Last night I got to frighten children and torture a man on the rack for hours AND talk like a pirate - all without fear of reprisal. Oh Halloween, you are so good to me!
- Geek Out: With dancing Yoda. It's sad to watch it knowing that the damp on Dagobah so affected his arthritis that he never did the pop-and-lock again. -[SH]
- Oh My Goth: My brain can't process this Archie comic; although it is educational. For example, I never knew members of the Goth community preferred "crispy treats" above all other treats. (This is how you know I'm a goth poseur; when it comes to "crispy treats" I can take'm or leave'm.) - [AAG21C]
- Really? Programmers Like Star Trek? Top 10 things likely to be overheard from a Klingon Programmer - [BBb]
- If You'r Looking for a Fictional Character, You've Come to the Right Place: A List of Lists of Fictional Characters. - [BC]
- Random Bits:
- How to make a working Dalek . Now - how can I make a working Tardis?- [BB]
- Freaky deaky optical illusion. - [BC]
- And Now, A Word From My Secret Genius Boyfriend:
Have a good Halloween weekend, y'all. I'm taking Monday as a Blogging Holiday - so don't expect any posts till November is underway.
So - despite the fact that today I am in my most uncomfortable (and hence, most professional) shoes, am wearing a suit, and even (heavens) some make-up like a Proper Grown-Up Person - my inner child has complete and total control of my inner monolouge, which sounds very much like this:
And if one were to slow that down - as if taking a 45rpm record and play it at 33rpm1, you would know that she was screeching:
It's as though she's already consumed an enormous sack of sugary candy.
Of course, I'm excited for Halloween every year2 - but this year Phillyist has been running a series called the 31 Days of Halloweeen - and in working on it I've become hyper aware of all the Halloween-related activity there is in my area; and simultaneously frustrated that I am physically incapable of doing all of it3. I have had one Halloween experience already (being a recent foray to Eastern State Penitentiary's haunted house) but my real Halloween celebration begins tomorrow night - when I will be helping to haunt a gorgeous old Portugese tall ship on the Delaware river4,5. (You may also spot me on said ship Saturday afternoon and Sunday night; the sea gods permitting.) Saturday night I'll be attending a friend's annual Halloween bash, which is always the highlight of my Halloween season (after hopefully squeezing in the Dracula Parade) - and eventually ending my costumed capering at Dracula's Ball6 Monday evening.
Then Nanowrimo begins Tuesday - so I suppose I had better get some sleep tonight; it may be last I have for a good, long time.
Ah, well, lack of sleep is exactly how I maintain my day-to-day ghoulish pallor anyway.
1 Yes, I'm painfully aware of what a reference that is.
2 That Tim Curry song? Totally stuck in my head on infinite loop. I wonder if I can snag it from iTunes...
3 Things I am dissappointed to miss include curatorial talks on Dracula (although I've seen the notes on display before; the Rosenbach is my favorite local museum), mischief night festivities, and the Horror Road Show at the Keswick.
4 I don't want to give anything away, but I'm led to understand there will be some buckles well swashed up on deck...and all manner of creatures below.
5 Also, I get to pirate for charity - how cool is that?
6 My, but Philadelphia does seem to love Dracula.
- Because I haven't been stomping around Manhattan in a good long time, and it's my favorite place to get lost. (I almost always end up on that street full of chess shops - I think it's in the village(?) - and I love it there.)
- To visit a certain young lady and her new cat; and also to scope out her office at The Strand so I can see how comfortably I can live under her desk forever and ever.
- To go to the Cloisters, which I've been meaning to do for ages, and which I believe was recently rennovated.
- And to go to Ninja. Yes, the Times pans it - and yes, they compare it to Jekyll and Hyde, which is a huge disappointment as a restaurant...but, c'mon: Ninja waiters. Let me say that again: NINJA WAITERS. And you know I'd so take the dangerous path. (thanks, Alex!)
One nice thing about cold and flu season is that it gives us all an excuse to spend a weekend tucked-up in bed with some hot tea and the latest George RR Martin novel. (Of course, I did pop out to go dancing Friday night, despite my better judgement - but I simply wasn't willing to miss the first Time Warp of the Halloween season.) As it happens, I was right as rain by Sunday - but that didn't stop me, my tea and A Feast for Crows from spending the bulk of the day together.
Yes, I was lazy this weekend, but never too lazy for linkage:
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here
- Will Locke Do the Fandango?: Tribute to Lost, set to Bohemian Rhapsody. Do I really have to say anything else? Nah, I didn't think so. - [SH]
- The Horror, The Horror: This is exactly why Jack O'Lanterns should never be allowed to emulate snowmen - their pulp lust is unstoppable.
- You Know, I've Had Conversations Like This: Sci-Fi mash-ups from Something Awful. Some of these made me very happy indeed.
- Because We All Need Another Internet Addiction: I'm totally hooked on Slashfood. In fact, I'm so fond of it, it might even drive me to...gasp...cook! (It's already got me baking.) Food Porn; has there ever been a category so absolutely accurate?
- I Do *Not* Want a
Oompa LoompaRobot Monkey: I love robots - and monkeys; but a robot monkey? *Shudder*
- Give Us Candy: Do you remember "Do They Know it's Christmas?" Well, "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en" is absolutely nothing like that. Well..ok, except in that it features a bunch of pop stars (collected under the moniker the North American Halloween Prevention Initiative) and was done for charity. - [S]
- When Our Robotic Overlords Finally Come: We'll have to update our art to appease them. (As per usual with Worth 1000, some of these are really fantastic.) - [EiUC]
- Wish Someone Would Podacst Old Sci-Fi Radio Specials?: Lucky you. - [0xDECAFBAD]
- Random Bits:
- David Copperfield apparently knows the secret to immaculate conception.
- The Love Jacket may be the only thing more coupley-cute sickening than dressing alike.
- Altoids survival tin - but how am I supposed to survive the wilderness with bad breath? - [SF]
- Bone eating snot flower.
- Google Map UFO hack. - [CT]
but in case you're buying:
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here
- Another Video About Geometry: "Angel Dance". Unlike "Pi", this one is actually educational. Also, it is 80s-tastic...and from Square One Television. I can't tell you how disappointed I am that their song about Roman Numerals doesn't seem to be on the video page. I think I still remember most of the words to that one. (I night the stars were glowing/I-I hearts were overflowing/I-I-I words...) - [IAB]
- You Know, I'm Glad I Don't Have a Sweet Tooth:...because this video makes me feel a little creeped out about dessert. (I wish they had laid off the candy corn, though; I do like me some candy corn this time of year. Sigh) - [SH]
- Game Crossovers: From Something Awful. Love this one and this one...and can't believe this one doesn't already exist.
- I'll Bet Tranzor Z Has Some Sweet Moves: Voltron Gets Served - [MV]
- The Patron Saint of Imperfection Frees Us From Our Sin:Pi. This song rocks. I need the MP3. AND a robot that can sing the digits of pi. (Also worth checking out is "Your Wookie" by Mike Phirman - one half of Hard 'n Phrim, the musicians behind "Pi.") - [BB]
- And While We're On (Geeky) Music...: Martin Leung is The Video Game Pianist. - [A]
- Most. Frustrating. Stickfigure. Ever: Escape from Rhetundo Island. I caution you to think fast.
- For the Budding Director...er...Make That Graphic Designer: IMBD is holding a Pitch Your Picture contest, inviting readers to create and submit posters for their fictional films. The gallery opens today, and I'm hoping to see lots of interesting entries. Or, barring that, hundreds of spoofs.
- Random Bits:
- I am seriously thinking about purchasing this for my own home. (But then how would a know when a real serial killer was hiding behind it?).
- In the future we can live like Weasleys - or at least stalk our loved ones like them.
- Clearly, I'll have to send Trotwood to meet Jesse Klein. I mean, a robot who does Kung Fu is great..but...you know...waffles. Mmmm...waffles. - [BB]
- Man - if I had $500 for every wish that never came true...I'd be these guys. -[SNP]
Autumn is here - bringing with it crisp weather, watery hot chocolate and extra blankets on the bed. And I say "Hurrah!" With the onset of Autumn my body seems to come back to life - slithering out of the languorous doldrums brought on by the summer heat. I'm all about reverse hibernation: Give me crisp blue skies and ruddy cheeks over high temps any day.
Last week, in celebration of the lowering temperatures, I took two days off from work in order to spend them shockingly "out of doors." It was strange adjustment, I'll admit - and I'm afraid I may have gotten some sun exposure, thereby eradicating my carefully cultivated UV tan - but that's the price you pay.
And what did I do with my two delicious days of freedom, you may ask? Why, I did what any young, red-blooded American gal would do with two sunny Fall days sans obligation. I went to a couple of cemeteries1. Specifically Christ Church Burial Ground and Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Now, the Laurel Hill excursion was something I planned with Sarcas-sis and The Mighty Thor is advance - Christ Church was a spur-of-the moment thing. ( I was wandering around Old City and just decided to drop in on Ben Franklin2.) On both excursions, though, I took my trusty camera.3
Thing is - I like cemeteries."Oh course you do," you may be thinking. "You're weird and wear a lot of black and are more than a little morbid." And whereas all these things are true - they've got nothing to do with why I like going to graveyards. Sure, the latent goth girl in mean can understand the appeal of a cemetery cool and dark, all sound dampened by the persistent drizzle from a slate-grey sky; and I can even appreciate the appeal of opening a squealing, rusty, wrought iron gate to make one's way through a cobwebbed bone yard in the bluish light of a gibbous moon. But those aren't my favorite times to visit the land of the dead. I prefer to go when the sun is shining high, the sky is without clouds, and...if at all possible - at a time when birds or squirrels or children gambol among the markers. Because, for me, cemeteries. are less about Death and Mourning and more about Hope and Life.
Until science catches up with science fiction - death is an inevitable counterpart of life; and our memory only as eternal as the minds and hearts as other mortals. And yet we, as humans, defy this fact to our very last. We erect monuments to mark our resting places as if to shout to the world one final time "I was here, and I lived."4 Laurel Hill is full of the more ornate of these - the cemetery skyline punctuated with pontificating angels, countless sarcophagi beset with stone mourners who seemed to suffer more ennui than sadness - and a veritable city of mausoleums - some housing a single deceased personage - that were several times the size of my living quarters. And yet for all their stately beauty - they tell me very little about the person they are meant to recall to our hearts and minds. Examining these monuments, perhaps I learn their name - their religious affiliation - their membership in a certain society - that they had a family, a middle initial, spent time at sea, were "Beloved." But this is a list, a group of adjectives; not an understanding of a person. In the end, these large monuments tell me little more than the simple, stone markers of some of their less extravagant neighbors5. I read their names, but I do not remember them. In fact, it is these small, stone markers; crumbling, broken, made illegible by time that I favor most. Because in their failure to even the most basic facts about whom they commemorate, they more eloquently speak of the hope and desire (and, perhaps, arrogance) we display in not wanting to be forgotten. They are a reminder, in the end, that we all turn to dust. Given enough time, even the stone that seems so firm and weighty will while away to nothingness.
I was explaining to Sarcas-sis my love for the romantic futility of grave markers, and she asked me if I would want a monument of my own after I pass.
I should explain that, despite my enjoyment of wandering among the tombstones, I hope never to find myself under one. Which isn't to say I've discovered some secret to eternal life...it's just I'm a bit weird when it comes to being ...restricted. The idea of being shut up in a box for all eternity, conscious or not, gives me the major heebee-jeebies6. It is my wish to be cremated and scattered to the four corners of the globe7. So - a grave marker is out of the question.
But do I want to leave behind something after I die, so that I will be celebrated, venerated, remembered? Hell, yes. I am human after all - burdened too with ego and super ego. I write; and if recording one's thoughts, ideas, dreams and stories isn't the most willful act of enforced remembrance, I can't imagine what is8
Ideally, my monument would be a vast body of my writing; long admired, studied, enjoyed and revered throughout the ages. Novels whose characters are so true to life that their stories touch the lives and hearts of people who live centuries from now - despite what will no doubt be radical changes in technology, politics and social structure; short stories so moving that people will carry a copy with them always; poetry that people will learn by heart because they want to - and not just because it is emblazoned in their brain as a result of being caught with it scribbled on the palm of their hand in their sole attempt at cheating a test. Behold them all, my words immortal. And remember me.
But then, I think of Dickens. He is not so long from this world - and although his stories are known and told and retold, what do I really know of the man? That he was British, called inimitable, was friends with Wilkie Collins, and never wanted to have his >visage carved into stone 9. I can read all the books and the histories and first hand accounts - but having never known him, I can't truly remember him. And everyone whose lives he touched have too turned to dust, and are like sitting under some pretty stone somewhere - where sight seers spend a pleasant afternoon looking at their marker without registering their name or the significance of their lives.
So yes, I say, I want a monument to me; a monument so tall that it cuts the sky to ribbons and pierces the Earth at its molten core; a monument so ornate that it would take centuries for one man or woman to learn and appreciate all the puzzles and wonders its engravings have to offer the careful viewer; and so grand that the populace of several cities...nay...several continents will need to relocate in order to accomodate it's mass; and so large that my name engraved upon it can be easily read from the deepest reaches of space. And, while we're at it, let us start building it now - and let me live to see it complete. You can screw that going gentle garbage. I plan to rage, rage all the way.
Or, you know, I'd really be ok with one of those little, simple stone ones - even one with my name already partially worn away; so long as I could figure out a way to make my life a monument to me. Which of course still means raging...and hopefully lots of laughing, singing and dancing, too. You know. Either way.
1 Why - where do you go on your days off?
2 It is likely a side-effect of having grown-up in Philadelphia, which might as well be called "Franklintown" or "Old Franklinburg," but I must admit to being a bit in awe of this man. Sure, he was a womanizing adulterer who disowned his own son over politics - and yes, he once wrote a treatise on farting (which strangely, they never seem to sell at any of the historic sites) - but he accomplished so much in his life. I kind of have a little crush on him. Not in a creepy, necrophilia way - just in a respect for my history sort of way.
3 Both these cemeteries are in urban areas - and yet I tried (often unsuccessfully) to photograph them as though they were not. There was something about the hustle-bustle in the background that seemed to taint the sereneness of the grounds for me.
4 Or, if you led an uninspired life, perhaps just "I was."
5 Something that made me sad in both these cemeteries was the way the very expensive markers were clearly cordoned off from some of the lesser markers. Wealth and status is all fine and good - but surely in death we should all be equal. I am certain it doesn't matter to the grass who the lineage of the fertilizer beneath them. (Ok, so maybe I'm more than a little morbid sometimes.)
6 Have I read a lot of Poe? Why yes, yes I have. Why ever do you ask?
7 In fact, I plan to make a list of places I want to visit - and any place I don't get to while I'm alive, I hope my ashes will get to once I'm dead. So, should you chance to be my executor or executrix, have your passport handy.
8 Short of, say, tattooing your visage on every living thing you encounter.
9 A desire Philadelphia unfortunately chose to ignore. And after so distressed him with our penitentiary. Way to go, my fair city.
Ladies and gentlemen: The Hogwarts Dancers.
Really, it's the musical choices that really make this the mind-bendingly painful delight that it is. I kinda love it.- [#/u/b/g]
I love me some Savage Chickens.
And a related item: Movie nighters please note that from now on, instead of suggesting disputes be settled by "Cage Match," I will from here-on-in suggest satisfaction by "Joust!".
That is all.
Can someone please tell me why it took me so long to check out the Decembrists? I saw them live with some friends on Friday night at what may well have been the most fun I've ever had at a live show. I also discovered The Robbers on High Street on Thursday, AND re-discovered my appreciation for SuperTramp during karaoke Saturday night. All in all, it was an excellent week in music for me.
On the reverse, I learned that I'm not as young as I like to think I am. Three concerts in one week is more than my old-lady energy levels can take. Many years ago, when I was employed and living at home, and my entire income was disposable, I spent half of it on books, and the other half on music and concerts. I have always loved live music. But you know what I also love now that I'm not 16? Having my hearing intact the morning after a show and adequate sleep time. Mmmmm...precious, precious sleep. In fact, I think I'll go nap now while you check out the links.
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here.
- Pi-r-r-r-r-k!!!!!!!!!: A year ago July, I mentioned the Star Trek/B5 fan film in progress, Star Wreck, The Pirkinning. I am happy to report, the full length feature is now done, and ready for download. Will I be watching it this week? You'd better believe it. [ErB]
- I Guess This Whole Blog Thing Really is Going Main Stream: Musicians who blog. (What does the listmaker have against BNL? They're quite cool.) - [K]
- Rasa-Frackin Title is Longer Than the List': If Yosemite Sam's Curses Were Condsidered Real Profranity and Were Dubbed Over for Television in The Same Clumsy, Unconvincing Manner as 1980's R-Rated Movies. (From McSweeney's, natch).
- The Internet Looks Deep Within Your Heart, So You Don't Have To: Type, and the truth will be told. Don't try and deny it - you know it's true. - [GB]
You may have noticed (supposing you actually come here to read the site and don't simply subscribe to the feed) that there is a Nanowrimo Participant icon on the left there. This is because I'm mad - and have signed-up yet again. For those of you not in the know, Nanowrimo is an annual writing challenge in which I traditionally take part by purchasing a t-shirt and squeaking out a few sorry words. Participating this year is especially ill-advised, as not only does November already have a family-based holiday which will take away from precious writing time, but during the month I'll also be taking an Italian cooking class and will be spending a weekend in Vegas with Sarcasmo Jr.. So - don't expect too much from me here in November - or out there in the real world either, as theoretically I'll be curled up here at home, weeping in open fear of the blinking cursor on the white page.
Much like last year - instead of a novel I'm just going to attempt to write some shorter pieces on a daily basis. And, like last year, I'll post some of them on my Scribblings page. (The other bits will actually be fodder towards a project I'm co-writing with someone else - so I won't post them here during the competition in order to avoid spoilerating anything.)
- Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah..Dolphin: They've taught a dolphin to sing and play the theme to Batman. Truly - is there anything science can't do? - [MF]
- Dirty! (Well, In Some Countries): The Origins and Common Usage of British Swear-words. Hmm. I wonder what would happen if I did ask the tobacconist for a good shag. - [K]
- Germ Bunnies are the Cutest: The War of the Worlds (1953) in 30 seconds, reenacted by bunnies. - [SH]
- I Love It When a Pun Comes Together: Blackmail boxes. - [SH}
- If They Hadn't Gone to the West: Middle Earth 2005 from Worth 1000. It's enough to make me giggle (and Tolkien weep).
Who in the world thought it was necessary to cover and/or remix Gilbert
O' Sullivan's 'Alone Again (Naturally)' and give it a dance beat? And,
more importantly...how is it possible that I'm enjoying it?
An Open Letter to the Gentleman Of Approximately The Same Age of Myself Whom I Chanced Overhear As Our Paths Crossed This Afternoon
I hope you shall not consider my overhearing your remark this afternoon an affront. I assure you, I was not eavesdropping on your conversation; that is to say, not intentionally. I am a writer, you must understand, and therefore have an inescapable need to maintain a faint awareness of everythings that is occuring in my periphery. (Alas, this generally means a distinct lack of attention focused towards those things directly in my path, which leads, more oft than not, to me walking headlong into stationary objects. Ah, but I digress.) My point is, it was without malice aforethought that I chanced to hear you say to your compatriots, in a voice firm and true, "...I just don't see why the youth of America find it so funny."
Now, sir, admittedly I know not of what program, film, book, sporting event or other diversion you spoke; and frankly that fact is immaterially. Knowing what often passes for amusement in our popular culture, I would not be in the least surprised if the target of your invective was directed towards some asinine, boorish and puerile tripe. And even were you speaking about something of astonishing wit and genius that you simply failed to comprehend - that would matter little to me, as we are all entitled to our own opinion.
No, what struck me down to the core of my soul as those words so carelessly escaped your lips...the phrase that almost make me turn from my task, chase you down and demand an explanation there on the street before the city, your friends, the fates and everyone, was "the youth of America." Because truly - if you are my age (as you appear) and you feel "the youth of America" is a category decidely separate from yourself (and, ergo, me)...I must ask you - who are we in this great age heirachry? I must admit, when I awoke this morning and dressed to for the day's adventures, I wasn't aware that I was going to be catipultated unceremoniously from "youth" to - what?...I suppose Elder of America. I am quite sure that I was wearing the wrong sort of shoe for such a promotion.
In closing, I hope you will reconsider your position. Not on the entertainment, of course, but about our respective ages. I'm not prepared to shake that youth moniker just yet.
Respectfully Yours and Still a kid in America (woah-oh),
Hooray! I'm on holiday. (Well, sort of.) I've taken today and tomorrow off in order to extend my weekend and sort of regroup with myself. Tomorrow (and pretty much every day following that for the remainder of the month) is already scheduled from dawn to the wee small hours - but today I have absolutely no set plans at all. It's a delirious feeling, and I'm not altogether sure what to do with myself. I may implode with sheer lassitude. Whee!
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here. (Thanks to Zorzan for the suggestion!)
- I Suspect Mario and Luigi Are Trying to Make a Comeback On the Stage: Mario Unleashed. -[d]
- Haunted Portraits: If I had the wherewithal, I'd fill my home with these.-[PCL]
- And In Robot News:
- Wanna build your own Johnny Five?
- They have come out with a Robosapien Junior. I'm terribly tempted to buy one, take pictures of it dressed up in a variety of outfits (cub scout uniform, little league uniform, etc). then hang the photos up and pretend they are snaps from Trotwood's childhood. - [G]
- Eva is a disemobied, robotic head at NASA. She seems to have decent AI - and her facial expressions are realistic enough to be just this side of creepy. When the presenter asked her "What are you, Eva?" I half-expected her to say, "The stuff of Sarcasmo's nightmares." She's cool - but she gives me the willies. After all, she hopes to someday be "fully alive and aware." When the robot uprising comes, don't say I didn't warn you.- [IR]
- This robot likes rain. Next, scientists will develop one that likes long walks on the beach and talking until dawn.
More edited movie trailers from PS260 -[FG]: