Friday, February 09, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Not All of These Are Rational.

In honor of yesterday's Lovecraft post...

Thirteen Things That Terrify Ragnell Beyond (Because Of) Her Imagination

1. Stories about Witches.
2. Moonlight shining off of reflective surfaces in a darkened room.
3. Standing on any rickety structure that requires that I carefully maintain my balance.
4. Impalement.
5. My reflection in a mirror that's placed in a darkened room. (this ties in with #1)
6. Accidentally dropping something heavy on the cat, and killing him.
7. Ghosts.
8. Being sucked into a jet engine. (A big danger where I work)
9. Sharp pointy things in the vicinity of my eyes. (This is why I am so attached to my ugly round glasses)
10. Losing a finger. (another danger where I work)
11. Being accidentally choked to death by a necklace.
12. Sleeping through a Tornado.
13. Spiders.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Racy Li
2. Kalinara
3. Artemis
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gothing Out

I'm a latecomer to the horror genre. Aside from a couple Steven King movie adaptions, the required Edgar Allen Poe poetry (standard for any budding young Goth), and weekends rolling dice over my Vampire character sheet as a teenager I didn't bother with the genre much. I always loved ghost stories, but I was a jumpy kid and my parents never let me watch horror movies. They needed to protect my delicate imagination. When I got older I found out that my sister never really liked the scary stuff, so I was deprived until my most recent boyfriend (now an ex-boyfriend, but that's not really his fault) decided to introduce elements from his favorite pulp writer into his Mage games.

I'm competitive, especially in relationships (which is why so many boyfriends shortly become ex-boyfriends). I had to keep up with him, so I scoured the comic book stores and found only a copy of The Worlds of H.P. Lovecrat: The Tomb. It met my satisfaction, so it was to the library for me and a month of indulgence in short horror stories. From the Call of Cthulu in an anthology, I moved on to all of the Cthulu Mythos cycle, to the Dream Cycle, to the miscellaneous stories in other collections, to the original Lovecraft Circle (the ones I could find) and now I'm reading the modern knockoffs.

I never pass up the chance to read a Mythos story, even though its not a subject I am compelled to blog obsessively about. Lovecraft is a private indulgence best savored alone in bed, after midnight, by the dim illumination of a flashlight. It doesn't do to blog endlessly about the minutia of Lovecraft continuity (mainly because he played loose with the details to achieve that mythic feel). The most you can really do is trade jokes, videos, parodies, and mock derisively the people who actually buy and use the Necronomicon.

I will, however, say that The Dreams in the Witch House is the freakiest story ever written.

Anyway, this was a particularly good day for Lovecraft fans. First, there was an anthology put out by Boom Studios that I'd asked the clerk to pull for me, though I can't imagine where I may have heard of it (all playing aside, Kevin's story was my favorite of the collection. Neat concept, I was expecting Erich Zahn when I saw the musical references but he went in a direction I hadn't seen before and captured the mystery/horror mood of a Lovecraft story. Tough to do in a visual medium.) And right next to it there was a Graphic Classics volume of Lovecraft stories that I hadn't seen before.

Best of all, no repeats. Well, it has adaptations of stories I've read before, but no repeats of any stories I have in comic book format. (Not to mention it has a rendition of the freakiest story ever written.)

Nice week, all in all. Plenty of tastefully horrible dinner reading and hopefully I'll get some entertaining nightmares out of it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I WAS planning to post something substantial...

But you know me, that's really unlikely on dayshift. I had a post idea but instead ended up messing around with images. I came up with these pathetic offerings:

Now, what I want to know is why I haven't seen anyone else do it. Its such an obvious idea, and there's a huge Steph fanbase. Not to mention there's a lot of people out there with better graphics skills than me.

I mean, I should see those banners everywhere.

(Note: Next time you see such a banner on this blog, you'll see actual comics content. I swear.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I always feel bad when I see these posts.

You know, every once in a while, a member of the mainstream Feminist blogosphere discovers objectification comic books and thinks she's found something new.

I'm not sure if that's exactly what happened to Maia, but I figures she's new to the fandom since she thinks that's the single most impractical top garment ever made to wear as a top (Star Sapphire begs to differ). I tend to snicker, then feel kind of bad and kind of irked (seems like nobody hears us outside the fandom when we complain either) when non-comics readers get surprised like that.

Anyway, I was going to leave her a comment with the address to write an angry letter to (or at least explain what cost them a potential reader), but I only have the DC ones memorized. Can anyone help?

The quality of this blog has really dropped in the past few months...

Brandon has another meme and I am going for the extremely lame and lazy joke before anyone does.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I trust I don't need to outline what's wrong with this statement.

This post makes me want to burn down the internet.
I never liked the idea of Whedon on this movie. It seemed to pigeon-hole him into a type of character (strong woman) that he would be expected to write from now on.

(Edit: Original poster didn't mean to phrase it that way, but we got some good discussion out of it. Read the comments!)


Michelle's having trouble with Imageshack's advertising:
The owners of ImageShack are either hypocrites or wildly incompetent. Or both. I never click on anything hosted on ImageShack while at work because I always get a couple scammy pop-ups and there’s usually some vaguely unsavory-looking ad banner on their hosted pages. At home at least Firefox blocks the pop-ups, and I generally don’t care what’s displayed when I’m at home anyway. But today’s the first time time I actually saw full blown porn in one of their ad banners. This wasn’t an ad for LavaLife. This was four animated shots of live porn.

Very not-safe-for-work screencap

I was pissed. Particularly because every ImageShack page features a link that visitors can click to report the image being hosted as “offensive/adult content”. Yet where’s the link to report ImageShack’s ADVERTISING as offensive pornographic material?! I couldn’t even figure out where to report this to their abuse department, so I sent them a message thru their general feedback. I don’t expect it’ll do anything, but I wanted to make my displeasure known. What burns me is that ImageShack’s TOS clearly and repeatedly states that no pornographic material may be uploaded to their site (along with “illegal…copyrighted, harassment, or spam” material). Nowhere in the FAQ is it mentioned that they have the right to, and will, put the very same material they just prohibited all over your pages. So - hypocrites or just plain lazy in screening their advertisers? Because only an idiot would mistake the content for “#1 Site for College Girls”.

She includes a screencap, and suggests boycotting them and using a less hypocritical site.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Well, that was Anti-Climatic

I'm sick, and on Saturday night there's not much to choose from with TV. There was a remake of an old movie (I liked the original) on television, so I turned it on. (Sadly, its been years since it was released so my reaction is a bit late).

About halfway through, I found myself wondering WHAT THE FUCKITY FUCK HAVE THEY DONE TO THE STEPFORD WIVES?!!!

Full Spoilers for both versions of the movie below

Seriously, the first movie was fucking brilliant, subtle, and scary. I expected any remake to be bad because everyone already knows the twist, but I did not expect:

1) Joanna to be a REALITY TELEVISION EXECUTIVE. Dear gawd, in the 70s she was a normal sympathetic woman -- this movie starts with a show that details a marriage breaking up on her reality show (a show where the man and the woman get split up, spend wild weekends away from each other -- and the example shows a man who is faithful and a woman who leaves him).

2) Joanna's friend (played by Bette Midler) is a sloppy writer. Now, in the 70s she was a bit messy, but in this fucking movie she keeps the house like a disaster area. Another perfectly normal character from the 70s taken to an extreme.

3) The friend who'd been there the longest, the first to go. In this movie, that friend is a gay man who fits the gay yuppie stereotype to a tee. It really pissed me off that he got Stepford treatment and then put up for Senate, and nothing in the movie pointed out what a huge fucking injustice it was that the man getting redone was put up as a career guy and all of the women were remade to be housewives. Its like they consciously thought "Hey, gay men are too feminine, so let's have him redone to be really masculine and uptight" and just threw that in along with some joke about Republican candidates. It was flippant, and worthy of more examination than "that's the way it is."

4) The men in town were played up FUCKING SYMPATHETIC. What the HELL?! They're REPLACING THE WOMEN WITH ROBOTS and its somehow presented as OKAY?!!? They are cold-blooded bastards who care only about their own comfort. They are selfish as possible. They're a bunch of animals. These are fucking monsters and in the first movie they were played as the monsters they were.


So anyway, I make it as far as the grocery scene that ends the first movie, and the damned thing goes on. There's a twist. Joanna's not a robot, her husband Walter is not evil and together they join forces to take out the evil male mad scientist -- Only, the mad scientist is not the mastermind.

The mad scientist is a robot (everyone else was dealing with implanted brainchips, but this guy was a full robot), created to be his wife's perfect man. Glenn Close is the mastermind.

I'm not sure how to digest this movie. I mean, I spent most of the movie getting extremely pissed off at the entire thing. The five points outlined above do a lot to dilute the power of that poetic justice at the end. Especially since, even though none of the women were physically hurt (though they were all career women who have essentially had their lives slip away from them as they were under Stepford brain-whammy), all the men got off extremely easy in the end. Basically the moviemakers made a "whipped husband" joke.

Also, I have trouble forgiving any movie that gets me that pissed off just to end with fucking insane Glenn Close. Can she even play sane? Has anyone ever seen her play sane?

I think it would have worked as a parody of the first movie, if it had been presented that way. It was presented as a remake, so I got myself worked up over a movie that, in the end, turned out to be nothing of substance.

Certainly not worth the trouble. Hollywood can't even be competently misogynistic anymore.


I think Marionette sums up the situation best:
But somewhere up at DC, whoever was responsible for this villainisation got overruled and Teen Titans #43 gives us an explanation that allows Cass to return to the good guys' team. It's a bad explanation, which doesn't begin to cover the changes that were made to her in Robin, and it's all about abuse and mind control, but I see a lot of fans happy to accept it because it gives them Cass back.

This in turn has prompted a reaction to happy feminist fans of Batgirl that can be summed up as "Oh, so it's okay to have a story of abuse towards women when it suits you, is it?" To which the answer is "No, but this bad thing fixed something that was worse. We do not cheer the bad fix, we cheer that the worse thing is gone."

Technically speaking, Cain's occupying a refrigerator either way -- tossed off her own book and grabbed for Robin's storyline. But the TT#43 storyline gives the option to thaw which is a relief more than anything.

And Lo, the Seventh Book was Published...

Found this prophecy about the looming July non-comics-related pop culture mega-event. (Via)