I finally got around to removing some of you from my livejournal reading list. I do still check my LJ reading page from time to time; it was getting a bit annoying, seeing the same post twice. So. I think I have everyone I followed there on my reading circle here--well, everyone who migrated over here at some point--as well as some newer people to follow.
Having updated my reading page here and found new people to follow, now it's time for me to ignore y'all for a few days and finish my Man from U.N.C.L.E.
gift exchange fanfic. I think I'm going to use the leechblock extension and block both tumblr and dreamwidth until I'm done. Or at least done enough; I need to have a solid draft posted by the 15th. I can still fiddle with it until Dec. 25.
If I'm new to you (hi, new followers!): I watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
(2015 movie, not the old TV series) on a plane this summer and fell in fannish love with Gaby Teller, and with Gaby x Illya Kuryakin. Which led to writing fanfic for the first time in years. So you'll see me post about that from time to time, until the next fannish obsession comes along.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/297623.html. Comment where you wish.
I've done well keeping up with The Good Place
since season two (I binge-watched season one), and it's still a delight. D'arcy Carden as Janet is SO MUCH FUN. The writers, the actor, the premise... it all works together to make a unique character.
(I REALLY love lots of other characters as well, but Carden was the MVP for the most recent episode.)
Catching up on Timeless
season two. There's going to be a two-hour finale December 20 to wrap up loose ends, I guess, so I need to watch three more episodes and I'll be good to go. I don't think I have much to say about it? I'm constantly in a state of wishing for more focus on Rufus and Jiya, and constantly receiving more focus on the other characters, so... *shrug*
I watched three episode of the BBC Bodyguard
series, and decided - based on what happened in the episode and on spoilers I knew - that it was a good place to stop, rather than finish the first season. Richard Madden plays the title character (whose name is actually David Budd), and gosh, he's pretty in this role. Too bad about some of the narrative choices that happen later, but I don't regret watching those three episodes. (I don't regret not watching the rest of it, either.)
Tried starting season 3? 4? of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
, but I think I'm done. At least for now.
I finally finished season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season four (especially the first half) was stronger, in my opinion, but s5 was still interesting enough to power through. Elena Rodriguez got way more screen time, which pleased me. If season six is indeed going to continue without Coulson (or at least cut way back on his screen time), I hope things will be better for characters like Mack (who needs a real focus from the writers) and Daisy (who has trouble getting acknowledged as a main lead by fandom), not to mention my own favorite, Elena. So, we'll see.
Looking back at my notes from earlier in the season - which was months ago, I just took a long time to finish watching - I was emotional about Elena losing her arms. (She loses them in the comics as well.) But also glad to have another example of a not-evil character with a disability. Also, to quote someone else about the whole thing, "I killed a robot to get you some arms" is indeed high romance.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/297089.html. Comment where you wish.
I logged into livejournal and whoa, there are two? three? Yuletide letters. I guess LJ is semi-active when it's time for the big Yuletide fic exchange.
I'm not signing up, by the way. It's too hard to write fic for things that aren't my current hyper-focus, and right now that's The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
, which has too much fic to qualify as a small fandom for Yuletide's tiny fandom focus.
Actually that hyper-focus has extended outward a teeeeeeny bit; I just finished a Star Wars
fanfic--the first draft of one, anyway. It's only been in the works for, uh, TWO AND A HALF YEARS. *grumbles* Honestly, it's so short, I don't know why it took so long. Other than my belief that I couldn't write fanfic for movies, which I now know to be false. So. I just sent it to a potential beta-reader.
Okay, time to run back out! Enjoy the Yuletide letter-writing!Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/296626.html. Comment where you wish.
Oops. Very silly Man from U.N.C.L.E.
fanfic with a Frisbee game, two chapters, starting here
. It is done. But... there's going to be a second fic to go with it; a sappy follow-up story to contrast the rampant silliness. We'll see.Chapter 3 of my Gaby genfic 'Birthday Girl'
is also done.
So I haven't been watching much TV or reading any books; instead I've been brainjacked by the writing muse. I have more ideas! And I want to finish the Gaby genfic, but I keep getting sidetracked!Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/295820.html. Comment where you wish.
It's been almost five years since the last time I wrote enough fanfic by myself to merit posting. So without further ado: parts one and two of Birthday Girl
, a genfic about Gaby Teller from the 2015 film The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
(FYI, this is also my first time to write fanfic for a movie. Unless I count a tiny crossover fic from 2010.)
ANYWAY. Perhaps there will be boring meetings tomorrow, which are usually conducive to writing, if I have a strong enough idea. And apparently this one won't let go, so.
It's been fascinating to research both post-war Germany and the Cold War. Interesting stuff that I either never learned or had forgotten.
Um. No books to report having read, since I've been in a huge fanfic-reading mood for this fandom. There are some excellent writers out there, so if you want Gaby x Illya stories, I have recommendations.
As for travel: I'm home again, moderately bruised and with a bazillion photos. My newest nephew insisted on waiting until just after I left to be born. I walked miles and miles in museum galleries, and... it was generally a pretty great summer, I'd say.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/294991.html. Comment where you wish.
Almost time for yet another trip to visit siblings and nephews and nieces, who are scattered across the US. This will become exponentially more difficult when the nephews and nieces are old enough to live on their own. (That's starting to happen, but it's still in the early stages.)
As for other summer activities such as books, movies, etc., a lot of that has come to a temporary halt, since I'm now reading my way through three years of fanfiction for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
(The movie from 2015 that I mentioned seeing recently, not the TV series from the 60s.) I bought the movie on blu-ray, I've lost count of the number of times I've rewatched it (hm, maybe 4?), and of course - OF COURSE - the muse has announced that I'm writing fanfic. For the first time in several years. I co-wrote a story in 2015, but the last thing I wrote alone and finished was in January 2014. So it's been a while.
I've never written fic for a movie before. It seemed too frustrating, having such a limited source for characterization. But apparently the muse doesn't care about that.
I think what amuses me most is that while the most endearing part of the movie for me was the budding romance between Illya and Gaby, the idea insisting on being written is angsty genfic about Gaby's childhood in post-war East Berlin.
Other stuff: this summer is one of few in memory with no mid-summer workshops. I'll have plenty to go to in a few weeks, but all of the conferences that I might have attended were scheduled for dates where I had other plans. (Also, I had a week-long workshop last summer, which keeps me certified in one area for a few more years.)Question: is there a writing website you know of with short-term rewards?
I've used Written? Kitten
in the past, but the site currently doesn't function well. (I wrote at least 600 words today on the site, which should have rewarded me with six pictures of kittens, but alas! only one appeared...)Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/294754.html. Comment where you wish.
International flights now come with a dizzying array of movie choices. Which is all for the best; I'm not scared of flying, but plenty of people are. Movies can be an excellent distraction. (I do dread long flights, though. The incredible discomfort of SITTING FOR HOURS in the same position, ugh.)
Anyway! Sitting on the airplane, I tried
watching the first Guardians of the Galaxy
movie, and decided after 30 minutes or so that I would rather watch someone stab Peter Quill repeatedly than continue to watch him be the most dude-bro protagonist of any Marvel movie that I've seen. So I stopped watching it.
I did make it through Edge of Tomorrow
in spite of Tom Cruise. It was enjoyable enough, and Emily Blunt was amazing and I love her. Didn't like the hints at romance, but I've decided to firmly ignore them. Anyway, if you want a time-bendy action movie with bonus "Emily Blunt wearing armor using machine guns", this is a good film. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
is still a favorite. Probably the best Avengers ensemble pic, given that the actual ensemble Avengers films are so often heavily focused on Tony Stark, and/or on villains that don't interest me.
And finally, the 2015 film The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
is glorious ID crack. I have never seen a movie so determined to ride on the charm of its leads and the slickness of its visuals.
Armie Hammer has never appealed to me before, but make him a giant Russian spy who is the total sub to a tiny* dommy German/English spy, and suddenly I'm weak at the knees.
*Tiny is relative. Alicia Vikander is 5'6", but next to Hammer's height of 6'5", she looks like a wee little thing.
Alas, the fandom has failed to present me with the "Gaby doms Illya and he loves it" fic that I now want. Granted, I've only started the hunt for it today, but still... IT SHOULD BE RIGHT THERE FOR ME TO FIND.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/294488.html. Comment where you wish.
by Alice Hoffman - a haunting glimpse into the life of Spain's Ladino Jewish population in the 1500s. This was a fast and easy read, in spite of the eccentric narrative style and the heartbreaking subject.
I'm in the middle of C.J. Archer's Freak House series. It's historical & paranormal romantic mystery, I guess? I've read two of the three books, and while I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan, I do find the narrative interesting enough to read book three off and on, in between other books. Three Weeks to Wed
by Ella Quinn is possibly one of the worst romance novels I've ever not finished reading.
Courtney Milan's After the Wedding
, on the other hand, was lovely. Not quite as delightful as a few of her other books, but definitely an enjoyable read. Solid escapist fiction with romance, plot, and fun dialogue. Mastering the Art of French Eating
, by Ann Mah, is my second "American goes to France and writes about food" book in the last year. It gave me serious France-envy. And foodie feelings too.
Y.S. Lee's A Spy in the House
was a promising debut for a historical detective series, and I'll probably read more of them sooner or later. Biracial protagonist (Chinese-British) who just barely digs at her mixed feelings at 'passing' for white in a racist society.
Connie Willis continues to explore (mis)communication and romance in Crosstalk
, which I liked but didn't love. But even mediocre Willis is worth a read by almost any standard. The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah delves into the lives of two sisters in France during World War II, and the repercussions of their choices in the late 20th century. Solid storytelling even though I question a couple of the narrative choices.
Without venturing into spoilers, I'll say that Solo: A Star Wars Story
was enjoyable enough that I wouldn't mind seeing it again, but not so amazing that I absolutely must see it again.
The dismal box office (dismal for a Star Wars film) shouldn't be blamed on the film's lack of quality; it was... fine? Not great but good enough. I'd say the terrible marketing and the timing (between multiple blockbuster stories, only five months after The Last Jedi
) are more to blame than anything else.
I really liked season two of Jessica Jones
. No, it didn't have the star power of David Tennant as a creepy villain throughout the season, and our heroes made multiple thoroughly unlikable choices, but those choices were believably in character and leave us with an interesting setup for season three.
JJ is an obvious heir to Battlestar Galactica
's style of feel-bad TV with a young female lead. No one should watch Jessica Jones
with the expectation of fluffy or hopeful entertainment. But I think season two was a very solid follow-up to season one, and the women have so much agency... even when they're horrible in how they use that agency.
The huge caveat to JJ: characters of color do NOT fare well. Women of color die almost as fast as they get a name and a memorable scene or two. Brooklyn Nine Nine
finished its fifth season, was cancelled, and quickly uncancelled. Which makes me happy; I thought the finale showcased just how strong the writing and characterization have become. To think that I once dreaded - DREADED
the possibility of any romance between Jake and Amy. And now I'm happily anticipating Jake and Amy as newlyweds, because if Mike Schur and company do one thing well, it's disproving the myth that a steady romance loses interest and appeal over time.
I'm behind on both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
. Both have had a somewhat lackluster season, but I'll catch up sooner or later. A Series of Unfortunate Events
has a second season on Netflix... and I'm just not interesting. I enjoyed season one, but honestly, there are things I will enjoy watching more. Especially when the show is really more about aesthetic appeal than anything else. Lost in Space
is another Netflix offering, and I like the first two episodes. They stressed me out (child in peril always stresses me out), but they were interesting. Fingers crossed that the storyline does some justice to its many possibilities.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/294132.html. Comment where you wish.
I've been expecting this from the #MeToo
movement for a while: the famous person whose misdeeds would be a blow to me personally because I loved something they created. It's happened before the Weinstein accusations, when Bill Cosby's accusers finally made a big enough noise for national news to pick up the story. I used to love Cosby's comedy routines, but I just can't listen to them anymore.
Anyway. Sherman Alexie is a poet and novelist. One of his stories from the book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
was turned into the film Smoke Signals
. He wrote an award-winning YA novel. And he's apparently a serial harasser.
Dammit. I am sad that a movie and books I love won't feel the same now. I'm angry for the native women whose voices were drowned out because of fear of reprisal, whose works never got the attention because of Alexie's de facto status as a gatekeeper for other native writers.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/293754.html. Comment where you wish.
is full of shortcut writing tropes. Fortunately I enjoy it anyway, but I mean... was anyone really surprised when ( spoiler for 2.03Collapse )Brooklyn Nine-Nine
might have finally made it past my limit of Doug Judy episode shenanigans. Not that I'm upset or anything; it's just that the character should really be a limited commodity on the show and I didn't think this most recent foray was the strongest. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
has managed to go even darker than last season, both literally and figuratively. It's an impressive feat.
books: Year of Wonders
, written by Geraldine Brooks, is set in a plague-ridden village in the 1600s, and it is--in spite of its premise--a story with more hope than despair. The protagonist is the key; I'm impressed with the strength of Anna as a narrator and actor in the tale.
Rachel Hartman's Seraphina
delves into dragon-lore and human/dragon hybrids in an interesting debut novel. Intriguing enough that I'll probably read the next book in the series at some point. - - - - - - -
So how are y'all doing? Any good books or new shows?Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/293594.html. Comment where you wish.
A Wrinkle in Time
is getting mixed reviews for a reason, but I enjoyed it. The Murry family was the strongest element: the relationships between the parents, between the siblings, between the siblings and parents were the best moments.
In many ways the original story is a very internal with Meg's own struggles, so I think they had a real task to bring those out in a more cinematic fashion. That was hit and miss, but more hit than miss (at least eventually, after a rocky start), so yay for that.
I went to a 3D screening. After watching Black Panther
for a second time in 3D and thinking that the digital animation actually worked better in that format, I decided that this movie was worth the extra two dollars or whatever for that.
is back, hurrah! Season two started this week.
Season three of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
is finally on netflix, so I'll be starting that soon. Still waiting for The Good Place
's second season to make it there, because I want to rewatch the first three episodes.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/293206.html. Comment where you wish.
I'd forgotten to mention: I have Amazon Prime now, so I've slowly started picking through movies and shows free on prime. Arrival
(2016) has the stellar Amy Adams as a lead. It's a lovely unfolding of story that I really enjoyed; "hard sci-fi" always does its best when it reveals things about humanity. What We Do in the Shadows
(2014) is New Zealand's offering in the mockumentary genre, with vampire house buddies and their adventures in modern life. Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement wrote, starred and directed the film. It was a slight but fun watch, as mockumentaries often are.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/293092.html. Comment where you wish.
So I have succeeded at changing the email address on my livejournal account, which means I'm actually reading the notifications of comments there at least twice a week. Yay, me?
I saw Black Panther
and it was awesome. Non-spoilery thoughts:
- this was the movie that Last Jedi
should have been (I have a whole list about that, but it has spoilers).
- Winston Duke was fantastic as M'Baku, and a smidge of my bitterness about how Person of Interest
treated the character he played there has disappeared.
- Did you know that they 3-D printed at least one of Nakia's dresses as well as parts of the Dora Milaje's costumes? Cool, yeah?
- I could watch Danai Gurira in choreographed fight scenes all day long.
- Nakia is just so gloriously effective at her job; it's awesome.
- T'Challa! Erik! Shuri! Everybody!
I'd write more but I'm hungry. It's time to find something for dinner.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/292633.html. Comment where you wish.
FYI: at some point I stopped checking the email account I had linked to my livejournal. (It's an old email address, and livejournal comments are pretty much the only thing going there that might be of any interest.) Anyway, this means that I missed some comments there.
I haven't successfully pried myself out of the Star Wars pit of despair. So have some links: Rey at Risk
. This post points out the potential problems for Rey as a leading woman within the Star Wars franchise, both with storylines and the marketing for The Force Awakens
, and with LucasFilm's history of undermining its female characters. Written in early 2016, the writer successfully predicted (no doubt to his dismay) a lot of the problems with Rey in The Last Jedi
Follow-up post Rey at risk revisited
That's two posts about Rey and the problems with her story within LucasFilm. So here's one about Finn: Finn as an everyman? How about no?
(Connecting thought: my entire family thought that episode 7 was hinting at Finn being force-sensitive.)
Tying this back to my own thoughts: I'm rewatching the Star Wars prequels with a new fan, and it occurs to me that some of the racism in episode 1 was mostly invisible on the page; the biggest problem I can point to (as a very white person, to make that clear) were the accents in conjunction with character design. The Gungans (especially Jar Jar Binks) and their broadly cartoonish "comical negro" sound, the Yellow Peril Asian accents and appearances of the Trade Federation aliens, and Watto's big nose and Yiddish accent.
In contrast, episode 8's most noticeable "this is a bad idea in part because of race" moments were within the script: Finn getting zapped with electricity twice, and Finn's recovery from his physical injuries being framed as a comical series of moments.
To clarify: taking the man who was established as the male lead
in the previous movie and then framing his recovery from heroic injuries as comic relief (hitting his head twice, falling out of his bed in sickbay, running around the base in a leaking bacta-suit) is an absolute insult; electro-shocking characters for the alleged comedy within those moments is also insulting and foolish; and those choices are even worse considering that Finn is played by a black man. The script was written in 2016 and there's just no excuse for it.
And let's not forget the writing mess for Poe Dameron in episode 8
On a lighter note, here's a short (7 minutes) video: How Star Wars The Last Jedi Should Have Ended
. There's apparently a whole series of these videos for various popular films; they use the initials HISHE (how it should have ended).*******
Book rec: The Weight of Ink
by Rachel Kadish is fascinating. I have a feeling that Ester Velasquez is going to be a sticky sort of character - the kind of character you remember long after details of a story have slipped away. I had various amounts of frustration with the present-day narration of Aaron and Helen, but Ester - a Portuguese Jewish woman living in London in the 1600s - was endlessly interesting, and the way her story unfolded was gorgeously done.
TV: The Good Place
ended its second season with neither a bang nor a whimper but with a "Hot diggity dog!" I'm looking forward to season three.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/292143.html. Comment where you wish.