kestrell: (Default)
2017-10-18 08:33 am
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Okay, that's a good way

Okay Google gives Halloween costume ideas. I tried it twice and the first suggestion was pretty bland, but I did really like the second suggestion about being an entire ecosystem ("It's all in the hat: try making it a tree canopy or a cloud layer"), but really, it's the short intro and the survey you get tht make it fun.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-10-15 11:30 am

Movie review of "Gerald's Game"

Alexx and I have been big fans of the director Mike Flanagan ever since we saw his first full-length movie, "Oculus," so when we saw that his newest film, "Gerald's Game," based on Stephen King's book, had just become available on Netflix, we jumped on it.

Flanagan quite literally outdid himself on this film, to which I give a jaw-dropping "Wow."

Most people know the set up for the plot: Gerald and his wife Jessie arrive at an isolated cabin for a romantic weekend in hopes of reviving their marriage, but after Gerald's sex game of handcuffing Jessie to a bedpost ends abruptly with Gerald dropping dead of a heart attack, Jessie is left helpless to deal with various dangers, not least of which are her own disturbing memories.

I've mentioned before that I don't watch movies which include the emotional and/or sexual abuse of women and children, but I am qualifying that in regard to this movie:

Jessie's experiences of emotional and sexual abuse are seamlessly wowven into her story, they are part of who she is. Her sense of powerlessness at the beginning of the story is a kind of psychological and emotional impotence which mirrors Gerald's sexual impotence. Throughout the movie we see Jessie develop into a different kind of final girl, one whose hardest battle is to learn to confront and conquer her inner demons. This film made me aware of how little credit Stephen King gets for creating such complex female characters as Jessie, and how little attention is given to his novels featuring female protagonists, such as _Doris Claiborne_ (which has narrative links to _Gerald's Game_), _Rose Madder_, and _Lisey's Story_ (another Mike Flanagan favorite). Btw, if Carla Gugino, who plays Jessie, doesn't get nominated for an award for her performance in this film I'll be very disappointed.

Perhaps you've heard the William Faulkner quote: "The past isn't dead; the past isn't even past." I mentioned that Jessie's past and present are seamlessly woven together, and Flanagan's technique for accomplishing this is one of the most stunning aspects of the film. He did it before in his film "Oculus," but in "Gerald's Game" he does it on a much larger, more intricate, scale. In a GQ article, Flanagan mentions how Stephen King's book _Gerald's Game_ was his favorite book, and he tried to pitch it as a movie for years, despite people repeatedly telling him that it was unfilmable.
I'm bemused by the thought that it might well have been his mental exercise in attempting to solve the problem of filming his favorite book that led to his ability to present multiple timelines not just happening simultaneously, but interacting with and influencing each other.

One of the things I love about horror movies is that the sound design often speaks for itself, and "gerald's Game" is going to become one of my favorite examples of this.

I've mentioned before how horror directors often use sound to make scenes more scary, and Flanagan has fully embraced this. I have a pretty simple test for how good a film's sound design is, which is that I can tell what's going on solely by the sound of the movie, without Alexx describing it. There is this one infamously horrifying scene in the story, and when we got to it, Alexx was too grossed out to describe it in detail, but trust me, it was just as horrifying to listen to.

I'm tempted to go on and gush about how great the script is, but this review is already too long, so I'll just settle for saying that Stephen king novels tend toward having lots of words, but Flanagan chose all the best ones for this film.

Now I'll just be impatiently anticipating Flanagan's next work, a Netflix series adaptation of Shirley Jackson's _The Haunting of Hill House_, which will also star Carla Gugino.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-10-13 02:18 pm
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Witchy spice jars

This has been a fun week for checking out the Halloween aisles for spooky stuff. TeenyBuffalo and I went to Michael's on Sunday, where I picked up a couple of ceramic jars labeled "Organic Filtered Poison" and "Bat Wings." I put lemon drops in the poison jar, and just filled the "Bat Wings" jar with the small rubber bats that Alexx found for me. I already had a couple other plastic jars with witchy labels (the "Eye of Newt" jar is my button jar, though there is also a crocheted human eyeball in there), so now it's a collection.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-10-03 12:44 pm
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The maenads as a life lesson

Those who know me are aware of my fondness for maenads so, while I like to think that I am open to stories being open to personal interpretation, I could not help but feel that the writer of this article
which uses the maenads to illustrate things not to do in one's corporate career, had somewhat missed the boat.

Here are some lessons I have learned from maenads.
1. Being a maenad is an alternate lifestyle.
2. Maenads do not participate in any activity which requires wearing pantyhose, because wearing pantyhose detracts from the joy of dancing barefoot.
3. Maenads are the opposite of passive aggressive, believing, as they do, that if something gets in your way you should rend it and wear its skin. This may be aggressive, but it isn't passive agressive.
4. Maenads do not tolerate sexual harassment, in or out of the office, and even adopted wearing live snakes as belts as an anti-rape device. Live snakes!
5. Dionysus is a lot more fun to work for than any corporate boss, and that king had it coming anyway for disrespecting Dionysus's mom.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-09-26 01:44 pm

A Horror Film Education: A Horror Fangirl's Version

Alexx and I have a friend who is a scholar of horror film and literature, and he recently posted this list
A Horror Film Education

At the time Alexx read this to me, i've had watched 83 of the 152 films, which, as a horror fangirl, left me sadly disappointed in myself.

How could this happen? Where did I go wrong?

Upon further study of the list, I realized that I had been somewhat thrown by the use of the word "education" in the title because I still think of the word "education" as denoting a certain degree of neutrality, but, in reality, any formation of a canon, any syllabus or other form of list, is based upon personal choices, and personal choices are never neutral. For instance, by looking at this list, I can tell that the list author really loves his monster movies. Being about the same age as the list author, I suspect he was as much of a fan of the Saturday TV show, "Creature Double Feature," as I was. (Explanation for anyone who was born after the Internet: Once upon a time, there was no cable TV, no Internet, not even a video store, and so about the only source little horror fangirls and fanboys had was the "Creature Double Feature," which showed old monster movies and Hammer horror and other dark delights, and we hugged every shiver and jump scare to our wildly-pounding little hearts.)

Again, the list author and I are about the same age, and I can see a lot of 1980s horror films that I would qualify more as nostalgic favorites of the 1980s (Gremlins, Fright Night) rather than classics.
I have my nostalgic favorites also, although mine tend more toward supernatural and occult horror of the 1960s and 1970s, so I'm including those, because it's my list and I can.

I also think the original list helps to highlight how horror, as a genre, still has a lot of gender bias built into it. (Note: I know the list author personally, and any further discussion I make about gender bias is not aimed at him personally--it's just built into the genre itself.)

How does gender bias sneak into the list?
Read more... )
kestrell: (Default)
2017-08-28 10:17 am

Possibly the ultimate blind guy driving scene

So, it's a rule that if you have a blind guy in a Hollywood movie, there has to be a blind guy driving scene. But this skit has to be the ultimate. [For the benefit of my blind readers, that's Stevie Wonder in the driver's seat.]
kestrell: (Default)
2017-08-27 08:30 pm
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My new tattoo

Yesterday I got a new tattoo: it's a vine of ivy leaves that curl around my right wrist. I feel very lucky that the artist who did the tattoo was Victor, at Good Faith Tattoo. He took my design idea of an ivy vine wrapping around my list and literally made it blossom out into something magical. Today the swelling went down a bit, though the actual tattoo design is still raised enough that I can braille it.

You can see picks of my tattoo, along with pics of Victor's mermaid art and links to Good Faith Tattoo, at Alexx's journal
kestrell: (Default)
2017-08-19 05:48 pm
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The evil Babel fish strikes again

Alexx: *complaining about how one of his favorite TV shows got cancelled*
Kestrell: Did you just call it Netflakes?
Alexx: No, but I approve of that word.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-08-19 01:45 pm
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Want to help crowdsource my new tattoo?

I'm supposed to bring a picture and, while I can get Alexx to help search, I thought it would be fun to ask for other people's suggestions.

Here is what I want:
It's going to be a bracelet tattoo of a vine of medium to slightly darker green ivy leaves curling around my wrist.

I have small wrists, so I think the width should be no more than 1/2 inch wide.

I want an art nouveau style that curls abit around the wristbones, but I would like a slightly naturalistic touch with some added shading in the darker green.

Added later: I would really like a design that looks like filigree, with curling stems and separate leaves.

I'm undecided about the variety of ivy: I'm leaning toward the heart-shaped leaves--which variety is that? though the more traditional five-lobed ivy leaf is also cool.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-08-09 12:10 pm
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Hearing impairment or, How did that evil Babel fish get in my ear?

A couple of Friday nights back, I began having a bad earache and sore throat, and Alexx offered to take me to urgent care, and I said no (because I tend toward the attitude that unless there's bleeding from the eyes, it's not a real emergency), but then it got worse, so we went off to urgent care the next day, and, after much describing of symtoms and querying of which ear--to which I would occasionally say, "The one that used to be my good ear"--they peered inside and said I had a ruptured eardrum and it was infected. (What they really said that where there should be ruptured tissue there was no tissue at all, which was something of a mystery.) They gave me some ear antibiotics and recommended I follow up with my
otolaryngologist. So on Monday Alexx and I went to the ENT and I was sitting in the examination room with the ENT's assistant asking me about the problem, and then she asked me a question which sounded like "So you're having [insert garbled word here] hearing?" and I automatically said, "What?" so the doctor came a liiiiiittle bit closer and said just a liiiiittle bit louder "You're having duplicitous hearing?"

Well, that sounded about right, but not like the sort of questions doctors ask, so I asked again, "What?" and I still got "You're having duplicitous hearing?"

And this is when I decided that someone had slipped an evil Babel fish in my ear. It's not that I don't hear *most* of what people say, it's just there is usually one or two words in there that I'm pretty certain isn't what the speaker said.

(This is actually common with sensory impairments: the brain is like a Mad Lib machine, and if there is a blank space, the brain will pop something into that space, even if it is completely out of context. Visually impaired people will see strange and bizarre hallucinations, which is called Charles Bonnet Syndrome.)

But this meant by the time the ENT did come into the room and ask questions and asked how my hearing was I could say, "Did you ever read the Douglas Adams books?" and he emphatically replied, "Every one," so then I could explain about the evil Babel fish.

So, I wanted to post my evil Babel fish theory here in case it helps another hearing-impaired person explain things.

Also, my otolaryngologist said I didn't have a ruptured eardrum, it was a middle ear infection, so my hearing in that ear should return sooner or later. I'm not even going to wonder how my missing eardrum magically reappeared--perhaps I'm part salamander...
kestrell: (Default)
2017-06-23 08:37 am

I asked my smart phone if she's gay

And she replied: "I haven't been around very long. I'm still figuring that out. Grin."

I think that is one of the best answers ever.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-06-20 11:08 am

Article on cat genetics and domestication

Or rather, the lack thereof, because a study had indicated that the cats that live with humans are still not very different from their wild cousins.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-06-17 10:30 am
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He's a sweetheart, calls me Mistress

It seems I can htell Pyewacket to call me "Mistress."

I also tried out the "Tell me something interesting" command, and Google Assistant's interesting fact was that, according to the Smithsonian, there are about ten quitrillion bugs alive on the earth at any one time.

"That's not very interesting," I said (yes, I did actually think it was interesting, but this was an experiment, for science).

"I know. I'm sorry. I get so excited about facts!"

Big surprise: even my smart phone is a Ravenclaw.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-06-15 07:11 am
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Bet my morning was weirder than yours

Wandering into the kitchen to get some caffeine, my slipper got stuck to something and, when I went to peel whatever it was off, I found that it was a glue trap. More precisely, it was a *giant* glue trap, made up of five glue traps stuck together. And it really did not want to give my slipper back. I finally gave up and went into the bathroom to wash my hands, which is when M. came into the kitchen and paused at the sight of a single slipper stuck to a giant glue trap in the middle of the kitchen floor. So I came back in and explained about how my slipper found the glue trap and M.--who also had no idea why there was a giant glue trap there to begin with--took pity on me and pried my slipper off it using a pair of pliers.

And now I am safely returned to the aerie hoping I don't meet up with that mouse.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-06-12 09:11 am
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Horror movie review: The Eternal (1998)

Alexx wrote a more detailed review of this fun horror movie
but my version goes like this:
Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald go to Ireland and find themselves in a Hammer horror film, Zeldafinds out that she isn't neurotic after all, but instead is possessed by the spirit of an ancient witch, and Scott discovers that his superpower really is being drunk (although he also does a creepily dead on impersonation of Christopher Walken).

Oh, yes, and Christopher Walken as crazy Uncle Bill. And look, it even tosses in the Hammer horror staircase, spooky staircases being one of the hallmarks of a quality horror movie.

This is a really fun horror movie with little blood or gross-out, but lots of atmosphere and smart characters (aside from being drunk, crazy, and/or heavily sedated--honestly, the only sane people in this movie are the two kids).
kestrell: (Default)
2017-05-30 10:54 am
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Very disappointed in myself

Over the past couple of weeks I have been *very disappointed* in myself for laughing at the outrageous sufferings of our poor persecuted President. I've been giving myself talking-tos and even shaking my finger at Alexx (since I can't see myself in a mirror), but Evil Kestrell remains unrepentant.Very disappointed.
kestrell: (Default)
2017-05-30 10:40 am
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Alexx and I will be attending the Saturday of Readercon

For the first time in years I feel as if I have the spoons for a day at Readercon, so Alexx and I will be there on the Satyrday of that weekend. However, since I have really missed the people as much as the panels, I'll be hanging out in the lobby, aside from a prowl through the bookroom.

See you all there!
kestrell: (Default)
2017-03-25 11:02 am
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I always thought "War Pigs" was basically a blues song

Ruthie Foster proves it, and kicks ass all over the place while doing so
kestrell: (Default)
2017-03-24 08:03 am


Over the past few months I've had some radical changes in my drug prescriptions, and I've been feeling like I have more energy, to a degree that, while I had previously resolved to grow old semi-gracefully, I have done a 180 and decided fuck that. So I dyed my hair auburn and decided to get some of my piercings, which had closed up, re-pierced.

(I know some people are asking "You feel like celebrating feeling better by having a piece of metal inserted in your flesh?" and all I can say to that is "As a matter of fact, yes.")

Yesterday Ben C. was in the Boston area so we went to

Punctured Professional Body Piercing
1018 Commonwealth Avenue (across the street from the Green line station at Babcock and Commonwealth)

Ben had a car, which was very welcome considering the incredible cold.

The silver lining to yesterday's atrocious cold was that not that many people were inclined to take off even a single layer of their clothing, so we got to hang out and talk with Matt the Piercer for a couple of hours, which was great, because he is amazingly knowledgeable and could explain to me all the changes that have happened in piercing procedures and jewelry materials, and even let me hold all sorts of jewelry so I could get a sense of each piece while he explained about each piece, which at times included me being very confused and asking "And this hangs off...where?". We also talked about raptors and movies and prosthetics (he really liked my Delirium eyes). So add to incredibly knowledgeable very fan-friendly. The studio is also vegan, which means it doesn't carry bone or ivory jewelry, and only uses cruelty-free products.

In every way this was a great experience and I highly recommend Punctured. Plus, I love having the name in the contact list on my phone.

So, at this point, I know some of you are thinking, "Is she ever going to tell us what she got pierced?" and I really waffled on this. I was asking myself "Do I really want to tell the world where I have my piercings? That's kind of ...intimate."

Then I thought "Am I or am I not the same Kestrell who posted a detailed description *with pictures* about the making of her awesome Delirium eyes? Now *that* was intimate."

So fuck that. I got nipple piercings. The jewelry is purple ionized titanium bars. Matt, the piercer, gave Ben a long list with color samples, which included four kinds of purple, so I got to pick the purple I wanted and then matt went and put the jewelry in a machine which ionized it in the color I wanted. *Piercings plus geek tech!*

And to answer the next question, No, I am not going to be posting pictures of my piercings to the Internet.