phoenixastraea: (Bottom of this!! Lolz)
No, despite the title, this has NOTHING to do with Harry Potter.

Yes, I'm going to give you all a moment to absorb the immensity of that statement.   ;^)

Many of you who know me in RL, and those of you who are starting to get to know me more on here know me to be a collector of sorts.  I add the "of sorts" qualification on there because I'm very picky about what I collect.   For example, I collect many things relating to Catwoman, but it doesn't mean I collect 'em all.  Of all the zillions of statues/figures out there of my beloved Ms. Kyle, I have only a select few, including the gorgeous Catwoman Barbie, the Knightsend CW, The Long Halloween CW, and so forth.  There are tons more out there, but I'm not so compulsive as to collect just for the sake of it.   That being said, that's not to say I'm not obscenely tempted at times....Gorgeous artisans like Bowen Statues, Diamond Select, Kotobukyia, DC Direct, Master Replicas, WDCC, and so forth taunt me on a weekly basis with new and beautiful collectors items, statues, props, etc. 

Needless to say, eBay is, more often than not, my own personal apple. 

Take this for example.  It's not even out yet.  But its beautiful.  Probably one of the most gorgeous statues of my Jeannie that I've seen in a long time (and believe me, I've seen a LOT!).  I even think I like it better than the Bowen version that I've had my eye on for some time, constantly debating over whether or not my dislike of the facial sculpt can be set aside for the beauty of the motion and the actual framing of the figure itself.  I wont even go into how Bowen himself is an asshole for tormenting me not just with Phoenix, but with the Dark Phoenix variant, which may be even more beautiful than the original.

Or, perhaps of some interest to [personal profile] penumbren, this.  Something that I should have taken advantage of back in 2004 when it came out.  Of course, I was just starting my first year of two as a poor graduate student, but I regret not having this gorgeous remake.  Why Prime has Megatron with him in gun form, I'll never know, but it still reeks of awesomeness.   This is also a dilemma for me, as Soundwave has always been my favorite Decepticon.   As with the figure I mentioned above, I have had the pleasure of seeing this toy in person, as my friend Casey's brother was able to get a hold of one as a gift for a friend.  It's gorgeous.  Absolutely gorgeous.  *sigh*   

Oh, yeah, and I want him too.  =^)  Almost two inches long and as cute as a button. 

Collecting is a dangerous game.  Its also lucrative for the sellers.  I love sorting the fields on eBay from "Highest Price" to lowest, just to see how much some of this stuff was going for.  I saw a G1 Devastator MIB going for almost $3000.  Amazing, I tell you.  I'm glad I'm not THAT compulsive! ;^)  I dunno.  This starts stirring up the English Major in me...maybe I'll make an entry about the nature of collecting sometime soon....

Well, at least I don't collect Tribbles like Kirk does! *points to icon*
phoenixastraea: (Dont Let Go...)

...before I let this topic go gently into that good night.    I think I'm going to follow in the footsteps of [personal profile] lalaith86  and make one last post about this topic before moving on with my life.  Like she said, I just have to.  It's affecting my sleep, my mood, my work, and now, more importantly, my interactions with some of my best friends in the business because of differing viewpoints on the wrestler, the man, his actions, and their possible motivations.  

People are desperately looking for ways to cope.  Short of pretending none of this happened, I support any and all ways for people to deal with this, whether I agree with them or not.  Unfortunately, what should be bringing us all together to comfort each other is starting to rip us apart.  Forums are crashing and their members are starting flame wars.  I've noticed or heard about people making nasty comments on personal journals or in communities, saying that "this post disgusts me" and make other such comments directly attacking the speaker without even comprehending what is being said.  This....this sort of garbage HAS to stop.  I know a lot of these occurences are isolated but they disgust me nonetheless.  For anyone that this has happened to, who has been proverbially kicked when they were down and in pain, you get Double-Stuf hugs from me.  

My bottom line: my buddy [personal profile] greyjedisaid on one of my posts that the man died twice: once as a man and another time as a hero.  I think nothing sums it up quite so well.  We're all in deep mourning.  Some of us have moved on to indignant rage and hopefully, on from there, through the grace of Time and other factors, to peace and understanding.  Again, we may not even find understanding; if that is the case I hope we still can find a measure of peace; something to numb the nightmarish horror of the past few days.  Of monstrous details that refuse to be burned from our minds no matter how much we try to refocus ourselves.  I wish I could wake up and forget: I can't.  At the risk of starting another potential shit-storm, I'll say that I'm angry at the lives that have been ruined by this.  I'm angry at the horrible undermining of trust and memory for those who knew him and loved him;  the second-guessing and horrible speculation of what might have been or what should have been or what could have been done to prevent this, if anything.  My heart goes out most especially to people like Dean Malenko, Chavo, Edge, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, and of course, his two surviving kids; I can't imagine what it must be like for them.  Then you have the most potent tragedy for us as fans, of not being able to forget when you most want to; when dark thoughts and reminders pop up when you most want to remember and respect him for his talent and the great things he did accomplish.  Perhaps time will allow us to have that again; right now, I'm not there.  I'm angry.  Enraged, really, at the pointless loss of life and about this horrible stain left on 10 years of beautiful memories that I had.  That we all had.  And other things that I will not go into here.

Like I said before, we're a family; perhaps a dysfunctional one, but a close-knit one nonetheless.  I love you all.  If you want to talk about it, like Sila suggested in her post, lets do it here.  I, for one, will be trying to recompose myself and move on to my other obsessions.  Nice to have fixations, eh? (Pen, I'm looking at you! ;^)  As it is, I've got a nice TMNT fic in the works (non-slash) that I'm gonna use as distraction. 

phoenixastraea: (Summerslam Embrace)
Last night I had a really great dinner with my buddy Josh, in which we ended up talking about our current life situation.  He also mentioned that my LJ has been totally uninteresting to him because of all my wrestling markout moments, so I figured it would be a good time to oblige him.  ;^)  I hadn't vented about RL stuff on here in a while anyway.

In all seriousness, it made me think of something that a friend of mine posted on his MySpace bulletin about a quarter life crises.  I may reproduce it here if I get a chance, but it basically talked about the horrible, liminal phase that many of us are going through right now.  Truly, it seems like one of the worst transition phases  that we can go through because the rest of our lives are looming ahead of us right at this very minute.  Not high school, not college.  Life.  And its fucking scary. 

I remember feeling something similar to this when I graduated from undergrad.  I got out, had a decent job in the government business and was earning a fairly decent amount of cash when I started feeling my soul slipping away.  So, I did the natural thing; I went back to grad school to find it again among the hallowed halls of my beloved alma mater, UVA also known as the best fucking university in the world.  (/pride moment).  I started to find it again; part of it was having my own apartment at a ridiculously reasonable rate, having it furnished like I could live there forever, earning my Masters Degree and feeling like I had some direction for once.   The more education classes I took, the more I felt like I could do something with this degree and make a difference in my life and in others'.  Then, before I knew it, two years was up and I'm left with a stellar piece of paper in my hands, a great thesis (if I do say so myself) and so much debt that I could cry. what?  After busting my ass to find a teaching job (competing with other UVA grads who were certified) to no avail, I boomerang home where I get to see my wonderful family more often, but find myself a wreck again.   Where am I going? What the fridge am I going to do with myself?  I feel like I still need to figure myself out...that I've gone head over heels in a sensory deprivation chamber and I'm fighting to find the light again, find my balance.  

There are moments when I feel absolutely confident and secure; those are counterbalanced by the moments when I hit absolute rock bottom, hating myself, my place in life, my looks, my faults, my debts, my restrictions, and every other superficial thing there is to be upset/irritated/angry about.  I hear about every other person from my high school class either getting engaged, getting married, or having kids and it freaks the shit out of me.  I've had my chances, to be sure...and I wasn't ready, but I can't help feeling the pressure, knowing that I'm here at 25 and people I know are living the dream with the love of their life (possibly), secure jobs, double incomes, and 2.5 kids.  I wonder if I'll ever be able to get my shit together, because it sure don't feel like that right now.  

I think Josh summed it up perfectly last night;  "[we're] fucking smart, single, confused, and living at home".  

Hey, at least we've got each other...because I don't know about you all, but nearly everyone I've talked to feels something similar.   I suppose we can be grateful for the small favors...
phoenixastraea: (Summerslam Embrace)
Well, it finally feels like Halloween is upon us...Yes, it's taken me until about 2 days before the fact to get into it, but...things are just different this year.  Halloween was always something I spent with the fencers in Charlottesville.  With these tournaments being on Halloween weekend, I'm not even sure whether or not I missed the big Halloween party.  It makes me sad, because I would start planning and making costumes 6 months or so ahead of time, especially if Glenn, David, and I were going to go as our usual Trinity of Halloween excellence.  Well, yes things are terribly different this year...

The new Year is upon us, where we reflect upon the events of the year and look to let go of the frustrations, the petty annoyances, all that holds us back.  Boy howdy do I have a lot of stuff to burn up this year...We'll see how all my ritual stuff comes together, or whether or not I even have the privacy to pull it off this year.  

I was babysitting again, which was fine, although I was sad that I missed a Halloween party with my buds.  I'm making up for that, however, by going with them in about ten minutes to see The Prestige.  I'll give you all my review when I get back, if its as good as I think it will be. 

I mean, its Wolverine, Batman, and Alfred in one movie!  Sweet! 

I'll post my pic o' the day when I get back.  I think I'll make it one of the Rockers, but we'll see.

Hehe, I won't hide this one behind a cut; it's too cool to hide. 

Heh.  Shawn + Chair = OTP!!!!!! ;^)

Update: More fun interweb stuff, thanks to [personal profile] jadeblood
phoenixastraea: (*headdesk*)
OK, flist.  I'm sure that anyone who has been even moderately close to a TV set in the past several days has seen at least part of the news about John Mark Karr, the supposedly confessed killer of JonBenet Ramsey.   He confessed and knew intimate details about the case.  

So...why do I feel so uneasy?  Despite the confession, the details, etc, something doesn't feel right about this.  Not like my intuition is infallible, but something just doesn't click here.  Why come forward and readily confess after 10 years of relative anonymity?  The police bungled the case so badly barely any evidence was going to stand up in court.  This guy was in Thailand...there was a chance that they'd NEVER catch him.  What sort of strange events happened to fortuitously come together to bring this man to light? 

What do you all think?  Perhaps I'm in the minority, but despite how desperately disgusting and creepy he is (apparently, he married a 13 year old and a 14 year old when he was pushing 20 and was tossed out of several schools for inappropriate behavior towards his female students), I just don't think he's the guy.  Soemthing else is at stake here. 

phoenixastraea: (Bloody Pirates!)
After an eventful week, my weekend was fairly calm...although I'm not sure I felt that way, emotionally.

I spent most of Saturday organizing and Sunday was spent with my cousin Ashley.  It was nice to hang out with her, although I felt terribly lethargic and slightly combative.  I suppose it didn't begin well on Saturday night with my cousin and the G's asking me if I was going to church.  This has been a regular Sunday occurance: them asking me if I want to go, me politely saying no, them coming home from church raving about this new preacher and CONTINUALLY telling me how much I'd like him if I'd go.  It's their own subtle Southern way of trying to get me to go back to church, which I have no intention of doing at this juncture.  I wish they'd get the picture because I don't want to have to tell them straight out that I just don't see this particular brand of Christianity (if any brand) in my future.  being that I'm pagan and all.  Of course, does this keep me from feeling like I'm letting them down somehow by not being Christian?  Heck no.  

Again, this is not a pagan attack on Christianity, for my dear friends out there who are Christian.  I have no problems out there with your religion.  Well, ok, clearly I do, otherwise I might be a follower...I think this has more to do with near-constant parental pressure (or at least not so subtle strong hints) that I should be following a certain path and then attributing all my stress/attitude problems to my lack of faith and connection to their spiritual center (if that makes any sense...).  Either way, its getting somewhat old.
So, I guess that started it all.  Either way, I was feeling pretty aggressive yesterday.  Testosterone-y, even.  Just...angry or pent up.  Wound too tight.  Not quite that feeling that I had of coming unhinged, but somewhat close.  It was all I could do to something.  I wasn't sure I felt like company, I didn't feel like sleeping...all I really felt like was watching hours and hours of Boston Legal and admiring Shatner's incredible acting chops as Denny Crane. Godddamn that man is amazing.  Between him and Alan Shore it was an orgasm for my mind.  As it was, later on in the afternoon I went down with Ashley to the barn and experienced a great deal of zen in the simple act of cleaning my Kieffer saddle.  I must have spent three hours just cleaning, refinishing, reconditioning, and oiling up that beautiful saddle, which was made in Munchen (aka Munich)...and it really helped me refocus. 

I'm heading up to Philly on Wednesday via train.  Man, I've gotta start packing...
phoenixastraea: (Smile for me)

I'm sitting here watching "Proof" with Hugo Weaving.  It...has a surprisingly disturbing effect on me.  I find myself pausing it constantly and doing other things, including applying for another job.  It looks like I didn't get that other job for which I applied, considering the radio silence my email inquiry has been met with. *shrug* It had weird hours and I wasn't terribly impressed by the fact that the girl who was interviewing me was in flip flops and a sweater that looked like it came from the sale rack at Old Navy while I was in my finest suit...but then again, that's just me being snarky to cover up my wounded ego, I suspect.  Oh well, that's the nature of the beast, I guess. 

So, I've applied for this publishing job locally.  Once more into the breach...

I find myself loving that quote, not simply because I love Shakespeare...but this quote always seems to come to the forefront of my mind at the strangest moments.  Perhaps its the cyclical essence evoked in the quote...the perseverance required for the implementation of that command.

OH how ironic! In Proof, this woman Celia takes Hugo's character Martin to the symphony and what do they play? Beethoven's Fifth! **Shout outs to all my Vendetta friends!!**

More to rant about later, I suppose.  Anyone else excited about X3 this coming week? I'm thoroughly disgusted at the fact that they're remaking Miami Vice with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx.  Blech.  As if Colin Farrell could achieve the pastel excellence of Johnson! Whatev.   

In less snarky news, I got an A+ in one of my courses!  I know what you're thinking: "whoopty effing do, H! Why brag about it?"  Well, ladies and gents, you have to understand, my school just doesn't give out A+'s.  Seeing one of those on a grad school report card is the equivalent of finding an oasis in the middle of a desert.  Well, perhaps that's overdramatic of me, but competition at UVA is fierce and needless to say, seeing that made it feel like a friggen miracle!

Report card, consider yourself PWNED!!!

phoenixastraea: (Mysterious...)
Ok, so pain in the ass: I get a call from my boss at the English Department who was asking where I was. Apparently, she forgot to tell me that she can keep us working until May 12th. Thrilling, huh? Definitely so, considering I only asked her four times last week whether or not she had heard anything about extending our hours. Argh! So, it looks like vacation doesn't quite start yet. In to work tomorrow.

Also, I just got off the phone with my grandmother, whom I love dearly. I know she's doing this to help, but she keeps calling with all these job opportunities in other parts of Virginia that she wants me to look into. Again, I know she's trying to help, but all it seems to be doing is stressing me out. Big time. Right now, I don't feel like moving, so I'm looking locally. I do have an interview on Thursday, and every time she calls she asks if I know where it is and how to get there. Its not technically nagging, but it feels that way.

I'm 25. I can do these things myself. Of course, that's an ungrateful, awful thing to say but there are times when I feel like I haven't left the womb! *shrug* ah well, no biggie.

I've also had some random thoughts bouncing around in my head that I thought I'd run past you all: as a woman, do you think its worse to be mousy or slutty? Its a tough call, but I think 'slutty' implies some sort of subversive, outrageous behavior...yes, sluttiness can be self-loathing and degrading, but it also implies that the woman has some control over her sexuality...or does she? Now, this begs the question that you can have two forms of sluttish behavior: the powerful, controlling, empowering sexuality or a demeaning desecration of the female body by bowing down to the wanton, consuming needs of the patriarchy only to be picked apart, used, devoured and spit back for more. Controlled or controlling? Dominating or submissive?

On the other hand, what do we mean by calling a woman "mousy"? I heard someone use this term a few days ago and the first thing that I thought was, "Wow, that is one of the words adjectives I can think of to describe someone. I would hate it if someone described me that way." Mousy. I thought of someone who loved blending into the wallpaper...a dusky, aged, peeling wallpaper on a house that has been abandoned for years. Mousy. Someone who is timid, easily frightened, who lives in small holes off of society's scraps. Mousy. Someone who can be stepped on, trapped, experimented on, used, tossed away only to be replaced.

Mousy. The food of the cat.

Thoughts? (Besides the fact that my sanity is selective! ;^D)
phoenixastraea: (Oh Snap!)
Well, I just cancelled my MySpace account. I honestly only set it up so that I could receive updates on a favorite band of mine. I also thought that I might find some people online from high school that I would want to contact. What really happenened was that the band didn't post or do any updates and I ended up being a glorified lurker than using MySpace for any sort of contact. This one dude started talking to me/friended me that I wasn't that interested in, so I figured, what am I doing this for?

I didn't use it to make new acquaintances with awesome people who have similar interests; that's what LJ is for! I was also concerned about internet security on just has a sketchier feel to it than it would really be the perfect place for sex offenders and other unsavory types to troll the vast variety of drunken looking, barely clothed, high school coeds that I found on there even from MY old high school. Thats another thing; it seemed like everyone I couldn't STAND in HS had a myspace account.

With all this in mind, I bid sketchy Tom goodbye. And, I think I feel more at ease for it.

Am I wrong in my feelings about MySpace? Have I been unjustly prejudiced by the media? Thoughts?

In other news, I did my teaching project on Monday and it went remarkably well. I was teaching a part of my lesson plan on detective fiction, which I had so cleverly titled "CSI: London". I even presented myself as an Inspector from Scotland Yard, complete with ID (i.e., a passport doctored up with tape and paper). It could have bombed but it went very well. So, yea! The second of these two projects will be done on Thursday and is a thousand times less intimidating than this one. Whoever thought that ten minutes of your life could be so nerve-wracking!! =^)
phoenixastraea: (Jon Brandis)
Today is Jonathan Brandis' birthday. Had he lived, he would have been thirty today.

I do miss him. Like River Phoenix, he was a talented young man whose life came to a violent end. He was also probably my first celebrity crush in my teeny-bopper years. All we have of him now are pictures of a charming, smiling face, the elusive image of a happiness that probably only went skin deep for so long. Who knew that there was so much pain behind those smiling eyes.

Etre à la paix, Jonathan ; cher ange solitaire, vous êtes dans mes pensées.
phoenixastraea: (Weapon of Mass Destruction)
So...perhaps I've created another phat slogan (Phat?! Damn, I'm supposed to be an English Major and I just brought that word back from the dead!? It's 1:52am. I blame that. Anyway...), but I think this will accomplish two things:

1. I will get to show off the umm, phat new icon that [profile] grand_sealink  just made of Hugo licking his predatory lips and 
2. I will get a chance to rattle on to whomever has the good grace to listen about the potent attraction of V for fangirls and boys and whomever.  

Maybe I'll come up with more later, but that works for now. =^)  
phoenixastraea: (My Turn)
Do you ever have these moments when something truly mundane occurs but it leaves you thinking on a more universal and psychological plane?

Well, something like that happened to me yesterday afternoon in my education school class. We were all sitting around doing our thing preparing for a pop quiz and all of a sudden it went pitch black. I mean *pitch* black. I've been around when lights have gone out, but until you experience it in a classroom with closed doors and no windows, you ain't seen nuthin yet. It was strangely unnerving and many of the girls let out a shocked squeal, including this nice girl next to me. She freaked and grabbed for my arm; wanting to give some comfort, I grabbed her arm back. Blind and for the moment a little freaked out and confused, we sat there with our arms linked against whatever was going on (knowing this town, a gentle breeze must have ruffled the electricity wires). Moments later the generators must have kicked in and we got power to the rooms. We all sat there nervously laughing, embarrassed that we were so freaked out about everything going black in the building. It was probably nothing, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it had had a profound affect on me.

In that moment of uncertainty, of fear and confusion, another human being had reached out and grabbed on for comfort, no matter that we knew each other through a class that meets once a week. Rather than being caged in the flesh, I had this one brief moment of unity, of solidarity and connection with someone relatively unknown. I've never suffered with a large group through a crisis before (not that this was one, mind you..but bear with my metaphors here) and never understood the power of connection between strangers against an unknown assailant. I'm at pains to describe how I felt, knowing that there was someone out there that looked to me for strength, that I could in turn, return comfort and provide the sought strength. I have always loved being of help or support to others; hell, I think I'm probably the queen of giving unasked-for advice. This time, in this brief moment of innocuous darkness, I think I understood how we can become one as human beings, independent of gender, race, etc. even as strangers. In the same breath, I also recognized how isolated we all are in this world.

Naturally, every action has its equal and opposite reaction. Metaphorically speaking, I suppose I had a moment of discovering a burden that I didn't know existed until I felt it removed. We truly go through lives trapped in the cage of the flesh, looking away from people on the street in fear rather than smiling at them. I found that I missed that feeling of connection when it was gone. Strange it feels to miss the world being dark for a moment. Strange to have a moment of clarity and universal wisdom in a room black as tar.

Perhaps I should blame this bit of cerebral verbage on my current obsession with V. In all honesty, my experience reminds me a great deal of Valerie's note to V:

"I don't know who you are. Or whether you're a man or a woman. I may never see you or cry with you or get drunk with you. But I love you. I hope that you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better, and that one day people have roses again. I wish I could kiss you. ..."
phoenixastraea: (Default)

In those soft grey moments of nothingness that occasionally come before us, do you ever sit back and mourn the loss of people you've never met? 

I had a similar moment today.  While watching a particularly poignant episode of Star Trek: DS9, I thought about how much I missed a member of another Star Trek cast: Deforrest Kelley.  It seemed strange to me that I should feel such an overwhelming grief at the loss of this wonderful actor and charming man.  Even stranger, I had just lost a great-grandmother this past weekend at the ripe old age of 101.   Am I sad at her passing? Yes, very much so.  But I wasn't as close to her as I was to other members of the family who have since passed on.   Yet, I recognize that my sense of loss for "Bones" McCoy feels stronger and deeper than a member of my own family.  Am I slightly unsettled by this? You betcha.

Is this merely an unhealthy obsession with celebrity? Or is it something deeper?  In all honesty, I saw more of Bones McCoy in my life than I did this great-grandmother, who lived in Georgia, and to my recollection, only visited us in MD once or twice during all that time.  As for McCoy, I grew up with him.   Fictional character or no, he was a beloved childhood friend, a companion during sick days, sunny days, and long, blanket-wrapped, cocoa-filled nights.  He kept me laughing, crying, arguing along with him and I still believe I haven't quite accepted the death of the wonderful actor that gave him life. 

Other actors who I truly miss include: Mark Lenard, who played Sarek, Spock's father; Phil Hartman, a brilliant comedian whose death was so damn senseless; Christopher Reeve, who shall be forever enshrined as Superman in the hearts of a nation; River Phoenix, who lived life too fast , died young, and left a beautiful corpse; and Jonathan Brandis, who played lots of wonderful roles before committing suicide.  Its strange that at that moment, I edited myself, couching my language in pleasant, disguising euphemism rather than admitting to or revealing the horrid truth of his death.  I guess I'm protective of him; I thought he was a great actor and well, I had a huge crush on him when he was on Seaquest. His death in particular still affects me because it was preventable.  Why suicide?  What was in his mind that drove him to end such a promising life?  Did he not see the promise? Did he not know that there were those of us out there still cheering for him?  Why?  All death seems senseless and undignified, but when its by your own hand...when there are people out there who love you and support leaves a stain.  I rarely listen to Nirvana because of such a stain; they were once one of my favorite bands. 

Perhaps "stain" is too coarse a word.  Maybe I mean the deep dissatisfaction, the long-standing sorrow of those who are left behind, unable to answer the question: "Why?".  For Phil, we have an answer: his wife was a psycho who should burn for killing him.  For River, we have an answer; death is one of the many side effects of illegal drugs.  For my Superman, we have an answer; his spirit had chosen its time to fly again.  For Deforrest and Mark, we understand that we all live terminal lives, capped with the icing of old age but for Jonathan, twenty-seven was old age.  I'm not far away from that myself.  It just makes you think.  And mourn.  And rage at the dying of the light.

phoenixastraea: (Default)

It's pouring outside right now.  It has been since last night.  I love and hate days like these; I love them when I'm allowed to be pensive and lazy, indulging in solipsistic reverie and hot-chocolate-enhanced reading splurges.  I hate days like these when I have *gasp* intense responsibilities like 30 pages of paper writing, lesson plans to review and finals to prepare for.  You like how I got in that little bit of whining?  Yeah, I did too.

Interlude: I meant to put this in a November 13th entry but didn't get around to it.  I wanted to say Viva La Raza, Eddie Guererro.  You were a great wrestler and entertainer who died way too young.  As one fan rightly put it, "Its about time Heaven had some Latino Heat".  RIP, Eddie: Vaya con Dios.

Interlude #2: Damn my cat is cute.

I had some thoughts the other day about the nature of writing.  My friend Casey has started writing a play called "Writing Sucks"; I wonder to what extent that is true.  My friend Sonya and I pondered this while bitching about essay writing, Grad-school style.  We came to the conclusion that Masters style essay writing no longer has anything to do with independent creative analysis about the text; instead, its really a critique on the critics who have written about your chosen topic.  You can't write anything worthwhile these days without consulting a zillion other critics and theorists.  The point of this activity is to humble the lowly grad student into a state of perpetual submission to their intellectual superiors, making them feel continually inadequately prepared to offer up their own carefully constructed and equally valid point of view on the subject matter.  

The best critical texts I've read so far are clear, concise, and have a point worth proving.  Yes, it may seem simple for a grad student devoted to higher learning but I am an advocate for reader-friendly academic arguments.  Every teacher I've had in college has put question marks by any prose I wrote that attempted to imitate this high-toned, obtuse analytical writing so favored by current academicians.  A professor I had last year  made my life by condemning such a confusing and overwrought style.  I have embraced that notion and hope to implement it as my academic life continues.  Can writing been affecting and creative and still have meaning, even in dense critical arguments? Of course!  For a great example, see Jerome McGann's Swinburne: An Experiment in Criticism

Does writing suck?  It doesnt have to, but sometimes thats unavoidable if you want to play the game.  As my AP English teacher once responded to a student who wondered why we had to write a certain way when people like Hemmingway and Camus gave high style the finger, "Only after you know all the rules can you learn how to break them".  I'll never forget it. 

Back to the rain theme, its really going to be raining hard on me proverbially for the next two weeks.  Heh, well aren't I only happy when it rains?

phoenixastraea: (Default)

Ok, so I would have started this journal entry about five minutes ago, but I keep interrupting my typing because I can't stop eating Kix. 

That's right, my friends: I am a cereal addict.  If there are three food items I can't live without, it's (crunch crunch) cheese, fettucine alfredo, and cereal.  (crunch crunch).  You may think that someone like myself would spend most of my time mooning over sushi or juice or those Michelina meals that are so divine...but no.  If you lose me in a grocery store, I'm browsing (yes, browsing) the cereal isle.  (crunch crunch) 

I remember my old tried and true favorites: Honey Nut Cheerios and Raisin Bran.  Then I move on and wonder if I feel like a real good sugar rush in the mornings (crunch crunch); if so, Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, baby, ALL the way!  If I've been feeling like riding the fine middle line with the healthier but still sweetened cereals, you'll find me admiring the simplicity of Crispix, Corn Pops, or my current obsession, Kix.  So simple, so pure, and so....irresistable.  (crunch crunch)

So, I'm on my third bowl here and I start thinking about communism.  Strange how something so heavenly could make you think of something so unsavory but that's just how my brain has chosen to function today.  (Oh no! Last bite!! crunch crunch)  On my way home from class every day, I pass a trailer park on my left, conspicuous in its placement between two upper-middle class neighborhoods.  It got me thinking about all the themes we covered in our class presentations today about poverty, racism, school funding, and the influence of all these "high risk" elements within the context of both the school and community systems.  Most of the books written today rail against over-simplification or reduction of any of these concepts, arguing that in doing so, all we do as people is gloss over the complexity of the problem and assign responsibility and urgency to anyone other than ourselves.  Just like communism, it shows that homogeneity is insufficient in any socio-political or economic situation.  It's just not possible to even the playing field, so to speak or force involved concepts into nice, neat little boxes for us to deal with in really efficient ways (a la the final scene in Raider's of the Lost Ark). 

Back to the point of the trailer park, I thought about the types of people that must be in there and our assumptions (as outsiders) regarding their place in society.  Also, I thought of how the people in the lovely houses on either side of this ghetto-looking trailer park must feel and what sorts of anxieties are present in their lives.  Unless we go in there, however, we have no idea about the types of people who live in the park. Even so, I couldn't help thinking about how the people in the houses must be nuts to be neighbors to that type of living arrangement and that in wishing for something different, they may express their frustrations in terms of indignation against those of lesser economic status having only the means to live in such an eye sore. As I said before, homogeneity is never going to be viable nor should we wish it to be.  That being said, conflict naturally stems from heterogeneity.  Yes, all of us good, noble Americans understand the evil threat of Communism, but isn't this trailer park made possible through the socio-economic gap present in our own capitalistic society? Our rich are getting even richer and are willing to pay to put their kids into homogenous private schools, which do prove better for them scholastically (because of small class size, more personal instruction, etc) but widen the social gap between them and the rest of the world, which in turn just perpetuates the social problem where the current dominant culture will always be accused of racism and the other subcultures will feel nothing but anger and anxiety for a society that refuses to mix.

This is your brain. This is your brain on Kix.  Any questions?

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I attribute/blame this odd entry on several nights' worth of unusual dreams.

It is in the nature of dreams for the dreamer to be so involved with their content until the very moment you wake up, and in the furor of attempting to remember them, they are forgotten. All I can remember of this particular dream was the fact that I spent a great deal of time flying through other people, Shadowcat style. I'm not sure what my purpose was in doing so, but it seemed to have some great effect on them. In other dreams, I have played the part of ultimate hero, miraculously undoing or healing many of the pains that plague this world...Specifically, I have cured many an environmental crisis, restored the Twin Towers to their former glory, and saved many a life that before would have been lost.

Is this all a display of a subconscious troubled by extreme vanity? Is this a byproduct of subsumed self-aggrandizement, my dreams displaying my eagerness for public acknowledgement of personal accomplishment? Is it only my idealistic desire to see a self-destructive world relieved of its burdens? Am I only guilty of overdrawn and absurd hope that some superpower/being would one day make it so?

Those who know me know of my rather deep attachment to the DC and Marvel worlds. As of now, they can boast of more original storytelling than we have seen in the entertainment industry for quite a while. Every once in a while a contrived plot comes our way and there have been recent disappointments (Im thinking specifically of the tarnishing of Leslie Thompkins' character in regards to Spoiler Stephanie Brown, and the most recent installment of House of M, which didnt advance the fairly interesting plot a jot), but even the movie industry is seizing upon the intelligent, emotional, and epic nature of certain famous comic book plotlines.

The strength, power, and dare I say, implied "American" wholesomeness and charm of Chris Reeve's Superman comes to mind. Then, the incredible portrayal's of Batman by both Michael Keaton and Christian Bale, who, as my friend David says, "represents the American reality in contrast with Superman's American ideal". Hugh Jackman, though much taller than Wolverine's canonical 5'3" stature, mades a HELL of a great Wolverine and I've been dreaming of Patrick Stewart as Professor X since I became aware of Prof. X. I could go on to talk about the excellence of Tobey Maguire and from there, onto the glory of all the comic book villains, starting with the illustrious Jack Nicholson and continuing with the greatness of Willem Defoe.

Hell, I could prob turn this into another friggin essay where I further glorify my fantastical childhood heroes. But I wont.

The point of all this is, society seems to needs superheros today more than ever. Epic films of triumph over adversity seem more pertinent now to us than ever before. Lord of the Rings DEFINITELY fits this mold; these are the films society seems to crave. Fantastic Four, Constantine, X Men 1-3, hell, they're even bringing Wonder Woman into film form and it doesn't stop there. I heard recently that Marvel is making its own film company since this business has become ridiculously profitable in the past 5-10 years. While not all of the above mentioned films are fantastic (*cough cough *FFour!* cough), their presence is undeniable and it's drawing movie-goers and comic book fanatics to theatres like flies to honey. Skeptics may argue that, boiled down, most of the movie plots out there are about personal transformation and conquering great personal, social, and political obstacles towards a known goal. If thats the case, what differentiates superhero movies from regular plots where Harry Meets Sally and the Untouchables meet Capone?

Despite the logic of that argument, theres something more that a superhero brings to the story: the near guarantee of triumph, and the renewed hope of CONTINUED protection from evil. Thats not to say that a lil bit of Kryptonite wont bring down Supes like a bullet could bring down a soldier, but the very fact of his difference and separation from the rest of the human race gives us hope that the cyclical nature of humanities failings just cant right now. At this time in our lives, I think that many of us have so long lacked any sort of superhuman, or dare I say, godly presence in our lives, that the desire for the fantasy presence of a superhero subconsciously illuminates our need for an ACTIVE, VISIBLE God-figure in our lives today, to set events right where we can't and KEEP them there. Yes, we have heroes in our midst, but forgive me for saying so, the Fire Department just ain't the JLA.

I've reasoned myself to this point. Does this mean that in all my diverse obsessions with Batman, the Xmen, the JLA, Green Lantern Corps, etc, I'm really unwittingly yearning, nay, PINING for the substantial presence of the divine in my midst? For some inkling of hope that injustice can be corrected, even if its by a man in blue tights, sporting a red cape and a spitcurl?

I really don't know. Maybe I am. Either way, its times like these I sure wouldn't mind a set of adamantium claws....
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Why do we love the rogue? What is it about the "bad boy" that many people just cling to?

Arguably, both Lancelot and Wolverine have gained great popularity and respect in their respective genres, nearly impervious in battle but weak-kneed with love at the most unusual times. For each, is love a weakness or an impetus to great deeds? Do they provide the greatest threat to the stability of their respective round tables?

Both characters have mysteriously ambiguous pasts; Wolverine's origin remained in shadow until "The Origin" by Joe Quesada, and depending on the source material, Lancelot was a prince whose parents were ambushed and killed and who was subsequently rescued and raised by the Lady of the Lake. Each of them can boast a completely liminal background, thus contributing to their powerful state within their respective circles. Confused by that last assertion? Let me explain...

Lancelot entered the literary world in Chretien de Troyes' Le Chevalier de la charette or The Knight of the Cart. Unnamed until midway through the tale, this nameless chivalric force achieves many an impossible task and succeeds where Arthur's pitiful knights fail. I would suggest that Lancelot suceeds at his task because he does not have the same feudal and behavioral constraints like the other Knights of the Round Table. He bore the shame of riding in the cart because it brought him closer to his objective and dared all to save the damsel in distress. While many would censure his actions as those of a petulent, rash, foolish whoremonger, few can argue that he got the job done where others failed miserably, almost comically.

At the other end of the chronal spectrum, the modern Wolverine rides the fine line between man and beast. Barely civilized, the feral attitude that hides just below the surface intrigues and entices the reader. As a man, he is a fearless soldier, a rebel from authority "who uses a machete to cut through red tape". As a mutant, his wild, furious nature runs free and destruction/revenge/mayhem ensues. He embodies the very notion of reckless, lawless abandon: the very absence of civilization. Disgusted with excessive pacifism, he has no qualms about killing the bad guy when the need arises. One wonders if Batman had killed Joker or Two-Face, would there have been less crime, pain, death and destruction in Gotham City? Would he have rebuilt the town a little easier?

In addition to their brute strength and inexhaustible valor in the face of almost certain death, their devotion to their respective lady-loves knows no bounds. He crosses sword bridges with bare hands and feet, cut and bleeding; he rips open steel bars, also leaving his hands cut and bleeding, to penetrate the chambers of his lady love. He endures all sorts of humiliations at the tournament because she wishes it (see Chretien deTroyes' The Knight of the Cart for all of the above). All impressive and impetuous heroics aside, Lancelot's love for Guinevere arguably causes the dissolution of the Round Table and potentially the downfall of Arthur. At the very least, he risks almost certain censure and hatred were the affair to become public (which it does) and he breaks the first code of chivalry: honor thy lord, with both capital and lower-case L's. And yet, he does this all for the greater glory of love, which appeals to the romanticly-inclined spirit. Indeed, thoughts of Guinevere's peril propel him through the most dangerous and deadly tasks to save her. He transcends his mortal being and wins his status as the most powerful knight in the realm not for personal glory, but but for the look in her eyes when he returns victorious. It makes you just want to forget all that adultery business. Whether you approve of his conduct or not, from the first day he saw her, he lived his life for her.

Wolverine follows the trend of his predecessor in desiring another man's woman; no matter how many other women have fallen to his charms in the comic book universe, one has always emerged as the great passion of his heart: Jean Grey. I do believe that my namesake loves Wolverine deep in her heart, but like the darker aspects of the Phoenix that she wishes to keep hidden, this particular part of her being may never be satisfied within the regular universe. Wolverine, however, has no compunction about showing his feelings for her, especially in front of her boyfriend-lover-once husband-now widow Scott Summers aka Cyclops. Like King Arthur, Cyclops isnt really worth Wolverine's time; he knows that Jeannie loves him and subsumes it. There certainly is a connection between the two of them that is unusual. One recent comic book storyline had Wolverine trapped in an illusory dreamscape by the ladies Mastermind, stuck in a timeless setting where all his past loves come back to keep him company. Unfortunately, Sabretooth comes and "kills" them. Last, but not least, Jeannie appears to Wolvie and he greets her with this: "Of course...they saved the best for last...I dont care if this isn't real, Jeannie...I wont let them kill you" (X Men The End 2: Part 5). It doesnt matter whether he dated Seraph, married Mariko Yashida, had a romantic interlude with Storm, whatever. She's always going to be number one in his book. Interestingly enough, the real Phoenix takes the dream Jeannie's place, causing Wolverine to really believe that "This must be true love". Ultimately, she will be the one that gives him purpose, someone to fight for, someone to trust when he trusts no one else. For concrete examples of all my gushing, remember the moment when Magneto rips the adamantium out of Wolverine's body, nearly killing him. He then attempts to push Jeannie out of an air lock, and her screams bring Wolvie back to life. Both men sacrifice their body to save their lady love (Ibid for Wolverine, crossing the sword bridge for Lanny), giving up all the inessentials for her well being. One powerful moment came right after "Magneto" gave Jeannie a universe-sized magnetic surge of a heart attack (see New Xmen 150); Wolverine goes ABSOLUTELY feral and kills "Magneto" and after Jeannie dies, all we see on the page are his howls reaching into the darkness. Her death has uprooted him and has widened the gulf between him and Cyclops. In Astonishing Xmen 1, Wolverine confronts Scott in bed with his new lady love Emma Frost, accusing him of betrayal: "So, Summers, what stage of grief is this? Denial?" Say what you will, Wolvie has a point, and dead or not, he will defend his true love until doomsday, even if it means dissenting from the team. In the Age of Apocalypse, Jean was left behind the borders of enemy lines with no hope of rescue from her team members. Who defied all orders and odds and went? You guessed it. Our favorite Weapon X, who then got to run off with her and enjoy a bit of the happiness he always wanted to have with her. What is the future for these star-crossed lovers? Only time (and Marvel) will tell...

To be continued....
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I blame the quiet nature of work and a fairly distressing email for this contemplative entry...I just heard from Casey that my ex is doing even worse than before. His 18 year old sister is dying of highly advanced brain cancer, his current relationship seems to be approaching or on the rocks, work sucks, and apparently lots of other stuff bites as well. In his own words, he's had a rotten year. I just feel horrible about it...because I'm almost certainly part of the problem.

I ended things between us in February. I'm sure my reasons/motives for doing so appeared oh so altruistic since I told him that my feelings had changed and that "It just wasn't fair to him to continue to give so much to me when I couldn't give back equally..blahblahblah". What crap. My status as a word-worshipping English major does not affect my belief in the worthlessness of language when ending a relationship. Nothing the other person can say to you will convince you that you are not being abandoned by someone that you trusted, that the person leaving you does not love you one iota less than when you were together, or that you will truly be better off without their comfort and company. Nothing makes it hurt less...and this time, it was my doing. At the risk of sounding very egotistical (which I dont intend), I walked away with very little logical explanation, leaving him hurt, lonely, and confused when other aspects of his life had just started to darken.

I'm not vascillating. Those reasons, vague as they may seem, remain. It's done and I can't and won't undo it, no matter how much the guilt stains me. As Casey told me, "Feeling bad doesnt change a thing" and he's right. That being said, how much guilt should we assign to ourselves if any? And why do I seem to give myself the lion's share? I hate hurting peoples feelings even though empowered society always tells us that we need to look out for "Number One" before anyone else. To some extent, this is true...but I can't help feeling selfish when I do, simplifying the problem down to what *I* feel about the situation and excusing whatever pain we may cause the other person. As I said before, I'm not quite sure where this comes from or what part of my past or even my mind brings me nearly to the brink of psychic self-mortification with guilt.

Perhaps its just the feeling of helplessness that I despise...the inability to comfort, to heal, to fix, to make right when I know I could...but I don't.

I guess, in some ways, I need to be more like the Phoenix when it comes to my own mind: burn away what doesn't work.

Psychic Spring Cleaning, anyone?
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Well, my mom came down today, which was really special because I didnt think I'd see her before the year began. Even though she only stayed for a few hours, it was a lovely time and she looked great. Her sixth sense about arranging furniture and paintings came in handy, and we got a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Each mask has found its niche on the canvas of my walls, and my paintings have come home to rest. I never thought Id like this room better than my old one, but I do...and my comfort level increases daily. I cannot say how great Glenn has been...perhaps one day he will know how thankful I am, or how much he truly means to me...

All in all, things have really started falling into place despite minor setbacks. Every day I realize that the gloomy parts of life have many silver linings (have no fear, I shall punish myself for that cliche later). Take today, for example: Glenn and I were foiled in our trip to Wal-mart by a dead car battery. Then the skies opened up, as if to emphasize the irony of life. Instead of darkness, many people came to our aid, including a family from Fredericksburg who attempted to jump the battery, the former Marylander who actually came from the Wrecker services to jump the battery, the two very nice men at Autozone who replaced the battery, and the sociable people at Starbucks who smiled through flashes of lightning up on Pantops.

(Strange Interlude: Glenn just told me to look up, and Kuroneko-sama is in the arms of the Phoenix...and Vader and Vash the Stampede are about to take over the world. I have no idea what else he has displaced or rearranged, but Im sure I will find jawas or Yoda on my altar very soon.)

I'm very thankful for all that I have..including my wonderful friends, my love, and my family. And the blessed rain....

And my Puff, but more on her later.

And Johnny Depp. And J.M.Barrie. And Tim Burton.

And I'll stop now.


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Phoenix Astraea

April 2017



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