edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I don't remember exactly when I encountered comic books as a concept. I know it must have been via my friend Cat, because she was the one who introduced me to... oh, pretty much any form of pop culture up until I was maybe twelve years old, at which point Vicky began to explore her own tastes and I started borrowing her books and sort of idly watching her shows. The part I remember most dramatically is when Cat talked me into watching the old X-Men cartoon on Fox, back around 1992. That was, quite literally, the first television I watched that wasn't either PBS or the evening news. (No, wait, I lie; I also watched the occasional football game with Dad.) Basically Cat wanted somebody to squee with and I guess she figured I was her best target in our mutual friend group.

She was right.

I assume she introduced me to comics around the same time, mostly in the form of various interrelated X-Men titles with a side order of Spider-Man. She was a Marvel girl through and through and I had no frame of reference for this strange new world, so I just read everything she owned. Then we squeed. And you know, in retrospect there was not a lot of great literary merit in, for example, the X-cutioner's Song crossover arc, but hey. It was a HELL of a lot of fun, and even more fun when shared. :D

But the thing is, comics were a secondhand obsession on my part... )

Also, recommend me some good power fantasies that feature non-sexually-objectified women, please, so I can maybe put hold requests on them too? (I can't buy anything, I'm broke, but at least these days there's a chance some library in the system might have copies of obscure things.) [ETA: I already know about Girl Genius, and yes, I am familiar with Elfquest; that was one of Cat's big things for a while, sometime after her Dragonlance obsession.]
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I saw Mad Max: Fury Road yesterday, and intend to go see it again on Thursday or Friday.

It's not objectively the greatest movie, I think? I mean, it's a damn good action movie! It's basically a two-hour car chase scene with occasional pauses for breath, punctuated by intense fights and explosions; the characterization and world-building is done mostly through background visuals, body language, and implication. But you know, it's not aiming to be anything other than a damn good action movie. Which is cool. The world can always use more damn good action movies if you ask me. :-)

As for why people are saying it's great and deep and important...

Um. How to phrase this?

Okay. The thing is, I love action movies. I love action movies A LOT. I am so there for chases and fights and guns and knives and explosions and the rules of physics and biology being overwritten in the service of "Dude, wouldn't it be cool if?" propositions.

But with almost every action movie in the world, there's a little niggling sense of, "Yes, but..." in the back of my mind.

"Yes, but where are the women?"

Where are the women among the heroes? Where are the women with speaking roles? Where are the women in crowd scenes? Where are the women in the backgrounds of organizations? Where are the women just getting on with their lives? Where are the women who have any contact with other women?

With Fury Road, I didn't have to ask that question, because THE WOMEN WERE RIGHT THERE ON-SCREEN. I'd say about a dozen with speaking roles, and they had their own arcs and their own goals and they talked to each other, and they didn't exist to glorify the male characters or to serve as sexy inspiration (whether living or dead). Some of them were traditionally action-movie badass (with guns and fists and cars and whatever), and some were not, and that's okay because there were enough women on-screen that no single character had to bear the burden of representing ALL women. They could just be themselves, who they would logically be in their positions. Some were young and gorgeous, some were middle-aged, some were old, and they were all treated LIKE PEOPLE, not sexy lamps or dumb jokes or burdens -- just like men always get to be treated.

So it's not that Fury Road is a great movie with a deep message. It's just that for once, it's a movie in a genre I love that doesn't punch me in the face with one hand even as it clasps the other and takes my money. Instead, this movie pulls me in for a hug and says, "Welcome home."

I love it so much for that.

(And I think I am retroactively even more annoyed about all those past face-punches than I was at the time. Dammit, people, PUT WOMEN IN YOUR MOVIES. Do you see how easy it is to do? Do you see how it doesn't spoil the adrenaline rush at all?? Do you see how you don't have to invent contrived romantic subplots to "justify" putting in a single woman as a narratively useless love interest??? Do you see how much money I am willing to give you in return???? ARGH!)
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
Random post is random!

-----

1. Today is my second day of using men's antiperspirant/deodorant instead of women's stuff. I mean, when you can get a stick/tube that contains half again as much product for only two thirds of the price, why NOT switch to dude-branded stuff? Plus it's easier to avoid those annoying ~spring/powder/fresh~ scents that have infested women's deodorants to the point where I can't find unscented lady-branded products anymore.

(I already get enough residual scent from my shampoo and conditioner. I do not need more scents that will almost certainly clash with them.)

This was a natural second step since I'd already switched to dude-branded razors, as of not quite a year ago. The price differential there is even more ridiculous, and you can still get them with aloe or Vitamin E goop if you want. The only appreciable difference is that dude-branded razors are forest green instead of pink/gold/aqua, and the handle shape is strictly functional instead of ~attractively curved~ or whatever. I think the marketing gimmick is that the fancy handles "fit better into a woman's hand" or something, which is bullshit if you ask me.

Anyway, the dude-branded deodorant is working just fine -- in fact, it's working better than women's Secret and Dove brand deodorants have ever worked for me -- so any marketing hooey about "pH balanced for a woman" and related nonsense can bite my ass.

-----

2. Today I had a small adventure at church! One of the RE workshops this month is candlemaking, and the beeswax melted faster than the DRE expected, thereby setting off the fire alarms when it started to scorch and smoke in the pot. So Joan and I evacuated the kids in the library and huddled in the neighboring building's parking lot for a while, until the owner of the William Henry Miller Inn (a bed and breakfast across the street from my church) offered to let us sit in her parlor while the fire department verified that the church was safe.

There was a lingering smell of burnt wax all through the RE classrooms once we were allowed back into the church -- a bit like honey, a bit like roasted marshmallows, and a bit like a campfire -- but we were able to safely return to the library. The service itself got moved from the sanctuary to the second floor of the annex, and understandably ran over its scheduled end time.

So that was my morning. :-)

-----

3. Note to self: when a brownie mix says it should be baked in an 8 x 8 pan -- or a 9 x 9 pan at the outside -- do not bake the brownies in a 9 x 13 pan. They will come out very flat and weird, even if you cut the baking time by twenty minutes.

I have a second box of this particular mix. I think I will try cooking it in my big glass 8 x 7 baking dish. That may produce equally weird results, but at least they'll be weird in a new and exciting direction! *wry*
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
Today I am thirty-three years old -- a palindrome year!

My parents are coming up on Sunday to attend a concert at my church and take me out for a nice birthday dinner. They will bring cake and gifts and supplies for champagne cocktails, because that is how we roll. (Mmm, champagne cocktails...) I will keep Dottie overnight, because apparently the price differences between the motel that allows dogs and the motel that doesn't are currently dramatic enough for my parents to decide that saving money outweighs the small logistical inconveniences of leaving her with me.

I got my taxes done this morning, for free -- this is a side benefit of working for Not the IRS. The hill office was crazy busy this afternoon, which I suspect is partly just that we're reaching our peak couple weeks, and partly that everyone who didn't come yesterday because of the weather came today instead.

Vicky gave me my birthday present at Christmas and I duly lugged it back to Ithaca and let it sit untouched on my coffee table for a month and a half, but tonight I got to open it. For Christmas, she got me a Talavera ceramic mug from one of her trips to Mexico, and for my birthday she got me some plum wine, some matcha chocolate pocky, and a bowl, a whisk, and what I think is a tin of powdered green tea, all purchased on her trip to Japan last summer. (The Mexico trips are for work -- she's a linguist and currently does stuff with ESL testing -- while the Japan trip was as a chaperone for her church's youth group.)

I also got ten bucks from one of my maternal uncles, and a cool metal charm with an engraved lucky horseshoe from Aunt Cara. All in all, a good day. :-)

---------------

In less pleasant news, I got an email today from...

Did I ever tell you guys the story of Longwinded Man? I don't think I did. I was too annoyed at the time, and it was a little too personal. But today's event needs context, so.

cut for length and vaguely personal details )

I just.

ARGH.

I will give him this: it is a shorter email than he usually manages. But it's exactly the same type of emotionally manipulative garbage and making me into an object instead of seeing me as myself that he used to do.

I'm not going to answer. In fact, I'm going to block his email address, like I should have done a long time ago.

And hopefully I will never have any contact with him again.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
December 12: C. S. Lewis (for [personal profile] selenak) [Tumblr crosspost]

I don't know all that much about C. S. Lewis as a person, nor am I especially interested in finding out more. I am interested in him mainly as a writer of fiction -- most specifically the Chronicles of Narnia, though I have also read a few of his other works: namely two and a half books of the Space Trilogy (before I threw That Hideous Strength across the room in a combination of frustration and disgust), Till We Have Faces (which I don't remember much about and may have been too young to properly grasp, but think I kind of liked?), and The Screwtape Letters (which I argued with out loud and at great length while reading, and am glad nobody was around to observe me acting crazy).

this got long; I'm going to cut it )

In summary, Lewis was a very formative writer for me, and I suspect I will continue wrestling with his influence on my imagination and ethics for many years to come.

-----

December Talking Meme: All Days
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
(This post has been slightly edited for clarity of phrasing, and to add a couple additional qualifiers in the end notes. I want to be precise about what arguments I am and am not making.)

I don't want to harsh on people's squee, which is why I am writing my own post here on my journal instead of appending these thoughts to anything on Tumblr. But. Because Tumblr is aware that I am into Narnia and related stuff, and also into awesome women (and also because sometimes people I follow reblog things), I see a lot of movie-centric "Susan Pevensie fuck yeah!!!" style posts. Mostly I just shrug and pass them by, because the Narnia films are not my canon, and also not really my thing in general for various and sundry reasons, and people like what they like and that's cool. But tonight I saw a post that contrasted book!Susan to movie!Susan and implicitly declared the former a terrible character in comparison.

And I just.

NO.

cut for angry meta )

...

Okay, I feel better now. I still want to write about a hundred book!Susan fics showcasing her differences from movie!Susan and why those differences make her AMAZING, but it's late and I'm tired, so that will have to wait for tomorrow.

---------------

Four additional things:

1) I would like to clarify that I have nothing against movie!Susan in and of herself. I just cannot stand people holding her up as a reason to tear book!Susan down.

2) I do think the changes in her character from one medium to another are a symptom of a large-scale failure of vision on the part of the filmmakers, but I can and do say the same for the changes in Peter, the Beavers, Reepicheep, Caspian, and even Aslan himself, not to mention all the plot alterations, so it's not as if I am holding her up as an isolated example.

3) Yeah, the ending of TLB sucks, but it sucks for everyone, not just Susan. Everyone else dies! Heavenly reward or no heavenly reward, that is not any kind of happy ending I recognize.

4) I am not saying Lewis is a flawless writer. Far from it! I mean, his fuckups on physical world-building alone... *headdesk* But the filmmakers are nowhere near flawless either, and I personally find their flaws more irritating than Lewis's flaws. Other people's mileage may, obvious, vary -- which is as it should be! -- but choosing to accept the flaws in a work or creator doesn't mean you get to pretend they aren't there.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
Fuck.

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck FUCK!

I finally got around to looking through the data that GeekSquad transferred from my old computer, and there are some REALLY WEIRD AND GLARING OMISSIONS.

Like my entire folder of Homestuck fanfiction. The HP folder transferred fine. The Angel Sanctuary folder transferred. So did Narnia, and Naruto, and the miscellaneous fic... but not Homestuck. Nope.

And all my pictures are gone, except for the ones that weren't in a folder -- the only sub-folder that made it onto my external hard drive was the "fanart other people drew for me" with two HP pics and a handful of Naruto pics. All my pepper photographs, my MONTHS AND MONTHS of carefully chronicled pictures of Cascadilla Creek (I was attempting to do a pic-a-day sort of thing, to show the change of seasons), all my own artwork for "Trollstuck: Make Her Pay" -- gone. Just flat gone.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, BEST BUY!?!?!

Oh, and you know the weirdest thing? My computer still insists that Microsoft Word does not exist as a program -- there is no shortcut, I cannot find it anywhere when I search -- but crazily when I try to open a Word document... hey presto, the ugliest my counter-intuitive version of Word I have ever seen in my life pops up and opens.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, MICROSOFT?!?!?

...

I cannot believe this. Do you know HOW MUCH WORK I have lost? I had ELEVEN THOUSAND WORDS of Jade/Dave/Terezi crossdressing porn. Down the drain and gone. All my rough drafts and backup versions and the next part of that thing I've been writing anonymously for the kink meme and my NOTES, all my background world-building NOTES, and I just.

ANIJHOAT.RKJ98[YP5Hgar jMV,.A;UIOTAQ3;BAET GFV .,M !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...

...

...

fuck

ETA: No wait, it's even more fucked up than that. Everything seems to be old versions, like they didn't even fucking BOTHER transferring my actual files and just used what had been on the hard drive the one and only time I put stuff on there myself. Which was back in 2011 or something, judging by the file dates. WHAT THE FUCK!!!! I specifically TOLD THEM to wipe the drive and put all my real files on there. And they SAID THEY DID, AND CHARGED ME FOR DOING SO.

And now it's too late and they've scrapped my old, broken computer for parts, but holy shit I am going to the mall Friday or Saturday and GETTING MY FUCKING MONEY BACK.

OR ELSE.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
An anonymous review left on First You Have To Get There:

-------------------

:This is great. Could you write a sequel about how they end up going out, because, well they do.

-------------------


Dear Anonymous,

No. No, I could not write a sequel, because I don't care how Ginny and Harry end up going out. Furthermore, you know what? The events described in "Five Years Is an Awful Lot of Later" and "First You Have To Get There" are already a grandfathered AU, so there is, in fact, no guarantee that, 'well, they do' end up together.

Also, why people bother asking authors questions without leaving any way to contact them with an answer is beyond me. It is probably beyond you, too, and yet here you are, doing just that. Funny how that works.

No love,
Liz

...

Right, I clearly need more sleep if such minor idiocy is annoying me this much.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I love ff.net. It is the gift that never stops giving... particularly in Naruto. I mean, I get occasional weird comments on practically everything, but the proportion of character partisans, canon police, people who did not actually read the story, and other types of oddity is noticeably higher in that fandom compared to my others. For example, one "review" of What Isn't Broken (Can Still Be Fixed):

cut for length )

Um. Okay then. Obviously you have FEELINGS about Sasuke. How nice for you. Please do not splash them all over me, as I think they have curdled and gone rancid.

In any case, I replied as follows:

What I take from your extended "review" is that my interpretation of the characters and the events in the manga did not mesh with yours. Here is a piece of advice: If you want a story about Sasuke that fits your exacting personal standards, it would be much more effective to write your own, or perhaps to submit a detailed prompt to a writing meme, than to send angry screeds to people who have somehow failed to read your mind when writing stories that did not have you as their intended audience. I honestly have no idea what you hoped to accomplish with this rant except to make yourself feel righteous and me feel sad and/or ashamed, which, frankly? You failed at. I wrote the story I wanted to write, which is true to my reading of the manga and characters, and I do not care that it failed to please you.

Have a nice life.

--Liz


Because sometimes there is really nothing else you can say.
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
Oh god love a duck. Tomorrow is the wounded seal lesson, which comes with special bonus by the way, Canadian seal hunting is EVIL!!! wording built into the story introduction. Which I objected to when I taught this lesson back in 2011, and still object to now. Last time it ended up all right, so I suppose if I am healthy enough to teach at all tomorrow I will just chop that stuff out again when I introduce the story. But seriously, ugh.

You can teach empathy without demonizing hunting, you know! In fact, demonizing hunting shows a remarkable lack of empathy! For instance, I would really like to know what the Seal Hunter in the story did to keep himself and his family and village alive if he stopped hunting seals. He was hunting them for food and clothing, after all, and it's damned hypocritical and short-sighted not to point out the troubles he must have had after he threw away his livelihood.

Also, seals hunt and eat fish. Why do we not have a story where a fish comes and makes a seal feel guilty for killing the other members of its school? And then the seal becomes a vegetarian and somehow doesn't starve to death because righteousness miraculously provides? Oh right, because fish aren't fluffy and cute, that's why. Fucking selkie myths and pure white fur and big melty black eyes.

I hate this lesson plan so much.

At least this year we are skipping the Faith in Action protest letter bullshit. The national curriculum hasn't changed, but I guess I made a convincing case to our DRE in 2011. Yay for progress?

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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