Lightspeed Magazine – “In its pages, you will find science fiction: from near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF—and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. No subject is off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.”
Tor.com – “Science Fiction. Fantasy. The universe.” Stories, columns, reviews, link round-ups, etc.
io9 – “a daily publication that covers science, culture, and the world of tomorrow.”
Apex Magazine – “an online prose and poetry magazine of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mash-ups of all three. Works full of marrow and passion, stories that are twisted, strange, and beautiful. Creations where secret places and dreams are put on display.”
Echidnas are named after a Greek monster that was half women and half snake, and gave birth to most of the other monsters. That seems a bit unfair, considering how cute they are. There are four species of echidna and they’re related to the one species of platypus. Platypuses will fuck you up.
Lots of links, sorry no pictures this time. Feeling too lazy.
Fossil Words of Yore in the Offing “we may wait with bated breath for something in the offing, but it’s unlikely that anything else in our experience is ever bated, or that we’ve made any other use of the noun offing.” (From the MacMillan Dictionary Blog)
Princess Princess “Sadie and Amira are two very different princesses who decide to take their fairy tale into their own hands!” Short finished comic (44 pages) Lovely bits: Sadie is fat and can’t sing. Amara is a WOC and has awesome hair. The unicorn is not too bright. Not so lovely: they treat a guy like dirt for being a bit sexist and the villain uses fat-shaming and ableist language.
1-Up Mushroom Pizza Rolls “When you need energy to make it through the mushroom kingdom on you way to rescue Princess Peach (again), level up your game with these 1-Up Mushroom Pizza Rolls.” (from Kitchen Overlord)
Look Straight Ahead “Jeremy Knowles is a 17-year-old outcast who dreams of being a great artist. But when he suffers a severe mental breakdown brought on by bullying and other pressures at school, his future is called into question.” TW: depiction of schizophrenia based on the creator’s experience. Complete.
Beyond the Binary: Master Post “twenty four questions about gender, sex, sexuality, genderqueer issues, trans issues, stuff, things, the kitchen sink etc. answered by an amazing panel. Some of it’s 101 – some of it 201 – some questions that we get asked all the time, and some that many won’t have considered before.” (from A Gentleman and a Scholar)
Let’s Be Real: Balancing Life’s Roles “We say that ‘real men don’t eat quiche’ or ‘real women have curves,’ and it lets us draw arbitrary boundaries around broad identities in order to make them more exclusive, more secure.” (from Balancing Jane)
The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darn Friendly… CN: discussion of benevolent sexism and history of research about sexism. The comments aren’t too bad, but there’s gender essentialism, sexism, and call outs of ‘reverse sexism’ there. Of course.
16 Words That Are Much Older Than They Seem (from Mental Floss)
Psychopathic criminals have empathy switch “Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain. Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up.” TW: the other links of the page are probably triggering (from BBC News)
What is an ontological metaphor? “metaphor in which an abstraction, such as an activity, emotion, or idea, is represented as something concrete, such as an object, substance, container, or person.” (Glossary of Linguistics terms) (Saving for when I get back to conlanging)
English words with Chinese characteristics “Chinese netizens are making up new English words based on very Chinese cultural phenomenon, making the foreign language a unique part of China’s online popular culture” (from Offbeat China)
Willard Suitcase Project – Jon Crispin is photographing the contents suitcases left behind by patients of the Willard Asylum. It’s very non-judgemental and each suitcase acts as a time capsule.
Pokemayan – Pokemon redesigned by a Mexico-based artist (from Monarobot)
SNESbox.com – play NES and SNES games in your browser.
Social justice link roundup (from Pharyngula Wiki)
Retro Renovation – “Welcome to Retro Renovation – your daily dose of mid century renovation resources… design inspiration… fun finds… and a growing community of people all interested in cherishing their mid century and older homes.”
No Pattern Required – “No Pattern Required was started in February 2009 by Ruth in an attempt to vent her overwhelming enthusiasm for everything vintage and mid-century without driving her husband, Tom, crazy.”
Mid-Century Menu – ‘Have you ever looked at a recipe in a mid-century cookbook and thought, “Ew. That is so nasty.” But you couldn’t stop looking at the recipe. Or thinking about it. As time went on, you kept going back to the book, thinking, “I wonder what it tastes like?”‘ (By the same couple that does No Pattern Required)
1972: The Retro WW Project – “I am a Pittsburgh girlwith a passionate love for potatoes and carbs and butter. For some reason, I recreate long-forgotten Weight Watchers recipes from the 1970’s in my own kitchen. Sometimes they are surprisingly tasty. Most of the time they are dreadful. Often my house smells like boiled celery. I get way too excited about buying vintage Pyrex and unmolding gelatine.” (CN: despite being based on Weight Watchers recipes, it’s not really about weight loss. It’s mostly about how the recipes are terrible.)
Dinner is Served 1972 – This is a Julie & Julia type project, but with a hell of a lot more Jell-O – “Dinner is Served is a plastic, guacamole-colored box that contains cards that provide the menu for entire meals: entrees, side dishes and desserts. Sometimes there are even appetizers. They also supply a handy time-line so dinner can be served at 6pm (when your husband arrives home from work).”
Retro Recipe Attempts – Tasting the fare of yesteryear, the disastrous and the delicious.
Betty Crafter – “I am Betty Crafter, a vintage dealer and enthusiast, crafter of all things, and owner of a 1962 time capsule ranch house. ”
Ranch Dressing with Eartha Kitsch – “Hi! I’m Eartha Kitsch! Even though I DO enjoy a good salad, this site isn’t about that kind of ranch dressing. It’s about the restoration, decoration and revival of my 1956 ranch home. It’s also about things that I consider “dressing” like vintage housewares, clothing, recipes and everything else in this old world that makes life interesting and good.”
Scouting NY – “What always amazes me about New York is how much there is to see if you take the time to look. Every street has a hidden gem or two, and yet they go largely ignored by thousands of passersby daily who simply don’t have the time to pay attention.”
Just Hungry – “My primary focus on Just Hungry is Japanese food and home cooking. As a Japanese person living abroad, I do miss the cuisine I grew up with a lot, and that is what I mostly cook at home regardless of where I live.” (CN: talk about weight loss and food restrictions, such as gluten-free)
JustBento – “JustBento is dedicated to the subject of healthy, simple bento lunches, some traditionally Japanese, some not so traditional. The focus is on bentos for health and weight-conscious adults, but many of the recipes and methods are applicable to bentos for all ages.” (CN: recipes, talk about nutrition. It’s mostly recipes and reviews of bento containers)
Tricia’s Obligatory Art Blog! – “Trish is a hairy mammal that enjoys drawing feathered dinosaurs. She also enjoys giving silly answers when asked to describe herself.”
Pintrosity – “This isn’t a site to just laugh and make fun of projects gone wrong (although occasionally giggles and guffaws do come out), but also to help troubleshoot and learn from the Pinterest Fails we all have. “
Pintester – “failing at Pintester pins so you don’t have to” (CN: language, sexual humor, sometimes gross humor, occassional talk of weight loss. It’s funny though)
Atomic Shrimp – “This website is really just about the things I do in my spare time. My interests include wild food, experimental cooking, assorted crafts, multimedia work and the deliberate, but benign and mild-mannered pursuit of the absurd.”
Prints & Photographs, Tissandier Collection – hundreds of old prints, including lots and lots of hot air balloons. Good for steampunk stuff. (from the Library of Congress)
The Magazine Rack – free digitized magazines that are out of copyright. Omni, Galaxy, Heavy Metal, lots others. Available in PDF, epub, mobi, djvu, some more. Preview it before you download – if they did OCR it’s terrible, but scans are good. (from Archive.org)
My Robot Nation – design a robot and get it 3-D printed. It costs to get it printed, but it’s fun just to play with it.
Stagecoach Mary Fields – incrediably badass black woman. (link CN: violence, gun violence, historical racism). Apparently she’s going to get a movie soon, which will be awesome. (from BlackCowboys.com)
From gay marriage to cougar wives, the Victorians have much to teach us (CN: ableist language) (From Guardian.co.uk)
Pattern Cooler – where I got my background. You can customize the colors and size of thousands of seamless patterns. PNGs are free, other options cost.
How not to be a privileged ass: A lazy person’s guide (from Stealing Commas)
Giving the gift of worlds – “Non-fiction opens up the world we live in, teaching us more about our surroundings. Fiction opens countless others. It lets you climb inside the head of somebody else and see the universe through their eyes for a while. If the character in question resembles you, it can make you feel less isolated. If they don’t, you gain understanding and empathy for people whose experiences of life are entirely different from your own.” She’s looking for recommendations for ebooks with minority or women protagonists. (from Tea-Fuelled Musings)
(Sorry, I don’t have the energy to deal with selecting, resizing, and linking pictures. Look here for pretties.)
Bavardage – chitchat, prattle
(as always pictures go to their source and have been shrunk)
Okay, this person illustrated all the elements as characters for her senior thesis. It’s cool.
Super Obvious Secrets That I Wish They’d Teach In Art School (from Marvelous Mustache Factory)
Steampunk Leather Top Hat Tutorial (from Tom Banwell)
Clothing Reference, sorted by decade/era and gender.
American Science & Surplus. This site is just random, but cool. It’s all sorts of stuff, mostly scientific. Look, just go see it, okay?
Gif Reducer. Shrink large gifs online. Works well
Sheep and Goats: Learn the Difference. Deviantart Tutorial. No idea when this would be useful, but if you have to draw a bunch of sheep and goats, then here you go.
Sorry, this is going to light on pretty pictures and heavy on things that are of limited interest to most people. You don’t like it, there are thousands of other blogs you could be reading.
Teach yourself linguistics
From all things linguistics:
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself morphology. Morphology is how words are put together.
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself syntax. Syntax is how words combine into phrases and sentences.
- Protolinguist resources: Teaching yourself semantics. Semantics is how things mean stuff.
- Stuff you didn’t know you already know: lexical and functional words
From Aveneca.com, host of the new CBB (aka the conlang board I’m on)
- Introduction to romlangs. What’s a romlang (an artificial Romance language), and basics of how to build one.
- Yes/No systems. How different languages handle yes and no questions.
Linguistics lessons for language learners. Includes IPA, phonology, morphology, syntax, historical linguistics, sound change, and more. (from Nativlang, which also has some free lessons in different languages and published some books on Amazon and Lulu that look interesting)
It’s ‘not’ history – how negation usage changes in a cycle through languages. (from the University of Cambridge)
Lexique Pro – a free program for creating a lexicon for your conlang (or natlangs). I wish it was portable. Windows only.
From Frathwiki.com, one of the conlang wikis:
(Content notes: Obviously with a continuously updated comic I can’t provide complete trigger warnings. Please do your research. I’ll try to mark what I can see; please let me know what I miss)
Updated Daily / Weekdays
Schlock Mercenary From Wikipedia: ” It follows the tribulations of a star-travelling mercenary company in a satiric, mildly dystopian 31st-century space opera setting.” Origin of the The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. Very funny, with great character design and creative aliens.. (CN for violence, character death, and occasional horror.)
Skinhorse by Shaenon Garrity (of Narbonic) and Jeffrey Channing Wells. “Somewhere in this great nation is a top-secret government agency dedicated to aiding America’s nonhuman citizenry, but on a very tight budget.” Stars a talking female dog, a mult-racial zombie, and a crossdressing man. Diversity is fun!
Irregular Webcomic. On reruns with new content. From TV Tropes: “A webcomic done with LEGO figures and roleplaying miniatures, by David Morgan-Mar, an Australian physicist.” “Full of deliberately bad puns and surprisingly erudite references; one can learn a great deal just by reading the annotations.” Really several webcomics in one, with each theme having a separate storyline (most of the time).
Misfile. From the Misfile Wiki: “It chronicles the story of Ash Upton and Emily McArthur who, after a universal filing error in the Celestial Filing Depository, find that their lives are very different than they were the day prior. Emily has become two years younger and Ash has swapped genders completely, and is now a girl. In order to make things the way they were, they must play along to ensure that Rumisiel (the Angel who caused this mess in the first place!) gets back into heaven before the bosses find out and make the changes permanent. ” (CN for discussion of gender essentialism).
Bug Martini. From TV Tropes: “Features caricatures of cockroaches as its characters and uses those character to poke fun at a wide array of subjects. The comic touches on a wide variety of comedic material, with little pattern as to what Huber will lampoon. The comics themselves rarely have a set punchline, often instead having a joke in each panel, thus providing multiple laughs per strip.” Sometimes immature humor.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. Read the bonus panel (red circle). From Wikipedia: ” It features no recurring characters or storylines, and has no set format; some strips may be a single panel, while others may go on for ten panels or more. Recurring themes in SMBC include atheism, God, superheroes, romance, dating, science, research, parenting and the meaning of life.” Funny at least three times a week. Sometimes offensive.
PS238 by Aaron Williams. “Superheroes eventually want to start families, and so the need arose for a public school for their ultra-powerful kids. Ps238 was founded to help them train and learn what it means to wield unearthly power… except for Tyler. His parents are among the most powerful superheroes the planet has, yet he seems destined to be disappointingly normal. Sent to ps238 in the hopes that he’s a late bloomer, his adventures (and those of his classmates) have thrilled readers the world over.”
Use Sword on Monster by Aaron Williams. The comic is about the world turning a bit more supernatural. Unfortunately, this takes the form of creatures thought to be mythological appearing and wreaking havoc. Lucky for us, whatever is going on has affected a select few, letting them perform amazing feats of martial skill if they’re holding some kind of melee weapon and choose to attack one of these marauding beasts.
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja Read the alt-text. From TV Tropes: “the love child of the Rule Of Cool and the Rule of Funny. It is the most awesomely epic / epically awesome webcomic ever. […] What’s interesting about the comic is Hastings’ sheer commitment to the utter weirdness. Every bizarre twist gets a completely straight reaction from the cast, and can have repercussions that stretch over multiple chapters.”
Gunnerkrigg Court From Wikipedia: “The comic tells the story of Antimony Carver, a young girl who has just started attending a strange and mysterious school called Gunnerkrigg Court, and the events that unfold around her as she becomes embroiled in political intrigues between Gunnerkrigg Court and the inhabitants of the Gillitie Wood, a forest outside the school. The comic’s style and themes include elements from science, fantasy creatures, mythology from a variety of traditions, and alchemical symbols and theories; the literary style is heavily influenced by mystery and manga comics.”
Shortpacked “about people who work in a toy store and tell jokes about Batman.” I find it hit or miss, but generally funny. David Willis mocks fandom and creators equally. And the cast is now mostly women, and a car in a female body. (CN for discussion of sexism and other bigotry)
Girl Genius. “Adventure, Romance, MAD SCIENCE!” From Wikipedia: “presents an alternate history ‘where the Industrial Revolution has escalated into an all-out war’ due to the battles between Sparks – highly charismatic mad scientists with supernormal abilities in one or more sciences.” Often funny, usually outrageous.
xkcd. Read the alt-text. “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” From TV Tropes: “It is a gag-a-day comic, and generally does not have a continuing plot line or continuity (though there are occasional short story arcs). Many of the jokes are based on math, physics, UNIX and Internet memes, as well as romance and sex.”
El Goonish Shive. From TV Tropes: “It’s about a cast of characters and their relationships while in the middle of spellcasting, Shapeshifting (voluntary and otherwise), gender-bending, and blatantly disregarding the laws of physics. Or, alternately, it’s about a cast of characters who occasionally take time off from obsessing over their relationships to cast spells, change shape, and break the laws of physics. The gender-bending is pretty constant, though.”
But I’m a Cat Person. By Erin Ptah of And Shine Heaven Now. “What happens when you take a heap of shounen-power-up and mahou-shoujo tropes, dump them all in a blender, and then throw the blender away and make a sandwich instead.” From TV Tropes: “In a world not too different from our own, humans share the planet with a mysterious servant species known as Beings. Shapeshifting, flying battle monsters, they have spent countless ages dueling each other in a contest with no end, known as the Game… which most of humanity has spent just as long ignoring. It’s not really that interesting if you’re not involved.” It’s awesome.
Broodhollow “An anxiety-ridden man, struggling to overcome his elaborate fears and phobias, slowly learns that they may be an unlikely key to understanding a town’s disturbing supernatural events. Or so he believes.” By Kris Straub, the author of Checkerboard Nightmare, Starslip Crisis, Chainsawsuit, and horror fiction site Ichor Falls. (CN for horror. So much horror. Don’t let the cute art at the beginning fool you. It’s frikking scary.)
Other Three Times a Week
Basic Instructions Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. A very funny cut and paste comic.
Darth and Droids Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. By David Morgan-Mar of Irregular Webcomic. From TV Tropes: “What if Star Wars as we know it didn’t exist, but instead the plot of the movies was being made up on the spot by players of a Tabletop Game? Well, for one, the results might actually make a lot more sense, from an out-of-story point of view…”
Updated Twice a Week
Looking for Group Monday, Thursday. By Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza. A fantasy parody comic that has gotten more serious and complicated. Still very funny. (CN: often immature and sexual humor. Blood.)
A Girl and Her Fed Monday, Thursday. From TV Tropes: “An unnamed woman who works as a journalism intern finds she is on a terrorist watchlist. When she confronts the Fed who is set to watch her, things get seriously, fantastically weird. There’s a good deal of humor thrown in. And did we mention the forty billion undead pixies? And the talking super-genius koala?”
Full Frontal Nerdity Tuesday, Thursday. By Aaron Williams (Nodwick, PS238). “Join four guys, usually around a gaming table, as they celebrate and dissect everything geekdom has to offer. From video games to movies to the latest version of D&D, Frank, Shawn, Lewis and Nelson find fault, find joy, and find that you really shouldn’t let Lewis roll for anything if a 1 spells disaster.”
Punch an’ Pie Tuesday, Thursday. By Aeire (of Queen of Wands) and Chris Daily. Sequel to Queen of Wands. “Tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek, PnP explores what happens when you’re outta college and attempting to be one of those mysterious ‘adult’ creatures we always hear about, and just trying to make life work – and what happens when it doesn’t live up to your expectations.”
Wondermark Tuesday, Friday. From TV Tropes: “A world of top hats and Steampunk laptops played down to contrast the modern, neurotic characters that populate it. A gag-a-day webcomic with Negative Continuity and no recurring characters (except maybe the alien Gax), each strip is a brief window into the lives of absurd but not entirely unrealistic new people.”
Goblins Tuesday and Friday afternoons. From TV Tropes: “The main story follows five members of a cannon-fodder goblin tribe (Thaco, Chief, Big-Ears, Complains-of-Names, and Fumbles) who decide to stop being cannon fodder and become Player Characters. A side plot follows a sixth goblin (Dies-Horribly) who goes on a solo adventure arc quite against his will. It features detailed world-building (including quite a few whole-cloth, background creatures with detailed biologies) and characterization, particularly of the villains. One of the goblin characters, Big-Ears, is a rare instance of a truly gentle, heroic and noble paladin, while the paladin status of the most opaque and brutal villain, Kore, thus far is one of the most foreboding mysteries.” (CN: violence, blood, horror, confrontation of consent issues.)
Nimona Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Lord Ballister Blackheart has a point to make, and his point is that the good guys aren’t as good as they seem. He makes a comfortable living as a supervillain, but never really seems to accomplish much – until he takes on a new sidekick, Nimona, a shapeshifter with her own ideas of how things should be done. Unfortunately, most of those ideas involve blowing things up. Now Ballister must teach his young protégé some restraint and try to keep her from destroying everything, while simultaneously attempting to expose the dark dealings of those who claim to be the protectors of the kingdom – including his former best friend turned nemesis, Ambrosius Goldenloin.”
Updated Once a Week
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella Saturdays. From TV Tropes: “It focuses mainly on the mundane parts of the life of Wonderella, a somewhat air-headed and lazy Valley Girl-ish superheroine who demonstrates little interest in being a hero… or, in fact, doing anything much outside of partying, getting completely wasted, violence, and shopping. She is super-strong, super-durable, and she can’t fly but she can ‘totally jump hella high'” Often immature, often funny.
My So-Called Secret Identity. Two pages on Sundays. “Who is Cat? She’d tell you she’s nobody special, that she’s just like you. Just an average, Irish-American girl in her early twenties; a cop’s daughter, studying in the big city. […] She’d tell you that the city’s special, not her: Gloria City, with its vibrant little communities, its bright lights, grand architecture and Broadway shows. And most of all, its larger-than-life personalities. Gloria has a cast of celebrity superheroes […] But Cat really is someone special. Cat is the smartest person in Gloria City. She remembers everything she reads; she knows how everything connects. And she’s getting tired of pretending, of hiding, of acting dumb to save other people’s feelings.” But slightly more importantly, “My So-Called Secret Identity is what happened when internationally-acclaimed Batman scholar and popular culture expert, Dr Will Brooker, decided to stop criticising mainstream comics for their representation of women, and show how it could be done differently; how it could be done better. […] In a deliberate reversal of mainstream industry conventions, almost all the creative team behind MSCSI are female.” It’s pretty and clever.
Romantically Apocalyptic Saturdays. “I am the captain. The year is 20__ something something. I stopped counting a while ago, and therefore not sure what day it is. Humanity is virtually wiped out in a nuclear holocaust. Me and my last squad: pilot and sniper, live in the wasteland ruins of tomorrow. This is my story. I am captain.” Silly, somewhat random, rather baffling.
Manly Guys Doing Manly Things Mondays (more or less). From TV Tropes: “a comic about a temp agency to help “ludicrously macho guys” find work in the real world when they no longer have work as popular fiction characters. How well they actually integrate has… mixed results.”
Skin Deep Mondays. From TV Tropes: “Unknown to most of humanity, mythical creatures have lived under the radar for centuries; disguised by magic, developing their own culture, and generally just trying to live a normal life. Whatever that means.”
Rusty and Co. Wednesdays. From TVTropes: “With the charismatic Mimic, absurdly cute rust monster Rusty, and the silent yet deadly Gelatinous Cube, the three set out in search of fame, fortune, and experience levels – and every level (adventure), they ally themselves with an Action Girl for at least part of the level. Of course, things that would be obstacles to more conventional adventurers pose no problem for these three, whereas other more simple tasks create great difficulties. Expect hilarity (with a side of Lampshade Hanging) to ensue.”
Galaxion Tuesdays. “Galaxion is the name of a quirky little civilian scientific survey starship owned and operated by the Terran Space Association, and captained by Fusella Mierter (reputedly also quirky and little, but don’t say that to her face). As the story begins, TerSA has made a deal with rival organization Interplanetary Patrol, giving command of the Galaxion over to General Scavina Nelson and her team to test an experimental Jump engine.”
Spare Keys for Strange Doors. On hiatus. “Your local Specialists are: Toby Hathaway and Marion Sark. Highly experienced and skilled professionals, experts at handling the uncanny, supernatural and subnatural. Some experience of the natural, but discussion of your exact needs is advisable. Specialities include visitations, disappearances, compulsions, manifestations, transformations and removal of uninvited guests. ”
Thistil Mistil Kistil Thursdays. From TV Tropes: “The recently deceased Coal must complete a quest for the gods in order to gain acceptance into Valhalla, but he needs to track down the trickster Loki and get his help. No easy task when the god is the reason for his troubles in the first place.”
Next Town Over Saturdays. “Next Town Over is a weekly paean to the western, with some steampunk and fantasy splashed in.” From TV Tropes: “John Henry Hunter is a notorious and dangerous outlaw with pyrokinetic abilities; so infamous is he across the territories that he has a reward of $10,000 and counting on his head. […] Trailing after him is the equally dangerous and mysterious Bounty Hunter Vane Black. Vane, a stone-faced woman with an eerie pallor, an old acquaintance of Hunter’s who is hunting him down for having wronged her in the past. As they battle across the frontier, they take advantage of every object, person, or animal which might help them to achieve their goals. And neither of them seems to care much about the collateral damage they cause during their confrontations.” (CN: for violence, some horror, consent issues)
Updated Randomly (in approx order of update likelihood)
Sunset Grill (generally multiple times a week): “The year is 2426. Earth is a patchwork quilt of restive, squabbling Domains, loosely joined under the mantle of the Empire, […]None of which matters particularly to the patrons of the Sunset Grill, a bar on the shady side of town in the run-down and corrupt city of Kieselburg. They’re too busy staying alive. Because no matter what the year, there will always be those who struggle to survive. And no matter how distant, how strange, or how advanced the place, there will always be someone to ask that all-important question: ‘Hey, is there anywhere in this dump I can get a decent beer?'” (Content notice for fantastical racism and other bigotry)
The Property of Hate (generally once a week). From TV Tropes: “Perhaps going off in the middle of the night with a snarky floating TV head monster was a BAD idea.”
Help Desk “It happens every time you call the technical support hotline: you suspect the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t really care about your problems, isn’t interested in solving them, and is in fact paid to convince you that the problem has nothing to do with your computer or the software it runs, but is instead due to your own ineptitude and folly.”
Zebra Girl “Sandra Eastlake was a relatively normal young woman until the day her housemates, Jack and Crystal Clarity, came across a strange book in the attic of their home. Dark powers were meddled with, and before you can say “monkeys fire burgers into the mouths of hungry babies with all the skill of strange creatures hailing from whole galaxies made of grease” an accident occurred which changed their lives forever.” (CN lechery in the beginning, consent issues, horror)
Order of the Stick From TV Tropes: “The comic started off as a gag-a-day strip, often mocking D&D rules, but things quickly took a turn for the dramatic: their journey to defeat the evil Xykon entangled them in the lich’s plot to harness the power of The Snarl, a sinister reality-eating… thing formed at the dawn of creation from literal tangles in the fabric of reality. Along the way, they butted heads with hordes of monsters, plot complications, an overzealous paladin or two, and the Linear Guild, a group of Evil Counterparts led by Elan’s Evil Twin brother, Nale. Of course, even with all that going on, it’s still covered with plenty of humor.”
Erfworld From TV Tropes: “A fanatical, obsessed gamer geek gets magically summoned to another world to be the “Perfect Warlord” for a city that’s losing a war, in a world that seems to be one giant Turn Based Strategy wargame. Plays with many different strategy game tropes. Includes cutesy, Super-Deformed art and dark characterization, landing DEEP in the territory of Grotesque Cute. Many features of Erfworld are references to real-world popular culture and Internet memes.” (CN: for fantasy violence, consent issues)
Power Nap. By Marita Campos (of College Roomies from Hell) and Bachan. From TV Tropes: “In a World where nobody sleeps, Drew Spencer tries to hold on to a job and his sanity. Drew is unable to use the pills known as “Z-Sup” which let everyone else stay awake 24 hours a day, due to an allergy. Being run ragged by a world without sleep and a society that seems to accept the weirdest of events without question, Drew is also being roped into something sinister going on behind the scenes of this bizarre world.” (CN for violence and sexism. There’s a woman named Token, okay? I’m pretty sure that’s going to end ironically, but it’s still there)
Bird Boy “When a small boy stumbles upon a legendary weapon, he must flee across a dangerous land of gods, men and beasts to keep it from falling into the wrong hands…”
Tales of the Questor From TV Tropes: “It tells the tale of Quentyn, a young anthropomorphic raccoon (or “Rac Cona Daimh” or “Racconan” but who are we kidding?) who spends his days with adventure books and daydreams. When the traditional ritual where young kits choose their career for life approaches, young Quentyn shocks everyone and becomes the local laughing stock as he declares his desire to become a Questor – a type of noble hero-for-hire whose like hasn’t been around for ages, and who are practically nothing but adventure book fluff. But, it turns out there are legal requirements to have one when someone offers. So begins Quentyn’s own adventure – he’s now an official Questor and it’s up to him to do what a Questor must, even if it means having to face great dangers and things he’s never had to encounter during his young, sheltered life – and practical exile as he’s tasked with a gigantic quest that requires him to head into the lands of humans.” (CN: frightening imagery, horror)
Hark! a Vagrant From TV Tropes: “Best known for its historical comics, which are one-shots of varying length focusing on historical events or figures. There are occasionally other kinds of comics, including comics in which Beaton visits her younger self, a few comics about a pony called ‘Fat Pony’, and a story about a sailor who meets a mermaid. There is little continuity and each comic is a standalone strip.”
Batman and Sons From TV Tropes: “not only portrays Batman as a superhero/crime fighting detective, but also as a single father trying to raise his four sons: Dick, Jason, and Tim (the three most famous Robins), and a baby named Terry. The comic is not only funny and adorable, but also succeeds at poking fun at topical points in comics.” (CN: child endangerment)
Lackadaisy From TV Tropes: “Follows the exploits of the Lackadaisy crew, a formerly prosperous crime gang fallen on hard times after the murder of their boss, Atlas May. Now under the leadership of Mitzi, widow of the ‘businessman’, they attempt to make a living in the criminal underworld of St. Louis. Their major opposition comes from the Marigold gang, headed by Atlas’s former partner and filled with former Lackadaisy employees.And they’re all anthropomorphic cats. The series is very much a tongue-in-cheek affair with a serious plot line and strong characterizations.” (CN: violence, blood. Look, it involves bootlegging and criminals, and despite the cats, it treats it realistically)
No Rest for the Wicked “One day, the Moon up and disappeared; where it went, or why, none can say. Without the Moon’s light to keep them in check at night, monsters, crawling horrors, and other creatures of the dark run rampant throughout the land. But Princess November has much more pressing matters to worry about: she hasn’t had a decent sleep in ages.”
Sacred Pie From TV Tropes: “About three 20-somethings, Sid, Roonas, and Bob. Hanging out in their apartment one day, they’re visited by a dying man called the Traveler. In his final breath, he gives them four items, a Tunic, a pair of Gloves, a pair of Boots, and a Medallion. Then his body disappears, and they take them, deciding to save the universe as he asked on the basis that there’s nothing on TV anyways. The first thing they do is accidentally assassinate an alien Chancellor and try to escape. All that is just the first twelve or so pages, and it just gets crazier from there.” (CN: sexism, violence)
Suicide for Hire From TV Tropes: “a mature-rated Furry Comic by Rafael Medina about two teenagers, the extremely enthusiastic sex-obsessed fox Hunter Ravenwood, and the chain-smoking highly paranoid mouse Arcturus Winrock (who also has a homicidal split personality), who help other people kill themselves, often in a highly karmic way.” (CN: oh boy. Just… everything. Religious prejudice, violence, confrontation and played with sexism, mental issues.)
Dominic Deegan. From TV Tropes: “It follows the life and times of Dominic Deegan, a messianic yet pessimistic seer who travels about with Spark, his feline comic relief, and assorted companions. Originally a lighter strip based on puns and wordplay”, it’s gotten darker as the cast exploded. (CN: violence, fantastical racism, sexual violence)
Narbonic (Director’s Cut). From TV Tropes: “Answering an innocent job offer, Dave Davenport is drawn into a shocking spiral of vice, crime and moral depravity. Hopelessly ensnared by a madwoman’s feminine wiles, can he return to the world of sanity before it is… too late? Narbonic skates over some surprisingly serious territory, but with such a light touch you will probably be too busy laughing to notice.” (CN: mental issues)
The Pantheon (NSFW)
Cracks of Sunshine “is a mental health comic that neither glamourizes nor catastrophizes mental illness. […]Consider the entire site to contain a MASSIVE trigger warning for frank discussions of (among other things) suicide, rape, depression, and eating disorders. But it is a happy comic! It’s just mostly about sad things. Plus the occasional joke about sadistic unicorns and Hal Jordan, just for a break.”
History of Type – five part series – link starts at the beginning. Probably only interesting to type and design geeks (of which I am one). (from I love typography.)
DIY String Art – I’m going to do this in my dining room. I’ve seen other tutorials but this particular result is really cute. (from Hellobee)
Encyclopedia of Tie Knots – a breakdown of every possible way to tie a tie, based on topology.
Fiction Into Reality: Why We Borrow From What We Love (from Tor.com)
You can see more of my favorited art on DeviantArt (I just can’t link it all here).
It occurs to me that if I’m going to use weird words for these, I should define them.
Anodyne is a pain reliever or anything that relieves distress. It was also Madelyne Pryor’s codename in the rather forgettable X-men/Alpha Flight crossover where Loki was going to give everyone in the world super powers, at the cost of their imaginations. Her costume was terrible.
Last time’s word, serendipity, means to stumble unto desirable discoveries, from a story called The Three Princes of Serendip (more info). And it was a series of really adorable (if sometimes slightly twee) kids books.
The Likeable Unlikeable Character – “Even an unlikeable character has virtues. Eeyore, the melancholy donkey in A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories, is not a likeable character at face value. He’s a moper and complainer and oozes negativity. But his unselfishness is a virtue that Milne used to endear us to him. Eeyore didn’t exude happy thoughts but he’d likely give you the tail off his back if you needed it.” (from Novel Rocket)
Fantastic Batwoman Cosplay – Not entirely related: even though I don’t read the comics (it violates my guideline of not reading anything modern because I tend to get stabby), I appreciate the current Batwoman for not being the same old stereotypical male gaze oriented, super sexy supermodel. I like that she’s generally drawn bigger and curvier, with feminine strength. She’s not generically beautiful. Anyway, unnecessary opinion over. This is just a really good cosplay.
Ame-Comi Duela Dent (Joker) Cosplay – The character is silly and the statue it’s based on is basically fan-service, but this cosplay is really well-done.
Wordcount for Lovecraft’s Favorite Words – “One of the things any fan of Lovecraft discovers early on is that Lovecraft was very attached to certain words. We either laugh or groan every time we hear something described as ‘indescribable’ or called ‘unnamable’ or ‘antiquarian’ or ‘cyclopean.’ And sometimes we wonder how many times he actually used the words.” (from Cthulhu Chick)
12 Mind Blowing Number Systems From Other Languages – “The Oksapmin people of New Guinea have a base-27 counting system. The words for numbers are the words for the 27 body parts they use for counting, starting at the thumb of one hand, going up to the nose, then down the other side of the body to the pinky of the other hand” (from Mental Floss)
Tutorials off DeviantArt:
Understanding Your Style: Symbols, Design Pattern, and Anti-Pattern -or- Why a Little Figure Drawing Never Hurt Anybody. (Two parts, this links to the first part and there’s a link there to the second part.)
The Really Flippin’ Easy Way to Make Things Look Like Crappy Silver Age Comics (pretty sure I linked this before, but that’s alright)
Skin: A Tutorial (four parts, just linking to the first.)
Paper Charm Bracelet Tutorial (how to turn paper into cool looking beads)
In Which My Toddler Helps Me Think of “Character” in a New Way – “Our son, the one we call ‘B-Dub,’ thinks of the people in his life abstractly. Example: if he sees a magazine ad featuring the car you drive, he’ll point to it and say your name. If he sees a spot on the floor where one of the dogs likes to lie down, he’ll say that dog’s name. But it can be even more abstract, to the point where it takes us time to figure out what the connection is – like it’s a little bit of a puzzle.” (from terribleminds)
“Well, you should learn to control your temper” – Why Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is NOT an abuse-apologist narrative. “So what does Belle do? Does she put aside her hurt and attempt to be kind and loving? Does she assume he must have a troubled past and decide to go along with his not-requests until her sweet acquiescence tames him? No. She stays the hell away from him, not even allowing herself to be in the same room with him, and has dinner that night with nice people who care about her feelings instead.” (from Sailor Ptah’s Dreamwidth)
1958 Sears kitchen cabinets and more – 32 page catalog (from Retro Renovation)
NPC Characteristics Generator – Linking because it’s also good to give minor characters some sort of background or quirk.
Quickie Character Backstory Generator – another one
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West
11 Weirdly Spelled Words – And How They Got That Way Thought, Asthma, Colonel, and more words whose spelling makes no phonetic sense (from mental_floss).
(All images, click to go to the DeviantArt page and see full-size. I’ve shrunk them down quite a bit more even than the DA preview)
Savoy Stomp Stomping through the Savoy Cocktail Book. Also other cocktails, recipes, and other blog stuff.
No Logic in “Etymological”: A Response I Actually Sent Kory Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. She gets odd correspondence. This is a response to one of them. (from Harmless Drudgery)
The Germans have a word for it – and it’s a very long one. ‘The editor of the Accidental Empire series muses on another thing the Germans do extremely well’ (from The Guardian)
Look! Up in the sky! It’s…it’s… it’s an amazing optics display What you can get from just ice crystals and sunlight (from Bad Astronomy)
Cocktail DIY: Stocking Your Bar At Home I’ve started following the blog which has all sorts of great recipes, aside from cocktails. (from Putney Farm)
They Came From Outer Space Creepy astronomical and otherwise photos (from Bad Astronomy)
An Open Letter to Writers in 3 Acts: the Anguish & the Glory (from A. Victoria Mixon, Editor)
(note on this post’s title: Gunsel has a factoid associated with it that will never fail to amuse me. From Dictionary.com:
1914, Amer. Eng., from hobo slang, “a catamite;” specifically “a young male kept as a sexual companion, esp. by an older tramp,” from Yiddish genzel, from Ger. Gänslein “gosling, young goose.” The secondary, non-sexual meaning “young hoodlum” seems to be entirely traceable to Dashiell Hammett, who snuck it into “The Maltese Falcon” (1939) while warring with his editor over the book’s racy language.
” ‘Another thing,’ Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: ‘Keep that gunsel away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him.’ “
The context implies some connection with gun and a sense of “gunman,” and evidently the editor bought it. The word was retained in the script of the 1941 movie made from the book, so evidently the Motion Picture Production Code censors didn’t know it either.
Yeah, I’m just naming these something silly from now on.
“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” – Neil Gaiman
The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains, part 1 and part 2. Why green lights are blue in Japan, how you name colors if your language only has two words, and a lot more cross-linguistic facts. (From Empirical Zeal)
Tired of cliché? Want to be unique? Pursue the why. Figure out the causes of your scenario and the consequences to add depth to your writing. (From TalkToYoUniverse)
Rules, Schmules: Don’t Follow the Rules, Tell a Great Story. “If you’re more concerned with the technical rules of writing than the story itself, you’re hurting your chances of ever getting published.” (From The Other Side of the Story)
Why I Love That Bad Guy: The “S” and “Z” Blocks. Did you know Tetris has villains? This is just amusing. (From Love the Bad Guy)
Mario’s Creators Answer Burning Questions About The Series. Interview with Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. We find out the Koopalings aren’t Bowser’s kids and that ‘Dr.’ Mario has no medical license. (From Game Informer)
Review of the Weaponeers of Monkaa (From Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week). And the announcement from Spy Monkey Creations, with more pictures. I don’t need any more toys, but these look awesome to have on your desk to fiddle with. They come apart into lots of pieces (at least 25) and are compatible with all Glyos System toys. The most original thing? Some pieces can be a hand or a head and look nice as either.
And in other pretties news, my latest favorites on DeviantArt: A cat in Nick Fury cosplay, a really amazing Ryuk (from Death Note) cosplay, a gorgeous Voodoo Priestess drawing, and the best tutorial for getting that old comic book look I’ve ever seen.
I would post another chapter of ‘Ostanes’ except I had a stupid moment (they’re unfortunately not uncommon, but usually small) and left the thumbdrive with it at home. I may post it later today, since I finally have internet at home.
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about doing a link dump, and then I saw the first thing and HAD to share it.
- House with Bird Feet (from Tea with the Squash God). The start of a story from Ursula Vernon. As you may guess from the title, it’s got Baba Yaga. “If you’ve ever wondered how I write a thing (and lord, why would you?) the answer is that I sit down and write something like this one afternoon, and then I shove it into a metaphorical drawer and see if it ever bothers me again.” (This is about how I end up writing as well, except I tend not to write them down until they’ve been bugging me for a while.)
19 Old-Timey Slang Terms to Bolster Your Vocabulary (from MentalFloss). I tend to find the lists there lackluster, but this one has good things like zib and John Hollowlegs.
- Forest Tutorial (from the ConceptArt.org Forums). Basic, but useful. I imagine it would well for any sort of background as well, like cityscapes. The ‘duh! Why didn’t I think of that?!’ moment for me was ‘start from the back’.
- Varying Your Body Types (from Fritter and Waste). Has naked female model, so probably NSFW. Personally, I’m good about not having all my women (or men) look the same, but this has some points I hadn’t thought about and it’s really well illustrated.
- Vum (from Languagehat). Just a fun word from a language blog I like.