kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
([personal profile] kindkit Aug. 28th, 2014 03:49 pm)
Last week I rented Railway Man, the second recent Colin Firth film I've watched lately that has made me think Mr. Firth needs to be pickier about the roles he accepts. (The other was The Devil's Knot.) Railway Man isn't a bad film, but it's not as good as I was expecting. It's hampered by a script that has to accommodate people's ignorance of what happened to FEPOWs, and also by the fact that the war-era flashback sections necessarily feature younger actors. Poor Jeremy Irvine has the thankless task of playing young Eric Lomax, which means he has to play Colin Firth playing Eric Lomax, and while he tries valiantly his performance feels constrained. The most thankless task, though, goes to Nicole Kidman as Lomax's wife Patti, who in the script isn't so much a person as a romantic fantasy and a catalyst.

More seriously, the story suffers from the biopic tendency to idolize its subject, to the point where it's sort of implied that Eric Lomax's suffering was uniquely terrible. Not really spoilery, but cut, also warning for references to torture )

Also recently watched: Philby, Burgess, and Maclean, a 1977 Granada production starring Alan Bate as Philby, Derek Jacobi as Burgess, and Michael Culver (who played Major Brandt in Secret Army) as Maclean. The script is a bit stodgy and the music and other effects are almost hilariously overdramatic, but the acting is good. Jacobi gives Burgess a louche charm, and Culver is amazing as the unstable, doubting Maclean. Philby, the sanest character and therefore the least interesting, is unfortunately the focus of the story and I don't think Bate (not helped by the script) quite conveys a sense of hidden depths. Not something I can recommend unreservedly, but worth it if you're a fan of any of the actors, and there are standout scenes with Burgess and Maclean together and of Maclean's wife confronting Burgess.

And now, a pairings meme! Grabbed from [personal profile] flo_nelja.

click here for questions and answers )
kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)
([personal profile] kaffyr Aug. 28th, 2014 01:16 pm)
Well, this is a first ....

  { visit my post } { visit the thread }

I decided I would try this. I don't believe I've ever done this before, because I have lots of lovely LJ friends and many here at/over at Dreamwidth. But it couldn't hurt, she said with admirable disregard for Murphy-ish reality. 

Maybe I'll see you there; I intend ti go through a lot of the posts over there.

Communication! What a concept; it's a gas!

astridv: (worktime by raebird)
([personal profile] astridv Aug. 28th, 2014 06:50 pm)
My new computer is here! I was worried there might be a problem with the sound, but since the same problem occurred the very last time I used my old computer I figured I try another cable, and that fixed it. The sound cable must've broken when I was tinkering with the old computer.

Now everything seems to be working fine. I can watch tv again and listen to music and most important, I can properly look up images for work. The last two days were so incredibly unproductive. Heck, this entire week was unproductive but for the first few days I still had the jetlag excuse.

At least I went climbing last night and solved a pretty tricky bouldering problem. So I'm not feeling entirely unaccomplished. ;)
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
([personal profile] kindkit Aug. 28th, 2014 08:39 am)
Yesterday I decided to try cooking vadai, which are a sort of savory South Indian doughnut. So I soak the dal, make some coconut chutney, grind the dal into dough, add the flavorings, shape some little doughnuts, and start to fry up the first batch. They're nearly done and I'm flipping them to check the brownness when one of them explodes. Literally explodes, making a loud scary explodey noise and splattering hot oil all over my face (fortunately I wear glasses, so none got in my eyes), chest, and right arm.

I'm okay. Just some red patches on my skin that were quite sore yesterday but not too bad today. But I'm very aware of how lucky I am, how easily I could have been badly burned. (In particular, I'm haunted by the thought of how easily, when I jumped back in automatic reaction to the explosion, I could have knocked a pan full of hot oil all over the floor and my bare feet.)

I did not fry up any more vadai, though I actually had to argue myself out of the attempt because I really really dislike wasting food.

My guess is that the oil was too hot, sealing the outer crust of the vada so well that steam built up on the inside until it burst. Yeesh. This kind of thing is why I've always been reluctant to deep fry. Definitely no more deep frying for me until I buy a thermometer.
muccamukk: Susan in a white shirt with her uniform jacket slung over her shoulder, looking tired. (B5: Done with the day)
([personal profile] muccamukk Aug. 28th, 2014 07:53 am)
Which I said in an e-mail last night seems to involve piles of babies and puppies, which is nice but time consuming, also loud. I read books and saw movies and stuff too, but haven't had a chance to post reviews.

Meantime, signups for [community profile] femslashex are open, if you want to write or draw about queer ladies and get a story or picture in return.

Books for Ferguson is a pretty cool project, Nenya and I have chipped in already. I like that it also supports Powells.
Ugh, I could complain about coworkers who are annoying me, but instead, I want to talk about fall TV! I have not had the actual television on much at all this summer - I mean, for The Musketeers, yes, but other than that it's been all via the Roku or on my laptop. I haven't even been watching the slow motion catastrophe that is the Mets' season. So I don't really know what is starting when and while I have a few new shows on my to-check-out list, since I haven't been paying attention, I don't know if I'm missing anything. But this is what my fall TV schedule looks like right now:

Football - this probably goes without saying, but I am saying it anyway.

Brooklyn Nine Nine - WHY? WHY MOVE THIS TO SUNDAY NIGHT? UGH. It's just going to get bumped around by football.

The Good Wife - I don't watch any prestige cable dramas, so for my money, this is the best show on TV right now and I'm excited to see where it's going. Maybe Martha Plimpton will be back, since her other show ended.

Madame Secretary - On the one hand, it's supposed to be like TGW without the infidelity and on the national political level, but on the other hand, I already have TGW? I guess you can never have too many shows with powerful ladies front and center though, so I'll probably give it a shot.

Sleepy Hollow - AAAAHHHH! SHOW! I saw a very intriguing casting spoiler the other day that made me even more excited for this season. Abbie! Ichabod! Jennie! Frank!

Gotham - I could pretend I'm not going to check this out, but that would be a lie everyone would see through, so I'm just going to say I will be checking it out, though I'm pretty skeptical right now. I guess as long as it mostly focuses on the adults and not 12 yo Bruce Wayne, it could be interesting. I mean, I love Jim Gordon! One man against a corrupt system! And maybe Renee Montoya or Josie Mac or Cris Allen could show up? (WHY COULDN'T THEY JUST DO A GOTHAM CENTRAL SHOW ON HBO? WITH RUCKA AS HEAD WRITER? WHY?) But I also feel like it's... pointless? Because you know Jim Gordon can't clean up the city without Batman (and even Batman can't clean up the city. So. I don't know.)

Jane the Virgin - this has some good buzz, what with being compared to Gilmore Girls, and you know how much I loved GG - so I will probably check it out if I can remember that it's on.

SHIELD - again, I could pretend I've given it up, but the casting news over the summer means I will probably be hate-watching and counting the days until Agent Carter premieres.

The Flash - Despite my annoyance that it's Barry instead of Wally, I was absolutely charmed by him in his appearance on Arrow, and I have high hopes for this show. Please don't suck! (I also am not sure I understand why this isn't on Wednesday at 8 with Arrow moving up to 9? I don't understand television programming, I guess.)

Selfie - John Cho as Henry Higgins! Karen Gillan as Eliza Doolittle! (though I hear they don't let her use her own accent, which, WHY?) What could possibly go wrong?


Black-ish - Laurence Fishburne in a comedy. I'm just saying. I will have to at least check it out.

Elementary - Apparently this isn't on the schedule until October 30 - does CBS have the World Series or something? Or is this because of Thursday night football? Anyway! Let's just say that after a season of idling and meandering down less interesting roads (please let us never see or mention Mycroft again), I hope this show can get back to being about Sherlock and Joan's partnership, which is where it is at its best, with able assists from the interesting supporting characters they've created and yet we never see (Alfredo, Ms. Hudson).

How to Get Away with Murder - Viola Davis! I don't know anything else about it, but I'm not sure I need to. I guess we'll see!

Friday & Saturday:
Now that Korra is over, I have no Friday night shows, and without Orphan Black, there's nothing I watch on Saturdays.

What have you heard? (Casting spoilers A-OK, general plot outlines okay, no specific spoilers, though, please.) What am I missing? What will you be watching?

aris_tgd: Deu from Raging Phoenix, with stinky booze (Deu stinky booze)
([personal profile] aris_tgd Aug. 28th, 2014 03:39 am)
What I'm reading: Still finishing off the last of Brothers of Earth, which hasn't so much improved as had many new things happen. Which is good; rollicking action can fix many sins.

But both the women the POV character slept with have died, which isn't great.

What I just finished: Uh... whatever Cherryh novel I read before this? I think it was Serpent's Reach. Which was fun! But also very early; I read Cyteen before I read a lot of her much earlier Union/azi books, which means I have a weird perspective on how azi are "supposed" to work that doesn't quite gel with her earlier, now-retconned ideas. I'm looking forward to getting a copy of Regenesis.

What I'll read next: I'm trying to read my hard copy books but it's difficult. I'm also reading a bunch more Uncanny X-Men; I'm up to like #159 or so. Whichever one has Dracula.
Back in 2013 I had a story idea for the Ladystuck Dark challenge, which I called "The Time-Traveler's Kismesis." It was born from a couple stories I'd seen that had the Demoness tracking the Condesce through her life, and hating her passionately. And I thought, yeah, that works... but the thing the Demoness would hate most isn't casual entitlement. It's hope. And the person who has that, the one who tries to change the world for the better, and most particularly the one who also has personal experience with slavery, is the Dolorosa. The Demoness knows nothing is ever going to change. Nothing will ever matter. And the Dolorosa, despite being caste-bound into a form of servitude, and having her son killed in front of her and his movement destroyed, and being mind-controlled and raped, keeps on going.

I never did write that story. But this is one of the scenes that would go into it: shortly after the Dolorosa flees the brooding caverns with the Signless, she meets the Demoness for the second time... at least from her perspective. (825 words)

The Time-Traveler's Kismesis: Counterthesis )


Now I want to outline and write the rest of the story properly. Stupid plot bunnies!
darchildre: a crow being held in one hand.  text:  "bird in hand" (bird in the hand)
([personal profile] darchildre Aug. 27th, 2014 08:54 pm)

- This past weekend, my mother, sisters, and I went to Women's Own, which is Grown-Up Girl Scout Camp*. It was absurdly fun. The great thing about being at camp as an adult is that you get to do whatever you want. There were schedule events you could attend if you wanted and meals were always at a certain time but other than that, you get to figure out whatever you want to do and do it. We did various arts-and-crafts things, went swimming in the Hood Canal, did a little hiking, and spent most of Saturday sitting in a chair reading a book, which I haven't done for far too long. There was a camp fire and a talent show and a night we all dressed up in make-shift 1920's regalia to play bingo and roulette to win cheap-ass prizes. And everyone was friendly and helpful and welcoming, but willing to leave you along if that's what you wanted. We are already planning to go back next year and if you are a lady who lives in Washington and wants to go to Grown-Up Girl Scout Camp, I thoroughly recommend it.

- Also, I bought a gorgeous Girl Scout pocketknife in the camp store because I have always wanted a good pocket knife and it was beautiful and I am an adult and can buy myself knives if I want to.

- While at camp, I read about 200 pages of The Stand, which I haven't read in about 10 years. You guys, that book is still pretty great. Though of course I'm not quite sure if that's because it was definitely one of the Books Of My Adolescence. I read The Stand a lot as a teenager - it's one of those books I can point at and say, "That is where I learned this thing".*** It's not quite as scary as it once was, but the little creepy things remain very effective - the dead soldier with the soup in his eyebrows, those first few glimpses at Randall Flagg, "Come down and eat chicken with me, beautiful - it's so dark". (It's possible that I think that whenever I am in dimly-lit staircases.) I am unsurprised but a little ashamed to find that I still really identify with Harold Lauder in a lot of ways. Look, I was - am - a pretentious nerd and while I like to think that I wouldn't really go to the Dark Side, if you'd caught me at the right point in my lonely pretentious nerdgirl adolescence, I can't promise that I would haven't. Like Eleanor Vance, my identification with Harold is undeniably present and undeniably uncomfortable (I am not ashamed of my continuing love for the Trash Can Man.) The fact that I have never yet managed to read The Stand at a point when I don't have a runny nose always adds to the experience somewhat.

- It is the last week of Summer Reading which is always both a little melancholy and a little bit of a relief. Now, of course, we get a bunch of emails about our annual All Staff Day, which is coming up in about a month and about which I am not excited. The higher-ups really want us to be excited, though. This year, there is apparently some sort of after-party. I cannot imagine who will be attending that - after a mandatory 8 hours of meeting and socializing while seated in uncomfortable chairs, all I want is to go home. At least now it's on a Thursday instead of Monday, so I don't have to go to choir right afterwards.

- Choir starts in two weeks! I'm so excited! I haven't sung properly since April and my range has probably atrophied terribly, but I'm still so excited!

*My mother always wanted to be a Girl Scout but never got to be. Thus, all of her children were, for varying lengths of time**.

**I stayed in the longest and made it to Juniors. (Got my wings, baby!) Sometimes, I regret not sticking with it for longer, but my troop kinda sucked and I wanted to take taekwondo, so...

***I don't think it's the first book I read in which abortion was mentioned, but it's definitely the first book that connected it with coat hangers. What an odd thing to remember. It is also the book where I learned about That One Yeats Poem Every Horror Fan Knows.
I've seen slight variations of this floating around both Dreamwidth and Tumblr, and I'm bored, so why not?

Pick no more than three letters and I will answer those questions.

1. Describe your comfort zone — a typical you-fic.
2. Is there a trope you've yet to try your hand at, but really want to?
3. Is there a trope you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole?
4. How many fic ideas are you nurturing right now? Care to share one of them?
5. Share one of your strengths.
6. Share one of your weaknesses.
7. Share a snippet from one of your favorite pieces of prose you've written and explain why you're proud of it.
8. Share a snippet from one of your favorite dialogue scenes you've written and explain why you're proud of it.
9. Which fic has been the hardest to write?
10. Which fic has been the easiest to write?

11. Is writing your passion or just a fun hobby?
12. Is there a section of canon above all others that inspires you just a little bit more?
13. What's the best writing advice you've ever come across?
14. What's the worst writing advice you've ever come across?
15. If you could choose one of your fics to be filmed, which would you choose?
16. If you only could write one pairing for the rest of your life, which pairing would it be?
17. Do you write your story from start to finish, or do you write the scenes out of order?
18. Do you use any tools, like worksheets or outlines?
19. Stephen King once said that his muse is a man who lives in the basement. Do you have a muse?
20. Describe your perfect writing conditions.

21. How many times do you usually revise your fic/chapter before posting?
22. Choose a passage from one of your earlier fics and edit it into your current writing style. (Person sending the ask is free to make suggestions).
23. If you were to revise one of your older fics from start to finish, which would it be and why?
24. Have you ever deleted one of your published fics?
25. What do you look for in a beta?
26. Do you beta yourself? If so, what kind of beta are you?
27. How do you feel about collaborations?
28. Share three of your favorite fic writers and why you like them so much.
29. If you could write the sequel (or prequel) to any fic out there not written by yourself, which would you choose?
30. Do you accept prompts?

31. Do you take liberties with canon or are you very strict about your fic being canon compliant?
32. How do you feel about smut?
33. How do you feel about crack?
34. What are your thoughts on non-con and dub-con?
35. Would you ever kill off a canon character?
36. Which is your favorite site to post fic?
37. Talk about your current WIPs.
38. Talk about a review that made your day.
39. Do you ever get rude reviews and how do you deal with them?
40. Write an alternative ending (or the summary of one) to a fic you've written. (Person sending the ask is free to make suggestions.)



--2, 14, and 18, for [ profile] akatsuki210

--8, 29, and 38, for [ profile] lady_songsmith

--5 and 7, for [personal profile] rthstewart

--13 and 37, for [personal profile] heliopausa
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
([personal profile] onyxlynx Aug. 27th, 2014 03:17 pm)
 to [personal profile] fledgist !  Because all the nails have concussions.  Have a glorious day!
lotesse: (freedom)
([personal profile] lotesse Aug. 27th, 2014 05:49 pm)
re-thinking an exercise from my education:

when I was in the seventh grade, my multi-age grade 6-8 class went on an extended field trip; divided into two groups, the Haves and the Have-Nots, we spent a weekend mimicking c19th farm life. I was one of the Haves, and we were bored; the Have-Nots had to do hard work, but they had a lot more fun. Reflecting on the trip, I'm not actually sure what the lesson on socioeconomic class division was supposed to be. I remember concluding, with my friends, that it meant that it wasn't such a bad thing to be poor - and as our families were relatively poor, it wasn't a bad thing to have reinforced that money can't buy happiness. But looking back I'm struck by the way we were set up to overlook systemic oppression. Of course most kids are going to have more fun doing vigorous playful outdoor work than sitting quietly in an empty room. Cyclical poverty isn't like that. You don't get to go home, and it's not fun working for low/no wages when you're an adult with skills that deserve to be fairly valued. They taught us the wrong damn lesson, and likely lessened some of my classmates' tendency to empathize with the righteous anger of the exploited; we were Have-Nots too, for a weekend, and it was nothing to get upset about. 100% certainly it reinforced the blindness of all of the kids who were Haves, myself included, to the real benefits we gained through our various race/class/gender privileges; we were all of us white.
settiai: (Dark & Stormy Night -- chatona)
([personal profile] settiai Aug. 27th, 2014 05:44 pm)
Did this person just comment on a ton of my (ancient) fics on, for the sole purpose of asking me to write sequels to them involving crossovers with every fandom under the sun?

Why, yes. Yes, I think s/he did.

Oh, Pit of Voles... :-/
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
([personal profile] dorothy1901 Aug. 27th, 2014 05:38 pm)
There are three blimps (Red Sox, MetLife, and DirectTV) in the sky over Cambridge, MA. They are lined up, one after another, like an aerial parade. There are also four helicopters near the blimps (for a value of "near" that is "not too near").

Haven't I seen this on Doctor Who?
aralias: (charles ii loves to party)
([personal profile] aralias Aug. 27th, 2014 08:38 pm)
i am semi-considering keeping my amazon prime membership (my free 1 month trial runs out tomorrow, which is good because it means i haven't already committed but bad in that i dont think i have used it at all). apparently amazon prime is £79 a year for 1-day shipping, amazon!netflix, and kindle lending library. actually sounds really great (amazon have so much money. they can do whatever they want). but i am generally semi-happy to wait for them to ship me stuff free in 3 days, and we have netflix, and... i guess i can just buy kindle books when i buy books :s still... tempting.

i am a total kindle convert now, btw. i look at real books and think 'why are you so heavy?' sad, really. i have so many books. i would be sad to lose them. but surely only useful when in ones own home.

just bought self the new sarah waters (for kindle), which is apparently out tomorrow.

also - fun new gimic, i see amazon now also have this thing where you can get the audiobook and the kindle, and it tracks where you are in whatever one you're currently engaged with and updates you in the other one! this is something i really really wanted for my life a few years ago. the only downside seems to be that in order for this to work... i'd have to read my book... not on a kindle. i could read it on the kindle app on my phone or ipad. which is still cool - but not quite as good as one would hope.

anyway - for 99p i have downloaded 'the man who was thursday' the book/audio, because erin said i should read it anyway. and then... i will find out. this is exciting.

this post: sponsored by amazon (we make it very easy to buy things).
It's Wednesday reading meme time:

What I've just finished

I finished up Kraken not long after I posted about it last week. I enjoyed it a lot, for all that I wasn't emotionally tangled up in it. It's super clever and wryly funny and it features a squidpocalypse cult and dudes who have fists for heads. I feel like spoilers ) So I would recommend it, if you don't mind a bit of a hefty read.

I also read The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne, which I thought had some excellent writing and ideas in it, but which I just didn't like. It's the story of two young women on similar journeys - both Mariama and Meena are on the run from something (something that is sadly obvious, in Meena's case. I'm not sure if I was supposed to know from the start or if it was supposed to be a mystery that spoiler ) and they're heading from an old (unhappy & terrible in Mariama's case) life in India to what they hope will be a new start in Ethiopia. Their journeys take place at different times, but they intersect spoiler? )

There's some fascinating world-building happening here - inexorable climate change means that some parts of the world have started to be drowned and that energy as always is a crisis, and a company in India has managed to build a prototype of a solar array that runs from India to Africa and if it proves feasible, it will be replicated in other areas of the world. There's stories about people walking on the Trail, as it's known colloquially, and Meena decides that's what she's going to do. (Mariama is a young child when she makes her journey - she's found by some helpful truckers.)

There were a couple of issues for me with this book. spoilers )

This also should come with a warning for non-graphic child abuse: spoiler, if you want more details ) And there is also some gore I could have done without: spoiler )

I also feel like Meena's sections suffered somewhat from what I was talking about yesterday. A lot of this book is stuck in her head while she's by herself, and spoilers ) it gets samey after a while. At least Mariama is interacting with her fellow travelers.

Anyway, I felt like the writing was much stronger in this than in A Madness of Angels, or maybe I just really wanted to know more about the Trail, because I kept reading, and it does contain some interesting world-building - I really wanted to know more about the politics and science of this world, and the other people who'd walked the Trail and who were living on the seasteads etc. and maybe I'm just unsympathetic etc. but yeah, that was basically my response.

I also reread Lords and Ladies and Men at Arms, which I enjoyed very much.

What I'm reading now

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss, which is the story of Alex Dumas, father of the novelist Alexandre Dumas. I basically read the prologue at lunch and then my bosses started calling my name so I am about five pages into it. But I'm sure I'll have a lot to say eventually!

What I'm reading next

Ha! I can answer this question for once! After I finish The Black Count, I plan to finally read The Three Musketeers, which I have never done before. So unless something else from my hold list at the library comes in, that's the plan.

zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
([personal profile] zulu Aug. 27th, 2014 09:21 am)
- Chelsea begging for scritches early in the morning. She usually doesn't like too much petting, but when she's in the mood (usually at 6 AM), she is the biggest suck to ever suck.

- Finished a first draft of a scene yesterday! It's very first drafty but it's nice to see progress. Nearly 2000 words in a day. I have a second day lined up for writing with [profile] zulu_mom tomorrow.

- Working on being a certified Adult. It takes lots of calls and emails. But I might have a line on a part-time job for this semester. Since I'm probably taking a leave starting in January, it'll be nice to save up a bit in advance.

- Maddy hasn't thrown up in several days! Five, to be precise. (Yes, I have a spreadsheet dedicated to tracking this kind of thing.) She's always been an occasional up-chucker, but recently it was every week, then every couple of days. We went to the vet and were prescribed antacids and a GI food. Maddy has learned to be so good about getting pilled! It still takes two of us, but she doesn't growl anymore, and swallows like a good girl. (Heh.)

- Feeling pretty good even though I had too much caffeine yesterday and my brain was racing for two hours last night so that I couldn't fall asleep. Will the energy last? Perhaps not. But a person can hope.

- Planning on seeing friends this weekend!

- Good games night with other friends last weekend!

- Getting critted at writing group today--my group is very good and thoughtful and has already helped a lot with my world-building. Things to think about for draft 3.


selenak: (Default)

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