- How about some little pointers to interesting things for a Monday, since I need to close some tabs? I took the weekend off (gasp) (bliss), and we finally went to see Thor: The Dark World. I loved it. If you like beautiful men, well-written women, and superhero movies that aren't afraid to be funny, go see it.
- Justine Musk did a TedxWomen's talk that is a must read, about women owning their confidence and the art of the deep yes.
- Rick Riordan has an incredibly smart post about publishing and why connections matter little, ultimately.
- The Someday My Printz Will Come blog over at SLJ is heating up as we approach ALA Midwinter and the awards announcements. While I don't always agree with the assessments of this book or that book, the posts and discussion are always thoughtful and well worth checking out. The Eleanor & Park post is a good place to start. (Love that book. Looove it--and I am in the Yes, this is definitely award-worthy camp.)
- The Story of the Lost Paleozoic Museum.
- A look at the daily routines of various creatives and the commonalities therein.
- Men and women's brains inherently different? Not so fast; individual differences are greater.
- Heather Havrilevsky writes about Nora Ephron as influential writer of new journalism, constrasting her with Joan Didion: "When life gave Ephron lemons, in other words, she made a giant vat of really good vodka-spiked lemonade and invited all of her friends and her friends’ friends over to share it, and gossip, and play charades."
- Over on twitter, Laura Miller linked to this fabulous interview she did in 2011 with editor Robert Gottlieb, which is funny and filled with great stuff.
- And, finally, Jenny Crusie being crazytastic smart as usual, this time on when character deaths work and when they don't. Yes, yes, yes. When I first read this post, I got it completely, and also understood immediately why so many animal deaths in books just make readers angry (including this one)--because they are only emotionally resonant, but don't matter to the story. Yes.
We’ve finally finished watching all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’m going to go ahead and say this is one of the best shows I’ve ever watched. Here’s the official show description from the website, for anyone who’s unfamiliar with it:
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Only the Avatar was the master of all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless Fire Nation from conquering the world. But when the world needed him most, he disappeared. Until now…
On the South Pole, a lone Water Tribe village struggles to survive. It’s here that a young Waterbender named Katara and her warrior brother Sokka rescue a strange boy named Aang from a cavernous iceberg. Not only is Aang an Airbender–a race of people no one has seen in a century–but they soon discover that Aang is also the long lost Avatar. Now it’s up to Katara and Sokka to make sure Aang faces his destiny to save the tribe–and himself. Did we mention he’s only 12?
I don’t know how best to talk about a three-season, 61-episode show, so I’m just going to randomly celebrate some of the things that made it work so well for me.
The Characters: Almost without exception, every character has his/her own personality and story arc. The Big Bad Fire Lord was pretty much the only one who struck me as one-dimensional, and that’s partly because he barely even shows up until the very end. Everyone else felt fully human. They struggle. They make mistakes. You can connect and sympathize with almost everyone, even the villains. These are interesting people, and I wanted to spend more time with them.
The Animation: This is a beautifully animated show, from the background artwork to the various spirit creatures to the different cultural styles of dress and architecture to my particular favorite, the gracefulness of the four styles of bending. It’s gorgeous to look at.
The Joy: Aang’s backstory is incredibly painful. He’s the last of his people, a hundred years out of his time, and is tasked with saving the world. At the age of twelve. Yet he never loses his joy in the world. He jokes, he laughs, he plays, he dances. He believes in people … but not to the point of foolishness. The show hits notes of both very real pain and ridiculous silliness (poor cabbage guy), and the full range in between. That’s a hard thing to do well, and incredibly powerful when done right.
I’m putting the rest behind a cut tag, because of spoilers…
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Christmas has twelve days–at least, according to the song it does–so I thought I’d do you the favor of sharing 12 Giftmas nopes (presents you really want nothing to do with. Here you go:
2. A belly button brush. For the disgusting Pig Pen in your life.
4. Generic “Weener Kleener” Soap. I assume it has that name because of the shape. “Fits most men!”
5. Real nightvision goggles for kids. Only someone desperate to be the “cool aunt/cool uncle” would buy this, especially if they wanted to be cut out of their siblings’ will.
7. A single blue-raspberry flavored Gummi Bear that weighs five pounds. In case you want to spend months gnawing on something vaguely bear-cub shaped.
8. A goatee-shaving template. Don’t bother pointing out that it’s actually a Van Dyke. That battle’s lost.
9. A Unisex Adult The Big Lebowski The Dude Wig and Beard Kit. In case your loved one has too much pride to use a shaving template.
10. A Nose Shower Gel Dispenser. For people who want to imagine themselves rubbing snot all over their bodies.
11. A coffee mug shaped like a toilet bowl. For loved ones trying to quit coffee.
12. Shittens. Not a typo.
Be honest now. You’re tempted by the pink rabbit fur poncho, aren’t you?
Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here but not there.
|The Fantastic Adventures Of Adam Ant|
From the short lived TV Tops magazine
There's excellent stuff in here: Ken Liu writing a powerfully effective story that consists of one sentence; Maria Dahvana Headley's heart-breaking rumination on memory loss, bereavement, and sea horses; and Kat Howard's more literally heart-breaking explorations of haruspicy. Rachel Swirsky's "All That Fairy Tale Crap" first appeared in Glitter & Mayhem and is as startling and irreverent here as there.
For my part, "Turning the Leaves" is an unabashed tribute to Lynne Thomas, who asked me to write her a poem in a way that felt like her taking my hands in hers and looking me in the eye.
Sigrid Ellis is taking the reins at Apex, and I'm really looking forward to what she does with it. Meantime I raise this mug of milky tea to Lynne and say cheers; you were fantastic.
- Current Location:Glasgow
- Current Mood: calm
- Current Music:quiet
Since we're discussing the nature of "home" this week, I'm reminded of this sensuous, provocative passage from The Last Cheater's Waltz: Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest by Ellen Meloy:
"My geography savors a delicious paradox: Home--a grounding--found in unearthly beauty. The predominant colors are blue, emerald, and terra-cotta. Every day, every season, I taste these colors and the intricate flavors of their unaccountable tones and hues. I have yet to earn this land. Perhaps I never will. Home is a religion. Sensibly you understand the need for it, yet not even sensible people can explain it."
The pictures here are of Endicott West, an arts retreat in Tucson, Arizona, set up by Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman and me down a dusty desert road near the Rincon Mountains. In this beautiful place, numerous writers, artists, musicians, dramatists, filmmakers and many others found inspiration and a quiet environment to work in -- including me, for it was also my desert home for many years. But life moves on, things come to an end, and Endicott West is closing its doors. I'm writing a longer piece about E-West which I'll post here in a week or two. In the meantime, for me, no conversation about the meaning of "home" is complete without a nod to this most magical of shared dwellings....
This week, singer-songwriters from four countries, all influenced (in different ways) by American roots music....
Above, First Aid Kit performing their lovely tribute song, "Emmylou," at The Workman's Club in Dublin, Ireland. First Aid Kit is Johanna and Klara Söderberg, two songwriting sisters from Stockholm, Sweden.
Below, English singer-songwriter Laura Marling performing her gorgeous song "Rambling Man," at The Great Wide Open Festival in the Netherlands.
In the next video, the veteran American folk singer Lucy Kaplansky performs her poignant song "Ten Year Night" at a House Concert in Boulder, Colorado. Kaplansky grew up in Chicago, but she's been part of the Village folk scene in New York City since the late Seventies.
This song always takes me back to Arizona road trips with Howard, crossing the vast desert landscape in an old green pick-up truck, Kaplansky's Ten Year Night album playing softly on the tape deck....
Next: Two songs from the great Joan Osborne, performed for a Seattle radio station: "Work on Me" (by Osborne and Jack Petruzzelli) and "Where It's At" (by Sam Cook). She's backed up here by Keith Cotton and The Holmes Brothers.
Osborne grew up in Kentucky, and is now based, like Kaplansky, in New York.
South-African singer-songwriter Laurie Levine, recording "Time Loving You" for her fine new album, Border Crossing. (I've played Levine's music here before, but if you're unfamiliar with it, be sure to check out her terrific cover of Johnny & June Carter Cash's "Ring of Fire.")
Your host for this edition of Radio Free Gunslinger is Hubert Selby, Jr.
It is entitled Some Paint On a Canvas
Carolyn Hester - I'll Fly Away
Victoria Spivey & Big Joe Williams - Sittin' on Top of the World
Harry Belafonte - Midnight Special
Richard Fariña & Eric Von Schmidt - Christmas Island
Happy Traum - Let Me Die In My Footsteps
Chubby Parker - King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O
The McGee Brothers - Charming Bill
Henry Thomas - The Little Red Caboose
Three Georgia Crackers - Poor Little Thing Cried Mammy
Uncle Eck Dunford - Skip to Ma Lou, My Darling
David Hemmings - Bell Birds
Blond - There's a Man Standing in the Corner
Edward's Hand - If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind
Dando Shaft - Coming Home to Me
John Bryant - In Need of Love
Wilf Carter - You Are My Sunshine
Lewis McDaniel - It's Hard to Leave Sweet Love
The Morris Family - Dark Eyes
Shortbuckle Roark - I Truly Understand That You Love Another Man
Bradley Kincaid - Barbara Allen
Allen Ginsberg - Nurse's Song
Divergent: I watched this trailer and I said, "I remember that someone on my reading list posted about how silly and implausible this YA dystopia is." And lo, it was so.
I, Frankenstein: the idea of Frankenstein's monster as incredibly long-lived and basically a superhero is actually pretty great, but I doubt this is the movie to do it justice.
Endless Love: it caught my attention for putting ominous music behind sappy meet-cute romance, but the hints about the reveal didn't seem very interesting. (However, IMDB says it's a remake of a Brooke Shields movie, which does get genuinely dark, so perhaps that music is earned even if the trailer's contents don't convey it.)
American Hustle: this trailer is much less off-putting than the first one I saw, though still not my kind of thing.
Maleficent: it's remarkable the way they managed to make this live-action Sleeping Beauty look like a cartoon.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: I'm not sure if this is the version I saw before Gravity, but it's still just wrong.
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Way back in the ’70s, Marvel’s Sol Brodsky commissioned me to write an Incredible Hulk coloring book. I wrote the script, turned it in, got paid for it … and then never heard a thing about it ever again.
Not until last week, when I spotted a cover from 1977 over at The Marvel Age of Comics Tumblr which had me wondering … is that the same coloring book I wrote? I couldn’t be sure, but luckily, within a few hours, Paul Di Filippo alerted me to an eBay auction, and I jumped, exercising the Buy Now option so there’d be no chance I’d lose out.
Well, now that I’ve had a chance to read the thing—all 230 words of it—I’m going to say that this is the coloring book I wrote all those years ago. And I’ll keep saying that until someone comes along to contradict me.( Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )
dressed in mid-century vintage go to on the Nostalgia Subway Ride with some of my steampunk buddies this morning. (And realized I need a lot more 20s in my wardrobe as well.) early-mid 20th century subway cars -- and ads -- live music, and lots of people dressed in outfits ranging from the 20s through Mad Men. Most of mine was random 50s-MadMen60s that my mom and aunt have given me, plus a vintage-style skirt from one of my beloved out-of-business indie designers/shopkeepers. And I really enjoyed the red lipstick and liquid eyeliner - I don't do that often enough.
Got a new couch and a new bookcase, which make the place seem a lot more finished. We bought the last one about 7 years ago at a thrift store, so it wasn't new then, and compared to the new one, I now realize that the old one feels a lot like sitting on a park bench. (We're putting it out later to be picked up by the building Monday morning.) And it's nice to have the last of the books off the floor -- we finally got sick enough of boxes that we piled them up against the wall, but it was still piles . . .
Decorated for Christmas. Earlier than I usually do it, but since we'll be away and since M is a little blue, we went ahead and put up lights on the terrace, and got our tree out. I'm daring to put up ornaments this year -- non-breakable ones and on the top 2/3rd only -- because we've kept acquiring cats, it's been year after year of lights-and-star only.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.dreamwidth.org/12345.htm
A wise woman I know named Ellen Kushner once said this in an interview in Locus magazine: "Now my generation, we're all hitting late-thirties to late-forties. Our concerns are different. If we stick to fantasy, what are we going to do? Traditionally, there's been the coming-of-age [novel] and the quest which is the finding of self. We're past the early stages of that. I can't wait to see what people do with the issues of middle age in fantasy. Does fantasy demand that you stay in your adolescence forever? I don't think so. Tolkien is not juvenile. It's a book about losing things you loved, which is a very middle–aged concern. Frodo's quest is a middle–aged man's quest, to lose something and to give something up, which is what you start to realize in your thirties is going to happen to you. Part of the rest of your life is learning to give things up."
I like to quote my sources, so: Thank you, Michael.
Fortunately, Mr. Swanwick wrote up his thoughts on Tolkien in a gorgeous essay for Karen Haber's Meditations on Middle Earth. I invited him to speak about them on my public radio show, Sound & Spirit, for one of the last shows I did, The Lord of the Rings - and, Lo!, someone has transcribed his words and put them up on The One Ring Forum, here!* (You can also listen to the entire 1-hour radio show - including the Swanwick interview - here.)
Oddly enough, speaking of the LOTR S&S show, I just got FB Friended by a guy in Poland with the rather elegant name of Ryszard Viajante Derdzinski who says, "Your broadcasts are famous among the Polish fans of JRR Tolkien. Thanks to you I discovered The Tolkien Ensemble and Varttina."
Wow. What goes around . . . certainly goes around! And Finnish women's neo-trad singers Värttinä can't have too many fans.
*Swanwick quote from Sound & Spirit: The Lord of the Rings:
( And I thought ?Collapse )
It would be easy to say the reviewer (a woman, by the way) was careless or rushed, but I still have to wonder. How can you overlook *all* the women? Is this part of the SF/F culture, where any guy takes over the book, simply by existing in the pages? Do we, as readers, unconsciously place more importance on the men in the story?
I am almost dizzy with fatigue but there's no way I can sleep right now so I will FEELINGSDUMP all over you all. Spoilers for both movies and vague spoilers for all the books, which I haven't read but which I've read people's posts about.
( SPOILERSCollapse )
Trailers tomorrow. Those are quick, at least.
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Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, Sleepy John Estes, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sunnyland Slim,
Sugar Pie DeSanto, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Hubert Sumlin (1964)