bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
One of the local Little Free Libraries had a copy of The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and that finally motivated me to start reading His Dark Materials after all these years. People were super into them around the time we were going to Harry Potter aca-cons and of course there've been a million fannish AUs but I never got around to trying the series, other than going to see that forgettable film adaptation.

After an uncertain start, I got really into it, especially the human-dæmon relationships. I hadn't realized how into it until I found myself choking up at the descriptions of spoilery ). Also I hadn't realized how explicitly Pullman described what happens between dæmons when their humans get frisky together. Many years late to this party.

I bought the other two books yesterday and will read them in & around the new Harry Potter one that I pre-ordered but haven't picked up yet.

Obv. there are things to enjoy and things to critique and thinky stuff about Pullman's reaction to C.S. Lewis and the Church but we are not here for in-depth analysis right now. Work is rough these days as we undergo managerial transitions and as a result my entertainment has swung toward pleasure and comfort. See also: I've taken a break from vid-research movies and just rewatched the Twilight series. Well, that's sort of for vid research too, but a different project, and I wasn't taking notes. And I rewatched the beginning of the terrible-but-I-don't-care TV show Roar from 1997, because my heart.

Was sad to miss con.txt this weekend and all the friends who go with it. At least there's only a week and a half 'til Vividcon. Hang in there, self: Hugs and vids and conversation and mini-vacation are nigh.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. I'm going to vid the Twilight movies. Without irony. So there.

2. Staying away from Twitter/Tumblr until we've seen Star Trek: Beyond on Saturday. However, I did just pop onto Twitter to relay an anecdote about how the young man who sold me the movie tickets this evening was wearing a Starfleet uniform (red, TNG style, three pips), complete with shiny insignia. On my way out he said to his dinner-eating, non-nerd-appearing fellow employee that he was a first officer, to which the fellow employee replied without blinking, "No way. They'd stick you down in stellar cartography."

3. Monday I was treated to a hangout with [personal profile] ignaz as she boomeranged through town for a work thing. We caught up a bit and saw Ghostbusters, which was fine. I hadn't expected to love it as much as many friends seem to, and that turned out to be accurate, but it was enjoyable on multiple levels, from Kate McKinnon's owning of the part to the game of Spot the Boston Location to the feminist metacommentary. Primarily, I hope their taking of our money -- which, btw, $14 for a non-3D/non-IMAX showing on a weekday?! -- convinces some thick-skulled Hollywood exec that non-romance-driven movies with quirky women of various races and body types and with unspecified sexualities have a market.

Among the highlights of the evening was running into [personal profile] marginaliana and her +1 at the theater!

4. I also had a really nice time at a birthday party the other week talking with [ profile] marginaliana, [ profile] verymilkytea and [ profile] windtheme and getting to know them better.

[ profile] verymilkytea helpfully demonstrated how Pokémon Go works; it was brand-new at the time. A coworker subsequently snapped some photos of me posing with two or three invisible Pokémon in my office. I don't play the game, but what I like about it is how its particular implementation of augmented reality makes it feel like ghost hunting or those science fiction stories where someone is slightly out of phase from normal: the idea that there's something there that you can't detect unless you have a special piece of technology that picks up some signature beyond our human senses. It's fun to pretend we're living in a reality where there's a Pokémon over your shoulder right now and you just need a smartphone camera to "see" it.

5. Busy period at work: late evenings, no lunch breaks, full and shifting meeting schedules. Still, it's better than the last few weeks, when I felt nonspecifically draggy-terrible and couldn't sleep deeply or think straight. I've got an appointment with a new doctor tomorrow with the hope of actually figuring out what's been going on in the last couple of years. TMI maybe.

Bonus 6. Bowl of falafel salad. Mm.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
After mortifying National Poetry Month by spending it reading the Twilight series* (worst sentence from the fourth book: "Beyond words, I shrieked a growl at him"; best part: the last third, when Bella had agency and confidence and action happened), I thought it would be appropriate to continue now with Fifty Shades of Grey, since it is another extremely popular book that has been panned by fandom and about which I'd like to form my own opinions, and since it began life as a Twilight fic. A Twilight AU, I'd assume, in which Isabella "Bella" Swan-->Anastasia "Ana" Steele meets vampire student Edward-->dom businessman Christian and instantly falls for his godly beauty and inexplicable sexy power, feelings are returned much to the consternation of Native American werewolf Jacob Black-->Hispanic photographer José Rodriguez**, and readers are left to insert themselves into one of the lead roles, possibly while wondering what the foundation is for the characters' mutual obsession. (I'm pretty sure Bella would have felt way more secure about Edward's love for her if their relationship had been based on anything more than love at first sight.)

My expectations are basically that Fifty Shades will be shoddily written, the relationship will be unhealthy in that it borders on abuse instead of consent (and therefore it will make me itch to point those mainstream readers to dozens of fics and Kink Bingo metas and whatnot that show and/or explain what safe and hot dom/sub relationships can look like), the sex will eventually be constant and the prose flowery... and that there will be something appealing about some aspect of it, because it has appealed to thousands of women.


So, okay, I'm four chapters in and the text hasn't thrust me out yet. So to speak. The prose is best read at a skim, the dialogue's often as vapid as watching kids put on an ad libbed play, and there are whole scenes that should have been cut, but it's interesting to study the signs of transition from fanfic to novel.

My biggest issues so far are that the relationship took off way too quickly and again with no foundation or reality to it, and that the hero is already flashing danger signs that the heroine alternately misses or chooses to ignore. Details on those: ) We've at least gone a step up from Twilight in that the roommate says he's creepy and too much for her and because one time Ana thinks, "Stalker"... but then she says she doesn't mind because it's him. So.

Or rather, her subconscious thinks, "Stalker." If you ask me, if you're thinking something clearly while you're awake, you are thinking it consciously, not subconsciously. But I didn't raise the red flag until the next page, when "My subconscious is figuratively tutting and glaring at me over her half-moon specs."

If that happens much more, I am quitting.

I suspect that it will happen much more. I hear there is also an inner goddess.

As a reward when I'm done, maybe I will make a print of the cover of Fifty Shades of Chicken for the kitchen.

(For what it's worth, the scene in the hardware store where he buys kinky supplies and she thinks he's doing home reno DIY was funny.)


*and by watching The Raven, in which, following the recent Hollywood trend of transforming 19th century literary and political figures into action heroes, Edward Norton John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe helps a Baltimore constable catch a serial killer whose murders mimic Poe's short stories. Ugh, it was even worse than I was braced for. Especially after the opening few shots promised beautiful cinematography. I was all set to request it for festivids and invite the vidder to trick everyone into thinking the movie was good.

**For facepalming on that last name choice and for general amusement, see, earliest post

ETA: part two of the review here
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)
The following items are all true.

1. I sent the tentacle fic link to my mom. She has been asking about it since I first blurted that I was working on it. This is going to be interesting.

2. Some professors took our class out for dim sum on Monday in Chinatown. Mm. I finally found out that the jiggly, seared white rectangles I loved when my friend Ellen and I went for dim sum a couple of years ago in New York are not fish-related at all but in fact turnip cakes. And then tonight was one of the bimonthly dinners in my residence, catered from a Thai place across the river. Also mm. It more than made up for the canteloupe I bought this week, which has managed to be both under- and overripe.

3. [ profile] muskratjamboree attendees will start to gather in town tomorrow night. It's going to be nice to see a couple of friends/acquaintances again over the next few days, and hopefully to meet some of the people on the list whose stories I've loved for a long time. Though I'm intensely ambivalent about one attendee who once insulted me without ever having met me, which still hurts, even years later. I've been to cons both fannish and non-, but never a slash con. I hope it will be fun. I hope having to miss a handful of panels because of school-related things won't leave me too far behind in the socializing.

4. They showed Twilight on the flight to Florida, so I finally got to see it, and without paying anything, which was even better. Unpopular fannish opinion: I had fun watching it. Honest! )

5. I wanted to write a mimic poem like Thirteen Ways of Looking at Rodney for National Poetry Month today, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

…Can you tell I'm avoiding my work?


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