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Dear Vortex: it would be great if you could stop repeatedly warning that a bunch of files are gone and then crashing while I am trying to manage my mods. I know those files in that mod are gone, because I removed that mod.

Vortex sucks and I want Nexus Mod Manager back.

Read it here: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/01/the-linux-of-social-media-how-livejournal-pioneered-then-lost-web-blogging/

(EDIT: This post has gotten a lot longer now that I’ve had most of a day to think about it.)

I feel like I owe the LJ staff during the Six Apart era an apology. I remember joining the chorus of voices who claimed it really felt like Six Apart was trying to drive fandom communities off the platform before the sale to SUP.

And it seems like that sale was really the deathblow to LJ, more than anything else. It was never the same after that.

LJ rose to prominence during the 2001-2003 exodus of the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings fandoms from earlier platforms like PHP-based web forums and Yahoogroups to (then) newer social media outlets. LJ in particular made it way easier to control who got to see fan-created content, with its ability to lock posts, or to post to certain communities; and this was important if you were creating the kind of fan content that you were worried might get deleted from FF.net because of Reasons, or were worried about your mom/your boss/your college professor seeing it. It also made communities tailored around specific interests or fandoms easy to seek out and join. I joined LJ for fandom – I stayed for Fanfic Rants, Anarchism, and Natural Living.

I never realized that I had been part of a cultural exodus until it was long over, and a new exodus was carrying users off to Facebook and Tumblr.

For a long time, I considered going back; the move of the servers to Russia in early 2017 made that no longer an option for me. I’m really glad Dreamwidth is still here. For years, it felt like DW basically existed for the purpose of redundancy; if SUP ever did the Mass Fandom Deletion we were all so terrified would happen after the Strikethrough/Boldthrough incidents in 2007, all of our precious musings, memories, and drama would be saved. Post 2017, it stopped being the backup for many users, and became the real deal.

LJ always seemed like a uniquely Gen X phenomenon to me, even if the vast majority of its users were Millenials. It never appealed to Boomers the way Facebook has. I remember that the vast majority of Boomer journals I encountered only consisted of a few entries, often with titles like “My kid signed me up for this thing” or “I still don’t know if I’m doing this right” and were quickly abandoned; George R. R. Martin being a notable exception.

Which reminds me…I need to do some more friending memes. I joined LJ in 2004 and immediately dived into an RP group; getting back into the swing of things on DW is happening a lot more slowly.

Current Mood: https://youtu.be/6WdzR2VKa8A

So, it’s been a while since I have done anything on the DIY front. Back in May, I purchased this headboard from a thrift store for 10 dollars.

It’s been on my bed since then. The decorative panels are plastic, the “wood-look” paint is wearing off, and the plastic underneath is yellowed like an old Super NES (trust me, it’s a lot more noticable IRL than in the photos.)

So I painted it! I timed it right before the cold snap, and gave it a day to “cure” and off-gas before putting it back on the bed. I used Rustoleum “Oil Rubbed Bronze” of DIY blogger and Pintrest fame.

…and it’s dark brown. Which is ok, it matches my IKEA KULLEN dresser now, and looks much higher-end than it did. But I was hoping for more of a metallic finish. Oh well.

I finally bought a stainless steel wok (which was on sale for like half price.) But do you know how hard it is to remove that “non toxic outer coating” that most commercial steel woks you buy in the store nowadays come with so you can season it and actually cook with it? OMG YOU GUYS.

1. Soak wok in warm soapy water for 30 minutes, then scrub with non-scratching scouring pad until coating is removed. OK. Except it’s not really making a dent.

2. Spread cooking oil inside wok and heat on medium, and, using an implement like a spatula, scrub with steel wool pad soaked in cooking oil until the coating starts to flake off. Turn off heat, let cool to room temperature, then repeat the process once more before seasoning. This is what finally worked, but damn. All the while I was hearing a little voice that kept saying “just put it in the dishwasher” which I tried to ignore, because the packaging it came with urged “NEVER PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER.” IDK.

Also, Future Roommate came over last night and we were hammering out our plans for actually getting shit together and moving in about six weeks, when I had the worst pain spike that I’ve had in months. I had Ibuprofen and cranberry juice and CBD oil on hand, and it basically took all that stuff, after which I really wasn’t in a good state to be making future plans.

My doctor wanted the hysterectomy done already, but life hasn’t been cooperating. I have realized that it may be getting to the point where all our stopgap measures are no longer stopping the gap, and I may have to just go do this thing.

I’m seeing Aquaman again later, for what may be the last time until it goes to the dollar theater/home media. As I stated before in the previous post, it’s waking up all my old dormant Watchmen feels.

So yeah.

I’m basically facing up to all the issues I had with the film when it came out in 2009 that I either wanted to repress because I hoped it would do well, or that I couldn’t quite put into words at the time.

I mean, we all kind of groused about the scene where Dan and Laurie basically mutilate an alley full of Knot-Tops, after having spent the whole narrative up until then criticizing Rorschach for being a violent psychopath. It happens so quickly that it may be hard to register, but it takes a scenario of “beat up the muggers so they run away” and turns it into something that looks like it belongs in Panos Cosmatos’s Mandy.

But I honestly didn’t register the Ayn Randian Objectivist undercurrent until later (and until I had seen Batman Vs Superman, and yeah.) The Watchmen characters are expys of Steve Ditko’s Charlton Comics characters, and Alan Moore originally wrote Watchmen to be a criticism of Steve Ditko’s Objectivist beliefs. When Zack Snyder, another Objectivist, adapted his comic and turned it into a showcase of slick setpieces with an undercurrent about how “exceptional” people should be allowed to do whatever they want because exceptionalism, I imagine it may have felt to Alan Moore like a worst-case scenario. This video perhaps explains it best: “Watchmen Doesn’t Get Watchmen.

That said, I like it anyway – but I will always like the comic it was adapted from more. The comic literally changed how we think about comics as an art form and as literature. The movie came out, and then faded back into the pop culture landscape.

Yes, Zack Snyder filmed the unfilmable comic, and it is a decent film. I still watch it from time to time. The actors’ performances were stellar. Jackie Earle Haley and Patrick Wilson and Malin Ackerman are just the best. (I caped for Malin Ackerman when bashing her was still the en vogue thing to do. I think she has a great sense of humor and comedic timing, and Zack Snyder should have incorporated this more into her scenes and dialogue – Comic!Laurie has some great snark lines, which are completely absent from the film.)

But if anything, it’s relevant because it got people talking about the comic, and introduced the comic to a generation that may not have been aware of it yet.

And it got me involved with an online community that produced some of the best writing and fanworks that I have seen in my entire 20+ year involvement in online fandom.

current mood:

So, I saw Aquaman Christmas day, one week ago. It was good, perhaps even better than Wonder Woman, though it feels like heresy to type that. The film is a desperately-needed shot in the arm to the beleaguered franchise.

I have really wanted to like the DCEU. I missed out on Man of Steel, but saw Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. I thought there were enough good points to all three films that they might be salvaged through future recuts; including the possibility of a “Snyder Cut” of Justice League. Until Aquaman was released, Wonder Woman stood alone as the only “good” or even “complete” film of the franchise so far.

The point this makes of course is that the DCEU film execs put the cart before the horse. Perhaps hoping to duplicate the runaway success of the Marvel franchise, they released one standalone film – Man Of Steel – before jumping into what was basically three ensemble films.

By the time the first ensemble film for the MCU was released, there had already been two Iron Man films, a Captain America film, a Thor film, and a Hulk film. This gave us enough time to build a connection with the characters, and set up the universe in a way that by the time Avengers took place, we were ready for it.

By contrast, all of the worldbuilding in the DCEU had to take place within the ensemble films, where there really wasn’t time or space for it to grow and feel as organic and established as it has in the MCU films.

That real sense of the world that the story and the characters inhabit, which is so necessary for a franchise or shared storyline to really take off and work in a way that will grab audiences’ imaginations, hasn’t yet been achieved in any of the ensemble DCEU films – unless you count Watchmen as the first proper DCEU film, which I do. And this is largely because of the comic it was adapted from. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons already did all of the heavy lifting in that respect.

Until Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaption was made, the many previous attempts over the years to adapt Watchmen had failed due to its complexity and depth. The comic depicts a world almost like our own but ever so slightly different, where superheroes exist and have effected the world in the ways which are responsible for those differences.

Alan Moore wanted to write a deconstruction of the idea of superheroes in the “real world” which would, in the words of one writer “test that idea to destruction.” It is a self-contained storyline, and Alan Moore sets up its world very effectively within the narrative. It is not connected with anything else going on in the DC Universe, and does not rely upon it for a preexisting setup.

Zack Snyder was lauded for his ability to finally adapt the “unadaptable” comic – and if you look at the way that the DCEU, which came up under his creative control a lot of the time, has developed, it shares a lot of similarities. Like the way music is used; in Watchmen, which moves around a lot in time, it is a way of not only establishing the tone of the scene, but also what time period the characters are currently in.

However, if you look at the later films within the DCEU, you’ll find that popular music is used in much the same way, even though the effect of the presence of superheroes on the world over time is not necessarily an aspect of those storylines like it was in Watchmen.

It was noticeable in Aquaman, with a cover of Toto’s Africa being a prime example, and it was infamously overdone in Suicide Squad, to that movie’s detriment – which is, I guess, why you never want to let a film trailer company cut and edit the actual final film.

Which brings me around to my earlier statement – to me,
Watchmen feels like the first film in the current DCEU franchise, even if it isn’t connected to any of the other films – yet. Because earlier last year, this happened.

I haven’t read the crossover with Justice League, just like I haven’t read any of the Before Watchmen comics, because I felt like DC comics had done Alan Moore dirty over the rights to his own work, and felt he was justified in being angry about it and in not wanting his fans to read the new comics for it (even if JMS was one of the writers – and being a lifelong fan, I was tempted.)

Now I’m tempted to read the Justice League/Watchmen crossover. Because seeing Aquaman got the Fic Wheels turning in my head again, and reminded me that I never did finish Watchmen: Multiverse, after years of struggling with it.

Watchmen: Multiverse (Full title: Watchmen: Mutiverse – The Dark Spectre Saga) was a crossover with Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse that I started in the summer of 2008, on 4chan’s /PCO/ forum. It was inspired by an earlier fic by another writer, and the first chapter practically wrote itself, one of those situations where it felt like the Universe itself downloaded it directly into my brain as I was typing. Some of it got saved to my LiveJournal at the time, some of it ended up on FF.net.

I never finished it because really, the part of it I “saw” ended with Silk Spectre II (re-dubbed the “Dark Spectre” as a result of a smear campaign spearheaded by a Future!Adrian Veidt) and Rorshach and Nite Owl II in an alternate 1982, struggling to hold New York together as it was teetering on the precipice of a rip in spacetime caused by Adrian Veidt resorting to time travel to prevent Rorschach’s journal from being discovered in 1986.

Somehow, it was going to end in a future!temporal adventurer!Laurie popping out in the DC Universe, Mournblade in tow, to warn other heroes that a corrupted, godlike version of Ozymandias was about to invade their world with his armies. But I had no idea how to get it there?

It would mean writing what happened when a timeline decays, when it collapses, when it collides with other timelines; and then I read Homestuck, and saw how much trouble Andrew Hussie had with it, and was just plain too intimidated by it to continue.

I could never make it work. I never had the “hook” I needed to make it work – until Aquaman.

Now I’m revisiting the DCEU films, and I really hope the Snyder Cut is a thing that happens. I haven’t been this psyched to work on a fic in a while, and it’s past time I finally finished this thing.

Current mood:

So, IKEA was something I was not aware of as a place I could actually go to until around 2007-2008. When I first saw Fight Club in late 2001, I assumed Jack/Tyler had ordered all that Swedish furniture directly from Sweden.

I didn’t know yet that IKEA existed as a brick-and-mortar store in the US – or that IKEA products were stigmatized as stuff bought on the cheap to quickly furnish dorm apartments and the homes of bachelors (like Jack/Tyler in the movie,) and not “good furniture,” especially at the prosperous tail-end of the 1990s and early 2000s.

To me, the idea of Jack/Tyler ordering a Yin/Yang coffee table directly from Sweden seemed like yet another symptom of his isolated, materialistic life.

In 2005-2006, IKEA was a four-letter word that Draven/Fake Internet Neo used to vilify anyone who didn’t acknowledge him as a messiah – which he had in fact appropriated from Fight Club. So when I learned, post Matrix-cult, in 2007 that IKEA did in fact have brick-and-mortar stores in the USA, and that they had just built one in the nearby town of Frisco, I just had to go check it out.

I wasn’t a real adult in 2007. (I don’t think I actually began to qualify as one until three years later.) I’d never bought my own furniture before that – everything had come down to me from my grandparents, recovered from storage when I moved out.

I’d never even bought my own sheets before that. I got all my Grandfather’s linens after he died. It wasn’t until I was trying to put the twin extra long sheets from his old bed on the standard twin bed that I ended up with the next time I moved that I realized there were even different sizes of twin mattresses that required differently-sized sheets. I was nearly 31 when this happened.

I didn’t have an aesthetic then, or an idea of one. I didn’t know Boho from Industrial from Mid-Century Modern. My first apartments in the late 90s and early 2000s were combinations of my grandparent’s hand-me-down chintz and gingham sensibilities with my fandom memorabilia, and cheap plastic garage shelves to hold all my books.

I was also forming a philosophy about art, and it’s this; art in a capitalistic culture may be subservient to profit and capital – but that doesn’t make it not art, if that makes sense. People who design furniture do so for it to serve a purpose, but also as a form of expression, and for the people who buy it to serve as a form of expression, even if that expression is, “I am living from paycheck to paycheck, but I still want furniture that looks nice.”

My first IKEA purchases near the end of 2007 were actually cookware and bath towels, then eventually curtains and curtain hardware. By 2010-2011, I was aware that my aesthetic skews somewhere between Boho and Mid-century Modern, particularly that stuff from the 70s that looks like it should belong to outer-space pimps, or on the the set of a Panos Cosmatos film, or in 2001: A Space Odyssey.


(My apartment bedroom circa 2011)

In 2013, I built a queen-sized bedframe out of lumber from plans on the internet. Then I gave that one away and built another one. Woodworking was a skill I really wanted to hone. That bedframe warped to shit because I didn’t finish the wood quickly enough, and Texas in the summer is hot and humid.

After three moves, I was never able to get it back together again correctly, and I didn’t have the space or the tools or the time or the money to make replacement pieces (I still have the pieces that didn’t warp, and I might do that someday.)

I’m currently using a perfectly serviceable metal bed base I bought off of Amazon right now. But sometimes, as I walk through the IKEA showroom, I’m tempted.

One thing that bothers me about the 2018-2019 line is that there is suddenly a focus on soft, cute pastels (which pretty much flies in the face of everything I believe in) as well as the chintzes and ginghams that my grandparents favored. One look through the current online catalog bears this out.

A friend pointed out that pastels tend to be popular during tense, dark times. Pastels were all the rage during the Reagan administration, after all. I miss some of their more daring, bold designs from around 2010-2012. I pieced together two twin duvet covers into a queen duvet cover in 2013, because they didn’t sell that design in a queen bed size, and I wanted one. Here it is.

Anyway, Draven’s scoffing at IKEA was, ironically, hilariously elitist as fuck; he was mocking something that was not a marker of wealth and status as he also erroneously perceived it at the time, but something seen as readily affordable and accessible to the hoi polloi. And it was stupid, because IKEA is fucking awesome. And I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t gone out of a sense of rebellion after his trifling ass skipped town and was out of my life for good. So, thanks asshole!

For reference, I want to refer to this video, but I’m not going to embed it because I know I have been spamming a lot of videos at my DW followers lately.

Also, I’m not one of those people who worships at the altar of David Foster Wallace as The Other Great Voice Of Generation X Who Killed Himself (the first, and ultimate, is of course Kurt Cobain) mostly because of factors like the ones pointed out in this article. Yes, people are only human, we all have flaws, etc. I never said I reviled him, just that I don’t revere him like a lot of other people seem to.

However, he has a point about the dangers of irony.

Criticism of irony has come up a lot these days, especially when it’s not irony; when it’s being used to mask the truth, as modern Nazis seem to have adopted as their best praxis in order to evade criticism. (Googling search terms like “Ironic Nazis” and “Ironic White Supremacists” brings up a host of articles like this one. I’m not sure which one best defines the problem.)

I was born at what one pundit on Twitter yesterday referred to as “the ass-end of Generation X.”

When I was coming of age, the biggest entertainment powerhouses on TV were Friends and Seinfeld (FYI, modern Nazis, Pepes, Kekistanis, etc. fucking love Seinfeld. IDK.) The takeaway from both shows is basically this: people are flakes and are fucking fake. Even your friends. Especially your friends. People who feel very strongly about things are annoying because nothing is worth feeling very strongly about. Very little in life gets resolved, especially in a 30 minute time block – but this is how real life is, and expecting anything to be different is unrealistic, and will just make the Universe disappoint you over and over again.

And a lot of this stems from a backlash against what we seemed to loathe about what we interpreted as the Baby Boomer inauthenticity, and what the Boomers themselves revolted against with movements like Punk and Pop Art. Without the twee, Father Knows Best sentimentalism of the older Boomer and Greatest Generation set, the younger Boomer and early-stage Gen X edgelords who rebelled against them would never had existed.

Right now I can think of three or four close friends who are 3-7 years younger than me, all born between 1980 and 1985. I love these people, but they sometimes drive me to distraction, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why. But before I had this epiphany, when I tried to define it, it was like this: it felt to me felt like they belonged in a Wes Anderson movie. Their speech and mannerisms make them seem as if they are always trying to be the human equivalent of a warm cup of tea or a fuzzy blanket.

And I can’t stand it. I can only take this in very small doses. And I think this is because to me, this feels inauthentic. It feels like it must be a mask for, or an evasion of, a greater cynicism. Their mannerisms feel like affectations, I always assumed that they were affectations, and it actively costs me more emotional energy to deal with them.

And I always harbored suspicions that this was maybe the point: that it was some kind of powerplay that they’d adopted to deal with how cynical the world is. But because some of these folks are not neurotypical, I felt like an asshole for feeling this way, for having so much trouble with it. Because for all I knew, they had watched a bunch of Wes Anderson movies in an attempt to learn how to interact, and who was I to judge?

I am not one of those people who like to rant about Millennials, because I never wanted to be a part of the contingent that has been literally and figuratively trying to beat them up for their lunch money since before they even came of age. But I wonder if other Gen Xers feel this way, if this is behind some of the misplaced rage at “The Millennial Generation.”

It’s weird, but before the recent analysis of the effect that cynicism and irony have had on this culture, I didn’t really have a way to put these feelings into words, except as I already described above. The idea that they themselves were behaving due to a generational shift, and a backlash against our perceived irony and nihilism and cynicism, never occurred to me until recently.

Current Mood:

SNL Wes Anderson from Hybrid Collective on Vimeo.

I’d like to believe that in another timeline, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai would have been a franchise with a bunch of movies, like its creators intended. I’d also like to think the same of Stevie And Zoya.

Stevie And Zoya was an animated short which ran on MTV’s weekly animation showcase Liquid TV in the early 1990s, which is probably better remembered for Aeon Flux. Catching Liquid TV on MTV as a teen was always thrilling, like I was seeing something I wasn’t supposed to, something subversive and forbidden. And really, all of it was the kind of stuff that Youtube was created for, the kind of stuff that would probably have found its audience if something like Youtube had existed back then.

A friend of mine once told me that William Gibson apparently once said “I wanted to learn to write the way that David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album sounded.” That’s what Stevie and Zoya reminds me of.

I was instantly mesmerized by Stevie and Zoya’s mix of noir narration (along with the narrator’s frequent slip-ups and asides) and its rough, patchwork, almost grindhouse aesthetic. I wanted it to be as big as Aeon Flux temporarily became. I wanted there to be a live-action movie. I wanted there to be a fandom. I wanted merch. Sadly, all we had for years was just the one animated short.

The artist/creator Joe Horne is still at it, and his more recent efforts (which are awesome) are on Youtube.

Anyway, I made some icons from the original animation, for Dreamwidth and other similar blogging platforms. Here they are.

Treesicle | Tumblr: The Story You Never Knew