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LHF cast: Pippilotta

LHF cast: Pippilotta published on 5 Comments on LHF cast: Pippilotta

Anastasia Marshall, known as Pippilotta, is a vampire.

She is Anneka’s best friend. She was born in 1975 and vamped at the age of 26. She is now 33. She is not currently affiliated with any clan, although she was a member of the End of the World after being vamped.

Pippilotta lives in Davis Square, West Somerville, Massachusetts. She is a crisis counselor for the women’s hotline at Somerville Hospital. However, she would rather be watching horror films.

Pippilotta’s strengths include her loyalty and supportiveness. Her weaknesses include her bitterness and her repugnance toward anything with a penis.


Current and future pimping of LHF, also reader count

Current and future pimping of LHF, also reader count published on 1 Comment on Current and future pimping of LHF, also reader count

1. I link to updates from here, the Blog of Stench.
2. I link to updates on my Deviant Art account.
3. I post links in the Digital Dolls section of Men With Dolls.
4. I signed up for transcription services with, but I can’t figure it out.

1. Get someone with a paid account to make an LJ RSS feed for LHF.
2. Announce new eps in Commons on Daz boards.
3. Tell Burlington Doll Club.

So far I have 4 known readers:


LHF cast: Will

LHF cast: Will published on 2 Comments on LHF cast: Will

A big thank you to

, who gave me my very first comment ever. While I don’t do this to satisfy my readers’ desires, I do love comments, which are proof that someone is reading.  Anyway…

William Philomel Ashby Cox, known as Will, is a vampire.

He is Anneka’s boyfriend. He was born in 1870 and vamped at the age of 30. He is now 138. He is not currently affiliated with any clan. However, he did belong to the Sods after being vamped and, a few years ago, he was aligned with the South Enders.

Will lives in Davis Square, West Somerville, Massachusetts with his significant other Anneka. He is the Webmaster for However, he would rather be doing just about anything else. Poetry would be nice, but he’s had writer’s block for over a century.

Will’s strengths include his wisdom about emotional matters and his tact. His weaknesses include sarcasm and self-hatred…not to mention his hideous “fashion sense.”

Twilight: First a book, now a movie.

Twilight: First a book, now a movie. published on No Comments on Twilight: First a book, now a movie.

I vaguely remember when Twilight came out that it was popular. People thought it was really good. Never read it, but liked the cover! 

I’m thinking I should investigate it, not because I really WANT to, but because some people think it’s full of Mary Sueish soppiness and stupid women in danger always rescued by saintly vampires, and also because it’s going to come out as a movie at the end of the year. Okay, cross that out — I actually DO want to read the book, primarily because of this vehemently scathing review on Reviewer concludes:

Hey vampires are awesome, but not so much when they’re turned into superhero supermodels who wear way too much glitter body lotion. 

Will says, “I’m a vampire, and I like glitter, and there’s NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. :p”

I have a weakness for poorly written books. They show me what NOT to do.

P.S.  I am interested to read Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde.

LHF cast: Anneka

LHF cast: Anneka published on 1 Comment on LHF cast: Anneka

Anneka Elizabeth Richardson is a vampire.

She is Will’s girlfriend. She was born in 1978 and vamped at the age of 27. She is now 30. She is not affiliated with any clan.

Anneka lives in Davis Square, West Somerville, Massachusetts with her significant other Will. She is an assistant bookseller at La Bibliotheque Souterraine in Boston’s South End. She also writes scripts for photostories on However, she would rather be writing the Great American Novel about mermaids.

Anneka’s strengths include her overdeveloped intellect and analytical abilities. Her weaknesses include her sharp tongue and her tendency to [literally] run away from confrontation.


Hold on to your arteries…the vampires are coming back!!

Hold on to your arteries…the vampires are coming back!! published on 1 Comment on Hold on to your arteries…the vampires are coming back!!

Next Monday [my birthday], I am rebooting my sardonic soap opera of sex, death and very pointy teeth: Love Has Fangs. Follow the adventures of Anneka, a recent convert to the undead, and Will, her much older and not-at-all-wiser boyfriend. The weirdness begins on Monday, May 5th. Watch the following space: Nothing there yet, but there will be soon.

Daphnis the dragontaur!!!

Daphnis the dragontaur!!! published on 1 Comment on Daphnis the dragontaur!!!

What’s a dragontaur? you ask. It’s a therianthropic creature that, similar to a centaur, has the top half of a human growing where the dragon’s neck would be. As you can see from the picture below, taken in the dragontaurs’ natural habitat, they are fiercely feminist creatures who do not deal kindly with stupid comments from wanna-be heroes.

What is it about catgirls?

What is it about catgirls? published on No Comments on What is it about catgirls?

I have long wondered why kitty products proliferate in the Daz Marketplace for the anime-style models, Aiko 3, Hiro and Aiko 4. For example:

Techno Tabby for A3 [which I have]

Catgirl for A3

Animal Anime Tail Pack [targeted for the anime models, but usable for all models]

Kahochan Catgirl for Anime Doll

Black Cat Outfit for various anime models

I could go on with the cat products for other models, and then I could start in on the endless succession of rabbits and foxes, followed by the sheer overload of French maid outfits [no, I’m NOT telling you how many I have], but I think I’d throw up. Why so many cat options?

Well, apparently, fanservice has several major manifestations. One of them is making the character into a cat character. Other major fanservice themes include nudity or near nudity, gay/lesbian content, cross-dressing, bunny character, waitress, schoolgirl, blah blah blah. In conclusion, I think Daz is just feeding an interest in creating fanservice-like images.

I am not going to analyze why these particular themes are so interesting. I’m going back to work now [hahahaahahahahah!].


Why your feet are unhappy

Why your feet are unhappy published on 1 Comment on Why your feet are unhappy

 …According to Adam Sternbergh’s recent New Yorker article, You Walk Wrong, your feet are unhappy because you treat them as insensate supports for more important parts of your body, when, in fact, they should be getting as much attention as your hands. Here’s the most striking quote:

Admittedly, there’s something counterintuitive about the idea that less padding on your foot equals less shock on your body. But that’s only if we continue to think of our feet as lifeless blocks of flesh that hold us upright. The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings in it, one of the highest concentrations anywhere in the body. Our feet are designed to act as earthward antennae, helping us balance and transmitting information to us about the ground we’re walking on.

Think about that. Our feet were not originally developed just to be props for the rest of our bodies. When our hands and feet were less differentiated, both of them served to explore our environments with delicacy and sensitivity, as well as to move us around. In relegating feet to the status of lumps used for locomotion, we have deprived ourselves of a huge percentage of our sensorium.

Black characters in LHF are now happy!

Black characters in LHF are now happy! published on 1 Comment on Black characters in LHF are now happy!

I found them some hair that doesn’t look like it’s been run through an ironing machine. [I think Materyllis might straighten her hair, but not Velvette, who has cumulus clouds of hair, and Janet, who has a fuzz cut.] Hey, Velvette and Janet and Susie and Materyllis! Realistic hair awaits….

The Dracula Research Centre…

The Dracula Research Centre… published on No Comments on The Dracula Research Centre…

The Dracula Research Centre has a collection of documents about Bram Stoker and the creation of Dracula, a huge bibliography about Dracula [and vampires in general, I think], not to mention the Journal of Dracula Studies online in RTF!!! What an exciting treasure trove! I’m going to hurry home, reading Tananarive Due’s The Living Blood [#2 in the African Immortals series, about a small society of seriously disturbed and arrogant immortal dudes who are very vampiric] along the way, working on LHF when I get home and doing more research. [Oh, I just learned that Blood Colony, #3 in the African Immortals series, comes out in June. Exciting!]

Nip/Tuck: Too smart to be stupid, too stupid to be smart

Nip/Tuck: Too smart to be stupid, too stupid to be smart published on No Comments on Nip/Tuck: Too smart to be stupid, too stupid to be smart

Building on my previous comments about season 5 Nip/Tuck, here are some more observations. As the main characters, Greater Asshole [=Dr. Christian Troy, played by Julian McMahon] and Lesser Asshole [=Dr. Sean McNamara, played by Dylan Walsh], try to set up a new plastic surgery practice in Los Angeles, they become seduced by the entertainment industry. Lesser Asshole establishes a recurring role on Hearts And Scalpels, a medical drama show, while, in one episode, Greater Asshole convinces Lesser Asshole that there should be a reality show about their lives, Plastic Fantastic. In a clever development, much of the episode, called Damien Sands, consists of the pilot of Plastic Fantastic, complete with appropriate titles and interstitials.

Despite its obsession with the entertainment industry in this season, Nip/Tuck refuses to make the most interesting leap: for the characters to realize that their lives are just as soap-operatic as the shows they are involved in. Refusing to acknowledge the meta-melodrama inherent in the situation, Nip/Tuck plays the most stereotypical plot devices — in the last ep alone, an incestuous relationship is broken up; Julia wakes up from a coma with retrograde amnesia, and Sean gets stabbed in the back by his deranged ex-agent — seriously, with solemn music underneath them. I’m supposed to feel sympathy for these characters, but I can’t because I’m all too aware how cliched the plot developments are. Therefore I get a little bored with the proceedings. By ignoring the fact that it is a high-gloss SOAP OPERA, Nip/Tuck disservices itself.

Season 5 of Nip/Tuck: So delightfully trashy!

Season 5 of Nip/Tuck: So delightfully trashy! published on No Comments on Season 5 of Nip/Tuck: So delightfully trashy!

I refuse to go into plot details because it’s a classic soap opera, but suffice it to say that, with all its methheads, womanizers, opportunistic lesbians, sociopathic daughters and Weirdo Patients of the Week, Nip/Tuck season 5 proves an endless round of super-dramatic and increasingly silly plot twists anchored only by the high production values and the characters’ great exertions to put some emotional heft behind the endless corkscrews of obsession and betrayal. For the most part, the actors do succeed at making the outlandish stories actually believable, especially Julian McMahon, who, I am very pleased to report, exhibits a little more actorly skill here than he did in Charmed. He doesn’t have a great range, but he plays the asshole Christian pretty well. Hooray for potato chip TV — you can’t watch just one episode. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more sex-obsessed, sex-driven set of characters in my viewing. Brainless, glossy, stereotypical, overdone and addictive.

After American Gothic come other shows.

After American Gothic come other shows. published on 1 Comment on After American Gothic come other shows.

I finished American Gothic with equal satisfaction and disappointment. My satisfaction came from Lucas’ masterfully done fake death and the neverending tension of the denouement between Lucas, Caleb and Merlyn. 

My disappointment lay in

the reduction of Gail, once an interesting, assertive character, into a witless walking womb who, for some reason, was in love [?!] with Lucas and became a temporary receptacle for his Sperm of Doom. Thus she fell victim to the Divine Screw trope. 

Additionally, Merlyn also suffered from devolution. She started off as a dull Pure Guardian Angel, then showed more ambivalence, texture and humanity when she borrowed an unborn baby’s soul in order to reincorporate and experience life again. After this, her increasingly violent and vengeful pursuit of Lucas — “an eye for an eye,” she said before trying to snap his neck in one ep — suggested less moral clarity and more moral greyness. Interestingly enough, she seemed as much in danger of abusing her powers and becoming like Lucas as Caleb was of becoming like Lucas. Then she reverted to her dull sacrificial state in the end and conveniently died.

After American Gothic, I have several options.

I’ve always wanted to see Nip/Tuck, and season 5 is on Hulu. I want to see if Julian McMahon can do a better job than he did in Charmed.

Roswell’s angle of powerful half-aliens living among us has intrigued me for a long time, since I’ve engaged in an epic on the same subject, so there’s season 1 of that on Hulu.

Select eps of Outer Limits, an hour-long attempt at a modern Twilight Zone, are also on Hulu.

Though I’ve already blasted New Amsterdam as boring, it’s still so bad that I can’t look away. Season 1 continues on Hulu.

Subversive Divine Screw redux in Tanith Lee’s Tales of the Flat Earth

Subversive Divine Screw redux in Tanith Lee’s Tales of the Flat Earth published on No Comments on Subversive Divine Screw redux in Tanith Lee’s Tales of the Flat Earth

Following up on my previous comments about the Divine Screw, I have an example of the reinvention of this theme in Tanith Lee’s sprawling series Tales of the Flat Eath [good plot summaries and overview here]. In one of the major, multi-book storylines, the male divine, Azhrarn, the Lord of Wickedness and most powerful of all the demons who are de facto rules of earth, gets his freak on with Dunizel, human priestess. Their daughter, Sovaz/Soveh/Ahzriaz, goes through a whole book, Delirium’s Mistress, searching for herself. She goes from Sleeping Beauty to death-dealing vigilante to despotic goddess queen to prisoner under the sea to wise innocent child to dueler with angels to mortal sage. She ends up, satisfyingly enough, bargaining with Death for a mortal life, which she receives.

Despite Lee’s active, overdetermining essentialism about sex roles [men=active, women=passive], the three players in her Divine Screw transcend the narrative limitations to become rich characters.

Azhrarn, despite being the personification of Wickedness and therefore selfish, sadistic, nonchalant, cruel, supercilious and generally nasty, nevertheless comes across as very human in his need for an audience [=humans to torture], his pride, his tenderness for those he loves, his great capacities for grief and desire for vengeance after Dunizel is stoned to death. 

Despite being a Glowing Symbol of Feminine Passivity and Receptivity, Dunizel comes across as intensely stubborn, almost obsessed in her devotion to Azhrarn, and her Griselda-like suffering, in which she eventually wins, can be seen as the novelistic version of the sub really calling the shots in a BDSM game. 

Finally, their daughter, who goes through a Tarot-card-like cycle of birth, death, rebirth and self-discovery, proves to be the richest and most interesting character. She achieves the full humanity and compassion that both her parents were attracted to, which they both yearned for, but could not attain because they were still somehow detached.

Azhrarn and Dunizel’s daughter, clearly at the point in her life when she was a beautiful, but cruel, goddess on earth, as taken from the back cover of the omnibus edition of Tales of the Flat Earth

Furthermore, Lee devotes time to the relationship between Azhrarn and Dunizel, in which she explores what I referred to earlier as “the balance between wonder and terror.” We see each of them aggressively seducing each other by being quintessentially themselves. Azhrarn is sadistic [turns into wolf, bites off Dunizel’s arm] and Dunizel is masochistic [falls in love with wolf, sacrifices self to him to save city], and they each find in the other someone who heightens and concentrates their very selves. Eventually Azhrarn cracks under Dunizel’s submission such that he becomes the sub and she becomes the domme. [In some of the best conversations, he tries to be broody and threatening as he says, “Look what you have reduced me to! I am lovelorn!” Meanwhile, she points out, “I don’t buy it. It’s CONSENSUAL enslavement.”] It’s all very kinky and a bit sick and not a little tainted with stupid yin/yang essentialism, but the point is that it works as a piece of psychological insight to explain the ambivalence between people and divines.

What I’m trying to say here is this: Lee’s use of the Divine Screw trope is unusual. The male Divine ain’t the center; instead, it’s the female human mother and the halfbreed daughter. In fact, the women are so central to Lee’s Divine Screw that the product thereof is a daughter, something inconceivable [hah!] in most versions of the tale. Moreover, Lee just doesn’t change the sex of the Child of the Penis of Doom. Lee actually pays attention to all parties, father, mother and child, and gives them their due. Women with subjectivity! How revolutionary.

The oldest vampire in Massachusetts

The oldest vampire in Massachusetts published on 4 Comments on The oldest vampire in Massachusetts

Ethan Stuart, leader of the Colos of Salem, is the LHF universe’s oldest vampire. He was in his 80s when he was vamped at the end of the 17th century, so there wasn’t much youth to preserve in the first place. He’s also wasting away, which explains his deliciously zombie-like condition [courtesy of the Mr. Happy package mentioned earlier]. Of course he looks exhausted and melancholy.

Review of Hex eps 1-6 and some notes about the Divine Screw

Review of Hex eps 1-6 and some notes about the Divine Screw published on 4 Comments on Review of Hex eps 1-6 and some notes about the Divine Screw

Having been American Gothicked out, I skipped over the pond to investigate the BBC’s Hex. The British show seasons are usually 6 to 8 eps, 1/3 the size of American show seasons, so I watched the first season, eps 1-6, before, as the reviews commented, the cast switched around and character development went out the window.

In season 1 of Hex, shy, artistic Cassie tries desperately to be popular, but wins the eye of no one except her snarky roommate Thelma, who has a huge crush on her, and Azazeal, a fallen angel and professional lurker. Both Thelma and Azazeal want to get into Cassie’s pants, so essentially season 1 forms a love triangle. Azazeal kills Thelma at the end of ep 1, turning her into the Dead Lesbian archetype, and it’s basically all downhill. Despite Thelma’s investigative work and devotion to freeing Cassie from Azazeal’s influence, Azazeal claims that Cassie is destined to have sex with him. Azazeal possesses Cassie in order to get in her pants. Cassie and Thelma try to get Cassie an abortion, but Azazeal possesses the doctor so that the baby ends up being born. Since a child by Azazeal and a human woman will let the rest of the fallen angels out of prison, the failed abortion is a very bad thing. Season 1 ends.

Unfortunately for Hex, love triangles only work if you have three points to connect — in other words, three compelling characters. Cassie and Thelma are lively personalities with great, energetic chemistry. Thelma especially gets all the quips and, as played with a comically expressive face by Jemima Rooper, lights up the screen whenever she’s on. As Cassie, Christina Cole strikes me as a second-grade copy of Keira Knightley: winsome in a slight, scrawny way, but mediocre in the talent department. Still, she works well with Rooper in the best parts of the show.

Michael Fassbender as Azazeal, however, dooms much of the enterprise. Partly I fault the script writers for this because he spends entirely too much time lurking in a criminal, yet extremely tedious, manner, watching Cassie. And partly I find fault with Fassbender, who apparently can’t register any of the emotions that a fallen angel might be feeling at finally returning to power. How about some excitement when he’s killing Thelma to restore his strength? Or some gloating arrogance when he says to Cassie that they are fated to have sex? Or some relish and triumph when they actually do screw? No, he just drifts in and out of the shadows with a bored, rather blank look on his face. Since he’s the main plot motor, his crashing dullness removes suspense and narrative urgency from the show, leaving it more atmospheric than truly engaging.

[In fact, the most insight into Azazeal’s character that we get is an impassioned speech against abortion that he makes to a bunch of people in a church. He says that people tell him about women’s rights, but he doesn’t think that anyone cares about the baby’s rights. He says that life begins at conception, “because that is when the soul is formed.” Well, it’s nice to know that this millennia-old demon is actually an uptight, narrow-minded, poisonously bigoted weirdo who would fit right in with those fundamentalist wackos who think abortion should be legal, but, when asked how much time a woman should serve for having an abortion, say, “Durrrrr,” and can’t answer the question.]

On a more thematic note, I have a huge objection to the Divine Screw narrative line, despite having co-created a decade-long saga predicated on just this exploitation. You know the story: Some all-powerful dipwad wants kids and decides to rape a human woman. The woman may resist, but the Penis of Doom cannot be stopped. The dipwad rapes the woman. She conceives a son, always a son — the Dipwad is convinced of it. The woman may try to abort the fetus or to kill herself, but her attempts avail nothing against the Son of Dipwad. The woman gives birth to Son of Dipwad, who inevitably takes after Dipwad Dad. The expendable woman, having served as an incubator, is pretty much abandoned by Dipwad, and who cares what happens to her next? All focus shifts to the glorious Son of the Penis of Doom, who naturally fulfills his destiny and destroys the world.

I object to the Divine Screw theme because it doesn’t care about the women. To this story line, they’re just temporary baby holders, nine-month pieds a terre for the Sons of the Penis of Doom before they pursue their inevitable conquest of the world. The Divine Screw theme does not interest itself in what it is like to be Divinely Screwed. It assumes that the result of the Divine Screw, the Son of the Penis of Doom, is the important part, the next chapter in the story.

Leda and the swan, a famous mythological rape, is referred to via Yeats’ poem in an ep of Hex.

Leda and the Swan, by an anonymous Renaissance painter

Without challenging the Divine Screw theme itself [some other time], I argue for the primacy of the women. Penises of Doom don’t reproduce asexually! They need sexual reproduction with women in order to have children. Women, however they react to the Divine Screw, constitute a necessary half of the story. In fact, to me, they’re the more interesting half. Penises of Doom and Sons of Dipwad have been around for millennia, stomping heroically all over the earth, but they’ve been making so much noise that you can’t hear the Mothers of the Children of Doom. 

You can’t hear them tell you what it’s like to be approached by the Divine. You can’t hear them tell you how they wrestled with angels, how, in their relations with the Divine, they took on divinity themselves. You can’t hear them tell you about the confusion and pain and power of being caught between the worlds of mortal power and those of supernatural unearthliness. You can’t hear them tell you about the fear and anxiety of knowing that they would have unusual children and perhaps the hope that the children would be, well, usual. You can’t hear them tell you about the harsh things their families and communities said to them and the harsh things they said to themselves…and the stories they ended up telling themselves to rationalize. You can’t hear them continue to live and find meaning in things, despite having been treated like shit and exploited. You can’t hear them wonder how in the world to raise their extraordinary children. You cannot hear their courage and perserverance, for it is not a warlike courage of Heraculean deeds, but an interior courage manifested in their continual striving to balance wonder and terror.

Great show, but…

Great show, but… published on 2 Comments on Great show, but…

If you want to see a show driven by the power of all-around masterful performances married to a strong, character-driven storyline, check out American Gothic, now available at Hulu. It is an ensemble story of sweet Southern corruption in which forces both good and evil fight for control of a young boy’s soul.

On the good side there’s recent Yankee transplant Matt Crower, played with quiet self-possession by Jake Weber, who is such a dry and gentle character in Medium, haunted by his wife and child’s death in a DWI accident he caused. There’s also Gail Emory, investigative reporter, played by Paige Turco with brooding dignity reminiscent of Yancy Butler at her best, returning to town to look into her parents’ suspicious deaths 20 years ago. The boy himself, Caleb, is played by 10-year-old Lucas Black in a startingly intense performance [I love those little, low, dark eyebrows!] that’s pretty realistic for a TV depiction of a 10-year-old boy.

On the evil side there’s schoolteacher Serena Coombes, played with sexy, slimy relish by Brenda Bakke. And there’s Lucas Buck, played by Gary Cole, who is my latest favorite actor. I first noticed him as the Boss From Hell in Office Space, Lumberg, but here, in the starring role, he really gets to show how hellish he can be. As the classic devil, Buck’s character operates on fear, doing good things for people, then asking them to pay him back, or else they meet gory demises. He also has an unnerving habit of popping up whenever someone is thinking about disobeying him. He creates a black hole of influence that it seems impossible to escape from.

The cheesy special effects and fast-motion weather hammer this point home, but Cole’s eternally genial front really makes the character work. Even when he’s threatening you, Buck does so in a gentlemanly way, which makes his cruelty even more effective and insidious. Cole plays Buck with a certain broadness that comes from his comedic experience, but he also projects such charisma and power that Buck always remains a magnetic and menacing presence. It’s a magnificent performance.

Not a perfect show, by any means, American Gothic suffers from a dearth of fully fleshed female characters. While all of the male characters have multiple dimensions, the women remain kinda flat. Gail’s the Plucky Gumshoe archetype, and Merlyn, Caleb’s dead sister, is the Pure Moral Compass archetype. Tertiary characters are also problematic. In Damned If You Don’t, for example, Carter Bowen and family do a favor for Sheriff Buck, which entails letting an escaped con into their house. Said con goes after 15-year-old Poppy Bowen. Wife Etta Bowen ends up dead. I strongly objected to the way that Poppy was portrayed not by the con, but by the SHOW itself, as a Lolita-licious sex object.

For example, she was shown performing suggestive oral maneuvers on a Popsicle while squeezed into a porch swing with the con. The way in which this scene was shot suggested that Poppy was doing a preview blowjob on some food in an attempt to seduce the con.

Camera lingers in slow-mo here on Popsicle held by ex-con.

For another example, camera panned from her feet, up her legs, to her chest and head as she slowly entered the swimming hole, objectifying her in a way that, say, Gail is never objectified.

You should see how interested the camera gets when she starts hiking up her dress so she doesn’t get it wet.

In the end of the ep, it is revealed that it’s Etta that the con is after. So the pornographication of Poppy was…what? A red herring? As far as I’m concerned, it was gratuitous and deeply disturbing because everyone was out to objectify her, from Buck, who wanted to give her a job in his office and “take her under his wing,” to the con, who was feeling her up, to the very camera angles themselves. Despite obviously having sexual exploitation as its theme, the ep refused to examine the subject and instead just cranked up Poppy’s sexiness, thus making the viewer complicit in Buck and the con’s attacks on Poppy. No irony or commentary here either — we’re just expected to agree that Poppy is a hot little slut who brought misfortune to the family by being too damn sexy.

I have a crush on a walking corpse.

I have a crush on a walking corpse. published on No Comments on I have a crush on a walking corpse.

Mr. Happy, as sold at Renderosity, is a modification of an adult male digital model from robust and bland-looking to zombie-riffic. Morphs [sculpting mods] are included to make the model look that scrawny, as well as textures [skin] to make him appear rotten. Highly detailed and obviosuly crafted with love and a sense of humor, this package is an exquisite work of art…and this accolade is coming from someone who usually thinks that zombies are dull and uninteresting.

I keep making versions of Ethan Stuart, LHF’s oldest vampire [at almost 400 years], with versions of the zombie morphs supplied with V4 Creature Creator, but I don’t like the prospect of a V4-based vampire as much as I like the prospect of an M3-based, Mr. Happy vampire.

Bionic Woman is bionically boring.

Bionic Woman is bionically boring. published on No Comments on Bionic Woman is bionically boring.

NBC tries so hard to pump up interest in the pilot of Bionic Woman [redux], but its sluggish script, murky plot, dank sets, Keanu-Reeves-worthy “acting” [i.e., standing there like a piece of lumber], plethora of unidentified characters and lack of chemistry between anyone except for Jamie Sommers and Sarah Corvus [who keep eye-fucking each other every time they meet] kill it. You can watch past eps here, but why would you want to? Well, I suppose they’re a good cure for insomnia. How can such a fertile concept of bioethics, body modification, the construction of disability and “freakdom,” infiltration of the military into civilian life and the technological disenfranchisement of women end up so damn DULL in execution?

Barska binoculars puts “the ‘king’ back in ‘stalking.'”

Barska binoculars puts “the ‘king’ back in ‘stalking.'” published on No Comments on Barska binoculars puts “the ‘king’ back in ‘stalking.'”

The two ads for Barska binoculars are part of a print trio that trivializes stalking. From Ads of the World, as noticed by Shakesville. To compound the creepiness, the supposedly female stalker is actually a guy in drag [note Adam’s apple], a move that adds extra layers of dismissal and degradation. While some commenters opine that the series is creepy [see Shakesville comments], sexist and stupid, the majority seem to think it is funny [see Ads of the World comments or that it deserves “kudos.” No, it doesn’t.

Learn how to take care of the elderly with a life-sized silicone doll thereof.

Learn how to take care of the elderly with a life-sized silicone doll thereof. published on No Comments on Learn how to take care of the elderly with a life-sized silicone doll thereof.

Over on wtf_japan, I discovered a beautiful life-sized doll of an elderly woman, apparently designed to help personal care attendants practice caring activities for elderly people. She’s beautiful! She looks like she is going to tell you stories. Go here for translations, in case you couldn’t get the gist from the pictures.

Epona, 1:6 satyr girl custom, hangs out among greenery.

Epona, 1:6 satyr girl custom, hangs out among greenery. published on 3 Comments on Epona, 1:6 satyr girl custom, hangs out among greenery.

Back in January, I mentioned that I was getting a custom 1:6 fig from Twigling. Horsegirl eventually arrived, but I didn’t get around to taking pictures of her until today when I brought her to doll club. Everyone admired her sculpting and her digitigrade legs. As she traveled to and from Burlington in my tote bag, some of her paint chipped, so I’ll have to bundle her more carefully if she goes out again. See her hanging out among the potted plants below. I named her Epona, the Roman goddess of horses!

I always knew McDonald’s hamburgers tasted like crap, but…

I always knew McDonald’s hamburgers tasted like crap, but… published on 2 Comments on I always knew McDonald’s hamburgers tasted like crap, but…

…I never thought I’d see them copping to it in an ad of theirs. Can you guess what the ad below [by Haye and Partner, Unterhaching, Germany, ganked from Ad Goodness] is selling? Frankly, my first guess was “shit sandwiches.” Fossilized sandwiches? Coprolite sandwiches? Answer below ad.

Apparently it’s supposed to be selling McDonald’s coffee. Apparently that crap-colored object is supposed to be a coffee bean with an identity crisis. Could have fooled me. Usually ads fail for me because I’m distracted by their sociological implications. Very rarely do I just fail to understand what the heck is going on, on a very basic level, in an ad.

Damnata the zombie voodoo Argus rag doll thinks you are full of shit.

Damnata the zombie voodoo Argus rag doll thinks you are full of shit. published on 1 Comment on Damnata the zombie voodoo Argus rag doll thinks you are full of shit.

Also her hair is watching you. Made using texture and clothes from this set, Dulari for V3, spikes from some freebie fetish wear and a morph from my own doll-addled imagination, Damnata the zombie voodoo Argus rag doll will eventually appear as one of Will’s dolls in season 3 of LHF. Picture below. Filed under “therianthropes” because she just seems weird. Don’t you want a doll of her??? Her pale canvas skin, heavily stitched up, gave me nightmares all last night.

Petite Mort: The mortality drug for vampires [with nasty side effects]

Petite Mort: The mortality drug for vampires [with nasty side effects] published on No Comments on Petite Mort: The mortality drug for vampires [with nasty side effects]

Thinking the of ep of Moonlight in which vampires were pretending to be human [The Mortal Cure] and its inverse, B.C. [summarized here, in which humans take drugs to feel vampiric], I got to wondering… What if there was a synthetic drug for modern American vampires [as opposed to the many other kinds running around in my universe] that simulated the effects of being human: i.e., reduced strength and speed, reduced sensorium, reduced immune system, tolerance for daylight, garlic and major religious symbols? 

I see it now. The drug, called Petite Mort [Little Death], recreates the physical experience of being human without the sensual cues. Normally, vampires are less sensitive to pain and fatigue because they have a higher level of stamina and endurance than mortals. Petite Mort would make them more susceptible to damage without making them more sensitive to it. The drugged vampires’ senses remain vampiric, but their bodies suffer in a mortal manner without their nervous systems registering the damage.

Basically, vampires on Petite Mort are like mortals with Riley-Day Syndrome, a genetic disorder in which one of the most salient and dangerous symptoms is an inability to feel external pain. Without the cues of pain, persons with Riley-Day Syndrome experience injury and do not notice. For example, Ashlyn Blocker, a 5-year-old with the disorder, has burned herself and knocked out both child and adult teeth. She also experienced a scratch to a cornea that, I believe, reduced her vision in the affected eye. In the same manner, vampires on Petite Mort do not have human levels of pain/self-preservation, so they can give themselves fatal injuries rapidly. Furthermore, vampires on Petite Mort often overestimate their capacities and attempt to do things that would require vampiric strength, agility or resiliency.  The lack of nervous system feedback leads the drug users to overextend themselves and hurt themselves.

Also dangerous is the fact that Petite Mort makes users lose their taste for blood. They don’t want to drink blood; they want to eat human food. If they use Petite Mort regularly, they may forget to drink blood, which they must, in order to survive [because they’re still vampires]. Thus Petit Mort can lead users to starve to death.

As if these problems weren’t enough, Petite Mort has especially risky side effects those who have been vampires for longer than 10 or so years. When using Petite Mort, vampires who have been dead for greater than 10 years return their immune systems to the eras in which they died. Petite Mort does not reactivate chronic or terminal conditions [i.e., Will would not resume his asthma, nor Mark his AIDS], but it does give vampire users the immune systems that they had when human at the times of their death. Therefore, vampires who use Petite Mort are vulnerable to any new diseases that have developed since they were vamped.

So, to recap, Petite Mort lets you go out in direct sunlight and eat garlic. As a tradeoff, you’re likely to disable or kill yourself indavertently due to a decreased ability to feel pain…or starve to death…or die because of something that you weren’t vaccinated against because you were vamped before the disease developed. Sounds attractive to me! Actually, it sounds like a good way to kill vampires: drug ’em and let ’em self-destruct.

Bring me the head of the Disco King: Shameful pleasures of the Underworld soundtrack

Bring me the head of the Disco King: Shameful pleasures of the Underworld soundtrack published on 4 Comments on Bring me the head of the Disco King: Shameful pleasures of the Underworld soundtrack

As a movie, Underworld did not interest me, despite the presence of vampires, werewolves, Bill Nighy and lots of corsetry. In fact, it punished my senses, so I turned it off, bored, halfway through. I do, however, enjoy the soundtrack. In fact, I play it regularly when working on LHF. It reminds me of the sort of music that vampires would play ironically.

Listening to the soundtrack for the first Underworld is a schizophrenic experience. On one hand, the listing boasts some of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of melancholia ever to cross my ears, such as the Loner Mix of David Bowie’s Disco King, in which his light, fatigued voice adds textures of regret and longing to a song that’s already creepy. I also really like Suicide Note by Johnette Napolitano, in which the singer expresses her impotent sadness at a friend’s self-destruction: “I wanted to believe / You would win / The war in your head / That I did not understand.” I also just love Awakening by the Damning Well, especially for its pounding bass line and the lyric “I realize that I miss being human.”

At the same time, the disc also holds a crapload of sheer turds. Lisa Germano’s From A Shell features the hilarious and inane repetition of “It’s the buzz,” which really adds nothing to the song. I’m not sure whether Puscifer is purposely going over the top in Rev 22:20 [“Jesus is risen / It’s no surprise / Even he would martyr his mama / To ride to hell between those thighs” = boring], but I like to think that they are, which makes their blatantly obvious use of religious terms a bit more forgivable. Meanwhile, Judith by A Perfect Circle, despite being eminently singable [unlike much of the stuff on this CD], makes my ears bleed by singing, “Fuck your god!” and not doing anything with the sentiment except for flogging it to death and back. Fuck your song, Perfect Circle. I’m not even mentioning the songs that are so bad that I deleted them from my hard drive so I’d never have to hear them again.

Incidentally, it’s been about two years since the appearance of Underworld: Evolution. The third movie should be lurching forth soon enough so that we may drive a stake through its heart and a silver bullet through its eye, thus killing the cumbersome franchise dead for good.

I need to get the Crow movie soundtrack [I think]. Maybe I should watch the Crow original movie too…

The aesthetic of Pushing Daisies

The aesthetic of Pushing Daisies published on 1 Comment on The aesthetic of Pushing Daisies

Pushing Daisies is still blooming. I still enjoy it for all the reasons that I enumerated in my first review. I also enjoy it because of its aesthetic choices. The show characterizes its personalities with the use of extremes. For example, Emerson the PI just doesn’t enjoy knitting; he carries knitting needles everywhere, lines his desk drawers with self-knitted socks and ogles knitting pop-up books. Olive the waiter just doesn’t have a mild penchant for paisley; she has an entire house decorated in it, from wallpaper to rug to upholstery. The use of bright, obvious extremity telegraphs information about personalities definitively, quickly and humorously. I am trying to pursue such a stylized means of character development in some parts of LHF, so I watch Pushing Daisies’ use of exaggeration with interest.

Which came first, Carnival of Souls or The Hitch Hiker ep of The Twilight Zone?

Which came first, Carnival of Souls or The Hitch Hiker ep of The Twilight Zone? published on 1 Comment on Which came first, Carnival of Souls or The Hitch Hiker ep of The Twilight Zone?

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Twilight Zone, one of my all-time faves, are available for streaming online with commercials. YAY FREE TWILIGHT ZONE!!!

Therefore I have been indulging in the classics as I work. I just finished The Hitch Hiker [season 1, ep 16]. First shown in 1960, it predates one of my favorite B flicks, Carnival of Souls, which I originally recognized as very Twilight Zone-like because it rips off the plot of The Hitch Hiker, in which a woman has a car accident. She is then haunted by a mysterious figure until she realizes that she actually died in the car accident and the figure is coming to claim her soul. Padded by redundant interior monolog, the Twilight Zone version eschews the subtlety and character development of Carnival of Souls in favor of one cheap thrill. Needless to say, I like Carnival of Souls much better, even though it’s not original.

In related Twilight Zone news, I just found, a Web site that covers not just ep summaries, but the various revivals and spin-offs, a bio of Rod “Sentence Fragment” Serling himself and a thematic ep finder. 

Vampires aren’t heroes.

Vampires aren’t heroes. published on No Comments on Vampires aren’t heroes.

Moonlight never fails to piss me off, yet I keep watching. Today’s current source of annoyance, as I listen to grainy videos on, is El Doofus Grande Mick’s job and motivations.

In the intro to each ep, he is often shown saying, “I want to help people. That’s why I became a private investigator.” You know, off the top of my head, that is not the first job that I think of as a helping profession. If I wanted to help people, I would become a nurse, an EMT, a counselor, a firefighter, an elementary school teacher, a martial arts instructor, anything but a private dick. But no, none of these jobs is flamboyant and action-packed enough for a TV show [although I think there’s an awesome concept here for a show about vampires on an ambulance crew]. These jobs are quieter, not as explosive; they deal more with the internal workings of human beings, which TV shows don’t like to examine, unless the internal workings are splattered all over the ground.

Why, why, WHY is there such a spate of TV shows about vampires with sexy detective jobs [Forever Knight, Angel, Moonlight, New Amsterdam]? It’s as if being the walking dead equates to a high-profile, fast-paced job full of thrills, chills and spills. Frankly, I think that’s unrealistic. Your average vampire would probably be living a rather discreet life [the better to slip through time without aging] and would be more likely to have committed crimes [breaking into blood banks, robbing for money rather than holding down a job, assaulting for food] than to be catching criminals. You know, a pretty unassuming person doing some secret bad things. For example, the high points of some of the LHF characters’ days run as follows:

Will gets a spate of new porn subscribers.

Anneka sorts through cartons of donations and finds an exciting, valuable book.

Rori invents a new bestselling drink at the Nightcrawler.

Mark auctions off a big-ticket book and can afford a vacation.

Pippilotta talks someone out of committing suicide on the hotline.

Sibley closes [yet another] lucrative real estate deal.

And, in the closest thing to private investigating that LHF comes, Chow patrols while on neighborhood watch, sees a suspicious person and calls the police.

Of course, that doesn’t make for good TV.

That’s an interesting anti-vampiric plot device.

That’s an interesting anti-vampiric plot device. published on No Comments on That’s an interesting anti-vampiric plot device.

Over on Moonlight, previously mentioned here, season 1, ep. 12, The Mortal Cure, summarized here,  El Doofus Grande, Mick, learns about a temporary antidote to vampirism. Developed during the French Revolution [?!], this herbal compound temporarily makes a vampire mortal if absorbed through an open wound. That’s a neat plot device: temporary mortality. Too bad I didn’t think of it.

Overall, Moonlight alternates between pissing me off and entertaining me. The overdetermined and shallow narration adds nothing and detracts a lot from the story. The characters aren’t particularly deep. At the same time, the creators seem to have invested actual brainpower into vampires not only as supernaturals, but also as members of a subculture with its own hierarchy and rules.

Anneka does a meme.

Anneka does a meme. published on No Comments on Anneka does a meme.

…which I got from armeleia.
I am obviously my parents’ child.
I arrange my books according to Library of Congress catalog order.

I can beat you at Fictionary.
I can’t understand why anyone would run for enjoyment.
I collect merpeople.
I continue trying to figure out what the fuck to do with my death.
I could write the Great American Novel if I had a good enough idea.
I couldn’t eat garlic unless I wanted to go up in hives.
I don’t believe in natural hair colors.
I doubt the existence of God.
I dream about a fulfilling job.
I drink blood, unfortunately.
I fear my parents finding out.
I feel kind of aimless right now.
I grok Baudelaire.
I hate sexist assholes…also Alzheimer’s.
I have too many books.
I haven’t ever hit anyone.
I hear people’s blood pumping in their veins as they walk by.
I hide the fact that I’m dead.
I like submissive boys and girls.
I listen to the Beatles.
I long to be alive.
I love my grandma!!
I might move back up to Vermont some day.
I misuse air quotes.
I plan to finish the novel some day [really!].
I prefer people who look kind of like David Bowie.
I see in the dark.
I should probably look for another job.
I sleep during the day.
I smell a lot more acutely, now that I’m dead, and boy do most people stink.
I take lollipops from banks when no one’s looking [except the security cameras].
I taste peppermint in the flowing of the wind.
I think way too much.
I use words like weapons.
I want happiness.
I watch the girls go by dressed in their summer clothes; I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.
I will make myself happy somehow.
I write silly lists.

Raines: Seriously out to kick stereotypes’ asses

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Raines, a series tragically canceled too soon, features the titular homicide detective, whose hook is that he imagines the victims whose cases he pursues. His evolving conceptions of them literalize his deductive process as he figures out their stories. For example, in Meet Juan Doe, the dead man starts off as a rotten corpse, but resembles a living human being as soon as Raines finds a driver’s license and photo. In the end, it’s always shown that Raines’ ability to psychologize the victims and picture them as complete people, rather than dead bodies, helps him to solve the crimes and understand himself a bit more. Solid acting, dry humor, thoughtful show. Entire run can be watched on Hulu. [Filed under “vampires” because people come back from the dead.]

I really like Raines for a few reasons. 1) Because I talk to myself [and frequently talk back], any show with a character who does the same interests me, especially if the show portrays him as unusual, but also imaginative, intuitive and successful because of this trait. Raines frequently worries that he’s going crazy, and everyone agrees that he’s mentally disturbed, but they don’t automatically demonize the way he talks to people in his head.

Incidentally, the show nails perfectly the ways in which seemingly independent imaginary characters talk to their creators. Raines’ characters appear and disappear easily, changing clothes and hairstyle as quickly as a thought. Their forcefulness distracts him, not because he’s literally hearing them [hallucinating], but because he’s imagining so hard that he tunes out the outside world. The characters don’t know any factual information that Raines doesn’t know; at the same time, they often make astute observations about emotions or motivations that Raines has a hard time grasping himself. They’re very Trickster-like.

2) In a manner unusual for a cop show, Raines focuses on the victims and gives them a voice. While many cop shows are about the mechanics of solving crimes [examples: any Law & Order, Bones, etc.], Raines is about as character-driven as a cop show can be. Most of the action occurs in Raines’ head, and it consists of his perceptions changing about the victims as he learns more about them. While Raines seeks to learn how the victims were murdered, the show seems just as interested in why. With most cop shows, the victim’s body is the beginning of the case investigation and the true meat of the show. With Raines, the victim’s body represents the end of a life which the show seeks to delve into and reconstruct.

3) To the end of reconstructing lives, Raines enjoys subverting stereotypes. Again, in the example of Meet Juan Doe, Juan at first appears to be an illegal Mexican immigrant out to take the life of an anti-immigration city councilman who came to LA illegally himself. Turns out that Juan was coming to see his dad, the councilman, to show him his daughter-in-law and grandson. The councilman shot his son, thinking his son was an assassin. In the pilot, prostitute Sandy Boundreau is earning money to help her mom leave her abusive husband; plus she refuses to play along with a wife to entrap a husband into supposedly cheating. By refusing to accept that characters are as cliched and evil as they may initially appear, the show argues for optimism and, surprisingly for a cop show, a view of human nature as good.

Sex sells vacuum cleaners?

Sex sells vacuum cleaners? published on 1 Comment on Sex sells vacuum cleaners?

Subject: Vacuum cleaner ad below, ganked from Inventorspot. Sorry…I don’t have a larger version, and the only context that I have is that it’s an ad for a German appliance. Too good to pass up, though.

Topics of discussion: “sex sells,” objectification, gender roles, mainstream commodification of BDSM subculture, differences between advertising norms in different countries.

Ready, set, discuss!!

Alfred Hitchcock Presents = The Twilight Zone of Psychology

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Hulu has the entire run of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 2 seasons of 30-minute “playlets” that compare favorably to one of my favorite shows, The Twilight Zone, only with all the thrills, chills and twists coming from psychological exploration, rather than science-fiction and fantasy elements. 

For example, the pilot, Revenge, features a man performing a vigilante beat-down on the man in the grey suit who supposedly assaulted his mentally disturbed wife. After he brains the guy with a wrench, the man and his wife are driving along in the car when his wife identifies another man as her assailant, leaving her husband with the OH SHIT!!! realization that his wife’s attacker lives inside her head, rather than outside. This suggestive study of creeping delusions is made all the more disturbing by Vera Myles’ profoundly monotone, numb performance as a woman who has overdosed on pain.

Since I love TV treatments of dolls, I especially like And So Died Riabouchinska. It stars Claude Rains as a ventriloquist suspected of murdering a juggler who used to perform with him. Matters are complicated by his obsessive love for his dummy Riabouchinska and Riabouchinska’s irrepressible honesty as evidence mounts against her owner. In a Twilight Zone ep, the doll would be some magical spirit of righteous truth-telling, but, in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, it’s very obvious that the ventriloquist is talking for her; you can see his lips moving slightly when he’s especially perturbed. I actually find the Alfred Hitchcock Presents treatment of out-of-control dolls much more horrifying and heartbreaking. Riabouchinska represents the best qualities in the ventriloquist — his honesty, devotion and creativity — but, by externalizing them in an idol-like figure, the ventriloquist divorces himself from his strengths, as if he has cut out his moral compass. In the end, when Riabouchinska dies [that wasn’t a spoiler because it says she dies in the title], her silence becomes the tragic marker of a man who, in dividing himself in two, ended up breaking himself. Pretty awesome. 

Rains’ performance really sells this one; it’s clear that the ventriloquist obviously has SERIOUS problems, but Rains plays his passion for Riabouchinska and his alarm at Riabouchinska’s truth-telling in a rather understated way, as if the ventriloquist is reacting to another person [not a dummy]. Rains’ naturalistic style makes his character’s mind transparent enough for the viewers to feel sympathy toward him, even if we don’t understand why he is so attached to Riabouchinska.

In passing, I must say that the prop masters outdid themselves with Riabouchinska. I’ve gone my entire life hating all ventriloquist dummies because of their huge lower jaws and spinning, scrawny necks. I don’t think I’ve ever conceived of a ventriloquist dummy that was anything but a comic punching bag. But Riabouchinska, who recalls more of a figurehead or even the arch, aerodynamic features of a first-edition Barbie, successfully differentiates herself from punching bag dummies. With less caricatured and more realistic features and movements, she has the beautiful but uncanny stylization of a BJD. I kind of want a Riabouchinska-like ventriloquist dummy, especially because her eyes open and close. Plus her mouth moves!!

The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, or, What does an avenger do after avenging?

The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, or, What does an avenger do after avenging? published on 1 Comment on The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, or, What does an avenger do after avenging?

To capitalize on the great success of best-selling comic book The Crow a movie came out in 1994, followed by a bunch of subpar sequels and one season of a TV show, the subject of this review. The Crow: Stairway to Heaven follows the same general plot of the comic book, with Draven returning to avenge his and his girlfriend’s death. After the show burns through this major plotline in the first two eps, it has no idea what to do with the angst-ridden avenger. I mean, if he’s “put things right,” as was his assignment, why is he continuing to hang around? DVD Verdict sums it up:

It’s clear that the creators of the series didn’t have a long-range plan for the show. The first two episodes cover the basic plot of the film, and then the series settles into a “freak of the week” groove, as Eric takes care of a new baddie in each episode.

Having never read or seen anything else of The Crow, I have to say that there’s an interesting idea buried in the series. The Crow supposedly comes back to “set things right,” which he interprets as killing his killers. At the same time, besides supernatural butt-kicking skills, he also has the much more fascinating power of reading emotions and memories from his surroundings and transferring these to other people, as when he sends all Jenko’s victims’ pain back on Jenko: “All their pain, all at once, all for you.” 

This is truly cool, as it explores the tension in the Crow’s nature. Killed because of violence, brought back because of violence and adept at dealing violence, he nevertheless illustrates all that is detrimental about violent solutions. Furthermore, in his painful power of empathy, the Crow illustrates an alternative means of dealing with suffering: putting the criminals in the mindsets of their victims.

In summary, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven represents a host of missed opportunities, further dragged down by thoroughly mediocre acting [with the exception of Katie Stuart as Sarah Mohr, a grungy skater girl who somehow is friends with the Crow] and too many electric guitars. [Filed under “vampires” because the Crow is undead, indestructible, funereal and out for blood.]

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