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Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:00 pm
skygiants: (swan)
[personal profile] skygiants
I finished Ann Leckie's The Raven Tower!

As I said on Twitter: massive respect for Ann Leckie's mineral protagonist progression from 'passive-aggressive AI' to 'literally just a very sulky rock.'

I'll admit it took me some time to come round on the sulky rock, but then the rock insisted on being hauled halfway across the continent in a large unwieldy carriage out of sheer bloody-mindedness despite several protestations from annoyed divine friends, and suddenly I loved that rock. We are all what we are.

Technically something that may be a spoiler )

As with Ancillary Justice, I found this a slow build and an increasingly rewarding one as it went on. Things that Ann Leckie clearly likes and is good at, in combination with mineral protagonists:
- unusual and somewhat deliberately distancing narration
- non-human entities moved to action by feelings of affection and responsibility towards specific humans
- very long-game revenge plots
- careful plot-relevant linguistic exploration! MY FAVORITE PART

Some ending thoughts that are definitely spoilers )


Apr. 23rd, 2019 03:03 pm
heron61: (Gryphon - emphasis and strong feelings)
[personal profile] heron61
I had my first counseling appointment today, which seemed to go well, and will hopefully help me deal with the various sorts of stress I'm now facing. Speaking of stress, yesterday I made a reservation to see my parents on June 3 - June 7, which pleases me not at all, but seems useful for keeping the peace. I'm considering skipping GenCon this year simply so that I don't have to visit them again.

In happier news, when I was walking to the bus stop, I saw someone walk by with an awesome t-shirt that said "My pronouns haven't even been invented yet", which made me happy and seemed a good omen for the day. I got home and googled that phrase, and found the above link to buy the t-shirt, along with that fact that it's by genderqueer activist, poet, and spoken word artist Andrea Gibson, who I'd never previously heard of before, but looks to write very shiny stuff.

Here's a spoken word piece of their's that I found quite powerful:
Also, in honor of national poetry month, here's one I found online that I quite liked.
click here for poem )

From Kitchener Public Library

Apr. 23rd, 2019 05:18 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Be advised that we are no longer able to offer interlibrary loan services due to provincial budget cuts to the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and Ontario Library Service North (OLSN), which operate these services between library systems.

Customers may visit other local library systems to borrow materials not held by Kitchener Public Library. As per our long-standing reciprocal borrowing agreements, residents of Kitchener may sign up for free library cards with Waterloo Public Library, Region of Waterloo Libraries, and Idea Exchange.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Just checking. Does everybody know about "Wild Nights with Emily"?

And, relatedly, that a scholar applied moderning imaging technology to the erased parts of Emily Dickinson's letters to recover what they said, and uncovered that, contrary to Dickinson's dour, spinster, hermit-like reputation, she had a passionate, oh-so-carnal, life-long love affair with a Susan Dickinson nee Huntington? Who married Emily's brother expressly so that she could live next door to Emily for the rest of her life? Happily ever after?

See also: Behind the New, Gloriously Queer Emily Dickinson Movie.

(h/t [personal profile] conuly)

The Umbrella Academy (Spoilers)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 03:16 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I finally got around to watching The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, after hearing lots of mostly-positive comments and reviews. Naturally, I must now share ALL OF MY OWN COMMENTS AND REVIEWS. Such is the nature of the internet…

I mostly enjoyed it, though the ending felt empty and unsatisfying.

Details behind the spoiler cut…

Read the rest of this entry » )

cheesecake for a sonnet

Apr. 23rd, 2019 01:02 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
On my way home from the library today, I stopped for soup dumplings and to see if I could win a free mini-cheesecake:

To celebrate Shakespeare Day, 7Ate9 bakery is giving away mini-cheesecakes if you can recite "your favorite sonnet"; the sign outside the bakery on Saturday warned "a soliloquy is not a sonnet." They also have cheesecakes decorated with a drawing of Shakespeare; for Pi Day last month, the decoration was π to as many decimal digits as would fit on a four-inch cheesecake.

I went to the bakery on Saturday to buy a chocolate cheesecake, saw the sign about a free cheesecake, and decided to try reciting a sonnet from memory. I got about four lines into the one that begins "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun," with a bit of friendly prompting, before giving up. The chef encouraged me to come back and try again later; when I walked into the store today, she asked if I was there to try again. I said yes, but a different sonnet, which once again I knew by first line rather than number. I recited Sonnet 116, "Let me not to the marriage of true minds," and the chef invited me to choose a mini-cheesecake.

The offer is good through today, in case anyone reading this is going to be in that part of Somerville (Highland Avenue, near the Armory) this afternoon.


Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:43 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I remember liking Oldfield's Tubular Bells when I was a teen but now I can't listen to more than a minute of it.

Roseanne Cash!

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:16 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I went to a reading by Roseanne Cash last night at Writers House, which made me really happy. She interspersed songs with readings from her memoir, and answered a few questions at the end.

I thought she was beautiful; she is so much herself that it shines through both her songs and her writing. Also, her voice up close is much richer than I would have expected (I was in the second row, probably about six feet away).

One thing that made me laugh is she started off with "Seven Year Ache," because the students she'd been working with earlier in the day had told her they were obsessed with the 1980s, before they were born.

I left smiling.

Give me a case to put my visage in

Apr. 22nd, 2019 10:27 pm
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
Earlier this evening I looked at the news and discovered John McEnery had died. I have been feeling slightly stricken ever since. It is not quite true that I only ever saw him in one role, but that one was important to me.

I was shown Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968) when I was fourteen. We had just read the play in English class; I think it was spring. We had one of those TVs you could wheel in and out of classrooms and the teacher had a videocassette of the film and I have some memory that she dutifully tried to fast-forward the teenage nudity and instead started the scene right on Leonard Whiting's buttocks, but I remember the class evincing more awkwardness than she did. Anyway, in an age before prolifically accessible internet porn, Olivia Hussey's casually glimpsed breasts got an even louder reaction. That wasn't what struck or stayed with me. Everyone around me was falling in and out of love or lust or limerence as fast as Romeo from Rosaline to Juliet, but I wasn't—I didn't feel that feverish doomed intensity about anyone in person or music videos or magazines, I didn't recognize my adolescence in either of those dark, glowing faces, sumptuously photographed. I took away from it the heat and dust and sun of its syncretized Verona, the plangent theme of a rose will bloom, and McEnery's Mercutio. He wasn't beautiful like the leads or leonine young Michael York; he was tall and straw-haired with a sharp, close-set face and I loved him, raucous and restless, the life of Verona's party and the specter at its feast, shivering on the edge of real breakdown in his fancy of Queen Mab. Romeo grips him and calms him, brow to brow; will pull him close in the same gesture after the fatal swordfight, not yet comprehending—like the rest of the crowd, hooting and cheering the latest tomfoolery on—that his always-joking friend is dying for real. I was hurt under your arm. He was supposed to be untouchable, the world-weary live wire, the kibitzer, not the tragic hero. He made a burlesque of his match with Tybalt and it killed him anyway, a better reminder than any smug showrunner's letter that no one in a city of feuds is safe. I thought he was so much older than I was, so much older than Benvolio and Romeo. He was twenty-five. It is funny to me now that I never linked him with Sayers' Wimsey, whom I would run into a year or two later, so easily drunk on words as to be seldom perfectly sober, but in 2001 when I discovered Greer Gilman's "Jack Daw's Pack," his was the abrasive, magnetizing voice I heard at once for the white-headed, black-clad character introduced as a witty angry man, a bitter melancholy man. I did not blame Tanith Lee for importing him wholesale into her novel Sung in Shadow (1983). I tried twice to write about Mercutio, once in college and once about ten years ago, and both times he came out looking like McEnery.

He did not make many movies, as the Guardian obituary notes; I saw him excellently double-cast in the RSC's The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1982) and IMDb tells me he was in Christine Edzard's Little Dorrit (1987), but I think that might be it. I kept meaning to see his Bartleby (1970) and I suppose I have no excuse now. Really what I would like to do is rewatch the 1968 Romeo and Juliet, which is of course in a box somewhere. It was the first movie I ever owned on DVD. I suspect McEnery had not a little to do with that. In his very first scene, Mercutio's skull-masked, a memento mori on his way to the dance. True, I talk of dreams, which are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy. Roses bloom and fade for dreamers, jokers, too.
nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
Damn it, John McEnery has died.  His Mercutio is what I took away from the Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet.   Astounding, Dionysian performance.  He needed all that pack of adolescent boys around him as fuel, seemed to draw on their green energy to replenish what he burned.

The great beech at Mount Auburn is gone.  The one like a fusion of elephants, with leaves like porphyry.  I walked in at the gate and didn't know where I was.

At least the bees on the rooftops of Notre Dame survived the fire.


Update - Today Looking Up

Apr. 22nd, 2019 12:43 pm
heron61: (hopeful cat)
[personal profile] heron61
I haven't been awake that long, but things are definitely looking up. I woke up after 4 hours of sleep, but managed to get back to sleep for a total of almost 7 - I'll see if I can manage to get to sleep earlier tonight, but definitely a step in the right direction. Then, my email contained a note about my book out for approvals:
"A few more small comments, but consider this approved!"
So, that's a vast load off my mind.

Then my mom called, which filled me with terror and anxiety. She was in tears, and apologized profusely - I think this makes something like the 4th or 5th time in my entire life she has apologized to me. She wants me to come out on June 3 - June 7, which I'm not eager for at all, but I'll do it. It's troubling and strange to realize that because she's entirely alone (my parents have no local friends and both are only children, so they also have no other remotely close relatives), that she can no longer afford to abuse me w/o consequences.

Also, I just called back the counselor that left me a voice mail on Friday, and I have an appointment tomorrow at 11 am - it's a bit early for me, but I'll schedule the others later.

Hopefully, the day will continue well.
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
When I feel like "why in the world am I trying to put on an arts festival" I need to reread this piece.

General Update + Parent Stress

Apr. 22nd, 2019 01:12 am
heron61: (Heron - About Me)
[personal profile] heron61
I’m so tired I’m slightly dizzy. On Friday, I made my plane tickets to see my parents from June 3 - June 7, amidst conflicting messages from my mother about how I needed to come visit, but that coming to visit that far after my dad’s birthday (May 11) was completely unacceptable, and I should visit earlier. I didn’t mention [personal profile] teaotter and I visiting our dear friends in Oakland from May 16-22, and I will need to lie about this during my daily phone calls to my mom then, because that wouldn’t serve as an excuse, but simply as another reason to attack me, just as she had attacked me for wanting to spend the time around Mother’s Day with [personal profile] teaotter due to her mother dying last year at that time.

In any case, early Friday evening, I was just about to call my mom back and ask her straight out if I should cancel the tickets, and just before I picked up my phone, she called me and complained more about the tickets, so I cancelled them (in time for a full refund, yay). I have no idea when I’ll be visiting either around then or in August, since one of my mom’s threats was saying that I couldn’t come out in August if I didn’t visit in May, meaning I’d need to foot plane flight to GenCon myself, rather than flying to see them and then flying to GenCon and heading home. Flying from Portland to Indianapolis rather a lot of money for me - more than I can currently afford. At this point, I think I’m willing to miss GenCon. I have friends that I like among the various gaming industry people, and I get work there, but I get work in other ways too, and I’m simply not sure that going it worth the emotional stress with my parents, unless that’s the only visit I do this Summer. OTOH, that may work, we shall see.

In any case, I was a complete mess on Saturday, and my awesome partner [personal profile] amberite figured out that handling stuff with my parents, and the fact that I effectively have a separate persona/interaction mode for dealing with them, that had been getting increasingly frantic was the reason I was so messed up. That provided me with much needed clarity.

Then, today, I went over to see my amazing new friend [personal profile] alatefeline, and kept them company as they cleaned and organized their space. After that, I talked about my parents with them, and they were utterly drop dead amazing at providing insights and most of all, much needed comfort. It was a lovely and wonderful visit, and then the two of us went out for ice cream with [personal profile] amberite, which was also wonderful. [personal profile] teaotter was writing fanfic and has been erratic in a variety of ways trying to get her supplements to all function together, and seemed slightly better tonight, but also far from full functionality, which is stressful to her, me, and [personal profile] amberite. Among other things, [personal profile] alatefeline helped me realize that while if my parents weren't rich, and thus an upcoming source of money needed money, I'd cease letting my mom try to control me, and I'd also only call every few weeks and would visit a Christmas and no other time, but that I wouldn't cut them out of my lives, which is not a comfortable thing to realize about abusive parents, but is very useful to know.

I often think of myself as rather morally "flexible", I know that the rules that I live by are rather eccentric, and I often do not consider myself a good person, but after that conversation with [personal profile] alatefeline, I wonder if I actually am.

In any case, I got home many hours ago, and have done little, until recently when I realized exactly how exhausted I am, which I hope is a good sign. My mom has been exceedingly vicious for more than a week, and during that time I haven’t managed to sleep more than 5 ½-6 ½ hours a night – regardless of when I go to bed, I wake up that many hours later and can’t get back to sleep, along with having something resembling hot flashes when I wake up (many medical tests, combined with observation clearly showed there’s nothing going on with me except stress). Both of these serious stress symptoms that first showed up more than a year ago, after I became exceptionally upset about our semi-nazi government, and they got worse whenever I visited my parents and when Becca’s mom died and Becca went to the funeral.

In any case, what was different this time was something I haven’t had for well more than a decade – before now, I wasn’t tired despite not having nearly enough sleep for more than a week. I didn’t feel good, but I felt completely alert, and that’s over. Between help and comfort from [personal profile] amberite and [personal profile] alatefeline, I’m at long last completely exhausted (or am at least aware of this fact). I’m a bit scared to get to sleep because I worry about waking up too soon again, despite what I’ve been taking to help me stay asleep, and I’m also deeply troubled that I need to talk to my mom again tomorrow, but I’m also taking my tiredness as a very good sign indeed.

On the positive side, I’ve been looking for a counselor, and after several places having no openings or no opening for someone taking my insurance, I finally got a call back on Saturday, to call someone tomorrow to set up an appointment, so that makes me nervous too, but it’s also a very good thing (I hope).

Also, not only is one book back for approvals again (crosses fingers), but I also both got my writing on my current project done for this week, as well as ¼ of my writing on that books done for next week, so I’m close to finished, and don’t need to work very hard next week. One ability I’m deeply thankful I possess is the ability to turn extreme stress into solid productivity – I don’t end up any less stressed, but I do at least get necessary things done. In the coming week, I shall work and read novels next week, and attempt to relax.
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
I am extremely pleased to be able to announce myself among the Guests of Honor at NecronomiCon Providence 2019.

That puts me in the company of such weird luminaries as Peter Cannon, Kenneth Hite, Victor LaValle, Molly Tanzer, Dempow Torishima, and Paul Tremblay. Plus everyone else who shows up for the convention, which as I recall from 2017 is no small who's who of weirdness.

I have been a guest on programming at several conventions now, but I have never been invited to be a Guest of Honor, much less a Poet Laureate. It is an honor. I am thrilled.

See you in Providence in August, when the stars are right?
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Review copy provided by the publisher. I also have the privilege to know the author a bit socially.

We've now had several decades--all of my lifetime, in fact--with fairy tale variations, reconceptions, recreations as a major subgenre. So the question about a collection like this can sometimes be: is there anything new to say here? Is it possible to fracture a fairy tale in a way that is not in itself a predictable part of canon at this point?

Happily the answer here is not just yes, but "yes and I will even show you a little of how it's done behind the scenes." I was pleasantly surprised to reach the end of the collection and find not only notes on each story but a poem to go with each--sometimes very directly, sometimes with glancing notes on the same theme. Many of these stories are from previous decades, and Yolen takes time in the notes to talk about how she thought of them then--particularly interesting when they span a cultural shift of awareness around who gets to retell tales from whom.

I'd come upon some of these stories before in other collections of Jane's, but I'm never sorry to see "Granny Rumple" reprinted--it changed my world when I first read it, and I think it can do the same for writers and readers who encounter it for the first time now. Jane's warmth and humor permeate these tales, and breaking familiar stories like Snow White and Cinderella in more than one way in one collection gives us even more perspective on what these tales can still do.

Amnesty, by Lara Elena Donnelly

Apr. 21st, 2019 09:47 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Review copy provided by the publisher.

This is the last in a trilogy, and it is all about consequences. Regular readers know what a sucker I am for consequences.

Years have passed since the events of Amberlough and Armistice. The world is not perfect--there are still war zones--but people have started to get through the very basics of rationing and rebuilding and into questions of who should be honored and who demonized in their recent turbulent history. For teenagers like Lillian and Jinadh's son Stephen, the war and occupation are increasingly dim and distant memories, an obsession of adults. For the adults, it's still all too close and all too real--especially when parts of the past don't stay hidden in the jungle where they previously were.

Frankly, most of these characters are exhausted. Their old coping mechanisms are imperfectly adjusted to their new circumstances, which keep shifting anyway. None of them seem to have had even five minutes to put their feet up, breathe, and look at some nice trees or a sunset or something. Their world is relentless. That makes Amnesty a completely appropriate book for right now--and also sometimes a difficult one. There's solace here, but it's circumscribed, constrained; there are ways forward, but none of them without cost. There is hope, but not for the things the characters used to hope for. And there are people trying to do better. Always, always, amidst rubble and chaos and machination, there are people trying to do better.

Apollo 11

Apr. 21st, 2019 07:52 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
I saw the movie Apollo 11 this afternoon, at the Somerville Theatre, and enjoyed it. This film is very much what it says on the tin, a documentary of the Apollo 11 flight put together entirely from archival footage, and works well.

I recommend seeing this on a large screen (in a movie theatre, or maybe on a large flat-screen television, rather than something like an iPad).

I had meant to go sooner, but I've been dealing with a lingering cough; there were a few days when I wasn't exactly sick, but was still coughing enough that it seemed unkind to go to the movies. By this afternoon, I sat for more than an hour and a half without coughing at all, aided only by a single medicated cough drop.


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