1. A Knight's Tale (2001)
This rather irreverant, shamelessly anachronistic film starring the late Heath Ledger, Alan Tudyk and Paul Bettany follows young William Thatcher, a peasant who dreams of becoming a knight. When his Master dies unexpectedly in the middle of a jousting tourney, Will puts on the suit and fills in to finish and win the gold, and realises the farce is one they could pull off. Bettany deserves special recognition for his role as Geoffrey Chaucer, their loquacious "herald" (a part written with him in mind) while Will plays the part of Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein, playing a sport reserved for nobles, a crime punishable by death. As amazingly funny and well-written as the film is, special mention has to be made for an AMAZING soundtrack, including everything from David Bowie to Thin Lizzy to Queen.
2. Chocolat (2000)
Starring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina and Judi Dench, this curious film takes place in a small village of France, and starts when a wandering gypsy woman (I say figuratively, not literally - she's actually a descendent of the Mayan witchdoctors) sets up shop in an old patisserie. When she opens just in time for Lent, however, she sells not bread, but something far more tempting: chocolates. A kind of spiritual war breaks out as the temptress challenges old (and cruel) ways, with a special foiling in the river rats (Irish travelers, including Roux, played by Depp) that set up shop at the river. Sometimes, a little debauchery is just what you need to shake the skeletons out of the closet, and move on from stagnant prejudice. The scenery is beautiful, but the real guilty pleasure is the sheer multitude of chocolates, including an absolutely divine dinner held for Dench's character's birthday party. The music is an indulgence of its own, with warm violins and a bit of punchy gypsy party music to go with it. Tatyana Yassukovich earns a special recognition for her voiceover work, which is just as rich and lovely as the chocolate!
3. You've Got Mail (1998)
"Don't you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. If I knew who you were, I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils." So begins the flim, starring the ever lovely pairing of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, a quirky little rom-com in turn based on a play. The pair meet on an internet chat room, and become electronic pen pals, with the one rule that they don't ask any specifics about their personal lives. Which is ironic, because they happen to not only be in the same line of business, but Joe Fox's big chain bookstore (which is a kind of Barnes & Noble) happens to be buying out every shop in town, including Kathleen Kelly's quaint "Shop Around the Corner", which specialises in children's books, and was started by her mother when she was a little girl. A love note not only to the fun curiousities of life, priorities in love, but most importantly books and New York, it's a spectacular use of dramatic irony, spectacular supporting cast, and lovely little tidbits of flavour that you can only really pick up when you sit and study it like a good book. Not only is the music fun, but it's part of the story telling, especially the scene where Mr. Fox visits the Shop as a customer, trying to avoid detection while "Never Smile At A Crocodile" begins to play.
4. Practical Magic (1998)
This beautiful film, starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock is about two sisters, Sally and Gilly Owens, the latest in a long line of witches, cursed by an ancestor to never have a happy ending. When their father dies because of the curse, and their mother close behind with a broken heart, the two girls grow up with their aunts Jet and Franny, played by the wonderful and charming Diane Wiest and Stockard Channing. Sally swears to never fall in love, and Gilly can't wait. So begins a tale of curses, magic, love, and a bit of self-discovery as the girls endure the curse's effects on their own lives, in a tale of not only magic and a world uncomfortable with witches, but also family. Another one with a beautiful soundtrack, the foiling between the generations of Owens women is particularly powerful, both as the sisters look to the aunts, and as they watch Sally's daughters fall under the influence as well.
5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
A brain, a basketcase, a princess, an athlete and a criminal. The best thing about this film is that it states outright that we're going to explore some basic archetypes in the genre of high school drama, and does an amazing job of not only staying true to the core concept for each, but exploring the implications behind the stereotypes. Part of the Brat Pack series in the '80s, this John Hughes film details a Saturday school detention, where five students are to sit and write an essay, "Who Am I?" The characters play off of each other, assuming much as each character is defined by their social roles in the hierarchy of high school. There is a great deal of arguing, amongst themselves and with the principal who is playing host, but then, good character conflict brings good character growth. It touches on substance abuse, sexual pressure, academic and athletic pressures, the fear of growing up to be your parents, and that looming knowledge that graduation is but a couple months away, and with it, the ugly real world. It's as much a character study as it is a thesis on the parts that make up the whole of the culture of high school, chock full of one-liners and touching moments that speak to all of us. Bender is really the one to watch, played by a young Jed Nelson who has such a passion and fire that he can be frightening, as the bully and the victim.
6. The Greatest Show On Earth (1952)
Starring Charlton Heston, James Stewart and Betty Hutton, this Cecil B. DeMille film follows the Ringling Bros. on tour, and is a particular marvel in that it was actually filmed with the circus, and includes sketches from classic clown acts like Lou Jacobs and Emmett Kelley, mixed in with the main story. Heston is Brad Braden, one of the managers of the show, and he's faced with a financial debacle: the owners aren't confident that the show will be profitable, and there's talks of cutting the season short, which means an entire circus full of people out of work. To combat this, they've hired The Great Sebastian, a renowned trapeze act, for the center ring, stealing it from the budding Holly who has been with the show longer, and has worked hard to earn that spot. In the trapeze, Sebastian and Holly take to outdoing each other with competitive stunts, while on the ground Sebastian tries to sweep her off her feet from Brad. With Phyllis, the horse girl, and her crazy admirer the elephant man, and Stewart's Buttons, a clown who never takes off his make-up, hiding a terrible secret, there's plenty of drama on and off the stage to keep life tense, but circus folks know how to keep the show rolling, no matter what happens. Buttons is really the one to watch, but I am a big fan of the clowns in general. So sue me!
7. The Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy (2003)
I mark this as a trilogy, because you really have to take the tree films together. With a cast including Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush and Jack Davenport, this fun romp through (HA!) the Golden Age of Piracy is, at once, a delightful tip of the hat to a historical era, and a rather tongue in cheek conglomeration thereof. The powder and "long pork" make me happy, as does the fact that every flag flying in At World's End's battle speech (told by Captain Swan in a tribute, no doubt, to her royal namesake) is a real flag from a real pirate in the Golden Age of Piracy. The music is Hans Zimmer, which is always great, and Jack's theme is instantly memorable. It dabbles with black magick, pagan gods, cannibals, drag... Plus, it's got a great bit of Keith Richards, intimidating an entire room of pirates by breaking a guitar string. It's funny, but heartful, great drama, AMAZING continuity. Pay special attention to the tragic Comm. Norrington and his fated sword. An honourable mention to Lee Arenberg, who has quick become one of my favourites! Watch him, he'll get big!
8. The Dark Knight (2008)
The second in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, this film won Heath Ledger 32 posthumous awards, including an Oscar, and for very good reason! For any Batman fan, this one already packs a punch with an amazing line up: Christian Bale as the Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, before and after Two Face, Gary Oldman as Gordon, and Ledger as the Joker, the Moriarity to the World's Greatest Detective. In a vast redirection from Jack Nicholson's Joker in Batman (1989), Ledger's Joker is more of a psychopath, cold and ruthless, and with a penchant for eloquent, but chilling speeches. Not only is Ledger's performance as Joker absolutely legendary, there is a good balance for the Batman as well, giving him scenes in the Cave with Alfred as well as on the town as Wayne, supporting Dent's political work. There are a good number of twists and turns in the plot, but each of them is carefully paced and perfectly executed. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, and if you can get it on BluRay, you absolutely MUST. No matter who he's on screen with, the Joker completely sucks you in, and you don't even notice at first that even the music goes deathly silent when it's his turn to speak, until you get swept away in the monologues of anarchy and uncomfortable social commentary that sharpens with the chilling music as the madman reveals his twisted, deadly plot. The Joker has always been one of my favourite villains, and I can watch this film over and over again without remorse. I always say, "Okay, just the beginning, because the beginning is amazing." And then, "Okay, just the Proposition Scene", and next thing I know, we're at the Interrogation Scene, and then the end. It's addicting, watch yourself.
9. Down Periscope (1996)
This comedy, starring Kelsey Grammar and a slew of other great comics is a solid A treat. A perfect comedy, the romp follows Dodge, a submarine officer with dreams of getting his own boat. When he finally does make Captain, however, it's for an antiquated diesel sub called the USS Stingray to test a security risk for a series of war games. Although his general (a Rip Torn much like his agent in Men In Black (1997)) insists he's just the right "pirate" for the job, Admiral Graham, his opponent, is playing dirty. His crew is a bunch of misfits and weirdos, including Harland Williams as Sonar, a (duh) sonar officer with impossibly good hearing, Toby Huss as a zapped-out electrician, and Rob Schneider as the high-strung First Mate. As a Navy brat, I know it's a little wrong, but I can't help but love this movie. The writing is perfect, the comedy is hillarious, and the cast of characters are just delightful. By the end of the film, you feel like a member of this ragtag crew, too.
10. Repo! the Genetic Opera (2008)
What can't be said about this film? Firstly, you need to have a bit of a sick sense of humour to appreciate this one, because it's directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. With a cast of Terrence Zdunich, Alexa PenaVega, Paul Sorvino and Anthony Stewart Head, it really is an opera, but with a macabre, post-apocalyptic twist. Head plays an almost split-personality Repoman, whose job is to "repossess" body parts owed to GeneCo, a company that made big profits when an epidemic of organ failure nearly killed the world. GeneCo belongs to Rotti Largo, an old-school Italian mobster-esque father of three, facing terminal cancer and a trio of heirs that aren't worthy of his empire. In typical opera fashion, everything is entertwined, but the mix of blood, rock, opera and some absolutely spectacular graphic novel-style exposition makes this an absolute treat, including Zdunich as the sexy White Rabbit-esque Graverobber. As an added treat, Sarah Brightman, the original Christine Daae, capitalises on her naturally creepy eye factor as "Blind Mag", a soprano under terminal contract with GeneCo.
You know how when something splendid happens, but karma is a bitch and makes you pay for it by handing you a pile of shit on the side? That's what my entire month has been like.
For starters, I think I have bed bugs. Bastards started biting JUST before she got here. So the day before she's arriving, I'm running to the ER with an arm swollen and red and hurting and BURNING because of cellulitls. And the drugs they gave me made me sick for /weeks/. Vampire pills that told me to stay out of sunlight (no beach days, no park visits, no walking around town...) and antibiotics that had me feeling like a zombie, and hurting on the inside. It got to the point where my godmother gave me Lunesta to get some sleep through the pain, and boy does that shit work! Rumplestiltskin couldn't make a potion that worked for five days straight on one dose!
And Cookie... gods, I love that woman. I know how Rumple feels, and why he fell for Belle so hard, because I'm living it. I see her beautiful face first thing in the morning, she pokes at me to keep on task (which I sometimes really need), pops a breakfast in the kitchen... even hot pockets is better than nothing, which I'd otherwise do myself. But she makes TEA. And not only does she make tea, she makes a PERFECT cuppa. That's one of those little things that seem silly, but are the difference between someone you live with and someone who earns your quiet, unyielding adoration -- the silent tokens of care that show that they're paying attention and watching out for you. Busy as he is? This is why Rumplestiltksin has a caretaker. Mind, I would get up and do breakfast /myself/ from time to time, but it is just so damned nice having someone dote on me. This is what having a wife is like! Damnit, I want to keep her forever!
And silence. Someone once said that the token of a relationship is the ability to just sit and be quiet with one another. I have that with her. I thought I had that with Rich, but I really don't. I have to remind him that I'm being antisocial, working, writing, reading, doing something on my own and don't want his interruptions, but he still keeps on bugging me. I find myself growling warnings at him from his random outbursts of laughter as he's Farking behind me. It's frustrating! But Cookie? She'll quietly move around me, do her own thing, and we'll even take turns playing iTunes -- neither of us have to ask, but we both work best with music. We take turns! It's a beautiful thing. We both discuss where we want to go, and even though there are times neither of us have a preference, and I growl, "Answer the damned question, woman...", I truly adore the fact that I get a /say/ in things. Rich always seems to have his own idea of how things will go, and just assumes I'm along for the ride. It's a breath of beautiful, cool, crisp, clean, fresh air. And I love it.
And Richard has already hung himself. Poor fool doesn't even truly realise it. Bastard decided he was going to dump me the Friday after he got here. After how much I've been wrestling with how to compromise these two loves, that was the worst thing he could have done for himself, but he did it. And now, he's on probation to prove to me I /should/ take him back. I've told him as much, but he doesn't seem to be taking it seriously. I'm watching him, and I'm not seeing a great show of effort, which I will use to sign his gravestone if he does not straighten up very quickly, and very straight. Unfortunately, it's hard to teach and old dog new tricks, and what I've been trying to do in three years isn't likely to change in a matter of weeks, but if it doesn't, the blame will fall on his shoulders, not mine.
-sighs- We're talking about moving cross country. Either I'm going to Seattle, or Washington, or she's moving here. One of us is going to do a serious uplift for this, and my concern is that we make the right decision. I'm a shite person for money, so it would be a fool's bargain to move to Washington for the sake of moving to Washington, only to scrape out a miserable, bohemian existence in Puget Sound, when we could be living far better living out on Willoughby Spitt. That's why I like it here -- the necessities are present, anything else is not that far away, it's right on the shore for beautiful (CHEAP) beach living, and the rent is very good. For someone that is working part time at Wendy's, it's not too shabby. OV used to be a really bad neighborhood, so it's a bit of a well-kept secret, and I like it that way. This is a nice, cozy little spot, and I want to make sure that wherever we go will be better, not worse. That just requires us doing our homework, and we've a year to do that...
And for more irony, my godmother's moved into town. She and Paul are looking to see if they can get me a better job at the Green Parrot, and that will be AMAZING if it goes down. She's also talking about helping me get Gabe back at a vet, and even getting a car. All of which will require the better job first, but they're JUST down the street from me, and that's a guaranteed ride while I'm saving up. If it goes through, I could be looking at a SERIOUS life improvement, Cookie notwithstanding, which is really what I need right now. I also applied for FAFSA to see what kind of money I can get from the government to work on my degree, and that's another step to getting my education done, and getting an even BETTER job. This could be the big break I need, and it looks like Rich isn't going to be doing his part to stick with me until things get better, but Joanne will. Really!
-sighs- So much is going on right now... I'm watching a lot of big puzzle pieces coming down from the sky, and while they haven't been put into place yet, I'm anxious. In a good way, mind, but change is always hard. I'm trying to arm myself, because this is going to get really rough, but if I can weather the storm, some good things are headed my way.
I'm just worried about how I'm going to pay for them.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Jr.
Farmer's Wife, the
Howl's Moving Castle
Juno and the Paycock
Lady Vanishes, the
Man Who Knew Too Much, the
Matrix: the Animatrix
Phantom of the Opera, the
Pretty In Pink
Road to El Dorado, the
Rich and Strange
Secret Agent, the
Skin Game, the
Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Usual Suspects, the
Young & Innocent
-watch an Abney Park concert
-get a tour of Robert Brown's house
-hang out with Abney Park crew
-earn a plushie from Dana Hill
-Traveller's Crack chai
-purchase fresh fish at the Pike Place Market
-visit Puget Sound University (Attend, if possible)
-visit Mt. Rainier
-have pizza that is more melted cheese than actual pizza and yet isn't too greasy
-have a Star Sandwich at the Seneca Falls Downtown Deli
-visit Little Italy, Ireland, Puerto Rico AND Chinatown
-walk down Fifth Avenue
-visit Central Park
-climb the Statue of Liberty
-have a steak at Peter Ruger's
-buy a copy of the Philosopher's Stone
-find a typo copy of the Goblet of Fire
-see a show on broadway (bonus points if it's Cats)
-visit Oxford University
-visit Lewis Carroll's grave
-try bangers and mash
-try beans on toast
-get lost in the moor/highlands (preferably not at night, but that would be more adventurous, wouldn't it?)
-pick up a claddaugh (even if some people will scream at me for it)
-listen to a proper Irish punk band
-see a magick show
-play Blackjack in a slinky black dress with a glass of strong liquor - scotch, preferably, but I'm not picky on that detail
-visit the Louvre
-see an opera
-have an espresso and fattening pastry at a French bistro
-find a mime and give him a HUG
-get back home
-get randomly invited to someone's home for dinner -- if there isn't at least half a dozen Italians, does not qualify. Must include a pasta dish, wine, kissing, dancing, and chocolate in the dessert.
-get something brand name (Gucci or Armani would do wonderfully, preferably a bag or boots, leather)
-figure out what cafe it was I heard that Stephen King frequents
-manage to stalk that cafe until he comes in one day
-meet Stephen King (give him a hug for On Writing, and resist punching him in the face for It)
-go to a Red Sox game
-visit MIT (talk smack about Harvard while there, if possible) -- acquire (3) fantastically nerdy anecdotes before this quest is considered complete
-test Geno's and Pat's, and make a decision
-have a window spot where I can have coffee and write in the mornings. Do this at least 3 times consecutively to count. GET UP EARLY IF YOU MUST.
-live in an apartment that has at least one room underground
-visit every museum in DC
-learn to sail
-learn to golf
-meet Dana Carvey
-meet Mark Hamill
-meet Kevin Smith
-meet Alice Cooper
-meet Scott McNeil
-meet Johnny Depp (must have a conversation about Thompson to count)
-talk with J. Michael Tatum again
-own a cuckoo clock (may be inheriting my grandmother's *fingers crossed*)
-have a room in my home dedicated to puzzles
-have an "armory" of geek weaponry and collectibles
-have a "library" in my home: a room of nothing but books and reading space
-get back to Dragon*con
-meet Randall Munroe
-get butterbeer at the WWoHP
-get another glass of Butterbeer at the WWoHP
-own a Seuss hat (Cat in the Hat)
-return to Suess Landing for the holidays
-make 21st birthday buddies take a shot of 151 like I did:
-acquire an astronomical clock (particularly one that still works. to count, must include day's hour (12 or 24 is fine), calendar date, moon phase, and zodiac, at least.)
-own a Mini Cooper
-get my pilot's license
-have a "summer home" and a "winter home", and become one of those dreadful snowbirds
-return to Nevarre Beach (Bonus: Own a house there)
-own my own cafe
-host Saturday Night Live
-flirt shamelessly with Rob Paulsen on Talkin' Toons
-get a Comedy Central special? Or at least YouTube sensational.
-get a funny autograph from Mark Hamill
-go see another Abney Park concert
-go to an Abney Park room party at Dragon*con
-go talk to Voltaire again
-go talk to Voltaire again
-go to a Voltaire room party at Dragon*con
-go see Jimmy AGAIN
-see a SPG concert
-get the entire RBBB Alley to sign your Circus program (2013) < no programs
-get the entire RBBB Alley to sign your Circus program (2014) < I only managed a few, but I feel particularly proud about catching the Ringleader between acts.
-get the entire RBBB Alley to sign your Circus program (2015) < I got all but two, but I talked to the two and they (INCLUDING BOSS CLOWN!) were being difficult, but the story will do.
-get the entire RBBB Alley to sign your Circus program (2016)
-get backstage with Chris to hang with the Alley (bonus points for a free roll)
-take Chris out to see the sights (do better this time!)
Cirque du Soleil
-see another Cirque show (bonus if at Vegas) *EDIT: Contact Chris! He knows someone in the shows, can get good tickets.
-go see ALL of the Cirque shows
-get to Camp Moosburger
-attend a Jewish wedding
-attend a Greek wedding (with plate smashing)
-have a TARDIS at my own wedding
-attend a wedding where the bride and groom are both over 50. Anniversarial renewing of vows can count.
-do the shoe charm at my own wedding
-don't let my groom see me in my dress until the wedding day (or vice versa)
-marry in my mother's wedding dress < redacted, because I'm going to be the groom when I marry Joanne.
-be ginger, and wear red lipstick at my own wedding
-Beers & monte cristo with Kyle at Park Lane (extra so if at such an ungodly hour) < bonus because he AND I have moved away
-sushi & sake (or pho) with Ashley
-finish my first studio album
-publish a book on Murbian culture
-publish a book on grammar
-write a Christmas LARPG/Mystery Dinner Theatre Party
-write my David analogy
-write an asylum novel
-write a dissertation on Harry Potter
-write a dissertation on the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy
-get Mallard & O'Hara published in a serialised format a la Sherlock Holmes
-write a #MadLove book
-publish a graphic novel
-write an official DC comic
-finish my damned Circus tarot deck
-get back into sculpting
-figure out a kind of painting that works for me
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day is not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and two cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and fills it with golf balls.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “YES”.
The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - God, family,
children, health, friends, and favorite passions. Things, that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the things that matter like your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else -- the small stuff.” he said.
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are
important to you...” he told them.
“So... pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Worship with your family. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. Spend time with good friends. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the dripping tap. Take care of the golf balls first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.
The professor smiled and said, “I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”
Hey, everypony! How you doin'?
Eurgh... life is shitty for me. Being an adult is not all it's cracked up to be, let me tell you. Plusses, Dark Side is still chugging along, and I'm (supposedly) doing rewrites for making it an original fiction. I'd been intending to rename it Valkyrie, but I had the thought the other day to leave it named the Condor. Enough of it changes to make the name of the ship a nice homage, if little else. I mean, LORD, the screaming of how 'out of character' it is! Geez. On the other hand, rewrites means, 'What are you changing?', which means an entire UNIVERSE I'm writing on my own. -sighs- It's a lot of work, but Herron is very generous with the cultural tips. And at least he is didactic - Rook isn't so helpful, hehe.
Kate and I still write! Rook is expecting, which is... awesome (for me - research!) and also terrifying (oddly enough, Herron isn't so much terrified at the prospect of fatherhood as he is that his beloved Dalvi won't survive the twins she's predicted, but it'll hit him eventually - although the pregnant mate thing has him all kinds of frustrated) but that's a bit besides the point. I finally have the in-story exposition of Ren's dirty little secret, but I think it's going to do lovely as a teaser opening scene for Robota. I have a little more insight with where that's going to go, but it's looking like my novels are going to be pretty thick beasties. -awkward neck rub- We'll see what the beta readers think of the length... -sighs- I'd like to finish the first book, already, and get it rewritten so I can do that. I already have start up and direction for book two, and a side-adventure that I'm tentatively entitling Under A Dragon's Wing (Gangs of New York reference) that is going to get into the nitty gritty of the Kaeguri slave world. ^-^ That one will be really dark, I'm very excited about it. >.> But I think it'll be more of a prequel that will come out later, because it's a bit spoilersome. Blake is going on about all these story ideas I have, and how I could totes translate most into this universe - including the racing story, Tales of a Cook, and my David allegory. I think I will be taking liberties with David, but that really goes without saying. I'd like to work on Falling Apart and My Life, but Blake is having WAY too much fun in this sci-fi universe for me to really do anything else. I am thinking of compromising Droobleberries and Mordecai's story and My Man Black into a single story, but I'm still not sure how that's goign to turn out. Brooke (my roomie) is a fan of Ghost Whisperer, and everytime I watch it, I'm a little surprised by how good my ghost lore is. With my tarot, Mordecai, droobleberries, and Blake, I could easily come up with a good witch character - Blake doesn't seem to upset by having a character with a spirit guide in it, and really, it seems the best way to compromise the concept of My Man Black into a story. So, it'll be Droobleberries universe, but I'll find out more about this witch as we go on.
Don't ask about Sticks!. I went to check on it the other day, and realised I'm an ENTIRE year behind. And without a scanner, that won't get changed any soon. Ditto on the artwork. I did try to pick up my tarot deck again - I'm really very nearly done with it. Just a couple more Major Arcana, and I'm on the Page of my second Minor suit, so it's going on really well. The artwork will have to wait for the scanner, but I will have it all written and ready to go when that happens. /or so I say.
CRAFTING has been nuts lately. I had a girlfriend commission me to make two snatchels (for all the drama and bullshit going on in DC about abortion laws - it's making her sick, and someone had an idea of crafting vaginas and sending them to politicians, so they have their own vulvas to worry about, and now she wants one for herself) and I'm also trying to finish MANDEM's Doctor Who Scarf (considering it's already paid for, I want it done and shipped out for Christmas, at the very latest. The sooner the better! I'm really very nearly done with it. /pulls it out to work on it today), working on a Watson scarf, and an 11th Doctor Sock Monkey! Ashley, awesome as she is, saw me drooling over a pattern book for them and after I put it back on the shelf, dropped it into the cart with a look of 'REALLY now.' ^-^ I'm not going to argue with that! I LOVE sock monkeys! Something to do with never having one growing up, and I got my first one as a gift from my dad last year for Christmas. XD It was supposed to be birthday, but he got me a magic kit instead. Really, he should have stuck with birthday, but it DOESN'T MATTER, because I have her now! Her name is Lady Marmalade, and she is... well, lying right here next to my computer, at the head of my bed, where I can look at her and squee in childish joy. As it is, this monkey (and I was knitting a monster the other day - I really should make a pattern for adipose!) is really hammering through that I need to get a set of double pointed needles already. XD I look a fool jerry-rigging it with straights. Troy says he might get me some needles, which would be LOVELY. But anyway! He's in tans and browns, and I think when he's done I'll make him up a nice brown jacket (maybe crochet, for textural difference...) and a little red bowtie and a fez, methinks. ^-^ I think it'll end up QUITE smashing, even if that reminds me that I still need to dress up Col. Iceberg so I can put him for sale, too... -le sighs- I also need to get some decent dolls' eyes for my ponies, and still haven't found a good way to do horns yet. T^T Gods preserve us. I might have to jerry rig something else. I loathe using glue, but we'll see what happens. Maybe styrofoam, I dunno. -shrugs- For now, still pondering.
Um, lessee, what else... OH YES! Cafe! I'm looking into opening a cafe at Atlantis Games & Comix. I don't know if I mentioned that or not, but REALLY. It's by the sea, geeks and nerds everywhere, plus coffee?! Freakin' dream job, man. Not to mention hours of manning a cafe means hours of down time, which means hours of crafting/writing time! You know how much I LOVE multi-tasking :D Plus, it'll be salary, which means I will legit be having a job I love T^T... And if I can get that awesome job, that means money to support myself, which means marriage, which will be all kinds of awesome and nice. (If Marmalade doesn't make me want to kill her, that damned cat... I mean -- I LOVE HER! >.> But I'm totes not a cat person.) ...Don't ask. It's just one of those things.
-sighs- What else...
...Oh yeah. XD The reason I came on here in the first place.
I've gotten signed on to Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction archives. Considering that FF.net has been cleaning up some of it's more 'offensive' material (and as someone who writes torture fics on ocassion, that means deleting my archived fanfic) I signed up for it a while ago, and am setting up the account. They allow multiple siggies! Which is just awesome. I'm going to try and collect things from all over and put them up... Except maybe Dark Side. I dunno. Debating it. Like, the last chapter Blake wrote, he wrote for Condor, not Dark Side. XD Which means instead of converting it from Storm Hawks to Kaeguri, I have to do the reverse, hehe. ...We'll see. I will link to it on the URL list when I'm done.
...but that's enough jabbering for now. Love love, you guys! :*
So... stealing a meme of sorts from a dear friend of mine, who has a blog on Blogspot here. In specific, this post here.
It's not much, but I liked the idea: the rules state that if awarded this 'Inspire Award', you must first give an acceptance speech, then list five things that inspire you, and a song. If nothing else, it's for posterity, so, here goes...
[Lady K holds the award, smiling warmly at the audience.] I just wanted to thank everyone for this... prestigious award. I want to first thank my muse, Blake. He is... well, a right git most of the time, and a downright diva, but GOD, do we write wonderful things together. You've got real brass, and you don't care who knows it. I love that about you, and I thank you for all the wonderful stories you've brought me over the years. And I want to thank you, my readers! I've always said that I write mostly for myself - Blake and I write wonderful stories, and if nothing else, I amuse myself greatly with my own cleverness, but being able to share my adventures with you is quite wonderful. I'm glad someone else can get my Sticks! jokes... And yes, I promise to get caught up when I get my scanner back. [OOC: Oh dear god... O.O ] I also want to thank [insert contemporary life partner here], for being my rock, and my better half. You push me on to bigger and better things! And also make sure I feed myself. And walk the dog. And get some sleep. But you're also wise enough to just let me get up at 3a and listen to what the muse has to say. Your patience as I jabber on about a world that doesn't exist is unparalleled, and I thank you for it. And to you, my fellow writers! Bre, Kate, Summer... I love you girls. My men have loved you, and your women. You let Blake be as unruly as he wants, and we are rewarded with priceless moments and memories that can never be paralleled. I also want to send a shout out to all who do the things the love, and live their dreams. You inspire me... in so many ways, I can't even tell you! [Audience cheers, Lady K blows kisses to the crowd, confetti rains down, she hugs a bouquet of roses as big as she is...]
...but, guess what the next bit is? I tell you five things that inspire me. HAH! Fooled ya!
Thing that inspires me #1: People. I know, obvious, but there it is. There is an old saying: "Show me who your friends are, and I'll show you who YOU are". I strive to surround myself with interesting people, in the hopes that they, in turn, will stimulate me and make me an interesting person as well. There is something to said for pretending to be a meme and god-moding over the underclassmen, but I genuinely try to be an interesting person by cultivating the company I keep. At parties, I will find myself scanning the room for the most interesting person present, and will usually find myself watching them, then near them, then talking with them, then usually exchanging Facebook info (unless they're against that sort of thing). XD I love meeting new people! Their stories, their lives, their clothes, their manners, their music. I love everything about an entirely new specimen to learn from and study. It is because of this diversity in company that I can develop a diversity in my characters. It's easy to make characters that have both eccentricity and depth when you have real-life examples to draw on. Sometimes it's the details - the nuances, the fashion picks, the ticks, the quips, the habits - that really sell someone as a real person. And I steal from real life ALL the TIME.
Thing that inspires me #2: Music. I know, I know, another OBVIOUS one. But it's very true. ...but not always in the way you'd think. You see, I've found myself crafting playlists for my characters. Some of them make sense off the top of the bat, but other ones sneak up on me. My muse will drop songs into my head for ear worms that I will then have to go look up and investigate. More than once, my subconscious has picked up on something I missed, or I'll stumble upon a new song and it will IMMEDIATELY strike a chord. This is frustrating at work, when I can get stuck singing the only three lines of Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls" that I remember, but later, when things are quiet on the internets, I will sit and knit and listen to a character's playlist. Sometimes I can learn a lot through this form of 'meditation', and I am constantly cultivating my playlists. For instance: Dark Side's original write through during November was largely written to Panic! at the Disco's Pretty. Odd. album, plus a couple other singles. Now that I'm doing rewrites, the playlists are a bit more strict, but it's good to keep the old source material around. Abney Park in particular is very rich in inspirational imagery (in the lyrics, that is) and I find I get a new pirate captain (or remake one) everytime a new cd comes out, hehehe... But I listen to new music all the time, and more than once have heard a new song and instantly been inspired to make a new character. The two most recent examples were Jora (inspired by Gossips "Heavy Cross", which is also on my kil'stern playlist) and Splice (inspired by Project Pitchfork's "Splice" - shut up). Today's earworm was Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls", so... yeah. Take that how you will.
Thing that inspires me #3: Quiet. Now, anyone that knows me PERSONALLY will find this HILLARIOUS. In case you hadn't notice, I'm... rather chatty. I honestly write how I talk, so if you ever meet me in person, don't act all surprised when I sound like this in real life. (-SNERK- Real life.) Asides included. That being said, it's the quiet that inspires me the most. Like those quiet afternoons I mentioned earlier where I just sit, knit, and watch a movie/listen to one of my playlists, soaking in it like an nice hot bath, letting it run over me and just listening for what I can learn from it. On my walks to the bus, sitting ON the bus, at work... if it's quiet (or at least I'm quiet) my brain will start talking to me. Be it a new earworm, overhearing a conversation/witnessing a scene from one of my stories (oh, the exposition... One thing I love about writing Dark Side: I publish as I write, so I'm honestly reading it the first time same as you are. Practically. Almost.), or otherwise chewing on story predicaments, character flaws, little details of the mythos and biology and the like. Rainy days in particular bring out Mallard, but Sticks! shows up a lot for little commentaries on things. Just being able to sit and have breakfast with my muse is nice. He's a cheap date, he doesn't eat anything, and I usually go home with pages of story exposition to show for it, hehehe...
Thing that inspires me #4: My competition. I know, that sounds silly, but I tend to look at other writers as not just fellows in the craft, but also competition. It's the entrepreneur in me. But when I do crafts, it's a little more serious - yes, I can make craft, but if I want to make money, I have to figure out what I'm doing that makes folks want to buy from my shop rather than someone else's. So when I see someone with a knitted hat, or a nice scarf, or a plush doll, or a decent costume piece or something else that I could even FEASIBLY make, I ask if I can look at it, study it, figure out how it was pieced together. Talking with someone who does the same craft you do is a good way to learn neat little tricks and cheats, and to punch out a style that works for you. In writing, it's no different, though a bit more subtle. Like, how J.K.Rowling (Harry Potter) manages to slip her exposition in through throwaway lines, clever details, foreshadowing, and symbology (even in her names!) is something I terribly admire about her, and try to emulate. How Stephen King manages to write with such a quick, sharp, captivating style, without holding back curses or ugliness, and being really real and gritty. He doesn't pull his punches, and I like the brutal honesty of his writing. He's real down to earth, and I like that about him. Or Nathan Lowell (Trader's Tales) who manages to write in a relatable first-person, and yet gives us a hero to admire and desire without having to do anything more extreme than the already crazy happenstances of life. A lot of Doyle is inspired by his Ishmael, and I do my part to reference my favourite stories in my works whenever possible. Part of writing is reading, and while some of it is to keep your mind stimulated with a good story, it's also important to keep your writing quill SHARP. You can tell a writer who hasn't had a reader for a long time, or has been doing too much writing and not enough reading. Compared to others', it comes out half-baked, and it's because you're not being mindful of others. That's an important thing to do - keep it in context. You don't want to lose a good story just because you (literally!) 'lost your touch'.
Thing that inspires me #5: Stories. Be it art, music, tv, cartoon, drama, fantasy, mystery, kung fu, western, Miyazaki, Kurosawa, Butron, Elfman, Rowling, King, Koontz, Cusack, Carrey, Roberts... Pirates, samurai, hackers, dragons, knights, aliens. It doesn't matter. Everything is part of an epic narrative. Same shit, different day. It's all the same thing, told in different places, different faces, different names, and different authors. But the Epic Narrative isn't something you escape. The TRICK is to see how others have spun the tale, and seeing what you like. Do you prefer unicorns as your innocents, or children? Or ghosts? Or the Ghost in the Machine? What scares you? What is 'evil', and is it something you are made, or are you born that way? What is the line between destiny and fate, or choice and free will?
Red v. Blue?
In all seriousness, it's important to keep yourself aware of all of the stories going around you. A good exercise I encourage you to try is to figure out a story that's going on around you. Read the paper, and see an interesting article. Try to imagine the people, the CHARACTERS, who are living out that story. Abusive husband, or dedicated father? A bitter employee, or an honourable war veteran? Or how about a bitter veteran? Look at people walking down the street, driving in their cars, riding the bus, sitting in the coffee shop. Who are they? What are they eating? WHY are they eating that? Are they under the delusion that drinking diet cola will somehow detract from the fact that their meal is french fries and a triple bacon cheeseburger? Or are they diabetic? Or do they prefer the taste? Maybe he just wants to go home and drop mentos in it, is all. What if the person next to you was a vampire, trying to hide from the sun under her shades, but has to do a meet up with her Sire for some serious business. Maybe the gum chewer in the corner just hopped on a train from New York and is debating where she wants to go next, just running away from home for a short-lived adventure. Have fun with it. Who's to say why? Use stereotypes, TEST stereotypes. Amuse yourself. Keep up the thinking, and try to have fun with it.
Because ultimately, it's the HAVING FUN that keeps you inspired.
(Oh, and a song.)