Resolutions on the Fly

I feel like I’m neck-deep in 2013, like I’m awash with it, like it’s raining 2013 and there are holes in the roof and holes in the bucket I’m trying to bail out with.

A lot of the traditional goals people usually talk about going into the new year are already a part of my life.  Just by deciding to be more participant in my own life, things started falling into place mid-2012.  I started writing again, I work out 4 times a week, my abs are feeling awesome, I eat healthily, I cut down on excess expenses, I got my mental health on track, I moved into a great apartment with great people, and I met a huge amount of goals at work and got promoted twice.

So, other than to keep doing those things and being awesome, what’s left?  Some stuff that kind of feels superficial to me, actually… but for quite awhile I’ve been lamenting the fact that I’m not “interesting” enough.  The problem is I pour a great deal of money into feeding myself well (i.e. buying fresh, good food and not eating crap) and into my student loans (let’s not talk about this further, I’m gonna cry).  So, I can’t do a lot of the things that people say you “should” be doing if you’re young and in a city.  I can’t go out drinking (not anywhere posh, anyway. Dive bars? Sure, every couple of months, and I stop at 2 drinks), I can’t take classes ($$$), and I can’t go see shows (unless people buy me tickets for my birthday, which they have done in the past).  I can’t travel very often (my travel home for Christmas was a gift from my father, wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise), I can’t buy new clothes very often, and I tend to save going out for dinner for special occasions.  I can walk around, sit in coffee shops nursing free refills, and go to my super-cheap gym to run, and I do!  I don’t want to say I’m unhappy with my life at all, because I’m not.  But my routine doesn’t make me feel cool or like I’m challenging myself.  It feels like… a routine.  A rather hermit-like one at that.  Writing has made me feel better in this regard, and I will be setting some concrete goals for myself in that realm.  I want to do more, however, so I came up with the below 2 goals.

Make More Things

1. I’m a writer, so “write more stuff” is not a yearly resolution for me.  It’s integrated into my state of being.  Looking forward to picking up my pens and paper and laptop again this weekend.

2. My mother was an artist.  She worked in pencil and paint and fabric.  I was always amazed at how effortless she was when we would sit and color together.  I’m receiving a couple of pieces of hers from my grandparents’ house, courtesy of my aunt, in the mail, and it made me feel a bit like I want to try channeling her through some visual art.

3. I’ve been wanting to improve my handwriting for a long time, a few years anyway.  Everyone used to say I have beautiful handwriting, but I think it’s fallen off in the last few years.  More computers, more achey-hands, and a focus more on the ideas that I’m putting down than how they look.

So, I want to create a project to do some hand-lettering.  This is heavily inspired by Lisa Congdon’s 2012 project. Instead of quotes, though, I want to do 52 short poems.  I already have a bunch in mind – old favorites – but I think it will be just as exciting to try to find shorty poems to work with!  Plus, I can’t resist good pens and markers and all that stuff.  I don’t want to blow a ton of money on supplies, but do want to get a few different types of media to practice with.  I’ll definitely be putting these experiments up on this site, assuming I can find a suitable scanner to get things from paper to screen.  I’m thinking I will do 50, since it seems to be a standard-length for sketchbooks, and will give me a couple of weeks early-on to get settled in.

4. I’ve also been wanting to teach myself embroidery.  I have a ton of thread already, as well as a hoop, so now all I need is some fabric.  I’m thinking of using thrift store stuff or any cheap, funky fabrics I can find.  I’ve been sewing a costume for PAX East (which I also have to finish, gah) and find that I actually love the little fiddly finishing parts.  No concrete goal here, keeping this one open-ended!  It will also be a good activity to do during my second umbrella resolution.

5. Ok, one last concrete one.  I want to make a stuffed animal.  I have never done this before, and think it would be fun.  If it works out/is not a pain, maybe I’ll even make more!  This was inspired by a friend of mine, who made an adorable teal kitty cat recently.  (Essentially my goals are a covert attempt to be more like this friend, in general.  She is my friend-idol).

Watch Movies

I have already started on this one, and you can follow my progress over on my tumblr.  Will I get to 365 films? PROBABLY NOT. Am I OK with that? DEFINITELY.  I do think I will get up to at least 200, possibly even 250.  My main problem is that I can’t find that many movies I actively want to see… I’ve already gotten some advice from others and had movies shown to me by friends, so hopefully I can get up there!  I’ve been a movie buff since high school, but there are a lot of gaps in my viewing history, so I’m primarily looking to fill a lot of those in.  I’m set to put up the next “to watch” batch on my list (which I expanded a lot) on the site I’m maintaining.  I also want to see more movies in theaters, even if it means going by myself sometimes.  I think that’s an expense I can afford to work in if I save for it, and if I ask for movie vouchers for my birthday!

Feeling good about this, about getting started on some new stuff.  I only want to give myself one last reminder, and that is this: to not get frustrated if my arty things are not perfect on the first (maybe the many many first) go-rounds.  The goal is to improve, not to be perfect from the start.  Like writing, you can let go of the mistakes and start again, or edit and make better.  Don’t get discouraged by early, shitty, attempts and failures!


Sketchy Advice for Writerly Types

This November, I participated in my own version of National Novel Writing Month.  Since I first started writing creatively, at age 14, I’ve been a poetry writer.  Writing fiction for me is like trying to pull a train car down a track with my teeth.  Poetry is like pushing a pick-up truck down a hill – I have to really put my shoulder into it, but once I get it going things proceed swimmingly.  I took a long, long break from writing creatively at all: 8 years.  Now I’m back, and learning how to do it all again has been pretty fun.  As with most things, though, I’m fairly pokey and have some trouble following through on things once I start them.  Working that way, I got about 6 decent poems out in 2 months of work.  Not bad, but not stellar.  Always a sucker for a deadline of any kind, I took November as a kind of mini National Poetry Writing Month (which is actually in April and actually requires you to write 30 poems within 30 days).  I shot for 15 poems, intending them to, at best, be something I could turn into a finished work and, at minimum, give me stuff to cannibalize to make other poems.  I learned a lot about how I work  now (at 26!) and what I’m interested in writing about. Especially, I learned – again – how to churn out stuff that I don’t necessarily like or even think I’ll use or just needs to be completely rewritten de novo.  So, I thought I’d pass on some of the imperfect advice I have for those might need it, or who just want someone to commiserate with.

1) Forgive Yourself

For not writing enough. For not writing more often. For not writing “well enough.” For not being a “real writer.” For not being able to think of the right word. For being too wordy. For taking frequent coffee breaks. For daydreaming. For not being done yet.

One of my rhetoric teachers in graduate school spoke to us once about writing as a process.  He told an anecdote about one of his favorite writers.  The writer, before he started writing, but after he sat down at his desk, used to ask for help.  Not specifically from god, from any deity, but from “whatever happened to be listening.”  Because he felt he needed it.  I found that my version of this little ritual was to immediately forgive myself for any of the classic writer transgressions, and some that are particular to me.  I will go on tumblr to look at pictures of attractive celebrities.  I will get up and pet the cats for 5 minutes every hour or so.  And it’s fine!  I still produce stuff.  It’s all part of my process.

2)  You’re a Human Being, Start Treating Yourself That Way

Repeat as many times as you need to: I am not a robot, I am not a machine, I am not a robot, I am not a machine.

This is good life advice as well.  You need sunlight. You need water.  You need food. You need sleep.  You need to shower.  Do you pick up your pen, scribble things for awhile, then start to feel like shit? Can’t concentrate? Well, ask yourself a few simple questions before casting yourself into a shame spiral or giving up and watching 15 more Law & Order episodes. Hungry? Thirsty? Need caffeine? Need a cookie? Is it after midnight? Feeling antsy?  Feeling tense? Eat a sandwich, get some water, have a cuppa, walk to the store, go to bed, get up and do some jumping jacks.  You already know the answer to all these problems, but it is stupidly easy to not do these things, to ignore your own instincts.  If you’ve done all these things and you’re still having trouble, well, the problem is probably more particular to your own brain than to your basic human necessities.  I have those types of days too!  They suck, but they will pass.

3) Just Because You Love Something Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Work

And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something along the lines of “if you don’t love writing/can’t keep yourself away from the craft/aren’t always thinking about it, you shouldn’t be doing it/you’re not a writer/jump off a cliff.”  Here is the thing about passion: no one can define yours for you. I stopped writing creatively for 8 years. In that time, I got two academic degrees, a full-time job, was a radio DJ, played badminton, joined a Finnegan’s Wake reading group, taught college freshmen, and generally learned how to take care of myself post-living with parents.  Now, I still have the job, I read for a literary magazine, work out 4 times a week, and bake and cook for myself.  I make time for the writing when I can.  I started again because I liked it before and had always wanted to return to it as a hobby.  But I also won’t sacrifice the other parts of my life to be chained to my desk writing poems.  I believe that in order to have something to write about, I should also live my life and think thoughts that aren’t about writing.  The alternative just seems solipsistic.  Maybe you are obsessed and can never stop thinking about what you’ll write next and run back to your desk whenever you have a chance, and, let me be clear, that is fine.  That is awesome, in fact.  But that’s not the only way to be a writer.

4) Alcohol Can Be Helpful

AKA “Hemingway’s Law.”

As the man once said, “Write drunk, edit sober.”  My poison is red wine.  It loosens me up, helps me break down some of the self-imposed walls when I write all those first drafts.  Again, though, this won’t and shouldn’t apply to everyone.  I felt like a little bit of a cliche sitting down with my glass or two of red to write, but it did make the process feel more special, cozier.  This effect can likely also be achieved with tea, cookies, whiskey, scotch, a nice blanket, some comfortable pants, a glass of seltzer with a squeeze of lime, or any combination of these.  Give yourself a happy accessory when you write, to put you in a nice place starting off.  Unless you prefer to write while uncomfortable?  To each their own state of mind.

5) Never Listen to Music with Words

Movie scores are good, also classical music!

Maybe this is just a superstitious personal rule, maybe it’s just because I’m suggestible, but.  I can’t read poetry or listen to anything with lyrics when I’m writing.  I just start copying the style, if I do!  But, I also find things like This Will Destroy You and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack soothing.  Sometimes I can watch an episode of something while I write, but that can lead to a dark place (aforementioned 15 Law & Order episodes). I need background noise, man. But it can’t be too like what I’m writing, or I start to feel uninspired.  Right at the end of the month I got a Dean Young book, Fall Higher, out of the library and tried to read it.  I love Dean Young, he’s my absolute favorite poet.  But touching that book, reading the words, felt like kryptonite.  I wanted to cast it from my hands, cross myself, hiss, turn around 3 times and spit.  It was an awful feeling, but it confirmed what I already know: no reading more than a stray poem here and there, and especially no reading it when I’m sitting down to work on my own stuff.


The Glories of Fall Pt. 2 – Cold

I love everything about the cold and about being cold.  A lot of this has to do with my general constitution: my body temperature is low (for reference, I’m usually in the 96-97 degrees range), I sweat profusely when I get hot, I lose my appetite right around July 1st, and if I even spend a moment too long in a hot tub, I come close to fainting.  I went jogging with my uncle when I was at home for Thanksgiving, and he commented on how insanely red my skin gets when I’m exerting myself.  Meanwhile, October 1st hits and as long as the weather stays below 65 degrees, I suddenly feel like Superwoman.  I skip around the house, run outside when it’s sunny, walk to work with speeds hitherto unknown, fall asleep within seconds of clicking off the light and closing my eyes.  My energy’s up, my body feels fabulous, and my mood couldn’t be better.

But, this is a delicate time of year nonetheless.  I went into a major funk when the clocks eased back out of Daylight Savings time.  I got the flu two weeks ago, coupled with a sinus infection, and was essentially out of commission for about ten days.  Right after work I’m exhausted, because the darkness which drops like a kidnapper’s bag over Boston’s head at 4:45 PM is startling when the last time you saw the sun was 9 AM.  I try to make my way out of my windowless cubicle and walk around outside, but some days work is too overwhelming.  December’s here tomorrow and I know this month will be fall’s last gasp.  I know the darkness will keep coming earlier, and I’ll have to start popping Vitamin D pills again in order to feel semi-normal.  I know my joints will start aching every morning again, no matter the amount of blankets I pile on my bed, nor how many cats decide to spend the night purring at my feet.

Yet, this process is so much more beautiful than the opposite.  I think some people abandon fall once all the leaves are all gone, but I just keep loving it more and more around here.  The bare trees are gorgeous against a silver-grey sky, as are the brick buildings, the colorful coats and hats.  The bitterness of the mornings recently has made my nose run, but it also makes the air I’m breathing feel clean, fresh, a rare feat for the city.  It’s a burning clean, like the feeling of inhaling bleach fumes, but feels natural, too.

I’ve been saying for days now that all I want to do is be under several blankets, drink tea, read books, wear funny ear-flap hats, and be cozy.  This time of year, late November-Early December, is perfect for engendering those feelings, which make me feel warm inside even if I have to run around buying groceries and trying to make the bus instead of marinating on the couch in all those warm clothes and hot drinks.

Not everything is good about this time of year, but I would never trade my preference for it.

All the Foods

Today, at a business lunch (which sounds much fancier than it was – we were five ladies at a pub!) I ordered a side of greens with my sandwich, instead of fries.  Everyone looked at me with a combination of guilt and bewilderment.  Now, look, I can’t tell what people are actually thinking, but given that people remarked on it right after as something strange, but also good, I think they were kind of thinking I’m a little odd.  Also, I will say, I am (*gasp!*) about five pounds over what I consider to be my “ideal” weight.  Part of this can be attributed to the fact that I have been gaining some muscle from a new strength training routine I’ve been doing for the past couple months, but I also know that I’ve been eating more than usual the last couple months as well.  I’m doing better!  I’ve largely stopped eating out at sit-down restaurants and, when I don’t take my lunch to work, I try to get salads so at least I’m not cramming burritos in my gaping maw.  I also have, largely, quit drinking beer.  I have had 2 beers since Labor Day, 2!  And 1 mixed drink.  I’m big on the grain, but the grape has been treating me quite well, so I’m sticking to it for now.  BUT, I will say that until today I had been doing somewhat badly on the “quantity” end of the spectrum.  Frankly, I got into an odd pattern where I was eating too much.  That is my curse, I love food, and so want to eat a lot of it, even if it’s good stuff like veg. and lowfat yogurt and beans.

This brings me back around to the side o’ greens today.  I had a salad for lunch yesterday, and some stir fry for dinner, so I’m beginning to be back on the right track.  I didn’t want to derail with fatty ol’ french fries (especially because I’d fallen victim to that weakness on Tuesday), and, frankly, I actually really like salad a whole lot.  This is why I’m kind of puzzled by why everyone got so weirded out by me ordering some.  Yes, french fries are good and, yes, I LOVE them way too much, but so is spinach, and so do I love spinach.  And broccoli, carrots, celery, beans, onion, water chestnuts, and all the other good yummy vegetables.  Just keep your cauliflower and squashes away from me… Maybe they just felt guilty over the choice they made in that moment, and turned it back around on me, but I still sincerely don’t understand why people still thinking choosing a vegetable over anything else is a strange choice to make.

I was a heavy kid because I hated vegetables and loved carbs, and no one tried to restrict me eating the latter or force me to eat the former.  When I got to college my palate exploded, and suddenly I was eating everything, including greens, beans, and other fun stuff that grows from the soil.  What I learned in the dining halls was this: I LOVED FOOD.  Not ALL of it (aforementioned squashes, cauliflower, mushrooms, and some greens – I can’t get into collards, man), but suddenly a TON of things were on the table that weren’t before.  Brussels sprouts. Canellini beans. Tomatoes. Red cabbage.  Arugula. Kale.  I suddenly felt like I could eat whatever I wanted and not feel that terrible about my body and my food choices, since I was choosing vegetables fairly regularly.  Also, I had a MUCH better metabolism back then, so there was a lot more Chinese food and pizza floating around than there is now.  Since then, it has almost never been that I’m eating too many bad things (except for when I was dating my ex, who often refused to touch a vegetable in my presence, but claimed to shove them in his face when he was at home), but that I’m eating too much to begin with.

Anyway, after my week plus a few days of falling off the good eating wagon a bit, I was feeling guilty about my choices.  When I do that, my strategy is to a) go over what I’ve been eating for the past few days, to see if my choices really have been all that bad, and b) do differently going forward.  I’m not going to tell you I’m going to not eat pizza this weekend, because that opportunity might arise, and I try not to look a gift pizza in the crust (too much?).  But, I am going to make some bean burgers with arugula tomorrow, eat some whole wheat toast for  breakfast, and go to the gym.  So, now, really, I don’t feel as bad, knowing that I can change the amount of stuff I’m putting in my body at any time (within reason, obviously), and that what I have been putting in there thus far won’t kill me.   I’ve been struggling with weight gain and food issues since I was a kid but being able to think in these ways, and not just get emotional when I think about the two cinnamon buns I ate Tuesday night (my dear friend made them for my D & D group! And it was amazing! And I felt a little terrible!), feels like some progress.  But, I’m still going to do an hour of cardio at the gym tomorrow.

James Moriarty: Mr. Sex

In the source material of Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty only appears twice, and is further mentioned 5 times. This is almost exactly mirrored in Sherlock, aside from the physical appearances. In the strictest sense, however, Sherlock only comes face to face with Moriarty while he admits to that identity twice: once in “The Great Game” and once in “The Reichenbach Fall.” The other two times, Moriarty is “Jim” Molly’s “office romance” and “Richard Brooks,” the actor Sherlock has hired to “play” Moriarty. This Moriarty isn’t a professor; he’s something much more dangerous: an actor. Moffat and Gatniss have not chosen, thus far, to play up one prominent aspect of the “classic” Holmes: his abilities as an actor and his prowess in disguising himself. (Ironically, some of the Holmes’s best examples of these talents are found in “The Final Problem” and its follow-up, “The Empty House.” It will be interesting to see how Holmes chooses to “reappear” in series three.) Instead, they have given those talents to Moriarty, who is, of course, presented to us as the other side of Holmes’s coin.  It’s not that the modern Holmes cannot act, it’s that he doesn’t feel the need to bother concealing his motives.  So, on one level we have a man who never seems to reveal his real intentions and a man who cannot keep from saying what he thinks and feels, even when it would be expedient to do so.

It’s tempting to see the Holmes-Moriarty relationship as purely one of order versus chaos (though which is which?). However, again, Moffat/Gatniss Inc. complicate this dichotomy. Instead, the opposition that most stands out to me is one of sexual energy versus intellectual energy. Irene Adler may have proved to the audience that the two are not always incompatible. Irene’s employment of her sexuality has pure intelligence behind it – she even reveals her body in the most strategic way possible. For her, seduction is a weapon. Moriarty’s sexual energy is not seductive. He oozes sex, but in chaotic way. I don’t even only mean sex as in intercourse; Moriarty plays with his own sexual identity just as readily. In “The Great Game” he is gay, straight, and every permutation in between. He can seduce women handily – as evidenced by Molly and Kitty Riley – but also, as he admits, flirts with Sherlock: “But the flirting’s over now, Sherlock, Daddy’s had enough now!” Despite the flamboyant and feminine overtones to his character – “Honey, you should see me in a crown.” – Moriarty ultimately fancies himself the dominant partner in his and Sherlock’s relationship.  The audience is meant to think he’s right too, until the very end of “The Reichenbach Fall.”

And what about Sherlock? Desire is not unknown to him, as Adler again demonstrates, but he only understands seduction as a concerted effort toward one end (presumably, the object of one’s affection). A seduction is, in many ways, like a deduction. In one, the seductress reads the beloved to discover what he most wants and lures him in using that information, while in deduction, the detective reads the criminal (and the victim) to discover what they have done and ensnares them using that information. Both are types of puzzles, and a logical puzzle is something Sherlock understands. However, Moriarty’s application of sexuality is only meant to confuse, not to seduce. As he admits to John and Sherlock in “The Great Game,” “I’m soooo changeable. It is a weakness with me, but to be fair to myself, it is my only weakness.” Weakness, indeed. Rather, against Sherlock it is Moriarty’s greatest strength.  As Sherlock himself admits, “I never liked riddles.”  A puzzle has distinct pieces you can fit together, but riddles require you to extrapolate, to think outside the box, as it were.

Something else that struck me, perhaps only because I used to be an Irish studies student: Andrew Scott, the actor that plays Moriarty, is Irish (from Dublin originally) and does nothing to disguise his accent while playing the character. I won’t go into it too much, because I think a large part of my analysis probably adds nothing to the show or this article, but it has me thinking… especially: why not get the actor to affect a British accent, like the rest of the characters? On one side of the coin: the British audience is going to be able to recognize the “foreign” Irish accent even more than American audiences would. On the other: maybe the Irish are considered such “near relatives” that Moriarty’s origins as an Irishman are considered unimportant. Practically, maybe it sounded too silly or didn’t fit the character, if the casting folks and Gatniss/Moffat ever had Scott try it out.  Knowing what I know about the history of Irish-English relations, however, those bombs Moriarty sets off in “The Great Game” have IRA and revenge against the oppressors popping in and out of this ex-scholar’s addled brain. If John and Sherlock represent the English’s “stiff upper lip,” Moriarty represents the Irish cliche of wildness and emotionality. It’s all part of the above, but with a historical reading.

To add one more cultural/historical angle, there’s this quote from Sherlock as well, which is quite close to a quote from the original stories: “James Moriarty isn’t a man at all.  He’s a spider.”  In some African mythology systems, Anansi, the spider, is a trickster figure.  Moriarty is most certainly quite the trickster.

A further side note, not about Moriarty but about a Sherlock Holmes-based novel I happened to be reading when I re-watched “Reichenbach.”  The book is called The Disappearance of Sherlock Holmes by Larry Millett, who is known for the Shadwell Rafferty series of Holmes novels, mostly speculating on the detective’s adventures in America (specifically, Minneapolis/St. Paul and its environs.  Recommended!  But anyway… the plot of this particular Holmes riff involves a different enemy of Sherlock’s (Abe Slaney, of the Dancing Men mystery) trying to discredit the detective by framing him for a kidnapping and a subsequent murder.  He does this by planting fake evidence at several scenes Holmes just happens to show up and hiring an actor to impersonate Holmes so that a great many people can say they saw him later in places he had not been.  Also, as a (possible) coincidence, Sherlock had just made the police force incredibly angry by discrediting them in a very public case.  So, soon the police are after Holmes for two murders and his name is besmirched on the pages of most major newspapers.  Sound familiar?  Just saying, “there is nothing new under the sun…” etc.

An Officer and A Sociopath

Spoilers follow. You’ve been warned.

Even the name of the first episode sounded silly to me: “A Study in Pink,” what’s that all about? And you’re going to take away one of the best parts about Sherlock Holmes, which is the setting, and make it modern? I just… I just didn’t know about this new show that everyone had started talking about. House was one thing, a broad nod to Joseph Bell, but it made no pretentions about trying to recreate the Holmes stories in a modern setting. That was always where I drew then line with my fan-fiction reading habits: modernity. I can stretch my mind for Holmes living to see the start of World War II, but even that is pushing my tolerance to the limit. I gave Sherlock a shot once, in the early days of the show, made some appropriately disgusted noises about it being not as good as the originals, and went back to my Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica (both of which I hadn’t started watching until well after the rest of the world had caught on to how good they were).

So, really, how hard was I trying there, to fool myself? I knew I’d be back, even though you would have had to rib me pretty hard then to get me to admit it. By the time I sat down to watch Sherlock, there were 6 episodes out, and what had made me make the U-Turn back to the first episode was a) the fact that I’d found out two of my favorite Doctor Who writers were behind the show, b) the first series was on Netflix and thus easily accessible, c) I was intrigued by Benedict Cumberbatch’s face, and d) I have loved Martin Freedman since the original, British Office. Guess how long it took me to get through all 6 episodes? If you guessed less than a week – in fact 4 days – congratulations, high five yourself.

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Girl Meets Detective

I was never really a fan of anything until I was a fan of Sherlock Holmes.

Frederic Dorr Steele

I think with the Livejournal, then Blogger, then Tumblr generations, being a fan of something has taken on a different sort of meaning. It now seems to be skewed far more towards the creationary aspect then the consumptive. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter – using a popular “for instance” – it’s now not enough to read all the books and watch all the movies (again and again ad nauseum). You dress up like the characters, go to conventions and press events to meet the actors in the movies or J.K. Rowling, create blogs dedicated to the universe, the people in it, and the stories, and – god forbid – you fall into the seemingly endless pit of Pottermore. If you’re artistic in any way, you create fan art; if you’re not, you endlessly reblog the fan art of those who are. There’s a little more “meat” with superhero things like the Avengers (whence my devotions go) and X-Men, which have been around for longer, but still the re-creation, and re-living of the movies tends to happen, for most people, before they’ve even gotten into a fraction of all the background material. I suppose, in a lot of ways, the good old stuff is not the same world they are accustomed to, and with the power of the internet they can rehash the familiar scenes with their friends and fellow fans in hundreds of ways. One tends to think with these varieties of fandom that the passion is likely to burn bright, and burn quickly. It never feels like it from inside your devotion to a piece of entertainment, but it will probably happen sooner, with so much saturation.

I hate to lead off an essay with a “back in my day” statement, but there you go. Maybe I had the internet when I was young-ish (around 11-12), but instead of animated gifs and complicated PhotoShop graphics, there were message boards and text-based fan communities that had carved out server space here at there. People could go and talk and talk and argue about plot points and adaptations and which was the best chapter/book/episode/movie of such-and-such series. An only child, I was always, behind my politeness, wary of playing with others. So, I never really engaged in any fan community online beyond reading the threads and agreeing or disagreeing in my head. I didn’t want to create conversation, I just wanted to sit and read my books.

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Getting Dressed – Part 2

So, last time we talked, I was getting you a cup of tea and trying to apply Fruedian psychoanalytic theory to my fashion sense.  That sounds nice, doesn’t it?  Let’s get back to it.

I was perusing the internet looking at clothes, as is sometimes my wont when work is slow or I need a break, and I suddenly thought to myself: “If I could wear no colors but heathered black, charcoal, gray, navy blue, maroon, white, and dark green and no pattern but stripes, I’d be happy with my clothes.”  It took a second for that thought to tip over the brain cliff and fall to its natural conclusion.  Why didn’t I just… do that?  Just buy those colors? And no pattern but stripes?  I used to joke with people that if I’m not careful I would just end up buying the same grey shirt 20 times.  I usually joke to diffuse pain or cover up discomfort, and that one was pretty obviously me trying to tell the world that I really wanted to buy a certain very small variety of clothes and have a “uniform” that I could just wear slight variations of all the time, but had this self-imposed

When I was in Girl Scouts, right around 4th grade, our group leaders did this skin tone analysis where they classified each of us as a “Spring,” “Summer,” “Autumn,” or “Winter.”  This was probably for their own amusement, but we were willing to sit quietly and be classified.  The point was that certain clothing and make-up colors would compliment certain skin types and others wouldn’t.  They were kind of surprised that I seemed to be a “blonde Winter,” or whatever.  The only thing I took away from that classification was that I was supposed to look better in darker colors like maroon and navy.

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Getting Dressed – Part 1

The other day, I had kind of an epiphany about my clothes.

I have a bit of a confession to make first, and that’s that I really don’t know how to dress myself.  I think a lot of women (especially women who are not a size 2-4) think this about themselves, and with some it is true, some it is not, and with almost all of them it’s a negotiation.  Just like you have days when you feel good about your body and you have days when you can’t stop piling the self-criticisms on top of one another, so it goes with clothes.  That’s ok! Not every day has to be a home run in the body adornments department (or in the naked department either).  A lot of people tell me I dress well, but I don’t feel like I ought to accept the compliment.  A lot of people also tell me I have excellent t-shirts, and that compliment I will take gladly, because it’s true.

Exhibit A. Sadly, not available at Threadless at the moment.

Why the former but not the latter?  It’s probably because I’ve never really been able to completely dress the way I want to, though the road blocks I’ve been throwing up are largely self-created.  Ed. note: haha, “throwing up.” Also, I am typing this as I am writing the post. The root of this wardrobe blockage? Body issues, mostly. But, the reasoning behind why I look good in my clothes but don’t actually love or even like most of them? Well, I think I can blame What Not to Wear for that one.

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Hot. Damn. You guys, did I ever love this game.  When I first started playing it (a little over a week ago), and tried to explain to people what I liked about it, basically just sounds of joy and buzz words poured forth from my babbling maw.  So, I needed to give myself a cool down period, to hopefully translate all that loquaciousness into something coherent.

The quickest, best description I’ve heard of the game is that it’s a “2D game set in a 3D world.” How I like to think of it is this: the whole world is a cube, but you can only see one side of the cube at a time.  You switch between the sides of a cube in order to access the entirety of the world.  Sounds simplistic? Well, Fez is designed so well that it almost seems like there are more than 4 sides of the world’s cube for you to explore.  This isn’t a perfect description, but it will do until you decide you want to go pick up the game yourself.

Your protagonist is Gomez. He is white and blobby and wears… a fez.  Yes.

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