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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in teenybuffalo's LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
    11:47 pm
    How do I television

    (cross-posted from Tumblr, thought I'd ask here as well)

    Please speak gently to me, as you would to a child, and tell me the best way to watch a currently airing TV show. I got addicted to “Penny Dreadful,” and for the first time in basically ever, I want to watch it as it comes out, not just wait for the season to conclude and buy it on Amazon. Usually I can figure things like this out from context, but not at the moment.

    I need a friggin’ Showtime subscription? Ew. I don’t want to subscribe to anything, but on the other hand the only other options seem to be sketchy fourth-hand hosting sites, and at this rate we shall never get any further.

    Thursday, May 7th, 2015
    7:22 pm
    Whom have you loved to death, that you should be/ Here in such company?

    Yes, I finished watching Penny Dreadful

    It takes a lot of dedication for me to follow a series through an entire season–there’s always something else I should be doing with my eyes and ears, it seems, but this time I made the effort

    Zelda and other friends who urged me to watch this show, you were 100% right and I love it

    But I’m an emotional wreck don’t look at me

    For now, I’m going to deny the new episodes’ existence, because that was a whole lot of sadness and crushed dreams and You Did What You Had To Do and oh honey, no, and everyone needs a break.

    Instead I decree that the second season of Penny Dreadful shall take a hard left and be all romantic comedy, all the time. [NOTE: not actually spoilers.]

    As Thus:

    –Dorian makes a misguided attempt to prove to Vanessa how over her he is, by seducing all the lead characters he hasn’t had sex with yet.

    –The Bride retains her original personality, and the first thing she does is slap Dr. Frankenstein so hard he makes a nerd-shaped hole in the wall.

    –Vanessa and Caliban become friends and she gets him to shower and do his laundry and teaches him how to wing his eyeliner properly.

    –Sir Malcolm Murray’s period-accurate homophobia starts to erode, in context with naked Dorian Gray on a tigerskin rug. Also Dorian turns out to actually be an ancient Greek kouros and they read the Iliad together.

    –Ethan, Brona and Caliban all engage in door-slamming farce levels of sexual guilt and jealousy, which ends with Brona going, “Don’t fight! I’ll marry you both.”

    –Caliban takes up vegetarianism and is smug about it while still occasionally killing people.

    –Victor Frankenstein has shy makeout with Dorian as An Experiment, experiences pantsfeelings, also goes to a brothel to test his reactions For Science.

    –Brothel features cameos from cute monster girls from Gothic lit, e.g. Rappacini’s Daughter, Geraldine from “Christabel,” Carmilla, but also ordinary human women because we need more ordinary humans on the show.

    –Vanessa Ives takes friendly interest in the women, they decide she must be a female Sherlock Holmes and implore her help in catching this Jack the Ripper 2.0 or possibly a werewolf that’s on the loose. Consternation of Vanessa.

    –Increasingly silly werewolf-containment methods by Vanessa and Co. include freezing entire werewolf in a block of ice, self-hypnosis, invasive brain surgery, dropping down mineshaft, sticking feet in wet cement. Werewolf always escapes anyway and goes on rampage, because that’s what werewolves do. Eventually our heroes develop a combination of magic and powerful drugs that mean the werewolf can now only transform from a human into a pug.

    –And they all lived happily ever after.

    Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
    9:16 pm
    I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open

    Still on “Penny Dreadful” and I’m up to “Resurrection,” ep 3. Undigested thoughts in no particular order:

    "The things which I have seen I now can see no more."Collapse )

    Friday, May 1st, 2015
    10:06 am
    Leave her, Johnny, leave her

    At least three people whose opinions I respect have been pressing me to watch “Penny Dreadful” lately, and despite the fact that it’s really hard for me to commit to a TV show as opposed to a book, I am trying to watch it. Faithful persistence on my part means I just finished the second of eight episodes.

    Short version: I like it, you were all correct and it’s my sort of thing.

    Slightly longer version: thank goodness I was spoiled for the Frankenstein plot thread, because if I hadn’t known the show was fucking with me this whole time, this would be the point when I threw this show across the room and stomped off in a rage. For a while. I would probably have come back once the withdrawal hit.

    Spoilers, in case anyone needs the warning:

    Read more...Collapse )

    Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015
    12:45 am
    Planning ahead: new coat
    I need a good winter coat. My biggest coat, the brown imitation-shearling one, is nice but it's a glorified polo fleece, and the wind blows right through it. Yes, I realize this is springtime, but I'm hoping to buy a coat on sale somewhere and keep it in reserve for this December.

    Currently, this is top of my list of options: the Merrell Haven Redux. It's wind and rain resistant, insulated, has a hood, has a lot of pockets and is not too ugly.

    Anybody want to recommend their favorite make and model of coat? I want to find something that's fantastically well-insulated, keeps the wind out, keeps the rain out, and has a hood. 
    Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
    1:20 am
    Armenian genocide denial is alive and well
    So there's this giant billboard over the highway in East Boston. I drive by it if I'm taking the short way from work to the gas station. It's mysterious and vague and has pictures of two butterflies with flags on their wings. I could never be bothered to look up the flags before now.

    Apparently there's an identical billboard in New York. Here's its photo:

    (photo linked from tumblr user ghostofcommunism's blog--can't find precise source, sorry)

    It's always made me uneasy because when someone talks dismissively about "allegations" without saying what the allegations are, the speaker usually turns out to be foul, and the allegations turn out to be on the level of "vehicular homicide" or "beats their children."

    Well, I just found out what this billboard is about. Genocide denial. This billboard is actively denying the Armenian Genocide.

    Here's the Tumblr post that I saw first. It has links to a lot more backstory. I don't know who's paying for the billboard, but I figure it's representatives of the Turkish government, or one of the former state representatives whom Turkey has apparently paid to be genocide deniers.

    The only good thing I can see about all this is that some people will educate themselves about this point in history, and the billboard campaign will backfire, because you can't read up on the Armenian Genocide and not realize it was a fucking genocide. It's the reason the word "genocide" was invented.

    More curiosity about this part of history can only be a good thing. It's not that America is full of genocide-deniers, it's just that we're all ignorant about world history, by and large, so we as a people tend to shrug and accept whatever we are told. But if you see someone covered in blood leaping up and down and shouting, "I totally didn't murder my sister and hide her body, and NOBODY LOOK IN THE OLD WELL!" you're going to get curious and go see what's in the well. As it were.

    From my response to the post:

    Well, this is horrifying. There’s a giant billboard in East Boston with this same image and slogan, and I had no idea what it was about. The Armenian Genocide. I see. So, I guess one and a half million ethnic Armenians, including the extended families of dozens of people I’ve met, upped and vanished into thin air for no reason one day.

    I never thought I would see the day when genocide denial went this public.

    “Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

    –that’s a direct quote from Hitler, speaking to his henchmen, the week before invading Poland with the goal of slaughtering everyone in the country and repopulating it with Germans. His point was that the Armenian Genocide had happened but that the rest of the world didn’t give a shit and no one ever talked about it, so that Germany could safely kill all the Poles and take their country without any global repercussions.

    And Hitler said that in 1939. The Armenian Genocide had gone on from 1915 to 1923 in wave after wave of state-sponsored mass killings by the Ottoman Empire. It’s denied, downplayed, and recast as a “civil war” by modern-day Turkey, and has been totally ignored through the decades by most other people in most other places.

    Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
    1:01 am
    behold I am a slug
    I went for a run tonight with the group that meets every Monday at the Burren. (It's the Bur-Run, geddit?) Three point one miles, after not having run anywhere in some months. It felt fantastic. I just barely kept up with the slowest runners, who were very nice, and we all chatted a bit. There was casserole afterwards.

    My reactions:

    --Gee whiz are my sinuses clean.
    --I like running but don't like racing. The people tonight seem okay with that. In my teens I had a lot of pressure on me to get into racing, because that was my parents' hobby and they couldn't understand why I hated competition. I just like running moderate distances. That love is still with me. Good to know it's still fun.
    --What was true in my teens and twenties is still true in my thirties: if you go out for a run, a lot of people will stare at you as if you'd grown a second head. There were a lot of staid elderly people in the Magoun Square area who turned to watch us chugging past. You would think they would be used to joggers by now.
    --Some of the people we passed looked a tad sketchy and I don't know if they would have harrassed a single female runner. I'm still finding out what neighborhoods are OK to be a pedestrian in, round here. Mostly, Somerville seems all sunshine and teddy bears and Lisa Frank stickers, in terms of safety and family-friendliness. But if there are worrying bits I should know about them.
    --Running is an awesome way to get to know the city.
    --Also to get to know some new people. I had some friendly conversations, hope to go back in a couple of weeks and have some more.
    --I'm gonna be stiff for the next couple of days.
    --Right now I feel like a bag of overcooked pasta, but in a good way. Going to brush my teeth and then become one with the mattress. 
    Monday, April 13th, 2015
    9:32 pm
    Excellent news
    sovay has established a Patreon, for the purpose of writing and posting film reviews. This is great news--I've enjoyed reading her reviews for years, but time and money concerns have often forced her to focus on other things recently. I'm delighted that this situation may soon change.

    For those of you who haven't read Sovay on movies, here is a good place to start: It's Not, Quite Frankly, A Wholesome Situation: Dr. Seuss' The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T. And here's a recent post with thumbnail reviews of classic movies.

    From her LJ announcement: "Because I talk a lot about film on this journal, and I think it's worth paying for. Incentives include cat pictures and poetry. And film writing, of course."

    Many of us have said,  "You should do this professionally," and now we can help make that happen. Please signal-boost. 
    Sunday, April 12th, 2015
    9:01 pm
    "Do you like poetry?" asked Elfine, suddenly.
    Hey! There's a Japanese-fashion-based trend that is actually my kind of thing!

    It's called mori kei ["forest girl style"], and it means dressing sort of like movie!verse Elfine Starkadder, and sort of like a background character from a Miyazake movie, layering on a lot of oversized sweaters and floppy hats in the winter, having three hundred houseplants and a few cats, being really mellow and laid-back, wearing bogus-Victorian jewelry and pastel or earth-toned makeup, and pretending you live in your own private treehouse, fifty feet up a mighty beech. Read all about it here.
    Saturday, April 11th, 2015
    11:51 pm
    well-earned food coma
    This has been an excellent couple of days.

    Last night, sovay, ajodasso, and G. and I all had dinner together and then watched Warlock on the projector in the living room. It remains as silly and lovable as it was last time I checked it out. (I remember being unconvinced that it would be fun, and then kestrell said, "Richard E. Grant, in fur, with a whip," and I went, "...I'm listening." She was right, too.)

    I was planning to see It Follows tonight, but I'm enjoying being around the house too much to stir forth. I baked an enormous enchilada-casserole thing in my black iron skillet, and I just ate way too much because it's really tasty. Layer of pinto beans full of spices, layer of broccoli and carrots and garlic all chopped, layer of vegetarian-answer-to-ground-round and fried onions, layer of baby spinach leaves, layer of chipotle salsa, layer of corn tortillas with a bit more salsa splattered on top. It's like Tex-Mex lasagna. I'm trying to get more iron in my diet.

    I did my tax returns today, and was delighted that it didn't take the whole weekend as I'd dreaded it would. Went for a long afternoon walk in the sunshine. Found a new coffee shop on Ball Square with funny mosaic-china-chip tables. It felt fantastic having a lazy day for a change. I walked through part of the Tufts campus and admired the beautiful view from the central hilltop. You can see Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and probably Newton and Allston from that height, on such a clear day.

    It was a funny contrast; I was looking out at the distant blue skyline and sunlit roofs and towers of the buildings far off, and I was standing beside a memorial cannon that had been covered in graffitti paint so often over so many years that there were dry paint stalactites hanging off of its barrel. It's currently painted white, with I HAVEN'T SLEPT FOR THREE DAYS on one side and ALL MY BABY MAMAS HATE ME on the other. Next to that, a student had pitched an ultralight hammock between two trees and was trying to nap. He was a big heavy lump like a mango in a tote bag.

    It must be spring, because every bro in this city was out in his yard today, with his friends, tossing a football around. Bless them, they're having a nice time.

    This evening has been spent gardening like mad to make up for the time I lost to over-extended winter. I planted pansies in the big planters on the front steps; these were once tended by our downstairs neighbors, but now I am the only person ready to do anything with them. Yellow pansies in one pot, pale blue in the other. The deep purple pansies, I'm reserving for my own private enjoyment, on the deck beside my bedroom.

    We have a compost pile. Again, it was started by ambitious gardeners who then moved out of the house, and I'm the only person who cares to use the output.Under a cut because this is frankly gross and don"t read it while eating.Collapse )

    ("Dennis, we've got some lovely filth down here!")
    Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
    1:32 am
    stag skull mask, tanuki scrotum parachute, vagina sledge
    Animal body parts ahoy:

    Life ambitions now include owning this: Cervine Skull Mask II by artist Eric Strother. It's all the more appropriate right now, because I fell asleep in the last few minutes of a yoga class today and dreamed that there was a deer skull buried in the compost pile, and that I discovered it was growing itself into a whole new deer, live and kicking and ready to run away.

    A conversation about tanuki tricksters with kestrell the other day led us to google "tanuki scrotum." We were looking for the possibly-real use of tanuki body parts in goldsmithing. Autofill said, "tanuki scrotum parachute," which led me to this picture:

    This is apparently from Pom Poko, which I've never watched. This picture depicts five very serious tanuki using their enormous, slack scrotums to skydive, as they drop from on high like paratroopers. This excellent blog entry has a lot more about tanuki folklore, including unconventional scrotum usage.

    (I don't want to act like female genitalia aren't funny. There exists an Inuit legend, "Tuglik And Her Grandmother," in which an old woman in an emergency situation takes her vagina off and turns it into a sledge. Then her granddaughter goes, "But what will we do for sled dogs?" and the grandmother scratches out her lice and turns them all into sled dogs. I'm not linking to this story because everything else about it is hella depressing and awful, but the vagina sledge is good. Always reblog vagina sledge.)
    Sunday, April 5th, 2015
    9:31 pm
    In case anybody needs a little joy tonight
    This is an excerpt of Pennies From Heaven that features young, beautiful Christopher Walken singing "Let's Misbehave," tap-dancing, and doing a strip tease. You're welcome.
    Saturday, April 4th, 2015
    2:03 am
    He ate... zer chip.
    Two very solid horror/comedy movies from New Zealand, which is apparently full of horror nerd filmmakers with small amounts of money and lots of love for genre films. I'd had no idea.

    I just got back from seeing What We Do In The Shadows, which spoofs every vampire movie I can remember seeing. Silly mockumentary about three idiot manchild vampires who are housemates somewhere just outside of Wellington, NZ. (Four, if you count the really ancient Orlok-style bald ratty guy who has a crypt in the basement.) There's the sweet-natured Regency fop, the decadent Renaissance scumbag, the Not-Gary-Oldman-Dracula... and eventually the poor jerk of a hipster who also gets vampirized, and his shy human friend Stu. There's not really a plot beyond "endearing jerks think they're much cooler than they actually are, get into worse and worse scrapes, occasionally do things right." To be honest, at first the film was trying too hard to be funny, and it was a little embarrassing to watch. Somewhere about the half-hour mark, though, the tone shifted from working at delivering gags to just letting the characters do their stuff and not forcing every line to be a joke, and I really liked where it went. The whole movie is self-consciously referential as hell, helped by the fact that the vampires are conceited and watch all the vampire media they possibly can. They half-assedly reenact that one scene from The Lost Boys where the food turns into worms and bugs; one of them dresses up as Blade for a party; the hipster vampire tries to pick up chicks by going, "You know that movie? Twilight? That's me. The main guy from that movie. Twilight." There are some moments of monstrousness that actually look pretty cool--a vampire making nightmare-face at the clerk in an all-night drugstore, a man storming away in a huff, leaping up into the air, and fluttering away as a bat. Two little girl vampires murdering a pedophile--one strangles him with a scarf wielded with impossible strength by her skinny little arms, and the other sister helps by pulling down on his feet. Little offhand moments that really do look cool and scary. (The adult male vampires pause in their nightly hunt to check in with the little-girl vamps and make sure they're OK. Altogether, the vampires of Wellington, New Zealand, seem to like each other and be mutually protective most of the time.) There are also werewolves, with a very insecure self-proclaimed alpha male. ("What are we?" "Werewolves, not swearwolves.") We even get to see werewolf transformations, albeit filmed after the "camera crew" has stumbled and dropped the camera in smeary mud, I assume because the less clearly you see the werewolves, the more impressive the fursuits look. To sum up: very silly horror comedy, pretty fluffy, but it made me laugh and smile, and I'd recommend it to monster kids.

    The other movie was Housebound, which is driving me nuts because (a) it has some really good surprises which I don't want to spoil for anyone, and (b) I am desperate to talk about it. Which I can't do without giving away the big reveal. All I can do is recommend it to everyone I think would be interested. It's on Netflix, people. Warning for tons of gore effects and talk of (offscreen) child abuse. I can't tell you exactly what subgenre it is, but I can tell you it's a damn fun movie. Watch it ; you'll be very glad you did. I guessed I would like it, based on handful_ofdust's review, and I did.

    The premise: petty criminal Kylie and her boyfriend try to rob an ATM one night, the boyfriend accidentally stuns himself with his own hammer in the process, and Kylie is nabbed by the police while trying to escape with both the cash box and her unconscious boyfriend. She is sentenced to eight months of house arrest with ankle bracelet, which makes me think that the justice system in New Zealand is a lot less messed up than ours.

    (Between this movie's reasonably lenient criminal sentence, and the decent social services in The Babadook, I'm thinking of emigrating. Australia and New Zealand may have ghosts and evil pop-up books and boogeymen and creepy animatronics and rotting gray hands trying to drag you down the laundry chute, but at least there's a social safety net there, you know? Anyway.)

    Kylie's mom talks nonstop and is sickeningly sweet. Kyle swears at everybody and has a chip on her shoulder at all times. The horror of being grounded at your mom's house as an adult is the first big strength of the movie. There are lots of scenes where Kylie's mom burbles on and on and Kylie stares at the camera in despair like she's on The Office. It takes a while for her to realize that something creepy is happening to her, rather than her life just being shitty in general. Things skitter inside the walls; the power flickers; a gross animatronic teddy bear pops up at her bedside and makes demon noises at her. (She punches it across the room and burns it in the fireplace.) There's a brilliant moment that both defines the house as haunted, and Kylie as taking no shit from anyone. She's studying when the door of her closet opens all by itself, creeeeeeak. She gets up, gets a screwdriver, takes the door off its hinges and puts it aside, and then goes back to studying. And... another goddamned door opens inside the back of the closet, also all by itself, also going creeeEEEEeeak and Kylie turns on it with a death glare.

    Other contributors to the chaos include Kylie's probation officer, who is a paranormal hobbyist and loves this sort of thing; Kylie's mom's new husband, who is quiet and bovine and keeps piles of useless junk including a giant Jesus statue in the basement; Kylie's syrupy therapist, who is a walking example of how much horror movie fans hate therapists; Kylie's mom, who thinks there's a white-bedsheet ghost haunting the house; and the creepy old dude next door, who skins roadkill and dries the pelts on the clothesline.

    So, very funny, also sly and full of self-referential genre humor, and scenes of disgusting slapstick violence. Brilliant performance by Morgana O'Reilly as Kylie, alternately heroically saving people's lives and smashing people half to death. Also brilliant performance by Rima Te Wiata as the most embarrassing mum ever. Also solid performances from other people whom I can't describe further because their importance to the story would be a clue to what happens. Would recommend, again, to anybody who's already into horror.
    Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
    11:06 am
    My footsteps around the internet in the past few days
    Today's XKCD is fun, my kind of April Fool's Day silliness. Recommended.

    Gunnerkrigg Court is distressing to read lately. I keep hoping it's going to be a joke and my hopes keep being dashed.Spoilers here.Collapse )

    Skin Horse is also hard to enjoy lately. Character torture, which we know is probably an AI manipulating the main character so that no matter what she does she messes up worse and worse, and every bad thing is all her fault forever. This is actually supposed to be funny, but it doesn't really make it for me; it turns out I can't stand watching a person prone to shame and guilt be yanked around by her sense of shame and guilt. Again, I'll probably back off for a couple months and then read this storyline in a rush and get it over with.

    Questionable Content has been painful to read, but in a good way. I admire the risks that Jeph Jaques has been taking. That said, the latest strip is a return to Hannelore's priorities, and I can't get enough of her, so I'm happy.

    Non-webcomic news: Captain Awkward's latest letter is from a lawyer whose boss (1) generally behaved abominably towards one female employee, and (2) brought a machete to a disciplinary meeting and chopped it into his desk to frighten people. I like how the comments section is full of people going, "GET OUT. NOW." These are people who took away the right lessons from The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.

    I am thirteen episodes into the first season of Gravity Falls and I love it. Everyone who's recommended this show to me, you were right and my hat is off to you. It's a show for everyone, but particularly good for people who were once weird kids who read the Time-Life books on the paranormal and identified with Edgar Allan Poe's "Alone." Also, it's fuckin' hilarious. It has my kind of sense of humor, you guys! It's sweet and kind and gentle, and also anarchic and self-deprecating. There are SIBLINGS WHO ACTUALLY LOVE AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. Mabel Pines is a giggly, happy space cadet who gets the most out of life, sees the best in everybody and brings out the best in them because of that, and the show recognizes how beautiful this is and doesn't make her the punch line all the time. (Someone on Tumblr pointed out that if Mabel was a character on almost any other show, she'd be treated like Meg on Family Guy.) There are two idiot policemen called Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland, who as far as I'm concerned are married ("If being delightful was a crime, you'd be breaking the law,") and whose reaction to seeing a spouting fire hydrant is to rip off their uniforms and run around whooping and splashing each other. The whole goddamn show is jam-packed with stuff like this. It makes me so fuckin' happy. You know that state of mind where you're so overwhelmed by cuteness that you have to swear and use violent language to let out your feelings? I get that way around Gravity Falls. 
    Monday, March 23rd, 2015
    12:35 am
    nom nom nom
    Thanks to whoever nominated "Roman Shade" for a Rhysling Award. I've been forgetting to mention this, but just being nominated makes the poem get included in the yearly anthology, and they've sent around the last set of proofs. I may not have produced anything new to speak of for more than a year, but this is a good feeling. 
    12:30 am
    We'll turn our faces to the skies, fair weather for to know
    I'm so tired, you guys. So so tired. I feel like I'm made out of over-boiled noodles. I've spent every free moment doing Moving Stuff for the last couple of weeks. If I'm not packing boxes and bags and lugging them downstairs to the car, I'm sorting out old papers to burn or clothes to give to charity. I'm sick to fucking death of this process and I can't wait to get comfortable in the new place and actually have free time again.

    I didn't ask anyone for help with this process, because it's hard for me to give my friends orders and the discomfort I'd have to overcome there was not as easy as just doing everything myself. And because I don't want even my closest friends going through my stuff. And because, well, I have a lot of crap that I'm having to throw out, and I was worried people would judge me.

    I swear I never thought of myself as a hoarder until this episode of my life. But I've been here for two years and ten months, which has been enough time for me to lay down strata of paperwork I'll never need again or clothes I no longer wear or craft supplies that passed their usefulness long ago. I've been throwing out stuff for the last couple of weeks; lots of paper has gone into the recycling or to feed fires, and I've filled five big black trash bags with usable clothes and put them in the donation bin. And it doesn't even look like I've made a dent in my possessions. I need to purge more things. Trying to pack my stuff into the new and slightly smaller bedroom is going to be impossible otherwise. I feel gross for having all this crappy old stuff that I don't use; I feel stripped and insecure as I toss out all these familiar old relics.

    I would welcome recommendations for places to buy a cheap bed and bookshelves.

    On the plus side, in the last week I:
    --tried yoga and liked it, with a strong sense of, "Ahh. This has been missing from my life." I'll probably go back.
    --introduced my therapist to the expression, "And Bob's your uncle," which he'd never heard before. He was very amused and it was fun trying to explain it to someone and realizing I'd never understood it myself, only accepted it as part of speech.
    --got my dry-cleaning done and realized that my fancy jackets were back in the game
    --made myself a pin in the shape of a crescent moon
    --watched some silly movies with friends

    Going to view a bit more "Gravity Falls" and call it a night.
    Saturday, March 14th, 2015
    3:07 am
    Hard to say goodbye
    gyzki has passed away. Terry Pratchett died yesterday. This song keeps playing in my mind.


    Oh the hour was late and the moon was high yet still we did not depart,
    For the glow of pleasant company warmed each and every heart.
    "Just one more song," said someone, as the landlord doused the light,
    So we sent a final chorus ringing out into the night.

    It is no consolation to know that time must fly;
    It's still very hard, when the hour comes, to have to say goodbye.

    "Why must you go?" the young wife says, and tears are in her eyes.
    "To build a better life for us," he tenderly replies.
    Together they have talked of this for many a long day,
    And still she cries when he, at last, is finally on his way.


    Two brothers stood upon the dock not knowing what to say,
    For one was going to board a ship while the other one would stay.
    One had made the choice to travel out into the world alone,
    While the other one chose family, security and home.


    When the news arrived from far away that our old friend was gone,
    We did not call it tragedy to hear he'd traveled on.
    For his life had been a long one, with friends and pleasure filled;
    Yet still a stone was in our hearts to think his voice was stilled.

    (alt last chorus:)
    It is no consolation to know that man must die;
    It's still very hard, when the hour comes, to have to say goodbye.

    HARD TO SAY GOODBYE (tune based on "Leave Her, Johnny")
    by Jerry Bryant
    Copyright 1996
    Written for Stan Hugill's memorial service at the 1992 Mystic Sea Music Festival.
    Sunday, March 8th, 2015
    12:38 am
    Bananas! Bananas, bananas, bananas!
    I'm very happy right now. Today I watched Hausu (1977) with Kestrell and Alexx. Now nothing can surprise me anymore. Now I have acquired a thousand-yard stare and fixed grin; now I can see everything.

    All of the stills from this movie make sense to me now--well, no, they don't, but I at least acknowledge that the roaring demon cat and the girl-eating piano and the vampire bride who is actually a house and the sea of blood and the traditional Japanese hot-tub full of animated hair and the flying severed head that bites girls on the buttocks, all come from the same movie. This movie could give Cemetery Man a run for its money in the flying-severed-head-of-a-teenaged-girl department.

    This is my favorite character, Auntie. She's dancing with her medical skeleton in the former surgery, because of course her family home has a mad science lab. She eats young girls' body parts, and writes evil books, and invades your mind via lipstick, and flies around the house with her white Persian cat in her arms.

    This is a movie where an animated thermos flask with teeth leaps out and pulls a girl down to drown in a sea of blood, and a moment later an animated teapot pops up from the sea of blood wearing the girl's glasses balanced on its spout, and this isn't even all that surprising, in context.

    Please speak of your thoughts on this movie, if you are so moved, because I want to share the love. 
    Sunday, February 22nd, 2015
    2:12 am
    Balem Abrasax, for that is his name
    I just got back from a relatively late-night viewing of Jupiter Ascending. The legends are true and Tumblr has not exaggerated. It really is based on that one novel you wrote when you were fourteen, where you were a humble maidservant who was secretly the Queen of Everything, and your boyfriend was a hot half-werewolf space Marine who wore rocket rollerblades and was sad because he had lost his wings, and the bees recognized you as the rightful ruler of everyone, and you had the tiniest waist and the best outfits and all the men took off their shirts a lot and bowed when they spoke to you. Also, Sean Bean is a sad space Marine were-bee who lives with his grown-up daughter in a house full of feral honeycombs and his name is Stinger.

    There are three villain siblings who are Pavi, Luigi, and Amber Sweet from Repo! The Genetic Opera except they're not played for laughs. Not!Pavi is played by Eddie Redmayne, who whispers and screams his lines "as if being fellated by Eternity itself," as it says in a review I unfortunately can't find right now. All three siblings get flirtatious with a woman who they think is the reincarnation of their mother, and Not!Luigi manipulates her into marrying him in a straight-faced reenactment of that one scene from The Princess Bride.

    Oh and by the way, Earth is one of the many planets seeded with the human race by Space Capitalists, who also killed off the dinosaurs because why not, and that is why most of the offworld characters are also humanoid. (People are also varied ethnicities and skin colors, for a pleasant change of pace from most of the SF where you see only white people in space.) There's a starship captain by the name of Singh and she has a first officer with the head of an elephant whose name is Ganesh and who trumpets in times of extreme emotion. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays a deer-woman who needs a better boss than Not!Luigi. There is also a failed alien abduction where Jupiter just takes the aliens' photograph, and the aliens react by shoving their hands over the camera like she was a paparazzi. (They're smart enough to wipe her memory of the incident, and at the same time they're too dense to remove the incriminating photo from her phone.) In the middle of the movie the action grinds to a halt for five minutes while our protagonists go to the DMV to get our heroine her Queen papers so she can start being the boss of everything. Terry Gilliam is briefly visible as a grotesque bureaucrat. There's a little albino rat guy with no eyebrows and a pink nose, who exists to cringe and suck up. People backstab and double-cross each other and shoot each other out the airlock and punch each other to say hello, and there's a grotesque moment when somebody who can normally walk through walls is killed by being phased halfway through the floor and stuck there. Jupiter Jones flirts with her half-werewolf space Marine.

    He: "I have more genes in common with a dog than I do with you."
    She: "I love dogs, always have."

    She also turns out to have a fetish for hearing him call her "Your Majesty," which, SPOILER, she gets to hear a lot, because they both live to the end of the movie and so does Sean Bean the were-bee. If the Wachowskis were only going to be imaginative in two directions, I like that those directions were "There are people of all races in space" and "Sean Bean's character lives."

    In case you couldn't tell, it was a lot of silly fun and I loved it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes big ridiculous space operas with lots of future couture and over-the-top acting. I hope Eddie Redmayne becomes a renowned actor and does a lot of Shakespeare, so that fifteen years from now people can embarrass him with footage of his character screaming "I CREATE LIFE!!!" and lounging around in a velvet suit with an ab window.
    Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
    3:44 pm
    Hanover Winter Song (1888), Richard Hovey

    Ho, a song by the fire;
    Pass the pipes, pass the bowl.
    Ho, a song by the fire
    With a skoal, with a skoal.
    Ho, a song by the fire;
    Pass the pipes with a skoal,
    For the wolf-wind is wailing at the doorways,
    And the snow drifts deep along the road,
    And the ice gnomes are marching from their Norways,
    And the great white cold walks abroad.

    But, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm;
    Ha, ha we are warm, and we have our heart’s desire.
    For here, we’re good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows;
    And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship.
    Oh, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm;
    Ha, ha, we are warm, and we have our heart’s desire.
    For here we’re good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows.
    And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship,
    Of fellowship

    Pile the logs on the fire;
    Fill the pipes, pass the bowl.
    Pile the logs on the fire
    With a skoal, with a skoal.
    Pile the logs on the fire;
    Fill the pipes with a skoal,
    For the fire goblins flicker on the ceiling,
    And the wine witch glitters in the glass,
    And the smoke wraiths are drifting, curling, reeling,
    And the sleigh bells jingle as they pass.

    But, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm;
    Ha, ha we are warm, and we have our heart’s desire.
    For here, we’re good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows;
    And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship.
    Oh, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm;
    Ha, ha, we are warm, and we have our heart’s desire.
    For here we’re good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows.
    And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship,
    Of fellowship

    Oh, a God is the fire;
    Pull the pipes, drain the bowl.
    Oh, a God is the fire
    With a skoal, with a skoal.
    Oh, a God is the fire;
    Pull the pipes with a skoal,
    For the room has a spirit in the embers,
    Tis a God and our fathers knew his name,
    And they worship’d him in long-forgot Decembers,
    And their hearts leap’d high with the flame.

    But, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm;
    Ha, ha we are warm, and we have our heart’s desire.
    For here, we’re good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows;
    And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship.
    Oh, here by the fire, we defy frost and storm;
    Ha, ha, we are warm, and we have our heart’s desire.
    For here we’re good fellows, and the beechwood and the bellows.
    And the cup is at the lip in the pledge of fellowship,
    Of fellowship

    (Words by Richard Hovey, music by Frederic Field Bullard, both of whom were 1885 graduates of Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. Here’s an a capella men’s group, the Dartmouth Aires, doing a very over-the-top rendition. I love this song.)

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