Category: The Arts


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Adafruit
I know I have featured Adafruit in the past but it’s always good to feature again, especially since I buy from her store regularly for tech needs. Especially since Radio Shack has closed down…right when I needed to buy more diodes and resistors for my personal projects – such as an automatic cat feeder and an automated snowglobe to help me sleep better.

While I usually prefer to go to an actual store for supplies, Adafruit has pretty much everything a techie person needs. In addition, this woman-owned online store also has how-to guides and easy-to-follow projects to teach coding, soldering and general electronics creating.

There are some pretty pricy bits and bobs on the site but if you’re learning arduino, there is the budget pack for $34.95. It’s bare bones but you can learn basic programming and circuitry.

If you want to solder things together, they’re available on the site, too. The cheapest soldering iron is this pen-like soldering iron for $22. The cheapest solder on the site is $5.95. You won’t need to use much for each project, especially beginner projects. Also, as a tip – get a solder sucker, the cheapest being $5 on adafruit. It’s okay to not get the soldering stuff first, especially if you’re learning programming and circuitry. If you’re at the point of soldering, you’re pretty much at the final stages of your project. Don’t spend money, solder or time on your first LED blink. It’s better to save for a project.

NationStates
Definitely have featured this pretty recently but I just got back into the game so I want to bring it up again.

NationStates is an online text-driven role playing game (rpg) where you run a fictional nation and make all the decisions for it. You can run a democratic nation, a socialist nation, an oppressive nation, whatever you want. And the decisions you make can create a ripple effect for your nation, even have its government reclassified.

You get four issues a day and they appear with two to five options, all acted out by an affected person of the issue. The options are very light-heartedly written, which is part of the fun of the game. If you ignore the game for too long, you’ll just have five total issues to answer before the “new issues” timer restarts.

The issues may play well with fantasy but they can definitely stem from real world events, such as the Flint water crisis, should police wear body cameras, and sustainable energy. Of course, there are light hearted issues such as your nationfolk fussing about being able to walk around nude, should the government invite ufos to visit and if there should be a national holiday dedicated to the act of whistling. You can bypass any issue and whatever you pick will either drop the tax rate of your nation or hike it. And the interesting part? It’s not clear cut of what will actually benefit the nation, tax wise. Or even for your nation’s civil rights or economy or political rights. Good ideas can quickly become disasters for your nation and bad ideas can become popular and well loved. I’ve selected solutions that I thought would help everyone and it just threw my nation into disarray. Just like in real life, it’s a difficult balance.

It’s been a fun experience to get back on NationStates proper, especially since I’m older now and also previously worked for the US government. I think I make more competent choices for the country I have, Dursto, which I run as a socialist nation because I’m a socialist, myself. My nation isn’t perfect (yay for making sleepy choices), but it’s something. Each choice you make changes how the country runs.

Try it for yourself! You can interact with other nations as well, forming alliances or starting wars. I just have my nation basically mind its business, I don’t visit other nations nor am I part of any alliances. I don’t bother other nations so I pretty much stay out of the way. Hooray!

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I’m taking this space to talk about the new Discord server I just set up last week. And the bookbinding livestream I did recently, too. Huzzah!

Discord is a chat server originally started for gamers but you can create a server to chat on. I already am part of a couple.

The link is open to the first 50 users. This is to keep things manageable and because it’s a new server.

The rules, because there’s always some rules:

  • You have to join Discord and be on the server for 5 minutes. This is simply to make sure I don’t have the server overrun with trolls (it’s a chat forum primarily for gamers, let’s not kid ourselves here).
  • As you could guess from the previous rule, any hate speech is gonna be instabanned. Period. Discussion is okay, hate speech is not. Even if you go “but I’m [area of lacked privilege]”, still instabanned.
  • Keep chatter to PG-13. I want young people who use the server to not feel squicked out. This isn’t the Grand Theft Auto servers.

That’s pretty much it. There isn’t really a space for Black Pagans to interact with one another, Discord is easy to join and it’s both a computer app and a phone app so very versatile. Check it out!

Bookbinding streaming

Last week, I did some work streaming of doing bookbinding on the Black Witch Facebook fan page. Really, all I did was make the covers for open spine books. It took three hours but it was a relatively nice experience. I played two or three episodes of podcast Kurly in Kansai.

I don’t have a set schedule of when I’ll be doing bookbinding stuff but any stream done will be on the Black Witch FB fan page live stream. All books done on stream will be sold in the Black Witch Shoppe (which looks fairly bare right now, I’ll admit). Granted, sometimes I wind up with paper that is too tough for bookbinding and the covers have small breaks in the end. So I won’t have a pile of those books, I may still put them on the BW Shoppe but for a lesser price since the book is still functional. Or deco them.

Huzzah!

 

The Arts: Bedsider

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Light month this month! This is because of the catch all nature of this site, it’s pretty much one of the only features needed.

Bedsider is a site about safe sex and consent! These are two things that should always be taught, regardless of where you are on the gender spectrum and the romantic spectrum (this includes ace and demi as well (which is where I technically fall under)).

If you live in a nation or community that restricts proper safe sex learning (almost anywhere in the world where there’s a moderate-to-severe limit on women’s rights (nearly everywhere)), then there will be a lot of reduced information about things such as various birth control methods besides condoms, abstinence, the calendar and withdrawal/pulling out (the latter two are not very effective for a slew of reasons). For the safety of everyone involved, it’s important to the entirety of what is available.

For example:

Method Explorer
Method Explorer is great because it is an easy to use, visual guide that even has sensible filters such as “Most Effective”, “Party Ready”, “Hormone Free” and “Easy to Hide”.

This part helps so many people because it helps them decide what is best for themselves and the facts behind whatever they choose. If you click on any chosen method, there are small videos titled “Real Stories” of regular people talking about how the chosen birth control method affects their life.

Beyond those, on each one you pick, you can scroll down further and see all the details!

Here, you can find out how much it cost, how to use it, what is it, the side effects (if there are any) and more! It’s all-around helpful when you want to make the right choice.

Features

The Features section has very good articles that are well written and very informative. Such as “5 myths about the pill, busted” and “What you should know about birth control when you have a disability”. Every article is written by health professionals and advocates. This is great for those who just want to have the facts and without the sex-negativity or slut-shaming.

Questions

The Question section is all-encompassing! Which is fantastic because, wow, there are a lot of questions about sex. There are questions on there I didn’t even know were questions! These questions are written with simplicity and straight-forwardness from clinical professionals. I like how they keep it simple and not try to load up their answer with daunting medical jargon.

Have a question they haven’t answered? It’s probably there. Or living in the Feature section. Such as “5 myths about virginity, busted”. (There’s also an amazing book by Hanne Blank titled Virgin on the history of the concept of virginity.)

These guys do everything…but give you the materials. Information is great, but it only gets you so far. Now, for things like IUDs and NuvaRings, you have to go to a health provider but the basics like condoms and lubes (lube is a need for condom to prevent breakage) are very available. For example Condom Depot sells both items and with plenty of information, complete with buying guides and free delivery for orders over $25 (anything under is just $1.99 shipping). CondomDepot’s page on STDs/STIs and Body Health is extensive and wonderful.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Send ’em in.

It’s been a while! So let’s get into it

NekojinDesigns
During Otakon, I saw the cutest pillow. It was blue with a little kitty sleeping on a crescent moon among the stars and curled up next to a pentacle. I usually don’t buy things with pentacles on them because generally, they look gaudy and/or awful. This demonstration of the pentacle was nice and very cute!

As you can see, it's well used

As you can see, it’s well used

Since I’ve gotten the pillow, I use it all the time. When traveling or staying home, this pillow is everywhere because it’s so soft and nice. The pillow is made of fleece, cotton and minky (a super soft, fur-like fabric that is the face of the design) and filled with polyfil.

Visiting the site, you can see the variety of items, not just pillows. There are earrings, bags, pins, stickers and more! There are even LGBT+ paw pins and even Ace/asexual stickers and pins.
nekodesign

The pillows look like they’re on custom order, meaning you’ll have to contact the creator, but it seems the price hovers around $25, which is totally worth it.

Sites:
Main Website
Twitter
Tumblr
Facebook
DeviantArt
Pinterest

Nicky Case
I’ve been on Newgrounds since 1998 when I was playing Crazy Shuttle. Sometimes, there are some serious gems among the mindlessness and Nicky Case is a creator of a few of them. I remember when I first saw “Coming Out Simulator

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“Coming Out Simulator: A Half-True Story About Half-Truths” is about coming out to very hyper-conservative parents. It’s a good game that makes you think.

The game that I really want to bring up is “We Become What We Behold

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This story is about media frenzy and how when vicious things go viral, a terrible cycle ensues. It’s a five minute game, a quick game but with a salient message.

There are other great games as well, such as “Neurotic Neurons”, which is about brain chemistry, therapy and anxiety.

neurons.png

Sites:
Website
Patreon
Twitter

Okies, it’s gonna be a light one today. I wanted to write about Pulse buuuuuut, y’know, it can wait. There’s already a lot to talk about and more info appearing every day (as well as interesting tidbits like this “Thoughts and Prayers” game that I like) so we’re going to be business as usual.

Agents of the Realm
I found a really neat webcomic called “Agents of the Realm“. What I like most about this is the all women cast that is lead by a Black girl. I really have been really looking for those because while there are a lot of webcomics that I think are cool, it’s really hard to find some that are A) Black-lead B) Black girl lead (as in, she’s not commonly present as a sidekick) C) Doesn’t have a love interest who is White. Seriously, it’s like the triangle of quality.

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Illustrated with hasty handwriting! And maybe it should be a rhombus to include”good” because, trust, it is a factor

It’s really frustrating. Being a Black girl nerd is very tough because frankly, there’s not a lot of good material to choose from (and why does the love interest always have to be a White person? Why not Latin, Black, Native, Asian – why White?) It’s annoying, frankly.

So far, I’m well enough into the storyline to see that it’s pretty cool so far. It’s about a university girl named Norah Tanner who stumbles upon a brooch and is thrown into saving not simply her world but the dimensions it is connected to…but she’s not exactly too thrilled with that, being a new college student is already hard enough without being a dimension defender. On top of that, it appears Norah has an alternate in a different dimension and they keep colliding. Faced with “bleeds”, monsters that used to be agents but are now deformed and destructive, Norah will have to find the other girls who will help her find the key that can bridge the dimension break and end the destruction. Or she and her teammates will atrophy into monsters, just like the agents before them.

agents

The storyline seems pretty decent, I really like it. It’s really nice to see that there a magical girl webcomic story that focuses on a Black girl without shoehorning in her Blackness. It’s ok for a Black character to be comfortably and passively aware that they’re Black. The don’t have to be the living personification of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Civil Rights Movement and the Abolitionist movement all rolled into one being. Even Kendrick Lamar watches cat videos out of cuteness and Beyonce snickers at jokes her sister texted her. No one is The Movement all the time. Dr. King liked playing pool, was even a bit of a pool shark. Seriously, it’s possible to be a Black person without angstly reciting Gill Scott Heron. More comic creators should learn that, makes for really believable characters.

This comic is great for people who really like magical girl comics like Princess Love Pon (another Black-starring magical girl comic) because it is delightful and interesting without being trope-y.

GamerCat
This comic is extremely cute! GamerCat is a comic about a kitty that loves to play video games and the hijinks he and his fuzzy family and friends tend to get into. It’s filled with cool references to videogames, gamer culture and humor that is entertaining for everyone. Also, some comics have gif panels, which is really interesting for me.

gamercat_141

This comic is great for really anyone who loves cats, cuteness and gaming all in one place. Check it out, here.

That’s all for this week, next week is Ask Black Witch. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Send them in!

Oi, it’s another short one again! Remember if you want to donate to Black Witch because my transmission is still le dead, please feel free to do so. Donation run basically ends at the end of this month.

Darius Benson
This viner I found through various funny skits on Tumblr and even funnier skits on Youtube from Vine Compilations. (However, I found him while trying to find Black girl comedy vines. I know there’s Alley Cat but if there are others, put them in the comments). I like his skill, he’s very comedic and extremely talented:

What I like most from his comedy is that it is not brash nor stereotypical. It’s not chicken jokes, watermelon jokes or “thirst” misogynistic/misogynoir jokes, which aren’t really funny. I like seeing Black folks do comedy, we’re really good at cracking a joke, it just sucks when you have to watch them say jokes that sound like they stemmed from Birth of a Nation. Benson shows his extensive creative skill in his humor and writing. Here’s a compilation below:

He’s know for Frozone, Hip Hop Disney and most recently the Rap Lecture trillogy, which I really like:



Check him out on Vine, Youtube and Twitter!

“ThumbThugging”
Dormtainment can be pretty comedic but sometimes their comedy seems more for Black guys than for Black folks, period. I remember them from their earlier days, I think I may have posted “Ballin’ on a Budget” on here because the song and video were comedic and well done. They did well with that but then there were comedy vid (and vids from interactions with female fans) that made one wonder if they stumbled into a barber shop.

One of their more recent creations, “Thumb Thugging” was very creative and interesting. I really like how they took the subject of forever being on the internet and interacting with social media and intermixed it with classic throwback movies like “Friday”, “Dead Presidents”, “Set it Off” and “Paid in Full”.

“Not All Snowmen”

This was a quick one but it was too hilarious, I had to share. Created by RageNineteen:

Alright, everyone. Next week is Ask Black Witch. It’s been an odd month but I’m still going to try to answer questions. If you have them, send them. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated. Send ’em in.

EEOC Update : I talked with Internal Affairs yesterday about the raid. That’s all I can really say right now.

Due to my EEOC issue, this means I wasn’t able to get a bunch of full fledge writing done. Instead, I’m just going to highlight two youtubers who I always keep up with.

Kat Blaque
I forgot how I started watching her videos but I really do like them. She vlogs about her life as a trans Black woman. She has definitely been getting a lot of attention for her works as of late and mainly because they are nifty.

Recently, she has been doing a series called “True Tea” where viewers send in questions and she answers. Usually, they’re about race or gender (or a combination).

Here’s a “True Tea” video below:

I really like her videos and her frankness. It’s really great. Check her out!

Miles Jai
I have featured his videos here a few times. I really like his comedy, I like how well rounded his topics are (it’s not just on one thing, such as it’s only on race or only on makeup, etc) and how I really enjoy his videos, regardless how many times I’ve seen them.

Here are one of his videos:

I really like his looks as well. He’s female presenting (he talks about this at length, I’ll post the vid below) but he considers himself a guy. Long story short, he’s a cis dude, not a trans woman. Either way, I really like his makeup videos because they’re well done, his wig videos and it’s simply great to watch his personality, which isn’t grating or annoying.

Here’s his video about him talking about gender:

W00t, and that’s all for this week! Next week is Ask Black Witch, send in questions! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated.

It’s been a while! What we’re gonna focus on is a site that help you learn how to solder and code! That would be Adafruit. I was going to do SparkFun but then I had found AdaFruit, which is woman-owned and positioned in NYC (which is closer to me, who is on the Eastern coast).

What I like from Adafruit was the use of wearable technology that can be made, such as gloves that reacts to taps or whatever you want. They even have thin conductive thread that you can sew into clothes to make reactive. Same for rubber cords and LED sequins. There’s even an LED sewing kit for beginners. This is great for cosplayers, of course, but also, I just like the greater selection of items on their site than on SparkFun.

Interacting with Adafruit circuitboards, I really like how easy it is to program and code. Now, I already have a coding background (that is rusty but is still there), but the site has a fantastic “Learn”  section which includes cool projects such as wearable NFC, like unlocking your phone with a manicure via an NFC tag ring and a door detector where you get an email, tweet and/or text every time the door is opened! There’s so much to do and work with, it’s a lot of fun! And most importantly, once you get coding and circuit building, the ideas are endless. You can even make an audio player that is super teeny[link].

What I also like about Adafruit is how it has a wide range of projects, including projects that could easily be gendered “feminine” such as a UV manicure lamp. This is really great because it doesn’t make robotics and coding feel like it is only a “guy thing”, which is annoying and can easily kill interest because when you only have ideas for one end of a spectrum and neglect the rest, there’s not really a lot of ideas. Girls, just like guys, have lives and that means there are eventually going to be gadgets that reflect that. Why, I just featured an app not too long ago called Period Tracker, which basically uses technology to help women keep track of their periods. Works fantastically, is a great display of technology merging with life, makes life easier – which is why technology exists. This appeals very well to girls and women alike without ever having to use a revolting shade of pink: actually being inclusive with products, projects and tech that helps the inner lives of women, from super important (Period Tracker) to the frivolous (UV manicure lamp). This is really nice about Adafruit, it’s a comfortable site to have.

If you’re new to coding and soldering, I recommend finding cheaper soldering kits on Amazon or Ebay (like, $10 cheap) because you don’t want to be dismayed by the pricing on Adafruit (and SparkFun) over the basics. Thanks to the internet, you can do pretty much anything so go for it! Tech work is really cool to do.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Usually I say “send in questions” but I’ve gotten quite a bit since I was gone so I’ll answer those instead. You can still send questions (remember: good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated) but it’s no promise I’ll get to it.

The Trendy Geek

I just recently found this jewelry maker because I was looking for medical bracelets (remember folks, I got PTSD and Dissociative and they’re getting pretty bad). I didn’t want something chunky or clunky nor something that looks like something a 50-year old with a silver hairy chest and clotted heart would wear. At first I thought there was simply one company that made medical bracelets, like, an official brand that if you deviate from, all first responders would simply ignore. Theeeen logic and Google showed something different. All it needs is a caduceus (the medical symbol) and info on your disruptive illness in question, which can be on the front or the back. Or in a QR code (how hi-tech!). I simply wanted something simple, won’t bother my OCD like a chain bracelet would, and, since I don’t like wearing bracelets or anything, something I won’t try to take off because it bugs me, so nothing thick.

After searching Google for what felt like eons, site after site of ye-gods-wow expensive medical bracelets (I’ve seen $50-$80 medical bracelet), I went to Etsy instead. I actually found this funky cuff bracelet that I really liked:

medi bracelet

I really like the skinny look, very minimalist. Not only, but it can be customizable far beyond what you put on it. It varies what kind of finish you can have such as a shiny finish, hammered finish, brushed finish, etc. Also, what I noticed on this site is the rings and trinkets available for anyone who loves geekery and games.

Don't open dead inside

locket

Most importantly, these are all handmade by one person, Gina Stone. She’s a really talented artist and I really like her works. She is very easy to talk to and a speedy responder (I had to talk to her about the customization of the bracelet). Her products are reasonably priced. The medical bracelet I’m getting is $20, which is fine for me because it’s handmade with a hammered finish (the baseline finish is shiny, $18). That’s not expensive, really, at all since it’s the price for a decent bracelet.

Since all the Trendy Geek products are handmade, the bracelet is going to take 1-2 weeks to be made. I just got my bracelet on Wednesday.

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The box was really secure and came in a bubble mailer. Sorry it’s dark, the lighting sucked.

Everything is hammered in so it won't wear off

Everything is hammered in so it won’t wear off

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Huzzah. It’s skinny!

Here is where you can find the Trendy Geek:

Etsy: The Trendy Geek
Facebook: The Trendy Geek
Pinterest: The Trendy Geek
Twitter: The Trendy Geek
Instagram: The Trendy Geek

Z-Type

This is a great typing game for anyone who wants to improve their typing skills with a fun game. I learned of this game a while back but it is a great recommendation, especially as you garner appropriate typing style.

Z-type

Here is the site where you can play: Z-Type

Qinni/Night Light

This is a wonderful short film called “Night Light” of a girl who can create anything with the stroke of a pen. However, there is an accidental stroke. But just because something is not perfect doesn’t mean it’s not worth having.

Sadly, WordPress won’t let me embed so watch it here on the artist’s deviantArt. To view her portfolio, see it here.

Alright, everyone. Sorry for the quiet, there’s been a lot going on such as new tablet, playing Yandere Simulator and other stuff. That and in porting data from old tablet to new tablet, the data got corrupted so that means this post is a remake. Either way, it’s a good thing I shot video.

Earlier in April, I had learned about Sabbat Box  and contacted them about a review, here it is now!

After answering pretty basic questions about what materials I would prefer more, what symbols I lean to more, things of that nature, I got automatic emails of when my materials would be shipped out. I really liked how timely the emails are so you don’t forget anything. Also, you’re given tracking so you can watch your package get shipped and prepare for its arrival. I missed delivery so I was off a few days but after a couple days, I got an email from Sabbat Box asking if I ever got the box. It was picked up so everything was fine. I did an unboxing vid but then that derped because I’m not good with video, ha! But I did another one right after (well irritated, because I just did all that work beforehand). This video is open via Google Docs and via BW FB Fan page (I don’t really like youtube and didn’t feel like fighting with WordPress about video hosting.)  Wait, wait. I think I can go with Vimeo. Yeaaaaah, let’s do that.

The products are really nice, I still use the incense and the candle is long gone, it really lasts a while! The holder is really nice…especially since it turns out I left my old one in storage a while back. I still haven’t used the oil for anything, but it does smell wonderful still. The tea is still very much in use, it’s nice to have when having something really sweet because it is a bitter taste and green tea is meant to be had with sweet things. However, I did research since the name of the tea brand is Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends. While the tea is nice, I really would rather a Black owned business if I’m going continue buying something that has “hoodoo” in the name since it is originally an Afro-Caribbean tradition and already there’s such limited representation as it stands.

The book is pretty nice, but it sadly can’t keep my attention. It’s not that the book sucks but I’m well past beginner stage, it’s like getting an alphabet book when I already am reading Tales of the Genji. I think I’ll give it away to a friend or something.

As for the Sabbat Box prices, they’re a bit steep but definitely worth it. The smallest plan is Sabbat to Sabbat at $39.95, which includes the $7.95 shipping. The price may look alarming for those on a budget but for what you get, it seems decent. However, while the pricing should be in the 30s, it would possibly be nicer if it were around $28-32/box. Pagan products have a tendency of being pricey so it would be nice if they could pull the price down just a bit.

All in all, I really think that this Sabbat Box is really nice. It isn’t for everyone but that is ok. It’s better for those who are at least intermediate (remember, this isn’t a spell-in-a-box) and have some extra scratch to put a new mix into their practice and find something new. Plus the customer service is really, really good! Very professional.

Next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated, send them in!

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