I MAY have made last night's series of posts in a state of manic giddiness that has now been followed by a crash of ongoing wakefulness and threatening illness, but hey, you take whatever leads to productivity when life's been sitting on your neck punching you in the head ... or at least dramatically demonstrating doing so, WWE-style.

So I really like watermelon. There's this thing they sometimes do at the store that they call a "premium cut," which I call a "watermelon filet" because it looks and is packaged exactly like a steak, in the styrofoam tray, with even the absorbent pad at the bottom. So after I ate it, it looked like I left a rotting tray of blood sitting around in my room. CLASSY.

Another thing we bought during our epic outing last night was lipstick, something I haven't bought in approximately 1.87 billion years. Not because I don't like lipstick--there was a time when I put some on every time I went out, particularly this one color I had that seemed like it shouldn't work and was really sparkly but also subtle and somehow worked really well. I got that lipstick from my mom, who loved buying Clinique stuff (one lotion in particular), which is so ^&*($# expensive that they pretty much always gave you a free gift when you bought something, which she often passed along to me. This lipstick was one of those freebies. I just wore it 'cos I had it and it wasn't hard to wear like so many of them are, requiring lots of blending or whatever (I'm lookin at you, Wet 'n' Wild); just put it on and go.

And I tell you what, this lipstick lives on. Though I haven't laid eyes on such a color in decades, it inspired then, and continues to inspire. Multiple people, after regarding it a while, would finally conclude they really liked it (that seemed-like-it-shouldn't-work thing), that indeed, it had some sort of mysterious, intriguing appeal. My sister, who had never been a lipstick or even a makeup wearer, started experimenting at that point. More pertinently, P never particularly liked lipstick until recently, and she's now a good-lipstick fiend, and when I brought up that lipstick that was the main lipstick I wore, she said it's the whole reason she's into lipstick now! Which is finally coming full circle, as she's getting me back into lipstick again after all these years.

So never let anyone tell you you amounted to nothing, because maybe you wore a free lipstick or something that had consequences that are still manifesting in multiple variations twenty years later. I AND MY LIPSTICK, WE STAND TALL.
For Self-Rec Saturday, I shall talk about one of my gishwhes items! This, to me, was one of the more hilariously worded items this year:

The item was: "It’s a well-known fact that Pablo Picasso was a huge “Supernatural” fan. He painted portraits of Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Ruth Connell, Sam Smith, Richard Speight Jr., Matt Cohen, Jared Padalecki, Andrew Dabb, Rob Benedict, Misha Collins, Bob Singer, and many of the other cast and crew members. Sadly, until now, these great works have been lost to the world. Fortunately, your team has unearthed one of these priceless works."

Here's what I did for it:



My mom had a couple of Picassos on the wall when I was growing up. She claimed to like 'em, but tell you the truth, I've never been a fan. Still, it was something I've been exposed to all my life, and I was eager to explore his work and style a bit more.

I felt from the beginning that I would be painting Rob, and sure enough, a good pic of him came up on the Google, and that's what I ended up using. I did a lot of painting this year! Next time I'll show you my Bob Ross time-lapse painting.

Man, I love all the art projects gishwhes makes you do. Somewhere deep inside me, I secretly always wanted to try to paint like Picasso, just to try to figure out what was going on in the brain of the guy whose works haunted me as a kid, and to see if my childhood suspicion that with his big-color-block portraits he was just tired of working so hard to make grown-up art and wanted to see if he could make it easy and fun like when you're coloring as a kid (CONFIRMED), and as usual, gishwhes read these buried desires and interests and talked me into actually fulfilling them. Thanks, Misha! I LOVE YOU. (No, seriously, I love you.)
Before I joined Tumblr, I had the impression it was a bunch of bitchy 15-year-olds barely interacting and reposting innumerable pictures of hot guys. After I joined Tumblr, I discovered I was exactly correct. Still, barely interacting is easy, I like looking at hot guys, so it's been all right, although after you see approximately 15,000 pictures of Sebastian Stan, you actually start feeling like maybe you never need to see another.

There are good things about Tumblr, namely that if there is any news whatsoever about someone you're into, THOSE PEOPLE ARE ON IT. Every single photo that may appear anywhere on the internet is on Tumblr within minutes, being passed around, hashed over, and thoroughly analyzed. It's like instantaneous fandom-news central, which is surprisingly gratifying. Now if only real news could be as accurate and immediate.

Anyway, I think maybe I know the reason why I finally felt compelled to join Tumblr when I did: very shortly after, lo and behold, one of the few people I follow cooked up the great idea to have fans submit songs for a fan tribute album of one of my favorite band's great albums (which is set to be re-released soon for the tenth anniversary).

This is sort of a dream come true for me. Not that anyone will listen to my song, but just to get to do that, to have an excuse to record a cover, to get to delve deeply into one of my favorite band's songs, to record music at all anymore (I self-released a couple of albums, but it's been a long time since I recorded a single note), has been soo so awesome and so inspiring and fun. I'm so grateful to get to be a part of it, even though it's fucking hard work! And lots of technology-related frustration, as ever. Maybe someday I'll be able to get my electric guitar to be audible through one of my interfaces, but today is not that day.

Anyway, so that's what I've been up to. I've been missing you all and trying to find a way back into interacting on lj, but it's taken me until TODAY to finally catch up after gishwhes. (YES REALLY.) Hopefully more posts and more responses to your comments to come soon. <3
I'ma leave all y'all's lovely comments on my post announcing my friend's death just as they are. I feel like responding to those particular comments would cheapen them, but I very much want you to know how much I appreciate your beautiful words.

There is a notification in my e-mail from that friend from not long before her death, which makes it feel like she's still around. I doubt I'll be filing that e-mail any time soon.

I'm so into the show Alone, on the History channel (wilderness survival was one of my favorite obsessions in my youth), even though I get constant errors as it creaks through the commercials, making watching the thing take about half again as long as it should. It's worth it! But now they're to the part where it gets really grim and everybody's having an awful time and it's no fun for them and no fun for you but by then you have to see who manages to stick it out the longest. One of the final four in this, its second season, who has been one of the most successful participants generally, is a woman! (The first season was only men.) She is pure awesome, but Mike had my heart from day one. They never let us get to know Mike well enough, or showed us enough of him. And he's from my very own state. Mike, you rock!!

I would like to take this space to wish the happiest of happy birthdays to [livejournal.com profile] quickreaver, who does such incredibly great work making so many of our favorite challenges and exchanges 'round here run smoothly, and is generally an awesome, smart, fun, kind lady. Glad you're here, and that we met! <3 <3 <3

WoL

Jun. 10th, 2016 02:38 am
Dear Women of Letters who are denizens of [livejournal.com profile] spn_bunker,

I love you. I love you anyway, but this post and all its comments fill me with such great adoration for the people you are. Thank you for telling the stories of the libraries that helped shape you.

<3 <3 <3
*THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE HOUSE OF THIRTY CATS, (C) 1965*

Sorry, House of Thirty Cats, in the end I wasn't inspired to write any fic for you. After finishing it tonight, I've thought a lot about what so enchanted me as a kid, since it rambles a lot (mostly about cats and their particular behaviors), introduces a mystery it barely solves, and promotes highly questionable values in some ways.

Yes, I had a fascination for cats at that age, wanting them to be as adorable and noble and glorious as they are presented to be in the book (yet, especially during the very charming cat-POV section, it actually portrays them quite realistically). (Having a rather bratty, violent cat killed that hope presently, alas.)

So yeah, any kid will probably enjoy the animal stuff. But really, I think it's how admirably accurately the author describes the world and human interaction. I read voraciously at that age, willing and eager to read just about anything, but there are lines kids' books just don't cross, so I was floored when a cat actually died--quite realistically. It's not the last cat to die in the book, either. I probably also greatly related to how things never quite went right (though still more often in the book than in reality); I couldn't connect to this magical fantasy world I read about and saw on t.v. where everyone always got along and everything always worked out right.

The author also touches on kinds of success at fixing what's wrong with the world that was extremely appealing to me at that age, as I was ever trying to do just that, and of course failing utterly. Aaaand ... yeah, the way it works out in the book isn't realistic, but given how realistic the rest of it is, I imagine I thought maybe I could make it work myself if I could just figure out the trick. So anyway, bottom line: cute, wobbly children's book that's barely for children

Thanks, author, for writing that book that meant so much to child!me.

Cat fic

Apr. 26th, 2016 07:03 pm
SUMMERGEN IS BACK. YAAAY!!!

My favorite book for a time as a kid was The House of Thirty Cats. Well, [livejournal.com profile] septembers_coda found it for us at the library and we're reading it aloud right now. It's really quite good, and almost distressingly me. Like, was I already like that and that's why I was so attracted to that book? Or did it significantly form me? It's a bit disturbing.

Anyway, typical of me, it's extremely obscure. I somehow managed to convince my teacher to read it aloud to the class, and everyone was so bored and not into it that she stopped after only a few pages, no matter how much I lobbied the whole class to keep it going and insisted it got much better after the first chapter (which it does, adult-me can confirm!). Those plebeians in my elementary-school class didn't know great literature when they heard it! But s_c is lovin' it. :-) I'm always delighted when I find something I loved in my youth holds up later on, because Bill and Ted ... not so much.

Today I thought, maybe I will be the person who writes the first House of Thirty Cats fanfic and puts it on the internet. And then maybe someone who likes my other fic will see it and give it a try and it'll bring a little more attention to this strange, brutal, vivid, wonderful novel.

... And then I see that my favorite musician is tweeting about the notorious "milk fic" and encouraging his fans to write the most horrifying fic about him they want, that he dgaf.

I got my second (hopefully last) root canal this morning, and learned that these abcesses have been weighing on my immune system a very long time. When you walk out of the endodontist's office feeling better--like, all over--and then you run an errand you meant to run eight months ago and you get to drive around in a different car from usual hearing new music and it's all rainy and your favorite musician is tweeting about obscene fanfic featuring himself ... it's a good day.
I'm equal parts excited and nervous about the trip. We used to travel all the time, which was easy then (except financially, but hey, that's what credits cards were for, right?) because I didn't like my life and I always wanted to escape it. But I really like my life now. I've spent all my spare time for the past week or so writing and writing, because I know I won't have time or focus to do it on the trip. I'll miss it. I'll miss my Bucky paintings. I'll miss my routine. Man, I never thought I'd be the type to say that.

But that's the thing about going out and doing something you never do, that gets you out of your comfort zone: You don't want to go, but in the end you're so glad you did. Well, most of the time. I really hope it ends up that way this time. See you on the flip side!
The February Fandom Fest put on by [livejournal.com profile] selenic76 is all about expressing your love for any fandom however you see fit (one of the hopes being that others will find a new show to love). I’ve already seen some really cool entries! (Go here to see them all, and if you’re interested in participating, sign up!)

I already do a lot of this. I gushed about Captain America: Winter Soldier here (with some incidental love for Thelma and Louise that found its way into that post), MCR here and here, Men Without Hats here, and I’ve expressed my great love for Princess Tutu countless times, including writing an SPN crossover. I love those shows/band so much, I had to make myself some usericons for them, as:

Winter Soldier: MCR:

Indeed, Princess Tutu is the source of my default usericon (see this post)! But I guess I’ve never really gone into what makes the anime so great.

First, yeah, I know, worst name for a show ever. I couldn’t help but tease my (quite macho) anime-lovin’ buddy when I saw it on his shelf. He laughed sheepishly, but said, “It’s actually a good show.” He has excellent taste, so I suggested we watch it, and the rest is history.

At first, you’ll think you know where it’s going. Well ... kinda, because this is an anime that makes perfect sense upon viewing but is hard to describe without sounding like you’re dropping acid. So, here’s the acid-drenched version: A duck falls in love with a prince who practices ballet at her lake. The storyteller from whose story the prince escaped offers the duck the chance to play a tragic but important part in the story, and of course she jumps at the chance to be near her prince, and to be human ... but if she ever confesses her love, she’ll turn into a speck of light and vanish, so there’s all the delicious angst of her getting to be close and yet so far.

The whole town has come to revolve around the story the storyteller (his name is Drosselmeyer--it takes place in Germany) is manifesting in the real world, which he can do because his authorial power was so great in life that it continues beyond the grave. (I see a lot of metaphors for God and the human condition in that aspect of the show, as Drosselmeyer literally uses people as puppets, manipulates events and calls it “fate,” rages when anyone revolts and exercises free will, and lives “behind the curtain” where the gears of reality are at his command.) Countless moments of genius are sprinkled throughout the show regarding authorial power and choice, which I think writers might appreciate, so if you write fanfic, this might be just your cup of tea.

It sounds like a fairy tale, but it’s more of a ballet, using famous ballets and classical pieces to tell the story, from Swan Lake to the Nutcracker and everything in between. (One of the joys of the show is hearing the EXCELLENT orchestral performances of all these classical pieces. I’m picky about this kind of thing, and truly, I can’t imagine better versions of any of these beloved classics.) One of many strokes of genius in this show is that it’s “staged” like a ballet. Crows figure heavily into the story, but usually they’re human male and female figures performing ballet with giant crow’s-head masks. Spotlights appear on the performers, like so:

cut for gif )
Meanwhile, Duck, the prince, and the other main characters study ballet at an old, venerable school, so it has all the fun and drama and romantic intrigue of a high-school anime, too.

It DOES also have a strong fairy-tale quality--the prince’s name is Mytho, and there are numerous animal characters--as if the creator tapped into something deep and archetypal that lives deep in our collective unconscious. Strange and unpredictable and modern, it at the same time nevertheless feels classic. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the layers, metaphors, and meanings in this thing.

Finally, I love this anime because I feel like it tells a story I lived, with parallel characters and events transpiring obviously very differently from in the show, but on a fundamental level, it resonates for me profoundly ... yet nothing about this anime suggests it’s a common story, so I doubt anyone else in the world (except the amazing woman who created it) feels the same. As you can imagine, I’m grateful to have a show to reflect that experience for me and help me understand and analyze it.

Princess Tutu seems to have been strongly influenced by another great anime, Revolutionary Girl Utena, which is a good deal more popular than Princess Tutu, so if you saw and liked that one, you’re likely to like Princess Tutu, as well.

I often suggest watching an anime in Japanese, but in this case, the English dub is so carefully done and so energetic and inspired, I recommend the English. Besides, if you don’t watch it in English, then you’ll never see TJP’s performance of Mr. Cat, and I pity anyone who doesn’t get to experience that in their lifetime. ;-)

Here is an amazing fanvid I found while looking for clips to gif (good Tutu gifs are hard to come by, I’m finding). For your reference, Duck/Princess Tutu is the redhead, and the prince has white hair. (The show most enjoyably ships all pairings, including the other two main characters, both dark-haired.) I’m not sure if any measure of the show’s true glory will come across to anyone not already familiar with it, but many of the themes and visuals I’ve described are present in this vid, and it’s a fantastic song, as well. SPN covered “The Red Shoes”; well, so did Princess Tutu, and you get a sense for that theme in the vid, too.
The happiest of birthdays to the gal who's a big part of what keeps us going and having fun around here.

We've been talking a lot about music lately, specifically (early) '80s music and our shared love for it. I was there for it, she wasn't.

So I made this playlist for you, Milly. Imagine you and I and [livejournal.com profile] septembers_coda are all hanging around together sometime circa 1985 and it's a really, REALLY good day on MTV. This is what we would watch:



Or, if you'd rather watch it on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0iv-zWyvE9iM-nnQQiafdUr93bjGeJke

A few notes. )

I could literally talk for posts upon posts about each of these songs and everything they meant to me, then and now. So if anyone wants to start up a conversation in the comments on such subjects, by all means, do so! I'd love to hear anyone's memories of MTV or their favorite songs of the era or their favorite videos; anything.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MILLY_GAL! I hope you enjoy your gift.
I'm with [livejournal.com profile] milly_gal--I think everyone should do a Top 16 list for 2016, via [livejournal.com profile] spn_bunker! Here's the original post, and here's my top 16 today:

1) septembers_coda
2) A great SPN watch party with fans last weekend, complete with food so good I was literally full for days.
3) I made a font of my own! And I think I'm pretty satisfied with it!
4) Hot guys exist.
5) The outlet of art of all kinds.
6) Orphan Black's newest season (the one that's out on DVD, anyway), and the glory that is every actor on that show--not just Tatiana Maslany's incredible performance, but Donnie! Art! Felix! VIC!!!
7) HIMYM.
8) Parks and Rec.
9) The wonders of technology that make this post possible.
10) [livejournal.com profile] spn_bunker
11) [livejournal.com profile] tricycleman
12) Feeling better in general, even if I have specific health worries right now.
13) Astonishingly, I too now seem to have an actual social life!
14) Ping Pong: The Animation
15) MCR
16) Captain America: Winter Soldier



... Which reminds me--I suppose it's time to tell the story behind the Top 5 post every Monday at [livejournal.com profile] spn_bunker:

When I was in college, I was fortunate to live in a dorm one year where we were all a bunch of freaks who got along great and were all good friends, forever hanging out in each other's rooms or in the hall, going places together, etc. You never had to walk into the cafeteria and eat alone, because there was ALWAYS a friend from the dorm there to eat with. I only had that (part of) one year, but it was fantastic while it lasted.

Anyway, one of these friends was fond of drawing pictures of a clown in place of various historical figures (he even put it on a cross--yes, we were all artists, and would do anything, no matter how outrageous). He would draw one every now and then to everyone's delight, make several photocopies, and hand them out to everyone. I drew comic strips about rock stars. We sometimes gambled (NOT REAL MONEY) on a ridiculously bad-graphics, boring-ass horseracing computer game. There was all kinds of weird stuff like that.

But something not so weird was the Top Ten. At random intervals, but usually at least every other day, people would whip out a piece of paper and begin detailing their top ten of the day, or of the moment, or related to some particular subject of interest; any kind of top ten on any subject. They got really into it, poring over it for a long time, sharing items on the list with one another as they went, perfecting it, and keeping their list when they were done, sometimes making a copy of it for someone else, sort of a way to commemorate that day of their lives. I thought it was beautiful.

So when I was trying to come up with a new event to fill in some of the gaps at the Bunker, I remembered this, remembered how at other times in my life people have said making a list of positive things going on in their lives really helped them feel better when things were bad, and the Top 5 was born (on Monday, the worst day of the week for many).

Please feel free to participate over on [livejournal.com profile] spn_bunker any Monday, or for that matter, any time you need to make a list! You can just go to that week's Top 5 post to make your list. Don't hesitate to make more than one list, either (and don't limit yourself to only five items)! You can do subject-specific lists, a list every day of the week (or every other day, like my college friends); whatever you like. Maybe you could share it on your own lj, too, to let your friends know what's going on with you. I always enjoy reading people's lists, even if I don't end up making one myself that week, and I think other people enjoy reading them, too, so don't be shy! The Bunker don't bite. ;->
I loved the anti-sexism of the wedding I attended last night: The bride's dad gave her away ... and the groom's mom gave him away. He's tiny--barely taller than the bride, and many pounds thinner, and the non-gender-typical differences in weight and height have never been mentioned. The bride made it through her wedding vows okay, but then the groom choked up there at the end of his.

The guy who married them was the groom's brother, and he told their life stories in brief in a beautifully honest way, not glossing over the groom's struggles with PTSD (he's an Iraq war vet) and addiction, and how much their relationship means in this context. The bride and groom really did kind of save each other--probably the most romantic love story I've ever watched blossom; they really are perfect for each other. You know you're at a good wedding when the groom starts his wedding vows by saying, "You know why I want to marry you? Because to this day, when I fart, I get that laugh." Best wedding I've ever been to.
In which I start a religion. )
Something straight-up magical happened today. I took a nap afterward, and when I woke up, I was like, did that really happen, or was that a dream? BUT IT REALLY HAPPENED.

The ramblings of a hardcore lifelong music lover. )

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