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

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

*

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

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

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

*

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

I'm almost out of episodes on Netflix, though, and then whatever can take its place?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
My promotion actually went through at work! I have a modified title and a tiny raise. My supervisor had coached me to brace myself for nothing, given looming budget cuts across the whole organization, so even a little bit is a nice surprise; and while it's taken three and a half years to claw back up to what I was making at my last job, I still don't regret the move. Best of all, the upgrade doesn't involve doing much more than I'm doing now.

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

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

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

*

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

VIDELICET

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

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

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

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

My piece was given an auto-playing background video in the "Screening Room" section, and there's a non-flashy gif in the slide show embedded in the "Sh*t Gets Real" section. Also FYI, the section headers font and a few pix are styled with deconstructed red and blue like you would see in 3D materials before you put the glasses on.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Oh, friends. You are fantastic. Within about 24 hours, 15 of 16 outstanding sources for this vid project, plus 8 new sources, had at least one volunteer, and your comments have already helped me refine the character spreadsheet.

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

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

Follow-up poll )

Also to do: somehow figure out whether the characters currently flagged as "key" -- in bold here, built from Sigrid's and my opinions plus some of yours from the last post's comments -- are the "right" ones. (Thinking there is an objective way to determine this may be my problem here, heh.) Thoughts welcome.

Vid help?

Mar. 5th, 2017 06:10 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
One of the vids I'm making for the Fandom Trumps Hate auction, requested by [twitter.com profile] sigridellis, is a celebratory snapshot of characters of color in current SF/F & horror film and television. It is a neat project, although it means I've gotten myself into a pickle with the scope! I haven't quite figured out how many sources will be feasible, but we've started a list off the tops of our heads and flagged characters who are Sigrid's favorites and/or who feel particularly important to serve as the core set.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A poll )

Thank you. <3

ETA: Follow-up poll.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Doing

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

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

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


Vidding

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

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

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

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


Reading

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

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


Watching

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

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

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


Listening

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


Writing

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


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

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

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

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

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

HAL )

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

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

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

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

Hadfield )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
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)
Hwooof, that was a tough week, but this weekend was the best that's happened in a while, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

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

The good stuff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cooking: A pleasurable week is in store of chicken breast and goat cheese sandwiches for lunch and stuffed cabbage for dinner. Also, the supermarket was selling chocolate-covered banana chips, which I didn't know was a thing but I am all over it, mm. Banana chips were such a treat when I was a kid.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Five Festivids. Five fandoms. Three and a half months. One satisfied bironic. We'll see what the recipients think this weekend.

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

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

*

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

*

I've got to call it quits now; am behind on other tasks. (Have got to stop reading the news, too, for a little while, before I become incapable of functioning.) Good luck to those of you who are still working on treats, and hooray for everyone who's looking forward to watching the glut of new vids in less than three days!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
First of all, thank you to everyone who posted photos or descriptions of your experiences at Saturday's marches.

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

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

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

.

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

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

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

.

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

.

And now for something a little lighter.

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

image behind the cut )

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

Tonight, hoping to finish the last Festivids treat. Golive on Saturday is a light at the end of the week.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I.

Quick reminder that bidding for the vid I'm offering for charity ends at midnight tonight, if you would like to make a pledge. Sorry/happy to report that the current bid is $110, in case that saves you a click.

I put in one bid, for a Remus/Sirius/someone fic from [personal profile] setissma, but [personal profile] thedeadparrot outbid me. :) That's only fair, since she'd been bidding before I stuck my nose in.

II.

I'm at my mom's for the week and she's doing well. Big relief. Last week was tough, being in another state and waiting for updates while trying to work. Now we are just lying around the house listening to music, watching TV and old movies, occasionally playing Scrabble* or this Star Trek trivia game** or yelling at a Banff National Park jigsaw puzzle whose pieces all look the same.

*Geekiest hand of the game

**We shuffled the trivia cards so the movies and series would all be mixed together, but then we realized we didn't know Voyager or Enterprise and by the end we just shamelessly cherry-picked TOS for her and DS9 for me, with occasional Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home thrown in.

III.

Persuant to the above:

TV: My mom and her bf are into reality TV, so I've been introduced to shows like Wicked Tuna, Living Alaska, and Alaskan Bush People, plus many reruns of Property Brothers, House Hunters, etc., and the usual Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. Let's not talk about the news.

Movies: I brought down one of the DVDs from a grab bag [personal profile] jetpack_monkey put together, and we are two for two so far: Attack of the Crab Monsters, which featured the immortal line, "Once they were men. Now they are land crabs," and Not of This Earth, featuring space vampires and questionable transfusion practices. YouTube trailer for the double feature. Tonight we'll try the third, War of the Satellites. Maybe we'll even get to the .avi file of The Frozen Dead that's been on my computer for about three years since my coworker tried to get me to watch it.

Books: Binti was great. I haven't gotten more than a third into Akata Witch because of all the TV, but I look forward to finishing it. Then The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vols. 1-2, which was supposed to be for book club but just got outvoted by Paper Girls vols. 1-2, which I guess is next-next.

IV.

The neighbors' college-age son has gotten into Game of Thrones, grew his hair into several inches of curl, got himself a sword at a garage sale, and now does cosplay of Jon Snow in a fur-shouldered Night's Watch cloak. It's impressive!

V.

Okay, she's out of the shower, so that's all for now. Hope you're all hanging in there.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I'm offering a custom-made vid as part of the [tumblr.com profile] fandomtrumpshate charity auction! Bidding is now open, and runs through Jan. 19.

Context: What is this? What charities are eligible?

Here is my contributor profile on Tumblr, and here is the list of vids I've made to date. The short version of what I'm offering, which will look familiar if you remember last year's Vividcon auction, is:
TV shows: Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Stargate: Atlantis, Roar

Movies: Star Trek before the reboots (especially 2/4/7). I'm a big movie fan and am open to lots of one-off possibilities. Feel free to contact me ahead of time to check something you have in mind; otherwise, probably best to have more than one idea so we can find the best match for us.

In general: If it's science fiction or if it has vampires in it, chances are good. Another "yes" is movies that involve Paul Bettany, Vin Diesel, Sarah Polley, mid-career Jeff Goldblum, Alexander Siddig, Vincent Perez or Thomas Kretschmann. You can browse stuff I've loved (& not loved) in the last few years at my movie reviews tag – maybe you'll spot your fave(s) there, including many non-English-language films. Also, here is a random sampling of DVDs I own in case it's helpful: Queen of the Damned, Bride of Frankenstein, Little Women, Care Bears Movie II, Inkheart, Inception, Priest (the one with Linus Roache), Stargate, Queen Margot, X-Men.

Dance: I'm also a casual fan of ballet and Irish dance, and it could be interesting to try to vid a performance or a ballet-themed movie if you're into that.
How bidding works

(See also What to ask before you bid)

Here is the bidding spreadsheet where you can see who has bid on my offering so far, and here is the bidding form if you want to enter your own bid. I hope at least somebody bids before the end or this will be embarrassing, heh.

Several friends with top-notch skills, including scribe (who's offering a vid), thedeadparrot (fic), stultiloquentia (fic or beta), celli (fic or beta/culture-pick), ETA: serrico, likeadeuce, monanotlisa, and I'm sure more, are also participating. You can go to [tumblr.com profile] fandomtrumpshateofferings and enter names, fandoms, or fanwork types in the search bar at the top.

Feel free to link this around, reblog the contributor post, etc.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
This general uptick in Dreamwidth activity has been great. Hello, new friending meme people! I should do an intro post soon about things I'm into these days. Tonight, though, I am packing for a trip to my mom's and more or less beta-watching a documentary by a coworker. Or—*checks clock*—possibly neither of these things. It was sort of a rough day.

Reading update: Three books came in today at the library: Binti and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, spurred by the monthly SF/F book club I go to, and A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt, which I am excited to dig into but may have to return and re-request because it's only a week-long loan and I'll be out of state when it's due back. Alas. Meanwhile, I've been picking through the e-book of Speculative Fiction 2014: The Year's Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, a collection of reprints of SF/F fandom meta. [personal profile] thingswithwings is in there!

Writing update: Need to work on an essay for a zine that's coming out in the spring, since it's due at the end of January. Details TBA. It sounds like it's gonna be cool.

Vidding update: Last fall on Twitter, I asked:

I'm happy to report that the answer is Yes. In fact, I may be able to squeeze in a fifth. It depends on how it goes at my mom's (she's having surgery; I'm making no commitments), but I've rewatched the source and started laying a few clips on the timeline. It's an idea I had a few [community profile] festivids ago and never got a chance to make somebody.

If that's not vague enough for you, how about this?

Statements I can't make about Festivids in progress )
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)
(Aside from current events like the DAPL breakthrough. \o/)

I’m not a good sleeper, but last night, with the help of a "non"-drowsy allergy pill, I went to bed at 9:30 and slept until 7:30 and woke in my little quilt cocoon to a dusting of snow outside, feeling like life is beautiful. Why can’t every night be like that?

I found some books for gifts and for me at the twice-yearly Harvard Book Store warehouse sale this weekend: some cookbooks, a slim volume about narrative craft by Ursula Le Guin (originally written in 1998 and updated last year) and four nonfiction books I’d been eyeing for a while. That’s part of the good thing. The other part is that work is going to cover most of those because they’re job-related. Hooray; that frees up this month’s book budget for other treats.

While exchanging a defective jacket, I found a cowl-neck "tunic sweater" that fits. It was on sale and it makes me happy. I have not been feeling good about myself body-wise for a while, and a well-fitting article of clothing helps. It’s long enough to be a short dress, but I wasn’t brave enough for that today, given the chill, and am wearing it with black pants.

Since it is the Month of Capitalism, I also browsed around for stovetop tea kettles, because I’ve finally grown embarrassed enough about boiling water for guests in a battered saucepan to search for an alternative. (It was more of a small-kitchen, don’t want specialized gadgets thing than an affordability thing.) Thus was I introduced to the modern world of programmable electric kettles, where you can set the shutoff at various temps below boiling for perfect tea steeping. I think this is where my Hanukkah gift card from the stepfamily will be going.

Culinary rescue! A pre-Thanksgiving cider-braised chicken recipe came out way too sweet and I ended up sticking most of the constituents in the freezer: leg meat, barley, onion, too-firm diced carrot and celery. Yesterday I tried reinventing it as a soup and am pleased to report that it came out great.

A roasted spaghetti squash, not so much. Overdone to mush. I would turn it into soup if there weren’t already soup this week. The internet says it can be puréed into a sort of mash, with butter/margarine, salt and pepper. Any other ideas?

Friends came over on Saturday to work on various laptop projects, "alone together"; I made some progress on the Elf vid, and we experienced the first two episodes of Yuri On Ice. Waiting for the second Grantchester S1 DVD to arrive; started watching S3 of The Fall on Netflix. Was pleased to learn that it began as a medical drama! With Richard Coyle from Coupling, no less.

<3 to all of you while this good mood lasts. Later in December will be much more stressful, on top of whatever fresh hell the news brings.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Exemplary Bus Dad appeared again tonight. What a spirit-lifter. This time they talked about duplexes and possibly Jesus; she tried to eat his fingers; and when, a few times, she stood up on the seat, grabbed the rail and leaned back, he placed an unobtrusive hand or leg beneath her in case she fell, then snatched her knit hat and batted her face with it while she laughed. They say the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day.

Oh, and he had a safety pin on his lapel. First safety pin wearer I've crossed paths with whose pin hasn't struck me as emptily and/or obnoxiously performative. ETA: But that probably says more about me and my projecting than it does about the pin wearers.

Thank you for your kind comments after our family's unexpected holiday loss. If you're interested, here are some of the pictures we put out when visitors came.

baby pix, ca. 1918; also 1950s )

Short work week, after all that. TGIF tomorrow. Gonna watch a movie at [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl's house and hope to work on a vid this weekend. Probably should prioritize the Elf one since Xmas is coming up before the Festivids deadline. Also need to work on an essay for a thing.

Not much notable to report, activism- or media-wise. Caught up on Westworld and The Daily Show, rented the first season of Grantchester and read a book for work. [personal profile] no_detective et al screened the Eyewitness pilot at fangirl Thanksgiving, which was entertaining in a group but I'm not sure I'll pursue it.

How are you doing?
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.)

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