icepixie: ([Castle] My fandom reads)
My physical therapist, while poking her fingers into the muscles around my tailbone: "This is the same muscle dogs use to wag their tails."

My life these days. I swear.

It's been slow going, but on the whole, I think I'm doing better. I slept through the night every night last week, which is an achievement I haven't managed since prior to all the surgery. Alas, I woke up every night this week except the night before last. Still, my bladder symptoms have basically stayed away for almost two weeks now (minus getting up at night), and I'm back to doing knee exercises that also help with back stabilization, albeit modified to place less stress on the pelvis and therefore now way too easy, but at least it's something. SI and pelvic pain come and go and haven't changed a lot, but I also haven't really been doing any strengthening exercises yet, so I suppose that's to be expected. I have had a couple of really good days over the last two weeks.

I also noticed that my PT actually seems to align my pelvis when she has her finger deep in unmentionable places. There's a definite (good) difference in how I skate on days I've had a session. We're going to take a look at my leg length discrepancy and possible pelvic torsion next week.

*

Today I got this fantastic thing at an arts and crafts fest. Isn't it cute?

*

My Yuletide fic kept growing and growing, but I think I'm close to done with it. Maybe 1,000 more words. I was hoping I could both finish the assignment and a make a treat out of the earlier fic I abandoned for this one, but I suspect the other one is going to have to be a New Year's Resolution unless I can really power through the assignment this weekend and be writing the treat up until the second the archive opens. Next weekend is probably a bit of a lost cause, because there's the skating show on Saturday (I'm watching this year, not in it--I didn't want to add any more stress to this year, and I didn't quite trust my back and pelvis to carry me through rehearsals and the performance itself), followed by a party one of our adult skaters is throwing on Sunday.

*

My new favorite Christmas carol, a parody of "Silent Night" about the sun's light.

Sample lyrics:
UV light, shortwave light,
Causes sunburn when it's bright.
Used for sterilization
And forensics with irradiation.
Flowers reflect it for bees,
Flowers reflect it for bees.


HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THAT?

*

Finally, I want to recommend Ian Tregillis's The Mechanical, which is the first of a trilogy I've been describing to people who see it in my hands as, "If the Dutch rather than the English controlled North America, and they had robots. And one of those robots gains free will." In addition to two of my favorite sci-fi concepts ever, there's lots of action and many sympathetic and amusing characters (the foul-mouthed French spymistress is the best). I also like that Tregillis obviously made an effort to make at least half the stock and background characters--cart drivers, leather tanners, construction workers--female rather than defaulting to male.
icepixie: ([Castle] My fandom reads)
Today I asked P to help me make my current jumps higher and faster, and she obliged. They cover about twice the distance, and I assume are probably twice the height, as they did before. Hooray!

Sit spin is really looking good these days. We worked some on it a couple weeks ago and now I can get really low and still do 5-7 revolutions. Not as low as the kids, but low enough for adult testing purposes.

G gave me a little trick at my last practice for getting my free leg in the right spot for loop jumps. Apparently you use a squeaker from a dog toy, tape it to your left boot at about the third hook on the outside, and try to make it squeak with your free foot. You can only make it squeak if your free leg/foot are in the right position and not turned out too much, which is one of my many problems with loop jumps. You play around with it at the wall first and then try it in actual jumps. I haven't tried it yet, but this sounds intriguing.

Tomorrow Scott Hamilton is doing a free workshop/class for the local adult skaters at Other Rink. It promises to be exciting.

*

Given what I nominated and what I know of what others nominated, I'm 90% sure I know what I'm asking for and offering. I'm polishing my letter this weekend.

*

I decided that October was going to be horror-novel-reading month. I began with The Ruins, which features killer Mexican kudzu wreaking havoc on spring breakers in the Yucatan. I can't say I would recommend it. Now I'm in the middle of The Little Stranger, which is much better.
icepixie: ([Wonderfalls] This isn't fun for anybody)
I somehow missed this nugget of information about how Barnes & Noble no longer lets you download ebooks you have purchased to your computer to load onto your ereader of choice via the USB cable. You have to download it on your actual device. So today I bought an ebook, only to wonder where the hell the download button is.

Okay, so I have to turn the wireless on on my Nook. Fine, whatever, I'll just turn it and its battery-draining qualities off as soon as the book downloads.

It doesn't download.

After some investigating, I find that this would be because my B&N account is under one email address, while my Nook is apparently registered under another. God forbid.

"You can read it on your iPhone or iPad or Android!" the site chirps at me when I query what to do. Well, that would be great if I had any of those pieces of technology. I do not. BECAUSE I ALREADY HAVE AN EREADER AND A LAPTOP.

Well, maybe I can lend it to myself. Haha, wait, what am I thinking, that would require something to actually work and not throw errors at me when I try to use the function, which is apparently not B&N's forte.

Last ditch effort: Google a way to merge accounts. Miraculously, find that there is a way! It appears to require signing up for a Microsoft account of some stripe, and the fine print probably requires payment of my soul, but whatever, sign up, verify, back to the page for merging accounts. Click.

"Connection was reset. Try again?"

Congratulations, Barnes & Noble. You have just ensured I will never buy anything from you ever again.
icepixie: ([Skating] Z&G cool angle)
Well, after two weeks on the previous bottles of allergen serum, I'm back to the concentration that gave me such problems before. Yesterday was a "test dose," which is even smaller than the typical first dose, but I still had to double up on antihistamines in preparation for it, and it left me feeling pretty spacey all day. I don't think it was helped by the fact that I'm reading a rather depressing book and writing some pretty angsty fic; all of it combined to make me feel, well, rather cranky by the end of the day.

I had a lesson yesterday afternoon, somewhat unfortunately given the above. Usually I kind of drive my lessons and suggest what I want to work on, but yesterday I just told P, "I'm too loopy to think straight. Please teach me something you think is cool." So we worked on counters, back three turns, spread eagles, and Ina Bauers. It's...going to be a while until I do a counter or a back three on one foot, but she taught me a cool sequence involving counters and back edges and snazzy arms that's fun to do. I also worked on going from an inside to an outside Ina Bauer, which I'd never tried before. I actually succeeded for a couple of seconds until I lost the outside edge, which shocked the hell out of me. I think my thighs are getting stronger.

*

I realized I never posted about the last four episodes of season three!

China Beach 3.19-3.22 )
icepixie: ([Skating] Roca Sur love on the rocks)
First lesson with P went well! It's nice to switch things up occasionally, because different people have different metaphors and ways of describing things, and some metaphors work better than others. She gave me new ways to think about checking after three turns and shifting my weight to prepare for a one-foot spin. I also got to work on the half flip for the first time in ages, and it looks a lot better now. And she is not going to let me get away with not rolling up onto the toe pick before the waltz jump, argh. I mean, that's good. But argh.

In retrospect, skating two back-to-back 45-minute sessions was not my greatest idea when this is only my second time on the ice in almost two months, but it was that or start my lesson the moment I walked on to the ice, and exhaustion seemed the lesser of two evils. That said, I may just give up the first 15-20 minutes of the first session next week, or take a long break in the middle, or something. Today I got on the ice at 8:15, warmed up, did moves for a while, and thought, "Gosh, I'm tired! Surely it's been almost an hour!" It was 8:30.

(Speaking of exhaustion, while I am absolutely not looking the gift horse of OUR RINK IS BAAAAAACK in the mouth, I am looking forward to the full freestyle schedule being reinstated once Rink B is up in August. Getting up at 6:30 on a Saturday is inhumane.)

It was fantastic being one of the first to skate on the brand new ice. The paint on the concrete underneath was so clear! The lines were crisp, the blue of the goalie pits was an actual blue instead of looking like old wash water after a load of darks, and there was no embedded grit or dirt. SO. PRETTY. The ice itself felt a little funky--crunchy, actually, like skating on frost--but not a big deal. It's probably not quite as hard as they typically keep it yet, and will improve over the next couple of days.

After I finished the second session, I went out to McKay and spent $45 to get 20 books. Woo. My ratio of excellent:lemon from them has been rather poor lately, but hopefully it's improved in this round. I stayed away from the bargain section, which frequently leads me astray. ("Well, it's looks kind of weird, but it's only a quarter, so why not?" THERE IS ALWAYS A WHY NOT.)
icepixie: ([Skating] Z&G cool angle)
My rink opens back up this weekend! I am counting the days. All two days, thirteen hours, and sixteen minutes, in fact. Ahem.

(Seriously, though, three months of only skating on Saturdays, plus a month of enforced post-op laziness, has done a number on the fit of my pants. Yuck. I need to take care of this before dress-and-skirt season is over in October.)

My first of two giant work events of the year is over, yaaaaay! It went well, too. There were a couple of very minor snags, but all behind the scenes and nothing that affected people's enjoyment of the mentoring activity and the dinner and keynote talk afterward. It was somewhat smaller than usual this year, which ended up being a good thing, because that event really needs three staff members to run smoothly and we only had two this time. But my minion the new hire for my old job starts Monday, so soon we will have help. HURRAH!

In between reading about the debacle that was DashCon, this weekend I broke 110k on the not!drawerfic. I hit a pivotal event, yay! I also blazed through nine months in three paragraphs to get to that point, which I think was good for everyone. Better writers than I probably could've written things about those nine months that would make the Pivotal Event mean more, but I need to be done with this fic, it has dragged on for fourteen months, send help.

I read Among Others this week. I am undecided, but think I fall more towards dislike. It's about and told from the POV of a teenager, which is an automatic point deduction for me. I like that it puts sci-fi and fantasy novels on the same level as the literary canon, but I also felt that at times it used shared references to stand in for original thought. (Maybe it would've been better had I much grounding in 70s-era SF.) I was also dead certain that Spoilers ) and the ending nonplussed me a little.
icepixie: ([Photos Stock] Cherry blossoms)
Having the busiest period of the year at work come in the last six weeks of winter really seems to accentuate the seasonal change. By February, everyone's sick of winter (especially this cold, bitter one), all the overtime/work stress is beating us all down down, and everything is generally miserable--and then suddenly I'm walking across campus and there's a hawthorn tree flowering, these white flowers all over what I swear were entirely bare branches the last time I saw it a few days ago, and it's like some fairy creature stepped through the veil and settled here for a while, it's so surprising and otherworldly. Spring! In this land of endless winter and misery!

I didn't stop in my tracks, but there was definitely a hitch in my step when I caught sight of it.

This tree prompted me to notice today that daffodils are blooming in tight little bunches at doorsteps and along sidewalks, down in the little hollows in the neighborhood yards that always have the first of a long parade of daffodils. I've also recently had to switch my alarm clock's alarm sound from birds tweeting to a generic (but thankfully not shrieky) musical tone, because the birds are starting up an hour or so before I normally rise, which leads me to think my alarm's going off. Spriiiiiiing.

And and and, as of today we are finally done with the Big Huge Federal Report that makes life a misery through February, not to mention the Big Annual Program Event and the Big Thrice-Yearly Workshop Events, all of which came within two weeks of each other, and it is as if the sun has come out! Birds are singing, warm breezes are blowing, college students are getting drunk and making embarrassing porn videos in Florida on spring break! (One of these things is not like the others...) I can catch up on non-essential work stuff! I can take a lunch break! Not that it won't still be busy, but it will be a manageable type of busy as opposed to chaos.

(I don't ultimately mind the work at this time of year--it is, after all, job security for the rest of the year, and I suppose it builds a certain kind of team spirit--but it would definitely be nice have it spread out instead of all bunched together. Federal deadlines being what they are, this is unlikely to ever happen.)

*

I haven't written much over the past couple of months because my brain's been too fried, but this weekend I AM going to plot out the next several scenes of the not!drawerfic and get started on them. I'm so close to at least joining up the ~80K chunk of continuous beginning and middle with the next few pieces of the middle I already have written, if not moving towards the end.

I did at least get some reading done over the past several weeks. Nothing really worth writing about here, but it was nice to do. Well, okay, one thing I did want to say was that I just finished The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt's newest) and thought it was great, but still a bit flawed. The rambling at the end needed to be cut down a lot. She approached Joycean--it was very reminiscent of the style of the ending to Portrait of the Artist, which is always a plus--but I rolled my eyes at some of it. That said, the book as a whole was intricately crafted and rich with interesting and well-realized characters, and despite myself I liked Theo a lot, so it was certainly worth reading.

Right now I'm finally reading Broken Homes, the latest Rivers of London novel. After that is Push Dick's Button, which is Dick Button's memoir and promises to be entertaining.

*

I voluntarily stepped onto a sheet of ice at 6:15 this morning so I could have a session to practice/warm up before my lesson at 7. How did this become my life?
icepixie: ([Other] Book)
The Disappointing
True North by Kimberly Kafka - I liked this one a lot until the end. Alaska! Bush pilots! Interesting political relations between whites and the native community! Unfortunately, it appears to have been published without the final three chapters. I'm all for not wrapping things up in a pretty bow, but this was like the author laid the package on top of the ribbon and then just left it there without even attempting to pull the ribbon up over the top. Spoilers )

The Disturbing
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - My book club at work is reading this for January. It's not something I would've picked up on my own, but I can't say it was bad. It was actually very well done. I was not expecting the reveal at the beginning of the second part, I must say. But by the end, I unconditionally hated the two main characters, which I suppose was the point. Spoilers )

The Fun!
Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch - I devoured the first three of these in short order. The fourth one doesn't come out here until next month (but I'm first on the list at the library!). They're a little popcorny, but very fun, and I really like the way Aaronovitch has Peter treat magic as something to be studied and experimented with a la chemistry. I get a little tired of magic as some arcane, sacred art that just works without explanation. This treatment of it appeals to my practical side.
icepixie: ([Movies] Fred and Ginger heart)
I'm reading You Are One of Them right now, and today I came across this description of the narrator's college experience:

Midmorning lectures in imposing Gothic buildings, afternoon seminars in quaint clapboard houses, late nights in the library, where friends were never more than a few carrels away and could be easily coerced into coffee breaks. It was a picturesque campus on a hill, and even in winter, with several feet of New England's snow on the ground, the place seemed to be bathed in warm light. It was a nostalgia factory; we were being trained to be sentimental about the school so that we'd respond to their relentless appeals for money after we left.

Now, I know many small liberal arts colleges are more similar than their advertising would like you to believe, but still, something about that passage was awfully familiar. Even with the half-hearted attempt to disguise the location (New England, hah), I was getting not so much an imagined image as a memory...

Oh, look, Elliott Holt is a Kenyon alum. No one is surprised.

P.S. While I was looking up the lyrics to "Kokosing Farewell," I came across Kenyon's new 404 page. Bwahahahaha.
icepixie: ([Skating] Roca Sur ghost in pink)
Ahahahaha, somehow I have gotten to THE HEAD OF THE LINE for the library's copy of the Hyperbole and a Half book. You know, when it actually comes out in two months. Nevertheless, I am 1 of 1 holds. Eeeeeexcellent.

I just discovered that there actually were TV broadcasts of the Brian Boitano/Katerina Witt tours of 1990-92, and someone online has them for trade! Soon they will be in my hot little hands. I've been wanting them not only because this looks kind of fascinating (it's part of their Carmen on Ice show that was made into an HBO movie, because the 90s were bizarre), but because it was Roca/Sur's first big professional break as a team, before they had their amateur competitive career, even. (...I know. Figure skating rules in the 90s were weird.)

I was thiiiiiiiis close to 60,000 words on the not!drawerfic, but then I deleted a scene that wasn't working. Sigh. Aiming to get over that hump this weekend. I still want to have Part 2 completed by the time I leave for [profile] pezprez's wedding in two weeks.

Time to finish this up and get to class...
icepixie: ([Farscape] Crichton in space)
Ivan's Book: READING ACCOMPLISHED.

Vorkosigan icon: TEMPORARILY RESTORED. (On LJ, anyway.)

Some spoilers )

*

I was going to write a bit about this week's TV, but I just don't have the energy. Plus it would be mostly complaints, anyway, so let's just skip it, shall we? Better luck next time for all three shows.
icepixie: ([Other] Book)
I'm about halfway through Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. And may I just say, I highly approve of LMB's choice of plot devices. I approve even more of the complications thereof that come along about six chapters later. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Also? Ivan is totally, totally played by Ben Browder in my head. That was sealed after the following bit of dialogue from the first chapter: "Hey, made it inside her door on t' first date! Are things lookin' up for Ma Vorpatril's boy, or what?" Oh, Ivan, you and John Crichton would get along so well.

(Though duuuuuuuuude. Someone needs to take LMB's comma key away. If I were to cross out all the unnecessary and frankly ungrammatical ones in this book, there would be pencil marks on every page.)

Awww, I don't have my Vorkosigan icon anymore. *mope*
icepixie: ([Fringe] Olivia looking up)
This weekend has been really nice. The weather turned cold and blustery, so I moved my summer clothes under the bed and my winter clothes to the closet and dresser, then hunkered down in my not-worn-since-February corduroys in my bed, with its flannel sheets that I just put on yesterday morning, and read what is basically a Gothic novel, for all that it takes place in the 1950s and 60s. (Well, okay, it's a Gothic novel until spoilers ))

We also hit one of my favorite episodes this weekend at [livejournal.com profile] nx_rewatch, which was a pleasant way to while away an hour this morning.

The weather also means that I got to unearth my embroidered velvet coat. It's built a little bit like a riding coat, mostly in that it flares somewhat at the bottom, and I always feel like a combination of a Cossack and, I dunno, a carnival fortune teller when I wear it. Here, have pictures:

Rose coat )

The only thing I didn't manage to make time for is getting any further on novel rewrites, but I did clip Bringing Up Baby for the screwball comedy vid, and now I have lots of potential ideas for incorporating madcap antics into the flight.

Book review

Sep. 7th, 2012 11:37 pm
icepixie: ([BSG] Nothing but the rain)
Well, I wanted to like Never Let Me Go (the novel, not the movie, which I haven't seen), but...come on. If you've read even one sci-fi novel you knew what the twist was from approximately chapter two, and the most interesting parts--how this process actually came to be (surely there was public outcry?), all the socio-political implications of what they were doing, why whether the spoiler ) was even a question and what various people thought about it--were skimmed over in one chapter near the end.

Also: Really, not one person tried to escape this system? For real? Because I find this hard to believe, and I would much rather have read the story of someone who escaped and caused a revolution or something. Or at least an explanation of why no one even thought to challenge the system.

And one more thing--let's be real here, no way spoiler )

So basically, the plot of the book appears to be having the audience slowly deduce the twist, except the twist was deducible from way too early, so we were left with no actual story and a lot of logic holes. Bah.
icepixie: ([Other] Birds on a wire)
Woo! I think I managed to finish all the big and most of the small revisions I wanted to make to the space pilots story. Now I have just a few little things left. I might actually ship this out by the end of the week!

(On the off chance you'd like to beta and haven't said so yet, I'm always happy to add readers to my cabal. Leave a way to contact you in the comments.)

I have also been plowing through my recent McKay's haul. Some notes:

Flight, by Sherman Alexie - I have read Vonnegut, and sir, you are no Vonnegut. Which is unfortunate, because I loved the stories in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. This had some very nice moments, but it paralleled Slaughterhouse-Five much too closely.

Echo, by Jack McDevitt - Stephen King blurbed for the front cover, and he writes, "The logical heir to Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke." This is all too true, in all possible ways. The characters are little more than cardboard and the prose is often wince-worthy, but the concept and the mystery grabbed me by the brain and wouldn't let me go. The ending was a total letdown, but the journey was great. (This is my new philosophy for reading novels, BTW, since it appears no one knows how to write an ending anymore. I include myself in this group, as those of you will be subjected to have volunteered to read my novella will find.)

The Risk Pool, by Richard Russo - In complete contrast to the above, Russo didn't have much of a story, but his characters could walk off the page and into the world, and his prose danced beguilingly before my eyes. I'm always happy to go back to his dying Rust Belt towns.

In music notes (heh), I've been downloading things from NoiseTrade, which is an excellent service where artists provide a few tracks of their music you can download for free in the hopes of hooking you into paying for more of their music. Its fatal flaw is a lack of ability to browse by anything, including artist name or genre, but if you check out their weekly featured artists, you can at least run into some good tunes. I like these:

Elenowen, a male/female duo from Nashville. Their lyrics could use some work, but they can write an excellent indie pop/rock tune. They compare themselves to The Civil Wars, which seems pretty accurate.

Andrew Belle. I like the first two tracks here especially. More rock than anything else, I guess? The Greg Laswell and John Mayer comparisons on the site seem accurate enough.
icepixie: ([Burn Notice] Sunglasses promo)
Internets! It feels like I've been gone from you for ages, but I suppose I haven't. I've been spending my time reading Paul Murray's Skippy Dies, which was quite good. Admittedly, the first 300 pages (of 650) were a barely-interesting-enough-to-continue slog, but after I got through them, it got excellent. It's also pretty funny in places. A few spoilers. )

In short, [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay and [livejournal.com profile] rowdycamels, I think both of you would like this book, though perhaps for different reasons.

*

I recently read the following description for a sitcom that will be airing on ABC next season. I thought there was no way it could be real. Surely someone slipped it into the list of new shows as a little joke. Here, do you believe this is actually going to air on TV?

How well do you know your neighbors?

Meet the Weavers, Debbie (Jami Gertz) and Marty (Lenny Venito). Marty, in hopes of providing a better life for his wife and three kids, recently bought a home in Hidden Hills, a gated New Jersey townhome community with its own golf course. Hidden Hills is so exclusive that a house hasn’t come on the market in 10 years. But one finally did and the Weavers got it!

It’s clear from day one that the residents of Hidden Hills are a little different. For starters, their new neighbors all have pro-athlete names like Reggie Jackson (Tim Jo), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye), Dick Butkis (Ian Patrick) and Larry Bird (Simon Templeman). Over dinner, Marty and his family discover that their neighbors receive nourishment through their eyes by reading books, rather than eating. The Weavers soon learn that the entire community is comprised of aliens from Zabvron, where the men bear children and everyone cries green goo from their ears.

The Zabvronians have been stationed on Earth for the past 10 years, disguised as humans, awaiting instructions from home, and the Weavers are the first humans they’ve had the opportunity to know. As it turns out, the pressures of marriage and parenthood are not exclusive to planet Earth. Two worlds will collide with hilarious consequences as everyone discovers they can “totally relate” and learn a lot from each other.


It's real. I weep for humanity.

*

Anyway, enough of that. Burn Notice premieres on June 14th! Hooray! Especially since Castle started trying to turn itself into BN, I've been wanting summer to come. I have to admit, I'm not anticipating incredibly, incredibly mild spoiler ) but knowing this show, at least Fiona will get to help break her own self out of jail, which is always good.

*

Plans for the rest of today: REVISION. I'm going to have the second draft of my space pilots story done by June 1 or else.
icepixie: ([Other] Book)
The Nashville Film Festival has a free mixtape available through the 26th. It has 26 tracks, mostly from Nashville-based singer/songwriters, with a few from other places whose music is featured in some of the films being shown at the festival. It's really good! Like, surprisingly good! Also free!

I stumbled upon it because I was visiting Katie Herzig's website. She's on the sampler, and I have two other songs to recommend:

Lost and Found - Veers into sort of...epic pop? territory. Very cool. Also catchy. I very much want to make a vid to this--something with a lot of sharp angles and quick cuts.

Best Day of Your Life - Super-catchy and fun.

*

After several months on the library's waiting list, during which time I forgot why I even requested the book, I received Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot this week. I really liked Middlesex, which had a unique premise that was well-executed, and I expected to like this one. Alas, it did not rise to expectations. So much literary fiction written lately seems to have the same effect on me: it's interesting enough to keep reading to the end, but when I finish it I'm always disappointed that nothing really happened. I spent some time with generally unlikeable characters, and in the end all that happened was I wasted a few hours and despair of humanity even more than I already did. Why has this become such a trend in the past twenty or thirty years?

(...It occurs to me this might be the point of the book, because one of the central ideas--albeit one that gets about two sentences of writing on it--is the theory that the novel was exquisitely suited for the Austenesque "marriage plot" and has been in decline ever since women stopped having to pin their entire futures on marrying well. Thus, presumably, the lack of "plot" in this and other modern novels, as the only plot available is a "marriage plot." Somehow I don't think we needed 400+ pages of circling aimlessly to get the point.)

Spoilers. )

Just...argh. I do actually like some literary fiction (though I detest the label), but it's so hard to find the good ones sometimes.
icepixie: ([Fringe] Olivia looking up)
Adrienne Rich died on Wednesday. She was such a big influence on Boland that she naturally colored my thesis quite a bit. It's weird to think she's gone.

*

In my continuing quest to watch every TV show Canada has ever made, I watched the first eight episodes of Robson Arms, which is a half-hour quasi-anthology series about the quirky tenants of a ramshackle Vancouver apartment building that aired from 2005-2008. It does have reoccurring characters, but each episode focuses on different ones, or the same ones in different combinations. Some of the situations can be a bit stock, but they do a really good job of putting an emotionally weighty, original spin on them. So far my favorite is the episode where the younger half of a May-December gay couple feels resentful about eventually having to take care of his older partner, only to discover that at age 30, he has cancer, which upends everything about the relationship. I also enjoyed the one where a teenager bonds with his kickass burlesque dancer grandmother.

Apparently half the Canadian television community acted in this series, because I am constantly going, "Hey, It's That Person!" Examples:

  • Gabrielle Miller and Fred Ewaniuk (Lacey and Hank Corner Gas)

  • Mark McKinney (Richard, Slings & Arrows)

  • William B. Davis (Cigarette-Smoking Man, X-Files)

  • Gabrielle Rose (the Redverse psychologist in "Olivia" on Fringe; other guest roles in Vancouver-filmed shows)

  • Alisen Down (Barolay, BSG)

  • Kevin McNulty (assorted guest roles)


Apparently Dave Foley and Peter DeLuise are going to show up at some point as well.

Anyway, it's good, and it's on Netflix. You should watch it!

*

In my continuing quest to read everything ever written about Amelia Earhart, fiction reading ensued: Jane Mendelsohn's I Was Amelia Earhart, which is a beautiful little novella that follows Earhart and Fred Noonan on the round the world trip and then postulates that they crashed on a deserted tropical island and survived there for a year before they reach a point where "there is no difference between being rescued and being captured," and so when they spy a plane that might be American, might be Japanese, and has definitely seen them, they take the Electra up again and presumably crash into the ocean and journey to an afterlife that is another version of their island.

The dreamy style is a bit self-conscious, but that actually works in its favor because Earhart seems to have been quite self-conscious herself. My only quibble is that the switching from first- to third-person POV with seemingly no rhyme or reason didn't entirely work for me. I would've stuck with first-person all the way through, although the third did give the reader some nice views into Noonan's head, such as, ...he measures the passage of time less in terms of his own experience than in the changing expression of her form. // When she is old, gray-haired, he will love her for all of the seasons she contains.

(There is, perhaps predictably but no less nicely-done, a lot of bickering and fighting in the first part and then a love story. Or I suppose really the whole thing is a love story in its way, including the fighting, but you know what I mean.)

Two more excerpts I was particularly taken with:

Under here )

*

Finally, pictures from a recent outing to Centennial Park:

Flowers, birds, trees, concrete ships, girls in hats. You know, the usual. )
icepixie: ([Other] Book)
I recently read Collen Mondor's The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska, which caught my eye for two reasons: one, come on, that title is definitely arresting, and two, I will read practically anything about Alaska, and especially about bush flying. I blame Northern Exposure.

I would like to recommend this book, which is a memoir of the author's time working for a bush commuter/freight company in the 1990s, sprinkled with bits about the history of aviation in Alaska and what appears to be information from her graduate thesis on causes of aviation incidents in the bush. Unfortunately, the style didn't really work for me. It's too precious, too purposefully broken and incomplete, and overly-reflective without really giving enough information for the audience to join her in her reflection. I also didn't care for her conceit of pretending the pilots she worked with (and I assume interviewed for the book) and she were sitting around a table chatting about the events she was recounting in long, perfectly-formed sentences with just the right amount of slang, that no one except a character in a book would ever say.

However, there was one section that I found very affecting. It has nothing to do with flying, but it's perhaps the best part of the book, if in an awful way. Under the cut for length and subject matter (suicide): This will always be the saddest flying story I ever heard. )

I also read Fried Green Tomatoes recently, and it was a lot of fun. I've never seen the movie, so I went into it blind. I actually found myself just a smidge more interested in the scenes with Evelyn and Ninny in 1985 than the bulk of the narrative, if only because it seemed to spread the urban south of my childhood open for me to see again in the details Flagg chose to include, such as Evelyn shopping at a Piggly-Wiggly or the Tennessee-Alabama football game being on TV in the background of a scene.* The bulk of the story, set in the 1930s and a few years surrounding it, was also really good. I love stories about tiny, quirky communities and the weird people who live in them, so this was right up my alley. Idgie was fabulous. And there was canon femslash! I was not expecting that at all, but it was a happy surprise.


* Well, okay, not that football was ever on the TV when I was a kid or now, but trust me, UT football talk is always in the air out in public.
icepixie: ([NX] Chris on Christmas Eve)
Ahhh, what nice weather we're having now. It's been in the mid-sixties for the past couple days, and the sun's been shining. In fact, it's been a very nice winter so far, especially after the snowfest that was last year; no appreciable snow, lots of warm days, reasonable amounts of sun. Please, February, don't dump a blizzard on me now that I've said all that. ;)

Have some weather-relevant pictures:

The first crocus )

An amaryllis from earlier this month )

Finally, a picture I took before Christmas and forgot was on my camera, of a hawk that visited the yard. It had just caught a bird in this picture, so while it's not gory, there is, well, a body, so if that squicks you don't click.

Hawk )

It's fairly grainy because I was standing about forty feet away when I took the picture, and my zoom was as zoomed as it would go. I think this is a sharp-shinned hawk.

*

In other news, between writing spurts on my space pilots story (5,500+ words! Though the estimated final word count ballooned up to 10,000, so that's kind of a wash), I've been reading the first of Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy. It was sold to me as being heavier on the magical realism than it is, but that aside, it was decent. I'm hoping the next two books delve deeper into the narrator's academic work on myth and religion, as that's the most compelling part. Though the narrator himself isn't bad. Here's the most amusing line:

"I was foolish and conceited, I know, but I was also a happy goat who had wandered into the wondrous enclosed garden of hagiology, and I grazed greedily and contentedly."

*

Finally, have yet another music rec: Pink Martini, a twelveish-member "little orchestra" that plays an eclectic set of tunes that seem to range from Italian torch songs to American jazz standards, but mostly appear to center around Cuban salsas and rumbas and French-sounding ballads. I admit, I don't like everything, but I like these two:

Hang On, Little Tomato - The first time I listened to this, I could've sworn the instrumental first half was used on Northern Exposure. Since the song came out in 2004, that seems unlikely, but it does bear an uncanny resemblance to the "Alaskan Nights" track on the first soundtrack, which makes frequent appearances in the show. (It's that track with a clarinet melody and guitar and bass backing, with infrequent bell-like accents; trust me, if you've seen the show, you've heard it.) There's a clarinet playing the same kind of lazy, strolling melody, and the bass-centric background is very similar. Anyway, if you liked the music composed for NX, you'll like this.

Lilly - Fun salsa beat, horns, and it's about a stray dog. How can you go wrong?

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