March 25th

Mar. 25th, 2017 12:57 pm
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 Burning Girls, by Veronica Schanoes.

About halfway through, you'll figure out what story the characters are in. Their trouble is the other story they're in.
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We've been watching old bootleg copies of Vengeance Unlimited by way of escapism, and Andrew dug up his copies of Michael Madsen's poems, which are exactly as gonzo as you'd expect them to be; he's really determined to be beater than Beat and noirer than noir.

The Read Thru

When you make a bad film, it's there
Like a big 250 ft. Herpe, with two
legs, and two arms and a big ugly
head always showing up when you
least expect it. Walking up
behind you; walking toward you,
with an "I'm gonna f*ck you up"
look on its face.

Everyone sees the damn things.

Over and over. Your friends, your
enemies, strangers. That's never true for the good films
you have, if there are some.


This big, swollen, red, festering
rotting 250 ft. pus vessel has
big feet, too. In a nightmare, they'll
be the last thing you see coming
down to smash your f**k**g head.

Sometimes, it's saying, "Hey, I'm not so bad."
But you know the truth.
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 CCCC came out to protest the anti-Islamophobia motion again, so Andrew and I went downtown for the counter-protest. The weather was less horrid than last time, but the crowd was smaller and more tense, with a lot of police between them and us. Meanwhile, the St. Patrick's Day parade moved along the other side of Nathan Phillips Square. 

We mostly chanted "No hate, No fear, Refugees are welcome here," and "Nazi Scum off our streets." Andrew didn't join in on the latter -- he still feels uncomfortable calling people nazis, even if, as I noted, the CCCC group contained the unusual combination of the JDL and the Soldiers of Odin; perhaps he felt "nazi" was too simple to describe that mix. I didn't argue with him. The remainder of the group looked like everyone I've ever seen browbeat a cashier with demands to speak to the manager, and that scared me more -- when we took a break for lunch, I kept glancing around the Eaton's Centre, wondering whether any of the people nearby had come from the rally, and whether anyone would recognize me and scream traitor! in the middle of the food court.

Shortly after we got back to the square, CCCC moved on, planning, I was told, to march down to Front Street. The police continued to escort them as they yelled about how we were threatening their freedom of speech. Andrew was tired, so we got on the subway and I didn't see whether they collided with the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
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 I think it's also supposed to be the Day Without a Woman protest today, but I'm currently between paying jobs*, and I have yet to determine if Andrew can manage on his own today. So my action will most likely to be to point out that like a lot of other women, I'm doing a lot of unpaid nursing and emotional labour.** 

* I did have an interview yesterday. We'll see if they get back to me.

** I also acknowledge that the protest is kind of problematic in itself given how many women really can't afford to lose a day's pay.
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 Finally got around to watching the latest Dr. Who the other day. The Return of Dr. Mysterio is actually a pretty good riff on superhero tropes, mainly the Clark Kent/Superman/Lois Lane relationship; but I was most interested by the return of Matt Lucas as a regular, mainly because his character, Nardole, is pinging all my "more than they seem to be" radar.

Nardole looks human, but has not aged in the 29-plus years that have elapsed in the story since we first met him (granted, he spent much of that time as a cyborg); he's quite capable of flying the TARDIS himself (albeit with a detour that led to his ruling 12th-century Constantinople for a while); and in the last scene he briefly drops his comical manner to assure the other characters, and by extension the audience, that the Doctor "will be all right -- I'll see to that" before switching his Laurel-and-Hardy grin back on and waving them a cheery farewell.

By all accounts, the decision to keep Lucas on wasn't planned from the beginning, but I'll be interested to see where this goes.
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Went to the counter-demo at Nathan Philips Square. I think the Anti-Muslim demo we were countering were over on the east side of the square. There were police (some in riot gear) standing guard near them, and our marshals were trying to keep us over at the other side, though I think some of the counter-demonstrators had gone over anyway, as there were some signs on the fringes of the their crowd that didn't seem to fit. I think their actual numbers were relatively small. Meanwhile we did keep edging closer to the centre of the square, following the sunbeams like a cat.

Feeling like a coward, though, because I didn't confront the guy I saw waiting for the bus at Queen/Roncesvalles on the way home, who was yelling racist stuff at a motorist, and then more general stuff at his own dog and at the bus driver. The driver did report him for animal cruelty though.
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We went to an open house at a mosque downtown, where they gave us a tour of the building (originally built in 1940 as a bank), demonstrated calligraphy, and gave us assorted snacks including some very nice baklava.

Then we went with some friends to Tian An Cuisine, which serves dishes from the Jianxi province of China. Lots of chilli peppers, yet I didn't find the spiciness overwhelming as I usually do. Didn't try the frog's legs though.

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Toronto's been having a warm spell this weekend. It won't last, but that's no reason not to enjoy it. Walking around in a lightweight coat, or having the living-room window open a crack during the day, is a mood boost even if the world is still messed up and I'm still job-hunting.
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This one was scripted by Bertram Millhauser, who worked on most of Universal's Sherlock Holmes movies, and I kept expecting Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce to show up and sort matters out. In their absence, Robert Griffin comes to England after escaping from a Capetown asylum for the criminally insane, and accuses his old friends Sir Jasper and Lady Irene Hedrick of deliberately leaving him for dead after he was hit by a falling branch on their South African expedition years before. They plead that his injury was showing the expedition down, so they'd left him in the care of the most trusted bearer. This does sound a bit flimsy, and when Griffin comes over all woozy after accepting a drink from Lady Irene, Andrew and I figured she was the real villain and had arranged the original accident.

Griffin falls into a river, falls in with a local yokel who pulls him out, and they try unsuccessfully to sue/blackmail the Herricks. When that fails, Griffin wanders about muttering angrily until he meets mad scientist Dr. Drury (John Carradine). Drury's not such a bad sort, although his animal testing probably isn't up to modern RSPCA standards; he's got a lot of Invisible animals, including his pet parrot Methusulah and his guard dog Brutus. Griffin volunteers to be the first human test subject, then takes off while Drury plans to write up the results and present them to the Royal Society.

He goes back to the Herricks' and harasses them invisibly for a while. When their daughter returns home to care for her stressed-out parents, Griffin decides he needs to be visible again. He goes back to Drury, who has just made Brutus visible again via a blood transfusion from another dog, but balks at draining a human's blood to treat Griffin, so Griffin takes his blood, somehow performing a blood transfusion with no medical training or awareness of blood typing, and leaves him dead. So now he's visible again, but effectively a vampire, as the effects of the transfusion keep wearing off, although Brutus appears to be fine, and after a few more scenes, is ultimately the one who kills Griffin. "Wait," we said, "so was Lady Irene innocent the whole time?"
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 It's been snowing off and on. Friday night we watched a couple of Universal's lesser-known sequels to The Invisible Man: The Invisible Agent and The Invisible Man's Revenge, both of which were deeply weird.

The Invisible Agent (1942)
It's like Curt Siodmak saw Leslie Howard disappearing into the shadows at the end of Pimpernel Smith and thought "wouldn't it be great to have an invisible guy fighting nazis?" Unfortunately Frank Raymond/Griffin (grandson of the the original Invisible Man), is a lousy secret agent. He's reasonably heroic in the opening scenes, but once he's invisible, he ruins the heroine's honey trap for an SS officer with childish pranks, stealing food off the the table and moving furniture, until the officer storms out without giving away any information, leaving guards to keep the woman under house arrest.
This sets the pattern for the rest of the movie -- Miss Sorensen is brave, clever and committed, and Griffin keeps screwing up her carefully-laid plans with his wild improvisation, especially once he decides she's working for the Germans. I can headcannon that the paranoia and madness seen in the other Invisible Man movies are setting in, but the picture never actually addresses this; maybe Griffin was just always an arrogant dolt.
I haven't mentioned Peter Lorre yet. He plays Japanese ambassador/spymaster Baron Ikito, and it's a curious portrayal; he eschews yellowface or a stereotypical accent -- in fact it took a few scenes for me to realize the character was even supposed to be Japanese -- and while villainous, he seems more dignified than the cartoonishly evil Nazi officers. In fact he ultimately destroys the main villain. It's not exactly a heel-face turn; Griffin and Sorensen have thrown enough spanners in the works to ruin the German plans to invade America, and Ikito, having been double-crossed by the head German spymaster, fatalistically tells him they've both failed, stabs him, and then quietly commits seppuku. The sleazy-comical officer Miss Sorensen was seducing in her opening scenes seems set to ironically come out on top, but gets shot by his own soldiers. Miss Sorensen flies herself and Griffith to safety (by this time I'd have abandoned him) and the last scene is of him recovering in hospital, learning she really is an Allied agent, and refusing to tell her how he became visible again because "it's a military secret." She'll probably figure it out anyway.
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 Nice to see Jet Set Sewing has a new post, after a long break. Also nice to see I'm not the only one who thinks the Pussy Hat has the bonus of resembling Schiaparelli's 1929 "Mad Capr:" (scroll down)

See? After the protest march, you can tuck in one corner, tilt it at a jaunty angle, and you're ready for cocktails:

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Went to the Action against Islamophobia & White Supremacy; Andrew was able to make it too, although we slipped away to warm up after the first few speeches. Today I see it ran to 4:30 rather than to 2:30 as announced, and at least one person asked why anyone even bothers with speeches at an outdoor demo, given the usually poor sound systems, so I feel less guilty about sneaking off early.

This had kind of been scratching at the back of my mind for a while, but I'm glad other people said it because they make the point more coherently that gamergate and the sad/rabid puppies were arguably alt-right dry runs for the Trump campaign.

I think Nana has been having bad dreams -- several times of late she's meowed in her sleep and awoken with a startled expression.

Meanwhile, in self-care, we got Andrew's winter coat and his blazer dry-cleaned and pressed, and they look much sharper, so go team dry-cleaning. However he says the tiny hole that the dentist insisted he didn't make last visit has started to bother him even more, so I'm going to have to make an appointment tomorrow.
Inspired by one of these ads, I contributed to the "I lik the bred" cycle:

Gojira, me:
And when unfed,
I hunger gret
Too smal the bred!
So city street
Bestride I thus
And 'fore I eet
I lik the bus.
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 Ok, feeling a little better after showing up to help with the chanting for a bit, and making a call to my MP's office asking to hold the PM to his statements.

Now I'm trying to draw on this article:

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 Trying not to scream. Was going to go to a demo downtown today (because if I'm unemployed I might as well make use of my time) against the travel ban, and then with the attack on a mosque in Quebec by fucking Canadian domestic terrorists the demo was going to be a vigil as well, but Andrew's falling apart again from his new mess that were supposed to help with the neuropathy and I don't dare leave him alone and I feel like I'm having to choose between him and humanity and there's no right answer. And I'm making it all about me, which I shouldn't and I don't know what to do. Will try to at least rouse the courage later in the day to call my MP. That sounds stupid but I fear and loathe phone calls.

ETA -- by 10:30am he was feeling better. Heading downtown now, better late than never.
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 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.

further ETA -- dewline has taken the link down, in case he accidentally gets any of the marchers in trouble.
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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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