Several months ago, I dumped a bunch of songs into a shuffle playlist and called it "Transformative Weather": things that reminded me of Welcome to Night Vale in some way, things I'd just been listening to then, a couple Dylan covers that I really like and that had come up on shuffle again recently, and some other things that just seemed to fit.
I later refined it into an actual listen-in-this-order playlist, and in celebration of catching up on my episode reactions, I've put it on YouTube, because that is a thing one can do these days. As usual, I have only watched snippets of most of the videos, though I have optimized the start and end times for music-in-background as opposed to video-watching purposes. If you like the songs, support the artists, please.
- "Hard To Make It," by Tracy Grammer (could only find a live version; volume is very low)
- "Bad Luck," by Langhorne Slim & The Law
- "Tallulah," by Company Of Thieves
- "Fire In the Canyon," by Fountains Of Wayne
- "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," by Miley Cyrus
- "Calamity Song," by The Decemberists (Infinite Jest fans, you need to watch this video; volume is very low)
- "Call Me Up," by World Party
- "Radioactive," by Imagine Dragons (yes, I used the WtNV trailer version for the YouTube playlist, because the official video does weird things to the song)
- "That Old Black Hole," by Dr. Dog
- "Long Time Coming," by Delays
- "Gimme Sympathy (live)," by Metric
- "Chloe," by Grouplove
- "With God On Our Side," by K'naan
- "Sleep All Summer," by Crooked Fingers
- "Love Will Save Your Soul," by Grouplove
- "Anna Sun," by Walk the Moon
- "Bottled In Cork," by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
- "Living in Colour," by Frightened Rabbit
- "Graceless," by The National
- "Make It Always Be Too Late," by Del Amitri
(The last song is (a) the one I would pick in a heartbeat if the Night Vale folks showed up on my doorstep and asked me to introduce the weather; and (b) so obscure that last time I looked I couldn't find it on YouTube, only live covers that lacked the instrumentation that gives it the full feel. So yay it being up now.)
Very general comments about the experience below the cut.
( your call on how spoiler-averse you're feeling )
Finally, if you're wondering where the quote "Monday would like you to leave it alone. It is not its fault that you are emotionally unprepared for your professional lives." came from, it was here.
So this starts with the double live episode, Episode 49, "Old Oak Doors," and then goes back through the older ones. I should also mention the live show I saw a while ago, which I will put in a separate post since that episode is not online yet.
And now, the spoilers.
( Episode 49, 'Old Oak Doors' )
( Episode 48, 'Renovations' )
( Episode 47, 'Company Picnic' )
( Episode 46, 'Parade Day' )
( Episode 45.5, 'The Debate' )
( Episode 45, 'A Story About Them' )
( Episode 44, 'Cookies' )
( Episode 43, 'Visitor' )
( Episode 42, 'Numbers' )
( Episode 41, 'WALK' )
( Episode 40.5, 'Condos' )
( Episode 40, 'The Deft Bowman' )
The self-billed "world's leading feminist science fiction convention" has decided that the appropriate response to multiple reports of harassment by Jim Frenkel is to prevent him from attending WisCon in 2015; possibly permit him to attend in 2016, 2017, or 2018, if he "chooses to present substantive, grounded evidence of behavioral and attitude improvement," but not let him attend those years if he doesn't; possibly permit him to return in 2019 even if he doesn't; and, if he's allowed to come back, ban him for the first year from "appearing on programming or volunteering in public spaces."
Why this is terrible, part one, in less than 140 characters:
It's not the job of a convention to rehabilitate a serial harasser. It's their job to offer the greatest possible safety to attendees.
(The longer version is What Conventions Are and Aren't, by rosefox—back in 2012, after a prior well-publicized fandom convulsion about harassment at cons, note. [Disclaimer: I am now volunteering on the Safety Committee that was created as a result. This post is not made in that capacity.])
Why this is terrible, part two:
It strikes me as abundantly clear that, unlike the case with Readercon in 2012, there's no changing it and no hopes of improvement in the future.
First, the statement makes a point of saying "These are official WisCon actions, and will not be affected by future philosophical or policy discussions."
Second, the committee that reached this determination is:
Debbie Notkin, chair [WisCon's newly-appointed Member Advocate]
Ariel Franklin-Hudson [current Head of Safety]
Jacquelyn Gill [chair of the Harassment Policy Committee, at least as of the just-concluded WisCon]
. . . yeah.
Edit: apparently what I meant here was unclear. I meant that given the positions the first three people hold, I hold out no hopes for better things to come: they are the ones in charge of safety for the entire con and they are the ones who are supposed to know better.
Between this and MoonFail in 2011 (various links in this old post), I'm not waiting for strike three. But hey, now I won't have to figure out the best way to get to Madison over Memorial Day weekend! /tiny silver linings
( cut for length )
Thoughts on any of these topics are always welcomed.
(Edit: weirdly, Chad is still not on any science panels, despite being an actual working scientist and one who specializes in public communication regarding science. They claim to have a full track, so maybe they're just full up with people the track leaders already know and committed to, or something? If so, I mean, good for them, but still, kind of weird.)
Here's the official lyrics (click the little horizontal lines next to the song to expand them).
Here's Bruce Springsteen's original:
( video embed )
Acoustic guitar, harmonia, slightly eerie echoing backing vocals, and that delicate guitar work under—is that the bridge, the bit that starts with "Our luck may have died and our love may be cold"? (My musical vocabulary is almost non-existent.) Not the version that crawls into my head and doesn't come out for days, but powerful.
Here's a recent Bruce rendition, with the Sessions Band, off Live in Dublin:
( video embed )
Starts with banjo and acoustic guitar; eventually brings in the full 18-piece backing band including multiple vocalists. Love the banjo-and-guitar sections, but think the overall big-band style fails to convey the necessary darkness.
A classic cover by The Band:
( video embed )
Acoustic Americana; apparently the version that half the world thinks is the original. Very competent, love the mandolin (at least, the Internet claims that's what that first instrument is), but (1) one of the changes it makes to the lyrics has bad associations for me [*] and (2) I also think it doesn't get the tone right.
[*] Instead of, "Now I've been looking for a job but it's hard to find / Down here it's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line," they have "there's winners and there's losers and I'm south of the line." That reminds me that it's the same band that did "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," which I cordially loathe, because it's an extremely catchy and well-crafted song about, as Wikipedia concisely notes, "the last days of the American Civil War and the suffering of Southern whites," which, fuck the Confederacy.
And the cover that sent me down this road, several weeks ago, because it kept coming up on shuffle play at bedtime, by the Hold Steady:
( video embed )
Piano, sax, electric guitar. Granted, it's Craig Finn's voice, but I like the way this version highlights "Last night I met this guy, I'm going to do a favor for him," and I think it hits the proper tone—more sinister than eerie, but that's appropriate too. This is the version that crawls into my head and doesn't come out for days, for whatever reason.
Plus one I came across while looking for the above links, by Mumford and Sons with Haim (contains one audible "fucking"):
( video embed )
(Oh hey, look at that, we can use the non-old embed code on DW now and specify start time with a URL parameter. Cool.)
Electric guitars, full band including strings and horns. Normally I do not care for Mumford and Sons at all, but I like the bass-heavy bluesy feel of the opening verses, especially the second one, which is sung by Este Haim. I just wish the harmonies were tighter (I know, tour, different bands, blah, it just makes me sad). Also there's lots of jamming, if you like that.
And that's about enough of that.
I have things to say! About Readercon and Welcome to Night Vale and four versions of "Atlantic City" and the Hugo & Campbell nominees and the kids and traveling to England and Ireland next month, yikes . . . but I came home from Readercon to find that work had exploded in several different directions. So I will clear one thing off my queue with a short request for assistance, and hope to catch up with other things later.
In a couple months, I am going to re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell for Tor.com for the lead-up to the BBC series (release date as yet unannounced, but probably near the end of 2014). (I will also re-read The Ladies of Grace Adieu.) Sometime after I finish that, I will also re-read the Temeraire series for the lead-up to the release of the final book. [*]
I have two books on the Napoleonic Wars already: The Napoleonic Wars: A Very Short Introduction, by Mike Rapport, which I have just started and am appreciating so far, and Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815, by Charles Esdaile. I expect these will suffice for my military history needs for JS&MN, but if you have very strong feelings about this topic, feel free (after you see the note below).
The next thing I know that I need is a social history of the UK that includes this time period, to give me context on JS&MN's handling of class, gender, nationality, and race. Do you all have any suggestions?
And what else do I need that I don't know I need? I'm going to have to go much wider on the history, military and otherwise, for Temeraire, but let's put that aside for the moment because it's further away. Is there history or literature or anything that JS&MN is engaging with, that your knowledge of enhanced your appreciation of the book? What is it, and what should I read to get up to speed on it, if possible?
(Note: I am way more likely to follow up on your suggestion if you explain why it is relevant specifically to JS&MN and provide enough information for me to find the work you are suggesting. And while I can probably get many academic works via Chad, it would be extra-useful for you to indicate how accessible an academic work is to someone not part of academia, i.e., me.)
[*] While I did The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit chapter-by-chapter, JS&MN is 69 chapters long, and the Temeraire series is eight novels long, so, uh, no. I've very carefully divided JS&MN up into 13 parts of approximately equal length that do not violate chapter or volume boundaries—seriously, a spreadsheet was involved, it was kind of ridiculous—and will be using the handy three-volume structure to divide up each Temeraire book.
I am very excited about these projects, so thanks for helping me get started!
(PS: those of you who prompted me to pitch these forthcoming re-read series, back in the day, by noting the relative lack of female authors in Tor.com's rereads may be interested in today's launch of Judith Tarr re-reading Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy.)
Two kinds of chocolate chips cookies for the bake sale (terrible phone photos) are done. I'll be at the bake sale Saturday morning—come say hi, and by all means please bring something if you're able, no need to ask in advance!
I'll also be on one panel:
Books That Deserve to Remain Unspoiled.
Jonathan Crowe, Gavin Grant, Kate Nepveu, Graham Sleight, Gayle Surrette (moderator).
In a 2013 review of Joyce Carol Oates's The Accursed, Stephen King stated, "While I consider the Internet-fueled concern with 'spoilers' rather infantile, the true secrets of well-made fiction deserve to be kept." How does spoiler-acquired knowledge change our reading of fiction? Are some books more "deserving" of going unspoiled than others? If so, what criteria do we apply to determine those works?
Sunday 10:00 AM, Salon G
And I'll also be chasing the kids around the pool at various points, or hanging out in the lobby, or what-have-you.
And now, I must go pack, because in my experience packing expands to fill all the available time.
Clearly I am never going to get back to this, and so I am putting up this blast from the past just for completeness' sake; the episode+manga reactions are untouched from November except to fix a few typos. (I will expand and annotate the final thoughts just slightly, though.)
( Episode 62 )
( Episode 63 )
( Episode 64 )
( Final thoughts (incomplete) )
Dear self, no matter how many fond nostalgic feelings you have for this show and this manga now, you are not allowed to rewatch it or reread it, because you have way too many other things to be doing. Post timely next time and you won't give yourself belated warm fuzzies.
I figured this out first with shoes, since Zappos has a way better selection than any store around me: right, from trying on a million shoes that don't fit I know I need a strap here, a toe that shape, a sole of this composition; videos suggest this bends well, and reviews say a narrow heel that your foot doesn't slip out of? Awesome, and returns are free so there's no risk if I guess the size wrong. *hits purchase*
But it never occurred to me to try this with clothes until just very recently. And for work clothes, I tend to make do with whatever's reasonably fitting and venue-appropriate, regardless of whether it's also flattering or makes me happy, because if I held out for that then I'd never buy anything. Then I bought a necklace from elisem, didn't have any suitable shirts to wear it with, and had to resort to online shopping to find one, because apparently brown is not an In Color this year. When I went to pick up the shirt from Macy's, my eye landed on a dress that yelled out, "I will be comfortable and flattering and work-appropriate, buy me!" (The listed price is definitely not, by the way, what I paid for it.) And I guessed at a size and it fit perfectly and I went home glowing.
A day or two later, I went looking around the manufacturer's website and discovered that they were having a sale and that a third-party merchant was having a free trial period on free return shipping, so it would be no risk to assume that their sizing held constant. I ruled things out based on my extensive experience of "no, that will look awful on me" and ended up with three summer work-appropriate dresses, which arrived today and all fit great and now I will be happy to get dressed to go to work, go figure.
The morals of this story are: free return shipping is awesome; having shitty luck finding stuff in stores at least can teach you what to avoid when you're narrowing things down; and finding something that fits you from a manufacturer with consistent sizing is a really great stroke of luck.
Ms. Nepveu seems kind of formal—my default association with people calling me that is judges and telemarketers—also hard to say, but Ms. Kate seems . . . weird. And I don't want to use Mrs./Ms. Orzel on principle, because I'm not.
What do/did you all do?
How do you ask your kids' friends to address you?
Mr/Mrs/Ms (Kid's Last Name)
Mr/Mrs/Ms (Your Last Name)
Mr/Mrs/Ms (Your First Name)
Other, which I will put in a comment
I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by--
I am Iron Man.
I'm sorry, I'm not that kind of doctor.
Who the hell is Bucky?
[*] Every time I get an email, from a business or charity I've done business with in the past, with a Subject: that proclaims I should get my dad something, I have this little mental image of leaping through the computer and demanding to be put on a "my father is dead, assholes" marketing exclusion list, preferably with my hands around someone's throat.
Best wishes to fathers of all kinds (especially the non-biological ones), and to all those thinking fondly of fathers today. And strength and support to those for who today's hard, for whatever reason.
(Also to the children having created an elaborate and worryingly wobbly "slide" on the couch using all available cushions (while Chad was awake with them, they aren't getting up without adults yet). Have forced some additional breakfast into them and bribed them with more TV, and so am spared having to stand over vigil that for a little bit longer . . . )
I have a request in for outsidedog_feed to be updated (oops, I just realized I didn't post "moving now!" notices to my old rss feeds, I wonder if I can do that now . . . oh wait, I can just redirect them, nevermind), and I'm also posting updates to Twitter: knepveu_booklog.
Feedback on the site welcome, but please bring comments on the books over there, so conversation isn't split.