arachnekallisti: (Default)
1. Baen Books have released a CD with the new printing of CryoBurn, the latest Miles Vorkosigan novel, which contains a full set of the Vorkosigan Saga and some cool extras. The really shiny thing is that they're also allowing free downloads of this CD as a promotion, and a load of other free SF novels. Which should keep you going for a while.

2. Black Library have also started releasing free ebooks. So far they've got First and Only (Dan Abnett, Sharpe in space, awesome) and Nightbringer (Graham McNeill, Ultramarines, becomes a bit more interesting if you read it with slash goggles on) available, and also some short fiction (including a short story by Sarah Calkwell, who is one of the better Space Marine fanfic writers).

3. The Clockwork Dolls, a rather fantastic steampunk band, have made three of their best songs available for free download here, and there's also their rather fantastic cover version of "Don't Stop Believin'" available.

ETA: And also their cover of "The Final Countdown".

4. Cries of the Planet is Vernian Process' steampunk remix of the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack. FREE STEAMPUNK FFVII. DO WANT.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
1. [ profile] amy_wolf pointed me at this fic by [ profile] annlarimer. It is babyfic. Sherlock babyfic. And it is BRILLIANT and HILARIOUS and WRONG.

2. Hungover Owls. Ignore the captions, the pictures speak for themselves.

3. Anton Vowl of Enemies of Reason continues to post occasional bits of fluff in between taking down tabloid!FAIL. My favourite is probably his definitive list of animals beginning with O (although if you ask me ocelots beat EVERYTHING) and his work towards a biscuit hierarchy.

4. An answer to the question "do tigers like catnip?" Contains much footage of large vicious predators being adorable. Also, ocelots.

5. The Improbable Island. It's a text adventure MMORPG. I have only played it for about ten minutes, but it has me horribly fascinated already. I think I shall finish it post-thesis.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
Well, I'm still in Thesis Hell right now, and all that's keeping me going is caffeine, Final Fantasy VII slash and synthpop. I love synthpop. It forcibly alters my brain chemistry and makes me feel all perky and motivated.

Top ten: encouraging happy synthpop tunes
1. Marsheaux - "Empire State Human"
A rather inspired cover of a particularly silly Human League song. And a shameless power fantasy for the shortarse.
2. Goldfrapp - "Alive"
The 80s never ended. The vid is hilarious - sparkly vampires, you're doing it right. And you can only get away with it if you're Alison Goldfrapp.
3. Dragonette - "Take It Like A Man"
Unbelievably catchy hook, incredibly kinky lyrics, and a chorus that sounds a bit like Abba. What's not to like?
4. Marsheaux - "Pure"
The track that first got me fangirling Marsheaux. Another fantastic cover version, this time making a rather twee Lightning Seeds song into something sweet and otherwordly.
5. Freezepop - "Less Talk More Rokk"
Deserves some kind of award for Best Riff In Synthpop. Also one for Best Use Of Mice In A Pop Video.
6. Ladytron - "Burning Up"
A smoky, ominous wall of distortion with a kind of mad obsessive intensity. Also featured in an episode of "Fringe", if you're interested.
7. Covenant - "Dead Stars"
Sleek, stylish, incredibly danceable.
8. Goldfrapp - "Ooh La La"
Flashy, glam, discoey. Simple but incredibly catchy. And references Baudelaire in the lyrics.
9. Marsheaux - "Popcorn"
Another Marsheaux cover version. Because they are rather good at them. A coldly glittery version of the synthpop standard.
10. Erasure - "Drama!"
Starts off subtle, goes for the slow burn, then erupts into a fullblown dancefloor anthem with brilliantly arch vocals.

Videos below the cut. )
arachnekallisti: (Default)
I am in the middle of thesis crunch time. It would be easy to despair. Fortunately, I have been pointed at things that made me laugh and thus prevented me from giving up hope. These things include:

1. Anton Vowl from Enemies of Reason on "Why do I love my ironing board?. I sympathise. I am also strangely fond of my ironing board. I can make cloth flatter with it. This makes me feel In Control.

2. Jane Austen's Fight Club is hilarious and awesome. And features Lizzie Bennett and Fanny Price fighting in their underwear.

3. A cautionary tale from [ profile] fanficrants about the importance of good proofreading. It is very plausible that Sirius Black's middle name might be Orion - it's his father's name, it fits with the whole star name thing. The only problem is that it then takes one typo to plunge us into the alternative universe in which the Blacks saddled their son with the middle name Onion. As, presumably, some kind of Slytherin version of the Boy Named Sue.

I kind of want this to be canon now.

ETA: Also, a fox just wandered into my back garden, prowled around for a bit, came right up to the French windows and gave me a Look, then cleared off. And that was quite cool.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
Doctor Who )
Warhammer 40K )

Miscellaneous )
arachnekallisti: (Default)
So, the nights are drawing in, the weather is getting cold and nasty, and I'm going into misanthropy mode again. Here are some of thing I found to make myself feel better:

1. Map of the C++ Lands . I think I'm in the bit marked "programmers eat each other here" right now.
2. Sex tips from D&D players. You can tell they aren't Living Greyhawk players since single transferable vote doesn't get mentioned once.
3. Atomic theory explained with golden retrievers. I couldn't hate the species that got its quasi-symbiotic servitor race to do that and look so damned cute whilst doing it.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
1. Garth Ennis. Sometime genius, sometime juvenile git. This, though, is pure Genius Ennis. A moment from the late lamented Hitman comic, a rather touching slice of Superman angst, and some interesting thoughts on where the big blue boy scout fits into the mythology of the American Dream.

2. A rather sweet Harry Potter fic sending up the particular variant of bad fic in which a hardcore Evangelical Christian who believes magic is evil gets sent to Hogwarts. It's fairly obviously High Church Anglican flavoured, but it's written well enough that even a hardcore atheist like myself went "awww".

3. More gratuitous cats being really rather silly in a cute kind of way.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
It's a pity that I didn't have this paper handy to wave at the Survey Twits. It displays a series of fMRI scans purporting to show how different areas of the brain light up when the owner of said brain is shown pictures of scenes of human interaction with different emotional content.

Thing is? The owner of the brain was a salmon, and was not alive at the time. The active voxels were due to random noise in the fMRI time series.

It's a valuable cautionary tale as regards false positives. Before you publish your fMRI data, ask yourself if you could have got the same results from a dead fish.

Anyway, things that make me happy:
1. I now have a large stack of vintage back issues of 2000AD dating from 1979-1985, which turned up in someone's attic and were given to me for free. They include such highlights as the Apocalypse War, the Judge Death Arc, and the issue in wich Johnny Alpha finally moved in with Wulf Sternhammer. Squee!

2. As recommended by [ profile] huggyrei: sleeping kittens. Making little high-pitched kitteny noises. I am dead of cute now.

3. [ profile] scans_daily is gone but not forgotten. Other communities have stepped into the breach, and there are archives available, as is explained here.

4. Cory Doctorow's short stories and novels are available online, since he's putting his money where his mouth is on Creative Commons. He's got a nice line in really rather well-thought-out near futures, and can do great world-building by paying attention to the little details of what people eat, how they get to work and so on. He's also got a rather touching appreciation for the aesthetics of junk.
arachnekallisti: (squirrel girl)

The Way of the Squirrel is all about ingenuity, perserverance, cheerful willingness to take on enemies far harder than yourself whilst looking deceptively cute throughout, and large amounts of sugar. Witness:

1. In Helsinki, a squirrel raids a grocery shop to steal Kinder Eggs. Said squirrel neatly unwraps the egg, eats the chocolate, and then nicks off with the toy.

2. Squirrels display their mad ninja skillz by running assault courses and raiding vending machines.

3. Squirrel takes on biker. And wins.
arachnekallisti: (marvel universe)
Fandoms are kind of like relationships, really. You get about three to six months of new'n'shiny, then you have to decide whether this one's actually offering enough for you to stick with it. There's some you drift away from, some you never get sick of, and some you keep on coming back to EVEN THOUGH THEY KEEP ON BREAKING YOUR HEART (o hai, Whoniverse).

Anyway, still waiting to see when the new'n'shiny wears off with Cable and Deadpool. I'm currently going through the evangelistic READ THIS IT'S MADE OF CRACK phase with this fandom, slightly hindered by the fact that this means I have to try to explain Cable's backplot. Anyway, this ship manifesto and this essay take you through the set-up and dynamics rather better than I can, and without going off on the rant about how bad Rob Liefeld's art is*. There's some more edited highlights from Deadpool's career here.

Anyway, fic (mostly NSFW):
1. Shut Up! PWP told entirely in dialogue. Very funny, very wrong. Exactly what you might expect shagging Deadpool to be like.
2. Physical Impossibility Wolverine:Origins movieverse. A really quite unsettling character study with some fairly understated slashy subtext (yes, this one is SFW).
3.Selfless Slash cliche time! In which Cable manages to use his vast and ill-defined mutant powers to split off his evil side, and Deadpool finds himself at the mercy of evil!mind-controlling!cult-leader!Cable. Contains psychic coercion, a bit on the disturbing side.
4.One Of The Beautiful People More slash cliches! Bodyswap this time.
5.Suing Through The Fourth Wall Crossover with She-Hulk, for added meta win. Deadpool wishes to sue his fanfiction writers (also SFW).

*The rant's here if you're remotely interested in it. )
arachnekallisti: (marvel universe)
Well, squirrels.

So, that was Torchwood: Children of Earth... )
arachnekallisti: (comic book villain)
I am having the sort of day that makes people decide to become supervillains.

Please find things that will convince me not to hate humanity any more, flist. Otherwise it's orbital lasers time.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
Some free reading material for slow lunch hours:

1. Rather stunning e-comic rendition of The War of the Worlds. Art by D'Israeli (Leviathan).

2. Asimov on God-concepts, afterlives, Singularity and Sufficiently Advanced Technology: The Last Question and The Last Answer.

3. SF smut from Circlet Press.

4. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making, a trippy and surreal serial novel by Cathrynne M. Valente. Has links to ebooks you have to pay money for, but which are worth it if trippy and surreal is your thing.

5. Joss Whedon gives Penny some sorely needed background, depth and characterisation. By no means perfect, but still interesting. I'd be interested to hear what you thought.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
Just finished watching Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra. It sheds light on many secrets of the musical world: that whole bassoonist-Bee Gees connection, the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall on the Emmerdale titles, how to play the tuned Alpine cowbells and how to musically portray jellyfish using a theremin. It also included EastEnders with full orchestral backing (as opposed to a soundtrack like tipping a wheelbarrow full of cold porridge into a skip), News Themes Through The Ages the art of the 70s cop show soundtrack, and a full orchestral version of "Insect Nation".

It's on iPlayer till Saturday. Go on, you know you want to.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
Discovered today that the BBC is running a sci-fi season. This includes such squeetastic joys as Paul Cornell's adaptation of The State of the Art, a documentary-style adaptation of Rendezvous with Rama as the Classic Serial, an audio reboot of Blake's 7, and Robert Rankin's Brightonomicon.

Ah, fandom. Always makes me feel better.

ETA: The B7 reboot is made of win, if you can get used to a Scottish Servalan and American Jenna. And the idea that Travis' first name is Stefan.

ETA2: For your interest, here's the best of the h/c fics I found t'other week:

1. Four and Twenty Blackbirds - FFXII. Rather fine Fran & Balthier fic. Sky pirates. Angst. Yay!
2. Beyond Embarassment - in which dying gives Benton Fraser a whole new lease of life. Lovely slash piece, very sweet.
3. Eight Sessions - Due South again. Witty, perceptive, very slashy, incredibly sweet.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
I am tired, depressed and misanthropic right now, so of course I have a terrible urge to read hurt/comfort fic and drink large amounts of red wine. Any recommendations?

My preferred fandoms right now would probably be Heroes, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Due South, Blake's 7 and Top Gear. If you can turn up any 2000AD slashfic, I will be a) absolutely astonished and b) eternally grateful. Wine recommendations also appreciated.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
I've got a cold that won't go away, a car at the opposite end of the country, and a graduate student career that's coming to resemble the Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei without any of the fun bits. What better way to cheer myself up than with five utterly bizarre crossovers and some ocelot kittens?

1. In The Sewers He Lies Dreaming by [ profile] spuffyduds. Due South/Lovecraft.

2. A whole series of Dangermouse/Professionals crossovers by Debra Hicks.

3. Sailor Hellblazer by David Tai and Rod M. Sailor Moon/Hellblazer. No, really.

4. And The Sun Smiled Down On Me by Ken Cockrel, Jr. Hellblazer/I'm not saying for reasons of spoilers.

5. Rumpole and the Mutant Problem by Palle Madsen. Rumpole of the Bailey/X-Men. Sadly incomplete, but rather wonderful as far as it goes.

6. I promised you kittens. Here. Cutest thing ever.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
I have had a crap couple of weeks, but this went a long way towards cheering me up. Life imitates bad fanfic.

Also, thanks to [ profile] prochytes for reminding me of the joy that is Torchwood Babiez.
arachnekallisti: (Default)
1. Lust Over Pendle: in which war hero Neville Longbottom shocks the Wizarding World by shacking up with Draco Malfoy. An interesting blend of comedy of manners and spy thriller, in a Dorothy L. Sayers-esque writing style.

2. Harry Potter and the Mai Tai of Doom. It has Harry Potter, Voldemort and a tiki bar in it. It is impressively Wrong, and great fun.

3. The Boys of Summer: Harry Potter. Cricket. Sirius Black impersonates Test Match Special. Margaret Thatcher proves to be much, much scarier than Voldemort.

4. Cat Tales: Batman/Catwoman, done as a rather sweet rom-com.

5. Look at the pretty maths!



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October 2012

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