I'm not holding my breath, though. And if he hasn't shown up by 6:30, I'm calling them again to complain.
I'm not holding my breath, though. And if he hasn't shown up by 6:30, I'm calling them again to complain.
Spoilers for all versions of Fullmetal Alchemist.
( FMA 3, 'Mother' )
( FMA:B 2, 'The First Day' )
( FMA 5, 'The Man with the Mechanical Arm' )
( FMA 6, 'The Alchemy Exam' )
( FMA 7, 'Night of the Chimera's Cry' )
( FMA:B 4, 'An Alchemist's Anguish' )
Meanwhile, we are getting to know Xia Dong, Princess Nihuang’s bestie, who still refuses to speak to Prince Jing. She is loyal and honest and a fierce warrior. (And she has a very, very bumpy ride ahead of her.)
Finally, Princess Nihuang is confused and intrigued by this reclusive scholar who has the power to send military aid to a province on the other side of the continent, and yet who refuses to set foot in a falling-down house . . . and we see the building emotional cost to MC when spending more time with the princess and with Jing.
The next few eps are the midpoint of act one, and reach a climax I thought really intense on the first watch. I couldn’t believe that the intensity was going to scale upward exponentially—but it does. And by intensity I don’t mean climbing body counts, which enervate me fast. I mean real, personal stakes. Emotional cost. Political layers with real cost. So much intensity, so much beauty.
( Read more... )
I liked that it was nearly dialogue free (and I didn't mind that I couldn't understand half the dialogue that there was), but I felt that the structure was overly fiddly and unnecessary and it kept me from full immersion (um, pun not intended?) emotionally. Also the music was too loud and there was too much of it.
It also suffers a little from Band of Brothers syndrome in that I couldn't tell the two young dudes apart for most of the story. Once they're both wet so you can't tell which one has curly hair and which one has straight hair, I couldn't tell them apart, and I honestly didn't care that much about them beyond the generic - I mean, I didn't want any of those guys to die, and I felt there was nothing specific about those two to make me care more. ( spoilers ) (Otoh, casting Harry Styles - who was good, I thought - was a smart move, because I always recognized him, even half-drowned.)
Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh (and James D'Arcy!) were great, as was Tom Hardy. I mean, I would have watched a whole movie where Tom Hardy ( spoiler ) But overall, it's a B to B+ kind of movie for me. I wouldn't see it again.
If you do see it, I can say it was definitely worth seeing in 70mm, if you have that option. Otoh, if you have a fear of drowning, I don't recommend it for you.
Both L and I had similar mixed feelings. We discussed it on the walk to the bus stop, and my god, I have never sweated as much as I sweated yesterday - it was not a day for walking but I did a lot of it. I was so overheated that I never once felt cold in the movie theater despite being sleeveless, which has never ever happened to me before.
Before the movie we were going to meet at a Mexican place that looked good, but it was so jam packed with people, we ended up at the Cafe Tallulah, where the cheeseburger is fantastic, but again, on a day as hot as yesterday, wtf were the front windows all doing open, so you couldn't feel the air conditioning hardly at all? I never sweated so much in my life while doing nothing.
In the meantime, an interesting discussion, which I hope to wring another BVC blog post out of. (It's getting hard to figure out something to write, but I committed to it, so . . . besides, it's good for me to test my ideas against others. Too easy to get locked inside my head.)
Anyway, the discussion subject was words you don't use. I don't necessarily mean cuss words you avoid, but words that have too much freight for whatever reason. Like, the discussion got started when someone mentioned that when we were growing up, nobody ever said the word 'cancer' or wrote it. Sick, ill, other euphemisms, but she felt that there was this tremendous fear around the word because it was always a death sentence, especially as the constant cigarette atmosphere around us started catching up with people at not very old ages. Saying it was impolite, like saying pregnant (expecting was the word back then), but also there was a kind of superstition like mentioning it would invite it.
Another person said she refuses to use the word 'literally' because she hears it so much, usually used wrong, that is, as an emphasizer, which she sees as sloppy language.
A third person at that discussion said that that was weird, and why avoid any word?
Stage of Fools on LJ | Stage of Fools on Dreamwidth
Sign-up post on LJ | Sign-up post on Dreamwidth
Sign-ups: July 22 through August 18, 2017
Assignments go out: around August 20, 2017
Assignments due: October 20, 2017
Madness/prompt claiming time: October 20 through 31 - as soon as all assignments are in, all unwritten prompts will be revealed for everyone to write fic of any length. You don't have to sign up as a Stage of Fools participant to participate in Madness.
Go-live: November 1, 2017
Author reveal: November 5, 2017
My Xiaomi is legit dying on me. I left it home, off, and I swear the battery ran down a little while I was gone. I wonder if it has to do with cycling cords around. I got a bit desperate, so even though I have a mini-USB port replacement on the way, I panicked, looked up some phones, and it turns out that Best Buy carries Samsung Galaxy J7s, DUAL-SIM with all the GSM bands I need. (My phone needs tend to be very simple: dual-SIM, all the GSM bands, FM radio.) The screen resolution isn't as good as the Xiaomi's (there are a lot of things the Xiaomi, by all accounts a cheaper inferior phone, has that the Galaxy does not) but honestly I don't care right now. Might still have to go to Batteries and Bulbs to switch over the SIM cards because I can't for the life of me figure out how to do it myself (UGH smartphone aesthetics are SO aggravating) but maybe this will be for the best? The phone itself was surprisingly cheap so I'm feeling pretty good about it.
I swam at least 15 laps today. Could have been 16, because I lost count somewhere. My brain is so scattered at the moment it felt like if I didn't keep repeating the lap number to myself as I swam, I'd forget it as soon as I hit the other side. I don't like that feeling.
I have gotten out of the habit of chasing down fan vids and would like to download some to my laptop for enjoyment purposes. I find them to be a lovely pick-me-up--they don't necessarily have to be cheerful vids. But I probably can't deal with extreme gore or realistic violence (I've seen half an extremely well done Hannibal vid that I had to nope out of because I am chicken).
Some vids already in my collection that I really like, to give you an idea (in no particular order):
- bironic's "Starships"
- bopradar's "I Kissed a Girl"
- Lithium Doll's "All These Things"
- laurashapiro's "Ing"
- giandujakiss's "A Charming Man"
- obsessive24's "Cuckoo" and "Remember the Name"
- shati's "Hope on Fire"
- sisabet's "Cowboy" and "Two Words"
Fandoms I especially like watching/or have some clue about:
- I like the visuals of Game of Thrones although I've only watched one episode (have read most of the extant books, though)
- The Good Place
- recent Star Wars
- The Great Queen Seondeok
- The Good Wife
That being said, if the vid can be understood without having seen the show, I'm happy to watch it. :)
Kel Cheris is a gifted mathematician underemployed as an infantry officer. Shuos Jedao is the technological ghost of a genocidal general. Together, they fight crime, where "crime" is defined as heresy against the calendar. In Yoon Ha Lee's brilliant device, a calendar is a social contract from which physics - and hence, weaponry - flow. Calendrical heresy disables these weapons and thus undermines the power of the state.
If you love bold, original world-building, reflections on colonialism, and complicated relationships between clever protagonists who have every reason to distrust one another, you'll eat up the Machineries of Empire series as avidly as I did. If military SF and n-dimensional chess sound like a bit of a slog, see if you can stick with it anyway. The language and imagery are utterly gorgeous, and these very timely stories have a great deal to say about complicity, responsibility, and the mechanisms of societal control.
Photo of Jupiter's Great Red Spot from 8000 miles above it. How's that for a big storm? (via)
Rank reversal aversion in action. (via?)
Your car has just been crushed by hagfish: Frequently Asked Questions. The first is "Wait, what?" The answer is a link to the incident report. (via)
Subject quote from "To Mr. Christopher Brooke: The Storm," John Donne.
The complete Derek Jarman, Super 8 shorts and music videos included. Herzog's Fitzcarraldo (1982), because it has always confused me that you can get the documentary from Criterion but not the film itself. Anything by Ulrike Ottinger, but especially Johanna d'Arc of Mongolia (1989) and Taiga (1992), which one could and should pair. Some kind of box set of Dennis Potter, making sure not to leave out the long-banned original TV version of Brimstone and Treacle (1976). Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's Smoke (1995). Some reasonable amount of Peter Greenaway, but The Pillow Book (1996) and Prospero's Books (1991) in their proper aspect ratio should head the list. Fred Zinnemann's Act of Violence (1948), a knockout noir about memory and atrocity with far less of a reputation than it deserves. Max Ophüls' The Reckless Moment (1949), one of the most devastating—and feminist—noirs I've ever seen. John Ford's The Long Voyage Home (1940), Eugene O'Neill's favorite film realization of any of his plays. Ben Wheatley's A Field in England (2013). And while I'm dreaming of ponies, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953).
—There are other movies I'd like to see from Criterion, of course. Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man (1973), especially considering the plethora of versions that have existed over the years (and may still be buried under the M4). I don't know if they'd go for Roy Ward Baker's The October Man (1947) unless it was part of a set of British noir, but seriously, how bad would that be? If they can announce an upcoming release of Agnieszka Smoczyńska's The Lure (2015)—the day after my birthday, I appreciate it—surely they could provide me with a nice edition of Marcin Wrona's Demon (2015). I'm sort of confused they've never done anything by Dorothy Arzner. I'm really confused they haven't already done the Wachowskis' Bound (1996). And so on. Some of it is the definitive home release idea, but a lot of these movies I would just like to be able to show people more easily than 35 mm or unpredictable flybys on TCM.
Also, yesterday, my consolation birthday present arrived - a beautiful red patent leather Love Moschino tote bag (wow, there were three left in stock when I ordered mine and now there are none! I'm glad I got there in time!). During the whole epic search for a new bag, I coveted a red patent leather bag, but couldn't find one (or, rather, couldn't find one that was less than, like, $800 and while I'm profligate, I'm not that profligate), since I guess they aren't in style right now? Except it's red patent leather so I can't imagine how it could go out of style? But whatever. On a whim on Wednesday, I checked Zappo's to see if there were any available, and lo and behold, there it was. It's beautiful. It's big and kind of unwieldy (and unpleasantly sticky against the bare skin of my arm in the heat), but I don't care, because it's gorgeous.
Bosses 1 & 3 both admired it as I unpacked it from the box, and they were like, "Are you going to save it for special occasions?" and I said, "Hell no!" (note: I did not actually say "Hell no!" I just said, "no! I bought it so I could use it! Because it is beautiful!") And I recommend to all of you to use your beautiful and special things rather than waiting for some mythical special occasion to crop up, because frequently, you will be waiting forever and never get to enjoy the beautiful thing you bought for yourself. Using a special bag/wearing your beautiful new shoes/opening that expensive bottle of wine - they can all make a regular occasion special, and I recommend you do that rather than wait for some occasion arbitrarily deemed "special" enough to break out the fancy lipstick or whatever. Live your best life whenever you can, people!
I want autumn and wearing layers and pulling out things made of wool.
Speaking of wool, I am wearing new sneakers made of wool today, for which I paid full price and I don't care because my poor arthritic foot bones are loving them so very much. The tops are soft! The insides are soft! There appears to be adequate support! They are from Allbirds and I never want to take them off. For the most part, they are not too hot, though I haven't tried them standing in the high humidity all day yet.
I am tempted to buy a pair of the loungers as well, for dayjob wear. (I snuck the sneakers in today because it's Friday and also hardly anyone is here.)
I REALLY wanted to go to the Nerds of Color meetup in San Diego tomorrow, but I don't think I can make it =( I'd need a place to stay, and it only just occurred to me that I could take a Greyhound down, but the times just don't work. SIGH!
Anyway it is 1am and I need to go to bed, blurgh.
Eleanor Davis — How to be Happy
This is a collection of Davis' short comics, which are all over the place in style, length, and media. Davis is a really good cartoonist, and her more out-there art styles (the spindle-legged huge-torso look) are legit unique — the sort of thing that shouldn't work nearly as well as it does.
I liked these shorts; they felt like they were holding me at arm's length a lot of the time, but they did unexpected stuff and followed through on their swing. And Davis' cartooning is real engaging even when you're not really feeling a given story.
Books I stopped reading: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter — The Long Earth
I stopped reading this about a third of the way through, because it lacked all of the things I'm looking for when I pick up a Terry Pratchett book.
John Darnielle — Universal Harvester
To be honest, I'm still trying to figure out what I think of this one. I was very much not satisfied at the end, and I'm trying to decide how much of that was the whole point, and how much of it was JD's reach exceeding his grasp this time. I might end up not deciding.
This had certain rewards anyway, despite the way it trailed off in the back third or so. There's this kind of roaring hollowness behind every paragraph that I feel really fuckin' nails why I find rural and small-town America scary, and not jump-scare scary but existential dread scary. JD was onto something here, and it's pretty compelling for a while. But it seems like an unfinished thought, and I put the book down with the sensation that someone had walked out of the room in the middle of a sentence and was not going to come back.
Again, it's possible that was the point.
Italo Calvino — Invisible Cities
Whoa, this was great! Not quite a novel, not quite short stories, more just an expanding fabric of disorienting oddness. A glitchville sort of vibe that reminded me of the last section of Kalpa Imperial, or maybe (faintly?) of Vellum? I feel like I can't quite dig up the thing it reminds me most of, which is very on-brand for this, now that I think of it.
Lars Brown — North World, vol. 1 (comics)
This had its charms, but maybe not enough of them. I don't feel the need to read more of it.
It feels like it belongs to a very very particular era — that bit in the late '00s, where mixing elements of classic video game settings with more prosaic character drama was having a moment? Scott Pilgrim kind of kicked it off and did it best, but there were a lot of others; some were blatantly following the trend, but I feel like a whole bunch of them were legit convergent evolution. Stories their authors wanted to do anyway, and which happened to be ready to go when the commercial moment arrived. Like, old games are responsible for a lot of the foundational metaphors by which my generation understands life, and of course we're going to work through that in our art.
Anyway, what I really liked about this comic were the settings — the city streets and markets and shops and houses and apartments. Brown's approach went something like: assume this big dumbass JRPG world, then focus on what people actually do from hour to hour and try to make everything feel really lived-in. It was great, a cool mix of... how to describe this. How about "conflicting familiarities." Which is kind of the whole raison d'être of this subgenre, right? The dissonance between our too-many methods of making sense of the world, which went from an idle preoccupation to an emergency when we realized the social and economic structures we were supposed to be "growing up" into had been devastated pretty much beyond repair well before we arrived? Yeah.
Oh right, back to the comic. Setting good, plot totally forgettable. Character writing ok, but nothing I was really connecting with. I kind of need at least two out of three to keep investing in something, so I'm out.
Once we get back to the story of the murder itself, however, it turns out: IT'S BONKERS. The principals in the case are two pirate radio impresarios in 1966. Oliver Smedley, An Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist, was running a station called Radio Atlanta on a boat off the coast; Reggie Calvert, A Dance Hall Impresario, had taken over an entire abandoned British navy fort called Shivering Sands in the Thames Estuary and staffed it with a rotating encampment of youths running a station called Radio City. At one point Smedley and Calvert were going to have a merger, but then they had an ACRIMONIOUS BREAKUP spurred on in part by:
- the fact that Smedley was supposed to give Calvert a shiny new transmitter and instead provided an old one that never worked
- the fact that Smedley never paid all the bills he had promised Calvert that Radio Atlanta would pay
- the fact that Calvert got sick of all this and decided to merge with another station instead
The reason for all these pirate radio stations on boats and naval forts, by the way, is because in 1966 there was no legal pop radio in the UK (as explained, extensively, via the history of radio and Keynesian economic theory etc. that makes up the first half of the book). Because the pirates were technically outside of UK territory, on the other hand, they could technically get away with doing whatever they wanted, or at least the government like "it will be way too embarrassing to launch a huge naval raid against a bunch of youths on was a fort with a radio transmitter, so let's not."
HOWEVER, the fact that everything was happening outside of territorial waters where British laws and police had no jurisdiction BACKFIRED when:
- Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist Smedley decided he was so mad that Calvert had made a deal without him that he was going to MAKE SURE that the deal could never go through
- he was going to GET BACK HIS PROPERTY [the transmitter that had never worked]
- so he sent an ACTUAL OCCUPYING FORCE composed of out-of-work dockworkers to Shivering Sands, stole a bunch of key broadcasting equipment, took a bunch of it back to the mainland, and left a bunch of toughs to hold everybody who was on the station at that time hostage!!!
- (when they met the invading force, the hostage broadcasters were like 'welp' and made everybody tea)
- ("the vessel had to return briefly to pick up [the contractor who recruited the gang], who had been left behind drinking his tea")
- and then Smedley went to Calvert and his partner, an actual professional broadcaster, and was like 'I will not let you broadcast from there again or finish making your deal unless you pay me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS'
Naturally, everyone involved was like 'wtf????' and refused to pay Smedley a dime; Calvert threatened to involve the police but the police were like 'ummmmmm technically we can't do anything for the same reasons we haven't been able to stop you from broadcasting;' Calvert then made a whole bunch of other even wilder threats; and all the hired dockworkers sat around cheerfully charging Smedley for hostaging operations which he was rapidly running out of money for.
Anyway, in the middle of all this, Calvert drove out to Smedley's house in the middle of the night and started screaming at him, and Smedley shot him and then claimed self-defense and that his HOSTILE OCCUPATION OF A POP RADIO STATION was just a little joke gone wrong! No harm no foul if only Calvert hadn't been so UPSET about it! It did help Smedley's self-defense case that Calvert happened to be carrying A FAKE PEN FULL OF NERVE GAS at the time, which apparently, according to his family, he always carried around just for safekeeping.
...so the author's point in writing about all this seems to be that a.) this incident was crucial in getting the pirate radio boats shut down and the formation of the current BBC radio system that includes actual pop radio, b.) that this is all a forerunner of later copyright battles and offshore data centers and so on, c.) pirate-radio-on-boats in the 1960s was a WILD TIME. About the latter, at least, he is most surely not mistaken.
(This has nothing to do with the main brunt of the book but I have to spare a mention for Radio City's chief engineer, who later was hired by the mob! to perform an assassination attempt!! using a spring-loaded hypodermic needle full of cyanide!!! in what it turns out was ACTUALLY a sting operation by the U.S. Treasury department who picked the hapless Radio City engineer to act as the assassin because "he needed the fee while being clearly incapable of killing anybody"!!!! This whole incident gets two pages in the book because it's somewhat irrelevant to the author's argument but seriously, where is this guy's movie?
For the record, the same mobsters then tried to intimidate Reggie Calvert's widow into selling them the remnants of the station and she was like 'lol no' and they were like '....well, when a lady knows her own mind, she knows her own mind! No hard feelings.')
I learned piano very much in the traditional you-learn-pieces-and-perform-them-at-
Dude rocks my fucking world, I tell you what.
Partly, this is because I'm an adult and I've been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings of teaching (I always know when a teacher is using a particular pedagogical technique on me--which interestingly doesn't always make it less effective). I learn differently now and with a different understanding of what "learning" is. This is the place where Csikszentmihalyi has been extremely helpful to me, because I can recognize how a successful learning engagement works. ("Learning experience" would be a better phrase, but it already has connotations that are really kind of the opposite of what I mean.) And the pressure to learn pieces for recitals is mercifully off, which helps, too. But partly it's because this guy approaches music completely differently, bottom up instead of top down.
But the thing that has changed my relationship with my piano is something my teacher said (and I can't for the life of me remember what it was) that made me understand--quite literally for the first time in my life--that fingerings aren't arbitrary and they aren't just put in music so that teachers can judge whether students are obeying them or not. Here's where playing the piano is exactly like rock climbing:
The notes in the score are like the hand, finger, foot, and toe holds used to set a route in a climbing gym. You work the fingerings out yourself, the same way that a climber works out her own solution to how to get to the top of the wall using the holds available. And he said, "This music is for playing." A weirdass chord progression or run is like a difficult sequence in a route; it's a game, a puzzle that a musician who's been dead for 100 years set for all the pianists who came after him to solve. You work out the fingerings (4-5-3-5 WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) so that you don't hang yourself out to dry, the same way that a climber works out her holds so that when she has only her right hand free, the next hold isn't three feet to her left. When you make a mistake, you laugh and pick yourself back up and go up the wall again, because it isn't a pass/fail test. It's a game. You have a sense of glee that you share with the route setter about solving this incredibly intricate puzzle almost--in a weird way--together.
What that means is, (1) playing piano, which I have always loved, is now infused with a sense of fun that it truly has never had; (2) I know what I'm learning--not just "music" but the route up the wall, the game that underlies the performance; (3) when I'm fumbling through a new chunk of music, I know why I'm fumbling. It's not because I'm stupid or the music is stupid; it's because my brain is trying to process so much new information that it gets overwhelmed. That's why I miss easy chords and consistently play that damn C-sharp when the piece is written in G. Because THAT'S WHAT THE LEARNING PROCESS LOOKS LIKE.
But honest to god the idea of music as a game being played between composer and performer, and not a game like tennis, but a game like riddling--riddle set and riddle answered--is a seismic paradigm shift for me. Everything looks different now.
* I cannot finish your urgent project in a timely fashion if you keep interrupting me to ask when your project is going to be finished! Please stop!
* We have already done Thing based on all your requirements (and with your approval!) last quarter. We can just update it instead of spending so much time trying to come up with a new way to do it (only to come up with basically the exact same Thing). There is no need to spend hours reinventing the wheel!
* You have to decide whether you need a meeting to happen ASAP or if you need everyone involved present, because it's July coming up on August, and half the people you need will be out on vacation at any given moment and I have no control of that.
* I don't want healthy snacks in the vending machine. If I am driven to getting food from it, it's generally because I want Frito Lay corn chips or terrible plasticky cheap chocolate, not some sort of chip made from beans or some kind of granola bar! WTF?
I've been very lazy (also injured) this summer, and I could really feel it as I exercised. But as usual, the first set of push-ups was the worst, and they were less painful after that. I even did one set with my hands close together, which is the hardest for me. My wrists are no worse than usual this morning. My fingers are pretty swollen and not very bendy this morning. The high humidity today might be contributing.
Today is the staff luncheon, and then my group is leaving to do a team-building thing. Tonight, dinner at Kabobeesh. I don't think I will get much done.
I still can't focus on the screen, it seems, so I switched to handwriting some paragraphs instead. This helped quite a bit. Except for some sentences here and there, I'm starting work on a new section, articulating the concept of minor literature in relation to multicultural steampunk.
I ate at the Getaway, taking laptop and writing book and pencil and eraser with me. Had a couple of slices of a pizza, packed the rest, got back to my office, and coughed up a couple more paragraphs. Then I went home.
Swam 16 laps today. Was gonna stick to 15, but thought I could push on just once more. I'm feeling, as oracne calls it, the Glow of Virtue, which I promptly ruined by eating a sponge cake. I finished my remaining sausages, too. I haven't heard back about the results of my blood test from yesterday, but I assume I'll hear back by the end of the week, and if there's anything big, the doctor will call me (which is what he did last time). But I'm really crossing my fingers that my blood sugar levels have dropped.
I have been very good and did not text anybody today.
I submitted a poem. It's been a while since I wrote a poem I felt good about, so that's nice. It might be a bit too sentimental, IDK, I like its tweeness, but maybe it's too schmoopy? Oh well.
I'm gonna try to make it to campus tomorrow for some more writing by hand, and I think I will leave the phone home again so I don't get anxious around it. Until my mini-USB port replacement comes, I'll use it as little as possible so I don't keep freaking out over recharging it and possibly aggravating the problem even more.
4/5. My vacation* book. A woman goes to a neighboring colony for work, gets involved with her (lady) housemate, and discovers that there is something very, very wrong with their world. Oh, and by the way, this is on a planet(?) where objects only hold their shape/meaning if they are properly and repeatedly labeled with the right word. Trust me, it makes more sense in context. Well . . . it makes more thematic sense.
This is weird and wonderful and requires a lot of work. It's in translation (from Swedish), but it's a very skillful one, as far as I can tell. Which is necessary for a slim, intense, calculated book like this, where words really count. I keep thinking about this book – about how it intersects language and oppression, and about its explicable-if-you-work-hard ending. And the worldbuilding – it's spare but sharp as a knife, as the contours of this authoritarian democracy come into relief. For example, there's a wonderful detail that seemed to open up the whole book for me, about how poetry serves an entirely different function in this world than it does in ours.
And I really like the protagonist's slide into disobedience. Her inability to play along anymore is part old personal history, part recent stress and it makes sense. But not in a paint-by-numbers tragedy-happens-to-a-plucky-person way. More like . . . yes. That is how you slide a tiny bit out of step with your community, then a tiny bit more, and a tiny bit more, and suddenly, bam. You're in a different world.
Content notes: Discussion of reproductive coercion, some forced medical stuff by the authorities, etc.
*Vacation: in which we went to see my dying father and I don't know if I'll ever see him again, and also I retired my dog and settled her with her puppyraisers and I don't know if we'll ever see her again, and then we did some hiking. Do I know how to decompress from work or what?
3/5. Demon-fighting soccer mom.
There is a running joke in my household about my TBR pile. I was trying to find something to read towards the end of June [N.B.: I billed more hours in June 2017 than in any other month of my career] and my TBR was . . . dire. I was scrolling, and it was, "apocalypse . . . apocalypse with zombies . . . reproductive dystopia . . . ooh I think teenagers burn to death in that one." Yeah.
So I read this instead! Which is an extremely fluffy, comfy book about a suburban SAHM dealing with demons. She has a great best friend and a cute teenager and a dark past demon hunting for the church. Like you do. This goes the expected places – it's subliminally about the ways homemaking and running a family are like preventing the apocalypse – but it's also breezy and fun. And would make a great TV show, actually. Would watch. While collapsed half-dead with a glass of wine at the end of the week.
I finished my last-minute reading of Hugo short fiction items and did my voting on Saturday morning. I think that there were a LOT of very good "shorts" this year.
I am re-reading The Story of the Stone by Barry Hughart, which is the second of the Master Li and Number Ten Ox books. I also tried (really, I did) to read two Very Serious books, which turned out to be nearly unreadable and almost useless for their intended purpose. *looks shifty*
I looked back on my journal — ten years now — and realized that I always fall into a posting hole post-WisCon. I intend to post about what happened and then don't, because WisCon generates so many complex feelings. Then I feel like I can't post about other stuff until I get the WisCon posts up, and then it's November and I can start posting again.
So, I promise no WisCon posts (which means I might actually write some) and an update on my current goings-on.( Weather & the dog )
I had heard absolutely nothing of Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water (2017) until this afternoon, but the trailer makes it look like something I should very definitely see in December. It looks like William Alland and Jack Arnold's Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) retold through Jane Yolen's "The Lady and the Merman," which has haunted me since elementary school when I first read Neptune Rising: Songs and Tales of the Undersea Folk (1982). It looks sea-deep.
Speaking of oceanic things for which I may existentially blame Caitlín R. Kiernan: Delphine Cencig, "Poulpe Fiction."
In fact, I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow.
These are all great pens, but the truth is I have a fair number of great pens and these are ones that simply aren't making it into my rotation. I'd rather someone else get some enjoyment out of them!
All prices include shipping within the continental USA. Elsewhere, please inquire--I will probably have to charge you shipping at cost. I accept payment via Paypal.
If interested, either leave a comment or email me (yoon at yoonhalee dot com).
From left to right:
1. Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir (a sort of dark swirly marbled green). Lever filler. The great thing about this pen is that it has a #3 adjustable nib. It goes from Fine to Broad on the flexiest setting. The only reason I'm letting this go is that I have a Wahl-Eversharp Doric in black with a #7 adjustable nib, and I honestly don't need two adjustable Dorics.
Please note that the #3 Doric is a petite pen--unless you have very small hands, you will probably want to use this posted.
NOTE: troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it!
2. Waterman Lady Patricia that I bought from Mauricio Aguilar of Vintage Fountain Pens. He graded it a superflex, and it's a pleasurable and absolutely reliable writer; I've always had great experiences with the pens I've bought from Mauricio. Lever filler. Again, this is a lovely pen that I simply don't use--in this case because I'm busy using a different pen that I bought from Mauricio, a Waterman 52V (for which Jedao's Patterner 52 was named :p). Like the #3 Doric, this is a petite pen, and probably best used posted unless you have very small hands.
This is a handsome pen with green and brown swirls, and I love looking at it, but I really prefer for all my pens to be working pens that get used. Maybe you can have fun with it!
3. Conklin Crescent Filler--the crescent filling mechanism is not that different from lever filling and is very simple to use, and really neat if you love geeking out about different filling mechanisms. This is a wet noodle that does hairlines, if you're into flex writing or copperplate; I probably wouldn't recommend it for sketching because of the fineness of the nib, but it would make a great fountain pen for non-sketch-speed line art.
4. Osmia 34 in gray candy. This is a very flexy nib that goes from Fine to Broad, and unusually, it's in a piston filler. Please note that the material is discolored along about half the barrel (ambering)--this doesn't affect the pen's functionality, although if you care more about aesthetics this is not the pen for you. This nib has an almost painterly feel to it that is very pleasurable for writing.
5. The last two are a Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, fountain pen and mechanical pencil set. The fountain pen is a lever filler and has a flex nib; I'm not sure what width graphite the pencil takes, although it comes loaded with one. The set is very handsome; please note that the fountain pen has a chip near the lever. This doesn't affect function but may be an aesthetic concern.
A few of the essays didn't speak to me personally, but that's fine--for example, there was one about adventure games through the lens of the Monkey Island games, which I did play, but I didn't imprint on the genre. It's not that it was a bad essay, but rather that it was a type of gaming experience I just wasn't as interested in. And that's fine; for some other reader that could be entirely their thing.
Here's a rundown:
( cut for length )
To sum up: highly recommended.
1. spatch sent me this handy-dandy list: "Times Doctor Who Was Ruined Forever." The site is snarky and some of their tags are jerkass, but the article itself is gold. "21/03/1981 – The best Doctor ever is replaced by a vet. Doctor Who dies."
2. Following my belated discovery of Jack Buchanan, I am pleased to see that the HFA will be showing Ernst Lubitsch's Monte Carlo (1930) on Friday. I wonder if I have ever actually seen Jeanette MacDonald.
3. I had no idea one of the performers of "The Grass Is Always Greener" was Lauren Bacall (and I think I had forgotten the song came from a musical by Kander and Ebb, although listening to its brassy swing, I don't know who else it could have been). Standing Room Only on WERS used to play it all the time. I like how her voice softens on the repeated line That's wonderful, but her unimpressed What's so wonderful? could pass for Elaine Stritch. This makes me desperately sad that Bacall never recorded "The Ladies Who Lunch."
4. This is a gorgeous photoset, but I would love to see the on-set photos from the shoot. Like, the backstage stuff. People just standing around on snack breaks, being Klimt paintings.
5. This was true last weekend as well, but I was at Readercon and couldn't do anything about it: spatch swapped in for one of the hosts of the PMRP's Murders and Scandals: Poe and Doyle at the last minute, so I'll see him this weekend on one of the nights I'm not seeing Jack Buchanan.
New York Times: Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation
Note: it was "private" as in "out of earshot of anyone except Putin's translator" and "not mentioned to the public". It was not private as in "it was held in view of most of the other G20 leaders OMFG ARE YOU KIDDING ME".
Just to make the whole thing even stupider (on Buttercup's part) and more of a blatant power play (on Putin's).
plaidadder breaks this shit down: A Million Encores: Putin And our Playable President
And spells out one point in particular:
Why do we know about this? Because some of the European G-20 leaders were so concerned about this that they called their global risk consultant to get his opinion on it. That’s what Ian Bremmer does: he assesses global political risk for people who want to use it to make investment decisions.
Wednesday reading meme:
What I've just finished
Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, which I enjoyed a lot, mainly because Avasarala is the best and also Bobbie! ♥ Holden still needs a lot of punching though. Ugh. Why is this guy the main character? Not only is he a dead bore, he's a ridiculously common dead bore!
I like TV!Prax better than book!Prax, I think, but I also think the show compresses the timeline in a way that means I don't get bored with a character having repetitive beats, the way I can, and do in this case, in a book.
What I'm reading now
Still, I picked up Abaddon's Gate and started it this morning, so I'm still entertained enough to continue.
What I'm reading next
The next book in this series, probably. I don't even know what the name of it is. *looks it up* Ah, Cibola Burn.
I also read two really long stories that both turned out to be in progress, which I probably should have noticed but didn't. I mean, when I see a thing is 175K words long, I figure it's done. I mean, who has that much to say in one story? But no. Sigh.
In my recent fanfic readings, I learned that I will nope out of a story if you kill off Wedge Antilles. Which was a surprise to me - how strongly my kneejerk NOPE was - but there you go. Do not want! (I mean, I don't care for any character death in my fic, and generally not in canon either! but I get that some AU premises require it. But like Bartleby the scrivener, I would prefer not to.)
I also learned that I don't really ship Bodhi with anyone but if I did it would have to be Jyn and Cassian. Gotta keep the Star Wars OT3 pattern going, I guess. I just don't find Jyn and Cassian all that compelling. *hands* I'd much rather read about Baze and Chirrut being the most married. (I think Rebels is the only place that doesn't have an OT3, but I am okay with that. I'm already bracing for Kanan and Hera to get an undeserved tragic ending.)
I also realized that in addition to believing that Luke Skywalker is asexual, I believe Anakin is demisexual, and both Leia and Padme are bisexual. Ahsoka is mostly into women except that I also ship her with Anakin (and Rex, a little), so there are exceptions? And Obi-Wan is pansexual and flirting his way across the galaxy at any given moment.
Which is probably more than anyone cared to know about my Star Wars head canons. *snerk*
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee is more straightforwardly comprehensible than Ninefox Gambit, but still had lots of wonderfully weird worldbuilding and characters with complex motivations. Plus, there were a couple of moments where I said, "Whoa. Wow," which I will not spoil here. Two books in, I still think this is one of the most creative science fiction worlds I've read in a long while.
I finished Raven Stratagem on Monday, my recovery day from Readercon, and then dove into The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss, which I finished last night, and which is about monsters and about women, and how they can be the same thing. I think if you like Karen Joy Fowler's work, you might like this, and also if you love meta and revisionist tales and/or things set in Victorian England and relating to the stories of the nineteenth century. Goss works with female creations of fictional scientists (or hypothetical female creations/daughters) from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (which I have not read). Also, Holmes and Watson are in it, because of course they are. But overall, this is a meta novel, periodically festooned with commentary from the female characters about themselves, their stories, how their stories are told, and the idea of what a novel should be and how it should be written. And besides all that, it was fun. Highly recommended, because I think a lot of my Dreamwidth friends would like this, and I would love to hear what you think about it even if you don't like it.
Having downloaded a bunch of public domain books, I then went looking for the proper cover art. Interestingly, although I am convinced I owned mid-1970s editions of both Blackman's Burden and Border, Breed nor Birth, I can find no evidence those editions actually existed.
Another interesting thing. This is the list of science fiction books on PG and this is the list of science fiction works by women on PG.