Yes, I know I've been horrible for the past couple of days. I haven't done the Right Things in the Right Order, because on top of everything else I didn't get functional early enough this morning to be able to do the dishes before the water got cut off. Yes, Steve did the dishes. It wasn't because I am a Horrible Person Who Can't Do Things Right. It was because it was 8.30am, and the water was going to need to be turned off at 9, and I hadn't even started my breakfast by then, much less finished it. It wasn't in any way a critique of my ability to do the task in general, but rather a reaction to the way things were happening on this specific day.
Yes, I know there wasn't any laundry to do today. Steve did it all yesterday. Again, a reaction to one particular day, not a critique of my ability to do things ordinarily.
Yes, I decided to go shopping for groceries. Yes, the mall was noisy, and you were feeling on edge, so you decided to go straight to one overload, no waiting, and make me as cranky as all get-out. No, buying the Tim-Tams wasn't a Bad Thing to do, it was a reaction to the fact we're wanting comfort, and Tim-Tams are comfort food. Yes, I did have to spend more than $20 on fruit and vegetables, and no, this isn't going to bankrupt us. There were a lot of things which needed to be replaced (you may have noticed?) which is why this week it was a big spend. No, that isn't a critique of the fact it's been a bit over a week since we last shopped for anything. Things happen, and those things happening is not a judgement on us specifically.
Now, if you could just settle down and stop throwing a tantrum about everything under the sun, I would greatly appreciate the peace and quiet inside my skull so we can have a much-needed nap.
(owner of a brain which is currently a cranky toddler)
 The pipes in our area are being replaced, and the water board has asked us to please shut off the water to the house between 9am and 3pm, as well as drawing any water we felt we needed before that earlier.
Find Calm: Practice Rest and Regulation
New book response at Curious, Healing. Have you read this? Comments welcome!
- "An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples" by Veronica Kallos-Lilly and Jennifer Fitzgerald
Video on co-regulation
Bonnie Badenoch, psychotherapist and professor of interpersonal neurobiology, warmly explains co-regulation and polyvagal theory in her video How to Feel Safe in Your Relationship. Thanks to Donna Norfolk for the link.
Curious, Healing is a blog, and you're welcome to comment there or here about the books. The articles don't have a comment section. You're welcome to comment here or send me email with any thoughts.
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When you see millions of the mouthless dead
edit: I have just run into the section of WW1 poems about Pierrot. Bizarre.
A year ago in Carnival,
 After watching Vincente Minnelli's The Band Wagon (1953), I actually feel better. I love when that works. The "Girl Hunt Ballet" is even funnier if you have spent the last year and change immersed in pulp fiction.
Library board meeting was awesome — so interesting, thinking through all these issues.
I do have to say, I think I kind of got lobbed a softball in terms of elected office — our library is staffed with fabulous librarians, our executive director is confidently and competently steering things in what I think is absolutely the right direction, and our community is willing to fund us well with their property taxes.
There’s always more than could be done, of course, but in large part, my job as trustee of this library is to make sure things keep going as well as they have been.
Other than that, it's hot, but that's to be expected. At least the punishing sun is on its slide toward darker earlier, thank goodness.
Hither and yon I've seen "Harry Potter twenty years!" posts but I don't really read more than a paragraph. I read and enjoyed each book, skimming larger and larger sections as each book got more bloated; they never quite inspired a second read, though I could see that had I read them as a kid I would have loved them to bits, and I probably would have struggled with magic wand 'logic' over my own magic delivery system, had I read them early enough.
More interesting to me than the books has been their phenomenal influence on the field--finally YA became an accepted subgenre, and is now a market power house. Before Potter, many of us who said we wrote for kids were asked variations on, "And when will you write a real book?" Many of us had already written about magic schools--had read about them. But of course in those days the received wisdom was that no kid would read a book over 60 k words (though we all did), and the kids had to stay emotionally about twelve.
But this series was the one that caught the imagination of a generation.
It's interesting to see the Potter influence in the writers who grew up on the stories. Literature is always in conversation with itself, and tracing influence is fun when you read back far enough. It's especially interesting seeing the mix of film and story with Potter: in the books, Malfoy, for example, is one dimensional, always rotten except for a line or so in a late book, but the films gave him a beautiful face, and as a consequence there are so many angsty-but-beautiful bad boys with pale blond hair in YA stories written by the Potter generation. As I recall, Malfoy didn't have any angst in the books. He was just a snot. But the best of the fanfic writers gave him tons of angst as he pined for Harry, and at last seduced him--and the fanfic has been a strong influence as it developed many of these writers.
I think there is a terrific PhD thesis in this. (If it isn't already being written.)
Can't remember the last time I saw a movie, in a theater or out of it. This one was sparsely attended, and therefore fragrance-free enough for me, yay.
This movie is worth seeing. It is much more up close and personal than the summary implies. The Native Americans are saying, "Look at me! Look at us! We are PEOPLE. These atrocities happened to me, to my family. See us!" The white guy is saying "privilegeprivilegeprivilege oh wait maybe I'll see you a little bit."
I'm so glad the Native American folks got to tell their stories and show their lives and landscapes. I hate that the story centers on the white guy's narrative. He's the one who changes as the Native Americans instruct him.
The cinematography and secondary part acting are bare-bones. For me, that emphasized that these are real people, this really happened, this is the landscape where it happened.
( Summary )
Going into this already inundated by criticism helped, because it allowed me to recognize the problematic bits, know they had been engaged, and not sorry over them so much that ruined the rest of the experience. (That said: where are the Jews in this New York & cast of Jewish surnames?) I thought this was decent. I liked the characters, and thought the effects were charming; the conflicts, both overarching and localized "where to find them" plot, are less successfulpredictably paced and too disconnected from one another. The worldbuilding falls somewhere in between: there's a fantastic sense of place but the adaptation of wizard culture is clumsy; the magical beasts could add such new life to the world! but their magical characteristics are gimmicks, and their behavior is subservient and anthropomorphized, which undermines ... everything, really. Ultimately, this provided what I came for, that Harry Potter-film escapism composed of rich visual aesthetic, larger than life characters, and just enough underlying emotional subtlety; but it wasn't great.
How to Get Away With Murder, season 3, 2016-2017
If this series is The Secret History of proceduralsthe push/pull of exaggerated, idealized academia and intimacy set against the social breakdown fostered by secrets and murderthen this is the season of consequences, of the trickle up to Keating's career. I didn't know my respect of Viola Davis could grow more profound, but it hasshe does an outstanding job of portraying a complex mix of vulnerability and strength. The plot elsewise is okaythe danger in a series with this premise is that it can grow too convoluted, undermining and/or overlooking previous events while chasing the next cliffhanger; but the way that things fall out, the in-fighting, the effect on extended cast, the hints of underlying intimacy (especially in Michaela's apartment!), use previous events to good advantage. I enjoyed this a lot.
Frailty, film, 2002, dir. Bill Paxton
This would have been a significantly better story given: 1) no twist endingthe twist is exceptionally predictable and could have even been written in, but wasn't, and as is it serves only to undermine the potential character study of brainwashing/abuse/delusion, 2) better actingit's a small cast, and there's a huge burden on the child actors, and no one can stand up to it (Bill Paxton in particular has some cringe-worthy acting in high-value scenes), 3) better effects ... I didn't discover until this writing that this came out in 2002! I thought it was older ... the corny effects combine with the so-so acting to undermine the premise, to turn it from compelling and unsettling to a gimmick. Nice idea, but skip this one.
Tag, film, 2015, dir. Sion Sono
What a weird film! It's almost successful, mostly on account of the acting and because, in broad strokes, the feminist themes work: an intimate relationship between women, fighting the nightmare of gendered social expectations. The tone is certainly remarkable, if not successful: grindhouse meets arthouse, strange and humorous gratuitous violence played against surreal reoccurring imagery and dream logic. But here's the thing: it engages in an awful lot of objectification despite the feminist subtext, and the reveal is a bit of a mess, a lot of an anticlimax, and isn't awfully empowering. This is no Sucker Punch, but sometimes resembles one.
Sense8, season 2, 2017
I forgot, until viewing the S1 summary, how much of this show is ridiculously contrived action sequences, the motivations for which I'd largely forgottenand few of which really matter because, as the summary reinforces, the heart of this show is 25% speculative concept/plot and 75% queer orgy found family feels. And I really love those precise feels, and I'm mad about the circumstances behind the show's cancelation for precisely this reason: it's so id, so gay, and there's not much else that does what it doesI want it to set president, not be quietly erased. I don't have a lot of feelings about plotting vs. interpersonal in this season (I don't, frankly, think it improved remarkably over the previous season), but I found it so engaging, as always: I love these characters, the film techniques, the voice and style; it's a consistent pleasure.
Dig Two Graves, film, 2014, dir. Hunter Adams
Phenomenal sense of time and place; a ... mixed handling of racial issues: uses g*psy slur, but it's period-appropriate; it acknowledges racism and its consequences, but also capitalizes on stereotypes for aesthetic and plot purposes. I have a lot of mixed feelings, here. It pushes the hell out of my Southern gothic aesthetic buttons, and I love the initial setup, the haunting use of liminality. But some of the "magic" evoked is pretty corny (as well as fulfilling racist stereotypes), and as the narrative progressesspoiler spoiler spoiler warningand everything is given mundane explanations ... mundanity makes for a tricky reveal: it's innately underwhelming, despite the substantial themes and the title drop. I liked this, and wanted to like it more, but kept running into caveats.
So it's back to the original theory, that my blood pressure drops when I stand up, and then I faint.
My manager had a somewhat awful, stressful day at work, because we have a contract worth more than 3x our total revenue the whole time we've existed, so we are desperate to make it work, but they won't really tell us what exactly they want, because it's proprietary (and they know quite well that despite all the NDA's we've signed, we're developing a similar product to sell to their competitors.) My manager is in the middle of this, and is so frustrated he can barely think. I asked "want to go for a lunchtime ride?" and he replied "I might just keep riding." It turns out that when he goes hate riding, he is *markedly* faster than he usually is. This is the guy for whom I usually end up dropping off the back of the pack to ride with him for the rest of the ride. Today I had to slow down a little to get him in my draft and back with the main group twice, and he led for a lot of the ride. He was a bundle of energy. When we got back I asked him if he'd thought about work during the ride and he sat down on the floor, then flopped back on his back, and said he couldn't even remember his name. He was still there five minutes later when I went to do something else.
Name: Mer/waketosleep (my old LJ was stripedpetunia)
Age: 29 (for three years now)
Tumblr/Goodreads/IG/etc: IG is alarmingllamas and a great place to see pointless photos of my cat; I'm active on twitter as @alarmallama and my AO3 handle is waketosleep.
Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I'm a cis bi woman going into my second year of law school, because my last career decision was very regrettable, and I was diagnosed with ADHD a year and a half ago so that's been an exciting combination. I've been writing in fandom for ~15 years but between the ADHD and the law school and how much of your life can be swallowed up by trying to pay bills, I don't write as often as I used to. My other interests include TV shows, knitting and crochet, the CFL (I'm a Stamps fan), Canadian politics, cola bottle gummy candy, linguistics (that's the bachelor's degree--syntax and SLA what uppp) and video games, but of course that list is far from exhaustive because my interest is easily captured by new and shiny things. I'm on tenterhooks waiting to see who the new Chief Justice of the SCC will be (I'm hoping Justice Abella). That's what law school does to you; don't go to law school.
Top 5 Fandoms:
When it comes to creative contributions such as fic, in no specific order:
- Star Wars
- Star Trek AOS -- I'm not super engaged with this fandom anymore but I think it's the one I'm most associated with, fic-wise
- Mass Effect
I am enthusiastic and will talk your face off about a lot of other TV/games/books/etc, but my actual online fandom engagement is more limited to the above things and whatever else I've written fic for in the last 3-4 years.
I mostly post about: I've been on DW since it launched and spurred one of the first major LJ emigrations but haven't posted much since Tumblr killed journaling and my circle turned to crickets. I'd like to try and get back into it. Expect AO3 shares of new fic I write and random posts about whatever media I'm watching, with less frequent, slightly more personal posts about things like life updates/craft projects/complaining about law school and law students and the law. Some of those I lock, depending on their content. I'm also open to discussing my adventures with ADHD.
My last three posts were about: *checks* ...A Star Wars fic, a Six of Crows fic and a roundup of good things that happened to me in 2016.
How often do you post? How about commenting? I've never been a daily poster but I'm going to try to up the ante from twice a year. I'll set a goal for weekly. I respond to comments on my posts and I like to comment on your posts when I have something to say. Comment-thread conversations are one of the things I miss most about journaling.