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Sep. 18th, 2011

"Know also, O prince, that in those selfsame days that Conan the Cimmerian did stalk the Hyborian Kingdoms, one of the few swords worthy to cross with his was that of Red Sonja, warrior woman out of majestic Hyrkania. Forced to flee her homeland and because she spurned the advances of a king and slew him instead, she rode west across the Turanian Steppes and into the shadowed mists of legendry."

-the Nemedian Chronicles

Red Sonja currently belongs to Dynamite Entertainment, but for a brief time in the seventies, when Marvel was working on its swords and sorcery line with Conan, she had a few short lived series detailing her adventures in a chain mail bikini. And I loved her.Collapse )

Art Dump

Finished out another Sketch book this week. Got to go buy a new one. My sketch books used to be full of a lot complete pieces, but since I do most all finishing things on the computer these days, my sketch books are sad piles of pencil and scritch and scratch.

I do lot of comics still. It's kind of like journaling, or trying to force my life into a narrative, or view it through the lens of comedy. I know there are healthier ways to express oneself or work through issues, but they're also worse methods. The comics below are actually the less personal ones.

Comics, Doodles, LineartCollapse )

Dear livejournal, I am sad you are dead. I always wonder how far away friends are actually doing when reading short, curt facebook messages.

Hope all who read this are well.
As an experiment this year I decided to keep track of all the books I read from January to December. Typically I'm a voracious reader, but I kept a list this year in the hope keeping track of what I'd read would make me diversify my reading material.

Total: 33
Fiction: 27
Non Fiction: 6
Re-reads: 9
Given to me by AceOfSpaces: 4
Crime/Mystery: 2
Fantasy/SF: 13 (bit iffy on some of these)
Youth Fiction: 7 (also iffy on some of these, Earthsea Cycle YF?)
* Recommended



Silver Metal Lover -- Tanith Lee (Whatever. I love this book. Fuck off)
*Alchemy of Stone -- Ekaterina Sedia (Steampunk! Not perfect, but wonderfully twisted. Hannah and I actually got to meet the author at the Steampunk World Expo we went too)
*Bonk: The Strange Coupling of Science and Sex -- Mary Roach
The Torment of Others -- Val McDermid
Pandora's Star -- Peter F Hamilton (I like me my space opera thousand pagers)
*Ballad of the Sad Cafe -- Carson McCullers
Black Water -- Joyce Carol Oates
*Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas -- David Rains Wallace ( the evolutionary history land vertebrates who become marine and the strange paleontologists who hunt for their fossiles as told in the context of the West Coast of North America. This book was a wonderful read when missing CA.)
Beneath the Bleeding -- Val McDermid
Comet in Moominland -- by Tove Jansson
*The Red Pony -- John Steinbeck (I never read this as a kid. I fucking love Steinbeck)
The Screwtape Letters -- C.S. Lewis
*Call of the Wild -- Jack London (Never read this as a kid. It was amazing. If you haven't read it, you should)
She Who Must be Obeyed -- H.R. Haggard (I made Hannah read Victorian Fantasy/Science Fiction/Adventure Romance!)
*Nation -- Terry Pratchett
Tale of the Body Thief -- Anne Rice (I'm slowly making my way through the Vampire Chronicles again. Lestat, I still love you!)
The Speed of Dark -- Elizabeth Moon
*House of Leaves -- Mark Z Danielwski (This gets more and more pretentious every time I read it, and I STILL love it)
Last Chance to See -- Douglas Adams
Other Worlds: Space, Superspace, and the Quantum Universe -- Paul Davies
Calenture -- Storm Constantine
A Wizard of Earthsea -- Ursula K Le Guin
The Turn of the Screw -- Henry James (recommended by Tyler)
Listen to the Nightingale -- Rumer Godden
*The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay -- Michael Chabon (I LOVED THIS BOOK. SO MUCH.)
*Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith -- Jon Krakauer
*Confederacy of Dunces -- John Kennedy Toole
Secret Books of Paradys I: Book of the Damned -- Tanith Lee
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- John Berendt
Tombs of Atuan -- Ursula K LeGuin
The Graveyard Book -- Niel Gaiman
A Plague Doves -- Louise Erdrich
Fever of the Bone -- Val McDermid
Judas Unchained -- Peter F Hamilton (haven't finished this one yet, but I will by the end of the month. I <3 thousand page space opera sequels.)

I tried several times this year to read some classic lit (Middle March, Tess of the d'Ubervilles) and absolutely failed because I am a bad person. I've gotten into the very bad habit of watching TV before I go to sleep instead of reading. I'm trying to break out of it. Stupid laptop and Netflix streaming...

Hannah and I tried to get a book club going this year, from coast to coast, but it didn't take off. I'm very sad about this. :( :( :( Am I guilting any body who reads this into trying again?

A few themes this year were rereads of children's book that I had read or that I had missed, a strong bio bent from Hannah, and Southern Grotesque/Gothic. There was also an essence of place. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay took place in NYC, where I spent a lot of time this year. Confederacy of Dunces is a novel or New Orleans, where I also ended up this year for Jazz Fest. I'm currently trying to make my way through the Earthsea Cycle and go back and reread all the Vampire Chronicles (or at least until they get really bad).

Major books on my list for next year are The Hunger Games for trashy fantasy, Love in the Time of Cholera because I really should have read it a long time ago, and The Grapes of Wrath and Wuthering Heights for Classic Lit. Also want to read more Jon Krakuer and Paul Davies.

Recommendations are always welcome!

Ugly Green Fabric

My Grandmother turned ninety six this year, and has decided after living by herself for almost twenty years, she's finally ready. Moving her into an assisted living home has been a slow process. She found a place she liked near my mother (right in Santa Monica) and has been waiting for a space to open up. She's been methodically choosing what she can take with her, giving away special things to friends and family, and selling off what she has left. This year at Thanksgiving, she offered me a quilt that had been given to her for her wedding shower, made by her sister and my great aunt Gladys. I offered to take it, but didn't get a chance to really look at it until she had left.

Unfolding it revealed a pattern of pink and white, dotted by these olive green lilies that my Grandmother mentioned she had added years later.

"Oh damn it's that ugly green again," my mother noticed.

Photobucket

A long time ago, somewhere in the sixties and early seventies, my Grandmother owned a fabric store, Stichin' Time, in Northridge, CA. It never made a lot of money, and simply paid for itself. Both my mother and my aunt worked at the store during their High School and College years.

My Grandmother was getting tired of running it when a freak fire broke out somewhere on the block and the smoke wound it's way into the store and ruined all the fabric in stock. The store was well insured, so my grandmother received a ton of money and decided to close the store for good. She had one last sale selling off all the damaged fabric for hugely discounted prices. My grandmother managed to sell most of it off, and what she couldn't sell, she kept.

What you have to understand about my grandmother is that she grew up in Oklahoma during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. She watched all five older siblings go to college, but after the Depression hit, her parents had no money left for her. Instead of college, she moved to Oklahoma City to work as a secretary and met my Grandfather.

She's the kind of lady who meticulously budgets, counts coupons, and never spends a dime more than she has to.

What she was never able to sell from the left over fabric store, she has kept for years and years: for example, this particular ugly green fabric.

It has showed up on and off through out my life. She made me a couple childhood dresses with it, which are lost to time or the attic.

It showed up in the trappings of my dollhouse furniture she helped me make.

Photobucket

I spotted it in the wall hanging she made for my mother. My mother always stipulates everything her mother makes something for her to please not use that green fabric, but my grandmother just never seems to hear.

Photobucket

I found it in my mother's seventies skirt.

Photobucket

I've joked with my mother that as she's helping my grandmother trim down a life's worth of accumulated stuff, she's finally going to be able to get rid of that roll of ugly green fabric.

I think my Mom will probably choose to keep it.
One of my friends recently stated she 'just wanted to move in with a bunch of artists in flat in LA', and I had to stop myself from saying something derogatory, such has, "Well, then who'd pay the rent?"

Because I've been to Boston lately, and I read Amanda Palmer's and Neil Gaiman's on a weekly basis, I've been thinking a lot about the definition of art.

Palmer's the kind of musician blogger that loves to state she's making art. She often ends blog posts declaring she going to make art (!) in a defiant sort of way, thumbing her nose at society. I like Palmer's music, and I've been listening to all my old Dresden Doll CDs since their reunion tour. But I'd hesitate to call it art. Hell, even if I was making money selling music, or comics, paintings, or whatever, I'd hesitate to my own stuff art. I feel that's a very audacious way to view oneself, like some one else has to declare your work art in order for it to really be art.

I understand a lot of people view art as self expression, but what stops Palmer's music from being 'great' to me, is that her lyrics are always totally about herself, her own problems, adventures, and thoughts. It's personal, which does give it an extra intense punch, but also makes it superficial. If she were ever to turn away from that, and some how transcend her own self involvement, I might consider her music art. For me, an artist takes personal views and experiences and translates them for an audience so they can feel the artist's point of view. The artist inflicts their emotions on others through artistic expression, making their personal point of view momentarily universal. Or something.

Does stripping down to your bra and stockings on stage with 'LOVE' printed across your chest in sharpie count and singing about a Coin Operated Boy count as art? Or a gimmick? Does confessing your own personal woes in rhyme make it a decent poem?

Art shouldn't be about you, it should be about everybody else.

And although I enjoy Palmer's music, I'm really just tired of her lyrics bitching about how screwed up she is when she has this amazing life cavorting about the world with one of my favorite writers as her fiancee.

Perhaps I'm just very bitter, and really want to move into an artist's loft in LA :)

Jun. 23rd, 2010

I bitch a lot about how there aren't any TV shows that have kickass women. Gone are the days of Buffy, Xena, and Scully. Now we have Sookie Stackhouse, Miley Cyrus, and House Wives (Desperate or Reality).

And of course, being hypocritical me, I never watched Joss Whedon's Dollhouse when it aired.

A friend of mine recently lent me the entire series, and I ended up MARATHONING THE HELL OUT OF IT. Yes it starts off slow, and sure they Dollhouse setting is so outlandish it's distracting, but MAN i got hooked about at about episode five. I was sucked into the secrets hidden in every character, the looming figures of Rossum and Alpha, and I'm impressed how they took the technology and FUCKING RAN WITH IT.

SPOILERS!Collapse )
Tonight I went to go see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with a friend of mine. During the movie the main character is brutally raped, and the entire audience, including my friend, stiffened, turned away, and gasped. Me too. I kept expecting the camera to cut away, like in American Films, but instead the director of the movie chose to depict it clearly, if not graphically.

Why is it that we can watch people being horrifically murdered, tortured, and mutilated, but watching a a woman (or man) get raped is absolutely unbearable? Is it because death and pain happen to every one? Because death is inevitable, it can be funny? Or is it that rape personifies the true forcing of another, taking away every ounce of free will, and leaving them to suffer the psychological consequences? Having the victim walk away knowing the assaulter did exactly has he/she pleased, and they had no power to stop it? Perhaps victimization is what makes is so hard to watch.

Any way, in the movie, the girl has actually managed to record the whole assault, and comes back later to taser him, tie him up, anally rape him with a dildo, and tattoo "I AM A RAPIST AND SICK SADIST" on his stomach.

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