bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-08-16 12:02 pm

[sticky entry] Sticky: I feel like I should say

U.S. politics has (have?) washed over my head again, as it does periodically, rising from the baseline fear and disappointment that mounted during election season and spiked in November.

I don't talk about it much here. This blog, and [twitter.com profile] bironicwastaken, are my dedicated fannish spaces online. It looks like we all understand that media consumption, fannishness and other creative pursuits are permissible hobbies, community building in an environment of divisiveness, necessary breaks and even artistic acts of resistance as we struggle with current events. Still, I sometimes (1) worry that fannish-oriented posts strike the wrong tone in wider context, such as yesterday's, and (2) feel a defensive urge to point out that I'm doing things "in real life" to fight what's happening, even if they may not be enough and even though no one has said anything.

When I get down on myself about not doing enough, I focus on things like these, in addition to thinking through how I can have a greater impact:
- Since November, every feature article I’ve written at work has made an explicit or strong implicit political statement
- This auction vid not only raised money for a good cause but is also about celebrating many characters of color in current genre sources, and that's not for nothing these days
- Every month, I donate to activist, investigative journalism and/or minority-support organizations
- I talk to people, including family and friends who voted in ways I am trying to understand
- etc.

That is all. It's a[nother] tough day. ETA: Not least: Event & dream involving anti-semitism )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-08-15 10:46 am

What’s up, August edition: vidding

It's periodic crunch time at work, so a proper post / con report will have to wait a bit longer. For now:

[community profile] vividcon was lovely. I had some good conversations with a few people I'd expected to catch up with and a few I had not; went to most of the panels; saw only a fraction of the vids screened but still came away with several favorites; stayed on an even emotional keel the whole weekend; and returned with renewed vigor for creative pursuits…

…most notably this extensive auction vid that's been in progress since the spring. After VVC I finally processed all the DVD footage I've been collecting, figured out how to get a bunch of MKV files into Adobe Premiere (tried [personal profile] absolutedestiny's FFmpeg tutorial for format conversion but gave up in favor of DirectShowSource in the more familiar Avisynth), and skimmed two seasons of American Horror Story with [personal profile] drglam's guidance. I'd been putting that off along with The Walking Dead & Z Nation because horror TV is not always my thing, but it went fine. Forging onward.

Meanwhile, I made the mistake of perusing [community profile] equinox_exchange requests on the AO3 and ended up with a vid idea that I don't have time to make, except I started making it. *facepalm* I don't even go here, as they say, but I think the concept is beautiful, and the draft is making me have an emotion. Fortunately, what at first seemed like an intimidating endeavor is coming together faster than expected.

Still, my primary focus needs to be the auction vid, and I'll be away three of the six weekends between now and Equinox go-live, so we'll see if this other vid gets done in time or if the DS9 vidlet began a tradition of posting treats three months late.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-07-31 07:32 am

New vidlet! Dukat/Sisko, "Best of Enemies"

Title: Best of Enemies [AO3]
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9)
Characters: Sisko and Dukat, plus cameos
Music: Audio excerpts from The Lego Batman Movie
Length: 1:23
Summary: Pffft. You think you're my greatest enemy?
Content notes: Hurt feelings.
Physical notes: The clips from "Waltz" have flickery firelight.
A/N: A belated [personal profile] equinox_vids treat for [personal profile] purplefringe, who requested:
if you're more a wacky-comedy-vid sort of person, I would absolutely love a vid about Sisko and his many nemeses! Gul Dukat, Kai Winn, Michael Eddington, Solok the Vulcan...who is his one true nemesis??! They all think it's them! :-D
Sorry it took so long! Needed to wait for the movie to come out on DVD so I could use the audio.

(Er, also I reserve the right to change the ending later -- I had to stick in some clips so the credits would render correctly!)

Embed + text )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-07-28 06:15 pm

Moral of the story: I need to listen to music more

(Back to the strategy of posting about single, manageable topics. If "tell friends about Readercon!" feels like too much today, I shall instead share a happy discovery.)

I don't know why any of you would remember this, but hey, anyone remember a year ago spring when I admitted to a 24-hour crush on a long-haired actor in a music video*--one with just the right combination of sexy and scary (+ minor chords) to coincide with That Feeling**?

*"I Found" by Amber Run; warning for abduction plotline

**which at this point I should just call "maybe-aura" or something more articulate


Well, last night I was going through some favorited YouTube videos--which I don't remember to do often enough; it was nice--and watched that one some more. It inspired me to try again to find the actor's name. I hadn't had any luck last year, but this time either I did it right or there was new information out there. Lo: His name is Jon Campling.

Screen shot of man with long, gray hair in front of an RV. Image has a Vevo watermark

Knowing a name means being able to check IMDB, which says he's been in a bunch of indie movies and commercials, so there are more things I can check out to enjoy his face. And, hey--turns out I already have, because he was the Christopher Lee-looking Death Eater who stopped the Hogwarts Express train in Deathly Hallows Pt 1! See also this. And I guess Final Fantasy XV players might know him as King Regis?

It also transpires that he's from my extended family's hometown in Hull, England. ♥

Today I learned that he has a Twitter. A quick scroll revealed that a fringe play he's in is coming to NYC in September! So, uh, I'm quite tempted to go see it, since this 24-hour crush doesn't seem to be 24 hours anymore and tickets are all of, appropriately, $24. It doesn't sound like something I'd normally pick out of a lineup, but Campling does play Satan....

NYC friends, does anyone want to see a random off-Broadway play called TRIPPIN on the evening of Saturday 9/9? There's another interesting-looking one that afternoon called MENGELE.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-07-19 12:55 pm

Movies & TV, Jan-Jun

Might as well post the movie & TV lists while we're here. Last year I did them by month; this year I collected them for longer in part for Festivids reasons and in part because I was embarrassed for a while at the proportion of sources that weren't for the auction vid. But that is chugging along now.

Averaging a little less than two movies per week, and more TV shows than usual, for vidding reasons )

As with the book list, happy to talk about any of these.
bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
2017-07-17 09:52 pm

Books read, Jan-Jun 2017

Readercon was good -- better than expected. I'm hanging out with [personal profile] deelaundry & family on part of their summer vacation. The DS9 vidlet is 9/10 of the way done; still cranking along on the auction vid. Next week is my birthday. This coming weekend [personal profile] disgruntled_owl and I are at long last realizing plans to enjoy an internet-free writer's retreat.

This post is about none of those things, because it's nearly 10 p.m.

For now, it's time to post the mid-year reading roundup!

5 novels, 4 novellas, 8 graphic novels, 6 short story or essay collections, 3 nonfiction, 1 novel-length fanfic )

Right now I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath and the last Assassin book. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire came in at the library, but I was disappointed to discover it's about Jack and Jill, not the Land of the Dead; given that it's due in two days, it's probably going back unread, for now.

Between regular curiosity and Readercon acquisitions & recommendations, the "check out next" list has grown quite long. Currently of greatest interest are:

- Roadside Picnic - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
- So You Want to Be a Robot - A. Merc Rustad
- Technologies of the Self - Haris Durrani
- Stories of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang
(have all of those in hand)

- Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogy - N.K. Jemisin
- Culture series - Ian M Banks (should start before October, for reasons)
- Something by Nisi Shawl, more stuff by Sofia Samatar
- Kindred, Parable of the Sower - Octavia Butler (Parable musical is coming back in October)
- Brown Girl in the Ring - Nalo Hopkinton
- The Smoking Mirror - David Bowles
- Kushiel's Dart - Jacqueline Carey, since it was this month's free Tor e-book and people in fandom seem to love it, although I'm not sure it's my style
- Any of the stack of 7 Nebula awards compilations I picked up for free at Readercon

etc etc etc
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-06-25 08:17 pm

A funny story about computer repair

So my computer developed a corrupt registry file )

*

ANYWAY, it's nice to have my machine back, with nothing lost. And the fridge and freezer are stocked again after an epic grocery trip, assisted by a rent credit from my landlady. I learned a ton in the After Effects class. mention of parental health issue ) So life continues okay.

Media has been a bit thin on the ground of late, as you might guess. I'm reading Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy many years after [livejournal.com profile] synn gifted them to me; after a slow start, am now ~100 pages into book two and so far so good. Watching Die Another Day and now Skyfall on TV in the background; first time seeing either. Need to get back to source watching for the auction vid, and there's a belated Equinox treat that's finally possible now that the movie I need is out on DVD.

It looks like I'm not bringing any vids to Vividcon this year, which feels weird. But I do get a [personal profile] corbae as a roommate.

*

Good wishes to those of you who are struggling. Greetings to everyone else.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-06-19 05:48 pm

Mainely fine, despite everything

Greetings from rural Maine, where the seafood is plentiful, the speed limit is 70 mph and the highway signs warn of possible moose in the road. Local streets include Raspberry Lane and Otter Pond Road.

On the drive up I was thinking about a summer exactly 20 years ago, when my family took a vacation in Acadia and Bar Harbor. I had read Stephen King's The Stand that spring and delighted in seeing signs for Ogunquit, which had featured in the book. But more so, my memory of that trip is of being lost in my imagination as I wrote part of my first really long fanfic, for the Vampire Chronicles, back before I joined any online communities (or at that time, web rings and mailing lists), when our newfangled laptop computer weighed about 10 pounds and I could curl up in the back seat of the minivan and spin any scenarios I wanted. I had written stories and fragments for years by that point, but I'll never forget the rush of liberation I felt for the first time that summer when, in writing a vignette for the Vampire Chronicles, I realized I could write whatever I wanted. That anything I wanted to happen in the story could happen, however sensual/explicit or personal or "weird" or "wrong"; it was that simple. It didn't matter how it might be perceived by others, because I didn't have to show it to others.

This week I'm taking an After Effects course for work, which I expect will also boost my vidding skills. I had visions of attempting to dabble in some fic writing in the evenings, given those geographic echoes, but life had other plans. This post comes to you from one of the campus computer labs because when I got here my laptop decided it didn't want to boot up anymore. TBD whether the school's IT team is willing and able to assist or if I'll need to make my best attempt after returning home. I did back it up about a month ago, but I'd like to at least recover the newer files, if not rescue the whole machine. (It's not my vidding machine, which is a desktop computer, if you're wondering.)

This is extra fun because it comes on the heels of another equipment failure: My apartment refrigerator quit last week. Thank goodness for friends and neighbors who were willing to host my most valuable frozen and fridge items -- at one point my meat and fish were upstairs, my cheese and yogurt across town, and my lunch ingredients at work in the next city over, heh -- and for a responsive landlady who, despite dealing with a health issue at the same time, managed to have a replacement installed within a week. Fingers crossed that I don't return home to a kitchen lake in which swim my defrosted chicken thighs.

Meanwhile, education + excellent food that I didn't have to cook + adult students from across the country + walks through the nearby coastal towns = a good start to the sort-of vacation. Yesterday we saw a groundhog/woodchuck clambering up the wooden steps to someone's deck at dusk and visited a statue of Andre the seal. I went for a swim at the local Y and discovered that despite being in the middle of nowhere, it puts my regular Y to shame. Eight 25-yard lanes instead of three 20-yarders! Actual windows! Water that tastes like water and not chlorine (which is really chlorine bound to everyone's contaminants)! Friendly lifeguards! And the workshop lodgings are country-inn lovely.

Off to dinner in a bit. Hope to check in again soon.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-06-07 09:11 pm

Long time no post

Writing feels onerous these days, even emails and comment replies, which is unsettling for someone who has considered herself a writer for 25 years. There has also been some of that periodic "What am I doing? What is this career? What are these hobbies?" mixed in.

I am thinking about small, non-intimidating items to post about.

1. You can take the girl out of school, but...

(Note: mentions [wanted] touch from a male authority figure)

Today I went to an awards ceremony honoring a professor I occasionally work with. When I said congratulations at the cocktail reception, he gave me a hug. This was unexpected but quite welcome, as I have a tiny work crush on him. It was a highlight of the day. It also got me thinking again about student/teacher dynamics and how I haven't yet grown out of wanting to please teachers and professors and be among their favorites. Not that I am a favorite of this particular guy, but it evoked the same rush of pleasure.

Plus, it once again highlighted how I need pleasant touch from fellow humans more often. (To be distinguished from things like the press of strangers' elbows and knees on the bus, which are to be avoided whenever possible.) Continuing on the office theme, one of my editors, a woman I like a lot, put her hand on my shoulder the other week for several seconds while maneuvering around some chairs, and it felt so nice. The last time I recall something similar was a couple of years ago, and I think it was actually the same professor as today. Sometimes when hugs from friends and visits from cuddle-able houseguests don't quite fill the quota, I think about getting a pet. There's a reason I wrote John Sheppard like that in Forty Years and Eight Pounds.

2. Nerds tour Cambridge

Some of you might remember my Finnish friend A. from when we both lived in DC, who now lives in Germany? On Friday her husband V. emailed to say he and two of his students were going to be in Boston the next day on their way to a meeting, and we ended up spending all of Saturday together. Being a bunch of fellow nerds, they wanted to see the Harvard and MIT campuses, so I showed them what I could between bouts of drizzle. The students -- one Spanish and one Italian -- delighted in the diner-style Veggie Galaxy, complete with milkshakes and plain red ketchup bottles. We talked politics and science and idioms and culture and personal stories, gazed at the beautiful old houses on brick-lined streets, paused at coffee shops and riverside benches and the Kendall rooftop garden, and to top off the evening, V. traumatized his students by holding up a pair of women's shorts and shaking his hips at the Gap. (We went to the mall. Apparently jeans are five times cheaper here.)

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, even though it made me miss A. and V. more keenly.

Two things make a post. Let's pretend this didn't take an hour. One day soon maybe we can talk about Wonder Woman and Doctor Who (speaking of student/teacher tropes) and American Gods and fannish projects and the announcement that Vividcon is ending, and and and.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-04-27 07:18 pm

finished the book; more ambivalent

I finished Every Heart a Doorway (previous post) and... hm.

Reviewing the story from a personal/subjective perspective, rather than formally assessing its structure and so forth: spoilers )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-04-26 08:12 pm

Mid-April media: novella edition

Today I started reading the e-book of Every Heart a Doorway that Tor.com is offering for free until midnight Eastern. I hadn't read anything by Seanan McGuire before, despite many of your rave reviews, and the blurbs I'd seen for this book hadn't grabbed me. Well, it turns out that all anyone needed to have said was spoiler? it's mentioned in chapter 1 ) and I'd've been on this much faster!

More on that: ) *cough* Up my alley, even though it's only a small part of the story.

I'm enjoying general themes and a couple of characterization points ). The prose could be tighter, but I guess it's YA? Whatever: it's working, because I'm already two-thirds of the way through.

For me it's the happy medium between the grotesquerie of Catherynne Valente's Deathless and the -- what's the word for when you need more tension? -- uneventful, I guess, utopia of Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; but that's a subject for a more intensive post that I do not have the brain cells to write these days.


ETA: thoughts on the ending.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-04-17 08:50 pm

I'm sure there's a unifying theme here somewhere

Today is Patriots' Day in Boston, a.k.a. Marathon Monday, a.k.a. the day most people in the city seem to have off from work and school except us. My usual commute is bisected by the marathon line, so I came home the long way tonight, through the city: a packed train of tourists, Sox and Bruins fans, and an international collection of runners in foil cloaks, some limping and leaning on one another and some looking like they just went for a jog around the block.

This afternoon, per tradition, a few of us walked to the local portion of the marathon course to cheer on our now-former coworker as she ran by. The crowd was quiet enough this year that she heard us, smiled and waved as she continued along the final stretch. (It was hot today and she's injured in two places, yet she still ran the thing in less than 4 hours. Unbelievable.)

*

Friends are great. Some came over for a seder on the first night of Passover; some were in town for lunch this weekend; some will be moving here from far away; some are helping me sift through an enormous amount of source material for this multifandom vid. I've only sent out a handful of emails so far, so if you volunteered for something and haven't heard yet, stay tuned.

Since last we spoke, I've watched or scanned through a whole bunch of movies and short TV shows. Let's see: Crazyhead (fun), Cleverman (difficult but rewarding), Extant (derivative but enjoyable), Travelers (meh), now starting Timeless (fun); the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror (not traumatizing, hooray), the Green Fury episode of Powerless (I liked parts of it, but sitcoms are still not my thing) and the new Doctor Who premiere (winning me back over); Pacific Rim (meh), Fantastic Four (2015) (Action Movie formulaic emptiness), Z for Zachariah (great), The Fits (as wonderful as promised). I am not a huge TV fan compared to the general fan community -- some of my dearest and most passionate fandoms have been TV shows, but I'm not well-"read" in TV and don't love the medium as a medium as much as I love movies -- so this endeavor presents an interesting challenge.

There is still a ton to go, but it feels good to have made a dent.

*

Meanwhile, my de-stressor and pre-bedtime media over the last month or so has been a BBC show made for five-year-olds: Sarah & Duck. Have any of you seen it? It's so lovely and chill, wholesome, and often funny. Sarah is curious, imaginative and accepting, and every day seems to be a vacation day, which sounds nice right about now. From time to time the art is really beautiful, too. You never know when the plot will go full-on surreal or stay within the realm of the plausible -- well, given a reality where ducks sort of understand English and ladybugs play small trumpets. I am a particular fan of Duck wagging his tail, Sarah when she gets really excited about things like baby manatees, and Scarf Lady's long-suffering handbag.

I'm almost out of episodes on Netflix, though, and then whatever can take its place?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-03-24 10:05 pm

In this week's little mood crest and fall:

My promotion actually went through at work! I have a modified title and a tiny raise. My supervisor had coached me to brace myself for nothing, given looming budget cuts across the whole organization, so even a little bit is a nice surprise; and while it's taken three and a half years to claw back up to what I was making at my last job, I still don't regret the move. Best of all, the upgrade doesn't involve doing much more than I'm doing now.

This news was especially welcome on the heels of a weekend where I learned that revisiting season one of BtVS + reading some BtVS fics + washing my hair for the first time since the temporary straightening and discovering that it looked like the worst perm I'd ever gotten back in high school = broody, self-recriminating fugue. Fascinating how a couple of days of rekindling a yearning to be Willow and to have an intense core friend group and mentor and whatnot could send me right back to a college-era headspace like that.

But it faded with a little socializing and a return to the work week. I went to an annual St. Patrick's Day concert with a couple of coworkers. This year's theme involved wandering back and forth through time, from the 1600s to contemporary pieces, tracing some of the threads of the evolution of Celtic music, song and dance. A wonderful local-ish musician, Keith Murphy, led a reinterpretation of the shape-note song Clamanda that I'd grown to love when Ann Leckie mentioned it in a discussion of the music she'd included in Ancillary Justice.

(And my hair is fine now. It just took two showers to get back to normal.)

*

And now today, a vidding zine that Lim has been working on for months has gone live! It's got essays on various aspects of vidding, close readings of vids, ruminations on vidding history, vidder profiles and interviews, stories about copyright appeals, and more, from 16 international contributors.

VIDELICET

*warning: the landing page is a still graphic, but when you click through to the article index pages you will get some animated gifs. details below

Lim asked me to write about the Mashup exhibit, so I expanded my Dreamwidth report from last year to include new stuff about, for example, wrestling with legal questions before accepting the invitation to have "Starships!" included, deciding whether to use my RL or fannish name, brief reflections one year on, and some graphics that tried to capture my general feeling of "OMG" from the months leading up to the gallery opening. The article also features write-ins from Kandy Fong, Lim and [personal profile] heresluck. You can check it out here.

I'm at a local conference this weekend and don't expect to be online much, but what I've seen so far has been fantastic -- dynamic design customized to each article, beyond the compelling subject matter -- and I'm looking forward to reading/watching the rest.

*The All Articles index has animated gifs, although the mobile version doesn't seem to. You can avoid them if you go to the About page, and the Contributors page links to the articles by author. At a glance, the Glitter and Gold essay had a flashy gif (and the History of Vidding essay had a subtler one) that the gif-sensitive might want to be warned about.

My piece was given an auto-playing background video in the "Screening Room" section, and there's a non-flashy gif in the slide show embedded in the "Sh*t Gets Real" section. Also FYI, the section headers font and a few pix are styled with deconstructed red and blue like you would see in 3D materials before you put the glasses on.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-03-16 09:35 pm

Oases in the ... desert of current events?

All that and I forgot to say I've registered for [community profile] vividcon in August and Readercon in July. Readercon's guests of honor this year are Naomi Novik and Nnedi Okorafor. Looking forward to hearing about more attending authors.

*

My hair is straight! For a couple of days, anyway. I went for a haircut with a new, recommended curl-savvy hairdresser who said she wanted to straighten it before cutting it to ensure the cut would be even, which is the opposite of what most people have proposed before. Now it's all swoopy and flippy and when I look in the mirror I actually feel pretty.

(Cue conflicted thoughts about societal notions of beauty and what it means that I like the result of this erasure of one visible aspect of my Eastern European/Russian Jewish heritage, but I think it's just that it frames my face really well right now.)

It hasn't been straight since my friend flat-ironed it 10+ years ago for a Halloween party where I went as Snape, so it is quite a revelation. The results are making me want to do it once in a while now for fun. Er, although I don't own a blow dryer or flat iron.

*

We had a snow day this week. It seems like ages ago already. I had grand plans for watching some vid-related movies & TV but then we lost power for half the day so I read,* wrote and shoveled. 1,800 new words on an old Mary Sue story. I'm liking this trend.

*Lagoon by Okorafor; I would put it behind Binti and ahead of Akata Witch for enjoyment level.

*

I did finally finish Suicide Squad tonight, which was as mediocre and eye-rollingly misogynistic/exploitative as promised, with bonus racism and overkill special effects. Even so, I did enjoy some aspects, including Will Smith, Jay Hernandez and the human Rocket Pop that was Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. But no one warned me that Adam Beach spoiler ).

*

Been seeing lots of movies in the theater, and there are still many coming up that are appealing. Want to post about them properly one of these days. Like Get Out, which was so, so smart, and Logan, and the Oscar-nominated animated short films, and soon Raw, and Life, and possibly Personal Shopper...
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-03-14 09:59 am

BtVS anniversary; old Willow/Giles snippet

In honor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer turning 20 -- which I still can hardly wrap my head around -- here is an unfinished Willow/Giles story I wrote 13 years ago, before I had a LiveJournal or started participating in fandom beyond quietly devouring fic.

Although I can't seem to articulate the profound impact BtVS had on me the way some of you have been able to do over the last few days, I have been thinking about how, in addition to its brilliant storytelling and dialogue and themes and rich characterizations, the show and the fanfic both depicted characters that I yearned to be (or be with) and provided ways to explore thoughts that were tumbling around in my head as I went off to college and tried to figure out whether I would ever be desirable and what I wanted in a relationship, for example. When I re-read this story, I see one angle of what I loved about Willow/Giles; an attempt, after a very different first draft, to take the usual flow of events in a different direction; and an examination of my own habit of developing crushes on teachers and professors.

Anyway, here it is if you're interested, college-age writing quirks and all. 1,500 words, rated T or something. IIRC, back in the day, [livejournal.com profile] synn suggested that Giles analyzes the situation too quickly, but I never did fix that. Feel free to pretend that he pauses to make tea and gather his thoughts at some natural break in the conversation.

It's easier to love someone who is a bit of a mentor, a role model. )

And, hey, have my favorite line from the original draft, which gave the Word document its title:

Call me Ripper, he whispers in her ear.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-03-08 07:52 pm

Auction vid follow-up: straggler sources & thank you

Oh, friends. You are fantastic. Within about 24 hours, 15 of 16 outstanding sources for this vid project, plus 8 new sources, had at least one volunteer, and your comments have already helped me refine the character spreadsheet.

I will be contacting you soon, probably in order of my enthusiasm about the source.

Meanwhile, I accidentally missed a handful of shows on the list. Is anyone up for consulting on these?

Follow-up poll )

Also to do: somehow figure out whether the characters currently flagged as "key" -- in bold here, built from Sigrid's and my opinions plus some of yours from the last post's comments -- are the "right" ones. (Thinking there is an objective way to determine this may be my problem here, heh.) Thoughts welcome.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-03-05 06:10 pm

Vid help?

One of the vids I'm making for the Fandom Trumps Hate auction, requested by [twitter.com profile] sigridellis, is a celebratory snapshot of characters of color in current SF/F & horror film and television. It is a neat project, although it means I've gotten myself into a pickle with the scope! I haven't quite figured out how many sources will be feasible, but we've started a list off the tops of our heads and flagged characters who are Sigrid's favorites and/or who feel particularly important to serve as the core set.

If you're willing, I could use some help on two things, outlined below. I hesitated to post about it because I don't want to be That Person Who Keeps Making Big Vids That Require Other People To Do Work, but then a friend said that she finds contributing fun, and I do believe this will be a better (and more efficiently produced) vid with a little help from some friends, so here we go.

(1) Flagging important characters and identifying major gaps in the character list. I don't want to turn this into an encyclopedia entry, and in fact don't even know if I can include everyone who's already on the list, but I don't want to miss someone significant either.

General guidelines as things stand now: non-white characters, who are not covered in makeup (i.e. Gamora) nor are only voices (i.e. Maz Kanata), in live-action SF/F & horror sources from the last 3ish years. Prefer them to have a significant role of some sort in their canon. There may be more space for women than for men. Am not sure yet how the vid will handle villains. Feel free to pitch me an argument against these limitations if you think they unfairly distort the portrait we're trying to sketch.

How does the Google spreadsheet look so far? Is someone not marked as "important" (bold font) who should be? (Female characters are in the top half, dudes below. Don't mind much beyond columns A and C.)

(2) Volunteering source knowledge. I've never made a vid before with so many unfamiliar sources where clips from those sources need to be appropriately contextualized with the lyrics and narrative flow. i.e. This isn't like the electricity vid, where visual parallels took precedence over needing to know characterizations and plotlines. The song we're using will work best if I can tell stories about these characters' struggles and triumphs.

Now, I've already begun to watch some of the sources I don't know (Sense8, Suicide Squad), and there are more in the queue, but others I can't handle (American Horror Story, The Walking Dead), and still others are big and/or not super interesting to me and I could use some pointers on key episodes for the characters in question.

With that in mind, is anyone willing to serve as a consultant on the following sources?

A poll )

Thank you. <3

ETA: Follow-up poll.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-03-04 06:48 pm

Status report, early March

Doing

Working a lot at work. Consequently, doing not a lot at home. My proposed promotion is still moving forward, although not approved yet. But I'm sad about feeling vaguely unwell so often. (No advice needed; docs have been consulted.) On the tail end of one of these periodic weeks of poor sleep, I had a gross dream about a manager in the office and had trouble looking at him yesterday. Then today my laptop died! Only I looked up the "symptoms" on my phone and fixed it via a method that indicated it was only an issue of built-up static charge, whew. We had an Arctic front sweep through last night; the same dry air made my lip split when I went to the library this afternoon.

Last weekend featured Boston fan brunch, always good, followed by fangirl movie night at [personal profile] thedeadparrot's, in this case Dune, for which [twitter.com profile] serenadestrong made a spectacular sand worm spice bread. On the downside, a friend moved away to NYC, and the whole weekend felt vaguely unreal because my ear was plugged for uninteresting reasons, so until these drops from CVS cleared it up I was half deaf and felt slightly feverish, maybe because I associate plugged-up ears with being sick.

...This is the kind of post people used to make fun of when they talked about the banality of blogging. I will stop complaining.


Vidding

No, wait, I will complain about one more thing, because it is upsetting me: Last Saturday YouTube blocked the Ancillary Justice trailer in the U.S. and Canada because of the DhakaBrakha audio snippets (although it's still up on Vimeo), and then last night Vimeo took down Starships! because of the Nicki Minaj song (although it's still up on YouTube) -- no warning, just down, with an email explanation of the copyright claim.

Things I have done:
- Emailed the OTW's legal team to see if they have experience helping vidders contest copyright claims for music rather than video clips
- Emailed the Vimeo support team to gripe about the sudden takedown and to request screen shots of the comments and last known view counts
- Asked vidding friends on Twitter for advice
- Added the YouTube link for Starships! to the biggest Tumblr post that's been circulating, although who knows if people will see it
- Begun preparing points to make in the appeals

I believe the book trailer has a better shot of being reinstated because it only uses a small portion of the full song and isn't competing with the original. Starships! I'm not super hopeful about, in the same way I haven't been hopeful about previous copyright matches for vids that got denied upon initial upload, and that sucks, because vids are clearly transformative works and I wish I could articulate how video clips transform the audio (rather than vice versa), or form a gestalt with it that the song wouldn't have done alone.

Meanwhile, I requested a song for Club Vivid and it got approved, although I'm not sure I can make it in time because of the scope of one of my Fandom Trumps Hate auction vids, which I am going to post about soon because I could use your help.


Reading

Those SF/F compendia. Also Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor. I liked Binti a lot and was pleased to learn of the sequel, which was also good, except for how it's a CLIFFHANGER, sigh.

Next up, The Dream-quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, because the Nebula nominees were announced and some of the novellas looked interesting.


Watching

This week I got to see a performance of Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana featuring Amanda Plummer and James Earl Jones! More on that later, I think. We do not often get New York-caliber dramas in Boston, so that was a treat.

Also a bunch of random movies that I will not list exhaustively but that included 13th, just as powerful as advertised; some movies my sister and I used to watch all the time as kids but that I hadn't seen since then (Annie [1982] and The Neverending Story); Cloud Atlas, which was terrible in different ways from the book (the racebending makeup was creepy and wrongsighted); and Child 44, an action film that was utterly unremarkable except for its cast: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Charles Dance, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel and Fares Fares. It took place in Stalin-era Moscow and Volsk so of course they cast Brits, a Frenchman, a Swede and a Lebanese Swede and made them speak in "Russian" accents.

Want to see Get Out and Logan. My sister will be visiting next weekend and we plan to take care of at least one of those.


Listening

Stephen Thompson at NPR released this year's Austin 100, a batch of songs by artists he recommends ahead of SXSW. I usually find a handful of vid songs in these -- among the 2016 recs I found this year's Club Vivid song, the song I used for the Chris Hadfield vid, and the song I'm going to use for the Mary Sue vampire vid -- and am looking forward to this new collection.


Writing

Posts and emails, mostly. Did I mention that over Presidents' weekend I added some pages to some very old Mary Sue fics? It felt good to get words out and to extend those stories a little, even with the inevitable self-criticism over things like "Why did it take you all day to write two pages?" and "Why are you still thinking about teenage fantasies?"


Off to [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl's for dinner/movie. I made brownies. Before that, I made some mashed cauliflower. The apartment smells very confused.

Hope you are having good weekends.
bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
2017-03-04 10:18 am

SF/F short stories

Last night I finished reading The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016 & 2015, the only two years they've done the anthology so far. They accomplished what I hoped for, which was to include some excellent stories and to help me get a better sense of the contemporary SF/F short-fiction landscape by introducing me to new(-to-me) U.S. authors (who are not all white men) and magazines.

I thought 2016 was stronger than 2015, or maybe the stories were more my taste; but 2015 closed with a story that made me cry, and I want to recommend it to everybody, because it's about robots and people who like robots and people who wish they could be robots and autism and asexuality and polyamory and depression and struggling with suicidal ideation and it's just really moving. While I was reading it I heard many friends' experiences echoed in the text, but I know that can make something difficult to read, so, you know, assess the rec and warnings accordingly.

How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps by A. Merc Rustad

(Follow the link in the author's blog to a podcast transcript. The short story is reprinted a little ways down the page.)


Other favorites from the 2015 collection

"The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever" by Daniel H. Wilson - A frightening and touching apocalypse story with a father/daughter relationship at the core, featuring a protagonist who may be a man or may be a robot, but who, if he is a robot, clearly has human emotions about family.

"A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai'i" by Alaya Dawn Johnson - Vampires who farm different "grades" of humans after taking over the world! Nice worldbuilding in a few strokes.

"Tortoiseshell Cats are Not Refundable" by Cat Rambo - Did what most film/TV stories about female-coded A.I.s should do but don't do.

"How the Marquis Got His Coat Back" by Neil Gaiman - An enjoyable romp of a revisit to some Neverwhere characters, even though I don't recall liking Neverwhere overmuch.

"The Bad Graft" by Karen Russell - Classic-feeling, spooky tale about a Joshua tree that tries to take root inside a young woman.


Favorites from the 2016 collection

2016 had a strong start, with:

"Meet Me in Iram" by Sofia Samatar - Which felt too smart for me to understand, certainly not on first reading -- it felt like the sort of story we would have read in a college class followed by a discussion question of "What is Iram?" -- but was deep, beautiful and memorable.

The Game of Smash and Recovery by Kelly Link - Siblinghood, personhood, artificial intelligence and the detritus of interstellar colonization. Or: two strange kids and their robots on an abandoned moon.

Planet Lion by Catherynne Valente - Alien life corrupted by human civilization, and the humans don't even realize what they've done until it's too late.

Then a dip, when "Interesting Facts" by Adam Johnson failed [personal profile] marginaliana's "a dude wrote this" test. [Note: link includes mention of fictional sexual assault]

Then a recovery with stories such as:

"The Mushroom Queen" by Liz Ziemska - Joins the rank of "wonderfully creepy stories about humans merging with fungi"; see also auburn's SGA fic The Taste of Apples and... something else I just forgot The Girl with All The Gifts.

Tea Time by Rachel Swirsky - Alice in Wonderland fanfiction with a striking prose style that reinforces how the Mad Hatter and March Hare exist outside of time. Also, bestiality.

"Rat Catcher's Yellows" by Charlie Jane Anders - In which the protagonist struggles with her wife's decline from a brain-degenerating plague and the question of whether a VR game sweeping the world is a balm for plague victims or some kind of conspiracy.

And several others.

However, I really don't know what to do with "The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History" by Sam J. Miller. Told in the format of a newspaper article featuring witness testimonies, it's an alternate history of the Stonewall uprising where the bar patrons revolt against police using pyrokinesis. Is that an empowering fantasy, or does it undercut the bravery of real people who stood up for themselves without the safety net of supernatural abilities? By focusing on gay male characters, does it not also erase the real trans women who have struggled so hard to get the credit they deserve in the long fight for civil rights? Would the story have been better or worse if set in a totally fictional scenario? I struggled against this narrative and am interested in looking around to see if people have written about it.


Any recommendations for other short stories or authors to continue to catch up on what's happening these days in SF/F?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-11 09:43 am

Festivids 2016-2017

"My name is [personal profile] bironic. I like things in space and things with vampires," I wrote at [personal profile] st_aurafina's friending meme in January, then realized my 5 Festivids consisted of 3 set in space and 2 involving vampires, one of which was set to a Byron poem.

This year I made:

Sunny Days (Dark City)
For onewingdippedinblood. My actual assignment.

Something's Going Wrong (Waxwork)
For onewingdippedinblood. I hadn't heard of this movie before reading onewingdippedinblood's Festivids letter, but watched it, was delighted, and thought of a vid song right away. Kudos to [personal profile] mific for guessing that I made this! #onbrand

Behind Blue Eyes (2001: A Space Odyssey)
For cherryice. Because the song match was too terrible/great to pass up.

Going through space with the world (Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield)
For thirdblindmouse. Because space and science and a joyous expansion into celebrity.

She Walks in Beauty (Let the Right One In)
For quizkwatsh. I'd been wanting to make this one for a while and wish it had gone over better; I wonder if it's because people don't know the source or if the vid itself is not compelling.

More notes on each vid at the posts linked above.

As for those vid-related remarks I couldn't share at the time... )

Also, it turns out [personal profile] elipie is the one who made "To The Edge" for me! Check it out, with vidder's notes. I know the subject matter will not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a very good vid, at once cerebral and visceral, and it didn't get a lot of love and it deserves more. ♥