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1. My parents are going on a road trip down in Virginia and the Carolinas in May -- I am not entirely clear why, but hey, whatever. It will be much more convenient for them not to bring Dottie along, so I will be dogsitting from roughly the 2nd to the 23rd.

The current plan is for me to head down to NJ, probably by bus, on Friday the 1st so I can attend a dinner party Mom is throwing for some family friends. This is relevant because the reason they're friends is because they are the parents of my two long-term best friends. Susan is definitely invited, and if Cat's around that weekend, she is naturally invited as well. On Saturday or Sunday I'll drive back to Ithaca in one of my parents' cars, which I will have possession of until they come to collect Dottie a few weeks later.

So that will be interesting.


2. I went to the mall today and bought six pots and a bag of dirt at Target, but alas, my Girl Scout cookies had not yet been delivered to Not the IRS so I couldn't bring them home. Hopefully they will arrive by Tuesday, which is my next scheduled shift.


3. Speaking of Not the IRS, there have been some schedule changes as we head into the last weeks of tax season, and I've picked up a lot more hours in April. Yay money and a reason to get out of the house!


4. I've been working through The Age of Revolution (and also rereading an old book on the Committee of Public Safety -- Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution, by R. R. Palmer), and it occurred to me that I had no idea what the Marsellaise sounds like. So I looked up the lyrics and listened to a couple YouTube videos, and you know, it's pretty bloodthirsty and all that, but damn that's a catchy tune!


5. I received beta feedback for the Jade/Dave/Terezi crossdressing porn fic, but I haven't quite been in the right mindset to sit down and seriously think about story structure and revisions. Hopefully I'll get that done Saturday or Sunday.


6. It took me several days (not all consecutive), but I finished doing a close rewatch of Manhunter and writing up a... well, it's not a transcript and it's sure as hell not a summary -- it is pages and pages too long for that word to be accurate -- but anyway, writing up kind of a scene-by-scene breakdown of the plot, dialogue, and some of the visuals and sound choices, plus some thematic comments and notes on differences from Red Dragon the book. I've sent the DVD back to Netflix, and will do a similar analysis of Red Dragon (the 2002 film) when that arrives next week. And write up the book, of course.

Then I'll mash them all together into something vaguely equivalent to my "let's compare three versions (book, BBC, Disney) of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to each other" project. Not because I need to or anything. I just find that kind of meta interesting. :-)
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I finally got around to watching Manhunter tonight, which is the 1986 film adaptation of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon.

In brief: holy FUCK that is an 80s movie. No really. Whatever degree of 80s you are thinking of? It's more 80s than that.

(Also, when a viewer's reaction to a climactic action scene is helpless laughter rather than nail-biting tension, you know something has gone badly awry. In this particular instance, I blame the soundtrack and the general datedness of 80s action hero tropes.)

The structure of the case was, thankfully, largely faithful to the book; the parts cut and/or simplified were just the complications that existed to give Will Graham something to DO for three weeks. The ending and the overall theme of the story, on the other hand, were very different, and I disapprove of the changes. I also disapprove of the reduced agency/competence for both Molly Graham and Reba McClane.

More detailed writeup to follow, maybe this week or maybe not until I watch the 2002 film adaptation as well.
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Generally speaking, I think movies made from books are never as good as the original material. The Silence of the Lambs has not joined my short list of exceptions.

This is not to say that it's a bad movie! No, it's a very good movie. It deserved that Oscar. But the book is better.

Obviously the case had to be streamlined, which was by and large done sensibly... )

But really, Clarice Starling is the heart of the story; it lives and dies with her characterization. I miss seeing her do technical forensic work, and I miss seeing her consciously decide that she's willing to flunk out of Quantico rather than abandon Catherine Martin and the case, but aside from the sexist warping of the basement scene at the end, she makes it largely intact from book to screenplay and Jodie Foster brings her convincingly to life.

So yeah. A good movie. Still not as good as the book, but a very good movie. I'm glad I watched it. :D


(For the record, the two movies that I think are better than their source books are The Princess Bride and Mysterious Skin. There are probably also some movies that are better than their source short stories, but while those face the problem of translating from one medium to another, they don't have the problem of how to tell the same story while chopping at least half of it out.)
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Thing I have done since December: watch the first two seasons of NBC's Hannibal.

Thing I did over the last couple days: read Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs.

Thing I am currently doing: reading Thomas Harris's Red Dragon.

Thing I will do tomorrow: watch The Silence of the Lambs.

Things currently in my Netflix queue: Manhunter, Red Dragon, and Hannibal.

Thing I will probably check out of the library in a couple days: Thomas Harris's Hannibal.

(I am undecided on whether to bother with Hannibal Rising, which I have heard is fairly dire both as a book and a movie. And yet, completism...)




Why yes, as a matter of fact, I can tell when I'm in the grip of a temporary obsession. Whyever do you ask??? *headdesk*
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1. I finished a rough draft of my Ladystuck fic and posted it to the collection. I will be editing it extensively over the coming week -- maybe extending it as well, because while it's a functionally complete thought as it stands, there's a bunch of world-building I wasn't able to get in, and I would also like to do some more in-depth character exploration. But still, I wrote a thing and it's up on the site, which is enough for tonight.


2. I checked my work schedule this afternoon, and while I'm only on for one day this week, next week I seem to be scheduled for over twenty hours, and the week after that for over thirty hours. Very exciting! I need to update my resume now to take this job into account, because being employed makes a person look much more employable.


3. A couple weeks ago I mentioned in passing that I've been getting into Hannibal, which is weird for me both because it's a television show and because it's nominally realistic rather than fantasy or science-fiction. In practice, it's so stylized and flat-out bizarre that it comes across as effectively a dark urban fantasy. And so far, it seems that watching via actual DVD disks rather than via streaming video is a decent way to sort of... concentrate my mind. I've been telling myself I have to watch an entire disk in one evening and send it back to Netflix the next day, so I'm not always finding excuses for stuff to do instead of carving out time to watch and listen.

I may try this method on some other TV shows and see if I can carry the pattern over, or whether it was an aberration born of temporary white-hot interest and therefore not sustainable or transferable.


4. I just made a blood donation appointment for the 22nd. This was annoyingly difficult, because the Red Cross site refused to cough up local blood drive locations based on a ZIP code search. I had to find the advanced search link and look by city and state name. You would think that would call up the same search parameters, but apparently not!

I also looked at my account, out of curiosity, because at some point they digitized their records. I can see all the times I gave blood in New York, going back to 2001. One of the dates has to be wrong, because the Red Cross claims I donated twice in February 2002, which is obviously impossible. Then there's a gap between 2003 and 2005, which is probably when I was having issues with mild anemia, and after 2005 there's nothing for nine years until my church had a blood drive last January and I thought to myself, oh hey, I used to do that, didn't I...? And now the Red Cross keeps sending me emails and calling me at random hours of the day to ask if I've made a new appointment yet.

(I do think I gave blood once in 2006, since I'm fairly sure I once walked down the hill from Cornell with a bandage on my elbow and then worked a closing shift at the smoke shop, but perhaps that donation was the time they entered my name incorrectly into their system. Or perhaps one of the doubled Feb. 2002 entries really should have been Feb. 2006. It is a mystery!)

Anyway, I changed my work availability to ensure I won't have any scheduling conflicts that day.


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Elizabeth Culmer

September 2017

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