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We know the right thing to do; it’s just a matter of finding the will to do it February 13, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Good people devoted to and focused on a single good cause come to see — precisely because of that devotion — the connections and intersections of that cause and of other good and worthy causes. They recognize the truth of the holy scripture that says ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.'”

“The CEO of a popular fast food chain said this week that he was “stunned” to see profits soar each time California passed minimum wage increases.” Your customers have more money, they buy more of your product! Shocking.

Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016.” A lot of it would be easy to duplicate in the US (more afterschool programs!), although I don’t think “nationwide curfew on teenagers” would fly.

“My oldest sister is dead (2013), from colon cancer. No Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, no screening. My youngest sister lives despite ovarian cancer. Her Obamacare meant screening, surgery, treatment.

Leaked audio from Republicans who have no idea WTF to do after repealing the ACA. And are scared of the political consequences of the clusterf@#k.

No wonder Republicans are the only ones to complain about in-person voter fraud: they’re the only ones anybody can find committing it.

“Official FBI guidelines acknowledge that white supremacists and right-wing extremists have infiltrated U.S. law enforcement agencies.”

At least 13 Jewish Community Centers were evacuated [January 31], after the third wave of bomb threats this month was made against the religious centers. This latest spate of threats, which came in between 10 a.m. and noon, targeted JCCs in at least 11 states and is being investigated by the FBI. ”

Sharpie swastikas in the NYC subway, versus a car’s worth of people with Purell. There are lots of ways to fight Nazis besides punching.

Multifandom Works Roundup, 2/13/17 February 13, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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Leif & Thorn
Cotton Candy Nap (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Hy Fashion (art | Hyacinth | worksafe)
Fancy Olive (art | Olive | worksafe)
This Is Not An Effective Sweater (art | Leif | NSFWish)

Danganronpa
You Were My Hope (art | Mikan/Ibuki | worksafe)

Gravity Falls
Pacific Pines Embrace (art | Mabel/Pacifica | worksafe)

Harry Potter
This time I’ll be the catgirl (art | Tonks/Hermione | worksafe)

Homestuck
Soft Lips, Sharp Blades (art | Vriska/Aranea | worksafe)

Legend of Korra
That’s Some Good Handmaidening (art | Korra/Asami | worksafe)

Moana/Home
I Am A Girl Who Loves My Planet (art | Tip, Moana | worksafe)

Moana/Little Mermaid
That Scavenging Collector (comic | Moana/Ariel, Maui | G)

Steven Universe
Modern Dance Opal (art | Pearl/Amethyst, Opal | worksafe)
Are Those Space Pants? (sketch | Pearl/Peridot | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Figure drawings 2-11-17 (sketches, NSFW)

This Week in Leif & Thorn:

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh s2 is out! February 11, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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I’m torn between wanting to binge the whole season overnight, and wanting to savor it one episode at a time. At this point I’m halfway through.

The good: References to book continuity. References to season 1. DieAnne is back! The Tip-Oh friendship is strong as ever, shattering some egregious tropes along the way. Lots of good lines, and the occasional bursting into song.

The bad: Some wince-worthy gender politics. Lots of bodily-function jokes. I can’t tell if there have been more in general this season, or if I just blanked the last round from memory. In specific, all of episode s04B is an extended fart joke. Was that necessary, show?

Any reference to the seven glorious Boov genders is catnip to me, and episode 01A gets right to it: Boy Boy Girl Band, featuring a singer named Boy Boy George.

“Their Boov hearts are breaking from disappointment!” “That’s a THING?!” “Yes! It totally is.”

In other noncishetero news, Oh gets a crush on a human boy in 02A (in the process of trying to flirt on Tip’s behalf). The boy doesn’t return it, and is pretty weirded out, but it feels like that’s because Oh is an alien — there’s no reference to gender being the weird part. I mean, very likely they kept it vague for the sake of plausible deniability, but. The lack of no-homo’ing is nice.

Oh’s impression of Tip with a crush: “I am going through human puberty emotions!”

When it turns out the boy only likes Tip because she’s cute, she gets a great outburst: “Cute is an accident! Personality is hard!”

I think the animators have gotten bored with drawing the standard Boov shape all the time. They’re going really wild with exaggerated body shapes, nostricle styles, and random colors and features.

Time loop in 02B! With bonus rips in the fabric of spacetime, temporarily fixed with duct tape.

Okay, background: the original novel has a sequel, in which Tip sneaks off to visit the Boov colony on a moon of Jupiter, and Oh struggles to invent a time machine which can retcon all his mistakes from the Gorg invasion. Here, there’s a time machine, but it doesn’t reference anything else in the books — Oh whips it up overnight when Tip has a bad day.

Lovely continuity with s1 in 03A. PomPom the pageant contestant reappears, as does the magnificent DieAnne from the Angerdome, with more muscles than ever. Tip becomes DieAnne’s peace mentor! It’s a tough job! DieAnne still tries to solve everything with punching! This is 100% going to be Jasper in a few seasons of Steven Universe, you watch.

Bodyswapping in 03B, with an impressively solid plot reason why it takes ages for people to notice that a cat brain is in Tip’s body. And then it plunges into horrifying chimera territory when the cat starts talking. Not okay!

More book-references in 05B, which features a group of Boov-hating preteen boys. Softened from the original, though. Instead of being an angry resistance in an underground hideout because the Boov invaded their planet and kidnapped their families, this is far post-invasion, and they’re mad because a Boov broke one kid’s bike.

Okay, you know the trope where a villain tries to sabotage a friendship by telling the people lies about each other, and it drives a wedge between them for long-term angst, even though the whole plan would fall apart if the friends just had a five-minute conversation about what was going on?

The boys try that on Tip and Oh. And it fails miserably, because they always talk to each other, and sort out the problem within like thirty seconds. This is great.

“Slushious is kind. She would never use baby ducks for evil!”

Slushious gets an AI voice in 07B. Cool! …It’s a female voice, and it exists for the sake of a plot about her becoming murderously jealous of Tip’s friendship with Oh. Less cool.

So it has a couple episodes that are incredibly skippable, but the good bits are excellent, and I’m excited to binge and/or savor the rest of the season.

Undersea spaghetti monster, dinosaur tails, ancient cookbooks, and other fun things February 7, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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An interlude with nice things.

Dinosaur tail found fully preserved in amber, and yes, it’s feathery.

“A team from BP was carrying out routine operations near an oil well, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) at a depth of 1325 metres, when they spotted the creature, which they nicknamed the flying spaghetti monster.” The noodly appendages are real. RAmen.

Mall space got repurposed into gorgeous loft apartments.

“The Ptolemaic dynasty was able to spend big on the institution thanks to the riches of Egypt’s fertile land and resources from the Nile, including papyrus, the ancient world’s main writing material. As a result, the library had an edge in development over others. The Ptolemaic kings were determined to collect any and all books that existed—from the epics, tragedies, to cookbooks.

“Olio wants to make it easy for busy food sellers to avoid wasting food. ‘These vendors usually don’t have enough surplus to donate to a charity or something, but they still end up having to throw away quite a lot at the end of the day.'”

I asked other immigrants about their first moments of culture shock in the United States. Here’s what they told me.” Braces, junk food, chatty cashiers, and more.

“Hebrew marks gender prolifically (even the word “you” is different depending on genders), Finnish has no gender marking and English is somewhere in between. Accordingly, children growing-up in a Hebrew speaking environment figure out their own gender about a year earlier than Finnish-speaking children; English-speaking kids fall in the middle.

When pigs fly” and equivalent metaphors, in different languages, illustrated.

Cops that don’t shoot getting sacked; cops that beat a kid on his own porch not even getting charged February 6, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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People killed by police, 2017. The final total for 2016 was 1,153. This year, we’re already up to 124. It’s February.

White people shooting cops, to pointed silence from the #BlueLivesMatter crowd:

“Bill Jones, 35, allegedly shot two police officers after a standoff on Wednesday. Unlike the number of black men who’ve been shot at when police mistook cell phones for guns, Jones survived his tense standoff with police.” (He’s white. But you knew that.)

Two police officers were shot and killed, and I’m guessing you didn’t hear about it: “There was no massive national freak-out over these killings as there has been whenever the suspect is a person of color or has an Arabic-sounding name. The man accused of these killings is a white guy. Scott Michael Greene — whose home reportedly features a Trump/Pence sign in the front lawn — was allegedly upset with police after he was forced to leave a high school football game because he was waving a Confederate flag and threatening black students.”

Police brutality:

“The Detroit man charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and weapons felony firearm for killing a 19-year-old woman on his porch was found guilty on all counts [on August 4].” Justice for Renisha McBride.

“Officer Marco Proano faces two federal civil rights charges for the 2013 shooting [at a car full of teenagers; they survived], which was caught on a dash cam.”

They sit next to Mr. Crutcher’s daughter in class. They are her friends. Nearly every student has a tissue as we read the article together.”

He gives the officers his ID, which lists the address as his residence, and he suggests the officers ask a neighbor to verify that he lives there. ” Dejuan Yourse, thankfully still alive, beaten by police for sitting on his own front porch.

Police brutality through the looking glass:

“Give the Weirton, W.Va., police chief some credit. He’s come up with a new spin on the the same problem. He just fired a cop for not killing someone.

Multifandom works roundup, 1/30/17 January 30, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Leif & Thorn, Works Roundup.
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Leif & Thorn
Leif & Thorn Chibi Ensemble, stage 2 (chibis | Leif/Thorn, lots and lots of others | worksafe)
In the sparkling springtime (sketches | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Surf’s Up (art | Mata/Pato, Ivy | worksafe)
Vampire Castle (art | scenery | worksafe)

Hello From The Magic Tavern/Labyrinth
Should You Need Us…. (art | Usidore, Arnie/Sarah, Chunt, Jareth | worksafe)

Sailor Moon
Pallas Swing (art | PallaPalla | worksafe)
General of Mau (art | Bakene [Rhett Butler] | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
motifs (vintage designs, worksafe)
Figure drawings (sketches, NSFW)

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Annie gets back to the surface, and Rowan gets a new musical obsession.

Notice when the #AllLivesMatter crowd doesn’t show up January 27, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Immediately after the reports, BLM was blamed because Black people are violent threats who hate police, right? But that entire narrative was wrong—it turned out that the perpetrators were two white men who were far from affiliated with BLM. At that point, the Blue/All Lives Matter crew dropped the subject, not because it suddenly didn’t matter that the cops had died, but because the people who had killed them were no longer part of the threat group.”

“British police used a Taser on a black man they thought was a robber. He was their race-relations adviser.”

Police officers responding to a burglar alarm fatally shot a homeowner, who had grabbed a gun when he spotted an intruder, after shots were fired in their direction as they arrived at his house.”

(Although most news stories about cops shooting homeowners involve a black victim, you can also read about the occasional white guy getting shot in his own house. Along with his dog.)

Dozens of Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. were evacuated [January 18], including in Manhattan and California’s Bay Area, after receiving near-simultaneous bomb threats, according to various local reports.”

Millions of Shia Muslims made the pilgrimage of Arbaeen this fall, in defiance of Daesh’s threats and deadly attacks against the pilgrims.

Here’s a list of things white friends have done/can do which actually make me feel safer.

Practical advice for white allies on how to talk to white non-allies.

A woman’s place is in the Resistance January 23, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Crowd estimates for the Women’s March on Washington are running to half a million people in DC alone.

Add in the rest of the companion marches in the US — from those with handfuls of people to those (including Boston’s) that joined DC in the six figures — and we’re talking 3 million, total. That’s one percent of the population of the country.

Swing Left: a guide to the most-contested House districts in 2018. Check your area for campaigns to support.

And take a fresh look at how your state stands on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. A bunch of new legislatures are working on it since the last time I checked! As of January 2017, bills are pending in Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

Old news, still worth sharing: Six record-breaking, history-making women who did get elected in November. All minorities, all Democrats, and the ones who are natural-born citizens might have the White House in their future. Keep your eyes on them.

Final note, some good news from outside the country: Finland is doing a trial of Universal Basic Income. We’ll see how it goes.

Monday Works Roundup, 1/16/17 January 16, 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
Sparrow x2 (sketch | Sparrow | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Gay Knights With Magic Swords (art | Del, Juniper, Leif/Thorn, Rowan, Violet | worksafe)
Doll-Size Wedding (art | Mata/Pato | worksafe)
Character vs. Inspiration: Miners (comic | Mata/Pato, Phineas, Ferb, Bram, The Boulder, The Rock | G)
Mine Rescue Gems (art | Bram, Gil, Mata/Pato, Tansy | worksafe)

Attack on Titan
RivaMika (art | Levi/Mikasa | worksafe)

Fake News
We could’ve had it aaaaaaall (art | Michelle, Barack, Hillary, Kaine, Huma | worksafe)

Hello From The Magic Tavern
Usidore Loves Birds (art | Usidore, birds | worksafe)

Yuri!!! on Ice
He was a skater boy (sketch | Yurio/Otabek | worksafe)

General/Miscellaneous
Figure drawings 1-7-17 (sketches, NSFW)
Clover (reward chibi, worksafe)

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Wedding preparations above and below ground, as a water mage gets to work.

Erin Watches: Sailor Moon Original Flavor January 14, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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As promised, I gave Sailor Moon Crystal s3 a chance.

…and then ended up bailing again after 5 or 6 episodes.

The new stock footage was mostly good, but, guys, they used it in the opening sequence. They couldn’t even be bothered to draw enough original high-quality footage to make a theme song!

Which gives you an idea of how deep the laziness runs in the rest of the show. So much claustrophobic cropping and other cheats, instead of drawing establishing shots, or scenery at different perspectives, or any motion as complicated as “picking something up” or “swinging a sword”. It’s painful.

***

In related news, I hadn’t watched any of the original series in years, but the first two seasons of the new Viz dub are up for free on Yahoo. So I’m checking out selective episodes. Starting with the ones that DiC never dubbed (because, uh, I had not actually gotten around to seeing those at any other point in the past ~20 years).

The animation is wonky and cheap in its own way — lots of exaggerated comedy faces, simplified motion (waving a pencil up and down on a piece of paper = writing!), fading from one scene to another instead of animating the transition, general sloppiness. But the direction is light-years better. It’s so refreshing.

Take the ski-contest episode (season 1, episode 38). They use shortcuts, like panning over a still image to set a scene, or having the same roll of background whip past while a character is skiing in a straight line.

On the other hand: Lots of establishing shots and different angles on the scenery! The characters move like they have human muscles! Hair and clothes blow realistically in the wind! Crowd scenes are populated with extras! Someone bothered to design outfits, instead of only ever drawing the characters in their school uniforms! Luna moves as if the artists have seen a cat at some point in their lives!

Usagi transforms while she’s in winter clothes, and obviously her stock henshin footage starts with an ungloved hand, so they show her yanking off her ski glove first. It’s such a little gesture, but they thought it was worth the care and effort to draw. That’s a level of care Crystal never shows.

***

I thought I was gonna have trouble with the voices. Some of the actors in the original dub left such an impression that it’s hard to shake, even if you’re still mad about how messed up the translation got. Was a non-British Luna just going to sound fundamentally weird?

Guys, new Luna sounds perfect.

She sounds like Pearl from Steven Universe, to the point where I looked up the actor and was surprised it wasn’t the same person. Apparently there’s a really good way to sound like a fussy, by-the-book mentor who doles out ancient secrets to her frustratingly flighty charges, at least until she gets caught off-guard by the details she herself is just finding out.

I’m liking the rest — of the handful of episodes I’ve watched, anyway. The girls are good, especially Makoto and Rei. Beryl is perfectly evil.

The one voice that has been weird…is Zoisite. They’re dubbing him as a guy, so obviously he’s gonna sound different, but in the Japanese he has this higher, androgynous bishounen voice, right? And the guy doing his English voice sounds unnaturally deep. Not deep like a baritone, deep like a teenage boy who’s self-conscious about his voice cracking and is overcompensating by pitching it extra low.

***

I’ve been working through the backlog of the Sailor Business podcast, which is episode-by-episode reviews of the original series, and a lot of fun. (Full disclosure: I listen at 1.2x speed. They talk slowly, okay.)

The hosts don’t do a lot of research, and in the beginning it’s frustrating when they go on a tangent about being baffled by something you already know. But eventually they build up enough of an audience that they’ve got a wide base for crowdsourcing explanations.

One of the guys is really into Ami/Makoto, and keeps pointing out moments when they’re notably together. Even taking the Shipper Goggles Welded On into account, it’s impressive how much quiet subtext there is when you take it scene-by-scene.

Me, I’m getting a resurgence of Rei/Usagi feelings. They’re so intense about each other! The initial bickering for bickering’s sake develops into a relationship where Rei has a ton of respect and admiration for Usagi, while Usagi trusts Rei to keep her honest, and come through with more straightforward support when she really needs it.

They just, augh, they love each other so much you guys.