What are you currently reading: Hirade, 'The Guest Cat'; Jordan L Hawk, 'Hexslayer'; a truly weird assortment of stuff for work.
What have you recently finished reading:
Griffith Review 56: Millennials Strike Back by Julianne Schultz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm kind of late to the party on this one - I actually saw a preview article from Griffith Review 57, went to order that, and saw this existed. Ordered both, then by the time they arrived I was Too Damn Busy.
Having said that: this was a really good read. My copy is filled with little flaggies. Particular highlights:
Omar Sakr's poem Ordinary Things.
Ashely Kalagian Blunt, Today is already yesterday
Sophie Allan, Under the skin: home, history and love in patriarchy
Other outstanding pieces by Timmah Ball, Fiona Wright, too many more to name.
An Unsuitable Heir by K.J. Charles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked a lot of things about this! The brother-sister dynamic between Pen and Greta is particularly great. The final love scene is very Relevant to My Interests (TM). The showdown with the revealed murderer is A+, go Greta. The dynastic solution is quite nifty.
My only qualm is I picked the villain all wrong (which is... good, for a number of characters) and I still kind of feel like I should've been right.
The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I liked this better than the first in the series, at least. Sebastian's work always reads a bit flat, the historical world-building a bit thin, after KJ Charles, though.
Of Mice and Men: The Play by John Steinbeck
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
UGH. I don't LIKE Steinbeck, and I fundamentally don't like this narrative. But the production I worked on was *phenomenal*. A number of characters who would otherwise have been cringey stereotypes (notably the nameless wife and Crooks) fill with life when there's an actual human on the stage, who has clearly *thought* about them and why they act as they do.
And you can't deny Steinbeck has a knack for dialogue, for exactly the right words, for setting up parallels in one speech and another. The bit where Whit and Slim are reading the letter-to-the-editor while Carlson is talking Candy into shooting his dog is a particularly good example.
On the other hand: what a lot of racism, sexism, ableism, et bloody cetera.
Aaand that's it! For once, I have finally caught up reviews to cover my most recent reading. See you in a fortnight or when I've finished three things, I guess!
Up Next: Too Many Things
Music notes: bought 'Beautiful Garbage', which I couldn't afford to buy when it was first released (I had a single from it, though). Listening to P!nk's greatest hits a fair bit, especially 'Raise Your Glass'
Packing is starting to feel like psychological warfare, though. I have tried to make a list of what's left, which would in some ways be easier to handle if I could get access to my apartment, which legally becomes mine tomorrow. But it's like... the kitchen and the decision-fatigue-inducing papers and knickknacks and the "can I run all over Brooklyn and Manhattan to donate this before Tuesday and still get all my work done?" stuff. I suspect there will be a lot of Tuesday morning "throw it into a garbage bag! God will know his own!" going on.
TV is still good at the moment, though. Riverdale is peak ridonk, The Good Place is making me SO OUTRAGEOUSLY HAPPY and Jane the Virgin is finally back and I'm so overwhelmed by love that I can only watch it in chunks. I finally saw Kung Fury with my friend H, who came over last night for loafing; it was staggering, and it leaves Netflix in a week, so get on that, friends.
Neighbor has not messed with me since Monday night, at least. They seemed to be gone for a few days, but they're definitely back now. I'm worried about that window when the movers are coming in and out for a bit, but there's no way around it and hopefully, well. Movers.
I am still crashing and all my books are in boxes.
She waited until theladyscribe left after spending the whole afternoon helping me pack, sort things for donation and tossing, and watch the first two episodes of Wynonna Earp (which, what!!!!! by the way!). Neighbor also kept yelling at me through our shared walls when I wouldn't come out when shouted at from the landing. Yes, I am freaked out! Yes, I am unhappy! I'm not so sure it's a good idea now for me to go to therapy tomorrow morning while also carrying huge bags of books to donate, in case she jumps me while I'm leaving. (I truly would not put it past her!)
Everyone under the sun told me to call the police next time something like that happened, but I get my keys to my new place on Sunday, and I want to be out of here as fast as possible after that. She will 100% retaliate, if she hasn't already done something unspeakable to my door. (I know that also suggests I could call anyway, since she'll retaliate anyway, but. I do not want to deal with any of that.)
I stayed quiet in the apartment for a while, because, well, earnestly freaking out. But then I put on iTunes shuffle, starting with the Office Space rap cover of "Take This Job and Shove It," and shuffle has been been very good to me, bringing all my most obnoxious-but-beloved tracks (Delirium, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lhasa, solo Paul McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel live; now it's playing a country cover of "We Can Work It Out").
Honest to god, I am just so ready to leave. Would appreciate any moral support, though, I won't lie.
First, thanks so much! I really appreciate you writing for me and I hope that you find something that inspires or interests you. Despite the character-centric match up, the fact is, I’m pretty agnostic as to characters. Whatever we've been matched on, don't worry because I like just about anything and what I don't like has to do with tone and characterization, not particular characters.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave an anon request. GAH, I tried to make this short and it keeps getting longer!
What I love (totally optional):
- UST; witty banter and snark; politics, finance, history or military strategy; World War 2; worldbuilding; gap-filling; culture clash**; natural history, healthy, normal, romantic relationship between consenting adults; someone being extraordinarily clever and getting out of a jam; anything sly, wry, and silly; rapid fire dialogue; a delightful sense of the absurd; madcap adventures
- A satisfying ending, delightful characterization, and to laugh at least once
- Pagan and/or mythological influences;
- I prefer humor over angst
- Cross-overs, AUs, and Fusion Fics!
- Big monsters like sentient dragons, zords, dinosaurs, kaiju, transformers
- I’m an old lady liberal, so if you go political, which is totally cool and I really enjoy, please lean left, even.
- As my list indicates, I generally prefer the ladies and/or POCs over the guys;
**A word about culture clash, which a number of things on my list share: I love characters, often out of time and place, sharing a different, more inclusive view, and often gently or more aggressively schooling (and possibly enlightening) those around them. It’s why I love Temeraire’s radical point of view (why can’t dragons vote?), Rufus and Lucy in Timeless (no time is better than the one I’m in now), parts of the Chalion verse, and Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park, “We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”
DNW: it's a short list but pretty strongly held: excessive angst, gore or violence; any dub-con whatsoever. I have a strong preference for humor over angst and romance/sex rather than violence. For Yuletide, I’d prefer something that’s safe for work, so nothing explicit please.
Character death is harder -- I don't have a problem at all with loved ones long gone, for example Desdemona or Temeraire grieving for past riders.
As mentioned, this is an OR request, Rufus or Jiya, or both. I had a really hard time picking characters here. Feel free to include any others, and it does not have to be a Jiya or Rufus-centric story or Rufus/Jiya. So many things interest me about the show and I love (practically) all the characters. WHAT is up with Jiya -- super powers? What are Jiya and Agent Christopher (love her very normal family life) up to while the others are gone? I really LOVE the show's exploration of racism, sexism (Lucy's, you wouldn't want to drink my coffee), bigotry (see, I'm invisible!), and same sex phobias, and other isms so anything you can do there would be wonderful, or highlighting overlooked women/POC in history and having Time team fangirl and pep talk them. For Timeless I'd prefer gen rather than sexy times but Rufus/Jiya awkwardness is adorbable. Only caveat, I’m not that interested in Rittenhouse and Flynn.
I LOVE Desdemona. Feel free to include anyone else in the Chalion timeline but Desdemona is a must! Before Penric, during Penric, after Penric.
Anything with Marion doing her thing without Indy. Give her some backstory; where did she live? How did she end up in Mongolia? What did she do after she and Indy split? Smelly camels and donkeys, cursed tombs, loyal dogs, and finding lost cities and new species, and being good friends with the locals, drinking lots of gin and quinine to ward off malaria. What happened after her father died? Indy was in the OSS, was about Marion? Was she a spy -- she'd be a great spy! Invent a gal pal with some fem-slashy goodness on the side. She accidentally discovers Themyscira and learns a zillion languages. She becomes a Nazi hunter. She works with Peggy Carter. Handwave away Mutt if you need to. She becomes an eccentric professor and teaches the next class of lady adventurers. Most of all, have fun filling in the big gaps!
Ellie because she's awesome and the other guys are fine, too, no problem. Dinosaurs. Or Kaiju. Or Dragons. More dinosaurs. Or Ellie kicking creationists from one end of the geological timeline to the next. "Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth."
Even Temeraire himself is optional, so long as there are dragons. OCs are terrific here, too! Dragons, dragons, dragons. Dragon mythology. Famous dragons in history. Dragons and AU history, dragons and wars, dragon politicians post League of Dragons, dragons and xovers, dragons and fusion fics.
Oh Boy [Anne of Green Gables] for sisabet. Gilbert/Anne. The existence of this vid is essentially due to runawaynun, who gifted me this song. I was working on a different Anne vid that was a little unfocused and kind of morphed into something I was less sure sisabet would want. I went back to the drawing board to make the Gilbert vid she really wanted but didn't have a song, and voila, runawaynun had the perfect song suggestion! And then it made itself. He pines so very earnestly.
Send My Love (To Your New Lover) [Mansfield Park (1999)] for trelkez. Fanny/Edmund, Fanny/Henry, Edmund/Mary, but Fanny/Mary most especially. I honestly do not even remember how I got obsessed with making this. Mary Crawford is my secret favorite, and I thought it would be fun to do some Austen femslash, and I guess those things merged and this idea happened. It is the femslashiest Austen! Not a ton of people watched this vid, but I think the ones who did liked it. :D It's kind of stealth femslash, but I liked the surprise ending aspect of it.
And I got two vids! aurumcalendula made my Pride and Prejudice (2005) vid, Do You Dance?, a really lovely vid that uses all the feelings and all the gorgeous movement and visuals of the movie. And HANDS, perhaps you guys know how I feel about hands in vids. And everyone is shocked to learn that silly_cleo made my Sense and Sensibility vid, Wherever We Are. As Cleo said, it's the third vid we've made for each other in exchanges, and the third time it's been obvious from space that we made a vid for each other. Hee!
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I *loved* this. I loved everything about it: the setting, the metaleptic narrative style with its wry asides to the reader, the many references to classic fantasy... And most of all I loved the Marquess. The Marques is every problem I have with the fate of the Pevensie children, wrapped in a hideous bow.
My biggest problem with this book is I really, really want to share it with my little sister and she's probably not the right age yet.
Founding Friendships: Friendships Between Men and Women in the Early American Republic by Cassandra A. Good
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was both very useful to me and kind of annoying as a book. It got my back up with 'working class and black people just don't leave records so that's why my book is about rich elites'. Well, yes, that is a strategic problem, but just because YOU don't have the skills to work with the kind of records that do exist doesn't mean no one does. (Seriously, you can't tell me the underground railroad didn't involve a whole range of cross-sex collaborations that might usefully be described as friendship)
On the other hand: the stuff about not having a precise vocabulary to describe the thing: YEP. THAT.
Moral Panic 101: Equality, Acceptance and the Safe Schools Scandal by Benjamin Law
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Damn, this is an incredibly well-researched and /useful/ essay. Aside from a fascinating history of the media beat-up around Safe Schools*, it's got all sorts of useful subsections. The section on school-age gender transition is particularly interesting, and useful if (like me) you're the sort of person whose friends expect you to explain this stuff at parties.
*An interesting comparison point: the Meanjin long essay by Dennis Muller on how journalism got Australia the Royal Commission. Funny that the clerical abuse exposé was driven by a relatively tabloid-y paper, the Newcastle Herald, while the Safe Schools beat-up came from the august pages of The Australian. But also, I wonder if the latter would have been *possible* if the former hadn't succeeded. If The Australian saw in the clerical abuse exposé not an ethical imperative but a method of driving up sales, and have been shopping around for something sufficiently scandalous ever since.
Blue Eyed Stranger by Alex Beecroft
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Oh gosh, this was a weird experience for me. As a romance: it's VERY GOOD. A++ I approve wholeheartedly.
As a study of historical re-creationism, I'm not sure if it's IRRITATING or SPOT ON. This guy's Viking re-enactment group are called Bretwaelda. An Old English word for an *English* war-band. The characters throughout keep consistently mixing up Saxon and Norse culture *without ever referencing the Danelaw as a justification*.
The spiel on the Victorian origins of blacking up in Morris Dancing completely ignores the probable, much older (as in, pre-dating the blacking up) links between Morris dance itself and appropriation/bad imitation of Moorish culture, and the much firmer links between early 20th c Morris Dance and American minstrelsy.
And the thing about the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance completely ignores the fact that the reindeer horns in use, which have indeed been radiocarbon dated to the 11th century, nevertheless *postdate the extinction of reindeer in England*. They were BROUGHT to Abbotts Bromley at some point between falling off the reindeer and their first appearance in the written record in the 17th c.
This is all very infuriating, but also, exactly how historical re-enactors work.
View all my reviews
Also finished: Griffith Review 56, and two m/m romances (KJ Charles and Cat Sebastian's respective latests).
Up next: I have a Lot of Books right now. My enthusiastic purchasing of all the lit mags ever is catching up with me, it seems. But also Jordan L Hawk's latest was released yesterday - I haven't bought it yet but it's only a matter of time.
Music notes: I haven't made any useful progress with the habit tracker of late, so no reward purchases. I did buy the Thirty Days of Yes mixtake, because I'm in favour of marriage equality themed things with profit to Twenty10 and the GLCS.
As of yesterday I have remembered that the 90s/early 2000s band Garbage existed, and hooo boy. I had forgotten how *fascinated* I was by Androgyny and Cherry Lips - and by Shirley Manson. I guess I was not such a straight child after all. Hooo boy.
In this dream I woke up when the final gunshot went off, and the lighting hadn't been adjusted (because I was asleep) and no one turned the lights down at all at the end, and things were Bad.
So I pretended to still be asleep, to avoid talking to Director Chris, but it didn't work - I was afraid I'd get locked in the theatre, so I got up to get my stuff and then i ran into people and I was in TROUBLE.
The worst dream.
( Here are some pictures. )
Last night, equally important, I baked my most amazing loaf of bread yet, and friends, it is amazing.
( Visual aids! So much sourdough! )
I think I even figured out what may be making the flavor less tangy than I'd like. I've only been using all-purpose flour for this batch of sourdough starter, but my early hilarious attempts used a partially whole-wheat starter. Once I move, I'm going to give it another shot... because it does not terribly make sense to double my li'l yeasty buddy responsibilities 10 days before I PICK UP AND GET TO MOVE ON OUT OF HERE!!! (Present management company has still not acknowledged receipt of my notice, which, lololol okay. I'm calling tomorrow -- let's see how that goes!)
A flock of singing and dancing Orthodox men and boys just paraded down the street under my window, with the women and little kids hustling alongside on the sidewalks. Happy Sukkot, all! ♥
After several attempts I had to give up and reboot the phone. AND MY GLORIOUS FOOTAGE IS GONE.
The vantage-point got me the whole shark in one shot, plus crew for scale, and I was leaning on the railing so it was steady as well. SO PRETTY. Now no one will get to see it :(
But for something shiny other people can see, I point your way towards The Book Smuggler's kickstarter. They've already funded, and the two stretch-goals they've busted means more contributors to their blog, and better pay for those contributors, plus an awesome sounding novel. Now they're pushing towards a 10 Year Anniversary book with all their short story collections. Still some shiny rewards left as well. Go have a peek!