It’s coming up on a year now since I got my current job as a pizza delivery girl, and I thought this would be a good time to delve into the little ever-expanding “WTFPIZZA” note I keep on my cell that helps me remember some of my more, uh - interesting deliveries.
These illustrations by Billy Nunez take the cast of The Wizard of Oz and transports them waaaay away from Kansas, into a mystical Chinese realm. And yes, before someone mentions it, there are koalas in China. Also, if the Lion is now a Tiger, who is the Tiger?
“In English,” Professor Austin said, “a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn’t a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative.”
A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”
Guys, guys! Day 3 in New Orleans and I am absolutely in love.
The food’s fantastic, the people friendly, the rent affordable, and I’m currently at a coffee shop that makes my top 3 list, hands down. There’s a built-in PC cafe in the place, they’re bumpin’ punk music, and the BF’s playing Go with one of the regulars. The bathroom graffiti features book recommendations and references to Monty Python.
I want to move to here.
The only cons I can see so far are: The weather’s hotter than Harry Shum Jr. on a grill, and there’s a notable lack of Asian food. But seriously! Smoking cigarettes and drinking $5 beer at a jazz bar? Perfect.
“I guess if you’ve managed to familiarize yourself with your e-reader but not YouPorn, well-written erotica, or your own body, congratulations on “finding” Fifty Shades of Grey … but also for going one more day without stumbling into a zoo enclosure. Up top.”—
This review of the “soccer mom” porn, or whatever they’re calling it, Fifty Shades of Grey, is hilarious.
I’m not even going to condemn it because I’ve seen better storytelling in an evening news segment about a raccoon who got a peanut butter jar stuck on his head in a Wendy’s parking lot. What I do take issue with is that an author is making money off of people who are too technologically illiterate to find GOOD porn out there and are getting stuck with this nonsense instead because it’s the one part of Computers they can’t just ask a nephew about.
“Imagine you’re at a party. A guy offers you a drink. You say no. He says “Come on, one drink!” You say “no thanks.” Later, he brings you a soda. “I know you said you didn’t want a drink, but I was getting one for myself and you looked thirsty.” For you to refuse at this point makes you the asshole. He’s just being nice, right? Predators use the social contract and our own good hearts and fear of being rude against us. If you drink the drink, you’re teaching him that it just takes a little persistence on his part to overcome your “no.” If you say “Really, I appreciate it, but no thanks” and put the drink down and walk away from it, you’re the one who looks rude in that moment. But the fact is, you didn’t ask for the drink and you don’t want the drink and you don’t have to drink it just to make some guy feel validated.”—
Every so often, I remember this incredibly apt post from Hyperbole and a Half. This post describes the deeply exhausting, soul-sucking, delirium-inducing cycle of endless irresponsibility and borderline competency that I’ve been trapped in for, oh, the past 5 years or so.
This is exactly me. I loved Brite’s books when I was in high school, & also never got around to reading the restaurant series. But if I had picked them up now? They’re not really “good” but it is such a guilty pleasure that with a cup of wine or 2…
Yeah, I have a soft spot for some kinds of pulp fiction. I also recall really enjoying Mercedes Lackey for some reason. I think it had something to do with leather and oil and also talking birds.
In other news, I had an upsetting start to the morning as I read about sexism on the Internet; specifically, the recent hullabaloo over Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter project about sexist tropes in video games. And, of course, as severalsources reported, the hordes of trolls came rushing out of Mordor to threaten, demean, and taunt her for even attempting to voice an opinion about women and games. WARNING: TRIGGERS ABOUND in the news articles above.
The most depressing article I read was on The Mary Sue, mostly because the comments were full of women commiserating, talking about how hard it is to play online, and swapping tips on how to deal with comments like the usual, “Tits or GTFO,” and so on. Blergh.
From there, I link-hopped over to a CNN article about brogrammers.
The most hilarious part of the “brogrammers” article is when Path executive Matt Van Horn got some heat for bragging about sending “‘bikini shots’ from a ‘nudie calendar,’” he backtracked and said:
…the calendar he mentioned was, in fact, a college charity project to aid tsunami victims in Southeast Asia and featured both male and female models.
Nice try, bro.
On a happier note, BF and I are planning to run away for a month to New Orleans. It will be a working vacation full of brainstorming and booze, or something like that. More brainstorming than booze, hopefully.
I’m just trying to chug through the rest of my June projects in the meantime, and hoping that nothing goes horribly awry. I badly need to get away for a little bit, so I think the change of scenery will do me good.
Speaking of change, I dyed my hair purple!
Finally. My dreams of being an anime character have been realized.
Plz to ignore the scruffiness of my hair; I’d just gotten out of the shower.
Friend, on the phone:Hey, do you and BF want to go to the beach tomorrow
Me:Hold on. Let me ask. BF, do you want to go to the beach tomorrow?
Me, gives him a beseeching look:...
BF:Why, do you not want to?
Me:It's hot and sandy and I don't own a bathing suit and I can't swim anyway and I'm going to get sunburned and sweaty and it's gross and probably someone has buried poop somewhere and I'll step on it squish.
BF, confused:What? Swimming? Sand? I was just going to sit on the boardwalk and drink beer or something.
Back when I was a wee nerd (as opposed to an ye olde nerd) in high school, I used to read a lot of horror. I also read a lot of gay porn. This was a by-product of a little bit of terror and wide-eyed curiosity.
Even though I figured out that I was bi by sophomore year in high school, I was still extremely uncomfortable with sexuality in general. I have, at periodic points in my life, considered that perhaps I was actually asexual, though bi-romantic.
By my early 20s, sexuality had simmered down to something that was only vaguely uncomfortable, kind of boring, and mostly discomfiting. I didn’t react well to people touching me, and I thought many sexual encounters felt disingenuous. I didn’t understand the appeal of people secreting on each other.
Horror and sexuality have always met at a weird intersection, usually involving boobs and misogyny, which made it difficult for me to stomach. And yet, despite my misgivings about bodily fluids, I do love my decomposition and homoerotica. I don’t question it, though maybe I should?
One author whom I was a big fan of was Poppy Z. Brite.
(Aside: Brite identifies as a transgendered man, so I will be referring to him with a male pronoun.)
I don’t know if Brite’s writing has aged well; maybe if I went back to read his stories, I’d hate them now that I’m no longer 15. But at the time, they were a revelation. Zombies and gay romance? What’s there not to love? I do recall a bit of weird orientalism in one of his stories about a prostitute in Chinatown, but I could forgive it at the time.
Brite is big into New Orleans the way John Waters is big into Baltimore. I have a total soft spot for the South (though also a healthy dose of fear), so I appreciate his highlighting his own little eccentric corner of the U.S.
Though I generally prefer to read short fiction — and Brite does have some entertaining short fiction — Drawing Blood is what I think of when I think of Brite.
Set in the fictional town of Missing Mile, Drawing Blood is a gothic horror novel about comic book artist Trevor revisiting the site of a grisly murder-suicide that left him the sole survivor of his family. Part haunted house story, part murder-mystery, and part romance (featuring nerdy hacker Zachary), Drawing Blood was the perfect page-turner for mini-me who, at the time, was transitioning from the classics to Murakami and his obsession with sexy ears and women in pink suits.
Sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, it seems to me, make the perfect backdrops for exploring LGBT characters (not themes; I’ll get to that in a moment). We have to be careful, of course, since those genres also tend to be exploitative — often featuring a Euro-centric view of the world with flairs of Orientalism and Magical Negroes running amok, not to mention a whole host of breathlessly unnamed cultural appropriations.
And yet, I think particularly in horror, despite all the super macho “this is my boomstick!” kind of attitude that some people have, there’s great opportunity to play with LGBT characters in a way that we don’t normally get to.
I feel that when writing about any kind of “Marginalized Topic” such as women’s rights, minorities’ rights, LGBT rights, we often get caught up and make it a Big Deal. When you’re writing about a lesbian character in the real world, you have to discuss the usual relevant topics: When did she come out? What about the trials and tribulations of dating? When she walks down the street with her girlfriend, what corner stores does she avoid?
There’s a time and place for literature exploring the real world issues we face, but sometimes you just want to read about a gay dude running from bloody ghosts. Sometimes you don’t want it to be a Big Deal — you just want a good ol’ fashioned horror movie, except that stereotypical shower scene isn’t between the blonde cheerleader and the quarterback; it’s between the quarterback and the tight end.
Anyway, if there’s a gay character in a horror novel, why would the reader take the time to question his/her sexuality when there are zombies and elder gods to pay attention to?
Eventually, Brite began turning his attention to more realistic fiction; his most recent series of novels followed two characters, Rickey and G-man, as they open and run a restaurant in New Orleans. I admit to not having read these books, partly out of forgetfulness, and partly because I never had the time to pick them up.
There’s also a part of me that just wants to think of monsters and romance when I think of Brite: a period of my life where the sultry air of Calcutta and the sound of zombies slowly shuffling at the bottom of a set of stairs are mingled with the love story of an angst-ridden artist and his gay lover as they deal with an inexplicably haunted house in a little town in North Carolina.
Astute observers may wonder where Day 1 of the LGBT Blogathon went. Good question! I am not worthy ;_; Real-life stuff culminated with me being a bum yesterday. But I’m here now, so let’s get this party started.
I’d like to write about a short film that I’ve kind of been mulling over in the back of my head: “돌 (Dol - First Birthday).”
"Dol" is written, directed, produced, and edited by Andrew Ahn, a gay Korean-American filmmaker. When I originally saw it, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. As a story, it felt somehow incomplete in a troubling way. However, the more I think about it, the more this seems intentional.
The story of “Dol” is a simple one: A gay Korean-American man goes to attend his nephew’s dol, an occasion when the whole family gathers to celebrate the first year of a child’s life. A super awesome birthday party, as it were. Less super awesome because our hero has to lead a double life; as a closeted gay man, he doesn’t bring along his boyfriend to the shindig, and his parents, presumably, don’t know about that particular facet of his life. His sister-in-law scolds him for leaving his boyfriend out of such an important family event.
"Dol" packs a lot of emotion into 11 minutes, offering a glimpse into Korean culture and a struggle with identity (Asian-American, LGBT, to name two that come immediately to the forefront) that many people can relate to.
When I started researching the short film, I realized there was yet another layer of meaning that I hadn’t been privy to on my first view: the meaning it had to Andrew Ahn himself.
"Dol" isn’t just symbolic of the struggle and journey of many LGBT Asian-Americans; it’s literally a piece of the puzzle for Ahn. The family in the film is his family. The story he’s telling is both plural and singular. He’s that kid in the stage spotlight, singing to an audience, but looking only at his parents. Fingers crossed.
Even after he cast his parents in the film and finished cutting everything together, he was still hesitant about stepping out of the closet:
Throughout the next five months, my parents hounded me to see a cut of the film. They were curious to know how they looked on screen. And every time they asked, I simply told them I wasn’t ready.
It’s incredible to me that Ahn took this amazingly personal moment in his own life and put it to film. The open-ended nature of the film began making sense to me. In the same blog post, he says that he realized that “coming out is not an event. It’s a process.”
Similarly, “Dol” isn’t finished. It’s not meant to be finished. It’s supposed to capture a moment in this man’s life, a struggle during an event where he feels like an outsider, a moment of yearning for something that he may never have — acceptance, “normal”ness, a chance to participate in an important cultural milestone.
Ahn was lucky; once he finally showed the film to his parents and they understood all its implications, they were kind and loving. His father told him that he wouldn’t ask him to change. His mother worried about his career. And needlessly so, because soon after that, Sundance gave him two big thumbs up.
"Dol" is many things. It’s a look at the intersection between identities, because it’s necessary for all of us to have several. It’s about culture and the many generations of family. It’s about belonging. More than anything, it’s about searching, though for what, we aren’t always certain.
The uncertainty can be daunting, but maybe we should keep in mind the words of encouragement and faith that Ahn’s father offered to his son:
I know you will do good and find the right way for you. Appa.
“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed to trap them before they escape.”—
White privilege is everyone knowing about Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna but no one knowing about what Sean Penn did to Madonna (tortured her for 9 hours), Charlie Sheen did to his exes (he freaking shot one of them and was arrested for domestic violence before), Nicholas Cage did to his exes (he was arrested for domestic violence), or really any white artists who were also involved in domestic abuse.
Dude. I had NO frickin idea about Sean Penn and Madonna. I just looked it up on the Google, and it’s disturbing. I can’t believe this guy tied her up and beat her for 9 hours and he didn’t serve any jail time.
Holden Caulfield:but anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.
Holden Caulfield:so don't even call me, you're a phony