Stuff I Liked: September 2018

This is only a week late! I’d apologize for neglecting my blog, but traffic was actually up in September for the first time since I’ve started my new job.Bar graph of traffic from April to September. There was a steady decrease, but September raised a little bit from August.
I guess I’m doing fine blogging, then. I’ve got a September Birchbox post in the works, as well. I’ve used up some of the samples but am keeping the empty bottles around so that I can take pictures of them in a faux unboxing photo set. Now you know the secret.

We’re moved in, unpacked, and I’ve started to hang up some art. I bought and assembled an office chair. Things haven’t quite calmed down, though. We’re working on getting our heat set up for the winter. The house currently has a decrepit oil system in the basement. It’s converted from COAL. It has little door to shovel the coal into and everything. There’s no way that it’s going to last for as long as we want to live here.

I’ve done a wee bit of painting. You guys like the watercolors, right?
Scan of a watercolor painting of a green sea turtle. This is Myrtle, if you've been to the New England Aquarium. The colors are a little muted.
I’m still working on how to digitize them. I think that photographs (below) look better than scans (above).
The same postcard, but photographed with my phone under bright light. Myrtle is much brighter and contrasts with the ocean water around her. I've put three blue blocks of paint under her and my brushes above her for the aesthetic.
I need to play with my scanner settings some more, but I think that I’ll end up pulling out my good camera going forward. Anyone have any tips?

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Stuff I liked July 2018/August 2018
Funkless Deodorant Tangerine & Lime Review My holy grail, eco-friendlier deodorant. I’d post this in the summer if I was more savvy about my clicks. What’s up Southern Hemisphere?
Birchbox August 2018
Clinique Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydrator Review
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush in Give Me a Cuddle Review
Tomoson Review
Valjean Labs Facial Serum in Hydrate

Grumpy Skin has a facebook page! I’m not being irritating with it, WordPress just wont push to private pages anymore. Give it a like, if that’s your thing.

Books

Heathen by Natasha Alterici and Rachel Deering
I am HERE for some modernized Norse mythology. I’m also very deceived by the library categorizing this as teen. There are a ton of boobs. I tried to read it on my break at work.

I did not get fired, so we’re good.

Ms Marvel Volume 7 by G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa
I’m still SUPER INTO Ms. Marvel. It’s all ages, but somehow more political and current than a lot of the “adult” comics I read.

Fruits Basket Volume 4 by Natsuki Takaya
Getting this from the library has been an ordeal. Someone entered the original volumes and the collected volumes as the same book into the catalog. I’ve been having to request three or four books before I get the right one. Worth it. Furuba is holding up.

Video Games

I’ve been desperately trying to play through my Steam sale haul before Fallout 76 comes out. I haven’t decided if I want to play it or not, but I want to be ready if I do. I’ve opened the pre-order page a few times and keep deciding that I don’t want to spend $60 on maybe liking a multiplayer game yet. We’ll see.

Fallout 4 Another great game with a subpar ending from Bethesda. And bugged, oh man. I’m so glad the internet exists to tell me how to get around game breaking bugs. It was fun, though. I’ll probably do what I did with Skyrim and spend a year replaying it while mostly ignoring the plot.

Final Fantasy 7 I desperately wanted this game in high school. I couldn’t find a copy of it to save my life. I’m glad I’m finally getting the chance to play through it. Though it has aged HORRIBLY. There’s a particularly bad part of the story where you crossdress to save one of your party members from potential sex work. Man. I’m really curious how faithful the remake will be. It needs some updates.

Movies


Guess who ugly cried over the Captain Marvel trailer? I did. She’s my absolute favorite Marvel character. I’m excited and terrified for the movie.

How was your October? More importantly, do you also stan Captain Marvel?

Stuff I liked: June 2018

I almost have some exciting real life news, but I’m going to wait until next month to tell you all. I don’t want to jinx it.

I can tell you that my birthday fundraiser for the ACLU went really well! I raised $200 with an additional $10-30 in late donations. I need to hunt those down. That translates to A LOT of painted postcards. I wasn’t expecting that. He’s two that I’ve mailed out already:

Watercolor painting of Killmonger from Marvel's Black Panther movie. It says "IS THIS YOUR POSTCARD?"
Watercolor painting of a Siamese cat on a blue background.

Only, uh, 20 more to go.

ICYMI/Blog Stuff

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod Review
The Ordinary Granactive 2% Retinoid Emulsion Review
Birthday Fundraiser for the ACLU! (The fundraiser is over, obviously, but there’s some more art here!)
What Subscription Box Should I Try Next?
June 2018 Ipsy Bag — LAST IPSY BAG!
Beyond Intensive Ampoule Hyaluronic Acid

Podcasts

Reveal I’ve been going through Reveal’s back catalogue. They’re a treasure. They have a really good series on immigration, if you’re not quite sure what’s going on.
ZigZag Radiotopia got new summer shows! This one has women explaining blockchain. I’m two episodes in and it seems like a great podcast.
Ear Hustle Episode 17 – The Row Ear Hustle is on their summer break, so now is a great time to get caught up with them. They interview inmates on death row in this one. An important listen.

I clearly don’t know what fiction podcasts are any more. If you listen to a good one, let me know about it in the comments.

Books

Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, and Fonografiks
Saga is so consistently good. If you’re looking for trans characters and discussions of abortion in your sci-fi/fantasy, this is the volume for you. And yes, I look for those things. I can only read about so many stoic middle aged men in spaceships, okay?

Video Games

That summer Steam sale got me. I bought something like 6 games, hated three of them, returned them, and bought two more. Steam has a nice return policy. “It wasn’t fun” is a valid return reason.

Right now I’m playing Fallout 4 and I love it. It got some bad reviews, so I had stayed away from it. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I’m having a great time with it.

What are you guys doing this summer?

Aviary Attorney Review

I received Aviary Attorney in my March 2018 Humble Bundle. That’s..some words, I know.

Humble Bundle is a monthly game subscription. It’s kind of like ipsy, but for Steam. I subscribed to get a cheap copy of Dark Souls III. Dark Souls is an action role-playing game. You kill things. Well, theoretically. Mostly I die.

Aviary Attorney is a totally different genre, so it was more of a stretch for me to start playing. It’s a visual novel beautifully illustrated with Victorian drawings. You play as a French bird lawyer.

Screenshot of Aviary Attorney. It's a black and white image of two birds dressed in Victorian clothing. The text at the bottom has the main character, Falcon, saying "Ugh. Too early for worms. Pass the Cabernet Sauvignon."

Yeah, you heard me. You’re a lawyer who is a bird, not a lawyer for naughty parakeets.

The game doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s impossible to do with the theme, but it still manages to be full of plot and oddly compelling. A full play through took me about two hours. Most people would probably take longer. I, uh, hate reading in video games.

It’s a visual novel. I know. I was trying to branch out.

I got a terrible ending the first time through and was a little tempted to go back and fix it, so there is some opportunity for meaningful replay. And there are a lot of puns. That either adds a star to the rating or detracts one. I’m still not quite sure.

This game gets a solid meh (3/5) from me based on the type of game that it is alone, but check it out if you’re into the read-and-click style of games.

Bird. Lawyers.

I have a referral link for Humble Bundle here. Unlike ipsy, they are a great deal. I subscribe when there’s a game I want. The rest of the year they leave me alone.

 

January 2018

Was everyone else’s January really, really long? I sat down to make this list of neat things because it had been SO LONG, of course I had done SO MUCH. No, it has been 30 days and I’ve been reading the same two books, which means that I have finished neither.

Podcasts

Thermal Delight (Episode 291) by 99% Invisible
One of my favorite things is a design story that veers off and slaps you with the realities of climate change. That is not sarcasm.

The Prairie Chicken in Wisconsin: Highlights of a Study of Counts, Behavior, Turnover, Movement, and Habitat (Episode 120) by The Memory Palace
Another one of my favorite things is a good story about an “unladylike” trailblazing lady.

Wolf 359
I put off listening to the Wolf 359 finale for a month. I still wasn’t ready. It was such a good fiction podcast. I cried over an AI so many times. I’m bummed that it’s over, but I’m also really proud of the creators for knowing how to properly end a story instead of letting it become a shell of its original potential.

Sawbones
I don’t even have a specific Sawbones episode to recommend this month. I’ve been powering through old episodes. When I reach the end, I think I’m qualified to be a doctor. Pretty sure.

Games

Fallout 3
Yes, you heard me. Fallout 3 from a decade ago. I didn’t have an Xbox in high school and am catching up now.

Did you like the controls in Skyrim, but really want to play something in a post apocalyptic DC? Want to kill giant bugs and steal the declaration of independence? I do. Also, the bar for video games is so low that I was genuinely thrilled that I got to play as a woman. Bethesda is looking out for me. I’m forgiving that sometimes characters still call me “he”.

July 2017

Picture of my mom and I in front of the White House. I'm wearing the purple Bitch Planet leggings and they are awesome.
I took my mom to DC and absolutely wore my Bitch Planet leggings to the White House. It’s the little things.

Books

Squirrel Girl by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, and Rico Renzi
I’m up to volume 5. Everything about Squirrel Girl is perfect. KICK BUTTS EAT NUTS.

The Kingdom of Gods by NK Jemisin
Usually trickster characters don’t do it for me, but I had so many Sieh feels. This is the last of the Inheritance trilogy, so start with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Podcasts

Wolf 359 is in its final season. Come for the comedic space life vignettes, stay for the huge government conspiracies. I’m sad to see it ending.

59. One To Another by The Allusionist
Helen Zaltzman interviews the man translating The Memory Palace stories into a Portuguese book. I also love The Memory Palace, but I don’t do anything productive with that love. Instead, sometimes I cry a little at work.

Episode 70: The Procedure by Criminal
CHURCHES MADE A NETWORK TO HELP WOMEN GET ABORTIONS WHEN ABORTION WAS ILLEGAL. Uh, spoiler?

265- The Pool and the Stream by 99% Invisible
Skateboarding history. Suburban pool history. Don’t listen to this on a sweaty train, you’ll get really jealous.

266- Repackaging the Pill by 99% Invisible
I need Roman Mars to give me the design history of everything remotely feminist.

Games

Dream Daddy loading screen. It's got a montage of snapshots of the different dads, along with a rotating dad tip. This one reads "Dad Tip #10: If you're parking uphill, be sure to turn your tires toward the street."
Dream Daddy

I’ve been playing this one a little bit. You’re a dad that goes on dates with other dads. You’re nice to your daughter and make dad puns. There are cryptids and dogs!

Music

KESHA IS BACK.
I’m prepared to stockpile glitter the second she announces a tour.

The Long Winters
I’ve been listening to these guys on repeat, too. They have a sad song about astronauts.

I can’t stop playing that ridiculous Dream Daddy game

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator was released on Steam last week. You play a single dad that has moved to a cul-de-sac that is inexplicably inhabited by exclusively single dads. You date them. You make dad jokes. I love it, and am going to tell you why. But first, I need to be a buzzkill.

I’m uncomfortable with the fact that this is a game played, at least in my twitter feed, by mostly women. I have the same issues with it as I do slash fiction being written by women. These things tend to be more fetishizing than normalizing and supportive. And in fandom, I think that slash is so popular due in part to a large heaping of internalized misogyny. There was a good essay I read on this that I cannot find to save my life, but I can’t mention loving this game on the internet without a casual reminder to treat all people like people and not weird caricatures of relationships.

Although, if we’re going to fetishize dads having healthy, supportive relationships with their children, I AM HERE FOR IT.

Secondly, I’m upset with the game creators for not making a Linux version and then ignoring inquiries about it. You can tell me Linux is too hard. It’s cool.

I got it to work in Steam through PlayOnLinux.

ANYWAY
Dream Daddy loading screen. It's got a montage of snapshots of the different dads, along with a rotating dad tip. This one reads "Dad Tip #10: If you're parking uphill, be sure to turn your tires toward the street."

You build your character (there are binder body types!) and have the option to wander the neighborhood with your daughter. If you’re feeling antisocial you end up meeting all your single dad neighbors at a barbecue. Your dating life is facilitated by Dadbook, obviously.

The Dadbook page for Robert Small. It's an OKCupid style questionaire. My favorite one is "What are your turn ons? don't talk to me"The Dadbook page for Joseph Christiansen. He seems SO PURE. He lists his turn-ons as "My loving wife"The Dadbook page for Mat Sella. He wanted to be a barista when he grew up and now he is. Living the dream!

And yes, there are some weird things going on with Youth Pastor Joseph.

Sweet, wholesome Joseph standing at his church event. One of the kids has made a sign that says "JESUS IS CUMING"

You help him fix the banner because you’re a nice dad. Or you don’t. He’s got a hidden achievement that may or may not be bugged and it is my current mission to live on his yacht with him. There is something weird going on in this man’s life.

Somehow all of the other characters have equally compelling story lines.

Your dad is faced with two attractive men. The narration appropriately exclaims that "YOUR UNENDING THIRST WILL BE YOUR ULTIMATE DOWNFALL"

But what they all have in common is the ultimate fantasy of a dad with a healthy, supportive relationship with his teen daughter.

Image of your dad presenting his daughter with a cake that says "SORRY YOU'RE SAD BUT I SUPPORT YOU 100%

Dial the fantasy back some, wow.

Can anyone else top me for judgement inducing Steam purchases? Or have I peaked?

 

 

January 2016

Oh weird, this blog post isn’t a list of things to be outraged about. I feel like I should fix that.

Books

Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk
Twitter Could. Not. Handle. This Cover:
The infamous Mockingbird cover. Mockingbird is standing on a beach with a shirt that says "ASK ME ABOUT MY FEMINIST AGENDA"
I can handle it. There is a corgi and Clint Barton, too. It’s like they know me.

Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
The first part in a trilogy.
Summary: Humanity manages to war itself to near death. An alien race picks up the survivors and tries to prepare them for a new life alongside them. Humans are bad at getting along with people different from them (surprise! re: war). The aliens ask a lot in return for their lives.
I didn’t like the rest of the series as much as this first one, but this one made me cry.

Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
If a weird mist descended upon me and gave me super powers, I would also turn into Captain Marvel. I plowed through volumes 1 & 2 this month.

Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire.
Speaking of Captain Marvel..I love her. I reread In Pursuit of Flight this week because I needed some boss lady vibes in my life. This volume switches artists a decent amount. (I know I’ve forgotten some here.) That usually bothers me, but doesn’t here. Two years until we get a movie!

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, and Jared K. Fletcher
The library finally got volume 2 in! I read volume one back in November. Two giant tardigrades fight to the death, the Bechdel test is passed so hard it explodes, and Matt Wilson colors.

Podcasts

I’ve finally listened to every episode of 99% Invisible. 10/10, do recommend them all.

Guano Mania (Episode 239) by 99% Invisible
The legal limbo of Puerto Rico can be linked to penguin poop. Laws are weird.

Walnut Grove (Episode 58) by Criminal
This is the best episode Criminal has made. We need to have a talk about for-profit prisons.

Games

Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag
You get to climb all over buildings, be a pirate, and pet cats.

Movies

Hidden Figures
I don’t see movies in theaters often. Hidden Figures is worth it.