The Impossible Guide to the Galaxy: MONEY

Oh how I have been anticipating releasing this! Other than the music, this video is all me, from the writing to the voice work to the animation to even the custom software that actually runs the animations!

I am especially interested in what the locals might think of this, as it seems like it might be the sort of cynical humor that slots nicely into the worldview around here.

I Done Did A Streamin’!

As announced over on Pharyngula, our very own Spider Professor ran a stream today reading and reacting to the comments on his previous video on trans people and the complexity of defining ‘sex’. Crip Dyke, Sarah, and I joined him for this, and here it is:

A small confession: Barring a couple of not widely viewed D&D game videos from a few years ago, this was actually my first livestream! I would like to think it does not seem like it.

Eating in the Age of COVID-19

There is a video circulating about how to minimize one’s exposure to viral contamination from groceries by a Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen. Most of us have seen it by now, I’ve shared it elsewhere, voyager posted it over on Affinity, and so on.

It’s good. It’s also not good. I don’t really blame the doctor for this, we’re all if not in the dark, at least ‘in the dim’ about how to deal with all of this. So here’s that and some more information and my best guesses. [Read more…]

Socialism And Capitalism

You might remember the old saw “If you are not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.” Even if it wasn’t pretty obvious who benefits from that one, it’s never been true in practice anyway. I don’t think I need to list extremely smart people who are liberal or lefter than that, nor the shall we say less gifted out there who use their conservatism as counterfactual proof of their intellect. I will simply say that I have reason to believe I am not a moron, and as time goes by and the injustices produced by our various (but not terribly varied) current systems become harder and harder to miss it pushes me further into the guillotine-sharpening camp – and that is from someone who did an MBA so any claims that I do not understand business or capitalism in general are not going to hold a lot of water. [Read more…]

Double Dactyl: Fuck Twitter

Twitter's logo, a stylized blue silhoutte of a bird, under a red circle-and-bar 'NO' icon.Flibberty Bibberty
Twitter’s engagement scheme
Spreads around viral memes
And with them, hate

Since nothing can redeem
This vicious spite machine
You should vacate

In the last few days I have changed my Twitter habits from “multiple times a day” to “almost never look at it”, and experienced a huge upward spike in my mood and mental health. I am on the fence about whether to delete outright, I might, but I have to recommend quitting the damnable thing as an act of self-care.

“Good”, “Fun”, and Kim Jong-il

A portrait of a black, scaly, golden-eyed, horned, and very artificial looking dragon: North Korea's 'Pulgasari'.Given where I’m trying to go with my career at this point, I’ve had to build up (what I hope is) a deep and nuanced understanding of media. What I think of a given book or film is going to be a detailed opinion, with a lot of ‘this worked, this didn’t, here’s perhaps why’ for anyone who is interested in those details. I’m sure most or all media critics say the same thing, but there is one thing I refuse to do like the stereotypical critic, and that is be snobbish.

Specifically, I’ve realized that I think of any movie is to sort them into or out of three overlapping categories, and I mention this because I think most critics tend to collapse these into a single set: “Good”, “Fun”, and “I Liked It”. I’m going to talk about the difference a little, and then tell you what the truly amazing monster in the attached picture is. If, like me, you have a taste for the awful or absurd, I think you will need this guy in your life. [Read more…]

Living Mythos: Fuck You, Jobu.

Screenshot from the movie "Major League". A fit, shirtless man holds the flame of a lighter to a cigar in the mouth of a short wild-haired voodoo loa figurine in a locker.

People will find transformation and transcendence in a McDonald’s hash brown if it’s all they’ve got. – Patton Oswalt

I’m a huge believer in taking your inspiration anywhere you find it. Anything that makes your life better, gives you focus, helps you live, no matter where it comes from is a good thing. Even if it was from something as horrible as Mein Kampf, as long as it doesn’t encourage you to hurt others along the way. The ‘philosophy’ I am going to talk about here is not from anything like that, though it is from a strange place to find inspiration: a crude, dude-ish, unthinkingly-problematic-product-of-its-time 1989 sports movie called Major League.

Major League is in every way an 80s sports comedy movie. A group of misfits wind up on a team together, drive each other insane for a while, get molded into shape by a kindly old mentor figure, and – genre-wide spoiler alert – ultimately defeat the much more professional and well-oiled Bad Guy Team in an exciting last-minute sportsball upset. Along the way there are funny moments and crude moments and touching moments and crude moments that were considered funny when it was made. Major League in specific is of course a baseball movie about a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians (years before the mainstream were talking about the problems inherent in that name and logo), and if you can get past the dudebro 80sness of it, it is actually quite a good example of the genre. As a writer, I’m always impressed by how virtually all the main characters each got a moment to be the big hero during the inevitable bottom-of-the-ninth showdown against the New York Yankees, and it is the the one of these who made the others possible whose hero moment has a valuable lesson. [Read more…]

Spoons Hammered Flat

A collection of souvenir silver spoons with enamel coats of arms on their handles. Photo by Lourdes Cardenal via Wikimedia Commons.So, those of you who followed me may have noticed that my blog spiked and then slowed a great deal. There’s more than one reason for this, and it seems like that might be something worth talking about.

The main thing, I think, is that I do have a pretty busy life! I was excited to have this new platform so I went a bit intense at it at first. Things are now settling down to the level that I think will be sustainable: one or two posts a week, plus a few smaller bits and pieces from time to time like the double dactyls. I’m very definitely not quitting, I have two drafts for bigger posts partly done and a whole raft of things in the pipeline.

What I have noticed, however, is that blogging is a pretty vulnerable act, for me at least. Not only does it involve putting one’s thoughts and feelings out there to be picked at, but FtB has always been a principled network that attracts detractors, people for whom the cruelty is the point as much as any MAGA-hat-wearer, people who enjoy taking pieces out of anyone who exists here. Now, I knew that when I applied and have no regrets about it, but it really does take a toll, at least enough of one that it adds an extra layer of emotional cost to creating blog posts. [Read more…]

Sunday Fakespeare: The Breakers of Spirit

Shakespeare's WardRHYS
Hail Gol-Goroth, hail Lord of Ruin dire!
We greet you with a great respect and awe.
But hark, we bear a vital message for
your great and august self. Our country dear,
fair York, its folk and King, hath sent us hence
and in their name, now hear ye this: depart!
Forthwith, go, quit this place anon, and cease
your magics fell and dark. Begone at once,
to whatsoever land or eldritch place
from whence you came’st, or else some isle remote
as you prefer – but go, and go at once.

[Read more…]