May Newsletter (2020)

Hey guys! Kissmate here, reporting from the Mardoll household. Let me tell you, it has been a wild month! April and May so far have been huge, so let's not waste words or mince time!

Just last week, we got in front of a Justice of the Peace via Zoom and pronounced our love and devotion to each other in holy matrimony. WE'RE MARRIED! Silicone rings to adorn our fingers and homemade wedding cake to ring in the sweet days to come! Of course, we're going to have a bigger and better handfasting when we're out of this pandemic, but for now it's legal and official! Now if we can get the insurance to see that. *eye roll*

My Top Surgery has been healing as fast as it can, but it doesn't feel fast enough. I can do more things on my own, but still not back to 100%. Hopefully it'll be all better in time for Ana's surgery come next month! We'll let you know more on that as it comes along. For now, it's scheduled to be at the end of June and we're already buying out the freezer sections. My cooking spoons and skills are not the greatest, so it looks like a ton of frozen meals are on the menu around that time. At least I know how not to burn them!

Anywho, coming back to more creative works, there have been a few problems. Amazon has slowed down shipping the paper books to send out to those who donated $25+ to the Top Surgeries. That means it's slowed us down getting the books out to those people, unfortunately. But we're getting them out as fast as we get them in, so all we ask for is a little patience! For those who want their own signed copy of No Man Of Woman Born, donate ~here~ for GoFundMe and ~here~ for PayPal! We'd both appreciate a little love headed our way, so please don't hesitate to offer support in any way!

There's also been a hit in the creativity side of it all concerning all the covid news lately. There's a TON of covid cases in our area, as well as a ton of deaths. Not to mention my job is already asking some people to come back to work in July, and that might mean me. We're staying as safe as we can, but it is scary. And scary means that not a lot of creative writing is flowing as freely as we'd like. Again, we just ask some patience while we hammer those keys and gather our muses into a working order. Who knows, maybe you just might see some of my work flowing here! I'll leave it up to you guys whether that's a bonus or not. :P

That's about all we have for now, so I wish you all safety when you head out there. And I do mean besides covid. Be well, do well, and live well!

~Kissmate of Mardoll

Older Links

Index to Blog-Reads: Here.

YouTube Let's Plays: Here.

Tumblr Funnies: Here.

@DivorceKittens: Here.

---

(From Ana) I love you all and I hope you're all keeping safe. This month is kicking my ass in both good ways and bad, but I'm grateful to be alive and part of your lives. Stay safe out there.

Open Thread: Something In Bloom


In one sense I know exactly what I took a picture of: it's a tree.  In just about any other sense, not so much.  Picture taken nine days ago on the way home from my pharmacy.

I am so, so sorry about missing last week's open thread and then having this one be late on top of it.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

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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!

Open Thread: Sleep


I haven't exactly been getting outside to taking pictures lately.  Therefore, have a picture of my cat.  It was taken on Tuesday, from the very same spot in which I currently compose this post.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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!

Open Thread: Branches and Sunrise


Taken in from my backyard this morning.

Sorry this is so late, but at least it's still the weekend this time.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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 basically over, so 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: Hate and Love

[Utena Content Note: Abuse]

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 17: "The Thorns of Death"

Juri looks longingly at her pendant while admiring orange roses and thinking of her lost love. We see her fencing before a gaggle of cheering girls, when suddenly the purple-haired girl walks into the room. Juri sees her and the girl smiles, causing Juri to walk suddenly away. Utena and Anthy look to the girl and she's framed in the orange roses of love. (I still believe Shiori's purple hair is because she hates herself; any hatred she has for Juri is, I think, because her self-esteem is so low that anyone who likes her *must* be fucked up in some way. But I could be projecting.)

Open Thread: Sorry I missed the weekend; have a colorful public domain Euclid


Once upon a time, otherwise known as 1847, someone produced a version of the first six books of Euclid's Elements which used color, rather than letters, to tell you what you were looking at.  (Euclid's Elements was the standard western civilization geometry textbook for about two thousand two hundred years.)

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

Friday Monday 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 over and gone, so 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: More Cowbell

[Utena Content Note: Abuse]

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 16: "The Cowbell of Happiness"

We get the opening again! Was it really such a good idea to become the prince?

Anthy is watching late-night commercials while eating chips, and we have to pause to go get chips. Goddamn. She's wearing blue while sitting at a purple table and I crack up. [SPOILERS] She's doing all this for a very specific reason (blue) and that reason is she hates Nanami (purple). [/SPOILERS]

We flash to a party and the camera lingers on Nanami as she's surrounded by friends who compliment her accessories. Nanami has thrown the party specifically to celebrate a new piece of jewelry and is embarrassed when Juri shows up with far better. Nanami is stuck for something to say and is saved when a valuable piece from Sebastion Dior arrives.

Utena: Kozue's Milkshake

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault]

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 15: "The Landscape Framed by Kozue"

Miki walks through the halls and draws up short at the sight of his sister, Kozue, flirting with a boy. Kissmate observes that the placement of the boy means there is someone literally *between* Miki and his sister, with a real physical barrier representing an emotional barrier. A teacher (in purple!) stops Miki in the hallway and touches Miki in an inappropriate manner, drawing Kozue's attention; when the boy asks her what's wrong she just shoves him away as irrelevant.

A wounded Touga rests in shadow. I notice the shadows make his white uniform a pale green and his hair is less vibrantly red: his confidence has been tinged with doubt? The world outside is a blue haze which I don't understand unless this is him "regrouping" as it were, using logic to plan his next approach. Nanami begs him to eat something while a music record is stuck in a loop at the end. Kissmate notes that the blue record represents his "stuck" state of mind now. He's stuck in a memory trying to work out what he did wrong and where he goes from here. (I still wonder if losing the Duel named Self means he's actually lost his sense of self.) Nanami is still in her dueling outfit, which is interesting. Neither of them have moved on from that day.

Open Thread: Blurry Blue Trees


Taken January 10th.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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 almost over, 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: Black Rose Boys

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault]

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 14: "The Boys of the Black Rose"

We see a building against a yellow adoration sky, inside of which is a young purple-haired man in a red boy's uniform. He is leaning over the glass tank and touching the black rose, which is said to absorb darkness. A pink-haired man (Souji) stands nearby and talks to him. The purple-haired boy looks and sounds exactly like Anthy, but with shorter hair and different clothes. Souji is the first man we've seen with pink hair so far. He's happy that the school is again a place of study.

Anthy comes back to the room and mentions that she visits her brother every Saturday. Utena is surprised to learn Anthy even has a brother and they go up to the Phallic Tower to meet him. He lives on the top floor in a huge open-air room with a massive planetarium projector in the center. Kissmate notes that the elevator doors have the white rose of the prince, and the red carpet everywhere screams power, confidence, and manipulation. When they approach the projector, they see a man and a woman embracing: Akio Ohtori (yes, the name of the academy) and his fiance Kanae, daughter of the chairman. She wears an orange dress (love) with blond hair (adoration) and pink roses (princess?) surround her. Her eyes are bright green. Kanae teases that Akio likes stargazing so much that he became adopted by her family just to access this top floor.

Film Corner: In The Tall Grass



In The Tall Grass

Ok, I'm laid up again so #AnaWatches is a go. We're gonna try IN THE TALL GRASS on Netflix which looks Stephen Kingy although hopefully without domestic violence. (I liked the Children of the Corn movie and was *furious* when I read the story and the dude hits his wife. Burn in hell, asshole. Like, I figured out how to return a kindle book over that. It's not a minor character flaw in an otherwise good person.)

Anyway, a man and his pregnant wife are driving beside a cornfield. He seems really nice and loving. Over/under on him surviving to the credits? They pull over so she can puke and she hears a little boy calling for help in the cornfield. Her husband supports her desire to help the kid, which is a nice change of pace. I'm torn because I like helping kids but I'm terrified of cornfields.

IS corn grass? @RiffTrax solved this once, but I don't remember the answer.

The kid yells that he's been "stuck in here for days" and a frightened woman's voice yells for him to stop calling out for help. Yeah, I'd be driving away now. The sweet husband playfully plunges in to find the kid. This poor man. He left his glasses in the car, this will not end well for him. Horror movies always kill the glasses-wearers.

Now the couple are separated and her voice keeps changing directions even though she's standing still. Becky is found by a man who says he's the lost boy's daddy. He tells her to follow him if she wants to get out of here. This is both comforting and terrifying. Oh. They're...siblings and not married. Boy, I massively misread that relationship I guess.

A small child finds Cal and tells him you can find things in here but it's easier if they're dead and that's not terrifying as fuck. Children are creepy. The creepy child tells Cal that Becky, his sister, will die soon and that the Rock knows everything and does Cal want to come see. Cal doesn't really have a choice except to follow. I'd just die on the spot, to be contrary. Like, you want to fuck with me, eldritch corn gods? HAVE FUN DOING THAT WHEN I'M DEAD. So there.

A jump scare of some sort has occurred. It occurred right after Becky found a fanny pack with spilled medication bottles, medical scissors, and some bloody hair. Probably not important. Cal does indeed find an impressive rock that might be from space or something. It makes Tobin shivery when he touches it. Cal is about to try when Becky starts screaming GET AWAY FROM ME and Cal throws himself back into the grass.

Smash cut to day. A young man who looks younger than the milk in my fridge (god I feel old sometimes) is driving along looking for Becky. I assume he's the Father of her fetus. He notices their abandoned car at the ye olde Church of the Black Rock and really that's your first sign to turn around and leave the movie. Jesus, even the stained glass windows in the church look like grass. Real subtle, guys.

Sperm Donor here has smoked twice already so I'm assuming he's gonna burn the corn field down in the climax. Like. Look. You find your girlfriend's abandoned car and her book by the side of a corn field and you just... walk in? This guy seems well aware that he's in a horror movie but thinks he just has to soldier on regardless. It's almost admirable I guess?

He tries to make knots in the corn stalks so he can find his way back out but the field is literally teleporting him around, based on the position of the sun. So that's a thing. Sperm eventually lays down to go to sleep but big-eyed Tobin creepy kid is there to whisper meaningfully at him. Kid insists that Travis (sperm donor) knows him, so Tobin is either him from the past, or a grown-up version of the fetus, or idk.

Travis finds dead Becky with Tobin's help and yeah, uh, she looks pretty flat-stomached? Idk, guys. I didn't expect Weird Pregnancy Horror. The next day, a screaming Travis lures... a non-disheveled Tobin, Freddy, Mom, and Dad into the corn field. So we have time-travel shenanigans happening now. Becky is alive again. I don't really understand why. Time keeps looping.

They're all four together, though (Cal, Becky, Travis, and Tobin) and wisely using the old kid-on-the-shoulders trick to navigate through the grass. Becky and Travis reconnect over her tummy while Cal glowers and this is probably supposed to be worrying but I'd glower at the guy who left my sister preggers too. Then we get a phone call of Becky yelling "don't let Cal hurt Travis" just to drive home the foreshadowing I guess.

Weird Pregnancy Magic is happening again. It's just- Nobody can ever just BE pregnant in a horror movie, can they? The fetus has to be magically sped up or miscarried by corn magic or something. We met Realtor Guy Ross again and, again, he claims to know how to navigate the field. Since he also found the Big Rock earlier I'm assuming that he's possessed by corn demons or something.

Like, he's so cheerfully possessed that I'm a little upset the protagonists aren't being a little more stern about asking who the hell he is and why he supposedly knows the way out. Oh no, he's religious and in a Stephen King novel. That's not a good-- YUP, he took them to the Big Rock. He wants them to touch the Big Rock--which is apparently just short of orgasmic, at the center of the United States, and possibly a Magic Indigenous Rock (sigh)--but his wife runs into the clearing and says he's a liar and not to trust him. Checks out.

Ross is monologueing about how the Rock is god. Travis tells Ross to let his wife and son go so they can all leave without him. Ross says "or what" and the wind which has been constantly moving the grass just STOPS. That's terrifying. Oh, well, there's the domestic violence you've all been warning me about. Sigh. At least it was a villain and not the supposed protagonist.

There's a lot of good creepy elements here? Being killed inches away from five other versions of yourself, all of which were killed previously is pretty cool from a horror perspective? But it's not really coming together well for me, probably because everyone is terribly unlikable.

The baby is coming 3 months early but it's probably corn magic? I don't even know. Men seem to think fetuses can be delivered 8 months early and it's fine. Oh, lol, OF COURSE there's a pit of living babies under the Magic Rock. Jesus, christ this movie is like a pizza cutter. All edge, no point.

...This is officially the most pointless stupid movie I've ever watched and I do not recommend it. I ANTI-RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE. It's shit. The ending: Travis kills Ross and willingly puts his hand on the Rock in order to find the way out. He then sends Tobin back in time to keep Becky and Cal from going inside. Becky decides to keep her baby. (You're supposed to care about that because of patriarchy I think.)

There were some interesting horror ideas in this but it was put together in the worst possible way, and I can't find any actual theme in the movie unless you want to embrace some kind of anti-choice message. Like, I'm not saying that WAS the message, just that that's the only one I can find under all the babies.

Utena: Color Keys

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault]

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 13: "Tracing a Path"

Season Two! (Or, well, I call it "Season Two". I don't actually know if the arcs were separated by seasons, but they feel like different seasons to me, so that's what I'm going to call it. Because I can.) We have a clip show to bring us up to speed on what happened in season one, plus a key for all the colors.

The Shadow Girls open to tell us that the meddlesome winner won again, but that more fights may be coming. Touga is wounded and listening to his old recordings about the world's shell. In the arena, a purple haired man looks up at the castle and asks if Dios is still sleeping. He notes that the student president failed and Utena won the duel named Self: the Red duel. Interestingly, the red stained glass window has notes of yellow in it, while the green window ("Friendship") has either purple or pink highlights. The man (Akio) wonders if Dios and the Rose Bride were moved upon seeing Utena's willingness to defend Anthy even while badly wounded. Akio's hair and silhouette are both purple through this.

Open Thread: Computer Cat


My cat helpfully participating while I tried to play a computer game.  Taken on the 11th of February.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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 almost over, 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!

April Newsletter (2020)

The most surreal thing about writing this newsletter is going back to copy-pasta the March newsletter links and realizing just how much has changed in the past thirty days.

First: How is everyone doing? I desperately want everyone to be okay, or okay as possible, even while tormenting myself with the numbers and statistics flying around social media. I know a lot of you must be dealing with illness, unemployment, reduced income, increased expenses, and I want to reassure everyone that if you need to reduce/stop your Patreon pledge(s) then please do so. We do rely heavily on Patreon for our income, but your self-care is the most important thing here. You've got to secure your own oxygen mask.

Second: Kissmate and I are safe for the moment. Kissmate's workplace shut down temporarily but there's been no notice (yet) of layoffs or firings. My workplace has allowed me to work from home for a couple weeks, with emphasis on us "re-evaluating" the situation later. It means I worry a lot about being called and told to come in, but so far we've been able to self-quarantine for 3 weeks. We haven't gone outside (except for very brief, very careful grocery pick-ups) since Friday the 13th, which feels significant somehow.

We are living with a lot of fear and worry. Kissmate and I are both "high risk" groups for this virus, and many of our parents and loved ones are too. We haven't been able to see our loved ones for three weeks, surviving instead on calls and texts. Most of our loved ones have been unwilling or outright unable to quarantine, so that's been profoundly stressful. We've lost one friendship over this, from a friend who thought we were "over-reacting" to not allow visitors at this time. We're worried about the world at large. We're worried about when our jobs will lay us off. We're worried about a lot of things.

We're also relatively happy and I feel guilty about that. When the world is too much and we retreat to bed to cuddle each other and hug and try to turn our brains off with another episode of Great British Bake-Off, I think about how lucky we are that we're quarantined together and not alone. Kissmate's top surgery hasn't been cancelled (yet) and he's so excited about being able to "yeet the teets" as we've been saying. We're scared but safe in a bubble with a very fragile sort of happiness and it's got its own weird sort of survivor's guilt with it. "Why are we allowed to be safe when others are dying?" I wonder a lot.

Third: I injured myself this month while frosting a cake too vigorously. The spatula tried to fall off the counter, I twisted to catch it without thinking, and I tore an arm muscle. I'm fine in that Kissmate knows first aid and how to make a sling and kept me from making things worse by using the arm rather than resting it, but it means that between the pandemic and the fear and the not-working-arm, I don't have the Patreon post for you all that I wanted. I still want to get it to you, I was hoping to have it "late" this week like last time, but I don't think that's going to happen now. I just have to apologize and beg your patience. I'm sorry.

Fourth: If you contributed to Kissmate's surgery GoFundMe (either directly or through my Paypal), thank you so much. I still owe several of you physical books because we haven't dared go to the Post Office until quarantine ends. This is another thing I have to ask patience for, and I am so grateful to you all for being so kind to us. Kissmate and I have been so touched by the outpouring of support and it's meant especially a great deal given the lack of support we've received from family members. Found Family really is the best family.

Older Links

Index to Blog-Reads: Here.

YouTube Let's Plays: Here.

Tumblr Funnies: Here.

@DivorceKittens: Here.

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There will be more posts, just as soon as I can wrangle my brain into shape. I love you all, and thank you so much for sticking with us. Please stay safe out there.

Utena: Loss and Recovery

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault]

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 11-12: "Gracefully Cruel, The One Who Picks The Flower" and "For Friendship, Perhaps"

Wakaba makes Utena lunch to show her love, but they're interrupted by Anthy bringing lunch to her. Touga approaches and Utena watches as girls crowd around him. I think she wonders if there's something wrong with her that she doesn't want him. Is she a girl if she doesn't want him? If she *does* want him, does that mean she's not a prince, that she's like the other girls? So many genderfeels and queerfeels about this arc.

At the student council, they discuss Nanami's defeat while balloons float by. Juri deduces (logical blue balloon) that Nanami fought in order to lose (because she wants to be a princess?). Miki, who has been Nanami's friend, calls out Touga's so-called brotherly love as a green loyal-friend balloon flits by. Touga observes that even if a trap was laid, it's the fault of the victim for falling in the trap. The stronger the feelings one has for someone, the more vulnerable they are.

Open Thread: Brick Leaf Sculpture


Taken in Longfellow Square on Tuesday the 17th.  It's part of the Art Underfoot installation. 

(Sorry this is days late.)

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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 almost over, 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: Poseidon



Poseidon

I keep thinking I should, like, let people commission me for #AnaWatches but today's Netflix offering is POSEIDON. You'd think that would be a movie about the god of the sea romancing, like, a lady dragon but no it's about a cruise ship getting all fucked up. "It was supposed to be a dream cruise...until a rogue wave came along. Now it's a nightmarish battle for survival." Let me just say that I enjoy disaster movies wherein rich jerks get killed.

I'm assuming THESE people are all virtuous blue collar workers who work on the ship or spent their retirement pension on tickets or otherwise are out of place among the glittering 1%ers. But a cruise disaster on a 1%er ship would be wonderful.

This cruise ship doesn't even look that big. A guy jogs the length of the ship which is big but seems like it could be bigger, idk, maybe I'm just picky. Elsewhere, inside a huge cabin two lovebirds canoodle. Old Dad walks in and scolds them for touching hands. Girl calls out his condescension and stalks out.

In an ostentatious lobby, Jogger seems to magically intuit that a girl who seems impressed by everything is probably, like, a stowaway or something rather than just starry eyed by the big shiny boat. He's nice to her anyway, so I guess that's a low bar of Good. An older man begs an answering machine to "call me at midnight". Old lover or estranged child? YOU DECIDE.

The captain gives a New Years Eve speech and I feel reflexive distress. Do normal people like New Years Eve? Jogger and Slut Shaming Dad play high stakes poker together. Dad slut shames his daughter for having cleavage so she reveals he's holding a pair of fives. Good on her. Virtuous Single Mother runs into Poker Jogger as he gently helps up the boy who ran headlong into him. VSM shuts down Poker Jogger hard when he tries to come onto her by negging other women and I'm on her side.

Ok, whoever had money on Old Lover for the lonely sad gay man wins the pot. First mate can feel and then see a tidal wave coming. How does he feel it through his feet? Why is there no warning? They start trying to turn the ship which seems complicated. The entire ship is turned upside down for its own hubris and everybody dies.

The captain in the main ballroom wants everyone to stay put and wait for rescue. The main characters are deciding otherwise. We have Poker Jogger, Rich Dad, Gay Architect, Single Mom (and child), and Stowaway's Brother. Stowaway, Daughter, and Boyfriend are trapped on the disco floor. Our first threat: fiery kitchen. From fiery kitchen we go to elevator shaft to next floor up/down. Current Threat: the elevator in the elevator shaft thirsts for human blood.

Jesus. They actually wrote and filmed an old, rich, white man being "forced" by circumstance to shake off to his death a blue collar, non-white young man, lest they both die. That's a really disgusting writing decision!!! To make it even worse, the older white man had been flirting with / perving on the young man mere moments before, so that was a hell of a choice. What the actual fuck.

The two groups of protagonists have rejoined. For no reason whatsoever, Stowaway reveals to Gay Architect that the guy who died was not her brother as I thought but instead just a guy she was fucking in order to get passage to see her sick brother in New York. Great. She doesn't know he just died and she doesn't know it was the Architect who killed him so this is just...contrived so we don't have to feel too bad about his death? Who wrote this. Who.

Additionally, except for Stowaway, all these people are filthy rich. Why. Why wouldn't you make them employees or pensioners or blue collar lotto winners. Did we still sympathize with rich people in 2006???? So far, the two people who've died have done so minutes after receiving a name. The captain and everyone who waited in the ballroom on his orders are now dead. Having him be a Black man who was wrong about literally everything was another choice. Christ, this movie.

Everyone gets stuck in the ventilation system while Elena, who I'm pretty sure is our only remaining person of color and Not Rich, has a claustrophobic panic. They have to flood a room for pressurization reasons and swim for safety; fate itself snags Elena for watery death. The white protagonists weep. The white protagonists are reassuring themselves they did all they could for Elena. A way out opens up, but the white Single Mother and Child are swept away. Remembering dead Elena, Poker Jogger goes back for the pretty white woman he wants to bone.

How everyone hasn't frozen to death in all this ocean water is beyond me. We're down to: Architect, Daughter and Boyfriend, Single Mother and Child, and Poker Jogger. Architect seems the least likely to survive at this stage, just based on archetypes.

Men do important things while the women watch. They got out and onto a raft, then paddled away from the collapsing ship. It looked immensely silly. Helicopters rescue them before they freeze to death and our white, rich protagonists laugh the easy laughs of people who know the ensuing medical care will not bankrupt them. Good god, that was awful.

Film Corner: American Psycho


American Psycho

I've never seen AMERICAN PSYCHO before and it's on Netflix. Should I? Okay, I'm watching it. This movie is 19 years old and I feel old. Blood or possibly raspberry jam is being sloshed over the credits. Aw, man, I remember when every dish on the Food Network looked like this and it was new enough to be awesome.

I...I hate all these people. Is that going to be a problem? "Only $570" for lunch, oh my god. Christian Bale's nice smiley character is telling the nice bartender that he wants to kill her, so I don't like him either. His multi-lotion skincare routine is probably supposed to be alarming but I'm just like "so basically what a lot of women go through, huh. that's rough, buddy."

@SMLXist. I'm glad you decided to watch it! I hated it for my first viewing, and it took a second to understand that it's a female-directed satire meant to skewer the toxic-est of masculinity (i.e., the book itself).

*perks up*

Oh god, this pretentious man thinks he's a *special* sociopath when in reality he's just a boring shitty rich white cis man so far who thinks sexually harassing his administrative assistant makes him edgy. I was gonna complain that he doesn't actually seem to be doing any work, but apparently his dad owns the company. His fiancee (Reese Witherspoon) is giving him a hard time for refusing to marry her. Honey, you can do better than him. Everyone is rich, attractive, adulterous, and pretentious. So that's a thing, I guess.

I'm howling laughter at the business card scene and I do not think I'm supposed to be?

Like?? I just?? Hate them all so much?? Like, my hatred was hot and red when he was yelling at the dry cleaning lady, but now it's cold and viscous and I just want to drop him in the ocean. He's the worst but they're also all the worst? "If you're so hungry, why don't you get a job?" Oh my god. I hate him so much, can we set him on fire, is that an option.

Oh shit. He really does think he's a *special* awful white man, what the blinking fuck nuggets. "What does the Grinch want for Christmas and don't say breast implants again" honey literally why have you not set him on fire why why why why. There have been TWO Donald Trump references already, and I-

What.

We've gone full Jim Carrey, he's Jim Carreying. REALLY NO ONE NOTICES THE BLOOD STREAK HE'S LEAVING EVERYWHERE? The apartment is going to kill me with straight up rage for how much everything cost. Willem Dafoe is somehow NOT the villain in a movie? He's so nervous! I thought you were a *special* shitty white guy, huh, baby? WHY YOU SO NERVOUS THEN? *stomps on his face*

WHY YOU ACTING SO CLEARLY GUILTY, HUH? Maybe you're not a special shitty guy after all and you're just a regular shitty guy who thinks he's special. *stomps stomp stomps* I'm actually super happy that he's bad at this and this isn't some kind of love letter homage to serial killers like I was afraid it would be.

"So. Don't you want to know what I do?"
"No? Not really."
asdkhakjdhakjdha

Oh god, I hate him so much and I love the sex workers who aren't impressed by him but I'm so fucking nervous for them. FUCK. Okay, they left alive at least but jesus. These men are just the woooooooooooorst, set them all on fire.

Oh no, oh no, oh no, honey, you have profoundly misunderstood many things. I do like the Columbo thing Dafoe has going on. I cannot get over how he thinks he's a Special Genius because he can fake being nice for a few minutes. I'm so scared for his secretary. Oh no, his fiancee. Oh no. I do like that approximately 70 billion people have sent me Sady Doyle's excellent piece on this movie during this thread, which tells me that I'm following / followed by the best people. Oh, thank god his secretary got out safely.

HOW IS THE OTHER APARTMENT NOT RENTED OR A CRIME SCENE? THE!! ACTUAL!! FUCK!!??

Well, that was, uh. That. Huh. That... huh.

I mean, needless to say Sady's piece is spot-on.

When do the rose petals happen? Or is that another movie with "American" in the title. I think that's American Beauty, it's fine, it's all good. I've missed a lot of films, that's all. Every time I see their closets, *I* want to commit a murder. God, just the sheer amount of MONEY in this film. Is this elderly blonde woman God? Is she going to smite him? She *looks* like she could smite him.

YES, GOOD SECRETARY. WEAR PANTS. INVESTIGATE. CALL THE POLICE. BECOME A FEMINIST. I am loving the fact that every white guy he knows mixes him up for *other* white men because they all look the same. The...? Fuck...??? Okay, I don't understand. Is Paul Allen dead or isn't he?? I mean, the larger point--that rich white 1%ers are terrible--is well taken.

Nope, I've decided that they're all dead and the lawyer guy is Satan and the realtor lady is God. Fuck you, I do what I want. Well, not fuck YOU, the reader. Just a sort of general "fuck". No realtor lady would be like "there was no ad in the Times", she would sell him that fucking apartment and he would like it. Ergo, she was not a realtor and was instead God. Also I remember it was established that everyone kept thinking Paul Allen was other white guys, like they do with Bateman, so they're all just interchangeable.

Anyway, Sady's article was good. Do I recommend *watching* the movie? Eh. Maybe just the business card scene. I don't regret it, but I don't think I'd watch it again the way I did Silence of the Lambs.

Utena: Enter Nanami

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Animal Cruelty]

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 10: "Nanami's Precious Thing"

We open with Saionji being kicked out of school. He's wearing blue, and I'm not sure yet what to make of that. A wounded Touga tells him he'll work to reverse Saionji's expulsion. Saionji gives Touga his exchange diary (the one he keeps with Anthy) and Touga promises to take care of it before burning it. [Kissmate: "He was the vice president of the council and outside of the first episode when he appeared with Anthy, we never once saw him in those scenes." Me: "He always felt like an outsider, even though he was supposed the reigning duelist until Utena showed up."]

A new letter has arrived from the End of the World; it's Touga's turn to fight Utena. Juri and Miki offer to duel in his place since he's wounded and Touga tells them not to worry because there's a new duelist. We cut to Nanami slapping Utena and accusing her of being responsible for Touga getting hurt. Utena is uncharacteristically passive, apologizing meekly to the other girl. Touga appears and rescues her, telling Nanami to stand down and helping Utena up; again, she passively accepts his help and looks up at him in a very submissive manner that is at odds with how she's behaved up until now. The slap on her cheek looks like a blush, making her seem like a princess rather than a prince. [Kissmate: "This feels like a mirror of the times Saionji slapped Anthy and Utena saved her." Me: "In the greenhouse, like this scene." Kissmate: "It's a shock to see Utena here because you expect to see Anthy here getting abused and instead it's her." Me: "And she's not fighting back."] Utena muses in their room that maybe a girl can't become a prince, her legs tucked up to hide her face from Anthy.

Utena: The Castle Comes Crumbling Down

[Utena Content Note: Abuse]

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 9: "The Castle to Hold Eternity"

More opening thoughts from Kissmate: "Through the destruction when the prince awakes, the horses rise from the rubble and begin their fight-and-befriend jousting sequence. The blue filter when Utena and Anthy are separated... it's logical that Anthy will always be in danger of being taken from Utena, because of the Rose Bride role she fills?"

We open with Saionji and Touga sparring while women cheer them on. We don't see any actual girls, but rather their voices are dubbed over the swords as though the swords are the ones cheering. Kissmate notes that the two men "only see women as tools, weapons, in their fights. Saionji wants to use the Rose Bride to revolutionize the world, and it ties into how Anthy *is* the sword of Dios: women are weapons. These girls are training swords; Anthy is the real deal. Other women are just training wheels to cut your teeth on in preparation for the one that matters. Also: Saionji is posed with his sword up, power poised to strike, while Touga has his sword down, patient and waiting." (The broom tells them to shh and I think it's Juri. Because she's the council member doing most of the work, she cleans up their shit? Kissmate thinks the voice is a teacher and not Juri.)

Film Corner: Sunshine


Sunshine

SUNSHINE: In the year 2057, Earth's last hope lies with a spacecraft whose mission is to deliver a nuclear device designed to reignite our fading sun. I was informed this would be a good one after Event Horizon. I'm a little worried because it sounds like that dreadful CORE movie where they wanted to jump-start the earth's core and usually I can deal with Science Doesn't Work That Way but that one was a doozy.

Oh my god, they sent a mission to restart the sun and called it "Icarus". Surprising no one, the mission was lost before it reached the sun. That's what happens when you name your project something smart-ass and doomed like that. Earth is frozen in a "solar winter" and I don't know what that is. Some astronauts are going to fly a bomb into the sun in order to restart it. Sure.

They called the second ship "Icarus II", it's like they're *trying* to be eaten by aliens. An astronaut with the most calming voice in the world wants to look at the sun from the ship. Even 3.1% of the sun's light is painful and overwhelming and awe-inspiring and whatnot. MICHELLE YEOH IS IN THIS FILM?!?!? <3 br="">
Over dinner, they discuss the fact that increased solar winds will soon cut them off from the ability to message the moon. Michelle Yeoh works in the ship garden, which has simulated rain, while Cillian Murphy sends a final message home. He says it takes 8 minutes for light to travel from the sun to the earth, so home will know 8 minutes after they're successful. Is...is this a suicide mission?

Oh, no, he says he'll "see them in a couple years", so they're apparently hoping to survive "bombing the sun" or whatever. I am skeptical. People are now taking turns "bathing in light" which seems possibly not healthy but okay. One of the men tries to beat up another of the men for "taking too long" recording his message and now the solar winds are too high to send. Rose Byrne reports "an excess of manliness breaking out in the comm center" in the most bored voice and I love her.

Huh, this is a Chris Evans movie. That's a lot of names in this film. They have a holodeck. Chris Evans apologizes in the worst possible way and I love him + want his character and Cilian Murphy's character to kiss. Give me gay astronauts, dammit. Apparently the fate of the first Icarus is some kind of mystery that haunts the captain. Everyone rushes to the observation room to watch Mercury boogie across the sun.

The nerdiest of the nerds on board says he...heard a transmission when Mercury passed by, the iron in the planet acting as an antenna. I'm-- Maybe it's the first Icarus? Sadly, there's no Latin screaming like in Event Horizon. Ah, it's the Icarus distress beacon. We have no idea if they're even alive; they have solar power, recycled water, and plants to create oxygen but in order to survive on the food they had, some folks would need to be...dead.

The Icarus almost made it to the payload point at the sun and I'm super confused; are they in a low-earth... er, low-star orbit? It's been seven years, how has the sun's gravity not pulled them in? How are they precisely in position for the Icarus II to pass nearby them?? The sun is not *stationary* in space; it's moving; in order for Icarus to be at the payload point, they'd need to have somehow achieved a low-star orbit that maintained their exact initial position and that seems really unlikely to me?? I AM HAVING A HARD TIME WITH THIS.

"We could fly straight to them," one of the people say. "But we're not going to!" Chris Evans objects and I'm kinda with him? Restart the sun first, guys, THEN mount a rescue operation you haven't been trained to do. Like, this isn't Star Trek! This ship was built to restart the sun in order to save all of humanity; it doesn't have, like, rescue gear and shit.

Another crew member points out that, yes, the Icarus crew is expendable but the payload bomb isn't: two bombs equals two chances to restart the sun. Uhhhh, did they just napkin-math the "how much bomb do we need in order to save humanity"? Someone points out that the "But extra bomb!" plan assumes that the ship can even be flown and that whatever stopped their mission wasn't a fault in the ship. (The...the ship engines *can't* be faulty, though, or it would've fallen into the sun.)

Rose Byrne, one of 2 women on-board, has done basically nothing but sob this entire scene. Great representation, guys. I think Michelle Yeoh had one line and has otherwise had to silently let the men argue over her. Cilian Murphy is put in charge of the decision--no vote--because he's the physicist and the one best equipped to decide whether they need the second payload.

The math turns out to be "asking the computer to run a shiny simulation in the holodeck" which seems like anyone could've done. "Variables infinite; accuracy unknown" is stated by the computer and I... I need to go for a walk. Oh my god. Event Horizon had harder science than this and I remind you that was the movie wherein a ship became a sapient evil lifeform because it black holed itself into a hell dimension! This science is so soft you could spread it on a biscuit and not get any crumbs!

"Space and time will be smeared together! Everything will distort, everything will become unquantifiable!" NO NO NO NO NO WHAT NO WHAT?? Math! It's basically just a guess! Magic! Unicorns could fly out of the sun and shit rainbows all over the planet!!!! "It's like flipping a coin and asking me to decide whether it will be heads or tails" *SCREAMING* "Two last hopes are better than one" and that's the decision. Absolutely no thought whatsoever into whether this will endanger their mission and leave them with NO hope.

Earth is gonna die because of a skinny white boy and I just. Rose wakes Cillian up to tell him that *she* thinks he made the right decision, even if Chris Evans and the rest of the sensible people don't. Because of course the single girl is wet for our nerd hero, lolsob, kill me now. Hang on, we had to pause so Girlfriend could start the movie.

The pilot fucks up the new trajectory and I'm screaming WHY WASN'T YOUR WORK PEER REVIEWED BY ONE OF THESE OTHER FUCKS. Someone needs to go outside and check on the damage, so it's spacesuit time. And now the white girl is literally dressing him in his spacesuit. Michelle Yeoh is smarter than this. I'm just. Her character is trying to go inside a burning room and there's literally nothing she can do.

"Is he getting lesions on his skin from those sun baths he's been taking?"
"I...think so? Odds of him becoming a serial killer?"

Michelle is making group suicide plans to save oxygen while Rose mopes about her impending death. Cillian does useful, hopeful things. Such feminist. ARE THOSE FACES?!? OH GOOD THE CAPTAIN OF THE ICARUS I WENT FULL RELIGIOUS FANATIC. "God, he's like the Ross of the group."

Huge triggering warning for self harm, okay. Men who don't WARN PEOPLE that there's an unknown presence on the ship and instead go to confront it BY THEMSELF must be removed violently from the island. Again: everyone is dying because of a skinny white boy and I am UNHAPPY. (No offense to Cillian.)

"If you need to put a filter--both noise and visual--in order to be creepy, you failed at being creepy."
"Wait, what does he look like??"
"It's the Deadpool makeup. He looks like Deadpool."
"YES SHE STABBED HIM."
"NO KEEP STABBING!"

We're now down to 3 white people. Poor Mace. He was a true paladin.

....Girlfriend is covering my eyes.

"What happened?"
"She ripped his skin off like a wet condom."
"She's literally here to give him moral support in the fight. That's all."
*makes jerkoff motion*

That was GARBAGE what the heck?

Open Thread: Orange Lamp


While tradition calls for lamps such as this to be made from tangerines, the way that the orange peels were coming off made me think it might be possible to do it with an orange.  It was.  You're looking at the result.

The lamp was made with an orange peel and canola oil, the principal tools used being a pizza cutter (when it turned out my thumbnail wasn't long enough) and a lighter.  A knife was also used give the hole at the top a more uniform shape and appearance than came naturally.

Picture taken last night in my kitchen.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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: Juri's Love

[Utena Content Note: Abuse]

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 7: "Unfulfilled Jury"

During the Covid-19 quarantine we're under, I'm showing Utena to my Kissmate for the first time. He didn't know anything about the show except that there's a school fencing team that the protagonist accidentally ends up on. (cue me cackling with evil delight) I told him I thought he'd like the series because there's a lot of symbolism and he eats that shit up. We talked about the colors and whipped through the first six episodes before I realized that I had an unfinished blog post about this show and maybe I should, you know, continue that. (sheepish)

Film Corner: Dead Space


Dead Space: Downfall

I have just found out they made a DEAD SPACE movie, so it's time for an #AnaWatches thread and you get to come along with me. DEAD SPACE: DOWNFALL. "On a deep space mining mission for the crew of USG Ishimura to a remote planet, an ancient religious relic is unearthed and brought aboard. But when the unholy artifact unleashes a long-dormant alien race, its glimpse of Heaven transforms the ship into a living Hell." I'm informed this is animated. EVEN BETTER.

We open with a low fidelity video recording in which Alissa Vincent wearily explains that an ALIEN LIFEFORM took over the bodies of her crew and killed everyone for giggles. Security footage of spaghetti marinara splattered all over the ship. She says her ship and the artifact they found need to be destroyed. I really would've added more details about the alien(s?) and how they do the body snatching. Seems important.

We cut to DEEP SPACE MINING COLONY AEGIS 7 and I have a moment of sadness at the thought of humanity strip mining other planets. Is that an actual theme in Dead Space or is the mining just a means to the Hell Artifact? Three people in space suits explore a mining hole and comment that nothing looks like it should. I swear there are giant claw marks in the cave walls, but they think it looks like an old excavator model did it. They find a twisty spiky obelisk thing that is clearly evil so that's cool.

"Artifact discovered, could be a second marker, please advise."
"Unitologist church has been notified."

Oh no, is this based on the second game? Am I watching these in the wrong order? Hang on. No, Wikipedia says DOWNFALL is a prequel to the first Dead Space game. I just didn't realize the unitologists already existed, look you could fit what I know about this franchise into a patchwork quilt. "Launch of Ishimura on schedule" omg not only is this a prequel but we're in a flashback. NESTED LAYERS OF PAST TENSE.

"Unexplained violence among some of the colonists" is always a fun thing to hear in a horror movie. And it feels terrifyingly realistic that the powers which be wouldn't admit to zombies or demons until too late. We cut to Alissa as she bored-ly examines case files of a dozen grisly murders. "That's odd. What's going on down there?" she asks in the same tone of voice I use when the garage door seems a little sluggish to open. She lacks urgency is what I'm saying.

Like, I assume she's just supposed to be a calm and collected badass, and also being emotionless in affect isn't a BAD thing, but it makes me think maybe grisly murders are common in this society and the only odd thing here is their number. Which I'm probably not meant to think. She also takes professional video calls in her sports bra, which I can't really criticize because I would too if I could get away with it.

Alissa suits up with a badass leather jacket, cop badge, and gun. Her badge says she's SHIP security and I don't mean to be obtuse but I'm confused why she's reviewing colony murder logs. Men discuss the artifact while they prep it to load onto the ship. Apparently the unitologist church--I refuse to keep typing that out, it's the unity church now--thinks it created humanity. Why?? I'm entranced by the idea of a popular religion which doesn't posit mankind's origins on earth. Seems like that goes against both our psychological need to be the center of the universe and, like, science.

There's also something fascinating (and perhaps deliberately ominous?) about a church named Unity which already contradicts science and every major religion I can think of. It's almost Orwellian and I like it.

Alissa meets with the ship captain and protests bringing the artifact on board, on the grounds that the colony murders are weirdly coincidental in timing. The Captain says these things happen in deep space colonies that are "2 and a half years old". Uhh. I don't know if we have faster than light travel but I have questions about how that statement can possibly be anything other than laughably impossible.

I know it's unfair of me to want world building in every space horror movie, but I always end up wondering how terrible things must be back home if people are willing to take these faraway, awful, dangerous jobs. Like, I found Star Trek believable because the people genuinely seemed like they were there for adventure or out of a sense of community service. But that was a "sometimes unknown danger" job and not "come work as a miner under conditions which will break you in 2 years or less".

The...the ship just winched a huge chunk of the surface into space and I've never seen anything like that but it also looked really impossible. A murderer who is also a prisoner in the medical bay (on the ship?) begs the medics to kill him because "they need bodies". Only with difficulty do they sedate him. So apparently the murderers are trying to prevent alien body snatchers?

The writing in this movie could be better, and y'all know by now that I have very low standards.

Two pilots enter a building and there's biological alien matter all over the walls. This, and the philosophy they're spouting about "dead planets" (vs Earth) is less interesting to me than knowing where the hell they are. Is this building part of the colony? Ok, these pilots are ACTUAL colonists and the flickering light and bio matter covering all the walls is new. "I'm gonna check on [my sick wife], catch you later," is casually uttered. WHAT?!

I want you to imagine that you drive home to find your normally steady overhead lights flickering wildly and your walls are covered with biological material that wasn't there this morning and looks like tendons or vines. Imagine yourself using a CASUAL TONE at that point. Dude hears women screaming and creatures growling so he runs home, opens the door, LEAVES IT OPEN, and then casually looks for his wife.

[TW: self harm] She stumbles in and says "they want our bodies" before killing herself. If everyone is reacting this way, seems like there won't be many bodies to gestate (?) inside. The ship had been briefly jammed from the colony's signal but now re-acquires the feed. In a matter of...minutes? hours? the entire colony was slaughtered and the interior was remodeled into a Throbbing Hell Bowels design.

Alissa wants to take a team down to "know what we're dealing with". The Captain refuses on the grounds that the risk to the ship crew is too great. We're not supposed to agree with him (he's with the Unity church) but he's right? The pilot manages to get his dead wife into his shuttle and heads up to the Ishimura; unfortunately, there's something on board. Uh oh, his dead wife isn't as dead as I previously thought.

The prisoner wakes up in the medical bay, follows a trail of blood to the morgue (never do that), and finds giant...I think they're moths. Giant moths are eating the morgue bodies. I have no idea how much time has passed between each scene change, and that's not good for a horror movie. Why didn't they stick with Alissa as a POV character? That would've been infinitely better than all this POV hopping which leaves the viewer confused.

I'm tempted to hazard that someone didn't believe a girl protagonist would hold audience interest and instead gave us these bouncy vignettes that leave us puzzled and distinctly unhorrified. I maintain the vignette style of this movie is to its detriment. We're halfway through and still introducing new characters, which is bad for pacing and engagement--audiences don't know who to care about or focus on.

The latest guy is a big engineer who, like the crew, worships the artifact for reasons I can't begin to understand. He convinces the crew not to mutiny over their desire to touch the giant obelisk. The security team is weirdly chill about the morgue being covered in blood and 20 dead bodies missing. They joke about shooting the living dead. When necro-whatevers do start chowing down, they panic in your traditional ALIENS style reaction. I do like the horror of having little life monitors on all the crew members blipping out one by one.

The ship security team sure does have a *lot* of bullets. A more suspicious person would wonder about that. Big engineer dude is now saving the security team with, idk, it's like a lightsaber slash engineering tool. The Captain is having an emotional breakdown and yelling about taking the artifact back to earth, monsters be damned. Someone or something launches all the escape shuttles, trapping everyone on board. I love these science fiction doors that slam closed on monsters and bifurcate them. You'd think that would normally be a safety issue.

It's nice to see a horror sequence in a hydroponics bay. And I think that's a baby with tentacles. The scientist decides to wreck the ship in order to save earth and the security lead leads out a team to stop him--a plan which I'm not sure I agree with. Like, I get having hope and refusing to lay down and die, but you guys are obviously fucked.

Alissa watches a necromorphening first-hand so her opening "we're all dead from monsters" flash-forward which refused to include any details was apparently just her being stubborn and secretive. Cool, cool. (This is a common problem with opening flash-forwards and why they must be deployed cautiously and with great care.) Alissa meets up with the scientist, who insists he's crashing the ship to protect earth. He's basically Ripley and I'm struggling to disagree with him. Alissa tackles him but he gets away after locking the guidance systems down.

Chased by zombies, Alissa backs up against the marker and realizes they can't get close to it. She theorizes the marker kept them *trapped*, rather than creating them. Then again, she's doing her flash-forward message saying the ship and the artifact need to be destroyed, so idk. Nor do I understand why she still thinks she needs to prevent the ship from crashing. She now does neither of those things and instead vents herself and the zombies into space. The movie ends as another ship tells the bridge zombies to "prepare to be boarded".

Well, it didn't have plot or consistent characterization, but I guess it was a prequel as advertised!

Open Thread: New Ties


I honestly would have preferred "Ties, Old and New" but, of the pictures I took, this was the most visually appealing image.  The thing about shooting through a chain link fence is that it limits your options; I shall blame the lack of any equally good looking images that show both old and new ties on that, rather than my ability as a photographer.

I'm sorry I took so long to the create the Birds of Prey open thread.  It looks like the interest that would have justified the existence of said-thread died down before I actually created it, which wouldn't be the case had I created it in a timely manner.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

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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!

Open Thread: Painting on the Basement Wall


Time hasn't been particularly kind to this, but it's aged fantastically when compared to the lighthouse it's sailing toward.  Picture taken in my basement three days ago.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Birds of Prey
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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!

Movie Open Thread: Birds of Prey


This is a place to discuss the movie Birds of Prey, including spoilers (without need for ROT 13 Cthulhu summoning.)

Unfortunately the "Current Comments" feature removes whitespace so, to avoid spoilers appearing there, please use some space for non-spoiler comments or just start your comment with some nonsense.

Example nonsense:
[nonsense] Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, id soleat doctus sit, cum te erant omnium. Invidunt periculis at cum, eos diam vivendum no, ea qui vivendum legendos. Verterem similique ut pri, iisque prodesset voluptaria no nam. Eos esse mollis et, mei no putent utamur praesent, nec ex solum saperet. No has soluta molestie.[/nonsense]
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!

March Newsletter (2020)

I LIVE!

How is everyone doing? I've been having this weird fever that comes and goes every evening for about 2 weeks. I wander between 100 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit, Kissmate hovers fretfully around me and takes my temperature a lot, and I slur my words and laugh more than I probably should. I'm a happy patient, I guess.

But it has meant that my productivity has taken a hell of a hit. We were able to get some live-watches up for Twitter on one or two of my worser nights, but I'm behind on the next chapter of Miriam and Emil. I will have it up for you this month, I just beg a few more days to finish it! I'm so sorry.

In more personal news, things are going in interesting directions. I'll have some more formal news up soon I hope, but the short version is that you may soon see a GoFundMe up on Twitter for Kissmate's top surgery which they could not be more excited about. We'll keep you posted, and I appreciate all well-wishes. Surgery is always scarier for me on the rare occasions when it's not me going under the knife.

In Case You Missed It

Index to Blog-Reads: Here.

YouTube Let's Plays: Here.

Tumblr Funnies: Here.

@DivorceKittens: Here.

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I'm sorry for the delay on content and I am going to make it up in time, I promise. Thank you so much for sticking with me. I love you all and love hearing from you; the comments on here are always my favorites. Stay tuned because I'm bringing more soon!

Open Thread: Light Through Foggy Glasses


Sort of a glimpse of how I see things.  Picture taken Wednesday night by holding my glasses lens in front of my camera lens.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  This is currently the only one:
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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!

Open Thread: Just Some Clouds


So, on the one hand, this is a day late.  On the other hand: four weeks in a row!

I really am sorry for failing to keep up with the open threads.  Too early to say that that's changed, this streak is, at least, promising.

On the topic of the picture, for a while I thought the micro USB port on my camera was broken because I couldn't charge the camera and had great difficulty getting the connection to remain active for long enough to get pictures off.  As such, I haven't been taking many pictures lately.  This picture is over a month old.  Specifically, it's from January 14th.

I believe it was taken from a Marden's parking lot, where I happened to be sitting inside my sister's van without much to do.  For a very long time, "Marden's" was known to me solely from a catchy jingle I heard on the radio, which went:

I shoulda bought it
When I saw it
At Marden's.

(The catchy nature of it was tied up in delivery, not wording.)

After 2010, that changed for me because I learned that Paul LePage ran the company.  I've sort of spent the decade (slightly less, but not by much) thinking of them as evil because of that.  That's honestly unfair.  While I question their staffing decisions, given that they had someone like him as general manager for four years,* his association with Marden's ended when he became governor, and it has never been reestablished.

* The same can arguably be said of the State of Maine.  While LePage never received a majority of the vote, and under current rules definitely wouldn't have won election and probably wouldn't have won re-election, he came pretty damned close to a majority when he ran for re-election.

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Now, having told you all more about Marden's and LePage than you ever wanted to know, we can get on to the rest of the open thread post.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  This is currently the only one:
   ● Star Wars: Episode IX -- The Rise of Skywalker

You do not need a special open 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.

-

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!