moon_custafer: (Introverts)
 I didn't make it to any marches yesterday -- didn't want to drag Andrew downtown or leave him alone at home for more than two hours -- but I consoled myself with having made and donated a hat. [personal profile] swan_tower and [personal profile] sovay have posted descriptions of of the marches they attended in San Francisco and Boston.

I am glad to hear most marches were much better-attended than even the planner had anticipated. Several people have commented that it was a relief to realize they were not alone.

Sir Ian McKellen attended the London march holding a sign which was just the "Captain Picard Facepalm" meme (according to him he didn't even bring the sign himself, he got it from someone along the way):

ETA -- [personal profile] dewline has posted a link to pictures of the Ottawa march.
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 Kept waking during the night and thinking "I must remember this," or telling people in my dreams about something that had just happened that I needed to remember. Let's see if I can.

i. I was looking at a shelf of what one might call "esoterica" -- archeological and scholarly publications mixed with neo-Druid and Wiccan books,  Lovecraftian fanfic, and softcore porn with a fantasy veneer. I picked out a graphic novel and noticed that several characters from Dykes to Watch Out For made a cameo appearance on two pages, watching and commenting on the story, but it was in another language so I couldn't tell what they were saying.

ii. I was in another place, looking through a different set of books and papers. These all seemed to be writings by, sometimes about, Amazons, who in the dream were quite definitely a real ancient culture, neither a legend nor a Greek exaggeration of gender roles among the Scythians. They were kind of like the legends, kind of like the DC comics, and kind of neither. I was reading a paper about some love poetry, or possibly tomb inscriptions, it was hard to tell because as I recall thinking, the Amazons were surprisingly gothic. I know the part that struck me as important involved a scarab or other beetle being compared to a tiny skull. I think I needed to tell [personal profile] sovay  about this. I'm sorry it doesn't make as much sense now I'm awake.

iii. Knitting sweaters for cats, who seemed remarkably willing to wear them. This may be the dream version of knitting pussy hats for the Women's Marches against Trump this weekend. In the dream it did seem to be some kind of bulwark against monsters. 
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 Andrew put in the 1982 Nicholas Nickleby. I think we're nearly through disc 2, and it should keep us entertained for a couple more days. It's only my second time watching it. The first time I didn't recognize Newman Noggs as Lord Peter Wimsey (thanks, sovay), and this time out we kept spotting Christopher Ravenscroft as various characters, and realized that bluff Yorkshire farmer John Browdie and slimy Sir Mulberry Hawke are both Bob "Clever girl!" Peck.

I decided to see what Petherbridge as been up to, and was worried to see that he had two strokes a while back while rehearsing Lear, but he seems to have recovered enough to write and act a play about the experience (in part so he had an excuse to do at least some of Lear onstage anyway) and he has a regular blog in which he also shows off his painting skills.

ETA -- I tried to fix the links above but I'm not sure why they don't work.

Petherbridge's blog is here:

sovay's post on NN is here:
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Well, as I mentioned in a comment to a previous entry,  I got a preliminary telephone interview for a job I didn't really want. I hoped this would help me be more confident, but when questioned I pretty much immediately admitted that not only do I not take well to being constantly interrupted by phone calls while I work on other tasks, I think it's generally a bad idea to make the employees doing order entry or other jobs *also* juggle telephone reception because you don't have a full-time receptionist. So, that was the end of the interview. I know I didn't want that job anyway, but I still felt like I screwed up.

Later, I got an email that looked like another job lead, but when "BestLife Financial" asked for ID and my signature on an employee agreement *before* any interview, I decided it looked dodgy. And it was, but it took quite a bit of internet searching to confirm -- they have a pretty elaborate company website that looks superficially legit (afterwards, when I read the copy carefully, the syntax was all a bit off); they appear on a registry of Ontario companies, and their street address shows up on Google Streetview as an office/business plaza. Also, googling the company name didn't turn up any "this is a scam" posts. It wasn't until I ran a search on their phone number that I found the Better Business Bureau's entry on a different company name, but with the same phone line, who seem to have pulled similar tactics. I passed on an update to BBB.

Pleased I caught this, irritated I have to do this much unpaid due diligence.
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An anecdote about a cow breaking into a replica 18th-century bakery has led to a cycle of humorous poems in faux-archaic English:
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I mean, I can look back and reason that I've illustrated three books, spent three years as the in-house graphic designer for a small company, and done freelance illustration/layout work for literally two decades, plus I do have actual recorded training in fine arts and the various Adobe Creative Suite programs -- and still think of myself as faking my way through this with zero qualifications, only getting jobs because the employer was too foolish or stingy to hire a "real" designer.

I know it's probably a terrible idea (see, there I go again), but I'm strongly tempted, next time I land a job interview, to either show up drunk* ; or to tell myself that since I won't get the job anyway, to just treat it as a rehearsal in which nothing I say or do really matters; and see if that can simulate normal human levels of confidence.

*Based on past experience, Drunk Me only registers as noticeably drunk to myself. People who've seen me at parties, please correct me if I'm wrong.
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 Just accidentally discovered the existence of a novel in which 1930s Hollywood is hit with a plague of vampirism; and it's mainly told from the PoV of Oliver Hardy. Unfortunately the novel is in Italian, and the only English version appears to have simply been run through Google Translate, which does add to the weird dreamlike quality, but does nothing for the story's coherence:

The sound played by the orchestra light the dances' fuses. On the waiters' trays glass full of Gimlet and White Lady shined constantly.


Hollywood's most dangerous lips, housed between the nose and the chin of Louella Parsons, acted as the perfect gossip machine they were as soon as she noticed the presence of Mary Pickford, followed by her most gossiped brother, Jack.

"Interesting. Have you noticed her pants suit, Mr. Rock? It's black, a sign of mourning. I've heard from credible sources that our Mary is on the verge of retiring. And what do you say about the absence of her husband? A very bad move to swap him for that spineless brother of hers."


On the eve of her forties, America's former sweetheart had cut her blonde curls and dressed in black. She could be hardly recognized. Above her pale and rouge-touched face, she hid her darkly circled eyes behind a smoked glass. The fluid mess of her movements could have be deemed sensual, if it hadn't been so creepy.

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 Had a job interview today, so now I'm obsessing over all the ways I might have put the interviewers off hiring me. My main worry is that I put my foot in my mouth when they asked me if I'd mind being the only non-immigrant there and I said "well as long as you can tolerate my inability to speak Cantonese or Mandarin we should be fine." 
"We all speak English," replied one of the interviewers, and I thought oh great, now I've inadvertently insulted her language skills. All I can say in my defence is that I was caught off-guard by the question. Later, when my potential boss (Afrikaans) brought up the same query, I did say that I took issue with being referred to as "the real Canadian," and the implication that he and his colleagues weren't. 

Anyway, we shall see.
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 I guess my informal New Year's resolution is to try to stand up for causes I agree with, as least so far as a person can with limited income and a spouse who can't leave the house most days.

I'm among those irritated by Simon and Schuster giving a book-deal to arch-troll Milo Yiannopoulos, and [community profile] thisfinecrew  makes the case that the best way to get a publisher's attention is snail-mail.

Simon & Schuster is already pitching the deal as a blow for freedom of speech, and in any case I often find myself loathe to base an argument on political opinion or even ethics, as the other person may not share mine or even have any. Instead I've decided to try the suggestion that giving a large advance to someone whose previous published work is full of plagiarized lines might not have been the wisest move, and that at the very least the editors are going to have to earn every penny of their paycheques. My printer isn't working, so I hand-wrote it, but that will probably add an extra bit of passive-aggression to the missive. 

To to be mailed out tomorrow when the post offices open, I guess.
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 OMG this is so Hammer-horror-esque.

I commented that the ending of Episode 1 is a pretty good demonstration of what people mean by Cultural Appropriation, in that Namin's family has been faithfully worshipping Sutekh in secret for generations, awaiting his return, and then suddenly some white man swans in saying "I am the servant of Sutekh; he needs no other," and zaps him. Andrew disagrees, though, on the grounds that Scarman was dead/possessed and didn't actually choose to serve Sutekh or usurp Namin. In any case Sutek, being evil and all, would probably consider the injustice to be a bonus.
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 Just testing my ability to post links, italicize etc, as my post the other day didn't cooperate and the raw HTML showed up.

Ok, I think everything's ok now.


Dec. 29th, 2016 08:48 am
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 The Death of LJ gets predicted every couple of years, but <a href="> this news</a>, from [personal profile] siderea  via [personal profile] dewline , is worrying. Time to get back in the habit of posting on Dreamwidth (where I'm also named moon_custafer), and cross-posting to here.
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 The other day I decided to spring for a couples' Royal Ontario Museum membership, so yesterday Andrew and I were able to take in the Tattoo show at the ROM. The ROM's regular exhibits are free on Fridays after 4:30pm, but not the special exhibits. I also admit I fancied the idea of being able to go to the concert in the members' lounge, but as it turns out, it's still a cash bar, and the music was... warblier than I'd been led to expect (they were supposed to be a blues band), so downstairs we went to see the tattoos, which was just as well, since we had just enough time to look at everything before closing time. 

Perhaps the most interesting exhibit was a case of letters from Sailor Jerry to Ed Hardy, discussing their art, Japanese tattooing traditions, also how busy Sailor Jerry was (he also hosted a radio show) and guys he'd worked with in the past. Couldn't help but notice that Sailor Jerry was much more formal in his hand-written letters than his typed ones. Perhaps the typed one was to someone else. It was in all caps and there was a lot of swearing.

"Tattoos" included a lot of new and old photos of people with tattoos, sketches and designs for tattoos, and several displays of body parts cast in silicon from live models, which were then tattooed with original designs commissioned for the show from the best-known tattoo artists working today. There was a touchable sample of the silicon "skin," which felt less realistic than it looked, and looked less realistic as a flat panel than as a body mould. I liked the Russian-Constructivist-influenced arm. The arm with the glow-in-the-dark tattoos in a maze-like design based on a swastika was... eerie. The text noted that the art was inspired by its pre-Nazi use as a positive symbol, but I can see why one would not want it in ink visible under normal circumstances.

An hour or so later I saw a post about the Razzouk family's tattoo shop, whose sign reads "since 1300," though I believe the hard documentation only goes back to 1600, and said "I think they were in that exhibit I just saw."

Next time, we check out the exhibit on bishonen in Japanese art.

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 Years ago, I had one of those dreams where you remember your house has one or more extra rooms you never use. In this case, I was in another neighbourhood, at night and in the rain, and suddenly remembered I had another apartment nearby where I could stay the night.

I can't picture the place in any detail, but the architecture and decor were sort of 1930s-40s Modernist, with a melancholy yet comforting vibe. Recently it occurred to me it was like the Thorne Rooms' California Hallway, and also like some of Paul R. William's work. I think at the time I also identified it with the Hotel Central, Belem, described in the intro to Daisann McLane's Cheap Hotels.

I've never managed to conjure it up again, but when I can't sleep, I remind myself I own an Art Deco flat in my dreams.
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 My co-worker's musical tastes are pretty eclectic, and despite being twenty-two she occasionally puts on Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again." I assume the 'again' part refers to his hit the year before with "The Twist," but it always strikes me as slightly weird that the song evokes nostalgia for... the previous summer.

I suppose a year *is* a long time in the music business, or when you're a teenager, or if something terrible has happened in the meantime (see: most of 2016). But the cheery tone of  "Let's Twist Again" doesn't really fit any of those scenarios. It's not "Let's twist again, like we did last summer, before you broke my heart," or " "Let's twist again, like we did last summer, before that bus crash killed the whole pep squad."

Come to think of it, both of those could have been hits in the early 'sixties, but they're not really in the same musical genre.
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More vintage-mystery news: a few days ago I finally located some of H.C. Bailey's Reggie Fortune stories online -- the first collection, as it happens. Apparently the character appeared in around eighty stories, but all I've ever been able to find in hard copy is one short story in an anthology many years ago, and a reprinted novel (Black Land, White Land) some time in the past decade. I've finally been able to read a sizeable chunk of the stuff, and I'm not sure just how to describe it.

Mr. Fortune (a doctor who keeps getting consulted by the police, often to his annoyance) is usually described, when the stories are remembered at all these days, as a Lord Peter Wimsey knock-off, usually by people who hate Wimsey. I don't see the resemblance myself, except that he speaks in the odd slang of a certain type of 1920s upper-class character. YMMV, but for me this dialect is sufficiently removed in time that I can view it as period detail rather than an annoying affectation (casual racism is pretty much a given for this period, though the character who keeps being described as "the little Jew" becomes a trusted ally, and almost everyone lower-class or flamboyantly foreign turns out to have been wrongly suspected, which makes me wonder if Bailey was deliberately subverting cliche, or if I just got lucky in this collection).

Fortune's age in the first story is given as thirty-five. He is interested in wide variety of subjects; two that frequently come up are the theatre, and archeology. He is frequently described as neat and placid, almost too much so; he claims to have no imagination. Under his bland surface, he's got a rather fierce passion for justice. He doesn't put it into words until the novella that concludes the collection, but by that point we've seen him kill the murderer himself in one story, and possibly in a second one. Without being supernatural, there's something faintly numinous about the stories which escalates as they go on; by the last one in the book, Fortune is up against a killer he suspects is both methodical and profoundly unhinged, yet somehow the creepiest section is that in which he examines the victim's flat, a set of rooms curiously devoid of personality. There is a motive, but someone else must bring it forward to conclude the tale.
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More often than not, when I try to recall and write down my dreams, it's a process of piecing together and imposing some kind of narrative on what was, at the time, a collection of drifting, looping images.

Last night, I was visiting an animation/game studio, founded many years before by two British doctors; presumably they already had had a good grasp of character anatomy. One of them was my friend Fiona's father (who is a doctor in real life, though afaik he has no interest in video games.) The other doctor was named Dudley Manlove. The name seemed familiar when I woke, and I googled it to find out that my subconscious had seen fit to name someone after a bit player from Plan 9 from Outer Space.
At the studio, I watched as various RC craft were flown and filmed for reference. Also they gave me a game which consisted of a bunch of tubes of scent -- the aim was to identify the studio staff by smell. Both of the founders apparently smelled like cough drops, but not the same brand.
Also (and this didn't really fit into the setting), a snake kept darting out of a tree and biting my hand. Luckily it was non-venomous.

Later, I had an appointment to visit a super villain HQ. The atmosphere was very similar to the games company. The doorman told me it was a great place to work, and cheerily assured me that the woman I'd come to see probably wouldn't kill me. For some reason I was putting on an elaborate early-1950s New Look getup. Another visitor barged ahead of me in line, a young man who I think was trying to join up. He kept gong on about how everyone was jealous and afraid of him. I woke up before I could see if the doorman was rolling his eyes at this like I was.
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Forgot to write this one up this morning:

I was watching/reading a series about a school. The plots tended towards the fantastic but in varying degrees -- frex, one episode might involve some students becoming haunted after having remixed a hospital recording of a heartbeat into the music for a school dance; another episode might just be about a bake sale.

"I can't tell what decade this is set in," I said at one point. The technology and social mores seemed contemporary, but there were occasional touches that suggested the 1970s or earlier.

Just before I woke, the story involved one of the teachers, a chubby blond man who basically looked like a human version of Desk Sergeant Clawhauser from Zootopia, going through some historical-research notes. He was in a bar, after work, and another guy kept trying to flirt with him but he just kept going on about the importance of comparing primary sources. I think he even used the word epistemology.
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 Andrew recently acquired a copy of <i>Just Imagine</i> (1930), a movie he last saw in 1980, the years it is set. I can see why he's always going on about it - This movie feels like the perfect early-'Thirties movie: Singing! Dancing! Rockets! Art Deco sets! Comedy Swedish accents! Women in extremely pre-Code costumes! Props and FX scenes that would be re-used in every SF movie or serial for at least a decade afterwards! Cocktails in pill form! 
As the first sound SF film, it's..... kind of a cross between <i>Metropolis</i> and a Marx Brothers comedy, with maybe a bit of <i><a href="">The Bedbug</a></i>. Single-O/Ole Petersen (El Brendel) is a man revived from a state of suspended animation that was somehow induced by a lightning strike in 1930. El Brendel's Swedish-immigrant schtick ought to be annoying, but somehow, maybe through sheer goofy good humour, it works. Unfazed by his situation, he is befriended  by J-21(John Garrick) and RT-42 (Frank Albertson), who want to appeal the Marriage Tribunal's refusal to let J-21 marry LN-18 (Maureen O'Sullivan). Somehow this leads to the three of them going to Mars, where the natives are friendly but all have evil twins. No, I don't get it either. There is a drinking song on a dirigible. This movie may have been filmed especially for <lj user="sovay" />.
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 Woke up very achy this morning, emailed work that I was taking a sick day, and at present am feeling better enough that as usually happens, I'm feeling a bit guilty about not having gone in.

Meanwhile, I've been searching Project Gutenburg for things to read: Monday evening and Tuesday during breaks I read one of Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver mysteries, <I>The Key</I>; it's definitely a cosy, but Miss Silver is saved from being a mere knockoff of Miss Marple by the detail of being a full-time professional private detective. She makes her living at it. Previously she was a governess, and it's implied she can win over middle- and upper-class witnesses by reminding them of their childhood nannies, and working-class ones by coming off as the sort of not-quite-gentry, not-quite-commoner who has the inside track on gossip while "not being the sort you have to mind your Ps and Qs with." I suspect she also plays a bit older than she actually is.

This afternoon, by contrast I read Charles Williams' <I>The Place of the Lion.</I> Felt rather stupid for not guessing Williams was one of the Inklings until I looked him up afterwards. True, he wrote it before he met Lewis or joined his circle, but when a book's genre is described as "theological thriller" and the premise involves a breach in reality unleashing Platonic forms on a small prewar English village, where they run around absorbing/possessing people and things, it's a bit of a giveaway. Need to think about this one for a bit, but there's a half-dozen or so by the same author waiting to be read.


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