oh, hi

Jun. 15th, 2016 08:32 am
hedda62: Harold Finch, half in shadow, text: Oh, Mr. Finch (finch)
I figured just after the penultimate episode of Person of Interest was a good time to pop back in here. I've been busy, and not really feeling the fannish love for anything, but here's a brief TV wrap-up, and that's the right word, since so many of my shows have come to an end.

POI: I've enjoyed this season on the whole, or at least felt the usual mix of admiration and dissatisfaction. Last night's episode: I was operating on about two hours of sleep, so likely missed things, but the plot seemed to have taken several leaps past logic. Which is par for the course on this show: set things up for years, and yet have smart characters fail to take ordinary precautions or question stuff that seems weird. Anyway, next week will be it, and we'll all get over it - and I kind of want to write Machine-POV fic except that might mean having to watch too many episodes over again so I can figure out what was going on.

The Good Wife: Didn't love the ending, not so much because of the non-conclusive nature (I am all about that) but because of the it's-all-about-men thing, though I suppose that is thematically right, just really annoying.

Castle: Let's just pretend the last season or two didn't happen, or that we never found out all the backstage gossip, or that they had time to plan out the series finish.

Sleepy Hollow: Boy, am I glad I stopped watching this at the beginning of this season. Oy.

Agent Carter: Sorry that it couldn't keep going, but my investment in the Marvel-verse is pretty shallow anyway.

Elementary: Actually that was a pretty satisfying season. John Noble, aren't you glad you got killed off on Sleepy Hollow?

Orphan Black: Still enjoying this too. OMG Helena and her hat. And her deer.

I am going to try not to get hooked on anything else, and spend more evenings reading or writing. Or, you know, sleeping.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Quick TV catch-up:

Sleepy Hollow: Almost like Katrina after last night's episode. Almost. Also, nice to see Frank again? I hope?

Castle: Back to form and they managed to find a new twist to keep things running a little longer. (Based on last week; haven't seen this week's yet.)

The Good Wife: And the Chicago canyons echo again with the refrain, "Kalinda, what the hell, no!" Also, I love episodes that require "we didn't know this would be in the news" disclaimers.

Elementary: Introducing new main characters and giving them storylines of their own is a good thing, people; season developing nicely. (I should probably note here that Ophelia Lovibond was yet another in the category of "where, oh where, have I seen that actor before? *checks imdb* Of course: 'Lewis'.")

Agent Carter: Watched the first two episodes of this; will probably keep watching. My main reaction is: it's just so satisfying. In somewhat the same way as Miss Fisher except with much more anger and fork-in-artery grit.

Person of Interest: On hold again until February, dammit. (Not that I begrudge the State of the Union, but otherwise grrr.) Good essay here: Why Person of Interest Needs to Continue Being the Gutsiest Show on Television. It's hard to remember sometimes that reactions are different outside fandom, but I'm not surprised that some viewers want it to go back to being the cosy procedural it never was. And probably hate Root/Shaw.

Couple of reading notes: Aside from finishing A People's History of the American Revolution, it's been mainly comfort reading. Among other things, I reread Lois Bujold's The Spirit Ring, which is an early stand-alone historical fantasy novel that I must have read originally after plunging through the Vorkosigan books. In that context it was a bit disappointing, but it's really very good on its own merits: the world-building is solid, the writing sings in places, and the characters are appealing. Seen retrospectively, it strikes some interesting notes with regard to the Chalion series, too.

Earlier in the month, to remove the taste of a dreadful Agatha Christie conspiracy thriller dealing with the misuse of an international youth movement, I reread some John Verney - anyone else here familiar with the Callendar series? ismo is the relevant one here, but the series starts with Friday's Tunnel - very fun 1960s British teenage adventures, which for some reason our local library possessed when I was a kid, and I later managed to procure copies for my kids (out of print alas and tend to be expensive). All of them use female POV, girls with real personalities and varied interests and a tendency to be irritable, and I'm glad to find I still love them (the books and the protagonists, especially February). If I ever do participate in Yuletide, I'll be sure to propose this series - there has to be someone out there who's read it.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) I almost have a cover! I need to work on balancing the color (or lack thereof; it's all sepia-ish) but I think I should be done today, and then very little is stopping me from getting the book together and uploaded. This time around I'm pretty sure I'll have a different cover for the ebooks than the paperback, because the print cover uses a wraparound background image with another image covering most of it on the front cover, and not enough of the background shows there to be comprehensible alone. So much as I hate to lose the planes-that-look-like-birds, I think the ebooks will just have the broken violin. Will post on the blog when it's done. (I am still not sufficiently talented with image software (using GIMP now) to make it what I want, but IT IS GOOD ENOUGH SO THERE.)

2) TV catch-up: a) Need to stop dozing off during POI, but that's my fault not the show's; I especially loved Root's turn as French Mary Poppins; b) speaking of which, Doctor Who had some spot-on moments during the season finale, and I have decided that it's not worth dwelling on the places I didn't think they quite made their points, because the misses were fairly close (by the way, has anyone written the story where spoiler )?); Castle, WTF? though I suppose you get the "it was only a dream" pass.

3) We will be getting the polar-vortex-whatever during the day today, though at nothing like the power the center of the country has been experiencing. Our local weather gurus have predicted some "mood flakes" tonight, another term for "conversational snow." I have been a little too occupied with cover-building and the like to do as much outdoors as I should have been doing; maybe I'll manage to go pull out the pepper plants today at least.

4) Music recs. First, my son and a friend, together known as Red Wheelbarrow, have a little album out which you can listen to (and pay what you want to download) here, if you should wish to. As Patrick says, it's a bit rough around the edges, but hey, the price is right, and new artists should be supported, and I think they do a splendid job: Helen has a lovely voice and Patrick plays multiple instruments well and I am not prejudiced at all. Album is original music; you can listen to their covers here.

Second, on a more experienced and professional level, a friend sent me the latest of Zoe Mulford's CDs, "Coyote Wings," and I am now interested in getting her others. Excellent songs, very personal and yet universal, great lyrics and themes and thoughtfulness. And, as I figured out soon after glancing at the liner notes, she is the sister of one of Patrick's directors/teachers/now-colleagues at the theatre camp he attended for many years and now works at in summer, and in fact one of the songs, "Acrobats," which you can listen to at the "music" link on her site, was written to celebrate her brother's wedding (to another employee of the same camp as well as of the commedia troupe they both belong to which I think I have referred to here before). So that is cool.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) Post up on visiting places you write about (the why and the maybe why not) at the author blog. With reference to Venice, because.

(Incidentally, I am gathering that as with Twitter, so with Wordpress there is a method whereby bloggers like, follow, and/or post empty comments with the intent of getting you to follow them back; see comment about my interesting post on travel writing which is not what I wrote about but is what the commenter does. Sorry, I have you all sussed out now and I'm not going there. So to speak.)

2) Things I need to do in the next few days: upload teaser chapters for Time Goes By; decide on a not-stupid About the Author blurb for that book, and also whether I should have a dedication; start formatting the print version; do a temporary price cut for TFT and TAF ebooks (month of November, buy 'em now); send out email announcements as well as posting on the blog; get ready to agonize over cover design. Plus other things in other spheres of my life.

ETA: Also have to come up with a blurb for TGB a little more extensive than the placeholder ("Adventures extending over five centuries, three separate continents, and one world-convulsing war"). OMG how.

3) Am attempting to catch up on TV missed while away. Caught up on Person of Interest, which continues to be fantastic this season (all of you who gave up last season, you should come back!); on Castle, which is still entertaining if stretching it a bit with the amnesia plot oh please; on Sleepy Hollow, which is just absurd but completely lovable and doing interesting things with interpersonal relationships; on Doctor Who, which… I just don't know, really. Others to follow.

4) I read, over the course of the trip, several books but two in particular that I'd really like to review together if that were possible anywhere, just because they resonated as if unrelated objects struck and vibrating in close harmony. One is Jo Walton's My Real Children, which I loved as a transformation of the mundane extraordinariness of life into the fantastical (old woman with dementia in nursing home reflects on two entirely separate lives she remembers having lived in two versions of the 20th and early 21st centuries (neither of them ours)), and the other is a memoir by my second cousin Ann Hedreen about her life and that of her mother who died in her 70s of early-onset Alzheimer's, called Her Beautiful Brain. The resonance is close in the description of confusion and forgetting and disintegration, the life choices faced by women, the poignancy of loss and ordinary living, the portrait of a period of time; the format is different, of course, but I think Walton's book has a lot of elements of memoir (there's a lot more of "and then this thing happened, and then the other thing" than I thought I could put up with in what has to be categorized as speculative fiction) and it certainly reads as a real person's story, or stories. (But it's a different sort of person who chooses to write about their own life rather than those of invented characters. I didn't know Ann very well before reading her book; now I almost feel I know her too well. Memoir is not a choice I'd make for myself, even if my life was interesting enough to merit one.) Also, I had no idea before I started Walton's book that it had so much to do with Italy, so that was fun.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)

1) Wow, Hannibal finale, way to earn your content warnings. Also… what? What?!!! (I suspect the Hamlet-like bloodbath is by way of saying "hey, network, this is what you get for not renewing us till after we'd written it" but holy shit.)

2) I am, alas, not nearly so intrigued by Castle's Downton-Abbey-esque season finish. Because come on now.

3) Hoping to catch up on other things besides obsessive weed-pulling and powerpoint-polishing after I give the Big Talk this Thursday. It seems likely I'll be defaulting on Trope Bingo, though, because despite wanting to write something (probably the POI hiatus fic that all of us must write) I don't see it happening this week.

4) I've been listening to lots of Vienna Teng and picking out Waters of Time-related songs; have decided that "Antebellum" is totally Sam and Olivia's song, and "Nothing Without You" is Wilfrid and Beatrice's (despite their fervent arguments against the title). Or alternatively "Augustine." (And "Harbor" is - ideally at least - George and Olivia's, and I could go on, but I'll spare you. Funny that on the whole I tend to find the non-romantic-pairing songs first, though.)

5) Oh, and the POI hiatus fic may borrow a title from "Goodnight, New York."

6) The trip to Texas went well, and we got Younger Son packed off to Ghana via Albuquerque, and he's sending happy-sounding texts about fufu and power cuts. I pick him up in Philadelphia a week from Thursday.

I suppose I should do more weeding now. Or organize my resource list.
hedda62: Cover of my book Time and Fevers, with Semper Augustus tulip painting. (time and fevers)
1) Got the second version of the TAF cover done and have submitted it for review. *crosses fingers* If it turns out okay I will be able to tell without a paper proof, so I can go right ahead then with uploading the ebook versions and have it all done by the weekend! *crosses legs, arms, and anything else that can be crossed*

2) The cold made me lethargic and snuffly over the weekend (and too tired to go out to see Captain America 2) but I'm on the mend now. Despite planting seeds in the rain yesterday after four hours of oh god why am I in charge here. It's really nice to be alone in a big garden planting seeds, even if it is raining.

3) I may, however, die at the hands of Person of Interest sometime in the next few weeks. If this three-part finale is good it'll be really good, in the painful way, and if it's not, it'll be painfully disappointing. *goes back to crossing things*

4) Other shows also good (not caught up yet on Elementary, but really enjoying season 2; marveling at how fine a show full of corpses in horses (and Jeremy Davies, yes!) and food-related insinuation can be; laughing at how much fun the 70s episode of Castle must have been to film; haven't seen latest Good Wife yet, but appreciating thoroughly how well they are handling this sequence of episodes after [spoiler]).

5) I am reminded that I have a Trope Bingo card and haven't written any fanfic in ages, and don't really feel like writing any, but maybe after the book is out I'll manage to at least get started on a bingo? Can't really write anything POI until the season is over, unless it's looking back. I have glanced at my Vorkosigan WIPs and nothing is leaping out at me. Perhaps something else will inspire.

6) What I really want to have time for is getting started on Book Five. It's beginning to feel ripe, in the way that pears don't.

7) However. *goes back to powerpointing*
hedda62: Harold Finch, half in shadow, text: Oh, Mr. Finch (finch)
I'm sort of caught up on TV shows now (not entirely on Castle yet, and obviously not on Breaking Bad), and the visual dump is having the usual where-did-I-see-you-last effect where guest actors are concerned. I was less affected in this regard by Aaron Staton in last night's POI, or by Lisa Edelstein on Castle, than by Warren Kole (last seen as Creepy Stalker Ian on the never-speak-of-this-again POI "Bechdel episode") turning up as a plot-significant FBI agent on White Collar, and getting coffee with Neal in Washington Square. Spotted there earlier: Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson (I have only caught two Elementary eps this season, though). I really wanted them all to run into Harold and Bear.

Also, if Peter Burke gets the DC promotion, he should obviously move into the apartment Rick Castle found. I'm sure it's awesome.

So: White Collar and Castle gave me the same "not what I thought the season would be about!" whiplash effect regarding early plot developments (well, White Collar's was worse). Plus ça change, I guess. Once Upon a Time is the same old *headdesk*-ooh! combo, and I have no fannish urges about it (Captain Yawn) but I want to see what happens with Henry. Sleepy Hollow has sucked me in, even though I keep protesting with whimpers of historical inaccuracy. The Good Wife is just as beautifully tense as I could have imagined. And POI… if they are doing what it looks like they're doing next week (well, in three weeks, more likely), you'll be able to hear the fandom screaming from space.

Though not me, because I'll be watching the Nov. 26 episode probably five days late. Ack.
hedda62: Ben Linus, well-bruised (bruised ben)
So it is entirely typical of me that a declaration of new intent results in a) a little bit of publishing research in between being busy with other things, b) a depressive spiral, c) my cat getting sick. And today was migraine day. But I think I'll be back on track soon. (And the cat is improving, though I was really worried for a couple of days because he stopped eating, which is kind of like a fish not swimming.)

All that (plus having finally finished the seasons of "Castle" (which, semi-yay for the final relationship and career cliffhanger, although the show is lunging shark-wards) and "Doctor Who" (which, I have had it with Moffat, I mean it this time. I want to scrub it all from my brain and replace it with a vid of Clara to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun")) meant that I watched a heck of a lot of Lost episodes, semi-randomly (my initial plunge-through this spring started not where I'd left off but with the first episode Ben (Henry) was in halfway through season two, whereupon I watched straight through to the end, and then, naturally, started up at the beginning again until I got back to halfway through season two. And since then I've been dipping in occasionally, first to watch all the Ben-centric episodes again, and then to watch nearly all of seasons five and six. So this week's dose was the parts of three and four I'd ignored before (except for "Exposé" which I'm not likely to ever watch again).) Re-immersion prompts a few observations:

1. The level of detail entirely rewards multiple viewings, as does the intricate plot. Knowing what's coming makes me appreciate even more how well-woven the storyline is. For example (trying to say this without horrible spoilers) the episode in season three where Mikhail helps save Naomi, and then Charlie doesn't want to let him go, but Desmond does anyway, oh so painfully ironic, considering what Mikhail does at the end of the season, ow ow ow. I know from personal experience how weird serendipity can be when you're writing something long and complicated, but the number of times things work out tidily in this plot means huge amounts of planning as well. (Not that they tie up all the threads by any means, but it's so fun watching them construct what knots exist.)

2. The villains are beautifully villainous in their differing degrees, and it's an understatement to say they don't shy away from violence, but it's interesting to observe that none of the violence is sexual. Imagine how much more creepy Martin Keamy would be if he threatened to rape people. I mean, I'm glad they didn't go there, but it's kind of weird that they didn't. The show objectifies right and left (and yeah, there are more shots of scantily-clothed women, though let us also note the entire episodes that Sawyer spends with his shirt off (well, there's at least one)) but all the sex is consensual (even if Jack's tattoo isn't, god I wanted to slap him so hard). I'm wondering if the non-sexual villainy all spun off of Ben somehow; he's capable of many horrible things, but I can't imagine him raping anyone or ordering it done.

And okay, speaking of which:

3. Michael Emerson your face. (Also holy shit what a wonderfully-constructed character; I cannot say it too many times. I could write entire essays, but I won't subject you to them.)

On another topic entirely, I may entertain myself this summer building that playlist-by-minor-association that I've been intending for ages. This is the one in which the order is determined by bits of lyrical coincidence such as (to pull from my previous subject lines) Laura Marling's "Goodbye England" next to Ella Fitzgerald singing "A Ship Without a Sail" because they both mention hats. Or "I Think You Know" by Julia Nunes with "When I Decide" by My Terrible Friend, since both reference large hands. I've always wanted to organize a library this way, but can't since a) I share mine with other people and b) I can't keep it all in my head anyway. I did manage to graft this desire onto my 17th-century Amsterdam bookshop-owner Maarten Rijnacker (one of my more adorable creations if I say so myself); here's the discussion other people have about it:

"I am not yet come to that place in my tale," said Saskia haughtily. "But it is strange that you of all those assembled should ask..." She shook her head. "No. It is a tale that must be told in the proper order. But what is that order? My mother, in her tidy house, would know; my father, looking over the carefully-kept accounts of his business--"

"Then think yourself into Maarten's shop," said Olivia, "and pull a book off the shelf, and then the next, and find that there is sense in their ordering, no matter how strange it may first appear--"

"You have been there!" cried Saskia. "Do you know, I once discovered that he had shelved Hugo Grotius's
Mare Liberum adjacent to a manual on breaking and training horses, in French not even English so the witticism did not strike me until days later. The training method was horrible and vicious and I was sorry for the poor horses; it did not occur to me then to be sorry for the sailors. And a romance about Alexander on the other side of Grotius."

I am hoping to do some library-reorganizing this summer, but it'll consist of moving all the drama and perhaps other categories to Younger Son's room once he gets his childhood toys packed off the shelves, so as to create some room on the downstairs bookshelves for everything now shelved on the floor, like my entire Reginald Hill collection and half my gardening library. No, there is no such thing as too many books...
hedda62: Harold Finch, half in shadow, text: Oh, Mr. Finch (finch)
Okay, now I feel sort of obliged to write the Kick-Ass Artist story and call it (wait for it now) "Amazing Grace."

Not really. But let's see what happens.

Oh, and for the couple of you who care: I didn't imagine the dirty joke they slipped into this week's "Castle," did I? The "Master Baker" moment. (Also: kick-ass Ryan of the undercover Irish-mob-infiltrating past! I don't know where you came from, but you were cool.)

(Also OMG the crossover potential.)

(Stop that.)
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
So here at chez Hedda we watch three currently-running shows set in the present day in New York City, and I think I'm the only one reading this who does watch all three, but I mention it because the urge to blend universes is strong and compelling, though I'm not likely to ever do it, mostly since for whatever reason fic set in NYC is harder for me than fic set in, say, Oxford or Vorbarr Sultana. But I swear all these people should be running into each other. (I am, for example, somewhat tempted to write Peter Burke going to Donnelly's funeral. And Sara and Zoe must be acquainted. Possibly they met at a book party Elizabeth arranged for Rick Castle. Carter and Beckett going out for drinks? Elias trying to recruit Mozzie? The possibilities are endless.)

And clearly the writers are meeting up, at least in the zeitgeist zone, because WTF LOST FATHER PLOTS. I have to say I like the "Castle" one better than the "White Collar" one, mostly because it's simpler and could be dealt with in one wildly fantastic episode.

For the record, I think both Finch and Reese had ordinary two-parent childhoods somewhere in suburbia, and Reese's parents at least are still alive, though of course they don't think he is.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
Still working through the songfics; I'm hoping the rest want to be short, too. Here's a double drabble for [livejournal.com profile] izhilzha, who wanted Castle, Beckett, #4, which was Cream, Deserted Cities of the Heart.

Upon this street where time has died.

The line ran over and over in Kate's mind as she lay in bed. Skip and repeat. She couldn't remember where it came from (Castle would know; it was the sort of thing he could pull out of that database of useless facts he called a brain) but she knew what it meant. Time had died for her when her mother had, and though she'd gone on -- and done plenty with her hours, when she allowed herself to think about it -- the second of Johanna Beckett's last heartbeat lingered, and Kate could be thrown back into it in an instant. Like that guy in that movie… ("Groundhog Day!" Castle crowed in her head.) She couldn't ever break away, because time was dead, and everything done since was an illusion, not just her accomplishments, but everyone else's too, everything she thought was real and solid and comforting.

The arm over her slid down to her thigh, caressing, and a sleep-saturated voice murmured "Nikki…" against her shoulder.

As she turned over to berate Rick for confusing her with a figment of his imagination, she wondered if maybe the clock had started ticking again.
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) I have now progressed through Piotr's section in the birthday fic, and so have reached a paralyzing point of decision. So I am sending the thing to [livejournal.com profile] penwiper26 so after church she can, um, read Olivia Vorkosigan talking dirty, and the rest of it, and tell me what to do next. It would be tidier merely to loop back to Mark and Miles and keep the thing in the family, as it were (Simon being part of the family), but I am also tempted to include lots of other people, or at least Gregor (or, like, some women). So, it will be up either soon or not soon.

2) Have not watched the "Doctor Who" mid-season finale yet. Will likely be very sad when I do. I have watched the "White Collar" mid-season finale, as the small percentage of you who care realized after the Mozzie quote, and liked it very much (oh, Peter-Neal trust issues, you never get old), and the "Castle" season opener, ditto (I suddenly understand all the Ryan/Esposito slashers out there. And satisfied!Beckett is darling), and last night we watched the first two episodes of season one of "Homeland," which is awesome. The trick will be convincing J. to watch DW instead tonight.

3) Enough energy returned to me yesterday afternoon to go out to the garden, find out that a couple of tomatoes had actually ripened, dig up some sweet potatoes, cook the sweet potato greens and freeze them, blanch and freeze some sweet peppers, and put some mildly hot ones in the dehydrator. Then I crashed (and wrote), but it was good while it lasted.

Let's see if this cross-posts. If not, my LJ friends will just have to wait a while.

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