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December 21, 2009


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Indeed. Have a good rest!

We need to do the stuff we never got around to over last weekend. Maybe at Arisia?

I hope you have a happy time of doing nothing!

We got shoveled and front-loadered today and I got out briefly, so I can probably get my H1N1 tomorrow or Thursday.

Wasn't there also a large-sized B&W Dracula comic-book in those days? I remember reading the one that was about various other vampires, which is where I first came across Michael Morbius.

Have a good time doing things for pleasure, Susan. Everybody else too. I may get to do that too during the Holidays, but I'm not sure yet.

There were quite a few vampire magazines coming from Marvel in the mid-1970s -- Tomb of Dracula, Dracula Lives, Giant-Size Chiller/Dracula. I have a few issues of other books that were published in larger format, but not complete collections. I'm somewhat miffed that the later issues of Giant-Size don't keep the Wolfman/Colan artist/writer team that I'm such a fan of from ToD.

Where in NJ? Cathy's family is from there, and still mostly centered around Lake Hopatcong.

I was running a comic shop for Chuck Rozanski when the Dracula comics were coming out. I was conflicted. Wolfman was a good enough writer, but had certain annoying traits. Colan had been a good artist, but his stuff seemed to me to be all surface and lacking in skeletal and muscular systems. Tom Palmer was close to being my favorite inker. As long as I was working there and got a discount, I think I bought the series.

So many comic boxes. There's a wall of them on my right. Must do something about them some day. I used to think that I'd have time to sort boxes if I didn't have to work nine to five.

I'm in Ridgewood for a couple of days. I am familiar with Lake Hopatcong primarily because one of our incoming students lives there and I had to type her address twice while doing data entry earlier this week.

I didn't read any of ToD new; not quite old enough for that. I found them via a Dr. Strange crossover and backtracked from there. I've been accumulating them slowly since the mid-1980s.

I used to a have a small collection, mostly X-men and other Marvel, about two boxes worth (maybe 6' of comics). It all vanished during a move in the early 1990s. I just hope it was stolen by someone who realized their value (the X-Men collection alone was quite substantial and valuable, going back to single-digit issues) rather than getting trashed. I didn't have the heart (or the money) to re-collect everything, but lately I seem to be edging back into it. Right now I only have a few collections: Elfquest (mostly bought brand-new as they came out), Strangers in Paradise (which I got into midway through, but only collected in trade paperback format), and the vampire stuff, which also includes a few issues of Vampirella, some graphic novels, etc.

At Arisia for sure. I'll have the laptop with me and a thumb drive; just catch up to me and we can do some file transfers. (There will be a Repo! showing, but it will undoubtably have a shadowcast, which means I will probably not go.)

I'm taking steps on the Regency reenacting stuff we discussed...more soon!

My run-up to Christmas has been so bust I failed to write my Professor Lovebody Christmas Story. But I hope to manage it before New Year.

How was your holiday?

I've been quietly at my mother's watching movies and reading and getting fed ridiculous amounts of food at very short intervals. I think my mother's frustrated at only having a vegetarian husband to cook for. We didn't do cookies this year, but she taught me to make her chili recipe and her pot roast recipe, so I'll have to try those myself sometime if I can round up people to eat them with me.

My holiday has been pretty good so far. My brother has made the trip over from Amsterdam (arriving at 6 AM on Christmas Eve and proceeding to have a loud conversation with my Mum in the kitchen which is just below the bedroom I'd crawled into at 2 AM*). I have seen many friends. Much overeating has taken place. Also watched the Doctor Who Christmas special (Part 1) which was pretty incoherent, although that might be me. I have been fairly sociable, although I seem to have found time to read almost all of An Instance of the Fingerpost and three quarters of Anathem over the last 4 days.

I'm basically relaxing until my next scheduled task which is cooking two courses of a New Year meal for 10.

* Admittedly, this was my fault for staying up drinking with my friends the night before

I will be very curious to hear what you think of Anathem. And I am going to go get my torrent going right now for the Who special!

I'm now home from my mom's and will be home alone for seven straight days, so I have time to relax, which mostly means sewing and blogging, plus my usual Monday night dance class. I may go into the city for a day to get things that must be gotten on weekdays (corset bones!) and see friends. And if I am ambitious I will go to a New Year's dance. But basically I'm home. I've cut out a pair of early 19thc stays and will be trying to assemble them tomorrow, since that's the absolute top of my sewing priority list. (Without stays, I can't have dresses, and I desperately need new dresses.) My freezer is packed full of food that mom sent home with me; I won't need to cook for two weeks, though I think sometime this week I shall go get the fixings for some homemade pizza.

Tee hee, corset bones! I know what you mean, but I can't help but imagine someone boiling corset carcasses to get their precious bones.

I admit that I don't know as much about antique underwear as I should... each dress needs its own stays? They're not interchangeable like modern underwear?

Corset bones are made of steel, nowadays. They used to be whalebone, which isn't actually bone.

Every era of history needs its own corsetry; the silhouettes are different so the underpinnings must be different. And early 19thc is one of the eras I do the most of, so having a working wardrobe is important. And since the dresses need to be fitted over the underpinnings, those have to come first.

Susan, I've seen and worn some corsets with plastic boning, too. I'm assuming that's not considered acceptable for the style of costuming you do? Or are they not strong enough to create the desired effect?

I understand now... it's not that every dress needs its own underpinnings, it's that every *style* needs them. That makes sense.

Plastic bones will tend to deform to fit your shape, which is not helpful if you want the corset to shape you.

I may eventually make more than one Regency style corset, because what I have to test is how well this one works for doing the dance steps without, um, jiggling. I'm hoping this style will work for that, but if not, it will be a style to wear for non-dance activities and I'll bite the bullet and make a more heavily fitted one for dancing. This is the one I'm working on now.

Susan, my husband walked by while I was looking at that link, and he said "That's pretty nice, other than the bonnet. I'm not much of a bonnet guy" to which I replied that it was underwear anyway, and he said "Oh, because when you're showing off your underwear, you don't want to be caught without a bonnet. That would just be embarrassing."

Anyway, I suspect plastic boning is popular for exactly that reason. I find, with my rather small jiggly bits, that the plastic gives me an OK amount of support, in say a strapless dress. But I can definitely see that it wouldn't do much to push my stomach in or hold everything in place, especially not for dancing!

And naturally, it is very important to test your support garments before dancing in public. I had my first belly dance recital earlier this month and I made sure to wear my bra and top together for some practice at home beforehand. Even so, it's annoying how much said bra shows through the top we were told to wear... stupid sheer fabric.

Let's just say that discovering that sufficient, um, weight can bend the top of a plastic-boned strapless dress far enough down that everything, ah, spills forth is Not Amusing.

The "bonnet" in the picture is underwear, too -- its a cap to wear indoors or under a bonnet. :)

Yeah, that was pretty incoherent. All setup; lots left to squeeze into the second part. It's not making me crazy like cliffhangers usually do. That's a bad sign.

Neil, Charlie Stross had a post about the Who.

Susan, the WashPost Magazine does a DateLab thing where they ask questions of people and match two up. I think in the three years or so, only two or three couples have gone on to another date. Anyway, the couple gets a camera to take pictures, and the girl yesterday had on a short-sleeve collared white blouse with a black corset over it. It looked very strange.

I actually think the white top/black corset look is kind of cute and just a little counter-culture. Almost exactly what I'd expect from someone whose job description is toy designer. I think corset-style tops and vests are good for dates because they're usually pretty slimming.

But reading the article... oh my goodness. I can't believe he talked about witnessing a horrible accident on not just a first date, but essentially a blind date! And the whole donating dinner thing? First of all, I think it's pretty rude to bring/open chocolates in a restaurant, and I think switching dinner for coffee is a bit presumptuous. Doing something like that would be more fun and appropriate for a date when you know the person better, and you have a more appropriate meal backup... Like you packed a picnic, or you'll go someplace less expensive. The spreadsheet part is REALLY over the top. Wow. What a truly bizarre date.

Susan, that sounds like a horrible clothing disaster! Oh no! And the bonnet-as-underwear makes sense... prevents Hat Hair :)

Well, as you guys know, the corset-over-clothes thing isn't really my style.

If the dinner-switch thing was a test, I would've failed it. But while I can imagine myself going on a blind date, I don't think I'd want the WashPost to pick the person. Not that they could do any worse than I do on my own. :)

My own Holidays involved visiting some friends, spending a lot of time with my in-laws, and finding out that my 8-year-old nephew hasn't grown up so much that I have stopped being an uncle he likes. I also got caught up on my short-fiction reading and, while most of it was just ok, I've come across at least one story I'll put on my list of Hugo nominees.

Besides that, we watched Ray Milland's Panic in the Year Zero the day after Christmas. Better than I remember it from last seeing it, almost 40 years ago. And I got to see Frankie Avalon being chastised by Ray Milland for enjoying the shooting of bad guys. My mom-in-law got a kick out of the whole affair.

AJ & Susan, when you read the questions the two people have been asked and their answers, the answers usually sound like the people might get along. But then there's something else that wasn't mentioned that will come up during the date. Sometimes the person has clearly not mentioned it (most often in the type of person they like) and sometimes it's just something the Post didn't think to ask -- I mean, would you ask if they would want to give the money to take food to the homeless?

No, that certainly wouldn't occur to me as a question to ask a date!

I am always slightly boggled by the vagueness of people's desires; look at her interests: "Love of music, board games, good level of physical activity, good with kids, values family and friends." That probably matches half the male population. And the female. It mostly matches me, except maybe the good with kids bit. Of course she's going to find some problem or conflict with most of them!

I mean, if I were filling out one of these profiles, it would include a love of reading (especially F&SF), liking to dance, and being intelligent with creative abilities of some sort -- art, music, writing, whatever. I think only once or twice have I ever dated someone who didn't meet those criteria, and those didn't last. I have a favored look (tall, bearded, dark), but I've dated people who don't meet it, or all of it, reasonably often.

(Of course, all the ones who did meet that look and/or have my favored physical features haven't lasted either, so maybe I should go with something vague: "likes music and walking on the beach." Then they can all decide I'm too weird to date.)

It just seems like they both had incomplete advertising.

AJ... "Oh, because when you're showing off your underwear, you don't want to be caught without a bonnet..."

To quote Mister Tinkle in the movie Cats and Dogs

"Evil does NOT wear a bonnet!"


I would like an essay on how evil does not wear a bonnet.

Susan, it does seem like she provided a really generic profile. I wonder if that really sums up her interests, or if she left out her less common hobbies to widen the field a bit?

AJ... Well, Mister Tinkle appeared to believe it's hard for a male cat to be taken seriously in his goals for world domination when the house's humans keep dressing him in girly apparel.

"likes music and walking on the beach."

"She hasn't said if she has a sense of humour!"

(Actual quote from friend while reading a lonely hearts column a couple of years ago. Of course it's also "obvious" that anyone who uses GSOH for Good Sense Of Humour doesn't have one either.)

I would like an essay on how evil does not wear a bonnet.

Me too. Oddly google is not helping on this one.

Neil... Would you take Doctor Doom seriously if he went around wearing a bonnet instead of his usual Little Green Riding Hood outfit?

Serge (and all),
I delete spam as I see it, fear not! I was AFK all day yesterday, wonder of wonders. In karmic exchange for this freedom, today I appear to be well on my way to being snowed in.

she left out her less common hobbies to widen the field a bit?

I can't help thinking that this is counter-productive. The odds are against getting someone by random chance who shares uncommon interests; that's what uncommon means. And if those interests are really important to you, then filtering for them from the start makes sense. I could write a lovely profile of myself that makes me look very mainstream and normal, but what on earth good would it do me to find someone who wants someone like that? They'd be freaked out by me, and I would likely be bored by them. Widening the field to include lots of unsuitable people just means you have to spend more time eliminating them. And unlike in college admissions, increasing your numbers and workload doesn't even provide you with stats useful for advertising!

I have no idea who or what Mister Tinkle is, but I feel I should point out that with a name like that it wouldn't matter what he wore. Being taken seriously is a lost cause if you sound like a euphemism for urination.

Susan... Here is a photo of Mister Tinkle.

Susan... I could write a lovely profile of myself that makes me look very mainstream and normal

Are you suggesting that a profile can't be lovely unless it's mainstream and normal?

Coming soon on the Skiffy Channel, "Susan, Lovely, Mainstream and Normal"!!!

Susan, my husband and I have often remarked that a lot of couples that we know *don't* share a lot of interests, and it baffles us why they would be together. For instance, the husband plays WoW all night and the wife watches Lifetime all night. I guess for some people, similar values and goals are enough and they prefer to spend most of their time doing their own thing. I also suppose that if you're at the point where you're letting the newspaper set up blind dates for you, you might just be ready to settle. Who knows. But I think it's very important to be up front and honest when meeting a date. They need to know if you like to spend 3 hours a night playing video games, or if you go to three SF conventions a year, or if your Star Wars action figure collection is an integral part of your decorating scheme :)

That seems very...1950s to me, with partners having separate spheres and interests. I don't think I would like that, and my interests (dance in particular) are so time-consuming that if I had a partner with equally time-consuming but separate interests, we'd never see each other. That's why the dance thing, or at least a willingness and ability to learn, would be non-negotiable in a serious relationship. Besides, dancing makes me happier than just about anything else, so how could I have a partner who was uninterested in making me happy?

Twenty years ago, my life was much more malleable, and since I'm interested in all sorts of things, I could have altered it to fit a partner. Now...it would be less alteration than sacrifice, and I find I'm not all that interested in that level of sacrifice. I like what I do.

But really, I'm not exactly a role model for relationship success.

I have twice dated people for whom either action figure or monster figure collections were integral parts of their home decor. That didn't bother me. :)

Susan... That seems very...1950s to me

To me too. That kind of relationship makes sense if the partners are in it for the easily accessible sex and/or for procreation. Otherwise why bother?

Susan, I agree (and I think Serge has hit upon the reasons for that sort of marriage). I think for a relationship to thrive, a couple has to have some shared interests and a few separate ones (or if no separate ones, still an agreement to spend a little time apart so they don't drive each other crazy). The people in the Washington Post article apparently had nothing in common other than liking music. I don't think that's enough to base a relationship off of unless they were both musicians, or both loved the same sort of music and were really into attending concerts and clubs.

I have to say, I'm really envious of the few women at the dance studio who have SOs who are also involved in the dance community!

Like I said, it feels very 1950s. If you look at the advice given to women in that era, it's very much the separate-spheres thing, with the man's sphere being the important one. Still wouldn't work for me. And yeah, music isn't much of a commonality unless there's some narrower segment of it that connects them. Does anyone not like at least some sort of music?

Susan... very much the separate-spheres thing, with the man's sphere being the important one

This reminds me of something that someone once pointed out in response to those who say that modern mores and same-sex marriage have destroyed the institution: the kind of marriage that we are now supposed to strive for is the union of two souls so how can that be a deterioration?

Does anyone not like at least some sort of music?

The tone-deaf, probably. :)

Not being able to make it doesn't mean not liking it!

Maybe I've got my definitions wrong, but I thought that 'tone-deaf' meant one couldn't differentiate tones. That would seem to me to proclude liking music.

Except drumming, perhaps. :)

It's a bit early to say so, but I wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year.

I'm having a quiet and rather dull New Year's Eve at home by myself reading and catching up on old blog posts. I've certainly had worse nights. I was going to go dancing, but the weather is dubious and the dance is an hour or more north of me, and I decided I didn't want to be on the road very late with the drunk people in wet/snowy weather. So I am lame and will go dancing Sunday instead.

I'm having my usual quiet evening at home with my books and computer and CD player. I'll probably go to bed soon, although it's still more than two hours until midnight here.

Happy New Year!

Quiet can be good when the rest of one's life is anything but. I'm almost done with the monitoring of a project I was working on for the office when I should have taken the whole week off. Right now, I'm preparing some updates to my wife's site while the Twilight Zone marathon is going on. Tomorrow? More Twilight Zone, then we'll dine out before Sherlock Holmes.

I've encountered a few people who don't like any sort of music... it always struck me as very odd.

We're having a quiet New Year's, too. Didn't even go out for dinner like we have the past couple of years. I really prefer to be home, it's safer and I can comfort my pets when the neighborhood erupts into gunshots and illegal fireworks.

AJ... the neighborhood erupts into gunshots

Ah, those wacky Arizonans...

I spent the time around midnight at home, catching up on email and blogs I'd let slide over Christmas.

Earlier in the evening, I went to a birthday party for a relative. It being summer here, the party was outdoors, in the park at the end of the street. We wound up lying on our backs in the grass, watching bats swoop down on the insects crowding around the floodlights.

Horatio Hornblower is tone-deaf, and in one of the books (while he's observing some soldiers marching past) it's mentioned that he finds music to be incomprehensible noise, but appreciates a good drum pattern.

"Tone deaf" is for both making and hearing music -- it means you can't discriminate tones.

I had a very painful appointment with the rheumatologist yesterday (my hands look worse enough than two months ago that I had to get new x-rays) and came home to being online and resting alternatively, while I watched the Twilight Zone marathon. I taped the over-night episodes because they're more likely to be the ones I haven't seen a hundred times. Today feels like Saturday, but I can't run errands because nothing is open.

I hope you get better, Marilee.

Right now the marathon is showing "I Sing the Body Electric". I haven't watched many episodes today, partly because some are definite downers, and my wife isn't in the mood for that. I'm bummed that I missed "The Hunt" about a dead man who's prevented from crossing into Hell by his dog.

Besides that... I put away all the Holidays decorations. And I just finished downloading Part Two of Star Trek's "Blood and Fire". That one had been written by David Gerrold for ST-TNG, but they had deemed it too controversial so they never filmed it.

I just want to note that I have never seen an episode of Twilight Zone, just in case anyone was wondering.

So far the New Year is not working out well; nothing like finding out via NYT that one of one's college associates killed herself over Christmas. This isn't a close friend or someone I'd kept in touch with, but it's still...disturbing.

I'm waiting for a torrent for part 2 of "The End of Time" to show up so I can download and watch it.

Sorry to hear about your college associate, Susan. Regarding the Twilight Zone.... Never? It had its share of duds, but they had some classics, like "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street", which shows Americans easily giving in to fear and turning against each other.


"What, never?"
"No, never!"
"What, never?"
"Hardly ever!"

I saw at least part of the episode with the kid and the cornfield. ("It's a Good Life"? Not sure if they kept the original title.) The short story it was based on was creepier, possibly because I encountered it first.

I'm sorry about your colleague, Susan. Finding out from the newspaper has to make it harder.

May Aileen... Same for me. I read Jerome Bixby's story (which had the same title) first. Still, the episode is creepy. Evil Bill Mumy!

Susan... part 2 of "The End of Time"

Googling. Oh, Doctor Who... This reminds me I really should buy last year's Christmas special.

I'm sorry to hear about your former colleague, Susan.

Twilight Zone has some really predictable episodes, some episodes with really poor science, some episodes I don't watch, and some that I watch again even if I've watched them many times. They really vary enough that you need to either read crit or just go with them to see if you like them. One of my favorites is "The Masks."

(After watching part 2 of "The End of Time")

Well, hmph.

I have to say, I hate the cameos.

Marilee... TZ ws alway better when it stuck to fantasy. As for predictable episodes, I agree. One thing is sure though: the ending of "Five Characters in Search of An Exit" was anything but predictable.

Susan... I hate the cameos.

That's one thing that I really disliked with the 2-parter of Tennant's 2nd season finale. At least, I think it was the 2nd season. Anyway. Having the Torchwood gang show up, along with Sarah Jane Smith, Rose and Martha added up to nothing but bad storytelling.

Serge, I agree, that finale felt like a bad Marvel cross-over.

I'm a little behind on the current Who stuff, as I have to wait for it to hit Netflix.

Susan, I'm sorry to hear about your college associate. It's always a weird feeling when someone you knew but weren't close with passes... I never know exactly what to feel.

AJ... Yeah. Me, I follow some of their titles. Very few of them. come to think of it, and when an issue gets tied up to a crossover, I stick with that issue but I ignore the rest.

I just watched "Blood and Fire". I'm not sure why ST-TNG got cold-feet over it when it was originally presented to them.

The last Twilight Zone episode for the marathon was "The Bard" which had a lot of well-known actors, as well as a very young Burt Reynolds. There were a lot of serious actors in TZ.

Marilee... I haven't seen that one in ages, but I remember Burt Reynolds being in it. Have you ever seen the one where Robert Redford is Death? I don't think they showed that one during the latest marathon.

If they showed it this time, I didn't see it. But I have seen it before.

The one real weakness in David Gerrold's "Blood and Fire" was the actor who played Peter Kirk (Jim's nephew). He came across more as a spoiled brat. I thought the actor playing his boyfriend was much better. In spite of the serious tone of the story, they threw in some scenes to make us smile, like when Kirk Jr is resting in his cabin until his boyfriend sneaks up behind him.

"Guess who?"
"Lt. Sulu?"
"You wish."

A couple of years back I saw a Twilight Zone episode that started off as a silent movie with Buster Keaton. I was most impressed! Not as good as he was at his peak, but he definitely still had it.

Kip W... That'd be 1961's "One Upon A Time".

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