- I have the money to spend on self-care if I deem it necessary
- my tumblr likes do, in fact, work well as a way of soothing the grumpyweasels
- work is giving me muffins and tea
- today's all-staff meeting keynote speaker was pretty good, as these things go (Amy Herman, if you're in the market)
- have found and added even more "songs I know from vids" to my Spotify playlist
I mean, it was certainly a thing that happened, and I like Bruce Willis, and especially as John McClane, who seems to be one of his more compassionate characters, so basically what Jess said, and I like gleefully silly action set pieces (though never-ending fist fights bore me). And I'm fond of snarky buddy cop movies, where none of them want to be there, but they have to save the world by flinging cars at helicopters and blowing shit up, dammit, and John and Matt did odd couple really well. (Though can we all pause to consider how Jupiter Ascending is silly and overly-convoluted and somehow this is not.) So if you're looking for two hours of Action Movie, I'd point you in this direction, probably. Or watch RED.
I did feel like Lucy was underused. I liked her. She was tough and smart, and did the best she could with the skills she had, but from the way people talk about this movie, I'd thought going in that she had more than ten minutes of screen time. I also liked Evil!Nikita, who was smart and competent and just in it for the money, so yay, bad guys, and I liked that they just let her and John get in a knock down drag out fight where she was treated like any other opponent, and they didn't drag in a female character in just to fight her because no male character is allowed to hit a girl ever, plus it was in no way sexy fighting. But wow, I really could have lived without all the racism and gendered slurs from John, especially when talking to Raylan after she died. That's the kind of talk I usually expect from a villain, and would like my leading man to never ever say. So, fun movie, possibly too much sexist crap (but not really more than usual for this sort of thing).
THEN, in in now for something completely different theatre, I watched Mao's Last Dancer, which again was fine, but left me uneasy. The dancer they had in the lead was very good (both at dancing and at acting), and it's always nice to see Bruce Greenwood, and I liked the dancing, but, but but...
I feel like there's a more complicated story to tell about Chinese culture and the effects of communism than, "They were all big meanies who didn't understand the greatness of western art, not like the Americans do, because America loves Art and also freedom, ammirite?" I'm in no way saying that China in the '70s was built of awesomesauce, nor that ballet isn't an excellent thing that I enjoy, but... Maybe I don't think there was anything wrong with trying to make a more culturally authentic form of ballet in China (which now exists), even if the political stuff was a bit heavy handed, and maybe completely skimming over the huge class wars going on in the US, and that Li coming into the middle class was a very different experience than most Chinese immigrants coming to the US had. The story I wanted to see wasn't China Awesome - USA Bad, but it might have been, It's More Complicated Than That.
It seems to be impossible to find good strawberries or peaches here anymore. I keep waiting for that magical moment in the summertime (the only thing I look forward to in summer, as I despise the heat and sunshine and hide in our hobbit hole cursing at the light for those months) where strawberries are those sweet fresh little ruby darlings that you can buy in green cartons off the side of the road in Richmond where it's still farmland, or big bursting nectar peaches whose fragrance lures you in from halfway across the produce aisle. Both have been sadly missing in the last few years. All we get are the big cottony tasteless strawberries, the hard dry flavourless peaches. I am so desolate! The last time I had good strawberries it was a tiny carton that I had to elbow hipsters out of the way for at the Farmers' Market and I paid an exorbitant amount for them.
On the pop culture front, it's interesting now that Lori and I have been living without cable for a few years and just depending on Netflix. It's a constant surprise to see what new movies/shows/products exist in the world. I am sort of enjoying it, the novelty of having things sprung on me. I mean, I know this is the exact age where I start saying "kids these days" and tut-tutting over social media, and I try to resist that urge, but there really are things I miss.
We were watching Almost Famous the other night and the part where the kid is going through his sister's record collection, touching all the covers and opening them and exploring them so reverently, and shit, I remember that. First with records, the paper pages inside that sometimes had lyrics and illustrations, the actual paper sleeve of the record, and then with our Disney records the way they had an illustration from the movie in the actual wax. And then tape cassettes, unfolding out the cardboard insert to see if the lyrics were in there, playing that damn tape until it started unspooling, getting one of those dual-cassette machines so you could cut-record-pause-record and make your mixtapes, and how you'd always have a stock of very short songs to fill up that awkward last few minutes on each side. And even CDs, the process of flipping through them at the store and then bringing them home, peeling off the cellophane, doing the same liner notes ritual as you listen to the disc for the first time all the way through. I miss that. Music for me now is so intangible, it's just something out there up there in the atmosphere. There's no process and no ritual. I'm not saying music shouldn't develop, of course, just that I miss the visceral relationship I used to have with it.
We're teaming up with the Nature Conservancy (we love them) to celebrate International Polar Bear Day on february 27! Advocates for these amazing creatures highlight today as a chance to celebrate Nanuk, as the Inuits say, as well as a day of action to reduce carbon emissions. You can check out some of the latest science on polar bears here.
Join us in honoring the Lord of the Arctic by captioning this photo! We'll gather submissions until Friday 2/27 and post the best of the best on Monday 3/2.
If you're brain is feeling a little frozen, be sure to check out all the submissions that have been posted so far!
Submitted by: (via The Nature Conservancy (photo by Eric P. Grossman))
So it’s official. As of Tuesday— and as most of you probably know already— Echopraxia won the CBC’s “Bookie Award” in the “Best SciFi, Speculative Fiction, or Fantasy” category, beating out Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven by (as of the close-to-midnight screen grab to the right) 300 votes. It was a much closer race than it should have been, and— judging by all the accolades heaped on the runner-up— it probably went to the wrong novel in terms of literary merit.
Of course, the CBC makes no claims of literary merit on this thing; they refer to the Bookies as a “People’s Choice” award, which is a different thing entirely. Even by that metric, though, I don’t see Echopraxia beating out an honest-to-God best-seller with over a thousand reader reviews on Amazon. What the Bookies really measure is total fan effort, with no attempt at per-capita parsing. A thousand votes represents the effort it took to click through an arcane menu one thousand times, and the algorithm makes no distinction between a thousand fans doing that once or one really dedicated fan (or author, for that matter) doing it a thousand times. A number of you voted more than once, which might give one ethical qualms if only the folks over at the CBC weren’t so obviously okay with that. I always said my fan base was small but fierce. Echopraxia‘s win is Exhibit A, delivered with my thanks. When the certificate arrives, I will stick it next to Caitlin’s.
But while we’re on the subject of Things With Questionable Credibility That Are Nonetheless Nice To Have, I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few glimpses of a birthday gift I recently received from someone who obviously appreciates my interest in the neurological sciences. I’m talking about Mental Medicine and Nursing by Robert Howland Chase A.M., M.D.: a century old, yet so seminal a work that it’s still available as a Classic Reprint (which probably puts it ahead of any recent Bookie winner you could name in terms of street cred, although I suppose we’ll have to wait another hundred years to be sure). Chase was both a skilled wordsmith and an informative teacher, as you can tell from some of these diagnostic illustrations:
I had not realized, for example, that the difference between religious and erotic paranoia scaled to beard length. It’s also interesting to note that alcoholics always keep one hand in their pockets, while victims of delirium can be diagnosed by being women. And the illustration of that poor soul in the throes of “maniacal excitement” is downright scary.
Not that Mental Medicine limits itself to diagnoses, mind you. It also describes some truly remarkable remedial techniques:
I’m especially impressed by the therapeutic applications of knitting.
Of course, all of this stuff was written before the Singularity, and all the advanced knowledge we have today.
Kinda makes you wonder how hard they’ll be laughing at us a hundred years from now.
On the plus side, my blu-ray player finally deigned to talk to the internet, so I at least have Phryne and her glorious wardrobe back on my TV. Such an excellent distraction. *And* I found my notebook that had all my professional blog post topics outlined in it. So I only have to reconstruct the fan-related writing, which is probably the better one to have to re-work, at least from the getting-a-paycheck perspective.
This post is intended to allow discussion of the upcoming episode, as reflected in the official show promos.
Please keep the comments spoiler free from anything not mentioned in the promos (interviews, articles etc).
( Clip )
Clips will be added as they appear online. If you find any clip floating around, please post in the comments and I'll update the post.
I did want to be sure to say, though, that when I first fell in love with this show, there was very little indication that it would ever be quite this good. I still would have adored the show that it felt early on like it was going to end up being--it has always been a show that was almost eerily aimed at absolutely everything I love about television--but the writing, the direction, the acting, absolutely everything is so airtight now that it's hard to even find things to criticise. It pushes so many boundaries, stretches beyond tropes, and all in the service of character development. Every single time.
I am just feeling so proud of my little show these days, and of all the marvellous people who make it.