ConFabCon 2017.

May. 29th, 2017 09:52 am
hannah: (Captain Jack Harkness - darththalia)
[personal profile] hannah
A friend of mine who'd never been to a slash or fandom con before made a very important observation after she watched the dance floor for a while: everyone was either dancing in sensible shoes or barefoot.

That, I think, is the ethos of fan cons.

The bus rides there and back were fine, and I remembered to get the name of that one taco truck at the gas station I swear I saw last time I took the bus to Pittsburgh. At the convention, there were a good balance of fandom-specific and fandom-general panels, and I don't think I've ever been to a vid show before where it just started. No trouble or A/V fiddling required. I never quite got the hang of how to play to the judges for "Cards Against Humanity" but maybe next time I'll have some idea, and I bought the absolutely most delightful necklace in the dealer's area. Which led into probably the most intense twenty minutes at the convention discussing the source show. Which was fun.

It was such a small con this year - first year, odd time of year, plenty of good reasons and a couple of excuses - that pretty much every panel could have been a round table around a small table. Maybe a long table for the bigger fandom panels, like the Buffy one, where we ended up moving from how we got into the show and preferred pairings into how fandom platforms change, how that leads to the loss of content and fanworks, and the necessity of central archives and open communication between fans. Even Star Wars, where we talked about merchandising and the shifting of approved canon versus official discontinuity, weren't that heavily attended. Simply because there weren't a lot of people.

That didn't mean it couldn't be intense. The round table for Stranger Things had a lot of laughter, a lot of heady discussion on long-form serialized media as a storytelling platform and how it can be most effectively harnessed, and much delight over nostalgia and future possibilities. Classic ships veered into displays of emotional intimacy, and frustrations over social expectations of prescribed heterosexuality and its seeming contradictions with genuine affection. There were a lot of good murmurs around the room in "Fandom as Genre" though it was a little hard to keep the focus, and I know I should have written stuff down before the disability in media panel to help keep activity levels up. But even so. It was all good time spent in the company of fans.

I got to see new faces on old friends, and hugged people I'd never before been able to. I didn't win at arm wrestling but I put up a fight, and I made a lot of people laugh. So all in all, a pretty fabulous time.
selenak: (Catherine Weaver by Miss Mandy)
[personal profile] selenak
I had an extremely busy last few days, of which pictures will follow in due time. (Attended a conference in Switzerland, am en route back to place of residence, which is a looong trip.) But even when busy, I did have the chance to check out the news now and then. Seems the Orange Menace was even more obnoxious close up than he was in what we saw on the news, because Angela Merkel is a) a confirmed Atlanticist, and b) extremely cautious in her public statements. I mean, this is the woman who if anything got critiqued through the years for not showing emotion and spontanity, who had to put up with the likes of Putin trying to spook her with a dog (she was bitten as a child, which he knew), Dubya going for an unwanted shoulder squeeze, Berlusconi being... Berlusconi, and of course supposed ally and adorer of autocrats Horst Seehofer lecturing her on stage in public for fifteen minutes on how she sucked a little more than a year ago. And she never flinched. She's no stranger to boorish and/or game playing male polticians, is what I'm saying, and she never comments. Well, commented. (It took her eons to say something about the NSA/her phone being bugged in the Obama days, too, and when she finally did, not least because the nation was seething, she left it to her press secretary.) So for her to publically state what she did, see here, is in Merkel terms downright letting her hair down.

Meanwhile, in fannish news. During the last few weeks, I watched both the second season of Sense 8 and the second season of I Zombie. (Am looking forward to the second season of The Last Kingdom, which was just put up today.) On to the S8 review.

Sense8: continues to be a wild mix of good and bad. As now all the regulars know each other, it could focus on them providing support and being found family in their interactions, as opposed to having the "getting to know you" stage first. And that was delightful. So were almost everyone's interactions with their non-Sensate friends/loved ones, several of whom got showcased as well and given more background. Team Nomi and Team Lito were my favourites here, between the spoilery things ), and other spoilery things ). Also liked Sun's plot and the new characters we meet in it, though am vaguely amused that the directors never seem to miss an opportunity to show her in her underwear. Yes, your sister is the Terminator, boo-hiss villain.

On the other hand: Kala's subplot started with a season 1 problem I had, to wit, that her spoilery degree of relation ) still makes zero sense to me in terms of rl Indian politics. Sorry, as long as a Hindu fundamentalist party like the BJP is in power, no rich industrialist who hopes to make it in politics would as much as admit to an atheistic thought. And "anti idolitary law"? This sounds about as likely as, say, the governor of a Bible Belt state in the US pushing for a law that would ask any pregnant woman to be told about the joys of abortion. Which is to say: it sounds like a crazy right wing fantasy designed to make the dominant power into the persecuted minority, and I don't know what JMS and the Wachowskis are thinking. Thankfully, this particular bit of weirdness stops being mentioned after episode 4 or so. My other problem with Kala's plot line is that whenever an element that's new and would seem to demand a reaction changing things shows up, it seems to be counteracted. Spoilery example given. )

Kala was still doing better than Wolfgang this season, though. He had hands down the worst plot line. His interactions with Felix, hands down some of the most enjoyable aspects of Wolfgang's story last season, were kept to a minimum, the new characters felt like rejects from a cheap gangster movie (and sadly not one starring Lito), and if I never have to watch again a supposed femme fatale named Lila, it'll be too soon. I mean, I loved Lilah Morgan on Angel. But the Lila on Dexter later was extremely annoying instead of smart and alluring, and this one now just follows suit. The one point during Wolfgang's plot line where I perked up because my inner X-Men fan couldn't help it was, of course, when something spoilery happened ). Even the interactions Wolfgang has with his cluster, other than Kala, were kept to a minimum, when virtually every Wolfgang & character other than Kala from the cluster combination would have interested me more.

Capheus' storyline I'm a bit divided about, because I'm so rl burned on the universal adoration of the "honest, honest outsider person who never was in politics is the ideal solution for a troubled country" and lines like "we're not looking for a politician, we're looking for a leader" make me flinch for just that reason. Otoh I liked the reporter, AND the argument that if you eternally bitch about politicians yet refuse to get into politics yourself, you're part of the problem resonated with me.

Will and Riley: had a bit of a role reversal this season, as due to last season's ending Riley was the one getting to do the active stuff while Will was the damsel. (Though not entirely. And btw, the two pay offs for his cat and mouse games with Whisper were great.) Unexpected Sylvester McCoy was fun to watch, and I hope for more of him next season. Otherwise, I was okay with their story without being either wildly enthusiastic or irritated by it.

Angelika: though dead, turns from a plot device into a character this season as we learn more and more about her. Jonas, meanwhile, stays a plot device, albeit a good looking one.

Lastly: Nitpicking of the travelling type ).

All complaints not withstanding, though, I do enjoy the show, its unabashed emotionalness and commitment to diversity in all forms, and its ensemble spirit. And I look forward to season 3!

Back from con.

May. 28th, 2017 11:55 pm
hannah: (Robert Downey Jr. - riot__libertine)
[personal profile] hannah
Thanks to low traffic and a good bus driver, I got in almost an hour early, and got into my apartment at about the time the original ticket said I'd be back in Manhattan.

So tonight I go back to sleep in my own bed, and tomorrow I begin the process of a con write-up - and as promised, those Buffy/Vorkosigan crossover thoughts I've been teasing friends about.

It's furious balancing

May. 28th, 2017 11:15 am
musesfool: tom mcrae lyrics icon (i was born in a summer storm)
[personal profile] musesfool
Hey y'all, did you know there's a Rivers of London novella coming out at the end of June? Or possibly September?
The Furthest Station

There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

Enter PC Peter Grant, junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.

Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog, their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.

Amazon says June 30 but Goodreads says maybe June 30 or maybe September 21. *hands* Either way, I've pre-ordered.

***

Doctor Who 10.07

May. 28th, 2017 08:22 am
selenak: (Brig and Tardis by Ellisbelle)
[personal profile] selenak
This was the first Doctor Who episode since "The Caretaker" I disliked thoroughly, albeit for different reasons.

Read more... )
lizbee: (DW: Bill (garden))
[personal profile] lizbee
The first episode of the season which hasn't thrilled me, but I liked it better than some.

'I got your spoilers cheap.' )

recipe weekend

May. 27th, 2017 12:53 pm
kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
Something I've cooked recently: I finally got around to making the potato salad with anchovies and olives that I kept mentioning. It's delicious and as simple as can be: boil some waxy potatoes until tender, dress them with anchovy vinaigrette, add a few olives (pitted and chopped if you like, or whole) and maybe some parsley. I made the vinaigrette with one 2-ounce tin of anchovies (drained), a medium-sized minced shallot, a clove of minced garlic, a generous teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a substantial amount of olive oil (maybe 3/4 cup?), and red wine vinegar until it tasted right. There was of course quite a lot of vinaigrette left over, which I used during the week on various salads. It turns out that arugula with anchovy vinaigrette is fantastic. Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated and use it up within a week, though, because oil + raw garlic + storage can equal botulism.

Also last week I finished the last steps for the pickled cherries. The process is that you soak the cherries overnight in vinegar, then add spices and sugar to the vinegar and boil it and then soak the cherries in it at room temperature for three days, then boil the liquid yet again and pack it and the cherries into sterilized jars and refrigerate for at least a month. The leftover vinegar solution tasted really good, so I'm optimistic. If they taste good in a month I'll post the recipe.

I've started using the brandied cherries that I made a week or so ago. I can report that they are delicious with chocolate ice cream. You can also make a tasty spritzer by putting a few cherries and a good glug of the brandy into the bottom of a tall glass and topping it off with a 12 oz can of cherry-flavored unsweetened sparkling water. Lime flavored would probably be good too. ETA: No, definitely use cherry flavored.

Today I made a farro salad with roasted vegetables and arugula. I roasted a bag of mini-peppers, cored and quartered lengthwise, and a thickly sliced large onion in some olive oil at 400 F until everything was tender and sweet and just slightly charred at the edges. While the vegetables roasted and cooled I cooked about a cup and a half of farro in lots of boiling water--the same way you'd cook pasta--and drained it when it was tender but chewy. I added two minced cloves of garlic and the juice of a lemon to the hot farro, then mixed in the veg and let it cool down to room temperature. At that point I added a nice bunch of roughly chopped arugula and a few finely chopped mint leaves along with just a splash of oil, and then mixed in a couple of ounces of crumbled feta. The result is both pretty and delicious, though if you like lemon as much as I do you might want to use two, and don't forget to add the zest as well. Here, have a picture. )


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: I've got chickpeas in the slow cooker, some to become hummus and some to be frozen for future use as who knows what? And later today I'm going to cook Amalfi-style zucchini/courgettes based on Marcella Hazan's recipe. It's basically fried zucchini dressed with garlic, wine vinegar, and mint. Hazan's recipe calls for the zucchini slices to almost deep-fry in a lot of oil, but I'm going to saute them in olive oil instead, because I have never had a good experience deep-frying at home and anyway I feel, with apologies to the doyenne of Italian cooking for Anglophone audiences, that they'll taste better that way.

I also have a hami melon I bought on sale. Depending on how it tastes I may eat it plain or dress it up a bit with lime juice, honey, and yet more mint. Actually the dressed-up option is extremely tempting regardless, because I recently bought some Turkish honey from Trader Joe's and it is so good that I went back and bought a second bottle just in case TJ's suddenly stops carrying it, as is their wont with many of my favorite products.


Something I vaguely plan to cook someday: I have no immediate plans to bake, because my freezer is still crammed with rhubarb coffee cake, orange and almond polenta cake, and half a recipe of uncooked dough for digestive biscuits. And yet I am longing to bake J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, and now-ish is the time to do it so I can use up my chocolate before the weather gets too hot. Otherwise I seem to have switched into summer eating mode. I've got little multicolored tomatoes that aren't bad for out of season, and some ricotta to eat them with, and various salady things, and tons of pasta because whenever I see decent pasta on sale I buy multiple packages. I still have a piece of Spanish-style chorizo to use in something, and some calf's liver in the freezer, and chicken bones that should go into stock, and etc. etc. I want to try as much as possible to just do vegetables + pantry and freezer supplies for a while.

I would quite like to eat some Indian food, but cooking it is so labor-intensive that I don't know if a mere craving is sufficient motivation. Hopefully one of these days I'll have a weekend where I want to cook elaborate things, as opposed to one where I want to cook easy things and then watch cooking shows on Netflix and YouTube.

i'll be there in a hurry

May. 27th, 2017 12:15 pm
musesfool: darth vader saying "He said what about his sister? Gross." (he said what about his sister?)
[personal profile] musesfool
This morning I got rid of two shopping bags full of DVDs and CDs that have done nothing but gather dust for years, and also got rid of all the shoes I no longer wear, so that was another trashbag full of stuff that is no longer taking up space. It's small but it's a start, right?

Also, two benadryl and I slept through the night! Progress!

In lieu of having anything interesting to say, here are a couple of links from tumblr that made me laugh out loud:

- Darth Vader is not your 'daddy'

- the scandalous backstory of the new Chargers logo

- this amazing new superhero duo

***

*crawls out of the hole that is May*

May. 26th, 2017 04:31 pm
aj: (profile)
[personal profile] aj
Holy fuck, it's nearly June. Like, what the hell.

School stuff. )

Colorado. )

Anyway, I made it home on Saturday, but the last week has been weirdly busy and frustrating in equal measures. I had a decent and quiet birthday (Monday), so I can now say with absolute certainty that I am now 37! Only 8 more years until I hit my personal mental age since 14: 45! I had a massage that was 70 minutes of power work on my shoulder (ouch, wow the bruising!) and finally got to visit the Jollibee that opened near me. Spoilers: Good chicken, great flavor, but not my favorite type of breading.

Work has been the expected disaster and I finally dug out about 45 minutes ago. That said, I was alone in the office for most of the day. SIGH. Oh, summer.

Other news includes the fact that I'm closer to adopting a new feline friend. I am hoping to go this weekend, but due to various issues (I broke my wind shield on my car) I might night have time this weekend. But updates (and photos) to follow.

who does it better than we do?

May. 26th, 2017 02:30 pm
musesfool: Robin and Starfire (Teen Titans animated) (a star between our hands)
[personal profile] musesfool
Generally speaking, I either am totally overprepared for something because I'm freaking out about every little detail, or I completely leave it to the last minute/do it by the seat of my pants, with very little in between, so since I am bound and determined to not fuck up this co-op application process, today I have:

1. gotten a letter from my employer verifying my employment and salary
2. lined up the recommendation letters from people who are not related to me
3. filled out as much of the purchasing application as I can at this moment (since it's been EIGHT YEARS, I had to google to see if any of my old bosses from Big Evol MegaCorp were still there and at least one is - he can direct them to HR to verify my employment if necessary)
4. freaked out a little about my previous landlord, as he is dead and therefore cannot be contacted! But the lawyer was like, there's nothing you can do about that, just put that he is deceased. I mean, I haven't lived there in 15 years so I don't know what the point is anyway, but it's required. *hands*
5. left a voicemail with my current management company asking for a letter verifying my tenancy - I'm afraid this is going to be like pulling teeth and will never happen and will spike all my plans, but dammit, they are professionals and should at least respond on Tuesday (I didn't expect to hear anything back today since it's the Friday before a 3 day weekend).
6. e-signed several documents which all have to be updated since there were typos in the address of the place I'm buying. (The typo was perpetrated by the seller's lawyer, which doesn't fill me with confidence, I must say.)

I'm sorry this is all househunt17! all the time! at the moment. It's basically all I am thinking about, except when I am thinking about how to get Lucy and Wyatt to have sex, and aside from like 3 of you, I doubt anyone is much more interested in that than this, though that might be a little more fun.

At least it is a 3 day weekend and summer Fridays start today! I'm meeting L for celebratory drinks later, and my sister is having a BBQ on Sunday (well, it might be an indoor party if the weather doesn't cooperate, but it'll be fun either way), and my oldest and youngest nieces will be celebrating their birthdays, so it's all good.

***

i'm down with the new music

May. 25th, 2017 08:00 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
[personal profile] kindkit
It's a little embarrassing when you hear a great song on the radio, and you google the lyrics as soon as you get home so you can find out what it was, and it turns out to have been released thirty years ago. And apparently was a big hit at the time.

Ah, well, it's new to me?



musesfool: girl with flowers (the sweetest thing)
[personal profile] musesfool
So after a committee meeting first thing this morning at work, I schlepped out to the island to meet with the mortgage broker and the lawyer and sign a bunch of documents (so many documents) and write a shockingly large check (and yet not the largest, if this thing is a go). Then he went through the basic steps of the process with me so that I know what's coming (and what's coming is a lot more of the same re: signing documents, also collecting documents and making copies of them, and then after that, writing more checks, but that's not until I have the actual loan commitment, which will hopefully be soon or at least within the time allotted) and then if they approve that, the dreaded board interview. None of which I am particularly looking forward to, but hopefully I sail through with flying colors instead of getting somehow derailed by picayune bullshit, which I've also heard can happen.

We overnighted the documents to the seller's attorney, so hopefully sometime next week the listing will show as "in contract" rather than "active" (if it continues to appear at all online).

Now I am going to eat my face off, since I haven't eaten since 10 am, and then maybe try to sleep. I remembered that I had an icepack in the freezer last night, so during my now-usual 3 am - 5 am sojourn, I strapped that onto my calf where two of the bug bites are, and it helped immensely with the itching. Eventually they'll go away and I'll be able to sleep again. Just have to stand the itching until then. Sigh.

***

Insomniac City

May. 25th, 2017 04:48 pm
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
[personal profile] raven
I'm reading Insomniac City, the Bill Hayes memoir about life in New York with his partner, the neurologist Oliver Sacks. After I reread Awakenings a while ago, [personal profile] happydork directed me to this lovely excerpt in the Observer, and then [personal profile] soupytwist gave me the book with the note that "it's like you would write, only if you were a gay man in New York".

I am not a gay man in New York but I see the resemblance:

"Worse, really, was the L, which I'd take home from Oliver's on the West Side. Not the train itself, which was fast and frequent, but what it represented. In that direction, the L is packed with people on their way to Brooklyn, whether going home or out partying. They always seemed hip and gay (in the original sense of the word) and young, whereas I felt like an old man being taken away from where he really wanted to be.

I feel guilty now that I projected my unhappiness on the subways. The L, and the 4/5? They did right by me, getting me home and to work on time and safely, and each brought its share of discoveries."


Hayes loves cities, the anomie and connection of them, and also the way they hold their own microcosm in mass transit. (He says, mass transit, and I think: golden age SF, that magic gilded modernity. When people say public transport I think of quiet country stations and Yes, I remember Adlestrop. Different, but the same human topology.) And it's a beautiful, beautiful book. Textured by grief, but full of defiance, a willingness to see beautiful things. I think I see queerness in that, the theoretical version? The notion that queerness is some vanguard avant-garde, so we approach it through anti-capitalism and rejecting the sexual status quo, but it advances beyond us, so we are never truly queer. I'm not sure if I could uncritically subscribe to queer theory, or even critically understand it - my mind and/or education never feel like they're up to it - but this I like: that it is queer to reject the mainstream pessimism of the left. You queer the text by daring to find some reason not to give up and die.

And then of course it's a straightforwardly queer book, too. A queer writer, a queer life, a queer city, set out in bitesize vignettes and photography. Everything in it is something Hayes has noticed, something he's chosen to notice, about Sacks and about New York: a smokestack, a fisherman on the subway, a conversation with a stranger waiting for a moving truck, an army of skateboarders on Fourth Avenue. I have been unmedicated for two weeks now and settled to a scratchy, dimmed, distractible baseline. Everyone - GP and therapist and friends - says, one day at a time, rather than rage against the light; which for me doesn't come easily. But I happen to be reading this book as London shifts to summer, which isn't right, because London isn't New York. You don't buy air conditioners in London, or wait until next time for the favourite outfit. I always think it's like a kid playing dress up - look at us, constitutionally raincoated, looking for the window keys, in the dresses we never wear, with the little self-conscious bottles of water on the Tube. It's twenty-six degrees today but it might not be ever again. Some of my colleagues have dug out salwar kameez; a girl I know wore a paisley hijab and tried to put her face in a frappuccino. Meds withdrawal has dialled my hypersensitivity up to eleven but there's something in noticing every small sensory thing: passing perfume, a girl humming, with two different decorated Converse and a Wonder Woman t-shirt; the scent of rotting rubbish (which - I'm sorry - takes me to New York again, the Lower East Side when I lived upstate, and last summer - Hamilton, Pride, and gelato). You may as well notice these things whether or not the world is burning. You might as well live. Also from Insomniac City:

"I once said to someone that one doesn't come to New York for beauty.

I said that's what Paris, or Iceland, is for.

I said one comes to New York to live in New York, with all its noise and trash and rats in the subway and taxicabs stuck in crosstown traffic jams.

I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.

If there could be a chip implemented to track one's vocabulary, as miles logged are counted with those fitness bands people go around wearing, I'm sure
beautiful would be in my top-ten most-used words. I am always saying that that's beautiful or this is beautiful. The thing is, beauty comes in unbeautiful ways here."

Last week in post next week; also, an intake appointment for psychiatric care; and my departmental privilege day. Not sure if I can write on it, or at all. But we shall see.
lizbee: (LoK: Lin and Tenzin (back to back))
[personal profile] lizbee
Title: Detour
Author: LizBee
Fandom: Legend of Korra
Characters and Pairing: Lin/Tenzin
Rating: All-ages

Summary: A few months ago, Lin was a promising young police officer. Now she has to find a new path.

Notes: Set in the same AU as "Avalanche". It's called the President Beifong AU on AO3, even though I haven't really gotten to any of the presidential stuff yet. This fic comes with thanks to multivitamins and praticamente-innocua, which between them gave me the strength to start recovering from The Cold I've Had Since March.

While the welcoming party's attention was on the Avatar, Lin climbed gingerly down from Appa and all but collapsed in Tenzin's arms. )

The Americans 5.12

May. 25th, 2017 06:48 am
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
[personal profile] selenak
Which had two ZOMG moments for me. One of which expected but one not.

Read more... )

Did you ever see me like I saw you?

May. 24th, 2017 12:15 pm
musesfool: han/leia from TFA (stlil crazy after all these years)
[personal profile] musesfool
In more fannish news, Annie Leibovitz's portraits of the Star Wars cast from the Vanity Fair article about The Last Jedi made me tear up.

***

update on my liiiiiife

May. 24th, 2017 10:10 am
green: (Default)
[personal profile] green
I'm doing pretty well. The medications I'm on have been good. I'm finally scheduled to see someone about my back.

DJ still isn't talking to me, but he graduated on Sunday. I was able to watch via live feed. He's signed up to go into the Air Force for 6 years. They want him for NASA or intelligence, they told him. I don't know if we can trust them, but I guess we'll see.

I miss him a lot.

My relationship with Zachary is really good though. We talk all the time, text and Facetime, and I try to support him no matter what his current passion is. It was drawing for awhile, which I could really get behind, but now he seems to be leaning more toward... gardening? I don't even know.

Meg was falling down a lot until we got to the doctor and he figured out it was vertigo from allergies. We got her on a new antihistamine and she's stopped falling.

As for me, other than the YAY MEDS working, I've been writing a lot. Unfortunately, everything I write is super long so I'm not actually posting much.

I probably left a lot out, so if you have a question just ask. I'd love some interaction.

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