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Nov. 3rd, 2014

This Life For You



Have some music from the GazettE, with quite accurate English subtitles, to prove I'm still around.
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Oct. 20th, 2014

I'm Still Here

I know it's been a while since my last update, but things have been kind of crazy around here. First I had relatives from out of the country around for a while and a lot of my free time was spent shuttling them around to various places and whatnot. Then I found out a friend of mine had passed away unexpectedly. And then midterms hit, and I've been spending almost every spare second trying to get ready for those. And to be honest, I don't really see myself having much time until the winter break this year. It's almost the end of the month and I've barely read any fic, so there probably won't be a rec this month unless I can somehow find some spare time and some fic I like enough to want to rec.

I'm not going to close the blog down, but I probably won't have much time to do too much with it until December. I'm not abandoning you guys, I promise. Things are just kind of crazy right now and I don't really have enough spare time to write anything, except my term papers.
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Sep. 29th, 2014

Fic Rec #45

Fear not, my friends, we have a more normal length rec this month. It was useful actually having steady Internet access and hours between classes with nothing to do. I also went on kind of a crossover kick for a bit, so there’s a fair few of Harry Potter/Avengers crossovers on here- so if that’s your thing, enjoy! If not, well, you know me, just wait until next month and there will be different stories.

Oneshots/Twoshots

Third Definition
Fandom: Free
Category: Gen
Rating: High PG-13

I wasn't sure if I was going to rec this one, because while it had me screaming with laughter (so much so that my brother came in to make sure I was okay), it also hit my second-hand embarassment squick incredibly hard. But ultimately the hilarity won out over my second-hand embarassment, so here you go. Haru overhears his classmates talking about an interesting movie involving something called watersports. So he asks to borrow it and he and the rest of the team watches it. Everyone learns that sometimes words have more than one definition... Oh, and a word to the wise, if you don't know the other definitions for that word, I'd check out Urban Dictionary before reading the fic or you might get the shock of your life just like everyone in the story did. And no, I'm not your mom, I'm not going to tell you either.

DEAD END
Fandom: Vocaloid
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Character death

In my experience a lot of Vocaloid fic is complete crap. This one, though, managed to shake me to the core and reminded me of a lot of Tron fic. When you get down to it, really, Vocaloids, like the programs from Tron, are still computer programs, and are vulnerable to things like code corruption, viruses, and, as this story demonstrates, being uninstalled. If you’ve ever wondered what would go through a computer program’s mind when you deleted it, wonder no more, this fic explains it all, in a very viscerally disturbing way. Obviously a sentient computer program would view being uninstalled as murder…

You Are the Heroine to My Protagonist
Fandom: Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Category: Slash
Rating: Hard R

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is an anime about a girl who falls in love with a guy in her class and tries to confess her feelings, but he misinterprets her and thinks she’s trying to tell him that she likes the manga he draws. And he draws romantic girl’s comics. At least, that’s technically what it’s about. There’s a whole lot of other characters, too- the lesbian that half the school is in love with, the derpy manga editor, and this guy- Mikoshiba Mikoto, who tries to act so cool but instead is a giant dork. He actually is the inspiration for the main character in Nozaki’s manga, so it only stands to follow that Nozaki actually has some feelings for him, right?

Multi-Chapter Fics

Child of the Storm
Fandom: Crossover between Harry Potter and the Avengers
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Completion Status: 57 chapters, in progress
Notes: Graphic violence, and I do mean graphic in some chapters, honestly it really pushes the limits of the PG-13 rating but since it's not throughout the whole thing I'm going to leave it.

This was another tough one to decide if I was actually going to rec it or not. While it's an incredibly captivating story (and long as hell, it took me almost this whole month to read), the premise of the story is kind of out there (Thor turns out to be Harry's biological father- it's complicated) and the author has kind of an annoying tendency to turn characters into mouthpieces for his pet social issues especially in the later chapters, I ended up enjoying the story enough overall to want to find out what happens next and give my blog's readers the chance to read it themselves. But I also want to warn you that while the story itself is rated PG-13, it does get very graphically violent in some chapters- chapter 21 in particular is enough to make me somewhat sick to my stomach.

My Name Is Yasha Romanov
Fandom: Crossover between Harry Potter and the Avengers
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Completion Status: 8 chapters, in progress

Due to a prior run-in, Sirius Black knew the Black Widow. After the murder of his friends the Potters, he takes their surviving son and gives him to Natasha Romanov to look after. Obviously we all know what happens to Sirius, but what kind of person would Harry Potter be, if he was raised by a dangerous assassin, calling her “mother,” instead of the Dursleys?

Meeting the Prince
Fandom: Free!
Category: Slash
Rating: NC-17/R18/Adult
Completion Status: 4 chapters, possibly completed
Notes: Dubious consent

When Sousuke invades a neighboring country, he takes a liking to the handsome prince. Deciding that since he invaded the country, he had the right to take Prince Rin as his personal property. Chapters are short, but smutty, and you definitely get the sense of what’s going on- Sousuke’s snarky, sort of evil behavior and Rin’s doomed attempts to reassert his power. And lots of sex. Don’t forget that.

Sep. 22nd, 2014

When The Herd Comes To Town

Right now, I have pretty much all of my father's side of the family staying in my house. The only people who aren't here right now is my cousin from Thailand, and that's probably because she has to take care of her son. While my dad's family is generally a bit easier to get along with than my mom's family (and a lot smaller- seriously, if my mom's whole family came by we'd have to rent out an entire hotel), it's kind of bad timing, because midterm exams start next week and I need to study. However, I will be going out of town again on Thursday with the rest of the family. While it's nice to be able to see my relatives, I'm a little concerned about this weekend- I have an exam on Monday, and I have a kanji test this Thursday in Japanese. Between all the stuff I have to do this weekend and the exams, as well as shuttling relatives around from Point A to Point B, I'm a little concerned.

Ah well, I should probably just relax. Some people I know actually live with their extended family all the time and still manage to get things done. This isn't the end of the world.

Sep. 6th, 2014

MakeupAlley

In case anyone is interested, I know have a MakeupAlley account, in case you actually give a damn about what makeup I'm wearing and what I think about it. I have some reviews up already, so if you're interested go ahead and check it out!

Sep. 5th, 2014

Hackergate


Since I seem to be unable to keep myself from getting into controversial topics lately... have a post on the leaked photos.

Currently, I'm taking a class on tort law, and yesterday our entire class period was dedicated to discussing this scandal. For those of you who must live under a rock, since it's been everywhere, some celebrities got their iCloud accounts hacked and their nude photographs leaked. Apparently, this is a Really Big Fucking Deal, because Jennifer Lawrence's naked photographs ended up on The Fappening. So now the FBI is involved (and really, they don't have anything better to do, like catch terrorists?) and there's talk of prosecuting everyone who downloaded the photos with sexual assault. I honestly don't think that's going to fly, unless someone downloaded the photos of the underaged girls who were included in the data breach, because the professor says that would fall under possession of child pornography. That said, she also said it would be likely for the underaged girls to be charged with creation and dissemination of child pornography, so maybe, maybe not. We'll just have to wait and see.

But because everyone has been freaking the fuck out about this, some even potentially bigger issues have gone completely unreported. Well, not completely. Back from my days in the IT world, I already knew about a website called Data Breach Today which chronicles important things that have been hacked. Have you heard about the Home Depot credit card information breach? Unless you read IT news or follow the business pages, probably not, because everyone's been lamenting the photographs. Did you know about the HealthCare.gov hack? Again, probably not, because while everyone has been hooting and hollering about Jennifer Lawrence's nudes, theyv'e ignored other things.

Hacking is bad, guys, don't do it, and don't go download stolen photographs. But I will be honest- I am more concerned with the credit card thefts than I am with the photo leaks.

Sorry if this post doesn't make a lot of sense... I've been having an allergy attack for the past few days and I can barely see straight. I took some medicine that's made me really loopy and it's kind of hard to type logically.

Sep. 2nd, 2014

People > Animals, or Racism Isn't Okay Because You Like Bunnies

You guys know me, I don't like to get involved in this kind of kerfuffle. But today, I saw something, that even though it happened six months ago now, pissed me off so much that I had to say something, I couldn't stay quiet. Honestly, I'm furious, at a whole lot of people.

It started when my mom told me about a weird encounter she had in the Sephora in the mall where we live. I had asked her to buy me some concealer. Unfortunately they were out of the kind I usually get (that works on my ghost-white skin- seriously, I'm like half a shade darker than printer paper so finding American makeup that works on me is a challenge) so she was looking at some other brands that had a wide range of colors, hoping there might be one that wouldn't look alarmingly orange if I used it to cover up a zit. One of those brands was Tarte. She was trying to decide if the light concealer was going to work for me when another customer came up to her and told her, and I quote (well, my mother's rendition of what the other woman told her): “You shouldn't buy that shit, the company's owned by a bunch of MURDERERS.”

My mom's reaction was basically “WTF.” And so she asked the other woman what the hell she was on about. The woman's response? “Oh, the woman who started the company sold it to the Japanese and they torture animals to death!”

By this point my mom was kind of weirded out, but the woman continued going on and on and on, telling my mom that she should give her her email address so she could send her some information on animal testing and how horrible it is. My mother politely declined, came home without buying anything, and told me what had happened. So I looked it up.

Yes, in March of this year, Tarte Cosmetics was purchased by Kose, a Japanese company that manufactures, among a lot of other things, cosmetics. Some of Kose's brands include Anna Sui, Paul&Joe Beaute, Rimmel, Softymo, and Happy Bath Day, all companies I own (or have owned in the past) items from.

And people went berserk, because Kose, according to Japanese laws, sometimes conducts animal tests. Apparently this is way more of a hot-button issue than I thought, because I haven't seen that much invective directed at a corporation since... ever, probably. And a lot of what I read was really disgusting- and this was on moderated pages, at that. Some of what was still there would have made WWII propagandists go “guys, that's a bit far, don't you think?” I really do not want to see what the comments that said “removed” said. And no, I will not be linking to them, I don’t want that shit on my blog even indirectly.

Considering I have a lot of Japanese friends, I was... disturbed, to say the least. Comments saying that they hoped Japanese women who bought Kose cosmetics had acid dripped into their eyes were all over the place, comments about wanting to vivisect Kose customers, comments about wanting to torture the founder of Tarte Cosmetics “the way the animals would be tortured...” it was really disgusting, alarming, and truthfully, enough to probably get the comment writers on an FBI watch list. I hope they ended up on an FBI watch list, because some of them definitely seemed more than willing to go do something atrocious in the name of “saving the animals.” What I want to know is- do these dumbfucks not realize that they're talking about torturing people to death, in the name of saving some lab rats? I'm sorry, but I view threats to my friends and myself (since I own and use Kose products) to be quite a bit more serious than the fate of some rats. Do you take medication at all? Even Advil for a headache? Then you've used products that were tested on animals. The people who were ranting and raving about this call themselves “cruelty free.” Really? I'd say wishing horrible torture on women from a different culture is pretty fucking cruel.

Here in the US, we seem to be a lot more sentimental about animals than people in most other countries. In fact, in most places in the world, people would be absolutely horrified to know that Americans are slapping stuff on themselves that hasn't been tested. I spoke to many of my friends while I was working on this article and a lot of them were very disturbed at the idea that American companies are allowed to sell products that have not undergone the safety tests that are required in their countries. One of my friends, S, was very alarmed when I told him I used products that have been certified as “free from animal testing.” “You put that shit on your FACE?!” he yelled at me. “What happens if you get chemical burns or something?! How do they know it’s safe?!”

Look, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think animal testing should be conducted if it can be at all avoided- some things, like medications, really do need to go through a very stringent testing process before they can be given to people, even for testing. If the medication immediately kills the mouse or whatever, you probably don’t want to give it to people. I think, for the most part, cosmetic animal testing is unnecessary. But different countries have different laws for the safety of their citizens. There are some popular cosmetic products that are available in Asia and Europe that are not available here in the US, at least not through actual brick and mortar stores, because they would require more testing by the FDA before they could be sold to Americans. And I can tell you right now that they probably wouldn’t test the stuff on FDA employees. I think we can all agree that unnecessary animal cruelty is a bad thing. The difference is, that depending on the country of original, the standard for necessary vs. unnecessary will be different. I’m not sure where we should draw that line, either.

But I do think we should draw the line at making terroristic threats. And I’m pretty sure threatening to kill people because they use a makeup product you don’t like can fall under the heading of terroristic threats.

Aug. 30th, 2014

Fic Rec #44

Yeah, it’s really short, but I’ve been without Internet access for about half of this month, and classes started up again. It’s also a lot sexier than the last time… :P


Oneshots/Twoshots

Not Cute
Fandom: Free!
Category: Slash
Rating: NC-17/R18/Adult

At the annual Samezuka maid cafe, Momo sticks his foot in his mouth by calling Nitori feminine while complaining about having to wear a maid dress. So he decides to make it up to his sempai by trying to become the best maid he can be. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. You don't see too many fics where Nitori tops, and this one happens to be scorching hot as well.

Ghost in the Wires
Fandom: The Avengers
Category: Slash
Rating: NC-17/R18/Adult
Notes: Contains random characters from a bunch of other fandoms, including Star Trek, but knowledge of these guys isn't necessary to read this story, also, probably more importantly, character death

In a world where Tony Stark did not survive being held captive by the terrorists, Pepper Potts donates his old mansion to the Avengers, after they save the world from being taken over by Loki. And then, he meets a strange computer program, a subroutine of JARVIS, named for its deceased creator, Anthony. Little by little, he starts falling in love with program, never mind that Anthony is one, a computer, and b, based on a dead guy. This story is also really freaking long, clocking in at almost 50,000 words. I actually forgot it wasn't a multi-chapter until I went back to get the link for it. It's also important to note that while I put the highest rating possible in for this story, it's not that highly rated until the last sixth or so of the story. Up until then, it's pretty much PG-13.


Multi-chapter Fics

Losing Makoto
Fandom: Free!
Category: Slash
Rating: PG-13
Completion Status: 39 chapters, completed
Notes: Discussion of sexual assault, suicide, and minor character death

I'll admit I was kind of hesitant to read this one in the first place, because the author warned in the summary that it was pretty angsty. I'm not always in the proper place to read something like that, but I gave it a shot anyway, and despite the author's warning, it's not all angst all the time. There are funny parts too, although when they do turn on the angst, they turn on the angst. When Makoto is scouted to become a model, Haru and Rin have to face the facts that they're both attracted to him, and deal with the ghosts of their past coming back to haunt them.

Aug. 22nd, 2014

That Is The Biggest “Size 8” I Have Ever Seen

So once again kid's cartoons are coming under fire from the outrage brigade. And unfortunately, I can kind of see where they have a point this time. I'm not sure how to feel about this. Last time it was Thomas the Tank Engine, this time it'sScooby Doo. Daphne apparently pissed off the bad guy and got cursed to lose what was important to her, so she went from being very thin and pretty to seriously overweight and with bad hair.

The article reports that she was supposed to have gone from a size 2 to a size 8. I haven't watched the episode in question, nor have I been able to find it online so I can't check to see whether or not that it was actually outright stated that she became a size 8, but either way, someone is being a dumbass. I'm a size 16 (and yes, I'm working on it) and Daphne in those pictures looks like she's twice my size. If that's a size 8 then I must be Godzilla or something. Daphne looks like she's suddenly become 300 pounds.

I don't really like to talk about my weight, because it's kind of a sore spot for me. My father is obese, and I've seen how miserable he is. I have gained weight over the past two years, and it's really frustrating for me.So when I see gigantic Daphne there supposed to be eight sizes smaller than me, I wonder if to other people, if I look twice as huge as she does from those images. And that's kind of a disturbing thought.

On the other hand, I've watched Scooby Doo since I was a little girl, and Daphne has always been a bit dim and self-absorbed. And let's face it, suddenly gaining 150 pounds would be pretty horrifying. Even going up a pants size can be pretty upsetting. And apparently in the end of the show Daphne learns that what she looks like and how much she weighs doesn't matter at all to her friends, which is a good message. But I'm just not sure that showing a 300-pound woman as a standardized, fairly normal “size eight” is a good thing.

I don't know. I'm really, really hesitant to agree with the outrage brigade or give any credence to the movement that is at the forefront of decrying this. But I think this time, I have to say I'm on their side. I'm not happy about it, and I really hope this is the last time I have to do it. But this time, I will join in the voices saying that this isn't cool, WB.

And now I feel like I need a shower. Thanks a lot.

Aug. 21st, 2014

Back in Town

And while there's a lot of things I should probably write about here, I don't feel up to doing it at the moment.

So instead have this really catchy song about a teenage boy falling in love with an older woman who looks a lot younger than she really is.


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Aug. 4th, 2014

Out of Office

Well, sort of.  Depending on your definition of "office" and "out of," that is.

Tomorrow I'm heading out to visit relatives for the next two or so weeks and won't have reliable Internet access. My relatives technically have Internet... at their main house, and most of the time, I'll be at their summer home, which does not have Internet. Or television, or even a phone. Even cell reception kind of sucks there, since it is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. Not to mention the fact that it's going to take two days to get there, and there's no Internet on the road.

Anyway, I'm probably going to be out of contact for a good portion of the next two weeks- if there is really an emergency, the best way to contact me is probably through Twitter since that doesn't take a whole lot of mobile data to access (I'm @NotoriousKaboom), but I  can't guarantee I'll be able to get back to you at all, especially while I'm at the summer home, since unless something has changed drastically in the time it's been since I was there last, there's barely any cell phone reception, let alone reliable Internet access without going into town. Hopefully nothing too crazy will happen while I'm gone.

And now I need to go pack. See you all in two or so weeks!
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Aug. 3rd, 2014

Catchy, yet Really Depressing




Just in case you needed to have a depressing song stuck in your head tonight. I can't stop listening to this even though I keep tearing up...

And yes, I'm aware that Waatame's songs are kind of controversial because of their subject matter, but I'm not going to get into that. I understand your feelings, but I'm not going to go there.
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Jul. 29th, 2014

Fic Rec #43


I bet you thought I wasn’t going to do a fic rec, given that I’ve been AWOL pretty much this whole month? Well, you thought wrong! Also, pretty much everything is gen this time. Enjoy!

Oneshots/Twoshots

Analyzing Mothy
Fandom: The Evillious Chronicles
Category: Gen
Rating: PG

In order for this story to make sense, you at least need to be passably familiar with the Evillious Chronicles, a series of Vocaloid songs. I actually really do recommend them, they’re pretty good, but it is the most convoluted, complicated plot of anything outside of Game of Thrones. In case you’re not familiar with the storyline, Meiko is a psychopathic cannibal, Luka is yandere (and murders four people with scissors), Rin and Len are… a whole lot of characters actually, but at first they’re an evil princess and her twin brother, Miku is… also a lot of people, but is a mass murderer, then a clockwork doll, Gumi is the devil, Kaito is a corrupt judge, and Gakupo is a serial rapist. Oh yeah, Kiyoteru is a mob boss and a mad scientist- almost forgot about him… As ridiculous as this makes it sound, the series is actually pretty good, all things considered.

Breaking the Translation Barrier
Fandom: Free!
Category: Slash
Rating: PG

Nitori is a huge fan of an American television drama about the Revolutionary War. One problem- he doesn’t speak English. At all. So he has to watch subtitled versions (sound familiar to anyone at all?). One day though, the episode didn’t have any subtitles, so he has to ask the one person around him who actually is fluent in English- Rin. Rin hates the show, but agrees to translate anyway, because he’s oddly fond of Nitori. But then he starts messing around with the translations, and purposely messes up three very important English words. I’ll let you guess what those words are… :P

Spark
Fandom: The Lego Movie
Category: Slash, gen
Rating: G

If you can handle reading slash with little Lego people, definitely check this one out. Bad Cop and Emmett are in a relationship, and Emmett wants help cleaning his apartment, so he sends a quick text to Bad Cop. Bad Cop misinterprets the text, freaks out, and sends his entire squad of SWAT robots over to “help.” Primarily told from the perspective of one of the robots, it’s very cute and amusing.

The Downsides of Absenteeism
Fandom: Free!
Category: Gen
Rating: High PG-13/Low R

Even in the flashbacks to elementary school, Haru’s parents seem to not really be in the picture at all. This would probably have implications for the important things in life that everyone needs to know. Personally I don’t know that much about the Japanese educational system- do they have health class? But anyway, due to the lack of his parents and his habit of spacing out in class, Haru never got the “birds and the bees” talk, so Makoto has to do it. And demonstrates with a cucumber. While the premise is really quite slashy it’s entirely gen.

To The Very End
Fandom: Harry Potter
Category: Gen
Rating: PG

What happens when Lee Jordan and George Weasley are elderly and have to go into a retirement home? Will they still be the same pranking goofballs they were as teenagers? The answer is, of course, yes, but there’s a sweetly sad side to the story as well.


Multi-Chapter Fics

Blood Magic
Fandom: Harry Potter
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Completion Status: 84 chapter,s completed.

The day Harry turned 16, he received a time-locked letter from his father, revealing that James Potter was not his biological father. Convinced that he was going to die, Snape and Harry's mother performed a ritual that would make it possible for a woman to have the child of a deceased (or close to dying) individual. That child was Harry, and the repercussions that follow make for a very interesting story, although one that does seem to veer off in random directions at times, it largely does circle back to the main plot.

Don't be alarmed by the length of the story- it is fairly long but it only took me about two days to read, and that was with frequent interruptions and me running errands and things.

Jul. 24th, 2014

This Is The Dumbest Thing I've Read All Week

Cripes, not even Thomas the train is safe anymore.

For my readers not familiar with the story of Thomas the Tank Engine and all his train friends, they are a bunch of sentient trains that live on an island somewhat reminiscent of Britain, where they work hard for their company and learn lessons about being well-behaved and how to get along with others. In other words, it's basically every other children's show out there, only with trains. I watched this show growing up, as did my brother, as do my various younger cousins and nieces and nephews.

Let's tackle the author's assertions here one by one, shall we?

First off- Sir Topham Hat isn't the “ruler” of the island of Sodor. The Mayor of Sodor is this guy. Contrast him with Sir Topham Hat. Clearly they aren't the same guy, and if I have to spell it out for you any more than that, then... well. The author complains that Sir Topham Hat makes the trains do things for him. Well, yes, he is the business owner and the trains work for him. That's kind of the point of work. But he always treats the trains fairly.

The author's next complaint is that the diesel engines are racist because they pump out black smoke from the diesel, as well as being the bad guys. Uh. Well, Diesel himself is the “bad guy” as much as anyone is the bad guy in the show, but there are other diesel trains who are nice. Mavis, Paxton, BoCo, Dart, Salty, and others are all valuable part of the team. Also, the difference between the smoke is that if a steam engine is well-run and tuned up, it will not expel anything other than water vapor, while diesel fumes are darker in color and a bit more dangerous to inhale. Have you ever been behind a Mac truck on the highway? That stuff they emit? That's diesel fumes.

Then the author complains about James being painted pink for a little girl's birthday party and some of the other engines laughing at him. But he learned that it's okay to be pink at the end of the episode! That was the whole point!

She's also wrong about the lack of girl trains. There are plenty of female trains in the show- Molly, Mavis, Emily, Belle, Lady, the passenger coaches, Rosie, and a bunch of other ones.

Clearly this author doesn't know the first thing about Thomas the Tank Engine. Equally clearly, she spent a lot of time typing up a ridiculous indictment of the super horribly offensive kid's television program.

And I typed up an entire blog post about Thomas the Tank Engine. Clearly I need a life...

Jul. 19th, 2014

Escape Plans

Last night I had dinner with some of my friends, and we got to talking about current events. They're convinced that the world is about to head into WWIII, what with the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down over Russia and this latest iteration of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict flaring up. I'm not so sure, but they did raise some good points. If the shit really hits the fan, what are we going to do? Living in America, I sometimes fear that we'd be directly in the crossfire if things ever really got out of control. I have a passport and I have enough money stashed that I could probably get a plane ticket to Japan or Australia if things got really bad, but I wonder- would it be enough? My father seems convinced that if things got bad staying in the US would be the best plan of action, but I'm not so sure. It seems like we'd be likely to get involved- better to go hide out somewhere that's not as likely to be targeted by whatever country is pissed. As far as I know Australia hasn't really pissed anyone off, and Japan isn't likely to be attacked by religious militants. Now, if North Korea got involved it probably would be safer to go to Britain or Australia,

Of course, if the shit really hit the fan I'd probably be doing good to not get shot trying to get out of the country at all.

Jul. 14th, 2014

ScamCon

I honestly don't even know where to start with this.

People who've followed this blog for some time know that I don't really like much of anything. It would be easier to make a list of things I don't dislike than a list of things I do dislike. But there are some things I hate more than others, and scammers are one of those things. Even more than that, I hate scammers who try to make themselves seem like the victims. Fuck them with a cactus. In the ear.

Over the weekend, there was a fan convention in northern Illinois. Okay, no biggie, right? There are fan convention all the time. And most of the time, they're very fun for the attendees. This one... not so much. The con that happened this weekend was known as DashCon, previously known as Tumbl-Con USA. The name was changed to avoid confusing people into thinking that they were officially affiliated with Tumblr itself. And that was about the last honest, above-board thing that happened at that con.

I do not like the Daily Dot very much, but this is a relatively balanced account of what happened at the con, although the Daily Dot is a lot more willing to go on “this was an honest mistake, not fraud” than I am. To make a long story short, along with a whole lot of other issues, the con's organizers got on stage, claimed that they were going to be kicked out unless they raised $17,000 in an hour, and started begging for money, which they received. Even with all of this last-minute slapdash fundraising, they still didn't have enough money to pay for the hotel rooms of the celebrity guests they invited, couldn't pay the performers, and had to sell pizza at a ridiculous markup to feed the hungry guests. But they apparently had enough money to put a down payment on the convention hall for next year, And not only did they get a convention hall for next year, they upgraded massively, into a convention hall used for massive, already-established conventions in actual industries, that would probably cost even more than $17,000.

Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of business law knows that once a contract has been signed, one party cannot renege on that contract by deciding that they don't like the people they signed the contract with and demand more money. That's not how contracts work. In my (humble and unprofessional opinion), they either never signed a contract, or didn't pay their fair share of the money to book the venue this year, and the hotel realized this belatedly. They could have also given a bad check, and realized what they did, and started trying to extort from the con attendees in order to cover their asses. This is called check kiting, and it's a federal crime, so this should be interesting to see if anything comes of this in the future.

If that wasn't bad enough, they also did not have enough money to rent the rooms for their high-profile guests, or even pay them. Welcome to Night Vale, a popular podcast, ducked out when they realized what was going on. I don't have the best opinion of the WTNV people since the podcast has stopped being funny and been more heavy-handed commentary on social issues, but my opinion has risen a bit based on this. Not only did they realize that they weren't going to get paid, most likely, they realized that if they did get any money at all it wouldn't have been ethically gotten, or could potentially be seized as part of an investigation into the fraud, if that's the way the defrauded parties choose to go.

But that's enough about the potential fraud/sketchy business practices. Let's get into the other sketchy things that went down at this con. For one, there was no security to speak of whatsoever, so anyone could wander into the con itself without paying for a ticket. There was a panel about BDSM, that was supposed to be restricted to adults only (18+). Reports are kind of all over the place about what actually happened, but it seems that they weren't very stringent with the age requirements, and minors went in and attended. That is a federal crime, and a very good way for the presenters to end up on the sex offender registry. Whether or not that's fair is a discussion for another day, but the fact remains that they really needed to be more careful about who gets into restricted panels.

And if that wasn't enough, now some people are complaining that the fact that the WTNV people bailed when they realized how sketchy this was are sexist because the convention organizers were “young women.” Never mind that at least one of those “naive young women” is approaching 40- technically old enough to be my mother. And serously? You're going to go the route of trying to paint scammers and fraudsters as naïve, poor, misunderstood young girls? HA. And Bernie Madoff is just a misunderstood old granddad.

I should end this by saying that I did not attend DashCon. But I can recognize a scam when I see one, and I have no sympathy. Well, that's not entirely true- I have sympathy for the attendees who got scammed out of their money. Given tumblr's demographics, it's very likely the majority of people who lost money actually were, in fact, naïve teen girls.

Here are some more links to the whole debacle. You know my position on it, you can form your own opinion if you'd like.

The Escapist

Oh No They Didn't! thread

Reddit thread from TumblrInAction

Another Reddit thread from TiA

Third Reddit thread

Hyperbite

Tumblr detailing what you can buy with $17 grand

Tumblr user explains the basic problems with the con- somewhat outdated but useful

Tumblr user who attended but left before the money grab happened describes the con

Lots of links

Why a lawsuit could happen
A vendor who went to DashCon talks about what she saw

Jul. 9th, 2014

Research Results

Just in case anyone has been wondering what the hell has happened to me lately, I've been trying desperately to cram 14 weeks of class into eight weeks of class, and I've been trying really, really hard to get a project that should have taken four months into one one month. It's also made a lot more complicated by the fact that the professor picked the database we're supposed to be getting the data from, and unfortunately for me, he gave me one that is both very difficult to navigate and that is slightly awkward to have to write about. Yes, that's right folks, the professor has told me my data needs to come from the Race and Religion database.

Isn't it just my luck that I'd get stuck with the most sensitive, potentially explosively offensive dataset. I tried to do something that I thought would be relatively inoffensive (which race goes to church most often), but it's still incredibly awkward.

It hasn't been all bad- I've learned a lot about African-American churches from my research, and it's been pretty interesting. But I'm not particularly religious myself, so it feels kind of strange to be reading all of this stuff. The librarian at the government library gave me a really weird look when I had to ask for the books I needed (and yes, the university library is still out of commission, so I had to use the government one. Which was a huge pain in the ass since it's like an hour away and you have to go through a lot of rigamarole to get access to it). Is it that hard to believe that I might be interested in the topic? Well, maybe it is, and I did need to access some pretty arcane, unusual information for it.

Another problem with this topic of research is that it isn't always clear whether or not something will actually be of use for the project until you're about halfway through the seventy-five page document or the 400 page book. Really, it's a good thing I can read as fast as I do. The problem is that all of these professors and researches like to give their work the most pretentious-sounding titles, so you'll find something that sounds like it might actually be of use. You're reading along, bopping through the text, hmm, this is interesting, I wonder where the data is, and then you'll get to the paragraph where the writer will say “and so, now we relate this back to our woman's studies perspective” or “we will now engage with this information from a queer studies perspective” or in one really memorable case, going off on a racist tangent. That's when you spend about five minutes swearing under your breath, cursing the writer of the paper/book, the professor, the government library, the database, the university, and everything else you can think of before moving on to the next one. And then the cycle repeats itself all over again.

Truthfully, it's times like this that I sort of regret changing my major. Well, that's a lie- I regret it every day, but I didn't really have a choice. If there is such a thing as reincarnation I hope that in my next life I will be better at math, so that I can go back to being an information technology person. That was all I wanted out of life, really.

But it didn't turn out that way.

Jun. 23rd, 2014

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

My university's library system, is, to put it quite bluntly, utter shit. If the articles database hasn't crashed, then the card catalog crashed, and if neither of those have crashed, then the Blackboard site is down. Today, I thought it was a miracle all three things were working. Unfortunately I needed to get an actual physical book from the library, only I found out that the actual library itself has crashed. Or, at least, the sprinkler system did. It malfunctioned, and they're not letting anyone into the library until the thing is fixed- and the estimated time of that happening is sometime in July. Which isn't going to work, because the paper I need to write is due sometime in July.

This is why I didn't want to take a summer class. My university is remarkably incompetent even when there is a normal class session in progress. With most people on holiday now, it's really a miracle that the campus is still standing, considering how poorly things seem to work around here.

Really, it’s a huge pain. I can’t wait until I’ve graduated. Then I’ll finally be free from all of this hassle, unless the company I end up working for has the same problems.

Jun. 16th, 2014

I'm on Twitter!

Follow me for all of the useless things that aren't big enough to get their own blog posts here!
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Jun. 14th, 2014

Fic Rec #42

Argh. Summer classes suck. This rec’s early this month because of the summer classes, it’s extremely unlikely I’m going to have time to really do much of anything with regards to the blog until the end of July, and I have an exam towards the end of this month.

There’s also a bit of femslash on this rec. Are you surprised? And believe it or not, this is also one of the most SFW fic recs I’ve ever done. I actually don’t think there’s a single story over PG-13 rating here, although one does kind of skirt the line there.

Oneshots/Twoshots

Voidsong
Fandom: The Amazing Spider-Man
Category: Pre-slash
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Spoliers for Amazing Spider-Man 2

Discusses the events of the movie from Harry Osborn's point of view- he comes back, sees his dying father, discovers he is dying as well, and faces off with Spider-Man himself, as well as has to fight his growing attraction to his childhood friend Peter Parker. And oh, ow, does it ever hurt.

Fostering Witch-Muggle Understanding
Fandom: Harry Potter
Category: Femslash
Rating: PG-13

This takes place after the Order of the Phoenix takes the Dursleys away from Privet Drive to protect them in the final book. Vernon and Petunia end up staying with Hestia Jones, a witch. Their marriage begins to disintegrate from the stress, and Petunia begins to become attracted to Hestia. Ultimately, that attraction leads to the destruction of the marriage, but really, is getting divorced from Vernon Dursley really that bad? Just a soft, slow fic with a happy ending.

A Crime Fitting The Punishment, or Dumbledore’s Monster
Fandom: Harry Potter
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13

One night, Albus Dumbledore gets a time-traveling visitor in his office- an insane man, gone completely psychotic and an unrepentant murderer who, in one week, had annihilated his way through a large swath of the wizarding world. The man came to deliver him a message- he was the result of Dumbledore’s scheming.

Heads up, this fic might be gen, but it is really fucking dark.




Multi-Chapter Fics

The Otter of Iwatobi
Fandom: Free!
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Completion Status: 9 chapters, in progress

Apparently, the animators intended to put a character named Kaede in the show instead of Rei at first, but they changed their minds. There were a few sketches and character designs, but other than that, nothing was done with the character. This author takes that and extrapolates the character designs into a whole new character- Kaede Kobayashi, Haru’s weird, hyperactive cousin. Mostly it’s a goofy comedy fic, but there’s a bit of a darker thread lurking there that I’m interested to see what the writer does with it.

The Rise of Darth Vulcan
Fandom: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Category: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Completion Status: 23 chapters, in progress

On Halloween, a human boy dressed as Bizarro World Darth Vader gets ahold of a weird necklace at a junk store to make his costume complete. Unfortunately, the weird necklace turns out to be the Alicorn Amulet, only one that had fallen through the void of time and space, warping it even more. Then he gets sent to Equestria. What’s a budding evil overlord to do, other than try to take over the country he’s found himself in? While this story can get quite dark at times, mostly it’s just hilarious.

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