A win for workers in the digital streaming industry

Both Abe and I work in creative industries. He’s a writer and I’ve worked in theatre and music. If you look at our extended friends group, we also know dancers, painters, fashion designers, jugglers, and a host of other folk in similarly creative professions. The unifying thread between all of these jobs is no one pays well. I’ve worked at music union rates before — they aren’t enough to pay the bills. I remember the first time I encountered a strong voice against working for exposure was Harlan Ellison’s essay “Pay the Writer.” As has been commonly repeated in sewing circles, people die of exposure.

One of the biggest labor movements within the arts that I’ve personally seen has been the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union strikes and engagement. At this point, IATSE is working with commercial production departments, music supervisors, and joining forces with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the teamsters, as well as others I’m sure, trying to make sure that the media we know and love gets made without destroying the workers. While the bulk of the concerns that most of these unions have had are safety related, such as reducing hours, requiring stricter enforcement of existing regulations (remember the cinematographer that was shot by Alec Baldwin last year?), a number of concerns have been monetary. Frankly, most people in the arts work at starvation wages and work around the clock, or they leave the arts embittered and/or traumatized. If I had a dime for every artist I’ve heard who lamented their life’s choice, I could swim like Scrooge McDuck through coins. In part thanks to the called-off strike from last fall, IATSE has been able to sign some new contracts in the workers’ favor, like VICE media reducing minimum work weeks from 50 hours to 40 and raising minimum salaries to $63,000 with minimum annual raises from 3-3.75%. But this is a slow process and the abuse, overwork, and underpaying of employees has gone on for too long for swift answers.

One of the biggest culprits of abusing cheap labor are the streaming platforms like Netflix. Last year Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breech of contract involving streaming rights and profits, and her lawsuit highlighted any number of similar contract breeches. But the reasoning for shafting creatives, according to Netflix et al., is because ‘no one knows what streaming could possibly do! It’s a new technology! It’s a financial gamble that we all just have to share in the reduced wages and be team players.’ Well its been two decades. We all know that streaming companies are the primary movers and shakers in film these days, so that excuse has worn quite thin.

Which is why I was incredibly happy to see that Netflix lost a suit last week. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) was not willing to accept the precedent of shitty contracts that previous unions had signed and took Netflix to court for its members. The primary writer for ‘Birdbox’ won $1.2 million and the arbitration is being applied retroactively to previous titles written. 216 writers on 139 Netflix films are being paid $42 million in back pay, essentially. Apparently streaming revenue was one of the concessions the WGA gave up to end the 2007 writers’ strike and it was expected to be discussed in 2020 — the discussion was put on hold due to COVID. I feel like the past two years of absolutely bumper profits because of said pandemic was a factor in the WGA winning the case. This also was an expected problem, for those keeping an eye on Hollywood’s interactions with labor. The final paragraph of an LA Times article on the recalled IATSE strike from last fall says:

Turmoil over working conditions and fair pay in streaming productions will persist in Hollywood no matter the outcome of the IATSE vote. The Writers Guild of America, historically much more apt to strike than below-the-line workers, will surely watch closely to see how the IATSE contract debate unfolds. WGA’s own contract comes up for renegotiation in 2023.

I hope that this successful lawsuit leads to more wins for those working in creative industries across the board. Everyone’s feeling the pinch right now, and the only way to get better treatment is to fight for it.


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Video: John Oliver with some important updates on Monkeypox

Did you think our leaders had learned anything from the catastrophe that has been the COVID-19 pandemic? Of course not, or at least nothing good. It appears that we are entering another pandemic, this one even more preventable than the last. What’s worse, it sure seems like the Christian fascists of the United States did learn a lesson or two from the AIDS crisis of the late 20th century – disease is a great tool in their effort to wipe out all LGBTQ+ people. Bigots have always used it for their genocidal projects, and this seems to be no exception

Watch the video, be on the lookout for misinformation, and look after each other.

Video: Why are Democrats funding the far right?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

You’re a politician, and you have two opponents, one more extreme than the other. They have to go through a primary to see which will run against you in the general election. Who would you prefer to win the primary? At a glance, one might think that the safest thing for the general public is to have an election contest between you and your less extreme opponent, so that you don’t have to risk the more extreme candidate getting in. On the other hand, what if the more extreme candidate is too extreme? What if they’re so extreme that people who would have supported the more moderate opponent, will now vote for you? Worse, what if you’re not sure you can actually beat your more moderate opponent? Well, for the good of you, and for the good of all those voters who you’ll definitely help when you win, you have a responsibility to try to get the more extreme opponent to win their primary, so you’ll have an easier victory.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Polling says the voters are pretty moderate overall, so if you’re the only moderate candidate, you’re pretty much guaranteed a win!

Well, sometimes.

Sometimes, you just lose because it turns out that you didn’t understand the voters as well as you thought.

Sometimes you end up helping fascism to advance.

It’s getting hotter, faster, and that trend is going to continue. After a certain point, drastic action is all that is left.

Apparently I meant to write about this back in September, but for reasons that are still unclear to me, I wasn’t able to make myself post daily back then. It’s not anything particularly new, but it’s important to keep in mind when thinking about politics, and about any plans we might have for the future. A little over a decade ago, I was part of a “climate working group” organized by myself and fellow New England Quakers. At that point in time, it seemed pretty clear that the biggest obstacle to direct action within our religious community, was that people honestly did not grasp the severity of the problem. However bad you think public understanding of the issue is now, it was much, much worse back then. I remember people who considered themselves environmental activists talking about preventing it from warming, and going back to normal, at a time when I was reading regular reports about ecosystems shifting around us, and feedback loops starting up.

So, we put together a presentation. We talked about why climate change was important to us personally, because that kind of framing tends to get through to people. And we played this video:

And then we talked about solutions. My goal at the time was to the community to lead by example. To pool their resources, and get every member of the community off of fossil fuels one at a time. I still think it was something that could have been done (the money was there, had its owners cared to spend it), and I know many members of the community have put up solar panels, installed batteries, and so on since then. But the contents of this video – especially the feedback loops it discusses – were new to a lot of people, and I remember being told that if I talked about things like storing food for emergencies, it’d just sound over the top and turn people off. Maybe that was right, I don’t know, but it didn’t sit right then or now. In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, having a store of food for emergencies is more than just buying extra food. It is that, but you need to use that food at the same time, and cycle through it so none of it is on the verge of spoiling when a crisis hits. You also want to be able to cook with the food you’ve set aside, and live on it. If it’s rice and beans, learn how to make it enjoyable, and add those spices to your store of food. If there’s a crisis, you don’t want to be figuring out how to make your food edible on top of whatever else is going on. It’s an actual skill that most people – myself included – aren’t very good at these days. Practice it now, so you’ll have that resource when you actually need it.

Because for all things seem bad now, it is almost certain that the rate of warming is going to increase over the next couple decades, and that is not going to be a pleasant experience for us, because our rulers have thus far refused to prepare.

James Hansen, a climate scientist who shook Washington when he told Congress 33 years ago that human emissions of greenhouse gases were cooking the planet, is now warning that he expects the rate of global warming to double in the next 20 years.

While still warning that it is carbon dioxide and methane that are driving global warming, Hansen said that, in this case, warming is being accelerated by the decline of other industrial pollutants that they’ve cleaned from it.

Plunging sulfate aerosol emissions from industrial sources, particularly shipping, could lead global temperatures to surge well beyond the levels prescribed by the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as 2040 “unless appropriate countermeasures are taken,” Hansen wrote, together with Makiko Sato, in a monthly temperature analysis published in August by the Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions center at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

Declining sulfate aerosols makes some clouds less reflective, enabling more solar radiation to reach and warm land and ocean surfaces.

I’ve written about this before, and it’s important to keep in mind. It’s one of the reasons that I think we need to consider geoengineering, even though it’s an extreme and dangerous thing to do. I don’t know the exact accuracy of the forecasts of civilizational collapse within 30 years – I don’t think anyone can know that for sure, but it is entirely within the realm of possibility. If we don’t change direction, I fear it’s more likely than not.

Since his Congressional testimony rattled Washington, D.C. a generation ago, Hansen’s climate warnings have grown more urgent, but they are still mostly unheeded. In 2006, when he was head of NASA’s GoddardInstitute for Space Studies, George W. Bush’s administration tried to stop him from speaking out about the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

After 46 years with NASA, Hansen left in 2013 to focus on political and legal efforts to limit warming. His granddaughter, Sophie Kivlehan, is one of 21 young plaintiffs suing the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by failing to take adequate action to address the human causes of climate change, such as greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, industry and electricity generation.

In Hansen’s latest warning, he said scientists are dangerously underestimating the climate impact of reducing sulfate aerosol pollution.

“Something is going on in addition to greenhouse warming,” Hansen wrote, noting that July’s average global temperature soared to its second-highest reading on record even though the Pacific Ocean is in a cooling La Niña phase that temporarily dampens signs of warming. Between now and 2040, he wrote that he expects the climate’s rate of warming to double in an “acceleration that can be traced to aerosols.”

That acceleration could lead to total warming of 2 degrees Celsius by 2040, the upper limit of the temperature range that countries in the Paris accord agreed was needed to prevent disastrous impacts from climate change. What’s more, Hansen and other researchers said the processes leading to the acceleration are not adequately measured, and some of the tools needed to gauge them aren’t even in place.

The article goes on to talk about aerosols, and how we know what we know, but I want to shift focus to something else.

I think it is very important to understand that the warming between here and 2 degrees will likely do a lot more damage than did the warming that got us here. First off, as the video at the top mentioned, there are a number of feedback loops that are also accelerating the warming, even without the monkey’s-paw consequences of reducing pollution. The warming we see over the next couple decades will be piling on top of already-collapsing glaciers and already-burning ecosystems. I think that means that we’re in for a couple decades where it really does feel like every year gets worse. Historically, when climate scientists have talked about warming, they’ve predicted a mix of warm years and cool years, and maybe even a decade or two of no warming at all, but I am increasingly skeptical of that prediction. It wouldn’t shock me if there was one or two years in the next 20 that were cooler than the decadal average, or that didn’t have any record-breaking “natural” disasters, but those will be the rarity.

Zoonotic diseases will also almost certainly keep popping up as desperate people start eating whatever they can to survive, and desperate animals start leaving their historic seclusion because their ecosystems are collapsing, and they can’t find food. This is going to be even more of a problem because the people at point of contact are increasingly going to have weakened immune systems from starvation, overheating, and so on.

All of this, as it has throughout history, will fuel war. War, as it has throughout history will cause environmental destruction, which in turn will make it harder to grow food.

Again, as I keep saying, there are ways we could be preparing, and saving lives, and making this process far easier for everyone. Feeding everyone means nobody has to eat wild animals to survive, which means fewer chances for us to catch diseases from animals. That, and making sure everyone has adequate water would go a long way to preventing war, along with a myriad of other crimes. We can shift agriculture indoors, and invest in new kinds of food production. We can invest in cleaning up existing toxic waste, and containing new waste. We can make sure that everyone has access to air conditioning for heat emergencies, and we can ensure that that is powered by renewable energy or nuclear power. We can invest in global access to free vaccination, for any and all diseases. We can reduce childhood mortality, and guarantee quality care for elders, even if not a single person left alive knows who they are. With those two, and universal access to sex ed and contraception, population growth will likely stagnate or decrease, making that less of a problem without a need for mass death. We have the knowledge and resources to do all of that and more.

What we can’t do, is do that while also protecting the wealth and power of our current ruling classes. There is simply too much to be done, to allow for such reckless indulgence. The scale of change matches the scale of the problem, which means that if we want to avoid billions of deaths this century, we need to take coordinated, deliberate action on a scale that has never been achieved in human history, with zero regard for profit or the immature pettiness of that minority whose sole drive in life is the will to power.

As ever, I am aware of the scale and difficulty of what I’m proposing, but what alternate path is less extreme in its consequences?

All we can do is fight for a better world, and since that’s something few of us are accustomed to doing, I continue to believe that we have to start with the basics, even if it seems agonizingly slow and inadequate. We don’t have time to do it halfway.


If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

England continues its headlong rush into authoritarianism

Migrants who have been convicted of a criminal offence will be required to scan their faces up to five times a day using smartwatches installed with facial recognition technology under plans from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

In May, the government awarded a contract to the British technology company Buddi Limited to deliver “non-fitted devices” to monitor “specific cohorts” as part of the Home Office Satellite Tracking Service. The scheme is due to be introduced from the autumn across the UK, at an initial cost of £6m.

Yes, Gentle Readers, that is exactly what it sounds like. The United Kingdom will be forcing migrants to wear surveillance computers, and scan their faces on demand, wherever they are. This means that these people will have no right to privacy, and likely no right to even know what kinds of data their mandatory surveillance equipment will be collecting.

The Home Office says the smartwatch scheme will be for foreign-national offenders who have been convicted of a criminal offence, rather than other groups, such as asylum seekers.

However, it is expected that those obliged to wear the smartwatches will be subject to similar conditions to those fitted with GPS ankle tags, with references in the DPIA to curfews and inclusion and exclusion zones.

In a National Audit Office report in June, the government said it “regards electronic monitoring as a cost-effective alternative to custody, which contributes to its goals to protect the public and reduce reoffending”.

Campaigners say 24-hour surveillance of asylum seekers breaches human rights, and may have a detrimental impact on migrants’ health and wellbeing.

Ya think?

When I was in Cuba, there were a couple points where it was made clear to our small group of U.S.ians that the government was keeping an eye on us. They seemed to know our itinerary before we did some days, and would be expecting us at checkpoints. That was not a comfortable experience, but it didn’t feel like I was always being watched. When I was in Tanzania, I was taken completely by surprise when I found myself exhausted by just constantly being seen. I stood out, which meant there was always someone paying attention to what I was doing. Even on a mountainside, far away from anyone else, I could hear a kid on the adjacent mountain spot me and yell, “Mzungu!”. It was strangely draining, and I expect is something that people who aren’t white men have to deal with a whole lot more.

So I can only imagine the strain that would come from wearing a modern surveillance device, with a camera, everywhere you go. Not only that, but in addition to the government, a private, for-profit corporation will also be watching, and if you ever take off that device, you will be punished.

Lucie Audibert, a lawyer and legal officer for Privacy International, said: “Facial recognition is known to be an imperfect and dangerous technology that tends to discriminate against people of colour and marginalised communities. These ‘innovations’ in policing and surveillance are often driven by private companies, who profit from governments’ race towards total surveillance and control of populations.

“Through their opaque technologies and algorithms, they facilitate government discrimination and human rights abuses without any accountability. No other country in Europe has deployed this dehumanising and invasive technology against migrants.”

Dr Monish Bhatia, a lecturer in criminology at Birkbeck, University of London, said: “Electronic monitoring is an intrusive technology of control. Some individuals develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and overall deterioration of mental health.

“The Home Office is still not clear how long individuals will remain on monitoring. They have not provided any evidence to show why electronic monitoring is necessary or demonstrated that tags make individuals comply with immigration rules better. What we need is humane, non-degrading, community-based solutions.”

That would be nice.

Instead, we get invasive surveillance, and the threat that, regardless of where you might be from, if the U.K. government decides to be rid of you, they’ll just ship you to Rwanda:

The two final candidates in the race to become the UK’s new prime minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have both vowed to expand the government’s controversial Rwanda immigration policy.

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak announced his plans to tackle illegal immigration in a nearly 5-minute video posted on Twitter Sunday, during which he said that the UK had lost control of its borders.

“Every year thousands and thousands of people come into the UK illegally. Often, we don’t know who they are, where they’re from, and why they’re here. These are not bad people. But it makes a mockery of our system and in the current chaotic free world there is simply no way for a serious country to run itself,” Sunak said in the video.

The measures he proposes include a cap set annually by the UK parliament on “number of refugees we accept each year via safe and legal routes, amendable in the face of emergencies,” according to the plan published on Sunak’s campaign website.

He also put forward a measure making “aid, trade, and visas conditional on a country’s willingness to cooperate on returns” of migrants who have illegally entered the UK.

Make no mistake – closed borders are the same as a wall. They are used to keep some people in, and other people out, and the United States is far from the only country planning to respond to climate change with escalating authoritarianism, and decreasing regard for human life, let alone the right to anything like dignity, privacy, or freedom of movement. As in the U.S., it seems like there is no real limit to how far they will go to keep people “in their place”.


If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

It’s Going Down presents: A history of The People’s Park

I don’t know if I’d heard of The People’s Park, in Berkley, California, but I certainly didn’t know the full history. If you’re not familiar with them, It’s Going Down is a good place for news from a decidedly anti-authoritarian perspective.  This history is a great example of what an organized and dedicated community can achieve, if they’re willing to fight for it. The idea that we are powerless can all too easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

 

Video: Hard work is a grift.

Hey, so because of personal reasons I’ve had trouble writing the past couple days. It is very fortuitous that Thought Slime put up this video today. I’m about 2 minutes in, and this feels uncomfortably like a description of me, or at least some aspects of my life. At around 4 minutes, it just starts describing my work process, which feels a little rude to do without consulting me first! Fortunately, this video is about more than how my brain works (and nobody else’s). It’s about the concept and history of “laziness” in general, and how it just destroys people; not in isolation, but in conjunction with everything else in society.

Tegan Tuesday: Life is not black and white.

One of the maxims that occasionally go around the internet is: if a piece of information perfectly aligns with and reinforces your understanding of the world, that is when it’s most important to investigate its validity. I like to forget this rule, because clearly I, personally, am the one person in the world immune to propaganda. But in a world of click-bait-y, impotent-rage-inducing articles, I fell for yet another one.

Perhaps you’ve seen these charts floating around the internet the past week or so.

A chart showing the changes in color of objects over time, represented by percent of pixels in photos. X-axis is the year from 1800 to 2020, y-axis is percentage. In 1800, black, white and grey are 10% and that grows to 40% by 2020.

A graph showing the change in car colors, with the x-axis labeled 'Year of Production,' 1990 through 2020, and y-axis percentage. All colors of the rainbow and black, white, and grey are represented with colored cars only 25% in 2020.

They are from a recent study that, I was told, proved with Science! that color was disappearing from the world. The article I saw, of course helpfully gave examples of colorful aspects of life (such as carpets, or McDonald’s) that are now minimalist greys. I, a synaesthete and lover of color, got as upset as I was intended to do. I fully intended to write an article this week on the injustice of our increasingly colorless world. However, I noticed last night that there was a link to the source paper.

And who could have guessed that this was not the goal nor the conclusion of the original paper? The paper was on using machine learning on a photographic dataset of a museum collection. It’s a really interesting project, and there are some pretty charts and visual graphics depicting the team’s findings, but there are also some clear limitations on the use of these findings, because the selection of objects is neither even nor representative. For example, any museum item that had been photographed in black and white was disqualified from the survey, ditto any item that did not have a uniformly colored background. The color green is unusually well-represented in the 1980s and 1990s due to an exhibit on computers and the information age. This excerpt from the paper I think clearly offers both the conclusion and the warning about said conclusion’s general use:

The most notable trend, in both the chart and the video, is the rise in grey over time. This is matched by a decline in brown and yellow. These trends likely reflect changes in materials, such as the move away from wood and towards plastic. A smaller trend is the use of very saturated colours which begins in the 1960s.
While things appear to have become a little greyer over time, we must remember that the photographs examined here are a just a sample of the objects within the collection, and the collection itself is also a non-random selection of objects. Moreover, these trends will continue to change as new objects are acquired.

So what is the deal with the colorless world? Because it is certainly true that it feels like color is harder and harder to find in depictions of everyday life. Everyone and their mother has noticed that movies are impossible to watch due to lack of lighting, with the big battle scene at the end of Game of Thrones, that no one could see, making headlines. One article describes part of the issue thusly:

Another reason is that so many big-budget movies and shows shoot using green screen and rear projection, and lighting for film and TV has become a bit of a lost art. This could sound curmudgeonly, but I swear it’s not.

The thing is, cinematographers on a lot of these shoots aren’t lighting anymore. It’s being done in post, and those people may not have the eye for it. Sure, there are lots of good projects out there, but the bad ones stand out.

Ah yes. Everyone’s favorite “let’s just do it on greenscreen and hire the underpaid and non-union VFX team to fix it.” Always a classic.

The image shows a bathroom that has been entirely covered in lime green plastic. two arms extend in front of the camera, and the caption says,

POV: You are in the bathroom at Marvel Studios

Some of this lack of color relates to more information about safety: the metallic mint-green 1964 Buick Skylark from the movie My Cousin Vinny would not exist today thanks to the research showing that white cars are the safest on the road. Thanks to the speeds that most roads are today, compared to the 1960s, that extra 12% visibility can be the difference between a safe drive and an accident, especially in low-light or dangerous weather situations.

Ok, well that explains the monochrome cars. For once the colorlessness is helping. But why are all of our interior designs boring? That one, I think we can blame on capitalism. The two biggest factors in deciding interior design (or exterior design) are: resell factor, and ‘calming’ or ‘soothing’ space. I’m not really going to bother talking about resell factor, because my thoughts are really simple: you live there now, who cares about the next owners. But this concern to have your living space act as a retreat from the big bad outside world is… definitely a problem. To quote an article on the top ten monochrome soothing colors,

Now more than ever, our homes are our retreats from the chaos going on outside. Whether you live in an apartment in one of the world’s biggest city or a farmhouse on a sprawling estate, it’s important that our abodes are designed to be restful, calming spaces where we can easily recharge at the end of the day.

I don’t have a lot of smart things to say, nor a lot of statistics to quote. People who study this more than I can feel free to chime in with where I’m wrong. This makes me think about the rise in gig economy and of how many people I know with multiple jobs in order to make ends meet. Of the long hours spent in those multiple jobs, and of how many part-time jobs are customer-facing (aka, draining). I could see the appeal of creating a soothing, restful, calming cave of a home in order to quiet how loud it is outside. There’s also a lot to be said of the value of natural light, and white or light walls reflect the most sun. The fastest way to make a small room smaller is to paint it in dark colors, after all, so paint it white and open the windows and your small apartment doesn’t feel so small any more! I’m also reminded of a conversation with an acquaintance where he said that colored paints were three times the price of white, so he painted everything in his house white and called it a done deal. I also know that a lot of people honestly like the blank canvas of a white wall, all the better to put their own personality. I admit, all of my art is in black frames, often with white mats, so that there is a cohesion between my otherwise incredibly unrelated artworks.

When it comes to this kind of frustratingly dull landscapes, it helps me to remember that colors come and go in trends as much as anything else. In the 1910s, a great many bathrooms were white. White enamel sinks and tubs, white porcelain commodes, white tiled walls and floors, white ceilings. Bright, washable, white. This was because the general public had just learned about germs and the importance of a clean bathroom space. A white bathroom will show the dirt (and germs) and so you will be able to raise your children in comfort, knowing that your shiny white bathroom is clean and safe.

What is the point of making me despair at the world and society’s Forcing Monochrome Upon Me? I will never know the reason for this particular article, but sometimes its to drain your energy. Sometimes its literally to make you feel like nothing can change so why bother? That was the primary thing Russian agents did on social media during the 2016 election. Sometimes its because the author themselves had a knee-jerk reaction and didn’t bother to fact check, so they’re passing those time savings onto you! And there’s always the oldie but a goodie of just Clickbait Title.

I don’t really have a moral for this week’s post. I guess don’t fall for a pretty infographic that reinforces your biases? And curate your own spaces however you like, in whatever way makes you happy – stop caring about who’ll inherit your space.


If you like the content of this blog, please share it around. If you like the blog and you have the means, please consider joining my lovely patrons in paying for the work that goes into it. Due to my immigration status, I’m currently prohibited from conventional wage labor, so for the next couple years at least this is going to be my only source of income. You can sign up for as little as $1 per month (though more is obviously welcome), to help us make ends meet – every little bit counts!

Oceanoxia has an index now! Also new patron perks!

Ok, so it occurred to me a little while back that I’ve written a lot of blog posts, and while some are basically content to keep the blog afloat. Many are more than that. It’s getting harder to find the ones I want, when I want to re-share or refer back to them, and I actually have an internal search function the rest of y’all can’t access.

So.

I decided to make an index, and because I hate having a pinned post at the top of my blog, I’ve made it on my patreon. Basically, the goal is to have all my blog posts on it, organized by topic. Some posts are relevant to multiple topics, so they’ll show up in each topic index. The posts in each topic are ordered newest to oldest, like your standard blog, but it’s just links, so it’s easier to scroll through. This is currently free to anyone – patron or not – and I intend to keep it that way.

For my patrons, well, I’ve not been great so far at making content just for them, so most of them are currently there just because they want to support my work. That said, I want to offer patron rewards that I can actually deliver, so here’s the new deal:

I’m working a lot more on fiction now, so my patrons – at $5 and above – get to name characters in my fiction. The higher your tier, the more influence you get over the character’s personality, backstory, appearance, and so on. This being the internet, I’m obviously retaining editorial control, so there won’t be any “Longrod Von Hugendong” in a story where it just wouldn’t fit. Joke names will have to wait for joke stories, I’m afraid. Beyond that, my economic future kinda depends on both happy patrons, and on publishing the novel I’m working on, which means this is the perfect opportunity for you to slip something for yourself into a subversive sword and sorcery epic!

I’ll be updating the index fairly regularly, not just to fill out new topics and keep up to date, but also to improve the index as a resource. That means that if you have an opinion about how it’s organized, if there’s a post you think should or should not be in a category, or anything constructive feedback, feel free to send it my way!

And finally, thank you all for reading, commenting, and sharing. I’m finding this work more fulfilling than I honestly expected to even this time last year, and a lot of that is because of you folks. Hopefully enough people will sign up that I can afford to keep doing it when my current situation ends in a couple years.

Things remain chaotic and scary out there, and it still looks like that’s going to keep getting worse before it gets better. Take care of yourselves and those around you.