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Farewell, Starman

I am not sure why, even two days later, the death of David Bowie makes me so damned sad.

When I first heard the news, I tweeted:

David Bowie is gone? Impossible. Surely it's another theatric, another reinvention, a new incarnation? My heart is full of wishful disbelief.

And I went and hugged my Labyrinth worm plushie for a bit while a hot tear or two escaped.

A user with the handle EwaSR tweeted:

I still feel like I would if someone had told me Mount Everest had died. "Well that's stupid, that's not how mountains work."

And that was exactly it. The wrongness of Bowie's death is that ... somehow, I don't quite know how, but I think on some level, he convinced everyone that he was a magical alien or Goblin King; that he was a creature who fell to earth.

And this one from Commander Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who performed "Space Oddity" while in orbit above our planet:

Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust. Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman.

I keep getting choked up about this man I never met.

And I ask myself, "Am I more emotional since losing Mom? I was upset about Michael Jackson, but it didn't feel like this."

Maybe it's the planning ... the fact that he wrote Blackstar, his final album, when he knew he was dying. He prepared. He planned. He was deliberate and in control of his image at all times, and he left us a gift.

I feel sorriest for his 16 year old daughter. He will not see her milestones. I know he and Iman set firm boundaries on their privacy, and I applaud them for it. I hope she had a lot of time with her dad.

And while I feel sorriest for her, I feel an ineffable sorrow for the rest of us. Like a really important human left. Not because he was famous, but because he made being different okay for an awful lot of us out there. Not just okay - cool, even.

I don't know. It's hard to explain. I just know that I've cried a number of times about it. As one cartoon said, "The stars look very different today."

He really mattered, even if he was just a talented musician with amazing costumes. He used these guises to teach us. How we reacted to them said a lot about his elegance and grandeur, and spoke volumes about our secret selves.

In the video for "Lazarus," he enters a closet at the end. I like to pretend that he's heading off to Narnia to see his friend, Tilda Swinton, the Ice Witch.

And this reimagining of the scene from one of the Men in Black movies:

"You do know David Bowie is dead, right?"
"No, Bowie is not dead. He just went home."

May God's love be with you on your journey, Major Tom.

I mourn

I mourn the lost potential activities; the adventures we'll never have together.

I mourn all the things I'm not going to get to do with my mother because my parents retired too late.

I mourn the lost time.

I wanted to take her to Taste of Atlanta; wanted to take her to Cirque du Soleil; wanted to take her to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Christmas concert.

None of those things will ever happen now. Until the last year, it was because the store was open and it never seemed to be a good time. In the last year, it was due to transitioning away from the store and the cancer treatment. In the last year, she told me she didn't think they were going to get to travel. Did she know? Was she telling me? Warning me? Or just voicing her own legitimate fears? I will never know.

What I do know is that cancer robbed us of all our plans. Cancer, and my father's reluctance to close the store. He knows he failed irreparably. I do not say this to him. I do not tell him. What good would it do? What would it change? Besides, I feel sure his own guilt attacks him during the Hour of the Wolf.

There's a reason the saying, "Do it now," exists. Because you might not have tomorrow.

We don't have tomorrows with my mom. Only yesterdays.


Astonished joy

On November 3rd, 2004, I despaired. 77% of Georgians had voted against marriage equality.

Today, not quite 11 years later, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

I wept tears of joy when I heard. I called Terrance; I tried to call Scott. I need to e-mail Baxter and other friends.

But Terrance was the first person I called. I think of all his Red and Black articles, his feisty debates, his activism, his determination, him and Rick being the "poster couple" for gay parents taking their children to the White House's Easter egg hunt. He has always been such a passionate fighter, and I admire him so much.

He and so many have fought so long and so hard for this moment.

Things aren't perfect. As I type this, you can still be fired for your sexual orientation in 29 states.

But what an enormous victory. Some of the dearest people in my life can now safely travel from coast to coast, knowing that they won't be married in one state and not married in another. Knowing that they now have all the rights that result from marriage: they cannot be barred from a hospital room on the grounds that they are not kin to their spouse; insurance must recognize their marriage as legal and legitimate. There don't have to be any more euphemisms, no more "longtime companion" entries. So many things.

Much love to all of you. I haven't been this happy for anything in a very long time -- I am overjoyed. I wish Charlie, Bobby, and other friends who are now gone were here to see this moment, but I take comfort from seeing the pictures of couples in their eighties for whom it was not too late. My niece will scarcely remember a time when this wasn't the norm. I thought of Terrance and Rick's children: their sons may remember, but it will be a distant childhood memory. For their adult lives, it will be the norm. SCOTUS changed the future today. Going forward, it will just be the way things are. As it should be. :)

Somebody That I Used to Know

I was testing the "Detect Music" feature of Semagic (not quite working, by the way), and happened to use Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" as the song I was trying to detect. I hadn't heard it in a while, and I'd forgotten how powerful it is (my apologies to Mr. De Backer for mistaking this for a new Sting song at the time):

"Making Mirrors," indeed.


First crochet project of 2015 complete

I just finished a scarf for my mom's best friend, who is a Clemson fan (nobody's perfect ;) ). It's the first time I've ever worked with two colors, and I'm reasonably pleased with how it turned out:

Clemson scarf for Courtney


Ripper Street

I finished the second season of Ripper Street last night. This BBC America show takes place in Whitechapel six months after the Jack the Ripper killings (hence the name). Its citizens are on edge and jumping at shadows, fearing every death is related to the predator in their midst. In this environment, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and the police force at Leman Street try to fight the good fight.

What I find engaging about the show is the atmosphere and the history. I'm not one to watch CSI-style shows (the show is often jokingly referred to as CSI: Whitechapel), but I think it's interesting to see the theoretical origins of forensic analysis and to witness the beginnings of medical examiners finding their way as detectives. Yes, it's fictionalized, but much of it is plausible.

On the other hand, I find two out of the three principal male characters somewhat off-putting.

SpoilersCollapse )

Amazon has purchased a third season of the show, but it's unlikely that I'll stay with it. I'm not sorry that I watched it, but there are just too many other programs vying for my attention right now.

Side note #1: I found it interesting that at least five actors from Game of Thrones have made appearances on the show (the aforementioned Jerome Flynn, Iain Glen, Joseph Mawle, Kristian Nairn, and Paul Kaye). I don't know if the sets are near one another or what, but it's been kind of fun spotting them. :) Mawle reminds me a bit of Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill The Butcher in his role as Inspector Jebediah Shine.

Side note #2: I'll grant that the show is educational: I'd never heard of phossy jaw until I watched the third episode of the second season, "Become Man." I rather wondered if the special effects team was paying homage to Sandman's Mazikeen with their depiction of the symptoms. Their visual appeared much more extreme than the sketches and period photographs of the admittedly horrible and deadly disease.


Orphan Black

"Just one?
I'm a few;
no family, too.
Who am I?"

mumpish encouraged me to watch this; I've just completed all the episodes of this show to date: I don't want to spoil anyone who hasn't seen it, so I'll put the rest of this behind a cut. If you're reading this post via RSS, those viewers don't recognize LiveJournal's cut tag, so be warned that from here on out, there may be spoilers.

Read more...Collapse )

I don't have any Orphan Black icons yet, but even if I did, there are probably precious few I could associate with posts without being spoilery, so I'll just use my default for now.

Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Spoilers for Only Lovers Left AliveCollapse )

This won't mean anything to those who are unfamiliar with Vampire: The Masquerade, but in the car after the movie, I shook my head at D., smiled, and muttered, "Toreador." He grinned and said, "Ya think?" ;) (Toreador is a clan in the Camarilla faction of the tabletop RPG. They are characteristically ... well, watch the movie. :) )

Overall, I thought this film was a well-executed character study. I can see why it was nominated for a Palme d'Or, and I will almost certainly purchase the DVD - the film's languid pace is well worth savoring during repeat viewings. I won't be surprised if it turns out to be my best movie of 2014.


Currently watching

The Americans is my current favorite television program: if you liked the 2011 remake of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you'd probably enjoy this show; I think fans of Alias might like it, too. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it takes place in the early 1980s, during the Cold War, and focuses on a cat-and-mouse game between Russian and US intelligence operatives. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch the first season here.

I'm also tuning in to The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and, of course, the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race (I never miss it, although I strongly disagree with last week's elimination, as does the rest of the fanbase). There are many things stacked on the DVR, including The Blacklist, the new Cosmos, Orphan Black, and Ripper Street, as well as a number of movies; I hope to start on Orphan Black today.

That's the positive. As for the negative, I'm very close to dropping Game of Thrones. I wasn't inclined to watch it in the first place given that I detested the book: indeed, A Game of Thrones was the worst novel I read in 2011. However, as you likely know, it's one of the most popular television shows in the world, and so, for the sake of conversancy and water cooler discussion, I capitulated.

While I do think HBO's adaptation has improved upon the books somewhat, the relentlessly brutal violence and sexual content of the story is, shall we say, well suited for the excesses of cable television, and, for me, it gets old. It's also frustrating feeling like I'm not permitted to care about most of the characters because they're likely to be slain for shock value at any minute. The thing about shock value, though, is that if it's too frequent, it becomes ineffective: the viewer becomes inured to it, and that's not entertaining.

It is accomplished

I have finished the 14 Dresden books and the short stories as they exist at the time of this writing (specifically, I've completed Cold Days).

[gently and kindly]
If you recommended them to me, it's probably best if we get to know one another better before suggesting books, films, and television shows to each other, in the interest of being mutually courteous and not wasting the other person's time.

I know y'all had good intentions. I get that you enjoyed them. I'm just not clear on why you thought I would enjoy them.
[/gently and kindly]



Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

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