As I mentioned recently, I’ve been wanting to talk about Agile software development methodologies and how they relate to permaculture – Agile permaculture for short – for yearsandyearsandyears, and it finally seems like time to do so. Over on Making Permaculture Stronger, Dan is making an inquiry into permaculture design processes, and how much design […]
I finally was able to start playing Mass Effect: Andromeda and have fallen back in love with the whole ME universe. I know a lot of people didn't like ME:A, but I really loved it. It's not my favorite game (that's still ME2), but I do think it might have moved to the #2 spot on my list. Could it have been better? Sure. But that doesn't mean I don't love it (and the characters) any less.
On a somewhat related note, I still love Dragon Age. I haven't been playing it as much lately, since ME has been taking up so much of my time, but I've gone back to working on fic. Which is a good thing, because DA is one of those rare fandoms that makes me want to write longfic. Even though I kind of suck at writing longfic and take forever to finish stories that are more than 5000 words.
I've also continued with my Critical Role obsession, to the surprise of nobody. The current storyline is slowly drawing to a close, and I'm expecting Vox Machina's tale to come to a close by the end of the year. Which makes me sad, since I love the characters. But on the other hand, a new story! With new characters! My chances of convincing people to start watching will greatly increase when they don't have 400+ hours to watch in order to get caught up.
Speaking of which, Dungeons & Dragons continues to eat a lot of my free time. I have two weekly games that I play in online via Roll20, one on Friday nights and one on Sunday nights. Then I have another Roll20 game on Saturday nights where I'm the DM. And then, because I have no sense of self-preservation, every other Sunday afternoon I walk over to the gaming store near my apartment to play in another campaign.
So, basically, every other week? I play four D&D games in a little over 48 hours. And even when I'm not cramming four games in, I'm still playing three. Which isn't much better.
Um, let's see. What other fannish things should I talk about?
Geek and Sundry and Alpha are behind most of the webseries that I'm watching nowadays. There's Critical Role, of course, which I've already mentioned. Then there's Eric's TBD RPG, an awesome Doctor Who RPG that just recently came to an end and was replaced with Shield of Tomorrow, a Star Trek RPG. Oh, and Sagas of Sundry which is just... gods, it's hard to describe. It's creepy and amazing and I highly recommend it.
I'm not watching Vast yet (another one of their RPGs), but I've heard good things about it. It's definitely on my list, whenever I have free time again. (I also watch The Wednesday Club, but it's a bunch of geeks sitting around and talking about comics for two hours each week rather someone I'm particularly fannish about. It's a lot of fun if you like comics, though.)
Based on the recent Doctor Who casting news, I'm cautiously optimistic that I might be able to start watching regularly again. I managed to watch some of the episodes from this most recent series but not all of them. Still, the ones that I was able to watch reminded me just how much I miss this show. I really hope that, once Moffat is gone, it will feel more like Doctor Who to me again.
The upcoming fourth and final season of Star Wars: Rebels has me both excited and terrified. I want to see what happens, but at the same time... well, it's Star Wars. I know going in that there was a good chance a lot of the characters wouldn't actually live through the show. The question is this: who and how?
I really need to start thinking about Yuletide and what fandoms I want to nominate this year, since it's coming up fast. This might be the first time in years that I haven't even started thinking about it yet, though. That will deserve its own post in a few weeks, when I try to start brainstorming.
Work has been ridiculous lately. It's not really something that I can talk about in detail, but there's definitely quite a bit of tension between the higher ups and, well, a large percentage of the employees who aren't being paid six figures annually. Let's just say that the amount of work expected of most employees has gone up while salaries haven't (except for the higher ups, who magically were able to get raises when people making significantly less than them weren't), and I'm very worried the directors are going to find out first-hand just how screwed they are if a large number of people all turn in their notice and walk.
Mainly because I'm not in a position where I can afford to do that, no matter how much I might want to sometimes. Which means I'll also be somewhat screwed if anyone turns in their notice.
Add in the aforementioned extra work and the fact that several people have been out for health-related reasons, meaning our workload is even heavier, and... well, needless to say, it's not been fun.
Let's see... I should probably talk about the cats, huh?
Garrus and Percy are getting along surprisingly well. The first few weeks were a bit rocky, but once they got used to each other (and realized just how similar they are), things became a lot smoother. They're at the point where they're regularly grooming each other and sleeping just a few inches apart, which is a lot better than I was hoping for after less than two months.
I still miss Tali a lot, obviously, but the fact that Garrus and Percy are getting along so well is definitely helping. Percy is a doll, and I'm already at the point where I can't imagine him not being here. I just, you know, sometimes wish that I could have had all three of them, even though the realistic side of my brain knows that I never would have met him if I hadn't lost her.
VividCon is next week, which... I have complicated feelings about. ( Brain weasels! Aren't they fun? )
Anyway, I'm hoping that my brain weasels will go away once I'm actually in Chicago. At the moment, though, I'm not nearly as excited about the con being next week as I usually am by this point. Which makes me sad. Hopefully that will change somewhat over the next week-and-a-half?
... oh, I just realized that I never posted about my week of hell with FedEx here on Dreamwidth. I should rectify that. I want to make a separate fandom-related post first, and then I'll post the whole terrifying tale.
Signal-boosting much appreciated!
Preacher on AMC at 9:00pm ET. Featuring our very own Pajiba 10 winner, Ruth Negga! And some other people too, but we know who's the star here, right?
Will on TNT at 9:00pm ET.
Diana: Our Mother, Her Life and Legacy on HBO at 10:00pm ET. A lot of this seems to have been covered in interview released prior to the special. I am not surprised that Harry and William are still dealing with the loss of their mother. I am still a little creeped out that SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE seem heavily invested in knowing exactly what's going on with that and them.
Midnight, Texas on NBC at 10:00pm ET. Series premiere. The title made me think of making a joke about how this is the televised version of "Welcome to Nightvale" and then I actually looked up a synopsis and it's... basically a more boring version of "Welcome to Nightvale" crossed with True Blood. It's based on a book series of the same name by Charlaine Harris who also wrote the vampire novels that True Blood was based on and the character descriptions feature both occupations and supernatural entity status. So, at least to start out with, you're going to have a psychic, a witch, and a vampire. I'm sure some other critters will show up eventually. Dylan Bruce is starring in this, who I remember from Orphan Black as Paul who was mostly blandly handsome and not a whole lot else.
People of Earth on TBS at 10:30pm ET. Second season premiere.
It was an experience that involved FAR larger crowds than anticipated (thanks to new security measures getting in on weekends now involve a lot of waiting), quite a bit of running, and getting out of the movie with less than an hour to spare before closing. As we've invested in a British Museum membership each, we didn't have to pay for the exhibition, and decided to go in, have a relatively quick look around, and then return early in the morning at some point. (In the meantime we bought the exhibit DVD and watched it in preparation, learning an incredible amount of new things about Hokusai in particular and the ukiyo-e artworld in general.)
We made it back this Saturday, when we had registered for a lecture on woodblock printing in the 21st century at 1.30pm, leaving us plenty of time to enjoy the exhibition and the rest of the museum. We woke up before 7am to make sure we'd make it down to London shortly after the museum opened, and when we got there it was gloriously free of crowds. We made a beeline for the exhibition which had pre-opened for members only, and spent a good two hours just... taking it all in.
It's a fantastic exhibition. The British Museum made this little video introduction, which I quite like:
And there was so much to see! I'll divide it into two parts: Hokusai prints (courtesy of the British Museum), and my photos from the trip.
( Hokusai's art )
And from the sublime to just my Galaxy 7S snapshots...
( London trip )
Proving that there's always money in the banana stand, even if the stand is located in a galaxy far, far away, Nerdist Presents has gifted unto the world the epic Arrested Development/Star Wars mashup we need in our lives:
This clever video hinges on the fact that Ron Howard is pulling double duty as both the new director of the Young Han Solo standalone film AND as the ongoing narrator of the Bluth family misadventures. The remixing of existing Star Wars footage into an episode of Arrested Development works far better than it should -- though that could be due to the familial insanity already baked into the Star Wars canon (wait, Luke kissed his sister?!). But all the little nods are there, from Howard refuting what the characters are saying to the classic "Footage Not Found" frames when Solo mentions the Kessel Run. There is only one question I have after watching it: which character would be the Lucille Bluth of Star Wars?
My money is on Palpatine.
The timing of the video couldn't be better, as we've gotten more news in the past week about the upcoming fifth season of Arrested Development, due to hit Netflix sometime in 2018. Apparently, the whole season will revolve around a murder mystery whodunit: specifically, who killed Lucille Austero (a.k.a. "Lucille Two," the character played by Liza Minnelli). I bet a loose seal is the culprit, for obvious reasons.
The season will also bring the cast back together -- like, LITERALLY. None of the weird green screen nonsense and disjointed storytelling that tried to make up for the cast's limited availability during the last installment.
If nothing else, it's nice to know Ron Howard will be staying busy in the next year.
After weeks of anticipation and what I can only assume is our readers frantically refreshing their browsers every five seconds, the 2017 Pajiba 10 has arrived. The 11th Annual list of the brainiest, geekiest, loveliest, most thoughtful and lustful celebs is here. As always, the Pajiba 10 is comprised entirely of YOUR votes, so if you're unhappy, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Fortunately, I think, few will be unhappy with this year's Pajiba 10. It's a phenomenal list assembled with more votes than ever. The list this year includes seven first-times, one second-timer, and two new Hall of Fame members (numbers 9 and 10 on the list).
This year, we also asked our readers to identity the Best Chris, and to be honest, it wasn't even close. Evans was a distant second, and the other two (Pratt and Hemsworth) weren't even competitive. So, let's begin with Officially, Once and For All: The Best Chris:
Best Chris -- It had been a long-fought battle but finally, the majority has spoken. We, the people, have chosen Chris Pine as our favourite Chris. No longer will our non-Marvel dark horse languish in the background, unappreciated behind the iron abs of the Avengers (and the other one). Pine: Captain Kirk, Steve Trevor, singing prince, Streisand approved, soon-to-be sexiest scientist dad ever in A Wrinkle in Time ... He claims the crown. And who could blame you all for falling for such majesty? The arguments may wage on but for once, democracy actually worked. All hail The Best Chris. -- Kayleigh Donaldson
And now, on to the results:
10. Oscar Isaac -- What can be said about new Hall of Fame inductee Oscar Isaac that hasn't been mumbled breathlessly before? To every movie he gifts with his presence, Isaac brings leading man smolder and dashing good looks coupled with a character actor's range. He can pull off the struggling musician, trying to get his big break while being his own worst enemy. He was the best part of the woefully unfeminist Sucker Punch, making a creepy rapist ooze charm and disgust in equal measure. You've got reclusive genius; building female robots and tricking young Brits. A mysterious government killer hunting Jason Bourne. He's Poe Dameron, X-Wing pilot and trusted fighter in the Rebel Alliance. The list goes on, believe me. Only a man who can accomplish all of these varied characters in the span of five years is worthy of making Pajiba lions moist from the hallowed Hall of Fame. -- Jodi Smith
9. Gillian Anderson -- It was Friday night, April 29, 1994. I was 12 years old and 64-days new to this country. Besides my little three-person family, I knew no one here. I didn't know the language. I felt lost and bewildered and overwhelmed. So that Friday night, I was sitting at home, browsing through what seemed like endless channels on the TV (back in the Motherland, we only had two) and I landed on something that immediately grabbed my attention. It was the first season of The X-Files, an episode titled "Born Again." And besides the spooky and paranormal, which I always gravitated toward, the female lead is what caught my eye. Special Agent Dana Scully was the sort of role model a young, confused, and powerless girl needed to see: intelligent, persistent, and unwilling to accept the injustices around her. Gillian Anderson was cast in that role at the astounding age of 24, and despite having to share the screen with a domineering David Duchvony, she nevertheless persisted to convert the show to a Scully-centric feminist tour de force. Since that pivotal role, she's given brilliant performances in Bleak House, Hannibal, The Fall, and American Gods, among others. She is a goddamn force of nature, and it's about time that Pajiba honors her with a permanent spot in the Pajiba Freebies Hall of Fame. -- Ursula Scully
8. Janelle Monáe -- I thought about just dropping a .GIF of the wondrous Ms. Monáe from her 'Yoga' music video and just dusting my hands off and walking away. But then I realized that she deserves more than that. She deserves the world. Monáe is one of those almost preternaturally lovely women, and she's been enchanting people with her rhythm, movement, and voice since her first full-length album, The ArchAndroid, blew up in 2010. She's an immense talent with a unique vision, a lyricist and writer as well as an artist and a fashion icon who doesn't give a shit about gender norms. But recent years have shown that she's also a remarkably talented actress, and between her turns in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, she's become even more of a force to be reckoned with. So there you have it: a proud, gorgeous, intelligent woman who can sing, dance, and act her ass off. Thank you, Ms. Monáe, for giving us everything. -- TK
7. Mahershala Ali -- Mahershala Ali--aka if a fine, well-aged scotch were a real human person and could walk and talk and invent the color yellow--has been steaming up your TVs now for the better part of 15 years. Always steadily working, he's had recurring roles on Crossing Jordan, The 4400, Alphas, Treme, House of Cards... whatever the hell Threat Matrix is. (Personally, it's what I call the mental calculations I perform when I look at a given month's movie slate and try to figure out what TK's going to punish me with. Really looking forward to The Emoji Movie, y'all.) But it wasn't until this year that most of our collective lions stood up and took notice of the hotness and talent that Ali was laying down. 2016 was Ali's year, and he was everywhere, whether joining the ranks of Marvel villainhood in Luke Cage, proving the standout of indie movie Kicks, or getting his respectful romantic lead on opposite Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures. I didn't think "steadfast military man I met at a church potluck respectfully asks for my hand in marriage over a home cooked meal, after which he promises to look after my elderly mother and three young children" was a particular sexual fantasy of mine--not least because I have no intention of having kids, haven't been to church in over a decade, and spend too much time speculating robot fucking to be all that vanilla--but God damn, here we are! Mahershala Ali sweats charisma, and he's handsome as hell to boot. Never has that been more in evidence than in Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, a role that netted Ali a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar win. And not for nothing, but the man can wear the hell out of a suit. --Rebecca Pahle
6. Taika Waititi -- New Zealand's sexiest director earns his spot on the coveted Pajiba 10 with a mix of wit, whimsy, and face face face. Whether he's playing geeky sidekick to Ryan Reynolds, dandying it up as a flustered vampire, promoting his critically heralded coming-of-age comedy Hunt For The Wilderpeople, or playing the fool for a good cause, Waititi wins our hearts and riles our lions with his penetrating brown eyes, goofy grin, sexy silver locks, and swoon-worthy sense of humor. And if that weren't enough, he pulled together an all-star team of hotness, including Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson and Jeff Goldblum, for what's sure to be Marvel's hottest movie, Thor: Ragnarok. And bonus, he introduced us to doofy surfer bro Thor, and his beleaguered roommate, Darryl. Not only is this New Zealander one of the funniest and sexiest humans on the planet, but also he's mad generous, giving us more laughs and opportunities to ogle than any other on this list! -- Kristy Puchko
5. John Cho -- He can get to White Castle. He can fly the Enterprise. He can make us watch a show called Selfie -- and god help me, I watched EVERY. FREAKING. EPISODE. There's a reason John Cho has become the literal poster boy for diversity in Hollywood casting, and it's because he's the complete package. Sweet smile, kind eyes, the way he fills out a suit. He's the very personification of charm. He also can act most other leading men under the table -- action, drama, comedy, you name it. He's a man, he's a movement, he's a two-time Pajiba 10 certified hottie. Our fantasies are already #StarringJohnCho, so yes Hollywood, cast him in everything. We'll be there with cash in our hands, hearts in our eyes and... well, you can imagine what's going on in our pants. -- Tori Preston
4. Ruth Negga -- Did y'all know that Ruth Negga is
British half-Irish? I only ask because in preparation for this post, I watched some of her late-night interviews, and was surprised not to hear Tulip's expletive-filled, Southern drawl. And here's the thing: I first discovered her in Misfits, where she and everyone else used their regular British accents, meaning I definitely should have remembered that she's British not American. But so is the power of Ms. Negga. She can disappear into a role so thoroughly you don't recognize her. Which is all the more remarkable given her face. The woman is startlingly beautiful. Like all time, classically, but still perfectly-imperfect and interesting to look at beautiful. But also I'm certain she could kick my ass. And I'm kind of into that? And her back-up career is to be a librarian? I don't know what more to say, people. The woman was made for us. -- Emily Chambers
3. Kate McKinnon -- When tasked with the glorious assignment of writing about why Kate McKinnon is so Pajiba 10 electable and delectable, I decided to go back to last year's list and see what we said about her then. Except...she wasn't on it. And I realized that, this time last year, WE JUST DIDN'T KNOW. We knew she was funny. We knew she was beautiful. But we didn't know about this.
We didn't know about this.
And we definitely didn't know about this.
How foolish we were then. How young and naive. How tragic our lives were to have not yet sexualized Kate McKinnon. How. Fucking. Dare we. She's hot. She's hilarious. That second one makes that first one way more so. She's also about to debut as Mrs. Frizzle in the new Magic Schoolbus, tickling a very specific fetish for some of us, I assume. I want to curl up inside her dimples and live there. I want to lounge for days on her upper lip as it stretches into her smile. I want to hear what her voice sounds like when she stops trying to make you laugh and starts trying to make you do something else. Welcome to the Pajiba 10, Kate. We're sorry we took so long. -- Courtney Enlow
2. Jason Momoa -- How do you like your hunks? I'm going for beefcake, rare, with a side of quizzical eyebrow. Jason Momoa has the physique of a gladiator and a naughty, smouldering glimmer in his eyes that seems to whisper, 'hey you, wanna walk on the wild side?' This Hawaiian Adonis is best known for his burly guy-liner work as Khal Drogo (Shekh ma shieraki anni - my sun and stars), though he's been making hearts flutter for years in Baywatch, Stargate and Conan. Hey, he's only been glimpsed in the DCU so far, and he's already made Aquaman a star. Momoa looks like a guy who'd take you on an epic adventure, punch a shark, read you a poem, rescue a kitten, drink you under the table, then carry you home without breaking a sweat. You would believe literally anything about Momoa. How many guitar-playing, extreme sports Buddhists do you know? For a guy whose last name means 'dry' in Polynesian (fact fans), this is one Aquaman who definitely brings the sploosh. -- Hannah Sole
1. Gal Gadot -- Yes, Gal Gadot is beautiful. And yes, Gal Gadot is a bad-ass (Israeli army, combat training, etc. etc.). And yes, my god, Gal Gadot is beautiful. But that's not why she stole the Pajiba 10 this year. There are lots of pretty people on the list, lots of bad-asses. There always are. Rather, Gadot stole the Pajiba 10 for the same reason she stole both last year's miserable Batman v Superman: Dawn of the Marthas and a good chunk of this summer's box office - because her Wonder Woman is IT. Gadot absolutely shines as the Amazon warrior and has shown Hollywood that of course women can be bad-asses on screen, and of course women can be superheroes, and of course women can lead big franchise blockbusters (we see you too, Patty Jenkins).
Through Wonder Woman, Gadot is a symbol for what women actually are, not what pop-culture so stereotypically wants to limit them to:
When people argue that Wonder Woman should "cover up," I don't quite get it. They say, "If she's smart and strong, she can't also be sexy." That's not fair. Why can't she be all of the above? (EW)In The Dark Knight. Commissioner Gordon famously notes that Batman is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the hero that is needed at that moment. Gadot's Wonder Woman is the reverse - she is absolutely the hero we need right now, even though I'm not sure we deserve her. But my god are we lucky to have her. Plus, look at how she looks at the best Chris (Pine). Gal Gadot just gets it. -- Seth Freilich
When faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of widespread sexual assault, inventors have come up with a variety of clever and tragically practical tools, like drinking straws and coasters that change color when they detect a date rape drug. The latest innovations in battling sexual assault are flame throwers and tit stickers. Seriously.
First up, The Verge shared this video about a special sticker and phone app combo that alerts a wearer's friends if their bra is grabbed without consent.
Scientist invented a sticker that can detect sexual assault pic.twitter.com/U2rCgf84yd— The Verge (@verge) July 22, 2017
The system itself seems a bit convoluted and flawed. For one, not all sexual assault victims have breasts or wear bras. For another, alerting friends to a bra being grabbed doesn't guarantee they'll be in a position to help. It's unclear what 911 would do with the information that you know your friend's bra was grabbed, but you're not there to witness it. And frankly, it's depressing to imagine that on top of padding and underwires and all the other discomforts of bras, women might now have to work in a metallic sticker and even a panic button.
Next we turn to China, where the battle against sexual assault has turned fiery. Literally. Men's Health reports "Anti-Pervert" flamethrowers are now for sale there, ranging from $13 to $40, and reaching up to 3,300 degrees and 20 feet.
There's a debate about the legality of this device, which is like pepper spray, except with the ability to scar and potentially set someone on fire. But unless you're battling back the apocalypse, spraying 20 feet of flames seems pretty extreme. Frankly, I wouldn't want something with that ability bumbling around in my purse. I've stabbed myself with a stray safety pin. And I can't really imagine how practical this device might be.
Nonetheless, all of the above tools carry with them some of the same controversy. Some activists believe that devices like these put the onus on the victim to avoid rape, as if rape is inevitable so you better do something to make sure it doesn't happen to you. They argue the focus should be on urging/teaching men (who most often commit sexual assaults) to just not commit rape. Which makes sense. But with an alleged sexual predator in the White House, it seems the battle against rape culture has a long way to go. So we can't blame someone from walking softly but carrying a big flamethrower.
Sorry, that's a lot of downer news. Um. Here's a puppy pick-me-up.