kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Just because you're wearing a tie...)
One of the good things about spending time on the Pendergast boards, if you are an overinvested fanperson who has an ambivalent relationship with the fandom in general, is that people will get to know you and will agree to send you Advance Reader Copies of the new books that they bought. BOO FUCKING YAH. So now I'm reading Fever Dream, and after this it goes on to [livejournal.com profile] drworm and then [livejournal.com profile] pianolessdevil and then I think [livejournal.com profile] rileyc and then the book actually comes out for reals. So I'm telling you all about it first.

This entry is constructed entirely of spoilers )
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Cinnamon sees all)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

For the person assigned to me for the Yuletide Treasure fanfic exchange festival )

Thank you for writing a story for me! And if you don't choose to fill the Pendergast prompt, you should download the books from the link anyway (hint hint, everyone on my flist who hasn't read them--also, thank you [livejournal.com profile] drworm for sending them to me in the first place!) and read them, because they are fun if you like mysteries, monsters, homoerotic crime-solving duos, and strong female characters, many of whom have postgraduate degrees.

***

This has been a letter to my Yuletide writer for the 2009 Yuletide Treasure Obscure Fandom Fanfic Exchange.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Turkey vultures are awesome.)
"At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning-and dreadful-discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle-her only protection from the beast-had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?

With Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta's assistance, Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden. Helen Pendergast had nursed a secret obsession with the famed naturalist-painter John James Audubon, in particular a long-lost painting of his known as the Black Frame.

As Pendergast probes more deeply into the riddle-the answer to which is revealed in a night of shocking violence, deep in the Louisiana bayou-he finds himself faced with an even greater question: who was the woman he married?"


--He dragged D'Agosta with him to sort through his dead wife's stuff? Of course he did. He gets D'Agosta to hang out with him for practically everything. ([livejournal.com profile] drworm pointed out that D'Agosta is not always necessarily the best detecting person, but Pendergast still thinks he is indispensable anyway. Awwwww.)
--Calling it now: It was Diogenes who loaded Helen's rifle with blanks. And then, he put on a lion suit...
--I'm glad that Helen was an obsessed nutcase. She married into the right family.
--A secret life revolving around birdy pictures? I am aware that Audubon was a very important naturalist and that he did a lot to revolutionize American conservationism, but unless you'd married someone who despised birds, why would you keep this secret? Even if there's something deep and dark about Audubon that the authors made up, who in the world would suspect something dangerous to your obsession with the man who painted birdy pictures?

I am so excited for this book just to learn how Doug and Linc plan to make this Audubon thing plausible.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Eyesight to the blind)
I just got back from the book signing in Ann Arbor, whoop whoop.

It was cool )

ANYWAY, I got Still Life with Crows signed, and one other one that I had in my room and wasn't buried under three huge boxes in the basement. I wanted to get Cemetery Dance and get it signed, but noooo money. I also want to get Monster of Florence, but noooo money. But I am still sending the other signed book to [livejournal.com profile] drworm, because it is his birthday <3
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Mars wants bubble gum)
Tonight, I went to see The Day the Earth Stood Still at the cheap-o theater a block from my house with my dad. I'd been looking forward to it, or at least not dreading it. It's the kind of movie that's really most famous for being a Message Movie--nuclear brinksmanship and its consequences, how violent and suspicious humans are, how we need killer robots to keep the peace. That sort of thing. It's not necessarily the first SF movie to have a Message, but it was such a very serious one, and it spawned so many imitators. What I like about it most isn't its message, but what it shows about what people were scared of, what they weren't scared of yet, what they valued, what they knew and didn't know: Nukes are scarier than pedophiles. Doctors smoke cigarettes. The only way to keep the world from going up in a ball of nuclear flame is authority and force that cannot be questioned. It's an absorbing movie.

The changes in the remake were noteworthy. The message bit and the reason for Klaatu's visit has been updated to apply to what the most serious global crisis was at the time the movie was conceived (this was before the recession really hit America with such force), but a lot of the underlying themes--that people are suspicious and violent and mean to each other, but can also be decent and civilized--haven't changed, just been put in a more personal context. Instead of a grand tour of monuments to humanity's best values, Klaatu learns about humanity through the vehicle of the little kid, who is no longer a stand-in for humanity's innocence and idealism, but its ability to change. It's no longer a defense of humans to humans, by other humans--it's an apology, an acknowledgement of having fucked up. The line "But we can change!" is uttered several times during the movie by several different people, and it's never particularly convincing.

But the biggest change in the movie, aside from the problem Klaatu is sent to solve, is the part at the end, where humanity is finally left with a sense of its own place in the cosmos. In the original, we were let off with a warning, and that was all. We learned that while we could destroy ourselves alone in peace, we would not be allowed to affect other civilizations, all more advanced than us. We had a responsibility to become civilized or be destroyed in self-defense. Granted, it was an allegory for the Cold War, nuclear brinksmanship--but where the Cold War balanced on mutually assured destruction, the knowledge that if America went, Russia went with it too, this displayed an almost Lovecraftian indifference: If we had to be destroyed, nobody would be affected.

The Cold War is over today, and nobody is in danger of being destroyed by nuclear weapons, and we're not on the brink of spaceflight anymore--we been there and done that. We're on the verge of implosion instead of explosion, destroying our own habitat and economy through mismanagement and greed. The new The Day the Earth Stood Still tries to drive home that point while still showing that humanity is not just dangerous to itself, but to others--to the scorpions and squids and trees and grass we share our world with. (The movie makes a big point of mentioning that no, it's not ours, we don't own it. We just live here.) But where the original makes it clear that we survive only at the mercy of beings who can destroy us if they sense danger, at the end of the remake, we are left on our own. We're not let off with a stern warning, but with an absolute removal of punishment--it's not up to us just to be good, it's up to us to save ourselves and all the scorpions and squids. Everything still depends on us, and it's even up to us to figure it out, to change ourselves without even sussing out the meaning of the alien visitation. Yes, it's preachy. So was the original.

Aesthetically, I still prefer the old version. I like the softness of the black and white better than the blue and green mood lighting splashed all over the government facilities in the new one, I like the steady, sweeping shots of crowds and backgrounds better than the shaky, dynamic closeups of the new one, and although the spaceship and Gort are both pretty cool in the new one, I still love the silver cleanness of the old one. I like the slower pace and suspense of the plot of the old one; the new one was action almost from the start, and it seemed like it was over far too quickly. But that's just me. However, I was pleased that the two representatives of the opposing forces in the new one are both women--Kathy Bates as the authoritative, defensive Secretary of State vs. Jennifer Connelly as the idealistic, optimistic scientist helping Klaatu (although I didn't recognize her at first; she's lost so much weight that the shape of her face has changed, and it's kind of weird). And yeah, Keanu was perfect as Klaatu, for all the obvious reasons.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (C.A.M.P.)
I try not to get involved in serious business discussions or wank in fandom anymore. I don't know if it's from spending more time on anonymous sites or some sort of change in overall mood or brain chemistry or just not caring, but I can't argue seriously without wanting to use capslock, so I don't.

or I'm a coward. also this is way too serious business anyway for fandom )

*

In other news, I'm going down to Ferndale with [livejournal.com profile] josephwaldman tomorrow to watch Obama's inauguration at the GLBT center.

I decided a while ago that I would donate a small amount of money to PP for every statement I saw on the Internet about women's rights, birth control, or reproductive choice that made me mad enough to want to argue, and I think January 20th is a good cut-off for that. Thus far the total has come to somewhere around $20, and that's just on Livejournal. I'm going to get up early and do that tomorrow.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Cinnamon sees all)
I think like one other person in the world will care about this fanfic at all. I like the 60's spy show with a huge fandom, but I like the 60's spy show with no apparent fandom a little bit better.

We went to the Bird tonight to celebrate my friend Mike's last day in Mt. Pleasant. He's going to teach English in South Korea. Another one of my friends is probably going away in a couple of weeks. The FC is splitting up and soon there will be none left. :(
Sammi came and flirted with everybody, including some really old guy in a Detroit Tigers shirt. Seth came, and wore a skinny black tie and spent a large part of the evening drawing little things on a notebook I had.

It was also my brother's birthday. I called him, but he did not answer. I hope he is having a good birthday. Last I heard, he was driving an 18-wheeler and practicing in his band and planning to open up a vegetarian restaurant with a porn star.

What the fuck else? IDK. Earlier this week, we went to see WALL-E, an animated love story about two lesbian robots, and The Dark Knight, with Patrick Bateman as Batman, Aaron Eckhart as A GUY WITH A BURNED-UP FUCKING FACE, and The Joker as The Joker. Also, with Not Katie Holmes as Dead Love Interest. No, seriously, it was fucking good, but pretty much everyone on the Internet who's seen it says it's fucking good anyway, and if they don't then they're either lying or huge philistines, so I feel I don't need to repeat what's already out there.

We also hung out at an antique store and bought a big huge stack of old Playboys. Then we all sat around the apartment reading them like the most classy of classy people. Srsly, there are interviews. Lots of interesting, thoughtful interviews, and they're long as fuck and very satisfying. There's one with everybody who was working for Saturday Night Live at the time. And one with Anita Bryant that gets crazy half a page in and just keeps going from there. And the letter pages are obsessed with vibrators. And there are stories by Philip K. Dick and Robert Sheckley and Kurt Vonnegut and Jorge Luis Borges.

ETA: I've just looked at my last few entries, and I've had some form of "recently imbibed alcohol" for a number of the moods. The thing is not that I'm drunk all the time, it's that mostly when I'm slightly tipsy is when I feel like updating Livejournal. This doesn't make for very thoughtful entries. However, in just 7 more entries I will get to 1,000, which is something I've been anticipating for a ridiculously long time.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Ugliest guitar)
We've been watching more Man from U.N.C.L.E. on [livejournal.com profile] drworm's computer, and he has been very active in persuading me to write more little review blurbs for them. So here are some review blurbs.

Terbuf:
I liked that they had Gypsy characters and portrayed them as actual people with their own political problems and distinct cultural groups instead of curse-casting, fortune-telling plot devices (like they did in The Bow-Wow Affair. So classy). Also, the half-Gypsy guard? Also played two different THRUSH agents, Oregano in The Hula Doll Affair and Eddie in The Dippy Blonde Affair. Rex Holman. Blonde. Hot. Was in a ton of old TV shows. We notice these things.

Concrete Overcoat:
Fucking A+++. Cute old Mafia guys! Napoleon concerned about the societal standing of a girl everybody thinks he fucked! Janet Leigh as a hot psychopath! Incredibly cheesecakey catfight! THRUSH officials gettin' their freak on in a totally upper-middle-class fashion! Humorously repressed villain! (This was where Seth observed that all the villains have more consistent character development than the main characters. This is true. I would totally watch a Hitchcock movie about Miss Diketon.)

Mad Mad Tea Party:
Really cute for a first-season episode. I mean, come on, guppies! What better way to test a security system than with children's toys and tiny pet fishies? Had they been able to work puppies in there somehow, it would have been completely perfect. I even actually enjoyed the plot thread with the "Innocent" (Alice? IDK); she was cute and had an interesting voice and seemed fairly realistic about being pulled into a depressing underground facility and having to be interrogated by a scary blonde.

Adriatic Express:
Felt longer than it was, much like most New Year's Eve parties. The fights were actually sort of lame, but I almost like that more than well-choreographed fights in this show. Seems more realistic. I liked that THRUSH was apparently started by the aging lead lady; explains their equal-opportunity employing policy in regards to women. (Sisters gotta stick together. Except when they're tarting up their teenage girltoys to throw at enemy spies, who are like, "Oh, girlfriend, that color is all wrong for you.")

Deadly Goddess:
Illya doesn't like girls. Napoleon doesn't like the idea of matrimony. There's a guy with Alzheimer's. The "Deadly Goddess" is a little piece of mud and it's basically a huge rip-off of a title. Come on, where are the human sacrifices? Where are the scary people in robes? Where are the hundred-foot-tall Venus of Willendorfs with teeth where teeth should not be? MUNCLE fails at pulp.

Cap and Gown:
Okay, the teaching machine? We have that at CMU. Every year, a couple of profs decide that it would be easier to use it for some lecture hall class, and every year it doesn't work very well, and every year a few hundred students get graded on a malfunctioning curve and get poison gas squirted into their faces. Technology >:(

Green Opal:
I loved this episode. I had absolutely no idea what was going on at any given time, but it completely did not matter. Illya trying to kill Napoleon with a blade-covered spinny block! Napoleon as a prissy nerd with a bowtie! Cheetahs! Archie Bunker in a wheelchair! GUN AIMED AT THE AUDIENCE OH NOES! :O

Finny Foot:
I actually really liked the beginning of this one. It was very Andromeda Strain. But mostly what I liked was baby Kurt Russell! The last time I saw him in anything his character was getting stomped to death by some girls he tried to kill with his car. [livejournal.com profile] drworm and I were making bunny noises after this one. All, "EEE, he has a daddy-crush on Napoleon! And he has an awesome little box with a hand!"

Dippy Blonde:
The titular character was so awesome. IDK why, but I like female characters who are petty criminals. And she was very cute about it. Also, I liked the emphasis on the THRUSH characters, partially because MORE REX HOLMAN and partially because, well, I like watching bad guys do their thing behind the scenes.

Deadly Games:
Angelique is way too hot for Napoleon, and he knows it, and she knows that he knows it. Is there, like, an edition of "She's Not That Into You" for guys? I mean, it isn't even the spider in the carnation (it's, like, everything she says to him), although that's definitely something you'd do if you were a hot lady spy and trying to passively get rid of a guy who kept hanging around. I've thought about doing that to some guys and I'm not even a hot lady spy. Also, she has a fucking sexy car and I don't know why she lets Napoleon drive that baby. So far as I've seen, he can't drive for shit.

I kind of think Angelique would be one of those straight-esque girls who are like, "Oh, men's bodies are so boring, penises are so ugly," but then are inexplicably still straight and still go out with guys and have sex with them and things of that nature. ...yeah, we were hanging out with Sammi and had this bizarre discussion on body image and attraction (bizarre because Sammi was drunk, I was half-drunk, and Seth was still completely in control of his faculties), and I discovered that some women think that way and that it's apparently a popular opinion with straight women. I do not comprehend this. ¿PATRIARCHY?
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Cinnamon sees all)
I love how I can start out looking up something small for a very minor plot point in what was supposed to be a thoughtful, character-based, blood-drenched short story about gender identity and end up totally fascinated by an article on a Depression-era fascist plot to overthrow the U.S. government, formulated by Gilded Age captains of industry, including the current president's grandfather. (It's not really that much of a stretch, as I was looking up information on the 1954 Guatemala coup. For the blood-drenched story about gender identity. Yes.)

We watched most of Spiderman 3 today. Yesterday. Holy crap, it's almost 7 AM. ...Peter Parker was the least sympathetic character in the entire movie, except for Mary Jane. No, scratch that. No, actually, she was only slightly more sympathetic than he was. He was a douche. I mean, otherwise, it was a good superhero movie--melodramatic, slightly silly, with fun CGI. But the hero was such a douche. And not a fun antihero douche, either. Just whiny, even without Venom. Srsly.

I am going to go clean the litterbox now.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Guild of Calamitous Intent)
Having not made it to the movie we were going to see tonight (Get Smart), we are watching Batman Beyond. Katie Holmes is currently lecturing Christian Bale on how horrible it is that the bad people get rich and the good people stay scared, as though this wasn't how society generally tends to work already. Seth is still playing his Pokemans. I want to find some sort of American Psycho/Batman Beyond crossover somewhere on the Internet. It should exist. I'd write it myself, but I don't really care enough.

Tonight's Venture Brothers and its theme of merchandised experience was particularly amusing in light of the existence of the Amazing Shirt of the Week Club. Or maybe I'm slightly put out because I missed out on getting the Guild of Calamitous Intent T-shirt. It would have gone great with my skull hoodie.

Good god, I feel shallow and apathetic, and I'm sure I sound that way.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (I will re-animate your ASS.)
So we just finished watching The Black Cat, which is sort of a biopic of Edgar Allen Poe in the same way that Naked Lunch was a biopic of William S. Burroughs. (IMDB says it was part of a TV series called "Masters of Horror," which explains why it was so weirdly short.)

Jeffrey Combs, who played Poe, was really, really fucking good. Like, better than any role I've seen him in since Herbert West. Very Southern and pompous and drunk and macabre and just total absolute win-at-failing. However, I am posting mainly to express my undoubtedly lasting trauma at the special effects, which, when they did not involve buckets of Karo syrup mixed with red dye--hell, even when they did involve buckets of Karo syrup mixed with red dye--were pretty fuckin' gruesome. Like, spoilerz )

Also, they grossed out [livejournal.com profile] drworm, which almost never happens (because he's a sociopath. Okay, I meant that as a joke, but he's looking over my shoulder and was like, "It's true." And now he's going all Patrick Bateman on me. Oh god. AND HE JUST ASKED ME IF I LIKED HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS. GUYS, IF I DON'T POST FOR A FEW DAYS CHECK THE FREEZER, THERE WILL BE MY HEAD, RIGHT NEXT TO THE CHEAP FLAVORED VODKA.)
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Stick it where the sun don't shine)
[livejournal.com profile] drworm and I have mostly been hanging out watching stuff. While he's playing Pokemans and I'm working on homework, here are some Man from UNCLE episode reviews.

"The Dove Affair": Did not feel like a MUNCLE episode at all. Very noir, very suspenseful. Felt long enough to be an entire movie. Ricardo Montalban was awesome and more than made up for there not being any Illya--partner and villain at the same time. Totally classy.

"The Never Never Affair": This was so cute, OMG. Loved the translator girl getting all excited about playing spy. Also, is there anything more entertaining than watching Napoleon Solo fuck up and have to explain things? I don't think so.

"The Gazebo in the Maze Affair:" I seriously, honestly expected there to be werewolves. There were no werewolves. I feel cheated.

"The Girls of Nazarone Affair": Napoleon and Illya are such jerks in this one. All, "'sup, we're gonna come into your room and snoop around right in front of you and let you think we're going to rape you or something instead of explaining ourselves."

"The Alexander the Greater Affair": Rip Torn used to be hot. :O The girl in this one was plucky as hell and clearly used to running around the world getting into trouble. Theology/history in this maybe a little sketchy and skipped over the historical gay, but whatever, it was worth it for the roasting-marshmallows-on-the-false-idol gag.

"The Ultimate Computer Affair": Illya does bar mitzvahs? ...enjoyable, although I don't have much to say about it. Salty was cute. The "computers will replace man's creative mind, oh noes" thing seems laughable nowadays. I can't even get my laptop to produce a decent plan to take over the apartment complex, let alone the world.

"The Tigers are Coming Affair": I really don't remember much about this one because [livejournal.com profile] drworm was torturing me by trying to pop the zits on my back during most of it, and it was unusually painful. Involved Illya in a very wet shirt, Napoleon wearing a woman's scarf in a misguided attempt to pretend to be a photographer, and tigers.

"The Children's Day Affair": Hit so many of my kinks it's not even funny. The evil bondage couple was fucking adorable. Also, EVIL BAKERY.
(Oh, yeah, and Napoleon's failed attempt at surprising the guard in the cell--very catlike, not just the way he climbed up onto the shelf, but he way he acted after it clearly did not work. Body language was very, "I'm still cool. I totally meant to do that." Half expected to see a tail swishing.)

"The Super-Colossal Affair": Just kept getting stupider and stupider until it finally hit some kind of wall and became funny again.

"The Pop Art Affair": LOLOL "smelling the grass." Illya and Napoleon both come out as sort of goofy and uncool--this is the problem with putting your supercool superspy characters up against a cast that's supposed to represent actual youth culture. Everybody ends up looking like idiots.

"The Hula Doll Affair": I liked how this episode set up UNCLE and THRUSH as parallel organizations instead of just being enemies, even though THRUSH obviously spends more on making their place look nice (because they have the money to do so). (Seriously, okay, UNCLE headquarters look claustrophobic and stifling and monochromatic and I would come down with Sick Building Syndrome so fast there.) Also, Napoleon is easily distracted by tiny lady dolls and you could probably catch his attention with a Polly Pocket on a string. Also, THRUSH names their operatives after spices--we ended up getting up in the middle of the night to raid Sammi's spice rack to think up more names for characters. (Cumin, Curry, Peppercorn...there's got to be a janitor or an accountant or somebody named Dillweed.) Also, fuck yeah midget.

"The Gurnius Affair": We'd both been really psyched to watch this, but it was not entirely that great. Illya as a Nazi was interesting (what the fuck is up with his hair), but the photographer was just annoying, and there wasn't that much in the way of plot.

There will be more.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Guild of Calamitous Intent)
Clones, Dream Machines, and Butterflies: An Examination of Simulacra and Simulation in the Venture Brothers


We're trapped in a cliché. Use your fake impossible magic to get us out of here. )


I'm actually surprised at how well this paper turned out. I worked on it all weekend (which was a fairly grueling task) and had to watch several episodes of the Venture Brothers over and over (which was not nearly as grueling).

The Venture Brothers is one of my favorite shows; silly as it may seem, it's one of the few things that makes me feel like I'm actually part of a generation instead of being a drifting pop-culture vulture. I know I have had no hand in its actual creation, and I'm only peripherally part of the active fandom, but it somehow feels like my show in a way that most movies and TV shows I like don't. I tend to reinterpret media, to ferret out themes and images and try to subvert them or question them; this isn't so much a conscious philosophical stance as it is an instinctive response to being presented with assumptions and points of view I don't identify with or agree with on the level on which I think they're being presented to me. Maybe it's because that's what the Venture Brothers does in the first place, but it's one of the few media artifacts where I can analyze it and feel like yes, that's what the creators intended all along, and it's just that I've just managed to find it.

The more I watched the episodes, the more examples of simulacra I found--I don't know if it's just my new Baudrillard goggles, or whether so many of the episodes really sync up that way, but it was fascinating. I kind of wish I'd had the time and space to mention more, but I think I got the most important and interesting ones.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (+5 sword vs. bears)
FANDOM STUFF:

--Here, I wrote a little drabble about spies smoking cigarettes because I wanted cigarettes but should cut down on the cigarettes.
--Here, in comments, I stole a very short story and turned it into the first metered, rhymed thing I've written for months.
--Here, my boyfriend wrote a story about cigarettes that's way better than my thing about cigarettes.

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR DEVELOPMENTS! I'm not filtering the heck out of this stuff anymore because I'm just not. Also, I've had some sort of headache for the past few days that's not exactly so much a headache, more like just a mass of bandages hugging my skull very tightly and surrounding me in a fluffy, soothing cloud of disorientation. Guess why.

Oh, great, Sammi has a cold and I'm going to get it in about three weeks. >:[ Should I start stocking up on Vitamin C or just wait until the sniffles start and ride it out?

ROLE PLAYING GAME STUFF:

--My Changeling character, Bloody Sylvia, got tapped to join the Ministry of the Scarecrow, a secret society dedicated to creating and perpetuating urban legends in order to scare mortals away from places where they might be stolen by the Fae. I'm psyched. One of the reasons why I stayed in Changeling is that it's still possible to create and shape storylines without having to stir up a bunch of interpersonal drama. I hope I can do something cool with this.
--I'm thinking of creating a one-off or two-off Changeling game, just for a few people, for fun--something along the lines of mortals trapped in a fairytale. The trick may be finding a fairytale that's obscure enough so that people won't know exactly what to do, but still usable with three or four players. It'd be my first time ever GMing.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (C.A.M.P.)
[livejournal.com profile] drworm has been sending me downloaded episodes of Man from UNCLE (fuck acronyms with periods, okay?) and we've been having viewing parties. If my teacher approves me writing a paper about a now-obscure spy show (okay, yes, I know it was big at the time, but nobody I know outside of fandom hums the theme when we're doing something covert, and Brock Samson never said he felt like Napoleon Solo in a tux--how is it that this show has dropped out of mass culture almost entirely?), I shall have an excuse to watch more when I should be doing homework.

ONES THAT STUCK IN MY MIND AND WHY:

--The Bat Cave Affair, which was the first one we watched and that was because it had Martin Landau having a lot of fun as a vampire. [livejournal.com profile] drworm has an excellent GIF somewhere of him showing off his cape/crotch movement. The scientist/vampire combination was obviously very silly, but Napoleon and Illya took it pretty seriously and I liked that.

--The Shark Affair. I enjoyed the fact that the "bad guy" wasn't actually evil, just sort of crazy. I mean, I can see where the dude was coming from. And the show acknowledged that; Napoleon even stayed on the ship to try to get him to come back to civilization.

--The Brain-Killer Affair. Elsa Lancaster as a mad scientist = completely awesome.

--The Quadripartite Affair, which AOL video won't show me all of. I like Illya and Marion's interaction; it's so weird and awkward at first. I'm not sure if it was meant to show Illya as an asocial spazz or whether it just had off-kilter chemistry because of the actors' RL marriage problems (married couples in spy shows tend to go out of their way to avoid having real chemistry, it seems), but it works anyway. Also, Illya whimpering in the corner <3. Also, that Heather chick--the UNCLE girl that sunbathes on communicator duty and lets Napoleon ogle her--damn. Just, damn.

--The Foxes and Hounds Affair WITH VINCENT PRICE FUCK YEAH. Okay, I loved this one. I loved Napoleon's total and growing confusion at being played, I loved Victor Marton and Mr. Waverly apparently being good enough friends to have a civil chat inside of UNCLE's HQ, I even really enjoyed the older THRUSH lady who's competing with Marton for that promotion.

--The Deadly Toys Affair. I know Angela Lansbury mostly from the stage production of Sweeny Todd, so...yeah, got to see Mrs. Lovett hanging around with UNCLE spies. Also, Illya undercover as a hairdresser made me laugh--more gay coding. I liked that the kid was smart enough to figure out what was going on and create his own revenge strategy.

--The Indian Affairs Affair. I remember this one because it sucked so much--shitty jokes, shitty stereotypes, shitty everything. And Illya looks like Kevin McDonald in it when he's wearing the wig.

--The Her Master's Voice Affair. Illya had to babysit :( And almost spanked a 16-year-old girl. Kinky.

--The Sort-of-Do-It-Yourself Dreadful Affair. Leave it to Harlan Ellison to write a story about an eccentric scientist trying to do good by making fembots out of dead chicks. Amazing. Features Napoleon screaming like a little girl, and, later, rockin' a three-piece.

--The Suburbia Affair. Just watched it last night and it's probably one of the queerest things I've ever seen. (Or was it totally normal and straight for two bachelors to buy a nice little house together in the 1960s?) Also, I think the idea of making people insane with fluorescent lights probably speaks to some fear buried deep in the American psyche. Also, exploding ice cream treats.
Made me want to do some sort of "Desperate Housewives" crossover, I'm not even kidding. Two spies posing as a gay couple to buy a house together and root out a scientist in hiding would not even be out of place on Wisteria Lane.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (William S. Burroughs sez:)
I really wish my teachers would let me write stories instead of doing papers. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I generally feel like it's easier to express what I think about a given idea or book in narrative form instead of analytical form. (This is why I am a Creative Writing major instead of a Literature major.) I still have immense trouble streamlining everything into a nice linear outline when there are different angles that need to be dealt with from several different directions at the same time. My most successful papers have essentially followed characters through a whole, single narrative, and I can't always do that. I can't with this one--we're supposed to structure it around ideas instead of the narrative, which makes me have to leap back and forth from Part Two of the book to Part Three of the book, and it's making everything that I write a little disjointed.

Which is probably also why I write fanfiction, except that's always more personal--the best stuff I do is a way of working out my own personal issues by transplanting them onto convenient characters. In my defense, this tends to work mainly because I can match these things up--I can explore my own ideas about parenthood or feeling like an outcast through a character who is a parent and who was an outcast when they were younger, and I can explore my conflicts about being consciously social through characters who have different ways of dealing with people...it's recognition more than transplantation, really. Sometimes, I'll start writing something and it just won't come together until I actually realize that I'm writing about my own ideas or experiences. Then everything comes into focus and I can finish it.

My original stuff is less personal and tends to explore ideas that I just happen to be fascinated with. If I do write something personal, it's usually to annoy or communicate with one specific person, and I lie to everyone else and tell them that it was "just this cool idea I had, you know?"

I don't even know about my poetry. That shit is all over the place.

*

For those of you who write fanfiction--is working out your own issues via fanfic really that bad? Do you like being able to see into the author's mind when reading a fanfic, or does it take you out of the "universe" the fanfic is being written in?

I actually like being able to spot someone's real-life issues or opinions in a fanfic, even when I think those issues or opinions are annoying or bullshit. It's partially a voyeuristic frisson and partially just fascination at all the ways a generally monolithic source material can be interpreted and played with.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (OKAY!!!)
I feel better.

Note: Posted as public for once because I'm just impressed at how much silliness we can sometimes squeeze out of fandom.
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Filin' my nails)
Am I seriously the only fucking person who sometimes wants to be the bad guys in fiction and identifies with them sometimes? I just watch shit and think "I COULD DO A BETTER JOB."
kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Filin' my nails)
I watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 last night because it was on TV, because I only have Vol. 2 because I lost the first DVD. So I had this dream where I found out by messing around with Wikipedia that it was actually based on an old Japanese legend about a demon who owned a bunch of snakes that he sent out to do his evil bidding, and one of them fell in love with a sleeping man and asked some god of mercy or other to turn her into a woman, and then the demon found out and sent all his snakes to kill her at the wedding...yeah. It was a pretty awesome dream.

Which is amusing, because I decided last night that the reason it's partially animated and partially B&W and cut very weirdly in some places is that it's actually kind of a visual representation of an ongoing dream, or of a continuing daydream. Most of Tarantino's movies that I've seen have this surreal quality about them anyway, like they're taking place in a universe that's removed from reality by a layer of other movies, as opposed to movies which try to be more realistic, or at least suggest that they are based on basic reality. I don't even think it's one of those simulacra which try to hide the illusory nature of what it's trying to simulate in the first place, it's more highlighting the surreal and non-realistic nature of movies, or at least of that kind of over-the-top grindhouse movie, in the first place.

Not that I think this is necessarily on purpose. Things can be very clever and postmodern just through being very cleverly done and fun to watch. Stuff like Wayne’s World is very wink-wink-nudge-nudge postmodern, and I’m fairly sure Mike Myers was thinking more about how many jokes he could squeeze into a movie than about illustrating the artificially constructed nature of a narrative. Theory describes culture first, anyway, culture just starts to follow as theory trickles down.

*

We had a little class discussion in my Po-Mo seminar today about how what we learned had affected us. A lot of kids talked about how they kept thinking about The Matrix and wished they could just take the blue pill and pretend they'd never read Baudrillard. A lot of kids talked about how they totally looked at everything in a different light now and they were so glad they had taken the class! I told the prof that the class had given me the proper terms and a structured way to think about things I'd thought about but hadn't had the words for before the class. He changed the subject really quickly. I sometimes think I am not on the same page as everybody else, or perhaps we are using different translations.

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kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Default)
Rachel

April 2015

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