--I had these notions of finishing a fic for this round of smallfandomfest, but it wraps up at the end of this month, so...ha ha ha no. ^^; But hey, I got it started and made some actual progress during nanodownunder, and unfilled smallfandomfest prompts remain available for claiming past the round when they're prompted, so it's not like I won't have another chance. I just liked the idea of doing it now.
--I haven't taken pictures yet, but when we were out watering the garden a couple of days ago, there were the beginnings of blossoms on one of the two clematis plants!
--Amidst all the political awfulness, personal stuff, cute gifs, and book-blogger chat, my Twitter feed has been full of people being gleeful about "Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator"--enough so that I briefly pretended I don't have something like 100 unplayed games and can't remember the last time I played anything and went to check it out. I was saved by an impulse buy by the fact that the game's currently Windows- and Mac-only; I do still have a Windows partition for games, but realistically, I also can't remember the last time I booted into it for anything but StarCraft. (And that wasn't terribly recently. I did buy at least the first of the SCII Nova mission packs, but I don't remember how far I got.) (Separate parenthetical: I've preordered the remastered original StarCraft, so for that, booting into Windows will undoubtedly happen. Unless it magically runs under WINE.)
--I need to keep reminding myself that Rogue One is on Netflix until I finally watch it (having literally slept through most of it in the theatre, which was not the movie's fault!). I should also rewatch TFA sometime in the next few months.
--It turns out Black Sails is shorter than I'd been thinking in two ways: I'd somehow had the impression it's five seasons, not four, and I also hadn't realized the seasons are so short (eight to ten episodes each, I think?). All of a sudden bumping it up to basically the top of my to-watch list (which seems to be a good plan, judging from how many people I know are in love with the show) is a way less daunting prospect.
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Characters/Pairings: Arthur Pendragon (with Excalibur)
Content Notes: This one's a pencil sketch. My choice of object was inspired by this gif set on Tumblr. I had to make up certain parts of the sword for both perspective drawings, and found this YouTube vid really helpful as a starting point: How to draw a sword in perspective.
(Click for larger image at my journal)
Fandom: Merlin (BBC)
Characters/Pairings: Arthur Pendragon (with Excalibur)
Content Notes: Pencil sketch created for the drawesome Weekly Challenge #4: One Object, Two Perspectives.
My choice of object was inspired by this gif set on Tumblr. I had to make up certain parts of the sword for both perspective drawings, and found this YouTube vid really helpful as a starting point: How to draw a sword in perspective.
( Click here for entire artwork )
Via sgamadison, an update on Stargate Origins: be aware that the new digital episodes are only going to be ten minutes each.
"A Woman, Explaining Things". [Sarah Gailey on the casting of the thirteenth Doctor]
"Towards a Definition of “Fanfiction”: 3,564 people took our survey. Here’s what we learned". [Fansplaining]
"Does God exist in the Marvel Universe?" [Salon]
"Akiko Higashimura's Princess Jellyfish Manga Ends on August 25". [ANN]
"Radical Cartography" is...hard for me to describe. Very cool things with maps...and stuff...?
"All of my work on the “Irish slaves” meme (2015–’16)". In case you ever need to debunk the "but the Irish were slaves too!" crap that some flavors of racists like to whip out.
"Gratitude for Invisible Systems: One way to improve democracy is for more people to appreciate its complex technological underpinnings".
"My Father Spent 30 Years In Prison. Now He's Out". This is lovely and heartbreaking.
"Updated Syllabus for Journalism 101". [McSweeney's]
"This Is How Tough It Can Actually Be To Follow High School Prom Dress Codes". [Buzzfeed]
Via bell, "When Your Teacher Keeps Saying You Can’t Draw Cats, But Your Paintings Are Photorealistic".
"Make a Magical Carpet Cat Hammock With an Old Towel".
"This Guy Spent A Year Exploring The Subculture Of Competitive Punning".
"How to Fall Down". [Lifehacker]
"Sapphic Stories || Around the world". "Sapphic Stories – Around the world does not intend to be a rec list that is ultimate and finalized, but just the beginning of a search for more pluralized stories. There are many other stories out there that we need to look for. Still, I believe that this post could be a nice start so that people can recognize these stories set in the places they grew up in or to know more about what it means to be sapphic in other places. This list contains F/F fiction books, books that have at least one women who feel romantic/sexual attraction to women, short stories, anthologies, and nonfiction about how it is to be LGBT+ in some places of the world."
"tim walker photographs all black cast for alice in wonderland themed pirelli calendar".
Via dine, "Superb Cut Paper Artworks by Pippa Dyrlaga".
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a weird book. I liked it, some parts of it quite a bit, but it's a weird book. I think I started out with the wrong expectations; I'd just read a YA book, and the cover of this one looks like a YA novel. It's also told from the perspective of someone who believes her plastic dragons can talk to her, so initially I thought I was going to be reading a YA fantasy novel.
Pretty quickly, though, the book veers into adult territory; the protagonist Sarah is actually in her thirties, and there's a fair amount of sexual content, including mentions of child prostitution, although none of it is graphic or detailed, just alluded to.
This is set in some sort of possibly dystopic future, but we don't get a lot of details about the world because everything comes from Sarah's very limited POV. That's actually one of my favorite parts about the book--the way the author lets little details about the world slip through (everybody uses some kind of credit system, hovercars are a thing, etc) without really explaining anything.
Another part I really like is that Sarah can speak to inanimate objects. At the beginning of the story, the reader thinks she's hallucinating and then gradually comes to realize that she truly can hear her plastic dragons and other objects speak. I also like that Sarah falls in with a group of marginalized people who have banded together to protect each other and live together in what sounds to me like an abandoned chemical plant. Their society is based on the Jungle Book, and is very cool if also very disturbing in many ways.
So, pros: very cool world building, very interesting protagonist, very interesting plot.
Cons: mentions of child rape and child prostitution, consent issues, really bizarre (dated?) understanding of autism (the story begins with Sarah in an institution, and she's believed to be autistic because she was mute as a child and now can only communicate in quotations from stories that she's memorized)
Recommend with reservations.
View all my reviews
EFF has asked a federal court to rule in its favor in a lawsuit we filed against an Australian company that sought to use foreign law to censor us from expressing our opinion about its patent. While the company, Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA,) knows its way around U.S. courts—having filed dozens of lawsuits against big tech companies claiming patent infringement—it has failed to respond to ours. Today we asked for a default judgment, which if granted means we win the case.
It all started when GEMSA’s patent litigation was featured in our June 2016 blog series “Stupid Patent of the Month.” The company wrote to EFF accusing us of “false and malicious slander.” It subsequently filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction from a South Australia court ordering EFF to take down the blog post and blocking us from ever talking about any of its intellectual property.
We have not removed the post. The South Australian injunction can’t be enforced in the U.S. under a 2010 federal law that took aim against “libel tourism,” a practice by which plaintiffs—often billionaires, celebrities, or oligarchs—sued U.S. writers and academics in countries like England where it was easier to win a defamation case.
The Securing the Protection of Our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (SPEECH Act) says foreign orders aren’t enforceable in the United States unless they are consistent with the free speech protections provided by the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as state law. Our lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, maintains that GEMSA’s injunction, which seeks to silence expression of an opinion, would never survive scrutiny under the First Amendment in the United States and should therefore be declared unenforceable. We stood ready to defend our right to express constitutionally protected speech.
GEMSA, which has three pending patent lawsuits in in the Northern District of California, had until May 23 to respond to our case. That day came and went without a word. We can’t speculate as to why GEMSA hasn’t responded. To get a default judgment, we need to show that not only has GEMSA failed to answer our claims but also, regarding our claim that the South Australia injunction is unenforceable in the U.S., the law is on our side.
We believe that we should prevail. The law does not allow companies or individuals to make an end run around the First Amendment by finding a judge in another country to sign an injunction that censors speech in the U.S. The law the Australian court applied to grant the injunction didn’t provide as much protection for EFF’s speech as American law, which means it’s unenforceable under the SPEECH Act. Additionally, the injunction is unconstitutional under American law as it prohibits all future speech by EFF about any of GEMSA’s patents. Such prohibitions are also known as prior restraints, and are allowed only in the rarest of circumstances, none of which apply here.
Our laws also don’t allow plaintiffs to be left under a cloud of uncertainty as to their ability to speak publicly about something as important as patent litigation and reform. The Australian injunction states that failure to comply could result in the seizure of EFF’s assets and prison time for its officers. GEMSA attorneys have threatened to take the Australian injunction to American search engine companies to deindex the blog post, making the post harder to find online.
The court should set the record straight and grant our request for a default judgment. Our laws call for no less.
Dating the Tifinagh inscriptions is, of course, extremely hard. We're talking about graffiti scratched into rocks in the Sahara, with messages that say things like "He loves Dali," or at least probably say things like that once you guess all the vowels. But the real problem for me is a classic case of different priorities. Archaeology centered on Roman North Africa, or even better pre-Roman Carthaginian Africa, is a serious industry. It's easy to find articles on classical inscriptions, and it's at least possible to locate articles on classical inscriptions written in Tifinagh. But medieval North African archaeology is a niche interest (even setting aside the problems inherent in referring to "medieval Africa" at all), and nobody has bothered to date later inscriptions more precisely than "These must be post-Islamic conquest because they're using Muslim names."
Or, rather, there is exactly one person who has tried. He hasn't published his transcriptions, just a table of inscription locations that mentions some are "Islamic era" and others are "modern". He did very kindly answer my email and point me at his article on classical inscriptions. That tells me that the word for "son" used to record Roman African names is the same as the one used in Inscriptions Rupestres Libyco-Berbères (up to an unwritten vowel, at least). So it might just barely be possible to construct a Berber name for SCA use now, as long as you choose one that's both in Inscriptions Rupestres Libyco-Berbères and in medieval documents written in Arabic.
Superb cut-paper art.
Roman roads in Britain as if they were the Tube -- a map. Thanks to nineweaving.
A 19-year-old memo, buried in stuff since Ken Starr stopped hassling Clinton, states that it is possible for "a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties..." Send in the clowns!
And, btw, I am so grateful for those new gutters. The old ones dripped, and it would wake me at any hour, and I would lie there trying to hear directionally and figure out if the drip was outside the house or under the roof. I can sleep now!
Signal-boosting much appreciated!
Some general stuff about my tastes: For written works, explicit sex (slash, het, or femslash) is okay, non-explicit sex is okay, no sex is okay, but any sex should be in believable language for the source, and there should be more to the story than just PWP. If you choose to write a sex scene, I prefer those that focus on emotions and perceptions rather than on the mechanics of what goes where, and I am rather vanilla in my preferences where kink is concerned: mouths, hands, genitals, toys, all are fine, but I'm not into BSDM or bloodplay or watersports or anything that might get a special tag. Gen is a-okay with me too. For art, I prefer R-rated art to NC17-rated art, and I'm totally happy with lower-rated art.
I have made some prompts and suggestions, but feel free to take things in whatever direction you like and/or include characters I haven't mentioned. I like: historical/worldbuildy detail, scenery porn, non-explicitly-detailed sex, ghost stories, supernatural elements, what-if AUs, original characters. My favorite tropes are time travel, bodyswap, and afterlife stories, though I'm perfectly happy with an entirely canonical scenario. In general I'm not a fan of AU that completely changes the setting, but if you have a brilliant idea, go for it; I would prefer "interesting" to "mundane" AUs, e.g., in SPAAAACE yes, coffeeshop no. (Coffeeshop in SPAAAACE, okay!). Except as noted, I would like happy endings and no major character death (unless it's canonical and results in ghost-fic).
For fic, I generally prefer plot (as in, things happening; doesn't have to be elaborate or long – as contrasted with character studies), past tense (either first person or third person – I don't like second person), and lots of dialogue. But these are preferences, not hard DNWs, and if you have a brilliant idea that requires second person or present tense, go ahead. My only hard preferences are for conventional pronouns, capitalization, and punctuation.
For art, I am happier with AU than in fic. I am totally fine with simple portraits, though if you want to show characters interacting, I have a soft spot for art in which one character is doing something typical-but-alarming, and the other is rolling his or her eyes, or reacting with horror, or getting ready to douse them with a bucket of water, or whatever. I like line drawings as well as full color. Stylistically, I love interesting and experimental compositions, unusual perspectives, emphasis on textures such as hair and clothing, and scenery porn (Mountains! Trees! Cliffs with water crashing on them! Brooding ruins of an ancient castle!)
( This is a placeholder and will be edited to add specific fandom likes and prompts. )
( D&D )
I recently found a book again that I'd searched for for years: "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I was prepared to be disappointed, but to my happy surprise I still like it a lot. It's harsher than I remembered, especially in regards to the cost of striving for power. The surprising reveal at the end made me look at much of it in a different way and made me like it even more. Yay trope subversion. ( Spoiler )
I liked Antonya and many of the other characters, and rereading the book now there are several scenes that I now much better understand the id buttons they pushed (esp. Kerrick & Morgan.) Also, something I'd forgotten about which was a nice surprise, queer people exist and are, while not completely normal, not a big deal.
Politics, because it's unavoidable: The current situation in Poland is scary, it shows how easily things like that can happen. That the protests appear to have had some success is encouraging but not more than a silver lining.
There are so many countries were democracy is under attack…
In Austria I'm trying to focus on the push-back against the surveillance program, but I'm scared about the new government after the next election. The outcome seems almost certain and it would be a bad one imo, but as we've recently seen in the UK a lot can change during an election campaign, so we'll see.