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 Stayed in on actual Canada Day due to weather, but we had a friend over on Sunday and met another for lunch on Monday, so that was more socializing than usual. Also binge-watched the most recent season of Doctor Who, and knit a hat.
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 I saw a reproduction of this poster today in a restaurant downtown, after the Dyke March*. It wasn't the first time I'd noticed, but it always pleases me because it looks like it was designed by a go-getting young demon in some 1920s British fantasy novel that successfully blends comedy and the numinous:

During which we sat next to a lady wearing rainbow ruffled leggings and this backpack.
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 Not sure how I got to this topic, but I’ve been thinking about the variants I’ve been seeing lately on “realistic textures on a distorted form.” The least grotesque are the oil paintings (I think they're oil paintings) of Popeye. At the other end of the scale the most terrifying examples are those that start from children’s drawings. I think we’re dealing with two forms of distortion here – young kids’ drawing are typically “unrealistic” due to inexperience and fine motor skills that haven’t fully matured yet; adult cartoonists’ drawings are *distilled* realism.


Jun. 20th, 2017 01:10 pm
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 I'd been hoping my numerous screw-ups at my last job were due to overwork, but today my co-worker asked me why I'd renamed a file and not only could I not explain why, I had no memory of even having done it. Beginning again to wonder why I do this and how long till they lose patience.

ETA -- Sorry about that, I'm feeling a little better now.
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 I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone wrote a Jeeves and Wooster/Blackadder crossover, but I must say the Apollo/Hyacinthos took me by surprise, as did the the mix of fluff and angst and very little actual silliness. Fanfic affords a view straight into other people's ids; depending on how well one's enthusiasms align with theirs, the experience is either horrifying or wonderful -- for me, this was more the latter (TW for trench warfare...)

Blood and Blooms
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 Spent the morning and am currently spending the early afternoon running around on various errands, pausing variously to help someone womanhandle a massive area rug at the dry cleaners, buy stuff at the United Church rummage sale at Bathurst and College, and swat (with pool noodles and a rubber chicken) a volunteer masked up as Pepe the Frog at the anti-Islamophobia demo.
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Waiting for a bus after seeing Wonder Woman with Andrew and the Diners. Andrew already wants to see it again on Sunday. I knew Gadot would be note-perfect, but I liked Pine as Steve Trevor much better than as Kirk; and the supporting cast were all fabulous, especially David Thespis, and Elena Anaya who seems to have been put there as a fic prompt for handful_ofdust -- she bears some resemblance to Rosa Steinberg of A Scent of New-Mown Hay. There's a great scene about three-quarters in, where Steve attempts to seduce her, and nearly succeeds, because he's clearly done enough research to know how to appeal to a genius chemist who's also fundamentally a pyromaniac.
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 Just woke from inclomplete dream in which I was somehow channelling a certain spider man. Not Peter Parker.
There was a lot of dream-plot that led up to this, and I can't recall it now. He liked gold makeup -- makeup generally-- and some particular perfume that in the manner of dreams happened to be to hand. I was wearing a skirt, but neither this nor the makeup appeared to make any difference in the subsequent series of events as to what gender (and I suspect, race) others perceived me as. I still don't know what the overall plan was, as I was just following along. I swaggered into a bar (we seemed to be near a university campus) where a young man asked me for a favour -- he was trying to catch the eye of a woman across the room. I sat down beside him as his slightly sleazy best friend wing man, and waved her over, saying someone had bought me a drink and it was now my obligation to keep the chain going. I introduced my man, asked her my name, didn't really give mine. She was on to me, or mostly, but it didn't matter as she was genuinely liking him, and they began chatting. Privately I knew I didn't have any cash on me, and briefly toyed with the idea of putting their drinks on the credit card another man further down the bar was being rather careless with; but I slipped out, figuring I'd done what he'd asked and he could cover the drinks himself. I continued walking, looking for a place to change. I fumbled the shades I'd been wearing and eventually put on a pair of my waking-life glasses, the serious squarish frames.  There's some sort of sloppy bit here where I was dodging in and out of stairwells trying to avoid someone I worried might recognize me, and then I was in some sort of hospital.
,Oh, are you the overnight attendant they sent for?" asked a woman behind a reception desk.  "The patient's just upstairs." 
"Third floor?"
"Yes, that's the one." As I got in the elevator I said to myself: "And now, I am going to steal a Kandinsky." I had no idea how, or why. In the elevator I felt my expression and stance turning dorky and sincere. My hair was short in the dream, but it was at this point I remembered I was in a skirt. I guessed no one in the bar had noticed because I was sitting down.The patient was a dying old man, of course. We talked. I forget about what. Then I went looking for a washroom and wandered into a sort of lounge, into which I was followed by a smiling man who said that this area was a sort of private club for staff and important donors only, so unless I was planning to join or give the hospital some money.... As I turned to exit I saw the Kandinsky on the wall. Except, this being a dream, it was a Grosz, or something very like. I left the private lounge and strutted around the corridors, getting quietly angry at the hospital. In the background I could hear the man and others beginning to phone their higher ups, worriedly confessing that they'd somehow insulted a member of the staff, a senior professor, by mistaking him for a dementia patient who'd wandered in. I was just wondering how, even as a miffed senior professor, I was going to parley this into being allowed to take home the Kandinsky/Grosz, when I woke up. I'm still not sure how the old man factored into this, although I'm beginning to suspect he, or his family, had once owned the painting. I'm still not sure if this was all still part of the scheme to get that guy and girl from the opening bar together. Anyway, I'm grateful and enough for what I can recall, and wary enough of my ability to still have even that in the morning, to get up and type this all down.
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 I've been having good luck at the local thrift store the past two weeks, but it's mainly been wool stuff so I keep having to take it in for dry cleaning -- then again, a pair of dress pants for $5 + $17 to have them taken in + $10 or so for cleaning and pressing is still a great deal. 

Today I found a plaid jacket and skirt for $10. The label is in German, the style suggests early-to-mid 1960s, and it's very well made -- the plaid design lines up along the seams in that way you rarely see any more. The one odd thing is that the skirt is unhemmed, which makes me wonder whether it was ever actually worn. I doubt I can wear jacket and skirt together at the office without looking too dressed up (or like a Mad Men cosplayer), but they ought to work as separates.

Also I got a much newer top, patterned silk on the front with a silk jersey tshirt back, but Nana stole it as a bed. I told her she's a little Sybarite and retrieved it undamaged when she grew restless.

ETA -- pix of the top:

E2A -- the suit:

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 So, I am once again in employment. It's for a company that manufactures binoculars, night-vision goggles and other visual equipment for various military and police forces, which feels a bit weird in the current climate -- we don't make guns, but we make the sights for the guns. OTOH, since I don't actually dispute that my country and others should have their own armies, and those armies equipment, so refusing on principle to work for a manufacturer of such would be like refusing to work for a butcher shop while still eating meat.

In any case, I suspect the job is less unethical, when you get right down to it,  than the one I did years ago writing personal profiles for real-estate agents.

The company itself strikes me as rather interesting -- founded by a Russian immigrant, they got charged a few years back with scamming the US military. The lawyer they hired was a guy from Toronto, son of Hungarian-Jewish holocaust survivors, who mostly did civil-rights cases; and after a long trial (during the course of which he had a heart attack) he exonerated them completely. I think there was some evidence they'd been framed by a rival manufacturer or something. They subsequently hired him as CEO. I chatted with him a bit yesterday on the morning coffee break. He reminds me of Stanley Tucci. Oh, and he's also director of the Jane Goodall Foundation. 

I have no idea what I'm letting myself in for (other than a lot of proofreading, which is what I've been doing the past couple of days), but I expect it will at least be interesting.
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 Awoke from a dream I spent some time trying to recapture. I can remember the atmosphere between than the details -- there was a treehouse, or something, a haunting, a security guard, 1940s music. I was climbing to a window with a bunch of cherries held between my teeth. Anthony Perkins was trapped inside the dial of a watch? I think at one point I drew a sketch of Boris Karloff. There seemed to be rather a lot of men of types I find attractive aesthetically but not sexually, so it wasn't an erotic dream, exactly. It was a dream of exquisite longing, of arousal without focus.

I'm beginning to think my orientation should be described as "persnickety."
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Job interview seemed to go reasonably well -- the "interview" part was shorter than usual, and I think I did ok on the "prove you actually have the skills" part (photograph a product, clean the pictures up in Photoshop, layout a spec sheet in InDesign.)

The product was a pair of range-finder binoculars: this is a company that makes night-vision goggles, heat-imaging equipment, and laser rifle sights; mostly for various military and police forces. I probably ought to be wrestling with my conscience over this, but really I suspect the job I used to have writing promotional articles for real-estate agents was ethically worse.

I did a little research on the company beforehand -- if they are evil, they're at least interestingly evil -- like, Ra's al Ghul-type stuff. There may be chimps armed with laser beams in my future if they hire me.

My Rant

May. 11th, 2017 09:40 pm
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 Andrew began reading a Facebook post to me, in which a writer (I didn't ask the name) began by complaining about how millennials misunderstand and overuse the term "arc" as well as "agency" and "trope," and keeping complaining about a character's arc being sexist or racist instead of just enjoying the story, and at that point I snapped SHUT UP! and he stopped.

I apologized, because I hadn't meant to yell at him, but at the person who'd made the post; and I explained that I'd just finished composing a reply to a *different* post in which I tried to suggest as gently as I could that no, cultural appropriation is a real problem and not just something the current generation has made up to stop artists from making art; and that I was consequently a bit short on patience. This is why I'd be terrible in any sort of face-to-face, real-time debate -- I need at least a few seconds to calm down and marshall my thoughts. I said that issues of social justice aside, some of us enjoy analyzing stories as part of reading, and a lot of people I know are writers, and why should stories be treated as just frivolous entertainment.

He understands, and says that he should of realized that the first three or four sentences would be triggering, although he says there was a later point in the post that he kind of agrees with (apparently the OP eventually oks analyzing the story, after initially reading it through and enjoying it on a superficial level). He said he was going to block the poster; I said he didn't have to, that I didn't want to control who he reads, but according to him the guy had already been on notice as far as he was concerned.

I still feel like I've somehow failed here, like for a moment I'd fulfilled the trope of the hysterical SJW that trolls are always claiming are out there; and I'm aware that I'm saying this as Mrs. Privileged from Privilegeville -- if I were black, LGBT, etc, I'd likely be having to defend these points nonstop, to much less sympathetic listeners, and remain calm the whole time so I couldn't be dismissed as loud and hysterical. I'm not sure why I'm so mad at myself, but I'm better at composing my thoughts in writing, so I told Andrew I'd make a post about it and maybe that will help me think.  
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 One of the people I follow on Tumblr just made a series of posts about her concern that she's too far left to fit in with "Liberals," but thinks the Left is too violent, especially as she's been victimized in the past and now doesn't like any violence. I've seen enough from her that I'm willing to take her word on this (i.e. I don't think she's given to hand-wringing on behalf of the neo-Nazis). I disagree with her position, but I'm trying to put my own into words -- over here first, and possibly only.

I think I'm sort of coming at it from the opposite direction, i.e. I'm cheerful enough about the prospect of punching Nazis that I figure I should do some self-examination to make sure I'm not fantasizing about violence against an admissible target.

So far, I've got:

1. One should avoid using violence if possible, but if people intend harm, and reasoned argument or appeals to their better nature aren't working, it is acceptable to fight them physically.

2. One should try, however, not to be so angry as to use excessive force.

3. "Not using excessive force" means ending the fight as quickly as possible, to minimize damage. One's strategies may, therefore, include "giving the leader one good punch, so as to scare the rest into backing down." I don't mean this to sound flippant, although it probably requires good judgement to successfully chase off, rather than encourage.

4. I can't ask my Tumblr acquaintance, or anyone else repelled by this, to go along, and she may need to avoid going to protests for her own safety.
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 Rewatched Lady Killer (1933) and the extras included a short called The Camera Speaks (1934), in which an old studio cameraman, now a security guard, dreams about talking to his camera, played by a tripod camera with a distorted actor's face superimposed. Basically, it's 1934 going "1916 was so cheesy lol," but includes a number of silent movie clips, albeit with mocking voiceover commentary, and consequently I learned that Theda Bara was not the only screen vamp, but had a rival named Louise Glaum. Reviews on IMDb indicate that the clips of Glaum are from a picture called The Wolf Woman (1916), although the camera's narrative keeps dropping references to A Fool There Was (1915), which starred Bara and seems to have begun the trend.

Thoughts I'm still trying to process and string together -- most articles on Bara and the "vamp" fad claims that the era couldn't tolerate sexy women in media unless the story also made it clear that they were not just sinful but totally depraved creatures who deliberately enslaved and degraded men for their own amusement, and that's probably true so far as it goes, but -- it kind of feels as though the trend was also playing to somebody's kinks? The Vamp isn't just a "bad woman," she's a full-on dominatrix. The story always ends with Vice punished, but not until you've seen at least forty minutes of an exotically-presented woman saying things like "Kiss me, my fool," as a man happily "degrades" himself for her sake.

I mean, I doubt the filmmakers of 1915-16 were deliberately courting the BDSM market share; maybe there was just a general idea that you could placate the censors by punishing sex after the audience had had a good look, and someone in the scriptwriting department decided to sneak in a few of their own fantasies, and it took off because the general audiences got something sexy, the mysogynists and people who opposed women's sufferage could have their worst fears confirmed, and a number of viewers got to fantasize about being one of the Vamp's victims, or the Vamp herself?

Incidentally, a look at Glaum's Wikipedia entry suggests she was less typecast than Bara. She did a lot of Westerns as well, usually as the saloon gal but at least once as a tough-but-goodhearted saloon owner out to avenge the rape of her half-sister. She later went back to the stage and also became an acting coach.
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 After a number of dreams about nuclear war or other threats, I suppose last night's, in which I converted to (presumably Reform) Judaism and also became a stripper in order to pay the bills while I did social work, was a great improvement, if a bit weird. 

ETA -- near the end of the dream, I also finally got a paid knitting assignment, which in fact just happened now, so, uh, l'chaim?
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 It's possible I'm the last one to know this -- I'd seen a couple of pages floating around Tumblr of a Junji Ito story involving a cat. Today I finally googled "Junji Ito cat" and discovered there's a whole manga called Junji Ito's Cat Diaries (scans of the first few chapters here), which is basically gentle domestic comedy about Ito, his wife, and their two cats; but it's still drawn in Ito's horror-manga style.

Anytime J-Kun (Ito) is surprised by something (which is often) there's a closeup of his bloodshot, horrified eyes. His wife A-Ko, meanwhile, has completely white, pupil-less eyes in most panels, which make her constant smile the stuff of nightmares.

As for the cats, Yon has "a cursed face" and spots on his back that look like a skull; Mu seems like a fairly normal Norwegian Forest Cat, but sometimes he bites. Generally everything looks like it's going to turn gruesome, but never does, although J-Kun sometimes hallucinates.
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I don't usually get nightmares, but lately, due to politics or other stress, I've been having a lot of dreams involving threats, conspiracies, falling, or post-nuclear wastes. I still don't know if they count as nightmares -- I'm usually too detached in my dreams to feel anything more than unease. Still, last night's dream was a welcome change: I was at a party where I didn't know anyone except the host and his girlfriend (who seemed to be older versions of Wyatt and Caitlin from the animated show 6teen); but I was enjoying myself -- music was playing and we were all drinking cocktails from lab test tubes. Suddenly my mother walked in, asked a bunch of questions about gardening (not-Wyatt's place was a suburban ranch-style house), then left after a few minutes. I started asking everybody if they'd seen her too, or if I'd just hallucinated the interruption.

On an unrelated topic, thanks and good luck to everyone marching for Science! today.
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 The plan today was to take Andrew to his appointment at St. Mike's, and then to the ROM to see the new blue whale exhibit so he'd have something to look forward to after the hospital visit. I booked three Wheel-Trans trips: home to St. Mike's, St. Mike's to the ROM, ROM to home.

As usual, getting picked up at home was fine, and we were dropped at the main Queen St. entrance. Now, when I book the rides on the website, it gives me several suggestions for St. Mike's. I'd clicked on "Shuter Street" because it popped up on the list of recently used, and I clicked for both the drop-off and the pick-up.

You can probably guess where this is going. The Shuter Street entrance (where I don't recall *ever* having been dropped off on past visits) is around the other side of the building, and after waiting for half an hour past pickup time, I saw the appointment had dropped off the website, i.e., the driver had waited there for us and finally given up. At this point we decided to cancel the ROM pickup and just go straight home on the streetcar.

Now, much of the fault here was mine because I made the wrong call while booking, and also assumed that we would be picked up at the same spot we were previously dropped (normally a fair bet, but because we had planned to visit the ROM I'd booked three one-way trips instead of a round trip); but it confirms something which many of you have probably already figured out but which hit my brain on Sunday while trying to figure out which door of the Tim Horton's was the entrance and which was locked -- stairs are an accessibility barrier, but so are confusing signs and inefficient layouts. 


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