(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 10:50 pm
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
[personal profile] skygiants
Thanks to the kindness of [personal profile] aamcnamara in loaning a copy so I did not have to fight through the library line, I read The Stone Sky - third in N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, following up on The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate - last weekend.

I don't think Essun destroyed any cities at all this book! I'm so proud!

The rest is disconnected spoilery thoughts )

Vertical storage! Vertical space!

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:53 pm
newredshoes: red-winged blackbird (<3 | this moment to arise)
[personal profile] newredshoes
So... okay, so, I saw six apartments today, and one of them seems... like it could be so good. I really, really liked it when I was in it, and then a few hours later, I was waffling like hell and doubting whether I really liked it that much and whether I should hold out for another and whether I should feel more strongly and why am I not feeling strongly... Broker pointed out that I could be gun-shy, given what apartment-hunting got me last time. I'm trying to stay balanced about the whole thing, but I don't!!!!! know!!!!!!

Me waffling about a super nice apartment )

All that said, as I was typing this entry, a friend I had lunch with checked in to see how the showing had gone. Between her reaction to the pictures and how excited I felt telling her about the place (and realizing that actually I do have places to put all my bookcases that make sense, and I could definitely work with those tiny bedrooms by painting an accent wall)... I'm leaning much more heavily yes. I should sleep on it! We'll see!
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
[personal profile] musesfool
This morning I met up with boss3 to do a site visit at a conference space in the Empire State Building and gosh, it was a beautiful room. I say site visit like the meeting is not actually taking place there next week (it is); it was more to introduce me to the staff on site since boss3 will be away and I will be staffing the meeting. Just like my meeting planner days! Now I have to put together the BEOs for the caterer etc. It's so fun! If I only ever had to do meetings in NYC, I would go back to meeting planning. It was the travel that killed me. Among other things. (uh, the building on my icon is the Chrysler Building, but you get the idea.)

I hadn't been to the Empire State Building since I was a kid, and [tumblr.com profile] angelgazing was like, "Why even live in NYC if you don't go to the attractions?" and I was like, "I've never even been to the Statue of Liberty." *hands* Generally speaking, the thought of masses of tourists repels more than the attractions attract. Unless someone from out of town wants to go, I generally don't do those kinds of things, though they are always fun when I do.

Anyway. The Good Place had its season 2 premiere Wednesday night, but it started at 10 pm and when I saw that I was like, "oh hell no!" I am not cut out for 10 pm shows anymore. So I set the DVR and watched it last night.

Spoilers from here on out! Please don't read if you haven't watched. It's a show that works best unspoiled the first time around! spoilers for all of s1 and the s2 premiere )

[personal profile] rachelmanija has a much more thoughtful post here.

***
musesfool: mal & zoe, out of gas (can't take the sky)
[personal profile] musesfool
Monday night, [personal profile] innie_darling and I met up to see the new Jake Gyllenhaal/Tatiana Maslany movie about the Boston Marathon bombing, Stronger. The acting was good, I thought. It was not the kind of movie I would have sought out on my own, but I was glad to have seen it.

While we were waiting for the movie to start, we were talking about fannish things as per usual, and about how I sometimes classify a pairing as "I don't not ship it" and in thinking about it more over the past couple of days, I came up with my own personal taxonomy of shipping:

- OTP OF OTPS (i.e., the all-time greats, ironclad, no matter what)
- OTP
- I ship it!
- I don't not ship it
- I could/might be convinced to ship it
- I don't care (i.e., if it shows up in a story that otherwise has things going for it, I'll keep reading, but I don't seek it out)
- meh, I don't ship it / it bores me so I don't read it
- I dislike it but whatever, other people can do what they like, I can scroll past
- NOTP (i.e., it's blocked so I don't have to sully my eyes with it)

Generally, when I talk about a pairing as as "I don't not ship it," I mean that they are people who are most definitely weird about each other, which is one of my personal flags for shipping, but in this particular classification, I don't care if they are having sex with each other or not (or with other people, depending), as long as they are somehow together – partners, brothers, whatever. I think (I hope!) it's implicit that I understand why people would ship them*, but I just...don't take that particular read on the relationship under most circumstances.

*as opposed to pairings where I don't.

And if they are having sex, I personally prefer it not to be framed romantically? Or, rather, in most cases, in terms of canon (rather than AU) settings, I don't find the usual shippy romantic tropes particularly interesting with these sorts of pairings. I mean, sure, 'there's only one bed' or fake dating are always on the table, but I don't feel like even those tropes should follow the regular narrative path. The clearest examples we came up with were Sam/Dean and Mal/Zoe, and I mean, I don't see either of those pairings as people who go on dates or have traditionally madcap rom com hijinks (which isn't to say that that couldn't be done with great results, but I don't think it could be played straight, as it were [I mean, Sam/Dean is incest, so it has its own challenges]). And she threw in Middleman/Wendy (which I do ship more traditionally), and I brought up Obi-Wan/Anakin, which is what I'm having complicated feelings about lately, and so it seems like a useful category to have. idk.

***

Leave it to the other girls to play

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:05 am
musesfool: Jason Toddler shows off his new costume to Dick (everybody starts somewhere)
[personal profile] musesfool
Board meeting went well, even though it rained so the rooftop terrace at the venue went unused. Sigh. I went home afterwards and fell into bed at 8:30 pm after eating cookies and milk for dinner. I win at adulting!

Of course, the one night I go to bed without checking my flist, it turned out there was a question about my yuletide nominations. It is a spoiler for Crooked Kingdom but spoiler! ) As of this morning, he was approved without my having to say anything, but I did comment anyway to say what I said under the cut.

Now Gotham Academy has to be approved! I'm sure there'll be a question about Damian Wayne there too but he does show up more than once over the course of the comic. Which I guess is as good a lead-in as any to discuss Second Semester:

What I've just finished
Gotham Academy: Second Semester, which I enjoyed, though boy they do not shy away from making the kids selfish, thoughtless and highly teenagery. spoilers )

I did like that they have all really gelled into a team - I enjoyed Colton and Pomeline sniping at each other while they work together a lot. And any Maps+Damian team-up is A++ in my book. Best Team! For yuletide, I just want schoolgirl (and boy, though I care less about the boys) supernatural detective shenanigans, with occasional Robin.

Though have we ever gotten an explanation on why/how MacPherson knows Bruce Wayne is Batman?

This morning, I also read the Star Wars Annual #3 which is a nice Han/Leia story with some fun Indiana Jones references and Leia being her usual awesome self. I also liked how it explained Han sticking around with the Rebellion, neatly giving him an excuse he could live with to cover up the real reason.

What I'm reading now
Still A Ruin of Angels. I have to admit, I find "Trust me! / Don't you trust me? / I didn't tell you this hugely important secret because plot reasons it was too dangerous!" to be super irritating in a character so a lot of the plot machinations are making me say, "If Woody had gone to the police, this never would have happened!" "If Ley had just told Zeddig what was up, things might have played out differently!" Like, things still would have gone to hell in a handbasket, but I'd have a lot more sympathy for Ley when they did. Otoh, Izza and Kai and Tara! <333

And speaking of Crooked Kingdom above, yesterday I was thinking about how dropping the Crows kids into the Craft universe would work, since so much of the magic etc. in the latter is based on negotiation and deals, and the deal is the deal, right? Someone who isn't me should write that.

What I'm reading next
Two weeks until the new Magnus Chase comes out, so who knows? I do have a ton of stuff on the iPad, ready to go!

***

Annie's Mailbox: Man only half there

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:20 am
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
Dear Annie: I am 23 years old and have been dating "Tom" for two years. He works in a demanding job that requires an extensive amount of travel. He's away almost six months of the year.

When Tom isn't traveling, he's with me during the week, but spends most weekends going places with his fraternity or visiting his parents. This means for the six months he's in town, I get perhaps one weekend.

We are saving for a house, and Tom's constant recreational travel is cutting into our budget. I want our couple time back, as well as time to take care of things at home. I've suggested compromises (such as two weekends away and two weekends home), but things always come up that he "has to do." Two months ago, I was let go from my job. That same afternoon, Tom left on a trip with friends that could have easily been cancelled. I can't use those same weekends to visit my family because they are too far away, so I spend a lot of time sitting home alone.

I know nothing unsavory is going on. Tom is a wonderful guy. I have no intention of leaving him. I knew when we met that his job would require a lot of travel, but these personal weekends are difficult for me. I know he hates being inactive or staying home, but it seems excessive. How can we come up with a workable solution? -- Home Alone

Dear Home: Tom thinks he already has a workable solution and has no incentive to compromise. After all, he sees you all week. Right now, his schedule is a minor hardship for you, but if you marry and have children, it will be a major problem. You'll have to revisit this issue then.

Meanwhile, we are never in favor of sitting home alone moping. Please find things to occupy yourself during the weekends when Tom is absent. Look for part-time work. Take classes to bone up on your skills. Go biking. Accompany him when he visits his family, and get to know them better.

they wanna make me their queen

Sep. 19th, 2017 01:55 pm
musesfool: Batwoman (your name in the title)
[personal profile] musesfool
ZOMG this day! Board meeting imminent!

I just wanted to let people know, in case they didn't and were interested, that Alice Hoffman has written a prequel to Practical Magic about the Aunts, and it's coming out in October: The Rules of Magic! I only found out the other day!

I love both the book and the movie, though they are very different, and I'm excited to read the Aunts' story! #please don't suck!

***
lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
The Underground Railroad

5/5. Cora escapes enslavement and flees to the underground railroad. Which is an actual railroad, actually underground. That takes her on a strange, terrifying trip through several faces of American racism as it deposits her in different eras and different not-quite-true-to-history moments.

This is extraordinary. And brutal. And mesmerizing. And so complex and rewarding that I’ve been thinking about it for a month, and yet seem to have nothing of great weight to say here. Some bullet points:
• The bent history of this is doing something brilliant, but I can’t articulate all of it. Cora goes from antebellum Georgia to South Carolina during an event like the Tuskeegee experiments (which actually happened in Alabama, in a different century), to North Carolina in the grip of extreme racial violence that never quite occurred on that scale. Time doesn’t work right in this book, and the details don’t line up, and I can’t explain it, but that makes this recount of not history more potent a recounting of our real history. How? I don’t know. It does.
• This book is only genre by courtesy. There is a genre conceit to it – the railroad – but the book is generally uninterested in the bend of reality at its heart. Cora thinks once, in passing, that the railroad is a secret so profound she never wants to speak of it. The whole book keeps that silence. It’s metafiction more than genre, is what I think I’m saying.
• Cora had to be a woman. There’s something in her furious, scared, scarred survival that just . . . required it.
• The first fith of this book is set on the plantation before Cora flees, and it shocked me in that I’d never read anything like it before. To be fair, I don’t read historical fiction much at all, but. Somehow I was culturally aware of plantations as organized white supremacy concentration camps where torture and terror ruled – what else could they be – but had never actually been presented with that in fiction. Ever. How is that possible?
• * I also don’t know how this is possible, but this book is not utterly and nihilistically horrid. Racial violence is at Cora’s heels from beginning to end, and it intrudes, eventually, into every space where she thinks she might at last be a little bit safe. The book is a recounting of modes of racism and modes of living with it, and all of them . . . end badly. And yet. And yet. It’s not that it retains a grain of hope. This isn’t quite a pandora’s box book. It’s just . . . she survives. She keeps moving.

but some things may stay the same

Sep. 18th, 2017 04:56 pm
musesfool: text icon: somewhere in this building is our talent (somewhere in this building is our talent)
[personal profile] musesfool
dear universe,

I have some complaints:

- as per this xkcd (hat tip to [personal profile] twistedchick), & should be used for friendship and / should be used for romance. Please stop getting my hopes up that there is new pairing fic to read in my rare pair when it is not, in fact, pairing fic.

- it's bad enough that I'm following a bunch of works in progress now, but what is up with people getting to the penultimate chapter of a work (and I'm not talking anything short here, I'm talking well over 100K words) and then just...never posting the last chapter? I would plaintively cry, "who does that?" except I am now in possession of such knowledge and it's more than one person! (And I know this because it'll be listed as 53/54 or whatever.)

- this is less a complaint and more a bit of bafflement, but I never know what to say to people who leave feedback along the lines of "I hope you keep writing!" or "I hope you've written more!" Like, click on my name in the by line? There'll be 700+ stories there? I mean, thank you! But yeah.

- why is writing such a garbage hobby? when I have the words, I don't have the time. when I have the time, I don't have the energy. when I have the energy, I don't have the words. Bah.

- subset of the above: I actually opened a story to work on last night, wrote one (1) sentence in two (2) hours, and gave up when I realized it would need to be all porn from there on out. Bah.

no love,

me

***
newredshoes: it's good to feel things you want (<3 | lust lust lust)
[personal profile] newredshoes
A rough decision: This afternoon, I saw an apartment in my dream location. It's literally exactly where I would want an apartment to be, right down to equidistance to my favorite things in the neighborhood. It's within my budget, it's pretty light-filled, it's in the back of the building (a brownstone!), so it should be quiet. I feel like I should be ecstatic.

But the more apartments I see (so many of them utter, utter stinkers!), the more I realize 1) how important having a non-miniscule kitchen is to me, and 2) how little I want to live in the exact same apartment I've lived in since college. This is a steep fourth-floor walkup with no particular amenities, a sloping (and unpretty) floor, bad caulking and a bizarre kitchen (there's a ledge acting as an island that divides it from the living-room area). Plus, no pets. I just have Betta Barnes right now, but I'm really sad any time I think of not having the opportunity to get a dog without moving.

I pretty much have a week to find a place I really like if (and this is still an "if") I plan on going to North Carolina to dogsit Gus while Dad and J are in Thailand. I have to give my management company 30 days' notice that I'm leaving, and honestly, my broker explained today that the most danger I'm in (if that ) is losing my security deposit (which obviously I don't want to lose, but it's also kind of ceased being real money in my head, since it's been out of my hands for three years???).

So, this is my big stress right now. Presumably any place I could sign on for would ask for an Oct. 1 move-in date, which will mean 1) paying rent on two places at once, but 2) the opportunity for a staggered, gradual move. I'm trying to focus on this for the moment, because more immediately, some condensation from a glass of iced tea dripped into my trackpad on Friday, and my laptop has been almost unusably haunted since. (Please let it go away, I don't want to have to buy a new computer too, especially since I don't like any of the new Macs and I'm locked into the dumb system.)

Okay, going to hit post. Hi, friends. I would love to be someplace new already!!!!
musesfool: baze and chirrut (i don't need luck i have you)
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, L and I went to the premiere of this English language musical version of The Romance of the Western Chamber (Xi Xiang Ji in Chinese?).

It is not, in fact, Romeo and Juliet, or it kind of is in terms of love at first sight and climbing up balconies and exchanging poetry in letters, but without the tragic ending. Which I was glad for.

It's very charming, though the male lead's voice was not up to the singing, imo. The ladies were all fantastic, especially Mari Uchida as Hong-niang, the matchmaking maid. The women's costumes were lovely; the men's were...well, they started out all right, but Mr. Chang's wedding outfit was made of what looked like baby blue lamé, which is not a look I personally endorse.

Afterwards - and it was not a short play! - we attempted to go here, because it was a beautiful night for a rooftop bar, but apparently my randomly picking a place in the vicinity of the theater because it looked cool meant I'd actually picked someplace popular and happening? There was a large line outside the door anyway, so we were like, we are too old to wait on lines for bars - even rooftop bars! - so we hopped in a cab and had dinner at the bar around the corner, and then stopped off at Insomnia Cookies for cookies. Which I didn't eat last night, but which will be my breakfast this morning.

All in all, it was a lovely evening, and I got to wear my star-print sun dress from eShakti, which is such a pretty dress, guys. I love it a lot.

I also have been catching up on Gotham Academy so I can make my yuletide request, and when Amy showed up in Second Semester, I at first thought, ugh, did they try to shove Harper in here as well? but I sincerely doubt Harper would ever do the nasty things Amy does, so it's not her undercover. Whew. I'll probably have more to say on Wednesday!

***

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:33 pm
lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
Heroine Complex

3/5. A cute entry in the flourishing subgenre of reimagined superhero stories, this one featuring the lady sidekick to San Francisco’s lady superhero who is her boss and her childhood best friend, and there are demon cupcakes and bloggers and Asian-American cultural issues and karaoke and lesbians and a lot of fashion.

By “cute” up there I met aggressively cute. Take no prisoners cute. So cute it verges on over-engineered.

This is good if you like this sort of thing, but want more women in your superheroes. I like that sort of thing . . . ish, but wasn’t wholly taken in by this. It has that sprint pacing of a story that is prose but really a comic at heart, and like a lot of comics it has that . . . this is going to offend people, but here goes. It has that comics sort of character work where everyone’s feelings go to 11 at all times over all things and everyone is fundamentally irrational. I find that exhausting, and not particularly interesting, so.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:08 pm
skygiants: Beatrice from Much Ado putting up her hand to stop Benedick talking (no more than reason)
[personal profile] skygiants
If you are currently in Boston, you have one week left to go see Or at the Chelsea Theater! As [personal profile] aamcnamara put it on Twitter, "it is the Restoration queer bedroom farce spy writing-themed play of your dreams."

Or features three cast members, playing, respectively:
- former spy and ambitious playwright Aphra Behn
- Charles II of England and also Aphra Behn's ex-lover double agent William Scot
- Nell Gwyn, and also Aphra Behn's elderly and extremely cranky maid, and also in one memorably stamina-requiring and scene-stealing monologue Lady Mary Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company of theatrical players

Most of the play takes place in Aphra Behn's apartment, with cast members popping in and out of side rooms as Aphra Behn vainly attempts to keep all her love interests separate AND ALSO thwart a hypothetical plot on the king's life AND ALSO and most importantly finish writing the final act of her career-launching play by a deadline of 9 AM the next morning! Which nobody will let her do! Because they keep wanting to make out with her and/or tell her about plots on the king's life! It's all very frustrating!

The dialogue is delightful, the actors do a fantastic job rattling out natural-sounding rapid-fire iambic pentameter, I laughed aloud at the final plot twist, and the ending contains a solid dose of much-appreciated optimism; it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one I would strongly recommend.

Derek Jarman's The Last of England

Sep. 16th, 2017 03:46 am
rushthatspeaks: (altarwise)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Derek Jarman is probably my favorite film director-- the only serious competition is Ulrike Ottinger-- and in several of his books he speaks about The Last of England (1987) as his masterpiece, which of course means it's the one of his films that is impossible to get for love or money, especially if you live in the U.S..

The Brattle just screened it as part of their currently ongoing Tilda Swinton festival. Tilda Swinton, very young at the time, turned out to play England. (I probably should have expected that, but somehow I didn't.)*

He was quite right about it being a masterpiece, and, again as I should have expected from Jarman, it has had me thinking very hard about the nature and purpose of art ever since.

The Last of England is definitely a movie. It's a post-apocalyptic dystopia shot entirely using the decay of the civil infrastructure present in Thatcher's England, and I could identify a narrative-- a pair of brothers, one of whom is subverted by his attempts to subvert a balaclava-wearing, machine-gun-toting agent of the state, so that their romance causes him to wind up in a mask with a gun himself, and the other of whom winds up shot by said state agents-- and there are a lot of interesting allusions to other works of art (the opening narration at one point quotes Howl and then veers crashingly into T. S. Eliot in what is either complete literary blasphemy or the way that line was always meant to end, possibly both).** There's a year-king thing, kind of, except he doesn't get up again, and the childhood of the brothers is portrayed using home videos from Jarman's own childhood, which is fascinating because his parents were among the latest chronologically of the dyed-in-the-wool servants of the British Raj and it shows. There's a vitriolic intellectual critique of just about everything about the concepts "England" and "British".

But the thing that had me reeling and trying desperately mentally to cope is that above all, and with absolute intentionality, The Last of England is not a movie. It is a curse.

I have spent a lot of time considering evil and its relationship, if any, to art, because I try to create art myself and I feel it is a responsible thing for any artist to consider. I could get into a long digression about what I believe about evil and what I don't, but suffice it to say I do believe in evil, and the principle way I have seen evil interact with art is that subset of art which actively attempts to harm the audience, for no reason other than that it can. That sort of art can do a great deal of damage, if one runs into it at the wrong time. The other major way I have seen evil interact with art is art that is promulgating an ideology of evil, a set of beliefs which make the world decidedly worse, such as the racism of D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

I had never contemplated what I would think of a piece of art which is definitively opposed to an evil ideology-- Thatcherism, fascism, totalitarianism-- and which is doing everything in its power to harm, to hurt, to wreak havoc on, to destroy, and, if possible, to damn in the Biblical sense-- a set of people who are not the viewer.

When I say curse I mean it in a very old way. I mean that Derek Jarman was a great scholar, and he knew more about sixteenth- and seventeenth-century magic and alchemy than most academics, and he knew more about English witch-lore than any other authority I have ever encountered. And I don't know nearly as much about either as he did, but I know enough that this movie consistently raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I am... not quite sure that there is an attempt in and by this film to summon a specifically demonic presence. They may have been aiming for neutral. Or for angelic, and... missed, but I doubt that. I don't mean summoning in an obvious way, it's not like there are pentagrams on the floor, quite. It's done with light and fire and movement and the visual invocation of archetypes. It's done with dance and cross-dressing and other very careful costume.

And it's the precise kind of anger and pain turned into hatred that would cause a pastor to make serious inquiries as to the state of one's soul, and which might cause less theologically minded persons to mutter things about the abyss gazing back. Which is a concern Jarman eyes, and then discards, because this ideology, this thing that had happened to England under the rule of Thatcher and those around her, was to him worth that kind of hatred. And I think he came out of it all right as a human being and an artist himself, because he was objectively correct about that. But possibly only because he was objectively correct about that. The anger and pain and hatred here were so lacerating, so gorgeously done, so implacable and so beautiful that I kept wanting to hide, and it wasn't even aimed at me, he kept throwing in things to remind the audience that it isn't directed at us and honestly that does not help all that much.

Because with that sort of curse witnessing it is part of what drives it and makes it active.

I spent much of the film with some part of my mind trying to figure out if I thought it was moral to do this, to make this thing. Then I came down firmly and forever on the side that it is, because Tilda Swinton came in and played England.

We initially see Swinton's character in the memories of the one of the brothers who gets executed. She's wearing a sundress, and she's sitting in a field full of so many daffodils that it cannot read as naturalistic, even though, unlike most of the rest of the movie, the scene is shot in natural colors. She's his idealized love, that he won't ever be coming back to, and she's England itself, in both nurturing and colonialist aspects. "Don't be sad," we hear her say matter-of-factly as the bullets strike him: John Barleycorn is, after all, dead. She comes in next in full wedding dress and bridal veil, surrounded by attendants who are large and burly men dressed pretty much as Marie Antoinette, wedding a placeholder of a groom (the camera never focuses on his face) in a burned-out, rubble-strewn wreck of an industrial hangar. No dialogue, just the movements of the wedding, jerky smiles, everyone congratulating everybody else, Swinton eying a pram with an odd mixture of fear and longing. Earlier iconography has made it clear that the pram, though it does, of course, represent a baby, should also be taken to represent not a baby, but a cathexis of other ideas around fear and change and darkness.

And then we cut to Tilda Swinton outside, alone, by the water, by what looks like an industrial canal. There's a fire burning in an oil barrel next to her, a bonfire. She has scissors, and she tries to hack her way out of the wedding dress. It does not want to go. (It's really a lovely dress, by the way, in legitimately good taste, with about sixteen layers of veiling.) She rips at it with her fingers. She claws. She bites off parts of it. And these motions, without ever quite ceasing, turn themselves into a dance.

A line from a short story by Tanith Lee was running through my head during this scene, and it's still the only thing that comes to mind as anything resembling an adequate description: "... when she danced, a gate seemed to open in the world, and bright fire spangled inside it, but she was the fire."***

Have you ever seen something so transcendentally beautiful that you don't know how to think about it?

It's not just that this is the best thing Tilda Swinton has ever done on film, though it is, by such a distance that it's difficult to fathom. It's that I suspect it's one of the best things anyone has ever done on film. I am not exaggerating. Watching it is the kind of experience where you don't come away as exactly the same person.

Which she did, in full knowledge, in the service of Derek Jarman's curse.

All right, then. I consider it a moral action. Those few minutes are, by themselves, sufficient justification, and I don't see how the two of them, Jarman and Swinton, Tilda and Derek, could possibly have produced those few minutes out of hatred unless the hatred itself-- well-- to some degree contained within it all of that. Magical curses are, all the books say, perilous things, liable to come back on the caster unless their motives are completely pure. I have to take that dance as demonstration of impeccably pure motivations. I can't see what else it could be.

There are a lot of interesting things about this movie that I haven't even mentioned, of course. I finally understand why Jarman hated Peter Greenaway so much, because it turns out that for Prospero's Books, years later on, Greenaway swiped the aesthetic of some bits at the beginning of this movie that are set in Jarman's actual house and have Jarman playing himself. In fact, Greenaway even swiped Jarman's handwriting for use in his page overlays on the screen. I can see being upset by that. I would have been, too.

And there's the way almost all of the soundtrack is classical, except when it very much isn't. And the way that Jarman on several occasions intercuts between two separate scenes so quickly that persistence of vision forces you to believe that you are somehow watching both of them at the same time (well, and you get rather nauseated, which I don't think could be helped). And there's a scene with a man eating a cauliflower that totally defies all description; never had I imagined such a thing could be done with an innocent cruciferous vegetable. It's not remotely sexual. I'd almost prefer if it was.

But I've summed up the major things I've been pondering since watching the movie, and also it's five in the morning, so. A masterpiece. You should absolutely see it. But be wary.






* It occurs to me only now, writing this, that Swinton's role as both an allegorical England and a theoretically real young woman is an homage to Anna Magnani's stunning performance as the city of Rome in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma (1962). Somehow, all of the critical writing I have encountered on Mamma Roma fails to realize that she is the entire city incarnate and it gets shoved in with Pasolini's Neo-Realist period, which I am starting to think he never actually had. But I digress.

** I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical naked not with a bang but with a whimper

*** From Tanith Lee's "When The Clock Strikes". Worth noting that the character described has sold herself to Satan, and is also the agent of promulgating a curse.
musesfool: Princess Leia (so what level up)
[personal profile] musesfool
I left work slightly early yesterday and today has been calmer, thankfully. I'm still dragging and my brain is on a bit of a time delay - why is sleeping so hard? even when I'm so tired? - but it's Friday and it's almost over.

Today, while I've been collating etc., I've been thinking about how in Leia, Princess of Alderaan, spoilers )

I really want to read that story without having to write it. You should get on that, stat.

***
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
God, I badly wanted to change the subject line on this.

Creepy behavior, anger issues )

Fox update

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:30 am
rushthatspeaks: (parenting)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
At one day shy of eleven months, Fox is definitely both walking and talking.

Over the last few weeks, the walking has gone from very determined cruising to one or two steps without falling down to chains of three or four steps connected by moments of serious arm waving, or squatting and standing back up again. They don't really fall down at all, and never have, but they would sometimes cease forward motion. Now we've just gotten to walking across a room, and I haven't seen them crawl in several days. They also climb much better-- can get onto the back rail of the futon, or actively pull themself up onto my shoulder when I'm sitting on the futon. They don't seem to distinguish yet between standing on/climbing on somebody and standing on/climbing on inanimate objects. We need to give them a real shot at stairs sometime here, as there aren't any in our house and they could probably use the practice.

The talking... I guess many people's first words are... more readily distinguishable? I mean, either Fox has been talking for like a week, or Fox has been talking since about April, and I legitimately do not know. They've been saying 'Hiiiiii' to people all along, literally since birth, and they've been saying 'Ma! Ma!' to Ruth and 'Da! Da!' to me and 'At! At!' to the cats for some months, but they also said those syllables to things that aren't me or Ruth or the cats. I just wasn't able to tell babble from intentional speech, and I don't really think there was a way to.

However, what we're getting now is Fox saying 'Ma! Ma!' at Ruth in the morning when they want Ruth to get out of bed and feed them, which is pretty clearly intentional, and they say 'At!' when they see a picture of a cat in any of their books. (I haven't seen them hold a book upside down in a couple of weeks, either. Something about pictures has clicked.) Also today they hugged me and then put the final d on 'Dad' for the first time, which was just as heart-melting as I could possibly have imagined. We've also had 'Es' for a while, which means general agreement, though, and this fascinates me, we have nothing even vaguely resembling no as a word, just yelling. And 'Ba' means ball or book, but 'Ba' in a different tone means bottle; I can't really duplicate this but can hear the difference clearly.

I haven't heard them babble any of the phonemes yet that would allow them to use the names of various grandparents or their third parent, and we're all actually pretty sure they consider their third parent's name too hard right now, given the timing of various looks of frustration.

Their favorite toy right now is the photo album Ruth got them with pictures of extended family, friends, and various significant occasions in their own life, which they will pore over with devoted concentration for long stretches of time. They haven't liked an object so much since they first noticed their mobile at five months. Sometimes we'll go through and say again who various people are and what the event was, though I have no idea if they remotely have or can have the idea yet of a picture of themself.

They do have the idea now of doorknobs, but not the reach. I have seen them try to follow somebody out the door by going over and batting at the knob from below. So far they are about as good at this as our smarter cat, and I devoutly hope those two never team up. I will also be shocked if Fox doesn't start climbing over baby gates rather sooner than us parent-types would like, although at least we have one more level to lower their mattress inside its enclosure if they start getting out of their bed anytime soon.

Solid food clicked some while back, and while they're still having four or five large bottles a day, they also eat two or three solid meals, things like mango puree, applesauce, avocado, yogurt, Cheerios, and/or semisolid oat cereal. Sometimes we mix some of those together. We also give them bits of what we're eating, though we're trying to avoid large quantities of sugar and salt till they're past a year old. They have two and a half teeth, the bottom front two and one I think I see lurking partially emerged in the back bottom left. They can drink through a straw, and they can drink from a sippy cup and, actually, from a regular cup, though I don't let them very often because after they drink from it they'll just toss it down like they do the bottle.

We have never cut their hair, because that's a decision they'll be able to make for themself in not all that long, so they strongly resemble a Beatle, or possibly an emo rocker circa 2004. Putting a barrette across the bangs works until they take it out and try to eat it. Pigtails actually work but are not remotely my aesthetic preference. Fortunately they don't seem to mind hair in their face-- I've never seen them push at it or get frustrated with it.

Ruth took them to a baby swimming class over at MIT for a while, so we now have some notion of how to work with a swim diaper and how to interact with an infant in the water, which is great because we're going to the beach next month.

And their first birthday approaches apace, though milestone-wise-- toddler. I'd say we have a toddler.

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