March 31, 2003

Ah, melancholy. I'm finding I have some upon me tonight. My long weekend's over. Sigh.

But we all had a lovely time. Spyder fit in with the gang like she'd been among us for years, which made me happy happy - obviously we're in the same karass or similar. Too much fun, too little sleep, and a handful of new things will haunt me forever, not the least of which is the Wheel of Sheep (don't ask), but it was absolutely the get-together I'd been hoping for and looking forward to. I am sad it's over. Time to start thinking about the next one, perhaps.

But there are worse things than having so many cool people in your life that it's hard to keep up with it all.

Okay. As Keith Center says: "No more sad!"

Not much more to add. I'm tired and I sooooo don't want to go to work tomorrow, but so it goes. I have lots of new excellent cool stuff to play with now (not least of which is the cable modem that's been rocking our world since last night, but also Invader Zim CDs, the spoils of a trip to Big Planet, and Things in Jars), so I think I'll sign off and carve out some me-time before sleep claims me. Whoohoo! Life is rich and good.

And tomorrow is April 1st. Good fooling, all. And so, goodnight.

March 24, 2003

Discovered yesterday, to my mingled horror and delight, that I have some esteemed company in the use of the name "Jenny Haniver" as a character moniker. Caitlin R. Kiernan's story "Tears Seven Times Salt" (collected in the anthology Darkside, along with Thomas Ligotti's "The Nightmare Network" and many other fine tales) has a protagonist thusly named, and, with the sort of Deep-One-cum-Nosferatu imagery going on in there, probably pays more homage to the source material than my own creation does. Though I must say, I have just enough solipsism that I was waiting, the whole time I was reading it, for Kiernan's ichthyophile waif to light up a stogie and say something wiseass. Sigh.

Hard to complain too hard when you find you've been dipping out of the same big black cultural stewpot as Cait Kiernan. And it's actually sort of nice to know that it's not a joke with such a narrow audience that no one will ever get it. Though between this, and the fact that the spooky quasi-heroine of Silk is named Spyder, I'm beginning to suspect that my life is vibrating in harmony with some very strange frequencies indeed.

In other news: Friday night was a great time, and I must say that ilyaimy was the highlight of the evening - the asskickingest of three truly kickass bands. Trying to describe them, I find myself at the same loss as all who have tried and failed before me, and falling back on the same sort of Ani-diFranco-meets-Tool comparison that still falls far too short of giving you any real idea of what these guys do. It's not quite folk, or grunge, or punk, or prog, or anything else specifically, but it certainly pays homage to all of those things and more; "alternative" in the best and truest sense of the word. And whatever it is, it's furious and spooky and sharp-toothed and Dionysian, and you can goth-dance to it, which is just about all I ask of a band. Go thou now to their site, and download their stuff, and then go see them live if you can make it at all. And be glad that no one has as yet told rob that his guitar isn't a bodhran.

Also this weekend, I got a letter from Andy, and learned he also has a blog these days at, which all should go and visit and revel in the eloquence of; you're sure at least to never look at basset hounds the same way again. And this also helped to inspire Stacy to start a fledgling blog of her own, with a title that tips a sequinned hat to the great Eddie Izzard. Poke poke poke.

Soon we'll all be exhibitionists, and it will be a better world.

March 21, 2003

In a time when sources of national pride are fast dwindling, I'm taking comfort where I can.

Reading Senator Byrd's reaction to the outbreak of war makes me damned proud to be an adopted West Virginian. Just as reading Umberto Eco's thoughts on the international situation from a few weeks ago makes me proud to be an Italian and an intellectual. And now, this meditation by Warren Ellis makes me proud to be a comics fan.

Small things, but significant. And at least I know who I want to be an ally of.

March 20, 2003

"I never could get the hang of Thursdays"

Pfft. Weird day. I just couldn't quite seem to get my head together. I've been tense and bitchy and irrational all week - the kind of depression that feels like you just did a line of crystal meth and drank a double scotch and got all the bad effects of both, but none of the benefits. Feh.

Thanks, Dubya.

Tomorrow, at least, is Friday, and I'm heading down to VA after work to see IlyAimy and The Dreamscapes Project at the Jammin' Java, in an effort to balance out the week by putting the coolness all at the end. Well, not all of it - I did get my Earth Covers Earth CD yesterday, and scored a used copy of Coil's Horse Rotorvator (speaking of Balance, ha ha) earlier in the week, so it hasn't all been fucked-up and weird, only mostly.

Not that Coil isn't fucked-up and weird, just in a cool way and not an annoying way. Um.

Oh, I also broke down at last and got myself a French press (take that, stupid national Francophobia) like I've been promising myself for a year and a half. I figured now's a good a time as any, since I'm a week away from entertaining another coffee connoiseur/junkie and I'll take any excuse to make a big pitcher of spoon-eating opaque java the way it's meant to be had and then inflict it on other people. And it comes with its own coaster! How cool is that?

So, yeah, a week from now this will be my Friday, and I'll be resting up for a big weekend of geeking out with Spyder (who is coming, undeterred by orange-alert paranoia, because when you work in the shadow of the Empire State Building in these troubled times, nothing fuckin' scares you anymore) and trying to think of fun things to do around Our Fair City. Normally I wouldn't worry about that sort of thing, but, quoth she, "I should at least pretend I didn't just watch movies for three days," and I sympathize; I remember all too well when I returned from my New York adventure last fall and having everyone ask me what I did all day, and wishing I had a more interesting answer than "sit in a Starbucks for five hours and have a big dorkgasm."

And speaking of travelling to cool places to do fun things, Stacy booked our fifth-anniversary trip to New Orleans tonight. Wheee! I dunno about anyone else, but for me, a long weekend of waking up and getting the buzz on in the Goth Capital of America is about as romantic as anything could possibly be, in every sense of the word. And it beats the hell out of freezing our asses off on the beach, which is not the most hospitable place in the middle of May.

Wooch. Five years. I don't feel grown-up enough to have been married for five years. Whatever is the world coming to?

March 19, 2003

Drink Before the War

Some interesting discussion is going on over at Revland, John Tynes' weblog, where he's posted a link to a thought-provoking article in today's that makes an argument in favor of a war that will oust Saddam Hussein from power. It's very much worth a read, even if, like me, you ultimately disagree and oppose the war, or at least the war as it's being carried out by our Fearless Leader.

Such interesting times we live in. John Tynes supports the war not because he's a gung-ho militant uberpatriot, but because he's a compassionate idealist who cares very much about human rights; and I oppose it because, essentially, so am I. We just happen to be idealistic about very slightly different things. That brand of disagreement I can live with. And I won't deny that this situation has provided me with a number of troubling moral quandaries that have no easy answers.

Can I pretend that Saddam isn't a horrible despot who should have to answer for his many atrocities? Absolutely not.

Do I think that the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad is the way to go about that? No. Nor do I trust my government's motives in this war to be idealistic or compassionate. Nor do I think that the potential fallout - in loss of life and resources and, heaven knows, civil liberties - to be an acceptable sacrifice.

Could the same thing - that is, the removal of Saddam from power - be accomplished by some other means? I have to believe so. I certainly think other options might have been tried. And I know that the rash and violent actions of my government have made it difficult to be proud of my country.

In any case, there are no easy answers. And I don't suspect it will get any easier from here.


On a lighter note, the latest installment of The Last Dark Art went up today. Appropriately enough, I talk about pressure.

Bloody synchronicity.

March 13, 2003

This week's most rewarding source of slack has been the webcomic Something Positive, which is geeky black humor of the kind that makes me grin evilly, and, not infrequently, laugh out loud like a moron. It's consistently good, and often brilliant, and has a lot of moments of things I wish I'd thought of first; go check it out. A caveat, though: it's probably not for the faint of heart. Lines like "I could menstruate a better cup of coffee than this" are at the mild end of SP's brand of mean-funny dialogue, so be prepared.

Turning a one-eighty of sorts from there, I also discovered just yesterday, on the advice of Neil Gaiman's blog, the delights of Gothic Miss Manners, the eloquent guardian of propriety for the black-clad and spooky set. And if I hadn't already been won over by the time I read it, the entry here would have made me a fan for life, where she says:

Oh, and it’s even MORE rude to shout requests for songs that aren’t by that band. Shouting “Freebird!” in the middle of a concert is tacky and dumb, not funny.

(Yes boys and girls, this really happened at a concert Gothic Miss Manners attended recently. She was appalled, and desperately wanted to go start stabbing the offenders with her hatpins.)

(As have I. But I'm glad I didn't have to be the one to say it.)

Tonight after work, I go to Union Station to scout out landmarks in the event it's impossible to decipher where the hell a train from New York is going to pull in. Much as it galls my Dionysian soul, it seems useful, when two short people are likely to be running around a very large place trying to locate one another, to have a Plan. So I shall do my best to formulate one that agrees with the local geography.

And that's all. Time for lunch.

March 10, 2003

Another Monday down. I keep killin' 'em, but they still keep a-comin'.

Had a nice weekend, starting with finally getting to cleaning out the spare room so it doesn't look, to quote Master Shake, like a flea market threw up in there. I hadn't really planned on doing it, but there I found myself on a fine Saturday afternoon, hauling our antique wicker table out to shop-vac it free of pink fiberglass and drywall, and it all kind of spiralled out from there. So it's now habitable. Which is good.

And then the Marthas called to say they were jonesing for a visit, and I went and picked them up at the Metro and then drove down to Virginia for Caren, whose gran is in the hospital and not expected to last out the week. She's holding up as well as a person can, poor girl, but she's flying up to Buffalo tomorrow night and I'll be going to and fro to Falls Church this week to make sure her cats have food and a clean place to poop. But we all had a pretty good time on Saturday night, aided slightly by the slacker's Holy Communion of beer and pizza (or in the case of the Marthas, who have the gift of lesbian natural class, rum-and-coke and pizza), though I'm afraid I had to derail a conversation about strippers that was begun rather enthusiastically by Martha L. and was threatening to get entirely out of control. Caren wound up staying the night, for which all were glad, and the earlier effort in reducing the biohazard in the spare room turned out to be well-spent indeed.

Last night I made a batch of red-pepper-and-cilantro-enhanced salsa which was pretty successful, and which I think may have improved by a night in the fridge and undergoing whatever strange alchemy takes place in tomato dishes during hours and hours of sitting in the cold. I've been seized by odd urges in the culinary department lately, most of which seem to involve making sauces and then spending a week or two finding things to put them on. But so far the results have been positive, so I'll see where else it takes me.

And this weekend brings my mom, and another peace-rally in our fair town. The one last weekend managed to get Alice Walker arrested, for which the Dubya regime can add some more tally-marks to its lousy karma scorecard; this one's bringing down the Smeds from the wilds of Pennsylvania, and I don't think those GOP-brains know who they're fucking with there. And if Bill brings along a spot of Old Fart Pale Ale, they may have cause to fear me too. We shall see.

March 08, 2003

I just now, just moments ago, received my copy of the Princess Mononoke DVD I ordered last week from Hooray!

I'm thinking that's probably another 135 minutes that just got shaved off the sleep I'll get the weekend of the 28th. So it goes.

Have calmed down quite a bit since going all Spider Jerusalem in Wednesday's post, though I haven't changed my mind about any of it (I stand by my assertion that if having a johnson makes it hard for you to use a fax machine or a photocopier, you're doing it wrong). But I've had some faith restored that sense prevails in the circles where it matters. I really believe that the day will come when all the tiny-minded will be lonely folk indeed; perhaps not in my lifetime, or my progeny's, but someday. I can hope, anyway.

Wednesday, also, was the birthday of David Tibet, which might account for any number of strange energies in circulation last week. So in belated celebration, I tip this glass of heady wine, from "The Cloud of Unknowing" on the brilliant, haunting Of Ruine or Some Blazing Starre:

Under the rain and teeth of gods
Under the pain and sleeping liddy eyes
Under the brokked wetful heaven
If you are there
If you are there
If you are there
Then I am singing with my eyes

Blessings of the Thunder Perfect Mind on you, Mr. Tibet. And many happy returns indeed.

March 05, 2003

Rant and Mini-Manifesto

Recent events - the details of which I won't get into - have brought on the following dose of high-test vitriol:

You will find, I think, no greater marker for the idiocy of what might be called "mainstream" society than the fact that it has been so successful in making feminism a dirty word. The real truth is that the only people who have a right to be offended by feminism are people who have something to lose by women being treated fairly and equally. If you are a person of this sort, and find feminism offensive or distasteful, you're obviously reaping the benefits in some way of the double-standards of an unfair system, and you are therefore a moron and a fuckwit and I have neither sympathy nor patience for you.

(And I really, really don't want to hear about how old-fashioned "gentlemanly" codes of conduct were so respectful of women. It's respect for women that makes me an enemy of "chivalry." Remember, folks, a pedestal seems nice until you're up on it, at which time you discover two things: first, you've got nowhere else to go; and second, you're now an easy target. Demolish pedestals, and let people be people, for fuck's sake.)

I also have neither time nor sympathy for anyone who still thinks that work ought to be divided up on the basis of anatomy that has no bearing on the process involved. A phallus does not impede one's ability to wash dishes or type a memo, nor is it of any actual use when, say, swinging a hammer (or, as has recently been demonstrated, a golf club). To paraphrase Lloyd Alexander: Men have complained about doing women's work, and women have complained about doing men's work, but the work has never been heard to complain about who was doing it.

And yet nonsense and fuckwittage have had such a hold on people's minds for so long that their legacy continues to horrify. That it should be acceptable, in the year two-thousand-and-fucking-three, for otherwise decent and intelligent grown men to let pass a reference to a thirtysomething competent, professional woman as a "girl" (in a sense and context that clearly implies "secretary") is nothing short of sickening. We should all be further along than this. Such things are neither cute, nor quaint, nor "just a figure of speech." They're insulting and demeaning and, at the very least, moronic. I won't deny that political correctness has had some silly excesses in its day, but I'd hope that anyone with even a little sense and sensitivity could see that one.

And another thing, while I'm on a roll: I'm about fucking sick of the way feminist men are cast by the popular consciousness as either weak and whiny dweebs or double-talking (and often actually predatory) frauds. This is the kind of thing that sets my rage a-boil, so I now put out the call to all males of heart: If you're waffling about tagging yourself with the f-word, now is the time to cut it the hell out. If you're not a fuckwit, and you believe that women are your equals, then you're a feminist, so quit being embarassed and speak up - for the sake of your wives, your girlfriends, your women friends, your mothers, sisters, aunts, and daughters (and maybe especially the last). Say "I am a feminist" and fucking dare your good-old-boy acquaintances to take you down for it.

End of rant. But I make no apologies either for tone or content. My patience has run out. Deal, world.