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Gonna be at work during the #Eurovision final…

…so I’m gonna post a bunch of Post-Semifinal Feelings now, and then go into Spoiler Avoidance Mode.

General stuff:

  • Peacock has the US Eurovision streaming rights this year, which means I went from “never heard of it” to “signing up for an account” in the space of 1 google search. Bad sign for their advertising department, but a hat tip to their rights-buying department
  • Shame the “subtitles” are just auto-generated English-language closed-captioning, no help for any of the non-English songs
  • Real talk, I get a little teary every time it cuts to another little CGI house in the next country, with the signals bouncing house-to-house to draw lines that connect them all together
  • Absolutely perfect way to celebrate the contest taking its first step out of lockdown, while honoring and being there for everyone (and I bet these were designed before they knew for sure that the whole show wouldn’t be remote)
  • There are always a bunch of pride flags visible throughout the shows, but it looked like this year there was a particular emphasis of trans flags. I’m into it
  • Are there always this many songs with “giant words in block letters flashed on the screens” as part of the staging? I’m not into that. Give us more show-don’t-tell in the visuals, please
  • Four people sure did wear basically the same dress, huh? (It’s cool, it’s a good one, they sure could’ve done worse)
Remember that year I did a whole Eurovision-themed storyline and timed it to match up perfectly with “the contest not happening”

Song opinions:

  • Favorite songs going to the final: Sweden’s “Voices“, Finland’s “Dark Side
  • Favorite songs that got robbed: Ireland’s “Maps” (I love that the presenters had to do some extra patter before they started — that set must’ve taken so much setup)
  • Favorite staging/performance for songs I was meh on: Ukraine’s “Shum“, Greece’s “Last Dance“, Moldova’s “Sugar“, Bulgaria’s “Growing Up is Getting Old“, Latvia’s “The Moon is Rising
  • Staging/performances that got robbed for songs I was meh on: Australia’s “Technicolor“, Denmark’s “Øve os på hinanden
  • Songs that need to make out: Cyprus’s “El Diablo” and Norway’s “Fallen Angel
  • Wouldn’t be a real Eurovision without one of these: Iceland’s “10 Years” (The outfits! Those wind machines! The wobbling at the end when they do a fake freeze-frame!)

Personal favorite so far is Sweden, which probably means it won’t win, because my favorites never do. (Speaking of songs that got robbed: Waterline.) Only watched the semifinals, none of the songs from auto-qualified countries, so maybe one of those will turn out to be my new favorite? …and then not win either, lol.

Guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.

Multifandom fic recs (Locked Tomb, Jeeves & Wooster, Murderbot)

  • The Locked Tomb Trilogy | Gideon/Harrow, ensemble | T | If you’re doing it right you’ll break their ribs
    But it wasn’t a Ninth House thing, except inasmuch as it was happening to the only two representatives of the noble and decrepit Ninth House on this quite literally godforsaken rock. Gideon knew Harrow had gone somewhere dangerous—knew that Harrow was back in the lab where they had only just completed a horrible trial—because she could see it, clear as day: an awful overlay on her vision of that terrible dangerous room and a pair of terrible dangerous hands drawing some kind of ward next to the plinth.
    kink:soulbond,fic:one-shot,series:locked tomb,pairing:gideon_harrow,yuri
  • The Locked Tomb Trilogy | Gideon/Harrow, Isaac, Jeannemary, Abigail | T | Cartographies of Empty Space
    I also loved the conceit in Harrow the Ninth with the different AUs, and I definitely loved your letter asking for fic that goes all out on those AUs. I ended up going for four different scenarios, as well as throwing in various memes and trends from over the past decade or so (bath bombs, the rise in true crime podcasts, Eurovision with a side of kpop fancams, etc, ancient Egyptian coffins with weird unidentified liquid in them, iconic yelp reviews, etc etc.)
    fic:five times,series:locked tomb,pairing:gideon_harrow,yuri,trope:hurt-comfort,trope:eurovision
  • The Locked Tomb Trilogy | Gideon/Harrow, ensemble | T | How it didn’t happen
    “The Daughter of the Ninth House was blessed in this manner from her birth, as a symbol of her strength and power over the mysteries of necromancy,” Ortus interjected. Harrow glared at him.

    “Oh,” Coronabeth said, an expression of disgusting sympathy on her flawless face. “But then you would never have known who your soulmate was!”

    Harrow’s glare intensified. “My soulmate is bones.”
    pairing:gideon_harrow,series:locked tomb,trope:soulmates,yuri,fic:one-shot

  • Jeeves & Wooster | Jeeves/Bertie | G | August Thirteenth
    Discovering that this is not the first August thirteenth that he’s lived through, that certainly was a head scratcher. Luckily Bertie has the stalwart presence of his man’s man, Jeeves.
    pairing:jeeves_wooster,series:jeeves & wooster,trope:timetravel,fic:one-shot
  • The Murderbot Diaries | Seth, Iris, Lovecraftian Horror ART | T | Intentional Incursion
    The first thing they taught every experimental vessel captain was the reasons why they should never, ever use the experimental parts of the ships unless they absolutely had to do so. Seth knew exactly why that was. The list of reasons that the technology should have only been used as a last resort was a mile long.

    But the problem with a last-resort option was that sometimes you really did reach your last resort.

    OR

    Seth and Iris meet ART for the first time.
    series:murderbot diaries,genfic,fic:one-shot,trope:eldritch horror

  • The Murderbot Diaries | Murderbot, ComfortUnit, ART | T | i still freeze
    When I saw ComfortUnit again, I didn’t tear it limb from limb like I promised to the last time I saw it. I’m getting soft or something, whatever; mostly I didn’t want to make a scene in the shopping mall.
    fic:one-shot,series:murderbot diaries,genfic,trope:trauma,trope:hurt-comfort
  • The Murderbot Diaries | ART/Murderbot | M | Closed Systems
    ART and Murderbot wanted to spend more time together, so they do. They spend it watching media in ways humans and augmented humans don’t understand, and aren’t capable of.

    Having real feelings about fake things together is one thing.
    Having real feelings about real things (like each other) and being expected to talk about them (with each other) is something very else.
    series:murderbot diaries,pairing:art_murderbot,fic:one-shot

  • The Murderbot Diaries | Ratthi, Murderbot | T | Information Incomplete
    Biology: The study of life and living organisms. Ratthi is a biologist; it is his job to learn about these things – to study and to understand. The more he interacts with SecUnit, the more he realizes he has a lot of work to do in that regard.
    fic:one-shot,series:murderbot diaries,genfic,trope:hurt-comfort

Dispatches from our mid-pandemic stupid coup

More than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers, according to three people familiar with agency staffing.”

“A lot of times before they’re intubated — which means put on a ventilator because they can’t breathe on their own — when they’re still struggling to breathe, and they’re saying, ‘Well, I didn’t know COVID was real, and I wish I’d worn a mask.’ And then it’s already too late,” she tells NPR’s All Things Considered. “You can see the regret, as they’re struggling to breathe and it’s finally hitting them that this is real.”

“…about five people have attempted to get inside [Utah Valley Hospital] because they question whether the ICU is as full as some say. […] So far, it seems no one has been successful getting in. However, Hansen said what the conspiracy theorists did has forced the hospital to take extra precautions when it comes to visitors and people being admitted.”

“Roughly 80 percent of Texas county jail inmates who have died after contracting COVID-19 were in pre-trial detention and had not been convicted of any crimes.”

…his administration has refused to launch the formal transition, depriving President-elect Joe Biden’s team of access to national security information. […]The staffers recognize that Biden will be the next president, but they are ‘not allowed to act like that will happen,’ said the former official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because his current job did not permit him to speak publicly. Meantime, national security actions and requests for briefings from the president are drying up.” (So, basically…US national security briefings are going to nobody right now.)

“Since 2000, I have participated in three presidential transitions from the vantage points of both the departing and the incoming administration. […] In the week since Joe Biden’s victory became clear, President Trump and his administration have taken no steps toward starting the process of transition. The risks to our national security are mounting.” Susan Rice gives a summary of the broader problem going on here.

Senate Republicans are racing ahead with post-election judicial confirmations, breaking a 123-year tradition against voting on judicial nominees of an outgoing president of the defeated party during a lame duck session.” This is my shocked face.

One bit of good news: “Postal workers doing final sweeps of their systems have found just a few ballots — in most cases, they number in the double digits — that were lost or left behind. […] What made the difference, experts say, was enormous public pressure, multiple lawsuits, scrutiny from the courts, urgent efforts to urge voters to mail their ballots as early as possible, and extraordinary measures taken by the agency itself and its legions of dedicated postal workers.”

Back to the bad, a warning to us from Sri Lanka: “The coup was a farce at the time but how soon it turned to tragedy. They called it a constitutional crisis, but how soon it became a real one. Right now, the same thing is happening to you. I’m trying to warn you America. It seems stupid now, but the consequences are not.”

Music recs: 10,000 Maniacs, Enya, Loreena McKennitt

…so it turns out I hit the end of my alphabetical “underappreciated music artists I should rec” list. Which means I get to close the tab I’ve had open for (*checks*) more than a year now. Yowza.

Just in time to avoid migrating it to the new computer, too!

But there’s this separate folder of Soft Songs by Soft Female Vocalists that I skipped over, so I’m circling back and doing one last post.


10,000 Maniacs: The softest of alt-rock, with Natalie Merchant as the lead singer. Their peak years happened back when I was a toddler, but their songs give me college feelings anyway. (10,000 Maniacs playlist.)


Enya: Irish singer-songwriter; occasionally gets close enough to “mainstream pop” to have a mainstream hit, but most of her stuff is dreamier, stranger, slow and wistful. Inspiration from mythology, astronomy, and natural scenes around the globe; lyrics in English and Gaelic, and, at least once, in Quenya. (Enya playlist.)


Loreena McKennitt: Canadian composer-harpist-accordionist-pianist-soprano. Lots of influence from Celtic and Middle Eastern myth/legend. First choice if you need a soundtrack for being kidnapped by faeries. (Loreena McKennitt playlist.)

First post from the new laptop

Last month I had a computer scare, and figured it was time to finally suck it up and get a Windows 10 machine. So I’ve been setting that up for…the past week.

(To be fair, most of that is the inchingly-slow process of “uploading mountains of data to my new cloud backup.” Which…I probably should’ve gotten years ago.)

New machine on the left, old machine on the right. I’ve had the old one for almost 9 years — it’s a tank, it’s been hauled around on interstate journeys in planes, trains, and automobiles. New one is breezily light. Screen is only about an inch narrower, but the chassis is so thin I feel like I’m going to snap it in half:

Process being supervised by my Executive Assistant. His only opinion so far is that he really wants to chew on the new power cord.

Perks:

  • Program migration has gotten buttery-smooth. I auto-synced a heap of settings with individual cloud accounts for Clip Studio, Firefox, and Torch. Manually copied and imported the same for Photoshop. Followed my own 9-year-old notes for “if program X doesn’t install right, use hack Y,” and they still hold up.
  • Better speakers! The old ones were fine, but I actively looked for better ones when comparison-shopping, and yeah, the sound is noticeably richer.
  • More horsepower, more RAM, better graphics card. I haven’t switched to making art over here, and that’ll be the real test, but some little things are noticeably smoother already.
  • Yeah, OneDrive is gonna be really convenient. Lovely boost to the ol’ peace of mind. Had to wrestle with Windows over the default settings it desperately wanted to shove me into (especially when it tried to upload 7 GB on a wireless connection), but I think I’ve got it sorted.

Drawbacks:

  • It has 4 USB-C ports…and that’s it. The product description promised USB Classic ports, but apparently that’s not part of the machine, it’s a separate USB-to-USB-C dongle that hangs off the side. Gonna need to buy more gear just to have my mouse and my scanner connected at the same time.
  • No ethernet connection port, either. The wireless isn’t bad, but sometimes — say, when you have a heap of files to sync — you want the alternative.
  • Not sure I’ll feel comfortable traveling with this thing unless I buy it a whole solid protective casing to carry it in. (You know, whenever travel becomes an option again…)
  • Still trying to get a few things to sync right. Clip Studio materials haven’t shown up. Firefox tabs appeared briefly, then all went poof.

The old computer still does everything just fine, which is…unusual. All my previous laptops have needed replacing for urgent, non-fixable reasons. This one — well, maybe the next time it shuts down will be the last, where I can’t convince it to reboot no matter what I do? Or maybe it’ll keep working smoothly for years. I have no idea.

Trying to be proactive, though, and switch as much work as possible to the new machine. Which is looking like it’ll be almost everything. Even my ancient copy of Paint Shop Pro has installed just fine.

Then the old computer can stay around as, basically, “an unnecessarily powerful DVD player.”

(The new one doesn’t even have an optical drive…which, okay, that’s more forgivable than the lack of classic USB ports, but I did watch one DVD earlier this year.)