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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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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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