I'm into my second semester for school and I'm kind of struggling. My mental health has continued to decline and I'm really struggling here. I've got to get to a therapist and start medication again. I lost my job earlier last year and I'm still looking for work. I've been kind of hopeless lately and it's a struggle to keep going. But after having a pretty intense crying jag, crouching behind a fruit stand and sobbing, and talking with a close friend, I feel better. I feel uncomfortable scheduling a therapy/psychiatry session but I don't know what else to do. I was sobbing most of today and yesterday and now I'm content. Were my emotions of today and yesterday real and valid? Or were they figments? It is hard to say.
Lately I've been battling recurrent episodes of poor mental health and I'm thinking I'm starting to come out from under the bottom of it. I just submitted an assignment several days early and it feels good, because I'm pretty sure I did the best I could.
I’ve been ruminating on this most of today and was curious on other people’s thoughts.
So something I’ve been doing is historical armored combat, and while I’m still gathering ideas and building my suit, just doing the drills for armored combat fighting puts in perspective how dangerous this martial art is. Armor is dangerous for two reasons:
1) Armor changes your body mechanics and how you present/fight and can be a really dangerous liability given that falling=death now
2) The visor and helmet obscure your vision/dull your sense and prevent your opponent from reading your expression.
I had a conversation with a mentor, who’s a former Marine, and he explained that human beings have an inherent aversion to killing other human beings. One of the techniques for making killing ‘easier’ is to take away the face of the person you’re killing. In armor, your face is obscured, which is doing that face-removal work for your opponent, which is contributing to your opponent no longer seeing you as a ‘human’ and mostly just as a ‘threat’.
Well, given as many super heroes wear something obscuring the face, would these particular heroes be at a much greater risk of getting into fatal fights? I can definitely imagine a hero getting killed because the opponent/criminal now only sees the hero as a symbol or as a threat (exacerbated by the costume and mask) and I wonder if that particular element of ‘mask wearing hero actually alienates/frightens people’ has been introduced into the genre of superhero fiction.
Anyway, superhero work is really dangerous and turning into a symbol is a good way to let others turn you into a non-human.
A few days ago, I put on John Carpenter's Vampires. I approached the film with a deal of good will, since I've always been a fan of the film The Thing and boy...it was not worth the time I put into it. Perhaps I expected too much of the film since I enjoyed The Thing but I still think Vampires fails even without that context.
Vampires opens with James Woods, a character I mostly associate with Disney's Hercules, doing his best tough guy impression as this film's protagonist Jack Crow. Clad in blue jeans, boots, a black leather jacket and sun glasses, he's giving me this 80s tough guy routine that seems extremely poorly thought out for this actor. James Woods surveys an abandoned New Mexico house and then he and his team exterminate the vampire inhabitants within. most creative thing they do with the vampire extermination is the introduction of the winch, which I admit is kind of cool. You shoot a vampire with a harpoon, it hooks into them, and then a winch attached to a truck is activated, dragging the vampire outside into the sun to explode. That's cool! The flame effects are pretty...strange though? The flames are almost green in some scenes, and so forceful that it looks more like special effects than I'm sure was intended.
Anyway, bad ass tough guy Jack Crow cleans out the nest but fails to find the master vampire. Bewildered, but not overly concerned, Jack returns to a sleazy motel filled with scantily clas sex workers to celebrate. Apparently, Jack and his team were hired on by the town's local law enforcement who...know about vampires? And then there's a following scene wherein a hooker is schmoozing with one of Jack's men and she...doesn't know about vampires. I believe in cops covering things up, but also, wouldn't this be way more of a state secret? Are vampires known or aren't they? Are the vampire killers allowed to drunkenly spill secrets? How rare are vampires? I'm overthinking this part, so we're moving on.
Then the master that Jack Crow hadn't found shows up, attacks a sex worker named Katrina (whom Jack had been eyeing) and then massacres Jack's entire team. Only Jack and his right hand man (who's name I can't be bothered to google) are spared, as even the priest that travels with them is killed. To pause for a moment, the gore in this scene is really only good or interesting in the first kill, where Valak shoves his hand through a vampire killer and then rips him in half. We see the vampire killer stumble back...and then his body lolls open, giving a fabulous view of his partially bisected body which spray blood. I had hoped for more of that bonkers practical effect but...that's all the film gave me. For shame John Carpenter! Anyway, moving on.
This leaves Jack and his right hand man traumatized and Jack decides to kidnap Katrina because 'people bitten by a vampire turn into one, but before they turn they have a psychic connection with the master who turned them'. It is with this kidnapping that I start to disengage with the film.
The traumatized and assaulted woman is not treated as someone who's had a tragic thing happen to her, she's a monster-in-waiting and therefore below courtesy and consideration. Jack and his henchman bully and beat the shit out of this woman. There's a scene where she wakes up naked, her wrists hand cuffed to the bed she's lying on and her mouth is duct taped shut. This scene is...why is this a scene? Jack's right hand man also stops Katrina from killing herself, she defends herself and then gets back handed in the mouth. So we have a scene of him beating a confused sex worker. What was the point? How does this drive the plot? I'm really confused, there are a million ways of getting this woman to bite the henchman, the nude scene is just sleazy. And I usually love sleaze!
For the rest of the film, we watch Jack Crow running around trying to figure out who set up his team, beating the shit out of the new priest he gets stuck with, making kind of homophobic remarks, and Jack and friends using Katrina like she's a badly tuned radio trying to find the master vampire. The twist in the movie is kind of stupid; at the end, Katrina defects to Valak (the master vampire that Jack is chasing) and it turns out the Cardinal that Jack reports to is also defecting to Valak. The day is saved by Jack's henchman using the cool winch device to prevent Valak from completing a ritual that would allow Valak to walk in the daylight and by the new priest shooting the Cardinal in the back to prevent the ritual from being completed.
The treatment of Katrina really stuck out to me, as she's the sexualized monster-woman turned meat radio THAT COULD HAVE BEEN AN ALLY. The implication is the vampires are irrational once turned, but Katrina is abused while being turned when she might still have some moral sense. We never get a sense of how she feels about being bitten, so having her defect to Valak is sort of underwhelming. And also, Jack's henchman gets bit but he just...cauterizes the wound and the film rolls along? Why didn't they cauterize Katrina's wound? Why didn't they call her by her name? Why did the henchman start developing feelings for her? UGH. I would honestly prefer Katrina be written out entirely than be this paper doll that gets slapped around. She's less than 2-D, she's a plot contrivance really. Something so the characters can get a lead on Valak and find out why he's murdering priests and raising master vampires. I can already think of a more interesting story where Katrina is conflicted about working with these people but wants to get revenge on the man who assaulted her and tries to fight her rising vampiric tendencies while helping Jack out of her own free will. Or hell, if we decide to write out Katrina, then having Jack's right hand man being bitten and having Jack struggle with that ticking clock of his best friend turning and trying to steel himself to kill another person close to him would be interesting! But I digress, I'm not here to write fanfiction about a 1998 movie, and I suppose I shouldn't have gone into a 1998 John Carpenter movie thinking there would be good feminist writing. But even with my feminist critique aside, I feel like John Carpenter didn't do anything terribly interesting with his movie. The villain is a former priest who became a vampire and now wants to walk under the sun to...do more murder? I guess? Whatever.
I didn't mean to end up writing a full length review of a mediocre-to-bad movie, but given that fall is HERE and now I'm creating a list of horror movies to watch all throughout October, I guess expect me to start doing this? Well, don't not expect me to start doing this. Sometimes, a girl has to write words about a movie she found dumb.
Today marks my first full week of school and I've managed it pretty well! I turned in all my assignments and got good grades on all of them, so it turns out my undergraduate degree was good for something. Some of the basics of my Web programming class are a little tedious and things I've already learned building this little website, but I'm looking forward to the database section of the course.
My perfume samples from Alkemia and a few full size bottles from Hexennacht have come in the mail recently. The Calliope and County Fair Samples are patently incredible and I can't wait to see how they develop. 'Brightening The Daybreak' and 'Strawberry Creme Soda' from Hexennacht are lovely, with my preference for Strawberry Creme Soda slowly becoming more apparent. The sample I got sent 'Frickin' Bats' is A) a really friggin' cute name and B) a veeeerrry good Halloween scent. I just might pick up a full bottle of 'Frickin' Bats' and also a bottle of 'Trick or Treat' from Alkemia.
Last thing of note so far is that I've been putting together my links page and I'm pretty pleased with how it's going so far. I love that I can organize things on little cards, I'm also going to play around with putting more images in there since I feel like my website over all lacks a little visual interest. Something to remedy that might be forcing myself to create some of my own digital art so I don't need to worry about licensing, and another solution might be to commission some more art. We shall see which I end up going with!
The small web has been on my mind a lot lately, and I've been wondering how I can surf the web. Maybe I need to work on Googling? But I wanted to compile a list of some of the things I've been interested in, primarily indie fashion brands and indie perfumes. I've discovered a few that I'll be putting together in case anyone is ever interested.Fragrance Houses
The need to collect these smaller brands and niche fashion pieces is something that has been an itch that needs scratching for a while. Vintage fashion, alternative fashion and smaller more bespoke brands have been really fun to cultivate and put into this list, which I plan on updating indefinitely as I continue to hoard this little collection of links. I have some samples from Alkemia coming in, and I'll be adding some reviews on the perfumes I get.
I just got done watching the movie 'Fresh' with my friend and boy it made me uncomfortable. More or less, it has to do with dating and cannibalism! The cannibal 'Steve' or 'Brendan' seems like a relatively well-adjusted killer aside from the whole 'eating people' thing. I really loved the main character, Noa, who was naive and yet admirable. I love that in the second act she immediately tried to escape and that she had really healthy friendships. Mollie was a delight to watch, a woman who was unbelievably supportive and I hope she gets her tits back. I also love how they treated Penny, a woman who was considerably more damaged after Steve. She kicked ass her own way and she was also incredibly kind.
I also finished 'The Book of Night' by Holly Black. It was a good read! Gripping, gritty and gr...compelling? I related to Charlie, and I liked her sister. There are some unresolved plot points that I want resolved re: the world building but apparently there's a sequel planned! I kind of want to go back and read Holly Black's earlier work, but I'm a little put off by YA novels. I'm sure they're great but I wonder if they'll have the themes I'm looking for. It is definitely inspiring me to write my own fiction. And who knows! Maybe I'll add a stories tab to this blog.
I also bought liquor and liqueurs to try new things. I saw Chartreuse mentioned in Poppy Z. Brite's 'Lost Souls' and also within the 'Book of Night' so I felt compelled to get some and try it myself. To make sure that I wasn't without cocktail fixings though, I also got ahold of white rum, gin and vermouth so I could have options. My friend and I made a 'Green Ghost' and it was powerfully refreshing. Chartreuse tastes powerfully herbal and mildly sweet. I would swear that it was a magic potion. I wonder if it's similar to absinthe? Hmm...
Anyway, it's almost 1 AM so I'm signing off for now! I should also look into enabling comments on my website somewhere. HM.
In other news, I started listening to The Book Of Night by Holly Black and hot damn is it good. I've checked the rest of the author's catalogue and it looks like this is her first book of adult fiction. I'm considering picking up some of her YA novels if her writing in Book of Night is anything to indicate it's quality. I might even put up a little book review, who knows. It's certainly giving me inspiration to work on my own writing projects!
I ordered a custom pixel art for my background for the about me page. My website is starting to come together, and tomorrow I'll start working on the link page. I also started work on another site; the index for it is up and I'm pleased with that. I'll set up the rest of it tomorrow as well hopefully. I'm also going to look into adding subpages and making this blog section more useful.
I think I'm going to discontinue my 750 words subscription because I haven't been using it. While it's only $5 a month, it's something that I feel guilty in continuing to pay for since I don't use it. I'm thinking I'll relocate that kind of stream of consciousness writing here. It's not like I have many readers, so I'm not bothered about most of the things I write.
Classes are starting in August and I've already made my first payment for school; I'm both excited and nervous. I'm hoping I can balance school and work, but I really do want to get into proper coding. Building this little website has been a lot of fun, but once I learn some Object Oriented Languages I'll really be cooking.
I've been working on building my website's aesthetic a little more, and learning the aside tag was really useful for that. I'm still not sure too much on how to get one of those glittery blinky websites with lots of graphics, but I'm working on it.
I also don't enjoy writing blog posts within the code like this, something about Wordpress messed me up. As did Tumblr, since creating a new posts with tags is really easy and this is more arduous. But I'll figure it out! I think I should add a review tab maybe? Or an image catalogue? HM.
I think I'm starting to get the hang of HTML! This is the first time I've been able to kind of read and understand the medium. I've been reading HTML Dog tutorials and scraping bits of code off of other people's blogs to make my own. Hand coding is really arduous but I'm hoping that it'll be worth to slowly stitch together a website.