theleaveswant: anatomical diagram of human torso with "you are here" sign pointed at heart (you are in my heart)
2016-03-17 04:19 pm

Like it's the Bad Old Days returned

Marching back into town gets us some looks.

The artillery going first is just odd; five tonnes of sheep with blood drying in its underwool and eel-tree ichor splattered all over the rest of it is unexpected.

Rust has found a couple of horse-favouring town kids happy to earn some money by making much of the horse-ghost’s feeding and grooming. It’s essential to the ghost to have contact with some technical variety of innocence Rust is unable to provide. A delegation of matrons resulted; Blossom was able to reassure them with impeccable tact that the definition of innocence was on the order of “never summoned a demon”. Since good Creeks don’t do any such thing, and even more do not mark themselves as suitable for consumption should a demon arrive, all was well.

Halt’s comprehensive definition — never consumed a human soul, never slaked wrath by wide killing, and, oh yes, never coerced a bound demon into a shape empty of all but pain — was not provided to the matrons. Even more fortunately, Halt’s oddly wistful expression was not observed by any townsfolk at all.


That's the beginning of chapter five of The March North, the first Commonweal novel by Graydon Saunders, and I'm sharing it with y'all for two reasons.

The first reason is that I'm privileged to know some damned good writers. One of them is [personal profile] graydon, who'll soon be releasing a third Commonweal novel by the title of Safely You Deliver (find links for obtaining the first two here). The consensus opinion expressed by reviews of the books, if you're curious, is "definitely worth the effort"; this is original, subversive fantasy-with-hard-SF-underpinnings that doesn't "see spot run" readers through the details of the (amazing, richly crafted) world, a world I think is well-captured in a line from chapter two, describing the five-tonne sheep upon which possibly the most powerful living sorcerer on the planet, who happens to look like somebody's grandma, has just ridden into town: "It breathes slow, which you'd expect, and fire, which you would not." Even the reviews themselves make for interesting reading (at least to me, admittedly biased with squee and vicarious pride that something somebody close to me made is attracting such an enthusiastic following); many of these are collected unsurprisingly on goodreads (that's book two, A Succession of Bad Days, and topmost review is v. spoilery; The March North is over here) but there's also this (which is basically the first chapter of The March North as free sample glued together with my sales pitch when it came out in 2014), this (spoilery), and this.

G's not alone in my dwircle; I'd run out of original things to say if I tried to list all the writers I follow here whose work I adore but I want to pick on my other two regular interlocutors/best friends currently active on this platform, who are also extremely talented (if you're not comfortable with me hyping you here I'll take it out; I just want y'all to know I think you're great). [personal profile] kore posts fic as [archiveofourown.org profile] actonbell, fic that's not only beautifully written and often heartrendingly poignant but assiduously researched and supported with cross-references and links to visual and audio garnishes tucked in like easter eggs. [personal profile] thatyourefuse writes like sinfully rich dark chocolate cake with bee stingers inside, and I mean that glowingly; current/simmering projects include in their ranks a Crimson Peak epic from the POV of an omniscient atemporal haunted house and a novel adaptation of King Lear, and it is all devastatingly good. ([personal profile] recessional/[archiveofourown.org profile] Feather gets an honourable mention because we don't converse as much and I still haven't come close to catching up on YBEB and its outgrowths, but what I have read is exquisite and I'm very happy to have her on my reading page.)


The second reason is that I am apparently a bound demon. I've spent the last week and a half (more?) in fucking agony. Not consistent agony, it varies in both intensity and flavour (sometimes achy tension, others like a full-body migraine), but agony as the soundtrack for daily life sucks. It's not only unpleasant but boring and extremely frustrating. I hope very much that the acupuncture appointment I have to run off to ten minutes ago will help; either the one I had on Sunday didn't do much or I'd have been howling without it. ETA: and I'm a fucking idiot because the bloody appointment was for 4:15, not 4:45, so I'm SOL and forfeit the free appointment credit (this was already rescheduled from yesterday afternoon when I was going to be too late to get there in the miserable pouring rain because I couldn't drag my ass out of the shower).
theleaveswant: skeleton playing a femur like a flute (see how much of a fuck I give)
2016-02-20 12:32 am

This is the theatre, William. It's not a place for honesty.

1. Murderfamily recommendation: Burke and Hare (2010). Not a horror movie, although it's got serious horror cred (directed by John Landis [An American Werewolf in London] with cameos from Christopher Lee, Ray Harryhausen, and a sword-wielding Jenny Agutter, to scratch the surface) and bristles with murder, mayhem, and medical dissection (latter can get pretty graphic; murders themselves tend more to slapstick than gore). Rather, it's a wicked little loosely historical comedy with an excellent cast about the business of death.

2. 2016 = Year of the Snot. Feels like I've been microbe-sick (on top of the usual fibro business) more days than I've been "healthy" thus far this year. Probably more like a fifth or a quarter but it's still unusual for me to have two mini colds and a vigorous flu within seven weeks when I usually go through around four infections per year.

3. Random badass Avatar vid via [personal profile] garden_hoe21


4. Like riding a rickety deathtrap bicycle: I can still read academic fluently, although I'm unsurprisingly tentative trying to speak it. No, I'm not trying to exhume my thesis, although I am setting myself up to review some things I read in uni and grad school and crack open some of the books I didn't (and some of what I'm looking at could be called on if I ever do cut Damocles' thread). I'm looking for text addressing or applicable to horror cinema, to which end I've also (probably unwisely) picked up some new-to-me volumes at used book stores around town, including the game-changer: Carol Clover's 1992 Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. So far I've read the available free sample of The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (edited by Gina Freitag and Andre Loiselle, 2015) and am most of the way through The Horror Film (Peter Hutchings, 2004--will have to share quotes at some point; find I often agree with him on general approach but disagree with readings of particular films). If anybody cares I can type up a provisional book list, but I don't imagine anybody does.

5. Another thing's been bubbling around my tiny head, seemingly at the opposite end of the pool from horror (and academia), and that's the notion of hygge (I'd challenge the conviction of absolute opposition, but that's another witter). I want to do something with hygge as a mood/theme in a (fannish) creative capacity but I'm not sure what/how. I was planning just to ask for prompts for myself that could work with the idea (senses of comfort, warmth, self- and other-care) with a note inviting others to play along, but I didn't, and (because this is me) it started getting ambitious. I know better than to go hog wild and create a comm that I wouldn't have spoons to maintain if it took off, which it wouldn't because I'm not that popular, but is it worth making a post for public sharing of prompts and commentfic? I don't know if I'd even be able to write anything--I still haven't finished any of the other (some decidedly less hyggelig) stories I'm trying to work on--but I want to.
theleaveswant: skeleton playing a femur like a flute (see how much of a fuck I give)
2016-01-21 11:02 pm

A bunch of random crap

My mental/emotional state continues somewhere on the order of "sludge at the bottom of a septic tank", and the other day I slipped on an icy sidewalk and bruised the right side of my ass (odd, given that I landed on the left), so everything hurts more differently than usual. Attempting to face any of the things I ACTUALLY SERIOUSLY NEED TO DEAL WITH makes me cry so I'm la-la-la-ing around doing things that don't help me and feeling guilty about it, huzzah!

To that end . . .

Informative essay on the popular practice of nipple piercing in the Victorian era.

Frequently obnoxious, occasionally brilliant: LiarTownUSA.

A friend of mine is looking for information/recommendations of resources on Black Canadian history. Suggestions? Bueller?

Contemplating changing DW user name to "hyggenaut", possibly AO3 as well. I dunno. Been a while since I changed alias, having trouble finding pros and cons.

Thinking of trying to make my own mayonnaise; soy-free Veganaise is pretty good but unnecessarily expensive, especially given I'm buying it for the "soy-free" and not the "vegan".

Grain-free dairy-free soy-free chocolate peanut butter muffins; I tweak the ratios for more peanut butter and less oil. Also grain-free (-ish; there's cornstarch): almond pear cardamom pancakes; haven't tried yet but have the ingredients, should get around to it before the pears rot and the almond meal rebels.
theleaveswant: Steve (Chris Evans) in Captain America lying on a bed looking up, stressedly (Steve oh jeez)
2016-01-12 09:04 pm

(no subject)

The people on the other side of the wall seem to have finally concluded/abandoned their almost hour-long screaming argument. I almost admire the dedication and stamina required (I'm fairly sure I can't yell that much in one sitting).
theleaveswant: Tali from Mass Effect games (image from Tali's ME2 loyalty mission) (tali'zorah vas normandy)
2015-12-11 06:37 pm

when I get my rewards, I'll bring them to you

Seen a handful of people posting wishlists lately, as is customary when nights get long. Feel (irrationally) guilty joining them because I haven't done anything to answer anybody else's lists yet, but I have wishes and maybe answering them will fulfill somebody else's wish, YA NEVER KNOW.

I wish for crossed fingers/good energy to help me get the job I applied for today or another, better one.

I wish for the motivation to accomplish all the cleaning I've been meaning to get to :/

I'm always interested in recs/directions towards anything you think I might like, be that fic, music, meta, movies, books incl. genre fiction popcorn reads, knitting patterns, random funny stuff--including (maybe even especially) things the recommender has made themselves.

If you want to write/create some new fanwork for me, I'll take Mass Effect, Sense8, Pride, Flashpoint, MCU (even though I'm mad at canon), The Losers, Peaky Blinders, Penny Dreadful, Prey for Rock'n'Roll, [personal profile] graydon's Commonweal series :D , or anything else you have reason to suspect I'd enjoy (I've never done [community profile] fandom_stocking and probably won't this year either but I'm thinking about it; if I do sign up I'll link to it).

I don't wish for material goods but if you want to send me physical media (cds, dvds, books, etc.), BPAL (esp. "Breathless Horror", or check posts tagged "scents" to read what I've tried so far), fibre arts paraphernalia, houseplants, or nickel-free earrings, I will not say no.

What I want most right now, though, is someone(s) to brainstorm fic with me, because I want to write and post something new but am stumped (or stalled by inertia) on pretty much everything I've started. Magically solving all my indecisive frustration with brilliant ideas would be great but just nodding and asking for clarification while I rant would be helpful. I'm specifically seeking help with Mass Effect now because that's where my mind's at and I've got stacks of WiPs to deal with--you don't need to know canon to help! if you do that's extra awesome!--but if you want to offer support for other stuff I'll still eagerly take it (or just love you for offering). For ME I'm struggling both with plot/structure for multiple stories (some of which might be one giant story?) and with filling in/making up sex practices and other cultural details for non-human sophont species, so if either of those things row your boat lemme know!
theleaveswant: gif of women in 50s dresses holding tools (wrench, chainsaw, etc.) (gender + smash)
2015-11-24 07:24 pm

Jessica Jones and The Trouble with Hiddles

This is nowhere near as articulate as I want to be, but perfectionist procrastination: it don't otherwise get done.

I, like many other people, have done exactly what Netflix knew we would and watched the entire Jessica Jones release back-to-back-to-back. I loved elements of it, specific scenes and relationships, and I think I like what it's doing in terms of themes and ethical-political orientation? But aspects of it made me really uncomfortable, and/because right now I trust Fandom (the abstract entity comprised of people I don't know and uncomfortably a handful I do) about half as far as I can headbutt it not to respond to things in ways that make me want to whack them with a mallet (please believe that nothing in this post is meant as indictment of any individual fan, just exasperation at the ubiquity and predictability of certain patterns of behaviour).

To summarize my current relationship with Marvel Studios and to steal once again from [personal profile] recessional: I think it's a great tragedy they were wiped out by that meteorite. I still haven't seen AoU because I know it'll piss me off and I haven't watched Agents of SHIELD since the first episode of the second season. I only gave JJ a shot because it looked to be arm's-length enough from the rest of it to have caught minimal backsplash from the Whedonspooge tidal wave and in that regard I was thankfully correct.

To summarize my problems with JJ and specifically Fandom response: David Tennant as Kilgrave.

Cut for length, discussion of abusive relationships with and without mind control, criticism of fan behaviour, unpopular opinions about <i>Doctor Who</i>, and spoilers for <i>Jessica Jones</i> and <i>Crimson Peak</i> )

P.S.: One of many tracks iTunes shuffled at me while I was writing this, felt appropriate at the time:
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Margaery gives Sansa flower)
2015-06-27 10:36 pm

Punchy Leaves is posty Leaves

Is it bad that I kinda wish I did have Lyme disease? (Pretty sure I don't, but will get phlebotomized when lab is open just in case.) It would be such a great excuseplanation for all the failboating I've been doing the last few weeks, and if antibiotics can help make that go away? Sign me the fuck up.



In other news: late to the party once again, but a couple of people in my dwircle have done variations of a meme-format prompt solicitation that looked like fun, except they generated lists from bingo challenge cards and I'm not signing up for anything new right now. I do however have this untouched card from the last round of [community profile] kink_bingo to play with, so . . .

Leave me a number between 1 and 24 and a something (link to a song, a picture, etc.), and I will attempt to write you 100+ words of fic.


Specific requests/suggestions for squares on the card are also very welcome, though I can't promise I'll follow up on any of them.
theleaveswant: toast on the floor, jam-side down (jam-side down)
2015-06-27 11:52 am

like a stone I'm waiting to wish on

I don't think the itchy thing on my arm is ringworm after all. Maybe a spider bite? I've had some similar mysteriously appearing swollen itchy bite-like spots recently, mostly on the same arm, but this one creeped me out with its size-and-shape twoonie impersonation. Still, I should probably postpone my plan to go to Value Village today in case it is communicable (not that I'm feeling all that up to errand running since the rain moved in, stupid achey everything).



Been clawing my way out of a bad mental health pit and I can't say I've reached the top yet but I am kicking my apprehensive ass into actually doing something about that and the physical pain: met with my doctor to get excuse notes and a prescription change (not sure yet whether that'll help, especially as it interacts poorly with methocarbamol and naproxen), talked to a counsellor at school, made some DIY aromatherapy diffusers, went to the Shiatsu School of Canada acupuncture student clinic for the first and second time in months. Still staring at homework and similar obligations with a paralyzing mixture of "donwanna" and "can't", so that's a bit of a problem.



As tired and sore and sulky and paranoid as I've been, I'm looking forward to Mariposa Folk Festival next weekend hella hard. Lineup-wise I know few acts by more than name, apart from Mary Chapin Carpenter (just the mainstage headliner set, no workshops, but still:
).



Oh--nothing dramatic happened with the shirt yesterday. It definitely got some looks and one person walking past me in the other direction said something that included the word "polyamorous" but I didn't catch the rest of it because my earbuds were in and I'd been briefly trapped on the bus between a window and a weed-reeking guy dancing with big arm gestures in the seat next to me about an hour earlier, so I wasn't in a place to stop and ask for repetition.
theleaveswant: text icon referring to contents of Thane Krios' file on Shadow Broker's ship in Mass Effect 2 DLC (running leaping spinning neck snap)
2015-06-26 01:01 pm

will likely post more when I get home

Today I have done all of the laundry and none of the homework. I also skipped the class the homework was due in partly for that reason but also (and officially) because when I woke up my hip was actually screaming. Feeling much better now, knock on wood, which is good because I have to put my shoes on so I can go to the other class, at least.

Today's just weird, folks. I don't know. The US just nationalized same-sex marriage recognition, there's an itchy and almost perfectly circular rash on my arm that I think might be ringworm (so glad I knew there's no kind of worm involved before googling, else I would be FREAKING OUT), my strawberry plant suddenly covered itself in spider mites (no other plants seem affected, knock on wood again, and I have sprayed everything in that room down with diluted rosemary oil). If any interesting reactions to my "Polyamorous Bisexual Switch" shirt occur, I shall be sure to report them.
theleaveswant: illustration: woman in puffy dress & antique diving helmet holds hoop for sharks (one in clown hat &ruff)to swim through (shark ballet)
2015-05-27 01:42 pm

pacing the cage

1. Feminist Mad Max memery. Thanks, internet.

1a. If anybody knows of a clean camrip or other viddable source, please tell me? I have Ideas.

2. Happy Birthday Bruce Cockburn! You are great.


3. JUST FREAKING RAIN ALREADY.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (oh shit kim)
2015-05-24 11:52 pm

you had me at "lesbian biker grannies"

Fury Road is AMAZING and loud and ridiculous and real and clever and ugly and beautiful and scary and inspiring and violent and sweet and I want to see it again but not in 3D because that's just too much flinching (there's a lot of shrapnel to dodge).

Homework is blaaaaaaaaaaaah and the coming thunderstorms just banged on my head like a gong, so we're not getting any more of that done tonight. Yesterday was a total write-off, brainwise; I slept for 12 hours and woke up in the afternoon with a headache that only got worse. All in all a very productive weekend :P



I am nowhere near as good at this game as [personal profile] thatyourefuse is, but anyway.

Give me a character and I'll tell you three things that I believe about their sexuality/sex life/experience.
theleaveswant: Jack from Mass Effect games (image from ME2) (Jack "Subject Zero")
2015-05-24 02:56 pm

yes I am planning to dress up postapocalyptipunk for this, why do you ask?

Convince me to do my homework now so it's done and I can go see Fury Road and then squee for as many hours as necessary without stupid homework getting in the way (if movie is half as good as people I trust say it is I will be happy).

Twelve more weeks of school. Applying for part-time jobs in the meantime, so far with no luck. Trying to figure out how to successfully specialize in accounting for nonprofits (meeting with one of my instructors next week to get some advice). Would like some money and feelings of usefulness now, please.

What else is going on in my life? Hm. I had a health thing, discussion not detailed but still kinda gross ).

The garden is looking promising. Have I mentioned here that I've finally taken the plunge of putting effort into the front garden beyond minimal weed and overgrowth control? I've been meaning to since the summer after I moved in here but kept missing the spring planting window, until this year I happened to be in a No Frills in early April when there was a huge pile of seed packets in one of the square things at the edge of the produce section and I lightbulbed.
what I have done to the yard )

Knitting-wise, I have finally picked up needles again and finished one new design (hat using and inspired by a Nerd Girl Yarns Random Fandom club exclusive colourway from 2014, have to remember to write up pattern and get photos before new Jurassic Park movie) and I'm trying to get another one done in time for the next Knitty submission deadline (June 1).

This time resuming knitting has not stopped me writing, so far (knock on wood); still picking away at many projects, mostly Mass Effect though I'm currently experiencing a resurgence of Flashpoint feels and a weird do-wanna-don't-wanna pull with MCU (have not seen AoU but have heard many extremely displeasing spoilers; will pirate eventually but choosing not to get thrown out of a theatre for yelling at Joss Whedon).

Hoping to attempt Festivids again this year, making list of media to request. Fantasizing about making a Mass Effect vid requiring material from multiple playthroughs of all three games; could splice some of it together from stuff on YouTube like [personal profile] beccatoria did for With Blood (which is an hfjksahlvvvkueb amazing vid, wow) but my idea is more "TEAM BADASS!" with gimmicks than mindbogglingly beautiful play with deep stuff like agency and individuality and fate and branching realities and so on, and I want my Shepard.
theleaveswant: animated icon: things kittens cannot do  (kittens can't)
2015-04-07 08:17 pm

why do they even make a "buttered popcorn" flavour, seriously?

The internet is back. It's end of term. I want to write but my brain is squiggly. These jelly beans are actually super gross and yet I keep eating them. Give me fic prompts so my hands have something better to do than convey gross jelly beans to my face (there are actually many things my hands could be doing that don't involve gross jelly beans or fic, such as dishes or homework, but here we are).
theleaveswant: still from Game of Thrones; Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) up to armpits in bath looking sad, trapped, & uncomfortable (Brienne miserable)
2015-03-28 09:49 pm

I have Jaffa Cakes and a headache

Internet at my apartment has been down since Monday and will not be back up (technically reinstalled) until sometime late next week (but that's possibly sooner than the windstick TekSavyy is mailing to tide us over until that happens will arrive--this is not a knock against TekSavvy, I'm very pleased with them as service providers and would be even if they weren't waiving half the installation fee for the new connection).

Have been rewatching Game of Thrones episode commentaries on dvd in interim and am now clawing at my monitor in anticipation of season 5.

There are half-scale german shepherd weathervane things that I assume are goose repellants all over campus. I have seriously considered nicking one.

I came here to mooch internet so I could do homework and job applications but my head is killing me so nope.

Three weeks left in the second of three terms. When I graduate I want to work for the Iron Bank of Braavos, send debt collectors after Lannisters and slap Mark Gatiss.
theleaveswant: Commander Shepard (female) from Mass Effect Games in armour that obscures face (Shepard in helmet)
2015-03-09 08:30 pm

The last day of my 20s

Tomorrow is, to quote my father, "one of those millstone birthdays". I might wear a pretty dress because I can.

I am more than halfway through this school program. The actual accounting courses (and other math-based stuff like stats) continue to be alarmingly easy. Business Communications is mostly group work so I kinda hate it even though all the actual people I have grouped with seem adequately lovely.

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed for a bookkeeper position at The Public (an activist design studio). Didn't get it, but they're a neat little company so I link them.

Texts from Mass Effect characters. The ones I find funny are side-splitting. Also still hilarious and hilariously relevant to current fandom pursuits, Erotica Written by an Alien Pretending Not to Be Horrified by the Human Body (I'm a nerd: this alien is more familiar with Terran vertebrates other than humans than I would expect).

I want more tattoos. And to not feel so clumsy walking in heels.

Erika Lust should be president of the world.

P.S. Everything was just a mess.
theleaveswant: dog wearing tophat and monocle (doggie detective)
2015-02-07 01:03 pm

Quick post: complaint and vid recs

This week has been a week of agony. Going through painkillers and tiger balm at alarming rates. Stupid connective tissue.

I've watched a bunch of this year's Festivids and enjoyed them but the two that have made me go "SHUT UP THIS VID IS IMPORTANT" are "White Telephone" (Halloween series, non-remakes), because it highlights why, despite its truly ridiculous title, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is a really fascinating and I think important contribution to the horror genre because [insert dissertation-length ramble about slasher/stalker/serial killer movies as a site of entanglement of violence and sex and Georges Bataille and final girls and the madonna-whore problem and non-fictional trauma survivors and what happens after the credits roll and Jamie Lee Curtis' career and the epistemological and ontological differences between the Halloween films of the 1970s-90s and Rob Zombie's 00s reboots and the phenomenon of horror remakes and franchise reboots more generally and the place and influence of Halloween in the phylogeny of horror cinema and and and], and "I'll Be There for You" (Pit Bulls and Parolees), because PUPPIES.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Bruce glasses)
2015-01-10 10:30 pm

five-ish things

1. School is happening again. I had grand plans for getting so much knitting and pleasure reading and voluntary socializing done over the winter break, and instead I mostly played Mass Effects 1-3. For a month. Because "obsessively" is the only way I know how to play computer/video games. I'm kind of in love with the world-building and want to hug many of the major characters, and I can say lots of more specific things if anybody wants to hear (read) them.

2. I did read Slow Seduction and Slow Satisfaction, the middle and end of Cecilia Tan's BDSM erotic romance trilogy, because they are snack food. The plot gets kinda ridiculous over the course of the series, IMHO, though nothing on the level of Mr. Benson. The prose is engaging and there are enough interesting/sympathetic characters to merit actually reading rather than just skimming for the saucy bits.

CTan is one of the coolest people I've ever met (definitely the most famous person who has let me stay at their house) and one of the few good things to come out of the Fifty Shades craze is that publishers will finally print the kind of stories she's been trying to sell for years. If I still worked in a bookstore I would do everything I could to steer people interested in this kind of book towards the ones written by capable kink activist/educators and experienced authors.

3. At the end of November I lost the nearly half-finished Bat'leth scarf I was making for a looooong-time friend on the subway and honestly I am still grieving.

4. Creative brain has swung back around to wanting (really badly) to write. I have lots of medium to huge (mostly MCU, some GoT and small fandoms, now Mass Effect) things stewing in my brain/gdocs/the notepad app on my iPod but I'm very open to prompts as a goad to write and share short stuff, so let's reopen this >7 month-old prompt post, shall we?

5. Skimming back over old posts looking for the prompts one, realize I never gave an important update on the rotten pot-smoking downstairs neighbour (whom I might have only mentioned under access lock?): he's gone! Long gone actually, left in early November. Ejected by his roommates. Apparently recalcitrant about leaving; Phil(l)ip the Good Neighbour asked if I'd be willing to help if they needed to present a case to the landlord or LTB to get him out. Didn't end up being necessary but yes, I was willing.
theleaveswant: photo of a knit toy tarsier peeking out from behind a pipe (bzah! knit tarsier)
2014-11-28 07:44 pm

(no subject)

Two weeks of school left but I am ready for the term to be over now. Can't I just skip straight to the exams? Blech.

Mostly in the interests of closing tabs . . .
1. A couple of weeks ago I got pulled in to helping with the final stage of a huge corporate-funded yarnbombing project: earlier in the fall Tim Hortons contacted my former workplace and engaged two of my former coworkers to coordinate knitters to cover a mobile coffee truck with a "sweater" patterned after their holiday cups.

More than 35 people produced dozens of carefully charted panels, and I joined in the final four-day blitz of last-minute do-overs and seaming them together (the yarn, if anybody's wondering, is Cascade Eco Wool held triple, and everyone who worked on the truck commented on how amazingly squishy and sturdy the fabric was and now wants to make a blanket or a pillow or something). The truck sweater is a promotion for their #warmwishes charitable campaign, where if you tweet or instagram at them with that hashtag and mention a "good deed" you've done they'll donate a toque to a kid in need, and the sweater itself is going to be broken down, felted, and sent to Covenant House as blankets.

2. I highly, highly recommend Métis in Space (and other podcasts on Indian & Cowboy, but this is the only one I've listened to all of and definitely my favourite). The show is two very smart Métis women tearing SFF representations of First Nations people to shreds (deservedly, as these representations are pretty universally horrible). Their critique is right on the money and the podcasts are hilarious (IMHO, anyway, because their senses of injustice and of humour happen to line up really well with mine).

I have some new BPALs to review but need to give a couple of them another try before passing judgment (short version: Krampus yessssss, Gunpowder noooooooo). Also promised way back when that I'd talk about horror movies and how Stephen King really oughta know better but then I watched a LOT of movies and I have too many thoughts and don't know what to say, so are there any particular movies or franchises or themes or issues or whatever you'd like me to talk about?
theleaveswant: text; "those who can, do. those who can't, run this fucking place" (politics)
2014-08-20 09:11 pm

A Tale of Two Folk Festivals, Part Two: Calgary

After one lovely day in Victoria with my mum visiting some of her favourite places and another having breakfast with [personal profile] staranise before wandering downtown by myself--with a not quite as lovely day in between where Dad and I went to see the UTTERLY ENRAGING Monty Python reunion show and I stomped out at intermission then cooled down by taking a long solo walk along the ocean and hanging out with a deer--I caught the ferry back to Vancouver, slept on high school friend's couch (wearing borrowed clothes, with all my own stuff out on the balcony, because friend's roommate's MCS is scary severe), left very early in the morning and nearly missed my Greyhound because Translink confuses me, rode bus through mountains! all day long, and was collected by Aunt in Canmore and whisked back to her place.

While in Victoria I'd talked Aunt into accompanying me to the Calgary Folk Music Festival for a day ("talked into" is maybe the wrong expression; she was on board even before I got to the magic words "Bruce Cockburn"). The festival had already sold out of Saturday day passes, of course, but I managed to scoop a pair for face value on Kijiji, woot.

We didn't hurry into Calgary Saturday morning, took our time waking up and didn't rush the drive, so we didn't get through the gates until a little after noon (also I hadn't yet noticed that my iPod's clock didn't switch to Mountain! Standard Time when we crossed into Alberta, so I spent chunks of the weekend believing that it was an hour earlier than it was supposed to be, depending on which timekeeping device I happened to check, but this would not become a problem until Monday). Wristbanded and be-programmed, we plonked down at the nearest source of interesting noises, which happened to be Jaron Freeman-Fox, who is a much weirder person than his program blurb suggests. We planned to stroll around sampling sounds after that but ended up sticking the first place we landed because that place was in front of (well, off to the side of) Nick Sherman, with his charm and his face and his ink-covered arms and his beautiful husky-soft voice.

Next stop was "Letter to a Young Songwriter", because Aunt wanted to get as much Bruce as possible, and I stayed there for a bit before wandering off to check out some stuff towards the western end of the park, including more Roger Knox & pals (no, I had not had enough of them yet, thank you for asking). What Knox is doing, with the help of Langford and his multifarious musical connections (see below), is introducing the world to the rich and tragically underknown tradition of Aboriginal country music in Australia via an album of songs, some previously recorded and hard to find, others never recorded at all, all by Aborigine writers, performed by himself and a mob of talented and established artists in northern hemisphere alt-country and adjacent genres. The story, in a nutshell, is that classic country & western music snuck into Australia via white American servicemen after WWII and, like rabbits and cane toads, made itself at home. Unlike rabbits and cane toads, this introduction was embraced, especially by Aboriginal people, because it's music evolved for big skies, dust storms, camp fires, cattle drives, and telling sad, sad stories--of which the Aboriginal songwriters had plenty to tell. Knox, "the Koori King of Country", was a big deal in this tiny vibrant scene in the 80s, and AFAIC deserves to be a big deal all over the place.

Aunt and I were supposed to meet up again at "Hard Truths and Summer Breezes" but by the time I got there the set was over and the crowd dispersing, so I tried "The People's Mic" (full of folks I'd heard in Vancouver and praised in talking up the festival) and found Aunt there only once the audience started thinning towards the end of the session. The reason it took so long to reach Stage 3, and to get from there to Stage 2, is that the site layout was TERRIBLE. maps and complaints )

I understand that the organizers are limited by the island's size and permanent features, there are only so many configurations they can actually use, but come on. I cannot be the only person to get bounced from volunteer crew to volunteer crew looking for somebody to complain to. (Also, this isn't the organizers' fault but it really pissed me off: somebody hotboxed one of the portaloos that I tried to use right before I tried to use it and, like, what the fuck?!?!? First of all, I hate you. Second, WHY??? Third, I hope you catch many gruesome parasites, you gross, rude jerk. Yech.)

I'm not entirely certain what happened during the first part of the evening? I know Aunt and I were on our blanket in the wee triangular space we claimed at mainstage for part of The Lone Bellow, and then we must have gone to Stage 4 because I remember eating curry there and moving closer to the stage during the changeover before Waco Brothers, but I don't remember listening to Typhoon? I must have been absorbed in my knitting--oh! It was during this block that I went back to Stage 2 to look for the cable needle I'd lost that afternoon. I found it, and a bonus quarter.

Waco Brothers (here joined by or now including Jean Cook and her violin), ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh so good. I danced my legs off and yelled my lungs out and it was awesome. I am amazed and embarrassed that I didn't know about Jon Langford before this summer--like, I was distantly aware of Waco Brothers but couldn't have told you anything about them, and Langford himself I'd never heard of, and it's amazing because the guy is everywhere. He's in I'm-not-even-sure-how-many active bands (Mekons, who've been going since he helped found them in 1977, Waco Brothers, kids' band Wee Hairy Beasties, The Pine Valley Cosmonauts if you consider them a band rather than an event . . .) and plays solo with and without Skull Orchard, is one of the major moving parts in the engine of the alt-country label, Bloodshot Records, and a hero in the Chicago music scene, hosts a radio program, has both inspired and been involved in multiple theatre projects, collaborates with anybody who'll hold still enough long enough, and on top of all that he's a visual artist with a stack of exhibitions, books, a comic strip, and a line of beer labels to his name. It's terrifying how productive he is, especially when you see him in person: this shortish, balding, white-haired Welsh guy three months older than my mother leaping around on stage with more fierce energy than I have ever had or will have. I'm not entirely sure he's human. As a band Waco Brothers are a forceful reminder that the thing we now call alt-country didn't come out of popular country at all--it mostly came out of punk. The bands that kicked it all off in the 80s--Mekons, The Blasters, The Knitters, Rank & File, and everybody else in this rabbit hole I am happily falling down--did it by mixing classic country sounds into punk spirit and punk politics (which might have something to do with how people like Langford, Sally Timms, Dave Alvin, and Alejandro Escovedo are still doing the amazing stuff they do, and why they seem like such genuinely good people); at the time people even called it cowpunk. I expected them to bring out Roger Knox for a song at some point, like Langford had done during what was supposed to be his solo show in Vancouver, but they didn't; they brought Frank Yamma, who led the crowd through this down-in-it call-and-answer blues number, screaming "hey crazy mama" until our throats were raw. This show just did not let up--there were protest songs and union songs and love songs and hate songs and covers pulled from half a dozen genres, and at the end of the set Langford jumped off the stage and ran around in the audience and it was fucking glorious.

After that came the hotboxed portaloo incident, and rage, and looking for somebody to complain about the layout to, and after that came Bruce Cockburn, and that made everything so much better. It was magic. I don't even know what else to say about it, really. I knew the words to almost every song he played, all the singles and a couple of the obscure ones, and they're really good words. That's his biggest strength, from my perspective: good singer, amazing guitarist, bloody devastating poet. Cockburn's another of these folks who doesn't look like a life-changing music god, too--he can turn on that power presence, you see it in some of the photos and hear it sometimes in his voice and then you (I) get the spine-shivers, but most of the time he's just another white-haired white guy, bespectacled subtype. Even on stage, alone, in a leather duster coat with an emerald green guitar, he seems so mild, until you listen. Aunt suggests that the innocuous is a survival tactic, on a career level if not an actual mortality one, like the opposite of a scarlet kingsnake, to persuade TPTB to let him keep performing, which, when you record songs declaring your desire to convert Guatemalan dictators into pulpy splatter . . .

We didn't stay long into Seun Kuti's set, had to get going before things got too sleepy for safe driving on mountain! roads, but yeah. That was my day at the Calgary Folk Festival: excellent musical programming, excellent company (which the festival cannot take credit for), abysmal site layout, and another imaginary stamp on my folk festival passport.