Flip Through

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stopping HR3

By now I'm sure most people have heard about this travesty of a bill, but it bears repeating until it is stopped.

Write your representative, especially if you live in a place suffering from conservative reps. Tweet about your story, your friends' stories, news stories. Tweet your rage and retweet others', post on Facebook, email friends, blog statistics.

This sort of festering bullshit must be halted.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Body Appreciation: Hands

It's Sunday, time to love your body! Today I'm particularly grateful for my hands. Oh, hands. We never think about hands, do we, unless they cramp up from too much typing or develop carpal tunnel or get shut in a car door. But they do everything for us. They knead dough, change diapers, hold other hands, get us off, write beautiful or silly blog entries and novels and poetry, steer cars. They can talk.: in sign language, in middle fingers. I admit I treat mine badly--I chew on my fingernails until my cuticles bleed, I crack my knuckles incessantly, I sit on my hands, I'm not very careful of my fingers when cutting vegetables.

But where would I be without them? The world would be a much more difficult place to navigate without my hands. So here's to you, hands. May you ever create and feel.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday: The Serpent's Shadow

Time to dive into yet another book-to-movie which, should it actually occur, would invariably be described in the press as wildly overproduced and florid! This week's entry is The Serpent's Shadow, one of Mercedes Lackey's "Elemental Masters" books and a reinterpretation of the fairy tale "Snow White", being set in Victorian London and concerning a half-Indian half-British young woman and her quite-evil aunt. As this post is basically a brief break from my FUCKING EXCRUCIATING instructional technology and curriculum homework, I'm only including four of the main characters.

Maya Witherspoon: played by Archie Panjabi, Maya is a new arrival to London, a doctor discreetly specializing in women's complaints, and an untrained practitioner of earth magic.

Peter Scott: played by Hugh Jackman, Peter is a ship captain with some piratical tendencies and magic with all things of the water.

Shivani: played by Padma Lakshmi, Shivani is Maya's maternal aunt and a beautiful dark sorceress with ties to the thugee cult of India. She is bent on destroying Maya and purging all good magic practitioners from London.

Lord Peter Almsley: played by Paul Bettany, Lord Peter is Peter Scott's friend and confidant, as well as a fellow magician of the White Lodge. Lord Peter's vaguely inbred exterior masks a sharp and compassionate mind.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Still rolling

For those who don't know me in real life, it should come as little shock that I am a huge fan of hair metal. Hair metal! Cock rock, glam rock, glitter metal, whatever you want to call it--I love it.

So when a good friend informed me that her holiday gift to me was tickets to see Rock of Ages, I was like BRB SQUEEING FOREVER. What is Rock of Ages, you ask? It's only the awesomest stage musical evah. Taking as its soundtrack such gems as "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", "The Final Countdown", "Can't Fight This Feeling", and of course the inimitable "Don't Stop Believing", the only thing Rock of Ages is missing is...well, "Rock of Ages". And that's because Def Leppard apparently wouldn't license their music for use by the show. Well, pshaw. Rock of Ages still rawks (and gets around Lep's no-no by having its hero, Drew/Wolfgang von Colt, wear a Pyromania t-shirt. Ha!)--it's got strippers, it's got a small-town girl and an LA dreamer, it's got an aging hippie-turned-angel and a feminist Berkeleyite named Regina, it's got a German villain and his not-gay son, it's got David Lee Roth Vince Neil Bret Michaels some blond guy who wears snakeskin boots and chases tail like it's going out of style, it's got that cutie from American Idol who can actually sing.

It's perfect.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reclaiming prayer

I have hated the word "prayer" for a long time. I associated it with begging, with denigration, with prostration and genuflection and admitting that you couldn't do something by yourself. Furthermore, in the LDS church, if something is going wrong, if you're concerned or unsure or doubtful, the answer is always to pray. Pray more, pray harder, pray right. If your prayers are not answered in the mode you have been taught all your life to expect, ur doin it rong. Try again. Pray more, pray harder, pray right.

A very toxic way of dealing--or attempting to deal--with your deity.

When I left the church I stopped praying, of course. And of course, the first thing my mother asked me when I broke the news to her was, Have you prayed about it? Oh Mom. OF COURSE I HAVE. I spent the months preceding my official disaffection on my knees, and not in the fun sexy Madonna way. I had been praying for fifteen years as hard as I could to hear what I knew I was supposed to hear. I never heard it. And in those desperate last months, when I was looking frantically for the reason to stay, I still didn't hear it. And then I was gone, free, with no more need and no more urge and no more reason to pray.

And I hated that word. Prayer. "I'll pray for you". "Sending prayers your way". It seemed--still seems, sometimes, depending on the situation--like a cop-out, a way to sound pious and caring without actually DOING anything to help a person. These kinds of prayer pass the buck, put the onus on deity, allow someone to feel good about themselves without doing much at all. This I still feel. In addition, growing up in the LDS church instills contempt for other kinds of prayer: the rosary and things like that. It's rote, it's memorized, it's devoid of Real Feeling. You aren't actually TALKING to God--you're chanting at it. (Of course this ignores the many rote prayers recited in Mormon churches) So I didn't have any good feelings toward Catholic or Episcopalian or Jewish prayer either. I was right down on prayer. I still don't have much use for the traditional sense of prayer, the one that is a supplication or petition. As an apatheist I prefer to work on things myself and then ask people who can actually help to help when needed.

But there is another kind of prayer, one worth reclaiming, one worth partaking in. This kind of prayer is a thanksgiving, a communion, an ecstasy, an adoration. It is physical. It is what Ruby Sara means when she ends her beautiful posts with "Grok Earth. Pray without ceasing." It is what Dianne Sylvan creates when she dances and chants and cooks. It is what environmentalists and ecofeminists do when they protest, pick up garbage, hike in the woods, try to save beached whales. It is what men and women do the world over when they make love honestly and truly. The kind of prayer I am interested in is affirmative and physical and acknowledges the world and the people we love. Walking outside can be a prayer of this kind; racing through an amazing book can be; baking brownies certainly is. The point and the aim is to be engaged, to be aware, to be grateful--not to debase yourself, but to understand that you are part of the world. You affect the world. You affect people you love, animals you take care of, art you create. The point is to rejoice.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Further exercises in creative definition

Oh yes, it's that time again! Time for me to indulge my love of Captcha-generated non-words. Let's do this!

  • Pecocog: proper noun. An obscure Native American tribe found in the northern woods of New Hampshire and Vermont prior to being wiped out by smallpox. Example: "While on an archaeological dig in Burlington we found some really well-preserved pot shards from the Pecocog's golden age."

  • orose: adj. Slightly blue, nothing too close to indigo. A step down from the more well-known morose, which--unknown to most speakers of English--is a back-formation of orose. Example: "After watching too many French New Wave films I was feeling orose, but perked up when Drumline came on E!"

  • pantier: n. The person who dresses Victoria's Secret models for the annual fashion show. Example: "I swear the pantier was drooling on my hipbones when he was lacing me into that corset."

  • grawes: n. Old English term referring to the back molars. Example: "Me grawes are actin' up. Old Maude says it's from too much chompin' on pig knuckles, but I do love 'em so."

  • rottic: n. Similar to an attic, but with the singular purpose of storing compost. Example: "When you're done with the potatoes, just chuck the peelings into the rottic."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A book review and a new feature

I am just going to come out and say it: sometimes I hate my body. Those of you who know me in person are crying, But Diana! You are beautiful! You are tall and have long legs and gorgeous hazel eyes and awesome freckles! You are THIN! How can this be??!

It is one of those things that is.

You probably hate your body sometimes too. Maybe a lot of the time. Hopefully not all the time. This is part of the Western human condition, male and female alike. If you are like me, you're probably really tired of hating your body--tired of every ad and every asshole who tells you that it's not right, that it could be better, prettier, stronger, faster. So we will add our voices to the scores of voices that are saying, Enough. They are everywhere online: I linked to some of my favorites in this post and it's time for me to add my blog to the list. With that, a new weekly feature in which I will appreciate my body in some way! I have no kicky name yet, and I don't know if it will be posted on a particular day each week. Maybe Sunday would be good; Sunday is a nice day for reflection. But for right now, it is just taking the form of this:

My body, despite what I do to it, keeps going. It does all the work for me. My feet walk, my hands type, my lungs draw in air without being told to. My body is the ultimate Mother. It even scolds me by coming down with colds and backaches when I push it too hard. For all of this and more, I am grateful.

And now for the book review portion of this post! This post in general was spurred partly by the fact that I read lots of body acceptance blogs and Tumblrs, and partly by the fact that I recently finished reading Dianne Sylvan's book The Body Sacred. It's not a new title--it was her second publication, I believe--but somehow I never got around to it until a few weeks ago. It is a sort of combination book: part ruminations on goddess spirituality (specifically Wicca), part ritual and exercise guide, and part self-help for body image. It's a good mixture, I find. Goddess worship and body acceptance go hand in hand. Sylvan is a self-described fat girl who knows of what she writes; though her spiritual practice and views have changed since the publication of this book, I feel (based on what she writes on her blog and Tweets about and so forth) that the core of the matter is unchanged. That core is this: Your body is sacred. It deserves to be treated with the utmost respect and care and love. Self-love and self-acceptance and self-esteem are a continuing work, a mountain that will always be there to be climbed. If you would not say to your lover or best friend, Hey fatty!...please don't say it to yourself. Even if you are an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim: treat yourself as a goddess (or god. Men have body issues too) and your physical embodiment as holy and worthy. Because it is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday: Batman: Hush

I'm just so het up about the various Dark Knight Rises news that I had to delve into one of my favorite Batman stories, Hush, for this week's FFF. Jeph Loeb's story is a bit messy, but the lineup of characters is great, and I think that this arc would make a fantastic movie, should Hollywood ever feel the need to reboot the franchise yet again (or give me a job. Whichever comes first). Hang onto your cowl, 'cause this one is kind of a long one.

Jason Todd: played by Ben Foster, Jason is the psychopathic ex-Robin who's acting pretty lively for a dead man.

Dick Grayson: played by Matt Bomer, Dick has grown out of the short pants and into Nightwing, helping his mentor Batman in the fight against Gotham's united army of supervillains.

Harley Quinn: played by Kristen Bell, Harley is under the thumb of Hush and the Riddler. Not that she minds shaking up trouble, flirting with villains, and robbing operas.

Batman: played by Christian Bale (because in my head continuity THIS should be the final Nolan film), Batman is fighting a baffling war against most of Gotham's most notorious villains, not to mention one against someone he considers a friend.

Catwoman: played by Keira Knightley, Selina Kyle's dangerous alter ego is Gotham's most famous burglar--as well as the love interest of the Caped Crusader.

Thomas Elliott/Hush: played by Ewan McGregor, Thomas Elliott is a surgeon and the childhood friend of Bruce Wayne...who harbors a dangerous grudge.

Poison Ivy: played by Rachel-Hurd Wood (even in my head I require actor continuity within a franchise's movies), Poison Ivy is just one of Gotham's supervillains working with the Riddler and Hush against Batman.

The Riddler: played by Sam Rockwell, The Riddler joins with Thomas Elliott to take down Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Tim Drake: played by Skandar Keynes, Tim is the current Robin. He is kidnapped by a costumed figure who seems to be the late Jason Todd.

Alfred Pennyworth: played by Jude Law, Alfred is Bruce Wayne's long-suffering and completely badass butler.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time to tart things up a notch

I am taking a digital leaf out of my dear Princess Slayer's playbook and creating my Top Nine Slutwave Songs! So far, that is. There is no sign that slutwave is going to slow down, which is how I like it.

But Diana! you wail. What on the Lady's green earth is slutwave? It sounds so...so...


Hell ja, darlings! "Slutwave" was named fake musical genre of the year by Rolling Stone, an appellation I'm ok with, but I must say, as with most things, slutwave is as real as its listeners. You see, when women sing about wanting to have sex, it is newsworthy and gets a genre all to itself--when men sing about wanting to have sex, it is called "music". At best it is a silly term and at worst a misogynist one, but regardless...the tunes are fun fun fun. Not to mention: not anything particularly NEW. Which is why you will find some older songs on the following list. There are some overlaps with Princess Slayer's list, but a few items called from the back of my memory and I couldn't resist them. In no particular order:

9. "Oops (Oh My)" ~ Tweet: "Oops (Oh My)" was Tweet's big hit in 2002, from her album Hummingbird and is, to put it mildly, a bit dirty. Choice lyric: "Ummm I was feelin' so good I had to touch myself".

8. "Blah Blah Blah" ~ Ke$ha: Haters gonna hate, but I am low-brow enough to admit that Ke$ha makes some catchy songs (although her name is stupidly hard to spell, well, properly). From 2010's debut album, "Blah Blah Blah" lays out exactly what the singer is looking for. Choice lyric: "Don't be a little bitch with your chit-chat/Just show me where your dick's at".

7. "Like A Prayer" ~ Madonna: for those not in the know, Princess Slayer and I want you to know that this 1989 classic is a kicky metaphor for fellatio. Choice lyric: "I'm down on my knees/I wanna take you there".

6. "Only Girl (In the World)" ~ Rihanna: Of course a Rihanna song is a must for this list--my counterpart chose "Rude Boy" but I'm a bigger fan of "Only Girl", this year's single from Loud. Choice lyric: "I'm gonna make you beg for it/Then I'ma make you swallow your pride."

5. "Hombre" ~ M.I.A.: Oh yes, that's right--if you can parse what she's rapping about, it's right filthy, except when it's about guns or ecoterrorism. Choice lyric: "You can stick me/Stab me grind me or wind me/Fuck, we can even ask your wifey".

4. "Raspberry Swirl" ~ Tori Amos: Gotta have a Choirgirl Hotel up in this biz. This song is just downright sexy, especially Amos being all breathy and satisfied-sounding at the end. Choice lyric: "If you want inside her, well/Boy you better make her raspberry swirl".

3. "Lovegame" ~ Lady Gaga: Most of the Lady Gaga's catalogue could be on this list, but "Lovegame" from 2009's The Fame Monster is the most overt. Choice lyric: "I can see you standing there/from across the block/With a smile on your mouth/And your hand on your cock".

2. "You Oughta Know" ~ Alanis Morissette: A single from Jagged Little Pill, everyone likes yelling this song in the car during rush hour. Choice lyric: "Is she perverted like me/Would she go down on you in a theatre?"

1. "Summer in the City" ~ Regina Spektor: Slutwave doesn't have to be club music--sometimes it's pure poetry! Found on Begin to Hope, the singer tells us just how lonely she is and what she does about it. Choice lyric: " So I went to a protest/Just to rub up against strangers".

There you have it, kiddoes. The very finest in women talking dirty. NEWS FLASH: girls like to get it on, too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

With regard to fleeing to the Cleve

Dear readers, I know you've been anxious to hear all the juicy details about our little trip to Cleveland, Ohio this past weekend. Were you mistaken for a model, Diana? you cry. Did you dine with Little Richie? Well, no to both queries. Liz Lemon, you have led me astray! Alas. However, it was a charming trip. We did not get to see too much of the city proper, since the school my beloved will likely be attending is in Independence, OH (about eight miles from the city), but we did take a trip into downtown on Friday night for a stop at the West Side market and the Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Both quite marvelous! The market is HUGE. And full of tasty things to eat. We resisted buying a whole pig (which you can do, at several stalls) and satisfied ourselves with cannoli and an apple fritter. So many delectable things. If we do end up in the Cleve I will be getting my produce from that market. An entire long, looooong skinny building stuffed with fresh produce! Magical! The Brewing Company was also quite nice--yummy pub food and a great selection of microbrews. I can't wait to try one of their many seasonal ales (the film nerd in me is itching for a Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale. Also it just sounds tasty). They also have maybe the largest selection of merchandise I've ever seen, from ANY company that wasn't Disney World. I mean, they have their own chapstick.

Also...there was snow. Serious amounts of snow. As my sister posted on my Facebook wall, Cleveland is currently about the second-snowiest city in the US. SNOW, PEOPLE. I am a poor sad thin-blooded Floridian. Even ice scares me. I exaggerate a bit; it was actually not as cold as I was expecting. I suppose once it gets cold enough to snow, the chill sort of plateaus. Below is the view from our hotel room. Please note the metal handles of the pool:

As you can see, there was quite a bit of white stuff floating around. I admit I tromped outside on Friday morning and played. Presumably the hotel staff were all giggling at me. That reminds me--if you have the opportunity, STAY AT A CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL. Maybe the best hotel experience I've had (though the Sandman in Vancouver was also aces). They have a complimentary shuttle, people. By "complimentary" I don't just mean "will get you to the airport". I mean "will drive you wherever you want to go as long as you tip them". Way better than a cab! Clean rooms, good food, friendly staff as well. Just an all-around good experience. Our thanks, Crowne Plaza and Cleveland. I look forward to seeing you again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meme-in' makes me feel good

'Allo, dear readers. I have spent the last few days in snowy Cleveland, OH and am pleased to report that not only is it a charming city, but my dear manfriend has been accepted into its podiatry school. More on that when the time comes.

For now, a meme! Because it is Sunday and I am eating dougnuts!

What do you read? Mainstream, genre, Young Adult?
I read...whatever appeals to me. I read lots of genre fiction, mainly science fiction and fantasy, I read tons of YA of all kinds, I read graphic novels and comics. I love literary "classics". When I read nonfiction it is likely to be feminist prose or something anthropological.

What do you never read?
I don't much care for romance novels.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
Afternoon reading is the best. I also like reading before bed.

Bed, Bath or Bus?

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback or eBook?

Definitely not e-book! I prefer trade paperbacks, but I have lots of mass market because they're less expensive. Some hardbacks are nice, but they do take up a lot of space.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Bookmark these days. Used to be I could just remember where I was in the book, but my memory is going in my old age. Dog-earing makes me sad.

Alphabetize by author, title, or random?

Depends on what bookshelf. The nonfiction is organized by topic and then author last name; the sci-fi and fantasy shelf, kids books, and classics are alphabetical by last name,

Keep, Throw Away, or Sell?

I used to keep EVERYTHING EVER. I've been paring things down. If I buy something and don't Love It, I donate it or give it away. I usually don't buy things I haven't read, which keeps the library under control. The only books I resell are textbooks.

Short story or novel?

Novels. I prefer to WRITE short stories, but I rarely read them. Funky.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

I try to do chapter breaks, but that doesn't always happen, depending on time constraints or dozing off while reading.

Buy or Borrow?

I would rather buy. Acquisition of a book usually goes like this: read something at the library or something borrowed, and then if I like it enough I'll buy it. I do buy books by certain authors--Tamora Pierce, Neil Gaiman--because I am generally quite sure that I'll like them. I don't like borrowing because I don't like lending; if people don't give me my books back, I am sad.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation, or Browse?

Oops, I guess I answered that one above! How about, reading choice: I don't really read book reviews. I take recommendations from friends and blogs I read online, and I am a big fan of browsing, in libraries and bookstores.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

Cliffhangers are ok in serials, but I prefer things to be reasonably wrapped up in a one-off.

Standalone or Series?

I like both! Many genre books are serial, so I have a lot of series at home. But I also have plenty of standalone novels. My favorite books can be found in both.

Favourite book of which nobody else has heard?

The Snow Walker by Farley Mowat.

Top 3 favourite books read within the last few years?

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan

Top 5 favourite books of all time?

Admittedly this list grows all the time. But there are a few constants: The Once and Future King, 1984, The Blind Assassin, most of Pierce's entire canon, and American Gods.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Hai guys. SO. As you've probably heard, there is currently snow in 49 of the 50 U.S. states.

Can you guess which state remains snow-free? THAT'S RIGHT, YOU'RE JEALOUS. It's Florida. Ah, Florida. Even Hawaii can't match your warmth. Of course, by "warmth" I mean "highs of 54 and lows of 30". So not really WARM. But warm...er. Apologies for those people who like to think of these things in terms of "has it ever been done before?", because Florida is making it hard to create a real record. We like to make things difficult (voting, for instance, and paying teachers what they are worth).

I think this is an opportune time for me to write a love letter to Florida. Even though it is mostly a horrible place I am very fond of my home state. Occasionally I feel like I'm the only person here who likes being here--many of the people I meet at my university are from out-of-state and they seem to loathe fair Florida. I can't blame them for missing or preferring their homes, though; I am a big, big, big fan of Dune, but in one respect (ok, in many, although it is far less dated than, say, Heinlein), Herbert gets it totes wrong: when he has Duncan Idaho say something along the lines of, Parting from friends is sadness. A place is just a place. Not so, Duncan! A place is way more than that. Personally I find that leaving a place that I love is often harder than leaving people. You can communicate with people and visit them, but when you don't live in a place anymore, you...don't, and there is no going back, not really.

So here's to you, Florida--land of citrus groves and cold springs and sinkholes and hurricanes, land of Jody Baxter and Clinton Tyree, land of immigrants and rich white northerners, land of Mickey Rat, land of terrible roads and speed traps. There is no place quite like you, and when I leave sometime this summer I'll miss you awfully, your humidity and your mosquitoes too and your way of doing theme parks which is still unmatched. Who else could produce the Holy Land Experience and Celebration? Jimmy and I raise a margarita to you, Florida. Stay sunny.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2010 Brodies

Holy shit, one of my posts got nominated for a Brodie!

Was NOT expecting that. I don't post too often about Mormonism. But I'm very honored to even be nominated. Vote as you will; there are a ton of awesome blogs nominated this year (including Lisa at The Liberal Agnostic Who Could, Carla at Life As A Reader, Donna Banta from Ward Gossip, and Eliza R. Snitch).

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Agora (spoilers)

So. On Friday evening I watched Agora, a Spanish film directed by Alejandro Amenabar which came out in 2009. It purports to be the story of Hypatia of Alexandria, the first well-known woman astronomer, philosopher, and mathematician, as well as a morality tale of--depending on who you ask--pagan versus Christian and reason and science versus faith.

I think I will just point out that, for my money, these two interpretations are basically the same, with pagans coming down on the side of reason. Sorry, early Christianity--but pagans DID invent or discover most of what we're still using today toward scientific and rational ends.

I liked the movie, though I found it sort of uneven and oddly paced. People who know more about the topic than me note that the facts of Hypatia's story are up for debate, and that Amenabar takes liberties. But these issues are not really important; the significant bits of the film, which is to say most of it, are there and gleaming and horrifying and true. Still true. Religious groups clashing in violence in the name of their god (s)? CHECK! Religious groups clashing with "secular" governments in violence in the name of their god (s)? CHECK! Religious groups clashing with scientists in violence in the name of their god (s)? CHECK CHECK CHECK! No one comes off looking good in this story except perhaps Hypatia herself--the Jewish, Christian, and Roman-Egyptian pagans all do terrible things to one another: an eye for an eye is the rule of the day in ancient Alexandria.

Of course that is still true, too. It is still true that reactionary groups in my country and other countries care little about facts or scientific data and have no care at all for history. It is still true that pagan and indigenous religions are repressed, vilifed, and distrusted by mainstream religious groups, and scorned by secular ones. My, that was a lot of links! And there are far too many more instances of such events and language. Not much has changed from ancient times, it seems.

Beyond these themes, Agora also shows just how far we've come with regard to women in the public eye, women as instructors of men, women who are unmarried, and women with power. Hypatia is all of these things--a famed and respected philosopher and scientist, an instructor of male students, an unmarried, presumed virgin who publically rejects a male suitor, and a reasonably powerful voice in the agora and schools. At the film's outset she is at the height of her power, teaching science and astronomy to her students, defending the public peace with her voice, and speaking out for all religions. At the movie's climax, she is murdered by a mob, after being accused of witchcraft and seducing the Prefect--accusations backed up by the Christian leader's reading of certain passages from Paul. She is stripped by the mob--as ever men use women's bodies against them--called whore and witch. Hypatia represents for modern feminists an extant struggle: women in the workplace. Often blamed for not being assertive enough, for being too assertive, or for being too pretty, the fact of the matter is that in the United States, women in their workplaces still face plenty of discrimination and wage disparity and few laurels. Again, not much has changed.

And even beyond this, a topic very dear to my mind, Agora hit me one more time: the scene inside the Serapeum when the Christian mob sacks the library. A bit of history--the Serapeum or temple of Serapis hosted a portion of the legendary Library of Alexandria; it is not known how many texts were housed in the Serapeum. This temple, as well as Alexandria's other pagan sites, were sacked in 391 by order of Theophilus, the bishop of the city. In Agora, the Serapeum is sacked by the Christian group in order to get at the pagans barricaded inside. Regardless of historicity, this scene, as well as following scenes which show the destruction of the city's historical and cultural sites and the use of the Serapeum as a stable for animals, was totally shattering to me. That was the point when the tears started. As a librarian today, I see that this destruction is still going on, maybe not physically and with such violence, but the lack of care for preserving history and culture, for teaching and learning, is starkly evident in the US. Libraries all over the country are suffering, some, like the Camden, New Jersey system are closing all locations. For whatever reason, despite public libraries' intense usefulness, they are perennially on the top of the cut list when it's time to slash budgets.

Bottom line: Agora is a beautiful, provocative film. Just be prepared to be very depressed afterward.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday's Triumphant Return: The Blue Sword

Yes, dear readers, it's time once again for my brain (and sometimes ladybits) to run free of the restraints placed on one by time, money, and shadowy anonymity, and bust out a book that totally deserves fame and fortune as a movie!

(I was lazy on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Sue me!)

So here we have it, my first venture into Robin McKinley's formidable catalogue. The Blue Sword, the first McKinley novel I read, is still my favorite of hers and so I have put quite a bit into this line-up. For the Philistines out there, The Blue Sword is a fantasy novel set in the desert-and-hills land of Damar, which is colonized by some white imperial types; the sister of one such is Harry Crewe, who goes to live in Damar after her father's death and becomes embroiled in local politics and warfare (good lawd that is a short and bastardized version...just read the book!). A somewhat pared-down lineup follows:

Harry Crewe/Harimad-sol: played by Samantha Morton, Harry is Richard's sister and an orphan. After being spirited away by Corlath, she becomes a Hill Rider and fights with them against the Northern army.

Corlath: played by Hrithik Roshan, Corlath is the king of the Hillfolk and leader of the Riders. He is also the master of a type of magic called kelar.

Richard Crewe: played by Paul Bettany, Richard is Harry's older brother and a stiff, nervy military adjutant.

Colonel Jack Dedham: played by , Jack is a veteran of many years of fighting and colonizing in Damar. It is implied that he would have been promoted if he didn't love the desert so much.

Mathin: played by Abhishek Bachchan, Mathin is one of Corlath's Riders. He teaches Harry the Damarian language as well as how to ride properly and use a sword.

Thurra: played by Michael Sheen, Thurra is the leader of the freaky-ass Northern army. When I say "freaky-ass" I mean "horses with claws instead of hooves" and things like that.

And that's how Diana casts it! All images pulled from Google and Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

What a totally awesome story, can I hear it again?

So last night I was washing dishes and Manfriend's like, When did you make pie and did you eat all of it? Because I was washing a pie plate. I said, Nah, I cooked chicken in this for dinner.

True, if exceptionally dull, story. See, I have a multi-purpose pie plate, a glass one. I only have one casserole dish and that's about the extent of my baking apparatus, because I like to keep my cookie sheets in good condition. So if I'm using the casserole to cook something, and I need to cook something else, pie plate ahoy! If it can fit in that pie plate, into the oven it goes. Things usually turn out fine, though I am sure that if I do this whilst my mother and g-ma are visiting next month, they will turn pale with horror and then order me out of my kitchen.

Such is life.

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE COME TO, DEAR READERS. I have nothing to write about, because my days consist of working, making dinner, maaaaaybe some laundry if I'm feeling spicy, and falling asleep.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011


I'm in intense need of dude movies. I STILL haven't seen Tron: Legacy, True Grit, or The Fighter.

I are sad panda. Like so.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Another year

There's this superstition that, on New Year's Day, you should do all the things that you want to keep doing or be able to do in the upcoming year. The day is supposed to set the tone for the year. I like this superstition, almost as much as I like my mom's superstition of buying new shoes on New Year's Day to "get off on the right foot" (though thus far in 2011, I have failed to find new shoes), and looking back over today, I am pleased with the things that I did, both in their basic things-I-did-today state and their more meta this-is-what-I-will-do-this-year state.

It seems to be a nicer way of creating resolutions, without having to actually say the word "resolution" or make a list or whatnot. Your actions create the resolutions themselves. More fulfilling, infinitely simpler, less guilt. So here is what I did today:

+Cleaned: bad juju and dustballs, away! Cleaning is a New Year's trend that pretty much everyone I know engages in. I vaccuumed, cleaned the kitchen counters and sink, the bathroom mirror, sink, and toilet, and put away holiday ornamentations. Laundry of various kinds was also done. For the year: it's good to keep a clean living space; it shows respect to the house and its inhabitants, and is healthy.

+Shopped: ok, I like shopping generally, but errands needed to be done! A shopping bag full of paper towels, cotton balls, thank-you cards, and an iPod case later, we are set for a while. For the year: having the money to buy necessary AND unnecessary items is a privilege and a blessing. Let's hope my cash flow remains reasonably steady.

+Cooked: Boyfriend and I made and ate dinner together. This does not happen nearly as often as I would like, mainly because I often work nights, but I do like to cook--it's fun, usually, and cheaper and healthier than eating at a restaurant. For the year: I hope that more time can be spent cooking and eating with my beloved, and that this will help us to become closer AND healthier!

+Watched movies: this could be extrapolated to going out to movies, watching TV, and playing games, again with my dearest. We like movies and we like watching them together. Relaxation, entertainment, and togetherness in one simple, cheap package. For the year: here's to hoping for plenty of time spent with my boyfriend in the pursuit of fun.

+Wrote thank-you cards: cards were written out to the people who were so generous to me this holiday. Practicing being grateful is definitely something to be worked on every day, and I have so much to be grateful for. For the year: be thankful! Appreciative! Look around and be aware of everything that you have!

+Interviewed: my boyfriend, that is! I asked him some interview questions which might come up when he goes off to visit medical schools this month. For the year: helping and supporting my partner when I can is incredibly important, as is the furthering of both of our educations and careers.

+Flossed my teeth: hee. I am pretty bad at flossing my teeth, but I did just now and it is, as Martha would say, a good thing. I honor my body by taking care of it. For the year: as with cooking food at home, flossing and going to the gym and etc. are ways to be healthier and appreciate and honor my able body.

+Got jiggy: not that you really want to hear this, but yes, pants did come off and so forth. Sex is important for people in a romantic relationship, it's fun and good for your health (if you're doing it right)--it is great overall. For the year: undiplomatically put, spend as much time as possible horizontal.

And that was my first day of 2011. Here's to an excellent year, dear readers! Did anyone do anything wild and crazy last night? We got scolded by an apartment complex rent-a-cop for shooting off fireworks and learned to Dougie. Ah, friends.

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