lenora_rose: (Default)
Progress notes for September 14, 2014

Total words new or revised : + 568. Which is slightly awkward, as there was -565 included in that total...
Reason for stopping: Finished revamp of scene.
Tea: Cornelia Bean's Pear Garden Ginger Fresh, plain water.
Music: Lennie Gallant - Live at the Carleton
Mean Things: the whole thing, really, but I went through this scene not that long ago, before I decided on the alternate descent.
Darling du jour: "Sorry I'm a burden right now," she said, and she meant it, but it felt even better that it made him laugh.
Just finished reading: Joshua Palmatier - The Skewed Throne. Steles of the Sky - Elizabeth Bear. The latter was vastly and noticeably better reading than the former, but I have more to say about Palmatier.
Next on the to-read pile - Martha Wells - The Serpent Sea and the Siren Depths, Kate Elliott - Cold Steel

Inevitable asides: I actually quite liked this last Doctor Who as a story, in ALMOST all respects. Here's my facebook comment about the one exception:

I hate being distracted by a cool tv show concept by what I call the Fallacy of Universal experience (Does it have a different formal name, Jeff?). To be a bit clearer, not every human culture has beds that are platforms raised off the ground. Not even every Western person has this. So why would nightmares about monsters under the bed be not only common to every human being, but literally universal?

Argh. it would have been so easy to write that little bit out (Ed. as small and simple as turn it into AN example that happens to be central in THIS case, instead of THE example). Instead it nags at me.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Progress notes for July 15-27 inclusive, 2014

Yes, all at once. That was the Fringe. Which normally i post a great deal about in detail, but I think not this year. Not that it wasn't a basically damn good Fringe in almost all ways. (I *will* dedicate a post to the Folk Festival and the ways it was a less than stellar one...) I was puttering around with the Dana, doing a bit here and a bit there, and because, as I learned with NaNoWriMo, the Dana's word count function is painfully slow when coping with a 150k file (It's impossible to do anything but a complete word count, too, but what with deleting almost as much as I added, wouldn't have served regardless.)

Possible title sources referenced? - Not really. I suspect those will come up, if at all, much later in the story, or in a scene too key to what it's all about.

Total words new or revised : + 370

Reason for stopping: The Fringe Ended...

Music: Usually the MP3 player on random, if anything at all was available to me; otherwise, the background noise of line-ups for shows, the volunteer hospitality suite, the table where I sold tickets... And for one of the long drives out of town, the noises of the car.

Tea: Multiple varieties, of course, but because I have been attempting to reduce caffeine severely, and coffee-related drinks almost 100%, mostly I've had decaf or herbal. And it proved remarkably difficult to find places that sell tea at all around the Fringe, much less enough varieties that I had an option other than Mint that I liked (I detest chamomile, and I have found that few easily-obtained supposedly fruit flavoured infusions work for me over time)

There's Always one more Quirk in the character: Laurel really didn't pay attention to the price she was asked to pay -- because that wasn't half as relevant.(It occurs to me that Laurel's explanation where and how she learned her housebreaking skills never made it in. Maybe later, oh well.)

Mean Things: B&E, paying a considerably steeper price than noted to free someone else, a remarkably nasty clause or two in the oath.

Darling du jour: Laurel would have lasted about a minute as Bluebeard's wife, and that long only because she'd have probably had to pick the lock.

Research: No opportunity. I need to check the main floor of the church on revision

Books I Read throughout: Oriole A. Vane-Veldhuis - For Elise, Pratchett - Raising Steam, S. ClarkeCollins (OOOPS) - Gregor the Overlander, Katherine Addison - The Goblin Emperor, Martha Wells - Emilie and the Hollow World

Inevitable other crap:
Saw 21 shows. Did 8 volunteer shifts. Also spent one Sunday with the husband's relatives, saw some plays with him, and spent more time at home than you'd think. Many many shows made me cry because I just do that, but only one that really did so in an unhealthy, horrid, not-just-cathartic way. Which, of course, was called Magic Unicorn Island. (It's an excellent show, if it comes to a Fringe near you -- just don't be confused when it's billed as a comedy or starts by making you laugh; it's a satire, and satire =/= comedy. There is NO way the ending could have been made funny, even to those who could appreciate it with a bit less shattering. And he didn't try, because to try would have stripped the point.)

Otherwise - decent weather, a working bicycle, a range of excellent to decent shows (At least the ones I saw, even the ones I was forced to by usher shifts), good times.

_____________________________________________

Progress notes for July 29, 2014

The one day since where I've done anything worth note in writing. Things have been busy!

Total words new or revised : -217. Hurrah for a negative total!
Reason for stopping: Needed to get out of chair and move about a bit> Soon after, had to wake JoJo from his nap.
Tea: Upton Premium decaf Earl Grey. I think.
Music: none
There's Always one more Quirk in the character: Roma is cuddly
Darling du jour: Roma lifted her, broad hands tucked under her elbows until she could stand and spite her trembling knees.
Books I'm Reading: Julia Quinn - Mr Cavendish, I presume, Elizabeth Bear - Shoggoths in Bloom (Specifically, "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns"), Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson - The Folklore of Discworld.

Inevitable Asides: Some book reviews probably also coming up, even in brief.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Since I have been so behind on posting. These, for those who don't read my facebook or who missed some, probably sum up several things I don't feel like discussing at length.

On the Desolation of Smaug:

I liked expanding Bard's story so he doesn't just appear at the end of the Dragon thing. I liked the dwarves in the mountain attempting to do something other than just wait for Bilbo and actually confronting Smaug, up to the point where it turned into more video game antics. (Also, you'd think they'd have, you know, some dwarf sized corridors....). Most of the other changes I think could have been dropped in favour of more time with Beorn and more of Smaug and Bilbo's banter, both from the book.
___________

(Re: Someone's comment that Legolas was there for the women....)

Legolas was indeed unnecessary (And I say that as a woman). He made a little sense being there as the son of the King, but only a little.

But what he really made me do is long for the Legolas of Lord of the Rings.

Jackson seems to have decided that he wasn't badass enough -- but *this* Legolas has me wondering why he let all those annoying humans and Hobbits slow him down in the Lord of the Rings. As he was shown in Smaug, he'd have been all the way to Mount Doom with the Ring before it even had time to tempt him, hopped over the giant black gate in a couple of Parkour tricks, killing all the guards in the process, chucked it in, surfed away from the lava explosion on a piece of debris, and wouldn't have even mussed his hair.
_________________

My son:
Dec 19: As I just mentioned to Colin, I was just re-watching "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances". And, hearing it so often on screen, Joseph starts repeating "Mummy. Mummy."

Not sure whether to giggle or shudder. #WhoHumour

Mid December Photos, including the Christmas Tree I made for JoJo. )

December 27 (The first not miserably freezing day in a while at that point, and only a day or two before a cold snap that lasted distressingly long. We're talking vicinity of -40 for DAYS cold snap... and when it wasn't that, it snowed...)
photos behind cut )

Jan 2: JoJo has sung along to music a few times now. He's had some rhythm (Not enough, but some) for a while, and has seemed less random in his choice of notes and sounds, if not harmonizing at least clashing less and less.

But today, he found the actual melody for London Bridge.

Toddler progress is progress after all.


Jan 9: It's official. Joseph can climb out of his crib on his own.

He got out of his playpen (Used as a travel crib) twice on New Year's Eve, so it's not like we didn't know it was coming.... but still, sigh.

________________

Other:

Jan 4: We got to archery today! Current plan is to keep going on all Saturdays we can. (Though Not Imbolc, obviously, but I did reserve babysitting for the Friday night shoot)

(ED: we have kept this up. Shooting regularly again feels GOOD.)

Jan 8: First day of work since Before our trip to AB and BC! Finished the horse, other than the bits under and around water.
photo behind cut )

Jan 15: Sigh. Mom was sick (Get well soon - and not for my sake) so no chance to mural paint because no babysitter. Then ploughed through the snow with a stroller to get JoJo and myself flu shots. Sigh. Well... on the plus side, the new orthotic insoles I slipped into my boots WORK LIKE AWESOME. A lot less pain now...

(ED: Plantar fasciitis. Had it before, but this last bout was BAD. Days of barely being able to walk bad. I still galloped around daily with Joseph on my shoulders, though, because awesome.)

Today:

"Imagination is a little white light, waiting for a chance to grow
bigger and bigger till it glows so bright it eliminates all you know..."

Wait, what?

Oh. ILLUMINATES.

Enunciate, Fred.

#FredPenner #mondegreen
lenora_rose: (Default)
JoJO had a cold - nothing serious, not much changed in the house. Other than that, the only change is that we're going to Pan Am twice a week for activities in the pools. Life goes on.

Cold Magic - Kate Elliott

Awesome worldbuilding, good characters, complex storyline, obvious first in a trilogy (Book three is coming out in June so don't let this put you off.)

In an alternate Europe (in which Rome didn't fall, at least not the same way, and the Manse people from the former empire of Mali make a large part of the population - as well as Cat's own Phoenician people) Cat Hassi-Barahal, along with her cousin Bee, is a student learning about the new sciences - gas lighting and airships - at her college. Bee is having odd dreams, which she records in her sketchbbook along with many other things. Cat can essentially pass unseen when she wants (The description of this, of her sinking into her environment, is quite effective, I thought). Things go along pretty normally for the pair of them until a Cold Mage comes to their house, demanding the eldest Hassi-Barahal daughter to fulfill and old contract. Cat goes with him, and - things get complicated.

Cold Mages don't work well with modern tech (Some of it is the obvious factor of their cold - fires go out around them.) An airship is destroyed. Some of the mages try to kill her, while others seem bent on preserving her life. A protest movement for the common folk and their poor working conditions is gaining momentum. Cat wanders around in the spirit world and meets a most unexpected thing - her brother. There's a lawyer from a race of small sentient dinosaurs that survived to the modern age. There's a Legate of a Roman legion who may or may not be Cat and Bee's ally. There's a Napoleon equivalent who just escaped from his Elba equivalent.

It's busy.

The first part of the book takes time to build things up, to show the alternate world and how it's formed, to show peoples' manners and habits in this weird blend of cultures; there's not as much plot, and some solemn travelling, but I didn't find it slow, as some did, because there was a lot of world-building to absorb, and a lot of very tense and conflicted interpersonal stuff, the little plots before the bigger plot kicks in. In some ways, the worldbuilding might have been easier with a wholly new world, rather than having to knock apart our assumptions when we see a map of Europe.

The second half involves a lot of running and escaping and higher paced plot. Both involve deep personal betrayals and shifting views of the world. It pauses at the end at a moment that's both a reasonable breather and book break, and an obvious jumping off point for a greater plot.

My one brief doubt in any of it was learning that the trolls (the dinosaur lawyers) come from North America - there was a moment when it looked like this might turn into a Pat Wrede - where otherwise good worldbuilding is badly marred by casually erasing the existence of a whole continent's worth of real human beings. But it's made clear that there are *also* human nations still extant in North and South America, and in fact, they, (and the Caribbean, which is the major setting for book two) are in much better shape in this world, with rather less genocide.

I think it does most everything right.


Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed

Intriguing first book in a series set in a Middle-Eastern flavoured other world; stands alone as well. Solidly recommended to anyone who likes adventure.

It was mentioned that it has a little bit of an RPG campaign feel to it, and I can see that, in rather the way my brother noted that the run through the Mines of Moria in the Fellowship of the Ring *movie* (not book) had that feeling.

Adoulla is the last ghul-hunter, at least in his country and city, a devotee of his God who uses his faith to rid the world of certain kinds of pestilential evil, and his assistant and trainee is a Dervish, a master swordsman with an even more strict religious code, somewhat scandalized by his master's rather mroe casual approach to Godly matters. Their city is ruled by a khalif who'd rather squeeze his people dry then leave them alone. The Falcon Prince is a dashing hero of the people who rescues children from execution and shows up the Khalif's injustice - but is himself a pragmatic and death-dealing mercenary and thief. Zamia is a woman who can take the shape of a Lioness, a power meant to be used to protect her desert tribe -- except that now her people have been slaughtered by ghuls and she is torn between the need to revenge them, and the need to someday rebuild and re-establish the tribe.

I quite liked having an older and experienced man (chubby and fond of food and books and looking at pretty women - but no less passionately devoted to serving his God and eradicating evil for it) as the main character, with the heroic teenager who takes himself oh so seriously as more of a sidekick.

Things happened fast, and with energy, but not without a core of very human emotion. There were some details that I found a bit more gruesome than absolutely necessary, but the characters are dealing with ghuls, monsters that devour human hearts, and the sorcerers who create them. I was pleasantly surprised at least twice that he didn't do what I thought he would with the villain and the plot twists.

And I kept craving cardamom tea.


Jack the Giant Killer

Went to this as part of a friend's birthday celebration. It's one of those movies; everyone who went seemed to have fun watching it, but I don't think any one of us mistook it for a *good* movie. It's a B-movie, shameless about being a bit silly without falling into the excess camp that can ruin such a thing. The plot is mostly pretty predictable, at least in its broad strokes, but it had a few clever moments in the execution.

Good things:
- I liked that Jack was actually reasonably clever when not being head-in-the-clouds, and not just "we're told he's clever but..." I liked more that he really wasn't a fighter, and never pulled magic "Look, I can wield a sword I just picked up" skills - he defeats giants by thinking, and being fast on his feet. He runs away a lot.
- The horse (Not cow) Jack is trying to sell. That cart horse is probably the best horse in the kingdom.
- Isabel, the princess, sometimes did have agency. I liked those moments.
- Elmont, the Captain of the guard (or whatever his invented equivalent title was) was the more standard hero type, and a good minor character overall. AND he got to share a damsel in distress moment with the princess (actually, his part was even less dignified) without losing that sense of him being a heroic swordfighter and good manly dude type, which is awesome. Oh, wait. Ewan McGregor. That explains it.
- some of the things that have more consequences and fallout than they are often given. Ranging from the big ones, like the fact that killing a giant by dropping him off the edge of the floating land results in almost getting killed by your allies deciding to chop down the beanstalk. To a number of little ones.
- Mostly the acting was pretty good, actually.
- A number of fun lines.
- While we see exactly one farm, one city, and a bit of countryside between, there are details enough to give an idea this is more than a Disney set dressing kingdom, that people actually work and do things here in between balls (of royal dances there were thankfully none). When the king travels, he has a huge entourage. And people take advantage in the vicinity to create a makeshift market and entertainments. I get more impression of *viable* common life and daily life than I did from all of Lord of the Rings other than the Shire.
- The first glimpse of the monk; honestly, he looked like Rowan Atkinson. That would have been genius casting, even though it's a dead serious role and a really minor character.

Things that made me facepalm, but didn't ruin the movie for me:
- The "gravity doesn't work that way" beanstalk falling down and the unlikely "jumping in a crashing elevator" methods each of the characters used to survive that fall. Truly you can't imagine.
- if there's a floating land hidden in the clouds that most people don't believe in, this land has to be pretty much ALWAYS cloudy. (Then we learn it's called Albion and will eventually become England. Okay. Point covered. :P)
- Okay, if this is going to be England, how come it had a King named ERIC? I get the impression it was meant to be Eric the Red. which, no.
- several other times people should have died and didn't. Because PLOT.
- So we're not supposed to get the beans wet, ever. But Jack has them in a leather pouch while hiding in a pond, and/or inside a wooden locket while splashing about in a stream. How does this - ah, nevermind. It's not like the physics work.
- the smarmy arranged-marriage fiance. (Stanley Tucci) Well acted, and not entirely incompetent (He's beaten fair and square in a fight, after showing some decided skill at survival, not just at conniving). Just so much a stock character.
- The "But I don't love him!" argument against arranged marriage. At least this princess is given a demi-plausible reason for disagreeing with standard practice, but really.
- The "But I don't want to be a princess". Handled reasonably well; it's less that Isabel doesn't want the job - in fact, her mother did a good job of instilling in her what the responsibility and role would allow her to be - and to do for the people under her. She's mostly rebelling against her father's more stifling and different opinions what a princess should be. Still runs dangerously close to a bad trope.
- would have been nice to have more living women on screen. Elmont would have been even cooler as an Eleanore, though it would lose the whole "But... Ewan McGregor" aspect. I'm sure many people could name actresses they'd love to see battling competently with a sword in good armour. Sigh; it would have meant both women ended up damsels in distress in that one scene. Still, the only other options on screen long enough would have been the smarmy fiance or his sidekick, the giants, a character who gets their head bitten off or pushed off a cliff, or the King. Ah, the King could have been the Queen; flip the attitudes of the respective parents and kill off the father for once. I could also go with that.

Things that made me go argh in a bad way
- the damsel in distress moments.
- Everyone is exactly what they appear to be when first presented to the movie watcher, if not to the other characters. Especially the smarmy arranged-marriage fiance. I'd have liked it if this once, the smarmy fiance and his snickering sidekick turned out to be decent guys, not the orchestrator of evil plots. (Although that would probably have necessitated turning Elmont, as well as the monk, into the secret plotting villain. Which would have made me sad but been also kind of satisfying as an unexpected twist.)
- The giants' hair. No, really. Dark, coarse and in some cases explicitly crinkly/nappy. There was even one especially obvious afro. The giants were already dirty and misshapen human eating villains. Did we have to add something that has strong racial coding? Just no. (Doubt the racial coding? Then name me a story where the sign of evil is that disgusting thin pale hair that just drips straight down the back even when it's clean, unlike real, good, decent hair which of course is dark and crinkly and grows thickly upward).

The crowning moment:

There's already some spoilers above. But this is about the climax of the movie, so skip if you want no spoilers.



One of the key points is that the ancient King Eric's crown controls the giants. One of the leaders of the giants has it at the end, and of course, Jack kills him when he and the princess are alone, and gets the crown. So, with the Heir to the kingdom beside him, and the actual King only part of the castle away on the front lines ... Jack puts on the crown. And walks out in front of the king thus bedecked.

The princess being beside him and apparently approving seems to be a reasonable explanation why he's not shot for treason on the spot, but I would have thought that being told, "Good, the giants are gone, now HAND OVER THE ROYAL TREASURE OR DIE." would have been the obvious aftermath. People's hero isn't enough when you're holding the most priceless artifact around and the people who have a right to it are standing right there.

My theory, aired immediately after the movie, was that he went to give it to the princess, and *she* said "Dude. Put it on. The one way they'll let us get married is if you're too big a hero for them to ignore. I'll back you, trust me." A friend pointed out one more bit of support for this theory, which was that he'd obviously brushed his hair before he put it on. Jack wouldn't think of that. Isabel might.

Sounds like a minor plot hole, and there were others as egregious, but it caused the most discussion of the whole movie when it was over (Even more than the "gravity doesn't work like that" falling beanstalk).
lenora_rose: (Labyrinth)
I went with [livejournal.com profile] forodwaith to a movie the other night. Crazy, Stupid, Love.

I have mixed feelings on Romantic comedies, which this is billed as. The majority of them seem to depend more on cliches about how romances should go than on actual human behaviour, many of them depend on at least some humiliation comedy, someone lying to their SO, someone planning to get married to someone else who turns out to have huge misgivings, and other combinations of Too Stupid to Live and/or basic failure to communicate.

Bits of that crop up in this one, but most of the time, the tension comes from the moment the characters tell each other the truth. Most of the motivations, even the idiotic 13-year-old's, are at least true to some real people (The 13-year-old is very 13. Ditto the 17-year-old). Events do line up with a bit too convenient timing when it comes to the big disaster before the possible reconciliation, so that everyone is in the right place at the right time, but the character reasons for getting there are at least plausible, even if the timing isn't.

I'm not even going to try to summarize the plot, since there are at least 5 significant relationships and/or crushes that would need to be mentioned, with characters ranging from the possibly-divorcing parents to the kids. One major plot twist needed more foreshadowing than it got (It got one throwaway line, and even that is debateable), but I can't see easy ways to do it without breaking.

Where it failed for me is at the very end. [livejournal.com profile] forodwaith correctly identified the dad's closing speech -- aka the Big Romantic Gesture that makes everything all right -- as the sole major case of movie behaviour that real people don't do.

It's also highly problematic in at least one respect: The 13-year-old's behaviour to this point has been stalkerish, persisting after being told no by his crush, and only saved from criminal by his age and relative innocence; he genuinely doesn't mean harm. His dad's wonderful, inspiring speech about soul mates to his wife also inspires the son to keep trying with his crush, after all -- and when he makes his public declaration, everyone Cheers him. Way to reward potentially future criminal behaviour.

But I also, later, pinned down another basic issue with the speech, which, had it occurred to the scriptwriter, would have allowed the dad to make the speech that would sway his wife without also encouraging his son in this particular pursuit.

See, the movie assumes the existence of soul mates. Or at least, of people who firmly believe they've found their soul mate, and for whom no other person will do.

And the dad's point is that once you find your soul mate, you don't stop trying to get together with them, even when reality intervenes, even when it isn't sure it will work out.

However, and I think this is significant, and too often missed. If you take soul mates as existing (I don't, but let's stick with the movie): then when you meet your soul mate, wouldn't they know it too?

The possibly divorcing parents each recognize the other as someone they love and have loved for a long time; though I don't think the mom uses the words "soul mate", the emotion is reciprocal. The 13-year-old's crush does NOT. She wants nothing of him but for him to stop. (There's an extra skeevy bit at the end of the movie that I think is meant to read as her being nicer and more sympathetic about his feelings, even though she still doesn't reciprocate, but it does so in a way that makes me want to scrub it out of my brain).

If the female in a pair of soul mates is actually an equal partner, she should, in fact, have her full say as to whether or not they are soul mates (And two of the adult relationships are based on the assumption that the woman does have a say in what's going on). If she doesn't think they are soul mates at least as strongly as he does, then they are NOT. That simple.

And it's not like, even with possible soul mates, there aren't enough things in the world that could make the relationship difficult. Societal disapproval. Clashing cultures. The wear and tear of time. Inability to talk through a problem. Internal issues from personal history. One can recognize that one loves another person deeply, wildly, one can believe this is the person one is destined to be with, and they can believe it right back, and the couple still find getting there a difficult path. It's not like there's any lack of roadblocks even after the other person says "yes". But them saying "no" is proof one is barking up the wrong tree.*

The dad's speech could have reflected that, could have acknowledged his wife's reciprocation of feeling, could have noted that lack in his son's crush as a hint it wasn't, yet, the real thing, but that the real thing is out there, waiting. And he'll know it when the girl is just as dazzled, just as determined to face down all the issues the world puts between them.

_____________
* and this is about the part where they want to date you, or even like you. We all know, or should, what it means to be saying no when it's at the more intimate stages, and what it becomes if you ignore it.
lenora_rose: (Default)
One more agent down (argh). Time to mail out the two snail-mail efforts, I guess.

________

Lately, Colin and I have been watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and he's been watching Castle (With me joining in intermittently). I've been trying to figure out why the first appeals to me and the second does less so.

Both are fairly formulaic shows. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has several obvious and problematic aspects based on the time period in which it was made -- issues of gender and race. Of the former, there are of course the questions of what women can do and should do -- to be fair, fewer of these than I was afraid of, though women are still disproportionately secretaries and housewives. And far easier to notice, virtually every female who appears is young, attractive, and either a potential or actual romantic match for Napoleon, or, much more rarely, Illya. Married women tend to be flirted with then let go back to their men, and villainesses tend to be femme fatale types, and even if Napoleon and Illya don't succumb, they're usually hanging on some man's arm.

The race issues are much less subtle. Almost all of them are depicted mostly by stereotype, but worse, people of any/every race are played by Caucasians in bad makeup -- except those meant to be attractive women, who are played by Caucasian women in black wigs and maybe a bit of extra eyeshadow. or the most part, it's only minor characters who get to be depicted by their own actual race.

Even granting the time period, it can be genuinely hard to grit one's teeth through some of these moments.

And yet... the plots are fast, the dialogue witty and bantering, and so far, most of the writers have some grasp of actual cleverness. Not being under the control of a consistent creative team, there are blips -- episodes with secret spy plots that a child could see through, episodes where Napoleon or Illya aren't as bright as they should be, or as efficient, or even just quite as much themselves. (The most obvious so far was one episode in which Illya, who is the more taciturn, had almost no line of dialogue whatsoever, including at points where he'd normally have something pointed to say.) The lead actors are compelling; Napoleon is a fairly typical hero-type of the era, not too different from Jim West or Jim Kirk, though a bit smarter and more suave, or James Bond with a bit more conscience. Illya, usually the secondary character thus far, is a less common type; emotionally cooler, more brusque and efficient, less romantically inclined, and much more in the actual spy mold. he seems to frequently be the one more people remember as liking.

Colin remarked that he was surprised how many people are shot and actually killed by the heroes -- comparing it to chis childhood staples like the A-Team, where shoot-outs with machine-guns seem to result in no injuries, while I compared it to the more recent spate of good guys who have a hard time killing, period. Though I think Get Smart, which is in the same time period AND a comedic spoof, has a similar casualty rate; the deaths are just sillier.

Castle is a modern show, with a smart efficient and professional female lead, and pretty good secondary female characters in Castle's mother and daughter, allowing for a range of ages and roles for women. In the ones I've seen, the weekly suspects and victims and witnesses have *not* made me wince and take that back. I can't swear how it is on race relations, though Beckett's boss is black, and again, I haven't seen every episode. But I suspect it tends to fall over based on infrequency of other races appearing, not on depicting them too badly when they do (I'm willing to be corrected by a steadier watcher.)

It's a fairly brisk show, as a mystery plot should be, and there's a lot of clever dialogue. Castle's family gives him a chance to both get more development, and in a number of cases, to be much less of a douchebag (Though as the show goes on and he gets more experienced, he seems to lose some of the worst of the behaviours that made me hate him in the first episode.)

The episodes follow a pretty rigid pattern for mystery of the week (Someone said you can tell who did it by roughly what moment in the show that particular witness shows up -- I haven't found it quite that bad, but I have seen a lot of rigidity of structure.) But there's a bit of an ongoing arc to break that up.

Some people have complained about yet another show with Unresolved Sexual Tension -- Colin has said he's enjoying that aspect so far, and I don't think it's what turned me off, because I haven't been burned out as badly as many on shows with UST.

So. Two shows with clever dialogue, quick pace, and guns. Both quite formulaic and relatively static, such that watching from the start occasionally adds something to an episode, but one can watch any individual week without needing to know more than one sees in the moment. One is mystery, one is spy -- in film I seem to prefer spy movies to whodunits, but in books I tend to be the opposite - I look at the modern thriller genre as dubious at best, but will read several mystery authors. One features intelligent women in multiple roles, one shows often-intelligent women in two basic roles, that of the romantic partner and/or the subordinate assistant. One features UST, one features serial and usually successful flirtation. One is very much a product of an earlier time - mostly to its detriment racially, sexually, politically, psychologically, and scientifically (one terrifying explosive gas in one episode is named "hydro", which is bad enough. Worse is that this is a substitute for the original planned name which turned out to be a real gas - "Freon"). One is pretty current -- how much it will feel dated later is of course a hard thing to tell, immersed in the present, but since *I'm* immersed in the present too, it feels closer to the people and home I recognize.

So what's the difference?

Well, first, I like Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin better than Castle or Beckett. Nathan Fillion is an admittedly charismatic actor, such that he's even somewhat compelling when he's playing a douchebag (See also Dr. Horrible), and as I said, his family life makes up for his initially off-putting side. Stana Katic at least has acting chops; I don't feel Beckett's as developed and dimensional a character as he is, and I think that's a pity, because she's introduced as smarter, more likeable, and better at her job -- but she still gets in her fair share of good dialogue and put-downs. But after an episode or two of looking a bit stilted, Robert Vaughn and David McCallum just seem to be Napoleon and Illya. They're not given the kind of backstory that makes Castle bearable, not just because this isn't the kind of show that shows family life, but also because they don't need it to make them interesting. They're fascinating in the moment, doing smart things well, giving each other backchat.

Second, there are things in Castle where I know enough to know "it doesn't work like that" which can't be excused by the show having grown dated, the way scientific flubs or slightly wonky politics in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. tend to be. Start with Castle's writing career. (Admittedly, it does better than NCIS, another show where I've enjoyed episodes but felt no urge to sit down and watch the whole thing. Also with another obvious connection to the discussion.) Most of the time, it being closer to the world I live in works for it, because I don't have to facepalm as much. Other times, it does the opposite; when I DO facepalm, I do it harder. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I can see as a pure fantasy world -- even in its contemporary time period, the "secret spy society" would have given it a fantasy aspect. Castle is meant to be all police and real world.

(In fact, Fringe, with a similar "secret agency doing secret things" aspect, tends to be less facepalmy because I know it's a fantasy, even though it also makes the occasional painful current-day mistakes. Part of why I did watch that through, at least to the season 3 ender. We're now behind on that one.)

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Speaking of dated but still weirdly compelling, I just rewatched the Lost Boys. Now I really feel like I need a copy of "Cry Little Sister". (A friend of mine swore that song was too current to be associated with the movie, though I was sure that was its era.) Also, is it just me or is there a massive amount of not-so-subtext homoeroticism there? (I thought so YEARS ago, but even more so now, when I can compare it to things with actual out-of-the-closet characters and think, "Yanno, I think this has MORE than some episodes of Torchwood...")
lenora_rose: (Wheeeeee!)
Life is busy. Short post, I hope.

Folk Fest went well. Due to some insane volunteer hours (I had both a shift ending at 5:00 AM Friday morning, and one starting at 5:00 AM Sunday -- although in all, I thought my schedule was better than those which are all late night or all early), and some sense when it came to wanting to get sleep, I missed the last third or more of most of the Mainstages. I got to actually listen and/or participate in the Baggiecon music circle all of once; Friday night, after a nap. And I felt like my voice was out of shape, and I tried, and flubbed, a piece on Mandolin that I knew I needed my chord sheet in front of me to pull off, but tried in the dark anyhow.

Saturday, I got to hang out during some pleasant conversation, but they started playing music at nearly 2:00 AM, when I was going to bed for my precious couple hours' nap> When my alarm went off at 4:00AM so I could prep for my shift, I still heard them singing, but by the time I got back from the bathroom run, they were all gone to bed. Sunday night, I opted to pack up early and skip the night music circle in favour of actually getting a good sleep. Smart move: I was the least burnt out I've ever been on a Monday, which meant I was very much up for the "Dead Mouse" party, the last hurrah over at the Bhigg House.

Good stuff I saw anyhow:

- A fairly good Celtic workshop Friday; one fairly strightforward Irish band, one Irish band with a bit of a twist (As one person put it, you'd be dancing along with a jig, and the music would smoothly and unobtrusively shift into boogie-woogie. Or similar.) and a band from England who did instrumentals that blended trad with trance-dance effects, in spite of being purely acoustic. (This last proved more disappointing, to me at least, on Mainstage, where it became clearer that they didn't have a lot of other tricks up theirs sleeves, and the one trick wasn't enough to sustain solo.)
- A Blues workshop I mostly went to because it was at the same stage as the prior good world-beat thingy (Not being generally a blues fan) which turned out to seriously rock. Colin Linden was no surprise, but Kat Danser was the standout for me.
- Matt (Anderson?), later to be seen in that blues workshop, doing a Tweener set on Mainstage which turned out to out-rock most of the actual Mainstage acts around him. Seriously.
- Little Feat's Mainstage show.
- Fred Penner had a mainstage tweener, which is still his first time on Mainstage, which similarly rocked; he was pretty much delighted, but so was the audience. Seriously. The guy has stage presence. And not much can beat hearing several thousand voices singing "Sandwiches are beautiful...".
- Caught part of a daytime workshop with him, Connie Kaldor and Trout Fishing In America called "Shiny Happy People" that was upbeat in almost all ways.
- Jaune Toujours, a Balkan band with Klezmer and fusion effects.
- David Wax Museum seemed pretty good, but I only really caught part of their show on Mainstage and didn't catch them again.

- I didn't get to hear nearly enough of The Once, who seemed to be pretty clearly up my alley. Similarly, I heard almost nothing directly of the Francophone band whose long name begins with "galant,", but the teeny bit I heard implied they were my thing.


Overall, I would have rated it a fairly weak Folk Fest, but there were still merits, as you can see.
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Monday after Folk Fest, by contrast, was AMAZING.

First, the ultrasound. Colin said it made it much more real, seeing the actual image of the baby shift and blur on the screen, looking recognizably like a baby. (He's not the one being occasionally disconcerted by internal motion) And I agree that it was delightful, much more this time, as he was so much bigger and better formed than the last.

Plus, of course, the whole sighting of what the technician cheerfully called "Boy parts", triggering the serious discussion of names.

No, I'm not telling any name until he's born and official. I can say a few things it won't be: Ethan and Jacob and Aidan are out for excess popularity currently. It won't be David because several of my circles of acquaintance are rife with Davids. Nor Michael or James or Chris. I also vetoed several names because I've used them in writing.

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But then was the Dead Mouse. It was good to sit back and chat the first bit, then to join in the music circle again.

Especially as the music circle ended up with an extra unexpected guest who lived in the neighbourhood.

FRED PENNER.

You know, who was on the Mainstage at Folk Fest. Who's getting the Order of Manitoba and has had the Order of Canada for years. Who's children's music a LOT of people have grown up to.

Okay, I'm used to being outclassed at the music circles, and wondering why they let me in. We have professional and professional-quality musicians. This was a bit of something else. Though it quickly didn't feel like it.

Okay, it rocked for a lot of other things. I haven't seen R. at a music circle in ages, since she's been living in China, and the first song she played was pretty much the one of hers I most remembered and wanted to hear again (There is Life, I think it's called, and it's wonderful). W. sang "A Well-earned Vacation", an old favourite written by musicmutt. Lots of other good music went around; R. later did "Waltzing with Bears", which stayed stuck in my head for about two more days, adn she and her husband (Another Dave) did at least two songs in Chinese. Which led to me requesting the "Hockey Monkey Song" from Dave. L. did "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", which is beautiful and painful. And eventually, R.'s Chinese guest gathered her courage and did a song (Her voice is lovely, but she felt shy.)

Fred Penner did several of his less well known works, include a new song about the Children's Garden just designed for Assiniboine Park, and a song he wrote for a tv show based around making a quilt.

I think what made me react after the fact with some pretty hefty squeeing wasn't that he was there; there are so many ways that could have gone wrong. It was that he fit in so well with the circle. Joined and left seamlessly and graciously.

For myself, a funny moment: when I was asking about my first song to do, C. immediately called out "The one about the children who kill people!" which song ("Welcome to our House") had most of the crowd singing along. Someone commented with amusement on this particular request beign so readily recognized, and I replied, "Well, most of my songs about murder are between consenting adults".

OTOH, I think of songs I did, it was "Death on Hennepin" I best nailed. Doing that song these days for me has a lot of anger and fear and grief behind it, though I loved it for years.

People, mostly writers, have talked about how a work doesn't really come to life until it has an audience (which is why, however much you try to make a story about something, it's never just about the part you put into it; it's about the part that the reader sees, too.) But with writing, the reaction is delayed; the reader rarely describes it at the moment of reading,t hey get to express it in reactions, reviews, and essays after the fact. It's hard to see because it's distant.

Several times, with music, it's come very clear to me. When I practice at home alone, I sometimes sing through pretty weakly, just trying to get notes and timing, working on little muddles of technique. Sometimes I get the emotion, too, but even when I start to feel it, it's merely internal.

You can FEEL the feedback from listeners, though, even if they're not moving much, even if I'm having to look at the strings as much or more than at the circle. Feeling it made it obvious the song on Friday was going wrong. Feeling it on Monday - told me I was getting it right.

The only problem I ever have with feeling that reaction is that it makes me want to clap and cheer when I'm pulling it off. Which looks dumb at best, and egotistical.
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Fringe is on now. Some recommendations I've seen so far:

Scarlet Women - A take-off on Film Noir, part parody and part sincere pastiche. Well-done and witty.

Grim and Fischer - Full face mask theatre about an elderly lady who's adept at hiding from and taunting the man who delivers her papers and meals, who now turns those talents to escaping the Grim Reaper himself. Very funny, very touching.

The Fabulous Miss Rosie Bitts - Burlesque show, which, as my husband put it, would be excellent even if it didn't involve a hot redhead taking her clothes off.

I'm not sure this is a recommendation exactly - Interruptions. It's about mothers (And grandmothers, and at least one father) who lost children before or at birth. She's a bit slow at the costume changes, and some of her character voices aren't as sharply different as they might be, but the stories speak for themselves. OTOH, it's probably depressing even if you aren't me, even with the more hopeful last section. I spent between 2/3 and 3/4 of the show crying, and the hopeful stuff just altered the nature of some of the tears. I kind of knew I'd cry -- but I hadn't realised just how much that hurt remained scabbed rather than healed (Even with the current and thus-far successful pregnancy), and how much it would bleed if ripped off.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Hmm. A while since I posted. Colin and I did our little run out of town, I went to Keycon, we watched a verra good concert with S. J. Tucker and Heather Dale and their musical teams, we've been making lots or prep work for house renovations with my father-in-law, and am now at 17 1/2 weeks, or over 4 months. Yow.

I'll try not to blather too long about any of the above, but I do have a few things I thought were interesting and/or cool.
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On a writing-related note, there is *nothing* more frustrating than waiting for an answer from an agent.

To be specific, during Keycon, I got an e-mail from one agent that she'd like to see my full MS (Dance! Dance!).

So I e-mailed the agent who's had the partial for a while and might want the full -- in hopes of speeding up the response now she knows there's other interest. I thought sicne she requested the partial first, this was the appropriate order. No reply yet.

Of course, to me, this is *TWO WEEKS AUGH EEK!* but for her, I presume she's swamped with work for her current clients. (Not least because she replied to my earlier "You've had that 4 months now" with "Sorry. Swamped. I still have it, but haven't had a chance to read." (In more professional words on both sides, of course).

But really. NOW would be nice, says the writer-anxiety brain. I don't suppose anyone knows how much longer before I should push again? I really would like to be able to say something to the one who requested the full.

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Keycon was fun, I missed a lot of panels, and did a lot more singing. A good year, and good to catch up with a number of people I hadn't seen, especially among the filkers. I danced a bit at the social, spent a lot less time than you'd expect in the Consuites, and listened to yet more music. I was completely floored by Lanna (I THINK that's the right spelling) and Wolfgang's costume pairing of a young Steampunk scientist and his Igor, who was complaining about this newfangled steam tech and how the old days, and the lightning, were so much better. (Lanna was inside the Igor puppet, melting to death and Not Dropping character.) Also cheered Suninherhair's gorgeous dress , and a highly impressive Red Queen who used an amazing wig and makeup job to make her head look genuinely big. Did catch a good panel with Robert Sawyer, Derryl Murphy and Craig Russel (Not to be confused with P. Craig...) on writing, which was entertaining but mostly 101 level writing advice. I didn't get into the writing pitch and advice session as it was full.

More interesting, though not necessarily to his benefit, was the talk I heard by the author GoH, L.E. Modesitt. The first thing that annoyed me was how he interspersed interesting remarks with things that struck me as painfully over-generalized, especially as regards gender (Your examples of humans as a tool-using species are "Look at any man's garage and any woman's kitchen"? Really, if you'd dropped the "any", I might not have gnashed my teeth).

Although the one that really stuck for me was when he was talking about his magic system, which seems to combine magic-as-engineering, IE, people will develop reproducible results where possible, and the "You need to HAVE the innate talent to do it at all" approach. But he did concede that not everyone who has the talent has the same amount -- but most of them, except the least talented, go to the big equivalent of Engineering school, if one had no choice but to go to engineering school if one had the aptitude. So I asked, "So nobody in your world ever does magic as a hobby? The way people who don't have or want the formal training still paint watercolours on Sunday?"

He answered very quickly, "Put it this way. You don't see very many ... surviving ... Sunday Electricians."

Which admittedly got a laugh, even from me. But also had me immediately think that Colin has done a fair bit of the wiring in our house, has done it safely, and up to Code (And no, I have no fear of out house ever showing up on those "worst mistakes" type renovation shows. Not, at least, for unsafe electricity.) By actually reading up on it of his own free will, and being shown things by other people who've done it at what is, effectively, a hobby level -- and at least a couple of times, by watching the mistakes people have made that might be dangerous and vowing not to repeat that. And knowing when (as with the reno coming up), he wants a real electrician to do the work, or look over it.

I didn't say so, but I was thinking it over ever since. Really. Is there no way to get a hobbyist magician in a world where magic has as strict and firm rules as physics and chemistry? No text for how to do it safely? And if not, then doesn't that make people with a smidgin of power MORE dangerous than hobbyists?

(It seems unlikely in my particular fictional world, but it really doesn't seem to contradict his stated rules for Recluse)

I have no idea right now if that's a plot kernel or merely a cool toy for my brain to play with. But there it is.

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Everyone in my local circle (Though not necessarily everyone on LJ/DW) has a pretty good idea who Heather Dale is. (Lookie, official video!) But I felt like I was about the only one outside the filkers who had heard of S.J. Tucker, and that was via the band Tricky Pixie.

I discovered the existence of Tricky Pixie because Alexander James Adams is one of the members, and I've been a fan of his since around 1992, but the very first song sample I heard din't impress me much; it was kind of rough around the edges (Plus Alec was obviously still getting used to a different vocal range, and was not singing terribly well). Later, someone (either aymaera or Greek_Amazon, I genuinely don't remember and don't really want to dig through OMG journal entries to figure out) linked to their version of Tam Lin, which was much smoother, much more impressive, and told me the band had really come together since the first sample (Also, that Alec's voice had settled nicely). Anyhow, once I registered that this was *that*( singer, I decided that Sooj solo would also be a pretty fair bet. Yay! I was right.

Turns out S.J. also brought fellow Pixie Betsy Tinney, the cellist, so I got to meet the other 2/3 of the band. And S.J., in spite of some of her banter being about how little sleep and how little brain she had, was also quite good at the between song banter and the overall performance, as well as writing interesting and enjoyable songs. (Sometimes in live concerts, the presentation itself is key. Loreena McKennitt, for instance, barely spoke in the concert I saw, which, from reports I hear from her being pretty boring when she does, via those who saw her at the folk fest, meant she gave exemplary concert by not doing banter. Where, with Heather, I think you'd lose a lot from the live show by *not* hearing her and Ben doing commentary.)

Sooj's style is a bit closer to the singer-songwriter folk, with an occasional gospel-like bit thrown in, but her lyrics are strongly fantastical. I especially liked Ravens in the Library myself (And the very silly Alligator In the House, which she blamed on Betsy songwriting wise, though the album credits them together). Of the two albums of hers, I found the current one, Mischief, mostly good, and the 2005 one, Tangles, rather more generic; had I bought it before hearing her, or the recent work, I'd have dismissed her as promising but not really interesting.

Anyhow, two superb acts. Lots of fun. Plus, of course, getting to see the Bhigg House crew and others of that ilk.

_____________

House reno plans are ... a lot bigger than they were when we started talking about it idly in march/April. Like, a whole extension. Colin has been toiling away at the computer on the plans (He has an amazing program for doing so, plus it's exactly the sort of thing he's skilled at.) We got the surveyor to confirm the actual property lines, he had an engineer in twice to look over Colin's drafts of the project (Ha approved them, confirmed this would be fairly easy, but also told him exactly what he'd need for the actual permit that he hadn't drawn out in detail yet) and a concrete guy to give is price estimates on foundations.

My Father in law was intending to return to BC on Friday, but had to cancel his flight due to illness. He seems a bit better, though far from well, and he has antibiotics. And I'm under firm orders not to go near him (My mother-in-law is exceedingly protective of her unborn grandchild, even if she has to call from BC to be so. I do want to remind her that I'm ALSO very interested in the fate of said little one and am indeed taking care of myself. But some things, like walking up or down a flight of stairs, don't exactly worry me yet. Not until the bump is much larger. And exercising is strongly in my interest. Though I agree that exposing myself to ill people, even ones I care a good deal about, is not. So I'm fretting at a distance.)
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Doctor Who this season seems to be aiming for cracktastically weird as its gold standard. Which the emphasis on the cracktastic, not the gold, or even the Who. It doesn't quite feel Whovian as I'm used to thinking of it, even less than last season, but whatever it is, it's having fun.
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The Sea Thy Mistress just cemented Bear's Edda of Burdens as my favourite of her series'. (Okay, I'd have to read all three and the two Stratford Man books in rapid succession to be sure, but I think if I tried that just now, my head might explode). Though it seemed to me for the first half of the book that there was a lot of not-much happening, most of it did turn out to have accomplished more than it first looked like, and the second half more than paid for the slow start. Wow.

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Similar wows for N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Kingdoms. (If you haven't read the first one, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and you've ever wanted to read something a little different and a lot amazingly good in fantasy, FIND IT. NOW.)
lenora_rose: (Default)
Back from the cabin.

We spent the last few days playing board and card games only slightly less than expected, romping in the snow noteably less than expected (Because temperatures up to a few days prior were scarily nice, as in snowball weather, but temperatures during went from tolerable for short jaunts - though both times I was out, I could have been out longer than I was - to intolerable).

And a LOT more watching of NCIS than anyone expected, even the girl who brought it. She expected to get through a few episodes while others were busy, not to have others start requesting it (She also put us through two episodes of Top Gear. To which; yikes, but funny, and I did have the Dana on the while.) The show isn't bad, actually; pretty decent acting and much more intelligent scripts than I was afraid of, even in spite of some of the stupid moments.

We had a corresponding lack of serious video-game playing, too, which was bad because it meant that much less exercise. Though the Wii did come out for archery and for swordplay speed-slicing, and bad canoeing. There was a short session of DDR - the second DDR game, however, doesn't correctly recognize the step-pads (Because they aren't Nintendo-made, we think; neither game nor pads appear to be broken), which means either we need new pads or to return the game and not bother.

However, there was more tai chi done than might have been expected, since at least three of the people present have been learning a while, and at least two more have been taking *some* lessons. (Speaking of which, I would have expected to hear from Horace, our t4acher, by now about a new class...)

And four of us got writing done on laptops or danas (Though one of those, Jeff, spent more time playing Baldur's Gate). I mostly ended up writing geography and species notes for what was meant to be another entry in the ones I started about the world I write in. I didn't actually touch story until I came home.

Iulianna was basically exhausted and spent most of the time either napping or with heating pads on her neck, watching tv or at board games or typing. Except during music practice with abacchus, who now has a left-handed twelve-string guitar. Jeff was getting over an illness and thus wasn't as energetic. I did a fair bit of stretching for my own sake but felt more like playing silly games than doing physical work. Colin did a scary amount of cooking; today he seems to have succumbed to Jeff's cold. Tomaas and Luta were bounding with energy, but spend it outdoors, where they built a rudimentary quinzy, or did as much as they could considering that the snow was not even a foot deep. it was kind of cozy inside, and unglazed, so getting out the rude way would have been a matter of standing up and letting everyone flail their way out of the snow. Cristina, as the one who brought NCIS, was of course happy to watch tv if nothing else was happening immediately, though she was also game for any kind of game to show up. And I think everyone flirted with everyone else at least somewhat.

I think I ended up being the least help in the kitchen at either the cooking (None) or clean-up (Only after one meal in a serious way). This wasn't my intent, alas, and apologies.

Back in town, Jeff, Cristina and I ended up getting together with two friends who hadn't made it to the cabin, and did shop the McNally Robinson that's closing (No closing-out sale pricing or the like, but it was BUSY) and do dinner.

I have some thoughts on writing for this past year, and the troubling combination of progress and lack thereof. But I'll save them for tomorrow.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Back from the cabin.

We spent the last few days playing board and card games only slightly less than expected, romping in the snow noteably less than expected (Because temperatures up to a few days prior were scarily nice, as in snowball weather, but temperatures during went from tolerable for short jaunts - though both times I was out, I could have been out longer than I was - to intolerable).

And a LOT more watching of NCIS than anyone expected, even the girl who brought it. She expected to get through a few episodes while others were busy, not to have others start requesting it (She also put us through two episodes of Top Gear. To which; yikes, but funny, and I did have the Dana on the while.) The show isn't bad, actually; pretty decent acting and much more intelligent scripts than I was afraid of, even in spite of some of the stupid moments.

We had a corresponding lack of serious video-game playing, too, which was bad because it meant that much less exercise. Though the Wii did come out for archery and for swordplay speed-slicing, and bad canoeing. There was a short session of DDR - the second DDR game, however, doesn't correctly recognize the step-pads (Because they aren't Nintendo-made, we think; neither game nor pads appear to be broken), which means either we need new pads or to return the game and not bother.

However, there was more tai chi done than might have been expected, since at least three of the people present have been learning a while, and at least two more have been taking *some* lessons. (Speaking of which, I would have expected to hear from Horace, our t4acher, by now about a new class...)

And four of us got writing done on laptops or danas (Though one of those, Jeff, spent more time playing Baldur's Gate). I mostly ended up writing geography and species notes for what was meant to be another entry in the ones I started about the world I write in. I didn't actually touch story until I came home.

Iulianna was basically exhausted and spent most of the time either napping or with heating pads on her neck, watching tv or at board games or typing. Except during music practice with abacchus, who now has a left-handed twelve-string guitar. Jeff was getting over an illness and thus wasn't as energetic. I did a fair bit of stretching for my own sake but felt more like playing silly games than doing physical work. Colin did a scary amount of cooking; today he seems to have succumbed to Jeff's cold. Tomaas and Luta were bounding with energy, but spend it outdoors, where they built a rudimentary quinzy, or did as much as they could considering that the snow was not even a foot deep. it was kind of cozy inside, and unglazed, so getting out the rude way would have been a matter of standing up and letting everyone flail their way out of the snow. Cristina, as the one who brought NCIS, was of course happy to watch tv if nothing else was happening immediately, though she was also game for any kind of game to show up. And I think everyone flirted with everyone else at least somewhat.

I think I ended up being the least help in the kitchen at either the cooking (None) or clean-up (Only after one meal in a serious way). This wasn't my intent, alas, and apologies.

Back in town, Jeff, Cristina and I ended up getting together with two friends who hadn't made it to the cabin, and did shop the McNally Robinson that's closing (No closing-out sale pricing or the like, but it was BUSY) and do dinner.

I have some thoughts on writing for this past year, and the troubling combination of progress and lack thereof. But I'll save them for tomorrow.
lenora_rose: (Default)
1) Off to Tomaas' cabin for New Year's as of tomorrow. Although, since we're not leaving until 6:00PM (One person in our travelling quartet has to work until then), there's some talk of catching the lunchtime performance of Sherlock Holmes. (There was some talk of catching it tonight, but literally nobody was up for it)

2) Christmas and related were good in all ways: lots of seeing friends not long in town or other hanging out, deliberately related to Christmas and otherwise (we had a music night, and watched Hogfather, and had other random parties for no particular reason). I didn't end up catching up as much as I would have liked with my cousins on Christmas (though there was some chasing around with one of the young kids and some pleasant dinner table conversation with the ones who'd stayed upstairs), as we were all three of us (Jeff, Colin and I) pretty tired. And the power went out just as we started opening gifts (Freezing rain outside knocked a line or two down for the neighbourhood). And right after we'd put out all but one candle; which meant Jeff was hastening about relighting all the ones on the table from the survivor.) This, however, probably hastened our departure; tired, unable to see the people we were visiting seriously, in a room of wrapping paper and vocal chaos stopped being wholly appealing.

I got Colin a pile of Blu-rays and the comic collection on which the Middleman TV series is based, and Jeff a guitar tuner and some CDs. Mom got mostly books (Pratchett, Chabon and Obama), but also (Or will when it arrives) a National Geographic public participation kit, which is this thing where you send them a DNA sample and they determine from whence your ancestors came (in long term and in detail). Grandma as ever got romances and/or historicals and/or literature about generations of women (I tried going as far out of her standard as Outlander; it didn't work for her, though apparently mom liked it ok; I haven't read that one myself, but I knew it was popular and often offered to those who don't like fantasy as such. It was still too fantasy for Grandma).

Other gifts I have given, or am waiting to go out include books and a couple of CDs and the like, mainly for Twelfth Night.

Things I got include: DVDs of Coraline and the Dark Knight, the Michael Praed half of Robin of Sherwood (Which I suspect is as dangerously formative to my teenage years as Labyrinth, but I suspect survived the jump to adulthood better), two Oysterband CDs (The Oxford Girl and other Stories, which is really good, and Northern Light, a passable live album), a writing book (Which seems commonsensical and useful, but it's hard to say until read) and Sherwood Smith's Wren's War (Because mom wanted to read it as much as I do, I think). And a trio of fairly nice shirts.

And the friend who had the Blackmore's Night Christmas CD returned it.

3) Colin still did a metric load of his own shopping Boxing day: I ended up going with him to McNally (I also got a gift card for them) and spent about $20.00 total: on a dvd (Curse of the Golden Flower, on the logic that for five dollars, all it has to be is really pretty) and three books, most noteably Jim Hines' the Mermaid's Madness. I almost asked them to special order me Jim Macdonald's the Apocalypse Door, and seriously considered picking up the movie set including the Three Musketeers and the Four Musketeers in one, as I seem to recall that two-film version being the popular favourite in the local SCA. But I didn't. Because I also caved and ordered Jim Moray's Low Culture from Amazon (I've only wanted it over a year...)

4) I may do the extra special order and pick-up at McNally anyhow once we're back from the cabin; according to Colin, McNally is now filing for Bankruptcy protection and closing at least one in-town store. Granted, the Polo Park store is rather dizzyingly arranged, and makes me long for the smaller Portage Place store, where they didn't have as much, but I could find my way around. But - it's still a store I prefer over Chapters. This gives me a horrible urge to go me forth and spend more money so i can at least say that if I lose my favourite store EVER, I did my part in trying. And, well, I know I should be mature and guard my money well, considering this whole not-sure about near-future employment thing.

5) Mom and I went to the Nutcracker; first time in about ten years for this ballet (And other ballets have been a bit sparse between, but not absent; I know I've been to Dracula twice in the intervening years and Swan Lake once). The story is still weird dreamy wish-fulfillment, halfway between a child and a woman. Good thing it's all about the dancing and the music. And the dancing was splendid; the RWB no longer has a jump-up standout the way Evelyn Hart was, where she has only to walk onto the stage to be twice as graceful as any other ballerina. But I think the ensemble is stronger than it used to be. And the two male leads were quite quite good. (And yes, easy on the eyes in that "Damn, he must be ten years younger than me" way).

Oh, and mom, the Pas de Deux music does come traditionally before the tarantella and sugarplum. But I still say it sounds like a better climax and finale than the finale. (And it sounds weirdly melancholic for such a bright moment in the dancing)
lenora_rose: (Default)
1) Off to Tomaas' cabin for New Year's as of tomorrow. Although, since we're not leaving until 6:00PM (One person in our travelling quartet has to work until then), there's some talk of catching the lunchtime performance of Sherlock Holmes. (There was some talk of catching it tonight, but literally nobody was up for it)

2) Christmas and related were good in all ways: lots of seeing friends not long in town or other hanging out, deliberately related to Christmas and otherwise (we had a music night, and watched Hogfather, and had other random parties for no particular reason). I didn't end up catching up as much as I would have liked with my cousins on Christmas (though there was some chasing around with one of the young kids and some pleasant dinner table conversation with the ones who'd stayed upstairs), as we were all three of us (Jeff, Colin and I) pretty tired. And the power went out just as we started opening gifts (Freezing rain outside knocked a line or two down for the neighbourhood). And right after we'd put out all but one candle; which meant Jeff was hastening about relighting all the ones on the table from the survivor.) This, however, probably hastened our departure; tired, unable to see the people we were visiting seriously, in a room of wrapping paper and vocal chaos stopped being wholly appealing.

I got Colin a pile of Blu-rays and the comic collection on which the Middleman TV series is based, and Jeff a guitar tuner and some CDs. Mom got mostly books (Pratchett, Chabon and Obama), but also (Or will when it arrives) a National Geographic public participation kit, which is this thing where you send them a DNA sample and they determine from whence your ancestors came (in long term and in detail). Grandma as ever got romances and/or historicals and/or literature about generations of women (I tried going as far out of her standard as Outlander; it didn't work for her, though apparently mom liked it ok; I haven't read that one myself, but I knew it was popular and often offered to those who don't like fantasy as such. It was still too fantasy for Grandma).

Other gifts I have given, or am waiting to go out include books and a couple of CDs and the like, mainly for Twelfth Night.

Things I got include: DVDs of Coraline and the Dark Knight, the Michael Praed half of Robin of Sherwood (Which I suspect is as dangerously formative to my teenage years as Labyrinth, but I suspect survived the jump to adulthood better), two Oysterband CDs (The Oxford Girl and other Stories, which is really good, and Northern Light, a passable live album), a writing book (Which seems commonsensical and useful, but it's hard to say until read) and Sherwood Smith's Wren's War (Because mom wanted to read it as much as I do, I think). And a trio of fairly nice shirts.

And the friend who had the Blackmore's Night Christmas CD returned it.

3) Colin still did a metric load of his own shopping Boxing day: I ended up going with him to McNally (I also got a gift card for them) and spent about $20.00 total: on a dvd (Curse of the Golden Flower, on the logic that for five dollars, all it has to be is really pretty) and three books, most noteably Jim Hines' the Mermaid's Madness. I almost asked them to special order me Jim Macdonald's the Apocalypse Door, and seriously considered picking up the movie set including the Three Musketeers and the Four Musketeers in one, as I seem to recall that two-film version being the popular favourite in the local SCA. But I didn't. Because I also caved and ordered Jim Moray's Low Culture from Amazon (I've only wanted it over a year...)

4) I may do the extra special order and pick-up at McNally anyhow once we're back from the cabin; according to Colin, McNally is now filing for Bankruptcy protection and closing at least one in-town store. Granted, the Polo Park store is rather dizzyingly arranged, and makes me long for the smaller Portage Place store, where they didn't have as much, but I could find my way around. But - it's still a store I prefer over Chapters. This gives me a horrible urge to go me forth and spend more money so i can at least say that if I lose my favourite store EVER, I did my part in trying. And, well, I know I should be mature and guard my money well, considering this whole not-sure about near-future employment thing.

5) Mom and I went to the Nutcracker; first time in about ten years for this ballet (And other ballets have been a bit sparse between, but not absent; I know I've been to Dracula twice in the intervening years and Swan Lake once). The story is still weird dreamy wish-fulfillment, halfway between a child and a woman. Good thing it's all about the dancing and the music. And the dancing was splendid; the RWB no longer has a jump-up standout the way Evelyn Hart was, where she has only to walk onto the stage to be twice as graceful as any other ballerina. But I think the ensemble is stronger than it used to be. And the two male leads were quite quite good. (And yes, easy on the eyes in that "Damn, he must be ten years younger than me" way).

Oh, and mom, the Pas de Deux music does come traditionally before the tarantella and sugarplum. But I still say it sounds like a better climax and finale than the finale. (And it sounds weirdly melancholic for such a bright moment in the dancing)
lenora_rose: (Default)
Seeing the previews for Where the Wild Things Are, I thought it looked pretty, and maybe even interesting, but I also had to wonder How the Hell they were making a feature film from a book with about ten sentences.

So, many doubts.

But I think Bear's review (and some of the subsequent discussion) hath convinced me it's right up my alley.
lenora_rose: (Default)
Seeing the previews for Where the Wild Things Are, I thought it looked pretty, and maybe even interesting, but I also had to wonder How the Hell they were making a feature film from a book with about ten sentences.

So, many doubts.

But I think Bear's review (and some of the subsequent discussion) hath convinced me it's right up my alley.
lenora_rose: (Roman gossips)
I've been doing a lot of rereading of Pratchett or reading of new but relatively light romance (Jennifer Crusie), so I don't have a lot to say about a lot of new books. Just started Red Seas Under Red Skies for a total change of pace, though, and I imagine I'll have a lot to say about that.

However, there was one older reading I meant to say a few things about around Mammothfail*; that being, obviously, Lois McMaster Bujold's The Spirit Ring. (The book Bujold tried to use as her get out of fail without eating her own foot, not the book Mammothfail is about, which I have decided not to read even though I usually like Wrede's work.)

The Spirit Ring )

Now, having probably harshed someone's squee by griping abut flaws in a good book, and race-related flaws at that, let's go mindless for a while, and post another old review that never made it onto LJ from the rough draft. How old? Er, it was around Christmas I was reading these.

Lillian Jackson Braun (The Cat Who... Could Read Backwards, Ate Danish Modern, Saw Red, Played Brahms, Played Post Office) )

Hmm. Not mindless enough. Let's talk tv.

Torchwood: Children of Earth )

Sharpe's Mary Sue )

Merlin )

* Patricia C. Wrede wrote a book about magical pioneers in North America. A North America with plenty of mammoths, and no native human population at all. 'nuff said.
lenora_rose: (Roman gossips)
I've been doing a lot of rereading of Pratchett or reading of new but relatively light romance (Jennifer Crusie), so I don't have a lot to say about a lot of new books. Just started Red Seas Under Red Skies for a total change of pace, though, and I imagine I'll have a lot to say about that.

However, there was one older reading I meant to say a few things about around Mammothfail*; that being, obviously, Lois McMaster Bujold's The Spirit Ring. (The book Bujold tried to use as her get out of fail without eating her own foot, not the book Mammothfail is about, which I have decided not to read even though I usually like Wrede's work.)

The Spirit Ring )

Now, having probably harshed someone's squee by griping abut flaws in a good book, and race-related flaws at that, let's go mindless for a while, and post another old review that never made it onto LJ from the rough draft. How old? Er, it was around Christmas I was reading these.

Lillian Jackson Braun (The Cat Who... Could Read Backwards, Ate Danish Modern, Saw Red, Played Brahms, Played Post Office) )

Hmm. Not mindless enough. Let's talk tv.

Torchwood: Children of Earth )

Sharpe's Mary Sue )

Merlin )

* Patricia C. Wrede wrote a book about magical pioneers in North America. A North America with plenty of mammoths, and no native human population at all. 'nuff said.

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