According to the New York Times, the President of the United States did not know he was giving Steve Bannon a place on the National Security Council because he didn't read what he was signing. One would think that reading executive orders that carry the force of law would be the most basic of requirements for being the goddamn PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES. Excuse me while I gibber quietly in a secluded corner.

Still undecided about how to celebrate Valentine's Day. On the one hand, it would be nice to go out, but on the other, it's supposed to be cold and breezy, and frankly, I'm not sure I want to spend money to be annoyed by fucktards. We'll see how we feel after the spate of storms that are predicted to blow through here tomorrow and Wednesday.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Feb. 5th, 2017 10:35 pm)
Poor Falcons fans. I can't imagine the depth of their woe after entertaining such high hopes for most of the night. I'm sure everyone on ESPN will lionize Tom Brady as God in cleats(the insufferable Skip Bayless is already comparing him to Michael Jordan), but the Falcons deserves a huge dollop of blame. Poised for a blowout, they took their foot off the gas, and their defense flagged when it mattered. Tom Brady took advantage of their weakness and panic, and thus, the Patriots stand as five-time Superbowl winners. Let us hope that disappointed Falcons fans don't respond by rioting in the streets.

Made the mistake of visiting my mother's Facebook again. My family is so full of hate, of contempt. My mother remains an idiot, and my rich aunt, who had the good fortune to marry well, looks down her nose at libs/progs and says that since we're so obsessed with fairness, we should extend the immigration ban to everyone. As if that were a zinger. I would rather do that than exclude seven countries on the basis of religion. We've been down that road before with Japanese-Americans in 1941 and Jewish refugees in 1939, most of whom were returned to their eventual deaths because America couldn't be bothered to care. It was a disgrace then, and it's a disgrace now. But as far as my family is concerned, who cares? We take care of our own first, they say self-righteously, but I've never seen a single one of them lift a finger to help any of the "own" they hold up as a reason to exclude and ignore others. Not abused women or homeless people or poor children or the neglected elderly. Nor will they, because they don't really matter to them. They're not real people to be helped but philosophical chits to be tossed in to deflect responsibility, abrogate human decency, and shut down disagreement.

I've never felt a part of my maternal family, but some naive, hopeful part of me thought there was a core of decency in them, that they truly loved the country. Perhaps they do possess the latter, but of decency, I can find neither shred nor whit. I am ashamed of them, and in truth, I have begun to hate them, not for their views, repugnant though I find them, but for their hypocrisy and willful blindness and their willingness to believe every lie proffered by Kellyanne Conway, President Trump, and Fox News, while simultaneously eschewing as liberal propaganda anything else.
Some hapless soul has used my email address for their change of address verification with the USPS. Guess it's not going through because I'm not clicking that link. Best of luck to them.

Roomie and I are contemplating Valentine's Day. We almost never celebrate on the 14th because we hate battling the crowds. So far we've bandied about the idea of going to dinner and a movie on the 10th since he wants to see both John Wick 2 and Lego Batman. I'm ambivalent about the former but eager for the latter, so methinks it'll be our favorite restaurant and tiny, hilarious Batman on Friday unless it's ass degrees outside, in which case Roomie can go by his damn self.

An unintended consequence of being a misanthropic hermit awaiting the collapse of American civilization is the amount of money I've saved. My rainy-day fund is growing nicely, and if it keeps growing at this rate, I should be set for the vendors' hall at Dragoncon and fifty a few photo ops at Dragoncon this year. Which reminds me that I should set up my hotel for that soon, but with the roiling Trumpocalypse on the horizon, I've been hesitant to make plans, lest the planet become a universal Mordor with the petulant press of a button.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Feb. 2nd, 2017 01:29 pm)
Another day, another political tire fire. Last night, Trump offended the Australian prime minister, and this morning, he joked about Celebrity Apprentice at the National Day of Prayer breakfast, a state function. As an added bonus, his SCOTUS nominee might have founded a Fascism Forever club in high school. Whee.

I can't keep this up. The tidal wave of horrors is just too high, too incessant and insistent. I have to stop obsessing over every hysterical Facebook meme that pops up on my feed. I'm just going to pick one or two issues and focus on those and hope others tend to the rest.
My country is stirring. The leviathan has not awoken, but it is twitching. The USDA, NASA, and the National Park Service defy President Trump with statements and rogue Twitter accounts, and scientists plan marches in defense of knowledge. Resistance lives. Not everyone has surrendered. There is hope.

I watched more Tales From the Darkside today. Most of the episodes were terrible, but the godawful '80s fashion and decor are a hoot. "The Madness Room" had a decent premise, but it was ruined by the ham-fisted acting. Was such overwrought, demonstrative bellowing considered top-notch back then? Maybe it's just this show, because I don't remember Dynasty or The Golden Girls being so cack-handed.

"Grandma's Last Wish" was my favorite episode of the disc. What's not to love about a grandma getting revenge on the family trying to shove her into the nursing home by wishing for them to know what it's like to be old? The makeup was atrocious, but I enjoyed Grandma's moment of triumph.

"False Prophet" was an embarrassment. I have no clue how such a turd made it out of the brainstorming phase.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 24th, 2017 01:41 pm)
I blazed through three hundred and seventy-four pages of Within These Walls yesterday. It's magnificently creepy. The twists are predictable for anyone who's read a lot of horror, but I don't care because they're so finely-tuned. Ninety pages to go, and I'll be sorry when they're finished.

Roomie kipped out to the library and the grocery store, and I'm here, trying to keep my head up. We're in deep water now, and it's only getting higher. We're getting object lessons in how an ostensibly reasonable and intelligent people can descend into authoritarianism and lunacy, and it's heartbreaking and terrifying. I never expected it to happen at all, let alone in my lifetime, and it's happening so fast, so easily. Resistance is feeble at best. No one seems to care. Business as usual, they say, and shrug. But it's not usual. It's monstrous. Gag orders. Private Presidential security. A ban on clean energy research and utilization. This is America in 2017. It is no longer the country so many of us claim to revere, and yet, so many of us are trying to pretend that it is. The Trump supports because they refuse to admit they have betrayed their country to an incompetent demagogue, and his opponents because we don't want to admit that America as we know it is fading.

We must fight--march, scream, kick, claw, harangue our leaders for action, file suits, demand investigations--but we're not, and we won't, because even now, as everything falls apart, we are still complacent, still sure that everything will be all right. It's the path of least resistance, and that is we prefer, we coddled children so accustomed to someone else cleaning up the mess.

This country deserves better, but we got exactly what we deserved.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 23rd, 2017 06:37 pm)
My anxiety levels are currently at Defcon 1. I'm thrilled that more marches are in the works to demand the release of President Trump's tax returns and even gladder that suit has been filed, charging violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, but that's as political as I can stand to be today. The constant fear and impotent fury are doing me no good, and I'm not changing the world from behind this aging keyboard.

So, in happier news, Karl Urban has started scheduling cons for the year. Only one so far, but where there's one, there's bound to be more, and I have high hopes for Dragoncon. Fingers and toes crossed, verily.

I'm currently reading Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn. I can already sense the course the story will take, but so far, it's been artfully told, and I'm enjoying the ride. What a creepy gem.
And so it begins.

I would love for the worst surmises about the Trump administration to prove unfounded, but I'm not optimistic. I'm just tired. For all their frothing, Trump opponents can't even organize a circle jerk in a porno theater right now. It's frustrating, embarrassing, and disheartening. Everyone is full of rah-rah rhetoric and symbolic gestures, but nobody has advanced ideas for concrete action. There's tomorrow's march, but that's it. No sit-ins, no protests, no cogent organization, no one rounding up lawyers to see on what grounds he might be impeached or his cabinet picks might be disqualified on the basis of conflict of interest or gross unfitness for office. Everyone's content to mutter mutinously and childishly behind their keyboard about "Not my President", but no one is offering to risk defeat or inconvenience to themselves, let alone true sacrifice. Far easier to make memes or a countdown clock. Yeah, that'll show him the people mean business this time.

Let's get real: As long as no one messes with their Internet access, the people will do nothing. We care only as long as it requires no effort on our part. So here we are. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.
And the hour counts down, and I am afraid.
I am afraid
and I am afraid.
The hour counts down and I am afraid.
God help us all.

Karl Urban has resurfaced on Twitter. Huzzah! And he's needling Trump. Even better! It's such a petty thing in which to take delight, but it's all I've got as the country slides into the grasp of gross imcompetents and idiots like my mother rejoice.

Roomie has scarpered off to the grocery store for victuals, and I'm watching Web of Lies on ID and futzing with various things online. I contacted Movie Mars about a seriously tardy package, of which USPS has no record despite DHL's claims of delivery to a post office on the 14th. Ugh. I hope they find it. Roomie has been looking forward to its contents for weeks.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 18th, 2017 04:03 pm)
I placed a library hold for the first time yesterday. With this simple, comforting act, I have become a Library Person. And possibly Old, but I'm okay with this. Libraries are good and peaceful and necessary, and while Kindles are fabulous inventions, they will never match the simple, wondrous magic of prowling the stacks of a library and seeing embossed spines and call numbers and hearing the creak of a spine when you open a book. Or smelling the spice of the pages or wondering who left that receipt from 1990 on page 276. Or stopping in front of a title that caught your eye and realizing you've discovered a treasure of which you were oblivious until that moment. Gathering a stack and trooping to the front, proud of your finds and eager to begin the adventure. Only libraries offer you so much and ask nothing in return save a little love and a little time and the hope for a little magic. So viva Kindle and the technological revolution, but give me a library, with its whispers of stories untold and its memories of my grandfather's house, dust and dog and shag carpet and the exotic smell of old books.
It's a bummer that Karl Urban has fallen silent on Twitter. His silly, happy posts were a ray of sunshine. Maybe he's working or spending time with loved ones, or maybe social media has lost its charm after a few tangles with Trumplodytes. Whatever the case may be, I hope he hasn't given it up entirely.

I also hope he announces a few cons this year.

I watched another disc of Tales From the Darkside last night. It was hit-or-miss. "A Case of the Stubborns" was a campy, fun, gross romp featuring a young Brent Spiner and Christian Slater, and "Anniversary Dinner" was about a kindly old couple who aren't what they seem. The ending shot confused me, though. I'm not sure if the skulls in the cabinet were meant to come to life and join the feast, or if it was meant to show their previous victims.

The rest were mediocre, okay but forgettable. Except for "Answer Me", which was an overwrought travesty about...a murderous phone. I pitied the poor actress, who had to narrate her way through this shrill farce(she quite literally says things like, "I can't believe I'm going to the bathroom.")in a cultured English accent that would be at home in London's West End. As she mutters and rants her way through the scenes, a paranoid, petulant harridan berating nieces and hapless building supers who don't have a miracle solution for a ringing telephone in a vacant apartment, one feels not dread of the supernatural didoes in the room next door, but sympathy for her friends and relatives and a sneaking suspicion that she's quite unhinged.

But nope. Evil, homicidal Bakelite telephone. Which she threatens to beat to death with her bare hands. Phone: 1, Nutbar: 0, and the dumbest twenty minutes of television I've watched in a long time.

I also watched Kubo and the Two Strings. What a bittersweet, hopeful movie. It's such a shame it made no money, because it was clearly made with such love and attention to detail. For all the Internet squawks that the world hungers for more diversity and inclusion, something different from the same tired pandering to Anglo-Saxon culture, the box office returns tell a sadly different story.
Boo, hormonal surges. I've been having mild hot flashes these last few days. Could it be a sign of perimenopause? I am the right age. On the one hand, I'd be relieved to be shut of the monthly cramps and mess, but on the other, I would sorely miss my robust libido. How will I write unrepentant smut if all I want to do is read books and eat cake? The day I look at Karl Urban and think, Oh, what a nice young man instead of, Yeehaw! Just let Mama get the saddle out of the barn will be a day of grief, indeed.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 14th, 2017 08:08 pm)
Slow, slow, slow the fall.

A quiet day today. We've scarcely moved for more than a week. Neither one of us is keen to mingle with people who have shown themselves to be so brutally ignorant of the workings and the history of the country they purport to revere and for which they claim they would gladly die and so savagely, gleefully cruel to those who are not them. The ticket taker at the movie theater who once told Roomie she admired him for taking me out in public no longer seems so benign, a clueless little old lady just trying to be kind. Or the old man who pulled up alongside Roomie in the parking lot at the grocery store and told him he was "a good man, brother" because he saw him putting my wheelchair into the van. If it is kindness, it is kindness of the sweetest poison, a hint of a sense of deep and self-satisfied superiority. They are better than me simply because; this is a truth the world has reaffirmed for them, and so they can happily afford to condescend and call it kindness.

Better to stay inside with our stockpile of food and simple entertainments, save the gas and the money and the effort. At least here I don't have to feel hunted, like an intrusion tolerated by my superiors, a stranger in a strange land. I wonder how long it will be before the few ADA requirements that are regularly observed are ignored or neglected because hey, they don't have to care anymore. The President said so. Until what is implicit becomes explicit. We don't serve your kind here. No room. No tickets. No accommodations. No ramp. No accessible toilets. No need for these things because you are invisible, irrelevant. You don't matter, and you never really did.

Roomie sympathizes because he is good, because he loves me, but he does not understand. He can't. He is safe. He is visible.

I am quiet. I am lonely. I am afraid.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 13th, 2017 10:55 pm)
The country barrels toward the disaster, the fundamental undoing, that is a Trump presidency, and I can only wait and watch and hope it won't be that bad even as they recall ambassadors with no successors and order experienced major generals of the national guard to resign, again with no successor in view, and gleefully proclaim their intentions to defund, not just the ACA, but Medicare, Planned Parenthood, and Social Security. And so few care, and of those who do, fewer want to step forward and challenge the looming status quo, to paint a target on themselves for possible retribution. "Someone must do something, must protect our rights!" we cry boldly from behind the safety of our screens, legendary social media warriors of great renown, but we are cowards without our keyboards and the sheltering cocoon of anonymity. "Someone should make the heroic stand," we say, "the noble sacrifice. But not I, of course. Not I."

And so we fall in silence.

On the homefront, I watch the end come like a slowly-rising tide. I try to tell my mother what I see, what I fear, but I am only her invalid daughter, and so she does not hear. I read. I watch TV and follow Karl Urban's Twitter because he, at least, safe in New Zealand, still has hope.

I envy him.
laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)
( Jan. 11th, 2017 07:57 pm)
I have yet to decide on my next book. Logic dictates it should be The Far Side of the World, #10 in the Master and Commander series by Patrick O'Brian, since it's my last library book. Well, not my last; Ahab's Wife by Sema Naslund is still sitting there, a feculent beacon of sanctimonious, masturbatory godawfulness eyeing me from atop a pile of nearby books, but I've no inclination to finish it. If I do, it'll be because I don't want my progress updates for it to disappear from my eventual Goodreads review. There are just so many other books I want to read, including a pair that just arrived from Amazon this afternoon.

I'm not sure what my plans are this year. There's Dragoncon, of course, but with no guests announced yet, I'm not sure how excited I should be at the prospect. Right now, I'm just happy at the thought of spending five days in Atlanta with Roomie. Should Karl Urban or Craig Parker be announced, I'll promptly go into fangirl overdrive and spend the next X days impatiently awaiting opening day, but while Craig is likely, I suspect Karl will either be gainfully employed thanks to the tireless industry of his new agents or enjoying a down year with his family. So I'm preparing myself to simply enjoy what's there and looking forward to splurging on food and visiting the Aquarium again.
I can only presume that collective anxiety about other aspects of American life has bled into the local weather reports because there's no other explanation for the current hysteria over normal weather conditions for this time of year. Yes, it's cold today, but two years ago, it was colder for a longer period of time, and the weather service didn't feel the need to issue advisories to steal food, horde gas, and bludgeon our elderly to spare the the oncoming horrordire warnings about possible power outages and ice in the fuel lines of our cars. People are woefully uncertain of the future, and it's infected everything else.

No plans for today other than to stay out of the cold. I've got chocolate and hot cocoa and Joyce Carol Oates, and if I get the chance and can wrest the TV from Roomie, who is watching playoff football, I might watch some paranormal hokum on Destination America.
Woke up to a winter wonderland. Snow on the ground, on the cars, on the barren branches of trees. The black of the street is a startling contrast to the soft, pristine whiteness of the snow. Outside, it's drowsily beautiful as the sun sets and flakes skirl from the roofs to cover steps and ramps and cars. Inside, it's lazy and sloe-eyed and pottering. There's football on TV, and I'm nibbling York peppermint patties. The sheriff and the weather reports warn of frostbite and black ice, but they are far away, further than the cheap, prefab windows that separate the outside from the inside. They are there, and I am here, and for today, everything is all right.

I started The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates. I can't speak for the other five stories that I have yet to read, but "The Corn Maiden" is one of the creepiest stories I've read in a long time. There's no gore, no shocking revelation, no twist ending that casts previous events in a new and sinister light. It's just a steady, unsentimental look at the evil found in unexpected places and the grinding terror of a missing child. The prose itself is the story's strongest asset, a hypnotic fever dream from which you don't emerge until the nightmare is over, and when you do, the shift to more prosaic prose is jarring, as though you've just awakened from a terrible dream you're not sure you want to remember. It's brilliant and more effective than a dozen slavering lunatics rocking in filthy corners and muttering, dark, inscrutable prophecy.

The imagery is also incredibly potent. It's not garish or strident; on the contrary, it's understated, like dust settling into the collar of your blouse and drifting down your back, an itch you can't quite reach. The description of the Onigara Indian exhibit at the museum at the beginning of the story made my belly flutter with unease, though I could not have said why. It was lurid, but not through any fault of its own or any flaw of its creation. Rather, the luridness was imposed upon it by Jude and her alien, jaundiced. It was the first intimation that something was dreadfully wrong here, and wrong in a way that could not be righted.

Likewise with that single blackbird at the end. There was nothing wrong with the bird, bless it, but that closing convocation sent a finger of unease down my spine.
Turns out that much of my malaise last night vanished once I ate and got away from this screen. The bacon was good, but the Survivor Series was lackluster and dragged interminably. Better than staring at a laptop just to stare, but if I had attended the show, I'd've been disgruntled.

So I watched that, read my current book, and watched an episode of Too Cute. Watching miniature schnauzer pups frolicking with a ferret was the perfect way to end the day, and now I'm up and watching, fat, white snowflakes slowly drift to earth and blanket the mountains outside my window. I'm determined to make a peaceful day of it for as long as it lasts, and if the power goes out, I'll just burrow beneath the covers and wait for the light to return.
According to the sheriff, the snowpocalypse is nigh. This is the same man who told us to sleep in our nonexistent basements a few days ago, when all we received was a steady downpour, so I'm taking this with a grain of salt. Be that as it may, we have stocked up on peanut butter and crackers. Not gourmet, but it'll keep us from starvation should the worst happen and the power fail for several days.

I'm holding on to a ton of tension right now. Everything aches. Whether it's hormones or the weather or the slow-motion collapse of my country and the hysterical frothing on both sides, I don't know. Maybe all of the above. I want to read, but my face hurts, and I'm so sleepy. Oh, for the energy of youth and the wisdom of the past twenty years.

Feh. I'm just typing to type and keep my commitment to keeping a blog again. I'm going to drink the Crystal Pepsi Roomie unearthed at the Walmart and watch Survivor Series 2016. Maybe things will be more interesting tomorrow.
Guess which of these forecasts is for my area?

A)A light dusting of snow


B)Three to six inches of snow

The answer is: Both!

That's right. According to the alert issued for my area this morning, three to six inches of now is expected from Thursday through Saturday. However, if you read the full text of the alert, my area is only expected to receive a "light dusting" of less than an inch. So either we're going to get snowed in, or we'll get bupkus. Such incisive and accurate predictions are no doubt why meteorologists get paid the big bucks.

I finished Mariel of Redwall the other day. It was all right, but there's a disappointing sameness to the plot, and for all the story was called Mariel of Redwall, it spent precious little time with her after her introduction. In fact, most of its time was spent with Mother Mellus, Simeon, Dandin, Durry, Gabool, and Greypatch. Mariel merely served served as a narrative mechanism to set the story in motion, and then she was quietly sidelined.

Someone in the reviews said that they were uncomfortable with the glorification of "redemptive violence" in the series. I can only presume they meant "retributive violence" because there was no blood redemption on view. No baddie repented of their wrongs and went down in a blaze of glory defending the helpless. They stayed awful and made no apologies for it and died deserved deaths for their gleeful cruelty. I have no problem with this. In fact, I found it immensely satisfying and would like to see more of it in fiction.

Retributive violence is decried by those who say it sends a bad message to impressionable readers, but I disagree. Retributive violence in fiction is healthy and often the only justice the downtrodden characters are going to get. There's no Redwall justice system, no apparatus of state, no army, no police, no courts. They have to defend themselves and depend on the fundamental decency of others to help them. Gabool the Wild and his evil hordes weren't going to be dissuaded from their course by a wait-and-see approach. If the abbey denizens had thrown open their doors and invited Graypatch's besieging army inside for hugs and cocoa, they would've found themselves with swords buried in their bellies and yokes around their necks. Forbearance and willingness to negotiate are wonderful, but they aren't always applicable, and the wistful belief that they are is as dangerous and stupid a lesson as that of mindless, wanton violence. That belief is one of the myriad reasons the world finds itself in its present circumstances.

"They go low, we go high" is a laudable sentiment, but it is not, alas, a sure formula for victory. Sometimes an asshole just needs a kick in the face.


laguera25: Dug from UP! (Default)


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