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

(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.

Take that, reproductive system.

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:28 am
monanotlisa: (scrubs! - duh)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Surgery itself went well...though complications then kept me in the hospital for not the planned 2-3 hours but for about 12 -- and it's all a bit ongoing, shall we say. I'll post more, but despite my three-hour nap after we came home, I'm beat. And my brain still isn't working properly.

Shout-out to the folks working at UCSF Mt. Zion -- they've all been both both friendly and competent medical professionals (the super-enthusiastic residents were THE BEST. One of them bounced little on his feet, holding the clipboard for consent signing out to me).
monanotlisa: Sam Wilson in Falcon gear, in profile, looking fabulous as ever. (falcon - captain america)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (www.blackalliance.org) is having two webinars on the State of Black Immigrants. Part 1 is July 18, tomorrow, at 5pm; part 2 is July 25, both 5 pm EST.

Registration: goo.gl/u8Eckc.

No good very bad day

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:19 pm
gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
[personal profile] gwyn
Today's my least favorite day once again. The date I lost Miss Olive two years ago, and I'm not over it--I think about her every day, and miss her, especially now. I could really use her soft, soft fur and sweet purrs and funny little voice when she talked to me all the time. And it's the day we lost Sandy, which I'm never gonna be over, either. With Vividcon ending next year it feels even more like losing Sandy all over again.

Basically July 19 is just a terrible horrible no good very bad day.

I'm trying to get things done in anticipation of the surgery and whatnot, but it's really hard. Not only is there a lot to do, the bills are starting to come in, and I'm getting really depressed about it. I haven't had enough work so far this year, but even though I suddenly have a bunch of stuff coming in, it's not going to be paid for a while yet. Even with the ACA still hanging on, this country is majorly fucked up about health care costs, and it's pretty easy to go bankrupt even with insurance.

Last night we went to see the documentary Score, about composing music for films, at this teeeny local theatre that was the first art house in Seattle way back in the '60s. I hadn't known it was still in business--it's run by vounteers now, and the lobby is now a restaurant so the actual theatre is about one-tenth the size it used to be. The movie was great--if you have a chance to watch it, you should: there were some really good reminiscences by directors and other composers about some of the legends, and interviews with all kinds of fascinating film composers, plus a glimpse into the process of recording film scores.

My only complaints were one I shared with feochadn, which was that a guy went on and on about King Kong (the first real movie score) being cheesy and stupid, and that the music was the only thing that helped audiences get over the cheesy and stupid, which is utterly, patently false and doesn't understand the audience dynamic at the time the original King Kong was released. And my second gripe was that as they talked about modern scores and unique or avant garde approaches, they interviewed and spent quite a bit of time following the guy who did the utterly forgettable Age of Ultron score instead of spending any time with Henry Jackman, who did the Winter Soldier score, which most people I know still talk about with a certain amount of awe. Especially because I think it would have dovetailed nicely with talking about the "game-changing" soundtrack for the Social Network by Trent Reznor (I'm not one of the people who think it was game-changing, but whatever), and they did talk to Henry Jackman, but only for a microscopically short time. Plus, they didn't list Winter Soldier in his credits, and that was…weird to me. And it's not my own blind prejudice for anything related to Winter Soldier--I've read so many people talking about the amazing things he did with that score, especially regarding the Soldier himself, and it just seems like a huge missed opportunity in the modern section…and instead we got fucking Ultron. I'd defy anyone to remember anything unique or special about the music in that movie. But I still definitely recommend seeing Score if you can, and stay for the credits and James Cameron's dicussion of James Horner's score for Titanic. (It's in a couple cities right now, and rolling around other parts of the country for the next few months--you can find out where on the web site linked above.)

I wish I knew how you find a therapist. I am very lonely and depressed, and there's no one to talk to here, but I just don't know how you go about finding someone you mesh with, and who's competent, and one you can afford (the importance of either can be switched). I mean, I've met some truly shitty people in RL who I find out later are therapists and it's like O.o so the idea of going into this cold doesn't thrill me.

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.

fountain pen sale

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
The time has come to find new homes for some of the vintage fountain pens in my collection.

These are all great pens, but the truth is I have a fair number of great pens and these are ones that simply aren't making it into my rotation. I'd rather someone else get some enjoyment out of them!

All prices include shipping within the continental USA. Elsewhere, please inquire--I will probably have to charge you shipping at cost. I accept payment via Paypal.

If interested, either leave a comment or email me (yoon at yoonhalee dot com).





From left to right:

1. Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir (a sort of dark swirly marbled green). Lever filler. The great thing about this pen is that it has a #3 adjustable nib. It goes from Fine to Broad on the flexiest setting. The only reason I'm letting this go is that I have a Wahl-Eversharp Doric in black with a #7 adjustable nib, and I honestly don't need two adjustable Dorics.

Please note that the #3 Doric is a petite pen--unless you have very small hands, you will probably want to use this posted.

Price: $225. SOLD

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it!

2. Waterman Lady Patricia that I bought from Mauricio Aguilar of Vintage Fountain Pens. He graded it a superflex, and it's a pleasurable and absolutely reliable writer; I've always had great experiences with the pens I've bought from Mauricio. Lever filler. Again, this is a lovely pen that I simply don't use--in this case because I'm busy using a different pen that I bought from Mauricio, a Waterman 52V (for which Jedao's Patterner 52 was named :p). Like the #3 Doric, this is a petite pen, and probably best used posted unless you have very small hands.

This is a handsome pen with green and brown swirls, and I love looking at it, but I really prefer for all my pens to be working pens that get used. Maybe you can have fun with it!

Price: $410.

3. Conklin Crescent Filler--the crescent filling mechanism is not that different from lever filling and is very simple to use, and really neat if you love geeking out about different filling mechanisms. This is a wet noodle that does hairlines, if you're into flex writing or copperplate; I probably wouldn't recommend it for sketching because of the fineness of the nib, but it would make a great fountain pen for non-sketch-speed line art.

Price: $320.

4. Osmia 34 in gray candy. This is a very flexy nib that goes from Fine to Broad, and unusually, it's in a piston filler. Please note that the material is discolored along about half the barrel (ambering)--this doesn't affect the pen's functionality, although if you care more about aesthetics this is not the pen for you. This nib has an almost painterly feel to it that is very pleasurable for writing.

Price: $240. [Going to [personal profile] rushthatspeaks for a trial run!]

5. The last two are a Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, fountain pen and mechanical pencil set. The fountain pen is a lever filler and has a flex nib; I'm not sure what width graphite the pencil takes, although it comes loaded with one. The set is very handsome; please note that the fountain pen has a chip near the lever. This doesn't affect function but may be an aesthetic concern.

Price: $210.

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it! (She decided to get the Wahl-Eversharp Doric instead, so this pen and pencil set is available!)

Chicks Dig Gaming

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:25 pm
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
[personal profile] yhlee
Chicks Dig Gaming, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith? [this appears to be part of the author name, as it's listed with the interrogation point in multiple places], and Lars Pearson is one of the books I picked up at Pandemonium Books & Games in Boston. It's an absolutely delightful collection of essays about gaming by women, ranging the gamut from board games to video games to one anthropologist non-gamer who decided to play Portal to study the phenomenon of gaming and explore her reasons for not being a gamer. :p

A few of the essays didn't speak to me personally, but that's fine--for example, there was one about adventure games through the lens of the Monkey Island games, which I did play, but I didn't imprint on the genre. It's not that it was a bad essay, but rather that it was a type of gaming experience I just wasn't as interested in. And that's fine; for some other reader that could be entirely their thing.

Here's a rundown:

cut for length )

To sum up: highly recommended.

(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!
selenak: (Default)
[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)

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:18 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[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.

Spider-man: Homecoming (Film Review)

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:43 pm
selenak: (Henry Hellrung by Imaginary Alice)
[personal profile] selenak
Okay, that's it. As Civil War made me suspect, Tom Holland is my platonic ideal of Peter Parker, at least in his teenage phase. Also, while I had liked the first Raimi/Maguire movie and parts of the rest while increasingly disliking other parts of those films, and liked the first Garfield without thinking it needed to exist while extremly disliking the second one, this latest cinematic go at Spidey was a complete delight to me and I love it.

Ramblings beneath the cut )

squee!

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:46 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
You guys, among many many other works, Ninefox Gambit is listed as one of the inspirations for Paizo's forthcoming RPG Starfinder! Tons of other authors and media there too.

I'm also chuffed to see I'm not the only one who has found Jack L. Chalker inspirational for sf purposes (although in my case it was Soul Rider and one that's not mentioned in the list, Rings of the Master).

My husband has preordered Starfinder but does this mean I now have to fight him over the hardcopy? LOL.

Doctor Who and Orphan Black 5.06.

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:03 pm
selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
[personal profile] selenak
Spoilery Doctor Who talk about the big casting spoiler. )

On to Orphan Black. Which was a good spy hijinks hour that moved the plot forward.

Read more... )
monanotlisa: (studying!)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
I have also managed to...well, let's call it "consume books" during commute hours, dead wait times, or long drives -- audiobooks, often in combination with the written Kindle version (you can buy a combo package that lets you pick up reading or listening at the point you left off; it's one neat function). After the breathtaking Rivers of London series by Ben Aarononovitch, I was looking for urban fantasy of a similar vibe: witty, well-written, and featuring diverse protagonists.

My choice fell onto Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series -- the first two novels feature Verity Price, a cryptozoologist-slash-ballroom dancer in New York City; I like them for the setting, frankly, and the richness of this imagined world of non-classified monsters in our midst.

The following doesn't spoil plot points, but it does give an outline of characters and places.

''Discount Armageddon'' & ''Midnight Blue-Light Special'' )

''Half-Off Ragnarok'' & ''Pocket Apocalypse'' )

Ultimately, these are entertaining, so I may stick with the InCryptid series because of the dearth of diverse urban fantasy (true fantasy has gotten much better on that vector these days; read Ancillary Justice or The One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, or or or). Again, if anybody new is reading this who has recommendations for books or series similar to Rivers of London by Ben Aarononovitch, please let me know!

Profile

avrelia: (Default)
avrelia

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930 31 

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 21st, 2017 08:36 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios