LOTR: Book II, ch 6-8, Lothlorien

Apr. 24th, 2017 10:39 am
[personal profile] sartorias
“Oh Kheled-zaram fair and wonderful,” said Gimli. “There lies the crown of Durin till he wakes. Farewell!” He bowed, and turned away . . .

Gimli isn’t at all the generic handsome hero, but I think he is one of the most romantic figures in the entire book.

The companions eventually camp, Sam gets his orc-cut wrapped up, and then Aragorn discovers Frodo’s mithril. After he binds up Frodo’s bruised ribs, he warns him to wear the mithril night and day. I remember all those years ago wondering how Frodo’s quest could possibly get worse—but at least he had Aragorn, and Boromir as backup. Well, surprise, surprise.

The first signs of Gollum on their trail before they hit Lothlorien. The mood is set up with the plaintive song “Nimrodel” with Legolas and Gimli sparking off one another as Legolas mentions the rest of that sad story.

They meet mallorns—and dangerous elves, led by Haldir. Not only dangerous, but they don’t have all that good a rep: Boromir doesn’t want to enter Lothlorien at all, as he’s heard that those who go in don’t come out. And Haldir and his company are pretty straightforward in their wariness, bordering on threat.

Aragorn once again proves himself a good leader when he insists that everybody be blindfolded, after Gimli is nearly kicked out.

The sadness and tension gets some relief in hobbit banter: though Sam sticks to etiquette, calling Pippin Mr. Pippin, he is hardly subservient:

The hobbits do not like sleeping in a tree. Pippin says, "I hope, if I do go to sleep in this bed-loft, then I shan't roll off."

To which Sam replies, "Once I do get to sleep, I shall go on sleeping, whether I roll off or no. And the less said, the sooner I'll drop off, if you take my meaning."

This brings to mind the earlier discussion about social strata in the Shire: the Tooks are the closest to gentry or even nobility of a sort, but they aren’t exactly looked up to by the respectable hobbits of the Shire. Sam’s dad, usually called the Gaffer, hoped that Bilbo’s teaching Sam to read wouldn’t have adverse effects. As I recall—I mean to be watching for this—though Sam loves Elves, and memorizes what he can, the authority Sam quotes most often is the Gaffer.

They enter, and it’s here that we get the highest contrast to what Frodo is going to be facing soon.

When his eyes were in turn uncovered, Frodo looked up and caught his breath. They were standing in an open space. To the left stood a great mound, covered with a sward of grass as green as springtime in the Elder days. Upon it, as a double crown, grew two circles of trees: the outer had bark of snowy white, and were leafless but beautiful in their shapely nakedness; the inner were mallorn trees of great height, still arrayed in pale gold.


The others cast themselves down upon the frequent grass, but Frodo stood a while still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shape seemed at once clear-cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured forever. He saw no color but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful.

I think Tolkien has purposefully chosen Frodo’s POV for this section. He could as easily have picked Sam, or one of the other hobbits, or even Aragorn or Gimli. But it is Frodo he chooses — the one who is bearing the ring longest. The one who is going to have to fight its magic longest. And I will get to magic.

First they are drawn further inside, and again it is Frodo who sees Aragorn wrapped up in memory before he says, “Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth, and hear my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I.”
As a kid reader, I found this subtle glimpse into Aragorn's private heart whizzing right past me. But as an old reader I can see the cost he pays, all the stronger for how he suppresses it and turns wearily to grief for Gandalf, and to duty.

The company then gets to meet Celeborn and Galadriel, and after all the welcomes, Galadrien’s first words are a mild contradiction what Celeborn’s observation about a different number turning up: “Nay, there was no change of counsel.”

She comes down a lot stronger a little later, after the story of Moria has been told. Celeborn exclaims, “And if it were possible, one would say that at the last Gandalf fell from wisdom into folly, going needlessly into the net of Moria."

Once more, Galadriel contradicts him: “He would be rash indeed that said that thing.”

As a kid reader, I found these two pretty much stick figures in their awe-inspiring beauty. But reading this again as an older reader, and having picked up a little bit of the Elvish history, I find myself trying to untangle their relationship. It is clear that her power and her insight go far beyond his, and yet she is by his side. But not for long — at the end, when she goes west, she goes alone. I’m curious about what this means.

Anyway, she goes on to support Gandalf’s choice in entering Moria, and then makes fair speech about the dwarves. When she speaks in his own language to Gimli, that pretty much knocks him out of the park.

She tests the company one by one. Boromir clearly resents this intrusion. He reminds everybody that the men of Minas Tirith are true to their word—another minor-key note about oaths.

As the elves and the company grieve for Gandalf, for the first time Frodo is moved to poetry. And afterward, we get an interesting conversation between Sam and Frodo, after the latter asks Sam what he thinks about elves. They get on the subject of magic, and though Sam feels that there is some how magic all around them, he still wants to see a bit of elf-magic.

Well, he gets his chance when Galadriel offers them the opportunity to look into the waters, after which Frodo offers her the ring. So much has been said about that scene — the only thing I am going to comment on that struck me on this reading is the fact that Galadriel knows how many times Frodo has put on the ring. But that, too, needs to be saved for a discussion of JRRT’s magic.

The decision is made to go, and Frodo senses conflict within Boromir. The elves give them lembas and the cloaks, and Pippin asks if they are magic cloaks, and the leader of the elves says, “I do not know what you mean by that.”

I’ll come back to it, but I wanted to note Gimli’s romantic farewell, appreciated by the elves, another melancholy note as nothing can ever come of his unswerving devotion.

“Memory is not what the heart desires. That is only a mirror.”

We got up close and personal with elves through these chapters. JRRT conveys a sense of their longlived natures through that air of melancholy, and in moment like Gimli wondering if memory for them is like waking, and Legolas commenting that they don’t count years, as they flow by in flickers of seasons, as they face their diminishing and losing their land.

Finally the company sails down the river accompanied by the song of the elves, and though the music is beautiful, Frodo finds no comfort. But he will always remember it.

Important stuff there: In Rivendell, Gandalf saw him appearing a little transparent, as if a light glowed in him. With these words sinking into Frodo’s heart, we are inexorably set up for his particular road. In a sense, he almost becomes a wraith—even in victory, a normal life will never be his, it’s almost as if he becomes too light to leave a perceivable footprint in the Shire—but this is a wraith utterly the opposite of the Nine.

Okay, I just scrolled up, and I guess this ramble got long. So magic on the next rock—and after that, the end of the fellowship, and this book.

What I did this weekend

Apr. 24th, 2017 11:32 am
[personal profile] telophase
Or Sunday, rather. We bought an upright planter thingy and Toby painted it with water sealant and then put it together for me yesterday. Then Sunday morning we hit the shops and bought a couple of extra tall pots, plus dirt, rocks for drainage, and seedlings, then I spent the day getting that all set up.

cut for pic )

5 Positives Or Else

Apr. 24th, 2017 08:53 am
[personal profile] oracne
1. I have choir this week! It will be exhausting, but fun and meaningful. We're finishing off our season on Wednesday night.

2. My laundry is done. Also, I bought some new underwear. So! Thrilling!

3. I spent most of Saturday lolling around, napping and reading fanfiction. But I also did a smidgen of cleaning up. Elderly cat was pleased with my lolling.

4. I cheered up a friend who was having a really hard day. We can't do much about her ongoing stress (aging, ill parent) that she isn't already doing, but at least I got her out of the house and delicious food and chocolate into her.

5. I cuddled Adorable Tots and fed them oatmeal.
[personal profile] larryhammer
Stepping backward again for a Poetry Monday that has a further looking back:

A Toccata of Galuppi’s, Robert Browning

Oh Galuppi, Baldassaro, this is very sad to find!
I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
But although I take your meaning, 'tis with such a heavy mind!

Here you come with your old music, and here's all the good it brings.
What, they lived once thus at Venice where the merchants were the kings,
Where Saint Mark's is, where the Doges used to wed the sea with rings?

Ay, because the sea's the street there; and 'tis arched by . . . what you call
. . . Shylock's bridge with houses on it, where they kept the carnival:
I was never out of England—it's as if I saw it all.

Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm in May?
Balls and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day,
When they made up fresh adventures for the morrow, do you say?

Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red,—
On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bell-flower on its bed,
O'er the breast's superb abundance where a man might base his head?

Well, and it was graceful of them—they'd break talk off and afford
—She, to bite her mask's black velvet—he, to finger on his sword,
While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord?

What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths diminished, sigh on sigh,
Told them something? Those suspensions, those solutions—"Must we die?"
Those commiserating sevenths—"Life might last! we can but try!"

"Were you happy?" —"Yes."—"And are you still as happy?"—"Yes. And you?"
—"Then, more kisses!"—"Did I stop them, when a million seemed so few?"
Hark, the dominant's persistence till it must be answered to!

So, an octave struck the answer. Oh, they praised you, I dare say!
"Brave Galuppi! that was music! good alike at grave and gay!
I can always leave off talking when I hear a master play!"

Then they left you for their pleasure: till in due time, one by one,
Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well undone,
Death stepped tacitly and took them where they never see the sun.

But when I sit down to reason, think to take my stand nor swerve,
While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from nature's close reserve,
In you come with your cold music till I creep thro' every nerve.

Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house was burned:
"Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice spent what Venice earned.
The soul, doubtless, is immortal—where a soul can be discerned.

"Yours for instance: you know physics, something of geology,
Mathematics are your pastime; souls shall rise in their degree;
Butterflies may dread extinction,—you'll not die, it cannot be!

"As for Venice and her people, merely born to bloom and drop,
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop:
What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

"Dust and ashes!" So you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
Dear dead women, with such hair, too—what's become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown old.

The more I return to Browning, the more interestingly knotty I find him. The point here, under all the meditation on reality/art(ifice) and (im)mortality, is continuing on despite the knowledge of death. (Does the speaker get this? -- I don't know, but if not, it wouldn't be Browning's only illustrative failure.) Possibly unhelpful glosses: Venetian musician/composer Baldassare Galuppi (1706-85) visited England in 1741, thus making his music known there. The poem was written while living in Italy, so the speaker is not Browning himself, but rather a contemporary, parochial Englishman. Browning had sheet music for some of Galuppi's keyboard toccatas, but no one piece has been identified as the poem's inspiration, and it would be stupid if there was one. (Whatever else he might have been, Browning was not stupid.)


Subject quote from "Venus and Adonis," William Shakespeare.

you hold an absence at your center

Apr. 24th, 2017 10:30 am
[personal profile] musesfool
Today would have been my dad's 82nd birthday. It's so weird, because I remember having a conversation with my brother about how was he going to make it to a restaurant for his birthday dinner if the rehab didn't work out and he wasn't walking again in time? Joke's on me, I guess. Ha ha.

So here's today's poem, though I guess I've posted it before:


Somewhere in the Sargasso Sea
the water disappears into itself,
hauling an ocean in.

Vortex, how you repeat
a single gesture,
come round to find only

yourself, a cup full of questions,
perhaps some curl of wisdom,
a bit of flung salt.

You hold an absence
at your center,
as if it were a life.

~Richard Brostoff

[personal profile] mariness
Up at Daily Science Fiction this morning, a little thing about a unicorn and a homeowner's association. Enjoy!

Also, if for some reason you missed my story, Deathlight, in last year's Lightspeed, it's been turned into an audio play by the folks at Fancy Pants Gangsters. They have a number of other short plays up at their site as well - check them out!
[personal profile] sovay
"I feel less embarrassed about being related to poop-throwing monkeys! Orangutans that masturbate in public! At least bonobos have a concept of sexual consent!"

(I was yelling about politics in the shower. I think [personal profile] spatch was relaying me highlights from 45's AP interview and had just quoted something wildly inaccurate about China, but really, the whole situation deserves it.)


Apr. 24th, 2017 08:31 am
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Last Friday, Hope Not Hate filed their libel claim against Nigel Farage.

If you have any spare money you can afford to donate, you can help:


Honestly, I can't imagine anything nicer than watching Farage suffer in court and thinking "yes, I helped make that happen."

Vid/AMV recs?

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:42 pm
[personal profile] oyceter
Thinking of putting together a playlist for the Wiscon Vid Party on morally ambiguous and ambitious women. Anyone have recs for vids or AMVs that showcase power-hungry women? POC characters or characters from games or anime preferred. I'd especially love something on Kuvira from Legend of Korra, Lady Eboshi from Princess Mononoke or Kushana from Nausicaa.

Also, I am feeling old... where does one go to look for vids nowadays? I did find a fair amount of Kuvira vids on YouTube, but nothing I liked so far, and animemusicvideos.org's search is incredibly frustrating.

Currently on the list: [personal profile] feedingonwind's A New Day (Mariah, Luke Cage), [personal profile] shati's Hope on Fire (Mishil, Queen Seondeok), [personal profile] starlady's Shuang Nu (Wu Zetian, Detective Dee).

fiber monday

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:18 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
I want to knit myself a longish cardigan. Reason has asked very nicely whether she might take Cajsa after hearing that it's hard for me to style, to the minimal extent that I care about such things. Though its length is the right thing for my proportions, it looks silly with my shirts, all of which are too long, natch, and I can't tuck them because jeans and slacks never fit my middle (three ways). Because its sleeves aren't full length on me, for her they're wrist-ish, and the difference in shoulder breadth looks charmingly 1980s drop-shoulder on her. Ridiculous. I couldn't have made Cajsa longer due to a lack of yardage, but it's still ridiculous.

At least I know that that manner of knitting neckline-to-armpit fits me and befits me. ___Sand aside (whose CC2 yarn reached me only yesterday), and Little Wave aside (nearly at armpit from bottom up, thanks to a simple motif, though sleeves are next before a complex-sounding yoke join), a plan is taking shape to adapt a not-long cardigan pattern for fingering-weight yarn. I'll have at least five years before Reason could try to seize a longish cardigan from me, by which time I may want to part with one or more of them---who knows. It may be a lot of cardigans, but I haven't managed to keep anything yet (2.Naima, the vest that went to my mother, now Cajsa) and one of my two three-season jackets has begun to wear out visibly. Why not a lot of cardigans, to disrupt a storm-grey jacket and a mushroom-grey jacket and a few flannel shirts. I'd wear a blazer beyond formal talks if they ever fit

Apparently, there's enough remaindered yarn for two garments, despite a few skeins' inclusion in a blanket years ago. (The blanket I'd first set out to crochet, then undone, was a fisher/cabled thing; the blanket that exists is a striped ripple that stopped small because, ah, too heavy to make, the year after I turned 21 and joint woe started to interrupt my sleep sometimes.) I had no idea what thirty 50g skeins of aran-weight wool could be for, back then. It's lucky that it's still in good shape and that I've learned a bit since.

Current listening

Apr. 23rd, 2017 06:31 pm
[personal profile] rilina
Assorted amusing kpop tidbits for you:

embedded videos behind cut )

She laughs a drainpipe down the phone

Apr. 23rd, 2017 07:20 pm
[personal profile] sovay
I can't wait to stop being sick. I have had whatever this is since last Sunday and not only did it stop my brain in its tracks, it took any leftover stamina with it. I walked out this afternoon to purchase some goat's milk (for me) and some unscented litter (for the cats) and after the first supermarket (Market Basket was out of non-Febreze litter; I had to go on to Stop & Shop) I was dead on my feet. I slept nine or ten hours last night. I could go back to bed as we speak. It's like having mono, only I don't.

[edit] I just learned that the RSC is doing a three-week series in honor of Ovid in October. That is something else I am totally in the wrong country for (or I'd go to some of it for my birthday), but I still approve.

I think...

Apr. 23rd, 2017 09:18 pm
[personal profile] telophase
...that we have baby woodpeckers because I spent several hours outside
today (pics in a bit) and Lord and Lady Downey kept trading off shifts. One
would fly off for a while, then come back and call, at which time the other
one would emerge from the hole and fly off. The first one would then go
down in the hole. I couldn't quite tell if the arriving one was carrying an
insect or not.

The internet tells me fledglings leave the nest in about a month, so we're
planning on taking off some of the dead limbs that look like they might
fall in the future at that time. Leaving the one with the nest hole, of

some things

Apr. 23rd, 2017 02:04 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* Before the Ace Attorney team spun off Gyakuten Kenji (Ace Attorney Investigations) featuring Edgeworth, there was a plan to focus the game on Ema Skye instead. AAI was all right, but zomg, there could've been an Ema = Akane game. Nnngh, as Edgeworth says sometimes in the US localization.

* It's a bit wacky to find that several writers whose Ace Attorney fics I find tolerable have also written for Persona 4 and/or The World Ends with You. Read more... )

* Total change in topic! MRI result: Read more... )

* Still coughing.

this new universe i'd fallen into

Apr. 23rd, 2017 03:45 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
So how about them Rangers? *g* That was a very exciting game last night, and I am very glad to have been proved wrong about the Rangers losing in 6. I don't know if they will make it out of the second round, but I'm happy to get the chance to find out! (I say that now, but come game time, I will be cursing my life.) Now I'm rooting for the Sens to put the Bruins away.


So I've been ordering my groceries online recently, which is very convenient and somewhat cheaper, but today, I got an email saying they might be up to 3 hours late, and then they were half an hour early (luckily, I was awake and dressed), and they were missing my weekly order of yogurt and also all my lunch fixings. So I got refunded for the missing items, and had to go to the store anyway. Oh well. It's a beautiful day out, anyway.


[tumblr.com profile] silveronthetree told me there should be an Obi-Wan/Satine Thin Man AU and now I desperately want it to exist without having to write it myself (I did add it to my list, though). She already has the martini glasses! *g* They very definitely have that 30s screwball vibe.

Other things Star Wars fandom could provide me with: more completed stories (what is with everything being epic and in progress? I guess fanworks follow canon forms in some ways? idek); more Obi-Wan/Satine (especially AUs where she lives), and also some Obi-Wan/Ventress frenemies sex; more Anakin/Ahsoka; more Anakin/Lady Obi-Wan porn (what even is the point of Obi-Wan being a woman if there isn't going to be a lot of filthy porn? IJS); more Finn/Rey and Finn/Rey/Poe; more Han/Leia, more Leia with her parents (both sets), I mean, really, more Leia in everything, always.


Today's poem:

Looking at Pictures of My Daughters
by Maureen Scott Harris

for Jessica and Katharine

I've taken so many pictures of you from behind,
mesmerized first by the way your hair
spiralled around your perfect baby skulls
mirroring snailshell and galaxy, this
new universe I'd fallen into.
Year after year I looked at you looking away.

But here's a picture I'd forgotten:
foggy weather and you stand, backs to me and larger
than I knew, on an apron of rock at
the sea's edge.
I can't see your expressions, I don't
know how you feel, there, where
the waves are dark and larger than life.
There's nothing between ocean and sky and
my fear falling into the picture

Standing behind you I hold my heart tight, not
letting out the fear:
that you will be swept away,
that you will turn and see me, hand
across my mouth, eyes round and terrified and

I want you to be happy.
Standing behind you I don't have to see myself
reflected in your eyes, the three of us so muddled
in my heart I can't skim us apart.
I want to be perfect, better
than my mother. My gaze is
the weight on your shoulders. It stiffens your necks.


How Yuri On Ice! saved my life

Apr. 23rd, 2017 01:41 pm
[personal profile] kouredios
Okay, so I've been a fan of the happy gay-ice-skaters anime since the first season dropped last fall/winter, but this week something shifted in my brain and I went full-tilt fannish about it.

Like, rewatching all 12 episodes 2-3 times over April vacation, reading ALL the fic, slowly moving from gen slice-of-life gap-fillers to the hardcore otayuri AUs where Yuri's a tattoo artist who wears stiletto boots and Otabek's a DJ with piercings in delicate places.

How/Why did this happen, you ask? Let me tell you analyze myself.

Preemptive cut, because this may get long, or at least image-heavy )

This weekend: partial list

Apr. 23rd, 2017 12:34 pm
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 The nice thing about posting on DW is that I don't have to look up an image to post.   This weekend, instead of farmer's market, we did the ritual spring plant buy.   I now have three different varieties of tomato, five (I think) of hot pepper, cumin plants (!), a European elderberry, a Bearss lime, a dramatic purple plant whose name I misremember, and two tarragon plants.  Also I watered the front yard when I got home.    The new gardener who was supposed to show up yesterday didn't, and hasn't answered a text.  I fear I shall have to find a new new gardener.  In any case, I'm having an arborist in to look at the condition of some trees I'm worried about, prune the front-yard lemon, evaluate the apples I raised from grafts, and take out the dead peach tree and a volunteer acacia.

I wrote the (quite large) grower of the lime tree and asked about its size; the label says it's a semi-dwarf but not how big it is.  Here's the reply I got:

Citrus can be pruned to your desired height and width. If left unpruned it should reach a larger size planted in the ground. If grown in a pot that will limit to some extent the size.
Well, that's helpful.

one love

Apr. 23rd, 2017 03:28 pm
[personal profile] oliviacirce
An extra poem for today (or for April 16), only a little bit because I was talking with a friend about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead the other day, and that play always makes me think of tennis. Tennis, and death possibly being a boat.

The International Open (Tennis Players vs. Poets) )

Four years ago today

Apr. 23rd, 2017 10:35 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A very thin, very dirty stray cat turned up at Jasmine's condo complex, asking for food and shelter.

each one of us a queen

Apr. 23rd, 2017 12:14 am
[personal profile] oliviacirce
Tonight I went to see Anastasia on Broadway (it's still in previews, but opens next week). It was fantastic on several different levels, but one of the things I loved most was how great an adaptation of the movie it is—like, no spoilers, but it's really faithful to the movie while also being a really different show, and it works so well. I would also like to give a special shout-out to Dmitry's floppy hair, which was truly superb and made me a little weak in the knees.

We also went for delicious Russian food and vodka beforehand, because we were feeling thematic; so, in keeping with the theme, some Marina Tsvetaeva:

Hell, my ardent sisters, be assured )

The Lost City of Z (2017)

Apr. 22nd, 2017 11:32 pm
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Okay, so I haven't read the book. But B., who has, was with me, and one of the things he mentioned before we watched the film is that, in the book, at one point an Amazon tribe who had come forward and said that they killed Percy Fawcett in the late nineteen-twenties later came forward and said that a Brazilian minister had asked them to say they killed him in order to stop people from sending innumerable expeditions into the jungle in futile search of Percy Fawcett. This rather stuck with B., as it was an interesting way to handle the problem, and I found it pretty striking as an anecdote. Note that both the 'we killed him, that's what happened' claim and the 'here's why we said that' claim were made decades after Fawcett's disappearance.

I suppose I should not have been expecting anything sensible from Hollywood racial politics, but for fuck's sake, don't the film people know what it looks like they're saying when they have Fawcett being Insistently Anti-Racist Person Who Insists Amazonians Are People Too, in the face of openly racist opposition, yet, all over the movie-- which from what I gather is also rather inaccurate-- and then heavily imply that he was not only killed but also eaten by natives without including the refutation which was right there in the source material for them?

This is also a film which comes down pretty heavily on Percy Fawcett being Right About Things, and I'm not even sure it was intentional on the writer's part. It's just that when the issues somebody has are things like 'is heavily overinvested in cultural conceptions of masculinity', you have to be very blatant when you demonstrate that those are actual issues, because our culture is so approving of extreme behavior along those lines that disapproval needs to be obvious in-text just to bring us to neutral. Sure, Fawcett almost certainly got himself and his son killed, but the film goes to great (and, from what I hear, also a-historic) lengths to say that maybe they just went off to live with the natives, plus the whole thing very much has an air of It's How He Wanted To Go He Was Following His Noble Dreams. Also, even when we see Fawcett doing things that are demonstrably pig-headed, sexist, and aggravating, he winds up getting vindicated by the narrative over and over again. We never see anyone arguing against his expeditions from the level of logistics on which I am assured they were bad ideas; we see people arguing against them because they are Bad People, or because they are his family and they want him home, which we are assured is understandable and tragic but just How It Had To Be.

In conclusion, I'm definitely going to read the book, because the film, despite a reasonable central performance by Charlie Hunnam (perhaps a bit too restrained) and a very fine side performance by Robert Pattinson (unrecognizable beneath layers of fuzz), some pretty cinematography, and occasional attempts at symbolism, comes off as racist, insultingly simplistic, and just not overall what you want Hollywood to do with a good source text.

[personal profile] sovay
It was cold and raw and raining and I had slept three hours; it has been an exhausting week. I made it to the Boston March for Science and I am very glad I did. My father and I took the train from Alewife; walking back and forth in front of the fare machines we met a small child carrying "Less Invasions, More Equations!" (my brain yelled, "Fewer!" and I said, "Nice sign," because people who pedantically correct the protest signs of six-year-olds are not the kind of change I want to see in the world) and at Porter a contingent from the grad student employeee union of UMass got on with "Ignorance = √All Evil." Across the car from us a father was trying to explain Tom Lehrer to his daughter, resulting in a spontaneous chorus of "Pollution." When we got off at Park Street, it was a quarter to two and Boston Common was full of protesters and stalls and food trucks and kids' music from the bandstand and then we came up over the crest of the hill by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and it was nerds with signs as far as the eye could see.

Eventually we worked our way down the mudslide to a point where we could hear the speakers from the main stage without getting blasted by the amplification. My father took pictures. Meeting up with Dean and Lily, I gave directions by the papier-mâché 45-on-a-stick with a separate sign for its speech bubble ("Believe me, climate change is a Chinese hoax! Sad!" while standing in a pants-on-fire flaming barrel of Exxon-Mobil) and held my blue butterfly-patterned umbrella aloft like a torch. I saw [personal profile] gaudior and [personal profile] nineweaving and B. for about fifteen seconds before they disappeared with Fox, whose baby sling was pinned this time with a "Test Tube Baby" flag. We never did find [personal profile] choco_frosh and Peter. We had planned to stay the entire duration of the rally, but around a quarter to four the weather became just too cold to stand around in and we set off down Boylston Street in search of hot drinks, ending up at Patisserie on Newbury and then Trident Booksellers & Café. A great deal of walking later we met my mother in Porter Square.

The signs were great. Lots of variants on "Make America Think Again." Lots of "There Is No Planet B." Several pro-vaccination and medicine, of which my favorite was "Got Plague? Yeah, me neither. Thank a Scientist!" A woman in a Spock sweatshirt carried "The needs of the planet outweigh the greed of the lewd." I have no idea what the relevant research was, but I swear I saw "Plankton Don't Want None Unless You Got Funds, Hon!" On general principle I was rather fond of "The Oceans Are Rising and So Are We," "Think Like a Proton—Always Positive," and the several variations on "I'm with Her," pointing in all cases to Gaia. "The Climate Is Changing—Why Aren't We?" "Science Is Inoculation Against Charlatans." I did not expect to see so many shout-outs to Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, from paired signs to a person in a full-body Beaker costume whose small plain sign read simply "MEEP!" I saw signs for Alan Turing. I saw signs for Millie Dresselhaus. One of the speakers was a deaf scientist; several were women of color. My father said it reminded him of the be-ins in New York in the 1960's, only with more porto-potties and lab coats. It was definitely a compliment.

And now, as always, not to lose this energy. What next?

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Apr. 22nd, 2017 09:55 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Iron Cast

3/5. Boston on the brink of prohibition. Two girls – one black, one white, one the poor daughter of immigrants, one the daughter of wealthy socialites, one an empath through her music, the other able to bend reality with poetry – exercise their powers for good and for profit as the political tides turn against them.

I liked this. And, unusually, I liked it more the more I thought about it. I did spend the first third grumbling to myself about why this wasn't the queer romance it so clearly should be, but ultimately both of the male love interests turned out to be acceptable. Well . . . 1.5 of the love interests turned out to be acceptable.

This is jazzy and a bit flimsy to start, with more speakeasy! Gangster! Atmosphere than, you know, actual book. But it grows and turns and deepens as our heroines start to question themselves and the things they do. I mean, it could have deepened a lot more – for a book partly about bigotry, this one comes down awfully hard on the personal responsibility side of the scales, without giving adequate shrift to the role being the object of discrimination plays in a person's choices. But. I liked this.

Content notes: Some frankly disturbing depictions of institutionalization, medical torture, medical experimentation, etc.

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

Apr. 22nd, 2017 09:28 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Kinda Like Brothers

3/5. It's all well and good for our protagonist's mom to take in foster babies. But the most recent baby comes with the baggage of an older brother, and that just doesn't work for our protag thank you very much.

I think this was a disabilityinkidlit rec? It had to be a rec from somewhere because I don't pick non-specfic YA lit without a prompt these days. But this is great. Well, okay, it's cringily great. Our protagonist is terribly eleven – he's convinced everything is criminally unfair and he's a little shit roughly 90% of the time, with the other 10% being overwhelming sweetness. And he's eleven, and this book is super honest, so there's enough social embarrassment going on here to make me use my one-minute audio skip button more than once.

But really, it's great, particularly if you have a thicker skin than I do. Non-traditional families of all sorts, relationships that don't fit a tidy box, complicated adults doing their best. And there's a lot in here about being a community of color, from the overt – a totally wrenching scene in which an older man teaches a roomful of pubescent black boys how to act when they are stopped by the cops because it might save their lives one day – to the more subtle work embedded in the unfolding of everyone's backstories. I'd definitely buy this for a kid.

P.s. The commercial audio is A+++. John Clarence Stewart is hilarious and pissy and sad and just perfect.

she is a tornado.

Apr. 22nd, 2017 06:04 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
the telling

She is a tornado.
He is a man. He is solid and humble.
She tells the story three times, convinced
he does not understand. He is trying.
The story is about an elephant and a mermaid.
No, the story is about a millipede in a thicket of roses,
a prized buckskin horse and fifty lashes.
She is talking gibberish. He is trying to understand but she
is thunderbolt. Her tongue, a spear.
The dog is hiding in the back corner of a dark room.
The man wants to sit with the dog. She is melting.
Her face pools in her lap. Freckles pile at her feet.
There is nothing in the room that has not been hurled.
She is science like this. An atom, separating.
Finally, the story comes, like flood. Its mud seeps in
from under the doorjambs, rising. They are standing
ankle deep in water and rot and he understands now.
He is a spiced wound. He wants firearms. Hit-men. A brutal justice.
All the while, the window is sitting with its mouth open,
spilling their hot storm into the courtyard
where the neighbors have come to their sills,
elbows propped, hungry
like vultures.

~Jeanann Verlee


Putting down roots

Apr. 22nd, 2017 04:22 pm
[personal profile] kass
Today Zaphod and I went to the nursery and came home with a ton of plants!

I dug up the sickly rhododendron bush beside my front door and have replaced it with a lilac. (The woman at the nursery assures me that if I trim it appropriately, it will flower and will not grow up to be 15 feet tall.) I've also put in three daylilies beside the house, and two hostas. All of these are perennials, so assuming that they take root, they'll be here for years to come. They're also all low-maintenance, which is important -- I know myself well enough to know that once it's summer, I don't spend time gardening.

And I bought three window boxes for the railing on the mirpesset. One of them now has three small petunia plants in it (Zaphod chose them, and chose the colors -- purple, pink, and variegated.) Another has potting soil and a bunch of flower seeds, because he really wanted to try to grow seeds. And the third will have herbs in it later in the spring. Best part is, they sit on the railing, so they don't have a footprint! I've watered everything we planted.

Now we are curled up in the living room watching Pokémon XYZ, and I am basking in the satisfaction of a task completed, and the satisfaction of continuing to put down roots in my new place.

Took a quick look at the LJ side

Apr. 22nd, 2017 04:01 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Porn spam has rocketed up to 35% of comments.
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
My friend Nagisa posted this meme on Facebook and I just about died. You start typing each sentence of a dating profile on your phone's keyboard, then use its predictions to fill in the rest.

My name is Nick and I just remembered that I was a little kid.

My age is not too small.

I live in Portland but I still love you.

I was born and I forgot about it.

My body is just so hungry.

I am looking for something that is not the only thing.

I enjoy playing with the best.

My ideal partner is the one that has been able to work on the other side.

My turn ons are on point but I'm not even gonna.

I have the sad

Apr. 22nd, 2017 02:23 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
By checking the dates of successive Strange Horizon counts, I see the trend is for the release date to be later than the one before. I was hoping for April but mid-May may be more reasonable.

memory speaking in dactyls

Apr. 22nd, 2017 12:41 pm
[personal profile] oliviacirce
I spent a lot of time thinking about this poem while we were in Greece, but I had so many poems I wanted to post while we were there that some of them had to get saved for later, and this is really more of a poem about Latin than about Greek. Luckily, I then missed a whole bunch of days, so here is an extra poem for April 15.

A Meditation on Dactylic Hexameter )

also, while I am signal-boosting

Apr. 22nd, 2017 10:21 am
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Don't back that Kickstarter for a short film about slash fandom, because it's co-written and edited by Franzeska Dickson, who is not a person to be given a platform to talk about race in fandom.

Twitter threads: one, two, or I could just say "wrote that digustingly racist 16k meta (AO3-locked) last year", and a lot of you will know what I mean. Note that the second threads has screencap excerpts of the meta.

I Love Romantic Suspense

Apr. 22nd, 2017 06:22 am
[personal profile] sartorias
Over here I talk about why I love it, and recommend a few indie authors who write it. This includes space opera, and magical Regency.

I'd love to discuss why you love it, too--and any recommendations you might have.
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I have still basically not been here, sorry, but fyi:

Con or Bust is taking auction offers through tomorrow, Sunday April 23 (end of the day Eastern time).

Bidding starts Monday April 24!

There's a bunch of cool stuff up already, a few more things going up today, and, I hope, more coming in that just haven't been submitted yet. So check it out!

Hit the ground running

Apr. 22nd, 2017 11:32 am
[personal profile] rydra_wong
So yeah, I don't imagine we are headed for anything except a Tory victory (yes, we could theoretically get another freaky none-of-the-polls-predicted-this result, but that would be too damn nice of the universe).

But anything we can do to limit their power and make it hard for them to claim an absolute mandate will help limit the damage. And we can also try to stomp on UKIP's attempts to creep in around the margins.

Google Docs: How To Vote To Stop The Tories (see the FAQ for notes explaining how and why particular choices were made)

Note: Wikipedia gives details of past election results in your constituency, so you can verify and also look at exact details.

Local elections are on May 4, and are important in themselves as well as an indicator of which ways the political winds are blowing. And fewer people vote in them.

Hope Not Hate have a fresh new website and an election fund to fight far-right candidates in any constituency they might have a chance of winning. They are really good at this and have pissed off UKIP no end.

Vote. Make your friends vote. Make everyone you know vote. If nothing else, it's good practice. One day it may matter.

Friday evening linkspam

Apr. 21st, 2017 10:26 pm
[personal profile] cofax7
Yum: roasted rhubarb wine compote. Time to buy some rhubarb...

This is a super creative (and surprisingly bloody) animated short.

Community planning needs more people like this, looking at diverse and under-represented communities.

A long profile on Alec Baldwin as Trump.

These posters are awesome.

Word of the day: Abydocomist -- One who brags about their lies. Other fab Old English insults can be found here.

Holy crap, this is too awesome for words: an automated conlang generator. . (I'm sure it's not up to the standards of something created by an actual linguist, but for many purposes, it would be great.)

Also holy crap awesome: Carmen Cusack doing "You'll Be Back". So great. Oh, and check it out: LMM and Raul Esparza singing Anita & Maria in West Side Story. . That's really lovely, actually.


I have the feeling we're at Peak Television. And that soon there will be a bubble. Which is my justification for not really watching much tv right now: I figure there will be enough for years to come.

Tonight I'm catching up on Homefires, which is a drama set in an English village at the beginning of WWII. It's not really surprising or creative, but there's some great cast members and heart-warming bits. Also, for Code Name Verity fans, it looks like the one lesbian character might decide to go for pilot's training...

I need to get back to The 100 and Underground. One of these days...


Apr. 21st, 2017 06:01 pm
[personal profile] kass
1. My kid's new favorite thing to do is invent trivia questions and ask them of each other. (Like: "Which planet in our solar system has the most moons?" or "What can Bulbasaur evolve into?")

2. Saw my therapist today, and she affirms that I am rocking the house on many levels. Frankly I quite agree. :-)

3. Dinner tonight is already made, and it is tasty, and I have a challah to go with it, because Passover is over huzzah.

4. I've actually read two books recently. Like, actual paper books. They were both somewhat work-adjacent, but I derived genuine pleasure from reading them.

5. The trees are so close to leafing! And that makes me happy.

Shabbat shalom to all who celebrate.

Taking a Day Off

Apr. 21st, 2017 09:10 am
[personal profile] oracne
I am taking a day off. No gym, no emails/faxes to politicians, no going out to do things.

I managed to get a few things done at dayjob today, and tonight I plan to make a sign for the Science March tomorrow.

For today, that will have to be enough.
[personal profile] rosefox
[personal profile] jasra posted this copy-and-paste support meme:

My door is always open. The house is usually half clean. Coffee/Tea could be on in minutes, and the chairs are a comfy place of peace and non-judgment. Anyone who needs to chat is welcome anytime. It's no good suffering in silence. There is always food in the fridge, coffee/tea in the cupboard, and a listening ear or shoulder to cry on. I will always be here & you are always welcome!!

If you want to, could at least one friend please copy and re-post (not share)? I'm trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening! We need more love 💛

My version:

If we are friends, my home is always open to you for a hug, a chat, a cat to pet, a cuppa, a meal, or a couch to crash on for a night or two. Stairs and cats and baby mean my space won't be accessible to everyone, but we will all do our very best to be welcoming and supportive in every other way.

If you have been harmed or kicked out of your home and need a safe place to go, I will gladly provide that safe place or help you find another one.

I'm always up late. (Always.) If you need someone to talk to late at night, call or text or DM/PM me.

My spoons and time can be pretty limited. But I care a lot about helping other people, and will always do as much as I can. And you can count on me to be clear and compassionate when setting boundaries, so you never have to worry whether you're being a bother or intruding or taking resources I don't have to spare.

Feel free to post and share your own version if you're able to help others who are in need. 💚

Sic Transit, et cetera

Apr. 21st, 2017 03:31 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
I already miss Twin B -- not in an empty-nest kind of way, but in a somebody-around-to-talk-to kind of way. With Himself out of the house, it's only me and my brother, who's in his room upstairs most of the time (and who isn't the most cheerful of company at the best of times.)

And in other news, I see that Con*Stellation, down in Huntsville, Alabama, is closing down after this year's iteration. Himself and I were Guests of Honor there, back in 1990, and they sent us a nice note asking us if we wanted to be there for the finale -- but alas, Huntsville is much too far out of our range for us to go if it isn't on the convention's dime. This year will be the 35th Con*Stellation, so it's not surprising it's shutting down -- the conrunners who were energetic young fans 35 years ago are approaching retirement age. (Thirty-five years is a long run for a regional con; Boskone hits 55 next year, and Mini-con hits 53, and Wiscon is coming up on 44, but they've all got active organizations behind them feeding in new blood to run things.)

Also, today is grey and rainy.

Old Movie Question

Apr. 21st, 2017 03:18 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Does anyone remember an old movie about an out of control rocket (or maybe plane -- I have not seen the film since I was a kid) that incinerates everything it passes over? I remember one scene in particular, where a family making a snowman gets evaporated. Any idea what movie it was?
[personal profile] larryhammer
Three obviously related links of awesomeness:

The motion of 2 million stars over 5 million years. (via)

All of NASA's photos and videos in a single, searchable website: https://images.nasa.gov/. Aw, yisssss. (via)

Prince and Muppets. You're welcome. (via)


Subject quote from "Stanzas in Memory of the Author of "Obermann"," Matthew Arnold.
[personal profile] musesfool
I waited as long as I could, and then there was a stoppage of play, so I ran to the bathroom, and of course that is when the the Rangers scored the winning goal in OT last night. I should have just spent the whole game in the bathroom. I will take it either way. ZIBANEJAD! Plus Kreider finally showed up, and Nash has been in beast mode throughout. And AV better not sit Buchnevich again. Plus, Girardi is playing like he's five years younger! If only Holden and Staal weren't so terrible together. Hopefully they can put this series away at MSG tomorrow, though I wouldn't bank on it. Maybe I will just sit in the bathroom all night, just to be sure.


Today's poem:

by Taylor Graham

While we're asleep
the ordinary items of a room
rearrange themselves
wordless, regardless of their labels
("Made in Taiwan," "wash & wear")
or what it says in the owner's
the revocable warranties.

They rise up
while we wander lost in the natural
symbols of our dreams.
These simple household goods
mimic speech and intertwine
into a cabala of their own design,
as wallpaper.

Listen. Every sound clicks
into place, a tone
like bells, like machines make.
dishwasher, clock.
All these manufactured servants
are singing to themselves,
to soothe us into sleep.

[personal profile] sovay
I made this mixtape for [personal profile] kore as an antidote to the whole history-overwriting shenanigans of Marvel's Secret Empire, now with an extra side of this mishegos. It's not especially subtle, but with any luck it sounds good. Contributors include British Sea Power, Jawbox, Odetta, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, Arcade Fire, PJ Harvey, and Marc Blitzstein.

If I could tell you anything. )

I've had a headache on the right side of my face since about two in the afternoon, so I am going to bed.


Apr. 20th, 2017 11:49 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
From the handout at the Borderlands reading:

CHERIS: Every card in this deck is the Deuce of Gears!

JEDAO: Only way to play!

(This is only funny if you've read the book or, possibly, "The Battle of Candle Arc.")

sketches of the day

Apr. 20th, 2017 11:46 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Or: your daily catten.

Top: a napping catten.
Bottom: she moved!

Ink: Diamine Eclipse.
Pen: Conklin crescent-filler.

and a sketch of the dragon in her Hamilton T-shirt )

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