Flip Through

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Body Appreciation Sunday: Fingernails?!

I have been a consummate nailbiter for years--for most of my life, really. And it's only very recently that I think I've finally kicked that beast to the curb.

The miracle cure? Colored nail polish. For some reason, keeping my little growing nails in some fun color (currently China Glaze's Periwinkle) was worked far better than painting them with clear polish or a nude tone. Maybe because with lighter/natural colors it's easier to see the growth? At any rate, I've been having fun switching between periwinkle and some sort of bright greeny-turquoise color, and I need more. More more more. Colored nail polish is the new addiction.

Of course, longer nails have brought in a whole slew of things I never thought about--how long will be too long? Is it going to hurt if I push my cuticles up with this metal thing? What on earth am I touching that they're getting so grimy underneath? At least my preferred hair salon, the Paul Mitchell school, does manicures too, because me and my new nails are on the brink of being really discombobulated.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Things I Googled last night while drunk

"vin de syrah sdcc asshole managers"

"why is grant morrison in a my chemical romance video"

"snarfest" "snarkkst" and "snarlfest"

"david ten-inch"

Friday, July 29, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday: Trickster's Choice

So I was knocking around in this Hairpin thread because lord knows I can't resist a conversation about Margaret Atwood, and somehow I ended up linking the blogge due to a side-convo about Tamora Pierce fandom, and then I realized that I needed to do another Pierce book for FFF. So today you get the first volume in the Daughter of the Lioness duology, Trickster's Choice. This book has a pretty hefty cast and I've cut it down rather drastically, so, apologies if I left out one of your favorites (chances are I did. Sorry Fesgao! I love you, really I do!).

Alianne of Pirate's Swoop: played by Saorise Ronan, Aly is the smart-but-shiftless daughter of Alanna the Lioness and George Cooper. After not quite running away from home, she was captured by pirates and sold into slavery in the Copper Isles. But a divine being has other plans for her.

Kyprioth: played by Hrithik Roshan, Kyprioth is the dethroned patron god of the Copper Isles and is known as the Trickster in Tortall. George Cooper's patron deity, he's had his eye on Aly for awhile.

Nawat Crow: played by Robert Sheehan, Nawat is a crow who takes the shape of a man in order to aid Aly in her role in the Balitang household.

Saraiyu Balitang: played by Saira Choudhry, Sarai is the oldest Balitang daughter, a headstrong, beautiful girl whom the raka believe is the "twice-royal" of an ancient prophecy.

Dovasary Balitang: played by Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, Dove is Sarai's younger sister. She is quieter and more scholarly (and totally badass).

Ulasim Dodeka: played by Naveen Andrews, Ulasim is the Balitangs' footman, a free raka and the "general" of the raka conspiracy within the Balitang household and elsewhere.

Chenaol: played by Shabana Azmi, Chenaol is the Balitang cook and serves as armorer for the revolutionaries.

Prince Bronau Jimajen: played by Peter Mooney, Bronau is a luarin (white) prince, the younger son of the Jimajen house and Rubinyan's brother. Ambitious and untrustworthy, he courts Sarai as part of an attempted power-grab.

Prince Rubinyan Jimajen: played by Joaquin Phoenix, Rubinyan is married to Imajane and with her serves as regent while the Rittevon heir, Dunevon, grows up.

Princess Imajane Rittevon: played by Nicole Kidman, Imajane is the only surviving adult child of the previous Rittevon king; however, as a woman she cannot inherit the throne proper. As you may imagine, this makes her...bitter.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A writer for all seasons

I was thinking about Jo Walton the other day. I do this a lot, as she is one of my favorite writers. I realized that she's pretty much got a book for every kind of reader there is. So--without further nattering--I present Which Walton Book Is For You?

If you like mythology and/or war stories: The Sulien books-- The King's Peace, The King's Name, and The Prize in the Game are alternate-history retellings of Arthurian and Irish myth.

If Anthony Trollope comes right after Judith Tarr on your bookshelf: Tooth and Claw. This one is a perfect rendering of Victorian dramedy into dragons. That's right, dragons.

If you know how important a karass is: Among Others. I've reviewed this one here (twice); little more need be said.

If you suspect Hitler is still alive somewhere: The Small Change books--Farthing, Ha'Penny, and Half A Crown are alternate-history stories set in an England which made peace with Hitler after Hess' flight to Scotland in 1941. A smart, evocative spin on the "country house" type of story.

If you see magic in the everyday: Lifelode. A "domestic fantasy" as author Sharyn November termed it, this story of two strangers coming to town is wholly original, charming, strange, and gorgeously written.

That geek gathering

So I didn't get to go to San Diego Comic-con this year, just like every year. Someday! If you didn't get to go either, Girls Read Comics Too, Topless Robot, and The Mary Sue all have round-ups of exciting news, links, videos, and more.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mean mean singing machine

I have a bad habit. Ok, I have many, but arguably the worst is my penchant for inflicting a certain CD on people riding in my car. For some reason I think it's totally hilarious to play Sons of Provo for nice normal people who are usually atheists.

Then I get the joy of explaining all the lyrics to them, as their faces grow more and more horrified.

For those living a blissful Mormon-free existence, Sons of Provo is a CD which was released along with a "mockumentary" back in--oh, 2004? Ostensibly following the travails of an LDS boy band called Everclean, the mockumentary and its CD were created by the same dudes who brought you The Singles Ward and The RM (and probably other stuff since, unless they've been excommunicated or something). At the time, I thought Sons of Provo was hysterical. Of course I still do, but now the joy I take in this truly magical album is tempered by more joy that I can now safely laugh my head off without fearing that my stepfather will frown at me and tell me that the whole venture is very disrespectful. After all, the lyrics DO contain solid Mormon doctrine. This isn't something we should be treating with levity (one of his favorite words).

Choice tracks from the album include its smash hit "Diddly Wack Mack Mormon Daddy," "Sweet Spirit," and "Dang Fetch Oh My Heck." I have to admit, honestly, that the lyrics are remarkably witty and the music does sound exactly like any boy band from the early 2000s. Unfortunately Everclean is not available on Spotify, so you'll either have to shell out for the disc or torrent it (which of course I would NEVER EVER advocate doing).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pleasantly meta: A Captain America Review (spoilers)

Let it be known to all and sundry that I am not a Captain America fan, not even a little, and I am not familiar enough with his development to know how closely this film follows the comics. That said, Captain America: The First Avenger is a really excellent film, for my money the best of the comic book crop this year: the consummate summer blockbuster and a lovely hearkening-back to pulpy, old-fashioned movies, and--it must be said--an excellent propaganda film. Captain America is the best-named superhero in history for a reason: he represents everything the US likes to think it's all about; compassion and sticking up for the underdog are what Cap trumpets but at the end of the day, he's got muscle where it counts. Might doesn't make right and Cap has never been about that (to his credit, I'd have been on his side during Civil War), and the film gets this correct, since Red Skull is the foil to Cap, using the power of the Super-Soldier serum for evil and control while Cap uses it for freedom. However, Dr. Zola, played by the perfectly squirrelly Toby Jones, is also a foil for Steve Rogers; as an undersized dorky scientist, he represents (for me anyway) the other side of the Super-Soldier coin. Steve casts away his scrawny physique and becomes the Platonic ideal of Aryan manhood: tall, muscular, with blond good looks and a great smile. He's suddenly massively attractive to the ladies and he can beat up bullies all day. Zola on the other hand develops his brainpower, unfortunately having it subverted and co-opted by Red Skull's evil plans for Hydra. Zola should be as much of a man as Rogers is...after all, what would Steve have done if he hadn't been used for the Super-Soldier program? Hopefully he would've turned his passion to building things, creating things, writing things, or doing anything else for the war effort and beyond, but we don't know and no one cares, because he became Captain America.

Zola stays Zola: a man of science and intellect, short and pudgy and clearly undesirable, and a Nazi to boot, an icon of the things we fear, hate, and mock. Cap will get laid (seventy years in the future) because he's now a hunk of ass and biceps, and he's nice; we're not sure Zola has ever been laid or ever will be. And on that note, I was rather pleased with the character of Agent Carter, a stubborn, smart, sassy, shoot-em-up gal who doesn't take shit. Yes, she's got the hots for Cap and yes, she's the very image of a sexy pin-up gal, but she never needs rescuing and I didn't find the development of her relationship with Steve to be exploitative or forced. She's a woman with her own career and interests and strengths, and I was glad to see that Steve's reaction to and interactions with her displayed none of the hackneyed "My you're awfully modern, madam. I can almost see the outline of your, ahem, your...lady protrusions!" which some of Cap's comics utilize in order for the reader to be VERY VERY SURE that Cap's a man of his time and he doesn't quite hold with these ladies and their jobs and their above-the-knee shorts. Steve always treats Carter respectfully and she treats him in kind, placing faith in his ability and belief when no one else will.

On a technical level: the acting is solid all around, with standouts from Hayley Atwell (Agent Peggy Carter), Tommy Lee Jones (Colonel Philips), and Hugo Weaving (Red Skull/Johann Schmidt. Weaving turns that shit up to eleven). The Hollywood junkie in me really enjoyed spotting all the random sort-of famous people in various roles: oh look it's Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer)! Weird, Carter Baizen is playing Bucky? (Sebastian Stan) John Thornton, why are you Hydra? (Richard Armitage being Armitagey) Oh shit it's Dakin as...Tony Stark's dad! (Dominic Cooper) The high-contrast look to the filmography, the almost-corny action sequences and dialogue, and the all-singing all-dancing Star-Spangled Man show really sold the film as a period piece. For a comic book fan, there are plenty of treats in the Cap film, from a glimpse of "Phineas T. Horton's Synthetic Man" at a science expo to a Thor-inspired opening scene.

And of course, there's the Avengers teaser post-credits. In this case "teaser" really is the appropriate term; I don't think a single shot lasted more than five seconds. However, in those seconds is a mass of material which managed to simultaneously give me a boner and remind me why I'm irritated at the film's concept and what Marvel Studios have been doing for the last four years. Yes, it's true, when the movie rolls around I'll have a hard time deciding where to look when RDJ, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Jeremy Renner are on the screen together...but the teaser's conclusion, when Nick Fury says, "Gentlemen, you're up," grates my cheese. It's extremely clear who this movie is about: it's about the Avengers. It's about Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Incredible Hulk.

Wait, isn't Black Widow also on the Avengers team?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Body Appreciation Sunday: She's a marshmallow

I like to put on a gruff exterior and bluster about whether Alien or Aliens is better (the former, for the record) and how my favorite Wonder Woman panel is when she's ploughing down the street saying, "Out of the way, sperm bank," but really I'm as mushy as they come. Kittens, baby elephants, tulips, British costume dramas--I'm all over that shit.

And my heart really squeals for my man.

My dearest. For the last five years we've bought comics, watched Stallone movies, eaten sweet potatoes and hoagies, banged our heads at Queensr├┐che concerts, studied, traveled, and played with action figures. And now you're eighteen hours away, in a cold place, about to throw yourself into six fresh years of hellish schooling. I'm beyond proud of you. I miss you like hell and I can't wait to be with you again--to nag you, to cook in our kitchen, to hang up your Marvel t-shirts on that funny octopus drying rack from IKEA, to let you brush my hair.

We are not done, indeed we have barely started.

I love you.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday: Pipeline

Greetings, friends and lovers. If there's one thing I like to get on my high horse about, it's comic books, especially ones featuring awesome women characters. And who's the awesomest lady in DC, even awesomer than Wonder Woman, Oracle, and Big Barda put together? That's Renee Montoya, kids, and she wants a movie all to herself.

Renee Montoya/The Question: played by Michelle Rodriguez, Renee takes on the mask of the Question after her mentor Vic Sage's death and her estrangement from the Gotham Central police force. When a terrible trail of human trafficking picks up in Hub City, Question teams up with Huntress in an adventure that takes them all over the world.

Helena Bertinelli/Huntress: played by Eva Amurri, Helena is a former Mob princess bent on getting revenge for her family's death and, more generally, dealing out the pain to Gotham's bad seeds. She also teaches high school in her spare time.

Aristotle "Tot" Rodor: played by Elias Koteas, Tot is a retired professor and scientist who aids Renee in her work as the Question.

Zeiss: played by Guy Pearce, Zeiss is a hitman employed by the shadowy pipeline of crime to assassinate Renee, Helena, and Tot. However, hitmen can be bought...

Veronica Cale: played by Jodie Foster, Cale is a scientist working on Oolong Island--where she is reluctantly allied with the Doom Patrol. The crime trail leads Question and Huntress to the island, where Cale gives them an interesting bit of information.

Vandal Savage: played by Ray Stevenson, Vandal is an immortal and the inflictor of warfare and crime on humanity since the beginning of time. Sometimes called "Cain," his face bears a strange tattoo of flame, a mark which leads Renee to make a deal with the devil.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The cradle of life is Africa

So there's this. This too.

It's pretty easy to understand why anyone with a brain is het up about these idiotic new advertisements from Summer's Eve, those purveyors of lavender-scented cooters. There are a lot of reasons to be pissed--the use of dude actors with phallic objects, you know, doing stuff while the women stand around waiting to see who they get to have sex with; equating "woman" with "vagina" and boiling down a complex group of people to their genitals (and ignoring the fact that not all women have vaginas); the not-so-subtle undertones of conquest and rape; the downright racist ads aimed at Latinas and black women; every space on the bigot bingo card is there! Because I'm stupid and naive, I'd thought that this sort of thing was going the way of the dodo; apparently not. Advertisers still want you to think that your genitals are nasty and smelly and need to be pressure-washed before the dudes will go near them. My major beef with these ads is just that: the misconceptions surrounding female genitalia and what they're "supposed" to look/smell/act like.

Let's get something clear. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven. Its internal flora are supposed to be there. Your cervix is supposed to produce fluid of varying consistency and scent throughout the month. Your labia can be washed with mild, unscented soap or even just water, unless there's some sort of infection going on, in which case you might need medication, and GUESS WHAT? Such infections often get going by something getting into your junk that shouldn't be there. Something that contains Red Dye No. 3 or ammonium lauryl sulfate or artificial scents or sugars.

This stuff, of course, is what douches and "cleansing washes" are made out of.

There's a reason I deeply enjoy "douchebag" as an insult, and that's because I know that douching is bad for you. You should not let a douche anywhere near your business. Good rule for life!

*And guess what? NOT A VAGINA. "Vagina" has become a catch-all term for everything south of a woman's belt, something which advertisers like Summer's Eve continue to use to their advantage (teehee, we said "vajayjay"! Look, we're serious and using a proper medical term instead of something cutesy like vajayjay. Etc). The cradle of life, in female biology terms, is the uterus.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why on earth should that mean it is not real?

Age 12, 1999: I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with my cousin. We are immediately absorbed. Many of our games of dress-up and imaginative flights after that involve the Potter universe. We decide that she is a Gryffindor and I am a Ravenclaw. My best friend has the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which has just come out. This is one of the first books to make me cry that isn't about animals dying (the very emotional scene between Lupin, Sirius, Peter Pettigrew, Harry, and Snape, if you want to know).

Age 13, 2000: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes out. It's the first of the Potter novels that I'm able to buy with my own money. I read it in a day; it terrifies me a little, particularly the bookending chapters involving Voldemort and Nagini. My cousin and I love the concept of S.P.E.W. and create badges to wear. My mother expresses concern for the first time that the books are a bit too dark for me to be reading (in hindsight, she may have been right).

Age 14, 2001: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone comes out in theatres. I am amazed by its portrayal of Hogwarts, perfect down to the last detail. Potter merchandise explodes everywhere--you can buy a broom, a Quidditch team t-shirt, a wand. I start reading Potter fanfic and write a few stories of my own, but stick mostly to daydreams and drawing pictures of characters from the books, taping them to my bedroom walls.

Age 15, 2002: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets comes out in theatres. I'm disappointed with the lack of Oliver Wood (having fallen quite in love with Sean Biggerstaff the year prior), but think Kenneth Branagh is amazing. I reread the first three books and have trouble deciding whether I would prefer to marry Lupin or Neville Longbottom.

Age 15, 2003: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes out in bookstores. I love Tonks, introduced in this book for the first time, but my mom won't let me dye my hair pink. At the time I find CAPSLOCK!HARRY sort of annoying, but Umbridge is the stuff of nightmares. This book marks my first real experience with spoilers--someone I volunteered with told me before I read it that Sirius is killed by Bellatrix Lestrange.

Age 16, 2004: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban comes out in theatres. It becomes my favorite of the movies. I'm not quite old enough yet to fully appreciate what Cuaron did with the material, but I love the dark fairy tale feeling of it.

Age 17, 2005: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes out in theatre. I'm amused by Harry's bedhead mullet and covet Hermione's Yule Ball dress. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince appears on shelves. I LOVE Half-Blood Prince; I like the mixture of "Hogwarts High" teen angst--as my best friend terms it--and the mythology and history of Voldemort and the Horcruxes. I like what Rowling does with Snape. For Halloween this year I dress up as Tonks, making a Weird Sisters shirt and spraying my hair bright pink.

Age 19, 2007: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows arrives in bookstores. I preorder it from Amazon and take a day off work to read it. I cry...a lot. My favorite characters die. Rowling does fantastic things with the end, having her cake and eating it too. I'm in college now and amazingly have very few people to talk about this book with. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix comes out in theatres. It's perfect and amazing and I love David Yates, though the Tonks fan in me thinks that Natalia Tena's hair is too long. I've grown up faster than Harry has, but the magic hasn't died.

Age 21, 2009: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes out in theatres. It's even better than OotP. I have a slight crush on Snape now, mostly because of Alan Rickman. It edges ahead of Azkaban as my favorite of the films.

Age 23, 2010: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I comes out in theatres at Christmastime. It's about the best Christmas present ever. It, too, is amazing and perfect, a beautiful translation of text to screen. I see it three times in theatre. I cry buckets even though I don't even really like Dobby. I shudder to think that in the summer the movies will be ending and wonder how much I'll cry then.

Age 23, 2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II comes to theatres. I see it with my best friend, a fitting end to the journey we started with Harry a decade before. I dress up as Tonks, she wears Gryffindor chic. I watch Tonks and Lupin die; George Weasley dies; Snape dies; Harry and Voldemort die. I cry even more than I thought I would. The movie is fantastic, gorgeously shot, frightening, thought-provoking. I even like the epilogue.

I don't know what else to say. So much of my life in terms of entertainment has been wrapped up in Harry, Hermione, and Ron's adventures. There is a glorious bank of books and films for future generations to enjoy, and for me to look over and continue to love. It's impossible for me to consider these artifacts impartially. They may not be perfect; they may not be high literature or significant filmic masterpieces, but they are of paramount importance to me and many others--those who grew up with Harry and those who are just discovering him. As an adult now I see things in the stories that were always there, but which weren't apparent. My least favorite of the books are suddenly better: Goblet of Fire becomes even more frightening, Order of the Phoenix is more understandable and subtle. The themes of the books are clearer and more profound, the sacrifices of the characters more chilling and more moving. The less obvious heroes (Ginny and Molly Weasley particularly) hold their own with Harry, Hermione, and Dumbledore. I can trace my interest in writing to early attempts at fanfiction. My love of fantasy literature developed largely because of the Potter books.

As a booklover and as a librarian, all I really want is for everyone to have a Harry Potter in their lives. Whether that's Twilight, the Percy Jackson series, Anita Blake, Hemingway short stories, Miss Marple--that's up to you. What I want is for people to have stories that move them, stories that are important to them.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Body Appreciation Saturday: More period talk

(I'm out of town this weekend, so I'm posting this early. Cheers!)

Womanist Musings recently put up a thoughtful, interesting, and well-stated post about menstruation, Islam, and prayer. Obviously I can't comment with any kind of depth or authority on that particular topic, but reading through the post, its links, and its comments reminded me of something similar which occurred in my time in the LDS church.

When I was a teenager growing up Mormon, I took a lot of trips to the temple. My family was lucky enough to live close to the Orlando, FL temple, and I took many trips there with my parents and with my ward to do baptisms for the dead (the only temple ordinance Mormon teens are allowed to perform). These are literal baptisms; they involve immersion in a tank of water, and the ritual garments worn by the participants are white.

Now before we went into the chapel to sing and pray before the baptisms started, one of the female leaders present would ask me and the other teenage girls if we were menstruating. If we were, we would only be allowed to participate in the laying-on-of-hands (blessing) which is the second portion of the baptism for the dead rite. No dunking. After our song and prayer in the chapel, whatever bishopric member or other priesthood holder who was leading that night would ask the female leader present how many girls were going to be being baptized. Of course Sister So-and-so didn't name any names or point at us, but it became quite clear very soon after who had their period that day--it was whoever wasn't sitting in line to be immersed.

I don't know if this still occurs, or if it was or is widespread, or indeed if it has anything to do with doctrine. Logistically, there's nothing wrong with not wanting there to be blood in the baptismal font, especially since white clothes are involved. But quite frankly, I don't give a shit. This occurrence embarrassed me then and it infuriates me now. Women were singled out publically for something beyond their control, something that is both idolized and demeaned by the church proper. I don't actually care now if the world at large knows I'm on the rag, but I sure did when I was a teenager, partly because no one had bothered to talk about my body with me--because it was shameful and dirty and functionally nonexistent until I had a wedding ring on my finger. The LDS church--like many other institutions, I'm sure--likes to go on about the wonder of motherhood and how great it is that women give birth, etc.; it also likes to not ever talk about those things that make motherhood possible, and it certainly reinforces the popular attitude that menstruation is something either funny or gross, not something normal, even boring, sometimes holy.

At least, the church authority system does. That doesn't necessarily mean that every member feels this way, and let me tell you, all the advice and gossip and bitching about periods I got while a teen Mormon, I got in church settings (usually Girls' Camp). So thanks, Kelly, for teaching me how to use a tampon. Thanks, Sister Hill, for telling me that yes, it's ok to ask Mom for Advil during That Week. Thank you, ladies, for being there for me to complain to and ask questions of. No thanks at all to you, gents, for making me complicit in the mockery of my own body.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A mixture of blargh and squee

No fantasy book-to-film casting today. I am both extremely happy (for Deathly Hallows) and extremely sad (because my manfriend has moved to Ohio), and neither state of mind makes for good posting of any kind.

Happy Harry Potter Weekend, my peeps.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The power of the sequential story

If you're on Twitter--hell, even if you're not--check out the #comicsdidagoodthing hashtag. So many amazing stories.

Comics have done me a lot of good. They helped introduce me to my manfriend and a number of other great friends. They give me heroines of all kinds to look up to (and seeing Black Canary and Cass Cain kick ass makes me want to go to the gym). They're an invaluable tool for me as a librarian to reach out to reluctant readers.

I love comics. They do good things. What have they done for you?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Irrational hate, as a cat hates a dog

There are some actors I love (Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett), and exactly two that I hate with the fires of a thousand suns.

Unfortunately, those two are in positions to detract from my enjoyment of superhero films. Mark Ruffalo is playing Bruce Banner in The Avengers and Anne Hathaway is playing Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises. I have no real reasoning for my loathing of these actors; they're pretty innocuous, really--neither is extremely talented, but neither is extremely UNtalented, either. I just really, really don't like them.

And I swear if Hathaway fucks up Selina (or if Nolan does) I'm suing someone. I don't know who, but someone. Because I love that character and Hathaway does NOT have the swagger to pull her off correctly and Nolan doesn't exactly have a shining record of awesome female characters. I don't care much one way or the other about Banner/the Hulk: my annoyance at Ruffalo's presence will hopefully be a sidebar to the rest of the film, and The Avengers frankly has a lot more to worry about than whether Ruffalo is right for the part of Banner. But DKR is srs bsns. I'm a Batfan and a Catfan and I want Selina done right.

Ok, ok, I'm just a worried nerd. But come on--don't you just want to punch these people in their grinning faces?


Friday, July 08, 2011

Just sayin', part two

When I was a wee young thing reading Harry Potter, I was inexplicably in love with Neville Longbottom. Most of my Potter-related daydreams revolved around holding hands with Neville behind the greenhouses, helping Neville with his wandwork (totally innocently, people--I was twelve, tops), having butterbeer with Neville on trips to Hogsmeade, converting Neville to Mormonism so that we could get married. Etc.

Of course in hindsight it's clear that my young self was powerfully omniscient. Not only did book!Neville grow into a complete and total badassmotherfucker, but movie!Neville grew up to look like this:

Did I have good taste or what? (image via the Fuggirls)

Film Fantasy Friday: Impossible Odds

It is finally Friday, my friends. This has been kind of a weird week here on ye olde blogge; apologies for breast milk tangentials. At any rate, I don't think I've yet discussed my extreme love for Dave Duncan fantasy novels. It's--extreme. The first trilogy of King's Blades books (The Gilded Chain, Lord of the Fire Lands, and Sky of Swords), I kept checked out so often from my hometown library that the system got confused on a few occasions as to whether they were in or out. Being a rather confused child, I read Sky of Swords first (though it doesn't really matter what order you read them in) and it remains my favorite. But as you can tell from this post's title, I ain't casting Sky of Swords! Mostly because I've yet to encounter a proper Malinda or Durendal. No no--today's offering is from the world of the King's Blades, a book set after the trilogy proper: Impossible Odds. Like most of Duncan's books, this one has a huge cast, so only the most core are featured.

Duchess Johanna of Krupina: played by Rosamund Pike, the Duchess takes on her husband's image after an assassination attempt and the kidnapping of her son. King Aethelgar of Chivial gifts her three Blades, as the attempts on the duke's life are growing worse.

Duke Rubin of Krupina: played by Toby Jones, Rubin is assumed dead by his wife and court--presumably in a coup led by Lord Volpe.

Lord Volpe: played by Mark Strong, Volpe is the leader of the Vamky Brotherhood, a strange order of monks gifted in powerful conjuring magic.

True: played by Megan Prescott, the former Sister Gertrude of the order of the White Sisters is now a free agent working for the Duchess.

Bellman: played by Aaron Johnson, Bellman lost his opportunity to become a King's Blade when he injured an eye. Now let loose from Ironhall, he finds himself in the employ of the beautiful Duchess.

Ranter: played by Kevin Durand, Ranter is the socially inept, eternally horny half of the Duchess's Blades.

Ringwood: played by Ben Barnes, Ringwood is younger than Ranter but more mature, and is the Leader of his ward's Blades.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The things the Internet makes me do

So my best friend, yeah, she's pretty awesome and she has this blog that lots of people read, and a Twitter and Tumblr that lots of people follow, and sometimes these people are a little strange.

Sometimes the strange people are me. Anyway. These are some things that Quinn Fabray might have done with her breast milk.

  • pumped it out and donated it to a mama nearby who needed it
  • pumped it out and sold it on eBay
  • pumped it out and gave it to Shelby to feed baby Beth with
  • let it chill out in her boobs 'til it dried up
  • attempted to deal with the resulting engorgement by binding her breasts, resulting in mastitis
  • breastfed baby Beth for a week or so at Shelby's request
  • hooked up with someone who has a breast milk fetish
Fun fact: when you Google "lactation" the first result is not lactation--it's erotic lactation.

Seeing red

"So important is the seed, in fact, that it can be a sin for it to spill on the ground. Rather it must be deposited in a bonafide f*toilet. Whereas, menstrual fluid, a potent symbol of actual growing and producing of little dudes and women, is so vile that it can make a dude unclean. I don’t suppose I have to explain the implications of this to anyone."

--A comment from this thread at Twisty's, re Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the male atheist response to Rebecca Watson's vlog about harassment, and some other stuff.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It's against my religion

So every now and then one of these idiots pops up and is all But I CAN'T it's against my RELIGION. And somehow they get away with it--whatever "it" happens to be: not providing Plan B to unmarried women at CVS, not allowing their child to get a blood transfusion. E!T!C! as D. Boon would say.

So I got to thinking. What's against MY religion? I'm religious--I'm of the religion of atheism! Y'all want to call it a religion, best respect my religious beliefs. I can see some scenarios where my atheist card could come in very handy.

"I'm sorry, my religion prevents me from providing you with unlimited binder clips and pens for free. You'll have to buy those items at the bookstore."

"No, I can't tell you the location of the closest Hooters. It's against my religion."

"My religion allows me to watch Stargate SGI on company time."

"Well, in my religion we partake of the sacred sacrament fettucini alfredo every Friday, as homage to He of the Noodly Appendages. So we have to go to Olive Garden for lunch today. Five Guys will not be acceptable."

"I won't be at the staff meeting today. It cuts into my religiously-mandated nap time."

What does your religion keep you from doing?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Body Appreciation Sunday: Junk

Today you get a two-fer: book review and body reflection. Wootstock. See, this week I've been reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, and it's fantastic--pretty much the Bible of the fertility awareness method of body knowledge and contraception. It is a nice bit of synchronicity that this week is also the week of the Flow. Warning: here be oversharing.

I have Thoughts and Opinions about birth control, like most women (and hopefully most men). There is no denying the incredible amount of good that oral contraceptives, IUDs, diaphragms, condoms, and all the rest have done. However, for some women most or all of these options may not be the best options; they may not be available; they may be too expensive; there may be allergies or other reactions at work. This is where FAM (or NFP--natural family planning) can be a blessing. And for many other women, it can provide a way of finally getting to know your body. This last is the real reason for my interest. I grew up in an environment which places emphasis simultaneously on the importance of female reproduction and the cultural ick associated with the female reproductive system. I have said here before that I received very little education about why my body did the things that it did; this has caused a good deal of grief and confusion over the years. It's time to toss that out. I imagine many women, regardless of whether or how religion influenced their young lives, are not as in touch with the machinations of their bodies as they might like to be. Before beginning this book I knew "how babies were made" and that's about it. I knew roughly why menstruation happened; I sort of knew why oral birth control works.
But there is so much more! So much more. My body is an incredible machine. FAM is one key to understanding that machine. What's your expertise on the topic of cervical fluid? Do you know a possible reason for that weird sharp pain you get in one side sometimes? Most importantly, do you know when you ovulate? It's shockingly easy to understand these things and all the rest. For some, FAM is a good natural contraceptive--it works on the development of familiarity with your body's cycles. For me, I don't intend to ditch the condoms just yet, but I intend it to be a way to finally begin to really understand the changes my female parts go through each month. My body is a book, and I love to read! It's that simple.

Do note--FAM is NOT the same thing as the "Rhythm Method." FAM relies on two major fertility signs: basal body temperature and cervical fluid. The book goes far more in-depth about these and other signs (as well as everything else from achieving pregnancy to outdated and oft-sexist medical terms that are still in use), but those are the basics. Your basal body temperature, taken in the morning, remains fairly steady until after ovulation, when it jumps. Your cervical fluid undergoes dramatic changes on a monthly basis. Creating a daily, monthly chart for these signs is a way of understanding and seeing patterns in your fertility. Regardless of whether you want to stop using the Pill or condoms, a more complete understanding of your body is never going to be a bad thing.

It's an empowering thing. Gynecological health is something we should all take charge of on our own time. I like my lady-doctor a lot, but I also like understanding the most intimate shifts of my body.

For more info about FAM and Weschler's book, head to the website.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Film Fantasy Friday: The Ruby in the Smoke

Life's a fish and then you fry! This week has sucked hairy monkey balls, for those wanting to know, and so I am salving my overworked emotions with another Philip Pullman book, this time from the Sally Lockhart series. They're a bit less known (in the US, anyway) than His Dark Materials (which, if you like those books, Mark is reading them right now), but no less awesome, being about the adventures of a savvy Victorian lass and some truly frightening villains.

Sally Lockhart: played by Holliday Grainger, Sally uncovers a strange and dangerous mystery surrounding her father's death and the location of a fabled ruby.

Frederick Garland: played by William Moseley, Frederick is a genial bohemian photographer and Rosa's brother.

Rosa Garland: played by Gemma Arterton, Rosa is an actress. She and Fred take Sally in after Mrs Holland begins hunting her.

Jim Taylor: played by Jack O'Connell, Jim is an office boy obsessed with pulp novels and devoted to Sally.

Adelaide: played by Ramona Marquez, Adelaide is Mrs Holland's servant girl. She escapes the horrible old woman and flees to Sally and the Garlands.

Nicholas/Matthew Bedwell: played by JJ Feild, the Bedwells are twin brothers. Nicholas is a clergyman; Matthew is an opium-addicted sailor with information Mrs Holland requires.

Mrs Holland: played by Maggie Smith, Mrs Holland is seeking a strange ruby which she believes Sally has in her possession. An evil old woman, Mrs Holland has no qualms about the methods she uses to get Sally and the jewel.

Major Marchbanks: played by Victor Garber, the Major gives Sally a diary containing shocking information, including a hint at their relationship.

Henrich Van Eeden: played by Ben Kingsley, van Eeden is one of Sally's father's agents in Singapore and, as he says, a man to be trusted.
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