erynn: Gaelic merman image (Schroedinger kills you maybe)
Today was my group day at the VA. I left at the usual time and saw on one of the reader boards above I5 that there was a major accident on the highway through downtown Seattle. It advised taking 405 to bypass the area but, sadly, I was in the far left lane, and the reader board is right on top of the 405 exit, so there was no way to actually take its advice. Traffic was okay until we got to the 71st/65th St exit, where it came to a near standstill. Things crawled along for a very very long time and I finally got off the freeway on the left side exit for the 520 bridge, where I could take the one exit before the bridge out to the Montlake Cut. This ran me up over Capitol Hill and I got myself down onto the bypass to I90 and I5 south toward the Columbian Way/West Seattle Bridge exit. It was still snarled and miserable, and I could see that a semi and at least one car had been involved in something very messy right at the I90 ramp. The cops and semi trucks backing up to put them onto the bypass.

It took me 2 hours to make what is usually about a 45 minute trip, and that was taking the roundabout way that should have got me past most of it. I hesitate to think how long it would have taken if I'd stayed on I5. I probably should have just gone up MLK and around the back way entirely, but I was sure the road would have been clear by the time I got to the I90 ramp.

I made it in to my group five minutes before the group ended, but at least I got marked as present, so I'll be compensated for the travel funds next week when I go in.

On the way home tonight, I drove past a car with its engine on fire just north of the 164th exit. There were two other cars stopped to help, so I didn't bother -- I do carry a fire extinguisher in my trunk. It's the first time I've ever actually seen a car on fire outside of a movie. Very weird experience.

Anyway, it was a really awful day for driving. I'm glad I got to Seattle and back safely.

Last week at the queer Pagan meetup, [livejournal.com profile] circularruins gave me a postcard for The Occultural Film Series: Magick in Cinema With Brian Butler. That was this evening at 7pm at the Northwest Film Forum on 12th. I spent a little time at Travelers after I got out of the VA, then wandered up to catch the series with him. The series was sponsored in part by the Esoteric Book Conference. I was rather looking forward to seeing some of this, as I'd seen parts of one of the films this past year at the Conference as part of a documentary on Cameron; the film excerpted was called Wormwood Star. I'd been intrigued enough by the excerpts to want to see the whole thing (10 minutes).

The program was three films by Brian Butler, Death Posture, Night of Pan, and Union of Opposites, Curtis Harrington's previously mentioned Wormwood Star, Mirror Animations by Harry Smith, Kenneth Anger's Brush of Baphomet, and the 1968 The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda by Ira Cohen.

Of the first three, I thought Night of Pan (7 minutes) was probably the most interesting, though some of it struck me as more unintentionally humorous than anything. There were some interesting visuals, fascinating props, and some really amazing and striking makeup on a couple of the actors, but I was left with the impression that part of the impetus for these three films was boobies. Part of Night of Pan was shot on location at Boleskine House at Loch Ness in Scotland, which had been a residence of Aleister Crowley for a while.

Of the other films, I think Wormwood Star appealed to me the most, giving us a look at Cameron's artwork, almost all of which she burned after its magical purpose had been served. Part of the soundtrack of the film is her reading from her poetry.

Harry Smith's Mirror Animations (10 mins) was interesting but amusing in a rather Terry Gilliam kind of way. Given that it was produced in 1979, I'm not sure this was unintentional. It's entirely possible that Gilliam's work on Monty Python's Flying Circus might have been an influence. It was saturated with qabalistic imagery and hands in different Buddhist mudras. I found it fascinating and relatively enjoyable.

Brush of Baphomet was interesting really only because of its subject being an exhibition of Aleister Crowley's paintings from the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. These paintings had apparently been undiscovered in a private collection until very recently. The focus of the film dwelt on the intense colors and textures of the paintings. The 4 minute film was produced in 2008.

The longest of the films, and the final one of the evening, was The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda. Some of its imagery was interesting, but a lot of it was wildly experimental and seemed more intended to replicate the effects of a bad acid trip. I found the soundtrack particularly grating, out of an entire series of films with bad soundtracks designed to encourage migraines. Some of the costuming was quite interesting, and apparently parts of the film were done with heavy use of mylar for reflective surfaces. It was very kaleidoscopic, and I was fairly certain that something like mylar was being used, as the reflections were too fluid in motion to be foil. Technically speaking, some of it was really interesting, but mostly it just seemed overly chaotic to me. I don't mind surrealist stuff, but I prefer it not be tracked with loud, screechy noise.

All the films had a fairly surrealist feel to them. Almost all the soundtracks were discordant and irritating to my ears. Brian Butler was, himself, on hand for the screening and did a short Q&A afterwards, where he talked a little about the films, and about the process of making his own. His process seemed rather haphazard, in that he intended things to go in one direction and found himself ending up somewhere entirely else.

The film program descriptions are as follows:

Death Posture (4 mins, 2011) Originally inspired by the Hanged Man card in the Tarot, this film explores the parallels of death and contact with alien intelligence in an abstract manner.

Night of Pan (7 mins, 2009) This film illustrates a specific spiritual experience. A magician encounters the void that separates the human mind from divine consciousness and in turn faces the mad god. Shot on location in Los Angeles and Loch Ness, Scotland.

Union of Opposites (14 mins, 2012) A personal journey through the unconscious. Shot in January 2012 on location in Malibu.

Wormwood Star (Curtis Harrington, 10 mins, 1955) Curtis Harrington's portrait of Cameron, the widow of JPL scientist and magician Jack Parsons. A rare documentation of Cameron's artwork, most of which was later destroyed.

Mirror Animations (Harry Smith, 10 mins, 1979) "You shouldn't be looking at this as a continuity. Film Frames are hieroglyphs, even when they look like actuality. You should think of the individual frame, always, as a glyph, then you'll understand what cinema is about." - Harry Smith

Brush of Baphomet (Kenneth Anger, 4 mins, 2008) A short film documenting the paintings of Aleister Crowley at the Palais de Tokyo exhibition in Paris.

The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda (Ira Cohen, 22 mins, 1968) Intensely psychedelic film shot in Ira Cohen's famous studio with Mylar walls. "It's like going on an ecstatic journey to another planet, full of magical beings, animals, and plants." - Ira Cohen

After the program, [livejournal.com profile] circularruins and I went over to the Odd Fellows restaurant, situated in an old Odd Fellows Lodge building. The food there is good and the atmosphere loud and bustling but quite convivial. We had a good conversation about divination methods, app development, the films, and the suggested potential for a second series of short films specifically focused on women in magic, brought up by the woman who hosted the program.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Dance for Animala!)
Today got off to a rather slow start, but I went over to Edmonds to check out the Rick Steves travel store. After looking around, I made an appointment to talk to someone there for half an hour later this month about my trip this summer, so that I could figure out what would be the best way to get from place to place for the cheapest prices, find hostels where I don't have couches/spare beds to crash on, how to ship my camping gear back home, and deal with other issues that they no doubt have more expertise on than yours truly.

After this, I headed down to Seattle. I-5 south was a parking lot from about Lake Forest Park down all the way into Seattle. It took considerably longer to get there than I'd expected, but I wasn't in a hurry. I met [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor at the Time Travelers Rummage Sale and said hi to a bunch of the local steampunks before popping out next door for some late lunch. Sadly, food wasn't edible for [livejournal.com profile] gra_is_stor, even though they tried. What I had wasn't bad, but she couldn't eat any of it due to allergy issues. One of the dishes they brought out had soy in it -- soy sauce, which was not a thing I have ever encountered in Indian food before. Anyway, after that, we went back to her place, where she got food she could actually eat, and she did a little work on my shoulders/arms. My right arm is doing better though, sadly, my left arm is still pretty much a mess.

A little after 7pm, we headed down to the Tin Can Studio for the show with [livejournal.com profile] meddevi and [livejournal.com profile] nathan_fhtagn and his band. (Tonight they were called "Serious Bidness" for they are the Band of Ever-Changing Names.) The show was fantastic and fun, with lots of great dancing, gothy swotting about, writhing, candle ogling, and being vamped by hot butch babes. Well, okay, I got vamped by a hot butch babe. You do not hear me complaining. *happysigh*

The high point of the evening was when [livejournal.com profile] nathan_fhtagn's mom did a tap-dance dance-off with belly-dancing [livejournal.com profile] meddevi to Eye of the Tiger. Played on banjo. Surreality FTW! (This just edged out the hot butch babe vamping me, barely.) ;)

My life. It is an amazingly wonderful thing some days. I have such incredibly talented and fabulous friends.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (kermitflail!)
Finally, after at least a year, possibly 18 months or so, my Queering the Flame essay is in a finished draft form and has been sent off to the anthology editor for comments. I am so relieved!

This is a considerable weight off my mind. I've taken into account [livejournal.com profile] mael_brigde's comments on the material I sent her a couple of months ago and did my best to correct problems she pointed out. I'm sure that I could have covered quite a bit more material, but I wanted to keep this fairly close to the issues of Brigid, gender, and flamekeeping, only drawing in other material where I felt it would help make my case.

There were a couple of places where I could have added stuff about Saint Brigid's associations with fire. There's a reference to a house she was staying in looking like it was aflame, but since it didn't particularly have to do with the church at Kildare, I didn't think it was particularly relevant to the question of whether or not a perpetual flame was being kept there at an earlier date than Geraldus in the 12th century. If the editor asks for some expansion, I can add bits like that, but I don't think it makes much difference to the issue at hand, which is whether flamekeeping should be a women-only activity or whether men in a CR community can legitimately participate in this ritual. Of course, you all know where I stand on this matter. I think I've managed to make a pretty convincing case that there's no theological reason anyone sufficiently devoted to Brigid shouldn't participate.

I got invited to go down to Seattle next Friday evening to see Xandau with a friend who wants to do a tango flashmob for the movie. Should be fun, even though I can't dance to save my life. Bounce, yes. I can pogo like anything for about five minutes. ;)
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Orpheus I see...)
My friend Kelsey is one of the grad students in biology at UW and the botany greenhouse has been babysitting a Sumatran corpse flower this week to await its blooming. Kelsey has been collecting the gasses emitted from the flower for analysis. It bloomed last night, and today the sib and I went over to visit her and check out this pretty much once in a lifetime opportunity. He was all over the idea -- we'd both heard of the things but never expected to be able to see one. The flowers bloom about once every three to six years. While we arrived after the greenhouse was formally closed to the public, she'd said she would let us in after hours and so she did. And here are two pictures of the flower! )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (writy steampunk)
Online edition of Seattle Times has a brief article about SteamCon here.

The concert tonight thoroughly rocked. Bakelite 78, Ghoultown, and Abney Park. Ghoultown is a Texas band that can best be described as scowling zombie cowboy goth rock. They were fucking awesome with extra heaping helpings of doomsauce and doom sprinkles.

I'm tired and aching and will probably barely be able to walk tomorrow so I won't be heading down to the con despite the temptation of the Steampunk crossdressing panel. It's at 11am and it's 5am right now, so just no. I love the idea and was doing it myself Friday, but I can't stagger out of bed and down to SeaTac for the con tomorrow. I still have to rescue the DoDC+3 from the kennel tomorrow by 5pm.

My other awesomely epic part of the day was the Space 1889 game, wherein I played a big game hunter who was a member of a group of people attempting to make it to the Martian north pole before the Belgians did. Almost everybody died and it was fabulous and spiffing and just wonderful fun. There were many large explosions. In fact, we blew up a Belgian airship and destroyed their coal mining base, so although we hadn't intended to, we did in fact do immense service to Queen and Country, as it were. Huzzah. (kaboom)

Sadly, however, there was no one left to record our feat of heroism, so our names will not be preserved in the annals of history, but hey, we went out in a blaze of glory. Glorious glory. (doomsauce)

And now I really should attempt to get some sleep. I've been running on far too little of it recently. Don't expect any coherence from me for the next couple of days, okay?
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
harriet the spy

*weeps while laughing hysterically*
erynn: Gaelic merman image (tszuj gir explode)
I've started up a new RSS feed called [livejournal.com profile] mearcstapafeed for the Monsters: the Experimental Association for the Research of Cryptozoology through Scholarly Theory And Practical Application group. I know there are folks on my flist who will be delighted by this, and our own [livejournal.com profile] alfrecht was instrumental in starting the organization at Kalamazoo last week.

Monstrous things are afoot...
erynn: Gaelic merman image (The Pupulator by Kym)
My mom called earlier today to congratulate me about the book and chat for a few minutes. She told me about a very odd incident in her garden the other day. Mom has chickenwire over some flowers in a flowerbed so her cat won't get into them. Apparently a butterfly got stuck under the chickenwire and was trying to get out. The cat was pouncing the chickenwire and trying to get to the butterfly.

This is where things get strange. There was another butterfly that was attacking and trying to distract the cat. Mom says that when she freed the trapped butterfly both of the butterflies flew off together. She's never seen anything like that before and I've never honestly heard of such behavior in butterflies, but that was a fascinating bit of insect social interaction.

Wow. Butterfly altruism FTW.

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