Internet connection is still not wholly reliable, and BellSouth won't believe that the problem's not on my end, but I ask you: if it's on my end, why do I have absolutely no trouble late at night, a little trouble in the morning, and can't get through at all mid-to-late afternoon? Could it be, I don't know, YOUR SERVICE? Anyway, I'm just going to try to get an entry in before it fritzes out again.
>> What I've been doing instead of faffing around on the internet: rereading Night Shift, Skeleton Crew, The Devil in the White City, and, today, From Hell. I have a paperback of that Diary of Jack the Ripper that came out circa 1993 or so and was later denounced pretty roundly as a hoax, but I was fourteen and didn't know, and I can't find it now. Grrr.
>> Speaking of The Devil in the White City, which is excellent nonfiction about serial killer H.H. Holmes' crime spree as juxtaposed against the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (which itself almost didn't happen, but did, survived storm and fire, saw the debut of the Ferris wheel, contributed to the ascendancy of alternating current over direct current, and inspired Disney's Magic Kingdom), can anyone recommend a similar book about the 1889 Paris World's Fair? I actually picked up Devil because I was (and still am) trying to research the 1889 fair (the Exposition Universelle) for Black Ribbon, and never did find anything with that scope of research. Devil mentions it obliquely, but obviously not in the kind of detail I need. Since this was the debut of the Eiffel Tower, you'd think there'd be more written about it.
>> No, I have not seen The Prestige OR Marie Antoinette yet, woe.
>> Pumpkin carving party: I'll be honest with you, I went to Flickr and looked up all the jack o' lantern pictures I liked and did about ten quick sketches on a piece of printer paper and took it with me. The design I ended up using was a modified version of the deeply awesome Flaming Destroyer of Souls I linked to a while back--modified in that I forgot to put in all but two of the bottom teeth, I didn't have a baby pumpkin, and it wasn't on fire. Dr. Typo decreed that there would be no fire at the party, so you can blame that on him; the lack of lower fangs was all me, though. Also, I think I did the eye bars a little closer to the middle of the eyes, so mine may look a little less hellbent. We have another pumpkin we're saving for next weekend so it'll still be fresh, and I kind of want to do the Jack Skellington design I saw--much simpler, but really cute. Note: Valkyrie and Dr. Typo went out and got a pumpkin-carving kit at Walgreen's that involved stencils and, more importantly, tiny little sawwy knives that were excellent for carving fine details. Two thumbs up, would carve again.
Speaking of Flickr: Another awesome jack o' lantern.
>> So, as I've been getting sucked into the Victorian and the macabre and the gothic, I have come across the concept of the kunstkammer, or, as we know it, the curio cabinet. Except that a lot of kunstkammers take up entire rooms, if not entire museums (I think there's one here in the U.S. somewhere called the Wonder Tower? Is this ringing a bell for anyone?) All kinds of awesome shit ends up in these things, but you particularly tend to see models, skeletons, religious artifacts, preserved... things, antique swords, butterfly collections, stuffed birds and/or animals--basically, anything exotic or interesting or macabre, anything that would make you go, "DUDE THIS SHIT IS AWESOME," that would go in a kunstkammer. It's just that astrolabes and ivory goblets were the Renaissance equivalent of "DUDE!" Not to mention the deer antlers. But anyway, here's what I found on the subject, just from an idle browse:
The Museum of Dust blog. Warning: the scrolldown is kind of scary, as pictures tend to sneak up on you, and by "you" I mean "me, yelping uncontrollably" ("AHHH WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT").
The Wunderkammer photo pool at Flickr, which at least shows things that could go in a kunstkammer, if not necessarily things that are in one.
Make your own kunstkammer, plus lots of pictures from historical collections (the seashell goblet is probably my favorite).
And then... this site. I honestly don't know what's going on here, except that it's kind of cool and kind of... eepy. Beautiful craftsmanship, though, if nothing else.
>> Fantastic, poetic spam in my inbox:
Dr. Brown Myth I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU Mon Oct 16, 2006 4k
Eugene Hamilton wish, to declare war: between two: feet under to be a sort Mon Oct 16, 2006 21k
>> I have a new theory. Let's call it Cleo's Theory of Famewhoring. In essence, in general, this is how you tell if a celebrity is doing something in all sincerity or just for the publicity:
1. Celebrity does something (gets married, adopts child, etc.), and we hear about it afterwards, because the media knows we'll buy the magazine or watch the TV show if the media serves it up. The celebrity is sincere. Any celebrity wedding that you heard about on the radio and went, "Wait, those two were dating?" falls under this category. Or you know how you'll see a picture of this or that celebrity out with their child and you'll suddenly go, "Whoa, that kid's a completely different ethnicity from both parents, I had no idea" because the celebrity parent didn't, you know, issue round-the-clock press releases? Yeah. I am pretty sure that Angelina Jolie's first adoption, and very likely her second, fall into this category as well. Mostly because she wasn't a Huge Giant Megastar until she hooked up with Brad, which was, in fact, the means by which she became a Huge Giant Megastar whether she particularly wanted to be that kind of Megastar or not.
2. Celebrity is rumored to be doing something, announces she will do something, denies she is doing anything, might be doing something, has her reps say she wasn't ever going to do anything at all, then starts doing it anyway, and two weeks into the whole media cycle, the adoption is still not completed and the kid's father is all like, "Wait, you mean, like, adopt him adopt him? I thought you were just going to educate him then send him back to Malawi! HEY COME BACK HERE WITH MY KID," and Celebrity is off buying cashmere baby sheets, MADONNA.
Bear this in mind when I tell you that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes will marry in Italy in November. I'm just saying.
>> Partial backlog of linkspam:
Calif. candidate urged to exit race after sending out Spanish-language letter telling Hispanic immigrants that they can't vote. Legal, naturalized immigrants. The story's a bit old, but I feel like it should be heard.
Scientists Create Cloak of Partial Invisibility.
Fla. boater stabbed in chest by stingray.
YouTube purges 30,000 copyright files.
The True Adventures of the Late Lt-Col John Trenchard Pine-Coffin:
On coming ashore, plastered in mud and wearing only a red beret and a pair of flippers, he was confronted by a party of armed Cubans. Mustering as much authority as he could in the circumstances, he informed the group that they were trespassing on British sovereign territory and were surrounded.This is all completely true and "Pine-Coffin" really is the family's name, according to the quick research a few Snarkfesters did. Outstanding.
The following morning, when the Royal Marines arrived to rescue him they were astonished to find him and his radio operator in a clearing standing guard over the Cubans and a pile of surrendered weapons. He was appointed OBE.
Iggy Pop's concert rider, as written by the most amusing roadie ever: "1 X KORG 2000 DIGITAL RACK TUNER. Digital in the sense that it works via an electronically generated number system, not digital because it only works if someone holds it together with their fingers." Not to mention the fact that he wants "two heavy duty fans so that I can wear a scarf and pretend to be in a Bon Jovi video." There's also a pitch for a reality show there at the end. Warning, however: accompanying snapshot of Pop will eat your soul.
'House of Wax' actress Kirk dies at 79. Aww, I love that movie.
"Fraggle" to rock big screen with Ahmet Zappa.
Rachel McAdams to play The Time Traveler's Wife.
Laura Michelle Kelly to join Sweeney Todd. I can't remember if I posted that Helena Bonham Carter is officially on board, or if my hateful internet connection ate that.
Anyway, I have another entry or so of linkspam saved up, but we'll deal with that later.