green_dreams: A green picture of a rainy city street at night in the rain. (green rain)
I am feeling odd tonight,
and cold. It was a warm night;
they liked my hair
--cold purple, warm purple, amethyst and plum--
better than I thought,
and it was good to listen,
and Sarah left me a spindle and a bag of fiber
I don't even know the name of.
It's not-white and faintly scratchy. A princess
would spin it into diamonds. Gold only comes from straw.

But I have
so many things to do, so many nearly done
and books begun
and cleaning undertaken
and rooms and jobs and plans and good intent
that I can feel them teetering above me
just one more
just one more
and they will come down and paralyze me in a pile.
The word is tsundoku. I think of time in terms of books.

and so tonight I will finish one step. Just one.
And go to sleep, and waken lighter in the morning
and feel the sillier for writing all this down
with line breaks studding it like beads
in an enthusiast's first clumsily assembled earrings.
green_dreams: (telling stories - trust me)
Light stuff, this time. Piper's fallen asleep again (yay!), and I'm waiting for the vet to call back, just over a couple of questions. Poor girl.

Rewatching Cabin in the Woods[1] (and I think at this point I am rather past worrying about spoilers) and am just gonna say: this movie makes me so angry for Jules. First, what happened to her was horrible. Second, what the Institute-Company-whoeverthehell did to her was horrible. Third, dammit, every time I watch it I am reminded that from what you can see of who she was before she was bleached and roofied, she's the closest thing the group has to a Final Girl.

I'm not saying Dana should have died; honestly, if this movie wasn't the kind of thing to give me pause about any such kind of statement, I wouldn't like it as much as I do. I'm saying it annoys me even more because it points up how much Those Guys are willing to chew people up and spit them out without regard for who they are.

(And yet, yeah, I still feel for Gary and Steve and even Wendy and... Dammit.. I mean, I despise what they do, but I can understand them, and there is not as much disgust in the understanding as there could have been. --and I'm going to end this before I start trying to break down everything that movie makes me think about, because those rambles can get positively fractal.)

This is by no means the worst most upsetting or biggest effect of the movie, but dammit, it's one of them.

A/y. Yes. The finale is... making the screen very red, so I'm gonna go back to that, now. Back in a bit.
[1] Hush, it's my birthday.
green_dreams: Teddy bear wielding wooden sword to fight off terrible monster. (because my heart is pure)
I'm clearing out more books, and it's weird. I have a lot of books. Most of them still aren't in Goodreads (and I get that funny guilty twinge whenever it recommends a book I've already read and have on the shelves to me). And given that Goodreads lists about six hundred books on my "owned" shelf, and yes, I really did mean most of them still aren't in the system...

...I have a lot of books.

It's being a lot easier to cull them this time, and it's nothing to do with not wanting to read. On top of the books, I have a particular attitude: I don't want to be the kind of person who gets rid of a book. I have had this attitude for a long time. I've had it since before we bought our house.

I've had it since before I rented my own place.

I've had it since before I moved out and went to university.

I've had it since before I went to boarding school in Switzerland[1], and that was for ninth grade.

Like some of the books I still own, I've had it since I lived in London as a kid.

I think it's very easy to embrace absolutes when you're a kid. And it's easy not to question those absolutes, especially when they're not overtly harmful. I don't want to be the kind of person who lets go of a book. Because books are awesome, dammit. I mean, that hasn't changed for me--books are amazing, books make me happy, new ones can be a wonder and old ones are a comfort and I don't see this changing. I love (the best of) my books, and I love the idea of books, and I have a respect for the physical integrity of books (even ones I don't like) that's... quite hard to override.

When I developed this attitude, I didn't understand certain things that I understand now. Like the fact of limited space in housing, and how sheddy long-haired cats can be, and how books can pile up and collect dust. Shared space, really shared space (our anniversary's tomorrow <3 ), and the importance of not having someone you live with made uncomfortable by your housekeeping. The low-level cringe that a cluttered room induces. The embarrassment of finding you already own a book you just got[2]--fortunately I've never bought one and had that happen, but there've been friend loans and library loans and... yeah, it's not a good feeling.

I'm still not the kind of person who gets rid of books casually. But I don't want to look at myself and say I'm the kind of person who won't get a book out of her house if it's making her unhappy to have it there. There's nothing noble or devoted about that.

That's damaging, albeit in a low-level constant-background what-weight-do-you-mean-oh-this-weight-I've-been-carrying-this-weight-so-long-I-don't-hardly-notice-it-no-more, and I am, finally, too old for that shit.
[1] In a former tuberculosis sanitarium.
[2] This is totally different from buying a replacement for a battered copy, or deliberately picking up a second copy for love or loaning purposes. On this note, you should all read Days by James Lovegrove, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. Seriously.


May. 4th, 2013 05:59 pm
green_dreams: (Angel peering)
I've come to the realization that I have too many things; things to do or things to use or things to own, but ultimately things. Stuff. Clutter.

I'm not entirely sure what to do about this, but I need to do something.

The owned and bad or unused stuff, that's actually kind of easiest. CDA comes by pretty regularly; between that and garbage, what that takes is mostly the effort to decide to remove things, which is not that hard. (The owned and used-but-rarely stuff is a similar animal; more effort to decide "I like it, but not so much that it is worth the space in my home, or its share of the space allotted to such things in my home".)

Then there's the things I want to do. The discretionary time. TV shows, books, movies, reading, scribbling-of-assorted-kinds, puzzles, knitting, occasionally cooking, gaming. (I guess things to use is a subset of this, or in some ways acts as subsidiary to it; puzzles to assemble, books to read, yarn to knit.)

I do not have enough time. I mean, I recently looked at exactly how many books I have, and... uhm... it is not right to get a book and not read it, I think, or to get yarn and not knit it. I would like to do right by my books. (Waiting is okay, but there is a point at which you must realize you have gone from "waiting for the right moment" to "not reading", and... well, you should at least assess the idea that perhaps you have changed enough that there will not be a right moment, so you should find the book a home where someone will love it. Or something.)

So I think I need to weed through my stuff (I did a yarn purge late last year; I do try and cull books, but it's slow), as much in terms of what I would like to use as well as what I already have to use. I am not sure exactly how to do that, because it basically means deciding that there's this thing I like doing but that I'm not going to do anymore because time/space/energy.

I think this might be being an adult. It kind of sucks.
green_dreams: Greyscale silhouette of a black cat with grey eyes (boo-cat)
So I was thinking of organizing my books on Goodreads, as you do. Was thinking about putting on a "haunted houses" tag. And I've been going through a lot of stuff on TV[1], and now watching Marchlands, and...

I like haunted house stories. And I'm trying to pinpoint exactly what they are. Asked John what he thought the best written and movie ones he'd read or seen were, and he said The Shining and The Others, respectively. Switched the book choice to IT, though, and I cannot dispute.

There's the Haunting of Hill House, of course. And The Shining. Hell House, The Others. Then you get Rose Red, The House Next Door, House of Bones, Apartment 16, the Dionaea House, Ghost Ship, The Overnight, The Dwelling, The House of Lost Souls (which I actually just finished)...

John also suggested Event Horizon. I will agree and add in the town from Uzumaki, in the same "well, yes, but wait?" vein that his selection of IT gave me. Yes, absolutely, but the fact that I'm including them both makes me think that I don't understand my own definition as well as I thought.

So. What makes something a haunted house story, rather than just a ghost story?

By the way, might be spoilers. Very very incoherent rambling and spoilers. )
[1] Okay, Fright Night is pretty much what you'd expect from an 80s horror movie, but that last scene with Peter Vincent (who has awesome eyebrows, FTR) and Evil Ed? That was actually quite beautifully done.
green_dreams: (avoid danger and damage)
Thoughts on the IP-address-resolving-to-geolocation-(mostly) thing that seems to have blown up and (sadly, IMHO) been rolled back...

Yes, your city/town location (possibly not an accurate one) is being shared. Not by LJ. By your ISP. LJ just lets me insist that if you're going to show up in my journal then I get to know where you're posting from.

I get that it feels safer when the information isn't displayed so clearly--hell, it still feels a bit weird when I look at

and see my OS and browser. There's a funny little hiccup of "oh, wait, how did you know that?" I've seen my IP being displayed on my own posts and I knew when other people could see it, and that didn't quite sink in the way seeing my province and town being displayed sank in.

At the same time, I honestly don't see that displaying "Reston, Virginia" instead of "" is much different than displaying "9:42 p.m (local) 10-06-2011" instead of "1:42 a.m. GMT 11-06-2011". I don't need this information[1]. I didn't pay attention to displaying the IP in a way I liked seeing better before; now I've noticed, and I'm definitely not the only person who did, and there is probably a widget to display it that way for me now, even if LJ doesn't put it back.

I get being uncomfortable about this, but it's basically "now people understand the information they were already given and gave out", and I don't think I would be comfortable complaining about that.
[1] Unless you are a stalker, spammer, or troll. You aren't, are you? Good.
green_dreams: (break the cycle)
I don't actually expect anyone reading this to not be familiar with Stanley Milgram's study on obedience to authority. Nonetheless, I'm putting a quick summary under the cut in case I'm mistaken. )

Milgram asked around before the experiment--psychiatrists, college sophomores, middle-class adults, graduate students and faculty in the behavioral sciences--and generally got the response that most subjects would not administer a shock higher than 150 volts; that only 4% would go up to 300 volts; that only one in a thousand would administer a 450 volt shock. He expected most people would hit a point where they just weren't comfortable with the experiment anymore and would calmly and politely refuse to keep shocking the learner.

...oh, Milgram, you optimist. (Twenty-five out of forty people administered the 450 volt shock three times, after which the session was finished. Some subsequent experiments actually resulted in a higher percentage of subjects who did that.)


I was thinking of Gretchen Brandt again today. The names were changed, so it's not her real one, but it's the only designation I have. At the administration of 210 volts (that's the phrasing from Obedience to authority; I don't know if it means she administered that shock or not), she refused.

And she kept refusing, calmly and politely, in the face of "the experiment requires" and "it is absolutely essential" and "You have no other choice."

I think about her, sometimes. And I'm glad she stopped. It's something that gives me hope, in an odd way, a concrete example of people refusing to do harm despite really quite heavy pressure.


Apr. 30th, 2011 01:34 am
green_dreams: (fallout icon - love. love never changes)
I am here. It's late, and I'm tipsy.

I think I have had a very good night being reminded of how good people can be. People can be amazing. I see a lot and hear a lot about the fail, about how careless or cruel they can be, but you know what?

Every good thing that was ever done was done by a person. All the love. All the kindness. All the joy, that was felt by someone and held in someone, that was for someone doing or caring or just being.

All shall be well,
An' all shall be well,
An' all manner of things shall be well.

I love you to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach,
Feeling out of time to the ends of beauty and ideal grace.

Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.

There is so much joy, and so much beauty, and maybe after I've slept and I'm not tipsy anymore I will feel embarrassed, but right now I don't and I don't need to and I am just thinking of all the wonderful things all of you have done. All the good things. All the understanding of good. You care and you're smart and you're compassionate and you're brilliant and...

God, I hope you have a good life, and all the days therein. All of you. And are kind and are loved and all the best of everything, everything, all of it.

My best to you all, 'cause you are people and that may occasionally get overlooked but it is still a wonder and a joy, and I hope things go well for you, and your lives are good. You deserve no less. You can be all this and more.

...I am stuck on a line from a paperback I only ever saw after it was done being read by a group of people. I think it ran every man and every woman is a star.

Good lives, all of you. The best.
green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (clearer sad teddy in rain)
Not caring about other people's opinions.
Not caring about what other people think.
[iteration three?]
Not caring about other people.

There is something implicit in the first two--not caring about what other people think that's mean or unwarranted or unfair or not their business. And yes, personal boundaries are healthy. Personal boundaries are frigging *essential*.

But all the people, all of them, mean or petty or sure-they're-the-only-one-that-matters-in-the-world, are still people.

It is probably good to not forget that other people are people. Incredibly hard sometimes. But a good thing.

(Weirdly this keeps overlapping in my head with Fred Clark's "Tony Perkins does not love anyone suffering from mental illness" post. Also his "you do not refrain from torturing because they don't deserve it, you refrain from torturing because you are not a torturer.")


Nov. 1st, 2010 07:07 pm
green_dreams: (fallout icon - love. love never changes)
So, it's November, and the knitting project I am working on is at the point where there's just the finishing left. (You know what that's like, right? When you need to sit down with needle and yarn and weave all the loose stuff in and it takes forever and it's not knitting anyway, dammit, it's...)

(You know.)

I was trying to figure out if I was up for knitting something (with minimal finishing) for savesnowssanity. 'cause lately with my free time I've been doing things I like doing, but I've been doing so many of them that I start to get bitter about not having time off, any time off, and that shit I do not need right now TYVM. Really.

Wow, that turned into a ramble. )

Uhm. Anyway. Yeah. There's a bunch of auctions of BPAL and art and jewelry and perfume and knitting and stuff over here, maybe worth taking a look.
green_dreams: (Hallowe'en Tree)
I carved a jack o'lantern, and made pumpkin pie, and the sky outside is that funny purple it gets when there's snow on the ground and light pollution in the air, a sort of dreamy brown/lilac. And maybe I will carve another jack o'lantern tomorrow, I am not sure. I do wish I'd picked up the back yard, but when it started sleeting I was hoping it would taper off, rather than go on to full-blown snow, and then it got dark.

Maybe tomorrow.

I've been a bit down lately. I don't know if it's how much of it is the assorted work/cash-related stress, and how much is feeling like I've already promised away all my free time, and how much is not being able to get writing I wanted to do done, and how much is winter coming on, and how much is a heavy load of people being jerks, ad nauseum.[1]

And it comes and goes, which on the one hand is good because I really do not need to be constantly in the frame of mind where going out for groceries reminds me of a bitter anecdote about old people being reduced to eating catfood. But I'd really rather that the being down just went, rather than coming and going. I could handle that. I like my good mood.

For the record? I am in a good mood now, I think. I have had a very nice evening, and I feel warm and dozy and generally content. It's just this whole Les sanglots longs des violons de l'automne/Blessent mon cœur d'une langueur monotone thing around the edges, to which I say bah. And put on Lordi's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" or some Apoptygma Berzerk or something.

(I have been assured that The Lady's Not For Burning will help. I have it handy, and am hopeful.)

Tomorrow starts in earnest in somewhat less than twelve hours. I am thinking whipped cream and pumpkin pie may be in order.
[1] Substitute -ism as appropriate.

Burnt out.

Oct. 1st, 2010 10:54 am
green_dreams: Fading lightbulb. (going... going... gone.)
Time to take a break from things for a while, I think.
green_dreams: (I see what you did there)
You know that feeling you get when you realize you've probably been saying something really stupid, and can't quite place why, and it's nagging at you like the twisted strap of a poorly adjusted invisible knapsack?

I think I may need to go out, get coffee, and examine my privilege vis-a-vis being an adult who gets to leave ETA: socially-defined liminal spaces basically whenever she wants to, and how the protagonists of horror movies are frequently in a liminal/other space/role, and...

green_dreams: (break the cycle)
So, I picked up the latest Realms of Fantasy issue, started reading the first story--news article, not fiction--and three paragraphs in was sitting there with that look on my face you get when you are thinking Oh you did not just say that.

I hit their website to see if they'd commented on it at all. No dice, although the first words that caught my eye were "For the August issue, we are privileged once again..."

That word, it means so much more than you think it means.

Ahem. Yes. Anyway, the writing in question:
Cut for those who are just not up to dealing with whitewashing apologists right now. )
I can't even begin to play bingo with this.

So yeah. I cancelled my subscription to RoF, and am working on a letter to them. And... Jesus, does the fail ever begin to end?

(How's Clarkesworld doing these days? I am sure that not picking up a year's worth of RoF makes buying their print anthologies a lot more workable.)
green_dreams: (really raw day)
With regard to this?

No, he didn't say that. I told him I was going to start on dinner, and he said he'd be up in a few minutes and then called up rather plaintively "It would be awesome if you could make me a sandwich...?" And, you know... it was a sandwich. I had the bread and the ham and the cucumber out anyway.

Dammit. I hate having to put up these disclaimers, and I hate either needing to explain to people that no, that wasn't the case, or else watching them congratulate him. Although that last did not surprise me.
green_dreams: (old pulp love)
I think I may be one of very very few people on the planet who has watched Sephiroth turning away and going into the flames (in the game, not on a vidclip) in Final Fantasy VII, but has not seen footage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers on 9/11.

I am not sure exactly how I feel about this. I will ponder it after I finish watching the episode of Fringe that has a bouquet of tentacles hatching out of a man's mouth before the opening credits.
green_dreams: (small cautious mouse)
(...okay, I can't even type this without a "Jesus, you know I don't believe these things, I'm just recognizing them, right?" disclaimer. Consider yourself disclaimed.)

Given the virgin/whore dichotomy, and the cultural conceit that male/female intercourse is the only real Sex(TM)[1], how much of the appeal of the titillesbian is that she's teasing in a way that makes it clear that she's sexually active without actually having Sex(TM)? She has a sexual enthusiasm that the Virgin lacks, but isn't really being filthy the way a Whore would be...

Flipside, how much of it is the fact that she's doing it expressly to please the viewers and thus is catering to them rather than doing anything that might be considered a threatening expression of her own agency?

God. I'm gonna depress myself.

(Don't mind me, I ran off a character analysis about a guy who has just a bit of a tendancy to idealize his female SO, and random bits are floating around.)
[1] Not that it's the only cultural conceit about what counts as real sex (or, more to the point, what counts as not having had real sex. Sweet bleeding Christ, if I trip over one more instance of the idealized virginity-proving hymen... Anyway.
green_dreams: (books and glasses)
So. Catching up on reading and chatting with people (thank you, Ben), and generally finding that, in the way themes tend to clump up, there was a common theme to some stuff I'd been reading lately.

Oh, for the record? This post contains spoilers.

But anyway; Elizabeth Bear's Hugo-winning[1] "Shoggoths in Bloom", Ursula K. LeGuin's also Hugo-winning "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (wiki entry, also contains spoilers, does not have the story), and an entry on the weirdly engaging SCP-wiki[2] describing how people deal with SCP-231-7 (free fun fact: anything requiring a high score on the Milgram Obedience Examination is probably going to be highly problematic).

Yeah, spoilers. )
[1] Agh I didn't know that was Elizabeth Bear I would *so* have gotten her to sign something when she was hanging around in the halls!
[2] Seriously, I love this site. Between the cognitohazard tag (often quite evocative of NWoD) and the random SCP page, I could spend hours here.
green_dreams: (I see what you did there)
Sadly, the thunderstorm we were warned to watch for did not properly materialize. What can you do?

Piper's gotten the serious crazies, and I've managed to lose my sewing scissors. The week at work had a heavy side-order of brain-dead, and I'm polishing the resumé (not because I need to get out of there, just on the general update/possible side-work theory).

Been thinking about--gah, I'm not even entirely sure of the term. Fiction that is conveyed with set pieces, rather than just through the written word. John says epistolary, and a lot of them are, but that's not all of it. I mean, the first section of The Dionaea House is epistolary, but the later stuff--Eric and Loreen's private blogs, Danielle's LJ--aren't letters collected to tell a story or a diary republished in a book. They are the things you'd transcribe.

On the scale of "creating an item that your character would create", online journals are easy; hell, they're probably easier than handwritten letters. (You get a lot of this in video, too; I'm sure there's something to be said here about Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead, and Blair Witch Project.)

I mean, I can think of several examples. I've got a computer game that comes in its own evidence bag and arranges for you to get e-mails from other characters in the game; BBC had something similar (which is how I first tripped over the idea of TINAG; I've calligraphied letters and bought sealing wax and made seals for LARP props; I recently ran across Personal Effects: Dark Art (and I want that book so badly it's not even funny). Moving a bit further afield from straight narrative, I've seen the field kit of a werewolf hunter and pages from Cthulhu Mythos texts.

And I mean... there has to be a name for this, right? I'm looking at the alternate reality gaming idea, and thinking "alternate reality storytelling?" but that just sounds like another name for the alternate universe genre. And then there's the whole question of, if you have to work to get the next part of a story, how you define the difference between a story and a game...

Rambles that have been kicking around in my head a while, I guess, that I wanted to get down somewhere.
green_dreams: Books, and coffee cup with "Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book" on the side. (artsy spacey)
Went to see Quantum of Solace. Really engaging if not particularly complex (and honestly, keeping a movie interesting when that much of it is chase scenes is a feat. I fell asleep during one of the Bourne movies).

Bond, as per the last movie, remains something like a shark in a tuxedo. You wind him up, you put him in a situation, you hope that maybe he leaves someone alive for questioning. George Stark-ish, I tell you.

Random digression on the way home led to a brief discussion of the US Unknown Soldier, and the factoid that no-one guarding him has any rank (which I knew), and that the Unknown Soldiers are awarded the Medal of Honour. Find this oddly fascinating, and think there is a great deal to be said about archetypes right there (although admittedly, the last discussion I had on the topic of unidentified-individual-as-symbol revolved around Jack the Ripper, so I think I'm kind of bouncing around the map here).

On the topic of dead things and archetypes, recently finished Brian Keene's Dead Sea. Fast little read, and while I wouldn't call it remarkable it was definitely decent. Got the impression the professor character was a bit of a mouthpiece, but then I have no objection to listening to digressions on the Hero's Journey and Joseph Campbell, so that was okay. Also, zombies.

It's raining and grey, and generally the perfect kind of day to sit inside with a hot drink. I shall go continue to do this.
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