Ghost Wars is about an ostracized young man (Avan Jogia) who sees ghosts who tries to leave town (apparently for the first time ever?), which apparently sets off a series of catastrophic events that causes angry ghosts to start killing residents. The premise is interesting and the acting is solid, but the writing and directing in the pilot were...lacking. I’ve stuck with shows that had worse pilots though.
Superstition is about a less-young man who returns home after 16 years because of visions he had of Very Bad Things. The last vision he had was apparently ignored, and led to his younger brother’s apparent death and running off to join the army. The family business he rejoins is both running a funeral home and dealing with supernatural elements in town. None of the twists are actually shocking, though I’m curious to see if one lasts.
I had heard of Ghost Wars before it aired, but only just, but had no idea that Superstition was even going to exist. Given that 5 of the 6 main characters in Superstition are black, I think we can guess why. Hopefully this isn’t another series where the network has doomed it to fail from the start from a 100% failure to support it. (I mean, seriously SyFy, you have Mario Van Peebles both in front of and behind the camera, and you apparently couldn’t even have a trailer out a few weeks before it aired?)
I have had this letter at the top of my to-do list for weeks, but when I finally sat down to write it, I couldn't really think of any reason to do it. You have years and years of this tag and so many previous letters if you're the sort of person who wants to dig really deep, and if you're not, you can stop reading now and go back to just my sign-up.
I could go into great detail about where to find the fandoms I requested and so on, but let's be honest, that would be almost entirely for people who might want to write me treats, not for you.
(Although super-quick: all the links you need for Mr. Trash Wheel are in this entry downtag; Njal's Saga is a medieval Icelandic saga which you could probably get a doctorate in but didn't so all I can suggest is gutenberg or a good modern annotated edition of which there are several in many languages, or if you're really ambitious, you can listen to all 12 Njal's Saga episodes of the SagaThing podcast, which is what motivated me to request it. But also I think of stories as old as Njal's saga as living stories rather than a fixed canon so if you want to just find a good summary and work from that, that would be a-ok with me; Murderbot Diaries is so far just one novella, All Systems Red by Martha Wells that came out this year and is probably available at your local library; Girl With The Silver Eyes is a kids' novel from the '80s that is probably not still at your local library but is definitely on Amazon for cheap, at least in the US; and the Barbara Hambly are both many-volume historical mystery series that are still being published, although I would be ok with side-character fic based on characters that only appear in the first volume of either.)
I could also go into great detail about why I like these canons, but you don't actually need thousands of words of rambling about the fundamental essence of Baltimore and urban solarpunk; or about the parallel roles of Hannibal and Simon in re: the construction of Whiteness and classical monsters as racial metaphors; or the performance of gender and honor in medieval Scandinavia; or about the portrayal of neurodivergence mediated through otherness in SF/F stories; and anyway if I did all that it would be totally misleading because really my reaction to these stories is more GIANT GOOGLY EYES and CHEESE CSI and TALKING CATS and SANCTUARY MOON and I read all the Hambly in a month straight while ill last year so really mostly I just LOVE IT ALL on a very shallow and inarticulate level.
I could go into more about my DNWs but honestly my DNWs are usually more about the spirit of the story than the details so it would be just as likely to make you worry about things you don't need to worry about.
(but real quick: please no environmentalism doomy doom for Trash Wheel- post-apocalyptic would be fine but make it hopeful and optimistic no matter how unrealistic that seems sometimes these days; please no doomy doom for Njal either, like, we all know how it ends, it's in the damn title, but he lived to old age which is pretty much a happy ending given the odds for a saga hero and a lot of other stuff happened before that; for Murderbot I think I covered it pretty well in the letter; Silver Eyes and Hambly I'm pretty much good with whatever as long as it's in the spirit of canon more or less and you're careful with the more sensitive bits of the history in Hambly.)
I could give you more prompts but you read my sign-up; do you actually need more prompts? I mean, let me know, I have plenty, but I kind of suspect you are begging me for fewer prompts at this point.
(Crossovers always good, setting-swap AUs also good, the weirder the better, outsider POVs and background characters always good, worldbuilding and setting always good, basically anything in these canons is fine?)
Anyway here is a link to my previous post of my sign-up just for convenience, it is slightly cleaned up with a few more prompts at this point: Yuletide signup
Most importantly, have fun! I promise nothing you write can ruin yuletide for me.*
*That's not a dare. But you would have to try pretty hard to manage it. Truly.
(Though you could argue that Polunin musters up more authentic agony, whereas Lambiel just looks like he's having a lot of fun.)
Gerard keeps trying to push them down, and Frank tries really hard to pretend he's not noticing. Gerard's making it hard, though, as he uses both hands and squirms around even more, even bumping into Frank a few times. Frank's concentrating so hard on not watching the epic struggle between Gerard and his pants that when Gerard suddenly stops moving he glances over, only to see that after all that, Gerard has only succeeded in getting them halfway down his ass.
Frank can't help it then and collapses onto his other side, cracking up. "Pants: one; Gerard: zero," he gasps out between giggles.
- shiningartifact's More
A booklist which includes Tropic of Cancer and Little Women:
And some of those are Very Long Important Novels but some of them are quite short, and not even short in the sense of 'compressed and elliptical and dense'.
And some of them are challenging reads on account of subject matter but others, really, not so much I would have thought.
And, generically, quite a mishmash.
But a list that includes Clarissa and Coraline?
Okay, some of those books look like set texts that people had to struggle through and then found worth the journey, but others, presumably, are not the kind of books that feature in lit courses.
And some are even in the category I would have considered rattling airport reads...
On Thursday I'm supposed to submit my thesis. I... am having strong doubts that's going to happen. My back is back to being tender and less-than-fully-functional on a daily basis. I have a minor cold that's making me extra tired and sluggish and if I could just take it easy this week and rest I'm sure it would go away in a day or two? But since that's not an option I'm scared it's going to develop into full blown in-bed-for-days illness. (I was JUST sick! I can't handle that shit again right now!) Work has also been extra busy and stressful :/
To give you an idea how yesterday, the first day of the work week went for me: stayed at work late, came home exhausted and with back pain. Couldn't deal with hassle of cooking so roommate and I ordered in food (she also baked delicious cookies for my arrival, which was a plus). Came home, showered, changed into PJs, ate the food we ordered, watched the double episode of Outlander together in the living room, had some tea and cookies.
Me: what time it is?
Roommate: ten to 9.
Me: Sounds legit. I'm off to pass out.
laid down in my bed and didn't get up again until it was time to go to work. And today my back is still fucked up and my thesis hasn't budged and work is only getting busier. Ugh. I just want this goddamn thesis to be OVER ALREADY and it's like the last few days of getting it done are harder than the last five years put together.
That said, I'm here and reading everyone, I just... haven't had the energy to make sense of my life enough to put it into words. Work is very rewarding and very stressful all at once. And the rest of the time is spent on ... well, roleplaying :) G, my housemate, is still running the Awesome Awesome Exalted Campaign of Amazeballs for me, and I'm tempted to start doing weekly recaps of what's happened in the game. (I have no idea whether anyone would want to read it other than me, though.)
So, yeah, not dead. Yay! :)
Dubuque is an hour and a half away, a gorgeous drive through Wisconsin's "Driftless" area, where the glaciers didn't come through and plow down the hills like they did in other areas of the Midwest. So there are rollling hills and steep valleys, dotted with farms and forests.
The casino is right off the highway and easy to find. The greyhound race area is technically not part of the casino, so you can be under 21 to enter that area. Indeed, we saw kids and teenagers watching the races. It's nice that there is no fee to enter, and you don't have to bet. The only thing we spent money on was food. There was a crowded upper observation area, and we went down some stairs to the outside part. It was almost hot yesterday, 76 degrees F (24 C). The benches were shaded by the casino building and the track was in bright sunlight.
The dogs were beautiful and lively. We watched about 4 races, each 10-15 minutes apart. We didn't place any bets but picked out the ones we thought might win based on how they acted and looked. Teenagers (presumably summer workers) brought the dogs out and lined them up to be looked at before leading them to the starting blocks.
I took some pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/
We drove around town a little bit and had some ice cream before heading home.
My friends asked me, can you imagine your out here dog doing this?
I think Abbie would have hated it. She's so anxious and scared in environments that are loud and chaotic; her preferred environment is quiet and calm. She doesn't seem to have a competitive spirit.
My last dog, Sorcha, was a winner though, and I imagined she enjoyed it at least somewhat.
Racing is controversial and people often ask me what I think of it. I still don't know what I think of it! It was cool seeing the dogs run. I think that when gambling and money enter into it, they tend to corrupt. I don't think racing is inherently bad, but making it into a big business means the animals' welfare isn't put first.
WIPs currently active: 5, since as of this moment I’m not counting the Kinktober thing I was working on.
Words written this week: 1,725
WIPs that got no words this week: 0
WIPs that did get words this week:
Codename: Aluminum Bastard (aka broken dick epic): 142
Born in the Blood: 187, and then I got to a scene break and now I have to figure out the next scene. Oh dear.
Slavefic #6: 176, although I may have to walk back some of it, because it’s possible I got carried away writing things in direct refutation of a frustrating comment on a previous story. Oops.
Wildly Unmanageable Ace!Bitty Longfic: 194
Jack/Bitty angsty happy ending kidfic: 734
Kinktober Day 9 (Sam/Grant, abandoned for now): 292, and finally I have to admit that writing fanfic of an original thing I wrote is crossing some wire in my brain that is making it weirdly difficult to write a PWP?? idek.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2z00y2K
Read Becky Chambers' The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, which strongly reminds me of that genre of Tumblr posts which has come to be called "space orcs", about humans from an alien perspective. TLWTASAP is not from the aliens' perspective, but there's that same liking and affection for humans as a spacefaring species among other spacefaring species. If you like your aliens very alien then this might not be the book for you. There was some treatment of disability issues that was... well, some good and some bad. Complicated. Structurally it was very episodic in a way that might or might not work for you. Also, without spoilers, I would like to say that in the last fifty pages or so I was like "What the fuck was that... wait, what the fuck was THAT?"
Bought JY Yang's The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune, which are twin novellas released this month, but haven't read them yet.
Reread Courtney Milan's Trade Me and Hold Me in the space of about two days. Am very impatiently waiting for What Lies Between You And Me and Find Me.
This particular Dumbing of Age strip was even funnier because I saw it after rereading Hold Me, in which Angela Choi and Blake Reynolds have a very similar argument about a dimetrodon.
TV and Movies
Watched Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger. (Side note: one of my local community library systems has a Kanopy subscription, and Kanopy has a whole lot of good stuff on it, including this documentary.) Squeed out loud at some bits, actually shouted with laughter a few times (sometimes as intended by the protagonist, sometimes not -- sapiosexual, really?), was mildly cross at other bits (I know the open letter thing hurt you, Auntie, it hurt me at the time just to watch that go down, and I wasn't even involved, but did you have to do a victory lap?) and mainly just was happily teary-eyed throughout. Strongly recommended (with the caveat that Aunty Kate is hir own content note and is not going to give you a moment to brace yourself before sie self-identifies using terms Tumblr doesn't like, talks about suicide or cancer, or gives detailed specifics of her BDSM practice.)
Here's Kate Bornstein and Sandy Stone describing how they met:
Kate Bornstein: "I found out about you through Janice Raymond's book. Janice introduced us!"
Sandy Stone [pretending to be Janice Raymond]: "Sandy [makes warding off evil eye gesture], I'd like you to meet Kate [makes warding off evil eye gesture again]."
Kate and interviewer (I think it's Sam Feder, the filmmaker? but I'm too faceblind to tell if that's them or someone else) discussing their project:
Sam Feder: "We are doing a new show about trailblazers and people who created the space that affords us the luxury to be so specific and make this trans men's magazine. we would have been severely remiss if not to include you, because you came before us and you carved out space."
Kate Bornstein: "You know, you say I carved out space? Well, carving out space is what male to female tranny surgery is all about, it's about carving out space!"
Kate Bornstein on reincarnation: "I know what I want to be next life. I want to be a golden retriever who belongs to a great butch lesbian."
[So I guess we know what hir daemon is. I'm actually surprised -- I would have thought sie'd go for a pug, same as hir patronus. But yeah, I can see it.]
Listened to Kamil Szuszkiewicz's Istina, which is either modern classical with alternative influences or vice versa. Good shit if you like your modern classical to be unsettling and occasionally physically painful, which I do. (If you have a headache, maybe don't listen right now. If you don't have a headache, would you like one?) I cannot remember where on earth I found out about this album (I have a text file full of links to albums to try out and/or buy, it was there), maybe John Darnielle's twitter account? The second movement worried Beatrice. She jumped onto the couch and gave me the Concerned Stare then climbed onto my lap.
Listened to HAMM's SondHAMM, which is four Sondheim numbers with electronic instruments and voice. I really liked the arrangments and interpretation.
Played grotesque amounts of Stardew Valley. (As you do. (that wasn't me, but it's funny.))
Listened to a lot of podcasts while playing Stardew. Bounced off MechaBetty and Death at a Low Price, decided Juno Steele wasn't for me. Got entirely caught up on X-Plain the X-Men (I was so behind that it had gone on hiatus and then come back while I was still catching up) and almost caught up on One From The Vaults. Started Thor: the Lightning and the Storm and Titan Up The Defense.
Not crafts I did myself, but I saw this YouTube video on how to make a Pokedex-themed phone case out of perler beads. By the same vlogger, a perler bead 3D Pokeball/ring box. I had not previously considered the possible synergies between perler beads and a glue gun, and am intrigued.
In much less advanced perler bead crafts, I bought a magnet sheet, cut off a little bit of it, and stuck that to a perler Captain America shield I'd made ages ago and had no idea what to do with. It's a fridge magnet now. Tried to do the same to the larger Batsignal I made at the same time as the shield, but because it doesn't lie flat enough, or maybe because it's too large no matter how many magnets I stick on, it won't stay on the fridge. I might get a stronger magnet and try that.
Bought a cheap recycled monitor and installed OSMC on my RasPi and played with it for a bit. I hate it. I hate it SO MUCH. Towering rage. It's everything I hate about the trend in computing to simplify the user interface and remove options from the new user while increasing the learning curve and throwing more barriers in the way of their becoming a power user.
The install process was fun, though. (And when two days of repeatedly looking for parts and installing and wiping and reformatting and reinstalling things on sd cards is the fun part...) It'd be better if I had a more modern pi than I do (mine's the original B model, their recommended model is 3) and were using a remote control or a controller, not a mouse and keyboard (which it wouldn't listen to apart from the three finger salute) and had a widescreen monitor not a square Dell from probably the early 2000s, but EVEN IF I had my setup exactly the way they thought I should (ugh) I would still have found their interface horrible.
I couldn't find the "shut down" option. No help menu. They had no way of adjusting the screen resolution for a non-standard sized monitor (maybe that's why I couldn't find a help menu or a shutdown option.) So much autoscroll, and the cursor was both laggy AND skippy, and this combined with the autoscroll meant I'd frequently have to wait while they cycled through the available options multiple times before I successfully selected one. They wouldn't let you scroll ANYTHING under your own power -- read the GPL at a snail's pace or click 'agree' without reading (I know what the GPL says, of course, BUT STILL.)
The default skin was the sort of thing that I can recognise as good design even if it's not my thing personally, but that was just about the only good thing. Well, except that I got all the way through the install, which I didn't with Raspberry Pi's own NOOBS installer, but if the end result is no working keyboard and a barely-working mouse, it's hard to call that a success. Well, except that I was more interested in building my own media centre than I was in having a media centre, so... mission accomplished? After that I installed Raspbian on it, and my next step is to fuck around with that some more and set it up so it's also usable as a media centre but less vass-hostile than OSMC for the same purpose, even if it doesn't look like a sleek modern media centre interface. The nice thing about the RasPi's sd card as hard drive deal is, it makes OS switching very straightforward (so long as the Pi isn't your only computer.) One can simply swap SD cards.
Back on my desktop, with the help of this comment I got i3 to put a random wallpaper on each workspace. Like most of i3's users, I hardly ever see my workpaces except covered with open windows, but it's still a happymaking thing. What I'm really hoping for is to get it so it puts a random wallpaper in every container. After which I can fire up Compiz and get transparency working and then every terminal window will have a different background showing through it! Which will probably get exhausting and overstimulating after a while, but I want to learn how to do it! (Huh. It miiiight actually be easier to attach the act of making a new wallpaper to opening a terminal, not to opening a container. Not sure. Needs testing. That would suit me, since terminal's about the only application I'd want to run with transparency and a wallpaper behind it.)
Dorian redecorated the toilet by knocking the cactus pot off the window sill above it.
Oh dear, another blooper from David Mitchell in this week's Observer New Review.
Or, at least, a classic case of writing about something before reading it properly.
The first was that Cambridge University lecture timetables are being labelled with “trigger warnings” about the plots of various literary works, including The Bacchae and Titus Andronicus. So English literature undergraduates are being protected from the knowledge of, among other things, what one of Shakespeare’s plays is about, in case it upsets them.That is so not what the furore about this that I saw across my bits of social media was: what I saw was the push-back against the elitist assumption that eny fule already no that Titus Andronicus contains murder, rape, mutilation, and involuntary cannibalism (not to mention massive amount of racism).
And trigger-warnings aren't about protecting people from the knowledge that works of art contain disturbing material: they're precisely about letting people who haven't yet encountered them know that they contain material some people may find upsetting. Like the warnings you see at the beginning of a movie, just so you know what you're letting yourself in for.
And I'm really not sure that one can assume general cultural familiarity with one of the less-produced of Shakespeare's plays (the one that suggests that, had he been writing in the 1960s, he'd have been working for Hammer Horror - while some of the early comedies suggest also possibly moonlighting for the Carry On films, but I digress). Okay, there has been a movie version of the play itself, and Theatre of Blood alludes to it in one of the vengeances taken against the critics of the protag. But I doubt it's all that well-known to the individual on the Clapham omnibus.
Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)
Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.
• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)
Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...
ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.
What's particularly fascinating is the way in which it's directly correlated with people wanting to support news organizations as a way to resist Trump:
“The big boost we saw in subscriptions in the U.S.,” Newman said, “is driven by people on the left and younger people are more likely to be on the left. That is really a lot of what’s driving it: young people who don’t like Trump who subscribe to news organizations that they see as being a bulwark against him.”
Keep up the good work!