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2017-09-20 09:56 am

It’s surely not his brain that makes me thrill

 “Bill,” from the musical Showboat, is kind of a gender-swapped “My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun,” describing the beloved entirely in negatives; that works if you’re Shakespeare and the cliché you’re deconstructing is the Petrachan sonnet. I’m not sure what “Bill” is the opposite of – a beautiful man in a Leyendecker illustration, probably (there may be some kind of working-class pride intended in the list of sports he does not excel at being golf, tennis, polo, and rowing.)


The problem with this kind of thing is that you’re always left wondering just what the beloved *does* have going for them. Sex, maybe. That’s probably what Shakespeare was implying, and the lyrics to “Bill” date from the early twentieth century and would have to be even more covert. “It’s surely not his brain that makes me thrill.”


Given that within the context of the musical, the character is performing the song, but is really thinking about her husband who’s just run out on her because he can no longer deal with the fact she’s mixed-race, I can’t feel too optimistic about “Bill’s” negative virtues, but the song’s been stuck in my head for days and deconstructing the lyrics doesn’t help.


My brain, gentlefolk.

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2017-09-19 11:11 am

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day Again

copperbadge, as usual, has interpreted this as "choose a historical pirate and write a piece from their point of view:"
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2017-09-17 03:38 pm
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(no subject)

 Haven't posted in a while, in part because whatever writing steam I have has been diverted into finally starting another fanfic. I've enjoyed the Doctor/Companion dynamic in the most recent season of Doctor Who, enough to try writing around it. The Doctor and Bill aren't really the central characters in this story, just part of the ensemble/PoV, but then that's often how it works on the show. While I'm not really knowledgeable enough to write a convincing archeological expedition, let alone one taking place on another planet in the far future, I take some pride in their troubles not involving a curse.

As always, there are scenes I actually want to write, and then there are far more scenes that have to be written in order to get the characters to the place where the fun scenes can happen, but I've completed and posted four chapters so far -- serializing these things sometimes (not always) forces me to keep going until they reach a conclusion. And it's fun to write something for a popular fandom, because then people actually read it.
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2017-08-23 09:53 pm


 I'm a permanent hiiiiire
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2017-08-19 10:16 pm
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Another Weekend, Another Gorgon

gorgon painting 
Apotropaic #5, oil on glass.

Went for a somewhat more realistic style this time.

I painted over a framed copy of one of those creepy Ann Geddes babies-in-costume pictures. I think this is an improvement.
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2017-08-16 09:43 am


Literally one week left on my probation, and this morning I overhear them talking about a new hire. I really hope this is just me being paranoid.

ETA - OK, it's now Thursday and I'm still employed. Next Monday is the annual staff summer BBQ, and I can't see them being cruel enough to drop me immediately after, so if I get through tomorrow without being told not to bother coming in Monday, I'm probably all right. 

Reiterating that this is probably just needless anxiety on my part.

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2017-08-16 08:35 am

Someone putting things better than I can

From a comment on this thread:


“The closest fictional counterpart to Donald Trump is the female lead's boyfriend. You know the one. The guy who is such a fucking asshole with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that you don't feel bad for wanting the movie's protagonist to break them up. But, because the writers assume the audience are idiots, they make him so over-the-top horrible that you can't understand how a nice, sweet girl like the female lead would ever tolerate dating this asshole. And then because you are bored, you start to wonder if maybe she isn't so great, maybe because she is presented as just a cipher with just a few symbols of being someone that the protagonist should be dating... what if she is actually just as much of an asshole as her boyfriend? Yeah, that's Trump and America right now.”

In lighter news
, I wonder whose job it is to tweet on behalf of the sharks.

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2017-08-13 10:13 am
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(no subject)

 Went to bed last night glad that at least the civic and state authorities had agreed that Nazis marching in the streets was an emergency, woke up to find one of said Nazis had rammed a car through a crowd and killed at least one person. The cynic in me thinks that since the victim was (a) a local, and (b) white, young, and attractive, her murderer may actually get convicted.

For or those of us outside the US, or the immediate vicinity of Charlottesville, here's a link to a list of possible donation/support sites. I've seen friends on DW posting similar lists as well.

Here in Toronto, going to try and get the upcoming BBQ in memory of the Christie Pits Riot, if they can get the date pinned down.
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2017-08-03 07:49 am
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The Week's Best Headline

I like that La Machine asked the cathedral to host the giant spider specifically so it could echo Louise Bourgeois' giant-spider sculpture Maman, across the street.

ETA -- it's not like churches haven't hosted art projects before involving, oh, say, a live stag.
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2017-07-30 01:56 pm
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Apotropaic #3

Now in oil on canvas. I painted it in my bathroom though.
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2017-07-28 08:38 am

(no subject)

medusa on bathroom mirror
Apotropaic #1, 2017. Lipstick on Bathroom Mirror

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2017-07-27 08:56 pm

(no subject)

 I can't recall who was talking here recently about a production of Euripides' The Trojan Women in which Cassandra wore a "chic, though torn*" Comme Des Garçons garment, but as a result I ended up stumbling across this essay on the 1997 Spring/Summer collection, "Body Meets Dress Dress Meets Body," AKA the "Lumps and Bumps" collection.

The essay, which deals with the collection, ableism, butoh dance, orientalism, and at least two horror movies, also mentions Arabelle Sicardi, who I began following on Tumblr a while back and quite admire. Curious as to whether one could also relate this to the hospitalglam tumblr – where the chronically ill reappropriate fashion imagery as morale boost/satire/protest.

At least some of my interest in the body acceptance movement comes from the other side of the coin – I’m (so far) in pretty good health and with a socially-acceptable appearance, and I *know* how little effort I put into this.** It stands to reason that people with the opposite experience deserve equal respect (or more).

* A CDG dress would likely be torn by design anyway
**My attitude towards my body can pretty much be summed up as a truce whose terms are “don’t bother me, and I won’t starve you or make you run for no good reason.”

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2017-07-27 01:20 pm
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Notes towards an art project

Medusa mask drawn on a mirror in lipstick (installation)

Photos of apotropaic medusa masks drawn in lipstick on bathroom mirrors

The gorgon heads that form the bases of the columns in the Basilica Cistern


Bathrooms as locus of clean vs. dirty



That should be Cloacina (goddess of the main sewer in Rome, and originally Etruscan)

The current gender/bathroom debate largely ignores the existence of trans men – this is a fight over who counts as women, using women’s “safety” as the excuse.

ETA --

Monstrous femininity, glamour, purity taboos and magical protection

Also selfies/masks, if photographed (human face hidden behind camera)

If drawn on a public washroom mirror, must clean off after photograph so as not to add to the burden of the janitorial staff

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2017-07-26 08:27 pm

(no subject)

  A co-worker asked the other day whether I’d ever wanted to do something because I read about it in a book. She’s been reading Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and is feeling oddly tempted by the thought of curling up in a dry well.
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2017-07-25 08:03 pm

(no subject)

 Went to the ROM on the weekend - the photo exhibit "The Family Camera" is quite good. I especially liked the home movies of the Indian-by-way-of-Australia family who'd moved to a Quebec mining town in the late 'sixties; it was about ten years earlier and Quebec rather than the Maritimes, but much of the imagery was familiar, including the small-town Santa Claus parade filmed on a grey, overcast afternoon.

The exhibit fit the theme of the weekend -- Andrew had been looking for a photo of his family in front of 505 Queen West, so he could establish that his mom had made the number sign (he'd come across an article about the property which claimed the sign had been commissioned by Dan Ackroyd, who'd lived there after them.) He hasn't turned it up yet, and we'd gone out as he was beginning to feel depressed remembering Peggy.

        *         *        *          *        *

It's another week at work where everyone who can give me directions or answer my questions is out of the office. 

Andrew's been binge-rewatching Farscape. I'd remembered correctly that it was weird, but I'd forgotten how wild Paul Goddard's performance was as Stark.
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2017-07-15 08:32 am

a trained and detached, and not unsympathetic, mind

 Finished reading Many Dimensions (1931) yesterday. I've been trying to ration Charles Williams' novels, given that there's only a half-dozen. This one rates pretty high: moustache-twirling villain gets his hands on the Stone of Solomon! Time travel as trap! A mystical artifact whose powers include being infinitely reproduceable! Tetragrammaton! Heroic self-sacrifice! Kinky subtext!

No, really -- it might be because I looked up Williams and came across some stuff about his personal life, but the two main characters, Chief Justice Lord Arglay and his devoted secretary, Chloe Burnett; well, the villain just assumes they're sleeping together, the reader knows they aren't, but I really do think they're in some kind of non-physical but mutually satisfying D/S relationship. This is an important plot point, since in one chapter Lord Arglay is able to draw on the bond between them to free Chloe from Sir Gile's attempted mind-control and on the other hand, Chloe's ability to freely submit to someone/thing she respects and loves* makes her the only person able to wield the Stone properly, because unlike everyone else, she doesn't try to impose her own will upon it. 

* She's generally a people-pleaser, but when her Nice Guy(TM) boyfriend Frank tries to nag her into lending him the Stone so he can pass his exams, she refuses.
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2017-07-12 07:44 pm

Griping Here So I Don't Gripe On Facebook

 zzszzzzzAz (Nana stepped on the keyboard.)

I seem to recall that in the past, I could see my Facebook friends' conversations, but couldn't join in unless I was friended to the OP. Has that changed? Lately I've seen some friends have to ask who the FOAF was who'd showed up on their wall and begun arguing vehemently with them.

Today I had to unfriend a high school acquaintance for this reason; he reacted by sending a PM saying he'd only friended me because he missed our late mutual friend Angus, and that I was "poisoning" his memories. Pretty much confirmed that cutting ties was a good idea, but it hurt that he dragged Angus into it.

Now I'm going to be wondering how safe it is to comment on anyone's FB post, if I'm forming a link to let anyone on my flist join in. I may have to go through it and pare down.

ETA -- reread his comments and it looks as though my friend's account might be set to allows FOFs to comment, but I'd still better think about who I might be bringing along when I comment.