bliumchik: (quantum)
This post was pretty popular on tumblr so I figured I ought to post it here. Although it seems like I've properly migrated to tumblr :( it's a pity, because Dreamwidth has a much better designed system for community and conversation. alas. Oh well, I'll try to keep posting here anyway in hope that it picks up a bit.

Without further ado: Since my tumblr has apparently become a Discworld blog – introducing someone else to a fandom turns out to be surprisingly similar to initial immersion when it comes to said fandom colonising your thoughts all the time – I thought I may as well have my flail about Monstrous Regiment and why it is my faaaaaavourite aside from all my other favourites. Er, and then it sort of turned into a kind of essay like thingy? So be warned :P

Amazing as Terry Pratchett is generally, he’s always been kind of short on LGBT inclusion – oh, there’s any number of characters that could be background gays, but when it comes to named characters and canon sexuality, he seemed a bit flummoxed for quite a while. Aside from Nobby Nobbs’ awkward comic relief cross-dressing, the closest thing for a long time was the fact that Dwarfs, we were allowed to assume, did whatever they did and nobody Mentioned Gender, so really any given dwarf couple were Schrodinger’s Queers. They also got the closet metaphor with the whole “coming out as female” thing, and I believe later there was one named dwarf who was in fact transgender as we would understand it. But at the same time, Trolls, whose genders were usually clear, managed to fail the Bechdel Test as a species.

And then came Monstrous Regiment, the book which increased genderqueer visibility in fantasy fiction by approximately 300%, as well as introducing the Disc’s first proper lesbian couple and quite possibly failing the Reverse Bechdel Test.

The trope of a girl dressing up as a boy to join a traditionally male military institution is old stuff by now, the most salient example in my reading being Tamora Pierce’s Lioness series. It’s a fairly polar trope, really – on the one hand, you get what is usually a fairly badass woman doing badass things and being as good as or usually better than any number of boys (who are not, after all, protagonists) – but at the same time, it means your main character can quite easily be the only female character of note, and as a tomboy in a gender-segregated society she’s not likely to have great relationships with other women who fit into their assigned social roles – conveniently perpetuating the Not Like Other Girls idea that’s partly responsible for the massive difference in popularity between Arya and Sansa Stark.

 

Spoilers yonder! )

bliumchik: batface + batpalm = batfacepalm (facepalm)
Guess who fell of the edge of the world again? I have got to stop doing this. You know, that or accept it and make it part of my ~journalling style~ or something.

Too much stuff has happened since my last post (A MONTH AND A WEEK AGO, HOLY SHIT) for ye olde post of recap to be anything more than tl;dr, so I'll just give you a miscellany:
  • I had a couple of those EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING AT ONCE weekends, including a particular day on which three separate parties were scheduled and all I wanted was to curl up with a book, and managed not to explode spectacularly all over the furniture!
  • I saw Scott Pilgrim and Tomorrow When The War Began, both were pretty great and I will elaborate below!
  • Stan and I baked bread! It was delicious!
  • I printed some zines!
  • A dude from Writesoc who I spent entirely too long thinking was a lesbian suggested that I edit things for money! Specifically his as-yet unfinished movie script! So that was odd!
  • My mother had an epic meltdown and did non-permanent damage to my worldly possessions!
  • I bought stockings from We Love Colours and they are excellent! Also some awesome fishnet gloves~
  • ...which I immediately wore to a Musical themed costume party and dripped wax on, as my assigned musical was La Boheme. It's the Opera that Rent is based on, and shares with it a catalytic Candle Lighting scene, you see. The only candle I could find was a shallow flower-shaped one, which promptly broke, and I spent the party periodically attempting to fix it using the heater mushrooms. (The rest of my costume consisted largely of a skirt, a beret and ALLLLL OF THE SCARVES. Other notable efforts included Elphaba from Wicked, Sweeney Todd & Mrs Lovett, Frank'n'Furter, Rocky, Marilyn Monroe, the chef from South Park and a Cat from Cats.)
  • (Both Marilyn and Elphaba were dudes.)
  • I bought a Smashing Pumpkins ticket!
  • I went to a stand-up gig with, among others, my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend and girlfriend, and the girl who would shortly become my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's new girlfriend in addition to same (but without my boyfriend). (That is, without my boyfriend both at the gig and in the harem.) Try saying that out loud three times!
  • I accidentally a WHOLE pudding!
So that was some things that happened! and now hopefully when more Things happen that I want to write about I shall do so in the immediate aftermath, rather than summing them up for twitter and then forgetting about them. *cough*I have also been linkblogging on tumblr, and have signed up for too many writing/BB complement/other things, some of which I am currently working on. I'll be posting the complements over the next few days/week as they have, like, deadlines, lol :P BUT [livejournal.com profile] bitternarration and [livejournal.com profile] miss_sapphy rest assured I have not forgotten you!

And now my spoilery thoughts on some movies!


Scott Pilgrim and Tomorrow When Australia Got Invaded By The Red Menace Or Something )
bliumchik: Jared Padalecki's thinkyface (deep thought)
And to round off the latest Big Damn Week, I went to a Cafe Carnivale performance with my parents and Stan. It was sort of an eastern-european women themed night, so my parents insisted I come and I insisted Stan come because doing entertainment with my mum is sort of aggravating - I'm glad they brought me now, though.

The first act was the best. It was a Ukrainian and a Belorussian woman, the first, Larissa Burak, with a large Bandura and the second, Lucy Voronov, with a Belorussian instrument whose name I didn't catch that was sort of like a stripped-down piano with no keys - she hit the strings with a pair of elegant little wooden sticks, curved at the ends, that she held between her knuckles, as well as plucking and muting with her hands. Oops, I looked it up and it's called a Belorussian cimbalom. Interesting. Larissa had an amazing soprano. Round and smooth like a high-class yawn, it was a cathedral-arch voice. She would have been a heroine back in the golden days of Opera. They performed traditional Eastern European songs, Lucy's graceful hands ablur with speed.

Next the Marianna Ensemble, so named because it consists of sisters Maria and Anna Okunov. They played Ukrainian ballads and I think some original pieces and misc. on a guitar and a violin. Stan and I were at the side of the stage next to the violinist, and she was fascinating to watch. Her arm was like an extension of the violin, skin rippling like a time-lapse sky, and occasionally she'd lift one or both heels off the ground as though clearing for take-off.

Finally an elderly Aussie lady called Jean Louise? I think? got up and sang some songs in Italian and English. She had an amazing voice but we all agreed that her choice of songs was... sort of odd. Bluntly they all kind of sucked. Really straightforward lyrics, no poetry to them whatsoever, and the tunes were fairly ordinary, and for some of them she had a guitarist accompanying her with weird finger-picking that didn't fit the rhythm at all. The only songs I liked were the blues song she finished on and one of the Italian songs, which she said was about Sirens and which sort of set my imagination racing. She definitely had some friends/fans in the audience though, there were a few shout-outs and whatnot.

In the breaks we chatted with Alex and Liza who were there because Larissa used to be their singing teacher, bringing their boyfriends and also some guy I didn't get introduced to. Afterwards we dropped Stan off and I came home and stayed up on the internet like a moron, which meant I woke up late and did the same thing last night, and oh god I am so sleepy. I had to get up this morning to go to rehearsal. :( And I spent all of yesterday totally failing at my advertising assignment, so I felt guilty when I was doing other stuff even though I wasn't getting anywhere, so I couldn't post here. I just wrote down some vague notes about the concert. And I've incorporated all of them in this post except for "by your powers combined, i am captain salad" because I cannot for the life of me remember the context to that one.
bliumchik: batface + batpalm = batfacepalm (snark)
On Wednesday we held the first Lofty Words night of the year and it was wonderful. I ducked out of Advertising early to help set up - we tried to steal the mic and speaker from the people who had the space before us because they just sort of left it there, but the somebody showed up to fetch it, so we got another mic from the guys at the bar. First up was a blond guy called Shivv Rath - named and raised by hippies, y'know - who was in the same position I was last year, first performance ever. Except he could play guitar! I went up and had an encouraging word afterwards, god knows I needed it. His voice was a bit shaky at the start and lyrics had clunky bits but both showed a lot of potential.

Next up we announced open mic. Me and David from my writing class were judging, although he also got up to read something out noncompetitively when it became apparent that only three people had screwed up the courage, and one of them had a poem about having sex with midgets while another was not even with us. His friend briefly dragged him up from the suits networking thing downstairs and insisted he read out a poem he wrote in high school English class. It was really awful, at least the guy with the midgets understood rhyme and meter. (...there was also a nun involved, you guys. Seriously!)

Then the first scheduled performer showed up, Popi Silk. Apparently she's a rising star on the spoken word scene in Sydney, she went to high school with Writesoc president Hannah's sister and is about my age, kind of tiny and vaguely androgynous. I'd never heard of her but I was very impressed with her stuff, it was totally compelling and had a beautiful rhythm to it. Another performer was a girl from our uni whose name escapes me now but had an awesome coat and even more awesome poems. One that really caught me was about Australia vanishing from maps, it was like a really good sciffy short story.

The main musical attraction of the night was the literally dread-full Danger Jones. He was very good, his voice is amazing whether he's covering Bob Dylan or playing his own sentimental but catchy tunes. After he was done Hannah gave me some books wrapped in purple crepe paper and told me to hand out prizes for open mic. Dave had left by then, but we'd come to a vague agreement in between gossiping about writing and politics and laughing at Dave's drunk actor friend Dave's Dave impression. So I handed a book to the winner-by-default and then gave the other one as a special "WTF Prize" to midget guy.
bliumchik: (fight the system)
Met up with Diana, Yi Fan &co at the movies today, brought Cassie and her friend Jess. It was good to see my old high school friends again! Watchmen was ~okay? I found myself completely unable to figure out how I would have reacted to it had any of the plot twists been surprising - since I knew all the answers the subtle hints hit me with the force of a sledgehammer. Of course, that should happen now when I reread the book, but somehow it doesn't, because I'm always finding new Awesome Things What Alan Moore Done in it. I can admire it stylistically which makes up for losing that first-time shock experience. The movie... it was well-shot, but not necessarily well-constructed.

Spoilery discussion behind the cut )

Anyway, that's that. While waiting for people to show up I hung out in Comics Kingdom and bought a couple of 50c back issues of Formerly Known As The Justice League, which is hilaaaarious. Pity scans_daily died, huh? I should check out the new incarnation, wherever it's gone. Also on the way to the bus stop I ran into my cat's sparring partner - I'd recognise that ugly face anywhere. Looks like she got her own back, too, he had a big scratch on his nose.
bliumchik: THIS IS NOT SPARTA. I AM LOST. (splode?)
Today my parents and I went to an awesome restaurant just off Liverpool St called Apandim Uighur. It was a family friend's birthday again, Slav, who knows the owner. His family's Uzbeki, which is ethnically and culturally close to Uygur (well, overlapping, technically - Eurasia! It's complicated! I need a Venn diagram the size of Tasmania, I swear. And it really doesn't help that the word Caucasian has somehow been coopted to mean "pale of skin" instead of "from the Caucasus region" at some point since Brecht's time), so they go there for a taste of the Old Country, as it were. It's a new and slightly fancier version of the one we went to last time Slav had a birthday (run by the same people). (Incidentally his wife Ita is now incredibly pregnant - and still at work despite being pretty much ready to pop! Not twins though :P)

The restaurant is pseudoreviewed behind a cut )

Anyway, now I think I'm going to get sucked in by Wikipedia-hopping until I collapse from exhaustion, omg. Where is my Venn diagraaaaam?
bliumchik: THIS IS NOT SPARTA. I AM LOST. (splode?)
Oh my god it is so fucking hot I swear argh. I want ten million showers, stat. There are bugs EVERYWHERE. The other day a big black spider was just a-sittin' on one of my towels on the line, you know, just chillin' like. I shook it out and it just didn't move. So obviously I panicked and let my dad finish taking in the towels. I stuck electrical tape on a hole in our flyscreen but there were already three fat flies in the kitchen and I'm just not as handy with a slipper as I used to be. FUCK YOU SUMMMERRRRR.

On W- ...oh, yesterday (fuck I'm losing track of time again) I trekked out Parramatta-wise to Lily's house for to make some jam. It was MAD FUCKING HOT, have I mentioned this? It was like a pizza oven, the walk back to hers from the station was hellish. Heat radiating from the asphalt, I half expected PLUUUMES OF FLAAAAME in dramatic fashion to burst forth from the scenery. And then Lily's house was UP A DRIVEWAY FFS. But finally we got inside and I just lay right down on the cool tiles and demanded ice cubes. Then I made friends with her cat (big-boned fucker that it is, large cat is LARGE, mate) and squee'd over her hilarious electric guitar. She explained that she thought the red was boring so she covered it in stickers and then set it on fire, but it wouldn't burn, so she just stuck more stickers on. Said stickers bore the visages of such wicked items as ANTHRAX, Cthulu, Pikachu, badass flame designs and Hello Kitty.

Anyway we did some recording on a little device whose inner workings are beyond my understanding, and Lily also insisted on recording our practice runs because she felt like she was "losing a part of her" when we got the first go right and it wasn't on tape (metaphorically speaking as the Device was pour la mp3). I pointed out that you're not really a real musician unless you can, y'know, duplicate your awesome before successive crowds on different occasions, but there you have it, we now have various mp3's of two songs, an argument and some fucking around with E minor and a tumbleweed solo.

Then it was time for me to head off to a comedy show entitled The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), which styled itself to be The Bard Without The Boring Bits (although I've gotta admit they may have taken out Shakespeare's boring bits but they added a couple of their own). I did not have to make the return journey in the afternoon's wretched heat but only because it was raining. I ate some ramen (Lily has a sort of collection) and borrowed an umbrella (and three dollars because I had forgotten to get money out and used up the last of my change getting there). Then I put on my make-up on the train, because I woke up at one pm and had to run to get to Lily's in time to not just have to turn around and leave again. I was incidentally a trifle overdressed as all my pants were in the wash, and somehow I don't have any skirts that go with anything that doesn't end up looking fancy, unless they're really casual and only really suitable for the beach. IDK! I don't wear skirts that often! I don't know how to do it!

The show was actually pretty funny but I don't think it was worth $55, really. I mean there is hilarious comedy, there is my high school drama class, and there is eight minutes of a bloke in a dress pretending to vomit on people, and it is closer to one than the other if you know what I mean. However the second half, which largely consisted of Hamlet, was pretty awesome. I think my favourite bit was Hamlet, Again, Really Really Fast, Backwards. In sum, I loled. Then we stood around outside arguing over where to go next. Liza was telephonically in favour of a Sydney Festival performance by a Russian band called Volgograd, Gleb was for waiting for Liza to actually show up, Stan was for going home and entertaining the possibility of going to work in the morning, Gathy took initiative and wandered off to see a street piano with Brinton. I waved my arms around a bit and looked put upon. Finally we reached some sort of consensus and began to move vaguely in the general direction of the carpark.

Volgograd, who were playing in something called the Famous Spiegeltent, although what it is famous for and why it is Spiegel I wouldn't have a clue, were tolerably amusing. Me, Sasha, Liza and Val played "spot the recycled Russian tune." (I also secretly played "what does Sasha's facial expression mean." I am not very good at that game, I always think he is pissed off when actually he is thinking about lunch, or something.) The singer sounded like my grandad after a couple of vodka shots. The band had one of those giant triangular ukelele things, what are they called? Also an accordion and a couple of trombones. A very drunk lady asked me to mind her drink, which was in one of those flute glasses. Flustered, I said "no" - whereupon she got confused and said "I can't leave it here?"

"Well, you can, but I'm not going to like, be responsible for-" I tried. "I mean I'm not going to DO anything to it-"

"You might!" she said cheerfully. "I don't know you very well!"

Then she wandered off. I shrugged, everyone else laughed at me. After a while we dispersed, by which I mean Gathy made vague noises about going home and disappeared in a puff of smoke, and all the Maroubra bus people plus Brinton wandered towards the bus stop, leaving Gleb and Liza to presumably do couple-y things, such as they could manage in a large German-themed tent full of drunken Russians and Aussies.

Which finished off the night with me, Sasha, Val and Brinton sitting at a bus stop for half an hour at two in the morning, daydreaming about sandwiches, watching Boston Legal on Brinton's laptop, and chatting to a random wasted Irish hippy who looked at the laptop and cheerfully announced that technology confused him and he would rather live in a field with a stick and a pig.

*jazz hands*
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This entry is brought to you by CRABSHACK. CRABSHACK has a misleading name in that it is not, in fact, a shack - no corrugated iron at all, although there was jazz music playing. However, it does serve crab. They cook it with some kind of chili powder, which was annoying but mild enough to be ignored.

Now, a warning for prospective crab-eaters. If you want to impress a potential love interest and decide to buy them dinner at a fancy place, like, for example, CRABSHACK - do not under any circumstances order the crab. You will not impress anyone during that meal. It is, in fact, physically impossible to suavely eat crab.

1. The little buggers fight back. Have you ever seen a crab, or even a picture of a crab? Have you seen those spikes? Yeah, that's where your face goes. Further sharp edges happen when you crack the shell. You can't use a knife for that, either - and whatever vengeful satisfaction can be derived from crushing their little legs between your teeth is more than balanced out by the sharp stabbity pain in your lower lip. And your gums. And your cheek. And your eyebrows.

2. Goo. That's right, crab contains goo. It also contains delicious meat, but before you get to that you will undoubtedly get goo all over your fingers, your elbows, your face, and your fancy clothes, too - if you decline to wear the politely offered bib. Crabs are very, very runny. Each patron gets a little bowl of lemon scented water (in my case with a lemon floating in it) to "wash your fingers in" - this mistakenly leads you to believe that you will only get your fingers dirty. You are wrong. It is simply that it would inconvenience the restaurant to place lemon-scented bathtubs on the table.

3. Inaccessible crannies. Yeah, God and/or evolution did a real good job of making those little morsels of soft white crustacean goodness damn hard to get to, in the hope that a predator will become too exasperated with the effort required to eat them, and never catch a crab again. Apart from the hard shell (and the spikes - have I mentioned the spikes? I think my mouth is bleeding) each crab contains no less than thirty two jointed bits, each of which has to be cracked open anew with the little nut-cracker style utensil thoughtfully provided by the friendly staff. No prawn-like joined-together-ness for Mother Natures Caltrops, oh no - the battle must be fought anew for every mouthful. Complete with extra goo!

4. Mess. All those partitions and bits of shell have to go somewhere, right? And if you want to put anything other than crab on your plate, you don't want it to become a crabby graveyard. The ever-foresighted staff will provide a small basket for you to deposit the mangled remains of your crustacean. Several small baskets, if they are required. Trust me - Johnny Depp could not look suave immediately upon placing his elbow into a basket full of smashed crab-shell and goo. No, it does not go better with lemon.

I suspect that regular consumers of crabby wonderment derive some sort of masochistic pleasure from the difficulties of eating crab. It's probably part of the CRABSHACK experience, just like the paper tablecloth and the thoughtfully provided crayons. Also, it's probably quite difficult to gain weight eating crab. You know that myth about celery using up more calories in the chewing than it gives you? that's a lie. Crab, however... well, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Miscellaniety )

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