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Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #30 continues the trend of being a complete delight from start to finish.
Courtroom brawls!
Giant hammers!
Muppets references!
Arguments over technical points of law!
Identification of one's own corpse from the future!
Bickering captains!
Grammatical corrections!
Warning systems that say "Uh-oh!"
Attempts to cut off one's own arm to avoid becoming that corpse!
Warning systems that say "Run for your life!"
Flirting robots!
Jealous robots!
Acerbic doctors!
Bickering scientists!
And giant spaceships that suddenly disappear!
So much fun, I used up all my exclamation points.

Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #31 was even more delightfully Douglas Adams-y than usual.
Chirolingual characters that communicate by holding hands.
Quantum Engines that run on the improbability of faster than light travel.
Lectureworlds, planets dedicated to teaching and advancing a single field of study.
A play called "My Shovel, Your Face."
New adages. They can't all be old.*
The Necrobot and his portable apothecary.
And a ship that proved itself impossible.

*The new adage being "Nothing breaks up a standoff like a stowaway." Ah, Swerve, we love you.
Last week the Pop! Club meeting was about “expressions of fandom.” I said my expression of fandom is expensive.

I started seriously collecting in 1990 at the age of 13, and since then I’ve amassed a library of books. I’m currently estimating around 20,000 comics right now. Through the 90s I also bought a lot of cards and action figures but that faded as the costs for both increased dramatically and they began taking up more space than they were worth. A number of years later there was a stretch of buying statues, because I obviously hadn’t learned my lesson about things taking up too much room and being too expensive. Seriously, the cards, toys, and statues really need to go. I probably need to look into renting a booth at a local convention. (Note: the "toys" that need sold do not include my Transformers. Screw that.)

Recently I’ve been trying to cut down on the numbers of books I’m getting (the cost has really skyrocketed on those, overall they are 4 times or more expensive as when I started). Instead I’ve been getting more original sketches or prints from local artists. I’ve also started to get into dressing up in costume, which like all the previous expressions of fandom isn’t horribly cheap. But I have to say that this current phase is a little more social. For quite a while it was very solitary, I was buying comics and cards and toys and just taking them home. There wasn’t a ton of interaction with other people outside of in the store itself, which is something that Carol & John’s Comic Shop actually does a good job of fostering. And for me that wasn’t for a complete lack of desire either; I just had trouble finding people my age with the same levels interests. It was a lot more difficult to find like-minded people before the internet. Speaking of which, when I was buying statues and higher-end figures it was a little more regularly interactive, I was sharing photos of my purchases online in Flickr communities. As using Flickr (and photography as a whole) became more frustrating for me I dropped out of that, and my interest in the pieces quickly waned. But when I’m getting sketches and prints I’m dealing directly with the artists themselves in most cases, and some of them I’d actually call friends. And then with cosplay there is yet another group of people that I’m interacting with online and in person. Cosplay is also an outward expression; you don’t just get the outfit and then hide it under the bed. In most cases, anyway. The point is to show it off so I guess that counts as social, right?

Probably the primary expressions of fandom that I’ve done that haven’t cost me a significant amount of money are being a member of the Pop! Comic Culture Club as well as periodically being a guest on my friend Eric Ratcliffe’s Why I Love Comics podcast. Surprisingly the cheapest things are actually the most social and interactive.
I don’t understand the mindset of the people whose entire “Pro-Life” stance is centered wholly on preventing people from getting an abortion. They aren’t paying attention to why anyone would want to get an abortion and helping to address those issues, they are just stuck on stopping access. If someone is Pro-Life and was also supporting sex education, access to birth control, access to natal medical care, and welfare programs then I’d understand them, they would be acting in a consistent and logical manner. But most of these people are also opposed to all of those things too. They want to keep people uneducated and prevent access to birth control which just makes unintended pregnancies more likely. And then they don’t actually want to help with the child at all so someone with an unplanned pregnancy faces an enormous burden, which is especially greater to those already struggling financially. What these people are doing is ensuring that children are born to parents that did not want them.

Look, the idea of knowing that your parents didn’t want you is one of the most horrendously awful things that I can imagine, and these ardent “Pro-Lifers” that are ignoring all the reasons people may want an abortion are only making it occur more often. And that’s just evil. Seriously, I don’t know what other word to use outside of evil. Fostering an environment that creates unwanted children is just the height of cruelty and puts a lie to all their lip service about “saving the children.”
03 July 2014 @ 01:09 pm
How about everyone that wants to use religion to justify their misogyny, homophobia, and racism be forced to follow EVERY SINGLE TENET of their declared religion and not just arbitrarily pick and choose whatever they want in order to hide hate under “religious freedom?”

If they are really going to follow ALL OF IT then, sure, I'll take them at their word. It's bad enough that most of the passages are pretty debatable and lacking in universal interpretation, but there are just far too many rules just being ignored for me to believe anyone claiming religious objections as being anything other than a smarmy hypocrite. Instead of letting "religious freedom" be an immediate Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card how about they prove what their religion is?

I attended Cleveland Concoction in costume, and I looked awesome. I didn't have the courage to enter the Masquerade contest, and actually didn't even get the chance to go and see it.

It was a very fun experience, but I was also very glad that it was a small convention that was close to the home. There's only a limited amount of time that you can wear an outfit like that!

Close up on the lovely make-up done by Becca

The rest are under the cut-

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I've gotten some other new outfits lately, but most of those pics will be reserved for FetLife. A wig may be involved in one case. And I am continuing to plan out my Rogue costume. Exciting times!

I think most of us have a list of words we don’t use or try to avoid using for various reasons. I’m not going to list all of mine here because that would rather defeat the purpose in some ways. But I got to thinking about one when I saw someone use it.

The word Feminazi is a charged one, and is not only divisive but also immediately associates the user, in my mind, with misogynists. The person may not be such, and in this case most certainly isn’t but it’s a word that is more associated with who uses it than who it is used to describe. Similar to other epithets for women and other oppressed groups, it’s just better to not use it. Ever.

There are individuals and sections of every political affiliation that go aside from the core values, and feminism is no different. There are most certainly ones with whom I disagree vehemently, but calling them Nazis or any other insults would reflect more poorly on me than it would on them.
The most insidious version of Mens Rights Activism is a classic example of smarm. In other words, it’s bullshit. It couches itself in a façade of reasonableness that can easily entice people, and it sets itself up in such a way that any criticism, no matter how valid, is painted as antagonism or negativity. The less insidious form just reads like a white supremacist manifesto. Those guys are so convinced of their righteousness that they don’t even bother to hide their misogyny. That makes them easier to spot, and that’s why the first group is in some ways even more dangerous.

Honestly, you can probably find examples from the past of me parroting the views of the subtle MRA tract. They often convey humanist ideals, they claim that feminism just divides us further and we should look at how things apply to all people. They point out that many of the same discriminations and injustices are perpetrated against men so only discussing them in terms of women is further marginalizing those male victims. And they are quick to point out that not all men are guilty of the things being pointed out.

On the surface this all seems rational, but that’s where they get you. This is all used to undermine and gaslight feminism, to keep the discussion focused on men, and to marginalize subjects and perspectives that are primarily a concern of women or people that do not fit gender norms. The humanistic ideals they claim to be concerned with are just a cover for continued misogyny, and a way to get unsuspecting, good-hearted people to help them. Again, there are likely people that support the public MRA agenda that do so with an honest desire to help humanity, but I sincerely believe that the spearheads of the movement are reactionaries afraid of losing their position of privilege.

To figure out their true agenda there are a couple of key areas to look at. Are they painting feminists as an enemy, or they actually targeting the patriarchy? Are they looking at specific points and making sure that the concerns of men are addressed as well, or are they looking at the overall picture of imposed gender roles? Are they steadfastly stuck in their own personal experiences, or are they acknowledging that there are a variety of valid life experiences outside of the ones that men have? Examinations like these will lead to the truth of whether they are just out to help themselves or whether they are actually trying to help society overall.

Stay vigilant, nothing is as dangerous as hate spread under the guise of logic and compassion.
18 May 2014 @ 07:07 pm
Whenever I’m talking with someone unfamiliar with latex fashion the work of HMSlatex is the first that I show them. Hers is unquestionably my favorite. Sophie's fun and vibrant designs have over the years elevated latex to true fashion. As the cliche goes, she brought it out of the dungeons and onto the runways. And she has consistently retained an amazing balance of flirty and classy that few other designers ever approach.

Earlier today she officially announced that she was closing her shop. The news hit me harder than I would have expected. I actually heard about it from her over a week ago, and honestly I had to go through a period of mourning though I don't think is completed yet. Imagine if a favorite writer, artist or musician was ending their career, and not only were they not producing anything new but also that there would never be any new reprints or re-releases of their past work. (In this digital age I'd have to include that their writing and music would be removed from all e-distribution, including illegal ones.) I think of fashion as an art form, so this is a loss of a great artist.

I am glad that she is stopping by choice, and is not being forced to quit by any circumstances. So I am personally happy for her to do whatever makes her happiest. I was friends with her on LiveJournal before she started her company eight years ago. I certainly don't resent her decision or expect that she owes it to her fans and customers to continue her work when she has other things she wants to do. But it is still an exceptionally sad day for fashion as a field.

I've ordered the shirt for the Rogue outfit I'm planning. Yes, it's in latex, but this time it's from my absolute favorite designer, HMSlatex. I ordered matching shorts to make a bodysuit for wearing to places where that would be appropriate. I'll probably end up pairing it with a brown kilt and brown jacket, I'm not sure. Leather for both would be ideal but probably not going to happen. I've also been looking at gloves and leggings and tights, all in both latex and spandex, to see what may work. I won't actually be getting the shirt until July because of how many orders she already has so it will be quite a while before I need to start putting it together. I'm just excited and don't get to squee very often.

Femininity and Masculinity are not polar opposites on a single scale; instead they are their own separate scales like the color balance on your television. Almost everyone has both, and whichever one they have more of becomes their dominant gender expression. It’s exactly how your picture becomes red if you have too much of that even if the other bars are in the middle. I’d personally add a third scale for androgynous traits, i.e. personality traits that are not typically considered either masculine nor feminine, but I’ll admit my desire for that is simply that I am uncomfortable with separating EVERYTHING between feminine and masculine.

The point here is that you don’t need to choose. Seriously, you don’t. It’s not one or the other; it’s instead all at once. The balance can constantly slide, not only throughout someone’s life but from situation to situation. Accept it. Things are more fun that way.