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. ♥
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-08 07:50 pm

Festivids reveals #1-2 of 5: Sunny Days (Dark City) and Something's Going Wrong (Waxwork)

onewingdippedinblood's Dear Festividder post excited me the most of anyone's during signups, so I was very happy to get them as my assignment. Dark City was the original plan, but the description of Waxwork & Waxwork II sounded right up my alley, so I watched those as well, discovered that we liked some of the same parts, and ended up with a treat idea.


Title: Sunny Days
Fandom: Dark City
Music: Theme to "Sesame Street" by The Kids
Length: 1:53
Summary: Can anyone tell me how to get to Shell Beach?
Content notes: Syringes in heads, dystopia, physical and psychological manipulation, major movie spoilers.
Physical notes: For some reason, the director decided lights needed to pulse and flicker in half the scenes. I'm sorry. There's also some quick and possibly vertiginous cutting around 1:04-1:11.
Thanks: to [personal profile] deelaundry and Mr. [personal profile] deelaundry for audiencing.
A/N: For [tumblr.com profile] onewingdippedinblood for [community profile] festivids 2016-2017. Originally posted here.

Dark City is a long-favorite movie, but round after round I couldn't come up with a song to vid it to. Then, this. I don't even remember what made the Sesame Street theme occur to me, but once it did, I knew I wanted to make it. It felt like such a wonderfully discordant match, highlighting the dystopian nightmare as Murdoch tries to find his way out via Shell Beach. I had fun resisting my usual impulse to tell a clear, linear story and instead play up the confusion and glorious weirdness.

Sunny Days )


Title: Something's Going Wrong
Fandom: Waxwork (1988)
Pairing: Mark/China, Mark/Sarah, China/Dracula, Sarah/Marquis de Sade
Music: "Is She Really Going Out With Him" by Joe Jackson (edited)
Length: 3:07
Summary: Alas, poor Mark. He just wants China to like him. Or Sarah. Or any girl, really. But they keep falling for classic horror hunks.
Content notes: White male tears, a phallic weapon, whips & chains
Physical notes: Strobe lights intermittently 2:19-2:46
Thanks: to [personal profile] thedeadparrot, [personal profile] deelaundry and Mr. [personal profile] deelaundry for audiencing.
A/N: For [tumblr.com profile] onewingdippedinblood for [community profile] festivids 2016-2017. Originally posted here.

"I also ship China/Dracula and China/Stephan. And, I have such a wrongdirtybad love for Sarah/Marquis de Sade," onewingdippedinblood wrote in their Festivids letter. And you know what? So did I after watching the movie. It's too bad the vid had to be from the POV of the sadface dude character who kept trying to be smooth with the ladies and failing (and then, even worse, not failing), but I think the vid makes enough fun of him to make up for it.

(I did make a mistake, though, because I misremembered the male character's name and thought that onewingdippedinblood liked the trio featured here, when in fact they liked the two young women and one of the other guys. Oops.)

P.S. Watch the movie, it's fun. The sequel, though less well paced, also has lots of fun with intertextuality as the hero and heroine go movie hopping through Frankenstein, Alien, a Bruce Campbell thing, and more.

Waxwork )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-08 07:49 pm

Festivids reveal #3 of 5: Behind Blue Eyes (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Title: Behind Blue Eyes
Fandom: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Music: by The Who (edited)
Length: 2:13
Summary: HAL just wants to be loved.
Content notes: Morbid humor, character death.
Physical notes: Some camera spinning and odd angles/vantages.
Thanks: to [personal profile] synn for beta comments, and also [profile] disgruntledowl and R.
A/N: A treat for [profile] cherryice for [community profile] festivids 2016-2017. Inspired in part by I Think We're Alone Now by [personal profile] sweetestdrain. Originally posted here.

Look, it just happened: I was skimming the requests list alongside my song collection, thought of this match, saw cherry's Dear Festividder letter -- "You could go against type and work with delightfully incongruous music" -- and knew I had to give it a try. Quite possibly the idea wouldn't have occurred to me if it hadn't been for sweetestdrain's Club Vivid vid cited above. Two drafts later -- after the first attempt, I felt the middle needed to be sped up more and beta watchers felt the end needed to be slowed down more -- we have this.

Slowing down music in Premiere is a b*tch, by the way; there's no time remapping feature. Possibly all you Premiere vidders know this, but I did not. Because I preferred to do it in Premiere and not, say, Audacity, I ended up cutting the audio track into pieces and slowing down each one a certain percentage more than the last, cross-fading where needed and checking the box to maintain the original pitch. Of course, not even that worked the first time, because there's a bug or something in Premiere where doing the above makes the whole edited section go mute. Turns out you have to switch the timeline settings from 44100 Hz to 48000 Hz or vice versa so it's whatever your song isn't.

Anyway, enjoy this vid that may be either hilarious or creepy depending on your POV. Personally, I cackled through making it. The slow zoom I added to HAL's eye on "to be hated" and the rise of the shuttle pod on "my dreeeeeeeeeams" are some of my favorite parts. On the creepy side, I also really like Dave's head tilting right after "vengeance."

HAL )

ETA: This vid screened at Vidukon 2017 (Festivids vid show)!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-08 07:48 pm

Festivids reveal #4 of 5: Chris Hadfield RPF

Title: Going through space with the world
Fandom: RPF – Chris Hadfield
Music: Intro to "Act on Impulse" by We Were Promised Jetpacks
Length: 2:08
Summary: From "day in the life of an astronaut" videos to international stardom; or, Chris Hadfield and his adorable mustache.
Content notes: None.
Physical notes: The camera is generally stationary, but microgravity = lots of things float around + Hadfield often appears sideways or upside-down.
Thanks: to [personal profile] stultiloquentia for beta.
A/N: A treat for [personal profile] thirdblindmouse for [community profile] festivids 2016-2017. Title from Hadfield's TED Talk; footage from the Canadian Space Agency and other sources. Originally posted here.

This source request caught my eye during the nominations period, and after seeing tbm's Dear Festividder letter, it actually became the first vid I started making, while assignments were still being determined. I had only known Chris Hadfield from a couple of those "What happens when you wring out a washcloth in space" clips and his music video, but soon after starting research for the vid I fell for his other "how to" videos, his smiles and sense of wonder and commitment to education.

I wanted to make something that showed the expansion of joy from schoolchildren to science/space fans to celebrities and guest appearances and was on the lookout for an instrumental piece that built accordingly without being super long, so I was glad to re-stumble upon this song in an NPR guide to last year's SXSW.

And as surmised, a couple of people did guess that [profile] cherryice had made this, because science + Canada. :)

Hadfield )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-08 07:47 pm

Festivids reveal #5 of 5: "She Walks in Beauty" (Let the Right One In)

Title: She Walks In Beauty
Fandom: Let the Right One In
Pairing: Eli/Oskar
Music: by Sissel Kyrkjebø and Nicholas Dodd, adapted from the poem by Lord Byron
Length: 2:07
Summary: All that's best of dark and bright / Meet in her aspect and her eyes.
Content notes: Blood, brief gruesome injury, underage relationship.
Thanks: To [personal profile] anoel for cheering me on on Twitter, even though she didn't know this was the vid I was struggling with.
Physical notes: I don't think any.
A/N: A treat for [personal profile] quizkwatsh for [community profile] festivids 2016-2017. I'm sorry this turned out more Eli/Oskar than just Eli. Originally posted here.

This vid took four or five tries to make, including a couple of afternoons where I was ready to throw the whole thing out the window. Despite that, and even though I hadn't expected the middle sequences to feature so much linear narrative, I'm glad it finally came together; I'd been wanting to set this source to this song for a while and to try to play up the haunting quality of the refrain, the mix of horror and allure bundled together in Eli's character. I wonder if it worked for people, since the original post didn't get much feedback.

Personal favorite parts are the opening clip, Oskar making up his mind and hugging/accepting his new vampire friend as the music swells, and the cute "grr"s at the end. I had hoped to make that arm-stroking clip quite long, overlaid on the attacks, but I couldn't figure out how to do it the way I envisioned. Oh, well.

In other news, I thought this vid had "bironic" written all over it, but no one guessed me for it at the guessing post. Or rather, no one took a guess at all for it. Maybe because few people watched it? IDK. Stealth achievement unlocked?

eli )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-07 08:52 pm

20ish Festivids recs

I have solved the problem of effort by not actually writing out why I like these vids; will do so in comments to the vids themselves, and to the dozen+ others I enjoyed. Also, I will not say whether any vids by me are on this list.

ETA: Now with vidders' names added.

First, shoutout to To the Edge, which was made for ME by [personal profile] elipie for the French erotic thriller Stranger By the Lake. \o/ My thoughts are at the post.

OTHER FAVES, organized by FEELINGS

D:
escape the day by [personal profile] leanwellback (for quizkwatsh) - 10 Cloverfield Lane
Human by [personal profile] hollywoodgrrl (for kiki_miserychic) - The Keeping Room
Voodoo In My Blood by [personal profile] hollywoodgrrl (for evewithanapple) - The Witch

:(
English Summer Rain by [personal profile] violace (for theletterelle) - How I Live Now

:,)
Little Man by [personal profile] odessie (for Little Heaven) - How To Dad
Gone, Gone, Gone by [personal profile] fiercynn (for niyalune) - One Hundred and One Dalmatians

:,|
Battle Cry by [personal profile] thingswithwings (for himundergreen) - Luke Cage

:,(
A Better Son/Daughter by [personal profile] eruthros (for cupidsbow) - RPF - Carrie Fisher and Gary - vidder's notes

o_o
May Fortune Favor the Foolish by [personal profile] actiaslunaris (for larissabernstein) - Galaxy Quest
Two Against One by [personal profile] seekingferret (for skygiants) - Blazing Saddles

:)
Get Loud by [personal profile] heresluck (for Anoel) - Ghostbusters (2016)

<3
You're So Beautiful by [personal profile] anoel (for eruthros) - The Get Down

\o/
Tanz aus der Reihe by [personal profile] violace (for bingeling) - Ku'damm 56

:D
500 Miles by [personal profile] elipie (for such heights) - Pokémon GO

Notable especially for editing technique:
Wriggle by [personal profile] thuviaptarth (for Anoel) - UnREAL
Brooklyn Gamma by [personal profile] bingeling (for Scribe) - Killjoys


One thing I like about [community profile] festivids is the opportunity for exposure to unfamiliar movies, TV shows, graphic novels etc. So it makes me sad when people talk about skimming the masterlist for fandoms they're familiar with and then stopping there. Yes, a few of the vids will feel inaccessible, and some will be spoilery, but lots more are made to be enticing and/or to provide all the context a viewer needs.

Preaching to the choir here, maybe.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-02-06 02:00 pm

Down, then up again

Hwooof, that was a tough week, but this weekend was the best that's happened in a while, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

(It was just a trough of stress. Political stuff, work stuff, probably body chemistry stuff. I am finally getting started with seeing a therapist and then I missed an appointment because I was so discombobulated I thought it was the next day. I had never missed a doctor's appointment before. I felt so stupid until [personal profile] deelaundry said a kind thing that hadn't occurred to me: When I said, "I look like a flake," she countered with, "You look like someone who needs help." Self-compassion is a thing it would be nice to learn.)

The good stuff:

Socializing: In support of this year's goal to get together more often with friends I like to talk to and/or want to get to know better, a few of us went to a play yesterday and had a satisfying coffee shop chat afterwards, and then I accepted an unexpected invitation to another blossoming friend's low-key Superbowl dinner. All good.

The play was called Trans Scripts, a synthesis/melding of interviews with trans women from the US/UK/Aus. It was elegant, illuminating and well acted -- two cast members were particularly strong -- although I thought it faltered in a few spots when it shifted from "showing" through anecdotes to plain proselytizing. [personal profile] marginaliana wrote up some of her thoughts.

A phone conversation the previous night:
95-year-old grandpa: Oh! I didn't expect you to be home on a Saturday night. I thought you'd be out with your friends.
Me: No, I'm boring. Well, I'm going to see a play tomorrow, but it's a matinee.
Grandpa: Oh, yeah? What is it about?
Me, bracing myself: It's based on interviews with transgender women about their lives.
Grandpa: Oh. You know, there's this woman I know from the temple, who lives with another woman, and it turns out they're--what do you call it--lesbians? Lesbians?
Me: Mm-hm!
Grandpa: So that's very interesting! I just knew them as women from the temple, you know.
#NotAllGrandpas

Doing: Had a computer-free day Saturday involving a mall run, errands and two movies. In addition to some necessaries for work and winter weather, I treated myself to a grommet-studded cut-out shirt that I probably won't wear anywhere but at home and Club Vivid (because I am me) but love anyway.

Reading: Was delighted by Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vols 1-2: plucky, witty, metatextual, intertextual, often involved the defusing of supervillainy through psychology/sympathy rather than fisticuffs. The '80s horror of Paper Girls turns out to be not as much my aesthetic, although the introduction of overlapping timestreams in vol. 2 is getting interesting.

Watching: Saw Moonlight and Lion. Loved the first and really liked the second; cried through them both; my heart aches for Chiron. Hope to see I Am Not Your Negro and Hidden Figures this week. Catching up on what I missed in Dec-Jan when too much else was going on.

Vidding: I remain in the planning stages of the two auction vids, and am figuring out if I can make the multifandom Club Vivid vid I've been preparing since the fall or if it'll need to wait another year. I watched all the [community profile] festivids -- slim masterlist this year, half the usual total -- but haven't commented on any or recced any here because I'm afraid the gaps would give away what I made, and the thought of doing fake comments/recs to throw off the scent makes me tired. I'll probably just post the rec list after reveals.

Cooking: A pleasurable week is in store of chicken breast and goat cheese sandwiches for lunch and stuffed cabbage for dinner. Also, the supermarket was selling chocolate-covered banana chips, which I didn't know was a thing but I am all over it, mm. Banana chips were such a treat when I was a kid.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-01-26 09:25 pm

finally putting a name to it?

Oh, wow. That post the other day, when I tried once more to describe that weird thing that's happened on and off for 20 years? I went and dug up a diary entry I remembered making about it in high school, and there were a couple more symptoms mentioned in it that match the clinical description of simple partial temporal lobe seizures: Behind the cut if you are curious )

I'd forgotten about the stronger physical manifestations; they don't seem to happen anymore. Even though we don't have a family history of epilepsy and my parents confirm I wasn't dropped on my head as a child :), I really wonder if that's what's up! I will ask my doctor about it the next time I have an appointment (and will stop talking about it in the meantime because probably this is not super interesting to read about if it's not happening to you). Er, and hope that if this does turn out to be the explanation, it doesn't open a can of worms of tests or "preexisting conditions."

But I do want to say thanks for inspiring me to think this through and revisit those internet searches. Knowing you are there to talk to -- or to post to -- means a lot.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-01-25 07:51 pm

just ironing out a few technical wrinkles

Five Festivids. Five fandoms. Three and a half months. One satisfied bironic. We'll see what the recipients think this weekend.

I've only managed to make this many Festivids once before, in 2012, but that entailed three for one fandom (Big Eden) and two for another (Dead Poets Society), so this feels like an even bigger accomplishment. Part of the key was getting started early, like October early, especially given what happened in RL soon after assignments went out, and not doing anything particularly ambitious.

That brings my seven-year Festivids total to 23 vids created and 7 received. Interesting.

*

More things I can't say about these vids: )

*

I've got to call it quits now; am behind on other tasks. (Have got to stop reading the news, too, for a little while, before I become incapable of functioning.) Good luck to those of you who are still working on treats, and hooray for everyone who's looking forward to watching the glut of new vids in less than three days!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
2017-01-24 04:46 pm

Ask me how much I got done at work today

First of all, thank you to everyone who posted photos or descriptions of your experiences at Saturday's marches.

After much angst, I chose to stay with my mom rather than to go the NYC rally. In the end, that turned out all right. The marches clearly had robust attendance, and while at home I was able to open my mom's eyes to the scale of the movement and the nature of the marchers' concerns—she hadn't known about the events at all and said she'd never seen anything like it, even given the Vietnam protests of the '60s—and spend more time debating her boyfriend, a staunch conservative who honest to goodness argued with TV coverage by shouting, "What about white people?" and "All lives matter!"

Not to mention that having all-day news and social media access gave us clearer access to speakers, performers and commentators and a broader perspective across the nation and the world than would have been possible while packed into a crowd.

Instead of berating myself for being on that day the sort of complicit bystander we decry in history classes, I try to remind myself that witnessing is also important.

.

Executive orders. Cabinet confirmations. Federal hiring freezes and gag rules.* Lies and distractions and tangled-up media relations. Standing Rock now, too, OMG. I only have so many dollars to donate, so one of the things I did today was ask the [tumblr.com profile] FandomTrumpsHate mods to extend an invitation to the runner-up in my vid auction in addition to the winner. We'll see if she's interested. If I can raise $210 for charity, that's another drop in the bucket of resistance. Or some metaphor that makes more sense.

I'll definitely be making a vid for the winner, though: [personal profile] deelaundry! We are discussing options.

*I worked at an HHS agency for several years; I'm very glad I'm not there right now, for both practical and ideological reasons. Friends who are Feds or contractors, I hope you know my thoughts are with you.

.

I've created a new DW/LJ tag, "politics," both for organization purposes and so those of you who want to can unsubscribe from it. That said, I still intend for this journal to remain primarily a fannish space.

.

And now for something a little lighter.

A few months back, Dee gave me a Liz Climo 2017 daily calendar. It is punching above its weight in emotional support. Today's cartoon is going to get tacked to the bulletin board:

image behind the cut )

Meanwhile, Mr. [personal profile] deelaundry gifted me a subscription to a monthly spice mix service. I had never belonged to one of those food-by-mail clubs before and wasn't sure what to expect, but the first trio of envelopes arrived yesterday and it’s a winner: four types of red chiles ground together, a cumin-oregano rub, and za'atar, with recipes curated by the head chef of the marvelous café at the National Museum of the American Indian. I have a baggie of sumac in the kitchen, but you can never have enough.

Tonight, hoping to finish the last Festivids treat. Golive on Saturday is a light at the end of the week.