'Cause we're going fishing

Apr. 24th, 2019 12:52 am
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
Dean C. Marcial and Brett Potter's Sea Devil (2014) is a weird tale in nine minutes, a sketch of a sea-haunting on the model of great gulfs and depths and strangenesses of which the just-skimmed surface is all we ever see; it's been working on me like pearl-grit since I watched it. I can't tell if I'm missing the key. I can't tell if there is one. The effect is sort of a miniaturized Mary Celeste courtesy of Robert Aickman. Sort of.

There may be a clue in the film's tagline: Immigration is hell. What do you call a coyote when he works across open water instead of desert borders? That's the American skipper of the Carrie Lynn (Antoni Corone), accepting a fat envelope of bills to run a Cuban father and daughter (Mario Ernesto Sánchez and Taylor Rouviere) overnight into Miami as if they were the crew of his shrimp trawler, rigging the nets and picking through dumped weed and bycatch of crabs to the clang and clatter of the winch and the engine, the low hum of sodium light, and the reggae lilt of Sister Nancy's "Bam Bam." And then the apophenia kicks in. He's much too corporeal for a ghost, this beautiful young man scraped off the seabed with barnacles crusting his brown skin like cowries and a wet fringe of weed and tangled shells trailing from the stumps of both knees and one wrist (he is played by real-life triple amputee Moise Brutus), but what in the shape of this story is he? Put me back, he repeats ever more urgently in a language no one else on the boat understands, heaving for breath like a landed fish; his skin glistens stickily. We are all dead. Does he mean the people on the boat with him, the people under the water where he came from? His face swirled with barnacles like tribal scars, his shoulders patched with sea-growth recall the coral-colonized sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor, whose Vicissitudes (2007) was not after all a tribute to the dead of the Middle Passage; where did he come from? What to do now he's here? "We got to help him," the father says to the skipper. "Why don't you go help him?" the skipper says back. Neither of them move. The girl at the tiller sings aimlessly in the windy night. The skipper stares at the palm of the hand that touched the sea-stranger, grabs the shotgun with it. Propped against the railing, his skin drying, the stranger gasps, She's coming for me—

It feels important to me that we never see clearly or even properly understand her, even in the film's final moments of voices rising like a storm-babble out of the overcast, empty, translucently green sea, but that sense of fractured pattern means I can't tell if any of the associations the last shot evokes for me were the filmmakers' intentions. I wondered about anglerfish. I thought of Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouseit smells of cold sea-graves in here, of sea-wrecks, of sea-death. The sea shall give up her dead. This film is based on true events, the opening titles informed us, but which ones? The trawler found drifting in Biscayne Bay? The exploitation of immigrants? Refugees lost at sea, enslaved captives thrown overboard? Who's the title, even? American hauntings, American drownings; it makes more of a prose poem than a narrative, but I'm still thinking about it. One of the features I'm enjoying about the Criterion Channel lately is its wealth of short films I might not otherwise run into, but fortunately for recommendation purposes this one is also freely streaming. I wouldn't mind seeing it at a festival someday, both for the practical effects of the stranger and the close-quarters sea-sway of the cinematography by Noah Chamis. The small, isolated fragility of the trawler is a constant, the vast abyss of the sea that upholds it, and yet one shot of the Carrie Lynn seen from underneath, silhouetted by her own smoky, rippling, amniotic light, is as powerful for beauty and menace as anything in a deep-sea documentary. This catch brought to you by my enigmatic backers at Patreon.

media log of late

Apr. 23rd, 2019 11:57 pm
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
N.K. Jemisin, _The Fifth Season_: Incredibly vivid world in which there is constant seismic and volcanic activity; civilization is problematic thereby. Also, there is magic and consequences and constant difficulty and death and disappeared children and, in addition, really good written structure. She's doing a little stunt writing, but unlike Gael Baudino, there's a purpose and reasons for it, and it works.

(Somehow, I figured out the spoiler was a spoiler ) Without reading any commentary about it beforehand! I don't really know why; intuition poking at things missing, basically.)

So anyway: Orogenes control various natural phenomena, mostly earthquakes, and are hated and feared by most of the population. Some orogenes just hang out and are bad at their powers, and often get killed by the non-orogenes; others get inducted into, basically, Orogene Academy and get subsumed into an abusive relationship with their powers and the hierarchical system of the Fulcrum. There's three narrators, all of them orogenes, one in second person for apparently no good reason until the end of the book, but I put it down to stunt writing and was able to enjoy it anyway. Narrator spoilage )

NK Jemisin, _The Obelisk Gate_: Even more becomes clear. Also, the character throughline is expanded on, so that helps. And the book leveled up, in terms of world building. (The characters didn't, so much, but Much Was Revealed, and the world was expanded.)

A few weeks later, N. K. Jemisin, _The Stone Sky_: This, again, leveled up in the world building. Some spoilers. )

I wasn’t enjoying it as much as a book, because I wasn’t invested in the Very Long Ago past bits, and the narrator was not gripping me, and then I snapped into caring again right near the end, and ouch.

This series was hard. Some slightly spoilery talk about why. ) But really worth reading. (Also, it won three Hugos, and I was going to argue with that, but the books expand and change the context of the world so much and so effectively that I think I won’t. But I’m glad the last one is the one that won a Nebula; it deserved it.)

Jo Walton, _The Just City_: I needed a break from the Jemisin, because it is unrelenting, so I instead read about some Greek Gods being Greek Gods, and trying to see if the Just City from Plato's Republic could be made to actually work. Involves, among other things, consent and lack thereof, the meaning of slavery, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's various theories of syncretistic divinity, what it means to live your best life, and whether machines can be conscious, thinking beings. Also, there is A spoiler being a spoiler )(...of course.)

Jo Walton does not write gorgeous sentences, but she *thinks* about everything very hard. I appreciate this. Also, I was right that it was a relief from the unrelentingness of the Jemisin. It's not *light*, but it is ... optimistic? Certainly less grindy.

Jo Walton, _The Philosopher Kings_: I was unable to read this for whole DAYS due to not being able to get it from the library. (Woe!) And then A spoiler made me sad. )Sadness is.

But, it does mean that in addition to questions of consent, slavery, and the nature of souls and divinity, it gets to talk about grief, grieving, and appropriate and inappropriate vengeance.

Some of the vengeance bits made me acutely uncomfortable, as they were meant to.

I was enjoying this less, in part because of the vengeance factor, and then suddenly, a spoiler appeared! ) and it became 50,000 times better. This scene caused me glee.

I don't like Walton's Athena, but, then I go on about spoilers )Now I wish Walton would write Hera, just so I could start to like *her*, too.

Jo Walton, _Necessity_: In which the trilogy becomes far more overtly SFnal, as opposed to a thought experiment tinged with fantasy elements. (Though, of course, even in the 1st two books, there were sentient machines, so my distinctions possibly aren't so useful.) There's aliens, time travel problems, new and novel ways not to cause time travel paradox, and questions of first contact. Also, found family, confusion, and sudden awesome-tastic resolutions and resistance to Gods. (Well, one specific God.) Which god? )

ALSO! One of the viewpoint characters is one of the aforementioned sentient machines, and he is *the best*. Dry, occasional biting wit, observant, and his own kind of alien. Crocus 4-eva.

I found some of the writing in the non-Crocus bits a little unfocused, though I can’t remember why now that I’m writing this up weeks later.

Zen Cho, _Sorceror To The Crown_: I found myself temporarily unable to acquire the second of Walton's odes to Grecian philosophy (because my local libraries are not open on Sundays), so I read this instead. For awhile, it felt like a fairly standard regency-era fantasy with some romance, but then about 2/3 of the way through I noticed that it was hilarious, biting, incisive, and terrifically fun. (Also, there were dragons. They are best.)

Mind you, even before I let it grab me, it was a regency fantasy with a black ex-slave as the head thaumaturge in a faux 1800s England, so one can imagine it was not precisely standard even before it became exceptionally good. Said head thaumaturge is named Zacharias Wythe; his ward is Prunella Gentlewoman, who has a mysterious past but who was raised by the headmistress of a school for young women whose parents wish to suppress their magic. Proper young ladies should not, you see, use magic. Societal conventions and Prunella don't get along very well, however. Events ensue.

Its sequel just came out, though apparently it's mostly about other, newer characters.

Visual media: I watched all of Bab5 Season 5 with the Mark Watches crew, and wanted, as per usual, to garrotte Byron, but I really liked Captain Lochley this time, yay! When I first watched it, I only knew Tracey Scoggins from her (really annoying) turn as Cat Grant on _Lois and Clark_, and also I had a grudge because no Ivanova, so I didn’t give her a chance. But she really was good.

And I didn’t think _Sleeping in Light_ was all that maudlin, either. Though even I admit, four different farewell episodes, all in all, was a bit much.

Now the Mark Watches crew is watching Crusade and I suddenly stopped watching things after Sleeping In Light, so I have to catch up this weekend, or anyway, soon.
china_shop: Headshot of Lee Junho from 2PM (Junho)
[personal profile] china_shop
I made this video essay for our local fan mini-con last year, as a discussion starter about fannish feels, and then I couldn't bring myself to post it. But! Now I have some distance, having fannishly moved on, plus I'm on steroids, wheeeeee!, so... here we are! :-D

FanCrush (2018) from china shop on Vimeo.

Password: glow

ETA: The cartoon illustrations are by my partner.

Important: Linking back here is fine, but please don't re-post this!


Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:01 pm
nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
Happy 455th (as celebrated), Will Shakespeare!

In his honour, here's that masterpiece of stop-motion animation, my beloved Next: The Infinite Variety Show.  Spot all the plays!  I am sorry for the sadly bleared video.  The only sharper version I could find is a half-minute extract from BFI, which at least will give you some idea of its beauty; its wit, I think, is evident.


will in overplus

Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:40 pm
oliviacirce: (soliloquy//curtana)
[personal profile] oliviacirce
Today is Shakespeare Day! The tradition in recent years, on Shakespeare Day, has been to post one sonnet and one poem that is not by Shakespeare, but relates in some way to Shakespeare. This year, a pun-filled sonnet (sometimes the sonnets are really ludicrous), and an incredible poem that I was introduced to by a friend, which has some things to say about Hamlet.

Whoever hath her wish, though hast they Will )

you knew no human thing you did not know even how to breathe )


Apr. 23rd, 2019 07:40 pm
kore: (Natasha Romanova)
[personal profile] kore

After this and the Magicians finale it's going to be a cold day in hell before I throw my heart into another canon run mainly by white males, I can tell you that.


Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:54 pm
malkingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] malkingrey
Drove my brother to a medical appointment. Gathered laundry. Ran the dishwasher. Changed the sheets on the bed. Made dinner.

My word, but my life is a never-ending whirl of gaiety and delight.

(On the other hand, dinner came out well. And fresh sheets are always a good thing. So there is that.)

"we'll have better goodbyes"

Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:12 pm
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
[personal profile] omnia_mutantur
 The next couple weeks feel like a strange sort of headlong rush into something. 
Tonight - saw Us with Light
Wednesday - Cleaning, cooking (walnut herb fauxmeatballs and carrot ricotta quiche), class at Gather Here, seeing N for lunch and polyglot in the afternoon
Thursday - Nothing at the moment other than the usual Spark and I have to stop feeding squeaker at night, which means I have to stop feeding all the cats which means they're going to be awful.
Friday - drop squeaker off.  Go to the gym.  go cover for spark's W-F nanny 
Sat - Skip my nibling's bday party to go to an all-day meeting for conA.   Go to said meeting.  Try to go to some part of Indie Bookstore day somewhere.
Sun - BARCC walk for change. 
Mon - Spark, pizza w/ W
Tue - Spark, couples, bookgroup at Gather Here
Wed - online meeting for ConA, Light leaves for Beltane
Thurs - Fundraising event for volunteer organization
And then that weekend feels like it's full, but I can't remember anything I've actually got going on.  Light will still be at Beltane with Boisterous,   Abundance has a friend's party and there's the Big Thrifty.
I know this is a life, I know it's a good life.  I'm not actually hurtling down a mountain, I make my own plans, I volunteer for things, none of this is under the control of anyone else.  It just doesn't feel under my control either.  
Maybe I should take things back to first principles, remember why I'm doing what I'm doing and try to figure out which bits of what I'm doing serve that purpose and then see if I feel differently about things if I remember to connect them back to the why. 
I like being a nanny/housewife most of the time.  I still need to work through the idea that not having a salary means I can never ask Light or Abundance to do anything around the house other than litterboxes, trash and dogwalks.  I like making a home, I like being domestic and sometimes I wish I had a larger pool of people to do that for. even though the idea of finding specific people I can handle is exhausting to even contemplate.  
There's something wrong here, I'm too tired, I play too much merge dragons and read too little, I'm watching endless youtube videos and episodes of grey's anatomy, I feel like first I forgot how to talk to strangers, then I forgot how to talk to friends and now I'm forgetting how to talk to partners.   Seriously, what do people even say?
I keep coming back to this thread of wanting to ask people all the questions, to find out what makes everyone tick. There's a lot of reasons for this.  I keep asking my therapist how real people do things, what a normal reaction to something is, so I can compare with my reaction, see where I'm failing or where the cracks are showing or what I should be trying harder to feel. Some part of me still almost certainly wants to find out what people need so I can figure out if I want to provide it and how so I can figure out how to be good enough to be kept. Some part of me knows that people like to talk about themselves, if you can stumble on the right questions.  Some part of me is still, always, story-hungry.

Supplementary pillow poll

Apr. 24th, 2019 01:59 pm
china_shop: A coloured-in cartoon of Shen Wei. (Guardian - cartoon Shen Wei)
[personal profile] china_shop
The questions on my bed poll were insufficiently clear, and it's undermining the integrity of the data, so here, have a more specific pillow poll.

(Note: I automatically answered "1" to the original poll, because that's the number of pillows I have under my head at any given time while I'm sleeping. HOWEVER:

a. I sometimes switch pillows in the middle of the night (from my wheat pillow, which is like a giant wheatpack, to a softer, more standard but still mouldable pillow).

b. More relevantly, I actually sleep with four pillows: one under my head; two folded in half and tied up with string, stuffed into the foot of the bed to make a kind of pillowfort for my feet; and one lying flat under the covers, about halfway down my side, for my knee to rest on if I want to bend my leg.

c. I keep about seven pillows on my bed, in total.

The foot pillowfort is dorky but incredibly comfortable. I started doing it ages ago when the weight of the blankets on my feet was aggravating my sore knees, and now I can't go back. I heat the space with a hot water bottle before I get into bed.)

Cut so you don't have to scroll past the answers. )

(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 07:41 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
I went into work today to find out that my manager is taking three weeks off for family medical leave starting today. He didn't say anything about this to anyone yesterday.
I'm working on building a whole bunch of wrappers so software language A can call a big binary blob written in software language B. Last time I did this, it took me a week longer than I'd anticipated to get it working, for a large variety of reasons. (The API documentation was wrong, I didn't start asking for help or pointing out that I was going to have trouble meeting my deadline until I was right up against it, and the target hardware documentation was flat-out wrong about things like how to correctly power it.) So this time around I decided that I'd get it working before the "when are you going to have this done?" discussion even came up. I've figured out how to automate it, so I set that off and running and when it finished I emailed my manager that I had a good start on the software for our next project, that as of last Friday was my number one priority that nothing should distract me from.
He emailed me back almost immediately to ask me how an entirely different project, that was my highest priority last Wednesday, was going, and mentioned at the end of the email that he'd decided to cancel the project for which I was writing this software.
I turned to my coworker and said "hey, did you know your next hardware project has been cancelled?"
He sat there gaping like a fish for several seconds. I was all "I guess you didn't know either."
umadoshi: (hands full of books)
[personal profile] umadoshi
...or at least it was when I got home after supper tonight. I've managed to shift it around at least somewhat, so it's not all on the floor ("all" meaning "all the manga that actually lives in my office", since there's another bookcase in the spare room).

After our first scheduled appointment to have heat pumps installed was canceled due to rain, it was rescheduled to today, and for some reason it actually happened even though it rained like hell today. ([personal profile] scruloose theorizes that it's because the first day's rain included a lot of wind and some thunder and lightning, and today's didn't, and ladders were involved.)

I wasn't home for the work being done (thankfully), and the good news is that a) AFAIK it's all looking good (one small component is still on order), b) the overall upheaval was relatively minimal given how much this is going to theoretically change the place (overhaul of the heating system, plus the addition of A/C and dehumidifying), and c) the cats seem to have made it through their day confined to the spare room with minimal upset, although they're clearly not pleased.

But what we had not really expected--because [personal profile] scruloose tried to find out in advance, and it sounded like it ~probably~ wouldn't be a problem--was that my office bookcases would need to be completely unloaded, unbolted from the wall, and moved. (The theory had been that there was enough room above the bookcases for the installers to work.) And thus the manga wound up covering an alarming amount of the floor (under dropcloths).

It...it looks like less manga when it's all semi-tidily shelved. On the floor, it appears infinite. And now it's pretty badly out of order (not as badly as it could've been! [personal profile] scruloose took a decent stab at keeping series together despite having several contractors waiting on the shelves being emptied), and there was no good way to preserve the "system" I had going where the volumes lying flat in stacks were the ones I hadn't read. And I've been slowly pruning the collection back further, which I would've sped up had I known I would have to reorganize it all.

I guess now is really the time to decide whether I'm going to shake up my system and separate out all the series I've worked on into their own section of the shelves, rather than keeping them interspersed with everything else.

The day also involved the aforementioned (kinda chilly) rain, my work computer taking an hour to update before I could do anything at the office, and going with [personal profile] scruloose to get our taxes done. (We really like our accountant. We really like the things that result from paying taxes, like roads and education and basically everything. But the actual moment of "we owe HOW much???" [because of how I manage my freelance stuff] is still very, very painful.)

BUT after all that, we went out for ramen and things with Ginny, Kas, and Sea, and getting to hang out and have tasty food was lovely, and it was excellent weather for having ramen in.

review: Rosewater

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:37 pm
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
[personal profile] ursula
Tade Thompson's novel Rosewater is named after a city that has grown up around an alien edifice somewhere in Nigeria. Scenes before the edifice grew are intermingled with scenes that come after. The viewpoint character, Kaaro, is an interesting sort of antihero. Maybe I should say he's straight-up aheroic. He dislikes violence and avoids carrying a gun, but he is also inclined to shirk responsibility in small and large ways. His stealing in the earlier timeline seems like the kind of awful teenage choice people I care about have made. Some of the choices Kaaro makes in the alien-mediated psychic realm were harder for me to handle. This isn't a book that minds making readers ill-at-ease, though. If you weren't ever disconcerted, maybe it would have failed you.

The later-timeline Kaaro struck me as deeply, quietly depressed. I wondered for a long time whether he would align with the aliens, or with one of the groups trying to exploit or control them. In the end, Kaaro doesn't choose either option. He simply decides that he wants to be alive, and to be engaged with the world. This is mediated mostly through the woman he's in love with, and it's hard to say whether this resolve will stick once the new-relationship glow wears off. Maybe? They have compatible levels of weird secrets.

All of the women in Rosewater are intense, strong-minded, ambitious people. They know what they want, in a way that Kaaro often doesn't. I liked them very much; I particularly enjoyed a conversation Kaaro has with the brilliant engineer Oyin Da about what fraction of her has become alien and what fraction of her has turned into a robot. I wondered about the pattern, though, where the man gets to be feckless and uncertain, while the women are all strong. I've noticed it often before in comic novels--Pratchett in particular tends this way--and though I like all the tough complicated interesting women as individuals, in aggregate I sometimes wonder what this authorial choice says about who gets to be ordinary. It's a trickier pattern to criticize because fecklessness does have different costs, depending on who you are. That's why Kaaro's relentless refusal to play the hero matters, in the first place.

(Review based on a NetGalley copy.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu

So recently [personal profile] skygiants recommended to me a podcast called Friends at the Table. (There are very vague spoilers at that first link.) The podcast describes itself thusly:

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends.

(Actual play = recording themselves playing a tabletop roleplaying game.)

I often like to just binge back catalogs, as in, not so long ago I listened to all 250+ episodes of No Such Thing as a Fish. I'd just finished the back seasons of the much shorter Iditapod, and was not really feeling anything I had queued up, so I figured I'd give this a shot. I went with the Marielda arc, because [personal profile] skygiants had said it was the shortest and was easy to jump into, though it had "maybe the weakest thematic ending in that it goes sideways in a way nobody really expects." For a bunch of this time I was the only adult in the house, which means doing all the dog walking and therefore having more time than usual to listen, so I finished up the arc this morning. I am extremely tired but if I don't write something tonight it won't get written, so let me throw some stuff at the wall.

First, some thoughts on listening to an actual play podcast generally, and this one specifically; no spoilers.

cut for length )

Second, SPOILERS )

Outside the cut question: this, Uprooted, Welcome to Night Vale, and Lord of the Rings all have creepy forests. Do places with jungles or rain forests also have creepy-forest stories, I wonder, or is it more a temperate-climate thing?

I read the Endgame spoilers

Apr. 23rd, 2019 06:15 pm
kore: (Black Widow 2)
[personal profile] kore
and WOW fandom is going to continue to explode. There is something to make nearly everyone ticked off!

Man I feel tired. I miss just enjoying these movies. I think I will go back to my Black Widow comics.

Vague spoiler )

(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:00 pm
skygiants: (swan)
[personal profile] skygiants
I finished Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower!

As I said on Twitter: massive respect for Ann Leckie's mineral protagonist progression from 'passive-aggressive AI' to 'literally just a very sulky rock.'

I'll admit it took me some time to come round on the sulky rock, but then the rock insisted on being hauled halfway across the continent in a large unwieldy carriage out of sheer bloody-mindedness despite several protestations from annoyed divine friends, and suddenly I loved that rock. We are all what we are.

Technically something that may be a spoiler )

As with Ancillary Justice, I found this a slow build and an increasingly rewarding one as it went on. Things that Ann Leckie clearly likes and is good at, in combination with mineral protagonists:
- unusual and somewhat deliberately distancing narration
- non-human entities moved to action by feelings of affection and responsibility towards specific humans
- very long-game revenge plots
- careful plot-relevant linguistic exploration! MY FAVORITE PART

Some ending thoughts that are definitely spoilers )

A Very Important Poll

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:48 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
A question that came up as a result of both my going through my local history books and an argument Mom and I had on our mini-road-trip out to South Jersey:

Poll #21872 Important Poll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 50

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Chesapeake Bay
13 (29.5%)

We drove to Chesapeake Bay
31 (70.5%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the San Francisco Bay
12 (26.7%)

We drove to San Francisco Bay
33 (73.3%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Hudson Bay
7 (15.6%)

We drove to Hudson Bay
38 (84.4%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Delaware Bay
14 (33.3%)

We drove to Delaware Bay
28 (66.7%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Monterey Bay
2 (4.5%)

We drove to Monterey Bay
42 (95.5%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the bay
31 (66.0%)

We drove to the Bay
16 (34.0%)

Which is more correct

View Answers

We drove down to the bay
33 (91.7%)

We drove up to the bay
3 (8.3%)

Which is more correct

View Answers

We drove toward the bay on the 80
14 (31.1%)

We drove toward the bay on 80
31 (68.9%)

You are from:

View Answers

the Bay Area or nearby
11 (22.9%)

the Tidewater or nearby
6 (12.5%)

3 (6.2%)

Somewhere else on the West Coast
11 (22.9%)

Somewhere else on the East Coast
13 (27.1%)

Somewhere else in North America
11 (22.9%)

Somewhere primarily English-speaking other than North America
4 (8.3%)

I don't speak English as my primary language and y'all need to sort your stuff out
1 (2.1%)

5 (10.4%)

forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin and Pooh floating in a upturned  umbrella , with the word Ahoy in the corner (The Brain of Pooh)
[personal profile] forestofglory
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 R and I started watching this with the plan to finish it before WisCon. We’ve watched 4 or 5 episodes so far. At this point this season is goofier and lighter than season 1 and feels a bit more like other Treks I’ve watched. There’s more focus on ethical dilemmas and such witch is very Star Trek focus. Also there are many many awesome older women. Some of them are mothers though none of them raising small children. Still it's good to see more fictional moms. I hope some of the awesome older ladies get to interact with each other.

Golden Kamuy up vol 8 by Satoru Noda This all that’s currently been translated into English so I have to stop here for the moment. I’m still really enjoying the historical setting and all food details. However these volumes got pretty gruesome and also spent a lot of time alway form core character hanging out with less nice people. And there were some villainous tragic queers. So that wasn’t great. But I do like the main characters and will probably read more when it is available.

Yotsuba&!, Vols 8-9 by Kiyohiko Azuma Still very cute! I have few more volumes out form the library.

Not For Use In Navigation: Thirteen Stories by Iona Datt Sharma I am working my way very slowly through this. "Akbar learns to Read and Write" was lovely meditation on learning. I have one novella "Quarter Days", left I've read it before so I know its really good. But I’ve gotten sick and this isn’t the kind of thing I can read when sick -- to much detail to miss. So something to look forward to when I feel better.

I also got a couple of the Hugo shortlisted art books out of the library. I wouldn’t have called The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition an art book but it sure is pretty. Makes me want to do an Earthsea reread. Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History is fun to look at for nostalgia but not really my favorite kind of art.

And I’ve read quite lot of Guardian fic. Maybe I need a way to keep track of the fic that I read? I don’t k

Ivory Vikings

Apr. 23rd, 2019 07:28 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the Most Famous Chessmen in the World and the Woman Who Made Them by Nancy Marie Brown

A discussion on topics suggested by the famous Lewis chessmen: medieval chess figures carved from walrus ivory.

Read more... )

Me-and-media update (cake edition)

Apr. 24th, 2019 10:07 am
china_shop: Close-up of Zhao Yunlan grinning (Default)
[personal profile] china_shop
Very little eyeball reading (but I do need to feedback some fic that I read on my Kindle -- note to self!). In audiobook, the boy and I started Not Forgetting the Whale by John Ironmonger, which is really bringing home to me how much I'm used to inclusiveness in my reading matter (thank you, Ben Aaronovitch, among many others). By which I mean, it seems very straight and white so far. Also, I'm not sure I can actually handle 13 hours of omniscient POV. But two members of my family recced it to me, so we'll forge on for now, if only so I can discuss it with them.

Episode 4 of Black was, if you'll forgive the obvious, SUPER-DARK. Warnings for... ) Unfortunately, the story-telling was a little clunky, which made all the awfulness worse. I'm not tapping out yet, but... maybe I should be.

Thirty but Seventeen, otoh, is really sweet, and very much in the genre of fluffy slowburn G-rated romance, with a dash of angst and several dollops of farce, plus found family, cohabitation, and mistaken identity. It has the distinction of the female lead getting to act immature and mildly goofy (as opposed to other timeslip/bodyswap shows I've seen (or even Chief Kim) where it was always the guys), and I'm enjoying that a lot.

I also recently grabbed The Best Hit because it has Buja the zombie from Hwayugi in it, so that's in the line-up at some point too.

Other TV
We watched the available episodes of Killing Eve season 2 and are now waiting impatiently for more.

I am starting to get flaily and/or slightly horrified by the Amount of Meta I Am Missing! What if there are Important Insights I Need To Know? And yet, trying to keep up and have coherent thoughts at people and absorb All The Knowledge is not a recipe for stress-free fun, for me, so I guess I'll continue on my merry, haphazard way, hope for the best, and continue to be grateful for wonderful betas.

(I mean, I'm not even managing coherent thoughts on, like, regular posts, let alone actual discussions.)

Anyway, the magical whirligig continues, and I love it! And in theory, now I've posted Once Upon a Time in Dixing, I can move on to episode 7 in my rewatch and get stuck there.

We Netflixed the Gina Rodriguez film Someone Great. It was kind of like Russian Doll but 10 years younger, with more focus on friendships, and without the Groundhog Day aspect... if that leaves anything? (New York, parties and drugs, mostly.) I particularly liked the lesbian best friend played by DeWanda Wise though that came back to bite me when [SPOILER] ) Anyway, she was otherwise great and it was charming and yay films about female friend groups. \o/

I managed to earworm myself with an Aaron Neville song just by using really quite an innocuous phrase as a fic title. It's been hanging around for days now!

Writing/making things
Ot1h, I feel vaguely apologetic about how spammy I've been with the fic lately; otoh, no one should ever apologise for fic (except possibly to their betas, who might have other things they want to do with their time *sends [personal profile] trobadora a gift basket of gratitude*)! So I won't. I'm having so much fun -- this is very definitely the steroidal silver lining. In particular, Once Upon a Time in Dixing is my favourite thing I've written in ages, so it's very very happy-making that other people like it too. *chairdances*

Anyway, the steroid-fuelled writing can't last. I'm expecting an equal and opposite reaction when I drop down to 10mg early next week (ie, no words at all for a while, or very few, meep!) so I need to lock myself away in a tower NOW until I've got a complete draft of my 520 Day exchange assignment. Argh. I keep psyching myself out about it.

  1. 520 Day exchange assignment.
  2. Something for the Amnesty round on fan_flashworks (possibly the super-powered smut I currently have at beta because apparently tentacles weren't enough?) Done and posted \o/!
  3. WIP #2 (which I swear is going to be SO GREAT if only I can finish it! you should all be telling me off when I write anything else!)
Korean study
I heard from my favourite language exchange friend and wrote her a long email in reply, and it turns out that's still something I can do, so that was pleasing.

Life/health/mental state things
Quote from email: I was so sure I would get cleaning done once I was on steroids. Instead it's just a firehose of words and/or feelings and/or socially inept mopiness.

I feel like I'm hurtling downhill on a unicycle, while eating a lot of cake.1

1 The unicycle is a metaphor; the cake is literal cake.

Good things
Waterbeds used to be a thing! It seems SO WEIRD in retrospect, right? Like, why would you sleep on a giant water balloon? Why have a bed that's rendered unusable by a power cut? What were people thinking?!

A couple of good friends came to town over the long weekend. I went to the City Art Gallery with one of them, where there were several installations that seemed (to my biased eye) relevant to my fannish interests. For example, the colourful video visualisation of seismic data made me go, "This is absolutely what the inside of Ye Zun's pillar looked like for 10,000 years!" And the video of solar activity looked so much like spaceships and magic Hallows energy and... in the end, it's all Guardian.

(I think I managed to converse with my out-of-town friends without talking all over them and boring them with obscure references to Cdramas? Mostly?)

Also: The boy. Cats. Fic. Cake. The way Zhao Yunlan smiles at Shen Wei.

Poll #21868 The Bed poll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27

What kind of bed?

View Answers

1 (3.8%)

4 (15.4%)

box base
6 (23.1%)

slat base with inner-sprung mattress
11 (42.3%)

bed of nails
1 (3.8%)

bed of roses
7 (26.9%)

bed of lettuce
4 (15.4%)

easy chair
2 (7.7%)

6 (23.1%)

3 (11.5%)

11 (42.3%)

How many pillows?

View Answers

4 (15.4%)

4 (15.4%)

8 (30.8%)

4 (15.4%)

more than 3
6 (23.1%)


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