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Erin Rewatches: Star Trek: Enterprise (season 1) March 22, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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I’m rewatching Enterprise for the first time since its original run. Have some liveblogged reactions.

T’Pol was my first One True Character — followed very shortly by Integra Hellsing, who I discovered about a year later — and T’Pol/Archer may have been the first ship I had serious Feelings about. (There are other pairings, like Dorothy/Ozma or anything in Sailor Moon, where I was already familiar with the characters by then, but didn’t start actively shipping them until later.) So this is a pretty big milestone in Personal Fandom History.

(Content note: talks about the canon mindrape, and other sexual skeeviness.)

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Vintage selfies, immoral tea, and Victorian manspreading March 20, 2017

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Today in Older Than They Think: The first portrait photograph ever made, in 1839…and guess what, it was a selfie.

Tea causes lack of sleep, weakens the nerves, corrupts boys, and is a gateway to prostitution for girls: a Kids These Days screed from 1833.

Things that were sure to corrupt women over the years: bicycles, novels, the post office, and the telephone.

A writer hating on Kids These Days for no longer being able to speak proper English…in 1440, where those darn kids were ruining their Anglo-Saxon by using newfangled words from Norman French.

Cartoon from Victorian London about…what today we call “manspreading.” (They called it “sitting wide” or “the roomy dodge.”)

Three generations of slang, as of 1925. Fun to see which ones are normal in the present day (“wallflower”, “cheapskate”), which sound adorably outdated (“red-hot mama”, “bully!”), and which have morphed to mean completely different things (“guy”, “spoofing”).

This Week, 3/20/17 March 20, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Works Roundup.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Reading Lamps (art | Sparrow, Timothy, Jany | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Sønskadansen (art | Leif | worksafe)
Violet-Rowan-Thorn fusion – Lepidolite (comic | Thorn, Rowan, Violet | G)

Dragonball
Go Cuter (sketch | Goku/Chichi | worksafe)

Home/Moana
Homeoana (sketches | Oh, Moana, Tip, Maui, Hei Hei, Pig | worksafe)

Marvel
Super Husbands (sketch | Steve/Tony | worksafe)

Sailor Moon(/Madoka Magica/Cardcaptor Sakura)
To The Depths (art | Michiru | worksafe)
Army of Hope (art | Madokami, Sailor Cosmos, Sakura | worksafe)
Mistress 1 through 8 (comic | Usagi, Mistress 9 | G)

Steven Universe
Fan Gem Collection (art | lots of pretty rocks | worksafe)
Belly Dance Sugilite (art | Garnet/Amethyst, Sugilite | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Figure drawings 3-19-17 (sketches, NSFW)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Reseda goes full Cheshire Cat monster, for all the good that does.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
The girls look at new clothes, and Thorn gets a closer look at Leif.

Finally renamed the last couple of accounts. March 15, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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Went from sailorptah to [personal profile] erinptah on DW, and [archiveofourown.org profile] ErinPtah on the AO3.

The first one redirects. The second one doesn’t. But all the fics are still at the same URLs, so I’m sure people will find me if they want to.

Okay, that’s 2 pages of taxes down. How many to go? March 15, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Oil-exec-turned-Secretary-of-State Rex Tillerson used a secret email address to deal with climate change. And, in the process, seems to have deliberately hidden emails from a subpoena. Where are the Lock Him Up chants?

“Physicians with decades of experience studying death rates relating to changes in health coverage have concluded that repealing Obamacare is fatal. […] even under the most conservative estimates, getting rid of President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law will result in 43,956 deaths every year.

“I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic?

“In fact, laws in the U.S. did not even address the issue of separating public restrooms by sex until the end of the 19th century, when Massachusetts became the first state to enact such a statute.” (Turns out it’s part of the “more women in the workforce? we must come up with ways to protect their virtue!” ideology.)

But the NEA will also be remembered as the agency that created arts councils in every state and most cities; that spread the professionalization of arts organizations throughout America; and that generated important new fields, such as art therapy for war victims; creative place making and the rebirth of cities; research into economics, mental health, inequality and aging, among many; and whose leaders persuaded private funders of the value of artists and the arts.”

In which I have a lot of thoughts about Michiru March 7, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches, Meta, Uncategorized.
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All caught up with the Sailor Business podcast. They get better about doing research as it goes on! Plus, by now they have a large-enough listener base that a lot of solid, deep information is being called/sent in. Good stuff. Very listenable.

Followed a rec from one of their episodes to the Love and Justice podcast, where the shtick is that they compare plots across all the different versions. Starting with the Crystal episodes.

I did wince when they got to Ami’s introduction, and were confused that the manga was “more modern” than the ’92 anime, because she uses a CD instead of a floppy. Guys, your whole thing is comparing different versions, and you don’t realize the manga had two different releases? (Well, three at this point, but the uber-high-quality edition hasn’t been released stateside.) The version used for the Kodansha translations has a whole lot of updated art, most of which involves fixing wonky figures and adding more details, some of which involves the Dark Kingdom tech getting an upgrade.

Again, it’s still early episodes, and fun enough that I’m sticking with it. Hopefully someone eventually clues them in.

***

I ended up writing a long thing to Sailor Business, because they’ve been really doing a disservice to Michiru’s character. And apparently I have a lot more Feelings about her than I realized.

Context: They just passed the two-parter where Usagi is a daimon target. Before Uranus and Neptune arrive on-scene, Michiru asks Haruka if she’s really okay with the possibility of that cute girl being sacrificed. Haruka, stoically, insists that she’s fine. They gotta do what they gotta do.

…So our hosts keep saying Michiru is “passive” or “go along to get along.” Because Haruka is the more overtly loud and confrontational one…and that means Michiru is just following her lead, taking cues from her.

But now they’ve seen Michiru’s episode with Ami — she didn’t waver or wait for direction, she went straight for the jugular. And that’s a microcosm of how she’s approaching the whole quest: do something ruthless and cruel in the short term (pulling no punches with Ami/killing the Talisman holders) for the sake of a greater good in the long term (making Ami stronger/saving the world).

There’s an old butch-femme trope/cliche, that femmes are “steel wrapped in velvet,” and that’s Michiru. On the surface she’s all soft graceful feminine hobbies, but underneath she’s perfectly capable of knifing you in your sleep.

The flip side of the trope is that butches are “velvet wrapped in steel,” i.e. Haruka has a tough exterior but is a marshmallow underneath. Which lines right up with the podcast’s favorite relationship trope — “which of these people is the dog, and which is the cat?” Haruka is the dog! She barks really loud, but she’s a sucker for belly rubs. She yells a lot about how they have to kill the Talisman holders, to cover the fact that she’s the one who wrestles with it most in private.

Michiru handles the idea much better. Michiru is the cat who will knock all your stuff onto the floor, and look you in the eye while she’s doing it, with zero remorse. Michiru is the senshi who would win Most Likely To Become A Supervillain — not from brainwashing/hypnosis, we already know who’s most likely to go through that, but based on her own personality and for her own reasons.

So when Michiru asks Haruka if she’s okay with killing that cute innocent Usagi to save the world, there are two things going on here.

First is basically a supervillainy spot-check. Michiru knows it makes sense to her to kill a few people for the Greater Good, but is that really the moral strategy, or just the most coldly efficient one? Well, Haruka wouldn’t be capable of doing this for the sake of cold efficiency alone. So Michiru can reliably calibrate her moral compass by Haruka.

The second angle is Michiru being a concerned girlfriend. What if they get the Talismans and save the world, but afterward Haruka can’t handle the guilt? What if she has lifelong nightmares about Usagi’s death?

We don’t see what would have happened if Haruka had broken down and said “no, I’m sorry, this is too much, I can’t go through with it.” So different viewers can have different interpretations. My guess is that Michiru would say “it’s okay, sweetie, you don’t have to, we’ll find another way”…and then send Haruka home and go to Tokyo Tower on her own, making herself solely responsible for whatever happens to any Talisman-holders who show up.

Because sacrificing three lives for the sake of the world is one thing, but making Haruka feel bad about herself? That’s a bridge too far.

So, yeah, ruthless…but also, to be fair, a teenage girl in a traumatic situation. Part of the way she’s handling it is by telling herself, “look, I know I’m not a Good Person. A good person wouldn’t be this resigned to murdering three innocent people. But at least I can protect Haruka’s soul from being crushed along the way. I still get to draw the line somewhere, and I choose here.”

It takes another level in heart-rending when (and wow, I am looking forward to these episodes) you find out that Haruka got into the senshi game for Michiru. She told Haruka not to do it — trying to protect her, although at that point it was in an impersonal, “nobody should have to deal with this stress” way — and maybe Haruka would’ve listened, except then Sailor Neptune got in a monster fight she was going to lose without Sailor Uranus as backup.

So on some level Michiru is trying to atone for not being strong enough to keep this cute girl out of the fight.

 

…and you know, this makes it all the more satisfying when we get to that one SuperS special. A minor antagonist claims he has world-destroying powers, but Uranus and Neptune aren’t intimidated by that threat anymore. And Neptune cheerfully leans into her ruthlessness — she’s 100% bluffing, but she’s very good. Terrifies the pants off the guy. She has the power to simultaneously be a Big Damn Hero and out-villain the villains.

(Would you believe it, when I was a teenager, Michiru was the senshi I was least interested in? No, really. Even accounting for the context of her relationship with Haruka, who is probably my team-wide fave, I was not expecting to have this many Michiru feelings. But someone was Wrong On The Internet, and bam, here we are.)

Monday Works Roundup, 3/6/17 March 6, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Top of the City (art | Cybele, Reseda, Patrick, Kara Lynn | worksafe)
Miranda Lake (wallpaper | Miranda, Poe | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Vivianite (art | Holly, Ivy, fusion | worksafe)
Rowan and the Twins (sketch | Rowan, Rosie, Rhodey | worksafe)

Home
Magnificent Boov Genders (art | George, Oh, Sharzod, Larry, Krunkle | worksafe)

Homestuck
SK4T3 YOUR H34RT OUT</a) (sketch | Latula/Terezi | worksafe)

My Little Pony
The Pay’s Terrible, But You Can Sleep At Night (art | Sunset Shimmer/Adagio Dazzle | worksafe)

Steven Universe
You’ve Got To Be A Leader, Blue (art | Blue Diamond | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Commission Prices 2017 (info, worksafe)
Mako (reward chibi, worksafe)
Figure drawings (sketches, NSFW)
Power Armor (art, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Back to the present! Camellia’s confrontation with Walker begins in earnest.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Present-day Rowan reflects on his childhood.

Erin Watches: Home, Season 2, the thrilling conclusion March 3, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Wow, the back half of this season is loaded with gender stuff.

So many references to specific Boov characters being not-male-or-female! Sharzod being a boyboygirl keeps getting referenced. A giant greenish-teal Boov we’ve seen a couple times, Traffic Cone Larry, is identified as a boyboyboyboy. Krunkle’s gender still isn’t specified, but when they reappear in 10B, Tip congratulates them with “You go, girl!” — and then remembers, and self-corrects: “Or whatever gender you are.”

Episode 9A is Sharzod-centric. Pronouns (in Boov-to-English translation) confirmed as “himhimher.” (When the writers remember, at least. In 10A, Kyle use both “heheshe” and “she” two minutes apart.)

…btw, Larry thinks Tip’s pronouns are “it.” Although that was a Boov-only conversation, meaning he could’ve been using a Boov pronoun for Things Without Genders. I bet there are a lot of traditional Boov who think only magnificent genders “count.”

The Seven Magnificent Boov Genders appear to be a septinary system, so I dither about how to frame all this in human terms. Trans readers, what would you go with? All these are technically canon nonbinary characters, but not necessarily trans characters, because it’s easy for Boov to be nonbinary-cis.

Still! Just going by what’s confirmed so far, it’s cool.

And Krunkle’s ambiguity leaves the door open for them to be non-septinary trans, which, uh, might be my new headcanon. (Oh did say Krunkle’s gender is “the rarest”….)

Sidebar: Sharzod has been gendering Tip as a boy (did we know this already?), not like an insult or anything, but like a sincere belief. The joke plays as Wacky Misunderstanding via Clashing Cultural Gender Norms…until Sharzod makes a statue of Tip (for important plot reasons) and the statue is not “Tip’s normal appearance, which Sharzod perceives as male.” It’s “Rule 63 Tip.” It was sculpted with masculine-by-human-standards features that the actual Tip does not have.

The Doylist explanation is that the writers were poking fun at Tip not performing her gender to Earth-US-human standards, and didn’t consider that this makes no sense coming from a septinary-gendered alien. I…may have to write a fixit for that.

And finally: episode 8A opens with a game, where Oh is playing a human woman (we know “human” because of the balloons stuffed in his dress) and Tip is playing as a Boov gender (“I bet you say that to all the boyboygirls”).

It’s not something the show is likely to go anywhere with, but I could get kinda attached to a nonbinary!Tip headcanon. I’ve talked before about wanting fic that explores how the human trans community interacts with the seven magnificent Boov genders…wasn’t thinking of Tip specifically coming to identify with one of them, but now? Bring on the boyboygirl!Tip.

In non-gender observations….

There’s a “we bought a pet without reading the fine print, and it turned into Little Shop of Horrors” storyline in 8B. It’s executed really well for something so tropey…but one of the tropes it invokes is a Mysterious Old Blind Chinese Salesman stereotype. No, show! Bad! They’re aliens, you don’t have to racialize them at all, and you definitely don’t have to do it for things like this.

Two separate incidents of humans crashing their cars, nearly injuring Boov, because they were watching cat videos on their phones. Is that a thing now?

Along with the episodes that focus on Sharzod and Krunkle, there’s a Kyle-centric film-noir parody, and a Smek-centric quest for friendship in which he gets a whole song. Solid material for fans of everyone in the beta cast.

Episode 13A reveals that the Boov have invented hammerspace. Tip runs around stuffing random things into Oh’s “cloud storage,” starting with the junk in her room and escalating all the way to a shuttered building.

It’s all very Homura. (Until she breaks hammmerspace, anyway.) Who wants to write me that crossover?

Disappointed in 13B. The theme is one we’ve seen before — Oh going through some alien life change (meeting “the one”, getting the flu, etc) that threatens to displace his friendship with Tip — so obviously at the end of the episode it turns out nothing changed. Not that you can’t repeat themes, and a fresh twist on this one would’ve been a worthy season finale…but instead Oh is going through “booverty,” and they blow the whole thing on icky puberty jokes.

Overall: happy with season 2! Would mostly rewatch. Especially the one with DieAnne.

Burns & Allen Transcript: Gracie Adopts Mickey Rooney (1949-05-19) February 26, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.
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The year is 1949. The Republicans are the left-wing party; Hialeah Park is doing a booming horse-racing business; and Mickey Rooney is best known as the adorable fresh-faced star of the Andy Hardy movies.

Also, Gracie Allen is Tumblr. This adult male actor is her son now. She adopted him, he is her child, sorry folks but she doesn’t make the rules.

Download the episode here, and read the transcript below.
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There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind. February 26, 2017

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Political miscellanea.

News hoaxes are starting to spread faster among liberals, in part because Trump’s reality is so outrageously terrible that nothing sounds fake anymore. Be careful to double-check.

From the night before the election: Anons recall their first impressions of Trump and Clinton.

Warning people “some politically motivated groups are spreading lies about this fact” makes people less susceptible to lies about the fact. (No word yet on how to make people less susceptible to the obvious counter-tactic, i.e. falsified warnings that the facts are politically motivated lies….)

Trump fires one of Ben Carson’s trusted aides for disagreeing with him. Ben Carson is stunned and bewildered that his people are not exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. Reality check, you moron: NOBODY is exempt from Trump’s vindictiveness. He is not your friend. He is nobody’s friend.

The Onion’s Jimmy Carter: “Did you worry I might be cutting deals in back rooms with the peanut butter lobby? Or that I might be too busy at harvest time to focus on the economy or the Middle East?”