sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (gother than fuck)
[ profile] jvmatucha asked a tough one:

In regards to Assimilate, the book you've read and that I'm very much enjoying, can you give me examples of your criticism of Reed's work and of industrial culture in regards to unadmitted mainstream western influences, gender, and ethnicity?

(I'm already working on my own rant! One theme: Industrial, the whitest music on the planet!)

Or just give me a rant about sexism in counter culture music!

So, first up, if I hadn't also read a book about Communist mysticism in Central Europe, S. Alexander Reed's Assimilate: A Critical History of Industrial Music would rate as the best non-fiction book I've read this year, and, indeed, in quite awhile. It's fantastic and I highly recommend it.

Secondly, no post about sexism and racism in industrial music would be complete without a link to Ad•ver•sary's We Demand Better, which is both a great introduction to and critique of some of the issues we're dealing with here. He's also interviewed in the book, by the way.

Thirdly, a disclaimer of my own: I'm white, I'm female, and I haven't personally encountered any more overt sexism or racism within the industrial music community than I have in any other circle I travel in, and possibly a bit less, though that's largely a factor of preferring music identified with radical left politics. (Though not exclusively. I like a lot of really problematic, vaguely right-wing music as well. But there are some bands where I wouldn't go to their shows because they/their audience scare me.) I have encountered individual people who have shitty gender/race/class analyses and are also into industrial, but correlation isn't causation, etc.

Much rambling. You've been warned. )

So that's it for Blogcember, unless anyone would like to suggest more topics.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (omgcoffeesquee)
[ profile] homewardangel asked about my relationship with caffeine.

Sometimes, when a woman and a chemical compound love each other very, very much…

Okay, let’s be clear–I’ve been addicted to coffee since I was 13 or so, I have no desire to quit, and I tend not to entirely trust people who don’t drink coffee until they’ve proven conclusively that they’re not lizard aliens. Coffee’s great. I’m a bear until I’ve had my first cup. I searched long and hard for a coffee mug that was of an acceptable size so that I could fill it with a sufficient amount of coffee and not have to keep refilling it, and I’ve finally found the perfect mug. It’s a House Baratheon mead mug. That’s how much coffee I drink before I leave the house every morning.

I am super-picky about coffee as a result of spending a lot of time in Seattle. Fortunately, there’s a really good coffee shop around the block from me that sells fair trade, organic, locally roasted beans. I get their dark roast. I like my coffee strong but not acidic; here on the eastern part of the continent, most roasters seem to misunderstand what dark roast is supposed to take it and burn the shit out of it, Starbucks being the worst but not the only offender.

Weirdly, when I’m desperate and need to go to a chain coffee place, I go for Tim Horton’s over the other ones. Mostly because light roast has more caffeine, and if I’m going to a chain coffee place, it’s because I’m going to pass out if I don’t get coffee now.

I take coffee with milk and sugar.

If I’m working, I tend to not drink coffee after about noon or so, because it does mess with my sleep. Of course, this year I’ve had worse fatigue problems and a stupider schedule, and I discovered the one kind of energy drink that is not gross (Monster’s mocha flavour) and this was a Problem for awhile. At the moment, I’m only using them in dire emergencies because I’m worried about becoming addicted and dying of a heart attack before I’m 40.

I’m not much of a tea drinker, and when I do drink tea, it’s usually herbal. Black tea is growing on me, though. I still can’t convince my body that it has caffeine in it.

I should also add that I constantly struggle with coffeemakers, and haven’t had a coffeemaker I liked in years. I can’t manage things like a French press—it always comes out wrong—and that cold coffee brewing thing just sounds like too much work and why would I want my coffee to be cold? So it’s really got to be drip, and for some reason they don’t make drips like they used to. My current one makes reasonable coffee for one, but try making it for two and it explodes about 75% of the time. But I don’t want to get a new one, because I literally go through three coffeemakers every time I replace an old one.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (doomsday)
[ profile] firinel asked what I get nostalgic over.

I have an embarrassingly large number of entries on my nostalgia tag, so I guess the answer is a lot. When I look back, there are probably more entries about how I miss being a young, mentally unstable radical anarchist (a period in my life where I was at my absolute lowest emotionally, by the way) than about, say, mixed tapes. (Which I also miss. I make a lot of playlists and force them on people but it’s not the same as making a mixed tape for someone.)

I guess the thing I’m most nostalgic for is discovering something for the first time, having a sense of unlimited potential. I still have new experiences—this summer, for example, was the first time I ever LARPed, and right before I had to stop because tumour, I was starting to get into skateboarding. But the unfortunate reality is that as you get older, the number of new things in your life, be it a new philosophical idea, or a new band that you love, or a new kink, or whatever floats your boat, does become less frequent. And I think that’s why I get nostalgic for things like summit-hopping even though I would never want to go back to that time. Your first really scary demo is a thrill; after twenty demos that are all the fucking same, you start to notice the same old faces and the same boring speeches and the same march route and even some of the same cops.

There are two positive counterpoints to this. First, I have much more of an appreciation for routine as I age. I don’t constantly need new experiences because I’ve figured out what works. This sounds kind of boring, but eh. Doesn’t need to be. Second, when you do discover a new thing that’s exciting, it is by extension more exciting because the thrill of the new happens less often. Probably why I get so excited and drive everyone crazy when I discover some new author or TV show or band that I like.

Weren’t mixed tapes great, though?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (hellraiser kitty)
[ profile] springheel_jack asked about my favourite childhood toy.

As suggested by my previous post, I don’t actually remember my childhood all that clearly, and much of what I do remember involves other people retelling anecdotes about it. I don’t, for example, remember playing with toys for very long, though it’s entirely possible that I did, and I definitely had quite a lot of them because when I finally moved out of the house, there was a lot to get rid of. I know I wasn’t keen on dolls, and that I was keen on LEGO (back when LEGO was about creativity and building stuff and not Star Wars and gender essentialism).

The one childhood toy I do remember being very attached to was a ratty stuffed elephant that I named, oh-so-creatively, Dumbo. I used it to reenact the scenes where Dumbo was separated, then reunited, with his mother. Interpret away.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (day of the dead)
[ profile] princealberic asks:

What about an unsolved mystery or mysteries you find especially creepy/interesting? It can be an unsolved murder or weird unexplained phenomena or whatever.

(I went browsing through your tags for inspiration as suggested, and wtf does "fight the poison tree with pokemons" mean?).

The second question is easier to answer, so let’s start there. It’s a reference to the amazing website of a crazy right-winger named George Hutchins who has the best website on the internet. I first posted about him here. There are so many great things about his website but the best phrase was his answer to a forum question on what he could do to improve the site:

A few of those...what do you call them? Pokemons.

I think pokemons will bring in the younger generation as well.


In other words, it’s shorthand for “your argument makes so little sense that I’m convinced you’re tripping balls. Stop talking about politics and get some sleep.”

As to unsolved mysteries, well. It’s much harder to put into words, but it’s something like a sense of the uncanny that is just one degree removed from ordinary reality. I’d compare it to walking down a familiar road when your mind wanders off for 30 seconds and you’re suddenly on an unfamiliar one, which is just slightly off; you can see just enough that you recognize to understand that you’re completely lost. You can even see your regular route, but for whatever reason, you can’t get to it.

Creepypasta is a good example of what I’m talking about. It’s horrifically silly, intentionally so, but my favourite creepypasta sounds just enough like something that someone could theoretically experience that if you’re reading enough of it late at night you can creep yourself out. Candle Cove is the sort of thing I’m talking about—you remember weird and slightly questionable shows from your childhood, but not clearly, and it’s mixed up with your nightmares and the fact that early childhood is basically one long acid trip, but worse because you know it when you’re on acid but a child has nothing to compare it to. At least, it was like that for me.

The Lost Decade Theory, which I’m currently writing a novel-type-thing about, is another one. Again, it suggests that you’ve experienced something that you don’t quite remember but lies just beneath the surface.

The best mysteries, for me, capture this sensibility, and involve an intricate, gradually unfolding paradigm shift. There is probably a completely mundane explanation, but there’s also the possibility of intrusion from what Iain M. Banks termed an “Outside Context Problem,” (warning: link goes to TVTropes), the possibility that your own secure reality is, in fact, neither reality nor secure.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (gunfight at carnegie hall)
This one was suggested by [ profile] ironed_orchid and seconded by [ profile] princealberic, and, I have to admit, is the one thus far I’m most excited to write about. I kind of feel like I have blogged about Phil Ochs before, but maybe not enough. Also I have new readers.

So, I don’t always agree with Christopher Hitchens (in fact I devoted a fairly large number of posts to trash-talking him over the years), but I love what he has to say in this interview, which is part of the excellent Phil Ochs documentary “There But For Fortune.” (Which you should all totally watch, by the way.)

“There was a difference between people who liked Bob Dylan—anyone could like Bob Dylan, everybody did—and those who even knew about Phil Ochs.”

That’s the most hipster diss ever, but it’s true. Both Dylan and Ochs were played extensively in my house when I was growing up, but for some reason it was Dylan who remained in the cultural zeitgeist, whereas I went years without remembering who Ochs was until I was collecting songs for a mixed CD about the Spanish Civil War and found, appropriately enough, the chilling and gorgeous Spanish Civil War Song. While I knew that the singers on all of the other songs were dead, this one sounded fairly modern, so I figured I’d contact him to see if it was okay to use it on the CD. To the internet! Wherein I discovered that, no, he was also dead, at a tragically young age no less, and also he was the same guy who wrote that Draft Dodger Rag song that my mum used to play when I was a kid.

Hence, at age 20 or so, I re-discovered the awesomeness that is Phil Ochs.

This is long. )
sabotabby: (molotov)
[ profile] bitter_crimson asked about pizza preferences. I have strong opinions on pizza, you guys.

First of all, what is with some pizzas not having tomato sauce now? This is unacceptable. Besides a crust that is pizza-shaped (here's where the New Yorkers and the Chicagoans start arguing about crust, I guess), tomato sauce is what defines a pizza and makes it Good or Not Good. I like pesto as much as the next person but putting it on a pizza is pretentious and a sign that you have deficiencies as a human being.

Second, I like thin crust over thick, though obviously it needs to be thick enough to accommodate the fuckton of toppings that I like on it. Whole wheat is nice if done well, but it's usually not done well. Crust exists solely as a delivery method for toppings; I don't know why people get so uptight about it.

Let's talk toppings. Top tier: black olives, grilled eggplant, artichokes, jalapeno peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms (preferably portobello but I'm not actually that picky). Put any of these on pizza and I'm happy.

Second tier: green olives, tomatoes, banana peppers, goat cheese, and spinach. These are all good too.

Third tier: non-spicy peppers, onions, extra cheese that's not goat cheese. Fine, happy to eat it, but you went for one of the default vegetarian pizzas, didn't you?

Bad: Any kind of non-tomato fruit. Like pineapple. That's disgusting. Meat, obvs. I'm not particularly keen on sun-dried tomatoes but you can pick those off, so.

Adding extra garlic, chilli flakes, and basil is always a good thing.

Now I'm craving pizza.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (bat country)
I'm going out of order here, because the next Blogcember prompt was about pizza preferences (which I do want to write about!), and it felt a bit weird to have a serious post about Nelson Mandela that's getting linked to all over the place, followed by a post about pizza.

Anyway, [ profile] maeve66 asked: "What you're going to do in Morocco! Also, what is a VLPA or some gathering of similar initials?"

So! The background to this is that I've wanted to go to Morocco since I was a little kid. This is as a result of knowing someone who went and came back with photos of the architecture, and also reading way too much William S. Burroughs at far too early an age. MY CHILDHOOD TRAVEL DREAM AND I'M DOING IT, you guys.

I'm going on a tour, because that's the only reasonable way to see all the places I want to see in a short period of time and my command of French leaves much to be desired. (My command of Arabic is non-existent.) I'll be in North Morocco: Casablanca, Rabat, Fez, Chefchaouen, and Marrakech. What I'm doing? Seeing stuff. As much stuff as possible. Particularly architecture.

VLAP is the thing that makes the whole thing possible. See, when you're a teacher, you get crazy amounts of vacation (and need it). But it's only at Christmas Break (when it's expensive to fly and most people have some sort of obligation), March Break (a week long), and summer. You can't take vacation any other time. I'm not complaining, and I'm totally willing to pay more because the perks of my job are awesome, but the thing with Morocco is that the temperatures average around 90-100°F in summer. I am actually willing to endure that for the sake of my childhood dream, but the friend I'm going with is much more sensible than I am.

Now! Rewind back to the shitty contract we got enforced on us last year. As shitty as it was, like most neoliberal economic ideas, it was short-sighted and actually didn't save anyone that much money. (When we had 20 bankable sick days a year, the average teacher took 7—and I took way less than that until I got Maggie. Now we get 11 non-bankable sick days, and there is zero motivation to not take all 11, since we lose them otherwise. A supply teacher costs $250 a day. Your homework, boys, girls, and genderqueers, is to do the math.)

In another effort to save money, the Board started offering a Voluntary Leave of Absence Program (VLAP), where you can take up to five days of unpaid leave. That amounts to a substantial pay cut, but I saw that and went, "fuck it, I can attach it to my March Break and go to Morocco! Hells yeah!"

And that's what I'm doing. Because childhood dream.
sabotabby: (jetpack)
[ profile] lienne wanted to know about my masochistic tribble.

What do I say about my tribble? It was a gift from the lovely and wonderful [ profile] snarkitysnarks, who I can only assume bought it from a guy named Cyrano Jones on Deep Space Station K7. Or at a con, but the other explanation is better. It has a purring mechanism. You would think that a tribble would be like a cat in that you can make it purr by petting it, but in regards to this particular tribble, you would be wrong. The way to make it purr is to spank it. Hard. On where its ass would be if tribbles had asses, which they don't. Then it purrs like a mofo.

If this is a bug rather than a feature, I'd prefer not to know, because let's face it, masochistic tribbles are hilarious.

The tribble's name is O.K. Corral because I don't care how awful everyone says that episode is. It's Star Trek TOS + Westerns and it is the greatest. Then again, I don't understand why everyone hates the space hippie episode either.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (design)
Thanks everyone for your post suggestions. There are still more days of the month than prompts, so if you'd like to request something, head on over here. Also if you'd like to suggest a better title than "Blogcember," I'm all ears.

[ profile] metawidget asked about painting of the arty sort. I'm not sure I have anything really profound to say about painting. What I like about painting is that it's not very profound for me. As some of you know, I utterly agonize over most of the things I do—writing, teaching, freelance work, attempts to pick up playing piano again—painting is pretty much the one thing that I've been reasonably good at for a long period of time that I can do competently without thinking about it too hard. I put on music, I work sloppily, and I completely turn off the part of my brain that is a constant anxiety-ridden monologue for a few hours at a time.

I paint in acrylic, though lately I've been tempted to take up watercolour again, which I haven't done since I was a kid. I like acrylic because it's immediate. I went through a phase where I used palette knives and fingers rather than brushes, but now I'm back to brushes. I prefer to work on large works over small works, though when I was off work and in tons of pain, small works were the only sort I could do.

There's not a lot of deep meaning to any of my work. It's usually just stuff that I think looks cool. The painting I'm currently working on is a woman I saw at Black Creek Pioneer village; I thought she looked like she stepped out of a painting, so I snapped a picture on my cell and I'm working from that.

Unlike writing, where I really do need to be in a certain frame of mind (and I'm hardly ever in that frame of mind), I actually can force myself to paint. The fact that I don't do it more often has to do with time and hassle rather than inspiration.

Once I'm finished with a painting, I seldom want to look at it. There are three exceptions, two of which are hanging in my house:

1) A still life I did in undergrad. It's a gas mask, an old army boot, and a bottle of wine. It's about being prepared for whatever comes your way, a.k.a. the zombie apocalypse, and I have it hanging in my bedroom because it matches the colour scheme.
In Advance )

2) A portrait I did of the first male non-relative I saw completely naked. Which is to say one of our life drawing models in high school. (I was an innocent teenager.) He's clothed in this painting, though. It's very stiff and Victorian and it looks exactly like him. By the way, he was a really cool guy and often hung out at the coffee shop with us after sessions, and he was into the Church of the Subgenius. That one's in my living room, and I actually chose the colour of the living room to match the painting.
The Gambler )

3) This street scene I did, one of my palette-knife-only paintings. It was based on a photograph that I took before there were digital cameras; essentially I shot the feet of the two people I was with, and it was blurry, and for some reason I decided to paint it. I was going through a very angry phase, and the process was violent; the sense I get from looking at it is that it's the feet of people mid-riot. I'd have hung it in my house but it really doesn't match the decor.
Things Got Out of Hand )

So that's painting. I do a lot more illustration these days; less clean-up and I get paid for it.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (teh interwebs)
I've seen this a few times and I rather enjoy the increased traffic these sorts of things generate on teh LJ, so I'll just throw it out there, with addendums:

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want. (Sabs says: I am, of course, more than happy to ramble on about things that aren't fandom, since that's most of what I tend to blog about.)

They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject.

Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet (or if I feel I will only speak negatively on something, I might ask you for something else). (Sabs says: Whatever. I encourage subjects that I'm likely to speak negatively about. That's kinda my schtick. I'll lock posts that are too personal, though.)

Topics: you can get an idea from my tags/from the stuff I usually ramble about/from things you maybe wish I talked about more but don't.

I can't commit to particular days, but I'm going to attempt to answer prompts over the course of December. Blogcember? There should be a name for it.

On a related note, aren't we all glad that Movember's over? So over moustaches. The only people who look good in them are early 20th century avant-garde poets and the actors on Deadwood.


sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)

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