[sticky entry] Sticky: About

Feb. 28th, 2011 05:29 pm
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Much like [personal profile] umadoshi, I was super excited when Chromatic Press started and cheered on the development of something akin to an English-language shoujo magazine, though I never got around to subscribing. Anyway, apparently the numbers are much worse than I had thought, and I was incredibly amused by the descriptions of various series that sound like a fun blend of female-friendliness and idtasticness. So I have subscribed!

And I apparently get a one month free trial I can give out! So, if anyone is interested, comment between now and Friday 8/29. If there's more than one person, I'll do a random number drawing.

Also, check out their membership drive and assorted prizes for hitting various levels.

Meme!

Aug. 7th, 2014 12:04 am
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That meme where you pick up the first book next to you, flip to page 45, and use the first sentence as a summary of your love life:

"After configuring the devices necessary for connecting to the Internet, tap 'Internet Settings' in the System Settings menu."

(courtesy of the 2DS manual)

... I find this eerily accurate.
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Flora 717 is a lowly sanitation bee, but instead of being mute like the other members of her caste, she can talk and apparently make Flow to feed the larvae in the nursery. The sisters of the Sage clan (the priestess caste) take note and let her work in the nursery for a bit, since the hive is going through rough times and there aren't enough workers. Soon, Flora is experiencing things far outside the lives of the other sanitation bees, and she eventually realizes she is even more different than she realized, for she can lay eggs when it is a crime to challenge the Queen's fertility.

I keep seeing this described as "Watership Down with bees," which mostly seems accurate? Although I find it curious that Watership Down tends to be classified as fantasy while this is slotted under "science fiction" in Amazon, possibly due to the rural setting of the former and the more urban-esque landscape of the hive for this book. I'm also not sure I find it as political as the reviews comparing it to The Handmaid's Tale, possibly because the point of view is so alien in some ways. It's something I'd rather tease apart at a Wiscon panel or in discussion, because while some reviews have been classifying it as dystopic, I don't quite agree. There is too much actual bee biology for it to feel completely dystopic to me, particularly since the book is framed by a prologue and epilogue from the point of view of the humans who own the orchard the beehive is in; it didn't feel so much like it was comparing the human condition to the bee world and more as though Paull were focused primarily on fleshing out the bee world properly. I have to noodle a bit more on this, because I haven't thought it out enough.

She does a great job detailing her particular bee society and making it feel like a complete world, from the way the bees communicate via scent and chemicals to their worship of the queen to the foppishness of the drones. From the bit of browsing I did, it seems like most of the information is fairly accurate, except a spoilery bit in the end and the fact that bee roles are not nearly so harshly delineated irl. (Also, one beekeeper wrote a review in which they felt very put out about the negative depiction of beekeepers as the theives of the bees' carefully made honey. I have to say, I laughed.) I particularly loved the way religion and government are mixed up in the hive, and the look at the various castes and clans.

I did have some nitpicks, because it wasn't always as alien as I wanted it to be; Paull refers to things like bees bleeding or having their intestines torn out, which made me wonder if it were just a figure of speech or...?? Ditto mentions of things like goblets of nectar or plates of pollen. I also thought the prologue and epilogue should have been cut, because I am not here for human context and thoughts! I want weird alien life forms that are actually from this planet!

Anyway, this was a really fast, immersive read, and I still feel like there might be creepy-crawlies on me randomly throughout the day. (For insect-phobic people: I am pretty grossed out by bugs in real life and in pictures, but I'm mostly fine reading about them in books, from fictionalized bees to real-life parasites, so YMMV? I wasn't creeped out while reading, but my skin does start to itch when thinking about it afterward.)

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Potentially spoilery trigger warnings )

Spoilers )

Now I need more people to watch so I can flail about the gender role reversals re: manpain and how JIN-YI IS BETTER THAN YOU.

FYI...

Jun. 3rd, 2014 01:25 am
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Flight Rising registration opening in about four hours! Friend me if you join (and let me know if you want a dragon)! I'm oyceter (lair id 35180) there as well, and a lot of us are also on [community profile] flight_rising as well.
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[personal profile] inkstone was brainstorming non-Western media panel ideas for Wiscon 39, and so many people got into the conversation that I was using 3/4 of my allotted characters just to @ them! Ergo, post.

(Also, this makes me so happy!! I am going to sound like such an old fogey, but *shakes cane* I remember the days when we didn't have any anime/manga programming at all and [personal profile] coffeeandink and I had to organize "spontaneous" programming so we could talk about it!

(I was so sad to see I missed panels on Utena and fairy tales in shoujo and was kicking myself for somehow skipping those panels until I realized that was one of the years I didn't make it to Wiscon.

(It has also been really nice seeing younger people in the audience in the past few years; hopefully I will be more encouraging next year and get them on panels too. My goal: having non-Western fannish panels that are not entirely populated by the same six people, myself included, even though I love you all a ton and love hearing what you guys say.)

Anyway, my goal this year is to organize a book club for F. Compo + Hourou Musuko (and/or other works with trans protagonists? Specifically, canonically trans, as opposed to genderbending or crossdressing.), esp. since [personal profile] jiawen has been trying to get a trans people in anime/manga panel for forever. That way even if it doesn't make the cut due to lack of panelists and/or audience members, we can do spontaneous programming. And I really like panels that focus very specifically on one or two works.

Also, AMVs in playlists for the vid party that aren't specifically being "The AMV Playlist"!

Other ideas I vaguely remember from Twitter:
- Bollywood
- Magical girls (and Sailor Moon Crystal!)
- Women in shounen
- AMVs and vids
- Moe
- POC in SFnal music (+ weird over-the-top fantasy CPop music videos?)
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This is my playlist for the Wiscon 38 vid party. Er, and for anyone who was there, I embarrassingly sent the wrong link to the organizers, so this includes the actual link to the Utena vid I was planning on showing...

Next year: more AMV playlists, including playlists that just include AMVs as part of a theme!

General warnings: I think AMVs tend to do much more visual overlays and faster cutting than media vids in general, so I hope I managed to give enough notice re: flashing lights and strobe effects, but not sure! Also, I worry a bit that I underwarned for the vid show because I have a hard time figuring out the line between action movie violence and disturbing violence so I am adding some just in case.

Magical Girls: Sparkles and Subversion
(or: morally ambiguous dark-haired girls and the pink-haired girls who love them)

  1. Hika Yagami - Magical Girls Take a Stand! (multifandom)
    no warnings
    (stream/download | subtitles)


  2. Moezy-chan - Red Star (Sailor Moon)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    Psychological warnings: horror imagery
    (stream | subtitles)


  3. WUNETTI Productions - The Utena Symphony, Part II: Rosa Infinita (Shoujo Kakumei Utena)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    (stream/download | subtitles)


  4. Chiikaboom - Devil's Game 2.0 (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    Psychological warnings: horror imagery (also I find this series creepy like whoa and have a hard time with scenes in the vid, but I don't know if it's as creepy if you haven't seen the series? Comments?)
    (download | subtitles)


  5. Tidirium Studios - Hold Me Now (Princess Tutu)
    Physical warnings: flashing lights and strobe effects
    (stream/download | subtitles)


Random commentary )

Anyway, I hope people enjoyed, and if anyone wants me to flail at them re: the various series and why you should watch them, I am more than happy to do so! (Except Madoka. Madoka continues to terrify me.)
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Hi! I have not been posting about Wiscon because I have been too busy with Wiscon prep (6 vids subtitled, whoo!).

Anyway, will be arriving some time on Friday, leaving at some time on Monday. Hugs ok as long as it's not randomly from behind, she/her, and I forgot to print my icon for my badge, oh well. Also, I am crap at checking anything outside of email though I will try my best to keep an eye on Twitter messages.

(And will definitely be at the vid party, whenever that is! Come by! See my magical girls AMV playlist!)
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Would anyone be up for helping me subtitle the AMVs for my Wiscon playlist? Trying to get them in by tomorrow...
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This is a 2006 drama about the life of Hwang Jin-Yi, a Joseon period gisaeng who was famous for her poetry, art, music, and dancing. We begin with wee!Jin-Yi, who has been raised in a Buddhist monastery, as her mother, a gisaeng herself, wanted Jin-Yi to be able to escape gisaeng life. Unfortunately for the mother, Jin-Yi ends up watching the performance of a gisaeng troupe and immediately deciding that that is what she wants to do.

So far there are:
  • Dance training sequences involving being hung upside down by the foot

  • Steadfast friends who matchmake

  • A demanding taskmistress who feels that suffering pain will only make your art greater!!!, and whatever, what is life being married on a farm when you could be MARRIED TO YOUR ART?!

  • A rival troupe, lead of course by the old rival of Jin-Yi's troupe leader (aforementioned demanding taskmistress), who is determined that she will BEAT HER FINALLY! And if she can't do it, she will get in the way of anyone else who tries to!

  • A rivalry between the most promising girl of the rival troupe and Jin-Yi, in which the rival girl is horrified to hear that Jin-Yi is too sick for a competition because she wants to beat her fair and square as an accurate measure of their talent!!

  • Societally forbidden love with a yangban boy

  • The tragedies of gisaeng life and having to sleep with whatever man has enough to purchase you for the night

  • And I can't even describe how much costume porn


There is so much costume porn I would probably watch this solely for the costume and dance scenes even if the rest of it weren't good, but the rest of it is very good!

Jin-Yi herself is awesome and as stoic as only Ha Ji-Won can be and firmly within the shounen sports manga school of "I must perfect all the dance by any means necessary!" and I'm also enjoying how they're slowly fleshing out some of the other gisaeng as well.

Spoilers )

And on a totally random note, I am amused that a ton of stuff in this drama and in Arang (and possibly most sageuk?) is filmed at the 한국민속촌 and that it's always attributed as such!
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Oops, apparently I wrote yesterday's and then forgot to post!

1. Wow, it got really warm. That part is annoying because my apartment gets so hot in the evening, but it's really nice to be able to wear skirts without tights or leggings again! And sandals! Also, sun, yay.

2. Yeesssss, I got my Shadow dragon that will soon be a spiral! And then I will only have one dragon left to go until I have a collection of elemental spirals.

3. Child of Light comes out tomorrow! And found a deal on Lifehacker that says if you preorder on Amazon, you get and extra $5 of game credit.

And for today:

1. Pearl milk tea on a hot day is so nice!

2. CB brought over the TV cabinet he got from someone in his company, and they ended up giving it to us for free! He just spent a ton of time (and lots of swearing and sweating and banging) putting it together, and now everything looks organized and beautiful AND the cats can't get to the wires.

...hopefully.

3. Going to see a really nice apartment a block from BART that was also the size of my bedroom makes me feel like my apartment is super big right now.

4. Cold blueberry-currant juice. Also cold water. And cold ginger beer.
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Flight Rising, aka that dragon game I keep talking about, is opening registration for April 14!

I haven't been playing it as much lately, but I am having fun collecting assorted pretty dragons and scavenging and opening treasure chests. I'm Oyceter there as well, and this is my lair (id: 35180).

Also, a few of us show off our dragons and complain about site downtime (it's getting better!) at [community profile] flight_rising.

I found tips and tricks for beginners, tips and tricks for beginners 2, and an unofficial FAQ really helpful.

Lemme know if you have questions! Also if anyone joins, I have some dragons if you want ^_^.
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Initial random thoughts! (With spoilers for the comics arcs as well.)

Spoilers )
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Philip and Elizabeth Jennings look like your normal suburban couple, complete with two kids and a sedan, but they're actually Russian spies. Things get complicated when a counterintelligence FBI agent moves in across the street, especially since Cold War tensions are only getting worse.

So I love spy stuff, but there's a serious dearth of awesome female spies who don't play second fiddle to their male counterparts. I was hoping this series would be an exception, since Keri Russell is billed as the lead, but so far, it doesn't look very promising. I love her character, who is ruthless, incredibly devoted to her mission, and pretty badass, but the narrative keeps undercutting her and giving more weight to her husband and to Agent Beeman. Boo.

It does have less gratuitous female nudity than Game of Thrones (I realize this is a low bar), but we're introduced to Elizabeth when she's seducing someone for spy purposes, and she's repeatedly put in more sexualized situations than her husband is.

On the plus side, there are multiple female characters, and I'm pretty sure the show passes the Bechdel test in each episode.

Spoilers (TW for rape and dubiously consensual situations) )

So. I do like the spy stuff and all the 1980s stuff, but the gender and nationality stuff is too off-putting for me right now. Anyone knows if it gets better in this regard?
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Spoilers )

And now I shall look forward to the exhibition programs.

PSA

Feb. 21st, 2014 10:49 am
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Hey people who have been reading my Anuja Chauhan posts, there is a boxed set available on Con or Bust!
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Haven't watched the free skate yet! Please do not spoil me!

Women's short program )
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Many things are happening for the Thakurs of Hailey Road: Justice LN Thakur's brother is having troubles with his wife, said wife has moved in with Justice Thakur and family, three of the five Thakur daughters may or may not be having romantic problems, and the Justice isn't on speaking terms with the third daughter and close to doing to the same with daughter #2.

The main plot of the book mostly focuses on Debjani (the fourth oldest daughter), who has just begun as an anchor at DD, the primary news channel in India at the time. This puts her in conflict with her father's card buddy's son Dylan Shekhawat, an investigative journalist trying to implicate high-up politicians for their role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and rather looks down on Debjani for spouting government propaganda.

This is my favorite out of all of Anuja Chauhan's books and feels very much like what I've been waiting for. I love that this is in third person POV, compared to the first person of her past two books; I felt I got a much better sense of Debjani's community and the various family dynamics (in two families! that was nice). I did like the romance a lot, especially Dylan, but like her other books, I also really like the non-romance relationships. And my favorite bits were actually the investigative journalism. Another plus was that the Debjani/Dylan relationship got much further before undergoing the usual relationship crisis: families met! And the crisis was in part based on a big misunderstanding, but at least with more of a twist than the usual.

Spoilers )

Other random bits: I REALLY want to know about sister #3. I was kind of confused about Eshwari's maybe romance; at times I thought Chauhan was telegraphing that no, you don't always have to return someone's crush on you, but I wasn't completely sure that was what the book ended on. Also saw that there is a sequel about Dabbu's nephew (by marriage) and niece, which I really want to read. I'm also not talking about various little moments, like Dylan's parents' romantic anniversary or Debjani always being overshadowed by her oldest sister or how the rocky bits of Debjani and Dylan's relationship really affects their families, especially their fathers.

And I very much liked the look at 1980s India, the sense of things changing and bringing with it more access to foreign goods, the changing role of the press and the gradual loss of government control over said press. It feels very real, how the characters all react to some of that without the book just being about social change, which is something that many authors have a difficult time balancing... either it feels like the characters are a bit out of place in the supposed historical setting, or that there is too much "look how much I researched xyz!" Also, some of it is a bit nostalgic for me, particularly things like finding local versions of foreign imported junk food in corner stores or trying to emulate clothes. I don't really remember a lot of the details of political change going on in Taiwan because I was a kid at the time, but a lot of the KMT stronghold on Taiwan was lessening right around me being in high school. And ditto the flood of imported goods and whatnot.

Anyway! I very much enjoyed the Anuja Chauhan book club, and thanks to [personal profile] deepad for organizing the entire thing. And I hope I can get my hands on an ebook, or a US publisher decides to bring her over here or something, because I really want to see grown-up Thakur kids.

(Also, apparently Chauhan wrote a short story prequel to Zoya Factor for Valentine's Day!)
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Well, after watching a lot of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski commentating on the official NBC broadcast, I kind of miss the lower-key commentators on the online streaming site. (Johnny Weir, can you please stop talking about the ice dancers as peacocks?!) Though I will have to find pics of what Johnny Weir was wearing every night!

Also, based on Yuzuru Hanyu's outfit and one of the ice dancers' outfits (the woman from Azerbaijan?), I have decided multicolored, large sparkly jewels on an outfit always look bad.

Men's free )

Ice dance )
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OMG with the new team event, watching all the figure skating is like a sport in and of itself! I have not yet seen the men's free skate or the results: SPOIL ME AND DIE!

(CB just got spoiled by a well-meaning friend, and I have only barely avoided them everywhere! And this is when I'm trying to Google ice dance programs from five years ago!)

(apologies for all name misspellings; I am not risking Googling it right now)

Team skate )

Pairs )

Men's short )

For women's skating, I am wondering how Kim Yuna will do, since it sounds like she hasn't really been in the competition circle for a while, and I hope Mao Asada does well. I think the last I really watched her was when she was retooling all of her jumps, and it was so painful to see. Also happy to see Akiko Suzuki on the team. Aaand aside from that, I really don't know much re: what's going on.

It's so weird: I feel all the skaters I used to watch when I first started getting into figure skating are now retiring (or have retired), and I can't quite believe the new judging system is ten years old!

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