Saturday, June 29, 2013

Welcome to Poe Week!

Edgar Allan Poe is the undisputed master of Gothic fiction and poetry and perhaps the most well known American author of the Victorian era, so here at The Lonely Alchemist we celebrate him with Poe Week on the first week of July!  Every post this week will have a healthy dose of Poe, from his most famous poem to his short stories to his life and times.  On Monday the 1st, check in to see our reviews of the best and worst movie adaptations of Poe's stories, on Tuesday read (or re-read!) his famous "The Raven," on Wednesday brush up your vocabulary with some of Poe's most obscure words, on Thursday enjoy a collection of the cheekiest Poe jokes and cartoons and find out where you can read Poe for free on the internet, and on Friday finish off your Poe week with an exploration of Gothic fashion.  On Saturday, keep your eyes peeled for a special surprise Poe post (or Poest) that you won't want to miss!  Join us every day for you Poe-licious fix!

The Lonely Alchemist

Friday, June 28, 2013

Let's give a cheer for marriage!

In case you don't follow the news, or aren't American, or are American but live in a hole or something, DOMA, the Defence of Marriage Act that legalized marriage discrimination against gays and lesbians, was overturned by the United States supreme court on June 26th.  And in case you didn't know, this is a huge deal for gays and bisexuals in America.  It is just one more step towards marriage equality everywhere, and I can tell you that my Facebook was blowing up yesterday with all the happiness from my gay and straight friends alike.  Now this doesn't mean that suddenly gay marriage is legal all over the United States.  But it is still progress, and I salute those supreme court justices who stood 5 to 4 against it.  If you are against gay marriage, I'm sorry for you and your bigotry, which I'm sure makes you quite unhappy.  You should probably stop reading this post, and don't bother to comment and spread your bigotry.  I will not publish your comment.  But if you are for equality and progress, then please join me in celebrating this victory with an appreciation of all marriage.  Below are some of the internet's best wedding pictures, from gay and straight couples.  Enjoy!

The Lonely Alchemist

Brunch fit for a king!

When I set out to make breakfast this morning, I was only going to whip up some scrambled eggs with the left-over bacon rinds from last night's pasta carbonara.  But when I looked into the fridge, I was inevitably captivated by all the other bits and pieces that needed to be cooked up before they went bad.  So I ended up making a lavish brunch that just tasted heavenly!  And because I love you so much, dear readers, I am now happy to share with you the recipe for one of the most delicious meals you'll ever eat.

Omelet with carrots in remoulade sauce and nutella raspberry sandwiches (serves 2):

4 eggs, whipped together
1/2 of a yellow or sweet onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 cup of bacon or other meat, diced
3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used mild white cheddar)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Disney gets Steampunked (again)

There are hordes of artists (most of them on deviantArt) who have given their favorite Disney characters a Steampunk spin.  Just Google "steampunk disney" and see what you get.  There's some really great re-imaginings out there.  Even Disney itself came out with some limited edition Steampunk-ish art and doodads recently.  But my favorite (so far) punkified Disney characters are from deviantArtist MecaniqueFairy.  She's a genius.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Lonely Alchemist

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Poetry Tuesday: "Aquatic nocturne" by Sylvia Plath

deep in liquid
turquoise slivers
of dilute light

quiver in thin streaks
of bright tinfoil
on mobile jet:

pale flounder
waver by
tilting silver:

in the shallows
agile minnows
flicker gilt:

grapeblue mussels
dilate lithe and
pliant valves:

dull lunar globes
of blubous jellyfish
glow milkgreen:

eels twirl
in wily spirals
on elusive tails:

adroir lobsters
amble darkly olive
on shrewd claws:

down where sound
comes blunt and wan
like the bronze tone
of a sunken gong.

The Lonely Alchemist

Monday, June 17, 2013

Movie Monday: Films that tried to be Steampunk and failed

The list of purely Steampunk movies in this world is a very short list.  The list of movies that attempt to use an aspect of Steampunk (or merely gussied-up Victoriana) to exoticize themselves is a long list.  Some of them do passable homage to the aesthetic and mood of Steampunk, and some fall laughably short, despite making a valiant effort.  Here are just a few in the latter category:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:  let's put aside the fact that this is nothing like the comics.  That's another battle altogether.  Neither the comic books not the film are entirely Steampunk, but the comics do get closer to the spirit of Steampunk.  The film tries to rest on Sean Connery's waning star power, and throws some monumental CGI Steampunk accessories into the mix to flesh out the life and death situations.  The problem?  That big fancy machinery isn't really what Steampunk is about.  It's part of it, but it's the independent, ingenious, creative mindset that is missing here.  Not even a sexy vampire can save this wreck.  I will say one good thing for this movie:  the Invisible Man is an intriguing character and I'd like to see more of him in another setting, no pun intended.  Result: one star for effort, and one star for fairly good CGI.  No Stars for Steampunk.  **OOO

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Word Wednesday: "vex"

Oh what a wonderful word, this vex!  It's short, sweet, ends in an "x" (how very sexy) and sounds lovely in old-fashioned poetry.  Vex means "to annoy or harass."  It comes from Old English vexen, from Old French vexer, from Latin vexare ("disturb, agitate").  In the Old English vocabulary, it replaced the word grillen, "to annoy."

And to demonstrate the use of vex in a lovely Victorian poem, we have Thomas Baily Aldrich:

I vex me not with brooding on the years
That were ere I drew breath; why should I then
Distrust the darkness that may fall again
When life is done? Perchance in other spheres--
Dead planets--I once tasted mortal tears,
And walked as now among a throng of men,
Pondering things that lay beyond my ken,
Questioning death, and solacing my fears.
Offtimes indeed strange sense I have of this,
Vague memories that hold me with a spell,
Touches of unseen lips upon my brow,
Breathing some incommunicable bliss!
In years foregone, O soul, was all not well?
Still lovelier life awaits thee. Fear not thou! 

The Lonely Alchemist

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Quote for Thought

“The sea is everything. It covers seven-tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and life-giving. It is an immense desert place where man is never lonely, for he senses the weaving of Creation on every hand. It is the physical embodiment of a supernatural existence... For the sea is itself nothing but love and emotion. It is the Living Infinite, as one of your poets has said. Nature manifests herself in it, with her three kingdoms: mineral, vegetable, and animal. The ocean is the vast reservoir of Nature.”
-- Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea