edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
In physical space, I made out like a bandit courtesy of my family and friends. And in virtual space, I got an awesome story!

You get a lifetime: It takes Wendy about a day to find out. (2,500 words)

[ETA post-reveal: written by [livejournal.com profile] zombieboyband!]

This is a Mysterious Skin story set just after the end of the movie, dealing with Wendy and Neil and their complicated friendship. It's also a little about their joint friendship with Eric, and Eric's friendship with Brian, and how Brian and Neil finally meeting and talking has shaken things up.

I warn you that the movie is about potential trigger warning ), and the story obvious touches on that, albeit indirectly. But it's sharp and clear-eyed and angry and sad, and somehow ends on a note of tentative hope rather than the lacerating revelations that close the film.

Go read it. It's beautiful.

-----

ETA: And here are some of [livejournal.com profile] zombieboyband's thoughts about Yuletide, after the reveal.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hi, and thank you in advance for writing a story for me! I'm pretty easy to please -- unless you write a story that's only a long sex scene, I'll be thrilled just to get a fic in one of the fandoms I asked for. *grin* But I realize that's not terribly helpful, so here's the (very!) long version. (I am sorry for the tl;dr, but I like to talk about things I love and I figure more details are better than fewer.)

---------------

General Information )

Okay. On to specific fandoms.

---------------

The Lions of Al-Rassan )

Lucifer )

The Dispossessed )

Mysterious Skin - TRIGGER WARNING )

And that is that.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
First, and unrelated to the meat of this post: yes, I did pick a Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie as my fourth Yuletide request. *sigh* So my final requests are The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, Lucifer by Mike Carey et al, The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin, and Mysterious Skin. One fantasy novel, one comics series, one science fiction novel, and one film.

My Dear Yuletide Writer letter is here, if you are interested in my prompts and my blather about the fandoms. It's a bit tl;dr, but that is because I love to talk about things I love, and I figure it's easier for writers to ignore extraneous details than to somehow summon necessary details out of the ether. *wry*

Okay. On to the actual post!

-----

Today I physically went to Cornell's CIT Helpdesk in order to get my NetID reset. This is because I had forgotten my password and was unable to get through my own security questions -- the first one was all right, but every spelling and punctuation variation I tried for the name of my elementary school was rejected by the system, until it decided I'd tried too many times and locked me out altogether. *grrr* Anyway, that is all fixed now.

I needed my NetID so I could ask for a copy of my transcript so I can send it to Empire State College (which is a mostly online branch of the SUNY system) by March 1, in order to start classes in May. *crosses fingers* I already got my transcripts from TC3 (Tompkins Cortland Community College) last week. Now I need my high school transcript, proof of immunization, and a writing assessment. *gnaws fingers* Oh, I hate this. None of it is actually hard, but the entire business is making me all twitchy and uncomfortable and my mind just keeps flinching away. It took me two hours this afternoon before I convinced myself that yes, I really did have to go get this thing done and I couldn't just dawdle until the Helpdesk closed for the weekend and shrug it off as a bad job.

*sigh*

Anyway. Other things I did today:

1. Dropped by the smoke shop to warm up after Cornell and helped RE figure out and fix a cigarette inventory screwup while I was there

2. Dusted my bookcases and a couple baseboards

3. Shelved the books I've acquired and read over the past eight months, and weeded out a few others that I am unlikely to ever reread

4. Attempted to call Vicky in re: Thanksgiving scheduling, and left a message when I couldn't reach her

5. Started working Ilgamuth's love of poetry into my Ilgamuth-meets-Rabadash story (tentative title: "To Every Thing There Is a Season")

That story, incidentally, is fun from a world-building perspective. I have decided that Ilgamuth is from a fairly minor noble family, and that actually his father owes fealty to Kidrash Tarkaan, who is Aravis's father and High Lord of Calavar province. So far, this has let me cameo Aravis's cousin Alimash, whom Bree met once. When I get back to my actual Big Bang (tentative title: "A Change of Season" -- why yes, I DO like thematic naming, why do you ask?), this will give me an excuse for Aravis and Ilgamuth to talk while he's in Anvard, which is useful for several reasons. *grin*
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
*stares blankly at her Ilgamuth-meets-Rabadash fic*

This was meant to be a quick comment!fic sort of thing. Except it's 4,000 words now. It is turning into a proper war story. I just. Seriously. WTF???

...

Hey, [livejournal.com profile] rthstewart, would you mind horribly if this turns into an accidental Mini-Bang fic for the Narnia Big Bang and you don't get to see it until February? Because I think it might end up that long by the time it lets me finish the expansions.

(The problem, you see, is that the end of the story is all detailed scenes and whatnot, taking place over a single day in Tashbaan, but the beginning was this massively compressed thing that covered a couple months in about three paragraphs. And trying to match those two aspects is turning those paragraphs into lots and lots and lots of detailed scenes, with Rabadash's companions showing up as proper OCs and so on and so forth. *headdesk* I have incurable running-on-at-the-word-processor disease, I really, really do.)

---------------

In other writing news, I opened the files for "Friends and Neighbors" and for "Secrets" ch. 15, and ended up writing a hundred words or so of "Secrets" tonight, in which Ginny and Susan Ward snipe at each other.

The problem with chapter 15, of course, is that I want to match it up to "First You Have to Get There," in which both Susan and Daphne Rumluck are clearly Ginny's friends. Except in "Secrets," Ginny and Daphne loathe each other (which is Ginny's fault at the outset, Daphne's fault later on for not letting it drop, and ultimately makes both of them look unpleasant -- very intentional on my part, btw), and Ginny and Susan dislike each other (which is, again, Ginny's fault but exacerbated by Susan later on, and makes them both look extremely petty). I have gotten Ginny and Daphne to a sort of armed truce, which, given that Ginny and Apple (Daphne's cousin) have mended their fences, is a reasonable setup for slightly barbed friendship three years later, but Ginny and Susan are proving less tractable.

*thwaps them both*

I just want to get through this so I can write Ginny and Xanthe Delaflor being all cute and awkward and friends and saying goodbye at the end of term, and then I can get to the Hogwarts Express and the dramatic reveal of Percy's secret ~girlfriend~, which Ginny has been sitting on for quite a while now. *grin*

---------------

I have not signed up for Yuletide yet. I am still mulling over my fourth request. Three are continuing on from last year -- The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay, Lucifer the comics series by Mike Carey et al, and The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (subset of the Hainish Cycle, but I only really want fic about Anarres and Urras and the people of those two planets, so) -- but I switch out any fandom I get a story in, and I'm not sure yet which fourth tiny fandom of my heart to ask for.

Probably I will end up asking for some movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it, since that seems to be the theme of my year. *wry* But give me a day or two to pretend I am not quite that shallow.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Since my Yuletide signup experience last year was... not exactly a nightmare, but certainly not ideal (to summarize: three plus hours of frustration and eyestrain in the wee hours of the night/morning because my computer was having a bad week and I had to take advantage of a functional period no matter how inconvenient to real life), this year I have already gone through the list of nominated and approved fandoms and made a file of the ones I will definitely offer to write plus the ones I might offer to write if I am feeling adventurous and/or masochistic (because of course the thing you offer thinking, "Well, I suppose I could maybe do that," is the thing you will get matched on).

At the moment, this translates to four manga series, three comics series, one song, one play, twenty-five books and/or book series (almost entirely fantasy), and twelve movies. The weird part of this, of course, is the movies. A couple are Disney, a couple are random things that I have seen two or three times for various reasons... and the rest are things I watched this year because Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in them. *sigh* My fannish priorities: you may not agree with them, but clearly I have some.

...

Tangentially, I note that someone has nominated Seaward by Susan Cooper again. I think I am still the only person who has written and publicly posted fanfic for that book. I would love to see somebody else take a stab at it this year. :-)
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
Today I did something that I think I have never done before. I went to see a movie on its opening day.

Of course, I went to see said movie at a 2:20pm afternoon matinee while most of Ithaca was down on the Commons for the first day of the Apple Harvest Fest, so it's not like I was fighting for a ticket or a seat, but still. This is not something I do.

The movie in question is 50/50. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Watching everything he's ever acted in includes new movies too, you know. *wry*

Anyway, there was some kind of trouble with the projection system, such that between each preview a horrible grinding and screeching noise came from the left front corner of the theater. When the film itself started, the screeching noise became continual instead of only lasting a couple seconds. After a minute and a half, I went out to the lobby to find a staff member and notify them of the issue. When I came back to the theater, the sound had cut out completely.

Fortunately about thirty seconds after that, somebody got to the projection booth and fixed the problem. (Mostly. The noise came back twice later on, but only for about two seconds' duration each time.)

The point of this is that I effectively missed the first five minutes of the film -- in which we are first introduced to the rather nebbishy Adam, his somewhat highstrung girlfriend Rachel, and his boorish friend and coworker Kyle -- which is annoying. But it's not insurmountable; 50/50 is not the most subtle film in the world, and the characters and relationships are pretty easy to parse even without those first scenes.

Hmm. I have read a few reviews of the film (I like to have some idea of what I'm letting myself in for when I sign away an hour and forty minutes of my life) and by and large I agree with them. This is a pretty good story, pretty well acted -- nothing great, a bit sitcom-ish at first, awkward in its handling of Rachel, but deeper and truer than it might seem at the start, and sweet without getting cloying.

Tangentially, I was pleasantly surprised by Anna Kendrick, whom I had never seen before. This has nothing to do with her acting skills. (I am pretty sure she was in, um, something where she got praised for good work fairly recently -- oh, what's it... right, Up in the Air -- so I knew from hearsay that she could act.) It has to do with her physical appearance. She is average-looking in a way that leading actresses so rarely are allowed to be. By which I mean she's thin and pretty and has nice hair, but she also has a nose with actual character, plus the kind of facial structure that makes me think "rabbit" or maybe "squirrel." She's not cookie-cutter. She looks like a real person. Men can do that all the time and still be considered handsome and sexy. Women are much more restricted by narrowly defined beauty stereotypes. So I am cheered by Anna Kendrick's existence and career. May she have many more roles for decades to come!

So yeah. I liked the movie. There were a few points where I had to hide behind a shield of interlaced fingers lest my sympathetic embarrassment squick overcome me, but overall that was eleven dollars (eight for the ticket, three for bus fare) well spent. :-)
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
I went in expecting a dumb action movie and that is exactly what I got. :-)

This is the kind of movie where it is vital to have the correct mindset upon watching. If you are looking for good science, good characterization, good plot, or anything other than pretty people running around and stuff blowing up, you are going to come out thinking, "That sucked." But if all you are looking for is pretty people and explosions, you come out thinking, "That was so stupid, but damn if it wasn't fun!"

I have long experience with bad action movies, so the second mindset is second nature to me at this point. It has provided me hours of entertainment and saved me from many headaches over the years. :-)

...

The villains are the best part of the movie, as they so often are. Christopher Eccleston looks damn good in his suits, Byung-Hun Lee is a seriously awesome ninja (and gets some snazzy clothes himself), Sienna Miller gets to actually be effective (and my god, I covet her glasses... not the shoes, though; ow, heels), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is having a ball playing mad scientist. (And he is, of course, the entire reason I watched the movie. *grin*) McCullen's plan is perhaps overly complicated, but damn if it doesn't work... and so does the Doctor's. Yeah, they look like they failed, but the last scene (which is such blatant sequel bait) makes it pretty clear this is only a temporary setback.

The Joes are just kind of there, by comparison, though the bit about hacking a corpse's brain is, I admit, pretty awesome.

...

You cannot think too hard about the ~science~ here, nor about the special effects. I mean, the only way Ripcord could get from Moscow to D. C. in the relevant time window is to jump through a wormhole. And the underwater fight scene does not behave as if water resistance exists; it looks like an air or space fight with some visual ripples and a greenish tint thrown in as a token gesture toward the ocean.

You cannot think too hard about a bunch of things, actually. Like, if the Pit is filled with thousands of soldiers, why do only about fifty come out to fight the MARS extraction team? Why did nobody notice that Rex was kind of off if he could go sideways at the drop of a hat? Why didn't Ripcord knock Duke upside the head and make him talk to Anna four years ago, since he clearly ships them as a couple? Why isn't that telepresence technology more widespread -- seriously, do you know how much money McCullen could have made off it if he sold to companies and civilian government organizations as well as to the military?

Stuff like that.

But those are the questions that I tuck aside and don't pay attention to while I'm watching, except when I want to mock the ridiculousness on the screen, because GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a bad action movie, and one has to expect things like this of bad action movies.

Besides, this is a film that has a completely unexplained ninja integrated into an ultra-modern international military force. Once you roll with that, it's all good. :-D
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
Things I have learned about myself over the years:

1. I vastly prefer action movies or serious arthouse flicks to comedies (romantic or otherwise).

2. I have a sympathetic embarrassment squick.

3. Shockingly enough, those first two points are related.


...

This reflection brought to you twenty minutes into watching (500) Days of Summer. Awkward flirting, a young man being a dick to a young woman because she doesn't want to date anyone, and drunken karaoke. *flinch*

(My one consolation is that it's Tom's friend being a dick to Summer, not Tom himself, though he was pretty awful in his own right with the whole "You know what I need" thing when she asked if he needed any supplies at work. Still. That conversation is way too close to my own life for comfort.)

ETA: Am now at the one hour mark, in the middle of the awful blind date, and we are back to drunken karaoke. I think this is a pretty good movie, but ye gods, it is just one painfully awkward moment after another, and it's done with enough realism (even the bizarro moments have emotional realism) that I cannot write it off as farce and try to disengage my empathy. Ow, flinch, ow, flinch, ow. (Yeah, okay, some parts are damn funny, but they're not the parts that stick with me.)

Tom can't figure out where he went wrong. This is because he's too close to the issue and has stupid assumptions to boot. I can tell you exactly where he screwed up. He went wrong from the beginning, when he lied and said he was okay with casual and being just friends, and then assumed that the kiss meant Summer wasn't serious about her "let's not get serious" schtick, instead of saying, "Hey, so what exactly do you mean by 'friends' and 'not serious,' because this is not what I use those words to mean, and also I really like you, so please don't lead me on." Honesty and clear communication are key, and romantic love will not magically grow just because one person in a relationship wants it to.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Every year around the start of June Ithaca throws a four-day (okay, three-day plus a parade) town festival called, unimaginatively, the Ithaca Festival. And every year it rains.

Last year was deeply unusual in that rain did not fall on the parade -- which was ironic, since the organizers had accepted the inevitability of rain and made rain the theme.

This year the parade also escaped precipitation, and the weather forecasts were for clear skies Friday through Sunday. I was beginning to doubt the foundations of the universe.

But it rained on Saturday. All is well once again. :-)

-----

2. The Joseph Gordon-Levitt project continues! I have now watched four episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun. It's been a strange experience, since I have not regularly watched sitcoms since the days my sister was addicted to Full House. (My television habits were largely driven by the habits of the people I lived with, since even when I had a TV, I almost never turned it on of my own volition after I outgrew PBS kids' shows and the few cartoon shows I really liked got cancelled.) Also, I have a sympathetic embarrassment squick. So a lot of comedy is difficult for me to watch.

The thing is, I am discovering it's massively less painful to watch people make hideous fools of themselves in a comedy than it is to watch people make hideous fools of themselves in a drama, or even in a dramedy.

It's about expectations, I think. I go into a comedy expecting people to be exaggeratedly stupid and embarrass themselves, so I am not caught by surprise the way I am when funny and/or embarrassing scenes appear in more serious shows. Also, I am not usually according the characters the same level of belief -- I don't grant them the same depth of interior life -- so I am not as deeply hurt/embarrassed on their behalf. If I know what's coming, and what level of realism applies, I can react appropriately instead of cringing away in almost physical pain. (In other words, I can keep from getting too attached. Even in a comedy, if I start getting attached to characters -- if I start believing in their emotional reality -- the sympathetic embarrassment squick kicks right back in. -_-)

Despite this comedy buffer effect, I have needed to hit the pause button several times each episode, and so far I've had to watch at least one scene per episode in short 1- to 5-second bursts, but that is still much better than I usually do.

(I may discuss the actual show some other time. For now, I will simply say that it is deeply stupid but in a genuinely funny way, that it's very much a product of the 90s, and that I find all the cast members likeable even when their characters are, well, dicks. *wry*)

-----

3. Vicky is back in NJ and has acquired a temporary cell phone. She has about seventeen other things she needs to get done -- it is apparently rather tricky to reconstruct a life after being out of the country for a year -- but I think once she has a few more days to breathe, things will start falling into place. And I can text her whenever I want, which is nice. Email and Skype are all very well and good, but they lack a certain immediacy that a phone can create.
edenfalling: colored line-art drawing of a three-scoop ice cream sundae (ice cream sundae)
Somehow over the last twelve years, while I remembered enjoying the movie, and the party scenes, and the refreshing assumption that teens can be smart even when they're being stupid and/or shallow (because hey, teenagers), I forgot how flat-out funny 10 Things I Hate About You is.

I was in the teen movie target demographic when it was released (I was 17 in 1999), but so far as I can recall, the only teen movies* I actually saw in high school were Clueless and 10 Things. Possibly both were on the recommendation of my little sister, who liked the teen movie genre a lot more than my friends and I did. I generally saw movies with people, which meant I generally saw dramas with my parents or action movies with my friends. For a while, Cat, Susan and I even had a Bad Action Movie Night tradition, which produced much hilarity at the expense of films like Mortal Kombat or various Highlander sequels, though we did also watch some decent action movies for variety's sake.

...No, wait, I did see a third teen movie. The one with... a brown-haired girl and that annoying guy who dated and/or married Sarah Michelle Gellar. She's All That, maybe? One of those dumb nerd-girl-cleans-up-nice plots. Oh, what is his name. Freddie something or other. Anyway, that one was just a brainless way to kill two hours, as you can tell by my near complete inability to remember it. 10 Things I Hate About You is not brainless. Fluffy, sure, but there's an actual story and charm to it.

All of which is by way of leading to this: Allison Janney is a treasure. :-)



*(I also saw The Faculty, which, though it purports to be a horror movie, actually plays brilliantly when viewed as a comedy -- specifically a teen movie farce in which people happen to die in stupidly unbelievable ways. In fact, I dare you to take the doing-drugs-proves-you're-human plot twist seriously. But that is extremely tangential to this post.)

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Elizabeth Culmer

June 2017

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