I didn't recognize Peter Weller until the credits ran, but he did a respectable job of scenery-chewing and it's always nice to see childhood favorites getting work. C. started laughing pretty hard when I double-taked during the credits, though.
In re. the whitewashing ( cut because apparently there might be two people left on the internet who haven't been spoiled about this casting choice, so we're all cut-tagging, though I feel a bit silly about it )
I really liked it that there was a consistent commitment on the part of the "good" Starfleet personnel to resolve problems nonviolently and within the law, though I was disappointed that that really didn't hold up when they got pissed off enough...but I suppose that's not unlike actual life, and at least they kept trying to talk about ethics, which is a conversation I don't see happening in most genre franchises. My favorite parts of Star Trek are the parts that aren't about shit blowing up -- my favorite parts are where characters say hey, we have a conflict here, let's have a conversation like reasonable beings about how we can resolve that. And I got some of that in this movie, and I appreciate it.
Anyhow. It's not perfect, but it's a fine way to spend a Sunday, and it addressed some of the issues I had with the first reboot film. Is it an exercise in recapitulating genre themes? Ayep. I don't mind.
Oh, and on an utterly gratuitous costuming note: Kirk and Spock in black uniform turtlenecks and gray wool pants? Those were nice-looking trousers. Traditionally Trek uniform pants have been pretty terrible, but those were nice. Let's have more of that moving forward.
But first, here's a pic of one of the many cardinals we have around the lake this year:
A couple of weeks ago I saw a male and female pair nuzzling each others beaks. It was the sweetest thing.
( Read more... )
Then we visited the New England Aquarium, and I could've stayed there much longer than we did. (Mom was too tired to really enjoy it.) Bioluminescent jelly fish! Sea dragons! Fur seals! Blue penguins!
And I got to touch anemones and pet sting rays. Fun.
(Kind of regret not buying the souvenir book that had lots of photos. Or a plush toy sting ray.)
Then we went to the Back Bay and Newbury street and I went to the Vibram store and finally tried on the Lontras. Managed to get one on one foot, but it was very difficult and the shoe felt too tight and stiff. No luck! They were also out of any but the smallest sizes of the sequined Classics.
I went to the flagship VFF store and all I got was a t-shirt. Eeh.
We kept heading eastward, and I stopped at a Ben & Jerry's for a Liz Lemon Schmake. We eventually went through the Public Garden (very nice) and Beacon Hill and had supper at a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant before returning to the hotel.
Now, I wonder if I can watch this week's Game of Thrones. I think the hotel has HBO.
The preview for Thor 2 (right? 2?) got me interested mostly by dint of having Loki in it; the preview for Superman had an emotional power that drew me in as well; the preview for Star Trek didn't interest me at all, but I'll probably end up seeing it.
Now I'm sitting next to Geoff surfing the net while he watches hockey, which is a pretty standard evening for us. What isn't standard is that we're on Cape Ann, on the enclosed porch of a lovely B&B with the ocean gently crashing on the rocks just outside. It's supposed to rain for possibly the entire time we're here, but it hasn't started yet; we had a leisurely three-hour stroll along the coast and through town this afternoon, and if we spend the rest of our time snuggling on the porch watching rain over the ocean, that will not be a horrible few days. Though I do hope we manage the whale watch we've booked for Tuesday afternoon.
I like how, especially in these two volumes, people generally behave reasonably and listen when people say they have something important to tell them, and sometimes change their minds when presented with new evidence. There are definitely jerks, bad people, and people being ruthless, self-destructive, and cruel. But there's very little totally random assholery.
I have read way too many recent fantasy novels in which people behave completely irrationally to serve the plot and ensure that the obvious course of action taken by the protagonists won't work. ("Screw your evidence proving that you're not the person who killed my wife and someone else is! I tear it up and drink it like a milkshake, HA HA HA!") I appreciate how Hale often has the logical course of action work, but then new obstacles or unanticipated complications arise.
Everything else is completely and utterly spoilery.
( Read more... )
Enemies and Shadows (The Rifter)
The Silent City (The Rifter)
Yesterday and today I'm feeling pretty good, and I've been wanting to work on my sewing. I worked on some planning when I first starting feeling better after surgery, and now I have the energy to do some harder work.
But not actually manipulating fabric and thread with my machine just yet. I've been working on tracing patterns and fitting them to my size and shape. This is an important step and one I've been working on learning to do better since I first made a blouse back when I was a teenager and then couldn't button it up the front because it didn't fit.
Because I'm fat I have trouble anyway--lots of patternmakers just don't make very good patterns for fat people. Some don't make any at all. The ones that do often make shapeless clothing or styles I don't like (I've had a lot of trouble finding a jacket pattern in a style I like). Then because of where I carry most of my fat (bust and abdomen) I'm also not a good match for some of the "plus-sized" patterns because they aren't cut for my body type even if they are my "size." I can never make a new garment "straight out of the envelope." (Most sewing patterns come printed on very thin tissue paper, carefully map-folded and stuffed into an envelope; others are overprinted onto a giant sheet folded and stapled into a magazine, then you trace off all the purple-lined or red-lined pieces to make the dress or skirt you want.) I have to compare measurements (mine to the pattern pieces) and usually need at minimum what's called an FBA - full bust adjustment - to any tops. Sometimes I need an inch or so more at the waistline (since I don't really have a waist, just a torso with a belly in the front), or half an inch less at the shoulders (I have slightly narrow shoulders compared to my other measurements). And Just because the designer wanted the hem of the top or skirt in a certain place doesn't mean that's where I want it! Sometimes I want more length, other times less; I know what length top looks the way I want, and where I want my skirts to end. I also add pockets to any skirts, pants, or dresses that don't have them.
So I trace. I have tracing paper, I unfold the pattern tissue or pull the paper out of the magazine, and I adjust as I trace. I might trace over the smaller size at the shoulder and then ease the line out to the larger size at the bustline, or the waist. I might trace the sides of a shirt longer so it's more of a tunic (using an architect's T-shaped straightedge to extend the lines). I might shorten a sleeve, or change the curve of a hem (I like shirts slightly shorter at the sides and longer in front and back, and I have a French curve ruler that helps me do that). I've lowered and raised necklines depending on what I need: work-appropriate versus party clothes (but it always has to cover the top of my industrial-strength bras). I might need to slice down a bodice from top to bottom and insert an extra wide piece of paper (you can't always get the extra room you need just by adding to the side seams).
Then I compare the traced, adjusted pattern pieces to either a similar piece of clothing I already have, or to myself--I might pin pieces together into a mock-up. Sometimes I go so far as to make the garment up in cheap fabric, either real muslin or an old sheet (I keep old, ripped sheets just for this use). I might need to make more adjustments to the pattern pieces. I write the changes right onto the traced pieces, and cut off some or tape on some paper so things fit better.
All this before I ever lay out the fabric, find my scissors, and start cutting! In the last couple of weeks I've traced two new patterns. One is a lightweight jacket and the other is a tunic. There's a dress pattern I'd like to trace, too; may work on that later today.
Later this week I go back to the surgeon for the post-operative check up on my left ear surgery, and a discussion about whether I need surgery on the other side. I'm voting yes. Despite feeling a lot better, I still have some symptoms that I think are attributable to the problems with my right ear. And on the specialized CAT scan, my right ear was actually in worse condition than the left--I chose to have the surgery on the left first because that's where I was having the most symptoms.
I'd rather have the surgery and be sure it's fixed. I don't want to find out a year from now, after working my way back to normal strength and stamina, that my right ear is messing things up still or again. Of course if the surgeon adamantly insists I don't need it, I won't have a second surgery--but that would only be because he thinks I'm as healed as I can get, and that would be great news.
Saturday breakfast rolls: basic buttermilk, 3:1 strong white/medium cornmeal/sprinkling of coarse cornmeal for texture.
Today's lunch: halibut steaks, marinated in madeira, avocado oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar, smoked over hickory chips, served with sticky rice with lime leaves, samphire stirfried with star anise, and baby golden plum tomatoes halved and dressed with a little salt and sugar and a teaspoon of wild pomegranate vinegar.
And some bonus foodie links from the Observer Food Monthly:
Jay Rayner nails it about the impossibility of ranking 'the best meal I've ever eaten' (something not unique to gastronomy).
Lovely story about a first encounter with avocados in an article about How we stopped worrying and learned to love veg:
A story appeared in the newspapers recently courtesy of the Marks & Spencer archive.... "A lady came back one day to our Manchester store and complained about the poor quality," said Nathan Goldenberg, M&S's first head of food technology. "Because they were called 'avocado pears', she had peeled them, removed the stone, stewed them and served them as dessert with custard. No wonder she complained."
[M]en who write cookbooks love onerous tasks: Rachel Cooke finds that Michael Pollan's new book inspires her to order takeaway... it does sound a bit on that curious borderline of macho/poncey
The Intervision Song Contest (ISC) was the Eastern Bloc equivalent to the Eurovision Song Contest. Its organiser was the Intervision, the network of Eastern Europe television stations. It took place in the Forest Opera in Sopot, Poland.
The detail that caught my eye was
The competition had an interesting way of voting. Because lot of citizens did not have phones, viewers would turn on lights if they liked the song or turned them off if they didn’t like the song. According to load experienced on the electrical network, points were granted accordingly to each contestant.
Three Sarah Connor Chronicles Vids
We got a ton of new brilliant and amazing new TSCC vids out of tightpresent, but these were my favorites:
We Used to Wait - a dual character study of Sarah and Jesse with an captivating lyrical beauty and great musicality. Made my heart ache.
Small Words, Bigger Lessons - an exploration of John Henry as a child, learning, and all the teachers he learns from. Outstanding song choice (I will be buying this album!), terrific paralleling of all the children and parents, all the lessons the young learn about how to be who they are and how to be in the world.
Seamstress - a flawless multi-faceted portrait of Jesse.
For the Whovians
England by such_heights - a showcase of all the NewWho companions: what they love, what they learn, what they lose, what they become. Moving and inspiring.
If you like The Prisoner, drop whatever you're doing and watch this
Blow by jetpack_monkey - Stunning song choice. The lyric-clip matching is exquisite, the structure is tight and well-considered, and the way the vidder exploits the limitations of the footage to keep it rocking is seriously impressive.
Exasperating article today on whether Prozac b teh deth ov ART, horrors horrors.
Which has so many unexamined assumptions festering away in the subtext...
One thinks that there have been many creative artists who were not, in fact, bipolar, or suffering more than the kinds of normal unhappiness that are part of human existence, and it is really not necessary to have distressing problems of brain chemistry to produce worthwhile works of art. No, really, not all artists are 'tortured' and it is not the precondition of entry. Mi Romantyk Phallusy, I show u it.
One also considers that there have been artists who have needed a certain degree of uproar and upheaval in their personal lives to get them going, which I think of as Robert Graves syndrome, and recommending marriage guidance counselling would probably be beside the point, alas. (One perhaps feels less sympathy for these artists than for the people within their ambit who are dealing with the fallout from this.)
Above all, however, one wonders whether people were going around, following the discovery of salvarsan/penicillin, and the introduction of isoniazid, bewailing the likely effects on creativity of the eradication of cerebral syphilis and consumption.
I am also, about the allusion to Freud committing suicide, seriously WTF: Freud was over 80, terminally ill with cancer and in excruciating pain for which medication was no longer working; this surely comes under the heading of self-euthanasia rather than being assimilatable to the 'suicidal artist' model that precedes it.
Also, depression is not some romantic gothic black pall, pierced by occasional amazing shafts of light: it's a grey slime of apathy covering everything. At least one of the cited descriptions of the effect of some psychotropic drug sounded exactly like depression, which suggests that it wasn't actually working.
I am never about magic bullets, and there are problems of individual response to particular medications, of an overly pharmaceutical quick-fix approach to mental distress, and, ultimately, it's always more complicated.
But: the drugs can help even if they're not the complete answer.