shadowkat: (Default)
For Women's History Month: Three ladies that revolutionized the music industry and broke through barriers.

1. Etta James - 1950s, blues singer who defied classification and opened for the Rolling Stones in the 1980s. She died just a few years ago. And struggled with drug addiction throughout her life.

Here's one of her tunes:
Read more... )
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid-1950s, she gained fame with hits such as "Dance With Me, Henry", "At Last", "Tell Mama", and "I'd Rather Go Blind" for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.[2]

James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.[3] Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

2. Nina Simone - Known as the high priestess of soul, she was also a strong social activist, and wrote and sung songs about the Civil Rights Movement.
Read more... )
Here's one of her songs, a favorite of mine entitled Four Women written and sung by Nina Simone in France. It's about four different women, who are different colors.

3. Tina Turner

Tina Turner battled domestic violence against Ike Turner and the music industry to become a powerful female performer in her own right and a pop icon.

From wiki:
Read more... )
Here's my favorite signature Tina Turner Song, which she originally sang with Ike Turner, but now sings on her own quite well:

Two earlier versions of the same song as performed by Turner:

And here's the Ike and Tina Turner version of Proud Mary )

And for Tina and the current fight in the US Senate/Congress for the passage of the Violence Against Women Bill, I'm including one more songstress who wrote about domestic violence, Janis Ian - "His Hands".

[As an aside, in a former life...I volunteered with the Domestic Violence Coalition - Legal Aid of Western Missouri, to obtain orders of protection. (Not restraining orders, we couldn't get those under the law at the time, but we could get an order of protection which was basically the same thing. What a lot of people don't know is many states still have laws on their books that permit husbands to beat their wives, since "wives" were considered "property of the husband" under the old laws. This shocked me when I found out about in Missouri. Most states have fought to put new laws in place.]
shadowkat: (work/reading)
Me: I wanted to be a writer. It is the one thing I always wanted.
Momster: But You are a writer.
Me: No -
Momster: You write all the time, entries in a journal, several books, long business memos, articles for church...constantly.
Me: I'm not published
Momster: You mean you are not a recognized writer, but that does not mean you aren't a writer, a really good writer at that.

After reading The Fault in Our occurs to me that we do not see ourselves so clearly or the world around us for that matter.

Hazel Grace: You are never satisfied. You want to be a hero, you are afraid you will not live to do great things. So you won't be an NBA basketball star, a noble prize winner, a great war hero or live old and become a famous writer like Peter Van Houten...those things can't happen. But you loved me, we had a love, we did these things, you touched people - it's as if I'm not -

I've read all these blurbs from self-help books about hunting a purpose, finding a way to contribute and touch lives in great ways, to do what we love...and yet, I I not doing it in my own fashion.

Momster: I remember reading your work as a child, it wasn't very good. Now, it's night and day.
Me: I worked hard at it...but never quite -
Momster: No, you did. You are a marvelous writer now. You worked on it all the time and continue to do so. Daily. You write business memos and things and that can't be easy. I don't know how you do it.
Me: I love to write.

Walking through Barnes and Noble struck me, how many writers there are. Of different shades and sizes and strokes. So many in the Young Adult field. Then I wandered into Book Court and saw still more. Different ones. The two book stores did not, oddly, carry all the same books, you'd think they would. But no. Catherynne Valente was in Barnes and Noble but not in Book Court, while Lauren Groff appeared to be only in Book Court, although I could be wrong about that. I found it reassuring to see so realize how many I'd never heard of. To know to write doesn't mean to survive past one's due date...merely to tell a story that touches others, while the writer falls away. I know this because I flipped through John Green's other works and much as Hazel Grace realizes about Peter Van Houten...I realized the writer is not the story. Even if it somehow magically arises from his or her mind. It took me a while to figure it out about Whedon as well.

We or I fall in love with a book or story, whether it be in film, book or tv form...and when it completes...I find myself hunting other works by that writer, hunting more. I want more of that story I loved. I want it to continue forever. Not to end. I want to marry that story. I want to be it's wife and bride. To sleep with it (and I actually did try to do this as a little girl - it didn't work but I did literally try it - I tended to want to make the metaphorical literal back then as small children often will seeing very little difference between the two or at least I didn't). To live with it. I do not want it to end. I do not want to let it go. I will replay it in mind. I will re-read it. I will re-watch. And how dare the writer kill off any of the characters.
But it does end, of course. It stops. Even if it is in a middle of sentence. There's an end.
And even if you search out and manage to find other books by that same writer - you won't find that same story. Even if you are lucky enough to hunt the writer down, and find him or her on a blog, on the internet, in their house, at a con - the most you will get is a picture taken, an autograph and maybe some new stories, but no answers to the one you read. No true sequel or continuation past its expiration date. You can't bribe them to give you what they don't have.
And you realize that its not the writer you love, that the writer isn't your best friend, but his or her story.
Read more... )
shadowkat: (Calm)
1. At church, we had a sermon or speech on "unsolving the woman problem" - Read more... )

2. This is by means of introduction to three interesting female television genre writers, who are in some respects far more versatile then some of their male counterparts. Say what you will about Marti Noxon, Jane Espenson and Rebecca Rand Kirshner's work - they have with courage and dignity carved a place for themselves within the television landscape, taking on writing jobs on series that their male counterparts on Buffy never would and coming up with a far more versatile resume as a result.

I've always found fandom's worship of male show-runners a bit annoying.Read more... )

1. Marti Noxon
Marti's bio )

more on Marti and her episodes, including quotes from various interviews )

Various Marti Episodes on Buffy and how they dealt with gender )

Jane Espenson

Jane's Bio )

interview links and snippets )

a breakdown of Espenson writing for Buffy and how it dealt with gender issues )

Rebecca Rand Kirshner

Rebecca's Bio )

links and interview snippets )

Rebecca Rand Kirshner Buffy episodes and how they relate to gender issues and the themes of this post. )

All three women writers added a certain degree of balance to Buffy and their work like all media, comments on societal constructs. They've gone on to carve paths for themselves in a difficult field. Some with more success than others.

What is not known about their contributions to Buffy?

* Jane Espenson came up with the idea for Robin Wood as Nikki's son. She also came up with a lot of the monsters.
* Marti Noxon created the characters of Spike and Dru and their relationship. Drusilla is Noxon's creation. Noxon also wrote and directed the ending of Fool for Love. In addition Noxon sung the theme song for Cordy's tv show in Birthday. And Noxon created the characters of Anya and Tara, as well as cast both roles. Anya is in some respects based on Noxon's own lack of a filter and is close to the writer in real life. Willow and Tara were based on a close friend of Noxon's lesbian relationship.
* Rand Kirshner Sinclair - became the go-to person for crazy or insanity in the series. She also helped with the Spike/Harmony and Spike/Buffy relationship, along with Willow/Tara.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
My female writer meme which I attempted with mixed results, has inspired me to try something new in this journal. We'll see if I can keep it up. Once or twice a week, I will attempt to post an essay on female writers and directors - celebrating and highlighting their work, with links to their work and to their history.

Since February is Black History Month in the US, I'm starting with Black Women Writers and Directors. I will most likely concentrate on the one's whose work I am familiar with.

The following three women writers have many things in common besides gender and race. The main one is each has found a way to show the world that we need to learn to see beyond race and gender, that neither define us absolutely. They are a part of who we are, but not a defining factor. And we need to learn to see past them. Women can be firemen and surgeons. They can be gods. Black or white or purple. And should not be placed in cages. But these women find a way to show not tell this. They do not speak from soap boxes or bully pulpits or blogs, but instead through the poetry of stories, visual and written. Pulling the reader or viewer inside their minds, so we can see through their eyes.

Shondra Rhimes

Shondra Rhimes is known primarily for the creation of Grey's Anatomy - a ground-breaking American medical drama that focused on the lives of female and male surgeons, but has a female centric point of view. It is also amongst the few dramas to feature an interracial cast and a lesbian relationship at its center.

Rhimes is amongst the few black female television show-runners with a hit show that has been in the Neilsen top ten for more than 7 years. And has been nominated for multiple Emmy's including several during the series initial run.

Read more... )

2. Octavia Butler

Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. Amongst her works is possibly the best time travel sci-fi novel I've read Kindred or at the very least the most memorable. It is about a woman in the present pulled back into the distant past - due to her connection to a slave-owner.

spoilers for Kindred )

I read Kindred back in 2003 and can't forget it. It stays with you long after you've finished. Each word indelibly imprinted on your consciousness. What's interesting about it - is it discusses an interracial relationship in the 1970s, and in slave times. As well as the wounds of slavery, and how we can never quite get past them. Dana's husband is thrown back with her, and works on the underground rail-road. You see slavery from three points of view. A book that I highly recommend everyone read.

Butler's sci-fi novels include:

The Patternist series - Wild Seed is the first book in this series of novels.

Wild Seed, the first book in the Patternist series, was published in 1980. In Wild Seed, Butler contrasts how two potentially immortal characters go about building families. The male character, Doro, engages in a breeding program to create people with stronger psychic powers both as food, and as potential companions. The female character, Anyanwu, creates villages. Yet Doro and Anyanwu, in spite of their differences grow to need each other, as the only immortal/extremely long-lived beings in the world. This book also explores the psychodynamics of power and enslavement.

Butler's novels much like Maria Doria Russell's The Sparrow, explored biological and anthropological issues in science fiction as opposed to technological. As well as religious themes. These books were begun in the 1970s and 1980s.
Here's a list of Octavia's works )
And here's a snippet from an article by Octavia Butler - in O Magazine:

Octavia Butler's AHA Moment )
3. Maya Angelo

Maya Angelo is a jack of all trades, a chanteuse, a writer, a director, and a poet. She's also an activist. I have regrettably not read much of Maya Angelo.

From Wiki:
Maya Angelou (play /ˈmaɪ.ə ˈændʒəloʊ/;[1][2] born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928) is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her first seventeen years. It brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award.

I would add that she is in some respects best known for her poetry. See below.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Poem )

Maya Angelo is also a director - she directed the film Down in the Delta which was the first film directed by a black woman director.

Her screenplay,Georgia, Georgia (1972), was the first original script by a Black woman to be produced and she was the first African American woman to direct a major motion picture, Down in the Delta, in 1998.

For more information on Maya and her works - go here:
shadowkat: (Calm)
I did that whole Female Writer post wrong last night. So trying again. What prompted this is the realization that most people online go on and on and on about their favorite "male" writers. It's Whedon this, or Moffat that, or David Milch, or Aaron Sorkin or RT Davis or Neil Gaiman or Gene Roddenberry, JJ Abhrams, and Ron Moore...but where are the ladies? Surely there are female writers in the film, television, and fan world that you adore?

So trying this again.

If you should happen upon this post - please come up with at least one, more if possible, female writers that you are "Fannish" about. That you adore! They can be novelist, they can be television writers, they can be playwrites or comic book writers. I'm betting most will be novelists. But try not to copy other people's. Yeah, I know everyone loves JK Rowling, but any one else?

Let's Celebrate the Female Writers that we are fans of.

Here's mine - these are writers that I'm a fan of and follow their books or stories religiously.
And railed at, just like I've railed at the male equivalent.

1. Jane Espenson. She's written for just about every science fiction/fantasy tv show on. Started with Star Trek - DS9, Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, BattleStar Galatica, was the show-runner for Caprica and Tru Calling at different points, wrote for Torchwood (although I haven't seen it), and the only woman writer for Game of Thrones last year, has written comic books, and is currently writing the best episodes of ABC's new hit series Once Upon a Time. She can write comedy or drama. And she's down-to-earth. With a blog. I've been known to follow Jane E about, and she is by far my favorite writer of the Whedon series as a person. OR the only one I'd want to sit down and have tea with.

2. Kim Harrison of the Rachel Morgan Bounty Hunter series - yes, a novelist, and while not brilliant always, I adore her characters. And her story which is truly unique in the urban fantasy universe. One of the few that blends science with gothic horror fantasy. And a female noire tale to boot. Start with Dead Witch Walking and go from there. Also in the world-building department?
Few are her equals.

3. JK Rowlings...Harry Potter Books - I doing her, so no one else will. I'm evil that way. But I also adore Rowling's. She created a world. The detail of it is quite extraordinary. It's a child's fantasy world - or a world a child would dream up not an adult, with fantastical candies and jokes.
It also addresses adult and child issues such as classism, bullying, racism, and discrimination in a manner that is accessible to everyone. Rowlings doesn't preach in her novels or tells, she shows you her world and lets you play inside it.

4. Jane Austen - was always a fan of Austen. But yet another novelist. Dang-it. What I loved most about Austen was the banter. She was hilarious. Her books are satirical takes on her time and the manners and etiquette of that time period. They last, because the issues she had with class continue today, along with gender.

5. Anne McCaffrey - another novelist...all of mine are novelists, this is a problem. I've read all of her books, I think or most of them. My favorites were the dragon-riders of Pern series, because hello, telepathic dragons. (Now not so much a fan, so probably shouldn't be listed here...I haven't read her in over 20 years. Sort of how I feel about her male counterpart CS Lewis, who I loved and abandoned in much the same manner).

I can't think of any film writers that I've followed faithfully, maybe Kathryn Bigelow, but she's a director not a writer. Diane English - I loved Murphy Brown but little else. I don't know.
Can you think of female film and television writers that you adored. And watched whatever they did with the same fannish glee that you might fellow male counterparts such as Joss Whedon or Stephen Moffat? Who are your goddesses of the written word?
shadowkat: (Calm)
After reading Theresa Rebeck's bio on wiki, it occurred to me that online we go on about male television and film writers a lot, but seldom mention female writers.

So here's a challenge to anyone who comes across this post - see if you can name at least five female television and film writers, also playwrites count. But include at least one favorite female writer for television. And name the tv show or film that she wrote. [ETC: Wrote this too quickly last night. Should have stated "Name your FAVORITE female television writer or film writer - the one you have followed who sticks in your memory that you are "fannish about"].

Here's my list and why I admire them and love them :

Celebrating the female writers in a male dominated industry )

I came up with six. Can you come up with more?
shadowkat: (work/reading)
[This thing is chock-ful of typos and I'm too bloody tired to proof or edit it, so...I hope you'll forgive me. I'll try and edit it tomorrow. Okay it is tomorrow, later tomorrow. ]

I am irrationally attached to your characters. There. I said it. I’ve reached a point where even if I don’t like everything a work of fiction does, I believe the characters enough to the point where I almost react to them as if they are real people. Do you know this feeling? It’s where a show or a book can fuck up and do some ridiculous plot you hate and you don’t care about but you still watch or read along because their faces and I just want to hold them all so tightly. - Mark Watches regarding Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV Series third season episode "Lovers' Walk".

I don't know if this is true of anyone else. But every so often I will run across something said in a book, a post online, a blog, an email, or a tv show that sort of states clearly and succinctly what I've felt, but didn't quite realize it. It's obvious of course when I read it. And I think...yes, THIS, exactly.

Today, I came home and scan read this week's Entertainment Weekly, which had a lengthy article entitled Shippers. And it talked about how people become obsessed with relationships or characters in a television series - specifically in relation to the Twilight books (which turned shipping mainstream even if it existed long before that) and television series such Castle, Bones, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries (four shows that I don't really ship anyone in and of the four, only one that I'm still watching.) Apparently David Boreanze (ex Angel, now Booth on Bones) has become a "mainstream" shipper icon thanks to Buffy, Angel, Bones, and the fact that he is 6 foot with chiseled model good-looks. (Which probably means James Marsters is the icon for the cult underground shippers like myself...I never did like the popular boys. Geek may have gone mainstream, but I haven't.)

And of course...there's my past history with tv shows and books or stories in general where I've fallen head over heels in love with the characters. I could care less about the writer - some nasty god or goddess who takes the characters in directions that do not always meet with my approval. I've been known to write better and more interesting outcomes for my beloved characters inside my own head.

Breaking the Fourth Wall or Die Writer Die, When Characters Become More Important than the Writer, contains spoilers for Sherlock Holmes novels, Star Trek Next Generation, Buffy, Angel, and the first version of Battle Star Galatica, also mentions Star Wars. )

Off to bed. I've got a headache. I think I've been writing too much this week. None of it creative writing. I miss that. And it boggles my mind when people tell me that they need internet programs to get themselves to write daily - at least 750 words a day. I think - if you need someone or something to make you write, maybe you shouldn't be writing? Life is to short to make yourself do things in your spare time that you don't enjoy. I love writing. I write better than I breath, unfortunately this is very true. Be better health wise and spirit wise, not to mention for sleeping and singing, if I breathed better. I don't need writing courses, I need breathing courses and singing courses...I've decided I'm going to try to learn how to sing. It's never too late for that? Right?

[This post was edited this morning. I added a few bits and corrected things. Such as Rechenbach Falls.]
shadowkat: (work/reading)
Was thinking about response to two different posts on my flist about fanfic - one was contemplating whether Angel and Spike would discuss the AR scene in Buffy, and the other was about why AU fic doesn't work.

What takes you out of a story?

It's an interesting question. I remember a short story I wrote in undergrad about my grandparents. My grandfather had had three brain tumors removed. I inserted this into the story. But it did not work for one of my classmates who'd read it. She had a relative who died of brain cancer, just one tumor, and felt offended by my story. The three brain tumors felt like overkill to her. It took her out of the story. Short of my bringing in evidence that this was real, which I could have done because it was, it was not real to the classmate.

Which brings up the next question - when does it ruin the story for you? Or does it?

For many people online, the AR or attempted rape sequence in Seeing Red took them out of the story. It wasn't so much that they did not buy the fact that Spike might attack Buffy, but how that sequence was shot. Buffy was shown as being unable to fight Spike off after what amounted to a minor back injury in a graveyard. Considering Buffy fought Spike off with little effort in various episodes, with far greater injuries, including fighting a hell-god, and Angelus, this was difficult to believe. Also Spike attacked Buffy in her bathroom of all places. Entering it much like he might a living room. And we, the audience, had never really entered this room before.
Plus the sequence was shot in black and white, drenched of color, and as if it were in a different show. It, in short, took many viewers out of the story. And with it, their suspension of disbelief. It was difficult after that episode for the viewers to trust the writer, they stopped.

In tv land, this event is often called a "jump the shark" moment. It's when the viewer questions the story being told and finds themselves thrust outside of it. A huge wall suddenly exists between the viewer and the tale. They can no longer escape into it - instead they are critiquing it. Their critical faculties have become engaged and have in effect hijacked their viewing experience. It's no longer enjoyable.

It happens all the time to me with fanfic...I'll be reading along, and suddenly a character does something that just does not work for me. Read more... )

Off to bed.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
It's late and I'm restless. Taps internet impatiently. Did finish watch S3 of Fringe finally, very weird series. Impossible to follow if you don't start towards the end of S2. There is no way that show can attract new viewers. It's more complicated than a soap opera. It has dual universes. At the end of S3? It merged the universes. And introduced a whole new wrinkle about the first people, which frankly made no logical sense. Think LOST's bit with time travel and magnets but thrown into a meat grinder. It is brilliant in places, there's an episode in S3 that takes place in Olivia's mind that pays homage to Art Linkater's animated film about Dreams, Chris Nolan's Inception (someone on Fringe is a Nolan fan - there's a lot of Nolan references in that show), and Star Trek (although that may just be Leonard Nimoy's presence).

Been thinking about criticism.

Me to Momster: You need to be critical of entertainment medium. Of things. Of information. You can't just accept it at face value. Thinking it through is crucial. Regardless of what it is.
Momster: Except for politics apparently. People seem to take that at face value.

(Newt Gringrich won South Carolina. Momster isn't that upset, because it means the Republicans don't a viable candidate and well the Republican Establishment hates him.)
politics, look away, look away )

Anywho...criticism is important. Critical thinking is important. Particularly with all those choices. So much information is sent to us on a daily basis. On tv? At least in the states, we have more channels than I know what to do with. Then there's the internet, also lots of information, competing blogs, etc. I remember having a discussion with a professional film critic/reviewer and writer about this. This guy has a degree in film studies, he worked hard to hone his craft and he writes beautifully. No text-speak, OMG, or CAPS. He knows his craft. It's Glenn Kenny who once upon a time wrote for Premiere Magazine.

Me: Is it harder to get jobs as a professional writer/freelance writer now with the internet than it was before?
Glenn: Harder? Try impossible. It's harder for everyone. There's so much competition, mainly from amateur bloggers. People who have no background, no knowledge, no film history or literary history.

He's right. I've read some of the upstarts, who's idea of writing is well "OMG" or "EVERYONE, I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!" They haven't honed their craft. You read some of them, and think, has this person read a variety of literature? Have they seen a variety of films? Go read Glenn Kenny, who I seldom agree with but has taken time with his craft. Or go read Rob Will Review - a guy who also honed his craft, read and watched a wide variety of series and has taken the time to explain what works and what doesn't in each in detail. He is more emotional in his reviews than Glenn, but he is also genuine. And blatantly honest. He's worked at it. Each review is different from the next. It's not boilerplate.
Rob is sort of like Mark Watches, except...more genuine, smarter, and a much better writer. Go read him instead.

I think reviewers and critics who make a living at their craft, require the same scrutiny and critique applied as those who make a living creating art. We are all evaluated at our jobs. I am.
You are. Whether it is as a student getting a grade, a teacher teaching a course, an actor playing a role, or a database builder - building a database. I do however agree with a poster, I think it was sue_world who told me a year ago that I shouldn't apply that level of criticism to fanfic or fan posts...she may be right about that. Should we be critical of the person who plays real well for free, who is doing it for love not money? After listening to a Harry Chapin Carpenter tune - Mr. Tanner several times at ipod keeps landing on it for some strikes me that a line must be drawn.

Mr. Tanner )
It's a song about a man who sang in his free time and loved to sing. He makes the mistake at his friends bequest to sing at a public performance in front of a Simon Cowell style critic. The critics tear him apart. And as a result he never sings again.

Criticizing someone like Joss Whedon or MARK Watches or Steven Speilberg or Nora Roberts or Stephen King...or even Glenn Kenny, isn't a big deal, we should do that. But not someone who is merely blogging on lj, or blogger, who is not a professional. Is not making his livelyhood at it.

It reminds me of another song...this time by Joni Mitchell, as sung here by Mitchell and James Taylor:
Read more... )
This song expresses more than anything else...the pure pleasure of seeing art that one creates for nothing more than the love of it. To not make a dime. What I loved about the Buffy fandom that I discovered in 2001 was people wrote and blogged real good for free. Constructed websites. Created vids. And art. They did it for love. Not money. The only applause...the posts and comments they may or may not get in exchange.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
1. Finished watching the newest episode of Grey's Anatomy - which was just wonderful, had a very good cry. Like all's a mixed bag, but this episode was simply lovely. That show is one of the few that can make me cry. I know, I know, many people see it as sentimental clap-trap. But it's one of my comfort shows. And it's very uplifting in a way, gives me hope. Plus no violence - well very little most of the time. Plus the only show on tv with an multi-racial female and male cast of all shapes, sizes, and ages. And a minority female head-writer. Watching Grey's is a wonderful thing. And I need my "happy shows". This one also provides ways to deal with grief and death...and like all serials it reasserts my faith in god/goddess - a being outside myself and the meaning within the seeming randomness of life's interconnecting pattern of events.

2. Oh great quote from Parenthood:

Drew (Teenage boy who inadvertently saw his mom having sex with his highschool teacher): Mom's just don't have sex.
Sarah (his mom - she's been divorced from his dad for years and he knows she's dating the teacher): And yet here you are.

3. There's this list on some macho hipster blog (clearly written by a guy, although you never know) - which states "Away with thee Harry Potter" and lists all of these books, that he/she/it thinks we should all read:

The thing of it is? I've read about half of them. And overrated is an understatement.where I grouse about the list...and some people's taste in literature )

4. Speaking of literature...reading the oddest gothic romance novel. Yes, another Loretta Chase, but I have no idea what to make of it. It's called Captives of the Night - takes place once again in 1828. Read more... )

Off to bed to read and hopefully sleep.
shadowkat: (Default)
Just finished marathoning Terriers - which was bloody brilliant, and will most likely be canceled after this year. Brilliant tv shows that thrill me tend to get canceled (not always, but quite often), while tv shows that put me to sleep stay on forever and a day (*cough*Hawaii50*cough*). Which basically goes to show you that my taste and the general mainstream American public's aren't exactly in sync 85% of the time.

Speaking of being in sync...did see the Harry Potter flick today, after church. Yes, I realize I'm behind everyone else online - who basically saw it when it first came out - ie. opening weekend. (Which begs the question - Do you guys like crowds?) The theater wasn't crowded at all today. But after looking at the audience, mostly kids with cell phones, I opted for the first row of the bleacher seats - granted the screen was a bit bigger from that position than I'm used to, but the cell phones were blessedly behind me along with the heads. It wasn't always like this - by the way. In the 1970s-1990s - it was actually pleasant to see a movie. People might chat a bit, or crunch on their nachos...but outside of that? They were fairly polite. Now? They text on their cell phones, check the time on their cell phones, check for messages, and kick the seats in front of them. Sigh. Folks? Seriously? Turn off your cell phone before a movie starts and keep it off. And yes, that includes texting, twittering, and anything else. Turning a cell phone on in a movie theater is like shining a flashlight and blinding everyone behind and beside you. Turn it off! If you can't handle doing that? Don't go to a movie theater to see a movie. Stay home. It's not tv that ruined movies for me, it's cell phones. Cell phones have turned ordinarily nice people into rude assholes.

But, thankfully, the cell nitwits did not ruin this movie for me. Because I sat in front of them.
The movie was quite enjoyable. Better paced than the book. Although I kept waiting for the scene that had the letter regarding Snape's undying love for Lily Potter...until I realized, no, that was in another book. My problem with Harry Potter is I can never remember when certain things happened. Not the major events, the more minor character moments. Did the Snape back-story happen in Half-blood Prince? Or was that truncated - ie, left out of the film version of Half-Blood Prince? Oh well, should be happy that I remember it all - considering I only read the books once.

What works so well in these films is the brilliant casting choices. Bill Nighy as The Minister of Magic (the good one), Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Ralph Fiennes as Voldmort, Helena Bonheme-Carter as Bellatrix Black, and the list of A-list British Theater and Film Thespians goes on.
Plus the actors cast as Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are fantastic. Considering they had relatively little acting background prior to being cast in these roles in the beginning - that's rather amazing.

In some respects - I like the films better than the books, or rather the latter ones - which were less interested in duplicating everything in the books to the exact detail. JK Rowlings - god love her, overwrites. And needs an editor. But all writers do. The publishing industry just has gotten quite lax in that area of late. It's not that books used to be written better than the ones out now, it's that they had better editors.
reviews of Harry Potter and Terriers )

Off to bed.


Oct. 17th, 2010 10:14 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
Momster: Barabara Billingsly died today.
Me: Who?
Momster: Mrs. Leave it To Beaver - you remember?
Me: Wasn't she already dead?
Momster: No, she died at 94. You should remember her - you actually saw her and Tony Dow in person in high school drama class. It was Max Brown's class. You came home and told me all about it. About how she always wore pearls and it helped put her in character?
ME: Uhhh...I have no memory of this. (Struggling to remember...the best I can do is come up with a foggy pic of two people sitting on stage answering questions, but that's it.) Sure it wasn't Junior High?
Momster: No, high school. I remember you telling me.
Me: okay. You are doing a great job keeping track of all these old tv and movie stars and their deaths. While I'm keeping track of well the younger ones. What a pair we make.

Kidbro was a huge fan of Leave it To Beaver, watched it endlessly. We used to fight. I wanted to watch Battle of the Planets, he wanted to watch Leave it To Beaver. Kidbro's taste continues to
blow my mind. And of course we are both highly opinionated people, argumentative, self-deprecating, and with a dry wit (which we inherited from dear old Dad.) Kidbro also likes Three's Company, Bangle, Angel the Series better than Buffy (although he did watch both and to my incredibly embarrassment, had a friend compliment him on having a sister who wrote a massive amount of meta on the topic. I don't think anyone (who hasn't gotten paid for it) has written more. What can I say? Too much frigging time on my hands? Yep. Oh well, I met some really cool and smart people through it. Was also on a rather sane board - ATPO - our fights usually went off on sub-tangents about Shakespeare, 18th Century History, Zen Buddhaism, Indonesian mythology, and biological selection. We also had a knock-out, drag-out fight over Campbell and cultural anthropology. And an interesting battle over whether women could be effective firefighters and police officers. Much more productive than the shipper wars and Spike wars - which appear to be going on ad naseum. Seriously, people are STILL fighting over this stuff. Different players, same words. Highly amusing, and aggravating - at the same time.

Speaking of fights. My father (Popster) has the same tendency I do. Here's what happened at his small group ministry this past week.

Question: In one sentence, how would you describe Jesus Christ?

Popster: An illiterate Jewish peasant.

Me: So how did that go?
Popster: Not well.
Me: You answered the question from the perspective of an historian.
Popster: Pretty much.
Me: I get the feeling that was not the response they were looking for.
Popster: You know what they had under my high school photo in the year book?
Me: What?
Popster: Skeptic and frank with words.
Me (sigh): So, what you're telling me is the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree?
(Like it or not, folks, we are our parents children. My father's father was a skeptic, not religious, and frank with words - he had a very dry wit and was critical.)

See? Is it any wonder that my favorite character is a snarky vampire who makes fun of things including himself? I don't mind snark - as long as the writer mocks themselves. I mock everything about myself. My pseudonyme. My interests. I don't see my taste as sophisticated. I watch daytime soap operas, hello, and enjoy weird shows that no one has heard of. I criticize myself before anyone can get there - which may explain why I hate criticism. IF you are highly self critical, you tend to see the criticism coming a mile away and are hyper wary. I see all the negative responses to posts, before the positive ones. I delete and edit my snark. (Yes, I'm snarkier than you actually see. In my last review I kept deleting things that I knew some of my readers would take the wrong way. I always am. I edit as I write. And if upon re-reading a post that I've posted, I see something that will or could be misinterpreted (and trust me if I've learned anything about net posting, people always misinterpret what you write, there will always be at least one person will read what you wrote in a way you never ever imagined or intended. And trying to convince them that they read it wrong ...ends in a game of :yes you did, no I didn't, yes you did, no I didn't. ). Best you can do - try to fend that off.
rather lengthy post that starts in one place and ends in another...I was working something out about my feelings regarding fandom, art, culture, my own love/hate relationships with it through this piece of writing )
This post is for me more than you. Through it - I'm hunting for my better self. My charitable self.
My ability to see a side other than my own. It is through writing that I cope with my world. It is through writing that I understand myself and those around me. That I can see my own contradictory and conflicting thoughts. It is through writing and always has been and hopefully always will be that I deal with the shadows, nightmares, dreams, and chaos that is both internal and external, and part of my life.

As final word on this very long rambling letter post...I had a nightmare last night. It was quite vivid. I was at a nightclub or bar, with members of my flist/fandom, and Joss Whedon had come to see us, along with two other producers and writers. I had a manuscript I was going to show them.
Part of the dream was me frantically hunting it. The worst part though was finding it and reading my poem or story or what not to them, and having Whedon rip it to shreds. Tell me how horrible it was, how amateur, and shrug off. Ignore me. It was so real. And I hated him. And in the back of my mind...which forced me awake, I wondered why I dreamt it. And thought thank god, it's just a dream, only a dream, and never ever will happen.
shadowkat: (Default)
Gloomy day. Overcast, with an insistent misty drizzle. And in the 50s. Wore a coat for the first time in a while, which I didn't mind. I actually liked putting on a jacket and sweater for a change of pace. Gotten bored of the summer clothes. This is why I live in NY or the northeast and not, the south. But could do without the insistent gloom, looked like a day out of an Edward Gorey cartoon.
Supposed to be this way pretty much all week, but with any luck will let up in time for the weekend, when I'm off to take my Aunts (K&M) to the theater. They are in town from the Poconos.

If a woman does not keep pace with her companions, perhaps it is because she hears the beat of a different drummer, let her step to the music in which she hears, no matter how measured or far away - from Walden Pond (by way of Brothers and Sisters, which changed the pronouns, and Henry David Thoreau) I rather like that quote...seems to fit me, forever and a day. Albeit makes me feel dreadfully lonely at times.

Read more... )
shadowkat: (Default)
Whenever I post something on my journal online, does not matter what it is or the style I choose, I worry about how people will choose to respond to it. I can imagine all the possibilities, and certainly speculate about each and every one, but I never know how exactly they will respond. And the responses invariably are the opposite of what I expect and more often than not surprise me. Proving that human beings are not predictable and defy categorization or definition. And to be honest? I can't even predict what my own taste or interest will be on any given occasion. It is constantly in flux, inconsistent, and often defies pattern-analysis or pigeon-holing. The best I can come up with is that I am intrigued by certain aspects in characters or human behavior. Why people do what they do, and in particular the decisions people make that defy expectation, that go against what one might predict.

Thought about the tv shows that I currently adore and don't want to miss in comparison to those that I half-watch or am more ambivalent about. Or even those that I tried and quickly gave up on. What is it that keeps me enthralled? What is the common deminoator. Why do I want to pick Lone Star as opposed to The Event next week? OR why do I adore House but find Castle dull?

Here's a list of the shows that I adore, with a quick explanation of what keeps me enthralled. Well, I will certainly attempt to be quick. Please note the style of this post is more serious in tone and less conversational. This is deliberate. It means, I'm being serious and not snarky. I change my writing style to fit mood and intent. It's my way of letting the reader know how to respond or rather how I will most likely read their response.

If you choose to do this yourself? Basically list the tv shows or books or films or whatever you adore and explain why. Is it a character that keeps you enthralled, or a theme, or a plot?

1.House )
2. Vampire Diaries )

3. Smallville )
4. Supernatural )
5. Grey's Anatomy )
6. Gossip Girl )

7.Mad Men )

I meant for this to be brief, but I apparently had more to say regarding the shows and this topic than I thought. But, it's late and seven tv shows is enough. I know, I know, I watch far too many. Please, I beg of you dear reader, do not attempt to pigeon hole me by these shows, because I have not listed all the ones I watch. And most of these, I rarely discuss. And it would be wrong to state that these are the only ones I love or that I love them all the time or are always compelled by them.

There is for instance The Good Wife Read more... )

Or for that matter tv shows like Glee - Read more... )

And finally The Big Bang Theory - which is the only sitcom I'm DVRing at the moment, with possible exception of Community - which I'm on the fence about. Big Bang sucked me in. Sheldon who is annoying, yet endearing. Leonard who is the Oscar to Sheldon's Felix in Big Bang's reworking of the Odd Couple. With Penny playing straight woman to them. At first it felt sexist, and perhaps it still is, but when you realize the pov, it isn't. I watch for Sheldon, who reminds me at times of my own cousin, an odd cat, brilliant yet dumb, contradictions. And I guess it is here we see the pattern - I love the contradictions. Characters who are contradictory things. Greg House who is nasty, yet also kind. Damon who is cruel, but comforting. Razor sharp, yet vulnerable. Two things that don't appear possible. Good and evil, light and dark, male and female, lies and truth, life and death...all exist hand in hand, yin and yang, both inside us at the same time. No one truly is just one or the other. We have male and female aspects in our personalities. Some swing more one way than the other, some are clearly both. The contradiction fascinates me. How we handle having both? How do we choose which is which or what is what? Characters that are contradictory are human, characters that aren't - well are idealized versions or simplestic allegories of what we want human to be.

It would be simpler, I think sometimes, if I could be pigeonholed. If I could swear that I'm good, that I would not hurt anyone. But I don't know what I'll do. I try not to, I choose not to. But there are days that I am wickedly stupid and cruel, and others that I am kind and wise. Characters who traverse this landscape, who struggle with the inherent contradictions inside and often flail wildly, as they hover over the abyss intrigue me. I root for their survival for them to succeed, but I never know if they will - any more than I know for certain any of us will.

Stories for me - are ways to deal with pain, with fear, to understand myself, to understand others, and to laugh, to love, to cry, and figure out the problems...that haunt dreams and nightmares. I do not expect others to share my tastes or the stories and characters I've fallen for. I am, in truth, more often than not, somewhat surprised and bewildered when they do. I was shocked to find so many people around the world of various ages, creeds, races, sexes, etc - who adored Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And that so many loved it in the way I did...shocked me even more.
I did not expect it. I was equally shocked to learn people loved Kimba as kids, as I did.

It is actually more shocking to me to find those who share my views, than those who don't. I expect the rejection, I expect the argument. I dread it. Hence the worry about posting. The fear.

You want to connect, but you don't expect it. And you think how silly, or rather I do (you here is meant generally not specifically), it is just a tv show, just a story, not worth the worry or the time to write about it. The term the idiot box is ground into my head by peers, parents, teachers, bosses..And at work, it is a rare thing to find someone who watches the same show I do. But we rarely speak of it. There are no water-cooler chats - which others brag over. So, in most cases, not all, the watching of the tale or the reading of it is a solitary invent. The sharing of it - a gift, whether that sharing be in joy, or mockery, or ranting...the meeting of minds over one of the three or all together - brings a laugh or a smile. While the discordant disagreement a rise in blood-pressure and painful self-examination...struggling to understand the other view, while at the same token, struggling to explain my own without erupting with frustration in my failed attempt to do so. I think when the latter happens, that I've failed miserably as both writer and reader. And wonder to myself why bother at all. While at the same time - I rail at myself for caring so much, and am deeply embarrassed. As well as thinking, disagreement is good, it challenges.

The problem with life, sometimes I think, is there are no clear-cut or comforting answers. Only endless questions.

[I'm writing this on my new MacBook PRo, which I'm still getting used to.]


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