numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
Those of you who have me friended over on the Facebook have seen my reactions thus far, which have mostly consisted of me re-sharing other people's reactions.

I literally can't wrap my mind around the devastation. I have friends down in Houston. So far, thank God, they are all okay to my knowledge. But I can't help but worry about a friend whom I last heard from in 2003, when she said she was withdrawing from all internet activity forever and deleted all her social media accounts (which back then were AIM and Yahoo.) I've thought about her and her roommate, another friend of mine, a lot over the years, and I really hope they are okay right now, but I have no way to contact them. Their old email accounts stopped working long ago.

There was a gas scarcity panic over it here in Dallas today. Prices shot up about 15-20 cents on the gallon because refineries are down, but some pundit or podcast urged people to GO FILL UP NOW because reserves are about to vanish, (so they claim) and now we have cars lined up around the block at most nearby gas stations, and fights apparently breaking out - and dammit this was all so totally unnecessary, but not altogether unexpected; people being as prone to panic as they are. As far as I know, DFW is the only metroplex affected by this panic. I'm good on gas right now, unless some miscreant siphons my tank in the night.

Otherwise, I salute all of those who have given what they can, and all the first responders, the Cajun Navy, and everyone who helped save others, and who came to their neighbors' aid. We are Texans, and we will get through this.

EDIT: Also, I can't seem to find the setting that forces other people's journals and communities to display in my current theme. Because I turned it on to test the CSS from [personal profile] solarbird's phone-friendly DW theme hack, and now I can't find it to turn it back off again. D: EDIT: Found it!


Aug. 20th, 2017 11:18 am
numb3r_5ev3n: (BITCHIN.)
There were no Nazis, and this happened!

I am so proud of my city right now.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
In light of this week's events in Charlottesville and elsewhere: here's the thing that gets me...and this is inspired by the fact that I just was in the flame war in the comments on Cloudflare's Disqus page, on their post about their decision to suspend their hosting of The Daily Stormer:

So many of the Daily Stormer advocates and fans, and people in the alt right movement in general are going "show me a single time we advocated for genocide or murder or killing of Jews/Muslims/LGBTQIA+/PoCs," and seem flabbergasted when people can in fact find multiple instances of all of this. Then one of them in the thread pointed to the boilerplate disclaimer on the Daily Stormer about how they supposedly do not support violence or illegal activity, as if that's supposed to cover their asses.

And from Crybaby Chris Cantwell's video, he too seems completely floored by the fact that people object to his statements.

It made me think of a couple of things. First: they think that for the most part that the alt right is some sort of secret club where they can say whatever they want and it is only being consumed by people of like mind; and when other people object, they seem to think that the other people had no business looking in on them (on a public website) and criticizing them for what they were saying anyway because "it's not for YOU." This is something that, as a previous member of Fandom_Wank, I used to see a lot in the early to mid aughts. It was a well documented phenomenon on their wiki while Fandom_Wank was a thing.

Second, if they are just "virtue signaling" on the right, it is obvious that several of them do mean what they say when they advocate violence and genocide, because several of them have committed acts of violence and seem eager to proceed on to genocide. So they shouldn't be shocked, or try to deny it or walk it back when people take them 100% at their word. They have to own this.

And most of all, they shouldn't freak out about being called Nazis if they seem to idolize Hitler, they use all the signals of Nazis, and espouse and quote Nazi ideology. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...

Anyway, I and several friends and going to the DFW anti-fascist rally tomorrow. A pro fascist counter protest is expected. If it does, and we are confronted by any damn Nazis, we're going to smile and ask, "HEY! ARE YOU GUYS NAZIS?" and take their pictures, knowing that any of them can probably be identified through the magic of social media. Let's see if any more Nazis can have their fifteen minutes of crying on Youtube about arrest warrants fame.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
I dropped off the map again for a couple of weeks to deal with some personal issues.

I went permanent at my job. I am now a regular employee again, after seven years of being a contractor - which in the USA is basically indentured servitude with few or no medical benefits, and no sick or vacation time, with dismissal at a moments' notice a cold, hard fact once the company one is indentured to is no longer meeting the bottom line.

I worked for two companies between 2010-2017, both of which worked me until I broke (I had depressive breaks/anxiety) and then threw me out like worn out light bulb. After having had the promise of permanent tenure dangled in front of me by both companies for seven years, and then yanked away, my newest position just gave it to me after three months of employment there.

I'm grateful and ecstatic, but I also weep for what this means for our current capitalist system. And I'm still dealing with the psychological fallout from the last two positions, over the last seven years.

Last summer, I felt so dehumanized - mainly over the fact that I had bronchitis for a month and was not allowed to take any sick time, and was then berated for how my performance suffered and then let go.

The American dream was dead for me, as it is for so many people...people who "punch down" instead of punching up, who blame those who are even less fortunate that they are instead of "the masters" (because they still envision themselves as being "a master" one day - as the quote attributed to John Steinbeck goes, America is full of "temporarily embarrassed millionaires.")

However, I have discovered that I need major surgery to correct the issue with my uterine fibroids, and when the surgery finally happens I will be out for six weeks. This was non negotiable. After I got caught up financially from my last period of unemployment, I went to the gyno finally to talk about my options. The pain has been getting worse over the past year.

I have told my boss. I am trying to save up enough money to cover expenses, as I have not been there long enough to apply for a leave of absence, and hoping that the pain is manageable until then.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
I've posted about it here before in comments, but it deserves its own post. I have a theory regarding Vaporwave, and it involves the Millennials who are creating it for the most part.

A lot of them were kids or were just being born when 2000 rolled around. As a "Xennial," I was college-aged at the time, and struggling to adapt to a world that already seemed actively hostile and unforgiving - and I had no idea how good we all had it at the time. It has only gotten worse since then. And I think there is a sense, a consensus, held by a lot of people that the future we were all expecting was stolen from us, somehow. Michael Moorcock and Philip K Dick and William Gibson and other artists knew what might be coming, and tried to warn us. Some of us heeded their warnings, even if we were in denial.

The future was stolen from us by crypto-fascist capitalists. I'm not talking about the 2016 election because Trump and his people are openly, overtly fascist, and won support from their base on that platform. I'm referring to the 2000 presidential election debacle, where the crypto-fascist capitalist neoconservatives won through a technicality and ran this country and several other middle eastern countries into the ground for eight years, largely due to what happened in 2001. It was like there was no going back after that. All optimism for the future was replaced by all fear, all the time, broadcast 24/7 courtesy of the Roger Ailes/Rupert Murdoch-owned media networks that worked hand in hand with the capitalist crypto-fascists, who exploited a cowardly terrorist attack and the human suffering that followed for their own cynical, selfish gain.

But even though millennials were kids for the most part when it all went down, and even though their perceptions were warped by the black-and-white rhetoric of the time, they know. They remember that their future was stolen.

Vaporwave is their attempt to take it back, using the only weapons they have been allowed. They're using the sounds of the past to try and create or emulate the sound that would have been the soundtrack of the future that was stolen from them. In this sense, Vaporwave is like propaganda flyers dropped from covert airplanes for this newest incarnation of the culture wars.

Yes, Vaporwave is also about nostalgia, about a time period that the millennials born in the 1990s and 2000s either barely remember or never got to experience. And yes, that was the era of Ronald Reagan/Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton. But I think part of that nostalgia is also a longing for the idea of a time when the deck didn't seem so badly stacked against us; a return to the way things were before the Crypto-fascists came to power - because if Reagan was bad in a lot of ways, the administrations of George W Bush and Donald Trump make him seem like a flaming liberal - and they all make the Clintons look like a couple of saints, even with all of the things about the Clintons that are problematic.

Fascism is trying to creep in, via "fashwave," but it is hampered by the vindictive, malignant resentment that passes for a sense of humor amongst bigots and fascists. The "we can't create anything on our own, so we're going to take your toys away and break them" kind of mentality. But they're already losing the war, because it's pretty much known to everyone who follows it that Vaporwave began as a parody of, and a response to, capitalism, and capitalism and fascism are two sides of the same coin. One can't exist without the other. You can't adopt a meme that criticizes rampant capitalism and try to bend it to its worship with much success, because too many people are already in on the original joke.

Several people have already claimed that the Vaporwave meme is dead, but it's not going anywhere. It keeps mutating into different genres and reinventing itself. If Vaporwave "died" then its already back on its third or fourth life. The medium keeps expanding. People keep reaching for the future that they know was taken from them, by any means they can - even if it is just the feel, the sound, and the ambiance - the "a e s t h e t i c" - that they are achieving right now. If we end up there finally - in that continuum, with the future we were supposed to have gotten - we have them to thank.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
So, I started experimenting with making my own deodorant (using this recipe) after even Dove started breaking me out. It's great and it works, but I had trouble getting the scent I wanted. The tea tree oil overwhelmed everything else, even the patchouli.

This last time, I decided to throw in some leftover Lush "solid perfume" that I had, (in the "Karma" scent) and the results look and feel a lot more like store-bought deodorant without breaking me out. Lush products list all the ingredients, so I knew the resulting combo wouldn't break me out, and it hasn't - and I smell like Lush product all day! Yes, I know it's technically a $13.00 bar of deodorant at that point, but I like Lush stuff anyway when I can afford it, and 13.00 for their smallest tin of solid perfume is pretty affordable for them, anyway.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
So, in three weeks I am already 100% Undertale trash. And just after I vowed to leave Tumblr, too.

Again, I know my argument from about a month ago...we need to be the content we want to see here on the DW. I am still working on that. I am not sure if I should make a community or seems pretentious now, where ten years ago I would have just made a comm and not thought twice about it. It really says something about how people left the LJ/DW format en masse that there isn't even an Undertale community here, with Undertale being as huge as it is.

I'm going to make a community. Also a ton of icons.

EDIT: Imma do more shit to it later, this is just the placeholder now.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
Burning Flipside 2017 was awesome, I just wish there had been more of it - I didn't end up getting out there until very late Friday night, because I couldn't get Thursday and Friday off. I didn't get to do all of the ranging around I wanted to do - and by the time the temperature had dropped sufficiently enough that I actually had the energy to do it, we had to hit the hay because loadout was that morning. Oh well. It is what it is.

At least it didn't rain until Sunday. The burn itself was a Flipside miracle: we almost thought we wouldn't be able to do it once the rain let up, until the Rangers/Fire team were like, "F it, we'll throw diesel on it detonate a mortar and throw fireworks at it until it gets the job done." (A campmate and I were actually eavesdropping on the meeting at the Ranger camp where this was being discussed, because we were sick of waiting around for news.) The actual burn was probably the best one so far in the five years that I have been going.

In other news: so, I've started playing Undertale.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
If Chris Cornell had to leave us, at least he took Roger Ailes with him.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
As per a conversation I had elsewhere - yeah, fuck Tumblr.

I left a flounce post letting people know I've pretty much fucked off back to an actual blogging site. (Also Ao3, Twitter, and Facebook. BTW I am currently Yves Adele Harlowe on FB until they make me change it again.)

And I've pretty much come to the conclusion that if DreamWidth is to take off and have the success that LiveJournal did, we kind of need to be the content we want to see until other people start coming over. Yeah, it's a lot of work and can be a pain in the ass, but that's how it began 2001-2002 during the Great Migration from Yahoogroups, and that's how it can happen again.

It also tends to follow specific fandoms. LOTR and Harry Potter are the fandoms that really precipitated the move from Yahoogroups to LiveJournal. If a franchise goes viral and its fans who are major content creators start trickling over here, others will follow them.

I know that DreamWidth's image hosting/sharing features are where LiveJournal's were in 2008-2010, but you know what fixes that? Money. And how does DreamWidth get money? New subscribers.

I think one of the main attractions to Tumblr 2010-2011 was the fact that it could be used as a content dump area, because around the time it was created, LJ's image hosting/sharing features were still not ready for prime time (Photobucket/Tinypic, anyone?) but I've been using Imgur for that over the past year or so, anyway.

But really, Tumblr was created as an image-sharing service. You know those image macros that were popular in the late augties, the ones with text of some sort of platitude about life, or a dark personal secret, superimposed over a picture of something like a sepia-toned swingset, or a sunset, or a clothesline, or a picture of flowers? THAT was what Tumblr was created to be - a "hipster secrets" macro aggregator. It was also trying to be Instagram before Instagram was a thing. Well, Instagram *is* a thing (and I'm also over there, but to follow very specific people - and I'm not giving out my contact info over there just yet.)

Tumblr's format is conducive to conflict instead of discussion and debate, ("le discourse" my ass) to context getting lost, and communication breaking down. Its primary use now is to perpetuate "callout culture." It's been that way since 2012, six months or so after I started using it (I joined at the end of 2010 and then just let it sit for a long time.) But it's not getting better. It's never going to get any better. The way the platform and the site and service itself are set up are part of the problem.

I started using it to follow the Tron and Homestuck fandoms. Not to get into 24/7 shouting matches or "discourse," or callout posts over the internet - or to see other people's shouting matches and callout posts played out so much that they drown out the content that I actually came there to see - like a film I was enjoying suddenly cut to one of those David Attenborough shows where a hapless gazelle is being ripped apart by lions at a watering hole (which is exactly the thing that led to this decision, today.) I went there originally to consume fan created content for Tron and Homestuck and other fandoms I like, PERIOD END OF SENTENCE.

Fuck Tumblr. I honestly hope people go back to actual blogging sites - or that The Next Big Thing comes along and squashes it, and people abandon it en masse like they did with Yahoogroups starting around 2002. You hear about people going back to LJ and DW from Tumblr...but you never hear about people going back to Yahoogroups. That's the fate I wish upon Tumblr.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
It's also an excuse for [personal profile] phobotrope to grill out.

We have some camp furniture to finish painting and polyurethaning, and we're setting up all our tents and stuff to make sure they still work after being in storage all year, our air mattresses have no holes, etc. At some point Big Trouble In Little China will be watched.

Once again, our usually-assigned campground went from being a relatively level area next to a creek, to a relatively steep incline after the 2015 flood, and seems to get worse with every flash flood. Cots are out of the question this year. (Do you want to end up in the creek? Because that's a great way to end up in the creek.)

We had to redo the camp bar. We're trying to turn it from a monstrosity that took nearly an hour to assemble, to something that can be set up/taken down in ten minutes. The 2015 disaster forced us to rethink a lot a things.

Lots of camps have bars - people within the camp all buy different boozes to bring to the event, and take turns serving passers-by.

Our nifty glam bartops for this year:

numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)

The folks who voted for Trump and the Republicans are going to get the illness, poverty, and eventual death from both that they voted for: which seems to be ok by them as long as a white man with a western sounding name is in office.

The W. Bush years should have taught them better - They got everything they wanted for eight years on a silver platter and it sucked, and they suffered. Republicans promise the moon, but all they ever deliver is misery, recession, and war. Nothing is ever going to "trickle down" to the likes of us. It didn't happen with Reagan, it didn't happen with Bush sr, or Bush Jr. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different to happen this time.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not going to stop fighting for the people who are generally the targets of Republican bigotry. But the so-called “working class whites” (if you consider an income of $72,000 or more a year "working class") who voted Republican AGAIN after what happened 2000-2008 can fuck right off.

They WANTED this. when they whine and cry about losing healthcare and benefits, remember that they voted for this.

I was freaking out this morning. But you know what? I survived the last Republican Recession with no health plan. I will drink cheapass champagne, sit back, and watch them be the architects of their own destruction. When they all die off, I propose that those of us who are left go with Canadian or Scandinavian-style socialism.

numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
 So, Burning Flipside is less than three weeks away. And because I can't get all the time off that I would normally get, the usual phenomenon of "procrastinating about packing because of work, and then throwing everything that's left into a plastic bag the morning of, and leaving around noon on Thursday" is not an option. I will be leaving *from* work Friday afternoon, and hopefully getting to the event before the gate closes at midnight - which is totally doable provided I can get my ass to Mars out of DFW, specifically through DFW traffic, in less than an hour and a half. 

And this means all my gear, my boots, my spare boots, and my backup spare boots have to be ready to roll when I roll out of the parking lot shortly after 5PM on Friday the 26th, three weeks from now.

So, most of the Burner community that I interact with is in a serious state of schadenfreude about Fyre Fest. I mean, with my income, $105.00 for a Flipside ticket can technically be considered an extravagance. These folks shelled out anywhere from 5000-12,000. And ended up being served ham sandwiches and housed in FEMA tents. The urge to point and laugh is strong (one tweet: "SPOILED RICH KID: "Poor people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps!" RICH KID AT FYRE FEST: "MY SANDWICH IS BAD! SEND EVERYONE!")

As someone said in another article, the true hallmark of privilege is still having a future after something this fucked up happens to you. But at the same time, I kind of feel terrible for joining in all of the schadenfreude? I seriously hope no one has actually come to harm because of all of these shenanigans? Because I know what it's like for an event to seriously go south, even though I and the people I was camping with got out of Flipside 2015 right before the flash flood hit that turned the event into three separate islands, stranding people for up to a week and eventually necessitating that people be airlifted off of the land?

And in the meantime, I'm thinking, "How much do you think Ja Rule and Billy McFarland are willing to part with some of those surplus FEMA tents for? I'm asking for a friend." 

numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
Last week, I re-examined X Files, and the unintentionally toxic effect that I believe it had on pop culture - a hypothesis which was reinforced by the soft reboot miniseries from last year, and will most likely be reinforced again when the new season begins.

I've already posted at length about the impact that The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai had on my life, here and here. But while those posts touched on the history of my involvement with it, and became an examination of the story's more problematic aspects, there is a side to it that I haven't addressed yet - my perception of it as a part of my growth as a fan.

When I was sixteen and seeing the film for the first time, I was very attracted to the random, offbeat humor that permeated the whole film. I was, at that point, in the orbit of several people who professed to be "Subgeniuses," one of them being a math teacher at my High School, and I was participating in the antics of a loose collective of social misfits who engaged in acts of Dadaist and absurdist humor (to give you an idea: we saw the description of Chaotic Neutral in the AD&D 2nd Edition Player's Handbook and were like "this is us.")

So when our computer science teacher gave me a bootleg VHS copy of The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension, it was right up my alley. I immediately went out and showed it to as many of my friends as would take the time to watch it with me.

But underneath it all, there was an idea that we were "signal jamming" something very sinister and malignant in nature. As this was the early 1990s, the pop culture conspiracy theory engine was just getting warmed up. One of my friends at the time (who, somewhat ironically, ended up working for the US Government in the defense industry) confessed to us that he was the agent of a Extraterrestrial force which was working to safeguard humanity against "The Other Side." "The Other Side" was a rigid, hierarchical, mechanized intelligence of fascistic order, which could only be defeated by random, chaotic white noise.

It was a narrative borrowed directly from John C Lilly's writings, and the conspiracy theories about "Influencing Machines." We glommed onto this narrative, because it gave us an excuse to behave in the "LOL, WE'RE SO RANDOM" manner in which we already had been up to that point, and feel like we were saving the world. It also gave me a ready-made explanation for my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, since I was diagnosed with the primarily obsessional, or "Pure O" type. No, I wasn't mentally ill - I was the focus of a concentrated attack from sinister, sentient machines. Because we were onto them.

And when my best friend snapped and suddenly went weird and hostile, and was controlling. and physically and sexually and psychologically abusive towards her then-girlfriend, it gave me a ready-made explanation for that, too. The Solid State. Influencing Machines. Project Stargate. We were a threat, so we were being neutralized. It was damnably effective. They didn't even have to kill us for it to work.

And Buckaroo Banzai worked its way into this mythos. We really believed that Hanoi Xan (the original Big Bad of the Buckaroo Banzai mythos above and beyond John Lithgow's character, who was referenced in the Across The 8th Dimension script and the novelization, and the fanfic we had access to at the time) was a real, evil force and behind it all. I even linked Nostradamus's prophesy of The Third Antichrist to Xan.

The fandom itself encouraged this. Writer Earl Mac Rauch, who wrote the original screenplay, has always insisted that Buckaroo Banzai is a real person and that the stories written about him are "docudramas, based on real events."

We were a bunch of crazy kids whose grip on reality was already tenuous at best, and it fed right into what we were already caught up in.

Because I didn't get my hands on the Buckaroo Banzai novelization until much later, we had this idea of Xan as a paramilitary Colonel Kurtz-like figure with psychic powers; the obvious resemblance to Fu Manchu, and the racist/problematic Yellow Peril connotations didn't even occur to us at the time.

I didn't even learn until recently that Earl Mac Rauch had borrowed Xan from another author, H Ashton-Wolfe. Hanoi Xan first appeared in his 1918  novel Warped In The Making - Crimes Of Love And Hate - which again, was professed by the author to have been based on true events.

The "loose collective of social misfits" dissolved as we tried to put as much distance between ourselves and my crazy, abusive ex-best friend as possible. We graduated. We drifted apart, and into other circles. We went to college and got jobs. We integrated into "normal adult life." One of our previous associates is now a conservative Evangelical. Another, as I mentioned before, now works in the defense industry.

Years later, I tried showing Buckaroo Banzai to a new group of friends, and the random, offbeat jokes in the film just fell flat. They all just watched in silence. I could feel a part of myself wither and die as I saw it as if for the first time through their eyes. I believe one of them even asked me, "So why is this your favorite movie, again?"

I've recovered since then, obviously. 

I look at things now and see how the polarities have shifted: Neo Nazis and the "Alt -Right" have appropriated the chaotic "white noise" of symbol jamming and culture jamming, claiming to be harmless memesters. Merry pranksters poking fun at ("triggering") too-serious liberals, all while churning out dangerously toxic symbols of hate, violence, and genocidal oppression towards their usual targets: Jews, women, Muslims, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and the Black community.

I remember what Buckaroo Banzai and the other absurdist heroes of our shared mythos meant to us once upon a time, and wonder if there is a way we can fight fire with fire.

When I heard that Kevin Smith was going to reboot Buckaroo Banzai into a new series for Amazon, I was cautiously optimistic. The initiative fell through because MGM didn't ask permission from Earl Mac Rauch, the original writer and creator of the Banzai universe (never mind what he claims to the contrary, and the fact that the Big Bad was borrowed from an earlier work) and "Mac" has always maintained that he still holds the rights to any new material. A legal battle has ensued between Earl Mac Rauch and MGM, and who knows if a sequel, or a new series, will ever see the light of day.
numb3r_5ev3n: jc and needlegun (needlegun)
 One of the reason I keep returning to the same fandoms over and over is that my interaction/consumption/fanfic creation around said fandom is like a snapshot of where I was, mentally and emotionally speaking, at that point in my life when they first became important to me - especially before I started blogging.

I used to journal in spirals, but the ones from my late teens/early twenties are mostly either in storage, or lost or gone. And I've gotten to a point in my life when I realize that stuff from my "memory palace" (as it is called in the Silence Of The Lambs/Hannibal mythos) is also getting lost or missing or altered.

Also, it was helping me get through stuff. There were periods of terrible loss in my late teens and early twenties in which I was never able to get back even a semblance of the well-being I had before, ever. I would have the epiphany of, "you know you're still allowed to exist in the way you wanted to, right?" and then I never would. 

There are mental snapshots and impressions of the way things were before everything went to hell. Sometimes, I see an edge or an outline of what might have been had things been allowed to proceed in the way I had wanted them to. Part of the problem of being in a co-dependent relationship with a person with borderline personality disorder is that they get to define who you are - and the moment you try and grow or change out of that role, you've suddenly mutated into this frightening thing they don't know, or have become a horrible, evil impostor - someone who is a fair-game target for any vengeance they feel like taking.

And I think back upon my old Buckaroo Banzai fic, for example, and realize how much of that was influenced by the narrative of being someone on the receiving end of that kind of blowout. Because I was, IRL.

So much of it was because I'd been happy for the first time in my life - for the first time in my life - and then I wasn't, again. My childhood was a haze of confusion, humiliation, rage and depression. So when the perfect situation seemingly popped up, and then it all went south, it was like the Universe making a correction. "Oh, excuse me - you weren't supposed to have that. We're taking that back. See here, in the contract? It says right here that you're supposed to be an emotionally isolated, obsessive compulsive rage monster living a life of quiet desperation and self-loathing. So sorry for the mix-up! My bad."

And I still have mental snapshots of the longest period of happiness in my entire life - which I managed to capture, along with the eventual collapse, in my fic at the time.

And I keep going back to those fandoms because I can feel even those snapshots starting to fade.

And I know it probably seems selfish and regressive. "Why do you spend so much time dwelling in the past? Why don't you make new friends and new good memories?" Well, partially because I kept getting pulled back into the same types of cycles with the same types of people for nearly fifteen years after that. I'm in a good place *now*, with good people *now*, but it took twenty years or so. Also, because stuff happened last summer to cause me to re examine a lot of those events and see them in a new light. And because I need a template, a basis for comparison of what "happiness" feels like opposed to the depression that I'm used to. And for most of the other reasons you don't go up to a mentally ill person and go "Why don't you just xxxx?! See, all better!~~~ :D:D:D:D"

But the thing was, I needed to find out how to find my way back on my own, without getting back into the cycle of co-dependency. And my life has been full of people trying to force me into the other half of their co-dependent binary system (or one of several nodes to feed upon.)

It's gotten to the point when I can generally recognize if someone is genuinely interested in me as a person, or as just a bolster for their own ego, playing a role in their own film that they have running in the back of their imaginations - or as a resource that they can drain dry, and string along until I've recovered enough to be useful to them again.

I didn't really mean to go into all of this. I meant to talk about fandom. And how it's gotten me through so much.

numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)

There's a popular, well-known "organic"  grocery store chain where I don't shop anymore, because the owner is a conservative homophobe who scoffs at "the hippies" for spending money at his establishments. Well, NOT THIS HIPPIE.

Still, I used to frequent them for scented glycerin soap. I was able to find a nice essential oil which smelled similar, so I figured I'd make my own.

The top ones are made with the mold that came with the kit. I tried doing a layered, two-tone soap in greens. I used a silicon heart shape mold for the white glycerin soap with the blue swirl pattern. I really like how it came out!

This is fun! I'll probably do more of it! Why throw down good money at Lush, when I can make my own custom bath products? I'm already making my deoderant (recipe here) and it's more complicated than soap.


numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
 This week was a roller coaster. It ended on a high note, and I'm glad. The new job is really going well - which is a relief, because the atmosphere at my last two jobs over the past ten years were really toxic. But enough said about that. I realize that I basically had a nervous breakdown back in October, and I'm still having aftershocks from it, But things are going to be okay.

First off...this accelerated arms crisis or whatever it is that we're in right now is freaking me out, as it is a lot of people. I want to ask everyone I saw during the election who were all like "Trump doesn't really mean what he says! He's just pandering to the far right fringe!" (aaaaaaand what about that makes that okay to them?) and "bbut Killary will inevitably march us to war!" how the fuck they feel about their decisions now.  I wanted Bernie to win as much as the next leftist, but the choices we ended up with were a stateswoman with five decades of experience, and a volatile reality TV show host who can't even remember which country he bombed.

But I also think a lot about how we got here. And how I have the uncomfortable feeling that one of my primary fandoms is partially  responsible.

X Files was paramount in the 1990s. It was a part of our collective pop-culture consciousness for years. But  it rose to the pinnacle of its popularity during a time when I think the end of the cold war left a lot of boomers in a kind of identity crisis. We'd lost our first major war since World War II, and when Soviet-style communism collapsed in on itself, I think there was still a lot of fear and paranoia, and it needed a focus. It didn't just go away when the cold war did.

And when Bill Clinton got elected, I think it shocked a lot of people who were still clinging to the Red Dawn "Wolverines!" and Southern Strategy narratives. They'd spent twenty years or more listening to G Gordon Liddy and Rush Limbaugh tell them how Godless Liberals were plotting to sell the country to the USSR - except there wasn't a USSR anymore, (and how ironic is it that the Republicans were the ones who sold us to Putin in 2016, anyway) and the Clinton years were a boom era that no recent Republican administration has been able to match (with Republicans, you pretty much always get recession and war instead.)  There was no one in the government that they could look at to identify with. So The Gubmint became The Enemy.

Not that there weren't reasons for this. MKultra and Cointel Pro were real things. The mishandling of Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco was a very bad look. During the time when we were supposed to be the paragons of freedom and human rights for all, we were bombing and Agent Orange-ing and napalming and deposing democratically elected leaders and assassinating and creating Banana Republics, and running drugs and guns, and planting smack and crack in poor neighborhoods. The cognitive dissonance must have been absolutely unbearable for a lot of people. The idea that The Gubmint might secretly be doing to its own people what it was already openly doing to other people around the world in the name of "freedom" must have been at the back of everyone's minds.

Militias and Neo Nazi groups were springing up all over the place (before it became a hip place to party in, Deep Ellum in Dallas was a battleground between Neo Nazi Skins and gay SHARPs. I have friends slightly older than me who witnessed this.) And right wing radio, and the advent of Fox news, unleashed a stream of disinformation upon the people. Conspiracy theories about the Clinton administration were everywhere, and people were buying into it, if for no other reason than the fact that it reinforced their prejudices and biases. 

Every week, the X Files would come into their living rooms to sell them a narrative that, strangely, comforted and coddled them by playing to their darkest fears and prejudices. "It's okay. Chris Carter believes you. We all know that something sinister is going on."

A guy who can't even coherently tie up the loose ends in his own mytharc is here to tell you What's Really Going On...or that You Already Know What's Really Going On.  

I will look for examples of this later, but the writers talk about how they sourced the plots from actual conspiracy theories that had been floating around amongst the UFO true believers - and the Flat Earthers, the anti-FEMA spazzers, and the John Birchers, and the people who were listening to G Gordon Liddy and Rush Limbagh.

I really kind of wish they'd stuck to the UFO narrative and the "Monster Of The Week" format. But Chris Carter thought he was giving people real pieces of the real truth. He claimed the FBI thought he actually had evidence of a UFO cover up.

I got into the X Files because of slash fanfiction, and Mulder/Krycek. Full stop. Then I belatedly became a fan of The Lone Gunmen - which depicts three conspiracy theorists (and their loveable doofus sidekick who ends up being way more capable of figuring out What's Really Going On than they are) who self-publish their conspiracy theory newsletter - which turns out in many cases to be a font for disinformation, as part of the campaign to create enough plausible deniability to cover the tracks of The Syndicate (the X Files term for the "Deep State" that conspiracy theorists love to rant about now.)

The Lone Gunmen were a trio of loveable geeks. These days, conspiracy theorists look like Alex Jones. They're your racist uncle, your bigoted homophobic aunt who still sends you FW:FW:FW:FW: emails about Obama being a Kenyan terrorist sympathizer, and how The Gays want to convert your children, even though you've told her to stop. 

They spread lies about "death panels." 

They spread false rumors about child sex rings in pizza parlors, so that weak-willed, easily-manipulated morons will walk in with a loaded rifle to threaten people's lives. 

They slander, threaten, and harass, attack, and murder Jews, Blacks, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, and women.

The eagerly swallow every drop of blather about Benghazi and "Her Emails!" 

They bomb abortion clinics, spurred on by videos about "selling baby parts."

They slander, threaten, and harass the parents of children who died in school shootings, because anything that indicates that there are some people who probably aren't mentally sound enough to own or use firearms *must* be a False Flag, because "Teh Gubmint Wants To Take All Our Guns Away."

I think on some level, whether it was intended to or not, The X Files made them feel validated, and encouraged them all. 

You know what happened to the Lone Gunmen in the "X Files Season 10" comic book series? It's revealed that their deaths were faked by Morris Fletcher, and they ended up working for the government. Langley invented Stuxnet. They became what they hated and railed against, with Jimmy and LoisYves presumably taking up their previous mantle and trying to fight the good fight. Alex Krycek is involved in a time traveling plot where he is zapped back and forth from the future, John Connor-style, to fight the Black Oil.

I'm still trying to write fic for this, and one of the ways I am keeping sane is trying to fucking subvert the narrative as much as possible. Fox Mulder is a mentally unstable pawn, a dupe barely kept in check by Dana Scully - who as much as she loves him, may not be able to save him from his obsessions. For nine seasons, he allowed himself to be led around by the nose by the Deep State entity led by his own biological father - the CIA assassin who killed JFK. He'd reject The Truth if it were ever given to him, because it doesn't fall in line with his preconceived biases and prejudices. 

Alex Krycek, hated and reviled as a killer, a traitor, and a liar, is the hero, the guy actually doing stuff on the front lines to try and stave off doomsday, while Mulder flails and trips over disinformation and lies and half truths; with Scully hopefully being there to catch him when he falls.

The Conspiracy is a bunch of old white men who are ultimately trying to murder anyone who isn't them - either quickly, or slowly, by degrees, as the neoliberal capitalist machine grinds their bones into grist for the mill, and the Military Industrial Complex reigns supreme. 

There is no "alien invasion." There never was. It was America - the America that the conspiracy theorists worship, the one they agree with, the one the think looks like them; the America they are trying to "take back" the whole time.

That's The Truth. And it's more of an accurate picture of what's really going on, I think.

numb3r_5ev3n: jc and needlegun (needlegun)
I undeleted my LJ, and did one final import to get some of the comments I missed the last time. I put a message up proclaiming I will be deleting again for good in three days.

I had an anxiety attack at the new job yesterday. My boss felt so bad for me that she gave me chocolate. This boss is a keeper.

I realized that I have been disassociating like crazy again over the past month. (EDIT: For more info, check out "Are You Disassociating?")

My brain becomes obsessed with fandoms in order to nope the fuck out of whatever is going on that is causing me to disassociate. I've always done this. If I become weirdly obsessed with a new fandom or franchise, odds are that there is something going on in my life that I am trying to tune out - or I've found something that clicks SO WELL with what is going on in my headspace (like TRON did at the end of 2010, or The Matrix did in 2004, or like Dark City did in 1998) that it's like I've discovered a new drug.

Pen-and-paper bullet point journaling helped me keep my head together during the 2010 period of zoning the heck out all the time, and it looks like I am going to have to pick it back up again.

Other than that, there have been a few posts kicking around in my head that I have been trying to make, but lack of time has been a deterrent. I will try something tonight.

I went to the Immigrants' Mega March on Saturday, and I'm worried that I am not up to the upcoming Tax Day March. I am worried that I am overextending myself. But it's kind of important that people show up to that one. We'll see how I feel the day of, I guess.

There actually isn't a whole lot of woodworking to do for Flipside this year. While I like that part, I am relieved that we won't be stressing about getting everything done before the event, and it leaves more time for other projects. Granted, we probably won't get *every* project done that we want to get done before the burn, because no one ever does. But I need to pickle some beets and onions, and maybe more of the carrots and daikons before heading out there.
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)

This is copy pasted from a facebook thread, but it's my take on the situation. But this sums it up perfectly:

First off, everything about the attack was disingenuous. Domald Tromp spent years berating Obama for any action in Syria, and then did this thing. He didn't do it to avenge "beautiful Syrian babies." (who he'll probably be dating in 10 years!) He did it to look like a strongman, he did it using bombs he owns stock in, and he did it to pander to specific people - even though he called Putin before he informed congress and he asked Putin "mother may I" before proceeding, and the base was operational again the next day, so obviously the attack didn't do much. He did it after banning refugees, as the dominant party line for the conservatives has been about "bannin furriners from coming in and takin ar jerbs and infiltratin ar wimmen." and he did it after a statement seeming to be ok with whatever Assad did next.

Here is what should have happened. He should have not only let refugees in, he should have been like "hell, if you want out, we'll come GET you," and then worked with international aid and human rights organizations to do just that. If they are attacked while under a white flag, then it's an act of war and he gets to use the Tomahawks.

Second, how about this modest proposal: we should have done Assad like we did Bin Laden, like we have done in countless banana republics, and like we SHOULD HAVE done Saddam. Make it a total CIA joint. People will scream for war at the top of their bleeding little lungs (and let's face it, war when your popularity polls are down is page #1 in the Republican/Neoconservative playbook) but we're America - we can't honestly act like assassination is something we're squeamish about. Fucking Red Wedding the motherfucker. Spare all those civvies we'd normally been dropping bombs on.

When the international community complains, be like "ahahahha we're AMERICA, we have the biggest Military in the world, we can drop anyone, anywhere, anytime if they become a nuisance and gas their own people, and ooooh I'm so scared of your SANCTIONS," and then gone on with our lives. I have seen conservatives screaming for the US military to "turn the middle east into a glass parking lot!" who clutch their pearls at the idea of assassination. (Also because really what they want is not to spare the people living in the middle east anything, they want another Holy War between Xtianity and Islam, and just taking out the despotic leader and leaving all of those tasty Muslims intact and unscathed runs entirely counter to their way of thinking.) But one guy is a crime and a tragedy, thousands of civilians are a statistic. (And this is why Hillary Clinton should have been elected. LOL, I don't actually believe the conspiracy theories about her disappearing all those people, but it would have it would have given us a good chance to find out, wouldn't it?)

Kidding! Really what should *actually* be happening is that there should be a world court and a world entity that can arrest and judge people like Assad. I mean, there IS, but we've been spending the last 40 years trying to pull its fangs and dodge it because THEN WE WOULD BE SUBJECT TO IT and if we were, Henry Kissenger's head would already be on a spike outside the Hague for all the reasons I just mentioned, and plus the fact that thousands of civvies were massacred anyway on top of it. (I agree with Anthony Bourdain: "Once you've been to Cambodia, you'll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your own hands.") That said, we really do need one of those, and we need to be subject to it ourselves.

EDIT: Stop Pretending You Know Why Trump Decided To Bomb Syria, Because He Doesn't Know Either.

numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
A Republican president is making an ass of himself after attacking a middle eastern country, Power Rangers, xXx and Star Wars movies are in the theater, and I am spending a Saturday evening making blog icons. LOL, what decade is this?

I made a bunch of icons from Ralph Bakshi's Lord Of The Rings. Next up is Buckaroo Banzai! I'm going to watch the film again and just screencap stuff.

I also went through my photobucket account from 10 years ago, and realized that I got a bunch of screencaps from the 1970s adaption of Michael Moorcock's The Final Programme. I'll be making some icons from those, too.

Also, did you know that Winamp is still a thing? It totally is! 

I undeleted my main account on my LJ to do a last-minute backup of comments from that side. After that, I'm deleting for good.

EDIT: Also, I'm listening to APC. It's officially 2001 all over again! But who cares when there are KITTENS? Evolene and Corsica have finally had their babies over on the Tinykittens #kittenwatch Youtube channel.


numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)

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