Wednesday, September 30, 2009

15 Books

Per The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

(This is by no means a list of favorite books. In fact, at least one of them I loathed. However, these are honestly the books that most stick in my mind. Some of them stick more because of the time in my life they represent for me, or because of the wonderful teachers/people who inspired or required me to read them.)

1.Curse of Chalion~ Lois McMaster Bujold
2. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear~ Don and Audrey Wood
3. American Gods~ Neil Gaiman
4. Moby Dick~ Herman Melville (I will never forget the pain and frustration. That fucking albatross...thanks a ton Beerman/Chaplar! ;P I should probably read it again now, as an adult, in light of the fact that I rather liked The Confidence Man)
5. Gulliver's Travels/ "A Modest Proposal"~ Jonathan Swift (Thank you so very much, Chris Juzwiak. I love you.)
6. Anything and everything Shakespeare wrote (don't make me pick one. I won't do it. Although I should probably say R&J, despite the fact that it is by no means my favorite, simply because the damn Nurse is so inextricably tied to my life)
7. Guards! Guards!~ Terry Pratchett (really any book in the Guards set within the Discworld series, but Guards! Guards! stands out because it contains THE ABSOLUTE BEST character introduction EVER)
8. Pride & Prejudice~ Jane Austin
9. Watchmen~ Alan Moore
10. Agnes and the Hitman~ Jennifer Crusie (I never knew a mob hit could be hot, but this book proves it definitively can)
11. The Picture of Dorian Gray~ Oscar Wilde
12. Fables~ Bill Willingham
13. The Eyre Affair~ Jasper Fforde
14. No Exit~ Jean-Paul Sartre
15. "Sight Unseen"~ Donald Margulies ( And thank you, Ken. This was one of my favorite scenes to perform ever. You always pick such excellent material)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Profanity, Sing-Along Songs, and Raperation (Distant Cousin of Stabnation)

So, as I'm sure I have mentioned before, I swear. A lot. I swear like a dirty, foul-mouthed, scum-sucking whaler with a peg leg. Some days, I'm sure there are people in the world who think I should have a nice bar of soap for dinner. I'm okay with that. Mmmm, soap...

Anyway. I like to get creative with my cussin'... some of my favorites include douche nozzle, asshat, cum-monkey, fuckwit, fucktard, fuck-wit (really, hyphenate anything with fuck and it becomes grade A profane awesomesauce. It’s true. Try it. Fuck-butter. Fuck-bread, fuck-goat, fuck-bulb, fuck-knob, fuck-purple-monkey-dishwasher. See? All excellent and original profanities. Oh the possibilities... I *squee* a little for the varied and wondrous panoply of possible swear words that can be created in this way. But I digress...). Recently, I've been using "shit, balls, monkey mother-fucker." That exact phrase. I'm not sure what it means. But it sure is fun to say.

Now, all that being said, it is really, really, REALLY a bad idea to ask me not to cuss. Really. Don't misunderstand me. I'm fully capable of controlling my swearing. I can get through the day without any deliberate use or inadvertent slips. I know when it is inappropriate to swear, and I am completely able to control it. But in general, casual conversation? Yeah. Ask me not to swear, and I will hit the gas on the swear bus and run you over with fuck-puppets and shit-balls. And then I will back up and roll over your shattered spine with a couple of merdes for good measure (that’s totally French shit. Cuz I'm multi-culti like that.) Just don't do it.

Why, you may wonder, do I love swearing so much? Because it is fun. And one of the few areas of language in which you can be creative with the meanings of the words themselves, and still be clearly understood. Because flouting taboos and challenging social norms can be fun, and healthy. And because I think it is patently ridiculous to get your panties in a twist over the arbitrary labels we’ve assigned to biological functions. If I can talk about corpses and cancer, then I can talk about crap. (It is perhaps unsurprising that I also find it ridiculous to be embarrassed by discussing sex in public, friendly discourse).


And now for something completely different! One of the greatest pleasures in human existence is the ability to sing along, at top volume, in the privacy of your own car, to your favorite songs. I personally cannot help but sing along, loud, long, and without precision, when I drive. One of my absolute favorite sing-alongs is "Skullcrusher Mountain" by Jonathan Coulton. Good Lord, that song is fun.


I desperately long to perform the damn thing as a monologue, because this song, this song I not only sing, but perform. It is the frustrated actor child in me, I know. It’s been FOREVER since I got to perform anything, and “”Skullcrusher Mountain” speaks to the part of me which used to have to fish around performance material for student showcases and the like. I performed Tool’s “Cries of the Carrots” bonus track (I’ve no idea if that’s the proper, official name, but that’s bloody well what I call it in my own head) on two different occasions for such a showcase. Skullcrusher Mountain would be PERFECT FOR THIS. Alas, the downside: like most of my favorite monologues, the speaker in “Skullcrusher” is male. Boo. I can’t do Aaron from Titus Andronicus, or this, because I lack a penis. To which I say BALLS.


One final and completely unrelated third point: in my writing about literature class (which could be an entry on its own. It is surreal to be taking this kind of course at this stage of my college career. It’s like going back to freshman year of high school and relearning the elements of fiction ALL OVER AGAIN) the professor referenced Romance novels. Now, anyone who is even vaguely aware of the romance community knows to expect one of two things from this scenario. Support or venom, with venom heavily favored. Naturally, my prof takes the usual; romance is porn, stereotype the genre route. Of course. We were covering structuralism, and she gave the examples of the set formulas of books like The DaVinci Code and romance novels. And then she gives a brief sketch of her idea of the formula of romance novels: 1) Within 3 chapters, a kiss. 2) Within 10, a nice, healthy rape.

Wait what!?! Right. Rape. Because ALL romance novels, especially those written after 1987, contain rapes.

Now, I’m not going to lie. Rape is one of the old school conventions of romance novels. It is unfortunate, rape is never right or good, and it is problematic how it is often portrayed in old school romances (if the villain rapes the heroine, it’s bad. If the hero does it, it is because he is so in love, all unknowing, that he cannot control his cock around the heroine. Epic fail.) I could wax on and on about why this device came into the genre, the role it played, etc., but really, for my immediate purposes, suffice to say that the rape trope is MUCH reviled in the modern romance community, and that shit does not fly. Rape in romance is MUCH less common now, and its role is much more appropriate and realistic. And really, as a reader of the genre, and a fan of several of the writers, it really twists my tail when I hear this shit being smugly bandied about. I am annoyed by the smug superiority and condescension of these portrayals, and I’m annoyed to face it in my writing class. Shame. I was beginning to like this prof…

And now I am home and bone weary (text books weren't so heavy in MY day *shakes fist in impotent rage*) waiting for the ex to come pick up the Little.

On the plus side, my witch hat pants are pretty sweet.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Save the Contemporary

So, one of my deep, dark, not-so-shameful secrets is that I read romance novels. Contrary to popular belief, this neither makes me a bored house wife snarfing bon-bons, nor some kind of pervy spinster who gets off on purple prose. The whole romance novel = girl porn thing makes me insane. First of all, so what if is it porn? What's so wrong with a girl liking porn? This drives me particularly bug-fuck crazy when a man who regularly watches porn sneers at "girl porn." As if it were somehow superior to watch a film of "real" sex, rather than read about it. Lame. And second, the majority of mainstream romance novels are definitively NOT porn. The sex scenes are only perhaps 10% of the books, unless you're talking the racier Blazes and genre fiction, and they aren't really... arousing. If I want to read porn, I'll read porn. But the fact is that romance novels read more like the novel form of rom-coms.

That being said, there is a book giveaway going on, and I want some free books. Oh yes. So, if any like minded strangers happen upon this entry, stumble over to http://savethecontemporary.com/ and help the "campaign" go viral by emailing, tweeting and/or blogging about it to get your own chance at some great free category romances. Or, just man up and read some romances, because I don't really want the extra competition for the freebies anyway. ;P

Plus, they're giving away a LUSH bath bomb with the books. Score. Because the only thing better than reading a good contemporary is reading a good contemporary in a long, hot bath. WANT.

UPDATE: Well, I didn't win (I never seem to win these things...) but my sister did! Which is really just as good, because she wanted the tote bag, I wanted the bath bomb, and we were going to share the books anyway. So, SCORE!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

25 Random Facts

This meme is quite possibly older than God. You Know the drill; 25 random facts about me:
  1. I am totally and desperately in love with the Oxford comma. (That, this, and those. Spot the Oxford comma!)
  2. I wish there were more opportunities in life to say “because it would hurt a lot, Warren.”
  3. I’ve a weakness for men on TV/in movies cocking shotguns. I don’t particularly care for firearms in reality, but put a shotgun in Bruce Campbell’s hands, and I melt.
  4. I am fascinated by the themes of physical and social castration in Gulliver’s Travels.
  5. There are 2 full body fiberglass mannequins in the “office” area of my house. We call them Edy and Olivia.
  6. One of my favorite possessions is a fabric shower curtain from the 70s with Frank X. Leyendecker’s “The Flapper” printed on it, which my father stretched on a frame and hung in my room when I was a child. Some kids get teddy bears and rainbows in their nursery, I got a semi-nude woman with butterfly wings.
  7. I really, really miss working at the Studio Tour. Blowing out queues with hundreds of people in them was like a drug. (My area supervisor once told me that watching me stretch the queue was like watching a ballet. It must have been a very strange ballet he had in mind, because this was during Halloween Horror Nights, and I was yelling like a woman possessed and belittling the guests at the time.)
  8. Robin Hood is my favorite old school Disney cartoon.
  9. I think less of people who actively campaigned in support of Prop 8, especially the soccer moms who held up the big ass signs a block away from my son’s elementary school. I can neither confirm nor deny having given the PTA secretary the finger over those damn signs…
  10. I love BBC America. I want to put David Tennant in my pocket and snog John Barrowman.
  11. I really wish I could dance.
  12. When I was a freshman in high school, I stepped on a bright yellow toothpick and broke ¾ of it off in my foot. At the urgent care, it took 4 big male nurses to hold me down so they could take it out. I kicked one of them in the face when they tried to give me local anesthetic. That fucker HURT.
  13. I never learned how to ride a bike.
  14. For three years during my childhood, I had a panic attack every time I tried to ride an escalator.
  15. I hate people who teach or read Shakespeare as pure literature and ignore all the dirty jokes.
  16. My mother used to cook a turkey (whole bird) every Saturday when I was a kid. She would always burn it. My sister and I loved eating the burnt upper meat, and would pretend we were eating bat wings, like in “The Three Amigos”. I still love the taste of burnt turkey.
  17. My crazy Mormon relatives have tracked the family genealogy back to Harold Bluetooth (yes, THAT Bluetooth), a Viking king with rotten teeth. Genealogy fascinates me, but I think it is ludicrous to assume that every female through history in one’s family line has faithfully borne her husband’s children, rather than the milkman’s.
  18. Twinkies make me physically ill.
  19. I’m afraid that one day, everyone will realize that I’m actually a lot less intelligent than I appear to be.
  20. I learned how to tell time properly from my alcoholic, man-hating high school French teacher, Madam Cohen.
  21. When I was in the 8th grade, I was given a Saturday detention for yelling “Fuck You” at a friend. Shockingly, the experience did nothing to check my love of profanity. I still find that when asked to cuss less, I am taken with the perverse desire to swear even more extensively and creatively.
  22. I once spent an entire weekend helping a friend tape little green army men and toy cars to her bedroom ceiling.
  23. I wish I could still do plays. I miss it so much.
  24. I have a kind of phobia of veins. The bulgy arm veins on bodybuilders squick me the fuck out, and I have infrequent dreams in which every vein in my body bursts through my skin.
  25. I still cry like a baby when I talk about my father.
  26. I’m considering opening a store on Etsy.com to sell custom paper dolls and decoupage bracelets. Fuck yes, I am lame and crafty like that.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bite Me

From a survey on a forum I frequent: From Dr. Polidori's Lord Ruthven to Stephenie Meyer's Edward Cullen, the annals of vampire lore are filled with attractive, charming bloodsuckers. Which one would you most want to be bitten by?

You know, I'd be fine skipping the biting bit altogether and just sitting to a nice cup of tea and some chat about photography with Otto Von Chriek. But, if we must go the biting route, then I'd say Angel all the way (Spike's hot and all, but I much prefer James Marsters when he's snogging John Barrowman). Or, for a more old school tv vamp fix, Nick Knight (Is that not the worst character name ever?)

For a more literary bite, well, I'd sooner slit my own throat, or leap into a pit of sharpened sporks, than let Edward Cullen or any of Ms. Meyer's other sparkly kiddie craft project emo "vampires" anywhere near me. I'll take some wicked beautiful Lestat (only the book Lestat. Both film versions were horrid. Tom Cruise was a terrible Lestat, but Stuart Townsend was even worse). Failing that, I wouldn't refuse Louis (book or movie. I can deal with Brad Pitt).

Although really, I've been on more of a werewolf kick lately. So hell, let's throw some Oz (Seth Green on Buffy) into the mix as well.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Emo High School Poetry: The Easy Way!

I couldn't help but notice that a fair few people have posted their angsty High School poetry in their journals. Not being an aspiring poet myself, I decided to go about this whole poetry thing the easy way: with an iTunes meme. Basically, you put your iTunes (or other music player) on shuffle and create a "poem" using only the first lines of the first twenty songs that come up. The first line of the twenty-first song is the title. See how many of the songs you can identify!

Metaphor for a Missing Moment
How dare you say that my behavior's unacceptable,
take this pink ribbon off my eyes.
I been all around the world;
I shouldn't have called so late last night.

Won't you come see about me,
love, love me do.
They took the whole Cherokee nation;
big girl, you are beautiful.

Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking,
the flowers you gave me are rotting.
She's a rebel, she's a saint,
I'd appreciate input.

You chat to me like we connect,
and its love you give.
I was always the crazy one,
once upon a midnight, dearie.

Judging by the look on the organ grinder,
I'm packed and I'm hummin'.
You caught me lingering in another girl's paradise,
if I leave here tomorrow...

Huh. Well, that makes slightly more sense than I'd expected it to... also, some of those stanzas are painfully reminiscent of some of the poetry to be found in my HS's "Literary" magazine, lo these many years ago. I'm fighting the urge to explicate. :)

Seems to me, our imaginary poetess is a budding feminist, dabbling in lesbianism with a chubby girl she calls late at night (another girl's 'paradise'? If this were a romance novel, that would be a euphemism, right there...). Clearly, the chubby girl is the more cerebral of the two, and our poet is getting sick of her girlfriend's neediness, so our poetess cheats, and gets caught. So now, she's leaving. Oh, the angst!!!!!!! (According to Terry Pratchett, an excess of exclamation marks indicates poor mental health. Huh).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On the Shortcomings of the Modern DIY Cupid

So, recently I’ve been doing the online dating thing. Started off with Match.com, discovered I was almost invariably interested in people who were not members, and therefore could not receive or send emails or IMs. Yeah… I’m paying y’all to show me people I’ll be interested in/compatible with, but because they haven’t paid you as well, I can’t actually connect with them? FAIL. Lesson learned, pay sites are a crock.

So now, I’ve switched over to OKCupid.com, which is free. Huzzah. I’m also getting a lot more response on OKCupid than I did on Match, so I’m happy in that regard. Still a lot of “Hey, you’re hot, hur hur” emails mostly, from guys who aren’t remotely my cuppa, but we can’t fault the service for that. The blame for that falls squarely on the men.

With that in mind, I thought I’d post a little Don’ts of Online Dating for the men folk. (Granted, I know I’m largely speaking to myself and the metaphoric walls at present, but… meh. Lemme spin my wheels a bit.)
  • When emailing a woman, DO NOT send a “Hi/Hiya/Hullo, you’re hot, how you doin’?” message. How am I supposed to answer that? “Thanks, fine, and you?” Wow, that’s spectacularly dull. Since you are the one initiating contact in this scenario, gentlemen, the onus is on you to start the conversation. “How you doin’” does not qualify as a good opening conversational gambit. Save it for your IMs. Further, if you put this little effort into your message to me, it tells me a) you’re not invested enough to dedicate a moment’s thought to this conversation, b)you couldn’t be arsed to read, or even skim, my profile to find something to talk to me about. This is not an auspicious beginning. Also, this is not MySpace. I expect this bullshit there, but not on a dedicated dating site.
  • While I understand and approve of the fact that some of you would like to attract intelligent women, some of you are going about it completely wrong. You seem to think that peppering (or rather saturating) your profile with SAT words will do the trick. Fine, it is possible that your vocabulary will impress a smart woman. Probably not, though, because for the most part, this just makes you look like a pretentious, self-aggrandizing ass. You might as well just brag to me about your SAT scores and have done with it. Triple bonus FAIL points if you don’t even do a basic proofreading/spell-check and you choose to compliment your $5 words with basic grammar errors and incoherence. (PS to the jackass who messaged me earlier today: pairing “fancy” words with loopy, indecipherable new age bullshit and faux nihilism isn’t sexy. Especially when you also BOLD all of the SAT fodder, and quote “Finding Nemo” thrice, without irony. You, my dear, misguided, and newly minted man-child, are a bit of a douche-nozzle.)
  • While we’re on the subject of your profile: don’t tell me you hate writing about yourself. Yes dear, you and everyone else. You like to laugh and have fun? Who doesn’t? This is not a unique trait, and gives me no idea of your individual identity apart from the herd. By all means, if you ARE a herd animal, proceed with the clich├ęs, but otherwise? Tell me something specific and unique about yourself.
  • Humor. Don’t tell me you’re funny. Show me. I don’t care if it’s hard. If you absolutely CANNOT find a way to inject humor into your profile, then guess what, pumpkin? You aren’t funny. Or at least, not anything out of the common way.
  • Pictures. Do you not realize how important these are? You MUST post at least 2. A good headshot and a ¾ body length shot. MUST. This is a non negotiable. For preference, if you are an aspiring actor/model/cougar slave, don’t use your professional headshots for your main profile shots. This is not an audition. Ideally, I’m going to be interacting with you in the private sphere, outside of your business. I would like to see what you look like in your day-to-day, not how purdy you can be made to look with Photoshop/airbrushing, professional lighting, and manly make-up. Don’t post pictures with your children/minor relatives/hot female friends/exes. Don’t. Further, do not take your profile pictures on a cell phone. It is simply not that hard to get your hands on a decent digital camera. Hell, even a photo booth shot would be better than a shitty, low res cell phone pic. Final point about pictures: keep your shirt on. Yes, even if you actually are a hard body. Women don’t work the same way men do (and I read women being blasted for overly revealing photos in this arena too), and posting topless shots makes you look conceited. My advice: in all of your pictures, you should look date ready, whatever that means to you. I’m not saying dress up, necessarily… just appear well groomed. In large part, your pictures are what I am basing my first impressions of you upon. Do you really want me to form my first impression of you based on that photo of you drunk and dirty at a frat party, and that one time you dicked around in a towel after a shower flexing in your bathroom mirror? If you do, cool, mission accomplished, but if not…

Well, I think that’s all I’ve got for now. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all bad. I had a really fun convo with a guy about pirates and Vikings, as well as a very sarcastic exchange about our incompatibilities. A funny, clever guy. But he’s 23. Why? Why can I not find an intelligent, attractive funny guy who’s older than me? Nothing is likely to come of this, because of my personal hang ups about his age, but it was fun, nonetheless. So, lala, the grand OKCupid experiment continues…