Just a hodgepodge of life stuff.

Well, I got an A in my literature class. Good, dammit. Then I had to decide whether to sign up for a seminar on modernism or one on 20th century Southern writers. I wound up choosing the Southern writers, although it's early in the morning while modernism is in the afternoon. It'll be a lot of reading and writing, which makes me nervous given that I already have a full schedule which I'm a little unsure about, particularly the undergrad research assistantship I signed up for. I'm not sure yet how much work that's going to entail. I've also got a temporary job in the student bookstore and had my first day on Wednesday. That probably won't go beyond the first week of classes... I think. As long as they need the extra help, I guess. It'll be a little bit of extra money, anyway. :/ Which is good for oh so many reasons, most of them depressing and car-related.

Also I bought t-shirts, which I probably shouldn't have although I can always use more options for clothing myself. And I went to the doctor, got blood drawn to find out whether I might be anemic (apparently I'm not), and found out that I didn't really lose all that much weight even though my pants are much baggier now.

Lately I've also gotten more and more interested in learning how to knit and/or crochet. Or relearn how to crochet, at any rate, and learn how to do more than make scarves. I don't know. I'm ambivalent about it, because I've been browsing etsy and so many of the crafty-type things people make are just bad. But some are cool. I'd like to learn how to do cool things, but then I'm not sure what things I'd like to make. Exactly. I don't know. I like stuffed creatures like this, but that seems a bit advanced (although if anyone ever wanted to buy me one of those, I would have to love you forever). I have some limited hand-sewing skills (thank you, grandmother). This is a nice pillow. I don't know, I guess I'd like to learn/relearn some sewing machine skills and all of that, but I'm not sure where to start. Also tiny sculpture skills. Maybe I should just buy some sculpy.

Anyway, if anyone has any links to good references for this sort of thing or any good tips, I'd appreciate them.

One class down, one to go for this summer...

I got like two hours of sleep last Wednesday night because I stayed up till forever trying to finish the work for my English class, which was one major essay and four mini ones. Then I had to go in in the morning to complete the in-class portion of my final. One class down! I'm in an intro to anthropology class now, which will fulfill a liberal ed. requirement. I'm hoping/assuming it will be easier. I concluded that my literature class was, like, senior-level expectations for a sophomore level class. I had a job interview at the bookstore Wednesday and the guy asked me my major, then asked me if I ever had this particular professor. I said yeah, I had him at the moment, and he said, "Oh yeah... I've heard he's tough." He was tough. I'm hoping for an A or a B though.

Then I watched the second season of Venture Bros. with commentary on, which is making me want to get people together and make low-budget movies. My dad gave me a point and click digital camera! We could totally do this!

I'm so bored by life at the moment. It's a bit stupid. I keep fantasizing about going places and doing something, when really mostly what I've done is write essays and go and see Public Enemies (which was a wonderful, hilarious movie for how terribly it was put together; also, Billy Crudup played Hoover as totally gay, and that was awesome). And tonight I finally saw Half-Blood Prince, so go me. I'm mad because Draco was actually attractive/interesting in this one, and I've never really found him interesting or attractive before. This is grossly unfair. Also, I need more Remus. As always.

But overall I liked it.

So the celebrities are dropping like flies...

Ugh, I keep meaning to start an lj post and then just drifting off to something else. Oops?

I have a summer class--Lit in English II--at the moment. It's one I'm retaking, due to previous fail, and oh my god this professor. He's an older gentleman, for one, and so he seems to be more New Criticism oriented (New Criticism is the boring way to read things), which kind of sucks. We've spent a lot of time on philosophy stuff, because he tends to go on and on and on talking about stuff that I'm fairly certain could easily be summed up in 15 to 30 minutes. Arrgh, I don't need a ton of examples, just tell me the basics. I'm really appreciating the woman I had the first time I tried to take the course, since she was concise and generally interesting, even if I did have to hear a lot about Wordsworth maybe banging his sister. Dammit, I wish I could've gotten this done the first time around.

Then I'm sort of depressed at the moment just because I'm doing so little beyond that class. I've had so little energy, and that sucks a lot and drives me up the wall. Plus I've half-heartedly tried getting in touch with people, but the problem is that neither I nor any of my friends are good at coming up with things to do, so we tend to just waffle around for ages and not get shit done and then eventually give up and see a movie. :( I am not good at being social. Also, there's not much to do here.

Oh, and I got a new car! Collapse ) The brakes are already failing! It doesn't even have a real license plate, yet! How lucky am I? :( lol $2500 used car.
an honest man

Finished Cemetery Dance...

Actually, I finished Cemetery Dance like a week or two ago. But things have been all over the place, so I'm only now blathering about it.

My basic reaction is torn between :DDDD and DDDD: or >:( because... Smithback, nooooo. Also, the whole damn plot makes very little sense and is the definition of needlessly complicated. But I was hoping for Pendergast and D'Agosta being detective bffs, and so they were. So I'll do what I usually do with these books, and ignore the bits I don't like. In fact, the Pendergast/D'Agosta exceeded my expectations, so I was super-pleased. It was like a special birthday present! (My birthday was on May 18th. I forgot to post this year. I was all out of sorts and not feeling well.)

Gotta love Pendergast reading Mademoiselle in the waiting room and being creepy about it. Oh, Aloysius.

Anyway, I stuck edited versions of all my Pendergast one-shot fic up on Dreamwidth.

In less happy news for me, my car abruptly started making a very worrying noise and not really wanting to go above 35 mph. Not a good sign. So that, plus a day of forgetting my medication and a stressful doctor's appointment triggered a really bad depressive episode. I've been grumping around the house, basically, rereading The Cabinet of Curiosities and hanging out with my cats, who are always delighted when I spend all day in bed. I, however, am less delighted. :/

[ETA: Okay, yeah, I'm a huge nerd, but you know who I have mentally cast as O'Shaughnessy in CoC? Tim Omundson aka LASSITER. Destined to play an Irish cop forever, if I were to get my way.]

Hey, check this shit ouuu-uuuu-uuut!

This is my big painting picture post. Keep in mind that all of these look so much better in real life.

Collapse )

This would be my final, which was done from a collage of my own photographs. It's 40"x40", which is pretty sizable. You can see that the top right and center right are less finished, and that's because I did work on this for 5 to 6 hours before our final critique and... some stuff just didn't get done as much as I would have liked. Maybe someday.

i has a puppy!

End of the year claptrap, blah.

School sucks, aaaaah. Final stuff is coming up on being due, so that's why lj replies and whatever are going to be... slow.

Things I should be ashamed of but cannot find the heart to actually feel shame for:

- I have watched High School Musical and enjoyed it.
- I saw 17 Again and enjoyed it. (You shut up, I like Matthew Perry.)
- I'm finding Zac Efron attractive. (Okay, this is worse.)
- I'm also finding Rick Astley mildly attractive, but that's unrelated to the other stuff.

Blasphemous, I know.

I also did stuff like taking pictures at the English awards ceremony and judging skits for Future Problem Solving and also reading a scenario at their awards ceremony. But I've also been having issues with my medication, which translates to struggling with school. Still, the semester will be over soon. I have a Shakespeare performance to do Monday (I'm Iago in a scene from Othello) and a revision to turn in for nonfiction writing on Tuesday, so I'm hoping getting those done will relieve some stress. But I also have this massive painting to finish for the 14th, which has been freaking me out. Especially since I've been missing class.

So that's my status and the reason I never update. Fascinating stuff. [ETA: Oh, also I have a dreamwidth account now. What I'll do with it, I have no idea, but there it is.]

On art and drive-by freak culture and what Crispin Glover taught me.

Today was Crispin Glover's 45th birthday, so a happy birthday to him, wherever in the world he may be.

Last night kleenexwoman and I had a surprisingly involved conversation about Crispin in which I realized how my feelings about him and about art in general have changed throughout the years, probably in such a way that they've become less fun but more artistically mature. On some level all this may sound very pretentious, but of course it's arising out of my own education in academia and in various cultural and artistic studies. If you don't care or if that's not your bag, I'm sorry.

What I began thinking about was Feral House and similar ventures, the status of the "atrocity tourism" industry, and the subculture's basic hostility toward "the other" even as they remain fascinated by it. The original train of thought was based upon the question of why a subculture centered around strangeness would be so hostile to members of outsider groups. But of course, in objectifying strangeness, it then becomes imperative that the observing group is as normalized as possible in comparison--aside from the whole gawking at strange or morbid things business, of course.

Which is an interesting little tidbit, especially since atrocity tourism sites (e.g. Portal of Evil) and publishers seem to be drifting off toward irrelevance as the Internet itself grows wider. It is somewhat telling that Apocalypse Culture II (which is the book that also contains Crispin's short essay "What Is It?") has an article on slash fiction called "The Pornography of Romance." It was written by Adam Parfrey of Feral House (also the editor of the book) and it describes slash writers as "middle-aged women, the kind you're likely to see pushing a cart at a Target outside of Des Moines" (147). The book's copyright is from 2000, and the convention he attended was in 1998. So, in this case, you can see that his concept of the subculture was woefully out of date even when he wrote it, as by the year 2000 young women in their teens and twenties were already dominating the slash and yaoi subcultures. They just didn't go to this sort of con. Gotta keep up, Parfrey.

So atrocity tourism has become not just less cool, but less meaningful and less socially relevant. How does this connect to Crispin Glover? The fact is that Crispin necessarily socializes with and gets lumped into the atrocity tourism subculture, because he often deals with the same images and appeals to a similar pool of viewers/consumers. Moreover, I think that for some people the act of atrocity tourism is as much about confronting the strangeness within ourselves as it is about confronting the strangeness in the world around us. I would venture this is how Crispin operates, rather than being a passive consumer of horrors. Well, I hope, anyway.

I'm not denying the cultural influence of underground publishing like Feral House, but I find it interesting to see how their era seems to be ending. What is the future? I don't know. Interestingly, this line of thought originally came up because I noticed that Crispin Glover--weirdo, crazy, out there, strange guy--has never had an actual gay role. And yet his father, Bruce Glover, absolutely and unambiguously did, when he played a gay hitman in Diamonds Are Forever. It's especially funny because it made me think of something an article said about Crispin: "Besides, in the age of AIDS, when most young male actors are trying to establish impeccably macho, more heterosexual-than-thou credentials (viz Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen, et cetera), Glover's sexually ambiguous characterizations take guts." (Here.) Sexually ambiguous, really? Okay, Layne is. Sort of. And he did dress up as Olivia Newton-John for The Orkley Kid. But both roles are less gay than than his dad as Mr. Wint holding hands with Mr. Kidd as they walk off into the sunset in 1971. To me, that dichotomy really underscores the resurgence of homophobia during the eighties, even during a time of greater visibility. And let's not forget that Crispin played a character whose role was downright homophobic: his character, Lionel, in Where the Heart Is (1990), fakes being gay to get respect as a fashion designer. In the end, he's just another "nice boy," too shy to tell the girl that he likes her until the film's end. It comes off as a cop-out, as the character gets the girl he likes and appeases his obviously homophobic father. All conflict can be solved by being straight!

Then there's Crispin himself, in an interview done by Adam Parfrey (curiouser and curiouser): "There are people of this nature who are not into morbidity. Doesn't that sound gay? It's hard to say. Unusual? Not the norm? People who can see the absurdity of that which is considered the norm."

But hey, that was in 1992. People change. One of the wonderful things about being human and being observant is that you are allowed to change your mind over time.

I moved away from following Crispin too closely a couple of years ago as I started to realize that it's far too easy, as an artist and as an observer, to remain in the shadow of others. Artistically speaking, I don't want this. Sometime I feel like a child who is playing at being serious about the future when I talk about this, but I do think and I do produce art and writing and I do have ideas about what I want my future to be. I stopped following Crispin closely because I stopped feeling challenged by what he was doing. I outgrew him. It happens. But, looking back, I realize there are aspects of him and of What Is It? that I do find problematic, and did find problematic at the time.

I feel like, aside from the problematic use of the disabled in What Is It? and It Is Fine! (something I recognize as being potentially problematic but, really, have no firm opinion on), what is most lacking in the movies he's made is a kind of communication of depth and breadth of thought. Keep in mind, I'm coming out of art history classes, now, that are looking at modern and post-modern artwork. I feel like his emulation of art films and conceptual art in What Is It? basically lacked the kind of rigorous and central idea that more mature artwork has dealt with. In a way, it's almost discomfiting because the film almost resembles outsider art; but while Crispin may be something of an outsider to the fine arts culture, his Hollywood status assures him that he can never actually have that outsider artist identity. Perhaps it's not fair, but coming out of Hollywood the way he does imbues what he's doing with a different meaning, because of what Hollywood is, and I think this is an issue he needs to address and deal with in some way.

I'm also bothered by his coyness when talking about meaning or intent. He seems most interested in watching people's reactions to the film, which would be fine except that, by way of its subject matter and inherent strangeness, the film then hearkens back to the phenomenon of atrocity tourism or even "shock" images. Yes, trying to stir a reaction in the audience can be legitimate, but is it only meant to see who gets shocked and who projects meaning onto it? I would be more comfortable with it if in a lot of ways it didn't seem like he just wanted to push boundaries for the sake of pushing them. And I do think he has a cohesive meaning in What Is It?, but that's not what he chooses to discuss.

I've also been bothered by him referencing Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil and then admitting that he'd never actually read the work (this was at a Q+A). With something of this scale, you really need to do the research and be firm about your plan and your meaning. At the same time, I feel that what's he really interested in are the images he's taking--and there are some lovely shots in What Is It? But if that's the case, I want him to come out and say it, not obfuscate it with this "What do you think it's about?" nonsense. It's like he's trying to have it both ways, having a certain "depth" while at the same time remaining shallow enough for viewers to imprint upon, and it's the fence-straddling that comes off as amateurish.

As far as I know, Crispin never went to university or college (if I'm wrong, tell me). Being self-taught, then, and able to realize a project like this one is admirable, but at the same time I think he's hampered by not having gone through a formal art or film program of some kind. Or just a liberal arts education. Maybe this is my own academia bias or classism showing--although hell, you know he'd be able to afford it. Besides, Crispin has always been good for class-related pretension and snobbery. As in: "I feel that any music that has stanzas or refrains is procultural because it comes from a proletariat working class history that started at least from the serfs in the Middle Ages when they would sing in that fashion. It represents a middle class point of view and it makes people feel emotionally feel good about being a working class person. I feel that rock music is all procultural and people tend to get really mad about it." From this interview. Of course, Crispin's definition of "procultural" is often nebulous, and hampered by a lack of definition for the polar opposite: is it "counterculture"? "Anticulture"? What? Without strong, specific definitions, the term is meaningless.

I'm still loyal to Crispin, because he's been with me as I've grown up and he's been kind to me on the occasions when I've spoken with him in person. I have a lot of good memories centered around my enjoyment of his movies, books, etc. But life moves on, I guess. The people you had as heroes at age eighteen shouldn't be your heroes forever. I suppose that's the most meaningful thing Crispin taught me (though unwittingly)--aside from the fact that I'm not alone in my strangeness. And for that much, I do thank him and wish him well.
an honest man

Fanmix: All Those Dreadful Little Cuts

Title: All Those Dreadful Little Cuts
Disclaimer: Files are mp3s of varying (mostly low/medium) quality and are meant for previewing purposes. If you like a song, check out the artist and support them! If it's possible, I mean. Some of these songs are harder to find than others. If you are interested in trying the books, the first five are here. Again, please purchase the books if you like them!
Notes: The songs on this are mostly a mix of punk, cabaret, and goth, which is intentional. That's Pendergast in a nutshell, as kleenexwoman said.

The back cover is presented as a smaller thumbnail because the content of the photo may be disturbing to some.

Collapse )

I didn't mean to disappear, honest.

Haven't posted for a while because I got sick on the very first day of my spring break. :( Isn't that always the way? Isn't it? Life: aggressively unfair. I think my body actually waited until it sensed that I had a break so that it could rampage through my weakened defense system. Nice! Also I went to the doctor and got some medication for a sinus infection, but it was Amoxicillin and I kind of think it did absolutely dick. So I have to go back. :( Argh, annoying.

Anyway, I'm working on getting things in line for the summer and the fall semester. School, aaaaaaaaah. It wound up even more overwhelming because I was sick and spent about half my break totally passed out. I'd planned to get stuff done over break, and so that didn't happen. So I spent the last couple weeks catching up and trying to research/write my art history paper, which I finally finished last Friday (it was due last Tuesday). And just, argh. Luckily it was a three page paper, so it's not like it was some massive undertaking. But now I have to write a couple of pages about a movie we watched. :/

Okay, anyway, I took pictures of my self-portrait that I did from one of those photos and with the Odd Nerdrum palette. It's not really finished, and I need to try to go in and do some touching up and etc., but here's what I have so far:

It needs to get lighter, basically, in the skin tones. I'm always a little too tentative about pushing value contrast. Overall, though, I'm pleased with where it's going. Also, I love oils. And applying paint with a palette knife. Oh, also, we're painting a model in the studio. It's going well, although again I'm too tentative with value so when my professor put a color that was almost white onto my canvas, I about had a heart attack. It looked better though. :/

Also hortonhearsawho and I went and saw Watchmen. And our non-fiction writing class is full of idiots, but that's nothing new.
don't forget

Let's do a movie meme!

Took this from kleenexwoman. Let's play a game. Yay?

1. Pick 20 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie

Collapse )

Please don't mock my terrible taste, lol. :/
  • Current Music
    Bones on tv
  • Tags