Let Life Happen.

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:13 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

“I’m not up for sex,” she told me. “I’ve had a lot of medical issues lately. It’s more painful than not to even try.”

“Cool,” I said, and we spent the day going to a street festival.

I woulda liked sex. But life happens.

“I’m in the middle of my seasonal affective disorder,” I told her. “You show up, I might not be able to leave the house. I might just curl up and cry all day.”

“Cool,” she said, and I was pretty morose but we cuddled a lot and eventually managed to go out to dinner.

I woulda liked to have a working brain. But life happens.

“I’m not sure I can make it through this convention,” they told me. “My flare-ups have been really bad this season. I might not be able to go out with you in the evenings.”

“Cool,” I said, and I went out for little hour-long jaunts before heading back to the room to cuddle them, then charging out again to circulate.

I woulda liked to have them by my side when I hit the room parties. But life happens.

I’m a massively flawed human with a mental illness. I need to have poly relationships that include for the possibility of breakdowns. Because if I need to have a perfect day before I allow anyone to see me, I might wait for weeks. Months. Years. And then what the fuck is left by the time I get to see them?

I know there are people who need perfect visits. They have to have the makeup on when you visit them, and they’ll never fall asleep when they had a night of Big Sexy planned, and if they get out the toys there’s gonna be a scene no matter how raw anyone’s feeling.

But I can’t do that.

My relationships aren’t, can’t be, some idealized projection of who I want to be. If I’m not feeling secure that day, I can’t be with a partner who needs me to be their rock so the weekend proceeds unabated. And if they’re feeling broken, I can’t be with someone who needs to pretend everything is fine because their time with me is their way of proving what a good life they have.

Sometimes, me and my lovers hoped for a weekend retreat of pure passion and what we get is curling up with someone under tear-stained covers, holding them and letting them know they will not be alone come the darkness.

We cry. We collapse. We stumble. We don’t always get what we want, not immediately.

But we also heal. We nurture. We accept.

And in the long run, God, we get so much more.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

On the Shelf 187: Mark Lanegan Band

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:26 am
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
Leonard Cohen always loomed in the background of Mark Lanegan records, so no doubt he is on my mind when reviewing Gargoyle.

I guess I always figured Cohen would live to be 120 years old, but we knew the next generation had worthwhile successors, of which Lanegan is one of the most prominent ones.

Also, via rock's history of tragedy, Lanegan is on of the few leading men from the Grunge era. Cobain, Staley, Weiland, and now Cornell have all gone. Improbably, it's Mark Arm and Lanegan as some of the last few.

In any case, wisened old age has served Lanegan well. He fits into the shoes of an old blues singer like few others.

It was around 1994 when Lanegan 's star first shone brightest on Whiskey for the Holy Ghost, an offering on Sub Pop which many would have at the time considered a 'hobby' for someone whose main job was Screaming Trees. Ten years later, six albums in, 2004's Bubblegum made us all look backwards and realized that he had built a career that would dwarf his band's, and he was just getting started.

In that first decade of the new century, Lanegan was busy recording with Queens of the Stone Age, collaborating with the Soulsavers, and recording duets albums with Isobel Campbell and Greg Dulli. There's probably about ten albums in those years that range from 'very good' to 'essential'.

Whether we realized it at the time or not (and I think many of us did), Lanegan had a stretch that very few others could compare to in terms of artistry.

For me, personally, the current decade has been somewhat of a letdown. It almost would have to be after that. Still, it's not that Lanegan wasn't recording. he was as prolific as ever, but this time his artistry took him down some other paths- a covers album, a instrument-heavy collaboration with Duke Garwood, a collection of previously recorded demos, etc.

Cohen's Achilles heel was usually his backing band. Cohen wasn't a dual guitar, bass, and drums rock n roller. He often had background vocalists, strings and heavy production.

Lanegan similarly knows that his music is best rendered as soundscapes and not traditional rock band. For me, much of the let down on Phantom Radio and Blues Funeral was the music.

Still, Lanegan was born from Grunge, and he's always going to have an ear for rock.

Gargoyle dials that up quite a bit. The best moments are the hardest rocking like the not so imaginatively titled "Nocturne", which evokes the title in a hard-charging slightly seedy David Lynch soundtrack kind of way. the kind of music that is Barry Adamson's stock in trade.

The album's best song is "The Emperor", which cuts way too close to being a cover of Iggy's "The Passenger". Given the Josh Homme connection and everything else, it's likely more of a homage than a rip-off.

What helps this album out is that even the less remarkable tracks stand up. There really is nothing here that isn't good to some degree. When The Guardian gave this Five Stars out of Five, I totally get it.

I stop short of that, though diehard Lanegan fans will not be disappointed. To me, many of the songs are great but don't really leave much of a lasting impression (For example, "Death Head's Tattoo" which precedes "Nocturne" isn't really much different than its successor). Lanegan (on here) doesn't really have anything that is quite on par with any of other of Cohen's heirs like Cave or Waits.

Still, you can't quite expect that, either. It's a fine album and to me, one of his best in awhile.

full_metal_ox: (Default)
[personal profile] full_metal_ox posting in [community profile] metaquotes
[personal profile] sasha_honeypalm's musical tribute to Barbara G. Walker's (professionally published!) novel

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about theology
Don't know much 'bout how to write a book
Don't know how to cite the quotes I took
But I know all that I say must be true
And I know if you believed it, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much sociology
Don't know how to understand folklore
Don't know what a reference book is for
But I do know that one god is bad
And if we'd kept the goddess we once had
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don't claim to be a goddess
But I'm tryin' to be
For maybe if I'm a goddess, people
You'll all worship me.

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about technology
Don't know much...

[personal profile] rosepsyche's paean to the Power of Story is also quoteworthy:

I have to call "bull" on Antiope's reasoning that art and music are inferior because they are "not alive" for another reason. No, such creations aren't living, breathing things. However (and I apologize if this gets a bit corny), the best of them can seem as if they are alive, get us invested in their characters, have us cheering about their triumphs and crying over their tragedies. They are just as valuable in their own way for their ability to entertain, to inspire, to teach, to help us grow and develop by seeing the world from a new point of view, and I don't think anyone involved in creating them would appreciate being told that their work can never compare to something that was squeezed out of a vagina.

Context sporks the world's worst Wonder Woman fanfic.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I knew musicals could cheer me up, but I’d never heard of one that gave me new tools to deal with chronic illness and depression. Yet when I saw Groundhog Day last Wednesday, I was so stunned by what a perfect, joyous metaphor it was for battling mental illness that I immediately bought tickets to see it again that Saturday.

I would have told you about this before, but it was too late. The show closed on Sunday. A musical that should have run, well, for as long as Phil Connors was trapped in his endless time loop only got a five-month run.

But I can tell you about it.

I can tell you why this musical made me a stronger, better person.


So let’s discuss the original Groundhog Day movie, which is pretty well-known at this point: Bill Murray is an asshole weatherman named Phil who shows up under protest to do a report from Punxatawney, Philadelphia on Groundhog Day. He’s trapped in town overnight thanks to a blizzard. When Phil wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again. And again. And again.

Phil goes through several phases:

  • Incredulous as he can’t believe what’s happening to him;
  • Gleefully naughty as he uses his knowledge of people’s future actions to indulge all his greatest fantasies;
  • Frustrated as he tries to romance Rita, his producer, but he’s too cynical for her and nothing convinces her to hop in bed with him unless everyone else in town;
  • Depressed as he realizes that his life is shallow and there’s no way he can escape;
  • Perplexed as he tries to rescue a dying homeless man but realizes that nothing he can do on this day will save this poor guy;
  • And, finally, beatific as he uses his intense knowledge of everything that will happen in town today to run around doing good for people.

Naturally, that’s a great emotional journey. It’s no wonder that’s a story that’s resonated with people.

Yet Groundhog Day changes just one slight emotional tenor about this – and that change is massive.

Because when Bill Murray’s character gets to the end of his journey, he’s actually content. He’s achieved enlightenment where he enjoys everything he does, toodling around on the piano because he’s formed Punxatawney into his paradise. He laughs at people who ignore him. He’s satisfied.

And when Rita, who senses this change even though she doesn’t understand why, bids everything in her wallet to dance with him at the Groundhog Dance, the Bill Murray Phil is touched but also, on some level, serene.

Andy Karl’s Phil is not happy.

We spend a lot more time in Andy’s Phil’s headspace, and at one point he breaks down because of all the things he’ll never get to do – he’ll never grow a beard, he’ll never see the dawn again, he’ll never have another birthday. Anything he does is wiped away the next morning.

Bill Murray’s Phil gets so much satisfaction out of his constantly improving the town that his daily circuit has become a reward for him.

Andy Karl’s Phil is, on some level, fundamentally isolated. People will never know him – at least not without hours of proving to them that yes, he is trapped in this time loop, he does know everything about them.  No matter what relationships he forms, he’ll have  to start all over again in a matter of hours. There’s no bond he can create that this loop won’t erase.

And so when Rita finally dances with Bill Murray, it’s shown as a big romantic moment. And in the musical –

In the musical, Rita moves towards Phil and everything freezes in a harsh blue light except for Phil.

This is everything Phil has ever wanted in years, maybe decades, of being in this loop – and instead of being presented as triumphant, everything goes quiet and Phil sings a tiny, mournful song:

But I’m here
And I’m fine
And I’m seeing you for the first time

And the reason that brings tears to my eyes every fucking time is because this Phil is not fine – he repeats the lie in the next verse when he says he’s all right. Yet this is the happiest moment he’s had in years, finally understanding what Rita has wanted all along, and this moment too will be swept away in an endless series of morning wakeups and lumpy beds and people forgetting what he is.

Yet that mournful tune is also defiant, and more defiant when the townspeople pick it up and start singing it in a rising chorus:

I’m here
And I’m fine

Phil knows his future is nothing.

Yet that will not stop him from appreciating this small beauty even if he knows it will not stay with him. Trapped in the groundhog loop, appreciating the tiny moments becomes an act of rebellion, a way of affirming life even when you know this moment too will vanish.

Can you understand that this is depression incarnate?

Which is the other thing that marks this musical. Because I said there was joy, and there is. Because when Andy Karl’s Phil enters the “Philanthropy” section of the musical (get it?), he may not be entirely happy but he is content.

Because he knows that he may not necessarily feel joy at all times, but he has mastered the art of maintenance.

Because tending to the town of Punxatawney is a lot of work. He has to run around changing flat tires, rescuing cats, getting Rita the chili she wanted to try, helping people’s marriages. (And as he notes, “My cardio never seems to stick.”)

When Bill Murray’s Phil helps people, it seems to well up from personal satisfaction. Whereas Andy’s Phil is thrilled helping people, yes, but his kindness means more because it costs him. On some level he is, and will forever be, fundamentally numb.

This isn’t where he wanted to be.

Yet he has vowed to do the best with what he can. He helps the townspeople of Punxatawney because even though it is a constant drain, it makes him feel better than drinking himself senseless in his room. He doesn’t get to have everything he wanted – also see: depression and chronic illness – and it sure would be nice if he could take a few days off, but those days off will make him feel worse.

He’s resigned himself to a lifetime of working harder than he should for results that aren’t as joyous as he wanted.

And that’s okay. Not ideal, but…. okay.

Andy’s okay.

And I think the closest I can replicate that in a non-musical context is another unlikely source – Rick and Morty, where Rick is a suicidal hypergenius scientist who’s basically the Doctor if the Doctor’s psychological ramifications were taken seriously. And he goes to therapy, where a therapist so smart that she’s the only person Rick’s never been able to refute says this to him:

“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.

“You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control.
You chose to come here, you chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.

“I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.

“It’s just work.

“And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.

“Each of us gets to choose.

“That’s our time.”

And yes, Groundhog Day the musical is – was – about that lesson of maintenance, as Andy comes to realize that “feeling good” isn’t a necessary component for self-improvement, and works hard to make the best of a situation where, like my depression, even the best and most perfect day will be reset come the next morning.

And yes. There is a dawn for Andy’s Phil, of course, and he does wake up with Rita, and you get to exit the theater knowing that no matter how bad it gets there will come a joyous dawn and you get to walk out onto Broadway and so does Phil.

But you don’t get to that joy without maintenance.

And you might get trapped again some day. That, too, is depression. That, too, is chronic illness. We don’t know that Phil doesn’t get trapped on February 3rd, or March 10th, or maybe his whole December starts repeating.

But he has the tools now. He knows how to survive until the next dawn.

Maybe you can too.


Anyway. There’s talk that Groundhog Day will go on tour, maybe even with Andy Karl doing the performances. He’s brilliant. Go see him.

The rest of you, man, I hope you find your own Groundhog Day. I saw mine. Twice.

Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s vanished.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

neonvincent: For posts about geekery and general fandom (Shadow Play Girl)
[personal profile] neonvincent

'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each
I report on the five Emmy Awards both "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" have already won as well as the three statuettes "The Handmaid's Tale" earned, all of which put them in the lead for drama series, along with all the rest of the live-action speculative fiction winners, including the first Emmy Awards for "Gotham" and "Marvel's Luke Cage."
The five awards "Westworld" won last week were Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series, Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media Within A Scripted Program, Outstanding Make-up for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour), and Outstanding Special Visual Effects.
"Stranger Things" also won five awards, Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series, Outstanding Main Title Design, Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music, Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.
"The Handmaid's Tale" came in third among drama series with three wins. The dystopian tale won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Alexis Bledel as Ofglen/Emily, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More).
"Gotham" won Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role, the show's first Emmy.
"Marvel's Luke Cage" won Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited Series, or Movie, the show's first Emmy.

'The Handmaid's Tale' sweeps last night of Emmys to win five awards
It went very well for "The Handmaid's Tale," as it won all five of the categories in which it was competing last night. In addition to Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, the show won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
neonvincent: For posts about cats and activities involving uniforms. (Krosp)
[personal profile] neonvincent
'Planet Earth II' wins two Emmy Awards
"Planet Earth II" won two awards at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program for "Islands."

'13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards
"'13th' won for documentary special as well as writing, motion design and original music and lyrics for “The Letter to the Free” by Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. The Netflix documentary, which also collected a Peabody Award and an Oscar nomination this year, led the winners field with four trophies" -- Variety.

The Event

Sep. 16th, 2017 08:53 am
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
I mis-timed seeing the event of the year. Indeed, only by one week. I was just in Southern Illinois, where I spent nearly three decades of my life. Still, schedule didn't coincide with the Big Event.

Indeed, it sounded like the weather did not cooperate anyway.

I am of course, talking about the Elvis balloon

There are plenty of Balloon Fests around the country and I am not sure how the local one compares nationally, but my understanding is that weather hampered the event.

Oh, and there was that other big August Event at the same time- the Total Solar eclipse with the primary spot for viewing as Carbondale, Illinois, and the buzz around the area from Mt Vernon, Illinois to Paducah, Kentucky.

Given I spent so much time in this area, it would have been good to go, but it just didn't happen.

Carbondale has been on a downward economic slide since I lived there in the 90s.  The Eclipse was 2017's biggest saviour, with the hotels and restaurants all filled up.

I heard stories of people renting their backyards at $50 a pop for tents, which seems realistic.  Friends in the area said the traffic was like a Big City after a traffic accident- one car after another.

I looked at the Carbondale schedule and whatever your hobby is (quilting, comic books, etc) there was a place in C'dale to celebrate your interest.  There were bands though disappointing to me, they were Fleetwood Mac, U2 and Metallica cover bands.  I don't expect The Mac or U2 to come to town, but would have liked to seen 'real' bands play.

The biggest event was in the small town of Carterville which landed Ozzy Osbourne

This was a real coup to get Ozzy who has also reunited with Zakk Wylde.  I imagine you have already picked up on the Bark at the Moon reference, but he performed it during the eclipse (get it?).

Initial lineup for the four day festival seemed week, but ended up landing quite a few big names of the genre- Theory of a Deadman, Saliva, Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch, Texas Hippie Coalition

(Also in case you wondered, Bonnie Tyler who also seemed primed to cash in, did so on a Cruise Ship just off the coast of Florida backed by DNCE.  She performed a two minute version of the song.  Just because God and Nature's plan of the eclipse was much shorter in scale than the plans of Jim Steinman, who made Tyler's original song eight minutes long).

In Paducah, a mall owner decided that God's Wonder wasn't enough and that what the two minute Total Eclipse needed was fireworks.  I am not sure how that went over, but he ticked a lot of people off by attempting it.

I was in Central Iowa, far enough away for only a partial eclipse on a very overcast and stormy day, it did get dark but it was hard to determine what was caused by rainclouds and what was the eclipse.  I doubt we had any cattle going to sleep or owls flying or anything like that.

My friends in that prime area of Southern Illinois (or maybe 40 miles north) reported something similar.  Certainly darkness, but twilight darkness not pitch black midnight darkness.

For a Once in the Life time event, everyone is already excited for the April 2024 Total Eclipse which should follow a similar path.

Juggalo March on Washington today

Sep. 16th, 2017 12:14 am
neonvincent: Detroit where the weak are killed and eaten T-shirt design (Detroit)
[personal profile] neonvincent

I've been following ICP's travails with the FBI declaring their fans a gang since 2012 with updates here and here.  Normally, I'd post this at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, but I posted Goodbye, Cassini! today instead.  I might follow up with the results of the march here or at my main blog later.

neonvincent: For general posts about politics not covered by other icons (Uncle V wants you)
[personal profile] neonvincent
Now, I'm done with saving comments -- at least until I fix the laptop.

I was talking about Trump and the election more than tww years ago! )
neonvincent: For general posts about politics not covered by other icons (Uncle V wants you)
[personal profile] neonvincent
One more to go before I have to get the laptop fixed.

Comments I left at Greer's and Kunstler's blogs behind the cut. )
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

As a reminder, I’ll be at Pandemonium Books and Games (which is an awesome store even in the absence of me) at 7:00 tomorrow to read to you, sign whatever you put in front of me, and probably go out for drinks and/or ice cream afterwards.

I hope to see you there! These donuts aren’t gonna eat themselves.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:34 am
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
There are a lot of unique things at the Iowa State fair, and I have pretty much been able to blog them all. Still, I am sure I miss something.

In any case, I know that i have not mentioned Parlor Rollers.

Parlor Rollers are a type of domesticated pigeon that involuntarily rolls across the ground.

The story is that royalty over the years have bred and raced these flightless birds. These continue to be competitions.

Sure, it is easy to mock this Sport of Kings when you have full seasons of Game of Thrones available on your phone, but it was not always that way.


[personal profile] pink_halen on eggs and cages

Sep. 12th, 2017 11:01 am
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[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
It seems that Starbucks is offering sandwiches with Cage Free Egg Whites. Personally, I never keep my egg whites in cages. Usually keeping them in their shells works just fine.

Context is free-range.

Fake plastic trees

Sep. 12th, 2017 08:59 am
neonvincent: Ambassador Vreelak from DS9 (Fake!)
[personal profile] neonvincent

I've been missing from blogging because I've been hospitalized for diabetes and Grave's disease.  I'm home now, but I'm sharing the above photo from the hospital, a courtyard with fake (but beautiful and very convincing) maple trees until I have more to write about my experience.  In the meantime, have a music video.

An instrumental cover of this song is also on the "Westworld" soundtrack, which I might share later as well.

Iowa State Fair: Butter....

Sep. 12th, 2017 07:40 am
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
So each year I post about the Butter Sculpture at the Iowa State Fair.

It's sort of been a who's who of culture and history - Butter Elvis, Star Trek, the Last Supper, Tiger Woods, the moon landing, Snow White, Dr Seuss, John Wayne, Superman and many others.

I didn't see much of anything written about ths year's Butter Sculpture.  Perhaps in the Facebook/Reddit age, things truly have to be bizzare to go viral.

In any case, while it's good to see a salute to literature, Butter Laura Ingalls Wilder doesn't have the same buzz as Butter Spock.

I looked up Wilder, and my initial thought was the Dakotas.  Indeed, you can travel her home and museum in South Dakota.

Wilder did live in Iowa, though not on the Western side, as you might expect, but on the East.  She was born in Wisconsin and she taught on the other side f the Iowa/Wisconsin border.  She also spent a large amount of her life in Missouri, which could stake a claim to her, and as far as I can tell- Kansas, Minnesota, and New York too.

In any case, not a year passes that i don't post something about the butter sculpture, so mark this one in the books.

theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So this fall I’ll be premiering my “You’re Far Away But Your Hearts Are Close” class on running successful long-distance relationships. And to make that work, I gotta ask y’all:

What would you like to see taught in a class about long-distance relationships?

Some of the questions I’m planning on answering to the best of my ability are:

  • How can you tell if someone’s genuine online?
  • What are the best practices for transitioning from an LDR into a “real life” relationship?
  • How do you handle arguments when you’re not able to cuddle and heal properly afterwards?
  • How does New Relationship Energy affect LDRs?
  • What sorts of relationships can LDRs offer?

But the classes I teach are for you (especially if you’re attending The Geeky Kink Event, Beyond The Love, or Indegeo Conception this fall – so I ask you, “What issues with long-distance relationships would you like to see covered in an LDR class?” I can’t promise I’ll bring it up, but in the best case you might inspire an essay or two later on.

So. What sorts of long-distance relationship issues are you curious about?

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

[personal profile] ivy is a stranger in a strange land

Sep. 10th, 2017 05:45 pm
rydra_wong: dreamsheep with spork and "SheepSpork" logo; no, it wouldn't make any more sense if you saw it  (dreamwidth -- sheepspork)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] metaquotes
Everyone was nice to me, but I found it hard to participate in some of the conversations because everyone else there was fluent in Gearhead and I just don't care. It was all

One dude: "How do you like that model BLQ45Z?"
Other dude: "It's got pretty good flang, but the chimping bleederweep doesn't zerbert as well as I like in the corners."
First dude: "I heard that floppykush helps with the zerberting, tried that?"
Third dude: "My next squelch is gonna be a floppykush! Used to have a panpan bleederweep, but you know what they say about those oilsquirms!"
All dudes: [nod sagely and then argue]

Context is locked; QWP.
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
Dastardly & Muttley (2017-) #1Dastardly & Muttley (2017-) #1 by Garth Ennis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dang it. When I saw this on the rack, I knew I was going to end up buying it. Never mind, there surely are other books I am not picking up which are more deserving of my four dollars.

In any case, it's Ennis, and though he hit a post-Preacher slump, he is back on a roll. His comic skewering All Star Six Pack was nothing short of brilliant.

Besides the name must sell enough comics, because I have no idea why D.C. keeps green lighting this kind of stuff. I would love to see D.C. give a bit more work than the once or twice a decade projects they throw to people like Pete Bagge and Evan Dorkin and R Crumb, to name a few.

As you can guess, this s the Dick Dastardly and Muttley of Wacky Races. I think there probably is enough audience to justify a six issue miniseries. Yet, because D.C. cant leave well enough alone, this is some weird story that imagines Muttley as some Morrison-sequel We3 character. Lol wut?

Ok, so Ennis is the go to for WW2 comics and the go to for The Boys type gross out jokes. Mauricet is a worthy heir to Derrick Robertson, Dillon, Pugh and other Ennis collaborators.

I don't really know how to review this, because I am not sure what to make of it. On the positive side, there are enough Ennisims that I feel justfied in my purchase. On the other hand, this seems like a wholly unnecessary comic. It's not a parody. Despite the twists and drugs, it's not really a Vertigo title. For sure, it doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Wacky Racers, despite all the references.

I will throw in the extra star though because Garth Ennis injects his style of humor throughout, and although it's not laugh out loud funny like Six Pack, it is pretty clever.

View all my reviews

The Archaeology Of My Posture

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:36 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Salvatore doesn’t remember me.  I’d lay money on that.  I was merely one of his victims, and probably not the most interesting.

He terrorized an entire middle school, after all.

Salvatore won the adolescence lottery – while the rest of us were still waiting on deliveries of impending hormones, he got his testosterone nice and early, shooting up to six feet tall before he finished sixth grade.  He dwarfed teachers.  And he wore wifebeater shirts to show off his muscular arms and had one deep, bellowing call:


If Salvatore saw you, and you weren’t clutching books protectively to your chest, he would punch you in the chest as hard as he could.

I got hit twice.  All it took.

So I clasped my books against my chest like it was a baby, hunching my entire body around it, as did everyone else around me.  People in the halls scurried, because when Salvatore hollered his call even the teachers mysteriously disappeared.

I’m forty-eight years old.  It has literally been thirty-five years since I had to worry about Salvatore.

But my body has still not unclenched.

I know this because I’m in personal training right now, and they are panicked about my posture.  They point out all the muscles that have atrophied because I am a habitual slumper, the damage I’m doing to my spine.  They give me exercises specifically to strengthen my neck because my head hangs forward.

It’s been a month, and when I walk the dog, it’s now uncomfortable to slump.  I have too many aches in those clusters, so it’s easier to stand straight up with my spine properly aligned.

And I feel like an idiot.

I don’t have some crazy worry that Salvatore will appear out of nowhere and punch me – that’s the sort of simplistic one-to-one bullshit that bad writers think up.  No, Salvatore’s crumbled into a finer sediment.

What I feel when I walk properly straightened is foolish.  Because I grew up in a middle school where, because of Salvatore, “standing straight” was a form of pride.  Few kids stood up straight, and those that did usually got cut down something fierce by Salvatore, or had their own unique middle school qualities that made them unappealing to Salvatore’s form of bullying.

I’m not afraid of standing straight.  It feels preposterous.  I feel like people are staring at this idiot walking by with the puffed-out chest and the straight-ahead vision, this Frankenstein bodybuilder’s swagger, and who the hell does that guy think he is?

Yet when a photo of my recent book signing – which, I should add, I’m doing another one in Boston next week, and in San Francisco the week after – surfaced on Facebook, people didn’t recognize me at first.  “You’re looking a lot younger and you seem to be more comfortable standing,” said a friend who’s known me for a decade.  If people notice the way I’m standing, it’s probably a positive impression.

Yet there’s Salvatore.

And there’s all sorts of other memories churned up by walking properly.  I’m not craning my head down to see my feet, so I can’t see where I’m stepping directly, which makes me anxious because I had issues in gym class that caused me to self-identify as a clumsy kid and oh God I’m going to trip why am I walking like this.  I read while I walked on the way to school, and subconsciously I’m angling myself to read the book – or, now, the phone – that I should be looking at while I bumble along.

(Note that #2 contradicts #1.  The archaeology of my memories do not have to make sense when combined.)

And I’ve never thought about these.  It’s just ancient history silently bending me into another shape.  It’s only once I struggle to break free of this that I see how many influences I’ve quietly absorbed to make me believe that this is how I should be.

And I remember a friend of mine, when I told him, “We’re all controlled in part by subliminal impulses we don’t quite understand” and he said, confidently, “No.  Oh, no.  I know every reason I do everything.”  And I thought, even then, that this was a comforting lie he told himself in order to maintain the illusion that he was a being of pure rationality, because the alternative – that much of what we unconsciously decide is shaped by forces we had no control over – was terrifying to him.

But the truth is, we do have our own archaeologies.  Even something as simple as standing is the sum total of a thousand memories, and a few wrong inputs at the right time can change your position forever.

Imagine how complex it gets when it comes to relationships.  Or sex.  Or sex in relationships.

And that’s not to say that you’re powerless to fight these forces.  You’re only powerless if you deny their existence.  I’ve watched my rational, knows-everything friend make exactly the same mistakes across two divorces now, headed towards a third, in part because he can never see how his unconscious habits are undercutting his stated desires.

I’m not saying I’ll learn to stand properly.  This may be a lifelong battle, as it is with my weight, as it is with my mental health, as it is with my writing.  But it’s another tool I can use to battle back something harmful.

And I keep watch. I wonder what other aspects of myself got concretized without my ever knowing it.

I wonder what parts of me I get to dig up tomorrow and replant.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

On the Shelf 186: Steve Earle

Sep. 8th, 2017 07:23 am
bedsitter23: (Default)
[personal profile] bedsitter23
Steve Earle has released his 16 th album So You Wanna Be an Outlaw.

Earle's career has had three parts. His trailblazing 80s work where he conquered both the rock and country charts, earning the title of the next Springsteen and writing a song that plays in bar jukeboxes every single night "Copperhead Road". His 90s work took it to the next level, with masterpieces of alt-country like "I Feel Alright" and "El Corazon" that defined the genre. His third act has been him doing whatever he pleases with the doors that open with celebrity. He's acted, wrote short stories and novels, hosted radio shows on Air America and Sirius XM. He's done albums of bluegrass, duets, and blues, with journeys into Cajun and World Music.

None* of his post Revolution Starts Now (2004) output is essential, but each record has songs that are. (*- Almost none -The Lost Highway is pretty close to essential, and although I am a minority opinion, I consider his collaboration with Shawn Colvin an essential purchase).

So, you can't blame Earle for doing a straight up "outlaw country" album that imagines he was picking up from 1990's The Hard Way.

Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell have made quite successful careers around the type of music Earle pioneered. Stapleton has crossed over big time into Mainstream Country airplay. Even in the wasteland of country music, Eric Church won a CMA award for album of the year with a record whose title track sounds like it could be on Exit 0, Earle's second disc.

No doubt, if Willie Nelson is the godfather of "Outlaw Country", the extent of the genre and the diehard fans wouldn't exist without Earle.

So, undeniably Earle can write a 'outlaw' record in his sleep and it will be a keeper. It may not bother the pop charts, but it's doing well.

With a critical ear, I must say this is a fun listen. So, it is hard to say, but though Earle can whip up outlaw country tunes in minutes. This sort of feels like that. It's all good, but nothing here that particularly stands out. "Lookin for a Woman" is a single, and it's great but it's pretty basic. Earle's duet with Miranda Lambert (another rare case of a great artist making country chart inroads) and the plaintive "News from Colorado" are beautiful, but like so many songs on this record, he's always done that. "Walkin in Los Angeles" isn't a country version of the Missing Persons song, but it would be a lot cooler if it was. "You Broke My Heart" is a great Hank Williams Sr style song, but pales to its brethren on El Corazon. "If Mama could see me" is a classic Earle song from the guy who wrote classic songs like "Devil's Right Hand" and "I Aint Ever Satisfied".

In short, a terrific record, that for anyone else would be a defining record. I have no real complaints, it's just that Earle has such an amazing body of work, it's impossible to compare. How do you compare songs like these to "Guitar Town" or "Someday" or "Fearless Heart" or any of the hits I mentioned above or anything off "I Feel Alright". You simply can't.

Of note, the title opener, appropriately features the Red headed Stranger guesting. If one was hoping for an all-time classic like "Pancho and Lefty", you're going to be disappointed, but it's still a rollicking fun time to see Willie and Steve record a song together. Big fun.


nykeyoung: The new Captain Marvel, formerly Ms. Marvel. (Default)

It's dangerous to go alone. Take this.

Vampire/Amazon I Editing (Pass 1/3)
1 / 35 chapters

Stand/Fall (V/A book 2)
1,918 / 80,000

Argue With Me
1,120 / 80,000

Humanity: A X-Day Crash Course
74 / 80,000

The World Doesn't Revolve Around You
0 / 80,000

Dios Vu
0 / 80,000

Betrayer/Destroyer (V/A book 3)
163 / 80,000

Reckless/Thoughtless (V/A book 4)
0 / 80,000

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