Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Word Wednesday: "portmanteau"

Why, oh why, does no one use one of these anymore?  Nobody even uses the word, and the world is worse off for it!  Portmanteaus, large trunks that open into two equal halves, are a fixture in practically every comedy film from the advent of film up until the 1950s (presumably because you can fit a person inside them), not to mention they're beautifully Victorian.  The word comes from the Old French porter ("to carry") and manteau ("cloak").

I would love to own a portmanteau.  It would be the perfect place to pack all my Steampunk costumes and accoutrements, not to mention it would make a lovely antique-ish piece of furniture.  Anybody know of any cheap ones for sale, preferably in black leather?

The Lonely Alchemist

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Poetry Tuesday: "There By None of Beauty's Daughters..." by George Gordon (Lord) Byron

There be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like Thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charm├ęd ocean's pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep,
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean. 
The Lonely Alchemist

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Word Wednesday: "maledicent"

As I'm sure you could guess from looking, that today's word, maledicent, has something to do with being bad, like maleficent, malefactor, malpractice, etc...  In fact, it means "one who is addicted to abusive speech."  I can't really think of any good examples of this kind of person in real life.  Some characters from "A Bit of Fry & Laurie" sketches come to mind...

As for the prefix mal, it means "bad, badly or ill," coming from Old French mal, from the Latin adverb male, from malus, meaning "bad."

The Lonely Alchemist

Monday, August 5, 2013

Movie Monday: "Fire and Ice"

It's hard to argue against the fact that Ralph Bakshi has a distinct, campy, yet enjoyable style to his films.  Well, if you've seen any of his films, that is.  Chances are, you haven't.  If you have, you are a colossal nerd, and therefore my blood-brother/sister.  His animated features are hardly popular anymore (though a few can be found on Netflix and are definitely worth watching), and perhaps couldn't have been called popular in their heyday.  They are the epitome of campy, over-sexed, sword-and-sorcery, He-Man style, most definitely outdated (not in a bad way) fantasy, and "Fire and Ice" is perhaps the campiest and the sexiest, and to nerds of the adult sci-fi/fantasy sort, it's certainly not outdated.

Larn and Teegra
"Fire and Ice" tells the stories of Larn, a young warrior whose village is wiped out by the evil sorcerer Nekron of the fortress Icekeep, and Princess Teegra, who is kidnapped by Nekron's minions, the half-ape half-human "subhumans" who seem to thirst for violence and sex.  Larn and Teegra, along with the mysterious Darkwolf, attempt to stop Nekron's deadly advance towards Teegra's castle, Firekeep (Fire and Ice, get it?  yeah it's simple).  Darkwolf is a strange character, and older man whose back-story is never fully explained.  It appears that he is a vigilante who is sworn to destroy Nekron and his power-hungry mother, Queen Juliana.  The trio has various misadventures through jungles, swamps, and ancient ruins.  Teegra and Larn fall in love, of course, as they must, and he rescues her from Nekron's evil.  Other than that, I don't want to spoil the ending for you.  If you have a Netflix account, I recommend watching the film.

Could she wear any less?
Part of "Fire and Ice's" charm is the primitive way the story is told.  There are long periods of silence, and the characters' vocabularies do seem to be rather reduced.  This gives everything a pre-historical tone, as much of the interaction relies on touch and gesticulation.  The other part of its charm is in the stereotypical over-sexualization that every sword-and-sorcery film must have.  The characters wear so few clothing items that they must all get frostbite when they go the glacier fortress.  How they manage to survive a single night in the wilderness in such little clothing is beyond me, but of course they are in good company.  I have yet to see an old sword-and-sorcery film where the characters, animated or live, wear more than a bikini's worth of togs.  A third reason to love the film is that the heroine is not blond!

Larn and Darkwolf
Despite the obvious sexism, the relatively predictable plot, and the out-dated feel of "Fire and Ice," it is still one of my favorite animated films.  It's both a serious (and simplistic) story about hunger for power, and a fluffy erotic romp.  I recommend that you get your hands on it, if you enjoy this sort of genre.  Don't watch it around little kids; there's a bit too much sex.  And while you're watching "Fire and Ice," why not add some of Bakshi's other films to your watchlist, like "Wizards," "Fritz the Cat," and "Coolworld."  (Don't watch these films around kids either.  "Fritz the Cat" is pornographic.)  Have fun watching, and enjoy this relic of 80s pulp!

Larn and Nekron

The Lonely Alchemist

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Steampunk Tattoos

As both a lover of Steampunk and a lover of tattoos, it was only a matter of time before I decided to combine my loves.  About a year ago, I got my first (of hopefully many) Steampunk tattoo (not my first tattoo, but my first punky one).  It's on my left thigh, a nice place for women to get tattoos as it can be easily covered, and it usually ends up looking quite sexy (especially in a bathing suit).  Here's a picture, which has rather bad resolution and is upside-down, unfortunately, but I have an awful camera so I hope you'll forgive me (there's a much better photo in my tattoo artist's portfolio, on the second row down):

I already have my next Steampunk tattoo planned.  It will be a mechanical Sailor Jerry style swallow.  I'm debating whether to do it in rich purple and blue, or traditional brown, grey, and gold (like the koi above).  Since I already have a bright blue and purple tattoo on my back, I think I'll go with the copper and metal color scheme.