redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
I'm rereading a book from my youth that features a charismatic German politician who also happens to be an extremist environmentalist and animal-rights activist and he wants to rule the world.

Fuck that, all it's doing is inviting unkind comparisons to Hitler (and the market for unkind comparisons to Hitler is supersaturated and has been for years now).

You know what I want? I want a charismatic extremist BRITISH politician!

"Good day, my name is Sir William Winston Arthur John Paul George Roger Stephen Percy David Attenborough Orwell Downing Dio Lambert Stamp Gilbert Sullivan Hardy Martin Yorke! I'm the badass Prime Minister of the UK who's going to make England the greatest country in the whole world! Yes I know Scotland and Wales and Ireland will probably object to this, but I know I'll win them over with my buxom charms! And I'll tell the world about how awesome the cultures of India and Africa are so they'll forgive my country for its empire building! I am a Mary Sue, after all! I'll also secede from the EU and commandeer all its resources and silence anyone who gets in my way with force, because these colors don't run! Did I mention I'm super-environmentalist and my granddaddy invented both the ALF and the ELF? Oh, and also I love to listen to Iron Maiden because seriously who doesn't love Iron Maiden!"

In all seriousness, while I admittedly don't know much about German life or politics, a lot of the plans this guy in the book has don't map onto anything I'd associate with Germany. For instance, the guy decides to secede from the EU because he thinks they're ungrateful to Germany. From my admittedly limited understanding, though, Germany is a happily dominant member of the EU. It's the UK that's talked about seceding.

Maybe it's because Germany has a long history of animal rights and environmentalism? And the UK doesn't? I briefly looked at animal-welfare standards in the UK at one point and they seem pretty strict. Besides that, organizations like Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front were initially British organizations, and the leader of PETA is British. As for environmentalism, there's an internationally-renowned climate research institution at the college where I studied abroad in Norwich. Venturing outside of England, you can see windmills peppered across the highlands of Scotland, and forest-restoration plans are very common in certain parts of the UK. Clearly Germany doesn't have a monopoly on concern for animals and the environment. It is true that Germany currently seems to be doing better--but that doesn't mean the UK COULDN'T do better--in fact, the stage is set for this hypothetical British politician to plan to overtake other European countries for renewable energy and environmentalism!

Is the idea that Germany has a "dark past" that this politician must work to overcome? The UK has that too! At one time the UK had an empire that spanned multiple continents, in which human-rights abuses and racism were rampant. The author could have easily mined that, especially if he had his (British) politician propose a second empire. But...nothing. Instead it's Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, and Nazis, Nazis, Nazis, on and on. Yes Hitler was a murderous antisemite. The thing is, murderous antisemites exist in Britain too. They're just not as high-profile. We know, for instance, that the UK refused to grant asylum to Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust during World War II.

I'm just sayin'.
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898571)
I went to see it with a family friend who's a few years younger than I am now. It's SO GOOD! Seriously, go watch it if you ever get a chance! Feelings as colorful mascots that look like cuddly toys! XD (And the opening short is pretty good too) ^-^

I'd kinda fallen behind on my Pixar movies as of late--I hadn't seen Brave or Tangled because they just didn't interest me and while I did see Frozen I thought it was good but not great. But this, this is the real deal! 

If I have one complaint, I do sorta wish they'd treated Fear's character with more gravity. I'm tired of people always relegating scaredy-cats to the role of comic relief at best. He is, to be fair, adorable (as are all of them)--but given that I have an anxiety disorder it's hard for me to see Fear as cuddly comic relief, you know?
redwoodalchan: Artwork lifted from Pokemon wiki; character belongs to Pokemon (pic#4865891)
 This is something that's been on my mind for a little while now, and has been on my mind even more since I watched this video (warning: "Family Guy" spoilers, blood content). The video makes a good point about the growing trend of fans apparently thinking it's okay to kill off a character just because they're annoying or not particularly liked, and how troubling this trend is. What's even more troubling to me is that people say the same sorts of things about real people some of the time. I'm sure we've all seen examples of this. "This fan wrote a bad story whose message I don't approve of, therefore they should die." "This celebrity was mean to another celebrity I like, therefore they should die." "This person killed someone, therefore the death penalty is the only way justice could possibly be served." And whether the people saying these things mean it literally is not the point; the point is it's considered perfectly acceptable to wish death on pretty much anyone who does something unpopular or morally wrong. I wouldn't necessarily say our entertainment (with its focus on standing up to, beating up, and/or killing physically-stronger opponents) is entirely to blame for this, but I think it's very much a chicken-and-egg problem, and I don't think it's an accident that there's so many parallels between what people say about characters that aren't particularly liked and what people say about real people who aren't particularly liked.

Admittedly you do get into more of a gray area when you're talking about people who do morally-reprehensible things. This is why people can sustain debates about the morality and efficacy of the death penalty. But it's one thing to have a death penalty, and quite another to justify or glorify the mere act of killing "bad" people, even in fiction or throwaway conversations. One of the things that most impressed me about the anime "Birdy the Mighty: Decode" is that it went out of its way, particularly in the second season, to point out that there is NO such thing as a justifiable murder, EVEN IF THE TARGETS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE.

But some people don't even stop there. There was an article on LiveJournal a few weeks ago about how the guys who bombed the Boston Marathon had been tried and sentenced to death for killing so many people. Now, I'm not someone who has any sort of objections to this per se (though some people seem to), but what troubled me the most was that there were at least one or two comments on the article about how these men ought to be tortured to death. I repeat: these men had already been sentenced to die at the time. That was not up for negotiation or debate. Yet you still had users essentially making the case that, oh, merely killing them isn't good enough, we had to make sure they suffered horribly before they died. But why?! Torturing these men before killing them won't bring their victims back to life. And if the argument is that it will enable them to feel the pain of their victims, or the victims' families, well, here's the thing. Back when I was sporking some of the paratext about that book-which-must-not-be-named I expressed glee at a picture of the main character being tied up and abused, because I hated him so much. But one of the comments pointed out that what would be better revenge would be to dispose of him quickly and quietly, denying him the flashy, torturous deaths he was so fond of dishing out. And that's kind-of how I feel about these guys. The best thing to do would be to simply kill them with no fanfare, and have everyone get on with their lives. If they actually were tortured to death it would cast them as victims of America's criminal justice system on the one hand, and make it acceptable to descend to their level in the name of "justice" on the other.

It feels vaguely "Black Lagoon," actually. Everyone kills, so killing an opponent is to be expected, and the only way to show someone as particularly awful, or punish said person, is to make the death extra torturous, humiliating, or widespread. But is "Black Lagoon" really the world we want to live in?
redwoodalchan: (pic#4920144)
 I just realized the other day, that Billy Joel's "The Entertainer" kind of comes across as an ancient version of the "What others think I do/What I really do" meme. It takes a job that everyone thinks of as really glamorous, and points out that it's a job like any other and that musicians, whatever fame and success they may enjoy, still have to eat and pay bills, and their success is entirely contingent upon their ability to please their fans and the music industry in general.
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 Disclaimer: I’m talking about Satyajit Shyamalan, the villain from the first season of the anime “Birdy the Mighty: Decode” here; I am not talking about the filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. I’m just saying this to make doubly sure no one gets the wrong idea.

Read more... )
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898514)
 So I've decided I won't visit the dining hall at all this upcoming week, but will cook as many of my meals as possible in my house. I probably won't do this every week because I want to make my meal plan count, but I just want to see if I can do it this one week. Mostly because I've noticed several times now that my housemates will look into what appears to me to be a well-stocked refrigerator and insist we're running low on food. So, I decided to see if I can keep myself fed for a week on nothing but the food that the house buys, just to see if we really ARE running out of food, or if they're just being uncreative and whiny.

I miss my UK flat....
redwoodalchan: Character and screencap are from "Baccano!" (pic#5236477)
 So just last week, I finally realized, definitively, just how much I hate dead baby comedy. It just hit me. I don't know if it was all the soul searching I'd been doing, or the time I'd spent in sporking circles, or watching internet reviews; but finally I found myself confronted with it. I'd seen plenty of examples of dead baby comedy before, and I remember finding them uncomfortable; but I'd mostly just assumed that I was overreacting, or lacked a sense of humor, or something of that nature. But just this past week, I came across some of it courtesy of a few friends, and was finally forced to acknowledge just how very, very much I hate dead baby comedy.

Contains discussion of extreme violence and disturbing concepts (not depicted) )
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898571)
 This past Christmas I listened to tons of Iron Maiden. Then I watched This is Spinal Tap with my family. On Christmas Eve my family and I went to see a play called, well, "The Play That Goes Wrong," which is probably the funniest play I've seen since "Spamalot" or "The Drowsy Chaperone" and is basically what it sounds like.

I've noticed that Iron Maiden seems to be taking the place in my heart that has for the longest time been occupied by anime. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Hopefully I'll keep being into anime for at least the remainder of the school year, especially since I hope to give more panel presentations at cons (I had some good, long thoughts about Masao Murasako and Clair Leonelli earlier today, so there's some hope). I'm not sure what I'll do with my Iron Maiden CD's when I get back to the States. I might play some of them when I get wistful about England, and my favorite one, "The Number of the Beast," I might play more regularly. I might keep "Somewhere in Time" in my car to play for my friends, since that's the only one I feel comfortable sharing. I think I may end up putting "Dance of Death" and AMOLAD into cold storage until my next trip to England, though, as they're just so heavy I don't know how much more of them I can take.

Today my dad, my sister and I went on the London Eye, and then I spent the next few hours exploring a carnival nearby until it came time to go see the third Hobbit movie in IMAX 3D. Super cool. I was interested in how they basically made Thorin a tragic character, something I remember him not at all being in the books.

(And now I'm wondering what Cori Falls's reaction would be. Did she ever comment on The Hobbit, or only LOTR?)

Tomorrow we're going to see a Shakespeare play, and it'll be an all-day thing. I'm so excited.
redwoodalchan: (pic#5898571)
 Mayamada is a London-based clothing and comic company for nerds, which is based around anthro characters the designers have come up with. I first got acquainted with them at the Hyper Japan Christmas market I went to in London last weekend, when I bought a copy of their graphic novel for a secret Santa present. If you're like me and you enjoy anthro characters but never really got into the sexual aspects of the furry fandom this is the website for you (we see all manner of furry and not-so-furry creatures but virtually none of them are sexualized in any obvious ways).

The only comic they have that seems to be available on the market is called "Samurai Chef," which is a pretty clever little twist on the Iron Chef concept, with two teams preparing dishes--but the object is not to eat them but to see how well they stand up to being attacked by the judge, the Samurai Chef in question! Obviously this isn't a comic that provokes thought or makes bold artistic statements, but it's cute and wildly entertaining. Pretty much all the anime AND all the chef archetypes you care to name are in this comic and are all instantly recognizable: the strong, silent type; the motor-mouthed, overeager announcer and his meeker assistant; and so on. I'd say it was light-years better than Twisted! but that would be damning it by faint praise. What I will say is that it pretty much ended up being everything I had hoped Twisted! would be--a tale of wacky anthro creatures having fun, creative adventures that you could just relax and enjoy.

If you want to buy these people's stuff, I wouldn't know how easy that is because I haven't actually tried ordering British things from America. You're welcome to give it a try if you want to get something, though. And if you ever do happen to be in England and at one of the events they attend, I would recommend checking them out.
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 So as I was listening to the Iron Maiden songs on my iPhone the other day I came to the conclusion that if I didn't want to listen to ALL my Iron Maiden songs at a time (I've got 11 on my iPhone and they get looooooong), I could split them up depending on the time of day, because some sound better in the daylight and others sound better at night.

Daytime songs:
"Wrathchild"
"Run to the Hills"
"The Trooper"
"Aces High"
"Different World"
"Isle of Avalon"

Nighttime songs:
"The Number of the Beast"
"Fear of the Dark"
"El Dorado"

Any-old-time songs:
"Hallowed Be Thy Name"
"2 Minutes to Midnight"
(aka: my personal favorites)
 
...As I think of it I could probably do the same for my Judas Priest songs (though I only have six of those and there's a bit more overlap)

Daytime songs:
"Breaking the Law"
You Got Another Thing Comin'"

Nighttime songs:
"Living After Midnight"
"A Touch of Evil"

Any-old-time songs:
"Electric Eye"
"Painkiller"
redwoodalchan: Character and screencap are from "Shiki" (pic#5113210)
 For what it's worth, I always get a bit offended when people seem to want to argue that if you can't get out of whatever bad situation that's automatically your fault for not trying hard enough. Like, the kind of people who'll tell you that if you're poor, you just need to get more jobs to stop being poor, or if you're being abused, you just need to stand up to/get away from your abuser--or that if you're not willing to do literally anything it takes to end the environmental crisis you're automatically part of the problem. I mean, I'm sure there are some people who can always pull themselves up by their bootstraps or are super resourceful or have nothing to lose or whatever, but I'm pretty sure those kinds of people are the exception rather than the rule. And to insinuate that it's somehow a failing on the part of the suffering person if they can't fix all their own problems, just strikes me as very uncaring, you know?
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 So the other night I walked into the kitchen to make dinner and my flatmates were playing Billy Joel. It's good to know he follows me even to England. :)
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 Okay, so I've been doing some thinkin' about cons, and I've been trying to work out exactly which ones I should go to this year (bearing in mind that I don't know when or where my last con will be). Since they cost money and time, I figure that I shouldn't go out of my way to go to cons willy-nilly.

So here's the plan:

Cons that I will almost definitely go to barring unforeseen scheduling conflicts:

KotoriCon (near my home)
Genericon
ToraCon

These three are the baseline. Everything else will depend on how my summer and jobs and everything look like they'll be playing out.

If I don't get a job (that I want) for this summer, I won't go to any other cons at all. I'll spend it finding work/applying to grad school/whatever.
If I land a job with the BLM or some other domestic environmental/ecological organization, I can treat myself to one extra con at some point this year.
If I get the Malaysia Fulbright I applied for, I can treat myself to two extra cons 
If I get a job with the Peace Corps, I can treat myself to two extra cons if I find time
If I get a Luce fellowship, I can treat myself to three extra cons (if I can find time)
redwoodalchan: (pic#6681426)
 Soooo…inspired by a spork of a Corific by Guardian’s Song from many moons ago, I decided to try my hand at inventing French toast pancakes and serving them to my parents and grandfather. They actually came out pretty good.

Here’s the recipe (which is borrowed from a French toast recipe by Robert Irvine that I found online):

Whisk together in a bowl:

4 eggs

¼ cup milk

Blend in another bowl:

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Combine with wet ingredients. Stir in with spoon or whisk:

Enough sweet bread (i.e., challah, brioche bread, etc.), cut into small pieces, to form a batter with the consistency of cookie dough

Spoon batter into a hot, greased frying pan or griddle, flipping over when a brown crust forms on each side. Don’t worry if the outside gets very dark—it should still taste fine. The inside will likely be fairly doughy and moist. This is okay.

This much should serve some 3 or 4 people, assuming the pancakes are made a little larger than a deck of playing cards. You can also increase the amount of batter by adding more bread, egg, and milk, though this will probably make it less sweet. Serve with maple syrup, fruit, or whatever else you want (you could probably even add cheese to make a more substantial meal).

redwoodalchan: (pic#7834867)
 FINALLY I have a "Xam'd: Lost Memories" themed icon! Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, my absolute favorite time of the whole entire year!

And it's got cute little cuddly-wuddly Furuichi on it, of course (it's wrong that I relate to him) XD
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 Today is the twenty-ninth day/fourth week and one day of Omer.

I can't believe I forgot yesterday's Omer count. I'm not sure what the procedure is if you miss a day, either....
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 Today is the twenty-seventh day/third week and six days of Omer.
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 Today is the twenty-sixth day/third week and five days of Omer.
redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
 Today is the twenty-fifth day/third week and four days of Omer.

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redwoodalchan: Silly Drifloon from "Red Sun" fic (Default)
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