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I finished reading Barrayar this evening, and was in tears by the end.  All these re-readings, and I don't think I appreciated until now how much Cordelia sacrificed her own principles for Miles's survival.

I have decided -- and [ profile] silly_cleo agrees with me, and so will [ profile] elyssadc in a moment -- that Big Finish needs to adapt Shards of Honor and probably Barrayar.  The whole Vorkosigan series, really, but it's best to start at the beginning.  I'm going to send them a letter, as soon as I can find a crayon large and purple enough.  It will read:

Dear Big Finish,

You should adapt the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold as full-cast radio plays because they're awesome.  Also because, for a sci-fi action series, they're incredibly dialogue-based.  Lisa Bowerman can play Cordelia; there's no one better.  If you can't afford Edward James Olmos for Aral, I guess David Warner could do it, but seriously, think about EJO.  If you cast Miles Richardson as Vordarian, I'd have to come to the UK and kiss Nick Briggs on the face.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

That's entirely credible and not scary at all, right?  RIGHT?
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Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy

There is a disconnect between sexiness or hotness and sex itself. As Paris Hilton, the breathing embodiment of our current, prurient, collective fixations -- blondeness, hotness, richness, anti-intellectualism -- told Rolling Stone reporter Venessa Grigoriadis, "my boyfriends always tell me I'm not sexual. Sexy, but not sexual."

A depressing and infuriating examination of the intrusion of what is best described as male-centred pornographic imagery into mainstream culture. Playboy merchandise, Girls Gone Wild videos, Paris Hilton and so forth. It's not precisely anti-pornography, although I wouldn't call it pro. It largely focuses on the reduction of sexuality into the stripper/porn star stereotype, the concurrent attitude that any alternative is either passe or repressive, and the claims that these stereotypes and behaviours represent empowerment. With detours through the history of feminism, the lesbian community, the invention of the G-sring and several high schools.

It is largely about a culture which mistakes artificial lust for the real thing. There is a particularly depressing set of interviews with teenage girls who are sexually active, but aren't sure how to recognise their own arousal, or how to articulate their own desires. It is, as I said, depressing, but also compelling. Also a very light, easy ready -- I had it out of the way in a couple of hours. (Even more depressingly, Cosmo's reviewer described it as "heavy reading for the girl with an intellectual bent", which is really just a demonstration of the point. It's difficult to even point out the issue without sounding like a refugee from the Right Wing Think Tank that employs my mother, but a balance would seem ... appropriate. Judging by the interviews within the book, just engaging in a dialogue on the subject could be an achivement. Have I used the word "depressing" enough yet?

A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

Reading this for the sixth time at five-thirty this morning, I had a surreal re-envisioning of Ivan Vorpatril as the Bertie Wooster to Miles's Lord Peter. Strange, yet perfect. Some people ask, When will Ivan find a wife? And others, mostly in fandom, ask, When will Ivan be shagged senseless by By Vorrutyer?

(I don't ask. I don't see it. Lady Donna/Armsman Szabo, on the other hand...)

What I ask is, when will Ivan find his VorJeeves?

My favourite moment in the entire book comes right at the end, and shall thus go behind a cut tag:

for spoilers )

Perfectly set up. Immaculate timing. One very long sentence that I didn't even notice until I went to type it out. And a curious bit of revelation that could have lent itself to a whole novel had Bujold not chosen to move on to a new series.

This late in the series, the Vorish milieu was becoming well-established and settled. But there are two questions which, to the best of my knowledge, remain unanswered to this day:

1. What was Lady Alys's maiden name? The second most important woman of her class and generation, and we don't even know which clan she comes from. We do know that she has, or had, two sisters (Patty and Selma Vorsomethingorother), but not which family they belong to. Or if they're even alive. I'm sure Ivan would have complained by now, if he had maternal aunts and/or cousins to contend with.

2. Who is the poor, nameless Lord Guardian of the Speaker's Circle? He's been in several books, but remains sadly unidentified beyond his title. Perhaps he is related to Lady Alys?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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I keep dreaming about being nibbled to death by fictional theologians, and Ordol has really sharp teeth.  Even more worryingly, this morning I woke up with a fresh, slightly infected scratch on my hand that I certainly didn't have last night. 

This is probably my subconscious's way of telling me to stop sitting up late re-reading the Chalion novels.  (Have I ever shared my Holy Family = Vorkosigans Theory?)  And perhaps I should go on a Hidden Sharp Objects Hunt, since I had an identical scratch on my tummy last week.

On an even more worrying note, I'm really enjoying my Organisational Policy class.  Like, really enjoying it.  I read a policy on the use of camera phones in public spaces, and had fun. 
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So, I have a meeting at university this afternoon, and I wanted to buy a USB stick while I was there.  I go into the city, and think, "I might steer through Pulp Fiction on the way!  Sure, there's less than a snowball's chance in hell that they have Locked Rooms so soon, and I've decided to put off buying The Hallowed Hunt for another week, but I can stand there and savour the genre novel smell!"

Off I go, through the freezing wasteland that was central Brisbane today.  Into Pulp Fiction.  Where there were a DOZEN copies of Locked Rooms behind the counter.  Special orders, of course.  All sealed up with rubber bands.  And people were BUYING THEM.  Three copies walked out while I was gaping.  And I didn't even have the common sense to mug them!  The rest of the books just sat behind the counter, and mocked me.  They were all lined up next to a book on Daleks, which I can only assume is one of life's dirtier tricks.

So I put my GREAT PAIN behind me, and turned to the science fiction/fantasy half of the store.  Where there is one -- just one -- copy of The Hallowed Hunt left, where last week there were several.  I picked it up to leaf through it -- nothing more, I swear -- when I heard the counter dude talking to his sales rep, who told him that further Bujold hardback imports might be a bit slower over the next few months.

So here I am, holding the last copy of The Hallowed Hunt in Brisbane, and somehow, I found myself standing at the counter, handing over the plastic.  How did that happen?  I can only assume that some kind of possession took place.  I certainly deny ALL responsibility.

I took one lingering look at the special orders behind the counter, but decided that I probably wouldn't be able to jump the counter, brave the Dalek book and get away.  So I made my mournful way down to uni, and attempted to ignore the buyer's remorse which was already descending.

At uni, I wandered through the campus bookstore, admiring the stationery -- I do enjoy good stationery; a good, plain, blue-lined notebook is one of my great joys in life, and I'm afraid that if you give me fancier paper, I just won't use it -- and checking out the price of the USB sticks.  They were significantly cheaper at uni than at any of the computer stores, of course, and I mentally reviewed the money in my bank account, came up with a positive integer, and bought one.  So now I can watch Doctor Who, or at least, I can transfer the raw .rar files to my brother's computer, and we'll see what amusing roadblock appears next. 

Went to the meeting, and came away stuffed full of enthusiasm for my course, and a vague desire to do at least one piece of assessment as a blog.  Bought pies for dinner, hopped on the bus and wondered why my buyer's remorse had now expanded, so it was roughly the size of a small continent. 

Oh yes, I remembered as the bus cleared Taringa, I did groceries this morning, too.  So I had less money in the bank than I'd thought when I bought the USB stick.  And thus less money for the rest of the week.  Bugger, bugger, bugger.

So I'm living on noodles and toast for the next few days.  Oh well, I think, at least I'll be well-entertained.  It was worth it.

Get home.  Share my tale of woe with [ profile] pieceofalice, who reacts with the usual mixture of sympathy and fear that accompanies these stories, and wonders if I'm feverish.  And then she reminds me of the USB sticks at Officeworks ... which are literally half the price of those at uni. 

Buyer's remorse: roughly equivalent to the size of Europe.

Twitchy desire to cancel life and spend week locked in room, reading: Powerful.

Fever: Rising.

Capslock: ...surprisingly not so much. 
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I have had a headache for four days.  I blame the Pill, and my foolish decision to go without it for a month.  And my body, which responds to any hormonal change with paaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin.

On a happier note, THIRD ROW TICKETS FOR TORI!  With thanks to [ profile] singingweaver, who did the standing in line and handing over of money while I was at work.

Let us not speak of the fact that I have literally no money to live at the moment, or my nearly-maxed credit card.  Just ... don't.

Randomly: I was rereading Diplomatic Immunity during the week, and enjoyed it much more the second time around.  I don't think I disliked it on the first reading, but ... well, it's been several years and I only just read it again.  And it's the only Vorkosigan novel proper that I don't own (I don't have Ethan of Athos either).  Five thoughts on Diplomatic Immunity... )


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October 2017

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