Thursday, 28 June 2007

Links For This Hour

Lunch in a Box
I know my avid dislike for mommybloggers (sorry homies; nothing personal) stems from my post-adolescent interior revolt against my inner mother-complex, but I can gleefully look past the oh-so-cute bento lunch for Little Angel #192837 because I think, despite it's overly-attentive-to-juvenile-cuteness-ness, they all look fucking awesome, and I love tiny food. I have no beef (hur hur) with the blog. Just now I want galaktoboureko and octopus balls (hur hur).

Tori Amos: Yes Anastasia
I am not, in general, a big Tori Amos fan -- I like her, like her projected essence, but her music doesn't make me into an avoid fan-girl. When I was about eleven or twelve years old, I went to school with a girl named Laura Bogart who was 16 or so (anyone over 13 was 16 or so in my head at the time...) who was fucking obsessed with Tori, and so I think in a bid to distance myself from Laura, who was like a mother elephant defending her fandoms (she hated copy cats...), I never got too into the music. Anyway. Every now and then I get a hankering to listen to Yes Anastasia, and for hours at a time I'll listen to it on repeat. Today is one of those days. The video is not the original video, obviously, but it has a great photo montage of Anna Anderson Manahan aka the girl who said she was Anastasia Romanov. Beautiful.

Saint Stephen - via Wiki
Saint Stephen. I had to look him up earlier, in a bid to do writing where a character, when asked if he was stoned, replied as Saint Stephen. Bad, I know, I know. But the dude was pretty strange. I love reading the stories of Saints -- and more so, I love looking at iconography of saints themselves. The National Gallery has my favourite collection of paintings of Saints, some of which you can see in their online gallery. My favourite there is St. Sebastian by Honthorst. Like most paintings, the photo does not do it justice. I've spent hours standing in front of that painting, copying it in my sketch book to little avail. It's breathtaking. I yelled at a school marm ushering children through the gallery once when I was sketching it -- the noise of the children didn't bug me, but she was going shhhhhsh! shsssssh! like some sort of fucked kettle, and it made me get all rabidly anti-authority.

The Triptych Convention - report on pharmaceutical con.
I went looking for a picture of a mean faced orange cat and I got sent here. It's a visitors account of a convention in the Netherlands (in 2002), which goes on describe discussions and talks that were had on schizophrenia, drug use & similar. It's oddly humane, and an interesting insight into the way the psychiatric community communicate to each other. Also; as I am a (jack off) Jill-of-all-trades, I take a special interest in learning about psychiatric theory and suchlike. I am an information addict. Do you think that will be in DSM-V? The strangest line from the piece to me, was attributed to Richard Bentall, a professor of psychology at Manchester; he said: It is has been demonstrated that when a patient doesn’t benefit from one neuroleptic, he won’t benefit from any. The search for the right drug is senseless. How strange.


And that's a slice what I've been looking at in the past few hours.

Food Blogs are big on my list ATM, because I'm trying to figure out what the hell I should make for dinner. I won't deny it - I'm a real secret domestic, as much as I'd deny it in front of most people, I really like cooking. Like a lot. Last night? Made a cake. A banana cake with cream cheese coconut frosting. Because I could. I had a slice. It was awesome. My Asshat:Talent ratio is high enough where if I was rude to you, some of the cake would make you forget.

Monday, 25 June 2007

I'm Meeeeeelting!

Hey what's that?

Oh. It's my AC power pug for my Macbook; which for no reason got wicked fucking hot and melted.

Guess who's a little pissed off!
Me and a bunch of other people.

Jeneane, I know you just got a sweet new Mac -- you be sure you watch your cable!

Now, to call Apple...

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Exlax theory: the art of letting shit slide

I am moving out of my lodgings tomorrow. I've taken all my art off my walls, packed up all my books, and still only have some clothes to put away before I vacuum and get my sweet deposit back.

There is a slight problem of having nowhere to live yet, for this coming September when I return to school - but I refuse, completely refuse, to be worried about it. My body physically wants me to be worried; getting squiggly stomachs and thunking pressure headaches if I take too long to consider the fact that I'll be sleeping on the sofa in my fathers house, syphoning off wifi from the neighbours next door who, for some insane reason, turn their router off on occasion. Such cheek! I should write them a strongly worded letter on the matter...

My wifi theft aside (beloved internet; I cannot leave you!), this refusing to get upset thing is actually kind of awesome. It means I can, guilt free, watch the first season of House and drink hot cocoa while nibbling gingersnaps and listening to the rain. Later I'll organise my remaining packing, casually pile it all up, and consider what books I've got to keep out for my Must Read stack.

Refusing to get upset or worried. Talk about awesome. It's not like my old school attempt at avoiding problems all together. Oh no! Now I am aware that there will be things which will be difficult, such as packing or moving or organising myself - but instead of wanting to throw up out of self pity at my woeful aloneness in my life duties, I just deal with it and take it all in stride.

There must be some sort of chemical imbalance!
Is this what normal people feel like?

I blame this all on my dear beloved friend Vee, who I might go down to see on the Isle of Wight for a few days, come tomorrow. She is the queen of not letting shit bother her, in exchange for getting it done.

Now excuse me, compañeros, I've got some hot cocoa to brew.


Oh, and a PS: I've been living with my landlady and her daughter since last September, and never once have we gotten into a tiff, let alone a fight. She has been sane, normal, nice and welcoming - never creepy or weird. Should I get her some flowers and a big bar of chocolate or something for her daughter? What's the polite thing to do? I would buy her a bottle of wine, but she's a bit of a wine aficionado and I don't want to insult her pallet due to my own personal lack of fundage in attaining a fine vintage.

Where's Emily Post now?

Friday, 15 June 2007

Drink a Dink

I'm gonna stop being bitter for a second here and address some things.

Somebody's mother posted a bit ondodgy marketing and thus lead to a discussion on South African wine, which as you all fucking know, has been talked about by some awesome people all over the place on the 'tubes.

Which to me is refreshing. South Africa is... A blind spot for me. But this escalating conversation on ethics (of marking -> product -> production) has got me thinking about what I drink. My sister Lmo actually called me up from her work yesterday, where she pimps out rollin' e-class to old grannies up in the W1 to W4 baby babaah! Anyway. She calls me up, worried as hell, going Oh Christ J, is all South African wine bad? How am I supposed to know?

You see, Lmo, like many young women our age, is a wine drinker - ideally she goes for a nice, deep, oaky red - just typically she goes for the cheapest. Like us all! So now I'm all like, woah, she is right. How are we supposed to know when we buy our South African wine at the local Co-Op, if it's been watered with blood?

WIETA - or South African's Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association, has acode of ethics which many UK supermarket chains, including Tescos follow -- but... The code seems a little funny to me, because it seems very difficult to enforce. I don't know! How often is it checked?

There are a list of accredited and audited SA wine makers/fruit growers, which I don't see Stormhoek listed on -- but does WIETA not cover all the wine making regions? Or maybe Stormhoek is owned by somebody else? Maybe I'm missing the whole point, as my usual experience with wine is drinking something French and cheap, not making it or getting it passed by some ethics board.

I agree with what Golby said about Stormhoek -- if they want to be advertised by bloggers, as they are being right now (be it for the wrong reasons perhaps...) they should just open up and express now how cheap their wine is, but how it's made.

As somebody's mother always told me, when we were selling our warez on eBay so we could eat -- it's not the product that sells, it's the story.

Tell me the story of production, truthfully and without 'funny' cartoons, and you won't have to give me free bottles of cheap booze. I'll spend the £4.99 myself, if it means the dudes and dudettes planting, feeding, picking, washing, crushing, fermenting and bottling the stuff is getting a fair slice of that cash, rather then free bottles of cheap booze. Ya diiig?

Hell. Maybe I'd blog about it.

Comment on Comments

Blog homies:

It's come to my attention that my comments thing isn't working as perfectly as it should. I've changed around the settings now - you don't have to be a member of blogger to post - but you have to type in a word-verification now.

If it still doesn't work? Drop me a message at plasticmothATgmailDOTcom and I will send a very strongly worded letter to Blogger; which will include the term 'yo my bitches, what's up with that?'.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Respect My Authority

So I was in the middle of writing a cover letter for a PA job I saw listed in London, because low and behold, my student loan has almost run out and I need to eat 8p Tescos no wait, £5.99 Waitrose no wait, 59p Sainsbury's ramen noodles? Oh Christ -- with ethics like these, how can I even eat? I'm gonna become anorexic for the well being of the world. Or something.

Tangent over - anyway, I stopped writing because I suddenly had this sort of, epiphany about blogging;

Why is it that bloggers feel they are only justified in their existence, i.e. they are privy to achieve ''a-lister status'', if they are validated in an meatspace environment?

That is - why does a blogger, who rants about how their blogging is changing the way the world communicates and how blogging is the wave of the future and how we don't need all your stupid newspapers and television shows and book deals and radio appearances and magazine articles -- why do they feel the need to appear in aforementioned media devices, and flaunt the fact in their blogs? Why do they think they are given authority over other bloggers if their mad warez are flaunted in main stream mass media?

Oh the hypocrisy! Oh Southey! Oh Southey!

Like many women my age, when zefrank was at the height of his show, I watched with avid interest.

You know what interested me? Not only was he awesome, totally lacking in eyelashes, and smart - he also wasn't a douche bag! AMAZING! He never spoke about:

  • His work.
  • How awesome his work is.
  • Why his work makes him better then you.
  • Respectin' his authroataay.

  • Do the other asshats out there realise how important that is? Yeah, ze had advertisements and occasionally he would pimp those advertisements -- a brother's gotta get paid (that's just the way it is) -- but they were merely a fleeting gnat in the picnic of knowledge which he laid out in a delicious spread for the masses to feed upon.

    There are two types of blog followings that I have seen so far; there are the sycophants - the people who flock to people because they feel they can get recognition from them: links, comments, book deals, authority, mad props, etc. Then there are the others, I don't know what I would call them - ideologists maybe? Who flock to other blogs and people because they like sharing or attaining information, thoughts, links, etc, with no regard to personal gain or authority or notoriety.

    I'm uncomfortable with that analogy, or what have you, because it exists as a binary system -- which I, as a rule, typically don't follow. (There's no right or wrong, maaaan, only shades of grey!!!1!) There are many other layers, combinations of the two I suppose -- but... So far those are the most dominant group features I can see.

    But right now I can't continue blogging about my observations of blogging bloggers, because unlike some, I don't get paid for it. I do it because I love information, sharing information, gaining information, rolling around in information while more information rains down in a sweet summer storm of information.

    I am at heart a geek.

    Just a geek who's gotta get paid, ese.
    Where's my job at yo? I gotta pimp this shit!
    Aaaaall right.

    Monday, 11 June 2007

    Music Is My Imaginary Friend!

    So I'm listening to a little Peaches (t.y. link to song: Set It Off) at the moment, due to a rather wonderful series of events which reminded me that I like her because she's so fucking bold.

    Explicit, vulgar and ambiguous - I feel like it's both a mockery and an embrace towards the stupidly over sexualised and fictitiousness of pop music videos and sex in general. It takes some fucking guts to shake your ass in pink y-fronts and fishnets, which by the end of the video show untamed hair poking out.

    There has to be a German word for the aura of Magnificently Grotesque, as there seems to be a German word for every other awesome in-between adjective. Wait, are resonant feelings/impressions/vibes adjectives? Could this one be in this case?

    There they're their.
    Know knead two bee whirr Eid.

    Anyway, I'm listening to Peaches as the transition period before I fall into my fresh assortment of Sisters of Mercy that I will partake in whilst reading my newly acquired book, The Children of Húrin.

    Aw yeah, it's gonna be awesome.

    But here's a question: who can tell me about the representation of the 1950s Housewife in gay cinema? Specifically of the 80s and 90s? I've been finding all these clips, you see, of drag film segments all put together -- and I just can't get over it. I'm going to write a bigger post about it soon, as I have been saving the resources for a week+ now -- I just wanted to know if there were any articles on the subject that I was overlooking, any artists...

    Now, because I'm not yet in the ring to fight about how awesome I am for pimping myself on the internets & gaining cartooning ability by loosing my sense of humour, I'm gonna go read & SoM it up.

    Gimme the ring!
    My precious!

    Saturday, 9 June 2007

    Virtual Communication & The 21st Century Child

    I've been speaking to my sisters via iChat over the past few days. It's really awesome - I don't know why I didn't abuse the power of iChat before, because being able to see them while we have a conversation really allows us to actually communicate. Being on the phone with them, it's kind of weird - I don't know if it's the age differences or just the way in which we communicate when we're physically in the same room, but phone calls last about five minutes -- where iChat video sessions last like an hour.

    I think a lot of our communication is tied up in joking around and our sense of humour - so when we can see each other, we pull funny faces and laugh and make visual jokes and then once that's done and we've established this sort of casual, jokey air, we can talk about serious things, sister things and culture things.

    This differs dramatically from how I typically like to communicate. I want to say like sixty percent+ of my daily communication, although I would like to actually chart these numbers, is in text form. Emails, text messages, blog posts, LJ posts, MySpace messages, and, above all, Mu* Content.

    Does anyone know what a Mu* is anymore? Ah, Wikipedia has a good entry for MUSHs which gives a pretty clear picture. It's a text based online chat/RPG environment. I've been chat/RPing on them since 1996 or so, when I joined the Redwall MUCK as a chipper hare archer named Fireblossom who liked cream cakes and spoke like a fake military colonialist - spot of tea wot, wot? Yeah, yeah, cliché's I know.

    Many people have moved on to MMORPGs or virtual words like Second Life -- I have an avatar on Second Life, and I would use it more often, but I don't have access to the things which make me most interested - i.e. making clothing & skins - because I don't have the funds, etc, etc. On top of that, I don't feel the same sort of community on Second Life as I do on Mu*s, although I have been Mu*ing for ten+ years, so of course I know it would take time for that sense to grow.

    It's also about privacy, I think - not privacy like 'OMG they're reading my emails!' - it's more like, when I am on Second Life there is a vast amount of people scuttling around, even when I move away to a build area. Because the social etiquette is still relatively new for SL, people seem to have no problem having naked or offensive avatars just walking around willynilly, even in PG areas. That's cool, I'm not afraid of naked pixels - they don't even really offend me - but the attitude of 'haha I'm in a virtual world, I can do whatever I want, assholes!!!' does.

    There is a really, really fantastic article on social etiquette in virtual words, originally published in the village voice in '93, which I found linked to on one of the MANY MANY blog posts after the whole K.S. Fiasco '07 - I wish I had the blog that posted to it (I'd have to search technorati for a while and I am lazy, but if you know of it, comment!), and the article is A Rape in Cyberspace. (WARNING: it's way fucking graphic in description, I know a few of you will not enjoy reading it, so don't.)

    It describes a player character who used a piece of code on LambdaMOO to control the actions of another PC's text avatar, and then did all sorts of gross lustmort gore porn descriptions of the said PC, against the PC Players will.

    Yes, that is likely a very poor introduction to those who don't Mu*, the life of Mu*ing -- but I'm listing it here because it's a prime example of the way that social structures are formed in new environments, and environments where you express extensions of identity, which may not be your identity.

    Like me, I play a mad scientist somewhere or another who has a rich, complicated history and personality which is utterly fictional, and at times questionably unethical. I have spent hours perfecting the method of playing - i.e. textual expression - this character accurately, because I am a nerd, and the character has been known to be maniacal and disturbed - as well as humane and reflective. But they aren't me, and no matter how vicious or hurt or rude or nice or occasional evil or loving the character may be, they never reflect on how I am as a person - save for maybe the method of the writing they're expressed with.

    And nobody ever messes my PCs actions/thoughts/opinions up with mine -- because we have an extremely well defined line between IC/in character and OOC/out of character. Identity is tagged, organised and marked - your character does something rude, you laugh about it with the others on OOC chan - but if you do something rude on OOC chan, you, the player, are held responsible.

    Even on social Mu*s - i.e. ones without strict RPG guidelines - I've been on, there is a line between your Avatar, and you -- some people choose to express themselves personified as a dancing pony or animated ball of slime or normal looking humanoids with semi-ficiotious personalities, others are dudes in jeans and t-shirts or a super elf princess with wings which express the views of their players and those views alone. But one can mostly tell the difference between RL/OL persona - because it's typically explained, or one can figure it out swiftly through interaction. How many dancing polar bears that like Kant and Klondike bars are there?

    But Second Life... She doesn't have those social guidelines set up - not in the big open spaces, which so often remind me of Dead Man and what it must feel like to go somewhere alien all by yourself. Naked dudes can come up to you and start screaming about their virtual hat covering their virtual wang, and there is little to stop them - at least, it seems that way for a noob like me.

    And where I know there are locations in Second Life where there is civility already installed, and I am interested to start hanging out there to meet some new humanoids (or non-humanoids), the problem of explaining to the masses the science of Virtual Etiquette is incredibly fucking hard - as illustrated in Penny Arcade's mathamatical equation.

    I guess it boils down to the way that people want to express themselves to the world; or virtual world as it were. I do this because I like stories, I like games, and I like communicating with people in RL on locations far, far away. I've had friends in Australia, all over America, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Austria, Scotland - every English speaking country and beyond - because of virtual worlds. When I connect to a Mu*, I'm not just connecting to a game, I'm connecting to people.

    Without the stigma of race, age, sex, beauty, style, or poise.
    But only their intellect and ability to communicate via text.

    And I think it's... Wonderfully freeing.

    Because for as much as I like seeing my kid sisters face on iChat, it was only when I read a manifesto and poem on Boston that she wrote in her LiveJournal that I realised she was a thinking, reflecting, pondering, creative human being -- and started to treat her like one.

    Text FTW.

    Saturday, 2 June 2007

    Bling Blood

    I was on the OOC channel of a Mu* the other day, when somebody posted a link to Demian Hirst's new piece with the comment; "Y'know, some people have just got too much money."

    As you can see, the link doesn't have a very good photograph of the work in question - but anyway, this sparked off a discussion on the OOC channel about the point of the piece. I won't lie, it was mostly me going on about how it could be considered a demonstration on the value we impose on objects during our lifetime which then become obsolete when we die, and that Hirst has a history of using images of death in a way that transforms them into images of wonder, etc, etc.

    But I missed a whole other point about the origin of diamonds, the people who suffer get them, etc - and I saw on boingboing the link to the NY Times article, where Hirst says:

    “That’s when you stop laughing,” Hirst says. “You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it’s going to need high security all its life.”

    And it struck me... That diamond encrusted skull is going to have more protection and attention then countless children - for decades, and decades, and decades - until it is destroyed in some way. The diamond skull is, in short, immortal - while being an icon of death and luxury.

    I won't lie; when I saw the photograph for the first time, straight on, I was actually shocked at its beauty. Totally shocked. Because fuck, it is a beautiful object, no doubt. But I'm not too sure how I feel about it's resonance.

    Friday, 1 June 2007

    Icky Thump? Oh Snap!

    White Stripes - Icky Thump


    I heard this for the first time yesterday.

    Yippee kai yay motherfucker; Meg & Jack are back!

    I had tonnes of extremely insightful things to say about this, but I'm actually too excited to say anything important. Listen, just listen. GAH.

    The White Stripes got me out of the Huge Depression With Modern Music. I believe they have integrity - which is difficult for me to say, as I don't believe many bands actually have integrity - because the music industry is such a, well, industry, so much of what should be uninfluenced purity is effected by stuff like 'you need to sexify your image' and 'can you be less political?' and, in short, over marketed, over produced, and over hyped.

    I don't really know how to address my antipathy towards the music industry, and by proxy a large percentage of contemporary music -- when new bands come onto the scene, I am Instantly Suspicious of them. Instantly. I don't trust them. By default I think they're media pawns or fame junkies - and it takes a lot for me to consider musicians otherwise. Pretty much, they have to make a Really Fucking Good album for me to start changing my mind - and they have to back it up.

    But moving back in time -- Icky Thump:

    It has no chorus -- WTF how can the random 'lah-lah-lah' be so frightening and effective -- that organ is amazing - did he just get political again?

    Last time I heard Jack get political was, what, their first album? Big Three Killed My Baby? Man O' Man!

    And then the more and more I listen, the more I start to believe that the guitar breaks are the chorus. Three in all. Oh man. I won't slaughter the song anymore. I love it so.

    As I am discussing contemporary artists that don't make me want to die, let me give you three more:

    Patrick Wolf - Camp, British, good.
    Peachcake - Surreal Electropop, give me hope.
    Bright Eyes - Yeah I said it.