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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.

Multimedia

Aug. 8th, 2013 10:04 pm
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Lately I've been hitting the TV marathons harder than usual. First I caught Buffy S5, a season I mostly missed on the first pass, and which for some reason I had thought of as cheerful. Maybe calibration off S6 threw off my expectations? S5 has some excellent episodes - "Fool for Love" and "The Body" come to mind - but it's the excellence of questioning assumptions and making viewers cry.

My other marathon show has been Continuum S1. There is very little questioning of assumptions here. Cop gets caught up in a time-travelling jailbreak from 2077 to 2012, and fights crime and future terrorists in contemporary Vancouver, balancing justice against not breaking the timeline... or has this always been the timeline? Oh, and she's got nifty magic future tech, there's the occasional Betchdel pass, and Terminator has been namechecked. It's not perfect. The Terminator namechecking happened in an episode which was paint-by-the-numbers "your honored ancestors aren't as squeaky-clean as you thought, Ms. Keira Cameron". The writers are pushing a romantic relationship I can't get behind. Some of the directing, and certain chunks of dialog, well... but time travel! The Cameron-Fonnegra buddy-cop relationship! Only slightly magic future tech! Alec! (Alec is Kiera's adorable baby-faced pet geek in 2012, and some kind of shadowy corporate oligarch in 2077. Old!Alec is played by the X-File's Cancer Man; watch this space for OH ALEC NO moments.) Hacker-gamer geeks who just happen to be girls! Canadian actor bingo is played! It's not terrifically bright, or deep, or highbrow, but it keeps me entertained.



Okay, everyone has to stop everything, because it's an FMA:Brotherhood first-time viewing party. With macros and ROT-13 and CAPSLOCK and the episode 10 spoiler, guys, the commentary is kind of awesome.



My fiction reading has been through the floor for... longer than I'd like to think about. It makes me feel better to see that others have recovered from such doldrums. Currently I am failing to read The Emperor of All Maladies in favor of TV, shotgun rereads of old favorites, and an audiobook experiment with Altered Carbon, sci-fi noir with limited redeeming value. Audiobooks don't mix well with most activities other than driving, but find a niche for car trips longer an half an hour.
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Tonight I am zoning out in front of a Nova special on evolutionary biology instead of doing anything that might be related to actually working on biology. Apparently, the magic apathy number is about 9.5 hours of sunlight and/or 27F and/or leaving the house when the sun is barely up and leaving work when the sun is gone, take your pick. I was in a bizarrely great mood when we had two feet of snow on the ground: I blame the albedo.

(BTW, the Nova sponsors are hilarious, because I know these names. Hi HHMI! I was always too timid to ask you for money as an undergrad: now I know better! Hi Promega! Your machines make my day better.)

Before I left for dad's this Christmas, I turned the thermostat down to 64F in the name of environmentalism and my electricity bill. Neither Oshkosh nor I has bothered turning it up since. When poor heat-loving M. gets back from her Hawaiian vacation, she's going to be so traumatized.

For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I get to spend tomorrow's lunch hour trying to rent a car for next weekend. Since I plan to open phone calls to the nearest rental stores by asking what additional insurance I need / should get as a non-car-owning person, I am super thrilled, but hey, better now, when I am trying to avoid epic zipcar charges, than in a crisis. When I am done, there may be a "how to" post, if only for myself.
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By six minutes and twenty-two seconds into the first episode of Leverage I was already a little in love with Parker and Alec. I know, you're all shocked.

This morning M. took a personal day - I renewed my vow to never date long distance before catching the late bus - and tonight I made pancakes, which we ate with M.'s vanilla soy ice cream and caramel topping. Except for the part where I didn't do a bit of laundry, or get any GRE studying accomplished, or pack my lunch, and stayed up past my bedtime, a successful evening.

Five words from [livejournal.com profile] charlie_ego: apocalypse, biology, cooking, graphics, Butler (the last is time-dependent... I just got a whole bunch of Octavia Butler books from the library and thought of you :) ) )

If anyone wants to play, the rules are out there.
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For reasons I call "testing the new DVD player", I am watching "Victoria's Secret", and wow, yes, Due South pulled out all the stops for this one. Snowglobe snow! Benton Frasier uses his powers for evil! Non-ironic Sarah McLachlan! The candles! She shot the wolf. And the snow! It's like a metaphor or something that I might actually understand.

Today I:

Went a bit nuts at Whole Foods, in light of a Luna Bar sale,
Bought a cheap DVD player (which I have been putting off for two months),
Lost my mind at a quilter's show in [livejournal.com profile] nwl's company and blew - well, I solved at least one wall of my decorating problem (hey, [livejournal.com profile] rwl, instead of buying hanging rods, what about unbending some wire hangars and trimming them to size with wire cutters?),
Spent quality time with [livejournal.com profile] nwl and [livejournal.com profile] rwl,
Started laundry, repeated my "swine flu will probably not kill you this week, restock on sick people food/liquids" spiel for dad, got lunch-shaped groceries, and now I'm going to fold the last of my laundry and crash. Preferably without further courting heat stroke.

In short, I blew through nearly $200 and committed the cardinal sin of non-network ATM withdrawal without really noticing. And went on to speculate about a CRT-to-LCD upgrade, laptop replacement, and maybe, if I am very good, a car. (If I am subject to another Summer of AC Optional Buses, it could get ugly. Being all sweaty and red in the face before I even get to work is not on.) I don't care if I made out like a bandit on earrings, bags, and bitty one of a kind decor, it's time for MS Money or some other accounting attention to reign in my freewheeling ways.

But that is a problem for tomorrow. Tonight, I am taking my sun-dazed and OW I JUST HIT MY ELBOW OW OW OW possibly overtired self to crash.

Tee Vee

Apr. 9th, 2009 06:08 pm
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I tend to binge on Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, because it wavers between awesome (Catherine Weaver! Peace-crazed Riley! Ellison and Sarah! Australian sub!), kind of incoherent (Ellison's theology, Cameron's flirtatiousness, Sarah's wacky dreams, the middle of the second season), and just insanely grim (Jesse and Derek's trainwreck, the dead main-to-secondary characters, the entire pre-apocalyptic scenario). But then you get episodes like the "Today is the Day / The Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter", "To the Lighthouse", and "Adam Raised a Cain" mini-arc, and it's awesome. While being grim. I'm not sure what I think about the framing of women as mothers. Sarah's important because she's the great John Connor's mom, Catherine's parenting the biokid (Savannah) and the AI (John Henry). But Savannah and the other strange little girls - Riley, Cameron, even Jesse - are expendable if the boys - John, John Henry, oh isn't that cute - are there to make the future. So that's a little weird.

I also watched the first two episodes of Sex in the City. So far I find it mind-bogglingly insipid. Somehow, your life is not complete without a man, but not any man, no: he has to be virile and subservient to your needs and as high-powered as you, and how do these people not have many, many STDs? There's also a worrying element of consumerism (shopping for a $9 dress to compliment your $300 Manolo Blahniks). I could resolve my life angst by buying $300 strappy sandals, and wondering why I still feel unfulfilled, or I could watch NCIS and snark about how S6!Ziva spends a lot of time proving she can beat up people who could beat Tony to a pulp, or dig up Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles and reflect on how awesome it is that I am not a shape-shifting machine assassin masquerading as a corporate executive. Unless it involves biology or a different specialized knowledge base, exec life sounds kind of boring. Especially if you got to terrorize humans by the sub-full in your last assignment in the future.

Also, I need to do something about my March reading list. Apparently I am getting everything but my homework finished during fake spring break.

Oh! Reader question - I can think of several men writing novels about Singularity events - Vernor Vinge, Charlie Stross prominently, maybe Cory Doctorow? - but are there any post-scarcity Singularity novels written by women or otherwise not white guys? I am curious about subgenre breakdown.
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Inspired by roommate M.'s urgent need for a burger last night, I told her to get a margarita too and took her keys. Hey, I can still drive!

I've been saying for a while that I'm going to get a car when it gets hot and sticky, but I really like a positive cash flow. Does anyone have any experiences with Zipcar they'd like to share? I need to run the numbers, but it's worth investigating the costs of instant gratification vs not

[Poll #1370858]

ETA: Closing poll because I did the deed.

M fortunately is in less need of burgers tonight: I say fortunate because I got to make dinner while roommate H related her distress that her boss doesn't want to give her two weeks off in June. At length. I have drowned my low blood sugar in red meatsauce lavished over pasta and fresh spinach, with a possibility of hot chocolate to follow, while rewatching House (the one where House and Wilson go to House's dad's funeral), and laughing myself to tears. The comedy and bromance are awesome.

I spent this weekend doing nothing - except the biweekly WSFA meeting, laundry, groceries, library returns and pickup, finding a new-to-me thrift shop, and finding out the used book store of my childhood has been sold. My winter coat is in storage, and I'm caught up on most of my TV watching. House and NCIS are predictably amusing (especially episodes Doris Egan is involved in), Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles is two-thirds incoherence and one third awesome, and I watched the Kings pilot. Since my knowledge of Biblical events comes filtered through things I have learned from Unitarians or things I have learned from the internet, I'm watching this from an "updating the historical context, and oh, God may appear in this piece of fiction". So what I find interesting, as I read Guns, Germs and Steel is the movement from a tribal scenario (limited accumulation of wealth / kleptocracy of specialists), to a state scenario (much more developed specialization, more tech, reproductive technology like paternity testing and the Pill, etc etc etc) and how the show plans to reconcile a "modern" setting with divine intervention anointing an autocratic ruler. Sadly, there's a theme in my TV viewing: I get interested in the worldbuilding, but bored with the execution. This means I'm willing to watch a lot of pilot episodes and very few full seasons.

Speaking of GG&S, Corn domesticated once, around 9000 BC. . . . the researchers discovered a trove of prehistoric grinding stones to which phytoliths and starch grains from maize were still adhering. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal found with the earliest of the stones pegged the corn as 8700 years old, bearing out the genetic dating by Doebley's group. I'm sort of questioning the corn-char linkage, but I still think this is cool.

I accomplished the errands by biking around, and today tried to go jogging after work. My quadriceps may never forgive me.

So that is my life: both roommates in upset, and me considering the benefits of library study time to avoid both of them. They are both, in their own ways, nice people, but I wish to set their dramas on each other.
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I had deep thoughts about cultural construction of beauty as natural or artificial, and how this plays out in systems of oppression and cross-cultural signalling, but that was before I pulled a nine-hour day. So I came home, packed lunch-and-dinner sandwiches for tomrrow, watched an NCIS episode which blew its budget on horses versus helicopters while snagging Mira Furlan as Minor Character of the Week, and actually put a filter between my brain and my homework. ("I should travel more. My medical history would be more colorful" is not appropriate for your infectious disease answer sheet.)

So that was my Tuesday, with bonus subfreezing temperatures. Up next: hump day! With highs significantly above freezing!

ETA: Wait, what? Watchmen comes out March 6th? I thought it was a May release! I haven't even seen Coraline yet!
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I watched half an hour of CSI: Miami with my roommate, and not so coincidentally guzzled the last half of a hard lemonade in the first fifteen minutes. (I can't play "cliff, marry, shag" with this cast. There's so many candidates for the cliff and so few for the shagging.) Sunday I was watching Farscape, and Monday night I stayed up watching Farscape: the Peacekeeper Wars and now I'm longing to see justice uncovered with a pulse pistol.

But my boredom with freakishly fake and white Miami is beside the point. Two things occured to me today:

1.) the pound to dollar dollar exchange is now 1.44 pounds to $1.00, a nice change from the days it was pushing 2-to-1. How long can this last?

2.) I'm rolling over two full weeks of vacation time from 2008, and will accrue another three weeks (plus comp time) if I work a full schedule in 2009.

Therefore, I think it's time to declare Road Trip 2009. Tentative outline:

Memorial Day weekend: Wiscon!

Some time in summer (or not):

1.) BEACH!

I miss the Outer Banks this much.

(pre- and post-season also acceptable; in post-season the water will be warmer)

2.) EUROPE!

(the economy has crashed, the dollar is falling - I'm making hay)

(actually, the date on this is pretty flexible too)

Any time I feel like it:

3.) American road trip?

By "road" I mean "travel" and by "trip" I mean "where I can get crash space cheap or free". Though buying/renting a car and driving sounds really appealing - for about an hour. That doesn't even get you to West Virginia. The "American" part is pretty flexible too. Basically, my travelling feet are itching.

I'm, um, actively soliciting crash space, if anyone wants to offer? All plans are contingent on not sobering up and freaking out about my savings balance. But yeah, I need to get out of Dodge and preferably off the East Coast, or out of the country.

Geek!

Oct. 21st, 2008 07:12 am
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One good thing to come out of last week was my imagination throwing up the image of a Singularity novel written by Octavia Butler. It would not be told by the victors, or the new elite. It would be told by the people whose bodies and minds were altered, not always by their own desire, and the patterns of oppression and community-building in a future strange and even alien to the reader. And it would be really freaking cool.

On a related note, I don't know if the producers intended Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles to be parsed as a story about parenting and how you can change the future, but I know how I'm reading it. (The machines think you can change the future. The information coming from the future changes the future. The constraints of network TV make it unlikely the series will end with a world-destroying bang. The world has already changed: Skynet is a chess program on steroids; Miles Dyson is dead, long live Skynet; Sarah Connor is not played by Linda Hamilton.) It's unusual to watch a show about some guy named John in an almost completely non-ironic and unapologetic fashion. (Babylon 5, season 5: let's just pretend the whole Byron arc never happened.)

In personal news, when I'm sleep-deprived and underfed I'm really dumb. This is why I'll be at work at 8 AM today instead of 7:30, but now that I've found my wallet (dropped in complete illogic next to the umbrellas, instead of anywhere near eye level) I get to go to work, yay.
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The subject is most of I have to say about the bailout, and the bailout not passing. Unless you want a five-paragraph rambler that about magical thinking on a national level and liberals voting in line with conservative Republicans, which is so yesterday. My roommate M and I caught up on this and other topics while I was making dinner and flipping channels. I'm done with Heroes; I didn't make it through the first half hour last week, and next week's preview suggests a strong correlation between non-blonds and evil. I want this show to be something it's not: smarter than its antecedents.

My actual thought of the day was about novels. [livejournal.com profile] meril has listened to me try to articulate my dislike for romance novels on more than one occasion, and recommended I try Hurricane Moon as a nice balance between sf and romance. Briefly: SF and romance foreground different concerns. This shift in focus changes pacing, worldbuilding details attended to, and the very definition of "good story". If you start really thinking about this, it may explain why romance reads as a SF story in dire need of editing at the sentence level: the prose is not doing what I think it's trying to do. If this were a knitting project, one is a vest, and the other a sweater. Also, I keep trying SF/romance fusion novels that are first novels, which probably doesn't help. Compare and contrast the first novels of: Catherine Asaro, Alexis Glynn Latner, and... I don't know, the "in death" series? What's the prose doing on a sentence level, other than driving me completely insane with all the talking about feelings?

Ack! Bus! Leaving now!
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What I really, really want to do with my vacation time is go to the beach. This costs money. Next year: beach.

TV roundup: Heroes lost me with the death fakeouts. All the cool kids are watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles, so I may make an effort there. I'm watching House to for Hugh Laurie. I wish the writers would do one House-less episode, so other people could have - gasp - character development. Without the dead girlfriend thing. Is anything else on this week? No? Good: I have GRE studying to do.

You are not your combined written/verbal score. Image cut! )

I think someone thinks there's some money to be made off wannabe grad students. And they're right! I bought one book, to replace the one I've been neglecting for several years months. Every time I tell my soon-to-be-ex roommate to clear out of the kitchen so I can study, I feel like a mean person on a power trip, and get all guilty until I've studied for an hour. This is probably crying out for an intervention, but for me, it works, and it's a nice distraction from the Big Question: rush my study schedule for an October test date and the 2009 application deadlines, or postpone grad school until Fall 2010? That's the scary life decision choice, and yeah, I haven't done my homework.
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My f-list says it's Talk Like A Pirate Day. I declare tomorrow Piracy Is Not Romantic Day.

After Tuesday's adventures in pork chops, I declared Wednesday the new Sushi Lunch Day. This was an awesome plan. Thursday I got a call at 11:25 that lead to rescheduling lunch for 11:35, which is why I love my job, and then I went to the farmer's market at 2 PM, which is yet another reason I love my job: super awesome flex time (within reason).

Catching up on House season 3. Am up to Merry Little Christmas. I'm feeling the need to lock House in a room with a stack of comics with Iron Man #182 prominently featured. Why go for subtlety when you can have low culture jokes?
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Tonight's dinner is that super-sophisticated apple with celery sticks and peanut butter, served with this year's vintage vanilla soy milk. I call this inspirational cuisine "available, and not tomorrow's lunch." I'm also watching ST:DS9 DVDs borrowed from dad (at Christmas, whoops); apparently I saw more DS9 than I thought. Season Four is on tap next, and I already remember bits of the cliffhanger resolution! I think.

I'm moving into the unfortunate settling-in period where the drawbacks become evident: location cost inflation, living without a car in places that assume of course everyone has a car, and minor apartment irritations. Tonight's is the laundry, which has normal and permanent press settings, but no delicate setting. This is a problem, because half of my shirts are gentle/delicate cycle!

[Poll #1203637]

Tonight, XKCD rocks on once more.

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