Star Wars: The Legand Continues In Little China PART FIVE: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY

Years ago, when I first started drinking gin and keeping this blog, two things that aren’t related except insofar as they pertain to this particular post, I made a list of topics that I might write about, and taped the post-it to the dining room wall. I crossed off some of them long ago, and others I started but never got round to. The list is as follows:

COMPLETED:

1. The story of Dalek Tom Tom (last week)
2. Book Meme (done and done!)
3. Christmas in Pics (yawn)

UNFINISHED:

1. Viola’s camera (this is a camera I gave her when she was 4, and the pictures she took are surreal, but as she is 8 now, this is hardly interesting)
2. What I know about Merlin summed up in Post It Notes (I have done several of these about other shows, but Merlin was a request, and I just never got round to it. What I know about Merlin and can be summed up as “It’s very gay. Maybe. I dunno. My friends seem to think so.”)
3. Drunk Star Wars Art.

BINGO.

Let me explain. My mother buys used books from the library for me all the time. Library book sales are pretty great places, and if you need to get a bunch of books you have never heard of and will probably never read for at least 25 cents apiece, the local library is your best bet.

What my mother gave me years ago was this:

I am the world’s worst artist. I try to fight it, but I suck at this kind of stuff. All my friends are of varying degrees of good. For years, I went to the art store with them and bought expensive paper, and charcoal, and pencils, and those erasers that look like balls of gum, and vials of virgin unicorn blood. But the fact remains that my ability to draw is down there with my ability to hold my breath underwater: sure I might be able to get minutely better, but I’d have to work very hard, and at the end of the day anyone looking at my carefully rendered portrait of a turkey would just squint and say, “Is that James Caan?”

So, when I get books like this I am filled with two emotions:

1. Gratitude for the person who bought it for me.

No wait, that’s three emotions. Lemme start over.

So, when I get books like this I am filled with three emotions:

1. Gratitude: thanks mom, person who birthed and raised me!
2. Excitement: Imma draw me some fucking tie fighters!
3. Anger: Who are you kidding? You couldn’t draw a Sarlacc pit from the inside. (I realize that’s not a very good comparison, as it’s dark inside the Sarlacc pit, but just believe me when I couldn’t find a good Star Wars permutation of what I was trying to say. Just go with it and get off my back.)

I thought about actually trying to draw Star Wars characters, but that seemed like a pretty boring idea. Plus, there was no way this was going to end well.

There was only one way to do this.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

So two years ago, my mother took my kid overnight, and I sat down with a boatload of alcohol, paper, pencils, erasers that look like chewed up gum, and set about schooling myself in the ways of the drunken force. There was no try. There was only get shitfaced and see what falls out of the tree when I slam my x-Wing into it.

That night was apparently magical. Took a lot of pictures of certain pages that I seemed to think were very funny:

Yes, I need several.

And I think I might have set up some mood music.

I was so hard core.

And so on and so on. Who knows if I regretted anything in the morning. I am particularly resistive to hangovers these days, so I am sure that any post-Death Star malaise was probably the fault of those pizza rolls.

But I never wrote it up, because as we all know, I am a lazy sod. So when I restarted this blog and was thinking about entries, I thought about this one. But it was so long ago! I don’t even KNOW what I was thinking when I drew Jar Jar! HOW TO RECAPTURE THE MAGIC.

There was only one way: get drunk and write the blog post, WHILE WATCHING STAR WARS.

So, one night when my kid was asleep, I poured my first gin and tonic of 2015, queued A New Hope, and pre-coded this entry so that I couldn’t mess up the HTML. I am sure I did anyway. What follows is uncorrected and non-spellchecked, to properly preserve the pickled flavor of my brain as I watched a movie and tried to remember the time when I and Eddie Murphy were in ancient Egypt and being harassed by Michael Jackson. Drawing Star Wars.

Again, this section was recorded in real time drinking Star Wars Viewing action. It was very hard to drink and type, because I just wanted to watch the movie.

A LONG TIME AGO, IN A LIVING ROOM FAR FAR AWAY…

We used to have this drinking game, that we would take a shot whenever you could reasonably tack, “and then I cut off his arms and legs and set him on fire” to any of Alec Guinness’ dialogue from the first movie. (And you know it’s the first one, so shut up).

Obi-wan: Come here little one, don’t be afraid.
ME: UNTIL I CUT OFF YOUR ARMS AND LEGS AND SET YOU ON FIRE.
Obi-wan: (at luke) Oh him? He’ll be all right.
ME: UNTIL I CUT OFF HIS ARMS AND LEGS AND SET HIM ON FIRE.

Oh no, 3po, don’t wave at the Jawa transport.

On the other hand, this is the time to confess my great love of Mark Hamill. Like I am not even joking. I am in deep crush on Mark Hamill. I think this is my second gin and tonic. Sry.

OMG STAND IN FRONT OF THE TWIN MOONS WITH THAT MUSIC I WILL SOOTHE YOU, LUKE. I HAVE RED AHIR, LIKE MARA JADE.

So, back when I tried to draw star wars, there were lots of instructions and things that make you giggle when you’re drunk.

I got nothing.

But when you try to incorporate this move into your yoga routine,
you jyst end up killing yoursekf by accident.

Two more emotions than Padme displayed in three films. Too soon?

*sporfle*

TK-421, WHY AREN’T YOU AT YOUR POST?

LOL.

Ermagerd this is boring, look at my drawing, people. I am fucking Picasso.

LOOK AT THAT STRUCTURE.

WANNA SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I TRY TO LIKE DRAW LINeS LIK THEY TEACH?

Okay.

Looking good…

Okay, that was good. Let’s try some other things, like step by step shading.

How hard could tis be?

THIS. THIS HARD.

DRAW ME LIKE ONE OF YOUR TWI’LEK GIRLS, BOBA.

Now it’s just silly.

NAILED IT.

No, Warwick Davis, don’t lick that wire!

STOP THE PRESS. THAT IS IN SERIOUSLY POOR TASTE.

Newsflash: when you stop trying to be funny, things actually get less funny.

Omg I should look up the guy who played Boba Fett. I remember that dude. It was so disappointing seeing who played him. You want Boba to be badass, but he was like…Ron Jeremy. Boba where are you?

Oh, man.

“We counted thirty rebel ships milord, but they’re so amll they’re evading our turbolasers.”

Well then, deploy the quad lasers!

Okay, this is a solid start.

You would think I wasn’t even trying. BUT I WAS. LOOK AT HOW HARD I WAS TRYING.

THIS IS SOME DRAMATIC SHIT UP IN HERE.
Spoilers for a movie that’s probably older than like, ugh.

Oh my god, dod they name the chubby x-wing guy Porkins? No seriously, how did I miss that?

And then I had to stop the film and go to bed, because I am old.

***

So, there you have it. My drunken post about me drunkenly trying to draw Star Wars characters, typed while watching the first movie (you know, the good one).

Post drunk, bright and early in the morning, sober!me notes a few follow up things.

At some point in time, apparently, I started to write an essay about Tarkin, and then about Alderaan, but ended up drawing this instead:

I am sure that this, like all high school poetry, was going to save the world when I wrote it.

By the way, this is what I am drinking out of this morning:

I think that my original hypothesis was correct: I am a horrible artist, because 1. I lack the gift, and b. I lack the interest, aside from the kind of fleeting fancy that strikes one at times of observing others’ talent, not unlike watching the Winter Games and saying, “I bet if I tried really hard I could do a triple lutz. No. No you can’t. At least drawing stick figures is safer and less spiral fracture-inducing than pretending to be Michelle Kwan. Also, drunk ice skating sounds like something that would be the first line of my obituary.

And here to take us out, the best one I did. Imma put it on the fridge, next to my kid’s drawings of how she traps all her people inside caves in Minecraft “because they run away” (that disturbing thought is a story for another day).

FIN

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People Who Talk About Social Media the Most

Amanda Ching:

Lol times 1000. Accurate!

Originally posted on Peas and Cougars:

I don’t know if this chart exists yet, but I just realized it and it needs to exist.

Social Media

View original

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The Story of Dalek Tom-Tom

So back in 2011, I and Vstroyer drove to Kansas from our home in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving, a trip that we now make every year BECAUSE IT IS ACTUALLY CHEAPER TO DRIVE TWO DAYS ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAN TAKING A PLANE. I guess I could have made it in one long ass day, but I am one of those people who stops at every dumbass place (OZARKLAND? HOME MADE FUDGE! BIGGEST BALL OF TWINE? FAMILY DONKEY SHOW?!), so I decided to take it easy on me and Vstroyer and take two days.

It was a howl. I had directions from google that were spot on, and just so I didn’t get lonely, I took the Tom Tom which was bequeathed to me by The French Girls who trekked down south in a rental IN 2010 (Thanks, Laure!). I have loaded a special voice in, one of those free fan-made ones, which is supposed to sound like a Dalek voice . Mine is a little lower than this one. Also it has a glitch so that whenever you get where you are going it says the following:

SCANNERS INDICATE YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION. YOU WILL PARK YOUR TRANSPORT. YOU WILL EXIT THE VEHICLE. OBEY OBEY OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED.

Which is fine in and of itself, if it didn’t then follow up with:

YOU WILL TAKE THE MOTORWAY. TAKE THE SECOND LEFT. TAKE THE SECOND RIGHT. TURN LEFT.

Oh Dalek Tom-Tom, you are lol.

The thing is, when it comes to actual directions, Dalek Tom-Tom MIGHT be evil, or he might just be a victim of the false Supreme Dalek god, otherwise known as user-updated maps. I’m not an idiot. I understand the urge to troll user-updated maps by adding Starbucks where there aren’t any, and the like. One time, whilst following directions to a rather large mall that I rarely frequent, Dalek Tom-Tom took me to the middle of a rather dodgy residential area of town and told me to EXIT THE VEHICLE. It wasn’t his fault. The Crucible Punk’d him.

SO, back to the heart of the matter—whilst the google map I had got me to and from Kansas, any unscheduled stops had to be dictated by Dalek Tom-Tom.

All was well, until on the way home I was passing through Sweet Springs, Missouri, and I saw a sign on the side of the road that read:

THE CHEESE SHOP

Me: CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE, GROMIT.

Usually, when there’s a big ass honking sign on the side of the road for a place to stop, when you get off the highway (I-70, in this case), it’s either RIGHT THE FUCK THERE, or there is a giant sign pointing to the direction one should go. In this case, neither was true. There was a big ass gas station/casino/convenience store/all-night hooker stand. So I pulled up to that, compulsively gassed up, and searched for the cheese shop on the phone. I plugged the addy into Dalek Tom-Tom, who said that it was .2 miles away. So far, so good. I bought coffee and asked the lady behind the counter where I might find SOME CHEESY COMESTIBLES. FETCH HITHER THE FROMAGE DE LA BELLE FRANCE.

″Oh, just go out to the blacktop and turn left.″

See, the thing about Dalek Tom Tom is that sometimes he doesn’t get a signal right away. I have found that he will stall FOREVER unless I get moving, so as I waited for the sulky Dalek to warm up, I turned out on the black top and surveyed two left turns in two different directions. Hrm. Eventually, I took the one that seemed like it was a more decent road and less of an alley, and set off.

Dalek Tom-Tom: TURN AROUND.
Me: Sonofabitch.
Vstroyer: Don’t say that word.

Good point. As I was looking for a place to turn around, Dalek Tom-Tom recalculated and told me that if I kept going forward, I could make a series of left turns that would take me back around and I could get to the cheese shop in 2 miles. Well, sure, I’ll just do that. ADVENTUR!

So far, so good. The road was running parallel to I-70. The first left turn took me onto gravel. Well, this was farm country. La la la, gravel. Little pings on the car.

Vstroyer: ARE THOSE ROCKS?

The second left turn took me to more gravel. There were fallow fields all over the place. A lone farmhouse in the distance. I am setting the scene.

The last left turn took me to a dirt road. Not just any dirt road, but one of those roads that is only made because two tire tracks have worn down the grass. Have I mentioned it’d been raining for three days? I hesitated, and then drove bravely on. I HAD COME TOO FAR NOW.

Me: This better be some incredible fucking cheese.
Vstroyer: Don’t say that word.

The going was perilous, because the tire ruts were deep in places and the ground was muddy. The fields had ended, and we were entering wooded area. I continued slaloming forward, hands glued to ten and two, looking for a place to turn around and every once in a while glancing at Dalek Tom-Tom for salvation. In a few places I worried that I might get stuck in the mud, and then I figured that I didn’t want to turn around because then I’d have to go through all those mud wells again. We hit the puddles with such force that the muddy water was sloshing against the windows.

Finally, we were about .4 miles from our destination, and I saw trees ahead of me; the road must veer to the right or left a little. Dalek Tom-Tom’s little road map was straight as an arrow. I came to a stop in a thicket, with nothing but what might be an ATV trail off to the left, overgrown with branches.

Me: What the–

Obviously, Dalek Tom-Tom was a FILTHY LIAR. I did a billionty point turn and headed back the way I came. At least it was easy to get back where I started.

Dalek Tom-Tom: TURN AROUND. TURN AROUND
Me: Oh hell no.
Dalek Tom-Tom: TURN AROUND OR YOU WILL BE EXTERMINATED.
Me: Fine, exterminate me.
Vstroyer: OBEY. OBEY.

Eventually we got back to the big ass gas station/casino/convenience store/all night hooker stand. I took the OTHER left turn that looked suspicious before and go .2 miles to the Cheese Shop. My car looked like it’d been catapulted with dirt bombs.

But there was cheese, so I suppose it was all okay. There’s not a lot that cheese can’t cure. Except maybe like, cancer or something.

Dalek Tom-Tom, I shall never trust you again, you marvelous bastard.

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THE TRAGIC AND HEROIC PROGRESSION OF KEVIN COSTNER’S ILLNESS AND RECOVERY.

Years ago, I don’t remember who started this idea that actors could get actor’s diseases. This is for purely humorous purposes, so don’t try to see rationality in this. It started with either Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise, but they were definitely diagnosed. Tom Cruise’s Tom Cruise Disease is a pretty simple progression that begins to gestate around “Born on the Fourth of July”, and I think Mel Gibson Disease is fully actualized in Braveheart. Tom Hanks might have Tom Hanks disease, but if he does it is FABULOUS, so I am okay with it.

It is Kevin Costner who not only contracted his disease, but recovered from it as well, as much as one can recover from a disease named solely for them and whose Patient 0 is also the only patient. I have been asked many many times to explain it, but the fact is that it defies explanation. But the chart (also known as a filmography from Wikipedia) is a pretty simple explanation. Also, I got to make a table.

So.

1987 The Untouchables Eliot Ness IT BEGINS.
No Way Out Lt. Cmdr. Tom Farrell
1988 Bull Durham Crash Davis GETS TO HAVE SEX WITH SUSAN SARANDON.
1989 Field of Dreams Ray Kinsella FIRST ALIGNMENT WITH MYSTICAL AWESOME.
Revenge Michael ‘Jay’ Cochran
1990 Dances with Wolves Lieutenant John J. Dunbar SENSE OF A MAVERICK FIGHTING THE MAN/ALIGNED WITH MORE “MYSTICAL FORCES”/WARS ANIMAL SKINS
1991 Madonna: Truth or Dare Himself PROBABLY A FREE BLOWJOB
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Robin Hood SHUT UP. I LIKED THIS MOVIE. EXISTENCE VALIDATED BY WORKING WITH FREEMAN/RICKMAN/CONNERY.
JFK Jim Garrison EXPOSURE TO OLIVER STONE POURS GAS ON THE FIRE
1992 Amazing Stories: Book One Captain WHAT.
Oliver Stone: Inside Out Himself YOU KNOW IT’S BAD WHEN YOU DO A DOCUMENTARY.
The Bodyguard Frank Farmer AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOVE…YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU
1993 A Perfect World Robert ‘Butch’ Haynes CONVICT WITH A HEART OF GOLD/MALLEABLE TO CHILDREN.   BONUS POINTS FOR EASTWOOD EXPOSURE.
1994 A Century of Cinema Himself OH MAN, THIS IS ALWAYS A BAD SIGN.
Wyatt Earp Wyatt Earp WE’RE ALMOST THERE. GUNS/ANGST/ONLY I CAN SAVE THE UNIVERSE.
The War Stephen Simmons WAR AAAAAAAANGST
1995 Waterworld Mariner SAAAAAAVE THE WORRRRRRLD
1996 Tin Cup Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy I GUESS HE JUST NEEDED TO WORK ON HIS GAME AND WONDERED WHY A FILM CREW FOLLOWED HIM EVERYWHERE.
1997 Sean Connery, An Intimate Portrait Himself LOLOLOLOL. NOTICE THAT DESPITE CHEESINESS AND QUESTIONABLE FILM CHOICES, CONNERY DOES NOT HAVE CONNERY DISEASE.
The Postman The Postman GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM, WE HAVE KEVIN COSTNER DISEASE.
1999 Message in a Bottle Garret Blake NOTICE THAT WE TAKE A BREAK HERE FOR 2 YEARS AND THEN FOLLOW IT WITH A TEN YEAR MORATORIUM.
For Love of the Game Billy Chapel
Play It to the Bone Ringside Fan I KNOW THESE FILMS CAME OUT, BUT WTF.
2000 Thirteen Days Kenny O’Donnell
2001 3000 Miles to Graceland Thomas J. Murphy
Road to Graceland Murphy (voice) DID ANY OF YOU WATCH THESE?
2002 Dragonfly Joe Darrow
2003 Open Range Charley Waite
2005 The Upside of Anger Denny Davies
Rumor Has It… Beau Burroughs
2006 The Guardian Ben Randall
2007 Mr. Brooks Mr. Earl Brooks BAM! THERAPEUTIC CHEMO DELIVERED IN THE ROLE OF A SERIAL KILLER WHO TRIES FOR REDEMPTION AND THEN SAYS “FUCK IT”.   (SERIOUSLY, YOU REALLY THOUGHT HE WAS GONNA CHANGE HIS WAYS BECAUSE HE’S KEVIN FUCKING COSTNER, BUT NOOOOOOOO.)
2008 Swing Vote Bud Johnson LOOK, I AM SURE THE MAN HAS A MORTGAGE.
2009 The New Daughter John James
2010 The Company Men Jack Dolan
2012 Hatfields & McCoys William Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield FUCK IT, EVEN I’D DO THIS FILM, IF I HAD ANY TALENT.
2013 Man of Steel Jonathan Kent NOW TOO OLD TO BE SUPERMAN, KEVIN IS ALLOWED TO BE IN WISE SUPPORTING ROLES, SAFE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT IT WILL NOT MAKE THE BEAST REAR ITS UGLY HEAD.
Jack Ryan William Harper SEE ABOVE BOX. ALSO, GETS TO HANG OUT WITH BRANAUGH, WHO SUFFERED FROM A SIMILAR AILMENT—KENNETH BRANAUGH DISEASE. WHILE KEVIN HAS KILLED HIS DISEASE, KENNETH HAS CHOSEN AN EXPERIMENTAL METHOD OF TREATMENT KNOWN AS DIRECTING, AND WHOSE ONLY OTHER KNOWN TRIAL RUN WAS A FAILED ATTEMPT ON MEL GIBSON’S MEL GIBSON DISEASE.

So there you have it—Kevin Costner disease. I stopped bothering to chart it after 2013, but it looks like he’s okay. He’s gonna be fine. Just fine.

 

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In Which I Read Other People’s Work.

Short blog post this week, because I am not feeling wizard. Also, I am Le Tired.

A few years (years?) ago, and old school buddy of mine reached out to me from the nefarious depths of the internet and asked me if I’d like to do some audio narration for Escapepod, the Scifi podcast. (You can find their main page here.)

(Strangely enough, years before that I had subbed to their sister podcast, the horror genre Pseudopod, and been rejected. But that is neither here nor there. I say it because you know, I did these things. AND I AM STILL RAW. Naw, it was a shitty story, about a funeral director who eats tiny parts of his victims as a way to absorb their power out of respect for the dead. Think Six Feet Under meets Dexter. Or something. Anyway.)

Having no experience in audio narration, but LOVING to read out loud, I began with a short story by Merrie Haskell. I have a shitload more to learn, and I don’t have ANY of the editing skills to make my own narrations, but I do love me some reading. I can’t listen to myself, though. I hate hearing myself in the background of home movies, let alone a whole track dedicated to my voice.

In any case, it’s been fun, and I hope to do more. The latest came out this month, and it a short story by Octavia Butler that was published in Omni Magazine years ago. It’s the first recording that I’ve done with the sound screen and AWESOME MICROPHONE, as opposed to the crap shit that I plug into the headphone jack. This thing is hard core. It makes me feel all important like. IT’S CALLED THE ICE BALL.

The Evening, The Morning and the Night by Octavia Butler

Selkie Stories are for Losers by Sofia Samatar

Made of Cats by Judith Tarr

Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love by Merrie Haskell

Incidentally, should you be in the mood for a great male narrator, try Mat Weller, who got me started, and who is in general a great reader. Thanks for the opportunity, Mat.

And finally, a brief update on my Farm Rescue Status:


So Farm Rescue Saga thinks I need to lean about new animals.


Mysteries of the Unknown Produced this Search Scene in the game. Apparently this is downtown Prague


What the shit is that? And why do they let kids near it?


Seriously, why is no one terrified of this?

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January Book Round-up

Keeping a running review list of all the books that I am reading this year, I present: January, which was very effing slow, because I am reading about 8 at once, and also because omg GRRM is not capable of making a book whose audio is less than 5000 years long.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5), George R.R. Martin

Everyone told me to read these books, and I resisted, because I don’t like high fantasy. With the exception of Lord of the Rings, much of which I skip through, I am not a fan of the stuff—magic, anyone in armour, castles, magic, wizards of any sort, MAGIC, old timey amenities, magic, and anything to do with dragons. If there are elves or dwarfs in there, it’s even worse. I don’t mind Dragonlance, in small quantities, because I have a soft spot for Kender.

Ugh. Dragons.

But I liked these books. I liked how NOT magical they are. I liked some of the intrigue. To get a few things out of the way:

1. I subscribe to the theory that the three headed dragon is Daenerys, Tyrion (son of Aerys and Joanna), and Jon Snow (Son of Rhaegar and Lyanna)
2. Jamie and Brienne are BFFs forever and should retire to Tarth to spend the rest of their days just kicking it. They come out of retirement whenever Things Need To Be Done. Sex is optional.
3. I didn’t really care about Catelyn or Robb, so when they died (which you know is coming because internet), I was like, whatevs.

Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War, James Risen and Judy L. Thomas

Disclaimer: If you didn’t already know, I disdain the anti-choice movement with pretty much all of my being, so they don’t get any sympathy from me.

I admit that I grew up in the Assemblies of God, who are covered in this book a little bit, so by the time I came along, the evangelicals were just getting sucked into the abortion protest machine. I was rather illuminated that the whole thing sprang out of Catholic Vietnam protesters, and the way they tried to focus the resistance as non-violent sit ins etc. I’d like to blame evangelicals for the escalation of dickishness, but I can’t—it was mainly a few insane-o Catholics, like Joseph Scheidler, Michael Bray and Joan Andrews, a woman who served time in jail for storming clinics and doing things like injecting chemicals in the walls so that the building had to be evacuated.

After hearing that an eleven-year-old Chicago girl was scheduled for an abortion, Scheidler and his followers formed a picket line at the hospital specifically to put pressure on the girl and he mother. He later shrugged off criticism that he was heartless: “Everybody had this image of this skinny little girl. She was a big girl. It wasn’t like it was going to kill her to have a baby.” [emphasis mine]

But even the non-violent protesters had nothing symbolic in mind, really. John O’Keefe. The founder of the abortion non-violent protest movement, or at least, one of the most important knew that he wasn’t just expressing his first amendment rights:

O’Keefe has always told volunteers that, unlike those used in the civil rights movement, anti-abortion sit-ins were not symbolic; by blocking clinic doors they could actually save lives. When a woman went home rather than run the protest gauntlet, O’Keefe felt victorious. That woman might ultimately keep the child. “A sit-in is a great deal more than a protest: it is an attempt to save lives right there, that day,” O’Keefe write in A Peaceful Presence.

The book is pretty unbiased. It’s clear that Risen is just chronicling how the anti-choice movement turned from sit-ins to bombings and finally, the murder of doctors across the country. Even this book, written in 1998, is outdated, because while they cover the first shooting of Tiller, they obviously miss his death.

More than anything, what the book showed me for the first time was an explanation for the disparity that I sense when I talk to people whose religious exposure is other denominations: real evangelicals read the bible. And I mean they READ THE BIBLE, in a way that Catholics and other denominations don’t seem to grok. You can drop whole allegories and biblical textual references in conversation with other evangelicals, and they understand completely what you are talking about.

[Randall] Terry was fluent in that language. When he told pastors that Proverbs 42:11 trumps Romans 13 and that they should thus feel scripturally free to join Operation Rescue, the pastors knew exactly what he was talking about. When he said his vision of Operation rescue had come “as men as trees, walking,” they knew Terry was drawing on Mark 8:24 to argue subtly that he was not a dangerous freelancer but was sublimated to God’s plan, a plan that had only slowly revealed to him. His speeches and writings were almost indecipherable t anyone unfamiliar with the way fundamentalists parse the bible. But Terry knew the Evangelical shorthand: “Those who still debate the morality of doing so-called illegal things will have to do a lot of explaining when it comes to Acts 5:29.” Catholics are not trained to deconstruct the Bible in the same way, so that early leaders like O’Keefe, Lee, and Ryan had no way of reaching Evangelicals the way Terry could.

Anyway, it’s interesting that when the Evangelicals decided to leave their predeterministic apocalyptical ideas and then embraced the idea of affecting change in the “present” world, they took movements like abortion and dialed them up to eleven. They marched on Atlanta. They had that insane days of prayer thing in Wichita. They know how to draw a crowd. And it was this kind of pressing and protest and involvement in the political that created the Religious Right, right here. If you want to know what the fuck is wrong with these people, just look at how they came to be, out of Terry Randall’s Ringling Brothers rhetoric, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, encouraging their people that they were soldiers on a battlefield, and every clinic they shut down stopped the senseless killing of babies that god meant to be born. Also, you know, Auschwitz and all that crap.

These people dumpster dive behind medical facilities for “aborted fetuses”, which are usually partial births of dead babies in utero, and then display them proudly as what You Are Doing when you go to a clinic. They don’t care about facts. They don’t care about non-violent protest, because they are saving babies.

Foreman once described a revealing incident that took place in Washington in 1989, after he and Jeff White monitored a large abortion-rights rally on the Mall outside the Lincoln Memorial. As Foreman and White were leaving in white’s pickup, White “accelerated towards a mob of satisfied feminists crossing the street, and slammed on his brakes—screeching to a halt within inches of the scattering crowd,” Foreman later wrote. “Sticking his head out the window, he bellowed, ‘If I were pro-choice, you’d be dead now!’”

The book doesn’t get into the whole pre-marital sex issue, which is woven into the whole issue, and that’s because it’s not relevant to the chronicle of the book, but don’t forget that at its heart, it’s an essential part of the anti-choice problem (because if they really wanted to “stop” abortion, or at least slow it, they’d be for free effective birth control and sex-ed classes.). Instead, they’ll send handcuffs to abortion providers on the anniversary of RvW, because they’re “just trying to talk”.

Things that struck me:

[What became of Randall Terry?] Cut adrift from the traditional Charismatic theology that preached noninvolvement in the world, Terry was searching for a new theology that interpreted the Bible as he did, as a book filled with “action verbs.” He was intrigued by Reconstructionism, whose adherents claimed that Christians were called by God to exercise “dominion” on earth; it was a strange kind of theocracy.

On the final day of the week long event, [Shelley] Shannon took the stand. Although her public defender tried to convince the jury that Shannon did not intend to kill [Dr. George] Tiller, Shannon told the district attorney, “I think it’s irrelevant whether or not I was trying to kill him…because it would have been right either way, to try to stop what he’s doing.” Shannon was found guilty after the jury deliberated for just one hour and twenty-two minutes

“The Scopes Monkey Trial was a great public relations disaster for us,” observes Randall Terry. Fundamentalists retreated to their churches for fifty years. The became outcasts, believing the world was evil, while privately reveling in the self-assurance that the Second Coming was imminent and they were the only ones who would be saved. “We became so heavenly minded,” notes Flip Benham, a colorful Dallas preacher and Operation Rescue Leader, “that we were no earthly good.”

And ya still aren’t, buddy.

The Iris Fan (Sano Ichiro #18), Laura Joh Rowland

I was glad that this was the ending of her series, because lately I have been questioning series that seem to go on forever. This is a good series, though and while the last few were stretching a little, everything comes full circle, and the conflicts that span the whole series are tied up. Also, she does one of the things I like about definite ending volumes: brings in minor recurring characters for one final appearance: Touda, the old leader of the secret service; Doctor Ito, the old doctor caught doing Western Medicine and banished to work in the Edo morgue, and his untouchable assistant, Mura; Lady Yanagisawa and her simple minded daughter, Kikuko.

Rowland addresses all the issues I wanted to see dealt with: the next Shogun, Hirata’s bizarre mystical companions, the ghost of General Uoeda, Reiko and Sano’s estrangement and most of all, the final end of the conflict between Sano and Yanagisawa. Even Ienobu is a great villain in this.

In the end, one of the things I loved about these books, aside from the setting, which is pretty fun, is the way Rowling treats gender in these books it’s too easy to write revisionist gender roles in a historical series, but she doesn’t do that. Reiko is independent and headstrong, and often disagrees with her husband, but she knows where to stop in the society. Women, as well as men, are murderers and villains. Men are sexist and pigheaded, even the hero, some of the time. It’s refreshing, kind of like reading a Judith Merkle Riley novel.

ONE REREAD: Blood and Gold, Anne Rice. Man, is Marius a sexist asshole. Also possibly might benefit from some anger management classes.

So that’s it: 3 books for January. I better get the molasses out mah ass.

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So yeah, I have sh**ty habits.


It is obvious that we have reached the point of no shame.

 

I am an instant gratification person. I have tried not to be over the years, but like my experiences with exercise and running, that’s like trying to swim upstream whilst riding a seahorse—fun to think about, impossible to do.

I am afraid that ever since I saw Aquaman ride a seahorse, I have been embittered by the fact that there ain’t no seahorse out there even remotely big enough to carry me. Also, from what I understand, their steering power is pretty nil, so we’d just sort of bob and drift about. There’s a metaphor in there. Every MRA in the world would also point out that I fantasize about enslaving and riding on of the only male creatures in the world that gets pregnant, so I’mma beat them to the punch and lay that out there.



I just thought this juxtaposition was lulsy.

So the fact is that I love those effing Facebook games. Farm Rescue Paratroopers Hidden Mystery-O-Rama Crush, or whatever they are called. There is nothing better after an hour of mind numbing staring at a word document than to kick back for about 5 minutes and play a swap-three game with those little noises whenever you make a match. OR WHEN YOU MAKE ONE MATCH AND THEN SIT THERE AS THE TILES CASCADE DOWN OVER AND OVER WITH MATCHES, AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CLOSE YOUR EYES AND LISTEN TO THE HAPPY LITTLE NOISES OF SURPRISED BEETS AND CARROTS.

HDU JUDGE ME, JACKANAPES.

Or one of those hidden object games. I like those, too. I like to see how fast I can go.

I play about five games, and when I run out of lives on one, then it’s time to go back to work. That’s how it is with me.

That said, sometimes I wonder about the people who do the art of these games. Aside from the fact that they to this manipulative crap when you lose:


Look at this fucking panda side eye.

The greatest challenge with all these is to NOT buy shit. They wind you up with the free stuff because they want you to buy crap. I have a rule: I only buy “gold bars” if I want to get to the next levels asap, or if I am bored/drunk and I have run out of lives and OH MY GOD I HAVE TO KEEP GOING LIKE RIGHT THE FUCK NOW. I liken it to buying myself a crappuccino or a five dollar blow job, because you know, what the heck.

But sometimes when the things open up and you see a new board, you know they’re fucking with you.


Seriously? WTF am I supposed to do with this?

For the record, this CAN BE DONE. WITHOUT ANY BOOSTERS. I DID IT THIS MORNING. THEN I HAD A CUP OF FREEDOM COFFEE.

Did you know that if you are stuck on one of these games, there are websites with strategies? Seriously, I made fun of them until I needed them. How dumb is that.

So, the big issue with Facebook games is that they of course want you to invite people to play the games too. I will never invite anyone on purpose. I X-out of the windows every time they come up. It gets to be reflexive, which is a pain in the ass when the game decides to change up the order, BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THEY GET YA. If you ever get an invite from me, it WAS A TOTAL ACCIDENT. Also, if you see any of my game activity, just block notifications from the game. I do that all the time from games I don’t play but my friends do. FB games are part of the site, and complaining about them is bullshit. I am on level 822 of this thing, and I am not stopping because you can’t click a “Turn off Notifications” button.

SIDEBAR: I routinely click “I don’t want to see this” on posts. I bet I did it to something you posted, if you’re on my feed. It’s not personal. It has a lot to do with my mood at the time, my mental state, etc. I don’t defriend people, though I might block them from my feed. Life is too short to have to look at your acquaintances post crap about how asparagus cures cancer.

Anyway, this is one of the most pointless entries I have ever blogged, and I wrote all of this to explain why I play these dumbass things, and mostly so that I can post a few pictures that are really bothering me. Look at this shit:


Farm Heroes Saga has some fucked up art.


What the fuck is wrong with this dog?


And this tiger.


Let’s see that again, shall we?


SOON.

Next time on Amanda’s Test Blog, gin, Star Wars, and a set of charcoal pencils. Which stupidity reigns supreme?

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