Now I am that funky soldier and I shall be free

(I love this Shawshank Redemption fanvid.)

I guess it’s time for a link round-up because I’m mad and sad and confused about a bunch of things and I don’t want to spam Facebook.

  1. To get it out of the way: 2016 has kicked off with some shitty, shitty losses.

    I’m just — sad. Death sucks. 69 feels very young. 69 feels like Rickman and Bowie still had decades of art to create. 69 feels unfinished.

    I take comfort in the fact that I got to share the world with artists like this, even if they died before our spheres had a chance to intersect. And I take them as inspiration. Alan Rickman especially. I often feel, at the ripe old age of 27 when tons of my friends are already walking red carpets and living their dreams as actors, that I’ve missed the boat, that it is now and always will be too late for me to get back into acting. If I haven’t made it by now, I’m never going to make it. And Alan Rickman’s acting success later in life gives me comfort. Meanwhile, David Bowie’s ability to do a little bit of everything reassures me that I can play around and experiment as an artist.

  2. David Bowie: Time to mourn or call out?, Aida Manduley
    Relatedly, this is a very good piece on grieving and yet not whitewashing a figure like David Bowie. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to figure out how to reconcile the fact that someone you know — personally or otherwise — can give you many good things and also cause harm, to you or to others. (I don’t think you can reconcile it, precisely, but you can learn to live with the cognitive dissonance.) Highly recommended reading.
  3. The white man pathology, Stephen Marche
    So this article has been making the rounds of some of my friends, and it seems to be resonating deeply with them. And I … confess myself confused, because I bounced off it. I’d like to hear what people think of it, and why. What’s resonating for you? Did parts of it surprise you or what?
  4. Why Are SO Many Millennials SO Uncool?, POWERevolution
    I’m so mad about this essay. SO MAD. I lost an hour and a half of sleep to being mad at this cooler-than-thou hipster nonsense.duty_callsSO MAD. So of course I’m going to link to it. Well done hitting my anger buttons, POWERevolution, and enjoy your hits.
  5. The Dark Tower Officially Casts Idris Elba as Roland Deschain

    pdc_idriselba5

    No, Idris! He who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father!

    So at least there’s that.

Advertisements
Link

Review: “Love In the Time of Zombies”

Last weekend Elisa and I were honored to be invited to review Vagabond Alley Productions‘ “Love In the Time of Zombies,” which opened on Saturday. We were doubly honored when the Horror Honeys offered to host said review as part of their Undead Thursday line-up!

image

The play’s central plot-line is the most fundamental of zombie tropes: our heroes are in a safe enclosed space, fighting the zombie hordes, when another survivor (Robert Hankins) comes into their sanctuary with a suspicious wound. This scene is practically obligatory in any zombie media, and it’s easy to see why. You’ve got immediate tension, a mystery to solve—is it a cut or a bite?—and the ethical questions of whether or not to kill the infected person before they turn. (Pro tip: It’s never just a cut. Tie that guy up before it’s too late.)

Click on over for the full review, and thank you again to Vagabond Alley and the Horror Honeys for giving me a chance to actually use my degree for its intended purpose. It’s a fun show: if you’re in Seattle and in the mood for some late-night zombies and live theatre, check it out! Tickets are only $10 online.

And if you enjoy me and Elisa yakking about horror, you should also check out our fledgling podcast, Femimonstrosity, wherein we sit around with coffee and ramble about movies like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Rosemary’s Baby. I promise it’s worth every penny.

Blog round-up: Friend Spotlight

A necklace for many many friends to share.

If you’re anything like me, you have a long list of blogs or sites you’re following so that you always have something to read on your phone on the bus. Many of my favorites are listed in my blogroll in the sidebar here, and I’ve made specific recs a few times. Here are a few more!

Magpie and Whale: For thoughts on journalism, Chicago, and truly quality linkspams, I always turn to my friend Esther.

I promised everyone I’d dance in the streets if Chicago made it to 50 whole degrees, and holy cats, on Monday we hit 56. So, off I went with my camera in just a sweatshirt and tennis shoes, although rain boots probably would have been a better plan, considering that all our snow and ice is now melting into gigantic pools of standing water, much of which is congregating on sidewalks and at street crossings.

Of course, it’s supposed to dump more snow on us again this week, which makes Chicago Magazine‘s musings about whether the City That Works is too cold to compete with the sunny South particularly apropos. But I assume you’re not here for me to endlessly talk about the weather. (In my hometown, you didn’t start conversations with remarks on the weather, you filled dead air with a comment on the height of the Hocking River.) I could ramble abouttreadmill desks or Amtrak’s actually sort of scummy terms and conditions for their writing residency, but let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

In the Lyme Light Blog-a-Thon: My old friend Kat is using March to run a blog-a-thon about her life with lyme. Her first post is very heavy stuff (with a trigger warning for discussion of suicide), discussing mortality and the realities of living with chronic illness; heavy and honest. She encourages questions and suggestions for essay topics, so if there’s something you’d like to know, by all means leave her a comment and engage with the topic!

See, after my health stopped me from updating http://www.lifewithlyme.net for several years, I’m able to write on it again. I’m revamping the layout and writing regularly, and a great deal. I’m also beyond broke and in debt, hence the blogathon helping from all angles! Here’s how it works, and the three ways you can help out:

Way #1: Comment Here with Questions About Lyme, Being Sick, Etc.
Whether you want to sponsor me out not, comment here with anything you want to know about Lyme, connections, the treatment for them, and how having them had affected my life. Every single one will be answered in an essay in its own post.; I really want to answer the questions you actually HAVE–and enough people have said things that I know they do have questions–so please, do ask,.

This Blog Is Better In Vinyl: Ernie, my fellow Alaskan-kid-who-did-magic-tricks-on-the-Tonight-Show, is currently blogging about teaching in Turkey with characteristic hilarity and depth.

It was so damn quiet. There were three (again, corgi) street dogs. They were slow. They wandered into puddles and got their paws muddy. “Maybe,” Jari said, “maybe there is a brood mother somewhere in these hills.”

“A corgi brood mother.”

“Yeah. Spawning corgis. Or there’s like a corgi dominant gene.”

“They are planning for world domination.”

“The children of the broodmother will consume the whole world.”

I’m doing my best to transcribe this sort of conversation you understand because I want to convey to you how mind-alteringly slow time passes in the village. We sat on rocks next to our packs in the village center, a confluence of three dirt roads, watching dogs walk back and forth and listening to three old men talk about something in another language. When the bus came by the first time, it was going the opposite way, and both of us wanted to get on just for something to do. It was quiet, though, and quiet was pretty nice. We waited for the bus to come back around.

Feeling Elephants: Jessica is not only one of the smartest people I know, but one of the most compassionate, well-informed, and busy people I know. She also tops my list of Friends Most Likely To Be President One Day. Actually, she may be the only person on my list of Friends Most Likely To Be President One Day. Dickinson-Goodman 2026!

Like any good social justice worker, I do my civil rights head count every time I walk into a room or presented with a list of names. (how many women, how many men; how many people of color, how many white people; how many young people, how many older; how many low-income people, how many middle-class, how many wealthy; rinse, repeat).

So when I got an RNC presidential straw poll in my email this morning–because I subscribe to campaign and major candidate emails from both parties–I did my count.

The result was embarrassing: 5 female candidates of 31 options. That’s 16%, a full 3 points lower than the also-mortifying 19% currently serving in Congress.

Link

A Requiem for Molly, the “Archived” American Girl Doll

Cover of Meet Molly

Molly looked EXACTLY like me, so of course she was the American Girl I was least interested in. Kirsten was my favorite.

Anne Helen Petersen reflects on American Girl dolls, childhood consumerism, and the values we absorbed in spite of ourselves in a piece that articulates feelings I didn’t even know I had.

I’m not, strictly speaking, a Molly. I had a Samantha and a Kirsten, and both of them spoke volumes about who I wanted to be (privileged, so well dressed, urban) and who I was (Scandinavian, solidly built, rural). Chiara Atik has already written the definitive statement on what your doll says about you, and I don’t disagree with her assessment of Molly-owners:

If you had Molly, you probably wanted Samantha instead, but contented yourself with Molly because you too wore glasses, liked books, were bad at math, and would concoct various schemes to get attention. (Oh, Molly.) If you were a Molly, and had a Molly (as opposed to being a Molly and aspirationally owning a Felicity), you were imbued, then and now, with an immutable sense of self. At least Molly could tap dance, which is frankly more talent than any of the other girls exhibited.

Truth: Molly was the least showy and, at least of the original, lily-white, middle-class American dolls, the only one with any sort of class consciousness. It was a consciousness enforced by the war, but still, the book’s renderings of thrift were my introduction, other than A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, to what it meant to sacrifice, and how to substitute the feelings of resentment with those of purpose and solidarity.

I look back on my own years spent poring over the American Girl catalog with a red pen, circling the exceedingly expensive swag I wanted from Santa for Christmas, and baking petit fours for the American Girl Doll Club, and it’s hard not to view it all with a strong sense of cynicism. But the books were another matter: sure, they were another way for the Pleasant Company and later Mattel to get me to empty my parents’ wallets, but I think they taught me more than I realized. For better or for worse, maybe, but mostly I think for better.

Au revoir, Molly McIntire.

The Unbearable Lightness of Hair Gel

Okay, okay, I’m not supposed to be blogging, I’m supposed to be finishing up my novel. (Which, for those keeping score at home, crossed 42,000 words last night, at which point I realized that in all 40k+ words preceding, I’d forgotten to set up a major plot point. WHOOPS. Anyway.)

But I wanted to comment briefly on Fred Clark’s throwback post from yesterday. Originally published in November 2011, it treats on the issues of authenticity and hair styling on the campaign trail:

The expert opinion: No one’s hair stays in place like that without some product in there. And the coloring used everywhere but Romney’s temples isn’t always done as seamlessly or artfully as it could be.

The expert also says this is all silly. There’s nothing morally wrong with using products to keep your hair in place and there’s nothing shameful about deciding to keep your hair the same color it was when you were younger. The expert feels its an insult to her profession that candidates tend to lie about this sort of thing.

Political candidates have to go before the cameras on television — that means lots of work on hair and makeup, lots of necessary product, just to appear normal under the lights in high-def. We never criticize a candidate for wearing a shirt that’s been ironed, or a suit that’s been tailored, or for otherwise looking more presentable than someone who’s just rolled out of bed. But after several election cycles of stupidity and silliness around candidates’ hairstyles, the current vogue requires them to lie for the sake of “authenticity.”

Mitt Romney (who? I swear I remember someone by that name) probably only has to touch up his hair — and possibly wear some concealer and powder, to be honest — to look normal when he’s campaigning. And if he admits that his perfect Reed Richards-esque graying temples are chemically enhanced, he’ll get called out for being inauthentic.

Continue reading

Link Round-Up: Women, Media, and Things That Are Cool

Alexander McQueen’s collection at the Met. Also known as what I would like my production of The Tempest to look like, in that daydream world where I produce it with an unlimited budget.

I am in that terrible place where, in spite of sleeping nearly twelve hours last night and drinking three cups of coffee before 1PM, I am still tired. Maybe because it’s 81 degrees F out there, and at least a few degree hotter in our un-air-conditioned apartment? That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

In lieu of a focused blog post like I usually try to do, here are some links to stuff that I’ve been meaning to blog about:

  • A Female Artist’s Foray into Male Modeling: Olympic swimmer and artist Casey Legler is a woman and a male fashion model. Favorite line: “Is it a stretch for me to be styled wearing men’s clothes? I mean, I think anyone can look at me fifty seconds and see that that part is actually not so complicated. I think the part that can feel complicated sometimes is that I also look really fierce in a dress.” Continue reading

Correction: Indiana continues to enforce sane-sex marriage ban, otherwise avoids new douchebaggery

A sharp-eyed friend (thanks Andrea!) pointed me towards this article, which clarifies what the updated laws actually are and what their effects are. A quote:

The Marriage Application
The consternation for this law is coming about because of a change in how Indiana processes marriage applications. As part of an overall effort to modernize and digitize all state public records, Indiana has been switching – county by county – to a digital marriage license application form.

On the digital form, there are specific gender designators for male and female that cannot be changed. Previously, on the paper form, one could mark out male or female and write in the appropriate gender to make the form correct. On a digital version, this isn’t possible.

So, some enterprising reporter put two-and-two together and wrote up a story about how there was a new law (no, it’s an updated law that only changed the penalties) that would criminalize the act of any same-sex couple who filled out the electronic form because they would, by default, have to lie about the gender of one of the applicants.

The Confusion
Here’s where it gets confusing for most folks, including the reporter who wrote the original piece: the law specifically criminalizes “knowingly providing false information” – in other words, when there is an intent to defraud the state, you have committed a crime. As several Indiana lawyers, including my friend and fellow blogger, Doug Masson, have pointed out, the simple act of writing (male – not female) or (female – not male) after your name should suffice to make your intent clear.

Me again. I see that this has made it to Tumblr, so if someone wanted to post a link to this article, that’d be much appreciated. Nothing I hate more than misinformation.