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insufferable know-it-all
01 December 2016 @ 06:19 pm
Exemplary Bus Dad appeared again tonight. What a spirit-lifter. This time they talked about duplexes and possibly Jesus; she tried to eat his fingers; and when, a few times, she stood up on the seat, grabbed the rail and leaned back, he placed an unobtrusive hand or leg beneath her in case she fell, then snatched her knit hat and batted her face with it while she laughed. They say the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day.

Oh, and he had a safety pin on his lapel. First safety pin wearer I've crossed paths with whose pin hasn't struck me as emptily and/or obnoxiously performative. ETA: But that probably says more about me and my projecting than it does about the pin wearers.

Thank you for your kind comments after our family's unexpected holiday loss. If you're interested, here are some of the pictures we put out when visitors came.

baby pix, ca. 1918; also 1950sCollapse )

Short work week, after all that. TGIF tomorrow. Gonna watch a movie at disgruntledowl's house and hope to work on a vid this weekend. Probably should prioritize the Elf one since Xmas is coming up before the Festivids deadline. Also need to work on an essay for a thing.

Not much notable to report, activism- or media-wise. Caught up on Westworld and The Daily Show, rented the first season of Grantchester and read a book for work. [personal profile] no_detective et al screened the Eyewitness pilot at fangirl Thanksgiving, which was entertaining in a group but I'm not sure I'll pursue it.

How are you doing?

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/346327.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
25 November 2016 @ 08:45 am
Thanksgiving and bereavement.Collapse )

Uh, so other than that, Thanksgiving was actually pretty good. The flight down was short, uneventful and scenic; my dad's fiancée made a sweet potato pie with marshmallows on top that we blowtorched and later had to scrape off because they melted into a charred, lumpy glaze; there were about nine hundred people at the stepfamily's annual Thanksgiving dinner, but my worst worries weren't realized: (1) no one talked politics* and (2) despite the absence of my sister, who usually serves as a conduit, I talked with many attendees and didn't need to hide in a quiet corner. Some of the older kids (high school and college-ish) even came up and started conversations.

*In fact, the total lack of politics talk slowly swung me from "whew" to contemplating the extended family's privilege and/or willful ignorance at not seeming worried by current events. It's possible they've been talking about it a lot not-at-Thanksgiving and took a break for the holiday?

In other news, that orig. fic vignette made it to 4,800 words before I left MA, I've been alternating between reading a dull book for work and acquaintances' shifter romance novels, and I still hope to see some fangirls on Saturday.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/345957.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
18 November 2016 @ 08:10 pm
I don't even know what to say. You all see what's happening too.

How I've coped this week:

Reading, Watching, Sharing, Doing
I've been taking in as much news as I can handle, which varies by the evening. Since it's all too easy for me to think about things and stop there, I've also made efforts to transform that intake and mental processing into actions. Things like setting up monthly rather than annual charity donations, signing the subset of petitions that have a shot at going anywhere, and building a spreadsheet of local, state and federal representative contact information plus specific issues to thank them for supporting or urge them to oppose. I haven't psyched myself up yet to, uh, actually make the phone calls, but I'm working on it. Still unsure which outreach efforts are most effective when I live in a Democratic state with kickass reps who are already writing joint statements and introducing bills to prevent or reverse the most atrocious developments.

Working
Nobody at our office got anything done the day after the election, but by the next day I was ready to bury myself in work. My monthly productivity is now on track to be one and a half to two times normal.

Vidding
[personal profile] thedeadparrot, [personal profile] stultiloquentia and disgruntledowl came over at various times last weekend for communal laptopping and to talk or not-talk about our government-to-be. I made a [community profile] festivids treat draft in 24 hours and picked at a few others. Current plan: four Festivids and one Christmas vid. Ha. Ha ha ha.

Cooking
Vidding only worked as a distraction through Saturday. Sunday I tried to sit in the computer desk chair but kept drifting into the kitchen to start some other cooking or baking project. By the end of the day, there was curried pumpkin-apple soup, pumpkin bread, an onion and feta frittata, baked sweet potatoes, roasted vegetable lasagna and lemon-basil haddock with spaghetti squash. It's kept me in leftovers for the entire week, plus extras in the freezer, and one loaf of the pumpkin bread fed my coworkers.

Reading
Not much fiction. Finished the Young Miles compendium -- enjoyed the Dendarii parts, gradually lost patience with the rest -- and am wrapping up Vampire Romance 2. Starting to do proper research into the paranormal erotica short story market. I did go to book club last Thursday despite only having read a few chapters of the book months ago (The Goblin Emperor), and was glad to have done so, for the company.

Writing
Picked up a high school- into college-era (!) orig fic last night and added 1,200 words in 60 or 90 minutes, which, if you've been keeping track, is a lot for me these last few years. Want to try some more tonight and over the weekend. There is a sequence of scenes I daydreamed about back in the day that for some reason resurfaced, matured with time, a couple of nights ago, and I'm trying to get them down on the page. A sort of recovery story, years after the hurt I put the hero and heroine through: probably another form of self-comfort this month to go with the blankets and hoodies and warm drinks and toast.

Watching
Not much besides current events. [personal profile] thedeadparrot and I did go to see Arrival last Friday and it was great; haven't enjoyed a new SF movie that much since Interstellar. Oh, and Westworld. I'm still ambivalent about it but there's more to enjoy than it seemed at the beginning. This week's episode had one particularly delightful scenario and one great twist. Still, laughably Dark and frustratingly male-POV even when it's focusing on Strong Female Characters.

Dreaming
Starting last Tuesday, I went from having never dreamt about politics or politicians in my life to dreaming about them almost every night. Am ready for this phase to pass.

And so another week comes to a close. How are you all holding up?

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/345636.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
09 November 2016 @ 10:19 am
Well, that was a first: choosing to miss my bus and be late for work because I was too upset to leave the house this morning.

I need to get this out so I can concentrate on my job for a few hours.

state of mind about the election resultsCollapse )

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/345165.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
03 November 2016 @ 09:26 pm
I

Commuting by public transit often means watching harried and/or bitter parents square off against whining and/or hyperactive children. There's this one man, though, who appears on the bus from time to time and restores my faith in humanity and parenting. He's a good-looking guy, black, tied-back dreadlocks, trimmed beard, jeans and blazer chic. The kind of long fingers fandom loves to write about. He holds his blonde, pint-sized daughter in his lap and talks quietly to her while she babbles about her day and asks questions about what's on and outside the bus. He hugs her and lets her squirm and poke his face while being sure not to disturb the neighbors.

Today, she exclaimed about some cranes at a construction site and he introduced her to the concept of an excavator. Later, she asked, "Who's that?" about some stranger on the sidewalk. Instead of sighing and saying, "I don't know," like the weary mother on last week's ride who gave up on her son's constant "Why?"s, he said, "That's a man with a cane." Then he added, "His name is Harold." And, when she asked about someone else nearby, "That girl went skiing and she fell down. She hurt her foot. That's why she has crutches. It's been a few weeks, though, so she's going to get better soon."

I wanted to turn to him and tell him how much I enjoy seeing them on the bus, but chickened out, in part because he had responded to her sudden restlessness with another bear hug that made her laugh, and my eyes stung with tears.

II

Inspired in part by a recent conversation with childhood friend disgruntledowl, I wrote to two favorite English teachers from high school this afternoon about maybe getting a drink in our hometown over Thanksgiving. Despite our not having communicated in about 10 years except for one email exchange when I lived in Maryland, one of them, P., whom some of you may remember from reminiscences during the Memoryfest days?, responded within two hours. ♥

(Pleased to discover from a Google search that he's still a hottie. :) That's him holding the plaque.)

III

A lecturer at work today spoke about, basically, performative positivity on Facebook and how comparing yourself to others' carefully curated online lives can damage your mental and physical health. Nothing new, but it's got me thinking about the potential effects of my own recent attempts to focus on the happier aspects of my life in this journal. I hope that hasn't contributed to any of your discontents. Let it be known that my life beyond these posts is not all unicorns and rainbows, heh. ("Heh.") Focusing on positives here has been helping me counterbalance troubles at work and some unhealthy thought patterns.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/344941.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
02 November 2016 @ 07:33 pm
[personal profile] deelaundry visited over the weekend! We drove to Connecticut to see Robert Sean Leonard in a stripped-down production of Camelot.

We had been braced for terrible and instead were entertained. RSL's English accent was perhaps the weakest part of the evening. Britney Coleman, who apparently once played Bellatrix Lestrange in "A Very Potter Musical," gave a strong Musical Theater performance as Guenevere. Having never seen nor heard Camelot beyond a song or two, Dee and I were both amused by the Gaston-like characterization of Lancelot and this production's choice to include a bare-chested bathing scene. Michael De Souza did a great job with line delivery and body language, perhaps further endeared to my heart by the fact that at times he looked like Anton Yelchin. As for how to describe Mordred (Patrick Andrews) when he appeared in Act Two in full campy glory... He wore sparkly black leggings and was basically Seth Green playing Ramsay Bolton.

Perhaps my favorite part was learning a little bit of the history of the Westport Country Playhouse, which has been putting on shows starring big names since the '40s. They had rows of -- what are they called, not ads, not playbills -- and pieces of the old theater on the first floor. The place just felt wondrously thick with decades of actors and patrons taking a summer breather outside (but not too far outside) New York City for some low-pressure theater. I stared a little too long at a photo of Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner in the play Butterflies are Free.

.

Later, Dee suggested we try this show Black Mirror that has been recommended around. We watched the first two episodes of the first season (the prime minister and the pig, and the TV/bikes/game show dystopia). Creative, well-realized, solidly written and acted, and super disturbing, wow. Took days to shake off some of the concepts and images. Rupert Everett's faux-"X Factor" judge in particular induced a surprising visceral fear/attraction response in me. If the camera had lingered on his face for another 15 seconds, I'm positive I would have had nightmares. But in an enjoyable way? I'm looking forward to watching more -- just not before bed.

.

Then I whisked down to DC for 48 hours for a work trip. Got to see a handful of dear friends and a former coworker, attended the conference that prompted the trip, and at said conference, eee, had half a drink with Jad Abumrad, co-host of Radiolab! I only flailed at him a little before we engaged in some career-, storytelling- and podcast-related chat. If I'd known he was going to be there I probably could have asked better questions, but it was still a real treat.

Tomorrow, back to work and regular life.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/344695.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
25 October 2016 @ 07:21 pm
Halfway through season 7 of The Vampire Diaries on Netflix and mostly reacting with "WTF."

For example:Collapse )

The bad and the good. Warning: racism, abuse, suicide.Collapse )

I dunnnoooooo.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/344575.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
23 October 2016 @ 06:23 pm
1. Having synn for a friend. She waited in yet another line at the SPN con she's attending this weekend to get me Sebastian Roché's autograph on an 8x10 I mailed her with a homemade montage of his late '90s roles on Roar and Odyssey 5, and she took the time to email a description of how he reacted to it. ♥Longinus♥ ♥synn♥

2. Friends in general. This week included a Boston tourism day with [personal profile] alpheratz and [personal profile] seascribe, a small dinner party at a grad school classmate's house, the usual wonderful deep conversation with M. (hereafter disgruntledowl; she got an LJ for Yuletide!), and heckling the latest pair of Project Runway episodes with [personal profile] thedeadparrot.

Next weekend there will be a [personal profile] deelaundry; we're going to see Robert Sean Leonard in Connecticut in his latest play: Camelot.

[personal profile] alpheratz's visit reminded me to get out more to parts of the city I don't usually visit. The South End and the Back Bay segment of Comm Ave are so lovely this time of year.



3. Roasting trays of zucchini, eggplant, yam and cabbage for meal sides this week. ♥autumn♥

4. Playing with a few vids. One is an Elf vid for Xmas that I've been wanting to make for years. The others will be Festivids; TBD if assignments or treats. They are among the five-and-counting requests from people that I'd love to make, and there are still a couple of movies to watch before signups close in case they can be added to my offers. Much better than last year at this time.

5. Books to read. One enjoyable SF series: the Young Miles compendium by Bujold, beginning tomorrow, having finished Shards of Honor and Barrayar a week ago and NK Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate on Friday. One guilty pleasure: Vampire Romance 2 by assorted contributors, begun last night. (You may recall an anecdote about volume 1.) The first two stories weren't anything special, but since they were apparently publishable quality, they did make me think optimistic thoughts about generating simple beginning-middle-end ideas for marketable het paranormal romance or erotica short stories: a possible goal in the not-so-distant future. (Though it's mysterious why I think I can write a short story when I can't even finish a "one-shot" fic WIP... maybe because I wouldn't have such personal investment in the short story. TBD.)

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/344245.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
15 October 2016 @ 12:44 pm
This year with "sales pitch" summaries and screen shots, inspired by a friend!

Dear Festividder and anyone who might like to make a treat:

Queen MargotCollapse )

Farewell My ConcubineCollapse )

Stranger by the LakeCollapse )

Gods & MonstersCollapse )

The Golem and the JinniCollapse )

WildlikeCollapse )

Really hope you aren't looking for specific song recommendations, heh. Whatever you choose will be the right music. If you're at sea, though, here are some notes on preferences. I'm also open to spoken-word and other nontraditional forms of audio, but if you mix dialogue with music, please make the dialogue very clear/easily audible.

Of course, make whatever vid appeals to you, regardless of whether I've asked for it. We've been matched because we both like something, so whatever you choose to do with that should be wonderful. Hopefully you have an idea you'd like to pursue.

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/344007.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
insufferable know-it-all
1.

After an iffy start at the beginning of the nominations period, when it looked like there'd be hardly anything I could offer, I'm now excited about this year's Festivids. Have a handful of ideas it would be a lot of fun to make. Hope the sources end up being requested. Hope at least one of them becomes my assignment. Am preparing, optimistically.

(It wasn't until the last year or two that I learned how many nominations don't end up being requested, either because people nominate things before they've narrowed down what they want to ask for or because people nominate things they want to make and then hope they inspire someone to ask for them. At least now I know nothing is a certainty.)

Requests-wise, most of my Dear Festividder letter is ready to go. I'm going to try a "sales pitch" section for each request this year in case the summary or screen shots appeal to a participant who is not familiar with a source.

2.

Many friends have posted about how their Yuletide matches are for things they'd most wanted to write as treats, so, congratulations to you!

Nothing in the database of Yuletide letters has caught my treat-making fancy. That's a small disappointment, but it does leave more time for vidding and for working on half-done stories. Still determined to finish the Jinni/Dustfinger crossover PWP and the Inkheart foursome fic, small as those audiences will be. Did write a pleasing 1,500 words of DS9 Mary Sue a couple of weeks ago, inspired by the Damaya/Schaffa dynamic in The Fifth Season.

3.

[Warning: gross dog thing]

Last week while I was microwaving my lunch, the office puppy made hairball noises, barfed mostly undigested kibble onto the carpet, sniffed at the pile and ate it. It felt like a metaphor for how work has been going lately.

4.

On the brighter side, one morning on the way to the bus, the usually grumpy crossing guard exclaimed that someone had dropped a bag of chips and directed my attention to a cluster of pigeons pecking Bugles off the sidewalk.

5.

Been reading some stuff. We have been assigned five Vorkosigan novels for book club—so far, I have read one and a half Cordelia novels; the Young Miles compilation is next—and I'm glad to finally be experiencing and (despite Bujold's overuse of adverbs) enjoying them. The appeal so far lies in a combination of competence kink, aspirational relationship model and cross-cultural navigation, plus one particular scene that hewed deliciously close to a Mary Sue noncon scenario I adore. I also ended up really liking The Fifth Season and now have only a few days' wait until The Obelisk Gate arrives at the library.

6.

Been watching some stuff:

Last Action Hero, which, to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed. Cinephile boy gets magic ticket that lets him enter a movie and later lets him, the protagonist and the villain (redhead Charles Dance, no less) exit the movie into the real world. Much cheesy-delightful meta ensues, including debates about whether characters in a fictional narrative can be convinced they're in a fictional narrative, as well as a meeting at a film premiere between Arnold Schwarzenegger as the titular action hero and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays the action hero.

Afterwards I rewatched the quite similar The Purple Rose of Cairo—substitute Jeff Daniels for Arnold Schwarzenegger and add more movie exec hair-tearing and misogyny—which aged well conceptually but developed a level of creepiness I did not recognize when (a) I was younger and (b) we did not know as much about Woody Allen.

I thought about requesting both movies for Festivids but really what I want is a combo/multi thing about media superfans going into and out of fictional universes (see also: Pleasantville, the holodeck, etc.) so in the end I decided I'll probably make that myself.

Luke Cage. Uneven in pacing and dramatic effectiveness, and a couple of the actors seemed to be in a different show (*cough Willis*), but I liked it overall. Mike Colter, Rosario Dawson & Theo Rossi FTW. Spectacular commentary on, and fantasies about being unharmed by, racism-driven police brutality. Mostly I wish I'd been able to watch it later and at a more leisurely pace, but I cared enough to fear being spoiled on Twitter. I also wish there were more shows like it, for obvious reasons as well as because it felt like the poor showrunners felt like they needed to cram all of contemporary Black American pop culture and Harlem history into one 13-episode show because there aren't enough opportunities elsewhere. Except, at the same time, of course it's not even close to being all of either of those things, and the seam-bursting amount of music and literature and sports references and cameos &c can as easily feel jubilant and long overdue as overstuffed. Plus, ask me how many times I Shazam'd a song or jotted down a book to check out. :)

Westworld on HBO. I had been really looking forward to this, and ended up disappointed after the first two episodes. The themes are right up my alley but the dark tone is so over the top and the "edgy" meta walks the same thin, irritating line between cleverness and exploitation as Sucker Punch and Ex Machina; nor am I sure it's making me think anything new. Too much to go into for this post, though.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Do not. Do not do this to yourselves. The only good thing to come out of our group heckling of this movie was our collective crossover pitch, "The Bat and the Furious," TM my friend M., in which Gisele was secretly Wonder Woman the whole time and the superheroes have to team up with Vin Diesel's crew for car reasons.

7.

Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow. Have an easy fast, those who are fasting. ♥

Originally posted at http://bironic.dreamwidth.org/343798.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.