megpie71
megpie71
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New Work on AO3

Remember how I said I was writing a fanfic for a university assignment? Well, it's up on AO3 now.

Remediation

Comes complete with fandom disclaimer and copious author's notes. Let me know what you think!

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/117769.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
There's Supposed to be a Post Here

Here's what's happened. I've promised myself I'd post something to this journal at least once a week, and try and make it something interesting and worthwhile. Problem is, at the moment, I'm going through something of a depressive patch, which means whenever I pull out one of the not-quite-done pieces I have stored on my hard drive, and try to get it into a shape where I'd be satisfied with posting it, I wind up with the brain-weasels attacking from all sides.

I won't bore you with the details of what the brain-weasels are saying. Suffice it to say they're invasive, vicious, and nasty, and they're not helping me have any confidence in any of my writing at this point. Or indeed, in anything I can do. It happens, depression sucks, I'll live through it.

But it does mean I'm not able to come up with a post at this present.

So, in the interests of fulfilling my promise to myself, let's just say this is this week's post, and have done with it. As per Douglas Adams, normal service will resume just as soon as I've figured out what counts as "normal" in the first place.

PS: If there's anyone in the Perth, WA area who happens to know the name of a psychologist who bulk bills and who has a space for new patients, I'd be overjoyed to receive the information.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/117688.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: crappy crappy
A Government Motto I'd Like To See

I have a dream. I have a dream that someday, some political party will be elected to government on the platform of "It is not our job to ensure your business model remains forever profitable".

Essay under fold )

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/117407.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: quixotic quixotic
Beta-Reading Follow-up and Apology

Hi. About a week or so back, I made a request for beta readers, and a number of people responded. I'd like to thank those people, but due to various factors (brain-weasels, oncoming deadline, brain-weasels, etc) I've decided not to go ahead with the process of beta-reading. Thank you all for your generosity in offering your time and services, and I do apologise for not letting you know prior to this.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/117107.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: pensive pensive
Why I Think Mind Uploading Is Not Likely To Happen Any Time Soon

Put simply? I don't think mind uploading, or the immanentizing of the eschaton or the storage of brains in computers or anything similar is likely to happen any time soon (or indeed within either my lifetime, or the lifetime of anyone alive at this period) because I'm mentally ill.

Stay with me, there is actually a connection between the two of these, and it isn't just "me being crazy not to believe in the chosen Rapture of the Nerds".

Essay below the fold )

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/116816.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: tired tired
State of the Meg, 08 APR 2018

Warnings: frank discussion of depression, psychological land-mines, and coping strategy fail.

It's been an... interesting few months.

Essay behind cut )

So, that's where I am at present. How's everyone else?

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/116722.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: depressed depressed
Chasing a couple of Beta-Readers

Hi all,

This one is a bit of a weird request, I suspect. I'm looking for at least two beta-readers for a fic I've written for a piece of university assessment (I'm studying a Literary & Cultural Studies/Creative Writing double major... this is the second assignment so far where I've been allowed to submit fanfic as assessable content. I love my degree). I need one beta-reader who is part of the relevant fandom (Final Fantasy VII - original game and Crisis Core, with references to the remake trailer), and at least one other beta-reader who isn't part of the Final Fantasy VII fandom.

This is what I'd be needing from each reader:

Non-fandom - Does the story make even the slightest bit of sense to you? Would you be interested in finding out more? Does it stand alone as a piece of fiction, or do you think you'd need to know the canon in order to make sense of it?

Fandom - Can you clearly recognise the incident(s) I'm referring to, and what happened in them? Can you clearly place the fic in the various canon timelines, and does it make sense in context?

Both - general grammar and spelling niggles (context: I write Commonwealth English, being based in Australia), overall plotting and polishing, what worked for you and why, what didn't work for you and why, overall impressions, etc.

The fic itself is 1500 words long, and I can supply it to potential readers in .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt and probably any other format Libre Office or Microsoft Word can understand.

There's a definite deadline on this request - the assessment itself is due by 11 MAY, so I'd like to have any comments and critique back by 01 MAY in order to be able to incorporate any necessary changes. If you're interested, please drop a comment with a means of getting into direct contact with you (so we can sort out appropriate format issues and so on), or drop me a private message via my DW account.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/116344.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
Currently Reading: "Simulation" by Jean Beaudrillard.

I am strongly in agreement with Bucky Barnes regarding the readability and sense-making ability of post-modern French philosophes. That is all.

(Longer version: Baudrillard occasionally surfaces to breathe the cool air of making sense, then dives back into the morass of incomprehensibility again. This is very exhausting for the casual reader who is just looking for some decent fscking quotes to add to a 1200 word essay about reproduction and replication (in the semiotic/post-modern sense) in "Planet of the Ood" so she can seem as though she's got at least some philosophical and theoretical backing for her thesis statement. On the bright side, he appears to have predicted Donald Trump's presidency some thirty-three years ahead of time.)

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/116132.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: my brain hurts my brain hurts
The Deconstruction of the Welfare State

Essay under the fold )

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/115769.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: tired tired
An Analogy for Allies

My ongoing analogy for people who are wanting to "ally" in activism with at least a bit of consideration:

The role of the ally in activism is like the role of the parent in children's sports. Allies can do all of the following things:

  • We can get people to events, both physically and metaphorically. (Physically in the sense of "actually taking people to protest sites, rallies, etc"; metaphorically in the sense of providing things like the money to cover transport costs, or by participating in consciousness raising or similar activities to help people get to the point where they want to participate in activism).
  • We can get them safely back home again (both physically and metaphorically - and this includes finding the funding for things like fines, bail, court payments, lawyers fees, and so on).
  • We can provide the emotional support which keeps people carrying out activist activities
  • We can provide the material support which makes activism possible in the first place (and this can be as simple as ensuring there's food, water and shelter available to people involved in activism).
  • We can look after other people's families while they're taking part in events. (This includes providing funding to cover the costs of families where family members have been imprisoned, fined, bailed or whatever).
  • We can help coach people in ways and means which will assist in getting a better result (bearing in mind the limitations which come built into the situation. A child can't do an adult training routine; people in marginalised groups aren't able to access certain forms of privilege)
  • We can referee - which in the context of protest actions means leveraging our privilege to ensure fair play on the part of the people with power.
  • We can keep score - sending pictures of what's going on to the media. Keeping track of who is being harmed by an action, and why.
  • We can cheer from the sidelines, and provide support in every form we can think of.
  • We can provide comfort, warmth and succour for people who are suffering a loss; and we can also assist in the "post-match" phase of planning how to do better next time.
  • We can provide material and physical support during the "game" phase of activism (food, water, first aid, warmth and so on).


What we can't and shouldn't be doing for marginalised groups as allies is attempting to play the game (that is, performing the activism) for them. We also can't expect a trophy for participating. Our contribution may be registered by other allies, but we shouldn't require the gratitude of the people playing the game in order to want to continue helping out. We can be there at the game, helping out and providing support and cheering from the sidelines, but out of simple respect to the players, we have to stay off the field unless we're needed on there.

You stop being an ally when you try and make the game all about you. You stop being an ally when you demand trophies for your participation. You stop being an ally when you demand payment in the form of gratitude and recognition for your actions. You stop being an ally when you invade the pitch, and demand everyone pay attention to you, you, you, and ignore what was going on in the game as it stood.

We also need to recognise, as allies, that we aren't strictly needed in order for the game (activism) to proceed. If we aren't there, if there aren't allies available, people will still organise and be activists (the same way kids will figure out ways to play team games even if there isn't a formal "league" organised by adults for them to play in) and their activism will still be just as valid, and just as real. Sometimes, we won't be welcome - and we need to accept this as well (in the same way kids resent having a fun game of street or back yard cricket with rules about "tip and run" and everyone having their turn at batting and bowling being taken over by adults who want to have a more "formal" game, with proper sides and designated bowlers and batters and so on).

The core truth is: it's their game, and they're the ones who are going to play it, whether we're there or not. We don't get to set the rules, we don't get to choose the players, and we don't get to have participation trophies for showing up to spectate.

(Agree? Disagree? Comments, critique and constructive criticism welcomed, especially from people who are engaged in activism or in activist spaces).

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/115461.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: weird weird
Pauline Hanson, One Nation and Why Far-Right Populism is not The Answer.

Essay below fold )

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/115323.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: cold cold
New on AO3

Reaction - Tifa's point of view for some of the early events of the game.

Warnings for canon-typical violence and major character death.

This was written for a university assignment last year, for Introduction to Writing. Have I mentioned I love my degree?

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/115127.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: creative creative
Study is being... problematic

I managed to get my study all done yesterday (well, except for the textbook reading for Cultural Studies, and I'm going to see about getting that done this morning). But two of the "readings" for Cultural Studies were episodes of Dr Who ("The Beast Below" and "Planet of the Ood") and I found those ... problematic for reasons which had everything to do with the medium, and very little to do with the actual content.

I'm finding I have more and more trouble with audio-visual content these days, mostly because of those audio processing problems of mine. I have particular problems with things like spliced-together versions of things (which one of the "readings" for Engaging Media was this week - spliced together bits of various Disney movies, assembled to tell a story), because with those I don't have the rhythms of speech to help guide me along and give me cues about what the next word is. I also have problems with streaming media where the audio stream gets out of synch with the video (which is practically anything which is over 10 minutes long) because I'm tending to use mouth movements as visual cues to make sense of the audio stream, to help me pick out which bits of the noise I'm hearing are the significant bits. When those fall out of synch with the audio, I start losing the ability to understand the audio stream, and it means I wind up having to work harder to make sense of things. Subtitles help. Subtitles (preferably proper closed captioning, rather than the YouTube automatic ones) give me something to focus on in the visual domain that can make sense of the information coming out of the audio stream. When there aren't subtitles, I can either a) watch the images, and strain to make sense of the dialogue; or b) close my eyes and concentrate on the audio, in the hope of being able to make sense of that without visual data to go along with it. Plus, of course, being in the situation I'm in, any other noise around me comes in at the same damn volume (or louder) than the audio stream I'm supposed to be concentrating on, and putting in earbuds or putting on headphones just means I'm not able to actually move for the duration.

End result: dealing with streaming video input is rather stressful for me these days. There's a reason I tend to stick with games where there are subtitles, where there aren't voice tracks and so on, and it's not just because I don't have the twitch reflexes for the less accessible stuff. Doing these readings at the end of a long day... well, I wind up very tired, very stressed, and I'm still tired and stressed the following morning, because my brain just hasn't had enough time to cool down.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/114759.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: tired tired
Re-use, Recycle, Reduce - A practical lesson

As my regular readers may well be aware, my partner and I are on a very low income. Which means I tend to be pinching pennies pretty hard these days. So one day, after realising that most of the fruit in the fruit bowl (apples and a few pears) was looking pretty much dead, I decided to make the best of things, and make up fruit crumble for dessert (dinner was "scrounge" - leftovers, foodsicles[1], or whatever the player fancies on toast). So I peeled, sliced and stewed up the apples and pears.

[Stewing mixture for core fruit - apples, pears etc:

Peel and slice fruit. Place in a small saucepan. Add 1 dessert-spoon white sugar, 1 clove, approx 1 dessert-spoon lemon juice, and just enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain and remove clove if using immediately, otherwise store in fridge for up to a week.]

The stewed fruit went into a small casserole dish, and I made up some crumble topping. Unfortunately, my recipe for crumble topping is designed to serve about 8 people (rather than just the 2 of us), and it resulted in a lot of leftover crumble even after I'd generously topped the stewed fruit. Hmmm... what to do with it.

Well, the mixture was predominantly plain flour, brown sugar, coconut, rolled oats and butter rubbed in. Hmm... says I, that's a lot like the mixture for ANZAC biscuits. I could do something with that.

So the next day, I took the leftover crumble mix, added another helping of rolled oats, a couple of tablespoons of golden syrup, a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda, and a couple of tablespoons of boiling water; mixed everything together, and spooned it out in biscuit-sized chunks on a couple of baking trays. Cooked them for about 15 minutes at 175C or thereabouts (between 150 and 200 on the dial, anyway) and set them out to cool.

Turned out nice!

[1] A foodsicle is a frozen dinner. By extension from popsicle being frozen soft drink.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/114664.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: calm calm
New Stuff on AO3

I've been putting up some drabble collections from FFVII100 over the last couple of days. So the new stuff is:

Through Other People's Eyes - A series of 12 drabbles about Barret Wallace.

Journey Perspectives - A set of 5 drabbles set at the point where the party has just climbed down the cable and are outside the gates of Midgar.

New Beginnings / Promised Lands - Not all new beginnings are Promised Lands, but they're a step on the journey. A set of 11 drabbles.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/114188.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Unused Tutorial Question Answers

This week, I'm going to be using some answers I wrote to tutorial questions for a class (Introduction to Cultural Studies). We didn't use this work in the tutorial, so I figure I may as well recycle it. There'll probably be a few of these along the way.

So, the questions were:

* What do think about Elvis? (Note down your impressions.)
* What do you know of him? What is your first impression when recollecting him? Why do you think he is such a well-known individual?
* Consider the following song, "Elvis Presley Blues" (by Gillian Welch). How does it present a different picture to well known representations of Elvis in Vegas?

Here's my answers, under the fold )

That's what I say.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/114158.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: mellow mellow
Starting Uni Again

Well, uni re-commences classes today. I have my two blocks of on-campus time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (two lectures and a tutorial on Tuesday; a peer mentoring appointment, a tutorial, and a social group meeting on Wednesday). I'm also expected to do about seven to ten hours per week of private study for each of my units, things like getting caught up on the readings, doing research, thinking about the course content and integrating it together, thinking about the readings in the context of the theme for the week and the content we've taken on previously and so on. Oh, and doing the assessment tasks, but those are also expected to take a bit of extra time as well.

Maybe I should point out: I'm doing two units this year from the Communication and the Literary and Cultural Studies side of my double-major degree. Which means quite a few of the "readings" I'm going to be dealing with this semester are going to be things like movies, TV shows and so on. The units are called "Engaging Media" and "Introduction to Cultural Studies", so yeah, lots of visual media expected. This is where quite a bit of the two hours of study/reading time per day is likely to go.

I'm also in a unit which is apparently going to let me get away with writing fan-fiction for one of my assessments. Which I think is a hoot - and I'm sort of rubbing it in at Steve a bit. I'm doing a double major in Creative Writing and Literary and Cultural Studies, which means I'm in an overall course of study where I'm expected to watch movies, and I can get marks (and have already received marks) for writing fanfic. It's a bit hard not to be a tad smug about it.

(On the other hand: the course coordinator for "Introduction to Cultural Studies" basically sent out an email saying "if you don't have a Netflix account, now is a very good time to get one". So I'm looking at a minimum of $10 per month to cover the cost of "readings").

I'm sort of looking forward to the semester, because I do like studying, and I enjoy the subject matter. I've been involved with online fandom for years, and recently I realised this is something which is basically keeping the cultural studies muscles in my brain flexible, so to speak - cultural studies is about pulling out the effects of cultural product on people and how it's put together and so on, and fandom covers a lot of this territory as well. So this is basically me finding a degree in my hobbies. Which I don't mind at all. Plus, of course, I've been formally studying cultural studies, on and off, since about 1989 (yup, coming up for thirty years now... I really do need to be getting some formal qualifications in this, don't I?).

I have the standard "will I get along with my tutors" thing happening (a good tutor I can work with is a godsend; one who pings off all the wrong resonances in my head tends to be a problem), and I'm sort of wondering about the lecturers as well (I think I know who one of them is, but I've never seen the other before). So it's all about discovery and so on - something I know I'm not particularly good with (side effect of autism spectrum life - change is a bit more disruptive than the usual, and I spend a lot of time and effort working to ensure I adapt to it as fast as possible). But I've done this before, and I can cope with it.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/113854.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful
Meg's Rant about Science-Fictional Style Artificial Intelligence, And Why It's Unlikely.

Rant below fold )

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/113427.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: tired tired
Fanfiction Recommendations - Final Fantasy VII Time Travel Stories

Final Fantasy VII has a long tradition (going back about twenty years now) of time-travel fix-it fics. These are some of the examples of the genre I've found, and enjoyed to the point of re-reading. (This isn't a comprehensive list, just a few favourites; and I'm leaving off works in progress).

Eir's Tomorrow by Jukeboxhound

This one is a serious version of the trope. Cloud Strife watches the world end, and is hauled back by the Planet to do it all over again from the very beginning. Be warned: this one gets very gritty and dark in places - there are warnings for torture, sexual assault, blood, gore, and psychological horror. Read the warnings first before you start the story, and have the tissue box handy if you choose to continue - this one keeps kicking you in the feels.

Deus Ex Machina by Guede Mazaka

Described by the author as a "Crackfic time-travel satire AU", with BDSM overtones and an NC-17 rating. This one is pretty much what you get after Cloud Strife has been travelling the time-stream repeatedly from AU to AU to AU for something like twenty or thirty years, and he's finally got "fixing the world's problems" down to the point of being a fine art. As well as reaching the point of exasperation with the whole thing.

Rock Bottom by esama

A forty-year-old Cloud Strife is pulled back to his fifteen-year-old self by the Planet, and decides "sod that for a game of SOLDIERs" when faced with the idea of doing everything over again. Then he and Aerith go on to save the world in the most fabulous fashion (in every sense of the term) possible. Pure crack!fic which always makes me laugh.

The Fifth Act by Sinnatious

Cloud Strife post-Advent Children has an accident with a Time materia in the Midgar wastes, and finds himself back in the Crisis Core era. A lovely exercise in how small things make big changes in the end. Be warned: there's a lot of angsting in this one, some fairly realistic corporate reactions to perceived suicidal behaviours, and a lot of non-consensual experimentation. Another one where you might want to keep the tissue box within reach for some parts.

The Little Guy by TokiMirage

Cloud Strife wakes up as a cadet, and decides, after failing out of SOLDIER, he's going to avoid the military altogether. He becomes a janitor for Shinra, which should have been the end of it. But fate is a tricksy bitch who will not be denied, and who also has a good line in broken appliances in a certain general's office. One of the rare dominant!Cloud fics in the fandom, so if you're wedded to the notion of Cloud Strife as uke, it possibly won't be to your taste; also there are some identity issues and such (related to known canon issues, so be warned).

If anyone else has any recommendations for FFVII time travel stories, drop them in the comments.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/113288.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Ethical Living and the Signalling of Economic Virtue

The Guardian here in Australia has a new series of articles (Life Swaps) they've started about "how to live more sustainably". So far there's been two articles published, one on better food choices, and one on fashion choices. They're pretty much what you'd expect of this sort of thing - largely about how to spend more money in the pursuit of a better lifestyle, and they're an excellent example of the genre of article I've come to think of as "middle class left-wing virtue signalling".

Essay under fold )

The next article in this series is due out on Saturday. I'll be interested to see what it's about, and how it tackles the subject. I'm willing to bet there's going to be at least one on transport, which will recommend buying an electric car rather than a petrol-driven one as the "sustainable" choice; recommend cycling as the "do-it-yourself" alternative, and which may mention public transport in the "gentrification" option, but will probably be more likely to recommend the real-estate version of "gentrification" instead - getting yourself a nice place in a near-inner-city suburb which is close to your workplace.

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/112976.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: cynical cynical
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