Mar 31

New Feminist Frequency: The Scythian

The new episode of Feminist Frequency, “The Scythian,” came out today. It’s about the protagonist of a game called Sword & Sorcery, and it contains spoilers but not till the end, and they’re very clearly offset so there’s plenty of time to pause and avoid them.

If my past experience is any guide, a new Anita Sarkeesian video means there’s about to be a new flare-up of weirdly obsessive and intense misogyny everywhere on the internet. (Not that it’s not everywhere already — it’s just that I, as a non-woman, non-gamer, am generally not a major target of it, so it’s possible for me to not be exposed to it sometimes.)

Mar 30

Commentary on blame for systemic problems in solarpunk

Reposting from my Solarpunk blog, a comment on a Tumblr post linking to a story about the harm of sedentary office jobs:

cocainesocialist:

Office workers need to get off their backsides and move around more, according to a new campaign.

capitalism will kill you and blame you for dying

Reblogging for that comment. Solarpunk (as I see it) acknowledges the many subtle harms of the civilization we live in, but it also takes into account the realities of circumstance that put people in the position of suffering, or causing, those harms.

Some solarpunks might be upper-middle-class folks who can afford to make make a lot of careful choices, some solarpunks might be homeless, jobless folks who have no options other than the counterculture community that will take them in. And folks anywhere along the economic spectrum could take up any degree of interest.

But for those who don’t — for those who work for harmful systems, who suffer harm because they engage with those systems — solarpunk as I see it knows who to blame, and it isn’t those people who suffer harm because they suffer from limited options.

Mar 27

Physical metaphors in language

I know I talk about this all the time but it’s something I’m obsessed with and I had a long day and don’t wanna talk about it.

English has an embedded theory of physics. That theory of physics is wrong — it doesn’t correspond to, like, reality — but it’s still there, and it’s how all English speakers think. (Other languages have this too. I don’t know to what extent it overlaps.)

So, the X, Y, and Z axes of English — X is left and right, Y is up and down, Z is backwards and forwards.

The Y axis is moral. Up is good, down is bad.

Z is temporal. Forward is the future, backward is the past.

X is subjective. Side-to-side, left and right, one hand or the other, are about opinion.

Sometimes it’s fun to take a sentence apart and find all the physical metaphors in it that are used to convey non-physical concepts.

For example, to take a sentence apart — I am taking no physical action with respect to the sentence above. I’m just continuing to discuss its content. But it makes more sense to describe it in terms of dismantling a physical thing that is made of parts.

To find is also physical. It can even be argued that in this case it’s literal, because I do find the metaphors by scrutinizing the text of the sentence.

In “The physical metaphors in it,” the word “in” is a spacial metaphor, that refers to concepts of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ that don’t correspond to the nature of text on a page or words in a sentence, except insofar as we understand them as metaphorically physical things.

Convey is literally a word that means “Move.” Which is an action taken upon physical things.

See? Fun!

Mar 26

Fascism and expression

 

I have a set of rotating quotes for my desktop and lock screen images on my computer. For most of them, they’re just quotes I like. This one, though, is there because the idea is hard to hold on to — it’s a slippery understanding and repeatedly seeing it pop up on my desktop is helping me slowly start to clamp down on it.
walter-benjamin-desktop

 

“Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves. … The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life. All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war.” –Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936)

Looking at this quote, I think about the theater of the American government — of rallies and debates, of the performance of congresspeople — I remember a Jon Stewart clip where he showed a US House Representative using a giant pair of scissors to cut up a giant credit card meant to represent the United States’ borrowing.

And I think about the first amendment — about the idea that’s so pervasive in America that our single greatest achievement as a country is Freedom of Speech and Expression. That having the first amendment vouchsafes all other freedoms, all other rights, all other moral obligations, automatically — that the fact that we can freely criticize the system automatically means the system is reshaped in the face of those criticisms.

I’m not saying that freedom of expression is bad. But I am saying that there’s something scary about the superficial, iconic freedoms we hold up in America as proof we’re a functional and moral country.

Mar 25

sharkfoot

One of the really fun things about my new tablet is letting other people play with it. It’s so cool to give someone else the tablet on a new photoshop document and just let them doodle.

I don’t want to just start sharing other people’s doodles, but for one of them in particular I got permission:

sharkfoot

It’s a shark! I’m calling it sharkfoot, because it’s the bottom of a figure drawing of a woman and this is her foot. (I’m not sharing the whole figure drawing because it’s a nude and idk I’m vaguely apprehensive about posting sketches of nude women on my blog.)

If you know me in person and haven’t gotten to play with the tablet yet, let me know. I’d love to give you a turn.

Mar 24

car accident

Got in a car accident this weekend. It was my fault. My car is damaged for a few hundred dollars’ worth of repair and discovered when the cop showed up to write the report that my driver’s license was expired. (Apparently they expire on your birthday, not just in the same month.)

You know when you’re in a car with someone, and they say “Go left,” and you hear the word left, and you look at the road ahead of you, and see the direction called “Right,” and your brain’s like “Yeah, that’s what left is?”

My brain did that on Saturday with a red light.

Nobody was injured, and the damage looked minimal.I also wasn’t ticketed for the light or the license.

In other news, I passed the College Mathematics CLEP test — with a 57 (50 is passing; max is 80) — so I never have to take math again, in my life, ever. It’s over. After all of high school, and after putting it off for five years in college, in one day I completed the remainder of my lifetime obligation to learn math.

Damn, I wish that had been the biggest event of the week.

Fucking cars.

Mar 23

New favorite photoshop brush

 

I drew a treehouse.hand-tree-finalI’m curious whether readers think this treehouse comes off as creepy, because that’s what I was going for in the beginning. Ultimately I ended up with something that I don’t think evokes a lot of the starting creepiness, but I could be wrong.

My new favorite photoshop brush is the square charcoal brush. It’s really effective for the kind of sketching that I used to do in high school with actual bits of black and white square charcoal on newsprint paper. I’ve been using it for model sketches and I’d share those, but I’m not sure about the permissions on the reference photos.

This picture was a fun one to make ,because I just layered on new chunks of detail every time I got bored — whole sequence below read-more.

 

 

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 20

Patreon Subbable Merge

I wanted to have more to say about this, but I haven’t been able to think it through. I’ve been very busy.

Subbable and Patreon are merging. Or, Subbable is merging into Patreon. Or Subbable is closing down, and its accounts are migrating to Patreon. IDK. It’s complicated probably.

Right now this is totally irrelevant to me, except that crowdfunding is incredibly cool and I have a huge number of thoughts about Patreon-style funding of larger institutional projects (like NEWSPAPERS) but hopefully eventually something like this will be on the table for how I make my money. (Gotta monetize y’all eventually, or what’s the point?) (I’m kidding. I love blogging and will continue to do it as long as it doesn’t literally cost me my access to food and shelter.) (But I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a future in which I get paid for the chunk of my writing that I like doing.)

Here’s the SciShow video on the move — which is exceptionally pertinent since SciShow is hosted by Hank Green, who founded Subbable.

Mar 19

Art: solarpunk illustration

Okay so I know I said that I’d write about the Subbable/Patreon thing today, but instead I spent all of my free time yesterday and today working on this picture:

Solarpunk-person

 

Maybe not the most responsible use of my time, but I’m pretty happy with it.

 

Mar 18

Community season 6

Okay, first thing: I’m super disappointed that in s6e1 Abed hung a lampshade on the fact that his girlfriend is missing from the plot so far. That was easily my favorite story arc originating in Season 4.

Alright. Moving on.

I like the new episodes of Community. If you’re a fan of the show, it’s worth sitting through Yahoo’s obnoxiously long sets of ads and weirdly buggy streaming app.1

Four of the seven original group members remain, for anyone keeping track: Jeff, Britta, Annie and Abed are still there. (And Chang is apparently part of the group now?) Pierce has been gone since the end of Season 4, Troy left 5 episodes into season 5, and Shirley didn’t return for season 6. Also, Professor Hickey from season 5 is gone, and there has been literally no mention at all of his absence.2 3 4

As for the new cast: Frankie is great. I love her character and her plot lines so far. I’m looking forward to spending way too much time thinking about the similarities and differences between her role on the show and what Shirley’s role was. And Annie’s. And Abed’s. Elroy seems good, but he wasn’t really very much in the new episode — we got his introduction, but not very much character development. (And Chang is apparently part of the group now?)

I have more thoughts, but my brain is kind of fuzzed over right now and I don’t think that’s going to go away until after midterms.

New episodes of Community are apparently going to come out every Tuesday on Yahoo Screen, here.

  1. To be totally fair, it’s possible that the bugs were my internet connection or my computer. But I would not be surprised to hear that other people are also having problems with the app unexpectedly starting the video at the beginning again or going back to episode 1 from the middle of episode 2.
  2. Nor of the eccentric computer programmer living in the school’s basement from the last episode of season 5.
  3. Or the meteor.
  4. There are a lot of loose threads, I guess we can’t expect them to tie them all up.

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