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Monthly Archives: January 2019

Dear Vortex: it would be great if you could stop repeatedly warning that a bunch of files are gone and then crashing while I am trying to manage my mods. I know those files in that mod are gone, because I removed that mod.

Vortex sucks and I want Nexus Mod Manager back.

Read it here: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/01/the-linux-of-social-media-how-livejournal-pioneered-then-lost-web-blogging/

(EDIT: This post has gotten a lot longer now that I’ve had most of a day to think about it.)

I feel like I owe the LJ staff during the Six Apart era an apology. I remember joining the chorus of voices who claimed it really felt like Six Apart was trying to drive fandom communities off the platform before the sale to SUP.

And it seems like that sale was really the deathblow to LJ, more than anything else. It was never the same after that.

LJ rose to prominence during the 2001-2003 exodus of the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings fandoms from earlier platforms like PHP-based web forums and Yahoogroups to (then) newer social media outlets. LJ in particular made it way easier to control who got to see fan-created content, with its ability to lock posts, or to post to certain communities; and this was important if you were creating the kind of fan content that you were worried might get deleted from FF.net because of Reasons, or were worried about your mom/your boss/your college professor seeing it. It also made communities tailored around specific interests or fandoms easy to seek out and join. I joined LJ for fandom – I stayed for Fanfic Rants, Anarchism, and Natural Living.

I never realized that I had been part of a cultural exodus until it was long over, and a new exodus was carrying users off to Facebook and Tumblr.

For a long time, I considered going back; the move of the servers to Russia in early 2017 made that no longer an option for me. I’m really glad Dreamwidth is still here. For years, it felt like DW basically existed for the purpose of redundancy; if SUP ever did the Mass Fandom Deletion we were all so terrified would happen after the Strikethrough/Boldthrough incidents in 2007, all of our precious musings, memories, and drama would be saved. Post 2017, it stopped being the backup for many users, and became the real deal.

LJ always seemed like a uniquely Gen X phenomenon to me, even if the vast majority of its users were Millenials. It never appealed to Boomers the way Facebook has. I remember that the vast majority of Boomer journals I encountered only consisted of a few entries, often with titles like “My kid signed me up for this thing” or “I still don’t know if I’m doing this right” and were quickly abandoned; George R. R. Martin being a notable exception.

Which reminds me…I need to do some more friending memes. I joined LJ in 2004 and immediately dived into an RP group; getting back into the swing of things on DW is happening a lot more slowly.

Current Mood: https://youtu.be/6WdzR2VKa8A

So, it’s been a while since I have done anything on the DIY front. Back in May, I purchased this headboard from a thrift store for 10 dollars.

It’s been on my bed since then. The decorative panels are plastic, the “wood-look” paint is wearing off, and the plastic underneath is yellowed like an old Super NES (trust me, it’s a lot more noticable IRL than in the photos.)

So I painted it! I timed it right before the cold snap, and gave it a day to “cure” and off-gas before putting it back on the bed. I used Rustoleum “Oil Rubbed Bronze” of DIY blogger and Pintrest fame.

…and it’s dark brown. Which is ok, it matches my IKEA KULLEN dresser now, and looks much higher-end than it did. But I was hoping for more of a metallic finish. Oh well.

I finally bought a stainless steel wok (which was on sale for like half price.) But do you know how hard it is to remove that “non toxic outer coating” that most commercial steel woks you buy in the store nowadays come with so you can season it and actually cook with it? OMG YOU GUYS.

1. Soak wok in warm soapy water for 30 minutes, then scrub with non-scratching scouring pad until coating is removed. OK. Except it’s not really making a dent.

2. Spread cooking oil inside wok and heat on medium, and, using an implement like a spatula, scrub with steel wool pad soaked in cooking oil until the coating starts to flake off. Turn off heat, let cool to room temperature, then repeat the process once more before seasoning. This is what finally worked, but damn. All the while I was hearing a little voice that kept saying “just put it in the dishwasher” which I tried to ignore, because the packaging it came with urged “NEVER PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER.” IDK.

Also, Future Roommate came over last night and we were hammering out our plans for actually getting shit together and moving in about six weeks, when I had the worst pain spike that I’ve had in months. I had Ibuprofen and cranberry juice and CBD oil on hand, and it basically took all that stuff, after which I really wasn’t in a good state to be making future plans.

My doctor wanted the hysterectomy done already, but life hasn’t been cooperating. I have realized that it may be getting to the point where all our stopgap measures are no longer stopping the gap, and I may have to just go do this thing.

I’m seeing Aquaman again later, for what may be the last time until it goes to the dollar theater/home media. As I stated before in the previous post, it’s waking up all my old dormant Watchmen feels.

So yeah.

I’m basically facing up to all the issues I had with the film when it came out in 2009 that I either wanted to repress because I hoped it would do well, or that I couldn’t quite put into words at the time.

I mean, we all kind of groused about the scene where Dan and Laurie basically mutilate an alley full of Knot-Tops, after having spent the whole narrative up until then criticizing Rorschach for being a violent psychopath. It happens so quickly that it may be hard to register, but it takes a scenario of “beat up the muggers so they run away” and turns it into something that looks like it belongs in Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy.

But I honestly didn’t register the Ayn Randian Objectivist undercurrent until later (and until I had seen Batman Vs Superman, and yeah.) The Watchmen characters are expys of Steve Ditko’s Charlton Comics characters, and Alan Moore originally wrote Watchmen to be a criticism of Steve Ditko’s Objectivist beliefs. When Zack Snyder, another Objectivist, adapted his comic and turned it into a showcase of slick setpieces with an undercurrent about how “exceptional” people should be allowed to do whatever they want because exceptionalism, I imagine it may have felt to Alan Moore like a worst-case scenario. This video perhaps explains it best: “Watchmen Doesn’t Get Watchmen.

That said, I like it anyway – but I will always like the comic it was adapted from more. The comic literally changed how we think about comics as an art form and as literature. The movie came out, and then faded back into the pop culture landscape.

Yes, Zack Snyder filmed the unfilmable comic, and it is a decent film. I still watch it from time to time. The actors’ performances were stellar. Jackie Earle Haley and Patrick Wilson and Malin Ackerman are just the best. (I caped for Malin Ackerman when bashing her was still the en vogue thing to do. I think she has a great sense of humor and comedic timing, and Zack Snyder should have incorporated this more into her scenes and dialogue – Comic!Laurie has some great snark lines, which are completely absent from the film.)

But if anything, it’s relevant because it got people talking about the comic, and introduced the comic to a generation that may not have been aware of it yet.

And it got me involved with an online community that produced some of the best writing and fanworks that I have seen in my entire 20+ year involvement in online fandom.

current mood:

So, I saw Aquaman Christmas day, one week ago. It was good, perhaps even better than Wonder Woman, though it feels like heresy to type that. The film is a desperately-needed shot in the arm to the beleaguered franchise.

I have really wanted to like the DCEU. I missed out on Man of Steel, but saw Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. I thought there were enough good points to all three films that they might be salvaged through future recuts; including the possibility of a “Snyder Cut” of Justice League. Until Aquaman was released, Wonder Woman stood alone as the only “good” or even “complete” film of the franchise so far.

The point this makes of course is that the DCEU film execs put the cart before the horse. Perhaps hoping to duplicate the runaway success of the Marvel franchise, they released one standalone film – Man Of Steel – before jumping into what was basically three ensemble films.

By the time the first ensemble film for the MCU was released, there had already been two Iron Man films, a Captain America film, a Thor film, and a Hulk film. This gave us enough time to build a connection with the characters, and set up the universe in a way that by the time Avengers took place, we were ready for it.

By contrast, all of the worldbuilding in the DCEU had to take place within the ensemble films, where there really wasn’t time or space for it to grow and feel as organic and established as it has in the MCU films.

That real sense of the world that the story and the characters inhabit, which is so necessary for a franchise or shared storyline to really take off and work in a way that will grab audiences’ imaginations, hasn’t yet been achieved in any of the ensemble DCEU films – unless you count Watchmen as the first proper DCEU film, which I do. And this is largely because of the comic it was adapted from. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons already did all of the heavy lifting in that respect.

Until Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaption was made, the many previous attempts over the years to adapt Watchmen had failed due to its complexity and depth. The comic depicts a world almost like our own but ever so slightly different, where superheroes exist and have effected the world in the ways which are responsible for those differences.

Alan Moore wanted to write a deconstruction of the idea of superheroes in the “real world” which would, in the words of one writer “test that idea to destruction.” It is a self-contained storyline, and Alan Moore sets up its world very effectively within the narrative. It is not connected with anything else going on in the DC Universe, and does not rely upon it for a preexisting setup.

Zack Snyder was lauded for his ability to finally adapt the “unadaptable” comic – and if you look at the way that the DCEU, which came up under his creative control a lot of the time, has developed, it shares a lot of similarities. Like the way music is used; in Watchmen, which moves around a lot in time, it is a way of not only establishing the tone of the scene, but also what time period the characters are currently in.

However, if you look at the later films within the DCEU, you’ll find that popular music is used in much the same way, even though the effect of the presence of superheroes on the world over time is not necessarily an aspect of those storylines like it was in Watchmen.

It was noticeable in Aquaman, with a cover of Toto’s Africa being a prime example, and it was infamously overdone in Suicide Squad, to that movie’s detriment – which is, I guess, why you never want to let a film trailer company cut and edit the actual final film.

Which brings me around to my earlier statement – to me,
Watchmen feels like the first film in the current DCEU franchise, even if it isn’t connected to any of the other films – yet. Because earlier last year, this happened.

I haven’t read the crossover with Justice League, just like I haven’t read any of the Before Watchmen comics, because I felt like DC comics had done Alan Moore dirty over the rights to his own work, and felt he was justified in being angry about it and in not wanting his fans to read the new comics for it (even if JMS was one of the writers – and being a lifelong fan, I was tempted.)

Now I’m tempted to read the Justice League/Watchmen crossover. Because seeing Aquaman got the Fic Wheels turning in my head again, and reminded me that I never did finish Watchmen: Multiverse, after years of struggling with it.

Watchmen: Multiverse (Full title: Watchmen: Mutiverse – The Dark Spectre Saga) was a crossover with Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse that I started in the summer of 2008, on 4chan’s /PCO/ forum. It was inspired by an earlier fic by another writer, and the first chapter practically wrote itself, one of those situations where it felt like the Universe itself downloaded it directly into my brain as I was typing. Some of it got saved to my LiveJournal at the time, some of it ended up on FF.net.

I never finished it because really, the part of it I “saw” ended with Silk Spectre II (re-dubbed the “Dark Spectre” as a result of a smear campaign spearheaded by a Future!Adrian Veidt) and Rorshach and Nite Owl II in an alternate 1982, struggling to hold New York together as it was teetering on the precipice of a rip in spacetime caused by Adrian Veidt resorting to time travel to prevent Rorschach’s journal from being discovered in 1986.

Somehow, it was going to end in a future!temporal adventurer!Laurie popping out in the DC Universe, Mournblade in tow, to warn other heroes that a corrupted, godlike version of Ozymandias was about to invade their world with his armies. But I had no idea how to get it there?

It would mean writing what happened when a timeline decays, when it collapses, when it collides with other timelines; and then I read Homestuck, and saw how much trouble Andrew Hussie had with it, and was just plain too intimidated by it to continue.

I could never make it work. I never had the “hook” I needed to make it work – until Aquaman.

Now I’m revisiting the DCEU films, and I really hope the Snyder Cut is a thing that happens. I haven’t been this psyched to work on a fic in a while, and it’s past time I finally finished this thing.

Current mood: