for a variety of obvious reasons, but the AV Club's binge-watcher/reviwer is ending all her reviews with a Hamilton lyric that sums up her binge-watching mental state, which I thought y'all might like to know.

They are: )
65 "definitely recommend" fics out of last year's Yuletide is more than enough, right? (It's more than I've recommended in the last few years, anyway.) I don't have to reread the 93 stories tagged "maybe" in Evernote in case some of them have turned into gold since then? (Especially since I have a couple of this-year betas to deal with?)

(Edit: oh, damn it, I said to myself "wait, where is that thing that I remember very vividly," and it turned out to be in the "maybe" tag, and when I was scrolling I saw a bunch of things that made me say "wait, what?" so I think I will be doing a slash-and-burn pass through that tag after all. But after this-year beta'ing, as much as I can now. Ugh, my brain.)
The Pip rediscovered his camera today (the kids both have real ones, though old, because made-for-kids cameras are terrible) and took 241 pictures, mostly at the fire station for a Girl Scouts tour [*], three of which I thought I'd share, plus one I took.

[*] Without SteelyKid, perversely, because I assist with Girl Scouts and Chad assists with Odyssey of the Mind, which had its first meeting today, so they both needed to be at that, and so the Pip needed to be at one of those, and was much better off rampaging the fire station than sitting at a meeting.

First, a pair of portraits of me: one I took because, for some reason I was never entirely clear on, a social media circle elsewhere was doing selfies in hoodies. As I said then, I don't wear hoodies, but I stopped to take this before I headed out into the rain. I rather like the severity of it and the slightly mysterious air the raincoat's hood provides:

hooded figure selfie )

Next is the one the Pip took today, because it's nice to be reminded of his literal POV (lots of pictures of my belly in the full set) and because it demonstrates his breathtaking lack of personal space. Also, my hair is very shiny in this.

portrait in extreme closeup )

And while we're doing selfies, the Pip's first attempt, which is extremely blurry because it's an old camera and thus doesn't have a flip screen, but amused me:

super blurry Pip )

Finally, one arty picture worthy of his dad, a fire truck's shiny hubcap (also a portrait of us):

selfie in hubcap )

(Probably you want actual pictures of the Pip, too, and Chad's got you covered: leaping into a leaf pile, leaning over a book that SteelyKid is reading him, with said book on his birthday, and sitting in the driver's seat (SteelyKid too). Also, SteelyKid in her taekwondo sparring gear, because I found it while looking for the rest of these.)

And he barely objected to taking his amoxycillin (he got strep a week and a day after his sister), so on the whole, a good night.

proof )

[Image: Garnet from Steven Universe wagging her finger, from SO1E52, "Jail Break"]

how to with free Windows software )
I am viciously angry about the news and discussion of the news in multiple directions and in ways that mean I shouldn't talk about it, so here is something deliberately light, a Storify about linguistics in Hamilton.
Okay, I graduated high school in 1994, which means that that four-movie run of sheer musical brilliance in Disney animation (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King) is literally the soundtrack of my high school years, and even though I know a lot of those won't hold up well I still have really fond memories of listening to those soundtracks over and over and over, and thus:

Lea Salonga, the original voice of Jasmine, joins Lin-Manuel Miranda to sing "A Whole New World." Text cannot convey my delight.

(And LMM does quite well, at least as far as I can tell through headphones because the kids are sleeping.)

(Now I just have to finish Steven Universe so I can tell you all about my second-favorite song from it that has peak Disney Princess voice from Deedee Magno Hall as Pearl while subverting classic-Disney-style stories in at least three different ways.)


Nov. 9th, 2015 09:23 pm
(Or why there will be no kid developmental update post tonight, despite the Pip turning 4 on Saturday.)

- SteelyKid has strep.

+ SteelyKid gets to stop the loathsome antibiotic she was taking for something else (four times a day!) and take bubble-gum flavored amoxycillin that she actually likes.

- I'm allergic to amoxycillin so we get to watch her for that.

+ She's been in a really great energetic mood since just before dinner...

- ...but still needs to stay home tomorrow, which actually puts a bigger dent in Chad's productivity than if she were a sleepy lump on the couch.

+ The Pip is four, so it's time to do bedtime just like his sister: one of us sits on the bed for two songs, sets a timer, comes back when timer beeps to check up.

- Crying. Lots.

- Eventually had to sit on bed and hold his hand for fifteen minutes until he went to sleep.

- Goal of letting him learn to put self to sleep, in hopes that he will put self BACK to sleep in middle of night instead of waking me up, is going to be a long haul.

+ But I didn't have to lie down and cuddle him until he feel asleep?

- And now, work. And paranoia about my own throat.
. . . because I couldn't stop grumping in my head about Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel. Fairly or unfairly, as you'll see.

(Comments disabled because I hate split conversations. No login needed over there!)
Edit: actually I took it out of storage and am way closer to finishing the body than I thought, so I think I'm going to push ahead with what, I now remember, was a kind of improvised vertical pattern, and see how it ends up.

obsolete )
Attolia sings "Fight for It " to the tune of "Wait for It."
Here's the LJ announcement post, and here's direct links to the unofficial Google docs form to offer to beta for Yuletide, and the resulting spreadsheet. As usual, I limited my general beta offer to stuff that seemed rarer; if you think I might know it, feel free to ask here. Comments are screened.
Hamilton is a Broadway musical that posits that the music of the American Revolution and the early days of the United States would be hip-hop and tells the story of Alexander Hamilton through that lens, using a main cast that's all POC except King George III. It is musically brilliant and emotionally engaging and entirely not for everyone; I'm setting a timer (I am, in fact, going to write like I'm running out of time) and in that time I'm going to try and give you, dear reader, a sense of whether it's for you.

First, content notes: history is spoilers )

Second, well, it is about the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers, from the perspective that the project and the people were flawed but on the whole were positive. And if that's not a thing you want in your entertainment, that's cool. Here are some dogs photographed mid-air.

Third, the music. You absolutely don't need a background in hip-hop to appreciate this (though you'll recognize a lot of references if you do; ditto Broadway musicals), but if rap isn't your thing for reasons of taste, auditory processing, whatever, this is not going to work for you: not all of it is rap, but enough is that it'd be a dealbreaker.

Here's the bit that sold me, the third song, "My Shot." The entire album is on Spotify; someone's also put it up on YouTube, which might be authorized, so here's a link. The first song sums up Alexander Hamilton's life before he hits New York (orphaned, self-taught immigrant, came to public attention by writing a poem); you can hear an early version of it that the creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, performed at the White House. The second song introduces Hamilton to Aaron Burr, who gives him the unwelcome advice "Talk less. Smile more." and brings in three supporting characters, the Marquis de Lafayette ("America's favorite fighting Frenchman!"), Hercules Mulligan (here aged down to a tailor's apprentice), and John Laurens (abolitionist).

Here are their introductions in "My Shot" and Burr telling them to pipe down, which are annotated over at (the album comes with lyrics, thank goodness):
lyrics )
And here's Hamilton's response, a.k.a. the bit that made me laugh out loud and love this forever:
Burr, check what we got.
Mister Lafayette, hard rock like Lancelot,
I think your pants look hot,
Laurens, I like you a lot.
Let’s hatch a plot blacker than the kettle callin’ the pot...
What are the odds the gods would put us all in one spot,
poppin’ a squat on conventional wisdom, like it or not,
a bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists?
Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is!
I just. That's amazing. The end.

And yet, the same song, later on, combines both the reason why the form of this musical is genius and why its subject matter isn't for everyone:
Scratch that,
this is not a moment, it’s the movement
where all the hungriest brothers with
something to prove went?
Foes oppose us, we take an honest stand,
we roll like Moses, claimin’ our promised land.
(The question mark is in the album lyrics; I wouldn't have transcribed it that way.) Because yes, hungriest brothers and the movement, and no, not your promised land, not promised to you, not your land, no.

Anyway. The music is catchy as fuck; I've already mentioned "My Shot," and while I don't love "Wait for It" the way some people do, "The Room Where It Happens" is growing on me, and I share the love for the Darth Vader Boyfriend Britpop of King George III ("and when push / comes to shove / I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love!"). It's also very cleverly structurally, though my experience with musicals is limited so I'm not sure if that's an ordinary selling point for the form. You can understand almost everything by just the cast album, because everything but one scene (note: history is spoilers) is in it.

(Also, here's a cut rap dissing John Adams because I love it; NSFW because of audible cursing.)

Quick last thoughts:

Don't be like me and listen to the last several songs while driving! I knew it would be emotional but I was not just leaking tears but flat-out sobbing while driving, which was really stupid and unsafe. (It didn't occur to me to, uh, stop listening, because I wasn't thinking clearly.)

(Edit) Passes Bedchel by the skin of its teeth, but the women are amazing and I love Eliza and Angelica's relationship, and that Eliza gets the last word. (However I really hate the treatment of Maria, even though it's Alexander POV.)

Here are some more introductory links and discussion from [personal profile] rydra_wong. Here is a delightful (spoilery, naturally) summary of each song in one line in case you can't remember which song is which: side a, side b (as reblogged by Miranda himself).

#Ham4Ham is a thing where they do lotteries for cheap tickets, and sometimes do shows before the lottery drawings; this is one where they do a whole song, “Ten Duel Commandments”, with the stage manager calling the lighting etc. cues in the background, so you can actually get a sense of how the song is staged.

And now I'm out of time. In the sense that my timer has been beeping.
But in advance of the certain deluge of Hamilton/Burr hatesex from Yuletide, may I suggest to the slash writers Hamilton/Laurens, which is also suggested by the lyrics and has the advantage of being a genuine historical possibility? As in, here's an academic article (PDF) on the subject?

(I'll also be interested, in a sort of anthropological way, how much fic writers take up the blatant Hamilton/Washington daddy issues--not my thing, having recently-ish acquired a power-differential squick--but really, the lyrics are flat-out inviting it.)

I would also like to strongly encourage everybody-lives-and-nobody-cheats AUs; here's a delightful modern one from magneticwave called "the challenge demands satisfaction" (4k, teen and up).

*goes back to mentally practicing "revolutionary manumission abolitionists" while waiting for doctor*
The Organization for Transformative Works, which among other things runs the Archive of Our Own, is having Board elections from November 6-9.

If you're not already a member, you can't vote—they changed it this year so that the October 2015 membership drive would not count toward membership for the 2015 elections, unlike in past years. This is frankly pretty shitty: "hey, give us money because you care about the direction of the organization, but if you're new, you'll have to wait a year to give actual meaningful input into that direction!"

In addition, as has become clear to me over the last year+ worth of reading newsletters, the organization is painfully slow (the strategic plan has been in the works for literally years), and from reading the candidates' manifestos (here's a summary), it seems the OTW doesn't have any planned budgets and generally seems to have focus problems.

Finally, the Board's removal of one of the candidates during the election process seems like, at best, a tone-deaf ill-timed adherence to hypertechnicalities—and that's just from reading the Board's own announcement. There's also no information on whether the current Board member who is standing for election was recused from this decision. I am perfectly happy to believe that that Board member acted ethically, but it's troubling that the Board didn't think to address that concern preemptively.

Voting is in preferential order; I haven't decided my order yet, but based on reading statements (principally), as well as endorsements (some public), I will be voting for Alex Tischer, Aline Carrão, Atiya Hakeem, Katarina Harju, and Matty Bowers.

I didn't take notes, so this is reconstructed by scrolling through IMDB (and thus is in order of release date).

  • Crimson Peak. Still wish I watched horror, which I do not, because look how pretty they all are/this all is.
  • In the Heart of the Sea. Thanks, but I think Master and Commander has filed my lifetime quota for all-dude maritime period pieces. (It does have the actress who played Arabella Strange, Charlotte Riley—who, whoa, I did not realize was married to Tom Hardy!—as Chris Hemsworth's long-suffering wife waiting at home, though.)
  • The Big Short. So let me get this straight. This is a movie about four white dudes who profited off the 2008 housing collapse and we are supposed to ROOT FOR THEM?! Fuck off and die. (Also, two women speak in the trailer: a complicit banker and a stripper. I am not joking.)
  • Joy. Biopic starring Jennifer Lawrence (who at some points looks so much like Renee Zellweger that it distracted me). I have no interest in it but hope it does well.
  • Concussion. About the doctor who first published research on CTE in NFL players. Nice subtle makeup job of making Will Smith just enough different-looking that he's not immediately Will Smith!! when you first see him. I decided before last season that I could no longer care about the NFL, for this among other reasons, so I also hope this does well.
  • The Revenant. Does this fridge Leonardo DiCaprio's brown son as part of his motivation for vengeance against Tom Hardy? Sure looks like it. Pass.
  • The Forest. Starring Natalie Dormer (+), horror (-), set in Aokigahara (-).

And I think that's it. So, so many trailers.

We saw this last Friday and I haven't had the time to write it up, but honestly I'm doing more so out of obligation/putting things on the record: it's very enjoyable and I've barely thought about it since.

Okay, that's not true, because I am an analytical type when it comes to my entertainment, but much less than some other things.

In short: very entertaining; successfully adapts the book in terms of streamlining and making emotions more present (Mark is a very peculiar brand of unreliable narrator, in that he says "I cried" and you don't really feel it on a gut level); surprisingly resists the urge to Hollywood it up until the end; could've done better on casting in terms of racial representation, but it could've been worse, too; whoever did the soundtrack was having a lot of fun.

As for the casting bits: Kapoor is Hindu in the book and is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the movie; he does have a line about his father being Hindu and his mother being Baptist in the movie, but when Irrfan Khan turned them down (h/t [personal profile] musesfool), well, it's nice they didn't go with a white guy, but it's not like there's only one Indian actor out there in the world, you know? With that casting, the only visibly Asian main characters were of East Asian ancestry. On a similar note, point for casting Rich Purnell (race not specified in book) with Donald Glover, and minus for not casting Mindy Park with an actress of Korean ancestry. (Point for making one of the guys in China a woman, as well.)

Finally, I don't know what Sean Bean and his non-American accent were doing in this movie. I am entirely willing to believe it was solely in the service of a particular meta joke that had the entire theater laughing uproariously, but I shamefully admit that I think it was worth it: tiny, tiny spoiler ).

And now, some spoilers about the adaptation and ending:

spoilers how for the movie ends, and the book too )

I dipped into the fandom tag on AO3 and was depressed to find it was full of Watney/Beck (a.k.a. the power of two vaguely conventionally attractive white dudes—seriously, they have minimal interaction in the movie, and if you must break up canonical m/f pairings, Martinez is his best friend in the book), so I will take any gen recs from you all, but I can enthusiastically recommend the Interstitial series by Lanna Michaels, which is a book-style continuation (so far two short-ish pieces) that's perfectly in character and just terrific. Also, for the brilliant crack, Lanna also did a fusion with Jonathan Strange. And now the kids' morning TV is done so I will save the trailers until later.
Anecdote one:

A few days ago, the Pip told me that "Mister Nobody" was his invisible friend's first name.

His full name is Mister Nobody Patootie-Booty-Butt Something.

Anecdote two:

Tonight SteelyKid attempted to fend off bedtime through a monologue recreating the history on Earth by going from her and her brother, to her ancestors back to her great-great-grandparents (one generation at a time), then to cousins of cousins, then to the interconnectedness of all humanity, then to humanity's primate ancestors, then a side trip to birds and dinosaurs, then to the start of life on Earth, and then the formation of the Earth itself.

And now, since I was up at five this morning to take the Pip for a minor surgical procedure (probe of not-properly-draining tear duct; required general anesthesia because eye; all's well), I must get the laundry out of the dryer and faceplant into bed.
I thought work would get better after mid-September! And it did, briefly. And now I just shut down the work VPN, a little before midnight.

So some days I manage to read DW and more days I don't, but I'm going to try to reverse that ratio.

Let me tell you, very quickly, two stories about late-night interactions with public safety officials—all happy endings:

1) The CO/smoke detector in SteelyKid's room wouldn't stop beeping even after I changed the batteries, so the nice fire fighters came and ran their detectors all around and kindly told me that the units tend to have a lifespan of 7-10 years. (She's 7. We installed the monitor shortly before she was born.) I felt alternately foolish and vindicated for having called them out on a weekend night.

The good news there is that thanks to California, you can now buy CO/smoke detectors with 10-year batteries in them, so you never have to change them. We bought three the next day and I put replacing them in my reminder program.

2) It's 2:45 a.m. on Sunday night (Monday morning) and I haven't been to sleep yet because stress and wakeful Pip and a rotten headache. And I think I hear a quiet knocking, maybe on the front door? I bolt upright, and listen hard, and just as I'm deciding I was mistaken and am lying back down, I hear it again. It's definitely someone knocking on the front door.

I freak out and wake up Chad, which is unkind of me because he has a terrible time going back to sleep and because someone with ill intent isn't going to be knocking on the front door (we live in suburbia with two cars in the driveway, so it's not like a burglar checking for occupancy), but I was beyond rational thought by that point.

Turns out it was just the cops, who'd seen that the sliding doors in Chad's minivan were open and wanted him to check if there was anything missing/damaged. (There wasn't. It was almost certainly an unlucky bump of the remote, which can open the sliding doors, and which he keeps in a pocket.) I mean, I appreciate it, but couldn't they have shut the doors and left a note?!

And that's some slices of life in Chateau Steelypips.
FB & G+ tend to get all the kid pictures, so, giant children are giant:

with Kate for scale )

First day of second grade, today. The Pip starts pre-K in a week.

Edit: 49.25" and 41.5", respectively.

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