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There's been a death in the family. Not a sudden death, brain tumours aren't quick. It's a bit unfair that I got more than the usual allotment of grandparents, and brain tumours took two of them.

If I had my way, everyone I care about would be buried in green coffins with seeds in their mouths and turn into a forest and we would all be connected forever.

After they die, I mean.

I am, as ever, mostly sad for those left behind, with a hole in their lives and a little more fear of its end.

I will not be able to attend the funeral.

Lake men, or I'm a lizard

I do not like New Years Resolutions. I never much have. I believe they have failure built in because they are predicated upon impossibilities. No one day is a clean slate. No lasting change is a single act. Every day, we are who we were yesterday, trying to become who we will be tomorrow, and if the day after tomorrow we are different from the day before yesterday, it is only because each day between we changed ever so little, as much as we can in a day trapped between yesterday and tomorrow.

Nevertheless, I made a New Years Resolution. A perfectly crafted thing, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timed; decided and declared yesterday. One that would let me feel a sense of achievement and confidence come February when everyone starts throwing out their exercise equipment in despair.

I would see The Desolation of Smaug on New Years Day. And hey look at that, I did it. Mission accomplished.

I saw it in 3D, since I still had the glasses from when I saw An Unexpected Journey last year and once again the show time suited me better than the 2D showing. I'm happy to say that apart from a few lovely fat bumble-bees, there was very little gimmicky, throwing-stuff-at-my-head nonsense. This time, I went in expecting Part Two Of The Gigantic Prelude To The Existing (And Also Gigantic) Films, so I was a lot less annoyed. Not completely un-annoyed, but a lot less annoyed than I was last time.

Once again, I will note that I am a pretty casual example of a Middle Earth Fan.

So here is the good. Thranduil was cold and arch towards his prisoners. He was beautiful, Lee Pace was perfectly cast. Smaug's voice was, as I expected, rich and laden with threat and venom. Benedict Cumberbatch has a splendid voice and apart from a couple of lines where he sounded more petulant than menacing, I can think of no one better. I was glad that the Dwarves have a little more gravitas than in An Unexpected Journey. The disenfranchisement of the Dwarves by Smaug was a great tragedy, and most of these Dwarves have been shown to carry the living memory of that terrible event, of course it is heavy upon them.

As ever, the scenery was worth the price of admission. The most exquisite eyecandy.

The scene of young, arrogant, racist Legolas seeing the photo of his future husband was very good. Which brings us to the imperfect-but-still-good, of course, because what was Legolas even doing there? But I suppose the Dwarves had to be captured by someone, and he is Thranduil's son so it's not a huge leap. I was happy to depart from canon for Tauriel, who was wonderful, because there were never any women in the Hobbit and that is just not good enough. In a world overfull of stories about great men, and average men being great, stories in which there are no women, it is simply not good enough to say "well there were never any women in this story so that's how it should stay." It is simply not good enough to send girls and women into cinemas to see one of the most influential and best-loved stories of our time, and tell them by omission that they have no place in great tales, that they are worthless. I was glad of her inclusion, and Evangeline Lilley made a glorious Elven warrior. Throw me over your shoulder, Captain, and carry me to Aman.

Of the Imperfect But Tolerable, I always pictured Bard the Bowman as having darker skin than Luke Evans has, he was always a brown man in my head, but hey my headcanon is mine and not yours. I do think he should've been more grave, more solemn and blunt. Also I would've liked Smaug to be a little more red. A little brighter. Stephen Fry's Master of Laketown was a perfectly horrible, wretched, douchebag, as is right and good, but if anything not quite oily and underhanded enough. Thranduil's eyebrows thickened and darkened noticeably from one film to the next, do Elves' eyebrows Intensify with age?

In the Okay But Basically A Letdown, the party's stay with Bjorn was a bit compressed and unsatisfying, though Bjorn himself was pretty good. The creature design of Smaug was generally not enough like Tolkien's depictions, particularly the short, blunt face.

On a personal level I do wish they'd not continued to make Fili and Kili so incredibly loveable because they are going to die and I will be sad.

In the Liberties Taken For Which I Do Not Care, the stint in the dungeons was Quite A Bit longer than that, and there was no need to rewrite Thranduil's dialogue so much. It was unrecognisable, I mean what the shit. The barrels were sealed all the way to the shore by Lake Town, and that wasn't just a liberty taken with story it was a liberty taken with the whole concept of floating. The Elves did not notice the escape. Where did all these fucking Orcs come from anyway? The conversation between Bilbo and Smaug could've been left alone, too.

Sending Bilbo into the dragon's lair to look for the Arkenstone, when he was basically sent on recon and that was it, didn't annoy me as much as all the footfall foley. The POINT is that he can walk silently. What's with these loud slappy feet noises and all the rustling coins and shit?

In other OH FOR FUCK SAKE GUYS COME ON, Martin Freeman's Bilbo is starting to get on my tits a bit. This is the portion of the story where Bilbo's thoroughly gotten the hang of adventure, where he is clever and tricksy, where he teases spiders and frees his friends from an inescapable dungeon, figures out ancient riddles and matches wits with a dragon, but instead of that he's still completely wet. I mean, COME ON. TITULAR CHARACTER ETC.

And what was all this bullshit with lighting the Dwarven forges and dousing Smaug in molten gold? I mean, pretty, and gosh what a great action scene, but also WHAT. Just WHAT.

Of course, Smaug detecting the Ring about Bilbo's person was a big tell. Because that's what these movies are about. Not the titular Hobbit, but the Ring And How It Got To Bag End. Which is what I shall henceforth call these movies: The Ring And How It Got To Bag End.

The moment when I almost stood up and yelled NO IT BLOODY DIDN'T (of course there was one) was when for some reason the moon-rune message on the map referred to the light of the last moon of Autumn. Not the last (sun) light of Durin's DAY as it always has before.

Still hanging about from the previous, and continuing to shit me, is that the Goblins were not a distinct race from the Orcs, which I didn't swear about in my previous post on the subject but since I rewatched An Unexpected Journey yesterday (and enjoyed it a great deal more than on the first watch, having long since given up on this being an adaptation of The Hobbit) I thought I'd throw that in here. If you want to take me on over this, first ask yourself why "Orcrist" translates as "Goblin-Cleaver" and if you still think they're different we can go to war.

Finally, also. And especially given the amount of additional crap being shoved in to draw this out. How exactly are they expecting to cram the destruction of Esgaroth, the defeat of Smaug, the siege of Erebor, AND the Battle Of The Five Armies into one film?

Anyway, here's a short video of Orlando Bloom being adorable.

brain pettins

by tumblr user sinandserotonin:

another reminder.

the world is heavy
but your bones
(just a cubic inch)
can hold 19,000 lbs

ounce for ounce
they are stronger than steel

atom for atom
you are more precious than diamond

and stars have died
so that you may live

you need to remember these things
when you say that you are weak
and worthless

by tumblr user curtis-ballard:

Your body is made of the same elements that lionesses are built from. Three quarters of you is the same kind of water that beats rocks to rubble, wears stones away. Your DNA translates into the same twenty amino acids that wolf genes code for. When you look in the mirror and feel weak, remember, the air you breathe in fuels forest fires capable of destroying everything they touch. On the days you feel ugly, remember: diamonds are only carbon. You are so much more.

by tumblr user rootandrock:

A single person’s DNA is long enough to wrap around the earth five million times - and we think ANYTHING is out of our reach?

We share 400 genes, in the same place and sequence as Yeast - and we think we’re out of touch with nature?

We quibble about race and ethnicity when our first ancestor was a crystalline virus that re-wrote a world?

YOU exist because everything that was not you died screaming - and someone in your life has treated you as unworthy THAT’s a knee-slapper!

The Divine is alive because it is written into your DNA in a repeating mantra millions of miles long - you cannot be separated from it.

Every cell in your body that is born and dies is a prayer that would take a thousand lifetimes to enchant - your piety is omnipresent.

Maybe, once upon a time, there was not “parasite and host” but “builder and building” - maybe we once lived in symbiosis with sentient plantlife and bacterium that provided information from the very tips of our limbs to the split ends of our primate hairs.

Maybe that is why we can still hear them speaking, sometimes.

And why the ancestors speak - they are written into us, and into the bacterium that ate their remains.

It is only in our forgetfulness that this separation has occurred - we’re one.

That is the Horseman’s Word, the final Mysterium, and the only truth that matters.

Awaken, Arise, Revolt.

go here for brain pettins
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go here for emergency heartwarming

Sep. 12th, 2013

Home safe now. Actually I got home yesterday but then it was time for all the sleeps. I slept for about 20 hours all up, with about a three hour break in the middle to eat more to fuel further sleep.

It was great getting home and everything being as I left it, all the dishes done and my bed neatly made. So worth it.

Tonight was gaming. It was a little awkward because we added two people while I was away and I didn't have dice for them but I think it was understood, this was a thing I did for my regular gaming group and these guys weren't that at the time. I did have enough tiny skulls to go round though so that was sort of better than not. Also, being gamers, the group was pretty happy that what I got them all was Chessex dice, and understood the challenges of shopping at a con.

Honestly, always buy more souvenirs than you think you'll need.

Today was a lovely warm day by Waterford standards, which meant that coming out of two weeks of Atlanta weather I was loping about freezing my bits off. I'd mostly recovered the bulk of the last year and a half worth of acclimatising by this evening though.

So that's about where I'm gonna leave this LJ posting thing, until I travel next. Take care my loves. Have a lovely time. You know how to find me, and if you don't, just ask and I will tell you.
So we just got back from an "Irish" bar in Decatur, where I had American bourbon with American lemonade, and TC had a beer called Wild Heaven Invocation (which smelled like honey and tasted like vegemite), and TC & D's roomie had a flight of Japanese whisky. There was baseball on the telly, and we drank on the lawn. D didn't have anything because he was driving and grumpy and tired. It was lovely, but would've been moreso if D had also had a nice time.

I drew a thing this afternoon and halfwatched a few things, Pitch Black and Long Kiss Goodnight and Coppola's Dracula, and the household showed me the marbles episode of Home Movies.

TC and I made a Ravenstag for D and he seemed to like it.

I heard about the Australian election results. I'm really sorry guys. Especially the poor, the gay, the female, the working class, the mentally ill, the disabled, the middle class, the nonwhite, and basically everyone who isn't a rich straight white able cis dude.

They say the rain falls on the just and the wicked alike but the truth is, the wicked steal all the umbrellas.
But no seriously after hotdogs we went for a walk in a forest and then climbed some way up Stone Mountain which is, I'm told, the biggest granite intrusion in the world or something and frankly that shit is interesting. There was poison oak and that was interesting too but (perhaps somewhat unexpectedly) I didn't touch it to find out what would happen. Also, you know how granite is pretty hard? There's names carved into this thing all the way up. I got a photo of one from the late 1800s. And the majority of them, even recent ones (late 1990s) display excellent penmanship and I was impressed. I mean, granite!

On the way back from the mountain, Blasphemous Rumours came on the radio and we sang and I was grinning uncontrollably.

Then we went to see Riddick at the Movie Tavern and that means each of the three live-action films so far, I saw in a different country. There's actually nobody in the world I would rather have seen this movie with than wolven so that worked out well.

After the movie, we went to Waffle House. I had a peach waffle, which is some new special thing and it was pretty good. I mean, it was a waffle, with some kind of nougat crap in it I wasn't sure about, and peach sauce on, which was like peaches and sugar were having a rave in a syrup, but it was pretty good. Also, very filling

So yeah fantastic day. Hooray!
We just went and had hotdogs at a bowling alley. On Friday. I wore a Hand shirt and we unintentionally sat by lane 13. Lane 23 was in use. It was 5:55 when we finished talking about the underground city in the pin retrieval area of Lane 5 of The Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex and left.

Hopefully she will leave me the fuck alone for a while ever.
Trivia tonight. I had the Flying Dutchman with sweet potato waffle fries and dear god hold the "marshmallow goo" sorry but my fascination for American food doesn't stretch to that as a condiment to a main meal. I even answered a question and contributed to our team ("Swiggity Swag The Nightmare Stag") winning. Which beats out my contribution last week, where I managed to forget everything I know about anything until after trivia was over, whereupon I had no difficulty at all recalling random shit I have no particular reason to retain. D is some kind of Trivia kwisatz haderach and appears to know all the things that there are.

DragonCon doesn't bear explaining. Our slogan for the weekend was "You're not my real butt!" There is a cocktail and a lot of photos (just a few). I bought a nice set of dice (which kind of match the cocktail) for myself, and somewhat coincidentally TC bought a block of D6s in the same colour. I also bought some oversize D6s for my gamer friends back in Ireland and a nice thing to send to my Mum. That was actually really hard because I was walking through the dealers and exhibitors rooms and artists alley going "well she likes Star Wars I could get her a Star Wars thing... Oh Star Trek stuff she likes Star Trek... Hey Harry Potter gear over there she likes Harry Potter... LOTR over here she loves LOTR... CTHULHU FHTAGN she likes a bit of Lovecraft... holy shit that's a lot of Dr Who she's always liked Dr Who... wow dichroic lampwork glass dragon beads that's practically the winning trifecta of Shit My Mum Likes but it won't ship well..." and so on. Forever and ever.

Which, and more, is (tangentially) why I get a bit stab-happy when someone questions my "Nerd Cred" or pulls any kind of "fake geek girl" bullshit. I mean, it's a completely stupid thing to do and that's annoying in and of itself, but also, it's like you're saying shit about my Mum and all kinds of lines get crossed.

But anyway I was able to satisfactorily souvenir-shop, which is the point there that I was making. By the end of con I was saying the only thing I will ever cosplay again is The Dude because fuck anything but walking around in a bathrobe and drinking white russians. You can tell I'm recovering already because I've kind of relented and thought maybe Sadako/Samara, just because I have almost waist length black hair and all I'd really need is a grotty white dress and maybe some wetlook gel. IDK everyone is like "OMG POST-CON COMA REHAB" and I'm like "Mostly I just feel invigorated" so balls to my state-specific ability to thrive in con/festival environments for a currently-useless skill.

Last night we watched Madoka Magica and that's good and weird and subversive. I've made high-pitched squeaking noises at every squirrel I've seen. People keep asking if TC and I are sisters. The cat likes me. Um. I'm having a great time, everyone has been really nice, this is a post.

sorry bout your f-page style

Still fine!
Here's a photo from DragonCon. I am not in it.
This was from the vantage point of the Night Vale meetup last night. I was irrationally terrified of dropping my camera.
Thought I posted this about 6 hours ago but didn't so am now...

I have actually found that from time to time I forget where I am and then see a thing and go OHAY AMERICA. I think it's because I'm just tooling around hanging with friends, not doing obvious touristy stuff or anything, and the temperature and the cicada song and other factors are similar enough at a soft glance to Brisbane that occasionally I just zone out a tiny bit and then D will turn left across lanes or we'll pass a fire hydrant and it'll remind me where I am. So that's been weird.

We went for sushi last night, K had a mushroom ramen soup served in a bowl she could've taken a bath in. D had chicken fried rice that could've fed a small village. I was kind of over the whole GIANT AMERICAN FOOD thing, which I took some delight in for the first 24 hours, and had some gyoza and an assortment of sushi. The feature piece was a Red Dragon, which I mostly can't remember what was in it except it was all good things and I was happy.

Today we are doing things we should've done yesterday, like making latex gills and ears, and fangs, and well everything prosthetics and makeup for our costumes. Which we really should've done yesterday. I mean really, really should've done yesterday.