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As a form of bonding with a non-geek coworker, I watched "The Notebook". In the spirit of enjoying things for what they are, not what you want them to be, I will note there were several moments where I was moved: the young lovers' screaming fight that acknowledges the character flaws that will be part of their relationship if they're going to continue as a couple; the meditation on love and choice when Allie's mother reveals her own youthful fling to her daughter; and the very end, where the lovers romantically pass away on the same night, the night Noah sneaks into Allie's room at the nursing home. But by all that's holy give me friends to lovers with ridiculous snark and banter, or true love in the context of a bigger world, or a character study with science, for my go-to entertainment.

The new Avengers movie is on this week's to-do list.



The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison / truepenny aka Sarah Monette) (2014):. Fantasy novel about the ascension of Maia, the Elvish emperor's disregarded fourth son, to the throne of the Elflands. The novel opens with Maia shaken awake to learn his father and three brothers have been killed in an airship explosion, right before he is whisked from an impoverished country estate to the imperial palace, so this is not a big spoiler.

This novel is a warm fuzzy blanket of feelings. It's like Monette took what she learned from writing the Mirador quartet (which I loathed), combined it with wolftimes feedback, and produced this tempered work borrowing from the hurt-comfort tradition with beautiful attention to structure and sequencing of information. The interwebs tagged it "fantasy of manners", which does not seem inappropriate. People keep spontaneously offering to teach Maia. Maia keeps figuring out how to deal with people! Maia charts path toward being a good person and a good Emperor! Maia connects to his remaining family! This could have been a byzantine political novel; instead, it's a complex humanist novel. In a stronger Hugo year, I probably wouldn't expect The Goblin Emperor to make the ballot, but I'd pick it up for comforting rereads for years.

Katherine Addison is Monette rebranded, as mentioned multiple times on her livejournal. If you haven't read Monette's work, and liked this novel, you might or might not like her previous work. Look it up, but if you don't like the first chapter of The Mirador, set it aside before you're tempted to hurl it into a wall later on. (Wow. As I write this, I find I am still disgusted with the obligation d'ame in The Virtu.)

The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi) (2009): 23rd century Bangkok, generations after peak oil, faces a number of environmental, technological, and biological challenges to its existence. I liked the structure, and like that it tries to break out of the northern hemisphere, but it feels, how to put this, exactly like it was written by a Western man. There is a habit of attention, a certain angle on the world, that is rooted in that heritage and experience.

But within that frame of reference, there's a lot going on. The post-oil economy, a sincere effort to write a future Krung Thep that is energy-poor; at constant risk of being drowned by the rising ocean; poor, and fiercely defiant of the "calorie men" of the West.

The structure is amazing, a loose ricchochet collection of multiple PoV characters whose actions influence each other in direct, indirect, and generally unexpected ways. The yellow card refugee Hock Seng schemes to rebuild the wealth and stability of his old life in Malaysia, destroyed along with his family during ethnic purges, by stealing a Maltese Falcon plot device from the factory where he is employeed. The factory is a front for Ken Anderson, one of the calorie men of the West, in Thailand to find and exploit a rumored seedbank, a priceless treasure in a future ravaged by genetically engineered plagues. He is thwarted by the Environmental Department's Captain Jaidee Rojjanasukchai, and his lieutenant, Kanya, sworn to protect Thailand against the aggressive bioengineered life forms: beetles that have claimed entire forests; crop diseases that blight harvests, threatening famine; viruses and bacteria that rip through human populations like a scythe. They're professionally and personally disgusted by the New People like Emiko, the "windup girl" of the title. Emiko is a genetic construct, originally from Japan, abandoned by her owner and left to survive in Krup Theng, where she is considered so much biological trash to be recycled, and maybe beaten to death first. Emiko survives under the questionable patronage of a foreign pimp, one of Anderson's acquaintances. Her experiences are related in detail bordering on torture porn, so this is probably a skip for people who nope out of sexual assault descriptions.

I love this sort of plot. I love the ping-ponging cause and effect which become the causes of more effects. I love that Emiko struggles with her biological constraints and deep-seated psychological programming to find agency. I do not love that The Windup Girl will probably date very quickly, because of its topics and its approach to subjects that we're struggling with in the here and now, like climate change and genetic engineering. But it was enjoyable in the moment, and probably has a few more year before it's too dated to recommend without caveats. That's the problem with science fiction: the more detailed and interesting the extrapolation from the current body of knowledge, the less well it ages. Read it if you like kinetic plots with thoughtful future science.
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For New Year's Day I finally watched Guardians of the Galaxy with friends in the North Bay. It was much less immature than I'd braced for. Granted that my expectations started at rock bottom, which may have aided in clearing the bar.

GotG did a better than expected job balancing the tonal shifts between space opera and slapstick. Peter Quill's daddy issues are so very 'been there, done that', unless he turns out to be in line to inherit the throne of Asgard (because I trust Chris Pratt and the writers to play that for maximum hilarity). There were some things that I couldn't keep my mouth shut about while watching the movie. GotG seems to be set in a universe where there's interstellar ether instead of vacuum, for example. I also wish I liked Zoe Saldana's Gamora more: there were some scenes that worked really well for me, like Gamora cutting off Quill's attempt to hit on her, but I didn't really buy Gamora the Assassin. I'm not sure if it was an acting thing, or if the direction was for old school space opera, rather than emulating the more contemporary awesomeness of Aeryn Sun and Natasha Romanova and Zoe Washburn: tough as nails people who happen to also be women.

When I watch a movie, I'm there to enjoy the effect of a group of people telling a story, so I am often underwhelmed by set pieces that drag the story to a crawl for the benefit of showing off this or that technical skill. But GotG used the various components that go into set pieces - fighting, CGI, VFX, wirework, green-screen, sets, musical cues - to stunning effect elsewhere in the movie. The Groot and Rocket performance capture and CGI were particularly notable. I guess this is what happens when people who are good at what they do are given staggering budgets.
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Rainpocalypse: lots of flooding in the streets, some power loss, thanks to surprisingly warm rain. A notably undercrowded commute, both ways; the Wednesday evening commute was more crowded and delayed than either Thursday trip.

It was bad sequel season last week and this weekend: the two Star Trek reboots, and the middle Hobbit movie. It's no accident I opted out of watching the one with the spiders in the movie theater. I'm not terrifically impressed with the "fast forward through the spiders" version either; I miss Bilbo's lighthearted story. AS a fan of the novel, I find the movies don't capture the tone of the book, nor do they reflect many of the themes in Tolkein's mythology. As a movie viewer, I'm disappointed that the script doesn't remember that special effects age much faster than a good story. Somewhere in those nearly three hours of wandering though Mirkwood and Erebor there's a good story. I just don't care enough to try to find it.

By the way, a year of cool-off has not reduced my disgust with the Khan reveal, or Kirk's ridiculous death and resurrection, or Zoe Saldana's absolutely thankless role. In what alternate timeline is Uhura reduced to "the girlfriend"?! Ugh! The 2009 reboot is still watchable, but even with adjusted expectations I'm not feeling Into Darkness.

Through the power of Netflix I also finally watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which was charming, if very dated. Apparently I'm in a singing-dancing-hustling sort of mood.
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Movies:

Checked off "see latest Disney movie" with Redbox and Frozen. It was cute, but I would have liked this a lot more at a different point in my life, or with small children for movie night company. Or maybe if I hadn't heard "Let It Go" a few dozen times first. Idina Menzel is to be saluted for making what I hope is a pile of cash on the royalties.

I wasn't particularly attached to the idea of seeing Captain America: the Winter Soldier in theaters, but found myself compelled by the tumblr gifsets to see it in time to catch up with people's reactions. It had a predictable concentration of explosions and, as noted by some reviewers, a remarkable lack of Winter Solider, given the title. It'll be interesting to see how the changes in the film rebound in Age of Ultron, next summer.

X-Men: Days of Future Past has not crossed my path. Yet. There's a matinee on this weekend's to-do list.

TV:

The Elementary S2 finale was satisfactory, in an OH SHERLOCK HOLMES NO and "Joan Watson, still the functional adult" way; the B5 rewatch is paused at "Phoenix Rising". A decade-plus later, I hate Byron even more. He's bad decision boy, all the time! Because clearly Nonviolence Is The Answer Except For Invasive Scans of Nontelepaths Because I Have Angry Feels is a consistent moral position. (And that's why, even though the telepath arc is a hot mess, and Garibaldi's mid-S5 arc makes me want to shake the man sober, I am totally willing to buy he'd fall off the wagon so very hard.) At this point, Byron is my third-favorite villain in the universe (after Bester and Morden).

In more recent franchises, I watched episode 1x18 of Agents of SHIELD, a mid-arc episode with Coulson also having a Feelings Day, and yet somehow not leading his people to a fiery death (barely)AofS is a poignant reminder that B5 didn't hit its stride until S2. So I may come back to it sometime later. (To everyone who suffered Ward before the spoiler: I feel for you.) There's miscellaneous additional shows in the queue (cough, The Wire, cough) which are of sufficient reputation to jump the queue.
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The Great Gatsby (2013): When the trailer crossed my path, I thought this would be fantastic! Moulin Rouge-style hectic, saturated cinemetography to capture the dissipated party scene and the Buchanans' self-absorbed ennui - what a great combination!

Well, half right. The party scenes worked, but Baz Luhrmann wants me to have empathy with Daisy, Nick and Gatsby? Not happening. I think the novel's artifice is its power; one might as well weep for the interior life of a bishop or rook cruelly sacrificed to a literary checkmate. Doubtless a generation of high school english students will suffer through this on slow afternoons and write essays on 21st C interpretation of a 20th C literary classic.

Or maybe the artifice was in the cinematography? The movie felt flat, aided by some choices on depth of focus, especially in the Jay-and-Daisy scenes (notably when they sneak out of the party and make out under the trees). It seemed just weird at first, but now I am conidering whether that was an attempt to distance the viewer.

With that said, I was underwhelmed by the execution of Myrtle's death. One can imagine the power of setting the accident against "Love is Blindess", but the movie didn't earn my investment in the moment. It also didn't earn the pool scene, see again artifice vs empathy.

Blue Jasmine (2013): Picked up largely to play a game of Spot the Onsite Shooting. The cinemetography was pretty. The acting was good. The script was not really my thing, which got in the way of a truly satisfying Geography Bingo.
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Brave (2012), check. Entertaining, not groundbreaking, with surprise Mumford overlaid on the closing scene and credits. Solid entry in the "spunky young woman has an adventure and does some growing-up", with an interesting mother-daughter relationship.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, check. Cleared expectation bar set by Hunger Games, held my attention surprisingly well through the 2h26m runtime. Thumbs up to Jennifer Lawrence's acting choices. Based on book reviews, unusually little desire to read the original novel.

The next Hobbit movie is out next week; peer pressure may get me into a theater, spiders and all.
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Gravity is everything I ever asked for from the movies:

1) Entertaining pseudo-science in something resembling science fiction
2) Female protagonist
3) Protagonist vs Environment storytelling
4) Characters informed by (a) good acting and (b) a creative team too busy making an amazing cinematic experience to get bogged down in the mistake that mean = intrinsically interesting character = good writing / plot / editing idea
5) Special effects employed to enhance storytelling / cinematic experience, rather than stopping the flow of events for 30 minutes of "wow, a lot of computing cycles went into the making of this movie".

Alfonso Cuaron has finally eclipsed my habitual mental tag, "that guy on the creative team that did justice to my favorite Harry Potter novel." From now on he will be "that guy who wrote and directed SANDRA BULLOCK IN SPACE OMG THAT WAS AWESOME."

The previews for Gravity were 47 Ronin (skip), Hobbit 2 (postpone to DVD viewing, for maximum avoidance of freaking giant spiders, ick), "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a Ben Stiller Man-Child, bless" (skip), "Grudge Match" (boxing comedy, skip), "The Monuments Men" (WW2 misfits, skip), a touching family comedy about those loveable Southern misfits (skip), and Chris Pine Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - no no no, the reason The Hunt for Red October is a great movie is (1) script-writing, (2) a workmanlike approach by the creative team, and (3) Sean "a great actor and smoking hot, at any age" Connery. Skip. Alas, the touching holiday movies do not seem to be touching me yet.
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This was the sort of week where I decided the most suitable palliative for my woes was mall Korean and Pacific Rim.

In case you missed the trailers, PR has a script so bad MST3K might one day make it good. The Transformers/Gundam-vs-Chthonic-horrors combat does not balance this out. Guillermo del Toro's direction - frenetic, designed around 3D (saw it in 2D) - distracts one from the terrible dialogue and barely coherent paint-by-numbers storytelling long enough to appreciate the glowy CGI for what it is, without getting too distracted by the plot holes. The worldbuilding... well, the sets were trying to look as grungy as the backstory implied, and I will forgive a lot of dumb stuff when mind-melds are in play.

Tumblr fandom has dubbed Geiszler and Gottlieb the K-Science Bros, or just K-Bros, I think. The instant comparison reinforces the movie's weaknesses, but somewhat distracts me from my lingering regrets of voluntarily watching PR sober.
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Anonymous comments on LJ have become almost entirely spam, so anon commenting's been blocked. If this is a problem, DW allows open ID comments, and dreamwidth invite codes frequently posted to [livejournal.com profile] dreamwidth and/or [site community profile] dw_codesharing. Finally, LJ is free all the time.




Last weekend I watched Cowboys and Aliens and Captain America at the theater, and tried to distract myself from self-indulgent manga with a Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life. The distraction ploy backfired; the paragraph of strong feelings has been deleted. Cowboys and Aliens lived up to one review that it's the sum of its parts and no more. Captain America tried to be a faithfully gung-ho WW2 movie and succeeded admirably. To my shock, the black guy and the Asian-American guy lived. I'm assuming Red Skull will be back too.

I also watched Bride and Prejudice before a last-minute library return. I thought I hadn't seen it before, but I recognized most of the movie. So apparently it made very little impression last time I watched it, unfortunately.

Still reading Fullmetal Alchemist on the commute. )
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Sympathy to Norway in the wake of the tragic bombing and shootings. The world felt safer Friday morning; Friday night there were holes in the fabric of a lot of lives.

I also have to acknowledge Saturday's loss of Amy Winehouse. I really wanted her to kick her problems and make music stronger for her efforts, but now that's never going to happen.




This weekend's goals seemed realistic until late Saturday afternoon, when I realized I was maybe 60% done with the day's to-do list and about 90% out of oomph, especially after limping on after muscle strain.

Saturday's bus reading was Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett, a loaner from R. Something in my right foot went ow as I got off the bus, but I pushed on to the library in a quest for Fullmetal Alchemist volumes 4 - 11 and Kate Griffon's third Matthew Swift novel. I spent Saturday night icing aforementioned foot while watching Iron Man 2. There's some shared themes in this entertainment set I am refusing to acknowledge.

(Also, wouldn't it be awesome if Pepper and Scarlett Johansson's characters ran Stark Industries? In a totally "Pepper is the CEO and Natasha / Black Widow is the second-best exec admin assistant to pass SI's doors" way? The movie is sort of about Tony's manpain, and there's only three female speaking roles in it - Pepper, Natasha, Christine Everhart - but I like all three, so it doesn't feel off until I start analyzing the movie.)

I'm trying to stretch out FMA and read only one per work-day. If I am spoiled for future-to-me events, I will be very disappointed. I'll be updating as I work my way to volume 27 (and so far last) of the American translations. So far, Ed and Al are in Capital City for the first time. Ed is more entertaining, as a spectacle, but I like Al better as a character.

Summer blockbuster discussions are bringing home how much of my comics knowledge is actually from fannish discussion. So my view of the Marvelverse in particular is probably less heterosexual or normative, more feminist, and more internally consistent.
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Friday movie night with HP7.1 and Roommate Number Three, Inception Saturday night, HP7.2 Sunday morning matinee. (All the movie, half the cost, most of the early adopter thrill.) I guessed the twist in Inception, which disappointed me, but improved the really boring A-plot. Also suffered because I didn't care about the DiCaprio character's manpain.

HP 7.1 and 7.2 were okay, but choppy. I would have enjoyed less "wands as guns" and smoother transitions between scenes. I really loved McGonagall and Neville Longbottom getting to step up and shine. I'm torn between enjoying the big Snape/Lily flashback, and wondering why this huge glut of characterization was infodumped so much. But that is a source material problem, not a movie problem. The epilogue suffers from the same problem. The series could have ended with Harry saying, "I've had enough trouble for a lifetime" and left me satisfied. The hundreds of fat children (thank you, Joss Whedon) are implicit in the story and world Rowling's constructed.

Anyway. I have a very few movies I like uncritically and an awful lot I enjoy by destructive analysis. This weekend featured a lot of critique plus a few moments of pure glee.
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Following up on the previous post, Misattribution of Arousal. Aron and Dutton showed when you feel aroused, you naturally look for context, an explanation as to why you feel so alive. This search for meaning happens automatically and unconsciously, and whatever answer you come up with is rarely questioned because you don’t realize you are asking. . . [t]he source of your coursing blood is more ambiguous if you just drank a Red Bull before heading into a darkened theater to watch an action movie. You can’t know for sure it if it is the explosions or the caffeinated taurine water, but damn if this movie doesn’t rock.

Sometimes it's the raging feminist, sometimes it's the rage. Either way, approach with courtesy and respect.




Yesterday the San Francisco Symphony performed in Golden Gate Park. Set list:

Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain"
Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2, with pianist Valentina Lisitsa
Beethoven Symphony No. 5
Encore: Tchaikovsky, Overture from the "Nutcracker Suite"

I was not particularly interested in "Night on Bald Mountain" or the Beethoven, both of which suffer from overexposure. The Rachmaninoff was stunningly beautiful, and broke me a bit. However, who does the Nutcracker in July? Every red-blooded American knows that the 1812 Overture is summer music, fog or no fog.




Over Independence Day weekend, I caught up on the fourth, fifth, and sixth Harry Potter movies, which I'd missed in theaters. I thought I hadn't seen any of them, but Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gave me deja vu in several spots, so perhaps I caught part of it on cable at some point. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is waiting at the library. I might pick it up tomorrow, but with Inception waiting as well, it's unlikely I'll pop it in the DVD drive before Friday.




Essays on San Francisco radicals of bygone years are no good for me; my first reaction to protesters disrupting public transit should be "and what train did you get to the BART station, anyway?" not, "and why am I not down there?"
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Through the graces of Glenlivet and other people's questionable late-night impulses, I have seen Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I went in with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised when the movie slightly exceeded them.

I have mixed feelings about the comics the movie is based on: I can see how Brian Lee O'Malley's storytelling is technically good, but SP's slacker ways fail to engage my sentiments. The movie really homes in on the "story in conversation with a culture / other stories" thing, making use of video gaming styles, musical themes, and characters as That [Stereotype], particularly Ramona's seven evil exes as examples of subcultures familiar to the average Toronto hipster. I think making characters That [Stereotype] is lazy storytelling at best and probably angry-making to the racefail crowd; if I'm picking up on things like "hey where are the minorities" and "giving the Indian guy mystical superpowers? Seriously?" it's likely there's pretty egregious stereotyping going on. Also, the movie fails the Bechdel test. it's possible to be a good movie without including two women who talk to each other about something besides a man (hello, every war movie ever), but I think what is and isn't included in a work says something about the culture it rose from (Hollywood, O'Malley's Toronto). In a movie with Knives Chau, Kim Pine, Roxie Richter, Julie Powers, Envy Adams, Ramona Flowers, and Stacey Pilgrim - seven women! Seven! - it's disappointing that people lacking a Y chromosome never interact with each other except to talk about Scott.

With that said, the focus of the movie is Scott Pilgrim, not [personal profile] ase's feminist agenda, and it compressed a six-volume comic into less than two hours onscreen while embodying the spirit of the comics. Scott Pilgrim vs the World is not about smart, it's about flashy. In its own arena of video game / music scene references, it succeeds admirably, and it holds your attention for most of the two hours.

At some point, I'd like to do a compare / contrast with SP and Y: the Last Man to talk about how it's possible to have a male protagonist in a story without shutting women out of the picture. It's a bit of a straw man, since Y kills all the men in the first issue, but it's still tempting.
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It is with regret that I break radio silence with the discovery that my now-ex baking powder is made of fail. I was having the sort of Friday evening where that's a major impact on my good cheer - or lack - so the baking powder now decorates the compost bin's contents. Instead of a proper hangover and a day hiding from the light, this morning I woke up after five hours of sleep with a great day in the works. I don't understand it either; maybe I need to chuck bad ingredients with extreme prejudice more often.

Tonight I did dinner and a movie at home. Watching Across the Universe while trying to read The Good Soldiers wasn't a good call: Across the Universe blew its budget on Beatles rights instead of good writing. A really awesome story about love and the tragedies of the Vietman War may be struggling to get out, but gets lost in a mish-mash of classic rock covers, flashy stage sets, and occasionally psychedelic post-processing. Pretty, but distressingly shallow. It's the theme of this week's library haul: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Twilight are also on hand for light entertainment.
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The library notified me of two novels on hold for me: Geoff Ryman's Air and A Wizard of Mars, the latest in Diane Duane's Wizards series. I am pretty sure cracking a beer and opening a YA book like Mars is some flavor of wrong.

It's been brought to my attention that the library has books and DVDs. What should I watch? So far I'm thinking The Godfather, Oceans 11 (and 12, & etc), Across the Universe, The Last King of Scotland, and Up, if I can get them. I know I'm missing movies, because the last time I tried to do this I wound up with a handwritten three page list.
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Up in the Air: George Clooney ends up exactly where he started. Excellent. On-site shooting and/or excellent reconstructions, convincing acting, characters who are all interesting, likable, or grow on you. The romance between Clooney and Vera Farmiga's characters seemed a little shallow on first pass, and there's one retroactive "wait, what?" moment, but the final impact is sufficient payoff to let that pass. I found the resolution of Natalie's plot particularly cathartic, for some reason. Cough.

The Time Traveler's Wife: The movie focuses on Claire and Henry's angst, and hits my two major stumbling-blocks in the book: One True Romance and bad made-up genetics. I had hoped that moving the story out of clunky prose and onto the big screen would let me enjoy the incredibly cool "magic genetics" premise, but this was not to be. Since I watched the entire movie, but didn't read the entire book, I found more things I disliked. First, the story is called "the time traveler's wife", but it's really a story about the time traveler. The title is misleading and makes me expect a much more feminist take on the problems of being involved with someone who has a lifetime problem. If you'd told me this was a story about a time traveler, I would go in with different expectations. Also, I disagree with the "biological offspring are the only valid legacy" trope from square one. (No. Just - no. The complexities and emotional load of dealing with a heritable genetic condition are beyond the scope of this movie review, but I can produce on request a five paragraph essay with really upsetting internet links to promulgate my view that choosing not to pass on your genes is an individual and sometimes well-founded decision.) I'm glad I saw it, because this gives me something to talk about, but it wasn't as viscerally enjoyable as Up in the Air.

I have yet to see Iron Man 2. I miss my old fangirl network: finding someone who will understand the feminist shortcomings of the Marvelverse while prioritizing the explosions, and further while indulging my moments of anti-feminist objectification of RDJr, is a high order.

Monday

Jan. 11th, 2010 11:03 pm
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This morning I think I saw a dachshund from my window. Go neighbors for keeping me entertained! It was a necessary sendoff for work this week, which started at crazy and looks to keep the pace for the next two weeks. I seriously do not know how I kicked my work to-do list today, but I did. Tomorrow I'd like lunch not during a meeting, though.

So I'm watching A Streetcar Named Desire when I should be doing something useful when my time, and M. emerges from a nap, groggy and, she frets, too tired and under the weather to want to cook, "I know I should eat but I don't want to eat", she mumbles, while Stanley Kowalski harasses Blanche DuBois about papers and "the Neopoleonic code". At which point my brain went all "is there in Tennessee Williams no truth?" which is just unfortunate.

I think it's bedtime here.
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Yesterday I gave one of those oddball "I hated this book, but you might like it" book recommendations. It's an unusual recommendation style, but if done with respect and affection can introduce people to stories they might otherwise have missed. (The novel in question was The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, about which I have previously written.)

Not entirely by coincidence, I watched 500 Days of Summer this evening. Blurb: nonlinear story of boy-meets-girl, dating/friendship with benefits, breakup, depression, and moving on - with another girl. I think my blurbing betrays my sympathies: I am Summer Finn (ha ha, yes, I get the pun, this movie is not what I would call subtle). It's a technically pretty movie, with an attractive, consistent limited-palette theme and a deliberate cutsieness, hangs together at the "would I redbox this" level, and has a likable soundtrack, but I want to scream at Tom, "for a grown man, you're acting an awful lot like a 10 year old girl who didn't get a pony for her birthday!" so it's not a movie I plan to watch twice.
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Yesterday I experienced a five hour Lego fugue while watching The Hunt for Red October and Band of Brothers. Apparently I really am an eight year old boy at heart: this hypothesis would also explain why I think of makeup as something that happens to other people.

Dad and Second Wife are enthusiastically packing in preparation for March, when Second Wife hits retirement and they relocate to Arizona. This has been coming since about 10 seconds after dad figured out his career track didn't include transfer back to the West: dad's decoration style since 1989 has been American Southwest In Exile. (Sometimes he mixes it up and adds some electric elements, leading to the adobe-and-computer-and-chili-pepper-lights themed home office.) So this weekend we ate lavishly, baked, sorted deep-storage boxes for moving / donation / trash, recounted horrible family stories about the dead and absent, and watched (for values that include extensive laptop time) Quantum of Solace. Second Wife thought it was dumb, which brought out my "yeah, Bond flick, duh" side.

When I returned home with the final dregs of my childhood (see "moving and sorting") I thought, "I should try to reconstruct the Legos, take a couple of snapshots for posterity, then donate them somewhere." Five hours later I was thinking, "I should buy more Legos and we should make them an entertainment fixture in the living room! It would be a roommate bonding experience!" Regression is hilarious.

Today I saw Avatar in 3D with [livejournal.com profile] samthereaderman ([livejournal.com profile] cathydalek bowed out with a head cold). It is a triumph of really spiffy special effects over an average-to-obnoxious screenplay. I saw it called Dances with Blue Cats and there is an unfortunate ring of truth to that. So this is likely to piss off people involved in disability activism, or actively engaged in the standing cultural appropriation / racism discussion, or anyone who can count the number of awesome women in the film vs the number of awesome women who die for the cause. Also, the sound effects and soundtrack did not win me over (the future has to sound right) and I think the laws of physics as established in the movie took a beating for the sake of the plot. So I am on the fence: I loved the visual effects, and my "the future is shiny" nerve center got a nice hit, but the screenplay didn't live up to the eye candy.

Tomorrow I go to work. I plan to motivate myself with Sherlock Holmes some day after work. Do I need to see RDJ in theaters? Technically, no. Do I need a reason to be sunny and upbeat at work? Yes I do.
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Instead of doing anything I was supposed to tonight, I watched movies. After this week, I deserved a night off.

The Producers, 2005 version )

The Bourne Identity )

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