Intro post

Feb. 2nd, 2020 08:57 pm
erinptah: (Default)
My active journal is the one you're looking at. My active blog is [syndicated profile] erinptah_feed ([wordpress.com profile] erinptah). Locked personal posts and [livejournal.com profile] fail_fandomanon link roundups are found here on DW. Fic recs and weekly fanwork roundups are on Wordpress. Everything else is found on both.

[personal profile] ptahrrific - fanfiction and mixes
[archiveofourown.org profile] ErinPtah - fanfiction
[deviantart.com profile] ErinPtah - [fan]art
[tumblr.com profile] bicatperson - fanart

And you can like it all on Facebook.

But I'm A Cat Person is a webcomic about magical shifting battle monsters and the humans who are just trying to get on with their lives.

Leif & Thorn is a sparkly queer fantasy dramedy. Thorn is a knight guarding a foreign embassy; Leif prunes the trees and admires his sword. Bilingual shenanigans and budding romance ensue.

And don't miss the archives of And Shine Heaven Now, the world's second-most-popular Hellsing-related comic.
erinptah: (pyramid)
This guy is safely back at the local shelter where he came from.

(Full details in locked posts -- if you didn't see them, and would like to be on a filter that includes stuff like cat drama, feel free to comment.)

The name on the shelter paperwork is Eli, so that's what I'm going to call him, not the name picked out by the roommate who brought him home and then wasn't around to take care of him.

Eli is super shy and super timid, but also totally mellow -- even when he was scared he never bit or scratched, just hid. In the three weeks he was at the flat, there was literally one time when he felt safe enough to approach a human on his own volition. Then he got spooked again, and there weren't enough days to re-reassure him before returning him to the professionals.

But I did get photos of him on the couch.



Petting for a sweet boy.



I hope he gets adopted by someone he can climb all over.
erinptah: Cat in a backpack (cat)
Linguistics links:

Nothing new under the sun: "in tibullus 1.8 (a poem about his boyfriend Marathus) has this line about “pugnantibus linguis” (literally battling tongues) which means that the idea of tongues battling for dominance in homoerotic fiction has been going on since at least the 1st century bce"

From Seaspeak to Singlish: cool English dialects and English-based creoles.

Hawaiian pidgin has a great all-purpose noun -- it's "you-know-what", "whatchamacallit", "so-and-so", and "the thing" all at once.

Cat links:

Before there were laptops, cats were happy to sit on our portable typewriters.

"I was right there in case he got upset — I was expecting him to hiss or growl or slink away. But then one of the ginger kittens started licking Mason’s ear, and Mason sort of leaned into it and closed his eyes like it was the most amazing thing ever."

erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Down to my last 48 images on Photobucket. Have a rescued picspam.

It's Mma Precious Ramotswe and Mma Grace Makutsi, the heroines of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Hugging. Seriously, it's just screencaps of this one great time they hugged.

Precious and Grace

That's Mma Ramotswe on the left. She's the detective. Very smart, very good with emotions, lots of tragic backstory. IIRC she's feeling the tragic backstory pretty hard in this moment.

And Mma Makutsi on the right. Very serious secretary/manager, first in her class, doesn't much approve of Feelings. The fact that she's having some is a big deal.

Doubles as an art reference for anyone looking to draw a hug. )
erinptah: (daily show)
While the Internet is going "can we impeach him NOW?" over Donald Trump's kid releasing his own treasonous emails, here's a grab-bag of other terribleness the right has been up to.

Donald: "On the campaign trail, Mr Trump repeatedly criticised President Barack Obama for golf outings during his presidency but as of his last trip to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr Trump has spent his 35th day at one his own golf properties." That's over 20% of his "presidency," for those keeping score.

'This is an act of insanity,' a former Trump inner-circle associate told me, 'but it’s how he functions.'”

Mike Pence: "He touched a piece of critical space flight hardware in the Orion clean room, despite the fact that there was a sign that clearly read, 'DO NOT TOUCH.'"

The State Department: "His team apparently waited too long to book accommodations for the President [at the G20] and his travelling staff and were told none of the major hotels had vacancies." And this isn't even the first time: "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to stay several miles away - at a sanitarium outside of Bonn - from other leaders at the February G20 ministers' meeting."

The Defense Department: "National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump [reaffirming Article 5] and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told The New York Times the day before the line was definitely included."

Eric Trump: "...while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses."

Mitch McConnell: "I didn't expect Donald Trump to win, I think most of my colleagues didn't, so we didn't expect to be in this situation [of having to follow through on our own promises]."

Hobby Lobby: Hobby Lobby has been smuggling thousands of illegally-gained artifacts out of Iraq. In case you're wondering, yes, this almost certainly means Hobby Lobby directly funds terrorists. Hobby Lobby is a sponsor of terrorism.

The RNC: "Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server." (Hey, remember how many Americans' personal data was exposed because of Hillary's emails? None of it!)

The House: "Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) praised the recent Islamic State attack in Tehran as a 'good thing' and suggested that maybe the United States should work with the militant organization."
erinptah: Cat in a backpack (cat)
The couch I'm sitting on to write this, the one I'm usually sitting on when browsing/coloring/ficwriting, is really old. My parents got it (with a matching set of chairs) when I was in high school. It's the one big piece of furniture I took when I moved to Massachusetts.

More interestingly, it's been sat on by every cat I've ever lived with.

And I have photos!

2003-2006: Tabitha )

2009-2010: Ziggy Stardust )

2010: Bingley )

2010 again: Darcy )

2013: Isis )

2017: Molly )
erinptah: A map. (books)
Fixed all the broken images in my DW layouts tag. Here's one I never posted:

preview

Original layout using this Creative-Commons-licensed Manhattan panorama.

Live preview | Screenshot

Title: New York Evening (Fluid)
Credit to: [personal profile] erinptah
Base style: Tabula Rasa
Type: Full layout in CSS
Best resolution: 1024x768+
Tested in: Firefox, Chrome
Features: customizable, variable-width, 2 columns




To use:
  1. Go to Select Journal Style and set your theme to one of the Tabula Rasa styles: 2 columns, sidebar on the right.

  2. Go to Customize Journal Style: Custom CSS, untick Use layout's stylesheet(s), and copy the contents of the above textarea into Use embedded CSS.

  3. Save and enjoy!
erinptah: (Default)
Down to the last 399 images in my Photobucket account! Among the randomest of the broken images: desktop-screenshot memes from 8 years ago.

Here's what it looked like June 2009, two computers ago, running Windows XP:



And here's September 2009, my previous computer, running the just-released Windows 7:



Picking up the theme, the computer I got during grad school and still have, in July 2017:



That's the wonderful Desktop Calendar app running in the lower right. And in the second column of icons, you can see the folder with miscellaneous Photobucket rescues.
erinptah: (Default)

When last we left our heroes, democracy had been subverted on almost every level, including the level where the writers don't understand how American democracy works. But a shockingly-decent human being was pulled out of left field and appointed Vice President. It sets up the prospect of a happier ending than I would have thought possible.

Will the new VPEOTUS turn out to have been an evil mastermind all along? Let's find out!

---

Episode 13 opens with a fleet of mystery drones over the US. Our election-rigging not-Russian Someones have borrowed the tactic that the "good guys" used earlier. Awkward.

Villain uses the phrase "your loved ones...as you call them." That's how you know he's a villain, he doesn't believe in foolish things like 'love'.

They have his co-villain in custody in a bunker under the White House, and obviously the prospect of torture comes up, because these people still haven't figured out that it doesn't get accurate intel. Still President Fitz says that if they torture her, "we spit on the Constitution," and they'll be no better than the villains...if they do it on WH grounds. In foreign secret prisons? That, he would've been totally fine with.

Anyway, they decide to bluff her instead, and she cracks in like a minute. Which should've been a hint that she was counter-bluffing, but nope, they go along with it. Even agree to send David Rosen -- the guy she was dating, the guy who found out who she was but had to keep sleeping with her so she wouldn't catch on, the easiest possible person for her to psych out -- to deliver the immunity agreement.

Villain: "Can we start over? You know my real name now...."

Rosen, disbelievingly: "You murdered Elizabeth North!"

Villain, wheedling: "I know...!"

(He ends up punching her in the face. I'm okay with that.)

They get her with a more complicated bluff in the end. Olivia's dad pretends to talk his way into the bunker and bust her out -- with a gun, which, you know, maybe was supposed to be a clue that this was a scheme. But given how terrible these people have been about security before, I was totally willing to believe that nobody frisked him.

(He gets her back to the museum, then stabs her with a dinosaur tooth. I, uh, would've liked her alive to testify, but if you ignore that bit it's a cool scene.)

---

The bad guys were sending Olivia's dad random packages, which turned out to be full of bricks, but calculated to make up the approximate weight of a human head. Which is apparently terrifying and intimidating, that they can afford to waste that much on postage.

So this episode opens with David Rosen bringing Abby an actual head. (The woman Dad Pope just killed. Abby calls her "ponytail bitch," which is as good a name as any.)

Third-to-last episode and we kinda have a case-of-the-week! Olivia Pope and Associates are trying to convince Fitz to do a last-minute pardon (for a black guy convicted of killing a white guy acquitted of killing a black guy). Huck and Quinn face down a bar full of heavily-armed racists and walk out untouched (and carrying a few extra guns), which is the kind of content I like to see.

David and Abby bond over their mutual angst about being manipulated. It's kinda cute. I would like them to have a happy ending, if only because they were broken up in such an awful way.

I was reeeeally worried the Shocking Twist would be that our victim-of-the-week is guilty after all, but never fear! We're 26 minutes into the episode and Olivia hates the idea: "You want me to take your racially-sensitive tinderbox of a closed case to an outgoing President with a legacy to protect because you have a feeling?"

Five minutes from the end, and some of our heroes have a shocking revelation that the Mystery Villains were working for someone! This is a twist? Y'all thought you were chatting directly with the top brass of the superconspiracy this whole time?

On the plus side, it turns out Olivia was testing Quinn -- "Running this firm will mean going up against the White House sometimes, I needed to know that you could handle it." Would've had more impact if the viewers didn't know from experience she would be wrong, but you take what you can get.

The evil mastermind is Olivia's mom! On Luna Vargas' behalf, I am delighted.

---

Mellie: "It's official, everyone in your family has wanted me dead at some point or another." She's not wrong.

Mom Pope gets a long monologue about how she's been secretly working in the name of good all along, and this just one more example of black women's work not being appreciated. On Luna Vargas' behalf, I'm worried again.

Olivia tries to bluff out her mom ("I'm totally on your side, but you need to give them something"), and overplays it horribly. So it doesn't work, and she tries strangling instead. Who on this writing team has a thing for choking?

Oh, and Quinn's pregnant. I guess at this point someone had to be.

---

IT WAS LUNA.

Dammit, show. I didn't want to be right about this. For this narrative, the really shocking twist would be someone turning out to be a genuinely decent human being.

...or at least, it was sort-of Luna. She "paid someone", presumably Mom Pope, to kill Frankie. Mom Pope passed the orders to Team Rocket, who passed them on via blackmail to half the main cast.

That still doesn't answer the question of where Team Rocket came from in the first place. Luna didn't create them, and I don't think Mom Pope did either. Their identities were almost perfectly scrubbed, they had millions to throw around and the financial infrastructure to cover their tracks, they were playing next-level blackmail chess. They had tracking chips in their necks, and were able to pull out a dozen covert drones at a moment's notice.

This only makes sense if they're agents of a serious organization -- and if they have motives other than money. I'm not even sure where Luna was supposed to have whipped up secret presidential-assassination levels of payment in the first place, but the effort these people went to, they would've needed power or ideology or both. Russian agents: makes sense! Random assassins: terrible narrative Plan B.

(It's also implied Cyrus gave her the idea, which, again...nobody's motives line up with the idea of killing Vargas before the EC vote.)

Abby to Quinn: "You wanted to have a baby? Let's have a baby." Uh...you two aren't the canon ship here...are you?

After a successful inauguration where nobody got shot, Olivia and Jake talk Luna into killing herself. Because hey, let's wrap up that loose end before any viewers start asking awkward questions. At least it got us this little gem:

Olivia: "Raise your hand if you've killed a Vice President before." [raises hand, looks meaningfully at Jake]

Jake: "Mine was Argentine."

Olivia: "That counts."

After all that, it's looking like the next season is going to have all the same people in power in Washington, just shuffled around a bit. Like, we might even have Cyrus installed as Mellie's VP after all.

I was going to say "still better than Trump," but, you know what? The last scene we get of President Mellie is her signing an executive order that Olivia puts in front of her, without reading it. (She accepts Olivia's summary, that it's setting aside a bit of cash for the military. It is, in fact, setting aside a bit of cash for Olivia.)

Sorry, America. The votes from the state of Shondaland are in, and it turns out you lost.

erinptah: (daily show)
The photobucket clearout has turned up some fun fake-news images. In the spirit of Independence Day, here they are on their brand-new host.

Illustrated Jons, from otherwise-forgotten articles:

Jon Jon


Jon and Stephen playing cards, from a 2008 pro-Obama deck:

Colbert playing card Stewart playing card


This one is (a) very NSFW and (b) not actually Jon, but isn't it fun to look at?

NSFW art under the cut )


This one is definitely a 100% authentic gif of "Stephen":

confused eagle


And finally, the only thing better than Jon and/or Stephen, a digitally-fused portrait that's both-Jon-and-Stephen-at-once:

Jon-Stephen fusion

Either that, or they secretly had a kid, because their BFFdom is just that magical.
erinptah: (Default)

Since Photobucket's "all your image hosting is broken and you'll have to pay $400 to get it back" stunt, I'm reuploading everything that's still relevant to my A Small Orange web hosting. Less than a quarter of the price, no fuss about hotlinking, and it lets you make a whole website to go with the photos.

In the process I've rediscovered a bunch of old picspams I totally forgot doing:

And a lot of stuff I don't feel guilty about flat-out deleting:

  • screencaps & doujinshi scans for posts in now-defunct LJ/DW communities
  • long-deprecated TopWebComics incentive art
  • 10-year-old fanart (still findable in my DA scraps, for anyone who's truly invested)
  • so many random Daily Show photos. Soooo many.
  • memes where I don't even remember where they came from

All that went quick. The slow & more laborious to re-upload includes all my fic illustrations, fanmix covers, and icons. (Over 800 icons. Fun!)

So there's a mountain of stuff left to pickaxe through -- but it's an encouragingly dwindled mountain. Last night I had almost 6,000 images on Photobucket. This afternoon, it's nearly down to 2,000, and still shrinking.

erinptah: (Default)
Watched the last episode of this season live when it aired, had so many thoughts that I had to go back and rewatch/liveblog, just to make sure I got them all in order.

Spoilers ahoy!

'I was secretly on your side all along, you silly sausage.' )
erinptah: A map. (writing)
Hey folks, I have a hashtag urban living question. Trying to frame it so it's not obvious which person I was....

The scene: a busy laundromat. Person 1 arrives, sets machine to do their laundry, observes how long it's supposed to run, leaves to run a few errands.

Machine finishes its cycle while Person 1 is still gone. No other machines are free.

Person 2 removes Person 1's laundry, sets the machine to do Person 2's laundry. Person 1 returns to find their clothes in one of the handy baskets next to the machine.

So...is Person 1 more inconsiderate, by hogging the machine space while other people are waiting? Or is Person 2 more inconsiderate, by messing with someone else's stuff instead of being more patient?

Short & long answers both welcome. Maybe mention where you're from, in case the standards turn out to vary by country/region.
erinptah: (daily show)

Welcome back to Scandal, where the morals aren't real and the votes don't matter.

Our story so far: Two mysterious Someones, who were reportedly supposed to be Russian agents until the reality of 2016 forced the writers to think of something more original, arranged a murder-and-framing-spree around the President-elect. Mostly through surrogates that they've threatened and/or slept with, including about half of our main cast.

The heroes are dealing with this through a strategy of random guessing, dramatic confrontations, torturing people for inaccurate intel, forgetting to frisk people at key moments, and angsty self-reflection about that time when they rigged a presidential election.

Seven episodes left. Who will win? Not America, that's for sure.

---

Episode 10 (of the season, episode 100 of the show) is a whole Imagine Spot about what if Olivia hadn't voted to rig Fitz's election way back when.

For some reason AU Pope and Associates can't afford the swanky office. I thought she got there on her own amazing skills and reputation -- is this implying that her business was somehow propped up by Fitz's presidency? Or is it that she turned a moral corner with the election-rigging? Maybe the show wants us to see this as "she got more ruthless in doing whatever it takes to support wonderful deserving people," so down this fork-in-the-road she's not as good because she's held back by silly things like ethics.

Also, she's wearing her hair natural. Found a post that unpacks that a bit.

Fitz gets divorced, marries Olivia. Cyrus won't sit with his not-yet-husband at the ceremony, and, uh, ends up making out with Mellie for some reason? (No word, not even a mention, of who gets custody of their kids.)

We do get a couple of sweet details. Huck walks Olivia down the aisle, looking super awkward in a nice suit, while Abby is the maid of honor. Shots of various smiling friends and allies in the refreshingly multiracial audience.

Fitz gets a cheesy TV pundit spot. Also, for some reason it's a year post-wedding and they're not living together. Abby and David are namechecked as happily married.  Cyrus and Mellie...are...married and pregnant? Quinn didn't even get roped into the firm, so she's being cute and giggly on a Bachelor-type reality show.

...oh my god, the Bachelor says to not-Quinn "You really love torturing me, don't you? Is that your thing?"  (And Huck is clapping! He's rooting for her!) This is beautiful and they're so innocent and it hurts that they don't live in this universe.

Final score: Cyrus stays closeted and career-driven and miserable. Mellie is also pretty glum, but she's a better human being who cares about others. Fitz and Olivia have a lot of stress and fighting, including the revelation that she could've stolen the White House for him...but they pleasantly surprise me by both ultimately realizing that politics is soul-sucking and they're better off without it.

Totally should've gone with this reality.

---

Aaaand we're back to the merry-go-round of people yelling about who the Electoral College should vote for, based on whose kink for power they're most interested in indulging.

Mellie yelling at Olivia: "Get off your high horse! Like you never killed anybody? Like you never stole an Oval or two?" Look at all that sense and logic.

Olivia's response: "I know you. You are better than most. You are inherently good." Have you never seen your own show.

...She switches to Team Cyrus later in the episode, for reasons, and there's a lot of back-and-forth between Team Cyrus (he knows he's not worthy, but he wants to do it for Frankie!) to Team Mellie (Cyrus was a terrible husband and also she deserves it!). Until the point where Mellie meets the Someones...and one of them murders not!Veronica in front of her. Dammit, I liked Veronica!

Also, remember how the FBI director and the President are doing it? Yeah, that comes up again.

Fitz accuses her of being jealous of Olivia. She responds: "Boy, I am the director of the FBI, not some chick who got dissed at prom." Federal Director of Sass. And currently holding the mantle of Only Likeable Character Left Alive.

The EC votes! Mellie is in! Possibly in a landslide! Wonder how many of the electors were flipped via murder.

---

Episode 12 finds Dad Pope in protective presidential custody, although he's cranky because he sees more murder on the horizon.

...and we finally get one of the Someones confronting Olivia in person. Threatens her to replace Mellie's VP candidate. She goes to him and says "you should try being head of the NSA instead," as if our mysterious enemies would be totally chill with that.

FINALLY, a ploy with some strategy! Our heroes send one of their own drones into WH airspace, giving security an excuse to drag all attendant Someones into a secure bunker with phone signals blocked. Time for a secure war council.

(Or at least, I hope it's secure. Mellie's office was bugged for months and they never noticed. Have they learned a lesson from that? Time will tell! And there's a mention of Mellie's kids being in Secret Service custody -- are we taking it for granted that the Service hasn't been compromised?)

...so, okay, there was not a lot of actual council-ing in the secure council. Lots of angry yelling about various bombshell secrets that Subset X was hiding from Subset Y. (I remembered Dad Pope killing one of Fitz and Mellie's kids, but I forgot that Fitz knew. Mellie...finds out here.)

Then they split off into subgroups for a bunch of one-on-one conversations. Pairs up people who haven't interacted much all season, and I appreciate the character moments that come from exploring underused dynamics...but is this really the time?

By the end it seems like the only decision they've made is picking Mellie's replacement VP. No progress in figuring out who, exactly, is blackmailmurdering their way into the US government? Do we have a long-term safety strategy? Because that was not mentioned.

---

True fact: I am genuinely impressed by the VP reveal. I didn't see it coming at all, and yet in retrospect it's perfectly suited to the themes this season has brought up over and over -- how decent people usually aren't the ones who run for office, how they can honor the voters who chose Vargas by giving his position to someone he trusted, how political wives (and husbands in Cyrus' case) deserve more credit for all the sacrifices and compromises they've made to support their husbands.

It's Frankie Vargas' widow. She's consistently been a Good Person in all her appearances, and yet I haven't even been mentioning her in my tally of likeable characters because she's so mild and unassuming and respectable. Which I suppose was probably the point.

Scandal being Scandal, I give it 50-50 odds that it'll turn out she was the evil mastermind behind the Someones this whole time.

But if she isn't...possibly the American people will end up kinda-sorta winning? Or at least not totally losing?

Nicely done, show.

erinptah: Cat in a backpack (happy)

Our story so far:

PEOTUS was shot and assassinated on election night. Olivia Pope is on the case! So far she has accused three (3) people of ordering the killing, and been explicitly proved wrong about two (2). Meanwhile, the Electoral College is left to decide between the horrible, self-serving, politically-soulless VPEOTUS or the horrible, self-serving, politically-soulless runner-up ticket.

Onward!

---

Episode 6 gives us campaign-era flashbacks of Olivia's dad reconnecting with an old girlfriend, who turns out to be a lure under the control of...someone.

Different flashback: Olivia asking her dad for advice on how to handle Mellie. Hey, remember when Olivia's dad orchestrated the murder of Mellie's son? (The grief put her for months into a near-suicidal depression.) I'm sure his advice will be great.

Olivia: "She's from California. Why don't they like her?" Dad: "I can't answer that." Ooh, ooh, pick me! Because Californians hate Republican policies, and she's a Republican!

They keep talking about "calling San Benito County" as if the voting within states is calculated the same as national voting, as if you're guaranteed a certain number of points (and no more) once you win a county. Even if Mellie got every vote in San Benito (pop. 58,000), that doesn't mean she couldn't fall behind once all the ballots are counted in San Mateo (765,000), or Contra Costa (11.13 million), or, I don't know, Los Angeles (10.2 million).

Dad Pope was behind the Vargas shooting! Although not on his own initiative, it was pushed by the Someones, who had the girlfriend hostage. And then they went to far in taunting Dad Pope about his compromising attachment to her, so he shot her in front of them. Good grief.

---

Episode 7 finds Olivia telling Huck to kill her father. For the second time. He helpfully reminds her that the first time didn't end well.

Huck confronts Dad on a subway platform, openly aiming a gun at him, and there's a lot of yelling, which echoes beautifully. For some reason there are zero other people on the platform, and nobody is concerned about metro security cameras capturing this shouted confession of killing Vargas.

Accusations of a mole in Olivia's company lead to Huck and Quinn aiming guns at each other's faces. What a team.

Investigation by Huck leads to him threatening his current girlfriend with a syringe of something nasty, all while going "this is hard for me, but you're making me do this!" Just in case you were starting to feel sympathetic toward him.

Olivia is back for the third time to accusing her dad of Vargas' murder, but she's passionately insisting that it was all his idea, based on the admittedly reasonable evidence that he murdered the girlfriend who was being used to manipulate him. Huck counters by passionately insisting that Dad Pope has changed because he was in love and now he's in pain and...listen, buddy, both him and you are still 100% willing to be violent-to-murderous the minute you feel threatened. You haven't changed, and people, especially women, should stay away from you.

(I would say "random civilian women," but this girlfriend turns out to have been planted to shoot a witness, which she gets away with because none of these geniuses thought to frisk her, and, wow, we are never going to get any case-of-the-week episodes this season, are we.)

---

The Someones got to Abby. That explains why she was pushing for Cyrus to get the death penalty ASAP, huh.

In flashback she asks Cyrus "how did you know Frankie was the one, how did you know he could go all the way?" We've seen this in The West Wing -- Josh asking Leo how he knew Bartlett was his guy, because Josh had found Santos and was starting to think Santos could be his guy. But Abby isn't thinking she's found a candidate -- she's thinking she could be the candidate.

Anyway, the Someones offered her $3 million with no paper trail and no explanation beyond "we like you and want to support your eventual candidacy." And she took it! What's next, Abby, sending the money to a the next Nigerian prince in your email?

---

So Huck's evil girlfriend shot the witness, and then shot him, but in a weird way that seemed designed to miss all vital organs. I figured she was deliberately not-killing him for some reason. (He was flat on the floor, she had lots of spare bullets, it's not like she could miss the heart and lungs.)

Then she sticks him in the trunk of a car and pushes it into a lake. Apparently she's just incompetent.

We get a nice hallucination-sequence where Huck is back in Pope HQ, with the mental images of his team members talking him through how to escape. And he does it! Not only did she not kill him, she didn't even shoot him hard enough for the blood loss to slow him down!

...setting aside that part of my disbelief, I do actually like the bit.

Hey, was anyone worried that there hadn't been enough graphic on-screen torture this season? Well, don't sweat it. Quinn's got you covered.

Olivia gets a pep-up talk about how she's a "miracle worker," from another of these people who hasn't seen the show. And sure enough, they find Huck -- by tracking the phone of the dead witness, which murder-girlfriend wasn't smart enough to chuck in a dumpster on her way to the body disposal! That's not you working a miracle, that's your opponent being a complete moron.

Gonna wrap up this post here, purely because my head hurts from hitting this desk so hard.

erinptah: (Default)

Just gonna jump right into the liveblogging on this one.

Season 2 episode 2 starts with a flashback to when Mellie accepted the Republican nomination, making it even harder to ignore how unrealistic it is that the Republican party would vote for a woman to get their nomination.

Olivia yells at Fitz for sending "scrubs" to investigate a crime scene. The actual FBI Director steps out and informs her that, no, he sent her to investigate the crime scene. (This director is a black woman with giant hair. I want to like her.)

Cyrus invites Mellie to join him as VP-elect. This is all so terribly incestuous. There's no discussion of what policy would be, because of course there isn't -- I'm not sure if Scandal buys into the fallacy that the two parties are Basically The Same, or if this is just a symptom of it not caring about government except as a dramatic backdrop for sexy power struggles.

Olivia has dinner with the FBI director with the hair. It starts as piercing commentary on the way they get treated, as competent black women in positions of power...and turns into Olivia asking if the director has a thing with Fitz. Turns out no, but not because it's a terrible idea for the head of the FBI to bang the President, it's just because she was worried about disrespecting Olivia.

At the same time as this is happening, Olivia's people are stealing evidence from the FBI, and the White House is having a "confession" tortured out of a suspect who's supposed to be under the FBI's purview.

(The evidence is a hard drive, which, when recovered, has "over 5,000 hours" on it. By my back-of-the-napkin calculations, that would fill 17.6 terabytes. On a laptop drive. As of 2017, if you're willing to shell out several thousand dollars, the most Amazon can get you is 4.)

...I got real worried because Olivia's next thing is to snap at the WH that forced confessions are worthless as intelligence. Which is absolutely true -- but the show has never seemed to realize that before, and also, it's 23 minutes into the episode. (Thankfully, the next one seems to be backing her up.)

Flashback to Mellie's romance with a campaign staffer, and, oh hey, it turns out Abby knows Olivia broke up her and David! (I don't remember if we knew this already, or if this is the dramatic reveal.) Flash-forward to Mellie confronting Olivia over orchestrating her breakup with the staffer. "Why are you doing this? What is wrong with you?!" Good question!

---

Episode 3 retcons the video data to "300 hours of [tip-giving videographer]'s footage, 2200 hours of the security feed." That would need less than 2 TB on the hard drive, which is more believable.

Portia di Rossi's character is back! And she's amazing. Partly because I can't help seeing her as Veronica, all charmingly ridiculous, meant to be judged by comedy standards rather than real-world ones.

This episode uses flashbacks to unveil that, yep, Cyrus isn't the murderer. I was definitely expecting that to be dragged out for longer. (There's a secret video of Frankie yelling at him for being a terrible person who should be in jail, and, look, he's not wrong, but for other reasons.)

Most obvious suspect is the hitman Cyrus was secretly having an affair with, because that's the kind of show this is. Flash-forward to the present, Cyrus secretly meets with the (armed!) ex-boyfriend at night in a park, because that's totally the kind of thing PEOTUS can do. Secret Service, what Secret Service?

Vengeful hitman ex throws a wrench in the works by "admitting" to killing Frankie on Cyrus's orders. This'll be fun.

Olivia: "With Cyrus in jail, the Electoral College will have no choice but to vote for you." Orrr they could vote for the runner-up in the Democratic primary. Without knowing anything specific about these people's policies, that seems like the most moral and honest choice re: the will of the voters.

---

Wow, almost nothing to say about episode 4. It's all Cyrus's Adventures in Jail. The narrative woobifies him hard, to the point where in spite of everything I actually feel bad for him by the third act. (Fourth act, he gets a guard murdered. So much for that.)

---

And episode 5 focuses on the drama around Jake Ballard -- Olivia's ex, former agent of Olivia's dad, now Mellie's VP candidate, in a politically-orchestrated marriage with a not!Kennedy who's now going into an alcohol-fueled emotional tailspin as she slowly realizes (a) Jake doesn't like her very much and (b) he's a terrible person.

(To illustrate: he seriously considers strangling her in order to keep the angsty tailspin from damaging his career.)

Newly revealed in flashback: Jake blew up the cabin that held the laptop that held the video that came from the photographer that called in the tip that swallowed the spider to catch the fly. Don't ask me why.

Olivia wrangles Mellie to have a heart-to-heart with the not!Kennedy wife, as part of the Women Whose Husbands Like Olivia Pope Better Club. This wrangles the wife back into urging Democrats to fall in line behind Jake's ticket, based on him being a Good and Honorable Person who married someone from Massachusetts. What policies does he support that they should appreciate? Ha. Aha. Ahaha.

Then she spends the rest of the episode trying to get proof that Jake did the murdering, which of course means he didn't do that, although she lets him drive her alone without her phone to an isolated location before she figures it out.

And, whoof, that's about all the Olivia Pope always-rightness I can take in one sitting. (Still working on commissions, but I'll have to switch to some other background TV for the rest.)

erinptah: (daily show)

The latest season is on Netflix now, so it's time for me to work through more of this incredibly watchable show about terrible people.

For those who need a brief refresher:

Do you like The West Wing? Do you like Leverage? Would you like a series that's cross between those two shows? How about a series that thinks it's a cross between those two shows, but missed the memo that a big part of the appeal was the main characters being likeable, competent, and out to do good things? Well, Scandal is that last one.

Our heroine is Olivia Pope, a freelance fixer of political problems with a reputation for being supercompetent, brilliant, and heroic. Before canon started, she had already helped rig the US Presidential election to put her (Republican) (also married) boyfriend into office. The first few episodes follow a mini-arc where she is asked to defend the reputation of a woman who also had an affair with said President. Olivia yells at this woman for being a lying liar. Olivia is proved wrong.

This sets the stage for a pattern where, halfway through any given case-of-the-week, whoever Olivia is defending will turn out to be evil, and whoever she just shot down will be revealed as the true victim. She is aided by a motley crew of employees and allies, some of whom are already terrible people when the show starts, others of whom compromise their morals over the course of the series. They've covered everything from war crimes to murder to perjury to torture.

An illuminating example: One of the employees (Abby) idolizes Olivia for rescuing her from an abusive husband -- now if only it stopped there. Later, Abby and a much-nicer love interest (David, also a legal ally of Olivia's) come perilously close to uncovering Olivia's Presidential-election-rigging. To get them off the trail...Olivia plants information that triggers Abby's abuse-trauma, manipulating her into a panicky and tearful breakup. Neither Abby nor David finds out Olivia orchestrated this! Both of them continue to idolize and adore her! The writers still seem to think we should too!

At the end of season 5, there were maybe 2 characters that were likeable human beings. Senator-turned-VP Susan Ross, who pleasantly surprised me by flat-out quitting her job rather than sell her soul, and governor-turned-Dem-candidate Francisco Vargas, whose soul is still up for grabs.

Liveblogged the first episode. Might end up doing the same for the whole season, depending on how commentable it is.

Onward!

 


 

Season 6 opens on the night of a presidential election, and it all comes down to...California. That's right, folks, in the Scandal universe, California is a swing state.

Also, Olivia is chastising her staff to vote if they haven't already. I mean, hey, just because they're reporting totals on the west coast, that doesn't mean the polls can't still be open! Our competent political-genius heroine in action, folks.

Frankie won. So now Olivia is berating her candidate (Mellie, also her boyfriend's ex) to call and concede, which seems like the smart and reasonable move. Knowing this show, that means we will eventually learn it totally the wrong move.

(I like Mellie and Olivia being friends. For all that they're awful, their fighting with each other was pretty evenly matched -- not one abusing the other, they both gave as good as they got. And it all stemmed from their rivalry over Fitz, who is painfully not worth it.)

Dammit, they shot Frankie. He might escape becoming awful by dying.

Obnoxious agent: "Ma'am, I'm sure you have some security clearance..." Abby: "No. I don't have some security clearance. I have all of it."

Hits all the beats and all the right emotions of a badass smackdown scene. Logically, undercut by the fact that Abby didn't show any security clearance. If you're going to waltz into a hyper-secure operation (the hospital) and start barking orders, have your badge in hand! (Also, her entire order was literally "don't let anyone in here," which I'm pretty sure they were already doing.)

...yep, they killed Frankie.

Olivia yells at her father (ex-leader of the government's Evil Secret Black Ops Division): was he behind the killing? Well, we're 22 minutes in and she's yelling at him, so I bet not.

Mellie just wants to go on vacation and leave this all behind. Now that would be the smart and reasonable move. (She never really wanted the job in the first place. She wants power in the abstract, but has no interest in doing anything in particular with it. Five minutes later she'll forget all her reasonable plans and decide she wants it again.)

Now Olivia's convinced it was Cyrus (part of the Fitz conspiracy, now VP candidate for Vargas) who had the candidate murdered so he'd be promoted to the top of the winning ticket. But we're only 27 minutes in, so she's probably wrong. After all, the Electoral College hasn't voted yet, so Cyrus would be taking a pretty steep gamble on them not abandoning the Vargas-Cyrus ticket even with half of it gone.

Olivia storms into the hospital. The same hyper-secure hospital that nobody was supposed to be let in. And finds Cyrus in mute, trembling shock. Who could've seen that coming?

Fitz: "I wanted you to be right. You're always right." Dude...have you never seen this show?

He ultimately supports the EC supporting Cyrus, which is the right choice as far as the will of the people is concerned, although both he and Mellie are impressively awful choices who should not be trusted with this country.

Vargas' widow is still in the hospital after a sleepless night, still covered in blood from standing next to the shooting, but for some reason her hair and makeup is still flawless. D- for realism, makeup department.

...So the last five minutes unveil a tip from a mystery person that it was Cyrus (no details on how the tipper came to this conclusion). Well, now that this twist has been un-twisted and re-twisted again, I'm sure the issue is settled, and will be quite shocked if the rest of the season isn't completely straightforward.

erinptah: (pyramid)
The bad:

Roundup of incidents of Trump supporters being proudly violent, sometimes to the point of murder, in his name. Features racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, the whole hatred spectrum.

Trump wants to start charging stores to accept food stamps, because apparently Republicans want to help small businesses by driving away their customers.

The Leopards Eating Faces Party constituents:

"'I really haven't seen him doing anything' on jobs, Olsen said. 'The longer they stall around and dance around and whatever, the more people are gonna get hurt.'" GEE, YA THINK.

"Mike Catanzaro, a solar panel installer with a high school diploma, likes to work with his hands under the clear Carolina sky. That’s why he supported President Trump, a defender of blue-collar workers. But the 25-year-old sees Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as a threat to his job."

"Trump supporters in Texas are coming to the realization that their vote for the president may force some of them out of their homes for less than they are worth, with others finding out that — if they stay — they’ll be living in Mexico if his wall is built."

One coping mechanism: “I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.

The good:

"My neighbor and I drove home in silence. I wondered if his being amongst Middle Easterners who wore hijab and spoke in their native tongue reaffirmed his anti-immigration stance. As we were parting, he said, 'Let me know if you need help with more deliveries. I’m happy to help anytime.' He had tears in his eyes."

Not everyone in this mindset is stuck there forever. Some people can learn, and grow, and change.
erinptah: (daily show)

I got asked a thing about Daily Show/Colbert Report fandom history, and ended up typing a couple hundred words. Figured I'd repost it here, for anyone else who came in late and wants backstory.

---

In the beginning, before the Daily Show had any spinoffs, there was just tds_rps. Then the Colbert Report came along in 2005, and people started using "fake news" to refer to both shows together, in contrast to "real news" for the fans who wrote RPF about news anchors.

At that time Livejournal didn't let you have tags on posts at all. When the option was introduced, that was one of the motivations for creating the fakenews_fanfic community -- to create a place that had comprehensive tags from the beginning.

Anyone can start a new LJ comm, so they weren't centralized or organized in any logical way. If someone felt like there was a need that wasn't being filled by the existing comms, they would make one. Like, for a while tds_rps was joined by tcr_fps, which was open to Report-specific fics. It had such a narrow focus, there was argument about whether Jon/"Stephen" fics should be allowed -- because even though "Stephen" the character was in them, Jon wasn't a fictional character, he was just himself.

You can see why a community like that would get a limited amount of traffic. People who liked writing "Stephen" fic usually also liked writing about Jon. And a lot of them liked writing about Stephen-the-actor too, and there was heavy crossover with fans of news RPF, and fans of Strangers With Candy (the comedy Stephen co-created, where he played a character who was a lot like "Stephen," and the sense of humor was very similar), and so on and so forth....

So one of the reasons fakenews_fanfic rose to be the main fandom community was that it had a broad focus. People could post all their fake-news-related fic in the same place. Not every reader had exactly the same interests, but there was enough overlap that everyone would be interested in most of the fic posted. And the tags meant it was easy to go through and find exactly the things you liked.

For a long time there wasn't a single kink meme, just people making "put your kink prompts here" posts in their personal journals. Eventually someone decided to be more organized, and created a dedicated community for it. I don't actually know who! It was a personal project, not the official creation of any other community.

Fills from all the separate kink posts are bookmarked and tagged in one place. (I do know who handled that, because it was me.)

erinptah: Vintage screensaver (computing)
"Lead came from his glassware, his tap water, the paint on the laboratory walls, the desks, the dust in the air, his skin, his clothes, his hair, even motes of wayward dandruff. If Patterson wanted to get accurate results, he had little choice but to become the world’s most obsessive neat freak." The lifelong research that helped us get the Clean Air Act.

"García-Trabanino started a fellowship at the Rosales hospital as a young doctor in 1998, and what he encountered resembled a scene from a battlefield. He had expected to be treating heart disease, neurological patients, eye problems—the full gamut of medical conditions. Instead all he encountered were men dying—sometimes slowly, but usually quickly—from kidney failure." Global warming has invented a new form of kidney disease.

"We didn’t set out trying to prove anything, but rather compile real data. We framed it as a census rather than a study. So we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever."

"After noticing that a client was treating him like crap while his email signature was accidentally set to my name, we came up with an experiment. We switched signatures for a week. Nothing changed, except that our clients read me as male and Marty as female. I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life. He… didn’t."

"For now Bhullar has no plans, or ethical approval, to hatch the snouted chickens. But he believes they would have been able to survive 'just fine'." We made dino-mutant embryos!

"We hear a lot about the spy-movie kind of corporate espionage. I'd love to read a study of reverse corporate espionage, where companies forget their own secrets and employees have to unofficially get them back. I'm convinced it happens more than you'd think." Within a few decades, this petrochemical company lost the knowledge of how one of their plants worked. Whoops?

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