[sticky post] take a left just past the Twilight Zone

Welcome to my sandbox!

I'm Merc Rustad, a robot velociraptor in disguise. I write things, attend college (film major),  watch lots and lots of movies, read stuff, and play video games. (When not working at the day jobs, that is.)

I use gender-neutral pronouns (singular they is fine).

I'm also on Twitter: @Merc_hyn_di

You can find a list of my published fiction here.

Next stop...the Twilight Zone.


  • Current Mood: artistic artistic

poetry bug

So, I have recently started writing poetry! And reading a lot of it, because I've discovered I sort of love it. I largely credit this to my fantastic literature professor, Mike Courteau, and also ada_hoffmann, who has been sharing her awesome poems with me (some to beta) for some time.

The gateway drug poem was Pablo Neruda's "I'm Explaining a Few Things" which served as the flipswitch in my brain from "I've read some poems and I like them occasionally" to "OMG THIS STUFF IS THE BEST I MUST HAVE MORE PLEASE."

Most of my poetry (this is still such a strange thing to type!) so far has been decidedly post-apocalyptic. Or else about robots, and sometimes both. (No one will be surprised by that, though. ;))

It's an exhilarating and new and wonderful, and I’m very grateful to the people who helped me discover poetry.


Sometimes, it's really strange what dreams pass the threshold into nightmares.

I've never found the archetypical "being chased" dreams scary. Whether it's zombies or killer vehicles or weird undefined menacing figures, being chased doesn't scare me in dreams--it just pisses me off. I get really, really angry in the dream, to the point I often end up turning around and trying to beat the shit out of whatever is chasing me. (This has...varying results in dreamscape.)

Last night, I got zero sleep because of nightmares.

i dunno if anyone else will find this disturbing, but some of the images might beCollapse )

busy 'bot

So it has been a very busy week in Mercland. Sunday, I was part of a multi-camera shoot which filmed two performances of the amazing Circus Juventas' show NEVERLAND. (That was pretty awesome. Exhausting, but awesome.)

(Then there were midterms, which eh, you know.)

Tonight, I'm periodically filming the moving of a ginormous 100+ yr old house down the street (it's being moved about a block to a new lot). Very cool, but slow--it's supposedly will take them about 7 hrs to move it a short distance. Also the fact they can pick up a 3-story, century-old house and move it down the street on trucks is in and of itself pretty damn cool.

And then tomorrow I'm making a tiny horror movie called PRANK (about creepy phone calls)! Very excited about that--I have my awesome crew and amazing talent, and my sister-in-law and brother are graciously letting us take over their living room for the day.

So yeah. Busy. But a fulfilling kind of busy. I'm gonna make things, guys, it's really awesome. :D

Draft: "Lonely Robot on a Rocketship in Space"

A few days ago, I was organizing Dropbox files when I came across a mostly-finished draft of a story I'd apparently trunked for being too...I don't know. Too superficial and stupid, I think was the reasoning at the time. The creation date of the file was enough evidence to jog memory that I was in...really fucked-up headspace at the time of writing the story.

Because you know what, it is NOT superficial or stupid. It is IMPORTANT, and necessary, and charming, and something I really needed to write and want to share with people. Yes, it is similar thematically to "How To Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps" in that it deals with identity and acceptance and struggle and friendship and depression and hope.

When I reread what I had a few days ago, it made me cry. Then beam by the time I reached the end. It was missing one scene (the hardest scene, which is about the MC coming out to parents), and it took a good week before I could muster the emotional strength and stamina to finish the scene.

Finally did, so I can say the story is drafted. Need to give it a few days to settle before tackling edits, but damn, I am proud of this one.

Title: "Lonely Robot on a Rocketship in Space"
Date: [on the file, start date listed as 9/30/13], finished 8/15/14
Length: 5,000 words
Genre: SF (near future)
Favorite bit: superficially, IM chatlog transcripts, because coming up with usernames is FUN.

It has robots, so many queer characters in positive relationships, and there is art and comics and gaming and chatlogs and lots and lots of Star Wars references.

I hope to be able to share with people in the future.

Movies Watched: July 2014

I finally managed to catch up with some of my movie-watching! Which was great.


Notes: Enjoyed it a lot; a good SF time-loop story, the aliens were cool, and the pace was good. I’m not a fan of the visual execution (a lot of shakycam, although it wasn’t terrible) – I’ve never been overly fond of the in-your-face-in-the-action filming. (Frankly when I watch filmic combat, I usually like to be able to see what the hell is going on.)

Film:  MALIFECENT (2014)
Notes: Ah! I loved, loved, LOVED this movie. It’s dark, gorgeous, thoughtful and subversive. (Really loved the thematic elements similar to Frozen, i.e. “you don’t need a man to save you” and the main relationship being between two women.) I’d expected something much different, and this, to me, was near perfect. Did I mention it’s visually stunning? Because it is. Yes, so much yes.

Notes: Not as terrifying as expected; a decent supernatural thriller. Some really spooky scenes, but overall did not grab me as much as I wanted. (Also I kept expecting the ending to be a complete downer, and it wasn’t. Which…yay I guess? It did seem a little too easy, though.)

Film:  SNOWPIERCER (2013)
Notes: Stunning, intense, evocative and devastating—loved it to pieces. So far the best film I’ve seen in theaters and in close competition to being my favorite SF this year.spoilersCollapse )appreciate how effortlessly diverse the cast is, too. Also Grey? Is the best. This movie also works brilliantly as a dystopian satire; and it works as a straight-up post-apoc action thriller. (The tonal shifts are bizarre, but they work.) I had SO MANY FEELS.

Notes: Lockdown is awesome! The rest of the movie, not so much. (Although the dinobots were, as predicted, awesome; I also liked Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci quite a bit.) I’m all for Transformers 5 being solely about Lockdown’s bounty hunting exploits in spaaaaaace.

Notes: Cractastic stuff shows up in this one (it’s like some weird, Orwellian musical in places); and I guess that’s certainly one way to end a film (blow up the earth).

Film:  BURKE AND HARE (2010)
Notes: An entertaining black comedy about two criminals (Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis are fabulous together).

Film:  WE ARE WHAT WE ARE (2013)
Notes: Visually it’s gorgeous, and has good acting from everyone. I mostly liked it, until the sudden tonal shift at the end, wspoilersCollapse )

Film:  SHARKNADO (2013)
Notes: You can’t un-see it.

Notes: Fantastic overall; visually gorgeous, outstanding performances by the mocap actors, and ends up being a deeply unsettling and sad dystopia (like pretty much all the films in this franchise). Really loved it.

Notes: This was painful to watch.

Film:  THE PURGE: ANARCHY (2014)
Notes: Really, really liked this one! It has a fantastic, diverse cast; it’s dark but not hyperviolent; there’s lots of women and there is no rape or blatant sexualization or exploitation going on with the female characters (SO refreshing); Frank Grillo is THE BEST and should be in all the things; it respects the audience and the characters and there is a minimal of stupid-for-plot-convenience going on. It’s solid, and while there’s an annoyance of shakycam and some clunky dialogue at times, it’s very watchable and entertaining. I was impressed.

Film:  HERCULES (2014)
Notes: Dumb, campy, pretty entertaining. Reminds me of a mix of Conan and The Scorpion King. Although the trailers are highly deceiving, within the first ten minutes the movie sets its tone and focus, so I didn’t have a problem with it. (Also, it has The Rock, and you can't go wrong with The Rock.)

Film:  THE PURGE (2013)
Notes: Not bad; rather formulaic for a home break-in horror film, but I liked moments of it. (Sequel is much better, though.) This makes me hope future Purge movies will continue to explore the concept.

Notes: This movie was lots of fun. Groot is entirely worth the 2 hrs of other things going on, because Groot is the BEST. (I found the plot/story rather confusing and convoluted to the point I just tuned out of Plot and enjoyed Groot; I do have some background knowledge of the whole Thanos thing, but that didn’t much help me follow most of it. Although it was also midnight after being at school all day, so I was not braining very well. On the bright side, if you can follow ‘Lee Pace, who is COVERING HIS FACE WITH TERRIBLE MAKE-UP WHY ARE YOU COVERING LEE PACE’S FACE AT ALL, is out to destroy a world because Reasons, so the Guardians want to save it because Reasons, and also Groot’ then it’s a lot of fun. The action, humor, or general pacing carry the film even if the plot details get obscured in way too much backstory and tie-ins to other films.)

Really, just watch it for Groot. Groot is the best.

on anger

I've never had trouble writing characters who are angry. I've noticed that, of the few emotions I think I can reliably translate in fiction, anger is the dominant one.

Most of the time IRL, I present as very calm and collected, very easygoing. (Which is oftentimes the case; because I get easily stressed out, having the 'cool and calm' act together is a way of coping and influencing other people to stay calm so we don't get sucked into an endless stress loop that escalates beyond control. Also because I have a limited number of energon cubes per day, I had to teach myself how not to care and how to detach, because many small things are not worth the investment.)

Being calm and collected does not negate being angry about things.

It took one of those self-realization moments to I acknowledged that yes, I have a lot of suppressed/repressed anger. It encompasses many things. It's very real.

It's also one of the things I was taught early on, overtly and subversively, I wasn't "allowed" to have. So I tended to bury it all and act like nothing bothered me, or act like things that constantly pissed me off (being called the wrong name, for example) were "okay," since getting mad was considered an inappropriate response; and yes, Hulking out would probably not be productive most of the time, but the key difference is Hulk is allowed to be mad (he is a cis, straight, white male, after all--even when green).  If I got mad, it was dismissed, disapproved of, shut down.

(There is a verbal/non-verbal component to this, too--I'm not good at verbals, I don't _like_ communicating verbally most of the time, as it takes a lot of effort and energon cubes; but in physical interactions with people, there is a decided preference and prevalence of verbal as king. Growing up, I couldn't articulate things; now, at least, written communication on the internet is a Thing and makes my life much easier.)

It's not that I wanted to get into fights or arguments (arguments = major stress); what I really wanted was to be able to acknolwedge and express being angry from time to time (even if, consciously, I did not have a way to articulate that until recently), and that was not considered acceptable, so I repressed it all out of self-defense.

(And also, having other people dismiss actual feelings, especially negative ones, was a thing--and when it happens enough, you start to realize that it's better to be fake all the time rather than actually have feelings.)

But you know what? Fuck this internalized oppression. I'm allowed to acknowledge the anger and feel it and say "there are things that make me angry" and "I am angry and I don't owe anyone an essay response as to why if I don't feel like it." It's not easy to openly acknowledge this (yet), and so writing this post was hard. I do think it's necessary to say, however.

So yes, there is anger. I have a lot of it. Sometimes it makes me feel like the Hulk, only without the physical manifestation into a giant green wrecking-ball. (I also prefer to channel anger into more productive and creative pursuits, like writing or cleaning the house, because I'm pretty sure punching buildings hurts your knuckles unless you ARE the Hulk.)

Having emotions is okay, and the things I feel are VALID, including the anger. This is something I have struggled most of my life to understand and accept about myself.

I consider this post a step forward. 
  • Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful