umadoshi: (W13 - Claudia pensive (vampire_sessah))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Warehouse 13 5x01 - "Endless Terror" / 5x02 - "Secret Services"

I don't have much to say about the season 5 premiere, but since I'm writing a bit about episode 2, I feel like I should at least lead in with a few notes on episode 1. 5x01 )

On to 5x02! )
lunabee34: (thanks by ponders_life)
[personal profile] lunabee34
I got your package, Exec, and it is glorious. Two amazing looking books, some cute clothes for Fiona, and the coolest purple bag. You have made my day, sweetie.

I know that over the past few years as I've gotten more immersed in building my career and as I was finishing my dissertation and having another baby that I've fallen away from the online relationships I've spent the past ten years developing. I'm not always a good friend to you guys anymore (looking at you, Exec, and Ariadne83 in particular), but y'all mean the world to me even though I am not spending as much time online as I did before.

Peru: Day One Point Five

Apr. 24th, 2014 03:33 pm
starlady: (run)
[personal profile] starlady
Well, we made it. I flew United for the first time in…eight years, and it wasn't actually as bad as I feared; the coffee is actually quite good. That said, we were still delayed an hour in San Francisco because of maintenance issues and then because of an inability to find a United crew to staff the spare United plane they found (where from, who knows; the previous plane and crew were Continental; reconciling seniority systems is the hardest part of airline mergers), with the result that I was running through Houston to make my connection to Lima. Considering that I got on the jetway of my arriving flight twenty minutes before our scheduled departure, and the flight to Lima was not in the same terminal, I felt pretty proud of that.

I'm in a hostel for the first time in…many years (I've been lucky enough to crash with friends, or to get travel grants to cover conference hotels), and it's weird. Fine, but weird. I slept about three hours, maybe, and I'm a little paranoid about my laptop and passport, though I have a private room. Lima seems nice so far, though admittedly we are in Miraflores, which is evidently a relatively ritzy part. I haven't seen much more of the city than walking from the hostel to the hotel to get the conference shuttle, which is what I did this morning.

Equally importantly, Pablo Neruda's "Canto XII from the Heights of Machu Picchu" came up in [community profile] poetry today, and it couldn't be more appropriate, given my travel plans.
musesfool: Oliver, Diggle, & Felicity from Arrow (proved things i never believed)
[personal profile] musesfool
Today is my dad's 79th birthday. He celebrated by sending a group text to all of us on his new phone. Yay technology!

***

Today's poem:

After the Blast

It happened again just now, one word
snagging like fabric on a barbed fence.

Concertina wire. You said: I didn't see the body
hung on concertina wire. This was after the blast.

After you had stood in the divot, both feet
in the dust's new mouth and found no one alive.

Just out of the shower, I imagine
a flake of soap crusting your dark jaw, the phone

cradled like a hand on your bare cheek.
I should say: love. I should say: go on.

But I'm stuck on concertina—
the accordion's deep inner coils, bellows,

lungful of air contracting like a body caught
in the agony of climax.

Graceless, before the ballooning rush
of air or sound. The battering release.

~Elyse Fenton

***

Arrow: Seeing Red
spoilers )

Seriously, though, if you are looking for a kickass live action comic book show - that requires no prior knowledge of the comics (though it provides a lot of fun Easter eggs if you have some) - you should be watching Arrow. It's on Netflix (and also available via the usual suspects, I ... suspect)!

Here is a list of s1 episodes that are essential: The pilot, "Year's End," "Trust But Verify," "The Odyssey," "Dead to Rights," "Salvation," "The Undertaking," "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "Sacrifice." If you enjoy it, then you can go back to watch the s1 eps you've missed, since they do provide some character intros and relationship stuff that is important down the line. And then watch all of season 2, because it is KILLING it. The show's not without its issues - there are few PoC and there's a classic fridging of one of them, and it took half a season to find its feet - but when it's working, it really works. (And early on, the fight scenes, the Ollie/Diggle relationship, Ollie's inappropriate chemistry with his younger sister, and the at-first brief flashes of Felicity will carry you through. Oh, and Susanna Thompson is gloriously regal as Moira Queen, Ollie's mother.)

Trust me! You won't regret it! Have I ever steered you wrong?

***
catness: (Default)
[personal profile] catness posting in [community profile] a_reader_is_me
Title: How to Do Things with Videogames
Author: Ian Bogost
Number of pages: 192
Genre: non-fiction, games
Book Number/Goal: 43/52
My Rating: 4/5

Review:
The book analyses and categorises various facets of videogame usage and features, such as being an art expression, inducing and teaching empathy, enabling player's creativity, serving for advertizement, providing a meditation/relaxation experience, encouraging exercise, and many more. Every feature is illustrated with several examples, ranging from obscure and exotic games to famous and mainstream games. The book is written in a mostly academic style, but is easy to follow nevertheless. It's an informative and inspiring reference which proves once again that games are a serious matter, not just mindless toys, and there's a lot of application for games in every possible area of human culture.
catness: (Default)
[personal profile] catness posting in [community profile] a_reader_is_me
Title: Dying for a Living (A Jesse Sullivan Novel)
Author: Kory M. Shrum
Number of pages: 401
Genre: sci-fi, thriller
Book Number/Goal: 42/52
My Rating: 2/5

Review:
Jesse has a rare neurological condition that enables her to resurrect after her death - such people are called Necronites (or in a derogatory way, zombies). Also, she can forge a special connection with a dying person so she dies instead of them. So she works as a death replacement agent (the prediction of one's exact death day is possible through a psychic-like ability of other agents). Death replacement is a popular and highly requested service, but the job is not only unpleasant but dangerous, as repeated deaths and resurrections overload the brain and eventually result in insanity. And if it were not enough, Jesse's latest job appears to involve a real killer, and she starts her own investigation.

The book has a great, unusual premise, and a good explanation of Necronites' techniques and job responsibilities. The story, however, falls short. There's too much focus on romantic and other relationships; the supernatural angle, introduced later, clashes with the sci-fi angle; and the characters are not particularly interesting to care for their well-being, no matter the threats.
catness: (Default)
[personal profile] catness posting in [community profile] a_reader_is_me
Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Number of pages: 311
Genre: sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 41/52
My Rating: 5/5

Review:
American government has been overthrown by religious extremists who establish the new order. In particular, women are stripped of all civil rights, even banned from reading and writing. Women are men's property, and their status/role in the society (e.g. wife, housemaid, warden) is strictly regulated. The main character, called Offred by the name of her owner, is a Handmaid who belongs to a high-ranking commander, and her purpose is to bear him a baby. As the aftermath of the war, births are rare, and healthy babies even rarer, so child-bearing women are a valuable possession, but they are regarded only as "wombs on legs".

The story is Offred's "mental diary". In a dry, matter-of-fact style, she describes her daily existence, interspersed with memories of her past, normal life with her husband and daughter, now lost forever. The picture of the society in all its shocking details emerges bit by bit, keeping the reader constantly engaged.

This creepy fantasy is entirely realistic, drawing from the cultures where de-personalization of women is a norm. Several characters, including women, argue that the new establishment is for their own good: there's no more street violence, porn, struggle to keep with fashions, and other trappings of the immoral and decadent society of the past; now women are protected, cared for, and provided with the necessities required to survive (that is, unless they try to rebel - infidels are punished without mercy). Foreign tourists gawk at American women clothed from head to toe in "modest" garments, and talk among themselves that these women are happy because it's their culture and they're used to it. Everything so familiar... so depressing.

The epilogue, written as a scientific lecture, is out of place and doesn't fit the tone of the story, but creates the impression that the writer couldn't resist dumping all her background notes onto the readers. But otherwise, fantastic reading - highly recommended!

Bluh it's late.

Apr. 25th, 2014 03:54 am
tyger: Lexaeus' Avatar Kingdom chibi. Text: Lexaeus (Lexaeus - chibi)
[personal profile] tyger
Um.

Did most but not all of the rest of the skein of the scarf; it's longer than I was guesstimating it would be, and I'm needing to put extra beads on from the other end, which pleases and reassures me. Hopefully will be long enough after all. :3 Woulda been all done, but, um, yeah look at that time.

Something something more chocolate when I went out something. Sorry, out of brains, I'mma go sleep nao, yes.

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2014 09:13 am
zillah975: Detail of a sleeping cat from Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Sleeping Cat, 1862 (Default)
[personal profile] zillah975
So, I've got the dishes going, and once that's done I'll get some laundry in. Prepping for a weekend with my sister and some of my best beloveds at Figure Eight Island and so excite. \o/ I expect we're going to spend the entire weekend cooking, drinking, talking, and reading. But really anything I do with these folks is made better by these folks. :)

And I've added The Elder Scrolls Online to my games. And um, I just... I'm not very good at it. >.> I'm finding it staggeringly non-intuitive. I've also learned that if I skip the intro "how to play" part, then when my toon awakens in the world I quickly become utterly lost and I have to just stop and make a new toon and try again. But it's also really, really neat. So my most recent attempt is a fem Wood Elf Nightblade named Nithrael. I took her through the intro and now she's searching for the sunsighter or whatever that thing is and not trying to fight mobs that are twice her tiny level.

But do I have to learn to fish, or do I just find bait and a fishing hole?

And what about weapons? There were no dual-wield options in the "how to play" part, so now I've got a Nightblade with a sword and shield, and I can't find an off-hand to replace the shield with. So I've got a skill point unspent because I want to spend it on dual wielding, but I've got no dual wield. Oooops.

ANYway. :)

AND I'VE GOT THE WHOLE WEEK OFFFFFF. :D

Reading Wednesday on Thursday

Apr. 24th, 2014 08:24 am
laceblade: Ashe from FF XII, looking at viewer over her shoulder. Text reads: "So you say you want a revolution?" (FFXII: You say you want a revolution)
[personal profile] laceblade
Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir - Weird has written lots of non-fiction about Tudors/British royalty. This was her first historical fiction, & it centers on the life of Jane Grey. Grey grew up in an abusive & politically ambitious home. Her story is pretty well-known in history, but this was still a good read. I enjoyed reading about the Tudors from a fresh perspective, & I'm planning to check out Weir's other historical fiction.

Twelve Kingdoms #4 by Fuyumi Ono - A book that really gets into how to rule, particularly when the king is a teenage high school student from modern day Japan & has no idea what the local politics/life is like for her subjects. She's easily manipulated at first, but Yoko won't stay like that for long, obviously.
As before, basic editing errors make me grumpy at TokyoPop, but I really loved this book. I loved the growth of all three female characters. I really like how protagonists CHANGE in Ono's books.
This is the last one TokyoPop put out in the US, so I'll be switching to fan-translated versions to continue my progression in the series.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers - my first Sayers :*) There was a jarring second-person interlude which I really didn't care for, but I'd like to read more.

Ms. Marvel #3 - I continue to like this series, but don't have much to say about it?! I think I'm giving the first three issues to my youngest niece as part of her birthday present.

Captain Marvel #2 - Sort of annoyed by the appearance of Guardians of the Galaxy, who seem like they're only around to promote their movie? idk.

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar - Full disclosure that Sofia used to be in book club with me, so I'm probably biased.
I was afraid I wouldn't like this book because a lot of people have described the prose as being "ornate"/etc. in a way that reminds me of Catherynne Valente. While I haven't read all of Valente's work, the parts I have read are things I really don't care for at all.
Not so with Samatar's book - I fuckin' loved this.
It's about falling in love with reading, & also about ghosts, about love, about so many things. I think this will be even better upon rereads. I wish for many more fantasies like this one.

Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi - Pretty strongly disliked this, both the nonsensical story & the artwork.

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man vol. 2 by Brian Michael Bendis - This felt like a lot of setup, but I'm still interested in reading more to see what happens to Miles Morales.

Iron Man: The Mask in the Iron Man - graciously lent to me at comics club by [personal profile] garrideb, unfortunately I didn't care for this one at all, :/ Mid-1990s U.S. comics, WHAT ARE YOU?!

Kaze Hikaru, volume 19 - It is really difficult to jump back into this after being away for a while. I can't keep track of who anyone is in Osaka. I like how much time this series spends on politics. What I REALLY want is to know what's going to happen when shit goes down & everyone dies,

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry - I read this because it's on this year's Tiptree Shortlist. It's a modern retelling of Orpheus. WOW at that ending, though. "I'm not a hero, I'm a bitch" - HAVE I EVER IDENTIFIED WITH A PROTAGONIST MORE THAN I DID IN THIS MOMENT?! Just, wow. The ending was glorious. I'm really looking forward to the next installment.

the suit and I are one

Apr. 24th, 2014 01:42 am
lotesse: (tony)
[personal profile] lotesse
Reading Tony sans arc reactor in Iron Man as parallel to Mal in "Out of Gas": the arc reactor analogous to air/oxygen, and Dummy parallel to Serenity. I am happy now imagining fusion AUs in which Mal can wear his darling ship right close to his body and Tony can move in to the Iron Man suit with his bots and his Jarvis and his Pepper and his Avengers and fly the 'verse. If the suit were a ship, what would Tony name it? If Joss was writing it would totally be named, like, Bob or something.

"You can't take the sky from me" vs. "well you can't have it."
umadoshi: (sleeping on a book)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I had the most unbelievably groggy day, and it's almost entirely due to a kitten, not my work schedule. A CERTAIN KITTEN (not definitively identified, since it was nighttime, my glasses were off, and the kitten in question stayed near my feet...but I'm thinking it was usually or always Jinksy) decided to spend what felt like the entire night hopping up onto my legs with a crinklepuff toy ever hour or so and playing with it for maybe five minutes before wandering off again. It's hard to sleep through ten pounds of kitten frolicking on one's calves.

It kept waking me up just enough to groggily think about shutting the bedroom door, and then he'd be gone again. So I slept badly enough to be actively nodding off at my desk repeatedly all day at the office. At least it wasn't a rough day, and I'm pretty sure I was doing the thing where I was mostly-asleep for only seconds at a time, rather than losing any significant amount of working time. But it kinda sucked. :/

I'm still getting a lot of enjoyment out of seeing so many people's perfume reviews, esp. since the bulk of it is BPAL, and it makes me want to try some of the same scents to compare...but of course, the bulk of my collection is limited edition stuff from over the last few several years, and even my general catalogue stuff is all/mostly on the aged side, so it probably wouldn't smell exactly the same as Lab-fresh imps that some of you are ordering. And unless I actually start wearing what I have, I really need to not start acquiring more. O_O Self, you have something like two hundred scents. That is LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS.

I think it's time to try changing up how I pick what to read, given that for ages now my method has largely been a combination of "buy books and put them on the shelf and don't read them because they don't have to get back to the library, with a few Read Right Now exceptions" and "see what books the library randomly sends me from my hold list because they've been on the list for two years, and then read that if time permits".

New plan: some combination of "go through my holds list and actually prioritize the books that friends have loved dearly (as opposed to enjoyed well enough to rec)" and "read the books I buy". So far, I'm implementing this as follows: cutting the not-terribly-concrete plan, which largely boils down to a few lists of titles and some notes, for anyone who's curious (and for my own reference) )

Golden Week excitement

Apr. 24th, 2014 10:56 am
nintendoh: (LICKIN MY KNUCKLES AND SHIT)
[personal profile] nintendoh
Been experiencing a bit of homesickness lately (def not the sole reason for my recent moodiness, but a contributing factor), but since I probably won't be going home until Christmas, I want to make use of Golden Week as a chance to remind myself what a not so bad place Kansai is. I never really travel far during Golden week, but I do like to get out and do stuff in my area.

Golden Week runs April 29th through May 6th. The 28th is always the last day at work, but since the 28th is a Monday this year and that's always my day off, my Golden Week is extra long! As soon as I finish work Saturday I'm off for 10 days straight! Awesome!

Currently on schedule for this break:
1. Dinner at the sake brewery I went with Katsushi and his family a few months ago
2. House warming party for Sachiko (her family just bought a house!)
3. Tentative plans to see Donna
4. Visit Nara! Kastsushi and I want to visit Harushika for sake tasting, but I imagine we'll also see/do something traditional because that is what you DO in Nara.

Other stuff I'd like to do maybe:
1. Do a bit of clothes shopping
2. Take a trip to nerd land (Den Den Town)
3. Have a Mexican food night!
4. Make pancakes for breakfast
5. Drink in the afternoon
6. Read a book?
7. Eat out a couple of times!
8. Go out by myself on the days Katsushi has work and/or no one will accompany me
9. Spend a little more than I usually do on coffee and get a week's worth of really nice stuff to drink.

Not sure if everything on these lists will actually happen, but my goal is try and do something every day. I might allow myself one super lazy pajama day, but since the weather is nice and I had SO MANY LAZY DAYS over the winter holidays, I want to try and get out and do stuff as much as possible.

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