Thank you to everyone who was glad to hear I wasn't dead. There have been no more fainting episodes. I hope to be able to say that for years. It was not an experience I need to repeat.
Tonight was a lovely evening with rushthatspeaks
. We were meeting in Harvard Square for a pair of movies we'd been looking forward to since October. Dinner was located at Crema Café
, home of the cardamom-currant snickerdoodle (sadly no longer home of the lamb sandwich with walnut aioli I've ordered every other time I've eaten there, but their spinach-artichoke grilled chicken was quite a satisfactory substitute), after which we took up a spare hour with the Harvard Book Store; I departed with a neat little reprint edition of Tom Stacey's The Man Who Knew Everything
(1988), which I bought on the strength of the first three pages and John Hurt having once played the protagonist. We weren't even late for the movies. They were worth waiting two months and a protractedly late train for.
As part of their Chris Marker retrospective, which I have otherwise completely missed, the HFA screened a double feature
of One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevitch
(2000) and A.K.
(1985). They're short films, running 55 and 75 minutes respectively; I don't know if they were created as complements, but they make a natural pair. One Day . . .
looks as though it was originally conceived as a study of Tarkovsky on the set of The Sacrifice
(1986), much as A.K.
concentrates on Kurosawa on the set of Ran
(1985), except that Tarkovsky was diagnosed with terminal cancer either during or shortly after the shoot, at which point the documentary seems to have shifted to become a meditation on his life and career. It is not dispassionate; it doesn't pretend the camera isn't there. Tarkovsky in his hospital bed in Paris, editing The Sacrifice
with the help of tapes and portable televisions, wrapped in a camel-colored bathrobe and later a headscarf that he says makes him look like a pirate, talks as much to Marker's camera as to anybody, at one point calls out to Chris to make sure he hasn't missed a good line. He is sharp and lively and ironic for a man who will die within the year; he was just reunited with his fifteen-year-old son after five years of Soviet refusal. He is conscious of playing a part for the press. He doesn't talk much about his own movies; Marker does that, through the voice of Alexandra Stewart, and he is absolutely in love. I can't tell what either The Mirror
(1975) or The Sacrifice
are about, but I am very curious about both of them, and Stalker
(1979) sounds like something I will adore. Thanks to hylomorphist
, I own a DVD of Andrei Rublev
(1966), which I think I have no excuse not to watch now. There are beautiful long floating shots, things with the calm, commonsensical, unexplainable juxtaposition of dreams. I don't want to sound unimpressed with A.K.
, but I already knew I liked Kurosawa; the second feature told me mostly that I like Marker's ability to film a documentary without assuming either an artificial distance or an equally showy intimacy, that being an extra in a jidaigeki
is pretty much like being on campaign in an actual sixteenth-century army, and that I need to see Ran
, because I want to know the relationship between the action I just watched from behind the scenes and the shots produced by the camera. Marker records the filming of a luminous, oneiric scene of mad Hidetora riding through a field of glittering golden grass by night, with a huge golden moon "worthy of Meliès" following him in the arms of an unseen stagehand—the crew spent all day spray-painting the field—after which we are almost unsurprisingly informed the scene was cut from the final film. The fog that billows around Mount Fuji delays filming; only up to a certain density can it be intercut with footage of battle-smoke. A nameless extra, hanging out around the fire with his blanket and his hot soup because those black volcanic slopes are cold
, jokes that he should get a subtitle—and Marker gives him one, complete with sweeping title music: "The Unknown Man of Fuijiyama." (I really hope he saw the film.) There's less attempt to make a coherent symbol-set of Kurosawa's oeuvre, more attention to the members of his team. An elegaic moment is given to the sound engineer Fumio Yanoguchi, whom Marker compares to "an elegant old cat"; he died during production. I still think I'll have a harder time not tracking down all the Tarkovsky I can get my hands on tonight
And then because it was Sunday, the MBTA was fucked and we spent half an hour waiting for Rush's bus in the freezing cold of Davis Square. Still and totally worth it.
We may be watching some Tarkovsky this week.
I forgot to mention one of the space operas I've read more recently, which is Jack Campell's Geary series. (Oh God, what a terrible rhyme.) Someone over at james_nicoll
accused it of being formulaic from book to book and, well, it is. I don't have the link (it was buried somewhere in comments to a post I don't remember what it was) but it was something like:
1. Geary comes up with brilliant plan.
2. Stupidheaded captains quarrel with brilliant plan.
3. Battle happens. Stupidheaded captains cause things to go wrong.
4. Stupidheaded captains (with encouragement of the few, reliable, smartheaded captains?) realize how wrong they were, use Geary's plan.
5. VICTORY HULK SMASH!!!
Uh, I'm paraphrasing lots.
So yeah, if you get tired of the formula, then you get tired of the formula.
What I found interesting was the reason behind the tired formula--I mean, not that it helps if you can't stand seeing the same basic thing every battle--is culture change. Geary was in some kind of hibernation due to...luck? (if you can call it that) and is from 100 years in the past, back when they knew how to do tactics and maneuvers and stuff. The war has been going on all this time with the enemy (the Syndics??) and the attrition has been so bad that doctrine has devolved to what looks awfully like a terrifyingly unthinking version of offensive à outrance
Weirdly, I found this plausible because of math.
Specifically, I found this plausible because of math pedagogy, even more specifically because of high teacher turnover in USAn schools. When I taught high school math, I had three preps and one of them I had to design the curriculum from scratch (Discrete Math)--I mean, I was given a Discrete Math textbook but that course had been used for years as a dumping ground for the "bad math" students to do basic arithmetic worksheets for the hour as a holding pen. I wish I were making this up. The head of the math department was new that year and determined to turn that course into one that really actually taught Discrete Math. I was all for it, but, you know, first-year teacher so learning curve. I was forever doing things like thinking that something would take a full period and finding that the kids picked it up quickly, or finding that they would get hung up hard on something I took for granted. This is pretty natural; it happened to me when I was doing my practicum during teacher ed. Eventually with experience you get a knowledge base and a better feel for these things.
But the thing is, it's a little stupid to do this from scratch when you could, you know, have a knowledge base
of this stuff. During teacher ed we read about Japanese school math departments where the teachers would get together and share this knowledge, and also keep files on lessons and what stumbling blocks students had and ways to address them. I'm not saying that all USAn schools don't do things like this, but I know I have taught at schools where they definitely
don't do this--every time a teacher leaves (or quits teaching entirely, like I did), everything they knew goes with them, and the next person who comes in, especially if they're a first-year? Starts from scratch.
So yeah. I could depressingly see how you could end up with an entire space navy that is worn so ragged that it gets in this position--because even if someone figures out how to fight all over again, what's the odds that they live long enough to teach enough people who themselves live long enough...
- I TURNED IN REVISIONS.
Also, I had to redo my hexarchate timeline because I accidentally set one figure wrong. It was a very easy fix, however. My arithmetic was otherwise fine.
(Embarrassing as hell, though, I admit, when you're dealing with a novel that presumably has characters for whom the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic
is of dire importance.)
Also, I have written enough Yuletide that I feel justified in writing up a fandom_stocking stocking...
- Me: "Joe! You should write me a computer game for Christmas! In two weeks!"
Joe: "ROCKS FALL EVERYONE DIES: THE GAME."
- Someone had the sequel to Storm Constantine's Sea Dragon Heir
checked out so I'll try back another time. There was an omnibus of the Wraethhu
(sp?) books but I wasn't sure it sounded like my thing. (Anyone?)
I made my saving throw against two sf books in the library discards pile--one I didn't feel deeply moved to reread (I'm blanking on the title but I'm pretty sure it's that Asimov story about the boy who gets called in to the shrink for going on walks in a future where everyone has a teleporter, something like that) and another by an author I admire but whose prose is dense hence too exhausting for me to deal with right now, and also I am very sure the book is easy to find, and I've read it before anyway.
- It seems I now own two copies of The Magic of Recluce
by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; the second is a library discard in terrible shape and I might take it as airplane reading to NY. I started rereading it at the library and still love it.
I actually do understand why people would find Lerris's "because it's boring" super-unsympathetic, or anyway rather trivial, as a heroic nonmotivation. It is, however, one of the things that I like about the book because I so completely sympathize with it. I get bored so easily
. You think that I chase after Turkish, cross stitch, custom modded My Little Ponies, cryptology, military history, Latin, digital painting, etc. etc. because of a desire for self-improvement
? Please. I do it because I get so bored
Also, I know one person who actively likes the rather plain-sounding foods that Modesitt tends to feature and prefers them to the endless sumptuous banquet whatever school of fictional food. I'm, hmm, not precisely agnostic, but mostly I find long description of food really tedious (whether the food is sumptuous or plain or whatever), which goes along with me being adamantly not a foodie. Modesitt works for me because yeah food is mentioned a lot, but in a logistical sort of way, and he doesn't go on about it for paragraphs and if it tires me out it's easy to spot and skip.
- Escape: "Ancient Sorceries" by Algernon Blackwood
(podcast/audio story thing?, mp3 download from Archive.org). I was made aware of this by james_davis_nicoll
and his description
An English traveller makes the mistake of disembarking at an innocent seeming small town, a town whose inhabitants seem to know him. He learns far more about himself than he'd have wanted to.
made this sound intriguing. It's the kind of (probably) horror/supernatural story I have a weakness for.
I can't say that I followed all of the story. Even sitting in the darkness trying to concentrate on nothing but the performance (which seemed to be well-done, with effects and bits of music and a couple voices along with the main narrator/protag), I kept having my usual problem with podcasts/audio lectures/audiobooks, which is that I either have difficulty parsing out the phonemes (this is also why I watch even English-language TV with subtitles whenever possible) or I space out and lose chunks of the audio stream. It's kind of frustrating, because it would be nice to be able to access stuff in audio format. From what I did understand of it, though, it seemed to fall into a particular form that I have seen in (written) supernatural stories, pretty much what you'd guess from James's description.
recent someone else's gaming
- I also probably shouldn't tell you about the comment I made when Joe was hunting elves (yesssss! sorry, I can't stand elves, it's an AD&D thing) and one of his targets ran away after he shot it and I asked him if he had to track it while it bled out like a deer and he said he didn't think the game mechanics worked that way. Although it would be funny if they did.
- Me, staring at gray-skinned elf on computer screen: "Joe, if I had ears like that, would you still love me?"
Lizard: "What's wrong with his ears? Those ears are totally awesome. I want pointy ears like that."
Joe: "Oh bleep." (He really says "bleep.")
(HATE ELVES HATE HATE HATE.)
- thinking about:
The Log of the Evening Star (Alfred Noyes)
Knowing death is coming for him, a sailor recounts the terrible story of how all the men on his ship, and a woman as well, fell victim to the specter haunting the soon to be derelict Evening Star.
Even given that part of his character is that he is unusually stoic, the cook is remarkably calm, almost chipper, about his coming death (1), judging by the 'eat your soup because we'll probably all be dead later' scene.
1: Standard 'Cook is a Chinese character named Kato in a story published in 1918' warning.
Time for a break from law, so, trailers! Divergent
: I watched this trailer and I said, "I remember that someone on my reading list posted about how silly and implausible this YA dystopia is." And lo, it was so
: the idea of Frankenstein's monster as incredibly long-lived and basically a superhero is actually pretty great, but I doubt this is the movie to do it justice.Endless Love
: it caught my attention for putting ominous music behind sappy meet-cute romance, but the hints about the reveal didn't seem very interesting. (However, IMDB says it's a remake of a Brooke Shields movie
, which does get genuinely dark, so perhaps that music is earned even if the trailer's contents don't convey it.)American Hustle
: this trailer
is much less off-putting than the first one
I saw, though still not my kind of thing.Maleficent
: it's remarkable the way they managed to make this live-action Sleeping Beauty look like a cartoon.The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
: I'm not sure if this is the version I saw before Gravity
, but it's still just wrong.
Abundance gives homework. And it's an amazing thing to do for me. I've written emotionally naked essays, kept track of all of the things I hope to do with him in the coming days, come up with a list of ways I soothe myself/can be soothed and of late, I've been taking selfies every day and sending them to him. Some days, the best I can manage is a picture of my awesome owl socks, but other days it's fine. In the past month and a half or so, I've taken more pictures of myself than anyone else has taken of me in at least the past three to five years. I've learned that the numbness that happened when I got nerve damage from wisdom tooth surgery has actually given me a slightly droopy lower left lip. I've also learned the world doesn't end when pictures of me exist, and that bravery might even be a muscle that gets stronger with use.
And, lately, I not only send a picture of myself, but pictures of my adventures, the things I come across, the things that strike me. And it feels like writing a love letter without words, saying over and over again "I thought of you here" and "I thought of you now". And much like the daily goodnights, it makes me feel amazing and it makes me feel like I'm showing him the softest, least protected bits of me, where I admit how much I think about him, where I show him how the world works upon me.
so, yeah. There's a lot of wow.
1. Shifts. A damned fun single--player strategy game where you're desperately trying to keep your ship intact and colonize four planets before things get too out of hand.
2. Chimpact. Yet another fun physics-driven puzzle game from Chillingo, this one built around slingshotting a chimp through the jungle to snag gems and bananas. I'm a sucker for these sort of games, and this is pretty polished.
(No Amazon deal posts this weekend; taking a break and not spending a huge amount of time online.)
So we were bored last night, and hit the Netflix queue for something that didn't require a high attention span.
We ended up Hansel and Gretel Get Baked
If you were thinking, "no way could Cary Elwes end up in a horror flick worse than Saw
," you would be wrong (although, in fairness, Elwes only shows up for five minutes at the beginning, quickly overacting and getting killed in a glorified cameo).
If you were thinking, "the daughter from Castle
wouldn't pick a bad movie for her lead-role debut, you'd also be wrong.
If you were thinking, "Yancy Butler's worst days are behind her," you'd be very wrong.
If you were thinking, "stoner humor and a horror plot should work," you'd be right, but only with a better writer and director.
What's good about this movie: Lara Flynn Boyle's delightful scenery chewing, and the actual concept (which isn't half bad). And the two separate zombie fights, actually. Actually, Mike Welch (of the Twilight
movies) isn't half bad as Hansel, coming across as a young Jason Dohring. Molly C. Quinn is perfectly fine as Gretel, but this won't exactly go on her demo reel in the future. But that's still way too little.
What's bad: the execution. There's a weird disconnect between the stoner humor (which is too rare, and not as funny as you'd expect*), and the horrible, over-the-top torture death that's the first major horror set piece in the film. And the pacing throughout is just ludicrous, with scenes going on for minutes longer than they should, long shots that seem designed just to pad the movie, and long conversations that seem designed to do the same. Meanwhile, the ending (which actually should have been drawn out) is ridiculously quick. Oh, and the acting, other than the folks named above (and Andrew James Allen early on as the only classic stoner character) is, well, "bad," isn't a good enough word here. There are performances in this movie that wouldn't cut it in a Uwe Boll flick.
It's possible this is actually a good movie to watch if you're stoned; I'll let someone else be the judge of that. It's certainly a pretty bad one to watch sober (although it's bad enough to justify some good MST3K moments, at least). *Yeah, I know. I actually find good stoner humor funny, in spite of not being and never having been a stoner. But that's not what we get here.)
Field Trip Update
The kid actually lost four teeth, all from his bottom jaw. But he returned to school the next day (!!!) as bouncy as ever. Also, the Tooth Fairy gave him six dollars! (I don't understand the math here, but that's OK.)
Cold Weather Update
I am officially a naturalized Californian: I have lost all my cold tolerance.
The kids have been introduced to hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Winter Holidays Update
Lights are up. Tree is coming. Trying to figure out what to eat for Christmas dinner. Fielded the first "someone at school told me Santa isn't real!" conversation. These being my kids, they handled it on their own: "We told him yes he is!" I said nothing until we got to "I know because I saw him at the Oakland Zoo!" at which point I redirected to a discussion of Santa's Helpers. (As a reminder: My great-grandfather was a Santa's Helper, a.k.a. the Coca-Cola Santa. So it's official lore.)
I am supposed to go to the kids' Kindergarten class in two weeks and talk about our family and what makes us special. A-heh-heh-heh.
The other day I read a brief review of Allegiance that summed up the character cast as "...nobly born protagonists (the males' names tend to start with the letter K and sound vaguely Slavic) plus a few others..."
And I thought ?
After a day ? turned into ??? because I started to wonder how someone can miss that there is a main character, and that she is a young woman from the merchant class. Or that there are women from all levels of society, from mercenary soldier, to the village healer, to a courtesan/spy, to politicians. Or if they did notice, that they felt it more important to mention the men and their last names and skip over the women entirely.
I have to admit that I feel too embarrassed to go to panels because I am not remotely current on the state of sf/f anymore and everyone's always talking about authors I've barely even heard about, or whom I've never read, etc. But!
The con panel topic I would kill to go to? How to write space opera battles. I would go! I would tape record! (Or use smartphone, whatever, although I rarely benefit from audio recordings for the same reason audiobooks and podcasts are hard for me and I have to use subtitles even on English-language telly.) I would take notes! Mainly, I want people who actually know what the heck they're doing to please tell me how to do this because I have no idea what I'm doing when I write space opera battles and that probably means I R DOIN IT RONG.
(I'm sorry, I used to have better English than this, but I woke up at 6 a.m. today because lizard.)
I mean, I do write space opera battles so I clearly have some idea
of how I might go about doing this. I just feel like a total fraud when I do. My usual trick is to find a floaty metaphor and hang the space combat system off it, and to avoid getting pinned down with too many details. It's a degrees of freedom thing. I remember reading about how there was some ST:TNG
ep where they had the night sky above Earth on some actual future date (you know what I mean) and some astronomy-minded Trekkies showed that it was the wrong night sky--I am undoubtedly hashing up the details, but something like that. I live in dread of being caught out. And of course, it's not like we HAVE spaceships. When I thought I was going to be a medievaloid fantasy writer, I could read up on Genoese crossbowmen and trebuchets and the Siege of Alesia and stuff. Star Wars
-scale Big Space Battles? Not so much. To say nothing of the inconvenient problem of FTL. Since I usually take Actual Science out back and shoot it between the eyes, I do the traditional thing and have FTL without worrying about Actual Science.
More seriously (?), space battles way the hell out in space tend to look weirdly boring because, look, VAST STRETCHES OF EMPTY SPACE
. I would probably have better tools for thinking about this if I knew anything about naval warfare (that's not the Imjin War), although I assume reefs and weather and stuff. (And sharks. The US Army's Survival Manual has the most hysterical survival chapter on sharks. Well. Hysterical if you plan on never, ever swimming. Me, I'm worried about the GATORS.) I would assume it's awfully hard to accidentally run into another space fleet because space is big and lack of terrain is just odd. (More anon.) OTOH if you set things near systems or stars or whatever, you start having to worry about Actual Astronomy and celestial mechanics. (Oh noes!) I don't know about you, but having to work out positions of things and slingshots and whatever in, I don't know, a five-body system or whateverthehell makes me break out in a cold sweat because, look, math major
, I hate the thought of numerical methods or whatever you use to solve those equations, the only numbers I want in my life are 0, 1, π, and ∞.
I worry about this a lot because even when you come up with a neat/fun/whatever magitech space combat system, it is often not clear what optimal tactics are. (Or anyway, non-sheerly-wasteful-of-lives tactics.) Or, hell, who am I kidding, look at the ACW and the Great War. :-/ I'll take somewhat plausible
tactics. It's hard! It's this whole thought exercise in, Given the particular military/social/cultural/technological/e
tc. institutions in this culture, what kind of warfare/training/etc. paradigms would emerge and how would they play out on the battlefield? And that's just one side
, then you have to do the other side(s).
In a sense, "The Battle of Candle Arc"
was comparatively easy because I had two goals. (Well. Three. #3 was "I need cash." Sorry, guys, I'm really boring.) #1 was to figure out how a particular Ninefox Gambit
character had won a battle mentioned in his backstory. #2 was to CHEAT COMPLETELY by cribbing it off Admiral Yi Sun-Shin's Battle of Myeongnyang. Here's the diagram
. To be brief, the tactics are not quite isomorphic, but they're as close as I could get while preserving the magitech system in the novel (the whole calendrical warfare thing features heavily). Admiral Yi used fishing boats in the distance to lure the Japanese, who presumably could only see a blur on the horizon and assumed that they had not managed to annihilate the Korean fleet at Chilcheonnyang after all, and decided that they had better make another go of destroying the Korean navy (given the drubbing that Yi had given them in the past they can be forgiven for being paranoid). I could not for the life of me figure out how to do fishing boats in space (I mean, it would have been hilarious, isn't there that one original Trek
episode with the giant SPACE AMOEBA?) so I made up randomness (that would be the Rahal lenses). Things like that.
But basically, Myeongnyang relied heavily on a terrain feature. I picked it partly because the terrain feature that Yi exploited was something that I could induce by setting certain parameters, and also because the psychology of dealing with the opponent translated pretty straightforwardly. Plus, while it's possible there is other English-language sf that has TOTALLY CRIBBED off Myeongnyang, I am pretty sure it will not be as crashingly common as something in English-language sf/f like, I dunno, Cannae or Gettysburg or whatever.
For me there's also the whole I AM A FRAUD thing that makes writing battle sequences nerve-wracking. I do try to do my homework. I read a reasonable amount of military history and related stuff. I've only read a few army field manuals but the ones I have are super. But NO WAY NO HOW does that mean I understand anything substantive.
This means that I end up going elsewhere for any kind of insight into how systems translate into practices and paradigms, which is, uh...yeah. You guessed it. Computer games. Also I guess all the stupid arguments I got into on the FIDONET AD&D conference &c. and tabletop stuff. But look, given a weapons system embedded in a social matrix or whateverthehell, it does not strike me as a trivial problem to figure out how best to employ this stuff, not even getting into people having random weird self-serving agendas. So poking around on forums where people are arguing themselves blue in the face about whether character X is god tier or the tier just below, or whether mechanic X is broken, or the best tactics against whatever, or which attack does the most damage (I remember that tactics page for VO Raiden recommending side dash bazooka
, my God, if I
can tell that's wrongheaded and deeply suboptimal...see? I can do it too). Joe is extra-useful for this because he really gets into this stuff and if I prod him a little he will go into rhapsodies of analysis. Also, let's be real. I write handwavy space opera. A game is probably sufficient as a starting point, as long as the limitations of the model are taken into account. It's not like anyone reads my stories expecting them to sound real
. But I want to hear about other approaches to this. Preferably including the ones that don't require you to have a Ph.D. in astrophysics. :-(
(Yes, I know I have an astrophysicist, but he runs away when I try to make him do work. I tell him that the fact that I don't write hard sf is his fault.)
(I think I make this too complicated for myself and next time I should just write about happy tentacle monster pirates. Joe wishes I would shut up about tentacles.)
Anyway, it's been too long since I read Vorkosigan to remember how Big Space Battles are handled, although I'm kind of remembering that most action is on a smaller tactical scale? Aral Vorkosigan is talked up for five-space something-or-other tactics and I am almost certain that this is handwaved and never described in any detail because I am also pretty sure that I watched the text like a hawk looking for details. (This is, BTW, not a complaint--I have no clue what five-space whatever looks like, it's better for everyone this way.) Honestly, I can't remember most of what Miles does other than terrify the hell out of me.
Is David Weber the one (one of the ones?) who got physicists to design his stardrive system and the basic tactics? Or something? I heard something about this, like, 15 years ago and don't remember details. Also it's been about that long since I read any Honor Harrington.
I have only read one of Iain Banks's Culture novels and that was The Player of Games
, which I adored, but is not so much with the Big Space Battles.
There's Star Wars
, but although I am not really familiar with the Extended Universe, I had a hard time taking the movies seriously because honestly, having a bunch of stormtroopers shoot at you en masse is a GREAT way to guarantee that you will not be hit. (In all fairness, I think I was more impressed with the original movies when I was six, although I apparently was terrified when Luke's hand got cut off.)
I don't think the Last Legionary books (YA) by Douglas Hill really do big space battles, although they're very pulpy space opera in a more individualist mode? There's a lot of hand-to-hand and infrangibility (oh man, I can't look at that word without wincing anymore).
I never finished watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes
, whose politics I liked, but I frankly hated the space battle tactics as depicted so badly that I wrote an article for the anime club newsletter taking a flamethrower to them. (No, really. You do not have to get glowy-eyed at the words "oblique order" to look at the battles and go, WTF?)
No idea what Battlestar Galactica
reboot qualifies as subgenre-wise but I wasn't tracking real hard. Also, carrier/fighter paradigms are hard for me to think about; I don't know anything about air warfare.
Uh. So who, given the topic, would you
put on the panel?
(Oh God, this turned into a ramble...must stop procrastinating, back to work.)
Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.
Daron: Okay, it’s that time of year.
ctan: What time of year?
Daron: The time when Christmas music starts to drive me insane.
ctan: This is one of the reasons we never go to shopping malls, dear. Or, only in the summer when it’s safe.
Daron: Aha. Anyway, the ironic thing is that I have a Christmas song to share with you. The Dollyrots–a punk band from Florida by way of L.A.–released a zombie apocalypse parody of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” called “I Saw Mommy Biting Santa Claus.”
( Read the rest of this entry » )
for stormeCode Geass
is the anime that almost made me quit writing my space opera (unpublished but I am nearly done with revisions for my agent I SWEAR). It was like rolling a 1 on a morale check. (Is that how that worked? I am AD&D FAIL.)
(There's a sequel series, Code Geass R2
, which basically continues/finishes Code Geass
, which ends on a cliffhanger. So you know. It's like the second season.)
I originally encountered Code Geass
in its manga form. I bounced the first time, because the art was little goofy (the anime art is better) and the premise, which involved a magitech alternate Earth in which part of the Earth is dominated by the social darwinist Britannian Empire, rang my "OMG this has the potential to be so skeevy" bells hard: the story is largely set in a colonized Japan, called Area 11 by the Britannians. As a Korean-American, I really, really, really did not want to end up in some kind of apologia for Japan colonialism pre-WWII. I am no expert, but IMO the show does not, in fact, go there, and the vision of a Japan oppressed by a Western power is reasonably well-handled, ugly politics and all.
I went in a second time and liked what I saw, and then storme
informed me that if I liked the manga I should try the anime because the anime has an element that is Yoon-friendly (who am I kidding, I EET IT UP WITH A SPOON) that the manga lacks completely. I said okay, I'd take a look. Guess what the missing element was? MECHA. That's right--the anime makes extensive use of mecha warfare. The manga somehow manages to cut out mecha technology completely and still retain the basic plot in terms of emotional attachments and political maneuverings and things. It's kind of mind-boggling. But since I am at heart a Battletech kind of Yoon, I continued with the anime rather than the manga. Also I think my library ran out of manga volumes, and anime is easier for me (usually) to follow than reading comic panels. (This varies depending on the skill of the person doing the art, of course, but after reading various comics/manga I have discovered that in fact a lot of comic artists and mangaka kind of suck at making their panel layout readable and it's not just me because the good examples shine by contrast.)
The two principal figures are Lelouch, a schoolboy in Area 11 who is unexpectedly handed the superpower of geass (Power Word: Command), and Suzaku, a Japanese boy who is an honorary Britannian soldier and ergo regarded as a quisling by both sides. It gets more complicated: Lelouch is a Britannian prince in hiding/exile among the Japanese (or Elevens, as the Britannians call them); he cares for his younger sister Nunnally, who was blinded and crippled in the assassination that killed their mother, the Queen Marianne (oh--multiple queens), and who is the one person in the world he is most devoted to; and his attitude toward the Britannians who basically abandoned him and his sister is, to put it kindly, not friendly. Lelouch plays chess, making him a Literal Chessmaster as he gets involved in the Elevens' resistance as a string-puller. (Now, I am the world's worst chess player--I once taught someone the rules and they stalemated me in their very first game--against me. That's how bad. ETA: Forgot to finish parenthetical. There's a very early literal chess match in which Lelouch is pushing around his king an awful lot, which strikes me as very risky play, nice as the metaphor is--he does put himself on the board in certain situations in his real-life maneuvers--but again, I'm really bad at chess. Any chess-players care to comment?)
Suzaku has his own past demons, but where Lelouch is all about Systemic Change (with, admittedly, a side of ends-means utilitarianism), Suzaku is more about the conventionally heroic Let's Change the World Starting with Me. You know, the whole Superman thing of rescuing the individual kitten instead of going after the system. (Uh. You can tell which side I find more persuasive, although in real life it's not like I'm running around doing anything useful with my life in the first place.) He's joined the Britannian army through the honorary Britannian soldier program because he wants to see better treatment for his people and he wants reform by coming up through the ranks and lobbying for it. He's a superb soldier, and in fact a special project run by a Britannian Earl (I think Lloyd's an Earl? I'm super-unclear on how nobility ranks work but I'm under the impression that Lloyd is one of the Emperor's sons, but not an actual Prince--there are a raft of those
--which is very confusing) taps Suzaku to pilot to prototype mech because mecha battles are awesome. (Well, you know.) It should not surprise you that Suzaku is one of the other ace mecha pilots in the setting.
Not only are Lelouch and Suzaku on the expected collision course, they were childhood friends! Lots of backstory here, I promise.
There's a strong ensemble cast. Lelouch is powerful, but not all-powerful. He gets his ass handed to him on more than one occasion; I'm remembering a couple early engagements where he enjoys initial success by taking the Britannians by surprise--and then a general with, you know, actual extensive battlefield experience
is sent in and he starts having issues. Nor is he the only chessmaster running around! The amount of chessmastering in this series is staggering.
Spoilery bit about Lelouch as leader (includes R2
spoilers): ( Read more... )
I've talked a lot about male characters, because Lelouch and Suzaku are the central figures, but please don't think there aren't strong female characters. There are a lot of strong female characters. Kallen, who is a half-Eleven half-Britannian resistance fighter and ace mecha pilot, ends up being Lelouch's lieutenant, and she is in fact one of the very best mecha pilots in the series. Lelouch's confederate, the mysterious C.C. The aforementioned general who kicks Lelouch's ass early on is a woman, and while she isn't really a politician, she is a full-fledged tactician.
And then there is the
strongest character in the entire damn show, who is a woman, and who is stealth so I had no idea she was going to do what she did. I'm just going to leave it there because to say more would spoil it and if there is any chance at all you are going to watch this (I watched it on a free streaming site but sadly cannot recall where; I now own this and Code Geass R2
on DVD because MINE MINE MINE), you absolutely deserve not to have this spoiled for you, don't look up spoilers, just don't. It's a shatteringly well-done.
And then politics, odd comedy episodes (the search for the cat, and the running joke about C.C.'s love for pizza), tragedy, did I mention the hot mecha combat, and in fact Joe tells me the nuclear physics is actual nuclear physics
, which blew the hell out of my mind. (Don't worry, there's plenty of straight-out magic, too. Did we mention geass? [That's how they spell it. I don't know why.]) And did we mention that nuclear physics prodigy is a schoolgirl?
The show has its rocky moments, especially some of the odd stuff in R2
, but unusually, it nails
the ending. I came away very pleased.
So, the morale failure. At the time I was writing the rough draft of Ninefox Gambit
(then called something slightly different because I suck at titles) and one of my explicit goals was to write a chessmaster. We got about halfway through Code Geass
because Joe and I got hooked and we were marathoning it as much as, you know, Joe's work hours would permit in the evenings (this show is not what I would call graphic with the violence, but there is violence and somewhat artistic gore, blood splashes while the falling bodies are just off-screen, maybe a little more than that). And I looked at the latest lunge-riposte-parry-whatever (look, I'm not a fencer, okay?), and I turned to Joe and I said, I can't write anymore, I just can't top
that, what's the point?
Reasons why this is a stupidheaded attitude:
1. I can't top Ender's Game
either (the book that got me into writing stories about war in the first place) and that never stopped me as a cocksure high schooler.
2. I'm not good at analyzing visual media, but I was too busy having MORALE FAIL to consider medium differences. Basically, Code Geass
could summarize/suggest tactical information visually in a way that doesn't translate real exactly to prose, and anyway for the particular back-and-forth maneuverings I didn't need
that kind of detail. (I did have to use more detail for the one land battle and engage in some chicanery for the one space battle, but that's before the serious chessmastering gets under way.) Interpreting things for the reader is much more important than, you know, getting hypnotized by flashy mecha graphics.
3. Continuing with the above, I know you can do chessmasters who are POV characters who even let you in on some of their thought processes because I'm pretty sure I've seen it done. I feel like Arithon s'Ffallenn (I can't remember how to spell it) in Janny Wurts's Wars of Light and Shadow was probably an example, although it helped that the thing is vastly multi-POV so you get to see plots and counterplots play out. Feel free to tell me about other examples.
I am not smart enough to have figured out how to do this generally while also being convincing, and in any case my particular chessmaster was withholding a couple pieces of information in such a way that the only fair way to do that was to block his POV completely. Also, the chessmaster is the antagonist and is in close contact with the protagonist for so much time that it would just have been logistically redundant, but that's a side-consideration.
In Code Geass
, OTOH, we often see
what Lelouch is doing, but his actions aren't necessarily explained until it's time for the action/trap/whatever. I'd also have to rewatch the show to be sure, but I'm pretty sure that it either never does the voiceover-internal-monologue-thing (is there a shorter term for this?) or it does so only rarely. I suppose I could have done Inscrutable Third POV but honestly it would have looked really weird when I was using third/maybe-light-omniscient for everything else.
(Please do not speak to me of Lymond. I still have no idea where my copy of Game of Kings
went and the first five pages the last time I tried it convinced me that I'm too stupid to read Dunnett, so I'm not optimistic it would be helpful anyway.)
Anyway, once I got over OH NOES I HAVE FOUND MY PERFECT ANIME I MUST STOP WRITING FOREVER, Code Geass
was really inspiring. In a wrist-slashing sort of way, but you know. I'm just sad I can't be watching it for the first time all over again, especially since I never did track down fic that I found satisfactory. (Lolarious, yes. Satisfactory, no.)
A thing I wrote on Facebook that people seemed to like, so I'm putting it here to give it extended shelf life:
I was rereading "Gramma," which I think is one of Stephen King's best short stories, and this occurred to me: True horror is not the evil zombie grandmother. True horror is the vast gulf *between* the evil zombie grandmother and the cheerful cartoon grandmother on the telephone notepad. True horror is in the lightyears of distance between the way your heart knows things ought to be, or wants them to be, and the way your eye sees they are.
Possibly no one but me cares, but I felt that I was taking pictures of my outfits only on the days I did something special, so my sartorial proclivities were being misrepresented on the internet. Apparently this was terrible, so I took selfies daily for a month, and here they are. It also shows the evolution of my pink hair over time.
There are more dresses and skirts involved when it's not so chilly out, but this is a pretty decent representation of what really goes on.( Lots of pictures! )
So after the kids were in bed I snuck out to see Catching Fire
. (Well, okay, I didn't sneak, I told SteelyKid so she would know she had to get Chad for anything, because normally it would be my night for that. (And I told Chad, of course.) This briefly looked like it might backfire when a very tired SteelyKid briefly turned mulish at teeth-brushing and declared she wanted to come to the movie with me. Uh, no.
I am almost dizzy with fatigue but there's no way I can sleep right now so I will FEELINGSDUMP all over you all. Spoilers for both movies and vague spoilers for all the books, which I haven't read but which I've read people's posts about.( SPOILERS )
Trailers tomorrow. Those are quick, at least.
I am sitting next to her in my bed and she is breathing. Although she had her op AGES ago and has been better for YONKS, I still have to check and I still get misty-eyed when I can just sit here, listening to her breathing.
She has grown, after a year of getting thinner. She is lovely.
For our first night as a married couple, derspatchel
and I went to a hotel. We are not having a honeymoon in the formal sense, although we are planning some trips in the upcoming year, but we wanted something a little offset from the everyday of our half-unpacked apartment and dishes in the sink and it was the correct decision. We met his mother in the afternoon and took her to see the glass flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. We went home afterward and ate dinner quietly, by ourselves. We were looking forward to sleep.
For our second night, we went to the ER.
It is good to know I have married the sort of person who will literally catch me when I fall, but I could have done without the intense nausea, dizziness, tinnitus, and whiteout that preceded me fainting for the first time in my life that I can remember. I don't even remember reaching for the seltzer, which is what Rob tells me I was doing when I dropped. I just remember his voice sounding suddenly anxious ("Sonya? Hon? Hon, stay with me!") and the disoriented realization that intead of being on my feet near the green basket chair, however sickly, I was on the floor in front of it, supported against him. Then I fell over sideways and shivered a lot. He put a pillow under my head and his bathrobe on top of me for a blanket. We called urgent care. The woman on the other end of the line said something about in sickness and in health
and I protested distinctly, we didn't even promise that!
It took me much longer than usual to get dressed; the ringing in my ears was deafening and metallic and something was wrong with my inner ear, so that I felt whirling and out of phase with my own body every time I bent or stood or turned my head. It was in fact fairly frightening, because I had no idea what was causing it. I wondered if it was an ear infection. We'd ruled out food poisoning after I didn't throw up. My mother drove us to Mount Auburn, where I was promptly
injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected, and selected
plugged into a heart monitor, an oxygen monitor, and an IV drip, given an EKG and depleted of several vials of blood, and then ignored for the next three hours. I was freezing and they piled heated blankets on me. The light sensitivity and the acute dizziness faded as the boredom and annoyance came in. Rob read a history of Marvel Comics and I did not sleep because the blood-pressure cuff set off an alarm every time it checked me, which was apparently not diagnostic of anything.
The eventual diagnosis was "vasovagal syncope," which turns out to mean "you felt lousy and you fainted." I hadn't experienced a seizure; I hadn't hit my head when I fell; I had been unresponsive for several moments after passing out, but all my neurological reflexes checked out fine at the hospital—I remembered asking Rob during the slow, light-painful, stumbling-into-things dressing phase if I was making sense when I spoke and he answered unhesitatingly yes. I would have trusted him to tell me if I was not. They sent us home around eight-thirty in the morning on a day when neither of us could stay in bed later than noon; I took a shower to wash off the last traces of EKG glue that the little acetone packets they lend you if you don't have nail polish remover at home had been unable to remove and we both went to bed.
I am now awake; as a state of being, it is totally overrated. But I am not dizzy, not nauseated, not falling into things, and incidentally enjoying being married. A lot. So that's cool. I have to thank like the entire internet tonight.
In other news, my flash "Anonymity" has been accepted by Mythic Delirium
. The piece was originally set to appear in Fantastique Unfettered
's Shakespeare Unfettered
special issue, but it was left homeless when FU
folded in October; I am very pleased that time_shark
decided to pick it up, because I had no idea where on earth it would fit again. It's Shakespeare and Marlowe on the internet, snarking about the authorship controversy. I should have trusted the weirdness of a man who wears the Goblin Queens' hat.
I just posted this over on Tumblr, but wanted to share it here as well.
I’ve criticized The Big Bang Theory for things like its ongoing obsession with fat jokes, its casual sexism (OMG, girls don’t read comics/play D&D/etc), the handling of Sheldon’s autistic/OCD issues, and an ongoing sense of laughing at geeks instead of with us.
But I want to give a shoutout to something the show did recently in “The Itchy Brain Simulation.” Leonard discovered a DVD he had forgotten to return for Sheldon, and started worrying about how Sheldon would react. Because we all know Sheldon can’t let anything go, and would be completely annoying and freak out about the unreturned DVD, right? And then we the viewers can all laugh at the neurotic genius and ask why his friends put up with him.
Only it didn’t play out that way. Sheldon countered by asking why Leonard didn’t consider how annoying and difficult these things were for him. As far as I know, this is the first time Sheldon’s ever stood up for himself in this way. He took it a step further, saying he’d remain calm about the DVD … if Leonard wore an itchy sweater he had gotten as a gift until the DVD was returned.
Animated gifs ahead. (I did say this was being copied from Tumblr…)
( Read the rest of this entry » )
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I just got the paperwork from my parents about being their healthcare proxy. And while I should be relieved, I'm actually offended that I am the third (last) on the list of healthcare proxies. I don't think I want to be their proxy, I just didn't necessarily need/want proof that I am (among other things) the least favorite child. And Light says while they're clueless, it's not like it's a secret that of their children, they and I have the most strained relationship. And I kind of suspect that what will happen is that I'll do whatever the work ends up being anyway.
And maybe some of this is coming from uglier darker places, where I tell myself that some day, I'll at least get some of their stuff and what I need to remember is that that's almost certainly not true, the narrative of the next generation (their grandchildren, real and potential) leaves me on the wayside, a dead end as far as they are concerned.
I continue to be on decent terms with them because that's what people do. Because I'd miss my little brothers, because I want to be part of Coolidge's life, because even if it's riddled with holes and weak spots, having some history feels like a better choice than having none.
Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.
(Site news: 1) Here’s the Saturday post I’ve owed you guys for 3 weeks! I’ve finally written far enough ahead I can post a bonus post! 2) Yes, yes, if you would like to see what happened during the J/Daron make-up sex, make a donation and I’ll write it and send it! 3) And tomorrow, there will be liner notes! -ctan)
The next day I felt better but worse. Better because I felt like I’d gotten a lot off my chest, worse because I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. They use that phrase “through the wringer” to mean emotionally, but physically I felt about the same, tender and stiff.
I had one of those hot showers where most of what I did was stand there with my hands against the tile, letting the hot water hit me in the head. The sound of the water isn’t “soothing” so much as numbing. It blots everything out like static on the radio.
What the hell did you do, Daron? Did you really just agree to stay with him?
( Read the rest of this entry » )
The Grove Of Ashtaroth (John Buchan)
A decent British man, learning that his friend has fallen under the influence of a goddess of ancient myth, does what any man of his sort would under those circumstances and desecrates her temple. He does feel a bit sad, especially when the goddess begins pleading for her life.
Interesting detail that being part Jewish makes Lawson more vulnerable to the goddess than the narrator is. The Scot who appears in the story seems almost immune. The original story is old enough to be public domain and online.
Interesting detail that caught my eye:
It was a little conical tower, ancient and lichened, but, so far as I could judge, quite flawless. You know the famous Conical Temple at Zimbabwe, of which prints are in every guidebook. This was of the same type, but a thousandfold more perfect. It stood about thirty feet high, of solid masonry, without door or window or cranny, as shapely as when it first came from the hands of the old builders. Again I had the sense of breaking in on a sanctuary. What right had I, a common vulgar modern, to be looking at this fair thing, among these delicate trees, which some white goddess had once taken for her shrine? Speculations about the origins of the ruins have been imaginative and wild ranging.
The Switch (Sarah Stanton)
Read by Kate Baker.
Three idealists work to restore Beijing's lost neighborhoods. The arrest of their mentor inspires them to stage a rescue attempt and in the process open the public's eyes to what is really around them.
Weird. The text is not so bad but when I heard Baker read the bits with the girlfriend, I had the impression the protagonist was going to end up single a lot sooner than he expected.
I'm a little thinner than I'd like again. I was a size 16, which was nice because I actually WAS a size 16, not a mix of seven different sizes none of which quite fit in any shops, and as someone in her mid-thirties after three children, 16 seemed like a nice even number at which to settle.
But I'm a fraction thinner again now. I can't tell whether it's the stress (my hair is thinning, too) or just that I'm not Astrid's primary source of nutrition any more so I don't need the reserves.
It's much less scary getting thinner when I start off a size 16 than a size 8. I have this niggly "shouldn't I be panicking and planning high-calorie snacks?" feeling, but not the actual panic itself, which is very comfortable.
I owe saira
a post on pens/paper/stuff, but I wanted to get a photo of my Nakaya for the post and it has been raining all day
. (Urushi takes damage from UV allegedly but I really doubt five minutes in the sun would hurt it that much.) The thing is that the gorgeous aka-tamenuri finish is pretty much invisible in indoors lighting the way we have it set up; I've only ever gotten it to look at all like it does in person on the camera in full sunlight. So as a rain check I offer this icon, which is a photo of the sealing wax seal I had done up for myself a couple years ago through some sealing-wax-seal-doing person in the UK. (I designed the thing in...I think it was ZeusDraw and some other freeware illustration program that will generate gears for you.) It was a novel-related reward-to-self.
In place I also offer random not very useful observation, which is that I once had a pressure lock (I forget what they're called) demonstrated on me at kung fu self-defense night. The idea is that it hits a pressure point in the upper arm and the pain disables the lockee so that they drop. I was assured that this was pretty much foolproof by multiple people.
Rory Miller in at least one of his books talks about how pain is really not reliable as a deterrent--if you want to assure that someone can't keep stabbing you or shooting you or chasing you or whatever the hell, you pretty much have to physically remove capability, because people are all wired different and some people just don't feel pain the same or whatever.
Anyway, I have no pain tolerance worth mentioning. Migraines will shut me down from the time they start, ditto anything but the mildest nausea, I'm pretty useless under even regular headaches and cramps as well. (Admittedly I have been known to get cramps bad enough that onlookers call the ambulance.) But I also believe the bit about people just being wired up differently because when that pressure point was demonstrated on me, the demonstrator (a green belt, I think?) started with very light pressure because this was supposed to be super-painful once you felt it. He slowly increased the pressure. Then he started hunting around looking for the point. I didn't ever feel anything more than, well, mild discomfort from pressure being applied. I certainly didn't feel any kind of disabling pain. I finally faked it just to avoid mutual embarrassment (and I'm not sure I convinced him I felt anything but a "twinge," but whatever).
All this just to say I now believe Rory Miller over the kung fu school, at least on this particular point.
(The throw they demonstrated on me, OTOH? That worked just fine. At higher-than-baby-steps-speed I can't even tell what the hell happened to me WHOOMPF I'm on the floor with the breath knocked out of me, ha.)
Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.
Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.
And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.
While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
– Nelson Mandela’s speech in support of “Make Poverty History”
Mirrored from Under the Beret.
A number of you probably know about this by now, but: NPR has included A Natural History of Dragons in their Best of Year . . . Venn diagaram . . . Oort cloud . . . not-actually-a-list . . . thingy.
Basically, although it looks like a list, what they've done is go the tag route. That's the "science fiction and fantasy" tag, but if you click on ANHoD there, you'll find it's also tagged "love stories," "for history lovers," and "it's all geek to me." (You can also read Annalee Newitz' recommendation.) Anyway, this is pretty awesome -- like, "it has apparently had a measurable effect on sales" levels of awesome.
Plus there's also this: A Natural History of Dragons was picked as one of the top 15 books of the year by Slate.com's book editor Dan Kois.
Put that together with the Goodreads semifinalist thing, and the fact that there are still new reviews
coming in at a steady pace, and, well, see the title of the post. Quite chuffed. Quite, quite chuffed. It's good encouragement to have as I tackle the dreaded Middle of the Book for #3.
Linnea is nine, Emer is seven, Astrid is three, and the house is bigger.
We had the two ground floor recep rooms knocked through and folding doors put in where the wall was. We also had a little WC put in on the first floor and an attic conversion so now we have a second floor.
There's a new back door and a total of three toilets in the house and lots and lots more light. We've had new floor and plaster and paint, the chimneybreasts on the ground floor were opened up to make space for shelving, and everything in the attic was put into storage units for four months. We have now emptied two of four storage units and not brought any books back yet. Freegle is our Friend.
I'm particularly pleased with the colours of the "new house". I'll take photos if we ever get tidy or clean.
Other than that, the Theatre Train classes are still going well and Linnea loves performing in public, the girls love Brownies and swimming, Emer is learning to read things she was afraid to try before, and Astrid has discovered addition. I'm drowning in squalor and housework but at least almost all the builder's dirt is gone now.
We got through the last four months thanks to Netflix, basically.
Almost a year ago, I put up a post about my genderbent Slave Leia costume. I talked a lot about why I decided to create it and my insecurities around exposing myself on the internet. It got a little more attention than I expected, and when I was finished hiding under my bed, I started wearing the costume to cons and costume parties. I thought I’d share some of my frightening and enlightening experiences here.
Last week I talked about my experiences going to conventions in less than conventional dress, but I left the account of my being fondled brief as I thought it deserved its own discussion. This is that discussion, and it comes with what is becomming a distressingly boilerplate trigger warning.
I've always suspected that when people say that they hate the shaky cam in The Hunger Games, part of what they mean isn't shaky-cam shots, but the editing. Because the editing of The Hunger Games is weird. Cuts come a little sooner or a little later than you expect. You get wide landscape shots when you expect close-ups. The rhythm is odd, off-kilter. Things feel disjunctive, disorienting. It feels like Katniss's stride, long but careful; like her wary hunter's attention, her broad background awareness and abrupt microfocus. It feels like the entire movie is made to the rhythm of Katniss ducking through a rip in a chain-link fence. Arguably, movies are always made to the rhythm of human breath, but most movies are made to the breathing of a person at rest, or in conversation, or in a sprint. The Hunger Games is made to the rhythm of a cross-country runner, the finish line nowhere in sight; a runner breathing extra deep but not extra fast, clear-headed.
It makes the movie feel odd. Isolated, internal, personal.
I miss that in Catching Fire. This isn't to say that I dislike Catching Fire, because I like it a lot. But the editing is more standard, more commercial; invisible, because what you're used to is invisible. And it's not bad. (Clearly, a lot of people think it is, in fact, better.) But it's less weird, and I miss the weirdness.
Geneviève Bergeron (b. 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (b. 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (b. 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (b. 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (b. 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (b. 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (b. 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (b. 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (b. 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (b. 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (b. 1958), nursing student.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired and ready for some things to smile about.
- Amateur Photographer Shoots Largest Ever True Color Photo of the Night Sky. Composed of 37,000 photographs, this is “a 360-panoramic view of the sky taken by trekking 60,000 miles across the western United States and South Africa…”
- High-resolution, zoomable and navigable version is here.
- Best #BisexualFacts. Apparently Bisexual Facts was a thing on Twitter, and resulted in a number of humorous “facts” … which have now been turned into lovely images, suitable for framing or giggling over. Though it’s sad that none of the tweets were attributed in the images. (Context for these comments: http://www.xojane.com/fun/the-sheer-unadulterated-joy-of-bisexualfacts.)
- Best #BisexualFacts, Part 2.
- Australian pigeons team up to use a public water fountain. Because Australia! (Link from Laura Anne Gilman)
- Also in Australia, scientists basically brought a heart back to life without a body. I don’t know whether Australia is the most awesome place in the world, or the most terrifying. (And yes, I know the correct answer is probably “both.”)
- Image gallery from the Hubble telescope. Wow…
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.