sasha_feather: book cover art from the queens thief (queens thief)
I'm just so excited to have read a book this week. Because of my headaches and facial pain, etc, I've had a hard time reading, and it makes me sad becuase I love reading. it's not that I love "having read", I love reading itself, the quiet of it, the way time stretches pleasantly and I can immerse myself into a narrative. Sometimes when I finish a book I'm just so happy with the experience that I'm like, "5 stars! Excellent book!" Then later I think more critically and temper my opinion.

Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Some of this is copied from my Goodreads:

Intense, absorbing, and beautifully written. This memoir details the author's experience with childhood cancer in her jaw. Unsurprisingly if you know me at all, I especially enjoyed the horse parts: as a teenager, Grealy works at a couple of stables and finds solace in the horses. I appreciated the meditations about how one's face can be a stand-in for one's self.

Contains: harrowing descriptions of medical procedures including surgeries, radiation and chemo, dental procedures, plastic surgery, hospital stays;
Human and animal death;
Descriptions of bullying.

Several times the author uses "blind" as a pejorative.
---

The flaw of this book, if there is one, is that the beginning parts are intensely detailed, making you feel as if you are there with Grealy, but then the last third of the book is not very detailed at all. Suddenly she's in college, then grad school, then living in Europe. This is the part where she's getting a lot of reconstructive surgery, none of which she's very happy with. I'm not sure how I feel about this part, or about the book as a whole. Sadly Grealy did not live very long, so couldn't reflect more upon this stage of her life. She died of an overdose.

She seemed to have a very interesting and complex inner life, with a fierce intelligence.

This book does not get into disability politics or culture at all, except perhaps in a few scenes where she finds community with fellow patients in hospitals.
sasha_feather: Toph and Katara from avatar: the last airbender cartoon (Toph and Katara)
The Incredibles 2, on Netflix.

I didn't hate this, and it was fine to zone out to while I was de-stressing from something, but it just seems like such an unnecessary story. The main conflict or progression of the story is that Mom (aka ElastiGirl) goes back to work, and Dad (Mr. Incredible) stays home to watch their 3 kids. He finds this exhausting and difficult. If you have low tolerance for heterosexual problems, definitely skip this film, especially if you hate the trope where the dad is a big oaf. I did enjoy some of the set pieces, especially ElastiGirl saving a high-speed train. Her story was the better part of the movie. So... meh?

One Day at a Time, Netflix - Season 3

I can't recommend this show highly enough. In some ways it's an old-school sit-com, filmed in front of an audience, with limited set changes, and problems are generally solved in a half hour. In other ways it's the most progressive show on TV. Even Brooklyn 99 still has some jokes that make me cringe, but ODAAT is warm and sweet and and funny in a way that is not mean to anyone. There is a non-binary character, Syd, who uses they/them pronouns. Everyone in the show effortlessly uses their pronouns. Stories have subjects such as anxiety, coming out, addiction, and chosen family vs. biological family.

Rita Moreno plays Lydia, and she is a delight. Her character has some quirks that could be annoying in the hands of a less competent and amazing actress. Moreno is 87 years old, and she frequently dances on the show. She's playing a character who is 10 or 20 years younger.
sasha_feather: Uncle Iroh from avatar: the last airbender (Iroh)
Met with my disability attorney today. He's a very nice man, but definitely a talker, so I am trying to determine and remember what is actually important from all of what he said.

Read more... )

That's really all I got and the appointment was about 45 minutes. So, that was confusing!
sasha_feather: Garak from deep space nine (Garak)
Antman and the Wasp, on Netflix USA

Unexpectedly delightful! If you haven't seen the first one, skip it, pretend it doesn't exist, just watch this one. Antman and the Wasp is funny and warm and is really what a super hero movie should be: a team of people who care about each other, working together to solve a problem. I enjoyed the visual gags and I especially liked Luis, played by Michael Peña. My only criticism is that it's a bit too long.

Content notes: none that I can think of.

Russian Doll, Netflix, 8 half-hour episodes.

Natasha Lyonne is marvelous in this surreal drama. On the night of her birthday party, Nadia dies, then wakes up back at her birthday party. It's a Groundhog's day style time loop where she keeps dying and re-setting, but she eventually discovers that someone else is stuck in the time loop with her. Nadia has some great quips; she is smart and loud-mouthed and sometimes abrasive-- an unusual TV character. It's dark and quick and super interesting.

Content notes: Heavy drug use. Some gore, lots of images of Nadia dying over and over in various accidents. Mental health issues including a character who is suicidal.
sasha_feather: Leela from the 5th element (multipass)
"Sex Education", 8 episodes, Netflix.

This series takes place in some magical part of England that seems to be frequently sunny and always green. Almost all the people seem to quite wealthy and have fancy houses, except for the one poor kid who lives in a well-kept trailer home. It's all just beautiful to look at. The showrunners also know how to light black skin. The beauty of the cinematography, the winning characters, and the drama sucked me in, and I watched this show quickly.

Otis is a 16-year-old kid who is a bit awkward. His mom Jean, played by Gillian Anderson, is a sex therapist. Although well-meaning, she has a poor sense of boundaries when it comes to Otis. Otis' best friend Eric is a black gay kid; funny and campy, he at first seems like a bit of a stereotype, but he gets his own satisfying character arc through the series.

Otis befriends Maeve, the "bad girl" of their class. Maeve needs money, and discovers that Otis has a gift for listening to people talk about their sex lives and giving them sound advice. Together, they start up a little sex therapy business at their school. This is awkward, funny, and ultimately very sweet and human. Students come to Otis because he's a peer, someone they can talk to honestly who isn't an adult. Otis makes some mistakes occasionally, but works to correct them, and he enjoys helping people.

The ensemble cast gives us stories about a variety of kids at the school. We follow the story of the school bully, Adam; the head boy, Jackson; the four popular kids who are the "mean girl" set. We get to meet their parents too. These characters are black, white, Indian; some are immigrants; some are gay.

The show normalizes gay sex, awkward sex, and the idea that everyone has fears and anxieties in this area, suggesting that more open communication and having someone to talk to is really helpful. It's uplifting, in this. It's also about friendships and shifting relationships that can come with being a teenager, or with just being human.

Content notes: Teenagers having sex, full nudity, a queer bashing, drinking, bullying, an abortion. Some annoying love triangle jealousy stuff. Also, repeated use of "vagina" to mean vulva (I grew up with this too, but I didn't expect it from a show called sex education!)
sasha_feather: a head full of interesting things (head space)
I’m trying to write every day despite having bad facial pain that affects everything, which in turn is probably due to poor breathing from the polar vortex cold weather. This means I’m doing most things pretty slowly, but I still want to do them.

When I was 28 I had a bizarre coming out experience. Some of you were there to read along with it, others I didn’t know yet. This experience defied description, but some words and some stories do come close, or have something in common with my experience and resonate with me. They have to do with compartmentalization, which Wikipedia defines as:

“a subconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person's having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.”

For me, compartmentalization was a way to deal with having severe anxiety, and with perceiving that the world is not safe for queer people. I walled off part of myself, and could only fully access this part when my mind was ready.

Fanfic and book recs follow. Many of these I haven’t read in a long time, so I can’t provide content notes.

Numberless the Ways, and Imperceptible. LOTR, Legolas/Gimli, by Laura JV.
Text: https://archiveofourown.org/works/13680141
Podfic by exmanhater: https://archiveofourown.org/works/14226666

One has the capacity to feel things, but at the same time not perceive them. Different levels or areas of your brain are not fully communicating. Things happen in their own time. Sometimes people on the outside like friends and family, can see what is happening more clearly than the person experiencing this phenomenon.

In the YA novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz, the character Ari comes from a family that doesn’t talk about things. There are important subjects that are taboo, and there are secrets. Ari compartmentalizes his feelings about his best friend Dante. Interestingly the author also came out later in his life. (audiobook is read by Lin-Manuel Miranda).

By Any Other Name, by entangled now, Teen Wolf, Derek/Stiles
https://archiveofourown.org/works/566258
Podfic by Rhea: https://archiveofourown.org/works/589131

Amnesia fic isn’t quite the same, but shares some resonances. Namely, that the characters start the story lacking full use of their memories, and by the end (in this trope), the characters have their minds and narratives re-integrated. The amnesia can serve as dis-inhibition, or gaining a new perspective on one’s self and one’s relationship. The mind can sort of step outside of its normal pathways.

In Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold, Miles temporarily loses his memory. When he regains all of his memories, he experiences a “cascade” when they come rushing back in. This was the closest term I had to my experience of having my thoughts race, replaying and reanalyzing memories with a new lens, as I felt my brain re-align itself.

Sell Your Body to the Night, by dira sudis, Teen Wolf, Derek/Stiles
Text: https://archiveofourown.org/works/2838161
Podfic by thilia: https://archiveofourown.org/works/5145440

In this epic work, Stiles experiences a trauma and runs away to San Francisco to become a sex worker. He puts the knowledge of his trauma away and very carefully does not allow himself to think about it. He acts in ways that may seem dangerous to others, but which feel safe to him. He maintains a strict sort of control over his life, in order to protect himself from too-powerful feelings.

Compartmentalization seems to me to be a normal coping strategy in response to anxiety, to trauma, or to living in a dangerous world.

I am interested in reading more stories like these if you know of them. Podfic and audio books are especially preferred but not necessary.



Poll #21224 akudospoll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 17


So, what did you think?

View Answers

Kudos!
17 (100.0%)

sasha_feather: ken watanbe with a horse and dog (ken wantanbe with pets)
Festivids today! You can see all of them here:
https://archiveofourown.org/collections/festivids2018/works?page=1

My favorite so far is "Tail as old as time", based on the TV show "My Cat from Hell."
https://archiveofourown.org/collections/festivids2018/works/17547596

(Knowledge of source is largely unnecessary. It's a reality show where a guy goes to people's houses and rehabs them/their problematic cats.)

--

Some friends invited me to check out an indoor dog park. It's in an old barn that's been furnished with a nice dirt floor, lights, and some dog agility obstacles made from PVC pipes. It's unheated, but is covered and out of the wind. We had a nice time. It was a bit of a drive through some snowy and cold conditions. Winter came a bit late here but really hit with a bang.
sasha_feather: kid from movie pitch black (pitch black)
It's very cold here, and going to get colder. I dog sat today, another greyhound, so I decided to just stay in and watch my library movies with the dogs.

Pacific Rim: Uprising was very fun. John Boyega is a real star, and I love his humor especially. The other actors in this were largely unfamiliar to me. A teenage girl plays one of the heroes; she's an engineering genius who built her own small Jaeger out of stolen and scrounged parts. I loved her. The two scientist characters return from the first film, and I enjoyed their interactions. The other lead is a very boring white man, but I liked that he had a sort of rivalry-friendship and chemistry with John Boyega's character. There is a nice moment where the woman they are both interested in kisses white guy's cheek, and then Boyega's cheek, which is universal fandom language for OT3. Except for a few clunky parts, I thought the writing was good.

Content notes: character deaths; destruction of cities (Sydney and Tokyo).

3 Days of the Condor: "A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust." (imdb). 1975.

This is apparently an influential film, starring Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway. There is a Leverage episode named after it, for example. The point of the story is that the CIA is corrupt and a low-level insider exposes the corruption. This story suffers greatly from using the trope where a man (Redford) kidnaps a woman (Dunaway) and then she falls for him and they have a supposedly romantic sexual relationship. I know there's a name for this trope but I've forgotten it; it's not quite "stalking is love" but the same concept. It's so gross and I never want to see it in a story ever again. Anti-rec for that reason only.

I tried to watch "John Wick" and "Atomic Blonde" recently, but both are hyper-violent and I'm just not in the mood for these stories right now.
sasha_feather: John and Rodney from Stargate: Atlantis (love of your life)
I am watching a lot of movies because I don't have energy for much else right now. This is OK because I love movies!

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

A psychadelic, delightfully weird rock opera about a trans performer, her origin story and her messed up relationships. I really liked the music and the costumes. I would like to listen to the soundtrack again. John Cameron Mitchell is pretty amazing?! I am going to check out some of his other films. Recommended if you want to watch something that is like Rocky Horror.

Withnail and I

A cult comedy about two broke boho actors in England in 1969. I gave up on this; I was not in the right mood and it didn't seem funny to me. It also looks like it was lit with a pair of grimy flashlights.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

This is one of those unexpected gems of a film. It's a sequel in a franchise that I know almost nothing about and haven't seen; it feels fresh, funny, and engaging.
Four teenagers in detention find an old video game and start playing it, only to be sucked inside. In order to escape they must complete the story. The nerdy kid who is a video game expert is transported into the body of Dwayne Johnson/the Rock; the other kids also have mis-matches between their personalities and their avatar bodies. Karen Gillan is particularly fun to watch, always. Definitely recommend this film if you are looking for a comedy-adventure. No content notes that I can think of.

Hancock

This starts as a fairly charming story about a bum who is also a superhero. Hancock (will smith) drinks constantly, insults people, and also sometimes saves the day, though his heroics involve a lot of property damage. After Hancock saves his life, PR specialist Ray (Jason Bateman) decides to help Hancock reform. There is a twist about halfway through that involves Ray's wife, played by Charlize Theron. The film really changed after the twist, so that this felt like two stories that had been stapled together in the middle, which is a bit jarring. I especially liked the compassionate way that Ray interacts with Hancock. Content notes: violence, drinking, some rude/unfunny jokes.



Leave kudos?Kudos!
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of women who aspire to lesbianism (you too can be a lesbian)
Melissa McCarthy and Richard Grant are so great in this rather literary movie that can be summed up with the popular phrase, "Be gay, do crimes."

McCarthy plays queer author Lee Israel, an writer of biographies whose career is faltering. She has no money, her cat is sick, and her agent won't return her calls. Isreal is a unrepentant alcoholic, and at a bar she befrieds Jack Hock, an aging gay man who shares her acerbic sense of humor and love of pranks. They are an absolute delight to watch.

Israel discovers that she has a talent for forging letters from famous people such as Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward, and that she can sell these letters for hundreds of dollars each. Suddenly her bills are paid and she can afford to eat at restaurants. She eventually recruits Jack to help her.

This is a quiet movie focused on Israel's troubles and her humor and her friendship with Jack. It was so incredibly refreshing to see people on screen that looked like real people. There are multiple fat women, multiple older people, etc. Israel wears what look like second-hand lesbian styles. It's also incredibly rare to see a story like this that is about queer people but isn't about a romantic relationship or trauma. I can't even think of another one. This film is a gem. Based on a true story.

Content notes: heavy drinking, drugs, the cat eventually dies. Rated R mostly for language as far as i can tell.
sasha_feather: girl hugging a horse; the horse's neck is a rainbow (horse pride)
I recently read "The Complete Kake comics" by Tom of Finland, loaned to me by a friend from comics group. (Kake is pronounced like cocky.) I remembered seeing a preview for the film based on Tom's life, so got this out from the library and watching it today.

It's a quiet and lovely film, spanning 4 decades, from WWII era into the 1980s. Touko Laaksonen was an officer in the army, later worked at an ad agency, and ultimately found success in the US with his erotic gay comics. In the first part of the film, Touko has a rather rough time of life. He has flashbacks and nightmares from his time in the war. He's arrested while visiting Germany after getting his passport stolen. He's thrown out of a club and witnesses police beat up men who are in a park seeking sex. There was less sex in this film than I expected; it's more about Touko's life and relationships. It was refreshing that Touko was largely unashamed of being gay, and helped other people find pride through his art.

This film is in Finnish with English subtitles.
sasha_feather: girl hugging a horse; the horse's neck is a rainbow (horse pride)
Trying to catch up on logging the queer movies I've watched!

Bar Bahar, In Between, 2016. Arabic and Hebrew with subtitles in English and French.

"Three Palestinian women living in an apartment in Tel Aviv try to find a balance between traditional and modern culture."

I liked a lot of things about this independent film, which is about 3 women who are roommates and become good friends. One of them is a lesbian. One is a very independent lawyer. The newest roommate is a traditional woman who is engaged, and also a student at university. The acting is good and I was interested in their lives. Ultimately I can't recommend this film, though, because it has a fairly graphic rape scene. The ending also felt like somewhat of a downer.

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, Netflix, documentary.

This was a very warm and loving portrait of the famous gay author. I found it restful to watch.
sasha_feather: girl hugging a horse; the horse's neck is a rainbow (horse pride)
Here are good changes in US society that I've seen in my lifetime. Sort of off the top of my head.

1. People wear seatbelts without even thinking about it. Cars are safer and more comfortable.
2. Most public places are non-smoking. There are more options for people who want to quit smoking.
3. We have an HPV vaccine, which prevents certain kinds of cancer.
4. Many folks wear bike helmets. When I was a kid, we didn't wear helmets for anything really.
5. In 1989, CFCs were banned over concerns about the ozone layer.
6. Bald eagles were taken off the endangered species list in 2007, because the species recovered.
7. Same-gender marriage is now legal in the US.
8. There are a lot more out, visible queer people in public life and in media.
9. I love the thriving market for YA books. I had trouble finding these kinds of books when I was a teen, and now such books are proliferating.
10. There are so many more indie comics and manga available in the US.
11. Neopronouns (they, xie, ze, etc) are in wider use and we have more societal recognition of gender variation.
12. Mars rover!

Please feel free to add your own things in the comments or in your own DW!
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
I watched the film "Room" the other day on Netflix. This is an intense movie, and definitely not for everyone, but so moving and affecting.

I give it content notes for: Abuse, rape, suicide attempt.

The premise is, a young woman has been kidnapped and locked in a room for a number of years. She now has a 5-year-old child, Jack, who has lived his entire life in that room. The whole story is from Jack's perspective. My favorite part of this film was that the story kept going on for quite a while after they escaped. We see the fallout of their trauma. There are so many little moments that stayed with me. It's a story about courage, survival, love.
sasha_feather: book cover art from the queens thief (queens thief)
Still feeling sicker than usual, so I've been watching things to distract myself. I really enjoyed the Black Mirror episode "San Junipero". I don't want to say too much about it, because the reveals are part of why I really loved it. I highly recommend it if you like science fiction, happy queer romance, and stories about women. It's on Netflix and is about an hour long.

Today I also:
I finished my 2nd playthrough of Mass Effect (#1).
Watched "Room", also on Netflix, which is a super intense and well-made film.
Went to the library.
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
Esteros - Netflix, Spanish with English subtitles

A sweet, slow-burn gay romance. Matias and his girlfriend are visiting his home town in Argentina and he runs into his childhood best friend, Jero. They spend a couple of days together and reconnect. The film goes back and forth in time, showing their teenage relationship and their nascent adult relationship. Much of this is set in the country, among farms and estuaries. This story starts slow, and remains slow, but I liked how the camera lingered on their faces and on the landscapes. I'm such a sucker for this kind of romantic story, where one person went into the closet and the other didn't; where the struggle of coming out is written on the character's face. The little moments--looks and touches-- that mean so much and are instantly recognizable if you've been through it. The way that Matias' father with one look, stops the boys from dancing. The peacefulness they feel around each other, and they way that peacefulness is embodied by the landscape, directly tying their queer love to nature.

Content notes:
Read more... )
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
Dumplin' is a cute drama on Netflix about a young, fat girl living in Texas, named Willowdean. Her mom, played by Jennifer Aniston, runs the local beauty pageant. Willowdean decides to enter the pageant along with some of her friends, partly as a tribute to her deceased aunt, and partly as a way to confound her mother. There are many Dolly Parton tunes, some drag queens (one is played by Harold Perrineau), a cute romance for Willowdean, and some emotional moments. I really enjoyed this.
sasha_feather: Joan Watson from Elementary (watson)
Elementary Season 6 spoilers below the cut!

In many ways this felt like an ending, a final season. I am surprised and pleased to learn that there will be one more season, and that it will be different.

This season is about connections and relationships. The main mystery plots are wild and over the top, but the threads winding through the episodes and the seasons are about these mature and meaningful friendships.

Read more... )

I can't get the kudos-button poll HTML to work, but feel free to comment in a low-key way if you like. :D
sasha_feather: Dr. Bashir from deep space nine (Julian bashir)
I like animated short films. Here is a lovely one in the form of an ad for Apple. (There is a much shorter version that plays on Hulu.)



The lyrics to the song "come out and play" by Billie Eilish:

https://genius.com/Billie-eilish-come-out-and-play-lyrics

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