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Thursday, January 2nd, 2020
10:18 pm - Collected Fanfiction Post
Links to all fanfiction I've written in various fandoms. That I'm admitting to.

Alias )

Angel the Series )

Babylon 5 )

Battlestar Galactica )

Breaking Bad )

Buffy the Vampire Slayer )

Citizen Kane )

Doctor Who )

Farscape )

Earth: Final Conflict )

Heroes )

Highlander: The Series )

Historical Fiction )

Lost )

Merlin )

Mythology )

Once upon a time )

Rome )

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine )

Star Trek: The Next Generation )

Star Wars )

Sunset Boulevard )

The Americans )

The Beatles )

The Borgias )
The Godfather )

Torchwood )

X-Men )

The West Wing )

Crossovers )

current mood: exhausted

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Saturday, July 4th, 2015
3:47 pm - Star Trek Meme: Day 29
Day 29 - If you could tell Gene Roddenberry one thing, Star Trek related or not, what would it be?

I have an aversion against this type of question, because it seems to be aiming at two possible extremes: adulation and deconstruction. Now I don't have an urge to lecture a dead man I didn't know, and whose creations I enjoyed a lot, about various of his 'isms - that feels presumptuous to me. And the urge to praise someone dead for their efforts is something I get in the case of, say, Van Gogh - the episode Vincent and the Doctor is one archetypical wish fulfillment in that regard - i.e. an artist who died without knowing his creations ever amounted to something. Whereas Gene Roddenberry got all the praise he could have wanted while still alive to enjoy it, and then some, so there's no need.

As this is the last day of the meme, though, and I had to tell the man something, I shall resort the a classic: Live long, and prosper. And he did.

The other days )

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current mood: content

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12:43 pm - New Zealand?
I maaaaaaayy manage to go to New Zealand next year. Now, given that winter is summer and summer is winter if you're from the opposite part of the planet, what would be the best time to visit? If I can manage, I want to see as much of the country as possible, which is easier when it's neither too hot to travel nor all snowed in.

Advise me, New Zealanders and fellow travellers, pretty please?

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current mood: curious

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Friday, July 3rd, 2015
10:45 am - Star Trek Meme: Day 28
Day 28 - Your favourite friendship in Star Trek?

I have to separate this into incarnations again.

TOS: the trio, inevitably. And I do mean all three, not Kirk/Spock plus McCoy, but Kirk-McCoy-Spock, with Kirk's friendship with McCoy and McCoy's bickering friendship with Spock as important as the one between Kirk and Spock. Together with the good ship Kirk/Enterprise, this three way friendship is the emotional heart of the show, and the reason it survived that long.

TNG: I was certainly most intrigued by Picard & Guinan. We never got an episode that was all about them, but there were enough scenes to show the depth of the relationship - Picard's complete trust in Guinan's judgment in Yesterday's Enterprise, the way he confides in her in Measure of a Man, while there were also lighthearted scenes (Guinan's wry reaction to Picard's archaelogical geeking out at the start of Rascals). And of course there was the mysterious origin of that relationship. (Shame Time's Arrow, which showed how it started from Guinan's pov, wasn't a good two parter, but they never showed Picard's first encounter with Guinan from his timeline, so that's left free for the imagination.)

DS9: Quark & Dax, and I've written the fanfiction to prove it. Jadzia was the first among the regulars to hang out with Quark socially, not because she was a customer at his bar, and to unabashedly enjoy his company. (This, btw, was when her character clicked for me. The first season had played Dax serene and wise, while the second introduced the Dax who had a flippant sense of humor, loved playing Tongo with Ferengi and flirted with aliens that had open skulls. Not surprisingly, the later version was the one who stuck around.) But it wasn't all having good times together, there was a line to be crossed, which came when he did the weapons of mass destruction dealings with Cousin Gaila, and her reaction was key to giving Quark the courage to go up against Gaila and his psycho client.

Voyager: Janeway & Seven of Nine. This made me from a lukewarm Voyager watcher into, for a while, an avidly interested one. It was a prickly relationship with a great paradox at its start - Janeway forcing individualism on Seven who didn't want it (but whether or not Seven was in a state to make such a decision immediately after being cut off from the Collective was an unanswerable question) -, and their frequent clashes kept me as hooked as their moments of understanding.

Reboot: Kirk & Pike. Reboot!Pike pushed just about every fatherly mentor button I have, and whether he was supportive or chewing Kirk out, he just knew how to handle Jim K., and became apparantly the first person whose opinion really mattered to young Kirk; his inspiration, too. (I'll never fail to regret the reboot wasn't radical and had Christopher Pike remain Captain, with Kirk and Spock serving as his officers.

The other days )

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current mood: contemplative

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Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
6:22 am - Star Trek Meme: Day 27
Day 27 - What would you cross over with Star Trek?

Somewhat late, because I was away from any internet yesterday until late at night, but here we go. Well, considering I've already written the crossovers in question, obviously I would cross over Star Trek with Torchwood and Doctor Who, just Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars.

The advantage with Doctor Who especially is that between all the various Doctors and companions on the one hand, and all the various incarnations of Star Trek on the other, you have such a rich, infinite variety of combinations for encounters to choose from, so the two DW crossovers certainly won't be my last. It's also the crossover that's currently do-able on screen, technically (if the BBC and whoever owns Paramount now - Sony? - could ever come to licence terms), and I dimly seem to recall that there was a fannish rumor in the RTD era that a plan for such a crossover existed.

But an on screen encounter would probably not include the character interaction I'm interested in, so never mind that, and let's stay hypothetical and fanfiction minded entirely. Since time travel exists in the Star Trek universe, you can even cross it over with historical fandoms. (Fandoms with immortal characters can bring these into the ST future, of course.) So basically there's no fandom I wouldn't cross over with Star Trek. Infinite variety in infinite combinations, after all.

The other days )

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current mood: exhausted

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Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
6:50 am - Remix Recs
I'm currently in Prague again (as enchanting as in April, though as then, I'm not here for sightseeing), so have little time, but did manage to browse throught this year's remixes. Here are some I especially enjoyed:


Letters never sent (The Crumbled Sheets Remix

Xander, trying to tell Jesse's parents what happened in the BTVS pilot. It's a story entirely composed of letter attempts, terse, gutwrenching and all too likely.

Fairy Tales:

Feathers and Nettles (The Sibling Remix)

Based on Anderson's tale of the six swans, a story about the youngest brother and his sister. Bittersweet.

Galaxy Quest:

Like no business I know (The Climbing Uphill Remix)

How Gwen experienced the show. Loved it.


Magic Boxes (The What Remains Remix):

Howard builds magic boxes and out of them come weapons. Tony is his greatest creation and his worst nightmare.

Takes the various versions of Howard movies and Agent Carter have presented and creates a coherent whole. It also includes the encounter between Peggy and Vision I never knew I wanted until I read it!

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current mood: busy

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Tuesday, June 30th, 2015
8:12 pm - Star Trek Meme: Day 26
Day 26 - Lots of Star Trek Parodies out there. Which do you dig?

The sinister Federation in Blake's 7 just happens to have the same insignia as the one in Star Trek, turned sideways, and in the s3 episode Deathwatch there's even a direct parody of the "space...the final frontier..." speech. More than one B7 fan has speculated that Star Trek is simply government propaganda produced by the Blake's 7 Federation. As amusing as this is, it makes it only just that my (and probably most people's) favourite Star Trek parody makes fun of B7 as well. By Graphtar's Hammer, what a parody!

Yes, of course I dig Galaxy Quest most. Both because it's hilarious and because it's made with such obvious love for the subject. It laughs with, not about the fans. Which is why it rules.

The other days )

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current mood: amused

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Monday, June 29th, 2015
8:53 pm - Star Trek Meme: Day 25
Day 25 - How has Star Trek changed you?

It taught me the ways of fandom, pure and simple. The only reason why I don't phrase this as "it made me into a fan" is that I fell in love with fictional worlds before Star Trek came along. But it was the first fandom where I actively participated in - as in, discussed the characters and stories, discovered fanfiction, sought out fanfiction (writing fanfic happened in another fandom first, though). Checking out other projects by actors and writers involved with something I'd loved, that was an ST thing first. That sensation that C.S. Lewis describes both in his memoirs and his essay on friendship - the first time you discover more than a common interest, a common joy, one's eyes lighting up at the thought of "you like this, too?" - that was definitely something Star Trek did for me, too.

It also changed me from a "there must only be this one version of a story, and there shall never be another" person to someone who learned that a fictional universe got richer, not poorer, through various additions, even if not all were to my taste. (On both an in-universe level - i.e. several shows - and thinking of fanfiction.)

It was the first fictional 'verse that made me feel protective; I had never felt called to defend anything else I liked before, but come the mid 90s, just about every nonTrek Sci Fi show as labelled "the anti Star Trek" when the reviewers wanted to praise it, and thus it went on for the next decade, and then some. Falling in love with a couple of those other shows as well, I had the constant urge to snarl "no, it's not all reset button and technobabble, and if you'd actually watched, you'd know!", and kept trying to phrase that more politely.

And it definitely shaped me as a fan who, while appreciating dark scenarios and shades of grey, definitely prefers to have a silver lining on that horizon somewhere . In conclusion, it shaped the [personal profile] selenak you know.

The other days )

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current mood: geeky

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12:13 pm - Penny Dreadful 2.09
In which, as is common in the one before a finale, all things go to hell.

Read more... )

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current mood: determined

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Sunday, June 28th, 2015
5:04 pm - Star Trek Meme: day 24
Day 24 - Is there anything about Star Trek that has disappointed you?

Pfff. I don't think the phrasing of the question can get an accurate answer. Or rather: of course there are individual episodes in every single show which I found dissapointing. Or entire storylines. Or lack of storylines and representation (see yesterday). Or movies. But even the movies I didn't like usually have some scenes I enjoyed (the wedding at the start of Nemesis was fine...). Even the storylines I wish they hadn't done (Dukat becomes one dimensional mustache twirling crazy) at times have aspects that spoke to me. (Dukat/Winn; especially the scene where he's temporarily blind and she kicks him out with the pointed reminder of how merciful the Bajorans are).

So has Star Trek, that vast, vast amalgan of so many different creative efforts disappointed me? Not really. Individual aspects, yes, but there was so much more which gave me something, captivated me, spoke to me, that the occasional disappointment was very much outbalanced.

The other days )

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current mood: okay

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8:04 am - Munich Film Festival II: Going Clear (Film Review)
Before I get to the documentary which was shown yesterday here in Munich, a remark on the status of Scientology in Germany, because I keep seeing statements on the internet to the effect it's banned. Which tells you something about the effectiveness of Scientology propaganda. It's not banned in Germany. When I walk from the place where I live to our biggest park within Munich, the Englischer Garten, I pass its Munich office. At the Frankfurt Book Fair each year, they have their stand trying to sell Hubbard's books to the masses and being obnoxious about it. (Last year, for some reason, they hired an actor in Native American costume to hand out the books, don't ask me why.) What Scientology doesn't have in Germany, however, is the status of a religion and a non-profit organization. And thus they have to pay taxes. Lots of them. That's the discrimination they're railing against, and I lost a lot of respect for Steven Spielberg and Dustin Hoffman a couple of years ago when they co-signed a petition comparing the "persecution" of Scientology in Germany to what happened to Jews in the Third Reich. I guess Tom Cruise is worth his money to Scientology, but still, Spielberg and Hoffmann are adults, they should not only have historical awareness (especially Spielberg, given Schindler's List) but do a minimum of research not based on the words of their buddy.

Anyway: on to Going Clear, directed by Alex Gibney, he who previously did documentaries on the likes of the sexual abuses within the Catholic Church, and inspired by Lawrence Wright's book by the same name. I had read Wright's original article in The New Yorker, but given how many people read The New Yorker - or even a book, sad to say - versus how many people watch a movie, it was definitely the right call to transfer this into another medium. Alex Gibney's choice of interviewees for the movie are mostly high ranking former Scientologists, including the former chief enforcer and No.2, Marty Rathbun, plus Paul Haggis whose interview with Wright kicked the whole thing off, but in addition to the interviews, he also got his hands on footage of Scientology videos, including the rally, words used advisedly, where current leader David Miscavige celebrates his triumph after the I.R.S. capitulated and recognized Scientology as a religion - quot Miscavige, "the war is won", and as a punchline some photos of Miscavige palling and goofing around with the IRS officials afterwards. (BTW: the tales of punishment labor camps for supposedly rebellious members etc. weren't new to me, but that the IRS led Scientology off the hook for a milion dollar bill in tax fraud - after Miscavige orchestrated his campaign of countersuits of various IRS officials, then offered to drop the suits in exchange for the acknowledgement as a religion, that was new. Basically, it was Scientology versus the US Government: the government let itself be blackmailed and bribed, Scientology won.

The first part of the movie is also a biography of L.Ron Hubbard going from pulp fiction writer to huckster hitting on a money making racket, with increasingly bizarre personal life in addition to increasingly bizarre "professional" practises; the movie quotes his second wife's descriptions of their life together for the former and two of the early Sea Org (so called because the Scientology elite started out by the fact that the tax bill evading Hubbard spent the last two decades of his life literally on the sea, with three ships at his disposal) the later. There's also some rare tv footage of Hubbard - an enterprising British reporter managed to get him on camera for British tv -, his army record (the opposite of what he claimed it to be), furious early letters to psychologist organzations whom he wanted to recognize his "insights" (and thus a feud was born); I'd say the difference to the depiction to Miscavige later is that Hubbard comes across as a gifted con man who eventually managed to con himself into believing his own racket (you can see why Philip Seymour Hoffman wanted to play him), whereas Miscavige is basically the perfect soulless capitalist manager type freed from any restraints. (Even complaints against the slave labor practices of Scientology, it seems, are in vain in the US because their lawyers have them covered as "religions practice".)

The two female interviewees are Sylvia "Spanky" Taylor, who used to be John Travolta's personal handler and comes across as initially the wide eyed naive type (she started out on one of Hubbard's boat scrubbing floors for the honor of serving the Master), and Sara Goldberg, who managed to make it all the way to Operating Thetan Level 8 before quitting in 2013 after being told to "disconnect" from her son, and comes across as cerebral yet steely. Among the men, not surprisingly Haggis is the one with the most pointed storytelling, but they're all media experienced (not surprising, since one of them is the former Scientology PR in chief person). If there's one thing I would have liked Gibney to press more is the question as to how they handle their own responsibility of first luring and then harrassing others, now that their positions have changed. The question of personal guilt does come up, but perhaps not surprisingly, the two who mainly seem to feel it are the two lowest ranking ex scientologists, Spanky and Haggis, whereas Rathbun's reply basically amounts to "I'm sorry it took me that long to see through it". (Err, after all the awful stuff you've described, "I'm sorry for what I did to others" would perhaps be not inappropriate? Though the lack of it, otoh, makes the statements feel more honest.)

Speaking of Travolta, to no one's surprise the documentary's theory is that all the personal secrets coming out during the endless auditings of celebreties are what's used to keep said celebrities from ever leaving the church. That and the way they're coddled by the sect for towing the line. Cruise comes off worse than Travolta here, what with the general Miscavige fawning and the tale of a girlfriend assigned to him post Kidman breakup who promptly gets fired from what it literally a job for making one vaguely non adoring remark to David Miscavige. (Quotes used for this are from the actress' FBI file.)

Visually, there are few choices I found eye brow raising - using footage of the Cruise and Kidman movies to illustrate the breakdown of their marriage due to Scientology is blurring the fictional (their characters) with the real in a way I wouldn't have done - but generally, it's remarkable how Gibney keeps two hours of talking suspenseful in a chilling way. In conclusion: Scientology: still the creepiest.

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current mood: impressed

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Saturday, June 27th, 2015
8:21 pm - Star Trek Meme: Day 23
Day 23 - Is there anything you'd want to change about Star Trek? Why?

Very apropos current news: LGBT representation. TNG tried to do it once metaphorically, and it misfired badly (The Outcast), and there was the probably unintended misfire that was the end of the Beverly/Odan affair in another episode. Neither of which would have been a problem at all if, say, we'd have had a recurring character like O'Brien or Ro with same sex preferences, or the occasional crew member showing handholding or embracing someone of the same sex, etc. (First Contact had the redshirt bridge officer who was meant to be gay - the novelization still has Picard notifying his husband - but guess which dialogue didn't make it on screen?) DS9 did somewhat better with Reunion because while we still got the metaphorical approach via the reassociation taboo, we also got nobody blinking at the fact that both Jadzia and Lenare were female. Indeed Dax has probably the claim of being the first ST on screen, not subtext but textual bi character. (Well, positive character. The Intendant over the Mirrorverse was on screen bi as well, but evil alter egos being other than straight isn't exactly an improvement in the representation department.) But otherwise: zilch. I don't recall anyone from Voyager, either, but then I didn't watch all the episodes. The reboot movie Into Darkness has a bridge officer sitting next to Sulu (when Chekov is doing Scotty's job) who looks like he or she could be meant to be a trans or intergender person (very "masculine" body build but pronounced breasts), and the character doesn't die, so I'm cautiously optimistic in assuming they were going for something other than cis with this crew member.

But still. All the way back when, in the 60s, the fact that the Enterprise had bridge crew members like Sulu (Asian), Chekov (Russian, i.e. from the 1960s American tv audience pov the Cold War enemy) and Uhura (black) was supposed to signal humanity being less prejudiced and more equal in the future. It's a few decades later, and ST spaceships and space stations are still lacking in openly acknowledged LGBT characters in the future, while in the present in the country where ST was/is produced has just become advanced enough that the Supreme Court has decided same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. In other words, the present got there first. And it could easily have been the other way around, if only the production people had shown more initiative and courage in that direction.

The other days )

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current mood: discontent

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7:59 am - Theeb (Film Review)
It's Munich Film Festival time again, though alas for me this year I'm only there for the first two days, and then duty calls me elsewhere. However, the movie I picked last night was a really good one. Jordanian, with a first time director, Naji Abu Nowar, who was there for the Q & A afterwards, and not only was this his first cinematic outing, but it was the first film for the entire cast with one exception, all of whom (minus said exception, a minor character) were lay people to boot. Naji Abu Nowar, as we later learned during the Q & A, went and lived with the Bedouin tribe in question for two years, did an acting workshop for eight months of said two years, and the result we saw on screen. Which I wouldn't have guessed - everyone was excellent.

The Q & A, incidentally, was fascinating if occasionally depressing, because of what Naji Abu Nowar had to say about the Bedouin in current day. The movie, you see, is set during World War I, at the very start of the Arab Revolt, "which to me is THE single most important moment of Arab history in the last few hundred years, and we're still dealing with the fallout", quoth he. His next movie, which he's currently working on, is set during the 1920s, when the new borders go up, which ended the nomadic life style of the Bedouins who until then were roaming between what are now parts of Saudi Arabia, Jordania, Syria and Israel, being settled in towns didn't work out well for many, their camel herds died, their traditional professions were gone, for a while tourism at least provided some income but because of the current political situation there are hardly any tourists, which means stark poverty and unemployment, "with one half of the people becoming drug addicts and alcoholics and the other half drifting into religious extremism" because they could see no future otherwise. (Collective groan/sigh from the audience.) One reason why so many of the tribe did participate in the movie project was because it offered work to them, and thankfully this didn't all end when the movie shooting did; Naji Abu Nowar said there was a matriarch, an old lady who was the only one who still knew how to fashion camel saddles and water bags the way the Bedouin had done for centuries (and at the time of WWI when the movie was set), and she taught others, and they now have a business again, not least because the positive reaction of the movie so far has attracted other Arab film makers and tv people. Speaking of the movies' reception, he said the one criticism he got was from women's rights groups because there are no female characters in the movie. Which he said was true but not his fault, because there had been several female characters in the script (our young hero's mother, sisters and his brother's fiancee), but he had to cut them out again because the tribe would absolutely not give permission to any woman to participate in filming. However, since they've now seen acting and movie making can be an entirely respectful-to-their-people thing, the women of the tribe can now participate and are in the current acting workshop, so he'll be able to include female characters in the 1920s movie.

Now on to the the actual movie. Which, as mentioned, is set during World War I, starts in what is now Saudi Arabia but takes place mostly in today's Jordania, which means it's entirely shot in the desert. Our main character is the boy Theeb, age 12 but soon 13, whose adored older brother Hussein gets hired by a British soldier and the soldier's Arab companion to guide them to a well. Theeb follows them, and the dangerous situation gets worse when bandits attack. A note about the Brit: he's played by the one professional actor, Jack Fox, and the part where you can immediately tell this is not a Western production is by the fact he has about seven or eight minutes of screen time and is mostly as the MacGuffin who gets the plot going. He's also not a sympathetic character; not a villain, either, just arrogant and stand-offish with Theeb and Hussein, and the big picture type who can't see the worth of individual lives. Since he's blond, the inevitable cinephile's question early on is "is he meant to be T.E. Lawrence?", but that's cleared up as soon as he produces a photo of his wife in his fobwatch, and his fate that ends his screen time is, err, not Lawrence's. Otoh the credits later mention (it's not said out loud) his name is Edward, so you can see the character as a comment, if you like. However, as I said: he's mostly there to get the plot going, otherwise the movie isn't interested in him.

The main characters are Theeb (in whose pov we remain throughout, and the boy playing him is up to the task, very intense and expressive), Hussein (who is a fabulous, loving older brother, and of course close sibling relationships are one of my narrative soft spots) and the Stranger (called that in the credits; he gives several names, but presumably none of them are real), a bandit who turned to banditry, as we later find out, because his traditional inherited occupation - guiding pilgrims to Mecca, guiding travellers, full stop - has been made redundant by the arrival of trains. I assume the Stranger is also called the Stranger because Naji Abu Nowar is a Sergio Leone fan; one of the basic ideas, he later said in the Q & A, that inspired the film was to take the formula of an Italo Western and set it in the desert among the Bedouin. (The only non-Bedouin characters are the Englishman early on and some Ottoman soldiers at the end.) Theeb's main relationships in the movie are with Hussein and the Stranger, and with the world around him which has started to change (capturing that brink-of-change moment was one of the movie's goals according to the director); at the start, when we meet Theeb, you see the tribe living as they've done for centuries. Near the end, the railway line isn't the only visual symbol of change; so is the Englishman's dynamite which various character's have been carrying around throughout the movie, and the Arab revolutionaries armed to the teeth and engaged in a war whose existence Theeb and his tribe at the start haven't even been aware of. And of course, it's a coming-of-age story for Theeb, though the movie wisely leaves it ambigous whether the decision he makes at the end was the right or the wrong one; it simply doesn't judge.

Ironic for a movie set in the desert, one standout sequence was for me when Theeb is both trapped and sheltered inside a well, with bandits outside who'd kill him if he climbed out while they're still present. Because said well is next to a mountain of Jordanian sand stones (one of the main shooting locations was Wadi Rum), it at least offers a bit more space than a well completely in the sand desert would, but still, it's an incredibly suspenseful scene and while technically you're aware that Theeb has to survive because he's the pov character and the movie is only halfway over, emotionally you're at the edge of your seat.

The shots of the desert are beautiful, of course. (BTW, something I noticed solely due to having watched Lawrence of Arabia quite often were the shadows on the rocks and sand in the night scenes, and in the later Q & A I asked the director whether he shot day-for-night (which is what David Lean had to do), and he laughed and said yes, he did. Apparently you still can't film in the desert at night.) Because of there are only a few characters, the movie still feels initimate, rather than epic, which is a good choice for the story it tells. The credits aside, there's hardly any music used, except for the songs the Bedouin sing themselves. The language is Arab, with English subtitles. I don't know whether it has been released in an English speaking country yet; this was the first time it was shown in Germany, and as with many of a movie shown at a festival, the director hopes he'll find a distributor this way. But if it does get available in your part of the world, by all means, watch it. Definitely worth it.

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current mood: impressed

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Friday, June 26th, 2015
3:03 pm - Star Trek Meme: Day 22
Day 22 - Which Star Trek world would you want to visit at least once?

Well, let's find out by filtering out the non-candidates. Not a planet, but the Q Continuum is canonically a plane of existence which is such a bore that it it drove at least one Q to suicide. ("We've all done the scarecrow!") Ferenginar, which is a planet. has the a lot of rain (the Ferengi evidently don't believe in wasting gold pressed latinum on climate control technology) and isn't good for female visitors anyway (at least until Rom's become Grand Nagus). Vulcan has a lot of deserts (duh), which may be gorgeous to look at but would definitely demand my tourist self trains some more before going on a hike. In my current shape, I'm up for mountains but not weeks in the desert.

Planets in the "maybe yes, maybe no" category: Cardiassia Prime, according to Gul Madred and Jean-Luc Picard, has some archaeologically impressive beautiful ruins along with its current neostalinist architecture. However, if I go there before DS9 ends, I might say the wrong thing to the wrong person and end up interrogated by an Obsidian Order expert, which is no fun. If I go after the end of the show, that wouldn't be a problem, but otoh given all the devastation as a result of the Dominion War would make me feel a disaster tourist. Romulus has a similar problem. A kinder environment than Vulcan but the whole "say the wrong thing, and..." problem during the TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voy era. And then the planet explodes. I'd have to time a visit carefully, but the Romuilans are space Romans and I have a thing for Romans, so I might risk it.

Definitely holiday worthy: Risa is canonically THE holiday planet, but it doesn't seem to offer anything a Club Med on Earth hasn't already in the late 20th century/early 21st one, and, well, been there, done that. Can't do it for a longer time, anyway: I need to do some sight seeing along with my gorgeous nature and spa treatments. Betazed seems to have some nice scenery, definitely has history and has no hang-ups about the human body, but living in the early 21st century has made me paranoid re: privacy due to the NSA already, and I'm not sure whether I'd relax all that much in a planet full of telepaths and empaths. Bajor has great architecture, lots of history, and beautiful scenery, and while at times it comes uncomfortably close to a theocracy, it usually has a civilian government and freedom of speech if we're talking show era. I'd have to avoid the eras where it's either brutally occupied or just recovering from being brutally occupied (that disaster tourism thing again), but ca. season 4 or 5 of DS9 era Bajor would be on my visiting list.

...yes, all in all, Bajor it is!

The other days )

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current mood: amused

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10:42 am - Several
RL business makes for haste:

Amusing especially if you know your Elizabethan history:

21 Things only kids who grew up in the 1590s will understand

Agent Carter:

hey good looking, what's cooking (12363 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agent Carter (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peggy Carter & Angie Martinelli
Characters: Peggy Carter, Angie Martinelli, Edwin Jarvis, Anna Jarvis, Jack Thompson, Daniel Sousa
Additional Tags: Female-Centric, Feminist Themes, Period-Typical Sexism, Undercover, Bechdel Test Pass, Espionage, Domestic

Dottie Underwood has been spotted again. Now they just have to find her.

Case fic! With Jarvis in it! And Anna! At last! (Not that I'm against case fics involving Peggy and the SRR team solely, but to really love it, I need my Jarvis(es) included.

The Hunger Games:

Vid: In the 99 (48 words) by cosmic_llin
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Hunger Games (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katniss Everdeen & Effie Trinket
Characters: Effie Trinket, Katniss Everdeen
Additional Tags: Video, Fanvids, Social Justice, Inequality, Female Friendship, Epiphanies

Effie, Katniss, the Districts and the Capitol.

Coulld also be called "The Education of Effie Trinket". The movies, both due to Elizabeth Banks' performance and the script giving her more to do and to react to than the novels, made Effie from comic relief/symbol of Capitol glamorization of the Games into someone I really care about. Here in this vid, the contrast between Effie doing the reading of names at the start of the story and Effie reading Katniss' one and a half movies later is especially startling.

Harry Potter

So there will be a prequel theatre play about James and Lily Potter? More about the Lily-Petunia relationship sounds promising, and otoh I just know this will restart dozens of fannish wars....

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current mood: busy

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Thursday, June 25th, 2015
4:04 pm - Star Trek Meme: Day 21
Day 21 - Which Star Trek food would you want to try at least once?

Not Klngon Gagh, that's for sure. Bajoran Hasperat, otoh, sounds delicous. Bring it on!

The other days )

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current mood: full

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10:25 am - Love & Mercy (Film Review)
As opposed to the Beatles, I don't know much about the Beach Boys. I did know a few things about Brian Wilson going, though, both via general osmosis and because there isn't a Beatles related book worth its money which fails to point out that Rubber Soul leads to Pet Sounds which leads to Revolver which leads to Brian starting Smile which leads to Sergeant Pepper which isn't the only thing leading to Brian Wlson's breakdown, but contributes to it. (Oh, and Mike Love was in India, too, during those ill fated weeks with the Maharishi, which came in handy for Back in the USSR.) Also Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney have a decades long mutual admiration society & friendship going, and despite strong competition, Brian Wilson wins effortlessly when it comes to "Sixties Pop Culture Icon With Most Tragic Life". Seriously, the man puts fictional woobies in many a fandom to shame. Horrible abusive and exploitative dad who hit him hard enough for Brian to go deaf in one ear? Check. Mental illness not understood and badly treated? Check. Band turning against him at crucial artistic and emotional crisis? Check. Drug abuse? But of course. Evil abusive therapist charlatan moving in to create total dependence and abusing medication and psychology to do so? Check. So that's what I knew going in, that and that the charlatan got the boot at some point, and that Brian Wilson is better off now. But more, I didn't know (like, say, anything about the dynamics between Brian Wilson and his brothers Carl and Dennis), and thus I'm not qualified to say whether or not the film I'm about to review is biographically accurate, though a quick look at Wikipedia (not, of course, necessarily the most reliable information tool) makes it look like no obvious liberties were taken. I'll talk about the movie as a movie, with no contrast and compare to biography.

First of all, the director and his scriptwriters have wisely avoided the biopic curse which usually comes when you go for a "greatest highlights/by the numbers" approach. (A recent example of this would be Mandela, whose subject would have been better served by a miniseries which could have explored the various stages of his life thoroughly, instead of going for the "now he's a lawyer! Now he's an activist! Now the first wife's gone! Here is Winnie! etc." work through Mandela's biography.) Instead of trying to present Brian Wilson's entire life, they pick two different stages, the middle to late 60s (when he's played by Paul Dana) and the 80s (when he's played by John Cusack). While the elements of your avarage pop or rock star saga are there (early success, drugs, crash, recovery via help of true love), they're presented in an entirely different way, and not just because Love & Mercy constantly moves between the 60s and the 80s, but because the film doesn't bother with the "rise of unknown to the top" stage which is so beloved by just about any other take on a musical star that I've seen. (There's a quick montage showing the Beach Boys becoming famous and beloved at the start, but that's it, the first proper scene set in the 60s is when Brian after a panic attack in the air plane decides not to go on tour with the rest of the band but stay at home in the studio instead, working on his response to Rubber Soul. (This, btw, is the only way you know it's 1965 - Brian talking about Rubber Soul just having been released. This movie doesn't offer dates to tell you in which era you are at any given point, the audience is expected to keep up.) It also doesn't bother with that other stalwart of the genre, the recreation of live performances. Instead, and very fittingly given its subjects, it goes for the creation of music in the studio as its musical heart, and it miraculously manages to get across both the sense of joy and musical exploration and the infinite attention to detail Brian Wilson at his artistic peak must have been capable of. What's more, the studio musicians, usually hardly existing at all in rock/pop biopics (and if they do, they're presented as the conventional enemy versus the creative newcomer) are presented as avid and supportive collaborators.

(Incidentally: the producers seem to have acquired all the musical rights, but use the songs with restraint. This is no "greatest hits of the Beach Boys" type of picture, either, but having the rights means we get to listen all the various soundtracks for Pet Sounds being created.)

Another big difference to most other depictions of a musical icon is that Brian Wilson must have been the least macho pop star on the planet. Dano's Wilson is a shy, sweet-natured boy in a man's body who does have drive and determination when it comes to his music but doesn't do shouting matches (be it with his godawful father or cousin Mike) as much as he vanishes into himself and increasingly loses his grip on to reality. Cusack's Wilson is basically a damsel held captive by the California version of Dr. Dracula, in many ways a shell of a man with his sense of self all but eroded, but just enough left to respond when he meets our heroine, Melinda Ledbetter (played by Elizabeth Banks), to reach out to her and ask for help. (Melinda later became and still is his second wife.) While the 60s scenes are all from Brian's pov (there is no scene where he's not present), the 80s are, all but one, from Melinda's, who, writing wise, could have been the most boring character of the film (since she's an angel of mercy and Brian's rescuer without any flaws or the possibility of mixed feelings as much as indicated), but Banks' performance gives her an earthy charm and vivacity that makes you buy it as a viewer and believe it, not to mention that of course it's impossible not to root for Brian to be freed from Dr. Landy the Creep. (Paul Giametti, quickly dropping the faux geniality to reveal the power mad leech within.) Dano and Cusack don't look alike physically, but you buy - at least I did - that they're the same man, decades apart, and the constant intertwining of two eras makes you feel you understand how we get from one version to the other.

Still rare in biopics: there's no vilification or "she just couldn't understand him" blaming of the first wife, who is presented as sympathetic and loving in the 1960s. (By the 80s, the marriage had long been over.) There are two boo-hiss villains, Wilson Snr. in the 60s and Dr. Landy in the 80s, with cousin Mike Love getting the more layered role of commercial objector (i.e. he's presented as the "don't fuck with the formula" type who just wants to continue having hits), but he's not presented as spiteful or malicious, and you can even see where he's coming from when he's pointing out that on Pet Sounds, all the other Beach Boys contribute are their voices, while the instrumental parts come solely from the studio musicians and the music itself solely from Brian, which makes it not a group effort), plus when Brian plays what then develops into Good Vibrations, he immediately recognizes the potential, so he's not presented as hopelessly icompetent. But he does have the role of constant buzzkill when it comes to the joy of musical experimentation. Carl and Dennis Wilson are presented as sympathetic to Brian but helpless to deal with his spirralling out of control mental problems, though you don't get a sense of what they're like as people otherwise. (Whereas Mike Love is given a clear cut personality in the movie.)

The movie is careful not to present Brian's mental issues as the reason for his musical talent (or vice versa the music as causing the mental problems), but it does a great job of getting across of how avarage noises can be both inspiring and frightening to him, depending on his state of being. (It also goes for a mainly auditory approach when it comes to rendering both hallucinations and later the effect of LSD.) And it's not vilifying psychiatrists, either, making it clear the problem isn't therapy or medication but that Landy is abusing both. It also trusts its audience to use their imagination; we don't get shown Wilson Snrs' hitting his sons in their childhood (except for a very very quick image near the end, in a blink and you'll miss it fashion), but when Cusack!Brian describes to Melinda matter-of-factly the difference of sound between"normal spanking" and the noise of his father's beatings, she and the audience get the full implication and are duly horrified. (All the more so because Brian is seemingly unaware he described something unusual.) Being set in California (in both timelines), it's pretty much drenched in sunlight, but there's a difference between the 1960s pop colours and the 1980s pastels. It feels neither rushed nor drawn out, and the two era setting contributes to giving you an inkling of its subjects headspace, especially when they at last collapse into each other (that's the one 80s sequence where we leave Melinda's pov and are in Brian's).

All in all: compelling story, sensitively told, with a cinematic life of its own (which biopics all too often can't really manage). I'm glad I watched it.

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current mood: enthralled

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
I just read that as of the new Captain Marvel, S.W.O.R.D will no longer exist in the Marvelverse. No word yet whether they'll simply dissolve the situation or retcon it as never having existed at all.

This makes me profoundly unhappy and upset because of Abigail Brand, head of S.W.O.R.D.. Now I haven't been following the comics for a while (read: years), but ever after Joss Whedon's run of Astonishing X-Men had finished and the following comics also used Abigail Brand, whom he had invented (for a while, she even got her own series, which meant TPTB liked her, too), I took it for granted she would remain in the Marvelverse. I loved many things about Astonishing X-Men, but the abrasive, morally ambiguous Agent Brand was one of the elements I loved most. (Which is why I wrote some stories about her.) And it was one of the few times where I predicted and wanted a pairing and then it happened. (And kept happening in Brand's and Hank McCoy's post-Whedon appearances.) In conclusion: I love Abigail Brand.

If they retcon her out of existence I'll, I'll... nothing at all, in all likelihood, except for shaking my first at the Marvellian sky and consider a career as a supervillain. With green hair. It'll be all your fault, Marvel. *starts to plot ridiculous plan to take over the world, just in case*

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current mood: irate

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11:50 am - Star Trek Meme: Day 20
Day 20 - Of the minor characters (one shots, not the recurring ones) who’s your favorite?

There are shows where I could answer this immediately (Babylon 5: Timov, and in conclusion, Timov!), but for Star Trek in its various incarnations, it's surprisingly difficult. First because ST the guest stars I feel passionately about tend to be in more than one episode. (Or movie, which is why I can't list Saavik here, or K'eyhler, let alone Sarek and Amanda or Reboot!Pike.) Then there are genuine one shots which I think were interesting, and it would be intriguing to explore them more or learn what became of them post episode, like Rugal, the Cardassian boy raised as Bajoran in Cardassians (and Una McCormack did that in a novel), or Elizabeth Dehner (Margaret Bonnano brought her back in Strangers in the Sky), but I can't say I love them, which the word "favorite" implies.

Mulling this over some more, I'm circling around a few one shots which I do feel a bit stronger for: in the movies, Dr. Gillian Taylor (who had her own agenda and reasons to work with Our Heroes which weren't about being attracted to any of them! And she succeeded in achieving what she wanted! All hail the Whale Expert!) competing with Lily from First Contact (when I saw it in the cinema, I did have a problem with one of the strongest scenes that can be summed up with "but he should have that conversation with Beverly!), but such Doylist concerns aside - which grew weaker during the rewatch - Lily was great, a brave woman in a very scary situation indeed who did that most difficult thing, not just standing up to enemies but to friends. Plus Alfe Woodard had great chemistry with Patrick Stewart of the "two strong actors together" type without the movie trying to make her into a love interest.

In the various shows: Pel, the Ferengi Yentl. Who hopefully stays clear of the Founders after going off to make profit in the Gamma Quadrant. Yes, you knew how her story would go from the beginning (at least if you've watched Yentl), but that didn't make it any less enjoyable, and I really appreciated they remained true to the original and didn't let her settle for girlfriend/wife status instead of pursueing her dreams. We got only two female Ferengi characters on DS9 (or anywhere else), Ishka and Pel, and Pel never got stuck with the weaker writing of the "senile Nagus" storyline; she had her story, from which she exited with audience and characters knowing she made the right choice. So: Pel! (Icon chosen because it's actually a line from a conversation Dax has with Pel in the episode.)

The other days )

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current mood: energetic

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7:17 am - Various
Given that I'm currently doing the Star Trek mene, various soundtracks have been on my mind, and hearing composer James Horner died carried that sadness you feel when a stranger who gave you something through his art is suddenly taken away.
Here are ten of his most famous film scores.

I couldn't join Remix this year. (Though I did provide my stories to Remix Madness, if someone wants to have a go.)
But over the weekend, I finished my story for the History Exchange 2015, and the beta just came back, so I edited and posted it. Checking, I realised there are only 13 participants in the exchange, which makes it the anti Yuletide, I suppose! Ah well, hopefully the stories resulting will be read by a few people more. I'm very much looking forward to the other 12 stories! Incidentally, in order to brush up on my canon knowledge for my story, so to speak, I read one of the newer (i.e. published since the last time I did research) biographies on the subject. By Desmond Seward, and ended up being very annoyed indeed about him pulling out that old chestnut, "it's totally X's fault that her son Y was gay, because she was a strong personality and had a close relationship with him! Mothers with strong personalities who are close to their sons make men gay! And did I mention? She totally ruined hm for all other women and made him gay!" In a biography published in 2011, no less. That's it, Seward, I'll read no more biographies from you.

On a less backwards note, Sense8 icons! And very beautiful ones, too.

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current mood: geeky

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