Showing posts from 2017

Weekly Album: David Bowie - Blackstar


Happy Ratmas!

Ratmas has come slightly early this year, as two of the four are on their way out, and I didn't want them to miss getting a third holiday just because I insisted on hewing to human schedules. They don't know what day it is anyway. They got new bowls, new boxes, new hammocks, a new cage cover, and more food than any four rats can reasonably eat. One of my dear friends gave the rats a chew toy and a bag of yogies to share last year. This year, she has escalated, and got them each a bag of cookies. Tagged and everything. I can only assume one of the tribbles figured out how to work the phone, and got to her in the meantime.

Plus they got a dish of egg nog, because everyone loves egg nog. I used one that I sincerely hope they cannot tip over.

It is not the most elaborate Ratmas I have ever come up with, nor the most thorough cage cleaning I've ever done, but I'm sick and exhausted, 50% of them are sick and exhausted, and I figured we'd all rather be warm and comfortabl…

Advent Calendar: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas


Advent Calendar: Yet more ashens

Yes, Stuart Ashen has been filming Christmas specials for seven years now, and releasing them unto the masses. Watch him buy cheap Christmas tat at Poundland and mock it, so you don't have to! Also, if you're a fan of weird retrogames, buy his books, Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of, and Attack Of The Flickering Skeletons: More Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of.

Advent Calendar: A Very Special Christmas 3


State of the Blogger

Not great.

I try to do something new every December, to keep myself occupied while everyone else fucks off to spend time with family. This year I was costuming a Christmas show. The director asked me personally. Seven of the eight actors, and the vast majority of the tech people, were wonderful human beings.

One of the actresses is also a costumer. She did not like, or possibly did not comprehend, the idea that someone else was in charge of the dresses. She argued with every. single. thing. I pulled. For everybody. At every stage. I don't know how she was able to spend so much time hanging over my shoulder while she was also supposed to be rehearsing. Nothing was right. Ever.

I made it all the way to the cue-to-cue, when a different member of the crew cornered me in the ladies dressing room, badgered me until I cried, then did it harder until I ran away and locked myself into a bathroom to make her stop.

I told the production manager I was leaving the building. It crossed my mind …

Advent Calendar: Big Clive lights up some candy

Big Clive gives a brief tutorial on how to make jelly babies light up! Try also here if you'd like to hear how he used to work with the serious Christmas lights for a municipal display, before he struck out on his own to entertain the rest of us.

Advent Calendar: A Very Special Christmas 2


Advent Calendar: 12 Days of Glitchmas!

A+Start, bringing you a dozen highly amusing video game glitches. I can't figure out how the hell to embed playlists from YouTube anymore, but if you turn on AutoPlay it should run through them in order. I think.

Advent Calendar: A Very Special Christmas


Advent Calendar: Candy Cane Cake!

Yolanda Gampp, Canadian cake-sculptor extraordinare. I have no idea why I'm so addicted to this channel, since I basically never have time to cook dinner anymore let alone bake elaborate dessert items, but I am, and it's glorious. Paw through the suggested videos for other insane cake-based miracles.

Weekly Album: Natalie Imbruglia - Left of the Middle


Weekly Album: P!nk - Funhouse


Weekly Album: Madonna - Something To Remember


Weekly Album: Spice Girls - Spice


Weekly Watch: Octodad

This is far and away one of the most amusing things I have ever seen. All you have to do is marry your sweetheart, go to your ordinary office job, raise your darling children in idyllic suburbia... and never, ever let anyone guess that you are actually an octopus.

Weekly Album: -Miyavi-雅 - MYV☆POPS

How could I possibly not know my attachment style until I was a teenager, you ask? Well, mainly because I had nobody to get that attached to.

My mother likes to tell people the story of my first steps. I was sitting on her lap one day at a family gathering, while she was chatting with the other adults, and I let it be known that I wanted a toy that was across the room. Nobody could be arsed to get it for me, or even walk over there and crouch beside it to encourage me to go get it myself. Eventually, I got tired of squalling, squirmed free, and toddled over to get it on my own. No stumbling, no falling; I just walked over, plopped down, and focused on my toy to the exclusion of all else.

She thinks this is an adorable story. It would be if it were a case of 'took our eyes off the baby for two seconds and look what happened'. It was not. This was my mother's parenting technique through my entire childhood: Whenever the baby wanted something inconvenient, ignore her until sh…

Weekly Watch: Simply Nailogical

Maybe costuming is too much for you, but you want fancy nails for Halloween. That's cool! Try Simply Nailogical, hosted by self-proclaimed "holosexual" Cristine. Your nails will be the sparkliest motherfuckers at that Halloween party. Cristine is big on things like stickers, vinyls, wraps, sponging, and being too lazy to hand-paint anything at all, so if you're hopeless at this but want to go out dressed as "person who is capable of not fucking up a manicure", this channel is for you.

Also, she has cute cats. Very cute.
A friend and I were talking tonight, and, having not seen me in a few months,  she asked how it is going with ye ballroom instructor. It goes. He is -- or possibly we are -- starting to confuse people.

So far as I know, he is every bit as gay as I thought he was when I met him. I think this is how he reads to most everyone, but people are starting to react to us like there is an 'us' to react to. I've already been asked once if we're dating by a stranger who watched us exchange maybe two sentences. Other people who are more genre-savvy about the kind of men who usually work at a dance studio have asked questions that sounded like they wanted to be that one, but fell apart in the middle because they couldn't work out what word they wanted instead of 'dating'. One of my coworkers (queer lady, if that matters) witnessed us having a conversation that was 100% about actual work, watched him walk away from the desk, paused, and asked, "Do you two, uh, work t…

Weekly Album: David Bowie - Reality


Weekly Watch: Monique Parent & Jeffree Star

This week's Watch is a two-fer: Actress Monique Parent and singer/makeup artist Jeffree Star.

For the masculine out there who don't normally wear makeup, but are thinking of giving it a whirl for Halloween this year, Jeffree Star is a singer, model, and screamingly queeny makeup artist who got his start on Instagram/YouTube. While his style is not something I would recommend for daily wear -- he sorta splits the difference between "Kardashian" and "drag queen", and it's a great deal of work -- it's very theatrical and absolutely something you can do for a one-night extravaganza without going full on RuPaul's Drag Race with the glue sticks and kabuki paint.

For the record, he has his own makeup line. I don't own any, but it's reportedly high-quality stuff, and chock full of glitter.

For the (ahem) mature reader who is wondering how to do their face without feeling like mutton dressed as lamb, I give you Monique Parent, actress of stage an…

Weekly Album: Jessie J - Sweet Talker


Weekly Watch: Glam & Gore

Mikey from Glam&Gore is another fantastic source of inspiration and know-how for your Halloween regalia. She's especially well-known for her Disney Princess series, where she shows you how to do the standard "pretty" makeup for the character, and then transforms into the "horror" version. Mikey also uses some SFX materials in her looks, particularly costume contacts, but most of her "glam" faces can be done with standard drugstore/department store makeup, and the occasional pot of glitter.
I'm giving up on Duolingo Korean lessons. I'm going to have to learn hangul before that will make any sense. Those blocks are not only constructed on a logical basis, but the shapes of the consonant pieces are meant to represent the shape your mouth makes when saying them. It takes a lot of effort to make a system like that confusing and evil, but Duolingo has managed it. They really do want you to memorize the han like they were kanji, and... no. Everyone I have showed this to thinks this is the dumbest possible way to do it, including the Japanese lady who has personal experience with memorizing a bazillion kanji in order to read things, and the actual Korean lady who works at the desk on weekends.

The Esperanto lessons, on the other hand, are working out fairly well. For starters, the software will accept, or at least overlook, the ASCII-X convention if you don't have an Esperanto keyboard, which is nice. Esperanto involves circumflexes -- aka 'hats' -- on a lot…

Weekly Album: matchbox twenty - Exile On Mainstream

Another story, or: Why I don't bother lying to ye ballroom instructor anymore:

I do not remember exactly what was going on, but I was having A Day. I was sick or in pain and hadn't had one or more of the normal meals, I was probably behind on the dishes or the laundry or something, and possibly I hadn't slept. I was definitely staring down the barrel of a five-hour shift running a theater. I do rather like that job, but it involves a lot of running around setting things up and standing at a lectern selling tickets, so I was not looking forward to it just then.

I'm not fond of passing out, so I picked up something that could be mistaken for food if you didn't look at it too closely, and hid in the studio office to eat it. I didn't expect to find anyone there, but in fact ye ballroom instructor had had the same bright idea. He's not normally in on weekends unless he's in the show or running it, but apparently he wanted to see that one, and decided to get …

Weekly Watch: Jordan Hanz

It's October again, and you know what that means -- the Halloween freaks come out of the woodwork. Jordan Hanz is one of my go-to tutorial channels for makeup, particularly of the SFX kind. She uses body paints, regular makeup, common craft items, and some of the easier to get SFX materials to get crazy-awesome results. She does "Hanzoween" every year, with 31 brand-new tutorials over the course of the month. This playlist is last year's; subscribe to her channel to be alerted when the new ones go up this year.

Weekly Album: John Lennon - Walls & Bridges

Apparently the only interesting thing I have to write about right now is the ongoing saga of some random dude I know. I still have no idea why other people are interested in ye ballroom dance instructor and what I think about him. I try to justify the existence of this blog by using stuff in my life to launch into actual important thoughts about people and experiences and how social interactions work, so I hope you all get something out of this.

The important part, so far as I'm concerned, shook out several months ago. I was assistant stage manager on a show that ye ballroom instructor was arranging, liasing, producing, and performing in, because sometimes the really talented ones are also slightly insane. It was about 85% brilliantly orchestrated, but we kept running into things that should have been done but weren't, or information we should have had but didn't.

The stage manager and I both finally popped a sprocket at him when he remembered to tell one of us (me) that h…

Weekly Album: Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814

Two of my housemates are learning things on the Duolingo app right now -- I think one of them is doing French and the other Spanish, but don't quote me on that. I signed up for the free version, and currently have nine languages running, because that'll keep me from getting bored and blowing through the entire skill tree on any one of them in like three days. I've spent the past two hours poking at it, because I currently have one of those plagues that's long on extra snot and short on oxygen, and I can do nothing that takes me more than lunging distance from a box of tissues.

Au début, j'ai découvert que je fais du français encore assez bien, lorsque je me suis remplie des drogues. Duolingo will give you a fluency score; it tops out around 50-60%, because Duolingo isn't life, and right now my French hovers around 53%. It would probably be higher, but I'm far enough into it that it's asking me to translate things that can be said in a number of slightly…

Weekly Album: Melissa Etheridge - Your Little Secret


Weekly Watch: A+Start

Yet another video game history channel. These guys do interesting glitches, as do many other people on YouTube, but I found this series, on the evolution of polygonal models, more interesting.

Weekly Album: Placebo - Loud Like Love

So apparently I'm being rewarded for dissecting my own psyche in public now? Really? Hokay, I guess that's where we're going with this.

While I appreciate the intent behind all the advice on what to do in re: ye ballroom dance instructor, I would like to note that at no point in all of that did I ask 'what the hell is going on here?', or did I solicit suggestions on what to do about it. I know what I'm going to do about it, which is exactly the thing I am doing already. I've generally been treating him like he has a charmingly obvious squish that by now is probably visible on Google Maps. He is neither acting confused nor backpedaling as fast as is humanly possible, so that seems to be about right.

The tl;dr for those who don't feel like going through the AVEN forums is that a 'squish' is what the asexual community calls the ace version of a crush. Isn't that just wanting to be friends? you ask. No, wiseass, it's not. The salient differe…

Weekly Album: Beyoncé - B'Day


Weekly Watch: Draw With Jazza

A mildly-nuts Aussie (is there any other kind?) artist and animator. This playlist is full of "art challenges", like painting upside down, painting with makeup, and seeing what he can do with just one Copic marker or half a dozen of what are literally the cheapest colored pencils he can find. Particularly entertaining is the two part mini-LP of Passpartout. He also has tutorials with, like, actual art advice mixed into the wiseass commentary.

Weekly Album: Iggy Pop - Lust For Life

Okay, like the fourth total stranger has now suggested that ye ballroom instructor has a crush on me. Y'all aren't crazy; this has also crossed my mind. He did kick this off with pretty classic crush behavior: A sudden barrage of attention out of nowhere, that he kept up for a solid two weeks or so, until he got clear acknowledgement that I'd noticed. My initial read of him was that he is exactly as gay as the stereotype of male dancers would suggest, but this all was actually ambiguous enough to make me reconsider that.

The thing is, this is still ambiguous. The reason that kind of behavior comes about with crushes is that wanting to bone someone makes the idea of fucking up your first conversation with them carry a lot of emotional weight, so you get super nervous about it. The sudden burst of attention happens because it takes an extra push to get over the inhibitory effect of What if I screw it up? and make yourself start. The internal wrestling and abrupt resolution i…
Ye ballroom dance instructor has inadvertently made me re-think an awful lot of things. I suppose this is karma coming back to bite me. I have the occasional, baffling week where all the random shit that falls out of my mouth somehow results in me being the Epiphany Fairy for everyone I meet. I imagine my turn has been a long time coming.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever had to figure out what to do when someone I've resolved not to bother with my weird people-dowsing has turned around and decided they needed to be friends with me. On top of that, while I correctly predicted that the inside of his head was an interesting place, I completely whiffed almost everything else I guessed. I am seldom that wrong about that many things, and usually discovering the truth is a much more disappointing process.

Inasmuch as nobody I have decided to Not Bother has ever turned around and decided to try Bothering me back, I have no procedure for this. This near-total lack of…

Weekly Album: Janelle Monáe - The Electric Lady


Weekly Watch: Michi Mavros

Michi Mavros is a vlogger who posts a series of videos about what it's like to live with Borderline Personality Disorder. BPD is highly stigmatized even among people who generally get mental illness; because it's a personality disorder and therefore pervasive, and one of the symptoms is seeing the world in black and white terms, patients with BPD can take efforts to teach them how to change their behavior as the therapist telling them that they're a horrible unsalvageable person, and some will lash out accordingly.

Ms. Mavros has an uncommon amount of insight into her own condition, and seems very motivated to better her own life. I'm sure the videos are made on her good days, but she explains the bad days succinctly and in a way that people who don't suffer from BPD can generally get.
Life continues. Apparently. Thank you all. I did go get myself some minimal amount of groceries, but most of what I remembered to buy yesterday was rat-oriented -- honey for compounding their amoxicillin, yogurt for tummy rumbles, and chocolate chips, because that's how you decongest critters too small for Sudafed.

Flathead is more or less fine. He gets picked up twice a day for lap cuddles, so I can hand-feed him honey-flavored goo, Benadryl, fruity yogurt, and chocolate, in no particular order. If not for the WHRNK part, I think he'd be enjoying himself. He might be enjoying himself anyway. I am vaguely worried that he will develop Munchausen's.

I have recently been alerted to the fact that people have been trying to ping me via Google Hangouts. I haven't seen any of it. Investigation reveals that Google forcibly switched everyone from Gchat to Hangouts a couple of months ago, and I haven't seen anything since. I hate the chat window loitering around my inbox, so…

Weekly Album: Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid



Rat antibiotics (ratty-biotics?) ordered. That's the thing that was worrying me most. Rats die of respiratory illness. I mean, they have limited lifespans to begin with, but with pets the aim is to keep them alive long enough for them to die of inoperable tumors and senility instead. You know, just like your human relatives.

The people who sold me illegal Amoxi-Drops last time are gone, probably because they were selling illegal Amoxi-Drops, so this time they got a bottle of Fish Mox. No one in their right mind is going to bring a tank of fish into the vet's office to get them diagnosed with fin rot, so the vendors just sell you capsules of amoxicillin powder and conspicuously don't tell you it's the same stuff you use on your own kids. They kind of figure either you know what you're doing, or you know where to get replacement fish. I can work Google and do basic algebra, so I just compound it with honey or something and un-snot my rats without supervision.

[The do…

State of the Blogger

I apologize for the lack of content here lately. Here's why.

Flathead is making a WHRNK noise when he breathes. I've managed to figure out how to get rat antibiotics without the $100 vet visit, but they're still $25/bottle, which I do not have. I gave him Benadryl and a snootful of caffeine (gunpowder tea grains). His brain will be in an odd, fizzy state for the next 4-6 hours, but he's making less alarming sounds now.

I am starving. Literally, albeit slowly. I can usually scramble enough peanut butter and cookies for the week, but sometimes I can't quite make it, and don't eat for a day or so. If you ever wondered how ascetics and anorexics keep running on less than 800 calories a day, it's sheer stupid stubbornness. You sleep a lot, and drink a lot of water. This week I get to do a lot of walking (5 miles or so to work/studio, because Dorchester), because it was food or T pass.

The rats have oatmeal for a while yet, after which I guess I'll start stea…

Weekly Album: Janelle Monáe - Metropolis Suite I: The Chase

I am pretty good at figuring out where other people's pressable buttons are. It's a shitty, shitty superpower you win as a consolation prize when you grow up dependent on someone whose mood swings have no clear correlation with anything happening out here in the wider shared reality. Because their experience of the world is so different, there's no good way to predict what their reactions will be, so you just learn to throw logic out the window and watch for early warning signs that you should make yourself scarce.

[My mother, for instance, used to get into these moods where everything made her angry, and she took it out on the rest of the household. In hindsight, she was probably suffering from terrible anxiety/overload, which I completely understand. I don't blame her for needing a quiet space in which to recover. I do blame her for deciding this quiet space needed to be the kitchen. Where all the food and ice water was kept. In an open-plan house. They had a perfect…