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The more I hear about the literary novel A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, the more it sounds like beautifully written fanfic. It’s about four friends, but it centers upon one of them who has a dark past. I read the wikipedia entry for more plot details, and it's just…so….over-the-top. “spoilerish?” ) I might flip through the book at the bookstore one of these days just to see how the writing is. I’ve heard the author in interviews and she is a very pleasant interviewee. I was pleased that everyone I’ve heard say her name basically didn’t mangle it.

Read an article, Evangelion, Depression and Why Hideaki Anno is the Lars von Trier of Anime, that is exactly about what the title says. I'm assuming I will be disappointed (possibly enraged) by the last movie, whenever it comes out.

I’m sick and tired of hearing commercials for the sci-fi podcast The Message in the podcasts I listen to. When I came across the article Fiction Podcasts Are Trying Too Hard to Be Like Serial, I realized why. I heard the first episode of Serial way back when (before it got huge) and did not like the format. So The Message was designed to turn people like me off. XD

I particularly enjoyed the November 27 episode of the Empire Film Podcast because the hosts geek out on the Captain America: Civil War trailer and there's just a lot of hilarious inneundo re: Steve and Bucky.
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New Ameiro Paradox by Netsuke Isaku is out!!! My copy is in the mail and *knocks on wood* should arrive in a week or so. Along with the new Ten Count manga by Sakurai Rihito. I was disappointed by Ten Count volume 3 because it felt gratuitously smutty without enough of the psychological stuff I really enjoyed in the first two volumes, but I’m hoping volume 4 will be good.

Had a laugh listening to an episode of the Guardian Books Podcast because the music editor read Morissey’s new fiction book and it was awful. He called it the worst book he’s ever read. The sex scene he excerpts is….I don’t know if there’s a word for it, the entire scene is really rather repulsive, with an erect cock called a “bulbous salutation.” If you’re wondering, yes, Morissey is the singer Morissey.

So Kekkai Sensen actually ended. It was an okay ending, but I think they should’ve tightened it up to a normal episode length and aired it back with the rest of the episodes. I think it lost a lot by having such a long gap, and I thought it was flabby enough that they could’ve cut stuff out. But at least it didn’t suck. :P

Read some fanfic for the series, though sadly there doesn’t seem to be much. Am gravitating towards Klaus/Leo even though I don’t believe in the pairing at all. I think it’s because I stumbled upon an author, nekokoban, who writes very lovely stories with that pairing.

meminerunt omnia amantes is a longer fic in which Klaus is hit with a curse and there is a bit of angst. The author recently followed up with To Those With Love, which is set after the first fic and has Leo meeting Klaus’s family. Who are charming, if overwhelming. I hope there’s more in this universe. In an unrelated story, Climb Every Mountain, Leo wants to get it on with Klaus and is frustrated. It’s really adorable. Leo’s attempts to get advice and the unwanted advice he does get are just awesome.

Also got into Wincest. I figured I’d dive in one of these days, just hadn’t gotten around to it. Lots of crap, of course. What is killing me is all the alpha/omega fics. They are everywhere in all fandoms, so you hit them constantly. I’ve read a bunch, a handful were actually good* (or at least decent), but a lot of it was just too….icky? I hate the biological determinism and don’t see the point. The Wincest ones I do like tend to be set when they are younger, back when they are with their dad (who, according to fandom, was a terrible father. Is this canon?). So much teenage angst! So much incest angst! With demons, etc. thrown in! Lovely, lovely stuff.

So far my favorite (though a WIP) is Brothers by Sera_Necto23. It’s really fucked up and I assume the characters are nothing like canon, but the author really puts together a world and a dynamic that just works. Also, very dirty. And angsty.

*One “good” alpha/omega fic I came across is a Free! Sousuke/Haru one called Boundary Waters. It’s one where the alpha/omega dynamic comes about from some kind of attack in a war or something. Haru’s rage at the crappiness of a world gone bad and he having drawn the short straw is very well portrayed.

Another Free! Sousuke/Haru fic I thought was very well done was another AU, Artist, Imitate Thyself by orphan_account. Haru is an art student who likes sex very much. He hooks up with Sousuke and continues on as AWB (acquaintances with benefits). It gets serious and quite a bit angsty.
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Still watching anime.

First off, am loving Gingitsune. It’s a heart-warming slice-of-life story about a girl who is the heir to a shrine and thus can see the heralds that serve at shrines. Her herald is Gintaro (voiced by Miki XD), his partner ditched a long time ago. As I’ve read in reviews online, this anime is not for the cynical. It wears its heart on its sleeve and that heart is warm and fuzzy. Sometimes it’s a bit too warm and fuzzy, but I like the characters enough that I’m willing to go along for the ride. The main girl is balanced by a boy who is also an heir to a shrine but is very closed-off. He comes to live with the girl and her father along with one the heralds from his shrine. His herald is such a little brat, but oh man have I warmed to the little thing. Immature and loud, but loves very fiercely. ^^;

I’ve also caught up with Kuroko no Basket. I fall in and out of sports manga because the games tend to go on *forever*. Watched the DVD extra episode 22.5 about the intermediate school years before most of the Generation of Miracles (my god that name is so stupid, especially when the GoM guys use the term themselves) became bastards and it was so adorable.

I started looking for fics on AO3, but the slashy stuff wasn’t that good (and I'm not sure I believe in most of the pairings) and the gen stuff was few and far between. I did find one Aomine/Kuroko fic that made me laugh and laugh, Declarations of Love in a Time of Social Media by Lys ap Adin. As far as I can tell (I’ve only watched the anime, haven’t read any of the manga) it’s a bit OOC on a lot of the characters, but the tweets are hilarious. Kise and Momoi are the best, and the ending is adorable. An excerpt:

“Aomine Daiki @awesomine

@statsuki what do you mean this wasnt what you had in mind?

Momoi Satsuki @statsuki


Aomine Daiki @awesomine

well fuck”

Another adorable and short drabble I came across was Under the Sea by Kaelin. It tickled me because it’s a mermaid parody with Aomine as a crab/lobster/something with claws and Midorima as a flounder. So cute!

I need to spend some quality looking for fics, but right now I totally can’t. Work and the holidays gets in the way of fandom… *sighs*

I also started watching Natsume Yuujinchou because someone who really liked Gingitsune kept mentioning NY and how awesome it was. I saw the first two episodes and I’m okay with it. I will keep watching to see if it’ll suck me in.

In non-anime things, I binge-listened to Welcome to Night Vale, a podcast about a surreal place called Night Vale. I can’t even begin to describe the show, but it seems to be pretty popular (in podcast circles) because I’ve heard about it on a number of different podcasts. The first time I heard of it was on the Grammar Girl podcast when she talked about the use of the negative statement that actually makes come to the very opposite conclusion.

Need to get to work, so will just post this thing even though I have more "things I'm into right now." :P
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All thanks to HP: Why owls make bad pets on Marketplace

Though I don't care for his books, I did like George R.R. Martin's May 22nd interview on BBC's Front Row Daily.

I cracked up at Steven Moffat's response when asked how he was going to get Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman back after Sherlock season 3 on his Fresh Air interview.

Came across an unfamiliar euphemism for a penis that made me LOL today: man-heat.
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Awesome poem: Forgetfulness by Billy Collins. You can hear the poet recite it on the website. A bit of it:

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

Wish I could buy her music: Video Games by Lana Del Rey

Never saw the movie, missed the song when it first came out: Mad World by Gary Jules from Donnie Darko
Simon Pegg interview on NPR. He's a delight to listen to. My favorite bit:

As for the raging genre war over whether zombies should be slow or fast, Pegg falls solidly on the side of slow-moving zombies. "It is sort of a schism in the church of the undead," Pegg explains. "I personally don't like fast zombies because, A) it's fun to get annoyed about something so trivial and B) I think it removes their appeal."

Factoid of the Day: The word "factoid" was coined by Norman Mailer in his book Marilyn.
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The Boy Who Lived Forever, an amazingly nuanced and non-sensationalized look at fanfic. Loved this paragraph:

Diversity: the fan-fiction scene is hyperdiverse. You'll find every race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, age and sexual orientation represented there, both as writers and as characters. For people who don't recognize themselves in the media they watch, it's a way of taking those media into their own hands and correcting the picture. "For me, fanfic is partially a political act," says "XT." "MGM is too cowardly to put a gay man in one of their multimillion-dollar blockbusters? And somehow want me to be content with the occasional subtext crumb from the table? Why should I?"

At NPR's Monkey See blog: Romance Fiction And Women's Health: A Dose Of Skepticism critically looks at an essay by some psychologist/advice columnist/relationship guru. The last bit of the essay is eye-roll inducing. The last paragraph tells you all you need to know about what she thinks about romance fiction and women readers, despite her protestations to the contrary:

But I do think that if readers start to believe the story that romantic fiction offers, then they store up trouble for themselves – and then they bring that trouble into our consulting rooms. Sometimes the kindest and wisest thing we can do for our clients is to encourage them to put down the books – and pick up reality.

Also at Monkey See, a love letter to the Oxford Comma. I don't have the deep love for it that some seem to have, but I use it regularly. I'd be very sad if it stopped being okay to use.

Elmore Leonard is a fun guy to listen to in an interview. When asked about what he thought of the various adaptations of his books on BBC Front Row, he points to The Big Bounce as one he hated. It was made twice. The first time Leonard said it was the second worse movie ever made. When asked what the worst movie was, Leonard responded that he had just kept that slot open as there had to be a worse one...Only for the slot to be filled by the second adaptation.
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I was riveted by the Fresh Air interview of the author of Singular Woman, a biography of Barack Obama's mother. First off, I didn't know that she had met Barack Obama Sr and her second husband at the University of Hawaii. Sad as it is, it's thrilling to find my alma mater as setting for such a story. Also, she seems to have been quite a fascinating woman. I think I want to read the book.

I also listened to Andy Borowitz's humorous telling of his scary brush with death on The Moth and died laughing at "ileostomy propaganda." I love deadpan delivery.

I am leaving for a trip to Japan next week and had planned on trying to catch Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi on TV, but looking at the rather long list of broadcasters on the website made me realize I have no idea how to find out if/when/what channel the cities I am in will air it. ;_;
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I enjoyed listening to an interview with the author of a New Yorker article about George RR Martin and his fans because I like non-bashing discussions about fandom by non-fans. I love how the author, who deals more with literary fiction, is fascinated by the serial nature of his work and how it creates a relationship between the author and fan, but just as importantly, relationships between fans. It's like a revelation to her!

I love (and am horrified by) the discussion of anti-fans who grumble that the author is taking too long to publish the next book. The motto of a house in the book is "Winter is coming," and the name of the main anti-fan forum is "Is winter coming?" One blog is called "Finish the book George." I hate fan entitlement, but I can't help but chuckle at the wit.

I am not a GRRM fan. I tried reading the first book and could not get into it. Too many characters, too political, and not enough magic for me.


Mar. 30th, 2011 07:04 pm
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I was struck by the following excerpt of the book Emily, Alone by Stewart O'Nan on Fresh Air:

On formal occasions like tonight [Henry] would stand behind her like a valet ... She'd find him admiring her in the mirror, and while she discounted his adoration of her beauty — based, as it was, on a much younger woman — she also relied on it, and as time passed she was grateful for the restorative powers of his memory.

Love the phrase "restorative powers of his memory." I don't know if I'd like this book, but I'm drawn to it because of the last line of the piece: "With economy, wit and grace, O'Nan ushers us into the shrinking world of a pleasantly flawed, rather ordinary old woman and keeps us readers transfixed by the everyday miracles of monotony." I'd just read a romance novel that made me want to throw it across the room. It was a decent read: fairly pleasant characters, basically sweet relationship (marriage of convenience turns into love), no graphic sex...Then it was all ruined by throwing in ridiculous drama at the end, including one cliche* I despise beyond all belief. Recently, I've been drawn to novels that manage to make the ordinary feel special without too much extra drama. It results in less eye-rolling, at least.

*Long, involved farewell letters after a huge blow-up with confessions of love/explanations that make the recipient almost immediately regret EVERYTHING and want to make it all right would instantly combust, if I had my way.


Mar. 24th, 2011 05:38 pm
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I downloaded the Sekaiichi Hatsukoi video the other day and had way too much fun watching it. Seeing dorky adorable not-snarky Ritsu and silent not-snarky Takano/Saga and their disgustingly shojo manga-esque story was hilarious. I'm glad they faded out on the sex, it kept the story focused on the disgustingly shojo manga fantasy quality of it all (the fluttering curtains and swirling cherry blossoms in the library was so over the top it was almost painful). I ended up rereading the four manga volumes again. I think I need to order volume 5 right now.

I was listening to an interview with the author Carl Hiaason on BBC Front Row on March 11 in which he relates one piece of writing advice he gives to people who ask: don't write about eating roadkill. He has a recurring character who the interviewer calls an "eco vigilante and roadkill connoisseur." He says, very seriously: "Stay away from the subject of roadkill....You get the most disturbing mail from people who really, really like roadkill. They send you menus and they send you little roadkill anecdotes and it opens up a whole new, a very disturbing world. You'll be sleeping with the lights on, I guarantee you, if you get some of the correspondence that I've received from people who like that sort of thing." The soft noises from the interviewer (snickers? laughter?) makes it even funnier.
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More GH...First Powder and Patch, an early work set in the era of Louis XV. It's about an ernest if slightly bossy young gentleman living in the country with no love for town polish. The girl he loves, as well as his father, contrive to get him to go and become polished, which he resentfully does. He goes to Paris with his uncle and sets about to learn all that there is to learn, and becomes quite good at it all. He comes back to England to claim his lady, though it doesn't go so smoothly. I rather enjoyed this book despite the large amount of French in it (and I thought These Old Shades was bad!) until the last bit. Then this book then managed to annoy me. )

I also read the short story collection Pistols for Two. I didn't expect to really love it, as I have no great love for short stories, but a couple of the stories were pretty good. "Bath Miss," about the guy who picks up the granddaughter of an old friend of his mother's from her school in Bath and gets into some adventures thanks to the innocent girl was rather adorable. So was "Full Moon," which was about a girl who tries to run away and elope because she thinks her father will make her marry an old fogey but instead is rescued by the very man she's running away from. I laughed at the end, where the guy basically has to cover up for her escape by being really daft and makes the father think he's totally nuts!

I heard a delightful interview by the author of an article called Jefferson's Moose in the February Scientific American on the SA podcast, check it out here. It's about a famous French naturalist who comes up with the completely crazy theory of American biological degeneracy which becomes something of an obsession with Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers, as well as later American naturalists, to disprove. James Madison assists him in collecting data, so he writes letters to him about such things as the measurements of weasel's sexual organs (with charts!). I want to read the article now, as well as the book the author of the article wrote about on the subject.
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The Fresh Air interview of Harold McGee, writer of several cooking books (such as On Food and Cooking and the upcoming Keys to Good Cooking) was absolutely fascinating. He's like Alton Brown in that he explains why things happen the way they do while cooking, but without the cheesy shticks (which sometimes work and sometimes so do not work for me). He gives lots of good tips that I can totally use in my own daily life, just in the interview. I'm going to have to check out his books at the bookstore/library and see if they are something I want to own. He also has a column at the New York Times.

I'm not sure if anyone that reads this has iPod Touches/iPhones, but I figure it can't hurt to throw a question out there. Is there a way to load zips or folders of jpgs of books for on-the-go reading? I have seen pdf readers (figuring out which one to get will be tough--I don't deal well with choices sometimes) but just wondering about jpgs. Any other cool/useful/awesome apps to recommend? I just got a new iPod Touch as my 1st gen Touch was getting a little too slow for me, so it feels like I can finally indulge in apps. XD;

I am sleepy and lethargic. I hate stress-induced insomnia so much.
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I am very motivated to try the latest of Mark Bittman's The Minimalist video podcasts Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi and Quick Preserved Lemons. So easy, so tasty looking. I look forward to trying them at some point. And on newspaper columns, I heard good things about The New Vegetarian column on Guardian UK.

I love how creative people can get with costumes (be it for Halloween or for cosplay or whatever), so i really liked seeing this Toy Soldier Tutorial. The Tutorial is mainly concerned about the cosmetics to make her face look doll-like as she bought the costume itself. The transformation is just trippy.
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On radio program (which I listen to via podcast) The Splendid Table they had a trivia challenge that asked, "What's the translation of Adam and Eve on a raft with Noah's boy and where does it come from?" It's lunch counter lingo or diner speak, the terms waitresses and cooks used for menu items, and it means two poached eggs on toast with a side of ham (Noah's second son was named Ham). The example I liked was "first lady with cow feed" for spareribs with salad. Eve was the first lady and she was made from Adam's rib. More lingo here.

I stayed up too late finishing "Accident in Blue" last night...more Fujimi )

I knew rereading Fujimi would turn into a major time suck. *sighs* I love the series and can't resist temptation, and so am not doing things I should be doing.
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Heard a great interview on BBC Radio 4's Front Row of the conductor John Wilson, who reconstructed the theatrical scores of various Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and will perform (has performed?) them at the BBC Proms. One tidbit I particularly liked: apparently the orchestras used for these scores were filled with classically trained refugees from Europe in the string section and people who'd been in the various big bands in the brass and woodwind sections. The interview is available here for a limited time.

Another great interview, this time on the Scientific American podcast, of author Mary Roach on her new book Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2. Lots and lots of random trivia, told very engagingly.


Aug. 19th, 2010 09:26 pm
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I just heard a Fresh Air interview with a Wall Street Journal reporter on online tracking of your activities. It's far more extensive than I'd thought, and only getting more so. I'd never heard of beacons...I guess I'll need to do some research (that will be tracked, yay internet!). What worries me the most is the stuff they talked about at the end. First, the fact that sites like google are already tailoring searches based on who they think you are or what you may be interested in. Second, the possibility that companies could buy info on you not to advertise but to figure out other things (and act on what they think they know). Also, the fact that the profile they build up of you may be totally incorrect is worrisome, especially in the context of the two concerns I mentioned earlier.
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At MF: A subversive cross stitch kit prompts someone to ask about the origin of the phrase, "don't make me cut you."

At Slate: Culture Gabfest podcast discusses spoiler policies. They were very unsympathetic to people who want spoiler alerts. They referred to The Vulture's spoiler poiicy, which I found woefully inadequate. Unmarked spoilers allowed in text of article the Monday after a movie opens? Seriously. I think this is the privilege of people who consume culture for a living talking. The rest of us have lives, ya know? Plus all the people who live in different parts of the world where they can (legally) get stuff at different times than these media types but who still inhabit the internet. Read a great response. My favorite part:

Thus the warning of a spoiler to come is a courtesy, a gesture of respect. The expectation of spoiler warnings in popular discourse is a matter of etiquette. It would only exist in a scenario in which knowledge is unevenly distributed, and it mitigates the effects of this distribution. In particular, those like me who prefer not to be spoiled like to be respectful of others, whatever their preferences.

The Straight Dope: Did a state legislature once pass a law saying pi equals 3?
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The Guardian Books Podcast: Rachel Cooke, one of the judges of the 2010 Observer/Cape Graphic Short Story prize, doesn't do superhero comics: "I'm a sort of book snob, so I want stories...and I want investigations into human psychology." Yes, my dear, you are a snob. A BIG FAT SNOB. It's even more annoying because she then calls other people in the graphic novel/comic scene who don't appreciate her being in it snobs. Not that she doesn't have a point about these people treating Alan Moore like Moses coming down the mountain with the 10 Commandments...

Hearing a glowing review of Toy Story 3 on Fresh Air reminded me that I hadn't posted about it. I saw it this weekend and it is a wonderful, wonderful movie. Funny, fun, and touching. Just like the first two. I love how the toys work together to solve their problems. I admit I teared up a bit at the end, but at least I didn't sob like I did watching Up.
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Never never never ever bother listening to the food podcast The Sporkful. My mini-rant. )

holy crap

May. 28th, 2010 11:10 pm
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Listen to this, if it doesn't make you tear up just a bit I don't know what will. Especially when her voice hitches, since she sounds so calm the rest of the time.


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