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Oh, ::sigh::

During & after my holiday in September I reread Pinto's Stone Dance of the Chameleon, and what occurred to me is that there might be something worth writing about re. the reception of LoTR in both this series and B5, and how the theme of power is treated in all three canons. (Possibly power and love, although I'm not sure if this applicable to LoTR. Then again, on second thoughts, it actually might be in some respects.)

So, since I'm probably going to have time & mental energy on my hands for a while now (bye, bye job, I've bitched about for 15 years, although through no fault or effort of mine), is this worth writing about? Or just a random collection of three canons I happen to know?

The question also is, do I actually want to re-read 1.400 pages of LoTR, on the off-chance that something actually might come off it? And re-watch B5, at least partly?

Decisions, decisions.

(But hey, it's good to have the mental space for decisions like this again. Yay, temporary freedom.)

Jan. 16th, 2016

[To livejournal or not to livejournal... I've been writing private entries on and off for myself recently, and maybe that's what I should stick to, because I'm not sure I can still write in a way that is fit for public consumption. Every time I start writing a (possibly, maybe) public entry, it keeps getting mired in filler words & phrases & general procrastination without ever actually getting to any kind of point...]

 


So, a point.

A longish while ago, when I read the Aubrey-Maturin series, I came across a sentence that stuck with me. I can't recall the exact context, but at some point during their tumultuous relationship Stephen Maturin sits down and writes in his diary: 'If I no longer love Diana, what shall I do?'

I remembered this again after I'd read the news about David Bowie's death.

The thing is, I was a huge Bowie fan, embarrassing teenage crush, life-sized poster on the wall and everything, from about age 14/15-ish until... I'm guessing the early 90ies? I found some still pretty emotional diary entries from after the 1990 Sound & Vision concert, but at the same time Black Tie White Noise is the album I genuinely forgot existed until I checked the discography. The follow-up Outside I did like, even managed to get an autograph when Bowie played here in Vienna, but also vividly remember thinking that this was all a bit of a ridiculous fuss and would have meant so much more a few years ago.

The point?

What I also still do remember is the first moment of doubt creeping in, that even something as emotionally all-encompassing as teenage fangirl crushes tend to be, was perhaps going to change and disappear, and I remembered it again when I read the news Monday morning and didn't feel much beyond a very brief moment of incredulous shock.

Perhaps there is no point to any of this, perhaps it's all platitudes and common sense not worth wasting words on, but what I've been thinking about these last few of days is why you start developing feelings, often quite intense feelings, for a thing, a person, a work of art, a piece of music (but only ever specifically this thing, person, book, piece of music, and not any other), and why sometimes those feelings change, and sometimes disappear altogether, barely leaving any trace at all. (And, I guess, the other eternal dilemma, why sometimes they insist on staying, when you want nothing so much as for them to finally go away.)

The brain is a strange place...

 

Oct. 2nd, 2014

Das Leben als Wollen definieren, nicht als ständiges Hin-und-Her zwischen Müssen und Nicht-Wollen.

Sep. 3rd, 2014

Not really done, but I'm calling quits on week two before it gets even more frustrating. Actually, I'm close to calling quits on the whole thing. It's such a pathetic effort.

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# Had a great morning run (or maybe more precisely midday run, since I returned from it around 2 pm); facilitated by the rather chilly temperatures, but still. Followed by a very late and somewhat decadent breakfast with tea, toast, a muffin and yoghurt with fruits and muesli. After that, this and that & nothing much. More amoebas were painted, among other things.

A little melancholy, although not in an entirely bad way, because the general mood is already somewhat autumnal. The first chestnuts are falling from the trees, small ones, but already brown and fully formed, the shells splitting when they hit the ground. The street I live in is partly lined by hazel trees (actual trees, not shrubs), and there are bushels of nuts everywhere, getting crushed by cars. On my way back to Puchberg last Sunday I noticed how in the gardens most of the apples on the trees were already quite red. On the one hand I'm looking forward to autumn, I love the beauty of it as well as cow-free hiking tours, but I'm not ready for summer to be over already...

# The Artist's Way, check-in week one, or what passed for that. It's been ten days, actually. I'm doing this online so that I'll have it in one place and can come back to it without having to decipher my handwriting and probably messy editing...

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::tap tap::

Another attempt, because I would really like to get back in the habit of writing. I'm sick of the silence in my head, this wordless mental slump I've been in for the last couple of years. Not writing isn't making anything better, and facebook, tumblr or flickr won't help in this respect, I need an old-fashioned text-based medium, and a paper diary apparently isn't motivation enough. What also – partly, or even mostly, I guess – triggered this resolution was that I was in Eisenstadt in July for the two-week Russian course I already took three years ago, and our teacher used Yuri Lotman's Talks on Russian Culture, one of which was about the art of letter-writing, in the 19th century specifically, but also more generally; quoted as a reminder to myself:

Письма писались большие, писались часто, при этом важно, что пишущий имел перед собой как бы двух адресатов. Он писал своему другу или возлюбленной и одновременно писал сам себе. Когда он создавал письмо, то как бы смотрел на фотографию или в зеркало. Пока перед вами нет этой отражающей пластинки, вы не знаете, как вы выглядите. Когда вы свои чувства или мысли высказываете другому человеку, они становятся реальностью для вас самих [...].
Поскольку мы не пишем писем и очень редко пишем книжным стилем, мы не только не сообщаем о себе другим людям, мы сами себя не знаем. Человек узнает себя, конечно, в своих поступках, но и в своих мыслях, а мысли, не высказанные словами, это еще не мысли. [...] И тем не менее, конечно, в писании есть акт самопознания. В этом смысле ни телефон, ни телеграф заменить этого не могут. Когда мы смотрим на контакт только как на техническую проблему и думаем, что любое техническое усовершенствование облегчает и улучшает систему контакта, мы заблуждаемся, и в результате получаем обычную для нас картину. Мы легче технически можем связаться друг с другом, но гораздо труднее можем понять друг друга и уж совсем не умеем и даже не считаем нужным понимать самих себя.
Таким образом, далеко не всегда усовершенствование в области коммуникаций (в области обращения человека к человеку) является реальным успехом человеческой культуры. Вернее, каждый первый шаг есть потеря: надо новые технические средства еще как-то освоить, еще как-то ввести в культуру, каким-то образом научить их быть не только техникой. Техника остается техникой только на первом этапе, потом она должна стать культурой, превратиться в некоторое действие самопознания человека и общения с другим человеком. А это, по сути дела, одно и то же. Ведь весь смысл нашего разговора в том и был, что нельзя, не общаясь с другим человеком, познать себя, нельзя, не познав себя, общаться с другим человеком. И в этом смысле, конечно, важно не только письмо. Письмо — это только одна из форм. Еще важнее общение с книгой.

(Mainly about the importance of writing letters and writing in generally, because in the process of writing we also get to know ourselves, since our feelings and thoughts only become reality once we express them verbally. He also makes an interesting point, which is perhaps even more relevant today than it was in the Soviet Union of the late 1980ies, about the dangers of looking at media only from a technical point of view of facilitating communication, as opposed to furthering understanding both of others and oneself.)


So. Here I am again.

(Even if this entry still feels superficial and blah-ish and nowhere near what I want it to be. But maybe I'll get there, eventually.)


What has happened since February: I'm giving therapy another try since May, not entirely unprompted, because in my desperation re. the impending job situation I did a Potentialanalyse, whatever that is called in English, in the vague hope that hours of testing might reveal talents or inclinations I hand't been aware of previously (no such luck; computer-generated recommendation, among other things: archaeology. ha-fucking-ha.), and not even an hour into the first meeting the advisor recommended seeing a therapist to get rid of my negative thought patterns. Hearing this from someone who didn't know me at all... kind of did help, and I undertook the scary task of looking for a therapist, found one whose website I liked, almost talked myself out of it again in the process, had my sister convince me that, no really, I absolutely should do that, and in the end did. (Go me.) Work in progress, so far.

I also started with The Artist's Way about ten days ago, not so much because I have any lofty aspirations, but because my inner creative desert was genuinely scaring me. I've always enjoyed expressing myself, whether it was drawing as a child, writing journal entries, writing depressive poems, ceramics, photography, writing meta, and for the last few years this has dried up to a frightening extent, reduced to dragging the camera along on my hiking tours at best. un_crayon_rouge has been doing the morning pages for as long as I've known her, and we have the book in stock at work, so it seemed like a good starting point, especially for lack of another.

Now I absolutely can't get behind the conception of creativity as a force coming from somewhere outside yourself, and do I ever have issues with the entire 'Wünsche an das Universum' school of self-help books, because this is all very well when you're only ever focusing on issues like 'I want to be more creative', but (imo) immediately becomes highly problematic once you take even a cursory look at history, or the world. Am I supposed to believe that God or some kind of divine force will actively preoccupy him/her/itself with my creativity while at the same time not giving a fuck about [take a brief look at the news and insert wherever]? Or am I supposed to believe that all those people just are not wishing enough, or the right way? Hard to say whether this is egocentrism or plain naiveté. And seeing that this is the issue where I and religion parted way in the first place, we do have a bit of a problem here.

On the other hand, spiritual angle aside, there are also a lot of things in the book that I can connect to. I do believe that creativity is absolutely inherent in the make-up of the human brain and that everyone is happier creating, science suggests the brain can and does learn constantly, and it seems obvious that not keeping your eyes shut because you're afraid and in the end, better the misery you know than the scary unknown, probably will let you see opportunities you'd have missed otherwise, so I just might make do...

I probably won't stick to the schedule either, I've already realised I'll need more time and the last weeks would be in December, which, gah, but I've been doing the morning pages and artist date and at least given the exercises a thought, even if they don't quite fit, because I don't remember any particularly traumatising experience that might have blocked my creativity; I feel I can only blame my own cowardice. It seems to work at least to an extent – today I bought watercolours on a whim, because in the end just it's easier. Photography I do enjoy, but I'm pretty self-critical. With ceramics I've already worked myself in such a state of artist's block-cum-self-hatred that I'm afraid to even touch a piece of clay. Writing (other than the morning pages)? Fiddle-chisle-file-fiddle-some-more-revise-rework-lather-rinse-repeat-ad-nauseam. Watercolours, on the other hand? Covering sheets of paper with brightly coloured amoebas until I lose interest? Perfectly doable. I never could paint – at all –, or specifically wanted to, meaning I have sub-zero standards or expectations in this respect. It's kind of relaxing. It was fun.


The results of this week's 'artist date' (Taking the camera out specifically, instead of just taking it along; I'm not sure if that was the point, but I haven't doing this for a long time, and I wanted to.):



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[obligatory bi-monthly disclaimer: not dead yet]

# the worthwhile stuff: Oct 13th - Jan 3rd, in reverse order:




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# everything else: blahCollapse )

 

Nov. 10th, 2013

I'm still alive (duh), I just don't really feel like talking, and really, there isn't much to say anyway. So here's a picture spam from my September holiday that I've been wanting to post for weeks now instead...



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Sep. 17th, 2013

So this happened today. I was taking a walk in Hellbrunn, up the hill and then the unofficial path with the gazillion warnings along the edge of the rock face above the zoo and at one point I was standing barely two steps away from a 70+ meter drop and thinking, not really about jumping, because if I'm ever going to kill myself, that won't be the way to go (what if I change my mind halfway down? gah.), but, just very aware that if I take those two steps it's really all over, and do I actually want this? looking straight down into the zoo, and when I lifted my eyes a bit there was a griffon vulture sort of just hovering on the wind slightly below me, slowly circling until it was out of sight, and then returned for a second, smaller circle before it disappeared completely.

It's not that big or that surprising a thing really, they used to have a breeding program here and we used to see vultures all the time sitting and possibly nesting in the crevices in the rock face, but I haven't seen any in a long while now, and it was unexpected, especially the point of view and angle as well as the size of it, with its wings outstretched like that. I don't believe in signs and omens, but just for a moment if felt a little bit like something like that, and it did me jerk out of my apathy.

(And then I overdid it with the walk and irritated a muscle knot.)

(Which, on the other hand, doesn't matter a lot at the moment, because bigger hiking tours are out anyway because of the snow. I turned the heat on today because it's cold.)

((I hate the meta from hell (tm). Hatehatehate. I don't think I've ever felt so stupid and inadequate in my life.))

 

Sep. 16th, 2013

So that was that.

It's like the year that never was, in a way. The eight months that never were.

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Lather, rinse, repeat. Check in every month or couple of months to apologise re. absence and maybe whine a bit in the process, and disappear again. ::sigh::

Life continues to be stressful, but on the bright side (who'd have thunk...) I actually noticed a positive side-effect of that, since to get everything done in time I simply can't obsess over every single detail and go over things a zillion times like I used to, which finally helps me to curb my perfection a bit. Otherwise... Had a week of holiday in May, where I crashed quite badly, which makes a bit me apprehensive for September, when I have two weeks of holiday coming after the exam for book-keeping class. Birthday came and went accompanied by the usual bout of [OMG my life is a failure, failure, failure, kill yourself now please] depression and a surprise chocolate cake from my Russian teacher, which was nice. Got myself a new iMac (v. neat) since the old one started hicupping more and more seriously, which I guess it is allowed after almost 7 years. Little else.

Gave myself mostly off today, although I'll have to do homework for book-keeping later, went for a morning run for the first time in years (embarrassing; I thought I'd be in better shape with all the hiking I've been doing), tinkered with the meta from hell (tm) (baby steps, but at least steps?), and randomly wasted time on the internet.


Which brings me to this, which is brilliant and really brought a smile to my face today. (Also, really classy coming out, y/n? I can't quite decide. [ETA: y/n on the coming out part, not the classy part, obviously.])



 

Ups and downs and, god, aren't you supposed to figure out life at one point? Most of the time it feels I'm constantly losing certainties, instead of gaining them.

On the side of unambiguously good things, I spent the April 13-15th weekend in Salzburg to see Diana Arbenina/Nochnye Snaypery in Munich on Sunday (14th), which... I wish I had the adequate words, but I really don't. If you include all the train rides it was probably the most expensive concert ticket of my life, but so very much worth it. Next time they're playing in Germany I'll definitely try to take a few days off and go to more than one show to maybe avoid this sense of everything being over too quickly to even really remember. She has this intensity and passion, it's just stunning. So brilliant. (And how ironic/weird/indicative of whatever issues is it that I had to pass 40 and learn Russian to find a female singer I can genuinely admire and connect to? Also, celebrity crush on, kind of, in a confusingly undefined, not-really-but-vaguely? sexual way.)

[In case anyone is interested, so far I've found pictures here (I'm not so fond of the - IMO - overuse of photoshop/sepia, but the photos are expressive and clicking through the gallery gives a very good impression of the show.), here (From the angle that must be the photographer that stood right in front of me.) and here, but sadly only one video has surfaced so far, although there certainly was no lack of people filming...]

On Monday I slept in & after breakfast biked to Salzburg and took my usual walk around the Nonnberg (gorgeous, warm, sunny day), before taking the train back home in the evening. The whole weekend was... Wonderful. Lovely. It felt like I suddenly could breathe again, feel again, that all those unimportant but stifling things were at least an arm's length away. And at one point I had what at that time felt like a moment of perfect clarity/revelation where I suddenly thought that life wasn't looking so bleak because I was going through my usual post-Christmas/too-long-winter/whatever-excuse-it-is-this-time depressive phase, but that I was depressed because my life was making me profoundly unhappy.

So.

Except then you return home, and whichever way you turn it, there is nothing you can really change at the moment (or at least feel you can't), and you fall back into the usual pattern & routine, feeling useless, depressed and bored stupid at work, Russian, Tai Chi, bookkeeping class (still soul-sucking), translation, homework for Russian, homework for bookkeeping, too much coffee, too many late nights, constantly tired, go on the occasional hiking tour and feel guilty for not being at home doing all the things that need doing, spring exploding around you and you can't really take it in and enjoy it because your brain is firmly back in this hamster's wheel, sit at home and do whatever needs doing and feel guilty for not being more active, for being fat and disgusting and unfit, and you muddle through, day to day, occasionally rewatch for meta-writing purposes if you can find the time, but even that feels tired and stale (I'm so beyond ready for a new fandom, but after having put so much thought and work into this already I don't want to toss it out now), and already after a couple of days the clarity, the determination, all the feeling, is slowly seeping away and you watch videos on YouTube, trying to cling to the moment of inspiration, but it's impossible to hold on to it, and three weeks pass, how did that happen, and...

... and nothing. Nothing.
Finally saw Les Misèrables with G. on Thursday (his idea, and he ended up liking it better than I did, although the official version still is that I dragged him there...). Now the opening sequence... OMGholyhsitwow[openmouthedstare]wow. After that... well. It's Les Mis, so it's impossible for it to suck completely, but as a film it was bad. Really bad, for the most part. On stage no one expects realism, so a lack of it doesn't matter, but on a purely visual level the film was an awkward, constantly distracting mixture of too much and not enough realism that kept breaking the fourth wall, because it neither allowed you to lose yourself in the illusion of realism nor to dismiss it altogether and lose yourself in the play, and only ended up making the film rather kitschier than the much sparer stage productions usually are. (Case in point, the painfully fake butterfly on the iron fence during A Heart Full of Love suddenly opening its wings. I had to stop myself from giggling through the rest of the song after that.) And I can't remember what critic it was that complained about the endless, endless, unvarying close-up shots for every single song, every single time, but it was probably more than one, because that part is also painfully true.

The song written for Valjean's coach journey with Cosette is terrible and only adds to the too-saccharine overall tone of the film compared to the musical, and Dog Eat Dog should have been left in for the same reason, although I can see the reasons behind either decision.

(There's also the admittedly a bit weird thing about how English is actually my least favourite language for Les Mis. I like the French version and am quite partial to the German translation, but English lacks a certain... edge, maybe, that the musical needs? It sounds too soft to my ears to somehow to really fit the mood.)

As for the cast... Anne Hathaway deserved her Oscar, as far as I can tell, not having seen any of the other nominated films, her performance certainly stood out in the first part, both singing and acting-wise. A surprise for me personally was that it was Eddie Redmayne's Marius that I found most interesting/arresting in the second half, because Marius is usually such a thankless role that I never paid much attention to, what with all the mooning after Cosette and little else he does. This is maybe the first time I liked the character and I loved what Redmayne did with Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. That said, the fact that Marius of all characters stood out probably already says a lot about how the actual main characters were lacking. Russell Crowe was a disaster, you can't call it anything else. The singing was terrible throughout and the acting (what acting? for the most part it felt as if he was too busy to get the singing done) didn't make up for it at all. In the end, Les Mis is a musical and you can't play Javert if you can't convey a certain severity and force through your voice. The suicide scene wasn't too bad, but everything before was, and Stars especially was excruciatingly painfully boring. (Boring. Yes, really.) Hugh Jackman was technically better, although you also could hear how he was struggling with higher notes and passages that demanded more vocal power and there were parts that made me vince, but somehow I never really managed to connect to his Valjean either, although in this case I can't pinpoint the actual reason. Part of it was that for me it felt as if the character veered too much on the side of sweet-and-saintly, but I'm not sure if this is actually justified? The rest of the cast was ok, with Amanda Seyfried actually making me like Cosette (yet another thankless part) and Samantha Barks an interesting Eponine, although I have to say I found her visually arresting more than anything else. When has Helena Bonham-Carter played more than a variation of one single type of character, the last time though?

In conclusion...

oh, [sigh]. I was prepared to like this, damn it.

 

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Um. I didn't mean to disappear off the face of the Earth livejournal so completely, but life got a bit hectic since January. (In an extremely boring and uninspiring way, I should probably hasten to add.) Apart from work there's the bookkeeping class I'm still not very sure about, but have to do homework and study a bit for nonetheless, A. is keeping me busy with Russian and Russian homework and we're working on vocabulary at the moment, which is something I actually am sure about and enjoy doing, so I try to make more than a half-assed, just-scraping-by effort, and L. has been sending me texts to translate that I keep agreeing to do even if before I'd already have said that I don't have time, not even so much because of the money, but because I'm still hoping the experience might come in useful eventually. And although the weather is doing its best to sabotage me at the moment, I'm at least trying to squeeze the occasional hiking tour into the schedule to keep me sane, because the last couple of times I went out with G., alcoholism suddenly started to look quite tempting. (Kidding. There's absolutely no chance I'm going there, but, tempting.)

Oh, and the Meta from Hell (tm), which surprisingly is actually still going somewhere and there isn't even a 'RTD meta draft 5' yet, so, go me.

[Rewatch-status: DW S1: even better than I remembered. S2... a bit meh-ish maybe, because I'm not really into the more blatantly romantic Doctor/Rose angle. School Reunion is still lovely though, the Cybermen two-parter is also very good, The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit has some interesting ideas, and in my admittedly unpopular opinion 90% of Love & Monsters is among the best things RTD has written for DW overall and the best episode he wrote for S2. (The remaining 10% being the actual physical realisation of the Abzorbaloff, and the 'sex life' joke, which personally I still don't find all that horribly offensive, but I hate having to feel defensive all the time for loving the episode, so.) I don't much care for the Cybermen vs. Daleks extravaganza of the S2 finale, and I can't even say I found the Doctor/Rose part particularly touching after the first time I watched it, but Love & Monsters kills me every time, even before the final reveal of Elton's mother's death. You see these people connecting, and maybe it isn't much, maybe it isn't special in the greater scheme of things, but it says so much about how amazing it is that these connections can happen at all when they are so inherently fragile and there is so much that can go wrong, and how important they are. It's starts out as such a light, funny episode on the surface, but it has this strong dark undercurrent that makes it actually quite brutal, and really,'love and monsters' is TW in a nutshell. Human connections in an environment that is fundamentally hostile to them in every sense. There is a thematic connection there IMO, and it's not just structural similarities like Gwen and the Weevil, which is reminiscent of Elton and whatever the monster at the beginning of the episode is called, as well as the forgetting/remembering theme, or Gwen, like Elton, stumbling into something that opens a whole new world up to her in the best and the worst sense, triggering a sort of existentialist crisis. Not to mention that in Cyberwoman 'love' and 'monster' are actually thematic keywords of a sort. I'm not saying it's deliberate, but themes do carry over.

I'm in the middle of TW S1 now, and it's funny, because I always said, and I still do think that's true, that thematically TW never changed as radically as people sometimes claim, but going back, there is at least a bit of a sense of 'aw, they're all still so young and innocent' about it, especially in the first few episodes. Also realised that I have, like, sub-sub-zero interest in pre-Cyberwoman Ianto, although admittedly that might be because the whole coffee-(boy)-angle has been too thoroughly tainted by the post-CoE wank as far as I'm concerned. The character only becomes interesting when you see what goes on beneath the surface, and it's a brilliant set-up that in the long run gives Jack/Ianto some depth, although I have no idea if that was even deliberate, since I seem to remember reading that originally Ianto wasn't meant to survive the episode? Speaking of shipping, though, JB and EM have the kind of off-the-scale chemistry in Ghost Mashine that makes me wonder every time about what Jack/Gwen could have been like if they'd really gone for that angle, and I still don't understand what happened afterwards that led to all those painfully awkward UST-or-whatever-that-was scenes later on...)]

(Also, not that this is particularly relevant, since I'll still be primarily posting here, but since the AO3 officially allows meta now, I got myself an account and am going to upload at least the longer, more coherent pieces eventually...)

 

# I hate January, I really do. Ludmila kept me busy with translations until last week, so I haven't had much time to slip into my usual post-Christmas depression yet, but, gah. We had about 30 cm of snow last week, and now everything is disgustingly mushy, the world is all black and white and greys, and I don't even remember the last time I saw the sun. I finally kicked myself out of the door for a walk on Sat., but even that was more in the spirit of duty than pleasure. Can't it be spring already?

# On the plus side, it appears that as of yesterday the Meta from Hell (tm) has evolved into an actual workable draft that has structure and goes somewhere, rather than point- & aimlessly meandering around. In that spirit decided to rewatch the whole of DW/TW/SJA in the order in which the seasons were aired and see if that might lead to any further inspirations. I started with DW S1 yesterday, and upon rewatching, The End of the World is actually rather harsh. Granted, there's the 'see how humanity survived' aspect, but how did Nine think that showing Rose the death of her world on the very first journey was the best of ideas? And then telling her almost gleefully that, nope, he wasn't going to save it, the planet was going to get roasted in half an hour, and getting cranky when she realises her mother is mortal. Obviously on a Doylist level the setting has its purpose, paving the way for the 'last of the Time Lords' revelation at the end, but on a Watsonian level the whole trip is something of a Freudian slip, as if he's determined to make her experience at least on some level what he himself went through. Lovely episode, though.

# Also finally saw The Hobbit with G. on Sat. Since I only read the book once or twice as a teenager and never had much of an emotional connection to it, I thought I'd have an easier time with it than with the LotR movies, where I complained about how they Got It All Wrong, Wrong, Wrong after every single part, but... Well. Now, the first 20 mins or so until Bilbo leaves the Shire I adored unreservedly, to the point of even entertaining the idea of giving Sherlock another try, because I loved Martin Freeman's performance that much. The part up until and including the Trolls was also enjoyable, and there were even bits of the Rivendell scenes I liked, although the whole thing still/again looks rather fake. After that, though, IMO the movie completely loses its pace and turns into a sequence of ridiculous and ridiculously drawn-out CGI action scenes (even G. agreed with that in the case of the battle in the goblin caves, and G. is usually very, very easily distracted by shiny action in 3D), although admittedly the stone giants were impressive. This is somthing I'll never understand. They have perfectly serviceable actors that are a delight to watch when they actually get to act, and then bury them (or rather their stunt doubles) in CGI that costs xx times as much. I guess I'm just too old and cranky for this kind of movies.

# Had my first bookkeeping class on Friday. God. God. It's not as if I don't understand it, it's not as if it's deadly boring, but it's miles and miles away from everything I ever thought or dreamt I'd do with/in my life. It's the sensible choice, and I can't afford dreams any longer, even if I still had any, but it all feels so wrong. Wrongish. Eight months, until the end of August, if I sign up for the second part and the exam. And there'll be homework and things to learn/repeat during the week, which will leave me less time for Russian and translations. Am I making a mistake? Should I have picked something else? But what?

 

Jan. 10th, 2013

How did I manage to miss this vid for three years? (Although looking at the date I can actually see how that might have happened...) Brilliant. Dark, but very much to the point. I especially love how she uses footage from S1 to CoE and it fits just perfectly. (Download link is here.)




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Jan. 1st, 2013

More picture spam from yesterday.

 

Ice-covered puddles.

 


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# While it's still 2012 — A happy New Year, everyone!

# Still coughing, but today I got so stir crazy that I went for a short hiking tour regardless, and it doesn't seem to have done much damage. And the day was absolutely, although perhaps somewhat unseasonably, gorgeous (see below).


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# Christmas was okay-ish. Spent the 24th with the parents and a good part of the 25th baking our traditional Mohnstrudel, which for once did turn out really well. (Especially gratifying since last time I made if for my sister's birthday 1) the yeast dough didn't really rise and 2) I fell asleep, because by the time I put it in the oven it was well past midnight, and the damn thing very nearly burned. Stayed at home on the 26th, though, since I didn't want to pass the cold on to the nieces, and I wasn't really up to so much family, either.

# Merlin, again, because the more I actually think about it, the more the ending annoys me. It is a cheap cop-out in the end, not to mention manipulative both on a Watsonian and Doylist level. [spoilers]

An Arthur not days/hours away from death and despite everything grateful for Merlin doing everything to save his life would have asked harder questions about more specific instances, like if they would even be in this place if Merlin hadn't lied to his face a mere eight episodes earlier. And it's simply not true that Arthur would just have chopped Merlin's head of if he'd found out. Uther would have, no doubt about that, but if Merlin had sat Arthur down some time after Uther's death and said something along the lines of, well, at the time we didn't want you to kill his father, but what you learned from Morgause was actually true, ask Gaius if you don't believe me? Merlin is a classic case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions, and he can go on blaming himself for Arthur right along with Morgana. But does the show intend for us to see it that way?

And the audience is too distracted by the fanservice and too busy sniffing and hunting for tissues to notice that, or that the issue of magic and the old religion was quite a bit more complex than a teary 'But I did it all for you'.

Once again, right until the end, Arthur has no agency whatever, getting himself killed in a war that he could very likely have been avoided if only he'd known all the facts.

Gah. Enough said.


# Downloaded the DW Christmas episode, because, hey, it's been more than a year and a half, maybe I've changed my mind? Except things never happens like that, do they?

# Spent a rather indecent amount of money on a fjällräven parka and feel really kind of guilty. Granted, two thirds of it were gift vouchers I got from the parents and sister for Christmas, but still...

# Started the fourth draft of the Meta from Hell (tm). Every time I open the damn thing after a couple of months and look at it, somehow a complete re-write or at least rearrangement seems to be necessary. Kill me now, please.

 

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