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funny off topic open thread

Saturday Cartoons (and open thread): Quasi at the Quackadero

Original cel art from Quasi at the Quackadero

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By David Futrelle

We’re long overdue for an open thread, so he you all go. And, as a little bonus, here’s a classic underground cartoon from the 70s that I’ve been hearing about for decades but only recently saw for the first time, featuring a couple of weird-looking ducks and a robot going to a creepy amusement park. It’s pretty good.

Following that, an interview with the animator, Sally Cruikshank.

Enjoy!

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Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
3 years ago

@Skiriki

One of our youngest cats went through that when he was 3 years old. He stopped eating, lost way too much weight, and developed fatty liver disease. He ended up getting a feeding tube implanted and I fed him by hand for what seemed like forever. I hope Didi continues to improve.

@Bookworm in hijab

One of the best tricks I used for that was to give everybody the same flea treatment at the same time. (Sadly it was also necessary to get rid of fleas for the two new kittens.) Everybody smelled the same, and so they all thought they belonged together. If they can tolerate baths, you can try bathing them with the same shampoo.

Do they like catnip? And if so, does it mellow everybody out, or is somebody a “mean drunk” on the catnip? There’s also a product called Feliway that can cut down on the stress; my sister’s a vet and she says Feliway is basically like giving every kitty a nice cup of soothing herbal tea.

Robert
Robert
3 years ago

Our older son (21) is back living with us. While not optimal, it’s a big step up from being in the psychiatric hospital. Short version: he’s back on his anti-psychotic meds and maintaining fairly well. My husband and I are trying to get him out of the house on the daily and staying awake during daylight.

Younger son is finishing senior year of high school and fielding offers from various colleges. It’s remarkable how likeable and well-adjusted he’s become, despite being a snarky jerk in an age-appropriate way.

Husband is looking for a job that pays enough to make it worthwhile.

And I’m back at my Masonic lodge, as Senior Steward, and enjoying it just as much as before. They really seem to respect and appreciate me, which is more gratifying than I’d expected.

Sniper Kitty, She-Tornado
Sniper Kitty, She-Tornado
3 years ago

Hey everyone, sorry I’ve been absent for so long – I have been lurking, so I guess I was here in spirit.

First off, internet hugs/warm feels to you all, especially Yutolia.

Second off, I’ve been considering a project for some time now, and want the community’s opinion on it – I’m a high functioning autistic, and I want to do a Youtube series describing what my reality is like. What I mean is, I want to help people understand what life is like for someone who’s autistic.

Does this sound like a good idea? IIRC several others here are on the spectrum and I’d especially value their input.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
3 years ago

@ Yutolia, condolences and hugs. I hope you have whatever supports you need, and that your days start becoming easier.

@ Lainy, I’m so glad to hear your litterbox solution is starting to help!

@ Victorious Parasol, THANK YOU! I’ll try the fleabath idea (they’re indoor kitties, but we also have two dogs who go out and who bring fleas in), and see if it helps. In the meantime, we’ll try the catnip and/or the Feliway.

Sometimes I think they all just need more space. We can’t use the buried electric/invisible fence here because it gets destroyed by frost heave; does anyone know if the wireless-hub kind is any good? We live next to a road where fencing would be necessary (farm road: not busy but DAMN folks drive fast!)

@ Robert, glad to hear about your sons! Lol at “snarky jerk in an age-appropriate way”… oh highschool…

@Sniper Kitty: I would watch your YouTube channel!

A. Noyd
A. Noyd
3 years ago

Sniper Kitty says:

Does this sound like a good idea?

I think it sounds like a great idea. I’m not autistic, but not exactly neurotypical either. It was autistic people who enlightened me about my own executive dysfunction and sensory processing issues.

Also, hearing from autistic people has helped me so much in my English teaching job. For instance, some of my students are nonverbal and others need to be told exactly what to do because they won’t pick it up from a demonstration.

They’re all different with different needs, of course, but if they get support that suits those needs, they can perform quite well in class and feel good about themselves. So having more perspectives on being autistic is always a good thing.

Yutolia the Green Hash Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Green Hash Pronoun Boner
3 years ago

Thanks all again for the support. This site has such an amazing bunch of people on it!!

Malitia
Malitia
3 years ago

Catherwood wrote on
March 2, 2019 at 6:12 pm:

(…) So if I wanted to get an introduction to the relatively modern Marvel-verse, DC-verse, and other less prominent oeuvres, are there resources for that? Lists of “start somewhere around here, and these are must-read” things? Weigh in if you like.

Getting into indie comics is easier than big superhero universes. Rarely is it more complicated than ‘find a series you find interesting and start from #1’. Long runners that might even spawned some spin-offs might require finding jumping-on points in which case fansites of those particular titles are your friends.

Marvel/DC/and the likes… well, it starts with the question: “What part of these universes would you like to get into?” because you absolutely don’t want to be a completist here.

In general stand-alone(~ish) books and runs are the easier entry points (form the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, to the Immortal Hulk to name two recent examples), but given these publishers (especially Marvel) can’t consistently title & number their shit to save their lives these aren’t so easy to identify.

Also in my experience* if you already know what you’re interested in there are reading orders and such floating on the net.

I can mostly help with Marvel (especially with their Thor line), I also know a bit about Valiant’s shared universe (by which I mean I read some side-books like Faith), but could never truly get into DC (the closest I ever got to their main line was Gotham Central).

* I was trying to figure out how the ***CENSORED*** the numbering of Thor works. Marvel really can’t number things accessibly at all.

Cosmic Overthinker
Cosmic Overthinker
3 years ago

@Yutolia

I’m so sorry to hear about everything you’re going through. I hope you can get through all this.

@David

I love Sally Cruikshank’s cartoons! They were one of the best parts of watching Sesame Street when I was a child.

Onager
Onager
3 years ago

@Catherwood

I always hate to answer like this but… it depends.

If you are looking for factual works on the history of the major comic book companies then that is tricky because it is such a sprawling subject that any overview would be rather superficial. Perhaps the best recommendation I can give is to start at the Wikipedia entries for the different eras. These are solidly written and well sourced, as well as being good gateways to other Wikipedia pages that give more detailed overviews of sub-topics. So you can deep dive Wikipedia or follow their sources. Start here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Age_of_Comic_Books

However, there are a few good books about the early days which are good for get a grasp on the foundations:

Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book (2004) by Gerard Jones

From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books (2008) by Arie Kaplan

There are also some creators who are like the barometer of the changes in the comic book industry:

Jack Kirby was there producing important work from the Golden Age to the Bronze Age see, for example: Kirby: King of Comics (2008) by Mark Evanier

Alan Moore helped shape the end of the Bronze Age and laid the foundations for the Modern Age, while being messed around and exploited like Kirby. There are a tonne of good books on him, see what your local library has.

If you are looking for actual comics to read that give you an overview of the fictional universes then that is also difficult because of the size of the subject and all the retcons they like throwing in to give everything a shake up. Jumping into a DC Crisis though is unwise as they rely on a lot of earlier work for their impact.

That said, there are seminal works that helped define an era or at least discuss it.

Fantastic Four by Lee and Kirby sees them at the white hot forge of universe creation and they come in some big fat collections.

Kirby’s Fourth World helped lay a lot of foundations for the current DC Universe (and Marvel’s cosmic one when they created Thanos). This comes in an omnibus edition that is heavy enough to influence local spacetime, which is scary as it was largely written and pencilled by one man.

Marvelman (currently Miracleman) shows him working on themes he’d then take to DC and change everything with his run on Swamp Thing then Watchmen.

Grant Morrison’s Animal Man gets very meta on the Crisis on Infinite Earths and, later, the nature of comics and reality, while still being a great superhero book.

Ellis and Hitch’s The Authority helped drag the industry out of the doldrums of the mid-90s and influenced the Big Two which, in turn, influenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

If you want some good comics to read, then that’d depend (oops) on your tastes and what you also like but the above are a good start.

Ariblester
Ariblester
3 years ago

Onager wrote on
March 4, 2019 at 10:26 am:

Ellis and Hitch’s The Authority helped drag the industry out of the doldrums of the mid-90s and influenced the Big Two which, in turn, influenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Don’t bother with Mark Millar’s run, though. It reads like what happens when an edgelord skims the World News section in the paper and tries to write timely commentary. Chrissakes, he made The Authority kill the wrong Indonesian president (they kill BJ Habibie, who was a moderate seat-warmer, and not his longer-serving authoritarian predecessor Suharto)!

Skiriki
Skiriki
3 years ago

Echoing the above comment about NOT bothering with Millar’s run of the Authority, for a diff reason: he writes a super misogynist & racist and homophobic plot arc, which is vomitous in so many ways I can’t even begin to describe. (In order, what happens to Swift, the Engineer and Apollo. People who have seen that know what I mean.)

Ellis run of the Authority? YES. Go for it.

Onager
Onager
3 years ago

Indeed. I did find Millar’s run useful when I was helping my friend’s son with his history of comics and I wanted to show what happens when, shall we say, a lesser talent takes all the wrong lessons from a genre-changing work – page-wide panels everywhere and trying too hard to be edgy. It is much easier to use Millar’s run as an example of a shallow reading of a seminal comic than the early 90s comics that followed Watchmen by going grim and gritty.

Pity Shameless? The Super-Hero Comics of Mark Millar stops just before this:

http://sequart.org/magazine/19425/shameless-the-super-hero-comics-of-mark-millar-an-introduction/

The only other use is to see if someone can spot the change of tone with the issue Grant Morrison wrote for Millar but it isn’t worth inflicting everything else on them.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
3 years ago

@Onager: Thanks for that link. Like you say, it’s a pity the author never finished it but it reminds me of everything I dislike about Mark Millar’s writing.

Feline
Feline
3 years ago

I tend to think of Millar as “where the creations of great creators go to die”.
He has some form when it comes to NOT GETTING IT, and his turn on The Authority was as nauseating as Ellis’ was brilliant. Sort of like subversion viewed through a dark lens.

P.S. Mark Millar sucks goats.
Read Nextwave, it’s good for your digestion

Gaebolga
Gaebolga
3 years ago

@Moggie

I’ve been meaning to ask if you saw Alita last weekend, and if so, what you thought of it.

Moggie
Moggie
3 years ago

@Gaebolga, yes, I saw Alita. Still processing it, and it’s hard to write about it without spoilers, but I mostly enjoyed it, with some reservations. Enough that I’ve dusted off my almost unused Comixology account and started to read the manga. Disjointed comments follow (I’ve had a tough day at work, and barely have enough brain left to English).

The character CGI and performance capture are amazingly good. They’re past the uncanny valley now, and it was a bravura touch to make the first shot of Alita a screen-filling facial close-up. I found Alita totally convincing as a real person who happens to be a plastic and metal killing machine. And Rosa Salazar is the new Andy Serkis! She really brought the character to life. On a technical level, it’s hard to fault this film.

My suspension of disbelief struggled a bit with the world portrayed, but, eh, I’ll allow it. At least it was better than Elysium.

I didn’t really feel Hugo. He’s a generic movie pretty boy, and doesn’t seem like someone who lives in a scrapyard. Ido, too, felt a bit too noble, but I can’t object too much there, because Christoph Waltz.

I think the main strength is possibly also the main weakness. From what I’ve seen of the manga so far, it looks like Cameron and Rodriguez want to remain fairly true to the source material (while making some improvements, such as how Alita gets her berzerker body). That’s good, because it means they plan to let the character develop over maybe three movies – and, from what I’ve heard, she’s a character who means a lot to a lot of fans, too much so to just throw her away on a single action flick. But there’s no guarantee a second film will even be made! So, what we have so far is good, but unsatisfying: she doesn’t even get to meet [redacted], and her culminating achievement is underwhelming.

All in all, I think I’d give it 7.5 out of 10, on the basis that it’s a strong start to what I hope will be a compelling trilogy. If that doesn’t happen, and we’re left with just this film, I think future me will probably look back on it as not worth rewatching.

Coincidentally, the day after watching Alita, I watched another five-letter film beginning with the same letters: Alien, seeing it in the cinema for the second time in forty years. That’s a film which has held up remarkably well, apart from the computer graphics. And it was kind of fun to hear a cinema audience (obviously very familiar with the film) laughing at all the jump scares.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
3 years ago

OT, but this is the most-current open thread:

I’m contemplating a new computer soon, budget range about $1k max. There are several competing “criteria”, as it were, and I’m not sure how satisfiable they all are, at least with only one device.

1. I would like to do a fair bit of writing. For some reason I think that might benefit from being able to move around to multiple locations to do it, which points in the laptop direction. Also given how they love dicking with my hydro here a machine with a battery would be a plus, no danger of it just going “foom!” in mid-sentence. The system requirements for this use would not be that steep, though ideally it can run fairly memory-intensive JVM apps (I’m thinking in particular of Freemind here). This use case doesn’t constrain operating system choice much, though so far as I’m aware there’s free software for serious writers only on Windoze (YWriter), with no Linux equivalents and whose Mac equivalents cost through the nose.

2. I would like a machine that can run the Dolphin Wii emulator a bit better than my current hardware. That theoretically allows any OS but in practice probably means Windoze for fast Direct3D (and the budget likely rules out a Mac regardless, so the OS choice is really between Windoze and Linux). This likely means both a solid CPU (AMD Ryzen or Core i5 or stronger, for instructions-per-clock) and a solid GPU.

3. Ideally it can also do serious FP number crunching. That means significant CPU.

4. The operating system choice is tricky. For familiarity and to continue using some of the same apps I currently use, Windoze seems preferred. However, Win7 is being retired soon (and M$ has sabotaged its use on newer processors!) so it seems likely that would have to be W10 (or the aberration, perhaps abomination, known as Windoze 8, with its awful failure of a UI). The problems with W10 are numerous, however:
a) Built-in spyware out the wazoo. Nobody is confident they know how to deactivate it all.
b) Updates are not user-controllable. So it can suddenly reboot while you’re in the middle of something, and worse, it might decide to spend hours stuck on some updater screen that doesn’t allow multitasking, leaving you without a computer for an extended period!
c) Updates are prone to remove functionality (and even rent it back to you — witness removing Previous Versions, based on the volume shadow copies, and replacing it with ads for Microsoft OneDrive) and introduce bugs, sometimes major bugs.
d) There is not only spyware but adware built in.

These things make using W10 for anything you’d mind being watched by Microsoft (and their “marketing partners”, no doubt) or that you’d mind having interrupted abruptly for several full hours a non-starter, as near as I can tell — unless you airgap the box. It can’t discover some update it will want to immediately start installing, or relay any kind of telemetry, if it has no network connection. But then I’d have to go back and forth to another device to surf or do research …

One thought I had had was to get two separate machines, one beefier desktop machine for the gaming/number-crunching and a low-spec laptop for the writing. The latter could run either a non-Windoze OS, or an older version than W10 on an older processor, and be used for browsing and research as well, while the former could be kept disconnected from the internet most of the time and run W10.

The issue then is cost: getting all of that in a budget probably means the laptop has to be super cheap. It can’t be so low-spec it won’t run a browser, though, or (preferably) a JVM with a process size of a couple gigs. And laptops tend to be more expensive than equivalent desktops, to boot.

If there’s a laptop involved there’s also the problem of laptops’ crappy keyboards and pointing devices. A touchscreen would be ideal, but costs, and the keyboard at least needs usable arrow keys and pgup/dn/home/end if it’s going to be used for writing text a lot.

As far as I can tell there are a lot of smart people here, a fair fraction of whom are fairly tech-savvy. Do any of you have any suggestions, advice, or recommendations? To summarize:
* Total cost not much over $1k, the lower the better.
* Can control telemetry and updating, and preferably has some sort of battery backup, at least on the machine used for writing and browsing (if two machines).
* Windoze preferred, but not W10 if telemetry and updating can’t be tamed.
* Strong CPU (especially floating-point) and GPU needed on the machine used for gaming.

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
3 years ago

Hi!

Laptop sounds like it’s what you want, I agree. A modern laptop will handle all of that without much problem. Take a good hard look at the tomshardware.com listings for GPUs and CPUs for the machines you’re looking at – they have excellent benchmarks and will do very well in guiding you. I can’t tell you which machine in specific to buy, but Toms Hardware is great for helping you discern.

I really like Asus, but your mileage may vary. Acer is a little cheaper but can have quality issues. MSI is good but pricey. Lenovo is excellent, and for a work machine that doesn’t have too much in the way of demands I’ll suggest them anytime. You aren’t running anything too crunchy there beyond Dolphin, so you should be good. Make sure you keep your JVM up to date, the performance updates are worthwhile, as are the security updates.

Your biggest performance hit would be your Wii emulator, and that’s because it’ll be asking for a significant video card. That’s likely to push your cost over the $1k benchmark outside of a smoking good deal. But do look, those deals do exist!

Win10 vs Linux; Win10 is an utter pain as you describe, but most of its spyware can be disabled and it’s must update immediately problem can be configured in the update settings. Ads in the OS are an utter pain as well, but they’re all services that you can block and shut down. The current build is pretty decent at letting you opt out of everything, they only collect anonymized info if you do so. But I agree, it’s clearly built to horn in on Google’s data-ranching plan. If you go win10, a bit of googling on how to disable their data collection systems will go a long way. Lots of people have been working on that after all.

Linux is good! I like it a lot. But it’s more of a pain, especially with a laptop. The UEFI can make it a hassle to install a new OS. Have had good experiences with Acer and Lenovo, though, so if you’re looking to do that, try there. Anything on a JVM will run fine on that, and there’s a huge ecosystem of good apps for writers there.

I suggest you take a peek at computer specialist shops in your area – not Best Buy or whatever, they’re going to sell you garbage dot com. Once in awhile they’ll have an $899 lappy with a reasonable i5 and a mid-ranged video card in. For example!

https://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/MX68884

That shop there stands by their products and try their best to avoid selling garbage. Ships all over Canada too.

Good luck!

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
3 years ago

Thank you. I’ll take that under consideration.

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