Nothing ruins a nice day of singing like my mother inviting herself to it. Ok fine mom. You win. You can come. Just don't complain to me when the entire service turns out to be "modern" and not to your taste. Because remember when you and Dad were complaining that if my church wanted to "change the words" and stuff to be inclusive we should just "compose something ourself." Well we did.Forty years ago in fact. And what got composed was the gospel according to mark by way of third stream jazz. Because it wasn't enough just to scandalize you. No, getting you to disapprove is too easy. I barely have to breathe to do that. We also like to scandalize anyone who thinks lonesome valley isn't part of the mass liturgy.
In other news my office hours are getting ridiculously popular, and I don't just understand why it can't be my job to hold them all of the time, instead of the rest of this nonsense.
Anyways, somehow Eye of Night got lost in the shuffle and so here I am in grad school reading a book I paid for in middle school. Generally I like it. It's self contained and it seems to realize that living in an end of the world fantasy scenario would actually have a psychological effect on heros, both of which I like. An even though it has a male first person protagonist it passes requisite female representation tests. My complaints with it are fairly minor, but the biggest one is that it feels like all of the characters are in therapy during all of the dialog. The style feels tonally similar to what I often do in post episode fic, where I try to bring out motivations and emotional processes behind what's happened on screen. And this is great it's what I like and all, but I kind of feel like the author is doing my job for me when it's this frequent. I think it's calling out for a few more instances where one of the main characters are shut down and just plain don't want to talk right now. The only other issue I had with it is that in the ending it feels like the author couldn't decide whether she wanted the ending to be the apocalypse she'd been setting up the whole time or a happy ending. And the way she solved it was a little god in a machine-y and also got temporarily emotionally dark in that first person point of view in a way that felt kind of sudden to me. I feel like I could have used a trigger warning, and an adjustment on the pacing. But these are mostly just me being nitpicky and I'm glad that I bought the book... eleven years ago. Good grief.
I think my favorite part of the story was the drawn out set of scenes with assorted scientist-y men trying to figure out what the meteorite was made of. This is of course impossible since it's a fictional otherworldly sentient Lovecraft monstrosity. Not that that stopped me. I nodded along, did calculations in my head and had many opinions about the proper way to go about identifying the heat emitting metal stuff. In fact I kept at it for a while after the scientists had given up, trying to do something with the biological effects. In one scene in particular I think I was supposed to be horrified that a woman was no longer sane, but I was too busy thinking that the symptoms to this point had seemed more mutation based (in the plants) and/or depressive, but this particular section seemed to be pointing to neurological damage. Ahem... this is what I do on my day off folks. I do science on computer colored magenta special effects.
Anyway, just one little nitpick and then I'm done for the day. Why exactly does no one in the modern day part of the story comment that while writing off the whole area and not sending people back into a place where no one stays alive very long is likely a good idea, hoping to be rid of the memories by flooding the entire valley might not be the smartest strategy considering that the ancient evil was living in a well and propagating through the groundwater? I was really expecting that to go badly in a different way than it did.
This week started out really well because I managed to read a book. Or reread one to be proper. I've been quiet about this, as I'm pretty ashamed of it, but for the last two years or so I've had a really hard time engaging with books enough to actually read them. I mean I guess it wasn't that unusual because I came out of the bad things not being able to make myself do a lot of things I enjoyed, but my personal identity is really tied up in being a person who likes big epic thick books and not being able to love them doesn't feel right. Anyway, this week I actually managed to read a thing :) When I came back from break I took/stole (if the book was "mine" when I was a dependent of my parents and everything I had belonged to them, is it mine now or theirs?) Chronicles of the Chestomanci Volume One. It's far from a perfect book, and it's young adult so I don't know if it "counts" but it gave me the good warm cozy feelings that I've been missing, so that's pretty great. I ordered myself the two next books in the series, one of which won't be a reread for me as I didn't finish the series when I was little. I am a bit worried that this being able to read thing may only work on rereads so I really hope that I end up liking the rest of the series, and it's not just nostalgia. Because maybe that means I can (will feel like I want to) read things again :)
It's really been a week of things that feel nostalgic whether or not they are. I've been playing a lot of "Castles in the Sky" lately, which is a short game that is very obviously a children's book, and this week I've noticed that I seem to be in a childlike mood generally with my media choices. For example I played through and really enjoyed "Broken Age," which is an gorgeous adventure game that is also going for a storybook feel. It also has Jennifer Hale in it because that's some sort of law. I also finally got around to actually buying (rather than just getting from youtube) the Holly Brook album that I was listening to on endless repeat while I was drafting the first half of "Fine." I tend to experience those songs as a sort of soothing innocent sadness, and I'm sort of disappointed that she rebranded herself after this album so there's no more of this kind to listen to.
So I guess that's what I'm into at the moment, cozy stuff. I'm going to take my inner child and wrap her in a blanket and give her a bunch of pretty picture books so that maybe she can remember how to read. Or maybe she'll just go to sleep because my respiratory illness is still pretty bad and I'm tired.
I'm kind of in awe of this.
Anyhow, I have two observations.
1) If this is what it's like for two white women and a Chinese man reporting a really blatant traffic incident, I shudder to think what dealing with the police for a more difficult situation or without my level of privilege must be like.
2) The woman kept remarking on how calm/steadying/supportive I was, how I was holding the group together and keeping her from panicking. And now that the whole thing's done and I can notice that I indeed had it together the whole time, I can't help but think man this really sounds like someone who is capable of having a better standout victory moment of her christmas break than having the great will and fortitude to eat a piece of toast.
So now I guess I'm just a little frustrated at my anxiety problem. Because this great steady calm influence that shows up to help other people when they're having a sudden unexpected horrible night... yeah I want to talk to her. But the rest of the time, when I'm dealing with all of the messy stuff in my head, she doesn't even seem to exist.
Oh well. I guess I'll make myself some out of box junk food and try to nurse my chest cold with some honey tea. Between that and running the machine by myself all week, that is definitely enough to justify a rest. :)
There is a bottle in our bathroom labeled Hyacinth. I feel the need to make Kushiel related references to it. Or maybe splash the contents all over me in hopes that it will acts as some sort of cosmic safeword to let the winds of fortune know I've had enough.
Annoyance Level: Hurting a bit. Snark is probably enough to get me through tonight, but only because I'm going home tomorrow. That's real home btw, the one where my family isn't.
- He's a Beloved character from childhood blah blah blah
- The tone and characterization on him are very different from the usual Santa Clause movie stuff. I.e. a lot more solemn fantasy imagery and a lot less cheery Hallmark or standard Christian imagery.
- He sings a song that involves Latin
- His voice in the reprise of said song kind of makes me swoon (yes over a second tier stopmotion movie don't judge).
- I really like the battle scene where he vanquishes the bad guys. I mean it's a battle scene in a Christmas movie that's rare. It is dramatic and hilarious at the same time. Also magic ax that shoots lasers (cartoon definition of laser).
- He's a little (ok more than a little)bit of a patriarchal archetype in a movie that theoretically has a whole council of immortals to work with.
- He is kind of a jerk about immortal adoption of mortals, whether or not it's his business.
- His determination not to use his powers to help his friends unless absolutely necessary does get a bit obnoxious. Seriously dude, when were ya gonna tell us you had that incredibly overpowered magic ax that shoots lasers?
When the Lioness Shiegra, whom Ak instructed to guard the infant Claus shows up, distraught and upset that the baby has been taken without her knowledge (another being is in the middle of making a case that she should be allowed to adopt the child and Great Ak was hearing her out), Great Ak handles it really well, saying "Yes, I know what I told you. You are right to be angry." He doesn't tell her that she's overreacting or that he would have gotten around to telling her in a second. He just calmly arbitrates, takes her opinion into account, and seems to figure she can stop roaring whenever its convenient for her.
I'm also not really a fan of deliberately not having a resolution. That reads a little contrarian for my taste and stresses me out. But honestly I don't know what I'm supposed to do. If I think a thing is a good idea I'm already trying to do it. I haven't got some cache of brilliant plans that I'm just holding out for a nice round date to start. I'm just doing the best I can. I'm demoralized enough by my personal failures as it is without tying it to dates.
So here I am I guess, short one resolution and with a general sense that the last three years have not been good ones.
I want to cry but I have no privacy and I'm too confused about what I'm upset about.
- This is one of my fic that existed in concept for a long time before it was written. I originally started working on the fic in undergrad. There was also an iteration about two years ago now (drafted the same time as Golden Girl) that got most of the way written out. That version was a lot more focused on the canon implied violence of Sara's actions, and the references in it ran a lot more Rome-ish. The version I settled on is, I think more personal, but also a lot less physical.
- The use of the word strain in both this title and Stress Strain Curve wasn't intentional. I think it might be a consequence of the way I personally parse Sara's breakdown, but I didn't make the connection until the fic was most of the way written.
- The first half of the story was originally drafted while listening to the first three or so minutes of Ola Djeilo's "Dark Night of the Soul." At first I played with the idea of syncing up the fic to that song structurally. However I found that while the notes and phrasing matched up pretty well to my intent (which was why that section of the song was good for providing momentum) the structural themes and transitions didn't. I thought of using that song as a backdrop for the argument, but then realized the song was composed too recently to fit in with the timeline.
- Since I did want a song for the background I went looking for another one. I initially started from "Stravinsky is the music of the Russian revolution if you want to talk about a breakdown in discipline" which is a quote from Mr Holland's Opus and went looking for something with a anxious feel and some vamping. I ended up using Shostakovitch instead of Stravinsky after some clicking around. The particular piece I was thinking of was String Quartet No 8 in C minor (II).
- Carmen's issues with Kipling are very much me projecting (and not very accurately, as she's stolen the Jungle Book in canon). Most of that stems from me feeling very connected to the central metaphor of the poem I referenced but still being immensely annoyed with some of it. For example the stanza beginning "we hold all earth to plunder" bothers me l because it forces me to read the poem much more imperially than I otherwise could. Also I really can't see the word burden in something by Kipling without being put off.
- While I am aware that there is still some controversy on this matter, I'm very much on Sara's side about Franklin Vs. Crick and Watson. The backhanded lack of credit that is given to Franklin for data that was shared with others without her permission is atrocious. I also feel that the cruel way she was caricatured by Watson to justify her dismissal is something Sara would be able to relate to.
And then out of the blue I notice that it's evening and I haven't eaten in 24 hours and I'm getting very dizzy.
You know I get a lot of humanities envy but it's probably good that I'm not in a major with too much creativity in their writing. Because if this was the only way I could get first drafts done it might just kill me.