x_los: (Russian Church)
Tracking what I read is a strange compulsion. On one hand it's a record of accomplishment, a diary, and a resource. I hope to talk to people about things we've both read, because reading is a lonely business, and thinking is only half-done when it's trapped, unarticulated in the reader. Comments sections are something, but they're not the same as sharing a few words or a full dialogue on the subject with people you know well, or hope to come to know well. On the other hand, keeping this sort of record is at best a list of the detritus involved in producing concrete work, and at worst a testament to the amount of pure faffing about I do over the course of a couple weeks.

It does bug me, though, when there's no record--for myself, or for anyone--of what I'm up to. Possibly that's a compulsion born of blogging from an early age. I don't think of it as a narcissistic 'me generation!!' trend-article-spawning psychological issue, though, just--a habit. The diarists of history probably got nervous if they didn't scrawl a few sentences about burying cheese in their commonplace books, well before facebook apparently altered our global subjectivity 4eva. In re: that, this Tolstoy quote's a bit smug, but also a bit true: "People of limited intelligence are fond of talking about "these days," imagining that they have discovered and appraised the peculiarities of "these days" and that human nature changes with the times."

I don't even think this sort of literary accountability is a particularly poor tick to pick up. It has the aforementioned benefits, and it introduces a sort of self-disciplined ordering to one's thoughts and plans, without which days would seem to spin out, messy and forever until they're not. Which of course they do anyway, but in order to get anything done with them, one has to develop a habit of Plot.

So why do you keep this sort of blog/journal? Or why did you, if lj death's driven you off? Fandom participation exclusively, and/or meeting people, and/or forming and presenting yourself via articulation?

I think all of that was why I started blogging (on another site), as a young teenager fresh out of forums, and now my reasons are both simpler (less of the youthful identity politics) and more complicated (what is it to write for myself when so much of my time is spent Forming Opinions and Writing Them professionally, either academically or for other forms of publication? And when I want to also write fiction professionally, but haven't written anything for circulation, or even completed a piece privately, for a while now?). Fandom!death (both LJ and Moffat related, in my corner of the world) has changed things--I no longer feel the same sense of community with a lively interactive group of friends, and it actually really depressed me for a while, more than I might have thought it would. I still enjoy reading friends' entries--sometimes particularly funny/informative/inspiring, sometimes quotidian. I feel warmth towards the writers, and to some degree as though I know them, even if we've spoken outside of lj only spottily for a couple years now.

I don't really have a neat conclusion here. Enjoy, or don't, a crapton of articles, I guess? There are semi-useful section headers this time!


ARTICLES, YO )
x_los: (Cleopatra /Look/)
Tasks

Done:

- read book (finished Sunday)
- do reading for Let's Enhance! PhD seminar (finished today)
- listen to Shackles read through, give notes to Blanche/Katy/Bess
- read Murder of Roger Ackroyd if time (couldn't find a full online copy, so watched)
- clean up and mail Elodie my notes on her dissertation (Sunday)
- dishes
- laundry
- litter
- clean house for 4 showings
- Housing Appointments for Monday
- Make Katy a housing appointment to-do list (v. late sunday night)
- Put leaves in composter
- make kale side
- clean out old food/tidy fridge (v. late sunday night)
- Cat litter options spreadsheet (v. late sunday night OH MY GOD HOW SAD but actually necessary, I do not want to put up with any catsmell/stupid lack of flush-ability)
- Chased Cam rec letters/grad admin
- Chased Katy re: Inland Rev letter
- Chased Eastercon guy re: fees (v. late sunday night)
- Attend Let's Enhance!
- guinness ginger bread for Tuesday (KATY DID)
- emailed landlady
- emailed potential housing people a lot
- shalka shit generally

To Do (Tomorrow and Soon):

- edit Never's ep
- do book review (finish, give Katy)
- job aps (35 full aps or equivalent)
- crack on w/ own ep
- buy golden syrup, salted butter
- FIGURE OUT PET INSURANCE
- clean out basement
- Make Christmas Party and Christmas Food Plan
- Drabbles
- Christmas crack fic (finish)
- listen to podcast, make suggestion
- make rice for Davida's coming over
- buy Thanksgiving ingredients
- Thanksgiving food prep

Let's see if I can overcome my paralyzing terror of/apathy about writing to do anything more fictional than the book review. Whoo.
x_los: (Kermit/Piggy OTP)
A profile of my favorite hs teacher that talks a bit about his pedagogy: http://archive.columbiatribune.com/2007/sep/20070927feat002.asp

An interesting interview with Naomi Alderman about her new Doctor Who book and Jewishness in Who: http://forward.com/articles/146323/

http://writtenkitten.net/ : it rewards you for writing with kittens! The concept is profound.

10 Relationship Words That Aren't Translatable Into English: http://bigthink.com/ideas/41152?page=1

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/hot-artichoke-and-spinach-dip-ii/detail.aspx dip I may make Tuesday when Ian and Davida come over, before dinner

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/trioofwelshlambwitht_92149 : including the confit lamb I'll make tomorrow and a good way to use remaining kale
x_los: (Make a Note.)
We Have Always Lived In The Castle



Shirely Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is a really amazing book (don’t be put off by the uninspiring film, "The Haunting"). I read it on my own in high school, and again for Latham’s awesome ‘the Gothic Novel and its Adaptations’ course. I hadn’t read much else of hers, however, because I thought of her as largely a short story writer. Though I objectively recognize the form can do great things, I agree with Cynthia Ozzick’s introduction to her collection Bloodshed’s breakdown of short-stories as either

1) complete, closed circuits, or
2) fragments which comprise a successful narrative, but which are drawn from a larger universe (i.e. the characters have obvious full lives and existences outside of these events—the story exists in a world larger than the story itself),

and I tend to appreciate the latter more than the former. And really that’s a mark of my novelistic drive as a reader and writer—I generally prefer a novel’s prolonged exploration of characters and plots, and tend to avoid short stories because they so often seem competent, but not engaging or endearing.

I saw We Have Always Lived in the Castle as a coffee table book in Richmond’s Tea Box and was startled to realize she had other novels—I’d never seen any, browsing in Iowa City and Columbia’s used bookstores.

Like Hardy, Jackson is big on evocative environmental description. The Blackwood ‘Castle,’ its surrounding forest and the village beyond are, like her Hill House, fully realized, dense, smotheringly sensual. You cannot escape forming not only pictures, but whole floor plans, even if, like me, you are not naturally a terribly visually-minded reader.

The rhythm of the prose is off-putting in its strangeness, but catching—very quickly you’re swept into it, like a strong current, and you begin to think in the books’ patterns.

It is perhaps the most intriguing portrait of agoraphobia I’ve ever encountered. The language of food and home (despite and because of its disruption in the huge multiple murder) and the domestic witchcraft describe and encapsulate the world that will come to embody Merricat’s dream of ‘living on the moon.’ In almost engagement with the idea of hysteria, or of young men as the actors in the outer, rational world, super-governed by social notions of sanity, there’s a continuum between madness and femininity here—and between the strength conferred by both. Uncle Julian, Constance and Merricat are removed from the exterior world—exiles, outcasts and fugitives.

Merricat’s system of magical thinking is at once primitive and canny. Her alien, bewildering intelligence forces an unsentimental empathy. And it’s not ineffective—Cousin Charles is banished by her rites, even if he cannot be kept away with them. By the end of the book, she is the witch who captures Rapunzel and keeps her from all mens’ eyes. She is the witch with the gingerbread house children are warned not to touch. They are goddesses, brought offerings of food, and her cat is a part of her name. Jonas is her familiar and her totem, putting Marricat (and Constance, the Vesta of the piece, ever tending the fire, ever loyal and homey*) in a context with Bastet or Freyja or their earthy witch descendents. Constance and Merricat are Weird Sisters, too intimate a duo to admit a third and comprise the traditional trio. It is haunting and otherworldly, frightening, transcendent, common-place and glorious as a fairy tale should be.

I find the Joyce Carol Oates essay afterwards really unsatisfying. It's at once prosaic and kind of ham-fisted. I thought it would help me think about this kind of complex, delicate book-experience, but it's sort of like a big heavy guy tramping through your garden and smooshing shit. I don't like it, for the book's sake, and it makes me wonder if I'm wrong in my reading—but I don't think I am? I think my reading is fine, and hers too... dogmatic? Too prone to over-simplification, too political. It sort of Mentions interesting things without probing the Whys at all. This is not a novel ABOUT lesbianism in ANY sense, but if Oates caught at the paranoid anti-male elements, then she should have teased those out and explored them, rather than essentially said THIS IS A LESBIAN NOVEL, LIKE JACKSON’S OTHER LESBIAN NOVELS, AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE’S LESBIAN NOVELS. AND THERE'S SOME INCEST.

It's not the Graveyard Book. There's /not/ 'some incest.' The relationship is complex and contradictory, creepy and interesting. I wanted an essay that helped me think about it, not an essay that didn't get it.

At this point J-Co (as the rappers call her) is just the Girl Who Cried Lesbiansex.

* Also it's interesting to note that Merricat refers to an unbreakable continuity of Blackwood Women ('the Blackwood Women have always'), and of Constance as the inheritor of these traditions, while she herself--never womanly in any sexual sense--is always divorced from them. 


Jackson’s novels are below: I’d love to read the ones I haven’t/hear opinions on them!

The Road Through the Wall (1948)
Hangsaman (1951)
The Bird's Nest (1954)
The Sundial (1958)
The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
x_los: (Make a Note.)
We Have Always Lived In The Castle



Shirely Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is a really amazing book (don’t be put off by the uninspiring film, "The Haunting"). I read it on my own in high school, and again for Latham’s awesome ‘the Gothic Novel and its Adaptations’ course. I hadn’t read much else of hers, however, because I thought of her as largely a short story writer. Though I objectively recognize the form can do great things, I agree with Cynthia Ozzick’s introduction to her collection Bloodshed’s breakdown of short-stories as either

1) complete, closed circuits, or
2) fragments which comprise a successful narrative, but which are drawn from a larger universe (i.e. the characters have obvious full lives and existences outside of these events—the story exists in a world larger than the story itself),

and I tend to appreciate the latter more than the former. And really that’s a mark of my novelistic drive as a reader and writer—I generally prefer a novel’s prolonged exploration of characters and plots, and tend to avoid short stories because they so often seem competent, but not engaging or endearing.

I saw We Have Always Lived in the Castle as a coffee table book in Richmond’s Tea Box and was startled to realize she had other novels—I’d never seen any, browsing in Iowa City and Columbia’s used bookstores.

Like Hardy, Jackson is big on evocative environmental description. The Blackwood ‘Castle,’ its surrounding forest and the village beyond are, like her Hill House, fully realized, dense, smotheringly sensual. You cannot escape forming not only pictures, but whole floor plans, even if, like me, you are not naturally a terribly visually-minded reader.

The rhythm of the prose is off-putting in its strangeness, but catching—very quickly you’re swept into it, like a strong current, and you begin to think in the books’ patterns.

It is perhaps the most intriguing portrait of agoraphobia I’ve ever encountered. The language of food and home (despite and because of its disruption in the huge multiple murder) and the domestic witchcraft describe and encapsulate the world that will come to embody Merricat’s dream of ‘living on the moon.’ In almost engagement with the idea of hysteria, or of young men as the actors in the outer, rational world, super-governed by social notions of sanity, there’s a continuum between madness and femininity here—and between the strength conferred by both. Uncle Julian, Constance and Merricat are removed from the exterior world—exiles, outcasts and fugitives.

Merricat’s system of magical thinking is at once primitive and canny. Her alien, bewildering intelligence forces an unsentimental empathy. And it’s not ineffective—Cousin Charles is banished by her rites, even if he cannot be kept away with them. By the end of the book, she is the witch who captures Rapunzel and keeps her from all mens’ eyes. She is the witch with the gingerbread house children are warned not to touch. They are goddesses, brought offerings of food, and her cat is a part of her name. Jonas is her familiar and her totem, putting Marricat (and Constance, the Vesta of the piece, ever tending the fire, ever loyal and homey*) in a context with Bastet or Freyja or their earthy witch descendents. Constance and Merricat are Weird Sisters, too intimate a duo to admit a third and comprise the traditional trio. It is haunting and otherworldly, frightening, transcendent, common-place and glorious as a fairy tale should be.

I find the Joyce Carol Oates essay afterwards really unsatisfying. It's at once prosaic and kind of ham-fisted. I thought it would help me think about this kind of complex, delicate book-experience, but it's sort of like a big heavy guy tramping through your garden and smooshing shit. I don't like it, for the book's sake, and it makes me wonder if I'm wrong in my reading—but I don't think I am? I think my reading is fine, and hers too... dogmatic? Too prone to over-simplification, too political. It sort of Mentions interesting things without probing the Whys at all. This is not a novel ABOUT lesbianism in ANY sense, but if Oates caught at the paranoid anti-male elements, then she should have teased those out and explored them, rather than essentially said THIS IS A LESBIAN NOVEL, LIKE JACKSON’S OTHER LESBIAN NOVELS, AND SOME OTHER PEOPLE’S LESBIAN NOVELS. AND THERE'S SOME INCEST.

It's not the Graveyard Book. There's /not/ 'some incest.' The relationship is complex and contradictory, creepy and interesting. I wanted an essay that helped me think about it, not an essay that didn't get it.

At this point J-Co (as the rappers call her) is just the Girl Who Cried Lesbiansex.

* Also it's interesting to note that Merricat refers to an unbreakable continuity of Blackwood Women ('the Blackwood Women have always'), and of Constance as the inheritor of these traditions, while she herself--never womanly in any sexual sense--is always divorced from them. 


Jackson’s novels are below: I’d love to read the ones I haven’t/hear opinions on them!

The Road Through the Wall (1948)
Hangsaman (1951)
The Bird's Nest (1954)
The Sundial (1958)
The Haunting of Hill House (1959)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962)
x_los: (like Ace Rimmer)
So I'm doing a bit of a Fic Of My Childhood tour today. I've loved a lot of Stuff Avec Developed Fandoms over the years, but few fandoms are as venerable and well developed as Sherlockiana.

Today, I remembered The Case of the Haunted Hospital! I used to LOVE this fic! Warning: you will have to descend into the pit of voles for this one.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/524944/1/The_Case_of_the_Haunted_Hospital

Ah, Victorian Prose (tm). Ah, the rich waft of English Cheese--not rare, no, but pure. I still smiled while rereading this--but now I wonder if the issue that sparks the confrontation--i.e. that Holmes is regularly condescending and it demeans and emasculates Watson, who's a perfectly clever, brave man, deserving of respect and decent treatment--should have been further dealt with. The Revelation!!-->sex arc is a clear one, but has Holmes been behaving in this way because:

1) that's just how he rolls--it's social awkwardness, he treats everyone like this?
2) Because he cares for Watson and thus expects him to be operating on his level intellectually and gets frustrated when he isn't?
3) Because he feels like the one more invested in their relationship (as his stated annoyance about the marriage would suggest, and indeed Watson's willingness to marry at all in the fic's universe), and is cruel or demeaning to maintain emotional parity?

If it's the last, then he'll be able to ease up now that Happy Ending has been reached. If it's the first two, it'll only become more of a strain on Watson in the light of the changes that have taken place by the fic's end.

Also, there can't be enough uses of the word 'catamite.' ...well okay, any use is possibly too many. BUT STILL!

Though:

"For I don't believe I should be able to stop if this proceeds any further." --god, fic trope--why so stupid? It has been said before*, but: MY PENIS IS LIKE A LOCOMOTIVE, AND WHEN YOU LET IT CHUG-A-LUG ALONG YOUR TRACKS, WHY, THERE IS NO STOPPING IT!! THOSE WHO GET IN THE WAY MEET TERRRRRRIBLE FATES!! BENEATH THE NEVER-CEASING WHEELS OF MY LOVE...

I guess the root appeal of it is that it depicts desire as overwhelming and denaturing--very Sublime. There is an uncomfortable connotation of rapey-ness here, but that's been discussed before, and better, by others. And why talk about that already dealt-with aspect when we can talk about Bad Art? There are surely more interesting ways to talk about the ways desire has undone a highly ordered character like Holmes--sex is always an alien experience to someone who hasn't ever had it (as the fic implies Holmes has not). And on top of the essentially overwhelming introduction of sexuality in taboo conditions in a highly sex-negative society, you have a character who might feel his very identity challenged by the introduction of a sexual relationship--even one he really wants--into his life.

I don't know why feeling he COULD NOT STOP his locopenis would not TERRIFY Homles-the-intensely-self-directed-control-freak even more than it could Wanton Watson over there (who after all Knows the Ladies of Three Continents...).

* In terms of criticism, not in terms of 'this is a thing many (fictional) ladiez say about my (meta-fictional)** penis.'

** It is a fictional penis ABOUT a fictional penis!! Sometimes I am so deep I give myself the bends.
x_los: (like Ace Rimmer)
So I'm doing a bit of a Fic Of My Childhood tour today. I've loved a lot of Stuff Avec Developed Fandoms over the years, but few fandoms are as venerable and well developed as Sherlockiana.

Today, I remembered The Case of the Haunted Hospital! I used to LOVE this fic! Warning: you will have to descend into the pit of voles for this one.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/524944/1/The_Case_of_the_Haunted_Hospital

Ah, Victorian Prose (tm). Ah, the rich waft of English Cheese--not rare, no, but pure. I still smiled while rereading this--but now I wonder if the issue that sparks the confrontation--i.e. that Holmes is regularly condescending and it demeans and emasculates Watson, who's a perfectly clever, brave man, deserving of respect and decent treatment--should have been further dealt with. The Revelation!!-->sex arc is a clear one, but has Holmes been behaving in this way because:

1) that's just how he rolls--it's social awkwardness, he treats everyone like this?
2) Because he cares for Watson and thus expects him to be operating on his level intellectually and gets frustrated when he isn't?
3) Because he feels like the one more invested in their relationship (as his stated annoyance about the marriage would suggest, and indeed Watson's willingness to marry at all in the fic's universe), and is cruel or demeaning to maintain emotional parity?

If it's the last, then he'll be able to ease up now that Happy Ending has been reached. If it's the first two, it'll only become more of a strain on Watson in the light of the changes that have taken place by the fic's end.

Also, there can't be enough uses of the word 'catamite.' ...well okay, any use is possibly too many. BUT STILL!

Though:

"For I don't believe I should be able to stop if this proceeds any further." --god, fic trope--why so stupid? It has been said before*, but: MY PENIS IS LIKE A LOCOMOTIVE, AND WHEN YOU LET IT CHUG-A-LUG ALONG YOUR TRACKS, WHY, THERE IS NO STOPPING IT!! THOSE WHO GET IN THE WAY MEET TERRRRRRIBLE FATES!! BENEATH THE NEVER-CEASING WHEELS OF MY LOVE...

I guess the root appeal of it is that it depicts desire as overwhelming and denaturing--very Sublime. There is an uncomfortable connotation of rapey-ness here, but that's been discussed before, and better, by others. And why talk about that already dealt-with aspect when we can talk about Bad Art? There are surely more interesting ways to talk about the ways desire has undone a highly ordered character like Holmes--sex is always an alien experience to someone who hasn't ever had it (as the fic implies Holmes has not). And on top of the essentially overwhelming introduction of sexuality in taboo conditions in a highly sex-negative society, you have a character who might feel his very identity challenged by the introduction of a sexual relationship--even one he really wants--into his life.

I don't know why feeling he COULD NOT STOP his locopenis would not TERRIFY Homles-the-intensely-self-directed-control-freak even more than it could Wanton Watson over there (who after all Knows the Ladies of Three Continents...).

* In terms of criticism, not in terms of 'this is a thing many (fictional) ladiez say about my (meta-fictional)** penis.'

** It is a fictional penis ABOUT a fictional penis!! Sometimes I am so deep I give myself the bends.
x_los: (Spock Tires Of Your Bullshit.)
I am VERY TIRED. Still drained from the latest bout of illness, and not a little exhausted by my Pre-Guest Cleaning (girlfriend comes Sunday--I'm excited, a touch nervous, and frantically tidying things) and running around tonight, despite my ingestion of a 1) Java Monster, and 2) Caramel Mocha Chiller (tm, Sonic). Neither of which made me feel as if I had live hamsters who'd just been bitten by cocaine-addicted scorpions surging through my very veins, despite the adverts' implications and my own over-enthusiastic expectations. Energy drinks of the world: where are my hamsters with second hand substance abuse issues? Where?

ON TO THE SCI-FI RAMBLING.

Like everyone else in the world, the popular resurgence of Star Trek has drawn me back to my stream of origin a sci-fi salmon. In the past weeks I've managed to re-watch nearly all of ST:TOS.

It always bothers me that Other Planets have monolithic cultures, as if cultural globalization has just swallowed them as part of their evolutionary process. Initially, I assume a vastly alien culture would appear uniform by virtue of the great differences that must exist between products of entirely disparate cultural origins. But as we get to know a species over centuries, shouldn't some distinction become apparent between, say, Vulcans from different hemispheres? Betazoids of different religions?

Re: Vulcans, it sometimes seems as if we only ever come in contact with members of the highest class. In the original series we see Spock's marriage: hyper-traditional and redolent of privilege. In the later-made and earlier-set Enterprise we see another much like it.

Star Trek is big on advanced societies being inherently classless. Whether or not this is naive, and if wealth might be supplanted as the basis of such a hierarchical system by privilege based on traditional prerogatives, what might be seen as a meritocracy, or a valuation based on an individual or family's perceived contribution to society, can be laid aside for now. Suffice it to say that kibbutzniks traditionally wield a numerically disproportionate political power in the Israeli Knesset, as do Ashkenazim in Israeli politics, without the benefit of necessarily being more monied--so there's certainly precedent.

The Western perception of Japan is that everyone knows how to run a tea ceremony and cavorts with geishas. These are historically very upper-class activities, built around having the leisure time necessary to develop and devote to them. Vulcan attitudes and mental disciplines (meditation, philosophical education, occasional retreats into monasticism), at least according to human historical tradition, smack of the money necessary to devote to a fetishization of an ironically complicated scholasticism-cum-Buddhist-esque simplicity.

Also, there could be a wicked underlying complacency to stoicism--its easier to be untroubled, to consider emotional outbursts gauche, if you're entitled enough to make most worry unnecessary?

As this culture progressed, did identifiable upper class behaviors become the signifiers of Vulcan-ness? There's something disquieting about the loss of those other classes' cultural identities, even as the loss of ethnic identities is a sad end to what we have to assume was initially a plurality of experiences. The ways and views of the middle and lower classes seem to have been lost, either as these classes gained the resources that enabled mobility and imitative behavior (or is this romanticizing their difficulties?), in some reaction to contact with the larger galaxy, or by virtue of a wholesale trend towards homoginization.

This always bothers me about Doctor Who, as well, re: the 'Gallifreyans' vs. 'Time Lords' nomenclature thing. I have to say I much prefer it if the appellation 'Time Lord' is synonymous with 'Gallifreyan,' rather than handed out only to Academy graduates, nobles, or the somehow /specially/ intellectually gifted in Gallifreyan society. I think I find the Doctor running away from a species-wide elitism more resonant? I want 'Come now, we're both Time Lords' to be a call to something more fundamental and significant than 'help a brother out, we both went to Eton.' My general squick's more complicated than that, but I'm not sure how to parse and articulate it. I just wholesale /prefer/ 'Time Lord' simply meaning Gallifreyan.

Spock's class status is revealed rather slowly--we learn that he's from a /very/ well-placed family only in second season's Amok Time when Kirk and McCoy notice that a reactionary Vulcan politician of interplanetary renown is officiating at Spock's wedding, and comment on it. Spock's in no position at that point to observe or react to their surprise. Later we meet a prominent Vulcan ambassador, and Kirk is surprised that the ambassador and his human wife are Spock's parents. It's interesting that Spock's human mother and Nurse Chapel both imply that for all the touted superiority of their emotional stoicism, Vulcans have some expectations of submissiveness from their wives that humans typically find sexist or strange. This isn't mentioned again in later encounters with the species, perhaps thought better of by later writers.

From a social sciences perspective, the dragging out the 'tortured half-breed' trope with Spock's a bit of a backward-looking step from a show that so wanted to be progressive.

As a parting non sequitur, I'm so, so tired of chasing bats out of the kitchen. This is like the fourth this summer? We have to be /doing/ something different to attract them, or their diminishing habitat is pushing them further into the city than I've ever seen. But screw environmental worries: damn bats! All up in my kitchen! Confounding the Schnoodle! ...I'm sorry, I have to go now and found a prog rock group, 'Confounding the Schnoodle.' Excuse me. I'll be back later. With Grammies.
x_los: (Spock Tires Of Your Bullshit.)
I am VERY TIRED. Still drained from the latest bout of illness, and not a little exhausted by my Pre-Guest Cleaning (girlfriend comes Sunday--I'm excited, a touch nervous, and frantically tidying things) and running around tonight, despite my ingestion of a 1) Java Monster, and 2) Caramel Mocha Chiller (tm, Sonic). Neither of which made me feel as if I had live hamsters who'd just been bitten by cocaine-addicted scorpions surging through my very veins, despite the adverts' implications and my own over-enthusiastic expectations. Energy drinks of the world: where are my hamsters with second hand substance abuse issues? Where?

ON TO THE SCI-FI RAMBLING.

Like everyone else in the world, the popular resurgence of Star Trek has drawn me back to my stream of origin a sci-fi salmon. In the past weeks I've managed to re-watch nearly all of ST:TOS.

It always bothers me that Other Planets have monolithic cultures, as if cultural globalization has just swallowed them as part of their evolutionary process. Initially, I assume a vastly alien culture would appear uniform by virtue of the great differences that must exist between products of entirely disparate cultural origins. But as we get to know a species over centuries, shouldn't some distinction become apparent between, say, Vulcans from different hemispheres? Betazoids of different religions?

Re: Vulcans, it sometimes seems as if we only ever come in contact with members of the highest class. In the original series we see Spock's marriage: hyper-traditional and redolent of privilege. In the later-made and earlier-set Enterprise we see another much like it.

Star Trek is big on advanced societies being inherently classless. Whether or not this is naive, and if wealth might be supplanted as the basis of such a hierarchical system by privilege based on traditional prerogatives, what might be seen as a meritocracy, or a valuation based on an individual or family's perceived contribution to society, can be laid aside for now. Suffice it to say that kibbutzniks traditionally wield a numerically disproportionate political power in the Israeli Knesset, as do Ashkenazim in Israeli politics, without the benefit of necessarily being more monied--so there's certainly precedent.

The Western perception of Japan is that everyone knows how to run a tea ceremony and cavorts with geishas. These are historically very upper-class activities, built around having the leisure time necessary to develop and devote to them. Vulcan attitudes and mental disciplines (meditation, philosophical education, occasional retreats into monasticism), at least according to human historical tradition, smack of the money necessary to devote to a fetishization of an ironically complicated scholasticism-cum-Buddhist-esque simplicity.

Also, there could be a wicked underlying complacency to stoicism--its easier to be untroubled, to consider emotional outbursts gauche, if you're entitled enough to make most worry unnecessary?

As this culture progressed, did identifiable upper class behaviors become the signifiers of Vulcan-ness? There's something disquieting about the loss of those other classes' cultural identities, even as the loss of ethnic identities is a sad end to what we have to assume was initially a plurality of experiences. The ways and views of the middle and lower classes seem to have been lost, either as these classes gained the resources that enabled mobility and imitative behavior (or is this romanticizing their difficulties?), in some reaction to contact with the larger galaxy, or by virtue of a wholesale trend towards homoginization.

This always bothers me about Doctor Who, as well, re: the 'Gallifreyans' vs. 'Time Lords' nomenclature thing. I have to say I much prefer it if the appellation 'Time Lord' is synonymous with 'Gallifreyan,' rather than handed out only to Academy graduates, nobles, or the somehow /specially/ intellectually gifted in Gallifreyan society. I think I find the Doctor running away from a species-wide elitism more resonant? I want 'Come now, we're both Time Lords' to be a call to something more fundamental and significant than 'help a brother out, we both went to Eton.' My general squick's more complicated than that, but I'm not sure how to parse and articulate it. I just wholesale /prefer/ 'Time Lord' simply meaning Gallifreyan.

Spock's class status is revealed rather slowly--we learn that he's from a /very/ well-placed family only in second season's Amok Time when Kirk and McCoy notice that a reactionary Vulcan politician of interplanetary renown is officiating at Spock's wedding, and comment on it. Spock's in no position at that point to observe or react to their surprise. Later we meet a prominent Vulcan ambassador, and Kirk is surprised that the ambassador and his human wife are Spock's parents. It's interesting that Spock's human mother and Nurse Chapel both imply that for all the touted superiority of their emotional stoicism, Vulcans have some expectations of submissiveness from their wives that humans typically find sexist or strange. This isn't mentioned again in later encounters with the species, perhaps thought better of by later writers.

From a social sciences perspective, the dragging out the 'tortured half-breed' trope with Spock's a bit of a backward-looking step from a show that so wanted to be progressive.

As a parting non sequitur, I'm so, so tired of chasing bats out of the kitchen. This is like the fourth this summer? We have to be /doing/ something different to attract them, or their diminishing habitat is pushing them further into the city than I've ever seen. But screw environmental worries: damn bats! All up in my kitchen! Confounding the Schnoodle! ...I'm sorry, I have to go now and found a prog rock group, 'Confounding the Schnoodle.' Excuse me. I'll be back later. With Grammies.
x_los: (Obligatory Two Icon)
I am:
Ursula K. LeGuin
Perhaps the most admired writing talent in the science fiction field.


Which science fiction writer are you?



I am:
Gregory Benford
A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist.


Which science fiction writer are you?

x_los: (Obligatory Two Icon)
I am:
Ursula K. LeGuin
Perhaps the most admired writing talent in the science fiction field.


Which science fiction writer are you?



I am:
Gregory Benford
A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist.


Which science fiction writer are you?

x_los: (...what.)
I was hampered in writing this drabble by not actually knowing how this book, which I never finished (and by never finished I mean 'as am ambitious 12 year old I read maybe 25 pages and then just said 'oh fuck it' and went back to my Austen), actually ends. LUCKY FOR YOU ALL, I have wiki. Initially this was written for Katy, but TRAGICALLY she was unable to Truly Appreciate My Opus.


MY HIGH ART, LET ME SHOW YOU IT:


"There was, in fact, no adequate preparation for Moby’s dick. Ahab had dreamed so many nights of impaling the beast on his harpoon. Maimed by the creature, he’d been deranged with lust to hurt it in turn: to thrust again and again into that pale white flesh, to consume the whale’s hot meat like an Eskimo. Now, Ahab grunted, bearing the beast’s vengeance. “For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee,” he’d told the creature—but the leviathan was disinclined to offer him even such meager lube as spit. Perhaps he’d been unwise to grapple with a Sperm Whale."


*Did you know the Ahab character was a Quaker? This fic is 10x better if you imagine this happening with him wearing the Quaker Oats guy outfit. Or just the whale wearing that hat. Jauntily.
x_los: (...what.)
I was hampered in writing this drabble by not actually knowing how this book, which I never finished (and by never finished I mean 'as am ambitious 12 year old I read maybe 25 pages and then just said 'oh fuck it' and went back to my Austen), actually ends. LUCKY FOR YOU ALL, I have wiki. Initially this was written for Katy, but TRAGICALLY she was unable to Truly Appreciate My Opus.


MY HIGH ART, LET ME SHOW YOU IT:


"There was, in fact, no adequate preparation for Moby’s dick. Ahab had dreamed so many nights of impaling the beast on his harpoon. Maimed by the creature, he’d been deranged with lust to hurt it in turn: to thrust again and again into that pale white flesh, to consume the whale’s hot meat like an Eskimo. Now, Ahab grunted, bearing the beast’s vengeance. “For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee,” he’d told the creature—but the leviathan was disinclined to offer him even such meager lube as spit. Perhaps he’d been unwise to grapple with a Sperm Whale."


*Did you know the Ahab character was a Quaker? This fic is 10x better if you imagine this happening with him wearing the Quaker Oats guy outfit. Or just the whale wearing that hat. Jauntily.

Writing

May. 22nd, 2007 01:37 am
x_los: (Default)
*If anyone needs me, facebook or lj me, as my phone's died and I can't find the charger*


When you edit something, any creative writing work, there's Hard Edit and Smooth Edit. Hard Edit does the rip-the-guts-up work, where you get under the project and just fuck around down there like you're a bored Latino mechanic toying with an El Camino on cinderblocks that will never run run again anyway, with that kind of skilled wanton desire to rip the shit out of the frame and shove something that will turn over in there. Smooth edit is when you come in the day after than and Emily Post it so that all it's little rough edges are soothed down and the writing is toped with pink bows, which people notice because they're bows, usually not getting that the real work that makes everything function is something below that, which is fine because good writing is so impregnable that it's hard to figure out exactly why it's working.

I edited a nonfic piece Mexican Mechanic style tonight, after a workshop in which I droped the ball, and it felt good. It went from two pages to six, but that's okay. I cut things and gave it the thematic equivalent of whitewall tires and a door that does not open out, but slides up on rails.

Molly, Therese and I got the first half of Vaguely in the scripted form we're handing out to workshoppers.This is vital, because in order for Therese to start paneling the script has to be adamantium solid. I almost want to finish writing the comic before sending out the first issue, to avoid continuity issues of any kind, but it's not practicable, and besides, should the comic even be moderatly sucessful that kind of thing can be knit together in re-issue without the world ending.

Sam suggested 'Circus' for tonight's sonnet topic (Project One Sonnet A Day goes excellently, 10 new ones so far (I missed three days with new classes and am catching up on that still by two a day-ing, which is kind of demanding). Thanks to Sam, because I'm really happy with it. It's about the death of a trapeze artist named Elise because her partner purposefully didn't catch her. I'm thinking of doing several that have a narative thread which focus on a circus. That's a little Meghan Donner, but I think we have different enough voices and theme-interests for me to avoid treading her ground.

First Spanish class was easy, and I felt like a shit. Am meeting with the department head tomorrow morning to transfer into intermediate one if possible. Then I'll finish intermediate one and two during the summer, take conversation classes during the year, and pick up my Spanish minor like a charm. STFU mom, once I have two minors you can't bitch about me droping history. If I end up doing that. Yeah...

Productivity. Maaaaaaaaaah.

Writing

May. 22nd, 2007 01:37 am
x_los: (Default)
*If anyone needs me, facebook or lj me, as my phone's died and I can't find the charger*


When you edit something, any creative writing work, there's Hard Edit and Smooth Edit. Hard Edit does the rip-the-guts-up work, where you get under the project and just fuck around down there like you're a bored Latino mechanic toying with an El Camino on cinderblocks that will never run run again anyway, with that kind of skilled wanton desire to rip the shit out of the frame and shove something that will turn over in there. Smooth edit is when you come in the day after than and Emily Post it so that all it's little rough edges are soothed down and the writing is toped with pink bows, which people notice because they're bows, usually not getting that the real work that makes everything function is something below that, which is fine because good writing is so impregnable that it's hard to figure out exactly why it's working.

I edited a nonfic piece Mexican Mechanic style tonight, after a workshop in which I droped the ball, and it felt good. It went from two pages to six, but that's okay. I cut things and gave it the thematic equivalent of whitewall tires and a door that does not open out, but slides up on rails.

Molly, Therese and I got the first half of Vaguely in the scripted form we're handing out to workshoppers.This is vital, because in order for Therese to start paneling the script has to be adamantium solid. I almost want to finish writing the comic before sending out the first issue, to avoid continuity issues of any kind, but it's not practicable, and besides, should the comic even be moderatly sucessful that kind of thing can be knit together in re-issue without the world ending.

Sam suggested 'Circus' for tonight's sonnet topic (Project One Sonnet A Day goes excellently, 10 new ones so far (I missed three days with new classes and am catching up on that still by two a day-ing, which is kind of demanding). Thanks to Sam, because I'm really happy with it. It's about the death of a trapeze artist named Elise because her partner purposefully didn't catch her. I'm thinking of doing several that have a narative thread which focus on a circus. That's a little Meghan Donner, but I think we have different enough voices and theme-interests for me to avoid treading her ground.

First Spanish class was easy, and I felt like a shit. Am meeting with the department head tomorrow morning to transfer into intermediate one if possible. Then I'll finish intermediate one and two during the summer, take conversation classes during the year, and pick up my Spanish minor like a charm. STFU mom, once I have two minors you can't bitch about me droping history. If I end up doing that. Yeah...

Productivity. Maaaaaaaaaah.
x_los: (Default)
Mufasa is Dead
A sonnet

*new CAVEAT: only funny if you know the biblical phrase 'the honey in the lion'*

I have ripped open my tenth goddamn lion.
Last time- a ribcage and a bleeding heart!
I get in there with axes and with siphons.
Zoo keepers have been bitching from the start.
“Please leave lions be, they are endangered!”
What, all of them? “That’s what endangered means!”
So maybe I have thinned that regal herd—
manned opportunists! only fit to preen.
I crave that clover honey like a fiend,
to douse English muffins and cereal,
to sugar over losses and bad dreams,
erase my food with taste ethereal.
Though my ten lions have yielded no trove
I’ll have that honey, if I go through droves.
x_los: (Default)
Mufasa is Dead
A sonnet

*new CAVEAT: only funny if you know the biblical phrase 'the honey in the lion'*

I have ripped open my tenth goddamn lion.
Last time- a ribcage and a bleeding heart!
I get in there with axes and with siphons.
Zoo keepers have been bitching from the start.
“Please leave lions be, they are endangered!”
What, all of them? “That’s what endangered means!”
So maybe I have thinned that regal herd—
manned opportunists! only fit to preen.
I crave that clover honey like a fiend,
to douse English muffins and cereal,
to sugar over losses and bad dreams,
erase my food with taste ethereal.
Though my ten lions have yielded no trove
I’ll have that honey, if I go through droves.

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