Saturday, February 26, 2011

Just the pictures I was looking for

...even if I didn't know it yet.

The shot at left is one I just found on Ivory Flame's blog - photo by Sean Elliott, corset by Sparklewren (I always try to give credit where credit is due, and of course some of you will want to follow the links and see more). The moment I saw this picture, I thought about all the fantasies I've ever had of standing mentally - and sometimes physically - bound, in front of a mirror, gazing blankly at my blank face and letting it draw me even deeper into trance. Just like "m" in Willing Subject. Ivory Flame might be horrified to know that's what she made me think about, or maybe she wouldn't. She has to be at least a little kinky, to get into shots like this. ;-)

Now here's the other "just what I was looking for" pic - the perfect shot of Io decked out in all her slick, black va-va-va-voomish finery. Not too long ago I shared some of the pics from her New Year's Eve party, linking you to her blog post about it - a post which promptly disappeared. It's back now, though, as is this new post about gay-and-not-so-gay buddies and adventures in kinky nightspots. Io is a great storyteller, so you'll enjoy reading the entry as much as looking at it. I especially loved the bit about the guy huffing Aqua Net. Ugh! I can't even stand the smell of that cheap-ass shit. If I want to get high on something, I'll just run a little Virtual Hypnotist. ;-P Anyway, have a look at Io's blog. She seems like a fun gal to hang out with.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A different kind of Lovecraft artist

Alice Duke, a.k.a. Melora on Deviant Art, does a lot of different kinds of work: some creepy, some cutesy, some Cthulhian. I featured another of her tentacular-type pieces in this previous post, and there's plenty more where those came from.

You can check out her Deviant Art gallery for an assortment of oddities; or if you want to cut right to the good stuff, visit her blog and try clicking on tags like "creepy," "demon" "extra-dimensional," "gods" and "monster."

P.S.: Be sure to click on this thumbnail to see all the subtleties of the full-sized image. I wonder what those teeny little people at the bottom think they're going to do with whatever-it-is they've conjured. I don't think they stand a chance, especially since they seem to be armed only with string. ;-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!

I've just finished a third China Mieville book, Iron Council. That's not an official cover of it at left, but I think this piece of fan art by Joe D (copied from this page), sums up the story better than any of the professional covers I've seen. Iron Council is a novel of "power to the people," power against the people, and most especially the power of Christ figures over the people.

Not that I'm trying to pin a religious interpretation on the book; it's not religious, and neither, as far as I can tell, is China Mieville. So if you don't know what a "Christ figure" means in literary terms, have a quick look here before you read on. I don't want to give you the wrong impression.

Now here we go. The most obvious Christ figure in Iron Council is Judah Low, who's so saintly and so powerful that he can turn the tide of a battle by creating "ab-life" from scratch. In other words, he makes golems. And he's pretty damn inventive with them, too. That's supposed to be him riding one of his creations in the second-from-left picture below (by homarusrex,  who has a lot of other Mieville-related pics in his Deviant Art gallery, although you'll have to beware of spoilers. Big ones.).

I don't think this is a particularly accurate interpretation of Judah or his golems, but I couldn't find anything more appropriate; and anyway Toro (far left) and Jack Half-a-Prayer (second from right) are a couple of other messiah-figures from Iron Council who IMO look spot-on. I also really like the cactus man. That's exactly how I picture them. As for the guy on the right, he's a crayman from The Scar.

Anyway, Mieville's point about Christ figures seems to be that they really aren't messiahs, just (occasionally) naughty boys - and girls - with a lot of power, charisma, and ego. For instance, Judah can be incredibly annoying and hurtful to those who are closest to him, especially poor Cutter. If Judah is a stand-in for Christ, then Cutter is his John, a.k.a. "the beloved disciple." Or if you're tired of religious analogies, you might think of Cutter as Sam to Judah's Frodo (which, if you've already read Iron Council, should give you a giggle. Just think about it for a second. ;-)).

Really, you probably are tired of messiah-talk by now, so I'll just make one more quick note about that and then pretend I'm an ordinary book lover and not an ex-English teacher. The truest "savior" in Iron Council is presented so subtly that you might overlook his/her Christlike qualities altogether. But maybe now that I've clued you in, you won't. I hope you won't. The character really deserves to be recognized.

But what's the book actually about, eh? And how does it stack up against Perdido Street Station and The Scar? Let me start with the easier question: I liked The Scar best, and I liked all three of the novels, but Iron Council is my least favorite. That's due in part to how bleak it is, even though Mieville managed to pull another bittersweet triumph out of his hat at the last moment. I'm beginning to think it's a trademark of his.* I might also have liked the book better if I hadn't been forced to read it in little chunks with lots of down-time between chapters. Because of that, it lost a lot of (heh) momentum for me. I wonder what it would feel like in a re-read. I suppose I'll find out one day. I normally do read good books more than once.

And this is a good book, even though it's pretty hard to summarize without spoiling. I can say this much, though. Iron Council is set about 20 years after Perdido Street Station, and New Crobuzon is full of squabbling, competing resistance movements (which gives me a second good reason for that Monty Python quote above). One of these births a smaller, separate group whose members follow Judah Low. Literally. As the book begins, Low has left the city in search of the Iron Council - which, yes, is partly a train, but that's not all it is - and the people who were closest to him set out in search of him.

Cutter and company end up traveling all the way across the continent and, fairly early on, pick up the guy in the picture (by trabbold) at right above. His name is Drogon, and he has a very, very scary power. He can control people, just by whispering words only they can hear. Just imagine the implications of that. And now imagine those implications again, with the knowledge that Drogon only controls people's bodies; their minds are still free, no matter what he makes them do. I've blogged about body control vs. mind control before, and I still find body control pretty horrific by itself. Plus, with Drogon, you don't know whose side he's really on until near the end of the book. That makes him even more of a threat to your nerves.

During their journeys, Cutter and Judah et al struggle against dangers like smokestone, the Cacatopic Stain, and a relentlessly pursuing militia. Meanwhile, back in New Crobuzon, another pack of dissidents has joined the bull-masked Toro in a plot to kill the Mayor. Then there's a cackly, homeless graffiti artist named Spiral Jacobs, whom I kept imagining as a less-sinister version of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung."

But that's pretty much all I can tell you about Iron Council without telling you too much. I do recommend it, even though I don't recommend getting too attached to most of its characters. ;-/

*along with overuse of the words palimpsest, cosseted, and jag

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

If I only had more places to share this

Unfortunately, I don't have too many web hangouts where a video like this would be appreciated, so consider yourselves fortunate...or not. ;-)

Noodling around again

Don't get me wrong. I love Zooey Deschanel, and I love her as much for her quirky/cute personality as for her adorable face. But when I stumbled across a certain picture of her the other day, I just couldn't resist touching it up. Really, she's just begging for it here, isn't she? (And yes, I'm well aware of the triple entendre I just made, thank you very much ;-))

Interestingly enough, the article accompanying the original picture really does imply that Zooey has been enthralled and turned into something less than the free-spirited pixie she was before....So again, how could I resist? ;-P

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Veiled Suggestions

There's something about veils....

As many of you know, in Western culture, brides traditionally wore veils to show they were under someone's authority: first their fathers' (thus their fathers walking them down the aisle), then their husbands'. Looked at another way, the brides weren't meant for everyone to see; they were meant to be enjoyed by their "owners" alone. The Bible also says women should weir veils over their heads as a symbol of authority - not a symbol of their own authority, but of God's authority over them. Of course, no such command is given to men. ;-/

But enough of the pedantry. When a model wears a veil a certain way, I can imagine that she's not really an individual anymore, not under her own control. Just as her face is obscured, her voice is obscured. Her mind is obscured. She has become less than a person, more of a possession. A body half-seen, half hidden, with just enough mind left to obey her owner's commands.

The photographer Mastertouch seems to get this, posing a lot of models under veils in ways that make them look like slaves, MC'ed or otherwise. The picture above is by him, and here are six more - one with bonus gas mask. The last of the six is his favorite model Meluxine; the others are women you probably don't know by name...which is, of course, entirely in keeping with my subject. ;-)

Now here are three models you do know by name. From left to right, we have Ulorin Vex photographed by Lorraine Gilligan, Angela Ryan photographed by Laura Dark, and Apnea photographed by Lithium Picnic. Interestingly enough, on Deviant Art, Ulorin Vex titled the photograph of her "Broken Bride." I can look at her hollow eyes and imagine this is the final step in a long, long process of brainwashing that resulted in her permanent, formal binding to her Mistress.

Now here's a collection of random photos I've collected from Model Mayhem over the last few years. You might or might not have heard of these people, but I believe in proper attribution of images, and anyway you might want to look them up and find more of their work.

First up is Aria Lee, photographed by sideshowsito, whose work I've featured before on this blog. Next is Sindel Chaos by Chad Michael Ward, and then we have someone or other photographed by artographic.

Lastly, here are Miss Mourning, someone or other photographed by Uberdog, and Felice Fawn.

I hope you've enjoyed this tour through the twisted passages of my mind, and that you'll come back for more.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Busy, busy

It's another extra-heavy work week for me, so I don't have a lot of time to post this morning. But here's a little teaser for what I plan to write about this weekend. The model is Sio, and the photographer is Mastertouch.

Now...where might I be going with this? ;-P

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vibrating nipple pads. 'Nuff said.

Here's another "not what I intended to post" post. I just found the following video via a link from Fark and laughed my ass off.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sweet robot lovin'

I was going to write about my superheroine-gets-MC'ed dream from last night, but then I ran across this entry on io9. It's even better. Cyriaque Lamar has taken the time to catalog 15 robot-love videos of varying awesomeness, and the commenters below the post have added several more.

Right at the top of the page is that gorgeous Bjork video I blogged about once before, so I won't repost it here. There's also a video of Dana Scully (a.k.a. Gillian Anderson, and don't bother telling me it's really the other way around ;-P) chanting about dirty deeds with an automaton. But this is the one I liked the best, aside from Bjork's. It would not surprise me a bit to find out Janelle MonĂ¡e has read A Tenpack of Trixies.