mysticalchild_isis: (bowie)
When I was little, I required a lullaby in order to go to sleep. My parents were fairly traditional, but my oldest brother was an adolescent boy, and so when he was required to fill in, his song of choice was Space Oddity. It shouldn't be a surprise that David Bowie became the most important musical influence of my life.

I spent a year of my life living in London, and at first it was fairly hard to get to know people. I met my closest friend because I spent 16 hours camping out to get David Bowie tickets, and Philip was the guy behind me in line. We used to spend at least one weekend a month hitting the markets and Berwick Street looking for Bowie rarities and bootlegs, and fighting over our finds.

Speaking of that concert, it was the most amazing show I've ever seen. Camping out landed me sixth row center stage tickets (better than first row would have been, because I was on eye level with Bowie, instead of below him). It was the 30th anniversary of Ziggy Stardust, and it was held at the Hammersmith Odeon, the theatre where he'd famously killed Ziggy off. Bowie played for three hours, and the only break he took was 5 minutes between the regular set and the encore, during which time he drank water and changed his suit. He was incandescent that entire time, and I screamed myself hoarse.

I think I've probably seen Labyrinth about 200 times in my life. Possibly more.

I'm on my second copy of the Best of Bowie DVD collection. I didn't even know you could wear out a DVD until I could no longer get my favorite videos to play.

My first tattoo was Bowie related- the Ziggy Stardust lightning bolt in a circle. It wasn't particularly well planned or executed, but I have no regrets. Maybe one of these days I'll expand and improve upon it.

I've seen Bowie in concert four times, and I had always hoped to increase that number. I did get to see him in three different countries, at least- here in the US, in London (as mentioned above), and also once in Canada.

On most days, my favorite Bowie album is Outside, and my favorite song is The Motel from that album. On some days, it is any number of other Bowie songs, and I've had a lot of different favorite Bowie albums over the years.

When I was learning how to drive, I'm Afraid of Americans was getting a lot of radio play. I used to get in radio wars with my dad, as he was NOT a fan of the song. The compromise became that if I was in the driver's seat, we got to listen to it. If he was, the radio got turned off. Despite the fact that he was never much of a fan, my dad sent me a very nice message when he heard the news.

It's very sad and disconcerting to wake up in a world that no longer has David Bowie working and playing and making music, but as was pointed out yesterday, the world is 4.54 billion years old, so it's pretty amazing that I got to be alive alive for several of the same decades as David Bowie, and I am very grateful.
mysticalchild_isis: (avengers 3)
A fic rec list for my Marvel OTP. Separated by universe*.

*[personal profile] tsukinofaerii has a great post with a quick rundown on all the main universes.

Last updated August 5, 2014. New recs marked as such.

Also, for the curious, I have a tl;dr post on some of my policies, preferences, and opinions when it comes to Avengers fic recs.


616!verse )


Ultimates!verse )


Marvel Adventures!verse )


Movie!verse )


Noir, 3490!verse, IM:AA, Crossovers, and Complete AUs )


Resources )


Final notes:
Just be aware, most of these stories are adult. Also, last but not least, if any of the authors don't wish to be linked to, just drop me a line and I'll take it down.




mysticalchild_isis: (iron man)
In brief: I went in with some reservations, and came out feeling that it was problematic, but still worth seeing. My over-arching umbrella complaint is that too much of the movie felt rushed and disjointed.

Lengthy review (with spoilers) under cut )
mysticalchild_isis: (snow white)



I haven't even been able to bring myself to post about it until now, but last week, I lost my beloved kitty Morpheus. It was completely unexpected, which has made it ten times worse for me. One moment he was fine, and the next, he had a sudden blood clot that blocked his back legs and left him in excruciating pain. I rushed him to the emergency vet, but apparently in cases like this, there's almost nothing to be done. They gave him a strong pain killer and just let me hold him and hold him until it was time. Even though he was scared and drugged and in pain, he only wanted to be in my arms. I held him all the way through to the end. I've been completely lost ever since.

I rescued him as a kitten when he was only 8 weeks old. It was the summer before me senior year of university, and my roommates and I were grilling in our front yard. He was a stray little thing in all sorts of distress, and he was so hungry, he attacked our grill. I scooped him up, and even though I was a big, strange human, he cuddled right into me. For eleven years, he was the world to me. He was one of the sweetest, most affectionate cats I have ever met in my life. He loved people, he loved to socialize, and he loved to cuddle. He slept with me at night and hung out on my lap constantly. He loved nothing more than to be held like a baby, or sandwiched between two people who were both snuggling him. He was a cat that managed to win the hearts of even non-cat lovers. He was a talker, meowing at me all the time, often in hilarious ways. And he had a completely bizarre habit of humping a stuffed dog whenever he got really worked up, even though he was fixed as a kitten.

My friends have been super supportive, my roommate was with me the whole time it happened, and even my coworkers have mostly been extremely kind to me. But the last couple days have been extremely difficult. There all these giant holes in my life where he used to be. It's hard to sleep without him, and the house feels very empty all the time. He used to always come running to meet me at the door when I got home, so every time I have to walk in that door now, it hurts. If nothing else, he was certainly a cat who knew that he was loved, but right now, it's hard not to spend all my time curled up crying.

This is probably my all-time favorite picture of him. He was curled up on my bed next to me making this sweet face, and I actually manged to get a good shot (hard to do with black cats sometimes).

mysticalchild_isis: (le petit prince)
“I didn’t know I could be so sad, angry, stunned and grateful at the same time. RIP Robin Williams.”
– Jim Gaffigan


There’s a certain visceral quality to characters I connected to as a child, most likely due to the way that the barrier between fantasy and reality was so thin back then. Like the aliens from Galaxy Quest, to my child self, all the stories were true. As I was born in the early 80s, Robin Williams was almost ubiquitously present for my childhood: in Aladdin, in Fern Gully, in Mrs. Doubtfire and Jumanji and Toys, and most vividly and memorably for me, in Hook and in the reruns of Mork and Mindy. And that visceral connection has lasted through adulthood in a way that made his unexpected death a gutpunch of grief and sorrow.

Robin Williams had a remarkable quality of innocence and vulnerability that went hand in hand with his full-throttle personality. It was not the innocence of naivety, but of experience: of someone who embraced the world completely and utterly and loved without restraint. That simultaneous impression of youth and age was something rare and wonderful that made for an enthralling performance, even in his more forgettable films.

There’s a scene in Hook where one of the Lost Boys starts manipulating Robin-as-Peter’s face, seeking the child in the adult, and finding him with a joyful, “Oh, there you are, Peter!” As a child, there was a certain element to becoming an adult that was rather terrifying, but with this scene I was reassured that me-as-child would always be hiding somewhere under adult me, and as long as someone cared to look, I could be found. As an adult, I am even more moved, because it is a scene that says that we are known, that we are recognizable as individuals, and though we might misplace important parts of ourselves for a time, they are never completely lost to those who care.

I am well aware that this was only a fraction of what made up Robin Williams- he was a fallible human being who struggled with addiction, who sometimes went too fast and too far, and who must have been exhausting at times even for (or perhaps especially for) those who loved him most. He had a couple disturbingly convincing turns in darker roles, and demonstrated just as much facility for them as he did for the lighter side of things.

I feel like far too many of the reflections on his life focus on his critically acclaimed roles while dismissing the parts considered sentimental and mawkish, but in doing so, I think people are missing one of the most important truths about Robin: that he poured himself into our hearts when we were children, and he had the power to call us back to those selves. I don’t even need to revisit his films of my childhood to bring forth that feeling: even his new films that I have watched as an adult have that same power. A week or so ago, I saw the trailer for the upcoming third installment of the Night at the Museum movies, and there he was as Teddy Roosevelt. Suddenly it was as if I was all of 8 years old, enthralled in a way that rarely happens to my adult, distractible, sometimes cynical, and frequently critical self.

Robin Williams felt more like a force of nature than a mortal, guilty living creature, and so the news of his death seemed like some horrible joke. Before yesterday, I could hardly imagine a world without him, but if forced, perhaps I could understand something like a heart attack during a stand-up show when he was in his 80s or 90s. Not now. Not this. But he was a human being, and now he’s gone, and it has made me feel like a child again, but not in the joyful way; instead I feel like a child bereft, trying to understand the whys and the hows.

I never met him and I never knew him, but I loved him and I will miss him.
mysticalchild_isis: (calvin & hobbes 2)
What are you currently reading?
I picked up the next volume of The Losers, but didn't end up getting any further in it, as I was distracted by other things. I shall attempt it again, starting tomorrow.

What have you recently finished reading?
I just finished On Conan Doyle by Michael Dirda, which was entirely charming. It's definitely a fun read for the super Doyle fan, and it is an interesting combination of biography, memoir, lit-crit, and pure on fannishness. The ending kind of got a little off-track as Dirda spent more time describing his own works as a Baker Street Irregular more than anything else, but otherwise, all sorts of fun.

I also finished another volume of Ultimate Spider-Man, which was also very solid.

What do you think you’ll read next?
As mentioned above, I need to finish The Losers, and as previously mentioned last week, I also have Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier out of the library, and I need to give it a read.
mysticalchild_isis: (st spock)
I just got back from seeing Star Trek. And while I continue to enjoy the casting choices, and while I found the movie superficially fun and entertaining, I was NOT a fan of this movie.

detailed and lengthy review under cut, with spoilers )
mysticalchild_isis: (hugh laurie)
What are you currently reading?
Let's just agree that we're not going to discuss my masochistic relationship with House of Mirth, and how I still haven't finished it or given up on it. Otherwise, I just finished several books, including one just a few hours ago, and have not yet picked up my next one. So see below.

What have you recently finished reading?
This last week, I read:
-The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. It was charming and entertaining, and I easily could have spent more time in that particular universe. It reminded me a bit of of Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, only aimed at a younger audience (and set in a very different time).
-More Ultimate Spider-Man. I just finished the tenth volume, and have eleven and twelve out of the library. Ten (Hollywood) amused me with its metatext, and Peter's life in the last few issues hasn't been so very full of suck that I can't bear it, which I appreciate.
-Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede. I adored her Enchanted Forest Chronicles as a teen, and I'd been meaning to read the Mairelon books for awhile. While I enjoyed the first one enough to request the second one from the library, I didn't love it. There were too many characters who weren't very well defined, and I started losing track of who they all were and what they all wanted. It made the ending a bit frustrating.
-Captain Marvel Vol 1: In Pursuit of Flight by Kelly Sue DeConnick. I'd been wanting to read this one for awhile, and was excited that the library finally got it in. It was lovely and good times and you don't know how happy it makes me to see Carol in PANTS. REAL PANTS. Even if there were an awful lot of butt shots, the rest of it was fabulous. I'm so tempted to break my self-imposed ban on reading the monthlies, but no, I shall hold out for volume 2 in graphic novel form.

What do you think you’ll read next?
As mentioned above, I have more Ultimate Spider-Man waiting for me, and the second Mairelon book should be in at the library tomorrow or Friday. I also have Will Grayson, Will Grayson waiting for me, which I might even start tonight.
mysticalchild_isis: (captain america)
My dislike for Mark Millar really begins with Marvel's Civil War (don't even get me started), and only became more intense due to the Ultimates (and the way in which he is misogynist, racist, and thinks domestic abuse is funny), but it really and truly coalesced for me while reading his first issue of The Authority.

I am not at all amused by the fact that in this issue, he mocks comic book fans and denigrates creators and writers in the industry. It takes someone with a certain level of both ego and idiocy to make fun of the people that make up your fanbase, not to mention the people that pioneered the industry that allowed you to have your job. But I suppose one could write this off as particularly mean-spirited lampshade hanging, and this is not why I loathe Mark Millar (though it does get tallied into the column of why I do not respect Millar).

No, the reason I despise Mark Millar can be condensed down to a single moment in this issue of The Authority. The Doctor and the Engineer are breaking into a secret desert base when challenged by a number of soldier-types. When the Doctor is told to cease and desist, and that the soldiers are serious, he responds with the following:


"Man, if you were serious, you wouldn't be pointing those things at someone with the power to give you Double-D sized breasts just by clicking his nicotine-stained fingers."


The Doctor has immense powers- as taken from the Wikipedia entry, "The Doctor's abilities work by drawing a detailed mental picture and letting reality build it for them, therefore enabling each Doctor to do anything that they can imagine."

So The Doctor can do anything he can imagine... and with all that power and all that possibility, the worst threat he can offer is to turn the soldiers into women. (Well-endowed women, at that, because of course, big breasts are great until you put them on a man.) With one line, Mark Millar shows that he hates femininity so much that a man being turned into a woman is made a serious threat in the arsenal of a character of immense power.

And this is why I am disgusted by Mark Millar.
mysticalchild_isis: (bowie)
Guys guys guys... David Bowie's second new single just came out today! And there's this totally awesome but bizarre video with him and Tilda Swinton:



And it's only two weeks until the new album!

::dies::
mysticalchild_isis: (hedwig & the angry inch)
I've always had a difficult relationship with shaving. I'm quite fair-skinned, but I have very dark hair, and so my body hair tends to stand out rather starkly (especially as my ancestors include a number of rather hairy Scottish dudes). And let me tell you, the programming American women experience about shaving their body hair (particularly leg hair) is one of the things that has sunk its hooks deep inside my psyche. Despite the fact that I find shaving annoying and time-consuming, that it tends to irritate my skin, that the hair grows back extremely quickly, and that I don't wear skirts or dresses, I still feel compelled to shave my legs. When I look at my legs and they are hairy, there is a part of me that is disgusted.

But this winter, I decided that I was going to stop shaving my legs, and for the first time ever, I have managed to go for months without doing so. I can't say that I've fully made peace with my hairy legs, as when I look at them, I still don't find them aesthetically pleasing. But I have at least gotten to a place where I don't think about shaving them every time I get in the shower, and I am slowly becoming far less sensitive about other people witnessing my hairy legs.

It's interesting to see the responses to my lack of leg-shaving. One of my older female coworkers thinks that it is awesome, and wishes that she could also stop, but she doesn't think her husband would accept it. Another coworker couldn't even look at my legs when I was asked to show them off. And some people really don't care one way or another.

One of the things I have struggled with through my life is finding a balance between feminism, internalized misogyny, and the way in which all things feminine are disparaged and degraded. Beauty and fashion issues always seem to be particularly fraught battle grounds. One person will describe their use of makeup as empowering, while another will see it as part of the beauty industrial complex that exploits women, and I can see where they are both coming from. I grew up a tomboy surrounded by boys, and while in some ways, that was a really good thing for me (I've never had a problem speaking up in a group of men, or talking over them), in other ways, it meant that I internalized a hell of a lot of misogyny that still sneaks up on me in all sorts of ways years later. Before I went to college, I think I owned a total of maybe 3 CDs of female musicians, despite the fact I've been identifying as a feminist since I knew what the word meant.

So the leg-shaving issue has become something of a battleground for me, as I try to balance out resisting patriarchal programming while simultaneously trying not to degrade femininity.
mysticalchild_isis: (dr who 4)
[personal profile] kouredios is hosting a Being the change I want to see in my f-list friending meme in order to help find active, fannish people on DW. (There's also an LJ mirror.)
mysticalchild_isis: (avengers 2)
Once in awhile, I'll get "why didn't you recommend fics X, Y, & Z" or "why don't you rec fics of this particular genre" questions on my Steve/Tony fic rec list, so I figured I'd answer this with a post about my general policies, preferences, and opinions.

Under cut )
mysticalchild_isis: (captain america)
I already posted something on Tumblr about Captain America and fandom assumptions, linking to and expanding on another excellent post about many of the misapprehensions people often make while thinking about Steve, and the time he grew up in. I find Tumblr to be a clunky vehicle at best for text posts and meta conversations, so I thought I'd throw this up here, and add some more things to it.

1) In several places, I have seen people use the "well, my grandparents are conservative/racist/sexist, so Steve must be, too" argument. In debunking this, first I have to ask- how old are your grandparents? Unless they are in their 90s, they were born later than Steve, and would therefore have had a very different experience. People who were born in the late 30s or the 40s did not grow up in the Roaring 20s and the Depression. Their formative years were instead spent in the post war boom of the late 40s and 50s, which was a very different time. And even if your grandparents are in their 90s, a lot of people become more conservative as they age. There's a quote falsely attributed to Churchill that states, "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain". This certainly isn't true of everyone, but it does happen. We all tend to be resistant to change, and there's often a backlash. Meanwhile, Steve might have been born in 1918, but he's still a man in his 20s, and he didn't live through all the changes of the 20th century. And finally, one's experience is also dependent on race/class/location/religion. Someone who grew up on a farm in Kansas or a small town in Mississippi wouldn't have had the same experience as someone living in New York.

2) Some notes on sex in the 20s, 30s, and 40s:
-Condoms were already in regular use. The latex condom was invented in 1919, and as noted here, "By the mid-1930s, the fifteen largest makers in the U.S. were producing 1.5 million condoms a day". I get the impression that most of them were not, in fact, being used to make funny balloon animals.
-Margaret Sanger helped to introduce the diaphragm to the US in 1916. That same year, she opened a family planning clinic in Brooklyn. She was in the news a lot due to the various charges thrown at her and lawsuits she was involved in, so I imagine Steve would have heard something about it.
-As I mentioned in my Tumblr post, bisexuality was actually rather trendy among the bohemian crowd in the 1920s, and WWII was actually a huge part of the rise of lesbian culture. (Lillian Faderman's Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America is an excellent resource for anyone who is curious about the rise of gay and lesbian culture in the first half of the 20th century.)
-Kinsey had already started collecting data in the 1930s for his reports. (The first of which was published in 1948 after Steve was frozen, but a lot of the data about people having premarital sex and homosexual sex came from Steve's time.)

And as a bonus note unrelated to mores and sexuality, but still a good note on research:
-I remembering seeing someone complaining about all the stories that have Steve eating pizza like it is an old familiar friend. From what I understand, the modern American pizza was really developed in the 1950s, though pizzerias were already present in NY as early as 1905, and Uno's Pizzaria was founded in 1943 (though that was in Chicago). If you want to know what Steve probably would have eaten, The Food Timeline is an excellent resource. They even have a section on USO Canteen Fare.
mysticalchild_isis: (hedwig & the angry inch)
For a very large number of reasons, I do not want children. I have never once in my life wanted children. I am very pleased that my parents chose to have me, and I adore my nieces and nephew. I did an Americorps year working as a reading teacher with second and third graders, and I loved it. I have no problem with children, I have no problem with other people having them, and I frequently enjoy their company.

But I, myself, do not want to have children. However, because I am a woman, I constantly run into people who take serious umbrage at this fact. I cannot even tell you the number of times I have been told "you'll change your mind!" (Pretty much any time the fact that I do not want children comes up, at least one person informs me that I will change my mind, from my parents to random strangers.)

For one thing, I find it really offensive that people believe that I don't know my own mind, especially now that I'm thirty. I still think it's obnoxious to tell a teen that she'll change her mind, but hey, there are a lot of things I've changed my mind about since adolescence. But I am an adult. I am an adult who has over many years very thoroughly and deeply considered all the pros and cons of procreating, and I have made an informed decision that it is not for me.

But still people tell me that I'll change my mind, that I don't know what I want, that it is the best thing I could ever do with my life, that I will regret it if I don't, that my biological clock will start ticking, that I'll meet the right person and they'll convince me, or that I'm a crazy, man-hating feminist. (Feminist, yes. Man-hating, not usually.)

I know sometimes that it is a knee-jerk reaction from someone who thinks that my choice not to have children is somehow a criticism of their choices. But it isn't, and they shouldn't take it that way. Usually, I can identify the people that are having this particular reaction, and generally, I find it less offensive. On the other hand, men who condescend to tell me that I don't know what I want/that I will be unfulfilled/that I am a man-hating feminist/etc are the ones that make me want to pull out my motorcycle boots and start kicking heads. Especially, because on the whole, men who don't want kids don't get the same sort of negative reaction.
mysticalchild_isis: (xena rawr)
At my book club last night, we got off topic a bit (as we so often do), and one of the librarians who works in a high school was mentioning that she's been reading The Odyssey with a class. She was rather disturbed to find that all the girls disliked Penelope, and thought that she was useless, weak, and did nothing.

This led to a discussion about how it's unfortunate that a lot of girls only see Strong Female CharactersTM as having their own agency, and how very problematic that is.

Don't get me wrong; I love BAMFy women who kick ass (Buffy and Xena being two of my favorites), especially if the actress playing them is even halfway decent at martial arts. I savor a well-executed roundhouse kick like a glass of fine wine. However, too often, Xenafication stands in for actual character development... and makes it so that people like the girls mentioned above think that the only defining characteristic of a strong woman is her ability to kick ass. With a corollary of the fact that many people then think that if a woman is bad-ass, she must be strong, and don't see the problems (and sexism) that so often pop up in these types of characters.

I'm reminded of the version of Irene Adler that popped up in this season of Sherlock. I found her extremely problematic for a number of reasons. But because she was smart, beautiful, and had a certain amount of power (largely sexual) and control, the underlying issues were slightly masked. I'm not trying to dictate which characters one should or should not like, or identify with. We like who we like, and we see characters in different ways. But when there is a widespread epidemic of characters who on the surface seem strong, but underneath are teeming with poisonous ideas (you know, like "oh look, this woman's backstory is rape and torture porn, but since she is a BAMF, it is totally fine that her only character development is rape-as-backstory"), I feel like it is an issue that needs to be addressed and discussed.

Especially because characters who might not be able to swing a sword or shoot a gun are no longer seen as "strong", no matter how well-rounded they are or how much agency they have.

WTF

Mar. 15th, 2012 09:27 am
mysticalchild_isis: (buffy: slayer)
There are some days I have to wonder: HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE INSANE?!?

Linkage

Jan. 4th, 2012 08:53 am
mysticalchild_isis: (snow white)
Just popping in quick from work to link to two different blog posts I thought were particularly insightful: first, Tiger Beatdown has a post on curating safe(r) spaces in online comment threads, which among other things, links to this fantastic the origins of Devil's Advocacy, and how it has been twisted.
mysticalchild_isis: (xena rawr)
Spoilery )

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