeah.
  • Jasper is all “is this… is this normal… does she realize this is a fight, or does she think this is a dance-off”
  • ~*~can’t you see that my relationship is stable~*~
  • Lapis, there are so many other things you could be doing with your life than crazy revenge-jailing the first target who presents herself.

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