freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I finally found the brainspace and emotional energy to watch the Sherlock special, and... wow. That was an appalling script. Seriously, what were they thinking? Incoherent and self-indulgent and pervaded throughout with an enormous, self-congratulatory sense of its own cleverness, which really wasn't as clever as it thought it was. And I'm not even going to take the lid off the gender politics can, on account of how it's too early in the morning to wrestle caricatures of giant writhing worms and besides, I have to go to the dentist and don't have time. Overall, a sad waste of an interesting concept. Lovely visuals, though.

I am on leave for ten days, in a desperate attempt to try and reconstruct myself, post-registration, as something other than a sad, limp piece of chewed string. Not ideally timed in terms of the fact that the faculty is still full of desperate students trying to register late, but needs must, and I have thoroughly briefed my team to deal with it. I think overall a brief recuperatory absence now is probably better than a month off work with a full-on glandular resurgence, which I can feel building up if I don't rest. As a bonus side-effect, protesting students have taken to be-dewing the university buildings liberally with cans of sewerage of a morning, the first expression of which I managed to miss on Tuesday owing to Evil Traffic, and I'd like to maintain that distance. It seems a good time to coincidentally be away.

Now off to dentist. I think may have taken to grinding my teeth over the last month, bits are chipping off. My subject line is Bowie's "Time", which I have always adored for its jazzy piano, but I'm amused by how far the quote applies both to Sherlock episodes and sewerage-flinging students. What's really in my mind, though, with respect to "Abominable Bride" is the line about falling wanking to the floor.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Mostly my movie-watching life has been on hold lately, because Inquisition. Turns out there is no contest between gaming and watching DVDs: gaming wins. However, apparently the grip of the game loosens a bit when I'm on my, what, seventh or eighth play-through? So I have both gone to the movies, and watched some of the Pile of Unwatched Reproach, which is probably twenty DVDs high, in between navigating a Qunari mage through a by now incredibly familiar Thedas. Leading to a scorecard which looks something like this:

Big Hero 6. Disney animated thing with cute bulbous robot. It's a cute bulbous superhero film which I thoroughly enjoyed, because it's both cute and science-positive. Also, its deliberate rip-offs of Iron Man, among other films, are hilarious. Bonus cool swarms of evil microbots, cool nerd stereotypes and cool affirmations of non-violence. A-, because fluffy, but relegated to "probable comfort re-watch" pile.

The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies. Um. Martin Freeman is still a tiny hobbitoid acting god. Bard wants to be Aragorn when he grows up, and probably could be. Thorin's downward spiral wasn't as heart-rending as I expected it to be, possibly I'm becoming old and cynical. Peter Jackson still suffers from irredeemably self-indulgent narrative bloat and completely inexplicable plot choices, and IMNSHO he stuffed up the actual battle something 'orrible. Wasted Fili and Kili's sacrifice, weird relocation of Thorin's confrontation to unnecessary and rather lame towers rather than the battlefield, and it made absolutely no tactical sense whatsoever. Did he run out of budget for background fighting? Also, no Bilbo shouting "The eagles are coming!", rotten swizz. B-, visually cool but overall strangely uncompelling, Martin Freeman notwithstanding.

Basil the Great Mouse Detective. This was, weirdly, teaching research, on account of how I'm teaching Sherlock again this year and am becoming unduly fascinated by the endurance of the Holmes/Watson mythic archetype across different iterations. This one has a classic Watson and a rather annoying Sherlock who has surprisingly large numbers of points in common with the current BBC one. Amazing how the tall&thin vs short&solid visual image is retained in so many versions. Entirely predicable Disney film in the slightly less accomplished pre-Aladdin mode. C, but will will show clips in class because the parallels are interesting.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Saw this on Sunday morning (about 10 people in the 9am showing, score!) in sheer self-defence because my Tumblr feed is trying to spoil me. I am entirely unable to say whether it's a good movie or not because my ships and personal headcanons have been so thoroughly Jossed that I'm all quivering with outrage, injury and sulk. I've read a lot of Avengers fanfic, and it turns out I'm really invested in the Avengers as they currently stand, and I want to keep on thinking of them like that, living together forever in Avengers Tower and fighting crime, not with the new team make-up going in the new direction. It was certainly a fun film, visually exciting, good character interaction, amazing fight choreography, but bleah. I decline to assign it a score on the grounds that I'm not reasonable about it. I spent most of Sunday unconscionably depressed and killing things in Inquisition with more than the usual levels of vindictive satisfaction. Phooey.

On the upside, they also gave us the new Star Wars trailer in big-screen 3-D, and it made me weepy. Apparently I'm imprinted on that universe, but also the new images are correctly gritty and feel like Star Wars in a way the prequels-we-do-not-mention did not. A new hope!
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Imprinting is a bitch. Sherlock Holmes was probably my first serious crush - the literary character, from Doyle's stories, when I was about 14. Inaccessible, intellectual men and all that. There's something about that archetype which is tailor-made for impressionable, geeky, hyperliterate teenage girls such as I was. The ones who don't actually get to talk to real people much and live exciting imaginative lives instead. (I moved on to Christopher Reeve's Superman, make of that what you will.) At any rate, my current state of hopeless fangirling over the BBC Sherlock is firmly and inevitably rooted in the sludgier and more generative depths of my psyche.

So setlock photos ("setlock" being the term used by fans of Sherlock to refer to photos taken by fans of filming in process, which is currently happening in Bristol and elsewhere for the Sherlock special due sometime this year) suggest that the special is going to do something interesting with a Victorian setting. Leading to images such as this:

victorian sherlock

That did something to me. Quite what I'm not sure, but I'm wibbling.

(My subject line is from Vincent Starrett's 221B, the ultimate celebration of the eternal moment of the stories. This post brought to you several days delayed by orientation stress, post-orientation migraine, and the curious fact that since Friday loading LJ on my home computer has caused my internet connection to crash in a mysterious and sinisterly Russian fashion. Posting this from campus.)
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Oh, dear. In pursuit of watering the burgeoning and increasingly verdant collection of pots in my back courtyard, I seem to have accidentally watered the Hobbit. He is slinking about the house at half his usual volume and twice his usual density, looking matted and hedgehog-spiky and somewhat cowed. I would be feeling more guilty except he's amusing like this :>.

In the Department of Random Ongoing Fangirling: so it turns out that if you slow the Sherlock theme down it sounds like something from a Tim Burton soundtrack.

I am obscurely charmed by this. Particularly since it beautifully accompanies fanart such as, for example, that by La-Chapeliere-Folle on deviantart, which won't let me link to the image, phooey. The Sherlock/Burton crossover appears to be inevitable. I blame Sherlock's silhouette.

Random fanfic rec! surprisingly, not Sherlock. This is an exceptionally beautifully-written slow-burn Harry/Draco fic which does my favourite thing in Potterfic, which is to explore the manifest iniquities and logical flaws inherent in Rowling's Slytherin/Gryffindor stereotyping. She really doesn't do nuance or sophistication or real human impulse in her moralities. Fortunately many fanfic writers absolutely do. This one is set mostly in pub arguments and is amusing as well as true.

The subject line is because it's a beautiful sunny day and my car sound system is onto The Life Pursuit, the Belle & Sebastian album voted most likely to make me randomly happy. It's all catchy, boppy, whimsical tunes, and I am a slut for catchy.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am Randomly Amused this morning.

  1. My lovely new car is a lovesome thing, god wot, but it has a rather cheap and nasty sound system. As a result, I can't persuade it to play music off my MP3 player in any format other than through individual tracks in one ginormous string. This means that when it randomly resets, as it does occasionally if I don't switch the car off in exactly the right order, it starts at the top and works down, playing my musical collection in strict alphabetical order by (a) artist and (b) album title. The last time it did this I thought, right, clearly the Cosmic Wossnames are trying to tell me something, let's just let it. In the last week it has thus played through Arcade Fire and Bed on Bricks in short order and is currently in the middle of the more than elegant sufficiency of Belle & Sebastian which characterises my music collection. I am thoroughly enjoying the resulting slight whiplash, as well as the chance to rediscover odd corners of my musical taste I'd forgotten about.

    The Rules dictate that I don't skip tracks or otherwise disturb the order, other than the obligatory repeat of "Crown of Love" and "Wake Up", because I'm physically incapable of listening to either track just once. (Other than that I have decided, on mature reflection, that "The Suburbs" is probably my favourite Arcade Fire album, possibly because "Wasted Hours".) I'd forgotten how much fun Bed on Bricks are - they're a local outfit of some maturity and skill, not to mention considerable iconoclastic whimsy ("large Nigerian..."), whose overall style is eclectic but sounds at times like Chilli Peppers circa "Californication". And, for no adequately defined reason I haven't actually listened to any Belle & Sebastian for months. They tend to land me on campus in the morning obscurely soothed regardless of how many actual BMWs have cut me off in traffic. Possibly it's the Scottish accents.

  2. I think I posted the gifset of the cute wol bathing in a previous post, probably accompanied by the horrible moist owlet pun with which it was doing the rounds. Someone in my Tumblr feed unearthed the YouTube video which spawned it, which features not only the full bath experience (bathing birds are ridiculously cute, I love the air of ferocious concentration), but the bit where someone dries the bedraggled wol with a hair dryer. This makes me obscurely happy because I have rather lovely memories of my dad doing the same to his peregrines, when they'd been sitting on their block in the garden during a highveld thunderstorm. They do the same thing the wol does, spreading their wings to dry under them. I do like birds.

  3. Obligatory BC content: the Sherlock fandom is currently all up in arms because Benedict Cumberbatch, in an interview, was somewhat patronisingly dismissive of fanfic. (Not that this is anything new, he's characteristically a bit tone-deaf to fanfic issues and tends to make pronouncements which are clearly based on extremely sketchy knowledge; I suppose the fandom will eventually stop having small volcanic eruptions about it on the grounds that exhausting). What's tickling me no end, though, is the beautifully in-character fan responses: the current meme is to pick up on the rather outrageous interviewer phrasing of fanfiction as something which turns Sherlock into "a lustful cock monster". Current games: strategically place "lustful cock monster" into Sherlock dialogue on the "in bed" principle. (On John's forehead in the drunken Rizla game scene. Replacing SHERLOCK in the opening credits. "William Sherlock Lustful Cock Monster Holmes. If you’re looking for baby names.") Design new and ever more pink and sparkly t-shirts, icons and banners declaring "LUSTFUL COCK MONSTER" in defiant capitals and sprinkle them across the internet. Summarise the fic elements he mentions in the article and write actual fanfic to match, claiming that you're allowed because Benedict did. Etc, etc, etc.

    I love this. Apart from the fact that it's given me the giggles all morning (particularly since I teach a Sherlock seminar on Wednesday afternoons and have spent most of the morning making screencaps and constructing a Powerpoint on "His Last Vow" in between internet noodling), this is the essence of fan production. Take an element in the canon text which is clearly not addressed to you (and this is almost always a female "you") and which is ignorant of your actual desires and interests. Appropriate the hell out of it. Comprehensively reject the version of you it enshrines. Recontextualise, reshape and reimagine it in ways which do authentically reflect you, and which incidentally comment somewhat trenchantly on the limitations of the original text. Share and enjoy.

    I keep saying it: fanfic is a political act. The fact that it's enjoyable is almost incidental.


Wednesday, 10 September 2014 04:30 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)

I am teaching a second-year television genre seminar in the BBC Sherlock this semester, which has been inordinate fun, if somewhat demanding in terms of reading frantically up on television genre theory, hunting down screencaps and maniacally assembling Powerpoints. Today was "The Hounds of Baskerville", which has the distinction of being quite my favourite episode in the series, and gave me untold opportunity to burble enthusiastically about Gothic and detection and generic tension and self-conscious narrative and what have you. It would, however, have gone somewhat better without the gravel voice and hacking cough, because, yup, by way of encore to being sick three times in the last two months, I am ill again.

Words cannot express how bored I am with this. Shoot-holes-in-the-wall bored. Drama queen flounce-onto-sofa-and-sprawl-dramatically bored. Sherlock offers really the perfect idiom. I darkly suspect that this is actually the same bug, which has simply treated me, over the last six weeks, to a sort of postmodern deconstructed tour of itself, like those really pretentious exploded desserts they sometimes give you in high-end restaurants. You know, deconstructed apple crumble with a small tower of candied apple artistically juxtaposed with a swathe of clove oatmeal dirt and a spray of cranberry foam, while a small scoop of blue cheese ice-cream lurks in a corner, garnished with eucalyptus. Except here it's the solid cement-filled skull and continual sniffling, dribbled (and I mean dribbled) with sinus, with the weird virusy spacey stuff foaming off to the side, and finished with a solid dollop of bronchitis off in the corner. Moments of apparent actual health stretch between them like expanses of white plate, but really you know the whole thing is a unity. A horrible, exhausting, ennui-inducing unity.

Bored. Very bored. So over this. (As is the cat: the coughing seems to be freaking him out, he is refraining from sleeping on my bed in a marked manner, probably because he thinks I'm barking at him). In default of a lyric soprano and a garret, which the consumptive coughing really seems to demand, bring me a new body, stat.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Oh, lord, it's orientation season. Close on 500 bemused first-years are wandering the campus in small herds, being corralled in a large lecture venue at intervals while I harangue them on the mysteries of curriculum design. With Powerpoint. Yesterday was an 11-hour day. Today was better, being only a 9-hour day, although it provided varied interest by being wall-to-wall orientation all morning, and then wall-to-wall briefing curriculum advisors all afternoon. There's a subtle, surreal dislocation in briefing the same curriculum structures from opposite ends only a few hours apart.

Tonight I should have been allocating advisors to registration sessions, but my subconscious, with unerring accuracy, leaped salmon-like from the depths and kiboshed the sending of the necessary files from work to home so I could work on them. (I know I pressed "send" on the email, but it never arrived and my outbox is innocent of it. Aetheric bears appear to have eaten it. Most mysterious.) I was practically forced to spend the evening reading fanfic instead. Today I have discovered Sherlock/Firefly crossovers, Sherlock/Star Trek crossovers, and a Sherlock/Winnie-the-Pooh one that I've actually refrained from reading on the grounds that my sanity is fragile enough as it is. At least the Star Trek is explicable on the grounds of Vulcans.

All of the above being the case, I'm completely buggered but surprisingly low on stress. I have, it appears, reached a point of familiarity and facility with the large-scale logistical demands of my job that I simply drift along doing the necessary in good time, properly, with only half my attention. So far no wheels have fallen off. It is also pleasantly cool and rainy this evening, mitigating somewhat the tragic fact that today has felt like Durban, i.e. a sort of muggy soup. I am now going to bed, on the grounds that I'm dead and also mosquitoes are eating my feet. Please confidently expect me to return to normal human function, like socialising and interesting posts, somewhere around March.

Subject line is from Magnetic Fields, "The Horrible Party", which sounds like something Edward Gorey should draw (actually, given the lyrics he probably has already.) Fields are still the flavour du jour in my car music buffet. Love at the Bottom of the Sea is their latest album, it's slowly growing on me as it ambles through the rotation for the umpteenth time. My dear, it was heaven until they ran out of champagne.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)

The BBC has just released the third series of Sherlock, which I have contrived to watch by dubious and immoral means justified to myself only by the fact that I've already ordered the DVD. (Lawful Good in spirit!). This was an absolutely essential gesture of false-identity piracy, as my Tumblr feed has exploded like a tribble in a fireworks factory into comment, analysis, speculation, heartbreak, angst, accusation, fangirling, death threats and squee and I simply couldn't read it at all until I'd seen all the episodes. Like the others, the series consists of three movie-length episodes (The Empty Hearse; The Sign of Three; His Last Vow, for extra credit name the three Doyle stories these reference...); for those of you not following along at home, Sherlock swandove off a roof last series, and is now Back. There may or may not be a certain moustache theme to subsequent proceedings.

I don't propose to spoiler the series, because it does have some enjoyable twists and overall some lovely moments and good television, and its cast is bloody brilliant. But I have, so to speak, some Generalised Beefs on the writing side. Dear god, this series is a hot mess. For a start, my girly writer-crush on Stephen Moffat is Officially Over. Whatever elegance he possessed during the "Blink" era has departed for parts unknown, lamented by all. The season is full of weird events imperfectly justified by giant plot holes, and the inherent misogyny is not, apparently, assisted by the heady power of showrunner status. He still writes terrible, paper-thin, stereotypical women who lack coherent motivation or backstory or character and who are too often utterly defined by the men they associate with.

The first two episodes are actually rather fun: Empty Hearse plays lovely metanarrative games with fan interpretations of the faked death, and Sign of Three is funny and goofy and emotionally very real. These two episodes, however, are not only written by different people, they're apparently written about different characters to those in the final episode, which is an abrupt about-face in tone, mood, characterisation, character objective and, regrettably, coherence. There are a few weird plot glitches in the first two episodes, but Last Vow seems to have been written on the Russell Davies Principle, viz. punchy set scenes you think will be particularly cool which are carelessly strung together with cardboard and string or, preferably, actual gaping holes. Alternatively, the writers are being actively misleading and/or actively withholding information to make it all Mysterious so they can do Twists next season, in which case they have borked narrative satisfaction something 'orrible. I should point out, gently, however, that Last Vow is an entirely Moffat script, whereas the first two episodes are some combination of Gatiss/Moffat/Thompson. I think this is Significant.

There's another problem. It's not just because I'm reading fanfic, although I'm reading a lot of fanfic (and, ye gods, after the myriads of versions I've ploughed through, nothing the series does can actually be too much of a surprise - I swear, I have run across most of the major developments in several forms during my slightly obsessive reading over the last few months. Either fanfic writers are good at narratives cues or the show writers are predicable. Probably both.) Even before the slashy fanfic - in fact, even before the BBC version - Sherlock Holmes has been highly susceptible to a queer reading. The Holmes/Watson relationship is so powerful, so central, you cannot avoid the homoerotic subtext with which it is rife. The BBC version has always been hyper-aware of this, probably because Mark Gatiss (who, apart from his own identity apparently has something of an obsession with Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes), but it's painfully obvious in the third series that the writers are not only not on the same page, key members are actually not on the same page as the actors, directors, photographers and editors. Really, this show is constructing Sherlock as gay in the teeth of Moffat's determined refusal to admit that he is. Everything is against Moffat. Everything and everyone. His resolute scripting blinkers are undercut by the production on every level, which is one of the major sources of the incoherence and frustration of the final episode, and for the uncomfortable sense that this is degenerating into queer-baiting. Seriously, the rabbit they're going to have to pull out of a hat to reconcile some of these elements in Series 4 is at this point eight-legged, twelve foot tall and gently radioactive.

Don't let the whinging mislead you, though - I still love this show. It's still a vital and compelling interpretation of Doyle and is productive of various viewing pleasures, not all of them dodgy or Benedict Cumberbatch. I wouldn't be getting my teeth-gnashing on with poor Moffat to quite this extent if I wasn't still invested as hell. I'm just terrified that he's going to do something irrevocable to Sherlock, to close off the multiplicities and queer readings I find so interesting and generative. And I'm saddened and disappointed, because the writers are not quite as wonderful or in control as I thought they were.

While on the subject of Fan-Beloved Texts Currently Bedevilled By Poor Writing, Sarah Rees Brennan has parodied the second Hobbit movie, to her usual effect. (Spit-takes). I have shamelessly nicked my subject line from her.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I've managed, over the last few months, to get back into something of an exercise routine, which is a bit erratic at present owing to potential heat-stroke, but averages out at a brisk walk around the Common every second day and is making me feel exponentially better about life on a number of fronts. Exercise, who knew? It takes about half an hour, striding as fast as I can, which represents a speed at which I frequently overtake other walkers and have been overtaken precisely twice by walkers since I started the whole routine. (I'm overtaken by runners all the time. Given the high prevalence of wildly fit people who belt around the spanky new track around the Common, this is extremely motivating on purely scenic grounds.)

Since it's still heat-wavy and I had a truly appalling night last night, I walked this morning, brisk exercise being extremely good for sleep deprivation, muscle tension and the grumps. This adds a merry layer of smugness to the pleasures of the exercise, since I was the only walker present at all. There were runners and a couple of cyclists, but apparently Christmas raises the exercise-commitment threshold to the point where only a sprinkle of Serious Exercisers bother. And, of course, me. Basking in the temporary and entirely illusory categorisation. Far less grumpy than I was when I started.

One of the minor joys of the Common route is the City of Cape Town's outbreak of noticeboards, which erupt on all four corners of the Common to instruct the civic-minded exerciser of the Rules. Apparently we aren't allowed to sleep, drive, dump, smoke, sell, dig, pick flowers or chop down trees on the Common. We are also officially mandated to smile at all times. I rather enjoy this. Something about a ridiculous happy face with full civic authority.


I suppose this is a rather long-winded and roundabout way of saying Happy Christmas, all you witterers, I hope it's a good one and pleasingly relaxed, as well as being based in more sleep than I had. By way of Christmas cheer for all those of you with similar fangirl proclivities who haven't yet seen it (and with a tenuous and entirely wayward puppy linkage via smiley faces), the BBC has released a Sherlock teaser for the new episode on 1st January. I'm pretty much in the zone where I don't do Christmas presents these days, but this is a good one.

freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Things you do not expect to see on a respectable campus while trotting off to the library for your important pile of Girly Swot books (subset: crash course in African cinema): live horses. Six of them. Tethered in the shade against the columns of the old Student's Union, peaceably chomping. There's something fairly major filming on campus at the moment, the place has been a madhouse: the stairs have sprouted fake extra columns and exotic greenery and weird screens positioned with arcane precision. I parked my car next to and partially under a giant cherry-picker boom sort of thing this morning, and there are approximately three million acres of random, presumably desperately important cabling snaking down the avenue, tended by skinny grip types in Bauhaus t-shirts. Actual African film, in fact. Curiously appropriate.

It's too bloody hot for serious thought (what's with February heatwaves before Christmas? Not Cricket), so have a random linkery round-up, I need to clear these tabs.
  • If you go to the UK Vogue page and type the Konami code, extremely entertaining things happen when you keep on hitting A. Random internet easter eggs ftw.
  • For some demented reason this ridiculous Boba Fett love story really amuses me, possibly because of the way the sarlacc is drawn. The rancor BFF one is also cute.
  • Sherlock fandom is in a tizzy because of the Caitlin Moran faux pas (I never liked the wretched woman, her book is actively irritating) - she had the inexpressibly tone-deaf bad taste to pressure/trick the lead actors into reading erotic fanfic aloud at a screening. Daily Dot has a good summary. It really isn't safe these days to try and taunt subcultures you perceive as geeky and pitiable, they end up having way more power and self-awareness than you expect. I cannot help but be amused, though, at the cosmic inevitability of Moran attempting to sabotage Sherlock and failing dismally. It is, after all, simply an enactment of the Doyle plot. (Sebastian Moran is Moriarty's sniper sidekick in canon, if your Sherlock geekery is a bit rusty).
  • Random fanfic recc! I am currently actually re-reading The Least of All Possible Mistakes, which is a rather well-written and often laugh-out-loud funny Sherlock fic featuring a Sherlock given to entertaining tantrums and a Mycroft/gender-swapped-Lestrade relationship which is both amusing and real. The fandom fascination with Mycroft fascinates me. I blame Mark Gatiss entirely.

I finally sent out the Boxing Day braai email last night, after more than average levels of procrastination and forgettory. If you weren't on the list but usually are it's probably because of my cheese-brain, please drop me a reproachful line.

The subject line is the Konami Code, which as a concept and a catch-phrase as well as a random bit of esoterica has always amused the hell out of me.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
sherlock irene

The new season of Sherlock starts on 1st January, and the BBC has just released a new, longer, interactive trailer that's pretty spanky and all. Tumblr is having hysterics, predictably enough. I must confess to a certain excitement. (Although, warning, that trailer made me exclaim "Sherlock, you bastard!" at least twice. They're interpreting the two years dead in the way the bulk of the fanfic does, which is to focus on how brutally the deception affects Watson and how emotionally detached Sherlock is from it; he's not going to be likeable this season). But I watched the trailer, and in particular the bit with the Stephen Moffat interview, and something crystallised for me, possibly because Moffat in interviews comes off as slightly smug.

See, my love for the narrative elegance of his early Doctor Who episodes notwithstanding, I still can't forgive Stephen Moffat for what he does to women across Doctor Who and Sherlock alike. He's not an enlightened thinker, certainly not a feminist one; his female characters tend to slide back into reactionary gender roles to a somewhat worrying extent. They wait. And have babies. Or unrequited crushes. Or are royally screwed around by circumstances. They're quite often passive in one or another way. They're almost always reacting to men, rather than having their own goals and agency, which means that ultimately any power that they have tends to reside in their sexuality.

And what he did to Irene Adler is the single thing that most annoys me about Sherlock. I've always vaguely assumed that it was because he insists on bloody well sexualising Sherlock, which I think is flat against both the letter and the spirit of Doyle's character. But today I realised it's not that, or at least not just that. It's also about the way he sexualises Irene herself. In the Doyle story she's "The Woman" because she's an intellectual equal to Sherlock: she doesn't seduce him, she out-thinks him. She's a sexualised figure in that she's beautiful and adored by men, but in fact she's characterised as a spurned woman more than an adventuress, and she doesn't randomly focus her sexuality against Sherlock himself: she triumphs over him in the story because of her intelligence, not her looks. The story takes for granted that Holmes himself wouldn't be susceptible to seduction anyway, it has to be a intellectual tussle. (In the original story Sherlock is actually fooled into not recognising Irene while she's disguised as a man, which I think is an important index both to how little her power is about her sexuality, and to how much Doyle equates her with Holmes himself - disguise is his own skill, after all). Moffat's Irene Adler is a complete reversal of this: the assumption in the episode is that she only prevails over Sherlock because her sexuality attracts, confuses and distracts him, which rewrites both of them.

That would be annoying even if Moffat hadn't gone the whole hog and made her into a dominatrix, which I find to be quite one of the most unpleasant symbolic sexual roles for women. A dominatrix, in the sense of a woman for hire as Irene is (I don't mean women in consensual BDSM relationships), is not about female power. The encounter is not about her desire to dominate: it's about the customer's desire (and that's usually male desire) to be dominated. She's a commodity, very much a sexual object whose apparent power is entirely illusionary. Irene Adler in Sherlock is thus neatly undercut in the same way that Molly's technical skill is by her infatuation with Sherlock, or that Donovan's strength of personality is by her affair with Anderson. Moffat can't think of women separately from men, and very often he can't think of them separately from their sexual identity. Even Mrs Hudson, apart from revolving around Sherlock, is tied to him through his past interference in the case against her husband. Irene Adler is the most extreme example of a worrying trend. (She's characterised as a lesbian who's helplessly attracted to Sherlock, for fuck's sake. Good grief. Sexist clichés much, Moffat?)

I love what Sherlock does to the canon, its creative re-interpretation of the characters, its updating of the narrative arcs. It's an amazing piece of adaptation. But it's also flawed, and a lot of what flaws it is Moffat's ideological ineptitude. It's doubly saddening, because I adore the elegance of structure of "Blink" and "The Girl in the Fireplace", but now I re-watch them with a critical eye for their women, and ultimately their women are sad.

(And it's only tangentially related, but while we're on the subject of women trapped in and punished by their sexual identities, you have to read this on the Susan/Narnia problem. It made me cry, and not so much forgive CS Lewis, as realise he's actually irrelevant.)

Subject line from "A Scandal in Bohemia", naturally: Watson talking about how alien the concept of romantic love is to Sherlock. I want to rub Moffat's nose in that paragraph.

I want a zebra

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 10:22 am
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
I am, for no adequately defined reason and after almost a year of absence, remembering my dreams again. This is a profound relief. I like dreaming; mine tend to the vivid and trippy and are always entertaining. I think it also means that I'm probably emerging from the loathsome embrace of depression at least to some extent, to which I say calloo, callay. Although Sunday night's little excursions entailed (a) being locked carefully in a room somewhere by concerned friends so that the giant, unlikely, terrifying cloud of bats couldn't get at me despite much fluttering at windows, and (b) trying desperately to find random objects in the old house which was slowly decaying and filling with water, so possibly a certain subconscious concern about dissolution of the structural coherence of my identity may be implicated. On the other hand, last night I dreamed an extended balloon trip in the company of Sherlock Holmes, which was about wish fulfilment on so many levels I actually woke up giggling. I've always wanted to go up in a balloon, I love flying, and flying dreams are a rare and particular pleasure. Also, BBC's current Sherlock. I have, shall we say, no complaints.

In other news, the EL appears to have achieved a girlfriend, although this is a conclusion drawn solely from observation of particular patterns in pewter-casting, he hasn't said a word about her. What's with that? Oh, wait. EL.

Subject line from the Magnetic Fields's "Zebra", chosen mainly by random association and the fact that it contains the line "We circled the Earth in a hot air balloon, So what?" I can't say I actually want a zebra, which for the purposes of scansion and rhyme in this particular instance is pronounced "zee-bra".
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Last night I dreamed that I was faced with the difficult choice between re-training as a doctor and re-training as a sailor. I went the doctor route (alongside Jo, sorry, Jo, it's probably about your family), and after a few slightly frantic scenes of digs cooking with fellow med students, woke up feeling vaguely terrified about having to learn chemistry again, and wistfully sad that I couldn't have both sets of skills. Something about knots and ropes and setting sails with technical verve. General hatred of my work life notwithstanding, it's not actually as bizarre as it sounds to say that wistful doctor dreams are almost certainly the result of reading really quite an unlikely amount of Sherlock fanfic over the last month or so. The strangely fetishised things that fic writers do to John Watson as a deceptively cuddly BAMF! are ... strangely fetishised, actually.

I also blame the fact that I randomly woke up at 3.30am on Monday morning and couldn't get to sleep again, as a result of which I wandered through most of yesterday on four hours of sleep in an exhausted daze which didn't, for some reason, prevent me from giving a really rather good double period tut on Dracula, to which even my cabbage class responded fairly well. Then again, I probably didn't need to demonstrate the fact that I can babble entertainingly about vampires and gender roles and Victorian anxieties literally in my sleep. (In this case with added postcolonialism at no extra charge, on account of dodgy Eastern European reverse invasion of London by degenerate lowlifes). However, it didn't help to be woken up promptly at 3am this morning again by Golux being heartily sick on my bedside rug. I did manage to get back to sleep this time, but the free pass she's currently getting on horrible behaviour on account of her nose cancer is wearing a little thin. Especially since the nose cancer has retreated, for its own inscrutable reasons, to a small black spot rather than a giant black sore, which is either sinister or encouraging, I'm not sure which.

We have set a date for the vetination of Macavity early next week, following a slightly drunkenly uproarious session of dinner and cat-fondling at our place on Sunday night. Currently the major challenge is going to be preventing Carlo from exiting stage left with a two-for-one ginger ex-tom deal, he seems rather taken with Hobbit. Put down the floofy ginger kitty and back away slowly, say I. He's a slut anyway, and doesn't mean it.

Subject line a quote from "Life on the Ocean Wave", which is one of those saccharine little Victorian ditties I blush to say I know entirely through the bastardised versions occasionally perpetrated by the Goon Show. On the other hand, a hasty lyric search suggests that them saccharine Victorians can seriously turn a stirring phrase.
freckles_and_doubt: (South Park Self)
Operation Macavity proceeds apace! Our simple principle of (a) feeding him and (b) not chasing him out the house has very quickly brought him to the point where he spends most of the day sleeping on the sofa, is fairly amenable to stroking, purrs like a rusty tractor during the aforementioned, and if he does suddenly startle and swipe at your leg, does it half-heartedly and largely to miss. Both the EL and I can pick him up, although he tolerates it a lot better from the EL, whose cat-fu is legendary. Said Macavity is almost at the point where we can betray him utterly by stuffing him into a box and subjecting him to a serious assessment from Graham the Lovely Vet, who advises a thorough check for things like feline HIV and feline leukemia and a short, sad, merciful needle if he's positive for either. If not, then Carlo&Karen have agreed to take him, since the niche for thuggish ginger ex-tom in their home is apparently empty. (Ours is full, because Hobbit).

I called him Macavity not so much because of his disreputable gingerness, but from his ability to levitate to the roof instantaneously from a standing start the second you think about coming into the kitchen ("His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare/ And when you reach the scene of crime - Macavity's not there!"), and because it's one of my favourite of the Practical Cats. I didn't realise, though, until about a week ago, how much T.S. Eliot ripped Macavity off from Doyle: it's the kind of epiphany you only have while re-reading Sherlock Homes simultaneously with implementing a Macavity-taming operation. I mean, I knew about the Moriarty connection because the last line of the poem identifies Macavity as "the Napoleon of Crime", which is the classic Moriarty epithet straight out of "The Final Problem", but the parallels go a lot deeper than that. Viz.:

Macavity's a ginger cat, he's very tall and thin;
You would know him if you saw him, for his eyes are sunken in.
His brow is deeply lined with thought, his head is highly domed;
His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.
He sways his head from side to side, with movements like a snake;
And when you think he's half asleep, he's always wide awake.

"He is extremely tall and thin, his forehead domes out in a white curve, and his two eyes are deeply sunken in his head ... His shoulders are rounded from much study, and his face protrudes forward, and is for ever slowly oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion..."

And when the Foreign Office finds a Treaty's gone astray,
Or the Admiralty lose some plans and drawings by the way,
There may be a scap of paper in the hall or on the stair--
But it's useless to investigate--Macavity's not there!

"Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed - the word is passed to the Professor, the matter is organized and carried out". (Quotes all from "The Final Problem").

I am enchanted by this. Intertextuality makes me happy. By way of illustration, have an actual Macavity. The black on his face is the remnants of the somewhat piratical slash which appeared across his eye, cheek and nose a few months back after a night of more than usually ferocious cat-mangling noises.


He is enough like Hobbit that Jo, wandering into the house a week or so ago, saw Macavity sitting on the kitchen floor and exclaimed "My god, what happened to Hobbit?!" in tones of dismay. (This picture of Hobbit from the same photoshoot as Macavity, taken because Hobbit has to be part of whatever's going on and can't be having with photos of upstarts happening when photos of himself, or possibly Himself, are clearly more important and interesting).

Hobbit, interfering

green and pleasant land

Wednesday, 16 May 2012 06:57 pm
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Britain still does that thing to me where a random piece of landscape is like an unexpected blade to the heart: a combination of a sharp, intimate sort of realisation with a sense of slightly deadened loss. I suppose it's the legacy of a colonial upbringing with a highly British-centred experience of children's literature, so that the land itself is above all an imagined space, and its sudden reality poignant and shocking.

I was last actually in Edinburgh when I was about 8 years old, on a family holiday which I remember only in snatches (Edinburgh castle was cold and the hill was steep). But today the bus took me past the Spitfire memorial on a roundabout near the airport, and my response was one of visceral memory. We didn't fly to Scotland on that family holiday, as far as I can recall. I don't know if we even drove anywhere near the airport, but my subconscious firmly believes my dad was all enthusiastic about the replica of the old plane mounted in flight. My dad was a frustrated pilot, who flew gliders and spend his national service in the air force as a packer. The memory, even if it's a false one - the sense of familiarity - was very strong, with the same sense of not-quite-real distance.

The potential horrors of a 12-hour plane flight with a DVT in my recent past were, in the event, not as horrible as I feared. I think the challenge of this sort of trip is really in the expectation: once you're actually on the ground doing what needs to be done, it's just one foot in front of another, logically in sequence - paper-writing, packing, not having ones knees explode en route, the slightly complicated bus journeys to traverse the ordered, fertile country between Edinburgh and the university. The bit I was really dreading, actually, was injecting myself with anti-coagulant just before boarding, and in the event it was a total non-event - a nifty little self-contained syringe which is thin and sharp enough that it slides in with rather terrible ease to the soft tissue of one's stomach flab. (Reasons, I suppose, not to have a toned stomach). And I leaped up religiously every two hours and stood in the galley area waving my feet around in a circulatory sort of fashion.

I feel better than I usually do after that flight, actually. No sleep, of course, but less stiffness or swollen feet. Also, I have watched the latest Mission Impossible (silly plot, excellent cast except for Tom, that Jeremy Renner lad is really growing on me, Tintin (fun, faithful and rather beautiful in every aspect except Tintin himself), the new Muppet movie (awwwwww) and the second RDJ Sherlock Holmes. This last was a dreadful movie: RDJ's Sherlock has become a caricatured buffoon who owes nearly nothing to the source material. I'm not angry, just disappointed and a little hurt.

The town of St. Andrews - or, really, the university with a sort of frill of town on it, since I am in the midst of campus in a rather lovely B&B on the high street - is beautiful, medieval, green, immaculate. I am typing this on a wireless connection which randomly refused to work when I first booted up, I expect because of rogue Windows upgrades stuffing with my settings. I don't have the technical skill to work out why these things happen, it appears to be some sort of implacable enmity between long strings of arcane acronyms tending heavily to P and T and V, but I spent an hour systematically changing every setting I could think of until something worked. I feel obscurely triumphant. Not a geek, really: slow and inept, but persistent. Ah, Barracuda.

I am also, as you can tell from the flow of consciousness, suffering the logical effect of having not slept in nearly 36 hours, 20 or so of which have been spent either in airports or in aircraft. I'm a bit punch-drunk. I shall have dinner with the conference organisers tonight, count myself ahead on points if I actually remember or consciously control more than about a third of what I say, and shall go to bed extremely early. Tomorrow I give a keynote which is apparently being filmed for the benefit of the UK media attention this conference is randomly garnering, and which I suspect is about twice as long as its slot and will have to be ruthlessly pruned on the fly. Wish me luck.

The owner of this B&B apparently sold his old house in Edinburgh to JK Rowling herself a while back. I am obscurely cheered by this.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
I've always wanted to use that for a subject line. Life Goal Achieved!

I buy, as I have many times confessed, an awful lot of books online. Mostly this is because I have a pitiful saving throw versus Literary Shiny, and actual disposable income with which to indulge it. However, a lot of this is also because I read an awful lot of blogs by science fiction and fantasy writers (viz. left sidebar and my Friends page), and they are forever mentioning either (a) books they read and enjoyed, and (b) books they themselves have recently published. Amid my burgeoning shelves in category (a) we find, for example, Lud-in-the-Mist and The House Called Hadlows, both courtesy Neil Gaiman, and Libba Bray, courtesy Sarah Rees Brennan, excellent recommendations all. In category (b) are a large number of burgeoning-shelves culprits, but also, courtesy Elizabeth Bear, my current reading matter. This is a suitably large and be-tentacled tome entitled New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, and containing stories by her, among other luminaries including Neil Gaiman, China Miévelle, Charles Stross, Cheri Priest and Michael Marshall Smith. It is, in short, a High Status Collection.

It's been an interesting week or so of reading, and Cthulhu be praised, has not made my dream-life any odder than it is usually, although frankly that isn't saying much. I am struck, however, by the really strange variation in quality among these stories. I'd judge that about a third of them are somewhat pedestrian, slightly arbitrary, nothing special. Another third are clever, effective, chilling, nicely done. The final third are blow-your-socks-off-wonderful, with added TNT; mostly these are by the Big Names, but not always, to which I say, strength to your elbow, lesser mortals who are rising like R'lyeh, and whose other writings I shall now proceed to seek out and order online. It's the Circle of Books!

As an exercise in Upbeat, I shall now proceed to burble enthusiastically about the really good ones.
  • Neil Gaiman's story in this anthology isn't "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar", the one everyone knows; it's "A Study In Emerald", which I think I first read in Fragile Things, but the Victorian newspaper mock-up online version of which is perfectly marvellous. It's one of those stories whose twists and oddments sneak up on you, so I shan't say anything other than it's a combination of Cthulhu and Sherlock Holmes pastiche, it's desperately chilling, and, this being Gaiman, the voice is pitch-perfect. It was lovely to have an excuse to read it again.
  • Marc Laidlaw's "The Vicar of R'lyeh" is notable both for its oddly effective crossover between Lovecraftian horror and the mannered English countryside of Trollope, Austen and Hardy, and its ability to configure the crunches and compromises of the corporate coding environment as chilling Cthulhoid horror. It's the one story in this anthology I really enjoyed while feeling that the writer didn't quite pull it off, but it's still a striking piece.
  • Michael Marshall Smith's "Fair Exchange" is Innsmouth in urban London, its voice all lower-class Brit, its denizens lesser criminals and fundamentally anti-social dole drones. Evil, the story says, is no less evil for being really petty.
  • William Browning Spencer is no-one I'd ever heard of before, and sounds suspiciously like an overly-literate alias. He is responsible both for the story "The Essayist in the Wilderness", and for the fact that I've just spent forty-five minutes and several hundred rand on Amazon Marketplace to discover his other work and purchase same. This story is possibly my favourite in the anthology (OK, favourite after "Emerald"), because it's, once again, an immaculate exercise in voice, but also has a restrained, blackly funny, lateral sort of comic horror which creeps up on you very, very slowly and mostly by dint of being just very slightly wrong. I haven't had this much fun reading in a very long time.
  • Elizabeth Bear's "Shoggoths in Bloom" is deservedly a Hugo novelette winner; it's an example of that rare and wonderful thing, a Lovecraftian pastiche which is deeply and sensitively political, and which achieves the almost impossible feat of creating empathy for a Lovecraftian horror. It's also a late 1930s period piece, and its mythos elements are beautifully enmeshed in pre-war politics; its awareness of American and German racism is a thoroughly satisfying antidote to Lovecraft's own bigotry.
  • Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette's collaboration, "Mongoose", is a deeply weird and lateral sf story about Kadath Space Station and its infestation of weird other-dimensional raths and toves and bandersnatches, which you hunt with an alien phase-tentacled beastie called a cheshire. It made me very happy. Lovecraft/Lewis Carroll crossovers are as inevitable as all get-out.
  • Finally, China Miéville's "Details" is about perception. He's always about perception. Here, horror is about perception, which is really the nub of it, isn't it? Once you've seen the horror, you can't unsee it. You're screwed.
I am struck by how many times in the above list I've referenced voice; even when I haven't mentioned it specifically, these stories do voice, or at least perspective, very well. It seems to be one of the classic features of horror: the writer needs to be able to immerse you in the world and feelings of the protagonist for horror to actually be effective. It's why Stephen King is as good as he is. For all that the Cthulhu mythos is about unimaginably massive, alien, indifferent forces in a vast and uncaring universe, their effects must be personal for us to apprehend their power. It's why a lot of these stories are better than Lovecraft in some ways. No-one touches him for rendering the indescribable, but he didn't, ultimately, depict people particularly well, probably because he didn't like them much. I think really good writers do.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
So much for the good intentions, such as the road to Hell is paved with. Allegedly. Went to bed early on Friday night in a spirit of Sid-appeasement, couldn't sleep because the nice cleaning lady is in the rising phase of her "put too much softener in the washing up" oscillation, and my sheets made me itch. (I shall remonstrate gently with her on Friday, and itching levels will sink until she starts forgetting again. However, in a sneaky move I have also diluted the fabric softener even further. Like watering the whisky, only more legitimate and rather less sacrilegious). It was an annoying night. Not much sleep.

I re-watched Sherlock Holmes on Saturday night and thus went to bed slightly late, planning to sleep in. What happens? the annual fun run that pounds past my window sometime in November every year, chose to pound past at 6am. On a Sunday. Currently this fun-run phenomenon is making me glad I'm a role-player, and thus have the mental furniture necessary to think wistfully of caltrops. (A spirited supper discussion last night arrived at the conclusion that they'd have to be (a) giant caltrops, to go through cushioned running shoe soles, and (b) invisible, so the runners can't dodge them. Further endeavours in this direction are currently stymied on grounds of practicality. SEP field wanted, cheap). All in all I am very short on sleep, and found it very difficult to wake up this morning. Also, dire forebodings are possibly borne out: I have a sinus headache this morning. We braaied last night. Suspicious. Very suspicious.

I can, however, thoroughly recommend the experience of reading the entirety of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes corpus before re-watching the film. I loved the film first time round: its vision of Victorian London is very vivid, appropriately noisy and grimy, and full of almost Dickensian life. I also enjoyed its interpretation of the characters and of the Holmes/Watson dynamic. I have to say, a great deal of the above is actually there in the stories, implicitly or explicitly. Holmes as an action hero is not too much of a stretch: he refers to his skills in baritsu and singlestick at various points in the stories, and there's also reference to him winning a bout against a prize-fighter at a boxing club (in The Sign of Four - although probably a gentleman's boxing club rather than the fight ring depicted in the film). Watson, however, is always the one with the gun, and the assumption is that he's there as muscle.

Holmes is a master of disguise in the stories, frequently taking in Watson with a persona; his personal eccentricities, including clutter, untidiness, depressive and reclusive episodes, cocaine addiction and the tendency to shoot holes in his mantlepiece, are spot on (see, particularly, "The Musgrave Ritual" for Watson having a little domestic whinge to himself about his room-mate's living habits). The marrying-Watson-off thing is perfectly correct, it happens very early in the stories, and many of them are either told in flashback to the time when Holmes and Watson shared rooms in Baker Street, or involve Watson taking time off from his wife and practice in order to accompany Holmes on an investigation. To my enormous pleasure, the film is sprinkled with decontextualised but appropriate quotes from the books, including the comment about Watson's "grand gift of silence", which has always been one of my favourites. And, finally, in the broadest thematic terms the plot of the film is the same as the plot of The Hound of the Baskervilles, which makes me very happy.

I quibble, however, with Irene Adler. I think it's absolutely not cricket to give Holmes a love interest: the stories consistently and unambiguously portray him as intrinsically celibate, if not sexless. While Irene Adler is "the woman" to Holmes, she's only marginally present in the stories, and their connection is intellectual, not emotional: she's a worthy opponent, not a love interest. Watson specifically notes that "It was not that [Holmes] felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind ... as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer" ("A Scandal in Bohemia"). I adore RDJ's Holmes, he's a compelling creation, but he's more vulnerable and considerably more human than Doyle makes him, and no more so than in his weakness for a woman. Irene Adler in the film thus falls into my "Osgiliath/Faramir" category of fan irritation at adaptation choices. Phooey.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
For some reason I seem to be re-reading, yet again, the entirety of the Sherlock Holmes corpus (I'm currently in the middle of The Hound of the Baskervilles, which one of these days I really must teach as a Gothic novel, just for the hell of it). I have that lovely facsimile edition which reproduces the whole lot from the Strand magazine stories, with their slightly faint, slightly mannered illustrations. I cannot work out if this dedicated re-discovery is motivated by any one of the following more than the others, it may be a cumulative sort of thing:

  • the running thread of Data's Sherlock Holmes fixation through seven seasons of STNG;
  • too much diligent playing of Echo Bazaar;
  • the rather spirited discussions we've been having in my second-year English tut about Dracula as a figure of inverted Victorian masculinity ("...each age uses its vampires to express its fears and desires. What does Twilight say about us?" *horrified intake of breath from class*. Maybe there's hope for the youth of today);
  • the need to re-watch my shiny new copy of the RDJ Sherlock Holmes with an eagle eye for fun adaptation in-jokes (and as an attempt to persuade myself that it's not just an unholy fascination with RDJ with an English accent);
  • the complete absence of brain currently occasioned by the fact that Cape Town's pollen has been studiously mutating over the last few weeks in an effort to lay low the human population and take over the world. (Fact. I know three separate people who are off work owing to allergies, sinusitis and general incapacity, and I'm only at work myself out of sheer bloody-mindedness and orientation planning panic. I have a dark suspicion that this planet has actually had enough and is dusting its hands preparatory to ridding itself of us by hook or by crook).

Anyway. Sherlock Holmes. Either fanfiction has hopelessly infected me (which, to be fair, it probably has), or there is a seriously slashy subtext here. Watson/Holmes is rather sweet, they have an old-married-couple comfort thing going on which is extremely enjoyable to watch. In fact, surprisingly, Watson isn't as annoying a twit as I'd remembered, and Holmes is rather sweet all on his own - I'd remembered him as far more of a cold, distant and madly eccentric figure, but he's capable of erratic but rather endearing acts of empathy. The blatant lack of realism in Holmes's deductions does get to me a little, and I remember just enough of the stories from my last reading that none of the detective outcomes are actually a surprise, but I'm also really enjoying them. Some things don't date as much as you'd expect.

Speaking of which, I've now finished STNG, and boy howdy does it date. I loved it, but I am reserving serious narrative fulminations for a whole long post of its own. Right now, the Spirit Temple in Zelda beckons, because really I don't have the brain for much else.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Much movie-watching to start the new year! I consider this to be a good omen. Of course, much movie-watching has also resulted because I've finished watching Season 4 of Supernatural, woe is me, and will have to possess my soul in patience (as befits the subject matter) until Season 5 finishes and gets its (cute) butt onto DVD. Season 4 was ... dark. Very dark and angsty, and featured angsty boys being dingbats and being led around by the nose by both angels and demons while apocalypse lowered. Given how absolutely steeped in Christian mythology the whole series is, I'm surprised I'm enjoying it as much as I am. On the other hand, the writers really are throwing their hats into the ring on the whole "Judao-Christian notions of God lack all sense or logic" issue, which is probably helping.

Anyway. This weekend I watched two movies: Brick, on DVD last night, about which I say wow, and Sherlock Holmes on circuit this morning, about which I say yay. Reviews follow. Spoilery. You Have Been Warned. )

This week: Avatar! alias Thundersmurfs!. And probably 500 Days of Summer, just to show the world that I do too have a brain.
freckles_and_doubt: (Default)
Today is a random, disconnected list, because I'm feeling a bit random and disconnected. I attribute this solely to the fact that I've run out of chocolate biscuits.

  1. Gawsh. Last night I dreamed I was living in a holiday house in the woods somewhere, across the dirt track from Nathan Fillion. He was a dreadful cook, but later there was snuggling, so it's all good.

  2. It's still raining, a bit, more sort of drizzly, so I'm still happy. Cape Town's delusions of continuing winter keep me sane. Today there's a wild, slightly snide wind growling around and tossing the trees petulantly; I want to pet it and smooth its ruffled fur.

  3. The wretched carved pumpkin on the LJ Halloween header is clearly leering at me. I find this disconcerting in a cucurbitous vegetable. As a result of some bizarrely disconnected series of associations it's also inspiring me to go out and buy the new Terry Pratchett this evening. On mature reflection, leering pumpkins clearly have their own odd utility.

  4. I really like this poster: it's witty, and atmospheric, and kind of tongue-in-cheek, ironic-winking Victorian. I am continually astonished by the absolute lack of conflict caused by my awareness that this Sherlock Holmes film is going to do madcap, iconoclastic, modern, playful, totally inappropriate things to the canon, and I'm going to love every minute of it. I blame too much fanfic. Also, not only is RDJ rather cute in this pose, but I'm really enjoying the way the Watson role is making Jude Law look significantly less like a total skank.

    We don't talk about the "Holmes for the holiday" tagline. It's just lame.


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