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Tea and steampunks. And Dr. Strangelove.

Today was given over to the steampunk New Years recovery tea, and what a lovely tea it was! I took gra_is_stor out to a very nice, roomy place in Snohomish replete with llamas, pwnies, and other various and sundry wildlife. And that was just outside the place...

There was quite a good crowd there, and some wonderful conversation was had by all. Tea and snackies occurred, along with a white elephant gift exchange, at which I got a very nice Chinese style teacup for loose leaf oolongs. I was also given a nice bag of jasmine green by someone who'd bought Way Too Much of the stuff and was never going to drink it before it died of exposure. I was happy to bring it home.

We met some lovely new people there, guests from Portland, who were the cousin and cousin's spouse of one of the local steampunks. Fantastic geekdom conversation was had by all. gra_is_stor and I cuted at everyone again.

Once we got back here, I checked the email then sat her down in front of the TV for a shot of Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which she'd not only never seen before, but never even heard of. I told her that they'd stolen a character from it and stuffed him in, almost unchanged, as a villain in The Tick animated series. Of course, Strangelove is also the source of a huge number of tropes in subsequent movies and TV shows, so it's always interesting to look at the effect it's had on American popular culture.

I noted on twitter that I was showing it to her, and got a variety of responses from some of my friends there. I had a conversation with one of my fandom friends, who said she'd been born in 86 and just didn't quite get the zeitgeist of the movie, having no experience with Cold War mentality. I told her I was extremely glad that was the case, but she certainly saw it for the brilliant farce it was. It's the sort of movie that, if you lived through the whole mess, is so dark you have to laugh so as not to go a little bit nuts with the memory of it all. It kind of speaks to my own nuclear nightmares, particularly given that, as a communications person, I was always worried that any of a certain particular class of messages I sent out frequently would end up being That Message, and the world as we knew it would end. It's a hard one.

After all that, I dived into a beta project for another fangirl friend of mine, which I'd promised to do but didn't do thoroughly enough the other day. She took it down and let me finish cleaning it up, so that she can re-post and it will look much better. I had done a really quick job and had missed an embarrassing number of things. I really hate it when that happens.

Anyway. Tea. Steampunks. Strangelove. Quite a day.

Like a walk in the park

Today started with an email from mom, assuring us that she was okay, with only rain and a lot of wind last night. I was relieved. She said another storm was heading into the area today and tomorrow. I'll call in the afternoon to see how she is. She said the cell towers were out of commission but that we could reach her on the landline for the moment, and that email is still up and running.

I went down to Seattle today to talk to one of the writers in residence at Hugo House. It was a really fruitful conversation, and took rather less time than the hour allotted, but I needed some time to process and decompress a bit after our discussion. I'd started in early so I could make sure to get parking; there were a lot of places right across the street in the angle-in parking at Cal Anderson Park at quarter of three in the afternoon, so I walked over to Elliott Bay Books first to grab a cup of tea and a snack. They had "Hungarian shortbread" which was, I was informed by the gal behind the counter, made to one of Julia Child's recipes. It involved raspberries and goat cheese and it was completely and utterly decadent.

Once fortified, I walked back over to Hugo House, which is about a block and a half away from the bookshop. I inquired after the writer with the receptionist, and she went off to let her know I was about. I finished snacking just as Karen came down the stairs. We trundled up and I told her about the basic concepts of the group and showed her the types of materials we were using.

She had some very clear and cogent suggestions for making it less difficult and challenging while still allowing for people to explore their traumas and issues without having to run headlong into the arms of the beast. She really liked the concept of the little quotes on stickies to put in a notebook for inspiration, and thought that we were doing several things quite well. She also asked about my own role in the group -- I noted that I'm just a group member and that it wasn't my place to try to run anything. My sole role beyond just a group member was volunteering to get suggestions for the next time we did the group, and my presence was both approved by the facilitators and within the bounds of confidentiality, since I didn't talk about the other group members beyond noting that we're all in the Women's Trauma and Recovery Center as a part of this group.

We talked for a few minutes after the discussion of possible improvements as well. She was fascinated by the idea of this work, and thought it was a wonderful healing opportunity, but I completely agree, which is why I'm on board with it as a poet and a writer to begin with.

After our chat, I went out into the bright sunlight. I wasn't in any mood to head home, and it was only about 3:30pm anyway, so traffic would have been starting to ramp up as people were getting off work. Sitting here in the living room would have been dim and not particularly exciting, so I sat in the park and wrote in my group notebook for a while, just soaking up the sun, watching dogs play, and being in the city's ambience. Eventually I decided I was having a craving for Ethiopian, so I walked over to Queen Sheba and had a vegetarian combo and a cup of spiced tea, redolent of clove and cardamom. I really needed that, and it was absolutely perfect.

Once I was done eating, I wandered over to Twice Sold Tales (it still smells vaguely of catbox), where I found a copy of The Power of Satire: Magic, Ritual, Art, by Robert C. Elliott, which has a section of about 25-ish pages entirely on Irish satirical traditions. Originally published in 1960, this was a somewhat later, mid-70s edition that I picked up for a whole four bucks. I took a quick dash through Half Price looking for something specific that they didn't have, and by that time it was nearly 7:30, so I headed home again, still wreathed in sunlight.

It was a thoroughly glorious day and I feel immensely better for having been out in the sun for a couple of hours, just sitting and putting pen to paper.

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

I watched Porco Rosso and This is Spinal Tap today while the sib was out. Spinal Tap was painfully funny; I'd seen parts of it before, but never managed to get through it. More years of familiarity with music made it a lot funnier than it had been when I tried to watch it previously. Exploding drummers, of course, were always pretty damned funny.

Porco Rosso isn't one of Studio Ghibli's better efforts, but it was okay. World War One flying ace turned into a pig by an unexplained whatsit, flies his seaplane against seaplane pirates for money (he's a bounty hunter) just before World War Two, until the Italian government shuts everybody down. Hints are thrown but nothing is resolved. It had some amusing moments but just doesn't have the heart or the art of Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away.

It was a quiet day otherwise, though I went out this evening to the AFK to hang out with fullcontactmuse. I scribbled a little in my VA notebook and had a little dinner before she arrived. We had a drink and talked for a bit. I'll be going to her burlesque show on Saturday at the Jewelbox downtown after I hang with evilbusdriver for a bit.

Tomorrow the sib and I will be heading for the VA to see about getting him enrolled into the system and getting his physical. I'm bringing a book. Maybe two.

This is all wire_mother's fault

Seriously. All his fault. I lay the blame squarely at his feet and staple them there with the Gae Bolga.

The Myths Retold blog has myths and folktales retold to hilarious effect. His retelling of the Táin is Cúchulainn is the Megatron of Killing People.

So, you really kind of have to appreciate lots of blood and vulgarity in your myths (but of course, they're filled with that anyhow) and the whole archie and mehitabel vers libre thing he's got going, but it's fantastic and filled with mayhem. He's got Norse, Greek, Egyptian, and other myths retold as well. Go. Read. Howl your laughter to the unforgiving stars.

Today's Wild Hunt link list talked about the whole Bin Laden thing and mythworker linked to my one-line post on the topic. I'm not sure why. I think he's buttering me up for something... *eyes him suspiciously*

Also, today I went down to Seattle for the writing group again. I talked to Wendy briefly after our session and feel better about the whole thing. Her thought was that it's not supposed to be a competition (my position on it, as I've said), that we all have unique perspectives to bring to this, and that I shouldn't deprive myself of the experience, or other people of my various insights, given that we all have them and that it's about sharing this stuff in the group. I was good with it. This week more people were willing to do a little reading from their work, and that was a large part of what made me feel better, too. I may be a professional writer, but that doesn't mean the inside of my head is any neater or more organized than anyone else's, after all. It could be argued, in fact, that it's significantly more fucked up than a lot of other people's.

The sib came down to Seattle with me and read while I was at the VA. We hung out at Travelers for a while and read there, too. I told Leon about the ogam ebook deal and he was pretty excited. We had one of those "back in the day" conversations about when he and I were about the only people we knew who were actually into the whole thing locally and who were actually trying to do any research on it.

Before we dropped mael_brigde at the bus (before the VA trip), I gave her a copy of the five-ish pages I've written of the Queering the Flame essay and she's going to send me some comments and suggestions. We talked a little about the first two or three pages before she left, and she had some really good thoughts. I'm very much looking forward to hearing from her about the rest of it, in fact. She pointed out something that I hadn't really thought about, in terms of negative evidence, if you will -- in the various saint's lives of Brigid, none of the authors mentions the flame being kept only by women, so one wonders why (if this was an important thing, or if it even existed at all) the writers of the vitae wouldn't have mentioned it.

Tomorrow I need to start looking for readings for June's schmooze. Next month is family, rites of passage, and things of that nature. I've got a slightly more in-depth summary of the concept in a file on my desktop, I just haven't got everything in my head right now. This is more in terms of births, deaths, adulthood, and things of that nature than, say, warrior rituals or initiatory stuff; we're dealing with the everyday rites of passage and the things of home and hearth.

Amusement wins

Things that can only be blamed on heterosexual couples:

heterosexual couples

Dinosaur comics. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I love my friends

In the tradition of Jonathan Swift, I present to you alfrecht's satire on stem cell research bans.

Phil, dude, if I wanted babies, I'd have yours.

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