"The power. The passion. The danger."

Jul. 22nd, 2014 07:06 pm
selenak: (Eva Green)
[personal profile] selenak
Casting news (in one case older news for most people, I'm sure) that made me realise my priorities and double standards:

a) Bradley James is in the fourth season of Homeland. Sorry, Bradley James, I loved your Arthur Pendragon in Merlin, but there were a lot of reasons why I quit watching Homeland in early s3, among them loss of quality and questionable ideology, and I'm not going back.

b) Lucy Lawless is the the second season of Agents of SHIELD. Now this is a show I haven't watched so far; my flist/circle had about two third naysays, one third (all the more enthusiastic) yaysayers about it, there were so many other interesting shows to watch, and also I'm so fond of the MCU I didn't want to risk dampening the emotion by disgruntlement should I dislike AoS. However, Lucy Lawless in the Marvelverse? Must have! (Unless she's only in one episode, I should acertain that first.) (If you recognize where the quote titling this post comes from, you might feel similarly.)

Meanwhile, further news both on the Lewis & Tolkien and the solo Tolkien biopics in planning demonstrate someone's (be the publicity people, the reporters, or, heaven forfend, the scriptwriters) lack of actual knowledge re: Tolkien and Lewis, as is entertainingly pointed out here.

Penny Dreadful:

We have a Penny Dreadful vid! And a good one, covering the ensemble and the relationships between same - with one unfortunate exception. Which, sadly for me though not for the vidder and the vid, happens to be the relationship I'm most interested in. There is a complete lack of Malcolm in the vid (and hence also no Vanessa and Malcolm). Which reminds me that last week when someone at last posted Penny Dreadful icons, I was delighted...until I saw there were no Malcolm and no Vanessa and Malcolm icons. Alas. Anyway, back to the original point, which was: a shiny vid about a lovely twisted Victorian Gothic show:

A Shot for the Pain (11 words) by Franzeska
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Penny Dreadful (TV)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Fanvids, ConStrict 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past:

Missing scene type of fanfic covering how old Erik and old Charles reunited, which is just what I need when the angst elsewhere gets too much:

Rescue Me (2492 words) by Unforgotten
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
Characters: Erik Lehnsherr, Charles Xavier
Additional Tags: Pre-Movie(s), jailbreak, Reunions

Against all hope, Charles and Erik reunite at the beginning of the Sentinel War.

And lastly, not completely unrelated to the beginning of this post, something only funny if a) you know German, b) have a vague idea about what the Bavarian dialect sounds like, and c) are familiar with a certain 1990s fantasy show made in New Zealand: Xena auf Bayrisch.
oursin: Frankie Howerd, probably in Up Pompeii, overwritten Don't Mock (Don't Mock)
[personal profile] oursin

Via a comment in yesterday's post by [personal profile] hunningham:
How to Read More: The Simple System I’m Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year

It is to point and mock at Little Mr Gradgrind, C21st incarnation:

Now, there are plenty of excellent articles on the web, but generally speaking, the quality of good books is better. Books typically have better writing (more tightly edited) and higher quality information (better fact-checking and more extensive research). From a learning perspective, it’s probably a better use of my time to read books than to read online content.

I might feel more confident about this if I didn't think he was using this time to read Really Useful Books of a kind that will become obsolescent very fast (the sort of thing I see all over airport bookshops).
I usually wake up, drink a glass of water, write down 3 things I’m grateful for, and read 20 pages of a book.... As of today, I’m 100 pages into my 7th book. At that pace (7 books per 10 weeks) I’ll read about 36 books in the next year. Not bad.

Here’s why I think this pattern works: 20 pages is small enough that it’s not intimidating. Most people can finish reading 20 pages within 30 minutes. And if you do it first thing in the morning, then the urgencies of the day don’t get in the way.

Finally, 20 pages seems small but adds up fast. It’s a great average speed.

If time allows, I’ll read at other times as well.... But regardless of what happens during the rest of the day, I still get my 20 pages in each morning.

While working out on his treadmill and glugging down a nutritious breakfast smoothie of kale and blueberries, no doubt.
What if you woke up an hour before you needed to each day and worked on yourself? How much better would you be at work, in your relationships, and as a person?

How much trying to keep my eyes open would I be?

We do not think that the concept that reading can be a pleasure and something one does not grind through at a 20-page a day rate (honestly, that sounds like the reading-reducing maintenance diet for the reading addict, no?) but pursues avidly in any spare moment has really crossed his horizon: '[I]nvest in yourself. Before your life turns into a whirlwind of activity, read a book that will make you better.'

I sure hope this young man does not come across one of the pieces abou the value of playfulness - such as this one encountered recently - because he'll then have to schedule in some time to be freely and spontaneously playful. Or his head might explode...

Give the guy a P G Wodehouse and see what happens.

Though, ghastly though the above may be, I am also vaguely creeped out by this: Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism. No, really, I am not entirely on board with the concepts such as:

* AGGRESSIVE SENSITIVITY. Animated by a strong determination to be receptive and empathetic.

* ALIGNMENT WITH THE INFINITY OF THE MOMENT. Reveling in the liberating realization that we are all exactly where we need to be at all times, even if some of us are temporarily in the midst of trial or tribulation, and that human evolution is proceeding exactly as it should, even if we can't see the big picture of the puzzle that would clarify how all the pieces fit together perfectly.

which make me want to bop him one with a codfish on which I had tastefully calligraphed Desiderata ('Go placidly amidst this, punk').

It's Raining!

Jul. 22nd, 2014 05:14 am
fresne: Circe (Default)
[personal profile] fresne
I realize it's a brief summer rain and won't do much for the drought, but laying in bed at the early hour and hearing rain. Running outside to hold my arms up to the heavens and turn my face up and feel warm drops fall.


Slightly belated anniversary

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:43 am
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)
[personal profile] oursin

For some reason I tend to think it was 21st, and it was 20th, July when I first got onto LJ, 11 years ago (and yesterday got eaten by a migraine).

Both 'time flies when you're having fun' and 'that seems like a very long time', and certainly there has been a lot of water under many bridges since then.

And so many things that would not have happened if I hadn't.

Hands round glasses of whatever beverage seems suitable and seasonal to you all and raises one myself.

Forbrydelsen (The Killing) Season III

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:31 am
selenak: (Katrine und Henne by Goodbyebird)
[personal profile] selenak
This show being what it is, I had to wait till I felt up to the inevitable darkness I was sure this last season of the Danish mystery series would contain. But now I marathoned it.

Watching Sarah Lund, her jumpers and her thousand-miles-star for the last time )
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I really think more could be made of this, but it is a slight movement in the right direction when an article on loneliness among the relatively young can say:

using technology to help you meet new people can be beneficial. And if for whatever reason you are unable to venture outside, the internet can bring solace. Mumsnet has been "an absolute godsend" for Maddy Matthews, 19, a student with a two-month-old daughter. Since the birth, she rarely sees her university friends and her partner works most evenings. "In the first few days, I was up late at night feeding her and I was worried I was doing something wrong. Being able to post on Mumsnet has helped me feel less alone".

Point thahr misst in the usual smack at FaceBook (not that I have any particular axe to grind for a not particularly satisfactory space): 'a study of social media at the University of Michigan last year found that... Facebook reduces life satisfaction': as I have remarked, FB tends to be about superficial interactions involving people already in one's social circle, rather than a place to meet new people who share one's interests/concerns/current situation. Duh.


However, it is the same old usual moonlight shining drearily down on this list of One Hundred Best American Novels, 1770 to 1985. There are some odd choices there generally (Y O Y Chandler but not Hammett, WTF?), but do we not, my dearios, get the distinct sense that once we are past Mark Twain, the American Novel is SRS BZNZ?

Or, should I be making out this sort of list, which is, do admit, highly unlikely even when talking about areas which are more my Mastermind Special Subject than the Great AN, I would very definitely be including Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Because while a girl can't go on laughing all the time, neither does she want to go on being SRS all the time either.

Some vids and a quiz

Jul. 21st, 2014 04:11 pm
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
[personal profile] selenak
I strongly suspect one of the reasons why, by and large, I like the cinematic Marvelverse better than the DC-based movies, is that while DC ever since Nolan made his first Batman movie puts all their money on grimdark (both in themes and look) and shies away from anything looking remotely like it could be perceived as camp, the Marval guys embrace their comicbook origins and looks with gusto. (See also: Loki in full reindeer Asgard regalia in The Avengers.) This vid celebrates the comicness of the MCU (and the eyecandy) with equal gusto.

More on the thematic exploration side, but still MCU based, to be specific, about how Phase 2 of the MCU movies (Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Cap 2) had our heroes questioning the identiies they've built themselves without losing the drive to make a difference: Counting Stars .

Which was made by [personal profile] such_heights, who also made a great vid celebrating Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both show and girl): Level Up.

And lastly, I got 12 out of 13 questions right in this Beatles quiz, which is good or pathetic, depending on your pov. (I appreciated the questions weren't of the dumb "what were their last names" type you often find with quizzes.)

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2014 12:51 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] coughingbear!
coffeeandink: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeeandink

This is the email I sent to the Member Advocate in response to the decision:

I'm writing to object to the decision made in the Jim Frenkel harassment case. It is unsatisfactory both as a resolution to this case and as an indication of how Wiscon will handle harassment cases in the future. It is especially disappointing coming from a feminist organization. I've seen Wiscon go through turmoil and divisive arguments over the past ten years (the POC Safe Space, Moonfail), but I've also seen Wiscon demonstrate a commitment to doing better by reversing those previous mistakes and poor decisions. That is what I expected to happen with the two mishandled harassment cases (Jim Frenkel and F. J. Bergmann) that have been under scrutiny.

The Wiscon Subcommittee on the harassment case stated that "WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018)." This is a very obscure way of saying that he is only definitely banned for Wiscon 39 in 2015 and may return by 2016.

I am not in favor of zero-tolerance policies, primarily because they discourage people from reporting. However, Jim Frenkel's actions more than suffice for a permanent ban. The suggestion that he might be permitted to represent the con in an official capacity as a program participant or volunteering in another capacity just adds insult to injury.

To review Frenkel's actions:

1) He harassed Lauren Jankowski and Elise Matthesen on separate occasions in front of multiple witnesses at Wiscon 37.

2) Multiple women have come forward to attest that he has a long-term pattern of harassment of a period of years.

3) When his presence was challenged by Liz Henry at the con, he said that he had deliberately chosen to attend Wiscon 38 because of the public outcry after Wiscon 37, rather than showing any contrition or understanding of the impact of his actions.

I would be in favor of a permanent ban even if he had shown some sign of learning better, but the third point makes it especially outrageous that you are taking so many pains to give him opportunities to "reform".

This prioritizes the harasser over his targets, and is only compounded by the Committee's statement that

Any consideration of allowing him to return will be publicized in WisCon publications and social media at least three months before a final decision is made.

This requires the targets of his harassment to argue that their safety supersedes a harasser's well-being. How is this even an argument rather than an assumption at "the world's leading feminist convention"? This doesn't offer the targets the opportunity to speak for themselves; it just exposes them to public and protracted discussion of their harassment. I, personally, still do not ever want to see or hear the names of people who harassed me much longer ago than four years. Or one year.

I am not sure what can be done to amend the damage this decision has caused, but the following would be a start:

(1) The institution of permanent ban against Jim Frenkel.

(2) Yet another apology to Elise Matthesen and Lauren Jankowski for mishandling this case.

(3) Publishing the guidelines developed by this committee to handle harassment cases for review by the Wiscon membership. What to do after that would depend on whether the problem here lay in the process or the people. I regret to say this because I like and respect several individuals on the current Committee, but if it's necessary to rewrite the new guidelines, this should be done by people other than the panel for the Jim Frenkel case. This should not be allowed to delay the progress of Bergmann case, which has already gone on too long.

Except for breakfast rolls

Jul. 20th, 2014 09:31 pm
oursin: The Accomplisht Ladies' Delight  frontispiece with a red cross through it (No cooking)
[personal profile] oursin

As we were down at the old homestead for most of the weekend for a 92nd birthday celebration.

The rolls were basic buttermilk with coarse cornmeal.

I will probably have to bake bread during the week.

selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
Yesterday, when I had occasion to hunt for quotes, I was reminded of this bit in Lewis' early day memoirs, Surprised by Joy, about his teenage self - already a big fan of Norse mythology - distracting himself of the horror that was English Public School by writing. As one does. (The easiest modern day equivalent for the "Bloods" referred to in the quotes are high school jocks.) Quoth Lewis:

But the Northerness still came first and the only work I completed at this time was a tragedy, Norse in Subject and Greek in form. It was called Loki Bound (...) My Loki was not merely mallicious. He was against Odiin because Odin had created a world though Loki had clearly warned him that this was a wanton cruelty. Why should creatures have the burden of existence forced on them without their consent? The main contrast in my play was between the sad wisdom of Loki and the brutal orthodoxy of Thor. Odin was partly sympathetic; he could at least see what Loki meant and there had been old friendship between those two two before cosmic politics forced them apart. Thor was the real villain, Thor with his hammer and his threats, who was always egging Odin on against Loki an dalways complaining that Loki did not sufficiently respect the major gods, to which Loki replied

I pay respect to wisdom not to strength.

Thor was, in fact, the symbol of the Bloods; though I see that more clearly now than I did at the time. Loki was a projection of myself; he voiced that sense of priggish superiority whereby I was, unfortunately, beginning to compensate myself for my unhappiness.

While Lewis would probably be appalled by Marvel breaking up the Odin/Loki OTP by making them father and son instead of blood brothers and giving the fraternal relationship to Loki and Thor instead, methinks he would recognize the mechanism of (a lot of) current day fanfiction easily enough and be amused.

Incidentally, speaking of brothers forced apart by cosmic politics, the trailer for Ridley Scott's Exodus is out and it looks like this version of the Moses tale will go more into the Prince of Egypt direction than the Ten Commandments one in how Moses and Ramses start not as rivals but as friends. In fact, this looks more like a live action version of Prince of Egypt than anything else. (Incidentally, who first identified the Pharao of the Exodus with Ramses II. and why? Because Ramses II. is actually one of the Pharaos who got to live into a ripe old age and ruled for decades, which you'd think makes him an unsuitable candidate to have perished in the Red Sea. Considering Cecil B. De Mille did a silent movie version of The Ten Commandments first, it might have been his scriptwriters' fault, but maybe they got their ideas somewhere else?) The trailer also makes it look as if the current day moral trickiness of the Plagues, especially the last one where God kills all the first born of Egypt, will be addressed. Then again, Ridley Scott has an uneven record and could produce anything between a dud or something amazing. The visuals are bound to be great, though. Mind you, given that Noah flopped - obvious pun of "sunk" is too obvious -, I'm not sure about the success chance for biblical epics these days. Precisely because the idea of divine punishment sits so uneasily on our shoulders. Now, some of the core elements of the Exodus tale - an enslaved people breaking free, their oppressor vanquished - have guaranteed its adaptability and potential for identification through the ages (there's a reason why so many gospels use it, for example), but I think both presenting Moses as somewhat conflicted between his Egyptian and his Hebrew identity and writing Pharao as someone other than Evil McEvil tyrant and the Egyptians as someone other than Evil McEvil oppressors is a relatively recent (i.e. later part of 20th century and following) development. (One of the most original twists' I've read was Judith Tarr's novel Pillar of Fire in which Moses was in fact Akhenaten who had faked his death and became reborn in the desert, so to speak. I'm not sure she pulled it off successfully, but interesting it was.) Otoh, of course if the enslavement in Egypt isn't truly presented as horrifying, the narrative loses some of its power, and bearing Gladiator in mind, I'm pretty sure Scott will go for brutal oppression in Egypt. Otoh, "character who belongs to the ruling elite discovers he was, in fact, born among the oppressed powerless" is just his type of identity crisis. I didn't watch Noah, but I think I'll watch this one on the big screen.

...and in completely unrelated news: according to his interview with The Guardian, one of the things Edward Snowden currently does is marathoning The Wire. Somehow, this strikes me as very fitting.

Moonwalk One

Jul. 19th, 2014 11:04 am
masqthephlsphr: (robotsonmars)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr

This is a fascinating documentary, covering every aspect of the Apollo 11 mission and the science and technology that supported it. It also paints a layered portrait of the the world that was watching (not to mention a vintage glimpse at mid-century America. The business and restaurant signs! OMG!) Very human, poetic, philosophical, and informative at the same time. It brought tears to my eyes more than once.

I was too young to remember this event and the world it took place in. My mom tells me our family was like most others that day--glued to the television. At one point, my father took my older sister outside to look at the moon, but when there wasn't much to see you didn't normally see, she asked to be taken back inside to watch it on the television. Then she promptly got freaked out by the closeups of the astronaut's helmets, faces turned into black reflections.

I get very frustrated sometimes with the pace of humankind's exploration of space, but when I watch a documentary like this and reflect on what the world was like one hundred years ago, fifty years ago, I realize: I live in an amazing age.

Happy anniversary, Apollo 11.

The potency of fictive tropes?

Jul. 19th, 2014 05:01 pm
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Further to yesterday's post, someone commented elsewhere re 'threesome' guy getting his ideas from porn.

What is perhaps more surprising is the apparent influence of romcom tropes on male courtship behaviour.

Though this was perhaps already visible in the 'but whyyyyyy can't I make adorable spontaneous approaches to total strangers?' plaints...

Two Professors, No Waiting

Jul. 19th, 2014 11:57 am
selenak: (Galadriel by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
The announcement of a movie about the friendship between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis reminded me again how inconvenient real life often operates when it comes to dramatizing, especially regarding giving a story climax and resolution. The last time C.S. Lewis was the subject of a biographical movie, Shadowlands, it was focused on a relationship of his as well, true, but the death of the other main character, his wife Joy, and Lewis struggling through the immediate aftermath provided a natural third act and resolution, so to speak. Even so, the script simplified and exised people a great deal (Joy went from having two sons from her first marriage to having only one, Lewis' friends - Tolkien, Williams et al. - were all represented, sort of, as one fictional character named Christopher, and absolutely no mention was made of Lewis' pre-Joy decades long relationship with a woman, "Mintho" Moore. (As I understand it the nature of the relationship - filial, romantic or a mixture of the two - is still under debate, but what's not under debate is that he lived with her for decades and she hadn't been dead that long when he met Joy.) Mentioning this isn't meant as a put-down on my part, by the way. All this exising of characters allows for a tighter focus, I found the film very moving and superbly acted by Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger (one reason why I was so dissappointed when the film's scriptwriter recently was such an ass about his Mandela biopic flopping), and at any rate, Shadowlands isn't supposed to be about Lewis' entire life and never claimed to cover all the aspects.

Now, with Tolkien and Lewis, I wonder what kind of structure they'll go for. Act I: Our Heroes meet and hit it off between love for all things Norse and Tolkien converting Lewis to Christianity, leading to Inklings, Hobbit, Screwtape, Tolkien starting LotR, Lewis starting Narnia. Act II: Lewis dashes off Narnia books at top speed, happily mixing fauns and Father Christmas, and becomes a Christian Explainer To The Masses, both of which irritates Tolkien a lot for various reasons. However, "Fellowship" getting published and Lewis writing glowing reviews while suggesting Tolkien for the Nobel Prize papers over the cracks for a while, until the arrival of either Charles Williams or Joy Gresham or both (depending on whether the script wants to use both) in Lewis' life and Lewis insisting on Tolkien befriending them when he, Lewis, had previously refused to have anything to do with Edith Tolkien leads to serious enstrangement. Act II climaxes with a big argument. Act III: well, there's the problem. As far as I know, and I could be misremembering or not knowing in the first place, Tolkien and Lewis drifting apart wasn't, in fact, a dramatic series of arguments but more a slow and entirely undramatic series of contact lessening and terse remarks in letters to other people. It's not like either of them ever wrote a How Do You Sleep? about each other or attacked each other via the press. Why so restrained and dignified, English professors? I bet the script will go entirely fictional at that point, inventing both a dramatic face to face argument and (after some scenes of pining) an equally dramatic reconciliation (maybe after Joy's death), and it fades out with them sitting on a bench a la Bilbo and Gandalf early in the film version of Fellowship, two battered old friends together.

So far, so semi-serious speculation on my part. Now for some completely irreverent flippancy: fandom being what it is, if this movie will cast actors as Tolkien and Lewis who are in any way regarded as hot, there will be slash. Depending on how successful the movie is, it could be solely a tiny corner at Yuletide or the next Big Thing. If the later, I predict Joy and/or Edith bashing of the She Comes Between Them type as well. If Charles Williams exists in the movie, He Comes Between Them As Well, but that traditionally doesn't lead to bashing in a male character, it leads to rival ships. Williams could have a postmortem career as the next Castiel there, with Lewis/Williams the alternative to the big Lewis/Tolkien juggernaut, and a small but vocal minority writing Tolkien/Williams hate sex. Poor Mrs. Moore probably won't exist in this one at all, either, and definitely won't get played by Helen Mirren which as I seem to recall was A. N. Wilson's suggestion, but if I'm wrong and Mintho Moore makes it into the Tolkien/Lewis saga, and if there is even the smallest hint she's something other than a mother figure to Lewis, then she'll probably join Edith and Joy in the ranks of bashed female characters, and stories set in the early stages of the Tolkien and Lewis relationship will cast her as the villain trying to prevent it. Oh, if someone unearths Lewis' "Four Loves", to be specific, the essay praising (male) friendship and comparising favourably with male/female romance, then tumblr will go wild using photos from the movie with quotes.

...or the movie could sink without a trace in either fandom or critical attention. Or never get made. But where'd be the fun in that?

Vancouver area

Jul. 18th, 2014 04:02 pm
masqthephlsphr: (OUAT3)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
Last of the pics. The Sculptor and I had the opportunity to head up to [personal profile] midnightsjane's farm and see her horses and the new house. Bonus trip to Fort Langley afterwards.

Fraser Valley

Thanks to [personal profile] midnightsjane for letting us visit!

North Vancouver, including Capilano Suspension Bridge

Still pretty sure the forest area around Capilano Suspension Bridge is where they film forest scenes for OUAT and Highlander.


shadowkat: (Default)

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