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A few shots from Will’s first shoot

A few shots from Will’s first shoot published on 1 Comment on A few shots from Will’s first shoot

Poor light and a wobbly grip on my camera means few good shots, but I thought I’d post them anyhow. Will does the languid, melancholy and introverted mood very well, I think. Incidentally, he is wearing a black see-through sleeveless that came with the I.B. Hunter outfit, the Dollheart Kala skirt, default black fishnets from Dollmore’s Bella Auden and Cheerydoll mixed black shit-kickers. As always, his sense of style is debatable.

Where did they leave the notice? Mysteries of EMS…

Where did they leave the notice? Mysteries of EMS… published on 1 Comment on Where did they leave the notice? Mysteries of EMS…

As I was tracking my EMS package this morning, I found out that Will is in the States, apparently just waiting until my work building is open so he can come in! Tracking says that there was a delivery attempt yesterday and a notice left. Since the attempt was to an office building, my work address, I am baffled as to where they left the attempt notice. The receptionist hasn’t seen it. Hopefully Will will arrive successfully today, much sooner than I expected! I was anticipating at least 3 weeks between last payment and arrival.

MW’s frequently visited sites

MW’s frequently visited sites published on 2 Comments on MW’s frequently visited sites

Here are my most frequented Web destinations, ordered alphabetically. Can anyone recommend some good sites of news analysis, kind of like weekly news magazines, only less rarefied than The New Yorker and less hebetated than Time and Newsweek? Particularly intelligent pop culture blogs and tech blogs.

 Amazon for finding out information about books.

Boingboing for weird, amusing and useless information.

Bookfinder for tracking down used books. for weather and local news.

Boundless for figuring out how the other [religious] half lives.

Craigslist for offloading and acquiring crap, also laughing at the Best Of.

Den of Angels for BJD blather. for, duh, a dictionary.

Ebay for buying and selling.

Fark for incredibly stupid news and amusing Photoshops.

Google for searching the Web [including Google Images and Google Books]. for buying used media.

I Can Has Cheezburger for LOLcats.

IMDB for movie information.

Livejournal for blogging.

Men With Dolls for 1:6 doll blather.

Neatorama for weird, amusing, etc.

The New York Times for news, reviews and the lifestyles of the rich & oblivious.

The Onion for satire.

Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society for weird, amusing, etc.

Salon for reviews, commentary and train-wreckingly awful advice column, Since You Asked, by Cary Tennis.

Slant for extra-snarky movie reviews.

Slate for news.

The Stranger for Dan Savage’s column and the Slog [Stranger Blog].

Webmail on my own server for E-mail.

Wired for tech news.

Word Spy for new words.

Zone of Zen for BJD blather.

Sci fi stories to listen to

Sci fi stories to listen to published on 1 Comment on Sci fi stories to listen to

Look into the exhaustive archives for Escape Pod and take your pleasure of the many clear, humorous, perkily read sci-fi and fantasy stories on podcast. I just listened to the amusing, low-key “Conversations With and About My Electric Toothbrush.” I’ve also finished “The Burning Bush.”  It’s very dryly delivered, to humorous effect. And I know that “My Friend Is A Lesbian Zombie” will be good because its author, Eugie Foster, is an acquaintance who turns out consistently well-crafted, mythically solid and romantically tinged stories.

Duneedon is here!

Duneedon is here! published on No Comments on Duneedon is here!

In fourth grade, I watched some painfully earnest and educational sci-fi mysteries for nerdy budding journalists, Read All About It. Each 15-minute episode revolved around Chris, Sam and Lynne, 3 Canadian 11-year-olds investigating the alien invasion, captained by Duneedon the freaky floating head, in their small town. With the help of a pedantic typewriter, Otto, and a talking TV screen, Theta, they published a newspaper, The Herbertville Chronicle, as the perfect alibi for their search for Chris’ missing uncle. Inevitably, vocabulary lessons and word puzzles advanced the plot and helped them save the world. Anyway, I forgot all identifying details of the show until now…
I remember liking this show [aside from the cadaverous floating head!] because the vocab lessons played to my strengths and made me feel that my verbal intelligence was applicable and important, although I can’t say that I’ve ever used my mental thesaurus to rescue myself and a friend from a Problem Pit. In any case, if this plot summary brings back nostalgic happiness [or nostalgic queasiness, if you’re thinking of Duneedon], you can find all eps of the first season on Youtube. Here’s the first. As the theme song exhorts, "There’s a mystery to be solved / So why not get involved?"

Hah! Dead funny novelties store…

Hah! Dead funny novelties store… published on No Comments on Hah! Dead funny novelties store…

Pushin’ Daisies is a mortuary store with funeral, death, vampire, skull, etc. sort of novelties. Hooray for hearse earrings, Dios de los Muertos shot glasses, tombstone-shaped soaps and little chocolate coffins with little chocolate skeletons inside. Clearly meant for the casual cemetery nerd (viz., no serious books about cemetery iconography in “The Grim Reader” section), this is nevertheless amusing. Now, in case you want to make your own coffin, which can serve as a “beautiful blanket chest or coffee table” before holding you, you know where to buy the book.

P.S. I ordered We So Seldom Look On Love from The shipping was more than the price of the book. where cheap-ass bibliophiles shop.

P.P.S. Because I’m in a morbid mood, today’s word is “trocar.” A trocar is a big sharp hollow needle that an embalmer sticks into a corpse’s abdomen after the blood has been replaced with embalming fluid. At first the trocar is attached to a suction pump via hose to slurp out organs and body tissue. When that’s done, the trocar is hooked up to a bottle of cavity fluid and waved around in the abdomen to fill the space where the organs were. The incision site is plugged up with a plastic plug called a trocar button. There. You should now be both nauseated and edified. I know I sure am.

Feminist dymanics of a movie about necrophilia

Feminist dymanics of a movie about necrophilia published on No Comments on Feminist dymanics of a movie about necrophilia

Kissed, the movie mentioned in my July 3rd entry, came in the mail on Monday, and I watched it. I’m only now reviewing it because I was busy priming and painting Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kissed, a closely focused movie with very few extras or characterological background, is a character study of two characters who are debatably nuts, yet perfect for each other.

The narrator, Sandra, is a college student who studies embalming. From her earliest ceremonious funerals for dead birds, she has been fascinated by death. She believes that caressing dead bodies allows her to pick up their lingering energy or charge and to help them cross over. She’s introverted, socially awkward, necrophiliac and romantic in an unhinged way.

Sandra happily makes love to dead guys until the arrival of Matt, an intense stalkerish type who penetrates [literally] her defenses with his combination of gentleness and slightly creepy persistence. Though he is initially curious about Sandra’s necrophilia, his curiosity consumes him, becoming a fixation. He tries to understand and get through to Sandra in ways that demonstrate his true possessiveness. Of course, in a movie where love and death are intertwined, such a conflict can only end in death for one of the characters.

Fascinatingly enough, neither Sandra nor Matt are particularly likeable. Though she uses the language of transcendence when talking about necrophilia, Sandra’s stereotyped actions during her secret childhood funerals suggest the bleak, unimaginative play of a severely damaged, possibly abused, child. The repetitive and orderly nature of the funerals makes me think of the way that kids of alcoholics or abused kids structure their otherwise chaotic lives. But I really have no idea how her family life or early experiences may have contributed to her interests, though, because, even as a child, she completely lacks social context [dangers of a small filming budget, I guess].

As for Matt, what the hell is his problem? He spys on Sandra, follows her, writes down her movements for weeks, tries to diagnose her, dresses up like a corpse [in a tux], wears make-up like a dead body, etc. Some of his behavior seems to be an extension of his med student’s need to label and understand everything, but then he too becomes pathetic when he tries imitating a corpse. When he does so, he is practically groveling, trying to get Sandra’s attention. His anxiety, combined with his escalating desperation, made me worry that he was going to rape her. [Hooray, a stalker AND a rapist.] But no…Matt has too much self-loathing for that. Instead, he turns his violence on himself, concluding that he is not good enough for her. 

There’s a misogynistic undercurrent in Matt’s attraction to Sandra that deserves a separate paragraph. Matt’s stalking and notetaking are commented on by Sandra herself as his attempts to “understand” her. He wants to know her, define her, label her and confine her desires so that they do not flow toward the dead bodies, but toward him.  He does not want a woman on top who is in control of herself and her desires; in fact, during their first sex scene, Matt tells Sandra to “lie back” and be “still” in the quintessential position of a passive woman who accepts male dominance. [This position is also corpse-like, which intimates that he may wish she were dead quiet and dead as well.] In the end, though, he gives up and annihiliates himself in a last attempt to fit into Sandra’s life.

Despite the inherent unlikeability of the characters, Kissed is an interesting, solid movie. It’s by no means as artistic, philosophical, psychologically profound and daring as it thinks it is, but it’s interesting and saved largely by convincing performances. The acting is all-around low-key, underplayed, even a bit deadpan [hah], which keeps the story from becoming sensationalized. The lack of extras [never have I seen a more desolate college campus] mars the realism, but also adds a dreamy, depupulated atmosphere to the story, demonstrating how much Sandra and Matt are focused on things besides the real world. The languid camera work and the poetic voice-overs add a meditative mood to the proceedings, though there are far too many fade-to-the-white-light-of-transcendent-orgasm shots. Also, the voice-overs could have been used much more parsimoniously, at the beginning, the end and during the extended childhood flashback of Sandra’s. 

Apparently Kissed is based on a short story, “We So Seldom Look on Love,” by Barbara Gowdy. I’ll have to look into it. Maybe it provides some history for Sandra and Matt.

There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back again…

There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back again… published on No Comments on There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back again…

Last night I watched The Aristocrats, primarily under duress, because we had to return it before the late fees became atrocious. The Aristocrats features scores of prominent comedians yammering about a show-biz in-joke that is not really that funny, then analyzing what makes that joke so compelling.

Some of this analysis, such as humor as a recharging and life-affirming mechanism in the face of depressing events, is interesting, but I don’t need such a lesson attenuated to 90 minutes when I could have gotten it in 60.

After the mild interest of playing “Who The Hell Is THAT?,” you’re left with a lot of navel-gazing by a bunch of show-offs, some of which are excruciatingly annoying. [I’m talking about YOU, Gilbert Gottfried, you pathetic, stale, attention-sucking whore. Likewise Sarah Silverman and Robin Williams should just go the hell away.] 

Finally, The Aristocrats is also an astoundingly disappointing showcase of the limits of the human imagination. Anyone who talks to you about the boundless potential of the human brain should watch this documentary and learn the truth. The limits of the human imagination are incest and shit, both of which can be hilarious if handled [im]properly, but which are just boring here. Give me South Park any day [but only up to season 10 — the 11th is belabored, esoteric and uninteresting].

New radio discovery: WNYC’s Radiolab

New radio discovery: WNYC’s Radiolab published on No Comments on New radio discovery: WNYC’s Radiolab

In the tradition of investigative science/humanities radio shows like To The Best Of Our Knowledge and The Infinite Mind, WNYC’s Radiolab centers around a broad subject, like sleep, morality or stress, and glues together interviews and intuitions about it.  While To The Best… and The Inifinite Mind are very structured and strive for authoritativeness, Radiolab is more conversational, kind of like Sound & Spirit, lighter on the scientific details, but no less interesting. I would call it casual philosophy. Seasons are tragically short, but you can find listenable archives on the Web site going as far back as 2005. I caught a clip of Radiolab from an ep of This American Life, and I agree with TAL host Ira Glass that Radiolab should have wider listenership.

Amusing probably only to me: early posts on phpBB DOA

Amusing probably only to me: early posts on phpBB DOA published on No Comments on Amusing probably only to me: early posts on phpBB DOA

About three years ago, I joined DOA, right before it moved from a Yahoo group to a phpBB group. Here are some of my early posts [subject lines only] on the phpBB version, just for my personal amusement, I guess:

Has anyone ever put a Luts head on an Azone 60cm body?

Does 1 CustomHouse “point” = $1USD?

Broken glass eyeball stem advice

My DD can’t sit up 90 degrees…any quick mods to fix?

Jareth the Goblin King BJD part II … photo art concept…

Difference between Hugo, Hugo sn and Hugo sw / how to get?

So…which BJD looks like Jareth the Goblin King?

I know a lot more about BJDs now than I did back then. Other than that, not much has changed. I’m still interested in a) Jareth, b) inexpensive alternatives and c) body mods. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, I guess. This has been an irrelevant annoucement from the Boring Club.


Kissed published on 4 Comments on Kissed

This 1996 film about necrophilia looks possibly interesting. It strongly reminds me of a vampire film. I need some more interesting movies in my life. I’m in a good movie drought right now.

EDIT: I just bought it from because neither Hollywood Express nor Blockbuster had it. [Well, Hollywood Express had it on tape, but the world don’t run on VHS any more.] I wonder why I think less about purchasing DVDs than I do purchasing books. 

While I’m purchasing movies about sexual deviations, maybe I should also get a copy of Secretary, you know, just to fondle. I really haven’t been rewatching any favorite movies recently.

On the subject of paraphilias, I wonder when that movie about bestiality with horses will come out on DVD.

“Deviancy” is one of my favorite words, deriving from the Latin “de” = “away from” and “via” = “road.” Literally it means going off-road [or what happens when you get really lost on a car ride]. Though the adjective gets a derogatory inflection most of the times it is used, it is actually a neutral descriptor. I find it equally applicable for discussion of road trips, recipes, political leanings and sexual predelictions.

Tasty Ratatouille

Tasty Ratatouille published on 2 Comments on Tasty Ratatouille

Very rarely am I generally impressed with a movie, but that’s my reaction to the latest Pixar effort, Ratatouille.

Uncorrupted by its subsumption into the mediocre behemoth that is Disney, Pixar consistently produces the most innovatively animated, clever and thematically textured animated movies in the US today. Ratatouille, in which gourmand rat Remy puppeteers klutzy garbage boy Linguine to culinary superstardom, stands as one of their greatest achievements.

First off, I have to say that the animation was incredible. There’s a lot of water in this movie [we’re at rat level, in the sewers], and it’s so realistic that the animators seem to have cheated and put drawn characters in real water. Also the huddling scampering movement of rats is elegantly choreographed, and the aforementioned slapstick puppeteering comes off with gleefully loose and liquid lines.

More than technical surprises, though, Ratatouille boasts an arc and series of concerns unusually grown-up for an ostensible kids’ movie. Sure, the plot follows the old “finding your place/following your heart” stereotype, but the story has darker, serious shadings. Because Remy is trying to insinuate himself into the human world, where people have an almost instinctive fear and hostility toward rats, his success never seems assured. Threatened by shotguns [in a hilarious introductory scene in a French cottage in the countryside], rat traps and chef-wielded carving knives, Remy and clan have a precarious existence; Remy’s desire to overcome humans’ revulsion and collaborate with them never seems fully assured. Health inspectors and other forces of sanitation provide plot momentum, but also provide a useful, realistic sobering check on the stupid bootstrapping philosophy espoused by so many Disney movies [“If you can dream it, you can be a magnificent success”]. So many Disney animated films are just unrealistic masturbatory whack-off wish fulfillments, but Pixar is slightly more subtle in its treatment of aspirations. 

For another bonus, there are no singing animals — thank freaking God! — and no humans talking to rats. Though they talk to one another, the rats just squeak as far as humans are concerned, so Remy and Linguine communicate through very amusing pantomime. 

I also just have to mention that we saw a trailer for Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,

and I just wanted to throw up. I can’t believe Dustin Hoffmann would lower himself to such bilge…with the colorless tofu of Natalie Portman the talentless, no less. This tale of a magic toy store that brings magic into stupid, klutzy, realistic people’s lives seems like a retread of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, only with no charisma exuding from anyone…except Dustin Hoffmann, sporting an ear-crunchingly twee wisp of an accent and a wardrobe of natty Nutcracker suits, just looks really embarrassing.

We also saw a trailer for Wall-E, which looks like a knock-off of whatever the hell 1980s movie that was where No. 5 became sentient and ran around screaming, “No disassemble!”

And a trailer for Mr. Bean’s Holiday. C’mon, Rowan Atkinson. You’re so freakin’ good in Blackadder! Surely you can do something fresher and slightly cleverer than stale, retreaded slapstick!

Wake me up when Stardust comes out. Despite my fear that it will be a thoroughly formulaic, thematically light fairy tale [Neil Gaiman is not notable for significant depth], it does have some good actors in it and possibly some nice swordplay. Alternatively, I’ll check into The Golden Compass, just to see how much of a compressed turd they make out of a good book by putting a Scientologist nutball as one of the lead characters [unless I’m wrong and Nicole Kidman swore off the space aliens Ponzi scheme religion once she broke off from Mr. “Not Gay No Way” “Big Nose” Cruise].

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