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I just watched "Brigadoom," the musical episode of Lexx, for the first time, and I'm emotionally compromised. My love for this series is rushing back. It's a vicious satire on heroic SF that turns the corner and actually becomes heroic SF while still keeping the snide sense of humor, and the characters are awful yet relatable and I want to hug them but also want to yell "YOU ASS" at them. I would try to sell people on Lexx more often -- goodness knows I want someone to revisit it with me -- but to get to the good parts and have them make sense, you first have to get through a lot of sex comedy and poo and fart jokes, and I understand not everyone finds that an acceptable entry cost.

Every couple of years, my thundering crush on Michael McManus (the Canadian one, there are two Michaels McManus but only one is Canadian and played Kai) recurs and I do an image search. I regret to state that he is still heart-achingly beautiful and has become a silver fox in his mid-fifties. Here he is. If I have to suffer, so do you. I understand he mainly does live theatre these days. Brian Downey is still acting too, I am happy to say. He played one of the villains in the Canadiansploitation movie Hobo With A Shotgun in 2011; I'm not sure how to feel about that movie but Downey was good in it. Eva Habermann seems to have had a packed career in TV in Germany, and Xenia Seeberg seems to have done well for herself too. I always want performers who have given me something important to have good fortune and be OK in general, so I'm pleased that's the case with these four.
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A hawk came to my birdfeeder today. I was sitting in my bedroom, braiding my hair and ready to go for a run, and there it was out on the deck railing outside my window, where I'd expected to see mourning doves. I looked at its feet, then up its belly, up and up like a shot in a movie when you realize the goon standing over you is a lot bigger than you expected. It saw me with its bright orange eyes, turned its head to glare at me with its right eye, then took off. I wish I'd had a longer look at its feathers, but I think it was a Cooper's hawk; the pattern of light brown dots in lines across its front was about right. I'm trying to get out of the habit of calling everything a red-tailed hawk, even though that's a safe bet around here.

My usual clients, mourning doves and sparrows with the occasional cardinal, only stayed away for a few hours. As the sun set this afternoon, they were mobbing the feeder again and seemed unfazed (though birds don't have much facial expression). I wonder if I could set out an equivalent of owl decoys, ones which will only frighten raptors and not seed-eating birds.

Hawk thoughts have led me to "The Gay Goshawk," of which a typo-riddled version can be found here. I should find a good tune and learn it. There aren't enough ballads that have an unqualified happy ending, and it has a clever lover and a singing goshawk, too. In Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk, she points out that people often say they've seen a goshawk when they've actually seen a sparrowhawk, because the only obvious difference is size, and any hawk eating a pigeon on your front lawn will look enormous, "like someone's tipped a snow leopard into your kitchen and you find it eating the cat." The hawk this morning looked huge and menacing and was obviously looking for my birds as food, not friends. The two bald eagles I saw on Christmas Day, in Western Massachusetts, were a lot bigger, but they weren't sitting on my front railing like an aberration in reality.

Here's a girl-and-eagle song: "See Her Fly Home," by Nancy Kerr. I've never seen Kerr discuss or write about the song, but it has to have been inspired by the documentary "The Eagle Huntress" about the Kazakh Mongolian teenage eagler, Aisholpan Nurgaiv. (Not to detract from her achievements, but I also understand that Aisholpan isn't an isolated prodigy, and that there are similar Kazakh and other ethnic Mongolian eagler girls and women out there too.)

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I'm procrastinating from writing a piece of situation-specific poetry for tomorrow's mini-Burns Night before the regular pub sing (called "To a Vegetarian Haggis") in order to write this post.

Last night, just as I was going to sleep, I dreamed I invented a cocktail that was a cross between a Moscow Mule and a bourbon sidecar, that it was horrible, the kind of horrible you have to work to achieve, and that I called it a Dog Fart GoKart. I woke myself up by roaring with laughter. I don't know why the hell I find this so funny, but I do. This is the first time in weeks I've laughed from pure joy, rather than from contact with someone else's happiness or a need to fit in with a group.

There is no option but to give a recipe, so here I am inventing it on the spot. It's not a drink so much as a bonding experience.

The Dog Fart GoKart

(for seven)

12-oz bottle store-brand lemon-lime soda
12-oz bottle Moxie
4 oz. Everclear
2 oz. Jim Beam
1 oz. Cointreau
1 squirt of ReaLemon
1 teaspoon Tang powder
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
Zest of one lime
One packet of Emergen-C or similar fizzy citrus vitamin drink powder
Crystallized ginger for garnish

Buy a liter bottle of store-brand lemon-lime soda and drink all but 12 ounces, using a kitchen scale to reconcile your metric vs. American sensibilities. Pour or shove all the other ingredients down the neck of the bottle, screw the top back on, and shake it. Let it recover and shake it again, and repeat till the powder ingredients have mostly stopped being lumps. Set it down till it won't explode when you open it. Summon six people into a circle and make sure they've washed their hands. Open the bottle with caution and pour it into their cupped hands, reserving one ounce of liquid in the bottle. Plunk one cube of crystallized ginger into each Dog Fart GoKart. Make everyone drink out of their hands and then eat the ginger. Pour bottle contents into cupped nondominant hand and drink it, then eat the ginger. Get everyone to lick their hands clean. Cooperative licking of sticky hands clean is permitted but must happen in mutually consenting pairs and groups. Put the bottle in the recycling. And of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

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It's not too late to post your Arisia schedule if the con is still ongoing, right?

Speculative Fiction Reading
Hale (3W), 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Tracks: Literature
Types: Reading

Authors will be reading their own original works from across the genre of speculative fiction.

[NOTE: come to hear me read part of a short story and listen to the other contributors, who are also excellent. I brought cocoa ginger cookies for the first twenty people.

Songs of Rudyard Kipling
Paine (2W), 5:30-6:45 pm
[NOTE: I'll be doing my setting of "The Palace" plus "Philadelphia" to the setting by Peter Bellamy, and others if we can find the time.]

Rousing Chorus Songs
Paine (2W), 8:30 - 9:45 pm
[NOTE: what it says on the tin. Come to sing and bellow and kick back and relax.]


Nov. 20th, 2017 10:31 pm
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Just posted this to Facebook. Why should they have all the fun? Suggestions are welcomed.

I'm going to the Drunk Mythology Pub Crawl, and apparently people are planning on costumes. The problem is finding something easy, comfortable, and cheap, which also has strong brand recognition. Should I be:

--the goddess Anoia (Discworld), carrying a broken kitchen drawer, festooned with cooking implements that no one knows how to use

--pop-culture Brunhilde, wearing a horned helmet and carrying a spear, with my hair in braids

--Rhiannon, toy birds and bird-themed jewelry, plus a hobbyhorse; what did women wear in Olde Times in Wales?

--Skade (Norse): fur hat and mittens, carry a pair of skis everywhere and creepily ask men to take off their shoes so I can look at their feet (seriously, this one might be my best idea)

--Something else which you can explain in the comments

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I'm formatting/editing the script for a production of "A Christmas Carol" for [side job] and having a great time. Man oh man, I love this book. The actual production is happening somewhere I can't attend, but I think it'll be a good show.

Yeah, I know it's early, but never too early to plan some fun. What holiday-centered stuff are you looking forward to doing this year? I love secular Christmas stuff -- caroling, making cheap decorations e.g., greens and Dollar Store ribbon, baking, cutting paper snowflakes, and doing pleasant indoorsy things like reading aloud to friends.

Random thoughts as I go through A Christmas Carol:

--I want to see a live show of ACC because I want to see how a good actor handles Bob Cratchit. I want to see him repressing his resentment because he needs to keep his job. There was a different stage adaptation of ACC I edited last year where Scrooge, while yelling at Bob for asking for Christmas off work, says, "I'd have thought you would mind losing a day's wages, with all those children, and one a cripple." I want to see that moment onstage, with the look on Bob's face as he feels the urge to shout, "How dare you talk that way about my son," and then bites his tongue.

--I have this deep fondness for the apparition of Jacob Marley, and it's hard to explain why. Anybody who is entirely composed of Regrets(tm) is relatable, I suppose. Also, all the humor in this scene comes from Marley talking in florid language and frightening imagery, which I love, and sounding like a character from a highfalutin stage tragedy while Scrooge spits and sneers and talks like a disrespectful modern asshole. Comedy gold, as far as I'm concerned. (Though they've made Marley's lines sound a lot more conversational in this version. For sure, the original dialogue is hard for actors to put across without sounding silly. I like the way they did it in ACC (aka "Scrooge") with Alistair Sim as Scrooge and Michael Hordern as Jacob Marley. Sim is naturalistic and Hordern comes across like an old-school Sir Henry Irving-era tragedian.)

--My liking for the two charity workers who hit Scrooge up for a donation doesn't do anything to make me more patient with the creepy intrusive sidewalk canvassers for Planned Parenthood and the like, the ones who yell personal remarks at me and get in my face when I'm just trying to get to work. Perhaps it is I who misanthropy.

--Not to devalue the whole "care for other people if you want to retain a shred of decency" theme, but a secondary message in this book is "You'll be happier if you're not miserable to everyone," and it's easy to interpret that as "it's never too late to start clawing your way out of depression." Scrooge's snubbing of Fred comes across as the attitude of someone who has let the brainweasels take over -- the thoughts that say, "Everyone nice is lying to you, the only reason anyone would be kind to you is because they want something, and people will screw you if you give 'em an inch." That's why it's so affecting for me when he gets to visit Fred's party invisibly; he's practicing all these new concepts like "joining in the fun" and "not saying anything nasty" and at the end of the story he gets to go back and do the real thing.

--Likewise, not to discredit the pain of poor Fred, who is enacting a scene I witnessed often in my childhood -- young adults trying to make unkind older relatives return their affection or at least be nice to them. (I'm recalling a few ghastly family holidays with my father and his siblings trying to pretend that my grandmother was a marginally decent person.) He's a hell of a guy, in a quiet way, reaching back out to Scrooge though he gets continually rebuffed, then laughing it off. No wonder so many people relate so hard to this book.

OK, back to it.

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I've had a short story acceptance! "The Finger" (<1000 words) has been picked up by Fireside Fiction. I'll update when I get a publication date.
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So, I have a house concert at my place tomorrow night, and there's still room for a couple more folks to fit into the living room; come if you're free and interested!

Here's the announcement from FB. Please email me or leave a comment if you want to come!


William Pint & Felicia Dale deliver a performance with dynamic vocals and exciting instrumental fireworks. Early music to modern - traditional to contemporary, heart wrenching to downright silly.

Please note: space is limited, so reserve a seat in advance! This is a house concert at April's home near Davis Square in Somerville, and space is limited. We can seat a maximum of 20 people, and I don't want any interested people to be left out. I would love to hear from you. Register early! Likewise, share this event freely!
Doors will open at 7:30, and the concert will start promptly at 8:00. Please note that Pint & Dale's recordings will be available for sale! Kindly follow the link below to whet your appetite for excellent music.
Send me (April) a FB message, or email me at aprilcatherinegrant at gmail dot com, in order to reserve a seat, get the address, and ask any questions you may have.
Suggested donation $10 to $20 -- more if you can, less if you can't, and no one turned away due to lack of funds.

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So, uh, I hate that this is my first post on DW since the LJ diaspora, but what can you do.

Is anybody out there going to the counter-demonstration on Boston Common on Saturday? 

I wasn't going to do this. I was going to spend the entire weekend in Providence, RI, taking part in Necronomicon and having a lovely time bathing in a flowing fountain of nerddom. But then, Nazis. Fuck that noise. I don't have any commitments on Saturday. I'm going to go to Boston Common and play obnoxiously loud music, and sing, and see what happens. There are no major plans. I just want to be there myself, and spend some time meeting the people who turn out to drown out fascists.

If anyone is on the fence about going, I have a plan and timing for being there; please talk to me privately.

Inspiration: "All You Fascists Bound To Lose," Woodie Guthrie (1940s radio broadcast).
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Help me, dreamwidth, you're my only hope!  My housemate said something clever, I went for a swim yesterday, the job hunt continues, I like coffee and rolls, and I have nowhere else to post about it!

Ah!  That's better!  

Well, I'm driven to DW by untrustworthy LJ.  I'm so set in my ways that it took a second LJ crash-and-burn to make me figure this place out.  Does anybody know how to crosspost between the two?  If so, please fill me in.

Whoa, wait, there's a "crosspost" button down at the bottom of the page.  What a lovely interface.  OK, I'll start doing that whenever LJ gets back on its feet.


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February 2019



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