darchildre: text:  library rules 1) silence 2) books must be returned by due date 3) do not interfere with the nature of causality (library rules)
So, as I've mentioned, my library is moving. (My other library is not, but I am moving from it, because I am transferring all my hours to my main library and will only be working there after today.)

This is stressful in a lot of ways. There's the normal 'oh god, we're moving!' stress, and the 'the shelves have not been placed correctly and now we have to take all the books off and move them' stress, and the 'PR is making stupid decisions about things in our new library because they are PR and not actually library staff but now we have to learn to live with them' stress, and the 'we open on Saturday and stuff still isn't done' stress, and 'I still don't have a finalized schedule for next week - could you at least decide what hours I work on Monday?' stress. I mean, also it's good - our new library is beautiful and full of shiny new books and has an actual staff room - but I may have spent most of yesterday fantasizing about the extinction of humanity and that something I really only do when I'm anxious/depressed. So that's cool.

The move and the stress also means that I haven't been online much for the past few weeks - I don't have my usual 'projects are done and I'm between patrons - time to browse the interwebs!' desk time right now, of course. And when I get home, basically all I want to do on the computer is play Stardew Valley because that is the opposite of stressful. So if you have all been very exciting lately, I have missed it - sorry.

(The exception to the lack of internet time is the fact that I'm rereading Dracula and sorta kinda liveblogging it on tumblr. Wanna come talk about Dracula with me? There or here, either's good.)
darchildre: kay caldwell looking predatory and vampiric (kay caldwell:  vampire queen)

- Thank you all for your kind wishes, but alas, I did not get the job. I am disappointed but not hugely broken up about it - there will be more opportunities in the future.

- Our old library is closed and we are beginning the process of moving to the new one! Yesterday, all the books got moved (by a moving company, not by us) and I got to go into the new branch for the first time. You guys, it is so big and bright and shiny! There are so many chairs and so many big windows and we have an actual break room that isn't anyone's office and an actual back room to do check in and processing and nothing smells like cabbage at all! I am very excited. Now we have to go through all the stuff that isn't books in the old library and decide what we need to keep. So much shredding to do, you guys. So much.

( - I do feel like we ought to do some sort of landtaking for the new library, or at least do something to invite the ghosts from the old building into the new one, but I'm not sure how to talk everyone else into it.)

- I have kinda been in a monster mood for the past few days, which is exciting because that hasn't happened in, like, a year. I kinda want to spend the day watching Dracula movies and thinking about my Marya Zaleska/Kay Caldwell au that someday really will be written down but, y'know, work. Have to do that instead.

- I should maybe find a new horror novel. Haven't done that in a while, either.
darchildre: kay caldwell looking predatory and vampiric (kay caldwell:  vampire queen)
Sometimes, when I am bopping around the internet and want to have an account on something that's not tied to my default "darchildre" identity, I use the name "marya_zaleska". Because I am a nerd.

I have to admit, I kinda giggle every time someone responds to those accounts like that's my real name.
darchildre: kay caldwell looking predatory and vampiric (kay caldwell:  vampire queen)
Today, I watched Son of Dracula for the first time in a while and now I want to talk to people about it.

You guys, this movie is so weird. And I don't mean that in terms of its subject matter - it's a fairly run-of-the-mill vampire story, to be honest - but the whole movie feels like the film makers thought they were making one film while the whole time they were, in fact, making a different one.

I spent most of today thinking about the film and trying to put my finger on what, exactly, felt so odd about it. And I think I finally figured it out. See, horror movies from this era are, as the author of the book I'm currently reading points out, like fairy tales or commedia dell'arte. You know who the characters are and what kinds of things they're likely to do before the story starts and the characters don't deviate from that - a wolf is always a wolf, a witch is always a witch, Jack is always Jack. It's the same with 30's and 40's horror film. Except in Son of Dracula, because there's no role that properly fits Kay Caldwell.

For convenience sake, I'm going to give you a brief plot synopsis of the film (because no one watches this movie). It's under here. )

Universal made two Dracula movies before this one. They both feature essentially the same cast of characters: the vampire, the young lovers, the wise old man, a few other intrepid vampire hunters, the vampire's minion, some comic relief, and assorted victims. Sometimes they get a little shuffled or a couple get combined - Dr Garth in Dracula's Daughter replaces both Dr Seward and Jonathan Harker - but the basic outline is there. (This is also the basic outline of The Mummy, btw.) But the outline doesn't work with Son of Dracula, because of Kay. Kay Caldwell doesn't properly fit any of these predetermined roles. She could be the young lover, but she marries someone else and her lover kills her rather than rescuing her. She could be the monster, but we never see her do anything monstrous and she's never presented as frightening. Honestly, the role she fits best - and even this isn't perfect - is the vampire's minion. But no one makes the vampire's minion the center of the film.

And that's why the movie feels so weird. The wrong character is in the spotlight and it warps everything else out of true. You can see where all the other players are supposed to go - you can almost tell what the movie would have been without that distortion. Frank and Claire are the young lovers, which provides a reason for Claire's existence in the film. Kay is Renfield, in which case Dracula has been a corrupting influence, or she's Sandor, in which case Dracula has a willing assistant. Either way, because he has control over her, Dracula appears more powerful, more of the monster we're used to instead of the soft-spoken passive milquetoast vampire the film gives us. Since Kay is either less rational or more evil, Dr Brewster seems more rational and less evil in his action towards her*. Kay and Dracula are more clearly antagonists, threatening Frank and Claire, and so we get the return of the status quo when the two of them are destroyed. Those characters fit into the framework we're familiar with.

But that's not what we get. Instead, we get Kay stepping forward, taking all the important actions, making all the important decisions. The movie still seems to think that Frank is the protagonist - his is the first name in the credits, he gets the last heroic shot - but it's clearly wrong. Kay is the character whose choices drive the film and one never really feels that the film makers meant for that to happen. It's really fascinating and is one of the major reasons that I love this movie far more than it deserves**.

I'd really love to learn more about the making of this film, because watching it feels like reading one of those stories where the author tells you that a character started making decisions on their own that the author hadn't planned. I want to know if Kay Caldwell was planned or if she just decided to happen, like she decides everything in the movie.

*Nope, never getting over the fact that Dr Brewster tries to get Kay committed for having a goth phase and wanting to marry Hungarian nobility instead of Frank.

**The other reason is Kay herself, who is splendid. Ladies get to be victims or monsters in Universal horror films and Kay chose monster. She chose. I love her for that.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)

- So that "posting every day in December" thing didn't work out. Ah well. Holidays screw things up a little.

- Tangentially - so, hey, holidays! My Christmas went quite well. We had fun family times and good food, I received many pairs of socks and bars of soap*, some beautiful stationery paper and fountain pen ink, and a new book on monster movies. Plus, a PEZ dispenser shaped like the Flash! We played a lot of Uno and ate a lot of cookies and Megan played the Marty Robbins pandora station a lot. Good times. I hope that you all had a nice time as well, whatever you may or may not be celebrating at this time of year.

- Also, we went to see Into the Woods. Which I have some quibbles with, which are under here, ) but generally enjoyed. Also, the staging of Agony alone is worth the price of admission, so there's that.

- Yesterday, I bought three tiny colorful cactuses for my windowsill because I decided that I needed more plant life around. And then I remembered that I had bought flower seeds this summer for indoor planting and never used them, so now they are in pots on my windowsill. They may not grow, as it is midwinter, but the possibility pleases me.

- I did some Christmas knitting this year - a pair of socks for Dad - and it came down to the wire a little in that I didn't finished them till Christmas Eve. (We open presents on Christmas Eve, to give you some perspective.) Pressured knitting is no fun, but it did remind me that I love making socks and haven't done so in a which. And I have a lot of sock yarn that I haven't knit up yet. So now I am knitting some socks with this yarn, which was given to me three years ago. They are mildly hideous and I love them. And I am not allowed to buy anymore sock yarn until I knit the yarn I have.

- I am pretty sanguine about going back to work today, but there is still a part of me that want to stay home, get out all my dvds of monster movies, and have a day-long marathon. I feel like I need some black and white vampires and beautiful staircases.

*I suppose it is a sign of adulthood that I asked for those things. Most of the socks have monsters or dinosaurs on them, though.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
So, I watched Dracula yesterday for the first time in a while, as I said. And, y'know, in many ways, it is not a good film. But it is also, kinda, a great one, in that it basically defined the vampire for our culture, at least in the 20th century. (All the film vampires I have seen post-1931 are either an emulation of or a reaction to this movie. Either your vampire has a cape or your vampire is shouting "Basingstoke!" at the murgatroyds*, but either way they are engaging with the image produced by this film.)

And yeah, the drawing room scenes are tedious and yeah, there are dangling plot threads galore to the point where sometimes the movie only makes sense if you have either read the book a lot or engaged in a lot of fanfic** and yeah, the famous Armadillo of Transylvania. But there is still absolutely something there, even if sometimes it seems to have happened by accident. And when I come back to it, I find new things.

For instance - I think we can all agree that the scenes in Dracula's castle are actually good, even with the armadillos and the spider on a string. But this time, my favorite thing about it is how stilted Dracula seems, how awkward. Nothing he says is quite right, none of his reactions make sense as part of a normal conversation. And it's wonderful, because once you've watched the movie way too many times and are intimately familiar with the story, you start to think, "Of course. He's been in this castle for gods know how long, with only those silent sepulchral women for company. Of course he doesn't know how to talk to people anymore." And that has a wonderful texture to it now, because Dracula is a story that we've told over and over throughout the last century, so that you can't see one version without having it take on flavors from every other version you've seen. So of course I think that and am immediately reminded of the wonderful bit in Shadow of a Vampire - "The loneliest part of the book comes when the man accidentally sees Dracula setting his table." It's a beautiful little touch, even if it wasn't at all deliberate.

*I read Anno Dracula at an impressionable age and have always found the term "murgatroyd" (meaning a vampire who presents as the stereotypical vampire) very useful.

**::raises hand::
darchildre: text only:  "unlimited rice pudding!" (daleks are silly)
Media consumed today:

- Dracula (1931 version). I hadn't actually watched this for several years. Spoilers: I still love it. The boring bits are still boring, of course, but the bits that aren't just Mina, Jonathan, and Dr Seward are still great.

- Mad Love. Oh god, this movie is amazing and confounding, how the hell did it even get made? I tried to explain the plot to my parents and they both stared at me as though I had grown another head. (Dad started staring at "and then Peter Lorre grafts the hands of a recently executed murderer onto Colin Clive" while Mom held out till "then Peter Lorre pretends to be the recently executed murderer, who has had his head reattached.") I love everything this movie chooses to be. (Except the random American newsman - him, I could do without.)

- The first two episodes of Fargo. Billy Bob Thornton's character is either a murder wizard a la Hannibal or the actualfax devil. I have yet to decide which.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
I feel like today would be a great day to order pizza and then watch all the movies I own with Dwight Frye or Colin Clive in them.

(It's only 6 movies - Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride, Invisible Man, Mad Love and the 1931 Maltese Falcon - and I don't think any of them are over about 90 minutes. That's totally doable.)

I mean, I have to work and thus can't, but I still think it's a good idea.
darchildre: kay caldwell looking predatory and vampiric (kay caldwell:  vampire queen)
So I haven't had a story in my head for the past few days and I had a boring meeting this morning, so I started going through the old standbys to find something to occupy me. I started out with Renfield, because that is my default state, but actually ended up poking at the Countess Marya Zaleska/Kay Caldwell crossover femslash fixit story. Because that story needs to be told. And then I started an actual outline because someday I'm really going to write that one if it's the last thing I do.

I actually have Complicated Feelings about this story because I have Complicated Feelings about both of those movies and how they're both about women who go against the accepted patriarchal guidelines, either willingly (Kay) or not (Marya) and are punished for that transgression by the representatives of the patriarchy who are, in both of these movies, embodied in the figure of the heterosexual protagonist/love interest. I neither know nor care whether the creators of these films intended them to be read that way, but when I watch them they are absolutely movies about how our society punishes women who don't do Being Women correctly. Dracula's Daughter also explicitly links monstrosity and queerness - monstrosity is then figured as reaching beyond the mainstream patriarchal heteronormative demands of society to act as your true self. Which is a beautiful thought for someone like me who is queer and always wanted to be a monster.

But of course they both die at the end of their respective movies because Marya can't be a straight non-monster girl no matter how hard she tries and Kay outright rejects that, outright tries to become something else and of course we can't have that. And of course I want very badly to fix it. I want the story about how the two of them help each other - how Marya helps Kay become the thing she so much wants to be, how Kay shows Marya how to love her monstrous nature. I want them to be happy, I want them to be loved because they're monsters and not despite it, I want them to win. I want them to rip into everyone who stands in their way with their big shiny vampire teeth and I want them to own the night forever. Because I deserve a power fantasy too, right?

Also, I want them to kiss, because they are both very pretty and I like vampires. (And it would be nice, once in a while, to get some lesbian vampires who aren't there to titillate a male audience.)

Maybe I will actually write it and maybe it will be at least half the story I want it to be and I can be happy with it.

(And then I can move on to the story where the Bride of Frankenstein gets to do, I don't know, anything. Or Malita's amazing adventures in mad science. Or the story where it turns out that Asenath Waite is indeed the amazing fish-person witch-woman that she appears to be and it's awesome.)
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
Yesterday, Mom and I drove to Gig Harbor to do some thrifting and go to a community theater production of Dracula. I bought a scarf and a hot water bottle*, we had frozen yogurt, and there were vampires.

It was, bizarrely, the most book-accurate adaptation I've ever seen. To the point of having large swaths of dialogue taken directly from the original. They conflated all of Lucy's suitors into one character - Dr Seward, of course, because he's the one you have to keep - and they telescoped the timeline a little, so Mina and Jonathan were around for the Bloofer Lady, but everything else was there, even the absurd blood transfusions. It was community theater, of course, so the acting wasn't stellar and the guy who played Renfield was over the top for my tastes but still, it was a lot of fun.

It's amazing to me how much I still love this story. It's one of the oldest of my fandoms that's still around - only Sherlock Holmes and Phantom of the Opera are older - and I still want to spend time revisiting it, reimagining it, expanding on it. It's still absurdly important to me and every time I think that I'm totally over vampires, totally done with them, I find some new and ridiculous Dracula-related thing and the love comes back.

Anyway. I totally put the audiobook on my ipod to listen to today. 8)

*Because I had been looking for one for a while - they are surprisingly difficult to find in brick-and-mortar stores where I live. Also, it is the best thing ever, OMG. So ridiculously cozy!
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
What I did today:

- Laundry.

- Finished knitting the first sock of a pair while listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. You guys, I am really enjoying revisiting Harry Potter - it is pretty great. I love everybody so frelling much - even many of the characters I used to find annoying. And, oh god, so much fanfic.

- Read a large chunk of the Eyrbyggja Saga, which I bought a while ago but never got around to finishing. Every time I read an Icelandic saga, I just want to buttonhole people and tell them at length how awesome they are. 1/3 genealogies full of people with amazing and sometime hilarious names, 1/3 battlescenes during which people make up poetry, 1/3 Law and Order: Medieval Iceland - seriously the best. This one has witches, a guy who, I swear to god, speaks in nothing but poetry (his mother is one of the witches), a bunch of guys having a battle on top of a haystack, ghosts, many many lawsuits, and a heated argument - during which several people died - about whether people were allowed to piss in a certain field*. And I'm only about halfway through. Icelandic sagas are amazing.

- Spent a ludicrous amount of time wandering through the Universal Monsters and Bride of Frankenstein tags on tumblr. About which two observations: 1) I'm not really sure why I surprised that Bride of Frankenstein tag is about half full of vaguely pornographic drawings, but I sort of am. I mean, I'm not complaining. I'm just mildly surprised. 2) Oh god, I am so full of ridiculous feelings about all of these ridiculous monsters and it has been far too long since I watched any of these movies, when do I next have time for a marathon of all of them?

It has been a good day.

*So, this one dude is a priest of Thor and has built a temple and declared that this one field on his land is Holy Ground and thus it is forbidden to desecrate the field by shedding blood or pissing on it. That's fine, except then the field ends up being where they hold general assembly meetings for the district, and there's a group of people that are really kinda tired of having to walk all the way to the beach just to take a leak. So this group of people talk among themselves and decide that they don't care about the sanctity of the field and the Man can't tell them where they can and can't piss! And another bunch of people who are friends with the guy who owns the field find out about this. They see the Free Urination League coming, pull their swords, and flat out attack them. And of course the other guys fight back. Eventually, the fight gets broken up, but there's already like seven guys dead by then.

Then, because this is an Icelandic saga and we've just had a fight scene, it's time for legal drama. It is eventually determined that a) the one group of dudes shouldn't have jumped the other group of dudes but b) the other group of dudes shouldn't have planned to piss on the holy field. So everybody's wrong and therefore nobody has to pay the fine for killing people they weren't supposed to kill. The field is now officially desecrated because of the bloodshed, so they find a new field for the assembly and declare that people can piss on it as they like.

Yes. That is a thing that happened.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)

- A patron came in and told me that she was glad I was here because she had just heard an interview with Anne Rice where people who practice IRL vampirism were talked about and she figured, if anyone knew anything about that particular subculture, it would be me. I'm not entirely certain how I feel about that. (For the record: I have read about people who practice IRL vampirism - there is a chapter about them in David Skal's The Monster Show - but I've never personally met any. Also, YKINMKBYKIOK and all that.)

- Last night was movie night at Bainbridge and we watched The Scarlet Empress. About which three things. 1) Hey, wow, pre-Code film. There are totally naked ladies in this movie. I did not expect that. 2) One of the really neat things about the film is the way that it's so clearly a transitional work between silent movies and talkies. There are long stretches with no dialogue and much broader acting than you get later, and there are intertitle screens every five minutes or so. Often hilarious intertitle screens. Even though it was made years later than, say, Frankenstein, it feels older because of that. 3) I kinda want the entire Imperial Russian palace from this movie. Not quite as much as I want the castle from Son of Frankenstein or Hjalmar Poelzig's house from The Black Cat, but the furniture is just amazing.

- We have a sub today - one I've worked with a lot - who was not around while I was reading Les Miz. (Which, no, I still haven't finished. Someday!) And somehow, we ended up talking about it. Apparently, my sales pitch for getting people to read Les Miz is totally the wacky dead nun shenanigans. I think this is because I figure that everyone knows the book is sad but no one ever told me that it was also occasionally really really funny.

- So, I am currently listening to an audiobook of Clash of Kings. It is not a bad audiobook, so much, as an audiobook in which the reader makes decisions that I do not understand. For instance: Tyrion is inexplicably Welsh. I understand that with a cast that large you have to do what you can to distinguish characters but none of the other Lannisters are in any way Welsh and so it throws me out of the performance every time Tyrion talks. (On the other hand, the reader has at least remembered that maybe Stannis and Renly should have similar accents and thus is one up on the show.)

- Starting next Thursday, the parentals are going to California to visit my sisters. And I have that Friday through Tuesday off. I am counting down.
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)

- I am mostly better! Not entirely - I still have a bit of a cough and more mucous than I'd like - but mostly. So that's good.

- I put the BBC radio production of LotR on my mp3 player today and started listening to it for the first time in a long time. It is still amazing and wonderful. It occurred to me today, as I was listening to it, that it was my very first introduction to audio drama. I was probably...11 or 12 when I first listened to it. I'd listened to audiobooks before - I nearly wore out my library's copy of Dragonsong, for example - and one day, the library had this set labeled The Two Towers. Which was (and probably still is) my favorite of the books in the trilogy*, so I snatched it and took it home. And it had sound effects! And music! And different actors for all the different parts! I hadn't realized you could do things like that in an audiobook** - it was seriously a revelation. I listened to The Two Towers and The Return of the King (the library never had Fellowship) so many times that there are entire sections of the book that I am not capable of reading without hearing those actors' voices in my head. It is still, for my money, the best adaptation of LotR there is. And although there are a couple actors I might quibble about (I've never really liked their Bilbo and I have reservations about Aragorn), it has the very best Sam. Which is, of course, the most important thing.

- Oh man, it has been years since I actually read those books, I should totally do that. I should buy it for my kindle - my copy is one of those all-in-one omnibus things which is too heavy to carry around. Apparently they are including materials from the appendices in the Hobbit movie? I should reacquaint myself with those.

- Tonight was movie night at Bainbridge. We watched The Wolf Man, which I had not seen in years. I have never been a big Wolf Man fan, I must admit. I do, however, very much like Claude Rains and he is lovely in it. And the yak hair is still hilarious, and I still find it charming that after his first transformation, Larry Talbot apparently decides to change his clothes before stalking the moors in search of prey. And I had fun during the discussion afterwards, because we got to talk about how much werewolf "lore" comes from this film, and about Werewolf of London (which is neat, because it was made before this movie and so doesn't use a lot of that "lore"), and about Universal monster films in general. There was a moment of I Have Opinions, when one of the guys who runs the movie night said that he thought that Dracula was the best of the Universal monster movies, because that is obviously wrong. Now, I love Dracula as I'm sure we all know, but I am fully willing to admit that it's not actually what you could call a good movie. The Transylvania bits are awesome and Mr Lugosi is lovely throughout, but everything that happens in London is so boring. And also incoherent and nonsensical. (What happens to vampire!Lucy, you guys? We never find out.) I vote Bride of Frankenstein for best Universal monster movie, but it's possible that I'm biased. What do you guys think?

*It has the Rohirrim, and Saruman, and Wormtongue, and the Ents, and Faramir, and the Uruk-hai, and Theoden, and Shelob, and Gandalf's return, and the Dead Marshes, and Shadowfax, and Eowyn, and did I mention the folk of Rohan? Look, I was a proto-heathen kid who was still really into horses the first time I read these books. The Rohirrim are the best thing ever. Anyway, Fellowship takes a while to get going (I used to skip straight to the Council of Elrond and go from there, after the first few times I read them) and Return is the depressing one, whereas Two Towers is nothing but awesome.

**Not that it's properly an audiobook, but as a tiny person, I did not really know that.
darchildre: dracula and renfield, staring at each other.  text:  "vampiric seduction" (vampiric seduction)
Friends and neighbors, I have been listening to Dracula on audiobook. It is some new version that audible.com sent me an email about, and apparently has Tim Curry and Alan Cumming in it somewhere, so of course I had to download it. I am assuming that it's going to be like the weird Dune audiobooks where there's a narrator for the narration and different speakers for the dialogue...in some chapters. Though, we haven't actually had a chapter like that yet. I am only 2 chapters in, though, and so far it is all Simon Vance all the time. Which is okay, because Simon Vance is the audiobook reader that always makes me think, "Hey, it's the guy who sounds vaguely like David Collings!" and I like his Dracula voice.

You guys, I really do like this book immensely. I mean, I make fun of it a lot and the characters do a lot of stupid things (OMG, the journey of the Demeter - so scary and yet so dumb), but it's pretty awesome. Revisiting it is a lot of fun and I'm enjoying having an audio version. Maybe it will eventually become a bedtime audiobook.

Other vampire-related things I am enjoying: Dark Shadows! I think what I like most about it at this point is that it is old enough to be able to play its ridiculous vampires completely straight. Nowadays, if you want to make a story about vampires, it feels like you have to be ironic about it, you have to wink at the audience. And that's fun, a lot of the time, but I get tired of it too. It's nice to go back to something old enough where, by god, if we want an entranced woman in a flimsy white nightgown wandering out into the cemetery at night, we're going to have one. Let's have the doctor wonder if the marks on her neck could be from an accidental poke with a piece of costume jewelry. Let's have the at-home blood transfusion from her boyfriend. (Though, thank god, they did manage to check blood types first.) Let's surround her house with howling wolves dogs. That's awesome. Do it. It fills my heart with glee.

Old school vampires makes me so happy.
darchildre: drs frankenstein and pretorius, doing mad science.  text:  "should have been burned as wizards" (burned as wizards)
Last night, I went into iTunes with the intention of resubscribing to my OTR horror podcasts, since I had lost those in the hard drive debacle. And then I intended only to download the episodes I had missed.

That did not happen.

So now, I have something like 30 episodes of various OTR horror shows on the ipod I am borrowing from my mom (since I can't add new stuff to my mp3 player and have not replaced it yet). And this weekend led to something of a monster-love revival, so I am watching old horror movies and plotting random Universal monster fanfic and reading my ridiculous Dark Horse monster fanfic tie in novels, so at least 10 of those episodes are from The Creaking Door. Because The Creaking Door has that guy who sounds amazingly like Colin Clive and is often scripted to have hysterical breakdowns. I am totally a sucker for that kind of thing.

I should watch Mad Love tonight. Peter Lorre and Colin Clive - what could be better than that?
darchildre: a mad scientist lady doing mad science (malita is doing SCIENCE)
Yes, I liked The Devil-Doll enough to make an icon of Malita. Is she not wonderful? With her Bride of Frankenstein hair and her crazy eyes, doing SCIENCE. Totally wonderful.

And the world needs more mad scientist ladies. I mean, I have a lot of mad scientists in my icons and Drs Rotwang, Frankenstein, Pretorius, and West are all very well and I love them, but mad scientist ladies! "Well, my husband is in jail and that's sad, better get on with the SCIENCE." "Well, my husband just died and that's really sad, but I have SCIENCE to be doing." "Wait, you've just been using my amazing scientific process to enact your petty little revenge and now you want to destroy my work? I WILL BLOW UP EVERYTHING." I cannot quite get behind Shrinking Everybody To Solve World Hunger but oh man, I love Malita.

(Speaking of awesome lady monsters the world needs more of, I keep thinking about the crossover femslash Kay Caldwell/Countess Marya Zaleska story I mentioned yesterday and trying to, I don't know, work out a plot for it or something. But I haven't seen either of those movies recently enough to remember much of the details. It is frustrating because now I want to watch them again but I have plans for today and thus cannot immediately do so. Also, my copy of the dvd they're on didn't seem to work the last time I tried to watch Son of Dracula. It is a problem.)
darchildre: drs frankenstein and pretorius, doing mad science.  text:  "should have been burned as wizards" (burned as wizards)
You guys, let me tell you about the movie I just watched.

It is called The Devil Doll (the one from 1936, not the one that got riffed on MST3K) and it is kind of amazing. I mean, not amazingly good, because it really isn't that, but just, y'know, amazing.

Cut because this got a little long )

In conclusion: tiny shrunken people and Mad Scientist In Love. What did I tell you? Amazing.
darchildre: seventh doctor tweaking ace's nose (aces are rare)

- Hey, did you know that if you press cntrl-alt-down arrow, your monitor display flips upside down? Because I did not know that and it just happened to my coworker. Which is pretty much the best computer problem to have: it's hilarious and easily fixed. Hurrah!

- The thing about having Christmas knitting to do is that I end up looking at a lot of patterns of other things I want to knit. Like this. But, see, the nice thing about that is that I always have yarn left over when I make socks and I could just make a few at a time and then, eventually, have an awesome patchwork knitted blanket. Which would fulfill my long-standing desire for a new afghan on my bed without feeling like it's a thing that I have to work on all the time. That sounds like an excellent idea.

- I woke up this morning with the desire to reread Dracula in my heart. However, I have way too many other books right now and several of them are interlibrary loans or things that the library purchased because I requested them, which much therefore be read first. I am also currently between audiobooks. You would think this would present an obvious solution, but instead I am full of indecision. There are a hell of a lot of Dracula audiobooks (or dramatizations) out there, you guys! It is hard to choose - do any of you have a favorite?

- One of the aforementioned books that I am reading is Monsters in America by W Scott Poole, which is pretty awesome so far (though I do wish he would have used footnotes instead of endnotes - flipping back and forth is annoying). There are sections on sea monsters and one of the chapters begins with a Mountain Goats quote (from "Lovecraft in Brooklyn"), and the author is not all et up with the Freud, which makes me happy. It is very enjoyable.
darchildre: "the good guys lose.  the monsters win.  nothing ends well.  it makes us uncomfortable.  don't look away" (soapbox icon)
Movie night at Bainbridge. This month was the 1931 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (which I could have sworn was from 1932).

Despite my crazy love for 30's horror films and my crazy love for Jekyll and Hyde, I had never actually seen all of this film before. Which is a shame, because it is pretty awesome. The makeup effects through the colored filters are pretty awesome and I love the weird camera tricks. The split screening is a little hokey, sure, but it's often quite effective. And while I don't quite like the POV camera during the opening, I love it during Jekyll's first scene with Ivy - plonks us right into his head, makes us gaze right along with him. I wish Mr March's Hyde was a little less cartoonish, especially at the beginning, but then I've never been a big fan of an exaggeratedly ugly Mr Hyde. Still, once one gets past that, he's quite effectively horrible. His scenes with Ivy are genuinely difficult to watch - you can really tell that this film was pre-Code.

I find this Jekyll appealing as a person, but I don't quite like the interpretation of the character. I kinda feel like Dr Jekyll needs to have a fairly repressed personality to make Hyde's outbursts of violence and lust make sense. This Jekyll isn't terribly repressed - he has a healthy sexuality that he doesn't see anything wrong with, when he's angry he yells at people, etc. The only repression he seems to feel is from outside sources - his future father-in-law forcing him to put off marrying his fiancee. (So, really, the message of the film is basically "Don't listen to your parents - have premarital sex.") Jekyll needs to be more obvious suppressing his violent and lustful urges, needs to be more obviously the hypocrite Hyde describes: "likes your legs but talks about your garters."* Still, he's pretty and he has nice romantic banter and he breaks down appealingly. So there's that.

And man, I haven't read the book in forever - I'd completely forgotten the existence of Dr Lanyon. This version keeps a lot of the Dr Lanyon bits from the book while discarding Mr Utterson entirely. I don't particularly care about either of them one way or the other, but it's always interesting to see who gets cut and who gets left in.

Maybe I should put the musical back on my mp3 player for tomorrow...

*I like the fact that Hyde, at least in this film, is so incredibly honest. He wears no masks, tells you upfront what he is, and hates people who do hide themselves. He'll beat you to death but he'll never tell you a lie. It's interesting.
darchildre: sepia toned, several crows on a scarecrow (scarecrow)
Media I Have Consumed Lately:

- Today, I went to see X-Men: First Class. Which I thoroughly enjoyed. Because how can one not enjoy a story that is that much about the epic love between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr? It was fab.

- Have now finished season 5 of Supernatural. Turns out I have a new addition to the list of Things Sara Is Easy For In Fiction, and that is British demons named Crowley. I...did not realize that was a category that was ever going to contain more than one character*, but Supernatural!Crowley fills me with immense amounts of glee. I kinda want to be him when I grow up (minus the complete amorality and disregard for human life, of course).

- After talking about Stephen Asma's On Monsters at Wiscon, I bought it for my kindle. I'm very much enjoying it so far, even though the first few chapters are very much Monsters In the Ancient World, which I don't care about very much.** Soon, though, I will get to read about more modern monsters. Also, there is a section on torture porn, which the discussion at Wiscon has made me very interested to read, though not interested enough to actually start investigating the genre. (Yet.)

*Though, considering that I have found, to date, three characters who fall in the character type of "Dark haired angry guy with the personality of a junkyard dog and only one eye" (which I thought was probably the most oddly specific character type I had), I probably shouldn't be quite so surprised.

**I don't start caring about monsters until they can have a conversation with you. I have a hard time considering things like griffins and dragons and such to be monsters, honestly. I tend to class those more as "creatures" or "magical/mythical beasts". For me, I guess, calling something a monster requires both a definite connection to humanity and intent on the part of the monster. I am most interested in monsters that are obvious Other but also obviously humanish and, ideally, have been othered through a choice on their own part. Which, I suppose, explains why I've never been terribly interested in werewolves - they have their otherness thrust upon them, most of the time. Zombies, likewise - can't have a conversation, not their fault. Zombies are fun, sure, but they're not interesting in and of themselves.
darchildre: the eleventh doctor through a mirror frame (eleventy)

- Caught up on Doctor Who today. No spoilers except - bwee, I am full of flaily happiness. Okay, I lied, tiny spoiler things: ) I can't wait till next week.

- Also today, I went back and watched the River Song two-parter from season 4 because I stopped before that in season 4 and never went back. It was likewise pretty awesome, though I am always a bit disappointed by the monsters that people tell me are scary on Doctor Who, because I almost never find them to be so. I'm sorry, I did not think Blink was scary at all and the Weeping Angels only got a little creepier in season five, solely because of the "anything that contains an image of an angel becomes an angel" thing. (I love harmful sensation horror.) The Vashta Nerada? Likewise not scary. The data ghosts were scary but that is mostly because repetitive noise or speech freaks me out. (Seriously, if you want to creep me out really easily, you can just say the same thing in the same tone at regular intervals for about a minute or two. I will leave the room with my hands over my ears. That is why I no longer have an alarm clock that beeps.) The gas-mask people from The Empty Child were scary, though. They had gas-masks coming out of their mouths. Foreign objects in people's mouths are not okay.

- On the subject of things that are (not) scary, I was at a bookstore yesterday and I came to a rather disheartening conclusion. The first is that we, as a society, have done zombies to death (ha ha). I saw two books with zombie protagonists and that signals the end. See, the thing about zombies is that zombies aren't characters. Zombies are props or possibly events. Zombies happen to characters. The point of zombies is that they are a relentless unthinking horde that crashes over you like a wave. Zombies are the last monster we have that is purely The Corpse, simply and solely the horror of death and rot. And the dead always outnumber the living and the dead are always unavoidable and unstoppable. Once the zombie starts talking, starts having feelings and relationships, all of the horror is gone. I don't want to explore what it's like to be a zombie. Being a zombie should be like anything - it should be mindless inexorable hunger. A zombie is scary because it used to be a person and now it's not and someday, you won't be either. If you make a zombie a person again, then what the hell is the point?

And those are my thoughts today.
darchildre: dr frankenstein, the monster, and the bride.  text:  "fucked up family portrait" (family portrait)
This weekend was Norwescon (which is why there was no poetry - there will be extra tomorrow). It was, as always, a lot of fun and I really enjoyed seeing friends and hanging out with geeks and talking about nerdy things with people.

And then I got home. Tonight, I changed into my pajamas and was about to get into bed when I remembered that my Frankenstein's monster doll was still packed away. (He always goes on trips with me.) So I went to let him out of my backpack and discovered that I had left him in the hotel room.

I'm going to call the hotel tomorrow, in hopes that they found him and put him in a lost and found somewhere. Maybe they'll mail him to me. And, okay, I know that I could make another one - I have one in the dolls-for-sale box as we speak - but he's the first monster doll I made. His head's on crooked and I hadn't worked out that I shouldn't stuff the arms yet so the stuffing shows through and he's generally worn from adventures and cuddles and he's mine. A replacement would not be the same.

I may have teared up a little when I found out he wasn't here. Maybe. A little.

Fortunately, I have various other monsters to comfort me tonight. I hope that I can get Frankie back.
darchildre: a cybermat!  text:  "grar!  i'm a scary monster!" (grar!  I'm a scary monster!)
Attack of the Crab Monsters, by Lawrence Raab

Even from the beach I could sense it—
lack of welcome, lack of abiding life,
like something in the air, a certain
lack of sound. Yesterday
there was a mountain out there.
Now it’s gone. And look

at this radio, each tube neatly
sliced in half. Blow the place up!
That was my advice.
But after the storm and the earthquake,
after the tactic of the exploding plane
and the strategy of the sinking boat, it looked

like fate and I wanted to say, “Don’t you see?
So what if you’re a famous biochemist!
Lost with all hands is an old story.”
Sure, we’re on the edge
of an important breakthrough, everyone
hearing voices, everyone falling

into caves, and you’re out
wandering through the jungle
in the middle of the night in your negligee.
Yes, we’re way out there
on the edge of science, while the rest
of the island continues to disappear until

nothing’s left except this
cliff in the middle of the ocean,
and you, in your bathing suit,
crouched behind the scuba tanks.
I’d like to tell you
not to be afraid, but I’ve lost

my voice. I’m not used to all these
legs, these claws, these feelers.
It’s the old story, predictable
as fallout—the rearrangement of molecules.
And everyone is surprised
and no one understands

why each man tries to kill
the thing he loves, when the change
comes over him. So now you know
what I never found the time to say.
Sweetheart, put down your flamethrower.
You know I always loved you.

I'd also like to include a link to the site where I first found this poem. And You Call Yourself a Scientist is probably my favorite movie website. Ms Kingsley's reviews are always informative and entertaining, and Attack of the Crab Monsters is no exception.
darchildre: a cybermat!  text:  "grar!  i'm a scary monster!" (grar!  I'm a scary monster!)
Death of the Loch Ness Monster, by Gwendolyn MacEwan

Consider that the thing has died before we proved it ever lived 
and that it died of loneliness, dark lord of the loch, 
fathomless Worm, great Orm, this last of our mysteries - 
'haifend ane meikill fin on ilk syde 
with ane taill and ane terribill heid' - 
and that it had no tales to tell us, only that it lived there, 
lake-locked, lost in its own coils, 
waiting to be found; in the black light of midnight 
surfacing, its whole elastic length unwound, 
and the sound it made as it broke the water 
was the single plucked string of a harp - 
this newt or salamander, graceful as a swan, 
this water-snake, this water-horse, this water-dancer. 

Consider him tired of pondering the possible existence of man )

You didn't think there wouldn't be monster poetry, did you?
darchildre: the fourth doctor's scarft (crafty geek)
New monster doll!

My first attempt at a zombie! )

So that's one done out of the millions of projects I'm half way through. I have another doll to finish this weekend: the auction doll for help_nz (I get to make the Eleventh Doctor! He has a tiny bowtie and little suspenders!) and then I think no new swaps for a while. I have too much of my own knitting and crocheting and (apparently) pattern designing to do.


darchildre: a candle in the dark.  text:  "a light in dark places". (Default)

June 2016



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