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Here, have a post all about me. me me meCollapse )
16th-Nov-2014 08:14 pm - quick update
I'm DONE DONE DONE with this whole cold weather thing. And it's only mid-November. Oops.

Trying to decide whether to splurge on airplane tickets to visit my sister during Christmas break. In spite of low gas prices, airplane ticket prices remain high. So far the sales prices haven't worked for my particular departure and arrival cities.

Has anyone else noticed a lessened capacity for high fantasy as you get older? I started a book by N.K. Jemisen and realized that I was going to have to learn a whole set of made-up names and cultures, and I just... well... I'm still reading it. We'll see if I make it all the way through.

On to TV: Elementary is back from summer break. I never did watch most of season two, but so far that hasn't been a problem. So far I like new character Kitty Winters, and am rooting for Kitty and Joan friendship. They have interacted, and it's slowly heading that direction, so I'm hopeful. Also, Joan has a boyfriend, yay!

The Flash and Jane the Virgin are still holding strong as TV newcomers. I let Forever slip off my radar; forgetfulness is a clear indicator of disinterest, and there are other shows I'm enjoying more.

I don't really have anything to say about Person of Interest, because my feelings are so mixed that I'll never untangle a comprehensible set of words from the mess of my thoughts. But I will say this: co-writing fic (which is mostly me directing and my co-writer writing) is a lovely refuge. Beloved characters are still alive and will have a happy ending! Eventually! After multiple chapters of angst, of course.

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29th-Oct-2014 08:46 pm - one book and two shows
You might know of Sarah Vowell from her many different turns on (US) public radio. I first heard her talk about insomnia; she has an incredibly distinct voice, both in audio quality and in word choice.

Oh, and she also did the voice of Violet in The Incredibles.

Anyway, when I read anything she writes, I hear that voice in my mind. Unfamiliar Fishes is her take on Hawaii's messy history as it ties into the United States. It was an interesting read. I never used to read non-fiction, but lately it's been creeping into my reading diet.

More TV... I know! The first two episodes of The Flash were entertaining enough to keep me interested. So I'll watch it, when I remember to do so. The leading man has that kind of face where you think, "Eh, forgettable" and then you see the character in action. Charm can really alter perceptions of attractiveness.

Person of Interest: this week's guest star had a mustache, which is now American shorthand for a man whose entire life is a joke. The plot was accordingly ridiculous, but it fell on the good side of that line. And no Root this week, which meant I didn't spiral into an existential crisis about implausible character evolutions, so... that was good, I guess? (Short version: I found Root more credible and interesting as the Joker than as a messiah figure. So when the story spends a lot of time on that element, I get antsy.)

And now I'm supposed to grade papers. But I don't wanna. :(

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19th-Oct-2014 05:38 pm - another new show and some older ones
girly, B&W, starbuck
So, ABC's Forever is apparently a new version of New Amsterdam, and I'm taking the latter show as a clear indicator of what will happen to the former. I haven't bothered looking up numbers, but I'm betting that Forever doesn't make it past a first season.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying all of it, but the glaring plot holes and over-reliance on Henry's magical everything (knowledge, competence, charm and English accent) are both problems that aren't easily glossed over without something else to pull viewers in. So I'll enjoy it while it lasts, but I don't expect that to be very long.

Brooklyn Nine Nine is back for season two, and full of its usual charm. It's my happy comedy show while Parks and Recreation is on hiatus until Spring. Speaking of P&R, I finally watched the end of season six, now that it's on Netflix. I'm guessing they were told that the show was actually canceled, considering that over-the-top finale.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent has been taken off Netflix livestreaming, which breaks my heart. I still had several seasons to watch... while grading papers, of course. That was the BEST show for that purpose: just interesting enough to keep the whole paper-grading process a bit more upbeat, not so interesting that I got sucked into actually watching the show instead of grading. *sigh* What am I gonna do now?! There's always SVU, but I just got so tired of the parade of victims of sex-crimes.

Maybe I'll try Longmire again. Except that Katee Sackhoff is distracting, what with her awesome acting and deputy badge and so forth.

eta: Ooh, I almost forgot... I watched the pilot episode of Jane the Virgin, which is a US adaptation of a telenovela, and it was a lot of fun. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to handle the love triangle aspect--I really dislike villainizing one character in order to get us to like the other option--but maybe the show won't go that route?

So we'll see.

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Various TV shows are starting up again, some returning and some new. I watched the pilot episode of Gotham and decided that it was too grim and violent for me. Not to mention that the one shining light among the adult characters thought it was a brilliant idea to consult with a recently orphaned twelve-year-old about taking down crime in the city from the inside. Not a good plan, not-yet-Commissioner Gordon.

The pilot episode of How to Get Away With Murder also left me feeling that there was a lack of adults who are trying to, y'know, do any kind of good in the world. Morally ambiguous characters can be fun, but a whole show full of them? It's a bit much. Also, the idea that a law professor is letting her students muck around in a current murder trial where she's serving as the defense attorney just hurts me in the logic.

Both of these shows have some great filmography and fantastic actors and compelling plots, but that doesn't mean they're what I want to watch.

Black-ish isn't on my must-watch list yet--the pilot had some funny moments, but the humor didn't always work for me. I might give another episode a try in a week or two, to see how it's going once things are a bit more established.

As for returning shows, Sleepy Hollow started off with an episode that highlights everything good, bad, and implausible about it. I loved it almost unconditionally, complete with anachronistic Ben Franklin's kite experiment. (Franklin did, in fact, take "air baths", but the kite experiment happened a decade or two too early for our Ichabod Crane to be helping with them. No matter, though!) Still great: Crane and Mills and Mills. Still lacking a plot: vague spoilerCollapse )

Person of Interest was in transition mode to start its fourth season, so this episode had more to do with shifting the show's universe than anything else. It felt a bit slow for me at first, but the pace picked up by the end. As for spoilery stuffCollapse )

PoI is on my 'watch, but if this goes somewhere I don't like, it's gone' list. We'll always have AU fanfic, whether I'm watching the show or not.

And... hm. I think that's it? Oh, I've also watched four episodes of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, an Australian show on Netflix, set in the 1920s. And I'm almost done with season two of Call the Midwife.

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15th-Sep-2014 09:25 pm - a book and a movie rewatch
Austenland, by Shannon Hale: well, it was a book. It didn't end up in the "I hate it so much that I'd like to fling it against the wall" category, but I definitely didn't love it. Which is a bit unfortunate, since it was loaned to me by a friend who was certain that it would be just my thing.

The basic premise of Austenland itself was part of the problem. It's a creative premise, I'll grant that. If you're a rich enough woman (this fictional universe only talked of women clients), and you have enough of an interest in Jane Austen's novels, you can sign up for their package vacation, in which you play a character and interact with other paying participants and paid actors. Heck of a vacation. Add in the idea that the management wants its clients to have a satisfactory Austen-esque romantic experience, and then throw in a leading character who is struggling to figure out why her own love life has been so dismal, and I just ended up feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed. So. Not a ringing endorsement for the book. Maybe ten years ago I would have enjoyed this a lot more.

In more positive news, I just rewatched Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and it's still delightful. Though I was amused to discover that one scene looked very different in my memory than how it played onscreen, and the ending was far more shippy than I remember it.

It's available on Netflix streaming now, so if you haven't watched it yet and have Netflix, give it a try.

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10th-Sep-2014 08:52 pm - nibbles and TV
I just made this recipe for banana oatmeal "cookies". Please note, the term cookie is used in the sense that they're roundish and sweet-ish. Otherwise there's no flour, hardly any added sugar, and so forth. I only made them because I had two over-ripe bananas and I didn't want to go to the trouble of making banana bread. Too much work; this was easier, and a theoretically healthy snack. (Note: these smell better than they taste. Not that they taste bad to me, but when they were baking, they smelled amazing, but when they were done, they were a pleasant fruity-oaty snack. So take that for what it's worth.

Er, somehow I finished watching season one of Call the Midwife. I'm not sure how that happened, although some of that can be attributed to the fact that there are only six episodes in season one. Okay, that's not so bad, then. Anyway, if you give it a try, have some tissues at hand. I ended up sobbing near the end of episode four. Not just teary-eyed, not just sniffly, but full-on sobs. So. But it's really, really good, I promise!

What else? Hm, I think that's it. I have stuff I should work on, but I just baked! Or 'baked'. So clearly I deserve a bit of a rest now. ;-P

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I think it's an appropriate Labor Day (USA) activity: watching a show that includes women in labor. Heh. At any rate, the first episode of Call the Midwife made me cry, and the second one was a close thing, so...

So glad that Nurse Brown (Miranda Hart) is going to be on the show more than just one episode; I really like her. As for Nurse Lee, she has a spectacular wardrobe that I covet, and she's very pretty. I'm sure I'll like her more as time goes by. I don't dislike her; Nurse Lee does a great job in introducing us to this world that's still very new to her, so I appreciate her role. I just like others more. Like the nun who's a bit senile (but not really), and the blonde nurse who gave the speech about how she used to believe that she deserved a medal.

Anyway, yes, the show is lovely so far. All of you who told me that I would probably like it were right. :)

Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans! I'm enjoying my day off from work.

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I ended up reading another book by Chris Bohjalian: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. It's his most recent novel, the one that first piqued my interest when I heard an interview with him talking about it. v. mild spoilers, trigger warnings, and my reactionCollapse )

So there was a new episode of Doctor Who last night. I still haven't finished watching season seven. Somewhere along the way I lost interest, and I can point to Clara as the new companion as that moment: yet another woman with a mystery. How many mysterious women whose pasts are secretly entwined with the Doctor do we need? As someone who identified pretty strongly with the (ordinary human) companions, it left me feeling like an outsider.

I may watch the rest of season seven now that it's on Netflix... or I may not. I tried episode 7.06 the other day, and it wasn't an auspicious re-entry point.

Feel free to tell me why I should give season eight a try in real-time, if you wish.

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13th-Aug-2014 10:10 pm - that was a first
girly, B&W, starbuck
One way in which depression has been... useful? I guess? is that I grew out my bangs. I've tried before, but normally I get so annoyed that I either chop them short again myself or call and make an appointment with my hairstylist. But thanks to depression, I did neither of those things.

Er, I had a different point in mind than depression for this post. Got sidetracked. Anyway, now that my hair has gotten long enough to look like actual long(ish) hair, my hairstylist is feeling defensive of it. So basically I had to tell her that I have too much healthy and pretty hair, so please cut it shorter. It was a bit surreal, considering that when I said I wanted to grow it out, she was against that as well. Apparently my hairstylist doesn't deal well with changes in her customers' hairstyles?

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7th-Aug-2014 08:51 pm - hey, it's another post!
I've been watching more Nikita lately. (The 2010 reboot with Maggie Q, not the 90s version.) So entertaining! I'm about halfway through season two, so Nikita and Alex are friendlies again, yay! How is there not more fanfic for this show? Oh right, because the two leads are women, not white men.

Some random links! In case you're curious about that great deal at the dollar store, here are Things to buy at the Dollar Store...and a few things to avoid. She has a series of dollar store posts linked at the bottom of this one.

I may have to put this into practice soon, considering the age of my car: How to Buy a Car Without Interacting With a Human.

I can't resist putting this link after a link about spending exhorbitant amounts of money: 56 things to do instead of spending money.

McCall pattern company (the parent company of McCall, Vogue, and Butterick patterns) finally has a blog, and I learned that the models in the Vogue Patterns designer patterns are wearing the actual designer garments. Plus a bit more about how those clothes are translated into patterns. (This is one of the few times where I'd advise reading the comments.)

Also sewing related, the blogger of Dress a Day talks about conscious incompetence in her sewing, and it was interesting and reassuring. (She does a hilarious series of posts that show the front art of vintage patterns and creating imagined conversations between the women wearing the clothes. Like this one.

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5th-Aug-2014 01:11 pm - hypothetical gardening
I'm starting to get that running out of time feeling about summer. It's been such a lovely one, but there are so many things I wanted to do before work starts up again.

I read The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bohjalian. It was reasonably good, and not too long. Most of TSC's action (all of the stuff worth your time) is set in Aleppo, Syria, during and after the genocide of ethnic Armenians by the Turkish government during World War I. Honestly I think I liked it most for the historical aspects, and for two of the minor characters.

I would probably read another novel by Bohjalian--a later one, rather than an earlier one--if the subject caught my attention. But I'm not in a hurry to track one down.

This should probably be gardening week. Except I already have a swollen hand from overly-enthusiastic use of a hoe or pitchfork, and my left foot is all itchy due to ant bites. This is putting quite a dent in my gardening week ambitions. A fall garden seemed like such a good idea, though. If only the work would get itself done without any human intervention.

Time for the robots to do their thing. Why don't we have robot gardeners anyway?

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I had a FANTASTIC and AMAZING first trip of the summer, and now I get to spend the rest of it carefully budgeting. ;-P Took my mother to France for a while, and it was beautiful and fun and awesome. So many pictures to sort through, and other things to catch up on around my home, so I probably won't miss traveling for at least a little while. Except for the food; I started missing French food as soon as we were served lunch on the airplane ride home. *sigh*

Speaking of things I did while stuck in an airplane, I watched the first four episodes of the BBC's The Musketeers, and now I must find the rest of season one and watch. Feel free to share any ideas for how to accomplish this, if you're so inclined and informed.

Links! Most of you probably know that J.K. Rowling wrote a sharp-tongued Rita Skeeter 'report', but I figured I'd link it anyway. Really fun and a quick read.

A Short History of US White Women's Measurements Used for Patternmaking, or, why nothing seems to fit...

This DIY pool noodle pom shooter looks like a fun thing to make and use with kids or without 'em

I tried this bleach and lace patterning on an old tee-shirt and was pleased with the results. I'd definitely not do a first try on a clothing item you treasure, though.

Speaking of tee-shirts, here's a clear post on how to alter a boxy tee-shirt. And a post on making a very large tee (or other stretchy fabric shirt) into a skirt. The shirt's front placket became the skirt's back walking slit--nifty!

And... that's about it for now, I think. Maybe I'll do a half-hearted attempt to catch up on your posts, but I'd say your best bet is to leave a comment with link(s) to anything you really want me to read.

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18th-Jun-2014 08:11 am(no subject)
I let my paid account here on livejournal lapse, and now I'm seeing ads... most often ads for fabric I need to buy. Darn cookies, telling everyone my business (in order to drum up business of its own).

But in order to sew something, you have to actually do work, and for the next little while I plan to cultivate one of the seven deadly sins--specifically sloth. Ah, sloth. (Actually, the word plan is a bit misleading. That would imply deliberation and intent. Such is not the case.)

Anyway! I loooooove summer. And it's now time for that annual post in which I state that I probably won't be around much... though that seems a bit unnecessary this year, considering I haven't been here much in the first place. Nonetheless here it is: I'm going to be busy cultivating sloth, and other activities, so I won't be reading here very often.

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29th-May-2014 10:55 pm - swamped, blergh
Ron Swanson has a plan, crying
It's that time of year where I feel like I'm drowning in papers. Grading, forms to fill out, and so forth. This means that I've been watching a lot of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I didn't know that Jeff Goldblum had a stint on the show. I'm not sure how many episodes he made; guess I'll find out while looking at more papers. Presumably I'll also discover if Jeff Goldblum playing himself is going to annoy me enough to skip his episodes, or if having yet another jerk genius will do me in as well. That's part of why I liked Chris Noth as Det. Logan; he wasn't an unbearable yet brilliant cop, he was just persistent.

Mireille Enos guest-starred on an episode, and it was thoroughly disconcerting to see her with makeup and professionally styled hair. Not the look I'm used to seeing on her, since I recognized her from The Killing (US).

Anyway! I saw Divergent and Captain America: The Winter Soldier in May, both of which were enjoyable. I liked the superhero movie better, maybe because I'd already had my fill of post-war dystopian futures this year with Catching Fire.

I stuck with Person of Interest through the season finale. Season three was brutal for me as a fan: uneven plotting, death of a favorite character, lots of rough elements. I was ready to give it up, but then the last few minutes of the finale changed the setup into something I find almost impossible to resist: survival on the run. So now I have to check out the beginning of next season to see how the show producers deal with a theme that I normally love.

Very much looking forward to the end of school and summer vacation. Wheee, travels! Whee, free time! I have so much stuff I want to do!

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13th-Apr-2014 06:27 pm - navy is the new black (sez I)
Hi, I'm still here, though I haven't been around much the last week or so. If I missed commenting on your post and I should have, I was cleaning, hosting a guest, grading papers, and experiencing a sudden resurgence of the sewing virus.

As for that, my next project is to work my way through the pile of jeans, trousers, and skirts that need elastic inserted in the waistband. Which is the easy way to get rid of that gap I nearly always have at the back waist of clothing. (I can post more about that, if anyone is curious. It's not complicated at all.)

Anyway, here are a couple of sewing links: a lot of free clothing patterns. These are from Lekala, a Russian pattern company. They offer a service where they'll tailor a pattern to your measurements, but you can try out a few the non-adjusted patterns for free.

25 awesome DIY blogs for the refashionista. While I do plan to sew some garments from scratch this year, my main sewing activity is modifying and altering existing clothing. I'm usually fairly conservative: my trousers remain trousers, or maaaaaaybe shorts. But there are people out there doing amazing things with clothes, like making a long tartan skirt into a cute short dress, two pairs of trousers and a skirt into an entirely different skirt, or this fantastic peplum dress made from a man's shirt.

Other topic! Typefaces that are more user-friendly for people with dyslexia.

And lastly, Texts from Jane Eyre, which made me laugh and laugh. Of COURSE Rochester texts in all-caps.

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17th-Mar-2014 09:56 pm - fic about the women, whoooo!
Hey, there's a thing: [community profile] femmeremix. Right now is the time to comment/participate in the survey to try and get the fandoms in which you qualify on the final list. Sign-ups later.

In other words, any of you who write fic and read my journal should probably mosey over there. Remix challenge! Specifically about women characters! Woohoo!

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10th-Mar-2014 06:19 pm - this is an update
hey Mickey!
Oh, hi there. Still alive!

I just started trying to make my summer vacation plans more definite: I'm looking at ticket prices and places to stay. Best to do all of that now and get everything settled. Woohoo, summer!

Of course, there's close to three months of school left before any vacation traveling can start, but still... it's exciting to think about.

I finished reading Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As a 'journey' book, I liked it, though I have very mixed feelings about the ultimate destination of the two main characters. But it was interesting and well-written.

Still watching Person of Interest, although that was touch-and-go for a while. The last episode that aired (3.16 "RAM", I believe) was the first one I genuinely enjoyed since the Terrible Thing happened. Also still watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which has been very enjoyable so far during its freshman season. (And I'm still watching Elementary, although I'm behind on it. AGAIN. Somehow that keeps happening this season.)

Depression: trying a second medication, since the first one made no difference. Debating over other options, but waiting to see if the second medication helps first.

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13th-Jan-2014 09:05 pm - trying to watch TV (and failing)
Oops, I forgot to watch Sleepy Hollow tonight. I thought I'd try watching it live, since I'm at the point now where I watch everything online... ah well. Guess I'll catch it tomorrow. Online. Like all my other shows. (There really aren't that many. Parks and Recreation, Sleepy Hollow, Elementary, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Person of Interest is still on the list right now, though it's on probation.)

Speaking of that, I wrote a fic! First one finished in months and months. It was a pinch-hit fic for a gift exchange--for which I didn't actually sign up, heh. I just filled in when someone else couldn't finish their assignment.

title: Meal Plan
characters: John Reese, Harold Finch, Lionel Fusco, Joss Carter, Leon Tao, Sameen Shaw
rating/contents: G or PG at most (mild language)
summary: Five times Reese provided a meal (to someone who didn't ask).
spoilers through early season three
word count: around 2800
Thanks to sabaceanbabe for beta-reading.

On or on AO3

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Fan-related presents: I received a lovely Christmas card from one of you lovely people--you know who you are, and thank you!

I also received a sweet little story in Yuletide Madness: Time Enough, a post-finale Sarah Connor/James Ellison fic. About 500 words, rated PG.

What else? I've been reading some. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was beautiful and depressing, and I don't know if I'd recommend it to others. (There are a couple of instances of child molestation. Not graphic, but with a big impact on the characters involved.)

The Duchess War by Courtney Milan is a fun romance novel; it had a good balance of plot and character interaction. I read a couple of other romance novels and remembered why it had been so long since I last read one, so... nothing else to recommend there. (Not even the other two I tried by the same author.)

The latter book I read on my new-to-me Kindle. When I get home again (from visiting family), I need to dig out my library card so I can start checking out books online to read on the Kindle. Whee!

Saw the second installment of The Hobbit with my nephew and enjoyed it about as much as I expected. Which is to say, well, that was two and a half hours of prettiness, without much else to recommend it. I liked Peter Jackson's work with LotR, but there's just not enough story to The Hobbit to justify the same amount of screentime. And LotR just had a lot more plot depth by comparison. So I guess I view my movie experience as part of a cultural experience: now I can discuss it with my co-workers. (And I did discuss it with my nephew, so there's that.)

Oh, and I watched the second Hunger Games movie as well, several weeks ago. I'm pleased with the actor who played Finnick; that's a pivotal role in this and the next part of the story. (Are they dividing the third book into two movies?)

Aaaaaand... that's probably enough for now. I hope your holidays were lovely, and that we all have a splendid New Year.

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