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The Plotting Muses
26 August 2016 @ 04:01 pm
Last updated 4/30/11

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The Plotting Muses
07 January 2015 @ 11:08 pm
So on the nudging and encouraging of second_batgirl, I participated in the Alpha's Magical Fic Exchange, a Power Rangers fanfiction exchange. I wrote "Girls Day Out", where Gia and Emma of Power Rangers: Megaforce have a free day to themselves and bond over non-Rangery things. Mostly. I haven't heard from my recipient so I hope the spirit was taken as intended.

I received a lovely and sad Lauren character piece in exchange.

Being a canon girl is a challenge at the best of times. Being one in Power Rangers fandom is nothing short of a migraine in the making. In half hour episodes, with fight scenes and costume changes, it doesn't leave a lot of room for characterization, especially off duty. And guess who was really screwed over in that department? One yellow ranger named Gia Goodall that received a focus episode or even a hint of what else she did when she wasn't being perfect straight A student. She mostly seemed to be there to be the badass one and to be fawned over by Jake. (Don't get me started on that.)
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
The Plotting Muses
03 November 2014 @ 10:04 pm
So probably amuse [personal profile] jordannamorgan (and my mother) that I've listened to two "Dark Shadows" audios from Big Finish recently. They're based on the original 1960s-70s era series, not any of the revamps and feature appearances from original cast members. Early ones featured single readers, similar to Big Finish's Companion Chronicles style of audios, while later ones have full casts. I prefer full casts, because like audiobooks, you never know which actors are good at playing off themselves.

The two I bought "Eternal Actress" and "Darkest Shadow" both feature Donna McKechnie (original Cassie in "A Chorus Line") as Amanda Harris/Olivia Corey, the eternal actress, a portrait brought to life that falls hopelessly in love with David Selby's Quentin Collins. The first one "Eternal Actress" is a definite spoof on "Sunset Boulevard" with a darker than most twist. The second longer one is more of a twist on recent events -- someone has decided to make a movie about Collinsport featuring Amanda Harris and Quentin Collins!

Being only nominally acquainted with Dark Shadows (and more Barnabas' storylines than the later ones), I still quite enjoyed these, especially how they found a way to use Amanda and Quentin's history. They were both written by the same author, so I suspect it's part of why the continuity felt strong. Whether they felt true to Dark Shadows, possibly the wrong person to ask that.

I'll definitely consider buying more "Dark Shadows" audios if Big Finish runs a deal. They have them as both downloads and CD options. I use the former because I have no room for CDs really. (As a bonus, listeners to "Confessions of Dorian Gray" will spot another immortal in "Darkest Shadow" in a brief cameo -- I'm still two seasons behind that series.)
The Plotting Muses
01 August 2014 @ 05:41 pm
This will amuse a friend that knows I don't really go in for her style of reality tv shows -- I'm fine with Project Runway competition type shows. Maybe it's because I've always been the slowest and worst athlete that these shows don't appeal to me. Being the last picked is the first banished. But ABC's the Quest mixes reality tv with things I do usually like -- fantasy and LARP and medieval heroes -- so I figured I'd give it a try. Predictably I liked the fantasy parts and less the let's knock out the weaker competitors aspect. It's certainly a very unique setup. Most reality tv shows don't feature a castle. And archery. And shouty weaponsmaster.

[personal profile] madripoor_rose describes the fantasy backstory:
"12 people are chosen as paladins for Everrealm, to be tested by the Fates until their numbers are pared down to the True Hero who can wield the Sunspear and defend Castle Saenctum from the evil Verlox."

I've been trying to read "Leaving Mundania" by Lizzie Stark on Oyster on LARP and how it works. The author went and joined a particular game while she was writing the book. I'm a little skeptical about some of her comments so far, mostly attitudes towards other geeks towards LARPers. I'll have plenty of time to test out Oyster since my Kindle is among the missing right now, although I do have the app. I am hoping it turns up on the Metrobus.

Also: I have finally watched Pacific Rim and see why it appeals to so many people. The soundtrack is my "get going" music at work lately.
The Plotting Muses
27 July 2014 @ 12:01 am
I'm trying to ignore the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. I'd probably have succeeded if they hadn't included Wonder Woman. Today, the WB had their panel at San Diego Comic Con with their stars, including our first look at Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I actually like Gadot's look all things considered, although she still looks slender compared to Cavill and Affleck. WonderAli sums a lot of my problems with this costume in her tumblr post. The fact I didn't see the damn lasso until the closeup was posted covers it well. And we won't discuss the thigh high do-me boots and the "is it a skirt? is it a loincloth?" she's wearing. Part of me thinks it was a compromise between the swimsuit, but another wishes it was a real battle skirt if you're going there. The colors and mood still scream more Xena than Wonder Woman to me. (It still irked me listening to that BBC "In Our Time" episode on the Amazons that they could name Xena and not Wonder Woman...)
The Plotting Muses
23 July 2014 @ 10:16 am
Wednesday reading meme

Yeah, I haven’t been updating this journal much, have I? Oops. Last week I finally met crime writer Megan Abbott at Kramer Books and listened to her talk about “The Fever”, mass hysteria, and the Salem witch trials. Abbott remembered interacting with me on twitter and piping up that she should definitely have a DC stop on her tour someday. So yes, that was a fun moment.

I also went to the Folger Library for a lecture on heraldry and the controversy over Shakespeare’s coat of arms. If you thought academics fought, you should see the mud slinging by the 16th century heralds in the marginalia of treatises explaining rival heralds’ research and blazonry flaws.

I also have been trying out Oyster Books since it opened up to the Android market. The Bookriot Quarterly box included a two month subscription credit, which was a nice starter. Basically for the $10 a month fee, you get access to Oyster’s library of ebooks, including Simon & Schuster & Harper Collins and a ton of small presses. It’s geared heavily to the backlist, not the latest and greatest, so if there’s an author you haven’t read their older works by, it’s great. You can have as many on your reading list as you want and there’s no return dates or whatever. I love my real library but realistically I’m a slow reader, so I don’t have to struggle with "Well, but can I finish that in time..." I’m still not sure about reading on the phone, but it’s good for a few pages/screens on the Metro.

What am I reading now?

Seanan McGuire’s One Salt Sea, Book #5 in her October Daye series. I’m perpetually behind in this series, which is good for my TBR challenge, I guess. At least when I’m done with this one, I can read her "In Sea-Salt Tears" story. I like tie-in stories, but I do wish they were more standalone.

If you like snarky history, Tansy Rayner Roberts has published a collection of essays called 50 Roman Mistresses: Scandal, virtue and womanhood in Ancient Rome about various notable women in Roman history. (Tansy also has some very strong Opinions about Roman personages, including Marc Antony.) Tansy has a degree in classics which she used for her Love & Romanpunk collection that I adored. The collection is available in all/most of the ebook markets. She’s also doing a genderflipped space opera serial of Three Musketeers.

What have you finished reading?

My first Oyster book was E.L. Konigburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. No, I’ve never actually read it. I’ve seen bits of the movie versions, so I knew some of the plot, just not the specifics. It really just made me want to go back to the Metropolitan Museum and scout the parts I didn’t see the last time I was in town on a daytrip. I mostly remember seeing the Greek & Roman wing that didn’t exist back then -- I know I never made it over to the Egyptian area at all. The MET even dedicated a newsletter for kids geared to Mixed-Up Files fans -- they still get queries years later. It is dated and implausible from the financial perspective, but part of me doesn’t care. Part of me is hiding out in a museum.

I am quite sad to admit I finished the last Sarah Caudwell Hilary Tamar mystery, A Sibyl in her Grave. Sad because there are no more and that’s quite depressing. It did leave me contemplating how one would go about adapting these books in BBC/PBS fashion, especially if you wanted to keep Hilary’s gender identity left up in air. One suggestion might be to put Hilary more offstage and turn the letters and telexes into more modern emails -- not an ideal place for your detective. On the other hand, it’d be interesting what a director would do with that box completely open. The only thing that skewed me one direction or other was Hilary’s interactions with the hated Bursar in the final book and how he reacted towards Hilary. I go back and forth. I’m almost afraid to ask how they’d cast my dear namesake.

What will I read next?

I never win Goodreads giveaways, but somehow I managed to snag a Librarything ARC for Melissa De La Cruz’s Vampires of Manhattan, her Blue Bloods all grown up spin-off. I’m both looking forward/dreading this, since I haven’t been able to get into her dystopian Frozen at all.
The Plotting Muses
27 March 2014 @ 08:51 pm
I went to another author event last week and wrote it for my blog. The Brandon Sanderson signing went on and on and on.

I'm reading The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwhistle at the moment. It's a Sherlock Holmes pastiche. Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde are trying to prevent a murder at a Victorian parapsychical conference. (Eh, I must be too used to reading Amanda Quick's Arcane Society, because the term psychical doesn't make twitch as much.)

I'm in a bit of weird reading rut in that I'm starting a lot of books, but not finishing too many. Then again I've had a stressful two weeks of work conference + snow + family death + fighting a bad cold. I'm really over March.

Shakespeare class has moved on Henry V contrasted with the Spanish Armada and Elizabeth's reign. The quizzes at the end of the videos are trickier than you'd expect. I utterly zeroed out (i.e. no score) on the weaponry question for Agincourt because the videos weirdly focused more on the muskets/cannon, not the English longbow and pike I'd expected. I'm also watching the Hollow Crown Henry V finally for contrast -- I've seen the Branagh one a number of times, so I remember their cadences/approach. It makes for an interesting contrast.
The Plotting Muses
27 March 2014 @ 12:06 am
Over on LJ, grande_caps just posted caps for the first ten episodes of Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Checked their tags but not regular FMA caps. Just in case you need screencaps for your graphics/reference needs.
The Plotting Muses
13 March 2014 @ 11:00 am
I posted a long recap of my adventures at the NoVaTeen Book Festival. Some authors were veterans and others were making their debut. I enjoyed the event heartily with some grumps on maps for finding the right entrance at the high school. Other than that, it was practically down the street from me, so I really couldn't complain, especially since most YA events I've seen are either NY/Brooklyn or West Coast!

What am I reading now?

Jessica Brody's Unremembered. Last year Fierce Reads (MacMillan Kids' YA arm) had a twitter discussion with several authors and if you asked questions, you were entered for prize packs. The packs included a pile of YA books, including Brody's book. They're doing an readalong now because the second one is coming out. It's an odd book to be reading right now.

And whole lot of Shakespeare! I'm taking Warwick Business School's Shakespeare and his World class through Futurelearn, an online MOOC taught by Jonathan Bate. The course is a lot of fun so far. He's used artifacts from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to highlight/tie-in to his lectures and discussions and what they tell and don't tell us about Shakespeare. So far there's the occasional "But wasn't Shakespeare really.." in the discussions but they've mostly been shot down with facts/counter arguments. We started off with "Venus and Adonis" as a primer and then we have eight plays in rapid succession, starting with Merry Wives of Windsor. I'm planning to watch the BBC version, since the Globe one was taken down off Youtube.

What did you recently finish reading?

I did finish the audiobook for Julia Fox's Sister Queens. Glad that I listened to it. I learned quite a lot. British history classes tend to shortchange Catherine of Aragon. The tendency is to focus on the end of her life, once she's been worn down by pregnancies and miscarriages and Henry's wandering eye has found Anne. The end result is I never really appreciated what Catherine brought to the table, her family connections and her training. Juana was harder to get a handle on and I can understand the fascination on whether she was mad or dissembling or misunderstood or whatever. But it's hard to portray someone when they basically disappear from view for long periods of time as she did. (FYI, at least now I can appreciate this Yuletide treat.)

I also read Mary Robinette Kowal's novelette "Kiss Me Twice". She'd posted it to her website as a birthday present, so I'd snagged a copy to read later. It'd been published in Asimov's and nominated for a Nebula. She'd also talked about the writing of it for her podcast, so I was curious about the execution. In a near future Portland, AIs work along police detectives to solve crimes. Metta changes her display to suit her particular user, so for our lead, it was Mae West with all her wisecracks and charm. I liked the police procedural/mystery elements. Mild tech grumble/spoilerCollapse )

What will you read next?

More Shakespeare! Midsummer's Night's Dream is next, followed up by Henry V, two plays I'm quite familiar with. I do need to see if I can find a copy of the Branagh version. I haven't watched it in forever. I remember it being used as a heraldry example in my medieval reenactment days.

Possibly more from the pile of YA, either the winnings or the ones I acquired. Do I want dystopia, space, Russians, or library of the dead?