Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ladies Day... IN HELL

   I exaggerate, it was not that bad. However, before the morning was over I had been made to hold hands with a supremely bra-less lady I knew not from a bar of soap to pray for approximately 5 hours, so I'm going to at least put a pin in that word.
   Let me back up for a moment here, drop some context on ya. I was asked to go to a Ladies Do of some description at the military or airforce something with my sister, mother and mother-in-law once removed to be. Mother-in-law once removed to be was the one doing in the inviting, so I was slightly chuffed to have been thought of at all, other than as that large slightly out of focus streak of pink that zooms in and out of the kitchen for more food every so often. Allow me to preface my story by establishing very firmly that I am neither Afrikaans nor white enough to really gain any sort of enjoyment from these sorts of affairs, and mostly I just kept reminding myself how flattered I was to be asked as I dragged my fuzzy ass through a bath at a time on Saturday morning during which I could still be sleeping. Due to this overwhelming enthusiasm, my hair wasn't even dry when we left here, and I'm usually painfully ready and on all kinds of time whenever I need to leave the comfort of my house.
   When we got there, it transpired that the tables had been set by each respective hostess, mother-in-law once removed to be having done ours. She had laid out for us mini marshmallows, little skittles, those chocolatey little dinosaur eggs, koeksister balls and chocolate biscuits. I APPROVE OF HER LIFE CHOICES. A very chirpy lady with a black feather boa (no really) was the MC, and Freak The Mighty was the sound guy. She was deeply invested in her job here today, and whilst I envy and respect that energy, I just don't play when you're asking me to pull a lipstick out of my bag so you can divine my personality from its shape. I am not a team player.


   Now I had already braced myself for the worst, as it said right there on the invitation that there would be "lekker local talent" performing, and the gods know that never bodes well. What this meant was that four students from a local high school had been selected to perform hits from their iPods for us. I know how much of a cynical bitch I am, and I know that really it's just terrible and speaks badly of my character, but this is just another thing I don't do. Listen, Brenda, that brand spanking new kid of yours is all amazeballs in awesomesauce and whatnot- this is undisputed and irrefutable. HOWEVER, should your child ever ask me to sit still and smile while he self-importantly sings the director's cut of Jerusalem at me in a warbling little falsetto, I will be forced to exact violence upon his person. Also, the eldest boy took it upon himself to inject a little Steve Hofmeyer into our day, which I still have not forgiven him for. I love how, knowing to pick all of the slightly older or more easily impressed larger ladies, he came and sang at me at one point in Pampoen. We are not amused, young man. Do I look like I own a pantsuit in matching pastel pinks?
   There were little prizes to be handed out over the course of the festivities, and ladies, THIS IS WHAT I CAME FOR. I am unwaveringly dedicated to my single-minded materialism, and I'll freely admit that all I want out of life is as much stuff as I can carry. Do I care at all if it's some cheap-ass bath salts that I will never use and that will only sit in my cupboard slowly stinking more and more of patchouli? Not a whit. Gimme. Of course, since I'm sitting there wilfully shoving sugar into my mouth like a slightly slow blight on the collective integrity of the whole room, Murphy saw fit to deny me even the solace of a single citronella candle. My sister won some shower gel or something, which I shall be forced to resent her for for at least the rest of the afternoon.
   As I'm sitting there, figuring out how to reach over the lady to my right with the maximum amount of grace in order to kidnap the bowl of little skittles, I'm thinking that I have two problems. At any given time, I am both a) Fat, and b) Hungry. Neither of these are going away any time soon. And I swear if you put a bowl of offal flavoured Lays down in front of me it would take me several handfuls before I even realized my error and deciding 'meh' and reaching for more.
   Then, mercifully, after rather a lot of Afrikaans music had happened at me, it seemed to be over. The last of the really big parcels had been awarded to some other bitch sitting at the front table, and all of the chocolate biscuits within reaching distance were gone. I held hands with some complete strangers as Lady MC insisted on praying for a few years ("Aaaand, amen. Ok, amen now. Now."), and the fun was over. Look, really, the whole point of writing about this for any kind of audience of more than 1 is to make it seem worse than it was and the blow shit way out of proportion, so I want it to be genuinely clear that I was actually really flattered that I was asked to go and I my growth has not been stunted at all by the experience. But seriously people, would it kill you to invite me to a Jimmy Carr show every once in a while?

   I own cats. In fact, Sheldon would never come visit me for fear of dying immediately after stepping foot through the door, because several cats would immediately shed directly down his throat. To be more exact, there are six cats in the house, of which two are mine exclusively. Two belong to my sister, and another two are sort of house cats. One of those house cats is bat-shittingly insane. She is called Koshka, and her business card would read "I pee and vomit in more inappropriate places by nine AM than most people do all day." My dad has been bravely fighting the urge to murder her violently for years now, and he's running out of bravery. Not only do we wake up each morning to a cheerful game of 'find where that pee smell is coming from', but also (in increasing frequency lately) are we lucky enough to clean up after a grisly murder scene every so often. She's the only cat in the house who takes her bird hunting fucking seriously, and unlike most tame cats you've ever met in your life, she eats her spoils.
   If she has perchance supplemented her more than adequate diet sometime during the night, we will wake to find a scarce few feathers arranged in what amounts to a chalk-outline somewhere in the house. Of course, if you've truly been a good girl then Santa will reward you by allowing you to walk in on her still busy chewing the head off some bird that looks like it'll likely turn out to be on some endangered list tomorrow. Here's where it gets worse: she eats everything when she catches a bird. There are really only a few wayward feathers left, but other than that she eats the beak, the feet, the wings and everything she happens across in between. The only thing she leaves behind, is the heart.


   I probably should have warned you about that, my bad. And yes, astute readers would note that that is not a heart, but more likely a liver or somesuch. This is not better. Does anyone have any help on why the living holy fuck she would do this? It's creepier than that time "Waking the Witch" started playing just as I was falling asleep listening to some Kate Bush. It's not like she simply eats and eats and then loses interest or decides she's full and the bit she didn't get to just happens to be a heart. It's deliberate, and it's bloody skilful. I mean surgical precision, and it's shorn so close to the organ itself that it begs some questions. My dad suggested today that perhaps she's leaving little sacrifices for her dark demon overlords, and I'm inclined to agree. What the fuck kind of cat leaves a meticulously excised heart behind after slaughtering another animal? I'm starting to fear for my immortal soul when I lay my unsuspecting head down for the night- that bitch knows where I sleep.
 

Luckily, my two babies and at least one of Estelle's are awesome and then some, so they kind of make up for the mark of evil slinking around the house. Except for those two times that her cat Sabre pooped in my cupboard. And when he comes into my room and steals my packet of kelp pills like all the fucking time, man. That's awkward.

 
   Double rainbow, all the way. My room. Just thought I'd pop that in there cause it's kind of awesome.

 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Time Has Come, The Walrus Said...

...To talk of many things.

   First, some house cleaning: I apologise for some hiccups with the last post- I initially wrote it in two broken blocks of time, both of them deliriously sleep deprived, so I went back and edited it for maximum awesome. This resulted in Blogger doing some interesting things and publishing the post like five times, and I have no idea if that means it send out the post five more times to the email subscribers. I hope not, but if so, accept my mea culpas and this springbok-colour glazed doughnut. (I had like a bunch left in the back of the fridge, so, you know.)

   Better things. I had a meeting with Brenda-Mom's offspring for the first time on Monday. That kid is seven kinds of adorable, even when he pees with sniper-like accuracy while she's changing him. Especially then. He's got more hair than I do- not that that's hard, since mine falls out like I'm Miss Chernobyl 1987, so your great-uncle has a decent chance of having more hair than I do. But baby Sam has like serious anchor man slash McDreamy hair action going on, and all of it divine. I even got to hold him while he slept serenely and I exercised my inner thigh muscles to keep both of us from sliding off the side of the sloping bed where we sat. It's like pilates, only with more butternut squash-coloured poop. Of course, I got to see Brenda whip a boob out at one point, and the people who know me well know that that's got me set for the month, yo.

  
   And yes, I know the angle you're getting here is boobalicious, but Brenda was in the bathroom and this was practically the only one that I could do one-handedly that got both me and the awesome-spawn's face in the picture. I shall apologise for no cleavage.
   Now here's something interesting: This child is Robin Williams after a breakfast burrito. Lying down or sleeping, he pulls these faces and contorts his little two-week old body as though Middle Earth was at stake. To look at it, one would quite reasonably suspect that the man had some seriously stubborn pipe to lay, and he was going to Little Britain the holy-loving fuck outta that monster or die in the attempt. Apparently, this is just him stretching or perhaps dreaming in his sleep, albeit like that dog that actually ran into the wall half asleep with manic determination. The faces alone are worth the price of admission.


   And he's Rambo, too. He's hardly older than the milk in my fridge, but he's already dying to be a part of the action. He lifts his head up under his own steam, but he struggles to keep it there. You can see him popping veins in his head as he bobs it around, and finally it falls back, exhausted, before he takes a deep breath and tries again. Valiant little bugger.

   In other news, I had a day of bowling. The twins and their mother took me out and put me behind a bowling ball, and like a rather plump meringue person I tottered up and down that lane. I had not done this in many moons, and the only memories I have of doing it before are vague and somehow black-lit, and even through that I remember being rather shit.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.


   It was beautiful. I *ahemhem* lost the first game, but won the second WINNING AT BOWLING, MOFO'S. I may have lost several fingers in the process, but I tell you, neither gold nor love can compare with the feeling you get from a strike in the last frame, except for gold. I did a fair bit of wiggly boogling when I managed to get spare, but then I'm back in a dancing sort of a mood lately. Had a good session two mornings ago as I put some music on to get dressed to, and broke it all the way down to some Hairspray tracks. I'm going to have to say this myself since there's no one besides my evil twin in the mirror (long story, I'll tell you someday), but I have some smoooooth moooooooves. I've forgotten most of them again, can't quite recall what any one of them may have looked like from the outside, but that may be a small mercy since it could render me completely 12 Monkeys. 
   I woke up this morning with the entire left side of my personal Australia- my ass- hurting like I'd been partaking in some medium-to-heavy BDSM last night. Fucking ow. As it turns out, one bowls with one's ass. I mean, I know that I was a sweaty red-faced monster by the end of the whole affair, but I just put that down to playing way too bodily and zealousy, and some of the more advanced modern dance moves. Nope. This shit, in addition to my above-mentioned pilates earlier in the week makes me feel like I'm just verging on way too healthy here. 

   I've also- massive accomplishment here- managed to finish A Game of Thrones. I know, I know, it took less time to write the Bible than it took me to read one little volume in a fantasy epic, but I'm all kinds of ADD, people. I swear I've been struggling for so long to get trough a book without simply chucking it one side (Hello, half of my room), that I feel like this needs celebrating. Luckily, tonight is Pizza Night, so I can both celebrate and also punish myself for my tardiness by feeling uncomfortable and self-hating once I eat my head's weight in carbs and cheese. It's inevitable. 
   I'm going to inflict my opinion of the book on you, since I know a decent amount of you have either seen the series or read the books as well. I actually dug it properly. In my little world, there are four kinds of fiction.
   One is the straight forward, by the books kind of story. This kind of writing uses most genres archetypes and forms fairly basically and doesn't veer too much from the expected. You pretty much know where the highs and lows hit, and who is in any danger of dying or proposing at any given moment. In genre fiction, that means that the fantasy world is developed mostly to the extent that you need it to be, so if your narrative doesn't come across something during the course of the story, it doesn't exist.
   The second is 180 degree fiction. This can be fine, if done well, but it seldom is. You can smell the desperation of the author trying to subvert your expectations and the usual course the kind of story he's busy with would take. Too often this ends up being a wild mess, and almost always over done. This fantasy world is frantically put together- the author went mad trying to impress you with how much detail he could cram into it, and he was obsessed with making everything unexpected. Expect superfluous detail bleeding everywhere.
   Then you've got your well balanced fiction, like Harry Potter. This uses mythology and archetypes of the genre much like the first kind, but subverts this just enough and is just original enough to be genuinely worth it. Here you should be able to see some of the really big arcs coming, but you shouldn't be able to tell how they're going to happen. You know at this point of the story you're coming up on the hero facing a setback of some description, but it shouldn't have been clear to you that that comes about when he finds out the mad serial killer was his godfather. This fantasy world is very satisfyingly detailed, but you get the sense that if you come across a piece of information that seems ridiculously well thought out and detailed that it belongs there, that it's right somehow.
   The last kind is what I call "2 degrees to the left." This is not someone trying to shock you, it simply is entirely different from anything you could have thought up or anticipated. It's brilliant or it's just flat, because it's genuinely born out of genius or some madman who has no idea how to plan out a long-form story. That's how it feels when it's done well, as though the hits you would expect from any other book simply aren't there, and instead you're struck when you're totally off your guard by things and in directions your mind simply would never have gone to. Diana Wynne Jones was the absolute undisputed master of this; she could weave a world that was absolutely perfect and somehow effortlessly assembled, and she never gave you more information than you needed at any one point. The result was an insanely crafted fantasy universe that did not feel like it was giving you exposition because the author felt like showing off, but simply because that's the way it was, and it would be silly to think otherwise. 
   A Game of Thrones felt to me oddly like a mixture between the second kind and the last. The world Martin has created here is dense dense dense, and at times it feels almost like too much, but the sheer beauty of it tends to just make up for the freshman-type enthusiasm immediately. The plot veers and careens in a 2-degrees-to-the-left kind of a way constantly, giving way to "anyone can die" and giving not a single fuck about the kind of plot structure any other book in the world would ask for. I love that about it, I love being taken by surprise in a very quiet and subtle way- again, as though if you brought this up to a character in the book they would look at you strangely and simply remind you that all of this really happened, and you can't expect life to follow format. But again, there really is an underlying sense that this dude has read a lot of high fantasy and has swung the bat blindly for the first time, and he gets very, very heavy handed with the medieval speak. You know, the whole pregnant girl touches her "belly" thinking of the "baby within." I admit, you need a certain language to make medieval fantasy not only believable but atmospheric and poetic, but it needs an exceedingly deft hand or it takes you out of the story entirely and you cringe a little bit. 
   But overall, truly excellent characters, world and story. Again, I love that when they mention in passing (for instance) Lysa Arryn sitting in the Eyrie with her son, you have this sudden sense that there's all of these epic stories happening in all of the high strongholds of Westeros unseen. Like even if you had not been this third person eye in the middle of this massive war and over-reaching story, these things would still be happening and would still be deeply affecting without you. 

   Night night, my lovelies. I am fading fast, and Rob Lowe is being disarmingly charismatic on Graham Norton somewhere more important in the house. I feel the need to follow up on this. And also, pizza is still making me very sorry that I need to breath regularly. 
   As someone very funny once said on Green Wing, the greatest UK comedy show of all time, "Please join us next week on Let's Make No Fucking Sense when we'll be waxing an owl."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Fly: A Somewhat Belated Review

   I'm a big movie buff. I have like three hundred DVDs sitting in my library wing, and not all of them are even good movies. For God's sake, I own Hudson Hawk on DVD.


   I know compared to some, my collection might seem rather like the kid at school everyone calls Special, but bear in mind that I am but a broke-ass person, so each and every one of those books and movies were acquired through blood, sweat, tears, and sometimes a little pee. I have swapped for and bought second hand nearly anything I could afford, just to carve out my own little multi-media library.
   Oh, but that's not all of it, I forgot to tell you, there's yet more buried in the cabinet/desk thing to the right. I want it to be infinitely bigger still- I won't be happy until it swallows my room one fateful day, and I am lost to a sea of poetry and ghostly melodies. And Hudson Hawk.

   But I digress. What I meant to say was this: I am big movie buff. Massive in fact; more than several handfuls of people know me to be the walking IMDb. It's a fairly accurate assessment, too- even movies I've never seen and know of only tangentially are archived in my strange little psyche, and I could probably have told you that Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis star in The Fly which was shot in 1986 without looking. Of course, a decent amount of the living populace know this too, so that was probably a bad example- but it was germane, I (and the title of this post) assure you.
   So, encyclopaedic as my knowledge of movies is, I find myself rather grossly amiss in my actual "having-seen-the-classics"ness. By classics, of course, I mean such fare as Casablanca, Jurassic Park, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Fly ("There it is again!"), Stars Wars 1 through Aweful, (from what I hear, anyway), Terms of Endearment, etc etc. Then having found myself in an ever lengthening wiki-walk through TV Tropes, I came across the page for The Fly.

   I decided to remedy my ignorance in the field of 80's era Jeff Goldblum, and now, my friends, enemies and facebook frienemies, I shall review said classic for your enjoyment and mine. You, who like a normal human being have seen this movie probably several times (or at least the obligatory once), shall have the chance to see it through the eyes of a Fly-Virgin (that sounded oddly like something that ought to be censored by the Chinese government), reacting to sights seen for the first time.
   I remember The Fly as this ominous presence in the Video shop when I was younger. It was always right next to the little door that led to low-lit taboos, and in my mind the two became inextricably linked. I knew, without even asking, that I was unquestionably too young to watch it, and much like the feeling that little room gave me, the feeling seems to have stuck- I still kinda feel like this might make me a very bad girl. Although it must be said that even back then I had the vague knowledge that Jeff Goldblum was in it, and I had at least the basics of the plot down fairly well. I have no idea where I assimilated the information.
   So, background exposition sorted: here we go.

    I love how direct this movie is. Within seconds, we've got both the protagonist and the love interest right there on screen, and they're expositoring all over the hot diggety pig. It's brilliant, really, and it reminds me that I've become un-used to watching eighties movies. Also, this:


Look at that business. How have I managed to forget that 80's era Geena Davis and Jeff Motha-Flippin' Goldblum were the absolute shit?

   I mean, yowza. Brr. I suspect I'm going to need a cold shower before this movie is done, on account of Geena alone- never mind the sexahness that is 80's era Jeff Goldblum. I mean neither of them have  done too badly at all for themselves over time, but lets face it, 2010's era Jeff Goldblum looks a little like a well-tanned doughtnut.
   When we get to see his paradigm-shattering machinery, I'm hit by a thought. 





1986 so hard. And Also,









   Really big Dalek.


   
 Things progress in a more-or-less linear sort of a fashion, and before long we have nakedness. I love that TV Tropes has this to say about 80's era Jeff Goldblum: "For the first half hour of this movie, {80's era} Jeff Goldblum is your boyfriend." It's accurate. "One word: Cheeseburger." Damn, so very charming. Just once I'd like to see someone write Dane Cook anything near so stomachable in a this era. Followed of course by slow and painful metamorphosis into a devolving fly/man monster. (Tangent: I apologize, I've just got a lot of Cook
   You can also smell the eighties not just on her truly awesome wardrobe- which I envy badly- but from the multiple shots of Geena smoking casually and coolly.

 
Now I think you'd probably have several concerned parent groups on your arse because of how politically incorrect it is to make smoking look that damn cool. Less cool is an inside-out baboon writhing bloodily inside a giant dalek. I'm really not easily freaked out by gore, and this has not even made my jowls tingle, but a little part of my brain tells me that if this is the appetiser then the mountains of body-horror to come are going to make me lose my oregano. Saw 1 through 500 does nothing for me, but just the image of Wikus peeling off a fingernail in District 9 does unspeakable things to my gag reflex.
   Let me interrupt my pointless train of thought to bring you not only our video for the day, but my new favourite reaction to be worked into as many apropos points of conversation possible. Behold:

video

   Yes, my man, let it all out. Such glorious swearing I approve of muchly.
   I'm at about 29:57, and things are just going too well for these kids. I know what's coming, and it's still making me horribly uncomfortable. 80's era Jeff Goldblum agrees with me, and in a fit of drunken jealousy, does what every single audience member over three decades has been screaming at him not to do. He puts himself nakedly through the Dalek, managing somehow to miss the raccoon-sized fly buzzing around the port window. Then he hugs a monkey.
   He is now forever altered, and wakes up in the wee hours of the morning in order to do some olympic-level gymnastics on a handily placed beam in the middle of his trendy warehouse apartment.




   It gets worse. After buying Geena a gold heart necklace- because presumably after she told him right at the beginning of the movie that she doesn't wear jewellery, a necklace seems to be the obvious gift- he starts talking like a cross between Woody Allen and a Gilmore Girl, and seems to have developed a taste for my coffee order (Sugar with some coffee). As pretty as I seem to find 80's era Jeff Goldblum, I'm going to have to balk at the fact that you can't get away from that nebbishy voice when it starts motor-mouthing. Upon the discovery of several bizarre hairs growing from his back, he throws a tantrum before fucking a dude up and picking up a dirty looking groupie at a bar in a fit of manic energy. This is where you're in danger of losing me permanently; it was the point where Mel Gibson's apparent undying love for his dead wife waned in favour of random tail that I switched off Braveheart. Of course, the romance of the thing has gone out of it somewhat now that he looks a little like he's picked up four different kinds of hepatitis and possibly a brain worm of some sort.
   It's after only Geena tells him that she had the hairs on his back (that she thought to keep for some reason) analysed and found them to be not of human origin, that he takes a decent look in the mirror and is suitably horrified. Thinking a moment longer than he bothered to before jumping into the doom-pod, he consults his wide-cracking but lovable computer sidekick, Steve. {Note: some of that may have been made up to suit my own fancy. MAY HAVE.} Steve has some bad news for Jeff Goldblum of Yore. Your sarcasm isn't helping here, Steve.

      IF PRIMARY ELEMENT IS BRUNDLE, WHAT IS SECONDARY ELEMENT?

      >SECOND ELEMENT IS NOT-BRUNDLE.

      IF SECOND ELEMENT IS FLY, WHAT HAPPENED TO FLY?

      >FUSION.


   Yes, Jeff Goldblum circa 1986, I share your terror. And don't pick at that, it'll just get worse.
   And then it does. Apparently the dirty looking chick he picked up in the bar did nothing to help the ten different strains of alien herpes he had been gestating, and now he's starting to lose some sex appeal. By the way, if you were wondering, it was somewhere before the first fingernail fell of but after he squeezed super-puss from his finger that my jowls started tingling in earnest. He retains his sense of humour somehow, though; apparently Brundlefly is pretty damn funny. Points for having more moxy than I would in your situation, dude. I would probably just give in to Ghost Pops and Milo eaten directly from the tin and wait for the end with sticky fingers and an attempt at near-fatal cholesterol.
   Inevitably, Geena is pregnant. Not knowing if this is pre-fly or post Brundlehorror offspring, I think she'd be forgiven for soiling those immaculate beige slacks of hers. Dude-who-is-a-beard and looks a little like John Ritter seems to be a lot more sympathetic and less douchy than he was about an hour ago, which I guess is a good thing if Geena feels like she needs some entirely human DNA to keep her warm at night after the Brundlefly has put himself out of the running. And who wouldn't- amirite, ladies?


   Brundelfly's makeup gets progressively more Weta-workshopish, and more bits of his person are falling off by the minute. I'm starting to feel like the hunchback of Notre Dame has been getting a bad rap, this shit would make the Elephant Man queasy. Quite naturally, all of this devolves into an inevitable count-down timer and a deranged Brundlefly trying to splice himself and his Geena together, proving that it only takes 90% integration with a housefly before you lose your everloving mind. Also, I think Brundleflydalek might be where one draws the line and your indecisiveness veers sharply into the human corner.

   My final thoughts post-credits is this: I am a fan. This is excellent horror, and not once did I have to curse a director for having something jump out at me to carefully timed strings. I think I'll do this a little more often, catching up on the movie basics I missed while I was watching Detroit Rock City over and over again. I love that as much as this was about squicking the holy begeezus out of me, it was also a genuinely moving thought on having to watch the person you love come to such a slow and unavoidable doom in front of your eyes. Overall, 7 1/2 stars I say.
   Is there any specific movie I ought to be putting on my list of things to catch up on?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Costume-Foolery, Both Camp and Gaga

   One of the things I do now is teach English privately. Some of the other things I do: sleeping; watching Castle reruns on Mnet Series; Cream Soda. Teaching English just happens to be marginally more lucrative than all of the above. Two of my students are the awesome twins, Jana and Jens, who are newly 12. Every week when it's time to go talk at them about verbs and other kinds of verbs I realise I'm really only about that old myself. For instance, I took along a bunch of home-made Mad Libs this week, to try to drive home the importance of verbs and other verbs, and goddamn but did it go down a treat.
   If you're not American and/or have not watched as much Friends quite as obsessively as I have and therefore have no idea what a Mad Lib might look like in the wild, here's one I did for the twins.

    So as you can probably gather- astute and impressively sharp as you are- you fill out the bottom bit first without looking at the context, to ensure maximum potential for randomness. Those words get filled into the gaps in the little story, and then the whole mess is read aloud. Now, I've known of these devils for many years, and have utterly failed to see the point of them in any context whatsoever. Cynical bastard that I am, I just couldn't imagine the humour in slightly nonsensical scrambling of words chosen for their silliness. 
   I was wrong.
   It took two excitable 12-year-olds, but the existence of Mad Libs has been properly and righteously justified. God, I cannot have picked a better tool to teach a pre-teen an adjective. There were some brief hiccups when I had to explain that were weren't making up our own words from scratch, because I tell you the temptation was strong and repeatedly acted upon. By the time we had completed our Mad Libs and had to read them out loud, I think two-thirds of the table's population had ruptured a lung laughing at the hilarity of what they had created. 
   But not even this was the high-light of the day my friend, oh no. Far and away, the absolute most spectacular thing I could have witnessed all week- nay, month- was the costume parade.
   Now, eagle-eyed readers (the whole two of you who read with any regularity. You know who you are, you certainly charge me enough for it.) will remember me polluting my young charges with Moving Pictures based on the adventures of one Dr. Horrible last week. Their assignment was to write their own superhero/villain back stories, come up with super-names, powers and costumes. All the fixin's. I said I would come in costume too, just to make them feel comfortable. As it turns out, I was almost entirely superlative to the whole exercise. They outdid me in the most spectacular fashion possible. I'm still busy obtaining permission to post pics of their awesomeness, but in the meanwhile I can definitely subject you to my own.




   What you are privy to here, oh you lucky viewer you, is the magnificent MISTRESS MIME, THE MIMESTRESS OF CRIME. Oh yes, there's rhyming. That's how you tell your truly proper supervillains from your day-players. Not pictured: Leopold the Leopard, The Snow Beast of the North East (of Mars.) You can't see it in that pic, but Mistress Mime is wearing some bitchin' suspenders and a poofy white skirt, as it befits the evilest mime this side of Clubview. 
   When Mistress Mime was but a young aspiring circus performer, she stumbled into her father Mad Scientist Joe (Hilarious side note: several attempts to spell the word "scientist" all kept coming out as "scientits.") (And don't all potentially villainous mimes-to-be have at least one in the family? Mad scientists, I mean, not scientits.)'s laboratory and was accidentally exposed to a strain of mutant, drug-resistant laryngitis that left her forever mute, but somehow also magic.
   Special super powers include, but are not limited to:

  • Communication via telepathy exclusively. She magics you into believing you see her lips moving and everything, but really it's all just in your mind. 
  • Ability to speak (or telepathise) in seven different languages fluently. Unfortunately they're all dialects of an archaic North-East Martian language, so it comes in handy less often than would be, you know, handy. 
  • Can arm herself by pulling invisible weapons from the air. Invisible bullets are very quiet, too, so that's gotta be a plus. 
  • Damn-near radio active charisma. I mean seriously, you gotta meet this chick, it's crazy.
  • The ability to say the letters "b" and "m" without using her bottom lip. Telepathically.
  • Magic tricks in multiple ranges of astounding.
   Leopold is her side-kick, and is well disguised as a stuffed leopard backpack. He is also mute, and Mistress Mime is the only one who can hear his thought waves. He speaks the same seven languages, as she got him on the working vacation she took to Mars a few years back.
   So there was much parading and evil laughing and declaring of nemeses across the living room that morning. It was beyond any awesome I could have hoped for really, and the fact that they took me out for sushi afterwards meant they had to beat me into submission or there would have been a real danger of me simply opting to stay forever.
  
   Speaking of costumery, a word on this.


   I caught Gaga's music video for Edge of Glory while watching So You Think You Can Dance. Now I've been thinking a little on this whole Gaga business after I saw her on Graham Norton the other night. She's got a semi-decent voice, even if she doesn't have the raw power or genuine talent of say, Adele. Her songs are ultra-pop which is not a crime, and some are even acceptably catchy. I dare say though if you heard something like Judas or Poker Face on the radio, having never actually seen or heard of her, it wouldn't necessarily make you slam on the brakes and turn the car over in a maddened cry of "GENIUS!". The theatrical costumes and bizarre demeanour are really the big selling point, no?
   So far my favourite explanation of the whole thing is that she's really an Illuminati puppet- a real girl who was chosen and brainwashed, then programmed with a new identity specifically engineered for pop super-stardom, the better to subliminally influence the public. The reason I love this, besides for the majestic lengths proponents of the theory will go to to identify the symbology in her act that support their ideas, is the image of a bunch of Masonite looking old men in a basement rented under a dry-cleaners somewhere, figuring out exactly how to put together a pop star. I love to think that all of her bizarre and seemingly braindamaged behaviour and odd interview answers are as a result of this bunch of lovable misfits having no earthly idea of what goes into a female, and no clue as to what a "pop-culture" may really be. So they improvised, programming her in their own stilted, creepy language, and sent her on her merry way. You know, in that same way all of Mike and the Mechanics and Sound Garden's lyrics are phrased in new and interesting ways that- while technically not incorrect- would never have occurred to native English-speakers.
   Then I see this video, and a new theory occurs to me: the reason she slaps on so many square acres of make-up and insists on wearing what amounts to the last nine seasons of Project Runway on her person every time she steps out is that she actually died back in 1995. What we're seeing here are the desperate attempts to cover up bits of disintegrating Gaga and distract from the zombie!tastic look by gluing moving parts and furniture to her clothes. Tell me that face doesn't scream consumption and eventual reanimation via Louis the Vampire circa 1832.
   And for some reason, I'm dying for her to make a celebrity cameo in the new season of Grey's Anatomy in full costume, with Meredith and Christina and the rest truly unaware that anything's amiss. Like if you had Martin Freeman on, you'd naturally have him play a marvellously affable everyman slash borderline geek, cause that's his bag. If you have Britney Spears or Katy Perry on How I Met Your Mother, then boobs. So if you had Lady Gaga on Grey's, (I'd settle for The Good Wife or Dexter here in a pinch) it'd only be natural for her to play up to her particular niche. And then to pretend like a crotch-eating bubble dress is only a natural reaction to a Thursday morning, and what the hell are you staring at?
   Maybe she can be the chick cracking jokes bravely whilst dealing admirably with the fact that she is about to die, impaled on a large beam with random other dude. And he has to lean forward on his bit of the beam so as not to be repeatedly stabbed in the eye by her enormous headdress in the shape of the solar system.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Write-Off- Take It As Thou Wilst

   Written at 4:12 AM, on Sunday the goddam 11th.

   I am a ridiculous person, really. I'm lying here thinking nonsense at 4:12 in the morning, knowing I'll have to get up in not-a-lot-of hours. It's the same three or four pointless, mind achingly banal thoughts, and they repeat on me over and OVER and OVER again like bad Indian food or the chorus of If I Were A Rich Man. They do this (in the aforementioned fashion (overandoverandover)) until not only have they lost all intrinsic meaning, but it becomes clear that the word 'over' is obviously some bullshit made up word employed as propaganda by Bolsheviks or the cast of Jersey Shore into making us believe... something, I dunno. Whaddya want from me- I never said I was mentally stable, OK? 
   After three hours of the above bullshit▲, I'm understandably welcoming to any new silliness, so long as it breaks the monotony and doesn't require me to think the word 'over.' {DAMMIT!}
   So this pops into my head:
   "I wonder how many people there are in the world right now, of eligible age and negotiable language, with whom you could fall in love with given favourable circumstances. You'll only ever meet so many men/women/Frenchists (depending on your particular fancy) in your life who are of an age, height, marital status and aesthetic you'd be willing to consider falling in love with. The circumstances under which you meet and get to know them can either put you off completely to the idea of this person as a potential partner, or they can qualify some of the above seemingly deal-breaking factors that might have removed them from competition entirely. Some people only ever fall in love once, some almost perpetually- others may fall in love but a small handful of times in their lives. If the pool was broadened to include absolutely everyone, how many times could we possibly fall in love? And that begs the question: how many times could we fall in love reciprocally?
   "Given the perfect context for a love story, how many people would fall in love with you? How many potential love-ers could find in me in a love-ee?"
   The really ridiculous part is that once my brain had thought this, it was so delirious with insomnia that it expected a genuine answer to fall into it spontaneously. I'm ashamed to say it took more than a few seconds before some sense of reality came back to me and I realised grumpily that that was unlikely to happen.

   It's a more reasonable hour now, and thus far, I'm having a Dr. Horrible kind of a day.


   Allow me to clarify. In the last week or so, I've re-watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog twice. This is a good thing, to be fair, but it does mean the songs have gotten stuck in my limited-space brain more than usual. I'm working on A Man's Gotta Do right now, and while it still kicks all kinds of ass even playing on repeat like an ear-worm, it's been seeping into the rest of my unconscious via sheer over-saturation. The current cycle of Horribleness mania started thusly:
   I sat my dad down about a week ago and talked him into watching it with me, promising that the musical aspect of it was truly awesome and that he would be no more camp coming out of it than going in. I love watching people as they see it for the first time- I always hope my favourite jokes will get a laugh. When they don't, I reserve the right to be defensively pissy.
   Then on Thursday morn', I took it along to show to two of my little acolytes- the twins I give English lessons to twice a week. They're twelve and thoroughly excellent kids, and I decided that their assignment for the week would be based on Dr. Horrible instead of the book we're busy reading. Hey, I'm no purist; if it's well written a kid's going to pick up as much English from a movie short as from a book. It was interesting to see how different jokes seem to strike home with them, and a few that hadn't tickled my dad went over a treat with them. Dr. Horrible getting his head smacked into the bonnet of the Wonderflonium courier van worked gangbusters for them, while daddio had remained unmoved. Neither viewing party were sufficiently amused by the "Bait and Switch" double date joke, although the kids were what I deemed to be appropriately happy with the character of Moist, whose super-power is being moist- a joke I feel to be supremely under-valued.
   Usually I wouldn't think of it as too much of a problem showing something like this to a couple of twelve-year-olds, as the whole thing is very innocent and cute and watching it with them made me realize of a lot of the broader and more physical jokes work really well even when you don't yet have a background in pop-culture in-jokes or the language this kind of humour operates under. They do come from a fairly conservative background though, and for my sins I suffered a brief moment of panic in act 2. I froze up as I realized a certain joke was coming up fast, and I was not prepared.
   I forced myself to remain calm and pretend nothing was amiss- perhaps then it wouldn't be such a big deal. I stole glances to their shining, happy little faces as I mentally braced myself to have ruined their youthful innocence forever. Ah, unknowing little eyes, enjoy your last few seconds of childhood before my ineptitude and bad life choices irrevocably tore down the gossamer veil that shielded you from the kind of evil that was people like me.
   And then-


   Yup.
   They hardly seemed phased by it, which figures really. I'm a melodramatic moron, I suspect you know by now. And besides how terribly over-top my stress in anticipation of it was, when I think about it, it's one of those fairly broad "don't explain the joke" jokes and a large part of its appeal comes from the aforementioned language of this specific kind of humour.
  So their innocence remains intact after all. Whew. Perhaps next week I can take them some Sex and the City or True Blood.
   (By the way, if you've not seen Dr. Horrible yet and are very confused by all of this, I cannot, cannot recommend it enough. Check it out, or call me and we can do Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion in three acts with popcorn and ginger beer.)
   The cycle was furthered when I woke up this morning with the most fabulous dream still ringing in my head of having camped out in this theatre where the Whedon clan were brainstorming the next Dr. Horrible movie. I convinced Neil and Felicia to talk Joss into letting me audition, and he dug me six-love, people. I rocked the house. Also- curiously- Joss was very intense about this stew he had made and getting everyone to try it. Relax, Joss, it was good. A wee bit under-salted, but over all pretty edible, man.
   Then when I woke up and stumbled into pop's room to bid him a good morning, I found him watching a movie on Sony starring a bespectacled 12-year-old Neil Patrick Harris and an ageless Whoopi Goldberg. I felt a little Inceptionised. Couldn't find my totem to check either, so I'll admit there was a quick flash of suspicion. (It's a little tiny gun I wear on a necklace called Pablo Escobar- but that's a story for another time.)
   The kids loved the movie though. Unblemished and (dare I say it?) armed with at least a little more English than they'd had when they'd woken up that morning, they were tasked to write a little profile and origins story on their own superhero for next week. They have to show up for their lesson decked in full superhero (or villain) regalia, and to make them feel more comfortable, I said I'd dress up too. You aint never had no English teacher like me, yo.

   In other news, my cousin Carla had me over on Thursday.


   Fabulousness in that picture, no? I've discovered the Retro Cam android app and I've been going slightly bananas.
   Here's the problem with going to Carla's: she has a special talent for inducing binge eating in a biblical scale. She's one of those assholes who can eat just what they want and never gain so much as a wobble, an she takes you down with her. Not hardly had I landed at her place than we flew off to Spar for provisions. There was a small epiphany in the chip aisle when we found biltong flavoured Lays, the likes of which I have not come across in many years and I could no more pass them up than I could pass up, well, the sour cream and chive flavoured Lays. I vaguely remember some chocolate happening also, and I do believe by the end of the night I'd inhaled more of those little mini-nougat things than should be humanly possible.
   In short: this weekend was a definite write-off in diet terms. I refuse to even weigh myself again until at least mid-week, when I've had time to readjust by eating fuck all for three days straight. Even then I fear it might not be possible to counter-balance all of the crap I've eaten in the last two days. Say what you will (and I'm sure you're saying it quite loudly right now, Brenda), but McDonald's is fucking awesome. I know it's really nothing more than food for the stoned or the starved or the American, and I can't count how many times I've been told it tastes of cardboard, but god help me I actually eat that shit because I LIKE IT. I'm not saying every day mind you, I know full well the novelty of their super-secret awesomesauce mayo would wear off sharpish if it was anything more than an occasional indulgence. But much like reality TV, in small (I lie: massive) doses spread out over a decent amount of time, it's still magic.
   (And again Brenda, I don't wanna hear NOTHIN' about no blue fries you got that one time from that one place, you'll only ruin it for me. LALALALA can't hear you.)

   My birthday is only two months away from happening now, so I've started formulating a theme. This is my legacy, you understand, I risk becoming irrelevant if I under-perform in this area. I've got one or two ideas, but they are ever changing as I need to make sure that whatever I do is as opportunistic as possible. I have but one birthday a year, and it's simply the best, most all-encompassing excuse for a blow-out possible. I take great pleasure in forcing my poor friends to dress up in every shade of horrifying costume. But more on that another time.
   Speaking of which, I ended up not going to the Medieval Fayre this year. Mostly this was because not a one of you bitches volunteered to go with me, and I'll be damned if I'm going to prance around in a fur-shrug and home-made ruff all on my own. I'd look a fool. And besides, I do enough of that at various 2 AMs when I can't sleep anyway. Maybe I'll make the birthday party Game of Thrones themed instead, for no reason other than to have an excuse to wear my Medieval Fayre costume somewhere.
   Then again maybe I'll just make a Wednesday of it and go do some quick grocery shopping dressed as a Stark. The staff at my local Spar have grown much too complacent recently anyway.

Monday, September 5, 2011

People Who Write, In a Circle: Celebrity Watch Edition!

   Good Morrow, Eve or Prevening to you, one and all. I come once again to regale you with stories of the utter mundane, with some of the bummingly banal thrown in, ribbed for your pleasure. Let me kick off with an update on the weight, and other things appearance-related.
   I have lost only little tiny bits the last little while, but as long as the bell curve slopes ever downishly, I shan't complain. I'll admit I've invested my face heavily in some fizzy drinks the last week or so, out of old habit, and that may be contributing to weight-loss slowing to the pace of Ron Jeremy swimming in molasses. However, I have suitably spanked myself ("Bad hands! Bad!"), and I'll lay off once more, and try to override my brain's auto-carbonate function.
   And then, because I love nothing as much as a good head-bleaching, I've gone ultra-blonde again.


   I was going for Targaryen, but I landed at a satisfactory second-generation Lannister. It'll do. I'll just have to settle for cosplaying Cersei at this year's Medieval Fayre.
   As you can probably tell, I'm still deeply immersed in A Game Of Thrones. I know it's taking me forever to get through it, but it's fucking huge, OK? And I'm still getting over my bout of reader's block, so it's slow progress. Loving it, though. I bought myself something, and it's going to make my costume for the aforementioned Fayre a thing of beauty. I promise pics, for you shall be amazed. Or not really, but that'll only be your own fault for not trying hard enough. Is anyone else going this year? It's in East Bum-Fuck Zululand this year, making it harder for absolutely everyone who attends religiously (read: me and Brenda, costume whores), but I'm still intent on going. Seriously, someone put your hand up, I don't feel like going alone.

   On to other matters! Today, I went to a writing circle. I saw their little poster up some time ago at the library, and have been meaning to check it out ever since. And yes, I do still periodically go a library other than my own. I was kindly offered a ride to the gathering by British comedic actor and sometimes Stephen Fry co-star, John Bird.


   I jest, of course, but just imagine that lovable mug with glasses and... well, exactly the same accent, and you've got my lift. To add to your confusion and mine, he is also named John. This was the general meeting, held on the first Saturday of each month. Once we got to there, I ran into West Germanic Anthony Stewart Head.


   He runs the prose meetings, every third Saturday of the month (poetry on the second); he's so immediately personable, with his sandaled feet resting below shins so shiningly displayed by denim pant-legs that end somewhere between the knee and the Achilles tendon. Those same jeans have the decency to complete the look by inexplicably going all the way down past the ankles when he stands up. It's glorious. Female (and very pretty, I hasten to add, maybe more "could be the daughter of") Danny Glover seems to head up the meeting, and once it comes time for circle members to read aloud some of their latest work, she shows remarkable prowess with a word.



   They ask the new faces to introduce themselves, and when I'm called on I explosively fail to string two coherent words together. I'm a terrible introverted weirdo when stuck in crowd situations, add that to my slight agoraphobia (and of course hypochondria, but I digress) and ridiculous stage fright, and I knew immediately I would not be able to raise my hand when they asked who would like to read a piece out loud. Funny enough, it's not the reading itself that scares the ever-loving poop out of me, it's the thought of having to potentially over step and raise my hand to volunteer.
    If that seems strange, it's only because you're underestimating it. It's bizarre. I think it connects to two things:
   My shyness is so blaringly painful that it actually makes people around me uncomfortable. They see me sitting in the corner of the room, trying to exist in as little space as possible with all of my *humhumhum* mass, and worriedly come over to make sure I'm OK. Repeatedly. For instance, at the end of the meeting, there was cake and coffee. I just can't bring myself to walk right the fuck up to their lovely table and help myself. Women and men alike were desperately trying to get me to join them in carbohydrated merriment, and all my shoddy neuroses would allow me to do was wave them off in a friendly, self-deprecating way. By trying so hard to avoid seeming anything like rude, I'm inadvertently making them feel rude.
   And yet still, accepting seems sinfully wanton and presumptive, and if nothing else, I am scared to the death of ever being, seen as being, or thought of as presumptive. When men gesture for me to walk through a doorway ahead of them, I have to fight myself not to insist he go first until he finally gives in, weirded out and feeling slightly unsettled. This kind of behaviour is made all the worse in situations like these, where I don't know anyone, or the one person I do know is busy elsewhere or preoccupied talking to everyone else.
   However, once I'm familiar with a set of people, or I've taken a few hits of coke and have loosened up a bit (ah, you know I kid. I don't do coke. I'm all over a bit of cream soda or heroin, though.), you can not shut me up for money. Motormouth, I'm sure my friends would call me if we lived in the 60's and I was Queen Latifah. So in my mind, raising my hand to ask permission to read is the act that breaks with etiquette, whereas by the time I'm standing up and reading to a quiet room with every eye on me the ice has been broken.The second thing is that I'm part of a big performing family, and I've always been involved with theatre and music. I've been on stage more often than the word "Macbeth", so pandering to a room full- nay, even a massive theatre full- of strangers is like peach Schnapps to me. Loves it.
   Just don't ask me to do it in front of an audience of anything less than 6. That's a whole nother nugget of freakdom I shan't go into now.
   But in all, a very pleasant little group, and I think I'll be making it a permanent thing. Perhaps I'll even get so far as to nibble on a piece of carrot cake next time.






   Bigger, better and more amazing news!! Pregnant Brenda...












...Is now Mommy Brenda!

   Yes, pie-lovers all, we have a baby Sam Meiring! Somehow, despite my months and months of unwavering wonderment at the idea that she was cooking an actual human being inside her, and even having been explained the process of baby making nigh on hundreds of times through the use of willing Barbie and Ken dolls ("Now, please Loraine, I don't want to have to do this again. Me and Sam's daddy loved each other very much, and..."), when he actually arrived my head still asplode. She sent me a pic of the perfect little miniature person doll she was expecting me to believe was her baby- pffsh- and I just can't connect her having a baby, versus her having a son. Man, I should never have children, it would take me approximately five minutes to sit on it or accidentally leave it in the fridge. Brenda however could last as long as a week, maybe even a fortnight- she's that awesome. Good luck Bren!

   I've got one or two little projects planned for the blog in the next few weeks- one involves the promised Jed Whedon/Mo Tancharoen/Whedon-in-general tribute and a desktop mic, and the other involves Regretsy official fuckery. Possibly in Club form. Perhaps even for a lyfetime. I say no more, but if you want to be prepared to fully understand the joke once it's on your very own screen, go check out regretsy.com, and specifically cf4l.regretsy.com. The password is right there in the address, yo. 

   And lastly, as I fade like a cheap bottled tan at the tender hour of 10:36 PM, I bid you a bon nuit, jour or après midi to you, you, and you, respectively. I leave you with a Video Of The Day. This one is absolute gibberish, designed specifically to mimic what English would sound like to foreign ears, but its greatest value- I'm sure you'll agree- lies in its magical ability to make you want to BOOGIE THE NIGHT LONG. 
   You're welcome. (And you'd better bloody love it since it took me no less than a year to get linked, what with Firefox trying to be the new Windows 95 these days. CRASHES CONSTANTLY.)