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2013-07-10 01:19 am

and meta

I've been rereading The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. Pretty excited for the third one to come out! It's a polarizing couple of books. I know of a number of people who vehemently disliked it/them (if they made it to the second book at all). Some people have such black and white thinking about narrators being good people... No, there was something quite unpleasant about the end of the second book that I won't spoil, but would like to talk more about once I finish it again.

Anyway, I really liked this quote, this time around:

“What’s the correct solution?” Alice asked. “I mean, I know it worked, but there must be a better way.”

She took a timid sip of her wine, immediately followed by a less timid one.

“There isn’t one,” Janet said. “Or not a good one, anyway. That’s part of the point. This is Physical Magic. It’s messy. It’s crude. As long as you don’t knock the building down, it counts. And if you did it would probably still count.”

 

A lot of the "magic" is really about reading and about writing. I especially think that quote is about writing; programming too, really, which I am feeling more and more is basically the same thing as writing -- I had this whole paragraph written about how people's snobby genre preferences correlate to people's snobby [language/text editor/whatever] preferences, but meh.
record: (Default)
2013-07-10 01:19 am

and meta

I've been rereading The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. Pretty excited for the third one to come out! It's a polarizing couple of books. I know of a number of people who vehemently disliked it/them (if they made it to the second book at all). Some people have such black and white thinking about narrators being good people... No, there was something quite unpleasant about the end of the second book that I won't spoil, but would like to talk more about once I finish it again.<br /><br />Anyway, I really liked this quote, this time around:<div style="margin-left: 40px;"><br />&ldquo;What&rsquo;s the correct solution?&rdquo; Alice asked. &ldquo;I mean, I know it worked, but there must be a better way.&rdquo;<br /><br />She took a timid sip of her wine, immediately followed by a less timid one.<br /><br />&ldquo;There isn&rsquo;t one,&rdquo; Janet said. &ldquo;Or not a good one, anyway. That&rsquo;s part of the point. This is Physical Magic. It&rsquo;s messy. It&rsquo;s crude. As long as you don&rsquo;t knock the building down, it counts. And if you did it would probably still count.&rdquo;</div><br />A lot of the book is really about reading and about writing. I especially think that quote is about writing; programming too, really, which I am feeling more and more is basically the same thing as writing -- I had this whole paragraph written about how people's snobby genre preferences correlate to people's snobby [language/text editor/whatever] preferences, but meh.<br /><br type="_moz" />
record: (Default)
2013-07-10 01:16 am

and meta

I've been rereading The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman. Pretty excited for the third one to come out! It's a pretty polarizing couple of books. I know of a number of people who vehemently disliked it/them (if they made it to the second book at all). Some people have such black and white thinking about narrators being good people... No, there was something quite unpleasant about the end of the second book that I won't spoil, but would like to talk more about once I finish it again.

Anyway, I really liked this quote, this time around:

“What’s the correct solution?” Alice asked. “I mean, I know it worked, but there must be a better way.”

She took a timid sip of her wine, immediately followed by a less timid one.

“There isn’t one,” Janet said. “Or not a good one, anyway. That’s part of the point. This is Physical Magic. It’s messy. It’s crude. As long as you don’t knock the building down, it counts. And if you did it would probably still count.”

A lot of the book is really about reading and about writing. I especially think that quote is about writing; programming too, really, which I am feeling more and more is basically the same thing as writing -- I had this whole paragraph written about how people's snobby genre preferences correlate to people's snobby X preferences, but meh.

record: (Default)
2013-07-10 01:11 am

and meta

I've been rereading The Magicians. Pretty excited for the third one to come out! It's a pretty polarizing books. I know of a number of people who vehemently dislike it. Some people have such black and white thinking about narrators being good people...

Anyway, I really liked this quote, this time around:

“What’s the correct solution?” Alice asked. “I mean, I know it worked, but there must be a better way.”

She took a timid sip of her wine, immediately followed by a less timid one.

“There isn’t one,” Janet said. “Or not a good one, anyway. That’s part of the point. This is Physical Magic. It’s messy. It’s crude. As long as you don’t knock the building down, it counts. And if you did it would probably still count.”

A lot of the book is really about reading and about writing. I especially think that quote is about writing; programming too, really, which I am feeling more and more is basically the same thing as writing -- I had this whole paragraph written about how people's snobby genre preferences correlate to people's snobby X preferences, but meh.

record: (Default)
2012-01-02 05:22 pm

the obligatory 2011 books post

 It used to be pretty easy for me to know what books I've read. I have a terrible memory, but I have my reading history turned on on my library account (guess I'll just have to hope nobody ever does some kind of a Patriot Act request!), and anything that wasn't from the library was
probably sitting around in my bookcase. But then I got an ereader as a birthday present halfway through 2011, so now I'm not entirely sure anymore. I've read a LOT of books on my Nook, and I tend to just erase them after finishing, since neither my SD card nor hard drive have much spare space. (If I ever get around to building my media server, maybe I'll just keep them there forever.)

The list under the cut )
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2010-06-05 02:35 pm

blah blah theorycakes

Well helloooooo LJ! (You can imagine that being the Seinfeld belly voice, if you want to.)

Rather than attempting to catch up on the rather boring and trivial recent events of my life, here's something that I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] mousetrout about, after we read this article on io9. What's the appeal of the origin story?

My initial, kind of English-nerdy thought was, well, everyone likes a good Bildungsroman. I'm not even going to formulate this into a line of reasoning: Harry Potter, Q.E.D. But the weird thing about origin story movies (Batman Begins, for example) is that they only seem to work as an after-the-fact prequel. Maybe that's because in the initial movie of a comic book franchise, the origin story *does* get to be part of the plot of the movie, if only in a flashback or introduction piece. So as viewers, we're left curious and intrigued by what we know, and after getting sick of the franchise, we want to recapture that initial curiosity by spending a whole movie before the timeline gets "ruined" by whatever annoying or worn-out thing that ended up happening?

Or maybe it's that no matter what "beginning" the original seems to start with, there's always something that could have happened before? What IS the "interesting" or "main" part of any story, right? Especially when you're talking about a superhero, who, by the nature of the comic book, has to tilt at endless windmills for decades.

I totally would have watched a prequel to Lost rather than the last two seasons, too. Just putting that out there.



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2010-04-11 02:23 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

 After Tantalus stopped reaching, his shoulders ached and he no
longer felt pain elsewhere. He curled inward within 
the small island he could create by lowering himself. 
He meditated on hunger and yearning. He brought
his forehead to the ground and bent over his knees. 
The cool, moist soil a tongue's dart from his lips made him thirstier. 
It smelled clean, although he knew it was made of rot and silt, fish 
excrement and broken vegetation. He considered apples: gnawed 
mealy pulp, gulped into a stomach full of venom. The journey 
through the miles of tripe below his belly; its nauseating 
conclusion. He still wanted apples. He still wanted 
to vomit them before they were too degraded and become
empty and pure, although thirstier. He still wanted 
the water to cover his head and stop his nose and mouth. 
After Tantalus stopped reaching everyone called 
his hunched shoulders and concave stomach and chapped lips beautiful. 
Cain walked past and asked what he'd sacrificed, and Tantalus replied, 
Flesh.
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2010-01-29 06:08 pm

spherical miracle and other stories

So not in a good mood.  I think it's PMS. Have I ever shared my theory that PMS is actually the brief time every month when women are emotionally more like men, and let themselves be grumpy, irrational, selfish, and impulsive? Feel free to discuss. I'll be busy eating something disgusting or watching Popular.

P.S. I got a job! More on that when I actually start! I'm starting to get less scared and more excited, but I imagine I'll come to my senses once the reality of driving a giant van hits me.
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2010-01-17 04:16 pm

just a few reviews...

Being unemployed, I've been reading a lot of books and seeing a lot of movies lately. Luckily for you, dear LJ friends, my life is so boring that I have absolutely no backlog of like, personal revelations to torment you with, although I have had some lovely days with [livejournal.com profile] fuzzz_brain recently, the kind that have been so delightful that in a movie or bestseller, they'd probably be foreshadowing a death via some kind of ironic supernatural fate that could have been avoided had the characters only gotten together halfway through and compared notes on the mysterious events that were occurring. A fate delivered, no doubt, in a dark church vestibule surrounded by the art of the homeless, by a fundamentalist polygamous FLDS cult leader armed with extremely ironic vintage postcards and homoerotic board games. And bacon.

Cut for non-egregious spoilers. The kinds of things that when reviewers say them, make me want to see the movie/read the book more, but bother some people. That is, a few plot points, but not full-on summaries or trick ending reveals or anything.

Inglourious Basterds... )
The Invention of Lying )
Under the Dome... )
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2010-01-10 02:47 am

the kind of entry that i could only post at 3am

Since I can't seem to sleep, here are are a few more movie lists. Music and book lists later, perhaps.

Twenty Items I Recall From My Childhood VHS Collection (which probably shaped all future expectations and experiences of movies):

Anne of Green Gables miniseries
Back to the Future trilogy
Duel
Excalibur
Fantasia
The Goonies
Indiana Jones trilogy
Labyrinth
The Little Mermaid
Never Cry Wolf
Milo and Otis
Star Trek II, III, IV, and VI
Star Wars trilogy
Superman I and II
The Ten Commandments
The Three Caballeros
Tremors
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The Wizard of Oz
Young Sherlock Holmes

Top Five Smartest:

Crumb
Grizzly Man
I'm Not There
Memento
The Shape of Things

Top Five Guilty Pleasures:

The Day After Tomorrow
The Fifth Element
Freejack
The Notebook
Stephen King TV movies (such as The Stand, The Shining, Desperation, etc.)

Top Five Weirdest:

Exotica
Party Monster
The Science of Sleep
Superstar
There Will Be Blood

Top Five Most Watched:

Go
Heathers
Natural Born Killers
Pulp Fiction
Velvet Goldmine

P.S. Why is Todd Haynes on almost every single list? 

P.P.S. I wanted to do a list that represented the widest possible range of moviegoing emotional and intellectual response, but stopped once I realized I'd have to include fucking Avatar.

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2010-01-09 11:20 am

in alphabetical order

Twenty Movies of the Decade

American Splendor
Bamboozled
Best in Show
Capturing the Friedmans
City of God
Dancer in the Dark
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Fall
Frailty
Grindhouse
Grizzly Man
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
High Fidelity
Howl's Moving Castle
The Life Aquatic
Lost in Translation
Memento
Oldboy
Pan's Labyrinth
Persepolis

Twenty Movies of the LAST Decade:

American Beauty
Angels and Insects
Boys Don't Cry
Crumb
Dark City
Dorothy Parker and the Vicious Circle
Exotica
Fargo
Fight Club
Mallrats
Much Ado About Nothing
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Pulp Fiction
Raise the Red Lantern
Run Lola Run
Trainspotting
Twelve Monkeys
The Usual Suspects
Velvet Goldmine
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2009-12-07 10:08 am

Most memorable books I read in 2009

World Made By Hand by James Kunstler. Post-apocalyptic nostalgia. Disappointing plot and misogynistic undertones, but I read it in January and it's still with me.
In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami. Amazing transgressive fic, the Japanese American Psycho...kind of literally, too. His name is not a typo. Unrelated to Haruki.
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman. Mindblowingly stylized gay coming-of-age-nove; a bit pretentious and slow-moving, perhaps only appealed to me due to love of Italy and Latin and all things alienated-Jew.
Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill
. Short stories that are what is in my heart.
Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent. Nonfiction - a lesbian pretends to be a man, yet she is not an FTM. Deeply flawed but brilliant. Especially enjoyed the chapters on bowling and strip clubs, and the section in which she describes the way men stare at women but not men.
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell. Short stories that I wish I could write.
Birds of America by Lorrie Moore. See above.
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. Not a dictionary!  A novel written as if the narrator is learning English; sort of a travel narrative. Fascinatingly-described love affair.
Ask the Dust by John Fante. Moody terse fiction, kind of like Bukowski.
How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers. Short stories. Either you like him or you don't.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Energetic pop-culture-driven fiction with lots of interesting Cuban history and vigorous love of plus-sized ladies that made me smile.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Memoir of the death of her husband and life-threatening illness of her daughter. Dispassionate, surgical style. What's unsaid is almost the greater story. Last week, I learned a disturbing fact about this that I don't want to give away here, but desperately want to discuss with someone who's read it.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Again, you like him or you don't. Less accessible than No Country for Old Men or The Road. But maybe that's why I liked it better.  A knottier puzzle.
Prisoner of Trebekistan by Bob Harris. A memoir of years of competing on Jeopardy. Fun and good mnemonic tips.
Shelf Discovery by Lizzie Skurnick. Essays about rereading young adult novels. Super super fun and interesting! Some books I'd forgotten reading, and some fresh takes on things like the portrayal of sex in Clan of the Cave Bear that I hadn't really contemplated.
Go With Me by Castle Freeman. Spare, menacing novella that reminded me of Deliverance by James Dickey.
Quiverfull by Katherine Joyce. The most frightening book I've read this year, a nonfiction piece on the Quiverfull fundamentalist Christian movement.
How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken by Daniel Mendelsohn. Brilliant essays on everything from Kill Bill to the Iliad.
Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett. Memoir of/eulogy to a best friend, Lucy Grealy, who wrote her own Autobiography of a Face, which is now on my list. Aside from their troubled relationship, I was also intrigued by all the business-of-being-a-writer details.
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2009-12-06 07:11 pm
Entry tags:

ode to a bot

Charles Bukowski, dead for decades, followed me on Twitter. Intoxicated by his spare sentences, I followed him back. Too late. He'd unfollowed me, leaving behind only a faint odor of alcohol and cigarettes, and a typewriter's echoing strokes. He used me and left me. I'm another one of Bukowski's followers. He's moved on to the next girl.
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2009-11-12 08:05 am

highlights from "i tell the truth's Journal"

So... To make up for my recent absence, I'm going to go ahead and share something awesome with y'all. Here are some excerpts from my SECRET OTHER LJ that I made as an ANGSTY TEEN! It seems to mainly have existed as a way to post annoying surveys that my regular LJ was already a bit weighted down with. There are also some reallllly exciting confessions, some of which are frankly surprising even to me.

Sunday, July 1st, 2001

"whenever i walk into a room...
i wonder if people wish that i hadn't."

"First person you ever thought was hot: bono"

"Pets names: i want a white cat named lucifer"

"Funniest thing that ever happened to you: i actually had sex with someone i liked hahahahaha"

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2001

"ah. god.
i feel.
okay.
pissed off that no one commented on my lj, in which i posted very cool, honest, interesting things...as well as my new song!
fuckheads."

"ways in which i actually am evil:
i talk shit about people behind their backs instead of confronting them.
i intentionally physically hurt my brothers. (not like, abuse, but i mean, fuck, violence is not okay, right? i shouldn't hit people cuz i'm angry with them!)
i lie. mostly white lies. also lies to get people to feel sorry for me, or to think i'm less pathetic. or say that i like someone/don't have a problem with them when i actually do.
i. um. what else. i cut and burn and hit myself. i don't know if that's evil or just fucked up.
i get off on S&M. ditto.
i used to kill ants on purpose.
OH! when i was little i would have fantasies about torturing animals. almost like sexual fantasies, i didn't masturbate or anything but it felt really good. THAT was pretty fucking evil. my favorite one was leaving an octupus on the floor right next to a bucket of water and it would slowly die. whoa. now THIS is a real confession.
i sort of feel like writing more but i can't think of anything else that's evil (not cuz i'm NOT, just cuz i'm spacy, i'm sure). so.
until next time."

"24. Cartoon character you'd like to be: this fluffy anime hedgehog i forget the name of"

Monday, July 9th, 2001

"i masturbated with a banana today. it was...interesting, i guess."

Wednesday, July 18th, 2001

"why isn't ecstacy (sp?) on that list? prolly cuz whoever made this survey didn't know how to spell it either."

"3 Things You'd Like To Say To Any Person You Hate:
1. you hate me because we are the same, you and i.
2. you can't hurt me. i'm nothing. just a reflection of yourself.
3. i'm gonna kick your ass, fuck this wordy bullshit."

Thursday, July 26th, 2001

"5. Male singer's voice that makes you cry: trent reznor
6. Female singer's voice that makes you cry: ani difranco"

Monday, August 6th, 2001

"(13) If money were no object, what would your dream job be?
an oracle."

"(18) If it meant losing your legs, would you like to have fully functioning wings?
most definitely."
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2009-10-16 02:38 am

real post coming soon, i promise...it'll even be interesting! really!

1. If you're on my friends list, I want to know 35 things about you. I don't care if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Short and sweet is fine.
2. Comment here with your answers and repost the questionnaire on your own journal.

01) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
02) What was your dream growing up?
03) What talent do you wish you had?
04) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
05) Favorite vegetable?
06) What was the last book you read?
07) What zodiac sign are you?
08) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
09) Worst Habit?
10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
11) What is your favorite sport?
12) Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?
13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
16) Do you have any pets?
17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
18) What was your first impression of me?
19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
22) What color eyes do you have?
23) Ever been arrested?
24) Bottle or can soda?
25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
26) What's your favorite place to hang out at?
27) Do you believe in ghosts?
28) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
29) Do you swear a lot?
30) Biggest pet peeve?
31) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
32) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
33) Favourite and least favourite food?
34) Do you believe in God?
35) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?
record: (Default)
2009-09-07 02:55 pm
Entry tags:

"this is my life now"

New story up on my writing blog, finally! (It's a creepy and perhaps slightly overwritten one, but I'm just tremendously relieved that I got through a whole story.)

http://jenswildyears.wordpress.com/2009/09/07/1st-draft-this-is-my-life-now/