cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hola)
Last night J and I watched John Dies at the End (courtesy of [ profile] handful_ofdust). Originally, I'd planned to read the book, but then I got confused as to whether it was a book or movie, and I ended up with it in my movie queue. Given David's narration in the movie, I think it worked out for the best. I'm not sure I could've handled that voice in my head for long. (Although I was curious about whether the book made David's mother's mental status do more heavy lifting. Feel free to spoil me in the comments!)

That said, I'm unsure what I think of the movie itself. I'll have to watch it again. My first impression is that it wasn't as wacky as it made itself out to be. Also, I don't think it's just my degree in philosophy that made the film's questions about time and space feel sophomoric. David's philosophizing actually made Catholicism sound logical in comparison--which is not meant as a dig at Catholicism, because faith and religious paradoxes, etc. (The Catholic detective had the strongest characterization and some of the best lines in the movie.) As I watched, I kept thinking of Vonnegut and Lynch and Naked Lunch--all tough acts to follow. Or maybe I'm missing something, maybe I'm too old. The munitions factory sequence especially reminded me of Slaughterhouse-Five.

But Clancy Brown! I've loved him since Highlander.


Michael Northen reviewed WisCon Chronicles 7: Shattering Ableist Narratives for Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature. Northen pays special attention to essays by s.e. smith, Nisi Shawl ( [ profile] nisi_la ), Kathryn Allan, and Andrea Hairston (who provides a seriously awesome analysis of the movie Source Code). Northen also mentions my essay, "Dead Man Not Walking: Bobby Singer's Paralysis and Repair on Supernatural." Here's my thesis:

One might expect a show revolving around combat to tell its story through a range of handicapped bodies and injured psyches. Instead, Bobby's paraplegia is the only physical disability of a main character on Supernatural. In fact, Bobby's reluctance to "emote" about his disability mirrors the show's reluctance to depict a physically disabled character. Its limited depiction reflects discomfort with highly visible assistive devices, value judgments regarding accommodation, and fears of uselessness and lost identity. Furthermore, the miracle cure Bobby receives at a plot-convenient moment suggests ease of storytelling trumps full participation of the disabled character.

This was a really important essay for me to write because I love Supernatural like whoa, but the whoa is sometimes because the show is deeply flawed in its treatments of race, gender, sexuality, and yes, disability. (In fact, I've outlined another essay about how Bobby's wheelchair storyline is used in the show.) I am deeply grateful to editor JoSelle Vanderhooft ( [ profile] upstart_crow ) for choosing my work for WCC7 and to Michael Northen for the in-depth review.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (O rly)
As a fan but not a "Fan" of Teen Wolf, I found the aftermath of that fandom's recent explosion quite illuminating.

It seems the worst thing one can do is challenge someone's fanhood, even if that person has done something egregiously awful--say, hacking into their beloved celebrity's personal photos and posting the photos online. Although most everyone I read on tumblr admitted that "stealing" personal photos was wrong, many fans also sounded discomfited by the celebrity (Tyler Hoechlin) questioning whether the thief was a "True Fan." As if they were concerned that they too might be called out if they crossed some invisible line. To my mind, password protection offers a very visible line between right and wrong, fan and criminal, but perhaps I am old fashioned.

The celebrity may have compromised the fan's privacy by using her tumblr handle on twitter. (although I'd think turnabout would be fair play) The fan claims to now be receiving death threats from other fans. Did Tyler sic his fans on the thief? Did he "allow" his followers to attack her? I don't know. Perceptions seem clouded by whether a person interprets the power dynamic as favoring the celebrity (he's "rich," he's beautiful and famous, he's got legions of followers) or the fan (empowered by anonymity, whereas the celebrity has ceded all expectations of privacy).

As a Supernatural fan, I can't help but wonder how the CW would've handled the fiasco. It's hard to speculate, since the stars of Supernatural were social-media reticent until maybe season 4, but I've always had the impression that the CW has fiat power over how Jared and Jensen interact with online fans. And that guest stars and crew make themselves available to fans as a way to draw some of the heat off the guys. (Jared asserts himself more now; after eight seasons, he's earned the right--and now he's got a family to protect.)

MTV released promotional video that's obviously fan service. It shows Tyler and a co-star hanging all over each other, thus fueling their characters' OTP status. (Had the personal photos not shown Tyler kissing a popular actress, more to the point--a woman--I doubt we'd have gotten such an uproar. Tyler having a heterosexual romance apparently stomps fans' fantasies.) CW also strategically releases promo material to sustain fan interest, but I can't think of an instance where it moved this fast to save face.

Whether at the behest of MTV or not, Tyler requested via twitter that fans "Forgive and Forget" and all be friends again. I don't think it works that way, but it sounds nice.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (domestic)
This morning I was clucking over JJ, who has somehow managed to not get sick despite my best efforts and those of several coworkers. I hugged him and pleaded that he drink some orange juice for the Vitamin C.

"I don't need orange juice," he said, smiling into my hair.

"Are you at least taking your vitamins?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm taking my vitamins, I don't stand at the crossroads, I'll be fine."

Which made me laugh and relax, thinking I've trained him well.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (boondock saints smoke)
1. My beta readers! I am so grateful that such talented writers are willing to help me improve my work. I hope my progress is sufficient that they continue to think the arrangement worth their time.

2. Supernatural Wiki! It's been down a lot lately because it can't handle the demand, but even the cached pages have been integral for my research over the last two weeks. It's been especially helpful to be able to compare my transcripts to the ones there. 

3. Speaking of Supernatural, this gif makes me happy in my pants:

Dean ripping off tie

Gosh, I could just look at that all day.

4. I get to have lunch with hubby today. It doesn't much matter what or where, just that we get to spend time together. (and I'll be away from the computer, which has been sucking out my very soul)

5. This episode of Autumn in Iowa--Yesterday it rained pretty much all day. JJ and I walked over to the school to pick up Tweetie. On our way back, J remarked that Tweetie should roll in the leaves, because they'd stick to her clothes like velcro. She was disgusted and said her clothes would be ruined! Clearly it only made sense to take off all her clothes BEFORE rolling in the leaves. I laughed at my little hedonist, while J made special note that she was not allowed to play outside naked.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)
Pig 'n a poke!

And, miracle of miracles, I managed to remember that in time to wear my Mystery Spot t-shirt. Now I just need to find some pie to properly celebrate Dean Winchester's birthday.

Oh yeah, and I did some work today: sent out two poetry subs, bringing this month's total to four. I also added 200+ words to my neglected fungus story, and I read a lot for another project. I hope to get back to novelling tomorrow. I swear, the closer I get to the end, time just seems to dilate... It's almost supernatural.

Edited to update pie status! And to note that there was a little too much "pig 'n my poke" in my should've-been-vegetarian breakfast dinner. :P  

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (thinking bros)
I am not a good TV viewer. I grew up in a family that was very...interactive with TV shows. We mocked and berated the characters endlessly. We rewrote dialogue ala Mystery Science Theater 3000. Nothing was sacred. I was in my teens before I realized that some folks, you know, actually sit and *watch* a show. Now that my evenings are filled with homework and cooking dinner and school night routines, I don't have time to watch network TV, even when I can find a show that doesn't piss me off.

My only must-see TV this year remained Supernatural. Not because I was dying to know what would happen next, but because I felt compelled by dread. How else could they massacre Dean's character? How much bigger were Sam's sideburns going to get? Would they ever mention Adam again? How could Castiel be dead?! Every once in a while, there's a smidge of brilliance that could've been squeezed into a previous season, but those moments make watching even more painful. Whenever some fan mentions the possibility of an eighth season, I die a little.

The shows I tried via Netflix:

Survivors, a BBC apocalypse-by-superflu drama. I watched five episodes before I couldn't stomach the lead anymore. So "good," so "moral," she's bulletproof. Don't get me wrong, it was a huge relief to see a post-apocalypse world where women didn't automatically become a resource akin to gasoline and penicillin. But the way characters reacted to the heroine was just ridiculous.

Being Human, a BBC show about a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf who live together. I persevered until Season 2, disc 2, when the male leads were total assholes, the women were flimsy plot devices, and the religious freaks were powering the main storyline.

Arrested Development. Seventeen episodes I really enjoyed. But there's only character I care about, and frankly, humor--in and of itself--isn't sufficient to keep me watching. I know, I'm a curmudgeon.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hola)

1. Packages in the mail! Specifically, deliveries. The customer service emails kept telling me that amazon was shipping me "Jared Padalecki, et al." To which I kept thinking, "Gee, I hope not. I don't have room for a Padalecki, let alone his entourage." (I'd darn well make room for Jensen Ackles, though!) To my relief and in deference to all those opposed to sending live critters in the mail, they actually sent me season 5 of Supernatural, plus those jigsaw puzzles I ordered.

ETA: The back copy on this puzzle is hilarious (although well copyedited): "Now you can re-create the violent world of the Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day with this 1000-piece puzzle that captures the dark, cutting-edge style of the hard-drinking, vigilante siblings." Watch out! Alternate world emerging as I complete this good-looking puzzle! 

2. Honorable mentions! My poem "The Haunted Girl" made it onto [ profile] ellen_datlow's (quite long) list of honorable mentions for the forthcoming Best Horror of the Year. Alas, the recognition won't appear in the much shorter HM list to be printed in the anthology, but I'm delighted Datlow noted my poem at all. I saw that [ profile] ruralwriter and [ profile] intertribal and [ profile] samhenderson also received mentions. Go team!

3. My new laptop! J ordered me a new machine and I should have it in my hot little hands by end of month. It could consolidate the data on two computers to the new one and only, but being married to a techie has its advantages. ;) With any luck, I will soon be creating my own gifs and vids.

4. Spring has arrived in Iowa!

Let's share the light. What's making you happy?
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Tofu Is Amazing)

1. Completing a good jigsaw puzzle.

I just completed a 500-piece puzzle that I bought from a secondhand shop, so in addition to its difficulty, I had the pleasant frisson of tension that comes of wondering if all the pieces are really there. I'm buying these two next: Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night and Boondock Saints II, All Saints Day. The cafe terrace is one place I visit in my dreams. And I was just complaining yesterday that there aren't enough "macho" jigsaw puzzles.

2. Buying my mom a new TV.

For Christmas we got my mom a Target gift certificate so she could buy a new TV. We knew it was something she needed from talking to my sister. After insisting we'd gone overboard, this past week she finally bought herself a flatscreen and DVD player. It's a long way from buying her a house, which has always been my dream, but it's a start.

3. Supernatural

When Mom reported that she'd finally redeemed her certificate, I said, "Yay! Now you can see Dean Winchester's freckles."

At which point, she shrieked, "Did you see the episode two weeks ago?! I almost called you, it was so good! But I didn't want to interrupt you."

"I love you, but I would have killed you," I said. "I would've reached through the phone and killed you."

4. Business Cat

5. The chorus of mariachi owls (typical pessimistic Mexicans) in Rango.

What's made you happy lately?

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (stop trying to kill me!)

Return of Supernatural bumped to February?!


DAMN YOU, CW! Sammy just got re-souled, but YOU are clearly soulless demon spawn. And NOT the sexy kind!!!

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (spaced out)

Since my mother was here for a nice long visit, we ended up watching a lot of movies while doing other things.

We watched Elf and put together a baby blanket for my impending niece. We watched A Christmas Story while making our holiday dinner ("chicken" in mol'e sauce, vegetable tamales, frijoles a la charra, and two pies).

My mother has a disturbing attraction to the Lifetime Movie Network, so while we worked on a puzzle, we watched The Christmas Cottage, starring Jared Padalecki. It was just as bad as I'd always heard. At some point, my mom said, "I'm sorry, Sam, I'm just not buying this." She kept waiting for him to whip out a blade and get some justice, Winchester style. Alas, since he was portraying Thomas Kinkade, this was not to be. We also watched a movie that I've thankfully blanked out the name of, but Linda Hamilton was a wronged wife who ends up homeless and relies on a sassy black friend to show her the ropes. To get the wretchedness out of my brain, I insisted we watch "A Very Supernatural Christmas." (We also had a mini Supernatural marathon on her last day here.)

One night, we watched half of The Ref before Mom fell asleep.

At Tweetie's request, we watched Dragonhunters, which was a surprisingly good animated fantasy, originally a French film, I think. Also JJ thought Tweetie should see The Fast and The Furious, given her love of cars (and given my lust for hot rods and Vin Diesel, did you think I'd complain?), so we watched that and 2 Fast 2 Furious, which I think I saw when it originally came out, but I must've wiped from my brain because 1) no Vin Diesel, and 2) it was just 2 ridiculous.

Tweetie is now, by the way, very confused about the nature of undercover cops. But she appreciates the macho potential of knitting needles and completely groks the four Elf food groups.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (thinking bros)
Chewbacca wants me to Say Anything.

flat foamie chewbacca holding blue boombox overhead a la Say Anything, from etsy

Day Four, Seven Things that Cross your Mind a Lot

1. The Apocalypse

2. The Zombie Apocalypse

3. "Am I doing this right?" mostly in relation to parenting

4. "What am I doing?" mostly in relation to writing

5. Supernatural

(ex. from last night's conversation with Mom

Lisa: blah blah blah Dean blah blah freckles blah blah

Mom: Wait, what?! Dean has freckles?

Lisa: Yeah, around his eyes and nose.

Mom:...How big is your tv?)

6. Accessibility stuff

7. Ambient poetry

cafenowhere: abby from TV show NCIS, eyes closed, listening to music (abby dreaming)

First, a couple of links:

[ profile] pgdudda righteously castigates NetFlix for its failure to provide captioning for its internet movie-viewing. NetFlix's decision not only inconveniences families like mine--in which parents try to watch scream-filled flicks, but quietly, after the kids have gone to bed--but also clearly violates the ADA.

And perhaps because we've entered the holiday season, when many of us contemplate stabbing our loved ones with Christmas trees or strangling them with twinkle lights, [ profile] toddalcott has posted his analysis of Kubrick's The Shining, asking the all-important questions, Who is the protagonist? and What does the protagonist want?

Now, a couple of lists:

I am thankful for my family, books, music, my cats, coffee, chocolate, art, the moon, movies, Tweetie's skool, the seasons, my friends, Livejournal, Woodpecker Cider, Jack Daniels, my bed, museums, electricity, candle light, my glasses, trees, tofu, and sertraline...

Tweetie is thankful for her best friends, books, her house, her mom and dad, toys, movies, her skool, food, drinks, day and night, several of her stuffed animals, cats, art class, flowers, dogs, and trees...

Women on TV

Nov. 1st, 2010 10:01 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (garcia)

i. I love Supernatural, you know I do. I can compartmentalize like nobody's business. But I could've given myself an aneurysm this Friday trying to suppress my fury.

Dean is sitting in a bar feeling sorry for himself (as per usual) and the bartender strikes up a conversation. My interest skyrockets. Because the bartender is a black woman--and she has lines. (Entire episodes of SPN pass without a woman in a speaking role, let alone a black woman.) This woman is not glammed up, but she's attractive. She seems sympathetic but not naive, as a good bartender should be. She's got lines of dialogue. Is she an actual character? Will she be important? I'm on the edge of my seat.

Then the truth curse hits and she blurts out that she's afraid she can't get pregnant because God knows her marriage is a sham. I am shocked. Didn't see that coming, and her character just took on loads of depth. And then, while Dean and I are still processing, she blurts out that she's been snorting oxy all day.

And there goes that delusion of mine. Figures that Show gives a black woman a speaking role only to unveil her as a druggie.

ii. We don't need another Law and Order show, and yet...Skeet Ulrich and Terrence Howard. My brain says NO, my heart (or is it my ovaries?) says YES. I watched two episodes of Law and Order: Los Angeles. And regretted it.

With the first, I decided I didn't buy Ulrich as a cop/detective. Director might be overcompensating for Ulrich's still-youthful vulnerability by making him play it too reserved and beatdown. I also disliked that all the female characters in that episode were merely dots connecting the male characters, who were the ones really driving the story.

With the second, I realized the female characters as connecting dots was a Thing for the show. And the episode was about a blond American woman who is so desperate for love that she converts to an extreme form of Islam (is there any other kind on television?) and becomes a terrorist. Nice. And Terrence Howard plays a typical tv DA: he uses those soulful eyes and pleads until I'm willing to testify to anyfuckingthing (hell, he could have my next child) and then when it suits his case, he throws the witness under the bus.

Done with that show.

iii. A headline on the front page of the Lifestyle section of USA Today proclaimed "Kick-butt aim is true / Girls rule TV." The photo made clear that girls meant women and kick-butt meant willing to use a gun.

Intrigued, I turned to the actual article, where the revised headline read, "These ladies want a piece of the TV action." So they don't rule, after all. They just want a piece.

The article profiles four female tv characters. Of the four, only two are really the stars of their own show, and one of the other two prefers "getting her flirt on with her trademark 'sex-pionage'."

So girls don't rule, only some of them kick butt, and only some of them have the ratings to get a second season. But if you just read the first headline, you'd think, Wow, women are taking over!

iv. I don't watch a lot of non-PBS Kids tv, and I don't think that's changing anytime soon.

cafenowhere: teacup brimming with mysterious violet liquid (psychedelic tea)

In my earlier brain dump, I forgot to mention that the new issue of Goblin Fruit is up and includes my poem "The Haunted Girl." Many thanks to Amal and Jess for giving the girl a home and to [ profile] rose_lemberg for helping me lure the leery girl into a safe space. And I'm happy to share the table of contents with Rose, too!

Step Back

Sep. 28th, 2010 09:53 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (castiel sigh)
Yesterday, because I was sick at home with Tweetie, I ended up watching the last three episodes of Supernatural, season 2: "What Is and What Should Never Be" and "All Hell Breaks Loose," parts 1 and 2. I've seen 'em before, of course. But this time, maybe because I talked Tweetie through What Is... I realized how much emotional groundwork was laid in that episode. Before, I was too upset about what happened to Sam in All Hell and the stupid thing that Dean did about it. But now I see how inevitable Dean's actions were, given the lessons he learned in What Is...

Sometimes when I'm writing a poem, I get snagged on a line or stanza and I think that's my problem. I've learned to back up a bit and look again. So many times, the problem actually crops up earlier than I thought. My meter might be off, or the focus meandering, but it's only when the poem spins out that I notice.

In fiction, I think we writers try to shape a story so all the actions culminate into an inevitable-seeming, dramatic final act. The emphasis is on acting, action, protagging. But I am going to start looking also at the lessons learned by the main characters as a result of all this action. (and I don't think of lessons as being inherently thinky things; Dean does not reason his way to a conclusion, he feels his way there)

If the life lesson implies a tragic worldview, then is the ending tragic, even if the main characters achieve their goal? If the lesson validates a positive worldview, then is the ending triumphant, even if the heroes do not prevail? If the lesson and goal achieved are in opposition, will the ending always feel incomplete, like there's more story to be told, until the two are resolved?

Still thinking...


Apr. 30th, 2010 09:31 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (dingo ate my baby crazy)


gummi bear parts
strewn over the table
"we can rebuild him"


J and Tweetie have been known to perform heart transplants on Gummi Bears. And, just for fun, here's a vid of the Supernatural boys set to the Gummi Bears theme song.

I'm reading through the March/April ish of American Poetry Review, and the five poems by Matthew Lippman have been the standouts so far. "Marriage Pants" begins:

I don't know when the shitstorm of failed marriage
took off.

He writes personally without being self-absorbed. His language is "American" and accessible but not prosaic. He's honest without being hurtful. The poems dig into such particular sweet spots for me, I'm reminded how subjective this whole poetry thing is.

We write and we send our poems off into the world, and we hope they find their perfect readers. Even just one person who properly responds is a joy and relief.

In other news, I finished reading The Attic Mice by Ethel Pochaki and have concluded that I just like mice books. I like them because they are obsessed with "things." Bottlecaps and pins and caraway seeds and matchboxes and labels and bolts and...just things. I love things. I stuff as many as I can into my own stories.

What kinds of "things" have you used in your writing lately?

cafenowhere: abby from TV show NCIS, eyes closed, listening to music (abby dreaming)


scratched DVD
we munch popcorn
make up the rest


I think my one complaint about NetFlix is that every time we've ever gotten a damaged disc and asked for a replacement, I'd swear they turned around and sent us the exact same disc. The "replacement" always has the same problem in the same place as the "previous" disc. Actually, it also pisses me off that Netflix will recommend a movie I've *tried* to watch three times (Shoot 'em Up) but given up on because of the whole "replacement" runaround.

Last night J and I watched Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter, which was awful. Not even two minutes in, we were guffawing at "Captain Emo" and his dead-dudes raft. I have no idea how this 15-minute animated gory-story fits into the Watchmen world; I don't know enough about the original comic.

To make up for that--J was looking at me like, "You wasted a slot on our queue for *that*?"--we finished watching the British mini-series Jekyll. I loved it. It struck a good balance between campy horror and philosophical speculation, and there was some juicy gender commentary. Despite the eponymous male lead, at one point I asked J, "Does this story have *anything* to do with men?"

And tonight, Supernatural's back! With Bobby! And zombies!

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (saint dean)
You know how parents undergo this bizarre personality shift when they become grandparents, and how they act completely differently with their grandchildren than they did with their own kids? Like the "no sweets until after dinner" mantra of your childhood becomes "brownies for breakfast!" for the grandkids? Well, apparently, the same shift occurs for fangirl crushes.

Last weekend I talked to my mom and somehow we ended up rehashing the season premiere of Supernatural. And to my dismay, I found out my own mother is a SamGirl!

Me: What?! ('the fuck?' I silently added)

Mom: What's the big deal? It's just a little demon blood.

Me: Just a little demon blood? (wondering if my ears are working, or if we're talking about the same thing)

Mom: It's like getting high, right? What's the big deal?

Me: (HOMFG; that line of reasoning would SO NOT have worked if she'd ever found illicit substances in my sock drawer; I mentally stutter, start compartmentalizing like mad) No, Mom, it's not just the demon blood. It's the sneaking and the lying and the betrayal--

Mom: Oh please. Dean is just so stubborn. And jealous.

Me: SHUT UP! It's called VIRTUE, there are just some things you DON'T DO, EVER!

Like discuss Supernatural with your mother, apparently. Lesson learned!

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (neon sign)
A little something I found for [ profile] bearleyport alongside the road from Harper's Ferry to Iowa City:

And some of the details:

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (coffee addicted)
I have succumbed.

Were it only for my friends, my business contacts, even my long-distance family members, I would never sign up for Twitter.

But the siren song of Misha Collins has proven too strong.

Damn him and his pony stories.


cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

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