crystal mic

fidget cube vs dodecahedron

okay now that I’ve had the fidget dodecahedron (aka Holy Crystal Decompression Magic Cube, Batman!) for over a week and I’ve had some time to get to know it, I’m going to write up my thoughts about the pros and cons of it vs. the original fidget cube. pics included below each point.

1. the fidget cube has no sides with squishy silicone bits, and the dodecahedron has no less than 5! and they are amazing!!!!! probably my favorite parts. the nubbly part! the squishy clicker! the stretchy loop! the squeezable heads! dodecahedron gets a lot of points for this. A+++++++

2. the dodecahedron’s joystick sticks out much further than the fidget cube’s and it can be moved further and more three-dimensionally, with much more of a rolling motion, which I think is more fun. on the other hand, it’s less portable this way, more inclined to poke and get in the way or even get stuck on things. still, I prefer the dodecahedron’s joystick.

3. the dodecahedron’s spinning disc has a pleasing ridged texture and clicks when you spin it, plus you can click it a little like a button! it’s extremely satisfying. the fidget cube’s spinning disc, though smooth and non-clickable, is cool too, but the dodecahedron definitely wins this one.

4. the gears on the dodecahedron spin quickly and without any resistance, while the gears on the fidget cube go click click click. I like the fidget cube’s gears better.

5. both have sides with multiple buttons, but they’re very different. different shapes, different arrangements. I don’t know that I have a preference; they’re both very fun. maybe I prefer the dodecahedron’s? maybe?? i’m really not sure, I love them both

6. the worry stone sides are pretty similar, though the fidget cube’s is more gently curved. I probably prefer the fidget cube’s, but it’s not that huge a difference.

7. the rocking switches of each device are quite different. the dodecahedron’s is small and round, like on a lamp, and clicks back and forth sharply. the fidget cube’s is wide and has a gentler, longer motion. I like them both, but I’m pretty sure I prefer the fidget cube’s.

8. the fidget cube has a rolling ball in a socket that rolls around and clicks, and the dodecahedron doesn’t have anything like that. it’s one of my favorite parts of the cube. A+++++

9. the dodecahedron has these three slidey things that go back and forth; they’re offset from each other, and they can be positioned anywhere along the track, so you can make different arrangements, and it’s a nice slidey feeling. the cube doesn’t have a thing like that. it’s not my most favorite part of the dodecahedron, but it’s grown on me and I do like it quite a bit. A Good Thing

10. the fidget cube definitely wins in portability. You can just stick it in the pocket of most jeans quite comfortably. not so with the dodecahedron: you might be able to cram it in some loose jeans with very big pockets, but it probably still wouldn’t be comfortable, like having a tennis ball with a bunch of big pokey bits sticking out pressing into your thigh. and in most pockets it just wouldn’t fit at all. you can carry it in a hoodie or jacket pocket though, or in a bag, or in your hand. probably cargo pants or something similar too.

12. by the same token, the dodecahedron is much more conspicuous. it’s a little smaller than a tennis ball and just the right size to grip in your fist (or my fist, anyway), filling up your hand. meanwhile, the fidget cube is way smaller and can just be held in your fingers or hidden in your hand without necessarily being noticed.

13. the fidget cube is very well made, and while the dodecahedron is cheaper, it seems reasonably durable so far? it feels solid enough and nothing’s broken or seems like it’s going to break so far. of course, I can’t say for sure yet, as I haven’t had it for long. but at this point they both seem reasonably sturdy.

14. I just want to give another shout-out to the dodecahedron’s silicone bits because god i love them so much and there are five sides of them and they’re all differently stimmy and awesome and make my fingers so happy

in conclusion: yay i love them both

Steven Universe’s Sixty First Episode should have been titled 
“Mic Drop”. Here’s why …

When I was first introduced to Steven Universe, I made assumptions automatically based on the fact that it was being aired on American television for an American audience- namely that it was a children’s cartoon show. All of my life I’ve been watching animated shows from both Japan and America and there has always been a stark difference.
Of course, the origins and uses for animation developed very differently in both America and Japan, but I think that this particular show is the beginning of something very new in America’s development of animation and its uses.

I want to discuss how Steven Universe will hopefully change American animation.

In America, any sort of animated cartoon has fallen into two categories: “for children” or “for adults”. Stay with me a second. We’ve had things like Fire and Ice, Aeon Flux, Bevis and Butthead, Southpark, Drawn Together,Family Guy and The Boondocks (there are many I’m not naming). These were created with a clear audience in mind- adults. Then, we’ve had children’s shows that use adult humor such as Ren and Stimpy(the best example, really), Rocko’s Modern Life, other Nicktoons, sometimes Disney, sometimes Looney Tunes, and most certainly others on occasion to create crude or lewd situations within an animation that is traditionally aimed at a children’s audience. In these instances, there is something present within the episode or the show as a whole that has a distinct meaning that adults will understand differently than children would. Adult content in children’s animated shows presented the idea that growing up and becoming an adult was evil or uncomfortable. What you didn’t understand as a child and therefore must have been ‘adult stuff’ was weird or evil or uncomfortable.

Steven Universe also contains adult elements. What makes it different?

Steven Universe is the first animated series produced in America to use adult themes positively. Yes, I’m saying that, for the first time, a children’s show is showing us how there are many positive aspects of adulthood that need to be understood and cherished. The show explores the definitions of family, friendship, society, culture, politics, and most importantly – love (romantic, familial, etc.) Now, I’m not saying everything in Steven Universe is positive, because it’s not. What Steven Universe is doing, however, is showing, especially through the Crystal Gems (our very human aliens), that adulthood is about ultimately overcoming what is negative- not letting it define you. This message about adulthood written in a way children can learn and grow to understand is the kind of content in media that gives me hope for the future. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy, but I honest-to-god mean that.

I was pretty shocked after watching the most recent episode, and I really needed to hear the perception of the target audience (I use that term loosely at this point, since obviously the purpose of this show is to shatter that concept for American audiences.) I talked to a friend who has two children (ages 10 and 12) he watches Steven Universe with regularly. He told me this: “They don’t quite get all of it. They love the show. They love Steven. They pick up on me being all “WAOOOOAAAAHH!!”, so they mimic that, but they get it at a different level. They like the adventure and feel sympathy, but I don’t think they can get the whole single parent or third culture kid stuff… . We watch it altogether. I like SU because it helps me feel human, too. I like it because the main character is soft, sweet, and amazingly powerful and kind and he loves, unashamedly, and that’s exactly the sort of thing I want my kids watching.

These are just my thoughts and opinions from my tiny corner of the internet, but I had to share them, because I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate the future where media may be used to positively influence and prepare our children. Other shows have been doing this recently, but only in the context of what children may understand, such as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Steven Universe is going beyond that positive impact and taking it a step further to help children grow and develop into positive and understanding young adults or teens, and I think that is something to truly celebrate.

/MIC DROP

A Bash stan's perspective on the unfair treatment of Francis by Frary shippers post-episode 12

I know, weird title, right?  But I’ve been seeing Francis get a lot of flak lately, and not from the Mash/Mabastian shippers like myself, but  from his own camp.  The problem is, the disappointment/disillusionment towards Francis isn’t being directed at Francis himself, its being directed at the writers.  

In the last episode, we saw Francis in fine Francis form (say that 10 times fast I dare you.) when he rescued Lola.  Every single part of that situation was not only ALL Francis, it was all Francis at his best.  Let me explain: some of my favorite Francis moments are the ones where he uses his charisma and charm to help others.  The first moment I realized I did actually like Francis as a character was when he swooped in and rescued a struggling Mary from Simon in episode 2.  "Don’t move, don’t push me away.  You’re shaking.  You can’t show you’re scared,“ He said to Mary.  He saw her distress, recognized the peril she was in, analyzed the stakes and full-on rescued her.  He did the same thing for Lola in the gambling house.  He saw her in trouble, and he risked a lot to rescue her from it.  

The next part of his episode 12 story is where the gallant rescuer shows that he is not as strong as he once was; he is now plagued with doubt and sadness.  This is to be expected.  He lives for his responsibility.  When it was taken away from him, and at the hands of the person (people) he loved most, he is absolutely set adrift.  It’s understandable.  It’s relatable.  It’s human.  

Think of it from Francis’ perspective.  He’s so alone.  His identity, the thing he single-handedly based his entire self-image upon, was centered around being the Dauphin of France.  Nobody knows who he was, and nobody-including himself-knows who he is.  And then, enter Lola.  She’s a sweet girl, a piece of something familiar and fond, that gives him a chance to be Francis again.  She’s a spark of light in what he himself describes as "only emptiness.”  

Can you blame him for letting go of Mary for a moment?  To trade emptiness for a little bit of light?  To get to be the Dauphin of France in someone’s eyes again?  I don’t.  But if you’re going to be disappointed, don’t direct it at the writers, direct it at Francis

Francis has a history we cannot forget about.  A mirror to this situation happened only 6 episodes ago, with Olivia.  Mary hurt him, and he found solace in a willing alternative.  This is not a new part of his personality.  Is it in retaliation for a perceived slight from Mary? On some level, yes.  But its also a hurt little boy looking for comfort wherever he can find it.

And Lola…this post is not about her, but I wanted to take the opportunity to say, Lola is not a slut.  She is a vulnerable girl who found the relief of a noble friend when she was in a very frightening situation.  A girl who, if we think back, had her own future happiness stripped away when her first love’s life was taken in another underhanded scheme wrought by those with power.  She knows what it is like to have to reevaluate your future because of politics and power wars.  And while a tryst with Francis was probably not the best idea, at least she got to have a choice about the matter, when only hours earlier she was about to be abused in the most vile way by someone who only wanted her so he could “touch what only nobles could touch.”  

Anyhow, back to business: my point here is not to argue about whether or not Francis and Lola made a “mistake” (though we know that once Mary marries him, they both will see it that way.)  

My point is to say that the WRITERS DID NOT RUIN FRANCIS (or Lola) BY LETTING THIS EVENT HAPPEN.

If anything, they have kept him heart-breakingly in character.  He is all Francis, both good parts AND bad.  And don’t dishonor him by pretending he has no flaws.  He does.  And they are just as much a part of him as his good parts.  They make him three-dimensional, believable, relatable, and human.  

Accept that this is/was part of his personality.  It is something he will have to deal with.  It is something Mary will have to deal with.  And that will be part of their continuing story.  One of the main terms I’ve seen tossed around is “Out of character.”  Guys, when a character is put under pressure, they can react in new and surprising ways.  People change. They grow. They evolve in their thoughts and feelings and relationships with other people.  They fall in and out of love.  

Just because they don’t make the choice YOU want them to make doesn’t mean that they’ve acted out of character.  It means that they are a character worth watching.  

No change or growth means a character stagnates.  Surprising changes, infuriating changes, heart-wrenching changes means a character is dynamic.  And if you ask me dynamic>stagnant.

I want to apply this to Mary and Bash as well.  I’ve heard it repeated over and over, the Mary who fell in love with Francis wouldn’t have said those things to Bash, or kissed Bash like that, or sniped back and forth with Catherine like that.  And you’re right.  That Mary probably wouldn’t have, at least not so freely.  But she’s not that Mary anymore.  She’s had to become a new Mary, one who’s experienced sacrifice and pain and yet wants to find happiness where she can find it, the same way Francis wants to find comfort where he can find it.  And she’s been through things, and felt new things, and been pushed to the brink of worry and fright and despair and come out on the other side as THIS Mary.  Which is a pretty awesome Mary if you ask me.

Don’t limit your view of Francis and Mary as people to who Francis and Mary are as a couple.  They deserve to be seen through a much broader lens, just like how we got to see Bash as a person earlier in the series, outside of who he is with Mary.  

If you only like who Francis is if he’s being that Francis with Mary, you don’t really like Francis.  ITS TRUE.  If you only like the Bash that is part of Bash-and-Mary you don’t really like Bash.  And if you only like Mary as defined by one relationship or the other, you don’t really like Mary.  

THESE WRITERS HAVE NOT RUINED CHARACTERS, THEY’VE MADE THEIR CHARACTERS HUMAN.  THEY DESERVE KUDOS, NOT CRITICISM.  HANG IN THERE, AND I GUARANTEE YOU’LL SEE EVERY ONE OF OUR FAVORITES GO THROUGH MOMENTS OF WEAKNESS AND STRENGTH AND HARDSHIP AND HAPPINESS.  AND I WANT TO WATCH ALL OF IT.  

*Drops mic*

Crystal, out. 

;)