Surprise power loss

I really need to get that antimatter generator up and running. We’ve lost power again. Going down; back up when we… can be back up. No ETA yet. http://music.crimeandtheforcesofevil.com will continue to work.

Regarding Legend of Korra and queer erasure

There is a big debate – following a edit war – on Wikipedia’s Korra page. A couple of editors are bound and determined that the Korra-Asami ending is not true, and are demanding a statement from the writing team as the only evidence they’ll accept – which isn’t even how Wikipedia works, but let’s put that aside.

I’ve been fighting this particular bit of queer erasure today, because we finally got one. And now we need to defend it.

They are leaning heavily at this point on “room for interpretation,” how the ending is “ambiguous” in their eyes. And to that, I wrote this response.


I want to talk about “room for interpretation” for a minute.

What’s that mean? “Room for interpretation” is usually invoked to imply that there are reasonable grounds for differing conclusions based on evidence. In fiction, one fandom example is the original Battlestar Galactica (1978). We don’t see Pegasus destroyed; we see Pegasus destroy two base stars successfully and go in for the kill on a third. Then we do not see Pegasus again. Given that we had not seen Pegasus before, and that Pegasus had escaped similar situations in the past, it does not seem unreasonable to assert that Pegasus might have survived the battle – limping away needing months of work before getting back underway, who knows? Pegasus was most likely destroyed saving Galactica and the fleet, but it’s not unreasonable to consider the alternative. That’s “room for interpretation.”

I want also to talk about “deniability.”

Deniability comes in to play when you’re forbidden to talk about or do a certain thing, but you do it anyway, with just enough obscurity to it that if observers really, really, really want to, they can deny you are doing what you’re actually doing. An example is in the film Spartacus, and the “oysters and clams” discussion, which was cut from video for many years because it wasn’t quite deniable enough for television censors. But that was the attempt; a discussion about gay sexuality that wasn’t about gay sexuality, but was about seafood. It was deniable that it was about sexuality, at least for initial release.

Now, how does this apply to the Korra finale?

Nickelodeon has a known policy against showing clearly GBLT relationships. This has been discussed extensively in regards to work such as Adventure Time, so I won’t go into it here; it suffices to know that this policy is in place. It has to do, we are told, with overseas markets – but they don’t make special cuts for places like North America and Japan, either, so we all get to fall under those rules.

This leaves creators who want to go in that direction with the reality that they must include at very least deniability. They cannot explicitly state the presence of GBLT relationships. They can only hint or imply, and the only question is how hard in that direction one can go.

In a context of women in relationships in particular, this can be difficult, due to the blinding phenomenon often referred to as “lesbian invisibility,” or the cultural assumption in the west that two women involved in a relationship can’t really be in a relationship until – and often not even after – it is stated explicitly. This causes many people to ignore vast swaths of contextual (and real-life, for that matter) evidence.

You can also see this phenominon in reactions online to this episode. Personally, I was surprised when I started seeing evidence of Korra and Asami building a relationship in Book 2, and told myself I was just overreading it – until it became pretty obvious in Book 3. Even then I was thinking that there was no way the show would be allowed to go there – until Book 4, when it became so strongly stated, given the limits of their allowed range.

And despite all that, a small but meaningful percentage of online reaction calls the Korra/Asami relationship ending “completely out of the blue” and “unexpected.” This is lesbian and bisexual invisibility syndrome at work.

But at the same time, this reaction also indicates how far the authors went in this episode; even those people most likely to ignore and/or downplay same-sex relationships between women as “just friends” are reacting to the finale. It is that conclusive in their eyes; they can’t ignore it – however much they might want to.

What does this have to do with “room for interpretation” vs. “deniability?”

I assert this to be supporting evidence that we are well past “room for interpretation” and into “deniability.” When people who routinely ignore implications of same-sex female relationships are confronted with evidence so strong that they’re reacting against it, “lesbian invisibility” has been shattered. Yes, deniability has been maintained, as we see in discussions above. If one insists, one can ignore enough parts of the source material to conclude it didn’t happen. This allows the show to be aired in places like Russia – “see, it’s legal, we didn’t say romance. We didn’t say elopement. We didn’t say girlfriends.”

But you’re certainly out of the “room for interpretation” field. It’s not ambiguous. It’s just deniable. Which we already know is a Nickelodeon requirement. And I think all of this must be considered in any reasonable discussion of the topic. Context matters, and this is our context, and to ignore it is to do a disservice to everyone.

if you want me I’ll be over here

…celebrating over in the korrasami tag on Tumblr. bbiab.

ps: preorders are still open

eta: I wrote up a thing, on Tumblr, about Korra and Asami. I guess even the band blog is a Legend of Korra blog today. Sorry not sorry about that.

i really hate google

Remember yesterday, when Google decided all the mail I was trying to send users – personal mail, one to one correspondence – was actually bulk email spam?

Today it’s decided that I don’t meet IPv6 authentication standards. Except WE DON’T EVEN RUN IPv6.

Does ANYONE know what those clowns are doing over there? I mean seriously, what are they doing?

----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.:
DATA
<<< 550-5.7.1 [2601:8:9740:1300:da50:e6ff:fe55:2303] Our system has detected that
<<< 550-5.7.1 this message does not meet IPv6 sending guidelines regarding PTR
<<< 550-5.7.1 records and authentication. Please review
<<< 550-5.7.1 https://support.google.com/mail/?p=ipv6_authentication_error for more
<<< 550 5.7.1 information. rc8si3266778pdb.83 - gsmtp
554 5.0.0 Service unavailable
Reporting-MTA: dns; murkworks.net
Received-From-MTA: DNS; murkworks.net
Arrival-Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:26:44 -0800

eta: That turned out to be a one-off, with Google reverting to the rejected-as-spam error. Until now! When it's rejecting mail as "too much mail being sent." We've sent like 20 MESSAGES ALL MORNING, most of those test messages, all of them bouncing.

<10 MESSAGES AN HOUR IS NOT A MAIL BOMB. JFC GOOGLE WHAT.

421-4.7.0 [173.160.243.46 15] Our system has detected an unusual rate of
421-4.7.0 unsolicited mail originating from your IP address. To protect our
421-4.7.0 users from spam, mail sent from your IP address has been temporarily
421-4.7.0 rate limited. Please visit
421-4.7.0 http://www.google.com/mail/help/bulk_mail.html to review our Bulk
421 4.7.0 Email Senders Guidelines. ry9si11359491pbc.147 - gsmtp

eta2: Okay. Between getting Comcast to revert some of their internal network changes (and marking us DO NOT INCLUDE) and figuring out how Google was reacting badly to them, we seem to be able to deliver mail to Google again. Google never did answer or even acknowledge queries tho', and their solution pages were a combination of useless and irrelevant.

Wow, this was not how I wanted to spend all day.

personal note: time to throw a change-up

First off: THIS WILL NOT AFFECT THE ALBUM RELEASE OR RELEASE CONCERT EVENT IN JANUARY. It also won’t affect preordering of Bone Walker, which you should of course totally do. ^_^

But. I will be going in for what is hopefully my last round of eye surgery early – this Monday, to be specific. It got moved up some weeks, due to reasons. This is actually good; it moves recovery time to December, which means I can more and better rehearsal time in January for the big event.

However, it also means my next couple of weeks have been tipped over. Things may be a little random. If all goes well, it won’t be a big deal and nobody will notice anything, but I wanted to get it out there now anyway.

Fingers crossed, eh?

goddammit google

Google is blocking a piece of mail from me as spam. It’s individual mail directly from me to directly one other person. It has no images or links and is plaintext. I’m asking someone I know for recommendations for a fill-in slot at a music festival.

Any ideas? The page linked in the bounce is pretty much useless, and I’m worried they’re trying to force everybody to adopt DKIM, which is a tremendously broken standard I’ve addressed before.

  ----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.:
DATA
<<< 550-5.7.1 [2601:8:9740:1300:da50:e6ff:fe55:2303      12] Our system has detected
<<< 550-5.7.1 that this message is likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of
<<< 550-5.7.1 spam sent to Gmail, this message has been blocked. Please visit
<<< 550-5.7.1 http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=188131 for
<<< 550 5.7.1 more information. g5si6986243pdc.141 - gsmtp
554 5.0.0 Service unavailable
Reporting-MTA: dns; murkworks.net
Received-From-MTA: DNS; murkworks.net
Arrival-Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:46:08 -0800

I tried a shorter one, and it's bounced as spam too:

From: "Dara Korra'ti (public)" <[deleted]@murkworks.net>
Subject: how about this one?
Date: December 17, 26 Heisei at 11:46:07 AM PST
To: (account withheld}

does it like this short one? If so, check your FB, Google is blocking email from me to you. :(

We have an SPF record, and this is a new trick we've only detected today. Some mail can get through to other people, but none to this recipient. But the original mail which triggered the first bounce can get through to no one. Thoughts?

enjoy your continued toddle into irrelevance

Wow, this is quite the op-ed in The New York Times yesterday: Elegy for the ‘Suits’ – The Internet, Not the Labels, Hurt the Music Industry.

It’s everything you despise about The New York Times and The New Yorker rolled up into one! Paean to power and old authority? CHECK! Unchecked nostalgia for the prime of the Baby Boom era? CHECK! Slavish worship of corporate culture? CHECK! Fear of agency resting outside the hands of white guys in suits? CHECK! “What an asshole!” working just fine as a punchline? CHECK!

Really, it’s terrible and hilarious. And just wrong, of course – as I’ve written, the labels – via their industry group, the RIAA – destroyed the industry just fine on their own by making music ownership a negative value. Not to mention that they also drove the more aware musicians out through their ruinous strip-mining of artist value. It’s been almost 15 years since Courtney Love did the math, and the sharecropper approach wasn’t new then. If you signed with a label, you were giving them all the value and keeping something below minimum wage – if that. And they owned everything you made.

So no, “the Internet” didn’t “hurt the music industry.” The labels are the ones who set up the teetering edifice. The internet just let musicians break out and tear it down.

ps: talking of, pre-order the new album! We have a mastering engineer to pay. :D

Release to Mastering celebration post: Our Creative Fans

To celebrate Bone Walker‘s release to mastering and manufacturing today (preorder here), we’re posting some of the many creative things our friends and fans have told us about. These are things they do; check out this list of awesome. That’s an order.

JEWELLERY:

MUSIC AND WRITING:

  • Irfon-Kim Ahmad is the electronic madness behind RAMP Music, and he’s all about the trance and electronica. He also has a big Tumblr fandom, I’ve seen it. I suspect him of being a Cylon, but don’t tell him I said that.
  • Maria-Katriina Lehtinen really needs two entries in this list. First, she composes neo-baroque music and performs on the organ. She’s endlessly frustrated that the people at the cathedral in Vancouver won’t let her re-tune their organ to better frequencies. On top of that, she writes and makes stained-glass windows! But she doesn’t provide links. Take that, commercialism!
  • Angela Highland also writes as Angela Korra’ti, and writes books. Under the Highland name, she’s behind the high fantasy trilogy Rebels of Adalonia for Carina Press. Under the Korra’ti name, of course, the Free Court of Seattle. “Urban fantasy for the geekily and musically inclined, and I can guarantee you that you won’t find another urban fantasy series anywhere that features a Newfoundlander bouzouki-playing hero as the main lead, an Unseelie Elvis impersonator, and most importantly, a violin-playing heroine who’s a girl of color.” Find out everything at her professional website.
  • Elizabeth Barrette is a poet, and a working poet at that! She also writes books, of course. Penultimate Productions is the top of the fold, but a list of her books currently in print is here, and she provides writing and editing services. She actively posts on Livejournal, where she also posts scrapbooked poems.
  • Skellington is on the album! She’s lead fiddle on Kitsune at War. But her main band is Pinniped, a trad band who have a good bit of local traction. You should listen to her stuff!

PERSONAL ITEMS AND CRAFTS:

  • JC Brazil is a maker of Glatta Papa body butters, lip balms, and moisturisers. “The hair pomade was created when I went through hospital hell and began losing my hair. It worked! Huzzah! When I met my boyfriend who is biracial, and now my husband, he couldn’t find anything natural to help him style his hair and didn’t smell like gummy bears. I offered him my pomade and he’s been using it ever since.”
  • Paula Milburn makes a huge range of items, and makes them available two different places – one place for fannish audiences, one for general audiences. The general-audience work lives at KraftyKatz Unique Handmade and Personalised Cards and Gifts, while the fannish-friendly projects live at 4K Kollections.

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES:

  • Sunnyjim makes All The Things, and seriously, she does, I’ve seen it. “The current obsession is Women’s High Heel Shoes. That’s right, I’m a cordwainer – a person who makes shoes. I also do art quilts, mosaics, stained glass, spinning and weaving, costuming, calligraphy, and the occasional oil painting. As they say at Weta Workshop: Be Creative, and Make Cool Stuff. (Yes, I have the t-shirt.)”

FANAC AND CONVENTIONS:

  • Jen Kilmer helps make Conflikt, the Pacific Northwest Filk Music Convention – she’s chair and head of publications! Go buy a membership and attend, particularly since somebody cough will be having a big CD and book release show there.
  • Linda Wyatt does things with vintage Star Wars memorabilia, Topps cards, and other hockey cards from the 1960s and 1970s. Sadly she did not include a link where I could point you at samples.

And, finally, of course, we make with the musics. I also have a history of illustration and other arty designy stuff and fandoms and houses and a fair bit of science!, but mostly these days it’s about the music.

All of these creative people wrote up all this in their own words in comments. So go check out their arts! Maybe you’ll get inspired too.

we have sent files to mastering

We have sent all files to mastering. Bone Walker is with the mastering engineer as of 22:46 14 December 2014. This is also functionally release to manufacturing, because the same group is doing both. In short: we are gold.

\o| eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! |o/

To celebrate going gold, we’re about the post the Big List of Creative Things our fans have sent in. It’ll follow this post in a short bit; it’s taking a little longer than expected because we apparently have a lot of creative fans, which is super-awesome.

While you’re waiting, consider helping us pay the mastering engineer and printing bill with a pre-order. The minions in particular would appreciate it. You know how excited they get. I can’t blame them. After all, so do I.

Big Post of Creative Fan Arts coming in a few! Check back soon. :D

questionable decisions in structural implementation

someone’s gonna wanna swear at me later
it might just be me

someone’s gonna wanna swear at me later
i can’t disagree

this is the kind of crap we’ve all seen before
the kind of hack that we all know I abhor

someone’s gonna wanna swear at me later
might as well be me!

friends don’t let supervillains design+build late at night with alcohol
this is why supervillains have minions instead

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