ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article talks about the impact of one's culture and its tools of thought on the interpretation of creative works

What I have to say about this is ...

*dumps whole trunk of stuff*

Look, I have Celtic threes!  Lakota fours!  Sumerian fourteens!  Chinese elements, Greek elements, that faerie set I got from some friends.  Cherokee color symbolism, Japanese, European.  Myths!  Legends!  Heroes out the wazoo!  Don't drop the Aarne-Thompson Index on your foot, that fucker's heavy.

Analyzing entertainment is so much more fun when you have ALL THE TOOLS.  There is no such thing as too many tools!  You can have fun explaining the same show six different ways.  \o/

If all you have is a hammer, then every story looks like a nail, which is ... really fucking dull, why would anyone keep watching.  Oh wait, maybe that's why some people don't read books.  0_o

I'll just be over here enjoying my toybox of cultural everything.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
New Barbie releases for 2019 include the Fashionistas line with over 100 looks, including nappy hair, a doll with a prosthetic leg, and a wheelchair accessory usable with a wide range of posable dolls.  The body shape is slightly more realistic too.

FIN-AL-LY!  \o/ 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We got the card game Illusion for Yule this year.  Watch a video of a review with a sample game in play.

This is overwhelmingly a visual-spatial game; once you read the rules, the only other thing you need to read is the row of percentages on the back of each card.  The front has abstract art in red, yellow, green, and blue.  (Obviously, this is not a game for colorblind people.  Those who can see color and shape but not read fine print might do fine.  YMMV depending on how your eyes work.)  First you draw an arrow card to indicate the color in play.  Then you place cards with increasing amounts of that color in the direction of the arrow. So if the card is blue, you put down cards based on increasing blueness. 

There are many different shapes in play -- squares, triangles, circles, question marks, flowers, letters.  You have to look at the abstract art and try to figure out the proportions of the target color.  This is a lot harder than it looks, because often the colors are only one or two percentage points apart.  If you think the lineup is incorrect, you can challenge it.  Flip over the cards and check the percentages.  If you're right (and the line is wrong) you get the arrow card; if not, the previous player gets it.  The first person to collect three arrows is the winner.

I'm only somewhat good at it, but I love just looking at the different shapes.  Plus, once you know the concept, it's very portable -- you could play this with any set of images, or make your own.  T-America probably has a jillion different decks of this, including ones for famous abstract artists.  Hell, now I want a Frank Lloyd Wright deck. >_<  The tricky part would be calculating the actual percentages to put on the back of each card.  The original deck is huge, though; you won't run out of cards soon.  As another variation, you could play solitaire just by seeing how far you can get before you make a mistake.

If you are looking for a game to enjoy with less verbally oriented people, Illusion is a great choice.  It really stands out from the usual run of games based on words or dexterity.  Artists and other visual thinkers will love the hell out of this.  (Be prepared for distractions talking about the art itself.  As an alternate activity, it's a terrific tool for discussing color and composition in art.)  English language learners and small children can play as soon as they understand the basic concepts of "more color" and "going in this direction."  We really had fun with it, and I think that other folks in our community will enjoy it too.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today's plans got dropped in a blender, but it turned out great anyway.  :D  My parents couldn't make it to the Krannert event, so we had to rush out early to get the tickets from them, but then we had lots of extra time to kill.  So ...

* We had lunch at Core Life.  They always have different stuff.  Today I noticed they had fresh ginger root and fresh basil, and I was having beef with purple rice and some other stuff.  Let me tell you, fresh grated ginger and chopped basil is magical  as a bowl topping.  I usually use them dried, or cooked fresh, not raw.  But now I plan to make a batch of quinoa (another option there, and I don't have a source for purple rice, drat it), grill some beef, chop it, and top with the fresh herbs.  It will be awesome.  :D  Well, for hardcore ginger fans.  The fresh root has far more bite than most people like, but I lick my fingers after grating it, so.  This is my idea of fun.

* We bought candlemaking supplies for Imbolc.  Bulk paraffin now comes in a block with divisions about soap bar size, not a giant slab that has to be busted up with a hammer and screwdriver for 10 minutes to fit in the melting equipment. \o/  Seriously, a blessing on whomever got a clue and made that change.

* We visited a music store and made note of some things Doug will want to buy.  And I fell in love.  :D  It's called a sea drum, and I bought one on the spot.  I picked it up out of curiosity and was instantly mesmerized.  It's a drum with two clear synthetic heads and in the middle are many tiny steel balls rolling around.  This is a fantastic fidget if you like watching, feeling, and hearing things move.  As a musical instrument, it makes rain or ocean sounds, along with more normal drum sounds.  I'm only so-so as a drummer.  But it only took me a minute to figure out how to make a good rain sound and quiet surf sounds.  I will need a little more practice to make crashing waves without stopping the balls -- that's tricky -- but I'm confident I can do it.  This is a musical instrument I can play  and not feel like my remaining musical ability is trying to walk on a broken ankle.  I pick it up and feel normal.  I got the 12" version, which sounds fantastic and is a comfortable size for me to use.  There are larger and smaller ones, including some with natural heads.

* We went to World Harvest looking for pear white tea, which they did not have, but they had a couple others I wanted and haven't seen in a while, so I got those and was well pleased.

* Supper was at Merry Ann's Diner.  I tried the turkey swiss grilled sandwich, which was pretty good, but saltier than ideal for me.  I still love the place because it's right across from the Krannert Center where we go fairly often.

* Krannert performance tonight was the ballet Sleeping Beauty.  Now I've seen Russian ballet in Moscow, and while the technical performance there was a bit higher on average, there was no pageanty -- just different colored leotards and a bit of lighting.  Tonight there were spectacular costumes and gorgeous sets.  Some of it was very subtle, like a lace curtain representing the wall of thorns around the castle.  All of the dancers were capable, the animal actors were hilarious, and the lead couple were definitely as good as the Bolshoi Teatre.  The male lead was extremely callipygian.  He could walk away from me all night and I would love the show.  :D  If you love the male form, you would love this show, because some of the men are costumed above the waist but below it are wearing nothing but tights and shoes so you can SEE EVERYTHING.  We also did some Ayyam-i-Ha shopping: I bought Doug a DVD of the performance and he bought me a paper quillwork card of a squirrel.

EDIT 1/24/19: My partner Doug reminded me that after the show, we stopped at the Intermezzo to share a slice of Swiss Chalet cake.  That was chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and a vanilla cream filling between them.  I love their layer cakes that have multiple flavors like that.  Fancy-dancy desserts!  :D

I'm really glad that I made the effort to scramble out of the house several hours early today.  Totally worth the trip.  \o/
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)


Day 3

In your own space, share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favorite interview, a book, a scene from a movie, etc) and explain why you love it so much. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so
.

Among my favorites is the episode "Darmok" from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  It presents an alien race whose language is untranslatable because they speak in metaphor and allusion.  Within seconds I was yelling possible translations at the screen.  Some of these turned out to be accurate.  I'm pretty good at picking up languages on the fly, and I love xenolinguistics.  Other people have subsequently explored Tamarian grammar and vocabulary.  

I love this episode because it's one of the few that truly conveys a species that "thinks as well as a human, but not like  a human."  It leaves us with questions, not answers; puzzles, not solutions; and yet at the end of the episode ... Picard and Dathon at El-Adrel.

If you haven't seen it, watch it.  This episode works pretty well even out of context, and it's one of the greatest pieces of science fiction ever made.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
As I expected, the changes at AO3 caused password decay.  But to my amazement, resetting the password actually worked!  I think that's the first time the automatic fix ever has.  See, this is why geeks should make things.  They do it better.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I say "Tell all the stories" a lot. In general I'm in favor of telling as many stories as possible. But among the range of stories that are possible to tell, some do more harm than good. We saw a trailer for one today, a movie about a boy who drowned and revived after 20 minutes underwater. There was the usual talk about God, overlooking all the people who are prayed over and die anyway, which happens all the time, in favor of that one time the victim pulled through. I see the temptation -- everybody loves a rescue story -- but this kind can get people killed. Or worse than killed. As a storyteller, that bothers me.

EDIT: Thanks to [personal profile] gingicat for identifying the movie as Breakthrough.  As a reviewer, I dis-recommend it, EXCEPT for use in classes about medical ethics, writing/filming ethics, water/ice rescue or other first responder training, or other cases where its discussion value exceeds its damage quotient and can be presented with appropriate warnings beforehand.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
We watched "Into the Spider-Verse" today. The storytelling was great. The characterization was very interesting. I loved the movie. But it gave me a headache to watch. The art kept doing a red-blue split like for 3D, but it wasn't supposed to be a 3D show. >_< I couldn't tell that from the trailers. Sadly, it's not a movie accessible to people with vision issues, and not one I can watch again.

EDIT 10/27/18: [personal profile] capri0mni adds this accessibility patch:
But I've been warned about the visuals in this movie, thanks to the Disability community on Tumblr, so I'm waiting until I can watch it streaming on my computer -- a smaller screen, in a brightly lit room, where I turn off the screen, if I have to, and just listen to the dialog during the worst of it.

That should help, but it won't substitute for a genuine description track. A lot happens in the visuals that is not audible, but based on comic book tropes, such as thought bubbles.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
... an excellent list of reasons.  Much of which boils down to: because writers don't really know what a healthy relationship looks like.  I try to do better, but a lot of time I wind up writing non-het relationships because they get less coverage, making it easier to do new things with them.
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Ricky Jay has passed away.  He was an actor, magician, and card manipulator.  You may have seen his card-throwing routine. He has left behind many students and deep footprints in the magic field.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted "Uncanny Beginnings."  Shaun goes to day care for the first time.  I love this one because it introduces color dominoes that use the Feelipa symbols.  By incorporating those into games, not only is it inclusive, it enables everyone to learn the system.  So if a person loses their color vision, or all of it, the impact is slightly less because they already know some adaptive resources to compensate.  As shown, games like this work great in any language learning context because they encourage people to use vocabulary like "red," "square," "play," "next to," and so on.   
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
William Goldman has passed away.  Among his more famous works are the movies The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

He arrives at the Great Con in the Sky, juggling a GOH packet and a life-size stuffed ROUS.  "Could someone get the door, please?  My hands are full."

The doorman leaps to obey.  "As you wish!"
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
As always after the passing of a great person, editorial cartoons offer bits of wisdom on the life of Stan Lee.

This one has God saying, "You're not half-bad at creating universes yourself, kid."  It illustrates a core premise of spirituality: made in the image of a limitless Creator, we are limitless co-creators.  Some of us just take that more literally than others.
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Douglas Rain has died.  You probably know him as the voice of Hal 9000.

I guess Stan Lee needed an announcer for his arrival at the Great Con in the Sky.
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Stan Lee has passed away.  Rest well, believer in heroes.  We'll pick up the cape and carry on.

The Great Con in the sky goes wild today, crammed with souls cosplaying their favorite superheroes.

I find that the best words for the moment have already been written:

Know you what earth shall lose to-night, what rich uncounted loans,
What heavy gold of tales untold you bury with my bones?
My loves in deep dim meadows, my ships that rode at ease,
Ruffling the purple plumage of strange and secret seas.
To see this fair earth as it is to me alone was given,
The blow that breaks my brow to-night shall break the dome of heaven.
The skies I saw, the trees I saw after no eyes shall see,
To-night I die the death of God; the stars shall die with me;
One sound shall sunder all the spears and break the trumpet's breath:
You never laughed in all your life as I shall laugh in death.

-- "The Last Hero" by G.K.Chesterton in 1901
Later set to music by Michael Longcor
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
My partner Doug spotted the Rubik's Touch Cube (US $16.99), a puzzle toy suited to vision-impaired people or blackout play.  The white squares are smooth, while all the others have a raised symbol indicating their color.  It's a perfect stocking-stuffer for people into inclusive toys.  There are other ways to make a Rubik's cube accessible, too.  Use these as inspiration for modifying similar types of puzzle in other styles (e.g. the 5x5 cube).  I myself would go for ColorADD or Feelipa symbols.  I am no good at this kind of puzzle, but I am delighted to see it made more inclusive.

Has anyone else found nifty inclusive toys or games?  Add them in comments, because we're coming toward holiday-shopping season.
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
This is today's freebie. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman, [personal profile] lone_cat, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, and [personal profile] starbit. It also fills the "family traditions" square in my 11-5-18 card for the Family Ties Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Love Is For Children.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
I have updated the previous post about Inclusive Games from Terramagne.  There are several new games and game systems, along with descriptions of company and government efforts to support special needs.  Most of this stuff is replicable with local materials, and some would be easy to make at home. 
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
Friday I wrote about games for blackouts or blind people. Saturday morning I woke up with a head full of inclusive games from Terramagne. Most can be replicated with local materials, although some are easy for home crafters while others are much more difficult. In some cases, local options aren't quite as good -- velcro is stiff and scratchy compared to vrip -- but should work. I have described the sizes as best I could; those matching standard sizes (e.g. poker chips) are probably correct but I could be off on other aspects.


Play All is a T-American game company that makes games and game pieces with inclusive features. It was started by several Kraken members who retired from supervillainy due to various disabilities and went into gaming. So Kraken encourages it and provides some support, but it's not a wholly-owned subsidiary company. It is one of the most popular places to stash people who don't want to become supervillains or minions, because they have so many different types of jobs suited to employees with various abilities and special needs.

Read more... )

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