how earning rewards works for me

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:14 pm
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Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I have launched BEWITCHING BENEDICT

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I’ve got REDEEMER sorted

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when I have this unexpected thing sent off

Me: I will watch s5 Orphan Black when KISS OF ANGELS is written

Dear Me: when the fuck am I really going to be allowed to watch s5 Orphan Black?

Apparently Me: when the entire 22 book to-do list is done.

Sometimes I hate me.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Constellations

Sep. 17th, 2017 05:33 pm
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Kestrell and I went to see Constellations at the Central Square Theater. I quite liked it; Kestrell hated it. Which, to my mind, makes it worth talking about.

The play has only two actors, each of them on stage throughout. They both get to show off their acting chops as almost every scene is repeated multiple times, with slight but significant variations. It’s a bit like Groundhog Day, but none of the characters are aware of what’s going on, it’s merely the audience observing different forks of a branching multiverse. I’ve seen Marianna Bassham in a number of local plays over the years, and gotten to be rather a fan; I thought she was brilliant in this.

Interestingly, one scene was almost entirely in sign language. I’m not sure if it’s more or less funny if you as an audience member don’t understand sign. By the end of the scene, at any rate, I found the communication to be quite effective.

The set is abstract but gorgeous. The floor and (tilted) ceiling are mirrors reflecting the action (which of course reflects itself). The back of the stage is a dark but translucent curtain, behind which are an array of light bulbs of varying sizes and colors; stars in a night sky, lights of a ballroom floor, points of significance slowly dying…

The ads for the play say that it is “about love, possibility, bees, and… quantum physics”. This is true, as far as it goes. It is perhaps more difficult to fill seats with such phrases as “fatal brain cancer”* and “coping with a meaningless universe.” I found the ending bittersweet in a manner reminiscent of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia; Kestrell found it nothing but bleak. Obviously, mileage varies. Hopefully, this random assortment of reactions will give you some idea whether or not you want to go see it. It runs through October 8.

* This play is likely to evoke strong feelings in those who knew Caleb Hanson, especially in his final months.

Blackberries: from bramble to bread

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:24 pm
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I went blackberry picking this morning, which I’ve been feeling torn up about having had no time to do. (I genuinely feel better for having gone.) I’d found a good run of them a couple weeks ago and went to check it out, to great success:

That’s over a kilo of berries picked in about 45 minutes, which I felt was a pretty good haul. While I was picking, one woman walking by said, “Good day for picking!” and another one who had been out picking yesterday actually stopped to talk to me (Her: I always feel SO GUILTY when I drive by these berries! Me: YOU UNDERSTAND ME!!!!), and that was really nice because almost everybody who’s spoken to me about picking at all thinks I’m bonkers.

So I came home and washed the berries

and got them into the pot

and made jam



and three hours after I started picking blackberries, I had homemade blackberry jam on fresh homemade bread.


Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. :)

I then made PEAR JAM because we have STUPID NUMBERS of pears on our pear trees (there are by far more pears fallen to the ground than we have had at all, in previous years at this house), and it is wonderful. I had no idea if it’d be any good because I’ve never had it, much less made it, but it’s pretty splendid. It starts out sweet and kind of apple-y and then suddenly it’s like NO WAIT THIS IS *PEAR* JAM!!! and it’s really good! And Ted, who likes pears (or at least processed pears) thought it was wonderful, so I’m very pleased with myself.

Tomorrow I have ambitions of making pear jelly, because I have An Awful Lot Of Pears here, and I bet that’ll be really nice too. And I gotta start doing something with the crabapples and the appleapples and…*despair*

(I mean, I gather other people can just walk on by fruits of the trees and whatnot without even flinching, but me and that lady from this morning, WE JUST CAN’T DO IT.)

(We’re gonna get a pressure cooker. That way I can make applesauce and canned (or at least jarred) pears and…other stuff…that will last if pressure-cooked but won’t otherwise.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Picoreview: Inhumans

Sep. 10th, 2017 12:52 pm
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Picoreview: Inhumans: not *as* bad as the reviews said. To further illuminate that comment, I also went to see Rough Night this week, and of the two, Inhumans is not the one I wanted to walk out of.

That said, you should not in any way mistake it for *good*.

I went because I was sort of horrifiedly fascinated to see just how bad it was, after all the scathing reviews. The result may be that my expectations were SO LOW that I could not actually be disappointed. Also, there were only four people in the entire Imax theatre (I was the only woman), so I sat in the back row and livetweeted the whole thing, which may have added considerably to my enjoyment of the whole thing, because, I mean, it was awful, but I genuinely had a good time.

The inhuman special effects are unforgiveably bad. Medusa’s hair is embarrassing and her costume is dreadful. Gorgon is wearing plush boots with hooves glued to the bottoms and they must have told him “just walk on your toes, it’ll be fine.” Lockjaw–okay, actually, Lockjaw’s teleportation looks pretty cool, so presumably that’s where they spent all the budget. Although it doesn’t look like an expensive effect.

The writing is *appalling*, especially in the first twenty minutes. I mean, my *God*, it’s bad. Iwan Rheon is not only saddled with truly awful lines throughout, but is also, I think, badly miscast as Maximus, which is saying something, because the writing is so terrible for everyone that it’d be pretty easy to feel that the entire show was badly miscast. But he really stood out. *None* of it is well-written, though. Somebody somewhere said “Inhumans should have been treated as a family drama like The Tudors, only with superpowers,” and that really is what they should have done and instead they…have done this awful stilted thing with a painfully tropey creepy charmless bad guy and…I mean, honestly, I don’t even know how they made it this bad.

Ken Leung, playing Karnak (whose name I never caught in the show, and whom I referred to as Tattooed Attitude), was trying really hard with really bad material. (So was Crystal’s hair. Crystal, played by Isabelle Cornish herself seemed…pretty Crystal-like, really. Not good, but I thought she had potential.) Serinda Swan’s Medusa was…*sigh* Yeah. Anson Mount managed to be utterly awful without having to say a word as Black Bolt, and then he got a little better and I thought perhaps he could pull it off with time and practice, and by the end he’d won me over and I was really enjoying him.

(As an aside, though, these people have *moronic* communications systems for a people with a silent king. I mean, Black Bolt ACTUALLY USES SIGN LANGUAGE in this film. Which is AWESOME, because silent king! Except…Medusa…is the only person…in the entire Inhumans family…who has bothered to learn it, and thus is the only person who actually knows for sure what Bolt is saying. WHAT KIND OF DUMBASSERY IS THAT?! And also they have a, you know, like, Star Trek communicators system, WHICH THE KING CAN’T USE. BECAUSE THEY’RE MORONS. I mean, for God’s sake, if nothing else they’ve been watching Earth for ages, HASN’T SOMEBODY NOTICED HUMANS USE PHONES TO TEXT NOW? Do the Inhumans not have a writing system which THEIR KING could communicate with? OMFG!!!!)

Ahem. Back to the main post:

Gorgon is WONDERFUL. Despite the plush boots and bad writing, Eme Ikwuakor *radiates* charm and presence, and dominated the screen whenever he was on it. I loved him and I want him to have awesome SFX instead of humiliating ones.

There were three twists I didn’t expect in the show, two of which improved their characters (one improved the affected character so dramatically that I completely reassessed the performer’s ability) and one of which made me go OH YAY. And my final verdict?

I’ll watch more. It’s not good, but it’s not as bad as I expected from the reviews. I think its most unforgiveable flaw is that it’s not much *fun*, but honestly I do not think it’s noticeably worse than the first 2/3rds of season one Agents of Shield, which I thought was really grimly bad but watched all of. It’s not worse than Legends of Tomorrow, except Legends knew it was bonkers from the outset and just ran with it, which gave it a higher feet-kicking outrageous entertainment value. But ultimately, yeah, I’ll give Inhumans a chance.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

unplanned day

Sep. 8th, 2017 06:23 pm
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Today has not really gone as expected.

Poor Indy has a quite awful cold, and woke up around 4am miserable with it, so that pretty well shut down my night’s sleep. I spent most of the morning sure I would still manage to get some work done somehow anyway, and then the poor kid fell asleep on me after throwing up a few times, so I gave up on that and had a small nap myself. Which I really needed, with the 4am wakeup call, so that was all good. :)

And then he woke up and I actually did manage to get a bit of work done after all, but due to the arrival of a needs-attention-now email, it mostly wasn’t really the work I expected to do. Still, something may eventually come of it, so it’s good to have done it. And I did get a bit of the work I meant to be doing done, and I’m feeling like I’m saying a lot of nothing as I write all this. TL;DR: sick kid, work accomplished.

In between that, Dad got the notification of his Canadian citizenship’s verification, which was AWESOME, and I made banana nut muffins which were also very good but not nearly the same level of AWESOME and also this week I got a box of BEWITCHING BENEDICT books which is also AWESOME but I haven’t taken a picture of them yet so I’ll just have to leave it at that.

Also I did not go to the gym today.

Also Wednesday I made a very brief jaunt to England and bought makeup and booze on the way home. This is very unlike me. :) (I’m slowly replacing the makeup I almost never wear with MUCH NICER makeup I will almost never wear. The lady who helped me decide what color foundation to buy said I had very nice skin. I’m sure she says that to all the girls, but it was nice anyway. And I did not buy dark blue sparkly lipstick although I was tempted!)

Also if you have to choose between seeing Rough Night and Girls Trip, choose Girls Trip every day and twice on Sundays. I might do a picoreview about that, if I remember.

Also, per a conversation with somebody the other day, the first thing I ever saw Idris Elba in was Thor, and I genuinely thought he had gold eyes. To the degree that the next time I saw him in something I was like “oh they must have given him brown contacts, that’s too bad,” and then I was like “…or…maybe…not….”

I’m going to stop now. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

“What?”

Sep. 6th, 2017 08:03 pm
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Kestrell and I have watched the end of Twin Peaks: The Return. The above was my initial reaction; I gather it was a typical one. Kes and I have spent a few hours talking about it and I’ve spent a further few hours reading various online writing about it, and I am little closer to a definitive understanding than I was at that first “What?”

Which is, of course, only to be expected from David Lynch. And this was undoubtedly a David Lynch story. The leavening of Mark Frost’s contributions made it far CLOSER to comprehensibility then solo Lynch, but it was still resolutely irresolute. A few online writers seem to think that things were deliberately left open for a season four, but I think they were fooling themselves. One of the frequent themes of this season was the infinity of overlapping stories, none of which makes sense in isolation from all the others, and therefore none of which can ever truly have closure.

The penultimate episode contains a significant amount of closure, as if to demonstrate clearly that the creators understand what closure is, and are capable of achieving it when they want. And then the final hour quite deliberately goes somewhere new and different and strange in a manner different from all the previous strangeness in the season.

This season has a huge and complex cast, only about half of which we knew from the original show – all of whom are, of course, distressingly older. Most episodes end with an “in memory of” credit. The very first scenes that Lynch shot were with Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady), mere weeks before her death of cancer. Both actress and character were on the verge of death and knew it. By the end, almost everyone from the original show has had at least a cameo, although in some cases only via stock footage.

Special notice should be given to Kyle MacLachlan. He deservedly has star billing, though there are a few episodes in which he almost doesn’t appear. Despite his being the actor with the most screen time, the character of Dale Cooper is but rarely seen, and that very late in the day. Instead, Lynch has MacLachlan playing a significant number of OTHER characters, albeit all ones who are connected with Cooper in one way or another (I counted five, but the point could be argued).

A few friends who have not been watching all along have asked me if this new season was “worth watching”. That is not a question with a simple answer, as it turns out. If you were interested in nostalgically revisiting characters and situations that you once loved, The Return contains some of that, but not very much. If you wanted to know “where the plot was going”, again, there is some of that, but it is a distinctly minor element. If, however, what you loved about Twin Peaks and want more of now was the sense of wonder, the bizarre mixture of tones, the feeling that absolutely anything might happen at any moment (or conversely, that nothing at all might happen for a lengthy scene), then The Return has what you want in spades.

gym blog day four well sort of

Sep. 6th, 2017 10:33 am
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I WENT to the gym this morning. I barely caught the bus and I’d been thinking if I missed it I’d go for a good long Pokéhunt and get some new goggles because the ones I’ve been using are Indy’s and they’re not very comfortable but I can’t find mine, but I caught it so I was like: yay I will swim.

Only I got to the gym and into my swimsuit and then remembered I had not brought my swim cap, which is required. And the only ones they have to buy are silicone and I don’t like them so I didn’t want to spend money on one AND I hadn’t worn my sports bra/workout t-shirt so you can see where this is leading.

I did walk home instead of waiting for the bus, at least. It was a brisk 40 or so minute walk and I feel it should have netted me more step count than it did, but, well, it didn’t. Still, it was a good walk, and that’s something. (Devastatingly, Pokemon wouldn’t load so I did that WHOLE WALK and earned no candies. What’s even the point!?) And I did gym yesterday, I did an upper body workout that I’m feeling in my armpits today, so I did something right there. No gym tomorrow, tho, I have other stuff going on, but I should be back the day after.

Also it turned out there are a LOT of blackberries along the road on one particular stretch of that walk home so I might take a couple hours this weekend to go pick.

I have to go shower now because I am disgusting with the sweatiness.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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