Inspiration Board #1: Fairy Tale

Rising Sun Hits the Page

Clockwise from Top Left Corner

1. Bright Star: Fanny Sits in Field of Flowers

2. CIT Jet Propulsion Lab: Unicorn’s Rose Nebula

3. Martha Stewart: Paper Flower Pom-poms

4. Deviant Art: “Goldie Doesn’t Like the Bears” by *AngryBird

5. io9: Norway’s Massive Troll Cover-up Exposed!

6. Deviant Art: “ATC 11” by ~OutOfTheOrange

7. Cuba Gallery: Sunset Shot

8. Etsy: Oiseaux’s Vintage Blue Bird Bookplate

Healthy Schmealthy

Yesterday’s surprise birthday party went off without a hitch! It was kind of awesome.

He was totally befuddled the entire time, and when we ended up back at his place for the birthday party, we all had tons of fun just hanging around and playing games and eating food. We had mondo amounts of food, met some new people, and got to know some old friends better. Kudos to my co-conspirators, really. They totally pulled this shit together. Also, must learn to moderate the amount of times I use the word “awesome.” Mayhaps, time to move onto some other lingo or catchphrase?  Please complete that following phrase: “That is ___________.”  Bananaramas? Yowzers? Oy gevalt? Assa(Korean style!)?

It’s too bad that one of my favorite words ever, “lackadaisical,” hasn’t got a more positive connotation or a broader scope of meaning.

I should just give up my conversational crutches altogether. I believe I’ll try the novel idea of actually thinking about what I’d like to say before I utter any words.

So I’ve been having an entirely gross week with snot and cold sores and stupid uterus monthly special and such. My entire body is just so out of wack that I feel like the only thing I can do is eat healthily and start exercising and become an actually well-rounded human being instead of just sitting in front of a computer all day.  Of course, that involves that pesky little step of actually getting up and moving my limbs around.

Y’know what? I’m gonna go check out my brother’s friend’s bike right now and see if I can’t fix it up to ride around. Today seems like a biking around kind of day.

Swapbot Big Fat Envelope #5 package arrived yesterday!!!! Magical green envelope full of lovely goodness in the most random sort of way. I am certianly quite ready for any Halloween butterfly-related emergencies that might be coming my way. What a delightfully odd dichotomy of items to send. Thanks to my swapbotter, RaineyDay!

Now, time to finish off my package and send it off. Also, Julie’s birthday care package. 😀

Busy Bee Indeed

For someone with no job and no real social life to speak of, I’ve been pretty darn busy these last several days. On my To Do List are various Swapbot commitments, planning a surprise birthday party for a friend, and writing and reviewing a couple of mermaid stories for my writing circle. All  interspersed with helping my brother move his stuff and meeting with friends from out of town.

I’ve also finished two of the books I checked out of the library. Elfland by Freda Warrington.

Source: Macmillan

I really wish I had enjoyed this book more than I had. It had all the elements that I would normally glom onto, including a wonderfully skilled and detailed worldbuilding, a slew of potentially interesting characters, mythic elements woven together with faerie elements, and gorgeous imagery. My issue throughout the entire book seemed to be that I was about ten years too late. When I was 12 or 13 I would have eaten this stuff up with a spoon. Really special girl descended from a race of elves, falls for the bad boy, and saves the day. There’s drama, angst, sex, love, elves, magic, and some intrigue. Totally my thing.

But the really special girl(a.k.a. the Heroine) came off to me as incredibly entitled and unpleasant. The way she treated her best friends smacked of selfishness to me and you know, the rest of the characters weren’t much better. Everyone was caught up in his or her own problems to the point of destruction, either their own or others’. Which I could see as the point of the book, if everything hadn’t miraculously resolved in the end with the most self-absorbed characters being vindicated and becoming the heroes of the story.

I thought I’d really enjoy it, since Charles de Lint is one of my absolutely favorite authors ever, and I didn’t think he’d ever steer me wrong, but I just had too many issues with the characters. I suppose I want my protagonists to be people whose heroism comes from their inner goodness rather than annoying, selfish people who happen to be the center of the story. And this is really bothering me because usually I love flawed heroes (I mean, c’mon, BSG, anyone?) but this book just really didn’t do it for me. I think I’ll give it another read-through, see if I can parse out exactly why this book rubbed me the wrong way.

Next up was A Proper Education for Girls by Elaine diRollo.

Source: Library Thing

This one I enjoyed immensely, even if it did seem a bit disjointed and incomplete for some reason. That might just be because I wanted the book to continue. It’s the story of two sisters, raised by a stern and eccentric father, who free themselves and find love and life in each other. This one hit all of my weak spots for brave, independent, eccentric women breaking free of an oppressive patriarchal environment. There were love interests but no lasting interest in love other than their love for each other. This is the kind of strength and loyalty that I think makes the idea of Supernatural so popular. That you have someone who so completely loves you and is loyal to you and with whom you can ride through life knowing he/she has got your back. It’s definitely an odd duck of a book that explores Victorian notions of sensibility, ethnicity, feminism, and sexuality with solid prose and a hopping plot. I finished it in one day, whereas Elfland had taken me weeks since I kept getting bored with it or exasperated.

It’s really weird how that happened. Usually I have no patience for just fiction because it’s just not enough. I want magic and wonder and adventure but weirdly enough, the second book delivered more of that than the first. It was enough to step through history with the diRollo’s protagonists rather than step through a whole new world with Warrington’s characters.

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday and today were smothered in nostalgia and geekery of the highest quality.

Met up with some high school friends who were in from out of town. W and I were stuck in an automotive wasteland, so we caught lunch at Spice Xing (mediocre at best), hitched a ride with his friend, ran an errand at the only TD bank in the area, then chilled like ice cubes at W’s place ’til Chris and Mike got there. We saw SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD which was stellar in all its video game and Canadian geeky glory.

Went back to W’s place, chilled some more, got Robert mixed into the awesome sauce, and ended the night relatively late for me at around 1:30am. It was nice having Mike to talk to about all the various geeky deals that only I ever seem to be interested in, within our current group of friends in DC. Making geeky references and having them actually ZING instead of fall with a POOT onto the Floor of Misdirected Enthusiams is honestly refreshing.  Plus, it’s just good to see old faces.

Wow. That sounded veritably ancient.

Before we all went our separate ways, we made plans for “Brunch, tomorrow?”  and ended up at Mosaic the next afternoon, where the waffle french toast was heavenly and the coffee kept a’coming.

Source: Mosaic Cuisine & Cafe

Had an uproarious brunch with the conversation ending in hipsters ,

Source: Look at this F*cking Hipster

then made our way through a huge computer emporium next to the Trader Joe’s and TJ Maxx, and then Borders. Had fun talking about everything and nothing with the boys ’til Mike had to get back. Not too bereft since W will be here all week.

Chris and I then got down to some serious business. Shopping for some new casual clothes for him that he normally would not go near. We’ll see what comes of the shopping spree. Headed to Nazia’s for a walk around, lemon chicken, fashion show, food-related reality shows, Howl’s Moving Castle,

and the deck-building game that would not end. Now home and writing this up. Weirdly packed weekend. Weird.

I’ll write up my swapbot news (of which there are copious amounts) tomorrow.

Domo Arigato, Sister Swap-Bot-O!

I just dropped off two postcards and two letters for my two Swaps, Dear Soldier and I Love my Library!

My Dear Soldier letters ended up being ridiculously longer than I thought, which hopefully will be as awesome as a trip to the Chocolate Factory for my recipients. Or at least not as boring as a trip to the Prune Juice Bottling Factory. I think I put enough postage on these. The letters were kinda thick.

I really do love my library, so those postcards were easy fills. Especially since there’s only so much room on a postcard, so I couldn’t blather on about what kind of soup I’d had for dinner the other day. I pasted some stickers and my favorite superhero stamps on these. Just to give them some pizzazz (jazz hands!).

I’m going to wait to make sure my mail gets to its intended recipients, then sign up for some more swaps. This is totally as exciting as I thought it would be. 😀

No, FRAK ME, Rachel Bloom!

Well, I’ve got a new favorite song. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it. 😀

It’s not just the utter geekery of the song (including the lines of random Ray Bradbury facts intoned in a voice that seems to be reminding Ray how frakking awesome he is). It’s the unabashed celebration of female sexuality and sex. It’s meant to play as humorous, but it doesn’t really play as mocking geeky sexy fun times. More like, celebrating  geek culture (or co-opting depending on how much of it is gimmick and how much is based on her actual geekery).

It is overtly sexual and plays all the feminine tropes of porn and sexuality (open shirt, schoolgirl uniform, sexy poses, etc). Which opens the video up to discussions about whether this is just another woman utilizing her femininity and sex appeal to take advantage of a niche culture that’s fast becoming popular culture. This sort of thing does happen (although honestly, it’s not something to panic over), and I can’t necessarily say it’s the worst thing in the world.

It makes my inner femgeek kind of bristle with the thought that people who don’t necessarily enjoy the geek culture appropriate it to make a name or career or niche or even just social group for themselves. I guess, in layman’s terms, it’s like if someone forgoes all the hard work of practicing and trying out for an orchestra or football team, then presents their sexiness and gets a fast track to first chair or first string. And starts presenting themselves as an authority or a genuine enthusiast to the public. There’s something just kind of fake about it, even after they start practicing and working to understand and study the culture.

But at the same time, if it’s a matter of combining sexiness with actual geeky interest, then that’s something that happens at cons all over the world all the time. I mean, cosplaying has its fair share of women dressing to make themselves feel beautiful, strong, powerful, and awesome, which should be celebrated and encouraged.

And don’t get me started on the fact that geeks like sex. We like it a lot. All those stereotypes about virgin nerds are so patently ridiculous, it’s amazing that it still holds up in the 21st century at all. Cons and other geeky social gatherings are hotbeds of making out, partying, and hooking up. They’re in freaking hotels 80% of the time. If you think hot-blooded Star Trek and Star Wars fans aren’t duking it out on the convention floor then beaming all that intellectual passion up to a sexy passion in the hotel rooms, then you can’t have realized that geeks are human, too.

And hey, sexiness itself isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just that geeks, in particular, have been the victims of a culture that places a disproportionately high value on sexiness and beauty. So anything that smacks of taking that societal structure and shifting it over to the geek world just sets off warning bells in some geeks’ brains. Male and female,  though mostly female cuz in popular culture guys still get to be funny and not so good looking but the girl’s always got to be good looking, in addition to be geeky or skilled or whatever. Yeah, there are tons of movies where the men are good looking but notice how they aren’t also hooking up with women who are plain but funny, smart, or skilled. How many times does the plain girl get the guy? Right, so find me as many examples of plain woman/handsome man as examples I can think of the trope beautiful woman/plain guy, and I’ll concede that men have something approaching the impossible beauty/sexiness standards that women have.

Anyways, the whole sexiness married to geekiness  thing makes some geeks nervous but I think, as with a lot of things, it’s all about intent.  So, there’s positive sexiness in geek culture, so it’s possible to integrate the two without having to accuse anyone of being a manslut or whore. And just because someone enters the geek world with sexiness as their tool doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t truly interested in the culture. It’s just the instances where people take advantage of geek culture or put other geeks down in order to make themselves seem cooler or basically, indulge in asshole behavior that are problematic. Nobody likes asshole behavior. No surprise that the geeky community especially doesn’t like being made fun of.

Rachel Bloom’s video doesn’t strike me as particularly making fun of the geeky community. It’s certainly taking advantage of the fact that geekiness plus sexiness is always a humorous and engaging subject that has a built-in audience. And it’s definitely got that hipster vibe of slightly ironic. As in, I’m pretending to be a geek totally in love with Ray Bradbury, but I’m also cool enough to poke fun at it at the same time. It’s humor, so yeah, it’s got that sense of “lookit, I’m being funny!” but at the same time it’s a female comedian celebrating female sexuality and making it funny, relevant, and awesome all at the same time, which for the comedy world is a bajillion steps forward. Between her, Kristen Wiig, Wanda Sykes, and Tina Fey, we’re actually getting some fun female humor that points to the female condition as a human condition without buying into as many tropes and stereotypes as earlier examples.

No, it’s not perfect, but it’s progress. If we keep moving at this rate, we’ll be able to have feminist comedians in about another five hundred years or so.