Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I didn't actually get a whole lot of work done last night. Being ahead of schedule made me feel like knocking off early and having some fun! So I, er, signed onto Second Life and sorted my inventory. Here's Toubanua as a Japanese school girl;

Then I talked to Dragoness on the phone and she analysed my Marilyn Monroe on a cruise ship dream from Sunday. Let's see what she makes of to-day's;

On a ship again, this time a tanker that'd been converted into a cruise ship. It was night, but the sky was cloudless and the sea was calm. All of the passengers were beautiful teenage girls in white bedclothes who were soon running and screaming through the ship's passageways as some mysterious terror began killing them off, one by one, and also somehow flooded deck after deck. I got up on deck with some girls who were fleeing, and we looked desperately about for some crewmen who could help. There was no illumination on deck; all the lights were off, and I was a little worried about tripping over equipment or running afoul of the beast. But we seemed to be in New York Harbour, and the lights of the buildings surrounded us.

We saw Robert Englund at a vending machine, in a well lit area just under the deck, looking pretty much as he did in the clips from Zombie Strippers I saw on Roeper and Phillips*. He was no help; he just laughed at us. But while we were trying to talk to him, the monster had apparently shown up on deck and was already being restrained by the captain and his men. I had this impression of the captain being a really great man. He looked a little like Joel Hodgson in a thick white turtleneck sweater. The monster turned out to be a giant tarantula and he shot it dead.

*Yes, I'm calling it that already. I must say, though, Michael Phillips is easily the best of all the guest critics and I'm glad they seem to've settled on him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Turns out the paper I thought was due to-day was in fact due Thursday. Not only that, but the reading I thought had to be done to-day had also been not only pushed back, but reduced. So I suddenly find myself way ahead of schedule.

I certainly can't say I mind having read the first three acts of William Congreve's The Way of the World, which I absolutely adored. But I spent so much time reading and working on my paper yesterday, I had absolutely no time to work on my project. So I'm itching to get at it now. So I will.

Incidentally, the thing I find most amusing about the sinister naked back of Miley Cyrus controversy is that no one sees her father's cameo in Mulholland Drive as a breech of this so-called "goodliness" and "godliness" brand. Billy Ray can be in a David Lynch movie as an adulterer, but Miley shows her back and she's the whore of Babylon? Short-sightedness? Double-standards? You'll find every obnoxious ingredient when closely examining this soup.
I finished my paper on King Lear last night, which is good, since it's due to-day. I'm pretty happy with it, though it ended up being four pages instead five. Here it is, for the curious rash monarchs, exasperated fools, and exiled daughters out there;


Substance and void are the thematic poles of William Shakespeare’s King Lear. In the absence of discernable order in the universe, truth is the only source of worthwhile substance in life and enlightenment is intrinsically valuable. The opposite of truth, therefore, is the absence of substance; nothing. The further characters stray from truth, the closer they are to nothing. Artifice in the play is an agent for both truth and void, at times communicating truth, while at other times obscuring it. But the unjust ends met by most of the characters demonstrate that salvation does not go beyond truth in the absence of a benevolent god.

“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for sport,” says Gloucester in Act 4. It’s little wonder; having had his eyes gouged out because of his illegitimate son’s treachery, the earl also must live with the knowledge that, for his folly, Edgar, his legitimate heir, has been banished. But the statement reflects much more of the play’s content than that; Lear loses everything for simply misjudging his daughters, Cordelia loses first her home and then her life simply for speaking the truth, and Edmund is denied legitimate claims to inheritance simply for having been born to a woman who was not married to his father. “Wherefore should I stand in the plague of custom,” says Edmund in Act 1, “and permit the curiosity of nations to deprive me, for that I am some twelve or fourteen moonshines lag of a brother? Why bastard? Wherefore base? When my dimensions are as well compact, my mind as generous and my shape as true as honest madam’s issue?” Though Edmund’s actions later prove his nature to be cruel and selfish, no rational mind can dispute this argument, particularly in light of the fact that it’s two of Lear’s quite legitimate daughters who blight his existence throughout the play.

So, there is tragedy evident in Edgar’s statement at the end of the play before he vanquishes Edmund; “The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us,” referring to the circumstances of Edmund’s birth. One might do well to recall a famous line from Julius Caesar, an earlier of Shakespeare’s plays; “The fault . . . is not in our stars but in ourselves.” This is the lesson Edgar misses by attempting to simplify complex and amoral reality into a battle of good versus evil, and here one might perceive Shakespeare illuminating the folly of contemporary inheritance traditions. That, in this case, Edgar was in the right does not prove the rule any more than Cordelia’s fate proves that honesty is bad. All that it proves is that the universe of King Lear does not reciprocate in proportion to what one deserves, and triumph does not imply lessons learned.

Attempts to communicate or reveal truth are both frustrated and enhanced by filtered perspectives. When Lear asks Cordelia to describe the greatness of her love for him after the manner of her sisters, Cordelia replies, “Good my lord, You have begot me, bred me, loved me; I return those duties back as are right fit, obey you, love you, and most honour you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say they love you all? Haply, when I wed, that lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry half my love with him, half my care and duty.” Respect for her father will not allow Cordelia to speak to him with the hollow flattery demonstrated by her sisters, but this is lost on Lear. His perspective is filtered by his insecurity prompted by the impending distance of his daughters and station. “I loved her most, and thought to set my rest on her kind nursery,” says Lear of Cordelia, as though by her words it was she who was forsaking him. In fact, her statement, while less grandiose than her sisters’, did express love and devotion. Lear is brazenly contradicting the evident reality of just moments before for the inertia of his wrath. He runs on emotion without reflection, prompting his daughter Goneril to implore that he, “make use of that good wisdom whereof I know you are fraught, and put away these dispositions, that of late transform you from what you rightly are.”

Lear asks his men who he is if not Lear, to which his Fool replies that he is, “Lear’s shadow.” An appropriate appellation, as Lear’s behaviour seems to spring from an insubstantial, illusory personality. Again, Lear achieves that which he had previously ascribed to Cordelia. When she said she had “nothing” to say, he replied “Nothing will come of nothing.” So it is with Lear, as he proceeds on the spur of self-deception, on the stimulus of nothing that he construes as something, he finds himself without a roof over his head, without his most beloved companions, with nothing.

Yet, Shakespeare takes time to note that salvation may be achieved through deception or obfuscation, the most vivid example being Edgar’s prevention of his father’s suicide. Edgar describes to the blind Gloucester a creature leading him to the cliff’s edge, saying “his eyes were two full moons; he had a thousand noses, horns whelked and waved like the enraged sea: it was some fiend.” This fanciful, monstrous description is like a story, and perhaps one might here observe Shakespeare promoting the potential for enlightenment through artifice or art.

A plain, physical curtailing of the senses is ascribed value, too, as the very fact of Gloucester’s blindness is conveyed as an occasion for his enlightenment. “Your eyes are in a heavy case,” Lear says to him, “your purse in a light. Yet you see how this world goes.” To which Gloucester replies, “I see it feelingly.”

The final line of the play is one of Edgar’s and it encapsulates well the thesis of the work; “The weight of this sad time we must obey; speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” If Edmund had been honest about his unhappiness in his position, things may have been different. Edmund’s behaviour may have been different if Gloucester had not abused him at the beginning of the play, despite not feeling any particular hatred for him. Cordelia’s fate might have been prevented if Lear had treated her in a manner reflecting the love he felt for her.

Edgar’s line concludes; “The oldest hath borne most; we that are young shall never see so much, nor live so long.” Even though Lear has learned from his errors, Cordelia still dies because of them. There is no god meting out appropriate rewards and punishment, so one needs to make valuable the finite amount of time one has.

Artifice through language or disguise might be seen broadly as the circumstance of human communication, and is not inherently good or evil. Illusion is merely a tool to reach truth or oblivion. Justice or injustice is conveyed by human action without assistance or hindrance from gods, so gods cannot be depended upon to deliver humans from misfortune. Each person has only the span of his or her lifetime to effect what he or she will, so King Lear is a plea for independent consideration of justice and well-being, and an argument against moral negligence and irrationality.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I got about halfway through my paper last night, which was only something like 500 words. And I didn't have to write the play it's about. Like I said; cakewalk.

I also worked on my project and caught the new episode of Code Geass, which was even better than the last one. And I watched the newly fan-subbed Zoku Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, the twelfth episode. Just one more before the end of the season and I'll be left in despair.

I told Dragoness I'd post the episode that introduces Kaere Kimura, the blonde student. It's the third episode of the first season and it also introduces Maria, the illegal immigrant girl. According to Wikipedia*, this episode is, "a pastiche of parodies about foreigners and Japanese attitudes concerning them." I love the layering of meta that a "pastiche of parodies" implies, though I'm pretty sure this episode is simply a parody. I suppose a pastiche of a parody might be an opera based on Spaceballs? Maybe Spamalot? Anyway, here's the episode;

Yesterday I dreamt I was on a cruise ship, far out at sea at a night with flashing blue storm clouds and wind pushing the big ship about. Marilyn Monroe was leaning over a railing and her head fell off to get caught in a spider web of rigging stretched across a curiously obtuse slope of hull. Some guys in rain slickers nearby shrugged and said they'd reattach her head when we put into to port before continuing their conversation, but I couldn't help feeling concerned. I wasn't convinced Marilyn would be fixed simply by reattaching her head, but I figured if there was even a chance, it'd have to be done soon. So I carefully started climbing down the rigging, but I woke up before I reached Marilyn's head.

Now I'm off to do stuff . . .

*Is Wikipedia "Wikipaedia" in Britain?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Short on time to-day and I need to work on that paper for class. Five pages, double spaced, open ended subject. I've decided on King Lear. This'll be a cakewalk. But a time consuming cakewalk.

I was going to leave you with an episode of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei that relates to something Dragoness and I were talking about last night, but I see I already posted it a couple days ago. Instead, here's episode 11 of the first season;

Saturday, April 26, 2008

'Well, this is grand!' said Alice. 'I never expected I should be a Queen so soon--and I'll tell you what it is, your majesty,' she went on in a severe tone (she was always rather fond of scolding herself), 'it'll never do for you to be lolling about on the grass like that! Queens have to be dignified, you know!'

So she got up and walked about--rather stiffly just at first, as she was afraid that the crown might come off: but she comforted herself with the thought that there was nobody to see her, 'and if I really am a Queen,' she said as she sat down again, 'I shall be able to manage it quite well in time.'

Everything was happening so oddly that she didn't feel a bit surprised at finding the Red Queen and the White Queen sitting close to her, one on each side: she would have liked very much to ask them how they came there, but she feared it would not be quite civil. However, there would be no harm, she thought, in asking if the game was over. 'Please, would you tell me--' she began, looking timidly at the Red Queen.

'Speak when you're spoken to!' The Queen sharply interrupted her.

'But if everybody obeyed that rule,' said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, 'and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for
you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so that--'

'Ridiculous!' cried the Queen. 'Why, don't you see, child--' here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation. 'What do you mean by "If you really are a Queen"? What right have you to call yourself so? You can't be a Queen, you know, till you've passed the proper examination. And the sooner we begin it, the better.'

'I only said "if"!' poor Alice pleaded in a piteous tone.

The two Queens looked at each other, and the Red Queen remarked, with a little shudder, 'She
says she only said "if"--'

'But she said a great deal more than that!' the White Queen moaned, wringing her hands. 'Oh, ever so much more than that!'

'So you did, you know,' the Red Queen said to Alice. 'Always speak the truth--think before you speak--and write it down afterwards.'

'I'm sure I didn't mean--' Alice was beginning, but the Red Queen interrupted her impatiently.

'That's just what I complain of! You
should have meant! What do you suppose is the use of child without any meaning? Even a joke should have some meaning--and a child's more important than a joke, I hope. You couldn't deny that, even if you tried with both hands.'

'I don't deny things with my
hands,' Alice objected.

'Nobody said you did,' said the Red Queen. 'I said you couldn't if you tried.'

'She's in that state of mind,' said the White Queen, 'that she wants to deny
something--only she doesn't know what to deny!'

'A nasty, vicious temper,' the Red Queen remarked; and then there was an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two.

The Red Queen broke the silence by saying to the White Queen, 'I invite you to Alice's dinner-party this afternoon.'

The White Queen smiled feebly, and said 'And I invite

'I didn't know I was to have a party at all,' said Alice; 'but if there is to be one, I think
I ought to invite the guests.'

'We gave you the opportunity of doing it,' the Red Queen remarked: 'but I daresay you've not had many lessons in manners yet?'

'Manners are not taught in lessons,' said Alice. 'Lessons teach you to do sums, and things of that sort.'
I think it's kind of a miracle I got anything done yesterday. I wrote around 800 words, and I think I only got that much because I'm really excited about the section I'm working on. The narrative temporarily went from text-booky, at arms length ("x travelled to y from z in order to circumvent the edict by x2. 100 years later, b would lead to the recollection of y, but l was now o. This upset q.") to good, old fashioned POV oriented prose ("j sent one of his men off to i the d. But as he did so, he spotted what looked like an o. He tensed, gave a quick glance to his h, wondering if he looked nervous to the younger w. 'Find some j for the a, will you?' he tried to say casually.").

But my sleep was cut short yesterday, and I just didn't feel up to spec. I woke up an hour early for no apparent reason, and then some guys showed up to install a new refrigerator. So I went to Tim's to play Oblivion for a couple hours. But after midnight, I just gave in to Second Life for five hours. I went to see if I could find Natalie's sculptures--I couldn't, but it was a very nice looking area that Natalie had pointed me to. Then I ended up playing strip chess with Dragoness; both she and Toubanua ended up naked, Toubanua a little faster because she was wearing five items to the Dragoness's eight. I won the chess game, but it was a long battle. Afterwards, the two ladies were among, unless I miss my count, seven naked or semi-naked women dancing in a scene extremely reminiscent of The Wicker Man. It was rather nice to be able to show off Toubanua's Fluers skin. Afterwards, there was boot shopping, and eerily floating boot bits.

I finally tore myself away from Second Life (partly it was Dragoness insisting that I at last eat a meal) to have a lunch/dinner mega mix of two bagels with pesto and sun dried tomatoes. This was good.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Among the changes on the college campus I've noticed is that there are a lot of trees missing. To-day I noticed the absence of one by the theatre building I remember looking at while listening to Sylvia Plath read her "On the Difficulty of Conjuring Up a Dryad" on my discman. Looks like it just got even harder, Sylvia.

It seems I got a 92 on the last in-class midterm. An improvement over the 87 of the last one, which goes to show, I think, it helps when you don't run out of time in mid-sentence. I still have the five page paper to write, and I'm almost a little disappointed because I seem to be on a real roll with my project right now. There're gorgon doodles in my notebook.

I also read John Dryden and Alexander Pope at Denny's for two hours last night. Just a nice, relaxing read like I haven't had in a while. Alexander Pope is quickly becoming one of my heroes.

Apparently, yesterday my comics gained a bunch of new readers from the place in Second Life where I go to play chess. Welcome. I hope you enjoy the things.
I just made my third attempt to read a story Sonya posted in her blog yesterday. I can't get past the first couple sentences. It was the same way the last time one of her stories appeared in Sirenia Digest. Sense and meaning fade under big sadness and confusion. I guess I still miss her. Every now and then, I think about e-mailing her again, but then I remember what happened the last five times I tried that. And it's not like I like her less now, so it's not likely she'll want to talk to me more. She'd probably call the cops or something. Or whoever you call for e-mails, which I guess is no-one, if all the e-mails from Nigerian princes signify anything. But I refuse to be spam. Fucking hell.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I suppose anyone who reads my blog who might've wanted to buy a Caitlin R. Kiernan book would've done so already, so I'm not sure what good this'll do. I guess it's just my way of reaffirming to the universe that I like Caitlin R. Kiernan. Some fine examples of her books are;

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

To-day, the Tales of Pain and Wonder is especially succulent.

I'm short on time now, so I'll just leave you with episode 12 of Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei;

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A massive headache that came from nowhere (except possibly the soy corn dogs, perpetual cup of coffee, and the mysterious Japanese iced tea) made me somewhat less than useful last night for working on my project. Fortunately, I got a leg up on it to-day when I showed up early for class and wrote a bit in my notebook.

The gorgon I mentioned showed up a lot sooner than I expected. It's the first character who's going to be in the comic who's shown up in the history, which is exciting. For me, anyway. I decided she's going to be a half-gorgon, though, instead of doing some wishy-washy take on mythology that says gorgons can turn their stone-making ability on and off. I'm not sure how it'll work yet with the half-gorgon, but I don't want it to be entirely voluntary.

"But, wait!" you may now be saying. "If your gorgons turn to stone any human who looks at them, then how did the half-gorgon's parents, you know. Snake up the head?" Well, I didn't say the other half was human, now, did I?

I was somewhat disappointed that there was no class discussion to-day about The Rape of the Lock and Jonathon Swift's A Modest Proposal (the other assigned reading). Instead, the whole class went across campus to watch readings of student plays, all of which were terrible. From the play about a guy who's in a new relationship, to the one about . . . gods, I have to stop, it's too depressing. It reminded me of when I was an editor on the school literary magazine. I don't really want to get into details. But so many of these works . . . if I had one thing to say to these authors, one message I'd very earnestly hope they'd take to heart, it would be, "THERE'S MORE TO LIFE THAN THAT."

Monday, April 21, 2008

That's from the newly fan-subbed Zoku Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, which I downloaded yesterday. I loved the colours.

Apparently the episode was partly a parody of an old Japanese murder mystery movie which I really wish I could track down. I couldn't even figure out what the title was--the Zetsubo Sensei episode has the title of "Twelve Dark Despair Women", but searching for variations on the title yielded nothing.

I also watched Throne of Blood last night and hung out with Dragoness a little while, all after getting a lot done on my project. I started earlier in the day than usual, which is I guess how I did it. And, for class, I read Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, which I absolutely adored, especially after reading Paradise Lost.

I'm a little short on time to-night since, while I was out grocery shopping, I decided on the spur of the moment to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was good, though not nearly as good as everyone's making it out to be. Still, it used a Smiths song, which made me happy. I also liked how the movie has no heroes or villains. Even the complete scumbag guy has complexity.

Anyway, my stomach's screaming for lunch.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I tried to watch a movie last night, but couldn't because I couldn't get my mind off my project. I really like how the current section's shaping up. I had an incredibly weird idea for it last night that made me giggle out loud. I was all kinds of undignified.

I played two games of chess and lost twice. Then I read Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland before going to sleep. I have absolutely no excuse to be reading this book with all the other books I have that I've never read before. Four or five years ago, I had a pocket sized copy of both Alice books I carried with me everywhere. It's hard to estimate how many times I've read the book. In the past decade, I think the Alice books and The Bell Jar are about the only books I've read multiple times.

Well, actually, I think I read On the Road twice. Which reminds me, I still need to get the new uncensored version . . .

I see I actually have a lot of reading to do for class on Tuesday. I wish I was a faster reader. I mean, one of those fast readers who can actually enjoy what they're reading while they're speeding through it. I guess that's why the bulk of my island of fiction sustenance is television and movies.

I downloaded the newly fan-subbed Code Geass to-day. The episode aired in Japan last night, but I felt slightly impatient when I saw the download was going to take at least a whole twenty five minutes, jeopardising the possibility that I could watch it while eating breakfast. Fortunately, oatmeal takes a long time to eat.

And it was worth the wait--it was probably the best episode since the fifth before last of the first season. Lelouch satisfyingly outsmarted a bunch of people, which is a big part of the fun of the series. And I'm beginning to suspect more and more that one of the characters that went missing at the end of last season got a sex change and is actually one of the new characters of this season. Which is an improvement for this character on so many levels.

For a series that's ostensibly shonen (for boys), I'm noticing more and more shojo (for girls) attributes. Not just pretty guys, but slight hints of homosexual love between them. Either the people running the show have gotten very ambitious about the demographics they want to net, or they're simply pushing the envelope for fun. I like it, in any case. I just hope nothing really stupid happens, like at the end of last season.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More productive last night. I worked for a couple hours, but the best progress occurred within a few minutes where I organised the items I want to write for this section. I seem to be learning the rhythm of this thing, which is handy.

Still waiting for a 75 dollar refund from Comic-Con since they charged me twice for my registration. It's been four days since I received a receipt for the refund after I e-mailed them to explain I'd been charged twice. It's a really lucky thing I'd had some extra money in my account since I got the distinct impression the Comic-Con registration people are not willing to accept responsibility for the error and probably wouldn't have reimbursed my over-draught charges. But now I'm sitting here with 10 dollars in an account that ought to have 85. Which I find somewhat irksome. I suppose this might mean they've snail mailed me the refund in check form.

Yet I'm still looking forward to the Con ("Sounds like you've already been the recipient of a con, Sets." Very funny, Other Part of My Brain).

So I didn't go onto Second Life until after 2am. I played one game of chess (I lost), and then Dragoness very kindly gave Toubanua same dresses, which she modelled for her. Here are my two favourites;

"I'm sure I ca'n't be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh, she knows such a very little! Besides, she's she, and I'm I, and--oh dear, how puzzling it all is!"

Seems I learned a lesson about cheerfully grinning and neatly spreading claws. The stockings came with some nice knickers and both were actually part of another outfit from Dragoness. The shoes I already had, though I forget where I got them. They have a colour changing script that actually works very well.

A bit of a Marilyn Monroe dress. It's one of the few miniskirts/dresses I've really liked. They usually have glitch pants (for when the skirt moves through the legs) that look basically like shorts. Which just makes me think she might as well be wearing shorts. The picture was taken in Ingenue's main shop, where I got the hair. The shoes are from Maitreya which, along with enkythings, is easily my favourite place for shoes.
The fourth episode of the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. I'd forgotten how good it was;

Friday, April 18, 2008

I pretty much completely slacked off after class yesterday. I played four games of chess in Second Life. I only lost once, which surprised no-one more than me.

I guess it's been a while since I've really shown off Toubanua here. Here's an outfit I put together last night;

There's not enough snow in Second Life.

This is the first outfit I've put together where I really like this particular hair, but it's very nice hair. I got it at a place called Detour. I rather like how the outfit is simultaneously elegant and playful.

The skirt and the sweater are from two different Japanese shops. I really love this outfit, and Toubanua would probably wear it more if the skirt folded properly when she sat down. There's supposedly a fix for that--an animation override called "skirt flow" I saw when I didn't have enough money for it. I logged out with Toubanua standing right next to the place to buy it, only, when I logged back in with money, someone had torn the building down. Thwarted.

The second jockey outfit I've purchased. I honestly don't know why. One of these days, I'll get around to buying a horse.

Nothing much else to say at this moment. Take it away, coffee.

Oh; here's Lewis Carroll for poetry month;

All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
Our wanderings to guide.

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?

Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict to "begin it"--
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
"There will be nonsense in it"--
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.

Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast--
And half believe it true.

And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
"The rest next time"--"It is next time!"
The happy voices cry.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out--
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.

Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Well, I think I did much better on this mid term than the last one. At least I didn't run out of time in mid-sentence like last time. I was much less ambitious, just basically dryly regurgitating facts. Also, I think part of my problem last time was that I tried to do two drafts. This time, I simply made do with scribbled out words and sentence structures that aren't as polished as I'd like.

I love my computer.

And David Lynch. And puppy dogs, and candy clouds, and tulips. I'm just a love machine. And I love machines.

And I love Caitlin R. Kiernan books. Here; they'll teach you how to love, too*;

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

I see Caitlin liked Enchanted for reasons similar to mine. As she says, "Amy Adams gives an absolutely toe-curlingly creepy performance as a cartoon princess come to life." Which is true, I think. Giselle actually reminded me of Travis Bickle, like Enchanted could have been a Mulholland Drive-ish fantasy of his.

*Setsuled is misleading you! But they are good books. -- Ultra Director

I love you, David Lynch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Just about any scene from that movie is amazing by itself.

Anyway, I'm wearing my contact lenses now for the first time in forever and the monitor is huge. Or I suppose the glasses made everything smaller . . . I can't believe it's after 6pm already. There were guys on the roof to-day pounding loudly so I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. This probably ought to worry me since I have to study for the second mid-term (yes, you read that right) of my British Literature class to-morrow. Yet it does not worry me at all.

I finally watched the Final Cut of Blade Runner last night. Without a doubt, this is the best version of the film. Most of the changes Scott made were so seamless I didn't notice them, except to perceive just a general improvement to the flow of the movie. I know there's new footage of Joanna Cassidy in there, but damned if I could spot it.

Maybe it's my imagination, but I felt like Deckard's guilt over killing replicants came across a lot stronger in this version. Which I think is an excellent change.

I'd better cut this short as I have a lot of errands to run. I ran out of both oatmeal and coffee at the same time to-day, which is sort of convenient.

Anyone who says stalkers aren't cute has never seen Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei;

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Registered for Comic-Con yesterday. Gods, I can't wait. I suppose I ought to've registered even earlier . . . Now, of course, I'm feeling the fire under me even more to get this new comic underway. I think I'm even going to register a new domain name for it.

I lost at chess last night, which, oddly enough, doesn't seem to hurt my pride in the slightest. Maybe I've just grown up more than I think I have. I remember almost losing my grip on sanity when my cousin beat me in Street Fighter 2 when I was a kid. Now I'm honestly just happy to be here. Maybe it was disgust at my own behaviour that has led me to feel such an utter and fundamental contempt for competitiveness.

But then again, the girl I was playing against, Akiko, has a rep for being nigh unbeatable. She got my queen in something she referred to as a "knight fork", which I wouldn't know from a salad fork. As I said to Dragoness the other day, "The illusion of forethought is my specialty."

I didn't watch anything last night. I meant to, but I got sucked into editing a big chunk of my project. I find the greatest difficult in writing 20 words, but surprising ease in turning 20 into 1000. I guess I'm a nester, not a hunter.

Maybe I ought to think of the project as a whole as a nest expanding like a pool of ink. I guess I'd better get to it . . .

Monday, April 14, 2008

The new season of Code Geass has started and I watched the second episode this morning. The really amazing thing about this is that I'm able to see these episodes so quickly--the raw videos have been available for download a day after broadcast on Japanese television, and, the day after that, it's already fan-subbed. And people do it for free. Meanwhile, distributors in the U.S. charge almost thirty dollars for DVDs of four episodes, usually a year after the episodes have premiered in Japan. The first season of Code Geass will premiere on Adult Swim later this month with the usual abysmal English dub. There is so much wising up that needs to happen.

So far, I must say the new season is a little disappointing. One distinctly senses the writers furiously treading water. Which is pretty much how the last three or four episodes of the first season felt. It's not terribly surprising--the writers kind of wrote themselves into a corner. For those who don't know, Code Geass takes place in an alternate universe where Britain won the American Revolutionary War, and eventually expanded its empire to Japan, where the show takes place. The lead character of the series, Lelouch, is a dispossessed British prince who becomes a masked terrorist named Zero who leads a group of Japanese revolutionaries/terrorists. Lelouch's friend, Suzaku, is a young Japanese man who manages to become one of Britain's most valuable soldiers. So the series sets up a set of nice conflicts to play with; should the government be reformed from inside, or should it be violently overthrown? What considerations do the old friends owe each other when they're on opposite sides?

The problem that arose later in the series was that everyone started agreeing. The writers were following logic, and making everyone likeable, and unfortunately logic and open-mindedness led to peace. So they had to drop in one of the silliest, most irritating deus ex machines I've ever seen. Since then, the show seems to mainly be absurd squabbling. Yet I can't stop watching. Maybe I just love the CLAMP character designs too much.

More chess last night. I won again, though I'm pretty sure it was more dumb luck than strategy. I feel like I need to learn how predict at least eight moves ahead. Don't put me in charge of the revolution.
Because I've been on kind of a nostalgia kick lately, I downloaded every episode of The Real Ghostbusters. I loved it when I was kid, but I'm finding all the episodes so far seem practically new--I have no memory of them. And they're surprisingly good. Call me crazy, but I sort of think this show was Buffy before Buffy.

Anyway, here's the first episode to be written by J. Michael Straczynski;

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I got the new special edition DVD of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen last night. I'm looking forward to hearing Terry Gilliam's commentary track--his are always particularly good.

I watched the movie last night and I love it, but I can't help feeling sad watching it for a lot of reasons. For one thing, I think if one could point to a single movie to explain Gilliam's troubles with the Hollywood studios, it would be this extremely expensive box office flop. Which is sad not only because it's a good movie, but because it's a very sweet movie. It's about wanting to entertain this little girl and show her how stories and the fantastic ideas on the other side of existence make reality wonderful. And that's all the movie wanted to be; a great time, with the works. There's something fundamentally sad about audiences rejecting that.

It also makes me sort of sad because one might look at the movie as Brazil from further inside Sam Lowry's head. Somehow, seeing less of what you might presume is the bureaucratic nightmare reality actually makes it seem a lot more horrible. But that could be blamed entirely on my own imagination.

I'm spending a little birthday money, but not much, since I want to save a lot for Comic-Con. Not just for the Con admittance, but also for some bound books of my comics to give away at the Con from somewhere like Yep, I'm still trying. One of these days I'm going to figure out whether the gods like me or hate me for putting Comic-Con on my doorstep.

But, I did also finally buy the new Blade Runner DVD last night. Very much looking forward to watching it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I was really on a tear last night. After midnight, somehow all I wanted to do was work on my project, and I finally had to pull myself away. I wrote over two thousand words.

Anyway. I have several appointments to keep to-day. I thought I might post something from the novel I wrote about Nesuko T'Kreth before Boschen and Nesuko. There was a long, particularly bleak segment of this new project I did a couple weeks ago that reminded me of a large section of that novel. Chapters 38 through 51 (of 92 chapters) were entirely devoted to Nesuko living by herself on her home planet, Naeh’Beng, after a crashed Zai'Pi ship had leaked perfume, killing everyone except Nesuko (because of her weird physiology). I tried very hard to convey an impression of someone completely losing touch with a solidly defined reality; I came up with titles for each chapter of the section before writing any of them, wrote them on slips of paper, mixed them in my hat and wrote them in the resulting order. And the narrative never refers to Nesuko by name for the section.

I still think the novel's mainly not very well written. But I don't mind this section so much. I remember chapter 47 as being the most difficult chapter to write of the whole novel. So here it is;

Learning to Cook, Eating Ashes

Although she had made it a point to leave it open, she found the door was shut when she had dragged the futon up the stairs to it.

She stood there, looking at that woodsy beige painted door in the corridor that was as dimly and yellowly lit as all the other corridors in all the flats in the city were, and she puzzled over this unforeseen circumstance.

In a moment, it came to her that the door was on a slightly angled hinge that shut it automatically after a few seconds—she even remembered it doing so when she had first been up here to inspect the flat.

But the moment of confusion had been enough time for the futon to fall onto the floor from her fingers—which had been struck nerveless by the tiny thrill of excitement . . .

With a sigh, she grasped the knob and lifted the futon at the same time, and then made her way in.

In stark contrast to the corridor outside, the room was a pure white—from ceiling to walls to carpet. The sound of the futon being dragged across the carpet echoed softly throughout the flat that was devoid of furniture—as the door shut behind her, it created a miniature thunderclap.

This was the largest flat she had yet decided to live in and, in addition to this expansive living room, there were two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one of which was located in one of the bedrooms), and a kitchen.

She took the futon into the bedroom that had the bathroom and a good view of the street three storeys below and laid it next to the wall opposite the doorway, between the window wall and the wall with the bathroom door. Then she lay down on top of it. And, as she happened to be dressed in black flannel pyjamas, very nearly fell asleep.

But instead she just laid there, in the bright, sunlit white room, and found herself thinking about the kitchen.

With the now sharp, dreamlike focus brought on by having rested for several moments, she stood up. And, feeling the luxurious virgin carpet yielding under her bare toes, she walked to the kitchen.

It was a somewhat thin rectangular room with clean (except for the pervasive dust) white counters at hip height starting to the left of the doorway, to run along all the walls, except the one to the right of the doorway, which held a built-in pantry with caramel wood doors.

The counters were littered with all sorts of interesting devises used for cooking.

She recognised a few of them, such as the behyuen, the klellye, and the microwave. But there were a lot more that she did not recognise.

Timidly, she fingered a long, hook-shaped metal tube that protruded from the centre of a white plastic box-shaped device. By tugging slightly on the tube, she found that the device was actually fastened to the counter.

Next to this, there was a smooth round metal cavity, about one foot in diameter. At its centre was a black metal disk.

There was a small white knob outside and to the left of the cavity—she twisted it.

A small blue flame appeared, wreathing the black disk.

“Hmm.” She switched the dial off.

She smiled, feeling vaguely excited.

The only food she ate anymore was the food that grew in the mall—all the food at the grocery store and the restaurants elsewhere had long since spoilt or been appropriated by animals.

If she was going to attempt to cook something, she should have to get her ingredients from the mall.

So later that day, just as the sun was setting, she returned to the flat with her arms wrapped around a big paper bag. Inside there were scones, chwemiks, lollipops, menii snakes, okuisiis, cookies, and other such things.

Setting the bag carefully down on the floor, and leaning it against a counter, she removed from it, after a moment’s deliberation, a scone and a gelled sweiimep.

Holding one in each hand, she paused to consider what she would do with them.

Her eyes ran along the white door cupboards that were affixed to the walls above the counters.

Placing her two chosen items on an empty patch of counter (having dusted the counter earlier with an old shirt) she inspected the cupboards’ contents.

She selected a certain wide, black round pan for her purposes. First setting this on another empty spot on the counter, she then slowly lowered the sweiimep into it, allowing it to coil down onto the metal surface, forming a spiral. Then she held the scone above the pan and crushed it so that the crumbs sprinkled down onto the pan, and also onto the sweiimep, where they stuck to the gelled surface.

She took the pan by its thin, rubber-sleeved handle, and placed it on the black disk at the centre of the cavity she had noticed earlier. She switched on the flame.

Nothing happened.

But now she could hear the faint hissing of an active flame. Sighing, she leaned back against the opposite counter, and waited.

For about five minutes, an anticipatory excitement sustained her. But after that, boredom and impatience set in, and she began to fidget.

A minute later, a terrific flame quite suddenly flared up from the pan.

She yelped and jumped as the room was now more illuminated by a pillar of blue and white fire than by the weak little fluorescents on the ceiling.

She was paralysed for a moment, caught in her astonishment. But then she rushed foreword and reached broadly around to switch off the dial.

To her vast relief, the flame immediately vanished.

As her eyes accustomed themselves to the room’s regular illumination, though, she beheld what remained within her pan.


Just dark grey little flakes spread evenly throughout the pan, not even in any way retaining the shape of what she had just put in.

Her fists clenched and she trembled slightly, angry. She grasped the handle—then yanked her hand back as the sudden pain assaulted her palm and fingers. She cradled her throbbing hand against her chest, struck senseless by the burn.

But then, once her hand had healed a moment later, she took the old shirt with which she had dusted the counter and used it as a mitt to take up the pan. Then she sat down on the floor with it. She gazed at it.

There was a bit of smoke in the air, and it bothered her eyes so that they began to tear up a bit.

Then she felt confused—she was not sure if this was a sensation provoked by the smoke, or if she was actually crying. Her jaw trembled.

An hour or so passed while she contemplated the ashes, feeling lost and somehow betrayed—she could not say by what.

But then, as she realised that the ashes had by now cooled, she began tracing her fingertips idly through them and decided to eat them anyway.

Taking up as much as she could in one hand, she shoved the portion into her mouth. She worked her jaw as if chewing, but in reality the flakes tumbled about elusively between her teeth.

Meanwhile she allowed her tongue to mull over that dry, dangerous feeling flavour.

Hours later, her stomach would feel very bad. Yet she would be very taken—and somehow pleased—by how appropriate a stomach ache it was.

Friday, April 11, 2008

So now I'm 29. Oh, well.

Last night I went to play chess again in Second Life, but the Lady of the chess land I go to invited me to attend some kind of geisha show, so I went and watched three pretty girls in kimonos recite Japanese poetry and stories. It was pretty nice.

I also watched Ugetsu again, and of course there was more work on the Thing. Class discussion on Paradise Lost yesterday revolved around the concept of free will and how it's treated in Books 1 and 2, a topic of discussion for which I was clearly, I think to everyone, over-prepared to discuss.

Anyway. Still feeling a bit washed out to-day.

I hate sauerkraut
That's all I'm really tryin' to say
And, by the way, if one day you happen to wake up
And find yourself in an existential quandary
Full of loathing and self-doubt
And wracked with the pain and isolation of your pitiful meaningless existence
At least you can take a small bit of comfort in knowing that
Somewhere out there in this crazy mixed-up universe of ours
There's still a little place called

--"Weird Al" Yankovic

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wow. I do not feel well. I was halfway back from the mall when I suddenly realised I needed a bathroom, STAT. I don't think you want the details, but let's just say it's going to be a long time before I look fondly on pomegranates again.

Chess in Second Life again last night (hi, Dragoness, if you're reading). I won this time, which was nice and Dragoness was a worthy opponent. It's so nice to be playing chess again, and I can feel actually it's helping my mind's elasticity. Well, I think so. Death and Spock play chess, so it has to be smart.

I had two dreams to-day, both of which ended with me winning Led Zeppelin tickets. The first one was me in command of a Star Destroyer, and I won a desperate battle against another capital ship by manoeuvring it into a black hole. The Empire awarded me with Led Zeppelin tickets.

In the second dream, I was lost at night in a marsh that reappears in my dreams often. I found my car, and picked up a hitch hiker on a dark road. He ended up being an employee of a radio station, and I won Led Zeppelin tickets for being the sort of person who picks up hitchhikers.

I worry a lot about Caitlin these days. I probably shouldn't, but there it is. Please buy some of her books. They're good for you;

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Tales of Pain and Wonder
One of the things I love about Wikipedia's infinite ranks of editors is coming across articles wherein each sentence seems to be politely coughing at the previous sentence, as in the article on flails as weapons;

The flail is a medieval weapon made of one (or more) weights attached to a handle with a hinge or chain. There is some disagreement over the names for this weapon; the terms "morning star", and even "mace" are variously applied, though these are used to describe other weapons, which are very different in usage from a weapon with a hinge or chain, commonly used in Europe from the 13th century to the 15th century. In construction, the morning star and flail have similar, if not identical, spiked heads. Thus, morning star is an acceptable name for this weapon, especially as the name "flail" is also used to describe a style of whip used for flagellation.

The term "morning star" actually refers to the head of a weapon[citation needed] (the small round spiked ball) and can be used for either a morning star mace (on a shaft) or flail (if on a chain). Flails also sometimes had blunt round heads or flanges like a mace. Some written records point to small rings attached to chains on a flail used to inflict greater damage, but no historical examples are known to exist.[citation needed]

I can just picture the geeky kids (I knew several of exactly the type!) who'd been referring to the spike ball tipped flail as a morning star all their lives now spitting up their Fritos in indignation.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I've downloaded all "Weird Al" Yankovic albums. Lately I'd been missing the ones I sold in high school--he was all I listened to in high school, other than movie soundtracks. The first CD I ever owned was Alapalooza. This may explain why I'm an emotionally stunted person to this day. On the other hand, I loved being a teenager, which is something most people can't say.

There's an incredible amount of information about Yankovic in Wikipedia. In the article for Running with Scissors, I learned that "Yankovic often includes the number 27 somewhere in his songs, videos, album art, and memorabilia. For example, he wears a 27 on the cover of this album, and 27 photos are included in the photo gallery on the "Weird Al" Yankovic Live! DVD. This trademark began as several coincidental appearances of the number, but Yankovic began intentionally using it after the original incidents were pointed out to him." I wonder if this was the inspiration for the lame Joel Schumacher movie no-one saw.

Yesterday I wrote a bit, but stopped an hour early again. I also went to bed an hour early, though, so maybe the ruckus lately is just altering my daily patterns.

I hung out in Second Life a little while. I put together a new look mostly from things I already had--only the pumps are new. I think I like them, but I'm sort of wondering if there's a pair of ankle boots out there that would work better;

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

One thing I miss about working on Boschen and Nesuko was having very clearly defined workdays. I knew that after doing a page a day--drawing, inking, colouring--I'd done what I needed for my deadline. And after my deadline, I knew I had a couple days off. In the current stage of my new project, though, it's a bit vague. Although I command myself to work until 2 or 2:30am, life too easily undulates, and when I stopped at 1am, I couldn't help feeling slightly guilty, even though I actually got a lot done yesterday.

I wrote a verifiable thousand words on the history, moved some things around, read a lot about nymphs (that certainly didn't feel like work), and finished reading Book 2 of Paradise Lost, which was wonderful. With this myth and history making I'm doing, I doubt I'll ever be able to make a pancake stack of repulsive psychological metaphor as marvellous as Sin.

To-day, there was more noise about the house, but I somehow managed to get seven hours of sleep. I showed up to class about an hour early and wrote in my notebook a large section of history I'd thought of back in December. I tend analyse a lot of my work as I go, and this item was a rather crucial point in what seemed to be one of my big recurring themes on this thing. And I'd actually almost forgotten about it until the natural course of things just led me right back to it to-day.

I'm excited to type it up and expand on it. I still fully intend to write about Lost Highway at some point, but I don't know when I will have time with so much on my plate.

I suppose this calls for some more Toubanua pictures;

Beware of the hippie pirate with the clove cigarette!

This was some kind of haunted mine. A bit Alice in Wonderland-ish.

The mine shaft opened into some kind of subterranean harbour. This was one of the pirate ships docked there--the lighting was great.

This outfit is slightly juvenile for Toubanua, but it was only 150 Lindens for an extremely high quality item. She's only wearing parts of it in the picture--there's also a bolero and gloves. The corset's separate and so are the sleeves and skirt, allowing for more customisation. And every component comes in two colours--it really is quite a lot for the price. I got it, along with a couple other nice things (some of them free) at Bare Rose HQ, a place with tremendous lag but so worth the slog.

Yes, this was my favourite show when it was on the air. I wanted to grow up to be just like this guy.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Well, that wasn't so bad--I got almost seven hours of sleep before the racket started.

I think I exploited the temporary presence of my brain well last night. Lots of reading, and I consolidated another big article, and moved an historical event to much later on the timeline. I stopped just after 2am, logged onto Second Life briefly, and quit after feeling a little bored. I considered maybe making a third account just to see how well I could get by with all the freebies I know about now, but instead I just played some Knights of the Old Republic II for an hour. So far, that game's a massive improvement over its predecessor in terms of writing. And I love the system of influence on the NPCs.

I'm kind of curious to see how useful I'll be to myself to-day. There may be more later . . .
Some Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei clips. I've downloaded fansubs of episodes 5 through 9, but no-one's put them on YouTube for some reason.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's National Poetry Month, so I thought I'd put my newfound knowledge of iambs to the test and write a sonnet in iambic pentameter. Anyone with better knowledge of poetry than me who spots mistakes I made, I'd appreciate it if you pointed them out to me.

Hate is Just Like a Faucet, It Turns Off and On

Your gut wound gift was old and overlooked
It will kill us yet but its humdrum now.
I've already heard your reason mistook
For wit; it's just the language of a row.
I've been told a man has no worth until
His hard work has won at least one Oscar.
I would be unable to pay one bill,
Though, before I would like for another
Paul Haggis to win for a film like
So why should we rate each other like that?
No, we're too smart for it, it's just we're rash.
We just war for the wound, our absent cat.
Relax, I've only phantom ire for you
Darling, we've both got better things to do

The title's a reference to a line from "Fine and Mellow" by Billie Holiday, a far more eloquent composition than what I've done here.

Looks like I'm not going to get much sleep to-morrow either, so I'd better take advantage of my brain while I can.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Unbelievably sleepy right now. I got slightly under four hours of sleep before people showed up to bang around the house. I'm a slinky down the stairs to-day. I think I'll just go to Tim's and play Oblivion or something. Well, it is Caturday.

It's kind of quiet out there. I hope everyone's okay.

From David Lynch's Industrial Symphony No. 1;

If you want to see the whole Symphony, I made a playlist for it here (why the fellow who uploaded the videos didn't simply put them in a playlist, I have no idea).

How have I never seen this? I feel like someone's just pointed out to me I'd been skipping L through Q whenever I recited the alphabet.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I stopped doing my thing at around 2:30am when I hit a spot where I was going to have to start thinking about mining again, a subject I'd already covered somewhat with another nation. But last night was a lot of good, solid progress. I also reorganised a lot of the information into a more reader friendly format--putting together a lot of notes into something closer to a long prose narrative.

And the word count? I forget the exact number, but it's just over 10,100. Which at first doesn't seem like much since I've been working on it since December, but then one factors in all the occasions when I had reason to stop working on the thing, all the articles that aren't part of this main narrative, and so on. Well, still, I'd like to be further along.

I think I'll do one of those Progress Reports Elizabeth Bear does;

Progress for 4/5 April 2008

New words: Dunno. Five hundred? Mostly last night was research. Wish I could find my copy of Plato's Republic.
Deadline: June. I guess.
Reason for stopping: My brain told me to.
Sustenance: Plain oatmeal, microwave pizza, microwave Thai peanut noodles, Peabody Award Winning Spicy Sweet Chilli Doritos, spaghetti noodles onto which I dumped alfredo sauce, coffee, coke, chai tea, absinthe.
Exercise: Walked up the hill to class because I won't buy a parking permit.
Leagues to Lothlorien: 689 (sounds so much better than it would in miles).
Words Word doesn't know: Junglefowl, mouflon.

Looks like I need to read Books 1 and 2 of Paradise Lost before Tuesday as well. These next four days are going to be epic!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I have to be at class pretty soon, so this'll be a quickie.

I spent most of last night reading and plotting about agriculture and deciding what crops certain peoples would have and when. And I'm wondering if I'm over thinking this. Mostly, I just wish I was a lot more patient than I am.

In case anyone's wondering, according to my best estimate, you won't see the comic until June. Sigh.

I have to be at class pretty soon, so this'll be a quickie.

I spent most of last night reading and plotting about agriculture and deciding what crops certain peoples would have and when. And I'm wondering if I'm over thinking this. Mostly, I just wish I was a lot more patient than I am.

In case anyone's wondering, according to my best estimate, you won't see the comic until June. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Hey, man," says Toubanua. "Give peace a chance." She also wants to know if you'd like to buy some grass.

I did spare an hour for Second Life last night. I worked until around 2am, wondering why I felt like I was shoving progress through Martian styrofoam, and I remembered I'd only gotten four hours of sleep on Tuesday. So I wrapped things up and went grocery shopping.

To-day, I finished downloading the Maison Ikkoku television series. I'd been looking for it forever, but no one seemed to care enough about it to upload it. But I finally managed to download all 96 episodes.

I loved the manga. Judging by the first episode, the television series is inferior, mostly due to the director's really awful sense of timing. But otherwise, it's incredibly faithful to the manga, so there were moments when it shined. Hopefully, either the director gets replaced or gets better in later episodes.

The series was supposedly extremely popular in its 1986-1988 Japanese run, so it must have done something right.

It's time to post another Morrissey video;

So I guess he prefers Barack Obama? I see Morrissey finally has an official web site, featuring a video for "That's How People Grow Up". It's the first time I've heard the studio version of the song--I can't wait for the new album to come out. Tony Visconti's producing again, too.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I think I have a few things to say about Lost Highway after all, but I don't know if I'll have time in the next few weeks. But I did make time to watch it last night and, gods, how I love that movie. I know I'm well in the minority on this, but this is a movie I've watched many, many times and I've never gotten sick of it.

The DVD image is the most beautifully clear I've seen this movie (which reminds me of the irony that it's only just now getting released on DVD as DVDs are on the precipice of being phased out by blu-ray)(yes, I've pre-emptively lower-cased "blue-ray". Suck it, corporations), but the sound could be better. The opening song, "I'm Deranged", by David Bowie, immediately sounded slightly muted to me, though maybe it's because I'm used to blasting it in my car. Anyway, one of the things I've loved slightly more than I've hated about the movie is its quiet, particularly at the beginning. This is not a movie to be watched while people are doing things in the next room, or while there's a clock ticking on your wall, and please, shut your fucking trap for two hours, because this is a silence you need to let settle on you like a cloud. Fred Madison's stiflingly poor communication skills that makes him imagine his wife's skipping out on him extravagantly, and also probably makes his wife skip out on him extravagantly (it hardly matters whether or not she did, though I suspect she did. I think she stayed with Fred out of pity). But it's the quiet that also means the loud bits are going to be really loud, and you know David Lynch did that on purpose. So resist the urge to grab the volume controls on the remote. Let the neighbours bark like Jack the dog.

Jack's the name of the dog who plays the neighbour dog that supposedly wakes Renee up early in the film. Yes, of the thousands of times I've watched the movie, I can't remember a time I didn't sit through the credits.

Anyway, yeah, maybe this weekend I'll have time to say all I want to say about this movie. Where is all the time going? I didn't even have time to drink last night--I believe this is the first time I watched the movie since I started drinking, so I was able to appreciate for the first time Fred gulping down those two, neat, double scotches. Wow, Fred, wow.

To-day, I read the new Sirenia Digest, which contains a sequel to H.P. Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model" called "Pickman's Other Model". Caitlin's work is rife with Lovecraft influence, so it's not a surprise, I suppose, that she can write an actual sequel to one of his stories like a duck takes to water. It's one of the fullest feeling single pieces the Digest has featured in a while. It has a beautiful layering of details, of reality conceptions. Aesthetically, paintings of ghouls, a silent movie vamp, and a bizarre cult murder go together well, and they serve the concept, familiar to readers of Kiernan, of certain truths or aspects of reality being too horrible to acknowledge, let alone discuss. I have to say, I sort of wish this had been a longer piece for which she'd had more time to flesh out. But, then, maybe it's better to see the piece as part of her larger mythology as well as Lovecraft's, both of which it is.

So, now I'd better go on to the next thing on my agenda, which I see is . . . dinner. Hey, that's not so bad . . .

Gods, has Jon Stewart aged, like, three hundred years, or what?