Friday, December 23, 2011

In Preparation for Christmas Feasting

I'e been baking a lot of cookies and such, and I know that a lot of people will be doing all sorts of food preparations in the coming day or two, so here are some inspiring videos to help you along.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I'm having one of those days where I have "I am a loser" on one arm and a hangman drawn on the other...literally. It's only sharpie, though. It was hilarious when it was drawn on there yesterday...and I didn't do it to myself.
Actually I'm not too bad today, but last night kind of was probably amplified because I had been awake since 2am and wasn't dealing that well with some things.
I was informed that I was acting like Crona from Soul Eater...

I like that AMV.

Anyway, It's really weird how the Jehovah's Witnesses stop by on these kinds of days and read me something that actually applies to the moment.  Today it was a story about Jesus being able to calm a violent storm by telling it to stop. Ugh...I always say that it's coincidence and the stories are just easily applicable to lots of different situations, but I think it's just weird how they stop by on days when I'm having issues because I seriously don't have these problems every day.
I'm not really a devout follower of any religion (I was referred to as being kind of a "mystic" once which is probably as close as I can get to defining my beliefs), but can appreciate stories with a message.  Even if that message is easily applicable to lots of situations.

So, I'll be back with some writing shenanigans later on today, but for now I'm dying my hair purple and going to work on a painting and bake cookies like I wanted to do yesterday, but was lacking in the supplies needed to do so.

I'm trying to refresh my French language skills, so I've been listening to this a lot:

I also think that song is oddly applicable for some things I've been dealing with.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Keep Your Freak Money!

When I stop waking up at ridiculous hours I'll probably forget to blog again, but today I woke up at 2am—it's 5am as I start this—and I need to do something with my time. So, I'll bring you the story of Saturday.
It's the day of the Scribes of Lancaster Christmas-ish Winter Holiday Party Thing and I need to pick up @CielWilson because her ass don't drive. We head out of her neighborhood and drive through Historic Downtown and Santa Claus is crossing the street at Columbus and Wheeling, and he's wearing this red suit (of course) with these suspenders that had jingle bells on them (like a boss). And he waves at us and we act like complete dorks while waving back. I tried to play it cool at first, but come on… it's Santa Claus. We're lame. Santa Claus is awesome.
I need suspenders with jingle bells…they have to be black and silver though because I don't wear a lot of red.

Anyway…we have to go by the store before the meeting and the Charity Newsies, or some other people that stand in the road and collect money for charity, are standing at the intersection by the grocery store. I wanted to donate some cash, but neither one of us could reach our wallets in that moment. My money was stuck because I couldn't get my hand past the seat belt and down into the pocket of my black monster fur coat. And then the light changed. So we drove onward to the store and decided to have the cash out in advance for the next time we drove past—which would be only a few minutes later. When we came back they were gone. It wasn't even noon yet, and there was no trace of the guys. Maybe it was too cold out, but here's the conversation I'd like to imagine that they had:

Guy #1: Did you see the freak? Guy #2: Yeah. And that one black girl.
Guy #1: Is that like the only one in town?
Guy #2: *shrugs* I see her everywhere. I think they were trying to donate some money. Guy #1: I bet that freak worships Marilyn Manson…if we take their money then we'll only be able to buy cheap metal pentagram necklaces, fishnets and eyeliner for the poor.
Guy #2: Better get out of here then. Can't be making any more freaks. And there you have it.

P.S. Someone did accuse me of worshiping Marilyn Manson once. I don't know why exactly.

P.P.S. @CielWilson often gets mistaken for some of the other black women around town when she looks nothing like them so we say that, to most people around here, there's only one black woman in the whole city.

Then we started yelling to no one in particular about how we'll just keep our freak money.

 We made it to the party where I managed to get the never-ending sugar headache from one mocha, one cookie and a small piece of candy. Slightly healthier eating habits have apparently ruined my taste for multitudes of sweets which probably explains the abundance of leftover Halloween and Easter candy still hanging around the kitchen.

 In closing here's a creepy robot Santa Claus

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Like The Black Keys, but Not As Much As My Subconscious Does

I wanted to post this the other day, but I keep being super lame and falling asleep really early because I have a cold (and I suck).
So, The Black Keys are doing a show at The Schott in March 2012 and tickets officially went on sale Friday, but the pre-sale was Thursday. I listened to CD101 that morning and heard the pre-sale code, but I know I can't afford to buy tickets now and I don't like arena shows unless I'm desperate to see a band. I went on through the day and did my usual take the Vicodin and fall asleep on the sofa at 8pm thing that I've been doing the past week because in addition to an annoying cold I'm still recovering from having my broken tooth pulled.

During that sleepy time I had a dream.
I'm driving along US 33, coming back from Athens apparently, and I stop at a gas station, but it's not a gas station because it looks like a Mooby's. Once I'm in the Mooby-like gas station thing everything is so yellow and red inside and the fluorescent lights burn my eyes because I don't deal well with those sorts of things. So I look up after being blinded and my brother--who lives in South Carolina-- is standing behind the counter. We don't recognize each other at first, and he had shaved his beard off, which is trippy, but he still has long hair. Once we recognize each other he starts talking about The Black Keys and how we're getting tickets to this show. I don't know if he even likes the band or not IRL, but whatever.
So, we go in this storage area, or break room, or office, or place with lots of boxes and a computer, and we sit on boxes and I know the pre-sale code (It was "lonely," like the song I posted up there "Lonely Boy"), and we totally buy tickets. And there were a lot of "and"s in that last sentence. Then we give high fives and say things like "I'm so stoked" and "Super sweet," etc. My subconscious makes people talk funny. I don't know if I've ever said "I'm so stoked." :D
And then I woke up.
And I still haven't bought tickets because I don't really like arena shows. Also, I'm kind of broke.
So, the message I got from this dream was that it would be cool to hang out with my brother, and that I think The Black Keys are pretty cool, but somewhere in my head a portion of my brain is going "OMG, I LOVE THE BLACK KEYS!!!!1! OMFG! OMFG!"
And I just don't like them quite like that... but I really would like to see the Arctic Monkeys sometime(They're the supporting act for that show).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Creepy Christmas... still Emo

I should never promise to post anything good because then my medication will decide that I need to have super nap time like I had yesterday. I am so tired of falling asleep at 8pm and waking up at 4am. So maybe I'll post something decent later today...or tomorrow even.
Anyway I've been researching speculative fiction markets since I've been I may post some findings if they're any good. I'm also working on a pattern for some glam rocker dolls since I've been obsessed with Velvet Goldmine.

Christmas is Creepy
sketchy santa fails - Likewise, Don't Think About "Baby It's Cold Outside" for Too Long
see more Sketchy Santas

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Emo Chistmas

I'm having a Very Emo Christmas this year and I know that I'm starting December a few days late due to medical crap and drama, but fuck it...whatever... I want to quit feeling blah, so I guess we'll get his started by posting something before midnight, and I'll do a better post tomorrow. Promise.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo NaNo!

I'm doing NaNoWriMo and it's currently sucking my soul out a little. I'm over 21,000 word into it through. I'm also editing two stories to submit to anthologies... one needs to be more erotic and the other a little more queer (I had toned down the queer elements for a more mainstream anthology, but they rejected it meh).

Now for a little music...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magazines That I Didn't Subscribe To...

But Get Anyway.

They're being sent to my mother's house and I have no idea why, or how exactly (yeah, I know they mysteriously show up in the mailbox...spooky). The magazines in question are Us Weekly and Women's Health. I will further discuss one of them now.

Us Weekly-
This magazine would possibly be good used as toilet paper if the pages were not already covered in shit upon their arrival. The layout is distracting and I don't know who most of these people are, or why I should care about them. I especially like the "Stars--they're just like us!" photo section...I have the sudden urge to stalk my friends as they do normal things--although, I think I've secretly (or not so secretly) always wanted to do this. And if you've read some of my poems you might be sufficiently creeped out depending on who you are and where I've seen you.
My favorite part of this issue was Nicki Minaj's breasts trying to escape from the outfit that was made fun of under the "Fashion Police" heading. I only know her from this song...

More recently she has a song entitled "Super Bass," but I haven't heard it.

Something else-- I think Kim Kardashian would have trouble taking Dubai without earning some sort of jail sentence... remember last year's case involving the kissing British couple? I wonder what kind of trouble a sex tape would bring.

Anyway, The Ash Girl play is done, and it was a fun experience. The actors were all quite good and everything came together nicely on stage. I'll have some pictures and some other comments posted about that when I get around to it this week. I'm doing NaNoWriMo, but haven't typed everything up so I don't know my exact word count right now. The other day it was about 5600.
My Powerbook G4 finally died. It has come back from the dead a couple times already, but I think this was the big one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat

I missed posting on Halloween, but then again I've barely seen my computer in a couple days due to sewing and being at the theater. Yesterday was more sewing than expected followed by a nice dinner and cheap rum in the evening because I was annoyed at not attending any Halloween-related events other than Trick or Treat night. Halloween has become so commercialized, lazy and clean ("Modern Vampire" wigs, really?). Old fashioned costumes were just weird though...

funny pictures history - Creepy Old Time Halloween Costumes
see more Historic LOL

On Trick or Treat night last week (yeah, our city has a thing for the Thursday before Halloween) I dressed up like a vampire. That costume was comprised of clothing I would normally wear (purple shirt, black pants, black velvet jacket), but I just added my molded fangs. I hadn't worn those too often and had to figure out what words I could say without a fang lisp. Anyway, when I handed out candy some kids would catch a glimpse of the fangs, and I could watch the thought process as they tried to decide if I was in costume or not. I really enjoy the subtle distortion of reality where things are not exactly right, but they're not completely wrong either... they're just a curiosity.
At the house next door one of the guys was wearing a weird mask that I didn't get a good look at. He also had chains around his neck and was acting generally like a hell hound. As people approached he would snarl and spring towards them. In between jumping and barking at people he'd hide out at the side of their house. The act made a couple kids cry--which usually means that you're doing a good job. Good show.
Apparently on the next street over there were cardboard tombstones set up and one said "Metallica d. 1989." A picture of that display made the local newspaper's webpage. We were pretty lazy about decorating our house this year, but maybe next year will be better.

Anyway NaNoWriMo starts today, and I have press night for "The Ash Girl" tonight.

Look...spooky things are everywhere, but this map is seriously lacking.
see more

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ugh...Technical Difficulties

Well, the Ash Girl costumes are done except for the shirt the goes with the ballgown for Ruth. I wanted to show some pictures of the fabric and textures that ended up in the costumes, but somewhere between my camera and my computer the image files were corrupted, or some other issue, and it won't let me upload them even though it shows me a preview image. I may try again later, but currently I've got other projects to work on and it's going to be Trick or Treat this evening, so I have that as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Costume Update This Afternoon

The Sewing/Crafting List (bolded items are finished)

Black Bodice-
Remove extra fabric layer and finish edge

Floral Blouse-
remove buttons
figure out and sew the velcro to replace buttons for quick changes
become angry with sewing the velcro
temporarily abandon project until anger subsides

sew velcro

Figure out stencil--thinking some central thing on the back with negative space stars, green and gold paint
Spray paint the stencil onto jacket

Rip out seams on other side

Sew the first green shimmer insert
Insert green shimmer fabric on other side
Sew that side
Figure out how I will close up the two layers of lining
Collar(still determining how to add contrast fabric)
Texture and Darken Fabric...possibly

Monocle for the ball?

Fairy in the Mirror--
Coral-colored Slip-
Repair torn lace

Princess Zehra--
Find underscarf
Plan Tiara piece
Purchase bling

Bling it

Pink Abaya-
Cut off enough fabric to show gold skirt
Hem it

Design top (ivory, belted tunic to show off bling on the dress)

Drape or pattern the top
Sew it

Needs a snap on the waistband
Trim the fraying on the bottom edge

glued and stitched, and done

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dark Cabaret Show, Car Trouble and the Ever-Exciting Costume Progress

Made a spur of the moment concert decision yesterday that almost didn't happen. I did however end up seeing Voltaire's Black Unicorn Cabaret and This Way to the Egress in Columbus last night despite my car breaking down in the Krogers parking lot again. Melanie had already agreed to drive. We missed Hellblinki Sextet, but I'm just glad I didn't spend the whole night waiting for a tow truck.

At the show I was really looking forward to hearing the title track from Voltaire's newest album--which is titled "Riding a Black Unicorn down the Side of an Erupting Volcano while Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children"...yes

And the Twilight Version of "Vampire Club."

Here's the updated to-do list..also, along the way I finished writing my C.V., edited some work, and read Poppy Z. Brite's "Drawing Blood"...and I did more laundry.

The Sewing/Crafting List (bolded items are finished)

Black Bodice-
Remove extra fabric layer and finish edge

Floral Blouse-
remove buttons
figure out and sew the velcro to replace buttons for quick changes

Figure out stencil--thinking some central thing on the back with negative space stars, green and gold paint
Spray paint the stencil onto jacket

Rip out seams on other side

Sew the first green shimmer insert
Insert green shimmer fabric on other side
Sew that side
Figure out how I will close up the two layers of lining
Collar(still determining how to add contrast fabric)

Fairy in the Mirror--
Coral-colored Slip-
Repair torn lace

Princess Zehra--
Find brown underscarf
Plan Tiara
Purchase bling
Bling it

Pink Abaya-
Hem it

Design top (ivory, belted tunic to show off bling on the dress)

Drape or pattern the top
Sew it

Needs a snap on the waistband
Trim the fraying on the bottom edge

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What I'm Doing This Week and Next...Costuming Mostly

I love this's ridiculous, and I'd love to find an opportunity to actually use such an odd line on someone.

demotivational posters - B*TCHES LOVE TOAST
see more Very Demotivational

Anyway, here is the master list of sewing and crafting for The Ash Girl as I see it right now. I want to do a lot of of the minor projects tonight and I figure that I'll be adding more items to this list as they make themselves apparent. I'll be highlighting items as I finish them because I like to see myself making progress. That's why I make lists, and sometimes I put things on the lists that I've already done just so I can cross it off to remember that I already did something (and to feel accomplished).

The Sewing/Crafting List

Black Bodice-
Remove extra fabric layer and finish edge

Floral Blouse-
figure out and sew the velcro to replace buttons for quick changes

Figure out stencil--thinking some central thing on the back with negative space stars, green and gold paint
Spray paint the stencil onto jacket

Rip out seams on other side
Insert green shimmer fabric on sides and sew
Figure out how I will close up the two layers of lining
Collar(still determining how to add contrast fabric)

Fairy in the Mirror--
Coral-colored Slip-
Repair torn lace

Princess Zehra--
Find brown underscarf
Plan Tiara
Purchase bling
Bling it

Pink Abaya-
Hem it

Design top (ivory, belted tunic to show off bling on the dress)
Drape or pattern the top
Sew it

Needs a snap on the waistband
Trim the fraying on the bottom edge

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Costuming, and Drag, and Ann Arbor...and Angst!

It was a day of costuming where I forgot to eat lunch until after 4pm. We organized the costumes for The Ash Girl and figured out how screwed we are....or, I mean, how much we have left to do. It's really not too bad, and I'll have a better to-do list posted tomorrow.

I went to a drag show at The Union in Athens that night. It was pretty good and benefited BRAVO--The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization. My friend performed as Jack B. Nimble. Also, it was brought to my attention that this is a fucking hilarious song, but I can't remember the name of the king who performed it.

My favorite performance of the night was probably the Sarah Palin impersonator doing a strip tease and performing the Dixie Chicks' "Sin Wagon." I may have to get over my strange fear of watching Rent because "Light my Candle" is actually a good song. I don't want to like it because it seems cliche to like it...although I know that I probably will enjoy watching it. Don't try to figure it out. It was the same with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Also thought about my characters getting into arguments with things that are not living things...this comic is a good representation of that concept.
see more After 12

Drove to Ann Arbor to visit my Nana who is recovering from surgery to remove bone cancer from her jaw. I gave her a copy of David Sedaris' book "Holidays on Ice" because I thought she could use some humor if she felt up to reading while she's stuck in the hospital and the rehabilitation center after that. She couldn't talk then, but was sitting up when I saw her. I talked to my Dad as well, which is odd since we hadn't really talked since November of last year, and then I called him on the day I gave birth to my son--which is when I found out about Nana's cancer, which everyone only found out about the day before that. Very sudden.

On the way back we stopped in Bowling Green so I could check out the campus because I want to apply there for grad school. We found the worst Chinese Buffet...and that is saying a lot. So, strike one against Bowling Green. They also have a Dunkin Donuts which is a place I'm usually fascinated with, but find to be ultimately disappointing. There is a cemetery on campus as well...which I guess would be a bonus since I like them in general.

It's the anniversary of Oscar Wilde's birth today, and the 16th is the original due date for my son who was born September 29th 2011. I wanted to be a nerd and celebrate the birthday this year, but I did name my son, that's probably good enough.
Today I felt angsty about another story rejection, was drinking wine at noon and got mostly caught up on laundry. I also made a Swiss cheese and onion quiche, and I plan on baking banana bread, pumpkin bread and a pumpkin pie tonight...while I work on editing and probably dealing with the remaining writing-related angst by submitting more pieces to different publishers.

Dorian Tobias Lannan born on September 29th at 11:06am, 8lbs 20 3/4 inches

He's a really chill baby, and likes to sleep a lot. He slept through bloodcurdling screams when we visited a rehearsal for The Ash Girl last week. He also slept through most of the drive to and from Ann Arbor as well.

Some more music

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The exciting to-do list...also Vorarephilia, not really

We went to The Ridges in Athens over the weekend and I liked seeing that there were two buildings that have not really been repaired. I like disrepair. One building had an asbestos and lead warning posted on the outside, and I didn't see what warnings the other building had other than a "No Trespassing" sort of thing. I also noticed one of the numbered-stone cemeteries starting from back in the Athens Lunatic Asylum days (Opened in 1874, I think), but I didn't walk through it on this visit.
I like the Ridges because it's peaceful and beautiful, but it has such a past that I can't help but imagine everything that happened there over the years. The numbered stones have always bothered me. Maybe I have odd feelings about people who were forgotten and left anonymous in death. It's sad and unnerving because I place more stock in what happens in the here and now, rather than waiting for some prospect of an afterlife.
This web page has images and information about The Ridges.
I think I was around the age of 12 when my Dad first took me and my younger brother to wander around The Ridges, and I think that was in 1995. It was kind of run-down the first time I went out there, and of course just about everything was securely locked and boarded up. I remember that we parked up on the hill by the TB Ward, and the fence around the back of that building and the architecture itself was intimidating just due to the scale of the whole compound.
About six months ago I attended an art, poetry and prose event that was held in the upper levels of one building in The Ridges where the Art department's grad students have their studio space. The lower levels are cleaned up and look like any generic office-like building, but the basic structure of the upper level was left pretty much untouched with the addition of what projects were being worked on. I don't have any pictures of that event developed yet because James had one of his old film cameras with him that night, and I don't think he has processed any of the film from spring or summer. Lame.
Also lame on my part for not having any really good pictures of the buildings from this past weekend. Double disappointment.

An updated to-do list

For "The Ash Girl":
Pridefly's Coat--cut out accent pieces and ripped out half of the seams that I need to work with, might do an accent piece on the collar. Need to dirty it up with either paint, dye or belt sander...
Ruth's Dress for the Ball--working on design for a shirt or jacket to go over the dress (I didn't make the dress, but need to work with it)
Slothworm's Sleep Cap--I think someone else is doing that one
Judith's skirt--move the fastener so that it fits better

Other Things:
Edit and finish "Tribute"--Done and e-mailed out
Finish my C.V.
Review poetry portfolio--found the poems I had written on paper, need to type them out
Locate and print forms for the people writing my letters of recommendation
Prepare something to submit to Omnium Gatherum's Detritus anthology if possible
Deal with library fines so I can have the hold released from my account or else I can't get my transcripts...ugh

Interesting things I've come across while researching for some writing projects:

Voararephilia-- a sexual fetish for being eaten alive, eating someone else or observing the process...

Sitophilia- a sexual fetish including different forms of food play

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Working on Things

This is just one of those posts in which I make myself accountable for my list of things I need to finish:

For "The Ash Girl":
Pridefly's Coat
Ruth's Dress for the Ball
Slothworm's Sleep Cap

Other Things:
Edit and finish "Tribute"
Finish my C.V.
Review poetry portfolio
Locate and print forms for the people writing my letters of recommendation

As for what I'm working on this very minute... I'm not only working on my to-do list, but also freezing swiss chard from my garden and listening to The Matadors.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Intervention, no it's not for me...

It's an odd feeling watching old episodes of "Intervention" while taking vicodin. I've been dealing with a tooth problem for a while, but it seems the swelling around it has gone down and I'm not taking pain meds to help me sleep through it tonight because it's not too bad. I'm not sleeping right now, but that's unrelated to pain...that's regular my insomnia.
I'm always kind of grossed out by watching the people on this show crush pills and snort them. These things were not meant to be snorted. I'm probably more grossed out by the parents in some of these episodes because they treated their kids like shit and wonder why they're seeking comfort, love and acceptance from drug use. Then, there's the enablers--they're annoying too.

Currently I could use a procrastination intervention, but the main problem with me accomplishing much of anything stems from my laptop's issues. I do have my files transferred to my portable hard drive, so I at least have that taken care of even if the battery and/or power management systems and everything else have other issues--which would be lots of issues. I'm also having problems with writing bios and cover letters again, but I'll work on that this week. There's plenty going on in my life, but I need to work on these things when I have the time. There's also the issue of the printer which is making things difficult just because I like to print pages off to edit them. So, there's no working printer here and we had an extended warranty which means that we're waiting for a refund to arrive so we can buy a different printer. Epson Workforce was an ok printer for a while.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What's going on...

Since I last posted "The Ash Girl" play has been cast. It was a great experience to be included in that process, and now the rest of the work begins. I've been working on my concept for the Pridefly coat, but we're not doing a costume meeting until this weekend, so I don't have measurements to work with yet. I've also been collecting pieces for The Fairy in the Mirror, so I should probably start looking at how they go together.

I took the Revised GRE a couple weeks ago, and my scores were pretty good. The next part of the grad school application process can go forward. I'll be working on my CV today, it's going to be awesome--okay, maybe not awesome, but I'm at least going to put it together.

Currently I'm working on something for this writing contest...78 words is not a lot.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Open Auditions: The Ash Girl

I don't remember if I had posted much about this on my blog, but seeing as how I'm pretty horrible about remembering to update I would assume that I haven't. I know that I've mentioned various costuming meetings on Twitter, though.

So here's what's going on:

My friend Miranda Miller will be directing The Ash Girl for ABC players out of Nelsonville, Ohio. I'm involved in costuming if you were wondering.

The Ash Girl is a dark retelling of Cinderella that features embodiments of the seven deadly sins. The overall costuming feel that we're going for is dark, elegant, somewhat spooky and includes a good dose of Steampunk and Victorian influences.

Auditions will be held on August 27th and 28th starting at 1pm. The auditions will take place at Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio. You don't have to be a member of ABC Players to audition. If you need assistance with transportation to the auditions I know some people will be carpooling, so if you need help with that you can post on the event page. I'll provide links to more information at the bottom of this entry.

Here are a couple examples of masks that have been made for the production



Facebook Event page for the Auditions

ABC Player's page has the Audition information and forms

Role List

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dream: Backwards Underpants

I've been bad about posting, but there's plenty of excuses about that including: dead tired, medical tests, making cookies and paper flowers for my Mother's wedding, trying to finish other projects. I haven't even had any strange dreams in the past couple weeks, but I had a lame one a couple nights ago--so here it is...
About a year and a half ago I went to see Deadstar Assembly do a show in Cleveland. While I attended the show I bought a set of merch that was referred to as "Ladies Night" which included a CD, pins and DSA boyshorts...and I think that was it. The boyshorts are black and have a logo on the hip. Anyway, my dream last night was that--horror of horrors-- I had been wearing the boyshorts backwards every time that I've worn them. Meaning that the logo should not be on the front of my hip, but more on my butt. Quelle horreur!
I was actually disturbed enough to wake up from the nightmare. In fact, it was almost scary enough to make me get out of bed to check my underwear drawer in order to see if it was true. I realized how asinine the very idea was, so I went back to sleep.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dream: Love Hangover Nightmare

I just started researching the history of male circumcision, and discovered the only real instances of non-Jewish males being circumcised started in the Victorian Era... oh, and it went along with preventing masturbation. I will soon have more to add to my discussion of Victorian Self-Love.
As I was reading and deciding what to post I managed to start up a dripping nosebleed, which is funny if you've watched anime.

One of my friends showed me the following video the other day and that evening I promptly had a nightmare involving gay icon Zeb Atlas.

His arms look like they belong on one of those oddly-proportioned 10-inch X-Men action figures. And maybe that scares me because the arms broke off of those figures really easily--or maybe Magneto just wasn't well-suited for gladiator battles or being thrown down the stairs.

naughty memes - Even Magneto Doesn't Know
see more Memebase After Dark

So, anyway a guy who looked much like the man with action figure arms who cannot be saved by autotune showed up in my odd dream. I was taking some business-related class in a school surrounded by winding brick-paved roads, nice houses and massive amounts of cemeteries-- I should've known I was in trouble with all the cemeteries around. At this business event there I was--dressed in black--the bodybuilder and a lot of frumpy-looking business women in pastel suits who had creepy too-nice smiles. The guy was wearing a short-sleeved white dress shirt and a bowtie that mostly made me think he was trying to be Clark Kent, or Captain Hero, or just ridiculous. For some reason I did not find him to be a complete freak (some bodybuilders creep me out with their muscle bulginess--which is funny because long ago I worked with several bodybuilders), and mostly felt sorry for him because I figured he would go the way of the actions figures as my dreams are kind of rough on people and most of my action figures ended up with makeshift electrical tape casts holding their arms onto their bodies. I wasn't a very conventional doctor to my action figures...

hugh laurie
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So, back in the odd dream--after the class meeting was over I decided I would walk home--which was apparently several hours of walking. So, I walked the winding medieval roads through the suburbs which led to beautiful green hills that reminded me of pictures of Ireland. Then I arrived at a cemetery. It was the biggest cemetery I have ever dreamed up. It was all stone--no grass at all-- and it led up to a towering castle-like crypt. Conveniently, I was told that it was the "Vampire Castle" by the pale, skinny, nerdy guys who were dressed in blue jeans and black t-shirts, but wore giant gothy capes over their ensembles. I'm not talking about "Hey, mom look at the sweet cape I got at the Ren Faire" style, but more along the lines of the Death Eaters from Harry Potter--complete with ethereal energy following them around as well. Oh, or maybe they were like ringwraiths from LOTR without dead kings underneath their capes.
My first thought was This is such a stupid dream.
The "vampires" were trying to avoid the sun, but continued to walk in a circle around a obelisk in the middle of the broken crypt. I reveled in how pointless this was, and then the muscle guy showed up. The vampire kids hissed like cats and ran away. Muscle guy carried me out of the crypt and was certain he had just saved my life from the circle-walking dorks. I started to think that he looked rather sexy... Once that thought sunk in I worried about where this dream was going.
Okay, we're going to stop this train right before it gets to idiotic town...I'm just going to wake up now.
And I did.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Essay:The Unlikelihood of Murder in “The Tell-Tale Heart”

This is a paper I wrote for ENG 250 at Ohio University this past Spring Quarter. I wanted to post it for some friends to read and have no intention of researching this further. The page numbers go to a collection of Poe's works that I have, but you can ignore the numbers and just know that it all cites passages from Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart," and nothing more. Plagiarism is bad and naughty and I'd prefer that people not steal my shit, but that's the risk you run when posting online...and it's not like webpages I used to write for don't have the option of profiting from selling old articles that I wrote for them. Always read the fine print, kids.
The spaces between paragraphs don't mean different sections, but do differentiate between paragraphs...obviously.

The Unlikelihood of Murder in “The Tell-Tale Heart”

The narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart” is unreliable at best and more curiously possibly not doing any of the actions that he discusses. Using the Psychoanalysis approach and details within the story a reading of the text can be provided that not only discredits the narrator’s version of the story, but questions the truth of the murder that appears to haunt him. Looking at lines within the text the murder of the old man can be read as a work of an over-active imagination, or a dream, in the mind of a caretaker driven mad by the silence and isolation of being alone in a large house for an extended period of time.

The narrator repeatedly draws attention to the idea of madness. He mentions heightened senses multiple times, but mostly focuses on his hearing abilities being elevated. If he has been alone in the house while the old man is away in the country then the silence could appear to deepen over time and improve his hearing when he is alone. This degree of quiet and solitude could be the cause of his madness. During the story he alternates between being nervous and being calm. For example: “. . .very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am. . .” (317), “how calmly I can tell you the whole story.” (317), and “I have told you that I am nervous: so I am.”(319) Just this alternating between calm and nerves can paint him as being unreliable when telling the story.

During the actual act of the murder several items do not quite make sense. “I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him.”(319): this is the only physical act of the murder in this scene and it appears more of an inconvenience rather than a murder weapon. A bed heavy enough to kill someone is probably not light enough for one man to pull over the other person even if they are elderly. The nature of the old man’s murder is called into question because the parallel between the narrator and old man is brought forward. Before the murder the narrator claims that he and the old man both wait unmoving for an hour after being startled by the lantern. These movements are parallel and the narrator begins to project his own fears upon what he believes is the old man, “His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not.” This quotation also projects the narrator’s descent into madness as something that increased over time, and can make his representation of the events possible inaccurate.

The investigators states that “A shriek had been heard by a neighbor during the night. . .”(320) to which the narrator responds “The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country.”(320) In this section he reveals that he may have been dreaming and the old man may be away. To put an action with what the narrator’s possible dream and what the neighbors heard to the sequence of events that he believes led to the murder of the old man, “With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room.” (319) Using these three quotes the reality of the events around what the narrator believes happened involving the old man is drawn into question. Since this raises so many questions another question can be brought in as to why he appears to encourage the investigators to stay and talk, especially in the room where he believes the murder happened. Perhaps if this all happened in a dream triggered by his madness of silence then perhaps he desires the officers to stay and talk to fill the silence, but also to show that nothing is wrong with the room. He cannot cope with what he believes he has done and the content of the dream makes him nervous as the heartbeat sound returns.

While talking to the officers in the last two paragraphs the narrator takes notice of the heart-like noise. He discusses the acts of gasping for breath, talking quickly, pacing, swearing, raving and then moving his chair around. His obviously agitated state as he describes hearing the sound is not noticed by the officers. In this reading it is possible that the sound is only in his head, being his own heartbeat, and the increase in volume coincides with him becoming more physically agitated--thus increasing the noise—or by him imagining the ranting and raving within his own head. If he is carrying out these nervous behaviors and the officers pay no mind to it, then there is something amiss with their observational skills and they should not be on any police force. But, more likely, the narrator is raging within his own head, as the panic increases, so does his pulse and the increase in audibility of his own heartbeat. This is why the officers do not hear it.

Between the shifting moods, heightened sense and oddly paralleled events within the narrative the actual act of murder can be called into question. The only truth in the narrator’s account may be that the old man was away in the country, the narrator is alone in the house for an extended period of time which causes him to have heightened senses and the scream that the neighbors heard was that of the narrator shrieking during a dream in which he killed the old man, or screamed while fantasizing about killing an old man who was not there. While looking at details of the narrative and the psychological state of the narrator the larger story as relayed by him can be called into question.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Self-Love Victorian Style

Self-Love Victorian Style

I've been working on a research project this quarter involving normative Victorian views on masculinity (and especially how these ideals are subverted in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray). In my research I have come across an interesting book entitled "Talk on the Wilde Side" by Ed Cohen. I was especially drawn to the chapter entitled "Taking Sex in Hand: Inscribing Masturbation and the Construction of Normative Masculinity." This isn't my first rodeo when it comes to odd Victorian health topics and I knew Victorians were pretty uptight about sex (even though some argue that the existence of a discourse on the subject shows an increase in openness), but I had not read about the reasoning for their opposition and fear of masturbation. The whole topic of health in the Victorian era always appears curious to me since the sanitation problems in the cities were rather abysmal. I guess they focused on what they thought they could stopping young men from touching themselves. This was a rather proper-sounding posting, but from now on this piece will be interspersed with inappropriate euphemisms from the World Wide Wank.

Think of England--but not if you find England to be particularly sexy...

"Lie back and think of England" was a quote sometimes credited to Queen Victoria, but it was apparently part of the advice given to young brides when it can to the sexual desires of their husbands. Women were not supposed to enjoy sex as their great pleasures were supposed to come from having children and working in the home. Men, however, had sexual urges that apparently required the invention of table skirts to protect the modesty of especially attractive pieces of furniture from unwanted advances (this is according to a show I watched on the History Channel several years ago).

There was a double standard in existence though as the virginity of upper and middle class women was to be protected, but single and married men could expend their additional sexual energy on prostitutes from the lower classes, but not upon women from their own social standing. The practice of men purchasing services from prostitutes was generally allowed in society, but led to the spread of venereal diseases that probably didn't go over too well with their supposedly faithful wives. During the late Victorian era "Chastity Leagues" formed with the intent of men also pledging their chastity until marriage and promising their fidelity once married. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 protected women and girls further, but extended sodomy laws to criminalize any sexual contact between men even if everyone involved consented. Girl-on-girl action was excluded from this set of laws because women were not supposed to have sexual desire, and in a quote that I've heard was attributed to Queen Victoria, "Women would not do that sort of thing."

"Every Sperm is Sacred"

I know that Monty Python song isn't exactly from a satire of this time period, but that was the thought. Sperm should be used for reproduction, not entertainment purposes, and it should be used for the Empire! The mantra of the Victorian era was "self-control" and getting in touch with your manhood was not self-control. Young men were the future of their class and Empire, so wasting anything that could be used in reproduction was akin to the guy saying, "I hate the Empire." The middle-class had additional issues with their sons' reproductive abilities since they were a group formed upon their financial distinction from the poor, but not defined by blood as the aristocracy was. This meant that the middle-class sought to establish itself by creating their children in the appropriate image of their values of Christianity, industriousness and self-control.
In addition to religious, imperial and parental control over young men's interactions with their own bodies there were additional pressures from school and doctors. Schools encouraged lots of sporting activities that were meant to exhaust students so much that they wouldn't think of playing the organ. Victorians were big into the concept that how you looked on the outside was a representation of how your mind and soul were on the inside. This is why The Picture of Dorian Gray was such a scary book. Dorian did naughty things, but looked fantastically handsome and healthy. Also Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde shows this concept as well, since Mr. Hyde is representative of a lack of self-control and indulgence in violence he appears as a nearly animalistic figure (he's also considered obviously lower-class...but we won't talk about that right now).

So, charming the one-eyed trouser snake shows no self-control, a hatred of the Empire, a disrespect to family and disregard for class perpetuation. You're basically committing treason by this point. So a sense of shame should follow one around at all times, but what did the doctors have to say about it?
One a side note: It seems that visiting a lady of the evening was more acceptable than buggering your hand because at least there was a lady involved and the young man was being kind of productive... plus, everyone loves the pox, right?

You'll go blind--or end up mentally deranged

Self-abuse was the term coined to talk politely about going on a date with Mrs. Palmer and her five slut daughters and the possible medical complications of such activities. A self-abuser was viewed as mentally deficient, lazy, self-centered, and heading for a derangement as well as other physical ailments. So basically if you knew a lazy young adult who was apathetic and uninterested in perpetuating his Empire...or maybe he just preferred Art or Literature over physical fitness... yes, you guessed it, he's probably spending too much time getting his palm red. Although, there was never an appropriate level of that activity because it was tough to turn around a guy who was playing tug-of-war with the cyclops. Everyone around him must try to help him realize his errors though because eventually he may be more than lazy and apathetic; he could end up with just about any ailment you could ever have--not just carpel tunnel-- and he may spiral into a debilitating mental derangement. Victorians apparently thought Insane Asylums were the place for people who had trouble keeping their hands off themselves.
Not only mental illness and physical illness could be caused by this selfish sex act, but it could apparently KILL YOU!
A fun French picture book showing the degradation of a young man who spent too much time decongesting the snorkel...
Click for depraved pictures, or what passed for depraved in 1830

Look at that guy...unhealthy soul, unhealthy body, apparently... I'm still trying to figure out how you lose your teeth and cough up blood from wanking. I guess I can kind of understand the whole not being able to walk and red eyes...maybe. He was obviously playing too rough and has poor aim.

Anyway, since Victorian women apparently had no sex drive they didn't touch themselves and therefore did not have their own madness related to having a clam bake for one, but apparently just about anything else could drive a woman to madness (probably because she wasn't supposed to be doing those previously unmentionable things), but if her madness was self-abuse related, then, no one really talked about it like this because sexual desire was not supposed to be part of the proper feminine nature. Although, Victorian doctors had a cure for that hysteria...hysterical paroxysm. Yeah, the doctor's office was the best chance for an orgasm. Of course that was treated as a disorder, but I'll just share this article to pick up where I left off: Vibrators and Clitoridectomies: How Victorian Doctors Took Control of Women's Orgasms. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making Progress of Some Kind--announcements

Wow...when I added "announcements" to the title of this post I had a brief flashback to summer Girl Scout camps of long ago when announcements would always be done in the morning and then we'd be forced to sing about Father Abraham and his seven sons or about the guy who worked in a button factory... anyway--
I've been keeping busy with school...that's an understatement. I've also been helping with a school-related literary/arts magazine. And was given a "Notable Selection" nod for "Politics" in the Open Poetry division of the 2011 B.J. Rolfzen Creative Writing Contest. That poem will be in their journal entitled "Talkin' Blues"...I know my last name is off a bit on the web page, but it was correct on the press release (and that's one of the e-mails I've yet to send).
Additionally my poem "Lectio Divina" made it into "Silhouette," Shawnee State's Arts Magazine. You can get a PDF copy if you follow the link.

I'm thinking about preparing something for Femme Fatales and Bete Noire Magazine if I can focus to write something new and not dealing with Literary Analysis.
This is also coming up, too, if sci-fi/fantasy is your sort of thing: L. Ron Hubbard presents Writers of the Future Contest

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dream: Ride the Waffles...or Cake Rolls!

Several days ago I had a dream that was remarkable in its lack of disturbing content... well I guess it still disturbed me because it was so far away from my normal level of strange.

So, dream sequence begin...

I had this feeling that I was driving to Minnesota or Wisconsin, but anyway I was on a very busy highway. This was not a normal highway at all because off to the right there was a giant parking lot with a lot of fast fast food establishments. I pulled off and went to McDonalds (this should be my first hint that something is rather off). I see my husband here, but he plans on driving ahead. After taking a break I get back on the actual road and see the bright yellow sign that says to share the road with trains. Yes, there are semis and trains on this road. The trains have tracks off to the right. I get into the lane on the right near the train tracks and approach a tunnel. A concrete door drops down into my lane and the yellow sign has some sort of delayed warning on it. I slam on the brakes and as I sit in front of the yellow sign I think "Screw this, I'll use the GPS."
The GPS tells me to cross four lanes of traffic, which I do. And I get into the tunnel. This path is twisted, carnival colors and reminds me of that boat ride in the Willy Wonka movies. The tunnel itself terminates into a huge warehouse and I am removed from my car and it is taken away down some tracks. They later tell me that it's in some parking lot. I assume I have to put up with this nonsense since everyone who was on the road is probably in here somewhere.
My group follows this noisy tour guide through the warehouse and she's telling us something about candy or sweets and how this is just how they do things in whatever state we're in. State of confusion? Anyway, there's a buffet of odd Eastern European foods set up, and nothing I would eat, but the sort of thing that you'd see on "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern"--cabbage and congealed fish mostly (that may sound awesome to you, but I just can't eat pickled stuff). There's also a sad-looking Oom-pah band in faded folk garb. They look friendly enough, but the music is quiet and not all that in tune.
After the buffet that I cannot eat and the band that I mostly feel sorry for we're led to another drab concrete hallway, and a wide ledge with five railroad tracks leading to it. The tour guide tells us that we'll all have to jump soon. The ledge is about seven feet tall and I'm thinking "No f-ing way am I jumping down there." Everyone else lines up with their track as they know what's going on. As the people move forward giant waffles and equally gigantic slices of cake roll come down the tracks and pause in front of the ledge. Some of the waffles have scoops of ice cream on them--in either blue, pink or white-- and the cake rolls are all the lovely rainbow of pastel colors of the cake rolls I like to buy at the Taiwanese bakery I go to in Columbus. (Ichiban Bakery is fantastic btw)
So, now I'm looking at people from all demographics hop on their waffles or cake rolls and ride away down the series of tunnels. I see the elderly tourists who look right out of the 80's with their old cameras, then there's the punk guy in skinny black jeans, a man in a suit, and a pair of very tan teenage girls in summer clothing, etc. As I'm watching all this, all I can think is, "I'm not jumping on a damn waffle."
It's not that I really care all that much about looking stupid, but the ledge is high and I cannot believe that my brain came up with this notion. I'm left alone with the tour guide, and she says that this is the only way out of I finally jump onto the waffle and see where it leads.
I guess each track went somewhere different, but I ended up in front of one of those carts, or caravans, where someone would be selling snake oil cure-alls of some variety during the 19th Century. Oh, and the guy doing the talking completely looked the part, but he was giving out gourmet jelly beans instead of quackery. He spoke of the magic powers of jelly beans to make people happy and sprinkled the crowd with them, but he tossed a full bag of them to me. They were green, and pear-flavored, and when people started trying to take them from me I woke up...

I guess what I realized in this dream is that my brain has some whimsy left in it, and at the time I had no idea why Minnesota came into play, but I do now...
Oh, and if you try to take candy from me I get annoyed enough to completely ruin the whole scene just so that I don't lose something that I feel entitled to.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Non-Fiction: Two Weeks

In all honesty I keep going over this piece and have been changing it throughout the evening, but I'm finally posting it as is...

Two Weeks

Two weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon I had an odd thought as I walked into Target. The thought that struck me was in relation to Professor Bari Watkins, and that thought was that I hadn't seen her in a while, but occasionally in the past I had run into her at Target.

On a particular Saturday several years ago I was questing for a gift to bring to a wedding when I saw her in the housewares area at Target--I believe I was looking at something frivolous like a pitcher or simple serving platter because what else would you buy someone as a wedding gift when you've waited until the last minute and everything except for a pricey vacuum cleaner has been purchased from their gift registry? Anyway... we talked about the items at Target usually being rather nice and a good value. At that time I was enrolled in the section of History 201 that she taught.
My daughter Mina was with me on this shopping excursion and Professor Watkins told her to "grow up to be really smart, just like your mommy." This is one of the greatest compliments, but something I had been silently questioning at that moment when it came to my daughter because she is Autistic, and at her first evaluations was shown to be a year behind cognitively. It is nice to set goals, but when your child has such a diagnosis things can be really shaky, and it's tough to remain optimistic when the tests don't look that wonderful. Professor Watkins knew of the diagnosis, too. (I'm pleased to say that my daughter is now eight years-old and has excelled cognitively and academically, but remains a little behind socially unless you really like talking about princesses or video games--in some circles that's quite enough points of interest though)
Upon this meeting at Target I had only taken her section of History 200, and was as mentioned enrolled in History 201, and had done very well previously. I had the habit of not doing so well on quizzes, but remained flawless when exams came up. I just knew what points that she wanted to see on the essays and the whole issue had become a joke between us. Her approach to U.S. History gave a wider breadth of information than what was taught in High School. It was an approach that brought the people back into History. When you study History it's easy to get into a habit of names, numbers, battlefields, etc., especially if you're not really invested in the study itself, but she made History personal and was able to show how History affects us now. She often brought Social History and Environmental History into the mix as well. I also appreciated her comments that in the U.S. we get to overthrow our government every four years. When we studied the Great Depression she brought in a slide show of Dorthea Lange's photography.
When I took History 201 with her in Fall of 2008 I maintained a nearly perfect grade for the entire class despite two brief hospitalizations (one of which fell on election night of 2008, and was an amusing place to watch history being made), and my final had to be rescheduled as I was to give birth to my son on the day of the final exam. I sent her an e-mail asking if it was okay for me to miss class that day, and was given an extension on that test.

Days after Tristan was born I sent out an online birth announcement with a picture of him and received some comments, and this was her personal message:

"James Tristan,
Welcome! We need to make this a better world for you to grow up in, and I promise to do my part. May you always be happy and healthy.
Bari Watkins"

The note surprised and moved me beyond words, and I committed it to memory to tell my son when he is older, but I am glad to have found the word-for-word note in the depths of my e-mail account today. I think it says a lot about her character, and as I knew her she was always involved with the world and doing her part to make a difference in everything that she did. That may sound like an empty generalization that so many people say about others, but I swear to whatever higher power there is out there that I hope to be half as involved, driven and fantastic as Bari Watkins.

So, when I walked across the parking lot at Target I had a pang of reflection on U.S. History and the professor who taught those courses. I made a mental note that I really need to keep in contact with people.
As it turns out I will never see Bari Watkins again because on that particular Saturday, April 2nd 2011, she passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Article from Lancaster Eagle Gazette
Obituary from the Lancaster Eagle Gazette
Obituary that Ohio University Posted
Lustgarten Foundation

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tell me I'm talented...No, not that way

I've been busy, and sick, and all those excuses, but wanted to provide an awkward story. This story is about sex dreams. So, you've been warned.
Oh, have you been warned...

My imagination often takes me to strange places, and most of the time I'm okay with that, but sometimes I get to the point when I question where exactly my brain conjured up a particular happening. This oddness occurs during the day, but also extends to my dreams. Sadly, my sex dreams are strange in that unfulfilling and bizarre kind of way. They're actually a bit like nightmares on the rare occasions that I have these sorts of dreams. My usual sex partners that are present in my dreams don't seem to like me, are generally disinterested with everything, or are disgusting and/or frightening. In most cases I am left wondering "Dear brain, why bother with sex dreams?" or "Why can't I get out of this stupidity?"
Not too long ago I had a somewhat normal sex dream-- well, close to what I suspect "normal" is. No one was seriously injured,there was some degree of affection and pleasure within the scene itself, and the other person involved was nice, interested, and attractive. The setting was also somewhat believable.

So, it started out innocently and cliche enough with a walk through an old cemetery. There were various paved pathways through the rows of grave, so it wasn't completely destroyed. We talked for a while and apparently were bored with talking. The ennui led to us sitting down by a large tree near a chain-link fence. This led to a bit of a handjob, kissing, hair-pulling...etc. Why does it always go this way? Oh, and there were people running through the cemetery along the paths, but not like a marathon going past. There were just a couple ladies in stupid pink shorts and sports bra ensembles. (When I told a friend about this dream she asked incredulously "People intrude on your sex dreams?" Yes, even in dreams public sexual encounters can be risky, but I guess I just have the exhibitionism thing going on in dream land.)
Back in the dream we were trying to hide what we were doing from the people running through the cemetery. Think, "nonchalance" as a keyword there, but I suppose that is a tough look to pull off while straddling someone, holding a death-grip on their hair and biting the holy hell out of the side of their neck...ahem. Yeah, so... there was some light foreplay.
We then decided to go somewhere less out in broad daylight and went to a house where I assume that the guy lived--he, at least, seemed familiar enough with the place. Various sexual escapades continued and it was an mostly "normal" dream.
Afterward, we were still lying in bed and he had this odd smirk on his face. He stared at the ceiling for a while, and then turned to me and said, "Tell me that I'm talented."
I smiled and messed up his hair. His words were kind of odd, but I replied with something along the lines of, "Oh, you're really talented in bed."
His expression wasn't as playful as it had been, "No, tell me that you like my work."
"Oh, right..."

From the beginning of the dream I had this feeling that the guy was an artist, writer, musician?--maybe all of the above. I remember bits of dialogue that drifted between books, dead people, photography, over-rated paintings, bands that are horrible, contempt for people who don't know how to wear something other than work-out wear--just standard important things to talk about. As I reached the end of the dream there was awkward silence. I had no idea what kind of Art that this guy created. I wanted to say something to make him feel better or at least reassured that I knew something about him, but didn't want to lie or get into a situation where he might ask me anything further about his work.
And that's how it ended. The attractive, and apparently talented guy waiting for a response of some sort, and me trying to figure out a graceful way out of the question.
He apparently assumed I was more acquainted with his corpus than I actually was.
I guess the moral of this story is that no matter how "normal" a situation seems it can still get weird...or maybe that in essence is "normal."
Or maybe a better moral is that I can still alienate people even in my own dreams.
Or perhaps people say strange things after sex?

Either way, I felt the dream was strange enough to share.

On a side note, I find this song to be kind of cute, and I like the photos that are with this slide show as well...

Monday, March 28, 2011

So, a whole bunch of religious pilgrims walk into a bar...

I've been trying to convince myself to start my reading assignment and get ahead of the game, but I'm tired and unfocused, so I opted for coffee and writing out a blog entry on paper (which was nearly illegible and needed to be typed out).
I did read a couple dozen lines of The General Prologue in Modern English, and skimmed the Middle English side of the page, and was thus reminded of a night when a man recited about half of The General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales in Middle English to a bar.
I had originally been talking to a girl about "Guernica" by Picasso (which the print on my black and white lace skirt was a shrunken down version of the work--yes, I have some odd clothing...that I made for myself). Somehow the talk shifted to English Literature, and then works in Old English and Middle English. I actually recited the first few lines of Chaucer to show off to the girl a little, and then this guy showed up, and it was on apparently. This was a contest that I was more than okay with losing.
The guy proceeded to spout off a lot of Middle English, and as he kept going the speed, volume and the spitting involved with his recitation increased. He was absolutely entranced. His face was a blissful nerdgasm-- really, how many times can you use a Chaucer recitation in an attempt to impress the ladies?
Trying to stop him from reaching the climax of his reading was like trying to stop a speeding train by throwing individual bricks at it. I think he made it about halfway through the prologue portion. At the height of enchantment he wasn't even picking up on the subtle social ques that indicated that we were bored with this game. We were looking at our drinks and ignoring him as though some he were some madman that had accosted us and just started sputtering oddly accented English without any provocation.

And this is why I cannot read this part of The Canterbury Tales at present. My mind's eye only sees the constant blabbing of a nerdy boy; mouth flapping like a fish, and eyes glazed in joy at the prospect that Middle English was about to get him laid (I don't think it worked any magic for him, though, but who knows). So that night I was trapped on a smoking patio with the nerdiest train wreck that I have ever entertained at a bar. Let's get back to talking about the mysteries of penis, or practicing hair-pulling.

A bar is no place for Middle English.

Perhaps a place where they sell turkey legs and mead would be more appropriate.

Upon re-reading my blog today I found a mistake in a previous post. I apparently had a brain spasm and listed Richard Wright as writing one book, when it should have listed James Wright. I just switched the names about when I looked up at my bookcase and saw "Black Boy" by Richard Wright and my brain decided that it was close enough. I corrected it though. Must remain ever vigilant...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Face of the Earth....kind of fell off it

It's Spring Break and I'm... cleaning!
I have to find my desk again. There was a book pile-up, and a costume explosion.

I'm also reading.
"Vice: New and Selected Poems" Ai
"Invisible Monsters" Chuck Palahniuk
"Asylum" Quan Barry
"Last Words" Antler
"To a Blossoming Pear Tree" James Wright
New Ohio Review Spring 2011
Ninth Letter Vol. 7 No. 2

I finished "Invisible Monsters" and loved it. I'm mostly skimming the rest.

And costume planning.

My friend Miranda is directing The Ash Girl for Athenian Berean Community Players out of Nelsonville, Ohio this November. I'm one part of a well...mostly 2-person costume department. There will be others helping with the process along the way. It's a rather elaborate project. Our inspiration: Steampunk, Gothic, Horror movie make up, Victorian and Japanese street fashion.
A little inspiration:

And being a magazine.
My creative non-fiction essay was rejected from a women's literature and arts magazine which I pretty much thought would happen because I haven't figured out how to write with my vagina yet. I've had two kids give me a break.
My friend did make it into that magazine...she owns a well-trained venus flytrap...perfect for writing with the lady parts.
Oddly enough her accepted poem was born of a joke that I made about "I'm a strong independent I'm going to write about men."
I'm editing OU-L's Station magazine Spring Quarter and had thought about sending the essay there because it is generally well-liked by most people, but now it's a battle. I feel that I need to send it somewhere else to get it past another set of editors and readers that are not my peers. So, now I'm deciding on where it will go.

memes - Death Waltz: Challenge Accepted
see more Memebase and check out our Courage Wolf lols!

And being accepted by another magazine...
One or two of my poems will be in Silhouette Magazine, which is a literary magazine published by Shawnee State. I swear I've only spelled "silhouette" correctly on the first try maybe three times in my life, but something I wrote will be in that magazine. "Lectio Divina" or "Drafts" or both...I don't know right now.

Expect me to...
Maybe post a little more on here for a while, but then I'll be slacking off on the blog again. I have three Literature classes and a Research class that start with the new quarter on Monday, then editing and costuming continues.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It may be of interest to people outside poetry class.... or not

Since I'll soon be out of time to write anything better I've just decided to take the silly biographical paragraph I wrote and add a little more school info to it and let it go off to the Dylan Days Creative Writing Contest as it is. I'm submitting a satirical poem about politics to that contest. The Deadline is 11:59pm March 1st to their online dropbox.
So, onward to what I had actually intended to post a few days ago...
This is a poem that spun-off of a chat in class where we read and talked about Naomi Shihab Nye's work, and then there was a brief comment on Neil Carpathios' poems in comparison to hers. There was a reference to the brains of men and women being different that I found odd, but then again I've never been one to buy into either way that the genders are hyped--it was just a comment though.
I couldn't think of anything further that I wanted to do with this poem, so here it is.


men's brains are like waffles
women's brains are like spaghetti
both ideas I find utterly ridiculous
but mostly I'm bitter about
being on a low carb diet
so I can have neither
in this theory, are zombies
carb-crazed after a failed bout
of a crash Atkins diet
gorging on the cookies and sweetbreads
of the human body, with noodles
hanging between their rotting teeth
grinning deliriously like a kid
high on decorators icing


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Personal Hatred of Writing Biographical Paragraphs

You can probably tell that I have a paper to write and various things that need to go out in the mail(or e-mail) soon...which is why I'm writing on this blog. I find this is the most efficient way to procrastinate.
Up there with writing papers in a timely manner, and somewhere next door to resume writing, I've discovered another thing that I dislike, and that would be writing biographical paragraphs. I apparently need one for a poetry contest that I'm entering and I don't like writing about myself. Of course I do like writing about myself, but I don't find bios all that thrilling. I also wonder how creative I can be with this endeavor and what is too trivial to include. On my bio for I always update it to describe whatever I'm wearing on any given day that I log on--which I did tonight.
After a while I developed approaches to at least writing bios for online profiles, but so far professional-sounding bios don't work for me. My brain is immediately bored, it starts sounding like Charlie Brown's teacher lives somewhere in my skull, as soon as I approach the task. So I decided to write up a kind of ridiculous bio to get my brain in gear to write a slightly more serious one when I feel like torturing myself tomorrow evening.

Jennifer Lannan attends this one school where she is earning another degree that will hopefully amount to something more than just delaying the inevitable paying of the college loans. She spends way too much time at thrift stores trying to find the ugliest suit coats that she'll never buy, and living in a delusional state where the weather is always warmish, but kind of rainy, and everyone is friendly with just the right amount of's a very witty spite, so it's a bit more tolerable and easier to laugh at.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just an update...with various readings

I would say, "Well, I didn't do much this week," but I kind of did. Mostly bogged down in reading and trying to write a few things. I find it funny that the week I feel kind of drained by reading is the same week that we're covering the same novel ("To the Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf) in both English Literature classes that I'm taking this quarter.
On Monday I read two poems at the poetry open mic that featured Dr. Neil Carpathios at Ohio University Lancaster (Just a little info about him at the link). It went well, but someone from OUL was taking pictures and I was not feeling all that photogenic, but that's how it goes. I will also fail to mention the part of the evening that annoyed me the most, but do you believe in open mic trolls?

memes - Friend writes an auto-biography. Read it.
see more Memebase

Tonight (Friday), I'll be heading out to Ohio University's main campus in Athens to check out a reading. Not sure what my game plan is after that, but will be hanging out there for a little while.

I don't think I'll be able to make it up to Columbus for this reading, but my friend Sarah Hans will be doing a fiction reading at this event on Saturday evening at Also Goods. Joel Weston will be reading from his book "Tabula Rasa." FB page

I was told to write something silly this week to keep my mind busy and all I came up with were things that probably need cartoons with them... like the Angry Poetry Drill Sergent. I'll leave you wondering on that one.
He mostly yells about end rhymes and metaphors...a lot.

see more Historic LOL

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love Poetry for the Repugnant: Dear Non-Believer,

To the untrained eye it may appear that I found a life in the last few days, but in reality that's only partially true. Went to a party, wrote a paper, still not a fan of my laptop, but the keyboard did flatten out a bit (or I just adjusted to it).
Anyway, this letter goes out to someone I met at a bar...

Dear Non-Believer,

We only shared a picture together
and I have no idea who you are.
No... really I don't.
You asked me repeatedly, but I was never afraid of you.
My friend, however, was a bit concerned that if
she threw a drink in your face that you may
stab us.
Calling yourself the "Non-Believer" is
no way to get into anyone's pants.
Maybe you should drink a lot more
before you try to invent your own nicknames--
which is pretty pathetic anyway.
In some poor art student's portfolio there lies
a photograph of two people in black
and fishnet trapped for eternity
next to the "Non-Believer."


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Love Poetry for the Repugnant: Dear PowerBook G4

This is an unplanned letter to something I already have a relationship with.

Dear PowerBook G4,

Why is today the day that the keyboard goes all wavy?
Without the case even distorting back to it's former poor position.
All in the course of the same old traveling from the library to the car.
I feel like I'm typing on the seven seas and I need Dramamine.
You've let me down and perhaps this will be the last time--
oh, but I'm still using you right now and you hold hostage all my files in your innards because I haven't backed them up yet.
Maybe if I type with enough animosity my fingers will flatten you out.
You know that I have a midterm to type tomorrow.

I have no kind words for you,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Poetry for the Repugnant: Dear T---

In the time before Valentine's Day I've decided to write some letters to people that I never dated. If you wish to participate in Love Poetry for the Repugnant just let me know and I will post your link in the side bar. If I know you well enough and you'd like to be authorized to write on this blog I could set that in motion as well. When I started this I had not planned on being the only contributor.
Anyway, let's get these failures in romance underway!

Love Letter to a Relationship That Never Happened...for Good Reason

Dear T---,

You are quite a woman,
--a crazy woman--
oh, what I meant to say
is that I'm crazy about you as a person,
but unfortunately already taken.
Your style is very unique,
I also could not help, but notice
that you are far below the legal age
and far beyond infatuated with me.
I don't really want to be arrested,
although you have little fear of that.
My first inclination that you were into me
occurred when we discussed our sexuality
in front of that elderly co-worker.
Then, you invited me to pee on a church,
yes, our bond is strong,
and that sounds like a charming activity.
I must regretfully decline the invitation, and
can only hope
that you take this rejection well.
It would be unfortunate if my brake lines
were to be cut,
as you always spoke of doing
to your mother.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One-line Rejection Letters #2

Once again, another product of boredom--so many things fit into that category, though. Editing my midterm poetry portfolio is my current school-related endeavor (the cat feels the need to sit in the middle of my work, of course). Also have about a week to write a paper about Vegetarians and Modernist Literature. Drudging my way through Dickens' Hard Times and starting Joyce's Dubliners. Yeah, it's okay to live vicariously through me.
Anyway, onward!

One-Line Rejection Letters #2

One of our reviewers was so overcome with despair that he gouged out his eyes with a letter opener so that he wouldn't have to look at the shape of your poem any further.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rambling: Egypt

One thing that is fiercely disappointing as a Historian, especially one who enjoys studying the Middle East, is that you can't do shit about History, or the Present, or the Future when it comes to global events. You can, however, become unreasonably angry, disenchanted, apathetic and later intoxicated about it. We can only record, and guess at motives, and pretend that we know what is going on. (I've personally been doing some cheering for the protesters in the privacy of my home and informing other people of the situation in Egypt.)
No predictions. That is for the Political Scientists and Politicians themselves. They don't usually know either. The People do though, but The People are made up of individuals. Individuals can see the wheels start to turn, but they don't always realize that they are turning the wheels because their momentum is just a little part of all of the force it takes to move the wheels. Afterward, though, they can stand back and look at the images and fire on TV, see how the world was changed by a little movement, and say, "We did that."
And any day from then on will never be the same.

That's how I feel about the protests across the Arab world.
Egypt will not be a new place because Mubarak selected a new cabinet, but because the Arab world was tilted off of it's axis on Friday. It's only a matter of time before it is completely turned on its head.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One-line Rejection Letters #1

Started writing one-line rejection letters because submitting work is scary and it helps me own the whole jerk attitude rather than giving someone else the chance to out-douchbag me.

One-Line Rejection Letters #1

Sometimes we get poems that blow us away, but in your case we've decided to head to the fallout shelter because it is the last known refuge from your horrible work.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Poetry Class

Preparing items for poetry class and Scribes of Lancaster meeting...
Wrote too many drafts this past week and can't pick one to workshop tomorrow.

Sonnets: Bitches Love 'Em
see more Historic LOL

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waving my History Degree in Your Face

Waving my History Degree in Your Face
J. Lannan

Yesterday someone inquired at to why I was working towards another Bachelor’s Degree and what I planned on doing with a degree in Creative Writing. The answer should be obvious. I need a piece of paper that tells me that I can actually write...that’s how I feel about art degrees. You can create art, but there’s something special about a new piece of parchment to show off. Maybe my first degree just looked lonely on the wall in the office.
A degree in Creative Writing seems only slightly more useful than my previous degree, which was in History. I had big dreams, but somehow I fell out of love with what I was studying. Iranian prison systems are not that romantic. I also bored of having to prove everything that I wrote about and trying to back it up with facts and figures and bibliographies. History is a place where in order to have an opinion it has to be supported by a few other people’s opinions, and it helps if they wrote books or were interviewed on the matter so that there is something to cite in the research. I always toyed with the idea of claiming something completely outrageous about some moment in History just to see if I could find enough research to back it up. With Creative Writing I can make it up as I go, and there’s so very little that I must attribute to anyone else. It is said that, “Good writers borrow, great writers steal.” It’s creative theft. A rhyme scheme here, a twist there and suddenly we’re wearing a coat made from some other artist’s skin. Awkward.
The allure of Creative Writing should be obvious for someone who wanted to put as much flare as possible into their historical research projects, but what is a History degree really good for?

1. Grad School—That seems to be everyone’s plan. “I’m going to teach.” Only so many people can teach because universities can only hire so many people, and even though your research may be your baby, your love, your everything, it may not be someone else’s “everything.” What you find value in is not likely what someone else values, but when you do find someone that shares your interests you either love them, or you’re convinced that one of you is doing something wrong and suddenly it becomes a contention. History is a fickle mistress that leaves you exhausted, with a sore back and wondering if you’re ever going to succeed in appeasing it...but you’re not quite sure what it means to succeed at History.

2. A Masters in BS—Even with a BA in History you should be awarded a MA in BS. It is nearly impossible to complete every assigned reading while working on a History degree—here the similarity between the study of English and History is stunning—so you need to set priorities early. Ask yourself these questions: Do I actually want to read about this subject? How small is the class and therefore how likely am I to be called upon? Does the Prof think that I’m an expert and that I can be singled out on the topic? (And made to look like an idiot when I don’t do the reading?) Can I sneakily read this document during my earlier classes as I’m discussing the other readings?
BS becomes much easier with experience. By the end of my History degree I was BSing things that I did not even know that I could BS—even in a class where a Prof considered me an “expert.” If given proper attention to important facts (such as: time period, location, tone, political affiliation, etc.) you can determine how people will write about certain issues and concurrently guess what they wrote or how it could be interpreted.

3. A Massive Academic Penis— Historians, and, yes, other academics can be blessed with Massive Academic Penis. They always have that smirk as though they know a secret as soon as any debate starts, and then when someone lets their guard down the academic just flops it out there. The reaction may be awe or terror, or begrudging respect, but it is obvious who has won this contest. MAP is not just for show, but can also be used to poke holes in other academics’ research, and if your MAP happens to be big enough some people will thank you for using your clout on them. Writers can also have MAP without any proper training, but theirs manifests more as wit instead of facts, and they usually gain the cockiness after writing something especially clever. MAP does not decrease in size even if you don’t decide to go to grad school, and even if you’re not really using it for the intended purpose it is kind of nice to just take it out and look at it from time to time.... just to make sure that it’s still there and that it functions properly.

4. Research—I can locate and whip through several dozen articles on Vegetarians in “The New Age” magazine in the course of about 2 hours. My familiarity with finding things and people puts me up there with the CIA, but I don’t have any secret prisons and I’d only torture people if they asked nicely. I could probably find Bin Laden with an old episode of MacGyver, some chewing gum, a board with a nail in it, and the right Search Engine. I’d probably need Chuck Norris too, but even Google won't search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you.
There are other benefits of research though such as becoming really pale due to never seeing the light of day.

5. Stalking—That’s the bastard child of Research. I never know if I’m going too far, so I need to draw the line somewhere right before “Creepy.” On more than one occasion I’ve had to make that call on “If I tell them that I know this about them, does this make me a weirdo?” Give me a tiny shred of information on someone and I will turn that into “crossing the creepy line” in the matter of minutes.

6. A Strong Back or a Back Injury—From carrying massive amounts of books to and from the library. When the workload becomes physically too heavy of a burden you can pawn it off on your friends and help them get into shape because there’s nothing better than hiking the hills of Athens with two messenger bags of books as added weight.

7. The Fear of Historical Reenactments and Reenactors— Oh sure, reenactments seems like a cool idea at first, but then you realize that reenactors usually have a screw loose...and this commentary comes from someone who likes to play dress-up for their own amusement. I once attended a panel on the American Civil War (I believe it was titled “War is Hell” or something along those lines) and I had to leave early due to prior engagements and nearly falling asleep. I later came to find out that the Q&A nearly ended in fisticuffs over a lecturer and a reinactor’s disagreement over something trivial. As opposed to Massive Academic Penis the reenactors, who are not really historians, but armchair historians, usually have a narrow breadth of knowledge and experience. They may know a lot about one guy, one battle, a series of battles, etc, but when they try to fling their knowledge out there in front of an academic who has a MAP, well the only thing that can be focused on is how small it is. Due to their limited experience the reenactor does not recognize their deficiency, but is very proud of what they do have and when the Academic's reaction is less than awestruck the reenactor will then proceed to get really loud and defensive because they don't know how to back up their claims when challenged. The academic has a MAP, so they're not going to back down either.

After writing this out I suddenly wish I had cartoons to go along with it, but I don't have time for that right now... maybe I will get around to it though.