petronia: (postcards from Italy)
...Does anyone still have the end to this old Tenipuri fic saved. orz

I HAVE LOST THREE COMPUTERS SINCE THE TIME I ASKED IN 2011 so there is, again, no backup copy. This time I'm @#$% finishing it and uploading it to AO3. I suppose I have improved as a writer, not so much because the current stuff reads any better (it does, marginally) but because the dashed thing no longer holds any terrors. I don't know what was so difficult about it anymore, other than the fact that it's about Oshitari and Atobe negotiating an aspect of their lives that at the time I started the fic I hadn't finished negotiating myself (had barely started, really).
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Did I end up by forgetting to make a story cards post on LJ/DW? Yes, yes I suppose I did.

Comments are screened. Input your address if you would like a holiday card from me. (This is an essential step this year because my laptop got stolen a couple of months ago and so I don't have an address list anymore -- I can find some addresses in my email, but I don't have the list of people I usually send to.)

Also input a prompt if you would like a story with that card! I can't promise everything but at least this year I promise not to do that thing where I end up not sending the card because I got stuck on the story. Because I am An Grownup And Stuff.

If you already sent me something via Tumblr you can ignore this one, unless of course you've changed your mind and want something different. XD

Read/watch

Nov. 22nd, 2013 03:31 pm
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The Canyons, on sororial unit's Apple TV. Through the first scene you're like "Wow what have I gotten myself into," but then you keep watching. It's completely ludicrous and morbidly compelling, which I guess makes it a successful Bret Easton Ellis movie -- actually, of the ones I've seen, probably the best at conveying the mood of a Ellis novel (it never was a novel). It must be said that Lindsay Lohan is one of the greats.

I've wondered why I give Ellis the time of day, given complete ludicrousness etc. and came to the conclusion that dude basically writes non-supernatural horror. I mean, sometimes I have thoughts like, maybe the acting is terrible because the ppl dude writes about really are that stunted IRL, how would I know, but it's like asking The Cask of Amontillado to be sociological commentary on 19th-century Venetian nobility.

***

Twelve Years a Slave. I don't find Steve McQueen clinical and frankly kind of judge people who do; that suggests to me that you require some sort of Vaseline smear between yourself and reality, because McQueen is simply intensely present, in both senses of the word. It's been said that Hell is an eternal present, and so McQueen happens to be very good at portraying inventive flavours of Hell, to add to his obvious interest in the exercise. Allotment of spoons being what they are, it's OK to not see this movie because you don't want to squat in Hell for two hours. But he's also good at, I dunno, creeks. Creeks are very present things too, as Annie Dillard noted.

As McQueen's career continues I look forward to plotting his Hells on a matrix. XD; This one is decidedly non-self-made, meaning it is political. The mainstream reviews have combined into a mega-slab of Liberal White Guilt(tm) but none of the ones I read captured how McQueen digs to the heart of the horror; it's not that the protagonist is relatable, but that the story is correctly Kafkaesque. Slavery is absurd -- a terrible and absurd thing to do to a person. The main character falls into his situation absurdly and abruptly, and falls out of it just as absurdly and abruptly (OH HAI CANADIAN BRAD PITT). Alice in Wonderland, Odysseus and the Lotophagi -- you're never more intensely present than when you're stuck in a nightmare you can't wake up from, and for some reason Benedict Cumberbatch is there too.

I also really liked the gazebo. (It's hard to explain without spoilering the structure of the entire thing.) This movie seemed more museum-piece arty to me than Shame, actually; there were a lot of highfalutin' arty choices, like how the white supporting cast is a rampaging horde of "name" actors doing accents and how the slaves spoke to each other, not in the language that 20th/21st historical fiction might put in the mouths of slaves, but... something else. Maybe an early 19th-century novelist who had never been to the South and/or had no interest in simulating it. Maybe this was the language that Northup's memoir attributes to these people (I haven't read the book).

***

Switching gears, Thor 2: The Dark World, which I wrote up on Tumblr and in Kristin's LJ comments. Probably not going to do it again here. XD I will say in addendum that I liked the "Ta-da!" bit. That felt really Comics Loki.

***

Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red. Read this probably more quickly than I should have -- it's a long prose poem, but a short novel. If I had to specifically pin it to a genre I would call it a present-day non-superpowered m/m AU of Greek myth, but... yeah. It is not technically wingfic because the character had wings in the canon too. It was just a thing.

DON'T GIVE UP: YOU, TOO, MAY LIVE TO SEE YOUR PRESENT-DAY NON-SUPERPOWERED M/M AU TECHNICALLY NOT WINGFIC OF GREEK MYTH PRAISED BY ALICE MUNRO AND MICHAEL ONDAATJE ONE DAY. NOT SUSAN SONTAG THOUGH BECAUSE SHE IS SUPER DEAD.

As with Bret Easton Ellis, everyone returns in a later book, older and not wiser!

Read/watch

Oct. 28th, 2013 08:29 pm
petronia: (Default)
Aeon Flux season 3, Deleuze/Guattari's Mille Plateaux. Possibly these are the same things! For extra credit I'll listen to a Knife record.

I think I may never have seen Aeon Flux season 3. I have no memory of it. I have no memory of, uh, this stuff containing dialogue or a semblance of linear narrative. Google is not doing well at coughing up pretentious cultural studies essays other ppl must have written in the 1990s. I don't mean like Freud 101, I mean like explain why you should cry tears of sadness that George Bataille didn't live to watch late-night MTV. Geocities is dead, yo, repost that shiz.

Other TV: watching Agents of SHIELD -- it has the same mystery plot as my dumb fanfiction, but less sex pollen. Watched a few eps of Elementary S1, a few eps of Attack on Titan, and a couple of eps of Adventure Time just so I know what is what.

Movies: Gravity was very good. Wanted to see Prisoners but it fell through. Going to see The Counselor tomorrow.

Also picking up Pilgrim at Tinker Creek again, since the seasons have turned.
petronia: (postcards from Italy)
Where did the year go, etc.

I haven't picked up any tiny fandoms this year, when you get down to it; so it comes down to offering JoJo and testing editorial policy regarding the relative obscurity of Marvel comics. Like, from experience I know that Young Avengers is probably in, and Hawkeye wouldn't be used as a test case in the post if it weren't in... But then are all ongoing Avengers serials out if they have the word Avengers in the title, cos there are like five of them (I am reading four). Is Guardians of the Galaxy acceptable if that team currently contains Iron Man. And does the TV show count as "movieverse" or is it now a never-before-seen numinous thing known as "live-ac-TV-verse" (there are also various animation-verses).

That being said, if I really want to write a Kate Bishop and Agent Coulson in a hotrod story I should probably just write it instead of trying to con the universe into giving me an excuse to write it.
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Left out a couple of items from last week's, actually:
  • Also watched the Rurouni Kenshin movie at Fantasia, finally. Loved it. It was better than the anime. And it's not even the Kyoto Arc! (Reality check, guys: by your 2013 standard, the first season of the Kenshin TV series is not good.) The condensed plot and action choreography were smartly executed, but the performances were what did it for me -- Satoh Takeru really nailed that combination of physical grace and weary gentleness that I think of as primordial to the Kenshin character (these days; I'm not sure I picked up on it in my callow youth). There's a transparency to him, like an old item of clothing that's spotlessly laundered but worn so thin it's nearly see-through, though you can tell the material was good quality once... Kaoru was very good, Sanosuke was very good, Saitou was very good -- though you have a little more leeway with Kaoru and Sano, and none at all with Saitou XD so I didn't expect they would screw up those characters, actually. But Kenshin himself is a tough one, both to cast and to act.

    I'm not sure why they lost Aoshi and Misao, though? Unless the idea is a straight swap for Saitou being introduced here as opposed to the Kyoto Arc, which leaves both storylines cleaner and, well, lets them introduce Saitou in the first movie. *checks wikipedia* Hey, I was right!
  •  

  • Re-watched Prometheus with my family. I liked it better the second time around, actually -- the part of it that's classic SF is very strong. The Weyland-Meredith-David relationship, and then the David-Weyland-Engineer relationship: immortality of the body, dissolution of the body, genetic immortality, memetic immortality, relationship versus one's creator, relationship versus one's parent... The part of it that's Hollywood space action monster movie is still full of people doing inexplicably dumb shit. It pains me to say this, but even Idris Elba's and Charlize Theron's characters having sex was in context a really dumb thing to do.
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Books:

Tanith Lee, The Book of the Dead (Secret Books of Paradys #3). Found used, chowed through these stories in short order. Going for, I don't know, not Poe but Poe as translated by Baudelaire back-translated into English, or some of the weirder efforts by Maupassant or Wilde or Henry James. Uncritical wholesale adoption of 19th century racial imagery makes Joseph Conrad look like Jean Rhys, but otherwise a good read.

Marta Acosta, The She-Hulk Diaries. Read about half of this in July; it was the only book I was up for. If you Google it, the first hit that comes up is The Mary Sue's review, which seems roughly to be the intended audience. Is a well-written genre exercise that, well, exists in its entirety as the reification of a Borgesian one-liner joke ("female attorney lives in NYC, has adventures with wacky friends, used to date character played by Robert Downey Jr. -- Ally McBeal, AMIRITE"). I like how Marvel occasionally greenlights corny genre exercises, though ("Spider-Man from Mary Jane's perspective is basically a shoujo manga, AMIRITE"): one thing I like about the universe is that it's shaggy and riotous enough to potentially swallow or be shoehorned into any genre. It shouldn't actually matter that the genre is ostensibly "female-oriented", because girls also like these character, right? Right? I did wander away from it halfway through, though, because I like Jen Walters considerably more than I like chick-lit.

Marguerite Yourcenar, Sous bénéfice d'inventaire. Critical essays published in 1962. One is on Cavafy, which I should probably read again with the poems in hand. The best one is the Red Violin-esque history of the château of Chenonceaux. And from the essay on Piranesi's Imaginary Prisons: the image of Piranesi sleeping rough in the ruins of Hadrian's villa, sketching by sun and moonlight and surviving on cold rice, catching malaria and ensuing fever dreams of endless enclosed architecture... The nonexistent Escher drawing that was De Quincey's (opium-addled) report of Coleridge's (faulty) memory of said engravings. Morpheus's realm... Got a used copy of The Memoirs of Hadrian in the same lot.

Movies:

A whole list from Fantasia I'll address separately. Also went down to the Bryan Singer event for a lark, as I passingly mentioned on Tumblr. That moved me to actually go see The Wolverine, which... I'll also address later since I have to get out of here. XD; I will say that I liked the scene in Nagasaki when the obasan came around the house and was like, Mariko-sama! A tree fell over and is blocking the road! But word went around that you brought a superpowered gaijin lumberjack down with you from Tokyo! I mean, that is what Wolverine-in-Japan should be about, what it would actually be about to the Japanese, rather than what comic writers keep trying to make it be about. Tragically however there is no scene of Wolverine in a yukata eating odango off his adamantium claws, which is all I ever wanted out of the operation. Close, but still no cigar.
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I got a promotion, or rather I got a somewhat different job at the same company. So I am currently wrapping the one up while trying to get a head start on the other (this involves meetings. Lots and lots of meetings. It's a boss-level job, though I am not specifically the boss of anyone).

So, different home and different work in the span of three months. XD; My instinct is not to announce these things -- I actually hate how "life changes" are supposed to be the subject of social bulletins; not other people's, but like if I got married or moved to California it would occupy enough of my time/spoons without OHGAWD having to make a big deal of it, my social life is supposed to be a break from my life life -- but I thought I'd try, yanno, not being a weird person for once.
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Still no books. Like I maybe read three Cavafy poems. Went to see Pacific Rim, which was very exciting but also disappointing. Part of that is me: I have watched a scientific amount of This Sort Of Thing, can call the reveals before they show up, so as far as I was concerned all that could be hurried along in favour of some non-predictable characterization beats (arguably I liked the Charlie Day/Ron Perlman sequences best). Which Del Toro is capable of; it's not like I'm asking Michael Bay to eke out Oscar-winning performances here.

In fact, I kind of suspect Del Toro worldbuilt for a 24-ep TV series, wrote for a 6-ep OAV, shot the equivalent of two movies, then edited it down to a Hollywood-acceptable one. That's the sort of vaguely dissatisfying perfunctoriness the result has: like watching the glossy big-FX-budget movie version of a really great TV anime. Then you're left explaining to your friends after the Fantasia Film Fest matinee showing that no, actually, in the manga those pilot teams that LITERALLY HAD NO LINES were really cool personalities and had their own backstory chapters and everything.

Mild spoilers. )

And yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, KAIJU VS GIANT ROBOTS. I'm not even much of a monster movie fan, but dude is an auteur when it comes to creature design.
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I've been back since Sunday night of the week before, but work has of course exploded and I was recovering besides. XD; I don't think I've ever taken a vacation during which I was outside so much. If I wasn't hiking around archaeological sites, I was swimming or traipsing up and down endless flights of stairs while carrying a heavy backpack. It was two weeks of cross-training. I suppose I didn't start off very fit: I've lost 3-4lbs of fat but gained 10lbs of muscle.

For instance )
petronia: (postcards from Italy)
Haven't updated the read/watch log for a month, but yesterday I was almost able to think about reading a book, so figured I'd do that. XD I mean, I'm still following all the same comics, and I went to see Man of Steel. It has its problems (most of which fall under the rubric of "that shit was dumb, write better draft pls"), but I sort of... don't care? I always wanted Superman to be a sad SF story about dead parents and lonely aliens, and here it is a sad SF story about dead parents and lonely aliens. Also, Lois. Like really I don't remember much about the third act, it was just this white noise crescendo of I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF MY NINETIES HET SHIP REACTIVATING.

You know, it has finally come to this: Clark Kent's glasses are hip. Maybe I'll write a fanfic.

In seriousness, I would have liked it better if it were more "metaphor for immigration experience" and less "metaphor for Jesus," but that's asking a bit much maybe. But I do feel like DC's put themselves in a quandary: how are they going to manage a "dark", "gritty" Wonder Woman in this vein without it coming over all scorched-earth feminist?

Like, there is an Alternate Earth out there in the Multiverse where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman adaptations are executed as explorations of the complexities of class struggle, the immigrant experience, and feminism respectively. But it's not this one, right at this moment.

...Oh and also I watched Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters on the plane. As G. said, it just misses out on so-bad-it's-good. But actually, the movie works so hard to mitigate the dodginess of basically being all about, yanno, killing women, that it feels quite progressive. The obvious solution of having male as well as female witches seems not to have occurred to anyone. (This would have changed nothing w/r/t the plot.)
petronia: (postcards from Italy)
In Mykonos: I haven't the gumption to look them up, but there were a few recent articles in which scientists puzzled over Homeric descriptions of colours. How could the Aegean be the same colour as wine, or a bronze mirror? Was puzzled by their puzzlement upon reading, and confirmed in my puzzlement now, because of course the sun shining on the Aegean is precisely the same colour as a metal cup of dark wine and/or a bronze mirror (the Greeks had no glass for either). It's categories like "blue" or "purple" that are poorly applied.

(I am going out again VERY SOON but to my surprise this place has kind of been driving me nuts. It's not very hot, but there's too much wind and too much light. Too much light! I've always wondered how Cortázar eked sinister madness out of the Cyclades, but now I completely grok him. In groundbreaking news, it turns out the ancients did not just randomly point to an island like "our solar deity was born here," there was a reason for it. They grow ONE palm tree still on Delos, for the form, and probably have a deal of a time keeping it watered. I was fine with the heights of Delphi, though.)

EDIT -- I hadn't really put this together, but this weekend is mid-summer AND the full moon, so yeah.
petronia: (Default)
Look, this month I've... )

My point is, there has been no reading. My books are in boxes. I have been writing in snippets, with the goal of posting the new chapter before I take off. I went to see Now You See Me, which is basically a meta Vegas magic show, and fantastically entertaining as long as you go in 1) unspoiled, and 2) in the same frame of mind you'd bring to a Vegas magic show, meta or not. The script becomes terrible as soon as it ventures into "dialogue" or "characterization." Cut for mild spoilers. )

Also watched three episodes of Hannibal. The storytelling is weird? Eg. sense of time is farked -- I couldn't tell if two days or two months has passed between episodes 1 and 2. Supporting characters and antagonists are not intro-ed in the way you'd expect of a procedural, somehow, even a mystical and impressionistic one. And so forth.

Further initial thoughts. )

And redux

Jun. 11th, 2013 07:38 pm
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Bumped into a dude who looks exactly like Sebastian Stan in the elevator to a doctor's appointment (yes, Subdee, it was a medical clinic in a high-rise building). Sorry for not holding the door for you even though you were on crutches, dude. I would like to claim paranoia but in all honesty I was surprised.

You expect a little bit of this with every story, it's how the world seems to work, but this one is particularly... something.
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Skipped a week because there really isn't all that much reading/watching going on. I'm either working, running condo-related errands, or at MUTEK. I carry a few comics in my bag so I have something to do during intermissions and subway rides, but that's it. (And even then I mostly play Candy Crush or Blendoku. XD;)

Books bought:

* I-Ching: nice big bound edition, $5.
* Fodor's Guide to Greece: vacation planning.
* C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems (Daniel Mendelsohn): if you want your Cavafy with 300 whopping pages of historical notes on dudes like Julian the Apostate, this is the edition for you. The translation strikes me as felicitous, though my sense is that modern English is one of the better languages for re-rendering Greek poetry anyway. Of course, we're still within the same constellation (i.e. Carson, Yourcenar, Borges... E.M. Forster appears in the margins. I should get back to A Great Unrecorded History; sort of wandered away from it a third of the way through, way back when, but it's good to read the occasional biography about someone who was truly nice and liked).

Comics:

cut for mild spoilers )

Movies/TV:

Watched a few more eps of JoJo. Am up to 15 now, I think?

I downloaded a couple of eps of Hannibal because the Tumblr flotsam itself was giving me weird dreams, and anyway it's been renewed so I figured I may as well just watch it. XD; Haven't had time, of course. If/when I do I'll write it up with Matthew Herbert's One Pig performance at MUTEK (in short: a sound collage composed/abstracted from a pig's life/death. At times quite disturbing. One of the live miked inputs was a chef cooking a complex pork-based dish onstage. I am not sure what it was exactly, but it smelled delicious. XD;;).

The more I thought about Star Trek Into Darkness, the more it seemed like one of those "Yes, but it would be a grillion times better if you did X instead" movies. Luckily, [livejournal.com profile] ladysisyphus wrote it up in exhaustive detail so I don't have to. (Great minds think alike?)

Mostly, they should get someone other than JJ to direct, though that is probably inevitable now anyway. Given that they're going to make these, they should've made this one two years ago.
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Went to see it twice: once with group of friends (Trekkie), once with sororial unit (non-Trekkie). Will write it up for the weekly read/watch meme, probably.

Spoilers, but everyone who means to has seen it methinks. )

OK, there is this (seen in various places):

I have 32 works archived at AO3. Pick a number from 1 (the most recent) to 32 (the first thing I posted there), and I'll tell you three things I currently like about it.
petronia: (Default)
Books:

Not much this week. Got through a few more chapters of the Mark Atherton since I posted last, IIRC; am about halfway through that one now. My best reading experience this week was actually an interior design photobook called New Small Apartments, in a nice thyme-scented bath with a campari soda. XD I've never wanted a big house -- it feels ridiculous to walk and walk just to get from kitchen to bedroom, and I hate cleaning floors. My current place is 375 sq.ft. without the balcony, enough to qualify as Officially Small, but the apts in this book are in NYC and HK and Tokyo and Paris, where if you're dropping a cool million on a 2 1/2 you may as well hire an architect to renovate it.

New place, by the way, is 892 sq.ft., which is all the space I will ever need in my entire lifetime. Any bigger than that and it'd have to be because I decided to start a wine cellar or take up metal welding as a hobby or something.

Anyway, this reminds me that I keep a mental list of "stuff I would be incapable of explaining to Captain America," and second on that list is theworstroom.tumblr.com. (First on the list is that Lana Del Rey video where A$AP Rocky is JFK.)

Comics:

Chiho Saito's Dangerous Liaisons manga. Whatever you are thinking right now: yes. It is exactly like that.

EDIT -- went to the comic book store, so chowing through serials, only stopping to comment on All The Freakytrigger Posts. XD; That's Avengers Assemble 12-13 (Natasha story! ft. Chekov's karmic marker and surprise Pizza Dog), and the very Whovian 15AU (I am... missing a 14 I guess?). New Avengers 5 (backstory and cliffie), The Enemy Within #1. Dunno if I'm plowing through all of these tonight.

Movies:

Went to see Kon-Tiki. Eh, all right I guess -- felt like the script worked hard to generate interpersonal conflict for ~drama~, whereas tbh the book didn't give one the impression there was any. Read more... )
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It is pneumonia. XD; A very small pneumonia, I am told! Barely a bronchitis really! I have been put on Biaxin for five days and it has not made me sick, so that is already a plus.

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