You are viewing nellorat

Esoteric Lucubrations
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Arthur and Kevin's Nellorat's LiveJournal:

    [ << Previous 20 ]
    Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
    11:28 pm
    Getting Back to (ab)Normal
    Yesterday and today I've felt like myself for the first time since this Fall. After youngersib died, I came back to a week of intense teaching at the academy during Thanksgiving break; I feel as though I was just over the most intense grief when the Christmas break started and I began more weeks of 35-40 hours of full-on teaching, no breaks, with 15 or so commute hours added in. Within a week after a laxer schedule, I got a tenacious, snot-abundant cold.

    Next week, I'm flying to Michigan to go through youngersib's house, taking what I want and dispersing most of the rest of her belongings to various charities. Frankly, I'd rather do that after the ICFA, but Math Guy is in a hurry, especially because he's the executor and youngersib's finances were in a bad shape, and there are indeed huge benefits to getting the house on the market early in the spring.

    I'm still grieving youngersib, but the unprecedented, huge, ferocious, and spontaneous waves of feelings (mostly sadness and anger) are over; now it's more situational, triggered by sometimes-the-damnedest things in the environment, as I was used to from earlier familial deaths. I made a very bad mistake last week by watching a documentary on antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I used to love that kind of stuff, but now it was too reminiscent. At least I can still enjoy reading about and watching documentaries on Ebola!

    This week I've actively enjoyed working around the house, mostly doing laundry and finishing up tidying and organizing the dining room. It is exactly for such times that I uploaded a good housekeeping icon, as opposed to the messy icon I have used for major decluttering in the past.

    I've begun making jewelry again, mostly for oldersib and myself, but also some necklaces I think I want to sell. One of my resolutions this year is to learn to use the digital camera (including the hard part, downloading and manipulating and uploading and all that), and then I think putting stuff up on eBay will follow naturally.

    womzilla and I finished watching all the past seasons of Parks & Recreation a short while ago & are now enjoying the final shows. We've begun watching 30 Rock from the beginning & are now midway through season 3. I'd resisted because I thought it would be more about TV as a business, sort of like The Larry Sanders Show; instead, it's just a clever office comedy with good characters--in fact, much like Parks & Rec.

    Mood: mellowesque
    Sunday, December 28th, 2014
    12:51 pm
    Recommended Movie: Horns
    womzilla and I just finished watching Horns, a recent movie based on the novel by Joe Hill.

    I enjoy Hill's fiction in general, and I think Horns in particular is outstandingly meaningful and original. It's a love story and a murder mystery and the story of what happens when a mostly ordinary person begins growing horns that give him the powers of the devil, including learning everyone's darkest desires and being asked for persission to act on them. It uses quite a bit of Christian/devil imagery without accepting the dichotomy and taking either side: the closest to an ethical position that the story offers is that "sometimes there is no right answer," and then you have to pick the sin you can stand "and live with it."

    The movie is an excellent adaptation, with all that originality and the strengths of the original in terms of character and plot. A somewhat less linear structure, with more flashbacks, works even better in a movie; the movie doesn't include some of the symbols in the novel, but it chooses the basic ones and uses them well. It's a nice combination: the movie is very visual, and it keeps the key points, but it isn't too literal in presentation of scenes from the novel (except perhaps at the end). Most of all, it gets the tone right, with a skillful blend of humor on the one hand and serious angst on the part of characters and you-want-to-look-away-but-you-can't scenes that make the viewer queasy on the other.

    Overall, as one would expect from a story about human passions and sins, the movie presents a very intense two-hour experience.  It's somewhat bloody, especially towards the end, but I wouldn't call ti a horror movie. It does explore the secrets of the human heart, but it does so in too understanding and hence sympathetic a way to create pure fear or revulsion. As the protagonist says when giving two police officers permission for their hidden desires, "It's only human."

    Mood: teaching akmost 40 full hrs/week, glad to have a day off
    Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
    3:31 pm
    Online Wake Today for Youngersib on FB
    Today from 4-8 EST, there will be an online wake for my younger sister on my facebook page.

    I don't know how to handle those of you who don't know my real name: I'd be happy to tell you, but I don't want my real and Lj names linked in any searchable online way. Bummer.

    Also, I've posted responses to some of the comments to my previous LJ entry. Thanks everyone--whether your comment sparked a specific response from me or not, I appreciate it greatly.

    I'm doing pretty well, generally just more grompy and sad.
    Thursday, December 4th, 2014
    4:50 pm
    Youngersib died
    On November 15, my youngersib died. She had been my best friend for between 1/3 and 1/2 of my life, and even the last time we talked on the phone, at Halloween, we could joke and laugh; when I saw her in person, we confided in each other like always.

    Fortunately, I was by her side when she died. I had just missed the deaths of my mother and eldersib, but this time I was there, along with supergee and eldestsib and her family. womzilla arrived in a rented car from the airport just after youngersib died, and we joked that he had taken the curse for me. I don't know if youngersib could hear us at the end, but I said all the right things, includng that I loved her and that we'd take care of anything she had to leave undone.

    Eldrersib called me in Thursday or Friday to tell me youngersib was in the hosptial. That wasn't unusual, unfortunately, and at first I thought I'd wait to see whether her condition got better or worse; but then a little voice inside told me to just go & I did.

    Some months ago, youngersib as diagnosed with cancer of the liver. (I wanted to write about that here, but I felt it wasn't my story to tell.) She wasn't a candidate for a transplant because she had lupus and other auto-immune issues, and so a quick death was a blessing in some ways. The final cause of death was a raging systemic infection that shut down her kidneys, caused by an everday bacterium on her deliberately suppressed immune system. She was only 56.

    This has been so hard for me, much harder than the death of my parents or of eldestsib. It's harder yet on eldersib, who had been taking care of youngersib since youngersib's health really declined.

    Last week I had over 40 hrs of straight work (no breaks, not counting commute), which I really don't recommend right after something like this. Fortunately, very good therapy about handling my emotions and having to frequently deal with the death of beloved rodents helped me be able to put my emotions away when I needed to.

    On days when I couldn't fall apart, I did everything I could just not to think about youngersib's death, which worked. Mostly. Two of those nights I had dreams in which I was talking to or about youngersib & talking to other friends who had died, roadnotes, Womzilla's brother Tim, and Supergee's S.O. before me. They were mostly good dreams until I woke up. A more recent night, something actually weirdly irrelevant reminded me of youngersib's death, which I got past the next day  by talking and crying to Womzilla as he drove me to the subway.

    I want to minimize those kinds of things, so I'm trying to face my emotions directly when I can. Monday and yesterday I had too much work, but today I put my foot down about Skyping on my day off so I could write this, at least, and cry.

    W. and S. are being wonderful, saying all the right things and just letting me talk, or understanding when I am sad or gruimpy. Of course, they almost always do, even when I have a lot less reason to be sad or grumpy.

    At the time I posted on Facebook, as the quickest way to reach a lot of people & because I signed on as youngersib and let her Facebook friends know. I suppose soon I'll write to her LJ friends on nigelpuggle's LJ. Fortunately, Nigel and Quinn, youngersib's dogs, were immediately adopted by eldersib and her husband Math Guy and seem to be doing well--I think the fact that youngersib and they lived at eldersib's house for a few months really helped, as they were used to the environment and to eldersib feeding them.

    In addition to everything else, this has certainly made me realize that I need to change my will & put it some place everyone knows about!

    Life is just so unfair. While mostly I feel sad, a few times I have felt angry--oddly, not angry *at* anyone or anything, just stabby-type angry. I realized that if I believed in a Gnostic-style demiurge, that would be a perfect object of my wrath, but I don't. So the emotions just *are* in a way unprecedented in my life.

    I appreciate the dozens of people who checked in to give condolences on FB, but now I'm back on LJ and hope we can have deeper discussions, maybe, of death and grieving. I know it will get better, and I know that there is no way out but through; but any advice is appreciated, and I just find the process endlessly fascinating.
    Monday, December 1st, 2014
    12:04 pm
    Great Video/Audio
    <a href="">Samuel L. Jackson reading the ultimate children's book that is really for parents, Adam Mansbach's <i>Go the F*** to Sleep</i>.</a>.

    I'm buying the book for my nephew. He's 20, avoiding both kids and marriage for now, and I think he'll really enjoy it.

    Mood: resting after tons of work
    Friday, October 31st, 2014
    10:17 pm
    Today was low-key & unusual in a few other ways but pleasant.

    I've been very busy, so I didn't even decorate outside until after 3:00 p.m., today, and then it was a light job, but nice. I was especially proud of the glass storm door to the entryway, with gel figures and cling-ons of rats, bats, spiders in webs, the words "Boo" and "Trick ot treat," and bloody handprints with a bit of dripping and spatter. Our cement leopard, Thomas Convenant, has a clown mask--scarey scarey, youngersib!.

    We only got around ten trick-or-treaters, in two batches, but I'm glad we did something. I wore a halloween outfit--not costume, but trousers in theme fabric and a theme t-shirt--and will do so tomorrow and Sunday. I worked for the academy a lot this afternoon and evening, but all skype or editing.

    Entertainment-wise, I wimped out a bit, deciding that I wasn't up for a really scarey haunted house like last year's. Over the past two days, I also ended up watching a lot of documentaries and shows about real-life doom instead of supernatural movies: four shows on sinking ships including two on the Titanic, the Oklahoma City bombing, and sarin gas in the Tokyo subway, Also three shows of Dark Matters (which is on the science channel, not sci-fi as I said earlier), covering the Stanford prison experiment, Typhoid Mary Mallon, Jack Parsons, and others. I did enjoy American Horror Story: Freak Show yesterday. (More scarey clowns!)

    As long as we have ebola in NYC, I have promised not to eat any feces or lick up any urine or mucus I find on the street or sidewalk.

    And on that tasteful note, goodnight!
    Thursday, October 16th, 2014
    1:19 pm
    Movie: Night of the Creeps
    Recently, Netflix recommended to me the 1986 film, Night of the Creeps. I hazily remembered hearing it was worthwhile--possibly from Doug Winter, which would mean it is not A-level filming but interesting horror with some quirks. Now I'm wondering if it could have been from Doug; anyway, it is indeed interesting, quirky horror. It's also interesting in terms of the development of the zombie film, although I can't recall any writing about it in the burgeoning critical literature.

    The film opens in 1959, as both an axe murderer is on the loose and some experiment gone wrong is jettisoned from an extraterrestrial craft to earth. When a nearby couple investigates, she is hacked to pieces and he is possessed by an alien sluglike thing that enters his mouth. Cut to 1986, with students on the same campus, including bullying frat boys and a picked-on pair, a shy guy and his joking friend on forearm-braced crutches. The former, of course, crushes on a cute sorority girl who is going out with a frat-boy bully, and the cheerful disabled sidekick, of course, wants to help him get her. Add alien parasites that have been Kept in cryogenic stasis in the basement of the college science building and an emotionally scarred cop who saw the 1959 event.

    Not only is the script self-aware, but the character names are a good sign: last names Romero, Carpenter, Cronenberg, DePalma, Cameron, Landis, and Hooper, all of which horror fans should recognize Another is Miner, after Steve Miner, who didn't become as famous but made the 1986 film House, which I remember well and intend to rewatch next. The director of NotC, Fred Dekker, didn't even make it that big, but he did also work on House and, much later, Predator.

    The parasite-possessed people are even called zombies once, and their assault on the sorority house is typical of the living dead, evil dead, and so on. The tone and look/feel of the film is more like 1985's Return of the Living Dead, although that could just be the zeitgeist. Like Return, the film manages to be ironic, often funny, but scary at the same time. Some time in, NotC freatures a lawnmower vs. a zombie, significantly before Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (a/k/a Brandead).

    .What I found most interesting is the ways in which the film is traditional, especially presenting a pre-Romero hero who sets out to save his girl and does defeat the monster, albeit temporarily. But that "temporarily"--setting up a sequel--is itself classic, going back at least to The Blob (1958). The contrast to most zombie films shows how based they are in Romero's much bleaker vision of the efficacy and even moral nature of human beings. In fact, the semi-recent big-budget film Zombieland features a character who starts out as the kind of person we expect to survive, but then becomes more of the hero we see in NotC--and that second turn is received as something fresh, so far are we from heroes and zombies.

    I also like how NotC is open to a feminist reading, despite all of its efforts to the contrary. The heroine, though attractive, speaks in a soft, high  voice and walks with a self-effacing posture that was almost painful to watch. No other female has any active, non-victim role. Yet the key to destroying the alien parasites is that one female science student has stored a box full of jars of human brains in the basement & the heroine tells the hero about it. The "creeps" of the title are clearly both the slithering parasites and the possessed dead, who stalk the sorority girls and stare in the house's window, trying to come in. From a 21st century perspective, however, the "creeps" are not just the frat bully boys but every guy, including the romantic teen hero, who schemes to get sex from a woman instead of just establishing an honest relationship.

    Some recent films have depicted parasite-based zombies, such as Slither (2006), but none is as good as NotC, unless flat-out gore is your thing. And of course Cronenberg may have pioneered behavior-altering parasites with Shivers in 1975, but the result, while creatures of the id, were not in any sense living dead. I've been tracking the various causes of the undead plague in various movies, so I found NotC interesting that way as well.

    Status: relaxing; amused at the wealth of info about parasites available on the web
    Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
    11:39 am
    Good Work, Bad Jokes
    Over the past week, I've done a lot of editing of papers that academy students are submitting to the Siemens Math, Science, and Technology Competition. I feel really good about the editing, because the competition isn't directly about writing at all; they've done the math/science, but I can help make the work more understandable and readable, helping them just a bit. The academy math teacher went out of his way to thank me for my work.

    Also, it's fascinating! Two related projects have applications both in cleansing waste from water and in microcapsules for medicine that would release only in certain pHs, possibly enabling them to target specific organs. One study uses an ingenious system to tell if a smartphone has been stolen & potentially diagnose movement disorders earlier & much more conveniently. Even editing the math papers is somewhat interesting, because I can tell what the work does, if not how.

    An insight some years back is that if I had been male, I'd be in science now rather than writing--or maybe both, a popularizer like the authors of the works I devour. I definitely think I would have found a mentor for science when I was in high school, as these students did. I'm not more than intrigued and slightly wistful about this, in part because I have a good career I'm happy with. But I'm deeply pleased with having a yearly occasion to keep up with some of the new trends.

    But I promised bad jokes--  "I've got to work with Siemens tonight," and even, "I thik I've had enough of the Siemens of high-school kids." Spunky jokes, yes?

    Mood: realaxing
    Friday, September 26th, 2014
    10:35 pm
    I'm genuinely glad that I'm not famous: I'm too enlightened to feel good about letting fame go to my head and becoming a jerk, but I'm not enlightened enough to keep that from happening.

    Praise from parents of my students, including how much the students like me, is about right for me.

    Status: exhausted but happy
    Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
    2:53 pm
    Weird Day
    Alternately posting on FB--mostly about HPL's racism and the world fantasy award statue--and watching a TiVo'ed maraton of Shark Tank. Worse ways to spend a day off, but weird enough.

    Status: enjoying cyberspace, wearing a stinky oversize t-shirt and nothing else, feeling overall content
    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
    1:38 pm
    Relationship Dynamics
    Recently, I was appalled to realize how little my meanness to supergee has to do with him & how much ti has to do with my mood, my blood sugar, other annoyances in my life.

    One interesting aspect of this is that it's not the content of my reactions, which stays much the same, but my tone, anywhere from casual or outright loving to angry and brusque. When faced by a mistake or habit I don't like, my reaction can be anything from "Please don't do that" through "PUH-LEAZE don't do that" to "MY GOD I just HATE it when you DO that."

    Supergee said he actually found this insight of mine comforting to him: the more he ses it as not something he's doing, the more he can deal with it as a practical problem instead of compounding the issue with defensiveness and guilt.

    This whole problem is much more an issue between me and Supergee than between me and womzilla, The reasons are myriad and complex. Some are practical: S. is around in the day when I may be rushed getting off to work or reacting to some annoying academy move; he simply makes more mistakes and we'r together more for me to notice them. Some are history: I was a saner person when W. and I met, so S. and I have ghosts of past interactions that W. and I don't. Some are personality, of course, across a wide range of healthy and not for any one or pair of us, including that S., much more than W., lets me get away with treating him unfairly and always has.

    I have always known I am a moody person & always try to warn the spice when I'm just in a horrible mood. And they're very good about how to handle me, often from a safe distance, when that happens. I guess in some ways this is just a finer-graded version of that. But it's more, too, although I'm not sure I've made that something more at all clear. It's just shocking to me how much even an ordinary interaction can be so determined by concenrs irrelevant to the interaction per se. And while I probably am more extreme this way than many, I think I also just twigged to something that ordinarily happens but people don't always notice or think about.

    Do y'all ever find that other aspects of your life determine your reactions to loved ones at least as much as their behavior and your feelings about them do? Any thoguhts on the whole issue?

    Status: lazy but thoughtful
    Monday, September 22nd, 2014
    12:04 pm
    Disturbing New Info on Artificial Sweeteners
    <lj user="andrewdrucker">, several days back, shared a link about a new study showing that consumption of artificial sweeeners (aspertame, saccharine, and sucralose) in mice caused a change in gut bacteria to those that cause insulin resistance. Equivalent sugar did not have the same effect. here is an article from *the Guardian* with a report of that study and of studies showing the more complicated, contradictory studies on  humans. Especially troubling to me is that the result is not just obesity but specifically insulin resistance.

    Even aside from whether this applies to humans, too much still seems to be unknown. womzilla wondered if it tested high levels of fructose, and no, just glucose and sucrose. As a diabetic, however, I can't really consume more sucrose, so the point is moot. I wonder about sugar alcohols, including erythritol, which is also used in the stevia-based sweetener Truvia. Apparently erythritol isn't digested well by bacteriea, unlike other sugar alcohols, a bad sign. And I wonder about stevia itself.

    Then there's the issue that even if I have aquired that gut bacteria (which I do see several signs of), would stopping artificial sweeteners change my microbiome without a fecal transplant?   It seems there just isn't enough research yet. But the uncertainty reduces my motive to make such a huge change in my food when I already have to take into account my diabetes and pisco-vegetarianism--which I would prefer were pisco-veganism, but I have too much trouble restricting milk (especially milk fats) now.

    One encouraging thought is that researchers will probably be on this lead like dust on a country road. Maybe something good will come out of the "obesity epidemic" moral panic: actual useful sciece instead of drugs and surgery with such downsides and, of course, all the shaming of fat people.

    Right now I have a pitcher of Celestial Seasonign fruit tea cooling, hoping to switch from my fave/default CVS fruit soda with sucralose--at least some of the time. I may also try small amounts of soy milk to lighten/sweeten teas.

    While I try to see if I can happily eschew artificial sweeteners, I dream about what I can legally do now to change my gut biome. Seriously! Could I talk my GP into giving me a Roto-Rooter dose of antibiotics, or would I have to deliberately injure myself and create a major infection? No sh*t, my mind is really going there. I also want to see where the study was done, whether it is at all close enough to volunteer myself or even can participate long distance..

    My mind also dwells on the fact that so many nay-sayers about artificial sweeteners may have been right--but for totally wrong reasons. Do I need to reconsider any food fears I read about, no matter how ill founded they seem to be? But the fact that fears about artificial sweeteners were right appears to be more of a coincidence than anything else; and when genuine scientific evidence did devlop, I read about it.

    What do y'all think? Are any of you following this info? Thinking about or actively doing anything about it in your life? Advice for non-artificially-sweetened recipes, especially for beverages, for a diabetic with a sweet tooth?

    Mood: we will soldier on
    Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
    10:46 am
    "Settling For" in Relationships
    Despite his fat phobia, I generally like Dan Savage's sex advice, which I find blunt to the point of rudeness but generally sensible. In a recent column he said, "Because there is no settling down without settling for, LTB, and that applies to bisexual and monosexuals, monogamists and polyamorists. Good luck."

    My first reaction was that there can be settling down without settling for, and settling for problems and flaws is generally a bad idea. I've said repeatedly that one good thing that came out of my parents' horrific marriage was my bone-deep knowledge that unless I found the right person, I was better off alone.

    Further introspection showed a contradiction: none of the three of us could in any sense of the word be called perfect, right?

    Finally, I decided that two uses of "settling for" are going on here. Very similar to two possible uses of "work" when one says, "My job doesn't seem like work."

    If there's anyone whose job doesn't take effort and committment, I have never met such a person. I know I put both effort and skill into mine, and something more, examination of the work in ways that make me better at it.

    However, what people who say that--including me--is that the work doesn't <i>feel like<i> work, at least most of the time. The fit between the task and my interests and skills is such that I enjoy it greatly and probably would do it without pay.

    Similarly, I decided, we all settle for certain problems and flaws in a spouse, but if we're lucky, it doesn't feel like settling for anything. Someties the cause is blindness & the problems become major later and must be dealt with. Other times, what may seem like a problem to someone else or even objectively is never a problem at all within a certain relationship.

    Because weirdly, as much as I can be a stone b*tch about certain matters within the home, I never feel like I settled for anything, with either of my spice.

    Mood: apparently chatty
    10:27 am
    Reactions to Books
    Last weekend, an AP Language* student and I discussed a question her teacher had asked the class after/about one assignment, "Have you ever read [nonfiction] you enjoyed but disagreed with?"

    I told her that since I was in h.s., I'd mainly felt that way about one type of writing: material I thought was wrong but was argued in an interesting way and made me think about new aspects of the topic. I'm relatively sure that was what the teacher was driving at,** especially since the article strongly took a controversial stance but explicitly extolled the value of independent thought.

    However, I told her, in the past ten years I've found a different kind of writing I enjoy but disagree with: nonfiction that in a generally credible way promotes a social agenda I totally agree with, but that isn't precise enough for me as a somewhat expert on the topic. I'm glad the material is out there, and I'm not upset because it is predominantly right; I do sometimes learn from it; but I keep saying to myself, "well, almost" or "not in all cases."

    As you may guess from my LJ, Bob, I feel that way about much writing in polyamory and fat acceptance. Sometimes this approach works well, as at the Fat, feminism, and Fandom panel at DetCon1, and sometimes not so well.

    This leads me to wonder if others feel similarly about my writing but for opposite reasons: glad to see it out there, but it's too nit=-picky and might give comfort to the other side.

    * Unlike in the days when the dinosaurs and I took AP English, now there are two tests: AP Language and AP Literature, the former keyed to Freshman-Comp skills though tougher, often including classical rhetorical terms. My high-school students often take AP Lang their junior year and AP Lit their senior year.

    **I've come to regard the teacher trying to get a single answer--truly socratic, in my opinion!--as one of the endemic flaws of teaching I'm familiar with. Sometimes students ask what I think, in regard to a question I just asked about some fiction, and they're surprised when I say, "I don't know. Mainly, I want to know what you think." Then I do think about both my ideas and their answer, together.

    Status: apparently turned into a morning person!!!
    Monday, September 8th, 2014
    3:01 pm
    TV Show on Weird Science
    Thanks to automatic recording by the TiVo, I discovered a SciFi Channel program, Dark Matters: Twisted but True. Apart from the synchronicitous similarity to the title of Peter Straub's novel, it's an enjoyable show. It's especially good for when I'm doing other things at the same time, because while the re-enactment visuals are OK, the main info (except for a typed update at the end of each topic) is mainly auditory.

    The actor who played Walter on Fringe is the host, and the intonation, music, and often phrasing are all overly sensational. However, the info seems pretty good, at least on the topics I know about. Rather than credulous about paranormal phenomena, the approach is pretty rigorous. The least mainstream science I've seen so far is an episode about red rain with biological components that was seen as evidence of the panspermia theory (that life on Earth came from an extraterrestrial seed component), and some respectable scientists do support that. A segment on Benjamin Franklin's debunking of Mesmer's cures was especially balanced, pointing out that Mesmer discovered a kind of psychosomatic link that is actually very important.

    Most segments are about embarrassments to science, coming from unethical work, resulting in unforseen problems, or both--the latter partly because of the former. For instance, many scientists working to develop leaded anti-knock gasoline died, went crazy, or otherwise showed severe signs of poisoning, but the gasoline was still marketed. Episodes also cover the Harvard psych experiments that might have helped drive the Unabomber crazy (the experimenter, as I had not known, was the developer of the Thematic Apperception Test), the development of Agent Orange (from a chemical to help soybeans grow), and early use of X-rays in beauty treatments for women including removing excess hair (not a great idea).

    So, a little kitschy, but recommended.

    Mood: up and down
    Friday, September 5th, 2014
    11:47 am
    Good Dating Question
    On Facebook, American Mensa posted a cartoon strip: At speed dating, the man asks the woman, "Who do you like better, Edison or Tesla?" She says, "Who's Tesla?" He says, "Next!"

    Genuine discussion ensued, including the comment, "I don't know because I've never driven and Edison."

    My reply:
    Tesla was crazy, though it's hard to tell where his genius left off & his crazy began; Edison was manipulative, exploited his workers, and electrocuted an elephant. Pop culture also a wash: *The Prestige* and the comic book *Rasl* vs. Tim Powers' *Expiration Date* and a great episode of *Bob's Burgers*. Tie breaker: the term "Edison medicine" for EST and, well, the electricity this computer is running on.

    In trying to find the title of *Rasl*, I discovered there is at least one true-fact comic about Tesla, which I must find! (womzilla, what a great present for a pooks it would make, hint hint.)

    Thought as I described the comic: If they'd had the woman ask the question, they probably would have put glasses on her.

    Mood: light-hearted
    Sunday, August 31st, 2014
    10:17 pm
    I was about to offer womzilla a b.j. in exchange for altering his NYRSF editorial to suggest that the World Fantasy Award sculpture be a chimera, but it turns out he'd already handed this issue into the e-publisher.

    He might get one anyway.

    As they say on Shark Tank, no offer is made to any member of the audience--though in some cases, we could talk. ;-)

    Mood: perky & lascivious
    Saturday, August 30th, 2014
    9:51 pm
    Seriously Disturbing and Disturbed Video
    Thanks to fellow HPL acolyte Scott Connors on Facebook, one of the most seriously demented YouTube videos I ever hope to see.

    Keep watching. It gets more and more-- Well, just more.

    Mood: Astonished
    9:07 am
    World Fantasy Awards
    As you know, Bob, the World Fantasy Award is a wonderful sculpture by Gahan Wilson of H. P. Lovecraft; the informal name from the beginning (but rarely if ever used, as far as I can tell) was the Howie, for both HPL and Robert E. Howard. Recently, many people have been saying that HPL's undeniable racism makes him a poor choice: Nnedi Okorafor, who's doing some of the more exciting fantasy around, commented on the issue in her blog.

    As much as I cherish HPL, I have to agree. And the reasons I cherish him are many, some for what is good in his work and some for what is neurotic. Not the racism: even as a white UMC suburban teen, I was squicked by that aspect of "The Horror at Red Hook." But I encountered his work at the right time, and he does alienated-artist/dreamer angst so perfectly. Some of his works stand the test of time, especially (to my mind) "The Color out of Space." And his fiction started me on the road that brought me to fandom--priceless!

    But a World Fantasy Award of Octavia Butler, as some have suggested? No! She's inestimable as a writer, but the award was specifically designed for fantasy, not sf. Besides, who knows but what AI winners will be unhappy at an award acknowledging any meatbag author? Kidding, of course, but a serious point.

    Some bloggers* have suggested that the award statue be a chimera. That is so great! The different parts are reminiscent of the various sub-genres of fantasy, as well as of the different cultures from which fantasy tropes and writers come. And the word "chimerical" means fantastic or impossible!

    womzilla has a very good editorial in the upcoming NYRSF; he likes the idea of a map, but we agree that a thing rather than a person is the way to go.

    *I can't find who came up with it, & Womzilla is asleep.

    Status: Off to prep and then teach, synchronicitously including Greek myth
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
    7:55 am
    Join Deamwidth?
    Now that I'm checking back here regularly twice per day, I find I often would like to go on to more entries than my FL offers.

    Is an invite still required for Dreamwidth? If so, can and will someone offer me one?

    I'm also interested in suggestions for other social media/blog platforms, but DW sounds best. Twitter seems like just too much of an undertaking! And probably a lot of noise to signal--I prefer womzilla sharing the very best with me. I may well do more on Facebook, but the short general length makes it much less satisfying to me.

    Mood: chatty, inquiring
[ << Previous 20 ]