sasha_feather: Nux running (mad max) (nux running)
Friends I am so sorry about The Magicians. I haven't watched season 4, and probably won't now.

It feels like the 100 all over again and it sucks so much.

I want better for us.
sasha_feather: Person in old-time SCUBA gear on a suburban lawn (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
Inspired by a post Jesse the K made about "the Nightstand Project"-- a gallery of photos of the nightstands of people with chronic illness-
(see https://jesse-the-k.dreamwidth.org/293658.html), I am sharing pictures of my nightstand and my "day stand" (the small table that sits by my recliner).

DSCF5866

Nightstand. Top drawer is open showing medications and a wrist brace. The top of the stand has a blue lamp, a bottle of lotion, a glass of water, a folded handkerchief, and some meds. My iPod sits on the edge; I use this for an alarm clock when needed, and for listening to "rain sounds" on youtube to help me fall asleep.

DSCF5868

Day stand. Contains: My phone, a box of tissues, Icy Hot cream, Lidocaine cream, a glass of lemonade, and 3 little microfiber rags that I use to clean my glasses. Also a pencil. Stuff accumluates on this table and I have to clear it off regularly.
sasha_feather: Leela from the 5th element (multipass)
Netflix has two new shows that are so similar to each other that they seem to be in conversation, or part of a genre that I’m not sure how to name. Shrill and Special are reality-based, short form comedy shows centering on marginalized people. Their particular kind of comedy is one where situations can be awkward and somewhat cringe-y, and people make bad choices, but the characters have heart and are trying. Sometimes situations aren’t resolved to satisfaction; in this way they are unlike old-school sitcoms.

Both shows take place in LA and are about 20-somethings trying to navigate social relationships, jobs, and parents. In Shrill, Annie Easton (Aidy Bryant from SNL) is a fat woman who is struggling with her self-esteem. In Special, Ryan is a gay man with cerebral palsy (and is actually played by a gay man with CP, show creator Ryan O’Connell). Both characters have jobs at blogging websites that seem to be similar to XO Jane-- their assigned stories are confessional, personal posts. Both shows even feature pool parties where their characters struggle with being near-naked in public. Both have terrible bosses, although Ryan’s boss did grow on me a bit by the end of Special’s 8 episodes. Both characters have fat women of color as their best friends, and those characters are more likable and charismatic than anyone else around them. (This is possibly problematic: a fat woman of color as truth-teller or guide.)

Annie’s journey is one where she is learning to stand up to people and value herself. She starts writing blog posts about being fat. She stands up to her mom and her boss. She struggles with trying to break up with her no-account boyfriend, but keeps going back to him. I found the relationship with the boyfriend uncomfortable to watch. She seems to like him but it’s hard to understand why; but then, I’m a lot farther in my self-acceptance journey than Annie is, and I’m also largely not attracted to men.

Ryan is trying to get out in the world and have a life, after being in a co-dependent relationship with his mother. He gets a job and an apartment, and makes a friend at work, Kim. In the sweetest episode of the series, Kim encourages Ryan to hire a sex worker to help him get past his virginity. The sex worker is played by Brian Jordan Alvarez, an actor I know from a youtube series called “The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo.” This scene was funny and sweet and normalized the idea of visiting a sex worker. My heart grew three sizes.

Some parts of “Special” were uncomfortable to watch, because they relied on people lying and keeping secrets and having conflict with each other. The series ends with a bit of an emotional cliffhanger between Ryan and his mom. Ryan starts this show with no friends, and just starting a job, and it’s not clear what he’s been doing all day. It seems like if he’s living an insular life, he should at least have online friends. But he isn’t connected to community and it’s not clear if he has any hobbies or interests. There are probably plenty of people living this way, but it’s a bit painful to think about.

It is just so ridiculously refreshing to watch shows about fat people, queer people, disabled people. This particular genre is perhaps not to my taste, but I will keep watching for the representation if nothing else. These people have sex and fight with their parents and, put simply, get to be the main characters.

Content note for Special: the end credits feature bright colors that rapidly change and bothered my light-sensitive eyes.
sasha_feather: beautiful gray horse. (majestic horse)
Unicorn Store, Netflix. Directed by and starring Brie Larson.

Kit has failed out of art school and is living back home with her parents. She takes a temp job and is trying to adjust to humdrum life, but receives an invitation to the Unicorn Store. There she meets an eccentric man (Samuel L. Jackson) who says that she can get a unicorn if she completes some steps.

This is whimsical, sweet, and endearing. The costumes are wonderful. Recommended, and I will likely watch it again.

Content note: Kit gets sexually harassed at work, in a "that's creepy" kind of way. Her prospective boyfriend is quick to say, wow, that's not OK.
sasha_feather: book cover art from the queens thief (queens thief)
Some comics I've read recently!

Diabetes: year one by Tony Pickering.
This is self-published, you can find it at the creator's website: http://pick-art.co.uk/

A gorgeous colored-pencil memoir, with poetry and snapshots of experience rather than a traditional narrative. This gets at the overwhelming nature of having a complex chronic illness. Loved it. No content notes.

Alan's War: The memories of GI Alan Cope. By Emmanuel Guibert.

I had such mixed feelings about this.

The artist sat down with his friend, Alan, and recorded his stories, then put them into this book and illustrated them. Though Cope was born and grew up in America, this is translated from the French. The art is very good and most of the stories are funny, intelligent observations about being in the military in the 1940s.

Cope did not see combat, so many of the stories are of a lighter nature. For instance, when his group of soldiers finally gets to France (which has just been liberated), they sit around for 2 months waiting for their weapons and vehicles to arrive. Cope talks about funny things like getting bit on the dick by a mosquito, and getting into hijinks with his fellow soldiers. There were a few harrowing experiences involving tanks and armored cars. I got the sense that quite a few people were injured or even died just from accidents. I liked reading about the food they ate and how Cope learned to drive a tank.

The second half of the book is about Cope's post-war life, and it is, frankly, boring. It did not feel important, or like it was going anywhere. He lived in California for a bit before returning to live in Germany and France. He talks about befriending Germans and seemed to lack any self-awareness or self-criticism about spending time with people who were Nazis. He says that they weren't supposed to fraternize with the Germans, but his nature was to fraternize with everyone, everywhere he went.

Cope seems like he had intense friendships with men, and a curiosity about gay people. There are several anecdotes about gay people he knew, and in one case he said he even regretted not kissing a gay friend as a "gesture" that would have made his friend feel better. Cope had a great friend Lou during Army training, and people made remarks that the two of them might have "certain tendencies." Later, he thinks that Lou has died in the war, but gets a letter and finds out that Lou is alive. He says the day he received this letter was the "best day of his life," even better than when his kids were born. My dude. That's gay. But it seems like Cope never acknowledged or explored this side of himself. He married twice, but doesn't talk about either of his wives or his family life much in this book. So, that made me sort of sad.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Watching:
The Magicians on Netflix. This took me a couple of tries to get into, and I mostly listened to seasons 1 and 2 rather than watching closely. But towards the end of season 2 I started to genuinely enjoy it. The characters have grown on me.

Listening:
Hozier's new album Wasteland, Baby, on youtube. UGH IT'S SO GOOD I CAN'T HANDLE IT.

Reading:
Some queer comics!

I enjoyed Taproot immensely. One of the things I really liked about it is a spoiler for the story. This book is a dream-like tale of a gardener and a ghost who are friends. It is lovely, slightly creepy, a pleasure to look at and read. It is by Keezy Young.

Calling Dr. Laura is a graphic memoir by Nicole Georges. It is largely about her relationships with her mother, who is a Piece of Work, and with a couple of girlfriends. She explores the possibility that her father might not be dead, and that her mother has been lying to her. I really enjoyed this!
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
Bound - 1996

I'm not sure why I hadn't seen this film before. It's a lesbian thriller directed by the Wachowskis. The first part is very sexy, to the point where I waited to watch it until my roommate was gone. Gina Gershon plays Corky*, who is working as a plumber and handy-person in an apartment building. Jennifer Tilly plays Violet, the girlfriend of a mobster (Joe Pantoliano). Violet has this old-fashioned movie star quality to her-- that sort of breathy voice, and classic makeup. The first few scenes are like a sort core porno but in a good way; Violet invents reasons to spend time with Corky and they have a lot of chemistry.

Violet sees an opportunity to steal 2 million dollars from the mob, and escape with Corky. They go for it, but complications arise. Most of the film takes place in the one apartment building.

There is an intense and gross torture towards the beginning, and the threat of more torture later. I fast-forwarded through these scenes. Also there's a bit of bi-phobia.

*What do you think "Corky" is short for? Corkward? Corkwainer?
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
I am looking for a word that doesn't yet exist, at least to my knowledge. This word would ideally describe the particular grief that results from wanting to do things, and being unable to do them due to disability. For instance I want to read novels and non-fiction books, but mostly can't. I want to crank out fanvids but have had a hard time learning the software and concentrating. I write very slowly, which means to me that writing is very important to me-- I work at it despite my pain and other barriers.

This grief involves frustration, stymied ambition, sadness, bargaining. What words come to mind for you? Can we create such a word?


I had my nerve block today. Dramatic immediate pain reduction. It's easier to breathe, talk, think, do stuff. My doc gave me a little more of the drug than last time, as I told her that it hadn't seemed to work as well over this last winter. Hopefully with the weather improving, my sinuses will be less awful.

There is something peculiarly awful about pain in the face. Even a horse will turn her hindquarters into the wind to protect her head.

---

The dog I'm sitting is an Italian Greyhound with one eye and i LOVE him. It's especially nice to have an extra dog around when my roommate is away; it's good company.
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
Trying to catch up and log all the things I've seen lately! The TLDR of this post is I recommend watching "Weird City", episode 1, on YouTube and I anti-rec "LOEV" on Netflix.

Concussion (not the Will Smith film) - Netflix.

A lesbian housewife, Abby, gets a concussion and begins to realize that she can't stand her life. Her wife doesn't want to have sex with her, she's fed up with her kids, etc. So, she hires a couple of sex workers. Then she decides to become a sex worker and she sees clients in a studio apartment that she is renovating.

I haven't seen a movie with this premise before, and I enjoyed the parts where she was seeing clients, mostly because she was really enjoying the work. Abby wants to have hook-ups but in a way she can control. A way that has rules and parameters. There are only 2 men in this film and I don't think they talk to each other!

This is a slow movie, especially in the beginning, and badly lit. The ending is ambiguous. The culture that Abby is a part of consists of wealthy white suburbanites (perhaps in Connecticut or New Jersey), and the people around her are pretty insufferable. They are bored and all they can think of to do with their time is to exercise constantly and re-decorate their houses.

I enjoyed the novelty of this story. At times it was frustrating that Abby did such a bad job communicating with her wife.

Content notes: none that I can think of.

LOEV - Netflix.

In Mumbai, two old friends, Sahil and Jai, reconnect and go on vacation for a weekend. I was digging this story due to the beautiful landscapes and what seemed to be a developing romance. I especially enjoyed watching Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh), who is fine-boned with big eyes and a lovely singing voice.

But then towards the end of the film, one of the friends rapes the other. This is unexpected and gross and the consequences are not dealt with. In retrospect this colors the whole film. The young men teasing each other and goading each other into doing things ("I insist you play the guitar", etc)-- makes it seem like they don't take consent seriously.

Sadly Dhruv Ganesh died shortly after this film was made, and was only in 5 films.

This is an anti-rec, sadly, though I enjoyed the first part of the movie.

Weird City - YouTube

This is a anthology-type show (think Black Mirror, but comedy) where the setting is a near-future city. The rich people live above the line, the poor below.

Episode 1, "The One"

Fan favorite Dylan O'Brien plays Stu, a young man looking for love. He signs up for a service that is supposed to match him with his One True soulmate. The person who shows up at the door is Burt, played by Ed O'Neill (Modern Family). Both men are taken aback-- both were expecting their soul mate to be a woman-- but decide to go get some food. They find out they have a lot in common, and they fall in love.

This was a breath of fresh air after the somewhat dreary gay movies I've been watching. Absurd, funny, and warm, this tale is about finding love in unexpected places. It packs a lot into just 30 minutes. LeVar Burton has a small role. Co-written by Jordan Peele.

Highly recommended! No content notes.
sasha_feather: Leela from the 5th element (multipass)
The Dawn Wall - Netflix documentary

I watched this on a rec from [personal profile] rydra_wong. I was totally sucked into this story about two climbers attempting a Feat: climbing the Dawn Wall of El Capitan, in Yosemite Park, which has not been done before.

The film follows Tommy Caldwell, a genius climber. He became a professional rock climber early in his life, endured a harrowing kidnapping while climbing in Kyrgyzstan, and lost part of his index finger in an accident with a table saw. Tommy eventually pairs up with Kevin Jorgeson, and the two spend years planning their Dawn Wall climb.

This documentary does an excellent job explaining why this feat is so challenging. Technical aspects of climbing are clearly conveyed. The landscapes are gorgeous and the people are likable. There is little to no controversy. The tension just comes from: can they do this amazingly difficult thing?

Very enjoyable.

Content note: Matt Lauer (in old interview footage)

Strike a Pose - Netflix documentary

So I know very little about Madonna and was not familiar with this big tour of hers, but apparently it was a big cultural moment. This film follows up with 7 men who were her backup dancers on that tour. There was an 8th member who died from AIDS. There were also some women but they are not featured in this film.

This was just a sort of gentle documentary that was relaxing for me to watch last week when I was stressed out. I enjoy watching gay people just talk about their lives. One of the 7 is straight, and at first I found him annoying, but then I realized that he comes from a lower class background than the others, who were all classically trained. They talk frankly about their experiences, they show a lot of emotion, and they clearly all formed a deep connection while on the tour.

The film talks a little bit (though not in great detail) about some lawsuits that happened. I would have liked to hear more about the idea that Madonna engaged in cultural appropriation when she performed Vogue, profiting greatly off of work done by queer and trans people of color in the Ballroom scene in New York. The film doesn't discuss this at all.

Content notes: AIDS, discussion of addiction, and ugh, Matt Lauer again in old media footage.
sasha_feather: Joan Watson from Elementary (watson)
"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" on Netflix. Written, directed by, and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. Mostly in the African language Chichewa, with some English.

I'm not sure how I feel about this film. Netflix bills it as "uplifting," which means, I'm learning, that it is a story about individuals succeeding despite horrible systemic injustices. I found the story troubling, all the more so as it is based on a true story.

In a village in Malawi in 2001, a family of farmers face poor weather and famine. William, the son, is a bright and curious kid, but he's forced to drop out of school because his family can't pay the fees. He sneaks back into the library anyway. During his free time he tinkers and searches the dump for parts.

From the description and title we know that William is eventually going to build a windmill to help his village grow more crops. Using irrigation, they can plant a second crop in the dry season. It takes a long time for the movie to get to this point. Late in the film, when William finally does speak up to his father about his idea (he even has a working prototype), he is yelled at and berated and his father strikes him. Eventually the father comes around and the windmill gets built. By this time, everyone is starving and the dog has died.

What strikes me about this story is that the people of this village lacked access or knowledge of mechanical pump technology. William uses an electric pump he found in the dump, along with a car battery, a Dynamo from someone's bike light, and a bike wheel. He bypasses the idea of a mechanical pump altogether. Wikipedia tells me that windmills used to pump water mechanically have existed since the 9th century in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan.

Perhaps I am missing some context here. But it seemed like systemic injustice-- the lack of access to technology-- was the heart of the problem. It was also a frustrating problem that people didn't believe in William or listen to him. I am lucky and privileged to come from a family and culture where kids are listened to, ideas are encouraged, and education is free.

Content notes: state violence (against the village chief), dog death, parents striking kids, famine.
sasha_feather: Moriary and his neck, Sherlock BBC (Moriarty)
Hey, it's my birthday! I would appreciate pictures of horses, dogs, your cute self, flowers, landscapes, or links to neat fan art, or an anecdote about a happy thing in your life.

Or, just click here to wish me a happy birthday.



Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 49


Happy birthday to Sasha

View Answers

Happy birthday!
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Busking

Mar. 4th, 2019 02:25 pm
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
I could use a little help paying my bills this month.

paypal.me/sandphin

Thank you in advance. I'm very grateful for my friends and community.
sasha_feather: Simon Pegg from Hot Fuzz holding a gun looking tough (hot fuzz)
Those People - Netflix

This film focuses on a sort of love triangle between Charlie, a young painter, his best friend Sebastian, and his new love interest Tim. Charlie has loved Sebastian for years, but nothing has ever happened between them. He meets Tim, a somewhat older man, and tries to navigate this new relationship. Very much in the same vein as "Queer as Folk" season one-- Charlie even looks like Michael, the nerdy gay center of QaF. So, it's familiar territory in that regard.

It's relatable to have trouble sorting out your feelings about friends vs. lovers, and experiencing torn loyalties. However, Charlie and Sebastian are trust-fund Manhattan elites, which... I had trouble caring, though I did get past my anti-rich-people prejudice. The film had its moments. I loved Haaz Sleiman as Tim, a Lebanese concert pianist (you may know him from Season 1 of Nurse Jackie). He's magnetic and beautiful. Jason Ralph, who is on "The Magicians" plays Sebastian, who is at a crisis point in his life. I loved the scene between Sebastian and his father. I liked that the main character is Jewish and his boyfriend is Lebanese.

These nods to diversity, though, are undercut by a Halloween scene, in which a side character goes to the bar wearing a feather headdress. Gross.

This was kind of a meh movie for me, partly because I have little patience for love triangle-type stories. The Michael/Brian dynamic on Queer as Folk was never my favorite part of that show.

Content notes: suicide, drinking
sasha_feather: girl hugging a horse; the horse's neck is a rainbow (horse pride)
Holding the Man (2015) - Netflix

This film is based on a memoir by Australian writer and actor Timothy Conigrave, about his 15-year relationship with his husband, John. They meet at their Jesuit high school in the 1970s. In the 80s they both get AIDS. This story moves back and forth in time, showing various aspects of their relationship: joys, jealousies, struggling with their parents' attitudes. It is mostly John's father that is the problem in this regard; while other family members bend and ease, John's father remains petty and difficult. Tim is outgoing, charming, and self-assured; he's unapologetic and proud from the beginning. It's so refreshing. Tim and John are tender and funny and genuine. This is beautiful and sad, and gave me a lot of feelings about AIDS and loss and relationships. We as a queer community must hold this grief in our hearts and witness it.

content notes: nudity, homophobia, AIDS.
sasha_feather: Logan from X-men (Logan)
Alex Strangelove - on Netflix

This is a cute teen comedy about a boy who is trying to be straight and must eventually accept that he's not. Alex loves his girlfriend, and she wants to have sex. He's trying to work up to doing so. Meanwhile, he meets Elliot, an out gay guy, at a party. The acting and production values are good, and there are some genuinely funny and moving moments. The actor who plays Elliot is also in the YouTube series The Gay and Wondrous life of Caleb Gallo.

This is a teen sex comedy, and has some crude language and embarrassing scenes. I was uncomfortable with the character Dell, who seems to be the sort of person who crosses boundaries and doesn't care. In particular, Dell and his friends use some transmisic language, of the sort that centers identity around penises or lack thereof. He also makes a statement about girls having "ultimate power" over him.

Overall I enjoyed this! Content notes for drug use and vomiting.

The Meg

If you want a silly shark movie with Jason Statham, this is for you. I enjoyed the heck out of it, particularly because there are multiple women who get to do science and cool shit, and they all live to tell about it.

Content notes: human and animal deaths.
sasha_feather: Person in old-time SCUBA gear on a suburban lawn (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
The Umbrella Academy - Netflix. 10 episodes

I loved this, but I also have some complaints and reservations. So, spoilers, pros and cons, below the cut.

Read more... )
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.

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