bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I don't even go here, as they say, but [personal profile] toft & J. & [personal profile] marginaliana & I were talking about this rectangular livestock meme popularized by The Museum of English Rural Life, and one thing led to another. Happy early birthday, [personal profile] toft.

Title: Squares Are Everywhere (AO3)
Fandom: "Absolute unit" livestock meme
Music: by StoryBots (edited)
Length: 41 sec.
Content notes: Improbably shaped farm animals, brief ram genitalia
Physical notes: A few slide/push transitions
Credits: Images mostly via [twitter.com profile] TheMERL, with some from Ars Technica, Medium, eBay, etc. Info about the meme here; warning for fatphobia at top.

Embed & lyrics )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Doing

Work has been… not good lately. My boss' boss killed a long-term project of mine at the 11th hour that I was really proud of and looking forward to sharing with people. The nix came out of nowhere and despite approvals by all the other necessary parties, proposed compromises from me and vocal support from the rest of our team. That has taken the wind out of my sails.

I also struggled in the last couple of weeks with a series of decisions that shouldn't have been that hard. Well, I've got issues, but I realized this go-round that it's not all me, it's also other people not accepting a first "no thanks." Plus I think I have to quit my therapist and find someone less frustrating. Or just stop. Perhaps not surprisingly, I've had a strange, pressure-type headache for a week and counting.

However! Summer travel provides something to look forward to. I was approved to attend a conference in Switzerland, whee, and later will be spending a low-key week with some friends on the Cape, where I have never gone despite having lived in Boston for more than 10 years when you add it all together. Grateful to have been invited.

Listening

Achieved my first fannish goal for the year by upgrading to a paid Spotify account. Being able to play music on the TV (via Roku) has made a huge difference in how often I listen, and already the influx of new artists and songs has lifted my spirits and begun to replenish my dwindling collection of viddable music. One song wants to be about The Good Place, even though I had no plans to vid that show.

Watching

Back to usual habits: 26 movies and 3 seasons of television so far this year. No oomph to write reviews, but I'm sure the time and inclination will return at some point.

Some of that TV is a new-to-me 1990s show in case it sparks an idea for [community profile] equinox_exchange, because our matched fandom isn't working out and I don't know how to do things in half measures. (I talked to my mom about defaulting or phoning something in, and she reminded me that I won't be happy making something I don't like.) There is a movie option, but the right song hasn't presented itself. TBD, I guess.

Funny story about that: One actor struck me as good-looking in atypical way, and when I looked him up I learned he's the son of another actor whose photos I've had on my computer for years because he is also good-looking in an atypical way. Consistent taste is consistent! Now I see the resemblance, although I don't think I would have figured it out on my own, especially since they have different last names. /cryptic

Vidding

1. For stress relief and a friend's birthday, I spent half a day making a vidlet of the best kind: simple, silly and short. Stay tuned.

2. Intermittently editing a Longmire vid that didn't work out for Festivids: Mathias+Walt (or Mathias/Walt), Mathias POV, hopefully funny. Somehow there are zero Mathias/Walt fanworks among the 289 Longmire entries on the AO3, despite the characters having similar jobs and the type of contentious relationship fandom usually loves.

3. Planning [personal profile] deelaundry's auction vid.

Also, [personal profile] trelkez's Self-Curated Vid Show collection went live, in which 31 vidders submitted playlists they constructed from their own vid archives in whatever ways they desired. I've got two playlists in the mix. You can watch them here if you like. I'm looking forward to getting a better sense of people's bodies of work in the coming weeks.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Hm. My [community profile] equinox_exchange assignment is technically a match, but we're interested in completely different characters for our large, shared source. Am instead exploring a couple of other sources among their requests. Oh, well.

.

I went to a small gallery opening last night at Harvard Divinity School in which a recent graduate, a self-taught artist, painted a series of icons in the Byzantine tradition that depict Star Wars characters. So instead of Mary and baby Jesus, there's C-3PO cradling R2D2, radiant against a gold background, with their names transliterated into Greek.

The collection is called "Saints of Star Wars" and it is a super fun exploration of the intersection of fannishness and worship.

The artist, Alex Ramos (artist bio | academic bio), spoke for a few minutes and made himself very available for discussions with the few dozen attendees. Two faculty members also introduced the exhibit. As someone with only a cursory education in Christianity and art history and medium-level knowledge of Star Wars, I appreciated the context they provided and the framing questions they posed, such as:

- What is for us today an icon?

- Some contemporary SF/F properties convene religious communities. Ex. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, Jedi-ism as a self-entered minority religion on official census documents.

- Explanations of the inspirations behind individual paintings. Chewbacca after John the Baptist with fur cloak and curly hair. Luke after St. George and the Dragon. Anakin as an icon of redemption.

And as a Renaissance finale, a version of the Last Supper featuring Jabba the Hutt, which, if I heard correctly, the Divinity School commissioned. Ramos told a few of us about the decisionmaking behind placement of certain characters, notably Leia in the position of betrayer. In the second version he painted, she doesn't have a halo.

With bonus filk! Topping off the event, a local family choir performed two original Star Wars songs, one detailing Jabba's excuses for why he can't be nice and the other sung by Anakin Skywalker about the benefits of turning to the Dark Side. It was amusing in the sometimes cringey way of amateur performances.

On a personal level, I enjoyed chatting with not only Ramos but also a visiting scholar from Tuskegee University who studies at the confluence of bioethics, faith and gender; a young woman priest from Boston's Trinity Church; a biologist; and a faculty member at the design school.

Never has there been a more appropriate venue to overhear the exchange: "May the Force be with you." "And also with you."

ETA: The internet reveals a similar, digital series, Imperial Saints, designed by Patrick King.
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Signups for the fall/spring vidding comm [community profile] equinox_exchange close tonight. This round's theme is "1990s source." There are enough personal favorites on that list that for the first time, I'm signing up rather than waiting to see people's prompts and deciding whether to make a treat. (Given other projects & commitments, I'm trying to think of this one as an easy fill rather than a big investment like Festivids.) Dang it, though, I didn't think to nominate Powder or A Simple Twist of Fate.

Here are my requests!


Fandom: Brimstone (TV)
Characters: Ezekiel Stone, The Devil (Brimstone)

There need to be more Brimstone vids in the world! Like probably everyone, I enjoyed Zeke's flirtations with the Devil. A more spoofy song about how Zeke's manpain and fridged wife maybe haven't aged super well in the last decade could be fun too. I did unironically love many of the demons of the week, especially Gwen. Or: it's fun to be the devil?


Fandom: Roar (TV)
Characters: Longinus, Tully

Longinus!!!! Go whole-heart for Sebastian Roche's face + hair + angst, or make fun of it, or ship him with someone, whatever you like.

Alternately, I don't think I've seen any Tully vids, like, ever?

Or: If you can do a gen vid that makes the show look... like it was good/deep? That would be cool! :D


Fandom: Multi-Fandom
Characters: Alex Mack, Odo

Won't someone cross over Alex from "The Secret World of Alex Mack" + Odo from "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"? Liquefiable detectives FTW!!


Fandom: The Crow: City of Angels (1996)
Characters: Ashe, Sarah

I love Vincent Perez and Mia Kirshner's beautiful goth/emo faces. <3 <3


Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Characters: Odo, Weyoun, Dukat, Damar, Julian Bashir

Show of my teenage heart. Some ideas off the top of my head for favorite characters:

- Weyoun's worship of Odo
- Odo character study - justice & gray areas, search for identity as not quite changeling not quite solid. relationships with quark or laas or lwaxana or that femme fatale from that one episode where he gets to have a sort of romance. not into the odo/kira romance, though.
- Cardassians! Damar character study? Damar & Weyoun comedy hour? Dukat's hopeless obsessions with Sisko and/or Kira?
- Bashir character study - arrogance and humility in medicine? personal growth? individual relationships?
- Also see above re: super-niche request for a crossover with The Secret World of Alex Mack!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
What's that? Tentacles and morbid humor? Count me in.

It Came from Beneath the Sea is a classic B-movie about an oceanic creature that starts encroaching on human ships/submarines/beaches/cities because radiation. It features the special effects of legend Ray Harryhausen. There are a bunch of human scientists and military types, but whatever, we know who the real protagonist is. I was pleased to be compared to [personal profile] jetpack_monkey when someone guessed that he made this vid. :)


Title: Part of That World
Fandom: It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
Characters: Giant octopus, civilians
Music: from Disney's "The Little Mermaid"
Length: 2:34
Content notes: Sea monster attacks treated humorously
Physical notes: Stop-motion animation
A/N: A treat for [personal profile] gwenfrankenstien for Festivids 2018-9.

Summary: Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world

Links, embed & lyrics )

Commentary! )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Hey, did you know I like Longmire and Zahn McClarnon??? And yet only [personal profile] alpheratz guessed me for this vid? Probably because not a lot of people watched it, comparatively. Small fandom, last page of the collection index on the AO3, maybe scary-sounding warnings. I hope some more people give it a try after reveals; I really like how it turned out, sad and sweet, with a flow that hopefully conveys both the impact of individuals and the interconnectedness of community. (One person suspected [personal profile] sholio made this, which IMO was a good guess!)

No source knowledge required to watch this vid. I aimed to make the narrative accessible by telling a series of very small stories underscored by the lyrics. Of course, that said, knowing the characters and plots should certainly add depth.


Title: Hey, Brother
Fandom: Longmire (TV)
Characters: Ensemble, Cheyenne reservation
Music: Olivia Penalva covering Avicii
Length: 3:06
Summary: From hugs to bail money, from job creation to public protests, members of the Cheyenne community have got one another's backs.
A/N: For [personal profile] dirty_diana, who wrote, "I also love the recurring themes of handling trauma, both individual and generational," and said she liked Henry, Jacob and Mathias. Thank you to [personal profile] stultiloquentia for beta.

Content notes: Deaths, including of a teen; suicide by hanging; physical assault, briefly; implied domestic violence; off-screen kidnapping of children
Spoilers: 1x1 (Lilly Stillwater), 1x5 (Neel Cody), 2x13-3x10 (Henry's trial), 3x5 (Hector), 3x10 (David Ridges), 4x6-4x9 (Gab), 5x4 (Mingan), 6x7 (Tate)
Physical notes: Some camera movement

Links, embed & lyrics )

My goal was to scrape together enough footage of Cheyenne characters being visibly supportive to sustain a vid. Several challenges presented themselves. First, Longmire is a crime procedural, which means bad things happen to people more often than good things, and I didn't want this to turn into torture/sadness porn. Second, the main characters are white, so even though there are many episodes that focus on Cheyenne community members, the stories are usually told from an outsider POV, with Walt Longmire or Cady or Vic literally centered in the frame. That all meant that sometimes a short or awkward clip was still the best (or only) clip to use to show a particular character, set a scene or tell a coherent story.

It also means this vid depicts only part of the picture of Cheyenne plotlines on the show. Maybe a misleading one, for those unfamiliar with it? I hope no one tries Longmire expecting it to look like this vid all the time. It's still about Walt and his department, foremost.

More in-depth commentary coming soon!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
This year's favorite [community profile] festivids:

Goodbye by ? for walkthegale (The Innocents) - A vid of the movie based on the ghost story/novella The Turn of the Screw. Slow and spooky. Awesome establishing of pace and mood.

Dance to Another Tune by ? for thingswithwings (Runaways) - That subjective magic of source + song match, mood, progression, turning ordinary shots of things like the paper snowflakes into something haunting, a series of smart choices down to details like the cult choosing kids who theoretically won't be missed.

It's nothing at all by ? for runawaynun (Battle for Sevastopol) - The choice of Radiohead and the cutting style together create a beautiful flow of horrific events.

Unlock the Lock by ? for runawaynun (The Expanse) - Another good match of song and source and editing, a lovely portrait of Chrisjen and Bobbie and what connects them.

I Know What I Am by ? for colls (Ocean's 8) - How do you handle a source with so many characters? By using a song with two vocalists trading off repetitive verses, of course. I do love a well-structured and well-paced vid.

Plus 8 more )

Last but not least, thank you to ??? for making Graveyard Smash, an appropriately tongue-in-cheek fusion of the wacky, bloody, adult-rated film duo of Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein. In addition to reveling in the characters' over-the-top expressions, necrophilia, voyeurism, etc., the vid presents a series of fun lyric matches, such as the play on party/Party and the poor "Wolf Man." I promise there's more to the movies than inappropriate sex, should you ever wish to check them out. :)
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May 2019 will mark the 10th anniversary of posting my first vid online, and I thought it would be fun to do some write-ups about the journey, the process, some of the vids I've made and some that didn't make it or haven't yet.

Masterlist on the AO3

Let's start with something that feels contained: audio editing.

A rough count reveals that of 55 vids I've posted to date, 38 of them, or 69%, contain edited audio. Why?

Five reasons: )

Hope this is interesting to people! More to come. Still taking suggestions for topics.

OMG

Jan. 8th, 2019 07:47 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
This is not a sad story, I promise.

My 97-year-old grandfather was hospitalized at the end of December for a UTI. This happened a lot with my then-98-year-old grandmother before she died in 2016, so it felt all too familiar.

But he recovered enough to return to the "independent living" facility where he hangs out, and being otherwise healthy and cognitively intact and a naturally outgoing person, his main problem is feeling lonely as he convalesces, so my dad and stepmom and I have (separately) been calling him more or less daily.

Then he spent an afternoon in the ER because he had some bleeding. Somehow this was related to the UTI. Er, what?

The more we talked, the more the plot thickened. The UTI didn't occur spontaneously but was a complication of a catheter, since removed. Why had he had a catheter? He'd had surgery. What surgery? The same surgery that caused the bleeding as healing progressed. Finally, my dad asked if it was okay to talk to his doctor.

And it turns out

that the surgery my 97-year-old widower grandfather had

was to implant

a penile prosthesis

which the Mayo Clinic website confirms is 100% used to treat erectile dysfunction

from which the only conclusion our family can draw is that he has acquired a secret girlfriend.

I've heard about the shenanigans that go on in nursing homes, the soap opera entanglements and the STD rates and everything. I just assumed it applied to other people's grandparents.

*facepalm*

(Now to wait and see if and when he ever mentions this lady friend to me, as I will never ever bring up the fact that I know what procedure he underwent.)

Fic musings

Jan. 7th, 2019 03:06 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
You never know which story will call to you, or when. One of the documents I've been returning to lately is an old Stargate-movie Mary Sue story about one of Ra's body servants. It's different from other universes I've played in in that, while we the readers view Ra as an alien possessing a human body, to the protagonist, he is divine; so the narrative intermingles deity/worshipper and ruler/subject and lover/beloved, and because much of it is told from the young servant's point of view, she does not question--in fact, wholeheartedly devotes herself to--what we could label an exploitative relationship. After tweaking little bits here and there of a draft that has remained stagnant for perhaps a decade, this weekend I added 1,000 words of a new scene. I am happily bewildered.

Strange things happen regarding time. There's this whole batch of stories I started in my, I guess you'd call it golden years, from late high school through shortly after college, which still serve as the foundation for most of the Mary Sue writing I do that's technically fanfic but isn't likely to ever be posted. I still think of them as fairly new, except, on reflection, even the newest of them started more than 15 years ago. What the hell.

("What the hell have I been doing with my creative life in those 15 years" is a follow-on question it's best not to wallow in.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Mini-reviews of the billionty books I read last fall. Most are adapted from the communal spreadsheet we kept for the autumn reading challenge.

From Spinning Silver to Murderbot & Wayfarers to rereads of My Teacher Is an Alien & The Vampire Diaries )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Which we shall now call "lightning round" in quotation marks, since one blurb took another few months to come back and finish. Book version to follow ASAP.

Atomic Blonde )

Nights in Rodanthe )

Mamma Mia! )

Starman )

Dawnland )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Continued from here.

I've got an unfinished set of book and movie reviews titled "Lightning Round" because it was going to be super quick. It's dated September 23. Ha ha ha. Here is the list anyway. If and when I finish that post, I'll add the links here. ETA: Link added!

24 novels, 3 novellas, 7 graphic novel volumes, 5 short story collections, 3 nonfictions, 3 poetry collections, 1 play )

Total for the year:
  • 35 novels
  • 8 novellas + 1 partial
  • 12 graphic novel volumes
  • 6 short story collections + 1 partial
  • 9 memoirs & nonfiction
  • 3 poetry collections
  • 1 play

a.k.a. 74 complete + 2 partial, a.k.a. about 25 more books than usual.

Quick-and-dirty demographics:
  • Women & nonbinary: 39 authors/poets + 4 coauthors/illustrators, 31 books
  • Native: 28 authors/poets, 8 books
  • Other non-white: 5 authors + 2 coauthors/illustrators, 7 books
  • Translations: 2 books + some poems


As always, happy to talk about any of these.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Continued from here.

54 movies )

16 TV seasons or specials )

That's still low for me on movies, a lingering result of all the skimming for "The Greatest" plus my slide over to watching TV shows with Zahn McClarnon in them.

As always, happy to talk about any of these.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Travel

I just returned from a week in rural Tennessee, where my mom's boyfriend bought a house for them to retire to in a few years. It's perched on the side of a mountain abutting Cherokee National Forest. It felt like vacation as soon as I heard running water and smelled wood smoke. Beautiful land,* spacious home, largely off the grid, although the steep slope made me nervous. We saw turkeys and Carolina chickadees along with many neighbors' pets and livestock. Went for easy hikes, ate venison steaks, played games, sang along with my mom's guitar on Christmas Eve—she has adopted the bf's Italian-American Catholic traditions—and discussed the ups and downs of their relationship. I fired a gun for the first time; took out some bottles with buckshot. When in Rome...

*stolen, sigh

Festivids

Hauling my desktop (vidding) computer 800 miles proved worthwhile, as I squeezed in two productive editing sessions. The draft is nearly complete. I'd like to send that out for beta soon and try for a treat. It would be sad to break the streak of making at least two Festivids per round.

Vidding anniversary

May will mark the tenth anniversary of posting my first vid. I'm planning some short write-ups for the occasion that can be spaced throughout 2019, like "favorite opening credits" and "vids that never made it." Is there anything you'd like to know?

In memoriam

I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of [personal profile] stardreamer. I had only just begun to get to know her here on Dreamwidth, where she was an engaged, insightful, compassionate commenter. It took longer than it should have for me to subscribe to her journal, which is when I learned that she had been struggling with pancreatic cancer for a while. It finally got the better of her in November. A real loss. Among other things, I'm sad I didn't finish the Midnight, Texas fic in time for her to read it; it's a tiny fandom and she'd said she was looking forward to it.

May her memory be a blessing.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Previous Roundups
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006


I will remember four things about this year:

1. Finished the most ambitious vid I've ever attempted, The Greatest, and, by taking the risk to invite further donations, raised an extra $1,000 beyond the initial bid for U.S. & international charities. It couldn't have been done without friends and the wider fannish community.

2. Dove into the Zahn McClarnon project and fell hard for Longmire.

3. Put forth my most sustained effort to date in consuming Native-centric and Native-produced books, movies, poems, podcasts and documentaries/nonfiction. Simultaneously enjoyed the art (or critiqued it, depending) and tried to evolve my understanding of what it means to live as colonizer and colonized in what we call the U.S. and Canada. To be continued in 2019.

4. Participated in the local friend group's BookIt!-style autumn reading challenge, modded by [personal profile] disgruntled_owl. Read a ton of books, shared reactions with the other readers, blacked out the Bingo card, went to an excellent wrap party.

Well, and 5. Attended the final Vividcon.


Vids

I posted three vids this year: two Festivids, followed by the gigantic project that was "The Greatest." The break it was necessary to take after that vid lasted longer than expected, but I'm getting back into the groove now, and besides, some of that creative energy went to fic writing, which I'm not going to complain about.

Vid links )


Fic

The year Zahn McClarnon characters revitalized my fic writing! I also wrote a story for the Trick or Treat Exchange for the first time.

Fic links & WIP notes )


2018 fanwork goals

How did we do? )


2019 fanwork goals

Vidding:
  • Write some posts about vidding for the 10th anniversary of making my first one
  • There are several vids I'd like to make, most notably The One with All My Longmire Feelings, deelaundry's belated #FandomTrumpsHate vid, and, if I still feel like it, a small multivid based on Zahn characters. Plus the above-mentioned one expressing my Mary Sue vampire feelings, but no rush on that. And something for FanWorksCon? Maybe the sports multivid I tabled a couple of years back? Eh, we'll see.
  • Caption remaining uncaptioned vids
  • ✔ Upgrade to a paid Spotify account so I can be exposed to more new music and generate vid ideas
  • Actually use AfterEffects before I forget the training from last year

Writing:
  • Finish the Zahn stories, or at least the Red Road one
  • Finish that stubborn Jinni/Dustfinger crossover before the new Helene Wecker book comes out!
  • Continue to experiment with adjusting day-to-day habits to facilitate writing

General:
  • Go to the new FanWorksCon in August
  • Go to Longmire Days in Wyoming if Zahn will be in attendance??
  • Choose a cloud backup service

ETA: Whoops, and people too, of course! This year we acquired a [personal profile] toft & a J., which has been great. Synn and I got to spend a whole afternoon with [personal profile] xenakis & [twitter.com profile] lunarflares when we visited Montreal in the spring. I met one of my vidding role models, [personal profile] sol_se, at Vividcon. On Twitter, I've especially enjoyed the added company of [twitter.com profile] mk_york_books and [twitter.com profile] glassesojustice, who, among other things, share the Longmire love. Locally, a couple of core fan-friend groups continued to strengthen; I enjoyed spending a little more time than usual with [personal profile] unfinishedidea; and in the new year, I'd like to see more of [personal profile] linaerys now that she's closer to town, as well as some people whom I only seem to run into at cons in other states, such as [personal profile] inkjunket. It's also long past time to visit friends in D.C. for its own sake, not attached to a business trip or whatnot. In the words of Karloff's creature: Friiiiiieeeeeeennnnnds goooooooooddddd.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
The good news: I laid out some clips for that Festivids idea last night and it made me have an emotion.

The bad news: On rechecking the recipient's request letter, she dislikes both that genre of music and that style of editing.

So: Plan B, methinks, even though it doesn't quite line up with the characters she asked for; I don't know what else to do.

I still want to make that other one, though. Probably it's best as a response to someone else's earlier request anyway.

How're everyone else's holiday season fanworks going?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Bleh

Somewhere in the past week, despite a lot of hand washing, I picked up a cold, woe. I hate being sick. I'm not one of those magical people who can say, "Oh, I have a bit of a cold," and go about their normal days while occasionally dabbing their noses with a handkerchief. I work my way through boxes of tissues and ache all over and sleep at odd times and am generally pathetic.

Anyway, so I've been home for a couple of days listening to standup comedy specials and Festivids song candidates (yesterday) and watching the latest season of the Great British Baking Show (today) and being appreciative of Past Me, who put together a pantry box for times such as this—Jello, canned soup, Gatorade, crackers—and froze two quarts of homemade chicken soup. A+ prep, would recommend.

Festivids

I… may have a workable idea for my assignment? There's a significant downside to it, but I will try a thing to compensate. We'll see how it goes. I think I would enjoy working on it, at least. Time is flying by, and most of December is committed to travel; I can't be too picky. Still hunting for alternatives in the meantime.

Movie

Woman Walks Ahead (2018) makes a good antidote to Hostiles, as far as movies that take a white POV about encountering unexpected complexity when meeting a Native war chief and his family on the Great Plains in the late 1800s. It's a mystery to me why it only received a 53% critics' rating on Rotten Tomatoes while Hostiles got 71%. I mean, it's got issues, but comparatively... Maybe because it's about a woman (and by a woman) instead of a man and his angst?

I'm too full of cold viruses to review its strengths and weaknesses*, but all I wanted to say is that I enjoyed watching Michael Greyeyes in a lead role after adoring his smile in the Fear the Walking Dead clip I chose of him for the closing sequence of "The Greatest" (gif) and reading a bit of his scholarly work on theater and choreography. Then the internet revealed that in addition to other things I'd known about, he'd played sexy Dr. Stone in the PBS Navajo Mysteries with Adam Beach! So I had vidded him before without realizing it. I always forget that 'ship wasn't canonical. :)

*Maybe we can talk another time about conflicting feelings when the film revels in the female gaze yet the gaze is white and the "object" of it Native, or how I believe they flubbed what was very nearly a beautiful ending, or the relationship of the screenplay to the history it was inspired by, which I've only just started to explore with articles like this one in the Daily Mirror. At least it suggests the romance wasn't pasted on.
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Well, autumn was as much of a sh@#%*show as predicted, but the two big work projects have been turned in, and with luck, December will bring some relaxation.

Things wot have been up:

Reading

The local friend group's inaugural fall reading challenge comes to a close today. I blacked out my bingo card, which was all I wanted in the world. Not sure what will fill the void now that it's over.

The challenge definitely motivated me to choose reading over other activities, to plan ahead so there was always a book or five waiting next and to finish books that I might otherwise have set aside or let drag on. Whereas the last few years I averaged a book a week, during the challenge I averaged a book almost every two days; instead of 50-55 books total, 2018 is on track to top 75. Snow days, long flights and library due dates also helped.

Favorite reads:
  • Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing novel by Vivian Shaw (thanks, [personal profile] rachelmanija)
  • Two Mates for the Dragon by Zoe Chant et al, esp. the one by Juno Blake (thanks, [personal profile] rachelmanija & [personal profile] sholio)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
  • My Teacher Is an Alien series by Bruce Coville (reread)
  • The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith (reread)
The bingo card also pushed me to finally crack open 6 of the unread books I've owned for many years, which was nice.

Readings

I went to several book readings in September/October. Fully intended to write them up, then did not. For the record:

Dessa @ Brattle Theater
DeRay Mckesson with Ayanna Pressley @ Old South Church
Heid Erdrich, Tacey Atsitty & Eric Gansworth @ Harvard Peabody Museum (related post)
George Saunders @ Boston University

All excellent, with the possible exception of Mckesson/Pressley—the acoustics were so awful where we sat that we couldn't make out half of what they said; we gave up when they started the Q&A. Reading DeRay's book afterwards helped clarify what we'd semi-heard.

Vidding

No matter how many vids you make, there will always be new technical challenges. I can't even talk about this one because it's for a treat I want to make for Festivids. Suffice it to say that solution #1 involved math; the math that should have worked did not work because reasons; so I devised solution #2 over the weekend. Now for the "easy" part of, you know, making the vid and seeing if it turns out well enough to submit.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what to do for my actual assignment. That will sound funny later when you find out what the source is. So far, I've come up with a concept that would take too long to make, a song that wasn't about what I thought it was about, and a spoof where a spoof wouldn't be appreciated. Now that life is quieting, I'll sit down and figure it out. Because otherwise I'm looking at defaulting and making only the treat, which would be weird in addition to breaking my streak of making at least two Festivids each year.

(Well, there's this other treat idea...)

Traveling

Having given up on postponing travel for work reasons because work never lets up these days, I went to Tucson to visit childhood friend A. More strip malls than expected in the city itself, but gorgeous desert and mountains close by, and the low humidity means you don't turn into a sweaty mess while hiking. For Thanksgiving I spent ~36 hours in NY seeing family and then ~48 hours at home alternating social time with domesticity, a hybrid experiment that turned out pretty well.

In a couple of weeks I will visit [personal profile] synn, yay, and over winter break I will meet the new house my mom and her boyfriend acquired in rural Tennessee to retire to. Re: the above, I'll have to decide whether it's ridiculous to drag down my desktop computer for vidding or simply bring a book—Moby Dick's time may have arrived at last—and some writing materials. Still have those three unfinished Zahn-related fics.

Cooking

Since there were no Thanksgiving leftovers on account of we didn't host, yesterday I made turkey meatballs, green beans and stuffing for this week's lunches, topped with slices of that classic cranberry sauce that comes out of the can with a slurp in a single jiggly cylinder. While I was at it, I rescued a few pounds of apples we picked 6 weeks ago by turning them into applesauce with cinnamon and a pinch of brown sugar. Mm. That will accompany the week's dinners of sautéed kale, gigante beans and sausage. It felt good to put in the time in the kitchen; I hadn't cooked properly in a while.

Chilling

Only in the literal sense: Our boiler broke. It's being fixed. Meanwhile, space heaters.

...Which may or may not explain why there's a tickle in my throat today. Sigh.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I wrote a thing! As I hinted on Twitter, it is both unlike anything I've written before, mainly in its affected style, and exactly like most of the fics I've written before, with its theme of partners working together to satisfy someone's kink.

Title: The Lion Tamer and the Strongman
Prompt/Character: Submissive Circus Strongman (Original Work)
Rating: Adult
Word Count: 3,220
Content notes: d/s, size difference, bisexual character, asexual character, bondage (sort of), cuddling. Reference to animals in captivity.
For: [archiveofourown.org profile] sweetcarolanne/[personal profile] schlitzie_ramone as part of the 2018 Trick or Treat Exchange ([community profile] trickortreatex)
Thanks: to [personal profile] stultiloquentia for brainstorming & helping with a vocab question and to [personal profile] v_greyson for her German expertise

For the prompt:
I love the idea of consensually "bringing the giant down" - everybody believes this big muscular guy is an alpha male type who's stronger than everybody else, but he secretly longs for someone to put him in his place, using whatever means necessary. And someone discovers this secret! Who are they, and what happens? Bonus points if they're someone less physically powerful than the strongman! I tend to prefer M/m for this scenario…

Read on the AO3 or behind the cut.

'I think I know what you want, friend,' I said to Otto, softly. 'I would like to give it to you, if you'll have me.' )



Research notes: I learned about positive reinforcement-based lion-training techniques from articles at HowStuffWorks and The Guardian. Henri is named after Henri Martin, a pioneer of accustoming circus tigers to humans. Meanwhile, Otto's ribcage trick is based on a feat performed by Pierre Gasnier, "the French Hercules," according to Vintage News.

I… do not know a lot about mid- to late 19th-century European circuses. Would a traveling troupe like this have resided in tents or in train cars? Might their beds have had wooden frames with legs? Who knows? Not me, and not any of the sources I frantically dug up in the two and a half days in which I wrote this story. If you happen to know, I'm open to modifying the text for greater historical realism.

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