Fri, Jan. 31st, 2014, 12:26 pm

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Happy Year of the Horse!!! Have some singing minions:

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Tue, Jan. 21st, 2014, 02:06 pm || January posting: books

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Sorry people with the last few questions for this meme! I have not forgotten you! I have just left the questions till last because I haven't been able to think of stuff.

So, [personal profile] vass asked about books.

This is more a problem of having too much rather than not being able to think of stuff. It's also difficult because I feel like I stopped reading books during grad school and never quite picked it up again, and given how large a role books play in my life, it feels like a quiet betrayal of sorts. I think I stopped tracking everything I read in my database around four years ago, and I stopped writing everything up (or a fairly large percentage) around then as well. In some ways, I miss it, because I love talking about books, especially with people here. But in other ways, it was starting to feel like pressure, and I would catch myself not starting new things because I would then have to log them or write them up, which is not how I want to think about books. Ditto with feeling like I was not reading the "right" thing by defaulting to comfort stuff, which frequently corresponds with white authors for me, or not checking out things that are Very Serious and Weighty.

Some of it was lack of brain to hold so much long-form narrative, especially while in grad school and basically up through last year, which is when I found a meds combination that has been working much better. I still feel like I can't quite cope with that much story, though possibly that is just a kneejerk reflex by now, because I have been dipping into things more and keeping up with TV (okay, Sleepy Hollow, but that's better than the past few years!) as well.

Some is just less time than before; being in a relationship is so time-consuming! Ditto having more friends in the area! And these are good things, and I have been WAY more social than I used to be. And a pretty large part is getting into casual games and a faster payoff.

I don't know! I am conflicted because I do want to read more and talk about books more, but I also have eight billion other things I am trying to do more, and I'm trying to prioritize so my brain doesn't do the giant list of every life goal I have failed to progress on thing.

So I guess that's where I am with books right now.

(On a more physical note, I am now trying to do everything in ebook when possible, as I didn't end up moving any non-graphic-art books out of the condo. I love this! It is especially awesome because my little apartment doesn't have that much room to begin with.)

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Wed, Jan. 15th, 2014, 01:40 pm || Reading Wednesday

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What I've read: Finished Anuja Chauhan's Those Pricey Thakur Girls! It's by far my favorite of her books, and now I kind of wish there were a version of Battle for Bittora done in rotating 3rd person POV, because I would have LOVED to see Pushpa Pande's sections. Hopefully a longer review to follow soon!

Also finished Chi's Sweet Home volume 2, which is just as cute and full of cat as the first volume. Definitely comfort reading for me, and I laughed especially hard at Chi getting mad at people ignoring her, climbing up on the table, and sitting down on the postcard people were looking at instead of where their attention should rightfully be focused (Chi, obviously).

What I'm reading: I finally started reading comics on my tablet! I say "finally" because that was the original reason I wanted a tablet in the first place. Anyway, I'm in the middle of the Greg Rucka Wonder Woman run (I blame [personal profile] chaila) and generally enjoying it. There are WAY more women than I usually see in superhero comics, though I am super skeeved out by Doctor Psycho and all the rape stuff he jokes about. I mean, you are supposed to be skeeved out, but given that the art is still male-gaze-y, it feels like one of those having your cake and eating it too things.

Also, totally get the appeal of Diana. She reminds me of why I like Captain America, at least in the MCU, and I really like that mostly her idealism and desire to do good and be good are genuine and not made fun of. It's so hard to find depictions of nice and good people who are interesting and have depth; most writers seem to save that for the morally ambiguous characters. And I looooove that she just goes ahead and makes decisions and her staff has to flounder to figure stuff out in her wake, and while she might apologize, she never angsts about it or questions her choices.

The art is mostly okay, given the genre? I think? I've never followed superhero comics closely, so I am not sure. I do love that Diana so far has very consistently been drawn with really broad shoulders and narrow hips; it's a silhouette I don't see very often on women. Still a lot of the twisted torso poses to get T&A in, and I rolled my eyes when one villain stepped out with her face entirely in shadow... but her naked body was of course visible!

It's also always weird getting into a new superhero/team and figuring out who the standard villains and secondary characters are. Various wiki articles help, but because comics is so convoluted, I hit a point when my eyes just glaze over as the details of betrayal! new allegiances! resurrection! secret identity! world resetting! and whatnot go on and on and on.

This is also interesting because it's my first foray into the DCverse that isn't centered around Gotham and its ilk.

What I'm reading next: Probably a lot more Wonder Woman.

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Mon, Jan. 13th, 2014, 02:59 pm || January posting: anime music videos

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For [personal profile] lovepeaceohana

AMVs! They were actually my first introduction to the fannish vidding tradition. The very first one I ever saw was an Utena vid to Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn," and it took probably two full days to download and was the size of a postage stamp. Oh dial up...

In retrospect, the song choice was probably not quite right, and there was a lot of literalism, but hey, the literalism made it much easier to figure out what was going on! And I suspect the vidder picked the song based on "Illusion never changed / into something real."

I don't remember if I found more after that, but by my sophomore or junior year of college, I had started up an anime club, and some of the people there had entire tapes of AMVs from cons and the like. Also, thanks to college ethernet, I had begun downloading a ton of AMVs, most of which were based on Evangelion. I think there was a very big focus on lip syncing at the time, as well as a lot of technical effects. And a lot of audio from trailers of popular movies (a lot of Star Wars Episode II) with footage from various anime series. Because I came from AMVs, I was really confused by Western media vids when I first watched them, though nowadays I have probably seen much more of the latter than the former.

This is also reminding me that I wanted to catch up on AMVs prior to Wiscon, so maybe I will go off to do that!

Also, on a funny note, when CB and I were first emailing each other off OK Cupid, I mentioned vids, and he was kind of skeptical, because all he knew were the bazillion Dragonball Z vids on YouTube done to some specific dramatic song I don't quite remember right now. Then I showed him the Princess Tutu AMV as an example, and he was blown away by the fact that people timed things! To the music! And had narrative! (I have sicced a lot more on him since, bwahaha.)

(I know I always say this when I talk about AMVs, but more recs are always welcome!)

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Thu, Jan. 9th, 2014, 08:35 pm || January posting: places I'd like to visit

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[personal profile] troisroyaumes asked for "Places you would like to visit":

So many!

Places I've never been: I really want to go to the Philippines, especially with CB, and then we can have tasty mangoes (and probably die of heat + humidity) and go to the original sisig place! Oooo and turon. Ditto Thailand, especially after hearing stories from CB's brother's honeymoon there and the incredible food. And India, also for mangoes and for street food. And the Taj Mahal! I do want to visit places for reasons other than food, really! (Though to be honest, the food is a pretty big factor. Okay, what I really want to do is have some giant food tour of the world with people in my dwircle and everyone can introduce their favorite places and it would be AWESOME.) Oh, I really want to go to Spain at some point for the food, obviously, and also to see the Gaudi buildings.

Places I want to go back to: Definitely Tokyo, though right now I want to see Kyoto again because the one time I went was in high school. Also, I just want to veg out in an onsen hotel in Hokkaido in the winter and eat and go to the onsen and rinse and repeat. And I would really love to spend more time in Seoul, since I never did get to see the chicken art museum, and now I know people who will give me more restaurant recs. Also, I never got to eat hoddeok. Though tbh, what I really want to do is get jjajang delivery. Oh, and I want to go back to New Orleans for longer than a day, especially after [personal profile] rachelmanija's description, and I definitely want to go back to Paris.

... I am pretty sure there is a lot more.

Oh! And Disney World, hahaha.

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Wed, Jan. 8th, 2014, 12:51 pm || Reading Wednesday

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What I've read: Haven't done this for a while, so I actually have read things! I got CB the Pusheen the Cat book and volume 1 of Chi's Sweet Home for Christmas, so I read those and was suitably bowled over by the cute. Pusheen is great, but I really love Chi's Sweet Home, which is just so cat. Possibly people might get annoyed by Chi's baby talk, but given that she is a kitten, I am okay with this. Also, CAT!! (Also also, I love the fact that Konami Kanata's entire career is basically cat manga.)

I also read Allie Brosh's book, which I think I laughed at less than a lot of people? It's not that it isn't hilarious, because it is, it's just that after reading her depression posts, some of the ones on procrastination and self sabotage and etc. make me wince more than laugh in that painful, looking-in-the-mirror way. All the entries about her dogs totally crack me up, the entire thing is very worth reading (even if I do wish the one about her dead fish made it to the book), and I would have paid the same price just to get her two posts on depression in print. I'm also really impressed by how spot-on the expressions she draws are.

What I'm reading: I started Anuja Chauhan's Those Pricey Thakur Girls and have been enjoying the third-person narrative voices... I like the first-person narrators of her first two books as well, but they did sound a bit similar at certain points. Really looking forward to an expanded cast of characters, because I love Chauhan most for her various character dynamics, especially of people in small communities and large families, and read her more for that than the romance. I also started Jessica Snyder Sachs' Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death as my own brand of pick-me-up reading, and I should get back to it because it's gruesomely fascinating.

Random book-shaped space: This cover alone makes me want to read Max Gladstone. Also hoping that adding "reading" to my Dailies for HabitRPG helps me get back into it.

Next: Chi's Sweet Home, vol. 2!

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Tue, Jan. 7th, 2014, 10:41 pm || January posting: bulletproof tropes

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[personal profile] skygiants asked for "a couple of bulletproof fictional tropes."

This is only a small sample that I can think of right this second, otherwise this entry would go on forever!

Icy lethal women and the men who love them. This only works for me if the men don't get to outshine the women in terms of lethalness and general iciness, since I've read way too many things in which the supposedly kickass assassin woman's heart is softened by the guy, whose prowess remains unchallenged. Extra special points if the guy has been in love with her since forever. Irene/Gen, as you can imagine, hits this so much I can't even. Ditto Sherry Thomas' Not Quite a Husband, despite my many other problems with the book! I was so happy that Melina Marchetta's Lumatere series has two of these couples!

Descriptions of work. I really love it when I get an in-depth look at a profession or skill or hobby, from the politics in Battle for Bittora to various cooking shows and chef's memoirs. (I could, unsurprisingly, read about cooking stuff pretty much forever!) I especially like the unglamorous bits and the random little details that come from the author's knowledge about a certain specialty, as opposed to when sometimes it just seems too easy or too successful.

Resistance under occupation. I'm actually not sure what to call this one, but I am basically a sucker for stories where you have an oppressive evil regime and there are a few people fighting back, but there's a lot of desperation and suspicion and anyone can turn you in, but there's also intense camaraderie and quiet courage and resisting in the smallest of ways. Most of the YA dystopias right now don't really do it for me; think more Harry Potter stories set during the first rise of Voldemort or AU HP fic about Our Heroes if the Death Eaters had won. Also, 90% of 20th Century Boys fits here, but especially after the second time skip, as well as things like the Buffyverse Wishverse. I was really hoping to get this with the books after The Hunger Games, but alas, no such luck.

The Scarlet Pimpernel trope. I.e. person acts like a fop or a ditz and is underestimated by everyone while they are actually awesome spies or the like. I especially love the female versions of this, like Mina in Meredith Durant's Written on the Skin. Bonus points for lots of angst re: not being able to tell the person you love, or having said person gradually seeing through the facade because they are also that clever. Extra special bonus points if this involves a lot of descriptions of pretty clothes.

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Mon, Jan. 6th, 2014, 09:09 pm || January posting: fannish soundtracks

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For [personal profile] ranalore, who asked for "Fannish soundtracks, any aspect."

This is one of those fannish practices I don't have much experience with! I enjoy them when I do download them, but for some reason, the thought of downloading music and doing playlists sometimes is too much, so I often end up bookmarking things and forgetting about them. I always tell people I have pretty indiscriminate musical taste; I like stuff that picks up my mood, and I'm not very good at hearing lyrics unless I actively look them up. Or unless it's something I am practicing for karaoke. As such, I'm very impressed by people who can come up with entire soundtracks for their fic or a certain show or something! But yeah, I think because I don't have music on that often (at least for the past few years), I have a very difficult time thinking of songs that remind me of X character or Y show, and then even when I do have music on, it's usually background ambiance for me and I don't really notice it unless I pause and concentrate.

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Sat, Jan. 4th, 2014, 10:04 pm || January posting: favorite foods in Taiwan

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I haven't forgotten the meme! Just got kind of busy the past few days. Also keeping the tag the same despite the change in months just so I can locate things more easily.

For [personal profile] rachelmanija, who asked about favorite foods in Taiwan.

This is very difficult! There are so many! To cheat, I will instead list categories and then talk about stuff in them.

Fruit. OMG I miss the fruit from Taiwan so much. Mangoes and lychees, obviously, but also the oranges, which are usually much sweeter than the ones here. I also miss wax apples (lian wu), which I don't think I've seen around Bay Area, as well as fresh dates (zhao zi). Actually, I just looked that up, and apparently they are called "Chinese dates" or "green jujubes"? I usually find dried dates and jujubes too sweet, but I love the fresh green ones, which are light and crunchy and somewhat honey flavored to me. The pineapple is usually a lot sweeter as well, yum. And of course I love how much fresh juice there is! There are a lot of places that will basically blend the fruit with a little water and maybe a little honey or fructose, so it tastes like the fruit... I like Jamba Juice every so often, but it annoys me so much that most of their things have sorbet in it, and that they are usually a blend of a ton of things.

Street food. So much good cheap food from street carts! I think my favorites are the little egg cakes, which are crispy on the outside and light and fluffy and moist on the inside (at least if the cart makes them right... sometimes they get too dry). They're bigger than the ones sold in Hong Kong, so there's more of the cake on the inside. I also love being able to get green onion pancakes in random places, as well as the green onion pancakes with egg (dan bing), especially when it's more of a roti texture (zhua bing). And of course there is the fried chicken, which comes in a giant slab or in pieces on a stick (I like this kind b/c I am too lazy to get all the meat off the bone on the giant slab), and how the fried chicken places will have other stuff that they sprinkle the flavoring over. My fav is the green beans. I also miss being able to get roast chestnuts on the street, as well as ling jiao and baked yams, and I forgot what it's called, but the candied fruit on a stick that is amazing. I feel like I am betraying the island when I say I am not the hugest fan of stinky tofu (I like it fine, I just don't really hunt it down) or the oyster pancake things (o ah mi jian), though I do like the noodles (o ah mi sua)! I am pretty sure I am missing a ton of other stuff I really love because there is just SO MUCH. I also miss the fact that it's actually pretty cheap there, as opposed to food trucks here, or stands at fairs.

Din Tai Fung. Okay, it seems kind of weird giving one restaurant its own category but it is the BEST PLACE EVER. I miss their Shanghainese soup dumplings, but also the little dessert ones with red bean paste and their chicken soup with noodles, and actually all their noodles, and the dumplings with finely chopped veggies and meat, and the really delicate fish dumplings. Everything is good! I still haven't found a place that does dumplings with skin quite so thin, and they basically do everything well, from the chewiness of the noodles to the thick richness of the red bean paste.

Bakeries. Taiwan isn't as big on chewy bread as the US is, but it is very big on random bakery concoctions. I just like wandering into random bakeries to see what they have. When I was a kid, I loved the cream-filled horns, and then there's pineapple bread, which does not actually contain pineapple and is only called so because of how it looks. I really love stuff like curry-filled naan and tuna fish and corn in a little roll, or ketchup and little sausages, and other little savory meal-like things you can get. I also loooooove the pastries in Taiwan, which are very influenced by the whole Japanese take on French pastries thing. I love the little cakes or mousses flavored with green tea or black sesame or mango, and I love the blend of the flavors, as well as how little and delicate they are. 15eme is still my favorite place, but I will go into pretty much any store to check out what they have, because all the places have such different cakes!

And I keep trying to come up with other categories and getting distracted. I went from noodles and beef noodle soup to ramen and the Japanese food in Taiwan, which is amazing, and then there is the seafood! A giant new modern fish market opened up a few years ago, and I have not gone, but by all reports, it is delicious. And then I went back to cold noodles with sesame sauce and cucumber and chicken and how the one from 7 Eleven is not that bad, and then I realized I had not even touched on convenience store food and random potato chip flavors and being able to get onigiri there.

Now I am very hungry and I am going to get some food...

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Tue, Dec. 31st, 2013, 10:37 pm || December posting: rituals

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For [personal profile] jjhunter: repeated rituals (yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, ?) you use to orient / root yourself

This entry should probably get much more consideration, but I am pretty tipsy right now and trying to knock these out on the assigned day! (That, and I am trying to beat a boss in HabitRPG and blogging is one of my dailies.)

I don't actually think I have that many rituals… I think I am not really organized enough. I do try to do the year's end meme that goes around every year because it is a nice reflection. And I used to try to do the year's best of media, but now that I am not blogging reviews that often or tracking reading, that is a bit difficult.

These days, I do try to take the day off on my birthday, since I spent a long time being annoyed all my friends were gone during my birthday (summer birthdays….). And when my sister is there, we do lots of cooking for various holidays, like Thanksgiving or Christmas or Chinese New Year.

Oh wait, the one ritual I do have is getting in at work, restarting my computer, and either getting coffee or breakfast or something so I don't just sit down and start work right away. I never quite thought of it as a ritual, but it definitely is something I have done at every workplace and helps me get started in the morning. Other than that I am not particularly good at traditions and the like, and I am not very organized, so sometimes feeling like I have to do something a certain way stresses me out more? I associate ritual and the like very much with family traditions and don't use them for myself, though that does sound like a thing that would be nice to start for myself.

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Mon, Dec. 23rd, 2013, 09:15 pm || December posting: knitting

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And now I am not behind anymore!

Anyway, [personal profile] thistleingrey requested "knitting," which seemed to logically follow from the previous post on sheep.

I learned how to knit when I was fairly young, maybe around 8 or 9 years old? My cousin's grandmother (the one not related to me) taught me how to cast on, knit, and purl, although I didn't know the terms of any of it, so all I could do was knit long swatches of stockinette that inevitably curled in on itself. I made up my own method for casting off by just stringing yarn through the final loops and tying a knot; learning how to actually do it was nice! I also figured out that you could alternate knit and purl to make patterns, and I figured out the hard way that you had to change the yarn from the front of the needle to the back or vice versa if you wanted to switch between knit and purl.

I more officially learned how to knit around 2004 or 2005, when my sister was knitting a simple garter stitch scarf and I decided to grab it from her to see if I still remembered how to do it. I then found Stitch n' Bitch and learned that there were things like needle sizes, different weights of yarn, and etc. It was kind of mind-boggling! I gave myself a little time to learn how to increase and decrease, and then I decided to jump right into lace.

I have discovered that I'm better with small projects that give me a chance of finishing; I've actually finished knitting all the pieces of a top, but I've yet to seam them. Scarves are best for knitting with TV with subtitles, and I love socks because there's enough variation to be interesting (sometimes scarves just... never end). I would knit tons and tons of hats except I don't actually wear them. I love how many hats you can make with a fairly minimal amount of yarn, and like socks, there's enough variation to be interesting, especially the crown. I also love love love knitting lace; making a pattern and watching it grow row by row is so satisfying. Of course, getting it wrong and having to tink five rows of sticky mohair or wool is WORST.

I am terrible at gauge and swatching. Of course, this always ends up biting me in the ass when I have to knit up the top of a sock five billion times so the multicolored yarn doesn't pool unattractively, but at least undoing rows of sock is much less annoying than anything bigger. But that's also why hats and scarves and socks are my go to. I also usually enjoy troubleshooting knitting unless something has gone dramatically wrong (see: tinking over five rows of sticky mohair) and I'm not particularly afraid of messing up knitting. I didn't think that was odd until I was in some knitting circles and taught other people to knit; I think having to knit by myself as a kid basically forced me to not be scared of mucking around with the yarn and stitches.

Despite all this, I don't think I've finished any knitting for a couple of years now =(. I blame grad school? I wanted to knit a fancy lace shawl for my sister for her wedding, and then hopefully for her first year anniversary. Now I am just hoping I finish.

Maybe this will actually inspire me to start again! So far, I have the fancy lace shawl, a half finished pair of socks, colorwork mittens, another shawl, and probably a lot of other things I don't even remember any more. I'm a little wary of going back to the socks and mittens, since my gauge has probably changed, and then I'll have to tear them out and start over. Ugh.

There's something about making something tangible when I spend so much time in the digital world, and I kind of miss having something to do with my hands.

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Mon, Dec. 23rd, 2013, 09:10 pm || December posting: sheep

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For [personal profile] lnhammer, sheep!

I don't actually have much of an opinion on sheep! I was extremely surprised when I discovered they actually do sound like they are saying "Baaaaaah!!!!" in a very grumpy manner, but maybe the grumpiness was also due to them being in flourecent, rainbow-colored onesies so they wouldn't be cold from having their wool shorn off. After we saw them, CB, my sister, and me ran around yelling "BAAAAHHHH!" at each other.

Also, sheep are very useful because even though I don't like wearing wool, it's really awesome to knit with.

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Sun, Dec. 22nd, 2013, 08:42 pm || December posting: chicken!

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Ha, of course I forgot I was going to start posting yesterday! So, for 12/21: best way to make chicken for [personal profile] via_ostiense

I am actually not sure! I also haven't been cooking a lot for a while now, so nothing immediately springs to mind in terms of recipes. Overall, I like chicken as long as it's not too dry, so I tend to like dark meat better. In terms of eating... I think chicken tends to be my default meat, so I don't always notice it, but I do enjoy it when chicken really tastes like chicken, as opposed to standard meat. So... possibly right now, my favorite way to eat chicken is at yakitori places, when the chicken is juicy and dripping and there are all sorts of chicken parts. My favorite right now is heart! Though sometimes it changes, depending... one place has absolutely amazing chicken thigh.

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Wed, Dec. 18th, 2013, 07:22 pm || Daily happiness

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Doh, just realized I had a draft written and didn't post it yesterday. Anyway, have today's and yesterday's!


1. Made myself Korean noodles from a bag for dinner—the ones that are basically a little step above instant noodles and need to be refrigerated. Then I added an egg as usual, but I also dumped in the leftover fish from a week or two ago, including all the soy sauce and ginger and scallions, since they had congealed in the fridge. And since the noodle soup was an anchovy base, it worked really well!

2. Yay, Disney actually has an official version of "Let It Go" on YouTube! I have only watched it about five times so far... I love watching Elsa's body language and facial expressions change as she goes through the song.

3. Only two more days until vacation! And I am starting to panic about Yuletide now, as I have nothing written. Tomorrow: write one sentence! Maybe I will try to review some source tonight. Okay, technically this probably doesn't belong on my happy list...


1. Coworker asked if we wanted to put off the office gift exchange thing until after New Year, whew!! I didn't know what to get and didn't want to take time off potential Yuletide writing to have to shop for a gift tonight. (Of course, I ended up not doing Yuletide writing anyway....)

2. Found a new mainstream movie reviewer I like! It's been a while since I read non-blog movie reviews, because I so often think they miss the point, but I used to binge on Ebert's online archives through high school and college. Anyway, Scott Mendelson wrote the review I agreed with most re: Frozen, so I went back to read other stuff and was happy to find that he talks about race and gender and representation in the movies. Oddly enough, he is currently the movie critic for... Forbes. I guess he analyzes box office numbers a lot? Don't agree with everything, obviously, but it's good to have a backup to turn to when I don't hear much word of mouth via DW (which is how I get most of my movie criticism!). (ETA: man, I wish DC would read this piece on how to do Justice League)

3. Yay, I think the cats are nibbling on the cat grass we got them. I'm pretty sure it's just wheat grass, but of course the pet store labeled it as special cat grass.

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Wed, Dec. 18th, 2013, 12:06 pm || Frozen

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I was going to see this regardless, given Idina Menzel + Disney musical, but I wasn't too excited at first, given that the only promotion I had seen was a large display of the goofy snowman in a theater.

Thankfully, it seems to be getting really good word-of-mouth, since it is (afaik) the only Disney animated movie with two female leads (sisters!!). Also, I thought the music was better than Tangled, even though I found Tangled very charming.

Anyway, will definitely be on the look out for more stuff from Jennifer Lee, the co-director and screenplay author, since I liked the gender stuff in Wreck-It Ralph (which she wrote part of). Also, first female director of a Disney movie! (And to that, wow Disney, that took you long enough.)

On another random note, Idina Menzel has now done duets with women in three major productions.

Frozen is a pretty typical Disney princess movie in many ways; it doesn't so much try to break the mold as gently stretch it. I actually liked that better than Enchanted's effort, which was an effort to break the mold but failed and had the movie becoming the very thing it was satirizing. You've got the cute sidekicks (one animated snowman, who I ended up liking instead of being annoyed by, and one reindeer), the requisite love story shoved into a hundred minutes, power ballads, and a spunky heroine who's clumsy but still conventionally attractive.

But then you have some of the other stuff.

Not hugely spoilery but just in caseCollapse )

Very spoileryCollapse )

Wiki noted that the production team did consult with Sami musicians for the opening song, which would be a step in the right direction, but given Disney's overall track record with appropriation, I'm not too confident about how well they incorporated elements of Sami culture or Sami people, period. I saw a few people online arguing that Kristoff is Sami, but overall I am way too unknowledgeable to judge either way.

Other things:

  • I am totally amused that instead of an actual talking animal, it's Kristoff voicing Sven the reindeer and essentially having a conversation with himself.

  • "Fixer Upper" is such a cute song! Except for what it is advocating! Sigh. It does try to make things better near then end by talking about how you can't really change a person and that love being the answer isn't limited to romance, but it's kind of half-assed. I do like that they are basically talking about Elsa in the last part. Also, I saw a comment somewhere saying that yeah, the song content is pretty awful, but it is being sung by trolls, so I will pretend it is deliberately trolling the viewer.

  • "In Summer" is hilarious.

  • Love the entire palace-building sequence in "Let It Go" and am amused by the similarities between "Let It Go" and "Defying Gravity."

  • I thought the slit up the skirt and Elsa's increased sashaying post wardrobe change was very OOC.

  • "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" has been making me tear up every. single. time. And I have been listening to it a lot!

  • Wow, Kristen Bell has a voice! Now I want her to do more musicals!

  • Also, I've seen her say in interviews how she wanted to make Anna very anti-Disney princess, with the awkwardness and the talking too much and the bedhead. Alas, it did not work for me... I like Anna fine, but she read very much as "spunky heroine." Psst, Disney. These attempts to do anti-Disney princesses would work a lot better with a larger variety of body types and notions of attractiveness. I'm just saying!

  • I am super sad this came out too late for Yuletide, because I want all the Elsa and Anna fic ever.

  • Have also seen people talking about how for once, the parents aren't villainous and act out of love and trying to do the best thing, but they are still terrible parents, which is a nice change. Especially since they are the biological parents, given the general poor history of fairy tales and Disney movies with families of choice.

In conclusion: the movie is a good entry into the Disney ouvre, with some groundbreaking elements. That said, I'm not sure it's something I'd rec if you don't already have some latent fondness for Disney.

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Mon, Dec. 16th, 2013, 10:46 am || December posting meme

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I have been loving everyone else posting thanks to the December posting meme, but didn't join due to my terrible posting habits of late. But I am on vacation soon! So I will try to post every day during that...

So: ask me to write about stuff! Blah blah, right of refusal, may swap posting order around, etc.

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Wed, Dec. 4th, 2013, 11:39 am || Reading Wednesday

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I read!

What have you read? I finished Anuja Chauhan's The Battle for Bittora a few days ago, and I even managed to write it up.

What are you reading? Kind of a cheat, since I actually started it two weeks ago, but I am a chapter or two into Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child. Despite having been forewarned of the general mother blaming in the book, I am still appalled by how much there is. Yes, let's guilt mothers more for post-partum depression and maybe showing a little bit of negative emotion due to nursing not going perfectly! Also, I seem to think more much has to happen to traumatize a kid than Alice Miller does. (I.e. Being laughed at for asking for your own ice cream cone and being offered bites from the parents' cones probably is not going to have that huge of a psychological impact unless there's already some really emotionally abusive stuff happening.) That said, still has some good bits on what happens when you are the child who must somehow suppress yourself to emotionally comfort your parents. You just have to rewrite a lot in your head so it only applies to emotional abuse and not "mothers making any sort of mistake ever."

What are you reading next? Who knows! Hopefully I will be reading, period.

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Tue, Dec. 3rd, 2013, 04:17 pm || Chauhan, Anuja - The Battle for Bittora

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Another entry for the Anuja Chauhan reading club!

Jinni (formally "Sarojini") Pande is mostly happily working as an animator, though she wishes she could animate something other than bacteria and bugs. And then her formidable grandmother Pushpa Pande sweeps in to announce her return to politics, and before she knows it, Jinni is running for MP in her home region. Complicating things is sexy childhood friend Zain, who is also running, but for the opposing party, as well as scandals, empty campaign promises, bribery, turncoats, electioneering, and all those other good things that come with politics.

I was completely unsurprised to read the author's note in the back and discover that her in-laws are a big family in politics, much as I was unsurprised to find that the author used to be in advertising for The Zoya Factor. They aren't fields I know very much about overall, especially how they work in India, but all the details felt so real, especially the ones that are almost too much to believe in and therefore probably are the bits taken right from real life. I am guessing these are the kinds of books that are even funnier if you actually know the topic, as opposed to the ones that make you roll your eyes because all the details are off? Yes? No?

Anyway, it reminded me most of Taiwan election season, albeit with less acrimony, and I love how Chauhan is totally making fun of the ridiculous things going on while also taking Jinni's idealism and desire to change things seriously, as well as the various issues that Jinni will have to tackle if she's elected.

As pretty much everyone else who has read this has said, the key relationship isn't the Jinni-Zain romance, but rather Jinni's relationship with her larger-than-life grandmother, who is bigoted, wily, unscrupulous, completely unmoveable, and absolutely awesome.

I also loved the overall look at growing up in a political family. At first, I didn't quite buy Jinni just taking off from work to help with a political campaign at the beginning of the book, but after reading about her memories of various campaigns, her grandfather's political legacy, all of her grandmother's work, and her own idealism, it made so much more sense. That said, I did want to see more of Jinni shifting from running just for her grandmother to running for her own sake and for the desire to have the power to make the changes she thought should be made. It's definitely there in the book, from her daring midnight rescue to her observation of how so many politicians made people promises and still the schools weren't fixed, the roads sucked, and the wells got co-opted, but I would have liked that more in the forefront. I also wanted more of Bauji, Jinni's freedom fighter politician grandfather, and her memories of him, as well as the complicated relationship he and her grandmother had, and I especially loved the bits we see of her mother.

I feel like there's an entire novel there as well, being the daughter who abandons the family legacy and takes off only to have your own daughter return to the fold. And it was really refreshing to have Jinni's mother be the NRI living happily in Canada and Jinni herself being the one to return to India, at least when compared to the prevalence of "conflicted identity hyphenated USian teens battling their immigrant parents' expectations" books I've read. (Don't get me wrong, I love it too, especially since that is a big part of my own experience, but it's always nice to have different narratives.)

If you can't already tell, I liked this a lot better than Chauhan's first book, which didn't deviate enough from chick lit tropes for me. Unsurprisingly, the Jinni-Zain romance is actually my least favorite part of the book; I like the childhood memories well enough, and the whole "can I trust him? Is he just messing with me?" back and forth makes a LOT more sense when it comes to your election rival, but Zain kind of loses my interest in comparison to the Pande family dynamics.

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Anyway, definitely recommended, and in case I made it sound serious and unfun, it is hilarious and includes a scene with Jinni putting a condom on a large wooden penis. For politics, of course.

(And I want a book about Munni.)

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Fri, Nov. 22nd, 2013, 01:13 pm || Flight Rising comm + A Dark Room question

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Ha, I feel like I should at least post about Thor 2, or Sleepy Hollow and Agents of SHIELD, or books I am reading if I were reading, but instead, have a games post!

I created a Flight Rising comm! Post to [community profile] flight_rising! Anyone have a hankering for very teal dragons?

I also tried playing A Dark Room after seeing some dwircle people mention it on FB, and I am confused. I thought it was going to be a meta game about gaming, but I went to find the walkthrough, because I didn't really like what I was doing in the game, and I wanted to see what happened.

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ETA: And it looks like these elements are iOS specific: "We recently released the iOS version of the game. It’s unique in that it has an in-depth story line around the builder." (source, check comments)

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Fri, Nov. 15th, 2013, 10:05 am || Flight Rising comm?

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Is there a Flight Rising comm on DW? And if not, would anyone be interested in one, or is all the stuff going on on Tumblr?

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