monday list

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:28 am
runpunkrun: combat boot, pizza, camo pants = punk  (punk rock girl)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Things to do today:
  • make granola
  • take a shower
  • read Star Trek fic
Things I already did:
  • made appointment for eyeballs!
  • ate breakfast!
Things I probably won't do:
  • figure out how to finish this fic
  • work with me here Rodney
  • you've had three years
  • stop mooning around on the sidewalk
  • and end this
  • or I swear to god I'll set fire to everything you love
  • I'll do it
  • fire is much easier to write than a happy ending
  • ask anyone

Orphan Black 5.07.

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:22 pm
selenak: (Rachel by Naginis)
[personal profile] selenak
In which there's pay off for severa storylines, hooray! And flashbacks.

Who are you? )
batsutousai: (Default)
[personal profile] batsutousai

Title: Criminal Partners
Series: Overprotective Criminals 'Verse
Fandom: CW's The Flash
Author: Batsutousai
Rating: Mature
Pairings: Barry Allen/Mick Rory/Leonard Snart
Warnings: Established relationship, developing relationship, polyamory, violence, off-screen torture, Joe's A+ parenting, struggling with acceptance, relationship troubles, back story, minor gore
Summary: The problem with dating Mick Rory and Leonard Snart, was that they were both extremely overprotective of him (despite Barry being a superhero) and were criminals with questionable morals. And they'd just found one of the bullies from Barry's childhood.

Disclaim Her: Not mine.

A/N: My first foray into any part of the DC universe, so I apologise in advance if anyone comes across as OoC? I'm still learning my way around. Apologies, also, for any Britishisms; I've been writing for non-American fandoms for so long, at this point, that everything's a bit muddled in my head. (Goodness knows my mum calls me out often enough for speaking Britishisms. XP)

I'mma go ahead and blame StillNotGinger10 for this. Mostly because she's the one what dragged me into this fandom, but also because we've been tossing around bunnies. And while I'm pretty sure I was the one that spawned this one, she definitely helped feed it. XD

I originally intended this to only be a one-shot, but then my muse, the little shit, kept me up one night with ideas for a continuation. (Fml) It’s already done and will be up in a couple days.

This fic starts in the 'present' (s1e6, The Flash is Born), then segues into the backstory of how the ColdFlashWave happened, before eventually getting back to the 'present'. I think I fixed all my messy tenses, but if you see something wonky, or if you're at all confused, lemme know and I'll try to fix it.

You can also read this at Archive of Our Own or LiveJournal.

Read more... )

.

runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Selected Poems, by William Carlos Williams: Holy shit, it has to be noted—and I did not do this on purpose—but it took me five years exactly to read this book. I started reading it on July 11, 2012, and finished it on July 11, 2017.

That's exactly how slow going it was.

To my disappointment, not everything William Carlos Williams wrote is as accessible as "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This is Just to Say," two of his most famous poems. Instead, there's a mix of transparent and opaque.

And then there's Paterson, which he's also known for, a five-volume epic poem that here is presented in extracts, taking up about forty pages instead of its usual three hundred, and seems to be about a grasshopper, a park, geography, some text from a medical journal, a personal letter, and a history lesson. I don't know if it would have made more sense if I had read it in its entirety, but I'm not interested in finding out.

Williams liked to experiment with white space and sentence fragments—he's a contemporary of e e cummings and T. S. Eliot—but his white space lacks the energy and enthusiasm of cummings, or, later, of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Mostly it just looks jumbled, or unnecessarily spread out, staggered like the teeth of a zipper. The chopped up, incomplete sentences were coarse and seemed to impede meaning rather than free it. I didn't feel like I was discovering or feeling something; I felt like I was tripping over it.

For such a long volume, my notes with my favorite poems and lines don't even take up a whole index card, and I was definitely experiencing William Carlos Williams fatigue by the end. The book collects selected poems from 1914 to 1962, and I found Charles Tomlinson's introduction to be wordy and almost breathless in tone but informative about Williams and his poetry style, though more useful after I'd read the book than before.

My favorite discovery has to be the complete Pictures from Brueghel series. I'd read parts of it before, but didn't realize there was more to it. It's ten poems based on works by Brueghel the Elder, who I encounter quite often in poetry. There's something about his paintings that draws poets to him. It's probably the level of detail, all the little stories going on in these huge lush landscapes full of color and people and animals. The poems I've read have all evoked such clear images, even if I'm unfamiliar with the paintings themselves, and Williams's work is no exception. Though, as always, in order to enjoy Williams's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" to its fullest, you benefit by knowing the joke behind Brueghel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and the tiny splash Icarus makes down in the corner of the painting where no one is even looking. Just his leg sticking out of the water. Williams captures the humor and sadness of that image, still giving it only slightly more attention than Brueghel did.

It seems I like Williams best when he's being simple and transparent. His complicated, fractured works don't appeal to me as much, and it feels like this collection is more geared toward the latter. But could be it only felt like it.

Contains: rape, classism, and racist language and attitudes.
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
For once, I manage to write my book reviews on a Wednesday.

Sam Bourne: To Kill the President

It was to be expected: the first Donald Trump era thriller (that I've read). Which takes full advantage of the fact that when previously any critic worth their salt would have complained about the one dimensional characterisation of the villains and the lack of realism in the US voting someone like that into power and then the Republican Party falling in line, followed by no checks and balances from any institution after even the Supreme Court caves due to the stolen seat being filled by the new President's choice, now all this looks like, well, realism.

Spoilers from an age where reality beggars caricature )


Philip Kerr: March Violets.

This is the first novel of a mystery series which I heard/read about via The New Yorker. The article in question was enthusiastic enought to overcome my instinctive squick at the premise, to wit: hard-boiled/noir detective novel set in the Third Reich. Basically, what if Philip Marlowe was German? Wandering those mean streets as a cynic with an ethical core takes a whole new meaning if the authories aren't just corrupt but a dictatorship preparing for war and genocide. Our hero is Bernie Gunther, former policeman who quit the force in 1933 for the obvious reason given that the novel positions he has ethics, and became a private investigator instead. Kerr serves up all the usual hard boiled/ noir tropes - untrustworthy millionaire clients, corrupt cops, shady dames -, complete with Chandleresque language, and he did his research - the novel's setting is Berlin in 1936, around the Olympic Games, and in addition to the well drawn Berlin geography, there are some great nods to Fritz Lang's movie M via some of the supporting cast, gangsters (given that Bernie Gunther originally gets hired to recover some diamonds, though of course it turns out it's far more complicated and what everyone is after is something else altogether. The brief appearances by historic figures (Göring and Heydrich, to be precise) are drawn credibly, which is to say their vileness comes across without Kerr employing sledge-hammery moustache twirling; in fact, he uses Göring's bonhommie manners to make him chilling.

As opposed to To Kill a President, this actually is a good novel. But. I still struggle somewhat with the basic premise. This is the first novel of what according ot the New Yorker article I'd read are twelve so far, and already I'm having to suspend disbelief about Bernie's continued survival. There's no reason why Heydrich at the end of this first novel shouldn't have gotten him killed, for example. And since we're in 1936, Bernie would still have the possibility to leave the country, and given what happens to him in this novel, it's hard to wonder why he doesn't, given he has no dependants who'd suffer for it. Yes, the decision to emigrate wasn't as easy as hindsight would have it if you weren't rich and didn't have friends abroad, but again, some truly harrowing things happen to Bernie in this novel which would serve as an incentive to get the hell out of Germany if ever there was one beyond the general situation of the country.

With this caveat, I'll keep reading.

Spider-man: Homecoming (Film Review)

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:43 pm
selenak: (Henry Hellrung by Imaginary Alice)
[personal profile] selenak
Okay, that's it. As Civil War made me suspect, Tom Holland is my platonic ideal of Peter Parker, at least in his teenage phase. Also, while I had liked the first Raimi/Maguire movie and parts of the rest while increasingly disliking other parts of those films, and liked the first Garfield without thinking it needed to exist while extremly disliking the second one, this latest cinematic go at Spidey was a complete delight to me and I love it.

Ramblings beneath the cut )

Doctor Who and Orphan Black 5.06.

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:03 pm
selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
[personal profile] selenak
Spoilery Doctor Who talk about the big casting spoiler. )

On to Orphan Black. Which was a good spy hijinks hour that moved the plot forward.

Read more... )
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Gluten-Free Sweet Treats: Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and More, by Emma Goss-Custard: First, this book is British and, as an American, parts of it made no sense to me. The "gluten-free storecupboard" section at the back goes through various ingredients and where to find them but failed to address my many questions. Mixed spice? Stem ginger in syrup? Damsons?? Turns out those're plums. I know this because I can use Google, but I had to go out of my way for it, and I feel like I'd have to go out of my way to find many of these ingredients, which is an obstacle. The other problem is cultural. I'm never going to make spotted dick because the name makes me want to gag.

Still, the cookbook is adorable and has many good qualities, and there are even a few recipes I'd like to try, but at a certain point I gave up because too many of the ingredients aren't things I keep around. Lyle's Golden Syrup and Lemon Oil amongst them. I continued to flip through and look at the nice pictures, but with less of an expectation I'd find something I could make out of my cupboard.

The good news is that every recipe stands on its own. The book doesn't require a custom flour blend. It uses a lot of polenta, ground nuts and seeds, and very little rice flour. It doesn't address flour substitutions, though. There's an emphasis on fresh fruits, as well as different levels of cream (clotted, double, fraîche). Weirdly a lot of the chocolate recipes call for dark and milk chocolate. Not something I see a lot.

The book itself has cute graphics and a colorful layout. I love that each recipe has an info box that tells the size/number of items it makes, baking time, and if/where/how long it can be stored. The introduction to each recipe sometimes suggests flavor variations but only rarely describes the taste and texture of the item. Add that to the fact it only has colored pictures for a third of the recipes, and that means I only have the ingredient list to go by when judging what the final product is going to be like, and in gluten-free baking it's basically impossible to guess the outcome of throwing together a bunch of nut flours and cornstarch. The British call cornstarch "cornflour" by the way. No way that can end badly.

The recipes give amounts in volume and weight (ounces and grams), and there's a helpful index and an abbreviated introduction to gluten-free baking.

Not something I'm going to come back to, but might be a great cookbook if you're gluten-free and in the UK or have gastronomical ties to the region.

Versailles (Season 2)

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:09 pm
selenak: (Max by Misbegotten)
[personal profile] selenak
Since the other Borgias left me in the mood for over the top historical melodrama, and since it was available, I marathoned the second season of Versailles. (My first season review is here.) Aka, the show with the general accuracy of The Tudors (which is to say more than than the all around anachronistic crack like Reign, but generally not that much, though the occasional clever use of historical fact actually happens), produced by Canal just as Borgia, with the main selling point to internet fandom that there’s canon m/m prominently featured, courtesy of Louis XIV.’s brother Philippe d’Orleans, aka Monsieur, played by the increasingly gorgeous Alexander Vlahos. The second season tackles the affair of the poisons, one of the most notorious events in the reign of Louis XIV., but just as it did in the first season with just about any historic event fictionalizes the hell out of it, including, mystifyingly, changing the name of the main supplier of the poisons in question. Instead of La Voisin (first name Catherine), we have “Madame Agathe”. (Otoh the black mass celebrating renegade priest gets to stay Father Etienne Guibourg, which means the first time he is introduced in a seemingly benign undercover identity, the more historically versed parts of the audience know who he is and what he’s infamous for.) In terms of historical characters, we also get introduced to the delightful Liselotte von der Pfalz, the Princess Palatinate, and may I say that I was hugely relieved the Versailles version is great, because the original is one of my favourite figures of the era, due to all those vivid letters she penned for the folks back home, and as Versailles’ first season unfortunately reduced Monsieur’s first wife Henriette to a very passive, agenda-less character, which the original definitely was not, I was a bit afraid something similar might happen to Liselotte, the second Madame. But no. She’s blunt, no-nonsense, determined to make the best of a bad situation, as all versions of Liselotte should be. (Mind you, this show still obeys the Hollywood rule of plain and beauty, so when Monsieur’s lover, the Chevalier de Lorraine, ridicules Liselotte’s fashion and looks, it’s not clear what he’s on about since the actress is pretty – whereas historical Liselotte cheerfully admitted to her plainness in youth and weathered stoutness in age, comparing her looks as a middleaged woman to a roasted pig – and so is her wardrobe.)

On to more spoilery musings beneath the cut. )

Nominations and observations

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:32 pm
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
[personal profile] selenak
Emmmy nominations: as a fan of The Americans, I'm pleased that Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys and Alison Wright were all three recognized at last. Will root for them accordingly, which is all the easier since frustratingly, Bates Motel' final year went without an Emmy nomination again. Freddy Highmore has been fantastic throughout, and especially in this last installment where the show had to at last enter the same narrative territory as Psycho, and succeeded with flying colours, very much because young Highmore has managed to make an iconic role his own. (Very Farmiglia would have deserved nominations in all preceeding years, but I can understand she didn't get one this year, since she played "only" Mother, not Norma anymore.) My loyalties might be slightly split for best actor because of Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul, and I'd be happy if he wins, too, but if I had to decide and push came to shove, I'd go with Rhys over Odenkirk. Speaking of Better Call Saul, I call fail on the nomination of Jonathan Banks for best supporting actor over Michael McKean (Chuck). Or for that matter Michael Mando (who plays Nacho). Look, I get the Mike cult, and Banks is always solid, but Mike really did not have all that much to do this season. Whereas Nacho got core emotional dilemma stuff, and the actor rose to the task. And McKean may have played the most disliked character on the show, but I don't think the most fervent Chuck hater on the planet would dispute he did so amazingly, and this season, it was a lynchpin performance, with Chicanery and the s3 finale as the two particularly outstanding episodes in this regard. As for the utter lack of nomination for Rhea Seahorn as Kim, don't get me started. Though, again: makes it easier to root wholeheartedly for Keri Russell and for Alison Wright in their respective categories.

_____

Yesterday there was a lengthy interview with Christopher Nolan in one of my regular papers, apropos his upcoming movie Dunkirk. Two issues caught my particular attention: a) he mentions having written the script for a movie about Howard Hughes, only to be foiled by the Scorsese/Di Caprio movie "Aviator", which made it unlikely for a few years studios would finance another movie about Hughes, and now when the time would have been right again, Warren Beatty struck first and made Hughes a non-subject for a few years more. But, quoth Nolan, he hasn't given up and swears this script is the best he ever wrote. To channel some writerly frustration, he added, he put some of his Howard Hughes characterisation into Bruce Wayne in his three Batman movies. And suddenly Bruce's utterly self indulgent hermit phase between movies II and III as well as his bizarre rewriting on why things didn't work out with Rachel in I as voiced by him in II appears in a new light. :) Or maybe Howard Hughes' decades in Las Vegas hotel rooms do - clearly the cover for a secret vigilante identity. Come to think of it, old Hughes sueing unauthorized biographers does resemble the Frank Miller version of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Returns somewhwat, no?

Anyway: b) the other particularly interesting-to-me Nolan statement was that in preparation for Dunkirk, he watched All Quiet on the Western Front (classic 1930 film version of Erich Maria Remarque's WWI novel, directed by Lewis Milestone) and was amazed such a movie was possible in 1930. But, says Nolan, it probably only was because it was an American movie based on a German novel, because an American director would never have presented American soldiers in this way, and the Germans wouldn't have made the movie to begin with, "so hooray for one culture speaking for another in this case", ends Nolan. Thinking about it, I concluded he was right that the German film industry would not have made All Quiet on the Western Front in the early 1930s - the book had been a big bestseller in Germany, but the movies were utterly dominated by the UFA by then, and the UFA was owned by Alfred Hugenberg, hardcore conservative who'd go on to support Hitler in his 1932 and 1933 election campaigns. As it was Goebbels orchestrated an anti All Quiet on the Western Front campaign when the movie was released in Germany - SA guys loudly protesting in the cinemas, white mice released, I kid you not -with the result that the movie was quickly withdrawn and most Germans saw it only once the Third Reich had come and gone. (My paternal grandparents back in the day did see it in the cinema, but they had to travel to Belgium to do so, which they did because not only did Granddad own the book, but he regarded it as a matter of local pride - he was born and raised just a few streets away from where Remarque, the author, had been born and raised in Osnabrück. And my grandfather, who'd lost his father in WWI when he, Granddad, was still a toddler, always regarded the book as a way to figure out what his father might have been like.)

Last year, when I heard a lecture by Elizabeth Bronfen on war movies in Zurich, she compared the aesthetic and thematic treatment of All Quiet on the Western Front with what WWII movies and news reels quickly established as standard in US movies, and it really is strikingly different. Not being an expert on war movies, my lay woman opinion would be Nolan is right in the American part of his statement as well, that an American movie about US soldiers like All Quiet on the Western Front at the time and for some time to come would never have been made. Probably not until the genre of Vietnam movies started, and that came and went again; more recent US movies, no matter about which war, which present US soldiers being lured into a war by propaganda and then fighting pointless battles and dying with no heroic justification or reward whatsoever (i.e. not even saving a comrade's life or turning a battle, or getting an epilogue declaring that their cause lives on or their sacrifice is remembered or what not), don't come to mind, either. Or am I missing something?
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie: From Christie's author's note: "I wrote the book after a tremendous amount of planning, and I was pleased with what I had made of it. It was clear, straightforward, baffling, and yet had a perfectly reasonable explanation; in fact it had to have an epilogue in order to explain it."

It was so perfectly explainable that she had to add an extra bit to the story to explain it. Yes, that makes perfect sense. I often find my own writing to be so straightforward it requires an epilogue to explain.

This is only my second Agatha Christie book, and the only thing I remember about the first one is that it had a million characters and maybe some Siamese cats? I figured this one would at least have fewer characters. I read it because I recently finished Yukito Ayatsuji's The Decagon House Murders, which references this book in both the text and the premise, and I wanted to see how closely the two were related. Ayatsuji borrows a lot from Christie, and adds his own interesting twist on the murderer.

As for Christie, I didn't care much about the characters, and the writing is awkward thanks to a disjointed dialogue style that depends heavily on adverbs, like:

She said grimly:

"This woman was poisoned. Possibly by a toxic amount of -ly adverbs."

He said doubtfully:

"Surely that's not possible?"

She said grimlyer:

"Oh, it's totally possible."

And, as previously complained, the mystery had to be explained in an epilogue. Which isn't how I like my mysteries to be solved.

Contains: antisemitism, colonialism, racism.

free ebook: Kushiel's Dart

Jul. 13th, 2017 02:53 pm
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Tor.com has this eBook of the Month Club where every month they give away an ebook for a week, and then for the rest of the month there are discussion posts and whatnot. Because it's Tor, the books are always DRM-free, and you can get them in mobi or epub—though only if you live in the US or Canada; sorry, everyone else.

This month, Tor's giving away Kushiel's Dart, by Jacqueline Carey, and I know fandom's got a thing about this series, so I'm passing it along. I think the only reason I know about it in the first place is because of fandom and the crossover/fusion fics that borrow its premise. Which, to quote from that Fanlore article, is:
The books take place in an alternate-Europe during the Renaissance; the primary setting is a country called Terre d'Ange, which is a France-analogue. Its people practice an invented religion whose primary tenet is "Love as thou wilt" - as a result all forms of lovemaking are sacred, and in canon most characters are assumed to be bisexual and there are multiple examples of relationships involving BDSM and polyamory.
So go sign up if this sounds like your sort of thing. You'll get Tor's newsletter, but I honestly enjoy having it pop up in my inbox. Tor.com has interesting articles about science fiction and fantasy, and really great free short fiction, and the newsletter gives you little blurbs about them maybe once a week.

Legal stuff: Kushiel's Dart will be available from July 13th-19th. Download before 11:59 PM ET July 19th, 2017.

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