vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
Dear Mr. Rickman,

Today would have been your 70th birthday. And while I still have A Little Chaos, Eye in the Sky and the new Alice movie to see, what I miss most and shall miss most are your interviews. Especially those in the past few years, where you relaxed and really let your thoughts out: about the power of stories, and the responsibilities of the storytellers, of what words mean and how their power is both immutable and chameleonic. I work with words every day, telling tiny little stories--sometimes, even at less than 114 characters. What you said resonated with this other member of Walter Fisher's homo narrans.

The first film I ever remember seeing you in--not the first film I actually saw you in, just the one that made me look you up and see who you were--was ClosetLand. It reached inside my brain and gave it a good twist. When I looked you up, I realized I'd seen you in that film, and that film, and that film, and that film, and, hey! you were That Guy! And I became a fan.

And then the internet *really* took off, and... )

After a while, I realized it was about connections, and the very bones of who I am.

I liked your work, so I let it into my heart and my head. That changed who I am, and that changed all the "could-be" versions of me, as well. The work you were going to do, that I was going to see, and the interviews you were going to give in support of that work, that was all going to change my future "could-be"s as well. Your work and your words were woven into the trellis of my future growth--all those possible "me"s. So when you died, they all died, too. Those hundred thousand possible "me"s--gone. Other possible "me"s are growing to fill in those spaces, of course, but first--they all died.
And that hurts.


Some of the less-than-helpful things I was urged to do, the day you died, was to "enjoy the work he already did" and "celebrate that it existed at all." In many ways, it is little recompense to simply think back on the things that you'd already done. Emma Thompson wrote she couldn't wait to see what you were going to do with your face next. I couldn't wait to see what percolated out of your brain next. After my childhood, I got very ... leery ... about who got into my head, and what they left behind--what they left behind for me to hear at 2 in the morning, whenever I couldn't sleep. But--I liked your thoughts, so I put some of them into my head. On purpose. And now, every time I jostle one, like a broken bone, it aches.

And yet, I cannot bear to be that "me" who had never discovered your work at all.

I don't know what kind of creature I would be without your influence...
but I have my suspicions.


Goodbye, Mr. Rickman.
I shall miss you.

"Always."



‪#‎RIPAlanRickman‬
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- careful to aim this woman)
I don't put much stock in famous people. That song by Ookla the Mok about them being created by us, the public, is just so true.

But Alan Rickman is dead.

I've adored--and I use the term precisely--this man as a person and as an actor and as a thinker for decades.
I sobbed.
Like I did when my dad died.

I am still weeping.

I suppose I should have suspected when he and Rima finally married after 50+ years of living together. I thought it was just smart, long-term planning because inheritance laws in the UK are complicated and expensive, especially with intellectual property.

I will be crying, on and off, all day I suspect.

He was part of my "mind family"--the people who fed my thoughts and my thinking. The only one who will hurt more, I suspect, is Lois Bujold.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)
30 lying hamstring curls against band resistance
30 straight-legged deadlifts against band resistance
30 squats against band resistance
3min/1 song length hamstring stretches/back bends
3min/1 song length kneeling quad stretches/back bends/pulling a Tjorkill
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)
20 hamstring curls against band resistance
20 side kickouts against band resistance
20 squats against band resistance
6min/2 song length hamstring stretches
tai chi speed single-legged 8-pt pell drill/air sword with new foot placement
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)
So, I blame this on Vixy and Tony. Really. Their cover of Ned Cave's "Red Right Hand" was playing in the car and *pop* one of the lyrics erupted in my head and there I was, attempting to filk lyrics and drive at the same time.

Don't know the song? Here's a live performance:



Big Blue Box is a Doctor Who filk. I've been thinking about The Doctor for a while lately--and I think I've identified why I don't like the new series.

Big Blue Box
Take a little walk through the city streets
down to the river side
Where the London Eye looms like a wheel of doom
and the Angels hide.
Where secrets lie, with a quiet sigh, and you'll always try
'cause you know
you'll never see him twice.
Just a hint, just a clue, just a word of ad-vice:
He's the Oncoming Storm and the Breaker of Locks
with his long dark coat and his
Big Blue Box.

He'll grab you by the hand and say
you've been a good child
He'll rekindle all those dreams you had that
drove your parents wild
He'll reach into that hole, heal your shrinking soul
and there won't be a single thing
that you can do.
He's a myth, he's a man, he's a god
he's a gu-ru.
They whisper his name from the Palace to the docks
with his long dark coat and his
Big Blue Box.

Planet been conquered?
He'll set you free.
Fear for the future?
He'll let you see.
Got some Cybermen, or Daleks--again?
You better listen up
he's on his way:
through all time, through all space
from the deepest heart of Gallifrey.
That shadow is cast wherever he walks
with his long dark coat and his
Big Blue Box.

They've got him in their nightmares
You'll get him in your dreams
He appears out of nowhere but he's not
what he seems.
You'll see him in your head, on your TV screen
and you do what he tells you to do.
He's a myth, he's a man, he's a god
he's a gu-ru.
There's no Conquering Foe he can't out-fox
inhis long dark coat and his
Big Blue Box.

"You wrote a Doctor Who filk and you don't even like it?
I've adored Doctor Who since the early 80s. I don't like NuWho. And I think I finally figured out why....

I got distracted at first: )


And there are the reasons I dislike NuWho.
I feel better now that I've articulated it.

vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)

I've known Rotrude since she was, oh, 8 or 10 years old. She's definitely her mother's daughter, especially in body type. And she's being having some odd conversations where people remark on her slenderness (though she calls it "skinny" which sounds more pejorative). I've noticed this stuff before.

It's actually a formal pattern of female-to-female conversation. I call it Social Grease. Because I have no social radar to pick up these things organically, I had to learn this "mainstream communication pattern" by rote--and it's quite fascinating.

This doesn't work all that well with Geeky/Nerdy Women. But many of them get soaked in the same pattern solution as the Mainstream Women that the shadow of the dance is cast on them, too. I've found it's especially effective with female newcomers to the SCA, especially mundane visitors who aren't Geeks themselves.

Social meeting of Two or More Women
After the initial "hello"s are over, there's the Casual Conversation Mode. This is where most conversation is Rote or Canned, in prefabricated decision trees. People have a few Mainstream Options:

1) She's carrying a baby. If there's a baby, all other conversation starters are secondary. Ask about the baby. Let her talk as much as she wants about the baby. Then talk about baby weight, if she brings it up or wants to go on about it.

1b) Unless she's carrying a pet. If there's a pet, then ask about the pet. Let her talk as much as she wants about the baby.

1c) If she definitely wants to talk about something NotBaby (some women have talked about Baby enough today, thank you), revert to 2. Let her lead to a topic.


2) She's carrying a book or shopping bag. "What'd you get at __________(name of store, if seen)?" There will be some dismissive talk where she frequently undermines her own enthusiasm for her purchase. This is a request for Opinion Bolstering "Oh, I totally see why you picked that up. It's adorable/really brings out your eyes/totally matches your nails/etc."

Ask about the book (or Kindle). If it's one you've read, discussion follows. If not, it's question and answer time: What d'you like about it, etc.


3) Physical commentary--Comments about weight, hair, clothing, jewelry, etc. This is where women frequently coo over each other's shoes. It doesn't mean anything--they may or may not be enchanted by the shoes. It's just part of the pattern. There's also "love your hair," or "you look great" (implying weight loss, if they haven't see each other for a while).

This one can be tricky, but people think it's easy. I don't recommend that guys use it at all, even if he's gay. It's safest to comment on shoes, bags and other accessories. This also offers Shopping Discussion and Opinion Bolstering, in case you have to stay engaged in talk for a while.

4) Conversations can dwindle off here or--if there's a true exchange, they can flourish. You can end the conversation by commenting that you've gotta run (or she might do the same). Frequently, that's true. It can end with an exchange of emails/phone numbers if the convo is picking up but you genuinely don't have time for them.

It sounds so horrible, doesn't it? But it *works* for me, 98% of the time, while having a female-to-female convo in mainstream society. I've sat at enough tables alone, watching women greet their friends, and seen the dance over and over. I've tried these things out on my coworkers, especially the ones from other departments where I don't work with them all the time, and it's functional with people you're not spending a lot of time with.

The key to all of this, for me, was to believe what I was saying while I was saying it. Some people can be more facile, and sound sincere while they're not, but I've never been able to master that. :P


Lest the gentlemen snicker up their sleeves, let me say Mainstream Guys have similar conversations. Only, rather than cooing, there's chestpuffing. When guys haven't seen each other for a while, they engage in similar Social Grease. I'm not capable of having a male-to-male conversation (my gender and social sex is too obvious), but I've navigated the very Male World of SCA heavy fighting. This is what I've observed.

After the Strength Test handshake, Manly Backpounding or Chin Thrust of Acknowledgement...

1) There's the status jockeying via Prowess. This is usually physical, but physical can also include (among geeky types) video gaming like World of Warcraft. This measures where each one is on the totem pole between/among the group of guys. The highest status guy controls the conversation. He is free to interrupt everyone else and be heard.

Often the Highest Status Guy is acknowledged by the other guys at this point. So is the Lowest Status Guy. If Lowest Status Guy is the comedic type, he is also free to interrupt conversations...in order to make jokes, often at his own expense.

2) If none are invested in Prowess, the conversation can turn to (or be turned by someone with Low Prowess) to Status. A guy can display his own Status (vice president of marketing), or if he's affiliated with a High Status (have you met Duke Guy, my Knight?), he'll raise his own by affiliation. This can change the totem pole positions among the second to second-last guys.

2a) If he's affiliated or follows a team, he will likely turn the conversation to sports in order to converse about the latest game and the success of his team. Especially if he's wearing a jersey or team cap. This can be fascinating if one guy follows football and the other baseball. Watching them talk past each other is like a slo-mo train wreck.

3) Wife-and-kids. (As a female, I've always tapped this topic first. It helped cut down on flirting, which I wasn't comfortable with, but was also a socially safe topic.) This lets guys showcase their families' accomplishments. This can reflect well on the guy, increasing his Respect rate.

4) Conversations can dwindle off here or--if there's a true exchange, they can flourish. The guys can end the conversation by blaming the Little Lady "Hey, my wife wants to get home" or by doing the "I gotta split, seeya later man" and there's a fist bump and a parting. These things can even be true. Guys will more often say "I'm on Facebook, look me up" rather than exchanging addresses.

I'm sure there's more nuance in the male-to-male communication that I'm just not privy to. This is what I've observed. This is the Primer I made for myself in order to ease through the mundane mainstream world. It doesn't always work. But it frequently works.

vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)
The Rhino Discussion is bearing fruit. One of them is this message I rec'd today:
Hey Vesta--have I said or done anything rude after I have legged you in fighting?

The simple answer--the one requested, however implicitly--is "Of course not."

The problem is...This is the Wrong Question.
The question should be: have you ever seen me behaving dishonorably on the field?

Because this kind of finely tuned question always comes from those who know, deep down, that they have done wrong but they can't bear to look at that part of themselves, so they must hem it in with particulars. Like politicians do.

I did not have sex with that woman... if I define sex in this particular way.
I did not behave dishonorably on the field... if I define dishonorable behavior in this particular way.

Because every fighter has made that error. Every one. At least once. Where they don't feel it because their blood's up, or the f*cker won't take a shot from anyone without a white belt, or they're too good to die to N00bs in Crown, or, or, or... And it's one thing to make a mistake. Because we all do. You fight long enough, you'll make that mistake.

The honorable fighter will resolve to not do it again for the rest of the tournament, and holds true.
The dishonorable fighter always has a reason for why it wasn't a mistake, really. The other guy should have--well, whatever the Other Guy was at fault for.

There are always, too, the true flowers of chivalry: the ones who make sure, great tournament or small, that when they err--they publically acknowledge it. To both their opponent and to the crowd. "I didn't feel that at first--the fight is yours. Well struck!"

How do I answer? How can I say, No to the question I'm asked and Yes to the one I should have been asked?
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)
I wrote this a number of years ago, posted to rec.music.filk way back then and then forgotten about it.
But I saw the notes on Holocaust Remembrance Day and I remembered it again.

Bergen-Belsen
@me, 1998

We met in the cattle car in the spring of '43
Three young girls, frightened and alone.
Crushed into a corner, we vowed to stick together:
Hannah and Athena and Simone.

Simone was a Roma, Athena was a stranger,
And Hannah, that was me, I was the Jew.
We all had lost our families in the Kristallnacht:
The stranger and the Gypsy and the Jew.

CHORUS:  I didn't know what to call her,
                  My Yiddish had no words
                  And the *goyish* words I had would never do
                  We met in Bergen-Belsen when the Nazis sent us there:
                  The stranger and the Gypsy and the Jew.

The Nazis took our jewelry, the Nazis took our clothing
Even pulled the fillings from our jaws
But Athena wore a silver star only we could see
A blindness for which there was never cause.

The Nazis called us Juden, they sent us to the showers
But never noticed that we weren't there
Athena's eyes were closed as she held us to our corner
Murmuring unknown words of prayer.

CHORUS

She used the star to bribe a guard in April '45
And our barracks wasn't gassed that day
Athena died that evening, we heard her final promise
And watched her shining silver eyes go grey.

The sunrise brought the Allies, the British in their tanks
The prison guards shot themselves in fear
Simone found the guardsman, retrieved the silver star
Weeping where she thought I could not hear.

CHORUS

Now Simone and I in Tel Aviv have come to plant the tree
Which honors those who save a Jewish life
We have both had children and they have all had children
And my granddaughter is Simone's grandson's wife.

And they have brought their daughter, a charming child of five
And from long ago, a distant mem'ry jars
And we both recall a promise that we all would meet again
In a child's eyes that shine like silver stars.

CHORUS 2:  What would my rabbi call her? Our Hebrew has no words
                     And the English words we have would never do
                     We met in Bergen-Belsen when the Nazis sent us there:
                     The stranger and the Gypsy and the Jew.
                     The stranger and the Gypsy and the Jew.

vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (bujold -- choose to be)
I am here, from now until New Years!

I wanna see so many of you...who's interested in a get-together?
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd] It's A Wonderful Life. It is the quintessential holiday film.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd] My sister, home safe from wars.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd][livejournal.com profile] herodocles' skin
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (sir?)

"My sister and my brother ships speak softly by my side
But I only hear the emptiness of space
And the siren song which calls to me
From a burning, white-hot star
Promising oblivion and peace.

And the stars still dance their spiral dance
And the planets circle far
But the Ship Who Sang shall sing no more
Between the distant stars.
I'll sing no more..."

-- from The Ship Who Sang, by Cecilia Eng

Good bye, Anne McCaffrey.

Thank you for Helva and Lessa, F'nor and Menolly, Killashandra and Sassinak, and Robinton, the Harper, O The Harper.

I shall miss you and the marvelous worlds inside your head.

vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
Standing in line!
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
I spaced finishing this up over the holidays!

Day 01: Ten things I want to say to ten different people right now.
Day 02: Nine things about myself.
Day 03: Eight ways to win my heart.
Day 04: Seven things that cross my mind a lot.
Day 05: Six things I wish I'd never done.
Day 06: Five people who mean a lot to me.
Day 07: Four turn offs.
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe my life right now.


Day Ten: One confession
  1. I have been happier in the past year than I remember ever being before.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
As I loll around in Adiantum this holiday season, I can finish this up!

Day 01: Ten things I want to say to ten different people right now.
Day 02: Nine things about myself.
Day 03: Eight ways to win my heart.
Day 04: Seven things that cross my mind a lot.
Day 05: Six things I wish I'd never done.
Day 06: Five people who mean a lot to me.
Day 07: Four turn offs.

Day Eight: Three turn ons.
  1. A great smile
  2. A kind person (not a "Nice Guy"**)
  3. A geek's brain
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe my life right now.
  1. :?  (if you'd met my parents, you'd understand my confusion)
  2.  :D  (you HAVE seen my boyfriend, right?)

** A "Nice Guy" is the sort of person who is only polite and nice in order to make you feel obligated to them. The stereotypical "Nice Guy" is the one who helps only you, because he wants to get laid. :P  I'm told this comes in the gender-appropriate version for LGBT folks, as well.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
As I loll around in Adiantum this holiday season, I can finish this up!

Day 01: Ten things I want to say to ten different people right now.
Day 02: Nine things about myself.
Day 03: Eight ways to win my heart.
Day 04: Seven things that cross my mind a lot.
Day 05: Six things I wish I'd never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot to me.

Day Seven: Four turn offs.
  1. Telling me how much money you make and how that makes you awesome (got that a lot while attempting to date mundanes)
  2. Telling me I need to "eat more" or "cut loose and eat some fun food"
  3. Telling me how wrong I am to believe or think what I believe or think
  4. Bad dental self-care (Brushing and flossing makes a difference--people can tell!)
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe my life right now.
Day Ten: One confession.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
Day 01: Ten things I want to say to ten different people right now.
Day 02: Nine things about myself.
Day 03: Eight ways to win my heart.
Day 04: Seven things that cross my mind a lot.
Day 05: Six things I wish I'd never done.

Day Six: Five people who mean a lot to me.
  1. [livejournal.com profile] herodocles .
  2. [livejournal.com profile] koolknave
  3. My godmother.
  4. My late father.
  5. My SCA family (sorry, I know it's a big group).
Day Seven: Four turn offs.
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe my life right now.
Day Ten: One confession.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
Since I missed a bunch of days due to [livejournal.com profile] herodocles's birthday celebration, today we shall be doing two (TWO!) for the price of ONE!

Day 01: Ten things I want to say to ten different people right now.
Day 02: Nine things about myself.
Day 03: Eight ways to win my heart

Day 04: Seven things that cross my mind a lot.
  1. [livejournal.com profile] herodocles .
  2. SCA fighting.
  3. Short-sighted purchasing choices by a majority of Americans.
  4. The destructiveness of religious belief.
  5. My family.
  6. Different original characters.
  7. The evil of W*l-m*rt.
Day 05: Six things I wish I'd never done.
  1. That thing I said to so-and-so.
  2. That thing I let ThatGuy say to me, and didn't call him on it.
  3. All those things that other people said to me, that I didn't call them on.
  4. Not controlling my temper that one time.
  5. Not allowing my temper to take control, that one time.
  6. Him.

Day Six: Five people who mean a lot to me.
Day Seven: Four turn offs.
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe my life right now.
Day Ten: One confession.
vesta_aurelia: Fangirl your Armor (Default)
Since I missed last night due to Adiantum fighter practice, today we shall be doing two (TWO!) for the price of ONE!

Day One: Ten things I want to say to ten different people right now.

Day Two: Nine things about myself.
  1. I spent a lot of my life desperately trying to make sure people liked me.
  2. I've broken or dislocated every one of my fingers at one time or another.
  3. I have a cluttered room all the time, but my books are arranged in alphabetical order by author's last name (except SCA non-fiction research--that's organized by culture and/or topic).
  4. I have no brothers.
  5. I always point and laugh at Hummers and H2s.
  6. When I was a kid, I thought being a superhero was a viable career option. You just had to wait for your powers to come in.
  7. I MUST get a good night's sleep or I am Miss Whiny McCrankypants.
  8. I used to name inanimate objects (like my computer, my car, even the floppy disks). These days I just name my car(s).
  9. I like to drive around 80mph, especially in the summer, early in the morning. It's very relaxing.

Day Three: Eight ways to win my heart.
  1. Hug me.
  2. Listen to me.
  3. Be calm and employ reason.
  4. Be kind.
  5. Enjoy snuggling.
  6. Let me do good things for you, too.
  7. Play with my hair.
  8. Don't come with a pre-shaped box for me to have to fit inside.

Day Four: Seven things that cross my mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things I wish I’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot to me.
Day Seven: Four turn offs.
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe my life right now.
Day Ten: One confession.

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