Today's horrible thought

Oct. 25th, 2016 05:32 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
What if it turns out Linus' Great Pumpkin was actually Donald Trump?
[personal profile] sovay
You know, I could really have done without dreaming all last night that I was watching a very well-produced, well-acted, well-written either movie or TV series about genocide. It had a complexly imagined second world with a sort of matchlock-and-trebuchet level of military technology and the majority of the cast was nonwhite. There were gods on the Lovecraftian model, but it was unclear whether any of the rituals designed to invoke their interest and support actually reached, affected, or mattered to them. At the point where [ profile] derspatchel woke me, I had just been invited to attend something called the Symphony of the Condemned Prisoners. [personal profile] yhlee, is this your fault?

i won't sit down, i won't shut up

Oct. 25th, 2016 11:33 am
[personal profile] musesfool
Supergirl: Welcome to Earth
spoilers )

Jane the Virgin: Chapter Forty-Six
spoilers are #anezkatized )

In other news, this story I started as a lark is now over 9000 words long and still has stuff to go, plus I keep going back and adding things in to the earlier parts. I don't know how people post works in progress. What if you realize you need to seed something in earlier or scenes have to change order or be cut entirely or new scenes have to be added? I couldn't handle that.



Oct. 25th, 2016 08:33 am
[personal profile] oracne
Singers will talk at great length about their mucus, what it is doing to them, and how to make it go away. Consider this a warning for this post, which I write for my own records. GROSSNESS AHEAD!

I am still having occasional coughing fits, some of the more violent resulting in me urping up a half-mouthful of water. That's happened maybe three times so far. Post-nasal drip won't go away, though it's worst in the morning and evening. The coughing is exhausting, but nowhere near as bad as when I last had bronchitis.

I got nose drops from my doctor on Friday, that have been working okay at night in combination with Benadryl. Though they leave a nasty taste in the back of my throat, I do not wake up coughing, though I still need to clear out in the morning, by nose-blowing and coughing, for up to maybe three hours. Today, I took the nose drops in the morning after initial coughing and nose-blowing, and will use them for the recommended three times a day. I am praying that will easily get me through dress rehearsal tonight.

My favorite remedy, recommended by a friend who is a professional alto: "take a laxative; then you're afraid to cough." LOL!

I sang some tricky and crazy-intervaled music last night but did not have a coughing fit. I drank lots of water. My voice is a little hoarse, but it's moving as it needs to. I hope this is a good sign.

If this doesn't improve, I might request a doctor visit.
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I did end up reading the third book, hastily skimming the animal torture sections. Thankfully, they are clustered toward the end. However, the first part contains a tragic unicorn stillbirth.

This book had similar flaws and virtues as the first, and resembled that more than the incredibly depressing second book: 60% heartfelt and charming tale of vets in fantasyland, 40% torture, OTT tragedy, and whisker-twirling villains who kill people because they’re homicidal maniacs.

It introduced a number of new characters (possibly because so many were killed in book two), some of whom seemed potentially interesting but got little screentime, and some of whom were marvelous. I adored the earnest young griffin and his best buds, who decided to model themselves after the ideals of chivalry and so named themselves Roland, Oliver, and Clark Kent. Everything involving the junior and senior griffins was great. The obligatory incursion of a new genocidal bloodthirsty sadistic tortures-for-fun sociopath was not great.

This one has a happier ending, except that… Read more... )

Pre-Code resources

Oct. 24th, 2016 05:12 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(For personal reference and for anyone else considering diving in.)

Mick LaSalle's two books on the subject:

Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood

Dangerous Men: Pre-Code Hollywood and the Birth of the Modern Man

Both are very readable and (IMHO) deeply fannish, in the sense of combining deep analysis with utterly geeky enthusiasm and biased love for the topics being discussed. Full of great recommendations, too -- I've found wonderful films via LaSalle's recs that I've never heard of in any other context. Celebrating Pre-Code Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1934

A website with vast numbers of reviews and useful starting points, e.g. What is Pre-Code Hollywood? and My List of Essential Pre-Code Hollywood Films.

The Toast: Pre-Code Movies Worth Watching (previously linked)

The Nitrate Diva: Pre-Code A to Z: 26 Favorites:

I decided to do a pre-Code A to Z, with a different title for each letter in the alphabet, because I wanted to feature a weird, slightly arbitrary collection of pre-Codes instead of a traditional top ten.

(Great as a sampler of the sheer range, glories and oddities of pre-Code films.)

TV Tropes: The Pre-Code Era (warning for the rabbit hole that is TV Tropes) (includes films from 1928 and '29, whereas a lot of guides count "pre-Code" as starting properly in 1930, when the Code was officially adopted but roundly ignored)

TV Tropes: The Hays Code

Cinematically Insane: Screening Report: The 1933 Pre-Code Festival

Not pre-Code-specific, but relevant to film history interests:

You Must Remember This

Podcast, available on iTunes or your podcatcher of choice, about "the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century" (and skewing fairly heavily towards the first half of that century).

Generally thoughtful and well-researched, with a deliberate focus on telling the stories of women, LGBT people, POC, and others dis-privileged within the Hollywood system -- but that makes it sound dry; instead, as the Guardian puts it, it "sounds like a dreamy mix of film noir voiceover, 1940s gossip column and Pathe news broadcast." Writer/performer Karina Longworth says: "I wanted the show to feel like something spooky that you would hear late at night on a drive through the middle of nowhere."

Assorted articles about it:

The Guardian: You Must Remember This: the woman spilling Hollywood's long-held secrets
Jezebel: A Chat With the Creator of Can't-Miss Classic Hollywood Podcast You Must Remember This
KQED: Karina Longworth Talks ‘You Must Remember This’ Before Going on Hiatus

If you've got links (or recommendations of your own) to add, please add 'em!

Inktober #24

Oct. 24th, 2016 10:22 pm
[personal profile] yhlee

Sketch of two gentlemen at the game store.

Ink: Papier Plume Caramel.
Pen: Waterman 52V (wet noodle).
[personal profile] sovay
Meeting up with [ profile] nineweaving, [ profile] sartorias, and [ profile] skogkatt at Burdick's was delightful, especially since the group included Skogkatt's mother and later two other writers who may or may not have livejournals. I brought home several packages of chocolate ghosts and bats for my mother, in preparation for the annual Halloween party. [ profile] derspatchel and I made omelets for dinner while two small cats watched with rapt attention (nobody has to feel sorry for them, they got turkey). Since more than half of the kitchen is still in storage and we have not yet received the replacement stove, I made oatmeal cookies afterward using a mixing bowl, a large fork, and a toaster oven; the results made me feel very accomplished, and after the third and a half cookie, very full. I cannot be the only person who sees the totally normal place-name "Torridon" and tries to remember which one of the Highlords of the Kencyrath that was.

No Plot? No Problem

Oct. 24th, 2016 09:26 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
No Plot? No Problem! is by Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month. I picked it up a while back out of curiosity, and enjoyed it quite a lot. Since November is coming up, I thought it might be a nice time to reread it. Which is hilarious, because despite multiple attempts, I have never "won" a NaNo (written a 50,000-word novel during November), and this year I don't plan on participating at all due to a certain book three I owe my publisher. But that's okay!

No Plot? No Problem is a writing how-to book, but more importantly, it's a writing how-to book specifically geared to the madcap NaNo writing experience. You might not be writing your novel specifically during November along with the other NaNo participants, but the expectation is that you're going to be writing a short novel with minimal preparation and an emphasis on quantity over quality--the sheer exuberance of creativity. While some notes at the end talk about how to revise, that's not the focus of Baty's book.

I will own that I love this book. It is cracky and funny and irreverent, and as it turns out, that is exactly what I enjoy in my writing how-to books. Not the only thing, but one of the things. Here's an example:

Like any good vacation, half the fun of writing a novel is getting properly outfitted. A month-long noveling trip requires a shopping spree every bit as enjoyable as a jaunt to the Bahamas. And if you pinch pennies, you can get all the tech gear, low-tech tools, and copious amounts of treats you need for under $35.

The stuff you need falls neatly into two categories: things you can put in your mouth and things you shouldn't. We'll tackle the inedible writing tools first, and then move on to the essential snacks and drinks.

Needless to say, this requires that the reader be able to tell when Baty is being tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, some of the writing advice is genuine, and genuinely useful to me. Whether it's useful to another writer is going to be a matter of YMMV.

One of the exercises I like is to create what Baty calls a Magna Carta I and a Magna Carta II for your writing. In Magna Carta I, you list things that you enjoy or find appealing when you're reading. In Magna Carta II, you list turn-offs. The point is to be able to stuff in bunches of things from the former and avoid writing the latter. This sounds like it might be obvious, except Baty's contention is that writers often find themselves writing things that they don't enjoy writing out of a sense that it's more "literary" or "serious" or "good for them." I have definitely fallen prey to this in the past!

For the curious, here are my current lists, incomplete:

Magna Carta I (things I love in fiction)
- big space battles
- dubcon/noncon
- chessmasters (I get all my tropes from TV Tropes)
- Magnificent Bastards (I get all my tropes from TV Tropes)
- moral event horizons (I get all my...okay, okay, you get the idea!)
- grimdark worldbuilding
- grace notes of hope
- complicated and conflicting loyalties
- nonstandard worldbuilding, especially sociocultural stuff
- conlang and linguistics notes
- snark
- cracky comedy
- bureaucracy hijinks

Magna Carta II (things I usually can't stand in fiction)
- love triangles, etc.
- multigenerational family sagas
- plot points only happening due to people refusing to communicate with each other when it would make senes for them to do so
- cardboard villains
- Eurofantasy
- infidelity

Please note, this is not the same as "good" or "bad"--some of the things I hate in fiction are perfectly good tropes that work fine for other readers! And sometimes things I hate can be done so well that I'm won over in spite of myself. But in general, I should probably avoid writing things that aren't my jam.

In any case, while I can't do NaNo this year, I will happily cheer on anyone else who's going for it! Are any of y'all giving it a swing?

[cross-post: Patreon]


Oct. 24th, 2016 04:27 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of [personal profile] dhampyresa:
Give me a potential title and I tell you about the story I would write for it.
[personal profile] musesfool
I posted this to tumblr last night but I want it here so I can find it again if I ever want to.

I recently had this conversation with [ profile] devildoll and I have to get it off my chest, so here is my personal sorting of the Batfamily and I will fight you:

Bruce: the apotheosis of Slytherin

Alfred: Hufflepuff. I mean, he’s badass enough to be whatever he wants but he dedicates his life to service and his loyalty to Bruce and his mission, so, Hufflepuff.

Dick: Gryffindor. I mean, you could argue big brother Dick is Hufflepuff, but this is also a guy who started fighting crime in scaly panties and pixie boots at the age of 10, and before that was a renowned trapeze artist. Come on.

Babs: Ravenclaw. Duh.

Jason: pre-death: Gryffindor, post-death: Slytherin

Tim: Ravenclaw. I would entertain arguments for Slytherin, if I had a sense of what Tim’s true ambition was, except to not be Batman and yet turn into him anyway.

Steph: Gryffindor

Cass: Hufflepuff

Damian: Slytherin. Again, I could entertain arguments for Hufflepuff if you bring up his rapidly accumulating menagerie of Bat pets, but this is a kid obsessed with legacy and being better than everyone who came before him

Kate: Gryffindor.


In other news, how is this story 8000 words long and still requiring four more scenes? How did that even happen?


Sheri S. Tepper (1929-2016)

Oct. 24th, 2016 04:10 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Author Sheri S. Tepper, 87, died October 22, 2016. Tepper was a prolific author of SF, best known for her feminist and ecological themes, with major titles including The Gate to Women’s Country (1988) and Grass (1989).
[personal profile] sovay
Happy Monday! My day so far has chiefly contained a doctor's appointment, wrestling with health insurance, and a steep learning curve of WordPress. Have some assorted news.

1. Strange Horizons has a new look! Check it out.

2. On November 15th—that's in three weeks—I will be reading with Kij Johnson at the Brooklyn Commons Café as part of the New York Review of Science Fiction Readings. Probably from my most recently accepted fiction, maybe some poetry as well. If you are at all in the area, come and hear!

3. On January 7th—that's next year—I will be reading at the United Photo Industries Gallery as the part of the closing event for Viktor Koen's Bestiary: Bizarre Myths & Chimerical Fancies. That will very definitely be the poem I wrote for the exhibition catalogue. More information as we approach.

4. Reproduced from comments with [personal profile] rydra_wong, because I never got around to it on my own journal:

I never reviewed Lady with a Past (1932) at all, but it's worth your time if you can catch it. It's almost a screwball comedy, except that the majority of its dialogue would not have passed muster post-Code; its pacing is a mess and it needed either a different ending or to get there much more smoothly; but it also contains the not-so-secret weapon of Constance Bennett as a bookish, socially awkward heroine who decides to jump-start her social life by pretending to a scandalous reputation and hires Ben Lyon's cheerfully upfront ("I'm careless, shiftless, and extravagant") ne'er-do-well to squire her around Paris with just the right balance of salaciousness and class. She got the idea from watching the skyrocketing popularity of a woman who was acquitted of poisoning her husband; to give you an idea of the film's tone, she muses quite seriously on whether she would have to get a husband herself in order to poison him or whether poisoning just anybody's husband would do. The central and charming irony is that she doesn't actually alter her personality a jot, but now she's perceived as mysterious and fascinating instead of gauche and unapproachable and soon she's got suitors of all nationalities swarming her at parties, including her best friend's brother (David Manners) who once jilted her without knowing it after drunkenly proposing to her the night before. The strongest stretch of the film simply has these three characters bouncing off each other: Bennett is delighted to find her lack of small talk taken for smoldering enigma, Lyon is as good as his word in both his ability to play her latest louche flame while being genuinely supportive of her and his tendency to run up staggering bills in liquor and clothes, and Manners, when he drops dutifully by to look in on the wallflower, is blown off his feet by her newfound popularity and then wickedly shut out when he tries to get a courtship in edgewise. It's not a lost classic, but I found it a lot of fun. I need to see more of Constance Bennett than Topper (1937) and I still like Ben Lyon, who on the strength of this movie and Night Nurse (1931) looks like a character lead to me. I keep forgetting what happened to him beyond marrying Bebe Daniels and moving to the UK. I really enjoy David Manners so long as he's not appearing in Dracula (1931).

There is no fifth thing; I am heading off to meet [ profile] nineweaving, [ profile] sartorias, and [ profile] skogkatt in Harvard Square. I leave you with some pre-Code people.



Oct. 24th, 2016 08:44 am
[personal profile] oracne
What with Body Pump, fetching and depositing a check for a traveling friend, and the Harry Potter FanFest in Chestnut Hill on Saturday, I was down to a nub by Sunday. I slept in a bit, got breakfast and checked email, then spent the rest of the day doing things like laundry, napping, and cleaning the bathroom (floor and sink, while Drano chugged away in the shower drain).

Rehearsal is choir-only tonight, then dress with orchestra tomorrow, then performance on Wednesday. After that, I'm free until mid-November, when we start rehearsals for the Xmas Oratorio, to be presented on New Year's Eve.

I made more progress in the review book while at the Laundromat, and should finish easily before I have to write the review this weekend.

Art of War read-along: II. Waging War

Oct. 24th, 2016 11:45 am
[personal profile] yhlee
Read-along of Sun Tzu's Art of War, continued!

I...apparently own a copy of Griffiths' translation, but I'll continue with the Giles.

II. Waging War

1-15. I am realizing I know jack-all about chariot warfare, having misspent most of middle and high school reading up on medieval warfare. But yay logistics anyway! In fact, a lot of this seems to concern "Don't get tied up in a long drawn-out siege, they suck. ALSO MAKE SURE TO HAVE ENOUGH SUPPLIES AHAHAHA." Uh, I paraphrase.

17-18. Not only should you use captured resources well, you should treat your POWs well! Psychological as well as material resources being repurposed, in a way. "This is called, using the conquered foe to augment one's own strength." I'm reminded of that bit in Red Cliff 2 (movie) where they send out a boat and the enemy archers fire a ton of arrows at it and the arrows are all stuck into straw dummies and voilà! Arrow resupply, thankyouverymuch.

Well, that was short but sweet.


Oct. 24th, 2016 09:14 am
[personal profile] mariness
Another tiny story from me up at Daily Science Fiction today. It won't take too long to read, promise.


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Oct. 23rd, 2016 04:27 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows

4/5. Sequel to Six of Crows. More of that – crew of misfits and thieves takes several runs at getting what they're owed.

This is prickly, difficult, very grown up for YA. On the surface it's about these hardened teenagers who have reluctantly come to care about each other, compounding and healing their respective damage as they work through a series of complicated cons. Beneath that, this is a book about consequences. The action and the echo. What grows up in the shadow you cast. How what you put out in the world is what you get back, but twisted. How the wealthy and powerful in that city are no different than the gutter rats trying to swindle them; how the two are an inevitable consequence of each other.

The heart of the book, for me, is a quiet scene, the sort of thing that movie producers like to ruin with music but that ought to be played to silence. Two people – one a girl turned to crime after she escapes the brothel she was sold to at fourteen, one a boy driven by revenge and his screaming touch phobia after he survived a plague in a pile of corpses. The two of them talking quietly and edgily about how they feel about each other and, exquisitely painfully, touching each other just a little bit. This book turns on that holding point.

Audio note: This is a multi-voice production with excellent casting, particularly for the women. And is tragically ruined by the fact that no one thought to coordinate the voice actors so that they pronounce proper names of major characters in remotely the same way aaaaaaargh. Painful.

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Oct. 23rd, 2016 02:58 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
3/5. Book *pauses to look it up* nine. Urban fantasy *gestures* stuff, but let's talk about babymaking.

So they get married in this one, and there's a couple prophecies about their kid, and then [spoiler, except come on, it's totally not] at the very end she's surprise! Pregnant. And because I'm me I am stuck on whether they were using birth control. I guess we're supposed to assume not, based on the pregnancy (though in reality, birth control accidents happen all the damn time). And I don't remember if we know anything about how birth control works in this mixed magic/tech post apocalypse world anyway. But can we just –

If you are a couple people with the requisite parts and the ladyparts are, like, less than say 43 years old, and you aren't using protection, you are trying to have a baby. Like, there is no 'oh we weren't preventing but we weren't really trying either' – no. That is not a real thing. That does not exist. Babymaking does not depend on, like, deciding that this month you really mean it. And more pointedly, not using birth control is a specific choice to get pregnant, because 90% of couples will conceive within six months of dropping birth control.* That is, like, why there are billions of us crawling around this planet. This shit is supposed to be easy, and just because it wasn't easy for me and it was in fact impossible for several people I care about doesn't change that.

I am just sick unto death of books of all genres – romance, urban fantasy, general lit – treating pregnancy as a surprise random occurrence. As if not getting pregnant was equally – if not more – likely, and really who could have expected this! Who the fuck are these people who go around banging unprotected and don't expect the outcome?

Write me books about people who actually plan their family-building. Who have conversations about the nitty gritty of it like adults. You know, not just the vague will-we-won't-we, but all the actual shit you talk about like doing the math and realizing that having a baby nine months from right now would be super terrible so let's use a condom for these two weeks. Accidents happen, sure, but funny how they seem to account for 90% of the stories about conceiving I read. And for god's sake, let's stop pretending a lot of these pregnancies are accidents at all when they fucking aren't. It's your body, fucking own what you decided to do with it.


*There's a lot more nuance to this, but you get me.

Back in print!

Oct. 23rd, 2016 11:10 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

available for free download here.

Originally published with this cover: Dorothy wanted something more like a Nazgûl.


Oct. 23rd, 2016 10:28 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My work shirt was already the colour of blood!

#wellthatbledmorethatiexpected #ieventuallyboughtbandaids
[personal profile] musesfool
Firefly is on Netflix now, so I was watching it, since I haven't in a few years, and aside from the known issues with cultural appropriation and lack of Chinese people in the main ensemble, it mostly holds up. Jayne is pretty repugnant so I don't have a real problem watching Adam Baldwin in the role, if that makes sense. Mal's treatment of Inara is still the worst, though, and that is why I can never get behind that as a functional ship. I feel like I say this about a lot of media, but ladies, a piece of advice: if a man calls you a whore, you should walk away. (I mean, even if you are actually a sex worker, there's still no reason to put up with that.)

Then [ profile] angelgazing texted me to ask what it means if someone says the Rangers are Rangering, and I was like, "oh dear, it doesn't mean anything good." So I put the game on and they were losing, but about fifteen seconds later, they scored, and then they won, so clearly my watching was the deciding factor.

So when that was over, I put on the NLCS, and wow, the Cubs! Truly these are the end times! Though I can't really take credit for that, since they were winning 4-0 at the time I turned the game on. Though perhaps I kept a historic collapse from happening. *hands* I'll be rooting for them in the Series, though either team winning would be hilariously apt for this weird, weird year.

I also watched Star Wars Rebels: The Last Battle. spoilers )

I also did some writing yesterday, but why is it so easy when I'm lying in bed thinking about what should happen next, and so hard when I'm sitting with my laptop trying to write? Bah. I do not approve.


Foster pup

Oct. 22nd, 2016 11:29 pm
[personal profile] jhameia
I have been fostering a puppy! My friend Xio found him in her yard, scared and skittish but still tame enough to lure into her apartment. She was too frazzled to keep him around, so I offered to take him in, since I have some limited experience with handling dogs. Also because he is so dreadfully adorable. I bathed him the first night I got him, he pooped on my carpet. He's had a couple of accidents peeing in the house since but not in the last couple of days! Not only that but he's gone from being super scared of all the things to being relatively calm, and he's even a little playful now. He really just needed a stable place with regular food and walks.

The first morning after I took him in he snuck past me out the door and his idea of playing was goading someone to catch him, which is annoying because this also freaks him out!!! I had to follow him a bit and we went around and around a laundry room. He wouldn't let me get close and I couldn't tell how close he would let me get until too late. Finally I went around the other way and he saw me coming from the direction he was NOT expecting so he froze and let me pick him up. Since then I've been more careful about him being near the door. He is otherwise really good about being left home, as long as I've given him a really long walk beforehand.

I took him with me to the bank on Friday afternoon, and he just walked and walked and walked, even though it was incredibly hot out. This dog has got some kinda stamina. I'm tempted to walk him some 5km just to see how long he'll go. He was avoiding grass for a time, preferring pavement, but now he's enjoying being on the grass and gambols a little, even. I'm very pleased with the progress he's made in the couple short days I've had him. He finds himself a little place to sleep whenever I'm in the room (a shelf of mine, usually, or a crowded corner) but when I get up to leave the room he has to follow to investigate. Even so, he won't come when called, and he doesn't really bond well. He doesn't mind being cuddled but he hasn't instigated it.

He's also not great with big crowds of people--we came across one today while walking on campus and he froze on the middle of the pavement and wouldn't walk some more. I had to nudge him to the side before he was comfortable walking past them. But he is much better than before with strangers. We've also had encounters with other dogs and he at least shows some requisite curiousity about them instead of just running away!

A professor Xio knows is interested in taking him, so we're waiting to hear back from her to see if her family's into the adoption. Xio's also put up Craigslist ads looking for the original owner. Our theories are that the pup either ran away or was abandoned. I'm leaning towards abandoned, considering that Xio found him in her yard and she lives in a house right by the foothills around here which have COYOTES. I'm pretty impressed by how he's survived. But we do think he was owned before: he's good with a leash on, and he's really tame, and he knows how to climb staircases. He's also been relatively easy to housetrain, and I suspect it's because he HAS been housetrained before, once upon a time.

And he is, all told, really adorable! He's really small, with wiry hair on his back. I think he's part dachshund, at the very least. I'm super tempted to adopt him myself, but as long as my schedule is such a see-saw, I don't really have the wherewithal to take on a puppy as young as he is (he's supposed to be about 7 months) and train him the way he ought to be trained. So if there's someone who wants him and has experience with difficult dogs, he should go with them! I'm just glad I got to foster him and help him settle down and come out of his shell a little. The professor was very impressed by him. Fingers crossed puppy gets a home soon! She'll let us know by tomorrow night what the verdict is, and if so, she'll get him on Thursday.

(Xio has been calling him Simon... I just call him "pup pup." I'm very creative.)
[personal profile] sovay
A title like Red Hot Tires (1935) needs no introduction. Either you want to see a movie by that name or you don't. [ profile] derspatchel and I did, especially since its first three credited stars on TCM were Lyle Talbot, Mary Astor, and Roscoe Karns. The one-line summary was "A race-car driver wrongly convicted of murder escapes prison to prove his innocence." This turned out to be only about half true, but it doesn't matter: Red Hot Tires is an absolutely delightful B-programmer with lots of snappy dialogue, good footage of championship car racing circa 1934—including some brief but serious stunt driving—and a plot most accurately categorized as a farrago, but that doesn't matter, either, because it's done and out the door in 61 minutes. There seems to be some confusion over whether it was released by First National Pictures or Warner Bros., but it feels like the latter, with its pulpy, rackety energy and its Tardis-like ability to fit a serial's worth of plot developments into the same hour of film. More specifically, despite its release date, it feels like Warner Bros. pre-Code. I happily blame Astor.

She's second-billed, so I'll get to her in a minute. Top billing goes to Talbot as Wally Storm, a hotshot race car mechanic whose cool head with machines and hot luck with ladies provoke such jealousy from driver Bob Griffin (Gavin Gordon, sporting a mustache like a resting sneer) that, not content with getting Wally unjustly fired from his work on the cutting-edge "Sanford Special," he has to pull a Messala at their next meet and get himself killed in the crash that results from sneakily spiking his opponent's wheels at top speed. Because Griffin's confederate Curley Taylor (Bradley Page) presses charges, the accident goes to trial, and because Wally was known to have threatened Griffin—and knocked him down—the trial does not go his way, and because Red Hot Tires has never met a genre it can't immediately zoom out the other side of, next thing you know Wally is breaking out of prison with the help of his sidekick-in-chief Bud Keene (Karns, always a fast-talking treasure) and making a barn-burning career for himself under a false name in South America. Will an invitation to drive a Sanford car in the prestigious Memorial Day Races at Dayton tempt him back to the States? Are his friends still trying to clear his name and his enemies still trying to lock him up? Are there fifteen minutes left to wrap this film up in? Let's talk about Mary Astor.

When I described the character of Pat Sanford to [ profile] nineweaving, she exclaimed at once, "It's Petrova!" Indeed, Astor would have made an excellent grown-up Petrova Fossil, short dark hair and all. Late in the film, a radio commentator introduces her as "the daughter of the famous racing car designer Martin Sanford and the only woman in the state who holds a racing mechanician's license," but the audience has known from her second scene that Pat's an engineer in her own right. She looks good in grease-stained white coveralls, up to her elbows in an engine of her own design. Her office has a drafting table full of blueprints, automotive concept art on the walls; she reads the latest invoices with a cigarette in her hand. Her rapport with Wally almost certainly stems from their shared interest in machines—Griffin fancies himself a rival for her affections, but since we never see him tinkering around in the garage with her, he hasn't got a chance. She knows about handling cars as well as building them, too; the announcer at the Legion Ascot Speedway may chauvinistically call her "the real prize for winning this preliminary event" as she briefly crowns the winner with the fancily laureled, athlete-ornamented silver helmet that is the trophy of the Indy 500 Dayton 500-Mile Classic, but when Wally fatefully steps in for his driver at the last minute, she and Bud yell technical advice at him from the pits. The second half of the movie goes nowhere without her intervention. In the aftermath of the crash and Wally's conviction, it's Pat who identifies an anomalous bolt in the wreck of the Sanford Special, unscrews it to disclose a highly unsporting tire-spike, and promptly calls a cab over to Curley's place to "perform just a little bit of petty larceny." "You can't do that!" tagalong teenager Johnny (Frankie Darro, last seen pre-Code) protests, like a pint-sized voice of the patriarchy. "You're a girl!" Her response is affectionately delivered, but it makes its point with a grin for his indignation: "That's why I got you, Johnny—you're my bodyguard!" She knows a razor-slashed tire when she sees one. Best of all, when Wally's a no-show in the climactic race, when it's field another driver or forfeit, she collars designated mechanician Bud—"You've got a racing driver's license, haven't you? Well, get in there and do the best you can till Wally comes!"—and climbs in alongside him as his riding mechanic: she's not going to stay out of a car she designed.1 She doesn't get sidelined even when they swap in their eleventh-hour driver. Bud says without hesitation, "She knows more about this car than I do," and helps her back into the inside seat. The happy ending pointedly involves no suggestion that she's about to punt her day job just because of marital bliss. Plus she really does straight-up break into a dude's house and steal a piece of evidence from him. I love everything about her.

I am also fond of Karns' Bud, a dependable but fidgety type who provides the B-plot with a running gag about his never-seen, increasingly unlikely girlfriend Maggie—he's always referring to her, but when pressed for details, the best he can come up with is "She's pretty and her name's Maggie!" Even guys who've known him for half a truck ride are skeptical, but he remains undeterred even after Wally calls him on it in the gentlest possible way, remarking wistfully in an Argentinian club that it "must be nice to have a girl, even if she's only in your imagination."2 His happy ending is a meet-cute straight out of The Importance of Being Earnest. She warns him that he'll be disappointed by her name; he snuggles his head into her shoulder like a contented cat on hearing it. I wish I could say more about Lyle Talbot as the fast-driving hero of this whole affair, but anyone who's going to compete with Roscoe Karns' double-take patter and Mary Astor's sheer awesomeness needs more than good eyebrows and a general air of go-getting nice guy to do it. He's not a hole in the screen, but I'm not sure what he brings to the part of Wally Storm that any other B-star couldn't have supplied; he was so much more interesting as the debatable romantic lead of She Had to Say Yes (1933) that I'm left wondering if he was better in character roles than straight heroes. Testing this hypothesis will give me an extra excuse to check out Three on a Match (1932), Ladies They Talk About (1933), and Mandalay (1934), anyway. He does have good chemistry with Astor. The comfortable way they hang out before the plot really kicks into gear did more to convince me of their romance than all his South American pining. I am probably still more charmed by all five minutes tops of Karns and Mary Treen.

The title of this post comes from Wally's signature song, which against all expectations turns out to provide a significant plot point. I'd say the movie's so short it doesn't have time for extraneous detail, but given the way it ricochets through genres and cliffhangers, that is manifestly untrue. It's a fun little actioner with a surprising streak of not-so-stealth feminism and I'd have written about it sooner if we hadn't had to deal with the Day without Internet and the Night without Electricity. This wild ride brought to you by my handy backers at Patreon.

1. As the latest model of Sanford Special is being pushed to the starting line, Bud says with some wryness, "Hope you ain't jittery, Miss Pat."–"Not any more than you are, Bud," she returns. He pulls a face, jerks a thumb at her side of the car: "That's funny. Wished I was in that seat." She grins at him just as she did at Johnny: "A better man than you is in this seat." Bud takes resigned hold of the wheel and sighs, "Wished a better man than me was in this one!" I understand that particular forking path would have rendered Wally entirely superfluous to the story's climax, but I'd have enjoyed it.

2. The most interesting thing to me about never-seen Maggie is the way Bud uses her not just to stay competitive with his friends' love lives, but as a kind of ventriloquism. In their very first scene together, Bud tells Wally, "That reminds me—I was talking to Maggie and she says you ought to be stepping out on your own hook. You ain't going to get anywhere being a mechanic for Griffin." It's good advice and quite true, but Bud couldn't say it for himself?
[personal profile] lannamichaels

(How strange was it? So strange they made a tv movie about it!)

So! I have watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show remake tv movie, and I have OPINIONS. I liked the audience participation bits, would have honestly liked a few more, but I'M SORRY, THIS IS NOT A REMAKE.

Like, I mean, it is, but you'd assume a remake would have as intended audience, or at least part of it, people who were not familiar with the original. So, WHO WAS THE INTENDED AUDIENCE FOR THIS TV MOVIE? I mean, I know it's people like me, who either were or still are into RHPS, but there were parts that were so narrowly targeted that I felt like any broad appeal was gonna be lost. Because if it's anyone who has never seen RHPS before, being like "hm, I like Laverne Cox, I wonder what this thing is" or even "I am bored and this is on the tv", HOW DID THIS COME OFF? WERE THEY VERY CONFUSED?

Ah, the things that distract me.

Also that distracts me: as probably expected, considering that at one point in my life I had large portions of the original movie memorized, so while I'm not sure I noticed all the deviations, a lot of them were very noticeable. This is not necessarily bad. I legit laughed at loud at Columbia's "I hope it's not meatloaf again".

I did enjoy it! A lot! And sang along! But, yeah, I kept wondering what this was like for someone with no familiarity with RHPS. Remakes should stand on their own, no? But this was more a nice little nostalgia-fest and excuse to happily shout things at the screen (in a setting where shouting things at the screen is more than expected, it is basically required)

And nearly everyone seemed to be having a fun time with it, with the exception of Tim Curry, who seemed to be gritting his teeth and thinking of the paycheck.

Also of note: THE COSTUMES WERE AMAZING. Especially Frank's, good lord, that was some epic costuming, absolutely stunning and perfect.

So, yeah. I would probably not recommend this as someone's first experience with RHPS :P, but I had a good time.

[personal profile] sovay
We have internet again! We also have power, which was not the case for about two hours last night: about half an hour after I got home, the whole street went out. [ profile] derspatchel had to make an emergency detour for flashlights and candles on his way home in the pounding rain, which is how we discovered that CVS will not sell you matches, but will sell you fake tea lights and a firelighter. You can read by enough fake tea lights, but you feel like you're in a restaurant right before the kitchen closes. Rob noodled with a game he's writing; I debriefed my day. As soon as the power came back on, I showed him Despicable Me (2010), which he loved, what's not to love, and we went to bed early for us.

I dreamed vividly for the first time in weeks that I remember. In the first, I was writing a short story with [ profile] ashlyme, about a glancing encounter in a club that turns into a haunting. I brought one line out of it: "He remembered a hood of blond hair, a crow-winged swirl like a scholar's gown." Awake, that sounds like a tryst with Innokenty Smoktunovsky's Hamlet, but I can think of worse starting places. The second was neither inspirational nor erotic: I dreamed of white supremacist riots and black activists furious that the news reports were still casting them as the violent, disaffected parties and I know exactly where those images are coming from. I've been out of the news cycle for more than twenty-four hours, but I'm sure something has happened in American politics that I won't like.

The electricians returned around ten in the morning, but if they cut any more wires they weren't supposed to, we haven't found out yet. The arrival of the Verizon tech overlapped them, which may have helped. And then since we had both been awake since eight o'clock, we went back to bed for a bit. The cats appear to be sleeping out this cold, grey, rainy day, as is their wont and right. (Hestia has made her nest in Rob's duffel bag.) I am awake because I have to work and I want to write about movies. This is okay.

Yes excellent

Oct. 22nd, 2016 04:30 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Via [personal profile] sovay: here is a gif of Miriam Hopkins kissing Fredric March and Gary Cooper at the end of Design for Living.

In case anyone might need it for Tumbling purposes, or find it useful to have a taster to indicate whether this film would be relevant to their interests.


Oct. 22nd, 2016 10:40 am
[personal profile] kass
1. The #HamildocPBS last night, and getting to watch it while also watching Lin Manuel Miranda livetweet it. ♥

2. Coffee with milk and splenda. Particularly lovely in a warm mug on a cold damp day. I've had this mug since college -- it's a giant mug with an illustration of itself surrounded by coffee beans -- and I love the way it fits in my hand.

3. I went to the CSA this morning and am now cooking up a great big bag of swiss chard with lemon and garlic and sea salt and fresh pepper, which will keep me in greens for a few days.

4. Clean sheets on my bed, and laundry folded and put away.

5. I bought a pair of Not Your Daughters' Jeans on sale at 6pm, and they fit like a glove. Cut for body stuff )

How are y'all?
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Black and white photograph of 118th Soliders relaxing (1916-1918). Image citation: Kitchener Public Library. Image citation P009597. Kitchener Public Library Collection.

First, we take Ontario; then we take Canada

Inktober #20

Oct. 21st, 2016 08:06 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Sketched this yesterday while writing in Joe's office at LIGO.

Pen: Nakaya Naka-ai Cigar, Soft Fine nib.
Ink: Platinum Blue-Black.

I am afraid that straight lines are not my forte.

Meanwhile, the dragon doesn't even know what a rotary phone looks like, and I can't remember the last time I saw one that wasn't on TV or something. :p I do have weirdly vivid memories of the ivory-colored one that my parents had in the living room when we lived in Ft. Leonard Wood, though.
[personal profile] sovay
At seven o'clock this morning, a noise of hammering and construction began outside our bedroom window. [ profile] derspatchel and I stopped sleeping and remained that way for the rest of this story.

At eight-twenty, the property manager called to say that electricians were coming to do some minor work and the power would go out in an hour, for about an hour, and not to worry. The hammering and other noises continued.

At about eight-thirty the power went out. It stayed that way until approximately eleven forty-five. As I was checking the appliances throughout the apartment, I realized that although the router was broadcasting the correct wireless network, we had no connection to the actual internet. I left a note for Rob to contact Verizon if it did not come back of its own accord. "The electricians may have disrupted something," I wrote.

At eleven fifty-five, my cousins called for me to come downstairs (we had a lunch engagement) and the electricians, who were still on the scene, asked me on my way out if the power had come back all right. Yes, I said, except for the internet. Could they think of anything they had done which might have accidentally interfered with it? Which is how I found out that we did not have internet because the electricians had cut the Verizon cable.

Apparently it had looked like it did not belong to any of the cable boxes and was in the way. Rob said in some amazement, "I thought the first rule of being an electrician was, 'Do not cut any wires that are not yours!'" Then he gallantly spent some time on the phone with Verizon customer service while I had lunch with [ profile] gaudior and [ profile] rushthatspeaks and the latter's parents, at the end of which we had a ticket for repair on a completely unclear timeline. One of the electricians came upstairs with a voltmeter and went away again.

At four-fifteen this afternoon, I called Verizon customer service back and determined that no one from tech support would be coming out today. They are slated to arrive no earlier than eight o'clock tomorrow and no later than two in the afternoon. Till that nebulous date, at home, no internet.

At five-thirty, I made a sandwich. The cats who had been somewhat traumatized by the arrival of the electricians cautiously began to converge on the kitchen and attempt to persuade me that roast beef was the ideal recovery food for traumatized cats.

At five fifty-five, the landlord's father and two handymen showed up to replace the knob on the apartment's front door, which had not been working as such. (It spun if you tried to turn it and had no perceptible effect on the door.) The landlord's father talked to me about Greek history and showed me pictures of his family and maps of his home town in the southwestern Peloponnese, where he has a yard full of pear trees, pomegranates, and figs. They replaced the entire lock, which was great, and left me with one key, which meant Rob had no way of letting himself in or out unless I got some copies made stat. Autolycus crept out from the carrier where he had been re-hiding to give me a plaintive look. Hestia stayed under the bed and probably fumed.

At seven-twenty this evening, the next-door neighbors who usually blast objectionable talk radio started blasting Ace of Base's "Beautiful Life," which I had not heard since my senior year of high school at the latest. I was confused.

At seven-thirty, I actually left the house and hightailed it to Tags, where the very courteous, silvery clerk who copied the new key five minutes before they closed noted that I was humming "Maggie Pickens," agreed it was an earworm, and suggested as alternatives "Whisky in the Jar" and "Brennan on the Moor." My brain being what it is, I left humming Dylan's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie," which differs from the latter only in the lyrics.

Just now, I bought an herbal chai latte from Porter Square Books, logged on to their wifi, and wrote this.

How was your day, Mrs. Lincoln?

Please do me a favour

Oct. 21st, 2016 07:13 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Can someone edit the Tanith Lee entry at tv tropes?

Currently it says

Parental Abandonment: Dead parents appear rather often. James Nicoll had a project of reviewing one Lee a week for a year. His review of Black Unicorn includes a table of dead parents: after 29 books we have 27 missing or dead mothers and 21 missing or dead fathers.

That should read

Parental Abandonment: Dead parents appear rather often. James Nicoll is reviewing one Lee a week for a year. His reviews include a table of dead parents: after 50 books we have 37 missing or dead mothers and 32 missing or dead fathers.

Shabbat self-care

Oct. 21st, 2016 06:00 pm
[personal profile] kass
For reasons that don't bear exploration at this juncture, I'm entirely by myself tonight.

Being alone on Friday night can be difficult for me, so I'm lining up the forms of self-care I can manage.

I'm going to try baking these custardy apple squares (recipe courtesy of [ profile] bironic.)

I'm planning to eat dinner with a book at hand -- the first March volume, the graphic novel about the civil rights struggle by Representative John Lewis, given to me by [personal profile] bayleaf.

I'm doing laundry, which means later I get to enjoy folding cozy warm things right out of the dryer.

Whatever your evening may hold, I hope it is sweet. (And for those to whom Shabbat is meaningful, Shabbat shalom.)

Oh, my heart.

Oct. 21st, 2016 01:36 pm
[personal profile] kass
I found this story because [personal profile] riverlight posted a set of politics-themed recs, and oh, wow, is it good:

and my glory shall be love (26459 words) by Lake
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Generation Kill
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Brad Colbert/Nate Fick
Characters: Brad Colbert, Nate Fick, Mike Wynn, Ray Person, Walt Hasser, Rudy Reyes, Craig Schwetje
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Politics, Big Bang Challenge

There is little that Agent Mike Wynn takes more seriously than the life of Vice President Nate Fick. When the number of death threats starts to climb, he calls in the one person he's sure he can trust, USMC Sgt. Brad Colbert, and assigns him the 24/7 task of being the Vice President's shadow.

The voices are spot-on -- this is absolutely Nate and Brad -- and the AU works beautifully. Also the slow unfolding of their relationship, the dynamics, the way they each come to recognize how much the other matters to them -- just gorgeous.

Fifty Years Ago Today

Oct. 21st, 2016 12:21 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

The Aberfan disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil, that killed 116 children and 28 adults on 21 October 1966. The collapse was caused by the build-up of water in the accumulated rock and shale tip, which suddenly slid downhill in the form of slurry.[...]

More than 1.4 million cubic feet (40,000 cu metres) of debris covered a section of the village in minutes. The classrooms at Pantglas Junior School were immediately inundated; young children and teachers died from impact or suffocation. Many noted the poignancy of the situation: if the disaster had struck a few minutes earlier, the children would not have been in their classrooms, and if it had struck a few hours later, they would have left for the half-term holiday.

the week in bullet points

Oct. 21st, 2016 09:24 am
[personal profile] silveraspen
  • It's Friday. I have rarely been so glad to see the end of a work week arrive.

  • I'm writing this from the coffee shop down the street from my house. In theory, I officially have the right to work from home on Fridays now (agreed in my annual review, before everything else flew apart). At the same time, I also need to be at the university on Fridays for a separate project. Right now I'm trying to do a morning-afternoon split; if the lead at the U. approves, I'm going to keep that up, I think.

  • Mom has successfully been transferred to the skilled nursing facility for rehab following her hip replacement on Monday. Yay!

  • I started the process of filing a new claim with her LTC insurance company only to have them tell me that they couldn't do an official assessment and move forward in the determination process until she was back at home, AND that the benefit only covers care in the home, not help with things like going to church or to doctor's appointments. As I know that this is a BS interpretation of a specific policy line (because it wasn't an issue before), I told them we'd be discussing again once we got to that point, finished the paperwork, and hung up with plans, because...

  • of January 1, I am enrolled in my workplace's legal consultation program. Unlimited amount of lawyer access, for under $10/month. I will be working with them to file appropriate things, early and often. Maybe it's starting from a confrontational place, but that's okay. Being professional and polite hasn't worked with this company in the past. Now I will be professional, polite, and litigious.

  • Homeowner's insurance will pay for brick repair. Yay! Now I just have to confirm with a contractor.

  • Neighbor's roofing guy may be overstating amount of roof damage. Also, his proposed solution for part of things may actually not be compliant with city code, according to contractor consultant I've been speaking with. This will be interesting.

  • Successfully submitted my grant application on Monday. Yay!

  • Have a shopping trip scheduled with a style consultant for tomorrow. Possibly yay? We'll see how it goes.

  • I desperately need a nap. Or an entire day to do nothing. Maybe Sunday.

here we are now, entertain us

Oct. 21st, 2016 10:22 am
[personal profile] musesfool
"We Lost Magic" by Empires came on earlier, and every time I hear that song I think, "Someone should write a story titled 'It Ain't My Heart That's in Your Hands' and it should be context-free handjobs in the backseat of a taxi" as per the lyrics! But I can never figure out who it should be about!

Which makes me think of that meme that was recently resurrected on tumblr, where you give me a potential title and I tell you about the story I would write for it. We can try, anyway. It's a rainy Friday morning and the office is like a sauna. What else have we got to do?

Well, we can also do the wip roundup. Here's what's top of mind right now:

- Thing 1 and Thing 2, which proceed in fits and starts, though I think I finally figured out how to write Thing 1 and that solution also allowed me to figure out how to write around the problem I was having with Thing 2, so they'll be done? Eventually? I hope? I am excited about the potential number of tropes stuffed into Thing 2 at this point. There's already huddling for warmth, drunkenly crawling into the other person's bed, being mistaken for a couple, and pining. SO MUCH PINING. It's good for me, is what I'm saying. Which it has to be, since I think there's like two other people who will read it when it's done.

- Celestial Navigation, aka, Rey and Finn's epic space road trip! There was a slight snag in terms of canon doing something that made things difficult down the line, but I think I figured out an alternative. Mostly I am just amusing myself and soon there will be cuddling.

- I started a Star Wars/Firefly crossover which I thought was going to be about one thing but which so far seems to be about traumatized baby Jedi River instead. which. should not have been as surprising as it was considering, but. it's been a while since I wrote Firefly and I forgot. At least Mal hasn't tried to take everything over yet? Otoh, Firefly has always been like the easiest fandom for me to write in, voice and style-wise, so that's been kind of nice. And I think I even know how to bring it back around to a slightly revised version of the original idea.

- Yuletide! I have an idea? There will have to be source review, but something is percolating in the back of my mind. I probably won't seriously start thinking about it until mid-November though.


I went to class!

Oct. 21st, 2016 10:02 am
[personal profile] oracne
I went to a free "Body Pump" class yesterday, which is mostly light weights with multiple repetitions, which means it's cardio as well. I had a tried a class once before, a couple of years ago, but didn't realize about the multiple reps, so chose weights that were too heavy and could barely move for several days.

This time, I knew better, and the instructor was more informative. I am pretty sore, but I've had worse, and I definitely felt more like myself this morning. I hated having to skip workouts while sick.

I have some residual soreness from Monday's initial return to the gym, under my left shoulder blade and in my left pectoral, near the shoulder joint; I didn't realize it was there until I was mostly done with the Body Pump presses. It seems okay today.

Next week is choir on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, which probably means no workouts unless I can slide one in at lunchtime (and am not too tired). After all those sick days, I suspect my military press will be down to 65 again, and I will work up from 125 on bench press. Again. Sigh.

A Note From the Island

Oct. 20th, 2016 07:29 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Tonight was curry night at Viable Paradise XX.


a couple requests

Oct. 20th, 2016 02:57 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
1. Is anyone willing to make me an icon with a pretty moth Photoshopped against a backdrop of stars/nebulae stuff? Because Kujen.

2. I am looking into getting into target archery, preferably with a recurve because the deerhunter compound bows that seem to be all the rage in Louisiana terrify me. (Seriously, I saw one that looked like it had a chance of stopping a rhino. Uh, I don't know if that's actually possible, but...) I plan on stopping by stores and getting help, but what are things I need to know when equipment-shopping? I've done only a little archery in college, but Joe did it a reasonable amount, so I will have some guidance, but the more the better.

In exchange for help, I am willing to offer flashfic to mutually agreed prompt or hexarchate crackfic [1].

[1] I'd offer realfic, except I sort of owe Solaris a hexarchate short story collection. So any realfic has to go there, and I can only do crackfic for things like this.

Okay, back to working on Revenant Gun...
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
My doc just told me about a double-blind RCT study showing combo aspirin & acetaminophen was as effective as oral morphine (and both better than placebo) for post-surgical dental pain.

I'm doing it now and it helps )

[hxx] [crackfic] Student Government

Oct. 20th, 2016 11:04 am
[personal profile] yhlee
What can I say, this is my way of coping.

Rated Teen. Content note: hexarchate high school AU.

Student Government

Cheris looked around at the voting booths in the school courtyard, which were surrounded by velvety energy fields that flickered in the shapes of hungry moths, and shuddered. "For serious," she said, "why are we trying to pick a class president by voting?" She was hanging out with the other Kel. The Kel believed in safety in numbers. Plus, formation instinct. "Hasn't anyone around here heard of the impossibility theorem?" [1]

Kel Inesser, who was the oldest Kel present and stood to Cheris's right, looked at her and sighed. "You're trying to make a rational argument, Cheris," she said. "We're Kel. We don't do that."

"Well, someone has to," she said.

"No, you're stuck appealing to whoever has seniority," Kel Brezan said. He had his arms crossed and was glaring across the courtyard to the tree beneath which a certain couple was making out. "Just our luck, he's not even a Kel."

"Well, at least he didn't tell us how to vote," Cheris said, although she wasn't sure how she felt about Shuos Jedao herself. "There are enough of us to make for a decent voting bloc."

"Jedao's too busy screwing Kujen to care about political stuff," Brezan said. Jedao was kissing Kujen; Kujen was not being particularly discreet about the placement of his hands.

"Somebody's bitter," Inesser murmured, eyebrows lifting, but Brezan didn't hear him.

"I hate jocks," Brezan said.

Cheris snorted. "We're Kel," she said, "we're all jocks."

"Says the math geek."

"All right," Inesser said, "knock it off, you two."

Brezan and Cheris glowered at each other, then subsided.


On the other side of the courtyard, Shuos Mikodez was playing pattern-stones against Shuos Zehun. Zehun was older than he was, and had the astonishing ability to lose no matter how badly their opponent played. Mikodez was still trying to figure out how they did it.
"What's the count?" Mikodez asked.

"It's going to be close," Zehun said, plunking a black stone down with artful carelessness. "That Liozh girl is making a good showing, but Andan Zhe Navo is going to make her work for it."

"Well, yes," Mikodez said. The Andan were always popular. Mikodez made the worst move he could think of.

Astonishingly, Zehun had an anti-counter even for that. "So what are you going to do about Jedao?" Zehun asked.

"Why do I have to do anything about him?" Mikodez said, glancing over to where Jedao and Kujen were having a discussion about...he couldn't have heard that right. Cradles? "He wants to hang out with the Kel, he can hang out with the Kel."

"He can't be up to anything good. And he's in bed with a Nirai."

"Yes," Mikodez said, amused, "I'm sure Kujen is very good at tutoring. Because it's not like Shuos courses on seduction are any good. Anyway, I am more concerned that we are going to be accused of having rigged the vote no matter how it comes out. I honestly think you should have let me rig it for real if we were going to be accused anyway, so that at least we'd get something out of the mess."

"We shouldn't have let Zai propose doing it by vote to begin with," Zehun said in a resigned voice. They had not yet lost the game; that was the other thing. Zehun could drag out bad positions for ages. "Oh well, too late now."


Under the tree, Jedao and Kujen were having a heated political discussion. "--should have told the Kel to vote for Zai," Kujen was saying into Jedao's ear. "I've flirted with her. She's really easy to manipulate and that sort of thing is useful."

"That's not remotely ethical," Jedao said. He pushed Kujen against the tree and kissed his way along Kujen's jaw.

"Oh my God, you're still on about that?" Kujen said. His voice was only slightly husky. "We have got to do something about that one-track mind of yours."

"Funny," Jedao said, "that wasn't what you were saying last night."

"I have to dial up Khiaz and compare notes with her. Maybe she'll have useful tips."

"Now you're just changing the subject."

"Admit it, she's hot."

Jedao rolled his eyes. "We broke up, okay? And you're still changing the subject. Although I take your point that having the Kel monitor voting would probably have looked too much like voter intimidation."

"I don't know why you think anyone should care about stuff like that," Kujen said. "Bribe them, intimidate them, brainwash them, you do what's necessary."

"Kujen," Jedao said, "you have the prettiest eyes ever but sometimes you're just wrong."

"Nonsense," Kujen said, "I'm never wrong. Besides, you're the one who's all about this mythical dream
ideal student government. Which you are only going to get through the intervention of benevolent all-powerful robots. Me, I just want pretty clothes, mind-blowing sex, and a chance to design weapons of mass destruction. I can already tell you that one of us is going to get what he wants, and it's not you."

Jedao narrowed his eyes at Kujen. "We'll see how the results come out."

"You're so naive, Jedao," Kujen said. "Everyone's going on about how the Shuos will rig the whole thing, but I designed the voting machines, remember?"

[1] Arrow's paradox [Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy], or alternately, Arrow's impossibility theorem.
[personal profile] musesfool
I put on Arrow last night and didn't recognize a majority of the characters in the Arrow cave, and then it was confirmed that i'm only cutting grudgingly for this spoiler ), so I just ended up watching the Rangers game instead. Fucking Jimmy Howard standing on his head (note: I actually generally root for the Red Wings when they aren't playing the Rangers but come on).

I guess missing the last...five or so episodes really does matter. *hands* Otoh, spoiler ) gives me hope that I'll want to catch up at some point.

In other news, I can usually tell when a story of mine has been linked or recced somewhere, because there's a sudden flurry of kudos, but I can almost never find out where it's happened. Tumblr search is useless. It will show me one current result and then things from 2014 when I put "musesfool" in the search box, even with "recent" appended to the URL, and even trying to find out when someone's atted me (i.e., @cacchieressa) is stupidly hit or miss; again, the recent results disappear after a while and I'm left with things from two or three years ago. And since I only go on tumblr in the evenings after work, I feel like I might miss the occasional time someone is actually trying to talk to me over there? It doesn't happen much (I don't know why; I don't intend to be off-putting! It's just that I literally almost never go on tumblr at work and so won't see it for hours) but it feels rude not to respond the times it does happen, and yet Tumblr thwarts me.

Anyway! Ignoring how terrible Tumblr is for so many reasons for the moment, why is my ability to find out where I've been recced so lousy? Or am I misinterpreting and it's not a rec, just a weird confluence of events? Or is it happening in private/somewhere I don't have access to and therefore not visible to search engins? Inquiring minds want to know!

(This is like the opposite of the very true and cogent advice to not google yourself too often but in these cases I often do want to know if someone is talking about me - I mean, since it appears to have resulted in kudos rather than condemnation I'm going to hope it's saying something mostly positive; I don't need to read about it if people don't like me or my stories.)

Okay work has interrupted me about a million times so I don't even know anymore what I was saying or if it makes sense so I'm just going to hit post.


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