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Music recs: Dan Fogelberg, Darren Hayes, Delain July 12, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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Okay, I’ve decided, I’m doing four songs per artist now.

Dan Fogelberg: soft folk rock, soft pop/country, lots of melancholy ballads. Nobody does wistful nostalgia better. (Dan Fogelberg playlist.)

Darren Hayes: pop with a boy-band-y vibe (though it’s only the one guy), sometimes with dubious electronica tangents. Previously the lead singer of Savage Garden — I’ll do recs for them later. (Darren Hayes playlist.)

Delain: symphonic metal, featuring a keyboardist who left Within Temptation. Not as deep into fantasy-goth, more inclined to dramatic-realism-goth. (Delain playlist.)


I haven’t actually blogged about these pins yet, have I? July 11, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in But I'm A Cat Person, Leif & Thorn.
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You know it’s the last day of a Kickstarter when you start having dreams about canceled pledges. And then a dream where a backer managed to pledge “-$1”.

Also, hey, it’s the last day of a Kickstarter! I’m making enamel pins for the cute mascot critters from each of my comics.

Tiernan is Thorn’s soulbonded therapy cat in Leif & Thorn. She provides emotional support, help recovering from PTSD flashbacks, and general adorableness. Also, she cuddles up to Leif at every opportunity.

Patrick is the puppy-shaped starring shapeshifter of But I’m A Cat Person. He’s nervous, determined, eager to please, and always ready to show off his prowess in a fight! …much to the distress of his new pacifist millennial Master.

The pins have black metal outlines and screen-printed spots, to really capture the style of the comics, like the characters just popped off the page.

The poses were voted on by Patreon supporters — and a good thing, too, because the ones I would’ve picked by instinct were…not necessarily the ones that turned out to be the fan favorites.

You can get either pin alone, both of them together, or all kinds of digital bonus packages. (If you’re not a pin person, but still want the project to succeed, you can get a digital-only bonus package!)

And I really do want this to succeed. I have a mini con coming up in September, and could use some variety on the table between the prints, books, more prints, and more books.

Here’s that link one more time. Deadline is 11:59 PM, US Eastern — and there’s less than $100 left to raise. Check it out, tell your friends, get a pin for yourself maybe?

Or, heck, get a pin for a friend. They’re designed to be so cute and full of personality that you don’t even need to know the comics to appreciate them. (Though it sure doesn’t hurt.)

Tuesday Works Roundup, 7/9 (Good Omens, Moana, Little Mermaid, Hitchhiker’s Guide, and more) July 9, 2019

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
Magical Showdowns (art | Poe, Kara Lynn, Patrick, Reseda, Cybele, Miranda, Sparrow, Bianca, Timothy, Jany | worksafe)
Explain Yourself? (comic | almost all the humans | G)

Leif & Thorn
Embassy Gems Height Chart 3 (art | Gem!Gil, Gerri, Olive, Delphinium, D10, Pascentia, Woman in Black, Maggie Persil, Tansy, Thorn, Mata/Pato, Bram | worksafe)
Their own kind of magic (art | Leif/Thorn | worksafe)
Bone Saw Heart (wallpaper | Marula | worksafe)

Good Omens
Demonic Herpetology (comic | Aziraphale, Crowley | T)

Good Omens/Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Guide Omens, part 1 (updated comic | Arthur, Trillian, Crowley, Aziraphale, DEATH | G)
Guide Omens, part 2 (another updated comic | Arthur, Famine, Pollution, NutriMatic | G)

Moana/The Little Mermaid
My Ariel (art | Moana/Ariel | worksafe)

Chibi Ken (Patreon chibi, worksafe)
Webcomic Woes 29 – Are we…prestigious, now? (comic, G)
Chibi Sylvester (Patreon chibi, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
A kitty catches sight of a bird.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Juniper is picked up by some secret agents, and has a bunch of opinions.

After half a year, I have health insurance again July 4, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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And let me tell you, it’s a huge relief.

Medical stuff under the cut — nothing icky, just pills and a lot of phone calls.

Also, cat stuff at the end, so feel free to skip to that. There’s some discussion of pet death, but nothing recent.


We need stronger background checks, defective product recalls, and more prosecutions for trigger-happy cops July 1, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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There is “overwhelming evidence” that [deputy stationed at Stoneman Douglas] Peterson heard gunshots, but no evidence that he attempted to investigate. Peterson instead chose to hide near a stairwell as shots rang out on the campus, the report found.” (He’s getting charged — good — but way more harshly than cops who actually shoot innocent children — not good.)

Black family is held on gunpoint (and threatened with murder) by Phoenix police because a 4-year-old child took a dollar-store Barbie without paying. (Video.)

Shaquille Dukes was admitted into the hospital for double pneumonia. He received doctors orders to walk around the hospital. He was stopped by a racist security guard, who called racist cops. He was arrested and accused of trying to steal the IV machine.” (Video.)

“The authorities say they are investigating how Mr. Martin slipped through the cracks of the Illinois law, which the police might have been able to use to confiscate his handgun years ago. And the Illinois State Police said they were reviewing why an initial background check failed to turn up a criminal conviction that should have blocked him from buying the gun to begin with.”

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission can order the recall and repair of thousands of things, from toasters to teddy bears. If a defective car needs fixing, the U.S. Department of Transportation can make it happen. The Food and Drug Administration deals with food, drugs, and cosmetics. Only one product is beyond the government’s reach when it comes to defects and safety: firearms. Not even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can get defective guns off the market. If a gunmaker chooses to ignore a safety concern, there’s no one to stop it.”

“I shopped the killed piece around for a few days until it piqued the interest of a female editor at Politico, who accepted it as it was on spec. However, my piece was again passed on to a male editor to review — who asked me to change the premise of the piece to shift more of the blame for mass shootings on mental illness rather than toxic masculinity.”

Just to be clear: they’re concentration camps. June 29, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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And “horseshoe theory” — the idea that far-left rhetoric can loop back around and end up awfully close to far-right — is nicely demonstrated by this one person I saw on Twitter saying, in all apparent earnest, that maybe we shouldn’t use that phrase because it’s “appropriating Jewish culture.”

(Look, I am neither Jewish nor an expert in antisemitism, but anyone should be able to figure out the problem with that if they actually stop and think about it for 2 minutes before posting.)

Also, while I’m soapboxing? There is no measurable difference between “concentration camps” and “internment camps” and “forced detention camps.” It’s just a matter of how generous you’re trying to be toward the camp-runners.

“Children told lawyers that they were fed oatmeal, a cookie and a sweetened drink in the morning, instant noodles for lunch and a burrito and cookie for dinner. There are no fruits or vegetables. They said they’d gone weeks without bathing or a clean change of clothes.

Acting locally to help immigrants and refugees.”

There are amazing groups at the border and beyond doing critical work to defend the rights of immigrant and refugee children. If you can, please chip in to support a few of them today.”

A white American journalist tries to re-enter the country: “I told the officers I had nothing to hide, but I felt I had a professional obligation to call an attorney for further advice. Pomeroy said I could not because I wasn’t under arrest; I just wasn’t allowed to enter the United States. I wasn’t allowed to leave the Homeland Security zone, either. I know because I tried to sort of wander out a couple of times and got yelled at. When I actually tried to call a lawyer friend of mine in Austin, Pomeroy stopped me. They held onto my phone from then out.

“Even moderates like Susan Collins repeated assurances by the party’s pseudo-economists that the plan would not increase the deficit. So far, the growth feedback from the tax cuts has made up about 5 percent of the plan’s revenue loss, a mere 95 percent shy of the predictions.

The Cretaceous Period (145 to 66 million years ago) seashore in Alabama vs how Alabama voted in the 2016 election.”

“He recruited the best liars he could find—a group of prisoners at a Massachusetts penitentiary. For a small fee he asked half to tell the truth of their crimes on video and the other half to lie, saying they had committed someone else’s crime. He showed the videos to college students and police. Neither group did particularly well at truth detection (the average person is right about half the time), but the students performed better than the police. Yet the police felt more certain about their conclusions.”

Music recs: Boh Runga, Carbon Leaf, Chicago June 22, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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I’ve been mostly doing 3 songs per artist, but some of them really resist limitation. Maybe I should kick it up to 4 as a standard?

Boh Runga: Chinese/Maori pop-rock musician from New Zealand. Originally the lead for the band stellar*, which had a more aggressive sound — I prefer her more mellow solo work. (Boh Runga’s channel.)

Sadly, she’s been basically-retired from music for the past decade, the better to focus on her jewelry design. (Boh Runga’s jewelry Instagram.)

Carbon Leaf: folk-rock, alt-country, apparently with a mix of Celtic and bluegrass influences? Lyrically, they’re kind of like They Might Be Giants — offbeat, sometimes fun, sometimes wistful. (Carbon Leaf playlist.)

Having gone through a bunch of their albums in chronological order now, I’d say the earliest stuff is pretty meh, and Indian Summer is when they really hit their stride.

Chicago: classic rock, with lots of jazzy horns and soft-but-emotionally-wrenching ballads. (Chicago playlist.)

They make the top 20 in a lot of Billboard all-time-best-bands charts! And yet in my corner of the internet, which manages to drop references to Bon Jovi or Queen or Simon & Garfunkel, Chicago barely ever comes up. (I guess they do have a lack of odd-enough-to-be-memeable lyrics.)

Art, internet, & media (2000-foot paintings, million-dollar pixels, Bury Your Gays supercuts, and more) June 21, 2019

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A nearly 2,000-foot-long thangka (a religious Buddhist painting) wraps around the interior walls of [the museum’s] second floor. The painting is one of the longest thangkas in the world. More than 400 Tibetan artists spent almost 30 years finishing the masterpiece.”

Fifteen years may not seem a long time, but in terms of the internet it is like a geological age. Some 40% of the links on the Million Pixel Homepage now link to dead sites. Many of the others now point to entirely new domains, their original URL sold to new owners.”

Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible to do anything on the web without JavaScript? How many sites use progressive enhancement in practice? Chris Ashton did an experiment to find out. ”

“I hope to raise the profile of difficulties faced by real people, which are avoidable if we design and develop in a way that is sympathetic to their needs. Last time, I navigated the web for a day with just my keyboard. This time around, I’m avoiding the screen and am using the web with a screen reader.

As far as we can tell (and trust us, we’ve looked everywhere) not one person has reported setting their eyes upon a Pornhub-branded truck. No one took to social media to let their friends know Pornhub had responded to their request and cleared their snow, or posted about spotting one somewhere in Boston.”

Video: the evolution of queerbaiting. With some startlingly overt pre-Hays-Code gay clips, the original context in which queerbaiting developed, and how the current mainstream handling of LGBTQ characters is aggravating in a whole new way.

“Or they could have had Lexa’s death not follow mere minutes after Clarke and Lexa had sex. After a season of potential growth, they finally came together – Clarke and Lexa were finally a couple, finally, clearly in love and DEATH.” A couple years old but still relevant, about series that actually include queer characters and then kill them off ASAP.

I literally googled “Bury Your Gays supercut” and found that exact video. (It’s a women-only cut, even.)

How to recognize fake AI-generated images” of faces. It’s gotten exponentially harder in the past five years.

Lack of representation is a failing of the wizarding world. We must first acknowledge this failing if we want to address it. Pretending Harry was not explicitly written as white in the canon is denying that there is a lack of representation in the wizarding world. Pretending Hermione was not explicitly written as white is denying that there is a lack of representation in the wizarding world.”

“Typewritten portraits” printed in The Strand, March 1909. Emoticons are older than the internet!

Multifandom Recommendations – Temeraire, The Hobbit, Sailor Moon, His Dark Materials, Madoka Magica, Doctrine of Labyrinths, Beauty and the Beast, To Whatever June 19, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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  • Temeraire, The Hobbit | Temeraire/Smaug, Laurence | M | Thunder On the Mountain
    Temeraire has searched long and hard for his lost captain, in a strange and distant land. One very large obstacle presents itself and demands his attention. And other things.

    Fulfillment of his quest comes with a price, and Middle-earth’s future is subtly altered.
    crossover,series:temeraire,series:lord of the rings,pairing:temeraire_smaug,kink:bdsm,fic:one-shot

  • Temeraire | Laurence/Roland, Tharkay, ensemble | G | One for the Corps
    Life in the Peak district takes a fresh turn when Jane makes an announcement. Laurence is mortified, Lady Allendale delighted, the Corps love the gossip, Temeraire battles jealousy, and Tharkay just wants to read his newspaper (because as we know, all infants look alike).

  • Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon | Usagi, Ikuko | G | Can’t Let Go
    Usagi shows up at her house the morning after the earthquake with a baby in her arms and tears in her eyes.

    Ikuko opens the door and takes one look at the fresh wounds and the distant, broken look in her daughter’s eyes, and she envelopes Usagi in a hug.
    series:sailor moon,trope:kidfic,fic:one-shot,genfic,kink:identity porn

  • Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon | ensemble | T | Last October
    Last October is set five hundred years from now, and uses somewhat sped-up worst-case-scenario official projections of the effects of climate change as a result of unchecked pollution, and the failure of a patchwork half-magic weather and sustainable energy system, and it applies them to the doomsday event that heralds the dawn of Crystal Tokyo.
    series:sailor moon,fic:chaptered,trope:apocalypse,genfic

  • Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon | Minako/Kunzite | G | Bottom of a Phone Booth
    And now he was sitting in front of her – the leader of the Sailor Senshi, his murderer twice over, and a woman who he’d… who had meant a great deal to him once. She still did, even though he had never met her, and he did not know her name.
    series:sailor moon,pairing:kunzite_minako,fic:one-shot,kink:identity porn

  • Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Homura/Madoka, Sayaka, Kyoko | M | Misbehaving Angels
    “I need you to come home. Madoka and Homura are about to start having some kind of deity sex in the kitchen. I’m safe, don’t worry, but there is about to be some seriously supernatural sex going down in the kitchen, any minute now.”
    pairing:homura_madoka,yuri,series:puella magi madoka magica,kink:weird.sex,fic:one-shot

  • Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Homura/Madoka, Sayaka | G | Shadow of a Doubt
    “Sayaka called earlier. She said she’d been worried about you lately, so she invited you to the arcade for a chat. While she was leaving, she heard a commotion, so she went back in case you’d gotten into trouble. Did you really shoot out the glass of an arcade game and steal that toy?”
    series:puella magi madoka magica,fic:one-shot,yuri,pairing:homura_madoka

  • To Whatever | Ethan, Whatever | G | Correspondence
    After discovering that I’d saved my correspondence from the early days of our acquaintance, the author of these notes asked for equal time. As you might expect for a translation from a pandimensional runic language that is not actually written as much as it is instantiated, this is only an approximation.
    series:to whatever,genfic,fic:one-shot

Music recs: Bat for Lashes, Belinda Carlisle, Blackmore’s Night June 15, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Recommendations.
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More recs for musicians that don’t get enough play in my corners of the internet.

…in the process of making these, I’m finding out that there are some artists I thought I’d rec in general, but it turns out their whole discography only has 3 songs I like.

Bat for Lashes: professional name for singer Natasha Khan, who does pretty, dreamy, classical-influenced indie pop. (Bat for Lashes playlist.)

Belinda Carlisle: previously of the Go-Go’s, later a solo singer of new-wave, power ballads, and other pop-rock. (Belinda Carlisle’s channel.)

She did a cover of Won’t Say I’m In Love, and it’s great:

Blackmore’s Night: medieval/Celtic folk rock. Pretty, lyrical, combines the electric guitar with the mandolin and the nyckelharpe. Exactly how you expect a Renaissance faire to sound. (Blackmore’s Night playlist.)

(This last one is 100% Rose Quartz’s theme song.)