28 February 2017

The naming of things

by Cecily
Everyone said I should name the monsters, and put their names on their Etsy listings and make little name tags for them. I said I didn't want to, because half the fun of getting a new stuffed animal is naming it, and it's stupid when they come with names, and then I learned that this is an area in which my preferences are outliers.

Anyway THEN I said, fine, but I need some like 3-year-olds or something to help me think of crazy names. I got some participation from some 3-year-olds and a 6-year-old, but then I made more monsters. So eventually I gave in and made up some names myself. I've been spending a lot of time looking up cryptids on Wikipedia.

And in addition to Zombie Jamboree, singing songs to myself that are about names, and making things, including that very nice Andrew Bird one I just put the video to, but more often and more persistently this one:

Which has many lines that are compatible with monster-making.  "We can make him tall, or we can make him not-so-tall!" "We can name him Bob, or we can name him Beowulf!".

Expect to see some monsters named Bob and Beowulf, is what I'm saying. Also email me if you think of any good monster names.

20 February 2017

drink the koolaid

by Cecily
What with the end times being so nigh and all, I've been reconsidering and revising my old idea about how to rule the world (or whatever is left of it) as the leader of a new and innovative cult.

I learned how to design a cult in college: my year, the Junior Sem for Religion majors was all about cults and sects and evangelicals and schismatic groups, and what makes some of them turn into world-dominating religions and others of them retire to middle chapters of obscure textbooks. It turns out there are several things one needs to consider, when designing a cult. You need some ideology, first of all, and the ideology should be carefully positioned so that it is in a fair amount of tension with the mainstream world, so you can create a strong us-vs.-them atmosphere, but not TOO much tension or you'll never get off the ground. Same thing for some ritual practices and observances; you want some obvious visual and behavioral signals for the cult members to identify each other and be ostracized by everyone else, but they can't be so crazy that no one is willing to do them.

Then you recruit some lonely people who are far away from, or don't have, any strong support networks, and you give them lots of attention and love and tell them a program about how to advance higher and higher through the levels of the cult (did I mention you should have some levels? Your cult needs different levels of power and enlightenment.) and find a house or a compound or something, for everyone to congregate in, and boom. Cult!

Anyway MY cult is gonna be based around diet. I got this idea from two sources: the first was my roommate Alyssa who was eating vegan at the time, and the second is those Manichean Gnostics who contributed to the sorting of matter back into Lightness and Darkness by eating shiny things (like fruit) to absorb (or breathe out) the light and excrete the dark.

So obviously I can't use either of those specifically, because a successful cult needs to be a new and weird idea. So my cult is based on an anti-vegan diet, where you are only allowed to eat things that are animal-based. No plants. I haven't finished working out the ideology behind this, but I think something about consolidating animal energy? Or protecting and venerating plants? Or maybe just separating animal matter from plant matter. Like, when all the animal energy has been concentrated and separated from the plant energy, that's when the work of the physical realm will be complete and our spirits will released back into the garden. Or something. Like I said I haven't finished thinking about this part.

The part I like thinking about is the actual diet. It is so, so gross! The only kind of alcohol you are allowed to drink is mead. Bacon-infused vodka is not allowed, because the animal matter has to be an intrinsic part of the food. No putting a slice of cheese on a slice of apple. Throw that apple away! Instead, you would be allowed to have an apple-flavored, apple-shaped piece of jello, if you like. You can have a hamburger but the buns have to be pieces of fried chicken. (I'm expecting several American-based fast food joints to get on board with me relatively quickly.) No lettuce, though, and no pickles, and the ketchup has to have a beef stock base.

As you move up in the hierarchy of this thrilling new religion, you will gain some privileges related to vegetable consumption. It's mainly the entry-level neophytes who have to do the hard-core digestive work. Later there'd be a point system or something, like when the Pope used to let you buy indulgences.

Obviously the #1 position is taken, by me, but I prefer to work as the power behind the throne, and not necessarily as the object of any adulation myself. I envision myself more like Bannon, you know, less like Trump. So there are a number of high-level bishopric-level slots available, and I really think this is going to go places. In times of turmoil, people turn to leaders who have a reassuring list of What To Do Next for them. You and I, we can be those leaders. I'm almost done with the list, and the times of turmoil are upon us.

06 February 2017

It's not Monster Mash

by Cecily
I've been making a lot more of these ridiculous monsters.
I'm learning a lot of things about which kinds of fake fur are the most annoying to sew with, and which kinds of eyes are the cutest, and how to make teeth. Et cetera. Also I am fiddling around with some different patterns, trying to figure out a few that work consistently and don't make me too crazy.

It took me a while to realize that I have been singing this blast from the past to myself regularly for a few weeks. Pretty much since I started working on the patterns, actually.

Huh. That's weird. I wonder why?

02 February 2017

Metaphorical interpretation is left as an exercise for the reader

by Cecily
Here's what I've learned from having a [mysterious, undiagnosed] debilitating chronic illness: When you have a system that's in failure, and you don't know what's wrong with it, you have to keep going. You have to keep trying to fix it, even though you lose hope, each time, that a new remedy will have any effect. You have to keep making plans for next week even though you might be too sick to show up. You have to pretend, to everyone else and to yourself, that there is a possibility that things will get better. You have to pretend to believe that someday soon somebody is going to identify the source of the problem and they will know how to fix it and your insurance will pay for the fixing and everything will go back to normal. You have to keep behaving like you believe this, even when you're sure it's just going to get worse and worse. You have to say to yourself "if there WERE a possibility that things would get better, what would I need to be doing with my time?" And then you keep going to see more doctors, and you keep trying new cures, and you keep alleviating the symptoms as much as you can, and you keep behaving as though you believe there is a chance  that it will get better soon. You have to, because no matter how doomed and hopeless you think the situation is, what if you're wrong?