Californian Life

Malaise has become part of my daily routine again. My guess is this is why I don't post here as normally as I used to. Malaise and exhaust. This is made ultimately worse when everyone around you is assuring you that this is the end times for America - and having seen the reactions, I don't think this is true. This is more of a "let-them-eat-cake" moment for America that has yet to run off the train tracks. I feel a great amount of anxiety for what is to come. I worry about the safety of the protestors, exercising their right to protest, when I see people in power remind the public of Kent State, as if it's an event to lord over protestors in an effort to control. But the truth is that you can't control the public. You cant. Even my mom went to protest in her small town. She even took my "Nasty Woman" pin so that I was there with her in spirit (I had to work).

The problem with the Hyrda-like proportions of this administration is that if you cut off one head, two more will sprout. And already, there are two more, vying for control. If you get rid of that foaming, illiterate Jabba, you still have Satan and a homophobic racist misogynist to contend with. I've spent a majority of my free time keeping track of the news, and this is mostly so that I can keep track of every decision - to keep them accountable. Because if there's one thing people with money are good at, it's avoiding accountability.

I also like to stay informed so that when I'm told that if my state is declared a Sanctuary State, we Californians will be defunded by federal money, I don't have to worry. Because I know. It's unconstitutional. It's the actions of a bully trying to further divide a country. Not work together. You know we're going to say no. So what is this really about?

Control is what it's really about. Control and conformity. And that's my biggest problem with the current Republican party and anyone heading some (not so) secretly misogynist, racist, homophobic, or fascist agenda - it only works if they force everyone to follow their same beliefs. You can be pro-life all you want. But don't insist that it be taken to a point where another woman's right to choose is taken away from her. Do something else that's pro-life, like feed the homeless. Send clothes to needy families. Volunteer at a shelter. Don't block women from receiving the care they need. That's not saving a life, that's punishing a woman. And let's face it, they're never going to punish men for having sex with a woman.

Your ideals shouldn't come to a point where it depends on whether you can control everyone's actions. Because a. it's impossible and b. it's fascist.

I know around this time, I tend to post something about the delusions of Valentine's Day and the corporations that feed into it. I tried to write a post, but I was in a strange mood and it came out too angry, too forced. Perhaps it was due to anxiety. I feel happier writing about something that has always been important to me, which is politics. I've been interested in politics since I was a kid, probably because my parents were well-informed and always kept me up on what was going on in the world.

I'm starting to realize that the most subversive way to deal with this administration is to follow Hermann Hesse's advice and laugh at them. Mock their attempts to frighten you.

A dose of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah helps as well.
  • Current Music: Triumph of Disintegration - of Montreal

Of Beths and Barbaras

I went out today, on my lone day off, and I found a used bookstore across the street from the city's library. I'm becoming a connoisseur of libraries. I step into them even if I don't have a card and no intention to sign up for one - I want to see how their collections are laid out in their floor plan. This is merely a digression from the important piece of information, though. I was in this used bookstore, scouring titles and author names, when something special happened.

It was in the M section. Henry Miller. I gasped loudly upon seeing the title, the very fact that a store would even carry said book making my day. Ah yes, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. A book I thought I'd never find in physical form. And here it was, just waiting for me. As you can probably imagine, it came home with me. Just like that whole collection of Anna Kavan books someone had generously donated to my local used bookstore. Just like all those Jeanette Winterson books I snatched, ones that I had been told an employee was eyeing.

And then I found a friend in a bloodhound.

I should warn you all now that I have plans for the coming month. My intention is to at least write 50,000 words for In/Out Out/In. The reason why I have always had such a hard time forcing M+I into that NaNoWriMo mold is because it is M+I - I'm far too in it to write carelessly. But this other story with Beth Ortiz is new, I haven't planned much of it, and there's nothing lost with writing about it every single day, spewing words.

I realize now that I haven't said much about the characters of In/Out Out/In, so here's a little bit about each one.

Beth and Leigh and othersCollapse )
  • Current Music: Ye, Renew the Plaintiff - of Montreal

Movie Reviews

It's been a long time since I've done this! After having taken a laser to the face for the second time (for a frenectomy, it's not as cool as it sounds. The only thing weird about it is that you get to smell burning flesh during the process), I feel all energized to write about the films I've seen! Who knew. Out of the 0.001% of people who have their tissue grow back, I had to be the one. And I was told it was supposed to be three days before it was all healed up, but it already looks all clean and white (new tissue, not infected). The body's ability to heal is amazing. Anyway! Movies.

Ghostbusters (2016)Collapse )

Being Flynn (2012)Collapse )

La La Land (2016)Collapse )
  • Current Music: Another Day of Sun, constantly in my head

Short Reviews of 2016

These are all shorter reviews I posted on Goodreads and forgot to post over here. Most of these don't go into much depth and some are humorous for me, upon remembering that "I wrote that?" (okay, one). Meanwhile, my cat is reminding me it is time to PLAY by chewing on the plastic handle to his Cat in the Hat feather toy. Let's see if I can do two things at once.

Bentley's a Bombay mix, so apparently they love to play into adulthood, create their own games, and like to play both fetch and tag. I know this from experience, walking down a hallway as suddenly this small panther tackled my legs.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie FisherCollapse )

No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris BatyCollapse )

The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress by Sarai MitnickCollapse )

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Mari KondoCollapse )

X (3-in-1 Edition) V. 1 by CLAMPCollapse )

X (3-in-1 Edition) V. 2 by CLAMPCollapse )

At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails by Sarah BakewellCollapse )

Fairy Tale Fashion by Colleen HillCollapse )

Zero Waste Fashion Design by Timo Rissanen and Holly McQuillanCollapse )
  • Current Music: Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'en Vais - Serge Gainsbourg
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2016 in Review

I had hoped to finish Charles Bukowski's Hot Water Music before the end of the year, but ah well. It'll be the first book for 2017. I may even finish Dhalgren or The Scorpio Races this coming year (this is why I shouldn't buy e-books, if I don't finish them immediately, I'll never return to them; I say this even as I buy three non-fiction books on Google Play). And for Christmas, my sister decided to get me started on all things Scott Pilgrim, with the first graphic novel. In color. She also bought me an original copy of Revolution X, because Revolution X is to me what Clash at the Demon Head is to Bryan Lee O'Malley.

Let's not get into what my parents thought, watching me shoot CD discs at cages holding scantily clad women, their sweet little, "Thank you"s as they paraded out. All I can say is that there's one thing my parents have always been assured about when it comes to my sexuality. My entire family has theories about that. What they didn't know was that I loved the game in the same way that I love Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Anyhoo, here's a list of all the best for me this year.

Cause I'm so humble.Collapse )
  • Current Music: Kafe Mania - Deerhoof
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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

I have mentioned this many times: I am of a curious nature. This curiosity is both a blessing and a curse, in that I have found many strange gems due to my whims (Zazen, Julian Gracq whose last name is always auto-corrected in search engines to Crack, Arthur Rimbaud . . .) But in order to find those gems, one has to wade through thick waters in a deluge of suck. You can't imagine the temptations I face when my job has me unpacking every new shipment and seeing all the new, shiny books. I am especially wooed by the inclusion of artwork within a book - thus, checking out Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare. Yes, I hated City of Bones and wanted to strangle every single character for their apparent lack of sense. But when curious, wade through the waters of suck you must.

When last my book adventures took me into the land of Shadowhunters, I decided that the writing was so rudimentary, I didn't need to read all the other books. I looked up the plot summaries on Wikipedia, which was pretty much akin to reading Clare's work. Only less time spent. In that time, I learned that many of the characters are as opposed to staying dead as Jean Grey, everyone hops around in the love-relationship boogaloo that exists only to make up for the lack of plot in these books, and there was something about a certain character almost being forced to come out to his parents through the use of magic that left a rather bitter taste in the back of my throat. But hey, Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy is told through the perspective of the least damning character of the lot, Simon Lewis.

How bad could it be? (I am giving you an example of how blatant Clare's use of foreshadowing is!)

  • Current Music: One of a Very Few of a Kind - of Montreal
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2016 in Writing

I haven't produced much content here lately, but I will have usual end of the year stuff as well as a review hopefully before January 1st. I'm reading a book I really hate, one I like due to the writing style, and one I love all at the same time, which as you can probably guess, is kind of weird. (Those books are Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (and I just heard the news, which is difficult for me to believe that someone as feisty as Fisher could be taken), and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and several other writers. You can guess which one goes into which category. It's a real mystery.) But before I get into books, films, and music I liked the most this year, it's time for a yearly review of my writing. It's positive this time!

I have received 6 rejections on the same short story so far! That means I only have 94 to go to meet my goal of 100 rejections. I'm serious about this - it brings me great joy to submit and receiving a rejection feels less and less personal and more like I'm in a universal experience that is shared by all writers. Plus another submission means another person just read my work. And I received a rather important rejection letter that told me my writing was very strong. I'm going to print that one out and frame it. To remind myself that there's something right going on in the process between my brain and my scribbling left hand.

I have two other ideas for novels as well. One is the story I've been talking about on here lately, In/Out Out/In (there are a few snippets of it beyond the cut) and the other is one I have to keep secret. For important reasons. I may not even go through with writing it, I'll have to see how I feel. And I didn't finish a first draft for M+I this year, but that gives me something to look forward to for next year!

Anyway, onto the snippets. This is all from 2016.

You ever seen any Alejandro Jodorowsky films?Collapse )
  • Current Music: Spiteful Intervention - of Montreal

And everything's all right

I'm hoping though
Because I'm learning to cope
With the emotion-less mediocrity

Day to day living

I can't help being restless
When everything's so tasteless

And all the colors seem to have faded away.

This is life
This is life
And everything's all right
Living living living living living living living living life.

Daniel Johnston, from Living Life
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I would have written a post today about Daniel Clowes' Patience, but seeing as I was so moved by the story, I decided that I should try and write a review that is worthy of submission. So that I can submit it in the future. If you haven't read it, Patience is excellent and the visuals within it pleased me greatly. The entire aesthetic of the graphic novel pleased me, I was wooed immediately by the cover. Don't be fooled by it, though. There are some rather bleak events within the story.

Speaking of pleasing aesthetics, I have been introduced to this game called Axiom Verge that is so up my alley in visuals that my mouth hangs open with joy when I see undulating organs with a face. There's something wrong with me - I'm aware of this. At one point, limbs sprout out from the walls in a fever-induced hallucination and I was so excited. I love seeing limbs sprout from inanimate things. I used to see it all the time in my dreams, from the time I was a child.

I'm also making more of an effort to watch older animated films I always wanted to see. For that matter, now many of the OAVs and shows I watched when SciFi had their anime Saturdays are now on DVD for my nostalgic joy. Iria Zeiram is high on my list. But I did end up purchasing Mamoru Oshii's Patlabor because I loved Angel's Egg so much, and Satoshi Kon's Paprika. And I may have purchased a film about a train and cats that was difficult to find in the past but is now on DVD.

In terms of other purchases, I took advantage of Polyvinyl's Holiday Sale and bought a bunch of Deerhoof and of Montreal albums, including albums by STRFKR, Architecture in Helsinki, and Shugo Tokumaru. And after listening to all of this, I have to say that I really think I'm ready to add of Montreal to my list of favorite bands, including Deerhoof and The Fiery Furnaces. The first song of the controllersphere is fantastic. I had a feeling that this was what the devil's music sounded like. And I enjoyed it. I remember listening to Nonpareil of Favor over and over and over again, I loved it so much when I first heard it. I forget sometimes just the amount of fantastic music Deerhoof and of Montreal have put out.

So content soon. I'm just all muddled up in submissions right now.
  • Current Music: Spooks in Space - Perrey and Kingsley