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I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
Top five meme answers 
7th-Oct-2013 11:55 pm
Converse: black
So I did the top five meme A MILLION YEARS AGO and I'm trying to actually make answers happen. Comment as you like; disagreement and discussion and squee are all beloved.

[personal profile] writcraft asked for ‘Top five quotes from pretty much anywhere that inspire you’. It was an interesting exerise - “quotes that inspire me” are a very different beat from “favourite quotes”. And like. “Inspirational quotes” always seem a bit weird to me… like, what is it, and who, are they meant to be inspiring? So I went for stuff I find personally helpful or hopeful.

5. “Dance like everyone is watching and they’re thinking you’re so hot they can’t stand it and it’s about to make them cry.” - John Darnielle. No, really.

4. “There’s only now, there’s only here; give in to love or live in fear. No other path, no other way - no day but today.” - Rent.

3. “I don’t know if I’ve been changed for the better - I do believe I have been changed for the better - but because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” - Wicked.

2. “The only way out is through.” - Ysabeau Wilce in Flora Segunda #1. I love you, Flora Segunda. This has been a bit of a motto during unpleasant times this year; while I was living with my mum post-uni it was “I will make it through this year if it kills me" from This Year by the Mountain Goats.

1. “May the bridges you burn light the way.” It probably won’t surprise you guys that I relate this to my family. For a long time this quote was my desktop background - white against black.

Okay, this was harder than I can possibly explain, but I have listed, as writcraft asked, my top five poems:

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Jr

Anniversary by Cecilia Woloch

Lucifer to Icarus by John Agard

No Second Troy by William Yeats

Secrecy by Margaret Atwood

ariadneelda asked for my top five (non-spoilery) reasons to watch Dark Angel.

OMG DARK ANGEL. I love it so. It’s quite hard to talk about without spoiling, not least because I love both seasons but there is a DRAMATIC shift in tone between them and it’s partly because of the end of season 1. (Partly for no reason I can see.) But anyway. It’s near-future sci-fi with a cyberpunk sensibility and stars Max, who is a bike messenger living in Seattle and a part-time cat burglar. She’s nineteen and ten years ago she and eleven siblings escaped a government facility. She was designed in a lab with the bestest human DNA plus some animal DNA to make her super-awesome at stuff (also super-hot: she’s played by Jessica Alba.) Then she, and her fellow baby super-soldiers, were trained and brainwashed and brutalised horrifically until they escaped. She was separated from her siblings immediately as they ran; as the show starts she is trying to find them while also evading the government types still hunting them, wanting to drag her back.

A little while after the escape (years before the show actually starts) this electrocmagnetic pulse which killed electricity (???) was set off by terrorists. (SKIENCE!) This triggered a massive depression which is still going on, and seems to have triggered martial law (the season 2 retcons murkify these waters) and has definitely had a pretty horrific effect on things like civil liberties, police and state corruption, and freedom of speech.


5. Varied relationships between women of colour. This is sadly more true in season 1. But in season 1, you get: adorable BFFs with some classic superhero tension (my secret identity puts my loved ones at risk!); tragic, complicated lovers; beloved sisters, reunited; sisters estranged, with a climactic battle. I APPROVE OF ALL THESE.

4. A completely awesome heroine. OH MAX GUEVARA, YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE. YOU MAKE ME HAPPY WHEN SKIES ARE GREY. She is also pretty damn unusual and continues evolving throughout, a stoic child abuse survivor concerned with her own survival who becomes a true hero. (And evolves within that role but that gets more spoilery, so.) I love that we get a female stoic hero-type, mercenary and survivalist, who does the fighting, and is helped to evolve by the moral compass brainy boy. It’s just a nice, quite subtle reversal of gendered tropes, and Max is so much more than the cliche kick-ass girl.

3. Fairly gritty sci-fi - a somewhat dystopian setting, genetically engineered super-soldiers - that also has a very real-feeling urban setting. Like, I recognise elements of my own life as a girl living in the city with a bunch of other young, underemployed people having a blast and stressing somewhat over making sure we’ll eat. S1 also has lots of comedy. (S2 has more cracky elements, so the comedy doesn’t totally leave.)

2. A lot of emphasis on family in different shapes and forms. Idk I just find it really touching. Max’s attempts to find her siblings and the different complex relationships there, the twisted dad-kids relationship with Lydecker, the military dude who trained them, and also other spoilery family relationships. It’s lovely and complex, and I like the emphasis on found families/families of choice and on the right to say “fuck this, you are abusive, I am out”. I especially like the treatment of relationships between siblings in abusive families when one of them returns to the fold.

1. Ensembleness. There’s a significant shift between ensembles in season 2 and it shrinks a bit, but it still does a lot of lovely ensemble stuff even with its focus on its glorious heroine. (MAX I LOVE YOU.) There are great comedy b-plots, and there’s also a really nice sense of the wider world and the different reactions to political realities.

1a. (shut up.) And also Max and Original Cindy being besties. Like, Original Cindy may actually be my favourite character, that is how much I love her (because my love for Max, as previously mentioned, it’s enormous. And quite a few others too.) She is a fantastic girl - funny, tough, big-hearted, and possessed of a truly astonishing amount of good-in-a-crisis - and a great character. I love love love the intimate little BFF scenes between her and Max, and the eye-rolling asides, and the general awesomeness. Like, I kind of want to ship them but I also love their friendship dynamic too much. Because they’re SO ADORABLE. THE BIT WITH ORIGINAL CINDY REDOING MAX’S NAILS BECAUSE SHE JUST DID IT AND THEN MAX DESTROYED IT WITH HER SUPERHERO ANTICS. <33333333

yaycoffee asked for my Top 5 Items Of Clothing (in your closet, not on your wish list ;-))

Lots of my clothes are still in the UK, tragically. Not much room in the suitcase for a whole year, plus obviously moving to a tropical climate makes my hoodie collection obsolete.

5. My galaxy dress (dark blue with stars and galaxies and stuff printed on it). I think I maybe lost it right before I left the UK, or maybe left it in [personal profile] son_of_darkness’ bedroom or something?? But hopefully not because it’s super-cute and casual and pretty and also I like astronomy:

4. My big grey top with a massive yellow smiley face on it. I just really like it. Plus because it’s slouchy and long I can wear it as a casual dress with lots of eyeliner to the pub (especially spoken-word-type pubs) and then on out for clubs/late-night-afterparty-things afterwards and it continues to work. (SHUT UP, [personal profile] son_of_darkness. This is the ONLY THING sold as a top that I wear as a dress. ONLY THING.)

3. The pink dress I got for my darling [profile] dora_the_nymph’s spring wedding last year. It’s a really nice shade that flatters my brown-hair-pale-skin-English-Rose-ness, plus it’s one of the only knee-length dresses I’ve ever liked that wasn’t also (a) tight and bright and wedding-inappropriate or (b) ruinously expensive. I found it with two weeks to go before the wedding and a squee/sigh of relief.

2. My LBD. Every girl needs one, right? I do anyway, and my darling Miss Godfrey got it for me (for my twentieth, I think) and I would never have got it for myself but it’s AWESOME and has a great track record in making hot people look at my breasts. Only downside is trying to find bras as low-cut as the scoopy low-cut of the dress.

1. I wanted to mention something I wear here and regularly so I wouldn’t get sad about my life. So I’ll mention my grey knickers with pink lace, which are patterned with pink unicorns. PINK UNICORNS! With deep pink lace! Against deep-grey cotton! MADE FOR ME.

teprometo asked for my Top five Jossverse canon pairings.

5. Buffy/Riley. YES I KNOW. But in S4 I genuinely find it really cute and romantic (save for Doomed, when he’s something of a twat.) Like, seriously, “you’ve got a lot to learn about women, Riley” / “you gonna teach me?” is SO CUTE. I like that this is clearly his first love, where Buffy is more experienced. (Chances are good he’s more sexually experienced, but that’s not what I mean.) I like that she helps him learn to be more questioning and to look at the world in shades of grey, and that he makes her happy. Of course, it all goes wrong and he blames her for his bad behaviour and boooo, but Buffy/Riley is the relationship where she actually gets to be happy AND have lots of good sex.

4. Xander/Cordy. It’s SUPER-CUTE, I love their dynamic, and they really do help each other grow up. Cordy’s declaration of “I date who I wanna date” and walking away with Xander (and quietly freaking out) is one of my favourite BtVS!Cordy moments, and Xander buying her the dress and telling her it looks good, this lovely little grace note on their relationship, is one of my favourite moments of his. Just.. <333

3. Angel/Darla. Their dynamic is so, so fascinating to me. I never like Angel better than when he’s in scenes with Darla (well. mostly.) and she is FANTASTIC. And really, the convent scene. Utterly fabulous, crackling with sexual tension and a marvellous use of a really evocative part of the vampire mythos: that they can’t go out in the day because God has damned them. “God doesn’t want you, but I still do!”

2. Willow/Tara. It’s fluffy and adorable and quietly very romantic (their hands interlocking and the vending machine moving) and also quietly very sexy (the infamous rivers-flow-to-the-magical-orgasm scene, Tara blowing out the candle). Tara finds more of a voice and Willow finds more of who she is and they’re both happy, and Willow brings Tara back to herself. And then it all goes to hell and is abusive and awful, but in a fascinating Pygmalion-ish kind of way. I love them working magic together, learning and becoming stronger, always more than the sum of their parts - and I love that once Willow has used that magic to save Tara, has reached inside Tara’s mind to change her, she can’t resist the temptation to do it again.

1. Buffy/Spike. This is a weird one to have at the top of the list, because I’m never sure how much I ship them versus just wanting to read all the meta about them? And God knows shipping them post-Seeing Red is difficult-to-impossible for me. But I find them fascinating -- how they’re presented as doubles straight away, shadows selves and foils. I love how they shift in response to each other -- Spike moving into the light in S5 then drawing Buffy into the dark in S6. I love the motifs that surround them: dancing as metaphor for both fighting and sex, hands (holding or hitting -- and such a perfect image for manus!Buffy), flames. I love what they do with gender and gender presentation. I love that they connect, in snark and joy and love of fighting, straight away, and retain that connection even at Buffy’s darkest moments - “I can be alone with you here.” I love that together they can be so horribly destructive, but even then there’s hope for something better: bringing down the rotting house together the first time they have sex is such a perfect image. I love that it’s not until Spike is on a level playing field with Buffy again, able to hit her back, that it boils over into sex. I hate the attempted rape, and I hate that a dude we saw attempting to rape our heroine is allowed back next series for a heroic death -- I get it on a Watsonian level but the Doylist level is always going to squick me. But I love everything before that. I love that they always find each other in liminal spaces: shaded alleys, porches. It’s just so gorgeously constructed.

Honourable mentions to Wesley/Lilah, Spike/Dru and Darla/Dru.

yaycoffee asked for my Top 5 Bands/Musical Artists. Considering I don’t really think of myself as a music person - like, I love some music a lot, but it’s not a passion for me the way it is for a lot of people - this was REALLY HARD. I’m sorry, Ani! Forgive me, Traveling Wilburys! I still love you, Placebo!

Mountain Goats. I love the low-fi approach to music and recording it, I love the almost Dylan-esque shifts when it’s performed live, I love love love the lyrics. Just amazing. *hugs my autographs* Special favourites: Color In Your Cheeks, No Children, Damn These Vampires.

Eminem. An adolescent favourite of mine and I still love a lot of his music. He’s so sharp and funny and clever, so devoted to unexpected turns of phrase and undercutting the bombasity that overtakes a lot of mainstream hip-hop. Definitely a separate-the-art-from-the-artist guy often (97 Bonnie and Clyde is one of his best songs for my money, but his ex-wife attempted suicide after she heard it, so… yeah. Soured) but still one of the greats. Special favourites: Like Toy Soldiers, Brain Damage, Yellow Brick Road.

Nicki Minaj. She’s doing a lot of fun and unappreciatedly-clever stuff, and she’s my current favourite for dancing. I’m always excited when she brings out a new song or video. Special favourites: Super Bass, Monster (counting it as hers because her verse is hands-down the best and most memorable thing in it), The Boys.

Motion City Soundtrack. They’re like, my personal platonic ideal of rock; just really consistently great guitar music and lyrics I can howl along passionately to. Special favourites: The Conversation, Let’s Get Fucked Up And Die, Modern Chemistry.

Dessa. A lyrical genius with a gorgeous voice. Dessa’s my go-to rec for “I like everything but hip-hop” people, but she’s very much hip-hop and I love her for it. Special favourites: Crew, Matches to Paper Dolls, Children’s Work.

joomla visitor

This was originally posted at http://lokifan.dreamwidth.org/271768.html. Comment wherever you like :)
7th-Oct-2013 11:15 pm (UTC)
I pretty much agree with your take on Buffy/Riley, actually. I used to like them and liked him - he made her GENUINELY happy, and I do believe she loved him (just not in the "tragic" way he thought she should - which is how she'd been with Angel, thus her needs at that point were actually more mature...but I digress.) I thought MB was funny and charming in Restless and in his interactions with Willow. I don't think I'm the only person who thought while watching S4 that they were going to end up together because AH & MB had terrific chemistry.

But I also agree with your takes on Doomed and in S5 - I love Buffy so much that I get into blind frothy rage over that. (I'll spare you that rant, except - he cheats on her repeatedly and then gets to come back the "picture" of mental health" - and she has to apologize to him? Um, NO)

I agree with your VERY eloquent description of Buffy and Spike:
how they’re presented as doubles straight away, shadows selves and foils. I love how they shift in response to each other -- Spike moving into the light in S5 then drawing Buffy into the dark in S6

Exactly so. You get them right in terms of the equality of the relationship and how they mirror one another every step of the way. I do ship them in S7 because watching the two of them forgive and make amends to each other through action rather than words appeals to me greatly (it's something that Riley never does do). And I'm one of those folks who believes her ILY in Chosen (if it's a lie, if it's false, then Buffy's journey from closing her heart to opening it back up again is also false and I can't even entertain that notion) but never fussed with the whole "Did she love him/in love with him" argument because I see that as beside the point.

But I completely understand objection to SR - I have never rewatched it (also because of Tara - the one thing I cannot forgive Joss for, sorry not sorry) and I see the two of them through the framework of metaphor and also fantasy, my objection is more on a feminist level re: Joss' portrayal of female sexuality and I hate the scene because of that primarily. (which is where Riley S4 stands as a positive in that regard.) But then I also 'ship (more on a friendship level) Buffy & Faith because their dynamic and story is almost exactly identical in it's outline as Buffy & Spike. Your description of B/S could very well stand for B/F. Buffy's worst acts of violence are against both of them and they are guilty of the worst violations of her body. The only difference is the lack of sex with B/F despite subtext aplenty.

Where I have more of a problem in terms of S7 is the portrayal of Spike as an exceptional individual despite the season's supposed emphasis on Buffy ending her isolation and the group as being more important; the prioritizing of Spike's pain over both Buffy's (from the SR) and Robin Woods, who is Buffy's only actual biological link to another Slayer and Slayer history; and the (I assume unintentional) way that Chosen portrays the final victory as a result of Spike's actions (via the amulet delivered by Angel) rather than Buffy's. (even though it's her example that brought him there, as with Faith.) The shooting script implies, very briefly, that the Slayer Spell activates the amulet but this really doesn't come across in the final product.

Xander buying her the dress and telling her it looks good, this lovely little grace note on their relationship, is one of my favourite moments of his.

Oh yes indeed. I think at the time they were meant to serve as a contrast to Buffy/Angel, but to me they are more proto-Spuffy: their snarkiness, sexuality, their reluctant attraction - both gals wanting to hide the relationship because their fear the reaction of their friends/loss of status, the guys the pursuers but eventually hurting both of them in fundamental ways; but then ending on a note of forgiveness and grace (buying the dress is one of Xander's finest hours).
9th-Oct-2013 02:18 am (UTC)
Enjoyed reading your favorite poems!
5th-Nov-2013 11:02 pm (UTC)
I'm glad1 They're so great :D
10th-Oct-2013 01:39 am (UTC) - Wednesday, October 9
User oni_9 referenced to your post from Wednesday, October 9 saying: [...] and Top Five Meme Answers [...]
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