musesfool: luke/lorelai (almost like being in love)
[personal profile] musesfool
Late yesterday afternoon, just as I was packing up to leave work, I suddenly got the shakes, and felt all clammy and also like I might pass out. I don't know what it was, but ugh, what a terrible feeling. I got a bag of M&Ms from the vending machine and wolfed them down to feel steady enough to make the commute home, and by the time I got home I felt okay, but totally wiped out. So I had dinner and then managed to stay awake until 8:45, at which point I just went to bed. And I slept pretty well, too, straight through for about 6 hours and then fitfully after that.

***

Wednesday reading!

What I've just finished:
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris, which is the fascinating account of five very famous Hollywood directors who joined up after Pearl Harbor (or a few months before, in John Ford's case) to help document the war and/or produce propaganda for it: William Wyler, John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston, and George Stevens. It probably helps to have some familiarity with their oeuvres, though I certainly haven't seen a bunch of the films mentioned. (I do want to actually watch The Best Years of Our Lives now though - I've mostly avoided it previously because it looks depressing.)

The House That BJ Built by Anuja Chauhan is a highly enjoyable sequel to Those Pricey Thakur Girls. The main romance is between Bonu and Samar, the next generation, but Eshu and Satish get a look-in as well, and of course, the family drama continues. I think the family drama is the most entertaining part, tbh, and while I enjoy the romance, I just mostly want to spend more time with the sisters and their various relations and hangers-on.

What I'm reading now/next:
I don't know? I just finished The House That BJ Built this morning, so I'll start something new at lunch. I have a bunch of stuff on my iPad, so it could be anything.

***

Oy, work is very busy today. Let me post before I get interrupted again.

***

Baahubali: The Beginning

Jul. 29th, 2015 09:15 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
In brief, AMAZING. If it’s playing anywhere near you, run and see it immediately. (It only has about two more days left in the USA.) If not, see it on DVD when it comes out.

This is a difficult movie to review because I don’t want to give too much away. It not only has several surprising plot twists, but also a lot of gorgeous imagery that’s wonderful to see for the first time, when you don’t know it’s coming. So I won’t say much about the plot.

Baahubali is an original historical fantasy that plays out like it was based on an ancient myth. Though it doesn’t have the complexity of character or moral ambiguity or intellectual heft of The Mahabharata or Ramayana, those epics and other the ancient tales of India clearly inspired its epic scope, archetypal themes, and magical imagery.

Classic tropes from Indian legend – the boon, the rivalry between princes with disastrous consequences, the humble but loving mother who adopts a son with a destiny, the mountain in the clouds, the war formation the enemy doesn’t expect, the woman wronged who demands bloody revenge – all make appearances here, and are given their proper, larger-than-life weight. The hero reminded me of Bhima in personality and physique, but a number of incidents were clearly inspired by the life of Krishna. For instance, the baby held above the waters echoes Vasudeva crossing the flooded Yamuna to hide away the infant Krishna.

The song I linked in the last post is a version of a hymn to Shiva, the Shiva Tandava Stotram, which is attributed to Ravana. I’ll quote some of it because even in translation (by P. R. Ramachander), you can feel its power and beauty and sensuality. (Remember how magnificent it sounded in Telegu.) That is the sort of ancient writing, still living today, which inspired this movie.

The celestial river agitatedly moving through his matted hair,
Which makes his head shine with those soft waves,
And his forehead shining like a brilliant fire
And the crescent of moon which is an ornament to his head,
Makes my mind love him each and every second.

He, with the shining lustrous gem on the hood
Of the serpent entwining his matted locks,
He, who is with his bride whose face is decorated
By the melting of red saffron kumkum,
And He who wears on his shoulder the hide
Of the elephant which was blind with ferociousness,
Makes my mind happy and contented.

A lot of the movie walks the fine line between magnificence and camp, but even when it’s ridiculous, it’s gloriously ridiculous. This is what you get when you put together an extremely talented director steeped in Indian myth, a brilliant cinematographer determined to tell the story visually so even people who don’t understand the dialogue will love it, and a totally committed cast, and have them all go for broke. Sometimes this results in "Did somebody order a LARGE HAM?” hamminess. More often, it captures the larger than life spirit of myth.

When a woman reveals her secret plan for revenge, a strong warrior staggers backward from the force of it. A desperate prayer to Shiva is answered with a boon that allows a dying woman to walk underwater. A man whose destiny is to climb the unclimbable mountain falls a thousand feet, only to rise to climb again. A sleeping warrior on a riverbank, her arm dangling in the water, is seduced by a prankster lover who swims through schools of bright fishes to paint a tattoo on her hand. If you ask why he was in the river and where he got a set of underwater paints, you’re missing the point.

A lot of the power of myth is in its lack of naturalism. Events occur and choices are made not because of the realistic motivations of ordinary humans, but because archetypal stories are playing out. If Baahubali had been more realistic and less theatrical, it wouldn’t be half as magical.

It was the most expensive movie ever made in India, and while the CGI is occasionally a little shaky, it uses its budget to the max. When CGI first came upon the scene, I thought it would be used to create fantastical worlds and creatures – sense of wonder brought to sight. And sometimes it is, but more often it’s used to create big, pointless, repetitive explosions. Baahubali uses CGI to create beauty and wonder. Just look at the waterfall and the city in the trailer. The entire movie is like that.

(Plus blood-splattering battle sequences and bull-wrestling. I’m glad they put the disclaimer that no animals were harmed and all animal falls are CGI at the start of the film rather than the end, because otherwise I’d have been concerned.)

Though I’ve emphasized huge! Epic! Grand! In my review, there’s also lots of nice little touches. Many of the characters have marks on their foreheads, like bindi, which helpfully identify them when you’re trying to distinguish Magnificent Warrior Dude # 1 from Magnificent Warrior Dude # 2. (This isn’t usually difficult. They all look quite different, and also have different Magnificent Moustaches. But given my general terrible facial recognition skills, I appreciated it.) The hero has a coiled cobra, the mark of Shiva. A pair of princes are marked with a sun and moon. There’s a complete throwaway bit, lasting maybe five seconds, where a pair of bull-masked dancers butt heads, that is SO COOL. I also enjoyed the funny-on-purpose moments.

My only real criticisms are political rather than artistic. There’s a song/dance number where the hero melts the warrior heroine's icy heart via stylized fighting and pulling off her clothes. It’s clearly meant to be about him breaking her emotional barriers with his sincerity, sensuality, and passion. But, well. Not to mention the unfortunate implications of what was actually intended, where she embraces her femininity and warmth… and then totally forgets how to fight so he can rescue her. And then there’s the attack of the dark-skinned barbarians, with its own set of unfortunate implications.

In a more enjoyable use of traditional gender roles (traditional in India), there is not one! Not two! But THREE awesome middle-aged moms! One is a loving mother raising a son she doesn’t quite understand. One is a total badass who rules a kingdom with cool authority after taking on a regency with a baby in one hand and a bloody dagger in the other. The third initially seems passive, turns out to be anything but, and has one of the best scenes in the entire movie. (For the benefit of my one reader who’s actually seen Baahubali: a handful of twigs.)

Be warned: Baahubali ends on a very dramatic TO BE CONTINUED!!! Well, it is subtitled “The Beginning.” But I ate up all three hours and would have happily sat through three more. The first hour, especially, is pure magic. I haven’t felt so transported in a movie theatre since the opening scenes of The Fellowship of the Rings.

The story so far...

Jul. 29th, 2015 09:38 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 update:

Story so far--I ordered a high-end tablet thing from Wacom at the end of June, and heard nothing. My account on wacom.com showed no order history, even though I had the emailed order confirmation. I finally emailed them and inquired as to this last week, at which point they informed me it had already been shipped, two days after I ordered it, to somewhere in Orlando. I got on the phone, stat, and after investigating in their system, the rep on the phone said she had to talk to the shipping department and would call me back.
Did she call me back? )

Umrao Jaan (1981)

Jul. 29th, 2015 03:37 pm
marina: (check this shit out)
[personal profile] marina
I thought I'd make a writing-related post today (a new trick I've stumbled on) but I'm not really ready to put it into words yet, so, movie review!

I first heard about Umrao Jaan from [personal profile] stepquietly, when I was staying with her in Mumbai. I knew there was a remake that wasn't very popular, and one day we were in a video store (I've enjoyed a lot of Indian films and finding them online with English subtitles, especially older stuff, is always a hassle, so being in Mumbai I was really happy to buy some) and I bought a bunch of films, this one included.

I... tend not to like movies made before I was born, unless they were made in the country of my birth or somewhere adjacent to it. Look, everyone in film school had a sin, and this was mine, OK? It is EXTREMELY difficult to convince myself to watch old movies I didn't grow up with. So, despite the fact that I've enjoyed old movies before (my response to a lot of "classics' being screened at film school was 'well, that wasn't that bad!') I never have high expectations, and in this case thought the movie would be nice, I'd enjoy the anthropological value of Bollywood in the 70s/80s, and that's it.

It ended up liking this movie a lot, a lot, a lot more than I expected.

spoilers? )

Hell.

Jul. 30th, 2015 12:36 am
tyger: Sora grinning ridiculously wide.  Coloured with multicoloured vaguely 'watercolour' effects.  Text: Yup.  Totally sane. (Sora - sane)
[personal profile] tyger
So fucking crazy today. SO CRAZY. Twitchy and anxious and angry and just so, so done with everything. There are reasons for this, of course. But it's super fucking unpleasant, and I'm dealing very badly. Like my brainpoker said, I'm running on empty and need to recharge. Just, work is being such a fucking bitch I'm not even finding being at home restful, really. Just not-draining-more-at-this-time. Mostly, anyway; even now I've been out of work for like six hours and I'm still twitchy and feel like screaming and crying and flaying my skin open.

Not going to do that, am going to go to bed, but yeah. It sucks. If I'm feeling even half as bad when I wake up, I'm probably going to call out sick for a mental health day. Even though I told KA I'd be there tomorrow, and there's theoretically a thing happening I need to be there for. I just. I can't, right now.

Hopefully I'll wake up feeling better, though. Being this crazy is fucking exhausting and I don't like it.

Daily Happiness

Jul. 29th, 2015 12:15 am
torachan: black and grey kitten on the back of a chair (heidi on chair)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I got all my displays made today, so tomorrow I should actually be able to get out of there without any overtime.

2. Speaking of overtime, I do have to go in Thursday, but only for a few hours and not until the afternoon, so at least I get to sleep in.

3. I got some delicious gooey cinnamon rolls tonight at the grocery store.

4. I actually got a decent amount of translating done tonight (definitely more than I thought I would).

5. I finished reading The True Meaning of Smekday! I enjoyed it a lot, but I'm also just excited about the fact that I finished a book in just a few weeks and so soon after finishing another. It's nice to feel like I want to read again.

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2015 09:50 pm
bridgetmkennitt: (Default)
[personal profile] bridgetmkennitt
I've had a pretty shitty day trying to help the stepsister get away from her emotional and verbally abusive husband. Can I have hugs or funny cat memes? :(

icons: Chihayafuru

Jul. 28th, 2015 11:10 pm
meganbmoore: (chihayafuru)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
91 x Chihayafuru (eps 13-19)



here )
umadoshi: (feminism - she's someone (iconriot))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Subject the first: if you currently go to the New Kittens page on the 7 Cedars Siberians site, the four kittens are the very top (Libby and Izak's current litter) are Claudia and Jinksy's full siblings! CUTE.


Subject the second: [dreamwidth.org profile] skygiants has info on how the upcoming Valdemar ficathon I linked recently came to be, and its origins are even better than I'd imagined.

(I do not have time to reread the Vanyel books right now. I already want to reread Indexing in the very short term, and dear heaven, do I have too much new stuff to read... Plus I should reread Newsflesh to refresh my sense of Georgia and Shaun's voices [and also JUST BECAUSE]... But it's been a long, long time since I read the Vanyel books. And I think my expectations of them would be...reasonable.)


Subject the third is the main point of this post:

This is a huge thing right now that I'm seeing talked about in many places: the Metafilter comment thread going on in response to Jess Zimmerman's "“Where’s My Cut?”: On Unpaid Emotional Labor" that was posted a couple of weeks ago.

The thread is epic and enlightening. It first came to my attention a week or so ago as a Twitter reblog with a note suggesting that all men read it. I read the existing thread at that point, and it was daunting then; it's much, much longer now, and I haven't delved back into it yet. (As I type this, it's got 1521 comments. I think there were about 400-500 when I read through.) As [dreamwidth.org profile] jjhunter points out, the comments in [livejournal.com profile] siderea's post reccing the MF discussion include a number of highlighted/choice excerpts from the discussion.

[dreamwidth.org profile] kaberett has also reposted some key bits from the discussion.

Under flock, [redacted] pointed out a couple of other (and much shorter) posts/threads: this one on looking for a partner willing to pull their weight in terms of emotional labor, and this Emotional Labor Checklist/Self-Assessment to see how much of it you're doing yourself.

[livejournal.com profile] siderea has also since posted "Emotional Labor and Friendship".

Episode 78: Steven the Psychopomp

Jul. 28th, 2015 02:40 pm
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
get your Gunnerkrigg Court shit out of here, this is a serious show about rocks crying
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
* made from the shattered bodies of our comrades who fell during the Gem Wars





shameless
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I will write a real review later, but in brief, this is a south Indian historical fantasy that plays like a myth transferred straight to the screen. It's absolutely gorgeous to look at, is full of moments straight out of legend, has a fantastic score and amazing action sequences, and also has a number of surprising plot twists.

It's only playing in the US for about two more days, and should be seen on the big screen. I haven't enjoyed a movie this much in literally years.

Trailer. (Not subtitled, but the movie has English subs.)

One of my favorite songs.
musesfool: coach & mrs. coach (marriage of true minds)
[personal profile] musesfool
Yesterday, I almost had a wardrobe malfunction! I mean, I did have one - one of the layers on my tank top ripped free, but luckily it was covered by the top two layers, so I didn't flash boob at anybody on the commute home. (I was wearing a cardigan over it all day at work, and hadn't noticed.) Oh well. I liked that top, too.

When I got home, I heated up the oven and took the tiny roast (1.75 lbs) I'd bought on Sunday out of the fridge to come to room temperature before cooking it. I bought it before I knew I was meeting L. for dinner on Sunday, so I needed to use it quickly. I seasoned it and put it in the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes (20 minutes per pound at 375°F) but then I forgot to start the timer. Oops. So it was a lot of checking the internal temperature after the 30 minute mark. The roast ended up being more medium than medium rare when all was said and done, but it was quite delicious, and there's enough left to make another dinner, so it turned out all right. I just didn't get to eat until almost 8 pm, which is later than I prefer on a work night.

***

A few weeks ago, I asked [personal profile] serrico to talk about the difference between watching a show week to week vs. marathoning (the network vs. the Netflix model), and I've been thinking a lot about it myself. I wrote something in her comments that I'm expanding on here, because it came up again – both with my own marathon of Steven Universe last week, and a discussion with my brother and sister-in-law and their kids regarding their own marathoning of Friday Night Lights.

I do think having a show drop all at once makes it harder to grow and sustain a fandom, since unlike something that airs week to week, with hiatuses for people to catch up, everybody's at a different point in viewing so having conversations becomes difficult, especially when it comes to avoiding spoilers, and that has a negative impact on attempts to build community. (In microcosm, it was difficult to talk about FNL with my brother's family, because one of them was finished with it, one had dropped it after season one, one was in season 3, and my brother and his wife were just starting season 5.) Fandoms for these shows start to feel more like summer movie fandoms, or seasonal fandoms (i.e., shows that come on in spring or summer when many of the usual fannish suspects are not airing) - they show up and everybody talks about them, and then they fade away until the next batch of episodes is released.

I think Daredevil, with its connection to the MCU, its background as a comic, and the promise of three other shows interweaving with it, might be an exception to this? But I feel like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards had a big moment bursting on the scene, and then they fade out until the next time there's new canon. I guess we'll see what fandom does with Sense8, since it is so much more fandom-ready, I think, than most other shows (on network, cable, or any streaming service). Certainly I think the idea of a cluster of telepathically connected people will migrate out into many fandoms, much the way drift compatibility did from Pacific Rim.

Personally, I sometimes find it harder to hold onto a canon that I've marathoned, vs. one that I've watched week to week, in the sense that I can't always remember what happened in what order/in what episode, which makes writing fic more difficult than when you've got a week (or more) to absorb and rewatch each episode. And I do miss the frantic scramble to get a post-ep story posted before it got jossed by the next episode (of course, my main fandom is a movie fandom now, so it's a whole different model of canon).

I also think some shows are more suited to marathon watching than others – personally, I know if I cue up AtLA's "The Library," for example, I'm not stopping until the end of the season (though I might skip "The Serpent's Pass" or "The Drill" or both, if pressed for time). Steven Universe episodes, at 10 minutes apiece, make for perfect mini-marathons – you can watch 6 in an hour and still have time to watch a full slate of primetime shows or that night's baseball game! Otoh, I can't take more than one or two episodes of something like Friday Night Lights, because it's emotionally draining. My sister-in-law said she's gone to bed sad every night after watching two FNL episodes every evening for the past couple of weeks. (I commiserated, because I cried at nearly every episode of that show as well.)

She also mentioned the melancholy that sets in when you're done mainlining something that has 60 or 100 episodes (and even more so if it's a closed canon and there's no promise of a new season coming at some point down the line). You spend an hour or two (or three) with these characters every night for a few weeks, and then it's over. It's like the same letdown on returning to reality after finishing a great book. What am I gonna do without this show every night? I felt it after Sense8 and I'm feeling it right now with Steven Universe, and I think it's one reason I've rewatched AtLA so often (often enough that I do know what happens in what episode pretty easily). It's not necessarily the same sadness as when a show you've watched for years ends – sometimes we drift away from a show, sometimes we rage-quit, sometimes we still watch but without the passionate intensity we had for earlier seasons, and sometimes a show is canceled too soon and all we have is 12 episodes and a table-read (and some supplementary comics) to get us through.

Doling a show out two episodes a night for a few weeks is still a slower pace than watching it all in one weekend, so you do get some chance to linger and live in a particular universe, without the agita that comes from having to wait a week in between (and then months of mid-season and summer hiatuses), and also without the "wait, did that happen in the second or fifth hour I watched in the middle of the night last weekend?" feeling.

I mean, I am a total marathon reader/watcher. It's one reason I hate reading works in progress, even if the author swears the story is done – I want to read it at my own pace and my own pace is going to be a lot faster than is probably wise. So I'll just wait until it's done. (it's also why I am more of a trade-waiter with comics – I can't remember what happened in 15 pages a month ago, and I'm often disappointed by how little the story moves in one issue. [And by how much it costs for those little slices of story that are over so quickly.])

I don't know what model of television is going to win out in the long run, but I really do like the option of being able to watch shows all at once, even if I might relate differently to them than I do shows I've watched over time.

***

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2015 08:41 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
There is something I really, really like about this model, but I can't think of any scene/environment to put her in that's different than the ones in the photographs (or that's more of a fantasy than historical setting. :/ (check the "With the same model" below the pic for additional pictures.)

In other words, home for part of the day as I've had a headache overnight that seems to be worse when I look at screens and sit under florescent lights. Got a meeting this afternoon, so I'll head in then.

Cursed day

Jul. 28th, 2015 11:33 am
marina: (stand alone)
[personal profile] marina
My roommate got a job (she's been unemployed for a while), which she's apparently going to quit after 3 days, but the adjustment in routine has meant me waking up 1.5 hours before my alarm every day >_< especially this morning, when her alarm started ringing while she was showering, and her door was open, and I mistook her alarm for mine, and got up and aughhhhhh.

I know partially this is my own fault for going to sleep late, which in turn keeps happening because I'm too stressed, which keeps happening because I am indeed Doing Cool Things. Doing cool things is great, but it's slowly winding me up to where my anxiety is off the charts and I need to figure out how to deal with that.

In addition tonight I'm going to see a ballet (cool things!), which is great except that it means less time to exercise (good for anxiety) and going to sleep late again and ughhhhh.

In other news, I watched Spy. I liked it a lot.

spoilers? )

Ups and downs.

Jul. 29th, 2015 12:25 am
tyger: Aqua's Avatar Kingdom chibi.  Text: Aqua (Aqua - chibi)
[personal profile] tyger
Work was entirely downs. Work SUCKED. It sucked and I am angry.

But not going to talk about it here, because I got home AND THERE WAS A DOG!!! :D

Sibling and SO came to visit, and brought Yuki along, and ahhhhhh. She's such a cute doofus, I swear. :3 Liz - you'll be pleased to know that now they've had her weeks, rather than days, she's already 100% more well behaved. Like, she came and met me at the door, unsupervised, and didn't even think about jumping up to say hi. :D They're clearly making a real effort to train her, too, which is good to see in action. She is, however, in destroy ALL the things mode, so tonight saw the demise of three entire toys, two of which were brand new. But as she's keeping it to toys - and one sock, but she got into a LOT of trouble for that and has kept it to toys only since then, yay - so it's not too bad. We ended up with bits of ball all over our carpet, but that's way more easily cleaned than, say, the cat vomit from Sunday.

Sibling also took a look at my speakers, since Sibling is uh waaaay more into music/sound quality/etc than me so knows more shit, and has hopefully fixed it again. Not 100% sure, but it's at least working BETTER. (Problem was the cable extension cord wasn't any good, heh.)

Bed now, yes.

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