So... this is pretty embarrassing to say, but I started this rewatch a few years ago, believing I will post regularly and finish it within a year. But then, a lot of stuff was happening, I was moving, got a new job, was distracted by a lot of things and didn't find time to write my reviews (which always turned out to be pretty long and time-consuming)... And thus it was that, once upon a time, I made a long, long break, after I had posted the review of episode 3.10 Amends. Then I decided to rewatch the show once again, posted a review of the movie and overviews of seasons 1 and 2, again... and then another break happened, this time some 2.5 years long!

I almost lost hope I'd ever finish this rewatch... but I never give up on my projects, I just postpone them. It was just a matter of something making me get off my butt... or rather, making me get on my butt in front of my computer and forcing me to write. And finally, that something happened several months ago, when my dear friends and fellow Buffy fans on the Buffyforums.net forum started a collective Buffy rewatch, which I have been participating in, with each of us picking an episode, two or three each season to review, as a starting point for discussion.
If you want to join in, register, if you don't, you can lurk and read our reviews and discussions:

Buffy rewatch season 1: http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19768-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-1
Buffy rewatch season 2: http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19794-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-2
Buffy rewatch season 3: http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19870-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-3

This has given me the boost to get back to Buffy, rewatch it from the beginning, and try to continue where I've left. 
There's no need to write new reviews for the episodes I've already covered - for most of them, the new rewatch did not change my opinion significantly. You can find the review of the Buffy movie, "The Origin" comic, all season 1 and 2 episodes as well as season overviews, as well as the first 10 episodes of season 3, on my Livejournal under the "Buffy rewatch" tag, and most of them are also on Dreamwidth under the "Buffy rewatch" tag. You can also find them on TrekBBS forum on my rewatch thread: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=137271&page=11

I've also written several new and improved reviews for some of the season 2 and 3 episodes I've already reviewed here:

2.10 What's My Line, part 2 http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?p=698008#post698008
2.19 I Only Have Eyes For You http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?p=698008#post698008 
2.22 Becoming, part 2 http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19794-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-2&p=698722&viewfull=1#post698722

3.04 Beauty and the Beasts http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19870-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-3/page3&p=699835#post699835
3.09 The Wish http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19870-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-3/page3&p=699835#post699835
3.10 Amends http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?19870-BtVS-rewatch-SEASON-3/page6&p=701262#post701262

Now that I've caught up with where I was when I made this embarrassingly, shockingly long break, I intend to continue with my reviews. I've rewatched almost to the end of season 3, and I will be posting the reviews for the second part of Buffy (episodes 3.11 - 3.22) of season 3 over the next week or two. After that, I hope to settle into posting an episode review each week - a reasonably realistic schedule, and parallel with the Buffyforums group rewatch, which is also one episode a week. (Though I must say in advance that this may mean no episode for two weeks and then a couple in a row, for instance - since my job is such that I can have free time at times and then be terribly busy once I get the new translation task and a tight deadline - it's all unpredictable.)

Right - so, let's start, or rather continue, with episode 3.11.

3.11. Gingerbread

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Gingerbread. There are lots of things I really like about this episode, but there also some aspects of it that severely bug me. I think my opinion of the episode is still mostly positive, but I can see why it has quite a few haters.

Jane Espenson’s first episode of Buffy is a pretty effective and biting satire. Granted, its satirizing of the conservative elements of society, such as the associations of “concerned parents” intent on censorship, about mass hysteria and witch hunts (and in this case, it’s even literally a witch hunt), complete with bullying of the outcasts by some students, and violations of privacy through the raids of pupils’ lockers by the police in search of drugs (in this case, “witch” stuff), organized by the student-hating, disciplinarian principal Snyder, is not terribly original… but I’d be lying if I said it’s not still enjoyable to watch. (And you have to laugh when you hear that Joyce’s concerned parents’ organization is called MOO – Mothers Opposing the Occult – worst acronym ever?)

But this episode also brings up an issue that I don’t think I’ve seen often dealt with (and this is what I like best about the episode) – the phenomenon that nowadays the best way to manipulate the public through feelings of outrage and to cause irrational witch hunts is to use images of children –specifically, cute, angelic-looking, white, and, preferably, blonde children – which maximizes the outrage the public can feel about those who are alleged to have harmed them. (Recently, the excellent Danish film The Hunt also dealt with the irrational and terrifying behavior of a contemporary community when one of its members is falsely accused of sexually molesting children – on really flimsy evidence, which doesn’t prevent everyone from jumping to the conclusion that he’s guilty.) Buffy herself is, at first, as outraged as her mother and everyone else by the murder of the “children”, but later, seeing the community’s behavior, starts wondering why everyone is this outraged this one time, even though people are being killed every day, and delivers my favorite line in the episode when Angel tries to explain the reasons behind people’s behavior (referencing another recent victim):

Angel: They were children. Innocent. It makes a difference.
Buffy: And Mr. Sanderson from the bank had it coming?

Espenson drives the point home through her fun reinterpretation of the “Hansel and Gretel” fairy tale as a real life story which was really an example of an evil demon using an illusion to present himself as a couple of cute children, in order to cause mass hysteria in various communities, and make people turn on each other.

There’s also some harsh satire in the portrayal of Willow’s mother Sheila (who appears in the show for the first and the last time, though she will be mentioned later), a caricature of a “liberal” intellectual (probably a psychologist) whose abstract talk about adolescent behavior (apparently her area of expertise) is in sharp contrast to her complete neglect and lack of interest in her own daughter. (She takes several months to notice Willow’s change of hairstyle, and can’t get the name of Willow’s best friend right, constantly calling her “Bunny”.) Willow’s lack of self-esteem certainly becomes easier to understand once we’ve met Sheila.

But while Sheila is portrayed as straight-up bad mother, Joyce is a more complicated case. She really cares about Buffy, wants to be a part of her life, and feels frustrated because she’s excluded from a big part of Buffy’s life – slaying. It’s also understandable that Joyce doesn’t like the fact that her teenage daughter is risking her life every night. And in this episode, she makes an effort – a very brave, if also very ill-advised and clumsy effort – to get closer to Buffy and understand her better, by visiting her while Buffy is doing her Slayer duty. However, after Joyce reacts very strongly to finding what seem to be dead bodies of the two unknown children, and feels compelled to do something about it, her behavior starts becoming more and more disturbing. The first moment where Joyce crosses the line is already at the meeting of her new organization, presided by the Mayor (who has a very small role in the episode, but once more proves to be a skillful and charming populist), when she warns the other citizens that the town is not a good place and what “we have lost it” (who is “we”? Normal people?), and that “it belongs to the monsters and witches and Slayers.” She lumps her daughter, who’s fighting against evil, with the forces of evil. We later find out that she has probably been under the influence of the demon all along – and the influence was probably growing and making her act more and more irrationally; but the influence didn’t create those feelings in her, it seems to have only augmented them. It’s unclear how strong the demon’s influence is at this point; it’s evidently really strong a bit later, when we see that Joyce doesn’t blink twice at the fact that the two “dead kids” are talking to her and telling her what to do (and this seems to have been going on for a while). Despite the comedic tone of much of the episode, it becomes really dark by the time that Joyce, Sheila and a bunch of other parents are calmly and self-righteously preparing to burn Buffy, Willow and another witch (magic practitioner), Amy, at the stake – behaving as if they’re just grounding them or delivering some other regular form of punishment. The most disturbing moment is when Joyce tells Buffy, who’s tied up at the stake and begging her to stop doing it: “I wanted a normal, happy daughter. Instead I got a Slayer.” And you know that this is exactly how Joyce always feels, deep inside, even though she normally would not say it. (It becomes even more disturbing when you remember the “Have you tried not being a Slayer?” scene from the season 2 finale, which drew heavy parallels between Buffy revealing to her mother that she’s a Slayer, and a teenager coming out of the closet to their parent.)

The way Gingerbread portrays the dark side of parenting is quite ballsy. It’s suggesting that, for many, the care and protectiveness of abstract, dead, “perfect” children (who represent the ideal of the sweet and innocent Child – which is helped by the lack of any information about them) is a compensation for the failures to accept their real, flesh and blood, living, “imperfect”, “disobedient”, “abnormal” children, who get labelled as “bad”.

Now, onto the problems I have with this episode. For one thing, I find the premise – that there hasn’t been a child murder in Sunnydale for a long time, despite the extremely high mortality rates and the abundance of supernatural monsters (in addition to the human ones – there’s no reason to think that there’s less of them in Sunnydale compared to everywhere else) rather unrealistic. Buffy’s initial reaction is pretty naive – she asks Giles, with outrage, “Someone WITH A SOUL did this?!” Come on, Buffy – you’ve never heard of human serial killers, child molesters, child murderers?

Another, even bigger problem just how extreme the behavior of the parents gets – specifically Joyce, and the way it’s eventually brushed aside as just a result of the demon’s influence. I don’t know how to feel about Joyce’s characterization in this episode. On one hand, it’s good that the show was willing to reveal the dark side of Joyce’s middle class mom who wants a “normal” daughter and has trouble accepting her as she is… but I feel that they may have gone too far with it. Burning your daughter on a stake and talking about it as an acceptable and desirable parental punishment, while chatting casually about dinner plans…  that’s going a little bit too far. Watching this makes me think - this is why it was often so hard to like Joyce, before the show did its best to make her more likable in season 5. I think it should have been made clearer to what extent she was responsible or not responsible for her actions, and, most importantly, there should have been a follow-up scene of Buffy and Joyce talking about it. Even The Pack in season 1 had more follow-up to the Hyena!Xander storyline. Here, Willow just says that Sheila will do the “selective memory thing” that Joyce used to when ignoring all the supernatural things that have happened. But what about Joyce and her actions? (Sheila’s actions would require more comments if it wasn’t obvious that we’re supposed to dislike her.) We get no comment on that whatsoever, in this or any subsequent episode.

Other notes

Though it doesn’t have much to do with the overall plot of season 3 (Faith is not in it, the Mayor has just a cameo), the episode fits in this season since it’s another one that deals with the theme of Sunnydale community, which season 3 focuses on much more than the previous two.

There’s another continuity nod to Band Candy, with the continued awkwardness and embarrassment between Giles and Joyce; and some follow-up on the revelation about Willow/Xander, although Xander’s awkwardness is a little OTT in the episode (something that often happens in Espenson episodes in order to heighten the comedic effect). However, Xander and Oz teaming up to try and save Willow and Buffy probably means that they have made up and put the “clothes fluke” behind. Cordelia is on the fringes of the group, but starts slowly coming back to the fold when she teams up with Giles.

Cordelia asking Giles how many times he’s been knocked unconscious is a meta moment of the show acknowledging the silliness of this happening repeatedly. As Cordelia correctly points out, it wouldn't be surprising if he had brain damage by this point.

We find out that Willow has been doing a lot of magic lately – together with her new friends, Amy and Michael – a boy who is introduced in this episode, and will never be seen again in the show. Amy has now dyed her hair black and has a Gothic look, just like Michael. This is the first, and I believe the last time in the show that practicing magic is connected to the Goth subculture – which is used in the scene in the school where Michael is bullied and suspected of murder by a group of boys; a clear case of attacking someone just for being different. It’s not completely clear if the reason is just Michael’s practice of magic, or even his Goth look – or if it’s also because of his androgynous look. After all, Amy also practices magic and wears Goth clothes and makeup, but they are not attacking her.

Poor Amy – unlike Willow, she’s repeatedly portrayed as something of a screw-up when it comes to magic. In Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, her spell backfired; something even worse happens here, when she turns herself into a rat in order to escape the mob (it’s unclear if that was her intention, or if she wanted to turn the mob into rats) – and then there’s no one to turn her back into a human. (This is a call-back to her turning Buffy into a rat in BBB.) She will remain a rat for three years – until season 6 episode Smashed (with a brief change back and forth during season 4 Something Blue) – which is quite tragic, but will be treated as a running joke on the show.

Funniest lines:

Xander: Look, everyone expects me to mess up again. Like Oz. I see how he is around me. You know, that steely gaze... that pointed silence.
Buffy: 'Cause he's usually such a chatterbox.
Xander: No, but it's different now. It's more a verbal nonverbal. He speaks volumes with his eyes.

Xander: Wait, Hansel and Gretel? Breadcrumbs, ovens, gingerbread house?
Giles: Of course. It makes perfect sense.
Buffy: Yeah, it's all falling into place. Of course that place is nowhere near this place.

Buffy: Is she? Is Sunnydale any better than when I first came here? Okay, so I battle evil. But I don't really win. The bad keeps coming back and getting stronger. Like that kid in the story, the boy that stuck his finger in the duck.
Angel: Dike. (Buffy looks at him, shocked.) It's another word for dam.
Buffy: Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now.

Giles:  We need to save Buffy from Hansel and Gretel.
Cordelia:  Now, let's be clear. The brain damage happened *before* I hit you.

Cordelia (after seeing the demon in the form of the two cute little children morph into one huge, scary 7 foot demon) : Okay, I think I liked the two little ones more than the one big one.

Pop culture references: Apart from fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel and Jack and the Beanstalk, there’s also a reference to Apocalypse Now – by Snyder, who says “I love the smell of desperate librarian in the morning” (which is interesting, since Xander will have a dream about Snyder-as-Kurtz in season 4 finale Restless), as well as the 1960s TV show Mister Rogers: apparently, Sheila Rosenberg likes to discuss “the patriarchal bias” of that show with Willow, “with King Friday lording it over all the lesser puppets”. O-kay.

Destroying the English language: or, as I like to think, deconstructing it – Buffy says: “"My mom had said some things to me about being the slayer. That it's fruitless. No fruit for Buffy."

Foreshadowing: Angel (who has a one scene cameo in the episode) and Buffy have a nice conversation where he paraphrases what she told him in Amends: “There's a lot I don't understand. But I do know it's important to keep fighting. I learned that from you. (…) We never win. (…) Not completely. But that’s not why we fight. We do it because there are things worth fighting for. Those kids… their parents…” It resonates with the themes of AtS and Angel’s famous speech from season 2 of AtS: “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do”, as well as the series finale of AtS.

Cordelia’s funny line to Giles: “One of these times, you’re gonna wake up in a coma!” becomes (unintentional) foreshadowing in hindsight, knowing what eventually happens to Cordelia on AtS.

Rating: 3

naraht: (Default)
([personal profile] naraht Jan. 30th, 2015 06:16 pm)
You know that meme that goes around sometimes where you post your five favorite kinks and then five favorite couples, and it's like a wish into the universe to see if anybody will write it for you? Let's make it a little more interactive.

Comment here if you want to play, and I will give you 3-6 couples or characters that I associate with you, and you make an entry in your journal talking about those couples/characters and fics that you wish the universe would write for you.


[personal profile] lilliburlero gave me the following prompts...

Hilary/Julian

I like to think I'm a slightly restrained OTPer. Maybe I am? So on the one hand I can 100% get behind Hilary being a shallow surgeon with an early mid-life crisis and would read the hell out of an inevitable crash in a few years when Julian realises that Hilary does not *actually* recognise their Deep Spiritual Bond but was instead one of those terrible women who only wants him for his looks. Woe.

But really I ship it completely un-ironically. I want them to remain disgustingly and inexplicably in love, the sort of middle-aged couple who embarrass their teenage child, and no one else can quite understand what keeps them together because they apparently have so little in common. Also hair stroking.

On the other hand that doesn't seem a very inventive thing to ask the universe for; on the other hand I *do* want fic with wry/cynical/disdainful comments on the pairing from other parties, throwing total cold water on the Deep Spiritual Bond. Maybe this is the ideal way of squaring the circle.

Hilda Tablet/Elsa

There are a lot of pairings that I ship in a sort of unbalanced way. Most of them, really. (I care much more about Hilary than Julian, Scully than Mulder, etc.) But with Hilda/Elsa it's even more unbalanced. I'm 95% there for Hilda but this is mostly because Elsa, in canon, has only three identifiable personality traits: being Austrian, being very fond of food, and being a soprano. (That's a personality trait, right?)

They are nonetheless the most compelling butch lesbian composeress/dippy soprano muse pairing that you could hope to find in a 1950s British radio play. In fic I could be content for Elsa to appear, sing, bow and disappear offstage. Ideally she would develop more of a personality, which I tried to do in my own fic. (Probably the only fic where I would actually write an author's note saying "intentionally OOC," though I did end up forgetting to put it in.)

Elsa is also a great vehicle to satirise the whole phenomenon of artists' muses. More specifically, Hilda is obviously (in part) Benjamin Britten, so bring on the Britten/Pears inspiration! And all the mid-century butch/femme queer culture you can dredge up.

Andrew Raynes/anyone

In short am in favour. Please.

I just want fic where Andrew is a complex person with a complicated religious faith that develops as he grows up. I want fic where he does not forever remain the nineteen-year-old who scrubbed floors in an EMS hospital. I could do with fic where he ends up with someone other than Laurie. But I'll settle for him not dying a virgin, OK?
naraht: (Default)
([personal profile] naraht Jan. 30th, 2015 06:10 pm)
Never Will I Ever meme: Name three fics you think I will never, ever, ever write. In return, I may attempt to write a snippet of one of them.

...Or, knowing me, I may not. But I promise to comment with great amusement!
Tags:
darchildre: herbert is breaking his pencils because you are so dumb.  text:  "you said *what* now?" (herbert is smarter than you)
([personal profile] darchildre Jan. 30th, 2015 01:17 pm)
Things you don't want your supervisor to say as you begin your workday:

"So, I can't tell you why because of HIPAA reasons, but don't sit in the armchair in the breakroom until we get it cleaned, okay?"

...

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job?
musesfool: Joan side-eyeing Sherlock (none of us can catch up with ourselves)
([personal profile] musesfool Jan. 30th, 2015 01:51 pm)
I'm 98% packed. I will need to remember to bring my phone charger, since it's a different cord now from my iPad charger, and I was undecided about my cab situation - I knew I didn't want to have to schlep to a corner and hail a cab, because the corners are disgusting with ice and slush, and also I am not going to wear a heavy coat or boots and tomorrow's supposed to be the coldest day we've had so far, and I just want to wait in the vestibule and have the car pull up. Nothing I've read about Uber or Lyft made me feel comfortable, and the traditional car service companies (666, 777, etc.) have terrible reviews (I mean, I'm sure they're no worse than regular taxis? But I do need to actually get to the airport, so...). So I went with Go Green Ride, which has a $32 flat fare to LGA (not including tolls and tip), so hopefully that will work out. They have shockingly good reviews on Yelp. (Please don't share any horror stories if you have them. I repeat, I need to get to the airport tomorrow somehow.)

Meanwhile, Boss2, who isn't even here today, is being a pain in the ass. No, Boss2, I can't order your lunches on Monday, BECAUSE I WILL BE ON A BOAT. So I sent the menu to the person designated to do the ordering on Monday, and she's like, "We can't order from here, there's no turkey sandwich like Boss2 wants." IT'S A DELI. I'M PRETTY SURE THEY CAN SLAP SOME TURKEY ON SOME BREAD WITH SOME MUSTARD. (The first item on the menu is a turkey club! IJS)

Man, I will be so happy to be away for a while. Because people! How do you even function in the world like this?

In other news, I can only imagine that if Joe Manganiello is cast as Deathstroke, the incidence of Deathstroke/Nightwing will suddenly increase (especially if you imagine Matt Bomer as Nightwing). I don't ship it (I didn't ship Slade/Oliver either), but I can see why some people would (in both cases).

(I am not even capable of contemplating Jared Leto as the Joker. I don't even know, guys. I don't even know.)

Speaking of the DCU, Joan Watson is totally Batman, right? I had such a strong feeling she was going to say something like, "Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot!" in last night's episode, while she was all dressed up at that fundraiser.

Elementary
spoilers )

Lastly, [personal profile] unfitforsociety has been updated for January 2015 with 21 recs in 4 fandoms:

* 17 Avengers
* 2 Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
* 1 Legend of Korra and 1 Pacific Rim

***

I may post from sunny Florida tomorrow, via my iPad, but if not, arrivederci miei amici, and I'll see you on the other side. Try not to blow up the internet while I'm gone.

***
beccatoria: (vid all the things!)
([personal profile] beccatoria posting in [community profile] vidding Jan. 30th, 2015 06:31 pm)
Hello Vidpeople!

It's that time again! VidUKon 2015 registration is OPEN and will be running from the 12 - 14th June 2015, in Cardiff! We will, once again, be running a virtual convention for those unable to attend.

Details on the hotel, accessibility, current programming plans and other options are available HERE.

We hope to see you there either in person or at VirtUKon!
Nenya: You're writing ANOTHER cranky review of something?
Me: YES! ...oh, yeah, um.

I'm sorry. TV is making me cranky this month. I don't even know why, as it's not any worse than it usually is. I'm otherwise happy in my life, and things have been going really well elsewhere. For some reason I'm just unable to let the crappy bits of tv slide and let go enough to enjoy the good bits (Except when watching Sinbad, which is lovely), so everything is pissing me off, and thus your daily dose of cranky reviews from me. I'm sure that this too shall pass?

Femslash February in two days. I can't wait to get my bingo card.

I read a book that I liked!

Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer Hickam
Very similar to the film, for those who have seen it, though lacking the extra drama in the second act. Unsurprisingly, the book pulls most of its tension from Sonny's emotional state, not from external threats, which, when they pop up, are dealt with almost immediately. It worked in the book, and the prose is smooth and humorous. The author mentioned changing things around a bit for narrative flow, but it made a good enough story that it's difficult to mind.

All of the rocket building and explosions were fun, and I appreciated how clearly explained all the science was, but the core of the story is Sonny's family and life in a coal mining town just as coal is going bust. I loved the portrayal of Sonny's complicated relationship with his father, and the strength of his connection with is mother. I know there's a million coming of age stories featuring boys and difficult fathers, but the balance of being a competent and even heroic man and still kind of failing at human interaction really grabbed me here. I also liked that the labour politics were more nuanced than in the film.

It's very much a boys own adventure story, and while women aren't completely excluded or unimportant, you get a pretty strong idea that they were not going to get to build rockets any time soon. Nor were the black people down the way, given how heavily Sonny relied on his father's patronage and the town's support. Additionally, one has to wonder if the conversation regarding the ethics of hero-worshipping an ex-Nazi actually happened, or was added after the worst about Wernher von Braun came to light.

And my library list is down to manageable.

Checked out:
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Translated by Julie Rose
Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in An Age of Anxiety by Ian McKay
The Treasure of the San José: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession by Carla Rahn Phillips
Inda by Sherwood Smith
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Landmark Herodotus by Herodotus
The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Great Bear Rainforest by Ian McAllister

Holds:
Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood (in transit)
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (3 on 21 copies)
* Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente (2 on 2 copies)
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (5 on 2 copies)
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong (7 on 10 copies)
The Back of the Turtle: A Novel by Thomas King (54 on 15 copies)
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay (21 on 2 copies)
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (43 on 3 copies)

† Probably mostly going to skim
‡ I don't know what's going on with this book. It came out, and they put it on order; it got nominated for a Governor General's Award (like the National Book, but Canadian) and it was on order, and I requested a copy; it WON the GG and it was on order; it got nominated for Canada Reads and they put more copies on order but hadn't yet gotten the first batch, and I still haven't gotten the book! It's baffling. I know it takes the library a while to purchase and process books so that members can borrow them, but this is a very high-profile book, and it's been out for MONTHS. Anyway, it's good for me in the long run, as I have (many) other things to read.
* Still on order.
vaznetti: (only one)
([personal profile] vaznetti Jan. 30th, 2015 12:15 pm)
There are a number of ways in which Spartacus resembles his parents. Here is another.

Since the summer, Spartacus' favorite show has been Wild Kratts (a great show for kids, by the way, I recommend it and you can find lots of episodes on youtube). But he's watched all the episodes, so he started to demand that I make up Wild Kratts stories. As an aside, if I had realized that I was going to spend most of November and December composing two or three Wild Kratts episodes a day, I would have offered to write it for Yuletide. Surely someone else out there wants Aviva/Zac femdom?

Anyway, sometime in December Spartacus started to take control of the stories; I would start them but he would do most of the storytelling. Now he has taken another step -- he and his whole class have started to show up in the stories, to help the canon characters or even to rescue the animals all on their own. Usually Spartacus himself takes a leading role in these adventures, sometimes along with the girl he has a crush on.

I figure I'm only a couple years away from Gary Stu epics, right?
minim_calibre: (Default)
([personal profile] minim_calibre Jan. 29th, 2015 10:09 pm)
Fandom actually investigating actor availability and/or interest in returning to a role for a related project.

Just... consider being Doylist, guys. (While not always the case, the answer is, in fact, often going to be a Doylist one. Which I've no idea if it is or is not the case for today's raised brow, but certainly has been for some of them.)

Yes, I went on Tumblr today.

I should probably have avoided that.
misbegotten: Supernatural's Gabriel with the text "Do I look like an angel to you?" (SPN Gabriel is No Angel)
([personal profile] misbegotten Jan. 30th, 2015 12:10 am)
Gabriel is still my favorite Supernatural character.

frayadjacent: Adaped from the hyperbole & a half comic, stick figure girl is very excitedly shouting "vid all the things!!!" (Vid all the things!!!)
([personal profile] frayadjacent Jan. 30th, 2015 04:17 pm)
Current (Escapade) vid is the total and complete opposite of What's Mine is Yours. I have little trouble finding the clips I want, and matching them to the music is damn near effortless.

I did have a moment of "OMG this vid is terrible, I need to stop now", but it was because I was trying to force it into a structure that neither the song nor the footage supported. Lately when I get new vid ideas, my brain!vid is a lot less focused on imagining a few specific clips to a few specific moments in the song, and a lot more focused on how I'll structure the vid. "This verse will be about X, the chorus will be about Y", etc. It makes listening to my vidsongs on repeat a lot less fun than it used to be, but it's a helpful stage in the vidding (and idea elimination) process.

But with Current Vid, I was much more entranced with how the song made me feel a lot like how (certain aspects of) the source made me feel. And I wanted the vid to capture that. But then when I started vidding my brain went immediately to "structure! Which section is for which thing?!" and that was kinda ruining the vid. Last night I had an epiphany that this was the vid I'm always saying I want to make, a vid that's less about an argument and more about a feeling, that's less about coherently distilling something that struck me about canon (characters and/or relationships) and more about why I find this source so sexy.
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
([personal profile] onyxlynx Jan. 29th, 2015 07:57 pm)
  • Suzette Haden Elgin, author, poet, linguist. (I have The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense somewhere in the apartment.)
  • Rod McKuen, poet/songwriter/singer.  Ne me quittez pas.  (And translated Jacques Brel.)
I have now worked two days at one of the hill offices of Not the IRS, and it's dramatically different from the valley office. By which I mean, first, there are a LOT fewer clients -- which is not really surprising; it's a temporary seasonal office and also in a slightly weird location as opposed to in the heart of the Meadow St. business district -- and second, Hill Boss is, as I was told, a lot stricter about How We Do Things than anyone down in the valley office. This results in a fair bit of boredom for me as a receptionist.

I've been able to fight some of that by making a lot of phone calls on my first two days, but a number of those were one-time things to remind clients from previous years that Not the IRS exists and would like to do business with them again this year. And I got through the entire list of them, because I am efficient like that! They'll probably get called again in a few weeks if they haven't called back to schedule appointments, but that's a few weeks off, and until then I have very little to do beyond trying to confirm appointments for three days in the future, greeting walk-ins and getting them set up with appointments, and answering the phone if and when anyone calls. And since it's not a very busy office... *shrug*

Hill Boss doesn't want people to be online while on the clock, and I'm pretty sure she would also disapprove if I tried to read a book or write fiction, so I think I will be doing a fair bit of staring blankly into space. Oh well, at least I get paid for it!

I brought brownies in for the office at large, as I did last week for the valley office. I also purchased some office supplies out of my own money, because apparently temporary seasonal offices are way down on the bottom of the company's list of who gets the good stuff in anything remotely approximating a timely fashion. So now we actually have a box of pencils, and a little handheld plastic pencil sharpener. (Seriously, the office did not have pencils. Even though official policy specifically says that receptionists are supposed to use pencils to write client names on certain forms, so if the clients leave we can erase their names and reuse the envelopes.) I showed Hill Boss our nice new tiny pencil sharpener, and I think she now thinks I'm awesome. My evil campaign to be well-liked continues apace, mwahahahaha!

Hill Boss says the office gets really dead in March, but she'll make sure to give me at least one day of work per week. I reminded her that I'm also available for the other hill office and the valley office, and she called Valley Boss to talk about that among other things, but Valley Boss was out of the office so I won't know if that came to anything until tomorrow at the earliest. *crosses fingers*

(I did some calculations, btw, and it turns out that if I work 6 hours at Not the IRS, I earn almost exactly one day's worth of my unemployment benefits. (Pre-tax, in both cases. Yes, this means my hourly wage is pathetic.) This week I work two 5.5 hour days and one 8.5 hour day, which means I will come out slightly ahead, financially speaking, since I still get one day of benefits -- those are calculated on a four-day work week basis -- plus that extra 1.5 hours of paying work. Not to mention, it just looks better to be working, and I feel much less emotionally muddy when I am doing something vaguely productive.)
settiai: (Cassidy/Jesse -- meleada)
»

/o\

([personal profile] settiai Jan. 29th, 2015 07:30 pm)
I made it into work today, but my head was pounding by mid-afternoon for a variety of reasons so I left an hour-and-a-half early. Then I went home and went straight to bed.

Let me state, for the record, there is nothing more disorienting than waking up a little after 7pm when you're used to waking up around 7am every day. It took me a minute or so of panicking before I realized, no, I hadn't slept through the entire night and still had plenty of time to actually do things. Like poke at Tumblr and do work for Part-Time Job.

Also? I'd like to know what on earth caused that dream about me driving to New Zealand (presumably from Maryland so, yeah, I don't even know?) in four hours to meet fannish friends (no idea who they were -- they didn't look like anyone I know in person from Vividcon or the DC scene, and I don't remember names), having my car towed, and then them not giving it back because of "green reasons" such as the fact that the ice machine only produces water (wtf, brain?) and that the brake lines were obviously cut years ago (seriously, wtf?).

On the positive (negative?) side, I looked up the conversion rate between the US dollar and the New Zealand dollar after I woke up, and apparently that part of my dream was scarily accurate.
nenya_kanadka: lightbulb with text: "inspiration has struck" ([[♥♦♣♠]] inspiration)
([personal profile] nenya_kanadka Jan. 29th, 2015 03:24 pm)
So I'm lying out on the front stoop on Mucca's wool cloak, stretching the kinks out of my back after reading today's accounting text, and four or five eagles come soaring out of the evergreen forest into the bright blue sky, separated by a minute or two. I can tell they're different birds because they're close enough to see the plumage. And they're just riding the air currents with an occasional flap of their huge wings.

It was just really cool.
muccamukk: Peggy Carter wearing a leather jacket, holding a gun and looking like she means business. (Cap: Agent 13)
([personal profile] muccamukk Jan. 29th, 2015 12:44 pm)
So a while ago I figured out that I can read episode reviews by just typing the name of my show into DW's content search bar, which netted me this largely negative review of the show by [personal profile] giandujakiss, and this mixed but largely positive review by [personal profile] dirty_diana. Both spoil up to episode 1x04, and so will this post.

I left a rant comments, but they both made me think about why this show isn't really working for me (or not as well as it might), so I'll repost here.

I'll just throw the whole thing behind a spoiler tag )
musesfool: Felicity Smoak (on my knees to pray)
([personal profile] musesfool Jan. 29th, 2015 01:48 pm)
Ugh, scheduling! The bane of my existence. I was so busy/distracted by work yesterday that I forgot to do Wednesday reading!

What I've just finished

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, which I enjoyed a lot. I wasn't too emotionally invested in anyone but Neverfell (though I did really like her friendship with Erstwhile), but the writing is gorgeous, and the world is so inventive I loved it anyway. I think as a kid I would have been totally enchanted. And for real, Neverfell needs to meet Tiffany Aching.

The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes, which is an Oceans 11-style heist story in a fairly generic fantasy setting. Gentleman Bastards it's not. But it was fun. I liked that the main character was a black lady who's a former soldier, and I like that almost everything was part of the con. The characterization for the large ensemble is fairly thin and the worldbuilding didn't really work well for me (so there's an Empire and a Republic plus elves and some folk who were been banished by the Ancients and want back in? Okay then!) because it felt very ...80s in a way. The whole thing actually reminded me of some of the more fun genre-typical fantasy stuff I read in the 80s (but somewhat less faily). I don't know if I liked it enough to read the second one but it was fun. I did like the puppet shows as news broadcasts though. That was clever.

Huh. A Face Like Glass also has strong caper elements to it. I do love a good caper.

What I'm reading now

Verdigris Deep - apparently also titled Well Witched? - by Frances Hardinge. I'm only about a quarter of the way through so far, but three kids steal coins from a wishing well and things start to get weird. Protip kids: never steal coins from wishing wells! You are stealing people's hopes and dreams! It never ends well! I am just saying. Of course, they are middle-school kids, so they aren't genre-savvy yet. But I have a feeling they're going to learn.

What I'm reading next

I loaded the rest of Frances Hardinge's books on my iPad, and also the Georgian Era Romance Novel Batman book, plus a bunch of other stuff, so I don't know what I'm reading on the cruise, but it's bound to be something.

***

Arrow: Midnight City
spoilers )

So I am interested to see where this is going. Has it been as good as last season? No. Has it made some missteps this season? Yes. But I think some of that was 1. how do you top Slade Wilson? and 2. the producers focusing on The Flash. Hopefully they're going to pull together a strong second half.

***

re: work: on the plus side, free lunch today, thanks to the people catering the lunch meeting. They sent me a free sandwich!

***
Sleep = loss of momentum. Wake up, stare blearily at coffee, wonder where I was at.

Because of yesterday's phone interview and apparent job offer, I didn't start writing until 11:45 last night. I did manage to break 16k, so hey.

However, because the apparent job apparently starts optimally in a week and a half, I have to get cracking and finish it sooner, rather than later.

Note: great time for my finances to find gainful employment, awful time for my creative endeavors. This whole commitment to writing at least a small amount each day has been exceedingly helpful, I must say, but having the house to myself to do it in has been priceless.
.

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