Moaning snakes

I really liked Black Snake Moan and I’m pleased I insisted on seeing it last night.

It’s a movie about sexuality, abuse, anxiety disorders, nymphomania, redemption, blues music and love. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie that deals with heavy issues like that in such a cheerful, uplifting way.

The story follows Lazarus (Samuel L Jackson) and Ray (Christina Ricci) in parallel, both broken people with serious issues. They meet, they connect, they are awesome.

I don’t want to spoil it any more, so I’ll just say I recommend it and I would like to own it on DVD.

I’ve been reading Girls Read Comics (and they’re pissed off) a lot, since Morgue linked to it. It is refreshing to read about comics from a feminist standpoint, and it has fired me up about some issues. Anyway, if you read comics at all, she’s easy to read and quite funny, if indignant a lot of the time.
I have been enjoying putting names of comics into the ‘search’ box and reading through the hits. I am sad she hasn’t read Y The Last Man because I’d really like to read her take on it.

Today we had breakfast at Leuven and then went shopping. I got some Lush goodies and a pair of shoes to paint for a cosplay. Must now go to spotlight for fabric paint. I also bought a DVD double pack of the Gremlins movies, because I really enjoyed rewatching them recently and it was $20.

PoF: Clowns scare me
CO: Apprehension re: drain cleaning

bride again then Hard Candy

I said yesterday that The Bride Stripped Bare is told in first person. That was a big lie. It’s actually told in second person, which is pretty unusual and you’d think I would have remembered.
So, this is one of the things that makes the book very personal. All the things described are about you….kinda. I finished it this morning, and it is indeed a wonderful book.

It’s still recommended.

My ongoing belly issues have dulled down to a steady and faint ache, and for several hours last night I felt fine. Which was such a welcome surprise I couldn’t stop smiling. Let’s hope the dull ache is hunger, hey?
I watched Hard Candy and I both liked it and hated it. I am now going to talk about it in a spoilerific way, so if you don’t know what happens in this movie and don’t want to know, please stop reading now.

It was very well made, well acted and written. However it was also gratuitous and horrible and just too much. I kept thinking ‘if the genders were reversed and it was a man torturing a woman and castrating her this movie would never have been made’ but then I think that woman are still being castrated in real life in Middle Eastern countries for less pertinent reasons than Hailey has for doing such to Jeff.

That women are constantly being tortured, killed and raped in movies by men for less motivation.
That in some ways this is an important movie simply because it gives a 14 year old girl the power to completely destroy a man. I don’t approve of what she did in any sense, and I think the movie perhaps didn’t need to go that far, but then mutilation of women in horror and splatter films and on TV (hello Special Victims Unit?) is so very prevalent that it’s kind of justified.

So. In summary. Upsetting, interesting psychologically the same way I was drawn to One Hour Photo, Woodsman, Memento and The Machinist although very different from all those films, just as they are different to each other. I don’t know if I can recommend this film though. It’s a bit too much.

spoilers over.

PoF: muscle singlet
CO: will my belly be good to me?

The Bride Stripped Bare

Originally published anonymously, The Bride Stripped Bare is by Nikki Gemmell , an Australian author now living in London.

I am not yet finished this book, but from 3/4s of the way through I can say this: Read it. If you are a woman, or are in a relationship with a woman or are in any way interested in female sexuality… it.

It is told in first person, as a diary of a married woman. It is primarily about sex, and an exploration of what she thinks about sex, what she wants, what she doesn’t want. Nikki says she deliberately made the woman (who is unnamed) conventional, an everywoman so as to make the text more accessible.

I read it and am relieved that I am not the only one who thinks, feels, wants these things. Reading this book is a bit like having a cup of tea with a close friend who says ‘yes! that’s right!’ and ‘me too’ and ‘you’re normal’.
…Besides all that, it’s also got a fantastic story and engaging characters who make mistakes and learn from them. Great ‘adult’ fiction in every sense of the word.

Nikki answers questions about Bride here

Books I’ve read

I’ve been working my way through (and loving) Y the Last Man, just finished number six Girl on Girl, and now I’m anxiously waiting for the next one to turn up for me. I really enjoy the characters, the storylines and the action. The only complaint I have is about the timeline, because reading them all collected together in a graphic novel you don’t really get a sense of time passing. Plus, when the comics tell you where and when the action is happening, it has an annoying habit of saying: Arizona. Now!

But this is a minor complaint about an overall fantastic series. Loving every frame, and each book has at least one laugh out loud moment as well as a shock, a revelation and a comment on society.

A Respectable Girl by Fleur Beale is in the Children’s Book Awards for best young adult novel, and I really enjoyed it. It’s set in New Plymouth in the 1860’s just as war is starting between the Maori and the English. Hannah is the main character, daughter of English but raised by a Maori stepmother. The story is about discovering roots, acting properly in society, romance, betrayal…all the good stuff. It’s written in first person, and very engagingly. Loved it.

I’m just about to finish reading The Road from Roxbury by Melissa Wiley, the third book in the ‘Little House’ books about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ancestors. I like reading about cleaning the house. It makes me want to be useful and clean my own house more!

I am also now up to date with Invincible, having read all the collected graphic novels that have so far been published. Loved that too. It’s hard to explain why these stories are so appealing, and I guess they wouldn’t appeal to people who don’t dig the superhero thing at least a bit. There’s human emotion, shock revelations and you really feel you get to know the main character. I want more of them, please.

I have a day off from work tomorrow, which will start with a hair cut. Other plans include writing, cleaning and doing whatever I feel like. Shopping on the way home from the haircut may occur.

PoF: grey stars
CO: releasing pressure

Potter number 7

The seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series is coming out this year. If you didn’t know that already than I suspect you’ve been living under a rock.

Scholastic are preparing for it by planning their biggest ever first print run (article here), among other things.
I am anxious to know what happens in the final book, since I’ve been a fan since just after The Prisoner of Azkaban was published.

I’ve been a participant in the fandom: attended a premiere screening wearing a Gryffindor tshirt and a Hogwarts hoodie (I was outclassed by a kid dressed in an owl suit), I’ve roleplayed a live action Harry Potter adventure as a Ravenclaw girl (with robe), I’ve roleplayed online as Harry himself quite extensively on Hogwarts Hocus (and I still wish I had time to spend on there with Ginny, Lily and Sirius)…and yet I feel I’m not as passionate about the whole fandom as other people.
That’s alright. I’ll celebrate Harry in my own way. And someday I will make myself a proper Gryffindor Quidditch uniform.

PoF: grey
CO: angry belly


Borders has opened!
It’s not as big as the Auckland shop (which is not much of a surprise.) But! The stuff they have!

The Graphic Novel selection was not so hot, just two bays of shelves, and mostly Marvel. No Invincible, two Fables. Complete series of Sandman though, at average prices. I *did* manage to get Jill Thompson’s Little Endless Storybook though, which is an absolute delight: beautifully illustrated and a funny story about Delirium going missing and her dog having to find her. Love it. They were on the other side of the Manga collection, seraph.

DVD collection was interesting but overall quite pricey. I bought Intacto which is a Spanish sci-fi I saw in the film fest about four years ago about very lucky people, who have the power to steal luck of others. It will probably be screened at Movie Night this week, as I really want to see it again. It was $30.

Kid’s section was really nicely set out with space themed carpet and nice open spaces. They have a shelf which is full of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books, in these nice matchy full colour editions, and cheap too at $17 each. I was very good and only bought the first one, although I suspect I will eventually have them all.

I bought a picture book for my new niece and a copy of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish which comes with a cd of Neil Gaiman reading it aloud.
Uhm, and the manga section. It’s huge. It has a whole side of an aisle, and not a short aisle either. Wellington finally has an awesome manga supplier. I was tempted to start collecting Angelic Layer, but I managed to resist buying any (although they had two Chobits titles I need, plus Cardcaptor Sakura and oh, so much stuff) because the books were mostly $24 each (Fruits Basket is $17ish) and I think I can get them cheaper off goodbooksnz.

So, I was quite restrained really. The manga section was pretty busy. I think Wellington was very ready for this!
I was talking to the woman who served me at the counter and she was saying they didn’t think they’d be that busy, and were trying to find more staff. I can’t say I was surprised that it was that busy!

PoF: Sunday morning
CO: books are nice


I seem to have mastered the control of my belly issues, through deep breathing and conscious relaxation. The flip side is that I am now definitely keeping all my tension in my right shoulder, where it meets the neck.

Has anyone got any ideas of how I can stop manifesting my psychological state in a physical form?


roleplaying quotes

From Best Friends: Big Brother Superheroes.

Legion: Thats the problem with you heroes, you don’t think of anything but yourselves.
Blue Steel (distrustfully): Yesss..Legion.

Stellar to Belladonna: There’s a bike in there, if you keep riding it you’ll go away!

Montage: Blue Steel eats things from around the house including a make-up case, shower head, railing of swimming pool (leaving poor Belladonna swimming for hours unable to get out).

Stellar to Serendipity: So, you totally fuck up people’s lives. That’s cool.

Belladonna to heroes: Hey, have you guys ever thought of using your powers for personal gain?

Serendipity: So, Legion, you’re waiting for your head to explode? How do you think that’s going to work out?

Blue Steel: Mirage, clearly you do not understand human emotions.

Belladonna: I have some push-up bras that you could use
Blue Steel: my body is not very malleable.
Serendipity: Technically Blue Steel is always wearing a tank top
Blue Steel: I enjoy your pun.

Mirage: The reason you’re still here Legion, is that if your head explodes people will want to see that on TV.

Stellar with the power of sarcasm fails again!
Blue Steel: You have chosen your side Mirage. I always knew you were evil!!

Blue Steel: Do any of you enjoy the steam hut?
Streak: Yeah?
Blue Steel: I believe that if I destroy the steam hut I can create the most awesome garden! Hydroponics!

Blue Steel (with pogo stick): I fear if Belladonna gets this she will win the competition.
Big Brother Voice: The eviction will be tomorrow at fnurhnur.
Housemates: What time?
Big Brother Voice: Go to bed!

Streak puts on glasses that the Big Brother Voice has given her.
Blue Steel: You look intelligent. I am seeing internal qualities that I’ve never seen before.

Big Brother Voice best hits: Cheese nose. Froooooooog. I have lost all sensation in my shirt.

Belladonna: If you win the eviction, can you tell me what the prize is?

Blue Steel drinks Draino and becomes drunk: We should find Captain Super and teach him a lesson.
Stellar: Yeah.
Blue Steel: Then we should find Iron Commando.

Legion: Hey, dont laugh at Serendipity! Don’t laugh at her pain!

Stellar re: Legion: Leave her alone, she’s got a lot of stuff in her mind.

Legion to Belladonna: why would a guy have sex with a girl other than you?

Mirage changes into togs instantly using her illusion power. Streak changed into togs instantly using superspeed. They scorn each other thus:
Streak: At least mine’s real.
Mirage: At least mine looks good.

Re: Iron Commando.
Serendipity: what was with his balloon pants?
Blue Steel: He was from another time, a time when men were strong. Like iron.

Mega Roleplaying day one

Wilderness of Mirrors – spy game. I played Ariel the ‘shade’, meaning I was meant to be the best at sneaking around. Something about this game didn’t really work for me, but that may just be because I was looking to play something which was on the whole sillier. I am pleased that I made all the spies take the names of Disney heroines as aliases though.

Best Friends = I ran this after dinner for a wonderful group: Matt, Debs, Luke, Erik, Nick, Conan and Fraser. After some discussion we decided our group of girls would all be superpowers and on a ‘Big Brother’ type reality TV show. We decided that the week before the last man was voted out of the house, and that’s why it was all girls left. The players spent some time deciding on superpowers that related to their character issues, and worked out relationships between them.

The best thing about this group was that they were fully into screwing themselves over story wise, so the work I had to do was pretty minimal. I had fun being the voice of Big Brother, inspired in part by the voice of the Computer in a Morgue run Paranoia game many many years ago. The game covered one ‘episode’ of Big Brother: Superheroes edition, and roughly two and a half days for the housemates. It had a compulsory task section, a reward* for the winning team and an eviction. I encouraged the housemates to have confessionals, alone with the camera and the Big Brother Voice developed a crush on Nick’s character.

The characters were all wonderful.

Erik played Legion, an angelic figure from a Hell dimension sent to Earth. One day her head will explode and hundreds of demons will pour forth from the gateway created and destroy mankind. And possibly the planet. Erik brought real emotional depth to this character, and I felt really sorry for her a lot of the time. Sample quote: Belladonna’s power is creating poison, but she can still help people out! All I can do is end the world!

Fraser played Mirage a self-promoting and somewhat morally questionable lady who had the power to create illusions. She used this power to play pranks on housemates and make herself look thinner. Sample quote I’m so glad I’ve been able to spend time in this house. I’ve developed a fantastic relationship with….uh…the really hot girl.

Debbie played Belladonna a Poison Ivy type villain whose body made all sorts of poisons and venoms. She managed to get 5 points of pretty and nothing else in character creation, so she was a bit of a bimbo. Sample quote: Why don’t I ever win the eviction prize? I could be a great Miss Eviction! I could represent evicted peoples!
Matt played Blue Steel a heroic woman made of metal. She represented the Steel Workers of America Union and wore a pair of overalls with the letters ‘BS’ embroidered on the front. She only had one expression and was the subject of a botched makeover.
Sample Quote: I wish the Power Squad hadn’t broken up. Those were good times. Iron Commando was really hot.

Luke played Stellar an all rounder, previously a superhero but lately turned to the dark side. She was a bit bitter about not having one stand-out power, and she had issues from the past, including the break up of the Power Squad. Sample quote: So you’re superpower is that you’re lucky? Have you ever tested that, by like running at knives or something?

Conan played Serendipity, the super-lucky heroine who was extremely easy going and nice. She formed a bff kind of bond with Legion and got evicted in the end scene. (Because if it was time to leave the house, then it would certainly mean that there was something awesome for her outside…) Sample quote (Talking about Blue Steel): I knew she was hurting deep deep deep deep deep deep deep down. Or her furnace wasn’t working.

Nick played Streak, a speedster hero. She was kind of the straight guy to all the other craziness, especially the Big Brother Voice, and her sample quote is directly related to that. Imagine a superheroine in the confessional room: I don’t like being in this room. I feel like I am talking to myself.
BBV: I love you Streak

Ok, this entry took longer to write than I thought it would. I publish it now.
*a wheel of brie, a 5000 piece jigsaw with pieces missing and a pogo stick

Writing again

My word count has passed 10,000 as of today. I finally wrote a scene with the villain of the piece and inserted it between two bits I’d already written, a kind of “Meanwhile…” flash of the dark forces.

I am enjoying writing one character more than the others and yesterday on the train I tried making up character sheets for them. I managed his first, then one heroine. I can’t seem to get a handle on what I think of as the main character, so I guess that’s the next thing to focus on.

On the up and up. I just have to make myself write every day, or every second day. It’s easier to do than making myself run!

I’ve been eating little to no gluten and my belly is pretty good. I suspect I shouldn’t eat sweet corn any more though, and that makes me sad since I love it.

PoF: care bears
CO: writing.