Happiness is About the Little Things

Last night, during my traditional New Year’s Eve Party of One, I went into Google Drive and rewrote the Night’s Watch oath. (Blame my GoT buddy Patrick. The idea started from an exchange with him on Twitter.) Then I went to Notegraphy and dressed it up.

HBOgathersandnow

HBO gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until Game of Thrones is cancelled. I shall increase no entities beyond what is necessary, believe no update on IMDB, and start from no false premises. I shall accept no cast member’s spoilers and accuse no director of lying. I shall live and die at my blog. I am the eyes in the comment sections. I am the watcher of the Twitter list. I am the shield that guards the realms of hype. I pledge my time and sanity to the off-season, for this day and all the blog posts to come.

Beware of actors bearing stuffed animals, is all I’m saying. #RememberTheDuck

And this morning we got a nice New Year’s greeting from Gwen! I replied to her.

And she Liked my Tweet. It’s these little things that make me happy.

 

“Let’s put Cher and Christina Aguilera in a movie together! Wouldn’t that be fun?!”

Burlesque looks like someone thought it would be a good idea to cross-breed Moulin Rouge with Coyote Ugly and rip off the shiny parts of Chicago while they were at it. It has neither the storytelling skills at work in Moulin Rouge nor the sense of humor, and while Coyote Ugly was not much a movie in itself, it showed far more sincerity and backbone than Burlesque. We didn’t need a movie to show us that Christina Aguilera is a far better singer than Nicole Kidman, but apparently we did need a movie to show us that she’s not even half the actress.

There are some effective moments, such as: Alan Cumming threatening to wash Aguilera’s mouth out with Jagermeister, Aguilera hiding behind ostrich-feather fans while wearing nothing but a few strategically placed strings of pearls, and Cher moving towards a mother-figure role with Aguilera, but they’re all very brief and truncated. The trope of “humble but talented girl from middle of nowhere makes good in big city” is satisfying if done right, but the script has no interest in taking the time to develop Aguilera’s character, and she is far too pleased with herself to make us care about Ali from Iowa.

Thinky thoughts about pop culture

Sullivan quotes Greil Marcus talking about Van Morrison and fictional entertainment in general:

To trace anybody’s work, what they produce, what they put into the world, what you or I respond to, to somebody’s life, their biography, is utterly reductionist. It’s simply a way of protecting ourselves from the imagination, from the threat of the imagination. Some people are very uncomfortable with the idea they can be moved, they can be threatened, they can be thrilled by something that is just made up.

John Irving, the novelist, once said to me, “You know why that is? It’s because people who don’t have an imagination are terrified of people who do.” I don’t know if that’s true, but we live in culture of the memoir, where we’re not supposed to believe anything unless it’s documented that it actually happened. Never mind that most memoirs are more fictional than novels. We want that imprimatur: “This really happened. This is really true.” You can respond to it. You can feel “okay” about being moved by it.

The point is that he doesn’t give a toss about artists’ private lives. He isn’t interested in how their biographies affect their creativity.

I get what he’s saying. If I understand him correctly, I know what he means.

There are good reasons for creators to produce fiction which is traceable to their own life experiences. As writers we constantly tell each other: Write what you know. This tends to mean there is a great deal of our own experiences visible in our work, to such an extent that it doesn’t take a great detective to see how we were inspired to create the work we did.

With that in mind, there is a place for exploring creators’ biographies. It can be a way of understanding the creative process. It might be fascinating, for example, to learn of how a creator did or went through something in life and then edited the event to make a more digestible fiction.

But that said, it would be nice to hear less of our entertainers’ personal lives and do more of simply enjoying their creativity. It’s something I appreciate about Lady Gaga; she’s all artifice and I hardly know jack shit about her real life. Gaga is all over the media, but Stefani Germanotta is not available for comment. I enjoy not knowing what she eats for breakfast or how she dressed for a day of running errands.

(This may seem sort of at odds with me being all excited about another singer expecting a baby, but too late for that. It’s a cognitive dissonance I’ll just have to manage.)

We can has handbags and jewels?!

Normally the fashion industry leaves me with mild bemusement at best, but I have to hand it to Bulgari: this is freaking awesome.

Combine the following elements:

  • Luxury handbags and jewels,
  • Beautiful woman wearing nothing but jewels,
  • Chubby, fuzzy, baby lions!,
  • The beautiful woman happens to be nearing 50.

It helps that I just saw Julianne Moore get naked in Chloe last night, and while the movie was obnoxious, it was despite Moore’s performance, not because of it. Moore handled her part very well.

And oh, how I want to frolic with those baby lions!

Housekeeping!

I can’t find much to blog. The Gulf is still a disaster area, Elena Kagan is still in confirmation hearings, the economy continues to suck (although my situation is looking cautiously optimistic right now), the treatment of women in Islam is still a horror show, and the Catholic Church is still whining and stamping its feet at the suggestion that they don’t get a free pass to abuse children.

Furthermore, I have updated the About page because it looked really lame and juvenile. I am also seriously considering a theme change for this blog. There’s a new free theme on WordPress that I prefer to the current appearance in most of the ways that count. Be prepared for a change soon.

New fiber obsession

Note: they are not paying me for product placement, and if they were I’d question their judgment.

I noticed some Artfelt kits on a shelf at The Mannings on Saturday, and immediately gurgled over the pretty colors in the roving but didn’t pay much attention to the other supplies involved in the kits. I didn’t buy any, either; I’m poor and low on square footage, so my purchases were minimal. I did, however, make a note of the kits for further research. This is what I found on their website:

It’s not needle felting. It’s not wet felting. It’s not fulling. It’s Artfelt® – and it is revolutionizing the way we felt. The Artfelting technique utilizes Artfelt® paper, a patented new paper specifically developed to ease and speed up the felting process. Artfelt® is simple to learn, quick to do and requires no knitting or previous felting experience.

Heh. I find their opening pitch amusing. “It’s not needle felting, it’s not wet felting, it’s not fulling,” it involves doing ALL OF THOSE THINGS. Granted, the total time commitment probably ends up being a lot less than doing the same job in all needle-felting or regular wet felting, and it doesn’t involve knitting anything first. A more accurate pitch would probably be something like, “It’s needle felting without the hours, it’s wet felting with better control, and it’s fulling without having to knit something first!” Still, you need equipment used for needle felting, you have to put your faith in Artfelt while you get your project soaking wet and roll it up, and you need access to a clothes dryer.

But as I said above, the appeal of the kits isn’t really in, “Wow, that Artfelt technique looks like so much fun!”, it’s more like, “Ooooh, lots of roving in pretty colors!” So then I thought it might be fun to just order a bunch of roving from them—a few hanks of tops, a couple skeins of pencil roving—and then just do whatever the fuck I wanted with it, which might not even involve felting anything.

Yeah, well, their price point sort of tosses a wrench into that idea. $10.50 for 50g of multicolored tops? Are you fucking kidding me?!

The most interesting detail of their company, however, is the fiber range they offer. All the roving they sell for their felting technique is either merino or a merino/silk blend. This makes me wonder: is their patented Artfelt method possible with coarser fibers? If it doesn’t work as well with anything other than the finest of fine-wool breeds, why not? I really don’t think it’s a good idea to restrict any type of felting—including high-precision felting—to the finest of shrinkable fibers. Felting is the sort of craft that lends itself well to items meant to withstand some abuse, in which case more rugged (and somewhat cheaper) fibers are in order.

Something tells me their special paper is really no different from any other water-soluble fabric already available at craft/fabric stores, but that said, the paper does seem more reasonably priced than the wool.

It’s not supposed to smell like rose petals!

Pharyngula points me to Feministing, which points me to The Luxury Spot’s reporting of the newest hot trend in feminine adornment: Vajazzling!

For fuck’s sake, it doesn’t even look that pretty.

I can’t say I disapprove of the trend so much as I’m not sure what purpose it’s supposed to serve. If you’re a stripper, I’m sure it could be useful! If you’re just doing it for yourself, as in, you just want to be able to pull down your pants, look in the mirror, and say, “Ooh, sparkly!” then this will get the job done, and if that’s all you’re hoping to get out of it, then go for it, I say.

Continue reading