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In an effort to get our goldbricking, foot-dragging children to haul their butts up the stairs after dinner without whining every step of the way or demanding a horsey ride every single night, we have instituted a game called "Tickle on the Landing". The rules of this game are that, if you are on the ground floor, either of the two stair landings, or the upper floor outside of the bathroom, you are fair game for tickling.
 
This works well for both children. 
 
But differently. The Junebug will levitate over the landing and up the next flight of stairs to avoid tickling. Rocket will fling himself down on the landing and demand "Tickle me!" until he is told that he has used up all the tickle on that landing, upon which he will pound up the stairs on all fours in pursuit of his next tickle.
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One thing about Ghostbusters’ Kevin: my friend C pointed out, Kevin is not a feminine character being played by a man, at all. All his obnoxiousnesses are masculine forms of obnoxiousness. He’s so comfortable in his own skin, he’s completely uninterested in any inconvenience his weird spaciness may be causing his female employers! He’s got total confidence in his graphic design skills! And he’s got no doubts that he’s qualified to be on the team and be a real Ghostbuster! He was born to be a Ghostbuster, and being born is all it takes!
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Ghostbusters 2016: go see it, but don’t wear mascara. I cried with laughter. Like, I remember the first movie started with kind of a slow build? The first scene is a ghost scaring someone in a library, and then we cut to Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman creeping on an undergrad? :/ The remake opens on a tour of a haunted house. Fifteen seconds in, the docent explains that this was the most elegant house in New York City of its time, with every modern convenience, including a face bidet and an anti-Irish security fence. So began the theme of the next two hours, which was me wishing that we could all laugh more quietly because I’m pretty sure I missed like a third of the jokes because I was still laughing from the previous ones.
 
It is not a beat-by-beat remake, which thank God, because what even is the point. It retains the basic plot of the most American movie ever, but why would you want to see the same thing done exactly the same way? You’re here to see the movie you loved done bigger and badder - check - and funnier - I know this is sacrilege but honestly, maybe, check? - and sexier - hella check - and cameos by all the original actors, which the whole theatre applauds when check. And delightfully retro special effects. And plenty of ectoplasm.
 
The casting of the Ghostbusters as women is more than a simple one-to-one switch. E pointed out that the new Ghostbusters are more everything than the originals: more successful, more sincere, more intelligent and committed and amped-up. And that’s part of the bigger and badder remake effect; but there’s another aspect. Venkman can be a fraud and a loser for his whole life and we still believe that he can take a breakthrough and ride it to success. But women don’t fail up like that. Venkman’s counterpart, Erin Gilbert, is an MIT grad physicist at Columbia who begins the movie by realizing with horror that despite all that, her name on a book taking ghosts seriously can scuttle her reputation and her chance at tenure in a snap. The scene where she mourns “I worked so hard! I kissed so many kinds of asses!” - Gilbert has to work more than twice as hard as Venkman to be just as much of a loser, and it feels so real.
 
God, I don’t want to spoil you, but it’s a movie that is extremely aware of the nerdboy hate it faces and having so much fun with it. That said: it was directed by Paul Feig, written by Paul Feig and Katie Dippold, and produced by Ivan Reitman, Amy Pascal, and Dan Ackroyd.  What I am trying to say here is, it was not created by the founders of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Chris Hemworth’s receptionist role is much bigger and funnier than anything the 1984 Ghostbusters let Annie Potts do. Like, he seriously walks away with every goddamn scene he’s in. Also, I feel the need to note that before the movie started, we watched four previews in a row:
  1. A movie about a boy who discovers that he belongs at a school for kids with magic powers, featuring a pretty girl who tells him that he is the one who has the special power to save them all
  2. A movie about a young man who comes home traumatized from the war in Iraq, featuring a pretty girl who tells him how strong and amazing he is
  3. A movie about the man who put the airplane down in the Hudson River, featuring a woman who tells him how amazing and brave he was to save all those people
  4. A movie about the smartest professor in the world, featuring a pretty younger woman who is there to tell him that he is the only one who can solve the puzzle and avert the apocalypse
  5. A movie about a traumatized boy who discovers the ability to summon a monster, featuring a pretty young woman who tells him he is important and deserves to break things if he wants to break them (no, seriously)
  6. Also, to be fair, Bridget Jones’ Baby, which looked cute
At no point did Hemsworth’s Kevin, or any other dude, ever tell our female Ghostbusters how special and important they were, so let me be clear that this movie is in no way a straight Hollywood role reversal.
 
I do want to tell you that somehow, in almost two hours of straight jokes, they managed to avoid making even a single fat joke about Melissa McCarthy. Amazing, but true. Also, prior to seeing the movie, I heard criticism that Leslie Jones, who is black, had to play the non-scientist streetwise character; but I did not realize that in this case “streetwise” meant “New York City history buff, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of the actual streets.” 
 
I feel like I’ve just told you all the ways in which the movie doesn’t suck and I haven’t managed to explain how purely joyous Holtzmann is, and how funny McCarthy makes her Abby Yates, and how much I howled when I realized that instead of climbing a tower for the final battle, they had to dive into a basement. Seriously, the theme carries through. And I’m not even going to spoil the best bit for you. Go see the thing.
 

metaphortunate: (Default)
This day, man. This fucking day.

Fucked up at work.
Fought with my mom.
Realized just how little headway I've been making against my student loans.
Bit the bullet and raised my monthly payment by…more than I want to.
Up too late figuring all that shit out.
Had a Personal Blood Issue, and that's all the detail you need.
Rocket had the crappiest day, poor sweetheart.

On the other hand…

Have cookies.
Went to a yoga class.
Took the kids to the library.
Had delicious Indian food for dinner.
Got a new jacket last week and I love it.
Mom has been making my favorite childhood foods.
Work has been fascinating and there is an exciting new project coming up.
The Junebug finally decided he wanted a haircut.

Actually that last one demands its own detail. He had this gorgeous long hair! I loved it! I loved that he was missing out on a lot of random boy gender role reinforcement! I loved that he wanted to have long hair! I am sad that he no longer has his gorgeous long hair and I can't put cute little braids in it anymore!

On the other hand…

No more hair in the food! No more hair in the eyes! No more trying to keep him from brushing his hair out of his eyes while he's in the middle of wiping his butt! No more having to condition his hair! No more wrestling with him to let me comb it and braid it on the train! Less beautiful, but more cute! Less striking, but MUCH less messy! Adorable cowlick! And - it has forced us to see him with new eyes. He looks like an entirely different person, and I'm looking at this little boy, and he is GREAT. I think I was kind of still annoyed with him for things that….he really doesn't do anymore? This has gotten me to really take a harder look at what he's like now, not a month ago! And I'm SO HAPPY with the way he is now.

You win some, you lose some. Or actually maybe sometimes you win AND lose the same ones?

benediction

May. 6th, 2016 12:44 pm
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What's the opposite of a pet peeve? Something that affects you all out of proportion to its real importance, but it makes you happy instead of annoying you? 

Was reminded today that one of mine is people who tell you "Have a blessed day!" except they pronounce it "blest", because they don't mean it like a Special God Word that has a special è in it, they just mean it like an ordinary word that is part of their ordinary vocabulary, because wishing good things on people, maybe even just people that they happened to share a crappy overcrowded train ride with while all trying together not to step on someone's dog, is part of their ordinary life. 
metaphortunate: (Default)
You may remember that I made some pathetic efforts to silicone caulk around the back door recently, and the Junebug was fascinated; therefore, he easily identified what the handyman we saw out the train window this morning was doing.

"LOOKIT!" he announced loudly, to the entire train car. "HE HAS A CAULK GUN! MAMA, LOOKIT ALL THAT PINK CAULK!"

It was indeed, for some reason, possibly only for the amusement of those around small children, bright pink caulk.
metaphortunate: (Default)
Has a/b/o replaced Directed!verse?

(if you don't know what this means, please do not worry about it. If you choose to worry about it, the results are your own responsibility and none of my own.)
metaphortunate: (Default)
When Kid 1 is like: "No kisses. No hugs. No nose boops. Bye, don't touch me. I'm gonna shoot a cannon at you."

and Kid 2 is like: "Mama come here, I need to smooch you before you go. Are you sad? Do you want huggies?"

goddammit, I feel like an awful parent, but it is HARD not to have a favorite.

...that being said, there is something kind of nicely unworrying about a kid of whom you say to teachers, "Yes, he is irrepressible. We've tried to repress him, but it just doesn't take." Whereas with Kid 2, it's more like "please be careful of our extremely sensitive flower."
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You know, mostly people did tell me that it was going to be exactly this hard. I can't pretend I wasn't warned. But there's just one thing that I don't think anybody mentioned? I constantly have that "all my friends are out having fun without me" feeling. And the reason is because y'all ARE. You post pictures about it! And I see these pictures and go "oh…they were here and they didn't invite me…and if they had, what day was that, that was…yeah, no way I could have gone…they probably guessed that…I can't really argue."

Or, you know, you DO ask me, and I can't go, and then you go out and have fun without me, and then I do the sad puppy eyes when looking at your pictures later.

Argh, it's not that I am not socializing enough! I have as much social time as I can handle and maybe just a bit more. I just have a lot of great friends who do really fun things, okay? I wish I got to see you more, it's just that I would need a time turner.
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Fic authors I have all the time in the world for: the ones who take your standard rigidly gendered canon and subvert the shit out of it.

Fic authors who can get in the fucking sea: the ones who keep the eighty-five male characters from their male-dominated canon male and turn the one and only female character genderqueer.

Oh, speaking of fic, not especially queered but wonderful anyway: I'll write you harmony in c by magneticwave. Because Mary Bennet was a woman tragically born out of her right time.
metaphortunate: (ambition)
  1. I have a work event tomorrow for which I will need business cards.
  2. I did plan ahead and bring extra cards with me, hurrah!
  3. But I have lost my business card holder.
  4. I will not contribute to the Flawlessly Competent Design Professional impression I hope to make by digging dog-eared business cards out of an overstuffed Harley Quinn wallet that won't even close.
  5. I have no way of getting a new business card holder before 8:30 am tomorrow.
  6. YOUTUBE TO THE RESCUE.


I do love the internet sometimes.
metaphortunate: (Junebug)
Science is wonderful. Medicine is wonderful. Back in the late Cretaceous, there were two things you could do for a cough:
  1. Codeine, which worked;
  2. Everything else, which did not work.
And since you probably don't want to give codeine to a tiny child unless there's no other choice, when tiny us got coughs, we just suffered through it. And, though I am not a neglectful parent I swear, I thought those were still the options. So though Rocket has been coughing and coughing at night, and it is just awful to hear, it doesn't actually wake him up. And he doesn't seem to mind it during the day. So we hadn't taken him to the doctor. Until he got a fever.

And holy shit y'all, now you take your tiny child to the doctor and they send you home with a six month supply of albuterol and a little nebulizer. Protip: tell the child the face mask is an astronaut mask. Ten minutes and the wheeze is gone. Just fantastic.
metaphortunate: (Junebug)
Before I had kids, I had heard the idea - from certain homeschoolers and stay-at-home parents - that why would you even HAVE kids for someone else to raise (i.e., send to daycare and/or school.)

Now that I have kids, I know the answer! And the answer is, have you MET kids?
metaphortunate: (Default)
Brain: What if these two characters met each other. They sure would have a lot to talk about.
Me: Brain no.
Brain: It wouldn't even be that many panels.
Me: Brain I need to sleep.
Brain: Imagine all those gorgeous clothes to draw. It could be mostly close-ups.
Me: …It would be fun…
Brain: Just write down the dialogue.
Me: I'll just sketch the layout. God, I haven't even touched my stylus in months.
Brain: And start off with an establishing crowd shot.
Me: No! Fuck! What? No crowd shots! I haven't even touched my stylus in months!
Brain: It reeeeeally makes a lot more sense if you actually have two crowd shots.
Me: You said it was gonna all be close-ups!
Brain: Also I'm gonna need you to spend three days looking up architecture & clothing of the 1500s.
Me: No!
Brain: And combing through six separate books for details of clothing and hairstyles.
Me: I hate you!
Brain: I should note that exactly three people other than you will be interested in this comic. And they won't actually like it, because your dialogue isn't that good.
Me: Fuck you!
Brain: Draw it or I'll torture you for months.
Me: Fuck!
metaphortunate: (Default)
I have just evicted, from the gap at the edge of my kitchen floor where the wood was not sealed properly to the threshold of the porch door: two pillbugs, a healthy worm, some small but flourishing wood ear type mushrooms, and a lot of rich-smelling, damp humus. This is partly because our gutters are clogged and the rain has been running right down the door. Also I have sprayed it all down with bleach solution. Currently I am trying to dry the gap out with a hairdryer in hopes of being able to seal it with silicone caulk, which probably won't work because I don't think I can get it clean enough for the silicone to stick, because the edges of the floorboards are partly decomposed, but I have scraped away as much of the humus as I can and I don't know what else to do.

I realize that this is a size 2 jeans problem, but homeownership is such a joy.

ETA:

I did a hysterically bad job of caulking because I did not tape it off properly. And now my slippers are all slippery from getting silicone caulk on them. Motherfucker. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, because it’s better than not getting it done at all?

At least E cleaned out the gutter, so it can drain now. Yay, E!
metaphortunate: (Default)
it's hard to raise a Force user when you're not one

You parents know what I’m talking about. That would be some adorable wishing into the cornfield shit to live with.

Mostly coloring and shading practice. Drawn using Autodesk Sketchbook on my phone as with everything recently. I heard a rumor that Apple might be bringing back an iPhone of a size that would actually fit in my tiny girl hands and oh my god, if they do, someday I might have a phone with pressure sensitivity...
metaphortunate: (kissy emoticons)
Last month we were over at a friend's house for dinner and they had ice cream for dessert. A flavor and brand of ice cream I had never had before. I can't tell you what it was, because I tried it, and then I gave myself another whole scoop and very carefully did not look at the carton while I did it. See, at this age, it turns out I feel better if I eat sweets in a reasonable quantity and do not, say, hide in the bathroom while my kids are eating healthy dinner and scarf ice cream instead every day all week. Which is the temptation I would be fighting every day if I knew how to get more of this ice cream. And I'm not going to tell you any more about it because you will FIND IT, I know you people.

But for my birthday, Mr. E bought me a pint of it, and then he took it out of its carton and put it in the freezer in a different container, and then he told me about it. So I can have some ice cream and yet continue in my chosen ignorance. He's a sweetheart.
metaphortunate: pirate saying "I need a convoluted narrative to really get off" (get off)
A couple of days ago @thefourthvine asked "what are the best books you read in the last year?"

When I gave her my list, I did not include A Seditious Affair. Probably this was partly internalized sexism-type reluctance to admit to loving a book in as stereotypically-middle-aged-woman (that's me! Hi, me) a genre as romance. I mean: let me admit, romance is legit a pretty limiting genre. The conventions of the form are strict and the premises are precisely, inflexibly, and, you know, kind of ridiculously bent. And if you don't like that sort of thing, it's not going to be the sort of thing you like.

But I cheerfully volunteered that one of the best books I read was Rat Queens, and that is a series in a genre where you literally have to have (1) mage, (1) thief, (1) cleric and (1) fighter. You know what genre that is, it is only for people who know it and love it, it relies entirely on those conventions, but within those parameters it is funny and fun and great. So, I admit to loving a book in a dumb boy genre, the dumb boy genre, c'est moi; I suppose I can repeat, once again, that the dumb girl genre is aussi moi. It's not like I'm hiding it. Not successfully, anyway.

But the other part of it is, even given the restrictions of its genre, I can't say that it was one of the best books I read last year. I can say that it was one of my favorites.

It's like this: the first aerial silks performance I ever saw was in a Cirque de Soleil show. It changed my whole concept of acrobatics. I'd never seen anything like it. It was so unprecedentedly beautiful. I was riveted. I couldn't stop trying to sketch the act all the way home.

And then, because I used to have free time and I spent it hanging out with jugglers and their ilk, I saw like 800,000 more silks acts, of varying quality. And I still like silks! But I'm not unable to, you know, tear my gaze away from the performance now. It's a cool act. I evaluate the performance. I roll my eyes a bit if I only see the same tricks I've seen a million times, and nothing new or daring.

But a while ago, I saw an amateur silks performance by a woman whose first performance in public it was. And maybe part of it was that I had a balcony seat, so I watched her climb up to me rather than being on the ground watching someone rise into the air like you normally do. But this woman, she was good: she didn't make any mistakes: she made all her tricks: but she was not good enough to make them look effortless. I remember watching her biceps bunch and release, bunch and release, as she hauled her weight up to the ceiling. A really good silks acrobat looks like she's floating on the fabric. This woman showed exactly just how goddamn hard and dangerous of a thing I was watching someone try to do. It was fascinating, it was the most I've enjoyed an acrobatic performance in years.

And similarly, I know there are books that seamlessly weave together plot, character, emotion, suspense, humor, history, social commentary, sex, family and poetry. Those are some great books, I like those books, I have read a lot of them because I have read a lot. I have consequently also read a lot of crap, of course. But this book was not quite either, this book was good enough to do a lot of the good stuff but it was not good enough to do it effortlessly. You could see the muscles pulling. And for some reason, seeing that happen was fascinating.

It is also relevant to my first source of hesitance that this series - this is the second book in a series, and the first one (A Fashionable Indulgence) is unfortunately not as good as the second one, but if you enjoy the second one you will want to have read the first one first because the second one thoroughly spoils the first one and also benefits from character development and setup from it, which is the perennial chicken fox and goat problem of the series reader - anyway, this series is explicitly about wanting things that you are not supposed to want, and how to deal with that. And Charles does not gloss over the fact that if what you want are things that are not respectable, you will not be respected. And not just in an inspirational poster "but only by people who don't matter!" way. You will not be respected in a personal way, maybe by people who are very important to you; and you may not be respected in a broader way, with consequences financial, social, maybe penal. The consequences are real.

But the things we want define us. Look, I hate to drag Ayn Rand in by the shoulders again, but she was right about this one: "My real soul, Peter? It’s only when it’s independent - you’ve discovered that, haven’t you? It’s real only when it chooses curtains and desserts – you’re right about that - curtains, desserts, religions, Peter, and the shapes of buildings." You define yourself when you choose, when you say this is for me and that is not, and also you expose yourself, and it's scary, Lord knows it's much safer, in both vague feeling and absolute immediate concrete ways, to look around you and see what other people are choosing and what choices are respected; but you have got to think about the fact that your soul may be embarrassing and inappropriate but it is the only one you have got. To what degree can you get along without it. Anyway, The Fountainhead this isn't, but it is in its own way a manifesto about letting your freak flag fly and paying the price for it. So: the dumb girly genre, c'est moi, and incidentally let me mention that unlike The Fountainhead, this book is also hot as the flames of hell. In case that is the sort of thing that your own personal soul is into, too.

Fic rec

Jan. 14th, 2016 09:15 pm
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Okay, yes, it is OOC Evil Nazi Space Boyfriends. But I laughed so hard. Go on, this day could use some cheering up.

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