eilonwy2017: (Default)
I used to use my LJ for geeking out over random (sometimes VERY random) things. So now that I'm here at DW, going to do that in this blog, even though I have approximately 5 readers total and I'd have to guess that not a single one of you has even heard of what I'm about to geek out over....

So... in the early 1990s there was a cartoon called ExoSquad. It ran for 2 seasons and it had been created in an attempt to be an American anime, since dubbed anime had become popular over here. It was about mecha and space war and was inspired by World War II and was really impressive. I knew precisely no one who watched it. When I first saw it, I was about 14 years old. I caught an episode during a snow day or snow delay and was intrigued. I started setting my VCR to record episodes every morning (I think there were 2 a day at this point; it was already canceled and in repeats when I started watching it.)

[Note that I recorded 2 minutes before and after everything I set a timer for, just in case the clock was messed up in some way. This means that along with every episode of ExoSquad, I also recorded the credits for some show about robots. The credits were entirely in rap. While these tapes still exist, I don't have access to them, so I don't know what show this was, but I can picture it and one day I'll have to find a way to hunt it down.]

Anyway, at 14, despite having wonderful best friends, I was embarrassed to like this show. I did not think said wonderful friends would understand and they wouldn't have gotten into it like I did. (In retrospect, maybe they would have, maybe they wouldn't have.) Since this was circa 1994, I hopped onto America Online and found me a discussion board about the show. I lurked. It wasn't a super active board, since, as I mentioned, the show as already canceled by this point, but it was nice to not be alone in my love of this kids show. And when my favorite character was killed (spoiler for a 20+ old show, I guess), it was to this message board I turned in a panic. (I can't remember having a favorite character killed of in a show before that. I mean, since then, yeah, of course, as I've been a fan of the Joss Whedon-verse, Supernatural and Game of Thrones, so it's a common occurrence at this point.)

So Exosquad was my first fandom, long before I knew the term fandom. And two of the characters (Alec and Maggie) were my first 'ship, long long before I knew what shipping was.

In retrospect, this show was really good for me, in many ways. I mean, I was already a sci fi fan, so that wasn't new. But the fact that this show about space pilots had gender integrated squads, and no one made a fuss about it, in show, with the women just as capable (sometimes more) than the men? Well, it mattered. Maybe I didn't know it at the time, but it mattered. (This is the same time in my life that I spent frustrated and angry a lot, arguing with people about gender equality a lot. In this same time period, for example, I had a history teacher who literally called Abigail Adams "Some broad" and argued with me about women's importance in history. I needed this kind of entertainment. And the fact that it was aimed at children? And it wasn't putting this equality as a Message front and center? That was huge.)

These days, every once in a while-- about annually, actually-- I get in the mood to either watch this cartoon or find something as good as it in the same genre. I'm almost always disappointed. (Note: please feel to recommend character/plot driven space opera in the comments.) Early last month I got pretty sick and was laid up for about 4 days (and then coughed for another 6 weeks when it became walking pneumonia and I was too stubborn to see a doctor. I digress.) I went through a space opera phase that week and dug out my DVD of Exosquad. I watched the first 13 episodes (the only ones on DVD) pretty much straight through. (It's a 20 minute cartoon and I wasn't capable of getting out of bed anyway, so don't judge me too harshly.) Then I hunted down the second season. (I wouldn't pirate things if they were legally available, so again, don't judge me!)

Then I went to Connooga with [personal profile] pyrite and upon seeing all the cosplay and while planning future cosplay, decided I was going to cosplay as an ExoSquad character, even though no one is going to know who the F I'm dressed as. FORTUNATELY, Pyrite is an enabler, even though she has no idea what this show is, so this is a plan that is going to happen (although it will take time as it requires brightly colored 1990s-future armor. Also, a wig. A lot of work, is what I'm saying. A lot of work do create a costume no one will recognize. Ahh, geekdom.)

In the past year or so, I've also gotten into podcasts. Not many, to be fair. There are only a couple that I listen to routinely. (Hidden Almanac every MWF, What the Folklore? every Tues/Sun, and to which I donate on Patreon because I love it so much, and occasionally various others as the mood strikes but not routinely.) On a whim I searched PlayerFM (which I use for WTFolkore) for ExoSquad. And HOLY CRAP THERE'S A PODCAST. (If any of this post sounds amusing, you should check out said podcast, called "ExoSquad Goals".) I don't think I can explain what this means to me. Three guys talking about ExoSquad -- taking it seriously (but also being hilarious), looking at it like a real text, like it matters.

Remember, I felt like this show was a guilty secret when I was a teen, and non-existent as an adult. I was so embarrassed about liking this show that when I found some of the toys at KayBee on clearance, and bought a couple, I hid them. From who?! I have no idea! My parents wouldn't have cared. I made up some excuse about them, that since they were on sale I bought them as inspiration for the sci fi I was writing at the time. To be fair, I did spend most of my time writing, but who needs an excuse to buy a toy?! And no, no one ever asked me about them anway.

So yeah, I'm pretty damned pleased about this podcast and getting to geek out over this show.

I'm not saying that ExoSquad was perfect. Like just about every mainstream piece of media, it has its issues. (And terrible hairstyles.) There are a few episodes that make me cringe. But it was also ahead of its time and just what I needed at 14.
eilonwy2017: (Kittens looking!)
(Hello LJ, it has been ... a really long time. And there's no way to recover that amount of time. So I'm just going to write an entry as if I hadn't ignored this platform for years.)

I've been rewatching La Femme Nikita this week. I found a copy of the first season on DVD while I was in Phoenix (by the way, I don't live in Phoenix anymore) for Spring Break, used. And since the show isn't streaming, and the DVDs have been, every time I've looked, astronomically expensive, I scooped up the season. (I, uh, may have ordered seasons 2 and 3 as well as of today...)

I don't know why I'm suddenly on an LFN kick. I watched episodes when they were on USA back in the '90s, although not in a regular kind of way. I've seen at least the first few seasons via Netflix (back when you could only get DVDs in the mail, before all this high tech streaming stuff, heh) but I can picture where I did that-- my first apartment in Phoenix, so that would have had to have been pre-2010.

Anyway, I'm being obsessive with it, which is weird for a show that's been off the air since 2001. At least, it seems weird to me.

So I was texting with [Bad username or site: corruptviridian" @ livejournal.com] and I thougth I'd post some of these observations here...

I'm not sure which makes me giggle more-- some of the '90s hairstyles (oh my goodness, Madeleine's hairstyle does not translate well to 2015) or the use of a floppy disk as a main plot point.

It doesn't help that in this particular episdoe, which for those of you playing the home game is season 1, episode 4, "Charity", the costumer dressed Nikita in purple, very '80s dress (and hair) and Michael in what, I swear, looks like a '70s maroon tux and ruffled shirt. How can I not laugh? And the villain appears to be wearing a vest under his tux that looks like it was made from a Cosby sweater. As [livejournal.com profile] corruptviridian pointed out, you have to laugh. Or cry. Or both.

At least in this episode, I got to see Michael act like a drunk American (because otherwise he'd've been caught with the aforementioned floppy disk). I would have expected seeing that to be funny, but honestly it just seemed really odd because Michael is Michael... is almost-humorless, emotionless Michael...

He also saves a truck full of children. And honestly, that's just about as out of character as acting like a drunk American... Although he did let Nikita burn to death a child trafficker, and that part is pretty much par for the course.

I think this episode was a misstep in that it was first season and directed by someone who appears to have never directed another LFN episode. The writer of the episode did more, though, so here's hoping that this was just a single misstep as I'll be happily downing more episodes soon. It just seems to me that not only was wardrobe a misstep, but also Michael in general in this episode. I mean, I don't know if anyone reading this (if anyone is) remembers the show, but in the very previous episode, Michael discovered that his wife, Simone, was still alive and had been being tortured by terrorists for 3 years, and by the end of the episode, she kills both the terrorist and herself. So it seems a bit soon that Michael appears to spend this episode being jealous when Nikita is flirting with her target (the aforementioned child trafficker-turned-crispy critter). Then the episode ends on a weird note, too. Nikita asks Michael why she shouldn't kill him (while she's holding a gun to his throat, otherwise just casually chilling in her apartment) and he says he can't think of a single reason why not, then kisses her hand, and leaves. She turns and picks up her cat, which earlier in the episode he had told her to get rid of, and the episode ends. I cannot recall if the cat ever shows up again-- I will report back. But Michael's reaction here--- with the hand kissing, not the nihilistic stuff--- seems too soon post-Simone-death.

(In episode 3, "Simone", Nikita has to physically pull him out of an about-to-explode building because he's so distraught in trying to save Simone.)

On the other hand, Michael's hair (which is ocassionally bordering perilously close to a mullet) and floppy disks notwithstanding, the show actually holds up pretty well, in my opinion. This is in part because what made the show so good wasn't the storylines or technobabble but watching Nikita come to terms with this life she's been forced into. But also, the aesthetics still work because most of the time the characters are dressed in all black and appear in very open rooms, often made of white tile. And while white tile may evoke industrial bathroom facilities, since those rooms are usually used for beating people up, it kind of still works. Sure, sometimes you look at the severely tucked in shirts and belted pants on the male character and go, "Oh dear" and once in a while Nikita's bangs edge into "holy crap '90s" territory, but otherwise it still completely works.

(Except for, as I mentioned, Madeleine's hair. If it weren't 12:30 am I didn't have to go to work in the morning and thus should be asleep, I'd find you a picture. But this is my return to LJ so I'm not even sure I remember how to post pictures or whether you still have to host them on LJ or whatever. So go do a google search, you'll see what I mean.)
eilonwy2017: (ateam no plan b)
When [livejournal.com profile] moobie and I were in high school and the early years of college, we watched a lot of movies, most of them bad, purely for the sake of seeing particular actors in them. I shan't tell you which actors, although from the list you'll know precisely who they are. We then rated the movies on a scale of one to five-- except that we totally ignored the scale. We had a big piece of green posterboard upon which Moobie wrote the ratings in black marker (but also decorated with colored markers.) (Moobie did the writing because Catholic school had imbued in her a perfect handwriting that mine just could not match.) We also had a quote board, full of weird commentary often made while under the influence of massive amounts of caffeine and sugar during these movies. Both boards were torn up by my cat, Jack. Then with all the moves, I thought both boards were lost. However, while searching my craft/storage closet for yarn the other day (particular yarn, not just any yarn. Just any yarn is easy to find in there.) I came across the On a Scale... board.

And now, with Moobie's permission, I share it with you.


MASQUERADE gets an "Um?"

BAD INFLUENCE gets a "He's not evil, he's just ... evil."

THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK gets "3 Musketeers, 2 Leos, 1 D'Artagnan, & a misunderstood Edward Atternton."

ABOUT LAST NIGHT gets an "I want one!"

SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW gets a "He was cute before he died."

ENEMY OF THE STATE gets a "Gabe can drive my taxi anytime!"

POINT OF NO RETURN gets a "Hi. I'm Bob."

LIVING N PERIL gets "rat piss."

HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE gets "um... ew?"

CRAZY SIX gets a "whafuck!?"

HELLO AGAIN gets "a big hairy thing with fangs."

MULLHOLLAND FALLS gets "4 men in fedoras and the Fedoramobile!"

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT gets "a night of wine, song, and cheese."

MILLER'S CROSSING gets "grifter parents, grifter grandparents, and little grifter kids."

CLASS gets "two men in women's underwear and Rob playing a screech owl."

ON DANGEROUS GROUND gets "more fun than EuroDisney."

THE STAND gets "geetars in the carn."

THIS IS THE SEA gets "ears in places you would not imagine."

EXCALIBUR gets "an evil Uther, a golden clown, and a metal skull cap."

AMERICAN PSYCHO gets "alcohol free aftershave lotion."

SQUARE DANCE gets "your mama's hair on a Mexican ina spermatozoa dress."

POLISH WEDDING gets "a Polish posse with hockey sticks."


It says something about either me or these movies that I remember very little about any of them.
eilonwy2017: (Sam grins)
Waaaaay back in the dark ages (roughly 1994, I'd guess) [livejournal.com profile] moobie and I were huge fans of the tv show seaQuest. (Stay with me, we'll get to the obscure china pieces eventually). For some inexplicable reason, some of our adoration of the show took the form of making fun of the character "Tim O'Neill", played by Ted Raimi. (Imagine my delight when said actor showed up on Supernatural this season. Fandoms collide! I digress. This will, however, be an entry full of digressions.) For another inexplicable reason, we thought he looked like a squirrel. We called him squirrelman. In our giant crack-fic (which were not called crack fics back then as far as I know) known only as The Baseball Story (which began while at a baseball game about the characters of seaQuest at a baseball game, then grew to encompass at least 5 fandoms* and 3 notebooks), the character purchased dozens of bags of peanuts while at the baseball game.

Thus the fascination with squirrels in general began. It started as a joke-- while on a vacation with my parents, I bought a wind up squirrel for Moobie. Then... I just started buying her random squirrel related things in general. At some point while over at my house I recalled that my mother had, hidden in a cabinet (it was probably a gift from her mother, I'm guessing) a scary little squirrel statuette. I have no idea what I thought we'd do with it, but we dragged it out, and to this day it has, in pencil because we were exceptionally considerate teenagers: Tim Squirrelman O'Neill, or something to that effect. (Alas, I am 2500 miles away and so cannot check.)

While digging about in this cabinet we came across a footed fruitbowl, as well, made of white glass. I'm fairly certain we didn't know it was a footed fruitbowl at the time, despite its molded on fruit (I specifically recall grapes.)

I still spent parts of my summers, at this point, living with my grandparents for a week at a time. (I didn't start working in the summer 'til I was 16.) Moobie, however, by this point, was already working to the limit of child labor laws for Dorney Park. We didn't see each other much, but talked on the phone constantly (this being in those far off days before the interwebs were ubiquitous. We were both online by this point (AOL for me, and Prodigy for her) but only once in a while to check the Bulletin Boards and occasionally delve into the teen chat rooms (which were monumentally mind-numbingly stupid, in retrospect.)

The summer in question, however, for reasons I cannot now recall but may have had to do with some cabinet refacing that went on, my grandmother and I went through her china cupboard (a beautiful and large piece of furniture filled with weird items.) I believe we were putting things back in that had been stored in boxes for safety's sake. In this cabinet live many fruitbowls-- at least 3, probably 5. This is where I learned that the object back at my parents' house was, in fact, a footed fruitbowl (ie: a bowl meant for fruit, which has a pedestal for a foot). Because I was asking my grandmother about all the objects in the cupboard, asking their histories (she has things like an old iron that was meant to be put into the fire to heat up before pressing clothes with it, and such) I of course asked about the fruitbowls.

And we discovered that all of them (or at least most) had been bequeathed to her upon their owner's death. Now, don't get me wrong-- my grandmother does not have some kind of footed fruitbowl fascination (although if she did, at least it would be alliterative)-- this was all coincidence that surprised my grandmother as well (having never have given it thought before.) It was morbid, but funny. My grandmother and I joked about it, that footed fruitbowls were a token of death and memory (although I'm sure at 14 I was more morbidly crass about it.)

Naturally, [livejournal.com profile] moobie and I dug out the white glass footed fruitbowl of my mother's and carefully taped a label to the bottom of it (with scotch tape, of course, easily removed, for we were considerate hoodlums) which says, "Tim O'Neill Memorial Fruitbowl." Yes, this was 15 years ago, yes the bowl still says this because no one ever puts fruit in said footed fruitbowl, and it doesn't sit in one of the china cupboards on display like my grandmother's do. Once in a while Moobie and I check on the footed fruitbowl (and the ceramic squirrel, although for some reason that one moved to my room after I moved out... thanks, mom) to be sure their labels are still affixed. :)

ANYWAY, to bring us up to 2009. My grandparents moved into assisted living about a year and a half ago. You've heard me talk before about how they (and my grandmother's parents before her, who also lived in their house) are packrats. (I am too! But not quite to the same extent... I hope.) I've talked before about how I've gotten yarn purchased by my great-grandmother (who I've never met, as she passed away before I was born) and such. Well, after a long time of standing empty, my parents have finally been pushed to deal with the house. (They've been since day one, actually. They've sorted, cleaned, repainted, etc., swaths of it.) There's going to be an auction of everything inside in September.

Obviously, this means that anything my grandparents want to keep in the family, or specifically give to anyone needs to be dealt with now. Because my memories of my times at my grandparents' house center almost entirely on my childhood, and playing with toys that belonged to my grandmother, I've asked for her dollhouse (and furniture) and the Dionne Quintuplet dolls (no complete sets, but 2 of every age produced, I believe. My grandmother's sister took half the toys when she moved out, including half the dolls.) Most of the other things I associate strongest with my grandparents have moved into assisted living with them, for which I am glad. What I am going to do with a large dollhouse from the 1930s I do not know, but I don't want it sold at auction, and have always thought that I'd get it eventually. (I'm the only grandchild, so it's not like I'm scavenging like a vulture with my cousins or something. My dad's side of the family is minuscule.) I thought about asking for a footed fruitbowl, but it seemed too morbid, since the idea of a memorial fruitbowl is to happen after the owner's death, not just moving out of their house. So I didn't.

However, upon asking my grandmother what she wanted to give to specific people (if anything), and what she wanted to keep in the family, etc.? She told my mom that I was to get a footed fruitbowl. (My mom is to pick out the prettiest one, since I can't go home this week like she wanted me to.)

I was just on the phone with my mom (as today is her birthday) and she told me this, that my grandmother wanted me to have a footed fruitbowl because she and I used to joke about them, and it just made me fill up with happiness. I had no idea that my grandmother would remember that. We hadn't talked about it in years. I thin kit's hilarious and wonderful. :D

So I, too, will have a footed fruitbowl, destined, most likely, to never hold any fruit.

* In case you were curious, the fandoms I can recall being involved were seaQuest (obviously), ER, James Bond (specifically GoldenEye), The X-Files and Star Wars. What? Those five fit together perfectly well, I'll have you know.
eilonwy2017: (Think Sam)
When I was a senior in high school, which was 12 years ago now (yikes), I was able to drive to school because my parents insisted on my getting a license and a car over the summer (mainly so that I could work at Dorney Park, which is a nightmare of a different story). This was *great* because it meant I could sleep in. When I took the bus, it took 45 minutes to get to school from my house as we wound around my entire area, as it was semi-rural. Driving myself took 15 minutes-- 8 on a good day, and yes, I timed it. :)

I have a fairly uncommon last name. Slightly North and perhaps west of where I grew up (in the slate and coal mining areas, actually, and the still more rural/farming areas) my last name is more common. (This is to say that my last name is German, essentially.) So I was the only student with my last name at my high school, despite each class having 580+ students.

So one perfectly normal morning of my senior year, I drove to school and went through home room and my first period class (which was ceramics, an elective.) So there I am, working on who knows what art project of dubious merit when in came our short and totally awesome principal. He just, y'know, wanted to let me know that someone, a high school student, with my last name had been killed in a car accident and that some people had been reporting that it was me, so if I heard anything weird, that's what was going on.

He had called my parents first, to ask if I was dead. (I'm sure he was more subtle than that.) I'm sure he scared the hell out of my parents, and this was before any of us had a cell phone, but the timing didn't work-- there was no way the student killed in the crash could have been me. (In fact, it was a male student from the adjoining school district, but that's not the point.)

All day long people came up to me, saying that they'd heard I was dead. It was, as you can imagine, rather surreal.

But what stuck with me most was that no one was upset, or more to the point relieved to discover that this was not the case. To be fair, my two best friends hadn't heard-- one was out sick (Nosilla. I think that was when she got chicken pox, which totally suck to get when you're 17), and the other just hadn't heard the news. (Hi [livejournal.com profile] moobie!)

I know that was a long time ago. And I know that high school sucked, and frankly does for most people. But it was also really ... formative in some ways.

Especially when a few months later, one of the swimmers killed himself and everyone was in shock and mourning and the school all but shut down for a few days.

Not to sound maudlin, although I already do (heh), but it makes you wonder how many people you matter to, y'know?

Believe it or not, I'm actually in a much better mood than I was pre-ice cream. Heather said yes as soon as she saw my invite, and I went to pick her up. We had tons of ice cream and then went for lunch, too, hee. Backwards? Eh, why not? So I had a nice salad, too, so I actually got some vegetables into me. The food, the sunshine, and most of all the company, made me feel much better. Of course, now I want a naaaaaaap, but it's almost time for the weekly parent chat. :)

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