tablesaw: Tablesaw (Thin Manual)
I spent most of this weekend at Gallifrey One, but today was a day to catchup on housework, and it provided some new victories. We were supposed to get the washer and dryer installed today, but they delivery people couldn't do everything for us. The previous owner's washer and dryer had left some depressions in the floor that they didn't want to put the new appliances into, and the dryer vent wasn't properly attached. So much of today was spent going to Home Depot, getting a properly sized piece of plywood for the washer and dryer to set on, installing a new dryer vent and connecting the dryer to it.

Every time we take on a new task, it takes longer than we expect because I freak out and overresearch trying to be certain I understand all the parts. But so far I've been pretty successful. An earlier victory was in understanding what sort of wall anchors we need because our walls are plaster, not drywall. But with that knowledge, I installed a new shower rod and a few towel racks today in short order.

Over and over, I thank my theatre education. Set construction provides some great life skills. Hopefully I'll get some time to resurrect my costume-construction skills too.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
Today, I got help from my sister's family to empty out our storage space. My tiny nieces didn't carry much, but they helped with morale. Everything's moved into our garage, now, and in the process, I was reunited with boxes and boxes of books that I've been away from. We still need to find shelves for many of those books to go on, but it's good to have them close. Every time I checked a box, I found books I was glad I still had: a book of Pirandello plays, fanfic written by Nichelle Nichols, the MW Dictionary of Usage. Everything fit in so nicely, and it's wonderful seeing the garage look so homely.

So everything is moved in, in the sense that all of our things are here, but we're still fixing things up. We're still getting the cabinets spruced up, so we can finish getting the kitchen together, and we need to deal with some doors that aren't closing right. But something about owning a house is resurfacing my set-construction carpentry skills, and I'm getting excited about fixing things. There are some jobs that seem a bit too big/time-consuming to tackle, so we'll still have someone over to help with getting some new rain gutters, but we'll be putting in a medicine cabinet on our own, and shelving to come.
tablesaw: "This sounds like Waiting for Spy Godot" (Hunt)
On Thursday, I came home from work and suddenly felt exhausted. I collapsed into bed feeling nauseous, and later in the evening, I was threw up. My wife's had a crud for a while, and I was worried I caught whatever she had; but I bounced back quickly over the next two days, so I think it must have been more of a food-poisoning thing.

I woke up on Friday in time to watch the Hunt Kickoff for a Dungeons and Dragons theme, Monsters et Manus. I kept expecting to fall asleep again, but the puzzles were fantastic and kept me going all day. I was still kinda weak, but staying in bed solving puzzles on a laptop was just my speed.

This year, there were a more than the usual number of puzzles where I came in after other folks had done most of the work and spotted the answer phrase. I did it for our first meta, The Despondent Dynast, and then our second meta, The Fighter. I also did it, amazingly, for our last meta, The Broken Bridge. After explaining my reasoning on why we should try this guess while we still had clues going, I wrote:
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:12:55): Not the strongest, but I wanted to throw it out.
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:13:02): It's not the weakest either.
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:13:22): Anyway, I have to get pizza and didn't want it bugging me.
Tablesaw-XPS (Sat 23:13:27): TABLESAW OUT!
After getting pizza and returning to chat, the team was on its way to the final interaction and runaround.

Puzzles where the opposite happened included Boston Burgers (where I got tripped up on the extraction), and Changing Rooms (an excellent cryptic-clue based puzzle that I just started falling asleep during). I'm most proud of my gruntwork for Tricky Wicket, which turned out to be one of the most difficult puzzles in the Hunt. I spotted the gimmick and did a lot of work getting all the data collected, but was very grateful when I called in some teammates and one of them spotted the important messages I had missed. (She also was able to use the a key technique correctly when I was flailing).

The Hunt was really incredible, all around. Recommended puzzles are:
tablesaw: Close crop on Brock Samson's I'm-gonna-kill-you face. (Brock Samson)
The office shut down for the last week of the year, and I spent almost all of it at home, sleeping far too late, and playing videogames. It was perfect.

There's been a lot of stress in the last month. We're buying a house, the national political landscape continues to shift, and there was friends and family to visit in and out of town. We tried to cut down on extra stresses (this was the first time in my life I didn't decorate a Christmas tree, and we abandoned plans to travel to Boston for the Mystery Hunt), but it was still tough.

In addition to all this, I've been stuck on some intractable problems at work, which had been decimating my "agile velocity" and generally demoralizing me. I knew I was getting burned out, but I knew the winter break was coming, so I held out.

Now that I'm on the other side of the break, I can tell how stressed I was and how direct the solution is.

I'd already noticed some changes, since transitioning from general office work to programming. One was that I have been doing a lot less puzzling since problem-solving became my job. Another is that I haven't had as much time for leisure during workday downtime. I never really felt like I *needed* a vacation, so I saved up time (non-salaried) and felt fine. Even at my last job—programming with friends on a team, taking long convivial lunches—I got to dispense with a lot more stress than I realized.

So I'm trying to hold on to the change I feel between now and two weeks ago to remember to take the sustained time off. Even if there's nowhere I need to travel to. Because, while I hope to end up in another workplace with more day-to-day destressing, I'm probably not going to want a less-demanding job any time soon.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Not fully setting in, but probably yeah.
tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
I can't yet say all I want to say, but I learned this morning that [personal profile] tam_nonlinear is dead.

I knew her from LJ from over a decade ago, but like many LJ/DW contacts, I wasn't in touch as much for a while. I would occasionally see the updates on DW about her garden, her cats, and her clinic-escort volunteering. She was one of the people I was hoping to get in contact with again.

Her family has asked for donations to be made to the Washington Area Clinic-Defense Task Force.

Archdick

Nov. 10th, 2016 06:32 pm
tablesaw: Benito Juarez holds up a neon sign that says "GET OUTTA MY COUNTRY ARCHDICK" (Archdick)
Man, I forgot about some of these great icons, too.
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
(This is a dear author letter for Lost Library the 2015 iteration of [community profile] invisible_ficathon. This time, we're not writing fanfiction for fictional texts, we're writing the texts themselves, so I'm addressing myself to the archivist who will merely be retrieving these wholly accurate and canon excerpts

In general, I prefer gen, meta, but above all else, I'm a fan of pastiche. So strive for "accuracy" of tone in the "original" and its fictional world, and the content itself is unlikely to make a difference to me.)


Dear Lost Librarian:

Thank you for taking the time to locate, prepare, and present these hard-to-find works of art. I've given some notes regarding what I'm looking to find. Please include any contextual notes you feel appropriate as an archivist, but I would prefer if such commentary is clearly indicated, as I am not intimately familiar with the works in question.

A Perfect Vacuum
Gigamesh

Lem describes aspects of the novel, but the watchwords are "commentary" and "hubris" If you choose to present entirely commentary/footnotes, while leaving the text upon which it comments nonextant (or merely vanishingly small) I would be incredibly happy.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Dixon Hill (series)

Noir and pulp and pulp and noir. The 30s-40s time frame and the title "The Big Goodbye" give a strong indication that Hill is more similar to Chandler's Marlowe than Hammett's Spade, but any similar period feel is going to be acceptable. Obviously, Picard's holonovels are an adaptation of the original Dixon Hill stories. Though I was original expecting stories or novel excerpts from the original printed fiction, excerpts from any subsequent adaptations would be acceptable as well, as long as they are true to the spirit and character of the originals.

And as always, I would appreciate any excerpt that includes Haircut Lipinsky.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Daddy's Boy (film), Spiderman Too: 2 Many Spidermen (play)

I am a big music lover, so please be sure to include the full lyrics of at least two songs: a big production number, and a lesser-known song. Obviously that it's hard to make an excerpt meet the word count with just lyrics, so feel free to include libretto, stage directions, screenplays, etc.

Mass Effect
Blasto (film series)

I've seen most of the Blasto films several times, so I'd like to see something from the now-hard-to-find Blasto Saves Christmas!. Also, if you have access to any of the Blasto screenplays written after Shepard did that thing that ended the war with the Reapers and changed the universe irrevocably, I'd like to see what effect it had on the Blasto films.

Steven Universe (Cartoon)
Space Train to the Cosmos (Album)

Again, I'd like to see full lyrics to at least two of Mr. Universe's seminal work. In addition, I'd appreciate any contemporary excerpts related to the album, like liner notes, reviews, promotional materials, or outtakes from session recordings.
tablesaw: A young Shawn Spencer learns proper saw technique from his dad. (Cartoon)
When I was laid off from my last job, and I settled in to relearn programming, a friend told me not to think of it as learning to be a programmer: Programmers are always learning; at some point, you just call yourself a programmer.

Today, I approached the app I've been building with a specific goal (writing tests for the basic framework of the app thus far). I got started in the morning, I worked for a few hours, I got frustrated and grabbed some lunch, I went back to work, and when I finished it was evening, and I'd met my goal.

I didn't necessarily do it well, but I did it consistently, and I'm going to do it again tomorrow.

So starting today, I'm calling myself a programmer.

Now to get much, much better at it.
tablesaw: -- (Real1)
Short version:

I've been laid off again, and I'd like help taking a month or so catching up with technology and programming, most likely with the goal of starting a new career, but also for my own fulfillment.

OK—deep breath—let me elaborate.

At the beginning of February, everyone in my department was called into a room at the same time despite being in offices across the country, and we were informed that our department was being outsourced. This has happened before. The last time it happened, I ended up working temp assignments pretty much immediately, and I worked continuously (though at temp-job salary) for about a year, when I got a permanent position. It was a good permanent position with a good salary, but everything's come around again, and my last day of work is on Friday.

I've been putting off planning what I'm going to do next, because up until last week, I'd been busy planning a wedding (mine, yeah, happened last week, sorry I didn't mention it here). But now, satisfactorily wedded, I'm turning my attention to the empty days ahead, and what I need right now is a lot of help.

See, I know that if I wanted to, I could go back to the placement agencies and go through the same cycle again, but because I do a pretty niche administrative job, outsourcing seems eternally inevitable. And it's not a job I particularly enjoy; the thing it had most to recommend itself was stability, and it's clearly lost that. I'm looking toward something new.

I'm skirting around this paragraph, because it feels like I'm giving into cliche. I want to get into programming!!!1! That's the hot new thing, right? I was at this pool party and a man leaned over and whispered into my ear, "Programming," and now I'm going to do something on the World Wide Web!

But it's more than that. I started programming when I was six, but I stopped in college when I shifted focus to arts and performance to help ease my growing depression. And as time went on, I fell more and more out of sync with things. The world became plug-and-play, and I got complacent. Through it all, I missed programming, but felt like I never had the time to bring my programming expertise literally out of the twentieth century. I know how to code, I just don't really know anything to code in any more.

The last time I was laid off, a friend encouraged me to shift to web development, and I was just about to start looking at Rails, but the temp work came in fast, and I let it all slide. I don't want that to happen again, so I'm telling the placement agency that I'm taking a month for myself to learn new skills. I've got a cushion from the severance package, so I don't need to worry about income immediately, certainly not for a month. So I'm looking at April, at least, as a catch-up month.

And now, I get around to the help. I am friends with lots of very smart people in all areas of technology and programming (psst, that's you), and I'm hoping that I can both get lots of help, but also spread that amongst a bunch of you, so I don't feel like I'm leaning too hard on anyone. Some things I'd like to hear your thoughts about right now:
  • What sort of programming should I be looking at doing? As I said above, I have a good friend who's pushing me strongly into doing webdev, which seems promising. But I know I have firends (who don't see me every week for gaming) in other fields who might want to stump for their own specialties. Any thoughts?
  • What references/manuals do you recommend? I'd like to get any books I should look for sooner rather than later.
  • What sort of technology am I going to need? I've got a cheap, basic prebuilt desktop computer that I bought at Staples five years ago. It has been intimated that I might need a laptop or something stronger.
But knowing myself, I think these next two are the most important:
  • What sorts of challenges can I set up for myself to drive learning?
  • Can I bug you for help and encouragement?
I know that I learn best when I can apply techniques to a specific problem, and it's hard for me to invent those out of thin air. And I'm always a little anxious about making direct contact with folks, so knowing that it's okay will help a lot.

I don't really know what's going to come of all of this. It's possible that at the end of all of this, I'm going to go back to doing the same kind of job, or shift to an administrative IT position, but I just want to feel like I'm caught up with everything.

Thanks for everything.
tablesaw: A stick-figure person walking in a carefree manner. The caption reads, 'Haters gonna make some good points' (Haters)
Being kept awake tonight by the fear of economic collapse destroying the veneer of middle class lifestyle I'm currently enjoying.
tablesaw: A stick-figure person walking in a carefree manner. The caption reads, 'Haters gonna make some good points' (Haters)
I'm not even done with this article and I already want to blog about it. Well, mostly I just want to blog. Well, mostly I want to put something on my DW. (And a little bit I want to play Spelunky.)

I've been thinking about blogging vs. Twitter for a little bit. I've been aware that there are lots of aspects of Twitter that make me quieter on it. Obviously, there's the length restrictions, which I react to pretty strongly. I find it hard to make statements that comprise more than one tweet. But there's also the speed of tweet/retweet/response (Tumblr has a similar cycle), which I just have a hard time keeping up with. But there's an also an issue of time and speed. I also know that it will add to my blog's accruing history (which I see is going to become important in the part of the article I am still getting to).

As I said, I'm still working my way through Vance's article, but the portion about form and content as regards Twitter polarized me on that matter, highlighting the exploitative structure of its form. One of those things is the way that Twitter is obsessively focused on the "now".
Consider all the reasons why our intrepid capitalists of yesteryear replaced the (almost) timeless Holy Bible with a newspaper whose time is always the present; consider the political redefinition of 'content' to mean consumable rather than everlasting. A Tweet™ spends no more than a day or two in public view before vanishing into a database somewhere. Once our Tweet™ has been consumed and forgotten we make another and another, never Tweeting™ the same thing twice without dedicating 5 characters to an apologetic "ICYMI" (in case you missed it). The 'form' of Twitter, like that of the newspaper, demands a constant stream of new things to bury all the old ones.
On Twitter (and Tumblr), I do feel that pressure of having to put forward quantity a quantity of "content" that's more than I can really sustain in order to have a "presence." And as a result, existing on those sites makes me feel like a ghost, passive. Writing on a blog—my blog—give me a sense of place, and also lets me slow things down to my own speed.

There's also the fact that Dreamwidth remains a noncommercial open-source system, which I can depend on to stay relatively true to its mission statement (though there are, of course, ways that the structure still affects how I write). It just feels like a more comfortable place to be right now, even if I don't think anybody's going to be around to read it. (He says, knowing that once he posts this, links to it will be posted on Twitter, Tumblr, Livejournal, etc.)

Big Day

Jun. 14th, 2014 11:36 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Not sure who's checking this anymore, since I have been having scattered posting issues, but:

I'm going to propose to [personal profile] temptingcuriosity tonight.

Posting in the only place I can reliably limit access.

We already have talked this out. She designed the ring with a jeweler, and we've already got a deposit on a wedding venue (3/14/15).

But tonight's when I "officially" ask.

Going to go to the Griffith Park Observatory around sunset.

(Public now. She said yes.)
tablesaw: The Mexican Murder Rock from <cite>Warehouse 13</cite> (Mexican Murder Rock!)

I'm trying to write a thing about stereotypes, but it's hard because I haven't been writing for a while. While procrastiresearching, I started asking my (non-Latina) girlfriend whether she thought "Mexicans love Morrissey" was a stereotype. She had never heard anything like that. She wanted to know, in response, whether "Mexicans love Mariachi music" was a stereotype.

What I'm trying to get at (in the other piece, the one I'm still not writing) is the way in which stereotypes aren't generalizations, but ideological statements that justify the hierarchical positions of different social groups. "Mexicans are lazy" and "Mexicans are hard-working" are contradictory, but each works to justify Latin@s being stuck in labor-intensive jobs without promotional paths in the United States. But "Mexicans love Mariachi music" doesn't quite get at that directly.

What I wanted to say didn't quite crystallize until I saw Bankuei's post/tweets:

Marginalized folks are punished for their cultural markers, appropriators are rewarded for using other folk’s cultural markers.

It really doesn’t even matter WHAT the thing is being appropriated, it’s really about appropriating as a means of reinforcing the power structure about WHO is allowed to take and WHO is expected to be taken from.

"Cultural marker" was precisely the concept I was looking for. It's not just that Mariachi is a form of music from Mexico, it's that it's one of the cultural markers used in the United States to stand in for "Mexican/Latin@/Spanish-Speaking Brown Person", along with "cactus," "sombrero," "poncho," "tequila," "mustache," and "Cinco de Mayo." In fact, if you're looking for the cultural markers for Latin@, just go to a "Cinco de Mayo" "celebration" by white people, and you'll see "Mexican" neatly packaged. Identifying any of those trite markers is a reminder of how Mexican culture is marginalized by its differences, and various other Latino cultures are erased through homogenization. "Mexicans love Morrissey" doesn't fit anywhere on that ideological map of the dominant group.

But "Mexicans love Morrissey" still feels kind of stereotypy to me; why would that be? Well, looking at my own definition, it must have an ideological grounding that resonates with me. Perhaps that's because I'm also a Mexican-American who also likes Morrissey and listened to him in high school.(It also clearly resonates with others, like Rio Yañez, whose graphic is at the top of this post, and has used Morrissey as a muse several times.) And it is ideological, it runs counter to (or at least parallel to) the status quo.

I don't know that there's quite a word for that kind of non-dominant stereotype. They're around, but they don't get reproduced by the dominant culture in the same way, and you're not going to hear about them unless you're part of a group, or at least have actual positive interaction with that group. "Black don't crack" strikes me as one as well (with revolutionary messages of both beauty and resilience).

I don't have an ending, so here's a clip of Matt Smith comparing a Japanese fighter to Eeyore and Morrissey.

Rio Yañez draws Matt Smith imagining Eeyore and Morrissey with a sword.
tablesaw: Ration Hornblower, from the cast of Smile Time, peeks his horn nose out at you. (Ratio Hornblower)
This is my Dear Author letter for Invisible Ficathon. It's also my first Dear Author letter, so bear with me. I'm going to copy the "Details" information (which were written "IC"), and fill it out with some extra information, including source information.

I am not really a fic reader; even in fandoms I'm deep into, I prefer reading meta. The fic I read is rare, usually highly recced out of things like Yuletide, and has kind of meta qualities. I like crossovers and other things that highlight form and literary quirks of the source, rather than having an engagement with the characters themselves. Similarly, I read gen almost exclusively. However, as you will see below, I'm not ruling out romance or porn in some circumstances where I suspect it would be interesting and/or hilarious.

Gigamesh
My favorite part of every Gigamesh fic is the Hannahanian commentary that by necessity accompanies it. I know that fandom has generally decided the commentary should be about twice the wordcount of the accompanying fic (as in the 33/67 Drabble exchanges), but I prefer the ratio to be much more skewed to the commentary side. I'd hope for at least a triple-sized commentary, but if you feel comfortable making it even bigger, go for it!

Also, while I generally read only gen fic, I do also enjoy Gigamesh fic that is half-and-half. I go both ways: romantic/sexual fic with gen commentary is OK, as is gen fic with romantic/sexual commentary. But doubling up on the pairings is right out.
Source: A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem.

A Perfect Vacuum is a collection of reviews of fictional books. There are preview pages available on Google Books that can give you an idea of what the book is like. It is modeled after James Joyce's Ulysses (using the mythology of Gilgamesh and Enkidu), and more especially, the very intricate and often suspect textual analysis of the same. "Our task is made easier in that Hannahan—unlike Joyce!—provided his book with a commentary, which is twice the size of the novel itself (to be exact, Gigamesh runs 395 pages, the Commentary 847)."

Blasto (fictional film series)
I also really love the dialogue of Blasto (and Bubin) and love reading crossovers with other fandoms (or vice versa). Gen only. I'm not trying to be a prude, but I'm not interested in reading about Hanar procreative activities. no, not even with Asari.
Source: Mass Effect series.

The Mass Effect wiki has a good summary, but I strongly recommend listening to the entire audio of Blasto 6: Partners in Crime, as taken from the Mass Effect 3; it's about ten minutes. You will understand why I love the dialogue. There's apparently a comic book too, but I haven't read it.

Escape from Zyzzlvaria
I'd love to see Captain Blastoid in a crossover with other fandoms like Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, The Matrix, The Producers, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego and others that have no apparent connection to each other. Gen only, please.
Source: D2: The Mighty Duck Konundrum, MIT Mystery Hunt 2009, MIT Mystery Hunt 2010, Round 2009 (from a different timeline, and so not necessarily canon).

I'm not specifically asking for there to a be a puzzle in the fic, but, if you really want . . .

Tulola-Gobu
I'd really like to see more about what happened between Nasta-se and Dullo-ge before the start of the novel that led to the murder. If at all possible, please write in Chaosian, or, if you can't, be sure to capture as much of the color of the language as you can.
Source: Son of the Realm of Unspeakable Chaos (Translation)

Another puzzle-based source, but I really wanted to include this one because I felt like conlangs deserved a place in the Invisible Ficathon. The known Chaosian dictionary is limited and is mostly dedicated to describing flags, hence my reference to "the color of the language."

See You Next Wednesday
I don't even know how to give guidance. It seems like everyone who writes fic for this has seen a completely different film. If your fic can provide insight into some of those discrepancies, that'd be great, but if not, go wild.
Source: The films of John Landis (Wikipedia page).

This title has referred to lots of different films within films, so I really don't want to limit interpretations, but I'd love to see something that tries to merge two or more. Also, given that one of the most notable See You Next Wednesdays is advertised "A Non-Stop Orgy" (though the parts of the film we see does seem to have lots of orgy interruptions), I totally accept that this one may get porny.

Dixon Hill (series)
I love Haircut Lapinski fic, and I have yet to see anyone address his obsession with fractions with appropriate detail.
Source: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Memory Alpha)

The noir detective novels that Picard uses for holographic recreation. One of the characters gives the line: "I'm as jumpy as Haircut Lapinski trying to land on a fraction." That is the best line. THE BEST. And it has been plaguing TNG fans for a while, based on websearches. It is time for the truth to be known.

Mur Murs

Nov. 21st, 2013 07:09 pm
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
I saw Mur Murs at the Aero last week, and had mixed feelings about it. It's a documentary by Agnès Varda about the murals of Los Angeles at the beginning of the '80s. Varda films murals of around Los Angeles talks with many of the artists. I came mostly looking for the aspects of Los Angeles history—and it was great to see some of the murals that have since been destroyed or covered up—but the film overall had a syrupy "artsiness" that left a bad taste in my mouth.

I grew up in Los Angeles in the '80s (though I was only a toddler when this movie was filmed), ams there were so many twinges of memory while watching the movie. I don't know how much I've internalized the way film looked at the time as an indicator of what live looked at the time, but everything looked like something out of my vague memory. And judging by the occasional murmuring of the mostly boomer audience, others who were older at the time felt the same.

Because Varda always seems to have at least one mural in every shot, it leaves you feeling like Los Angeles is a is a city where very wall is filled with color, an art gallery on every street. It's not that way, and it wasn't then, and I was craving the chance to leave the frame to see the mundane spaces that I was more familiar with. But seeing those sometimes out-of-the way places knit into a dream geography is wonderful.

Some of the best moments of the movie involved the members of ASCO, an influental Chicano performance-art group. Members like Willie Herrón and Gronk talk about their early murals, which leads into their discussion of current work, culminating in the filming of an Asco happening that is part mural, part theater, and, ultimately, part film. It's this kind of artistic synthesis that Varda seems to be chasing throughout the film, though in many place's it feel terribly flat.

Where I was looking for the art to speak for itself, Varda seemed to wasn't too comment on the art herself. She stages shots in painfully precious ways. A line of people practice Tai Chi in front of Two Blue Whales. People are provided with props to match the images of the murals the walk past. And most egregiously, while showing the entirety of the Farmer John Packing Plant mural, someone (presumably Varda) makes derisive pig sounds for as few minutes before the narrator (definitely Varda) chastises Farmer John for not showing the artists of the mural the appropriate respect. (Though, to her credit, Varda does make it a point to announce the artist credits whenever their work appears on screen.)

Maybe it's a generational thing; the older audience seemed to be eating those segments up. During the Q&A with Varda, even terrible pounds were treated with absurd reverence. But the movie was made for a different audience and a different time. Asco, who tagged LACMA in protest of Chicano exclusion from the at world, had a retrospective in LACMA recently. I can see how a film like this would be an argument for the art establishment to respect murals, but then I don't care much for that establishment anyway, then or now.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
As you would expect, zombie stories show up fairly regularly on Pseudopod. Two that stood out pretty clearly for me are "The Skull-Faced Boy" and "Association." I'm not a big fun of zombie stories (or movies or TV shows), but these two are some of my favorites, and were the first ones I wanted to tell people about when I started thinking about recommendations.

"The Skull-Faced Boy" aired in 2008 and I still remember it pretty clearly. A story of the risen dead who still retain a great deal of humanity, for better or for worse. It's a pretty wide-ranging story, with a cinematic feel to it: a nice variety of well-drawn characters and a slowly building plot. It was my favorite zombie story for a while.

It was supplanted in the top spot by "Association," which has a similar idea, but is definitely more to my taste. "Association" has the narrator tell the story of watching a zombie virus take over his body, watching himself die even though his mind remains lucid and alive. It's very disturbing, inspired by the author seeing people fail to communicate during the last moments of their life.

Pseudopod is one of my favorite podcasts, and it's currently going through some difficult financial times (it pays all of its authors for the stories it produces). If you enjoy these stories, please consider donating through the links on the website.

The Horror

Oct. 20th, 2013 03:03 pm
tablesaw: Futurama's Robot Devil, El Diablo Robotico (El Diablo Robotico)
I'm kind of a horror fan now. And though I'm pretty sure I know how, I'm not sure I know why.

The how is because of Pseudopod. I started listening to Pseudopod about 5 years ago after listening to Escape Pod and then Podcastle. After a while, Pseudopod became my favorite of the three. The stories were more reliably interesting, even when I didn't much care for them.

[personal profile] yeloson pointed out a quote that in a horror story, as opposed to a fantasy story, the rules and logic aren't consistent in terms of the story. Things don't happen because of reasons, they just happen, and the characters have to decide what they do about them. And those choices don't always have clear moral weights to attached to them. I've always liked sci-fi and fantasy for their ability to change reality to fit a story; horror focuses that much more closely, changing reality to point completely at the characters.

Through the same time, I started getting more interested in horror films. I've never much cared for "scary movies" because they usually didn't scare me much. I don't get much of a thrill out of gore or jumpscares. But I started to appreciate that, in trying to reach something specific in "horror," artists reveal something about themselves: what they fear and how they fear it.

And today, I'm excited about my second year of an all-night Halloween horror-movie marathon, last night, I went to see the Carrie remake on its opening night, and I'm going to be posting a bunch of recommendations for Pseudopod.

Apparently, Escape Artists, the group that produces Escapepod, Podcastle, and Pseudopod has been gaining many more listeners than subscribers, and is running something of an emergency fund drive. I've subscribed, and hopefully, I can get a few people interested in the show as well.
tablesaw: Benito Juarez holds up a neon sign that says "GET OUTTA MY COUNTRY ARCHDICK" (Archdick)
I remember the 1995-96 shutdown fairly clearly because I was dealing with college admissions, and the offer I would eventually accept was from GW in DC. The shutdown corresponded with massive snowfall in the capital, which prevented many people from returning to work, even after the agreement was finally reached (and also prevented the admissions officers from returning to the office and answering voicemail messages about thick envelopes).

I've been trying to come up with a way of thinking about the current shutdown, but I've become a bit too goal-oriented to think about the morality of actions independent of the reasons for them. Would liberals/Democrats be willing to shut down the federal government over an issue of abortion/women's rights? (I mean, would they be willing to today, because the Democrats did it in the '70s, even though they controlled the White House and both houses of Congress at the time).

I think the problem with the current shutdown is this: The Republican House has already tipped its hand about what it wants, which is to stop the Affordable Care Act from being implemented, but they don't have the political clout to make that happen. All they have is enough clout to do is wreck the place up a bit. But ultimately, nobody's going to negotiate with them based on the size of the damage they can do. Everyone can still count the votes, and the votes say that they've exceeded their grasp.

I was listening to commentary on the way in that said that Obama and the Senate are going to let the House twist in the wind for a bit because they don't have a strategy. And it really looks like that's the case. It's wasn't one of several negotiating ploys, it was a ploy to maybe have negotiation happen, and ultimately a gamble on where the public disapproval would fall. Enough representatives have staked so much on undoing the ACA that for them the risk of not getting a concession is equal to or greater than the risk of being responsible for the shutdown. But if we have to wait for an already divided party to come up with a strategy even before any sort of compromise can be worked toward, it's going to be a long time coming.

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February 2017

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