(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:09 pm
meganbmoore: (why trick icons are rare)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 I watched the first season of The Good Place a few weeks back when Netflix added it and the season 2 premiere last night.  It's excellent, but it really is a show best watched knowing nothing but the general premise.  I actually did go in spoiled, due to tumblr fandom's need to gif one actor's perfect comedic timing in the season 1 finale, and it was interesting to see all the clues as I watched it, but I also wish I'd gone in unspoiled.

I'm not usually a fan of sitcoms (including this, I just barely need two hands to count the US sitcoms I've watched as an adult) and this one is rightly loved both by sitcom fans and people who don't usually watch sitcoms.  Season 1 is on Netflix and season 2 is on Hulu, and I think NBC's website has all episodes.
meganbmoore: (hwajung: jeongmyung revealed)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
I've been watching MBC's latest sageuk, The King in Love, which is also the latest in the recent trend of youth fusion romance sageuks, though that little subgenre seems to have run its course.  (Hopefully the fact that Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People is the only sageuk this year that's really considered a success will influence future sageuks, though they seem to be over and done with for the year, unless we count Live Up to Your Name, which is very good, but also a time travel drama set more in the present than in the past.)  For the most part, it's been enjoyable, though I'm a couple weeks behind because it looked like it was headed toward one of several endings that I would have considered dealbreakers for the whole show.  (I haven't watched it yet, but I do know it does have my preferred ending, so I should catch up with it this week.)  The one area where it completely fails, unfortunately, is in one of its central conceits:  presenting a love triangle in which a woman loves  two men, and it's unclear which she loves more.  Discussing possible endings with a friend reminded me of the love triangle in one of JTBC's few sageuk outtings, Maids, which also had a triangle in which a woman is in love with two men, but does it much better.



spoilers for both series )
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
1. My little sister is visiting from the Republic of Ireland. She was in a pub in Dublin, and a couple of people asked her what she was doing in Ireland, and she said: "I'm British. I've come to take your land." And then she had to go to the airport and flee the country immediately. Well, no. I mean, yes but no. She's on loan back to a Scottish university to work on a project she doesn't want to be on, for a senior academic that she doesn't much like, for a grand total of zero pounds sterling (something holding references and publications over her head something something.) Sometimes I think about the difference between having a job and having a career, and at the moment I think it's that when I have to do things I don't want to do, at the behest of people I don't like, I at least get paid for it.

On her first day back, she was on a bus where somebody threw a bicycle at the driver, who stood up and chased him down the street. And because she hasn't been living in Glasgow for a couple of years she considered this 'weird' and 'frighting', and not 'a good reason to be late for work' or 'a tuesday'. So I've been loaning her my car, and as my car is held together by string and happy thoughts (that, of course, being the other big difference between having a career and a job) I'd warned her to keep an eye out for any of the engine management lights coming on. Anyway, cue later that night when she called frantic because there was a light on the dashboard that wouldn't go off. It was the handbrake light. She hadn't let the handbrake off, and it was the handbrake light. I love her.

2. I have had Freya - ridiculous mostly labrador, much loved bane of my existence, and reason for getting out of bed on mornings when I just want to go nope - for three years now, and to celebrate my mum made her a birthday cake. Liver & kidney, which, yes, is as disgusting as it sounds. It's worth noting that I have passed thirty-four birthdays on this green Earth, and my mother has yet resisted any temptation to make me a birthday cake.

I've actually been having some behaviour problems with Freya. Earlier in the summer she was attacked by two Vizslas (a couple of stitches in her eyelid, a bad fright, and me nearly coming to blows with the owner.) But ever since then she's been determined to get her revenge in first with almost every female dog she meets.

In almost all respects I think dogs are better than people, but you can't explain female solidarity or internalised misogyny to a dog; then again, you can't explain those to most people, so maybe we'll call that one a draw.

And she's still a total pet with people, so.

3. It occurred to me that I'd never actually made use of the Netflix free trial. I watched Below Her Mouth (porn, basically), a bunch of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (the best hangover telly there has ever been or will be), two seasons of You Me Her (actually really good), a season and a half of iZombie (I thought the first season was awesome; during the second I thought that the joke that Liv basically becomes the person whose brain she'd eaten was wearing thin, and I didn't give a rat's ass about anything that was going on with Major.)

I tried the first episodes of Santa Clarita Diet (too gross) and One Day at a Time (too much laugh track) but nah.

But the bigger thing was that Netflix has half-assed its crackdown on vpns, so while you can't watch anything, you can see how much better the US version is, kind of killing any desire I had to shell out for the clearly inferior UK version.

4. I have been on this thing of writing for more exchanges in 2017, and honestly, I'm not sure this has been leading to my best work: Exhibit A: my contributions to [community profile] auexchange

Truth, Justice, and a Really Good Dental Plan (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Superhero AU)

"What I'm saying is: do you think they're trying to Avengers Assemble us? Collecting New York's finest superheroes, and---"

The elevator doors dinged open, revealing Hitchcock and Scully.

"--'Kay," said Jake. "Never mind."


The Morning After the War Before (Person of Interest, Everybody Lives AU)

Sometimes Root wasn't sure that they hadn't lost the war after all, and that she wasn't living out some digital afterlife in the best simulation the Machine could come up with.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:08 pm
skygiants: Beatrice from Much Ado putting up her hand to stop Benedick talking (no more than reason)
[personal profile] skygiants
If you are currently in Boston, you have one week left to go see Or at the Chelsea Theater! As [personal profile] aamcnamara put it on Twitter, "it is the Restoration queer bedroom farce spy writing-themed play of your dreams."

Or features three cast members, playing, respectively:
- former spy and ambitious playwright Aphra Behn
- Charles II of England and also Aphra Behn's ex-lover double agent William Scot
- Nell Gwyn, and also Aphra Behn's elderly and extremely cranky maid, and also in one memorably stamina-requiring and scene-stealing monologue Lady Mary Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company of theatrical players

Most of the play takes place in Aphra Behn's apartment, with cast members popping in and out of side rooms as Aphra Behn vainly attempts to keep all her love interests separate AND ALSO thwart a hypothetical plot on the king's life AND ALSO and most importantly finish writing the final act of her career-launching play by a deadline of 9 AM the next morning! Which nobody will let her do! Because they keep wanting to make out with her and/or tell her about plots on the king's life! It's all very frustrating!

The dialogue is delightful, the actors do a fantastic job rattling out natural-sounding rapid-fire iambic pentameter, I laughed aloud at the final plot twist, and the ending contains a solid dose of much-appreciated optimism; it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one I would strongly recommend.

Lovely Fics That I Have Read Recently

Sep. 15th, 2017 04:22 pm
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters by [personal profile] st_aurafina (Person of Interest; Root/Shaw, Reese/Finch, 52k, Sentinel AU)

In 2001, Harold advised on a project called Cascade, not knowing he was a Guide himself. Years later, he and John, a Sentinel on the run from Cascade, must help Shaw, who has just lost her own Guide when the Project turned on her. Complicating matters is Root, searching for Harold's Machine and interfering with their rescue of Shaw.

THIS IS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. I don't know the sentinel & guide trope from adam, but this slots it into PoI canon super neatly without ever feeling like it's being explained to you. And is basically just long, and in character, and really super delightful.

Perimeter Oscillations by [archiveofourown.org profile] architeuthis (DC movies; Lois/Diana; 14k)

On the trail of a mythological beast, Diana runs into Lois Lane, who is pursuing her own investigation.

Lois Lane is the saving grace of the DCEU's take on Superman, and this gives such good Lois.

Etta Candy's Last Stand by [archiveofourown.org profile] sanguinity (Wonder Woman; Etta/Diana; 2k)

This is the way Etta is going to die: trapped between a bed and Diana Prince’s breasts.

If you are having a bad day and puppy pictures just aren't cutting it for you, read this fic, I promise it will make you feel better. It is just super delightful.

(no subject)

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:16 pm
skygiants: Hikaru from Ouran walking straight into Tamaki's hand (talk to the hand)
[personal profile] skygiants
At first I expected to write a rather scathing post about Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink, and then I got like 2/3 of the way through and realized that there were in fact some things I really liked about the book to counteract the things that made me stare into the camera like I was on the office, and THEN I got to the end and -

-- ok let me backtrack. The Weight of Ink is a serious literary novel about a pair of academics (the favorite protagonists of serious literary novels) who have discovered a treasure trove of 17th-century documents in a staircase written by Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jewish woman who Confounded All Tradition by acting as scribe for a London rabbi. The book proceeds to interweave Ester's story and POV with that of the academics as they discover various bits of evidence pointing to the things that Rachel Kadish will then later explain to us in Ester's narrative sections.

Ester's story is .... it's mostly good? I think I have come around to largely thinking it's good. It starts to pick up around the middle of the book, when Ester starts writing letters to various famous philosophers under fake male names so that she can Engage in the Discourse.

[ACADEMIC A: [Ester's fake name] did not get much attention during his career or make any important allies -
ACADEMIC B: Oh, why is that?
ACADEMIC A: Well, basically, he was very rude to everyone he wrote to.

I will admit I was charmed.]

Ester's most important relationships are with the rabbi -- a good and wise man who respects her intellect and cannot support the ways in which she chooses to use it -- and with Rivka, the rabbi's housekeeper, a Polish Jew who acts as Ester's foil in a number of significant ways, not all of them obvious or expected. Both of these dynamics have an interesting and complicated tension to them that goes well beyond the standard 'I, A Misunderstood Woman Ahead Of My Time.'

Also there is another young upper-class Jewish woman who is rebellious in wildly different ways than Ester is; a pair of brothers who are both interested in marrying Ester for profoundly different reasons, neither of which is true love; and, for a brief period of time, a love interest. The love interest is hilariously lacking in personality and equally hilariously irrelevant to Ester's life on the whole, and mostly exists to trigger a series of philosophical musings related to desire about which Ester can fight with Spinoza. I guess The Distant Shadow Of Spinoza is also one of Ester's most significant relationships.

Anyway, I appreciate the weighting of these relationships, and the way in which the narrative emphasis shifted from what I expected, and especially all the relationships that were not grounded in romance, but in other forms of love and duty and resentment and complicated emotional bonds.

And ... then there's our modern academics.

Helen Watt is a stiff-necked elderly British specialist in Jewish history, who is on the verge of retirement due to Parkinson's disease. Helen has a Tragic Backstory: in her youth, she spent a month as a volunteer in Israel in the 1950s and had a summer fling. Sorry, let me rephrase: she met an Israeli soldier who was the love! of her life!! (For a month.)

The pivotal scene in their romance occurs when Helen shows up for one of their few actual shared off days to have a date, and he hands her a copy of The History of the Jewish People and then LEAVES and REFUSES TO COME BACK until she's READ IT COVER TO COVER. This is the only way she can understand our endless, endless oppression!

(Meanwhile, he lurks outside, and periodically brings her snacks. THIS SCENE IS SOMEHOW NOT MEANT TO BE COMIC.)

Alas, Young Helen in her frailty decides it's all a LITTLE too much for her, and subsequently regrets her lost love until the end of her days. But, inspired by the world's weirdest date, she decides to dedicate her life to the study of Jewish history, so I guess ... that's all right .....?

She is assisted in her endeavors by Aaron, the third POV character. Aaron is an insufferable American Jewish Ph.D. student. He is working on a dissertation about Shakespeare and the Jews, for which he has no evidence, so instead he spends the entire book obsessing over an unattainable Cool Girl. (And she is so textbook Cool Girl! The coolest girl of all! A girl who poses nude for artists who capture a certain something about her, a girl who's just realer than other girls, THE MAGICAL IDEAL.) He sends her incredibly long, pompous emails after a one-night stand which took place on an evening in which "he waited until Marisa was on her second beer -- he kept track from a distance, biding his time. When he approached at last, his own untouched beer dangling casually in his hand --" OKAY AARON, THANKS AND GOODBYE, YOU AND I ARE DONE.

But alas, we are not done with Aaron, we are not done with Aaron at all. Eventually Aaron does come to realize that he's insufferable! A significant part of this realization comes when he visits an archive and meets a shy, demure archivist who's bad at flirting, and is suddenly struck by how desperately sad it is that people like her may never find love because they're all overlooked by assholes like him. If only people like him paid attention to people like her, their lives might be fulfilling and the world would be better! ALAS.

(There are two other archivists in the book, The Interchangeable Patricias. They have a few moments of heroically rising to Helen's aid but mostly their role is to stand as icily competent, largely humorless glowering gate-guards over the sacred text, because of course.)

So basically everything about the modern sections was nonsense to me. (Also, I got mad every time they found a document that explained to them a Piece of the Mystery in a way that was way too narratively convenient. 'Oh, look, Ester doodled out her real name and her fake name next to each other and added a note that said 'HEY IT'S ALL MY NAMES!' Isn't that handy!')

Still, Ester's story in and of itself was good and compelling and interesting, and grudgingly I became invested in it despite myself...

And then spoilers! )

icons: Love 020

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:34 am
meganbmoore: (paladins: yan yu/mo le: pre-angstplosion)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
 157 x Love 020



here )

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 10:38 pm
skygiants: Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist with her head on a pile of books (ded from book)
[personal profile] skygiants
Juliet Takes a Breath was our book club book for the month of August. I am glad for the existence of this book in the world and I am glad I read it, and with that said my experience of reading it was largely one of OVERWHELMING CONTACT EMBARRASSMENT.

Juliet Takes a Breath is the coming-of-age story of Juliet Milagros Palante, a young Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who's spending the summer of 2002 interning in Portland, Oregon! with international feminist sensation Harlowe Brisbane! author of "Raging Flower," a book about VAGINA POWER!

Unsurprisingly, pretty much every time Harlowe Brisbane spoke a sentence I wanted to retract my head all the way back inside my nonexistent turtle shell until a million years had passed and womyn power white lady feminism was a thing that could be discussed with distant scholarly complacency, like galvanism or the Cathar heresy. This is completely expected and indeed clearly intended by the book, but nonetheless, OH LORD.

Anyway, not everything is Harlowe Brisbane being exactly the way you'd expect; a great deal of the book is Juliet dealing with a wide range of family reactions to her coming-out (the width of the range in particular is really good!), and Learning New Vocabularies, and finding comfortable queer POC spaces, and attending lectures about intersectional solidarity in the wake of 9/11, and making romantic gay teen mixtapes full of Ani DiFranco songs! But oh, lord. At least one book club member said it rang extremely true to their experience and memories of Portland in 2002. Myself, in 2002 I was nowhere near Portland nor any of the Cool Yet Problematique gay spaces that Rivera is writing about here and it's PROBABLY just as well, but it does seem quite likely to me that walking around Portland in 2002 was a lot like walking around a physical manifestation of certain bits of tumblr, and that is indeed the sense I got of it from this book.

[a sidenote: the acknowledgments in the back include pointed thanks and reference to the time that the author spent with Inga Muscio, author of 'Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.' I'm not necessarily saying this book was a callout post, but .... anyway Inga Muscio also cheerfully blurbed the book on the front so it seems there were no hard feelings on her part and all is well.]

(no subject)

Sep. 10th, 2017 06:37 pm
skygiants: Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender; text 'just kicked butt' (katara kicks butt)
[personal profile] skygiants
Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent is a compilation of oral history interviews with Pearl Witherington Cornioley, behind-the-lines SOE agent in France during WWII, packaged up into a YA nonfiction narrative.

Pearl's story is as fascinating as all the other stories about WWII female secret agents I've read, with the bonus that it's barely crushingly depressing at all! Pearl started out as a courier, posing as a traveling cosmetics saleswoman and working with an old school friend of hers who was running the SOE Stationer network -

(sidenote; she'd also been the one to recommend that her old school friend sign up for secret intelligence to begin with, and then was like 'yes now that I've set that up I'll pop on over to join his network now, thanks')

(sidenote 2; she'd also managed to somehow smuggle a secret message to her fiance Henri, a French soldier who had just escaped from German POW camp, and get him in contact with the Stationer network as well, so literally as soon as she parachuted in her boss was like "HEY WELCOME TO FRANCE HERE'S YOUR BOYFRIEND I'll just .... leave you two alone a bit")

- but eventually her boss was arrested by the Gestapo. Fortunately, Pearl had dragged several other members of the network out for a picnic that day, so they all escaped!

Then D-Day happened and Pearl was like "well, I guess it is now my job to be in charge of organizing all British supply drops and getting weapons and money to the French underground resistance, and no one else seems to be sabotaging the Germans around here, so ..... I guess that's what we're doing now?"

And that's how Pearl ended up being in charge of several thousand Maquis soldiers! With Henri playing support.

(There's a couple of Henri interviews in the back and they are mostly taken up with the story of how he rescued a baby bunny while retreating from the Germans and brought it along with him through numerous battles until they were about to be captured, at which point he was like 'FLY FREE, MY RABBIT FRIEND! SAVE YOURSELF!' "And that was the only life I saved during the war." BLESS.

There's also a very cute bit that the interviewers put in dialogue, because they also obviously found it super cute, where Pearl is like "ugh I get so mad when people say the men followed me because I was pretty" and Henri is like "BUT YOU WERE, YOU WERE SO PRETTY" and Pearl is like "I WAS NOT AND ALSO THAT'S NOT THE POINT.")

I have not yet managed to get my hands on Nancy Wake's autobiography, but I would love to compare/contrast -- they played very similar roles during the war in organizing Maquis during the liberation of France, but while Nancy Wake seems to have made no bones about being a very front-lines combatant (strangling soldiers with her bare hands, etc.) Pearl spends a lot of time in her account strongly disclaiming active heroism and emphasizing the logistics and support elements of her role. Could she have killed somebody herself if she had to? Well, gosh, she's so glad she never had to find out, that wasn't her job at all!

But I mean, Pearl also starts out early on in her narrative explaining that she is very conflict-averse and dislikes argument above all things, and then goes on to describe, in addition to extensive amounts of fighting with the Germans:

- fighting with the entire French government when it looked like they weren't going to give any of her Maquis any medals because they were technically working under the British rather than the French (ง'̀-'́)ง
- fighting with the entire English government when they tried to give her a civil Order of the British Empire rather than a military one because "there was nothing remotely 'civil' about what I did" (ง'̀-'́)ง
- fighting with the head of SOE after he accused a trusted French colleague of hers of being a double agent due to a misunderstanding and then failed to apologize -- "as Colonel Buckmaster is kind enough to visit me each time I come to Paris, can you ask him to alert me next time and I'll ask [the dude who was falsely accused] to come too?" (ง'̀-'́)ง (AND HER OLD BOSS NEVER VISITED HER AGAIN)
- fighting yet again with the English government when they wouldn't let her wear parachute wings, because she'd only jumped four times instead of five, "SO I JUST WORE THEM ANYWAY" (ง'̀-'́)ง (the editor is like 'we don't know where or how she got a pair to wear? but apparently she did?')

What I'm saying is I take Pearl's description of her own retiring conflict-averse shyness with a grain of salt.

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