cleaning up around here

I’ve been doing some better organisation/re-organisation of file systems around here, particularly on Dropbox which I’ve used historically to store larger files for this blog. I’m pretty sure everything’s okay, but if you notice anything broken – let me know? Thanks.

oh right, so how’d VCON go?

Had fun at VCON, as always; Jamie Anderson (son of Gerry Anderson and Mary Robins, Gerry’s third wife) was great fun, and I think we hit it off pretty well on our panel, too. I didn’t get to as many room parties as I wanted – between agreeing to run Open Filk for the con, and just feeling kind of off on Saturday, I didn’t get to many. Other than the Dead Dog, of course, which was fun like always.

Talking of open filk, the braille poker chip accommodation for visually-impaired people that I posted about last week? It worked well. We had two blind people at VCON Open Filk, and they both reported that the lettering was very clear and easy to read, and the one who wanted to make occasional requests (and thereby participate in circle – neither perform) were able to participate exactly the same as everyone else.

We did have a couple of chips lose pips – interestingly, they were chips taken by sighted people who played with the dots a lot because “huh, this is new.” But even with that, we had more than we needed (I’d made five sets). My plan in future would be to continue having a decent supply, and just in case, take the glue gun along – it’s small, and takes less than a minute to make replacements, so why not?

I also rather enjoyed Eric Chu’s talk on designing for Battlestar Galactica, in no small part because given how well everything fit together, I would not have expected it to be quite so ad hoc. The time and budgetary constraints were far worse than I realised, as a viewer, so they did a fantastic job of making that not show up on screen.

Apparently, there are a lot of old VCRs in the background in Galactica’s C&C. lol, kitbashing. πŸ˜€

Oh, what else? Spider Robinson looked good and seemed happier than he’s been in a couple of years, which is great to see. Somehow, I managed not to make it to the art show, or even buy anything in the dealer room – I guess I was just too busy with panels and such. Concert went over well, the crowd grew while I was playing which is always a good sign. I went to a workshop on making cosplay armour, because I want to cosplay Pharah, even if it probably won’t happen. Rough idea of skill acquired.

VCON 41 GoHs

That’s a pretty good chunk of it, and all I have the brain for right now. Who else is going to GeekGirlCon this weekend?

legend of korra fandom has been exploding

Legend of Korra fandom has been exploding a bit since Mike Dante did an AMA on Reddit over the weekend – oh, hi, we’re back from VCON, by the way – with commentary like this:

Also, apparently the comics start literally seconds after the end of the series. I mean literally seconds:

I knew exactly where I wanted to start – moments after the finale ends, with Korra and Asami entering the spirit world…

So yes, I think it’s fair to say that all of us deeply into this fandom (remember, We’re Not Friends/The Future Has a Place is explicitly about the fandom reaction to Korra and Asami being a canon couple) are pretty buzzy right now. C’MON C’MON C’MON C’MON GIMMIE πŸ˜€

and we’re off to VCON!

VCON starts today! My concert is Sunday afternoon, in the concert block, which starts at 2:30pm. See you at the hotel, I hope!

Minion Paul says I should make the full movie of this Tiltbrush scene I painted into a backdrop for my next online show. You know, have it greenscreened in behind me. πŸ˜€

Jem and the Holograms only wish they had this much animation

That’s a narrow crop of the inside of a sphere I made out of animated brush effects. Here’s a movie which makes the ‘sphere’ part a little more obvious. It’s kind of okay in 2D, but totally amazing in a 3D space environment. (Link is to a 33mb mp4.)

You know those Main Street Electrical Parade “ooooooo” buttons some people have? I have those buttons, and this is hitting some of them.

Anyway, yeah! VCON! See you there!

what next, New York Times – a story about how the old Nazis feel “cut off” in Germany?

The New York Times have run a wretched little sob-story sympathy article about how conservative evangelicals feel “cut off” over how their Culture Wars have gone, and by Mr. Trump’s GOP nomination. They focus on an old couple – the Odgaards of Iowa, “religious liberty ambassadors” for the Ted Cruz campaign – who decided to sell their commercial property to the fundamentalist church they attend rather than comply with anti-discrimination law.

Really. How sad.

How about how I felt “cut off” fighting their ballot initiatives criminalising me? Clearly, no one at the New York Times has any goddamn idea what that feels like, or what it’s like to go door to door arguing for my right to exist, or they wouldn’t write such lovely paeans to my vicious, unrelenting oppressors.

Hey, how about an article how queers deal with the long-term multi-impact trauma of having almost. every. single. election. of our adult lives being existential questions? Hey, New York Times, how about I how feel “abandoned” there?

How about how queers feel when this very year, Mr. Trump has promised to nominate only judges endorsed by Heritage Foundation, which thinks states should be allowed to make our existence illegal?

But no, who gives a fuck about queers, we’ve got to talk about sad ol’ Grandma and Grandpa Whitey Bigotsson. How sad they feel “cut off,” how they aren’t adequately represented by their presidential nominee! How abandoned they feel now that they can’t fucking have the state kill me.

Ever been handed a pamphlet calling for your own execution? I’ve said it before, but I have. It wasn’t even this new one from 2015, it was a previous version! They’re still making new ones!

And that is the the kind of thing Grandma and Grandpa are just fine with. That doesn’t make them feel “cut off” or “abandoned” or sad or anything! Oh, they might think that’s a little far, these days, but don’t get it wrong: that’s what they go for when they think they can get it.

I note, by the way, that both Their Guy and Mr. Trump accepted the endorsement of that pamphlet’s author, and stood on stage with him, just best buds 5eva.

But The New York Times apparently wants us to understand how sad they feel. How bereft. How “abandoned.”

“It all flipped, so fast,” said Mr. Odgaard, a patrician 70-year-old who favors khakis and boat shoes. “Suddenly, we were in the minority. That was kind of a scary feeling. It makes you wonder where the Christians went.”

They talk about the decision to sell their building to their church. How sad it is. “It’s like losing a child,” said Ms. Odgaard.

No, you know what’s like losing a child? Making your children homeless and destitute because they’re queer. Like their movement did, and still does.

Queer kids are a big, big chunk of homeless youth – last time I saw a figure, it was 40%. And it’s because their movement encourages it, with their people telling each other it’s the necessary and godly thing to do – assuming the legal torture programme known as “conversion therapy” doesn’t work out, of course.

I’ve written about this before, but I’m never letting it go – Beverly LaHaye, founder of Concerned Women for America, on her nationally-syndicated radio show through the 1990s, telling her listeners that this was critical, that they had to deprive their children of all shelter, all hope, all recourse, all home – for being queer. Listening to her console her listeners who did it, supporting them, encouraging them as they sobbed into the telephone about what was happening to their own children who they had made destitute.

That was fun to transcribe, let me fuckin’ tell you. Those kids show up on the street in Seattle, and other towns, and they’re – go figure – complete wrecks. A lot of them – a lot of them – end up dead.

I guess that’s less “losing a child” and more “killing a child,” but hey, they’re fag kids, who cares, am I right? None of that’s half as poignant as poor ol’ Grandma and Grandpa Bigotsson selling their building to the fundamentalist church they attend instead of complying with anti-discrimination law.

So “cut off.” So “abandoned.” So sad.


the internet of crappy, crappy things

The Internet of Things is not a good thing, at least not in its current form. Events like this are why:

Record-breaking DDoS reportedly delivered by >145k hacked cameras
Ars Technica
Dan Goodin – Sep 29, 2016 12:50 am UTC

Last week, security news site KrebsOnSecurity went dark for more than 24 hours following what was believed to be a record 620 gigabit-per-second denial of service attack brought on by an ensemble of routers, security cameras, or other so-called Internet of Things devices. Now, there’s word of a similar attack on a French Web host that peaked at a staggering 1.1 terabits per second, more than 60 percent bigger.

Internet-of-things makers are paying no attention to security, and provide no way for users of these devices to pay attention for them – or to fix them if, somehow, the people who own these devices actually figure out what’s going on. Even realising it’s happening isn’t easy to do; for most people, it’s functionally impossible.

It’s not like you can say, “oh, just put the software in ROM so it can’t be changed ever.” These things are going to send data out, that’s what they’re for, and you have customers be unable to give it a destination for that data.

The part that pisses me off the most is that makers of combination locks have been managing to send out randomised access codes for literally generations, and yet, the makers of these devices are still shipping them with stock passwords. Do you think we at least manage to get up to the safety and security of a middle-school locker Master Lock here? Apparently, no! Not yet.

jfc, 1.1 terabits. It’ll be a terabyte in another two years, all on devices somebody attached to a wall or put in a cabinet and will never look at again until it breaks. I can’t wait ’till we’re being DDOSed by ‘smart’ lightbulbs. What a clusterfuck.

VCON has me running filk

VCON has me running open filk on Friday and Saturday nights this weekend. I wanted to do a poker-chip queue system, which is basically a way of making sure everybody can get a turn without having to fight for it, without imposing full queue/bardic rules. You have a blue round, a white round, and a green round.

But that’s not so great for blind people, so I came up with something I hope works: poker chips with braille letters indicating their colour:

W is for White

It’s hot glue! I’m kind of pleased with the idea, but I’m a little bit nervous because, well, it’s hot glue. Here’s hoping the glue holds up. πŸ˜€

minion paul got a vive

Minion Paul got a Vive VR headset and we set it up last night. He got decent dual GPUs – not the top of the line we saw at PAX, but solid entry-level VR-compatible GPUs – and it worked really well out of the box on setup! No weirdnesses at all.

And really everything stayed great until SURPRISE HERE’S GlaDOS and c’mon Vive I HAVE A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST HER FOR A REASON. Okay, fine, pocket universe alternate GlaDOS I guess so technically different but y’know what no EXACTLY THE SAME.

and i did repair that robot. in fact, i made it better. just ’cause SOMEBODY can’t tell “off spec” from “dramatically improved” and SEE THIS IS WHY WE BROKE UP TO BEGIN WITH.

the rest of it is pretty awesome though.

Sadly, trying to get desktop streaming to work from Linux is still in large part No. I got the desktop streaming on video just fine! But no sound. And while okay that might work for art, it’s pretty pointless if you’re trying to stream, you know, music as you work. :/

(Vive 1, Ubuntu -5,253,142.)

i will not be watching the debate tonight

Don’t use Portland Taxi. No, wait, bear with me, this ties into what’s going on tonight, but first, from KATU Portland:

A Portland man says a [Portland Taxi] driver pulled out a bull horn and yelled anti-gay slurs at him and his friends outside a bar this week.

KATU News also reached out to the company and was told the driver was exercising his First Amendment rights and there would be no disciplinary action. They ended the call by telling our reporter: “If the gays don’t want to use our company, that’s better for us.”

A KATU News employee also had a negative experience with this cab driver last March.

After giving this employee a ride home from the airport, he refused payment and told our employee he should be in jail because he was gay.

Tonight, there’s a debate in the US presidential elections, with a couple of people on stage. One of them, the Republican nominee, has pledged to sign something the fundamentalists are calling “The First Amendment Defense Act.”

What that does is provide organisations immunity to civil rights laws for hating on queers, if they’re either nonprofit, or do business with the US Federal Government. So, say, denying hospital visitation for dykes? NO PROBLEM! The Salvation Army throwing homeless queers onto the streets to die for being queer, as they have done in the past? NO PROBLEM!

On its face, it’s intended to look like it’s only providing immunity for hating on married queers – and that’s how it’s presented – but the combination of marriage-is-for-st8s-only and no-sex-outside-marriage means all queers.

So stuff like this? Say, you’re in hospital, and they want to throw that at you? Protected.

It’s a “right” to abuse. It’s a “right” to arbitrary cruelty. Particularly if the targets are queer.

And that’s only the first layer that affects me directly.

Mr. Trump pledged, earlier in this campaign, that he would nominate only justices approved by the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is a right-wing think-tank/pressure group which thinks I should be illegal for existing, and have at this very moment online their opinion that Lawrence v. Texas (2003) was wrongly decided, and should be overturned.

Since most of you won’t know what that means: it’s the US Supreme Court decision that said states couldn’t make queers illegal by fiat. The Heritage Foundation want that decision reversed.

You’ve heard about the long, brutal history of African-Americans keeping lists of where they couldn’t go in their own country, because it was illegal for them to be there?

I’ve kept the queer version of that list myself. I got rid of it after Lawrence v. Texas (2003). I burned a reference to it as part of new year’s celebrations, where you burn horrible things.

If the Heritage Foundation has its way – and Mr. Trump pledged to give them their way – I’ll have to rebuild that list, and I don’t want to have to build that list again.

And that’s just what I’m facing as a dyke. Virtually every election I’ve ever witnessed has been some kind of referendum on whether I’m a legal person – ever done ground work, going door to door, arguing with people why they shouldn’t vote to make you illegal? I have, and it sucks – and in that way, this election is no different.

The hate is just a lot more broadly aimed this time.

So I’m not watching the debate tonight. It’s bad enough being reminded every two to four years that about half the country is just fine voting to lock me up. This whole thing is yet another referendum on my existence, so why the fuck would I subject myself to that?

visual artists do this all the time, why not musicians?

Lots of artists (including a few I follow) livestream their drawing sometimes, usually showing their desktops so you can see what they’re working on. A fair number of them do this on Picarto, which is pretty visual arts focused, but says it’s for creators in general.

So I decided hey, maybe music? And they even have a category for it. Yay! And I’ve set up an account here on Picarto, and will stream sometimes, probably announcing on Tumblr and Facebook on the band page.

I’ve only tested it once and it was a little weird but I think it worked most of the time? The wifi in the part of the studio where I have to put the laptop is a little wonky tho’, and it cut out at least once. If people come by I’ll work on fixing that.

It’ll mostly be rehearsals/practice but might occasionally be me mixing something or writing something. I dunno! I’ll probably turn it on later today, I completely upended my planned VCON set and I’ll want to try that out this afternoon. And I’ll check the chat window every so often, too.

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