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TIL that there exists a thing called “welfare avoidance grants.” March 30, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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You see, if the government gives you cash assistance and calls it welfare, that’s a Bad Thing. But if the government gives you cash assistance and calls it welfare *avoidance*, suddenly it becomes a Good Thing.

No, seriously. Here’s a page on them in MD.

Can we do this for every social program? Build a place where down-on-their-luck people can live, and call it Homeless Shelter Avoidance Housing. Let us all sign up for Medicare Avoidance Insurance. Make the pro-lifers happy by making abortion illegal — but everyone gets access to Abortion Avoidance Procedures.

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Multifandom Recommendations, 3/29/17 March 29, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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Sailor Moon | Minako, Setsuna | G | Operation FMD
http://archiveofourown.org/works/3629322

Setsuna’s been single for a long time, and Minako just wants to help out. Setsuna and Minako friendship.
The Hobbit | Bard/Thranduil | T | The latest dream I ever dreamed on the cold hill’s side
http://archiveofourown.org/works/3177055

“I like the idea of Thranduil courting Bard, like a lot. But I imagine being old as dirt, the sass king’s idea of flirting has been out of style for centuries.”
Homestuck | Roxy/Calliope | M | big mating party
http://archiveofourown.org/works/716081

TG: callie callie callie
TG: i WILL be satisfied
TG: no matter what!
Hellsing | Integra/Alucard | M | Rules and Restrictions
http://archiveofourown.org/works/10460643

Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing shares an intimate moment with her vampire. If only it were intimate enough…
Hellsing | Heinkel/Yumiko | G | Proposal
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9660665

Yumiko makes an observation.
Hellsing | Alucard/Integra | M | Naptime
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9494999

Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing rarely took naps, but when she did, she preferred the couch in the main drawing room instead of the bed. Reason being that if an emergency required her—which happened often, much to her annoyance—she could immediately be ready for action and retaliation. Plus, this room had an enormous fireplace and she loved to read by firelight before slipping off into slumber.
Hellsing | Heinkel/Yumiko | G | Home
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9914174

Heinkel and Yumiko stay at the orphanage, prompting Heinkel to think of their relationship.
Phineas and Ferb | Perry/Doof | M | Teil das Bett mit mir (das ich nicht so frier)
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9712931

Doofenshmirtz is transformed into a stunningly handsome platypus and Perry can’t resist taking him home.
DCU | Clark/Lois, Bruce/Lois | M | Third Wheel
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6918955/chapters/15784000

It isn’t quite a love triangle. For one thing, Clark’s the only one romantic enough to even think the word ‘love’. For another, Clark and Bruce would be beating the holy hell out of each other even without Lois’ involvement. And if Lois was aware of the secrets they were keeping, she’d be beating the holy hell out of the both of them. Overall, Bruce’s visit to Metropolis has been a mixed bag for everyone involved.
DCU | Bruce, Diana, Clark, the Kents | T | Christmas in Kansas
http://archiveofourown.org/works/6663184/chapters/15238855

Clark Kent invites Bruce Wayne and Diana of Themyscira to his parents’ house for Christmas. It goes, in general, pretty okay.
Batman | Bruce, Tim Drake, other Robins | G | Anti-Social
http://archiveofourown.org/works/8019937/chapters/18361021

Batman needs a Robin. (trans!Tim, told in texts/tweets)
Don’t Trust the B—- | Chloe/June | M | Don’t Trust The Oui
http://archiveofourown.org/works/5680069

“Wait, you’re saying you want to use our fake marriage to pick people up?”
Don’t Trust the B—- | Chloe/June, Ellen Page | T | ‘Til You Make It
http://archiveofourown.org/works/9615839

“I ran into Ellen Page yesterday in a Duane Reade condiments aisle,” Chloe says. “Gave her this long sob story about my girlfriend and her tragic medical condition that makes her eyes really big and forces her to wear ugly sweaters, and she invited me to her birthday party.”
Puella Magi Madoka Magica, House | Wilson, Madoka, House | G | Drops of Jupiter
http://archiveofourown.org/works/10460379/

Of all the medical mysteries he’s dealt with, the mystery of the girl with pink hair and gold eyes who appears in the hospital on two separate occasions right before a patient dies might be the toughest one yet, or three times Dr. James Wilson meets with Madoka Kaname.
Sailor Moon | Prof. Tomoe, ensemble | T | Forgotten
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/43661/1/Forgotten

Whatever happened to Souichi Tomoe after Setsuna/SailorPluto took Hotaru away at the beginning of SailorStars?
Good Omens | Horsepersons | G | Repeal and Replace
http://go-exchange.livejournal.com/204326.html

When one of the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse decides to retire early, the other three find it difficult to accept, and are a little miffed at having their fortnightly brunch-drinks-and-trivia-games disrupted by the weird newcomer.
Good Omens | Aziraphale/Crowley, Horsepersons, humans | PG | Apocaparty
http://go-exchange.livejournal.com/201321.html

Five years have passed since the Earth’s Close Call, and Adam is hosting a party to catch up with everyone. Everyone involved was invited…well, almost everyone….When the Horsepersons gatecrash, things get a bit messy.
Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie | M | A Little Light Reading
http://archiveofourown.org/works/8504365/chapters/19489498

Jeeves has an unfortunate accident which leaves him bedbound . . . and unable to read to himself. Bertie, as always, comes to the aid of the party.
Harry Potter | Harry, Dumbledore | PG | A Little Behind the Times
http://www.fictionalley.org/authors/akissinacrisis/ALBTT01.html

A foray back in time to retrieve a Horcrux means that Harry has an unexpected encounter with someone he didn’t intend on seeing. Suddenly, Hermione’s rules about not meddling with the past become a lot harder to keep.
Sailor Moon | OCs | G | Negaverse Plumbing
http://saintseiyafan.com/stayka/dkhome/eliddell/elid-div/dko-plum.html

Anyway, it *really* all started at the Negaverse immigration offices.
Sailor Moon | Mimete, team | G | Mimete Steps Out!
http://www.oocities.org/tokyo/courtyard/3008/counterclockwork.htm

A Counterclockwork Orange, being the story of a day in the life of a professional agent of pure otherworldly evil and her complete and utter lack of interpersonal skills.

Erin Listens: the Magic Tavern and other podcasts March 28, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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Hello From The Magic Tavern just got so intense. There was an epic battle in episode 100…then a bunch of interludes, including one from the Cowboy Dimension that had me dying of muffled laughter at work…and now it’s officially designated Season 2, and, yowza.

If you’re not already listening (and if you’re not allergic to shows with a whole lot of butt jokes), you should start.

***

Deep into the backlog of Love and Justice. It’s kind of…uplifting?…to hear about how much they love Crystal. Like, I can listen to them gush about the things that were emotionally affecting, and don’t have to see the actual animation, so I can imagine they’re podcasting from an alternate dimension where it didn’t make me sad.

They’re too hard on the ’92 anime — by which I mean, they complain about things it objectively can’t help. Of course the first season doesn’t have much sense of “shared past” between the senshi and the Dark Kingdom. The animators didn’t know about it! Naoko hadn’t written it yet!

On the other hand, I regularly feel like Sailor Business (which I’m all caught up with now) is too easy on the ’92 anime. So it kinda balances out nicely.

***

I’m listening to both of those at 1.2x speed, because the hosts tend to meander. Same with Yo, Is This Racist? — it’s just too slow otherwise.

…also, it talks a lot about the awfulness of current politics. I kinda have to psych myself up before listening. And/or say something like “once I get through one of these, I’ll reward myself with the next Magic Tavern episode.”

More-polished and better-edited regulars on my MP3 player: the Savage Lovecast, and The West Wing Weekly. Those get played at regular speed. Both make references to the political awfulness — it’s an inherent side effect of their premises — but in measured and relatively-contained doses.

***

Still listening to Illusionoid, and Kakos Industries, although I stopped saving the episodes afterward. Neither one is so absorbing that I’d want to do a re-listen.

…in fact, the only series on this list where I’m holding onto the episodes is Magic Tavern. Did a re-listen just a few months ago, in preparation for Yuletide fic. It’s highly re-listenable.

Related, a couple anons on FFA were talking about Republic of Heaven Community Radio, and one mentioned the weaknesses in book 2. I stepped in with this:

Honestly, I’d go back and give it a full-body rewrite if canon hadn’t been such a painful kick in the teeth.

I can see the soft spots, can feel when the pacing sputters, I know there are ways it could have more consistency and stronger throughlines. I just…don’t have the stomach to go near it.

That’s not an empty promise — anyone who knew me from fake-news fandom might remember that I did a full-body rewrite on a longfic there. But, yeah. Not in the cards, not this time.

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.)

(more…)

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

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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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.