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.


*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)
Title: "Ancillary Justice" book trailer
Fandom: Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie
Music: "Nad Dunaem" by DakhaBrakha and "Epic Drums" by Immediate Music (edited)
Length: 1:28
Summary: Nineteen years, three months, and one week ago, I was a troop carrier.
Content notes: Several people get shot or are threatened with guns by members of a military force.
Physical notes: Zoom effects on some of the titles and clips.

Notes & acknowledgements )

Streaming, download, lyrics )

ETA: Okay, for the record, because wow: Ann Leckie's blog post/Tumblr post/tweet, Metafilter,
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I picked up my book trailer draft again this week and by Jove, it's actually coming together! My new goal is to have it finished by June 10 for a Vividcon themed show. This time I think the deadline is really possible -- especially if any of you have ideas for where to look for clips to plug in the gaps. No book knowledge necessary in order to help.


(1) I'm stitching together short clips from an array of science fiction sources -- or sources that could look like science fiction in the context of this vid -- to give an impression of the book universe. Shying away from immediately recognizable shots wherever possible; basically the opposite of Starships!.

(2) Anyone who can be seen in the vid needs to be dark-skinned.

(3) I'd like to avoid big-name stars unless they're shown from the back or in silhouette or something. I want people watching it to think "Mianaai" or "Seivarden" (or "character from the book," at least), not "Zoe Saldana" or "Idris Elba." But the vid isn't focusing on faces anyway.

From most to least important, I'm looking for scenes of:

not really spoilery but cut just in case )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Oh hey there. Long time little update.


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

How're you all?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Okay, so this is a wacky DW/LJ access list that I hope makes sense. I'm looking for help identifying movies & TV shows to scan for clips for a vid project that I'm excited about but don't want to make super public at this point in case it can be completed in time to submit to Festivids. Which means a lot of vidding friends can't see this post.

Cut in case you don't want to know the fandom. )
bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
Because at least [personal profile] stultiloquentia is interested. :) And before I get so far into Ancillary Mercy that the questions are all answered. (I am ~130 pages along.)

Spoilers for Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and one small thing toward the beginning of Ancillary Mercy )

Fall turn

Oct. 5th, 2015 09:06 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)

I have so many things I want to say after rereading Ancillary Justice & Sword

(what would a happy ending look like for the main character? what is her name, really? who could be fancast in a vid trailer for the books? is anyone besides me interested in an exploration of what attracts me to the protagonist as a reflection of how I wish I could be? look at all these levels of class conflict, from family status to imperialists-vs-indentured-workers to Radch ship attitudes to the realization that all those things are ultimately meaningless if the Presger decide humanity needs to go, similar to how Westeros needs to wake up and stop the infighting because the White Walkers are the real problem)

and I am so excited for the last book to come out tomorrow that I actually had an anxiety dream about it last night. But every time I sit down to post about it, nothing happens.


After some pleasant conversations with my new neighbors upstairs over the last six weeks or so, I left a note on Friday asking that when they get around to acquiring rugs (the house has wood floors and our leases mandate a certain amount of coverage), could they be sure to pad the area in the bedroom where they walk while getting ready in the mornings, because I've been waking up with them. They not only left a nice note back today, they tied the note around a bag of homemade coconut kettle popcorn. I think we are going to be okay.


Work is busy this month and entails some weekend obligations. Need to make sure I stay on top of things before they stress me out (more). Unfortunately, sports are not an option for a little while because my knee is bothering me. Maybe reading and playing with a feel-good vid in the evenings will suffice.


This post is boring, isn't it? I'm sorry.


It's fall! It finally happened! It happened so suddenly that the transition is quite noticeable. There were sundresses and sandals and air conditioning and now a few days later people have broken out their pea coats and knit hats and gloves and tights and boots. Boots everywhere. I wore my ankle boots today, one of my few stylish pairs of shoes, with a fun orange top and gray cardigan and corduroy pants. Because it's 55 degrees instead of 80. We can sleep with blankets on the bed. I declare it acceptable to talk about apples and pumpkins and harvest recipes and foliage. I turned on the oven this weekend and roasted things. Ahhhhh, fall.

*eats kettle corn*
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
(It is raining.)

Doing: Just returned from a five-day trip to my grandparents' in Florida, with my dad. Some ups, some downs, as happens when one's family is dealing with age-related health issues and dwindling ability to remain independent. Or codependent, as the case may be. In any event, it was good to see them, they appreciated the visit, and my dad and I did make it to the beach one beautiful morning. Two hours of swimming and of resting in the shade of an umbrella: divine.

Watching: A collection of Turner Classic Movies with the grandparents: Bringing Up Baby, With Six You Get Eggroll, Anna and the King of Siam (with Rex Harrison, not Yul Brynner), and 15 minutes of The Man Who Would Be King before I quit in distaste. Oh, and we caught the last 20 minutes or so of Transcendence, because apparently Paul Bettany movies now follow me wherever I go.

On my own, beginning of season three of Gilmore Girls, with the occasional ep thrown in of season three of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Haven't yet started the new series of Doctor Who.

Have also been getting together once every couple of weeks with [personal profile] thedeadparrot to alternately heckle and admire Project Runway, which is great fun.

Reading: Re-read of Ancillary Justice complete; Ancillary Sword half complete. Still wonderful. The series works for me on every level: concept behind the main character, basic plot, worldbuilding, personally and societally relevant themes (schisms in identity, class conflict, racism, suppression/absorption of minorities, social justice, police brutality, white male privilege, love and grief and revenge), favorite sci fi tropes (artificial intelligences, alien contact, awakening after centuries in cryo freeze), subtle and indirect emotions that sneak up on you, use of "she" as gender-neutral pronoun so that the universe feels filled with women. Not least, I relate to and envy the main character in numerous ways. Today's delight: remembering how Translator Dlique sounded a touch like Luna Lovegood as well as Delirium of the Endless. Can't wait for Ancillary Mercy next week.

Ummmm also I mentioned this on Twitter but I discovered last week that Ann Leckie recced Starships! in August and I retweeted her and then she replied to me and I may have died a little.

Before that, read Saga vol 5--excellent--then finished The Book of Three and barely started The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander, in the Chronicles of Prydain series, for book club. Eh. So far it is template fantasy; I found myself playing Spot the Comparison to things like Lord of the Rings, The Once & Future King, Earthsea and the Fionavar Tapestry. Young Eilonwy is a hoot and the prince whose name I've forgotten is written to be nice and sexy in a kids' book sort of way--in fact, young male protagonist Taran reads as though he's in love with him without really realizing it--but the books have not grabbed me so far. Gwydion. Will try a little more and see how it goes. Favorite line so far: "She is the only oracular pig in Prydain."

Vidding: Submitted my most favorite source ideas to [community profile] festivids (who will make me a book trailer for Ancillary Justice???) and am trying to think of whether there are any more. Glanced really quickly through the list of nominations and spotted something that soon after generated an idea, woo.

Also we will see if a vid gets generated for Halloween, my most successful vidding holiday to date. Have a bunch of source already ripped for one potential project. Unfortunately, have a bunch of RL stuff in October, too.

Writing: Not a lot outside of work. Adding some words here and there to that Marius/Mary Sue story. Speaking of posts that met with crickets.

Meeting: Got to hang for a couple of hours with [personal profile] such_heights and [personal profile] happydork last weekend when they stopped by Boston Fannish Brunch on their way across the country for their honeymoon; that was a treat.

Eating: Culinary highlights of September included a lobster roll from James Hook & Co., which lived up to its reputation of understanding that mayo and bun should take a backseat to the lobster meat, and a scoop of Noodle Kugel ice cream from JP Licks, which was cinnamon-spiked vanilla ice cream studded with cooked-then-frozen egg noodles. Because how can you pass up a specialty Rosh Hashanah ice cream flavor?

ETA: Wait, I forgot the other two excellent foods. First, following some nutrition advice, I tried broiled mackerel from the local Japanese restaurant and it was fantastic. Savory and salty and firm with a crisp skin. Will attempt to make something like it at home one of these days and see if the resulting oily-fish smell is worth the meals it produces. Second, I discovered the cayenne-mango flavored almonds from Q's Nuts in Somerville and cannot get over the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Nom nom afternoon snacks.

Dreaming: of autumn. It's still 80+ degrees out, and nearly October. Come on.

Also I had a dream the first night in Florida that Chief O'Brien showed up to try to save me at the end of a godawful tennis match and I was disappointed (but also relieved) that Bashir wasn't there. And then that I had to explain to Tony Stark how I was feeling after a traumatic event, so I phrased it in relation to his life: "imagine if the Iron Man suits were all destroyed, and Pepper was hurt, and Rhodey'd been killed..."

Whew. Okay, let's return after this to normal-sized, focused posts.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
My last major summer work project should be done a week from now, and that will be nice for enjoying leisure activities again. Like mulling over [community profile] festivids fandoms. And reading books.

Actually, I have to read Uprooted before Monday because it came in at the library and you only get 7 days for new books that are in demand. After that, I’d like to try some of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels and find out whether they are as lulling as the good fanfic. And am so looking forward to the release of Ancillary Mercy in October, preceded by a reread of the first two in the series. Sometime during the fall, will get around to The Chronicles of Prydain for book club. Did any of you read it when you were younger?

Not taking work home will also mean more time for moving around. Elle n’est pas très athlétique, mais elle essaie.

1. The autumn gym class schedule was posted and it is disappointing. Alas. I will either try some new classes or find alternatives.

2. Such as those tennis Meetups. Although tennis thoughts are on hold on account of I can’t find my racket/racquet.

3. Badminton club also an appealing option.

4. Could try picking up Irish dance again with the hope that it doesn’t tighten up my hips like last time, but that is $.


In the meantime, my mom came to visit and we had a nice weekend in western Mass. admiring Impressionist paintings and modern glass sculptures and attending Film Night at Tanglewood with the Boston Pops, incl. live scores to Star Trek and Jaws, and violinist Gil Shaham looking like RSL. )


It’s tradition to watch at least some Star Trek whenever my mom and I get together. This time she voted for Space Seed. After that, I could only request The Chest Wrath of Khan*, especially since it’s next on the rewatch list with [profile] ignazwisdom. Still so much love and admiration for that film. Notes perhaps to follow.

*™ director Nicholas Meyer


Internet is down at home so I am posting this from work. (Shh.) Replies may be delayed depending on how daunting it seems to type on the phone keyboard.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Life, as usual, has its little ups and downs. But I must say today is an up. Because:

1. Finished my Festivids treat draft last night. (!) Really wasn't sure it would work out, but it's good enough that I'm willing to post it, and we'll see if I can get some friends to watch it over the next couple of days and tell me if there are ways it should be made better.

2. Walked on the treadmill at the gym on lunch break while reading, rather than while watching the Food Network with no sound, and 40 minutes passed before I knew it. That felt good.

(It's The Martian by Andy Weir -- thanks for the rec, [ profile] mific -- which has some originally-self-published quirks I wish an editor had ironed out, and so far nothing to say beyond plot, which feels weird after the Ancillaries and a Left Hand of Darkness reread, but is a light and pretty enjoyable read while I gear up for some work-related nonfiction that requires concentration.)

3. Found and joined a SF/F MeetUp group over the weekend with the goal of meeting more people, and discovered that not only do they have a monthly book club in a convenient location, but they were meeting this week, and the book was Ancillary Justice! Fate, as the Radchaai would say. I just got back and am very happy with how it went.

Being a dork, I made a little checklist of what I wanted to get out of it and what would qualify it as a success. All boxes ended up ticked:

- Actually go to the event
- Hear something you hadn't thought about regarding the book
- Participate/contribute an insight
- Meet at least one new person
- Do not give up on it if it doesn't go perfectly

The level of conversation was good, the mix of 'jump in' and 'raise your hand'/'be called on by a moderator' was fair, people had recommendations for similar works, there were about equal numbers of men and women, and, hopefully this doesn't make me sound terrible, but it wasn't all a bunch of weirdos. There's nothing wrong with being a weirdo, it's just that I've joined many a sci fi club in the past that wasn't a good match for me. One sometimes wants compatible weirdos in life, which makes them not seem like weirdos to you, right? Anyway, I will definitely be trying out more events from this group. There is Star Trek trivia in a few weeks and someone said the book club will be doing The Martian.

(There were a few cuties, too. Heh. A related goal of joining more social groups, as recently discussed. & One of the women reminded me of [ profile] corbae, which made me like her immediately. ♥)

Okay, now to calm down in order to go to sleep.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Rahr, I finished Ancillary Sword tonight, which was not flail-inducing like the first half of Ancillary Justice but still a quite enjoyable read, and brought it immediately back to the library--

Short version: Because it had racked up a whole $1.35 in late fees.

Long version: Because back in November I kept mixing up whether Ancillary Sword or Ancillary Justice was the first book, and the interlibrary loan request delivered what I thought was the second one first, so then I returned it, and then the "first" one came in and I discovered it was in fact the sequel, so then I had to hold onto it and re-request the actual first book and wait for that to come back in, by which time the sequel was already overdue. And when I got far enough into Ancillary Sword [ETA:] Justice, LOL, I'm still doing it [/ETA] to decide I wanted to buy the books to support the author, it was only to discover that a shocking number of stores don't carry them. (Ended up ordering them from Amazon. They're in the mail as we speak.) At least the fines are only a nickel a day.

--and now I'm in that bereft state where you have to resurface from a universe you like,* but you're not ready yet, and also at a loss for what to read next.** Especially as these books came on the heels of the Vampire Chronicles re-reads, another universe I have been known to moon over.

*Mainly thanks to the protagonist being so fabulous: just the right mix of incredible competence, confidence when thrown into unfamiliar and difficult situations, stoicism/self-control, wry humor, intelligence, and physical and emotional vulnerability. And asexuality and atheism and good strong morals and super cool SF technology-driven powers. And an achingly enviable amount and breadth of life experience. Languages, music, cultures. Trying not to say anything spoilery. Also: Space! And worldbuilding that feels pleasantly familiar for a genre fan without being too derivative, IMO, with details that are fresh. And sort of basic but still interesting social justice plots, and some stuff about gender and the necessity of tethering logic to emotion [take that, TOS] and an occasionally unreliable narrator and oh right by the way the dominant race in the galaxy is black, and and.

I see there are 32 stories for it on the AO3, but I'm not ready to try them yet. I want more, but I want more in the sense of I wish the book hadn't ended or that the third one were out already, not that I want gaps filled. Even if the fic summaries and titles look pretty good. Now that I'm not afraid of spoilers I am perusing professional reviews and will have to sort through LJ/DW people's back entries to see who's said stuff about the books before I knew what they were. toft, I seem to recall, recently.

**For tomorrow, there's at least Saga vol. 4. After that, we'll see. Maybe Best American Magazine Writing 2014, but I think I want one more novel first. Thank you again for those feminist SF/F recs last year. I've read two more Le Guin collections and Octavia Butler's Kindred since then, and still want to go for Steerswoman but would prefer to find it in print when it seems to be mostly available for e-readers. Additional recommendations still quite welcome.

(Subject of this post may still be my favorite line from the first book. BTW.)


Dec. 26th, 2014 11:14 am
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Winter break: the joy of working for an academic institution. Chilled out at my dad's for a few days for the end of Hanukkah, which was nice. Survived a 30-person Hanukkah party with extended family. Then he and I made a beautiful wooden cutting board.

20141223_104636 <-- partway through the process

Currently chilling out at my mom's for Christmas, which she apparently now celebrates. There were more family dinner parties. Now, Star Wars jigsaw puzzle complete, a cranberry-orange-cinnamon-cloves mix is simmering on the stove, filling the house with a wonderful spicy cider scent, and we are watching TV.

(Me: So you're finally able to watch Mythbusters again, after we showed you James Bondage?
Mom: Ehhhhhhhh. It's... definitely different.)

Later, flying down to see [ profile] synn, whee. It's been almost a year and a half.

And on the plane, I expect to finish Ancillary Justice and perhaps start Ancillary Sword. Ohmigosh, Ancillary Justice is so great. It is just as Pop Culture Happy Hour and a couple of friends promised. Such an interesting concept for universe and protagonist. It took a couple of chapters to get into, but then she won my heart on, what was it, page 26? -- singing with three mouths -- and there was that one chapter in the middle where everything happened, and I honest to goodness made noises at the book, I was so invested in the character. Couldn't tell you the last time that happened.

Giving gifts has been satisfying. And receiving some! My sister gave me music files on a flash drive and my mom found a Deep Space Nine clock for me on Etsy that is fantastic. Also a teacup that says "Potions Master."

Have bookmarked a handful of Yuletide stories to try. We'll see if there's any intersection among canons I know, canons I like, canons I'm interested in reading fic for, and good stories. Definitely want to try the Imperial Radch ones after I've finished the books.

Hope those of you who are observing winter holidays have had a good week, and hope those of you for whom the holidays are difficult have made it through all right. ♥


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