Dear Baltimore Ravens,

I don't care if you're named after one of my Eddie's poems. Go wall yourselves up in a tomb.

I love you, I always will, and maybe one day we can make this work. But this year, I have to question your commitment.

I mean, Kesler's all-in, because Kes never lets me down. Hank's doing his best, too. And it was nice to see you guys manage to score four whole goals without needing to take four games to do it in. That was refreshing! Don't get me wrong, there was some definite progress.

But giving up seven goals to the Islanders (the Islanders!) in the third? That just hurts.

I miss the way things used to be. I miss Bobby Lu. I've stuck with you guys through some epically shitty seasons but this? This is making me lose faith. I wish I understood what was going on with you guys? Do you not like John Tortorella? What? There is so, so much improving that needs to happen and so little season left to do it in. Mathematically, I'm afraid the season is all over for you but the crying.

Look, I'm not saying I want to break up. I just think maybe some time apart would be helpful. I think maybe I need to see other teams for a while. Ones that won't break my heart and leave me crying every time they step out onto the ice. Ones that will justify my faith in them. Ones that can show me how good it feels to cheer for someone who rewards your adulation. Los Angeles, maybe. And you can take that time to, I don't know, practice your golf swings or something.

Don't worry, it's not forever. I'll be back next season. You know I will. And I'm sure you'll redeem my shaky, shaky faith in you then but for now? Well, let's just say, it's not me, it's you.
I am still processing the finale, but I do have a quick thought about what just went down on my telly screen.

Here there be spoilers for the True Detective season finale. If you don't want to be spoilered, you might wish to avoid )

Time being a flat circle, we end where we began. And so we begin again.
So, guess when our free HBO subscription ran out. If you guessed "Hours before the True Detective finale", congratulations!

Damn. Do they know their demographic or what?

Update: Problem solved. There will be True Detective, after I get my second hit of Chekhov for the week.
I'm going to provide some warnings up front, because I think it's important to get these things out in the open, so readers know where I'm coming from, but more importantly, so I'll have a record of where I'm coming from. The first, meta, caveat is that, for me, True Detective is the first television show to capture my imagination and have me speculating wildly, often pointlessly, about minutiae of symbology, since Twin Peaks, and the first media event to do so since Sleep No More. I may be referring back to both Twin Peaks and Sleep No More often; you have been warned.

The second caveat is that by the time I begin making my observations, I will have seen the finale. I will know how it ends and where it's going. But because time is a flat circle, it doesn't matter if I start over at the beginning and work my way through it again, this time with the knowledge of the destination. This is something I learned in the McKittrick Hotel: future iterations lack the primal gut-punch of the initial exposure, but by paying attention to detail, you can learn so much more about what surrounds you. By going back to the beginning and rewatching with experienced eyes, you notice more detail.

The third caveat is an outright statement of bias. Both of True Detective's detectives are difficult men, but while I feel a sense of kinship (or at least a certain shared misanthropy) with Rustin Cohle, I outright despise Marty Hart. Both men are broken beyond redemption – by their jobs, by their lives, by their life choices – but while Hart chooses to hide his brokenness behind a mask of folksy good-ol-boy geniality, Cohle eschews masks. Even when the viewer is first introduced to '95 Cohle, it's immediately apparent that there's something not quite right with him. And it is that very not-rightness that makes him good at what he does. Hart may have better connections, may be a more natural office politician, but he lacks Cohle's detective skills, and he knows it. I have more respect for the eschewer of masks than for the man who wears a false face. This will almost certainly influence how I view this show.

The fourth caveat is that there will be spoilers. For True Detective certainly. For Twin Peaks and Sleep No More, more than likely. Proceed with caution.
True Detective writer Nic Pizzolatto gave an interview. In it, he says a number of interesting things, but I found this to be the most intriguing:

"I think given the amorphous nature of the evil they’re pursuing, its historical roots in culture and government, they would have to be willing to die to fully pursue their absolute justice. And they each understand this."

And as an indication of where I'm coming from in my approach to this show, I am reminded of the following quote from another law enforcement officer, a Sheriff's Deputy on another crime show that, once upon a time, was my obsession:

But it is said that if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.

Not so sure about Marty, but Rust Cohle has had quite a few years in the wilderness to burn away the excesses of his soul. I think he'll be entering the final episode with perfect courage.

As an aside, I'm not the only one who sees the parallels between these shows.
On topic, but still somewhat strange, it reads "Give your heart to Jesus." Driving by this, naturally my thoughts when straight to Aztec human sacrifice.

I realize that I'm not their target demographic (being a progressive feminist woman and all), but I'm thinking that any Christian church whose religious message can be distilled into a billboard slogan more appropriate for Huitzilopochtli than Jesus Christ probably needs to take a step back and think about what it's doing.

However, given the church in question and the glorious history of their billboard slogans, I should probably be grateful they at least kept the subject fixed firmly on religion.
...I cannot forget Carcosa where black stars hang in the heavens; where the shadows of men's thoughts lengthen in the afternoon, when the twin suns sink into the lake of Hali; and my mind will bear forever the memory of the Pallid Mask. I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with this beautiful, stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth - a world which now trembles before the King in Yellow.

- Robert W. Chambers

So, um, I'll eventually be doing recaps/analysis/dissection of True Detective. Probably starting once the show wraps and I've finished The King in Yellow.

After that, maybe I'll get around to doing the same for Twin Peaks.
Even before I read Woody Allen's disingenuous, ex-wife-blaming obfuscation-posing-as-defense, I believed Dylan Farrow.

Now? Well, let's just say that what he offers forth as his defense speaks to his character. Why the New York Times would publish this - giving it a more prominent position than Dylan Farrow's side of the story - speaks highly to how much power he has in this situation and how he's not afraid to use it. Even if, as it provably does, it continues to harm the daughter he claims to love. Even if it means humiliating his son. To Woody Allen, any pain caused to Dylan and Ronan is a small price to pay if it means he gets to hurt Mia Farrow in the process. Even two decades after their breakup, he can't resist the urge to paint her as crazy, slutty, a bad mother.

Even if I were to accept Allen at his word, nearly everything he has to say in his defense offers ample evidence that he's a shitty parent and a despicable human being who has no qualms - then or now - about using his children to lash out at his ex. Interestingly, that's exactly why he says we shouldn't believe Mia Farrow's story. By his own token, I guess we shouldn't believe him, either.

So I won't. Anyway, it's not Mia's story that's the issue here. It's Dylan's. It's always been Dylan's. The fact that Woody seems incapable of perceiving that tells me everything I need to know about him.

If this is the best Woody Allen can come up with as his rebuttal, I see absolutely no reason not to believe Dylan Farrow, and a whole lot of reasons why I should.
Every time I see an ad for Gerber's "Grow-Up Plan", what I hear is "Grow-Op Plan". At that point, all I can think about is Julian, Ricky, and Freedom 35.

The best part is, now I have [personal profile] st_darwin doing it, too.
...I'm going to cite the fact that there are still centipedes crawling - albeit slowly - through my house, in Boston, in January.

There was a time when that did not happen. Because they would all be hibernating or unhatched or dead or whatever happens to centipedes in the winter (which I can't even look up for fear of seeing pictures of them which will trigger my phobia and make me scream like a hysteric.)
It's Rand Paul, telling the poor women of America that they need to keep their legs shut.

Well, not in so many words. What he says is:

"We need to be telling kids 'don't have kids until you're married,'" Paul said. "It's your best chance to get in the middle class is not to have kids. There's all kinds of ways, and we can debate ... but there are all kinds of ways to stop having kids."

He continued: "You know, but we have to teach our kids that. But some of that's sort of some tough love too. Maybe we have to say 'enough's enough, you shouldn't be having kids after a certain amount.' I don't know how you do all that because then it's tough to tell a woman with four kids that she's got a fifth kid we're not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer... It needs to come from ministers and people in the community and parents and grandparents to convince our kids to do something different.

First of all, "all kinds of ways to stop having kids"? Considering that Rand Paul believes that women shouldn't be allowed to abort unwanted pregnancies and doesn't believe that women's health insurance plans should cover their birth control, it looks to me like his "all kinds of ways" boils down to one: abstinence. Which just happens to be he least effective way 'to stop having kids'. Coincidence?

He doesn't believe that women can be trusted to make their own reproductive decisions, and he doesn't believe that women should be allowed to take preventative measures to keep from having children that they cannot afford. While he pays lip service to the notion that having kids when you can't afford them is not a great path to economic self-sufficiency, he rejects all practical means of planning pregnancies. He doesn't care about the logical outcomes of his own policies. He doesn't care about women's life experiences. He doesn't care about making their lives better.

To the contrary, it looks like he's actively seeking ways to make their lives shittier.

I don't even have the words to express the contempt that boils from every pore in my body when I think about what he's really saying here. He wants to set up a no-win scenario so that when women do have those unwanted and/or unaffordable children which are all but inevitable in a world with insufficient access to contraception and abortion, they are penalized (or at least not rewarded) and then maybe even publically shamed for their behaviour.

How cruel. How heartless. How inhumane.
...that whenever a Republican man opens his yap these days to opine on women's reproductive issues, something misogynist falls out.

Oh, yes please, Republicans. By all means, do continue speaking publically about these issues. I'm sure the 99% of women of reproductive age who use contraception can't wait to hear that you think they're a bunch of slutty sluts who slut around, sluttily.

*rolls eyes*
In order to understand what's going on, a small amount of backstory is in order. We currently have three cats: Panda, Biscuit (Panda's littermate) and Major Tom (a stray who adopted us several years ago). When Major Tom first joined the household, he did absolutely nothing to endear himself to the other cats, and to this day, Panda and Biscuit hold grudges. There's no explosive violence, just a lot of hissing and grumping and "Mom, he's staring at me!"

Panda likes limited amounts of cuddling, when and where she wants them and not really at any other time. Major Tom, however, is a cuddler. He loves to snuggle with both myself and [personal profile] st_darwin, usually me. He's a mama's boy.

Up until fairly recently, Panda was content to let him snuggle the humans whenever he wanted, while she just glared at him from a distance. Lately, however, she's been doing something interesting. Whenever he comes over for snuggles, she comes over too. Even if, five minutes earlier, she was perfectly content to be napping on the back of the sofa on the opposite side of the room. If Major Tom is getting snuggles, Panda wants some, too. So more often than not these days, I find myself going from zero cats to two pretty quickly. First Major Tom will come up and settle himself on my lap, and then Panda will stalk across the room, and settle herself on the seat back behind me and purr loudly for attention.

I'm not sure why she's doing this. She does not do this when attention is being paid to Biscuit, only to Major Tom. Is she jealous of the attention I give him? Is she trying to divert my attention away from him altogether? Is she trying to siphon off affection so that he gets shortchanged?

I have no idea what she's attempting to accomplish with this. I just know that it's a consistent, recurring pattern, and that if she's engaging in some sort of weird competition with her brother, the only obvious winner here is me.
When an unplanned hitman suddenly pops into your narrative, it's a good idea to find out why he's there.

(There are times when all my plans for my characters evaporate as soon as I drop them into their surroundings. This is kind of one of them.)
Not many here, really. Seeing plays - where most of the audience has absorbed good cell phone etiquette and maintains silence while the entertainment entertains them - has sort of spoiled me for most movies these days. I mean, I love the big-screen experience, but if I have to listen to one more toddler in an inappropriate movie, I'm going to run screaming from the theatre and never, ever go back.

Best movie of the year: Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing. Nothing else even came close.

Much Ado About Nothing
Show Business
The Silence
Thor: The Dark World
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
It's an incomplete list because at some point my meticulous (ha!) record-keeping fell apart.

Bod of Avon (Boston Babydolls)
Rain Dogs (Babes in Boinkland)
James Blonde (Niki Luparelli Presents)
Revenge of the Robot Battle Nuns
Talk Nerdy to Me
My So-Called Burlesque Show
September Spooktacular (Geek Girls Boston)
Paws & Bras (burlesque in many senses, hosted by The Steamy Bohemians, Niki Luparelli and Lainey Schooltree)
Sirens of Doomsday (Oberon)
Oh You Pretty Things (with Niki Luparelli, at Oberon)

Johnny Blazes and the Pretty Boys, with Madame Psychosis, What Time Is It Mr. Fox?, Sarah Rabdau and the Self-Employed Assassins (Johnny D's)
What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? with Bury Me Standing (Oberon)
Beck's Song Reader, performed by over 100 local musicians and dancers(Somerville Theatre)
Soft Time Traveler CD Release Party with Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, and others (Brighton Music Hall)
Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys (Johnny D's)
What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? (Beehive)

Uncategorizable Entertainments
Bohemian Bacchanalia (circus acts, burlesque, music by Johnny Blazes and the Pretty Boys, and Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band)
Org: Prom (Oberon) *
Kissing Oscar Wilde Book Release Party (with Jade Sylvan, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys and others)
Glitterotica (featuring Nuda Veritas and What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? and others)
Mrs. Smith – drag cabaret
Cirque of the Dead (Boston Circus Guild)
Org: Censorship (Oberon)
Triptych (Oberon)

(pretty sure I've omitted one Stanley Cup final game which I remember attending)
AHL All-Star Skills Competition
AHL All-Star Game
Providence Bruins vs. Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
Cowichan Valley Capitals vs. Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL)
We saw an insane amount of theatre in 2013, and while pretty much everything we saw was good, some things stood out as being great, and a couple things stood out as being utterly mindblowing.

The Great
Other Desert Cities (SpeakEasy Stage Company)
The Mountaintop (Underground Railway Theatre)
Mildred Fierce (Gold Dust Orphans)
The Glass Menagerie (American Repertory Theatre; now on Broadway)
Our Country's Good / The Recruiting Officer (Whistler in the Dark)
Proof (Merrimack Repertory Theatre)
Ryan Landry's M (Huntington Theatre)
She Kills Monsters (Company One)
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Drenched - featuring the incomparable Luke Murphy
Macbeth (at Shakespeare's Globe, London)
All the Way (American Repertory Theater; coming soon to Broadway)

The Utterly Mindblowing
Macbeth - a mostly one-man production with Alan Cumming

Then She Fell (Third Rail) - interactive adventures through the looking glass with Alice

An Iliad (Arts Emerson) - Denis O'Hare's enrapturing one-man performance

The Drowned Man (Punchdrunk/National Theatre, in London) - you could see it 20 times and not see everything

Columbinus (Arts Emerson) - made me break down sobbing

Twelfth Night - with Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry. An all-male cast, plus onstage costuming and period music. I may never see a more definitive version of this play.

The complete list of plays we saw in 2013 )

Yes, we saw the Scottish play three times in 2013, not counting the filmed National Theatre version with Kenneth Branagh. Don't you judge me.
According to People magazine, it's some musician douche named Adam Levine who, because I am old, has evaded my cultural radar. For the first and possibly last time in my life, let me say: hooray for old! What was People thinking? This dude is about as sexually appealing as a yeast infection.

No, no, no, my friends. The choice for sexiest man of the year is so clear, so blatantly obvious, that I fail to see how People could possibly have missed it. Perhaps no one in their offices searches the internet?

It is Tom Hiddleston, of course*. I am not the only person who feels this way, presumably because obvious choice is obvious.

*Although I am willing to concede that a very compelling case can be made for Idris Elba.
So apparently Emily Yoffe sat down today to write about rape (and alcohol) and as her fingers touched her keyboard, a whole bunch of victim-blaming crap spewed out, as so often happens when she sits down to do this.

I am not linking to the original. You can find a brief discussion of it here. Also here. And here. And here.

This just fills me so full of rage I can't even formulate paragraphs, and I am reduced to hitting 'enter' at the end of each sentence.

It doesn't matter whether girls drink with boys, or girls drink with girls, or girls join the Temperance Union, or girls don't go out at all.

It doesn't matter if a girl is wearing a miniskirt, or tight pants, or crotchless panties, or a modest long-sleeved dress, or a nun's habit, or jeans and a Metallica t-shirt.

The one thing - the only thing - that all rape victims have in common is that they had the grave misfortune to be in the presence of a rapist when the rape took place.

As long as there are rapists at large in the community, this victim-blaming advice will not stop rape from happening.

At best, it merely deflects the rape onto another victim.

At worst, it makes people feel shitty about themselves.

And if someone in this equation needs to stop drinking, why is it always the girls instead of, oh, I don't know, the people who actually run the risk of doing something seriously harmful while drunk?

I am so fucking sick of this shit, I can't even.