Mod Post: Off-Topic Tuesday

Aug. 22nd, 2017 11:09 am
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In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

The apparent perpetrator of the carnage in Barcelona last week has been shot dead.

Steve Bannon departed the White House... I assume someone accidentally broke the chalk pentagram. He now intends to rejoin Breitbart and attack anyone in the current administration he feels isn't right wing enough. The gift that keeps on giving.

P45 has decreed that despite lambasting the previous administration for years over remaining in Afghanistan and campaigning on the principle of withdrawal that no, things are actually a little more complicated than he thought, and he's sending more troops in. That should have some interesting repercussions on his voterbase.

Courts in India have outlawed the Islamic "Triple talq" form of divorce, which allows a man to divorce his wife instantly by repeating the word Talaq "Divorce" three times, either in person, or even by text.

The decision to silence London's Big Ben in the Houses of Parliament for four years whilst essential maintenance takes place has caused a frankly ludicrous amount of Press over here. "The Luftwaffe didn't silence it" "Health and Safety gone mad" etc. etc. It WILL ring on Remembrance Day, and New Years Eve which, if we're honest, were usually the only time non-Londoners listened to it with any actual interest.

Well, the USA had view of a total eclipse, and since no one thought to reunite the missing shard with the Dark Crystal, things are trundling on regardless, and Trump didn't merge with a wise old hippy to become an enlightened superbeing. Better luck next time on that one.

The new series of "The Great British Bake Off" is imminent for those who follow such things.

It's rumoured that Bradley Walsh will be Jodie Whittaker's companion in Doctor Who... which given that Mr Walsh (best known as a gameshow host and light entertainer, but also a character actor) is 57, will make for a rather unusual double act in the TARDIS.

The UK lost Bruce Forsythe, TV entertainer, showman, presenter, and general national treasure for over 75 years, at age 89 and the US lost Jerry Lewis at age 91.

The world also lost science fiction great Brian Aldiss.

Slightly on topic, but the last episode of "The Lightning and the Storm", the podcast about Walt Simonson's seminal Thor run, has an interview with Mr Simonson himself, which is fascinating.
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Posted by Sean Gaffney

By Tsuyoshi Fujitaka and An2A. Released in Japan as “Neechan wa Chuunibyou” by Hobby Japan. Released in North America digitally by J-Novel Club. Translated by Elizabeth Ellis.

Well, we’ve reached the 5th volume, which is usually around when a lot of light novel series decide to give us a series of interconnected short stories, and that’s the case here, as our heroes’ club advisor (who is the villain from the prior book, returned to be a counselor for Yuichi for reasons I won’t bother to get into as they’re stupid) explains that the other villains will probably have a rest period before they try to attack again and restart the main plot. Of course, Yuichi is who he is, so this doesn’t mean that his life becomes a normal romantic school comedy. Every week brings a fresh new series of supernatural things for him to punch, rivals to take down, and girls to rescue. Why? Well, because he is who he is, trained by his older sister.

As I’ve discovered with a lot of these short story books, the rule of thumb is that the longer the story, the better it is. This means the book gets better as it goes along, as the final two stories are definitely the longest and best. But it also means you start by wading through a lot of drek. The first story (and connected prologue) attempts to show us that Kanako and her writing career is still relevant to the plot, but I’m fairly sure that’s not the case – mostly it’s there to make fun of light novels. We then get a story of a yokai who tries to seduce men, but looks like a little girl, which at least keeps the lolicon jokes down to a mere 2-3 per page, but is otherwise meh. The third story introduces a friend/lackey of Mutsuko, who has new powers she wants to test on Yuichi. The main thrust of the story is that the girl is very fat, which Yuichi seeks to remind us of constantly. I was more amused by her constantly slipping into different types of over the top speech patterns – it reminded me of the otaku from Oregairu, and distracted me from the endless fat comments. The other yokai stories are so dull I’ve already forgotten them.

The last two stories, though, are decent, and help to make the book at least get a low passing grade. The story with Yoriko attracting the attention of a delinquent, and then a yakuza with a thousand men at his command, is merely an excuse to see how ridiculous things can get, which honestly is why I read this series in the first place, so I was quite pleased – they got very ridiculous. Also, their mother is Kasumi Tendo – I was very disappointed she didn’t say “Ara, ara”. The final story deals with spirits, and whether Yuichi can punch them with his manly fists of justice (answer: of course he can). It’s more of a hodgepodge than the previous story, seeming content to throw plot ingredients into a nabe pot and see what comes out, but it was also fun, even if the ending was slightly predictable (I say slightly only because I guessed the wrong ghost).

The cliffhanger may be the most interesting part of the book (which doesn’t speak well of it), seeming to introduce Yuichi’s next major foe, a protagonist from a different world who honestly reminds me of the hero from Little Apocalypse. (Boy, wouldn’t that be a crossover?) Also, don’t think I didn’t notice Natsuki simply vanishing midway through the book. We’ve only got two more to go in this series, so keep reading if you’re a fan. Otherwise, skip it.

Astro City #45 - "Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes"

Aug. 22nd, 2017 01:18 pm
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[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily

We always need new superheroes. But actual new ones, reflecting the modern day, rather than reflecting yesterday. Unless reflecting yesterday is the point of the story. But the idea that we don’t need new superheroes is like not needing new romances or new detectives. The moment you don’t need new characters in genre stories, the genre is as dead as Latin. It’s not a crime that superheroes don’t age, but it’s a problem that superhero series don’t more often age and die and get replaced. Imagine if Kinsey Millhone and V.I. Warshawski and other modern (well, relatively) PIs couldn’t get an audience because Sam Spade and Race Williams were taking up all the shelf space. If you’re writing X-Men and your metaphors are about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, that’s not all that much more modern than if your metaphors are about the Red Scare and McCarthyism. Ask yourself new questions, and put the results in your stories. Steve Englehart juiced up Captain America by asking what Captain America meant to the early 1970s. What does he mean now? What does Superman represent to the world? How does that, whatever it is, fit into the world today? Same for Batman, same for Wonder Woman. Tell stories you couldn’t tell ten, twenty, fifty years ago. -- Kurt Busiek

Read more... )
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[personal profile] sasha_feather posting in [community profile] access_fandom
This is from last year, and is a quite comprehensive post aimed at authors.

Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley, writing at Disability in Kidlit:

Bookshelf Briefs 8/21/17

Aug. 22nd, 2017 03:53 am
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Posted by Michelle Smith

Behind the Scenes!!, Vol. 4 | By Bisco Hatori | Viz Media – I’m still vaguely enjoying this series, but I must admit I’m far more into it for the special effects department and studies about film-making and acting than I am regarding the main characters. Izumi’s amnesia really doesn’t seem like anything other than a necessary plot twist to drag things out a bit… and even then, he still gets the cookies in the end. More amusing is the brief cameo by Ranmaru’s parents, who are the opposite of what everyone was expecting, including the reader. But perhaps most importantly for the female readers of this manga, Goda cuts his hair! I enjoy this while reading it, but it feels like a “victory lap” series, the sort of thing an author writes after finishing a big hit. – Sean Gaffney

Descending Stories, Vol. 2 | By Haruko Kumota | Kodansha Comics – I knew that somewhere along the way we were going to get an extended flashback showing us the youth of Yakumo, but I wasn’t expecting to see it so soon, or for it to take up the majority of this volume. It’s told very well, making both Bon and Shin very sympathetic and likeable, and also introducing another woman who will no doubt become even more important in the third volume. More to the point, though, the series still at its heart continues to be about rakugo, and we see several examples of the art throughout the book, showing what’s good about it and what its flaws are—and also showing us how far Yotaro has to go to remotely get near competent. Not falling asleep would be a good start. – Sean Gaffney

Haikyu!!, Vol. 14 | By Haruichi Furudate | Viz Media – Answering my question from last time, Daichi is not THAT injured, but injured enough so that he has to sit out the rest of the match—he’s lost a tooth. And so we get to see Ennoshita come in to take his place, which means that most of this book is about Karasuno struggling to regain its rhythm with a new person where their captain should be, and said new person trying to find a way to help them and not completely panic. (We also see the complete panic—Yamaguchi gets a point, but chickens out rather than do the serve he’s been training on. I expect more of this later.) And of course we get to see Karasuno move on to the next game, and I expect the next book will start by showing us who their opponent will be. – Sean Gaffney

Maid-sama!, Vols. 17-18 | By Hiro Fujiwara | VIZ Media – Maid-sama! ends at last. Much of what happens here is fairly predictable. Misaki rescues Takumi from England, but not before he realizes that his Walker relations aren’t actually that bad. There’s a proposal, and intense studying for exams, and Misaki realizing that she no longer needs to hide the fact that she works in a maid café. The bits that aren’t predictable are sometimes ridiculous, like the fact that Takumi supposedly befriended some pigeons who helpfully obstruct the paparazzi, but also sometimes nice, like a small moment (a single panel, really) in which a study-fatigued Misaki lets herself lean on Usui and tells him a few of the things that’re distracting her, trusting him to get them done. Also, Suzuna and Hinata make progress! This definitely wasn’t my favorite series, but it had its moments. – Michelle Smith

Nirvana, Vol. 1 | By Jin & Sayuki (Zowls) | Seven Seas – This new series feels like a cross between a standard reincarnation manga—a girl dies in a plane crash and is resurrected as the reincarnation of a goddess—and Magi, featuring a lot of the same Middle Eastern feel of that series. As you can tell by its presence in a Bookshelf Brief, I don’t have as much to say about it as I normally would, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad—it’s a decent series, with some nice fights and interesting backstory. The plot is clearly going to be “let’s gather together all the scattered heroes,” the sort of thing that could run for three volumes or twelve depending on how well it sells. And Yachiyo is likeable enough, though I suspect her “must help others at all costs” will get into major trouble down the road. – Sean Gaffney

Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 7 | By Mizuho Kusanagi | VIZ Media – With the expanding cast, working together with pirates, and Yona genuinely being badass and intimidating, Yona of the Dawn continues to evoke the Basara feels, and that is very much a compliment. As the volume opens, she and Yun have infiltrated a human trafficking operation by posing as merchandise, and though her dragons are on hand to rescue her, it’s Yona who terrifies and then neatly kills the head bad guy. It’s super satisfying! I also loved that when she later has a surprise run-in with Su-won, she’s terrified, yes, but also thinking of seizing the moment to get revenge for her father. She’s come such a long way, and now I’m even more excited to see where the story goes from here! – Michelle Smith

neotoma: Bunny likes oatmeal cookies [foodie icon] (foodie-bunny)
[personal profile] neotoma
After having dinner at B Too with [personal profile] fabrisse on Friday (Restaurant Week meant I got to have beet salad, venison with eggplant, and a 'donut' waffle) and going to Rus-Uz (Chicken Kiev and Kiev cake, and Mors to drink) with [personal profile] greenygal yesterday after helping her assemble a bookcase, I met up with [profile] ellen_frememdon and the Vegan Knitter for dinner at Pete's Pizza, as they have half-priced pies on Mondays as long as you eat in and order something other than the smallest ones.

So I finally got to try the pineapple pizza, Q Bridge, which was excellent and had way more argula on top than I was expecting. But since argula is one of the few green I actually like (not bitter, like most Brassicaceae, and not leaf-flavored, like most lettuce), that was all right.

Also, I got to use a pinhole project at work today to see the eclipse -- 80% partial in my area, since we weren't in the path of totality. But still, very neat.

Don't @ me

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:52 pm
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[personal profile] jadelennox
There are two types of people in the world:

People who think Abbey Road is the best Beatles album, sorry Sergeant Pepper,
And people who are wrong.

(Sergeant Pepper is second. Obviously.)

Femslash Exchange

Aug. 21st, 2017 06:05 pm
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[personal profile] cypher
Hi there! this is the [community profile] femslashex letter for [ profile] laylah. Thanks for taking a look!

general preferences )

fandom specifics )

Tasty foods

Aug. 21st, 2017 06:27 pm
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[personal profile] kass
Tonight's dinner is vaguely adapted from Mario Batali, and it's simple and tasty and should feed me for several days, so I'm saving the recipe here.

If you keep kosher and do not regard chicken as pareve, or if you don't do dairy, you won't want to add the goat cheese. (In that case you might add some olive oil, for mixing purposes.) And if you are gluten-free, you'll want to use gf pasta. But aside from those things, this recipe ought to work for most folks, I think, assuming that you eat pasta in the first place. Clean-up is also easy: one skillet, one pasta pot.

Pasta with broccolini, chicken sausage, and goat cheese )
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Posted by Sean Gaffney

MICHELLE: It is happy cruelty that this week I am forced to choose between Chihayafuru and What Did You Eat Yesterday?, both of which I love intensely. I think we will probably see another volume of Chihayafuru before volume thirteen of WDYEY, as it won’t even come out in Japan until next month, so that gives Yoshinaga the slight edge this time. But really, get them both.

SEAN: My pick this week is the final volume of Blood Lad, which I’ve definitely enjoyed more than I expected to. It feels like it’s just about the right time to end it, too. Also, Fuyumi cover!

ANNA: Chihayafuru is an easy pick for me. I am so happy this series is being translated!

KATE: There’s only one manga on my plate this week: volume two of Delicious in Dungeon. It reads like an episode of Martha Stewart Living crossed with a MMPORG, mixing action scenes with tips on how to get the most of giant scorpion meat. (Who knew it was good for tempura?)

MICHELLE: Oh, I didn’t even mention that or Yowamushi Pedal! So much great stuff this week.

ASH: There really are so many great manga being released this week, making it extremely difficult to choose just one! So, I’ll cheat a little and pick a subgenre instead–give me all the food manga you’ve got! Both What Did You Eat Yesterday? and Delicious in Dungeon are very high on my list and I’m definitely looking forward to sinking my teeth into them. (Not literally, of course.)


Aug. 21st, 2017 05:05 pm
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[personal profile] kass
1. My friends. Even those whom I don't get to see often enough.

2. The place where I live, which is mine, and is filled with art and photographs and things that are meaningful to me.

3. The glorious green world. I always want summer to last forever, and it won't, but I'm doing my best to enjoy it while it's here.

4. I got to take two and a half days of vacation last week, and they were really lovely.

5. There is rosé chilling in my fridge even now. :-)

How are y'all?
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Posted by Ash Brown

My News and Reviews

It’s been a while since there have been two features posted at Experiments in Manga within the same week in addition to the usual My Week in Manga, but that’s exactly what happened last week. First there was July’s Bookshelf Overload which, minus the replacement copies for some of my recently water-damaged books, provides a list of the manga and other media that I picked up last month. (Normally I post the Bookshelf Overload feature in the second week of the month, but I switched things up a little in order to post my review of Kazuki Sakuraba’s A Small Charred Face sooner rather than later.) Last week was also Experiments in Manga’s seven-year anniversary! I wrote a little about the past year and, with some amount of sadness, also announced my upcoming (semi)-retirement from manga blogging. I’ll continue to post here at Experiments in Manga for the rest of 2017, but once 2018 arrives most of my short ramblings on manga will be found over at Manga Bookshelf (and probably at my Twitter account, too).

Quick Takes

H. P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other StoriesH. P. Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories by Gou Tanabe. While I am very aware of Lovecraft’s work and influence (the Cthulhu Mythos in particular was tremendously popular among a certain segment of my friends for quite some time), I’ve actually only ever read a single collection of his short horror stories. I largely enjoy their bizarre creepiness, and so I immediately took note when I learned that Dark Horse would be releasing a volume of some of Tanabe’s manga adaptations of Lovecraft stories. Plus, I was simply happy to see more mature horror manga being licensed. The Hound and Other Stories collects the adaptations of three of Lovecraft’s stories from the early 1920s: “The Temple,” “The Hound” (the only one of which I had read the original), and “The Nameless City.” Of the three, “The Temple” was the most successful for me, Tanbe’s deliberately disconcerting artwork perfectly conveying the narrative’s dark and increasingly claustrophobic sense of dread. The Hound and Other Stories is actually the first volume in a series. Nothing official has been announced regarding the translation of future volumes, but Dark Horse has indicated that the possibility is there. I know I’d certainly be interested in reading more of Tanabe’s work, Lovecraftian or otherwise.

Hana & Hina After School, Volume 2Hana & Hina After School, Volume 2 by Milk Morinaga. I’m not as interested in schoolgirl yuri manga as I am in those that feature adult women–which seem to be very few and far between in translation–but I will still happily read them. Which is probably a good thing seeing as most of the yuri manga that has been published in English tend to be set in either middle or high school. (To be fair, that can be said of numerous other genres as well.) Hana & Hina After School definitely falls into that category, and I certainly have been enjoying the manga. While it’s clear that Hina and Hana care for each other a great deal, the romance in the series is actually a little slow to develop, though it does feel more natural that way. Hina recognizes that she has a crush on Hana, and has known for some time, but Hana tends to be a little more oblivious. Hana & Hina After School concludes with the next volume; I would be incredibly surprised if the ending isn’t a happy one, but both Hina and Hana will need to fully come to terms with their feelings before that happens. In general, Hana & Hina After School is a cute and sweet series, but I do appreciate that Morinaga also incorporates some of the real-world concerns faced by people in non-heterosexual relationships.

Samurai Crusader: The Kumomaru Chronicles, Volume 1Samurai Crusader: The Kumomaru Chronicles, Volumes 1-3 written by Oji Hiroi and illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami. At this point I’ve read most of the manga available in English with which Ikegami has been involved, Samurai Crusader being one of the few exceptions up until now. Hiroi is probably best known as the creator of Sakura Wars, which I’m not particularly familiar with. (I believe Samurai Crusader is the only other manga of Hiroi’s to have been released in English.) Samurai Crusader is currently out-of-print and can be a little tricky to find, but the series can usually be found for a fairly reasonable price. (Note that the individual volumes aren’t numbered and after the first are given unique subtitles instead; Samurai Crusader is followed by Way of the Dragon and Sunrise Over Shanghai.) Taking place in the 1930s with the Second World War looming on the horizon, Samurai Crusader is an tale of action and adventure spanning the globe and featuring Ernest Hemingway as the a sidekick to the series’ protagonist Kumomaru, a noble young man who finds himself fighting against those intent on world domination. Samurai Crusader is admittedly outrageous and over-the-top, but that’s also a large part of why the series is so highly entertaining.

RelationShipping Pinch Hit

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:24 am
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Posted by relshipmod

RelationShipping - an exchange for incest ships - is in need of a pinch-hitter!

The minimum for fic is 500 words; the minimum for art is a work at the 'nice sketch' stage. The deadline is Saturday 2 September at 23:59 UTC.

To claim, please comment to the dreamwidth post with your AO3 username. Comments are screened and you don't need a dreamwidth account.

( Pinch Hit #1: Bates Motel (2013), Bloodline (TV 2015), Better Call Saul (TV) )

The Wild Storm #6

Aug. 21st, 2017 04:21 pm
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[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily

I mean, there were a lot of Wildstorm books. And remember I said it was a pirate ship? The world-building was all over the place. I had to sit down and write a fucking cosmology for this project. Jim Lee made me invent 12,000 years of intergalactic history and I will never forgive him. -- Warren Ellis

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Queen Emeraldas, Vol. 2

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:50 am
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Posted by Sean Gaffney

By Leiji Matsumoto. Released in Japan by Kodansha, serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine. Released in North America by Kodansha Comics. Translated by Zack Davisson.

These Emeraldas stories we see in this second omnibus tend to be fairly stand-alone and separate from one another, connected only by the interlocking narration of our titular heroine – indeed, sometimes the narration gets so interlocking it’s hard to tell when the chapter breaks are, which I’ve no doubt is somewhat on purpose. This is a long, endless journey through space. There’s no real destination, there’s no particular character development – Emeraldas is who she was at the start, and Hiroshi Umino may be hiding his identity behind a fake name, but is still essentially the same as well. So what you get in this volume is the delight of the scenery along the way, with Matsumoto’s sparse yet compelling art portraying a vision of space that its readers long to visit, even though they know that, since they aren’t Emeraldas, it’s likely they’ll end up as dead as most of the people in this book.

If you’re wondering where this takes place in the Harlock/Emeraldas/GE999 canon, the answer is “slightly early”, as we get a few shots here of Emeraldas observing (and really, that’s pretty much all she does) a short, teeth-filled man who faithful readers know is Tochiro, who will eventually be the love of her life. For the moment, though, the reader merely observes him dealing with life in a very Wild West-influenced outer space – much as Emeraldas is a grand Wagnerian opera, there’s also a large chunk of Hollywood Western to it as well. Of course, we’re not actually telling the story of Tochiro and Emeraldas yet, so which they interact, they eventually move on, just as everyone else does. Emeraldas is an anthology, and as such rarely stops to take on backstory. Still, it’s great to see him.

The series ends with a few short stories. The second one feels very much like the rest of the book, and is quite poignant. The first one… does not. I’m sure that in a collector’s sense the Matsumoto fan is delighted with its presence in this book, if only for the sake of completeness. As someone who’s read the rest of the series, however, the story of Emeraldas and her goofy female pirate crew running into Harlock and his male crew in an effort to find a treasure map feels like finishing off dinner at a 5-star restaurant with a bag of Doritos. I’m not sure if this story came out well before the rest of the book – I’ve been burned saying things like that before. But it FEELS like an earlier work, and while it’s quite funny in places, and it’s nice to see Harlock, I found its presence in the end simply jarring.

But that does not take away from the grandeur of the main work, and it’s been a treat reading Queen Emeraldas in English. It’s even more of a treat knowing that more is coming, as we have Harlocks both new and classic in the near future. Can a Galaxy Express 999 re-release be far away? (OK, probably, yes, it can.) In any event, classic manga lovers, fans of space opera, or even pirate kids will greatly enjoy this series. Long may she sail through the stars, narrating gravely as she goes.

Boston counterprotest

Aug. 20th, 2017 11:51 pm
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[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
I went to the Boston counterprotest against the so-called 'free speech' (actually Confederates and neo-Nazis) rally on Saturday for a couple of hours. The energy was good, and there were a lot of people-- the radio said maybe fifty thousand counterprotestors and fifty or so Nazis, so we may literally have outnumbered them one thousand to one. The common was about as full as it was during the Womens' March, because people weren't as spread out marching; there were areas that were elbow-to-elbow and then areas where nothing much was going on and you could walk around.

There were of course many, many signs. I took one Ruth made with a graphic we got off Twitter, one of those red barred circles that mean NO over a glyph that combines a swastika and the number 45 so you can read it both ways. The person next to me on the T on the way over was also carrying a sign, so we started talking, and it turned out, completely coincidentally, that she is presently enrolled at the small liberal arts college my wife and I both went to, which is several states away. She had come up for the occasion. It was nice to have somebody there to have my back, since none of my family could make it.

We had been worried on the train about how things would go, but there were thorough barricades and we basically couldn't even see the actual Nazi types, let alone physically interact with them. Every so often one of them would break out a Confederate flag or something like that, at which point the police would immediately confiscate it. One of them got perp-walked away while I was there, but I didn't see what for. The police presence was huge and, while I was there, generally polite to us counterprotestors, although I understand they got more annoyed later. I have to say, the sirens that bike cops use are among the silliest things I have heard in quite a while, like putting a real police siren through a filter marked 'Yakkity Sax'.

There was one dude wandering around shouting about how he wanted to [insert violence and sexual profanity] Trump and Trump's children, but everybody he came near was shouting back at him to just shut up and go home. I couldn't tell his ethnicity beyond 'not white', but he was also wearing a hat with the Washington Racists' logo-- I mean their real logo-- and the crowd was not having with that either. So it was uncomfortable when he wandered by, but the crowd very clearly was not on his side and was not going to let him harass any individual people.

The most intense things got is that somebody set fire to a swastika flag, I believe with a blowtorch. It burned very hot and fast, to intense cheers, and produced a lot of smoke, but I think it had gone out entirely by the time the cops arrived-- it had clearly been timed for when the bike patrol was circling around the other end of the Common. At any rate, I don't believe anyone was arrested in connection with that.

I am proud of my city about this one. A lot of people in the crowd were worried about violence, I was worried about violence, my train-met friend was worried, and that worry was explicitly why we had to be there. Because no. We refuse to give up when things get scary.

It was a good counterprotest.