Film Corner: Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6

KISSMATE: Alright, my delightful followers, tonight is the last installment of the Resident Evil film series! Aptly named, it's called "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" (2017) directed and written by Paul W S Anderson. Last reminder that the series is live watched by both me and Ana Mardoll!

The other films range from an alright but annoying flick, to a fun cheesy zombie movie. We'll see where this lands in the odometer! High hopes, low expectations, and all that. A light annoyance: The other films had clips and movement in their DVD menu. TFC can't be bothered. It shows a lack of effort.

Alice gives us a recap of how the T Virus began and who all was involved. None of the characters have their original actors. Oh no. That's a bad sign. Oh, this is one huge boot of the history this film series has been building. I am ~pissed~ that the last five movies were just flushed right down the drain! I feel like the movie's telling me "What do you believe, your eyes or what I tell you?" and that's FUCKED.

Open Thread: Distorted Reflection


Picture taken November 5th 2019 from the Portland side of the Casco Bay Bridge.

-

Friday Sunday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us so almost over, but you can still give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

KISSMATE: Today we're continuing the Resident Evil film series! Written and directed by Paul W S Anderson, we're watching "Resident Evil: Retribution" (2012). The last one was fun with cheesy writing, so I'm hoping for something similar. Just a nice popcorn flick. Don't forget this is a double team with Ana Mardoll!

I did notice something interesting last movie. Wesker said he needed Alice's blood to become stable with the T Virus. After she was stabbed in the fight, she stabbed him with the same knife. Meaning she stabbed her blood into his brain. I'm hoping he comes back!

Open Thread: October Leaf


Picture taken yesterday, for the specific purpose of being used, that day, in this open thread, which was already a week and two days late at that time.  (Sorry about that.)

-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!
-

While you are free to discuss movies in this thread, provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu), we sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing a specific movie, with the discussion including plain text spoilers.  This is for when discussion of the movie in question is expected to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.

At the moment, however, no such threads are open.  If you feel that a given movie calls for the creation of such a thread, please ping me (chris the cynic, not Ana Mardoll) in the comments, otherwise, please use this thread for movie discussion.

Film Corner: Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4

KISSMATE: After a week-long bout of stomach bugs and stressful IRL stuff, we continue our series of Resident Evil movies! Apologies for the delay. Today's little ditty is RE: Afterlife (2010) directed and written by Paul WS Anderson himself! At this point, Paul WS Anderson has married Milla Jojovich, the main actress playing Alice. I've heard the writing reflects this in some way. What way is that, I don't know, but we're gonna find out! Don't forget this is a joint effort between me and Ana Mardoll, so follow both, please!

After some artistic bullshit thrown in our faces that is supposed to represent the virus spreading through Japan and World, Alice explains stuff we knew from the previous movies. Then we see Snipers getting taken out by mysterious forces. I call Alice Clone Army. Ok, the 3D models in the other movies were cool because it gave us reference of space. This one almost made me puke because the camera was left of the roller coaster setting.

Film Corner: Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil 3

KISSMATE: Hello, my dear followers! Today is the third movie of the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: Extinction (2007) dir. by Russel Malcuhy. So far each movie has had a different director. It showed last movie. Let's see if it's better here!

We see Alice waking up in the shower again, per first movie. Like, shot for shot, scene for scene. Did we put in the first movie by accident? No, because none of the Hive deaths were shown... She opens a door and now is in the Queen Laser Chamber! The lasers attack, but she escapes through the vents. Now she's in the empty hospital. She runs through the hallway pushing a gurney (to break the glass?) when a trap guillotine falls and breaks the bed!

October Newsletter (2020)

It is officially October and I am officially late on my newsletter! But October has been so wild and on top of everything else I've been dealing with really bad allergies and some kind of stress-tension migraine? I know that's not exactly novel right now because we're all stressed. I hope everyone is well and able to rest, breathe, take medications, and so on.

In writing news, having this new project figured out has lit a fire under my butt and I am so happy to be writing again. I posted 4 stories (I think? I'm pretty sure!) last month to my Patreon and I have 2 more already scheduled for this month. I'm working on a 7th story right now. I love fairy tales so much and it's so much fun to be playing around with them. I get to keep all the weird and gory and nonsensical bits without having to update everything to "make sense", which I would absolutely be making myself do if this were one of my usual re-tellings. It's just nice being allowed to indulge in something absurd for a change.

We also have more live-tweets of movies scheduled. I'm going to tell you this one in advance: The Circle is available on Amazon Prime and it is garbage, and Vivarium is available on Amazon Prime and it is amazing. It's my favorite kind of horror: no jump scares, very little violence, and sensible people who react in a "normal" way to an alien and very genuinely terrifying situation. That's all I'll say for now but I wanted to tell you before the live-watch goes up in case it stops being available after Halloween. (Trigger warning for self-harm: there's a very brief glimpse of a suicide in a bathtub near the end, though not of any of the main characters.)

Patreon News

All Patrons: Kissmate finishes out the Resident Evil series, and I watch The Circle.
$5+ Patrons: Queer fairy tales!

Older Links
My Ramblings Deconstructions: Here.
My YouTube Let's Plays: Here.
My Favorite Tumblr Funnies: Here.
@DivorceKittens: Here.

---

That's really all I have right now! I love you all and I hope you're staying safe.

Open Thread: Green and Purple


Picture taken on September 9th.  Sorry for the lack of open thread last week.

I wasn't expecting today's description to be word for word identical to the one from two weeks ago.  So it goes, I guess.

-

While you are free to discuss movies in this thread, provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu), we sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing a specific movie, with the discussion including plain text spoilers.  This is for when discussion of the movie in question is expected to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.

At the moment, however, no such threads are open.  If you feel that a given movie calls for the creation of such a thread, please ping me (chris the cynic, not Ana Mardoll) in the comments, otherwise, please use this thread for movie discussion.
-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2

KISSMATE: Another day of Resident Evil movie series! Today is Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) dir. by Alexander Witt. With hopes high and expectations low, let's blow this casket open!

The naming schemes for the titles are garbage. The only way I know for sure that RE: Apocalypse is next is because I looked up the years. The words after the main title either need to explain the chronological system, or just add a number after the main title. I'm looking at Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies as I say this, though not proudly. Good movies suffer this too. Still, it's difficult to bring newcomers into these series if you can't even keep the order labeled and obvious.

Utena: Outside The Birdcage

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Child Death]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 39: "Someday, Together, We'll Shine"

We don't even get an opening song, just a repeat of Anthy stabbing Utena as Akio waits. Anthy whispers that Utena reminds her so much of Dios when she loved him. [Kissmate: "Oh, the merry-go-round. This happens again and again, in a cycle."] She says Utena can never be her prince, because she's just a girl. (Female or child? She leaves that ambiguous.) She peels Utena's sword from her hand and Akio walks up as children laugh.

Saionji is about to take off his rose crest when Touga stops him, saying she's entered the arena representing the duelists. Nanami, god bless her, is grilling kabobs and idly mentions she's already taken hers off. Juri tells a story about how her sister nearly drowned as a child. An adult rescued her, but a boy who jumped in to save her was washed away. He did a heroic act, but is forgotten instead of celebrated and successful; he wanted to be a hero, a prince, but the danger was real and not a fairytale, and he wasn't ready. [Kissmate notes the biggest danger in drowning cases is that the victim will try to climb the rescuer and they can both sink; Anthy is taking Utena down with her.]

Utena: Crumbling Castle

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Self-Harm]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 38: "End of the World"

Zettai unmei!! We get one more! Utena opens the rose gate and, at the end of the song, takes Anthy's hand. A walkway appears and we see a decorative orb materialize upon which sits Prince Dios. Akio walks out and confirms he's the End of the World but says he's also her prince and the reason she came here. [Kissmate: "Ha! He's wrong and this 'memory' isn't right. He still doesn't have her figured out. She didn't come here for him. She came here for Anthy."]

Utena demands to know what he's doing with the school and making everyone duel. Akio says all he dreams about is the castle where a prince and princess will live happily ever after, forever and ever. He takes Utena's hand and says he's the prince and she's the princess. At this, Anthy collapses like a ragdoll, and disappears only to reappear at the base of the stairs at Dios' feet. Akio say she's done well not to lose her noble heart, and pulls a sword from her chest and transforms her into a pink Rose Bride dress. [Kissmate: "Wait! Usually the Rose Bride pulls it out of the duelist these days, but he's going back to season one where the duelist pulls it out of the rose bride!"]

Film Corner: Resident Evil 1

Resident Evil 1

KISSMATE: We're starting a brave and bold new project, my dear followers. Ana Mardoll and myself shall be dual-livetweeting a special series of movies. Resident Evil. All Six of them. Grab your sunglasses and cheesy lines, we're going in loaded! A bit of background: I know the games pretty well and know the main actress, Mila Jovovich, was married to Paul Anderson at the time. I haven't heard good reviews on this series (esp from the fans) so I know I'm going into a shark tank without a cage. Let's dive!

Already, the movie starts out like the video games (the newest ones especially). Text that floats across a technological background and talks about Umbrella Corp. and Raccoon City. Not too bad so far! So Umbrella is Amazon. It's everywhere and is almost all powerful. We see someone take a gun full of green science away, while breaking a blue science behind him. This causes a building full of scientists and office workers to be locked down inside. Panic ensues.

Utena: Every Girl a Princess...or Witch

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Self-Harm]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 37: "The One Who Brings The World Revolution"

We open with Utena looking at Anthy in the morning sunlight. Slowly, she takes her ring off and lets it drop. At breakfast, Akio notices that Utena's ring is gone. Utena asks him if he can meet with her after school. She seems chipper than usual.

At the council balcony, Saionji and Touga are on a bicycle together like they were as children. They've received farewell letters from the End of the World. Touga points out that Utena doesn't want to revolutionize the world and Saionji asks if that means Dios' power will remain sealed and the revolution won't happen.

Utena: Every Boy a Prince

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 36: "And Thus Opens The Doorway Of Night "

We recap the Saionji and Touga conversation from last time and how they're all trapped in their coffins. I'm a little sad that Touga didn't tie this back into the baby bird's shell (that it dies in if it doesn't break) but here we are.

Utena and Akio are out riding again. Kissmate notes the body language: Utena is riding side-saddle in Akio's arms, sheltered like a princess but huddled in on herself. She looks smaller and more helpless. He's boxing her in. He says she looks like a princess and pulls her in for a kiss; this time she doesn't resist him the way she did before.

Juri and Miki watch Utena walking across campus and note how she looks like a girl now, the way she walks: small, hesitant steps instead of her usual confident stride. Miki asks if this is a good thing, and Juri asks if he really believes that. She thinks the school is changing and the day of revolution coming, but wonders why she has a vague awful feeling.

Open Thread: Some Birds and Reflections


Picture taken on September 9th.

Sorry for the lack of open thread last week.

-

We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Utena: Eternal Suffering

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 35: "The Love That Blossomed In Wintertime"

We open with the "once upon a time" spiel, but updated to reflect what we learned in the last episode. Then we're back in Akio's car while he and Touga talk strategy. Akio says the next match will determine who brings revolution to the world.

Utena watches Anthy in the rose garden as we get the sense that memories are starting to trickle back. [Kissmate: "She's holding water--her emotions--and they're suddenly so heavy she has to set them down."] Anthy asks her if she's been dreaming and Utena says she feels like she promised someone something very important. She asks Anthy to let her see her face and almost seems to recognize her until Akio interrupts them to take her for a walk. He asks Anthy if he can steal Utena from her. Anthy smiles and agrees, but her face falls when they leave.

Film Corner: Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water

Kissmate wants me to watch Lady In The Water, which I have avoided because I thought it was a horror movie about drowning. Kissmate has assured me there is no drowning in this one. I'm trying to make heads or tails of this movie description. "A building manager rescues an enigmatic young woman and learns that she is a 'narf', a character from a bedtime story, who is trying to return to her world." WTF is a narf? I thought I was fluent in fairy tales, but this just makes me think of Pinky and the Brain.

I'm a little worried because I see where it very clearly says "M. Night Shyamalan" on the image thumbnail, and Kissmate is treating this like he's about to watch an entertaining trainwreck. I'm pressing 'play' warily. I am worried. We get little stick drawings, like with the rusalka movie. A gruff man tells us that people used to be linked to "those in the water". Mermaids? Rusalka? Shark-people?

Utena: Drama Club

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 34: "The Rose Crest"

Akio tells Anthy as she dresses that he discovered a comet but that he doesn't plan to tell anyone else about it. He won't even name it. [Kissmate: "Didn't he promise to name one after Kanae?"] He says the feeling of discovery is amazing, like he owns it, but that stars belong to no one. [Kissmate: "He's Lucifer, the morning star, so that means *he* belongs to no one and everyone."] Anthy tells him goodnight and he asks if she has to keep torturing him. [Kissmate: "We're only getting slices here because there's things we don't know."] Utena, in bed, promises herself again she's going to become a prince.

The Shadow Girls, in the flesh!, try to convince Utena to join the drama club, promising that all she has to do is show up and people will throw flowers at her. (What was it Akio said about Big Brothers and Princes? They're useless with nothing to do but people feel better when they look at them.) They leave behind a ticket for Utena to attend The Tale of the Rose. Wakaba tells Utena to mark the pictures she likes for the yearbook photos, and Utena points out that Anthy isn't in any of the pictures. Seeing the ticket, Wakaba asks when the school got a drama club.

Utena: Her Nervous Babble

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 33: "The Prince Who Runs Through The Night"

We start with the "once upon a time" starter but everything is different: the monologue occurs over the lights of what look like a carnival with a red ferris wheel. [Kissmate: "The wheel is red, infused with a white light: this is Utena's center of self. She's centered herself around the light of the prince."] Anthy stands in the tower center and looks up at the projected constellations. She's watching all the characters rather than being one herself?

Anthy picks up the phone and says she was looking at the projected stars, that she didn't want to see the real ones. We see Utena stretching while enthusing about how much fun she had at the fair, and how she wishes Anthy could've come with them. I'm unsettled by how we don't see Akio in this scene even though that's clearly who she's talking to. It's like he's not really there with her, and emotionally he isn't. He wanted to separate his sister from Utena because they were getting too close. When he couldn't beat her in the ring, he seduced her in an attempt to extinguish Anthy's love for her. He doesn't care about Utena herself, or the fair, or having fun; he's doing this to keep Anthy alone and dependent on him.

Film Corner: VelociPastor

VelociPastor

I am lying in bed resting my chest (which is still twitchy and I'm a little annoyed at myself for not healing faster, but Kissmate keeps saying Healing Isn't Linear and is threatening to cross-stitch it at me) so it's time for Amazon Prime!

Several folks have asked for this one by name: VelociPastor. "After losing his parents, a priest travels to China, where he inherits a mysterious ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first horrified by this new power, a prostitute convinces him to use it to fight crime."

I have many questions, like "do people normally call a priest a pastor?" because those are very different sects of Christianity in my experience, and also questions like "will he be 2 feet tall in dinosaur form?" Please let him be a tiny feral lizard-chicken. The movie opens with screen-text which informs us that it's "Rated X by an all-Christian jury". Kissmate is struggling to breathe.

Utena: The Choice To Break Away

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 32: "The Romance of the Dancing Girls"

Before we start this episode, I want to gush about two things from the last one. One, I really appreciate that Miki was genuinely worried about Nanami when she asked to stay the night at his place and wasn't interested in taking advantage over her like Akio, Touga, and possibly Tsuwabuki. Miki recognized Nanami's request was highly unusual for her, realized that something was wrong, and was actively worried for her, like a good friend and genuinely nice guy. Considering that Miki has struggled in the past with Nice Guy toxic tendencies, this is delightful to me because it shows that people at Ohtori can improve and do better. I'm so proud of Miki.

Two, I love how Nanami is an actual character in this series. It would be so easy to make her the stereotypical "rich bitch", queen bee, socialite with the ho-ho-ho noblewoman's laugh and stop right there. Indeed, it's easy to think that's all she is the first time you go through the series because we've seen that trope so many times before. But it's here in season three that her arc really ramps up and I appreciate that she is the first one to see Akio and Anthy as they really are, laid bare before her. Our last shot of Nanami was of her fleeing in the elevator, still in her nightgown (so scandalous! so inappropriate for Nanami, who always looks her best!), just trying to get as far away as fast as she can. She's seen what Utena won't see for a long time yet to come and I love that Nanami is the narrative vehicle chosen to explore this.

Open Thread: A Storm Rolling In


Picture taken on August 25th.  The rain the storm brought with it was very welcome.  The world was too hot that day.

-

We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

-

Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

September Newsletter (2020)

September is here and that seems...kind of impossible? We've been in quarantine since March, which feels both forever ago but also yesterday. Kissmate and I have been surviving with the usual ups and downs for this time of year: allergy season, a minor bout of what seemed to be flu but turned out to be more allergies, and existential dread about the upcoming election. The normal stuff!

In writing news, I've figured out that the project I was struggling with is actually two projects, so that's been a big step forward in terms of planning. The second of the two projects is a collection of fairy tales that have been scavenged from the Brothers Grimm and have had queer people added to them. I've spent this week cataloging the collections on Project Gutenberg, tabulating the stories therein, and organizing them by known Aarne-Thompson type. Links, if you find this nerdily fascinating like I do:


The Grimms' stories suss out into several categories, only a few of which are really ripe for this project; the "Animal Tales" are mostly morality fables that either end in everyone gruesomely dead, or learning a moral that would clash with most modern sensibilities, or otherwise just aren't ripe for stuffing with queerness. (I adore the Bremen Town Musicians, but have no idea how to Make It Queer.) So I've been reading through the fables and setting aside which ones are most likely candidates for queering and which are probably not. All this probably sounds like slow going, but it's such a relief to be able to create again, even if it's just making a derivative work rather than a wholly new one.

In other news! We went to the post office today and mailed out books and bookmarks to patrons. If you're in a $5 or more tier and haven't gotten a No Man of Woman Born bookmark, please let me know and I'll mail one out to you! If you're in the $25 or more tier and don't have a copy of No Man of Woman Born, please let me know and I'll sign and mail out one to you. We'll go to the post office at the end of the month (we're trying not to go too often because of covid) so that should give everyone time to message me.

Patreon News

All Patrons: For your live-watching pleasure, we will be posting my-and-Kissmate's watches of the Resident Evil series. The first five movies are, of course, the pinnacle of human endeavor and the greatest art of all time, while the sixth and final film was a load of garbage and potato peels. We had such fun and I hope you will too!

$5+ Patrons: You're going to get some amazing fairy tales this month, I hope. Come hell or high water.

Older Links

My Ramblings Deconstructions: Here.

My YouTube Let's Plays: Here.

My Favorite Tumblr Funnies: Here.

@DivorceKittens: Here.

---

Please take care out there. I know a lot of you have had to reduce pledges because covid is hurting employment and housing so much. Please prioritize your own self-care and stay safe. I worry about everyone. Love to you all.

Utena: Not Like Other Girls

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 31: "Her Tragedy"

We open with the beginning of how Utena met her prince, which I find very important in light of the previous episode and Kissmate's theory of why Utena is falling for Akio. In the Kiryuu residence, Nanami answers the phone and says Touga isn't there right now. She smirks when the girl on the other line hangs up, and muses how she's not like other girls: Touga is her brother and she's not just another disposable love interest. Girls on the wall play childish games, illustrating that Nanami is just playing her own childish game.

In the rose garden (an odd place to find him--is he going to be the Rose Bride for this arc?) Touga reassures a girl on the phone that she's the only one for him while he embraces another girl. [Kissmate: "Oh god, he's tending to all the roses."] Nanami watches from the outside looking in. That evening, she is confused by an article about blood type compatibilities, since she and Touga get along so well despite having incompatible blood, but he cuts her off saying he's not interested. He says he's going to take a shower and asks if she'd like to join him. There is a very pregnant pause while Nanami blushes.

Film Corner: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I figured since I'm sick and readying for my husband's surgery in a few days, today would be a great day for a #Kissmatewatches! Today's flick is "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (2017) directed by Luc Besson. I know nothing about this film. I hear it's pretty and the story isn't great. I know it flopped, but for what reason? Badly written characters? Horrible character design? Patriarchal desires to squash a positive feminist or queer film? I guess we'll see!

We start off with the late David Bowie's "Space Oddity" played over a small space station gaining more and more connections and astronauts over the decades until it's more of a space station Lego set put together in the most Frankenstein way. It goes from Americans welcoming other countries to the space station, to welcoming aliens to combine onto the station as well. We see the spreading of time with little year marks and aging/changing of captains. This is the perfect "show don't tell" opening.

Open Thread: Pink on White


With Greenish brown that fades to to orangeish brown.  This picture of a flower that's seen better days was taken on the 25th circa 5:20 PM.

Sorry this is so late.

-

We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

-

Friday Sunday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so basically over, but you can still give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Utena: Forced to Dance

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 30: "The Barefoot Girl"

Tatsuya talks to Wakaba and he's still a compulsive liar, this time about first kisses. Utena reminisces about Dios and his kiss when she was a little girl.

Akio bakes a cake and the girls enthuse over him. Kissmate notes that Chu-Chu has been associated more with Utena of late. If he's associate with Anthy's emotions, does that mean her thoughts are with Utena these days? Wakaba, and then teachers, pressure Utena to act more like a girl and wear skirts instead of her boy uniform. Akio comes to her rescue, putting his arm around her and guiding her off before telling them to let Utena be more independent.

Utena: Trailing Miracles

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 29: "Azure Paler Than The Sky"

Mind the trigger warnings on this one, okay? It gets pretty intense.

We open with a recap of Ruka dumping Shiori. In the center of the school grounds she causes a scene, clinging to him and begging him not to leave. The campus consensus falls on Ruka's side, as these things are wont to do because of misogyny, and Shiori stops coming to class. Juri continues teaching fencing, and Utena approaches her asking if she isn't worried about Shiori. [Kissmate: "She's almost sitting in a throne while Utena is making her case. ...Oh my god, the chairs are arranged in a love triangle--and she's walking away from it."]

I do love Utena's continued flaw of innocently hurting people. "Don't you care about her?" YES, UTENA, THAT'S THE PROBLEM. [Kissmate: "In an anime about teenagers trying to be adults, she's the childish one but... in a wholesome way?"]

In bed, Utena and Anthy discuss Juri. Anthy says sometimes people do or say things they wouldn't normally. Utena asks if she ever does, and Anthy hesitates. Shiori stalks Ruka by phone while he rides in the car with Touga and Akio. He's hatching a plan to beat Utena that has to do with Juri. A distraught Shiori tells Juri to leave her alone when she checks in on her, saying she only despises her more. In desperation, Juri asks Ruka to take Shiori back--she wants to make her happy. Ruka taunts her, listing Shiori's flaws and asking who would want a girl like that.

Film Corner: Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision Song Contest

[Content Note: Rape. Did not finish.]

I think I'm well enough today to live-tweet a movie, and I've really wanted to watch EUROVISION on Netflix. Kissmate has never seen the Eurovision song contest, and I've been trying to explain it as an American who only really got into it all about 3 years ago. "It's like normal pop music but with outlandish costumes and special effects, and also sorta like the Doof Wagon from Mad Max Fury Road" was maybe not the BEST way to describe the event.

Okay, we're in Iceland in 1974. I have *no idea* how much Eurovision was a thing in 1974, because I am an ignorant American. Please assume I know nothing. A family watches ABBA singing Waterloo at Eurovision, and a little boy who "misses his mother" is transfixed. Aww! Little Lars and Sigrit dance happily while the family jeers with varying degrees of affection. (Lars' father says he'd "rather be dead" than see his son dance at Eurovision.)

Utena: The Perfect Couple

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 28: "Whispers in the Dark"

We open with Juri talking about the whispers in her heart. She looks at the empty spot on the bench beside her.

A fencing match and a locker for a boy named Ruka. A boy not on the roster challenges Juri. [Kissmate: "He's literally towering over everyone."] Miki blushes and yields his space on the roster. (My little gayby, I just.) Kissmate notes the newcomer's hair color is the opposite of Juri's: dark blue to her orange. The match ends with a draw; Utena notices that Juri was slower than the newcomer in her lunge. He says he'd hoped Juri would improve, but didn't. Juri calls him Captain. Ruka pulls off his mask in a white rose frame: the Prince.

Open Thread: Squirrel


This was the sixth of seven photos I took of the squirrel.  It's the only one in which I managed to get the camera to focus on the squirrel instead of the grass behind the squirrel.  As absurdly useful as auto-focus is, I really wish it would be quicker and easier to override when the situation calls for it.

Picture taken on the tenth circa 5:24 PM.

Sorry for the lack of open thread last week.

-

We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Utena: Girls Who Lay Eggs

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Menstruation]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 27: "Nanami's Egg"

We're in a Nanami flashback. In a sandbox she finds a pretty Easter egg. She awakens from the dream and finds the same egg, yellow and red, in her bed. ...Okay, so this is either a menstruation metaphor or some kind of pregnancy metaphor. On the way to school, Tsuwabuki tells her she has a "girls-only health and hygiene class" so I'm putting all my chips on "menstruation metaphor".

Nanami is carrying the egg in her pocket. The colors now seem to be green and red. Kissmate has noted that green often accompanies "secrets" and that would be a valid addition to confusion and doubt. Self + Confusion/Secrets? Nanami is panicking because she's never heard of people laying eggs before, and this rings true for menstruating folks who didn't get any kind of heads-up before their first bleed. Her body feels alien and wrong because this can't be normal.

Afterland: Chapters 45, 54

[Content Note: Transphobia]

I quit the AFTERLAND book, but I promised I'd read the 3 chapters that I know explicitly deal with trans people. My last thread was on Ch. 29, which was the "sorry, trans sisters!" bit and it was awful. TERFy as fuck, and with a "sassy gay man" narrator. The next reference that I can find to trans people is in Ch. 45, where a trans man is referenced. Briefly. So let's tackle that one.

AFTERLAND. Chapter 45.

"45. Miles: Wolf in Wolf's Clothing"

Oh no, wait, I had my notes upside down: Chapter 54 is the brief reference to a trans man. Chapter 45 is the one where Miles meets the detransitioner who rails against transition. So this will be fun, obviously. Trigger warnings for transphobia.

We've skipped a lot of chapters so I don't know precisely what is going on, but Miles is in an empty school and wearing religious robes called "the Apologia". He doesn't like the robes or their situation, whatever it may be. In case we've forgotten, Miles refers to the plague as the "Manpocalypse" which is obviously great in a chapter where we're about to meet a detransitioned trans man. We could've met a transitioned trans man in this book, but apparently that was too much to ask.

Film Corner: Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey

Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey

SUICIDE SQUAD by Kissmate

[Ana] Kissmate bought me BIRDS OF PREY to watch during recovery. Only it turns out that he got a double-package of BIRDS OF PREY plus SUICIDE SQUAD. Apparently it cost a whopping dollar more, and the packaging seems pretty apologetic about SUICIDE SQUAD being inside. He says he'll live-tweet the movie that causes pain. Neither of us have seen it, but we've Heard Things.

Today is a nice lazy day, so it's time to relax, pull up some grub, and #Kissmatewatches the mess that is Suicide Squad (2016) dir. by David Ayer. I'm going to be upfront and say that I KNOW it's garbage, but I've never seen it for myself. Time to change it, for better or worse!

Utena: Adult Things

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 26: "Miki's Nest Box"

We open in Akio's car where Miki's 'Sunlit Garden' plays on the radio. Akio wants Utena defeated and Anthy re-engaged as soon as possible. I think he noticed Anthy's hesitation the night before--and that she intervened in the duel to prompt Utena to work together--and he mistrusts Anthy's loyalties. Like any capable abuser, he wants to isolate her from the person who cares about her. Touga asks if Utena isn't the golden goose and Akio says their value is only in the eggs they lay. He has the eggs--the previous "improvements" to the battles that Utena has been a part of--and doesn't want the goose.

It's unclear right now what Akio's end goal is, but he seems to be "refining" the duels in some way. Back in the Nemuro timeline (the first one), the big technological advance seemed to be Nemuro opening the arena. Then the boys (and Mamiya) apparently had to burn as fuel for a future eternity gate. By the time we get to season one, everyone is using the arena as normal and not as some "new" thing recently discovered. The technological advance of this new generation seems to be the "power-ups" that Touga unlocks with Anthy and Utena later utilizes. Season two introduce the idea of pulling swords from hearts *other* than that of the Rose Bride, and we receive the gondola when Mikage leaves the school. Now here at the start of season three, our most recent discovery has been that the Rose Bride can pull swords from duelists' hearts. It seems Akio wants these refinements, but he's willing to toss Utena aside now that Anthy is getting too close to her.

Afterland: Chapter 29

[Content Note: Transphobia]

We're going to skip ahead to Chapter 29, which is an Interlude chapter designed to tell us about the Mystery Virus, and therefore should've been given to us near the start of the book and not the middle.

AFTERLAND. Chapter 29.

"29. DirtyHarry.tv"

This is where we're going to be getting our medical information, and not from a CDC broadcast, huh? Are we just supposed to take as read that this is all accurate? We finally learn that HCV means "Human Culgoa Virus", though we don't learn WHY just yet. The "human" part of the name would imply there's a non-human variant of the disease, but nothing in the world-building has suggested that.

We're told that it is "a highly contagious flu that turns into an aggressive prostate cancer in men and boys". That's a direct quote: "men and boys". No clarification of "cis". Keep that in mind, please. Women can get the flu but it's mild and non-deadly. However, they remain carriers after the fact. Then we get the "inclusion" of trans women that I firmly believe was edited in hastily just before publish.

Afterland: Chapters 24-25

[Content Note: Transphobia, Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Rape]

Okay. Deep breath. Is this still helping anyone? I'm doing a good by continuing? I like to check in.

AFTERLAND. Chapter 24.

"24. Cole: Shotgun Sally"

Cole teaches Miles to drive because it's not like they're in a hurry to get where they're going, and a little old lady materializes out of nowhere to invite them to dinner for no reason. The narrative is *still* misgendering Miles constantly. We come to the second, and last, mention of the word "lesbian" in this novel when the Little Old Lady has to clarify that when she says a neighbor "family" comes over on Tuesdays, she means a LESBIAN couple, because I guess the concept of a family without men confuses.

The Little Old Lady sets out christmas crackers for the occasion, and can you even get those in America? She roasted a chicken and wasn't counting on every bite for herself, so again this is a very cozy apocalypse. It's all very nice but also a trap: the Little Old Lady locks them in and menaces them with a shotgun because she doesn't want them to leave. Cole instantly and easily disarms her and they're off again, only briefly inconvenienced. End of chapter.

I guess we'll do another chapter, since the last one was so very short and so very pointless.

Afterland: Chapters 20-23

[Content Note: Transphobia, Toxic Masculinity, Homophobic Slurs]

Okay, so what I'm going to try to do today is summarize a chapter in the fewest tweets possible, unless/until more transphobia crops up to talk about. This means I'm going to necessarily have to skim over all the other problematic stuff, but this book is starting to wear me down with its badness.

AFTERLAND. Chapter 20.

"20. Cole: Find A Crack and Fall Through It"

I thought Patty's reference to "husband and boyfriend" indicated polyamory, but no, it was an affair. Sigh. Patty has nothing more valuable to do with her life than help Cole, so she gently pressures her to tell her the truth about where she's going. Cole declines, and Patty good-naturedly gives her cash and a car. That's the entire short chapter.

The only thing of note here is that Patty says they've helped people get away from "[s]talkers, abusive exes, toxic families" since the plague and I wonder what that would even look like in a world where all the cis men have died. Like, women can absolutely be abusers, but by definition a LOT of the abusers in the world are dead (because half the population just died) and this Utah "commune" of roommates didn't see a drop in business? Whatever.

By the way, Michelle never showed up again in this book. That fourth roommate literally only existed to talk about masturbation and semen to Miles so he'd get uncomfortable and they'd all take him to see modern art and his social media leaks could then happen. Like Richie Cunningham's older brother Chuck, she just disappeared back upstairs and out of our lives forever.

Film Corner: Kill Bill 2


Kill Bill: Volume 2

[Content Note: Rape, Racism, Gore]

(Kissmate) About to start Kill Bill Volume 2. I've been told it's worse than the other, but nothing else. Volume 1 exhausted me, so let's see if I can power my way through this one! I'm going to assume that the previous warnings of rape, gore, and racism still apply. And that the dialogue is still horribly written from before. And that the director is a GIGANTIC weaboo. So if the same still applies, I may not mention it too much.

Uma catches us back up on what happened in Volume 1, and mentions Bill is the only one left. What happened to the other two? CHAPTER SIX. Uma mentions that her attack became infamous, almost like an urban legend. So many versions, but she's telling us the facts. The shooting happened during a wedding rehearsal. Bill finds her. Uma wanted out of the killing business, and was getting married to keep out of it. Bill is introduced as her father to the groom (a lie). I've noticed that the camera loves feet for no reason.

Afterland: Chapters 18-19

[Content Note: Transphobia, Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Racism]

I took a few days off from this Afterland book because it's just so awful and I feel like the previous chapter 17 broke me. The email between Cole and Keletso isn't just bad--though it is--there's this layer cake of issues where a white woman is calling on her 2 best Black friends to ride-or-die her out of major crimes on the grounds that they were playground buddies back in the day.

I know that internet naming sites are often riddled with inaccuracy so take this with a grain of salt, but Names dot org says Keletso means "advice" or "wish". And this is the friend who answers Cole's wishes by laying out her advisory plan for leaving the country. Names dot org says that Sisonke means "we're all in this together" / "all of us", and this is the woman who convinces Keletso to stick with Cole in spite of the immense personal risk involved in abetting major crimes. These Black women aren't *people*, they're plot devices. The one named Advice gives advice and the one named, basically, Solidarity stands in solidarity. They're magical Black best friends to call upon when the white protagonist needs a mountain moved. I hate it.

At no point does Cole ask how either of them are doing. What their lives are like. Who they've lost. Whether now is a good time to be involving them in federal crimes. Nor do they volunteer this information, because they don't exist outside of Cole's story. Keletso gushes about "fascinating stuff about alternative economies" because that's of interest to Cole and the author, but we don't know about her family and friends and life. Does she have kids? Did she lose many loved ones? We don't know. She's a cipher.

I started this read to talk about the obvious transphobia, but there's so much racism. I don't feel qualified to unpack it properly, but at the same time I'm frustrated with the white authors who effusively praised this book and seemingly didn't care.

Afterland: Chapters 16-17

[Content Note: Transphobia, Child Sexual Abuse (CSA), Racism]

I have to break off another new thread. This one will be Chapter 16+.

I care a lot about writing as a craft, which is why I think these deep dives tend to end up being more about writing as art rather than the transphobia that drew my attention. Like, the transphobia in these Gender Plagues is usually the same stuff repeated ad nauseum, but there's so many more and varied and interesting ways in which a book can go Terribly, Terribly Wrong.

Here at Chapter 16, I believe something happened. Maybe the author read back over her previous stuff real quick before churning out a chapter. Maybe a writing partner looked at it. We'll probably never know. But somehow the idea was implanted that, just maybe, the American government hadn't been made villainous enough for Cole to hate and fear them so much, when all they've done so far is feed and shelter people and protected Miles from violent cultist mobs.

Most books would have some sort of editing process to go back and tweak what has come before in order to better align to the story you want to tell, but this book is written by Retcon Fiat where new chapters just overwrite old ones. So here we go.