Aug. 21st, 2017

  • 9:57 PM
skygiants: storybook page of a duck wearing a pendant, from Princess Tutu; text 'mukashi mukashi' (mukashi mukashi)
A couple months ago I was talking with my roommate about the new Anne of Green Gables TV series (I have not seen it, she had opinions about it) which led to us reminiscing about Other L.M. Montgomery Books We Had Known, which led to me last weekend rereading The Story Girl and The Golden Road.

I was actually much more attached to these books than I ever was to Anne -- they're about an extended group of cousins who have very wholesome adventures together. The cousins include:

Beverly, Our Narrator, most notable for his mildly purple narration and deeply sentimental soul
Felix, his little brother, who is Fat and Sensitive About It
Felicity, who is Very Beautiful and Very Prosaic and also Extremely Bossy, like Lucy from Peanuts if she also looked like Elizabeth Taylor
Cecily, who is Very Good and Very Serious and probably also Doomed to Die Young Like Good Children Do
Dan, Felicity and Cecily's brother, who is an Annoying Brother
Sara Ray, who lives down the road and cries all the time
Peter, who is But a Hired Boy but Clever and Talented and also In Love With Felicity
and, of course, Sara Stanley the Story Girl, who is not pretty but interesting, and has a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and is prone to stopping in the middle of any given conversation to announce that she knows a story that has some vague relation to the topic at hand and will then proceed to relate that story come hell or high water, which: oh god, of course I imprinted on these books as a kid, because I of course do the exact same thing, except without any vestige of a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and also instead of 'I know a tragic story about our uncle's great-aunt's wedding' my version is usually 'I read a book once in which somebody banged a griffin.' But, much like the Story Girl, once I get started on an anecdote of this kind there is very little chance of stopping me. I apologize to anybody who has suffered from this.

ANYWAY. Fortunately, the other kids (with the occasional exception of Felicity) never get fed up with the Story Girl and are always glad to hear an entertaining anecdote about the minister's cousin's grandmother or whatever the topic of discussion is that day.

The kids also get into normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff, like pretending to be ministers, or freaking out because the local old-lady-who-might-be-a-witch sat in their pew at church, or panicking that it might be the Day of Judgment. Normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff centers very prominently on appropriate church behavior, as it turns out. L.M. Montgomery's world is composed of Methodists and Lutherans and that's about it. I don't remember this being weird for me as an emphatically-not-Christian youth but it is slightly retroactively weird for me now.

Other notable things that happen in The Story Girl and The Golden Road:
- Dan eats poison berries because Felicity tells him he would be an idiot to eat the poison berries, nearly dies, then goes back and eats more poison berries because Felicity made the mistake of saying she told him so
- Cecily the Very Sweet and Very Good is mean to exactly one person in both books, a boy in her class who conceives a terrible crush on her and will not leave her alone despite multiple stated requests until she publicly humiliates him in class, which she ruthlessly does; a good lesson
- The Story Girl gives a great and instantly recognizable description of synesthesia without ever actually using the word
- The Story Girl befriends a desperately shy neighbor who is known as the Awkward Man, "because he is so awkward," our narrator Bev helpfully explains
- the Awkward Man is later revealed to have a secret room in his house containing women's clothing, which, the Story Girl explains, is because he's spent years buying things for an imaginary girlfriend - and, I mean, far be it from me to question the Story Girl! but some grad student could probably get a real good paper on gender and sexuality in turn-of-the-century children's lit out of this is all I'm saying
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
I am a dancer in the New York City Ballet. I wrote the pages that follow during one ballet season. I began on November 21, 1980, and finished on February 15, 1981. I was lonely; I was sad. I had decided to be alone, but I had never decided to be lonely. I started writing on a yellow pad. I wrote, and I smoked. Every page was covered with a film of smoke.

If you like that, you will like this book. It's one of those slim but pithy volumes that precisely captures a time, a place, and a state of mind.

I've always had a fascination with ballet, ever since my second-grade teacher offered a trip to see the Nutcracker Suite (it was at least ten years before I realized that the second word was not "sweet") to her top three students. I had no idea what that was, other than that it was clearly desirable, so I went all-out to make sure that I'd get the prize. I was sufficiently enchanted with The Nutcracker and the general air of specialness surrounding the entire experience that I begged my parents for ballet lessons, at which I lasted something like three sessions. I don't recall the exact problem, but based on my age I'm guessing that there was too much standing around.

After that I confined myself to reading ballet books, which was more fun that actually doing it. Had I tried when I was older, I might have stuck with it for longer. Based on Bentley book and everything else I've read about ballet dancing, it has an austere, stoic, boot camp, push your limits atmosphere that would have really appealed to me if I'd been three to five years older. And then I would have gotten my heart broken, because I am not built to be a ballerina.

Winter Season beautifully depicts the illusion shown to the audience and the reality experienced by the dancers, and how the dancers live the illusion as well. It's got all the fascinating details of any good backstage memoir, without bitterness or cynicism. Even as it ground down her body, Bentley never stopped loving ballet; she seems to feel that she was lucky to have the chance to live the dream, just for the opportunity to spend a few minutes every day being the perfect expression of her body and the choreographer's art.

Winter Season: A Dancer's Journal, with a new preface

And I will place the next bit under a cut in case you just want to read about Winter Season. As opposed to ass. Read more... )
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
1. Left foot OFF the pedal
2. Down collective (while saying the words 'Down collective')
3. Roll the throttle off (while saying the words 'close throttle')
4. Right pedal (while saying the words 'right pedal as needed')
5. Lift collective about an inch (while saying the words 'Check collective')
5. Announce something scatological (do not actually do anything scatological at this time)

While an actual engine-failure-inspired autorotation has to be done very quickly and without hesitation, the practice ones can be handled at a slightly slower pace to make sure you learn to do them quickly. Turns out that if you announce each step out loud it paces you properly, plus if you announce 'Down collective! Close throttle! Right pedal! Check collective! Piss your pants!', you feel much, much less need to actually dump core in any way.
misslucyjane: winnie-ther-pooh (very little brain)
So remember how I wrote Charlie the Unicorn fic for Yuletide in 2011? And it was about the Rickroll being an Eldritch horror because why not? And the Foo Fighters defeated it with power of ROCK?

Well.

In which Rick Astley rickrolls an entire Foo Fighters concert, and it's awesome. (Some f-bombs dropped, in case you're in a situation in which that is not appropriate.)

I feel like somehow, I had something to do with this, if only to put the idea out there in the ether.

It was a camel!

  • Aug. 20th, 2017 at 1:14 PM
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
This clip from CNN is well worth listening to.

It encapsulates both the jaw-dropping awfulness and bizarreness of the Orange Supremacist era, and the extent to which the mainstream media has gotten so appalled that they're dropping their usual false equivalency. I mean the old "both sides have a point," which works when both sides DO have a point, but does not when you're talking about Nazis vs. anti-Nazis or Cheetolini vs. human beings with empathy. Also, it made me laugh.

Yesterday post-rally [personal profile] hederahelix and I were discussing this.

"It's just so surreal," she said. "Hey... Is that a camel?"

I looked over. The U-haul next to us had a giant camel painted on the side.

Below the camel, as if in explanation of why a U-haul would be decorated with a giant camel, were a few lines of Wikipedia-esque notes on camels, something like "A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back."

Cats Against Nazis

  • Aug. 19th, 2017 at 1:58 PM
rachelmanija: (Heroes: support WGA)
The rally was fine, though quite small. I imagine there would have been a much bigger turnout if the Nazis hadn't cancelled. One of my neighbors was there!

I went with [personal profile] hederahelix. We are now heading for Clementine.

Here I am with my sign and feline fellows in resistance.



newredshoes: sign: what's stopping you (<3 | what's stopping you?)
Social media and the news (plus a number of other stressors) are making me tachycardia city all day, every day. I am going to try and just... stay off all screens this weekend, if possible. Maybe email me, maybe text me, but like... the world is just not working right now.

Fidele Chapter 25

  • Aug. 17th, 2017 at 8:06 PM
misslucyjane: Dominic Monaghan writing (i write therefore i am)
Fidele (113534 words) by misslucyjane
Chapters: 25/?
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: Romance Novel, Paranormal, PTSD, Hauntings, Kid Fic, Drug Use
Summary:

A house full of ghosts is no place to fall in love.

Malcolm Carmichael has been coping with his post-war trauma by taking lovers, teaching art to schoolboys, and trying to ignore the ghosts he sees everywhere. At the death of his mother, he realizes he wants more than just to coast on by, and leaves the exclusive school in search of something more.

Caleb Thibodeaux was so traumatized by the death of his parents in a fire that he hasn't spoken a word since. His uncle Noel hires Malcolm to be his tutor, and Malcolm discovers that Caleb is not the only Thibodeaux son with secrets. The plantation house Fidele is beautiful but haunted, and Noel is much the same.

Soon Malcolm is absorbed in protecting Caleb and Noel from threats both living and dead, and in uncovering the story of Fidele.



Read at AO3, or at JennaLynnBrown.com

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist...

  • Aug. 16th, 2017 at 10:04 PM
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
ETA: I changed my sign-up several times since I posted this, so if you looked early on, look again if you're interested.

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,

Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.

(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)

Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, and X-Men comics (Marvel 616). Read more... )

Tags:

Aug. 16th, 2017

  • 5:42 PM
skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
It's hard for me not to unfavorably compare every Isabelle Hollington Gothic to Trelawny, the one with the identical non-identical constantly-swapping twins, but The Marchington Inheritance runs a reasonable second for batshit plot resolutions.

Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.

spoilers are full of hilariously plausibly annoying children )

UPDATE: Nazis Fuck Off Rally

  • Aug. 16th, 2017 at 10:17 AM
rachelmanija: (Default)
Looks like the Nazi scum saw how many people planned to show up to stand up to them in LA, and ran like the cowards they are. Apparently the Venice Nazi rally has been cancelled (but Nazi rallies are still planned in other cities). But it looks like OUR rally is still on, whether the Nazis show up or not.

I will keep updating but if our rally is happening, I'll still be there. I think it's important to show our solidarity and fire. Hey, just talking about showing up chased the Nazis out of LA before they even came - let's give them crowd photos to haunt their dreams and keep them out.

Me meme? Don't mind if I do!

  • Aug. 15th, 2017 at 7:17 PM
misslucyjane: (typing - archy)
Blatantly stolen from [profile] musefool, here are the first lines from a few of my current WIPs.

Fidele
The weather was so fine that day that when my afternoon art class (eighteen first-, second-, and third-graders) begged to have class outside, I agreed.

Continuo
The boy was maybe three years old, much too young to be on his own in the crowd of Library Square.

The Funeral Blues of Barnaby Sloan
At precisely eleven fifty-five on a Tuesday morning in January, Barnaby Sloan put the papyrus he was poring over into its storage box, packed his laptop in his backpack, tucked the backpack into a cubbyhole in his desk, and left the documents room.

Cosmic Latte
Grad students could not live by study alone, Dylan said, so Jacob went with him to Zebra on Saturday night.

I don't think we're supposed to post anything for [community profile] unconventionalcourtship before our posting date, so I'm going to leave that story (technically, those stories) off the meme this time.

I've got more Scrivener projects that are still just ideas than I realized. And then there are a few that are going to be rewritten from word one, so they're somewhere between idea and WIP. And there are still a lot of ideas on the Big List of Next that aren't even projects yet.

Waugh. So many words, so little time.
rachelmanija: (Heroes: support WGA)
The "alt-right," aka LITERAL NAZIS like the ones who murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, is planning a protest in Los Angeles this Saturday. Here's what I found when I went looking for a counter-protest. I will be there.

Obviously, this could be dangerous. But I am not letting LITERAL NAZIS march in my city unopposed. Besides, it could be a great opportunity:



Please let me know if you're going, so we can rideshare or try to meet up or something.

Defend Diversity: Fight to Protect Diversity Policies in the Workplace!!

Public · Hosted by Defend Movement and Build the Peoples' Democratic Workers' Party

Saturday at 12 PM - 3:30 PM

340 Main St, Venice, California 90291

Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng!

  • Aug. 14th, 2017 at 7:39 PM
gramarye1971: Jim Hacker about to receive some illegal alcohol in "The Moral Dimension" (YM: Diplomacy)
As a small bright spot in an otherwise dismal weekend, I received a AO3 message requesting permission to translate Resource Allocation, the extremely silly Harry Potter/Yes, Minister crossover drabble I wrote ages ago, into Chinese. So with thanks to [archiveofourown.org profile] liangdeyu, 【翻译】Resource Allocation资源分配, is now available. I'm very pleased to see it.

(This does remind me that at some point I need to pick up a copy of Yes, Prime Manipulator, a book about the Chinese translation of YPM -- Hǎo de, shǒuxiàng -- written by the translator.)
newredshoes: Woman in religious ecstasy, surrounded by art implements (<3 | patron saint)
[personal profile] theladyscribe and I saw Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 tonight, for Oak "HERCULES MULLIGAN!!!!!/James Madison" Onaodowan's final performance. It... was so fucking magical????? JAVIER MUÑOZ, MY HAMILTON, WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE ON THE MAIN STAGE???? (Look for him on his phone in that Instagram photo, at the bottom of the middle stair, to the right.) And Oak shoulder-clapped him as he was leaving after the final bow?!!!! And Denée Benton has the most gorgeous, crystalline, pure, beautiful voice and sHE'S TWENTY-FOUR?!!!!!! And this incredible shitheel character Anatole was the most magnificently tenor/falsetto Gaston-y diva?!!! And the audience interaction was SO GOOD!! The energy was absolutely electric; having heard it felt long, I was truly shocked when it ended. There were so many Cabaret feelings (SO MANY), and Hadestown feelings (since Rachel Chavkin also directed this, and cast her Billie Holiday–Persophone in much the same role), and the ensemble was having SO MUCH FUN and also they did this Rite of Spring opera-thing that was stunning and just as weird and riot-inducing as the original must have been, and.

And oh my god, you guys, I will, no holds barred, see Oak in literally anything he does from here on out. "Fucking magnificent" doesn't begin to cover what I saw him do tonight. Gorgeous-beyond-belief singing, both in humor and drama; gorgeous acting, physically, vocally, presence-wise, comedy and tragedy. He is. So big. We were sitting in amazing mezzanine seats (amazing how your eyes don't strain right out of your head anywhere that's not the nosebleed seats!) -- anyway, the cast spent a lot of time moving through the audience, and he was like. Right there. He did the walking-right-by-us thing. Oh my gosh, dude. Oh my fucking gosh.

This isn't even getting into the staging, which was just staggeringly well-orchestrated. They did this beautiful effect for snowfall, where they lowered single orange bulbs on long wires (or tubes?) from above, and I'm not doing it justice, but it just stopped me breathing. Anyway -- I'm so sorry to hear that it'll be closing in three weeks. It's a huge shame its sales weren't better, and I can totally see why they'd offer Mandy Patinkin the Pierre role, but I don't know that I'd want to see anyone else pull it off.

Aug. 12th, 2017

  • 5:51 PM
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
I just finished Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad, which is definite proof that a book-length allegory CAN ALSO be a coherent and compelling novel. (Is this a Kazuo Ishiguro callout post? MAYBE.)

The easiest and most facile way to describe The Underground Railroad is basically like Underground the TV show meets Snowpiercer. I mean, significantly less silly than Snowpiercer, which is a deeply silly movie -- but insofar as it's a train-based road trip for your life in which every stop is an Allegory On the Evils of Class and Capitalism, like that, except in this case it's an allegory on America's original sins.

The book's heroine is Cora, a woman who escapes from a deep-South plantation on an enormous hidden network of rails and tunnels, gaining and losing allies along the way. Each time she gets off she thinks that maybe she's found a place where she can stop and live a human life, and each place she visits reflects a different knife-angle of the generally horrific history of race in America -- alternate histories, but real ones.

Allegory aside, Cora is very much a real and complex and compelling character, and the places she visits have heft to them. Cora's identity is bound up in the legend and mystery of her mother Mabel, the one slave in the plantation's history (before Cora) who was able to escape and vanish completely; she's a real person, too, and so are all the other perspectives that we glimpse briefly in interstitial interludes along Cora's journey. It's a really good book. It's a very page-turning book, and although it's (obviously) extremely grim at times, it's not actually a hopeless book.

East of Midnight, by Tanith Lee; MagicQuest

  • Aug. 11th, 2017 at 10:56 AM
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
Dekteon, a slave in fantasyland, escapes and blunders into a strange world between worlds where horses have bear paws and he gets hired by a man who looks just like him to guard him from the terrors of the night. At least, that's the excuse. But it turns out that his new employer has a much more sinister task in mind.

This odd fantasy has some very beautiful, striking images and scenes, and the first fourth or so has a wonderfully spooky, dreamlike atmosphere. Unfortunately, once Dekteon is sent to the matriarchy of cold, bitchy moon women and the sun men they rule, the magic falls away and is replaced by an annoying plot in which he gets the better of the entire society just by being a manly man and not doing what the women say. I'm not objecting just because it's sexist. I'm also objecting because it's dumb and boring.

Not one of Tanith Lee's best. Though I do love the cover, which is 100% accurately taken from the book. A woman with an ivory bow riding a horned lion is what I read fantasy for; wish she was in a better book.

It was part of the MagicQuest series, a fantastic YA fantasy imprint which reprinted (or originally published some?) books by Patricia McKillip, Jane Yolen, Diana Wynne Jones, Peter Dickinson, Robert Westall, Paul Fisher, and Elizabeth Marie Pope. They had great covers and sometimes also great interior illustrations, and I haunted libraries and bookshops for them - all were reliably worth reading, though I liked some more than others. (I never warmed up to Peter Dickinson, and the Pied Piper book was forgettable.) Except for the Westall book, I read all its books for the first time from that imprint; it introduced me to Diana Wynne Jones and Tanith Lee.

I wish the imprint had lasted longer, but it only put out 18 books. Looking them up now, I see that I never saw or even heard of The Last Days of the Edge of the World by Brian Stableford.

Anyone else read MagicQuest? What were your favorites and least favorites?

Aug. 10th, 2017

  • 8:49 PM
skygiants: Yong Ha from Sungkyunkwan Scandal (trollface)
To be honest, I didn't really expect to love the kdrama Descendants of the Sun, a romantic melodrama about a special forces soldier and an ER surgeon. I'm skeptical about romanticizing the military! Contemporary melodrama is not my thing! Probably there were going to be too many dudes all over the place everywhere anyway!

OH, HOW WRONG I WAS. Descendants of the Sun is a GEM.

Screencaps cannot capture the majesty )

Fling/Marry Kill: Oldie Children's Books

  • Aug. 10th, 2017 at 12:56 PM
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
Please comment if you've read any of these or others by the same author.

Poll #18676 Oldie Children's Books
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 38


Beginner's Luck, by Oriel Malet. Jenny is sure she'll be a famous ballerina. Victoria is sure she has no talent. James (9) writes a poem: "O venerable is our old Ancestor, to finance our first trip to the theater."

View Answers

Fling
10 (50.0%)

Marry
4 (20.0%)

Kill
6 (30.0%)

Cherry Ames, Army Nurse, by Helen Wells. An entry I haven't read in a series I loved as a kid; a young nurse helps her patients and sometimes also solves mysteries.

View Answers

Fling
12 (54.5%)

Marry
8 (36.4%)

Kill
2 (9.1%)

The Kelpie's Pearls, by Mollie Hunter. "The story of how Morag MacLeod came to be called a witch is a queer one and not at all the sort of thing you would expect to happen nowadays."

View Answers

Fling
16 (61.5%)

Marry
7 (26.9%)

Kill
3 (11.5%)

The Little White Horse, by Eleanor Goudge. When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she's arrived in Paradise.

View Answers

Fling
18 (62.1%)

Marry
8 (27.6%)

Kill
3 (10.3%)

The Magic Book, by Willo Davis Roberts. Apparently the only other sff novel by the author of "The Girl With the Silver Eyes," an old favorite of mine.

View Answers

Fling
14 (60.9%)

Marry
9 (39.1%)

Kill
0 (0.0%)

Otto of the Silver Hand, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle. A historical adventure by the author of fairy tales I used to love as a kid.

View Answers

Fling
10 (50.0%)

Marry
8 (40.0%)

Kill
2 (10.0%)

The Time of the Kraken, by Jay Williams. Thorgeir Redhair must go on a quest to save his people from the kraken, since they're too busy fighting another tribe to do anything useful. By the author of my old favorite, "The Hero From Otherwhere."

View Answers

Fling
12 (57.1%)

Marry
5 (23.8%)

Kill
4 (19.0%)

We Rode to the Sea, by Christine Pullein-Thompson. Horse story by an author of other horse stories I liked as a kid.

View Answers

Fling
13 (61.9%)

Marry
4 (19.0%)

Kill
4 (19.0%)

Aug. 9th, 2017

  • 9:57 PM
skygiants: Kyoko from Skip Beat! making a mad flaily dive (oh flaily flaily)
I enjoyed Martha Wells' Wheel of the Infinite but I am also pretty sure that my reading experience was devised in exactly the wrong way to allow me to appreciate the plot as a coherent narrative.

I read the first half of the book on the plane between San Francisco and Chicago, which meant I got all the fantastic initial setup: a long-suffering middle-aged heroine, exiled from her home city for accidentally getting three husbands killed while following the wrong prophetic vision, accidentally rescues a cute swordsman in a brief break from protecting a plucky theater troupe from a cursed stage puppet!

Then the cute young swordsman immediately decides to be her joint boyfriend and bodyguard because he has nothing else to do with his life, and she's like "he followed me home, can I keep him? ...wait I'm an exiled superpowered divine avatar, I literally don't have to ask anyone else, I CAN JUST KEEP HIM :D" and then he and she and the theater troupe all go back to her home city to sort out a potentially apocalyptic problem in the annual setting-the-world-in-order religious ritual and also, very importantly, get the theater puppet un-cursed, and at about this point I got to Chicago and although I was enjoying myself immensely I didn't really have time to read another word until I was on a flight back to Boston.

So at this point I opened my Kobo again and spoilers! )

Profile

thewickedlady: (Default)
[personal profile] thewickedlady
thewickedlady

Wicked Truth

I'm a southern girl making my way through Yankeeland with a history degree and an artist's soul. I'm a geek and a dork, and I'm okay with that.

Sometimes, I even wear pants when blogging.

[community profile] realistica



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