Archive for January, 2014

eye have had enough of this

Okay! I am now officially off “positioning.” I still have a variety of restrictions (no facing up except briefly, no heavy lifting, can’t cut back eye steroid drops yet, no contacts yet, etc) but, still, this will be far more normal.

Also, my vision is still a mess, but that’ll improve over time – there’ll be a big jump when the last of the bubble clears out of my right eye. Looking at it, as I can’t avoid, I’d say Monday for that, probably. Possibly Tuesday.

Hopefully this time it will stick. Literally, as I told Anna.

artistic differences

As a long-time Great Big Sea fangirl, I’ve watched all the talk and drama about Séan’s departure from the band over the last few months with particular interest. Anna and I both kind of see the changes in the band as being akin to a Doctor Who regeneration; my Great Big Sea had Darrell Power in it. That doesn’t mean a third incarnation would be a bad thing, but it’d certainly be different.

Séan has finally given an interview about his departure, and several people have reacted with variations on the phrase “see?! It’s just artistic differences!” – as opposed to, I don’t know, homicide. Or some other source of dissent, more conventional, more recognisable to most.

But that bothers me, because… because it’s wrong.

Because carried in all of that is the idea that “artistic differences” are not such a big deal, not really. There’s the idea that there’s nothing much personal about it. Like it’s some sort of career choice.

To be fair, there’s a bit of the latter in that if you’ve been so lucky as to make your art your primary career. But at the core, that is so wrong. At least, it’s so wrong in music.

Music, in my way of thinking about it, is transcription of emotion. Notes and phrases are the letters with which you write out your feels.

And if your music has been pushed to the side in your band, if it’s being stifled, or even, if it just doesn’t feel like your music is part of your group’s music… well, there are things more personal than that, I’m sure. But not many.

I’ve listened to Séan’s new album, Help Your Self. It’s little like my Great Big Sea, and even less like the second incarnation he just left. I’m reminded more of David Gilmour’s solo work than anything else – particularly the slower songs of About Face.

Some have called it bitter – I can hear that, and I hear it in the interview with the Telegram, linked above. But if he’s been holding his music in for as long as he says he has, then he’s going to need recovery time. He’ll need to clear all this out. Albums may and may not make for good therapy, but, in a very real way, that’s what this album is – it’s a concept album, and it’s about him feeling his way back to life.

Which brings us back to how big “artistic differences” really are.

A more successful musician than I once told me, “People don’t know what they like; they like what they know.” Great Big Sea fans may not know this Séan, and may, simply from that, decide they do not like him. I hope he’s ready for that. Putting everything out there as he’s done may not be the wisest of business moves.

But given the well-established economic downsides, it’s certainly brave. I’ll give all the credit in the world for that. And the fact that he feels he has to do this, as he obviously does, and that it’s worth walking away from what is – let’s face it – a cash-cow supergroup with one of Canada’s largest fan bases…

that’s how big “artistic differences” are.

They aren’t a small thing. They’re the biggest thing there is.

as close to live action kigo

Being an enthusiastic Kigo (Kim Possible/Shego) shipper, I know that will never be official, but my friend Criacow told me about D.E.B.S, a supervillain-and-hero lesbian romance film, and I had to look.

It’s not quite Kigo. It’s more more like Shego and Buffy Summers, if D.E.B.S. agent Amy Bradshaw was Buffy Summers working for the Feds. But supervillain Lucy Diamond in many ways is a lot like Shego (“What do you have against Australia?” “I don’t like their attitude!”) and, I have tell you, Anna and I agree she can crash over at our lair any time.

There’s not a lot of depth here, but that’s kind of its charm; dyke film without Horrible Things Happen are thin on the ground – hero-supervillain lesbian romance without Horrible Things Happening even moreso – so it’s really kind of amazing that any examples exist at all. If you think of it as PG-rated Kigo / BufGo live-action comedic slash, it succeeds fantastically well! Just don’t expect something else.

Honestly, it’s such a tiny market that I have to assume they wrote this movie for me, and I didn’t even know. So, thanks, Angela Robinson! And sorry I didn’t know at the time. I’d’ve, I don’t know, stolen some money for you or something. Make another one, I’ll see what I can do. ♥

whelp there goes another week

Eye doctor says everything’s fine, but he wants me positioning the rest of the week. Yay, another lost week, another week on the couch. Well, until Friday, anyway.

god dammit.

At least nothing’s actually wrong. It’s all because of my history, not because of anything else – this is actually the fastest recovery I’ve had yet. Vision in the operated eye is already up to 20/100 range – 20/50 with the pinhole aid – and he thinks he’s being light on me.

But I’m still going a little bit extra crazy.

Next week. I hope.

follow-up appointment today

Follow-up today with the eye surgeon at 2pm; since I’m pretty familiar with the progression of recovery on this kind of eye surgery now, and know where I am, I should come back with good news.

My vision will still be a mess for weeks, though. Aside from the three-month recovery time for focus, the remaining eye bubble is intensely distracting, even with an opaque eye patch.

Still, it’ll be nice to have the motion-restrictions at least eased. And it’s not that bad looking, is it?

an unexpected journey, extended edition

Just finished watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, extended edition Blu-Ray. I think the most notable difference is in pacing; it’s much better, overall, and there’re more bits from the book included.

Scenes of a common tone and mood now feel equally paced, which eliminates contrast between “faster” and “slower” segments set at the same urgency level of storytelling. Usually, that sort of unevenness is a problem fixed by more cuts in the “slower” segments. Adding even more material – as was done here – to achieve properly equal pacing can be very risky; most of the time you’ll make a padded film feel even more padded. But here, I’m glad to say it’s a change for the better.

Directly related is that the film actually feels less fighty. The theactrical cut felt like a runaround between fights. But the battle scenes were not extended much if at all, so take up a smaller percentage of screen time. The result feels – for lack of a better word – a bit more Hobbitesque.

I particularly liked the additional material in the prelude, and in Rivendell; I doubt anyone would be displeased with either. Watch it for that, if nothing else.

At any rate, an improved version; only 13 minutes additional, but it’s all well-placed. I suppose someone wanted to keep the theatre version below the scary three hour mark, because with one exception, I really do think all these bits needed to be there. Give it a watch, see what you think.

eta: Anna’s spoilerriffic review post here, with details about the specifics of the added footage.

while recovering: life with supervillainy

Stickmaker: I’m a little worried. There’s a patch of ice at the far end of my front walk which I can’t scrape off and which isn’t melting. (In fact, as the temps drop it’s growing.) I piled snow at the end of the walk and then went though the yard to where the walk is safe. Hope that’s warning enough.
Anna: Dump some kitty litter out there if you have to.
Anna: Do you not have any rock salt?
Stickmaker: Kitty litter is all in use by the kitties. No rock salt.
Anna: Well I got nothin’, then.
Solarbird: you have gasoline, you have matches, i don’t see the problem here
Anna: I might suggest that when you go out again, get some rock salt. 😉
Anna: Or something otherwise appropriate for dealing with ice on your walk
Solarbird: like gasoline
Solarbird . o O ( foomp )
Solarbird: ok maybe charcoal?
Stickmaker: …That’s what I’m afraid of. 🙂
Solarbird: you’re afraid of charcoal?
Solarbird: that’s just weird.
Solarbird: what did charcoal do to you?
Solarbird: or do you fear its revenge?
Solarbird: for all the things you’ve done to it?
Solarbird . o O ( so much burning )
Stickmaker: No, the ‘Fwoomph!’
Solarbird: wait so no you fear sound effects.
Solarbird: FOOMOHPH
Solarbird: scary!

visiting feetsylvania

Back from hospital, visiting Feetsylvania again (positioned facing down) and sipping hot tea through a straw. Unsure of advisability of this. Advise at your leasure.

Should get to spend the rest of positioning on side. Will be better then.

well here we go again

I’d just drilled some probably-entirely-unnecessary vent holes in the two tighter-sealing mic cases, and finally got around to packing up the spare ribbon material for the ribbon microphone I’d built after the second eye surgery, and as I was walking upstairs to do some more comping…

something darted down the centre of my vision.

But only in one eye. And it was repeatable.

Kill. Everything.

So I poked at it a bit, and yep, I have newly asymmetrical peripheral vision. I schedule an emergency doctor’s appointment, who confirms what I already know, and I’m scheduled for emergency surgery on Saturday morning, kill everything.

Anyway. I don’t know how much you’ll see me for the next few days. I’ll be “positioned” for another week, then limited in motion again after that. I won’t be at Conflikt, the songwriting workshop is cancelled, I’ve delayed a bunch of recording sessions indefinitely until we can reschedule, everything’s delayed another two weeks, fuck everything.

See, when this first happened, last October, there were three areas: one where the retina had torn, and two others which showed extremely old physical trauma damage. Dr. Saperstein fixed the tear in surgery, and tried to do some pre-emptive work on the other two areas, as they would fail sooner or later.

This completely failed. A few weeks later, I was back in for round two. I thought I was safe at this point from a round three, and that the pre-emptive work had done some good on the third area, but FUCK ME NO, it tore today, so I’m back in again.

So that’s what happened, and that’s where I am, and where I’m not. I’ll try to set something up so I can blog some and chat while I’m recovering – again – from this. But it resets the clock on vision recovery, I won’t be able to drive for two months – my vision had just got back to 20/20 with correction in the pinhole test, and 20/30 in open field – and… yeah.

I am so pissed off about all this, I don’t even have words. We’ll be shooting through our out-of-pocket for insurance again. What a way to start a year.

I won’t even be able to make a cake for Anna’s birthday on the 23rd. At least there will be presents.

welcome to seattle, night vale

Anna and I went to the Night Vale live theatre show last night at the Neptune, in my old hood, the U. District. I hadn’t been to the Neptune since they turned it back into a stage theatre, and I’m glad to say it works really well.

I’m not going to review it, per se; I’ll just say it was a lot of fun, with a lot of William Castle-esque elements – particularly – in one section that I really enjoyed.

My camera did a terrible job with the spotlighting, but have some cosplay pictures from the queue, a couple of the least bad stage shots, and a panorama I call Appropriate Theatre is Appropriate.

The Glow Cloud, Nr. 1
(A second glow cloud, in video form)

Eternal Scouts

Appropriate Theatre is Appropriate
1280-pixel-wide version here

Jason Webley, The Faceless Old Accordion Player Who Secretly Plays in Your Theatre

The Best Photo I Got of Cecil

We queued up 45 minutes ahead of doors (in a bad spot, in the wind), and got good seats; totally worth it, even if I had to run over to the bookstore and grab a clearance XXL fleece sweatshirt that I’ll be wearing a lot because damn this thing is comfortable.

Anyway, if you get a chance, and you like Welcome to Night Vale, the stage show is a nice night out. Go, and enjoy.

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