mindstalk: (food)
I've been buying butter in small tubs, so I can leave it out to get soft, and not mess with sticks in a tray. I'd been buying Plugra. Last time I bought Kerrygold, and after leaving it out it was practically turning into butter soup, in temperatures not as hot as they had been. It claims to be naturally softer, because it's from grass fed cows. It doesn't say that grass means more Omega-3 fats, but that's usually the case, and O-3s have lower melting points than O-6 (maybe why deep sex fish use them.) So, that checks out. And O-3 would mean marginally healthier butter.

Question remains whether it's "naturally softer" enough to not be annoying to spread straight out of the fridge.

***

Yogurt making continues, and my latest batch is like the best-set I've ever made. I went for maximum laziness, simply filling the mason jar with milk and sticking that in the oven (heated by pilot light); no pre-heating of milk, no heating of the oven to get the temperature above 106 F. I did add a bit of yogurt from the Trader Joe's tub, in addition to the yogurt already in the jar. I left it incubating for a while, 13 or 15 hours, I think. Came out not very sour, and a mix of semi-solid and stretchy-goopy, vs. my more common "solid on top, fermented liquid beneath" or the "totally separated curds and sour whey" of previous late-generation attempts. I am pleased, if unsure about being able to replicate this.

***

I re-read the webcomic Digger for the first time, a couple days ago. It really is good! Serious story but also hilarious in many places. Pseudoniece G' seems to be liking it, too.

***

I re-read the webcomic Treading Ground last night, for the second or third time. Much quicker, only 251 strips, vs like 750 pages. It's a lot cruder and I'm not mentioning it to 13 year old pseudonieces. But funny in its own way. It also had advice on cutting meat with dull knives (apply pressure and speed) which has served me well since first reading it.
mindstalk: (glee)
I got into this comic in late May, I don't remember exactly why. In short, I liked it a lot, and have re-read various stories out of it several times, and even sketched a bit of continuation fanfic. So, big hit here.

Why do I like it? I guess the usual for me: interesting and sympathetic characters, funny lines (and images) while having a somewhat serious tone (so, like Bujold and Cherryh at times, though much lighter than either), somewhat interesting stories and worldbuilding.

How to describe it in an interesting way? Eh... Like many other webcomics, it's modern day + weirdness, I guess you could put it under urban fantasy. High school students in this case, dealing with magic, alien tech (also magic) and their lives. The soap opera content is actually pretty low; the kids are pretty sensible, and Shive isn't big on darkness or angst.

Special theme: transformations, especially genderbending ones. This strip argues that if magic were real and general, transformation magic would be huge. I believe it.

Also, the government shown has generally been knowledgeable and helpful, along with having a good excuse for covering up magic.

The title doesn't mean anything really, it's just a title.

As with many webcomics, it starts off pretty rough, in both art and writing. Page #2: "There will be moments in this comic where it will be particularly obvious that I began writing it when I was a young man shortly out of high school. This is one of those comics." I would say the comic has found its voice, though not its art, by the end of "Sister". If you can take a lot of in media res, then you could start at the beginning of that. Further back, 'story' starts happening with 'Goo'.

Reasons not to read it: it's ongoing, and not super fast. I think the last year or two of our time covered a day or two of comic time (granted, very busy days.) There's a reason I got tempted to continuation fanfic, after catching up.

Comic has been going since 2002, but the archives don't feel *that* deep to me. Not like a daily regular such as Sluggy Freelance.

Discoveries

2016-May-12, Thursday 20:40
mindstalk: (Homura)
Lightly microwaved cherry tomatoes explode in warm sweetness when you eat them with pasta.

El Goonish Shive is a good webcomic.

A Miracle of Science is still a good webcomic, and unlike EGS it's long over.

A Borrowed Voice is a surprisingly good crack-premise Tolkien fanfic.

A bunch of new Madoka AMVs, which I've added to my list. I'll link to just one. Warning: spoilers for series and Rebellion.

Years ago, I proved the sin(A+B) identity from first principles while lying in bed. I think it took 40 minutes. The impressive part is that I'm usually more of a symbolic/numerical thinker than a visual one, I still slide my fingers to manipulate supply and demand curves, so doing finicky geometry in my head, no paper, was pretty impressive. Last night I thought about it again (and again in bed), and solved it much faster; I think I found a simpler solution, though I can't be sure. Alas, the margins of this blog post... or rather, I've never invested effort in learning how to make pictures on line.

The Renaissance art hallway at the MFA was more interesting than I expected, especially in the half that's largely maiolica.
mindstalk: (Default)
Hub Comics in Union Square is like a Lost World of comics. Old EC comics collections, non-standard manga I've never heard of (largely Osamu Tezuka titles), Donald Duck collections, giant art books... it's also where I bought Aya, though I didn't see those this time around. What I did buy was the second Asterix collection (3 books for the price of 2) and Carl Barks' Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes, itself a collection of several stories.

Asterix... I catch lots of puns I missed as a child. OTOH, it wasn't all that funny. And there's some pickaninny/golliwog art, though not played for laughs, it's just how the occasional black side characteri s drawn. By a French artist in the 1960s. Considering American comics at the time, maybe it was a plus there were any blacks at all...

I've never read much Duck stories -- have a vague memory of some Scrooge tales -- but this one was pretty good, actually. More engaging than the Asterix puns and cliches. Had one black American, some Africans, and some South Sea islanders. The latter just looked human. The Africans looked cliched, but had been screwed over by Scrooge. There's commentary in the back by several artists, who note Barks's complexity and humanity in such matters. And he was drawing/writing for Disney in the 1940s. I suppose there's a matter of perspective: the natives in the titular story look goofy and have adopted the Southern mannerisms of a past visiting professor, but the commentary says they're neither savages nor noble savages. This may be rosy. OTOH, it's a story about a duck trying to chase down square eggs, so seriousness level meh.

One of the stories had the "sunken ship raised by ping pong balls" invention mentioned in this Cracked article.

At any rate, I feel more likely to buy more Duck stories than Asterix.

I do wonder about the translation effect. Asterix has (or had) *lots* of puns. Names, Gaul and galling, others... it's kind of like the Cyberiad: lacking knowledge of the source language, you can't help wondering how creative and liberty-taking the translator had to be.
mindstalk: (Default)
I recently read The Sandman Papers, most of which were interesting though some were "oookay, academics can be weird." Then last night I re-read Preludes and Nocturnes... and then, inspired by one of the papers (on The Tempest) and Scott McCloud, I went back and looked at the paneling. What's square, what's not, what's borderless? First I was looking at "The Sound of Her Wings", where we meet Death, and... well, I noticed a lot of variation, but not a lot of pattern. Tended to the rectangular, but borders were often simply missing, or present only as part of the park bench. One page the background color was pink, except for one panel where it was blue.

I also found myself wondering if the final page, where Dream scatters his bread and joyfully hears the sound of (pigeon) wings, is actually a hint of his decision to commit suicide. Most of the comic is about what Death does, after all, and there's that poem about welcoming death. Then "She has responsibilities. I have responsibilities", which sounds like he's finding comfort in getting back to work again, but then... the wings, as if the pigeons are a foretaste of the sound of *her* wings at the end of it all.

Anyway. After that I went looking at the chapters in general, and I think I saw more of a pattern. The first issue is pretty whacked out, panel-wise, including lots of circular panels, usually as facial closeups, especially if seen through an eyepiece, the glass cage, or a scrying ball. There's lots of "panels on top of backgrounds", and curvy panels, and diagonal borders. Of course, the whole issue is largely "magical".

Then the next issue, Dream in the Dreaming with Cain and Abel, hardly has a rectangle anywhere, it's all curvy borders. Most of Constantine's issue is standard rectangular panels, diagonalizing or warping a bit when the dreams get heavy. That seems to be the basic pattern: everyday stuff uses traditional panels, dreaming stuff uses curves, some stuff in the middle uses diagonals.

I also saw one part where a unified scene was nonetheless broken up by diagonal gutters, for not obvious reason. (Unlike Spike: Shadow Puppets, where an otherwise unified 'picture' of a diner is broken by a gutter in the middle, and on the left Spike is coming out of the doorway of the diner and in the right he's moved across the street, so there's a temporal function.)

Sidenote: I was long impressed by how long and dense the first issue feels, and wondered if it was from the sheer fast pace of changes, like the ending of the third arc in Twelve Kingdoms, which feels (pleasantly) like it's a lot longer than 22 minutes or whatever. At some point I discovered it actually has more pages than a standard issue.
mindstalk: (glee)
I did a bunch of reading on Cracked. I thought it was neat.

comic book inventions
Donald Duck Minecraft
Spider-Man inspired ankle-tracking
Captain Marvel Jr., Elvis
http://www.cracked.com/article_20379_5-important-things-you-wont-believe-comic-books-invented.html

Donald Duck inventions
Inception, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ship raising with ping pong balls
(noted by Dutch Patent Office)
methylene (CH2)
Scrooge -> Tezuka -> manga
http://www.cracked.com/article_19021_5-amazing-things-invented-by-donald-duck-seriously.html

infrasound behind ghosts, dread and sightings (I knew of infrasound causing dread, but not that it was implicated in causing visual effects.)
http://www.cracked.com/article_18828_the-creepy-scientific-explanation-behind-ghost-sightings.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_19455_5-common-crime-fighting-tactics-statistics-say-dont-work.html?wa_user1=4&wa_user2=Weird+World&wa_user3=article&wa_user4=recommended
fake confessions; composite sketches suck; lineups suck (pressure to
pick the best match even if wrong, or the one the cops think did it)
"The U.S. is the only modernized country to throw people in jail for
writing bad checks. In no other civilized (or even pretend civilized)
country will someone go to jail because he couldn't pay a $215 fishing
license fine. And then we have the perpetual drug war, which has added
around 200,000 people who wouldn't see jail time in Europe"
crack/cocaine difference is based on fraud and perjury

drug dogs have lots of false positives and pick up handler racism
car chases kill
"In fact, at least a third of all fatalities in high speed chases tend
to be innocent bystanders, just going about their day. We're talking
over 360 people per year, just flat out run over by cops and robbers who
watch way too many movies."
drug free zones are so extensive dealers stay near schools
red light cameras reduce side collisions, increase rear-ending by more
dry counties have more drunk driving fatalities and more teen drug use
http://www.cracked.com/article_19937_the-6-most-popular-crime-fighting-tactics-that-dont-work.html?wa_user1=5&wa_user2=Science&wa_user3=article&wa_user4=recommended

celebrity conspiracy theories
Michael Jackson chemically castrated -- voice never changed
Jefferson Asperger's
Elvis constipated, Hitler poop fetish
http://www.cracked.com/article_19552_5-insane-celebrity-conspiracy-theories-that-make-sense.html

http://www.cracked.com/article_18666_5-ridiculous-attempts-at-crime-fighting-that-worked.html

And unrelatedly, Fox hates Bill of Rights
http://imgur.com/a/WbQjn/noscript
mindstalk: (Default)
Got a new friend to accompany me to a tapas bar on Beacon. I'd felt intimidated about going to a dark bar on my own, probably for no good reason. Well, if it's dark it's hard to read on your own... Decor was interestingly overdone, food was decent but expensive, conversation was great.

I've belatedly realized that for all the chairs I've accumulated, none of them have arms. The recliner did, but I abandoned it in Bloomington as half-broken and thick with internal dust. It would probably be good if I could rest my elbows on arms rather than the computer table. It would probably be good if I had a lower table. Sign, spending money on furniture, I don't wanna...

I read a new webcomic: http://candicomics.com Clicked on an ad, got caught up in the archives. I don't know why, it's basically collegiate soap opera, albeit with superpowered animals on the side.

I read my third Vampire Hunter D novel, and my first Lankhmar book (the second one, Swords Against Death). Fun.

US formally accused of torturing Bradley Manning
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/12/bradley-manning-cruel-inhuman-treatment-un

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/03/spock-must-die-the-first-novel "so bad it's good!"

I read http://www.aspousa.org/index.php/2010/10/electrification-and-expansion-of-railroads-as-a-response-to-peak-oil-by-alan-s-drake/ and the longer http://www.aspousa.org/index.php/2010/10/a-citizens-guide-to-an-oil-free-economy-chapt-1/ on how we could cut out a lot of oil by upgrading our rail system. Electrification for $1 million/mile, double tracking and different-grade crossings. Not High Speed, but faster and more reliable and blending semi-high speed passengers with higher speed freight. Electric rail would use 1/20th the power of trucks, a heavy truck does the road damage of 5000 cars, authors estimate $700 billion high end for the project.

Also of interest to me:
World Trade Organization (WTO) rules allow a nation with a long term
structural trade deficit (and the USA certainly qualifies !) to place a
unilateral tariff on all “non-essential” imports so long as the proceeds
from the tariff are used exclusively to reduce the structural trade
deficit and there is no preferential treatment in the application of the
tariff.


I've thought of a tariff to enforce trace balance, but had assume it would require flouting the WTO.


I've always had trouble getting left-anarchists to describe their ideal vision of the world, and when they do I've had trouble telling it from democracy + looser property rights. Today a couple of leftists on RPG.net, one of them quasi-anarchist, agreed with me.

You should listen to an Anarchist and a Trotskyist debate the need for
a revolutionary state sometime. It's hilarious.

Both will solemnly outline their vision of the ordering of society
immediately after a revolution. Both will tell you all about how
decision making will take place through a structure of workers councils
and neighbourhood councils, sending delegates up to broader regional
bodies, and so on. In fact, you will have some significant difficulty in
finding actual points of disagreement. But in the end the Trotskyist
will tell you that this is a state and the Anarchist will tell you that
this is not a state.


One of them joked that came down to whether you preferred red or black flags.
mindstalk: (Default)
A couple nights ago I started in on the Skin Horse archives, and finished yesterday and added it to my comic list.

After that, I figured I should give Narbonic another shot... like the third shot. Should see where Artie came from, right? I got past the really early art, but, I dunno, still don't care much. Partly not caring about the characters, partly all the interruptions of fan art or haiku or now, fan fiction. And I'm getting it easy, 5-6 strips a page normally... except when the funky stuff starts, then there's a splash/title page, and another page per part, and I just want to get back to the story, such as it is.

Oh right, a comic jumping menu bar. I should use that.
mindstalk: (Default)
FUN

US only so far, and seemed like you'd have to go find the ticket yourself to buy it, but nice and fast: http://www.google.com/flights/

CEOs in comics, inheritance vs. 'earning'. http://www.juliansanchez.com/2011/09/21/ceos-in-comics-villains-earn-heroes-inherit/

Problems with so-called sexually empowered superheroines: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?594227-The-problem-with-sexually-empowered-superheroines
Also http://www.harkavagrant.com/nonsense/strongfemalessmall.gif
200 questions chemistry e-book: http://questions.sci-toys.com/

Love as anti-Horcrux in Harry Potter: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?594106-Harry-Potter-Magical-Theory-Horcruxes-and-Anti-Horcruxes


NOT FUN

Zeno's Paradox of US politics http://seawasp.livejournal.com/284468.html

Jewish professor accused of anti-Semitism for use-mention failure http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3431

GOP makes huge gains among young and poor white voters http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2067/2012-electorate-partisan-affiliations-gop-gains-white-voters

Bachmann may be anti-vaccination in general? Haven't checked. http://www.filibustercartoons.com/index.php/2011/09/15/upcoming-republican-slogans/


Make your own "Death Eater for President" jokes.
mindstalk: (Homura)
In the past week:

Webcomic 1: "Mom, I want you to meet my girlfriend."
*hospitalized mom dies*

Webcomic 2, before home-alone date: "Pet rat who totally isn't around 3-4 years old, does this outfit look hot?"
*opens door to girlfriend, sobbing*

Not that we know yet the rat keeled over, maybe she got a cold in the past half hour or has been cutting onions. I'm just feeling righteously annoyed at cheap drama tricks and am willing to risk jumping the gun.

Webcomic news

2011-Jan-08, Saturday 21:02
mindstalk: (Default)
Rumor is that Sluggy Freelance will end this year. That'd be pretty epic; it's one of the oldest webcomics, and updates at least 5 days a week. Kind of rambling, but I have seen some hints of convergence in its recent plotlines.

No rumor as to whether Agatha will leave Castle Heterodyne this year.

RPG.net started a thread about webomics that finish, as opposed to getting abandoned or never ending, and I've read two of the suggestions. Yu+Me starts out as a standard teen lesbian romance. Part 2 goes in different directions, with a lot of artistic experimentation. Get Medieval is sort of SF, 'alien' humans getting stranded on medieval Earth. Funny, good characters.

Links are in the 'Finished' section of my webcomics page, along with other ones I've read.


http://mindstalk.net/comics.html

Uncanny X-Feminism

2010-Jul-13, Tuesday 18:02
mindstalk: (rogue)
In the comic store I saw X-Women, the cover of which you can see on the link. Chris Claremont and Milo Manara. From the style I think the latter did Desire's story in Endless Nights, but mahjong presses so someone else can check for me. Cover: scantily clad X-Women (as in X-Men) under a waterfall. A brief glance at the contents: the X-Women getting captured and bound and made to be servants in panties.

Edit: yes, Manara did Desire's story. He's pretty good at drawing thin-eyed thick-lipped sultry women. Which is fine for a Desire story, but less so for X-Men...
mindstalk: (robot)
1) Armitage III. Sounded promising on Wikipedia, which did not prepare me for a character who rivals Major Kusanagi in "inappropriate clothing for a law enforcement officer". Perhaps it's meant to distract criminals? Was interesting, but the robot science got rubbery, and the ending skipped a lot of details or explanation.

2) Voices of a Distant Star. Poignant. Poignancy ruined when I realized that FTL travel means FTL courier mail, ruining a key premise. Though you can rationalize it with the right assumptions, kind of. Someone printed out a summary of the last 50 pages of the novel, which has a happier ending but doesn't make sense unless the aliens blew up the last-used jump point... in the manga, the ship seems just too damaged to move, though the news of that seemed to go back and forth via FTL.

3) The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Might be good? But another heart-wringing relationship with rubbery science (Now with Extra Quantum!) tonight was too much for me, especially tired, so I bailed out halfway through.

In Manga news, I bought and read Ghost in the Shell. Major's a lot different, with emotions and facial expressions and boyfriends. Still lots of fanservice. Got a lot more mystical at the end, at least compared to the series, don't recall the movie that well. With mention of ESP and a psychic.

James introduced me to Girlfriends, light yuri-ish shoujo. I liked it, though I don't claim there's anything deep there. I didn't find a better way of going between chapter than editing the URL. Not manga, but I also re-read the As If webcomic archive, something I'd forgotten about.

Astro City: the Dark Age was pretty good. Dark Phoenix Saga was decent. I hadn't known it introduced Kitty Pryde and Dazzler! That was cute.
mindstalk: (robot)
I just checked out and read the first two volumes of Earthlight, a manga-format comic by Stuart Moore. I liked it... one reviewer called it a mix of teen drama and space action SF, which seems right, and thought it was too fast and heavy on the action, which I can see. The year is 2068, the place is the Earthlight colony on the Moon, whose main function is supporting (and presumably building) power satellites. Panels on the Moon collect power, beam it to satellites, which focus it for beaming to Earth -- which needs 25 terawatts of electricity (today: 1.5 TW) but still has lots of social divisions: "7 billion in poverty", England decaying, Russia and China not places to be. Launch costs aren't mentioned, hopefully much lower. Politics are big: the colony is supported by a 54-country coalition, with many countries being happy to sneak out of paying. "Enburton Corporation" gets mentioned briefly, as a source of new funding. I got a faint whiff of libertarianism early on but it seems to have dispersed; right now I'd call the politics on the grim side of realistic, with no perceivable authorial bias. Well, maybe liberal, given Enburton and what it'll do.

Fridge logic: I just wondered why solar panels would be on the Moon, where they'd get 14-day nights.

There's a mass driver, presumably for launching stuff for satellites.

The characterization seems good, esp. most of the teens. Oh, right! The protagonist, male, has a black father -- who is administrator of the colony, and not a "bull Negro" aesthetic and a white mother. Though come to think of it, the 15 year old protag himself has a shaved head.

So, imperfect but intriguing, and I know some people (James) are desperate for near-future space SF that doesn't totally suck. Lack of libertarianism and He3 should be a plus.

Positive review.
Mixed review.
TOKYOPOP page for the book, with Flash-delivered preview pages. Illegible as is, but you can zoom in.

Interview, which tells me that it's a 3 volume thing but the 3rd hasn't been in print and will be online free in January. Also claims there are mecha, though there haven't been so far, just utility bots. Huh, the artist is involved with Barack the Barbarian.
mindstalk: (rogue)
The Hugo Award ballot for this year is out. There's a new provisional category for graphic novels. I would like to draw lyceum_arabica's attention to it, in anticipation of her tearing itself apart in indecision. Though maybe she'd just jump at Y or Schlock.

Me, I like Y and Fables less, didn't think Serenity was that good (well, should re-read it) and am innocent of Dresden stuff (besides, it's a spinoff, odds are poor). Girl Genius vs. Schlock Mercenary, though -- both are top tier comics for me. In terms of overall quality, I'd have trouble deciding. GG certainly wins on art, and probably characters. Story is hard to tell; both are good, Schlock has gotten a lot more done, as Foglio like Hodgell is going practically minute by minute. Schlock wins as science fiction, I think.

But I'm just amused that almost all the nominees are things I've read and she's read too.
mindstalk: (Default)
The cast lists have been updated, and has information not yet revealed in story. Dr. Sun in particular, and mention of the Geisters' connection to Lucrezia. Also Faustus and the Castle, yet another spelling variation on "Mekkhan", and in the big list clarification of various student statuses -- actually, that bit might be 'old'.
mindstalk: (Default)
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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