Oct. 24th, 2011 10:38 pm

I don’t know WTF to do about Delicious–keep posting there even though it sucks now? Go to pinboard even though it costs money and I don’t have time to learn a new interface and does it even have Android and Chrome plugins? Wait for a fan-made alternative?

In the meantime, I keep thinking I need to post here more often, so here’s a post of stuff I would previously have bookmarked to Delicious:

Did everyone see [personal profile] luminosity’s new vid about the awesome of Dean? I will show this to people to explain why I love him. :) :) Plus it’s Luminosity so goes without saying that the vid is technically brilliant.

Excellent meta from Tumblr about how SPN others queer characters. Thank you [info]hoeg for the link.

SPN and economic instability, interesting essay by [info]amonitrate

Awww, this vid about how much Sam and Dean love each other. (Just ignore the abjectly awful song. ;P)

Really good SPN fanart, lots of hurt!Dean, some disturbing by [info]smallworld_inc

[personal profile] fajrdrako is writing wonderfully detailed annotations on “The Game of Kings,” the first Lymond book.

I have been listening to Nick Cave almost non-stop (mixed in with PJ Harvey) for about 6 months, but haven’t felt much need to seek out videos. Of the few I’ve seen, this one for Tupelo is my favorite so far.

Also there is Henry Lee with Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, where PJ Harvey is so riveting I barely notice Nick Cave is there…

And while randomly clicking around, this awesome clip of Hole doing “Pretty on the Inside”. *sigh* There is a part of me that will always adore Courtney Love.

I also have a whole pile of fic I could rec, but no time to put it together in an organized fashion. Stupid Delicious. >:(

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Oh! Although one thing I will give GRRM credit for: paying tribute to his influences by naming a character “Lymond.” (Although kind of insulted that such a nondescript character should bear the name. ;P)

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My favorite day of the trip was the day we went to Fontainebleau. The weather was perfect, the gardens were stunning, and the palace itself was full of fascinating history. (These are also the best photos I took, so if you look at any, look at these!)

Read more... )

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Finally we get to the good photos! The first day of the Lymond tour in Paris…

Read more... )

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I’ve read some amazing fic recently. My favorites from the past few days:

* Suck It Up by [info]strangeandcharm
Supernatural, post-S4, Dean/Castiel, NC-17.

Author’s summary: Dean’s hungry. Dean’s very hungry.

My notes: Vampire!Dean. This is ultra-dark, scary, disturbing, and angsty, with a good plot and [highlight for spoiler] a delightful schmoopy ending. You get all the traumatic angst of Castiel breaking down trying to save scary vampire Dean, and then all the traumatic angst of re-humanized Dean having to deal with his memories of tormenting Castiel and Sam. Excellent characterization of Dean and Castiel, with awesome Sam characterization, too.

* All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men by [info]alyse
Dark Angel, post-S2, Alec/Logan, R.

Author’s summary: Logan had grown used to the quiet in the evenings, but that was before he took a sharp left into Surrealsville, population two. (From the prompt, “Alec having seizures and Logan helping him through it.”)

My notes: Fantastic, visceral, vividly-detailed hurt/comfort with wonderful characterization. Great exploration of Alec’s vulnerabilities; perfectly tolerable even if you hate Logan.

* Every single Dark Angel fic by aflightoffancy. To be honest, they’re not actually all that good, but they’re fantastically satisfying. They’re all Max/Alec romantic adventures, with great plots, great banter, and ridiculously indulgent hurt/comfort (obviously, for some of us, that’s a plus). Unfortunately they tend to make Alec a little too perfect and to sideline Max more than I’m comfortable with, but on the plus side I’m totally in favor of their dismissal of Logan. These stories are exactly what I was craving after yelling at my screen for most of Dark Angel season two.

(I don’t know if anyone else will get these references, but basically what these fics do is turn Alec/Max into a classic Spike/Buffy shipfic–it’s all about how they’re equals and can have adventures and banter and Max can be her true self and how Alec can match Max on a level that Riley Xander Logan never could. And they turn Alec into Lymond*–so it’s all about getting through Alec’s charismatic mask to the epicly traumatized woobie underneath, and hurting him gratuitously while reveling in how superhumanly competent he is.)

* I feel like I’d be a lot more successful at getting people to read the Lymond books if I could just explain that past all the obscure Renaissance literary references and convoluted 16th century politics lies the greatest hurt/comfort epic ever written.

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So, um, I kind of seem to have started watching Supernatural.

I’m afraid that [info]jaydk is going to disown me as a friend.

We went to Ford Lauderdale for the weekend, which was fun. We got a cheap vacation deal–flew direct, stayed in a hotel on the beach with a decent pool and a pool bar, and basically just relaxed for three days. The weather was lovely. We got around via the water taxi, which stopped right near our hotel and took us downtown for only $7 after 7pm (where I managed to survive via that old desperate vegan standby, veggie sushi). The water taxi itself was quite fun, as it involved a narrated tour past the absurd, ostentatious, and often quite lovely mansions of the rich and famous which perch over the waterways. Aside from that, the public transportation was so terrible–every time I leave New York it hits me how absurdly car centric the city planning of most of the USA is. It didn’t have to be this way, and it’s sad, and thank god I live in NYC.

and I started watching Supernatural (please don't read this if you don't want to read criticism of SPN or if you're going to lose all respect for me for watching it) )

Other stuff:

* I began a re-read of Dorothy Dunnett's Checkmate (the last book in the Lymond series) during vacation, since it's the one that takes place mostly in Paris and I'm headed to Paris in October for the Lymond fan gathering, LeSpit. (Talk about high and low art--going from Checkmate to Supernatural I literally felt my brain melting out of my ears.) Checkmate's never been my favorite--I think I've usually got Dunnett fatigue every time I've gotten to it before. Jumping into it with fresh eyes was a revelation--it really works much better if you treat it as a standalone, with the previous novels as background but with its own locations and characters and plot points. Instead of being frustrated with having to get to know new characters AGAIN when I really just want to know what's going to happen to the characters I already care about, I found myself enjoying this one in its own right for the first time.

* My cats were so happy to have me back. Angel sat on my lap for all eight Supernatural episodes, and Lucifer's been sleeping on my pillow with his arms wrapped around my head.

* I saw Hole at Terminal 5 last night. It was terrible--they played for less than an hour and seemed to put in very little effort. It was nice to hear a snippet of "Pretty on the Inside," but aside from that, they only played three songs from Live Through This (all singles) and nothing else from the olden days. Man, I'd kill to hear "Drown Soda." None of their new stuff was particularly impressive, and Courtney mostly seemed bored. (On a shallow level, her plastic surgery just bothers me. Her old nose was fine! I thought she was so hot when I was a kid. *sad sigh*)

It was also exhausting--to be in the front I'd had to stand for 2.5 hours through two opening bands (the first terrible, the second decent) and then put up with a batshit mosh pit (people kicking and hair pulling to get to the front, big guys trying to bodysurf over small women--to the dude who tried to use my head and neck as a springboard during "Doll Parts" [seriously, during "Doll Parts"?!], I hope you die in a fire, and also OWWWWW).

Oddly enough I was at the same venue, standing in the same position, for Alice in Chains a few months ago, and their moshpit was nowhere near as life-threatening. Since when are Hole crowds nastier than Alice in Chains crowds?

* Just bought tickets to the midnight opening night showing of Iron Man 2 in IMAX. OMG CAN'T WAIT.

* This fantastic Doctor Who vid has been all over my flist: Tenth Doctor: The Musical by [personal profile] di_br. Awww, I miss Ten. (Thus far I haven't read anything about Moffat's Who that's made me want to watch.)

* This post about protagonist privilege by [personal profile] londonkds is fascinating. I can see in it an explanation for a lot of my frustrations with BtVS (as someone who loved Anya and Spike and was incessantly frustrated by them being distorted and deprioritized in order to "teach lessons" to the "real heroes") and I can also sooo see this as one of the major flaws of the Lymond Chronicles, even though I love it to pieces anyway. (It's much more pleasant when your favorite character is the hero, which is a big part of why I don't allow myself to get fannish anymore about anything in which my favorite character is not the lead--it's just maddening to realize that your favorite can be ruined at whim in service of the lead character's "growth.")

* My favorite clip of Jon and Stephen on The Daily Show (the one with Prince Charles and the banana). I dug this up the other day for a friend who hadn't seen it and am posting the link in case anyone missed it--it's awesome.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

I got [info]drujan to read the Lymond books. She likes them, but hates Lymond, and accused me of “only liking him because he’s hot.” I honestly cannot fathom how anyone could hate Lymond, but anyway, she got me thinking about the myriad reasons that I love him.

Here’s a list of things that I either like or relate to in Lymond. (They’re kind of mixed up because he has a lot of traits that I don’t exactly consider “likable,” but that I connect with and that make the character more meaningful to me.)

Why Lymond Is Wonderful )

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I finished The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I’m not sure how this ended up on my reading list, but it must’ve been recommended by a Lymond fan–I feel fairly certain that the author must’ve been one as well. It reads like the Lymond Chronicles remixed with the Scottish ballad the Tam Lin.

The main characters are too similar to Philippa and Lymond for it to be coincidence, but it’s done very well and I didn’t feel that it was derivate in a bad way. It was written well and incorporated its various influences into a compelling and imaginative whole.

spoilers for The Perilous Gard and the Lymond Chronicles )

This is technically a childrens' book, but it was complex and interesting enough that I'd say it works just as well for adults. I definitely recommend it, and I think it would make a great gift for a kid as well.
Current Mood: pleased emoticon pleased & pleased emoticon pleased

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One of the benefits of jumping back into a book after a break of a couple months is that while diving back in you notice juxtapositions that you might have skimmed over before.

These three in particular just struck me:

spoilers for The Disorderly Knights )

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May. 19th, 2009 07:09 pm

* Hey, I’ve got two Dreamwidth invite codes. Nifty. Who wants one?

* a feminist complaint about the new Star Trek movie, with mild spoilers )

* Lots of Writercon stuff happening!

Are you coming to Writercon? Yes, I'm asking YOU. If you're involved in fanfic in any way--reader, writer, feedbacker, beta, comm mod, ficathon organizer--Writercon is for you. Think about attending--you can find out more info at or [ profile] writercon or just ask me and I'd be glad to answer any questions you may have.

* Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) is awesome. It reminds me of the 80s music I listened to in high school. Which makes sense as it was released in ... 1980. Wow, man, it's like everything in my life is running in one big circle! *is a dork*

* I've been spending a lot of time reading Twitter. YEAH I DON'T KNOW, OKAY. It's addictive, though: behind the scenes snippets from Rachel Maddow, extra jokes from Stephen Colbert, a daily stream of adorkable geekery from Bowie's son Duncan Jones, fan wank from Trent Reznor, and of course all the latest NYC vegan news from SuperVegan... plus little life updates from various friends, past and present, RL and fannish. And I can read it all on my phone!

* Doctor Who finale SPOILERS )

* Picked up The Disorderly Knights to continue my re-read. I think what stopped me for a couple months there was that it was coming up on what is, to me, the most traumatizing character death of the series. But I got past it. (*sniffle*)

And, wow, glad I'm continuing, because I just hit a couple of my favorite lines of the entire series:

"I would give you my soul in a blackberry pie; and a knife to cut it with."
(p. 331, and I don't want to spoil which character says it)

and a longer scene, with mild spoilers for The Disorderly Knights )

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May. 13th, 2009 07:01 pm

* Come to SuperVegan’s 3rd birthday party! It’s tomorrow (Thursday) at ’sNice Brooklyn, with an afterparty at Lucky 13 bar. We will have free cake and beer. Details here.

* Apparently there’s going to be a Lymond-focused Dorothy Dunnett fan gathering in France in autumn 2010. Um, that sounds awesome. I need more details, obviously, but there’s plenty of time to save money and make plans. Maybe I can get my mom to go with me and split the costs now that I’ve hooked her on Dunnett. *hopes* (Also, [info]10zlaine, you seriously need to read the Lymond Chronicles so that we can do some Dunnett-related traveling someday! Look, audio books!)

* Marilyn Manson has an absinthe called “Mansinthe.” I tried to say “Mansinthe” aloud and couldn’t get it out without choking on laughter.

* A David Bowie/Mick Ronson picspam. I’ll be in my bunk.

I'm reading a creepy sensationalist Bowie bio and feeling annoyed at it )

* Album-wise, I've gotten up to Lodger. It's okay; I like "Look Back in Anger." Nothing after Station to Station has grabbed my interest the way the Ziggy-era stuff immediately did, though. I like Low intellectually and I think "Heroes" is a great song. But Station to Station is the last album that enthralled me on an emotional level. (The first is Hunky Dory, although bits of The Man Who Sold the World are amazing, and I like "Cygnet Committee" and "Space Oddity" from his 1969 album).

* I like how my interest in Bowie has led to a deeper understanding of the culture of rock music--the way concepts I always took for granted like "authenticity" and "selling out" grow from a particular ideology. Rock music was always an avenue for me to question the world around me, but I think it's also important for me to question it--many of its underpinnings are far more conservative than I'd considered.

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I was thinking how weird it is that I went from obsession with Dorothy Dunnett’s historical fiction series The Lymond Chronicles to obsession with the music of David Bowie. They seem so different. Then I thought:

They both come from Britain around the 60s/70s and concern a central figure who is charismatic, frequently androgynous, (questionably) bisexual, a social “outsider,” and whose core concerns center around identity, worldly success, and the struggle for human connection.

Both works are dripping with ambiguity and complexity; both make frequent use of allusion; both focus often on the dark side of human nature (suicide and insanity); both are concerned with music, art, and decadence; both revolve around the construction of identity and the question of “true” self (construction of differing identities to appeal to a particular audience and achieve a particular goal, the difficulty distinguishing between performance and reality, whether what you do changes who you are).

I think the biggest difference is that Bowie (I’m thinking particularly Ziggy) is postmodern, ironic, self-aware, very much of the 1970s, whereas the Lymond Chronicles are pretty rooted in the philosophy and style of the historical era they describe.

Must think further on this. Possibly completely insane.

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I’m so out of it today. I was up until 3am last night watching The Man Who Fell to Earth, and before that I was at my friend Eva’s birthday party at V-Spot, where they had unlimited mimosas for $10. Me and my friend Anne’s boyfriend Nemo were competing who could get their per-mimosa cost lowest; I got to $2.50 (four drinks), he got to $1.66 (six drinks), but he cheated because he was sneakily sharing his with Anne. Then we went back to Anne and Nemo’s place to hang out in the back yard and eat cake and drink more mimosas. Basically there was a lot of drinking. And cake!

SuperVegan got linked from the NY Times City Blog. It’s always cool when that happens.

On Saturday I cooked enough to last (hopefully) the whole week: rice and beans, maple-cinnamon cream of wheat, scrambled tofu, vegetable uppama (an Indian dish from that weird Vegan Cooking for One book). I was going to make this really good Asian noodle dish with coconut milk, but I forgot to buy fresh ginger.

We had a long Writercon phone meeting on Saturday night, and then around 11pm I remembered that there was a new Doctor Who episode. Oh yeah, that.

spoilers for this episode and spec for the future )

My mom has started Checkmate. I'm skimming along so that I can answer her questions as she goes. I'm really glad I got her the book of translations--I think Checkmate is the hardest to understand without them. I'm really excited that she's nearing the end and that we'll be able to discuss the entire series soon. I like Checkmate a lot better in retrospect, based on how excited I am to get to talk about all the passages that she's reading. Really the only book in the series that doesn't inspire joy is The Ringed Castle--it's definitely my least favorite overall. Although even it is growing on me over time, as they all seem to.

Oh yeah, and I watched The Man Who Fell to Earth last night. I liked it! Which is weird because I didn't expect to like it at all. It's strange and surreal and definitely has a lot of annoying aspects (the awful female characters for one) but it's also eerie and atmospheric and very interesting. And, okay, David Bowie is just so pretty to look at throughout. So, so, so pretty.

embarrassing fangirlishness about David Bowie )
Current Mood: weird emoticon weird

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I haven’t been posting much, because I’ve been stressed out and busy and tired, and who wants to hear about that?

I have, however, accumulated a couple of mildly interesting (I hope) things to post about.

the Watchmen movie )

* Then the next night, [ profile] jaydk and I saw Coraline. Proof that you don't need to be "edgy" to make a good movie: it was far better than Watchmen. Smart, funny, well-written, beautifully filmed--the 3D was absolutely lovely. The story was creative and intriguing and eerie, and the lead character was clever and brave. Why do childrens' stories do such a superior job of portraying three-dimensional female characters? Is it just that we've been culturally conditioned to be unable to fathom a post-pubescent female in a way that doesn't put her sexuality front and center?

* I'm seeing a lot of talk about Doctor Who finale casting spoilers. As far as I can tell, they're from a tabloid that regularly makes shit up, so why is anyone taking them seriously? Am I missing something? (This is a genuine question. Is there any reason to believe them? I don't want to get excited about something that's completely fabricated.)

* I'm reading Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Lincoln and his cabinet. It's really interesting and I'm enjoying it, but I wish she'd stop spelling out what the reader is "supposed" to think. I can make up my own mind about what these guys did and why they did it; I don't need the author inserting her own explanation that so-and-so was arrogant and ambitious on every page. Still, it's mostly good. After being so absorbed in the 2008 election, it's fascinating to see how American politics worked 150 years ago.

* And I'm still in the middle of The Disorderly Knights. I'm going to finish it and then take a break from the Lymond series, since it's been less than six months since I re-read Pawn in Frankincense. Speaking of which, my mom just finished it and is in awe. In retrospect, I think Pawn is the best written and most moving book of the series.

the Moonlight TV series )

Also, maybe it's just that I don't watch modern American TV anymore, but ... what is with the women? As in, they are all exactly the same: tiny, emaciated, sharp-featured, and young. No matter what character they're playing--boss, geek girl, random vampire--they are all pulled from such an incredibly narrow archetype of "woman" that it's just completely absurd. Watching a show like this, you'd never even imagine that women exist on planet Earth larger than a size four, older than thirty-five, and without those sharp facial angles that Hollywood defines as "beautiful." At least the men are allowed to have some diversity of age, size, and facial features, depending on the character they're playing, but every single woman first has to fit into this absurdly narrow definition of "attractive" before anything else is taken into account.

This is why I can barely watch American TV anymore. Once you step away from it for a while, you come back and suddenly it's like being hit over the head by how ridiculous it is. This narrow bunch of nearly-identical Hollywood model types plays pretty much every female character and the majority of male characters. Sure, an occasional talent pops through, but it's painfully obvious that these people are cast almost entirely for their looks with no regard for skill. You end up with a bunch of interchangeable Barbies and Kens running around posing as every variety of adult human being. How am I supposed to take any of it seriously?

* But speaking of American TV that doesn't suck, I have become completely addicted to The Rachel Maddow Show. It passes the Bechdel Test every night! Real women talk to each other about real issues! With none of the insipid concessions to what "women" are supposed to care about--no celebrity gossip, no plastic surgery, no cooking and baking, no fashion bullshit, just women as real individual human beings, with their own perspectives, who care about the world around them. (This shouldn't be such a shock and a rarity!) And Rachel is brilliant, witty, funny, sweet, and adorable beyond words. I know she's not perfect and I do disagree with her sometimes, but I always love watching her. She makes me wish Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would do less joking and more news--after I watch her show, I feel like I'm not getting enough content from them. (Don't worry, I still love them. Jon Stewart's smackdown of Jim Cramer was a thing of beauty.)

* Oh, and I'm still listening to David Bowie. Ziggy Stardust remains my favorite, but I've added Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, and Diamond Dogs to the lineup and am enjoying them all. I tried to listen to Scary Monsters on the advice of my friend Jason, but aside from "Ashes to Ashes" it just totally didn't work for me. I don't understand what happened to Bowie in the 80s. It's like he went from brilliant and hot and amazing to ... just ... so boring and annoying and straight. Maybe I'll understand it better if I take each album chronologically. Or it could just be the Bowie draws from the zeitgeist of the decade, and the 80s was ... well, the 80s.

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I am about halfway through The Disorderly Knights for the third time, and wanted to write down a lot of the thoughts that are running through my head before I forget them.

spoilers for The Lymond Chronicles )
Current Mood: tired emoticon tired

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I bought another copy of The Disorderly Knights because the pages are falling out of my original.

I think the third read is the charm with these books. It’s like everything comes into focus and I suddenly understand and appreciate everything that’s happening. The first read is just about figuring out what the hell is going on, the second is figuring out what the themes and subtext and underlying meanings are, and the third read is putting it all together to make a wonderful brilliant whole.

major spoiler for Queen's Play )

So, The Disorderly Knights. I'm only 66 pages in and already wanting to blog about it. I really need to hook up with one of these Dunnett re-reading groups so that I'll have more people to discuss this with!

spoilers for The Disorderly Knights, and why Gabriel is like Bernie Madoff )
Current Mood: busy emoticon busy

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Children of God was worse than The Sparrow. Sheesh.

spoilers for Mary Doria Russell's Children of God )

I'm glad I got it out of the way before Gallifrey One so that I could bring along The Disorderly Knights, though. More on that soon. >:)
Current Mood: disappointed emoticon disappointed

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I finished my third read of Queen’s Play, and have started on Mary Doria Russell’s Children of God, sequel to The Sparrow. (I know, I didn’t like The Sparrow to begin with, but my friend Cat wants to see what I think of the sequel, and I’m hoping that if I read it, she’ll feel obligated to read The Game of Kings in return [without stopping a third of the way through because it’s “written weird”], and then I’ll have someone in real life to talk about it with! I was all excited that my mom read it, but as usual my mom thinks it’s insane to talk about something you’ve read [or watched, or listened to] so that turned out to have been pointless.)

Anyway, Queen’s Play. I want to do another, kind of definitive re-read of the Lymond series, while taking notes on great lines and interesting bits, and looking up every quote and reference that I don’t recognize. But in the meantime, here’s my brief thoughts on Queen’s Play, take three.


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I blog about fannish things. Busy with work so don't update often. Mirrored at

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