bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
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)
(-) My mom is having semi-elective abdominal surgery next week. If all goes as planned, I'll drive down to NY when she's discharged from the hospital to help with the initial recovery at home, which is supposed to be slow but smooth -- but things never seem to go as planned when it comes to her health. Wish us luck?

[Mutters to self: Positives, positives, focus on positives.]

(+) First Festivid submitted! Other drafts continue apace.

(+) I signed up to offer a vid through [tumblr.com profile] FandomTrumpsHate. They say more than 500 fan creators are participating! Bidding will run Jan. 12-20.

(+) My officemate's departure means I now get the window side of the room. I'm all moved in, and I and my spider plants are enjoying the light.

(+) I got to do lunch, brunch, Christmas light ogling and first-night-of-Hanukkah activities with [personal profile] roga, who came to the U.S. over the holidays, and [personal profile] thedeadparrot, who hosted her. We lit a well-traveled menorah and made many potato latkes and caught up on everyone's lives. ♥

(+) Saw Moana with [twitter.com profile] windtheme. Brief faves: ) Hanging with [twitter.com profile] windtheme was lovely. I have an informal goal this year to spend more time with a few Boston-area fan people I'd like to get to know better, if the feeling is mutual.

(+) Visited [personal profile] deelaundry and family, which I used to do all the time when I lived in DC and had been missing since coming up north. A lovely respite filled with friend time, good food (that I didn't have to cook myself), movies & TV, and a bit of touristing. One highlight was seeing the restored original model of the U.S.S. Enterprise at the Air & Space Museum! They turn on the blinky lights every few hours and everything.

We also watched Rogue One, which I liked fine* and which I thought really enriched the story of A New Hope; the current season so far of Brooklyn 99, good fun; and a pair of AMAZING early '70s horror-comedies, Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein. More details, pix, fic idea )

*Except this and that and the other thing, but now is not the time.

(-) Yuletide as usual made me crabby, #UnpopularFannishOpinion, although there is a promising Grantchester fic I'd like to try. However, the universe separately provided a second fic by that Vampire Chronicles author who made me happy the other week: In the Trials of the Heart by [archiveofourown.org profile] monstersinthecosmos (10,500 words, rated M), Armand/Daniel, Daniel/Marius and combinations thereof.

...Sorry, stored up too many things for one post!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I don't even know what to say. You all see what's happening too.

How I've coped this week:

Reading, Watching, Sharing, Doing
I've been taking in as much news as I can handle, which varies by the evening. Since it's all too easy for me to think about things and stop there, I've also made efforts to transform that intake and mental processing into actions. Things like setting up monthly rather than annual charity donations, signing the subset of petitions that have a shot at going anywhere, and building a spreadsheet of local, state and federal representative contact information plus specific issues to thank them for supporting or urge them to oppose. I haven't psyched myself up yet to, uh, actually make the phone calls, but I'm working on it. Still unsure which outreach efforts are most effective when I live in a Democratic state with kickass reps who are already writing joint statements and introducing bills to prevent or reverse the most atrocious developments.

Working
Nobody at our office got anything done the day after the election, but by the next day I was ready to bury myself in work. My monthly productivity is now on track to be one and a half to two times normal.

Vidding
[personal profile] thedeadparrot, [personal profile] stultiloquentia and [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl came over at various times last weekend for communal laptopping and to talk or not-talk about our government-to-be. I made a [community profile] festivids treat draft in 24 hours and picked at a few others. Current plan: four Festivids and one Christmas vid. Ha. Ha ha ha.

Cooking
Vidding only worked as a distraction through Saturday. Sunday I tried to sit in the computer desk chair but kept drifting into the kitchen to start some other cooking or baking project. By the end of the day, there was curried pumpkin-apple soup, pumpkin bread, an onion and feta frittata, baked sweet potatoes, roasted vegetable lasagna and lemon-basil haddock with spaghetti squash. It's kept me in leftovers for the entire week, plus extras in the freezer, and one loaf of the pumpkin bread fed my coworkers.

Reading
Not much fiction. Finished the Young Miles compendium -- enjoyed the Dendarii parts, gradually lost patience with the rest -- and am wrapping up Vampire Romance 2. Starting to do proper research into the paranormal erotica short story market. I did go to book club last Thursday despite only having read a few chapters of the book months ago (The Goblin Emperor), and was glad to have done so, for the company.

Writing
Picked up a high school- into college-era (!) orig fic last night and added 1,200 words in 60 or 90 minutes, which, if you've been keeping track, is a lot for me these last few years. Want to try some more tonight and over the weekend. There is a sequence of scenes I daydreamed about back in the day that for some reason resurfaced, matured with time, a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to get them down on the page. A sort of recovery story, years after the hurt I put the hero and heroine through: probably another form of self-comfort this month to go with the blankets and hoodies and warm drinks and toast.

Watching
Not much besides current events. [personal profile] thedeadparrot and I did go to see Arrival last Friday and it was great; haven't enjoyed a new SF movie that much since Interstellar. Oh, and Westworld. I'm still ambivalent about it but there's more to enjoy than it seemed at the beginning. This week's episode had one particularly delightful scenario and one great twist. Still, laughably Dark and frustratingly male-POV even when it's focusing on Strong Female Characters.

Dreaming
Starting last Tuesday, I went from having never dreamt about politics or politicians in my life to dreaming about them almost every night. Am ready for this phase to pass.

And so another week comes to a close. How are you all holding up?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. Having [livejournal.com profile] synn for a friend. She waited in yet another line at the SPN con she's attending this weekend to get me Sebastian Roché's autograph on an 8x10 I mailed her with a homemade montage of his late '90s roles on Roar and Odyssey 5, and she took the time to email a description of how he reacted to it. ♥Longinus♥ ♥synn♥

2. Friends in general. This week included a Boston tourism day with [personal profile] alpheratz and [personal profile] seascribe, a small dinner party at a grad school classmate's house, the usual wonderful deep conversation with M. (hereafter [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl; she got an LJ for Yuletide!), and heckling the latest pair of Project Runway episodes with [personal profile] thedeadparrot.

Next weekend there will be a [personal profile] deelaundry; we're going to see Robert Sean Leonard in Connecticut in his latest play: Camelot.

[personal profile] alpheratz's visit reminded me to get out more to parts of the city I don't usually visit. The South End and the Back Bay segment of Comm Ave are so lovely this time of year.



3. Roasting trays of zucchini, eggplant, yam and cabbage for meal sides this week. ♥autumn♥

4. Playing with a few vids. One is an Elf vid for Xmas that I've been wanting to make for years. The others will be Festivids; TBD if assignments or treats. They are among the five-and-counting requests from people that I'd love to make, and there are still a couple of movies to watch before signups close in case they can be added to my offers. Much better than last year at this time.

5. Books to read. One enjoyable SF series: the Young Miles compendium by Bujold, beginning tomorrow, having finished Shards of Honor and Barrayar a week ago and NK Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate on Friday. One guilty pleasure: Vampire Romance 2 by assorted contributors, begun last night. (You may recall an anecdote about volume 1.) The first two stories weren't anything special, but since they were apparently publishable quality, they did make me think optimistic thoughts about generating simple beginning-middle-end ideas for marketable het paranormal romance or erotica short stories: a possible goal in the not-so-distant future. (Though it's mysterious why I think I can write a short story when I can't even finish a "one-shot" fic WIP... maybe because I wouldn't have such personal investment in the short story. TBD.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1.

After an iffy start at the beginning of the nominations period, when it looked like there'd be hardly anything I could offer, I'm now excited about this year's Festivids. Have a handful of ideas it would be a lot of fun to make. Hope the sources end up being requested. Hope at least one of them becomes my assignment. Am preparing, optimistically.

(It wasn't until the last year or two that I learned how many nominations don't end up being requested, either because people nominate things before they've narrowed down what they want to ask for or because people nominate things they want to make and then hope they inspire someone to ask for them. At least now I know nothing is a certainty.)

Requests-wise, most of my Dear Festividder letter is ready to go. I'm going to try a "sales pitch" section for each request this year in case the summary or screen shots appeal to a participant who is not familiar with a source.

2.

Many friends have posted about how their Yuletide matches are for things they'd most wanted to write as treats, so, congratulations to you!

Nothing in the database of Yuletide letters has caught my treat-making fancy. That's a small disappointment, but it does leave more time for vidding and for working on half-done stories. Still determined to finish the Jinni/Dustfinger crossover PWP and the Inkheart foursome fic, small as those audiences will be. Did write a pleasing 1,500 words of DS9 Mary Sue a couple of weeks ago, inspired by the Damaya/Schaffa dynamic in The Fifth Season.

3.

[Warning: gross dog thing]

Last week while I was microwaving my lunch, the office puppy made hairball noises, barfed mostly undigested kibble onto the carpet, sniffed at the pile and ate it. It felt like a metaphor for how work has been going lately.

4.

On the brighter side, one morning on the way to the bus, the usually grumpy crossing guard exclaimed that someone had dropped a bag of chips and directed my attention to a cluster of pigeons pecking Bugles off the sidewalk.

5.

Been reading some stuff. We have been assigned five Vorkosigan novels for book club—so far, I have read one and a half Cordelia novels; the Young Miles compilation is next—and I'm glad to finally be experiencing and (despite Bujold's overuse of adverbs) enjoying them. The appeal so far lies in a combination of competence kink, aspirational relationship model and cross-cultural navigation, plus one particular scene that hewed deliciously close to a Mary Sue noncon scenario I adore. I also ended up really liking The Fifth Season and now have only a few days' wait until The Obelisk Gate arrives at the library.

6.

Been watching some stuff:

Last Action Hero, which, to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed. Cinephile boy gets magic ticket that lets him enter a movie and later lets him, the protagonist and the villain (redhead Charles Dance, no less) exit the movie into the real world. Much cheesy-delightful meta ensues, including debates about whether characters in a fictional narrative can be convinced they're in a fictional narrative, as well as a meeting at a film premiere between Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular action hero and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays the action hero.

Afterwards I rewatched the quite similar The Purple Rose of Cairo—substitute Jeff Daniels for Arnold Schwarzenegger and add more movie exec hair-tearing and misogyny—which aged well conceptually but developed a level of creepiness I did not recognize when (a) I was younger and (b) we did not know as much about Woody Allen.

I thought about requesting both movies for Festivids but really what I want is a combo/multi thing about media superfans going into and out of fictional universes (see also: Pleasantville, the holodeck, etc.) so in the end I decided I'll probably make that myself.

Luke Cage. Uneven in pacing and dramatic effectiveness, and a couple of the actors seemed to be in a different show (*cough Willis*), but I liked it overall. Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson & Theo Rossi FTW. Spectacular commentary on, and fantasies about being unharmed by, racism-driven police brutality. Mostly I wish I'd been able to watch it later and at a more leisurely pace, but I cared enough to fear being spoiled on Twitter. I also wish there were more shows like it, for obvious reasons as well as because it felt like the poor showrunners felt like they needed to cram all of contemporary Black American pop culture and Harlem history into one 13-episode show because there aren't enough opportunities elsewhere. Except, at the same time, of course it's not even close to being all of either of those things, and the seam-bursting amount of music and literature and sports references and cameos &c can as easily feel jubilant and long overdue as overstuffed. Plus, ask me how many times I Shazam'd a song or jotted down a book to check out. :)

Westworld on HBO. I had been really looking forward to this, and ended up disappointed after the first two episodes. The themes are right up my alley but the dark tone is so over the top and the "edgy" meta walks the same thin, irritating line between cleverness and exploitation as Sucker Punch and Ex Machina; nor am I sure it's making me think anything new. Too much to go into for this post, though.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Do not. Do not do this to yourselves. The only good thing to come out of our group heckling of this movie was our collective crossover pitch, "The Bat and the Furious," TM my friend M., in which Gisele was secretly Wonder Woman the whole time and the superheroes have to team up with Vin Diesel's crew for car reasons.

7.

Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow. Have an easy fast, those who are fasting. ♥

Anticlimax

Aug. 30th, 2016 09:12 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Title applies to:

1) The conclusion of His Dark Materials. I might have tossed The Amber Spyglass across the floor in distaste if [personal profile] par_avion hadn't warned me at Vividcon about a thing that was going to happen. Then again, by the end of the series we'd grown so distanced from the main characters that the plot direction might not have affected me deeply anyway. As it was, it... ended, and that was that.

2) Kidney stone situation. I've been pain-free for a week now, but didn't see a stone come out, so either it got ground to sand and I missed it, or it's lying in wait. Doc says to finish the remaining 2 1/2 weeks of Flomax and then maybe safe to believe I'm in the clear. TMI. Meanwhile, back to normal activities.

Miscellany:

Doing: Being (temporarily? permanently?) recovered means that I can still go to the Mission: New York Star Trek convention this weekend with iggy. Am getting especially excited about seeing all the DS9 cast members who will be there -- René Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman, Nana Visitor, Terry Farrell, Michael Dorn, Cirroc Lofton -- only two of whom I've met before (René a couple of times at Broadway theaters and Dorn once at a con). There will be panels with cast reunions and organizers of the first Trek convention and show/novel writers and queer fans and fans of color and scientists/engineers who were inspired by the series, a table read of ST IV: The Voyage Home, props and sets and a cosplay contest, etc. =/\=

I printed recent-ish head shots of the three DS9 cast members who won't be there, with the plan of bringing them to the group photo I signed up for. Now every time I pass my desk, Alexander Siddig is there smiling at me.

Reading: Currently between books. Plowed through the Captive Prince trilogy while ill and it was just the right story for that headspace. Tried Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings last night/today but got bored, and that ginormous, 1,000-page hardcover is not worth lugging around for a boring narrative. Was not surprised to discover a blurb from Patrick Rothfuss on the back. Fortunately, NK Jemison's The Fifth Season is winging its way over to the library.

Writing: A thing for work, but daydreaming about ficlets and Yuletide treats. His Dark Materials gave me another Dustfinger (Inkheart) idea, in addition to the three fics already posted and the two WsIP. It went like this at brunch on Sunday:

me: It's perfect: Dustfinger has a marten; Lyra has a marten. I just want the martens to sniff each other.
[personal profile] unfinishedidea: *cracks up*
me: What?
[personal profile] unfinishedidea: You do you.

I will do me, thank you. :) Here, have a Lyra/Iorek fic I found on the AO3: Native and Non-Native Fauna of the North by gishmi1ish. It's distractingly formatted and a bit rushed, but pushes some xeno buttons nonetheless.

Vidding: Thinking about Festivids nominations. I watched Queen Margot again last week and continue to yearn for a vid for it. If it still doesn't get matched this year, I may have to do it myself.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] stultiloquentia clued me in to Readercon, an SF/F book-focused con that takes place locally: this year in Quincy. For my own mental health, I decided at the last minute to take a day off work and give it a try. Then it took more than a week to summon enough energy and semi-articulateness to write a post. Sorry about that.

Highlights:

- Meeting Rosemary Kirstein, author of the ongoing Steerswoman series! She spoke on a panel about how to motivate female protagonists besides trauma. No blockbuster notes from that session, but I went up afterwards along with a few other attendees to say how much I liked her books. She was nice. She mentioned how difficult it's been to pick up the next draft after her health scares etc., and agreed with a laugh that it's hard to sign an e-book since the series is largely out of print. Also I learned that it's Kir-stine, not Kir-steen.

- Meeting Kelly Link (author of Get in Trouble: Stories, among others)! She took part in a big, fun panel about "bad influences"—more on that in the next post—and agreed to sign books for two of us afterwards. Hilariously/embarrassingly, a combination of weeks-long brain struggles and being in passive panel-listening mode meant that I totally blanked when she asked me a few questions, like whether I write, what sources I've written fanfiction for and what town in Texas my friend lives in who recommended the book. *facepalm* At least her signing the other guy's book gave me the moments needed to recall a few books and TV shows I've written fic for lately; then we talked for a minute about The Vampire Diaries and how that introduced her to online fandom. She wore deep blue lipstick.

- Joining [personal profile] stultiloquentia on Saturday for lunch she arranged with people who turned out to be [personal profile] kate_nepveu, who runs Con or Bust, and [personal profile] yhlee, founder of [community profile] festivids, whose book Ninefox Gambit just came out. (I haven't read it yet but have it on order at the library.) I'd learned from the #readercon hashtag that [personal profile] yhlee was coming and I'd hoped to meet him, so lunch was serendipitous. And they knew my vids (!!!). An unexpected moment of LJ/DW/AO3-style fannish connection at a con focused on pro SF/F authors and editors and publishers. We talked SGA, metatagging, vidding, panel moderation, math and English education, storytelling in different media, recs for a project stulti's working on... They were both a delight to meet, if briefly. ♥ our people ♥

- Panel about robot narratives as slave uprisings, with bonus etymology + awesome Seder reference. Details to follow.

- Seeing Catherynne M. (Cat) Valente on a panel after our book club read Deathless. It seems Samuel R. Delaney was also a Readercon guest, but I missed him. :( :( Also Junot Diaz, obviously, but he's local and so I've been adjacent to him on many occasions, heh.


Lowlights:

- Personal: I'd thought that, if anything, being around so much enjoyment and analysis of science fiction and fantasy texts would boost my motivation to get back to my own writing. Instead, I felt something closer to despair at the whole endeavor of publishing. So many authors and books I'd never heard of, current and past, even in my favorite genre; so many people struggling for their work to be recognized, or who've published numerous books to little effect… I asked myself, as I do every so often: What's the point? What are the chances of conceiving a compelling story, and telling it so well, that it rises above the voluminous mediocrity and makes a lasting mark? Is there a point to writing a book if it doesn't? Did I just go to a bad combination of panels for thinking about these questions? Does Readercon attract mostly a certain level of author that made this stand out to me? Is part of my brain simply trying to talk me out of attempting a novel one day because not trying is better than failing? When did I stop believing that I could produce something extraordinary?

(And yet, the satisfaction of producing a fic or a vid or a creative product for my job is often enough in itself, which suggests that it would be the same for a book, and I get all "eeee" inside when a single stranger compliments something I've made, especially if I trust their judgment. It's all very confusing.)

- Cultural: As a first-time attendee who didn't do her homework, I had no connection to the communities of panelists or attendees and only afterwards began to learn about other people's histories with the con (fx, I'd forgotten that Readercon was the one with the notorious harassment case), about what was going on around me, behind the scenes and in panels I didn't attend. I only witnessed a few of the instances of racism, sexism and lack of discussion on intersectionality that other attendees wrote about at length. I'd accepted that the con was book-focused, only to learn that others were expressing their frustrations with its reluctance to embrace other SF/F media and with some panelists' literary snobbery.

Further reading:

https://sabrinavourvoulias.com/2016/07/11/readercon-27-confronting-the-fails/
https://mikkikendall.com/2016/07/13/readercon-low-point-lessons/

- The aforementioned mental health/biochemical stuff meant I missed Sunday's programming—panels on magic in space, blue collar SF and short story anatomy—the latter two of which seem to have been notable. Sad face.


Next post: Panel notes
bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
READING

Title of post because The Wise Man's Fear has all the faults of The Name of the Wind plus some fun new ones, like random ableism against a character who exhibits autism-like behavior, and taking a break from the very little happening to go on a tangent that leads to a tangent that leads to another tangent that appears to be leading to yet another tangent, only the third of which so far has contributed to the protagonist's ultimate goal. Is this how people felt when reading Tristram Shandy? On the bright side… canon bisexual background character?

Actually, my best (desperate) theory is that the whole story is a metacommentary on the construction of heroism and villainy and the nature of myth, from the points of view of both the heroes and the people who stretch and retell the stories that spring up around them. There is a lot of storytelling within storytelling and discussion of myth, from Kvothe deflating his own reputation to the revelation that fairytale figures do exist and have been destroying written and oral records about themselves. Still, 3,000 pages of self-congratulation and seeming aimlessness is a long way to go to explore this theme.

Yesterday I looked at the position of my bookmark and wondered why I was making such slow progress, only to remember that I've actually read 600 pages this week; it's just that there are still 400 left.

Before these two hardcover bricks, I read the equally hefty and aptly titled Leviathan Wakes, the first book the TV series The Expanse was based on. There was one striking moment toward the end in a part of the narrative the show hasn't covered yet, but overall this was an example of the adaptation being better on multiple fronts. I did gain a deeper understanding of the Belter creole and appreciated the explanation for why Alex Kamal's Martian drawl sounds so fake. I enjoyed assessing the changes the showrunners made. Mostly, though, the book was much duller than the show, its prose clunky and obvious and its depiction of women laughable. Have this excerpt from a Goodreads review:
Here is a brief list of how women are portrayed in this book:

1) Trapped in a box.
2) Sleeping with her boss.
3) Dead.
WATCHING

Game of Thrones. So far so fine as it wobbles off without its training wheels.

Scattershot movies and TV episodes for book trailer vid, which is coming along well.

Allow me a moment to flail at you over the unexpected delight of Horror Express, a 1973 B-movie about a monster-alien on a train that friend M. and I saw in a diner last month. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing did their usual thing, and then Telly Savalas showed up looking like the lovechild of Yul Brynner and Tom Hardy and managed to upstage Lee & Cushing in his only two scenes. IDEK what he was doing, but it was hilarious.

Here is his second and most wonderful appearance. Maybe you have to watch a scene or two before to fully appreciate the WTFness, because until that point, we were in a normal monster movie—and then there was a Queens-accented Russian general, vodka gargling, and whipping.

"Everybody's under arrest!"

VIDDING

The aforementioned book trailer. It is going to be finished by June 10 for a Vividcon deadline, come hell or high water. *determined face*

After a fun start followed by some fumbling, the Auction vid for [personal profile] jetpack_monkey is back on track; looks like it won't be a scramble at the last minute to polish things up for the June 17 deadline.

Did I mention Boris Karloff? Boris Karloff, people. You know you're excited.

DOING

Have been working with [personal profile] elipie on the playlist for our kink-themed vid show for Vividcon. We're at the point now of contacting vidders, which is fun, but the fun is dampened by having to ask people to encode their files in a specific way for VVC. Maybe not a problem for some, but a headache for others, especially for people whose vids are older, who haven't made many vids and/or who are outside our part of vidding fandom. I'm trying to make things as painless as possible and look forward to a day when conversions aren't necessary.

Want to write more and vid more but either no time or no oomph. May was work, work, focused on work, so much work to do at work, trying to keep things confined to work hours, then movies and TV and sleep the rest of the time. June should be better. It's starting to feel like summer. Friend L. and I went kayaking on the Charles River on Saturday, and I swam last night at the local Y. Water is nice.

WRITING

Nada, but would like to get back to a couple of Inkheart stories in progress and maybe a Mary Sue thing. Have a half-formed dream of taking a few days off in June or July and bringing the laptop somewhere retreat-y.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
pickles

I had a hankering last weekend for pickled red onions and tried a recipe with white vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns, and they came out terrible. I should have predicted that my disgust for white vinegar above all vinegars would make it impossible to eat vegetables soaked in it. Next time, will try cider vinegar or maybe rice vinegar. Don't suppose any of you have favorite quick pickle/refrigerator pickle recipes?

texts

I'm writing that Porn Battle ficlet, yay. Crossover between The Golem and the Jinni and Inkheart: two men with fire inside them. It is basically for me, but I still hope it finds an audience. Never mind that it's 700 words of conversation and no sex yet.

Friend C. lent me Frankenstein Underground by the guy who did Hellboy and it was great! Really pretty. The color and lighting especially. Actually I liked the art more than the story, but the story had plenty of items of interest: Frankenstein's creature + tentacles + statues of Mesoamerican-style gods + below-ground steampunk Egypt-worshiping secret societies battling dinosaurs + stuff. Here, NY Mag has a PDF of the first part. Reminds me that there were too many sound effects for my taste as well.

Meanwhile, Take Your Fandom to Work Day is staging a comeback. I'm trying to figure out whether to attempt a story. Once upon a time I thought about doing an SGA AU, but (a) there was no plot and (b) I'm really not sure I'd be comfortable "revealing" my job in fandom, no matter how often I remind myself not to flatter myself that anyone would care enough to "out" me. The fun thing about doing SGA is that a handful of the characters could more or less keep their jobs.

tv

Who knew? The SyFy series The Expanse continues to be pretty great. Complex social/class politics, many major characters who are not white men (though not the two ostensible leads), interesting dialects. The dialogue isn't torture to listen to like Defiance's is/was. Lots of different kinds of ships. I like that they're doing creative things with depicting gravity, even minor-seeming moments that show how characters live everyday in low- and zero-g environments. The world feels lived in. I'm sure the fact that the show was adapted from a book series explains a lot. Three episodes to go.

peeps

Not the Easter kind, although: Have a good Easter, those of you who observe. I went to Boston fannish brunch today for the first time in a while and sat with some people I haven't had much chance to converse with, and it was lovely, even when we didn't all share particular fandoms. As they'd say on Twitter: Hay, new fronds!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Oh hey there. Long time little update.

DOING

I've been working a lot. I'm just... really tired. I worked straight through last weekend and while it was necessary it was also not a great idea, so this weekend I did not work at all, and even though my work is not done, that turned out much better. Saw A St. Patrick's Day Celtic Sojourn with some coworkers and went to MST3K night at [personal profile] thedeadparrot's: the poorly executed sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon -- do not subject yourselves to it! Hung out with friend C. and watched TV and worked on a vid; see #2 below.

Ann Leckie came to town for a sci fi con, and [personal profile] thedeadparrot, [personal profile] stultiloquentia, [personal profile] jjhunter and I went to her reading/signing on Thursday. She read from Ch. 4 of Ancillary Mercy and answered questions -- a LOT of questions; the bookstore staff really should have put a stop to it after an hour, but it went for almost two. Then I got my trilogy signed, told her what I loved best about it, and shed enough inhibitions to say thanks for retweeting "Starships!" a while back. She said she bought the song after seeing the vid because she hadn't heard it before and afterwards it reminded her of the spaceships. :D

It snowed a few inches this morning and then warmed up so now it looks and sounds as if we are in a nature documentary about springtime in the mountains, snowmelt streaming from awnings and flowing alongside the curbs.

VIDDING

1. I am trying something new this year and have volunteered for the Vividcon Auction, where people bid for vidders to support the con and then a collaborative vid is born. I am a little scared and a little excited. Here is the list of participants and what they are & aren't willing to do. Bidding starts Saturday if that is a thing you are into.

2. I've also been working low and slow since Oct/Nov on a book trailer for Ancillary Justice. Upshot: Clip hunting takes a lot of time. I'm super excited about it, though, especially in the last couple of days, when I started taking what I've got and putting stuff down on a Premiere timeline. Will probably unlock a post about it in the coming weeks -- it was filtered to just a few people in case I got matched on it during Festivids -- to see if some of you have ideas for sources that might have visuals to fill the remaining gaps.

WATCHING

Lots of crappy movies & TV shows in service of the trailer project, heh, although the show The Expanse is pretty solid. Did they cast actors with Marfan syndrome to play Belters or what?

Season 5 of Girls is exactly what you'd expect, and I did manage to see Deadpool last month: an enjoyably irreverent meta romp.

Oh, and rewatched the second episode of Penny Dreadful with C., who's experiencing the show for the first time. My heart, oh my goodness, my heart still beats for Victor Frankenstein and Mr. Proteus. ♥ ♥

READING

All fiction pales in comparison to The Golem and the Jinni, so I switched to nonfiction for a while. I have conflicted thoughts about A.O. Scott's Better Living Through Criticism; his movie reviews are great and he said all the right things at his book tour reading/Q&A, but the book itself is surprisingly off-putting, considering I'm embedded in a community that lives and breathes pop culture analysis and should be among his core audiences. Don't feel up to writing a dissertation about it at the moment, though.

Now working my way through Best American Magazine Writing 2015. The first few articles were just as infuriating the second time around as when they were published: some for examining societal injustices whose solutions never seem to gain traction (racism through the lens of real estate, misogyny on the internet), and one for whining about the poor young men who're soooo victimized in the hunt to punish those who commit sexual assault on college campuses. Written by a woman (Emily Yoffe, no surprise). Ugh.

WRITING

I wrote a Golem and the Jinni ficlet -- you may have seen -- and would like to do a thing for the Porn Battle that starts today tomorrow. Specifically, I have an Ahmad/Dustfinger idea. A jinni and a fire-dancer walk into a bar... Because the answer to not getting many readers on a ficlet for a book is to cross it over with an even rarer book.

How're you all?
bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
The Golem and the Jinni is over, leaving me filled with  :,(  :)  <3.

Their personalities and physical descriptions are different, but there were times when the Jinni reminded me of other characters I have loved. Marius, Dustfinger, Odo. Behind a cut for vague not-really-spoilers but just in case. )

My book crush on him remains undiminished. Will this lead to fic? I hope so. Because I want a lot of post-canon stories: )

The fact that somehow there are only three fics on the AO3 may help. Plus a long plane ride tomorrow followed by a few days of loosely structured vacation. But we'll see. Recent experience tempers expectations. It's a hard writing style to get right, and I'm not sure I'm up to meeting that level of characterization. Maybe jotting down those bunnies is as far as it goes. Or maybe I can channel my interest in the Jinni into finishing that Dustfinger poly story from last year.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Have the morning off work on account of I'll be there until 11 p.m. tonight. So.

Writing

I'm worried about finishing both Yuletide stories in time. Have 2,700 words of treat #1 with a few scenes still to go. It was supposed to be sort of quick but I got bogged down in the beginning trying to make sure the emotional progression was set up properly. Treat #2 has about 1,000 words (that I wrote over the summer and haven't touched since) and will need many more than that. Just don't know if the amount of time carved out of evenings and weekends between now and Dec. 20/25 will be enough, especially taking into account my variable ability to focus these days. We get a week off work between Xmas and New Year's, which is great for working on Festivids but too late for Yuletide. :/

Watching

Saw the pilot of Jessica Jones and really enjoyed it. A+ will continue at some point.

Also saw the National Theatre Live recording of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciaran Hinds. Many of the other cast members were flat or otherwise unremarkable, but they did a great job of conveying the meaning of the language and overall the production was not as bad as reviews had suggested. Gorgeous staging. Beautiful directorial choice for Ophelia's final exit; a clever and effective way to lend more weight to the moment given the limits of the script. Enjoyed the way audience members laughed at the dirty jokes and the gravedigger's literalism; some things never stop being funny.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Writing

Conversation at fannish brunch on Saturday turned to holiday fic and vid exchanges, as tends to happen this time of year. People persuaded me to skim the Yuletide requests spreadsheet, in which I discovered not one but two prompts that are right up my alley. The first was so intriguing, in fact, that I couldn't stop spinning out in my head how the story might go and started writing it the next day. It's now about 1,500 words and growing. Yay.

Want to write the other treat as well. It will take some thinking, but the discovery that a second person out in the world wants this story to exist may ensure that it happens.

This will be the first time I've participated in Yuletide. Feels strange.

Vidding

This will be the… fifth? sixth year I've done [community profile] festivids, and my assignment vid is drafted, which may be the earliest that's ever happened.

Somewhere between one and four treats for various recipients are on the docket now. Guess it depends in part on how long the Yuletide stuff takes.

Going

Mixed feelings about traveling for Thanksgiving this year. With luck, there will be downtime for writing. At least I will get to see [personal profile] par_avion and then a room full of [personal profile] no_detective, [personal profile] ahab, [personal profile] linaerys, [personal profile] scribblinlenore, [profile] barely_bean, [profile] krisdia, [personal profile] stlkrchck etc. Rumor has it there will be Magic Mike XXL and pie.

Watching

Season 6 of the Vampire Diaries on Netflix. Still flawed, but overall less boring than it has been in the past, and scarier, with the introduction of victim-stalking human killer Kai. Having fun superimposing Wanda and Pietro from MCU onto Liv and Luke.

Looking forward to checking out Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter's faaaace on my TVVVV) and The Man in the High Castle but probably not for a little while.

Have also been watching/rewatching stuff for Festivids in the interstices. At some point will get back to Gilmore Girls, but S6 has been kind of tiresome.

Dealing

RL updates can wait for their own posts.

Thinking of you all and hope you are well. ♥ ♥
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Quiet, chilly Saturday afternoon. A nice break from the last while and the next while.

I have been watching or rewatching a few movies in conjunction with the posting of the nominations list for [community profile] festivids. Last night I tried Automata with Antonio Banderas and a bunch of robots; turned out to be (unintentionally) hilariously grimdark. Today featured something unmentionable because it's likely going to become a treat, followed by the 1980 film version of Ursula LeGuin's dream-shaping novel, The Lathe of Heaven, which remains clever and creepy and absurd, and now the wholesome pleasure of A Simple Twist of Fate, which I thought I'd nominated but in fact did not, probably due to mobile interface glitches (read: user error) while in Florida, alas.

Once upon a time, I planned to write an SGA AU of A Simple Twist of Fate. John Sheppard was going to be Steve Martin's Silas Marner character, a loner, a bit of a miser, grieving for the family he'd almost had, spending long autumnal hours in the wood shop making furniture, coming slowly back to life when a child (probably Ford's) appeared at his home one winter's night. Rodney would have been the Catherine O'Hara neighbor with the kid.

What stopped that story from being written was that I didn't think I could create the right atmosphere. Plus it would have been a longer story than I'd attempted in years. Two factors that added up to insurmountable intimidation. I still don't think I could do it justice.

Do sometimes think about it, though, even now. Including how the casting would change now that people celebrate pairings besides McKay/Sheppard. Would Ronon be the neighbor instead? Or the main character? Who embodies the right combination of dislikability, political ambition and sympathy to play the custody rival? Woolsey? Teyla, to make sure everyone on the main team has a major role and to hammer home the point that the character isn't a villain?

/idle musings

ETA: Ah, got it: John and Teyla are the Newlands (Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney), Ronon is the adoptive father, Rodney is the neighbor, and they solve the custody problem with polyamory!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I have been meaning to post, and then I do not post. Such is the way of things.

Here is an entry about vampires.

Reading: I am leisurely rereading Anne Rice's Blood & Gold, a.k.a. the Marius novel. I hadn't revisited it since my sister first bought it for me in 2001 because it was so disappointing and dull. Thus it's been a pleasant surprise to find that it's not as terrible as recalled. I mean, it's not good, but there have been a few engaging passages and enjoyable character/relationship moments, and many things I hadn't remembered about Marius' history. Down to silly stuff like how he takes a nice hot sexy bath in the beginning with Thorne the Viking vampire.

Maybe it was Pandora that I really hated. Though I still rolled my eyes at the Botticelli worship and skipped Zenobia's Eudoxia's history, etc., and Marius' excuse for not going after Armand following the Santino disaster still rung hollow. If we start listing flaws, we will be here for a while. I continue to believe that stories involving Marius, and Armand, and probably others, are best told in third rather than first person.

Writing: Concurrent with the above, have been playing around in an old Mary Sue storyline where the girl who had been together with but then dumped by Marius gets turned into a vampire after a complicated (and, on reflection ~15 years later, not entirely logical) bring-her-close-to-death-so-Marius-has-to-decide-right-now plot set up by Armand.

That all was written already; this week I've been jotting down the scene where she takes her revenge on the humans Armand hired to hurt her. So she moves from being a victim to making them her first victims. It's been enjoyable to explore what the changes in her personality might be post-transformation.

Just as it's been enjoyable to contemplate how the story has evolved each time I've come back to it over the years. This feels like a more grown-up segment than the breakup fight I wrote when I was 20 (friends-locked, sorry), which felt like a more grown-up segment than the puppy love I wrote at 15. These Word documents are like an archaeological dig of my psyche, or like a diary in the form of melodrama.

The writing is coming out flat, though, as so much of my fiction has for the last couple of years. Something to do with not connecting to or conveying emotions, I suspect. I'm trying not to dwell on it, but rather to let the words come while they want to. Rewriting to change the POV from Marius to Mary Sue might do the trick, so we hear more of what's going on in her head instead of watching her.

Rereading this book has also made me realize I may have been better at capturing Marius' personality back in high school and college than I gave myself credit for. Which is nice.

Thinking: About how much the Vampire Chronicles may have influenced my feelings about polyamory and bisexuality, in addition to its more obvious role in my introduction to male homosexuality. So much of the VC narrative concerns men loving men, of course. But also men loving both men and women. Sometimes at the same time.

Because I read the books starting in my early teens, I'm not sure whether they shaped my preferences and showed me what was possible or whether I fell for them so hard because they articulated and affirmed how I felt or would have felt anyway. (I suspect it's the latter, in part because the books' obsession with Christian theology and sin and souls and damnation didn't rub off on me at all.) About how there can be such easy, deep, emotional and physical affection regardless of gender, and how vampires--a.k.a. individuals traditionally not considered in the mainstream--a.k.a. regular people--can love more than one person simultaneously. Without causing drama. Nor conflating bisexuality with promiscuity. A few exchanges in Blood & Gold brought the thought to light today, when Marius was telling Bianca about Pandora:

Excerpt )

It's all obvious and ordinary and wonderful to me now, especially after so many years in fandom where queer identities are the norm rather than the exception, but the awareness and the embrace of what I didn't see around me in real life growing up must have started somewhere, probably not entirely from within my head, definitely before college, and I wonder if this series wasn't a significant contributor.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1.

I have mostly recovered from Vividcon. I think. Wed-Thu-Fri-Sat evenings I did things with people, and work is busy, so it's taken a while. Haven't yet watched most of the vids I missed, and need to respond to those of you who were kind enough to comment on the con report.

2.

Started one of the last readily available Paul Bettany movies this weekend, an English miniseries from 1998 called Coming Home. It appears to be about adopted families and class tensions and WWII and coming of age and love.

Baby Keira Knightley played the main character in the first part and she was adorable and had chemistry with everybody. Then she got replaced by baby Emily Mortimer playing the same character "two years" older*, because baby Keira Knightley I guess was too young to be shown kissing Paul Bettany, and as is usually the way with these sorts of things, it was hard to transfer affection from one actress to another. Emily Mortimer's face and hair here put me off.

*EM is 14 years older than KK

Funny how in the beginning of his film career PB seems to have gotten cast as either a gangster/hitman/street punk or a pretty love interest, or sometimes both at once. Here he is the love interest, or one of them; there is a love triangle I am pretending will end in a threesome even though it won't. In fact, I don't think he's in the second half of the miniseries at all. (ETA: Incorrect.) He spent a lot of time in the first half smoking cigarettes and looking apologetic for being so tall.

Despite the somewhat stilted acting and the preponderance of too-quick scenes that result from a book adaptation, overall it is a pleasant period drama (er, aside from one uncomfortable plotline that is over now) and I am looking forward to receiving the next hour and a half from Netflix.

3.

Tried a new Zumba class this evening. First time I've gone to a fitness class in a while, and it felt good. Will try to go again tomorrow, since it's only on the gym schedule Mon-Tue right now. [personal profile] thedeadparrot is inspiring.

After (re)watching Wimbledon as part of this marathon, I started to dream about playing tennis, which I haven't played in something like 10 years. It's too expensive and country-club-feeling to get access to the courts at work even with staff affiliation, and I don't think any local friends play with whom I could go use community courts--correct me if I'm wrong--but I found some tennis Meetup groups this weekend and plan to check them out when the timing and locations are right. Hopefully one will work so I can brush up on my skills without annoying my partner(s) and can add something different to the activity rotation.

(There hasn't been much activity at all lately, which doubtless explains why when I'm not at cons or neck deep in a work project, I've been feeling fairly blah.)

4.

It's hot. It's August. Alas. The good news is that when my mom comes to visit this weekend, temps are supposed to fall from 95 to 80ish. Better hope of good sleeping. If the weather holds, we will enjoy a treat: John Williams' Film Night on the lawn at Tanglewood (although due to an injury, Keith Lockhart will conduct in his place). The program was great fun last year at Symphony Hall.

5.

We shall close with a couple of video clips akin to what [personal profile] thedeadparrot and I saw on Saturday at an event called Ignite!, which involved fiery arts by members of the Boston Circus Guild such as flaming hula hoops and a flaming ball on a chain. Flaming swordfight and flaming whip were two of my favorites. There is something about controlled fire in the darkness that gets you right in the hindbrain. Here are some more clips, including a dude dressed like Petyr Baelish.

I'd like to say it nudged me toward working on the last Dustfinger fic, which will be OT4 that builds on the canonical m/m soulbonding, but there's too much else going on right now.

\weekend/

Jun. 27th, 2015 08:45 am
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. Current events: NOT terrible. Well done, America!

2. I posted two small fics this week for the book/movie Inkheart. The first has a little primer intro, since I assume few of you know the source:
Last Song Before Morning, Dustfinger/Resa, 2,200 words

Break, Blow, Burn (And Make Me New), Dustfinger/Farid, 1,500 words
Not counting one remix, those are the first stories I've posted since January 2013.

3. I know it's a small and not very active fandom, and that even with advertising on Tumblr/Twitter/DW/LJ/AO3/Fanfiction.net, it'll take some time for people who are in it to wander over and find them. So I understand why the stories have only gotten a handful of hits so far. But I admit I'm sad that they have no comments. I thought at least a few friends would give them a try and share their thoughts, good or bad. I guess my insecurity is higher than usual because the voice of these fics, in an attempt to match that of the books, is different from what I'm used to.

And I feel weird even talking about it here because it sounds like I'm trying to guilt people into reading them.

In addition to which, it made me realize that I'm guilty of the same thing. Several friends have posted stories recently in fandoms I'm not familiar with, and I didn't give them a try. Which is something I can make more of an effort to rectify.

4. Vid rec: Wasteland by [personal profile] amnisias (Grantchester, Sidney, Sidney/community, Sidney/Geordie). Lovely lovely lovely look at living with internal and external conflicts and traumas, and, as [personal profile] no_detective put it, finding grace in everyday life. It's striking how "wasteland" seems to contradict the greenery of Grantchester and the simple joys shown in the opening clips before the story cracks open. How the narrative slides down into addiction and murder and war and loneliness, then pulls back up to laughter and human connection.

I had the pleasure of helping beta this vid and now it is a great joy to point you all to it.

5. Should be a nice weekend ahead with a mix of solitude/chores and socializing. One-man Star Wars show this afternoon. :) Then probably visiting my dad in NY next weekend for the holiday.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
- You suck at this
- You've lost the ability to focus
- It's been a long time since you wrote fic that you intended to post
- The allergy meds you're taking every night make you cloudy-brained
- There's a tension between the style of the book and the style of your own writing
- The canon characters are underdeveloped and inconsistent
- You're best when writing dialogue, but one of these two characters has no voice
- Dustfinger rides the knife edge of sounding like a creep, which you don't want him to

There. That sounds better than "why are you failing at this, you stupid lump who calls herself a writer."

...Seriously, though. It shouldn't take four hours to write 100 words.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (turkey pin)
Thanksgiving was a lazy affair. Relaxing.

Probably a bit rude, though, which is uncharacteristic, in that I spent too much time on the laptop instead of interacting with family. Rationalized by (a) the fact that I'll be back in three weeks, and (b) I was writing! Actually writing! 7,700 words of OFC story that will almost certainly never see the light of the internet, just that old write-for-yourself kind of story that hasn't wanted to come out of my brain in a long time. It isn't finished and the impulse to write has already tapered off, but wow, that was refreshing, and it gave my optimism about my ability to write not-for-work stuff a boost.

(I blame Anne Rice re-reads.)

Another great thing that happened was being able to join the annual post-Thanksgiving gathering of NYC fan friends whom I hadn't seen in two or three years. [livejournal.com profile] no_detective and [livejournal.com profile] scribblinlenore and [livejournal.com profile] ahab99, and [livejournal.com profile] pun for too short a while, and met [livejournal.com profile] stlkrchck, and other long-lost lovelies, although, alas, no [livejournal.com profile] linaerys or [livejournal.com profile] lanthano. Ate tasty potluck dishes, watched many vids including hockey and Smallville, experienced my first tastes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Grantchester, and generally sat on the couch pleased to let the conversation wash over me.

Also watched Night at the Museum 1 & 2 with my dad. I hadn't seen them before. Hank Azaria was such a hoot. That had to be a Jeremy Irons impression with a lisp on top, no? The first Ra brother wasn't too shabby either. Mm, Hollywoodized ancient Egyptians.

Busy and/or dead on my feet until the weekend, so we will end on that odd note. Hm.

*waves*
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
How do treats work? Do you have to have signed up to write one? Is there a central location for letters/prompts or do you need to surf for them? [found] How do you then post - does it go into Yuletide Madness on Dec 23/24?

/idle optimism

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