strange fire

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

Ten Small Things I Love for No Big Reason March 26, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 2:53 pm

It’s Spring! Time to meme!

1. Buttons. Not the kind that hold your clothes together, I mean pins, badges, whatever you call them in your neck of the woods. I. love. buttons. Political buttons, snarky buttons, silly buttons, band buttons, I love ’em all. Buttons were a cheap, portable souvenier when I was traveling last year; I got a Spanish Rosie the Riveter from anarchists in Madrid (“Mierda al patriarcado!”), a button from the neighborhood I stayed at in Berlin, buttons from the museums in London. And, of course, a host of gay and feminist buttons (“Watch me make up my mind instead of my face.” Bless you, Sleater-Kinney). I even have a “Cake or Death?” button. I could spend all day at Mushycat.

2. Postcards. Almost as good as buttons, except you can’t wear them. A godsend for travelers like me, who can’t take a picture worth a damn.

3. Internet radio. Another godsend, and the best way to discover new music for folks without the access or wherewithal to go to gigs. I’m all about Pandora Radio right now.

4. Mix CDs. Love making ’em, and getting them. It’s the cheapest way for me to be creative, and an easy, fun present for my friends.

5. Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea. Mmmm. My new favorite. I love Celestial Seasonings with their corny illustrations–my inner 9 year old still thinks the dragon and princess on the box of Tension Tamer is totally cool.

6. Childe Ballad #10. Generally known as “The Two Sisters,” like every ballad there’s a million billion versions. If an album has this song on it, I’ll buy it. There’s something morbidly fascinating about how the murdered sister’s body is transformed, first into a swan, then a musical instrument (usually a harp). Sometimes the eldest sister is boiled in lead as punishment. See? Gothic stuff. And it’s usually performed with a bouncy tune.

7. Mourning doves. I don’t find them haunting or mournful at all; I love the sound of them early in the morning.

8. Lilacs. My favorite flower. I wish I could have a big fat lilac bush here, but the climate isn’t right for it.

9. Riding in the car with the windows down and radio up, especially at night. There’s something exhilarating and free about it.

10. Durwaigh Gallery. Durwaigh Gallery Yes, I’m a fantasy geek, I know. Everybody needs their escape.

Ganked from Dianne Sylvan


Dispatches from Planet Femina: Take This Job and Shove It March 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 3:53 pm

You know that part of the fairy tale, where the heroine is tempted by the lure of fairy gold or great magical powers, not realizing the price that such riches exact? Like in “Goblin Market,” when Laura eats the goblin fruit despite Lizzie’s warnings. I think that sums up my time spent in the bizzaro-world of high class spas.

Things I Learned at Planet Femina:

  • “They’re taking over!” They being Mexicans, and yes, that’s a direct quote. We’ll call her Linda; I pointed out to Linda that probably pregnant women weren’t swimming across the Rio Grande just to personally annoy her, and that in fact you’d have to be, y’know, really fucking desperate to try it. She seemed very nonplussed at this idea. The housekeeping staff is entirely Hispanic–someone’s gotta do that low-paying drudge labor–and I have been informed that they’re lazy and incompetent. The fact that no one in housekeeping speaks English and no one in management speaks Spanish, which might cause just a little miscommunication, hasn’t really occured to any one.
  • Black women don’t buy make-up–which is why we don’t carry any shades darker than a Mediterranean complexion–and we’re going to make “Mammy” jokes if someone notices this.
  • Fat people have a lot of nerve thinking they can get bodywork and facials. Except we don’t say “fat”, we say “large”, which makes us sound nicer without actually having to treat said persons with any dignity. We only have two plus sized robes so it makes everything really inconvenient for us. It’s really too much to expect that a spa that has upwards of 50 treatments a day should have more than two plus sized robes. And they’re in really ugly brown colors, while all the “normal” robes are in white, so we can bring everyone’s else’s attention to how large and offensive these people are.
  • We’re very enlightened too; we’ve read The Law of Attraction and The Secret, and we’ve even had Deepak hold a conference here! We’re manifesting spiritual peace and intervibrational harmony by selling overpriced affirmation cards (probably not printed on recycled paper) and providing superficial approximations of other cultural practices. I mean, sure, Ayurveda (which we can’t pronounce correctly. We can’t spell aesthetician either) is a 5,000 year old, incredibly complex system, but for $165 dollars we’ll rub some herbs on you and it’s almost as good as going to India!

It took me a month to realize that $9 an hour and health benefits (which I wouldn’t be eligible for another month at least), mighty temptations though they are, ain’t worth this kind of shit. Wearing Corporate Drag didn’t make me look normal, if anything it made me look gayer. It just so clearly didn’t belong on me. We had a training session with the makeup line where we had to do color matching–my knowledge of such matters begins and ends with Chapstick–and they put all that stuff on me and I sat there smiling brightly and wanting to crawl out of my skin. I spent every day sucking up to the kind of bland, willfully ignorant, passively bigoted sort of people who think the Da Vinci Code is wildly original and Nicholas Sparks is a Great Writer. I got chewed out by my supervisors about my attitude–I foolishly didn’t know that the bullshitting was supposed to extend to my coworkers, and that I was supposed to be Just Great! About Everything! All! the! Fucking! Time! no matter how stupid or illogical it was. You’re not supposed to point that out. You certainly shouldn’t act too smart. You’re supposed to be Nice and Look Pretty.

So I said Fuck Off and Die (in a very nice, Corporate Speak sort of way) and now I’m going to be working for the local bakery, next to my place (I won’t even have to drive to work), where half the staff is queer and manager is a very cool four-foot Hawaiian gal named Mona. And now I’m going out to buy some hair dye in the most inappropriate, unprofessional color I can find.



Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 8:03 am

Quote of the Day:

There are many ways to be ugly, but the easiest is to be fashionable. Theodora Goss


Y’all may refer to me as "Your Majesty" from here on out. March 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 4:04 pm
My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Empress Andy the Prohibited of Lesser Wobbleton
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Just so you know. No more of this “young man” or “miss” crap, got it? This title is so good it makes me wish I had the talent to write a story about it. I have an inordinate fondness for weird British place names (I’m still thrilled that when I met Winter I was staying in a place called “Splott.” No, really.)

And yes, that’s how I’m celebrating Ostara (otherwise known as the spring Equinox). Wasting time with goofy memes, surfing the Endicottwebsite and pining after the complete works of Theodora Goss and the entire catalog of the Small Beer Press. An Empress should have a library worthy of her glory, preferably full of interstitial fiction, and comic books. It’s a slightly odd equinox today; I feel like reading strange vaguely gothicpunk novels and listening to macabre folk music on Pandora Radio. It’s tornado weather outside, or it would be if I were back home in the midwest. I’ve spent all day looking at the gathering clouds and realized I actually miss tornado weather. You can be cavalier about twisters when you grow up in Tornado Alley; we used to crack open a beer, sit on the front porch and watch them loom on the horizon, then go duck and cover if they got too close. It’s like playing chicken, but with your house, I guess.

Anyway, I’m one of those boring, practical pagans, and my ritual for the holiday will mainly be cleaning my place with intention, getting all the crap and chaos out of my life, literally and figuratively.


in which I resort to oversimplified dualistic thinking March 13, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:56 pm

Bad things:

  • spoiling yourself for the current season of Battlestar Galactica. Am heartbroken. Fuck you, sci-fi, you heartless geek boy genre. Fuck you with a light saber.
  • straining your lower right trapezius muscle, so now it’s all inflamed and hurts like an electrical zap from Darth Vader.
  • taking over-the-counter drugs instead of herbal remedies, so now I’m all woozy
  • stupid corporate jobs that drive you to actually give up a living wage and health benefits to go back to pouring coffee at the local diner

Good things:

  • springtime
  • The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
  • sushi
  • funky local bookstores where your friends work

Not sure it balances out, but I’ll take what I can get at the moment.


music for a full moon eclipse March 3, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 4:13 pm

Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in to fill up your room
You’ve been living underground
Eating from a can
You’ve been running away
From what you don’t understand…

She’s slippy
You’re sliding down
She’ll be there when you hit the ground

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain
Let her talk about the things you can’t explain
To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel
(On your knees boy)

She’s the wave
She turns the tide
And no question she knows why

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Lift my days, light up my nights

One day you will look…back
And you’ll see…where
You were held…how
By this love…while
You could stand…there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

We move through miracle days
Spirit moves in mysterious ways
She moves with it
She moves with it
Lift my days, light up my nights

U2, “Mysterious Ways”

One of the things I like best about being a pagan is that, since there’s no Official Holy Book, I can take my spiritual inspiration wherever I find it. And it doesn’t have to be a round chant to Demeter written by Gardnerian High Priestess Ravenstar Moonflower or whatever. Spirit can speak through a pop song. Most people think of this as just another love song, but read those lyrics closely. You really think he’s talking about his crush of the week? I’m not saying Bono’s a pagan or anything; his intention doesen’t have anything to do with it. The words themselves are all that matter, and the person hearing them. If Nature is sacred, and if everything is part of the divine, then there’s nowhere and nothing that isn’t sacred, and even the most mundane thing can also be profound. Which is cool, because that means I can rock out while driving around town and still be experiencing a connection to Spirit, and I think spirituality should be fun. Life’s too short, you know?

And that’s most of the reason that I’m posting all this, to remind myself to chill out–this is supposed to be fun. Personally I think a full moon eclipse like tonight’s is a great excuse to have a bad-ass wild party, but the world doesn’t see it that way. It’s striking a balance between living in harmony and functioning in a very unharmonious society that’s tough.


Geekdom Strikes Back March 1, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:52 pm
You know, beneath my current incarnation as a cruncy hippie dyke, I am, at heart, a total geek. A nerd, a brainiac, a complete and utter dork (albeit the computer illiterate kind, a rare breed. I’ve only just learned how to defrag my laptop). As a kid my inherent geekiness manifested in my love for comic book heroes, specifically Batman. I was all about the Dark Night (Superman is so over-rated). In junior high, it was Star Wars. I saw the rereleases of the originals in the theaters; spent my lunch hours reading Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina and The Courtship of Princess Leia. In high school I was obsessed with the X-Files; I taped every episode. I also discovered the classic sci-fi lit, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Phillip K. Dick. But in college, after the X-Files jumped the shark, I kind of got away from sci-fi, got more into fantasy, Age of Sail/historical fiction, things like that. Hard sci-fi no longer had an appeal for me.

And then Winter started going on about this new show called Battlestar Galactica, which I’d never seen because I don’t have a TV. But the library had the first season on DVD, so I checked it out.

“I’m not a heterosexual, but I play one on TV!”

Oh yeah, I’ve definitely got Lieutenant Starbuck as my desktop background now. Oh. my. frakking. gods. The woman is sex on a stick. Ten minutes into the pilot miniseries and I was already missing the plot, I was too busy having unclean thoughts about the cigar-chomping, poker-hustling hot shot flight instructor. Yeah she’s nominally straight, but I’ve never seen such a superficially coded queer character before. They usually make you work harder at sussing them out. Kara Thrace is a freaking bulldagger. She’s gayer than Rosie O’Donnell pitching for the Olivia Cruise Softball Team.

And I gotta say, I’m really kind of confused by her character. Sci-fi has always been an odd genre, in that it tends to be the genre of freaks and geeks and queers and misfits, the social rejects, the ones who don’t fit. But it rarely reflects its audience: it’s always about straight white people playing out stereotypical plots. Sci-fi shows and films have always had coded queer characters and subtexts; but as far as I know there’s never been an openly queer character on a sci-fi show. They’ll play around and tease with the idea, for an episode or two, but it’s never just a quality that happens to be part of the character. So what are they doing with Starbuck?? She’s this tough, military butch, with a self-destructive streak, unlucky in love, who worships Artemis and Aphrodite, for crying out loud. She’s just so gay. Did they chicken out? Are they just tapping into that lesbian demographic? Are they setting it up so she comes out in a later season? What’s going on here (bear in mind I haven’t seen season two or three at all)?

But when I’m not ogling/puzzling over Starbuck, I loving every minute of this show. I love the wierd mix of advanced and archaic technology (so, humans developed artificial intelligence, but not laser eye surgery I guess, cause General Adama’s still got spectacles). And I think incorporating religion into the show was a brilliant move; sci-fi (on TV anyway) almost never addresses that. I love how Cylon No. 6 looks like a Playboy centerfold and talks like a primitive Baptist. I like that the humans are polytheists, although their “polytheism” looks like every form of monotheism ever developed: congregations of people standing obediently in rows, passively observing an official mediator priest speaking for deity. Doesn’t look like any polytheistic paganism I’ve ever seen, but people generally don’t realize how completely ignorant they are of theology. I’m sure they thought having a black woman as the major religious official makes it totally radical and different, but it’s about the same as every Christian service I’ve been to. At any rate, there’s no clear-cut good guys and bad guys, although the Cylons are clearly pretty ruthless, but no more so than humanity itself. And they’ve probably got the best ever character-you-love-to-hate in Gaius Baltar.
BSG, of course, makes me wonder what kind of criticism has been done on the subject of sci-fi and queerness, and also the artificial intelligence plots it uses. The whole idea of robots turning on us brings up all sorts of fascinating ideas about our relationship with technology, what is natural, our own insecurities and anxieties about power and control. I do manage to think of things like that when I’m not imagining Starbuck violating all sorts of military protocol in those sexy dress grays of hers….

Yeah, it just feels so nice to rediscover my dorkitude again, have a whole new mythical universe to explore, and get a really great TV lust object in the bargain.