lizbee: A simple painting of a maroon squid (Random: SQUID!!!)

Watching:

Season 6 of Game of Thrones, which benefits enormously from overtaking the books. Suddenly stalled character arcs are moving again! Dany gets to do more than be a bit out of her depth (and Emilia Clarke gets to do more than look pensive)! More Diana Rigg! The Braavosi equivalent of "The Ember Island Players"!

Significant spoilers )As a palate cleanser, I then watched the three episodes of House that featured Lin-Manuel Miranda. I moved on from that series early in season 3, but such is the nature of the series that I had no trouble at all picking it up in season 6. (Shocking spoilers: beneath his gruff exterior, House cares a lot. I know, I know, it's news to me, too.)

Season 6 opens with House in a psychiatric hospital, and LMM is his roommate, a Puerto Rican rapper with bi-polar disorder. It's full of ableist cliches and also regular cliches, but LMM is a delightful human being in any situation, and Andre Braugher plays the guy in charge, so if you squint a bit, it looks like a really odd episode of Brooklyn 99.

Next: Stranger Things, followed, I think, by a Gravity Falls rewatch.

Reading:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- but you knew that. I'm still having a lot of feelings. It's a problem.

(It turns out that if you post a couple of times about Draco Malfoy to Tumblr, you start being followed by ... hunk blogs? Tumblrs dedicated to male models? I feel bad for them, I am absolutely the last person they should be following.)

Then I started reading American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Harold Blum, but it wasn't enough to overcome my MASSIVE BOOK HANGOVER, so I turned to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

(There are currently no plans to bring Cursed Child to Australia, but there are pretty close ties between the producers and the Australian theatre industry -- yes, I just googled -- so I feel like I should start putting money aside to buy tickets as soon as it's announced.)

Other things, not actually culture:

I've almost finished the quilt top I've been working on for the last few months -- my very first quilt that's just for me! It's a lap blanket for the couch. At my current speed, it will probably be finished by the end of summer.

I seem to have hayfever for the very first time in my life -- although it's winter, Melbourne has apparently been inundated by pollens from all over the place, and a lot of people have developed hayfever for the first time. I DON'T CARE FOR IT. I'm itchy all the time, my previously well-managed dermatitis is off the charts. I could go out and buy antihistamines, but I know there's a box around here ... somewhere. So I'm stubbornly suffering while I look for it. 

(Also, I kind of overspent this fortnight, so I'm on a really tight budget until I get paid on Wednesday. I'm not regretting my Cursed Child impulse purchase, mind, but I am quite itchy, and I'm running out of tissues fast.)

lizbee: Zuko looks into the distance, his face torn, his hair blowing in the wind. Comic scan. (Avatar: Zuko's emo face)
A thought that struck me as I was walking to the office and, incidentally, completely failing at catching a Pidgeotto. )
lizbee: (HP: Harry/Ginny)
I read the play yesterday afternoon, and have basically been floating on Harry Potter Feels ever since. And I got tired of attempting to squee without spoilers on Twitter, so I'm shifting to a more appropriate venue.

Spoilers and squee. )
lizbee: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/2a2gkMZ at July 23, 2016 at 06:40AM
liz-squids:

liz-squids:

Sokka is Varrick’s father.

Coming back over a year later to say:

I still totally believe this – why would Tenzin host Varrick’s wedding unless they were family? Sure, Republic City’s in ruins, but Varrick owns a shipping fleet, and what’s more romantic than a wedding aboard a yacht (from which the guests can’t escape)?

IN CONCLUSION: cousins. 

Tags:and dreamwidth, legend of korra
lizbee: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/29XLUyb at July 22, 2016 at 01:20PM
liz-squids:

ComiXology has released The Daring Adventures of Supergirl, the 1982 to 1984 series that helped define my childhood. 

In her run in Superman Family, Linda “Supergirl” Danvers was a successful actress on a daytime soap (really) – but she was increasingly unhappy with her life, feeling that Supergirl had taken over Linda’s identity.  At the end of that series, she impulsively moves to Chicago, which is where we pick up.

She’s dressed to the (80s) nines, quoting feminist advertising slogans, reinventing herself as a mature-age psychology student. 

(Oddly, not a single person recognises her as a recently-successful soap actress.)

She quickly befriends a bunch of similarly-aged college students, including the delightful Joan…

…and the fairly gross John, whom Linda finds initially attractive and quickly off-putting. 

In between some fairly mundane battles with supervillains, Linda has time for normal things: a creepy boss/advisor, a highly inappropriate date with a visiting lecturer, a new cat…

And, you know, regular problems that lots of girls can relate to.

And also teasing her cousin: 

This is not a perfect run – but what is?  I had to take a breather when I got to the arc involving a space Nazi, although I appreciated that the take on the character was nuanced enough that she is allowed to mess up telling black and Jewish people they’re overreacting to swastika graffiti.

I think this might be the run I remember from childhood where Linda and her BFF are trying to settle in for a pizza and movie night, but supervillains keep messing up their plans?  But I’m not sure.  

Anyway, despite the old continuity and dated slang, this feels like a good thematic fit with the Supergirl TV series, with Linda actively trying to forge an independent identity out of costume.  And it’s not often you see a thirty-one year old go back to college. 

Tags:and dreamwidth, supergirl, comics
lizbee: Lin and Tenzin face each other, looking tense (LoK: Lin and Tenzin)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/29OFQDb at July 21, 2016 at 01:20PM
liz-squids:

Finally caught season 3 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I still think that Rosa and Lin are basically the same person. 

Here is a sketch that illustrates this theory. )
lizbee: (ME: Shepard (mine - Jane))
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/29WgntR at July 21, 2016 at 06:40AM
liz-squids:
  • Why haven’t I been playing as an Engineer all along?
  • …okay, I hardly use any power other than Incinerate, BUT I CAN BLOW THINGS UP and also hack geth, that’s quite awesome.
  • My engineer!Shepard is named Yoshimi. She has a blackbelt in karate.
  • I’m running ME on the Bootcamp install of Windows on my MacBook. This creates some fun bugs, like how, throughout ME2, I was continually getting stuck in high places, unable to move or even change weapons until I was finally killed (or survived to the next cut scene).
  • And that is how I killed a thresher maw with nothing but a handgun and my powers.
  • I wish there was a mod to give Miranda and Jack proper clothes. 
  • Also, I think my Shepard is a lot thinner in ME3, and it’s kind of weirding me out, like, she’s meant to be a space marine, and she can throw James Vega over her shoulder, but she has no musculature whatsoever.
  • I think there’s a mod for a buff Shepard, but honestly, I feel like I’m already pushing it with the Bootcamp thing.
  • Jacob is hella boring, but he looks like Kanye West, and that is the entire reason I romanced him.
  • I’m slightly bitter that I can’t romance Anderson or Hackett, stop judging me. 
  • The second half of ME2 was really slowed down by my need to stop and sing “Dear Theodosia” to Grunt every time he turned up.
  • I hate Cerberus so much.
  • Even before the Illusive Man endorsed Trump, I hated them. 
  • I’m up to the Grissom Academy mission in ME3, but it’s so hard to play, because it’s basically TERRORISTS ATTACK A BOARDING SCHOOL IN SPACE, and that needs to be a YA novel, like, now.

Tags:and dreamwidth, mass effect
lizbee: (Default)
Which should come as a surprise to no one whatsoever, given its dysfunctional code, obnoxious advertising and -- most importantly -- the fact that it's owned by Yahoo. It's not going to disappear overnight, obviously, but like a lot of people, I'm suddenly thinking about the need for back-ups.

A lot of the stuff I post there is ephemeral, but some of it might be worth keeping ... or at least, I might look back at it one day and smile. So I'm going to go through my archives and reblog stuff with my "and dreamwidth" tag, that triggers the IFTT crossposting recipe.

Accordingly, people on Tumblr are going to see a lot of old stuff from me, and should blacklist "and dreamwidth" if that's going to be tedious. And people on DW and LJ ... well, I'll go in and add cut tags to longer posts.

I'm not sure of the etiquette of crossposting reblogs, whether text or other people's fan art. Thoughts?
lizbee: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/29MuCPM at July 17, 2016 at 05:36PM

She was also completely unspoiled.

Her main reason for not bothering was her hatred of Harrison Ford, and her feeling that the only way she could enjoy a Star Wars movie was (a) if it was funny, and (b) if Han Solo died. 

My brother lent her the DVD.

She just sent me a text to tell me that Kylo Ren is a much better villain than Darth Vader, and she enjoyed TFA very much.

Tags:star wars, and dreamwidth
lizbee: (Avatar: FEMINIST RAGE!)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/29L0GqL at July 20, 2016 at 04:37PM

Australian celebrity: I said those shockingly racist things because I was on painkillers.
Me: Pssh, I've been on strong painkillers for weeks, and I'm yet to say anything racist.
Also me: WHAT IF I HAVE AND NO ONE TOLD ME?!?!?
Still me: No, no, my friends would be the first people to call me out. I hope.
Me again: Also, maybe I should go to the doctor about this pain?
And ... me: Don't be ridiculous.

Tags:and dreamwidth, lolstralia, chronic illness
lizbee: (Star Trek: Data)
My property manager has conducted investigations and worked out that the man who inspected my flat last month was not a random weirdo, but The New Guy In The Office. Needless to say, he will be Spoken To.

Unfortunately, The New Guy lost all the pictures he took during the inspection, so they have asked very nicely if they can do a new one. I have graciously assented, figuring that this is rather irregular under the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act, and with luck I'll be able to leverage their mistake into some kind of handy concession -- permission to put up a shelf in the bathroom, maybe. Although right now, I could also go for one of those fancy Japanese toilet seats with a butt warmer.

It is, you see, Quite Cold. So cold that cycling to work this morning triggered asthma I didn't even know I had -- at least, I was wheezing all day until I bought and took some Ventolin.

And last night, tragedy of tragedies, my heater died. It was rather expensive, but also not worth having repaired -- it's that awkward between-place. So I'm tossing up whether to replace it straight away with a rather cheap one, or whether to wait a couple of weeks and ask Dad to buy me a fancy new one for my birthday. But $200 is a lot to spend on a heater, so I don't know.
lizbee: (Random: SAM THE EAGLE SAYS FACEPALM)
Last week, I got an email from my real estate agent notifying me of a routine inspection.

"That's odd," I thought, and shot back a response pointing out that they had conducted a routine inspection just last month, and legislation states they have to be at least six months apart.

Late Friday afternoon, I had a call from my property manager. She was quite puzzled, she said, because they had no memory of such an inspection, and did I know who had conducted it.

Well, no, I said, but he was mid-thirties, white, dark hair, bit of a paunch, average height. He wasn't from my regular office, but the larger one in the next suburb.

"Oh," she said, "that office wouldn't be conducting our inspections. I'm the only one authorised to do that for your property."

And then there was an awkward silence as we both realised that a strange man had had unauthorised access to my flat.

The man did give me a business card, which I've lost, and I also spoke to him on the phone, so I've emailed his number to my property manager.

But then I entered a PARANOIA SPIRAL, because weird things have been happening in my flat lately. I came home from work to find a used tea bag sitting in a cup, which is a thing I never, ever do. Various kitchen utensils have gone missing.

Now, realistically, I knew that it's very unlikely that there's a local serial killer breaking into my flat to steal random kitchen utensils and one Twinings Earl Grey tea bag. There's probably just a guy about my age who works for the neighbouring real estate agent, who is about to find himself in a world of trouble with a middle-aged lady named Doris.

But I shared my story with my friends, who, while pointing out that it is VERY unlikely that I'm being stalked by a tea obsessive who really just needed my tongs, two plastic spoons and a small cheese grater, linked me to various motion-activated security apps for MacBooks.

But, you know, I'm a single lady living alone in a neighbourhood which people keep telling me is dangerous (I've yet to see any actual evidence of this myself, mind, unless you count the presence of people who are not white, which I don't). So I was feeling a tiny bit paranoid.

Until, later that evening, I heard an odd noise in the kitchenette. And there was the cat, caught in the act as he knocked a wooden spoon down the side of my oven. I checked, and there, wedged between the oven and the wall, were all my missing utensils. I've never been so glad to see a pair of tongs!

IN CONCLUSION:
  • my cat is a jerk
  • all these years I thought he wasn't one of those cats who knocks things off high places, and it turns out I've been wrong
  • I probably just left that tea bag in the cup for some reason, even though I can't see how -- I mean, I also think I'm compulsive about rinsing bowls after I've used them, and a quick look at my dirty dishes says that's a lie
  • I am probably not going to be murdered in my bed
  • except possibly by the cat
  • if my property manager can't sort out the mystery of who conducted that inspection last month, I'm still going to ask them to change the locks
  • and maybe while I'm at it, I'll ask if I can put up a shelf in the bathroom, all the storage space in this place is for tall people, and it's a problem
lizbee: (TV: The Americans)
Spoilery thoughts. )

Next: to start my rewatch of Babylon 5 while I wait for season 4 to finish so I can binge that.
lizbee: (LoK: Lin and Tenzin (back to back))
Title: The Rising Breeze
Author: LizBee
Fandom: Legend of Korra
Characters and pairings: Lin/Tenzin, Ikki
Rating: all-ages
Notes: Sequel to "The Wind in the Dark", but you don't need to read that to follow this. As with the first fic, title is from a Vienna Teng lyric, but somehow I failed to write down which one. Self. Please.

Summary: Lin and Tenzin try to make it work; Ikki has mixed feelings about her father moving on.

Tenzin woke slowly, conscious of the spring breeze outside and the warm body beside him. )
lizbee: (TV: Janet King)
A regular feature on the Galactic Suburbia podcast is "Culture Consumed", where they outline and discuss the things they've been watching, reading and listening to of late. I really like the format, so here's what I've been consuming lately.

Listening


I don't really do podcasts much, but I love Galactic Suburbia, which ranges widely from fandom to general Australian pop culture from a local feminist perspective that works hard at intersectionality. There is also cake.

I also don't really listen to albums per se, let alone Beyoncé albums -- I usually find her work very hit and miss, most of the misses being ballads. But Lemonade really is outstanding. For one thing, there's a coherent narrative, which I don't find in many albums, and it all comes together in "Formation" at the end.

Speaking of coherent narratives: Hamilton. I didn't much like it on a first listen -- I think I got as far as "You'll Be Back" -- but I gave it a second go because I was intrigued by all the discussion. Listening to it with the Genius annotations open was great -- but it took the entrance of George Washington to make me fall in love. Turns out I just quit one song too soon on my first attempt.

I have a lot of Issues with its portrayal of women, which I think is a lot less feminist than people give it credit for, but I sure do love it a lot.

Spinning off from there, I've also been listening to a lot of the '80s and '90s hip hop that inspired Hamilton, and from there I keep falling down a TLC/Salt 'n' Pepa spiral, which inevitably leads back to Destiny's Child, Beyoncé and Lemonade.

Reading

It's Hugo's season, and once again, the shortlists are a clusterfuck of right wing trolls. The novels aren't so bad this time, but I may nope out of Best Related Work all together, not only because I'm a bit disappointed that Companion Piece didn't make it, but I'm absolutely heartsick that we don't get to lose to Letters to Tiptree.

But once again, I'm going to read as many of the finalists as I can, review them on No Award, and vote according to merit. I just finished Seveneves, and I'm struggling to come up with a coherent way to talk about it on NA. I might just do the post in three acts: one's really slow, the other is quite interesting until everything suddenly happens offscreen and we hear about it later, and the third is a review of a completely different book all together.

My reward for finishing Seveneves is Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray. It's very good, but what I'm really interested in with regard to the post-OT timeline is Ben Organa Solo and his descent into darkness. Sorry, Tumblr, but I have a serious weakness for characters who grow up in the shadow of their family legacies and either deal with that or fail spectacularly, so the only way Kylo Ren could be more awesome in my eyes is if he was Han and Leia's daughter instead of their son.

Also read lately:
  • Vol 1 of Archie 2015, the "reboot" with art by Fiona Staples. I was pretty cynical when I heard this was happening, but it's really good -- I think because it takes the whole Riverdale format seriously, and isn't setting out to be a Dark and Gritty Version. It's still a comic you could give to your kids. And the art and writing are just good, to the point where I may actually have to get the Jughead title as well. (I realised that Mark Waid has written a bunch of stuff I've enjoyed over the years, so I should pay more attention to him.)
  • The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks -- another YA/Middle Grade graphic novel, set in a city that has been invaded and colonised so many times, it's original inhabitants no longer have a name for it. This wears its Avatar inspiration overtly -- not only does it have a blurb from Bryan Konietzco, but the cover uses the AtLA font -- but it's a worthy successor. For one thing, unlike a lot of AtLA-inspired works, it's not about white people.
  • The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R King -- I sort of fell out of love with this series after Locked Rooms pulled its punches and then God of the Hive looked at all the foreshadowing and set-up of the previous book and went, "Nah, actually I'll ignore all of that and be disappointing and racist instead." But this was outstanding, and I really wish it had come out ten years ago, when I had the fannish drive and energy to really do something with it, fic-wise. It's a massive retcon of not just the previous Russell novels, but also the Doyle canon, and nearly everything about it delighted me. Even the flashbacks to 19th century Australia were great, and I usually find gaping errors in that sort of thing.

Watching

On the insistence of [personal profile] nonelvis and [personal profile] sorryforlaughing , I've been watching The Americans. They were right: it's very, very good. It's sort of my Mad Men, in that every episode features a style of clothing or hair that I've seen on pictures of my mother.

It turns out that America is suddenly doing really good historicals set in the last few decades. Well, not "suddenly", I suppose Mad Men proved it could be done, and then it was just a matter of time until it inspired some really good shows. Between seasons of The Americans, I've watched Show Me A Hero (set in the '80s and '90s, about the court-mandated desegregation of Yonkers) and The People v OJ Simpson, which I started expecting hilarity, and ended having actual feelings about the Kardashians?

Then my MacBook's logicboard exploded, so for about ten days, I was confined to what I could watch via streaming services. Which was fine, it was just in time to binge watch season 2 of Janet King via ABC iView. I quite liked season 2 -- I thought it was better plotted than season 1, and despite the Dead Lesbian Trope that drives it, it also gives us Marta Dusseldorp dealing with trauma by wearing a lot of tank tops, and also a plot about a woman seeking justice for her murdered wife.

I was less impressed that the final episode reveals that the murderer is spoilers ), which doesn't really affect the plot or motivations, it's just a means to a fake-out. That could have been done differently, guys.

Stuff I watch week to week:

Elementary's season 4 was a mixed bag, and I have some issues with the finale, but it left me shipping spoilers )

And Orphan Black's season 4 is great so far, pulling back from the labyrinthine conspiracies of season 3, but still dealing with repercussions from last year's plotlines.

More spoilers )
lizbee: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1XQH9Ut at April 25, 2016 at 11:34AM

Yoinked from [personal profile] pearwaldorf

I can barely remember how to do cut tags! )
lizbee: (LoK: Lin smiling)
Probably not by coincidence, starting my new job coincided with a creative slump and a mild fibro flare-up. (Yes, the two are related!)

I am FINALLY emerging from both, thanks in part to my new habit of keeping a journal that tracks both pain and plot bunnies. I should be working on one of my novels, but what I've actually achieved is 1000 words of really schmoopy Lin/Tenzin where they are in love and trying quite hard not to repeat the mistakes of their youth, and also to not leave Tenzin's kids with any new neuroses, and also the world is kind of, "Really?" at Tenzin daring to fall in love again after his sainted wife passed away and all.

(Because I am a contrarian, I seem to end up with a lot of oppositional headcanons, one being that -- instead of regretting that Lin and Tenzin broke up and secretly hoping they get back together -- most people who know them greet the news of a reunion with feelings on a spectrum from Strong Concern to Setting Up Bomb Shelters And Organising An Intervention. Except Korra, obviously.)
lizbee: (Default)
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1KMMZod at February 25, 2016 at 06:53PM

While my new job is great, I’m also going through a fibro flare-up, so I get home and basically crash. And the very last thing I have the energy for is human interaction. 

Which is to say, voicemails and unanswered calls from Mum are piling up; I’m starting to feel bad. 

Tags:spoonie, fibromyalgia, ugh, and dreamwidth
lizbee: (Music: 2ne1 (CL))
Things I love:
  • pop music
  • non-fiction about the pop industry
  • covers
  • demos
  • guide tracks
Accordingly, I am reading The Song Machine by John Seabrook, which looks at the evolution of song factories -- providing pre-fab pop songs to artists, constructed to a carefully calculated formula. This started in the '90s, and is obviously a Really Big Thing in pop right now. I have a Spotify playlist of songs written by Sia for other artists, so clearly the whole concept is relevant to my interests.

Being American, the book largely overlooks the UK pop scene, which I think is a mistake -- the Swedish song factories that made Britney Spears famous refined their art in the UK, and StarGate, for example, who are currently massive, started out with acts like S Club 7, Samantha Mamba and Billie Piper.

Overlooking the UK seems to me to be especially a mistake because there is a chapter on K-pop, which also embraced the Swedish machine. Don't laugh, there are pretty striking similarities in production between Billie's "Something Deep Inside" and Girls' Generation's "The Boys".

Anyway, I find it really interesting that many songs are written with no particular artist -- or even language -- in mind, and it might get shopped around to a variety of artists before it gets made. (Or, sometimes, it's written with one artist in mind, but they pass on it -- "...Baby One More Time" was written for TLC, who rejected it, so it went to Britney. Some years later, Britney turned down a little ditty called "Telephone", so its lyricist claimed it back or herself.)

A (sort of) more obscure example:

A quintet of Swedes wrote a track now known as "Genie", or, sometimes, "Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)", depending whether you're looking at the Korean or Japanese version. It was shopped around in various countries, and eventually purchased for Girls Generation. New lyrics were added. It was released in 2010 to considerable success.

But in 2009, Uzbek artist Dineyra had recorded it herself. Her producers didn't secure the rights, so there were legal kerfuffles when "Genie" came out. As usual when you go up against the Korean pop industry, she came off second-best.

And just before the Girls Generation version was released, a Dutch artist named Nathalie Makhoma released a version with the original English lyrics.

And finally, a UK hip hop artist named CJ Lewis released a track called "Genie" which heavily samples the track, and -- instead of the English lyrics -- translates the Korean back to English. And so we come full circle.

This is all particularly interesting to read on the same day that Beyoncé releases a new song -- because, while she presumably uses the services of song factories, her process is much more opaque, and she is far more likely to make significant changes from the creators' versions. (Especially since she ran into problems when it turned out the writers of "Halo" had written a remarkably similar song for ... Kelly Clarkson? Someone of that ilk.)

Meanwhile, in the Anglosphere, the current fashion is for singer-songwriters, so there's a certain amount of controversy over the use of song factories -- especially because the factories mostly employ men, who literally put words in the mouths of female artists.  (Women in the business of songwriting tend to either have been successful performers themselves, eg Linda Perry, or go on to become successful performers, eg Jessie J, Lady Gaga.  Sia's an odd case, having been a successful alternative performer before becoming accidentally successful as a pop writer.  And Carole King was an unsuccessful performer who became a major songwriter, and then became a successful performer.)

IN SHORT -- because my dinner is getting cold -- there are a lot of interesting and meaty issues underlying the current state of pop music construction, but since the things I love include everything on the list above, this book speaks to me. 

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