Monday, September 19, 2016

Arrrrr

ARRRR! It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Arrrr! Ramen.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Sunday Review

It has been a LONG time since I reviewed any comics. It's actually been awhile since I've read any comics. So I'm going to work on catching up. It might take a few weeks.

DCBS
Here are reviews of the DCBS comic books that I've gotten around to reading and reviewing, sorted by the original shipping date:
  • May 18th
  • Aquaman #52 - And so the series ends. The new 52 ends on issue 52 and there's a mystery left to figure out but no immediate threat. All is well in the Aquaman universe? It definitely felt like a much longer storyline was wrapped up due to scheduling reasons and not story reasons, but I'll live. The art is solid, and I'm hoping we see more of Vicente Cifuentes' work in the future. A little chunky in places, but nicely dynamic overall. Not the most interesting finish of an Aquaman series, but... what can you do when DC insists on another reboot?
  • Titans Hunt #8 - Finally we get to the finish, and we get an issue that doesn't feel like it's been padded out. The team is together at last to fight Mr. Twister and whatever is behind door number two. Only, there's someone missing, according to Twister. That's not nearly as important as the team defeating the bad guy, but once that's done it's time to regroup and decide to become the Titans again. Aqualad/Tempest is drawn oddly in many panels in this book. I feel like nobody has come up with a model sheet for him yet or something. I'm looking forward to the new Titans book, just because I want to see how writers handle Garth, but I'm sad that in the current DCU all that Teen Titans history has been lost.
  • Sinestro #23 - A showdown between the Red Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps really isn't much of anything at all, thanks to foresight and planning. And the final goal of Sinestro finally becomes clear... if it's actually his final goal and not just the step to yet another problem. It's all pretty hard to swallow, but since this is the end of this series, I'm not going to let myself become too disturbed by it. I hope DC doesn't abandon Soranik. She's a decent character despite all the flaws of the books she's been in.
  • Astro City #35 - Wow. This is still one of the best superhero books on the shelves. It's quality from start to finish, filling out more of the Astro City universe while giving us a touching back-story that's also a follow-up. If I had to pick one superhero book to read and only one, I'd be hard-pressed to choose between this and Aquaman.
  • Future Quest #1 - I really had no idea what to expect from this, and honestly, my expectations were fairly low. So imagine my surprise when I got a fun start to what promises to be a fascinating story. It features many characters I'm not terribly familiar with, but they are properly introduced for the most part and hopefully the story won't get so crowded that I need a scorecard. Right now, I'm in. This is a great start and I can recommend folks pick it up and give it a shot.
  • Doctor Who 11th #2.9 - This is a very confusing storyline with companions dropping like flies. But I have a feeling it's getting near the climax and we'll have an explanation soon enough for why the Doctor is acting so strange and wrong. At least, I hope so.
  • Xena Warrior Princess #2 - I'm still very confused by this book, although I'm getting a slightly clearer picture. I gather Gabrielle is having visions. And the pair did some things that they regret because they could be taken the wrong way. So we'll have to see where this goes from here to find out if it's worth continuing to buy, because if the story is only for long-time fans who've watched every episode and read every comic available, it might not be something I'm interested in.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #154 - You never know when a little kindness could save your life. And in Usagi's case, it was literally a little kindness that caused a moment's hesitation. He's one lucky rabbit. This is, as usual, one of the best (if not THE best) comic books out there. And standalone issues like this are simply fantastic. Well worth hunting down and reading.




Monday, September 12, 2016

Listen to me...

...on the Fire & Water podcast #174. Rob and I chat about early Aquaman stories, how I got into Aquaman, and good trade paperbacks to buy from body-surfing US Representatives.

Click now to listen or download.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Inkwell at Androcon


"Mom, I'm scared of all the monkeys downstairs."




"Mom, what does it mean, 'Small mammals are quite flavorful when baked'?"




Please let me play with the red dot now? Please?


I had a very strange dream last night...

I generally don't like posting about dreams, because they are usually really boring to other people. But I'll make an exception, just to record this one for myself. We've had houseguests over for "Androcon" - our Doctor Who club's annual visit to Eric and I here in the middle of nowhere. It's been non-stop watching Doctor Who, movies and funny videos supplemented by tons of food.

As usual, I'm a bit anti-social throughout it all, retreating to my room upstairs during most of the action and just listening to the talking and the videos. Inkwell has been terrified this time, staying upstairs with me, either under my chair or next to it. Although he bit me pretty hard yesterday when I tried to play on my computer when he needed to reassurance and comfort skritches.

On Friday I drank some soda pop and had chocolate and, clearly, managed to exceed my caffeine limit. I ended up with a migraine on Saturday and had to spend a couple of hours with a pillow covering my eyes and Inkwell sniffing me every once in awhile to make sure I was still alive. I slept after the worst of it wore off, then came down and participated in the party a bit in the evening.

I didn't go to sleep until about 1:30 a.m., after making up for lost internet time and playing DC Universe Online for a bit. Then I wandered into a dream that was... I'm not even sure how to describe it.

I existed in the expanse of time when the Earth was being created and populated, and I was assigned the task of creating creatures to be on the North American continent. My requirements, intuitively understood, were that the animals had to be in balance with one another and some of them had to be of use to humans, who were coming later. I was enthusiastic about the task and set about creating fantastic creatures that were going to be just awesome. Humans were going to love my animals when they got to North America.

I can't remember most of my animals, but I remember three of them clearly. One was a kind of turtle with a ridge down the back, a bit like spikes but not so tall. It could, in a pinch, expel flame out its back. It was truly wonderful. I loved it. Another animal I created walked on two legs and was just big enough for a human to ride... think Taun Taun from Star Wars. It was a bit smaller and the head was completely different - I think it was like an alpaca head. I loved it. My third animal was the elephant. Yes. In the dream, I created elephants.

And I took my animals to show them off and - no, no, these won't do at all! We need squirrels! We're going to populate North America with squirrels. I was crestfallen, but since a few of my animals made it I wasn't sad. Until they said the elephants had to go. I argued for my elephants. They are majestic, I said. They can be used as beasts of labor by the humans, I said. They are wonderful. But no, they said North America wouldn't have elephants. Imagine my rage when I found out Africa was getting my beautiful elephants instead! And someone else was claiming they had made my elephants. And some other person stole the idea and used it in Asia. I was so angry!

I woke up in an absolute RAGE that my elephants had been stolen. For almost an hour after I woke up I was in a state of righteous indignation about my elephants being stolen even though I was fully aware that it had only been a dream.

In fact, I'm still a bit annoyed. I think perhaps I managed to get my elephants in North America after all, though, by developing Woolly Mammoths. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Having Fun on Facebook....

After watching a very strange interview on MSNBC last night (I usually watch the last bit of "All In" then Rachel Maddow, and nothing else on that channel) I was amused to find out that Taco Trucks on Every Corner had become a meme overnight. This is my favorite:


I said Eric and I planned to have tacos on Election Day, and someone suggested I create an event for it. So I created Election Day Taco Tuesday. Eric and I tend to follow through when we make menu plans like this, so we'll definitely be figuring out how to have tacos of some sort on Election Day. If you want to join in the fun, post photos of your Election Day meals in the group.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to help someone who is being harassed...

Maeril made a comic, and it's well worth sharing...


  • Step one: engage the victim in conversation while ignoring the harasser.
  • Step two: find a subject to talk about while continuing to ignore the harasser.
  • Step three: continue to build a safe space by keeping eye contact with the victim. Do not engage with or discuss the harasser.
  • Step four: continue until the harasser leaves and the victim is in a safe place, while respecting the wishes of the victim.

While there is no step five, if you are secretly a vigilante, I'm sure you can later hunt down the harasser and scare them straight - but I generally wouldn't recommend it. People dumb enough to harass others are not smart enough to be scared straight.

If you see someone else taking these actions to help someone, it might be smart to pull out a phone and video the harasser so you can inform authorities about the scumbag, but don't video unless somebody is helping protect the victim.

This cartoon doesn't say what to do if the harasser turns attention on you. For the most part, you just ignore it. If they physically attack you, then call authorities. Otherwise, just ignore them and continue to make a safe space.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cat Picture


Fully stretched Inkwell is nearly three feet long from paws to paws...

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Inkwell left me a present...

Apparently, I haven't been paying close enough attention to him, as he managed to throw up in the front window sill without me noticing. I'm not sure how long ago it happened, as I don't open the front window unless I absolutely have to. In addition, I'd built up a "cat castle" in front of the window, making it a safe space for him to get away from humans.

Well, he took advantage of it.

I just spent the last half hour scrubbing the area and vacuuming up the remaining chunks. It looks to me like it was a dinner, so it probably happened in the middle of the night sometime. It was dried enough that cleaning it wasn't too bad, it just required some scrubbing.

I have been in a major depression with some anxiety attacks for the past few months. It's been bad enough that I've been trying to stay inside and away from people. I'm going to have to break out of it soon. It's not a comfortable way to live. As a meme on Facebook said, "Depression is when you don't really care about anything. Anxiety is when you care too much about everything. And having both is just like hell."

In lieu of forcing myself to be creative, here's a summary of some of my recent Facebook posts - stuff that I found interesting enough to share.

Andy Borowitz again hits one out of the park with Nation with Crumbling Bridges and Roads Excited to Build Giant Wall. Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. We need leadership that will rebuild our infrastructure, not make stupid promises about walls on our borders.

U.S. Doctors Call for Universal Health Care. A single-payer system is the only moral system. Companies that profit from denying care, which includes most health insurance companies and many pharmaceutical companies, are basically evil. If the goal is increasing shareholder profits and not saving lives, then the companies should go away. Forever.

CharityWatch ranks lots of charities, including The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation. Note the extremely low overhead of the Clinton Foundation, at only 12%. The charity gets an "A" rating because most of its money goes to help people. The numbers being used by conservative critics are not false... they simply count everything that isn't a grant as overhead. Since the Clinton Foundation assists people using other methods besides grants, the critics' numbers are misleading and basically a giant lie.

When we lived in Frankenhaus, one of the biggest problems we ran into was keeping the blackberries under control. Well, we have Luther Burbank to blame. I've spent many days at Luther Burbank Park, so I was a little surprised to read the history of the man. Kind of strikingly eye-opening, and not in a good way.

I quite liked this tweet:

In case you don't know the backstory, several seaside towns in France banned the "burkini", a full body covering suit that allows Muslim or similarly shy women to go to the beach without exposing themselves. At one beach, a woman wearing one was forced to strip by police. That's right. Police forced a woman being modest at the beach to strip. The French Supreme Court banned the laws, but they are apparently still being enforced and a disturbing percent of the population is just fine with it. On the one hand, I'm kind of relieved that another country is outdoing America for sheer stupidity, but on the other hand, really, France? Really?


Women can't win.

New DeLoreans are being built with original parts. These will reportedly have a much better engine. I'm just going to take the opportunity to note that I got to ride in a DeLorean on Back to the Future Day, something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

On a very light note, the entire British Olympics team had an unfortunate airport problem. Oops.

I don't know if you'll be able to see this if you don't have Facebook, sorry, but Dee Snider did an acoustic version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" that is just amazing and done for all the right reasons. I'm going to try to embed the YouTube version:


Moving on, Phil Plait got really excited about a new astronomical discovery. What does it mean, practically? Not a lot for the average person, but it expands and changes our knowledge and potential understanding of the universe.

A teenager in Montreal showed himself to be a true man by calmly saving a woman from a kidnapper. If that story doesn't bring happiness to your heart, you're probably dead.

A post by a Fort Worth mother of a note from her child's teacher has gone viral. Basically, the teacher was informing parents that the children would not be assigned any homework - only work they didn't finish in class - and urged parents to do evening activities with their children that are proven to correlate with student success. Activities like reading together, eating as a family, playing outside and getting to bed on time. My response is positive. I didn't do homework. I always asked myself if I could pass it if it were on a test. If the answer was yes, I ignored any homework assignments. If the answer was no, I went to the teacher to get it fully explained to me so I could pass it on a test. Homework never figured into my understanding. It was all just busy work. Pointless and useless. If I understood it, why would I want to waste time and energy doing another 50 problems? If I didn't understand it, I couldn't see how struggling through 50 problems would help me in any way.

If you haven't read the Hugo-winning Short Story "Cat Pictures Please", go check it out now. It makes me want to take photos of Inkwell and post them. If only I weren't so upset at him at the moment for his present he left in the windowsill...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Solar Sidewalk

I'm sure everyone who reads my blog knows all about Solar Roadways and how enthused I am about it. Well, the first public installation is about to begin, in Sandpoint, Idaho: at Jeff Jones Town Square. This installation will either be the first step toward real solar roads... or the proof that the concept cannot work. I'm rooting for it to work, and can hardly wait for the cam to go live.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Don't Drive Drunk

...is the advice I would have given the driver who just slammed into a car across the street, pushing it into a truck and damaging both. The driver then raced off, peeling out on a sidewalk before roaring away from the neighborhood, leaving half the neighbors to come outside and have an impromptu street meeting. I called the cops, who sent a nice officer to take stock of the situation. One neighbor believed the car came from a party, and everyone was in agreement that the driver had to be impaired. Probably with alcohol, but who knows?

I was told that the car that was hit belongs to a 19-year-old kid who has been working extra hours to maintain the car and make sure it stays running and in nice shape. The young man is apparently in Seattle this weekend, and will not be happy to learn that his car has been crunched badly.

I heard the crash from inside my house, and by the time I got out of my chair, across the room and to the front door, the vehicle that caused the crash was gone.

Ah well, nothing like a car crash to get your blood pumping at 11 p.m.

Scam, or Really Unethical Viral Marketing?

So I got a text from a company called Everalbum claiming that someone named Ralph Mendoza recommended that I check out "my" photos on its site.

First, the only Ralph Mendoza I know is a business contact from when I was a reporter. I hardly know him beyond an interview or two.

Second, I certainly never gave permission for him or anyone else to send me text spam. Since I pay for my text usage, this could conceivably drive my bill up, therefore I'm unhappy to see unwanted solicitations through text. Also, I don't think Mendoza would send me this kind of spam. He's not that kind of guy, so this company is dragging his name through the mud.

Third, I looked up Everalbum, and it seems to be a legit company that scrapes social media, steals your photos and saves them in an album for you. As nice as that service might be, having them do it without my permission and then text me about it really irritates me.

My recommendation is to not click the link if you get this spam text, because they will steal your phone numbers and spam everyone you know. I suggest going to their FB page and giving them a bad rating if they do spam you. If they steal your contacts and send out spam to everyone you know, perhaps a lawsuit is in order... I don't know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cosplayers are awesome part ....?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wow, 52 Years...


Friday, August 12, 2016

Love Love Peace Peace Annotated

If you've never watched the Eurovision Song Contest, you should. The song I posted was an awesome parody, but this annotated version of the lyrics will give you a much broader look into the history of the contest. Click on the gray bits to see a lovely sidebar, often with animated visuals.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

For my little sister...


I've posted it before, but it's still the absolute best thing ever to come out of the Eurovision Song Contest...

Yeah, we were discussing it at Anglicon. "And a man in a hamster wheel!"

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Peek-A-Boo

video

Imagine sitting in the craft room and looking over at somebody's nice Weeping Angel doll. It was sticking out of a bag and it was NOT moving.

I turned to talk with someone, then looked back and nearly peed my pants... the angel was moving! ACK!

Anglicon in photos


I tried to obey #3... I'm not sure I succeeded.



I love the dealers room!



I sat next to him for hours, but never got his photo!



An autograph session in full swing.



Terry Molloy and his bear Monty. Yes, Davros attends conventions with teddy bear.



Annette Badland is wonderful, if a bit naughty.






Dan Starkey poses with a skeleton and a guy in a lime-green jacket.



Terry enjoyed having his head floating around the con.



It's Fe-9, for those who are more cat people.



I don't know, I think this dalek is missing something...



British Soda tasting in the hospitality suite was fun!



My husband exits the TARDIS for his interview with Annette Badland.



Eric and Annette talk to the crowd. Eric finished the panel by having Annette ask the crowd questions.



Ah, a good convention with friends, fun and penguins.



And finally, a knitted Adipose for my friends in the posse. This was at the Rustycon table.




Now, some brief thoughts. I need to get healthier for next year's convention if the hotel persists in putting us as far away as possible from the convention space. Ug.

I volunteered a bit, had some fun, wrangled guests and spent some time in the craft room as well (me, in a craft room? preposterous!). Highlights of the con included long chats with Norm Lovett on a variety of silly subjects. On Friday night I noticed nobody was wrangling the guests, who had been left in the hallway alone. I ended up getting them where they were supposed to go and making sure everyone got on stage during the Match Game.

That's the spirit of a con. You pitch in when help is needed.

The volunteer party was amusing, and everyone was waiting for something to happen, so I started "singing" the Mahna Mahna song from the Muppet show. When I went into the scat, everyone laughed. Later, at closing ceremonies, I did it again and, to my surprise, everyone sang along again (I didn't think enough people could hear me, but apparently my growl of Mahna Mahna really carried!).

My friend Adi on Twitch has "Huzzah!" as a catchphrase when he is victorious in games. At the closing ceremonies, there was a short presentation of awards for the trivia winners, and I started yelling "Huzzah!" after each name was announced. Other people picked it up, and soon the entire crowd was yelling "Huzzah!" as each person got their prize.

Then the guests came out and Annette Badland started yelling "Huzzah!" after every statement. And then Terry Molloy picked it up. And Dan Starkey said, "Sontar-Huzzah!" which brought the house down. So, in honor of Adi, the con ended with a mighty "HUZZAH!"

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hugos...

While I've fallen off the face of the web, I have done a little work on reading/watching the Hugo finalists and getting ready for voting. Sadly, I haven't had the energy or will to write about it, until now, and I'm pretty sure I won't have time to write about all of them. So I'll just do what little I can before voting ends.

After last year's attempt to be completely fair in my judging resulted in me wasting my time on total garbage, I decided this year to avoid any works created by rapid puppies, which whittled down the list a bit before I even started.

Because the puppies nominated a bunch of good stuff this year, that many others nominated as well, I am NOT going by what they nominated. That would throw the baby out with the bathwater.

So, let's start with the novels. I had read all but one before the finalists were announced. That one I hadn't read was "The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass" by Jim Butcher, which was easy to get from the library and read.

"The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin is haunting and strange and hints at a completely different world and culture. There is a narrative at work that is amazing and deep, and I loved it and am looking forward to the second book to see if some of my guesses were correct. The biggest flaw was that it was slightly drawn out in some places, but not badly so. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

"Uprooted" by Naomi Novik has the best opening lines of any of these books, which isn't enough to put it on top, but combined with how good it is overall, it's worth noting. The characters are fascinating and the premise is both fun and a bit of a challenge to figure out. There are a few squicky moments between the lead characters, but I felt they emerged naturally from the situation and were resolved in a way that doesn't diminish the main character. Overall, an excellent book.

"Ancillary Mercy" by Ann Leckie is a lovely finale to a great trilogy. I was not expecting the solution that came out of everything, but it worked for me. The entire trilogy was solid and twisted my brain in good ways. I love the use of language to challenge perceptions and found this to be a good read.

"Seveneves: A Novel" by Neal Stephenson is way too long. It's also two completely different books thrown together to create a kind of symmetry that's both good and bad. I have a lot of issues with the science, although it's one of those "suspension of disbelief for the sake of a story" things. Not my favorite of the bunch. In fact, although it's a good read and decent book, I have to put it at the bottom of my list.

"The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut's Windlass" by Jim Butcher is a fun little read, a bit of a popcorn book. I put it slightly over "Seveneves" because I found it more readable and interesting, but it's still not really in the same league as the top books. The characters are varied and have a great deal of potential, but still manage to come off as slightly stereotypical. Future books in this series will determine if they stay that way.

So, while I enjoyed all of them, a nice surprise, it's between "The Fifth Season" and "Uprooted" for the top prize, and I'm probably going to put "The Fifth Season" first and "Uprooted" second.