Sunday, September 24th, 2017 11:02 pm
I survived another brutally hot weekend of faire. We almost hit 90 today, and the heat index was around 93 when I thought to check. So the last two days have been all about drinking enough fluids (we had Koyt/table beer, water, switchel, and a lemon/mint/ginger decoction), staying in the shade, and looking out for my circle of friends who were also wearing wool and standing over a hot campfire. I'm proud to report that we all survived the weekend. I might have even drunk enough. We'll know more tomorrow when I see how I feel (and what color my pee is. TMI?)

#HailHydrate
Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 09:43 pm
Sunday:

Ghosted*
Madam Secretary

Monday:

The Gifted*
Star Wars Rebels

Tuesday:

Brooklyn 99
The Mayor*

Wednesday:

Dynasty*

Thursday:

The Good Place



I’m not sure when Elementary or The Librarians will air, but I assume both will still be on Sunday. There are only 3 kdramas that have been announced for the last quarter with set air dates that I'll almost definitely be checking out (Andante, The Package and Black) and only a few that I might if feedback sounds like something I'd be interested in, and there's no point in planning to watch cdramas in advance since we never know if they'll get English subtitles before they're underway anymore, so maybe I'll make some serious progress with my backlog by the end of the year.


Empire, Jane the Virgin, Supergirl and How to Get Away With Murder are shows I’m a half season or more behind on but do intend to catch up with someday. Riverdale is a maybe-I need to watch the first season first.

* = new show

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 03:57 pm
You GUYS, these cookies right here are basically what you making cookie butter out of, with a maple syrup crust. Oh man. So good.
Friday, September 22nd, 2017 09:36 pm
I am inexplicably tired today. Probably too many nights of nocturnal kitteh shenanigans catching up on me.

Imma going to go to bed early and pack the war wagon for faire in the morning.
Friday, September 22nd, 2017 09:02 pm
Happiness is Brutus feeling snuggly and siting on my lap while I worked today.

Happiness is Cassie headbutting me.

Happiness is an armful of purring kitty.

I think the signs look good for this batch of kitties to be good and socialized as lap cats by the time winter sets in.
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Friday, September 22nd, 2017 06:17 pm
Back when I marathon-read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, I saw he's also authored a lot of novels for children, and had a new one coming out this month, a standalone called Frederick the Great Detective, which, however, mysteriously seems to be available in German before it is in English. (Mysterious because Kerr's Scottish and writes in English, and the novel, which got released today, is indeed translated from the English original, I checked the imprint.) Anyway, the novel has a very similar premise to a movie I saw at last year's Munich Film Festival, Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday - the review I wrote about the film is here: boy falls in love with Emil and the Detectives, befriends its author, Erich Kästner, in the twilight of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich ensues, boy tries to maintain ideals of novel versus increasingly awful reality. Having read the novel now, I can add a further parallel: both Friedrich in Frederick the Great Detective and Hans in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday have an older sibling who is enthusastically joining the Nazi cause. My original suspicion as to why Kerr picked a fictional main character instead of Hans, who actually existed and did befriend Erich Kästner, was because Hans' fate was sealed by history, and that Kerr wanted a better fate for his young hero. Spoilers ensue. )However, by that point, I had already guessed various other reasons why Kerr chose a fictional over a fictionalized "real" main character, and the differences to Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday are instructive here.

For starters, there's the difference in focus: Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday is, as far as Hans is concerned, a coming of age story - he goes from child to teenager and young man in the course of the story - and has Erich Kästner as the other lead, whose perspective through the movie is even the slightly favored one. Frederick the Great Detective, by contrast, has Kästner only as a supporting character, aside from a prologue and an epilogue ends in late 1933/early 1934, and is above all a homage to Kästner's novel in structure, focusing on Friedrich and his same-age friends, who play detectives until it gets lethally dangerous. (The adults, whether benevolent or malignant or in between, are seen from the outside, the point of view is Friedrich's throughout.) For, befitting the author of the Gunther mysteries, there are actually cases to solve. (Though as opposed to Bernie, young Friedrich - who wants to become a detective through much of the novel - gets the point that you can't be a detective in a system where the criminals have taken over when Kästner desperately tells him just this.)

Indeed, while reading I wondered whether the basic idea for the novel might not have been a wish to write a sequel to Emil which tackles how Emil & Co. would act when the Third Reich starts, because Friedrich's gang with its twins has some similarities. Then again, Friedrich has a distinctly different background to Emil (or Hans Löhr) - no working class single parent mother, instead, middle class parents with his father a journalist and friend of Kästner's, which is the original connection, which allows Kerr to depict the way the press lost its freedom within a year. It also allows Kerr to let Friedrich and his parents vacation on Rügen where Friedrich meets Christopher Isherwood and Isherwood's boyfriend Heinz on the beach. (Leading to a charming scene where Friedrich manages to solve his very first case by finding Isherwood's lost watch.) Kerr provides quite a lot of real life characters making cameos throughout the novel - Billy Wilder (during the premiere of the "Emil and the Detectives" movie version which he scripted), Max Liebermann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Trier etc. - but the Isherwood cameo was for me the most vivid of these. (And I'm not surprised, having come across an interview where Kerr says bascially Berlin for him as a reader, before he got there, was invented by two British writers, Christopher Isherwood and John Le Carré.)

Kästner himself lis of course the real life character with the most page time, but he feels more like a generic version of Kästner's author persona than an actual attempt at depiction of the man. (As opposed to the Kästner in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday.) Meaning: he's a benevolent adult the way, say, Justus the Teacher in "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" is, with no hint of any inner conflicts, and Kerr slims down the biographical and authorial data about him to "wrote Emil and the Detective, also works as a journalist"; in this book, there are no mentions of either Kästner's other books for children or his adult novel, Fabian (the one who got burned by the Nazis at the 1933 book burning), nor of his sharp political poetry (which in Germany he was and is almost as well known for as for his prose). (Hence ahistorically Emil ends up as the burned book, when in rl Emil and the Detectives was so popular that it got published, as the only one of Kästner's works, within Germany until 1936. Then it was for the axe as well.) The one biographical background fact about Kästner mentioned in conversation by Friedrich's father is in fact a wrong one, or rather, a wrong assumption, that Kästner's mother, like Emil's, raised her son alone. In rl, not only was Kästner's father around and in contact with his son, but he outlived Kästner's mother. There is, however, a reason why I didn't mind this particular wrong statement, which is: Kästner kept his father and his relationship with him very low key as long as his mother was still alive, while his relationship with his mother was intense and very public, so a colleague from work like Friedrich's father could be forgiven for assuming the guy was either dead or had left the family. ( If you've read Kästner's autobiographical writings, one of the most memorable childhood scenes which makes you cringe in sympathy is his parents' christmas competition about him, when his father, a craftsman, proudly presented presents he made with his own hand while his mother spent all her money on presents, and both parents would regard whichever present their son showed any favour to as proof whom he loved more or a rejection respectively. And thus it went on for as long as Kästner's mother lived.)

What the novel does really well, though, is presenting a group of children responding to their world changing radically, and Friedrich as a likeable child hero who ends up rejecting the demagogery, scapegoating and promise of glory that lures his older brother in because he sees how both people he knows and strangers are abused in its name. Again, in an homage to Kästner's novel which has a memorable dream sequence, Friedrich's ongoing crisis of conscience and wonder how to avoid becoming a Nazi himself climaxes in a surreal dream where the various things he has experienced come together. The lesson he draws from this is simple and profound at the same time, very Kästnerian and indeed great advice in current day circumstances as well, to the question as ow to act: Be kind. Being kind and you can't become what you fear and hate. Be kind.

Mind you, the 1945 prologue and epilogue does spoilery things ) But all in all, Frederick the Great Detective is still a very readable children's novel set in a dark time which also manages to pay homage to a classic while being its own thing.
Thursday, September 21st, 2017 09:44 pm
Wow, today has been a long day.

Cats kept me up last night, so I started out having a two dwarf morning (Sleepy and Grumpy). And I had to get up early because I had a doctor’s appointment. When I was showing off my scratch from last week’s visit to the vet, that prompted my doctor to check when the last time I had a tetanus shot was, and I was due (just in case someone decides to bite me, puncture wounds and all that). So I got a tetanus shot this morning before I’d even had breakfast. And (joy!) she finally remembered that I’m old enough to have that first colonoscopy. So that’s on my To Do list once faire is over (No way I’m going without food for a day or two until faire is over). Let’s just say that I’m not particularly looking forward to the procedure. Mostly because I will need to somehow find someone to give me a ride. Hey [personal profile] fionaniconnor I might need to book you for a ride to the doctor in a couple of weeks.

Work was work. I had lunch with my cube-neighbor Chris. It’s been a bit since we had a good long chat. And I got volunteered to be a scrumbag, er, I mean scrummaster for my team’s pilot agile project. Mostly because I mentioned that I’d done agile before (at like my last six jobs). I just may be the only person on my team with any agile experience. So that’s going to be interesting.

But right now I’m bushed. And I need to get some sleep tonight for our first meeting tomorrow.
Thursday, September 21st, 2017 06:09 pm
 I watched the first season of The Good Place a few weeks back when Netflix added it and the season 2 premiere last night.  It's excellent, but it really is a show best watched knowing nothing but the general premise.  I actually did go in spoiled, due to tumblr fandom's need to gif one actor's perfect comedic timing in the season 1 finale, and it was interesting to see all the clues as I watched it, but I also wish I'd gone in unspoiled.

I'm not usually a fan of sitcoms (including this, I just barely need two hands to count the US sitcoms I've watched as an adult) and this one is rightly loved both by sitcom fans and people who don't usually watch sitcoms.  Season 1 is on Netflix and season 2 is on Hulu, and I think NBC's website has all episodes.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 10:42 pm
I am just SO behind on everything right now. But then again, I’m always treading water during faire season, because I don’t have my weekends free to catch up. It didn’t help when I got sick after the first weekend of faire and basically spent a week and a half just trying to get healthy again.

And then I made a post last Friday to my alumni group on Facebook that ended up generating over 500 comments. O_O So that sucked up a bunch of my time Friday and Monday, getting caught up on all the shenanigans related to that. Which included someone blogging about the thread and misquoting a bunch of people. Leading to a second thread, this one about the people upset about being misquoted and wanting the forum moderator to ban the blogger. And then the forum moderator private messaged me, because the third-party tool that he uses to help manage the community wasn’t working, and did I have “App, Websites, and Plug-ins” disabled on my Facebook account? You bet your bippy I do. And the fact that his tool was failing to see a public post because I said I didn’t want to share non-public data about myself? Proves that having that setting set to NOPE was the right choice. Why would his app/tool need to access any non-public information about me to gather stats on a public post?

At any rate, the time spent on that was time I probably should have been spending on other things. Like sleeping or loving on my kitties or working on projects for faire.

Or getting caught up on my reading. I can’t remember the last time I had time to read Live Journal. And I’m at least a week behind on Dreamwidth. I haven’t been reading the New York Times (but that’s partly by choice, I’m a bit exhausted by the relentless news cycle of hurricanes, earthquakes, 45, and other disasters). Or caught up on my writing. So much going on, that I haven’t had time to write about.

At least I had the energy to do some housework when I got home tonight. I vacuumed, ran a load of laundry, and washed some dishes. Yay for small progress.

***

I have a new cube neighbor at work, a woman perhaps about my age. Her name is Meg, and she’s a Product Manager, also working in middleware. Not sure if we’ll be working together or not, it’s only her first day in the office, she’s still getting set up after New Hire Orientation. But since my project seems to want to integrate with everything, chances are we might end up working together eventually. At least it’s going to be a bit less lonely around here (so many empty cubes near me!).

***

Still on baby watch.

I can't wait until Monday (I took another day off for faire recovery).
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 10:40 pm
I came home last night and ended up watching some TV on the DVR. I watched the first two episodes of The Orville, Seth MacFarlane’s new science fiction show. It’s clearly supposed to be a riff on Star Trek, because what clean shiny space show isn’t? I thought, from the trailers, that it might end up being a comedy in the vein of Galaxy Quest (but probably raunchier, we are talking Seth MacFarlane here). It’s not nearly as funny as I thought it would be. But they’re certainly not playing it quite straight enough for a drama. But it’s not quite so straight that it's camp either. It’s weird, after two episodes, I still can’t decide what to make of it (or if I like the show or not).

Maybe spoilers? Not really…. )

I don’t know if I’ll keep watching this one or not. I’m not in love with it. But I don’t hate it yet either. I’ll give it a couple more episodes and see if it gets any better.
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Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 12:37 pm
I went in to make the bed this morning and didn't realize that Cassie had burrowed down into the pile of blankets (she usually sleeps on the folded up fleece blanket I have off to the side for the kitties to enjoy). I yanked on the covers and the poor thing came tumbling out. I felt so bad, she was clearly asleep and hadn't heard me come in. =(

But she got lots of lovins before I left for the office. Everyone did.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 08:34 am
I've been watching MBC's latest sageuk, The King in Love, which is also the latest in the recent trend of youth fusion romance sageuks, though that little subgenre seems to have run its course.  (Hopefully the fact that Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People is the only sageuk this year that's really considered a success will influence future sageuks, though they seem to be over and done with for the year, unless we count Live Up to Your Name, which is very good, but also a time travel drama set more in the present than in the past.)  For the most part, it's been enjoyable, though I'm a couple weeks behind because it looked like it was headed toward one of several endings that I would have considered dealbreakers for the whole show.  (I haven't watched it yet, but I do know it does have my preferred ending, so I should catch up with it this week.)  The one area where it completely fails, unfortunately, is in one of its central conceits:  presenting a love triangle in which a woman loves  two men, and it's unclear which she loves more.  Discussing possible endings with a friend reminded me of the love triangle in one of JTBC's few sageuk outtings, Maids, which also had a triangle in which a woman is in love with two men, but does it much better.



spoilers for both series )
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 09:25 am
Yesterday someone brought in brownies to share in the kitchen at work. They were cut into tiny squares, so I took two, But after I ate the first one I decided (like I often do) that I wanted a glass of milk with my brownie. So I wrapped the second tiny chocolate chunk up in a tissue to take home and have after dinner. Where I put it on the counter and promptly forgot about it.

Until about 3:00 am, when I was woken up by the distinctive clinking of dishes and glassware. Which meant that some naughty kitty was on the kitchen counter (and that I really needed to get around to emptying and filling the dishwasher). I jumped out of bed to go yell at whoever it was. Let me tell you, discovering a brown blob on the carpeting in the middle of the night when you’re not wearing your glasses is not a fun experience.

Brutus had dragged the brownie out of the kitchen and all the way into the hallway. It definitely had teeth marks in it, so it went into the trash. *mourns loss of my brownie*

I’m more convinced than ever that the previous owner 1) probably fed these kitties people food (evidenced by all three of them swarming me the first time I bought home McDonald’s french fries) and 2) probably let the kitties go hungry more than once (evidenced by how they eat normally if I keep the food bowl full, but bolt their food if I let it go empty. And how all three of them prowl the kitchen counters looking for food scraps).
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Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 12:07 pm
Two filmed novels in, the tv version of JKR's written-as-Robert-Galbraith mystery novels called Strike comes across as very enjoyable. Holiday Grainger is a delight as Robin, Tom Burke still isn't how I imagined Cormoran Strike, but he's entertaining to watch, and they have good chemistry. Inevitably, characters and subplots were for the axe in both Cuckoo's Call and The Silkworm, but so far they've kept the important emotional beats. In the case of The Silkworm, I'm especially glad my favourite sentence of the entire novel gets to be used in dialogue, though a different character gets to say it on tv: Writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels."

Of the guest stars, the actresses playing Leonora and Orlando were especially good. I do notice that some of the sharpness of the novels is lost when it comes to politics. I mean, The Silkworm, the novel, has passages like this: : Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, was announcing plans to slash 350 million pounds from the legal aid budget. Strike watched through his haze of tiredness as the florid, paunchy man told Parliament that he wished to 'discourage people from restoring to lawyers whenever they face a problem, and instead encourage them to consider more suitable methods of dispute resolution.' He meant, of course, that poor people ought to relinquish the services of the law. Nothing like it on tv. But the result still doesn't feel as awfully castrated as the tv version of The Casual Vacancy, which lost all the bite and anger and ruined what might not have been a masterpiece but was a novel with genuine points to raise by turning it into inoffensive blandness, more angry reviews here, possibly because such asides aren't the main issue in the Galbraith novels.

In other news, [community profile] missy_fest has been revealing one Missy story per day-ish. This was the smallest ficathon I ever participated in, but a delight to write and read, and as soon as it's de-anonymized, I'm going to link and talk about the story I wrote. Meanwhile, check out the one I received, which was The Master's Faithful Companion (Forever or Just A Day Remix), which remixed my story Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 09:28 pm
Well, mostly Black Sails. One Jane Eyre snuck in, as well as one Gintama. But the rest are Black Sails. ;)

The inspiration post at [livejournal.com profile] monthlyinspo is here: "Back To School".

bsails304_13_28 bsails103_26.14_02b bsails208_45_25

20+4 icons )

I love concrit and comments!

For a list of makers whose textures, stock images, or brushes I use, please see my resource post.
Monday, September 18th, 2017 09:14 pm
So the nun who won the axe throwing contest back in 2015 was at faire again this weekend with two of her nun friends. I recognized her because I’ve got a photo of her with her prize from the contest on my hard drive. The guys from the Hitting and Stabbing Emporium went out of their way to find an appropriate prize for her. Since clerics aren’t supposed to carry edged weapons, they found a mace for her somewhere, and that was her prize. Supposedly she’s a school teacher and had said she’d use the mace to keep her students in line.

They were at the entrance to the encampment and I went running over to them and was just the biggest fangirl. “You’re the one who won the axe throwing contest at the Hitting and Stabbing Emporium, aren’t you?” She laughed, and her friends did too (I think I recognized one of them as the nun that was with her that year). We chatted for a few moments, and she said she was planning to go visit Hitting and Stabbing again.

I just think it's awesome that the nuns like to come out to the renn faire.
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Monday, September 18th, 2017 01:31 pm
1. Norma Bates (Bates Motel version)

2. Philip Jennings (The Americans)

3. Missy (aka Gomez!Master) (Doctor Who)

4. Jimmy McGill (Better Call Saul)

5. Rachel Duncan (Orphan Black)

6. James McGraw/Captain Flint (Black Sails)

7. Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

8. Bernie Gunther (Philip Kerr: The Bernie Gunther Mysteries)

9. Sarah Connor (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles)

10. Alfred of Wessex (The Last Kingdom)

11. Andra'ath/Miss Quill (Class)

12. Londo Mollari (Babylon 5)

13. Phyllis Crane (Call the Midwife)

14. Doc Holliday (Wynona Earp incarnation)

15. Jessica Jones (MCU version)

And you came up with some awesome prompts!

Now the questions: )
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 06:55 pm
I've acquired new fandoms and revisited some old ones since the last time I did this, thus, from [personal profile] astrogirl:


1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your f-list to post questions in the comments. For example: "One, nine, and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?", "Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?", "Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?"

3) After your f-list has stopped asking questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.

Also, this unique summary of A Legacy Of Spies cracks me up. :)
Sunday, September 17th, 2017 02:17 pm
I'm putting together here all my comments I have left in several private discussions, mostly with [livejournal.com profile] machinistm and [livejournal.com profile] neery, so all of you can join in, too, if you like.

spoilery for 2x06 - 2x10 - and pretty emotional )

Then, determined not to start season 3 before I was emotionally capable of it, I watched some Toby Stephens stuff:

* Jane Eyre - BBC adaptation from 2006 - not bad, although I struggled with the contrast of him haughtily ordering her around and the deep, deep love he's supposedly feeling. It's already pretty bad in the book, but the book is longer and stretches it out better, and overall did a better job convincing me. That said, the adaptation is pretty good, and Toby is great in it. Definitely something to rewatch for rainy days.

* Private Lives - Gilgud theatre play from 2014 - Toby has season 1 hair and plays across his wife - the picture quality is mediocre, and the acting is very camp. It's a conscious decision on Toby's part, because the character is described as flippant and distant, but I was still bothered by the overacting. Buy it here for 5 Pounds.

* Vexed - BBC crime comedy/drama from 2010 - Again with the overacting. :/ Toby's character is a misogynist asshole. The humor isn't bad, though. I kinda liked it despite myself. It's on Netflix.