Fandom Giftbox & Remix Madness

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:00 pm
estirose: Mio from Makai Senki looks at an old book. (Mio Makai Senki w book)
[personal profile] estirose
I approved the relationship on a Madness ficlet and then totally forgot about it! Here 'tis:

Know Your Destination (Songuisendus Anuncemise Remix) (100 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Mulan (1998)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Future Fic, Angst, Drabble, Character Study, Remix
Summary:

Mulan and Shang's daughter is on a crossroad of her life, and relies on her memory to find her path in life.



Yep, it's a real drabble! I would have liked to see more of the OC, so maybe when authors are revealed I'll find who she belongs to and hopefully she shows up in more of their fic.

My muses have deserted me as of late, so I haven't done any writing. Which sucks, because the [community profile] fandomgiftbox entries close tonight. I'm one of the needy participants, but Zal (phidari on ao3) is also one (Pokemon Sun & Moon commercials, Jem & The Holograms, Kamen Rider Ghost, Kamen Rider W, Lunar, Fairune/Fairune 2, and Stephen Universe). I'm fine with not getting any gifts (my requests were kind of on the spare side, just fandom, characters, and a 1-2 word prompt), but apparently it will not open until everybody has two. Had I known that, I would have not DNW'd generic greetings! I did request Doctor Who with Tegan figuring that someone or two could fill it, but the rest of my fandoms are apparently a bit unfamiliar - Fantasy Life (Damien/PC, Roque, Olivia), Kamen Rider Blade (Nozomi,Shima), Sekirei (Yukari/Shiina, Kusano), Starman (TV) (Scott, Jenny), The Tomorrow People (1990s) (Lisa), and Zero / Project Zero / Fatal Frame (series) (Sae, Miku, Mafuyu).


(And I am in the midst of a birthday ficlet, but I've not been having a great two weeks - it's coming, though!)

Yuletide noms!

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:29 am
estirose: One twin sleeps on the other's shoulder (Mio sleeps the sleep of the dead - Proje)
[personal profile] estirose
All of my fandoms finally got approved! One of them must have caused a bit of a headache because it just got approved sometime in the last 12 hours.

Final Fantasy XIV: Dad of Light, Fantasy Life, Rune Factory 4 )

Stuff I didn't nominate this year but I might mention anyway )

fandom nostalgia

Sep. 23rd, 2017 04:56 pm
thawrecka: (desired constellation)
[personal profile] thawrecka
  • Sometimes I get nostalgic for metafandom. Not the way it was before people stopped updating - basically having trended in the way of being totally about social justice, just like Tumblr, just like the blogosphere, and not really about fandom in particular - but the way it used to link to talk about the whys and hows of how fandom was done, in the beginning.

    I am often nostalgic for earlier versions of how fandom was done, lately. Not necessarily because of the actual things that happened to and around me but because of the way it made me feel. The kinds of discussions and sense of community and etc etc cannot be replicated in the Tumblr-based successors to media fandom which have their own norms and which I'm sure someone will be nostalgic about in 15 years when they've long been replaced by something else. I even get nostalgic for mailing lists and I was on very few for a hot second before I largely switched to message boards for about six months in 2002 and then after that to LJ.

    I lurked a lot on people's websites - especially the 'elite' archives full of the best fic from mailing lists - and then slowly circled closer and closer in to actual community. And then the grand era of LJ where I didn't ever feel like one of the cool kids but followed and was followed by hundreds of people and posted hundreds of comments a week. Ah, the vigour of youth.

  • Speaking of fannish nostalgia, I've been occasionally randomly looking up fans of various size of name on Fanlore, to see who was a Big enough Big Name Fan to end up with a page about them. I totally ran with a lot of BNFs back in the day! And never gained any fame or notoriety of my own hahaha which is probably both a good and a bad thing. (Good: getting featured on fandomwank never looked fun. Bad: the people who got super popular and notorious now have book deals and huge followings and have made it and I'm still cooling my heels.)

    Bizarrely, Fanlore has a page about my fanfic site, as though it ran from 2003-2005, when:
    (A) It still exists (and this reminds me to update it); and
    (B) I don't think enough people were actually looking at my fic site from 03-05 for it to warrant having a page about it on Fanlore. That's just bizarre.

  • And in my nostalgia I ended up looking at old fic sites from 00-02 on the wayback machine, feeling nostalgic about websites with frames, old arguments about darkfic (Buffy fandom was a great place for gen, seriously), web rings and fanfic awards, all the different places fandom has happened for me. I know all the very valid reasons frames stopped being valid HTML and why it's a bad idea to do site layouts in tables; nonetheless, I did both. I had so many websites. It was so fun.

    I feel like we talk about fandom, or at least fanart fandom and fanficdom, as if it all happens in one or two places, or in one way. Even now that's not true. Even beyond the almighty AO3, people still post fic to FF dot net, and there's all that celebrity RPF on Wattpad, and people post fic on Tumblr (terrible platform for it, jfc), and DW, and LJ. There are still fandom-specific archives, including those that are still (somewhat) active - I've read plenty of fic on the Kirk/Spock archive this year. There are still fanauthor websites, and I read fic on those, and not just The Sentinel fic I'm nostalgic about. (Seriously, note to self: update the damn website).

    And fannish discussion happens in lots of different places, with many different community norms: forums (still), and Tumblr, and here, and communities that still live on LJ, and Wordpress, and the book bloggers on goodreads, and . . .

    A lot of fandoms in the 80s and 90s and very early 00s flourished as their own discrete entities, building their own community norms, creating their own fan languages, many of which were then combined into the fannish soup when LJ started to be the big thing and pan-fandom communities started to organise. And some of those terms have fallen by the wayside: noromo, altfic, lemon. But I think the re-splintering of fandom en masse as LJ disintegrated into an increasingly unusable platform and people have fled to multiple different places has put the lie to the idea that there really is one big fannish community.

    But I'm still nostalgic for some of the things that worked when fandom on LJ flourished, some of the people I knew, some of the fic and art and discussion - a lot of which has been lost to time.

[personal profile] archangelbeth on cats

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:19 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
Cats can reproduce by budding. Make sure to dispose of all brushed fur properly.

Context needs to comb her cat more often.
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
[personal profile] musesfool
This morning I met up with boss3 to do a site visit at a conference space in the Empire State Building and gosh, it was a beautiful room. I say site visit like the meeting is not actually taking place there next week (it is); it was more to introduce me to the staff on site since boss3 will be away and I will be staffing the meeting. Just like my meeting planner days! Now I have to put together the BEOs for the caterer etc. It's so fun! If I only ever had to do meetings in NYC, I would go back to meeting planning. It was the travel that killed me. Among other things. (uh, the building on my icon is the Chrysler Building, but you get the idea.)

I hadn't been to the Empire State Building since I was a kid, and [tumblr.com profile] angelgazing was like, "Why even live in NYC if you don't go to the attractions?" and I was like, "I've never even been to the Statue of Liberty." *hands* Generally speaking, the thought of masses of tourists repels more than the attractions attract. Unless someone from out of town wants to go, I generally don't do those kinds of things, though they are always fun when I do.

Anyway. The Good Place had its season 2 premiere Wednesday night, but it started at 10 pm and when I saw that I was like, "oh hell no!" I am not cut out for 10 pm shows anymore. So I set the DVR and watched it last night.

Spoilers from here on out! Please don't read if you haven't watched. It's a show that works best unspoiled the first time around! spoilers for all of s1 and the s2 premiere )

[personal profile] rachelmanija has a much more thoughtful post here.

***
[personal profile] somervilleplanning posting in [community profile] davis_square
Monday, September 25, 6-8 p.m.

Tufts Administration Building (TAB), 167 Holland Street, Senior Center, 2nd Floor

Join the City Planning Department for a special update and discussion on the Davis Square Neighborhood Plan. We’re excited to present this meeting with the help of a facilitator who specializes in a meeting format designed to give participants control of the discussion topics. First, city staff will offer an update on the plan started in 2013/14 as well as a look at next steps. Then, to address outstanding topics and ensure that any new ideas and goals are identified, our facilitator will use the Round Robin meeting format, which asks participants to bring up topics for small-group discussions. In short, participants will set the agenda for the night and also shape topics for the next meeting.

At the second meeting in this series on October 19 (at the Community Baptist Church, 31 College Ave. 6-8 p.m.), we’ll take a deeper dive into the community-selected topics and identify action steps to address the goals and needs related to each. City staff will bring in resources and experts on the topic areas selected in the first meeting to serve as a resource during discussions.

Whether your concerns are open space, traffic, parking, streetscape, bicycle infrastructure, housing or more, we hope you’ll join us.

Unfortunately we cannot monitor this page, so if have any questions or need any more information, please contact us at planning@somervillema.org

For more information about Davis Square Neighborhood Planning visit https://www.somervillebydesign.com/neighborhood-planning/davis-square/

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:33 am
mommy: Arshtat; Suikoden V (Default)
[personal profile] mommy
It occurs to me that I've spent half of my life assuming that Mary Anne and Wanda from Goodbye Earl (Dixie Chicks) begin a romantic relationship after they reunite mid-song. They plot murder together, start a business together, and even go on vacation together. How romantic! I think I just assumed they were as close to married as two grown women could be back in 2000. In retrospect, this is probably not the subtext that I was supposed to get out of the song.
musesfool: mal & zoe, out of gas (can't take the sky)
[personal profile] musesfool
Monday night, [personal profile] innie_darling and I met up to see the new Jake Gyllenhaal/Tatiana Maslany movie about the Boston Marathon bombing, Stronger. The acting was good, I thought. It was not the kind of movie I would have sought out on my own, but I was glad to have seen it.

While we were waiting for the movie to start, we were talking about fannish things as per usual, and about how I sometimes classify a pairing as "I don't not ship it" and in thinking about it more over the past couple of days, I came up with my own personal taxonomy of shipping:

- OTP OF OTPS (i.e., the all-time greats, ironclad, no matter what)
- OTP
- I ship it!
- I don't not ship it
- I could/might be convinced to ship it
- I don't care (i.e., if it shows up in a story that otherwise has things going for it, I'll keep reading, but I don't seek it out)
- meh, I don't ship it / it bores me so I don't read it
- I dislike it but whatever, other people can do what they like, I can scroll past
- NOTP (i.e., it's blocked so I don't have to sully my eyes with it)

Generally, when I talk about a pairing as as "I don't not ship it," I mean that they are people who are most definitely weird about each other, which is one of my personal flags for shipping, but in this particular classification, I don't care if they are having sex with each other or not (or with other people, depending), as long as they are somehow together – partners, brothers, whatever. I think (I hope!) it's implicit that I understand why people would ship them*, but I just...don't take that particular read on the relationship under most circumstances.

*as opposed to pairings where I don't.

And if they are having sex, I personally prefer it not to be framed romantically? Or, rather, in most cases, in terms of canon (rather than AU) settings, I don't find the usual shippy romantic tropes particularly interesting with these sorts of pairings. I mean, sure, 'there's only one bed' or fake dating are always on the table, but I don't feel like even those tropes should follow the regular narrative path. The clearest examples we came up with were Sam/Dean and Mal/Zoe, and I mean, I don't see either of those pairings as people who go on dates or have traditionally madcap rom com hijinks (which isn't to say that that couldn't be done with great results, but I don't think it could be played straight, as it were [I mean, Sam/Dean is incest, so it has its own challenges]). And she threw in Middleman/Wendy (which I do ship more traditionally), and I brought up Obi-Wan/Anakin, which is what I'm having complicated feelings about lately, and so it seems like a useful category to have. idk.

***
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

In case you forgot, I’ll be at Borderlands Books (my favorite place in SF) at 3:00 pm this Saturday to read to you from my new book The Uploaded, sign whatever you put in front of me, and to, as usual, go out for hamburgers afterwards.

(And if you’re extra-special-good, I may do a super-secret advance MEGA-preview reading of The Book That Does Not Yet Have A Name. Not that, you know, you shouldn’t be rushing out to your stores to buy The Uploaded right now.)

I will, of course, bring donuts after my massive DONUT FAIL in Massachusetts, which I still wake up in cold sweats about. I will bring you donuts or die.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Leave it to the other girls to play

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:05 am
musesfool: Jason Toddler shows off his new costume to Dick (everybody starts somewhere)
[personal profile] musesfool
Board meeting went well, even though it rained so the rooftop terrace at the venue went unused. Sigh. I went home afterwards and fell into bed at 8:30 pm after eating cookies and milk for dinner. I win at adulting!

Of course, the one night I go to bed without checking my flist, it turned out there was a question about my yuletide nominations. It is a spoiler for Crooked Kingdom but spoiler! ) As of this morning, he was approved without my having to say anything, but I did comment anyway to say what I said under the cut.

Now Gotham Academy has to be approved! I'm sure there'll be a question about Damian Wayne there too but he does show up more than once over the course of the comic. Which I guess is as good a lead-in as any to discuss Second Semester:

What I've just finished
Gotham Academy: Second Semester, which I enjoyed, though boy they do not shy away from making the kids selfish, thoughtless and highly teenagery. spoilers )

I did like that they have all really gelled into a team - I enjoyed Colton and Pomeline sniping at each other while they work together a lot. And any Maps+Damian team-up is A++ in my book. Best Team! For yuletide, I just want schoolgirl (and boy, though I care less about the boys) supernatural detective shenanigans, with occasional Robin.

Though have we ever gotten an explanation on why/how MacPherson knows Bruce Wayne is Batman?

This morning, I also read the Star Wars Annual #3 which is a nice Han/Leia story with some fun Indiana Jones references and Leia being her usual awesome self. I also liked how it explained Han sticking around with the Rebellion, neatly giving him an excuse he could live with to cover up the real reason.

What I'm reading now
Still A Ruin of Angels. I have to admit, I find "Trust me! / Don't you trust me? / I didn't tell you this hugely important secret because plot reasons it was too dangerous!" to be super irritating in a character so a lot of the plot machinations are making me say, "If Woody had gone to the police, this never would have happened!" "If Ley had just told Zeddig what was up, things might have played out differently!" Like, things still would have gone to hell in a handbasket, but I'd have a lot more sympathy for Ley when they did. Otoh, Izza and Kai and Tara! <333

And speaking of Crooked Kingdom above, yesterday I was thinking about how dropping the Crows kids into the Craft universe would work, since so much of the magic etc. in the latter is based on negotiation and deals, and the deal is the deal, right? Someone who isn't me should write that.

What I'm reading next
Two weeks until the new Magnus Chase comes out, so who knows? I do have a ton of stuff on the iPad, ready to go!

***

Let Life Happen.

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:13 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

“I’m not up for sex,” she told me. “I’ve had a lot of medical issues lately. It’s more painful than not to even try.”

“Cool,” I said, and we spent the day going to a street festival.

I woulda liked sex. But life happens.


“I’m in the middle of my seasonal affective disorder,” I told her. “You show up, I might not be able to leave the house. I might just curl up and cry all day.”

“Cool,” she said, and I was pretty morose but we cuddled a lot and eventually managed to go out to dinner.

I woulda liked to have a working brain. But life happens.


“I’m not sure I can make it through this convention,” they told me. “My flare-ups have been really bad this season. I might not be able to go out with you in the evenings.”

“Cool,” I said, and I went out for little hour-long jaunts before heading back to the room to cuddle them, then charging out again to circulate.

I woulda liked to have them by my side when I hit the room parties. But life happens.


I’m a massively flawed human with a mental illness. I need to have poly relationships that include for the possibility of breakdowns. Because if I need to have a perfect day before I allow anyone to see me, I might wait for weeks. Months. Years. And then what the fuck is left by the time I get to see them?

I know there are people who need perfect visits. They have to have the makeup on when you visit them, and they’ll never fall asleep when they had a night of Big Sexy planned, and if they get out the toys there’s gonna be a scene no matter how raw anyone’s feeling.

But I can’t do that.

My relationships aren’t, can’t be, some idealized projection of who I want to be. If I’m not feeling secure that day, I can’t be with a partner who needs me to be their rock so the weekend proceeds unabated. And if they’re feeling broken, I can’t be with someone who needs to pretend everything is fine because their time with me is their way of proving what a good life they have.

Sometimes, me and my lovers hoped for a weekend retreat of pure passion and what we get is curling up with someone under tear-stained covers, holding them and letting them know they will not be alone come the darkness.

We cry. We collapse. We stumble. We don’t always get what we want, not immediately.

But we also heal. We nurture. We accept.

And in the long run, God, we get so much more.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:11 am
thawrecka: (Default)
[personal profile] thawrecka
The other night I was out to dinner with friends and one of the group revealed she hadn't seen any Highlander at all, ever. People actually gasped. I didn't think it was that shocking, actually, because she's about six years younger than me and most of the Highlander I ever saw was The Raven. Which was awesome, and now I'm wondering if it's on DVD. Edited to add according to JBHifi, no, the only Highlander they have on DVD at all is the original movie. What a downer. I'd ask why nothing is ever available in Region 4 but I guess there isn't a large group of people crying out for Highlander to still be available on DVD in Australia (Or Lexx, or Earth Final Conflict, or. . . I can buy Forever Knight in a box sex, though).

they wanna make me their queen

Sep. 19th, 2017 01:55 pm
musesfool: Batwoman (your name in the title)
[personal profile] musesfool
ZOMG this day! Board meeting imminent!

I just wanted to let people know, in case they didn't and were interested, that Alice Hoffman has written a prequel to Practical Magic about the Aunts, and it's coming out in October: The Rules of Magic! I only found out the other day!

I love both the book and the movie, though they are very different, and I'm excited to read the Aunts' story! #please don't suck!

***

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:08 am
mommy: Arshtat; Suikoden V (Default)
[personal profile] mommy
I received an email last night which politely said that I am not suitable for a particular job at a local firm. This morning, that company's HR department called to ask for a phone interview. I think someone goofed on the hiring process. Oops?
full_metal_ox: (Default)
[personal profile] full_metal_ox posting in [community profile] metaquotes
[personal profile] sasha_honeypalm's musical tribute to Barbara G. Walker's (professionally published!) novel
Amazon:


Don't know much about history
Don't know much about theology
Don't know much 'bout how to write a book
Don't know how to cite the quotes I took
But I know all that I say must be true
And I know if you believed it, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don't know much about geography
Don't know much sociology
Don't know how to understand folklore
Don't know what a reference book is for
But I do know that one god is bad
And if we'd kept the goddess we once had
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don't claim to be a goddess
But I'm tryin' to be
For maybe if I'm a goddess, people
You'll all worship me.

Don't know much about history
Don't know much about technology
Don't know much...


[personal profile] rosepsyche's paean to the Power of Story is also quoteworthy:

I have to call "bull" on Antiope's reasoning that art and music are inferior because they are "not alive" for another reason. No, such creations aren't living, breathing things. However (and I apologize if this gets a bit corny), the best of them can seem as if they are alive, get us invested in their characters, have us cheering about their triumphs and crying over their tragedies. They are just as valuable in their own way for their ability to entertain, to inspire, to teach, to help us grow and develop by seeing the world from a new point of view, and I don't think anyone involved in creating them would appreciate being told that their work can never compare to something that was squeezed out of a vagina.


Context sporks the world's worst Wonder Woman fanfic.

but some things may stay the same

Sep. 18th, 2017 04:56 pm
musesfool: text icon: somewhere in this building is our talent (somewhere in this building is our talent)
[personal profile] musesfool
dear universe,

I have some complaints:

- as per this xkcd (hat tip to [personal profile] twistedchick), & should be used for friendship and / should be used for romance. Please stop getting my hopes up that there is new pairing fic to read in my rare pair when it is not, in fact, pairing fic.

- it's bad enough that I'm following a bunch of works in progress now, but what is up with people getting to the penultimate chapter of a work (and I'm not talking anything short here, I'm talking well over 100K words) and then just...never posting the last chapter? I would plaintively cry, "who does that?" except I am now in possession of such knowledge and it's more than one person! (And I know this because it'll be listed as 53/54 or whatever.)

- this is less a complaint and more a bit of bafflement, but I never know what to say to people who leave feedback along the lines of "I hope you keep writing!" or "I hope you've written more!" Like, click on my name in the by line? There'll be 700+ stories there? I mean, thank you! But yeah.

- why is writing such a garbage hobby? when I have the words, I don't have the time. when I have the time, I don't have the energy. when I have the energy, I don't have the words. Bah.

- subset of the above: I actually opened a story to work on last night, wrote one (1) sentence in two (2) hours, and gave up when I realized it would need to be all porn from there on out. Bah.

no love,

me

***
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I knew musicals could cheer me up, but I’d never heard of one that gave me new tools to deal with chronic illness and depression. Yet when I saw Groundhog Day last Wednesday, I was so stunned by what a perfect, joyous metaphor it was for battling mental illness that I immediately bought tickets to see it again that Saturday.

I would have told you about this before, but it was too late. The show closed on Sunday. A musical that should have run, well, for as long as Phil Connors was trapped in his endless time loop only got a five-month run.

But I can tell you about it.

I can tell you why this musical made me a stronger, better person.

———————————–

So let’s discuss the original Groundhog Day movie, which is pretty well-known at this point: Bill Murray is an asshole weatherman named Phil who shows up under protest to do a report from Punxatawney, Philadelphia on Groundhog Day. He’s trapped in town overnight thanks to a blizzard. When Phil wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again. And again. And again.

Phil goes through several phases:

  • Incredulous as he can’t believe what’s happening to him;
  • Gleefully naughty as he uses his knowledge of people’s future actions to indulge all his greatest fantasies;
  • Frustrated as he tries to romance Rita, his producer, but he’s too cynical for her and nothing convinces her to hop in bed with him unless everyone else in town;
  • Depressed as he realizes that his life is shallow and there’s no way he can escape;
  • Perplexed as he tries to rescue a dying homeless man but realizes that nothing he can do on this day will save this poor guy;
  • And, finally, beatific as he uses his intense knowledge of everything that will happen in town today to run around doing good for people.

Naturally, that’s a great emotional journey. It’s no wonder that’s a story that’s resonated with people.

Yet Groundhog Day changes just one slight emotional tenor about this – and that change is massive.

Because when Bill Murray’s character gets to the end of his journey, he’s actually content. He’s achieved enlightenment where he enjoys everything he does, toodling around on the piano because he’s formed Punxatawney into his paradise. He laughs at people who ignore him. He’s satisfied.

And when Rita, who senses this change even though she doesn’t understand why, bids everything in her wallet to dance with him at the Groundhog Dance, the Bill Murray Phil is touched but also, on some level, serene.

Andy Karl’s Phil is not happy.

We spend a lot more time in Andy’s Phil’s headspace, and at one point he breaks down because of all the things he’ll never get to do – he’ll never grow a beard, he’ll never see the dawn again, he’ll never have another birthday. Anything he does is wiped away the next morning.

Bill Murray’s Phil gets so much satisfaction out of his constantly improving the town that his daily circuit has become a reward for him.

Andy Karl’s Phil is, on some level, fundamentally isolated. People will never know him – at least not without hours of proving to them that yes, he is trapped in this time loop, he does know everything about them.  No matter what relationships he forms, he’ll have  to start all over again in a matter of hours. There’s no bond he can create that this loop won’t erase.

And so when Rita finally dances with Bill Murray, it’s shown as a big romantic moment. And in the musical –

In the musical, Rita moves towards Phil and everything freezes in a harsh blue light except for Phil.

This is everything Phil has ever wanted in years, maybe decades, of being in this loop – and instead of being presented as triumphant, everything goes quiet and Phil sings a tiny, mournful song:

But I’m here
And I’m fine
And I’m seeing you for the first time

And the reason that brings tears to my eyes every fucking time is because this Phil is not fine – he repeats the lie in the next verse when he says he’s all right. Yet this is the happiest moment he’s had in years, finally understanding what Rita has wanted all along, and this moment too will be swept away in an endless series of morning wakeups and lumpy beds and people forgetting what he is.

Yet that mournful tune is also defiant, and more defiant when the townspeople pick it up and start singing it in a rising chorus:

I’m here
And I’m fine

Phil knows his future is nothing.

Yet that will not stop him from appreciating this small beauty even if he knows it will not stay with him. Trapped in the groundhog loop, appreciating the tiny moments becomes an act of rebellion, a way of affirming life even when you know this moment too will vanish.

Can you understand that this is depression incarnate?

Which is the other thing that marks this musical. Because I said there was joy, and there is. Because when Andy Karl’s Phil enters the “Philanthropy” section of the musical (get it?), he may not be entirely happy but he is content.

Because he knows that he may not necessarily feel joy at all times, but he has mastered the art of maintenance.

Because tending to the town of Punxatawney is a lot of work. He has to run around changing flat tires, rescuing cats, getting Rita the chili she wanted to try, helping people’s marriages. (And as he notes, “My cardio never seems to stick.”)

When Bill Murray’s Phil helps people, it seems to well up from personal satisfaction. Whereas Andy’s Phil is thrilled helping people, yes, but his kindness means more because it costs him. On some level he is, and will forever be, fundamentally numb.

This isn’t where he wanted to be.

Yet he has vowed to do the best with what he can. He helps the townspeople of Punxatawney because even though it is a constant drain, it makes him feel better than drinking himself senseless in his room. He doesn’t get to have everything he wanted – also see: depression and chronic illness – and it sure would be nice if he could take a few days off, but those days off will make him feel worse.

He’s resigned himself to a lifetime of working harder than he should for results that aren’t as joyous as he wanted.

And that’s okay. Not ideal, but…. okay.

Andy’s okay.

And I think the closest I can replicate that in a non-musical context is another unlikely source – Rick and Morty, where Rick is a suicidal hypergenius scientist who’s basically the Doctor if the Doctor’s psychological ramifications were taken seriously. And he goes to therapy, where a therapist so smart that she’s the only person Rick’s never been able to refute says this to him:

“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.

“You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control.
You chose to come here, you chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.

“I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.

“It’s just work.

“And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.

“Each of us gets to choose.

“That’s our time.”

And yes, Groundhog Day the musical is – was – about that lesson of maintenance, as Andy comes to realize that “feeling good” isn’t a necessary component for self-improvement, and works hard to make the best of a situation where, like my depression, even the best and most perfect day will be reset come the next morning.

And yes. There is a dawn for Andy’s Phil, of course, and he does wake up with Rita, and you get to exit the theater knowing that no matter how bad it gets there will come a joyous dawn and you get to walk out onto Broadway and so does Phil.

But you don’t get to that joy without maintenance.

And you might get trapped again some day. That, too, is depression. That, too, is chronic illness. We don’t know that Phil doesn’t get trapped on February 3rd, or March 10th, or maybe his whole December starts repeating.

But he has the tools now. He knows how to survive until the next dawn.

Maybe you can too.

—————————–

Anyway. There’s talk that Groundhog Day will go on tour, maybe even with Andy Karl doing the performances. He’s brilliant. Go see him.

The rest of you, man, I hope you find your own Groundhog Day. I saw mine. Twice.

Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s vanished.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

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i will gladly stay an afterthought.

February 2017

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