(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:42 pm
skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
[personal profile] skygiants
It's hard for me not to unfavorably compare every Isabelle Hollington Gothic to Trelawny, the one with the identical non-identical constantly-swapping twins, but The Marchington Inheritance runs a reasonable second for batshit plot resolutions.

Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.

spoilers are full of hilariously plausibly annoying children )
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
It's our twenty-fourth anniversary today. We celebrated by walking down to the Delta tonight and having foofy drinks and fried food. (Oysters, yum!) We're both complete lightweights, so after [personal profile] grrlpup got table-pounding emotional about how Haymitch screwed over Katniss (I did not know she had such strong opinions about Haymitch and Katniss!) we got very silly singing along to Billy Idol and the Eurythmics and other '80s greats that they were piping overhead. Our very pretty, very glam waitress did not laugh behind her hand at us, not one bit.

Then we walked on to Cloud City and cut the line to buy moderately expensive ice-cream to eat in front of the TV, which we will do Real Soon Now.

Sometime during all this we also encountered a very nice old dog who wanted to play, and that was delightful, even though the dog's human eventually put a kibosh on the random-cheerful-greeting-of-strangers-on-the-sidewalk, boo.

Back in '93, we picked mid-August for our ceremony because 1) we couldn't afford any place that charged money, and 2) mid-August is during our nearly-contractual Six Weeks It Doesn't Rain in Portland, so it ought to have been safe to hold the affair in a public park. Unfortunately for our most excellent planning, 1993 was The Year that Summer Never Came: it rained on us that day, as it had rained nearly every day that summer.

This morning we woke up to rain, too.

After coffee, we walked over to give the chickens some fresh strawberry tops, but the chickens were still shut up safe from the terrible, awful drizzle and thus were forced to watch yearningly while we dumped our strawberry tops through the fence for them to have later. (Such sad chickens!) We thought it'd be nice to go for a walk in Kenilworth Park at some point today (Kenilworth was where we had our reception), but between one kind of shilly-shallying and another, we never quite got around to it.

Which is fine. It was a lovely languid day with my Sweetie, and that's just about as perfect as a day can be.

1 link from Nicola Griffith

Aug. 13th, 2017 02:20 am
sasha_feather: the back of furiosa's head (furiosa: back of head)
[personal profile] sasha_feather posting in [community profile] access_fandom
Nicola Griffith:

An Open Letter to All Writing Programmes, Workshops, and Retreats (July 27, 2017)

https://nicolagriffith.com/2017/07/27/an-open-letter-to-all-writing-programmes-workshops-and-retreats

So here’s a public promise: after I have fulfilled my immediate contractual obligations, I will no longer support in any way any writing-related programme or organisation that does not have a public commitment to and specific timetable for becoming accessible. I will call on other writers to do the same.

(no subject)

Aug. 12th, 2017 05:51 pm
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
[personal profile] skygiants
I just finished Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which is definite proof that a book-length allegory CAN ALSO be a coherent and compelling novel. (Is this a Kazuo Ishiguro callout post? MAYBE.)

The easiest and most facile way to describe The Underground Railroad is basically like Underground the TV show meets Snowpiercer. I mean, significantly less silly than Snowpiercer, which is a deeply silly movie -- but insofar as it's a train-based road trip for your life in which every stop is an Allegory On the Evils of Class and Capitalism, like that, except in this case it's an allegory on America's original sins.

The book's heroine is Cora, a woman who escapes from a deep-South plantation on an enormous hidden network of rails and tunnels, gaining and losing allies along the way. Each time she gets off she thinks that maybe she's found a place where she can stop and live a human life, and each place she visits reflects a different knife-angle of the generally horrific history of race in America -- alternate histories, but real ones.

Allegory aside, Cora is very much a real and complex and compelling character, and the places she visits have heft to them. Cora's identity is bound up in the legend and mystery of her mother Mabel, the one slave in the plantation's history (before Cora) who was able to escape and vanish completely; she's a real person, too, and so are all the other perspectives that we glimpse briefly in interstitial interludes along Cora's journey. It's a really good book. It's a very page-turning book, and although it's (obviously) extremely grim at times, it's not actually a hopeless book.

(no subject)

Aug. 10th, 2017 08:49 pm
skygiants: Yong Ha from Sungkyunkwan Scandal (trollface)
[personal profile] skygiants
To be honest, I didn't really expect to love the kdrama Descendants of the Sun, a romantic melodrama about a special forces soldier and an ER surgeon. I'm skeptical about romanticizing the military! Contemporary melodrama is not my thing! Probably there were going to be too many dudes all over the place everywhere anyway!

OH, HOW WRONG I WAS. Descendants of the Sun is a GEM.

Screencaps cannot capture the majesty )

1 Link: Netflix's "Atypical"

Aug. 10th, 2017 10:58 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather posting in [community profile] access_fandom
Mickey Rowe at Teen Vogue:
"Netflix's "Atypical" Was a Major Disappointment for Autism Representation"

http://www.teenvogue.com/story/netflix-atypical-autism-representation

In watching the show, I noticed that it seems to play into stereotypes that I’ve experienced firsthand that could have easily been avoided and that may present damaging information about autistic people. There is so much misinformation about autism in part because we nearly always learn about autism from non-autistic people, instead of learning about autism from autistic adults.

Nonverbal Communication in SF

Aug. 10th, 2017 04:55 pm
jesse_the_k: drawings of white hand in ASL handshapes W T F (WTF)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k posting in [community profile] access_fandom
Seems like the "Universal Translators" are always auditory, eh?

Lynne Thomas of Uncanny Magazine writes about her daughter Caitlin, who doesn't speak and communicates a lot. Lynne reviews the overwhelming privilege of the spoken word in SF:

https://www.themarysue.com/caitlin-is-not-groot/

One of the commenters points out that Marvel has a new, nonverbal, hero coming:

http://comicbook.com/marvel/2017/08/04/inhumans-black-bolt-communicates-through-medusa/

(no subject)

Aug. 10th, 2017 08:12 am
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
It's supposed to start cooling off tomorrow, and maybe MAYBE I'll start sleeping again. (We have AC and a basement, so too-hot-to-sleep is technically a solvable problem, but [personal profile] grrlpup hates sleeping in AC and I hate sleeping hot and we both hate sleeping separately. So it's been a whole bunch of non-optimal compromises, and I'm usually not managing more than three-or-so hours sleep at a time. Last night was particularly bad: I got up at 2:30 and I'm still awake, and will be awake at least until I finish teaching tonight at 10pm, woo-hoo.)

But that's not what I wanted to post about.

[community profile] femslashex nominations close today, and they already have many lovely Holmesian options in the tagset: in addition to Sherlock and Elementary, there are Adventures of Shirley Holmes, My Dearly Beloved Detective, eight ACD ships, and crossovers in various directions between MBDB, ACD, and Bert Coules' Further Adventures. [personal profile] phoenixfalls and I nominated a handful of those, but there is at least one more MoreHolmes nominator in the exchange and we don't know who it is. (Hi, hello, do I know you, can we be friends?)

Also, [community profile] acdholmesfest sign-ups close real soon now. Truth be told, I still find that exchange a little intimidating (ACD fandom is just so good at what they do), but nowadays I'm a lot more confident of my ability to write ACD. I know quite a few of the participants now, too, at least enough to say hello to. And it would be a nice way to celebrate having read all of the canon.

But the problem here is that I'm already committed to Remix, [community profile] holmestice happens hard on the heels of both exchanges, and [community profile] festivids overlaps [community profile] holmestice. Altogether, that is a lot, even for my manic "I don't exist unless I'm making something" self. And last fall/winter around about Februrary, I was ready to gnaw my arm off I was so exhausted.

(Although in hindsight, the election probably contributed to my overwhelming fatigue. And we're not due for another of those for another few years.)

UGH, DECISIONS.
sohotrightnow: Thor with a big smile on his face. ([avengers] god of thunder and :D)
[personal profile] sohotrightnow
So, the highlight of July was SDCC! As always, this was a delight, though not as much fun as last year, since Mom couldn't make it (she promised Rita a year of childcare, and BiL's parental leave ended the week before). Dad also kept procrastinating on calling his sister to ask if we could stay in their condo again, to the point where when I discovered he still hadn't asked, just assumed, it was too late for us to get in the hotel registration as a backup. So by the time he finally got around to it, his sister said we were welcome to stay again! Except she and her husband would be there for part of the weekend, too. The place is massive (EAT THE RICH AND TAKE THEIR CONDOS), so there was plenty of room for all of us, but it meant being on our best behavior and, as Dad thanked me for doing, discreetly leaving the room when conversation turned to politics. They're ~genteel~ enough to think Trump is vulgar, at least, and we were able to politely agree to disagree on some things, and even agree on a couple of things, so that was a win, too.

BUT it was still lots of fun anyway; I spent a ton of money, in keeping with tradition, and got some new art (I am gonna run out of wall space, but probably not anytime soon since I still haven't found frames for everything from last year) and other goodies. The main panel I wanted to get to was the Star Trek: Discovery panel in Ballroom 20, which I'd told Mom I'd at least try and get into on her behalf, since she couldn't go. The line was dreadful when I got there and I wasn't optimistic, but it moved much quicker than I expected and I actually ended up getting in three panels ahead.

DISCOVERY LOOKS SO GREAT, UGHHHHHHHH I HAD SO MANY FEELINGS.

Panel highlights )

Then there was some hilarity on Monday because my father had misread the tickets for our flight home. So we arrived at 8:30 for a 10:30 AM flight, went to check our bags...and discovered that, in fact, our flight was for 10:30 PM. To be honest, I just burst out laughing when we learned, but Dad and Doug spent most of the day sulking. I mean, it was annoying, sure, but it wasn't that bad. It's better, as Doug pointed out once we finally got home, than the time he was going to visit our parents in Australia, misread the tickets, and realized he was more than twelve hours late for his flight. I ended up finding a movie theater not far from the airport, the fancy kind with big reclining seats, good food, and alcohol, so we took a Lyft over there and saw Baby Driver. I had a couple of excellent Moscow Mules, which improved my tolerance for their sulking, and the movie was lots of fun.

I spent the following weekend popping large amounts of sparkling wine with Mom in our relief over the healthcare vote. CRIPES I can't even tell you how fucking relieved we were, Internet. And that Monday, the 31st, I took a half-day from work, and went downtown to have lunch with [personal profile] newredshoes. We have been friends for aaaaaages but have never actually met in person before and IT WAS SO GREAAAAAAT, we had brunch at Kramerbooks (and cocktails when they switched over to their lunch menu) and talked for ages and bought books and it was just a total delight.

So, all in all, July went pretty well, I would say. Well done, universe, that's definitely made it a bit easier to bear August.

(no subject)

Aug. 9th, 2017 09:57 pm
skygiants: Kyoko from Skip Beat! making a mad flaily dive (oh flaily flaily)
[personal profile] skygiants
I enjoyed Martha Wells' Wheel of the Infinite but I am also pretty sure that my reading experience was devised in exactly the wrong way to allow me to appreciate the plot as a coherent narrative.

I read the first half of the book on the plane between San Francisco and Chicago, which meant I got all the fantastic initial setup: a long-suffering middle-aged heroine, exiled from her home city for accidentally getting three husbands killed while following the wrong prophetic vision, accidentally rescues a cute swordsman in a brief break from protecting a plucky theater troupe from a cursed stage puppet!

Then the cute young swordsman immediately decides to be her joint boyfriend and bodyguard because he has nothing else to do with his life, and she's like "he followed me home, can I keep him? ...wait I'm an exiled superpowered divine avatar, I literally don't have to ask anyone else, I CAN JUST KEEP HIM :D" and then he and she and the theater troupe all go back to her home city to sort out a potentially apocalyptic problem in the annual setting-the-world-in-order religious ritual and also, very importantly, get the theater puppet un-cursed, and at about this point I got to Chicago and although I was enjoying myself immensely I didn't really have time to read another word until I was on a flight back to Boston.

So at this point I opened my Kobo again and spoilers! )

(no subject)

Aug. 7th, 2017 10:55 pm
skygiants: Nellie Bly walking a tightrope among the stars (bravely trotted)
[personal profile] skygiants
Despite its incredibly bland title, Into the Darkness turned out to be one of the most interesting Barbara Michaels gothics I've yet read.

This is one of the ones where Barbara Michaels decides to break the "girl meets house" mold and go instead with "girl meets career." Our Heroine Meg Venturi, called back to her hometown for her grandfather's funeral, finds that he's left her half of the family jewelry business; the other half has (of course) been left to his dark and brooding protege, whom half the town is convinced murdered Meg's grandfather and the other half the town thinks was probably just blackmailing him.

Obviously, this is Bachelor A. Bachelor B is Meg's annoying fake cousin (there's always a cousin in there somewhere), Bachelor C is the boring lawyer who keeps trying to mansplain Meg's inheritance to her, and Bachelor D is the married businessman that Meg has been having an affair with but who rapidly becomes irrelevant to the plot.

Meanwhile, Meg's grandmother keeps cheerfully sharing conversations that she had overnight with the ghost of Meg's dead grandfather, the housekeeper will not stop pretending to be Mrs. Danvers, someone keeps mailing threatening antique jewelry to the house, there's another pile of probably-stolen and certainly-priceless antique jewelry hidden in the back of Meg's closet, and every so often there will be a murder attempt. Throughout it all, Meg comes to two realizations: a.) she really, genuinely loves the jewelry business and b.) she is really, genuinely sick of Various Bachelors treating her like a Gothic ingenue.

Spoilers under the cut )

(no subject)

Aug. 6th, 2017 11:29 pm
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
Assorted fandom things, because otherwise I'll be reduced to posting about our 107-degree heat wave, and even though temps have dropped a bit (high nineties, what we usually call a heat wave), there's really not much you can say about it other than Fuck it's hot and My poor little laptop; this is why I don't vid during the summer.

~ ~ ~


Speaking of vids, [personal profile] seekingferret has finally premiered "Warning: Might Lead to Mixed Dancing"! I'm so happy to see it out in the world -- I've loved it since the very first draft, ages and ages ago, and now you all get to see it, too! It's four minutes and change of joy, and who doesn't need that?

~ ~ ~


[livejournal.com profile] sherlock60 has just finished up its fifth round this weekend. I joined last spring at the beginning of this round, after spending a year or so looking at [personal profile] gardnerhill's ficlets and thinking it all looked very cool. But also, not having read all the canon stories was starting to wear on me, and I couldn't seem to find the motivation to do it on my own? I seem to be the kind of person who enjoys the stories far more as a jumping off place than I enjoy them for themselves.

As it turned out, I wrote only a double-handful of sixties, as I had the worst time swapping out between those ficlets and my other projects; after a couple of months of that, I finally chose to let the sixties go. But I very much enjoyed getting to know everyone, and the historical linkspams were just my kind of catnip. Brava to [personal profile] scfrankles and [personal profile] smallhobbit for all the work they've put into the comm.

And of course, [community profile] sherlock60/[livejournal.com profile] sherlock60 will be starting a new round next week! Just in case anyone feels like joining in. (One can always join in anytime, but for people who like clean jumping-in places...)

~ ~ ~


And on a recommendation from [personal profile] jadelennox, we've been watching the Fast and the Furious movies. At first they were enjoyable but no big? But now the story has gotten big and messy and complicated and I have FEELINGS. (For anyone who wants to discuss in comments, we just finished number six tonight.)

(no subject)

Aug. 6th, 2017 11:40 pm
skygiants: pearl from SU, looking suspiciously down the length of a sword (terrifying renegade pearl)
[personal profile] skygiants
Over the past two weeks I have gone straight from a professional conference to a wedding to VividCon, lugged my roommate's oversized suitcase across four cities, hung out with innumerable incredibly delightful people, seen an equally large number of really stellar vids, visited at least six used bookstores and bought at least ten Gothic novels.

Now I am home and exhausted, so I'm just going to leave my rushed but heartfelt VividCon premiere here and go to bed:

Title: Clean Light (music by The Mowgli's)



Download

(with thanks to [personal profile] aquamirage for valuable early feedback!)

[Real Life] Telephones

Aug. 5th, 2017 07:10 pm
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
[personal profile] thefourthvine
(Trying to get back into the habit of posting, so this is a random piece of personal telephonic history!)

Lately, I’ve been in a bemusing battle of wills with my phone, where I tell it to sync certain songs and only those songs, and it does grab the ones I tell it to, but also randomly adds other songs from my music library, often ones I’ve never listened to. When I told Best Beloved about this, her take was that I should just live with it. I questioned the Queen of Solving Problems Right Now, Immediately, Using a Hatchet as Necessary on her surprising stance and she pointed out that she knew me in college. When I had the Let Me Call You Sweetheart phone.

See, my college did not have voicemail for landlines in the dorm, and this was back when people still used landlines sometimes. My parents, who were sending a 15 year old off to college, thought they might like to leave messages for me at some point, and so they bought me a combined phone/answering machine to take with me. And for a while, it worked as advertised: people called, I did not answer, they were invited to leave a message, they did, I sometimes listened to the message, I very occasionally called them back. (This is as good as it ever gets with me and telephones. Our relationship can best be described as “mutual disdain.” That’s also why I didn’t have a cell phone back then; smartphones hadn’t happened yet, and I could think of exactly zero reasons why I might want to be MORE available for phone calls.)

At some point late in the first semester, though, people who left messages started to sound a little amused. And then, after a month or so, they began sounding more … annoyed. I checked my outgoing message to make sure no one had recorded weird stuff on it, because, you know, college, but it was still normal and fine. So I shrugged and accepted it, until one of my friends suggested I call my own phone.

I did. The outgoing message played, exactly as recorded. But after it, I was treated to an extremely tinny instrumental version of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” that sounded like it was played on the buttons of a phone, followed by the customary leave-a-message beep. Bewildered, I checked the box, which I had saved for moving convenience. No mention of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” No mention of it on the manufacturer’s website, either. My phone had apparently developed a musical mind of its own.

Huh, I thought, and went about my life.

A few weeks after that, people started sounding really annoyed in my messages. I called my phone again. It now sounded like this:

Me, in a recording: Hi! You’ve reached me, and you know what to do.
Phone: Let me CALL you SWEETheart/I’m in love with YOU/Let me hear you WHISper/That you love me too
[Pause, as though the phone is about to emit that life-giving leave-a-message beep]
Phone: Let me CALL you SWEETheart/I’m in love with YOU/Let me hear you WHISper/That you love me too
[Pause, which only serves to raise hopes that will soon be dashed]
Phone: Let me CALL you SWEETheart…
[Repeat a painful number of times]

Eventually, it broke off in the middle of a line and beeped.

Well. There are only so many times that you want to hear that song, that way, and my phone had begun exceeding people’s lifetime limits in the course of a single call. I apologized, but what could I do? You can’t reason with a phone.

The year ended. I packed the phone into its box and took it home with me for the summer, which it apparently spent plotting. Then I brought it back to school.

Shortly after the school year started, I discovered that my phone had developed a new glitch. If I did pick it up when it rang, I couldn’t hear the person on the other end. On the other hand, if I waited until the answering machine got it and then picked it up, I could hear them, but they couldn’t hear anything I said. However, after extensive experimentation, I discovered they could still hear the beeps if I pressed buttons on the phone. So, as any reasonable person would, I changed my outgoing message to:

“Hi! My phone is broken. If I pick up, I can hear you but you won’t hear me. I’ll beep to show I’m there. Ask yes or no questions and I’ll give one beep for yes and two beeps for no. Thanks!”

(If you are now going WHY DIDN’T YOU BUY A NEW PHONE? – it never even occurred to me. Technically, some communication was still possible with the phone, after all, and I inherited from my father a gene that makes me very anxious in the presence of new objects. This is why my family had a garage door that you could only make work by inserting a penny into the innards of the opener, and that often went up and down on its own, sometimes as many as 60 times in an evening. It’s why I kept, for over a year, a computer chair that would occasionally just collapse, dumping me on the floor, and why I’m sitting on a partially broken chair as I type this. It’s … just who my people are, I guess. We are not so much “make do and mend” as “it’s fine, everything is fine, please stop talking about buying new things because that is the worst thing in the world to do and I’d rather just sit on the floor in the dark forever.”)

This led to a period of my college career where, to call me, you had to:
  1. Sit through what was, by then, up to 15 minutes of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” (I know because people timed it, since there wasn’t a lot else to do, and then shared the times with me. I think maybe they were trying to suggest to me that I should buy a new phone, but that kind of subtlety was never going to work. I mean, I come from a family that could afford a new toaster and willingly chose to keep the old one, even though it caught fire from time to time, enlivening many a morning. “Let’s just get a new one” is not a phrase in my vocabulary.)
  2. Listen to my outgoing message.
  3. After the first beep, say, “Hello? Are you there? It’s me, please pick up.”
  4. Wait for the beep that would indicate that I had in fact picked up.
  5. Hold a séance-like session with me wherein you were restricted to yes or no questions or, in cases where that just would not work, you had to count beeps for each letter of the alphabet. (You know: A=1, B=2, etc. Let me tell you from grim experience: it takes a LONG time to beep out even a single word, and also you tend to forget where you are halfway through letters like M and T. I honestly take my hat off to the fraudulent mediums of old. They worked for their money, by gum.)
  6. Hope that the phone didn’t just cut out altogether in the middle of the séance, as it was known to do.
Basically, communicating with spirits was, overall, probably slightly easier than talking to me. I for real do not know why anyone bothered. They did, though, which shows you what excellent and patient friends and family I have had in my life.

If you’re wondering about the resolution of this odyssey of disintegrating telecommunications technology: eventually my parents got tired of only being able to communicate with their youngest child via beeps. My mother (who does not have the “hates new things” gene) suggested several times that I buy a new one, but I beeped twice for no each time, so she, in direct violation of our precious familial traditions, went out and bought a new one and sent it to me at school. I kept it in its box in my room and avoided looking directly at it for a week or so, but then word spread among my friends that I had a new phone and was still using Mr. Beepy, and they basically held a technological intervention until I installed the new phone. (It worked fine for a year and then developed a glitch where it clicked a lot and would only record the first 15 seconds of a message, and no one minded at all because at least it wasn’t playing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” My life motto: I can always get over the bar, because I dug a hole in the ground and buried it.)

But times change! Humans age and progress and develop workarounds for their flaws! Which is why, when BB and I were attempting to explain this telephonic family history to our nine-year-old earthling (challenging, as he has never known an answering machine or a time when humans made phone calls to humans other than their senators), we had this conversation, which tells you everything you need to know about the people we’ve become:

Me, thinking back: You know, I probably should have just bought a new phone instead of beeping at people for months.
BB, also thinking back: I should have just broken your phone completely after it started playing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” more than once per call. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.

Anyway. That was the start of my long and complex adult relationship with phones. I wended my way through many glitches and minor disasters to arrive where I currently am: in possession of a phone that has its own opinions about music. And, upon reflection, I am prepared to be satisfied with that.

VLD S3 Reax

Aug. 4th, 2017 05:05 am
rosemuse: (GT - Kagura)
[personal profile] rosemuse
Read more... )

December 2015

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