Tag Archives: Ozma

“We had the best time at your party”

22. Scare Care – Graham Masterton, ed.

Graham Masterton, master of the vulgar description, is responsible for this short story collection. He established the “Scare Care Trust, a charity set up to fund organizations that help abused and endangered children” get access to vulgar descriptions. Not really. It’s a nice thing from the 1980s. I didn’t research whether or not the trust is still in operation because I am apparently heartless when it comes to endangered 1980s children. Sorry. I watched several of those farm accident videos. Desensitized. Never rest!

Baby Finny also doesn’t care about endangered 1980s children. He is not sorry. He didn’t even watch Apaches (Thank you, Grady Hendrix, for introducing me to Apaches, my mom has the silverware they’re setting the table for the “party” with).

Anyway, all the stories were donated and I shan’t go in to all 38 of them, but here are some of the ones that struck me in particular.

Kit Reed – “Mommy” – This story is based around the question: “Where did the hundred pounds she lost go?” Kit Reed is one author I will always read. She really is a master of feminist horror. Also, she validates many of my lifestyle choices as non-horrific, despite what others might say.

James Robert Smith – “Things Not Seen” – One of the more affecting stories, super short, super impact. “Do you think they’ll like Sonny?”

Ozma likes Baby Finny. She likes not-baby Finny now too.

James Herbert – “Breakfast” – Excellent, another short punch about a woman and her family in the post-apocalypse. Images that really get into your head. Very sticky.

C. Dean Anderson – “Night Watch” – This begins with a killer squirrel. We like that around here .

Jeff Gelb – “Family Man” – A nice little take about accidentally getting a nice ghost family when you buy a new house.

Baby Finny wants a ghost family. He’s not getting one.

Gile Gordon – “A Towpath Tale” – This was one of the more disturbing things I’ve read about a man and his bitch.

Brian Lumley – “David’s Worm” – Don’t let kids go into the garbage at your lab or they’ll become one with an amorphous blob they grew. He named it “Planny.” You can’t give things names or they’ll never go away. Think of Mr. Peppy on Futurama and always remember that lesson from Hermes.

Graham Masterton – “Changeling” – This reminded me of that Angel episode that introduced me to VAST. Gender-swapping as STD is a bit more disturbing, also, now I realize that It Follows owes a heavy debt to Angel’s first season.

Non-baby Finny is still not sorry. But he is interested in more horror-focused short story collections from the 1980s.

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Climate change is making it a little harder to get frostbite in many areas. That’s not good though.

73. Frostbitten – Kelley Armstrong

Werewolves in the snow! Whee!

Elena and Clay tracking mutts in Alaska and running into the kind of criminal stuff that characters in urban fantasy stories always seem to run into no matter where they take place. I’m in the middle of nowhere – oh look! Crime! Supernaturals committing crimes! Sigh.

It’s a quick read, but does manage to expand Armstrong’s werewolves nicely with a werewolf that actually lives with wolves. It was brisk and I’m always happy to read when Armstrong focuses on Elena. She’s definitely her strongest character.

Ozma approves of fellow blonde (well, Ozma’s golden and Hershey Kiss-faced), strong character Elena as well. One day, Ozma will also fight supernatural crime.

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“The Gift of the Magi,” it’s not, but, whatever. Be like the squirrel.

21. Darkness Visible – William Styron

One last post for the year… On a holiday that can be a really bad time for a lot of people. I generally have a hard time around Christmas, last year’s was particularly hard for me and I ended up coming back from my time at home in quite a bad place, which would not have made any sense if you saw me on my last day at work before the holiday. I was in a ridiculously good mood, also for no particular reason beyond having had one very amusing conversation the night before and getting “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk stuck in my head. I also listened to the whole of the True Story of Abner Jay that day. Vacillating back and forth between “Get Lucky” and Abner Jay doesn’t sound like a good idea on paper, but I do love a random juxtaposition and The True Story of Abner Jay is so fucking good. So good. I love that mule song, damnit. After work I drove through a solid whiteout snow storm for three hours to my original home land and I couldn’t listen to either song in the car; but, I don’t even remember what I listened to because I was concentrating so hard on not sliding off the road, or into anyone else, or losing where I was, etc. Inclement weather driving is not fun, but I have a lot of experience with it.

Anyway, I tend to feel quite lonely in places I’m not supposed to, at times I shouldn’t, and it seems like almost any time I have one really, really good day or feel actual happiness, soon after my brain thinks the other shoe’s going to drop. And it does, regardless of whether or not it really dropped. It’s like it wants to make sure I know “nothing gold can stay.” I know. I get it. So, by the time I was driving back to my current city of residence, it wasn’t possible for me to be remotely pleasant. I was definitely under the impression I was going from feeling bad to another place to feel worse with nothing to look forward to, clearly, any amusements were already completely over. Quite hopeless. And then when I got home I checked my little internet messages and got really, really, really upset, because I was trying to confirm I had nothing to look forward to and that my brain was rightly despairing. Nothing super-bleak can stay, either, it turns out, as I had one from someone I never expected and they did something I never expected in that message and additionally, they clearly wanted to see me soon. What a bastard. I made sure to mess up their hair when I drove to them immediately after letting them know I read it by calling them a bastard. They didn’t even know what they were doing – which is exactly how my depression breaks every time, some unexpected, tiny, usually absurd thing. So keep waiting it out and maybe your own grumpy metal Santa will come for you.

As for Darkness Visible, it’s another stone cold classic – and very short. I didn’t think it would be that short considering the number of times I’ve seen it mentioned in other writings about depression.

Instead of really discussing it, I’m just going to share some random chunks I related to and enjoyed or saw someone else I know in:

“…being engulfed by a toxic and unnameable tide that obliterated any enjoyable response to the living world.”

“…in the absence of hope we must still struggle to survive, and so we do – by the skin of our teeth.”

“…unwilling to accept its own gathering deterioration, the mind announces to its indwelling consciousness that it is the body with its perhaps correctable defects – not the precious and irreplaceable mind – that is going haywire.”

“It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk.”

“Most people in the grip of depression at its ghastliest are, for whatever reason, in a state of unrealistic hopelessness, torn by exaggerated ills and fatal threats that bear no resemblance to actuality.”

Mini-playlist, my gift of absurd juxtaposition for you, gentle reader –

“My Mule” – Abner Jay
“Get Lucky” – Daft Punk
“Little Acorns” – White Stripes
“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley

 

These boys “love” their sweaters.

 

All four of my Christmas pigs (Horace, Ozma, Peregrine, and Danger Crumples) and their tree.

 

Horace, Ozma, Peregrine, and Danger Crumples are sort of stuck, but, like, festively stuck.

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“I take care of the place while the Master is away.”

13. Those Across the River – Christopher Buehlman

This is some Southern Gothic. Those Across the River is beautifully written, with lots of images that stick with you long after the reading is over. The dust, the stickiness, the pigs, the woods, that one guy with his little shack who occasionally reminded me of a way smarter Torgo… there’s just so much here. And I loved the results of the central mystery. It wasn’t quite what I expected, and I ended up pleasantly surprised.

Finny would save Ozma from anything, if he could get across the pumpkin.

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If only we could do something about those wacky billionaires.

46. Stolen – Kelley Armstrong

Adding witches, vampires, demons, a mad scientist, and a sadistic billionaire to her urban fantasy (but this one’s mainly set in an isolated compound) series may have seemed like a good idea at the time for Kelley Armstrong. Second book in the series, throw in everything. And in fact, the Otherworld books are usually fun to read regardless of how many types of supernatural characters have been thrown in – besides, Charlaine Harris did the same thing and it happened on Buffy and Monster Squad and there are so many, many more. If one supernatural thing is real, they all must be! Here’s a kitchen sink for your trouble! It does get tiresome having to learn everyone’s powers over and over – oh you’re not all demon, you’re just half demon and a jerk- okay. On something else, you’d be super tortured and whining about not being able to find love or something…

In the context of Stolen, which came directly after Bitten – a novel dealing entirely with werewolves – it’s quite the expansion on what I thought was going to be a series dealing with the issues of one main species. And in the setting it has – some jerk billionaire uses his resources to capture and hunt different supernatural species, it makes it work. Armstrong’s female characters are very strong and very capable and I appreciate that. Even the imprisoned witches and Elena the werewolf are resourceful and making the effort to make do with their circumstances while finding a way out. It’s far more realistic than panicking and waiting for male characters to help them out…and sometimes it seems like stories have to be set in a fully supernatural universe for that to be truly understood.

Ozma, planning her escape from the couch full of pumpkins.

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“I knew a man like you once. He was wonderfully handsome and strong and brave. He lasted almost a week.”

56. Harvest Home – Thomas Tryon

The story this book tells has been imitated enough that I knew exactly where we were heading. Like Deathstalker, I’ve seen it all before and could shake my eighties haircut with hubris at it (if I had an eighties haircut). And really, the problem of the main character is hubris. He thinks he’s smart enough to figure out what’s really going on in Cornwall Coombe and stamp out those “old ways” he keeps hearing about. He thinks. He’s no rural sexpot postmaster, or frustrated outsider who should really go to college, and he’s certainly no blind elderly neighbor who just goes with the flow. No, he’s Ned, incredibly pompous narrator, so he goes forth into the corn-based fray (watch out though, corn will sneak up on you when you least expect it), with all the self-righteousness and obsession he can muster.

Finny, you don’t want to cross the Widow Peregrine when she’s looking up at you like that. Don’t get sassy.

 

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Act 4 Hope is a Demon Bitch – Hamlet 2

13. Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression – Nell Casey, ed.

To an extent, shorter essays can help make the symptoms, the coping mechanisms, and the general feeling of depression much more comprehensible. When reading longer memoirs I’ve had a harder time finding pieces of what I experience and part of that is just the lack of differing viewpoints. A first person story is never going to have the thoughts of the person watching the one with depression, the friend or significant other trying to understand what they’re going through or helping them, and that’s not enough when trying to root through all the possible rabbit holes of information on the disease. It’s not enough to know the pain of one person, even if there are bits of that pain in all persons with depression. I’m very glad the Unholy Ghost collection was put together because of all of the viewpoints represented.

In the first essay, “A Delicious Placebo” by Virginia Heffernan, I found the description of her endlessly trying to get to the root of her depression incredibly jarring. It hadn’t occurred to me that finding more and more information about Why wouldn’t fix the situation or stop much of anything. I’m used to research, I’m used to figuring things out as a method for solving problems, I am not used to simply accepting that there is a problem to be coped with instead of fixed. Another essay I found incredibly useful was Meri Nana-Amah Danquah’s “Writing the Wrongs of Identity,” in which she mentions that “For every twelve joys, I had twenty-five sorrows… So much wasted time.” I can relate to that way more than I like.

Another aspect of depression that came up for me when reading these essays was class. There are certain classes of people who are not allowed to admit to themselves or say to others that they have depression. They don’t have money or time to deal with it the way someone of a different class would. They basically have to pretend that there’s nothing wrong with them and if that becomes impossible, they feel weak and are presumably seen by others of the same class as weak. And there is a lot of class warfare in this country that goes under the radar because people don’t even realize they’re being classist. I am sort of in between classes for a few reasons and I’ve found through dealing with my depression that those class barriers when you can’t “perform” are as solid as a steel door. If we want people to be able to get the help they really need, we as a country need to admit that healthcare is a right and that all illnesses are illnesses, not personal failings. No one asked to have their brain broken. No one.

Ozma displays extraordinary self-care and also owner-care skills by grooming on top of a pumpkin mid-photoshoot.

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CBS Studios can’t tell a guinea pig parody from an actual copyright violation.

Today is my birthday. It is the second-most held birthday in the world thanks to New Year’s Eve… Anyway, today I woke up to a notice that Redbubble, the site where I sell the non-handmade versions of my work, took down the following painting:

Peregrine’s log saw something that night. It saw a corporation being a dick to a poor person about their guinea pig parody painting.

 

Because CBS Studios said it violates their rights. Fuck you, CBS. My nostalgic, guinea pig-centric television parody does not violate CBS Studio’s rights. This image has never existed before I painted it, it’s not accurately representing anything from the Twin Peaks universe- note that the inaccurate logo is a pun: “Peegs” is not “Peaks” and it is not accurately painted because I’m stuck with my human hands and I can’t perfectly match colors, Peregrine is not Margaret Lanterman and as far as I have ever seen, the Log Lady has never been in the Red Room – nerd detail, guys. My original concept utilizing the concept of parody and guinea pigs to put out something very cute featuring my little girl.

Parody has always been protected.

No one will ever confuse my work for any actual Twin Peaks merchandise.

And frankly, I don’t really sell all that much of anything I do, because it relies upon people who like guinea pigs to find it. Twin Peaks never involved guinea pigs. My Twin Peaks parody only has the possibility of profit if people who like guinea pigs find it. I’ve never sold a single one of my parodies in person to anyone who didn’t expressly become interested because of guinea pigs. The thing I’m parodying has always been the secondary concern. Always.

One last consideration – guinea pigs are not cats, the behemoth of the animal parody-trade.

Parody is protected.

Don’t go after artists who aren’t in your way.

I filed a counter-notice. I will update if I get my painting reinstated as it should be, I’ll maybe update if “screw you, poor artist person” stays the status quo.

 

Fuck you, CBS Studios. (Tulpa-Diane doesn’t even belong to you, CBS Studios, I bet you’re mad that I just parodied her phrasing and you can’t tell me to take it down.) Ozma doesn’t want you to break my heart on my birthday anymore, even if Funko Bob would probably support that.

 

This week I also found another site where people are stealing the first book of my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy and now this, on my birthday, well… I’ve never been happier. I don’t know why it’s important to prevent someone whose work barely anyone is even interested in from making any money off it, further enforcing that they will never get to be who they are full time, but that is what I am learning this month.

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She could’ve killed someone with a pencil.

17. Night World: Huntress – L.J. Smith

You know how sometimes you have to like rejoin the gang of vampires you used to lead for the good of the universe even though you were like doing really well paying more attention to your human half? Keep up. Jez Redfern, like John Wick much later, has to return to her old ways for some serious action in order to keep evil from winning the apocalypse at the millennium/taking revenge a network of evil dudes/co-workers and stupid-Russian-Theon for stealing your car and murdering a very important dog. Maybe, just maybe, my analogy is not totally sound, but if there’s ever a movie version of Huntress and Jez Redfern says “Whoah,” I’ll know it’s meant for me.

A special hardcover collector’s edition of each of the Night World books is being released this year, if only this year was also actually going to see the release of the final Night World book… There is a rather hilarious Amazon page for “Strange Fate,” the tenth book – in theory – filled with the kind of frustrated commentary George R.R. Martin is surely used to dealing with, it’s been over 20 years of waiting for L.J. Smith’s fans. I’m waiting on her too, I’ve got to say Night World is a great series. A little melodramatic, but they’re for teenagers and everything is life and death. EVERYTHING. Maybe you don’t understand. Maybe you should go slam your bedroom door.

Mixtape –
1. Tread Lightly – Mastodon
2. White Light Suicide – Witchcraft
3. Raise A Paw – Melvins
4. Things Present, Things Past – Blood Ceremony
5. Dendrofil for Yggdrasil – Kvelertak
6. For Blood – Bass Drum of Death
7. Skin Traps – Electric Six
8. Never Let You Down – Greenskeepers
9. I Hear Voices – Kasabian
10. Reload – Ministry
11. The Needy – Logan 5
12. Feral Love – Chelsea Wolfe
13. By Your Definition – Witchcraft
14. I’d Kill for Her – The Black Angels
15. The Way of Vikings – Amon Amarth

Peregrine and Ozma are waiting here until someone tells them they have to take vengeance for their old names: “Pippa” (I adopted Peregrine and Merricat as a pair formerly known as “Paris” and “Pippa,” so I’m assuming there based on the order of their appearance in their adoption photo) and “Mitzi.” Seriously. Mitzi. That’s a dog name. Pippa is a dog name too.

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It is happening again. (YAY!/I hope it’s good.)

We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a message about painting and excitement for the Twin Peaks new season premiering this Sunday and of course, guinea pigs.

This year I’ve been working on some more paintings that inject my sweet little guineas into glorious television shows. I started this series last year with my Danger Dixon parody, Danger Who number 10 and Danger Who number 11 , iPiggie , and now I give you the ladypigs of Twin Peegs.

But first, because Laura always comes first, I did a little photoshoot of Ozma acting as Laura being menaced by BOB in Fire Walk With Me:

I’m sure you can all tell this is an exact and painstaking recreation. I didn’t have to convince Ozma to walk in that direction and be menaced several times.

Funko Bob is super intimidating.

There we go. Fully menaced Ozma-Laura, running away…

In the actual paintings I decided to cast Merricat as Audrey Horne (my favorite Twin Peaks high schooler):


Ozma as Shelly Johnson:

Here’s Ozma not even really looking at herself as Shelly.

And Miss Peregrine herself as the Log Lady (my favorite Twin Peaks adult lady. I have a log pillow and vaguely debated trying to get my mom to buy me a real log when visiting the Twin Peaks section of a gift shop in Snoqualmie Falls as a teenager):

Peregrine’s log saw something that night.

Peregrine also got some time with a small toy version of her character:

In the White Lodge – which is clearly not my bedroom -, they allow attempted hair cuts the same way I get them – guinea pig teeth.

Peregrine starts to take this whole thing a little more seriously.

Each of the full paintings is available on a variety of objects/in several fashions (posters, coffee mugs you can fill with fish coffee or damn fine coffee, either way, phone cases, my favorite the throw pillow, etc.) on my Redbubble page.

Guinea pigs love art work. And posing for pictures. And pie. And Special Agent Dale Cooper most of all, but also Albert.

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