G.I. Joe Vs the Transformers #2

Jul. 2nd, 2015 07:41 pm
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When last we left off Cobra had discovered the location of the lost Ark of the Autobots, and reprogrammed/brainwashed the Transformers aboard to serve them, after their initial attack a team is created to combat this new threat: G.I. Joe.

This issue is the calm before the storm.

Read more... )

Reminders!

Jul. 2nd, 2015 09:21 pm
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Your stories are due Sunday June 12, 11:59 PM EDT. That is approximately 1 week and 3 days. Here's a countdown.

The deadline to default consequence-free is THIS SUNDAY, Sunday July 5th, 11:59 PM EDT.

In the meantime--
There is an OPEN PINCHHIT!
Volunteer to CHEERLEAD or BETA!
Feel free to TREAT unsuspecting fest participants!

Remember - this fest is anonymous. Please don't contact your recipients or talk about your assignment publicly!

Pinch hit 2

Jul. 2nd, 2015 09:15 pm
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[personal profile] silverflight8 posting in [community profile] invisible_ficathon
If you would like to claim this pinchhit, email me or reply to this post (all comments are screened).

Please include your AO3 name when claiming, so I can assign you the pinchhit.

The story is due on June 12th, same deadline as the regular exchange. If you think you can take the pinchhit but need more time, email me and we can talk.

Apologies to the people signed up on the pinchhit list - I can't get it to work at the moment, I'm afraid! If you know someone who's signed up but not following the comm, feel free to point them here.

FANDOMS: Animorphs - Katherine A. Applegate; Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling; Les Misérables - All Media Types; Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis )

The Submariner who came to tea

Jul. 2nd, 2015 11:38 pm
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As is the custom here apparently, we begin with some quotations.

"Secret Wars #4
I had almost zero interest in the Fantastic Four until I read Hickman's run after tons of folk recommending it and it's one of the finest runs I've ever read. He writes everyone in that series so well it's scary. His Dr Doom is possibly one of my favourite comic characters ever now and he absolutely nails Black Panther (both in his Fantastic Four/FF run and New Avengers) to the point where it'll be a crime if anyone else but Hickman writes his solo series.

I'm probably sounding like a bit of a fanboy but I think he really was a level above all the other Marvel writers during his time there."
- my mate on another forum

Anyway, Secret Wars #4 came out this week, and it was ace, and my mates and I are thinking about doing a massive Hickman re-read. All of his FF, all of his Avengers, Ultimates and everything else that feeds in to Secret Wars.
In Secret Wars #4... )
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The final issue of God Love, Man Kills. Trigger warning for racism of the fantastic kind.

Read more... )

Geekfest, How Not to Do it?

Jul. 2nd, 2015 09:53 pm
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[personal profile] davidgillon posting in [community profile] access_fandom
When a friend noted she was planning to go to 9 Worlds/Geekfest, due to be held 7-9th August at Heathrow, I was initially excited, I'd missed going to Eastercon for health reasons and this looked like a good substitute. Heathrow is a bit too far to commute from Kent, so I went to check the con hotels for accessibility, and that was when I was left with a nasty taste in my mouth.



How to Book A Hotel Room

The convention hotel for 2015 is the Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow, on Bath Road just north of London Heathrow Airport. Rooms at the Radisson are now sold out. We've agreed convention rates at two nearby hotels:

  • Renaissance Heathrow - £89 / night for one person or £99 for two. The Renaissance is on the other side of Bath Road. It's close to the Radisson, but you have to cross over pedestrian crossing points as Bath Road is a large dual carriageway. The crossing points are unsuitable for motorised wheelchairs as they are not properly lowered. It's about a five minute walk at 'standard' walking speed. Google Maps walking directions are incorrect for this route as you can just go straight between the two sites.
  • Park Inn Heathrow - £86 / night for two people, or £77 for one person. The Park Inn is also on Bath Road, on the same side of the road as the Radisson, but there are a couple of junctions, a few unrelated buildings, a petrol station and a McDonald's between the two hotels. It's about an eight minute walk at 'standard' walking speed​​.

Both hotel rates include free breakfast and in-hotel wifi. Bookings are made with the hotel rather than Nine Worlds, and they can take bookings over the internet or by phone. For wheelchair users, we would advise considering the Marriott hotel. The Marriott is slightly closer than both of these - it's further down Bath Road on the same side as the Radisson, has good access facilities, but we were unable to agree an affordable room rate with them.​​​​ It's about three minutes walk at 'standard' walking speed, with one junction to cross.

 (my italics, note that the pricing information given for the 'official' con hotels isn't repeated for the one wheelchair users are being advised to use - too embarrassed? Note also that there is no indication as to whether the junctions between the Park Inn and the Radisson have kerb-cuts - and the petrol station and McDonalds are likely to be a problem for that. And if the route from the Renaissance isn't suitable for motorised wheelchairs due to lack of kerb-cuts it probably isn't suitable for most manuals either, not all of us can wheelie up a 6" kerb)

From the access page

Whoa there! This policy is from Nine Worlds 2014. We're at the same hotel for 2015's Nine Worlds, but we're still reviewing all of the content on this page.

 (my italics, it's a month to the con, and you still have accessibility covered by a placeholder? Seriously?)



In summary

We’re running at the Radisson Edwardian, Heathrow. We have step-free access, accessible toilets, gender neutral toilets, designated quiet space, car parking, kid-friendly content, a minority of clearly marked 18+-only content, and space for feeding and changing. We’re running as 75-minute sessions with 30-minute breaks, and attendees can enter and leave sessions as they like. The Radisson has a limited number of wheelchair friendly / accessible hotel rooms. We recommend the Marriott next door as an accessible alternative if the Radisson books out.

(my italics, they recommend the Marriott, but don't mention it isn't a con-hotel)

Hotels

Nine Worlds 2015 will be held at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow. The following is a brief overview of some of the hotel's features from an accessibility point of view; if you have any specific access queries please contact access@nineworlds.co.uk, tweet @9Waccess or contact the Radisson hotel directly.

....

The main circulating and social space for Nine Worlds is in the atrium at the top of the building. Access from the lobby is by climbing 38 steps (with four landings) or by lift; the lifts are not directly in the lobby/atrium but are clearly signposted along a side corridor. Lifts are big enough for a standard wheelchair plus companion, although users of larger wheelchairs or scooters may have difficulty. The lifts contain mirrors to aid reversing out.

The atrium is naturally lit from a glass ceiling and consists of smaller self-contained areas. These are connected by walkways and shallow ramps (including temporary ramps which will be in place for the duration of Nine Worlds where necessary).

One area is earmarked for possible use as a children's area; access here is down two steps which may not be possible to ramp. More information on this will be available in due course.

The main entertainment and vendors areas are in a large room off the atrium. This room is a couple of inches below the level of the corridor, with a carpeted ramp in the doorway. The entertainments and vendors room, along with most side rooms, are carpeted. Access to this room is through double doors which are held open when the room is in use.

Direct access to the main convention bar is down two steps from the atrium; step-free access is via a ramp at the opposite end of the atrium.

....

 (my italics, people with powerchairs may have trouble accessing the main con area? WTF? Why are they in this hotel with so basic an access fail?And as for scored-through access information, does that mean it's no longer relevant, no longer accessible or what? Access to the bar is pretty damned fundamental as far as I'm concerned!)

Hotel layout - Marriott

.... (Note, no mention that the Marriott isn't a convention hotel, in fact no explanation why it's mentioned at all - if you can't even list the relevant hotels?)

Hotel layout - Sheraton Skyline

.... (Note, no mention that the Marriott isn't a convention hotel, in fact no explanation why it's mentioned at all - if you can't even list the relevant hotels?)
 

Restaurant layout - McDonald's

As a lot of Nine Worlds attendees use the McDonald's on Mondial Way outside the Radisson, we had a brief look here too. The step-free route from the pavement has narrow chicane barriers across the footway which would block access for users of most mobility aids including wheelchairs; the only way of avoiding these is via the roadway. The building has automatic doors opened by push buttons, although these were not working when we visited. Assistance dogs are welcome.

(my italics, this seems to confirm there are access issues between both secondary hotels and the main con hotel)

No access information is given for the two actual secondary con hotels, the Renaissance and the Park Inn. The price difference between the official con hotels and the one wheelies are being advised to use is marked: Radisson Con-rate: ? (not stated in faq, presumably as sold out), Renaissance Con-rate: £89, Park Inn Con-rate:£77, but Marriott £127. So that's between £38/a night and £50 pound a night extra, a minimum of £114 extra for a wheelchair user who wants to stay three nights to ensure they see the whole con.

It looks awfully like Geekfest have stuck with a semi-accessible hotel rather than look for a better one as that's convenient for them, then negotiated con-rates with different secondary hotels to last year without giving any thought to accessibility, then stuck up an oh, wheelies had better stay at the Marriott excuse when they realised it's an issue, and just hoped they could keep quiet about the cost issues this imposes on wheelchair using con-goers.

Not impressed, don't know half the information I need, have no confidence in the rest, probably not going :(
 

 



[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

David Fitch has written a thoughtful, Anabaptist-y essay on his discomfort with arguments and rhetoric about “the wrong side of history.” He cites Foucault and Donald Dayton, and sort of generally appeals to a Howard Zinn/Stanley Hauerwas vibe. All quite commendable in the way that most thoughtful, Anabaptist-y things are commendable in their suspicion of power.

But all, also, very much beside the point.

Not even beside it, really, since that implies its still somewhat point-adjacent, and this whole pondering of the meaning of history and power — while valuable on its own — is so far removed from the actual meaning of “the wrong side of history” that it might take one several days to walk from there all the way back to the point itself.

I don’t mean to single out Fitch. This is true of the entire wave of recent thumb-sucking think pieces fretting about the use of that phrase. They tend to be thoughtful and well-reasoned. But they also tend to be such aggressive exercises in missing the point that one starts to wonder if they aren’t actually exercises in evading the point.

Take, for example, this post from a few months back from Fitch’s Northern Seminary colleague Scot McKnight. McKnight offers a really excellent critique of the assumption of inevitable progress, the arrogance of certainty about the future and the arrogance of certainty about one’s own righteousness. It’s quite good and I heartily agree with all of his points.

Or, rather, I would agree with all of those points if he weren’t trying to apply them to rhetoric about “the wrong side of history.” Because that’s not at all what that’s about.

The rhetoric of “the wrong side of history” is not an appeal to arrogant Hegelian certainty any more than it is a Constantinian plea for affirmation by the emperor. It’s about not having little pictures of skulls on your hat.

Here is everything you need to know about the meaning of “the wrong side of history”:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Mitchell and Webb cut to the key question underlying all of the rhetoric and argument about TWSOH: “Are we the baddies?”

While skulls on your hat are a dead giveaway, usually it’s not as obvious or as easy to tell what the answer to that question is or will turn out to be.

But it’s an absolutely necessary question. And — contrary to all the noble-sounding fretting about the supposed “arrogance” of talk of TWSOH — it is a question that can only be asked or answered from a place of humility.

This man lost. His side lost. But he was not on "the wrong side of history" because he is the good guy in this story.

This man lost. His side lost. But he was not on “the wrong side of history” because he is the good guy in this story.

I think the confusion here comes from the use of the word “history,” which these days connotes an academic discipline more than Clio’s art of story-telling. “The wrong side of history” isn’t really about that academic discipline — about the assessment of future historians. It’s about stories.

TWSOH is not a claim about the future, but a claim about the present — about what’s happening right now. And it’s not a claim about winners or losers or about the inevitable progress of the dialectic. It’s about good guys and bad guys.

Every rhetorical invocation of TWSOH is an invitation to ask Mitchell and Webb’s question: “Are we the baddies?” (Or, if you want a more highbrow formulation, we can paraphrase Dickens: “Shall we turn out to be the heroes of our own story?”)

The sheriff of Hadleyville was the good guy. The sheriff of Nottingham was the bad guy. Neither of those (probably) is a certifiably “historic” figure, but it still makes sense to say that former was on the right side of history while the latter was on the wrong side of it. Yes, these are “only” stories — not real history. But stories matter.

The stories of the sheriff of Hadleyville and the sheriff of Nottingham inform how we evaluate the real-life story of the sheriff of Birmingham. Bull Connor was on the wrong side of history.

That is obvious now, and it was obvious then. He was the baddie. We don’t say this because the imperial power of the state ultimately sided against him. We don’t say this because of some arrogant claim of inevitable, dialectical progress, or even because of some humbler assertion of eschatological faith in the long-bending arc of the moral universe. We say this because there’s no other way to tell this story.

That is the point that all these beside-the-point think pieces about TWSOH evade: Don’t be the bad guy.

Sure, the bad guys sometimes win — more often in real life than in stories. But even the histories written by the victors can’t turn the bad guys into good guys. They can be portrayed as sympathetic, charismatic villains — like Stonewall Jackson or Alan Rickman in Die Hard. But whatever charms or noble qualities we can admire in them, the bottom line is still that murderous thieves who violently imprison innocent people as hostages can’t be made out to be the good guys in the story. (And that’s true for Hans Gruber, too.)

Here is where those especially desperate to evade the point will usually invoke Solzhenitsyn: “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

Profoundly true and terribly important. But that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about here.

We’re not talking about human nature or calling for the separation and destruction of all the Children of Darkness. Nor are we suggesting that the baddies are all bad. Cersei Lannister loves her children. Jefferson Davis was “an outgoing, friendly man, a great family man.” And “not many people knew about it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer.”

That has nothing to do with TWSOH. It’s not about intrinsic good and evil, but about the roles we choose to play in the story.

The key word in the phrase “the wrong side of history” is not history, but side. It isn’t an invitation to ponder ponderous thoughts about the meaning of history or an invitation to project ourselves into some dubious future vantage point in an attempt to step outside of the fog of our own culture and time. It is simply a recognition that we have, in the present story presently unfolding, taken sides.

Realizing that, the next extremely necessary question to ask is simply this: Are we the baddies? Is there any way to tell this story that makes our side out to be the good guys?

Check your hat. See if there’s a skull on it. Then check your consequences. Look for skulls there too. That’s the point.

Timeslip Molecule Man.

Jul. 2nd, 2015 05:24 pm
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A while ago, we had a post about Timeslip, in which contemporary creators reimagined various Marvel characters. More recently we had a post about the all-powerful Molecule Man. I thought I'd post the image where he appears and a summary of the backstory of the image that came with it.


Read more... )
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Two Pages behind the cut.

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Enter the region of Battleworld known as... MARVILLE.

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Spider-Island #1 Preview

Jul. 2nd, 2015 05:08 pm
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Three pages behind cut.
Read more... )
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Video Game Accessibility: A Legal Approach
George Powers, Vinh Nguyen, Lex Frieden

The authors all work at the Southwestern (U.S.) ADA Tech Assistance Center, so they're familiar with the law and its limitations. They believe a legal approach would result in more, lasting access.

Video game accessibility may not seem of significance to some, and it may sound trivial to anyone who does not play video games. This assumption is false. With the digitalization of our culture, video games are an ever increasing part of our life. They contribute to peer to peer interactions, education, music and the arts. A video game can be created by hundreds of musicians and artists, and they can have production budgets that exceed modern blockbuster films. Inaccessible video games are analogous to movie theaters without closed captioning or accessible facilities. The movement to have accessible video games is small, unorganized and misdirected. Just like the other battles to make society accessible were accomplished through legislation and law, the battle for video game accessibility must be focused toward the law and not the market.

Full article in Disability Studies Quarterly
http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/4513/3833
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

• It’s almost July, when your tomato plants may start drooping or tilting or falling over completely. Maybe you’ve got those wire-hoop tomato-cages and your plants are starting to outgrow them. Maybe you bought the medium-sized cages and you’re now realizing you should’ve gotten the large or extra-large ones, but now it’s too late, because you can’t get the small circles at the bottom of those cages around the branches of a late-June tomato plant.

This is just one of several reasons why I hate tomato cages. They’re the wire coat hanger of the gardening world and it’s time we went all Mommie Dearest and stopped trying to make them work.

If your tomato plants need support at this point in the summer, you need the Ultomato. (Here is where the grainy black-and-white video of people grimacing, frustrated to tears by their wire tomato cages, transitions to full-color video of smiling, attractive people happily using the Ultomato.)

UltomatoDumb name. Brilliant product. It’s a set of green plastic stakes with adjustable arms that can be detached and re-attached around your plants (and not just tomato plants, either). It’s like a Lego set for your garden. You can add more stakes or arms or move them around at any point. You can build scaffolds or trellises or whatever you need to keep everything ship-shape, and you’re not stuck with the guess-work of the cages you set up (or forgot to set up) back in early Spring.

No wire hangers ever! Get yourself an Ultomato instead. You’re welcome.

• “God is a resident alien, a lonely stranger, existentially alone.”

Chaplain Mike’s discussion of Christian sexual ethics a little while back is notable for noticing something too frequently overlooked: Any talk of “sex must be for procreation” gets crushed by the Song of Solomon.

We’ve got 66 books in the Christian Bible. One of them is an erotic poem that celebrates non-procreative sex as fruit sweet to the taste (ahem). And no, God doesn’t punish anybody in Song of Solomon for doing that.

It’s biblical. Deal with it.

• “The evening was already a disaster; might as well eat bugs.”

• David Fahrenthold’s collection of “81 things that Mike Huckabee has denounced” is a work of art.

• The “discover” button in the Feedly app is right next to the refresh/save/exit buttons. So is the “Tweet this” button.

This is why, if you’re falling asleep while reading your Feedly feed, you can wind up tweeting a link to some Endgadget article about Uber for speedboats that you’ve never read and likely never will. Sorry about that.

(Fortunately, thanks to the leap second, I’m all caught up on my sleep now.)

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