(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:08 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Hmmm...note to self, just because you delete something, doesn't necessarily mean it disappears.

Although I do it a lot. Mainly because I'll re-read the comment or think about what I posted and go, frak. I did not mean to say THAT. I meant to say THIS. But someone will totally think THAT. What to do? DELETE! DELETE!

OR, damn, that didn't come out as well as I thought it did. Note to self, sugar warps the brain.

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:31 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
1. The Great British Baking Show...this episode was pastry. And I felt sorry for the bakers.
Also, who makes Bakewell Tarts? I've rarely seen them and never had one. I've had marzipan tarts. But not with that horrid icing on top. Seriously. Everyone knows how to bake or should know how to bake a Bakewell tart? Maybe if you are British and in your 70s.

But I adore this show. And it made me cry this week...Val is such a lovely lady. She said she just bakes with love. And does it to share her love with others. And she's always so upbeat regardless of how well she does. Not that competitive and brings others up.

2. fannish about television -- alas, I'm not really. Nothing is really grabbing me. And the one show that did...got cancelled and didn't have enough episodes. Also...I think when you binge the entirety of a series at once, as opposed to watching it as it airs...the whole fannish bit melts away faster?

I've tried with Doctor Who. But it has so many problems. That said, it may turn around for me...I rather liked a good portion of this season. Much better than the previous season. And I did like the River Song arc. So, the change in Doctors or new Doctor may change my take on it and make it more interesting for me, while simultaneously getting rid of the things that irritated me about the series and kept me from investing in it on an emotional level. Don't know. This season was certainly better than last.

The trailer to the Christmas episode is quite brilliant.

3. Will -- uneven so far, but the play writing bits still fascinate. How Alice convinces him to adapt plays from books or borrow ideas from others, as opposed to coming up with his own. In a way his talent lay more in adaptation that in coming up with new and clever ideas. Also, love how it shows the collaborative nature of the work, and how much Alice influenced him and in a way co-wrote The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

4. Broadchurch -- the third season is better than the second, which I couldn't get into and found unwatchable. So far, I've found compelling despite the subject matter. What works is we have a normal, not beautiful, somewhat ordinary, older woman sexually assaulted. Usually in these shows, it's a pretty young girl, who is model pretty. Or a lead character. Here, it's a new character and I think that works better. Also they don't show the assault or fetish it, which helps. Too many shows fetish it.

Jodi Whittaker, who plays Beth Latimer in the series, I've been watching closely, curious to know what she'll do with Doctor Who. She seems a bit earnest. So don't know. But then that is the role of Beth Latimer. I can't remember her in Venus. I'm pretty certain I saw it, but the movie clearly wasn't memorable. I sort of wish Olivia Coleman had gotten the role. I rather like Coleman, she does world-weariness well.

I have to admit I can't understand half of what Tennant says. His accent is thick. And he mumbles. Same problem with a good portion of the actors. Latimer, I can at least understand. She enouciates and doesn't mumble. That was actually my difficulty with Tennant as Who, I couldn't understand half of what he said. He speaks fast and mumbles.

I keep putting on the close-captioning. In Broachurch, I rewind and sort of guess. Do however love what Tennant does with his face. Now if he'd just not mumble, it would be great.

5. It was either edit this post or write a new one...The Mary Sue keeps posting rather cool things to look forward to in the pop culture world. Such as

* Thor Rorganork, which has a great villain in Cate Blanchett's the Goddess of Death. Except I thought Doctor Strange was supposed to be in it. Don't see him in the trailer.
But the film looks like a lot of fun, with a buddy team up of Thor and Hulk.

*The Star Wars episode 8 trailer looks phenomenal.

* So too does the trailer for "The Gifted" which wonders what would it be like to be born a mutant in a world where the X-men and the Brotherhood may not even exist any longer? Focuses on lesser seen and known mutants such as Lorna Dane (Polaris), Thunderbird (John Proudstar, the Native American mutant), Eclispe, and Blink. Also stars Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer as humans.

* And..the Black Widow trailer. I didn't know they were doing a Black Widow film. It looks official not fan made.

* Apparently Marty McFly is coming back to save us from the Doofus in 2016-17. Will he succeed? Yes, there's a Back to the Future IV coming out. The mind boggles.

* They have actually adapted a film from one of my all time favorite children's books, A Wrinkle in Time -- which appears to have a good cast. And the trailer looks brilliant, unlike A Bridge Over Terribetha, which was a weak film.

* There's some concern over "The Defender's" which may focus a bit too much on Iron Fist, because of The Hand being the principle villain. I don't know about that...the Hand is actually also the main villain in Daredevil. I think Daredevil will be the center of it. Which is as it should be.

* They are apparently doing a film version of Cloak and Dagger, which I think are from the DC verse. Not sure about it.

* The Inhumans could be interesting...it's focusing on Medusa and Black Bolt, from the 1980s comics. Looks a little cheesy though.

Interesting, a lot of the comic adaptations and book adaptations, with a few exceptions, seem to be from the 1980s...which I rather love. Apparently my generation has some nostalgia for the 80s?

* Apparently Ben Affleck had a falling out with the new Batman director, so they are kicked Affleck to the curb...after that movie is done. Which..hmmm...how does that work with Justice League and other films in the franchise, exactly? Won't people notice a recast? Speculation is that Nightwing aka Dick Grayson will take over. Considering I liked Grayson in the comics and the 60s television series, I'm okay with that. Also he had a more interesting back story -- child of two acrobats, who were killed in a circus accident. So, a trained acrobat. Also, with Nightwing, you could potentially do a romance between him and Batgirl. (I've grown weary of Batman, finally. He's been over done. Superman has too, but not as badly as Batman.)

* And oh dear, I really need to catch up on The Expanse, don't I? They already have the third season trailer out.
elisi: (Stepping Sideways)
[personal profile] elisi
At the start of the year I delved back into this 'verse. I didn't mean for so long to lapse before I posted the next installment, but it took longer to write than anticipated (not to mention other factors such as RL, S10 of Doctor Who and all the meta etc. etc.) Anyway, for my tiny handful of faithful readers - here you are. I hope you enjoy. (Nine chapters, plus prologue & epilogue)

Basically each story in 'Stepping Sideways' is a visit to a different universe/character, allowing the Seeker to be seen with fresh eyes by his nearest and dearest, this time round meeting Roda (luckweaver's OC). Part of my Not the Last 'verse.

For new people - I have my own OC Time Lord and a whole verse centered around him. (He is the Master and Lucy's son and born during TYTNW.) The stories are all meant to stand alone, so please have a look if you like. I'd love you forever. <3


Summary: How do you save people that don't want to be saved?
Setting: Between A Good Day and The Death and Life of Rodageitmososa. (This is AU, but within New Who between Name of the Doctor and The Day of the Doctor.)
Spoilers: A Good Day. But can easily be read on its own.
Rating: PG-13.
Characters: This part: The Third Seeker (OC), Alt!Roda (OC)
Beta: Um... That would be a no. All mistakes mine.
Feedback: Would be amazing. :)
Thank yous: To luckweaver for the loan of Roda, for the collaboration and all the dialogue, and for the gorgeous icon/banner. ♥



SherwoodBanner1

A Long Way from Sherwood: Prologue )

Deborah Watling

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:41 pm
lost_spook: (Default)
[personal profile] lost_spook
Some more sad news for Doctor Who fans (well, of the Classic variety at least): Deborah Watling has died, aka companion Victoria Waterfield. A lot of people have linked to the clip from Tomb, but it is such a beautiful scene, so I'm going to do it as well:



(Forgive the embed outside the cut this once.)

Victoria was a companion that I always liked the idea of more than what they actually did with her most of the time, but Debbie Watling always seemed pretty lovely, and she had a very good relationship and rapport with both Patrick and Frazer. My old telly adventures have also led to me watching her (at least briefly) appear in The Power Game, along with her father, Jack, who was a regular (a favour which she returned in DW, getting him cast as Professor Travers in two of the Yeti stories).

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:38 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
1. And the FB debate on Carol's page continues...the poster who is cisgender, heterosexual, is offended because he sees it as a forced gender reassignment done by the writer. And refuses to ever watch the television show again because the Doctor is now being played by a woman.

the debate continues )
This is fascinating to me, because I honestly do not understand the backlash. Although I have seen it before in fandom. It's why, I've swung clear of fandom over the years. There's...to put it kindly, a kind of craziness that occurs in people when they get obsessed with something. And if they are shipping a character not the story, a specific character as they perceive and identify with that character in their heads...it can get heated.

That's the danger in shipping characters or relationships hard. Or being a devoted fan of a character, not a story or the world or all the characters within the narrative or the narrative itself, but a specific iconic character and/or relationship often at the expense of the canon or all logic.

I saw it in the Buffy fandom. A lot. A telling sign? I just want my television boyfriend to be happy.
(Ahem, the story ends when he is happy. There is no story. It's boring. We need conflict. This is not real life. This is a fictional story.)

2. On a funnier note... DALEKS ATTACK BRITISH TABLOIDS AFTER THEY POST NUDE PHOTOS OF NEW DOCTOR WHO...although I couldn't quite tell if the nude photo bit was fictional, if not, for shame you nasty people you.

3. our crazy ass government )
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I still have to review Extra Virginity as well, but I actually liked that one, so it will take longer to compose….

One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.

From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician. 

If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander. 

And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer. 

The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it. 

So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.” 

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2gQid4Q
via IFTTT

Happy Birthday!!

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:22 pm
elisi: (Bill curious)
[personal profile] elisi
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the one and only [profile] kerkevik2014.

May you have a lovely lovely day and may the Goddess bless you. <3

Happy Birthday...

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:46 am
lost_spook: (Default)
[personal profile] lost_spook
... to [personal profile] grondfic and [personal profile] kerkevik_2014! I hope you both have an excellent day!

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:56 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
1. Note to self when you feel irritated and frustrated with life or anything, stay off the internet.

2. I've been thinking about something that I read in The Mary Sue, which also skips back to a discussion in a friends FB. It's about identifying as a gender. Or a better way of saying it -- identifying a character as "male" or "female", and that being an identifying characteristic that cannot be changed. I'm struggling to wrap my head around it. Because I wonder sometimes what traits we consider to be typically male or female.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine actually handled gender identity in an interesting manner. One of their aliens Jadzia Dax was symbiot. The symbiot jumped from body to body, merging with a new one and becoming reborn. The Captain of the Space Station, Benjamin Sisko had issues with Jadzia at first, because he'd known Dax as male in Dax's prior incarnation.


Jadzia Dax is a joined Trill. Though she appears to be a young woman, Jadzia lives in symbiosis with a wise and long-lived creature, known as a symbiont, named Dax. The two share a single, conscious mind, and her personality is a blending of the characteristics of both the host and the symbiont. As such, Jadzia has access to all the skills and memories of the symbiont's seven previous hosts. Jadzia holds academic degrees in exobiology, zoology, astrophysics and exoarchaeology, all of which she earned before being joined with the symbiont Dax. (DS9 Season 1 Episode Dax)

Jadzia Dax is the station's chief science officer, and is close friends with commander Benjamin Sisko and Bajoran first officer Kira Nerys. Later in the series, she becomes involved with the Klingon character Worf, and they marry during the sixth season of the show. Her character is killed by Gul Dukat during the sixth-season finale (due to Terry Farrell's desire to pursue a role on the then upcoming TV show Becker with Ted Danson). The character of Dax re-emerges in the seventh-season premiere in the form of Ezri Dax.




It's difficult to handle. Particularly when we are socialized to put a great deal of importance on gender roles. Everything in our culture impresses this upon us. It's ingrained in us as babies. Even down to clothing. My niece stated once that she was happy she was born a girl because she could wear skirts and dresses. Which struck me as interesting because I've met men who wore dresses in NYC. Even went contra-dancing with one of them. I wore pants, he was wearing a skirt. Her statement even more amusing when I consider that my brother refused to tell anyone the gender of his child prior to her birth, so they would not get her gender specific items. He wanted blue, not just pink or vice versa.

At work, I once discussed Mad Men with a male coworker, who felt Elizabeth Moss' character was too masculine. That she clearly wanted to wear the pants. And wasn't willing to be female. And wanted to be a man. (I had to take three steps back, swallow hard, and remember he's not aware he's being sexist here. And he's not sexist in other ways.)

Remember being on a fanboard when it was announced that Starbuck in BattleStar Galatica reboot was being recast as a woman. Fans of the previous series went nuts. Dirk Benedict who'd portrayed the role was deeply offended. (Sort of makes me rather proud of Colin Baker who portrayed Doctor Who and adores the idea of a female Who, of course Who is a bit different...in some respects, but still.).
One woman on the board went ballistic. She felt it was an insult. How dare they! The more people complained about it, and they did through the entire course of the series, the more excited the writers became. Starbuck was interesting to me, because in some respects Katee Sackoff played the character more masculine than Benedict, more tough. She was high adrenaline. A Boxer. Took Apollo down in the ring. An ace pilot. Smoked those cigars with glee. Took no prisoners. A complete subversion of gender stereotypes. The writers through the recast challenged viewers and their own concept of gender. And identity. It was a brilliant move, but also a risky one.

Years ago, I wrote a Fanged Four fic with various members of a board. And a fight broke out while writing the fic. One of the writers had come up with the idea of having Angel and Spike dress up as women to infilterate a dance hall and fool a villain. But at least two people in the group, it was a collaborative writing effort, got really upset about the idea of "Angel" wearing a dress. They felt it demeaned the character somehow or was OTT. We compromised, most of the Spike fans had no problems with Spike wearing a dress. And I agreed to write the Spike in dress sequences along with the two other people.

And...I will always remember a fascinating discussion I had once with my brother and father regarding male writers. My brother despises Cormac McCarthy and Ernest Hemingway, he hates machismo and he's never really been a fan of James Bond. He said...that he feels it's limiting, that men are being pressured into falling into some sort of ideal -- the idea of a macho man, alpha, strong, and sort of cruel. My father, a fan of these writers and characters, was bewildered and felt too many books were geared towards women not men. He also had the odd view that women were more nuturing, caring, natural gardners, caregivers, and domestic, while men were more protective, less good with kids, and more pragmatic. My brother and I sort of threw that theory out the window. Since we are sort of the opposite or a hodge podge of both. We, my brother and I, both strongly believe that gender is immaterial and a spectrum. That it doesn't matter. When I mentioned once to him that women navel gaze more than men and are more into emotion and analyzing it, he blew my theory out of the water by telling one of his male friends did this sort of thing all the frigging time.

I'm talking about all this... because several things, not just one, have happened that brought it to the surface. The book I'm reading at the moment is driving me nuts, it's a fantasy novel and it is so...boilerplate on gender. Reinforcing stereotypes. Makes me miss Captive Prince. One of the reasons a lot of women like male/male romances is that a lot of gender stereotypes get exploded, also you don't have to deal with the ingrained sexism that is in the female/male romances. Did you know that a lot of reviewers on Amazon and Good Reads actually capitalize the word "Hero" and lowercase the word "heroine", with H/h? It blew my mind when I first noticed it. I started responding, please stop this, then gave up.

And of course the election from hell...resulting in the President from hell. I guess you could say the Europeans are more advanced in that respect. Except the Europeans don't elect candidates necessarily so much as parties. And it is the party that elects the candidate. So just that district elected Margaret Thatcher or Theresa May. I wonder if the entire country had to vote for them, if the result would have been the same? (Not sure about Germany.) And to be fair, Hillary did get the popular vote. But it's disconcerting that a lot of people chose to vote for a man who had not one but several allegations of sexual harrassment and sexual violence against him, various civil suits, and said derogatory things about women over a woman who apparently had no clue how to use email. Yet, they tell me they aren't sexist or misogynistic. And they aren't. Not in their day to day pursuits.
So why? Why chose to believe the horror stories about Hillary over Trump? Was it about gender? Hard to say...it appears to be. They say it wasn't. Yet. Same deal with Bernie vs. Hillary. They say it's not, and maybe not, yet...so many of the ads screamed it. Hillary was too masculine, too hard, not friendly enough, didn't wear the right clothing.

And now, the ruckus over Doctor Who. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter. Doctor Who in a perfect world would have been black, blue, a woman, an man, old, young, and something in between. In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter that Barack Obama is black, or that Hillary is female. But alas, we don't live in a perfect world. We live a flawed one. From an objective pov, such as my mother's or various others...this seems rather silly. Just as getting upset over making James Bond female or casting a female version of Bond might. (Which they did, by the way.) But not as James Bond. Not that they can. James Bond is after all human and he doesn't regenerate. And the movies don't necessarily follow a serialized format. I don't why they couldn't cast a female Bond, anymore than they couldn't cast a female Starbuck or female Wolverine. Or, Spike or Angel female. I'd actually like to see someone reboot Angel the Series but with a gender flip. Less so, Buffy, because been there done that.
(There was a British show a while back about a boy who was chosen to fight monsters...) And to be fair, the whole point of Buffy was to challenge a gender trope. (To give you a little back story on Buffy? Whedon studied film in school, and almost all horror films killed the Buffy character off, she was staked, slayed, and often in an alley. With the guy being the hero. Also up to Buffy, all vampire stories had the girl killed, and they guy be the vampire slayer. In short, we've had 100 years of Buster the Vampire Slayer. Whedon was flipping the trope. If you recast Buffy with a guy, it wouldn't be interesting. Actually that's why Supernatural isn't very interesting ...because been there, done that. It doesn't challenge any established tropes. It doesn't do anything interesting. At the end of the day, it's mindless tv. Which is okay. I like mindless tv. But it's not great. Buffy was great because it changed television. And it did it by challenging established gender tropes and archetypes.)

I think the problem with challenging these tropes in culture is two-fold. One, people have a tendency to watch things with their genitalia or as masturbation fodder. I know, I know, insane, but there it is. They won't admit it. But if someone is posting pictures of a hot character...

Two...there's this thing about archetypes and that's psychological. Role models. Needing a strong male hero to fantasize about or love or look up to. And...whether we want to admit it or not, a need to reinforce traditional views and comforting categories that we were taught.

I don't this is speculation for the most part. Because I like flipping the gender roles. I get off on it. I'm doing it myself to an extent, in my writing. I like subvert established tropes. And it irritates me when artists don't. Like with the book I'm reading now. For me, art is more interesting when they aren't playing it safe. It's hard for me to understand why you want it to be safe?
Or maybe I do...I do watch and read things for comfort. Although they aren't necessarily conventional.

Again, I don't know. I don't know why the guy on my friend's FB page can't handle a female Doctor Who. He's rational is that Who is from his perspective identified as male. That the proof of that is how he loved, that he loved in a heterosexual male way. As if there is such a thing. Maybe there is?
I don't know there was never any sex on Doctor Who. It was implied but rather coyly. My friend was as bewildered by this as I was. He suggested that she'd be upset if Wonder Woman was cast as a male.
But that already happened, with Wonder Man. The US has less problems with this sort of thing in its cultural experiments than the Brits apparently. We do it all the time. So part of my bewilderment may be that I'm used to it. Example? Starbuck.

And I don't know why Hillary couldn't become President. Or why we insist on reinforcing these things.

I don't understand my own views on it. But I think we need to ask the questions. Ask why. I don't think it is something as simple as misogyny or sexism ...I think it is more about how we link gender and identity in our heads, giving gender perhaps more importance then we should? Another way of looking at it...a lot of people I've met online...I've no idea from their names what gender they are. I guess. But I've been wrong. They've guessed about me and been wrong. Although I always thought shadowkat was rather obvious. I remember one individual being pissed that we felt the need to out their gender. They preferred to be genderless online. To be without a gender. I think it was interesting that I felt the need to identify it.
truepenny: photo of the keyboard and raised lid of a 1911 Bluethner grand piano; the inside of the lid has inlaid brass letters reading BLUETHNER LEIPZIG (bluethner 1911)
[personal profile] truepenny
So this year, after a gap of twenty-five years, I started taking piano lessons again, focusing--because I'm an adult and get to choose for myself--on ragtime. There's a bunch of stuff around this decision that does not need to be explored at this juncture, because what I want to talk about is one of the biggest fucking paradigm shifts I've ever experienced.

I learned piano very much in the traditional you-learn-pieces-and-perform-them-at-recitals-and-they-get-progressively-harder mode (also traditional is the nice Lutheran lady teaching piano in her living room), and one of the reasons I started again was that I could work with somebody who went to UW-Madison for music--somebody, in other words, who's been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings not just of music, but of teaching.

Dude rocks my fucking world, I tell you what.

Partly, this is because I'm an adult and I've been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings of teaching (I always know when a teacher is using a particular pedagogical technique on me--which interestingly doesn't always make it less effective). I learn differently now and with a different understanding of what "learning" is. This is the place where Csikszentmihalyi has been extremely helpful to me, because I can recognize how a successful learning engagement works. ("Learning experience" would be a better phrase, but it already has connotations that are really kind of the opposite of what I mean.) And the pressure to learn pieces for recitals is mercifully off, which helps, too. But partly it's because this guy approaches music completely differently, bottom up instead of top down.

But the thing that has changed my relationship with my piano is something my teacher said (and I can't for the life of me remember what it was) that made me understand--quite literally for the first time in my life--that fingerings aren't arbitrary and they aren't just put in music so that teachers can judge whether students are obeying them or not. Here's where playing the piano is exactly like rock climbing:

The notes in the score are like the hand, finger, foot, and toe holds used to set a route in a climbing gym. You work the fingerings out yourself, the same way that a climber works out her own solution to how to get to the top of the wall using the holds available. And he said, "This music is for playing." A weirdass chord progression or run is like a difficult sequence in a route; it's a game, a puzzle that a musician who's been dead for 100 years set for all the pianists who came after him to solve. You work out the fingerings (4-5-3-5 WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) so that you don't hang yourself out to dry, the same way that a climber works out her holds so that when she has only her right hand free, the next hold isn't three feet to her left. When you make a mistake, you laugh and pick yourself back up and go up the wall again, because it isn't a pass/fail test. It's a game. You have a sense of glee that you share with the route setter about solving this incredibly intricate puzzle almost--in a weird way--together.

What that means is, (1) playing piano, which I have always loved, is now infused with a sense of fun that it truly has never had; (2) I know what I'm learning--not just "music" but the route up the wall, the game that underlies the performance; (3) when I'm fumbling through a new chunk of music, I know why I'm fumbling. It's not because I'm stupid or the music is stupid; it's because my brain is trying to process so much new information that it gets overwhelmed. That's why I miss easy chords and consistently play that damn C-sharp when the piece is written in G. Because THAT'S WHAT THE LEARNING PROCESS LOOKS LIKE.

But honest to god the idea of music as a game being played between composer and performer, and not a game like tennis, but a game like riddling--riddle set and riddle answered--is a seismic paradigm shift for me. Everything looks different now.

An ode to Susan Duncan

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:29 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I'm finally caught up on this week's Orphan Black!

everything goes under a spoiler cut )

Wed Reading Meme and other things..

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:33 pm
shadowkat: (work/reading)
[personal profile] shadowkat
More other things...

1. A friend of mine on her FB page is having multiple heated discussions with various Doctor Who fans about well, a female Doctor Who. She's for it, of course, they aren't. Her discussions are reminiscent of the debates she had regarding Hillary and Trump.

She's a great debater. But people are...stubborn. Her best point was this Original Creator told BBC to cast Woman as Doctor in 1986.

Here's a link to an interesting article in The Mary Sue about negative female reactions to Doctor Who. And how ingrained misogyny is in our culture. I know it is, I've read a lot of romance novels and literary novels by female writers...and oh dear. Also, notably, I know a lot of men who are happy with Doctor Who being a Woman, voted for Hillary, and loved Wonder Woman, and a lot of women who need well a strong male lead and can't handle powerful women. I saw it in the Buffy fandom, Doctor Who fandom in regards to River Song, and Battle Star Galatica fandom in regards to Starbuck.

2. What I just finished reading?

King's Rising - The Captive Prince Part III and The Summer Palace by CS Pascat. Both were okay. Kings Rising was better. Summer Palace sort of works as a fanservice epilogue. Lots of boring sex, not a lot of story. I'd skip Summer Palace and just end with King's Rising.


What I'm reading now?

Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson -- hmmm, apparently I'm on an initial kick.

This is fantasy, told in a fairy-tale style, with a romance at the center of it, at least for the first two books. The later three in the series apparently focus more on the battles and conflict apparently.

Not sure I'll make it that far. The writing style is not exactly captivating me. I'm having issues with how the writer perceives gender. Also she's very conventional, as is her story. It follows the established tropes.

That said, she says some interesting things about our culture, via fantasy, and is an excellent world-builder. From a thematic, world-building, and plot perspective, she's pretty good, somewhere in line with CS Lewis. And her style is in some respects similar to Anne McCaffrey. (I don't like Anne McCaffrey's writing style now, which is odd. I recently tried to re-read her Dragon Rider's of Pern series and gave up mid-way through. I have a feeling that I'd react the same way to CS Lewis. I loved both as a child, but now certain aspects of their writing and how they viewed gender, get on my nerves.)

I'm admittedly a little obsessed with gender issues at the moment. There's a reason for that -- points at current President, and last year's election.

3. Claws

Made it through five episodes of this series on "On Demand". (Adam Ruins the World -- almost ruined the episodes. He kept popping up in the commercial breaks -- which is every fifteen minutes for On Demand. And I kept muting him, because I cannot abide that man's voice. It's the human equivalent of nails on chalk board. Seriously, people, watch Bill Nye Science Guy instead of Adam. His show is on TruTV. The US has more television networks than it requires. I don't know, I think 1000 is a bit much, don't you?) BTW, the later episodes (of CLAWS not Adam) are really good. You sort of have to get past the introductory stuff...or I did. Actually this is true of most television shows. I rarely get hooked with the first episode. And when I do, the show tends to lose me after the third one.

I loved the fifth episode. Although, I feel a little guilty for loving it. It's hilarious in places.
There's this scene where ...you sort of have to see it for yourself. Too hard to explain. Oh and a great dance sequence to Lady Marmalade.

It also has a lovely twist, that had me giggling.

The series reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad -- except with a John Waters flair.

4. Struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I think I may have to go off fruit. Broke out in hives after having a dish of berries, truwhip cream and a little ice cream. Had the same thing last night, no issues. Not sure why I had a reaction tonight.

Super promises he'll paint the living room soon. Just hasn't happened yet. I'm waiting for it to get painted prior to doing anything else with it. I want a table so I can paint. I miss painting. I watercolor, not oil paint or not with acrylics. Although I have painted with acrylics in the past. Taught myself in my twenties. Just have had more watercolor courses and I'm more comfortable with the medium.

Considering taking another class -- but it meets on the upper East Side, and is at 6PM after work, and I just don't know if I can get there in time and if it's doable.

At loose ends. Want to do something, just not sure what. I want to paint, but do I really want to take a class? I need a table. I can't paint on my lap or the floor effectively. And I tend to spill things, so... Also, I have a bad back.

Also struggling with my novel. I don't really know why.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I am like….90% sure I’m going camping this Friday. 

It depends a bit on the weather, but I’m mostly packed, I’ve cooked food that’s currently waiting in the freezer, and I have acquired the third Diane Mott Davidson book to read. 

The plan is to leave work early, catch the train to the campground, camp overnight, and in the morning hike out to a different train station further down the line, about a seven-mile trek, to do a longer endurance test than last weekend’s. Then I’ll catch the train home around noon on Saturday.

If something goes wrong, I can catch an evening train home on Friday until eight o’clock, or starting in the morning at 5:30, with little to no exertion. It’s pretty low-risk and I’m well stocked. I don’t have a sleeping pad, but my backpack has a partial one built-in, and I have one arriving tomorrow (though it might be too bulky, we’ll see). And honestly in this heat, I might just sleep on top of my sleeping bag in any case. 

Worst case scenario, the campground has heated, lockable shower cubicles with nice big floors. I’ve slept on worse. 

Caaaaaaamping! *jazz hands*

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lost_spook: (james maxwell)
[personal profile] lost_spook
To start at the end, as it were, before I forget everything. The theme for this week in my old telly adventures seems to have mainly been Bad Stuff Happening to Planes.*

Ransom, Secret Army & Department S )

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:03 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I've been so busy, and so focused on spending my free-time-to-write on original projects, that I feel like I want to talk to people on Dreamwidth but don't really have anything to write a post about.

So let's start with the essentials, which is two friends who are currently in need of a bit of help.

[personal profile] kuwdora, who makes amazing vids, is taking vid commissions to help pay for a career development opportunity.

...and it seems the other friend has reached their financial goal for the thing they needed, which I saw halfway through writing this entry, so. Please consider helping out kuwdora!

*

I'm busy planning London things (when I'm not busy doing other things). I've bought contact lenses for the first time in my life (putting them in and out is AWFUL but having them in is pretty wonderful). I finished watching "The Handmaid's Tale" and the "Game of Thrones" premiere and feel weirdly similarly about both.

Sunday was picking up my contacts and hunting for a birthday gift for a friend and getting stuff from the pharmacy and overall I got home from work around 8:30pm. Monday was pilates at 5pm, followed by my roommate's friends coming over at 9pm for Game of Thrones. Tuesday was going to buy new walking shoes (mine have holes in them and I need something for London), and because I needed a specialized store I yet again came home at like 9pm.

Today is going to be swimming (because my pilates class was canceled), followed by an optometrist appointment.

Basically just really, really long days. I've mostly been spending my weekends doing fuck all because of it, lol.

Anyway, I'm looking for ideas for what to do in London. So far I have the staples (places I've been and can always happily spend time in):
- british museum
- V & A

Potentially interesting but also maybe kind of boring (I have a friend who'd LOVE both of these but for me they're kind of "oh ok" sort of options):
- tour of parliament
- tour of buckingham palace

plays (I have to pick one):
- Matilda in the west end
- Much Ado About Nothing at the globe
- Queen Anne at heymarket (I do love Romola Garai)

Other than that I have: walking around various parks. LOL.

There's definitely loads more to do in London, but I feel like I've done the more obvious touristy stuff (Sherlock Holmes house, the eye, transport museum (LOL I know this is less obviously touristy, but I liked it)) and the less obvious stuff I'm not familiar with?

(I've always wanted to do the loo tour, ever since meeting the owner/tourguide at a party, but it seems every time I'm in London the times don't work out ;_;)

Anyway, suggestions for stuff to do are very welcome!
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[personal profile] selenak
For once, I manage to write my book reviews on a Wednesday.

Sam Bourne: To Kill the President

It was to be expected: the first Donald Trump era thriller (that I've read). Which takes full advantage of the fact that when previously any critic worth their salt would have complained about the one dimensional characterisation of the villains and the lack of realism in the US voting someone like that into power and then the Republican Party falling in line, followed by no checks and balances from any institution after even the Supreme Court caves due to the stolen seat being filled by the new President's choice, now all this looks like, well, realism.

Spoilers from an age where reality beggars caricature )


Philip Kerr: March Violets.

This is the first novel of a mystery series which I heard/read about via The New Yorker. The article in question was enthusiastic enought to overcome my instinctive squick at the premise, to wit: hard-boiled/noir detective novel set in the Third Reich. Basically, what if Philip Marlowe was German? Wandering those mean streets as a cynic with an ethical core takes a whole new meaning if the authories aren't just corrupt but a dictatorship preparing for war and genocide. Our hero is Bernie Gunther, former policeman who quit the force in 1933 for the obvious reason given that the novel positions he has ethics, and became a private investigator instead. Kerr serves up all the usual hard boiled/ noir tropes - untrustworthy millionaire clients, corrupt cops, shady dames -, complete with Chandleresque language, and he did his research - the novel's setting is Berlin in 1936, around the Olympic Games, and in addition to the well drawn Berlin geography, there are some great nods to Fritz Lang's movie M via some of the supporting cast, gangsters (given that Bernie Gunther originally gets hired to recover some diamonds, though of course it turns out it's far more complicated and what everyone is after is something else altogether. The brief appearances by historic figures (Göring and Heydrich, to be precise) are drawn credibly, which is to say their vileness comes across without Kerr employing sledge-hammery moustache twirling; in fact, he uses Göring's bonhommie manners to make him chilling.

As opposed to To Kill a President, this actually is a good novel. But. I still struggle somewhat with the basic premise. This is the first novel of what according ot the New Yorker article I'd read are twelve so far, and already I'm having to suspend disbelief about Bernie's continued survival. There's no reason why Heydrich at the end of this first novel shouldn't have gotten him killed, for example. And since we're in 1936, Bernie would still have the possibility to leave the country, and given what happens to him in this novel, it's hard to wonder why he doesn't, given he has no dependants who'd suffer for it. Yes, the decision to emigrate wasn't as easy as hindsight would have it if you weren't rich and didn't have friends abroad, but again, some truly harrowing things happen to Bernie in this novel which would serve as an incentive to get the hell out of Germany if ever there was one beyond the general situation of the country.

With this caveat, I'll keep reading.

Lots of planets have a North...

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:22 am
elisi: (Girl Doctor)
[personal profile] elisi
As people on Tumblr have been saying, the 60th anniversary looks interesting...



It's Christopher Eccleston (9) and Jodie Whittaker (13) in Antigone. And interestingly, her lines could be summed up as 'I do what I do because it's right!' Oh aye, she'll be a grand Doctor. In short - if you're wondering why she was cast, watch this. Big, angry righteous monologue, as if born to it. She'll be fantastic.

(Also, SO NORTHERN OMG. The Doctor is a Northern lass, I'm chuffed to bits. <3)

the BtVS characters of the West Wing

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:01 pm
deird1: fantasy!Buffy pouring cereal, with text "making breakfast sexy" (Buffy breakfast)
[personal profile] deird1
(This will be of limited interest to those who aren't fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The West Wing.)

So, the husband and I were talking, yet again, about the fact that he likes Sam Seaborn and I don't. And I referred to Sam as "the Riley Finn of West Wing".

He pointed out that Sam's character was supposed to be the interesting one, until the interesting role got taken over by Josh - and that "Josh is probably the Spike". To which my instant reaction was "Of course not! CJ Cregg is the Spike!"

...much discussion ensued.

a summary )

I would be interested to hear how very wrong I am, and why clearly it should be arranged in a different order...

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:18 pm
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[personal profile] shadowkat
Whoa...HT to yourlibrarian for this link regarding how actors and filmmakers cope with enacting rape on screen . Made me rethink a couple of films I've seen and how I viewed psuedo rape scenes. For example there's a scene in LAST TANGO IN PARIS, that I didn't realize was rape, but the actress experienced as rape and it tramuatized her. Also, various actors who had to portray the rapist relate how taxing it was on them emotionally and mentally, along with the editors and film crew.

Reminds me of something James Marsters stated that haunted me. How he unraveled after being forced to do the attempted rape scene in Buffy. And how he'd had a nervous breakdown...in part because of it.

Yet, 46.7% of the scripts that the writer of the article has read, contained rape scenes. I have to admit, I stopped watching criminal procedurals and series like Supernatural after a bit, because I got tired of the sexual violence. They all have it. Every singled one. It's ...exhausting.

There's a very interesting section in the article concerning Ned Beatty, who states:


In the spring of 1989, actor Ned Beatty penned an op-ed column for The New York Times, writing, "If [men] felt we could truly be victims of rape, that fear would be a better deterrent [for committing rape] than the death penalty."

Beatty most famously played Bobby, a character who is brutally raped by a hillbilly in John Boorman's tense thriller Deliverance (1972). They rehearsed for days and finally completed the scene in a four-minute shot that would forever change Beatty's life. After the film's release, wherever the actor went, strangers would guffaw and yell, "Squeal like a pig," a line uttered by Bobby's rapist. Beatty was continually struck by these cold displays from fans. They seemed to expect him to smile and chat after they'd gleefully demeaned him in reference to a sexual assault.

"He felt like a rape victim," Boorman said later in commentary for the DVD of the film. It had never crossed Beatty's mind that he would become a public spokesman for sexual-assault awareness, but the experience reshaped his psyche, and he was forced to confront what we now call rape culture.


Some day, I'll have to watch Deliverance, never been able to get myself to see it all the way through. Just seen sections of it.

Fascinating article, recommend reading it all the way through, particularly if you are at all interested in film.

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