Birthday kids!!!

Nov. 26th, 2015 09:14 am
masqthephlsphr: (vincent)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
Happy Birthday, [personal profile] londonkds!!!

Happy Birthday, [personal profile] butterfly!!!

Taking over the world is overrated

Nov. 26th, 2015 04:28 pm
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
[personal profile] selenak
In some of the Jessica Jones reviews and comments that I've spotted, I've seen the complaint re: our main villain's lack of ambition. Which to me was one of the refreshing elements of the show. And in this particular case, it made so much sense. After all, why should Kilgrave want to take over the city/country/planet? What could he possibly gain that he doesn't already have?

We're so used to supervillains wanting to rule that we've stopped questioning why they should want to. Jessica Jones has a villain with an ability that already ensures his every whim is catered to. He's not lacking in any material thing he could want, he can use people in any way he wants to, and seriously, governing the city/country/world is work, even if you're doing it badly.

Villains who want to take over usually want to change something. No matter whether they're Evil McEvil villains who want to create a wasteland or Utopians gone wrong who want to create a new, better society with casualties, they're not content with the world as it is. Whereas Kilgrave is fine with the world as it is, minus the part where spoiler for second half of the season ) which isn't something domination of a territory would change.

Part of what makes this series so good to me is that this doesn't make Kilgrave any less damaging than villains who sic superweapons on people. Throughout the season, we see the lives he's harmed or taken, and that's what's at stake in Jessica's quest to defeat him. It's not solely a matter of Jessica's own life, or that of her immediate circle; we've seen both in cameos and supporting characters taking up more narrative space the wreckage Kilgrave leaves after him. And to me, this meant the emotional stakes as a viewer were higher, not lower, than if the show had presented a conventionally ambitious villain intent on becoming Lord Mcoverlord the Third.

Probably not in the spirit of the day

Nov. 26th, 2015 02:03 pm
oursin: Swirly spiralling colours in a vortexy shape (vortex)
[personal profile] oursin

What I'm currently thankful for is that the migraine I woke up with, which alas did not respond with the usual expedition to sumatriptan, now finally seems to have receded.

But the entire morning I did not feel in the least going out to collect a parcel from the sorting office, which closes at 12.30, sigh.

Okay, throughout the morning I was not entirely obliterated and able to do nothing but huddle in bed with a hot water bottle. But I still wasn't feeling like doing anything but reading.

Not entirely sure that the change of prophylactic treatment is working.

(no subject)

Nov. 26th, 2015 09:56 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] londonkds!

Time Passages

Nov. 25th, 2015 03:23 pm
yourlibrarian: Serenity Moon - yourlibrarian (FIRE-Serenity Moon - yourlibrarian)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
1) I can tell I haven't posted photos in a while because they start piling up in my Pictures folder. We have gone from autumn to winter already, having gotten our first snow of the season last weekend. Before we did though... Read more... )

2) When I was younger people often used to comment on the length of my eyelashes. I realized today I couldn't remember anyone saying so since I was around 30 even though they're still the same. However, in the past year two women did compliment me on the streak of grey in my hair. Who knows, maybe they were Rogue fans.

3) The James Taylor rewrite of Fire and Rain on Colbert was one of the best bits they've had on the show so far IMO. The end of the first verse made Mike laugh out loud.

I am only mildly amused by the giant hat sketches but John Cleese's appearance was a definite plus.

4) I was definitely amused by this interpretation of what will be behind Marvel's Civil War storyline.

5) Also, how many people remember these events?

Wednesday is Wednesday is Wednesday

Nov. 25th, 2015 08:17 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Designing Utopia, which was very good, and also is very sumptuously produced with lots of photos and pictures of Kibbo Kift artefacts. Also finished The Prostitute's Body, which I thought was very good in that it was not only complicating notions of what the Victorians thought about 'the prostitute' and what a problematic category it was and that wasn't even the term that tended to be used, but it's also useful for its engagement with the various historiographical debates so that one can see what the state of play in the area is (a lot of it I did know but there were some studies cited I hadn't come across).

Also finally got to the end of Here in Cold Hell: middle book of epic fantasy trilogy (when it is something like a decade since I read the preceding volume), large and dispersed cast, gods, supernatural happenings. Don't think this was ever going to be anywhere near the top of my list of Tanith Lees.

Cathleen Schine, Fin and Lady (2013), which I picked up cheap somewhere lately (have moderately enjoyed other novels by her) and it was perfectly readable yet somehow meh and I don't think name-checking the musical Mame in-text entirely takes away the somewhat derivative feel. Also did some tropes that make me wince a bit if not actually hurl the book at the wall.

Also Tremontaine: A Wake in Riverside (last week's ep)

On the go

A Scots Quair - okay, it's very good, but really, on the grim side, and not sure I'm quite in the mood for that rather than something a bit fluffier.

As the library where I was reading it was closed, haven't got any forrader with the book on the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry.

Gillian Boyes, The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology & the English Folk Revival (1994), research reading.

Up next

This week's Tremontaine episode, otherwise ????

Massive GRUMP

Nov. 25th, 2015 05:52 pm
oursin: Photograph of a spiny sea urchin (Spiny sea urchin)
[personal profile] oursin

Meeting of council of Learned Society went ON and ON, and caused me to think of the missing Beatitude: Blessed are those who, having nothing to say, keep shtumm.

Also, stealth pesto in the chicken sandwiches served for lunch: DO.NOT.WANT.

Also, when I finally got to the British Library on my way home, found that a passport + expired reader's card does not constitute adequate proof of identity and I shall have to go back.

From my very first visit I have had bad mojo with the BL, though the first time it was perhaps not entirely their fault but to do with not knowing the different conventions of French and English indexing (but this would not have been so critical had the volumes turned up more expeditiously, but by the time I'd sussed it it was time to go and catch my train.)

There was the Incident of the Photocopying for which I paid for Express Service as it was needed for a class presentation (and had no utility to me apart from that), which arrived several days after the class.

There was the Matter of the Manuscripts I Needed to Consult for My PhD Thesis which were in the storeroom that had been found to have asbestos in the walls, no, no idea when they're likely to be available again.

The many many problems of decoding catalogue entries for periodicals and serials and usually ending up by finding that they didn't have the particular issue I required.

The Old North Gallery.

That thing where I ordered a periodical and when I went to collect it from the desk was told that I'd have to look at the microfilm, oh not, they hadn't actually brought that up, I'd have to order it.

WAAAAAAAAH. This is why, given a choice, I would go anywhere but the BL to do my research

(no subject)

Nov. 25th, 2015 09:43 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] ellen_fremedon, [personal profile] marymac, [personal profile] nja and [personal profile] truepenny!

Manhattan 2.07

Nov. 25th, 2015 10:28 am
selenak: (Breaking Bad by Wicked Signs)
[personal profile] selenak
In which various characters have to face where they draw the line. I continue to love this show when it explores moral dilemmas.

Read more... )

More Marvel

Nov. 25th, 2015 09:41 am
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
[personal profile] selenak
Aaand we have another Marvel trailer, this for for Captain America: Civil War.

Thoughts, based on the trailer but no MCU spoilers (other than what is in the trailer), since I'm actively trying to avoid those, though I will discuss the comics Civil War storyline (which by necessity was different anyway): we used to be friends. )

In another fandom entirely: while I no longer watch Once upon a Time, I still care about the characters, so I was delighted to find this "life and times" story for Milah, fleshing her out and giving us her pov: Ship in a Bottle.

Well, that was annoying

Nov. 24th, 2015 06:49 pm
oursin: a hedgehog lying in the middle of cacti (hedgehog and cactus)
[personal profile] oursin

Making a trip down to the library I have been doing research at and finding that it is closed this week.

Okay, you may say, you should have checked their website.

Except that last week I handed back my books and said I would likely be in again this week.

Did they say, don't forget, we're closed next week?

Did they heck.


This was particularly annoying because I had carefully organised myself so that I was only carrying my laptop bag and not my handbag: had I had my handbag with me, it would have had the card-holder thingummy with my British Library expired reader's card in it, and I could have hiked along the Euston Road and renewed it, chiz, chiz.

(Though I was planning on going tomorrow to do that thing anyway, after meeting of council of Learned Society I Have The (somewhat dubious) Honour To Be On.)

Also annoying: card through door from postman saying tried to deliver signed-for mail package, you may collect it from the sorting office (which is way in the back of beyond, or at least, not helpfully located in relation to public transport). For some while now deliveries have been habitually going to next door, including that time when they did that but didn't leave a card with the information. Maybe no-one was in next door.

And while I'm in this frame of mind, is it just me, or does it annoy other people, that thing where you sign an online petition for a Good Cause and a) get endless updates b) solicitations to spread the message (particularly irksome if one has already posted on FaceBook and Twitter) c) have them bugging you about other Good Causes?

On a related matter, I looked at that thing on the NHS and was overcome with existential despair, because this was really not something I felt I could usefully respond to within the framework provided.

And a further question in my mind about political matters: these various good cause sites tend to send me exhortations to email my MP about this that and the other. Living in the constituency I do, I tend to ignore these because I am pretty sure that Jezza is already for/against (delete as applicable) the matter. However, it occurs to me that maybe MPs like to say they have had X no of emails from their constituents?

(no subject)

Nov. 24th, 2015 08:47 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] claudine/[ profile] claudine_c and [personal profile] littlered2!
oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

Yesterday was Ms Evans (better known as George Eliot)'s birthday (196!)

Today somebody somewhere posted a link to this, which appears to be some years old: What George Eliot Teaches Us about the Life-Cycle of Happiness and the Science of Why We’re Happier When We’re Older.

(Written, we may say, in a style that makes us long for the pen of the mistress, except where it quotes from her.)

Which takes a fair amount of verbiage to say what Mary Ann herself put much more concisely: 'The long sad years of youth were worth living for the sake of middle age.'

Or as Edna put it, 'I tell you I am what I was, and more'.

Accountability check in 11/23/15

Nov. 23rd, 2015 07:27 am
masqthephlsphr: (TGFV)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
Yesterday, I finished the chapter I wanted to have done by the end of the month. It's gone back and forth from being referred to as "chapter 14" and "chapter 13" multiple times. Currently, it's chapter 14 again, because I realized there was an additional scene I needed to insert earlier in the story. That earlier scene isn't written yet, and I don't know when it will be written. By some of my previous standards of "done," chapter 14 isn't technically finished either, even though I'm calling it "finished."

Let's face it, no amount of perfectionism is remotely useful in the first draft. I have had way too many experiences where I slaved over the prose, research, technical detail, and plotting of a scene in a story, only to find that once I analyzed the plot after the first draft was done, it just didn't serve a useful role. Then you have to jettison it, but you don't want to because you worked so hard on it.

The interesting thing about actually "finishing" chapter 14 this week is that it is about four times longer than I had planned. It was supposed to be a transition scene between one setting and the next, the "quick road trip", so to speak. As I started writing it, however, I saw that the relative isolation of travel (in this case, in interplanetary space) was actually a good opportunity for the antagonist to ambush the protagonist and ratchet up the action while also forcing her to face some of her inner story issues head-on.

At the same time, bringing the antagonist in at this juncture makes it all the more obvious I really need to add a few more scenes to establish my antagonist's evolving motives better for the reader.

Which means changing the outline, and the schedule, because what’s coming out is good stuff that is both a logical plot development and more exciting as well.

Outline? Who needs a bloody outline. It's the first draft.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27 28
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 15
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 15
This month's goal: Chapter 14 15

In other news, I am sticking with the audio books. I finished The Girl in the Spider's Web in about three days and am currently "reading" Saturn Run by John Sanford and Ctein.

Jessica Jones

Nov. 23rd, 2015 10:57 am
selenak: (Abigail Brand by Handyhunter)
[personal profile] selenak
Reader, I binge watched. Of course I did.

Non-spoilery summation for comic book readers familiar with Alias: matches the noir detective tone perfectly (they even kept the first person narration, which in this case I think is crucial for said tone), uses elements from the comics but remixes them plus adds new elements, so even if you've read Alias, you won't know how it all goes down (other than Jessica's backstory with the main villain). The credits sequence echoes the covers from the comics, and there's the occasional panel recreation (like in the second scene, which is the opening panel from the first Alias comics recreated), but not often. The comic books characters making it into the tv series directly are Jessica herself, Luke Cage, Kilgrave, and with a gender twist Jeryn/Jeri Hogarth. Everyone else is either unique to to the tv series or while roughly fulfilling similar narrative roles to comic book characters so different individuals that I wouldn't call them analogues, i.e. in the trailer and pilot you think that Carol Danvers' role as initially estranged best friend for Jessica in the comics seems to be taken by Trish Walker, but in fact Trish and Jessica have a very different backstory and a different type of relationship as the result of it, so I wouldn't call Trish the equivalent of Carol, she's too different. (But awesome!)

Non-spoilery (except for the premise already shown in the trailers) summation for people who never read a single line of the comics and may or may not be roughly familiar with the MCU: excellent female centric (and not just because of a female main character) series using hard boiled/film noir tropes - the cynical, hard drinking private eye with a backstory trauma and bad attitude but drive to help people beneath it, most of all - more often than not in a genderflipped way. The connections to the rest of the MCU mostly happen through the very occasional dialogue reference, and one crossover character from the Daredevil series whose role, however, can be understood without having watched either Daredevil or anything else. Which means you can watch this whether or not you're into other areas of the MCU. The physical violence level is a bit less Tarantino-esque than Daredevil, though there are some nasty deaths; it's the emotional violence that makes for the true horror element. In connection with that: the only on screen sex we see is consensual, and there's no female nudity at all. (Even during said sex scenes, the female characters remains clothed.) However, because one major theme is mind control, the backstory most definitely includes rape on every imaginable level, and the series explores the consequences of this to several characters (both female and male), including our heroine. It's very much a survivors story. It has a seasonal arc with a main storyline that concludes in the finale and some ongoing subplot threads setting up a second season, which I definitely hope the show will get.

On to spoilery talk beneath the cut. )


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