bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
1. NY Times article about preserving Auschwitz.

2. Excerpt from a diary entry of mine, Kristallnacht anniversary, Nov. 2001 - sophomore year of college:

Cut in case of sensitivities about agnosticism )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
So cold out. So cold.

Today I am grateful for: Heat, blankets, sweatshirts, shelter. Week-ago!me's decision to freeze a leftover takeout portion, so today!me could microwave it for dinner. Time with friends. Music and dance. Good reading. Having time to finish the Doctor Who finale. Interesting articles.

Regarding that last:

Real life robots! A photo collection. So many fabulous kinds of robots in various stages of development. Even the ones that propel along ethical debates. And the ones that make you want to slap a dude. (Titan the robot looked amazing right up until the caption said, "Titan danced for the audience, made jokes and even tried hitting on Russian women.") To recover, let's contemplate the sight of a robot transcribing a Torah. Or the "Real Android Matsuken" doppelganger. Once upon a time, I would have written an essay on all this; today I do not have the oomph.

A lovely NYT piece on passwords - sometimes obvious, sometimes circular, more anecdotal than research-based, but still lovely in its musings on private personal narratives.

On Interstellar, love, religion and entanglement

And, having finished DW, a browse around the AO3 Twelve/Clara collection, because apparently I have fallen for Twelve/Clara. Still, nothing I found in the Mature to Explicit range got them "right." There was, however, a brilliant discovery in the form of author RandomBattlecry in general and "Promises, Promises (Explosions, Explosions)" in particular. "So put on your best eyebrows, and God save the Queen." Or: In which Clara is the Doctor, the doctor is a uni professor, there's an earthquake, and a plot summary does the writing zero justice. Rated Teen.


Dec. 21st, 2012 07:43 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Speaking of roundups: Here is my fill for the Yuletide meme:


But while we're on the subject of annual holidayish fanwork exchange fests, UGH FESTIVID WHY ARE YOU BEING SO DIFFICULT. :/ If it were a dress I was presenting on Project Runway, Nina Garcia would tut at how parts of it look tortured.

Eh. I'm sure it'll break loose eventually. Until then, there is a surprise extra day off Monday and a trip to [ profile] synn's to be had. Might need some luck for the drive back next week, weather-wise. Hope those of you who're traveling haven't been too messed up by the midwest storm.

In conclusion:

Apologies if this isn't open-access beyond certain U.S. institutions -- it really ought to be, especially the Christmas issue -- but the Case report of E.T.—The Extra-Terrestrial is my favorite article (so far) of the British Medical Journal's annual holiday spoof issue. Even if the one explaining Rudolph's red nose as having to do with excess nasal vascularization is getting more press around here.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Vividcon vid: Done and submitted! Only took about a day, in the end. A day and three years, OMG. I think that leaves just one more vid to clear out from the ancient WIP pile, post-computer meltdown & rebuilds etc.

Now to wait until August and hope that (a) the sequences all make sense and (b) it doesn't drag. At 4:02 it's only about 10 seconds longer than my Secret Garden vid, but that one seems to go so much faster. Eh, we'll see. This one isn't exactly supposed to be a joy to watch thematically, anyway.

Another Kink Bingo ramp-up essay rec for you: frostfire's "Making Fanworks For Kinks That Aren't Yours, or, 'Oh God, How Do I Do THAT Square?'"

Until there is something else of interest to say, I leave you with this, your moment of Yahoo News zen. From an article on a catch of unusual orange-red lobsters:
"We're going to keep them here in the tank and let people come and see them to enjoy the naturalness of them."
(The runner up was a headline proclaiming the shocking news that "Katy Perry's sister looks just like her.")
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Poor life choice of the evening: skipping dance class in favor of sitting on the couch and watching a movie (Inside Job—well done, as expected, though I'm curious what my economist friend thinks of it), because I am weary, even though it is the kind of ennui/lethargy that would benefit from physical activity. Also having a scoop of ice cream while doing so. Once again, stimulating the intellect at the expense of the body. Though one must be careful of reading too much symbolism into simple actions in one's life, as Cary Tennis wrote that one time.

Life is not bad. The weather has been beautiful, sunny and 70s with low humidity for more than a week. I saw friends over the weekend and went to a movie with a guy I like. In a few days I will visit Boston to reunite with classmates and meet a fan friend for the first time. Tomorrow there will be a New Life Experience in the form of attending a diagnostic physical therapy session because my back has been not right for months. I have been reading books again: Writer, M.D. last week, which was interesting in that it included short fiction by doctors in addition to the typical essays, and Abraham Verghese's My Own Country now, which is consistently engaging. Both better than last month's effort, Richard Selzer's Mortal Lessons, which is too overwrought for my taste despite recommendations from more than one person over the years; I couldn't take it after a few chapters. One day I may try some of his later writing to see if his style gets updated.

So. Just need to de-funk the mood and reengage in some creative project or another and all will be well again.

As a reward for reading through that, have a funny little AV Club article. They had me at the subhead. (They lost me at the last line and a half. But the rest was enjoyable.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Catch-up time! With a few pictures.

Home Decorating for the Holidays – First trip to synn's new place )

TV & Movies – Red Cliff, Sherlock TV show, Tron: Legacy, Stargate (1994), Thoughtcrimes rewatch, Brimstone ep rewatch, Vampire Diaries. With bonus link to an article about invented languages for fictional cultures. )

Cooking – Mm, holiday food. )

Hanukkah – Gifts, given and received, and a little help from technology. )

Should say something about fic now that I've got a bit of time to read some again. But I am not a big fan of Yuletide—I'm up to the "T" fandoms that I know and so far I've only got Texts from Cephalopods to recommend, along with about 10,000 other people, based on a possibly bogus YouTube video we watched when we saw the name of the "fandom"—and a couple of enjoyable Inception stories of late, Late Night Phone Call by [ profile] sparkledark and The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret by [ profile] eleveninches. Need to check out [ profile] sga_santa and see if there's anything good over there. It's nice that the rare pairings (by which we mean everything that isn't McKay/Sheppard and Rodney/Jennifer, and maybe Sheppard/Weir and Sheppard/Teyla) are growing ever more numerous as the years pass since the show ended.

…Whoops, my friend just called to remind me that she and her husband and their puppy are coming over tomorrow evening for dinner. Guess I'd better figure out what they'll be fed.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Gosh, where to start.


I have been feeling generally emotionally flat, but good things have been happening, which is… good.
  • I am navigating a job shift that should entail greater employment security and significantly higher salary for the cost of a trade-off I think I am at this point willing to accept.

  • My out-of-state friend A. came to visit for Yom Kippur and we did harvest-y things and ate the best Belgian waffles and chive scrambled eggs I have ever experienced.

  • My other friend A. and her husband invited me to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this weekend. I have only been to one Ren fair, in Sherwood Forest, which was delightful and had a jousting match. This go 'round may see that jousting match and raise it meat on a stick.

  • Thought I ruined my chances with this guy I like, but it turns out maybe not. Coworker and I went to a concert last night in which both he and aforementioned friend A. played. He is so pretty, friends, and French, among other things. I want so much for him to be interested. Je veux pratiquer mon français (cela fait 10 ans que j'ai pris un cours) pour mieux parler avec lui. …I had to look up "mieux" for that. Anyway, stay tuned.


Alive and kicking, despite a lack of fic or vid posts since the end of Bingo.
  • Salon article/advice column of note: "I love gay male porn." The good: it got through the obvious stuff and the clichés fairly quickly and went on from there. The not so good: reference from the Ogas & Gaddam dream team. But that was followed by a description of slash, so.

  • Am only one week behind on House now; Project Runway continues to entertain; and I started watching and have been really enjoying the Eleven-and-Amy series of Doctor Who. I am apparently still a sucker for plots involving a young girl who meets a sci fi hero and then later in life has the chance to go on adventures with him. Even if he can be an arrogant, misogynist dick.

  • Other coworker and I went to see 50/50, the based-on-the-writer's-experience cancer movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anjelica Huston. It was entertaining. Sort of a romanticized/smoothed-over tale of what it might be like to be a middle-class West Coast 27-year-old and get a horrifying diagnosis like that. Had some real breakthrough emotional moments towards the end, right before and right after JGL's character's surgery. Also had a hilarious scene where Seth Rogen told off JGL's girlfriend. Overall solid. Not quite blunt enough to be novel, too amusing to really hit home—although the humor also served that timeless purpose of setting you up to be hit harder by the sadder content.

  • [ profile] festivids 2011 is about to start! I signed up for 9 sources that I have ideas for, and I have a 10th idea in case of treat opportunity. Am particularly jazzed about two of them. We'll see what gets matched.

  • Have gotten back into writing Mary Sue id fic this past week or so. It makes me happy.
Et vous, flist?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Carl Zimmer did a nice overview piece on slime molds in yesterday's Science Times—Can Answers to Evolution Be Found in Slime?—which made me go back and reread Auburn's wonderfully creepy SGA sci fi fic The Taste of Apples:
"Right now, it's acting like a symbiont, but it's not, it's an opportunist. When the colonies in your bodies are mature," Carson said in a rush, "we think it will digest the host material—"

"You mean us," Rodney interrupted flatly.

"—to provide itself with raw material to produce its fruiting body. That will be the phase that generates the worst danger of contagion, since it's the spores that spread the organism."
While we're on the topic of NYT articles and fandom, yesterday Natalie Angier did an interesting piece on pathological altruism that recalls some of Wilson's behavior, especially the giving of self to the point of harm for the sake of helping others because of a driving sense of hollowness; although I'd bet he doesn't pursue the sort of extremely aggressive treatment described in the lede against patients' wishes, that being more House's style (on the journey to a diagnosis, at least, not to cure what's already known).

Also, squid sex.

Also, for people interested in the RL U.S. homosocial continuum, an article called Allowing Teenage Boys to Love Their Friends, which touches on the angst young straight men can experience when they feel they can't be close to their male friends anymore and may not recognize what's going on or why.


Earlier, I had a heart-sinking moment when I read that David Hallberg is leaving the American Ballet Theatre for the Bolshoi. Not that my visits to NY in the last couple of years have included enough time to go to ABT performances, but it's always been in the back of my mind that I could see it (& him) again if I wanted. But! Further reading revealed that he is going part-time with both companies. Whew.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
The possibly not interesting stuff:

Thanks to the matcha powder I got in Annapolis and a simple recipe (mix 1 tsp matcha + 1 tbsp warm water to form paste, + 1 cup milk + ½ tbsp sugar, or substitute flavored soy milk and nix the sugar), I can now make iced green tea lattes whenever I want. Take that, Starbucks! Now I never have to go there again. Matcha powder was one of the more expensive teas in the store, but it's far cheaper than buying the equivalent number of lattes. Not that I get more than a few each summer.

Ordered a new, non-broken laptop, which arrived last week. It's not perfect, but I like it overall. It's an ultraportable business model (that was on sale/rebate/employee discount for almost half off, hurrah, plus contributions from both parents as a birthday present), so it's light and should be stable with better tech support, although it also means there's no optical drive and the keyboard isn't very much fun to type on. To balance out the smaller screen, it has a webcam, six hours of battery life and several times more storage space than I was dealing with, which says more about the pitiful capacity of my old laptop than the moderate size of the new one. Anyway, I should now be able to do things like watch Netflix and save Word documents without having to worry about the system freezing.

Just in time to bring it with me on three weekend trips next month without feeling like there's a brick in my backpack. \o/

The possibly more interesting stuff:

Tried to finish the SGA tentacle dildo fic but am still stuck at ~800 words. Have no idea where the story goes after John and Rodney get on the bed. :/

Have seen some good movies lately:

Sunshine (2007) with Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh )

Beginners (2010) with Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor )

Harry Potter 7.2 – with spoilers )

And in conclusion, your moment of Zen:

"If you come home and your parrot says 'Who's a pretty boy?' that's one thing. But if your monkey says it that's something else," said Christopher Shaw of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. (source)

(For a more interesting article from the same day that also centered on animals in research, try this one about a Project Nim documentary. The "hug hug hug" anecdote is pretty amazing.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Our office went to a pub called Flanagan's today. For the joy of the names together, I ordered the Shepherd's Pie. It was tasty and warm, and then the receipt said "Shep."

Speaking of Sheppard: I rewatched the fifth season SGA episode "Outsiders" last night, and wow, I'd had no recollection of Sheppard locking an arm around a guy's neck through jail bars, holding a gun to his jaw, and then wordlessly squeezing his throat out of spite before slipping away again. It was pretty hot in a hero-being-a-bad-guy sort of way. I know just the vid it belongs in, too.

I will finish a fic before New Year's, I will finish a fic before New Year's…


Hey, science geeks and Holmes fans: In the annual spoof issue of the BMJ* is the article, Dr Watson: a regular reader of the British Medical Journal. (Full issue here, with many more treats.)

*It's sort of like the Ig Nobel awards, only in print. And British. But then, Harvard et al are Anglophilic, so that makes a kind of sense.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I still don't have a poem for you, but I do have a McSweeney's article: Waldageddon. That's right: Walden Pond, zombies, Hawthorne and Harry Potter.

"A werewoodchuck! It wished to suck out all the marrow of life."
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Well, that's interesting. It's not a big leap to restricting access to sites that offer fan-produced work.

In less worrisome news, turns out my weekend was spent in gorgeous fog on the bay in southern Jersey instead of nowheresville northern Jersey:

There's a bridge back there, lost in the mist. (click for bigger)

Alas that now I'm back in D.C., it's 90 degrees. And barely April. It is -- *checks* -- 79 degrees in my apartment. Time to get out of this town.

You may have seen that House Big Bang went live. I made some art for it: two covers and a pinch hit. The first one is what I worked on the most, and turned out, I think, the best.

Misc.: Saw and greatly enjoyed Naissance des Pieuvres (Water Lilies). The comment thread by Ediane at AfterEllen's review is the closest I've found to my own thoughts. Bizarrely, neither NY Times nor Variety discussed queerness in their reviews, when the movie is about a girl who falls in love/obsession with another girl, who may or may not be attracted to her in return.

Lastly, have a rec: spike21 and harriet_spy's From the entrance to the exit, it's farther than it looks -- SGA, post-series, very NC-17, and hit so many of my soul-deep kinks in the first half to two-thirds that there was this thrill running through me I haven't felt in a long time, reading. It's John/Todd/Teyla, too, and has pretty much everything you could hope for in that grouping. IMO. I'm not sure what to make of the ending yet, and there's an iffy bit in the beginning equating alienness with monstrousness, but the story is absolutely worth checking out.

p.s. Even in the company of 7 non-fannish people and making no attempt to turn conversation or channels in that direction, some subjects and programs are apparently unavoidable, such as SGU, the Merlin episode with the slash dragon, Top Gear, and my friend's brother's discussion of the attractiveness and sexual preferences of Anderson Cooper.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
5. I have been sleeping so well the last couple of days; I am suffused with peace and tranquility good will. Last night brought a handful of interesting dreams. One of them involved the SGA crew being made to drink draughts of something like vodka because they'd investigated a gold beacon in a city like Atlantis, and after, Sheppard was nauseous, living/reliving painful memories, while everyone else had come out fine because the drink's effects were supposed to be temporary.

4. Last month's news, but oh my God, what a train wreck. Hey, did you know that a population with 55% women is equivalent to "Girlington"? NY Times fails again. One sane response here.

4a. Have this pre-Oscars Meta Awards list and Existential Olympics report to recover. Titles are funnier than the descriptions in the latter.

3. Today in a meeting, one of my colleagues in introducing me to a group of contractors said that I went to MIT and was therefore the smartest person in the room. That sort of comment makes me really uncomfortable. Because part of me says, Yeah, I might be. (Ten years ago, I would have thought, Yeah, I am.) And another part says, The school doesn't make the person; and school-smart doesn't mean everything-smart. And another part quails because I'm not always confident in myself. Ugh. I remember once, in my first year at my old job, everyone comparing what their SAT scores had been in high school, and me dreading the inevitable. After the guy who'd started the conversation pushed me to say mine, they were all whistle-y and wondering what I was doing working there and saying I must spend all day thinking about how stupid their conversations were. And what are you supposed to say to that? That in your own group of friends, you're ordinary? That kind of teasing or big-deal-making makes intelligence something to be embarrassed about, and when you try to disclaim the magical brilliance they pin upon you, you risk being accused of excessive or false humility.

2. The Plagiarist's Dirty Dozen Excuses. This came up on Slate the other day and made me think of those semi-annual fannish plagiarism scandals. The article is about a reporter, so some of the details don't apply, but the themes of deflection, self-contradiction, and calls for pity certainly sound familiar. Fandom could add an item or ten to the list. Or Bingo card.

1. If you really love me, you'll post prompts for tentacle_fest. I just left ten over there and feel embarrassed for my enthusiasm. Or prompt me here. Whichever. (Have I mentioned lately that I'm absurdly glad for fandom, because it taught me that it's okay to like what I like? Even when things turn around so that it's many people in fandom who don't share this particular taste, I've got the confidence to own it.)

0. Congratulations to [ profile] pynelyf on clearing a huge hurdle toward her doctorate! And all my love and best wishes to S. and L., who could use something nice right now.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. I don't care what anyone says; Luke Skywalker was hot.

2. Three words for you: multifandom [ profile] kink_bingo.

3. Saw House. Don't know what to say about it yet. May rewatch some or all of the season first.

4. At a lunch meeting in the Bronx today -- hooray for field trips -- I tried a Snapple lemonade with my hot corned beef sandwich* and discovered that the aftertaste is like the smell in a public restroom. It is entirely possible that Snapple uses the same chemicals found in commercial toilet cleansers.

* because if you're going to be in NYC, you may as well do it right

5. This smart blog article about female sci fi fans links to a NYT article that provides yet more stupidity on the persistent belief that women don't like science fiction and the actions networks have taken to de-emphasize the traditional sci fi aspects of their shows (or ads for their shows) and play up romance and fantasy elements to attract a greater female viewership when they don't seem to realize they already have a substantial female viewership and don't understand what much of that viewership wants.

Look at the Sci Fi Channel's faulty logic, quoted in the Times:
"There were a lot of misperceptions that Sci Fi was for men, that it was for young men and that it was for geeky young men," said Bonnie Hammer, the president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, which oversees Sci Fi. "We had to broaden the channel to change the misconceptions of the genre."
Ugh. (Found via this brief poll about female sci fi fans linked at fanthropology.)

6. It's raining. It makes me want to start drafting one of the Bingo stories (TENTACLES!) instead of doing my work.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Very busy lately, preparing for Impending Life Change and taking care of miscellany. Apologies to people I was supposed to beta for over the last few weeks, and to people who are looking for betas now. I hope I'll have time for it again if/when things start to settle down, but until then, please don't take it personally if I don't come by to read your posts.

Gah, and writing, forget it. I've already flaked out on two of four 'fests. This weekend is supposed to be for writing Remix. I can't figure out what to do. My assignment is tough this year. *scrunchy face*

On to more serious things. Last Saturday, my mom, my sister and I drove down near Philadelphia to visit my 90-year-old great-aunt, my mom's aunt, who's been ill, but is recovering, since falling and puncturing a lung (and subsequently developing a strep infection) a few weeks ago. We had to suit up to go into her room: gowns, gloves, masks. She has a trach tube and is on a ventilator, and she can't speak although she can move her lips, and her are wrists restrained so she doesn't pull out the tube, so she mostly lies there and looks uncomfortable; that was difficult to watch and imagine what she's going through; but her face just lit up when she eventually recognized us. Even if she doesn't remember we were there, she was happy that morning.

The Romantic scholar, slash writer and icon maker Atara S---- ([ profile] astarte59) passed away one week ago yesterday. Although I knew she was ill with Multiple Sclerosis, she was young still, and I had no idea she was so sick; she was blogging with her usual enthusiasm just the week before. It's terribly sad news. Her essays on the Byronic hero helped solidify my thesis topic at school, and her other essays on, say, Picard/Q slash were just plain fun reads (even if they ran just a little too far with the argument sometimes). I have her book on the Byronic hero in film, fiction and television, which is another fun and interesting read. She was a House fan, too, and posted sometimes in the meta comms. ... We corresponded for a little while a year or two ago, and I was supposed to write her an email-letter about my academic path and how she'd played such an integral part in it. I never got around to it. I wish I had; she should have known about it. Now, I think the best I can do is tell all of you.

All is not grief in the land, however. For instance, there are still minor celebrities to ogle. Case in point: a recently posted black-and-white portrait photograph of Joe Flanigan, care of [ profile] sheafrotherdon. I keep going back to study it some more. He's not the most immediately attractive of men, at least not for me, but the more I look, the more I ... want to keep looking. At the asymmetry of so much of his face—under his eyes, beside the base of his nose, his eyebrows and the muscles above and between them, his nostrils, his nose itself, the crease in his lower lip, the curve of his five o'clock shadow, his hair. At his narrow shoulders (so obvious in the zip-up fleece Sheppard wears, yet often concealed by his bulky military gear, biceps and weapons). At his eyes, of course, which, as many people over at that post have pointed out, gaze at you with far more startling, haunting presence than most or all of the other people included in the photographer's online gallery. Perhaps it's attributable to JF being an actor, able to expertly school his features so that even a neutral expression is compelling. Because it isn't "neutral." Can that expression be captured in a single emotion or phrase? What would you call it?

There are some fics I've managed to read over the past week or two, but I can't remember them right now. I'll come back at some point to rec 'em.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Dear Sci Fi Channel,

If, as the earnest voiceover suggests, your main hook for the next episode is, "You won't believe what happens in the last five minutes," and it seems that those last five minutes may be important and suspenseful, DO NOT SHOW THE TWIST IN THE PREVIEW THAT YOU AIR A THOUSAND TIMES IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO IT.

Thank you.

Quick-quick highlights of tonight's episode: )

ETA: linabean

. . .

Some more articles of interest:

House, Boston Legal and Carl Sagan's Cosmos are among the ten smartest TV shows of all time as named by the chief of MENSA. (Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek: TNG almost made the list too.) He explains his reasons for choosing what he did, and of course it is utterly subjective, but I do not trust a list of smart shows that does not include Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Did you know that NFL recruiters pick their drafts after making all the candidates parade around in their skivvies like models and critiquing their assets? This so goes on the list of reasons there needs to be a post about men's refusal to acknowledge the homoeroticism in athletics. The article in question is Combine meat market a little disturbing by Michael Silver at Yahoo Sports. Skim past the first five paragraphs if you have a humiliation squick; there's good commentary in the rest.

. . .

Saw Manuale d'Amore 2 tonight (2007, dir. Giovanni Veronesi). Very good. It was like Love Actually, only it worked... )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
You may recall my adoration of advice columnist Cary Tennis. Today's pleasantly surprising article is no exception, both in subject and in response:

I'm addicted to Harry Potter fan fiction!

The supplicant is a post-doc in her 30's who's afraid her obsession with reading fanfiction is impacting her professional and familial lives. In his lamentably brief but characteristically incisive response, Cary asks her some pointed questions about why she feels it is shameful and wrong to be immersed in these fantasies, invoking perceived social expectations of wives/mothers and academics and readers/writers and people in general, highbrow/lowbrow tensions, the suppression of imagination, and why it is a bad thing that she is not perhaps perfectly well-adjusted:
Is it you, I'm saying, or is it the world you're living in? Addicted? Full of shame? Shame about what? You say it hasn't killed you yet? No, it's keeping you alive, I dare say.

And who could blame you for crossing the line, when the fences between reader and text and writer have rotted and fallen anyway, when we are all enmeshed like strangers on a train in the same humming engine of creation and retelling?
(Also, I confess I'm a little in love with his reference to "the clitorectomy of the Ph.D.")
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
"The Beautiful Hospital" by Sally Tisdale (Salon, April 4, 2007)

An article on hospitals and doctors in medical dramas (specifically, House, E.R., St. Elsewhere, Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs) as compared with the hospital in which the writer works as a nurse.
The real message of medical shows is that brilliance goes hand in hand with emotional retardation. While this may be a debatable point, it has little to do with medicine as it is usually practiced. Most of the physicians I know are easy to work with -- oncologists, by default, tend to be at ease with teamwork. They are collaborative and respectful and although a few are quite handsome, they fall short of model status. (Wilson, House's oncologist friend, is played by Robert Sean Leonard. If only.)

"In Praise of Fanfic" by Cory Doctorow (Locus Magazine, May 16, 2007)

An article by a writer, directed at other writers, supporting the practice of writing fanfiction, which he depicts as a tribute to the original writer, an ages-old tradition and a natural product of active reading. One of the most considered, level-headed and comprehensive overviews of fanfiction-writing I've seen lately.

And for a giggle:

"Continuing the Magic" by Lon Tweeten (Time, May 21, 2007)

Six Harry Potter real-life crossover/spoof book covers and summaries, including cameos by Simon Cowell and Michael Flatley. I dare someone to write one of them.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
So, the article isn't bad, though it hovers at the "introduction to this wacky but potentially career-kickstarting phenomenon called fanfiction" level. Jurgensen thankfully seems to have abandoned his original intention to avoid interviewing fanfic authors who write slash and other "controversial" stories, and aside from a couple of digs at the low quality of the majority of stories online, he was respectful. The highlights are a prominent profile of [ profile] ladyjaida/[ profile] shoebox_project and a quote from the lovely [ profile] mer_duff (along with several others, including the obligatory mention of Cassie Claire).

Have to say, the newspaper purchase was entirely worthwhile if only for the accompanying illustration taking up half the cover of the Pursuits section, which includes House having a cane/sword fight with Harry Potter (in uniform and boxers with snakes on, wtf) on a beach.

I thought you couldn't read the article online without being a subscriber, so I scanned the cover art and full text for your enjoyment and put them up on YouSendIt. Turns out there's a back-end link, but who knows how long that will remain viable, and the scans include a bigger image and a bonus table profiling half a dozen writers. I've saved everything to my computer, so if the links expire just drop me a comment and I'll re-upload.

Cover art
Article page one
Article page two

There's also an 11-minute audio interview with Jurgensen that you can download for free off the home page or by clicking here (will open an mp3 file).
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Next-to-last RSL audio book available from the county library consortium, and this time we have lots of topics to cover.

'The Light in the Forest': Summary and some commentary. )

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While stuck in traffic last Sunday night coming home from [ profile] michelle_nine's wedding (!!), I played some of the more intimate boy/boy scenes in The Short History of a Prince for [ profile] synn. In the context of other roles he has played, it prompted her to ask after RSL's sexual orientation, which got us talking about whether one can or should speculate on an actor's orientation based on the parts (s)he takes and conviction with which (s)he portrays his/her characters, and whether the actor's previous roles influence a viewer's/auditor's interpretation of a current one.

I admit that since RSL read Walter so convincingly in Short History and infuses so much subtext into (House/)Wilson, among other things, it was easier to consider the possible homosexual subtext in the months True Son spends with Half Arrow in the woods, or the scenes in which the slightly older translator/guard Del Hardy shares his bed. It also raises the question of whether RSL chose to read The Light in the Forest in part because of the boy's sexual ambiguity, or if he read it in such a way to emphasize that ambiguity, or if it's all a big contrived coincidence and I should shut up now.

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Curious about what sort of scholarship has been done on the book, I Google-Scholared it and found an excellent article from the Journal of American Popular Culture by Jeffery P. Dennis called "The Light in the Forest Is Love: Cold War Masculinity and the Disney Adventure Boys" (2004). Dennis writes about how in the 1940s and '50s, the Disney company, reacting to a post-WWII emphasis in America on heterosexual masculinity, shifted traditional cinematic depictions of adventurous male adolescence from pairs of boys enjoying intimate homoromantic bonds and ignoring girls—in essence, buddy films with young protagonists—to individual boys pining for or being seduced by girls while restricting relationships with other males to carefully-distant friendships or rivalries, with the filmmakers relegating homosexual behavior to quirky side characters or creepy/threatening villains. One of Dennis' examples is the film version of The Light in the Forest, which Disney apparently adapted in 1958 and completely changed around so Johnny falls for a coy servant girl and turns his back on his (primitive/homosexual) Indian heritage to be with her.

It's an easy and fascinating read, especially if you're interested in film, queering texts and the buddy genre. The Light in the Forest stuff is mostly discussed in the James MacArthur section if you want to skip down, but I really recommend reading the whole thing.

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So then I picked up the film version to see what Dennis was talking about. Witness the path the book didn't take. )

What struck me the most about this little exercise—book, article, movie—is how much Disney, perhaps as much as or more than Hollywood in general, has shaped my expectations of how stories are told. Richter didn't sink into predictable plots or contrived endings; the movie did. I didn't realize where those expectations came from until Dennis pointed out what was going on and I saw how Disney twisted Richter's story into what we expect from a mainstream narrative today.


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