What I Just Finished Reading
Penric’s Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Grover Gardner
Another enjoyable outing, though the plot of this one didn't grab me as much as the first two. I enjoyed the new PoV character and liked meeting her and her family, and watching their relationship with Penric and Des grow. Penric is frankly getting a little over powered at this point. There doesn't really seem to be much he can't do, as long as he can figure it out. Still, I love Des, and the stories continue to be light and funny.
Terror in the Starboard Seat by Dave McIntosh
(Memoirs of an RCAF Mosquito navigator in WWII, who very much wanted to survive the war and go home, while his Jewish-American pilot wanted to kill as many Nazis as he possibly could.)
Highly entertaining, which makes the tragic parts even more of a punch. Both the author and his pilot never seem to miss a chance to tell a joke at each other's (and their own) expense. For all that McIntosh played up the battle to stay out of the line of fire while his pilot put them in it, they seemed to work pretty well together. The accounts of base life and interactions with the other pilots and the English were probably the funniest parts.
Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann, narrated by Christopher Lane
This ended up being something of a guilty pleasure. The style is way over the top and pulpy that I expected it to have been written in the early '50s, but that in itself circled back around to being charming despite itself. I don't know enough about the period to claim authorial bias one way or another, but all the characters were well introduced and easy to follow. Likewise I have no idea if the mystery solution is plausible, but the case was well made. I need to read more silent-era Hollywood books.
Tecumseh and Brock: The War of 1812 by James Laxer
It certainly a decent outline of the war, and I appreciated that it had more focus on the native American storyline than a lot of books do. However since both the title characters died very early in the war, it somewhat floundered for a theme in the latter third. (It eventually settled on minimizing American accomplishments, in a charmingly chippy way.)
The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Still 100% soapy nonsense, still pretty fun, still needs more lesbians. Got pretty melodramatic at the end there. I don't see why love triangles never seem to end in threesomes.
What I'm Reading Now
Library: A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby with Mary Louisa Plummer. Um. Yeah. HOLY FUCK THIS WOMAN'S CHILDHOOD.
Audio: The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's read by Chris Lee, which is pretty much all you need to know.
What I'm Reading Next
Probably a book about North Korea from the library. Not sure on audiobook.
He was a kind man. Brilliant, playful, curious, funny, generous, loving — and kind. He loved to laugh and he loved to share, and his love for Amy shone out of him. He was so open to and enthusiastic about anything that made her happy — even if I hadn’t loved him for himself (and I did), I would have loved him for that.
I know he wanted to be remembered for who he was before the last few months of his life. The lively, silly, driven man who raced his small daughter down corridors (feinting the wrong way and giggling as she followed his misdirection), who trekked the world for charity, who took beautiful photographs, loved music, cooked and ate with gusto, and took great pleasure in so many things. But I’ll also remember how, at the end, he kept his kindness and kept his warmth. Every time we visited, I was struck again by how clearly he wanted Amy to feel welcome, to feel loved.
I was so lucky to have him in my life for the last few years. I'm far from the only one who'll be carrying him in my heart from now on.
Speaking of which, is there a place I could post my Black Tapes genfic? A general fandom genfic comm? I couldn't find a specific Black Tapes comm, but in searching, I did find that there's an option for DW to add that topic to your interests. (Which is awesome.) And then through that, I found addme_fandom, which is like addme, but fannish.
Meme with me? (as seen everywhere, probably because it's a good meme!)
1. the character I least understand
2. interactions I enjoyed the most
3. the character who scares me the most
4. the character who is mostly like me
5. hottest looks character
6. one thing I dislike about my fave character
7. one thing I like about my hated character
8. a quote or scene that haunts me
9. a character I wish died but didn’t
10. my ship that never sailed
Also, from yohijideranged, a music meme!
1. A song you like with a colour in the title.
I have three, because how do you choose these things?
( Under this cut: Birdy, Lorde, David Bowie )
Youtube, why do you do that massive gap thing with your embeds? Why?
( The rest of the topics )
Fandom: The Black Tapes podcast
Characters/Pairings: Richard Strand, Alex Reagan, Nic Silver
Notes: Written for Yuletide 2016. Thank you to lilacsigil for the beta
Summary: "Almost certainly," said Alex. "Is most definitely not certain."
Also at the Archive
( The apocalypse didn't start right away. )
(Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008). General Audiences. Obi-Wan Kenobi/Satine Kryze, Luke Skywalker. AU. Satine lives AU)
Obi-Wan needs a disguise and Satine just wishes he would smile again.
AU where Satine survives and Obi-Wan goes on the run with her and Luke after Order 66.
I posted a story that isn't for a fic exchange! I believe the last time I did that was back in 2012. It's technically my first wip, although I think this bit also works as a standalone.
Title: Treasure Hunt
Word Count: 1842 words
Notes/Warnings: For the prompt "steal the gold." Fourth Doctor, Leela, Original Characters, K9. Outsider POV, implied death.
Summary It’s been a frightening day, and now there are some very odd burglars in Miya’s house...
Treasure Hunt on AO3 | also at the Teaspoon.
Nenya and I watched Yellow Sky, which was a competent western staring Gregory Peck and Anne Baxter. It was only slightly rapey and a little bit racist, and had some nice cinematography, so I'm calling it okay for a Western.
We then watched
To understand this movie, you have to picture this: The year is 1945, and our hero lies alone in a Florida swamp. He has spent months playing the happiest homesteader in history, despite the fact that his costars are 126 deer, 9 black bears, 37 dogs, 17 buzzards, 1 owl, 83 chickens, 36 pigs, 8 rattlesnakes, 18 squirrels, 4 horses, 17 raccoons and the world's most annoying child actor. Also Jane Wyman. He's not allowed to make out with Jane Wyman. It's a family picture, so the most he can do is put his arm around her shoulders, stare into the matte-painted sunrise, and say things like, "Golly, the Lord sure made a mighty fine day to plant corn on, ain't He?" (The director made them cut the "golly.") In between swatting mosquitoes, our hero writes to the man currently holding his contract. "Dear Mr. Selznick, Next time, please cast me in the opposite of this. Third billing is fine. Yours ever, Gregory."
Let it never be said that David O. Selznick didn't come through on that one! ( Below there be spoilers, and screenshots (including a regrettablely small amount of shirtlessness, and a regrettablely large amount of brownface). )
Both these films were a resounding yes.
Colossal, dir. Nacho Vigalondo
The director is an avowed hater of romcoms for the way they degrade women's agency and posit that if the man is just enough of a stalker, he'll wear the woman down into saying yes. I figured it was worth seeing for that alone, and I was right: although 30-something Gloria by no means has her life together, moving back home to her parents' empty vacation rental when her boyfriend Tim kicks her out of their unbelievably nice New York City apartment, that doesn't mean it's okay for her childhood friend Oscar, a certified Nice Guy™, to try to pressure her into dating. The movie knows this. It makes it clear by a device whereby when Gloria and Oscar walk through a certain park in their town, they turn into a giant monster and a giant robot that lay waste to Seoul. I had questions about this premise, but notably, the film in fact turns on the question of the innocent urbanites: Gloria actively cares about them and tries not to cause further damage once she realizes what's going on. Oscar, by contrast, is perfectly willing to hold those innocent lives over her head to get her to do what he wants. Notably, ex-boyfriend Tim is not a catch either; he's not a Nice Guy, but he's also perfectly willing to try to neg Gloria into living the life he thinks she should have. The ending was extremely satisfying on all counts.
The Fate of the Furious, dir. F. Gary Gray
I think on the infographic this one is more furious than fast, alas; my one friend actually peaced out at the 1/3 mark because there was too much Vin Diesel having feelings and not enough explosions. She missed Helen Mirren, and Jason Statham holding a baby while killing a bunch of guys, definitely my favorite sequence, with the soccer haka close behind. For those that like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like. I hope they go to space next. Relateldy, I approve of Charlize Theron's mid-career turn to action hero stardom and eagerly await Atomic Blonde.
In lieu of a real post, linkspam.
I've yet to read or see any of The Expanse, but for those who have, kayim just launched rocinante.
Fox is bringing us another round of The X-Files (ten episodes this time). I... I don't think I can do this again. I'll keep an ear out and see what those who do watch it think, and I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised, but after how appallingly awful last year's new eps. were, I doubt I'll be touching this without some strong recommendations.
From that link, I skimmed through "Fall TV pilots 2017: The full list". Let's see. I assume I'll give Inhumans a try (barring Iron Fist levels of nearly everyone recoiling in horror as soon as the advance reviews/reactions started); S.W.A.T. doesn't sound like my thing, but FYI for Criminal Minds fans, Shemar Moore's headlining it (and EW staff writer, your blurb is literally two sentences. How did no one notice that the first sentence begins with "Inspired by the film of the same name" and the second sentence, in its entirety, reads "Inspired by the film of the same name"?); Alan Cumming being the lead in Instinct could be enough to tempt me into giving that a shot, although it likewise doesn't really sound up my alley; Untitled Marvel Action-Adventure Series stars Amy Acker, so that's a no-brainer for me; and Reverie has Sarah Shahi and sounds potentially interesting (Sendhil Ramamurthy is in the cast too, if that's of interest).
"Mike Colter Describes Jessica Jones Season Two As “Dark And Heavy”".
Via the link above, "Kevin Feige Doesn’t Know If The MCU Will Get A Phase 4".
Via sovay, a website of photos of naked actors (mostly British) posing with fish. Here is Gillian Anderson wearing an eel.
"PHOTOS: Your Pics of California’s ‘Super Bloom’".
"Colourised Pics Of Russia’s Female Snipers Who Terrorised Nazis, Including “Lady Death” With 309 Kills".
"The Snarling Girl: Notes on—and against—ambition". [Elisa Albert on Hazlitt] Wow, I really liked this.
"EFF Releases Spying on Students Ed Tech Report: EFF Survey Reveals Gaps in Protecting the Privacy of K-12 Students Using School-Issued Devices and Cloud Apps". [Electronic Frontier Foundation] (Note: I haven't read the actual report, just the overview here.)
"Trans Singer Records Duet With Himself Pre And Post Transition".
"Londoners’ delight as world’s first crow café comes to capital".
"I ATE THREE EGGS EVERY SINGLE MORNING FOR A WEEK - HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED".
Via cofax7, "31 Vintage Posters That Demand You Pick Up a Book". [LitHub]
"How to Become a Deadly Misandrist Fairy Vampire" [Autostraddle]
"A dad took his 2-year-old's most memorable words and illustrated them beautifully".
(On this basis, my soul left Singapore four days ago and is currently slouching towards Bethlehem. Onwards, onwards.)
Australia was wonderful, I really enjoyed it. I (mostly) enjoyed New Zealand; I was in Christchurch, Wellington (briefly), Lake Tekapo and Hanmer Springs. I do tend to feel uneasy in NZ though. The first time I went to Hanmer, a pack of white teenagers stared at me with hostile fascination until I cracked and left. It wasn't particularly pleasant and was replicated elsewhere in the rural South Island. So partly it was that, and partly it was the place in itself, but I really enjoyed Singapore. It's not my favourite place for various reasons - not least, I was travelling without my drugs because they're controlled substances there - but, well. I went on about this elsewhere but in Singapore people look like me. People on the street, popstars on TV. Adverts for make-up, adverts for wedding venues, adverts for law school - they all had girls like me in them. I wonder how much less utterly neurotic I'd be if I lived in an environment like that all the time, because there is a psychological pressure you don't notice until it's gone - until you spend a day thinking, oh, hey, I look pretty today, oh, hey, I said something funny and people laughed, and all those casual quotidian thoughts aren't followed with "Despite..." and a giant asterisk.
I read a fair bit while I was away, which is what I originally opened this tab to talk about I've been meaning to read the Moore graphic novels for years, and finally got around to it on the long flights. Watchmen - I wanted to like it more than I did. It's a critical darling, yep, I get it, and even on a visceral level, I get it, it's rich and complex and fascinating, I was swept up in it. But in the end I just found it distasteful and unsatisfying, which is a bit tragic. The women in the story exist to be raped or denied agency. And I loathe Rorschach - I loathe being placed in the mind of misogynist, homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, tragic-childhood-waaaah men, and I particularly loathe ~narrative ambivalence~ in respect of them. Rorschach is not an anti-hero. I do not admire his integrity. It's a virtue in itself, but I don't admire it in bricks. And ultimately I don't know what the text is trying to tell me. Is it that being a superhero is possible, that being a hero is possible? Or is it 300 pages of nihilism? Either way, by the end I didn't care.
I liked V for Vendetta much better. I thought it was interesting and clever and hit a lot of the narrative tropes I adore. And then I had this thought, which I share with you because it's a sad, pathetic little thought and I'm sort of ashamed of it. Here it is. V for Vendetta is set in a near-future dystopian Britain, where the fascists are in charge and totalitarianism has seeped into the public's skin. It's richly and devastatingly imagined. It's a world in which there are explicitly no brown people and no queers - they've been destroyed by the regime. And I - the brown queer reader - am being placed in the position, as reader, of feeling empathy and concern for those who are left. For a now wholly white and non-queer society. For the story to work, I must be invested in what becomes of it. And I'm capable of it - this is the task of the brown queer reader, to find empathy and commonality of self, in that distant human for whom existence and interiority is permitted - and capable of it to the deeply ingrained, deeply socialised extent that it took me 200 pages to have this thought at all.
But I had it. And then I didn't enjoy the rest so much - but I did enjoy it a bit. Because, as I said, I've had the practice. In some ways, I'm wondering why I participate less and less in media fandom, and in other ways I know the answer: it's that I no longer want to encourage this tendency in myself. To queer the text, or run the fic challenge focusing on the browns, or whatever, is work. Unpaid female labour, in fact, which in my non-fannish life I yell about all the time. And I know I'm missing the point deliberately - fandom was never about the labour-for-capital economy, quite the reverse - but it's also emotional labour, isn't it. It's emotional labour to centre the brown or queer experience in stories that were not written about those things. It's emotional labour to just write or consume the white dude pairing du jour while carefully Not Thinking about the other thing - and as I get older I get crankier and less willing to do this. For me, the way through the Gordian knot is to write my own stories. It'd be different for someone else, perhaps, but that's it for me.
I also read Marbles, by Ellen Forney, which is a graphic memoir about living as a writer and artist with badly medicated bipolar disorder. I was both interested and nervous about this book, because it focuses on something I'm worrying about a lot lately: the relationship between creativity, medication and mental illness. It's a lovely book, actually. It's all grounded in a single experience, melodramatic and abrasive, without purporting to generalise. Forney decides that to be medicated is better for her, even if she does worry about its effect on her creativity, and makes significant effort to emphasise it wouldn't be the same for every mentally ill creator. It wasn't reassuring, but it wasn't meant to be. I liked it.
I read other things, but they'll have to wait for the next post. The drive-by rec though is for Tansy Rayner Roberts' Castle Charming novellas, which are sweet and colourful and queer fairy tale parodies. And the first one is free!
(Urgh. My soul is still plodding across the Middle East. It's taking in the sights. It's ordering olives and shakshuka. HURRY THE FUCK UP oh my god.)
Missy has found exciting new places to explore! Courtesy of me, of course. After she spent some time looking up at the windowsill last night, I put her on it tonight. She ran about, sniffing it, decided she wanted to get out of the window at the corner, then end up wandering around the corner, where there's only really a thin sliver of windowsill. Fortunately I was ready and she fell off into my hand.
We had a holiday at my parents, where she got to run around in the hall. As I expected, once she found the cat litter she immediately thought "I'll have this" and tried to pouch it. She had to be removed from the cat litter tray.
She also tried to chew the mat. It's fine at my house, because mat's are cheap and it keeps her occupied. And in the light of her obsession with the sofa a mat seems much more harmless. But at my parents house their mat is built in and consequently doesn't need bits taking out of it by a hamster. She was surprisingly hard to remove from it when she had her teeth in it. She knows what "No" said firmly means and at one point looked at me when I said it, then carried on anyway.
She also discovered the stairs. Once she was up one she was up them all (until I stopped her climbing to the top). She wasn't quite so sure about coming down until she'd done a few.
Mirrored from my blog.
I visited him a few times over the weekend. We ate dinner and watched Doctor Who as a family on Saturday night, and yesterday we sat and chatted and I held his hand and told him I loved him. I knew that might be the last time I saw him. These things do provide some comfort in an awful time.
My dad was a generous, hard working, and amazingly positive person and I know he touched a lot of people's lives. I'm so proud to be his daughter. He lived his life with tremendous gusto, creative spirit and an eclectic range of hobbies and interests. I've lost a parent, a mentor, and most of all a friend. I feel very lucky to know just how much he loved me and how he proud he was of me, as exemplified in the speech he gave at my wedding, which I have on video to keep forever.
--Another link: for the YOI fans, yurionicefans is a shiny new community.
--Becca_Smash, who's a longtime manga/comics editor and rewriter as well as one of the fine folks behind Sparkler Monthly/Chromatic Press, is currently looking for freelance comic copyediting work. If you have any interest, check out her thread of info here.
--Casual Job starts back up on Tuesday, and I haven't done any work at all to psych myself up for it; the odds of it being extremely (and for my wallet, painfully) short are very high, so I'm...sort of bracing myself for the financial shortfall this year (especially since we can't count on the fall session being very long) by telling myself "Well, the lack of income will obviously SUCK, but at least your routine won't get terribly disrupted."
--For lunch today, scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I went back to Happy Veal, the hotpot place we tried last weekend, in order to try their only-available-at-lunchtime dumplings. Verdict: the dumplings are very tasty; I think our conclusion overall was that this place and the dumpling spot in the downtown core have different strengths in their dumplings. Happy Veal, though, is only the second place in town I've had green onion pancakes, and they are so good; also, at some times (maybe when the weather's warmer?) they have bubble tea, and I tell you, if the bubble tea is good, just going in for that and green onion pancake would seems like an excellent life choice to me.
--I'm in serious need (which I'm only reluctantly acknowledging) of pruning my manga collection, which should include trying to finally figure out something sensible to do with the Japanese editions of series that I've finished working on (and which don't, AFAIK, have sequels or anything for which I might want to keep them on hand for reference in case of any future licensing). I have some tankos that I want to keep entirely for my own sake--especially the full runs of Fruits Basket and X--but generally speaking, the Japanese volumes are of no use to me once the respective series are finished in English.
A couple of garden things!
I keep adding to my Pinterest board, and I keep rummaging around the Veseys site (which apparently doesn't have a wishlist feature! I made an account entirely because I was hoping for a wishlist!), and among the countless things I'm unsure of, I'm not entirely sure what to do in terms of planning. I'm going to try to avoid being overambitious this year, and I really don't want to get carried away and start ordering a ton of stuff online, so I think the best thing to do is probably to mostly wait and hit up Halifax Seed when they start having plants in for the season, and see what comes together from that. But since I don't have any sense of what they'll have, that drastically limits my planning options. :/ (Plus if there're perennials that don't bloom until their second year and I can't get them there this year, waiting until next year to get them sounds frustrating.)
Dreams of lilacs have made me want to check in with our neighbor on the side where we don't have a lilac and ask how they feel about lilacs. If they're neutral or positive, then we could go back to the board and ask about putting a second one in on that side of our little patch of ground. For lo, Veseys is tempting me with this Bloomerang (!) variety. The color is lovely, and the description brags that it "not only blooms in the spring - it 'blommerangs' with new flowers from mid-summer right up until frost." *grabby hands*
(Dear heaven, these people need a copyeditor for their site. Think I could trade my skills for plants?)
I Lived by OneRepublic
Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay.
One Voice by The Wailin' Jennys
This is the sound of one voice.
Stand By Me by Tracy Chapman
The Sisko family.
Suddenly I See
Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall
Suddenly I see, this is what I wanna be