symphonic variations

Oct. 21st, 2017 11:21 pm
calimac: (Haydn)
[personal profile] calimac
Here's the problem I'm facing now:

The orchestra of modest prestige was surpassing itself with a flawless, even revelatory, performance of the great symphony. It ends with an elegant, quiet, dying fall. And on the final note: BLAT!

I can't avoid alluding to this somehow, so how do I bring it up in my review?
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
Today was very pleasant but very tiring. It has been a sleepless week, most of yesterday was a migraine, and I feel exhausted to the point of stupidity. In lieu of a movie I really need my brain for, here's one I can talk about while wanting to pass out.

Last October I watched but never wrote about Norman Foster's Woman on the Run (1950), a famously near-lost noir painstakingly restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Film Noir Foundation and released last year onto home media as a double bill with Byron Haskin's Too Late for Tears (1949). Part of the delay is that I liked but did not love the former film as I did the latter with its stone cold antiheroine and uncompromising final shot; this one suffers more from the congealing sexism of the nascent Fifties and as a result its emotional resolution leaves a tacky taste on my teeth and an inchoate longing for the advent of no-fault divorce. If you can bear with its limitations, however, Woman on the Run is worth checking out as a thoughtfully layered mystery and a fantastic showcase for Ann Sheridan as an unapologetically bitchy, unsentimentally sympathetic protagonist, a rare combination in Hollywood even now.

The 1948 source short story by Sylvia Tate was titled "Man on the Run" and the film begins with one: late-night dog-walker Frank Johnson (Ross Elliott) who takes a powder on learning that the murder he conscientiously reported—and witnessed at close enough range to know the killer again—was connected to a high-profile mob trial. A failed artist with a bad heart and a marriage that's been on the rocks almost since it launched, he looks tailor-made for the dark city, a loser coming up on his final throw. The camera doesn't follow him into the night-maze of San Francisco, though, to face or keep running from his demons in the kind of psychomachia at which an expressionist genre like noir so excels; instead the point of view switches almost at once to his estranged wife Eleanor (Sheridan), wearily deflecting the inquiries of the hard-nosed Inspector Ferris (Robert Keith, who will always look like Lieutenant Brannigan to me) with flat sarcastic cracks and an indifference so apparently genuine and total, it can take the audience a beat to recognize the depths of anger and resignation that underlie lines like "No, sometimes he goes to sleep and I walk the dog." Ever since Max Ophüls' The Reckless Moment (1949), I have been wary of assuming the limits of women in noir, but Eleanor still stands out for me in her flippant, abrasive intelligence and her willingness to look bad—she knows it shocks the conservative inspector that she isn't all housewifely concern for her man and she needles him with it, referring to the dog as their "only mutual friend" and dismissing the bare kitchen with "He's not particular and I'm lazy, so we eat out." Faced with the possibility that Frank has taken his brush with the underworld as an excuse to run out on his marriage, she's more than half inclined to let him. But she's not inclined to let him get killed, especially not playing star witness for a police force whose last star witness got whacked while Frank was watching, and so in the best traditions of amateur detecting, complete with dubious Watson in the form of "Legget of the Graphic" (Dennis O'Keefe), the flirty tabloid reporter who offered his services plus a thousand-dollar sweetener in exchange for exclusive rights to Frank's story, Eleanor sets out to find her missing husband before either the killer or a duty-bound Ferris can. He's left her a clue to his whereabouts, a cryptic note promising to wait for her "in a place like the one where I first lost you." In a relationship full of quarrels and frustrations, that could be anywhere, from their favorite Chinese hangout to the wharves of his "social protest period" to the tower viewers at the top of Telegraph Hill. Let the investigations begin.

I like this setup, which gives us the city as memory palace after all: Eleanor's memories of her relationship with Frank, what it was like when it was good and where it failed and how it might be reclaimed again, if she can only find him alive. She is almost being asked to perform a spell. And while I suppose she could have done it on the sympathetic magic of a Hollywood backlot, it is much more satisfying to watch her revisit real statues and sidewalks, real crowds unaware of the private earthquake taking place in their midst. Hal Mohr's cinematography is a street-level document of San Francisco in 1950, with a cameo by our old friend Bunker Hill; he can organize shadows and angles as effectively as the next Oscar-winning DP when he needs to, but he keeps the majority of the action on the daylit side of noir, the lived-in, working-class city with Navy stores and department stores and parks and piers and diners and lots of California sun, which only looks like it shows you everything. The literal roller-coaster climax was filmed at Ocean Park Pier/Pacific Ocean Park, last seen on this blog in Curtis Harrington's Night Tide (1960). Back at the Johnsons' bleak, hotel-like apartment, Eleanor mocked Ferris for "snoop[ing] into the remains of our marriage," but increasingly it seems not to be as cold a case as she thought. Going back over old ground, she discovers new angles on her missing person; nondescript in his introductory scenes and ghostly in his own life, Frank Johnson becomes vivid in absence, hovering over the narrative like Harry Lime in Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949) or the title character of Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) until his wife begins to see a curiously attractive stranger in the place of a man whose familiarity had long since bred hopelessness. To fall in love with someone who might already be dead, to find someone in the process of losing them, these are the kinds of irony that noir thrives on and Woman on the Run derives as much tension from the audience's fear that irony will carry the day as it does from the actual unknowns of the plot, the killer's identity, Frank's status, Eleanor's own safety as her sleuthing calls for ever more active deception of the police and reliance on Legget, who keeps saying things like "I'm sorry I was so rude a moment ago, but it's always discouraging to hear a wife say that her husband loves her." He is another unexpected element, not without precedent but nicely handled. In most genres, his pushy charm and his genial stalking of Eleanor would mark him as the romantic hero, or at least an appealing alternative to a husband so avoidant he couldn't even tell his own wife when he was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Here, with a triangle already established between Eleanor and the husband she knows and the husband she doesn't, the reporter is a fourth wheel at best and the audience hopes he accepts it. Without a reciprocating spark, it's not as cute as he thinks when he encourages Eleanor to call him "Danny Boy" ("People who like me call me Danny Boy") or leads her casually under the same wooden coaster where he used to bring dates, his contribution perhaps to the film's romantic psychogeography.

Honestly, I don't even dislike the resolution on the strict level of plot. By the time Eleanor realizes that the place where I first lost you isn't a bitter dig at a bad memory but a hopeful allusion to a good one, the audience is sufficiently invested in the reunion of these long-fractured lovers—despite the fact that we've never once seen them together, even in photographs or Frank's sketches and paintings—that to frustrate it would feel deliberately unfair, although of course in noir that never rules anything out. They're both taking chances, not just with their lives but their hearts. Frank who always runs away is standing his ground, risking being found by a gunman and a partner he's disappointed. Eleanor who has built such prickly defenses is lowering them, making herself reach out rather than preemptively rebuff. You want to see that kind of bravery rewarded, even when heart conditions and prowling killers aren't involved. What I dislike in the extreme is the film's attitude toward this conclusion. In its examination of the Johnsons' marriage, the facts of the script assign plenty of blame to Frank, an artist too scared of failure to try for success, a husband who retreated from his wife as soon as he felt that he'd let her down, a man who could talk about his feelings to everyone but the woman he was living with. The dialogue, however, insists repeatedly that the ultimate success or collapse of a marriage is the woman's responsibility—that it must be Eleanor's fault that her marriage went south, that she wasn't patient or understanding or supportive enough, that she has to be the one to change. It's implied in some of her encounters; in others it's stated outright. Inspector Ferris constantly judges her as a wife and a woman, even once asking "Didn't your husband ever beat you?" when she tells him to back off. He's the dry voice of authority, the hard-boiled but honest cop; I want to believe that Eleanor is decoying him when she apologizes for not believing his criticism sooner ("I guess I was the one who was mixed up—a lot of it's my fault anyway—I haven't been much of a wife"), but I fear we're meant to take her at face value. He's too active in the film's ending not to be right. Hence my wistful feelings toward California's Family Law Act of 1969. Sheridan's acting carries her change of heart from resolutely not caring to a clear-eyed second chance, but I almost wish it didn't have to. At least she has a good rejoinder when Frank queries their future together, wry as any of her defensive cracks: "If this excitement hasn't killed you, I'm sure I can't."

The movies with which Woman on the Run links itself up in my head are Robert Siodmak's Phantom Lady (1944) and Roy William Neill's Black Angel (1946), both stories of investigating women with ambiguous allies and ghostly romantic patterns; Sheridan's Eleanor is a harder, less conventionally likeable protagonist than either Ella Raines' Kansas or June Vincent's Cathy, which may account for why the patriarchy comes down on her with such personified, decisive disapproval, or it may be the distance from wartime, or it may be some other idiosyncratic factor that still annoys me. The fact that I can read the ending as happy rather than rubber-stamped heteronormativity is due almost entirely to Sheridan, who never loses all of Eleanor's edges, plus the final cutaway to the Laughing Sal on the lit-up midway, rocking back and forth as if a husband and wife embracing is some great joke. Maybe it is. What makes this couple, so fervently clinging to one another, so special? He writes a nice love-note. She climbs out a skylight like nobody's business. They named their dog Rembrandt. This reunion brought you by my particular backers at Patreon.

Woman on the Run
umadoshi: (tomatoes 01)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Today's main accomplishment: getting a decent amount of manga work done despite being drained enough to wind up taking two accidental naps this afternoon. >.< I got close enough to a draft on the chunk of script due Monday that I expect that deadline'll be fine even if doing some garden work (planting bulbs and bagging up the tomato plants for compost pickup, mainly) takes up more of our time than expected tomorrow.

There are theories at the office about how much longer this stint of Casual Job will go, but what have we learned about attempting to make predictions? We'll see how it plays out.

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I have now made it as far as episode 3 of Star Trek: Disco, and we're also up to date on The Good Place. Given my work schedule(s), I'm counting it as a partial win. I really want to start in on The Gifted, though.

I haven't watched any of the anime for The Ancient Magus' Bride (either the OAV or the recently-started TV series), but in the last several days I've seen it mentioned quite a few times here and on Twitter, and that delights me. The manga series is fantastic--definitely one of my current favorites of the things I'm working on. (The other being Yona of the Dawn.) In theory I really want to watch the TV series, but realistically, I said that about the My Love Story!! anime too, and like so much other media I ~really want~ to consume, it keeps not happening.

For the longest time it felt like there weren't anime versions of any manga titles I've worked on, but it's never quite been true. I mean, Sgt. Frog had a (pretty long-running!) series and movies and all, although I gather the plots rarely adhered closely to the manga (and with that series, there's no need for them to, really); also, DN Angel got animated in some capacity (TV series?), but as I only actually worked on the final two volumes that Tokyopop released (vol. 12 and 13, I think?), it never sank in and felt like "my" series. And X has been animated twice, but I actively loathe the movie and am deeply grumpy about the TV series...

...and then there're the newer things that I keep wanting to see, but not finding time for: Arpeggio of Blue Steel, My Love Story!!, Yona of the Dawn, and now Magus are all out there. (Okay, no--I did see an episode or two of My Love Story!!, and that was wonderful.) (I feel like I might even be missing one. And now I suddenly really want someone to animate Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer.)

Will I ever make it as far as checking those shows out for real? No idea. (I even have an ongoing Crunchyroll subscription, but I don't exactly make use of it. [Terrifying media-to-consume list, etc. etc etc.])

Last night was my fourth aerial silks class, so we're halfway through. It wasn't *bad*, but I also don't feel like I managed to do a whole lot )

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I are so utterly out of the gardening habit at this point. We don't have anything planted specifically for autumn, and we gave the tomato plants up for lost a couple weeks ago when I kept hearing that there was an overnight frost warning and last-ditch tomato harvesting should happen. So we did that, but since then I've been seeing local photos and stuff from gardeners carrying right along with harvesting their tomatoes etc. Next autumn we won't be so quick to say, "Oh, I guess we're done now."

A lot of the tomatoes we brought in at the abandoning-them point were still very green, but those all seem to have ripened up nicely. There's just one left now; [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose has been working his way through them. The plants did produce some more fruit, but [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose's experiment in eating one of those post-final-harvest tomatoes wasn't tasty, for whatever reason.

As a result of wandering off from dealing with the tomato plants, I should admit we've also completely slacked on dealing with the flowers. >.< Which isn't so bad for the potted annuals, because they have an expiry date, but we really need to double check what to do about the perennial bed and the potted raspberry shrub.

And whatever else happens, those bulbs need to get planted. *determined*

Book log: year 30

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:18 pm
korafox: Dahlia holds up a book, a rainbow shooting out of it.  Text: READ ALL THE BOOKS (reading rainbow)
[personal profile] korafox
Yes, that's right, I made it out of my twenties.  I consider this an actual achievement and not at all a foregone conclusion.  I don't at all understand people who are freaked out about hitting 30.  I actually feel like a semi-adult by now (only 17 years after leaving home for the first time, hah.) 

As always, I tally the books I read in this most recent trip around the sun.  This year I read a paltry 20 books.  So shamed of myself.  *sadface*  I also look at several of these and think, "Wait, I read this in the last year?  Surely it must have been longer ago than that."

For posterity, the list below the cut:
Read more... )

My brag shelf

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:42 pm
scarlettina: (Default)
[personal profile] scarlettina
Every author has one: a shelf (or six, depending upon who you are) full of the books that one has either written or has stories in. I have one. Mine includes anthologies I've been in and I've edited, as well as magazines my work has appeared in as well. It came down as part of the house redecoration project. I have a new location for it. I look at those books and I just don't care anymore. I mean . . . I do care, but it's not vital that I have them out there. Like, I feel like, big deal. When did I stop caring about being a writer? Was it within the last 2.5 years, when everything changed so dramatically, when I nearly died, when my love and I lost each other, when everything fell apart? I look at my shelf and I think, is this it? Does it matter? I want it to. I . . . don't know how to make it matter anymore.

G-d, I'm so sad. C's death yesterday is part of it but not all. Maybe it's the return of the rain. Maybe it's another year when, at work, we asked management specifically not to schedule the big two-day meeting in the week before our biggest release of the year and they do anyway; talk about not feeling heard.

I should probably have dinner. Food could help. Yes.

head medicine

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:46 pm
kore: (Beth Gibbons - music)
[personal profile] kore


The Source feat. Candi Staton (Now Voyager mix 2006)

And A piece about tea

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:22 pm
aldersprig: picture of tea pouring (tea1)
[personal profile] aldersprig
@DialMforMara prompted me
Write about the sensory experience of drinking your favorite tea or coffee.


Comfort.

If it’s my mug, it’s the best. I tested every mug in the craft festival until I found one that my hands wrapped around perfectly.

The pain in my joints fades. Any chill - there is often chill - is banished. I put the mug against my sternum and breath in the steam and my breathing is easier, my chest hurts less. Everything is calm.

The taste, when it cools enough to drink, is slightly bitter, a tannic brew that clears my throat and wakes my brain. The smell is lighter than the taste - it smells mostly of the steam, most days. Even with the cool enough to drink, the mug is comfortable, nice against my hands. Thick ceramic, it holds the heat for a long time.

Coffee is a drug and a calorie delivery system. Tea is slower, clearer, feeling more like clearing out, cleaning out. My lungs feel more open. My brain feels more open. I take another sip. I take another moment to hold the mug.

Comfort.

Pixel Dragon ficlet

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:09 pm
aldersprig: (Dragon Orange)
[personal profile] aldersprig
I was tired and needed some words.
This is Penny.



Penny liked working with the hatchlings.

It wasn’t a particularly true-to-type thing for him, he supposed. Breed nor flight were inclined for such soft pursuits, yet when Sernade had assigned him to the hatchling cave, he’d found himself exactly where he needed to be.

Right now, he was up to his haunches in fur, three brand-new tundra babies curled up against him as if longing to be back in the egg. A youngling fae perched on his shoulder, his mother already having gone to serve the Gladekeeper.

Hatchlings left the nest. Penny understood that. He’d left his own nest, his own flight, his own life, long ago, and come here, never looking back.

But sometimes Penny hated the times when they’d be preparing for some big gift to the Glade. Not that they hadn’t done the same thing back home, more times a year than Serenade’s lair did now.

Watching the juvenile dragons, barely past hatching and already bearing battle scars from their hurried lessons in the arena, Penny wanted to bring them all back into the hatchling cage. He worked the little Gladekeeper puppet as he told the story, yet again, of the history of their lair.

Take this story to the Glade, he told them, for we all go there in the end. Remember for the end of your days - and they will stretch on for a very long time, little ones, by the Glade-keeper’s side or here in your mother’s lair - how we came to be.

He petted soft sapphire fur with a claw and wondered, somehow, if there was a way to keep them all.

2017 Pegasus Winners

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:05 pm
[personal profile] hms42 posting in [community profile] filk
Quoting the Facebook post:


We are pleased to announce the winners of this years Pegasus Awards!

Best Perky Song:
“Chocolate is a Vegetable” by Graham Leathers

Best Horror Song:
“Dear Gina” by Seanan McGuire

Best Performer:
Judi Miller

Best Writer/Composer:
(tie) Ju Honisch and Jordin Kare

Best Classic Filk Song:
“Alligator in the House” by Betsy Tinney, Cade Tinney, and Sj Tucker

Best Filk Song:
“We Are Who We Are” by Michelle Dockrey and Tony Fabris
kore: (Brain fail)
[personal profile] kore
As Susan Tschudi, marriage and family therapist and author of Loving Someone with Attention Deficit Disorder, would explain to me....ADHD is basically an allergy to boredom.


....ahahaha this is EXACTLY how I have been describing myself most of my life ("low boredom threshold," "I need a book going to calm down and think," "allergic to boredom," "if I get bored I will get in trouble"). Haha! //cries

(Yeah the treating the ADD thing has kind of gone by the wayside because I was on Vyvanse!, and Vyvanse! was motherfucking expensive and seemed to peter out, and they were also all hassling me about my blood pressure ((which is FINE)) and then a later doc terrified me about being overweight and taking stimulants and heart failure. sigh. I dunno. It also seemed to kind of set off my hypomania. On the other hand I've been napping every three hours again so....)
trobadora: (Missy (stylised))
[personal profile] trobadora
Woohoo! [community profile] femslashex reveals have happened. And I wrote Missy! Of course I did. (I'm really having a lot of fun with Missy at the moment, even if most of it is still in WIP form.) Anyway, here's the story I wrote:

Title: Finding Forward
Pairing: Thirteenth Doctor/Missy
Rating: PG-13
Summary: "Forging blindly ahead is a well-honed strategy of mine," the Doctor admitted wryly. "I can do that any day. Now, forward? That's proven a bit more difficult, you see."
A/N: Many thanks to [personal profile] fluffyllama for being there for me at the last moment. ♥

Originally posted here at AO3.

Finding Forward )

My FemslashEx story

Oct. 21st, 2017 05:18 pm
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I had tons of fun with FemslashEx, and highly recommend browsing the archive.

My recipient was [personal profile] iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:

Female Revolutionary/Princess

Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.

Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.

I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...

Forgot to update yesterday. Oops.

Oct. 21st, 2017 07:49 pm
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Am in yet a third hotel. Back home, I am informed:
Main roof is all stripped, and half of front part re-shingled. That's the hard part with the dormer over the door. Most of one side of big room is cleared off. Siding is off front of house over big room; roofer said that part seemed in good shape.
Oh, and we have a large underground bee nest in the plant area under library window. They were not happy having shingles dropped in them.


I think that those are not bees, but rather the wasps that I saw the other day. Yellowjackets, probably, building underground nests for the larvae to overwinter in. Probably drove out the chipmunks, or the chirpmunks had moved out of those holes earlier.

The roofers and the yellow-jackets will just have to cope with each other.

I got some editing done, but no writing at this time. Too sleepy.

Made it to hotel breakfast, yay. Not enough sleep, boo.

So far, first hotel has been best hotel. Kitchenette suite for the win! This one is okay (beats out the second one overall, primarily by having breakfast be open till 10 and not 9:30), but the chair in front of the desk is way low, and it's kind of impossible to use a computer at it. How long do they think my torso is?? ...maybe they didn't set it up for humans.

Hotel breakfasts at mid- and upscale places have waffle-makers now, it seems. I can live with this. (This place only has scrambled eggs as the Egg Dish (well, and hard-boiled), though, and no cheese omelets, like Hotel 1 had for one day, and Hotel 2 had the day that I made it down there.)

...I am so judging hotels now. -_-

Havva Quote
Kid: "Senya, No! Your attempts to tank are interfering with my tanking! Stop Guarding me! I can't guard when I'm being guarded!"
--The kid is playing the Star Wars MMO...


I am not near my other computer that has all the book data so I can't update that at the hotel. Tomorrow e come home, though.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Bloomberg notes that the people and businesses leaving London for the EU-27 will enjoy lower rents.

  • DW reports on potential British interest in joining NAFTA, if Brexit talks with the EU collapse entirely.

  • The remarkable Bombardier deal with Airbus may yet save the Canadian company from American tariffs. Global News reports.

  • Global News takes a look at the provinces and economic sectors in Canada to be hit hardest by the end of NAFTA.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The area of Humber River Bay may yet be radically transformed by the development of the vast Christie's site. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • Torontoist notes how the City of Toronto is starting to let apartment dwellers know if they might die in a disastrous fire like Grenfell.

  • Wired reports on the vast Google plan to make not just Quayside but the entire waterfront a high-tech prototype.

  • TVO's John Michael McGrath argues that the city does not need Google to design good neighbourhoods.

  • Apparently many people are escaping the Toronto affordable housing crisis by moving into vans. The Toronto Star reports.

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