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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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.