Oh my

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:21 am
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
This morning I made pancakes and ate them on the balcony, and started reading Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I'm only about two chapters in, and am already blown away by her prose and her... I don't know what to call it, exactly, but it's there in God of Small Things and it's there in this one, and I haven't found anything in between that quite tastes like they do.

Other facts:

- yesterday I spent 200 chf on a handbag. It's a very nice, very understated handbag made of good leather, so probably worth it. (There was a Fossil bag I liked, on sale, considerably cheaper, but it had suede panels and was probably more fashion-dependent.) Friend R went shopping with me, and I think I disappointed her: I did not want sparkles, or colour blocks, or quilt effects, or tassels, and most things with gold embellishments I thought were too overdone (for me: underdone for R, I'm sure). I kept gravitating to bags she described as 'my aunt has one like that'. Basically I wanted something considerably smaller than my satchel, that I can wear with a dress, and that won't draw much attention (so I can carry it with ANY dress. Or with a more masc outfit if I so choose).

- We then went prowling through the makeup section. I learned a lot of terrifying things about makeup. Again, a bit weird, because I'm attracted to makeup as a THING, but evidence proves I don't bother wearing it. R kept being like 'this would look good on you'. Well, yes. Except I wouldn't wear it. I bought some single-use face masque sheets from Sephora, though, and that turns out to be quite rewarding. I haven't had a good masque since I stopped buying clinque (the Sukin mud one may or may not have been good for my skin, but it didn't feel like anything on and was therefore a disappointment).

There have been some Girlfriend Situations in the past week that have varied from bloody brilliant (gosh I'm looking forward to seeing her!) to anxiety-hamster to quietly worrying.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:36 pm
skygiants: Fakir from Princess Tutu leaping through a window; text 'doors are for the weak' (drama!!!)
[personal profile] skygiants
Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age is a fairly fascinating book that's trying to do a lot of things at once: the book starts out with the dramatic recounting of MURDER!!! and then immediately takes, if not a deep dive, at least a vigorous swim through such varied topics as the history of British radio and the BBC, Keynesian economic philosophy, copyright limitations, and the founding of Sealand in order to contextualize it.

Once we get back to the story of the murder itself, however, it turns out: IT'S BONKERS. The principals in the case are two pirate radio impresarios in 1966. Oliver Smedley, An Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist, was running a station called Radio Atlanta on a boat off the coast; Reggie Calvert, A Dance Hall Impresario, had taken over an entire abandoned British navy fort called Shivering Sands in the Thames Estuary and staffed it with a rotating encampment of youths running a station called Radio City. At one point Smedley and Calvert were going to have a merger, but then they had an ACRIMONIOUS BREAKUP spurred on in part by:

- the fact that Smedley was supposed to give Calvert a shiny new transmitter and instead provided an old one that never worked
- the fact that Smedley never paid all the bills he had promised Calvert that Radio Atlanta would pay
- the fact that Calvert got sick of all this and decided to merge with another station instead

The reason for all these pirate radio stations on boats and naval forts, by the way, is because in 1966 there was no legal pop radio in the UK (as explained, extensively, via the history of radio and Keynesian economic theory etc. that makes up the first half of the book). Because the pirates were technically outside of UK territory, on the other hand, they could technically get away with doing whatever they wanted, or at least the government like "it will be way too embarrassing to launch a huge naval raid against a bunch of youths on was a fort with a radio transmitter, so let's not."

HOWEVER, the fact that everything was happening outside of territorial waters where British laws and police had no jurisdiction BACKFIRED when:

- Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist Smedley decided he was so mad that Calvert had made a deal without him that he was going to MAKE SURE that the deal could never go through
- he was going to GET BACK HIS PROPERTY [the transmitter that had never worked]
- so he sent an ACTUAL OCCUPYING FORCE composed of out-of-work dockworkers to Shivering Sands, stole a bunch of key broadcasting equipment, took a bunch of it back to the mainland, and left a bunch of toughs to hold everybody who was on the station at that time hostage!!!
- (when they met the invading force, the hostage broadcasters were like 'welp' and made everybody tea)
- ("the vessel had to return briefly to pick up [the contractor who recruited the gang], who had been left behind drinking his tea")
- and then Smedley went to Calvert and his partner, an actual professional broadcaster, and was like 'I will not let you broadcast from there again or finish making your deal unless you pay me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS'

Naturally, everyone involved was like 'wtf????' and refused to pay Smedley a dime; Calvert threatened to involve the police but the police were like 'ummmmmm technically we can't do anything for the same reasons we haven't been able to stop you from broadcasting;' Calvert then made a whole bunch of other even wilder threats; and all the hired dockworkers sat around cheerfully charging Smedley for hostaging operations which he was rapidly running out of money for.

Anyway, in the middle of all this, Calvert drove out to Smedley's house in the middle of the night and started screaming at him, and Smedley shot him and then claimed self-defense and that his HOSTILE OCCUPATION OF A POP RADIO STATION was just a little joke gone wrong! No harm no foul if only Calvert hadn't been so UPSET about it! It did help Smedley's self-defense case that Calvert happened to be carrying A FAKE PEN FULL OF NERVE GAS at the time, which apparently, according to his family, he always carried around just for safekeeping.

...so the author's point in writing about all this seems to be that a.) this incident was crucial in getting the pirate radio boats shut down and the formation of the current BBC radio system that includes actual pop radio, b.) that this is all a forerunner of later copyright battles and offshore data centers and so on, c.) pirate-radio-on-boats in the 1960s was a WILD TIME. About the latter, at least, he is most surely not mistaken.

(This has nothing to do with the main brunt of the book but I have to spare a mention for Radio City's chief engineer, who later was hired by the mob! to perform an assassination attempt!! using a spring-loaded hypodermic needle full of cyanide!!! in what it turns out was ACTUALLY a sting operation by the U.S. Treasury department who picked the hapless Radio City engineer to act as the assassin because "he needed the fee while being clearly incapable of killing anybody"!!!! This whole incident gets two pages in the book because it's somewhat irrelevant to the author's argument but seriously, where is this guy's movie?

For the record, the same mobsters then tried to intimidate Reggie Calvert's widow into selling them the remnants of the station and she was like 'lol no' and they were like '....well, when a lady knows her own mind, she knows her own mind! No hard feelings.')

Miscellaneous

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:01 am
highlyeccentric: Me (portrait by Scarlet Bennet) (Not impressed)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
1. I deserve points, because I just made a doctor's appointment for a non-urgent matter.

2. Midnight Oil concert was totally worth it. The anxiety I worked myself up into in advance of going to Paléo was not, really. There *were* big crowds coming in by 8, 9 pm - but not at 5pm for the opening gigs! It was super chill when I got there. I ended up leaving at about 8.15 - I'd moved on to a smaller stage featuring tiny british boys known as Temples, but the mix of cigarette smoke and pot in the air was making my eyes stream and my head hurt. I feel a bit... a bit useless because I went to a thing and LEFT as everyone else was arriving. But actually, who cares? I saw what I wanted.
2.i. I have to say though, some of the tracks off Diesel and Dust which if you think about them too hard are Not Cool, well. They are really uncomfortable when you're all standing on European soil. the Dead Heart, particularly: it's pretty close to musical blackface to begin with, and the cultural dislocation just makes it more obvious.
2.ii. Garrett chose to do his contextualising around 'imagine if the French government had got their act together and had made it to the east coast of Aus before the British, I'd be singing all this in French'. Which. Okay. He didn't try to suggest this would be better, or worse, colonialism-wise, but I was still not happy with the way it felt. And at some point he referenced 'our dear first peoples, the indigenous australians', and just. Nope. How patronising can you GET?
3.iii Rob Hirst remains crazy talented oh my goodness. I somehow forget to notice the complexity of the percussion if I'm just listening, but as soon as you see him in action: wow. Also, the percussion kit included an honest-to-goodness rusty corrugated iron water tank, which I can only assume they physically transported from Aus for use during 'Power and the Passion'. Hell yes.

3. I started making a weekly habit tracker thing. Like a sticker chart for kids - you set a number of chores or self-care activities and colour in when they're done. I think I've set 49 possible things over a week, but not all of them are daily so I have targets. If i met every target I'd be at 41 things; so far I'm rewarding myself if I get to 25. And it's... working? The first few weeks I had days with only one or two squares; now normal is 3 or 4.

And on that note I'd better go and address today's tasks, starting with 'walk to work' (i missed 'get up by 8')

Today I am Doing A Thing

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:06 am
highlyeccentric: Vintage photo: a row of naked women doing calisthenics (Onwards in nudity!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
I am going to a *music festival*. I have a ticket to Paleo (... somewhere. First quest: locate and print ticket), which is not a festival of weird food, but a festival of rock/pop music. Who knew?

Midnight Oil are playing on the main stage at 6. I was SUPER EXCITE when I bought the tickets (obviously, since I bought them) but now, in face of the prospect of travel, crowds, etc, I am less excite. I don't think I'll regret it, though.

Arcade Fire are on the main stage later tonight; I'm not sure that I'll stick around for that, though.

the BtVS characters of the West Wing

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:01 pm
deird1: fantasy!Buffy pouring cereal, with text "making breakfast sexy" (Buffy breakfast)
[personal profile] deird1
(This will be of limited interest to those who aren't fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The West Wing.)

So, the husband and I were talking, yet again, about the fact that he likes Sam Seaborn and I don't. And I referred to Sam as "the Riley Finn of West Wing".

He pointed out that Sam's character was supposed to be the interesting one, until the interesting role got taken over by Josh - and that "Josh is probably the Spike". To which my instant reaction was "Of course not! CJ Cregg is the Spike!"

...much discussion ensued.

a summary )

I would be interested to hear how very wrong I am, and why clearly it should be arranged in a different order...

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:54 pm
skygiants: C-ko the shadow girl from Revolutionary Girl Utena in prince drag (someday my prince will come)
[personal profile] skygiants
[personal profile] genarti read The Privilege of the Sword for the first time recently, because I had been telling her to since 2008, and then kept trying to talk to me about it. Unfortunately at this point I did not remember most of the things she was trying to talk to me about because I hadn't read it since 2007, so eventually I also had to reread it in self-defense.

It turns out this is still and probably will always be my favorite Ellen Kushner book. The central plotline follows Katherine, a cheerful young lady who gets invited to restore the family fortunes by going to live with her incredibly weird uncle in the big city and becoming a swordsman!

Unlike many plucky heroines, Katherine does not initially have really any interest at all in cross-dresing or becoming a swordsman. However, eventually she comes to enjoy swordfighting for its own sake, helped along by the mentorship of her incredibly weird uncle's nice ex-boyfriend, the necessity of dueling for a friend's honor, and the discovery that bisexuality and gender fluidity are potentially relevant concepts to her teen coming-of-age story.

...that's the A-plot! B, C, D, E, and F plots include:

- Katherine's mom's reparation of her relationship with Katherine's weird uncle
- Katherine's weird uncle's actress girlfriend's dreamy new cross-dressing fantasy Broadway show
- Katherine's weird uncle's unfortunate friendship breakup with his mathematician bestie
- Katherine's bff's attempts to overcome trauma from rape-by-fiance by engaging in romantic gay roleplay via letter-writing
- Katherine's other bff's attempts to overcome trauma from an abusive childhood by engaging in competitive voyeurism
- Katherine's bff's gigolo cousin's star-crossed romance with a scriptwriter/potter who is on the run from her abusive in-laws who do not appear in this book
- trade routes?? politics?????

I'm pretty sure that's not all the plots. There are so many plots in this book. It's fine because the plots are barely the point at best, the point is coming-of-age and life after trauma and thumbing your nose at Societal Conventions while getting to know and like yourself! I especially enjoy how in the end, spoilers )

(Note: emo murderous Alec from Swordspoint drives me up a wall in his own book, but is significantly more tolerable to me when he's just Katherine's incredibly weird uncle. I mean he still drives me up a wall here but it's much funnier when he's driving everyone else up a wall too.)

RIP George Romero

Jul. 16th, 2017 11:41 pm
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Few film directors can claim immortality; George A Romero redefined the very idea of what life and death mean. And he did it with humour, heart, and plenty of gore. There are few movies I've watched as often as the original Dead trilogy, and every single filmmaker or tv producer who ever did anything involving zombies owe him their allegiance.

Thank you, George, for everything.

Placing bets...

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:01 am
deird1: Rose, with text "I am the Bad Wolf" (Rose bad wolf)
[personal profile] deird1
I reckon we'll have two companions this year - a man and a woman.

(Honestly, I don't even watch the show anymore, but this news has me wondering if I should start again. She just looks so... Doctorly.)

Department of Dr. WHO-HOO

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:50 pm
kaffyr: She's at a typewriter; is she legal? (Are Girls Legal?)
[personal profile] kaffyr
YESS!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes we CAN have nice things. 

Here, and here



(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:52 pm
maia: (M74 Spiral Galaxy)
[personal profile] maia
Torn between ecstatic joy and "Well, it's about bloody time!"

I can't believe it. The next Doctor is female. We finally have a female Doctor Who. The 13th Doctor is female. WE FINALLY HAVE A FEMALE DOCTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peter Capaldi is wonderful and I am very sad to see Twelve go. But this...this...


Tears of joy.


https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jul/16/doctor-who-jodie-whittaker-announced-13th-doctor

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:37 am
skygiants: Nellie Bly walking a tightrope among the stars (bravely trotted)
[personal profile] skygiants
Rose Melikan's The Blackstone Key is one of the few books I've grabbed at random off a library shelf recently without ever having heard of it. Then I immediately grabbed the next two books, The Counterfeit Guest and The Mistaken Wife, so I guess they were doing something right, although also several things not right.

These books are deeply fluffy YA-ish Regency espionage hijinks starring Mary Finch, an impoverished orphan schoolteacher turned (by the end of the first book) surprise heiress with an unexpectedly encyclopedic knowledge of British law and an enthusiastic penchant for Adventures! !! !!!

Captain Holland, the series love interest, is an artillery officer who is good at mechanics and up on new military technologies. Other salient characteristics include:
- a terrible tendency towards sea- and carriage-sickness
- an ongoing resentful inability to understand all the clever literary and historical references being tossed around by the rest of the characters
- CONSTANT MONEY STRESS

I'll be honest, he won me over during the first book when Mary's like "am I a bad person for worrying about how the outcome of all this espionage will affect my potential inheritance?" and he's like "DEFINITELY NOT, if anybody tells you they don't stress about money THEY ARE LYING."

Rose Melikan is a scholar of the period and very good on British military history. She is not so good on plot. The first book is complete, hilariously convoluted nonsense involving SMUGGLERS and CIPHERS and MYSTERIOUS WATCHES and a SURPRISE CHANCE-MET DYING VILLAIN. It turns out that spoilers )

The second book is probably my favorite and definitely the least nonsense plot-wise; it's about the 1797 naval mutinies, and Our Heroine gets recruited to spy on a plotter because she happens to know his wife and will likely be in his house, which does not stretch suspension of disbelief too very wildly. (It's also sort of entertaining to watch the author do a careful dance between what I suspect is a personal sympathy for unionization and strike tactics and the fact that Mass Military Mutiny Is Definitely A Bad Thing, Our Characters Must Stop It At Any Cost.)

...then in Book Three we are expected to believe that an actual professional spy sees no better alternative for an important espionage mission than taking a well-known youthful heiress and society figure whose salient skills are, as aforementioned, a knowledge of British law and an enthusiasm for Adventure, and sneaking her off to Paris in a fake marriage with a clueless American painter while her respectable household desperately tries to pretend she's in London the whole time. At this point suspension of disbelief goes straight out the window again.

I have mixed feelings about Book Three in general; it's the darkest of the three and several sympathetic characters die as a direct result of Our Heroes' espionage endeavors including infuriating spoiler ) I'm not here for that! I'M HERE FOR THE HIJINKS.

A thing I did in the UK

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:07 am
highlyeccentric: Dessert first - pudding in a teacup (Dessert first)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
After Leeds I met up with friend L, and we proceeded to Penrith, and then on foot out of town to an outlying mixed rural/industrial area (it was weird. It had sheep and a Local Business Park and a cake factory), where our accommodation was a 'camping pod' in a former orchard. Pretty cool, aside from getting rained on heavily to get there.

Saturday we marched up the road to the Rheged centre (me: oh, this are must have been part of Rheged! L: no, Rheged is a welsh place name, there was this king, Urien Rheged... me: let me tell you a thing about the fifth and sixth centuries) and took a bus down to Keswick, in the Lake District. It was very beautiful, we walked around Derwent Water, many sheep much scenery very wow (photos forthcoming see [tumblr.com profile] speculumannorum).

However, before setting off on the scenic part of the expedition we went to A PENCIL MUSEUM. And learned about the history of pencils. I'm not sure it was quite worth the 5 pound entry (it would've if we'd had kids with us: there was a whole room of colouring-in play space), but it was pretty awesome. Special points to the display on the Cumberland Map and Compass Pencil, produced at the behest of Charles Fraser Smith, the British govt's secret gadgets-commissioner for WWII.

I do so love weirdly specific museums.
beer_good_foamy: (Buffy)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
So before I go offline for a bit, I thought I'd post this fic. It's an expansion of an old drabble that I always thought could use a "But then what?" to get a bit more into their characters.

Title: Nice Girls Don't Stay For Breakfast
Author: Beer Good ([personal profile] beer_good_foamy)
Fandom: Buffy, s3
Pairing: Buffy/Faith
Rating: PG13
Word count: ~900
Summary: After the mess that was Homecoming and Slayerfest '98, Faith invites Buffy back to her motel for drinks. Fast forward a few hours and Buffy's emphatically NOT freaking out, just trying to figure out the best way to sneak out of a motel bed without waking Faith up.

It felt weird, being the sneak-outer in this situation and not the sneak-outee. Not that she'd had a lot of these situations, obviously. Should she leave a note, or... OK, in her experience, correct protocol involved losing your soul and killing people, so pretty much anything she did would be better than that. Besides, Faith probably didn't want Buffy to be here when she woke up anyway. )
 
 

Forgive the repetition

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:49 am
highlyeccentric: Graffiti: sometimes i feel (Sometimes I Feel)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric


Thing I learned: Alan Doyle's current touring band, the Alan Doyle Trio (not the Beautiful Gypsies, good news on the not-having-a-racist-band-name front) were touring with the Barenaked Ladies in April. And my fave track from the 2015 album was co-written with the lead dude from BNL. (Who is also getting round and old lookin' and that hasn't decreased my attraction to him either, sigh.)

Also the attractive lady with the violin is Kendall Carson.

The video for Summer Summer Night was released yesterday and I'm not impressed. They seem to have decided that Alan is too old to front a scene about dreamy summer beach parties, which, OKAY, but I am not interested in desaturated slomo shots of blandly attractive young people dancing. At the expense of shots of Alan and his ridiculous face and/or Kendall Carson and her... everything.

So I'm watching this live video instead.

WELL

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:52 am
highlyeccentric: Divide by cucumber error: reinstall universe and reboot (Divide by cucumber)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
I was just thinking yesterday that Auspol had been suspiciously normal, compared to the UK and the US, for at least a week.

NEVER FEAR. Today I woke up to news of:

A: SECRET KIWI IN THE SENATE

and

B: Turnbull's plans to override the laws of mathematics.

I'm not sure what's best about item A: that Scott Ludlam has been an illegitimate senator all this time, or that he DIDN'T REALISE HE WAS A KIWI. He 'didn't realise citizenship followed you like that'. You're a SENATOR, sir.* How many immigration debates have you slept through?

Item B is pure gold and the best motivation I have ever heard for subscribing to a VPN service. Declare your allegiance to the laws of mathematics!

* Wait, no you're not. You've never actually been a Senator. You've just been... in the Senate. A secret Kiwi in the senate.

Dept. of What? WHAT??

Jul. 13th, 2017 08:08 pm
kaffyr: (Liz questions that.)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Photobucket, Part Deux

Earlier today, I checked some of my posts with pictures and such from Photobucket. The latest ones were still not-showing up (although they didn't have that odd graphic that some people's pages are afflicted with. Earlier ones, however, were still showing up. OK, I thought, perhaps this stupidity only affects recent images? 

Just now, I checked, and all the ones that had gone missing from DW/LJ were back in place. They're still here. 

However, since other folks' appear to still be missing their images, I am at a complete loss as to account for my "recovery." Nor do I know whether it should last. 

Has anyone else noticed that sort of thing happening?

Drabble: A Little Bird Told Me

Jul. 13th, 2017 03:44 pm
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Apropos of absolutely nothing, here's a modern AU of the end of "Choices", after Willow is freed from the evil clutches of the Mayor. (Or is that the clutches of the evil Mayor? Can clutches be evil in and of themselves? Is there such a thing as being in the clutches of something good? Oh, honestly. I don't know where my mind goes these days.)

A Little Bird Told Me

"...And then I told her ‘You made your choice, Buffy was your friend...’"

Giles interrupted Willow's tale of heroics. "This is fascinating, but let's get back to the point. You actually had your hands on the Books of Ascension?"

"Volumes 1-5."

"Is there anything you can remember that could be of use to us? Anything at all?"

Willow shrugged. "Well, I was in a hurry, and what I did read was kind of over-involved. If you ask me, way overwritten." She held up her phone. "But Faith just tweeted out the best bits, see what you can make of that?"
 
 
 

This is a Musical Rec

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:08 am
highlyeccentric: Firefley - Kaylee - text: "shiny" (Shiny)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric


Single from Alan Doyle's forthcoming album 'A Week at the Warehouse'. I don't know why but I hadn't listened to any of his solo / Beautiful Gypsies stuff*, and I've just discovered it and it MIGHT reconcile me to the break-up of GBS.

*Well. Maybe the TERRIBLE BAND NAME. No points, Alan.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 11:26 pm
skygiants: Hazel, from the cover of Breadcrumbs, about to venture into the Snow Queen's forest (into the woods)
[personal profile] skygiants
With Sorrow's Knot I think I have now finished reading everything from Erin Bow's backlog, which is good in that I have consistently enjoyed it all, but bad in that I have no more Erin Bow backlog.

All of Erin Bow's work (I can now say, having read all of it) is in some way about death and undeath and the wildly unhealthy ways in which human beings react to loss; however, Sorrow's Knot is EVEN MORE explicitly about this than most. The book focuses on Otter and her friends Kestrel and Cricket, who are all pretty sure they know what they're going to do when they grow up: Kestel is going to be a ranger, Cricket is going to become a storyteller (despite being a boy and getting a certain degree of side-eye for deciding to stay in the women's village at all -- everyone knows it's dangerous in the forest and boys don't have any power to protect themselves with, sorry boys!), and Otter is going to train with her mother Willow and Willow's teacher Tamarack to learn the very important job of being a binder, aka Person Who Stops The Dead From Coming Back And Killing Us All.

Then Tamarack dies -- and then Willow abruptly and without explanation decides she doesn't want Otter becoming a binder after all -- and then the knots that stop the dead from coming back to haunt the living begin unraveling -- and then more people die -- and then Otter and friends get to go on a road trip! It's not a super fun road trip and it unsurprisingly features several close encounters with the dead.

I really liked the worldbuilding and the slow and careful work that Bow does to build out the daily lives of the characters and the culture -- it's a North American-based world without European influence, and I'm certainly not qualified to comment on how well it's done, but to me it felt interesting and non-obvious. Also, Otter's world is almost entirely composed of women and everything revolves around Significant Mother-Daughter Relationships and it's great, although Erin Bow sadly had not yet discovered lesbians as of this book. (Though I feel like perhaps this is the book that led to her discovering lesbians? Like, I do wonder if someone came up to Erin Bow and pointed out that she'd written a matriarchal village where Actual Heterosexual Romance is explicitly rare and still somehow only featured Actual Heterosexual Romance onscreen, and Erin Bow was like 'WHOOPS OK SORRY I'LL MAKE IT UP TO YOU' and then we got The Scorpion Rules. Which, I mean, if this is the case, I guess I'm not complaining, I'm very happy to have The Scorpion Rules!)

I also really liked the importance of stories and storytelling and lore and bits and pieces of information shared and not shared, but the pacing of the way those stories are shared with the reader sometimes felt a little off to me; there were occasionally times, especially towards the end, when I felt like the book was leading me to expect a Big Reveal that had already been revealed. But, I mean, the point of the book is not really to Reveal, it's to examine grief -- and as I have mentioned above, Bow is exceptionally good on grief.
highlyeccentric: Joie du livre - young girl with book (Joie du livre)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
My now-habitual consumption of a stack of romance & pulp during conference season stood me in good stead again, and then, my usual resorts exhausted, I turned to du Maurier and Heyer. So far I do not object to this choice.

Currently Reading: Georgette Heyer, 'A Civil Contract'; Tanya Huff, 'The Second Summoning'.

Recently Read:

For work, Utz's 'Medievalism: A Manifesto'

Spectred Isle (Green Men #1)Spectred Isle by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I LOVED THIS BOOK. (I have an ARC of it, which meant it got to be the first of my conference-season comfort reads.)

It has WWI angst and magic and 12th century ghosts, it's like it was written expressly for meeee. Our Hero ended WWI in disgrace for a crime that he variously implies constitutes sodomy and/or treason (exact details are only slowly doled out, in a careful integration with the plot). He is no longer welcome to excavate with his former mentor Leonard Woolley* and has ended up working for a rich gentleman with dubious ideas about the network of magical sites across London. Unfortunately for all concerned, there IS a network of magical sites across london, and Our Hero keeps stumbling across the man who's tasked with (in the absence of his family and allies, all lost in the war) keeping them under control.

Shenanigans ensue. Folk tales turn unfriendly. Unquiet ghosts from the Anarchy period must be put to rest, et caetera. I am particularly fond of the role which Randolph's deceased fiancé ends up playing - this book doesn't fall into the trap of completely eliding women from its m/m universe.

(*I mentioned this aspect to an archaeologist friend and her response was to suggest he should work with Mortimer Wheeler instead. Apparently Mortimer Wheeler is infamous for sleeping with anything that moved.)



An Unnatural Vice (Sins of the Cities, #2)An Unnatural Vice by K.J. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It's possible my enjoyment of this book might have been improved by realising it was number two in a series (some key plot points did seem rushed!), but perhaps not. I really, really loved the dynamic between these two, and the resolution re Jonah's career juuuust managed to convince me. (I like that. I like that it was teetering on the edge of something I was going to be pissed with, only to find a way to do it well.) I love how much both of them love the people in their lives. A++



The Secret Casebook of Simon FeximalThe Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is... odd. It starts as a collection of short stories, grows something resembling a through-plot, and ends as a set-up for the Green Men books. I think I'm glad I read it only AFTER having read Spectred Isle - I liked it as a prequel to that, better than I think I would have on its own. It does showcase KJ Charles' command of folklore and local history, which I particularly like.



An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities, #1)An Unseen Attraction by K.J. Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Plot-wise, this solved some of my problems with 'An Unnatural Vice' (turns out it helps to read things in order, who knew). It has several threads going on, and handles them all well. In terms of characterisation, Clem is a really good piece of writing on Charles' part - it's clear that he is autistic-or-something-like-it, but that's framed in terms that work in his setting. His position as a bastard of mixed race is mixed in with that with finesse, in such a way that you can tell that the two alienating factors are feeding into each other (a brilliant illegitimate son, or a neuroatypical heir, would both have had very different fates). I like that Clem isn't entirely alone in his family, and his cousin Tim is a good egg.

For some reason, I just didn't *click* with this pairing as well as I usually do with Charles' couples. I found them both, and their wants and their working out of the ways they fit together, fascinating, but not compelling.



Also finished: two Cat Sebastian m/m ... not bodice rippers if no-one's wearing bodices. Waistcoat-rippers? Cravat-rippers? Daphne du Maurier's 'Fisherman's Creek', which turned out to be an obvious influence on one of the former. And Renée Adieh's 'The Rose and the Dagger', which I'm still a little bit... dissatisfied with.

Up Next: Work things. I have a whole book on beds to read. Don't you just envy me?




Music notes: didn't listen to much while travelling, but today I coaxed Spotify into revealing to me that Alan Doyle has a new single and an album I didn't know about. My feelings on this matter are YES GOOD.

Dept. of Screwing the Customer

Jul. 11th, 2017 01:34 pm
kaffyr: The First Doctor isn't amused (Bullshit!)
[personal profile] kaffyr
I'd Wondered When It Would Happen

It appears that Photobucket finally got around to photobucketing me, as it has so many other people with its change in third-party image hosting. For awhile my images were still showing up, but not anymore. 

I'm looking at Google as a new resting place for my photos, if their third party sharing is easy to deal with (or, you know, a thing at all.) I have to decouple my Google account from my iPhone, so that my biz photos don't get automatically uploaded, something I apparently managed to do sometime in the past. 

Pulling everything from Photobucket and transferring things to Google (who I'm much more likely to want to pay for space) will be a pain, but I'm not paying $40 a month for the right to do what I signed up with Photobucket in the first place to do. And I haven't got enough photos there to make it a monumental pain. 

It's just an annoyance, but it does mean Photobucket will be losing me as a customer. 


Ow

Jul. 11th, 2017 09:45 am
highlyeccentric: French vintage postcard - a woman in feminised army uniform of the period (General de l'avenir)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
I'm back from the UK! Many things have happened, some good some bad some ???. Instead of any of them I wish to report:

I have a wisdom tooth. It has come through behind my existing molars, instead of underneath them, which is nice. It's not straight (about 20 degrees off upright) but it's not perpendicular or driving straight into my other teefs, so that's better than expected. There's not really enough space for it back there, so it wasn't ever going to come out straight.

However: ow. It's currently not completely out (3/4 corners are free), and the teething pressure/pain is still hangin' around. I realised a while ago that was one source of my frequent 'aargh everything hurts, no, wait if I think about it I don't actually have a headache or an injury?' elusive pain thingies. I'm just so acclimated to jaw pressure (thanks, braces) that it legit doesn't register as a sensation I should pay attention to, until it gets quite severe.

I'm hoping that now the tooth is free it will settle the fuck down; I realise it's much more likely that there's just not enough space in my jaw for it and I will have this pain until I woman up and see a dental surgeon. In the meantime I have baby teething gel.

Also, new tooth means NEW WAYS TO BITE MY MOUTH. It's not fun.

Movies so far in 2017

Jul. 10th, 2017 12:28 pm
beer_good_foamy: (Bernard - black books)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
Everyone else seems to be doing this, so...

My 10 favourite new movies so far this year
(in no particular order)
(and with trailers linked)
(what'd I miss? tell me!)

Frantz
French soldier comes to small German town shortly after WW1, looks up family of dead German soldier, claims to be his friend from before the war come to pay his respects. Things get tense from there on as people start lying and telling truths. Beautiful period piece.

Get Out
Believe the hype, this deserves all the praise it's got and more. Dark comedy set within a horror movie made up of everyday racism. Peele gleefully feeds us drops of poisoned sweet tea until we're out of excuses for how we didn't see the monster all along.

Catfight
Two women, old college friends, meet up 25 years later and realise that they're unhappy with how their lives have turned out... and take it out on each other. Very brutally so. The red-vs-blue satire isn't exactly subtle, but it's really about Anne Heche and Sandra Oh physically beating the crap out of each other for 90 minutes. Why should a movie need more than that?

Colossal
It's an indie drama where Anne Hathaway moves back to a small town to cope with depression and alcoholism and an abusive childhood sweetheart. At the same time it's also a kaiju movie about a giant lizard creature stomping Seoul. Maybe not quite the best movie I've seen all year, but probably the one that made me go "What a great idea!" the most times. The director also made the brilliant Timecrimes a few years ago which may be the cleverest time-travel movie I know.

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2
Popcorn. It's good for you.

Sami Blood
Best Swedish movie I've seen in years, and large chunks of it are not even in Swedish but in Sami - specifically a dialect spoken today by less than 500 indigenous people in the north of Sweden. Young native girl in the 1930s gets sent off to school to be taught to be a Real Swede, except of course she never can be since she's of an Inferior Race. So when she wants to go down south to study at a real university, she's forced to choose which identity she wants to pretend she never had for the next 60 years. Hard-hitting, beautiful, and no less relevant in an age where our politicians are seriously arguing that you can't be, say, Jewish or Sami (or god forbid, muslim) and still claim to be Swedish.

The Love Witch
Wicked young witch has made up her mind to find a man, no matter what the cost to her or them. Mostly them. 70s technicolor freakout filtered through 10s ideas of sex and gender and having WAY too much fun with both.

Death Race 2050
Of course Roger Corman gets to remake this in 2017. And of course the bad guy is blatantly based on Donald Trump. And of course it gets both bloody and hilarious. Great race. HUGE race. Make America never brake again!

Paterson
A bus driver in a small New Jersey town goes to work, writes poetry, walks the dog, is in love with a quirky girl. Everything tells us something is going to happen, something must shatter this working-class idyll... As if contentedness were the most provocative theme imaginable in 2017. Between this and Only Lovers Left Alive, Jarmusch is really on a roll lately.

The Girl With All The Gifts
Post-zombie apocalypse, a small team of soldiers and scientists try to figure out a cure to the epidemic with the help of a young infected girl who's learned how to play nice with humans... maybe. Yes, this owes a lot to I Am Legend (the novel), Day of the Dead and 28 Days Later, but those aren't bad influences and it's put together into something entirely itself.

(Worst: 47 Meters Down, The Belko Experiment, Below Her Mouth)

Dept. of Birthdays

Jul. 9th, 2017 04:20 pm
kaffyr: (Porco Rosso friends)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Natal Felicitations to [personal profile] masakochan !

It's always so much fun to know someone online that shares not one, but many of my particular affections, and 
[personal profile] masakochan  is one of those people. She's a fellow traveler in the Whoniverse, and she knows and loves anime and manga; she shares many of my real world sympathies, and can therefore put up with my intermittent rants about the world. 

She loves animals as well as anime, is determinedly making her way through life even when it gets rocky; she's really a lovely person to know, and I'm glad she's part of my online world. 

I hope your birthday has been good so far, and I hope it signals a good coming year for you. And one of these days I'll rope you into a discussion about Shingeki no Kyojin's second season. You don't have to spoil me about what's coming, I just want to squee with you over the art (which has gotten even better this season), and the pacing and ... and ... well, this is a birthday wish, not a fangirl squee, so forgive me - and Happy, Happy Birthday!
kaffyr: The OT3 together, before PotW (Jack and Nine and Rose)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Title: Hearts & Moons Recall the Truth
Author: 
[personal profile] kaffyr 
Chapter: 26
Previous Chapter: 25 here, or here
Characters: Jack Harkness/the Ninth Doctor/Rose Tyler
Rating: PG-13
Edited by: my beloved and irreplaceable [livejournal.com profile] dr_whuh. Thank you, dearest.
Author's note: In which our three heroes find each other, and the beginning of the end of the adventure commences to begin. Hello again, friends. It's been a long time, and I thank you for sticking with this, if you have. I believe the end is in sight. 
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole property of the BBC and their respective creators. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play in its sandbox.
ETA for LJ: Apologies for the lack of paragraph spacing. LJ insists the post is too large and won't let me edit. Stupid LJ ....

**************

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