strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

I thank God I wore my corset because I think my sides have split.* October 24, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 6:13 pm

For some mysterious reason, the university library has the Complete Blackadder DVD box set. So I’ve been spending the weekend with Darling and Melchett and Baldrick and trying to figure out what course could possibly require you to watch old Britcoms (is there an English Humor 101 or something?) If I had 100 bucks I’d buy the set; it’s worth it just for the scene in Blackadder Back and Forth, where our antihero hops in his time machine and has a run-in with Will Shakespeare (Colin Firth, in a cameo where pretty much all he does is wear tights and get smacked around by Rowan Atkinson):

Blackadder : [punches Shakespeare] That is for every schoolboy and schoolgirl for the next 400 years! Have you any idea how much suffering you’re going to cause? Hours spent at school desks trying to find ONE joke in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. Wearing stupid tights in school plays saying things like, “What ho, my Lord,” and, “Oh, look, here comes Othello talking total crap as usual.” And THAT [kicks Shakespeare] is for Ken Branagh’s endless, four-hour version of Hamlet!

William Shakespeare : Who’s Ken Branagh?

Blackadder : I’ll tell him you said that, and I think he’ll be rather hurt…

Just starting on the DVD for Blackadder III, where all the episode titles are spoofs of Jane Austen: Dish & Dishonesty, Ink & Incapability, Sense & Senility, etc.

god I wish I had BBC America.

*it’s funnier when Rowan Atkinson says it in a voice dripping with sarcasm, but I couldn’t think of a better title…


It’s official October 23, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 11:31 am

Once you’ve marched in the Rural Small Town’s Homecoming Parade with the local chapter of NOW, holding a LESBIAN RIGHTS NOW sign, you’ve earned the title of Big Dyke on Campus. I should make a super-hero cape or something. I intend to use my powers only for good! Got a few cheers from friends, and was otherwise met with a sea of stony glares, so it went well. The parade organizers had NOW marching behind the truck for our Republican congresswoman’s re-election campaign, and I can’t decide if it was intentionally ironic or not.

I ought to be working on a paper about Anne Bradstreet. She’s actually a pretty interesting anomaly, a Puritan proto-feminist poet, quite an “azoological beast” as Graves put it. And what’s more, she’s actually good:

I am obnoxious to each carping tongue

Who says my hand a needle better fits,

A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong,

For such despite they cast on female wits:

If what I do prove well, it won’t advance,

They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance.

The Prologue

Which is more than you can say for her male collegues (seriously, if you can slog through Michael Wigglesworth’s “Day of Doom” with out passing out you’re a better student than I). I’ll either write on “The Author to Her Book” or “Before the Birth of One of Her Children”, both of which are pretty unusual. Especially the latter; I was expecting it to be all motherhood romanticism and warm fuzzies, but it’s actually a striking death letter to her husband.

But I’ll probably spend the day reading Evelina and finishing The Turn of the Screw, which is getting really good. The governess has just had her midnight show-down with the ghost of Peter Quint and it’s all very ominous and portentious.


blather October 19, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 6:35 pm

via FrogBlog

Hardback or Paperback I have a thing for hardbacks, but I can’t usually afford them.

Highlight or Underline underline

Lewis or Tolkien Tolkein. He doesn’t hit you over the head with his religious themes.

E.B. White or A.A. Milne Milne

T.S. Eliot or e.e. cummings Oooh gosh…I’m gonna go with Eliot right now. I’m quite in love with “La Figlia Che Piange” at the moment.

Stephen King or Dean Koontz mm. King, if I must.

Barnes & Noble or Borders B&N. fuckin’ Borders. they’ve got nothing in stock and their employees are obviously hired for their coffee-brewing skills and nothing else.

Waldenbooks or B. Dalton B. Dalton, but they both suck.

Fantasy or Science Fiction fantasy

Horror or Suspense suspense. I can’t handle straight-up horror.

Bookmark or Dogear both.

Large Print or Fine Print fine print

Hemingway or Faulkner Ugh. Hemingway, but only because I haven’t read Faulkner.

Fitzgerald or Steinbeck Steinbeck, no question.

Homer or Plato Homer. Give me a poet over a philosopher any day (sorry L).

Geoffrey Chaucer or Edmund Spenser Chaucer

Pen or Pencil Pencil.

Looseleaf or Notepad looseleaf

Alphabetize: By Author or By Title by author

Shelve: By Genre/Subject or All Books Together throw ’em all together

Dustjacket: Leave it On or Take it Off take it off when I’m reading, otherwise it gets all messed up

Novella or Epic well it depends on the epic, I think. But at the moment I only have time for novellas, really.

John Grisham or Scott Turow bleh.

J.K. Rowling or Lemony Snicket J.K. Rowling, though I’d love to try out Snicket

John Irving or John Updike again, bleh.

Salman Rushdie or Don Delillo excuse me, but where are the female authors? neither.

Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte Oh here they are! Good thing I added them in, huh? Both, of course!

Dorothy L. Sayers or Agatha Christie Sayers. I have a soft spot for M. Poirot, but there’s just no comparison with Lord Peter Wimsey

George Eliot or Edith Wharton Eliot, she’s less depressing.

Toni Morrison or Alice Walker Morrison, because Beloved is astounding and unfortunately I haven’t read any Alice Walker.

Fiction or Non-fiction fiction

Historical Biography or Historical Romance biography, if by “romance” you mean Harlequin bodice-rippers. But I’m a huge historical fiction geek.

Reading Pace: A Few Pages per Sitting or Finish at Least a Chapter wait, you mean I ought to put it down once in a while…?

Short Story or Creative Non-fiction Essay short story, especially if they’re written by Byatt.

Blah Blah Blah or Yada Yada Yada blah.

“It was a dark and stormy night…” or “Once upon a time…” Oh, Bulwer-Lytton all the way! “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets…”

Books: Buy or Borrow Borrow, out of financial necessity. Sending me into a bookstore is like sending an alcoholic into a bar.

Book Reviews or Word of Mouth Reviews, actually, but only from folks like Bookslut or Green Man.

The highlight of my day was not my birthday itself, though that was nice, but finding this screensaver of critical theorists. I don’t know about you but I know that as a kid I always wished I had Lego versions of literary critics; it would have made playing Make-Believe Conference of Post-Modern Academics so much easier!

I bought Melissa Etheridge’s new CD today; I like it, it’s good driving music. But I feel a little cliche all the same.


Happy Birthday to me!

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 8:18 am

Who wants to buy me stuff? Anything with the words “Austen” or “Neil Gaiman” involved will do.



Friday Cat Blogging October 15, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 7:50 am

My Cats

I like to toss him up and down

A heavy cat weighs half a Crown

With a hey ho diddle my cat Brown

I like to pinch him on the sly

When nobody is passing by

With a hey ho diddle my cat Fry

I like to ruffle up his pride

And watch him skip and turn aside

With a hey ho diddle my cat Hyde

Hey Brown and Fry and Hyde my cats

That sit on tombstone for your mats.

Stevie Smith

I wish I had cats, but they make me sneeze something awful. I always wanted a black cat named Crookshanks and a gray cat named Grimalkin.


24 questions October 13, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 2:06 pm

That’s right! The Very Special Coming Out Week Post is a big gay meme!

1. At what age did you realize you were gay? 13. I was crushing madly on a friend of mine, Annie. I was actually in the hallway of my Catholic grade school when it dawned on me that what I felt for her, I was supposed to be feeling for boys. I didn’t have any words to describe or understand my situation, so I didn’t think, “Oh god, I’m gay!” but “Uh oh. Something’s wrong with me. This is very very bad.”

2. What did you do when you first came to this realization? The usual. Denial, Repression, Self-loathing, Bargaining with God. I figured if I ignored it long enough it would just go away, and of course it didn’t. So I became an overachieving superkid, the perfect student, perfect daughter, perfect Catholic, hoping that if I was perfect enough God would be willing to overlook my little secret.

3. Who was the first person you told? A university counselor.

4. How did they react? Well, like a counselor, which was good. Very supportive and reassuring.

5. Did you go through a period of time thinking that you were bisexual? Yep, for about two months or so. Long enough to come out as such to a few people before I realized “Wait, this isn’t me. It doesn’t fit.”

6. Did you ever date/get intimate with someone of the opposite sex? I had three comically disastrous dates with two very nice boys. I remember being on the second date and willing myself to work up some enthusiasm for him.

7. Does your mother know? Yep. Mom actually confronted me; and now all my friends and my immediate family know. And except for Shithead who thinks I’m “immoral” and doesn’t want his children “exposed to that kind of thing”, the reactions have mostly been positive. Not looking forward to telling my big fat Catholic extended family though, but there’s no way I can avoid it.

8. Now that you define yourself as gay, would you date someone who is bisexual? Sure.

9. Would you ever date a drag king?
Drag kings are sexy!

10. Would you date a transexual? Maybe; depends how strongly I felt about them.

11. Would you date someone who was HIV positive? See above.

12. Who’s your favorite queer female musician/band? Hm. I’d have to go with Tegan and Sara.

13. If there was a pill that could make you straight, would you take it? Why or why not? No. I like girls, and I like liking them. I’m happy and comfortable with myself, which is a novel experience. I would however like to take a vacation now and then from being a point of controversy. Identity politics suck.

14. Hairy legs? Vegetarian? Yes, and Sorta. The food here is kinda scary so I figure I’m better off if I stay away from the mystery meat. Plus I like organic food.

15. Crunchy dyke or lipstick lesbian? I guess I’m turning out pretty crunchy. I’ll be taking up acoustic guitar before you know it.

16. Butch or femme? Andro/genderqueer? Well I have accidently passed for a boy more than once, but I’m comfortable with androgyny. So I’m butch as I wanna be and femme when I feel like it.

17. Who’s your favorite queer female author? Oh gosh, I guess I’d have to say Sarah Waters, if only because Tipping the Velvet has had such a big place in my life. But then I adore Emma Donoghue, and Rubyfruit Jungle, and Virginia Woolf, and Adrienne Rich…

18. Ever been to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival? Alas, no. Someday.

19. Do you use the words “fag” and “dyke” but then get upset when someone straight uses them? Yes. Well I don’t actually use “fag” hardly at all, but I like “dyke.” Reclaiming words is very important, blah blah, so if you’re not a fag or a dyke, you don’t get to use them.

20. Are you sure it isn’t just a phase, like Anne Heche? Yes. For christ’s sake, has nobody heard of BISEXUALITY???

21. If someone saw you walking down the street, would they know right off the bat that you are gay? Maybe. L. said she guessed I was gay when she saw me the first day of class last semester, so there you go. I’m certainly setting off the gaydar today, what with my purple flannel shirt (seriously) and my big-ass black doc martens, I pretty much scream “dyke.”

22. Have you ever been to a rave? No. There really is no place to rave here, and I wouldn’t go anyway if there was. Not my thing.

23. The BEST part about being gay? Actually liking myself. Liking my life. Not being depressed.

24. The WORST part? Dealing with family members. It’s no fun going from “daughter” to “one of Them.”

Via FrogBlog. Modified by me, because IMHO whoever wrote it orignally was a straight person talking to gay guys (middle-aged gay guys at that. “Have you ever seen Cher in concert?” WTF?). I wanted to post something about Coming Out Day, because as of last Monday I’ve officially been out a year, but I didn’t want to be all melodramatic and tragic, but I wanted to say something important, etc. Indecisive me. So I figured a meme was a good way to go, seeing as this is a blog and all. So. There you are. Now don’t be a shithead and go vote Democrat.


this is not a Very Special Post October 11, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:45 pm


I'm Joshua Abraham Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Which Historical Lunatic Are You?

From the fecund loins of Rum and Monkey.

You are Joshua Abraham Norton, first and only Emperor of the United States of America!

Born in England sometime in the second decade of the nineteenth century, you carved a notable business career, in South Africa and later San Francisco, until an entry into the rice market wiped out your fortune in 1854. After this, you became quite different. The first sign of this came on September 17, 1859, when you expressed your dissatisfaction with the political situation in America by declaring yourself Norton I, Emperor of the USA. You remained as such, unchallenged, for twenty-one years.

Within a month you had decreed the dissolution of Congress. When this was largely ignored, you summoned all interested parties to discuss the matter in a music hall, and then summoned the army to quell the rebellious leaders in Washington. This did not work. Magnanimously, you decreed (eventually) that Congress could remain for the time being. However, you disbanded both major political parties in 1869, as well as instituting a fine of $25 for using the abominable nickname “Frisco” for your home city.

Your days consisted of parading around your domain – the San Francisco streets – in a uniform of royal blue with gold epaulettes. This was set off by a beaver hat and umbrella. You dispensed philosophy and inspected the state of sidewalks and the police with equal aplomb. You were a great ally of the maligned Chinese of the city, and once dispersed a riot by standing between the Chinese and their would-be assailants and reciting the Lord’s Prayer quietly, head bowed.

Once arrested, you were swiftly pardoned by the Police Chief with all apologies, after which all policemen were ordered to salute you on the street. Your renown grew. Proprietors of respectable establishments fixed brass plaques to their walls proclaiming your patronage; musical and theatrical performances invariably reserved seats for you and your two dogs. (As an aside, you were a good friend of Mark Twain, who wrote an epitaph for one of your faithful hounds, Bummer.) The Census of 1870 listed your occupation as “Emperor”.

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, upon noticing the slightly delapidated state of your attire, replaced it at their own expense. You responded graciously by granting a patent of nobility to each member. Your death, collapsing on the street on January 8, 1880, made front page news under the headline “Le Roi est Mort”. Aside from what you had on your person, your possessions amounted to a single sovereign, a collection of walking sticks, an old sabre, your correspondence with Queen Victoria and 1,098,235 shares of stock in a worthless gold mine. Your funeral cortege was of 30,000 people and over two miles long.

The burial was marked by a total eclipse of the sun.

…AND Neil Gaiman wrote about me in the “Fables and Reflections” volume of the The Sandman. I am officially cooler than everyone.