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

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

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

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


Other favorites from the 2015 collection

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

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

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

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

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


Favorites from the 2016 collection

2016 had a strong start, with:

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

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

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

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

Then a recovery with stories such as:

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

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

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

And several others.

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


Any recommendations for other short stories or authors to continue to catch up on what's happening these days in SF/F?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
onewingdippedinblood's Dear Festividder post excited me the most of anyone's during signups, so I was very happy to get them as my assignment. Dark City was the original plan, but the description of Waxwork & Waxwork II sounded right up my alley, so I watched those as well, discovered that we liked some of the same parts, and ended up with a treat idea.


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

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

Sunny Days )


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eli )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
(-) 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 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)
What a joy. The convergence of vampires, Flight of the Conchords' trademark deadpan humor and mockumentary format worked surprisingly well.

I loved the fond homages to and skewerings of pop culture vampires, including those in the Dracula, Nosferatu, and classic and modern Byronic traditions. It was consistently funny. Some excellent callbacks. Fantastic art work. Great soundtrack.

I was going to say it wasn't exactly insightful about roommate relations or being out of touch with modern times or creating a new supernatural mythos so much as it was an enjoyable romp through the day-to-day lives of some sort-of-losers and their arguably homoerotic friendships and antagonisms. But in its portrayal of Jemaine's character, Vladislav, in particular, and in Deacon's awkwardness and Nick's disillusionment, it did have something to say about how vampire lore has fallen lamentably far from its heyday. That the vampire, like Vlad, has lost its once formidable powers because we are swimming in crappy, diluted, insipid blockbusters. We/they need an Akasha to clear out the riffraff. (I'm pretty sure one of the characters' kids was named Akasha.)

In any case, much recommended if you like vampire or movie-making meta, Cannibal! The Musical-style spraying arteries, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi being unfairly sexy while doing their best to be the exact opposite, bad German & Carpathian accents, misuse of historical illustrations, and/or attempts to comfort others by saying accidents happen, like when you make a mask out of crackers and then your face gets attacked by ducks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAZEWtyhpes

n.b. Teen Wolf fans: Werewolves don't escape the spoofing, either. WEREWOLVES, NOT SWEARWOLVES.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I got under the covers last night and finished the last 150 pages of Prince Lestat, and all in all, I'm glad to have read the book.

Trying not to spoil anything specific:

The good )

The not so good )

Final opinion: If the series stopped here, it would be a decent conclusion. Unlike half the stuff she put in Blood and Gold and whatnot, it felt like this story really happened (in the Vampire Chronicles world). I'll almost certainly buy a copy when it comes out in paperback. And then skip many sections on re-read. :)

ETA for reference: Guardian review on the digital age angle; Nerdist; WaPo; PissedOffGeek on the science vs. faith theme

.

And now, the cooking done, it's back to vidding. Two vids in progress as of yesterday, two different sources, two different tones and styles. Helps to switch between them when feeling stuck or bored on one.

...Okay, after this. Aisha Tyler is on PBS watching someone cook octopus.

Miscellany

Jun. 17th, 2014 08:49 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
1. One year in, [livejournal.com profile] ignazwisdom's and my Star Trek TOS rewatch continues apace, with great nostalgia and humor. We recently started season three. Here is iggy's latest writeup, on Elaan of Troyius. Episode recap tag / Full tumblr. All NSFW on account of URL and icon, heh.

2. Famous on the internet? Well, not quite, but thanks to a friend, the pudding cups and Jell-O shots from that Kink Bingo birthday party a couple of summers ago make a cameo appearance in the latest issue of Transformative Works and Cultures, special issue on materiality and object-oriented fandom, article "Beyond souvenirs: Making fannish items by hand" by Dana Sterling Bode. Neat. Just wish there were a link to the full post. Looks like that's not journal standard, though.

3. I encountered this summary of Five Times the Inception Team Tried to Extract Information from the Atlantis Crew today on pinboard and found it amusing. Y/N?

I READ ONE WHERE THE INCEPTION TEAM WAS HIRED TO FIGURE OUT WTF WAS GOING ON IN CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AND WENT INTO THE DREAMS OF A BUNCH OF STARGATE CHARACTERS AND JUST ENDED UP CONFUSED.
--march 2011 by LLD_ONMEME

4. My lower calves (?) are so tight after three days in conference chairs, two flights and next to no exercise that it actually hurt to walk today. Whoops.

5. Non-spoilery nitpick re: this week's Penny Dreadful )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
So I added all my vids on the AO3 to a series, right, because you can't yet filter by media type? This means that on the landing page for my username, all the fandoms and all the characters and all the tags for all my vids appear in a giant list as though they were a single vid. This makes for an entertaining read.

I pulled out a selection of the tags, because it's fun to imagine just what kind of work (vid or fic or otherwise) could include all of these things:

Bondage, Grim Reapers, Seduction, Social Justice, Feminist Themes, Boarding School, Angst and Tragedy, Feel-good, chosen family, Declarations Of Love, Vampires, Human Sacrifice, IN SPACE!, Christmas, Alien Invasion, Post-Apocalypse, john sheppard's nebulous sexuality, Nostalgia, Baseball, Singing, Dry Humping, Robot Sex, Sports Metaphors, Dinosaurs, Inappropriate Humor, Girls with Guns, Fluff and Humor, Dysfunctional Relationships, Ridiculous

.

Reading: Best American Magazine Writing 2013, on a break from A Feast of Crows (fourth Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones book). A much more engaging collection than the previous year's, IMO.

Watching:

- Went to catch up on the last third or so of this season of The Vampire Diaries only to discover that it's been so long, they're not all available online; read episode synopses for the missing ones and am continuing on. Am mostly apathetic at this point. I long ago lost track of why Elena and Stefan can or can't be together, and very little that's going on with any plotline or character/relationship is interesting, especially with all the "no homo" they're insisting on with Damon and Enzo, not to mention the theft of yet more ideas from BtVS/Angel etc., down to Romani stereotypes. However, most of the times I've thought things like this in the past, the show has come back with a get-you-right-in-the-heart moment. So I am waiting.

- Game of Thrones. I am so very much anticipating the next episode, because [spoiler], which will cause [emotion]. Overall, though, this season has been poorly paced. A lot of tiny piece adjustments on the game board, with all the good stuff (besides what happened in the second episode) apparently crammed into the end. Seems like a waste of time, given how much of the source story remains, unless they're dragging things out because they don't want to finish before George R.R. Martin does. *shrug* Reading the books in the meantime has certainly taken care of the confusion I felt last season, like that I couldn't tell Stannis or Roose Bolton or Edmure Tully apart (or even name the latter two) or keep Westeros geography straight. This week, I was all, Oh, you want to go to the Eyrie? Take the right rather than the left fork! This has left more mental capacity for enjoying various adaptation choices and considering the anvilicious themes they're drawing out, not only what makes for a good ruler, which the series has been focused on since the beginning, but also things like brotherhood/siblinghood (Tyrion/Jaime, Tyrion/Cersei, Cersei/Jaime, Oberyn/Elia, Sandor/Gregor, Jon/Bran, Lysa/Catelyn, the Night's Watch), and the concept of justice. And I suppose something to do with the pawn-like treatment of people's daughters, re: Myrcella and Sansa and Shireen and Margaery, not to mention Cersei.

- Penny Dreadful. Not sure what to do with this one yet. It's certainly living up to its name with its over-the-top gore, sex, drama and purple prose. Can't tell if that's a deep meta-statement on our continuing attraction to the above, as some reviews would have it, or an excuse to wallow in clichés and lazy writing with top-notch production values. Either way, for now it's enough to delight in the "mashup" of Gothic characters. Never did I expect to see Victor Frankenstein & his creature interact with Mina Murray & her father and a vampire coven alongside Dorian Gray and a variation on Quincey Morris and the requisite cross-obsessed/cursed/crisis of faith/religious vision-type Victorian lady out of an end of days stigmata movie. At least, not outside Mary Shelley's Frankenhole. Come for Timothy Dalton and Reeve Carney; stay for… TBD. So far, in its class of show I prefer NBC Dracula, which plainly revels in its weirdness. But I will not complain about having two whole shows on TV right now in this era and genre.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Was so good. So good. Worth the wait since [livejournal.com profile] no_detective first posted about it six months ago. (Her February review.)

I'd been wondering if this might be the Anne Rice movie of my dreams that the actual Anne Rice movies didn't achieve, and in a way it was: these beautiful creatures in beautiful clothes drifting through centuries, drinking in art and literature and music and science and technology with blood as more of an afterthought, some of them angsty and others full of endless wonder, traveling to the corners of the globe, living away from and reuniting with their beloveds with a depth and permanence of feeling most of us can only envy. It appeals to all the same desires to become a vampire for the sake of becoming the ultimate aesthete.

In another way, it was like Der Himmel über Berlin/Wings of Desire: a love song and a dirge for a city (in this case, Detroit) at its nadir, complete with long shots of damaged architecture and indie music performances that capture something about the current era, while a pair of benevolent supernatural creatures watches humanity from a remove. Not that it achieved the level of quality of Wings of Desire, but the resemblance was remarkable.

Which is not to imply that Only Lovers wasn't also very much its own movie. The plot summaries don't do it justice. This is the kind of movie I want when I complain that today's mainstream movies don't leave time to think about anything, including all their plot holes or nonsensical...ness. This movie takes its time, because the characters have all the time in the world. (When they talk about a white dwarf that's only 30 light-years away, you realize they could actually visit it on some spacecraft one day without having to worry about intergenerational planning or cryo.) The movie talks about appreciating culture(s) and nature to the fullest. Tilda Swinton's Eve literally stops to smell the Amanita muscaria. It's about different approaches to life and immortality. It's about maintaining a relationship. It's sort of about the recent history of American music. It touches on elitism/privilege and the contamination of our bodies and our planet.

And it's funny, and beautiful, and tense in the last third when the fragility of their survival becomes clear, and full of references to artists throughout the centuries. Although, if I can nitpick for a sec, you'd think that a pair of vampires as old and educated as these two would have more diverse and obscure references and favorites to toss back and forth. Byron I'll take because Tom Hiddleston's Adam follows so much in his image, and Tesla, too, because he's among the favorites of today's hipsters, whom Adam also embodies-slash-laments, and Darwin worked because it made a good joke/point. I just would have liked less well known names in the mix, and more subtlety. Adam putting on a name tag that said "Dr. Faust" was great, but it lost a little something special when another character called it out. The photo/illustration wall in Adam's apartment did a better job. (Oh, ha, and in one corner was the same pic of Neil Young I posted about the other day.) Unless the point was for us to get all the references and therefore empathize even more with the characters for what they love. Or maybe the lesser references are meant to be uncovered on repeat viewing, among the records strewn across Adam's apartment and the books Eve browses while packing her suitcases.

Okay, but also, since Adam is supposed to deeply appreciate science and electrical engineering, it made me cringe when he said to Eve that Einstein's spooky action at a distance isn't a theory because it's proven. Ugh, writers, you should know that in science, a theory is a pretty damn strong case, and you can't prove something, only disprove it.

Also also, apparently in this universe, vampirism bestows not only fangs (great makeup job there), pale skin and luminous eyes but also very dry hair.

In sum, highly recommended even when it's a bit ridiculous, & want to see again.

ETA: And here is a perfectly valid dissenting opinion from [livejournal.com profile] daasgrrl!

Full heart

Apr. 20th, 2014 09:33 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
1. The melody, harmony, vocal quality and especially the chord progression in Hero by Family of the Year bring me right back to growing up listening to the radio in the '80s. Probably reminds me of Phil Collins' and David Crosby's* own Hero. Maybe even the simple, earnest song that ended the second Care Bears movie, Forever Young by Carol Parks (not the same as Rod Stewart's).

2. Finished S6 of True Blood. Because of... stuff... I went back and rewatched The Scene with Godric (YouTube; spoilers) from S2's "I Will Rise Up." It's still excellent. I still love it in a way that's hard to articulate. The blood tears, the raw emotion, the ancient relationship, the slipping between languages. The unremarked-upon homosexual overtones. The crack in a favorite character's persona. Eric has never been so beautiful, kneeling there with his voice breaking. And enriching it all is the echo of Marius/Armand.

3. Mostly, though, lately I am too full of things. Emotions all over the place. It took longer than it should have to realize that the inability to write so much as an email or concentrate at work or sit still long enough to add clips to a vid, and the general irritability toward anyone asking me for something, arose from my trying to stuff too much into the week. Concentrating on nutrition and exercising, planning travel (more on that soon, it is going to be super), doing chores, consuming media, trying to make fannish things, balancing work and social events, worrying about budgets, worrying about health things, fighting poor sleep... Wish that habit of keeping too busy to brood were easier to fix. :/

4. Happy Easter, Easter-celebrating friends. Happy two-days-left-of-matza, Passover-celebrating friends. Happy Patriot's Day/Marathon Day tomorrow, running friends. My officemate is running. The heart of the city has been on its sleeve the past week, marking the anniversary of what happened last year.

*Trying to identify a young, long-haired singer in the background of a sessions shot with David Crosby on YouTube led to the startling discovery that Neil Young was good-looking back in the day! In the latter shot especially, he's got a lovely Hugo Weaving brow going on. Thumbs up. Most of the time, though, it seems he looked like the lovechild of Hugh Laurie and Joel McHale. Y/Y?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I wasn't sure how a Saturday could start better than a good night's sleep topped off with a dream about having dubcon sex with vampire David Bowie.

Turns out the answer is by following up with a walk to check out the winter farmers market (it was okay; I bought a radish and some garlic-roasted nuts), taking advantage of the one-day 50-degree break in the weather to go on a long-for-me bike ride, and stopping on the way back at Trader Joe's to pick up a few treats like pea shoots and dried apricots.

Later, when my quads work again, there will be cooking. Am going to try these steamed gyoza and either spinach or pistachio muffins (maybe these or these) for St. Patrick's day/six-month anniversary at work on Monday. Trader Joe's had shelled pistachios, which would make the latter easier. Maybe this time I will not overmix the batter and actually achieve non-dense muffins.

...Hi, this is me trying to post more. Should talk about how fabulous Top of the Lake was.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
1. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] grammarwoman for making Strange Times for me! It was the Strange Days vid I'd been hoping for for years.

2. If you haven't already, do check out [livejournal.com profile] deelaundry's entry, Part of Me (Now You See Me), which I had the pleasure of beta-watching. I haven't seen the movie so can't comment on the whodunnit plot, but as another commenter said, this does a lovely job of conveying the joy and wonder of the characters' performance of magic.

3. I made three Interview with the Vampire vids for [livejournal.com profile] sol_se for [livejournal.com profile] festivids 2013-2014. This entailed more angst than even a vid involving Louis and Depeche Mode would have indicated, because I love [livejournal.com profile] sol_se's work and wanted to make her something worthy and wasn't confident I had come anywhere close. But: She indicated happiness, and each vid received a couple of lovely comments that made me feel it was worth making. Weeks later, we (in the royal sense) have made peace with our creations.


Title: Precious
Music: Depeche Mode (edited)
Length: 2:57
Summary: "She should never have been one of us."
Content notes: Brief female nudity; graphic/lethal violence against vampires of all ages
Physical notes: None
Thanks: To [livejournal.com profile] deelaundry, [livejournal.com profile] synn and [livejournal.com profile] ignazwisdom for trying to help me fix this when I was convinced it was broken, broken, broken, and to [livejournal.com profile] cincodemaygirl for the extra reassurance.

Notes )

Embed etc. )


Title: Snake Song
Music: by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan (edited)
Length: 1:57
Summary: Santiago the trickster.
Content notes: Sexually charged male-on-male threat (:36-:42), brief gore (1:37-1:41).
Physical notes: None.
Thanks: To [livejournal.com profile] deelaundry, [livejournal.com profile] synn, [livejournal.com profile] ignazwisdom and [livejournal.com profile] cincodemaygirl for looking this over and letting me know the endings didn't work.

Notes )

Embed etc. )


One of these things is not like the others.

Title: Trouble
Pairing Louis/Lestat
Music: "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift (edited)
Length: 1:56
Content notes: Sorta nonconsensual seductive vamp-making.
Physical notes: I don't think any.

Notes )

Embed etc. )

Comments and concrit are always welcome as I try to improve my vidding.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Pushed through some supremely boring/stupid/taken-from-other-canons stuff to catch up on The Vampire Diaries. The reward: Damon & Enzo. That was perhaps the single slashiest scene I recall from this entire series. Fine, other than Stefan/Damon, because Stefan/Damon breaks my brain. And not counting Damon and Alaric's entire relationship, which had a slower-burn tone to it than the Enzo thing. I swear, even though this is a show that (a) resists poly and m/m solutions to relationship issues and (b) airs on The CW, I really wondered if they were going to kiss.

NBC Dracula: Thomas Kretschmann shackling shirtless Jonathan Rhys-Meyers to a medical platform. A few years ago, that would have been among my epitomes of fannish satisfaction.

Speaking of whom, this casting announcement for the next Avengers movie actually makes me look forward to seeing it.

Crossovers that should exist:

- Riddick & Ronon: two buff fightin' dudes on the (interplanetary) run from evil aliens
- Doctor Who & Dax, reminiscing in a bar about having a longtime-repressed past incarnation

That is all. Because discussing the brilliance of The Act of Killing, which I finally got to see last night, deserves much better than sharing space with the above.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
zulu asked: "What got you into fandom? Does the same thing spark your passion now, or is it something(s) else that keep you inspired?"

The thing is, I've replied to several other questions first because I don't know the answer to this one. I don't know if the same thing sparks my passion now as in my early days of joining the Harry Potter and House fandoms because I haven't felt passionate or inspired about fannish stuff in a while. Meh on TV shows, meh on reading fic, meh on my own writing and vidding; hence taking in so many books and movies lately on my own. Lying fallow, knowing something else will come along eventually. And that's okay, even though it can be sad not participating in what others of you are happy about.

But something might be waking up.

Yuletide used to make me a Scrooge McGrumpypants, which I think was mostly about my own pang of sadness that I didn't -- don't -- feel anywhere near as excited about it as other people because I hardly know any of the sources being written about and I don't find the stories for unfamiliar sources accessible in the way, say, the vids are at Festivids. I skim and try probably somewhere between 1 and 5% of the stuff posted. This year, I liked:
  • I'll Be Right Here (E.T.), in which it is an anniversary of the night E.T. left
  • Bad Day (What Maisie Knew), in which Margo and Lincoln are shaken up but handle it well when Maisie has an accident on the playground
  • Fewer Than Ten Scenes From the Second Coming of Richard III (The Ten Stupidest Things I've Heard Since Richard III's Remains Were Identified blog post) [link], in which ghosts converge on the area as conspiracies swirl; I loved the "Tudor spy" osteologist's way of speaking
  • A Different Kind of Boy (Pitch Black), in which Jack comes on to Riddick and Riddick doesn't say no; contains some unfortunate "the killer kissed him hard" sort of stuff, but the trans* depiction was interesting
I could have sworn I'd trolled the AO3 archives for Riddick/Jack fic after seeing Chronicles of Riddick a month or two ago, but either I did it wrong or the Riddick/Jack tag hasn't been wrangled to match Riddick/[other name Jack goes by that is sort of a spoiler]. In any case, I found some others and fell into reading them for hours in a way I haven't done in possibly years:
  • No Rest by Laylah, 1K, which I'd give the same summary as above and just hits a cluster of my kinks
  • Twin Flames by serafina20, 23K, in which Jack tries to grow up; it's permanently unfinished, and I wish it had warned for past incest/abuse, but it was an engrossing read
  • The Things We Leave Behind by Ratatosk, 100K+, which I've by now mixed up entirely with Twin Flames perhaps because they both remix the second movie, but involves Jack being taken by and escaping from mercenaries trying to bait Riddick and then they meet again trying to save the universe from Necromongers and there's excellent dubious consent stuff; also unfinished but being updated slowly at ff.net
Then I rented The Iron Giant and The Fast & the Furious. So I guess I'm having a low-burn Vin Diesel thing. Ten years after everyone else. Funny because he's not my usual type. Feels good! I am contemplating doing a quick Kink Bingo vid about how Riddick gets chained down and cuffed and gagged all the time. Dilemma: do it now while the interest is still fresh, or wait two weeks-ish until the last movie in the trilogy comes out on DVD (I didn't catch it in theaters)? Advice welcome.

Second, or I suppose first chronologically, the other week I tried NBC's Dracula with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Thomas Kretschmann. I don't know what the hell that show/miniseries is doing (steampunk + villain/hero switch + slow-mo fight scenes + plotline about energy conglomerates + lady medical student + terrible accents + queer subtext that turns into text = ??), but I couldn't stop watching. More on that in its own post.

Third, after reading the Riddick/Jack stuff I went and added 1,000 words to an unrelated story on my computer, which is about 1,000 words more than I'd written since January.

...That didn't answer the question at all -- sorry, zulu -- but it's the best response I've got right now.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
1. Yikes. I picked the best(/worst, if you like staycations with unknown retroactive pay status) time to leave federal service. My thoughts are with you, friends who're caught in the furloughs or suffering from cut services.

2. In less important, happier news, Starships! was linked from the Amazing Stories Magazine website. As they say in emoticons: *_*

3. I attended the last of the required orientations for work yesterday. Knowing I was going to be very early, I brought that newly acquired Vampire Romance book along. Left it face-down on the table as other earlybirds who recognized me from previous orientations trickled in and sat at my table.

I should have known that there was nothing to be embarrassed about in front of four other young women, even at Prestigious University. The one next to me caught sight of the spine and said she's been a fan of the genre too since reading Anne Rice; she mentioned Linda Lael Miller, the Sookie Stackhouse novels and something I've forgotten that wasn't Anita Blake but was similar. The young woman across the table returned from the coffee/breakfast table to say she'd heard the start of the conversation and wanted to know what recommendations were shared; confessed she also loved Anne Rice back in the day. Table-wide discussion ensued of True Blood books compared to TV show, etc.



(I'm quite enjoying the anthology. The writing could be better--lots of adverbs and euphemisms, that sort of thing--but the series of short stories of seduction is working well for me. I guess it was just the ticket in this time of change and potential loneliness, in a city where I once rekindled my love of the Vampire Chronicles and wrote thousands of words of fic for it.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Life Things are Happening that I will talk about soon, and that has made things busy. As usual. What is the pathology for inability to chill out?

.

Anyway, the second basement-cleaning trip went well enough aside from the grime. My dad handled everything well -- I underestimated his desire and ability to get rid of a lot of the stuff down there -- and the two of us made another big dent in the clutter. Let's see if I can remember some gems. On the Why? side: five or six boxes of hanging file folders, 19 rolls of packing tape, and several pounds of paper clips. On the sentimental side: early childhood Apple II floppy disks and keyboard covers for things like Stickybear, Facemaker, Iggy's Gnees, Grandma's House, Dinosaur Dig and Muppet Learning Keys. And of course EZ Logo and, later, Print Shop. Also some more adorable schoolwork. ♥ On the What the heck do we do with all this? side: a dozen boxes of computer software and piles and piles of computer hardware going back to at least 1980.

I didn't find the piece of kinky noncon "art" drawn on the back of some elementary school homework that got me into trouble with the school psychologist, but I did find a similar one from what must have been the same era:

cut for sensitivity )

Also, baby's first vampire creations:

 photo 20130804_183938_zps0a1bb1d8.jpg    photo 20130808_203046_zps9d32a18f.jpg

*shakes head fondly*

.

Vidding quandary. I want so badly to include scenes from The Green Table ballet in my next vid, but the quality of the YouTube file that I snagged a couple of years ago (before it disappeared, whew) sucks compared to the rest of the sources going into the project. Yet it is the only footage of these scenes from the ballet that I can find anywhere. (There are some decent clips available of the politicians arguing around the green table, but that's not what I need.) Scrunchy face.

Speaking of vidding, Vividcon is this weekend. I'm not able to go, but people's vids will happen! Including [livejournal.com profile] jetpack_monkey's Starships remix! Excited.

.

There was all this other stuff I wanted to tell you... Oh, good movies: Fish Tank, about a troubled teenage girl who seems to have an opportunity to turn her life around when she falls for her mother's new boyfriend (a young Michael Fassbender); Bliss (Mutluluk), about a young Turkish rape survivor who wins over her would-be executioner as well as everyone else she meets while on the run; and Daydream Nation, a weird/quirky heavily stylized Canadian indie film about some outcast teens and their parents and teachers during a pivotal few months of school, which I kept thinking about for days (and which contained a joke about Atom Egoyan, helping win my heart) even though it wasn't really about the student/teacher relationship that drew me to it in the first place. Saw The Queen of Versailles, too, and was interested in that dual fascination/repulsion way, but didn't think it was as spectacular or revealing as reviews suggested.

ETA: Oh, duh. [livejournal.com profile] cincodemaygirl, [livejournal.com profile] alpheratz and [livejournal.com profile] corbae threw a hipster-themed party (ironically, of course) the other weekend and it was much fun. In addition to the silly theme, the snacks and the opportunity to see some local fans who've been scarce of late, like [livejournal.com profile] v_greyson, [livejournal.com profile] roga was in town (well, in country) and managed to make it down for a few hours. That was great, though short.

.

*cough* So, you know, hi. Thinking of you and reading your posts even if I don't comment a lot.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Am experiencing that unfortunate blogging state where you don't post for a while and then there are too many things to talk about, so you don't talk about any of them, repeat until something gives. Let us try to overcome the blockage through the magic of a "five things" format:

1. I am reading the Twilight series. No, really. )

2. I watched seasons one and two of Girls. )

3. synn and I accidentally made The Challah That Ate Pennsylvania. )

4. Went to an excellent Sigur Ros concert. )

5. Five things, five things, hm. Starships and Home showed at Muskrat Jamboree and apparently were well received, yay. Many thanks to those of you who texted or emailed or dropped comments to report on how the vidshow went. Starships'll be showing at VidUKon soon, which is also awesome. Meanwhile, someone is doing a really cool project that involves one of my vids; I got to see a draft today, and it's going to be exciting to talk about when it's out in the world.

Looking forward to the time, ever closer, when my brain decides to be productively creative again. Mayhap it will involve one of the "gift basket" mini cards at Kink Bingo. Or not, since work is busy and my mom will be visiting next week.

Either way, for now, it's National Poetry Month once again, which means it's... time to read more poetry. Reading poetry means reading slowly, means appreciating the aesthetics of language, the exquisite ways artists find of expressing the simplest, most ordinary experiences, or of articulating what had seemed to be ineffable. Means slowing down the brain. Taking time. Thinking. So different from the skimming and attention dividing that tends to dominate my days. I didn't used to be like that, when I was a teenager. (Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in the metaphorical sense that my personal [d]evolution from measured, thoughtful and introspective to fragmented, rushed, digital- and social network-immersed reflects our culture's shift over the past couple of decades?) Poetry Months—and Septembers, when I remember the beginnings of school years—always make me wonder whether and how you can restore yourself.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Good movie: Die Wand/The Wall (Austria, 2012). As usual, I review in adjectives: contemplative, frightening, post-apocalyptic, beautiful, quiet, philosophical without being eye-rolling (as opposed to Richard Linklater) or grandiose (as opposed to Terence Malik). The way it remained grounded in the experience of one person while sometimes scoping out into widely applicable observations, without pretending to explain everything about the human condition, seems to have made some reviewers call it a lesser film than those of Malik, for example, but that's exactly why I was able to connect with and enjoy The Wall more than I could with something like The New World. Maybe that's a critical (as in critique, not as in essential) sophistication I haven't developed yet. But I liked very much that it was the story of a woman prone to depression struggling to remain motivated to survive in the mountains when she finds herself alone, give or take several pets, for what might be the rest of her life. It had a touch of science fiction. It had elements of life in the face of harsh wilderness odds. It had metaphors about insurmountable separations among people, between women and men, between urban/civilized and rural/pure life; about both the gulfs and the bonds between humans and animals. It… also had a lot of animal harm. And pervasive bird imagery that made me think the end was headed somewhere different. And enough creepiness that I had to watch a Vampire Diaries episode when I got home before I could go to bed.

I've put the book on my Hanukkah list. It will be interesting to see the ways it differs from and deepens the film adaptation.

Review from Variety and background info from QuietEarth.us. NYT etc. haven't reviewed yet; looks like it won't be out in wide release in the U.S. until the spring. Yay getting to see an early screening! Now if only other reviewers would stop calling it "the feminine Robinson Crusoe," ugh.

.

Okay movie: Paul (alien movie spoof by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost of Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz fame). Watched it last night and don't have much to say about it other than it was fun to pick out some of the specific movie references, especially toward the end: E.T., Close Encounters, Starman, Men in Black, Cocoon, Alien, probably a bunch I didn't know. Cute, crass, nothing in it that really stands out. Blythe Danner was cute.

Sinking TV show: The Vampire Diaries. Really disappointing season so far. No one believes Elena can handle anything, the men make decisions for her, and then when there's a chance for her to show them all how stupid they're being, instead she falls apart just as predicted. Plus there's the continued frustrated-scream-inducing "will she choose hot guy one or hot guy two????" plot that has saturated the vampire-related YA market. Bonnie's being manipulated all over the place. Caroline hardly gets to have a plot that doesn't involve a boyfriend or a wants-to-be-boyfriend. Stefan is more boring than usual. The new girl is annoying. No one is being sexy-threatening. Sigh. At least Damon's smirk frequency seems to be on the decline.

Already low TV show: Project Runway All-Stars. As with the previous/first All-Stars season, you can really feel the second-rate effort at every level—host and guest judges (except Isaac Mizrahi), editing quality, sponsorship… It's also irritating how the lady judges get introduced as "editor of X, the beautiful [name]" while the menfolk get credentials without comments on their physical appearance. Just another sign of the double standard that drives the fashion industry in the first place, I guess.

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